Climate Change This Week: Requiem for a Reef, Developing Divestment, and More!

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

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Saving BUB – beautiful unusual biodiversity, as illustrated in this small asian kingfisher, is another reason to preserve carbon-storing forests. Source pinterest.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Beautiful Norway: Trying to Keep All Forests Green through its new policy.Source paktravel.net

OO Norway Takes Global Lead With First Ever Nationwide Deforestation Banin its procurement of goods to encourage deforestation-free supply chains. It and the US have pledged to coordinate forest protection efforts.

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2016-06-21-1466550768-6114123-PanamaforestSourcewww.coronadocarrental.comccr334.jpg

Only The Drone Knows where illegal deforestation is occurring in this Panama forest, which is why local tribes are learning how to use them to protect their forests. Source http://www.coronadocarrental.com

OO Panama’s Indigenous Peoples Use Drones To Save The Rainforest from illegal deforestation.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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MELTDOWN

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Extreme 2015 Melting in Greenland’s ice sheet was linked to warm air delivered by the wandering jet stream (above), which has been linked to extreme warming in the Arctic. Credit: NASA

OO Wobbly Jet Stream Sent Warm Air to Greenland,
Causing Extraordinary Melt in 2015
and sending the melting arctic into ‘uncharted territory,’ says a new study. As global warming decreases the temperature difference between polar and temperate zones decrease (due to faster polar warming), the jet stream weakens and undulates.

Specifically, the jet stream (shown as “x’s” above) brought a blob of warm air that “sat” over northern Greenland, affirming a recent idea that Arctic ice loss is creating such blocking patterns and a wavy jet stream that can deliver such warm air.

Arctic ice loss results in darker waters, allowing them to absorb more heat and further melt ice – the “Arctic amplification” effect. Now, we know that the resulting wavy jet stream can speed the melting of Greenland, speeding sea rise.

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A Canyon of Melting Ice in Greenland Credit James Balog

Ultimately, Greenland’s ice melt will also slow the north Atlantic section of the global ocean conveyor belt, responsible for conveying heat throughout the world’s oceans and moderating the weather.

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Monthly May Arctic Sea Ice Extent for 1979 to 2016 shows a decline of 2.6 % per decade – and the dramatic drop happening in 2016, as approximated by the red line. Source National Snow and Ice Data Center

OO Arctic Ice Declining At A Rate That Even Surprises The Experts

OO Arctic Sea Ice Hit A Stunning New Low In May:
‘We’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’
notes the National Snow and Ice Data Center, beating the previous 2004 record by more than half a million square kilometres. The daily extents in May were two to four weeks ahead of levels seen during 201,2 the record year for lowest ice extent in September, when Arctic ice hits its yearly low point.

Related Headline:

OO Arctic Sea Ice Breaks May Record . . . By A Lot – shrinking to its fourth-lowest level in 50 years last month, and setting up conditions for what could become the smallest Arctic ice extent in history.

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Beating a Hasty Retreat – the Juanggudiru Glacier in 2006, one of the largest that feeds the Yantze River. Source Stringer at Reuters

OO China Says Important Glacier Is Melting Due To Climate Change – one of the largest at the source of the Yantze River, a main river in China.

OO US Spy Photos Reveal Anatartic Ice Shelf Collapse Begun In 1960s

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Snowline Drifts Higher As Warming Continues in the Rockies, Sierra Nevada (above) and Cascades and the resulting decrease in spring runoff endangers those below, shows a new study. Source NOAA, NASA

OO California: Unabated Global Warming Threatens West’s Snowpack, Water Supply – as shorter, warmer winters means less snow gets stored for later use by its ever increasing population.

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30 YEARS AGO, SCIENTISTS WARNED CONGRESS OF WARMING AND SEA RISE

OO 30 Years Ago Scientists Warned Congress On Global Warming in a hearing on “Ozone Depletion, the Greenhouse Effect, and Climate Change.” They warned that manmade global warming would heat the world, melt ice, and raise sea levels: just what we are seeing today.

