Climate Change This Week: Massive Worldwide Tree Die-Off, Selling Solar Surges, and More!

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


Saving BUB, Beautiful Unique Biodiversity, like this Amazon tree frog, is another reason to conserve carbon storing forests. Source

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon


The Giants Nearby my home in California. I love them. Source

OO California Redwoods: The Ultimate Carbon-Storing Forests in the World a new study finds.



Amazon Burning Credit Dado Galdieri at AP

OO El Niño, Climate Change Are Making The Amazon Dry And Flammablesays researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine.

What were once considered once-in-a-century events are increasing as global warming takes hold.

Just in the past decade, the Amazon suffered from two record drought years (2005, 2010), and massive fires thought to have been mostly caused by humans.

Related Headline:

OO Dry Amazon Could See Record Fire Season forecast researchers.


OO 2015 Southeast Asian Fires Emitted Most Carbon Since 1997 – blanketing the area in thick haze and, producing emissions higher than in the whole of the European Union, say scientists.

OO Millions Massive Die-Off of Trees Worldwide Tied to Climate Change is occurring in California, the US Southwest and Europe, adding to further climate change as their decomposition releases climate-changing gases.

The link is from current extreme droughts of the sort expected under continued climate change.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.



Orange Areas average 28 degrees C. Source

OO Humans Have Caused World’s Warmest Seas To Surge In Temperature, scientists say, via greenhouse gas emissions that have created the giant ‘Indo-Pacific Warm Pool’, the largest area of warm water in the world that stretches 9,000 miles along the equator.

The Indo-Pacific Warm Pool, where the water averages more than 28 degrees Celsius, has increased in size by about a third in 60 years.




The Fate Of Future US Babies? Zika infected pregnant women often give birth to tiny brained babies, whose lives are often short , and for their parents, tortuous.Source

OO Zika In Florida: 10 New Cases Confirmed
Amid Concern Over US Sluggish Response
– although all infections were acquired overseas, hundreds of infected people in Florida heighten the chances of creating an infected pool of mosquitoes.

This pool could then create an epidemic of zika in Florida that could spread further in the US.


OO Summer Of Fire: Drought Transforms Southern Sierra into a tinderbox of an estimated 66 million dead trees in the southern Sierra Nevada.

Related Headline:

OO Wildfires Engulfing The West Coast Are Fueled By Climate Changeexperts warn, and require new strategies.2016-07-13-1468381692-2641269-wildfirefoughtwchemicalairdropplaneTDCccr337.jpg

Run: A new wildfire burning through bone-dry grass, shrub and timber has forced the evacuation of dozens of homes in a mountain community.

OO California Wildfire Prompts New Round Of Evacuations



Study in Toxic Green Source

OO Florida Takes Economic Hit:
Toxic Algae Drives Away Tourists
– the massive bloom smells like “death on a cracker”; the last time such a big bloom occurred, it took months for the estuaries to recover.

Both rising water temperatures and poorly regulated pollution guarantees more of these.


OO 1 In 10 People May Face Malnutrition As Fish Catches Decline around the world both from lack of protein and critical micronutrients like iron and zinc.

So declining fisheries pose major risks for global health, scientists warn.




The Vital Monsoon: When Will It Come? Wikipedia

OO Climate Change Warming Asian Waters, Altering Monsoon – making it more erratic and unpredictable.

It’s an ominous problem for 70% of India’s 1+ billion citizens, who need reliable monsoon predictions
to decide when they will sow their seeds and harvest their crops.


The Not So Mighty Indus Wikipedia

OO Stressed Indus River Threatens Pakistan’s Water Supplies – the river supports the lives of 300 million people, and supplies Pakistan with less water than it did 50 years ago, particularly in the spring and summer, researchers have found.

Meanwhile, demand for water is projected to rise sharply.

OO Murders, Violence On Rise As Parched India Battles For Water – Northern and central India continue to suffer thorough severe drought and oppressive heat.

Police in several regions are reporting a rise in violent – and often deadly – clashes over water.




You Want To Eat … ME??! Source TakePart

OO Meat: An Unhealthy Habit – accumulating evidence indicates that meat, particularly red meat, is just a disaster for the environment – and not so great for human beings, too.

OO This Is What Your Hot Dog And Burger Are Doing To The Planet When Americans fire up their grills on July 4th, they dump up to 882 million pounds of carbon pollution into the atmosphere—the equivalent of burning almost 2,200 railcars of coal.

Okay, I can hear it now – “What — now you’re attacking my hot dog?

It does all add up – BUT what will really make a difference is whether you vote for leaders who will act on preventing further climate change.




Blowing Interference Credit Christian Steiness

OO Creating More Efficient Wind Farms –
Based on Schools of Fish
– Takeaways:

  • Large offshore turbines disrupt air flow
  • creating interfering wakes of slow moving air behind them;
  • Thus, turbines in rows behind them harvest less energy;
  • Large size forces turbines to be spaced widely, further reducing energy harvesting.


