08/30/2014 04:56 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Climate Change This Week: Rising Health Risks and Heat, Rising Renewables, and More!

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


Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Aug 29 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, much of the US is cooler than normal, but the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent much rain from reaching California, which is hotter than normal.

The North Pole and surroundings 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.)


OO Verizon Announces $40 Million Solar Energy Investment


Check it out here, right now!


OO Cutting Carbon Pollution: Health Savings Outweigh Costs says yet another study.

OO Thanks To The Clean Air Act,
We Breathe 3 Million Fewer Tons Of Toxins Each Year

OO Major Court Ruling Clears The Way To Let Renewables Into The Grid


Large fossil fuel buring power plants may be headed towards extinction as distributed clean energy prices continue to drop, says a new economic analysis. Wikipedia

UBS Analysts: 'Large-Scale Power Stations Could Be on a Path to Extinction' reports Giles Parkinson at GreenTechMedia. Leading investment bank UBS says the payback time for unsubsidized investment in electric vehicles paired with rooftop solar and battery storage will be as low as six to eight years by 2020, potentially triggering a massive shift in the energy industry.


Pairing rooftop solar with battery storage is key, says the UBS analysis.

"It's time to join the revolution," UBS wrote in a note to clients, a pointed rejoinder to those governments and corporates that believe centralized fossil-fuel generation will continue dominate for decades to come.

By 2030, according to UBS analysts, this combination will deliver a payback time of around three years. Right now, the payback is probably around twelve years, enough to encourage the interest of early adopters.

OO Soon, Europe Might Not Need Any New Power Plants

OO Amory Lovins: As Economists Argue, Renewables Keep Getting Cheaper - says the reputable energy expert and founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute.


OO Africa Will Add More Renewable Energy In 2014
Than In The Last 14 Years Combined as renewables get cheaper, Africa takes advantage.


OO South Africa, Kenya And Ethiopia Lead Africa Clean Energy Drive

OO Architects From 124 Countries Make 'Zero-Carbon Cities' Pledge

OO China's 'War On Pollution' Sees Coal Drop For First Time In Century


Chinese have been bicycling to work for decades, so it's no surprise they lead the world in bike sharing. Wikipedia

China Races Ahead Of The Pack As Bike Sharing Goes Viral reports Flavia Krause-Jackson at Bloomberg News. By putting millions of cyclists on the road, bike-sharing is reshaping the design of cities by connecting mass transit, removing cars from centers and creating new infrastructure. Hangzhou and Wuhan in China are the global leaders; India's megacities are struggling to take off, and the U.S. is playing catch-up.


Good Trends in Funding Clean Technology writes Rob Day at GreenTechMedia. There are lots of success stories, and this is expected: as prices fall for upstream technologies in subsectors like solar, LEDs, batteries -- and especially when they are increasingly married to IT-based capabilities around networked intelligence -- the value propositions are made very attractive to end consumers.

Financing mechanism are becoming more innovative and family and corporate investors increasingly attracted to clean technology and energy. Finally, entrepreneurs are adapting to what venture capitalists want: things that can be marketed quickly, cheaply.

OO Show Me The Money: How Sustainability Creates Revenue At Bloomberg - New product opportunities result from making sustainability 'quantitative, consumable and actionable.'


Speaking out:


Thousands formed a human chain protesting coal mining across the German-Polish border. Credit: AFP photo/DPA/Patrick Pleul Germany Out

OO 7,500 Form Human Chain
Across German-Poland Border to Protest Coal Mining

OO Washington Post: A Climate For Change:
America Should Not Wait While The World Warms

General Mills and Kellogg's are starting to champion action on climate change.

OO Major Food Companies Respond To Consumer Pressure On Climate Change - Kellogg's and General Mills will join Mars, Unilever and Nestlé in signing BICEP's Climate Declaration, proving consumers can influence global supply chains

OO Lawmakers, Homeowners Fight Rules Saying Solar Is Too Ugly To Install - what's wrong with chartreuse?


OO Pope Francis Petitioned To Drop Fossil Fuel Investments - time to walk the talk, Francis.

OO UK: Advertising Standards Authority Rules Peabody's 'Clean Coal' Ad Misleading - 'clean coal' isn't clean.


OO PA, USA: Doctors Outraged That Residents
Sickened By Drilling Were Ignored
- calling for an investigation into the responsible health officials.

OO UK: Warmest Record For Jan-July Period Sparks Call For Greater Climate Action

Scientific Insights:

Understanding the Jet Stream

The actual mechanics of jet stream meandering can be compared to adding energy to a metal spring by squeezing it, notes Brian Palmer at Climate Central - when you release it, the spring boings back and forth for awhile, as it tries to restore itself to the original position. Thus, jetstream particles overshoot going south and north as they try to restore to their original position, existing before the energy of global warming was injected into the system.


OO Jet Stream Changes Driving Extreme Weather Linked Again
To Global Warming, Arctic Ice Loss
a new study says, fueling an increase in recent years of record-smashing extreme weather events and suspected that it's linked to global warming.


