THE BLOG
07/21/2014 12:14 pm ET Updated Sep 20, 2014

Climate Change This Week: Undersea Deforestation, Churches Divest, and More!

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

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, July 20 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 US bakes in the west as it cools in the east; the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent much rain from reaching California.

The North Pole is surrounded by land areas that 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.)

SOLAR KEEPS SEGUING

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GTM's Q2 market briefing is out, identifying current US trends in the residential solar market: residential installers are concentrating on expanding the market in 10 US states, especially California, Hawaii, Arizona and New Jersey. State incentives are becoming less important as installation costs fall. Direct ownership, rather than leasing, is becoming an increasingly attractive option.

Solar module prices recently reached yet another record low, making solar power ever more affordable. SunEdison stocks are near yearly highs, as the infusion of an activist board member in the past two years helped turn the company into one that is generating solar panels and projects around the world.

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The fast-growing US solar company Sungevity is now using instant quotes and views of how solar panels would look on your house to lure you into trying solar leasing - yet another way to smooth the way to a truly clean day in the USA! Meanwhile, US solar investment company Mosaic and Enphase are collaborating in an efforts to push solar loans instead of leases.

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Check it out here, right now!

In Iowa, a nationally-watched recent supreme court ruling in favor of a solar energy company could spur growth of the solar industry throughout the state - and create a positive precedent for solar power elsewhere in the US.

Led by Chile, South America is approaching a solar capacity of nearly 20 gigawatts, while in Europe, companies are partnering to provide solar leases to commercial customers.

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO California Ready to Fund the Next Wave of Microgrids Paired With Renewables and Storage

OO As Extreme Weather Surges, Distributed Energy Takes On New Meaning for the US Grid

OO Investment In US Clean Energy Recovers from 2012 Slump

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OO Science Is Golden:
'Cosmos', 'Years Of Living Dangerously' Garner Multiple Emmy Nominations

OO Switzerland's Biggest Insurer To Double Its Green Bonds Investments To $2 Billion

OO South Africa Preps Carbon Offset Program

OO Renewable Energy Provided 33% Of Germany's Power In The First Half Of 2014


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China is moving forward on developing green energy.

OO China Could Reveal Carbon Cap By First Quarter Of 2015

OO China's Latest Mandate: 30% of Govt Cars Must Be Electric or Use Alternative Fuel

OO China And US Sign Deals On Climate Change

WHAT WORKS

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New UN Report Outlines 'Pathways' to Cut CO2 Emissions of Major Emitters reports Brian Kahn at Climate Central. Switching from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy and upping energy efficiency runs through all the various national plans, and assumes solar and wind power coupled with storage will be able to feed the grid even when production is low.

This global roadmap aims to keep warming below 2 degrees C (3.6 F) and points out that reducing emissions and economic growth can occur together.

While technologically feasible, the plan's real hurdle is electing the political leadership needed to act on it. Think about it the next time you and your friends vote.... you do vote, don't you?

Good Ideas:

OO China Makes New Electric Cars Tax-Free

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OO India: PM Modi Accelerates India Solar Revolution, Doubles Tax On Coal

OO Equity Firm Restores Louisiana Marshland, Earning Green Credits To Sell Even as Louisiana waits for restoration funding from BP and the federal government.

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

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Group Representing Half A Billion Christians Divests from Fossil Fuels reports Emily Atkin at Climate Progress, and urged its members to do the same. The World Council of Churches represents 345 churches, including the Church of England.

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The announcement was welcomed as a "major victory" by climate campaigners; studies indicate that this divestment campaign is progressing faster than previous divestment campaigns, including tobacco and apartheid. This follows other religious groups who are divesting from fossil fuels.

OO Parents Blast Climate Denial In Schools: 'You Have To Teach Real Science'

OO Call Climate Change What It Is: Violence - social unrest and famine, superstorms and droughts. Places, species and human beings - none will be spared. Welcome to Occupy Earth.

OO Green Groups Protest Transatlantic Trade Deal - as bad for addressing climate change.

OO DC Protest Rally Calls for a Halt of Fracked Gas Exports

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OO Outrage Sparked As Lego Collaborates to Greenwash Shell Oil - which is planning to drill in the Arctic; Greenpeace is fighting back, with a satire of the recent Lego movie.

OO French Foreign Minister Launches Attack Against Fossil Fuels

OO Incoming EU President Juncker Says He Opposes Fracking

Good Incentives:

OO Singapore Outlines Plans To Fine Foreign Air Polluters

OO Finland: Making Car Ownership Pointless


RISING RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

CC's Ferocious Feedbacks:

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Climate-Linked Drought Cutting Forests' Carbon-Storing Ability - Climate extremes are dramatically cutting the ability of trees to sequester carbon, threatening to convert some forests from carbon sinks into carbon sources, finds a study published this month in Environmental Research Letters, reports Mongabay.com.

