Climate Change This Week: Nuclear Climate Change Threat, Solar Pathways, and More!

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

And the chances of Donald Trump’s family and fortune surviving climate change are small, dwindling daily and irreversibly.


That’s Not A Photoshopped Sky, Folks – super cell clouds are a type of extreme weather seen in the US, increasingly likely under continued climate change. You don’t want to be under it when it breaks. Welcome to 2017.


Saving BUB, Beautiful Unique Biodiversity, as in this beautiful butterfly in Papua New Guinea, is another reason to preserve carbon storing forests. Source Solkadot at flickr


Imagine This Polluted and Deforested – and treasure what you see now, a forest in Papua New Guinea. Credit Markus Mauthe at Greenpeace

OO Rainforests Of Papua New Guinea Threatened By Oil, Gas Boom

  • low levels of democracy and economic development,
  • combined with a recent history of resource extraction
  • that oversaw forest destruction,
  • indicates that the fossil fuel industry,
  • which, history shows, loves oil & gas far more than preserving forests,
  • will destroy yet more carbon storing forests
  • to extract climate changing fuels for profit.

Has anyone thought of boycotting the companies involved?

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon


Reducing Forests to Palm Oil and Pulp – is happening on Sarawak, the Malaysian part of Borneo, endangering orangutans, and destroying valuable biodiversity. Credit Matthias Klum

OO Palm Oil, Pulp Companies Behind Over Half of Malay Borneo Deforestation where one of the largest rainforests in the world is under siege.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.




No More Fried Fish? With climate change, fish are on the way out. Source

OO Climate Change Could Have Devastating Impact On Global Fisheries if global temperature increases by more than the Paris agreement target of 1.5 C, finds a new study.

OO Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa: Shift In Climate Hits Coffee Harvest – To sustain the global two billion cup-a-day habit, new climate-resilient species of coffee must be developed, say scientists.




OO Super Typhoon Nock-Ten (Nina) Landfalls
On The Philippines On Christmas
bringing destructive winds, massive storm surge flooding and torrential rainfall.

OO 2016: Top 10 Tropical Cyclone Events Potentially Influenced By Climate Change – they:

  • Showcased the type of future behavior to be seen increasingly under climate change;
  • Illustrated how the strongest storms are getting stronger, and
  • Are correlated with the hottest average ocean waters recorded.

“Tropical cyclones are heat engines which extract heat energy from the oceans and convert it to the kinetic energy of the storms’ winds.” notes one climate scientist.

  • Thus, it was not surprising that in 2016,
  • with the hottest ocean temperatures on record globally,
  • Also had the strongest landfall typhoons ever observed – with winds of 190 mph!


Credit, modified

OO Will We Miss Our Last Chance To Save The World From Climate Change?
“We have not hit the disastrous level,” says leading climate scientist James Hansen.

“But we are close.”


Not a Nuclear Detonation, Which Will Be Much Worse – not only for those killed outright, but the hell that survivors will endure. This is a supercell cloud in Lubbock, TX in 2016.Credit tsd7t3 at

OO A Nuclear Climate Change Threat:
World War Three, By Mistake
Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe greater than ever.

“Let it be an arms race,” says Trump.



@@ Climate Change 101: Why Care?
What You Need to Know
– Bill Nye tells it all in five minutes amid graphic, dynamic, engaging, compelling imagery. Check it Out!



@@ Late Night: Seth Meyers Slams Trump’s Climate Denial concluding – rightly, unfortunately – that what we do about it is a matter of life and death for us.

OO Trump Found The One Lonely Binder Full Of Climate Deniers
— And Hired Them All

OO Trumping The Environment – whether Clinton or Trump was elected, the environment was going to suffer.

But Trump’s nominations indicate that he will accelerate and amplify that environmental destruction to the undoing of all, including, ultimately, his own family and fortune.

OO Trump’s Pick For Interior Secretary Flipflops On Climate Change Ryan Zinke took climate change seriously back in 2010, but not now.


Credit Joel Pett at USA Today

OO Trump Says Energy Regulations Are Hurting Economic Growth:
The Evidence Says Otherwise
thanks to decades of innovation, smart regulation, and technology investment, the nation can grow and decarbonize at once.

