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Climate Change This Week: Cool Landscapes, Hot Futures, and More!

02/09/2016 12:40 pm ET | Updated Feb 10, 2016

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

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The Bear Cub Club meets in the Tongass National Forest, which, with the Great Bear Rainforest is part of the Pacific temperate rainforest, the largest such ecosystem in existence. Source fluffyfeet at pinterest.

OO Canada: Most of Great Bear Rainforest Is Now Permanently Closed to Logging

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon


OO Another Reason to Save Forests: Adorable Biodiversity - as this rare footage shows of two young primates, Fio, an orangutan, and Chili, a gibbon, playing away in the peat swamp trees of Borneo. Chilli launches surprise tickle attacks on Fio.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

OO Still a Climate Denier?
Recent Record Temperatures 'Extremely Unlikely'
Without Global Warming
say new analyses.

Related Headline:

OO Global Warming In 2015 Made Weather More Extreme
And It's Likely To Get Worse

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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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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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A Clean 'Hood: Encouraging walking and public transit help keep the neighborhood free of pollution, and cuts climate changing emissions. Credit Alex MacLean

@@ An Energy Efficient Carbon Landscape - Europe manages a high standard of living using less than 50% of the US emissions per person. It's tied to the landscape, this photo essay shows, through:

  • dense urban centers with an emphasis on pedestrian and bike accessibility;
  • compact rural and suburban communities with sharp growth boundaries;
  • connectivity between public transport and human-powered transportation;
  • integration of commercial and retail space into the fabric of residential areas;
  • a dearth of sprawl.

"How we organize ourselves on the ground is the key factor determining how much fossil fuel we burn," photographer Alex MacLean says.

Related Headlines:

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Preserving Life: An overlooked tool in fighting climate change is enhancing biodiversity to maximize the ability of ecosystems to store carbon. Key to that is preserving top predators to control populations of herbivores, whose grazing reduces the amount of CO2 that ecosystems absorb.

OO How Preserving Biodiversity Can Help Slow Global Warming

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OO Where Have All The Animals Gone? "witty, humorous... gut wrenching" chronicle of how humans are driving the disappearance of animals - in this case, through Asia and Africa.

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OO How to Finance a Trillion-Dollar Climate Change Opportunity - The good news is: we can! Major financial analysts find there is enough money at play in the world's financial markets to finance the transition.

But policymakers in every country will need to "mind the gap" of over $200 billion annually for the electric power sector that needs to be mobilized to help assure it happens in time.

OO Switch To Clean Energy Can Be Fast And Cheap - Strategically placing solar and wind farms across the U.S. could compensate for power lulls during cloudy or calm days.

OO Going Green Can Add Value To Your Home - especially in the Washington DC area, says a new study conducted by national appraisal experts: energy improvements and resource-conserving efforts can be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

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OO Global Investment in Renewable Energy
Now Outstrips That In Fossil Fuels
The tide is turning... let's speed it up! Vote for Renewable Energy!

OO U.S. Economic Growth Free From Both Energy And Electricity Use - In a stunning trend with broad implications, the U.S. economy has grown significantly since 2007, while electricity consumption has been flat, and total energy demand actually dropped.

OO West Coast States Could Cut Petroleum Consumption in Half by 2030 says a new study, through policies that encourage greater transportation options and the more robust use of existing and emerging low-carbon technologies, and they are already on the way.

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OO US Wind Industry Sees Its Second-Best Quarter Ever in late 2015 - as 2015 saw a 77% growth in wind power over 2014.

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

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Yo, Frackers - Feel the Bern?

OO Bernie Sanders's Radical Proposal:
Ban Hydraulic Fracturing
- period.

OO Obama Officials Rush To Curb Methane On Public Lands

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Copenhagen's mayor has announced plans to divest the city's $1+ billion investment fund of all holdings in coal, oil and gas.

OO Copenhagen Set To Divest From Fossil Fuels

OO India: Government Aid Helps Carmakers Go Green And Cheap To Fight Smog with incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Credit Joel Pett at USA Today

OO Republicans Reject Climate Change Fears
Despite Rebukes From Scientists, Voters
- Ted Cruz has presented 'misleading' information in the Senate, scientists say, while Marco Rubio rejects 'destroying our economy' - despite pleas for action coming from officials in his own state.

