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Climate Change This Week: The Real Climate Tax, Methane Mess, and More!

12/07/2013 08:03 pm ET | Updated Feb 06, 2014

US Taxpayers Footing Big Bill For Climate Change Inaction says a new analysis, reports Kieran Cooke at RTCC. Hurricane Sandy, enhanced by rising sea levels and temperatures, and drought that hit 70% of the US cost $100+ Billion; in 2012 alone, relief payouts amounted to $300+ per US person. Meanwhile US weather-related catastrophes have risen from about 50 annually in the 1980s, to about 200 annually in recent years. If we're already paying a climate tax, why aren't the industrial fossil fuel emitters paying a carbon tax?

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Catastrophes like this one, caused by a tornado in Illinois, ultiimately cost all taxpayers.

US Methane Emissions Are 70% Higher Than Previously Estimated a new Harvard report says, reports Bobby Magill at Climate Central. Southeast oil and gas operations are emitting 5 times more than previous estimates, while livestock operations emissions are up twice as much. Sounds like a lot? Read on, to hear about much more "new" methane ....

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A cow, also known as a methane generator. Credit tractorboy60 at wikimedia commons.

Arctic Releasing Methane Alarmingly Faster Than Thought says a new peer-reviewed published study, reports Weston Morrow at the Anchorage Daily News. 17 million frozen tons of the potent greenhouse gas methane are beginning to melt just 150 feet below the ocean surface off East Siberia. Over twice as much methane than previously predicted is transferring to the atmosphere, helped by storms churning the water.

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Methane seep sonar image along East Siberian Shelf. Credit Shakhova et al., 2013.

But probably even more methane is escaping than what they report, says the lead author. A huge enough release of methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, would spark a self-driven uncontrolled spiral of global warming, as further warming melted more methane, and it would cost the global economy $60 Trillion. You ain't seen nothin' yet. Scared? You should be.

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For more information, check out Pear Energy and Ethical Electricity.

For more information, check out Pear Energy and Ethical Electricity.

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Rapid Plankton Decline Puts The Ocean's Food Web In Peril say NOAA scientists, reports Jeff Spross at Climate Progress. Plankton, the vital base of the oceanic food chain, were at their lowest levels ever seen off New England this past spring, coinciding with the third highest water temperatures ever recorded. Warming waters cut off the upwelling of vital nutrients from below. Retreating Arctic ice is causing much earlier blooms, too. These new physical and biological extremes risk the collapse of much larger food webs, since the reproduction of many marine animals depends on the size and timing of plankton blooms.

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Screen capture, Mary Ellen Harte

@@ Science Made Simple: Take the Dog for a Walk
I LOVE THIS!!!! This short 2012 youtuber by the Norwegian company TeddyTVNorge uses a dog walk to explain important differences between weather and climate. The man controls the trend of the wandering dog, just as humanity controls the trend of temperature, despite temperature's short-term wandering variation. Thanks, Climate Central, for re-posting it!


Global Warming 'Will Be Hard To Reverse' say Swiss and Princeton scientists, reports Tim Radford at RTCC. Model simulations indicated that in a post-fossil fuel world, the planet would initially cool slightly a few decades, but then begin to warm slightly over 400 years. Why? Because the polar oceans would be less able to remove the surplus heat that existing greenhouse gases would continue to trap.

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The Arctic ice cap as of 2010, courtesy of NASA, the end of an animation showing our dwindling ice cap from 1980 to 2010.In the Arctic, the polar ice cap acts as a planetary thermal shield, reflecting back to space incoming summer sunlight (and its potential heat). But that thermal shield is dwindling fast under global warming. Getting it back could take a long time.

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@@ His words echo in our hearts, especially those of us who continue to fight for a decent climate future... a truly inspiring video from 350.org made months earlier.

2013, California's Record Driest Year, Means Little Water For Farmers in 2014 say state officials, reports Sharon Bernstein at World Environment News. Reservoirs are so depleted that, barring an unusually wet winter, the state will only be able to supply about 5% of what farmers will need. Previous research has indicated that under continued warming, western droughts are likely to be hotter, and longer.