OO Trump Team Asks State Dept. What It Spends On International Environmental Efforts as they appear to re-assess the worth of such efforts.

OO The Coming Battle:
Trump Team Vs. Economists – The True Cost Of Climate Change
The key difference, as Trump indicates, will be ignoring the facts.


Preparing To Lose Jobs For the US Trump indicates he’ll focus on oil and gas instead of clean energy, which is a bigger employer than the fossil fuel industry.

OO Trump’s Potentially Toxic Effect On The Solar Industry – The US solar industry is a bigger employer than oil and gas extraction, but it fears disruption under a Trump presidency.

OO The Energy Dept Helped Start A Revolution –
But Doesn’t Know Who To Hand It Off To
– Costs for wind and solar have plunged 40-60 % since 2008. But the Trump administration wants to pursue fossil fuels.


OO Canada’s Trudeau Says Trump Very Supportive Of Keystone XL and all the climate change it will enable. Jump for joy, kids!


OO The Daily Show: Secretary Of State Nominee Rex Tillerson –
Mainlining Exxon Money Into Trump Treasuries
is probably Trump’s idea of his ultimate retirement nest egg. How?

  • Rex Tillerson’s500 BILLION oil deal with Russia
  • Fell through over its 2014 annexation of Crimea,
  • As part of US sanctions.

Guess who will probably pursue undoing those sanctions
So the deal can go through?
While flooding the world with lots more climate changing fuel?

Guess who will likely get amply rewarded after his presidency
— if not before then — by Exxon for doing so?

Trump will keep us guessing… he likes the suspense …



OO Rex Tillerson’s Record On Climate Change:
Rhetoric Vs. Reality
– He walked a fine line, as Exxon CEO, between Exxon’s support of denial and accepting mainstream science.

OO When Tillerson Looked Into Putin’s Eyes, He Found Black Gold The lifelong oilman will face intense grilling in Congress: Can he can put the national interest first, especially ahead of Russia?

There, over two decades, he built a relationshipwith a former spy Senator John McCain called “a bully and a murderer.”



@@ 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!




OO Obama’s Climate Legacy Checkered By Triumphs And Lost Opportunities – By relying on executive orders and regulations after his legislative majority disappeared, President Obama leaves his climate policies at risk under Donald Trump.

OO Obama Bans New Oil, Gas Drilling Off Alaska, Part Of Atlantic Coast in a push to leave his stamp on the environment before Republican Donald Trump takes office next month.

OO US Interior Dept Finalizes Rule To Protect Waterways From Coal Mining one of Obama’s last major environmental regulations that the incoming Trump administration is likely to target.




What Happens In The Arctic Doesn’t Stay In the Arctic – where melting ice fuels more warming that, in turn, fuels ever stronger and more damaging hurricanes in the US, and typhoons in Asia.

OO Arctic Ice Melt ‘Already Affecting Weather Patterns Where You Live Right Now’ The dramatic melting of Arctic ice is already driving extreme weather that affects hundreds of millions of people across North America, Europe and Asia, leading climate scientists say.

OO Spiking Temperatures In The Arctic Startle Scientists and is linked to climate change, may lead to shrinking ice coverage and even more warming in the region, scientists said.



OO North Pole To Warm To Near Melting Point This Week:
50 Degrees Above Normal
despite the complete lack of sunshine that far north in December.

OO North Pole Hits Melting Point In Time For Christmas so Santa can just swim to you now.


Warming Arctic Makes the Polar Jetstream Go Floppy – sending cold air south — and warm air north. Source NASA

OO The Arctic Is Showing Stunning Winter Warmth
— And Here’s Why

  • Under global warming, the Arctic is warming much faster than the temperate zone;
  • This weakens the jetstream, a polar band of winds, slowing it
  • and creating a wavy course, sometimes dipping deep into the US.

These winds bring Arctic cold to the US –
AND even more warmth to the Arctic from warmer climes.
Thus, even in winter darkness, the Arctic is hitting warm highs.

