Climate Change This Week: Seas Rising 6 Feet By 2100, Xeroxing Solar Panels, and More!

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

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Bizarre Beautiful Jewels of the Forest are another reason to preserve forests, as these US death’s head caterpillars illustrate. Credit Eigor Siwanowicz

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Climate Change Is Drying US Mountain Watersheds decreasing the supply of clean reliable fresh water to regional populations. Changes in tree cover and mix of species are the main immediate causes behind a declining yield since the 1970s.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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Not A Rainforest, But It Feeds One – Brazil’s Cerrado system sends moisture to the Amazonas; destroying it helps dry the Amazon rainforest, a crucial climate moderator. Source http://www.nature.org

OO Brazil’s Savannah: A New Tropical Deforestation Hotspot – the Cerrado, second largest ecoregion after Amazonas, is being lost to agriculture at an alarming rate. This could dry the water cycle of the area – and that of the Amazon, which receives moist clouds from the Cerrado.

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Don’t Mess Up My Future is the message these kids want to send to the US government, hoping to encourage action on climate change. Credit Our Children’s Trust

OO You Can’t Wreck Our Future, Kids Say
— And Judge Says They Have a Case
– allowing them to sue the federal government over climate negligence.

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OO The Enormous Carbon Footprint Of Food We Never Even Eat – new research suggests wasted food is a major source of greenhouse gases.

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BIPOLAR MELTDOWN — AND RISING SEAS

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Modified Image, Paul Nicklen at National Geographic Creative

OO Arctic Sea Ice Extent Breaks Record Low For Winter Takeaways:

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Going, Going … Credit Natacha Pisarenko at AP

  • A record expanse of Arctic sea remained as open water this winter;
  • Snow and ice experts now believe the Arctic is locked onto a course of continually shrinking sea ice:
  • scientists now expect the Arctic to be entirely ice-free through the summer within 20 or 25 years:
  • “climate changes are happening even faster than we had forecast,” said climate scientist Michael Mann.
  • Since first recorded in 1979, Arctic ice has decreased every decade by an area bigger than California.

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Losing Our Planetary Thermal Shield … that is, losing the summer Arctic ice cap, will accelerate global warming: darker waters absorb far more solar heat, under a 24-hour polar sun, than the ice they replace.

Meanwhile…

OO Sea Levels Now Projected to Rise 2 Meters By 2100,
Due to Antarctica Melting
says new research, a doubling of previous estimates, IF climate changing emissions continue to grow over the next several decades.

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Captured From Space: A Monumental Antarctic Collapse Source NASA

Other takeaways:

  • Antarctic ice cliffs are far less stable  than thought;
  • huge collapsing ice cliffs in Antarctica could add 1 meter of sea level rise alone;
  • by 2500 sea levels could rise by 13 m from this;
  • previous UN assessments did not include this important process.
  • This study culminates a large body of prior research.

A 6 foot sea rise “could spell disaster for many low-lying cities,” said the study’s lead author.

Related Headline:

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Not Just Antarctica – the fronts of glaciers are collapsing worldwide. Credit Knut Christianson

OO Antarctic Model Raises Prospect Of Unstoppable Ice Collapse -sea levels could rise by more than 15 metres by 2500 if greenhouse-gas emissions continue to grow.

OO Scientists Nearly Double Sea Level Rise Projections For 2100
Because Of Antarctica
if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated, an outcome that could devastate coastal communities around the globe, says new research.

OO Climate Catastrophe, Coming Even Sooner? Yet republican presidential candidates are not addressing it, and it gets little attention from democratic candidates.

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PREDICTING US HEAT WAVES WEEKS AHEAD

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When Will the Next Heat Wave Hit? Sometimes, the ocean can tell us.

OO Scientists Find a Way to Predict U.S. Heat Waves
Weeks in Advance
– Deadly summer heat waves in the eastern US may be predictable nearly two months before they occur; research shows that the occurrence of a distinctive pattern of water temperatures across a wide stretch of the North Pacific Ocean is significantly correlated to such heat waves. Advanced warning could help farmers, utilities and big cities prepare for hot weather.

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OH-OH, WHERE DID THAT $1 TRILLION GO?

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OO $1 Trillion Could be Wasted on ‘Unneeded’ New Coal Plants says a new report, if the 1500 coal plants planned worldwide go unused due to upcoming climate and pollution curbs. Much of that new construction would be in Asia.

