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Climate Change This Week: Solar Roads, Suing for Climate Action, and More!

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

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, May 22 2014

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 is hotter than normal, and the same is true for the area surrounding the North Pole - not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

(Add 0.3-0.4 C to have these anomaly values calibrate with those of NASA.) Daily updates of can be seen here for both the temperature anomalies map, and the jetstream map. For real time animated US surface wind patterns, click here, and here, for the planet. (Clicking on "earth" there reveals data and map options.)

SOLAR KEEPS SIZZLING

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OO The Wilson Solar Grill stores energy for evening grilling. Via Inhabitat.com.

The US solar market keeps sizzling with new financing cropping up nearly every week - recently, Sunrun won $150 million in capital, while Credit Suisse committed $200 million to residential solar projects. The US residential solar installation industry now consists of 6 companies, and one utility is tying the knot with solar by partnering with a clean energy financier.

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OO Where Solar Makes Most Sense: just in terms of net energy benefit, that is, comparing current grid energy efficiency with solar efficiency, solar power should be developed in most of the US. Via greentechmedia

The latest state to "get it": big oil Texas is finally starting up its solar potential, with a new large solar facility; a utility there has just signed the cheapest solar contract yet, 5 cents/hour.

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OO Scott and Julie Bradshaw stand on a largely finished prototype for a Solar Roadway parking lot. Via Climate Progress.

BIG US Energy Solution: Solar Roads A US couple is designing roads of durable solar panels, reports Emily Atkin at Climate Progress, and have a parking lot generating solar power to prove the concept works. If all US roads went solar, it could replace all fossil fuel energy sources, and then some - AND decrease US carbon emissions 75% !! This should be our solar Manhattan Project! Think of the jobs generated!!

Central Asia: newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to use solar to bring power to every home by 2019. The US has just as many people but is far richer than India: why can't we go toe-to-toe with India on this? Meanwhile, India's neighbor, Pakistan, is planning one of the world's largest solar projects.

RISING RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

OO Last Month Was The Second Warmest April Ever Recorded

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The Thwaites Glacier alone contains about 2 feet of sea level rise. Credit NASA

An OMG Moment: 10 Foot Sealevel Rise Unstoppable, Much More Likely reports Chris Donnelly at Mother Jones. Two new studies showed how Antarctic glaciers are unstoppably melting, estimated to raise sea levels by 10 feet or more.

But according to one Greenland glaciologist expert, reports Donnelly, if "you compare where we are now to where atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and ocean levels stood in past warm periods of Earth's history, you can infer that human beings have already set in motion 69 feet of sea level rise," due to the meltdown of Greenland and other world ice sources.

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What the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC would look like with 12 feet of sealevel rise. Credit Nickolay Lamm, Data: Climate Central

This is what we're leaving our children of future generations. NOW its time to leave them a source of renewable clean energy.


Check out this engrossing video on the state of Greenland glaciers, via Mother Jones.

This graph, presented in the above video, shows how fast the glaciers are melting:

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OO Greenland Glaciers More Vulnerable To Melting Than Thought

OO Many Coastal Cities Eventually To Be Abandoned With Antarctic Ice Collapse indicate new studies.

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What the Boston Harbor Hotel would look like with 12 feet of sealevel rise. Credit Nickolay Lamm, Data: Climate Central

YOU CAN ACT:

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Pledge to vote this year on climate change, and ask your friends to do so, here. Let Congress know that how they plan to address climate change will determine your vote.

OO Natural Gas Is a Bridge to Catastrophic Warming says Cornell environmental scientist Robert Howarth in a new study, reports Bobby Magill at Climate Progress. Over 20 years, methane (aka natural gas) is 86 times more potent than CO2.

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OO Even at a plausible 6.5% methane emission levels from fracking sites, natural gas causes more global warming than coal over the next 20 years, assuming a modest annual 5% transition from coal to natural gas. Climate Central

Thus, although there is far more CO2, methane is now responsible for 40% of atmospheric warming. Natural gas is the largest US methane pollution source, so we have to rein in those emissions, before our climate tips over into an unstoppable, catastrophic state in the next 20 years or more.

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One tipping point: a warming Arctic accelerates the release of methane from melting tundra, creating further warming, and ultimately an independently driven, self-reinforcing global warming cycle. The solution? Switch to solar and wind power ASAP, says Howarth.

OO New Antarctic Studies Suggest More Rapid Sea Level Rise This Century

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Check it out here, right now!

