Climate Change This Week: Faith Leaders Spread Solar, Wheat Crops Threatened, and More!


Saving BUB, Beautiful Unique Biodiversity, as in this giant Ecuadorian rainforest grasshopper, is another reason to preserve carbon storing forests. Source

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon


Fascinating Biodiversity Under Threat from oil pumping in Yasuni National Park, after the world refused to pay Ecuador to help maintain it.

OO Ecuador Begins Pumping Oil From Famed Biodiversity Hotspot in Yasuní National Park, believed to be one, if not the most, biodiverse places on the planet.


Helmeted Hornbill Hammered by Palm Oil – and a vast number of other fascinating species, as their carbon-storing homes are wiped out for palm plantations.

OO The Palm Oil Industry Is Destroying Indonesia’s Rainforest — Tracts of rainforests are being cleared to plant palm plantations, releasing vast quantities of CO2 and giving poachers easy access to endangered Helmeted Hornbills.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.




OO Global Warming Propels Another Month Into The Record Books: August 2016 – was the warmest such month on record, says preliminary NASA data.




OO Global Investment In Energy Falls But Renewables Remain Strong – Energy investment fell 8 % in 2015, reflecting low oil and gas prices, but falling costs and government policy shift spending towards clean energy, data show.

OO GM Commits To 100% Renewable Energy By 2050 – having just surpassed its 2020 goal of using 125 MW of renewable energy in its U.S. operations.

It now pledges to generate or source all electrical power for its 300+ operations in nearly 60 countries with 100% renewable energy — such as wind, sun and landfill gas — by 2050.

In doing so, GM joined nearly 70 other companies worldwide that have joined the RE100 initiative.

OO Most States On Track To Meet Emissions Targets They Call Burden – 27 such states are challenging Obama’s Clean Power Plan in court despite their likelihood of meeting its emission goals.


Three Bright Spots in the Desert – the 3 towers of the Ivanpah Solar Facility have had their share of problems, but are an icon of the rise of solar power in the west. Next time you fly between LA and eastern points, look for those 3 brilliant spots of light – I saw them on my last trip!

OO Sweeping Plan To Use Mojave For Solar, Wind Development Wins OK from the Interior Department within nearly 11 million acres of public lands in California’s Mojave Desert, one of the largest intact ecosystems in the continental US.

OO Washington State Limits Carbon Pollution From Large Sources with a new rule recently, joining a handful of other states in capping emissions to address climate change.

OO Republicans Rally Around Renewable Energy In DC at a conference to take back leadership from the left on the subject, and to some degree climate change. Well, it’s a start.


OO UN ‘Certain’ Paris Climate Deal Will Enter Into Force By End-2016 – with more than 48 countries already ratifying the treaty.

OO Brazil Just Ratified The Paris Climate Agreement – What’s the big deal? It’s home to the largest carbon-storing rainforest in the world, and is a large carbon emitter.

OO UN: 20 More Countries Ready To Ratify Paris Climate Deal


OO This New Electric Bus Can Drive 350 Miles On One Charge especially great news, given that buses are used in mass transit.




Wikimedia Commons

OO Climate Change Threatens Wheat,
One Of The World’s Most Important Crops


It Was a Lake … Lake Isabella, CA.

OO California’s Drought Could Continue For Centuries says a new UCLA study, published in the journal Nature.

OO Nevada, Forgotten Victim Of The West’s Drought is suffering, too, with the drought affecting farmers, ranchers, drinking water supplies, and native Americans.

OO Coping With Sputtering Taps During California’s Hottest Summer On Record – In small communities scattered across California, more wells have been failing as the drought persists for a fifth year.


Super Typhoon Meranti is yet another in the trend of intensifying typhoons hitting Asia. Source NASA

OO 28 Dead, 15 Missing After Super Typhoon Lashes Eastern China and more strong typhoons have formed nearby since then, part of a trend of increasingly stronger typhoons under continuing climate change.

OO Sea Level Rise Is Already Driving People From Pacific The Marshall Islands with the tides already threatening a way of life.

OO Sea Rise, Lack Of Services Behind Exodus From Papua New Guinea Outlying Island – Down from at least 600 in 2006, only around 50 people remain on the remote atoll of Takuu.


Doomed By Drought a phenomenon intensified by climate change. Source

OO South African National Park Forced To Kill Animals In Response To Severe Drought – rather than let them die a slow horrible death from lack of water, rangers are to kill about 350 hippos and buffaloes.