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FOSSIL FUEL CONSUMPTION GREW, BUT NOT EMISSIONS – MAYBE

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This Methane Was Included in the fossil fuel consumption assessment by BP, a methane leak from a California natural gas operation. But did BP include carbon emissions from a warming Arctic, driven by fossil fuel burning, or all methane leaks? Don’t bet your gas meter on it. Source edf.org

OO World Sets Record for High Fossil Fuel Consumption – coal declined, but oil and natural gas consumption grew, says the new yearly BP report.2016-06-21-1466551013-2673602-methanebubblesAbrahamlakecreditChipPhillipsatflickr.jpg

Was This Methane Included? BP measured carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, not Arctic emissions driven by the global warming created from those burnt fuels. Credit Chip Phillips at flickr

OO World Fossil Fuel Carbon Emissions Did Not Grow In 2015 due to the switch to cleaner burning fossil fuels. Why aren’t we dancing in the streets?

High global fossil fuel emission levels still drive harmful climate change and human disease; Global carbon emissions probably DID grow. Why?

  • The Arctic emits increasing amounts of climate changing methane and carbon dioxide, from warming driven by the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Assessing how much methane leaks from its increased mining and distribution is also difficult.

The takeaway: stop dancing, and get to work.

And …

OO Energy Is A Large Consumer Of Water
In A Drought-Threatened World
– especially when making electricity.

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

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OO Bernie Sanders Made Hillary Clinton A Greener Candidate

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OO A Green US City And A Power Giant
Join Forces To Curb Power Demand
– Rather than add a new natural gas facility after a coal plant closed.

OO Washington DC Pension Fund Announces Full Fossil Fuel Divestment

OO Green Conservative Lawmakers Call For Earlier UK Coal Power Phase-Out

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Canada Goes Green in its climate policies, as the land literally greens from global warming. Source http://www.canadiangeographic.ca

OO Canada: Alberta Carbon Tax Legislation Passes:
First Stage Of Climate-Change Plan

OO Canada: Greens, Car Makers Laud Ontario’s $8+ Billion Climate Change Plan

OO Norway Brings Forward Carbon Neutrality Goal To 2030 from 2050, a big jump. Hey, hey!

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Credit Michael Lukovich

OO US Republican House Opposes Carbon And Oil Taxes In Symbolic Votes – symbolic of their shortsightedness, that is.

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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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MASSIVE CLIMATE MIGRATIONS FORESEEN

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Let’s Hot Foot It Outta Here! Large tropical migrations, both human and animal, might result from trying to escape the increasing heat of continued global warming.

OO Climate Change Could Force Huge Tropical Migrations Of People And Animals says new research, even from a moderate amount of warming, to escape the increasing heat.

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GOOD IDEAS

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Bevis Longstreth: An Ex SEC Commisioner With a Way Forward on Divestment , Courtesy of Bevis Longstreth

OO A Way to Open the Divestment Floodgates – is offered by retired lawyer Bevis Longstreth, who has helped institute legal change before. He notes that:

New arrays of investment risks from climate change,
Driven by the burning of fossil fuels,
Allow state attorney generals (AGs) to legally re-interpret
What constitutes prudent management of institutional funds.

If AGs spell out the risks in “interpretive releases”,
Institutions will not be able to ignore it.
Longstreth thinks the AGs of CA, MA, and NY will be receptive.

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OO California’s Underground Drought Solution:
Create Carbon-Rich, Water-Retaining Soils
– by reducing tillage and chemical fertilizers, and leaving crop residues to up the soil’s organic content., which increases its water retention.

As USDA soil scientist Tony Rolfe notes, “If you increase soil organic matter by 1 %, you can save 25,000 gallons of water per acre from being used … And the more you can store organic carbon in the soil, the less carbon dioxide is released, which also helps with climate and carbon sequestration.”

He notes that we depend on soil for food, clothes, wood, besides storing carbon.

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Source guttercleaningtips.com

OO Water Conservation Has Saved Energy, Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions – a new study finds, saving significant amounts of electricity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions in California.

OO Buildings That Breathe, Grow, Burn Calories
— And Save Energy
– a revolution in architecture is occurring as designers work out smart ways for buildings to moderate their climate with a minimum of energy. Algae, anyone?

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In the Works: A US Sustainable Town Babcock Ranch is being planned on an 18,000-acre of Florida land.

OO Florida: Small Town Will Have Self-Driving Cars And Run Completely On Solar

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Bronzeville to Shine in a Smart Grid Change to this old poor Chicago neighborhood by the local utility giant.

OO Energy Future: Big Utility Plans A Smart Grid Change
To a Poor Nieghborhood
in Chicago as a first test on a system that could improve people’s lives and point out how the utility can survive in a rapidly changing energy landscape.

OO National Deep Decarbonization Pathways Needed For Effective Climate Policy – constraining global temperaturerise to under 2C will require halving energy system emissions by 2050, and stopping them entirely by 2100.