OO The People Of Miami Know About Climate Change -- We're Living It

OO Scientists Predict El Nino Will Harm Major Crops Worldwide - in a new study; an El Nino is forming this year.

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OO The effects of an El Nino cycle on maize (corn) and wheat crops worldwide, according to Iizumi et al, 2014. doi:10.1038/ncomms4712

Indonesia, 2014: Droughts, Wildfires And Choking Haze to come, indicate NASA satellite data on the currently forming El Nino cycle, which looks eerily similar to the 1997 El Nino that created all that Indonesian havoc, reports Mongabay.

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Brownish shades indicate where the water is warmer and above normal sea level. Shades of blue-green show where sea level and temperatures are lower than average. Normal sea-levels appear in white.
Credit NASA Earth Observatory

OO NOAA: Extreme Tropical Cyclones Shifting Toward Poles - although the US Atlantic coast isn't seeing more hurricanes, this might further dry the south, reports Joe Romm at Climate Progress. But this news could harm heavily populated tropical Asia, by damaging crops that rely on those storms. Worldwide expansion of the tropics under global warming is "pushing" these storms poleward.

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In this infrared satellite image, Typhoon Usagi (2013) bears down on Hong Kong as it intensifies to a Category-5 (extreme) storm. Credit NOAA via Climate Central

OO Warming Waters To Lose Plankton, Threatens Marine Food Web

OO Climate Change: Antarctic Winds Tighten, Keeping Rain from Australia

US WEST DRIES, BURNS:

OO Texas Wildfire Destroys 100 Homes, Forces Hundreds Of Evacuations

OO Fire Alert: All Of California Under Severe Drought As Climate Change Dries Out Texas

OO Depletion Of California's Groundwater Is Triggering Earthquakes, Study Finds

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Credit AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

OO California Carbon Emissions Up 2% in 2012, Partly Due to Drought

OO 20,000+ Evacuated As California Spring Turns To Summer Of Fire

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Not just polar bears, but grizzly bears, too, are threatened by climate change. Wikipedia

OO Animals At Risk Of Extinction From Climate Change

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Turtle habitats are threatened by climate change and make life that more precarious, especially for endangered species such as the Mary River Turtle (Elusor macrurus), whose south Australian habitat has been under severe drought for years. Credit Chris Van Wyk at flickr via Featured Creature

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Hedgehogs have been in dramatic decline in England, and climate change is playing a part: the extreme recent flooding, for example, probably drowned many hibernating hedgehogs.

OO Balkans: More Than One Million Suffer Worst Flooding In Over A Century

OO Brazil 'Unprepared' For Climate Change, Warns Leading Scientist

OO Security And Insurance Experts Warn Of Future Climate Costs

WHAT WORKS

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OO Suing For Climate Action:
US Insurance Co Sues 200 Illinois Towns For Not Preparing Enough For Climate Change

OO Banning HFCs From 2020 Could Make Big Climate Impact - study

OO Why Save Coral Reefs? They Protect Shorelines reducing wave energy by 97%, study finds
and are havens of beautiful biodiversity.

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Coral reef in Micronesia. Credit: Dan Norton

OO Creating a Clean Energy Grid:
Storage with Distributed Systems, Smart Software and Control Systems

OO San Diego Invests Millions to Include Clean Energy In Its Grid

OO A Global Climate Action Plan: Race to a Low Carbon Economy

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The most comprehensive newsfeed on climate change online.

For more news on our changing climate around the world, click here.

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OO New Nest Thermostats Saved US Energy Last Summer

OO Technology Can Fill Gaps From Closing Dirty Coal Plants

Geothermal: A Red Hot Renewable To Incite A Green Power Revolution reports Ari Phillips at Climate Progress. Transforming volcanic magma into electricity and other geothermal breakthroughs are positioning geothermal energy as the next big renewable energy source to develop. The worldwide market is headed toward double digit growth, noted Geothermal Energy Association head Karl Gawell, with 700 projects scattered over the globe, and US west prospects growing.

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A geothermal borehole in Iceland. Credit Lydur Skulason at flickr.

OO China's Discusses Plan To Peak Coal Emissions By 2020

OO Ending Climate Change 'Almost Impossible' If China Can't Quit Coal report says.

