THE BLOG

Climate Change This Week: $1 Rooftop Solar for Nonprofits, the Ocean Carbon Punch, and More!

06/29/2015 05:49 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2016

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

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Amazonian Wildlife: a treasure trove of biodiversity. Source mostly ajorbahman.blogspot.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Peru: New Reserve Will Protect Nearly A Million Acres Of Pristine Forest

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A Preview of the Paris Talks? Credit Ed Stein, 2009.

OO The World Is Off Course to Prevent Severe Warming,
Says International Energy Agency
- in a new major report, stating that current national commitments to cut greenhouse gases are still insufficient to keep the world below two degrees Celsius of warming above preindustrial levels, considered to be essential to avoid catastrophic climate change.

But the agency also shows how the world, with a bit more ambition, could peak its emissions by 2020 and get onto a safer path.

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OO Clean Energy 'Creates More Jobs Than Fossil Fuels,' says a report by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Global Green Growth Institute.

It shows how investing 1.5 % of GDP annually to renewable energy and energy efficiency will deliver economic growth, a sufficient supply of energy resources, and new sources of jobs. What's not to like?

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@@ Bloomberg Business: What's Warming the World? Fun interactive graphs that show you how well variations in natural and human factors match up with rising temperatures (Spoiler: only rising greenhouse gases do!) Got some climate skeptic friends? Show it to them...

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As air and land warms, it warms soils, and stimulates plant growth that decays more rapidly. Both effects release more carbon back into the air as global warming gases. Credit Aaron Escobar via Wikimedia Commons

Global Warming: Growing Massive Feedback From Ocean Will Worsen It - even more than the massive feedback from land plants and soils, from 2100 on, says a new study, reports Joos Fortunat at the journal Nature. Why?

Carbon cycles through land plants and soils within decades, but takes centuries to cycle through oceans, where CO2 gets absorbed as a weak acid into the vast deep "sink" of ocean waters. But as those waters acidify and warm further, absoprtion of CO2 decreases, both chemically, and physically into deeper depths.

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Ocean acidification in 1800, 2020, and projected for 2100. Acid oceans will doom most seafood species, which can't form adequate skeletons in acid waters.

By 2100, the oceans will be absorbing 20+% less of our carbon emissions, an amount greater than that not absorbed by land - leaving a far greater amount of emissions in the air that will then globally heat the planet further and worsen climate change.

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Going, going... the snow crab will be doomed by acidifying ocean waters. Source www.seafoodblog.net

Original source study:

OO Multicentury changes in ocean and land contributions to the climate-carbon feedback

Related Headline:

OO How Fast Will Rising Temperatures Shrink The Earth's CO2 Storage Spots?

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OO World Going Solar: 36% More Solar PV To Be Installed in 2015 Over 2014 - that's 55 GW; solar will account for roughly half of new electricity capacity out to 2020.

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No more sushi by 2030? Many of the seafood species that go into a sushi platter are being threatened by acidifying oceans - the only way to stop acidification is stopping carbon emissions. Source www.zippys.com

OO US Fishing Industry Faces Catastrophe by 2030
Due to Warming, Acidifying Oceans:
Cutting Carbon The Only Solution
- The $5+ billion industry significantly relies on Arctic waters, which are acidifying rapidly; acid waters have already damaged northwest shellfish industries. The only way to stop acidification (and slow warming) is to stop carbon emissions.

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OO Pope Francis Urges World to Act on Climate Change: Key Points

He calls on the world's nations -- especially rich nations - to:

  • curtail fossil fuel use,
  • revamp their economic systems, and
  • alter their lifestyles
in order to avoid "unprecedented destruction of ecosystems." This is the first encyclical that any pope has ever devoted solely to environmental issues.

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Related Headline:

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Fishing Lake Tanganyika. Credit Saskia Marijnissen

OO For Faithful, Social Justice Goals Demand Action On Environment

An African's revelation
came on the shores of Lake Tanganyika:
relentless global warming
reduces the catch of fish.
The people go hungry.

