THE BLOG

Climate Change This Week: A Rising Sea, Rising Voices, and More!

03/14/2014 05:06 am ET | Updated May 13, 2014

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

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Mar 13 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 and the jetstream, the polar aneurism over the US has shifted east but persists, while the North Pole and surroundings (that big orange spot) is experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures - not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. The Pacific warm air mass, which is blocking rain from California, also persists. 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.)

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OO Then and Now: the warm, storm-blocking air mass predicted in 2004 (via research modeling, left) to cause the CA drought, and what it looks like today (NOAA 2013 image, right). Conditions will worsen, says the original researcher.

Successful Predictor of California Drought Says It Will Become Dire reports Joe Romm at Climate Progress. University of California Prof. Lisa Sloan et al predicted in 2004 that melting Arctic ice would create the persistent, North Pacific giant (4 mi high x 2,000 mi wide) warm air mass that now causes the jet stream to shift storms away from California, creating intense drought. And it will worsen, Sloan fears, noting that her research did not include rising CO2 levels, accelerating ice melt, changes in land use and melting glaciers - all factors likely to worsen conditions. What better time to go solar?

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Check it out here, right now!

New Solar Financing Options Sprout for U.S. Homeowners reports Maria Gallucci at InsideClimate News, who want to pay for rooftop solar installations or invest in the sector--from solar loans and leases for houses, to crowdfunding, debt securities and bond issues for small-time financiers. With solar panel prices at historic lows, companies are pushing to reduce costs even further by reimagining the way that projects get financed. Mosaic (https://joinmosaic.com/ ) , a solar financing platform, for example, is selling bundled loans from solar rooftop installations to investors who will reap the returns from the projects. Follow the sun, folks!

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The Statue of Liberty and hundreds of other cultural sites worldwide are threatened by rising sea level, says a new study. Credit: CitizenOfEarth at DailyKos

Sea Level Rise Threatens Statue Of Liberty, Many More Heritage Sites says a new study, reports Emily Atkin at Climate Change. Almost 200 cultural heritage sites, including the Statue of Liberty and the Sydney Opera House, could be compromised if global warming reaches 3 degrees above pre-industrial levels, says a new study, which, the authors admit, probably underestimate the threat, since it doesn't take into account storm surges from increasingly extreme storms, and uses conservative estimates of sea level rise from the IPCC reports, which often underestimate the effects of climate change. Bye-bye Big Ben. Bye-bye Sydney Opera House, Venice, Westminster Abbey, Naples, St. Petersbourg....

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To find out how, check out Pear Energy and Ethical Electricity.

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US Solar Market Grew 41%, 2013 Was Record Year reports Mike Munsell at GreenTechMedia.
Explosive growth made 2013 a record-shattering year for the U.S. solar industry. Photovoltaic installations continued to proliferate, increasing solar capacity to 4,751 megawatts. In addition, 410 megawatts of concentrating solar power came on-line. Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by much dirtier natural gas. Meanwhile, the cost to install solar fell, ending the year 15 percent below the mark set at the end of 2012. The final quarter was its best, with over 2000 megawatts installed. What better time to invest?

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America Could Soon Face More Days of "Extreme Rainfall" reports John Metcalfe at the Climate Desk. By the years 2041 to 2070, the warmer climate could bring torrential downpours to vast parts of the United States, as NOAA modeling shows. Okay, folks, think carefully: which would you rather invest in -- clean energy or skyrocketing flood insurance?

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Credit: solarpanelspower.net

OBAMA'S ON A ROLL!

Budget Pushes Clean Energy Incentives, Cuts Fossil Fuel Subsidies, and More reports Jeff Spross at Climate Progress. It also pushes more monitoring satellites for NASA, a resiliency fund, fighting wildfires, and updating the national energy grid, while funding the EPA to create regulations that cut greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile EPA is acting to cut sulfur in gasoline, which will dramatically reduce emissions that cause smog and cancer. Yessss!!! Way to go, O!

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Flooding By Hurricane Sandy in Massachusetts. Wikipedia.

National Crisis: Climate Change Threatens US Infrastructure With Cascading Failures say a pair of government reports by federal scientists, writes Kate Sheppard at the Huffington Post. From roads and bridges to power plants and gas pipelines, US infrastructure is vulnerable to the effects of climate change from storms, flooding and droughts. These impacts, in turn, can cause others, as when extreme weather can cause energy prices to spike. "It's kind of a national crisis," said Tom Wilbanks, a senior scientist at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a report co-author. Time to act, Congress!

