THE BLOG

Climate Change This Week: The Midwest Threat, Green Money Flows, and More!

02/02/2015 03:09 pm ET | Updated Apr 04, 2015

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

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Gocomics.com

"whether an event is caused by climate change
... is the wrong question.
All weather events are affected by climate change
because the environment in which they occur
is warmer and moister than it used to be."

Kenneth Trenberth in OO How to Relate Climate Extremes to Climate Change

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Climate Change Boosted New England's Historic Blizzard reports Joe Romm at Climate Progress. Global Warming-fueled, unusually warm sea surface temperatures provided a boost of moisture for the New England blizzard, just as it has for previous monster East Coast snow storms, a long term pattern in a warming world predicted by climate scientists.

Related Headline:

OO What A Warming World Means for Major Snowstorms

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OO Can being green help win Superbowls? Both teams this year are pioneering green initiatives and policies.

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OO Heat stroke, anyone? The Global Warming Sports Connection - besides delaying tennis matches due to intense heat, it is affecting the Iditarod in Alaska (low snow) and threatening outdoor ice hockey rinks. And they'll be more connections.

Watch the Arctic Ice Cap Melt Over 28 Years in One Minute:

Arctic Ice Vomit: this really does look like an ocean vomiting ice... another sign that all is not well with nature... NOAA climate.gov

Takeaways:

<> as the ice goes, so does our summer planetary heat shield: darker water will absorb far more heat than the white ice that once covered it. And you know what that means.

<> remaining ice is much thinner, so ice cover will disappear much faster.

Related headlines:

OO An Arctic Ice Cap's Shockingly Rapid Slide Into The Sea

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Noted photographer Camille Seaman documents the unfolding disaster of global warming on ice.

OO Our Polar Regions Are Simply Melting Away - The Arctic is warming twice as fast as anywhere else on Earth, and snow and ice cover are declining significantly. Part of Antarctica has warmed faster than anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere and wildlife has already been affected.

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OO Why is Earth frowning? Asks the capital weather gang with this simulation of what the stratospheric air flow pattern was like on January 19, 2015 via earth.nullschool.net

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The oceans -- where over 90% of global warming heat ends up -- have literally warmed up off the charts of NOAA.

Ocean Warming Now Off The Charts reports Joe Romm at Climate Progress. As climate expert Prof. John Abraham notes, "The oceans are warming so fast, they keep breaking scientists' charts."

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Boiled shrimp, anyone? Credit: Philippe Guillaume, Creative Commons by-NC 2.0

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SOLAR KEEPS SMILING

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OO Major Trends in Solar Power Point to Ever Cheaper Prices

OO America Installed 22 Times More Solar
in 2014 Than in 2008
- growing from 263 MW to 5,700 MW.

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Solar garden built by Rural Renewable Energy Alliance in Minnesota.

OO Minnesota Group Works To Help Low-Income Families Go Solar

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OO Africa's Quiet Solar Revolution - after quietly skipping land lines for solar powered mobile phones, it is now blooming with startups trying to bring sun power to rural areas, leapfrogging over fossil fuels.

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Check it out here, right now!

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

OO Pope's US Autumn Visit To Stoke Congressional Climate Fight

OO New Report: Low Oil Prices Won't Hurt Clean Energy - the cost of generating renewable energy is now equal to or below the cost of fossil fuels in many parts of the world.

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OO Bloomberg, et al Donate $48 Million
to Cut Carbon and Deploy Clean Energy



OO Clean Energy Investments Into the Grid in 2014: $1.3 Billion

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OO Google Makes Two More Solar, Wind Investments

OO US Energy Dept: $55 Million In Grants For Fuel-Efficient Car Research

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OO Transmission Line Bringing Wind And Solar Power To Millions
In US West Gets Go-Ahead


OO Huge New Area Soon To Open For Offshore Wind Power In New England

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Japan's Greening as it funds energy storage to help solar owners. Source: www.oneonta.edu

OO Japan Plans to Pump $700 Million Into Energy Storage - the coming plan will help Japanese solar owners deal with new curtailment rules, while boosting manufacturers.

