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Climate Change This Week: US Climate Report Card, Climate Action Day 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 9, 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, warmer than average temperatures persist in the east, while the central US is slightly cooler ; the North Pole and surroundings (that big orange spot) 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.

(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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Climate change is worsening the western drought, science advisor John Holdren noted on the PBS News Hour. Credit: NASA.

National Climate Report: US Climate Change Is Bad, Will Worsen especially in the west, reports Carolyn Lochhead at the San Francisco Chronicle. "The real bottom line of this report is that climate change is not a distant threat, but is already affecting every region of the country and key sectors of the economy," President's Science Advisor John Holdren said. The report discusses US regional impacts, with worsening storms, droughts and heat waves, heavier downpours, more flooding and rising seas occurring and worsening in the future.

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OO US Climate Already Changed: The US is already overheating (and cooling) as climate change brings more extreme weather. Via the New York Times.

"This is the loudest and clearest alarm bell to date signaling the need to take urgent action." Holdren added. Republicans call the report "alarmist." Dear, dear, someone clean the wax out of their ears -- it's alarmING, not alarmist.

Think about it, the next time you VOTE.

OO April Becomes 1st Month With CO2 Levels Above 400 PPM - oh-oh....

***

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Wondering how climate change will affect your children? Check out the new website, Your Climate Legacy. Plug in your age and gender, and you'll get something like the above. Then check out other parts of this website for more information.

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Credit NOAA/Steve Tegtmeier

Climate Change May Cause More And Stronger Tornadoes says new research, report Chris Mooney at Mother Jones, and Joe Romm at Climate Progress. Some evidence indicates that tornadoes are getting stronger.

But records also show that the total number of days with high levels of two key tornado ingredients -- wind shear and atmospheric instability ("convective available potential energy, CAPE) -- have been increasing over the seasons with climate change, thus upping the chance of tornadoes forming.

Previously global warming was predicted to reduce wind shear and thus tornadoes, but researchers now find that such reductions usually occur on low CAPE days, so the shear effect overall becomes trivial.

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Source: flickr/foto43

Campaigners Release 'Hit List' Of 200 Largest Fossil Fuel Companies reports Sophie Yeo at Responding to Climate Change. Created by the world's biggest fund manager and a leading financial index group, the Fossil Free Index is a public tool to easily identify divestment targets in the finance world, reports Molly Peterson at KPCC Radio. Divest away!

OO Australian Banks Lose Millions Of Dollars As Customers Divest

OO Fossil Fuels Face the Prospect of $30 Trillion in Losses if the world acts to address climate change, cleans up pollution and moves to decarbonizes the world energy system.

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Going the way of dinosaurs? It can't happen soon enough. Source: Think Progress

OO Energy Giant Shell Logs Tumbling Net Profits

OO Exxon Mobil Profit Falls for a Fourth Straight Quarter

OO Oil Is Risky Investment for Ottawa, Conference Told

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Credit G. Hugelius

As Arctic Melts, Methane Emissions Rise, Triggering More Warming says new research, reports Joe Romm at Climate Progress. This self re-enforcing loop, called positive feedback, was not included in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, soooo ... yup, you guessed it, that bad future is actually going to be catastrophically worse... feeling hot and bothered enough to act yet?

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Check it out here, right now!

Oil Boom Ruining Soil in Colorado says experts, reports Bruce Finley at the Denver Post. Every drilling pad that dots a fracking landscape represents land polluted by small onsite oil spills or drilling pollution that wreck the soil; every line represents roads of soil crushed by trucks.

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Via safewatermovement.org

Oil companies have no proven way of cleaning soil; hauling it away is expensive and simply moves the problem to a landfill. Add to that the health problems from air and water pollution.

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Gas and oil wells in the US; dots represent quarter mile cells. Source: USGS.

Presumably, this is true elsewhere in the US, where over 1,000,000 wells exist, and globally; more are being added every day. Is it fair to soil this legacy for our children?

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Via Slate.com

Creating a New Basis for Sustainability: the De-Growth Movement is popular in Europe reports Evgeny Morozov at Slate. Assuming that our economies can grow infinitely is nonsensical, but underlies current economic policie worldwides. The degrowth movement (DGM), advocates the downscaling of production and consumption, arising from a change in how we value and measure well-being. To that end, DGM urges ending GDP as a measure of economic well-being and tool for economic policy.