If that’s so, subpolar land temperatures should be getting colder from this cold Arctic air, even as polar areas get warmer from the warm air coming up from the south. And that’s just what scientists are seeing.


Prescient in 2006, and Now Unfolding for both bears and humanity. Credit Jim Morin, Miami Herald

OO November, 2016: The Polar Bear Capital Of The World Is Snowless – and polar bears could be extinct in Canada’s Hudson Bay by 2050.

If the bears are in trouble, so are we.

OO The Climate Refugees Of The Arctic – Polar bears have been left stranded on land desperately seeking other things to eat.

OO Leaving The Arctic Alone President Obama’s decision to block drilling has been a boon to efforts to protect fragile environments.

OO Warming Is Sending Mountain Glaciers ‘Off A Cliff’ Clearer pictures of how glaciers worldwide are changing helps improve predictions of how everything from local water supplies to global sea levels could be affected as glaciers melt.




OO 2016: A Year Of Transition From Talk To Action On Climate Change When it comes to climate change and tackling it, 2016 was a year of extremes.

OO EU Nations Back Stricter Emissions Rules For New Gasoline Engines after flaws were laid bare by the Volkswagen scandal.


OO World’s First Solar Panel Road Opens In Normandy Village, France Where 2,000 cars use it daily in a 2 year test, to see if it can power street lighting.

OO Solar Panels Laid Atop Road Surface In Pilot Program At West Point around its visitor center, where the energy generated will help power it.

OO UK Hits Clean Energy Milestone:
50 % Of Electricity From Low Carbon Sources
– such as wind turbines, solar panels, wood burning and nuclear reactors between July and September.


OO US Businesses Are Buying More Wind And Solar Electricity Than Ever Before to help lower their carbon footprint in offices, stores and factories, but wind has been historically cheaper, so it’s attracted far more attention.

Solar is playing catch up, however, as panel prices have plummeted via mass manufacturing, and new finance mechanisms make this honey pot even sweeter.

OO Republicans And Democrats Alike Want More Clean Energy and strongly support:

  • clean energy,
  • international climate agreements,
  • and cutting carbon pollution –
  • across the political spectrum, finds a new report.


OO Keep Your Eye On The Climate Ball: It’s Not Trump, But India – Two big outside factors will be much more important than Trump: technological progress and policy in developing nations.




OO Climate Change Makes Women Question Childbearing as its projected impacts lead some to question how they could have a baby with such an uncertain future.

OO El Niño On A Warming Planet May Have Sparked The Zika Epidemic scientists report.

OO Climate Change Triggers New Diseases In Vietnam especially vector borne diseases, including dengue fever and malaria.


The Tragic Young Face of Many thousands of children who are starving in Africa now. Source

OO Hundreds Of Thousands Face Starvation And Death In Africa in the growing crisis no one is talking about. ‘As we enter 2017, over 37 million people across Africa are without food,’ warns International Development Secretary Priti Patel.




OO If You Want Peace On Earth, Take Care Of Creation

OO How To Convince Someone When Facts Fail Takeaways:

  1. keep emotions out of the exchange,
  2. discuss, don’t attack (no ad hominem and no ad Hitlerum)
  3. listen carefully and try to articulate the other position accurately,
  4. show respect,
  5. acknowledge that you understand why someone might hold that opinion,
  6. try to show how changing facts does not necessarily mean changing worldviews.


A Gold Mine of Fertilizer and Fuel – these trees can be a source of heat energy and biochar, a soil conditioner and fertility stimulant that also helps store carbon.

OO Stockholm’s Ingenious Plan To Mine Yard Waste Plant waste will be transformed:

  • into biochar, a soil conditioner that improves fertility;
  • the heat generated from making it will be fed into the city’s heating system.

Integrating relevant city sectors –
parks dept, urban gardeners, waste disposal service, energy providers –
creates a streamlined efficient cycle,
and a model for cities worldwide.

OO New Project Aims To Lure People To A Greener, Climate-Healthier Diet – It’s all in the marketing:

  • use the right words: “healthy” is out, “superfood” is in;
  • reframe the message: for ex. a greener diet, not anti-meat;
  • package vegetarian foods like animal-based foods;
  • use celebrities to promote desired behaviors, either avoiding or choosing.

