Climate Change This Week: Coral Catastrophe, Ultra Thin Solar Cells, and More!

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

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When Forests Go, So Do Captivating Critters, Both Prey And Predators – can you guess which one is which here? Credit Fahmi Bhs

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

HOW FOREST LOSS HARMS US

OO Forest Loss Is Leading To A Rise In Human Disease – as the felling of tropical forests creates optimal conditions for the spread of mosquito-borne scourges, including malaria and dengue, a growing body of scientific evidence shows.

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HOW WE’RE LOSING FORESTS

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

CHANGING CLIMATE INDUCES BEETLE EPIDEMICS

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A Familiar Story Replaying in An Ancient Forest – bark beetles may be reaching epidemic proportions in the last of Europe’s ancient forests due to climate changing warmer winters. Source http://www.asy.gov.pl

OO Beetles Attack Poland’s Ancient Forest – bark beetles have always attacked spruces in this last of the ancient European forests, but the latest 4 year and ongoing infestation, is the worst recorded. Like the spruce forests of the US West, warmer winters could be a factor.

CORRUPT COMPANIES AND GOVERNMENTS MURDER FOREST ACTIVISTS

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Berta Caceras, Goldman Prize Winner 2015
Murdered March 3, 2019

Stopping a Dam Stopped Her Life – as she saved a forest for her people – and for a warming world. Murdering activists is so common in Honduras, that media kept a ready obituary for Berta. She died in another activist’s arms, Gustavo Castro Soto, who is now also endangered.

Weep for Berta;
Weep for our planet.
The fight continues.
You can contribute here.

CLIMATE CHANGE WORSENS WILDFIRES

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An Ancient Green Cathedral Burns – as recent drought enabled wildfires torch 1,000-year-old trees and dried-out peat bogs.

OO Tasmania’s Bushfires: Climate Change Calamity Burns
One Of The Most Ancient Forests Left
– and is a harbinger of a warmer, far less wonderful world.

OO Tasmania Fires Linked To Human-Induced Climate Change study finds, occurring more frequently now than in the past 1,000 years.

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@@ Climate Change 101: Why Care?
What You Need to Know
– Bill Nye tells it all in five minutes amid graphic, dynamic, engaging, compelling imagery. Check it Out!

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WE MUST CUT CARBON TWICE AS FAST AS WE THOUGHT

To keep ourselves within the supposedly “safe” limit of a 2°C rise in temperatures.

OO How Much Carbon Can We Safely Emit?
The Amount Just Got Halved
– If the world hopes to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, humanity must emit less than half the carbon dioxide than previously thought in coming years, a new study shows.

Current emissions and actions are not remotely close to meeting any carbon budget that seeks to limit warming to a 2°C rise in temperature, says a NASA director and scientist.

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HOT NEWS

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Committed Sea Rise: 5.5 Feet, And Rising but enough to flood many major coastal cities worldwide. Credit Charles Sykes at AP

OO Earth Is Warming 50x Faster Than When It Came Out Of Ice Age – a major new study includes some scary implications about how rapidly humans are changing the Earth’s climate.

OO Arctic’s Rapid Warming Is ‘Possibly Catastrophic’ For Planet a leading climate scientist warns, by having a “catastrophic” effect on the planet’s climate.

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OO Annual Blistering Heat Waves Predicted by 2075
Over Most of Earth
under continuing climate change, says a new study.
Takeaways, under business as usual:

  • intense heat waves that only occur 1 in 20 years will be annual events by 2075
  • they will occur over 60% of Earth’s land
  • many more of the young, the old, and the poor will die
  • current pledged emissions cuts by nations will not prevent this.
  • Making dramatic cuts now would significantly prevent harmful heat waves by 2050.

Related Headline:

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As Heat Waves Soar So Will Deaths From Heat Exhaustion

OO Searing Heat Waves Could Become Annual Threat – scorching, deadly heat waves that today occur roughly every 20 years could become an annual threat for more than half the world if nothing is done to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, says a new study reported.

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OO Global Heating Slowed Briefly, Now Speeds

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/al_gore_the_case_for_optimism_on_climate_change.html

@@ The Case for Optimism on Climate Change – a TED talk like no other – check it out!