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GOOD IDEAS

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Tiger, Tiger endangered throughout most of its range, now barely holds onto a graph showing the disappearance of its habitat, forests, over time, in this piece by Jill Pelto. Credit Jill Pelto www.jillpelto.com

OO These Paintings Turn Climate Data Into Art - incorporating data charts into artscapes: Meet Jill Pelto.

OO Better Power Lines Would Help US Supercharge Renewable Energy study suggests. The U.S. could, in theory, use new high-voltage power lines to eliminate the need to add new storage capacity.

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Let's Make a Clean Energy Highway in the Sky! Credit Dennis Schroeder NREL

OO Grid For Renewables Key To Cutting Emissions - carbon dioxide emissions from generating electricity could be cut by nearly 80% by 2030 if the US makes the same Herculean effort to expand solar and wind technology that it did to build the Interstate Highway System.

OO Companies Need To Fix Environmental 'Blind Spot' In Supply Chains Many multinationals have a blind spot in judging the environmental impact of their suppliers' operations, adding to corporate risks linked to climate change, says a new study.

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Climate Change Threatens A Delicious, Blue-Eyed Wonder - scallops, which are declining in the eastern US, as warming waters are linked to the die-off of their seagrass homes, and overfishing occurs. They are a delicious seafood to many.

OO Warming Waters Linked To Northeast Seagrass Die-Offs indicates a new analysis of two decades of summertime monitoring in Buzzards Bay.

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Five Months Early - red campion and a host of others were blooming away in the UK on New Year's Day. Credit Rote Lichtnelke at wikimedia

OO Monumental Floral MisMatch:
600+ Kinds of British Wildflowers Bloomed Early,
New Year's Day 2016
- a major survey shows, after a record warm December, far more than ever recorded before. It may sound pretty, but the fate that awaits them isn't: lack of bees and returning cold means they are unlikely to create surviving seed. Having expended that flowering energy now, they are less likely to bloom later in spring and summer, when they could produce surviving seed.

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Too White Too Late - the white hare is an advertisement for a raptor against a dark melting landscape. Source www.mpgnorth.com

OO Climate Change May Be Deadly For Winter Camouflage Animals: Snowshoe Hares - as precipitation replaces snow earlier in spring and later in winter under warmer scenarios, leaving seasonally camouflaged animals out of step, and visually exposed to predators.

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Baby Bunnies Exposed from their insulating snow burrow can become too cold.
Source whortgrassgreenhouse.worpress.com

OO As Climate Changes Snow,
Animals Suffer
- snowpack is a refuge for many winter animals. It:

  • insulates against extreme cold,
  • keeps temperatures stable,
  • keeps the ground beneath unfrozen.

Without snowpack, unstable conditions can make life harder for animals. For example, exposed winter ground:

  • will freeze, preventing active rodents from foraging for food
  • will freeze and thaw more often, forcing hibernating frogs and insects to use precious energy to re-adapt to each condition; subsequent survival and reproduction may decrease.

And there may be more damaging effects to winter animals.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Credit www.chrismadden.co.uk

OO Ocean Warming Is Making Floods Worse -a new study blames expansion of warming waters for as much sea level rise from 2002 through 2014 as the melting of all the glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets combined.

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Ready to Drop - after another good storm, these houses might be found on the beach - deconstructed. Source www.theglobeandmail.com

OO Pacifica, CA: State Of Emergency Over Storm Damage worsened by created by a strong El Nino further fueled by climate change.

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As temperatures rise, so do damages from wildfires. Credit Jill Pelto, www.jillpelto.com

OO Insurance Debate Flares As Climate Change Boosts Wildfire Risk - with 2 deadly wildfires that ravaged Northern California last fall caused an estimated $1 billion in damages, state insurance regulators said.

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OO Soil Productivity Cut By Climate Change,
Making Societies More Marginal
say new studies: The health of the world's soils hinges on the microbes and fungi they contain; environmental changes will undermine their ability to support humans and other species.