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☼☼☼ On the Bright Side ☼☼☼

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(>(>(> PEOPLE SPEAK OUT <)<)<)

OO 41 Scientists Warn Obama Admin Against Burning Trees To Produce Electricity

OO Ex US Energy Secretary Steven Chu Urges Canada, US To Focus On Renewables

OO US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: Clean Energy Capability Makes US Army Stronger

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OO Michael Bloomberg Commits To Aiding Climate-Friendly Candidates

OO Fossil Fuels Divestment Movement Marches Across US College Campuses

OO Science Textbooks Across US Will Teach Real Science Due to a Texas Judge

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Kofi Annan. Credit Harry Wad at wikimedia commons.

OO Kofi Annan: 'Just One More Shot' To Prevent Dangerous Warming

OO Canada: First Nations Tribes Stand Between $650 Billion And Fossil Fuel Companies

OO North Dakota Tribes Question Oil Boom

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OO California: LA Urban Oil Field Stops Voluntarily After Health Complaints

OO Wisconsin: Hearing Brings Out Critics Of Oil Shipping On Great Lakes

OO Piles of Midwest 'Petcoke' Raising Residents' Ire

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

OO UN Warns Peru: GDP Growth Is Harming The Environment including deforestation, while climate change is increasingly harming the ecosystems, says the report; Peru must do more to limit illegal and environmentally harmful activities, and act more on climate change, if it is to host the UN climate talks in 2014.

☼☼☼ BRIGHT IDEAS ☼☼☼

OO Texas: Company Outfits New Homes With Free Solar Panels For Profit

OO Hanukkah: The Festival of Energy Efficient Lighting

OO Netherlands: Amsterdam Seeking Urine Donations to Fertilize Green Roofs

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OO Electric Vehicles: Mobile Agents of the Grid Edge

OO Distributed Energy: The Power Sector's Wild Card

OO Financial Innovation Has Given Residential Solar Much to Be Thankful for This Year

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For more news on green technology, click here.

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OO Four Bright New Ideas from old ones, for the clean energy revolution: steam-based energy storage, a revolutionary water heater, financial innovation, and a retooled Stirling engine.

OO The Future of Energy Storage Is Behind the Meter

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OO Raising Trees To Reduce Climate Change

OO Recycling Wooden Pallets Creates More Jobs than disposing of them.

☼☼☼ BRIGHT DEVELOPMENTS ☼☼☼

OO UN Agrees Multi-Billion Dollar Framework To Tackle Deforestation and you can hear about it here.

OO Europe: Paper, Pulp Companies To Adopt Energy Efficiency Technology

OO Citing Too Many Deaths From Air Pollution, Polish City Stops Using Coal - big news, since Poland is pro-coal...

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US wind turbines doing their thing... Credit Mary Ellen Harte

OO Almost All New US Electric Capacity In October 2013 Came From Renewable Energy

OO Tasmania Wants To Use 100 Percent Renewable Energy By 2020

OO Canada's Most Populated Region Is Banning Coal Forever

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OO Norwegian Oil Company Will Build Largest Floating Wind Farm Off Scotland

OO Solar May Power Smartwatches And Smoke Alarms

☼☼☼ BRIGHT SIDE, STATE SIDE ☼☼☼

OO White House Releases Agenda For Hundreds Of New Rules

OO DOE Proposes New Efficiency Standards For Electric Motors that could save consumers up to $23 billion and cut emissions of carbon dioxide significantly.

OO Filibuster Change Clears Path For Climate Regulations

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OO A Push To Get Lenders To Reward Energy Efficiency In Home

OO US Wind Picks Up as Coal Declines in the Midwest

OO Megawatt-Scale US Solar PV Operations, Maintenance Market to Reach 146 GW by 2017

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These Ecuadorian forest creatures are one of the many reasons to protect Ecuadorian forests from oil pollution. Credit Mary Ellen Harte

OO US Trial Ends Over Ecuador Pollution Judgment Against Chevron

OO EPA Taps Green Group Leader for Scientific Integrity Chief

OO Washington DC: Town Debates Divesting Exxon And Chevron Assets

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OO Illinois Seeks to Close Chicago Petcoke Pile