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OO How This Library Paid $1 To Install Its Solar Panels -
In the Middle of King Coal Country
via Solar Holler, which helps nonprofits get their solar panels installed through Mosaic's crowdsourcing plan.

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Red tuna crabs on a beach. Source CNN

Climate Change Creature Feature:

OO Ask Not for Whom the Red Crabs Crawl:
A Warming Tide Sweeps In
- warming California coastal waters have caused thousands of little red open ocean crabs to wash up on beaches, far more north than they usually do.

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Source The Huffington Post

OO Americans Are Again Getting More Worried About The Climate - Pew poll finds, after a brief dip in 2008; since then a lot more extreme weather events have brought the message home.

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OO Billions of Philanthropic Dollars To Fund Developing Clean Energy - via a new coalition that helps philanthropists direct their funds.

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@@ Thomas Friedman: The Revolution Fueled By Climate Change

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How about doing so in a Tesla electric roadster?

OO Racing Around the World in 80 Days, Without Fossil Fuels - in April starting from Paris, with each of 30 teams aiming to cover 25,000 miles within 80 days, about 320 miles a day. Tally-ho!

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OO Fossil Fuel Emissions Could Take Protein From Diets Of World's Poorest People - suggests a new study that finds plants grown under higher levels of carbon dioxide are lower in protein.

Related Headline:

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Elevated carbon dioxide alters the ratio of different types of proteins in wheat, which, in the case of bread, effects the elasticity of dough and how well a loaf rises.

OO What Climate Change Will Do To Your Loaf Of Bread

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If we do not grow sustainably,
Our children will die inhumanely.

Shameless Self-Promotion:

Sustainable Populations Crucial to Addressing Climate Change - is one of many takeaways in my double interview at the West Elk Word at KBUT FM.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Have frank discussions within your circles of friends and family about preventing unintended births.

And there are many more actions you can do, right here.

SOLAR KEEPS SURFING

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OO Solar Power Passes 1% Global Threshold - celebrate the little victories, and they grow bigger! Takeaways:

  • Solar power now covers more than 1% of global electricity demand.
  • In Italy, Germany and Greece solar PV supplies more than 7% of electricity demand.
  • China is the fastest-growing market.

OO Survey: 1 in 3 Corporate Investors Plan to Back Their First Solar Project in 2015 - commercial solar is on track for a rebound.

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OO IPO: First Solar and SunPower Raise $420 Million - hot stocks!

OO SolarCity Reaches Out to Rival Utilities
"I'm very interested in finding a utility that we can work with that wants to solve problems." Says the CEO.

OO How to Light the Off-Grid World With Solar in a Decade - a new framework for performance-based projects in developing countries.

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OO India Just Upped Its Solar Target Fivefold - to 100 GW by 2022.

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Check it out here, right now!

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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The Goal: A Good, Clean Country. Credit Marc Adamus/ the Wilderness Society

OO Barack Obama's Climate Change Initiative: $4 Billion For Clean Energy

OO State By State, Clean Energy Update:
US Is Rapidly Expanding Renewable Energy Use

  • 11 states generate more than 10 % of their electricity from non-hydro renewable energy sources.
  • 3 of those -- Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas -- exceed 20 %

OO China 'Deserves More Credit' for Renewable Energy Effort - says the International Energy Agency; China is spending as much as the U.S. and Europe put together on clean power.

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WHAT WORKS

Speaking Out:

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NOT An Exercise in Futility. Source: 350.org

OO Environmentalism Moving The Needle On Emissions - says a new study, showing that it counteracts against the main emissions drivers, population growth and affluence.

OO Kofi Annan, Robert Rubin: Africa's Moment To Lead On Climate - can be taken by national leaders to encourage leap-frogging over centralized carbon-intensive systems with clean energy -- already underway in many rural communities, and to gradually replace fossil fuels with renewable sources in a judicious, dynamic energy mix.