OO China Cuts Energy Intensity By Nearly 5% In 2014 beating a key energy efficiency target as it tries to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

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WHAT WORKS

Speaking Out:

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newshour-tc.pbs.org

OO In State of the Union Address, Obama Draws Line on Climate

"No challenge... poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. "

With that, he signaled a readiness to battle Congress to keep his climate and energy initiatives on track.

OO China: Leader Vows To Cut Fossil Fuels In Energy Revolution

OO Davos 2015: World Bank Chief Makes Climate Action Plea

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OO Louisiana: Fishing Communities Accuse Big Oil, Gas
of Threatening Their Existence

OO Can Louisiana Hold Oil Companies Accountable For Its Vanishing Coastline?
As the state loses a football field-sized area of land every hour, Louisiana's Flood Protection Authority has leveled a historic lawsuit against oil and gas companies.

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OO Louisiana: Community Fights Fracking Threat to Its Sole Drinking Water Source

OO Lousisiana: Native American Tribes Fight To Stop Their Land
From Literally Disappearin
g

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OO Voter Groups to EPA: Regulate Airplane Emissions before it becomes a major US emissions source.

OO Shareholders Challenge BP to Confront Climate Change Risk

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credit Steven Tuttle, via 350 org

OO Nebraskans File New Lawsuits That Could Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline

OO UK: Members of Parliament Demand Moratorium On Fracking

Good Ideas:

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OO The Next Energy Revolution Is In Our Brains the US Navy and Marines have found: saving energy by changing how people think.

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US households could save about 3% in total energy use (small percentage but BIG savings) if everyone set their thermostats to 68 F.

More Takeaways:

> for 2% more in US household energy savings, drvie at 60, not 70 mph
> for another 20% in savings, switch to energy efficient appliances - and switch HOW you use them

OO Sponge City: Redesigning Los Angeles For Long-Term Drought

OO Portland's New Pipes Harvest Power From Drinking Water

Important Insights:

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Climate Change Doubles Odds of Extreme La Niñas, Wild Weather says new research reports Brian Magill at Climate Central. Often alternating with El Nino weather cycles, La Ninas weather cycles can drive weather wild worldwide, worsening both droughts and flooding storms.

Back-to-back super El Niño/La Niña have played out before, but both are predicted to become more extreme and frequent.

OO Cold Nights Are Decreasing Across the U.S. - I personally can't sleep well on warm nights...

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Our unsustainable population growth is a major driver of climate change, and a host of other major social problems.

OO Why We Need To Address Population Growth's Effects On Global Warming

OO 19 US Senators Urge Obama to Keep Supporting UN Population Fund - which promotes sustainable population policies.

Informed Leadership:

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The Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is unique wilderness, home to increasingly threatened herds of caribou and other threatened wildlife. Source: switchboard.nrdc.org

OO White House Proposes Protecting 12+ Million Acres Of Alaska's Arctic Refuge

OO New Initiative Will Help States Find Ways To Cut Their Emissions

OO UN Asks Countries For Climate Plans After Record Warm 2014

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WHAT DOESN'T WORK

Fossil Fuel Follies

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Oil spills add even more pollution to the methane and drilling pollution of fracking operations in North Dakota. Credit: AP photo/Eric Gay

OO Nearly 3 Million Gallons Of Drilling Waste Spill From North Dakota Pipeline

OO Montana: Thousands Can't Drink, Cook With Tap Water
Because Of Oil Spill

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A sanctuary for the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin has been devastated by a large oil spill in the Bay of Bengal. Source: nyiwin.wordpress.com

OO Bangeladesh Still Reeling From Effects Of December Oil Spill

OO Geophysicist Links Earthquakes To Oil And Gas Extraction

OO Boston Belching Gigantic Gobs Of Greenhouse Gas

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Source: UK Daily Mail

OO Climate Change Inaction Pushes 'Doomsday Clock' Closer to Midnight - originally created over the threat of nuclear war, it now refers to threats to human existence.