The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project has outlined how 16 countries – covering 74% of global energy emissions – can restrain their own emissions while maintaining development aspirations.

OO Drought-Parched Zambia Turns To Solar Powered Water Wells – freeing up adults and children, who can study, rather than collect water.

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REQUIEM FOR A REEF:
THE DEVASTATION OF THE GREAT BARRIER

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From This … To This. The devastation of this reef, one of the most beautiful undersea wonders of the world, will not recover in our children’s lifetimes, if ever. Diving photographers were saturated with the stench of rotting corals.

OO The Great Barrier Reef: Almost A Quarter of All Corals Just Killed,
The Rest In Danger
due to hot waters that stressed, bleached then killed the corals; the rest are endangered from continuing climate change and pollution.

An area the size of Scotland is largely dead.

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Giant Clams, Too: Beautiful in Life, Starving, then Bleached and Dead – like corals, these Great Barrier giant clams can get heat stressed, ejecting the algae they rely on, and then undergo a slow, starving, bleaching death.

Surveys have revealed that 90+ % of the almost 3,000 individual reefs making up the Great Barrier have been touched by bleaching, and almost a quarter – 22% – of coral over the entire Great Barrier Reef has been killed by this bleaching event.

Leading Great Barrier Coral Research Terry Hughes: “Coral bleaching has changed the reef forever.“ Large bleached areas are visible in the aerial overviews here.

Humanity Murdered This Undersea Wonderland and we saw it coming:

  • The first signs of worrisome bleaching occurred here in 1979;
  • The 1998 extreme bleaching, helped by an intense El Nino, destroyed 16 % of all reefs;
  • Noticeable bleaching occurred in 2002;
  • Now, 2016 extreme bleaching, also helped by an intense El Nino, has destroyed far more than in 1979.

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Lights Winking Out – the beautiful living lavender coral has almost disappeared, as stressed corals bleach (to left of lavender), then die and are covered by brown algae (most of the rest). Source reefbuilders.com

OO Reefers’ Eye View Of Dying Corals Of The Great Barrier Reef – the nutrients given off by so many dead corals further fuel the algae growing over them, preventing future corals from growing.

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All Types of Coral Are Bleaching and Dying including soft corals, which simply dissolve. A brown curtain of algae descends over the bleached mid coral; on either side, colorful live corals show signs of an encroaching white death. Source reefbuilders.com

OO Government Pledges $1 Billion To Save Great Barrier Reef – a laughably small amount given the scope of the problem, but a start must be made…2016-06-21-1466551549-4142730-coralgraveyardlizardislandgreatbarrierreefSourcetheOceanAgencyccr334.jpg

One of Many Coral Graveyards on the Great Barrier Reef. Source the Ocean Agency

@@ Coral Graveyard: the Great Barrier Reef has many more photos of the devastation.

Related Headline:

@@ Australia’s Coral Cemetery – yet more dramatic photos of the devastation.

OO How The Great Barrier Reef Got Polluted –
From Farms And Fossil Fuels To Filthy Propaganda

OTHER LETHAL HUMAN EFFECTS ON CORALS

OO Overfishing And Pollution Kill Corals In A Warming World – Takeaways:

  • Different types of pollution – sewage, industrial, farming – weaken reefs;
  • Oxybenzone* sunscreen from snorkelers is lethal to corals at 62 parts per Trillion;
  • Overfishing removes algae eaters, allowing algae to cover weakened corals;
  • Weaken reefs are more vulnerable to damage and death from climate change heat stress.
  • Any combination of these harmful effects can kill corals and let algae overrun the reef.**

*Use zinc oxide sunscreen instead, or wear a hat.

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Parrotfish: From Protector to Predator of Corals – normal benign nibbling of corals by the fish, which also eat coral competitors, can kill corals via bacterial infections from sewage pollution. Credit Waywuwei at flickr

** For example, parrotfish occasionally nip off coral for calcium, and the coral heals; farm runoff or sewage also bring huge amounts of bacteria; when nutrient rich pollution is present, most corals die from bacterial infection of their parrotfish wounds.

