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Climate Change This Week: Ice Sheet Collapse, Solar Africa, 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 15, 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, the polar aneurism over the US has changed but persists, with unusually cool temperatures through central US and unusually warm conditions in the west, while the waters surrounding the North Pole (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.)

THE SOLAR WAVE KEEPS ROLLING

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Uncyclopedia Wikia/Amazing surf wave

The White House has gone solar as President Obama continues to promote more solar energy, energy efficiency and the jobs this will bring.

Solar stocks are surging; solar financing continues to grow as well, with $200 million from Credit Suisse for residential solar and another $300 million to fund a residential solar and energy efficiency property-tax-backed program (PACE) across California. The money flows and solar goes...

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Credit solarpanelspower.net

In the US, a secondary solar market is developing as smart technology combines with solar to create projects that are attractive investments to hedge funds and other large investors.

In Hawaii, a major utilitiy is considering proposals for massive energy storage projects to coordinate with the large solar influx into Oahu's grid. To boost solar power in Iowa, state legislators approved a $4.5 million tax credit bill for residential solar installations.

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Dennis Schroeder/NREL

Experts predict that US residential solar with storage capabilities will decrease energy bills, and further fuel a large expansion of it in communities nationwide, especially as community microgrids proliferate, shifting power away from utilities toward consumers.

Worldwide, solar power demand grows in Russia, surges in Chile, and continues forward in India and especially China, which will be the largest solar market in 2014 due to its massive construction of solar utilities.

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Aioannides at Wikimedia Commons

But addressing climate change seriously requires solar power to expand far more and faster through giant gigawatt plants like those now being proposed in India, South Africa and across North Africa; financing such projects remains a challenge, however, especially in the US.

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OO The Choice Is Up to US: Aggressive climate action ASAP (B1, left) minimizes future warming (average surface air temperature) between 2070-2100, compared to a century earlier. Continued inaction (A2, right) results in catastrophic warming over the U.S. Source: NOAA/NCA via Climate Progress.

National Climate Assessment: Act Now to Avert Impending Climate Catastrophe pretty much sums up the national study, co-authored by 300+ US scientists and experts, and reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences, reports Joe Romm at Climate Progress. Climate change is with us now. The time to act is now, because various US regions are already experiencing the harm of climate change, say scientists.

The weather is not normal, nor can we predict what the new "normal" will be, beyond the certainty of change.

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OO Not Just Sea Level Rise: Northeast Faces Flooding From The Skies

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OO US Midwest Climate Change Impacts: More Heat, Droughts, Floods; Fewer Crops

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OO Southeast US Has Had More Billion-Dollar Disasters Than Rest of US Combined

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OO U.S. Climate Report: Some Native Groups Have Literally Nowhere To Go Courtesy Tony Weylouanna

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The Pacific Northwest has already experienced a catastrophic landside, industrial oyster die off from acid waters, and wildfires, all likely to worsen under climate change. Via Todd Harrison at twitter.

US Pacific Northwest: Acid Ocean, Wildfires, More Taking Their Toll says the new report, writes Katie Valentine at Climate Progress. Wildfires, pests, sea level rise and ocean acidification pose grave threats there, with extreme precipitation upping the chances of catastrophic landslides. Acid waters are already corroding shells of marine food chain species, well ahead of scientific predictions.

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OO US Climate Change in 8 Compelling Charts - here's 2 of them.

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Extreme weather is causing more major outages. Source: Climate Central.

OO Five Climate Charts That Threaten the Electricity Sector

OO Climate Change Will Worsen US Ozone Pollution

OO OECD: Rich Countries Will Suffer As Planet Warms

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Satellite radar composite view of Antarctica. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is penned in by mountain ranges and the floating ice of the Ross Ice Shelf. Most of the WAIS rests on rock that is below sea level. American Institute of Physics.

West Antarctic Ice Sheet Starts Collapsing:
Unstoppable; Seas to Rise 12-15 Feet
, say two new studies, reports Suzanne Goldenberg at the UK Guardian, changing coastlines worldwide. Melting is unstoppable, and happening far faster than previously thought.

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OO Although the Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). Credit: NASA/GSFC/SVS

The Thwaites Glacier acts as a plug for the rest of the ice sheet. Climate change is warming waters, which are melting the underbelly the glacier. It could melt completely in 200 years, causing seas to rise 2 feet; the rest of the sheet, unplugged, will follow, raising seas another 10-13 feet.