The international community can help with appropriate cooperation and financing.

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OO Go Veggie To Save The Planet, Says World Champion Freerunner Tim Shieff
"You vote with your money: if you buy less meat, the industry will change," says the freerunner and activist.

Good Ideas:

OO Make Clean Energy a Default Setting when offering consumers a choice in buying electricity, researchers find.

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Up and Coming: this rotary engine is driven by the action of evaporation on bacterial spores. Commercial applications remain distant goals, but the glimmer in many eyes is there.

OO Scientists Capture the Energy of Evaporation to Drive Tiny Engines

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WHAT DOESN'T WORK

Fossil Fuel Follies

OO Unreliable Source of Jobs:
Shale Industry Could Be Swallowed By Its Own Debt
- as drillers devote more revenue than ever to interest payments.

OO Growing Oil Train Traffic Is Shrouded In Secrecy - even as derailments and explosions have prompted calls for more information about oil train traffic.

Failing to Speak Out

OO Few Echo Pope's Environment Plea In Sunday Sermons

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, June 29, 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 and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: 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.

Natural Repercussions:

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OO NASA: Latest Global Temperature Data Are Breaking Records - with data showing Jan to May 2015 being the hottest five months of any year ever recorded.

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The Oceans Agree - Earth Is Rapidly Warming. There has been no warming pause. Source The UK Guardian

Related Headline:

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Hot Enough to Melt Asphalt - May 27, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Credit Harish Tyagi/EPA

May 2015 was a scorching 0.71°C (1.3°F) above the long-term average

OO 2015 Likely To Beat 2014 As Warmest Year On Record - with the warmest May on record, hottest spring and mildest year-to-date. 2014 is currently the warmest year yet.

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OO Alaska: Glaciers Losing 75 Billion Tons Of Ice Every Year including the past 20 years, say researchers. Melting 360 billion tons raises sea levels one millimeter - do the math: over those years, Alaska, a 20th the size of Greenland, has contributed over 4 millimeters in sea level rise

It sounds small, but mountains are made of molecules.

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Tiny Fish, Big Impact: effects from the collapse of Pacific sardines have rippled up the marine food chain.

OO Collapse of Pacific Sardines Tied to Overfishing, Warming;
Affecting Pelicans to Sea Lions
- the recent influx of warmer waters should have helped boost sardine numbers, depleted from overfishing and the colder waters of years past.

But they didn't. Warming waters also enable large toxic algal blooms, currently off the California coast. Sardines ingest the algae and their toxins, connected to previous sardine die-offs.

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What Do All These Animals Have In Common? They rely on sardines for food.

Sardines are important food for salmon, tuna, whales, and other species: recent large numbers of starving sea lion pups and abandoned brown pelican nests are likely connected to the lack of sardines.

Will sardines recover? "When you impose natural variability on top of [warming waters], an extreme 'natural' event becomes even more extreme. I expect we'll see more of that in the future." Biologist David Checkley, Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

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Humanity is rapidly depleting a third of the world's largest groundwater aquifers, with the top three most stressed groundwater basins in the political hotspots of the Middle East, the area between India and Pakistan, and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa.

OO Earth's Largest Groundwater Aquifers Are Past 'Sustainability Tipping Points'

Social Repercussions:

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A third of North Korean children under 5 are stunted due to chronic food shortages. Credit Gerald Bourke/AP

OO North Korea Says Hit By Worst Drought In 100 Years

California Dryin':

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OO Drought Worsening Health Crisis In Central California Town

OO How Buying Smaller Fruit Could Save California's Drought-Stricken Family Farms -growing smaller, but far more intensely flavored fruit.

OO Texas Communities Embrace 'Toilet-To-Tap' Water:
Will California Follow Suit?
- CA state officials are eyeing the options.

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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 wild columbine 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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