Climate Change This Week: Avoiding the Heat, All Weather Solar Cells, and More!

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

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A Prickly Situation – this cartoonish katydid is found in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador (threatened by oil development – below); it illustrates the incredible biodiversity stored in rainforests, important carbon storage systems. Source http://www.pbase.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Brazil: A Huge Carbon Sink
Even More Deforested — And Less Protected —
Than The Amazon
– is its savannah, the Cerrado; it has a huge “underground forest” of carbon-storing roots that are releasing huge amounts of climate changing gases as land is converted to farms. This, in turn, could help dry out the Amazon.

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Hidden Gold in a Threatened Rainforest – this Sun Conure parrot illustrates the true treasures of the Yasuni Rainforest: its spectacular biodiversity. Source http://www.pinterest.com

OO Ecuador Drills For Oil On Edge Of
Pristine Rainforest And Biodiversity Hotspot
– Yasuni National Park is also inhabited by two of the last tribes in the world living in voluntary isolation.

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Leafy Teaks are farmed for their wood, and have very large leaves. Source http://www.panoramio.com

OO Super Carbon Storer in India: Teakwood – this wood has the highest capacity for carbon sequestration among the trees of India, and may be grown to help curb emissions in India.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE, DOWN ON THE FARM

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Farming Changes Could Cut Climate Changing Emissions Substantially

OO Farmland Could Play Key Role In Tackling Climate Change if farms are motivated and able to change their farming practices, says a new study. Takeaways:

  1. Soil stores vast amounts of carbon;
  2. 30+% of agricultural carbon emissions come from soil;
  3. “climate-smart” soil management could reduce that, possibly substantially, keeping soil carbon stored;
  4. incentives could be developed to motivate farmers.

On the other hand, critics note:

  • Preserving forests is a far better investment: they store carbon AND vital biodiversity;
  • The expensive technology needed to significantly increase farm soil carbon storage is not accessible to most farmers;
  • Creating incentives will differ worldwide due to national politics and market forces.

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But even farming can’t fulfill the demands of a growing population….

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OO Climate Change Will Limit Ability To Feed Humanity Soon – say scientists, and warning signs are already present. Takeaways:

  • global warming means mean more droughts, wildfires, soil depletion and seasonal changes -all bad for growing food;
  • some of these factors, such as changing rainfall patterns, are already occurring;
  • vital crop pollinators are declining worldwide, in part from climate change;
  • food demand keeps increasing along with population levels;
  • clearing more land for farming releases even more climate changing emissions;
  • industrial farming, needed to meet demand, also releases more such emissions,
  • and depends on fertilizers that deplete the soil, ultimately reducing production.

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Resulting climate change will likely:

Reduce crop yields;
Create a malnutrition crisis;
Make large parts of the planet unable to grow core crops such as bananas and maize.

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And…

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OO Soil Crisis Brought About By Climate Change May Hit Global Food Production, claims alarming new research, which reveals that soil microbes, vital to soil fertility, appear to be far less adaptable to climate change than once thought.

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April 22, 2016: Give A Real Earth Day Gift – help create a sustainable future: have one child*, or be child-free. It’s the biggest way you can personally cut carbon emissions and consumption. (* This is something I have done, by choice. MEH)

Other Tips – every day:

  1. help bring down unintended pregnancies in your community;
  2. vote for climate action at all levels of leadership;
  3. invest in clean energy, divest from dirty energy;
  • talk about it with your friends and family.
  • The food thing: less meat and calories means less waste and waist.

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CLIMATE-CHANGING FOOD WASTE

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Source waymagazine.org

OO Cutting Food And Carbon Waste-Lines For Healthy Climate – Reducing food waste and changing the way people consume calories will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a new study says. Takeaways:

    • up to 14% of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better to reduce waste;
  • as the average human diet increases in meat and calories, so does the contribution food makes to climate change;
  • food waste is likely to worsen in the future;

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Source biocycle.net

Cutting food waste could help several challenges at once:

  • reducing environmental impacts of agriculture,
  • saving resources used in food production,
  • enhance local, regional, and global food security;
  • Cutting meat and calories would benefit human health.

The good news? We can change – if we want to.

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GLOBAL WARMING SICKENING AMERICANS

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More Americans Will Die From Heat waves as they increase and intensify, just one of many health risks from climate change, says a new study. Source http://www.cnn.com

OO Climate Change Sickens Americans:
Hearts, Lungs, AND Brains
says a new study, based on1,800+ published scientific studies and new federal research, and reviewed by the National Academies of Sciences.

