iOS app Android app

Mary Ellen Harte
Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte Ph.D. is a biologist who writes on climate change and population issues. She co-authored the free downloadable book, Cool the Earth, Save the Economy, at Cool the Earth, and produces the weekday "Climate Change Report," 90-second audio newscasts, as well as the Climate Change Reports blog.

Entries by Mary Ellen Harte

Climate Change This Week: One Degree Closer to Catastrophe, the Clean Surge, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 1:49 PM

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

@@ Way Cool! Nematocampa Forest Caterpillar Shoots Out Tentacles when disturbed by sound - this one recently discovered in the Peruvian Amazon, but this type of caterpillar also occurs in North America.

When we threaten forests, we threaten ourselves.

OO Deforestation Threatens Over Half Of Amazon Tree Species with Extinction - in the decades ahead, under business as usual, and all the climate changing carbon they store, as well as fascinating wildlife that need them to live. Takeaways:

  • 12% of the Amazon has already disappeared due to humans farms, timber, mines, dams.
  • deforestation is down in Brazil, but up in Peru and Bolivia.
  • Nearly 60% of the 15,000 tree species will be in danger
  • This includes Brazil nut, cacao and açai, all important food sources.

  • Climate change is an added threat via drought and extreme storms.

Related Headline:

OO Indonesia: Forest Fires Could Be Back In Weeks - recent ones, which sent vast plumes of smoke across Indo-Malayzia, described by climate officials as a "crime against humanity", could return as early as February.

OO Paris Climate Pact Could Leave Forests Vulnerable - efforts to slow deforestation, a leading cause of global warming, are largely being glossed over by most nations.

* *


OO It's Getting Much Easier for Companies and Cities to Go 100 % Renewable for electricity, says a new report.

* *


The Protests Won't Stop

OO Keystone's Gone, But The Heat's Still On
For Green Groups
- last time we checked, global warming and climate change still exist for the same reasons as before. Sustained public pressure will now be needed to force politicians to take the next critical actions on climate.

Related Headline:

Got Enough Pipelines Yet? Source US Dept of Transportation

OO America Has Built the Equivalent of 10 Keystone Pipelines Since 2010 -

"While people have been debating Keystone in the U.S., we have actually built the equivalent of 10 Keystones. And no one's complained or said anything."

-- John Stoody for the US Association of Oil Pipelines.

OO Tom Steyer to Activist: Now Push for Clean Energy Solutions - a new report from Steyer's NextGen Climate finds that a major shift to clean energy would create millions of jobs.

* *


A Salton Sea Scene today. Source

OO CA Drought: Dying Lake Now Major Toxic Air Pollution Source - as the Salton Sea continues to shrink, and no one seems to know how to stop it from getting worse. It could cost the state up to $70 billion in damages.

OO As Dry as Saudi Arabia: California Could be Next - the Sauds drained their aquifer dry in a few decades to grow wheat; CA is following a similar, disastrous path.

Hot Summer, Hot Water have created pretty bad conditions for California salmon, and for the fishermen whose livelihoods depend on them.

OO Big Trouble Looms For California Salmon - And For Fishermen as lack of water decimates stocks.


A New View Coming for New Jersey?

OO New Jersey: 2 firms Win Bids to Power 1.2 Million Homes with Offshore Wind Power

* *

Clean Air, Clean Health, Safe Climate will result from dramatic cuts in emissions.

OO Carbon Emissions Fall In 11 Of World's Largest Economies: A Turning Point - for tackling climate change, a new study shows.

Unfortunately, the 2 most populous countries, China and India, still face rising emissions per person.

* *

Get Ready For Bigger, Badder, and More...

OO World's Climate About To Enter 'Uncharted Territory'
As It Passes 1°C Of Warming
- at the end of 2015, say scientists at the UK's Met Office.

OO The World Is Halfway To 2°C - showing how humans are reshaping the climate here and now --not in some distant future.

* *



OO Renewable Energy Made Up Half of World's New Power Plants in 2014
says the International Energy Agency (IEA).Green energy is set to overtake coal in the early 2030s, says the IEA's World Energy Outlook 2015 report.

OO Renewable Energy Investment Predicted To Surge - between the tropics and probably as far as the 33rd parallel, the sun could soon be a major source of energy for households and businesses alike.

OO Sea Change In Renewables Market Forces as new, cheaper ways are rapidly being floated for countries with deep seas off their coasts to exploit the free energy from wind and tidal power.