Fish School Us On Wind Power – a piscine school is a demonstration of animals adapted to maximizing their swimming efficiency. Courtesy Robert Whittlesey

  • Fish in schools show staggered formation,
  • And use neighborly turbulence to swim more efficiently;


Staggering Counter Spinning Turbines ups efficiency. Credit John Dabiri and Matthias Kinzel

  • Staggering smaller, shorter wind turbines
  • In pairs of opposing rotations,
  • Increases wind energy harvesting 10 times, researchers found.


OO Transport Emissions Are Rising – Time to Tighten Standards




OO Apple, Patagonia, Google, and Others Are
Expanding Into Solar Power
– not just through solar panels on their roofs, but through:

  • Rooftop projects to massive plants (Google)
  • Giant solar plants and selling excess energy from their roofs (Apple)
  • Solar panel leasing on other rooftops (Patagonia)

Patagonia is also showing other companies how to expand into the solar power business.

Walmart, Macy’s, Costo, and Ikea are some of the biggest users of solar power to power their businesses in the US – is it just a matter of time before they start selling solar electticity?

OO ‘Tesla Solar’ Wants to Be the Apple Store for Electricity – providing the solar rooftop systems, the batteries to store the solar power, and the electric cars that use those batteries. And offering it all in a convenient, economic way to customers.


Educating Bill Gates Source

OO Let’s Upgrade Bill Gates’ Climate Reading List – Bill is under the delusion that we need clean energy “miracles,” because he believes the flawed arguments of Vaclav Smil.

Luckily, Bill and Vaclav are wrong. It’s time to update Bill.

OO Canada: Govt Think Tank Pushes Nation to Think Beyond Oil Dependence




Natural Gas: Not All That Clean Credit Tim Evanson at flickr

OO Leaking Coal Seam Gas Fields May Blow Hole In Emissions Goals – a growing chorus of voices from Australia and overseas is warning that any perceived benefits of burning natural gas for energy could easily be lost with just small leakages of the potent climate changing gas.




Stephen Hawking Source

OO Stephen Hawking: Pollution And ‘Stupidity’
Still Biggest Threats To Mankind
– he notes: “Six years ago, I was warning about pollution and overcrowding, they have gotten worse since then. The population has grown by half a billion since our last interview, with no end in sight.”


Credit Stephane Mahe at Reuters

“Greenhouse Gases Must Be Substantially Reduced.” Major US scientific organizations told Congress.

OO Top U.S. Science Organizations Hammer Congress on Climate Change—Again
Scientists implore action and note rising bipartisan demands for action as heat waves and wildfires worsen.

Related Headline:

OO Science Organizations Again Urge Congress To Take Climate Change Seriously in a letter signed by many major US groups.

It pushes back against climate denial and calls for policy solutions to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

OO 31 Scientific Bodies Tell US Congress: Climate Change Is Real and to get real on climate change.

As many as 180 Congressional members are thought to be skeptical of human-caused climate change.


OO After 6 Years Of Working On Climate At Harvard,
I Implore It To Show The Courage To Divest



Clean It Up Fast for a smooth energy transition and stable economies, says Moody’s.

OO Major Credit Giant Calls For Rapid Paris Climate Deal Approval

  • The giant, Moody’s has called on countries to speed ratification of the deal.
  • This will lower the risks of a damaging transition from fossil fuels –
  • And calm markets.

Moody’s pledges to use the UN climate pact as benchmark for rating companies.

OO Canada: Court Overturns Major Pipeline Approval issued by the previous federal cabinet two years ago.




“Men Argue; Nature Acts.” Voltaire, 1769

OO The World Has The Right Climate Goals —
But The Wrong Ambition Levels To Achieve Them
– pledges will not meet targets. Takeaways:

  • 195 nations agreed to pledge to cut emissions to prevent a 1.5 C rise in world temperature.
  • this would prevent most of the gravest tipping points, e.g., the disappearance of the Arctic ice cap.*
  • countries’ actual pledges to cut their emissions just aren’t ambitious enough to keep the world within the “safe” climate range that lies at the core of the Paris agreement, shows a new analysis.

“The window for limiting warming to below 1.5 °C with high probability and without temporarily exceeding that level already seems to have closed,” the study notes.

*an important planetary thermal shield preventing even more heat from being absorbed by Earth. A 1.5 C rise would not prevent severe threats to coral reefs, or major melting in Antarctica.

OO What Would It Take To Achieve The Paris Temperature Targets? To keep the Earth from heating a further 2 C would require net zero emissions to be reached by 2085 and considerable amounts of negative emissions, researchers say.

That is, humans would need to remove significant amounts of emissions already in the atmosphere.