The good news is that more people are opting for greener diets.

OO The Cloud Needs To Get A Whole Lot Greener In 2017 – There’s a hidden cost to online streaming: the coal needed to power the computer data centers that deliver all that content.



OO California Forests Failing To Regrow After Intense Wildfires – Huge, destructive fires are more common with climate change:

  • so many mature seed-producing trees burn over large areas,
  • that forests can’t reseed themselves.
  • invading shrubs further block new trees growing.

The inability to renew carbon storing forests threatens to worsen global warming.



Fossil of the Day Awards – were given out at the recent 2016 Marrakesh climate meeting, COP22 – a way of engaging people on climate change.

OO Digital Media Are Shaking Up Reporting On Climate Change – helping boost badly needed discussion about it. New digital media players are doing so by:

  • Using a solution-based approach;
  • Taking the audience on personal journeys;
  • Employing quizzes,
  • lists (hey, isn’t that what this is?)
  • and lightening the tone.


OO The Guardian View On Climate Change Action: Don’t Delay

OO 26 Lawmakers Defend Energy Department Scientists Against Trump – Keep your hands off our climate scientists.




The Shale Gas Bubble Has Popped but wells keep increasing; defunct wells will continue to leak the potent climate changing methane well after the fossil fuel profiteers are gone.

OO 2016 Shale Reality Check:
We’re Past The Bubble
– the best and richest wells have been drilled. These wells have short production lives.

MEH: but nothing stops them from leaking the highly climate changing methane in small amounts that, multiplied by millions of defunct wells, contributes substantially to climate change.

OO Black Lung, Incurable And Fatal, Stalks Coal Miners Anew – Appalachian health officials report a shocking rise in cases of black lung.

OO Abandoned Texas Oil Wells Seen As “Ticking Time Bombs” Of Contamination Texas is among several states grappling with a surge of abandoned drilling sites and dwindling funds to clean them up.


Forest People Protect Forests Best Source Rainforest Rescue

OO Brazil’s Plan To Roll Back Environment Laws Draws Fire:
‘The Danger Is Real.’
Environmental and indigenous activists condemn a plan they say would threaten indigenous territories and make compliance with Paris deal impossible.

Indigenous forest people are the best preservers of forests, studies find.

OO New EU Wood Energy Rules Threaten Climate, Forests by allowing wood-fired power plants to keep claiming their operations are green for at least 13 more years — despite releasing more heat-trapping pollution than coal.


A World of Endless Gray Source AFP at

OO Smog Linked To Third Of Deaths In China, Study Finds – (ie, close to a million deaths yearly) putting it on a par with smoking as a threat to health, based on the study of air pollution and mortality data in 74 cities.

OO Smog Returns To Haunt Several Chinese Cities Including Beijing on Christmas after a nearly week-long red alert for the worst smog of the year was lifted.

The solution?


Why Should USA Care? What Happens in China Doesn’t Stay in China – their pollution hits the US 5 days later. Source NASA and ORBIMAGE

OO China Passes Laws To Tax Polluters –
But CO2 Doesn’t Make The Cut
– even though it is one of the major contributors to global warming.

OO China To Require Tougher New Vehicle Emission Standards For 2020



If we do not live 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 India Plans To Generate Nearly 60 % Of Electricity From Renewables By 2027 – Its government forecasts that it will exceed the renewable energy targets set in Paris 2016 by nearly half, and three years ahead of schedule.

OO India Using Less Energy: A Win For The Climate – especially as the country rapidly switches to clean solar energy.

OO Australia: Solar Cooling Systems Take Heat Out Of Summer’s Hottest Days


Check it out here, right now!




Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Jan 5, 2017


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 areas surrounding the US are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: the eastern Pacific warm spot continues and so does the drought in California – despite the river of water expected within days. With warm temperatures, most of that won’t translate into snowpack that will store water for 2017 agriculture.

Much of the US is colder than normal, which is also expected under continued climate change, as the polar jetstream, weakened by Arctic warming, starts sending Arctic air down into the US – and warm air into the Artic, warming it even further.

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.



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 this out!

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.


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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