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SEAS ARE RISING FAST

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Credit Jessica Rinaldi

OO The Seas Are Rising Fast – And Even Faster In Massachusetts – says a new study, especially along the US east coast.

OO As Sea Levels Rise,
Economic Damage Piles Up Even Faster: Study
– threatening cities from New York to Shanghai, the economic damage will increase even faster, scientists say.

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SPEAKING OUT

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Climate Change Comes to the Oscars as Leonardo Dicaprio took home his first Oscar Sunday and used his speech to discuss climate change, emphasizing that he saw the direct results of the changing planet while filming “The Revenant.”

OO Leonardo Dicaprio Uses Oscar Speech To Speak Out On Climate Change

OO Vermont Governor Pleads With Retirement Board To Drop Coal

@@ Canada: Site C Dam Is A Climate-Change Disaster says popular scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki. Many megadams are, turning submerged lands from carbon storing to carbon emitting.

@@ Bernie Sanders Slams Republicans for Denying Climate Science — telling it like it is, unfortunately. How can the leaders of a major US political party deny basic science?

OO Democratic Party Slams GOP Candidates On Climate Change with the above video.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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OO US Coal Industry Fails As China Slows Economy – over 50% of US coal profits came from selling “met coal,” used for making steel, to China; China is shifting from building to services industries. Time for the US to shift, too.

OO Falling Oil Prices Force Cutbacks At Smallest US Companies

OO US Is Dumping An Insane Amount Of Methane Into The Air – say two new analyses.

OO California: Biggest Methane Leak In US History
Could Cost $100 Million In Climate Damage
experts said.

Related Headlines:

OO Biggest US Methane Leak Shows
Risks Of Aging Gas Operations

OO Aliso Canyon Released 97,000 Tons Of Methane, Biggest U.S. Leak Eversays study.

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Arctic Extreme Weather 1, Oil Drilling, 0 – and climate change helped tip the scales.

OO Arctic Extreme Weather, Worsened by Climate Change,
Was A Bet That Didn’t Pay Off For Oil
says departing Shell oil company chief. Maybe they should bet on clean energy instead, eh?

OO Australia’s Biggest Banks Pump Billions Into Fossil Fuels
Despite Climate Pledges

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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Credit Eugene Garcia at AP

OO Norway: Two European Corporate Giants Invest $1.2 Billion in Windreviving a project after bringing down costs and boosting capacity.

OO These States Are Setting Wind Energy Records –
And Suing Over Obama’s Climate Plans
– even as they are already on track to comply with the Clean Power Plan. Go figure. You’d think they’d have better things to do with their tax money…

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GOOD IDEAS

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OO Lower CO2 Emissions Could Save The US Billions – More and more economic research is suggesting that reducing emissions could actually save society money–partly in terms of public health.

OO Smart Water Heaters Could Pay Back $200 Annually in Grid Services by being turned off en masse with remote radio signals to avoid energy spikes and brownouts, or similarly turned on to heat water during off-peak times such as nights, says a new report.

Related Headline:

OO Your Home Water Heater May Soon Double As A Battery

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OO Driving Behavior Tweaks Help Cut Carbon Emissions

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OO Solving Climate Change By Teaching It More – a growing number of schools are taking kids outside to show them how a warming planet affects their local environment. – and getting them more engaged

OO Science Will Help Push Companies Towards A Low-Carbon Future – by helping companies to set and attain realistic goals in cutting emissions.

OO Saving Ecosystems Saves Species, Buffers Climate Change Impacts – and worth the challenge of protecting whole systems.

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

CORAL CATASTROPHE

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Coral Reefs Are In Hot Water – worldwide, as this devastated Fiji reefs shows, littered with the white skeletons of dead corals, stressed from waters that became too warm for them to live. Courtesy of Reef Explorer Fiji Ltd

OO Longest Global Coral Bleaching On Record Predicted to Last Into 2017 as climate change has ratcheted up ocean temperatures and El Niño helped kick them into overdrive, leading to what has been a worldwide major coral die-off.

