THE BLOG

Climate Change This Week: China Out Competes US on Solar, Droughts and Chills, and More!

08/23/2014 04:34 am ET | Updated Oct 22, 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, Aug 22, 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, much of the US is experiencing much hotter than normal temperatures; the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent much rain from reaching California.

Much of the North Pole and surroundings 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 SAILING

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Source: nextlevelsailing.com

Sunny solar power nuggets in the US this week include a personal story of going off-grid solar for a small hideaway in Hawaii, how solar is catching on in Jacksonville, Florida, and how Minnesota utilities are starting to invest in it.

Nationally, the US solar carport market is poised for a record year and continued growth - here's to more solar powered cars!

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Credit Dennis Schroeder/NREL

Meanwhile, residential solar with battery storage could be as cheap as standard grid power soon in Germany - as soon as the battery life triples, which should be achievable, say analysts. Other analysts, such as the Rocky Mountain Institute, say the US could be in the same position in as little as 4 to 6 years.

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But China has outcompeted the US, Germany and the rest of the world in solar dominance by installing the most solar capacity, 12 gigaWatts, in 2013, according to the 2014 Global Renewable Energy Report.

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Check it out here, right now!

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

OO Price of US Wind Power at All Time Low: 2.5 cents/Kw-Hour

OO California Moves Grid Planning Toward the Clean Distributed Power - the state-mandated shift toward distributed, customer-owned resources in utility grid plans begins.

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OO An Electric Supercar in a Shelby Chassis
Okay, so it costs a half million, but what's that among us billionaires?


OO Canada: Financial Innovation Is Spreading to Energy Efficiency


OO Mexico On Course To Break Clean Energy Records

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OO Germany Added A Lot Of Wind And Solar Power
- And Its Electric Grid Became Much More Reliable Than US

OO Germany Gets Greener: 31% of Its Electricity Comes from Renewables

OO UK: As Nuclear Retires, Wind Picks Up the Slack - in part with other sources.

OO Mexico On Course To Break Clean Energy Records

WHAT WORKS

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Speaking Out:

New York Climate March Swells To Global Movement reports Sophie Yeo at Responding to Climate Change. The People's Climate March, slated for September 21, spreads across six countries, as activists aim to raise the profile of UN climate summit. Go to 350.org if you wish to join!

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Source: 350.org

OO Youth Raise Climate Awareness In Flood-Hit Balkans - A new generation of post-Communist youth are leading the fight against climate change in the Balkans.

OO Fracking Protesters Stage 'Day Of Action' Across UK

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New Indian Prime Minister Modi is walking the talk on getting India to go solar.

OO India Demands Rich Countries "Walk The Talk" On Climate - at the latest meeting of leading emerging economies.

OO Tiny Indian Village Makes Final Stand Against Coal Giants

Drafting Climate Legislation:

OO Colombia Set To Draft New Climate Law By November

Good Ideas:

OO Politicians, Rich Must Travel Less To Curb Emissions - Technology alone will not cut transport emissions enough, say researchers.

Scientific Insights:

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The Great Barrier Reef hosts a cornucopia of colorful sealife and important fish. Source: biomebrochure.wikispaces.com

Great Barrier Reef's Greatest Threat Is Climate Change says new study, in an Australian Associated Press piece at the UK Guardian. Warmer ocean currents will have far-reaching consequences for decades to come.

OO Weatherwatch: An Ill Wind - scientists are worried that the mechanism controlling Britain's weather is behaving strangely - here's why.

OO Global Warming Is Moistening The Atmosphere - Human-caused global warming is causing the upper troposphere to become wetter, helping create more intense storms.

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OO Humans Overtake Nature As Main Driver Of Glacier Melt - taking over from natural causes since the mid-19th century.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK

Fossil Fuel Follies:

Big Oil Is Gambling $91 Billion On 20 High-Risk Projects says a new report, writes Magan Darby at Responding to Climate Change. Tar sands and deep sea oil projects are bad for business as well as the environment, analysts warn. If the major oil companies cancelled these and other risky plans they could return US$357 billion to shareholders by 2025, the study found.

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Is investing in this mess really a good idea? Source: Responding to Climate Change

"Investors are concerned about the levels of capital being sunk into future fields by the oil sector, but are not getting answers on the economics of the projects from the companies," said James Leaton of Carbon Tracker Initiative, which produced the study.

OO Mexico Opens Oil Fields - so it, too, can be a merchant of climate change.

