THE BLOG

Climate Change This Week: Arctic Goes Bonkers, Voting For Climate Action, and More!

02/23/2016 03:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 23, 2016

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

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Bizarre Biodiversity - another reason to preserve forests, as this Brazilian Gorbatkov illustrates. (No, really, this is not photoshopped.) Source funganssi.blogspot.com

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Forests Matter - storing vast amounts of carbon that are released into the atmosphere as climate-changing gases when forests are destroyed. Conserving and restoring forests are vital to combating climate change.Source ajunglescientists.wordpress.com

OO The Really Green Solution To Climate Change - why saving forests has emerged as a key part of the global climate picture.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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If You Don't Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest - in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

OO Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years - of global warming, a new study shows -- and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let's keep "The Hunger Games" in the realm of fiction.

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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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OO Arctic Sea Ice Is Melting In Winter - Right Now! Earlier than it has ever before been known to do so. Bad news for this polar ice cap, a major planetary thermal shield protecting us from absorbing too much heat from the sun. Provided at the Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis.

Related Headline:

OO January 2016 Hits New Low in Arctic Ice by satellite data, showing yet further loss of this major solar thermal shield for the planet.

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OO Just days after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling clouded the future of a new United Nations climate pact, the passing of one of its justices has boosted the pact's chances of succeeding. Who knows what God was thinking...

OO Scalia's Sad Death Could Be Good
News For Climate Change
- given that his conservative vote in a court of 5 conservative and 4 moderate judges was vital to placing a recent hold on Obama's Clean Power Plan, which would help limit climate-changing emissions significantly.

Holding back the plan could also chill investment in clean energy.

With the current 4 vs 4 court, any tie votes mean the lower court ruling will stand - and for the Clean Power Plan, that liberal lower court is likely to allow the plan to proceed.

Related Headline:

OO Move To Cleaner Power Continues, Despite Supreme Court's Ruling and appears to have had little initial effect on the electricity providers most directly affected by the Clean Power Plan.

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OO Australia's Financial Folly of Fossil Fuels:
$1000s Lost Yearly From Retirement Savings in Fossil Fuel Investments

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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LEDs In, CFLs Out - is likely under a new bulb efficiency standard by the US Department of Energy. LEDs now come in all shapes and sizes.

OO DOE Proposes Light Bulb Standard that would likely lead to the phase-out of compact fluorescent lights.

OO Washington State: Lawmakers Consider A Carbon Tax to tax residents and businesses on their carbon emissions.

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Credit Eugene Garcia at AP

OO China Breezes Past EU To Become Wind Power Leader installing half of all new wind capacity worldwide last year.

OO Huge Year for Wind Power in Europe - as offshore wind investments in Europe doubled in 2015, with the European Union's total offshore wind capacity now more than 11 gigawatts of power.

OO Dutch Lawmakers Call For Halt To Wood Energy Subsidies burning wood creates climate changing emissions.

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Plugging A Flying Loophole in last December's landmark Paris agreement, governments proposed for the first time to reduce climate pollution from airplanes.

OO Global Initiative Introduces First Proposal To Reduce Airplane Pollution

OO The Tipping Point
For Investing In Renewable Energy?
as oil prices bottom out and fossil fuels no longer offer strong returns, investment dollars are starting to move to renewable energy.

OO Chinese Market Electrifying For 'Green' Vehicles - as government subsidies fuel a boom in electric vehicles.

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GOOD IDEAS

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OO 12 Ways To Mobilize The Money Needed To Stop Climate Change - A panel of experts share their ideas. Takeaways:

  • Tax Wall Street
  • Remind politicians to spend tax funds on addressing climate change
  • Leverage funds to attract more funding

  • ensure pledged funding to developing countries is received
  • ensure funding gets to the right targets at the right times
  • train utilities on how to integrate clean energy into the grid

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  • offer clean energy incentives
  • tighten regulations on dirty energy
  • think long term.

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OO What These Christians Are Giving Up For Lent: Fossil Fuels - UK faith groups are helping communities switch to alternative energy.