A wide array of health issues will result, such as:

  • An increasing number, by many thousands, of annual premature deaths from heatwaves;
  • increasing mental health problems from the stress of extreme weather like hurricanes and floods;
  • as extreme heat causes more forest fires and increases pollen counts, resulting poor air quality is likely to up asthma rates.

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“Climate change poses a serious risk to human health and that is really the most important takeaway,” says US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

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YOU CAN ACT:

OO Ask World Leaders to Sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day: April 22, 2016

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EARTH IS TIPPING FROM GLOBAL WARMING

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Shifting Water, Shifting Weight, Shifting Planet – as newly melted water redistributes its considerable weight around the Earth, it is also shifting the rotating axis of the planet. The North Pole has shifted dramatically eastward since 2000.Source JPLab at NASA

OO Global Warming Shifting Earth’s Polar Axis, says a new NASA study. Takeaways:

  • induced by global warming, climate change causes ice sheets to melt and changes land storage of water, (as affected by droughts) substantially shifting the sheer weight of water over the planet;
  • this weight redistribution has shifted the north pole sharply east from Canada towards England since 2000.

The shift shows:

  • how profoundly global warming is affecting our planet;
  • how intimately connected the planet’s poles are to climate variability.

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HOT NEWS

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A Hot Idea, especially for seniors and children.

OO The US Is Experiencing Its Third Warmest Year-To-Date through February.

OO Historically Hottest Summers To Be Normal
For Over Half The World’s Population — Within 20 Years!
a new study projects, even under a moderate emissions scenario.

The Mediterranean, Sahara, large parts of Asia and the Western US and Canada will be among the first regions for which hot summers will occur on average every other year. Invest in bikinis…

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2016-04-20-1461184474-4091806-ArcticthermalshieldTheangleofsunlightcombinedwithalbedofromseaicehelpskeepthepolescold.ImageNASA.jpg

Whether From Clouds or Earth, Ice Reflects Sunlight Away – so if clouds have less ice than once thought, they will reflect less sunlight, and global warming will be worse than thought. (Image, NASA)

OO Global Warming May Be Far Worse:
Clouds May Not Cool Global Warming
as much as once thought, says a new study.

Analysis of satellite data revealed that:
many clouds have more liquid – and thus fewer ice crystals to reflect sunlight into space – than once thought.
This smaller “heat shield” means our carbon emissions will be trapping more heat from more incoming sunlight.
one climate change analysis indicates this might mean a further 2+ F warming.

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MELTDOWN

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OO Meltdown: More Rain, Less Snow As The World Warms – Takeaways:

  • a greater percentage of US winter precipitation is falling as rain,
  • with potentially severe consequences in western states which depend on snowpack for water,
  • and across the country wherever there is a winter sports economy.

OO West Antarctica Might Melt Far Faster than once thought, suggest new studies on the physics of ice melt, and this could rise seas by over 6 feet by 2100, flooding many coastal cities, says climate scientist Michael Mann.

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OH-OH, WHERE DID ALL THOSE TRILLIONS GO???

OO Climate Change Will Wipe $2.5 Trillion Off Global Financial Assets by 2100, says a new economic study, and could soar to a wipeout of $24 Trillion, or 17% of the world’s assets, in a highly unlikely worse case scenario.

Suddenly, limiting warming to 2 C (4 F) makes a lot of financial sense – this would save over $300 Billion of those assets.

BUT Mark Campanale (Carbon Tracker Initiative) says:It could be a lot worse.The loss of financial capital can be a lot higher and faster than the GDP losses.

Just look at the value of coal giant Peabody Energy. It was worth billions just a few years ago and now it is worth nothing.”

Related Headline:

2016-04-20-1461184587-4857028-dirtyassetsmoneystormSourcejoshschoenly.comccr325.jpg

Climate Change Could Kill Assets – wiping out trillions in value. Source joshschoenly.com

OO Study Warns Wall Street of Assets at Risk From Climate Change which may wipe out $2.5 trillion, or nearly 2% of the world’s financial assets, by 2100, if the planet continues to warm at its current rate, says the new study.

More:

OO Bloomberg Climate Taskforce To Target Financial Filings – Led by Michael Bloomberg, the heavyweight taskforce recommends that climate risk information should form part of companies’ routine financial filings.

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CONTINUING CORAL CATASTROPHE ALARMS SCIENTISTS

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Credit the UK Guardian

OO Over a Third of World’s Coral Reefs Under Death Watch due to a mix of global warming and strong El Nino weather cycle that has stressed many corals to the breaking point, say US NOAA scientists.