Flawed technology:

OO Birds Bursting Into Flame Above Solar Mirror Farm

Clueless Leadership:

OO House Republicans Push for End of Wind Tax Credit

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Credit Mary Ellen Harte

We could have more US made turbines creating US clean power if Congress supplied continuous support.

OO More U.S.-Made Wind Turbines Are Being Sold Overseas
As Congress Fails To Support Wind Power
- as inconsistent govt support discourages US sales.

OO GOP Rep. Mike Coffman: We Should Limit Carbon Emissions
- But He Voted For Emissions

Muzzling Scientists:

OO Science, Journalism Groups Accuse EPA Of Muzzling Its Scientists - not a good thing for the Environmental Protection Agency, the govt agency most focused on protecting US environment.

Being Outcompeted:

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OO Former President Jimmy Carter Says U.S. Lags Behind World in Renewables - and China outcompeted the US in solar power in 2013; see above.

OO Australia Slaps Businesses With $500 Fee Designed To Kill Solar Power - giving businesses ino monetary incentive to lower their electricity consumption by installing solar panels, industry says.

RISING RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

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Weather Around a Climate Change World: August 19, 2014: Nepal and India are experiencing killer landslides related to the extreme Asian monsoon; Europe's cooling down; and there's a heat wave in the US heartland, reports meteorologist Jon Plotkin at Decoded Science.

And the Heat Goes On:

OO Globally, July Was The Fourth Hottest July On Record says NOAA, and the January-July period was the third-warmest such period on record. You might have felt cool; much of the world did not.

California Dryin' :

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Someone told me that she was so depressed driving through the Central Valley recently, filled with signs and dried out land, that she took an early exit to get away from it. Source: bakersfieldcalifornian.com

OO On Top Of Withering Drought, California Smashes Heat Records
For the first half of 2014, California has been on average 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal, and 1 degree warmer than the previous record set in 1934.

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California continues to dry out. Source: US Drought Monitor

OO California Has Hottest Start to Year While Midwest Chills - as CA record-breaking heat helped drought and wildfires.

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Source: NOAA

US: Lots and Lots of Rain - boy, did it rain a lot recently, reports Andrea Thompson at Climate Central. Torrential rains fell from Seattle to Long Island, flooding not only highways, houses and parking lots, but also Twitter with images of cars covered nearly up to their roofs and stranded drivers.

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OO Long Island NY Town Gets 12 Inches+ Of Rain
During East Coast Downpours
sending emergency boats and police scuba teams to flooded roads -- something that could happen more frequently with more severe downpours as the planet warms up.

OO Colorado Rockies: Climate Change Means an Uncertain Water Supply says a new report.

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Alaska: Marine Economy Takes A Dive As Ocean Acidity Rises says a new study reports Kieran Cooke at Climate Central. The new study, funded by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA), says growing acidification of Alaska's waters, particularly those off the southern coast, threatens the state's whole economy.


OO Mega Drought Threatens To Drive Up Olive Oil Prices - southwest Spain is experiencing its worst drought since record keeping began 150 years ago -- and agricultural crops, especially olives, are suffering badly.

Losing Homes:

OO Solomon Islands Town To Relocate As Climate Pressures Mount

KEEPING CARBON STORED: FORESTS UPDATE

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When Indonesia clears forests, orangutans die.

OO Indonesia Plans To Clear Over 28 Million Acres
Of Carbon-Storing Forest By 2020 despite a commitment to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

OO Forest-Destroying Illegal Oil Palm Plantations Rampant In Indonesia- and were built by destroying carbon-storing forests. Half of the ones in one province's rare forest are illegal.

OO Indonesia Cracks Down On Illegal Burning, Investigates Suspect Companies

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'Green' timber companies may be depriving the threatened Siberian tiger of habitat. Wikipedia

OO Are Eco-Certified Timber Companies Stripping Russia Of Its Last Old Growth Forests?

OO China And Europe's Outsourcing Of Soy Production Impacts The Amazon says a new study.

OO Nicaragua 'Natural Reserves' No More:
Illegal Colonists Deforest Huge Portions

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OO Peru's Most Important Forests Felled For Timber, Crops, Roads, Mining - the highly threatened Peruvian Andes mountain range are an immediate and looming portent of the fate of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.


OO China Failing To Take Effective Action Against
Chinese Timber Smuggling Companies

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 wildflowers I photographed. 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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