OO Connecticut: Solar Program Expanding Rapidly

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Solar homes are increasing in popularity. Credit Dennis Schroeder/NREL

OO Maine Town Wants EPA Probe Of Emissions From Plant

OO New York: World's Largest Landfill Soon To Be NYC's Biggest Solar Plant

OO Wyoming's Strong Fracking Rules Seen as Model

☼☼☼ BRIGHT SIDE, WORLDWIDE ☼☼☼

OO Warsaw Mechanism: Climate Change Compensation

OO No Climate-Change Deniers To Be Found In The Reinsurance Business

OO Vestas Hopes To Bring Wind Power To World

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OO China Destroys 500 Barbecues To Tame Beijing Pollution

OO Beijing's Carbon Trading Scheme Goes Online

OO China's Guangdong Carbon Market, World's Second Biggest, To Start In December

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OO China Extends Carbon Trading To Beijing, Shanghai

OO China Makes Environmental Case For Increasing Big Coal's Clout - oh-oh.... Putting the fox in charge of the hen house?

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@@ Latest Japan Dream: A 250 mile wide band of solar panels around the Moon? Move over, Jules Verne! Youtube screen capture, Mary Ellen Harte.

OO Japanese Firm Plans 250 Mile-Wide Solar Panel Belt Around Moon

OO Central America Opens The Door To Renewable Energy

OO Green-Friendly Enterprise Helps Save Biggest Caribbean Wetlands

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The flag flies, May 21, 2013.

At Moore, OK, the day after a huge tornado demolished it.

Credit Major Jon Quinlan/defenseimagery mil

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***** US Climate Change News *****

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OO Defense Department, Citing Global Warming, Unveils Arctic Strategy

OO Political Turbulence Threatens Long-Term Investment In Renewable Energy

OO Budget Cuts Harm Sustainable Successes

<><><><> GOPPING IT UP <><><><>

GOP Dead logo w oil drop

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Even elephants can't survive on oil. Credit: Mary Ellen Harte

OO Congressman Proposes Firing EPA Workers Furloughed by Government Shutdown

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OO Climate Coverage Drops At New York Times After Closing Environmental Desk - some fit news is unfit to print, I guess, according to the NYT's new logic...

OO Will Natural Gas Eventually Come From Sea Ice? Only if we want to ensure further catastrophic climate change...

☼☼☼Acting Like You Care: The XL Keystone pipeline will make possible far more climate change, but President Obama might okay it anyway. Credo, 350 org and others are asking people to stand up and be counted as nonviolent resisters or help in other ways. I did. If you ever wanted to do something big for your future, now's your chance - here.
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OO Fracking Raising Unresolved Claims About Pollution

OO US Fracking Boom Dampens Investment In Clean Renewable Energy

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Fracking methane flares light up rural North Dakota's sky (square) like a major city. credit NASA, Robert Simmon

OO Fracking Lights Up North Dakota Sky - as methane flares day in , day out, adding to greenhouse gas emissions.

OO Pennsylvania: Protecting Philly's Water Supply from Climate Change

OO Oil Spill Judge 'Deeply Disappointed' in BP - yeah, I think we ALL are...

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Via the University of East Anglia Climate Change webpage

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<<<< Climate Change Round the World >>>>

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OO UN Draft Stresses Risk Of Global Warming, From Economy To Health

OO Global Warming 'Slowdowns' Will Be Frequent Say UK Scientists

OO Why Unburnable Fossil Fuel Reserves Keep Growing

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OO 2013 Is Seventh Hottest Year, Rising Seas Worsen Typhoon

OO Warsaw Climate Talks Set 2015 Target For Plans To Curb Emissions

OO The Future Of Acidifying Oceans Might Matter A LOT

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OO Global Warming Threatens Pacific Economies Report Says

OO UN 'Loss And Damage Mechanism' Born Amid Rising Climate Costs

OO Climate-Threatened Solomon Islanders Prepare For Evacuation

OO Kiribati Island: Sinking Into The Sea?