OO Perpetual Growth Is Insane

***

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This is the legacy we are currently leaving our children: unsafe air, and asthma. Sources: left, via Climate Progress; right, wikipedia.

Half of USA Lives With Unsafe Fossil Fueled Air Pollution, American Lung Association report finds, reports Jeff Spross at Climate Progress. The report tracked ozone and particle pollution from fossil fuels, and found 147 million Americans live in counties were safety thresholds are breached often enough to be unsafe.

Okay, calm down, breathe slowly, then think carefully about how to act -- and vote -- on this.

Book of the Week

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The Simpler Way, A Practical Action Plan for Living More on Less, by Samuel Alexander, Ted Trainer and Simon Ussher, is available as a free download here. For those who understand that continuous material growth is not an option for a viable future, this book provides a general living guide on attaining sustainability in a practical way.

Less clutter and consumption, more happiness. Short, intense and life-changing -- check it out today!

SOLAR SPRING COMES TO THE US, AND MORE

The solar seeds sown by the US Dept of Energy in the southwest are starting to grow: Arizona's Agua Caliente, the world's largest photovoltaic plant,and backed by DOE, is now fully online, while 2 more solar plants back by DOE should be running by the end of 2015. This comes within months of two other plants completed and running in California.

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Solar power at Google headquarters. Wikipedia.

US power utilities investment in solar boomed once again in 2013, and renewable clean energy, much of it solar, accounted for 80% of newly installed power capacity in the US from October 2013 through March 2014.

In New York, the solar industry got a $1 billion boost; Hawaii's largest utility was ordered to help customers install more rooftop solar.

Solar jobs are growing 10 times faster than the national average of other sectors, while federal solar initiatives have resulted in the cost of solar installation decreasing solidly since 2011.

New technological advances continue to make solar rooftop installation safer and faster; a Spanish solar plant has demonstrated the ability to supply power day and night, thanks to a new award-winning design that uses molten salts for storing energy until needed.

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Around the world, nonprofits are bringing solar power to developing countries, improving health care, education and agriculture. More and more islands are adopting solar power, with one making it their only source of power.

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO New York Offers $285 Million In Incentives To Reduce Energy Usage


OO Google And Apple Announce New Low Carbon Investments

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OO EPA: Automakers 'Off to Good Start' on Cutting Emissions

OO Maryland: Counties Now Watch Their Energy Usage

OO Scientists, Car Companies, Military Working on Batteries for Renewables

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Credit FotoDutch at Wikimedia Commons

Shady Deal: Urban Trees Save Energy for Buildings reports Emily Laber-Warren at Newsweek. That's money growing on trees. Shaded buildings use 25 to 40 percent less energy during the summer, averting power overloads.

That's why for 20 years, Sacramento has subsidized a diverse planting of more than 500,000 trees, making the city one of the leafiest in the western United States. Going green saves greenbacks -- what a way to go!

OO China Slashes Spending On New Fossil-Fuel Power Plants

WHAT DOESN'T WORK

Burning Carbon Fuels:
Cheap, Abundant Shale Gas Won't Cut U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Much says a new study, and switching from gas to ethanol is correlated with higher ozone pollution. Foreigners now burn US carbon-storing forests via record exports of wood pellets to Europe. In India, millions die prematurely yearly from indoor biomass pollution via cookstoves.

***

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OO Fox News leads in misleading the public on climate change, on which it reported inaccurately over 70% of the time in 2013. Screen capture from the Colbert Report, May7, 2014.

Misleading the Public:

OO Pro Frackers Block Proposals To Study Fracking Health Effects

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Credit Ritiks via Wikimedia Commons

OO Great Barrier Reef Threatened, Despite Pro-Coal Media Blitz

Fossil Fuel Follies:

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We're Fracking Without Enough Knowledge of Bad Effects on the environment, say scientists in a new study. Meanwhile, fracking is expanding to British Columbia and Nevada; in California, frackers and farmers fight for water.

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Pollution accidents continue: spills from train derailments recently occurred in Maryland and Virginia and from a deadly oil field explosion, in Texas.