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30+ Senate Democrats, Independents Do All Nighter for Action on Climate Change, reports Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post. To propose legislation? Not a chance with Congressional GOP climate deniers. Perhaps make it an issue for 2014 and 2016 GOP candidates? You betcha, baby! It's time to wake up and smell the climate! Want to get in on the action? You can sign your support with the senators here.

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Many more man-made ozone destroying chemicals, which are very potent greenhouse gases as well, have been discovered in the atmosphere recently, and are preventing the healing of the hole.

New Ozone-Destroying Chemicals Found In Atmosphere a new study reveals, reports Damian Carrington at the UK Guardian. These dozens of mysterious new chemicals may be undermining recovery of the giant ozone hole over Antarctica, AND are extremely potent greenhouse gases. They may be leaking from industrial plants or being used illegally. The researchers have identified four previously unknown compounds but warn that many more exist, and may in total add up to dangerous levels for global warming.

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Boston cityline. Wikipedia


NE US's Cap-And-Trade System On Track To Cut Carbon Emissions reports Jeff Spross at Climate Progress. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) had its first auction this week since lowering its cap on emissions -- and the results suggest the system is once again effectively reducing carbon emissions. The previous cap was so lenient, there was little incentive to cut emissions. Polluting permits jumped in price now with the new cap, demonstrating"RGGI is on track to reduce carbon emissions by 80-90 million tons through 2020 while helping states fund clean energy investments," said Kenneth Kimmell, Chair of RGGI's board of directors. Can't happen soon enough!

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Policy experts note that the severe drought that Syria has been experiencing and of the type expected under continuing climate change, has contributed to creating conflict there, which heightens global instability. Wikipedia.

US Military Says Climate Change Increases Chances of Wars, Conflict in a new report, writes John McGarrity at Responding To Climate Change. US military chiefs warn climate change is becoming an increasing risk to global security, providing further pause for thought among the Washington political establishment sharply divided on how to tackle global warming. The Pentagon said climate change is a "threat multiplier" and would be a major area of future defense strategy. This echoes the IPCC, the UN's scientific panel, that a changing climate makes wars and regional conflicts more likely.

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Is it worth the pollution we breathe? When China burns dirty fuels to create cheap plastic stuff for us, we get to breathe the resulting pollution blowing our way... we should not be investing our money in this. Credit Prisoner 5413 at flickr.

What Did 90s US Trade Deals Get Us? Lots of Chinese Air Pollution notes William Kennedy at Inside Climate News. Our 90s trade deals encouraged US companies to take advantage of China's lax environmental laws: we literally invested in their dirty energy, by supporting their cheap manufacture of goods for the US. Now, the US gets dirty Chinese air pollution that blows in continuously from over the Pacific. Think about THAT the next time we consider a trade deal with them...

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That large white thermal tile on top of the Earth is melting fast, folks -- and then we'll be heating that much faster... source: NASA.

Global Warming Melting Earth's Arctic Thermal Shield Faster and Faster, reports Bob Berwyn at Summit County Citizens Voice. Averaged across the Arctic, the melt season is lengthening by five days each decade, with much of the change coming in the fall, when a warmer ocean simply takes longer to freeze than in the past says a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. It might not sound like much, but don't be fooled: the amounts of energy involved in these changes are enormous. And so will the effect of heating up the Earth further, faster, once the summer ice is gone.

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Marine Paradise Lost by 2030? At the current rate, yes, according to new research. The great barrier reef will no longer be full of corals. Wikipedia.

Global Warming to Destroy Largest Coral Reef on Earth by 2030 warns a new study, reports Oliver Milman at the UK Guardian, unless radical action is taken to keep temperatures below the internationally agreed limit of 2°C (3.6°F) warming on pre-industrial levels. Otherwise, the reef will cease to be a mostly coral one. Coral bleaching occurs when corals overheat. Not seen prior to 1979, it is now a "serious threat" there. That, and ocean acidification, are taking their toll: even a 1.5°C increase may be too much for them. Although corals have adapted to past changes in temperature, the present change is happening too fast for them to adapt. Bye-bye Nemo, bye-bye Ariel...

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Dirty Stocks Begat a Dirty World - time to change: which future will you choose?