OO Avoid Massive Tree Farms - World-wide tree plantations, soil modification or bioenergy crops could add to the planetary harm of global warming, scientist warns.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Debate 'Climate Vacuum', Redux 2012 - how the years fly and temperatures rise, but some things never change... Credit Chappatte at International Herald Tribune

OO The Presidential Race:
Debate Media Ignore Climate Change,
But DO Ask Dumb Questions
- while the country's top scientists have some very relevant questions to pose.

OO New Federal Gas Storage Regulations Likely To Mimic Industry's Guidelines which don't require emergency shutoffs or safer pipes.

OO Nearly 3,000 Climate Scientists Worldwide Condemn
Australia's Dramatic Research Cuts
- as the government plans to cut as many as 350 climate science research jobs..

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OO Most US Science Teachers Don't Understand
Or Teach Climate Change Enough
- spending an average 1-2 hours yearly to educate students on it, a recent survey shows.

Related Headline:

OO Most US Science Teachers Are Teaching Climate Change --
But Not Always Correctly

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Credit Victor Juhasz at the RollingStone

OO The Koch Brothers' Dirty War on Solar Power - as the price of solar power drops dramatically, fossil fuel profiteers are fighting its rise.

Investor-owned utilities, and Koch-brothers-funded front groups like American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are mounting a fierce, rear-guard resistance at the state level -- pushing rate hikes and punishing fees for homeowners who turn to solar power.

Their efforts have darkened green-energy prospects in could-be solar superpowers like Arizona, Nevada - and especially Florida.

Related Headlines:

OO Rooftop Solar Providers Face A Cloudier Future with losses mounting at rooftop solar companies as some states have withdrawn their support, and cheap natural gas isn't helping matters.

OO Massachusetts: State Lawmakers Let Major Solar Incentives Die

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

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The Cost of Burning Fossil Fuels? Priceless! Credit Tom Toles at the Washington Post

OO Why So Many Economists Back Obama's Idea of a Tax on Oil - because so many costly side-effects of fossil fuel burning and production aren't taken into account when assigning a real price to it - a big "market failure" that a tax could address.

OO Obama Seeks Nearly $13 Billion to Expand Clean-Energy Research by 2021, nearly doubling US investment, as part of a broader commitment to curb the effects of climate change.

Related Headline:

OO White House Details Massive Clean-Tech Spending Plan

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When the Clueless Are In Charge... Credit Lalo Alcaraz

OO Obama Plan Aims for 'Climate Smart' Economy -
GOP Congress Will Likely Kill It
- the president's push for clean energy policies in his $4.1 trillion fiscal 2017 budget is expected to be largely ignored by the Republican-controlled Congress.

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OO UN Chief Praises Canada's Trudeau For Role In Climate-Change Talks but urged him to spend more of Canada's wealth on the world's poorest people.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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When California's Agriculture Goes, So Will This... Source Wikipedia

OO California's Water Supply At Risk From Warmer Winters - and with temperatures expected to be above normal this winter, California's snowpack may once again fall short.

OO California's Driest County Despairs: No Running Water And No Solutions - Living day-to-day in a community without running water finally wore the Serrato family down.

OO Warming World Helps Spread For Zika-Carrying Mosquitos as the warm, wet conditions in which they thrive spread northward because of climate change - even into central California.

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Surrounded by an Encroaching Sea - this village will have to move as rising seas and worsening storms eventually flood their land.

OO The Relocation Costs of Climate Change:
Obama Wants To Spend $2+ Billion
- in his new fiscal budget, much of it on relocating entire coastal communities.

OO Zimbabwe Calls For $1.6 Billion In Aid To Pay For Food after a drought that has badly affected harvests and left 3 million people in need.

Related Headline:

OO UNDP Raises $60 Million For Food Aid In Drought-Hit Zimbabwe and is feeding only 1 million of the 3 million people left hungry from the recent drought.

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Imagine Driving Into That... I did.

OO More Rain, Less Snow For U.S. Winters shows a new analysis, but not necessarily less precipitation overall, although that is happening in some areas, notably California, and the southwest.

OO Global Warming: Uneven Changes Across Planet - with even the likely modest 2 degrees C rise in average temperature. Takeaways:

  • Mediterranean countries, Brazil and the US would experience a 3 C rise;
  • Arctic night temps would soar 6 C
  • Oceans and loss of Arctic ice are partly responsible for the unevenness.