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A Coral Ghost – and these Great Barrier fish know it; they huddle around the live one behind it, which affords much better protection. Source climateshifts.org

OO Global Coral Bleaching Event
‘Threatens Great Barrier Reef’
a world-heritage listed site, as the third ever recorded global coral bleaching event is snaking its way around a warming globe, devastating reefs.

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Source victoriammarinescience.blogspot.com

OO Coral Growth Already Being Affected By Acidifying Oceans caused by global warming, new research finds, for the first time. Takeaways:

  1. One quarter of yearly global carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by, and further acidify, oceans
  2. Corals have slowed their growth by 7% since the Industrial Revolution,
  3. As more acid prevents them from building their skeletons.

This effect is totally separate from the massive coral die-off occurring due to heat stress from warming waters worldwide.

Related Headlines:

OO Ocean Acidification Slowing Coral Reef Growth study confirms, as a result of global warming.

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What’s At Stake – the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most beautiful wonders on the planet. Source traveling-earth.com

OO Great Barrier Reef Is In Worse Shape Than Suspected thanks to ocean acidification, Australian government scientists estimate.

OO Deep Carbon Emission Cuts Only Way
To Save Coral From Acid Seas
say scientists in a new study.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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If You Don’t Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest – in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

OO States Ask Supreme Court To Block EPA Air Pollution Rule – 20 conservative states, of course.

OO Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan;
18 States Stop Planning Emissions Cuts
a review of all 50 states shows.

OO US Just Undermined India’s — And Much of US
Local Solar Energy Programs
via legal complaints to the World Trade Organization, which insisted that India not favor its local products over international ones when constructing solar projects. But almost half the US states do just that.

Related Headline:

OO WTO’s Lawsuit Ruling Could Be A Giant Blow To Renewable Energy

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Credit Marquist at EmpireWire.com

OO WV Senate Passes Bill To Help Shield Gas Drillers From Lawsuits One bill would dramatically scale back the ability of neighbors to sue over noise, dust and light pollution; another would allow drillers to begin building access roads and well pads without first getting a well permit.

OO Florida: GOP Lawmakers Consider
Forcing Communities To Accept Fracking
– even when many counties and cities there already ban fracking.

OO Greens’ Vote Scorecard Slams GOP
‘Relentless Attacks’ On Environment In 2015
– how green does Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio score? Zero.

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A Climate Change Information Source: Drying Up? The funding of the Argo Ocean Monitoring Program, our main source of information for the main planetary sink for greenhouse gases, is not keeping up with inflation, becoming inadequate.Source CSIRO

OO Critical Global Ocean Monitoring Program Struggling To Stay Afloat – the Argo array of ocean floats supported by 31 countries has ‘revolutionized’ our understanding of the oceans and global warming effects on them, but the funding of this important source of information is in peril.

OO Japan Environment Ministry Support of Coal Plant Casts Doubt On CO2 Pledge

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UK Offshore Wind Power Arrays are some of the biggest on the planet. Source http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk

OO The UK’s Clean-Energy Future At Risk – critics say the sudden decision to cut support has spooked investors.

OO CSIRO Climate Cuts Will Breach Paris Agreement And Cost Economy – hugely reveals a new report by Australia’s Climate Council.

Related Headline:

OO Australia Risks Missing Clean Power Goals —
And Households Will Pay For Itl
– as interim goals will be missed and trigger penalties that households will have to pay.

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

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OO Clueless and Climate Leaders as illustrated by their positions on climate change. Source NPR Research, updated Sept 23, 2015

OO What The Candidates Say About Climate Change

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OO Maryland Sets Bolder Target For Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 40% by 2030. Way to go!

OO Republican Jay Faison Launches Super PAC to Boost Clean-Energy Candidates saying conservatives don’t need to be on the defensive on climate issues. He’ll spend at least $5 million on about a dozen congressional Republicans who embrace clean-energy policies.

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A Source of Financial Risk – is the greenhouse gas emissions from a power station owned by Australian Energy Giant AGL. Credit David Crosling at AAP

OO Australia Energy Giant AGL Boss: Financial Risk Means
It’s Time To Drop The ‘Emissions Business’
– regardless of climate change.

