Climate Change This Week: The Soy Threat, The US Solar Explosion, 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.

Saving BUB, Beautiful Unique Biodiversity, as in this collage of Amazon wildlife, is another reason to preserve carbon storing forests.

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

Two Different Greens, Soy and Forest – the first feeds cattle and ever more people; the second is vital to preventing dangerous climate change, and preserving vital biodiversity. Credit Ricardo Beliel at BrazilPhotos

OO Amazon Deforestion Once Again Soars Driven By Soy Production – and in the Bolivian savannah as well, exploding demands from growing populations outstrip current supplies. Takeaways:

  • Amazon deforestation has nearly doubled in 2 years to 2 million acres in 2016,
  • Driven by agro giants
  • Seeking remote lands with weak regulations
  • To grow mostly soy that fuels the production of meat for ever more people.

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Savannah is also an important carbon-storing and biodiverse ecosystem,

But Bolivia places food sufficiency over its preservation.

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Only about 15 % of the world’s forests remain – the rest are degraded and fragmented.

From Green to Gray – as Bolivian forest is destroyed to grow crops, especially soy. Imagine the thousands of species of plants and animals that have lost their homes due to deforestation. Credit Jim Wickens at Ecostorm

OO Brazilian Savanna, Bolivian Rainforest At Risk From Soy Production says a new report Takeaways:

Soy is the main feed for livestock that supply fast food chains like Burger King.

Soy crops occupy nearly 1 million square kilometers (386,000 sq miles) worldwide.

The production of Burger King’s meat may be linked to deforestation,

Despite an agreement with giant soy producers to not buy deforestation-linked soy.

Christmas Trees Under Climate Threat – balsam fir, favored for Christmas trees, is very vulnerable to warming temperatures.

OO Many Eastern US Tree Species May Be Unable To Adapt To Changing Climate says a new Woods Hole Research Center study of 40 tree species. Those tree most vulnerable to warming temperatures include:

  • balsam fir, grown for Christmas trees,
  • sugar maple, the source of maple syrup;
  • quaking aspen, the trees that cover western mountain slopes;
  • black cherry, used for wine, jellies, horticulture, and its valuable wood;

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  • yellow birch, an important hardwood timber tree
  • red maple, the most common tree in US deciduous forests;
  • red spruce, used to make paper, for construction, and for musical stringed instruments.

The Beauty of Yellow Birch in a Bowl with its shimmering golden grain, might ultimately be lost to climate change. Source http://www.knotsburls.com

Forests occupying complex terrain on large intact tracts of land, such as West Virginia forests, were found to be more resilient to climate change than other parts of the eastern US.

Oak Woodland Vs. Vineyards – these woodlands harbor unique biodiversity, habitat for wildlife and riparian habitat for healthy watersheds. Vineyards suck up local water supplies for irrigation. Credit QT Luong at terragalleria.com

OO California: Water Concerns Arise From Napa Vineyard’s Plan To Fell 14,000 Oaks – locals are concerned that:

  • the deforestation will destroy wildlife and riparian habitat,
  • make the area less resilient to climage change (forests create moist regional climates),
  • the vineyard will suck up local groundwater supplies for irrigation.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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LISTENING TO THE ENCROACHING SILENCE OF EXTINCTION

Nature’s Choruses Are Slowly Fading – when we destroy forests and other natural ecosystems, we forever silence many voices that also had a right to live on Earth.

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HALF OF THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE MAY BE GONE BY 2050

A Few Of Many Friends We Are Extinguishing via a combination of numbers of people and our consumption of resources. Source www.somepets.com

OO Half Of The World’s Species Could Become Extinct By 2050 biologists say, unless we humans can tackle climate change and slow our population growth.

Dozens Of Animal And Plant Species Go Extinct DAILY, scientists estimate, disappearing at 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate, primarily from human activities driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species and global warming. Source http://www.tourdestfu.com

OO At The Vatican, A Call To Avoid ‘Biological Extinction’ – ‘Nothing less than a reordering of our priorities based on a moral revolution can succeed,’ say sponsors of the recent conference.