Meanwhile, a new Oxford study finds that new coal and gas plants can be built only for one more year, if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

Related Headline:

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Investments To Avoid: Oil and Gas

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

RENEWABLES BANDWAGON GATHERS STEAM

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Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance/UNEP Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016.

OO Seven Charts Show How Renewable Investment Broke Records In 2015

OO Europe: The Shifting Renewables Landscape – Takeaways:

  • Wind and solar power has benefited from decades of engineering and financing improvements;
  • In sunnier European locations, onshore wind and solar are the cheapest source of electricity;
  • Battery technology needs to improve for wind and solar to compete with nuclear and gas;
  • Burning trees as biomass is coming under increased European scrutiny.

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OO Nearly 40% of US Electricity Could Come From Rooftop Solar

OO New Consumer Preferences For Clean Energy
Are Now Impossible to Ignore
, say utility executives.

OO A Big US Utility Starts Integrating Clean Energy

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Credit Sigtryggur Ari at Reuters

OO America’s Big Data Centers Are Going Green – upping energy efficiency through switching to LED lighting, and especially creating far more efficient cooling strategies.

OO DOE Agrees To Involvement In Clean Line Transmission Project – partnering with a Houston company to develop a $2.5 billion wind energy superhighway from the Oklahoma Panhandle to the southeastern United States.

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OO China Pushes Mandatory Integration Of Renewable Power throughout the country to connect all the renewable power it produces to its grid.

OO UK: 400+ Churches Plan to Switch To Renewable Energy for their light and heat. Bless you, all!

OO India Aims To Become 100% E-Vehicle Nation By 2030 – the government is developing a scheme to provide electric cars on zero down payment for which people can pay out of their savings on expensive fossil fuels… and if the cars are fueled with electricity generated from the great solar power plan underway there, that will really be great news: a car is only as clean as what fuels it.

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US, CHINA, INDIA TO SIGN CLIMATE TREATY

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OO United States, China to Sign Paris Accord – The world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters called on other countries to sign the accord “with a view to bringing the Paris Agreement into force as early as possible.”

OO India To Sign Paris Climate Change Accord following news that China and the US will sign the Paris climate agreement this year. The move by the world’s top three emitters increases the likelihood that the agreement will become operational by the end of 2016.

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CONFRONTING FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES ON MISLEADING PUBLIC

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OO Climate Fraud Investigation Of Exxon Draws Attention Of 18 Attorneys General – the coalition vows to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their conduct on climate change in misleading investers and the public.

Related Headline:

OO Exxon Mobil Climate Change Inquiry Gains Allies – 17 attorneys general are cooperating on probes into whether fossil fuel firms misled investors, and have joined an alliance that will press for urgent climate action on multiple legal fronts.

The group “just declared war on big polluters”, says Climate Progress.

And…

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modified, Credit Pat Bagley at the Salt Lake Tribune

OO Thirty Years Of Climate ‘Deception’ Could Become Offense Under New California Law – by extending an existing law’s statute of limitations to 30 years, the new legislation would expose fossil fuel companies like Exxon to greater liability.

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COAL CONTINUES ITS RETREAT

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OO Wall Street’s Retreat From King Coal – as a consensus grows that it is a bad investment, is a fact that republican senators would do well not to ignore, says this New York Times editorial.

Now when will Wall Street learn to do the same for natural gas, the “new coal”?

OO Coal Price Hopes Fade Amid Reality Of Slowing Asia Demand – China’s plans to limit increases in total energy use and cut coal’s share of the mix by 1 percentage point translates into a cut of 20% of its coal imports.

AND EMISSIONS DECLINE…

OO UK Emissions Lowest Since The 1920s As Renewables Overtake Coal

Related Headline:

OO Rapid Decline Of Coal Use Leads To Drop In UK Emissions of carbon dioxide by 4% in 2015, and by 22% since 2014.

OO Europe’s Carbon Market Emissions Dip For Fifth Year 0.4 % may sound small, but it’s a lot of emissions.

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Bye-Bye Birdie? Migratory birds, like this blue cerulean warbler, don’t change their migratory schedule, while spring starts far earlier due to global warming. This means weary migrants arrive too late for much of the food resources needed to fuel their reproduction.