OO Taking Aim At Climate Change:
Australia’s Military Sees Rising Challenges
as it increasingly helps out neighboring countries battered by disasters worsened by climate change, says a new report.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

HEARTH AND HEALTH

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Cyclone Winston Swept Their Home Away in Fiji. Source Unicef

OO Tens Of Thousands Of Fijians Homeless After Cyclone

OO Louisiana Tribe Officially Becomes America’s First Climate Refugees as the feds awarded them $48 million to relocate. [In Alaska, several villages are also relocating.]

OO Canada: Aboriginal Leaders Warn Of The Mental Health Cost Of Climate Change as First Nations and Inuit communities there cope with growing despair over climate change, a problem observers are connecting to mental health and social problems.

MOUNTING FOOD THREATS

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This Horn of Plenty Will Be Empty if our declining and threatened bee populations keep dropping dramatically. Source dujardindesign.com

OO Decline Of Pollinators Poses Threat To Global Food Supply a new report warns. Without an international effort, a new report warns, increasing numbers of species that promote the growth of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of food each year face extinction from insecticides, climate change and loss of habitat.

OO Climate Change Pushes Fish Toward Poles,
Threatening Food Source For Poor
as traditionally poorer countries closer to the Equator are robbed of crucial natural resources.

2016-03-08-1457470424-588916-brokemoneybagsmonopolyman370Sourcetheredpillnews.blogspot.comccr288.jpg

OO Farm Report: Montana To Lose Millions To Climate Change – Montana agriculture losses to climate change could total $736 million a year, estimates an economic study prepared for Montana Farmers Union.

OO Zimbabwe: Groundwater Crisis Worsens Food Insecurity as groundwater increasingly becomes an unforeseen casualty of climate change.

EXTREME WEATHER DAMAGE

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Coast Crumbles as Climate Change Pumps El Nino Storms Source http://www.theglobeandmail.com

OO El Niño Pummels CA Coast In Preview Of Warmer World

OO Drought Adds Fuel To Fire As Zambia Loses Battle To Save Forests – Despite concerted efforts to reduce deforestation, this season’s poor rainfall – influenced by the El Niño weather phenomenon – is causing food and power shortages that could force more villagers to turn to the forests for fuel and income.

OO Fiji Cyclone Disaster Is A Sign Of Future Challenges

CALIFORNIA CLIMATE COSTS CONTINUE

OO Feds Allocate Water For Endangered Fish,
Leave CA Farmers High And Dry
– some California farmers are looking at another year of a zero federal water allocation even as billions of gallons of water continue to be dumped into the ocean in order to save a three-inch fish.

OO California’s Drive To Save Water Is Killing Trees, Hurting Utilities And Raising Taxes

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

@@ Myth vs Truth: The Huge Value of Contraception is an incisive, heartfelt recognition of the value of contraception by Sarah Brown, CEO, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Unintended Pregnancy Costs US Taxpayers:

Unintended Pregnancies Cost US Taxypayers Nearly $11 Billion Yearly
the Guttmacher Institute

Teen Childbearing Alone 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 DANCING

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OO Report: Consumers’ Growing Demand for Solar, Storage and Bundled Home Energy Services -the number of homes with both broadband and solar doubled in two years’ time.

OO 46 States Took Policy Action on Solar in 2015

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A Solar Cell So Light It Can Sit On a Soap Bubble without popping it. Credit Joel Jean and Anna Osherov

OO MIT: Solar Cells as Light as a Soap Bubble – though it may take years to develop into a commercial product, this solar cell illustrates a new approach that could help power the next generation of portable electronic devices.

OO Connecticut Program Makes Solar Affordable For Low-Income Families

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Where Solar Power Never Stops – this nearly 2 mile diameter circle of mirrors stores their captured energy in molten salt. Source usnews.com

OO The First Large Solar Plant
That Generates Power, Night and Day
– is going on line in Nevada via the SolarReserve company.

OO CPV Module Sets World Record in Efficiency

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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, Mar 8, 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, and the eastern Pacific warm spot persists. El Nino driven moisture is bringing rain to California, but is far too little to budge California’s agricultural areas out of exceptional drought.Aquifers in California have been significantly depleted, decreasing the state’s ability to respond to future long term droughts.

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 these Cymbidium orchids I photographed one California spring. 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 podcastsand texts are 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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