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You can raise your voice against the palm oil industry's assault on the Amazon's forests here.

OO Coastal Mangroves Being Destroyed in Myanmar - from 1978 to 2011, says study: bad news, since these potent carbon-storing ecosystems form storm barriers that decrease the destruction and death of storms like 2008 Cyclone Nargis, which killed about 140,000 people there.

OO Controversial Palm Oil Project Approved In Cameroon Rainforest

OO Sea Erosion Threatening People Of Ghana's Coasts

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OO Uganda: Flagship Export, Coffee, Could Be Wiped Out By Climate Change

OO Oil Spill in Philippines Forces 1,200 to Evacuate

OO Philippines to Limit Coastal Rebuilding ,Create Safe Retreat From Future Surges

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OO Haiti, Philippines Hardest Hit By Weather Extremes In 2012: Study

OO Climate Change Disproportionately Hurting Pakistan's Women - Report

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Credit Rhett Butler at Mongabay.com

OO Australia: Jellyfish Winning The Fight For Food - Against Humans

OO Climate Change: Golden Energy Age For Australia Will Cost World Dearly

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Credit Adnyblind at wikimedia commons.

OO France: Lavender, an Iconic French Industry, Threatened By Climate Change - in the form of tiny cicadas, proliferating under warming climes.

OO UK Waters Grow Cooler - And More Acid

OO Rising Floods Give UK Insurers Headache - just think of the migraines in store under future warming...

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OO RSA Insurance Takes Economic Hit As Europe Bill Soars After Extreme Weather

OO Giving Up Climate Leadership Will Cost Europe - Report

OO The Climate Impact Of Canada's Tar Sands Is Growing

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Credit Ansgar Walk

OO Canada: Hudson Bay Polar Bear Numbers on Verge of Collapse

OO Mexico Signs Majuro Climate Change Declaration

OO 'Predatory' Development Is Threatening Brazil's Amazon

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Ten Global Warming Indicators. Credit NOAA

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(((((((( Seeking the Science ))))))))

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OO Deep Ocean Floor Hints Of Warming

OO Deep Oceans May Be Storing Heat

OO Slowing Global Temperatures Linked To Warming Oceans

OO How High Will Sea Levels Rise? Let's Ask The Experts

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OO As Climate Changes, So Do Feeding Grounds of Endangered Whales

OO Tropical Mangroves Are Carbon Storage Hotspots: map. Mangrove forests store huge amounts of carbon, and actively capture additional atmospheric carbon dioxide, sequestering it in their soils. When destroyed, they release huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, significantly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

OO Climate Change Threatens Big-Game Populations

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@@@ Climate Change in the Media @@@

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@@ LIVING ON EARTH @@ PRI's Environmental News Magazine, covers climate change and other fascinating topics as well. Check it out!

@@ Video: Shattered by Oil, Part 1: Exxon Arkansas Spill and the People Left Behind,

@@ Shattered by oil, Part 2: Exxon Arkansas spill and the people left behind. About one in four people in Arkansas counts on drinking water from a source that is crossed by Exxon's burst Pegasus pipeline.

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Ecologist Greg Asner explains how the Carnegie Airborne Observatory can take photos of tropical forests, like the one above, that can identify the biodiversity within them. Screen capture, Mary Ellen Harte.

@@ Video: Incredible Technology Maps Rainforest Biodiversity In 3D
Technology that enables scientists to catalogue a rainforest's biodiversity in stunning detail by airplane was highlighted in a recent TED talk. Researcher Greg Asner explained the science behind his ground-breaking forest mapping platform: the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), an airplane packed with advanced chemical and optical sensors.

!!!! Want to Save Energy & Help the Planet? Check out these helpful EPA Climate Change youtubers here! !!!!

@@ At Last, a Green Radio Show to counter the Lush Bimbaugh wasteland. Check out On the Green Front with Betsy Rosenberg at Progressive Radio Network to keep updated on climate change, and other green topics.

@@ Video: America's Dangerous Pipelines - the title says it all; compelling . . .

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 Chilean ice plant flower I photographed a few weeks ago. 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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