05/02/2014 02:25 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Climate Change This Week: Hot Action, Forest Drones, and More!

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

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures May 1, 2014


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, the west coast is unusually hot while the mid and eastern parts of the US are slightly cooler than normal, possibly due to the extreme storms there, causing flooding in many places.

The North Pole and surroundings (that big orange spot) 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.

(Add 0.3-0.4 C to have these anomaly values calibrate with those of NASA.) Daily updates of can be seen here for both the temperature anomalies map, and the jetstream map. For real time animated US surface wind patterns, click here, and here, for the planet. (Clicking on "earth" there reveals data and map options.)



US solar capacity grew 400+% in the past four years. Rooftop solar installations have zoomed and with evolving home energy storage, some (includng utilities themselves) wonder if utilities will become obsolete; others counter that utilies can reposition themselves as energy traders and backup.


Credit Dennis Schroeder/NREL

And the US solar residential gold rush continues: SunPower reported another strong quarter and teamed with Google to bring $250 million into financing residential solar, as it expanded its market in Japan and China. Sun Power and Sungevity raised $42 and $70 million respetively, the latter announcing it can now deliver instant price quotes (no visits necessary).


Check it out here, right now!

Sounds good, but more financing tools are needed to open more solar panel projects to investment.

Meanwhile, the rush is fueling the US solar electronics market, expected to reach $300 Million in 2017. Electronics and installation continue to improve, making solar power ever cheaper.


California has passed the 100,000 solar roof mark, pushing the utility PG&E to call for a sustainable solar policy that will continue solar's phenomenal growth. A Happy 60th Birthday to the Modern Solar Cell - you've come a long way, baby...



General Electric plans to invest $1 Billion annually in renewables, starting with India's solar market.

Clean renewable wind power dominates planned new US electric capacity, but dirty coal and gas still dominate US energy sources; we've got a lot more work to do, folks!



OO What it Takes to Finance Efficiency

OO Single Family Investment Firms: a Unique Financing Resource for Renewables


OO Ohio's Clean Energy Programs Save Customers $2 For Every $1 They Spend

OO US Cities, Communities Creating Green Economies Locally

OO Green Nudges: Can Smileys On Your Utility Bill Reduce Global Emissions?


Source: Wikipedia

OO Making Jet Fuel Out Of Garbage -- A First

OO An App That Publicizes Wasted Energy

OO Over 300 US Universities, Colleges Have Gone Green... And Counting

Helen Slottje, 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize Winner, and fracking fighter. Screen capture at

Goldman Environmental Foundation Divests From Fossil Fuels announced its president, John D. Goldman, at its recent 2014 awards show, joining a host of other major foundations that have done so.

The awards event honored grassroots activitsts from around the world, including Helen Slottje, who has helped nearly 200 New York rural communities and fueled a movement to pass community fracking bans. Saw and heard it with my own eyes and ears, folks!

OO UN Releases 'Multiple Choice' Of Options For 2015 Climate Deal

OO China's Legislature Moves To Crack Down On Polluters - why doesn't the US do this?


The most comprehensive newsfeed on climate change online.

For more news on our changing climate around the world, click here.



OO US Military Told To Boost Renewables In Energy Policy Overhaul

OO US Leads Falls In Developed Country Greenhouse Gases - but not far or fast enough!

Want To Stop Climate Change? Take The Fossil Fuel Industry To Court writes Dan Zegart at The Nation. A recent study concluded that 990 companies are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the world's CO2 and methane emissions. Just like big tobacco, these companies can be brought to court to be held accountable. Major green legal firms are taking notice.

"You really need the science to do anything legally," says Sharon Eubanks, the former head of the Justice Department's "tobacco team," ... [but] "You need a legal theory that fits the facts and can survive attack in a real courtroom."


Big Carbon is thought to be taking this very seriously, too: a federal appeals court found in 2005 that US cities and even individuals suffering damages from climate change had standing to sue under the National Environmental Policy Act. Time to balance those scales of justice!

OO Landmark Ruling: Fracking Company Must Pay $3 Million To Sickened Family


The Beef With Beef:
12 Strategies Could Drastically Cut Agricultural Emissions
says a new report, writes Jeremy Hance at Mongabay. Halving meat consumption alone in Europe could reduce greenhouse gases from agriculture up to 40%. But other strategies, including cuts in food waste and using farmscapes to store carbon could increase those cuts to 90%. So, try going easy on the meat - for your health and the planet's!


OO The Explosive Growth of California's Drought in 1 Chart

OO Drought Now Covers Every Last Inch Of California

OO Study Links California Drought To Global Warming

OO Climate Change Threatens California's Air Quality, Report Says

Meanwhile, back east.... OO Deadly Tornado Outbreak, and a "stalled hurricane"


A washed out highway in Pensacola FL after 2 feet of rain fell, bringing floods and deaths. Source: @oliverrhudy1 at WeatherNation facebook.