1000+ km of the Great Barrier Reef are showing signs of significant bleaching – that is, corals dying.

Related Headline:

2016-04-20-1461184707-9551419-coralbleachinggreatbarrierclimateshifts.org.png

Ghosts of the Great Barrier Reef – white dead and dying corals now significantly whiten over 1,000 km of this magnificent ecosystem. When the corals go, so does much of the rest of the marine life there.

OO Climate-Related Death Of Coral Around World Alarms Scientists

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

OO Cities Battle Their Own States Over the Clean Power Plan – as cities see the real beginning effects of climate change, they want the plan to succeed. But 27 states are fighting the plan in court.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO Global Renewables Grew At Fastest Rate On Record In 2015, expanding 8+% to nearly 2,000 GW globally, says the International Renewable Energy Agency. “Falling costs for renewable energy technologies, and a host of economic, social and environmental drivers are favouring renewables over conventional power sources,” said the agency’s director general.

OO Obama’s Clean Power Plan Amassing Broad Support

OO Ikea Wants To Run On 100% Renewable Energy – An increasing number of big businesses including Google and Mars are opting to get their power from renewables, helping the planet and their profit margins.

OO Hey, Bill Gates, Our ‘Energy Miracles’ Are Already Here – The transformation from a fossil fuel-based global economy, to one that is powered by a decentralized mix of renewables is happening far faster than anyone anticipated.

US WIND POWER – AND JOBS – KEEP SURGING

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Source AWEA

OO Home Grown American Wind Power Keeps Blowing – as the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Report, Year Ending 2015 shows. US Wind Power:

  • now supports a record 88,000 well-paying American jobs; a 20% growth rate in 2015 alone;
  • was the largest source of new electric capacity in 2015;
  • avoided 132 million MT of climate changing CO2;
  • prevented enough pollution to create7+ billion in public health benefits;
  • benefits rural areas especially.

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OO Banks Pledge $7 Billion to Scale Up Clean Energy Investment

OO World Bank To Spend Nearly 30% Of Investments On Addressing Climate Change

OO A Billionaire Investor Joins Republican Clean-Energy Push – Julian Robertson is backing a campaign to push the party’s candidates to support clean-energy policies.

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OO Florida Poll: 75% Of Floridians Concerned About Climate Change

OO US And Canada Move To Curb Methane Emissions
Meeting represents one of the last chances to grow on climate partnership agreed on by Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama before U.S. president leaves office.

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Nations United On Climate

OO Many Nations Seek Rapid Ratification Of Paris Climate Deal,
To Lock It In for 4 Years
before a change in the White House next year that might bring a weakening of Washington’s long-term commitment.

OO 35 Countries Cutting The Link Between Economic Growth And Emissions-says an International Energy Agency analysis. The US, the UK, Germany, and several smaller economies are on the list; China, India and Russia are not. Some of the smallest countries have done the most to reduce their carbon emissions.

OO Israel To Cut Carbon Emissions, Sees $8 Billion Economic Boost – Israel’s cabinet unanimously approved a plan for reducing greenhouse gases and increasing energy efficiency to benefit the economy.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Lifting Off As Launching Pad Submerges – the space launch site will be flooded by rising seas within this century. Photo Source abcnews.go.com

OO NASA Is Facing A Climate Change Countdown as Kennedy Space Center and other NASA facilities near coastlines are facing the prospect of continually rising waters.

OO Drowning History: Sea Level Rise Threatens US Historic Sites

OO UK: 57 Subway Stations At High Risk Of Flooding says a new report.

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GOOD IDEAS

2016-04-20-1461185042-7925139-mosquitotrapovillantawmosquitoPhotoDanielPineloccr325.png

World’s Answer to Zika: A New Mosquito Trap dubbed the ovillanta, it’s fashioned from old tires and nearly 7 times better than conventional ones. Photo Daniel Pinelo

OO Fighting The Zika Virus With Junked Tires – as climate change enables the spread of Zika carrying mosquitoes, researchers have developed an improved mosquito trap. Fashioned from old tires, it holds a dark cool pool of water infused with a nontoxic mosquito attractant, and paper floating on the surface.

Mosquitoes lay eggs on the paper as they mark the water with female pheromone, letting other mosquitoes know the water is safe. The paper is changed and the water is filtered for larvae, then returned to the trap, where the pheromone infusion attracts further vicitims. Sneaky, huh?

OO Fight Acidifying Oceans Locally: Clean Up Pollution and plant aquatic grass that removes CO2 from water, and revise water quality rules to help clean up pollution, says a new report.