Relevant headlines:

OO Oil Field Deaths Rose Sharply from 2008 to 2012

OO BP Well Sprays Crude Oil Mist Over 27 Acres Of Alaskan Tundra -- and the US is woefully unprepared to deal with it or other Arctic spills, says a new report.

OO Stronger 'Frackquakes' Are On The Way, Scientists Warn

More Problems:

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A fire ball erupts as a derailed train explodes at Lac Megantic, Canada. Screen capture of video at World News.

OO Tanker Spills, Pipelines Raise Questions About Crude Oil Transport

OO Big Oil Funds NRA to Share Hunting: Let Us Drill While You Kill

OO Climate Change Denialists Ignorie Facts They Don't Like

GOPPING IT UP

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

OO Pro-GOP ALEC Urges State Attorneys To Sue EPA

OO Koch-Funded Groups Continue Assaulting Kansas Clean Energy Law again...

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WHAT WORKS

Moral Imperative:

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OO All US Citizens, Present and Future, Deserve a Decent Climate -- as written in the US Declaration of Independence: all men (and women, present and FUTURE) are created equal. We violate our own core values of freedom and justice when we leave a degraded environment to our descendents.


Action:

OO Arrests As Greenpeace Targets Gazprom Arctic Oil Shipment

OO Washington State Announces Effort To Take Climate Fight Into Its Own Hands

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OO Final Day Of Keystone XL 'Reject And Protect' Rally Draws Thousands

OO Opposition Gets Company to Halt 500-Mile Kentucky Pipeline

OO Koch Bros Being Sued over Chicago Petcoke Pollution

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US Supreme Court House. Credit Jeff Kubina/Wikipedia

OO US Supreme Court backs rule to limit coal pollution

Changing Attitudes:

OO UK Public Back Renewables Over Fracking -- Survey

OO The Truth About Gaia: Mother Nature Doesn't Care About US -- so save yourselves; the planet will get along quite nicely without us.

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Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist and devout Christian, has reached out successfully to other Christians on climate change. Source: Delaware Interfaith Power & Light

OO How To Convince Conservative Christians That Global Warming Is Real

International Cooperation:

OO US-China Climate Talks Making Progress, Say Envoys

YOU CAN ACT

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Credit Josh Lopez at 350.org

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350.org, Center for Biological Diversity and many other groups across the country are taking to the streets. They're saying no to Keystone XL and other dirty fuel projects that threaten our communities and destabilize our climate.

Won't you join them? We can't let our future be determined by the shifting winds of politics. Act now to demand our leaders choose science and clean energy over the dirty fuels of the past.

Head to the Action Network to see if there's a rally, march or vigil already planned near you. If there isn't, consider grabbing some friends and organizing your own.

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RSVP now through the Action Network for an event in your community on Saturday, May 17. If you don't see one nearby, sign up to host an event.

RISING RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Food:

Drought is battering the US wheat belt and causing beef prices to rise, while research shows corn yields are increasingly vulnerable to hot dry weather.

Oceanic acidification is starting to dissolve shells of key seafood species, and important parts of the marine food chain.

Global Disruptions of Water Cycles:
Besides playing a part in the catastrophic Florida rainfall,
climate change is making extreme rain events more likely in England.

In Canada, changing water patterns are decreasing the quality of drinking water supplies.

The Indian monsoon is becoming more erratic, and more extreme typhoons like Haiyan are predicted under climate change.

Recent deadly floods in Afghanistan were worsened by preceding years of drought, while further avalanches on Mt Everest have worsened the outlook for the current climbing season.

WHITHER WEATHER

It's been tornadoes tearing up the US South and Southeast, record heat that helped kick off wildfires in California, where the drought continues to worsen with no sign of letup. Meanwhile, the National Budget for Fighting wildfires is $400 million short.

Epic rains flooded Florida and Alabama, as climate change intensifies rain storms.

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Credit Yair Haklai via Wikimedia Commons

THINK ABOUT IT: A major way to solve climate change is to take thoughtful reproductive responsibility for bringing our populations to sustainable levels: every new person brought into this world represents an extra economic, environmental and climate cost for everyone.

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 crocuses 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. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and texts are freely available.

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