THE BLOG
01/19/2015 12:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Climate Change: 2014 Hottest Yet, Oceans Threatened, Solar Trees, and More!

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

2015-01-19-averageglobaltemperaturestimelineatthenytimesccr260.png

OO 2014 Breaks World Heat Record - both NOAA and NASA, federal US science agencies, agree it is the hottest year our planet has experienced since 1880, when records began.

New Record is Remarkable in that previous global heat records were helped by the effects of the El Nino climate cycle; scientists say this new record is fueled primarily by global warming from fossil fuel burning.

2015-01-19-harlequinshrimpsealife480xanimaltheory.blogspot.comccr260.jpg

Just one of the colorful amazing - and yes, valuable - sealife threatened by humans, the harlequin shrimp.
Source: animaltheory.blogspot.com

Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says reports Carl Zimmer at the New York Times. Analyzing data from hundreds of sources, scientists conclude that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and ocean life through habitat destruction, pollution and climate change.

2015-01-19-fictionalbooksonclimatechangecollapsenaturesendccr260.png

Climate Change Undermines Democracy, say science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway via their new novel, The Collapse of Western Civilization since it leads, unchecked, to an increasingly catastrophic environment that threatens civilization and favors autocratic nations, which can act far faster and coherently to safeguard populations - assuming, that is, the autocratic leaders are intelligent, responsible and compassionate.

But if you're looking to change peoples' minds with a more gripping piece of science-based fiction, check out Nature's End by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka. Although written in 1987, the reviews of it make it sound eerily prescient of where our world is headed today... and more likely to grab those who are sitting on the fence.

SOLAR KEEPS DANCING

2015-01-19-solarkeepsdancingonthebeachatflickrccr260.jpg

Flickr

OO A Solar Power System Is Installed in America Every 2.5 Minutes - the high rate in 2014 was the result of $15 billion of investment.

OO Solar Accounted for Nearly Half of 2014 Global Clean Energy Investments - China's solar industry boosted total investment figures.

OO A Cheap Solar Cell, Perovskite, Reaches 18.4% Record Efficiency - made from cheap materials, it promises to bring down solar power even further.

2015-01-19-StrawberryTreeBlackfreesolarchargingforeveryone3fficient.comccr260.jpg

Strawberry Tree Black is a public structure already in place in eastern Europe, and spreading. It offers free wifi and charging for mobiles 24/7. Is this something your community can use?

OO Strawberry Tree, World's First Public Solar Mobile Charger, Also Offers Free Wifi - and works 24/7; 3fficient Company is set to bring this to the US. Let your community in on the action! More info here.

OO US Company Supplies the World's Biggest Privately Owned Battery - to a citizen in Hawaii, a market ripe for solar-plus-storage as grid disruptor.

OO Four Of The Top 10 US Residential Solar Installers Now Offer Energy Storage

2015-01-19-rooftopsolar638x408installationAPphotoJerryMcBrideccr228.jpg
AP photo, Jerry McBride

OO Florida: Republicans Lead Ballot Initiative to Boost Solar Power - Conservatives For Energy Freedom wants to increase access to solar power on the principles of free market and consumer choice.

OO Pakistan Approves a National Net Metering Policy including grid-connected solar energy, rooftop solar installations and mortgage financing for home solar panels to boost uptake of clean energy.

2014-01-31-geostellargetcleanenergy.png

Check it out here, right now!

*
*
*

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

2015-01-19-highspeedtrainCaliforniaOaktreeBatWikimediaCommonsccr260.jpg

OO California: Groundbreaking Marks Beginning Of High-Speed Rail In America

OO Boston-Power Aims to Rival Tesla With Gigawatt Battery Factories

OO Massachusetts Awards $18 Million for Microgrids, Energy Resiliency - microgrid money starts to snowball in the US Northeast.

2015-01-19-chevyboltconcept2015EVelectricvehiclew200michargeslate.comccr260.jpg
Source: slate.com

OO General Motors Is Taking On Tesla With $30K Chevy Bolt EV - coming to market in 2017.

OO How Georgia Became the Biggest Electric Vehicle Market in the U.S. - tax incentives, carpool lane access, and cheap electricity helped.