* *



OO The Wrong Ratio:
G20 Spends 400% More On Fossil Fuel Output Than On Renewables
says a British think tank about the world's 20 largest economies.


OO Canada And G20 Should Cut Handouts To Fossil Fuel Industry

OO Australia: 'Empty Promises' On Phasing Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies - with other G20 nations, it is "paying fossil fuel producers to undermine their own policies on climate change" says a new report.

And the Air Isn't Much Cleaner... see the man, hidden in front of the pile?

OO Coal Not Going Away Anytime Soon Despite Renewables Push -
can't live with it and can't live without it -- at least not yet.

OO World's Largest Coal Company Misled Public On Climate Change an investigation has found. Surprise, surprise. Now, the company has responded with plans to be more honest to its investors.

The New Big Is Very Bad as giant new "mcmansions" replace modest past dwellings (note the house to its right), using so much more climate changing energy (it has no solar panels), cancelling out any gains in energy efficiency. Source google 2013

OO U.S. Homes Have Gotten Huge,
Offsetting Gains in Energy Efficiency
- US homes today are about 31% more energy-efficient than in 1970 - but about 28% larger. So, the two trends cancel each other out.

* *


OO USA: Stateside, Growing Proposals to Tax Carbon
-- And Give The Money to Residents
- are gaining support in Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Massachussetts and Rhode Island, from possible legislation to ballot initiatives.

* *


Losing to Heat and Acid? Rising temperatures and acidity affect all marine communities, even fascinating sea slugs.

OO Impacts On Oceans Need Urgent Attention In Climate Talks,
Researchers Say

OO Melting Glaciers Now Threaten Antarctic Ocean Life via runoff water that carries extra sediment down to the ocean floor, suffocating and changing benthic communities, research indicates.

Testing the Melt Waters as a Greenland glacier speeds its slide into the sea.

OO Greenland Just Opened Up A Major New 'Floodgate' Of Ice Into The Ocean

OO Slide Of North Greenland Glacier Quickens, Raising Sea Levels - ultimately by 20 inches, and in doing so extending ice losses to all corners of the vast remote island, shows a new study.

OO Beyond What #Exxonknew, Coastal Refineries Face Flooding Dangers

Think About Them as you eat your turkey this Thanksgiving.

OO El Niño Threatens 'Millions In East And Southern Africa.' - 11 million children alone, from hunger, disease and water shortages; climate change helps worsen El Nino events.

* *

Something Green Is Happening in larger cities throughout the U.S. -- green-colored bike lanes are spreading like bubble tea shops throughout Manhattan.

OO Shifting Gears To Cycling Would Be Big Climate Boost

OO 200,000,000 Ride Electric Bicycles in China:
Worldwide Wheels of the Future?
A new generation of entrepreneurs is banking on electric bicycles as the venue for many green commuters in the US, and elsewhere.

* *


@@ President Obama Launches Facebook Page, Sends Message On Climate

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

OO US Energy Secretary: 'All Of The Above' Includes Reducing Emissions


OO Bernie Sanders: Climate Change Is Still Our Biggest National Security Threat Despite the ISIS Paris attack.

OO Hillary Clinton: Retrain Coal Workers, Reinvest in Their Communities
As US coal dies out.

* *


OO Desertification: The People Whose Land Is Turning To Dust - Takeaways:

  • the UN predicts desert spread will force 50+ million people to flee their homes by 2020
  • an estimated 30 million acres of land are lost annually
  • that lost land could have grown 20 million tones of grain
It is already happening in Senegal.

Withered Tomato Plants is this farmer's harvest in PNG. Credit Catherine Wilson at IPS

OO One-Third Of Papua New Guineans Suffering Drought Crisis - from the country's worst drought this century.

OO Climate Change Could Bring Tropical Disease Epidemics To Britain, a health expert warns, including dengue fever.

The planet is already being affected by many other serious health threats triggered by climate change, he added - including malnutrition and deaths from air pollution.

Tea Totalled? By extreme weather on Kenyan tea plantations these days. Credit Catherine Quinn at PG Tips

OO Kenya: Climate Change Bites Tea Farmers via unusual extreme weather, such as heavy rainfall and frost in East Africa, affecting one of the world's largest tea-producing regions.

* *


A Samsø Money Generator. Source

OO Denmark: Blowing Green, Growing Green - the island of Samsø runs on renewable energy - and makes money doing it.

OO India Sees Clean Cooking As Climate Action That Saves Lives - but cultural traditions often prevent adoption of new clean techniques.

A Solar Powered Airport in Kochi, India.