Global Heat Was Diverted From Air to the Atlantic -
Will Heat the Air Again in 2020s
says new research, reports Adam Vaughan at the UK Guardian. The diversion of much of the global heat started around 2000, leading some to think that global heating had slowed - no such luck.

Although global heating got diverted somewhat from the air, it didn't stop Arctic ice from melting at record rates. Wikipedia

Previous studies indicated that much heat simply got diverted into the Pacific Ocean due to a change in a decades-long weather system. A larger study of ocean temperatures now indicates much was diverted into the Atlantic.

The bad news? The weather system should switch back in 10-20 years. Then watch air temperatures really start to zoom.

Expect even more extreme heatwaves when the air heats more rapidly in the 2020s.

Related headlines:

OO Unpacking Unpaused Global Warming
- Climate Models Got It Right

OO New Study Provides More Evidence That Global Warming 'Pause' Is A Myth


The European CryoSat-2 satellite collected crucial data showing enormous ice loss. Source: ESA

OO 'Incredible' Rate Of Polar Ice Loss Alarms Scientists - An European satellite has shown ice sheets shrinking at 120 cubic miles a year in Antarctica and Greenland.

OO Greenland And West Antarctic Ice Sheet Loss More Than Doubled In Last Five Years
"That is the highest speed observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago."

Good ideas:

The remote US territory of Palau is already looking into the development of homegrown renewable energy. Source: dxing at communication

OO How US Territories Can Kick Their Oil Addiction With Renewables - most have military value and should follow the military lead, which is towards renewables.

OO Revenue-Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend:
A Potential Win for the Climate


North Carolina coal ash pollution, a growing toxic monster. WaterKeeper Alliance Inc at flickr

Weak Laws:

OO North Carolina Lawmakers Pass Weak Coal Ash Bill - claim environmentalists, and set a loose cleanup timetable, as yearly the US produces 140 million tons of toxic coal ash pollution.



Sorry, Bill Gates: Clean Energy, Not Fossil Fuels, Will Lower Poverty Far More notes energy analyst Jigar Shah at GreenTechMedia, and freely admits knowing more about energy policy than Gates, but far less about running a software giant. Gates has been getting advice on Bjorn Lomborg, a climate skeptic known for his ignorance on climate change and its effects. Time to switch advisers.

OO UK Public Ignorant Of Climate Science Consensus:Poll and underestimates the public support for clean energy - dangerous ignorance.

Fossil Fuel Follies:


Wikimedia Commons

OO Keystone Pipeline Company Sidesteps Its Permitting Fight - opting to push more oil through its already established US pipeline, with the State Department's permission. Ooooh, sneaky!

OO At Least 10% Of Fracking Fluid Is Toxic - For another 33% we have no idea. Important, because there are many thousands US fracking wells, all of which will leak at some point.

OO Michigan Is Becoming A Radioactive Fracking Waste Dump - for other states whose stricter laws prohibit the waste.

Like a giant fungus, fracking, a generator of small earthquakes in Oklahoma, is spreading its tendrils across the US landscape. Source: Safe Water Movement

OO Oklahoma Gets Hit With 20 Earthquakes In One Day
With 2,500+ small earthquakes in the past five years, nearly all linked to fracking.

OO Maryland: Fracking Threatens The Health and Breathing Of Nearby Residents - says a new report.

OO Duke Energy Spills 5,000 Gallons Of Diesel Into The Ohio River - officials worked to keep the spill from contaminating drinking water supplies.

As human population rises, it denies birds vital habitat, poisons them with pollution, and burning fossil fuels creates harmful climate change for them: 1 in 8 bird species is threatened with extinction.

Winged Warnings: Birds Are In Trouble Worldwide as rising human population denies them vital habitat, poisons them with pollution, and creates harmful climate change, all warnings for our own species, writes Alanna Mitchell at Enivronmental Health News. First in a series.

Source: Environmental Health News


Social and Health Threats:


Credit: Alexander Cahlenstein at Flickr

OO As in Past, Climate Change Could Destroy Current Civilization a new study indicates, finding that ancient climate changes doomed ancient civilizations in its presumed birthplace, the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East.

OO Global Climate Inaction Will Mean Economic Turmoil for South Asia, Warns Bank - cutting South Asia's growth by 9% by 2100, reports Reuters.


Climate change allows disease-carrying mosquitoes, like this tiger mosquito, to invade new areas, spreading the disease. Credit James Gathany

6 Ways Climate Change Threatens Health involve basic human needs, says a new study, reports Megan Darby at Responding To Climate Change:

1. Increasing blood suckers and other disease carriers

2. rising allergens and air pollution, which kills 1 in 8 people worldwide, the WHO estimates. Climate change increases wildfires, generating much air pollution.

3. heatstroke

Ggg depression from disasters, Max Boschini at flickr, ccr 240
Disasters generate depression among their victims. Max Boschini at Flickr

4. mental depression

5. malnutrition, as crops fail

6. skin cancer, as ozone levels could increase

Extreme Weather:

Record-Breaking High Daily Minimum US Temps characterize the late summer heat wave more than the maximums, but being minimums, they don't get the press that the maximums do, writes meteorologist Jon Plotkin at Decoded Science.