Divesting From Fossil Fuels Proves to Be Very Cheap for investors says a new report by the Australia Institute, reports Peter Hannam at the Sydney Morning Herald. Australians could sell their shares in fossil-fuel companies with little impact on overall portfolio returns while eliminating exposure to the so-called "carbon bubble," ie, the potential collapse of fossil fuels value once nations realize clean energy is more valuable, the study says. Presumably the same is true for investors worldwide. Time to call your financial managers!

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Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Australia: Hotter Days, Higher Fire Risk, More Severe Droughts Ahead the 2014 State of the Climate report says, writes Paul Farrell at the UK Guardian. Australia is heating faster, leading to less rainfall in its south, increasing numbers of hot days, higher fire risks and more severe drought conditions. The report found that Australia's temperature is predicted to rise by 0.6C to 1.5C by 2030; in comparison, between 1910 and 1990 the temperature rose by 0.6C.

Book of the Week

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OO Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record - book review is filled with poignant and powerful first-hand accounts, photographic records, and illustrations. Available here.

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☼☼☼ On the Bright Side ☼☼☼

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

OO China Demands Rich Countries Make 40% Carbon Cuts By 2020

OO China Calls On Rich Nations To Give $490 Billion For Climate

OO China Outsourcing Smog To Its West Stirs Protest

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Smog over the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. Credit Brian Jeffrey Beggerly via wikimedia commons.

OO China Premier Says To 'Declare War' On Pollution

OO Extreme Weather is a 'Silver Lining' for Climate Action says UN climate chief

OO 13 Ministers Urge Europe To Agree On 2030 Green Energy Goals

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Source: NOAA

OO UK Floods and gales are taste of things to come, says UN climate science chief with such events increasing in intensity and frequency.

OO UN Officials Speak Out On Climate Change As Australian Drought Deepens

OO Marshall Islands Flood; Minister: 'We Are Facing A Climate Disaster'

OO Least Developed Countries Say Science Must Drive UN Climate Talks

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OO Greenpeace targets Procter & Gamble over destroying Carbon Storing Forests for palm oil.

OO Europe Not Doing Enough To Stop Illegal Logging Imports Says Greenpeace

OO Canadian Conservatives Call On The Government To Enact More Environmental Regulation

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Even babies are being affected by climate change, and they'll be facing a lot more effects from it when they grow up. Source: Ajsmen91 at Wikimedia Commons.

OO Doctor: Global Warming Is A Public Health Emergency Asthma, hay fever, ADHD, blue baby syndrome and gastroenteritis are all medical conditions that affect humans, but Dr. Wendy Ring says those cases are increasing because of global climate change

OO UN Calls For More Rural Investment To Help With Climate Change

OO Focus On Low Carbon Technology, Says Former UN Climate Chief

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OO Energy Sec. Predicts Renewables To Make Up 30-40% Of The US Energy Mix By 2030

OO Largest US Grid Operator Could Switch To 30 Percent Renewables With No Ill Effects

OO EPA Chief Says New U.S. Energy Rules Won't Hobble Business

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OO CEOs Face Rising Shareholder Interest In Managing Corporate Climate Risks

OO Mayors Call On Congress To Revive Stimulus Efficiency Program

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OO MSNBC Ed Schultz: Keystone Pipeline Will Permanently Contaminate Major US Aquifer necessary to Midwest farming. Source: msnbc.com

OO Speed US Gas Exports? No! Say Senators - doing so won't deter Putin, will raise US gas prices, and discourage the transition from dirty to clean energy.

OO Greens: Increasing Fossil Fuel Exports Breaks Obama's Promise To Protect Climate

OO Energy Chief: Industry Arguments For Exporting U.S. Oil Are Unconvincing

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Credit Steven Tuttle via 350.org

OO 2,000,000 Comments Opposing Tar Sands Expansion Delivered To The US State Dept.

OO Enviros Oppose Enbridge's Line 3 Oil Pipeline Replacement Plans

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Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu opposes the keystone pipeline. Wikipedia.