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Credit Paul Horn at InsideClimate News

OO As Coral Bleaching Goes Global, Scientists Fear Worst Is Yet To Come – Takeaways:

    • Corals are crucial ocean nurseries, nurturing up to 25% of all marine species;
    • about 275 million people depend directly on reefs for livelihoods and food;
  • hot waters have caused the most widespread bleaching of corals ever recorded;
  • reefs near 38 countries and over half the southern hemisphere are affected;
  • bleaching is affecting previously unaffected reefs.
  • Surviving corals emerged weakened, and more likely to die from future bleaching.
  • Under continued global warming, half of all reefs will die by 2050; 90% will die by 2100.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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Climate Leaders Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, and Barack Obama, US President are pushing to ratify the Paris climate deal.

OO US And India Vow To Push To Ratify Paris Climate Deal

OO The US And India Progress On Climate Changing HFC Gases – a popular coolant used in air conditioners, and 10,000 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

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OO US Coal Production Plummets To Lowest Level In 35 Years

OO Big Oil’s Footprint In Washington Shrinks With Price Of Crude

OO BP: Global Coal Use Fell By Largest Recorded Margin In 2015

OO The World Nears Peak Fossil Fuels For Electricity Coal and gas will begin their terminal decline in less than a decade, says a new BNEF analysis.

OO The Growing Opportunity for Residential Energy Storage in the US

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Much Prettier Than Natural Gas Source http://www.pv-magazine.com

OO Unlikely Casualty In California’s Renewable Energy Boom: Natural Gas as an unexpected oversupply of natural gas collides with a surge in solar.

OO $38 Billion Economic Benefit From EPA’s Carbon Rule says a new study.

OO UK Electricity Is Secure Without Coal, Says Conservative Thinktank

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Water Scarcity, Conflict and Refugee Exodus are the strongest mega-trends in West Asia, indicating their status and how these factors may shape the future.

OO Water Scarcity Could Impact West Asian Credit Ratings

OO Guess What Else Climate Change Hurts? Globalization – Supply chains now crisscross the globe, and most start where it’s hottest.

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More than a quarter of the world’s population lives near the shoreline.

OO World’s Population Very Slowly Backing Away
From Dangerous Coasts

OO San Francisco Bay Area Flood Prevention Tax will be used to lower flood risk by restoring wetlands.

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As Waters Recede, Climate Change Links Are Forged indicating the flooding was tied to global warming.

OO Paris Deluge Made Up To 90% More Likely By Climate Change, scientists say

OO Paris Floods Were ‘Directly’ Tied To Global Warming says a new study, showing that global warming made the floods far more likely compared to a climate not warmed by fossil fuel emissions. Past rainfall records helped.

OO Climate Change Correlated to Zika, Ebhola Outbreaks – allowing scientists to develop a model for predicting outbreaks based on changes in climate.

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SPEAKING OUT

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OO Energy Firms Urge EU To Back Offshore Wind

OO UN Asks Governments For 2050 Plans To Phase Out Coal, Oil And Gas

OO EU Says Seeks Swift Ratification Of Paris Climate Accord

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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OO Air Pollution Now Major Contributor To Stroke,
Global Study Finds
– up to one third of them. Microscopic particles, much of which are generated by diesel exhausts, have been shown to cause clotting, which can lead to a stroke.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has warned that fossil fueled air pollution, has become a “terrifying” problem, set to cause as many as 9 million premature deaths yearly over the next four decades. Economic costs are likely to rise to $2.6 Trillion.

OO Air Pollution Cuts Life Of Indians By Average 3.4 Years says a new study.

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OO Methane Emissions Are Extremely Harmful – and the US government might not know how much there is.

OO Regulators Fear $1 Billion Coal Cleanup Bill For Taxpayers and are wrangling with bankrupt coal companies to set aside enough money for the cleanup.

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Everglades Ensures Clean Water to Millions – now imagine it, and this resident spoonbill, covered in oil.

OO Controversial Everglades Oil Well Plan Moving Forward

OO UK Oil Sector Job Losses ‘To Reach 120,000 By End Of Year’

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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 DRIVING

2015-04-13-1428953864-5684679-solarkeepsdrivingwww.solarkingu.comccr272.jpg Source http://www.solarkinguk.com

OO Solar Made Up Two-Thirds of New Electric Generating Capacity in the US
In 2016’s First Quarter

OO Unemployed US Oil Workers Find New Home in Solar Industry

OO Solar Will Replace Nearly All Retiring Coal In Texas

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OO A Million New Solar Homes Projected With India-U.S. Announcement

OO California Calls for Solar to Meet Natural Gas Shortfall

OO UK Solar Electricity Outproduced Coal for the Month of May

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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, June 21, 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: the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent much rain from reaching California, sending it into further 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. 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. 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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