12/29/2014 07:51 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Climate Change This Week: No Forests -- No Farming, Divine Divestment, and More!

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



Climate-Change Christmas Carols - by Ethan Kuperberg in "Shouts and Murmurs" at the New Yorker caught my eye. Okay, I admit I haven't sung any of these - but one is SO tempted!


OO 2014: Riding A Rocket, Divestment Movement Gains Momentum - there is a growing belief among global leaders, investors, scientists, and large corporations that the use of fossil fuels must be sharply curtailed--if not phased out--for the sake of future generations.

Is Straw the New Black? The good guys, Presidents Obama (US) and XI Jinping (China) are first and third, from left to right; the "sold my soul to fossil fuel darkness" ones are Prime Ministers Tony Abbott (Australia) and Stephen Harper (Canada), second and fourth. Credit: Dylan Petrohilos

OO The Good, The Bad And The Ugly:
Who Fought Climate Change (Or Didn't) In 2014


Keeping Humanity Safe with Forests. Forests help regulate global climate, so their large scale loss through exploitation could spell disaster for our agriculture and drinking water supplies.

OO Tropical Deforestation Could Disrupt Rainfall, Agriculture Globally - besides accelerating global warming. Global food production could be threatened by distorting rainfall patterns across, Europe, China and the US Midwest, says a new study.


OO 9 Things Scientists Did This Year To Ensure A Better Climate Future

> "What We Know" Report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest US scientist organization - why scientists are highly alarmed at their own predictions, including a world mere decades away that can no longer support humanity, causing an end to "modern civilization as we have come to know it."

<> 5th IPCC Assessment Report Set the Scene - for years to come; the major climate report on the planet.


Just one of many climate effects impacting the US.

><>The US National Climate Assessment Report
Broke It Down By Region
- put together by 300 leading climate scientists and experts, it found that the impacts of climate change are happening now across the US.

<><>The New Climate Economy Report
Showed Us How To Get Somewhere Better
- the sooner, the better.

Just a few of the thousands of species that comprise the vital biodiversity being lost to human activities. Source:

><><> The Living Planet Report : We're Losing Vital Biodiverty FAST

> The World Energy Outlook Report Gave Some Stark News:
We'll Enter a Climate Danger Zone by 2040
- without drastic action to cut emissions soon. One place to start is to cut fossil fuel subsidies, which do not help those that need it.

From mood lights to heatlights, LEDs are saving people, energy, money, and carbon emissions.

<> Inventors Of The LED Won The Nobel Prize For Energy-Saving Technology

><> Scientists Asked Florida Governor Rick Scott To Take Climate Action

<><> Several Studies Show Natural Gas Is No Answer to Climate Change - it's a dirty fossil fuel whose promotion delays needed investment in clean energy.




OO US Solar-Plus-Storage Market to Surpass $1 Billion by 2018

OO Scientists Demonstrate 45.7% Efficiency for Concentrator Solar Cell - at the Dept of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, one of the highest efficiencies achieved for any type of solar cell.

This concentrator cell can receive more than 1,000 suns of concentrated sunlight. It greatly improves earlier designs with an additional high-quality absorber layer to achieve an ultra-high efficiency.


OO The Desolenator Make Clean Drinking Water
From Salt Water With A Little Sunlight the solar-powered device could make the process affordable for the millions of people around the world who don't have running water.

OO India to Fund $158 Million for 1 Gigawatt of Solar Projects

OO Australia: Record-Breaking Solar Electric Car Getting Ready to Hit the Streets


Check it out here, right now!




OO Nearly $1 Billion Available for PACE Projects in 2014 - Property Assessed Clean Energy loans exploded in 2014.

OO Green Bonds Sell Big In 2014 As Finance Bids To Help Climate

OO Richard Branson Joins Forces With Amory Lovins in Climate Fight - Branson's foundation allies Lovins' Rocky Mt Institute to creat a mega-think tank for clean energy.

Source: Green TechMedia

OO Smart Thermostat Programs Roll on in Texas, Arizona and Maryland

OO EBay Cuts Ties To Anti-Clean Energy Political Group ALEC

OO India: Major Wind Manufacturer Plans to Focus on Solar

OO Scotland: 269 Sunken Turbines To Make World's Largest Tidal Farm capable of powering nearly 175,000 homes in the U.K. with 400 megawatts of power; the project breaks ground next month.

Playing It Safe With Nature's Jewels, President Obama took action to protect Alaska's coastline recently. source:

OO Obama Takes Executive Action To Protect Alaska's Coastline Forever

OO Coal Ash, Second-Biggest US Form Of Waste,
To Be Federally Regulated

For The First Time - although the regulations fall short of being adequate, say many groups.

OO Washington State: Gov. Inslee Wants To Cap And Tax Emissions
From Major Polluters

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide ban on fracking, after noting the health hazards of the process. Source:

OO New York Will Ban Fracking - health hazards drew concern.

OO California: Energy-Storage Plans Gain Ground - proposals for energy storage systems beat out hundreds of bids to construct new power plants as a way to meet peak power needs.

