Climate Change This Week: The New Coal, Hot Water, Clean Energy Justice, and More!

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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Unique Giraffe Beetle, another biodiversity wonder, is threatened as Madagascar’s forests continue to be destroyed. Wikipedia

OO International Embargo On Exports
Of Precious Woods Extended
– by the international regulating CITES committee, even as the country fails to enforce the current one that allows the continued destruction of dwindling, threatened forests.

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Humanity Continues to Eat Forests Source Mongabay.com

OO Global Deforestation Is Speeding Up – over 60% between 1990-2010, according to a new analysis of satellite imagery, countering a previous global UN FAO study, which looked at land use changes, not tree cover loss. Ultimately, even with the best-case slowdown scenario:

  • deforestation is still happening at an unsustainable pace;
  • every year, there is much less primary forest,
  • more species, many unnamed, become endangered or go extinct, and
  • destroyed forests emit more planet-warming carbon to the atmosphere.

Related Headlines:

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When Indonesia’s Forests Go, So Do Their Frogs Credit Penkdik Palme

OO Indonesia’s Forest Fires Blamed For Potent Greenhouse Gases – as well as health hazards and deaths caused by the pollution.

OO 90% of Deforestation in Plantation Expansion Areas
Destroying Natural Forests Illegally
apparently, happening outside established plantation boundaries, and destroying forests in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Liberia (Africa) , says a new study. This is bad news.

Forests are far better than plantations at:

  • Storing carbon, thus slowing climate change
  • Harboring valuable biodiversity
  • Supplying water to local communities

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Cap For Cut? California’s cap-and-trade system, promoted as a model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, allows timber companies to clear-cut the state’s forests. It’s unclear whether the trade-off is worth it.

OO Cap And Clear-Cut In California

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Credit Ken Doerr at flickr

OO Natural Gas Is the “New Coal” – Cornell University engineering expert Anthony Ingraffea notes:

  • all latest science indicates that if methane leaks, aka natural gas are more than 3% of its total production, it’s the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, worse than coal;
  • because methane is a much potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and
  • all latest reviewed science shows that in the US alone, the leak rate is greater than 3%
  • so, the US should NOT be converting from coal to natural gas to generate electricity

The biggest single methane leak in the US is, so far, unstoppable.

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Boston: 1,000+ Leaks of Methane, a VERY potent greenhouse gas, from fossil fuel operations may be far higher in the US than thought, as this map shows. That makes it far dirtier than coal as a contributor to climate change. Source http://www.skepticalscience.com

Methane production is a climate – and thus economic – loser:

“…in terms of environmental impact [of the Aliso Valley methane leak] on the daily lives of thousands of people and cost, we’re talking about many, many, many billions, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars when all is said and done here.”

— Cornell University professor of Engineering Anthony Ingraffea at Living On Earth

Related Headlines:

OO Natural Gas Likely Overtook Coal As Top US Power Source In 2015 – according to analysts.

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Source Reuters, Media Express

OO Hundreds of Other US Gas-Storage Sites Risk
A Methane Leak Like California’s
say a growing number of environmentalists, engineers and industry watchdogs. Over 400 underground natural-gas storage sites are spread across 31 states, and, like Aliso Canyon, decades-old equipment is deteriorating at many of them.

OO ACT: Tell the EPA to regulate methane emissions from fossil fuel operations

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@@ How The World Went From 170 Million People To 7.3 Billion,
In One Map
– an important factor in climate change: unusustainable growth.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Wikimedia

OO Climate Change Raises A Troubling Question: Who Gets To Eat? Global warming’s threat to the global food supply gets worse the more the world warms, researchers tell federal regulators.

OO How Climate Change Could Help The Spread Of Zika Virus
And Other Infectious Diseases

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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How Global Warming Causes More Intense US Blizzards: 1. warming coastal waters send more moisture and heat energy into the air. 2.Weakened by warming, the slowed arctic jetstream loops down into the US. 3. When the two meet, windier, more intense slow-moving snowstorms result, dropping more snow and whipping up higher storms surges that flood coastal towns.

More:

OO What’s Powering This Epic Blizzard On The East Coast

OO Deadly Snowstorm Buries Much Of East Coast

@@ Why Climate Change Makes Stronger Storms – Including Blizzards!

Related Headlines:

OO Atlantic, Caribbean Storms To Be More Destructive
As Ocean Temperatures Rise: Study
and will grow more than twice as powerful and damaging.