OO Waste Could Provide UK With Unlimited Energy Resource

Speaking Out

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Credit Matthew Reed

Thousands Across US Protested Fossil Fuels, Pipeline - on May 17th, a National Day of Action, in communities great and small, following a similar rally in Washington DC three weeks ago, reports Phil Compton at the Sierra Club. Whether it's offshore drilling, seismic testing, mountaintop removal coal mining, dangerous tar sands pipelines, fracking, exporting liquid natural gas, or shipping crude by rail through our hometowns, we all have reason to be concerned -- for the health of our families and the health of the planet.

OO UN Climate Treaty Vital For Global Security, warns senior NATO official

OO Poland Leads Calls For Climate Policy 'Compensation' From EU

OO Pressure Growing For OPEC Countries To Cut Energy Subsidies

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Credit Matt Granz, courtesy twitter/Sacramento National Weather Service

OO California Governor Links Wildfire Increase To Climate Change

OO Ex Mexican President: EmphasizingThe Profits From Climate Action - everything that we do to address climate change will also create big profits, from investing in energy efficiency to smart city planning to adopting increasingly cheap clean renewable power, says Felipe Calderon at Responding To Climate Change.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

OO US Company Proposes Creating An Energy Efficiency Industrial Standard

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OO Colorado Courts Reject Attacks on Clean Energy Development

OO EPA Moves To Crack Down On Toxic Emissions From Oil Refineries

OO Divestment Campaign Spreads To New Zealand

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OO Fossil-Free Investment Portfolios Soared 50% In 2013

OO Another $20 Million Invested In Big Grid Batteries

OO EU Wind Sector Boosted By €3 Billion Dutch Offshore Investment

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OO Google Offers $1M Prize for Smaller, Smarter Solar Inverters

OO Hybrid, Electric Car Batteries Sales Tripled In Three Years

OO Renewables Surged to 74% of German Demand Recently

WHAT DOESN'T WORK

World Has Lost $4 Trillion in Past 2 Years From Delaying Climate Action
The International Energy Agency has issued another major report warning that we are headed for a beyond-catastrophic 11°F warming, reports Joe Romm at Climate Progress. More damage and change means more work needed for mitigation, raising future costs with further delays.

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Via toomanymornings.com

Warming beyond 7°F (4°C) is "incompatible with organized global community, is likely to be beyond 'adaptation', is devastating to the majority of ecosystems & has a high probability of not being stable -- that is, 4°C would be an interim temperature on the way to a much higher equilibrium level," as climate expert Kevin Anderson explains.

The latest research makes clear that such warming would make it exceedingly difficult if not impossible to feed 9 billion people post-2050 -- and would likely force us to ultimately abandon major coastal cities around the world.

Fossil follies:

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OO US Oil And Gas Industry Averaged At Least 20 Spills Per Day In 2013

OO Over 230 People Dead In Coal Mine Explosion In Turkey

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OO North Dakota Is the Deadliest State to Work In

OO 2 Die In West Virginia Mine With History of Violations

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Credit AP images via Climate Progress

OO Massive Pipeline Rupture Coats Los Angeles Streets In 'Knee-High' Crude Oil

OO Africa: Oil Opponents In Largest Park Receive Death Threats

OO A Confidential Fracking Well Is Leaking In North Dakota

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Credit University of Texas via Climate Progress

OO Texas Talking 'Frackquakes' As Oklahomans Get Quake Insurance

OO Regulators Failed To Inspect Thousands Of High-Priority Fracking Wells report finds

OO Company Is Acid Fracking Near Everglades

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A Nice Yacht. Wikipedia.

OO Bribes, Favors, a Billion-Dollar Yacht: the Men Who Do Oil's Dirty Work

GOPPING IT UP

OO Senate GOP Kills Bipartisan U.S. Energy Efficiency Bill

OO Senate GOP Blocks $85 Billion Tax Cut Bill Because It Would Have Helped Wind Energy

KEEPING CARBON STORED: FOREST UPDATES

OO Indonesia: Indigenous People Fight For Their Frankincense Forest

OO Publishing Industry Dramatically Reduces Reliance On Rainforest Fiber

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One of the many gifts of carbon-storing forests. Credit Rhett Butler at www.mongabay.com

OO Connecting Forests, Saving Species: Extensive Wildlife Corridor Planned In Panama

OO Fraud, Illegal Exploitation Endanger Amazon Forests, Communities - via timber laundering, and governments allowing exploitation without community consent.

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 these California poppies I photographed recently. 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.

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