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Going, Going ... as climate change blocks access to their food via proliferating icebergs. Credit D. Lewins at picture-alliance

OO 150,000 Antarctic Penguins Perished - after a huge iceberg cut off their access to the sea, forcing them to trek dozens of kilometers to find food. Scientists warn this colony of birds could be gone within 20 years.

OO Warmer Seas Speed Up Antarctic Ice Melt - New scientific studies provide a further warning of the increasing vulnerability of Antarctic glaciers to faster melting as temperatures rise in the Southern Ocean.

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Beautiful Native plants are struggling to keep up with changes around them as pollution from fuel burning and deforestation continues to warm the planet.

OO Climate Change Is Leaving Native Plants Behind shows a new California study, which means ecosystems could be unraveling -- and not just there, but worldwide.

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Collapsing Into Melting Ground will be the story for far more infrastructures in the far north, as permafrost melts.

OO Canada: Yukon To Feel Impacts Of Climate Change says a new report. Takeaways:

  • It's heated up 4 degrees F since 1965 - and 8 F during its winters;
  • Glaciers and sea ice and are melting fast;
  • Melting permafrost is destabilizing costly infrastructures;

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Wildlife Are Stressed By Climate Change, Too Credit USFS

  • Annual precipitation is rising, as are flood risks;
  • Storms are likely to worsen;
  • Stress on wildlife will increase.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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Methane Leaks Threaten US Cities as this graphic of methane leaks in Boston, MA, shows. Source NOAA, US Navy et al data at www.skepticalscience.com

OO California's Gas Leak Capped --
But Next Gas Disaster Could Happen Soon
- The question isn't if, but where and when -- and how long a community will have to shout before someone hears them.

OO Utah: Oil Sands Project Is Paused - as weak oil prices continue to discourage fossil fuel projects, showing just how much fossil fuels make the US dependent on foreign conditions, rather than foster energy independence, like clean energy.

OO Oil Firms Kept State's Gas Supply Tight To Hike Price says a consumer group about Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., of deliberately starving California's gasoline market of supplies last year in a bid to push up prices. Can you spell monopoly?

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Czechs Invest In Pollution and Climate Change - by investing in the junk energy of foreign coal.

OO Czech Billionaires Invest in German Dirty Coal - as Germany invests in clean energy instead.

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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 SMILING

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OO California Solar Industry Job Growth Reaches Record Levels - in 2015, with the addition of more than 20,000 new jobs within the state -- over half of the industry's positions created nationwide, says a new report.

OO In 20 US States Rooftop Solar Is Just As Cheap As Dirty Fossil Fuel Power - But rate design and net energy metering will determine tomorrow's solar economics, says a new analysis.

OO Going Solar? Here Are 9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Installer - the good news? $20,000 in average savings over 20 years. But before investing in solar, you need to ask prospective installers:

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Are Your Installers Certified? by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners?

  • how long have you been operating, and how much have you installed?
  • NABCEP Certified (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners)?
  • licensed and insured as a solar installer or electrician in my state?

  • subcontracting any part of it? If yes, to whom? What are their qualifications?
  • What are the electrical codes in this area, and how do you adhere to them?
  • What are the names of the module and inverter manufacturers? What are their warranties?

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Will My Installation Look Like This? Source www.solsystems.com

  • what about the racking, mounts and fasteners manufacturers and warranties?
  • names and contact information of three references for your company?
  • photos of systems you've installed that are similar to the one I want?

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Boom in Energy Storage Goes Worldwide as systems are deployed to make clean energy a reliable source of clean electricity. Source berc.berkeley.edu

OO Energy Storage Enters India's Solar Mission as a major state-owned Indian PV tender includes it as part of the smoother integration of renewables into the grid nationwide.

OO Australia Is Getting Serious About Battery Storage

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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 23, 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 much rain from reaching California, sending it into further drought.

The Arctic and North Pole are going BONKERS! Sea ice up there is now melting, even though there is little sunlight reaching the area - it's dark most of the time up there in February.

This is bad 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 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