THE BLOG

Climate Change This Week: Future Major Power Disruption, Clean Energy Pays, and More!

01/19/2016 05:45 pm ET | Updated Jan 20, 2016

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

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Another Reason to Preserve the Carbon Storing Amazon: Its Biodiversity as personified in this red eyed tree frog. Sourcewww.basilbaker.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Dams Threaten Amazon Forest, Promoting Deforestation For Decades - shows a new study documenting the long term effect of a Brazilian mega dam. The Tucurui Dam:

  • destroyed 3,000 square kilometers (sq km) of forest with reservoirs;
  • created huge methane emissions from flooded rotting forests;
  • cities and illegal logging developed around the new dam

2016-01-19-1453241538-5138443-tucuruimegadamamazonSourceInternationalRiversonflickrccr312.jpg
Source International Rivers at flickr

  • 600+ sq km of forest were lost yearly for 20 years (12,000+ sq km);
  • forest loss continues at 300+ sq km yearly.

  • 400+ amazon dams, many mega-size, are operating, being planned or built;
  • wholesale deforestation will decrease riverflow, and electricity produced by dams.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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OO Earth Is Experiencing a Global Warming Spurt - following a global warming slowdown that lasted about 15 years under one phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation cycle.

This much slower moving cycle has now switched into its other phase, and is currently interacting with the El Niño oceanic cycle; both cycles are being amplified by climate change.

OO NOAA: US Posts Second-Hottest Year On Record - extending the streak of warmer-than-average annual temperatures, as the planet set another record hot year in recorded history.

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Hurricane Pali formed recently in the Pacific Ocean, as did subtropical storm Alex in the Atlantic. NASA

OO Unprecedented: Simultaneous January Named Storms
in the Atlantic and Central Pacific
- when the earliest storms in both oceans typically occur in July.

OO Weather Whiplash, From Hot to Frigid, Hits Eastern US - as El Nino and climate change continue their dynamic winter dance. "Expect the unexpected," says a chief meteorologist.

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Credit Matt Granz

OO US Wildfires Just Set An Amazing And Troubling New Record - Officials say that in an era of climate change, they're going to keep getting worse.

@@ Canada: Wildfires Broke Record In 2015 - Wildfires scorched a record amount of Canada's national parks last year - the latest in a number of long, hot summers that have almost entirely depleted Parks Canada's firefighting reserve.

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Deforestation is one of the fastest ways that environments are changing dramatically, while climate change is creating vast fast changes on a global scale. Source Mongabay.com

OO Environmental Change Rate Unprecedented, Study Says -published in the journal Nature Geosciences, it found that the pace of environmental change is occurring faster now than at any other previous time in the Earth's history.

OO A New Type of Ice In Greenland
Has Sped Up Ice Loss, Sea Level Rise

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@@ Climate Change 101: Why Care?
What You Need to Know
- Bill Nye tells it all in five minutes amid graphic, dynamic, engaging, compelling imagery. Check it Out!

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ggg marine life, Source www.tes.com, ccr 312
Fish to Fry as the oceans warm and acidify. Source www.tes.com

OO Marine Life Can't Keep Up With Climate Change - the oceans are getting too warm and acidic too fast for sea life to adapt. Massive die-offs of fish, crabs, and sea birds in the Pacific northwest portend what will happen worldwide as conditions worsen under continued global warming.

OO Mekong Dams Threaten SE Asia's Greatest Lake - And Food Security For Millions - Scientists warn that plans to build dams across Lake Tonlé Sap could be an ecological time bomb.

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The Spirit of Christmas Future

OO Look Your Children In the Eyes:
Why Climate Change Is an Ethical Problem
- we're taking modest benefits now as we pass the catastrophic costs on to our kids later.

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CLIMATE CHANGE COSTS

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Beyond Insurance is the real hardship created by extreme weather. Credit Charlie Riedel at Associated Press

OO Insurers Paid Out $27 Billion For Natural Disaster Claims In 2015 with weather causing 94% of incidents, according to data from reinsurer Munich Re.