2015-01-19-smartglassbuildingCreditViewastartupccr260.jpg

Smart glass changes to 4 different tints, depending on incoming sunlight, to reduce glare and heat, thereby saving energy on lighting and cooling in buildings. Credit: View

OO US Company, View, Raises Another $75 Million for Smart Windows - which can greatly reduce energy use in buildings.

OO South Korea Launches World's Second-Largest Carbon Trading Market - second only to the European Union's cap-and-trade program.

OO Iceland's Verne Global Lands $98 Million for Efficient Data Centers - plenty of clean geothermal power, a cool place for hot computers: Iceland is a natural data center hot spot.

OO Denmark Sets World Record For Wind Power Production - in 2014 when it got nearly 40% of its overall electricity from wind.

*
*
*

WHAT WORKS

Speaking Out:

OO Majority Of U.S Coal, Canadian Tar Sands Must Stay Underground To Meet Climate Goals says a new analysis.
"One lesson of this work is unmistakably obvious: when you're in a hole, stop digging." Says activist Bill McKibben

OO Stanford Professors Urge Withdrawal From Fossil Fuel Investments

Informed Leadership:

OO US President Obama Will Veto Keystone XL Legislation

OO EPA Moves to Count Methane Emissions from Fracking - proposes a new rule to require energy companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions from their fracking and natural gas operations.

OO EPA to Create CO2-Slashing Plan for States That Won't

OO Florida: Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Ban Fracking
Citing Health And Environmental Concerns

2013-12-08-smog659pxBeijing_Forbidden_City_SmogacreditBrianJeffreyBeggerlyviawikimedia_resize.jpg

Smog over the Forbidden City in Beijing, China . Credit Brian Jeffrey Beggerly via wikimedia commons.

OO China Says It Will Make It Easier To Sue Polluters - for environmental groups, a big step given how bad pollution is there.

*
*
*

WHAT DOESN'T WORK

Fossil Fuel Follies:

OO Shell Agrees To Pay $83 Million For Devastating Nigerian Oil Spill - The original offer was as low as $6,000.

OO A First: Scientists Prove Fracking Caused A Sizeable Earthquake - enough to be felt by people.

Robbing Taxpayers:

OO Coal Companies Sell Coal To Themselves To Get More Govt Subsidies - it's being described as a fundamental shift in how the coal industry does business. Oh, really?

Dirty Habits:

OO When Temperatures Plummet, Greenhouse Gases Rise -
Especially When You Idle Your Car
- According to the Energy Information Agency, cold weather was the main reason carbon dioxide emissions rose by 2.5 % domestically in 2013.


Rising Greenhouse Gases:

OO 2015 Begins With CO2 Above 400 PPM Mark - 50 parts higher than is considered safe to avoid catastrophic climate change.

2014-07-06-populationmatters2green.png

Islands As Harbingers show another dark side of overpopulation, report Paul and Anne Ehrlich at MAHB.

"Humanity is rapidly remodeling all of Earth toward the island model... converting most natural habitats into mere islands in seas of human activity."

2015-01-19-orangebelliedparrotcredPaulEhrlichccr260.png

The orange bellied parrot of Tasmania: one of many species nearing extinction. Credit: Paul Ehrlich

And even those "islands" have been modified by us. With less habitat, populations of most species are declining in both numbers and size.

2015-01-19-extinctnearlyspecies570xin2015ccr259.png
Nearly extinct species. As populations blink out, so do the ecosystem services they supply to humanity: the climate-regulating, freshwater supplying, pollinating, pest-controlling kinds of services.

2015-01-19-cuteboychildwithbutterflyw725atpublicdomainimage.comccr260.jpg
But beyond the services mentioned above, are "the ethical and esthetic services that are important to the psychological survival of many of us." Public-domain-image.com

What Can You Do? Support organizations that promote family planning and women's reproductive rights in the US and worldwide.

Practice family planning.
Discuss the topic with your family, friends.
Make it a voting priority.
Get involved.

*
*
*

YOU CAN ACT
Act Local, Vote Global

OO Obama's Keystone Veto: Proof That Climate Activism Works says Bill McKibben.