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As Heat Rises, So Do Deaths from heat exhaustion. Source Climate Progress

OO 2015 Was Officially The Warmest Year.
2016 Will Likely Be Hotter.
Why shattering temperature records is our new normal. .

Related Headlines:

OO Give It Up, Deniers!
Global Warming is Here

  • 15 of the 16 hottest years on record occurred between 2000 – 2015;
  • The 16th year wasn’t much earlier, in 1998
  • 2015 was a breakaway year.

OO 2015 ‘Smashed’ The Global Heat Record
It Wasn’t Even Close.
Making it the hottest year since records started in 1880.

OO 2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.

OO 16 National/Territorial Heat Records Set Worldwide in 2015 – with two that also set all time cold records.

ACT: Tell the Presidential Hopefuls to Act on Climate Change here
http://act.climatetruth.org/sign/candidates_act_on_climate/?t=3&akid=2064.1188.6LzD5K
via the good folks at Climate Truth

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The Greatest Absorbers of Manmade Heat on Earth are the oceans, with vast conveyor belts of currents that redistribute that heat. As deep oceans heat up, though, the oceans will stop absorbing atmospheric heat, greatly speeding up atmospheric warming.

OO We’re In Hot Water:
Oceans Are Heating Up Much Faster
than thought, with the deep ocean absorbing as much heat since 1997 – 2 decades – as it did in the previous 100 years, researchers found.

How Much Heat? Enough to equal a Hiroshima style bomb being exploded every second for 75 straight years, the Associated Press reports.

The Big Danger – as the depths heat up, the oceans will stop absorbing most of the trapped heat from burning fossil fuels – speeding up global warming far faster than now.

Related Headline:

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When These Go, So Will Our Fish and Seafood – phytoplankton form the vital base of the food chain that supports almost all sea life – and they’re dying as oceans warm.

OO Warmer Indian Ocean Could Be ‘Ecological Desert’,
Scientists Warn
– over the past 60 years, rising water temperatures appear to have been reducing the amount of phytoplankton – microscopic plants at the base of the ocean food chain – available as food for fish, according to research released in December.

OO Carbon Dioxide Causing ‘Intoxication’ Of Ocean Fish Sooner Than Expected – Ocean fish around the world risk becoming lost at sea if carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater continue to rise on current trajectories, says a new study.

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OO Greenland: Cloud Blanket Warms Up Melting Icecap at night, preventing meltwater from refreezing, says a new study; the effect is estimated to be responsnble for up to 30% of the melting, which is contributing to sea level rise.

OO Bolivia: Climate Change, Mismanagement Kills No. 2 Lake – as source glaciers melt away, and upstream mining activities further starve it. Recovery may no longer be possible.

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OO Climate Change Threatening Coffee production, both in the medium and long term, said a coffee CEO at a yearly global economic meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

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SPEAKING OUT

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OO Leonardo Dicaprio To Greedy Big Corporate Oil:
‘Enough is enough.’
– the solution to climate change is to keep fossil fuels in the ground, Hollywood star tells World Economic Forum in Davos.

OO Obama’s Offshore Drilling Plan Meets Heavy Resistance Along Atlantic Coast Irate residents in small coastal towns say it would harm endangered marine life, as politicians warn of ‘tragedy.’

OO California Said To Target Exxon In Climate Inquiry

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Aussie Nannies Protest Natural Gas Operation, locking themselves to the gates of the facility to protest the ‘destructive industry’.

OO Australia: Knitting Nannas Charged In Coal-Seam Gas Protest

OO US Tribes Oppose Massive Pipeline Expansion In Canada saying it will put the fishing rights and cultural heritage of U.S. tribes at risk.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

@@ Ted Cruz’s Climate Cluelessness:
Relies on Faulty Data
– satellite data, which most climate research scientists recognize as the worst source of temperature data, not the best, as climate change denier Cruz says. This video explains why. Cruz would rather believe convenient fantasy rather than an inconvenient truth.

OO Ted Cruz Misstates Science Of Climate Change – here are some of the GOP presidential candidate’s claims and how they compare with the facts.

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

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OO President Obama Seeks To Limit Methane Gas
‘Flaring’ At Drilling Sites
– with his administration’s recent proposed new rules to clamp down on oil companies that burn off natural gas on public land, arguing the effort will reduce waste and harmful methane emissions as part of President Barack Obama’s bid to curb climate change.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO US Supreme Court Rules:
Rooftop Solar Producers, Consumer, 1; Utilities, 0
– a recent court ruling gave more equality to individual clean energy producers in getting a fair price for extra energy sold back to the utility – which will also help lower costs for all.

