THE BLOG

Climate Change This Week: Solar Job Boom, US Blizzard Gloom, and More!

01/26/2016 02:47 pm ET | Updated Jan 27, 2016

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

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It's a Cuke! It's a Popsicle! No, no, it's a ... Caterpillar! from an Asian rainforest: one more reason to preserve these carbon-storing ecosystems. Source bayucca at flickr

OO A Cheap, Fast Way to Slow Sea Rise:
Save and Regrow Tropical Forests
- says an expert, as nations continue to curb carbon emissions.

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Source ajunglescientists.wordpress.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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OO 2015 Blew Away Previous Records To Become Earth's Hottest Year - The combination of a record strong El Niño event plus the highest amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at any time in human history have given the climate system the equivalent of a Power Bar plus a shot of espresso.

OO Climate Change Disaster Is Biggest Threat
To Global Economy In 2016
- say experts. Global warming heads top economists' concerns for the first time.

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Jonas was a Whale of a Blizzard with a 1,000 mile long front dumping near record levels of snow from Virginia and Washington DC up to New York City and beyond, and creating coastal surge flooding. Both snow and flooding records were broken. Credit AerisWeather

OO Monster Blizzard Winter Storm Jonas
Fits Climate Change Predictions
- leading climatologists agree that global warming:

  • heats ocean surface waters, which evaporate more water, raising air moisture and temperature;
  • weakens the polar jetstream, creating winds that bring frigid polar air into the US.
  • As cold air meets warm, moist air a heavy snowstorm results with high winds, stoked by the air's heat. Coastal storm surges create flooding.
  • Under global warming, northeast US precipitation has been increasing over the past 40 years.

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Mosquito Borne Zika Virus Linked to Small Brained Babies - in Brazil, and increasingly elsewhere. Women in their trimester of pregnancy who are infected by daytime mosquito bearing Zika virus are increasingly giving birth to microcephalic babies. The virus may last only a week or so in the women, but permanently harms the baby. Source bn.thetodaypost.com

OO Under Global Warming, Multiple Mosquito Borne Epidemics
Could Occur Simultaneously
and the US must prepare for such a scenario, warn doctors in a new report in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Related Headline:

OO Brazil: Panic As Mosquito-Borne Virus
Linked To Brain Damage In Thousands Of Babies

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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!

OO Climate Change Economically Threatens Global Middle Class - the erosion of wealth among the world's middle class due to climate change is a threat to economic and social stability; this could spur its 1 billion members to push for action on global warming, Swiss bank UBS Group AG said.

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Antarctic Iceberg Birth as seen from a NASA satellite.

OO Antarctic Icebergs Help Plankton Store Carbon
As They Raise Sea Levels
- more and larger icebergs occur under global warming: as they melt, they release nutrients that trigger oceanic plankton blooms large enough to store carbon equal to that emitted yearly by Sweden or New Zealand, says a new study.

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Diving in Death, a young murre was one of many such seabirds found dead in 2015 in California; now tens of thousands are dead in Alaska, as warm waters reduce their food stocks, scientists suggest.

OO Mysterious Mass Deaths Of Alaskan Birds Baffles Scientists -Tens of thousands of dead birds are washing up on the beaches of Alaska's Prince William Sound; some experts say it may be related to the changing climate.

Related Headline:

OO Starvation Suspected In Massive Die-Off Of Alaska Seabirds - Scientists say ecosystem changes could have reduced the numbers food fish vital to murres.

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Mother And Child in Death - over half (200,000+) of this species, the once populous antelope of the vast Eurasian steppes, perished in 2015 as unusual extreme weather left them vulnerable to lethal disease.

OO In Pitiful Animal Die-Offs Worldwide
-- From Antelopes To Bees To Seabirds --
Climate Change May Be Culprit
- which, along with El Nino, created enough extreme conditions to create massive carnage. Some of the most dramatic examples in 2015:

  • over half (220,000+) of all Eurasian saiga antelope, stressed from extremely stormy weather, died.
  • A record mass die-off of murres, diving seabirds, starved to death as their food stocks disappeared
  • A near record worldwide die-off of corals is occurring as oceans become too hot for them
  • Drought and heat are causing major die offs of US west coast salmon and other fish.

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To Bee or Not to Bee? Wild bumble bees are on the decline, as well as domestic honeybees.