Nonetheless, minimums are insidious, in that warmer nights during heat waves rob human bodies of the chance to cool down enough before the next hot day begins. This can trigger more heat strokes.

As the planet warms, the atmosphere can hold more water, allowing the formation of more clouds. Clouds both absorb and reflect radiation, so their combined effect on climate is complex, but could result in higher daily minimum temperatures.

OO Heat Island Effect & Global Heating Cooking U.S. Cities - threatening health and productivity. Cities form hotspots in the temperature landscape; increased urbanization and global heating will worsen this.

California Dryin'

Credit: AP photo/Jae C. Hong

OO Drought Dries Up Tap Water For Hundreds Of Californians

OO California Has Given Out Rights To 5x More Water Than It Has - oh-oh.

OO California Drought Has Wild Salmon Competing With Almonds For Water


OO California's Drought Is Denying Forage For Honeybees threatening honey production in a major producing state.

OO Epic CA Drought Is Literally Moving Mountains - a measurable 15 mm in the past 2 years, as dramatic water loss doesn't weigh them down.

Source: CA Dept of Water Resources

@@ Shocking Photos: What the CA Drought Looks Like

OO Wildfire Burns Near Yosemite National Park, Prompts Evacuation Of Thousands - The wildfire is the third in a year to burn near Yosemite.

Map of current wildfires in the US as of August 30, 2014. You can keep tracking current US wildfires at this interactive map here at Climate Central.

OO California Is 'Woefully Unprepared' For Sea Level Rise says a new report, with a projected 3 feet rise by 2100, and billions in damage to the economy.

Ferocious Consequences:

OO 'Widespread Methane Leakage' From 500+ Vents Off East Coast - a previously unknown source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

OO Arctic Sea Ice Could Shrink Even More as melting ice increases water areas, allowing larger waves that, in turn, help break ice further.


Source: Climate Central

OO Rising Seas Could Ultimately Bankrupt New York, Miami - even current unfinished plans don't look beyond the 2050s, when sea level will rise even faster.

OO NY: Long Island Sound Becoming More Acidic


OO Pakistan's Largest City Thirsts For A Water Supply - water protests developing.

OO Europe Holiday Destinations Potential Hot Spots For Dengue Fever as climate change allows its spread there.



OO How Bad Weather Around The World Is Threatening Nutella

Forests: the cheapest way to sequester carbon

A Canadian wildfire burns away. Credit NWTFire at Facebook

Historic Wildfires Burn Through Canada As Sub-Arctic Forests Heats Up reports Jeff Spross at Climate Progress. Wildfire activity in the Northwest Territories is more than six times higher than its 25-year average, and as of August 23 a total of 162 wildfires were burning in British Columbia.

If Ghanian forests disappear, so will many of its birds. Source: The World Travel at blogspot

OO Ghana's Unique Forests 'Could Completely Disappear Within 25 Years' says study. Ghana is experiencing one of the greatest rates of deforestation in West Africa.

The fate of this beautiful snail lies in the hands of Lafarge Co, after which it was named. Source: Vermuelen et al 2014 at Mongabay.

Scientists Name New Endangered Species After Company That Will Decide Its Fate reports Tanya Dimitrova at Mongabay. Discovered near a cement quarry in Malaysia, the snail lives on a limestone hill given as a concession to an international company Lafarge, which quarries the hill As a result, the scientists have named the species after the company that will decide if it goes extinct.


OO Russia: Far East Logging Damaging Tiger Habitat,
Few Intact Forests Protected (Part I)

OO World's Last Wild Siberian Tigers Threatened By
Illegal Logging, Global Warming, Disease (PART II)
- 20-30 are poached every year as habitat is reduced and climate change makes life harder for the cat.

OO Rushing To Reforest: Communities, NGOs Work
To Save Rapidly Deforesting Ugandan Reserve


OO India: Selective Logging Hurts Rainforest Frogs decades after it happens.

OO Forest Conservation: DNA Fingerprinting Trees To Stem Illegal Logging

OO Looming Mining 'Tsunami' in Africa Threatens Forests

When Indonesian forests are destroyed, orangutans die. Credit

OO 20 Orangutan Pictures For World Orangutan Day

OO Indonesia's Forests So Damaged They Burn --
Whether Or Not There's Drought

Credit Julian Moll-Rocek

@@ VIDEO: How Humans And Nature Can Coexist is explored in this film, documenting how a vast community forest in Guatemala has prospered for centuries even as the human population grows.

OO When Forests Are Not:
the High Cost Of Chile's Tree Plantations
- which offer few of the ecological services of a forest, eg, water regulation, and store much less carbon. Vast forests have been replaced by plantations.

OO Norway Puts $1.6 Billion Into Rainforest Conservation - with effects being seen.

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 theis African flower 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.