A working draft of a paper presents the case that we are experiencing the sixth mass extinction of plant and animal life the globe has seen—with considerably dangerous, catastrophic consequences for humanity:

“Translated into the language of equity, humanity’s enormous success in recent decades is very likely to have been a down payment for future failure.”

@@ Biodiversity – Why Is It Important? A View From Down Under. It’s not just species, but the web of life, upon which humans depends, that is threatened.

The Two Most Necessary Actions Humanity Must Achieve:

  • Shrinking our populations humanely to sustainable levels via one child, or child-free families.
  • Consuming resources sustainably: no further destruction or damage of the regenerating sources of vital resources.

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NEARLY 50 % LIKELY:

GLOBAL WARMING WILL DRASTICALLY, RAPIDLY COOL

NW EUROPE, NE NORTH AMERICA, BY 2100

Feeling Chilly Yet? Global warming has a nearly 1 in 2 chance of triggering a rapid, drastic regional cooling within a decade for lands bordering the North Atlantic before 2100, much sooner than thought possible previously, new analyses show. Source “Day After Tomorrow” official movie trailer at youtube.com

OO Drastic Rapid Cooling Of Northwest Europe, Northeast America

By 2100 Nearly 50% Likely scientists warn, due to climate change. For millennia, parts of northwest Europe have enjoyed a climate about 5C warmer than lands elsewhere at the same latitude. New analyses of reputable climate models indicate:

  • An almost 50% chance of rapid cooling within a decade –
  • Of the North Atlantic, which will rapidly cool nearby northeastern America and northwest Europe.

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  • Normally, as seawater flows north it cools, gets denser and sinks,
  • Pushing warmer, deeper water to the surface –
  • It’s like a giant heat conveyor belt: this warms the regional climate .

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  • As global warming melts Arctic glaciers, the enormous flow of
  • freshwater forms a lighter layer over the heavier North Atlantic seawater;
  • this risks slowing and even collapsing the cycle of
  • sinking heavy cold water and uprising warmer deep water.

@@ How Climate Change Might Already Be Slowing the Heat Conveyor Belt as explained by some very respected atmospheric and climate scientists.

  • Such a collapse would shut off a major source of climatic heat
  • for the surrounding coasts, northeastern North America and northwest Europe,
  • far outweighing the global warming atmospheric effect.

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  • New research shows that this collapse occurs in nearly 50% of
  • the climate models that best simulate North Atlantic stratification (temperature layers).
  • Despite the usual uncertainty inherent in such analyses,
  • Researchers warn that overall, that percentage underestimates the real chances.

Now, imagine a little regional Ice Age in the northeast US. Gulp.

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A GLIMPSE OF FUTURE SEA RISE

OO OMG Measurements Of Greenland Gives Glimpse Of Future Sea Rise – The Oceans Melting Greenland project is taking important measurements to determine how fast sea levels will rise.

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TRUMP TRUMPED BY CLIMATE CHANGE

Donald Trump’s Own Children Likely Face Climate Apocalypse in their lifetimes; the likely crash of civilization that follows will crash their fortune and survival chances for their kids – and all of ours. Unless, of course, Trump acts to cut emissions, hugely. Source heavy.com

Trump:

OO establishes task forces to scrap ‘job killing regulations’ in every federal agency.

OO to roll back Obama’s climate, water rules through executive actions, say briefed sources.

OO to propose 24 % Cut In EPA budget

Trump:

OO is being trumped by China on climate change, clean energy.

OO is making promises on coal mining jobs he can’t possibly keep.

OO presents false argument of “jobs vs. environment” , retreating from responsibility.

Credit David Horsey at the Los Angeles Times

EPA Head Scott Pruitt:

OO doesn’t believe carbon dioxide drives climate change.

OO vows to slash climate and water pollution regulations.

OO emails show he was arm-in-arm with fossil fuels industry.

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OO questions EPA’s authority to regulate climate changing carbon emissions.

OO thinks regulations should benefit the regulated, not the general public.

Credit Rex at Shutterstock

OO understands why some want to see the EPA ended completely.

OO is going to be very bad for Miami. No ignorance will stop the drowning of Miami from rising seas caused by human driven global warming.

@@ Fed Scientist Speaks Out As a Private Citizen what life is like in the new Trump universe, with Seth Meyers.