OO Extreme Whiplash: California Wildfires to Biblical Floods Out East - Pensacola, FL got extreme rainfall, floods and death as a severe thunderstorm stalled over it, dumping 2 feet of water in one day.

Paul Douglas, WeatherNation meteorologist, noted (personal communication) that "Ironically, these severe T-storms ... soaked up some of the moisture that should have helped to spawn tornadoes over Alabama ... they also disrupted the low level wind flow, making large tornadoes less likely. But Pensacola paid the price instead."

In this brave new world of climate change, folks, someone is always going to pay the price...

OO Hot West, Cold East May Be The Norm As World Warms



MOTHERS OUT FRONT are trying to get everyone in Massachusetts to switch to clean energy, from government down to every household.

Don't live there, but sympatico? Sign their Declaration of Protection for Our Children Against Climate Change here, created by over 230 mothers, and spread the word - we need this movement in every state!

*This news, via Iowa State Senator Robert Hogg of Iowa Climate Advocates:

*PLEASE CALL YOUR CONGRESS MEMBER to support 2014 climate legislation; you can get their phone numbers here.


*The GREAT MARCH FOR CLIMATE ACTION has now crossed California and Arizona, more than 700 miles, and it entered New Mexico earlier this week. How many steps will you take? For more details, or to support, go here.

*CITIZENS CLIMATE LOBBY continues to grow its district-by-district organizing for a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend proposal - now in 300+ Congressional districts. For details, go here.

Its national conference and lobby days will be in Washington, DC, June 22 - 24. Can't attend? Please participate in a Congressional Phone-A-Thon, June 23 - 27, to urge your Congressional members to support a carbon tax or pricing carbon legislation.


*OO INTERFAITH POWER & LIGHT - National Conference May 4 Through 7, provides another opportunity for people of faith to call on Congress to support climate action.


OO How To Use The Bible To Save The Planet

OO UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon Urges Voters To Push For Tough Climate Action



OO HARVARD DIVEST SIT-IN has started; like them at facebook here and show your solidarity: sign their petition urging Harvard to divest here.



Action updates:


Teenagers Sue US Govt for Decent Climate, seeking to establish the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate for the youngest and future generations. Their May 2nd DC Circuit court hearing has been cancelled, but the panel of judges will still deliberate the case on May 2 and the decision will be issued thereafter.

They ask you to sign their petition here, supporting our right, and future generation's rights, to a just and sustainable world.


OO Cowboys and Indians Unite On Capitol Hill In Keystone Protest



Even elephants can't survive on oil. Credit: Mary Ellen Harte

OO All Of North Carolina's GOP Senate Candidates Are Climate Deniers

OO GOP Koch Brothers And ALEC Expand Fight On Clean Energy Users


OO Oklahoma: Utilities Hit Homes Using Solar With Extra Fee

OO Explosion At Natural Gas Plant Forces Evacuation Of Wyoming Town



OO Jimmy Carter Slams Koch Brothers For Funding Climate Denial

OO Billionaires' Showdown: Tom Steyer Challenges Kochs To Keystone Debate


OO Green Groups Urge U.S. To Drop Solar Trade Case Against India

OO Florida Senator Holds Miami Beach Hearing On Rising Sea Level



Mount Everest. Credit Ryszard Pawłowski at Wikimedia Commons.

OO Climate Change: Why Mount Everest Is Shrinking And Riskier

84,000 Lives Threatened By Sea Level Rise In New England and billions in properties, a new analytical tool at Climate Central shows, reports Joanna Foster at Climate Progress. A combination of rising seas and storm surges means that New York City could flood every 4-5 years, a 20x rise in risk since the mid 1800s.

OO Western U.S. Faces Bigger, More Frequent Wildfires



OO Grocery Chain: 95% Of Our Fresh Produce At Risk From Climate Change

OO Brutal Brazilian Drought Forces Starbucks To Pause Coffee Purchases


Warming oceans may make this a rare and far more expensive treat as warmer ocean temperatures prevent lobster young from thriving.

OO Baby Lobsters Are Disappearing, Possibly Due to Warming Oceans

OO The Face of Adaptation:
Brushing Teeth With Sewer Water As Texas Faces Drought

OO Pollen Vortex?' Long Winter Worsens Allergies In Spring



Deforestation robs tiger cubs of their homes. Credit Keven Law at Wikimedia Commons.

Forests supply important nutrition to local people says a new report, but they continue to shrink: NASA satellites show that the Congo rainforest, the second largest in the world, is browning.

After widespread deforestation, China is finally banning commercial logging, while Myanmar (aka Burma) bans timber exports to save its remaining forests.

New ideas in forest conservation include: monitoring deforestation, through crowdsourcing and drones. And OCCUPY, as indigenous protesters have, Peru's largest Amazon oil field.

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 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 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.