2016-04-20-1461185073-422352-allweathersolarcellforrainsunwgraphenelayerCreditAngewandteChemieInternationalEditioncourtesyofResearchSEAccr325.jpg

The All-Weather Solar Cell, Rain or Shine has a layer of graphene that allows the cell to generate electricity when raindrops hit it. Credit Angewandte Chemie International Edition, courtesy of ResearchSEA

OO New Graphene Layer Could Let Solar Cells Generate Power When It Rains– creating cells that are triggered by sunlight and raindrops, say Chinese researchers in a new report.

OO With New Tools, A Focus On Urban Methane Leaks

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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OO As Coal Goes Bankrupt,
Taxpayers May Have To Finance The Cleanup

OO The Death Of US Coal: Industry On A Steep Decline As Cheap Natural Gas Rises

OO Working For US Coal?
Better Have A Backup Career
as Wyoming miners found out: after decades of work, they were laid off, without enough help to find other work.

2016-04-20-1461185170-2495358-USoiladdictionCreditNateBeelerattheWashingtonExaminerccr325.gif

Credit Nate Beeler at the Washington Tribune

OO US Fossil Fuel Addicted State Economies
Now Suffer Withdrawal Symptons
– especially in Alaska, where oil has declined; in Wyoming, dependent on coal; and in North Dakota, as the gas boom has gone bust.

OO Australia: Coal Mining Does More Harm Than Good, Say Majority In NSW

THE METHANE MESS

2016-04-20-1461185203-8273763-alisocanyonmethaneleakSourceedf.orgccr325.png

Pretty…. Bad Methane Leaks – 100s of them, have been found via infrared photography in a flyover of 8000+ oil and gas well pads in Pennsylvania. Source edf.org

OO Pennsylvania: Researchers Find Hundreds Of Methane Leaks – and as the state’s natural gas expands so will the leaks.

OO Southern California Braces For Summer Blackouts Due To Big Gas Leakas the large methane leak forced the shutdown of nearby wells until they could be inspected, creating a fuel scarcity.

OO Wyoming: Scientists Find Fracking Contaminated Water after the EPA halted its study of it. Whoops.

POLLUTION PROBLEMS PROPAGATE

OO Mexico City Doubles Driving Ban As Pollution Persists from the heavy smog generated by burning fossil fuels.

OO Canada: Latest Keystone I Leak Raises More Doubts About Pipeline Safety

OO Australian Electricity Emissions Surge 5.5% Since Removal of Carbon Price

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Offshore Oil Development Threatens This World Heritage Coral Reef – in Belize, as if the current worldwide coral bleaching event – ultimately caused by burning oil and other fossil fuels – wasn’t enough. Credit Antonio Busiello at WWF-Guatemala

OO Half Of World Heritage Sites Often Threatened By Fossil Fuel Development, says WWF, as well as by illegal logging, and mining. WWF urgedcompanies to obey UN appeals that all heritage sites should be “no go” areas for oil and gas exploration, mines, unsustainable timber production and overfishing.

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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.

@@ The Cost of Unintended Pregnancy: Too Young

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 SURFING

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OO Are You Paying Too Much For A Rooftop Solar System? If you’re thinking about pulling the trigger on a rooftop residential solar system, don’t be afraid to drive a hard bargain with an installer.

OO The US Will Overtake Japan as the World’s No. 2 Solar Market in 2016

OO New Jersey: Navy Plans 227-Acre Solar Farm

@@ “Catching the Sun” Profiles Solar Energy Entrepreneurs and Activists in this
winning documentary, and shows that solar not only wins as clean energy but as a job creator. Fast paced and fluid, it shares the excitement of this burgeoning bright industry worldwide.

OO SolarCity Raises $300+ Million for Commercial Solar and Energy Storage,
Plus Residential

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Source us.sunpower.com

OO Solar Power More Lucrative Than Crops at Some U.S. Farms and worldwide, as solar and wind developers in North America, Europe and Asia seek more flat, treeless expanses to build. It’s also a boon for struggling U.S. family farms that must contend with floundering commodity prices.

“There is not a single crop that we could have grown on that land that would generate the income that we get from the solar farm,” said one farmer.

OO Mexico’s First Clean Energy Auction: 1,860 Solar MW Won at $50.7 per MWh ensuring that solar power will grow 500+ % in Mexico in 2016.

OO Kenya: SkyPower to Give Away Millions of Solar Kits – to boost the growth of off-grid solar, even as it develops other solar projects.

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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 20, 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 El Nino storms, California drought conditions persist.

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 everlasting 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 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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