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Source: Wave Farmer at surfinoregon.blogspot.com

OO Oil , Gas Production Is Exposing Californians To 15 Or More Different Pollutants

OO South Africa Cancer Association Warns About Fracking - says about 150 chemicals used by shale fracking companies are known to cause cancer or disrupt the endocrine system, leading to possible birth defects.

OO Keystone Pipeline Firm Files To Grab Land for Pipeline
from Nebraska Landowners

Clueless Leadership:

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We're talking about the 47 senate votes on the Keystone Pipeline Bill, which Obama vows to veto. Any more bright ideas, Senators? Most Republican voters WANT climate action.

OO Hours After State Of The Union, GOP Senate Targets National Parks

OO West Virginia GOP Controlled Legislature Moves To Repeal Renewable Mandate

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Feb 2, 2015

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 unusually cold while much of the waters surrounding it are unusually warm, which adds even more moisture (read snow) to US blizzards: the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent much rain from reaching California, sending it into further drought.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole 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.

Human Repercussions:

OO Food Diversity Under Siege From Global Warming, UN Says

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Amber Waves No More? A new report indicates that US Midwest agriculture will suffer dramatically under continuing climate change. Wikimedia Commons

OO The Midwest's Climate Future: Missouri looks like Arizona, Chicago like Texas says a new report by the Risky Business Project funded by Michael Bloomberg and other major businessmen.

Related Headlines:

OO Study: Climate Change Could Hammer Iowa Ag, Manufacturing

OO Climate Change Could Dramatically Impact Midwest Agriculture

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Milagros Salazar IPS

OO Climate Change Threatens Staple Potato Crop In High Andes

OO Tanzania: Changing Weather Patterns Affect Farmers' Schedules

OO Brazil's Most Populous Region Facing Worst Drought In 80 Years

Califronia Dryin':

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January 2015 was the driest January on record in California - and it is supposed to be the wettest month of the year. Source: Bakersfield Californian

OO After December Rains, California Comes Up Dry

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Sequoias and other giant trees have been mostly cut down by humans in California, and worsening climate. Source: 150.parks.ca.gov

OO California's Forests: Where Have All The Big Trees Gone? California has lost half its big trees since the 1930s.

Related Headlines:

OO Things Are Not Looking Good For California's Big Trees - an understatement: this study is another sign of the "shrubbification" of western forests.

OO California Forests Are Changing - warning of what can be expected elsewhere.

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Even hardy desert juniper trees died off massively in 2013 when the vapor pressure deficit was unusually high.

The US Southwest's Most Important Measure:
VPD, Vapor Pressure Deficit
- think of it as a measure of a hyper drought: dryness combined with higher heat creates skies drier than land.

Drier skies "suck" water from land and trees, drying them further and drastically stressing plants, "to catalyze a cascade of environmental effects" such as the 2011 southwest wildfires that occurred under unusually high VPD conditions, reports Avery McGaha at Ensia.

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YOU CAN ACT

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March for REAL Climate Leadership, February 7, 2015
Thousands of people from all corners of the state will take to the streets of Oakland to call on Governor Jerry Brown to protect all Californians from dangerous oil activities that harm our water, our health and our communities. You can join here.

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KEEPING CARBON STORED: FORESTS UPDATE
Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Source: Jane Goodall/ wildchimpanzees.org

OO Africa: Endangered Chimp Habitat Under Threat From Climate Change

OO Brazil's Soy Moratorium Dramatically Reduced Amazon Deforestation

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Mongabay.com

OO Indigenous Territories Play Dual Role As Homelands And Protected Areas

OO Sumatran Village Protects Environment Through Agroforestry

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What Went Into Making Your Chocolates? Wikipedia

OO United Cacao Chops Down Rainforest To Produce 'Sustainable' Chocolate

OO Palm Oil Giant Launches Online Platform To Support Zero Deforestation Push

OO Indonesia's Moratorium Not Enough To Achieve Emissions Reduction Target

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 aspen leaf 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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