Credit Tom Tole at the Washington Post

OO Richest Nations Fail To Agree
On Deadline To Phase Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies
– campaigners say hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies for fossil fuels are undermining efforts to tackle climate change.




OO India To Get Over $1 Billion From World Bank For Its Solar Goals

OO U.S. Hardens Royalty Rules On Fossil Fuel Production – Takeaways:

  • Rules had not been updated since 1980s;
  • Old rules let companies pay 50+% lower royalties when selling to affiliates;
  • A significant percentage of companies did this;
  • New rule: companies must pay royalties on sales to the first unaffiliated customer;
  • Royalty revenues to taxpayers should increase significantly.

OO Exxon Is Now Lobbying for a Carbon Tax to combat climate change, and has supported one since 2009.

It’s also is lobbying the rest of the American industry, and Capitol Hill.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, aimed specifically at keeping most fossil fuel reserves in the ground, has prompted the company to increase its efforts recently to convince the rest of the industry to get on board.


OO Minnesota: A Wind Power Utility Makes Wind Power Reliable – Xcel Energy developed:

  • a constantly updated, reliable forecasting system, and
  • smart technology that allows turbines to turn on and off automatically in response to changing forecasts.
  • Resulting savings are passed on to its customers,
  • to date yielding about60 million in savings for an investment of3.8 million.

Its wind production displaces approximately 11.7 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, too.

Now that’s good news!




Red Knots In A Bind Credit Greg Breese, US FWS

OO Rapid Climate-Driven Loss Of Breeding Habitat
For Arctic Migratory Birds
– a study suggests 66-83% of Arctic shore bird species will lose the majority of their currently suitable habitat by 2070.

Rapid climate change in the High North strongly affects where species are able to breed and disrupts migratory connections globally, say the authors.


Credit roadrunner_876 at

As Long As The Zebras Are There lions’ meals won’t be disrupted. Credit roadrunner_876 at

OO Wild Meat Eaters Are Less Disrupted by Climate Change
Than Their Plant Eating Prey
– says a new large study.

This makes sense: many plant eaters are not adapting well to shifting plant seasons.


OO Thanks To Climate Change, The Arctic Is Turning Green NASA scientists show with views from space especially as the northern regions rapidly warm. And then there’s wildfires….

Related Headline:

OO Human-Induced Greening Of The Northern Land Surface is occurring a new study shows.





OO Hillary Clinton’s Ambitious Climate Change Plan Avoids Carbon Tax – But she:

  • vows to produce a third of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2027;
  • will spend billions of dollars to transform the energy economy;
  • will install a half-billion solar panels by 2020, upping the current number 7x;
  • will give 60 billion to states and cities to develop more climate-friendly infrastructure,
  • will put the US on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 % from 2005 levels by 2050.

And, she says, she could achieve all that without new legislation from Congress.

OO US Senate Panel Backs $500 Million For Global Climate Fund – in a rare show of bipartisanship. More shows, please!


Source Office of the Prime Minister, Canada

OO US, Canada, Mexico Agree Climate Partnership – the “three amigos” set targets to get half of electricity from clean sources and cut methane emissions 40-45% by 2025.

OO US, Canada and Mexico Pledge 50% of Power from Clean Energy by 2025

OO Obama’s New Clean Energy Goal For North America: 50 % By 2025



OO Conservative To Fund Republicans Who Back Climate Change Action – with least $5 million through to back five Republican congressional candidates who have supported taking action on climate change.




You Want Me to Drink… THAT? Source

OO California: Freshwater Formations Are Being Drilled, Fracked – as oil and gas development overlap with groundwater sources; monitoring is clearly needed. Let’s consider some safeguards, say the authors.


OO US Coal Baron Promises Huge Layoffs —
Then Tells Workers To Vote Trump
– problem is, coal mining jobs aren’t coming back – even under President Trump.

OO Falling Gas Prices Are Driving Consumers Back to Bigger Vehicles


When They Go Away, Who Will Pay? Source

OO Indonesia Faces Environmental Time Bomb After Coal Bust – thousands of mines are closing in Indonesia’s tropical coal belt as prices languish and seams run dry.

But almost none of the companies have paid their share of billions of dollars owed to repair the badly scarred landscape they have left behind.



@@ A Simple And Smart Way To Fix Climate Change given by Dan Miller in 2014 at a Ted talk suggests a way to profit as we tackle climate change, by finally charging those who sell and use fossil fuels – and distributing the revenues back to all of us.

The strategy is sure to speed transition to clean renewable energy. What’s not to like? Check it out!




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.



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


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


They can go here to find locations:


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




OO Here Comes The Sun: US Solar Power Market Hits All-Time High after a rocky start.

@@ What Rooftop Solar Looks Like In Watts, Los Angeles, CA Women participating in a unique solar installation training program in Los Angeles’s Watts neighborhood are bringing power to the people, and empowering themselves.


Check it out here, right now!



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 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 wildflowers 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 textsare freely available.


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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