Furthermore:

  • Bumblebees are declining throughout Europe and North America
  • US Western drought killed 12 million CA trees and threaten 58 million more
  • Massive tree die-offs are predicted for the US southwest by 2060
  • Massive die-offs (700+ studied from 1940 to 201)0, threatening entire species, are increasing

Common to all of these die-offs::
the species' environments are changing, and they're struggling to keep up.

OO South Africa Suffers Driest Year On Record In 2015 as a drought that threatens the vital maize crop and hit economic growth shows no sign of abating.

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How Will Nemo Get Home? This school of baby clown fish faces a threatened future.

OO Baby Fish May Get Lost In Silent Oceans As Carbon Dioxide Rises - Future oceans will be much quieter places, making it harder for young marine animals that navigate using sound to find their way back home, new research has found.

OO Company Behind Methane Leak Is
Ordered To Offset The Climate Damage
says the California governor's state-of-emergency declaration.

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SPEAK OUT

OO As Exxon Faces Investigation,
Investors Renew Pressure For Stronger Climate Stance

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Credit Greg Nash

OO Fossil Fuel Leases Should Charge
For Climate Change, Says President
- he wants companies leasing oil and coal rights on federal land to pay more for the effects those fuels have on climate change.

OO Obama Calls For Economic Help For Coal States

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CLEAN LEADERSHIP

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"Why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?"

OO Obama Wins Praise as a Champion of Clean Energy Despite Political Gridlock

OO In Climate Move, Obama to Halt New Coal Mining Leases on Public Lands

OO SOTU: Obama Vows To Fix Fossil Fuel Program That Gives Away Cheap Coal - he pushes for changes in how government manages public-land fossil fuels.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Credit Khalil Bendib at otherwords.org

OO GOP House Allows Coal Mining to Pollute America's Streams by appoving a bill that does so, by blocking new Obama administration regulations designed to reduce the environmental impact of coal mining on the nation's streams. Gee, thanks, guys!

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO US Solar Industry Provides More Jobs Than Oil and Gas Extraction - solar employment continues its 20% annual growth rate.

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OO A New Record for Clean Energy Investment - cheap oil and natural gas can't keep renewables down.

Related Headlines:

OO Clean Energy Defies Fossil-Fuel Price Crash,
Attracts Record $329 Billion Global Investment in 2015



In his final State of the Union address, U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.S. must stop subsidizing fuels of the past. Source Reuters

OO Why Clean Energy Is Now Expanding Even When Fossil Fuels Are Cheap - Because:

  • US Congress extended wind and solar tax credits
  • Paris agreement encourages the clean energy market
  • Clean energy jobs are booming
  • CA, a clean energy leading state, created new policies to boost rooftop solar

OO Solar and Wind Just Did the Unthinkable:
Record Growth Despite Cheap Fossil Fuels

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OO Hints And Nods Point To Vast Energy Changes - in the past 7 years, including:

  • a major Canadian pipeline canceled by US;
  • a groundbreaking climate deal in Paris;
  • Solar and wind costs have plummeted;
  • the return of2-a-gallon gasoline;
  • some of coal's largest corporations have gone bankrupt;
  • natural gas has become a major factor - the "new coal" that is NOT shrinking the US carbon footprint (contrary to the article): processing it creates substantial emissions of this highly potent greenhouse gas, making it as dirty as coal.

"Meanwhile, we've cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60%, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth." said President Obama.

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Source doodlefinder.com

OO Rapid Switch To Renewable Energy Can
Put Paris Climate Goals Within Reach
- Countries can deliver on the promises of the historic Paris climate change agreement by rapid scaling up wind and solar power to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030, an international energy gathering was told.

OO State Renewable Energy Mandates Are Producing Enormous Benefits - As the policy workhorse behind the rapid rise of renewable energy in the U.S.

but...

OO States' Renewable Electricity Goals Not Curbing Carbon Emissions significantly.

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OO DOE Announces $220 Million in Grid Modernization Funding,
In Prep For Clean Energy
to support critical research and development in advanced storage systems, clean energy integration, standards and test procedures, and a number of other key grid modernization areas.

OO UK: World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm Sets New Generation Record - for offshore wind generation. The London Array generated 369,000 MWh of electricit.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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Credit Stuart Palley

OO California Gas Leak Is Emitting 4.5 Million Cars' Worth
Of Pollution Daily

Related Headlines:

OO Utility May Have Understated Health Threat From Gas Leak including the number of times airborne levels of the cancer-causing chemical benzene have spiked.