** Let's make 2015 the year the world vows to leave fossil fuels in the ground for good.
Institutions and individuals have already divested $50 billion from the fossil fuel industry. The US conversation around the future of fossil fuels is changing dramatically A new study confirmed that around 80% of fossil fuels do indeed need to stay underground. Will you help keep them there?

It's clear that fossil fuels are history - be part of that history:
Join Global Divestment Days, February 13th-14th.

Click here to find an event near you or start your own. It's going to be beautiful, powerful, and not a moment too soon. Take a look:

*
**
*

2015-01-19-deniersarenotskepticsiconccr260.png

*** Rejecting Climate Change Facts Is Denial, Not Skepticism:Tell the Media

Scientists should practice and promote scientific skepticism.
But those who reject the facts on climate change are not skeptics -- they're deniers.

You can join scientists in telling the media here to stop misleading the public: stop referring to deniers as skeptics. They are not.

*
*
*

WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

2015-01-19-anomaltempjan182014.jpg

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Jan 18, 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, most 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.

2015-01-19-droughtirrigationaditchinCAAPphotoJaeCHongccr237.jpg
AP photo/Jae C Hong

Expect More Damaging Extreme Weather for Central US Farming says a new analysis in the Journal of Geophysical Research. It's not so much a change in the total amount of precipitation, but how it will be delivered: more intense rainstorms with longer, hotter and drier periods in between.

And that, says study author and scientist Keith Harding to meteorologist Paul Douglas , will make it more difficult for soils to retain enough moisture.

OO Climate Change Messing with Mother Nature's Timetable

OO US Is On A Hot Streak : 18 Years of Above Average Temperatures - despite the cold snaps that have visited parts of the US each winter.

2015-01-19-asnortheastUSfreezestherestfriesweatherbellatclimatecentralJanuary2015ccr260.png
Just because the northeast US is cold, doesn't mean the rest of us are...

While the US Northeast Freezes, Much of the World Fries reports Brian Kahn at Climate Central. The US West, Canada, Australia, and a huge chunk of Eurasia, from the Mideast through central Russia, are experiencing abnormally warm temperatures, which add to the overall trend of record-breaking hot years and spots around the globe.

Related headline:

OO Yes, It's Cold. Global Warming Is Still Real.
The most meaningful thing that this U.S. cold snap proves is that it is winter.

OO Hotter, Unfriendly Skies Could Decrease, Delay Flights

2015-01-19-sealevelriseriskMiamiBeachmansionsInesHegedusGarciaatflickrccr260.jpeg
Miami Beach seaside mansion: the next Atlantis? Florida, New Orleans, New York, and other coastal areas will sustain trillions of dollars in damage as rising sea levels flood infrastructure.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia at Flickr.

OO 10 Riskiest Spots to Build Your Seaside Home

OO Prepare For Rising Migration Driven By Climate Change, governments were told by Norwegian Refugee Council, which monitors refugee levels worldwide.

*
*
*

KEEPING CARBON STORED: FORESTS UPDATE
Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

2015-01-19-deforestationRiausumatraRhettButleratmongabaycom.jpg
Deforestation in Indonesia. Credit Rhett Butler at Mongabay.com

OO Indonesia: Half Of Deforestation Occurs Outside Legal Areas - good conservation need good government enforcement to stop the ongoing high loss of forests.

OO Flores, Indonesia: Coffee Farmers Help Protect Forest

OO Indonesia: Traditional Farming Technique Preserves Soil, Forest

2014-05-16-orangutanorphanKalimantan2009RhettButleratmongabaycom.jpg

When palm oil plantations replace forests, orangutans die. Credit Rhett Butler at Mongabay.com

OO Indonesia: Palm Oil Threatens Community Forest in Borneo

OO Indonesia: Borneo Community Maps Forest To Thwart Timber Companies

OO Indonesia To Weaken Peatlands Protection To Support Plantations - bad news for the world, since peat stores vast amount of carbon.

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 flowers I photographed recently. 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.

2015-01-19-DSCN860421wildAlstromeriaECIMLaCruces.jpg