OO India Pledges to Hike Renewable Energy Output to 175 GW by 2022

OO Expect a 500-Mile Electric Car by 2025,
Says Tesla's Elon Musk

* *


Enough, Already! Drought, crop failures, and poor health has killed hundreds of children in Pakistan's Sindh. Source AP

OO Pakistan: Farmer Sues Government To Demand Action On Climate Change - Asghar Leghari had had enough.

OO Investors Urge Exxon To Take Moral Responsibility For Global Warming - Faith-based shareholder groups have begun filing resolutions.


OO Christians Set Out On Climate 'Pilgrimage'
From London To Paris Talks
- Members of different denominations embark on a two week long march to raise awareness of environmental issues.

OO Paris Climate Deal Must Be Legally Binding,
EU Tells John Kerry

President Obama on Climate Change and the Clean Power Plan which is a good beginning...

OO EPA: North Carolina Risks Federal Takeover Of Environmental Regulation as the state's recent tactic of blocking citizens from challenging state permits for industrial polluters undermines federal regulations.

* *

OO The Meaty Connections to Climate Change - Takeaways:

  • The livestock sector produces 15% of all human climate changing emissions
  • Americans ate an average 200 lbs of meat each in 2014
  • There is 3 times as much livestock as humans on the planet
  • Grazing livestock - which need a lot of space to grow feed and graze - are increasing 25 million yearly

  • Meat consumption is predicted to increase 4% by 2025

  • Chicken/sheep consumption is predicted to increase 10% by 2025

Not good news.

* *
2015-11-24-1448389801-2384614-skepticalbaby420mehmodifiedphotoccr304.png What, Me Worry? About climate change on my future - yes; about its effect on having fewer babies... we have enough already, don't we, mommy?

OO Decreasing US Birthrate Due To Climate Change Is Tiny
Compared to Population Growth
- compare: about 100,000 babies are born every 10 days in the US at current population levels; researchers estimate 100,000 fewer US births yearly will result from climate change by 2100.

Worried about climate change and overpopulation? Yes. But this? No.



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.

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

* * *


OO Minnesota: Community Solar Garden Options Rolling Out for Customers by
10 or more energy companies, and most are ramping up marketing -- with door-to-door campaigns, civic group partnerships and advertising. "We see a huge pent-up interest," Says one company official.

OO Rooftop Solar Brings Higher US Home Appraisals - says new research that backs up earlier findings.

OO Energy Hasn't Been This Hot Since They Invented Fire -

  • Renewables are no longer "alternative energy."
  • Solar power is competitive with fossil electricity in more and more places every year.
  • Watch China, India, and Chile in 2016.

OO Building Remote Renewable US Microgrids:
'We Had to Solve Problems As We Went'
- Rocky Mountain Institute profiles 10 remote communities transitioning from oil to renewable energy.

OO Australia: Company Aims to Store Solar Energy in Hydrogen, Ship It to Japan

OO Solar Continues to Beat Fossil Fuel Prices in Chile, Boosting Market Confidence

Check it out here, right now!
* * *



Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Nov 24, 2015

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.

The "blob" continues to be the "killing fields" for marine mammals, shifting vital food sources away from their nurseries. Now, many starving northern fur seal pups are turning up on beaches, replacing the previous waves of starving California sea lion and rare Guadalupe fur seal pups.

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 everlasting 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 texts are freely available.

Happy Thanksgiving, Folks! We have much to be grateful for!

Favorite Thanksgiving recipe:

Maple Sweet Potato N Pear Casserole
peel and slice equal amounts (1-2 lb each) of sweet potatoes and bosc pears; toss with 1-2 t cornstarch. layer alternately in a casserole dish (adding dabs of butter is optional). pour up to 1/4 C (or to taste) maple syrup over all. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. This is SO good.

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Sex Suffers, A Slowing Sea Rises, and More

(1) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 5:43 PM

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

Forests: Home of the Bizarre and Beautiful, like this African saturniid caterpillar. Source CandieCee at

By threatening the world's forests, humans ultimately harm themselves.

OO Key Forest...

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: The Chocolate Connection, Faltering Forests, a Solar Alliance, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 1:38 PM

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

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

What We Lose when the forests of Asia burn include the jeweled flower mantis... say, are those happy faces on its wings? Source...

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Costly Heat, Exxon's Climategate, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 4:04 PM

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

What We're Losing. Source

OO US Forests Threatened By Growing Demand For Wood-Based Biofuels - report.

When we threaten forests, we threaten ourselves.