This new information means that by 2100, seas will more likely rise closer to 2 or 3 feet, rather than the lower Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates of a foot or less.

MUST S@@ : John Oliver "Climate Change Debate" a hilarious piece gone viral. Polling people on whether they believe in Climate Change is irrelevant, says John Oliver; it's like asking them if hats exist - who cares???

"You don't need people's opinions on a fact!... The debate on climate change ... should be on what we're going to DO about it.".... Make sure you're not drinking milk while watching this...

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Wikimedia commons.

Junk Climate Means Junk Crops:
Higher CO2, Climate Change Making Food Less Nutritious
says a new study, reports Damian Carrington at the UK Guardian, worsening the serious ill health already suffered by billions of malnourished people.

Field trials of wheat, rice, maize and soybeans showed that higher CO2 levels significantly reduced the levels of the essential nutrients iron and zinc, as well as cutting protein levels. "From a health viewpoint, iron and zinc are hugely important," says Sam Myers, Harvard environmental health expert and lead study author.

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EPA Is On A Winning Streak In Court Battles Over Clean Air reports Rebecca Leber at Climate Progress. Three times recently, a panel of judges has ruled against industry groups' attempts to overturn Environmental Protection Agency protections against air pollution. These rulings uphold Americans' "legal right to breathe clean, healthy air based upon what health and medical science tell us is protective, rather than based upon jaded economics or political interference," noted NRDC's John Walke.

When will we have a legal right to a safe climate?

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Credit Thanh Mai Bui Duy/Flickr

Unsafe Cities: 70% Have 'Dangerous' Fossil Fueled Air Pollution says the World Health Organization, reports Sophie Yeo at Responding to Climate Change. Almost 90% of the world's urban population live in cities where the air is unsafe to breathe, according to UN data.

** Yet another reason to kick the fossil fuel habit: it's poisoning most of us.

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.

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With A Little Help, Africa Could Become Renewable Energy Powerhouse says IEA, reports Ari Phillips at Climate Progress. The International Renewable Energy Agency recently said that Africa's renewable energy capacity should quadruple to about 120 gigawatts by 2030 if "investors dedicate substantial flows of funds to the region."

Africa includes some of the best solar and wind resources worldwide. Sub-Saharan Africa could provide more than 170 gigawatts of additional power-generation capacity -- more than double the region's current installations -- through 3,200 "low-carbon" energy projects, such as combined heat-and-power, biofuels production, mass transportation, and energy efficiency.

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Surface sea temperatures are building in the Pacific making an early summer El Nino more likely. Credit NOAA via Climate Central

Early Summer El Nino + Global Warming Likely to Set Heat Records reports Andrea Thompson at Climate Central. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting that an El Nino weather cycle could start between May and July.

This will likely warm global temperatures more than expected, although the extreme effects on US temperatures probably won't be felt until fall or winter. Some experts are predicting it will be the strongest El Nino in decades. Check out this great video El Nino 2014: What Are the Odds? to find out more.

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Check it out here, right now!

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

OO Renewable Energy Jobs Hit 6.5 Million In 2013 - Report

OO IEA: Decarbonising The Economy Will Save $71 TRILLION By 2050

OO Pressure Growing For OPEC Countries To Cut Energy Subsidies

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Stanford University. Wally Gobetz/Flickr.

OO Stanford University Divests Coal From Its $18+ Billion Endowment - but not gas or coal... yet.

OO Experts: The Cost Gap Between Renewables and Natural Gas 'Is Closing'

OO Missouri's Solar Problem: Too Many People Like It

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OO EnergySavvy Raises $7 Million for Energy Efficiency Software

OO US Backs Advanced Offshore Wind With $140 Million

OO California Gives Fuel-Cell Stations a Bump, Toyota to Pitch In

RISING RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

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The landscape of North Zimbabwe, one of the countries in the three regions expected to be most at risk to climate change in the coming decades. Credit: Jason Wharam/flickr

OO 3 African Regions At High Risk From Climate Change

OO Somalia Could Face Another Famine Due To Delayed Rains, Insecurity

OO How Climate Change Helps Fuel Nigeria's Instability

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OO Plants Won't Slow Down Global Warming - specifically, plant growth from CO2 fertilization, says study. Wikipedia.