OO Cash For The Climate Please, Caribbean Leaders Lament - as they request funding needed for adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

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SPEAKING OUT

@@ Bernie Sanders Proposes Aggressive Climate Change Policies

OO Poll: Most Americans Support Action To Stop Climate Change and believe it's leading to higher sea levels and more extreme weather patterns.

OO Pope Inspires Clergy To Join Environmental Movement

@@ President Obama:
If You Still Dispute Climate Change, 'You'll Be Pretty Lonely'

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

@@ GravityLight 2: Replacing Millions of Kerosene Lights With Clean Energy Lighting - so easy a child can use it, making gravity power a light that last about a half hour: this could be used to help a billion people worldwide.

OO Benefits From State Renewable Portfolio Standards Far Outweigh Costs - Report State targets offer $7.2 billion in environmental and health benefits, compared to an estimated $1 billion in compliance costs.


OO Mighty Money For Small Wind Projects:
$200 Million
- has been clinched by United Wind Inc, which has carved out a niche leasing wind turbines to farms and rural homes, has clinched $200 million in funding - the largest-ever single investment in small wind projects.

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Getting Out of a Dirty Business is good, but we need to exit from coal far faster. Source www.coal-is-dirty.com

OO Oregon Utilities Agree To Phase Out Coal-Fired Power by 2030

OO U.S. Coal Production Dropped To 30-Year Low In 2015 thanks in part to low natural gas prices and climate policies encouraging utilities to switch to natural gas to generate electricity... except that the gas leaks associated with providing natural gas makes it just as dirty as coal, in terms of causing climate change.

Related Headline

OO America's Coal Production Falls to Its Lowest Level Since 1986 Coal's downward spiral continues.

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2016-01-19-1453242011-4843087-methaneplumeoverSanJuanbasinUSmapSourceNASAJPLCaltechUniversityofMichiganccr312.jpg
Red Marks the Methane plume over the San Juan basin, where ConocoPhillips operates, and is making a little progress towards cleaning up its messy business. Source NASA, JPL-Caltech, University of Michigan

OO ConocoPhillips Slashed Methane Emissions 23% in 2014

OO Big Carbon Polluters Face New Emissions Rule In Washington State especially cement makers, oil refiners and paper mills.

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OO $33 Million Allocated to Prep Power Grid for Clean Energy

OO $175 Million Lined Up For Solar Financing - and other clean energy development.

OO EPA Looks to Build on Big Wins This Year - it plans to:

  • Help implement goals established by the Paris agreement
  • finalize rules this year to cut carbon pollution from heavy-duty vehicles
  • and a rule to limit methane leaks from oil and gas operations

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Crunch Time on Rice Crispies Cereal crop production is slowly falling due to more droughts and heatwaves.

OO Climate Change: Cereal Harvests Worldwide Fell By 10 % In 50 Years via increased droughts and heatwaves.

OO East Africans Are Starving--Again--
As The World Looks Away
- as drought and war create two hunger emergencies.

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Too Hot to Burn? Global warming is starting to create water shortages that could ultimately cripple thermoelectric plants, which need water to cool their operations. Source Walter at Flickr

OO Climate Change Could Cut Global Electricity
Output by Disrupting Water
leading to water shortages that:

  • will cut hydropower generation in big dam;s
  • will not be able to cool thermoelectric plants, such as nuclear plants.
  • both sources supply nearly all (98%) of the world's electricity.
said the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. ** 2016-01-19-1453242193-6245818-beautifulbizarrequetzalbirdaCostaRicaSourceneotropical.birds.cornell.educcr312.png A Biodiversity Hotspot is Drying Up - the Monteverde Cloud Forest is home to the famed Resplendent Quetzal. Source neotropical.birds.cornell.edu

OO Climate Change Is Drying Costa Rica's
Treasured Monteverde Cloud Forest
a spectacular biodiversity hotspot for plants as well as animals.

OO Sitting Ducks:
Why Millions Of Arctic Seabirds Are In Danger
- Oil spills, climate change, fishing, shipping routes--threats facing Arctic seabirds are vast, and hard to track.