OO Climate Change Is Affecting Nature’s Spring Ballet – As spring comes earlier with global warming, and migrant birds do not, the mismatch in resources is bad news for migrants wanting to breed.

Furthermore, loss of migratory rest stops and nesting habitat will fuel even further decline in many dwindling songbirds — a Silent Spring Rachel Carson could not have predicted.

Related Headline:

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Climate’s Changin’ and So Are the Birds like this European wren, which is increasing in the north as winters become milder, but decreasing in southern parts of its range. Credit Steve Willis

OO Climate Change Impacts Populations of the Most Common Birds says a new study that used 30 years of field data gather by birdwatchers to back up predictions created by models.

Related Headline:

OO Bird Populations Respond As Predicted To Climate Change On Two Continents says a new study.
Despite very different population sizes and ecological conditions, birds on both sides of the Atlantic respond in a predictable way to climate change. Populations increased in species that were expected to do well while in those predicted to suffer, numbers declined.

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Nice, But Not Enough – the current snowpack in California’s Sierras isn’t enough to erase several years of drought.

OO California: Sierra Snowpack Improves,
But Not Enough To Kill Its Drought

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GLOBAL CORAL DIE-OFF CONTINUES

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An Undersea Garden of Ghosts – has replaced a formerly vibrant colorful reef on the Great Barrier Reef. Credit XL Catlin Seaview Survey

OO Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Hit By ‘Worst’ Bleaching – with 95% of corals from Cairns to Papua New Guinea now severely bleached, scientists are calling for the Great Barrier Reef to be officially classified as threatened. Climate change and El Nino are behind the rise in sea temperatures, with “in the water” reports of up to 50% mortality among bleached corals.

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When The Reef Dies, So Do Many Beauties such as this sea slug found on the Great Barrier Reef. Source theverybesttop10.com

OO Link Between Fossil Fuels And Great Barrier Reef Bleaching via global warming “is incontrovertible,”says an expert.

OO Global Warming, Super El Nino, Drive
Worst Recorded Die-Off In Great Barrier Reef
along the northern third of this massive ecosystem, as both factors created record hot water temperatures, fatally stressing corals.

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A Threatened Delicious Maine Treasure – Lobsters bring happiness to diners and state economists alike.

OO A Warming Threat To Maine’s Lobsters – The water in the Gulf of Maine is warming rapidly, a change that could bring a once-rare lobster disease further north.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Sneezing Yet? As climate change continues, pollen production is predicted to rise – as well as the numbers of people allergic to them.

OO Pollen Overload: Seasonal Allergies To Rise In A Changing Climate – from the already millions of people suffer from seasonal allergies triggered by airborne pollen—not just in spring but in summer and fall, too.

OO Drought Cuts Output Of Zimbabwe’s Top Export Earner Tobacco – what a good time to switch to a better crop.

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Mother To Many Might Be Dying – the Ganges River levels are receding. Credit Cameron Conaway at pulitzercenter.org

OO India Facing Its Worst-Ever Water Crisis – Takeaways:

  • The flow of the legendary Ganges river is receding;
  • Declining monsoons have led to lower levels;
  • reckless extraction of already contaminated groundwater is another factor;
  • a water pact with Bangladesh forced a big temporary diversion.
  • low levels have forced power plant closures;
  • village wells are drying up, forcing migration to cities;
  • conflicts over water will grow.

OO Asian Countries Could Experience Widespread Water Shortages by 2050 – as increasing population, climate change, and increasing consumption rates converge to dry up Asia.

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SPEAKING OUT

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OO What If You Invite a Climate Denying Politician to Your Meeting?
Tips On Talking With Politicians
– from a professional communicator who successfully got a politician to act on climate and conservation:

  • Attend town halls or ask for a meeting. “come prepared to give your best elevator speech on each subject. Be brief, be powerful, be impassioned, and quote facts and statistics.”
  • Invite a local lawmaker to speak at one of your chapter meetings, then promote it maximize attendance, showing how many people care deeply about the issue.

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  • Begin building bridges early. “Contact your local representatives not only on issues that have legislation pending, but [also] on issues you care about, just to get it on their radar.” When they hear about it again, they will recognize it as a pressing issue.
  • Be polite but persistent. It also doesn’t hurt to ask how you can help support the lawmaker’s priorities, that you support.