OO Longterm Shift in Winds More Droughts For Southern Australia

OO Recent Brutal Heat, Drought: The Future For Plains States?

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OO As Population Surges, Harsh Climate Of Southwest Will Only Get Harsher Flickr/Photo Dean

OO From Snow To Sweat: Kansas Skips Spring

OO Photos Show Power Of Deadly Oklahoma Wildfire

WHAT WORKS

(>(>(> Speaking Out <)<)<)

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OO Religious Leaders Should Divest From Fossil Fuels, Says UN Climate Chief - like the Catholic Church under Pope Francis.

OO UN To Back Pope Francis Statement On 'Human Ecology'

OO Lloyd's Calls On Insurers To Take Into Account Climate-Change Risk

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Credit AP photo/Julie Jacobson

Obama Leverages Many Billions in Energy Savings With New Initiatives, reports Emily Atkin at Climate Progress. Investing in energy efficiency for federal buildings, and a host of other initiatives will save US businesses $26 billion, significantly reduce carbon pollution, and spur growth in solar power.

OO MA Gov. Deval Patrick Calls For 'Future Free Of Fossil Fuels,' Zero Coal By 2018

Innovations:

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OO A New Super-Efficient Solar Cell Technology Just Got Better Dennis Schroeder/WWW.NREL.GOV

OO Simple Changes To Building Codes Could Revolutionize Electric Car Market

OO US Company Takes on $4 Billion Fluorescent Lighting Market With LEDs

Attitude:

OO More Chinese Than Europeans Identify Themselves As Environmentalists - we should ALL consider ourselves environmentalists...

Book of the Week:

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OO Hope On Earth: A Conversation The newly released Hope on Earth is the thought-provoking result of a lively and wide-ranging conversation between Paul R. Ehrlich and Michael Charles Tobias available now through Amazon.com. "You'll enjoy and learn from this vivid dialogue." -Jared Diamond

WHAT DOESN'T WORK

OO South Carolina's Solution To Sea Level Rise: Build More Walls and hire 1000s of Dutch boys with big thumbs...

Risky Investments:

OO High Cost Oil Reserves Pose Investment Risk

OO $1 Trillion In Oil Projects Lost If Govts Act On Climate - Report

Fossil Fuel Follies:

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OO Maharashtra, India. WN/ Gheeta

OO India, Not China, Has The World's Worst Urban Air Pollution


OO Fracking Well Leaks 1,600 Gallons into Ohio Waterway

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Via World News

OO US Fracking Correlated with 400% Increase in Traffic Fatalities in Some States

Deforestation

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This baby orangutan lost its parents and home. Rhett Butler at Mongabay.com

Loss Of Wildlife And Deforestation Can Increase Human Disease reports Morgan Erikson-Davis at Mongabay. Deforestation is wiping out habitat for plants and animals wolrdwide. It is linked to reductions in air and water quality, hastening climate change, and is contributing to increased rates of drought and fire.

Now, for the first time, researchers have found that deforestation may also lead to a heightened risk of human disease

OO Obama: Palm Oil Destroying Malaysia's Rainforests

Misleading the Public:

OO Political Postcards Mislead Elderly On Clean Energy

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Screen capture from the Colbert Report.

OO Fox News on Landmark National Climate Assessment:
"Is [the Whitehouse] Trying to Distract Its Critics from Benghazi?"

GOPPING IT UP

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

OO Pro GOP Ohio Senate Votes To Kill Renewable Energy Standard

OO Why Do GOP Conservatives Ignore Climate Change?

To Ignore the Money, Laws Needed to Solve It

"I was actually on your side of this [climate change] issue when I was chairing that committee and I first heard about this. I thought it must be true until I found out what it cost."

-- GOP Senator Jim Inhofe, in 2012 interview.

OO GOP Tries to Smear Environmental Protection Agency - grilling it on "workplace improprieties" rather than action on climate change.... Your tax dollars at work...

OO GOP Labels CO Lawmaker 'Terrorist' For Pushing Community Control Of Fracking

OO GOP Stalls Bipartisan Energy Efficiency Bill

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 this butterfly mariposa lily 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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