OO Climate Scientists Face Harassment, Threats And Fears Of ‘Mccarthyist Attacks’ for many, it has already started.

OO In The Face Of A Trump Environmental Rollback, California Stands In Defianceready to play a key role.

Given that utilities are traditionally subject to state, not federal laws, all states should be able to pursue their own energy plans, despite Trump.

That will include many red states that are developing clean energy industries:

Everyone talks about red states and blue states,” said Hal Harvey, CEO of Energy Innovation, a policy research group. “We really have to start talking about green states and brown states.

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CLIMATE MYTH BUSTERS!

OO The Reality of Climate Change – below are some of the biggest climate myths currently trending, compared to the reality. A good place for more details is here … where even more myths are busted!

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HOT NEWS

February 2017: Notice the Main Color – oooh, and it’a all the way up at the top of the heat bar! Source Weatherbell Analytics

OO Here’s Why It’s So Frickin’ Hot Right Now – Takeaways:

  • as arctic warming continues to loosen the jet stream,
  • it’s shunting a series of storms to the west coast, and cutting off arctic air to the rest of the US.
  • Monthly record hot averages are being broken throughout the US, including night time average temperatures.
  • Both are signs of ongoing climate change.

This week has been an up close look at the DNA of what we are seeing in the big picture: relative to historical norms, extreme heat continues to outpace extreme cold across almost every place, season and time of day in the USA.” — Deke Arndt, who leads climate monitoring at the NCEI, National Centers for Environmental Information, a federal agency.

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MELTDOWN

@@ A New Gigantic Crack Presages a Coming Massive Antarctic Iceberg which could destabilize the ice shelf of the Larsen Ice Shelf. Each new iceberg helps further the speed of pouring more glacier into the sea, and ensuring more sea rise.

Think Ice Cubes – the iceberg, already overhanging the sea, doesn’t add to sea rise, but the ice behind it that is unleashed by the breakoff of the berg then becomes the new ice shelf – which is like adding more ice cubes – and sea rise – to the ocean.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

OO California Bill Aims For 100% Renewable Energy By 2045

OO Massachusetts Bill Would Require State To Use 100% Renewable Energy By 2050

OO The Age Of The Giant Battery Is Almost Upon Us – That they may someday revolutionize electrical grids has long enthralled clean-power advocates and environmentalists. Now it’s attracting bankers with the money to make it happen.

OO What’s Next For Renewables In Cities? Plenty – it all depends on many factors, but rooftop solar is taking off in cities worldwide, as it becomes cost competitive with other energy sources.

OO Australian Consortium Launches World-First Digital Energy Marketplace For Rooftop Solar

homeowners with solar panels and batteries could soon trade their electricity in a digital marketplace developed by a consortium of electricity providers, energy tech startups, energy retailers and energy agencies.

OO Australia: Solar Power, Wind Power: Labor Party Push To Grow Renewable Energy

OO China: This Is What 4 Million Solar Panels Look Like From Space On the Tibetan Plateau in eastern China, 4 million solar panels silently soak up the sun as part of the largest solar farm in the world, spreading over 10 square miles of the high desert landscape.

OO Mexico Is Now Home To The Lowest-Priced Solar In Latin America

OO Saudis Kick Off $50 Billion Renewable Energy Plan To Cut Oil Use

Demolishing a Dirty Plant Source WRAL.com

OO Trump Can’t Stop It: US Coal Plants Keep Closing On His Watch

OO Fossil Fuel Ceases To Be Asset:

Exxon Relents, Wipes Oil Sands Reserves From Its Books

OO UK Government Pension Trust Begins Ditching Oil And Gas Investments

OO Singapore’s Proposed Carbon Tax Will Likely Include Refineries

OO China’s Coal Consumption Falls For 3rd Year In A Ro

OO China Oil Giant Digs Deep To Bring Clean Energy To Homes

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

California Rainin’ and Flooding as winter storms kept dumping water right through February. Source http://www.newsok.com

OO Levee System Battered By Record Rainfall From ‘Atmospheric River’

OO Thousands Forced From Homes By Flooding In California Tech Hub, San Jose

  • See below for Why Califronia Is Flooding

OO South Florida Continues Prep For Sea Level Rise this sounds like a slow motion rollout of the little kid plugging his finger into the dike. Good luck at keeping back the sea.