“Above all, get involved. Those who oppose your views and threaten what you value certainly do. And even if you get booed . . . something good might come of it.”

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Not On My Land, Thanks! Credit Enbridge Energy

OO Georgia: Property Rights Outcry Stops Billion-Dollar Pipeline Project that would pump gasoline and diesel fuel across the Southeastern United States. This resulted from an unlikely coalition of Republican legislators, private property owners and environmental organizations.

OO Canada: Raise The Carbon Tax, British Columbia Businesses Say -Nearly 140 businesses are raising their voices.

OO California Lawmakers Urge Calpers To Divest From Exxon – Two California Democratic congressmen urged the California Public Employees Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund, to divest from oil giant ExxonMobil. Reuters.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Someone You’d Seriously Trust? Source joemiller.us

OO Trump’s Recklessness on Energy illustrated by his extreme plan to virtually eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, created by a Republican president, and supported bipartisanly.

OO Trump, Cruz Vow To Undo Several Climate Actions
And Block Future Ones
– especially those resulting from the Obama’s work. Gee, thanks, guys!

OO Ted Cruz’s Climate-Denial Hearing
Attracts Cash From Coal King

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OO Fossil Fuel Investors Are Pumping Millions of Dollars Into Hillary Clinton’s Campaign
While her rival, Bernie Sanders, who does not have a super PAC spending on his behalf, took in just over $35,000.

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GOOD IDEAS

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The “Fingerprints” Of Sea Level Rise – a new computer modeling method links changes in glaciers, ice sheets, and continental water storage to relative sea levels worldwide. Bluer areas, near Greenland, reflect a loss of ice mass, counterintuitively* resulting in a sea level drop. In redder areas, sea levels are rising faster than global-mean rates. This map shows the linear trend in sea-level change and covers the period from 2003 to 2015. Image courtesy Surendra Adhikari, JPL, NASA

*it’s all about gravity: as ice sheets shrink, their decreasing mass decreases the gravitational attraction of water to them.

OO New Computer Model Links Glaciers, Global Sea Level in a new method that combines models of ice, ocean, atmosphere and solid earth to help create a global picture.

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First, Printed Solar Cells; Next … Source http://www.inside3dp.com

OO A Xerox Machine for Super Solar Panels – Researchers say they’re developing a new digital printing process that could make it much cheaper to mass-produce concentrated solar photovoltaic systems. Such systems can dramatically increase the efficiency of solar cells by using lenses to concentrate and focus the sunlight onto small cells. It would also bring down costs.

OO Connecticut: Smart Homebuyers Are Searching For Solar
“Solar is the new granite countertop.”

OO The Cheapest, Fastest Global Warming Fighter:
Energy Efficiency!
– Obama’s administration has been successfully framing policies this way, winning hearts and minds with dollars and cents.

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OO Baja California: Tiny Mangroves Hold Vast Stores Of Carbon helping to slow global warming, despite being far smaller than forests or mangroves elsewhere, scientists have discovered.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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The English View Credit Mac Cartoon at http://www.dailymail.co.uk

OO 7 Million US Americans At Risk From Fracking Earthquakes says the US Geological Survey in a new report. Researchers have tied earthquake surges in eight states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Kansas and Arkansas, to oil and gas operations.

OO The U.S. Is A Big Oil Importer Again after oil companies lobbied successfully to lift the US ban on exporting oil.

OO Japan Embraces Coal
As Rest Of World Tries To Cut Emissions
– Scotland just became coal-free. England said it will be coal-free in the next decade. The United is tamping down on coal the Clean Power Plan. Even China has made announcements signaling they are dropping coal.

Hey, Japan – Get with the plan!

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Coming Soon to Another Part of Beautiful Australia – another globally destructive, climate changing giant coal mine. Source flickr.com

OO Australia Grants India Company Go-Ahead For Thermal Coal Mineinfuriating conservationists and traditional owners, even as 2 court challengesremain unresolved.

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ELECTION YEAR:

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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 Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years – of global warming, a new study shows — and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let’s keep “The Hunger Games“ in the realm of fiction.

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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 SMILING

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OO Massive California Solar Plant Now on Pace to Meet Goal

OO Europe Company Launches Battery Solar Storage in Australia

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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, Apr 12, 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 an improved snowpack, much of California remains in drought.

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, which hit a record low this winter. 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 iris I photographed one 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 podcasts and 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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