@@ 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!




Do We Really Want to Drink This? This stop-motion animation of satellite pictures really looks like an x-ray of someone swallowing (in this case) Arctic summer ice, a major planetary thermal shield, over the past 25 years – all due to global warming.Source, Modified: Climate Central

@@ Danger: Arctic Ice Declining Dramatically– shows how our icy Arctic planetary thermal shield is being swallowed up by global warming.

OO Images Show Near-Record Low 2016 Arctic Sea Ice

OO Large Crack In An Antarctic Ice Shelf To Create Giant Iceberg – having grown by 13 miles in the past six months, it threatens to detach an area of ice larger than Delaware, show satellite images.




OO Bernie Sanders Protests Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline Outside White House

OO Americans Appear Willing To Pay For A Carbon Tax Policy even more than an effective climate policy is projected to cost.


Pentagon Personnel Warn of Climate Change Threats Source

OO US Military Experts Say Climate Change Poses ‘Significant Risk’ To Security say a coalition of 25 prominent members of U.S. national security community, warning that higher temperatures and rising seas will inundate bases and fuel conflict.

OO Australia: The Risk Is Too High -Locals don’t want BP drilling in the Great Australian Bight, the largest bay in Australia; they are nervous about the risks posed to the ocean, and their livelihoods.

“One mistake and the whole lot’s buggered,” says one local.




Where The Numbers Whip Up Weather – it is sheer math and the laws of physics that ultimately determine the dangerous climate change humanity is beginning to experience.

OO Recalculating the Climate Math – Takeaways:

The Context: A further 2 C of global warming would incur dangerous climate change, far more so than 1.5 C would.

The Basic Math:

  1. All fossil fuel operations in use contain 942 gigatons of CO2;
  2. To have just a 50% chance of preventing dangerous (more than 1.5 C) warming, we can only emit 353 gigatons;
  3. That is, we have nearly 600 extra gigatons of CO2 that we cannot emit.


Photo Source

The Solutions:

  • Keep it in the ground:
  • Stop expanding fossil fuel sources;
  • Enact a dramatic managed decline in fossil fuel use, allowing a just transition for workers.
  • Letting current oil wells naturally decline,
  • As we dramatically up clean energy production,
  • Will cut oil use in half by 2033, for example.

This is literally a math test,” writes Bill McKibben. MEH: But not the only one we need to pass:


Credit Library Foundation of Los Angeles, AlanWeisman

The Other Math Test We Must Pass is bringing our populations down to sustainable levels, otherwise all of the solutions above are just wishful thinking.

Related Headline:

OO The Sky’s Limit:
Why The Paris Climate Goals Require A Managed Decline Of Fossil Fuels
production, says a new report which calculates how much CO2 could be released by current fossil fuel sources in use, which McKibben used in his piece above.


OO How To Bring On America, The Sustainable – the US government and president can:

1. Use its power to reduce fossil fuel production: stop leases and permits to expand production;

2. Create jobs and save people money by:

  • encouraging the growth of ever cheaper wind and solar energy, and investments in energy efficiency;
  • encouraging bigger grids that focus on local clean energy production and are networked broadly;
  • encouraging clean electric transportation;



3. Shrink Farming Carbon Emissions by:

  • Encouraging cuts in meat consumption;
  • Encouraging cuts in food waste;

4. End fossil fuel subsidies to decrease the value of fossil fuels.


Credit Tom Tole at the Washington Post

5. Buck Corporate Influence by:

  • Allowing only public financing of political campaigns;
  • stopping fossil fuel corporate leaders from becoming government energy regulators;
  • Making the protection of people, not corporations, the top priority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

What can you do? Vote only for candidates who believe the above is possible – they have the bold vision needed to lead.



Gas or Charge? Source

OO Electric Cars Could Be Charged At Shell Service Stations By 2017 says the energy giant.


Reykjavik Just Got More Beautiful -it is planning to go carbon neutral. Source

OO Reykjavik Plans To Limit Urban Sprawl To Become Carbon Neutral By 2040 – the Icelandic capital will also improve the efficiency of public transport.

OO Wind Power Will Be A Lot Cheaper
As Wind Turbines Get Even More Enormous
– As turbines get taller and access stronger winds, and as rotors increase in diameter, it becomes possible to generate ever more electricity from a single turbine.