OO Nobel Prize Winner Desmond Tutu Urges US To Reject 'Carbon Bomb' Keystone

OO Colorado: Responding to Local Concerns, Town Stops Oil, Gas Drilling Applications

OO Wisconsin Locals Fight For Regulation Of Carcinogenic Fracking Ingredient

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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 Hundreds Propose 'Extraordinary Places' In North Dakota To Protect From Drilling

OO Fracking Foes Make A Racket As Brown Addresses California Democrats

OO Sierra Club Sues Ameren Alleging Clean Air Act Violations

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☼☼☼ BRIGHT IDEAS ☼☼☼

OO Breaking the Fossil Fuel Hold: Replacing Gas Peaker Plants With Grid Storage Batteries

OO Next Big Idea In Forest Conservation? Privatizing Conservation Management

OO Dietary Diversity: Key To Defending Tropical Ecosystems

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OO Walmart Creates WAVE, Its Own Fuel Efficient Truck

Source: Walmart

OO A New Type Of Flow Battery

OO MIT's Liquid Metal Stores Solar Power Beyond Sundown

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OO Tax Fossil Fuel Addiction The Same Way We Treated Tobacco Addiction. Sources: FreeFoto.com (left), shutterstock (right).

OO Congress Needs To Renew Clean Energy Tax Incentives

OO Insurers Have Huge Role As Clean-Energy Investors

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OO CEOs: Ask National Leaders Directly for Climate Change Action

OO New Prototype Device Converts Stop-Start Motion Into Power

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OO Soil Restoration Could Substantially Cut Emissions. Credit Natasha at free images-etc.rb-d.com

OO A New Market: No-Money-Down Energy Batteries for Buildings allows companies to buy batteries to boost efficiency, then pay it off through savings on energy bills.

☼☼☼ BRIGHT DEVELOPMENTS ☼☼☼

SOLAR SURGE CONTINUES

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OO Infographic: US Solar's Best Year Ever. Source: GreenTechMedia.com

OO US Solar Power Can Thrive Unsubsidized Say Firms

OO US Could Have 129GW Solar By 2018: Morgan Stanley

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via forcechange.com

OO Venture Investors Flock to Off-Grid Solar: A Sign of Things to Come?

OO Vivint Secures An Additional $280 Million Funding

OO Mosaic Unveils New Home Solar Loan - It wants to get solar on your own roof, and use crowdsourcing to pay for it.

OO SolarBridge Gets $42M in Strategic and Venture Funding

OO Xcel Approves $200 Million Colorado Solar Power Project

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Credit Dennis Schroeder/NREL

OO Next U.S. Energy Boom? Batteries And Your Rooftop The rapid development of rooftop solar and battery storage technology could be as transformative to the economy and modern life as the U.S. oil and gas boom, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said.

OO Solar Panels Just Got Cheaper Again

OO Australia Develops New, More Efficient Solar Cell

WIND SURGES TOO

OO Wind Power Provided 30% of All New U.S. Electricity Capacity in Past 5 Years

OO Tech Breakthrough: Taller, Cheaper, More Powerful Wind Turbines

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OO Batteries Of Ice, Iron And Glass Store Renewable Wind Power

OO Wind Turbines Stand Firm As Gas Prices Take Off During Crimea Crisis

UTILITIES: GO GREEN OR DIE

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OO Cheap Batteries Will Revolutionise The Renewable Energy Market

OO SolarCity and Tesla: A Utility's Worst Nightmare?

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OO Study Says Batteries Combined With Rooftop Solar May Speed Grid's 'Death Spiral'

OO Distributed Generation Competes With Centralized Power Utilities - as big batteries allow individual users to free themselves from utilities.

☼☼☼ BRIGHT SIDE, STATE SIDE ☼☼☼

OO House Passes Bill On Energy Efficiency

OO Poll: Americans Support Energy Efficiency

OO Nation's Capital Leads on Energy Efficiency as Congress Sleeps on Climate Policy

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OO In Search Of New Sales, Defense Contractors Embrace Renewable Energy Market . Source: US Armed Forces, via pewenvironment.org.

OO How 204 Us Cities Spent Their Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Stimulus Money

OO Arizona: Installations, Solana Plant Helped Keep Solar Industry Stable

OO California, NYC and Kauai Unleash Energy Storage With New Incentives and RFPs

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For more news on clean energy, click here.

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OO Surprise! Even A Crazy-High Carbon Tax Would Help California Businesses

OO Delaware Nets $4.5 Million From Carbon Emissions Auction

OO Illinois Tops In Local Renewable Energy Buys

OO Iowa Gets About 27% Of Energy From Wind

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For more news on green technology, click here.

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OO Minnesota Solar Industry Enters Boom Phase

OO Major Minnesota Power Supplier Calls For A CO2 Price To Implement EPA Power Plant Rule.