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2016-01-19-1453242235-983084-bizarrequeenofshebaorchidSWAustraliaThelymitravariegataSourcewww.youtube.comccr312.jpg
Queen of Sheba Orchid is one of thousands of native south Australian plants threatened by climate change. Source www.youtube.com

OO Climate Change, Weeds Threaten South Australia's Plant Biodiversity - which includes six plant biodiversity hotspots, say researchers.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

2016-01-19-1453242285-4997816-methaneleakCalifornia2SourceEnvironmentalDefenseFundccr312.jpg
Methane Leak Has Residents Seeing Red like this infrared view of the giant leak, as new refugees from the neighborhood wonder when they will return. Source Environmental Defense Fund

OO A Single Gas Well Leak Is California's Biggest Contributor To Climate Change

Related Headlines:

OO CA Gov. Jerry Brown Declares State Of Emergency
At Porter Ranch Amid Massive Gas Leak
- ordering new regulations, including stepped-up inspections and safety measures, for all natural gas storage facilities in California.

OO Gas Leak Will Cost SoCal Gas Billions

2016-01-19-1453242322-6432657-PorterRanchmethaneleaksparksprotestsSourcewww.laprogressive.comccr312.jpg
Gassed Residents Protest the Porter Ranch methane leak. Source www.laprogressive.com

OO No Short-Term Fix For California Methane Leak - it will take at least another 6 weeks.

OO The Company Behind L.A.'S Methane Disaster
Knew Its Well Was Leaking 24 Years Ago

OO Vermont Replaced Nuclear Power With Dirty Natural Gas - too bad they didn't invest in solar and wind instead.

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Credit Tom Toles at the Washington Post

OO U.S. Files Lawsuit Against Volkswagen Over Emissions Trickery - what about climate denial trickery?

OO Fracking Shakes The American West:
'A Millennium's Worth Of Earthquakes'
in both Colorado and Oklahoma.

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

Unintended Pregnancy Costs US Taxpayers: - And Climate by upping the climate changing consumption created by resulting unintended people.

Unintended Pregnancies Cost US Taxypayers Nearly $11 Billion Yearly
-the Guttmacher Institute

Teen Childbearing Alone Cost US Taxpayers $9+ Billion In 2010
And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother.
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

@@ How Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community:
publicize where women can access affordable contraception.

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They can go here to find locations:

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

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SOLAR KEEPS SURFING

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OO New Efficiency Record of 29.8% For Solar Cell - yes, nearly 30% of sunlight is converted to electricity by a new dual junction cell, 2 fused upper and lower cells made from a gallium compound and silicon, respectively, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

OO Google Helps Analyze If Rooftop Solar Panels Are Good Deal - to help people adopt rooftop solar.

OO Nevada's Solar Job Exodus Continues,
Driven by Anti-Solar Policies

Related Headlines:

OO SolarCity Cuts 550 Nevada Jobs

2016-01-19-1453242400-8496430-solsourcesolarcookerandMasaiinKenyaSourceOneEarthDesignsccr312.jpeg
Solar Cooks Up in Africa with Solosource cookers. Source One Earth Designs

OO Solar Stoves Solves Largest Environmental
Health Problem Worldwide
- that is, indoor air pollution from traditional stoves in poor home worldwide. Takeaways:

  • the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, goal: 100 million households worldwide to cook cleanly by 2020.
  • the SolSource solar cooker collects and concentrates 92% of all received sunlight;
  • soon the company plans to offer a storage battery so food can be cooked during the night.

OO Selling Solar Power on the Street:
the Mobile Solar Kiosk
generates enough solar power on a mobile kiosk that people can sell the power to charge phones, recharge batteries, and more, in Africa! And they hope to create mobile wifi spots next....

OO South Africa's Developing Solar Landscape is driven by three factors: the worldwide drive toward renewable energy, a highly strained local electricity supply, and a steady drop in solar panel prices.

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Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Jan 19, 2016

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: although El Nino driven storms are bringing much needed rain to California, far more is needed to bring California out of drought.

Meanwhile, a warming Arctic is slowing down the polar jet stream, allowing Arctic weather to loop down into the eastern US. Expect more crazy and destructive weather under continuing climate change.

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.

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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 this everlasting wild flower I photographed one spring in South Africa. 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.

We Californians (including the snails) love the liquid sunshine - now if only it could delivered on a timed release plan...
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CONVERSATIONS