OO New Hampshire: Maple Syrup Producers Face Challenges In Warming World and say they are feeling the impact of climate change, as winters become warmer and frigid nights so critical to their business become fewer.

OO Climate Change Predicted To Transform Vancouver Into San Diego,

But At A Heavy Cost in the coming decades, says a major climate change study, as Vancouver temperatures exceed those of present-day Southern California in the coming decades.

OO Global Warming Is Shrinking US Colorado River, Vital To 40 Million Americans says a new study. The most important waterway in the American Southwest could reduce its flow by more than a third by 2100.

OO Africa: Somalia Faces Unprecedented Drought Even the hyenas won’t eat the dead sheep, goats and camels, which litter the landscape in Somalia’s northwest Somaliland region. There is too little meat on them.

Waiting For Water as military trucks roam the city delivering water daily. Credit Christina Holmes

OO Peru: La Paz Struggles In A World Without Water after losing its glaciers. Takeaways:

  • Close to 40% of the andes’ tropical glaciers melted away between 1980 and 2009.
  • In La Paz, human incompetence further ate into finite water resources.

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  • Now, there is strict water rationing,
  • Unreliable water supply times,
  • And construction of a large reservoir.
  • But last season was 40% drier than average.

It’s not clear how long the city can survive.

Fish, Valuable Marine Assets, Are Declining from overfishing, habitat loss, pollution and climate change. Fish are an important source of omega-3 fats, vital to brain health, especially among the aging. Source Caters News Agency

OO The Ocean’s $24 Trillion Dollar Blue Economy:

Can It Be Saved From Us? Pollution (chemical, fecal, plastics), overfishing, habitat destruction, and the warming and acidification of climate change have all led to plummetting marine assets. A video explores the issue.

OO Plan To Save Great Barrier Reef Has Been Set Back Decades Australian experts say, at least two,

after the fragile ecosystem suffered its worst-ever bleaching last year.

OO Climate Change In The North Sea: Oysters In, Cod Out – as it warms, for now. MEH: As the sea further warms and acidifies, you can forget even oysters … start thinking jellyfish and algae, often toxic algae.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

@@ 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!

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GOOD IDEAS

Fueling For the Future – and fuel standards need to be part of it, the first step in transitioning away from fossil fuels. Shutterstock

OO Fighting Climate Change Without Washington:

States Tackle Their Own Fuel Standards

OO Why Floodplains Could Be California’s Buffer Against Climate Groundwater recharge, flood protection and wildlife habitat all depend on floodplains. Now there’s a new movement underway in California to revive them in order to ease California’s dramatic swings between drought and flood.

OO New York Energy Efficiency Could Offset Nuclear Plant Shutdown says a new report.

OO Urban Heat Islands: Cooling Things Down With Trees, Green Roads And Fewer Carsand other innovations as city temperatures rise.

OO High-Tech Film Cools Buildings Without Consuming Energy

A flexible white film about the thickness of a sheet of aluminum foil can cool objects in direct sunlight without energy or water consumption, researchers reported earlier this month in Science. Anthropocene Magazine.

OO Changing Carbon From Waste Into Gold by pulling out carbon dioxide from plant emissions, and using it to create saleable products. Can it help?

OO Drones Are Helping Design The Solar Power Plants Of The Future – A cottage industry is growing around new technology for solar power developers to design, build and operate solar farms.

OO How EU Can Limit Coal’s Life For The Cost Of A Pint Of Beer – Charging a carbon tax of $32 per ton of carbon dioxide would cost each European about $5 annually, the price of a beer. It’s getting cheaper all the time to drive Europe’s dirtiest power plants into retirement.

OO What Will It Take To Get Canada’s Arctic Off Diesel? An Inuit community is building a small hydro project that might be a model for many others.

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

OO Rivers In The Sky: Why California Is Flooding Takeaways:

  • “Atmospheric rivers” (AR), formed near Hawaii and
  • Carried by upper level winds, ultimately “bump” into
  • California terrain, forming clouds and storms.