“It will have a tremendous impact on consumers to control their energy cost and provide a service to the wholesale market,” said a Federal Energy Regulattory Commission official.

OO Washington DC Circuit Won’t Delay EPA’s Clean Power Plan

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OO Why Solar And Wind Thrive Despite Cheap Oil And Gas

  • Prices have fallen, as govt incentives have risen
  • Demand has risen, driven partly by public policy
  • Corporate and investor support are strong

OO Slump In Oil Prices Drives
Green Energy Takeup In Top Exporting Nations
especially as oil slumps below $30 a barrel.

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OO 70% Drop in Energy Storage Costs Forecasted by 2030 says a new World Energy Council report.

OO New York Creates $5 Billion Clean Energy Fund to Spur Renewables

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Going Green Makes Green in the Mideast Source The Guardian

OO Gulf Countries’ Savings Put at $87 Billion With Renewable Energy if they achieve goals for renewables use by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

OO Abu Dhabi Bank Makes US$10 Billion Renewables Pledge over 10 years to finance renewable energy and other sustainable business activities.

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A Welcome Danish Sight

OO Denmark Broke World Record For Wind Power In 2015

OO China’s Coal-Burning In Significant Decline, Figures Show if China is being honest this time, signalling a major turnaround for the world’s biggest polluter.

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GOOD IDEAS

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Wikipedia

OO How Cities Are Getting People to Ditch Their Cars – one way is to ease fare purchase through cash-free transactions. Another is to foster brainstorming among city and transport experts through webinars and other forms of meetups.

OO Thou Shalt Not Toss Food:
Enlisting Religious Groups To Fight Waste

OO Turning Industrial Systems Into Fast-Acting Grid Batteries:
Hot Asphalt Tanks, For Example
– which can replace power plants and supply energy faster. Anything that stores energy can be used, like supermarket refrigerators or water pumps. These are the new grid assets.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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Drought Creates Young Hungry Refugees Credit UN, Eskinder Debebe

OO Fossil Fuel Pollution Linked to Sahel Drought – data indicate that sulphate aerosols, produced by fossil fuel burning in Europe and North America, slowed evaporation from the North Atlantic and cut off the Sahel’s moisture source.

OO Fast-Acting Methane From California Leak
Is Boosting Global Warming

Related Headlines:

2016-02-02-1454441294-5371493-PorterRanchmethaneleaksparksprotestsSourcewww.laprogressive.comccr312.jpg

Not Just People Are Suffering but pets, too. Source http://www.laprogressive.com

OO Porter Ranch Gas Leak Is Affecting Pets Too, Owners Fear – as unexpected ailments and behaviors appear among them.

OO CA Regulators Order Company
to Permanently Close Leaking Gas Well
– and meantime, minimize resulting air pollution and fund an independent study on potential health impacts on local communities.

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Source http://www.thehindubusinessline.com

OO Emissions Scandal: Almost All Diesel Cars Break Official Limits
When Driven On The Road
and are in the hands of motorists, testing reveals. Europe and India are big diesel users.

OO Pakistan Turns To Coal To Keep Factories Running to tackle chronic energy shortages. Bad news for them and us.

Google climate humor

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If we do not grow sustainably,
Our children will die inhumanely.

@@ How Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Teen childbearing cost US taxpayers $9+ Billion in 2010
And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community:
publicize where women can access affordable contraception.

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They can go here to find locations:

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And there are many more actions you can do, right here.

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SOLAR KEEPS DRIVING

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Source http://www.solarkinguk.com

OO Global Solar PV Installations Grew 34% in 2015 – by the end of 2016, cumulative installations will reach 321 gigawatts.

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Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Feb 1, 2016

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is “caused” by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: despite recent El Nino driven rains California’s drought continues. A combination of climate change factors helped create an unusually large destructive snowstorm on the east coast recently.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole are experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures – not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

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There is, of course, much more news on the consequences and solutions to climate change. To get it, check out this annotated resource list I’ve compiled, “Climate Change News Resources,” at WordPress.com here. For more information on the science of climate change, its consequences and solutions you can view my annotated list of online information resources here.

To help you understand just what science does and does NOT do, check thisout!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this wild flower I photographed one spring in South Africa. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you’d like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It’s our way of letting Congress know there’s a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and textsare freely available.

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For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly columns at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

 

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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