OO Leaking Methane Plume Spreading Across L.A.'S San Fernando Valley raises potential health concerns for people living outside the immediate vicinity of the Aliso Canyon gas leak.

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OO The World Is Hemorrhaging Methane,
And Now We Can See Where
- The Aliso Canyon breach is accidental, but thousands of other sites are flaring off methane intentionally, as waste.

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Another Form of Fossil Fuel Subsidies... remember Mitt? And now we have so many GOP presidential candidates that fill his shoes! Brings tears to my eyes. Credit Dave Granlund

OO US Taxpayer Due To Subsidize Koch-Controlled Coal Mine

OO US Coal Companies Getting Pummelled In Stock Market

OO One of the Largest US Coal Companies Filed For Bankruptcy

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False Reporting Does Not Change Pollution Levels in China, which then get blown to the US 10 days later. It undermines their international standing.

OO False Emissions Reporting Undermines China's Pollution Fight

OO Southeast Asia High In The Ranks Of Global Polluters - Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels rose 227 percent from 1990 to 2010.

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

@@ Myth vs Truth: The Huge Value of Contraception is an incisive, heartfelt recognition of the value of contraception by Sarah Brown, CEO, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Unintended Pregnancy Costs US Taxpayers:

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

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 DANCING

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OO US Solar Job Boom Continues As Prices Spur Demand - the U.S. solar power industry continued its hiring spree in 2015, growing nearly 12 times faster than overall U.S. employment.

Related Headline:

OO Solar Power: The Next Energy Jobs Juggernaut? As the price of solar power continues to plummet - and the costs of extracting oil, gas, and coal continue to rise - solar is emerging as a significant job creator in a shifting energy economy.

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Imagine Staying REALLY Warm as you build your snowman; now MIT has created a material that might someday be used in clothes to capture and retain solar heat. As the sun glows, so do you! Source wotv4women.com

OO MIT: New Material Can Store Solar Energy to Warm You Up Later - While solar power is used to generate electricity, one could save even more power by storing heat. MIT scientists have created a new thin transparent film that does exactly that. When exposed to sunlight, it assumes a "charged" state that can be maintained for long periods of time.

However, when triggered with a small burst of heat, the material reverts to its original chemical composition, releasing a much larger amount of heat energy. Possible future applications? Self-defrosting windshields, warming your home - or your clothes!

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Source www.memphistours.com

OO Middle East Desert Sands Could Store Solar Energy as the region quietly becomes a center for solar power. United Arab Emirates researchers have shown that desert sand could be used to store energy at 1,800+ degrees Fahrenheit (1,000+ degrees Celsius) in concentrated solar power facilities.

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Nevada: Solar Customers Fight Back! Source www.vox.com

OO Solar Customers Launch A Class Action Lawsuit Against NV Energy - saying the utility "conspired to unlawfully reduce incentives" in order to protect its monopoly.

OO SolarCity, Sunrun to Pull Out of Nevada, Cutting Hundreds of Jobs due to the new rules, which decrease the savings that many count on for going solar.

OO GOP Nevada Leaders Oppose Solar -
And Might Help Elect A Democratic 2016 President
- indicates a poll among state voters, roughly 90% of whom support solar power, as in rooftop solar installations. Roughly 70-80% of polled likely voters would be "unlikely" to re-elect a politician who failed to raise the solar net metering cap - and that could influence their presidential votes, as well.

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Source news.discovery.com

OO Solar Energy Farm Floats on Reservoir - in France, illustrating how solar arrays could float on reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals or remediation ponds. Such installations can make these waterways serve a double purpose as they reduce evaporation.


OO Chile: Innovative Project To Provide 24/7 Renewable Energy
To Village
- a solar powered pumped-storage hydroelectric plant will pump seawater up a cliff on the coast using solar energy, to a natural storage basin at an altitude of 600 metre. At night, the plant will generate electricity by releasing the stored water, which will rush down through the same tunnels.

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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 26, 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: the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent enough rain from reaching California, to stop the drought.

Meanwhile, a recent monster blizzard and accompanying coastal storm surge flooding, paralyzed temporarily much of the US east coast. Two effects of climate change fueled the event: unusually warm coastal waters supplied the air moisture and heat that, with an Arctic invasion of cold air, transformed into high winds and lots of snow.

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 wild iris 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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CONVERSATIONS