Related Headlines:

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Boreal Twilight, Growing Glowing Bricks, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 3:49 PM

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

Northern Lights, Fragile Forests. Source

When we threaten forests, we threaten ourselves.

* *

A Global Green Cap: the Boreal...

Read Post

Help Women and Climate: Unite to Prevent Unintended Pregnancies Worldwide

(4) Comments | Posted October 24, 2015 | 6:31 PM

A population explosion, a drought, and a draining aquifer. No, I'm not talking about the American West. Add uncaring leadership, and this is the tragedy of Syria, from which refugees flee into a reluctant Europe, the latest example of how ever more people and extreme weather are creating...

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: More Hunger Games, Banks Bail on Coal, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 1:09 PM

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

Stop Cutting Down My Home!!! When forests disappear, so do beautiful unique wildlife, like this Amazonian wild flycatcher. Source

By threatening the world's forests, humans ultimately harm themselves.

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: U.S. Food Supply Threatened, Solar as Cheap as Gas, and More!

(1) Comments | Posted October 13, 2015 | 2:31 PM

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

Fire of Another Kind: The aurora borealis bathes a boreal forest. Source pinterest from

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO A New Global Tinderbox:...

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: The Flood Connection, a Clean Energy Superpower, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 1:00 AM

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

When Peruvian Amazon forests disappear, so does this insect, and webs of amazing beautiful wildlife.

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Peru To Crack Down...

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Blown Away, Cool Houses, and More!

(2) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 2:50 PM

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

2015-09-29-1443544526-300087-redeyedtreefrogbetterphoto.comccr288.jpg Forest not only store carbon but beautiful and equally crucial biodiversity, such as this red eyed frog on a brilliant bromeliad. Credit Cheryl Schneider

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Preserving Biodiversity, Solar Origami, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 12:22 PM

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

Froggy Ice Pop? Freezing boreal life is the norm for this live Alaskan wood frog, which freezes in winter, then thaws out in spring - but if its forest disappears,...

Read Post

Climate Change: A Genocide Driver, Solar Scores Again, and More!

(2) Comments | Posted September 15, 2015 | 12:47 AM

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

Froggy Know-How: A frog can shield itself from rain, but dies when its forest home is destroyed.

By threatening the world's forests, humans ultimately harm themselves.


Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Drought Refugees, Solar Keeps Surging, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 3:27 PM

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.
Beautiful Tropical Gem - toucans live in tropical forests, and will disappear with them.

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Earth To Lose An India-Sized...

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Economic Impacts, An Islamic Call to Action, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted August 31, 2015 | 1:16 PM

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

Saving Indonesia's Forests Helps Save Human And Forest Lives - like the famed orchid mantid, posing on an orchid.

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Wind Winds Up, Extinctions Explode and More!

(3) Comments | Posted August 26, 2015 | 8:41 PM

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

Indonesian peatlands store tons of carbon -- and wildlife, like this rufous backed kingfisher. Credit: Chong Lip Mun at

OO Indonesia: Giant Paper Consortium To Restore Peatlands...

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Cap and Trade Comes, Delta Danger and More!

(0) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 5:48 PM

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

The Colorful Jumping Spider finally has something to jump about - much of its home just got protected. Credit

These rare...

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Choking Trees, Clean Energy Jaggernaut and More!

(0) Comments | Posted August 11, 2015 | 2:46 PM

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

Flying frogs glide through dark Asian rainforests. Source

2015-08-11-1439313109-9114922-cloudedleopardCambodiawildlifeSourcewww.animalspot.netccr289.jpg The clouded leopard is an inhabitant of Cambodian forests, which are being destroyed for...
Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Hillary's Climate Action Plan, a Wind Power Sheet, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted August 3, 2015 | 4:48 PM

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

When Forests Disappear, So Do Beautiful Insects.

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Unrestrained Rubber Expansion Wreaking Havoc On Forests
"Your car...

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Carbon Caps Help, Religions Agree, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2015 | 8:15 PM

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

Forests are homes to some of nature's brightest jewels, such as this tufted coquette hummingbird in Brazil. Credit Michel Giraud-Audine at flickr

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

Read Post

Climate Change This Week: Solar For Everyone, Mothers Mass, and More!

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2015 | 11:13 PM

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

Broken computers and wildflowers are making this week's column late, short, but sweet.

2015-07-22-1437529690-3930594-muirwoodsforestCreditRhettButleratmongabay.comccr286.jpg Cutting carbon locally and preserving forests can help cut warming globally. Credit Rhett Butler at

Forests: the...

Read Post