OO Oregon: City To Purchase All Its EnergyFrom Renewables

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OO Rhode Island Lawmakers Seek To Expand Renewable-Energy Program

OO Why Are Texans Using Less Energy Than Expected? Energy Efficiency

☼☼☼ BRIGHT SIDE, WORLDWIDE ☼☼☼

OO Carbon-Taxed Companies Cut Emissions By 7% In Past Year investor group says

OO China Declares 'War On Smog,' May Deploy Pollution-Fighting Drones

OO Greening China's Power Brings Down Cost Of Renewable Energy For All

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The spread of palm oil plantations is destroying important carbon storing forests and their biodiversity. Credit Rhett Butler at mongabay.com

OO A Company Commits Over 50% Of World's Palm Oil To Zero Deforestation

OO India: Solar Power For Rural Women

OO Australia: Green Homes Cheaper To Run And Build, says study

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OO Australia: Paying Farmers to Store Carbon in their soil. Source: Sally Dakis at abc.net.au

OO Australia Plans 50MW Solar Park For Latest Technologies, Storage

OO Canada: Honeowners Update Décor and Energy Efficiency

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OO Mexico Energy Overhaul Could Renew Interest In Green Power

OO EU Agrees Watered-Down Deal On Aviation Carbon Emissions

OO How Europe Could Get 16 Percent Of Its Road Fuel From Garbage By 2030

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For more, click here.

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OO Decline Of Fossil Fuel Seen As Irreversible In Germany

OO European Support For Climate Change Action 'Not Dented By Financial Crash'

OO 80% In Ireland Feel Fighting Climate Change Will Aid Economy.

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Isle of Eigg wind turbines. Wikipedia.

OO Remote Scottish Island Runs On 100% Green Energy - locals report an increase in quality of life, and cheaper energy bills.

OO Renewables To Help Electrify Africa

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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 Only A Third Of US States Prepared For Health Impacts Of Climate Change

OO Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse

OO State Dept Keystone Review flaw: Assumes 'Global Failure to Address Climate Change'

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OO Louisiana's Coastline Is Disappearing Too Quickly for Mappers to Keep Up
Climate change and development are accelerating coastal erosion. This map shows erosion from 1930s to 1980s. Source: USGS.

OO The Great Lakes Are Losing Water

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OO Housing Developments Near Drying Forests A Deadly Combination In The West

OO Arctic Cold Sets Records In Eastern US

OO Putting Climate Change Into The 2016 Elections - a mission for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

. . . . CALIFORNIA DRYIN' . . . .

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Folsom Lake Dam, before, after drought, credit Google Earth, CA Dept Water Resources.

OO Drought Hastens End Of A Region's Hydropower Era

OO In Parched California, Town Taps Run Nearly Dry

OO Drought Sends Beef Prices Soaring, With No Relief In Sight

OO California's Drought-Prone Pattern Forcing Farmers To Adapt

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OO California Drought Linked To Polluted Winter Air

FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

OO How The US Energy Boom Is Harming Foreign Policy

OO Huge Coal Company To Pay Record Fine After 6,000 Clean Water Violations

OO Oil Companies Feel A Pinch As Their Expenses Swell

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Credit Nat Hamilton/WHYY News

OO Energy Industry To Hog The Rails, Shutting Out Farmers

OO Could Approving Keystone Really Harm Democratic Prospects In 2014? Yes.

OO Bank Of England Warned Over 'Carbon Bubble' Risk

OO While BP Stalled On Gulf Oil Spill Payments, CEO's Pay Tripled Last Year

OO Wastewater Injection Triggered Oklahoma's Earthquake Cascade

OO Industry-Backed Database For Disclosing Fracking Chemicals Falls Short

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OO Four Years After BP Oil Spill, 1,250-Pound Tar Mat Washes Ashore In Florida

OO Norway's Pension Fund Keeps Investing In Coal Companies Destroying Indonesia's Forests

OO Five More Duke Energy Power Plants Cited For Storing Coal Waste Improperly

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Wikimedia Commons

OO State Dept Keystone Pipeline Report Underestimates Pollution Impact: Study.

OO As Keystone Decision Looms, A Different Tar Sands Pipeline Just Got Approved

OO Canada Reports Crude Oil As Explosive As Gas

GOPPING IT UP

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

OO House Passes Bill That Would Curb EPA's Power To Limit Carbon Emissions

OO GOP Rand Paul : Response To Ukraine Crisis Is Drill 'In Every Possible Conceivable Place'