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  • AR cause most of CA’s heavy rain events.
  • As global warming helps warmer air hold more water,
  • And intensifies extreme weather,
  • Expect ever more extreme whiplashing CA droughts and floods.

OO Small Ponds Have Big Impact On Global Warming shows new research.

Under global warming, ponds of all sizes lose the ability to absorb carbon dioxide,

but emit increasing amounts of methane, a far more potent climate changing gas.

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Although occupying only a tiny fraction of land,

ponds account for 40% of methane emissions from inland waters.

As such, they might help speed further climate change.

OO Australia: Tasmanian Kelp Forests Dying As Water Warm a dive operator notes, echoing.

fears that these giant kelp forests are almost extinct.

OO Deep Sea Life Faces Dark Future Due To Warming And Food Shortage as a new study reveals negative impact of climate change, human activity, acidification and deoxygenation on ocean and its creatures.

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SPEAKING OUT

Source NASA

OO Federal Climate Research Should Be Maintained And Expanded,

Says National Academy Of Sciences defending thee United States Global Change Research Program’s work as vital.

OO Health Industry Makes Plea To Gas Drilling Lobby To Embrace Methane Controls

OO Utah Students Organize Public Hearing On Climate Change

OO Divesting In DAPL In Favor Of American Indian-Owned Banks Tribes and individuals can look to 18 American Indian-owned banks as an avenue for divesting in the Dakota Access Pipeline.

OO Pipeline Fights Move From Dakota Prairie To Louisiana Bayous

OO Groups Sue EPA To Protect Wild Salmon From Climate Change seeking to protect wild salmon threatened by rising water temperatures attributed in part to climate change in two major rivers of the Pacific Northwest.

OO Kenya Conservationist Brings Water To Drought Stricken Wildlife raising money via online crowd funding to do so.

OO As Coral Reefs Continue To Struggle In Warming Oceans,

A Group Forms To Save Them

OO China’s Top Coal Miners Push For Beijing To Cap Output Again citing weakening demand and growing supply, two sources said.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

OO Fracking Led To More Than US 6,000 Spills In 10 Years study finds.

OO Repairs To Leaking Gas Line In Cook Inlet Not Expected Until At Least Mid-Marchdue to weather conditions, which are becoming more extreme under climate change.

OO US Coal Industry Misleads, Casts Itself As A Clean Energy Player

Even As Recent Heatwaves Spark Health Warnings – Australia’s government continue to ignore the link between that, and selling the coal that intensifies them via global warming. Note the purple – that where temperatures are soaring over 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Source news.com.au

OO Australia: Govt ‘Clean Coal’ Push Would Likely Make Emissions Worse

OO Australia Taxpayers To Pay For Oil Spill Clean-Ups Under Petroleum Resource Rent Tax

The Destiny of Many Eastern US Forests which are cut and sold to Europe to be made and burned as pellets.

OO The EU’s Renewable Energy Policy Is Making Global Warming Worse – with member countries wasting money by subsidising the burning of wood for energy says a new report.

OO Most Wood Energy Schemes Are A ‘Disaster’ For Climate Change – Using wood pellets to generate low-carbon electricity is a flawed policy that is speeding up, not slowing down, climate warming, shows a new study, which says emissions from pellets are higher than coal.

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FIXING CLIMATE CHANGE

@@ 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!

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If we do not live 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.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

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.

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SOLAR KEEPS DANCING

OO How Us Solar Power Capacity Exploded In 2016 Takeaways:

  • in 2010, the US installed 800+ megawatts; in 2016, 15x more was installed: 14.5 Gigawatts;
  • in 2010, there were 53,000+ projects; in 2016, nearly 375,000 projects.

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  • California’s renewable portfolio standard remains an enormous driver of the utility-scale solar market.
  • Loans and cash deals have effectively caught up to leases and power-purchase agreements
  • For financing solar installations.

Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Mar 9, 2017

Source cci-reanalyzer.org

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.

Most of the US is experiencing far warmer temperatures than normal, with monthly average records being broken. Unusually heavy rains have released California from a SURFACE water drought, but significantly depleted California aquifers keep the state in a GROUNDWATER drought , which will likely take decades to disappear. It also means this major US agricultural region has a small safety net, when the next dry year strikes.

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 this out!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this wild flower and beetle 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.

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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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