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Think About What She'll Face - and her grandkids, if we fail to dramatically slow climate change. Big bad changes are underway.

OO 'If The World Ends In 2100, We're Probably OK.' Are you okay with that?

Beyond that, there will be much bigger changes, which will affect the young child you have now, and her/his grandchildren.

Scientists see parallels between global warming today and mass extinctions in Earth's past: "most mass extinctions were CO2-driven global warming things " says paleo and present climate scientist Andy Ridgwell of Bristol University.

"If you screw with the climate enough, you have huge extinctions," he adds. Our civilization is likely to be one of them.

OO Climate Change Could Worsen Diseases Like Zika Virus experts say, allowing carrier mosquitoes to spread to new areas.

Related Headline:

OO What You Need To Know About Zika And Climate Change - chief among the number of factors behind the quick and wide spread of the Zika virus -- a disease that's been associated with birth defects -- is heavy rain and heat, both helped by climate change.

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One of Millions Homeless -The number of climate change refugees in Bangladesh is expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades. Credit Probal Rashid

OO Effects of climate change in Bangladesh: Haunting Photos

OO Ethiopia Seeks Donor Support To Meet Drought Needs as 10+ million people are critically short of food.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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OO Big Banks Brace for Oil Loans to Implode as dozens of oil companies have gone bankrupt, and the ones that haven't are feeling enough financial stress to slash spending and cut tens of thousands of jobs.

OO Australian Coalmines Are One Of Riskiest Investments In The World because of their exposure to environmental dangers, says a new report from Oxford University.

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OO California Gas Leak Spotlights Shoddy Regulation Of Aging Storage Wells that existed long before a natural gas storage well sprung a disastrous leak near Los Angeles. Utilities and national industry groups were raising alarms about the danger of aging underground storage infrastructure even then.

OO Negligence Led To Massive Porter Ranch-Area Gas Leak says the govt agency that regulates Southern California's air quality sued Southern California Gas Co., accusing the company of negligence that has forced thousands to leave their homes.

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Credit David Pope

OO Australian Emissions Rising Towards Historical Highs -
Will Not Peak Before 2030
based on current trends, with the projected growth rate one of the worst in the developed world, a new analysis says.

OO Norway: Industry Plans To Up Fossil Fuel Production Despite Paris Pledge - Norway wants other countries to leave their coal and oil in the ground to meet new global climate change targets instead. Gee, thanks guys!

OO In Coal-Powered China, Electric Car Surge Fuels Fear Of Worsening Smog - as the switch to electric cars outpaces a switch to cleaner energy.

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

@@ The Cost of Unintended Pregnancy: Too Young

Teen childbearing 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 FLYING

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OO Costs of Solor Photo Voltaics Decreased 10% per Year Since 1980 - shows a new study.

OO As Regulators Create New Compensation Rules,
Expect California Solar Spread To Surge

@@ VIDEO: Japan's Solution To Its Energy And Space Crisis:
The World's Largest Floating Solar Power Plant - a company has work on what they say will be the world's largest floating solar installation by the amount of power produced.

Related Headline:

OO Japan Begins Work On 'World's Largest' Floating Solar Farm

OO Green Energy Boom Helps Chile Contain Surging Power Prices - Chile's solar industry is proving a win win: cutting global warming CO2 emissions and helping slash some of the highest electricity costs in Latin America.

OO Rwanda, Africa: Company Will Bring Solar to 250,000 Homes by 2018 as the country preps for millions of solar residential projects in coming years.

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OO China Has the Most Solar PV Installed Globally with 43 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity.

OO Australia Taking Solar Power to the Next Level - Mostly put up in the past 10 years, residential solar panels have made Australia the country with the world's largest household uptake of solar panels. Almost 1.5 million homes are solar, creating the highest worldwide national average of 16%; the giant state of Queensland has the highest average, almost 30%.

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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, Feb 8, 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: recent El Nino driven rains have barely changed long term water supplies, making further drought inevitable.

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 Protea 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.

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CONVERSATIONS