OO California Braces As Drought Sparks Early Fire Season

Biological Disruption:

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Tropical Fish Migrating To and Deforesting Temperate Oceans reports Joanna Foster at Climate Progress. As grazing tropical fish migrate into the warming temperate zones, they are eating up temperate kelp forests, especially on the southern coast of Japan, where 40% of the kelp and algal beds have disappeared in the past 20 years.

The results are as dramatic as when terrestrial forests are clearcut. Similar undersea deforestation is occurring in the Mediterranean and off the west coast of Australia.

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The tiny Mediterraean hermit crab, Diogenes pugilator, is now turning up on northeast English beaches. Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, warming temperate waters are similarly allowing warmer water species to migrate into the northeast Atlantic, with equally dramatic results: the ratio of warmer water species are increasing, but overall biodiversity is dropping.

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The red necked phalarope, one of many Arctic birds disrupted by climate change. Credite Steve Kaufman/CORBIS

OO Arctic Warming Upsetting Birds' Breeding Calendar, Study Warns

Spreading Disease:

OO Disease-bearing Ticks Appearing in Finland's Arctic bringing encephalitis with them.

OO As Weather Gets Hotter, More People Come Forward With Kidney Stones finds a new study.

Extreme Weather:

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Natural Disasters Have Increased 500% Since 1970s says a new atlas of death and loss compiled by the United Nations, reports Suzanne Goldenberg at the UK Guardian. Disasters such as storms, floods and heatwaves have increased, which is predicted under continued global warming.

Although improved warning systems are preventing loss of life, the social-economic impacts are increasing, due to the increased frequency and intensity of disasters, and increased vulnerability of human societies.

OO Coastal Flooding Has Surged In US says a new analysis.

OO Anxiety Mounts As Unusual Weather Floods North America's Farm Belt

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Wildfires are burning over an unprecedented area in the US west.

Credit John McColgan at Wikimedia Commons

OO Soaring Mercury And Growing Wildfires Heat Up The Pacific Northwest

OO Lake Mead, Largest US Reservoir, To Reach Record Low

OO Heat Waves Could Triple Premature Deaths In Britain By 2050

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By 2100, southern Australia could look like this. Oxfam at Wikimedia Commons.

OO Southern Australia Faces Water Crisis By 2100 Due To Climate Change with Perth particularly threatened with a 40% drop in rainfall.

OO Nicaragua: El Niño Triggers Drought, Food Crisis - the 2014 El Niño is predicted to create weather disruptions globally, and likely be worsened by climate change.

Food Impacts:

OO Plant Genes Change With CO2: Plants More Vulnerable to Heat, Less Nourishing

OO Enjoy Your Coffee - You May Soon Not Be Able To Afford It as the water used to produce it and foods as basic as bread and fruit, becomes increasingly scarce and expensive, say resource experts.

OO Livestock Methane Emissions Much Greater Than Thought along with their impact on global warming, says a new study.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK

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By exporting coal the US is enabling more global climate change.

OO Obama administration Tacitly Promoting US Coal Exports

OO US Government Keeps Increasing Huge Fossil Fuel Subsidies

OO America's Oil Consumption Is Rising, Not Falling, Outpacing China's

OO Reaping What They Sow:
Texas, Leader In Greenhouse Gases, Stands Vulnerable To Their Effects

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OO India: Underlying Optimism Is Biggest Driver Of Consumption Growth

OO A Vision for A Sustainable India: Get Over the Growth Fetish notes an Indian columnist.

KEEPING CARBON STORED: FOREST UPDATES

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One of the colorful inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest, the scarlet macaw. Credit Rhett Butler, mongabay.com

OO Scale Of Amazon Rainforest Carbon Loss Is More than thought due to small scale deforestation: wildfires, pasture intrusion, and selective logging, besides large scale deforestation.

OO Only 15 % Of World's Biodiversity Hotspots Left Intact - much of the losses were once carbon-storing forests.

OO Forests As Important As Farming For Some Rural Communities

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When the magnificent biodiversity of a carbon-storing rainforest is destroyed for growing oil palms, which produce an unhealthy cooking oil, the climate future of our children suffers. Wikimedia Commons.

OO New Palm Oil Sustainability Manifesto Still Has Deforestation Loopholes say environmentalists.

OO Downturn In Shade-Grown Coffee Putting Forests, Wildlife, People At Risk

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The giraffe beetle is unique to Madagascar. Wikipedia.

OO Madagascar Forest Conservation: Rewards For Reforestation

OO Congo: Deforestation Escalates Despite Resource Shortages, Protests, Rape, Homicide

OO Big Asian Paper Conglomerate Won't Include Companies That Continue To Destroy Forests

YOU CAN ACT

Ask Congress To Turn Heat Into Clean Energy here.

Join the People's Climate March Sept 21: more information here.

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 flower and beetle I photographed one summer. 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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