OO Birds Are Avoiding Offshore Wind Farms,
Study Finds

China is committed to greening itself to preserve its future.

OO Global Coal Demand Growth To Slow In Next Five Years as China, the world's biggest consumer of the fuel, takes steps to cut energy intensity and diversify supply, says the IEA.

OO China Plans Big Slowdown Of New Coal-To-Gas Projects




Speaking Out:

OO Wisconsin Green Groups Sue State
For Not Enforcing Air Pollution Standards

Adequate Funding:

OO US Power Sector Needs $2.1 Trillion in Investment by 2035, Says IEA

Important Insights

Ice pancakes are now more common in the Arctic as it melts, which could further speed melting.



Fossil Fuel Follies:

OO Forget Oil -- Fossil Fuel Byproducts Caused Major Disasters in 2014 - such as coal ash, fracking wastewater, and petcoal, far more insidious forms of pollution. ICK!

OO Ohio: 25 Families Had To Flee Homes Due To Fracking Gas Leak

OO Petrochemical Factories: The Forgotten Mega-Polluters - just like the oil and gas industry, needs to be held accountable for its emissions, says a new report.

A pipeline bursts. Source:

OO 57,000-Gallon Oil Spill In Canada
Forces Closure Of Pipeline To U.S.

OO Black Lung Escalates In China Just As Coal Use Starts To Slow

OO UK: North Sea Oil Industry 'Close to Collapse' says senior industrial leader.

Inadequate Leadership:

OO Latest International Climate Pledges Still Fall Short of 2°C Goal,
Says New Research

"The pledges made so far lead to earlier emission peaking in many countries, with 1-1.5 °C less total warming than without these policies, but not sufficient to meet the 2°C target."




@@ Last Call at The Oasis is a powerful new documentary on water scarcity, and what we can do about it, if we act now.

OO USGS: High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Declining - rising population and climate change are drawing down a major US aquifer dangerously fast.




Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Dec 28, 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 and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent much rain from reaching California, keeping it in severe 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.

Social Repercussions:

OO New York, Other Big US Cities Face More Power Outages
From Climate Change

Flooding in Colorado.Credit Nathan Cheta at Instagram

OO Tipping Point Nears for 'Emerging Flooding Crisis' - much sooner than previously thought, says a new study.

By 2050, sea level rise will create monthly flooding in more than two dozen cities, and in some of those cities, it could be daily by the 2070s.

A house sinking into the melting permafrost. Credit Bee Wuethrich

OO Alaska: Melting Permafrost Threatens Infrastructure, Homes as much of the ground beneath them, stripped of natural cover and warming up from the Brooks Range south, is becoming unstable.

OO Bad News For Florida:
Greenland Ice Melting Could Be Much Faster
than previously thought, say two new studies.

OO Climate Changes, Habitat Loss Cited As Threats To 300+ Bird Species


OO Europe's 500 Year Record Heat Directly Tied to Climate Change - say 3 different studies from different countries.

OO Persistent Warming Driving Big Arctic Changes - and in the lower 48, too, as the Arctic continues to heat twice as fast as the rest of the world..

OO Australia: Drought Hits Queensland Milk Supplies


Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

Harrison Ford checks products for palm oil. He won't buy any containing it, because producing palm oil is causing major deforestation. Will you do the same?

OO Connecting The Dots: From Christmas Cookies To Climate Change


TJ's Dark Star - My mouth waters at contemplating this, but I have given up buying or eating them these past few years, because they contain palm oil. Want to mount a campaign to ask TJs to mend their ways? Use your purchasing to send a powerful message to companies: if you turn a blind eye to deforestation, we won't buy your products! As our favorite action hero reminds us: if we all are to survive and thrive, we need to give nature a chance.

OO 300+ Million Acres Of Degraded Lands Identified For More Agriculture
That Won't Harm Tropical Forests

OO Deforestation Impacts On Amazonian River
Ecosystems Could Be Far-Reaching
- lessening their ability to support life.

OO Tropical Rainforests Not Absorbing As Much Carbon As Expected from heightened carbon dioxide levels, scientists say.

Tropical peat swamps are the cheapest way to store the most carbon, and are home to beautiful endangered animals, such as Sumatran tigers.

OO Amazonian Peatlands Store Mega Carbon - says a new study: 10 times more than undisturbed rainforest -- so their preservation is critical in fighting climate change.

OO Forests Could Be A Thrifty Way To Fight Ozone Pollution

OO New Mapping Technique Sheds Light On Dry Forests

Endemic, sometimes endangered birds in Camaroon are being threatened by deforestation.
Ondrej Sedlacek at

OO Deforestation Taking Toll On Nesting Birds In Cameroon

OO Hunting Is A Greater Threat Than Logging For Most Wildlife In Borneo

When forests disappear in Indonesia, orangutans die. Source:

OO Palm Oil Helpss Large-Scale Illegal Logging In Indonesia providing cover for the logging.

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 these tundra berries I photographed one summer. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and texts are freely available.