OO Video Game Simulates Survival In A Future Devastated By Climate Change – designed by UBC researchers, it imagines a dystopian future where leaders have failed to address climate change.


Recreating This Source

OO Kenya To Restore Denmark-Sized Area Of Degraded Land – aside from stemming the tide of desertification, restoration will bolster economic livelihoods, reduce carbon emissions, safeguard biodiversity, and purify air and water.




Triple Win: Using Profits to Provide Needed US Family is key to creating a sustainable US population and bright futures for women – AND saving taxpayers many billions yearly in community costs by preventing unintended pregnancies. Source



OO What Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Will Do On Climate Change:
Wonk Vs. Whimp


Hillary Clinton (D): Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time and its impacts are already being felt at home and around the world.

The Plan: Make America the Clean Energy Superpower of the 21st Century with 3 goals by 2025:

  • Generate half of our electricity from clean sources, with half a billion solar panels installed by 2020.
  • Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third; make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
  • Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships, and trucks.


The Methods:
1. act and expand on the range of pollution and efficiency standards and clean energy tax incentives that have made the United States a global leader in the battle against climate change.

These standards are essential for protecting our health, saving Americans billions of dollars in energy costs, and creating thousands of good paying jobs.

2. launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with those states, cities, and rural communities that want to lead on clean energy and energy efficiency, giving them the flexibility, tools and resources they need to succeed.


Credit Mark Kauzlarich at Reuters

“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” said Jane Goodall, the famed anthropologist, shortly before Trump won the GOP nomination.

In contrast…

Donald Trump (R): There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of “climate change.”
No plan or methods. Just “perhaps”:

Perhaps… we should ensure that every person in the world has clean water.
Perhaps… we should focus on eliminating lingering diseases around the world.
Perhaps… we should focus on efforts to increase food production.
Perhaps… we should focus on developing energy sources that reduce dependence on fossil fuels.


Perhaps Donald Trump Would Like to Try Some Texas Corn withered by climate- change-intensified drought. Or perhaps he’s full up to his eyeballs in corn already. Photo: USDA at flickr

Perhaps Donald Trump doesn’t know that burning fossil fuels:

  • competes with our clean water supplies;
  • creates pollution responsible for cancers, and other major diseases;
  • creates climate change that cuts food production.

Perhaps he doesn’t WANT to know.


OO Trump’s Climate Science Denial Clashes With Reality
Of Rising Seas In Florida




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.




All Alone Credit Jon Bragg at

OO The Silencing Of The Seas: How Our Oceans Are Going Quiet
The oceans are filled with sounds produced by animals. However, a recent study shows that ocean sounds are diminishing as ocean life vanishes due to nutrient pollution and ocean acidification from rising, climate-changing CO2 pollution.

OO US Atlantic Seaboard: ‘Ghost Forests’ Appear As Rising Seas Kill Treesalong this coast, where sea level rise from global warming is rapid.




Danger: Climate Changing Methane Going UP – due to accidental leaks from fossil fuel mining and distribution structures, as this map of Boston methane leaks shows. Source NOAA, US Navy

OO Now We Know: Fossil Fuel Methane Emissions Are Going UP – Takeaways:

  • methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2,
  • but has a relatively short atmospheric life, and is far rarer in the atmosphere;
  • it is the second biggest gas driver (CO2 is first) of climate change;
  • emission growth rates slowed in the late 1980s -1990s,
  • stalling in 2005,
  • then shot up, as mining natural gas exploded,
  • even as other big sources, from wetlands, rice cultivation, and biomass burning, have fallen.


Credit Michael Lukovich

OO Fossil Fuel Money To GOP Grows, And So Does Climate Divideunderscoring how much is riding on the November election for U.S. and global climate policy.

OO UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Canada Threatened
Most Often By Oil, Gas And Mining
which account for nearly a third of threats to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada over the last 30 years, say a series of UN reports.



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


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 India Enlisting Spiritual Leaders To Spread The Use Of Solar Energy – the government has asked spiritual leaders to install solar power units in their ashrams, or hermitages, and promote this renewable form of energy among millions of their followers.


Check it out here, right now!




Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Sept 29, 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 and so does the drought in California.

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 continues to decline. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.



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 this 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 podcasts and textsare freely available.


For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly columns at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week


Find this interesting? Please re-post it!

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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