THE BLOG
09/22/2015 10:16 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Climate Change This Week: Preserving Biodiversity, Solar Origami, and More!

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

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Froggy Ice Pop? Freezing boreal life is the norm for this live Alaskan wood frog, which freezes in winter, then thaws out in spring - but if its forest disappears, it does, too. Source LA Times

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

OO Canada: Native Tribe Fights To Save Boreal Forest - for the Cree tribe, protecting the forest also means protecting the reindeer, moose and other wildlife being pushed further and further north by logging and climate change.

More Northern News:

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Going... Gone: The Road to Extinction is playing out in the Arctic for polar bears, as their hunting grounds melt away, leaving the bears to drown or starve (left), a not uncommon sight now. Credit Kirsten Langenberger at Facebook [L]; Paul Micklen at Instagram [R].

OO Polar Bears Are Starving, Dying as their hunting grounds, the Arctic summer ice, melts away under global warming.

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Our Savings Went Where? Source imgarcade.com

OO Climate Change Can Harm Your Pension and should be considered as risks by pension managers, says a new study.

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OO The Annihilation of Nature... and Stopping the Loss is a graphic overview of how we are losing the paradise that is Earth - and how we can stop it.

Recent studies and books chronicle the dramatic decline of animals on earth, even if humanity has not chronicled the extinction (or recognition) of every vanished species. This graphic book:

  • Is the first to show how loss of biodiversity is tied to human expansion:

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The only frog known to brood its young in its stomach, the gastric brooding frog vanished in 2002, after logging changed its habitat. Go here for photos of other fascinating creatures that have vanished in your lifetime. Wikipedia

  • points out the importance of not just species but population extinctions
  • illustrates the global scale of conservation issues, from Zimbabwe and China to the US and Australia.

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500+ species of mammals, such as this Lesula monkey, have been discovered in the past decade; many of them are highly threatened, living in areas wracked by habitat destruction. Credit Hart JA, Detwiler KM, Gilbert CC at PA

  • Graphically illustrates what humanity is losing.
  • Shows how ecotourism, new agricultural practices, even hunting sometimes, help save biodiversity.
  • Emphasizes solutions, from preserving species & ecosystems to tackling overpopulation & consumption.

Preserving biodiversity is integral to preserving a decent human future.

Related Headlines:

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No More Sushi? Every piece of seafood on this platter comes from a species that is threatened by how humans are harming the oceans.

OO The Next Great Extinction Crisis Is Under Way Under the Sea - overfishing, pollution, and climate change have contributed to a devastating decline in marine life.

OO Deforestation Worldwide Declined 50+% Since 1990 -
But Are Less Biodiverse
since some of the remaining forests are new planted forests, which have far less diversity than old forests.

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World leaders are set to endorse a U.N. goal to eliminate hunger by 2030, but they will have to convince their citizens to adopt new eating habits first, experts say.

OO Kale Or Steak? Change In Diet Key
To UN Plan To End Hunger By 2030

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Deaths tied to emissions from coal cost the UK economy billions, says a comprehensive overview of coal production in Europe.

OO Burning Coal Costs UK £2.5 -7 Billion From Premature Deaths

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OO California Wildfires: Thousands Flee as Valley and Butte Blazes Force Evacuations

Related:

OO Western Wildfires Have People Gasping On Resulting Soot yet another effect of a record drought: dangerous drops in air quality that exacerbate ongoing public health problems there.

OO As Big Wildfires Become Routine, Communities Face Cascading Consequences in west and Idaho, transforming landscapes and presenting challenges.

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The State of Fire as of Sept 20, 2015 for California. Sources cdfdata.fire.ca.gov

OO California Wildfires Destroy At Least 1400 Homes - the largest, the Valley Fire, has burned 75,000+ acres.

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OO Plunging Cost of Solar,Wind Power Helped Keep Electricity Costs Down

Related:

OO Clean Power Plan Also Saves US Lots of Precious Water as it reduces emissions, as the US switches from thirsty coal powered plants to wind power, for example, which requires practically no water at all.

Important, since much of the US will be water stressed by 2030 from droughts.

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Source data.unhcr.org

Syrian Refugees Knock on Europe's Door: A Social Collapse Partly From Too Many People, Too Few Resources? This might be a foretaste of the future, says a 1970s resource model that has accuratey predicted the evolution of the world economy, resources and human population since then. Source data.unhcr.org

OO Overpopulation, Climate Change, Resources:
Worse Population Collapse Scenario Unfolding
due to resource scarcity and pollution (climate change directly results from mostly CO2 pollution), brought on by overpopulation, and consumption, says a 2014 European Commission report.

Takeaways:

  • 1970s "Limits to Growth" model has accurately predicted the arc of the world economy, population & resource consumption since then, says a recent analysis;
  • Rising resource scarcity requires more capital to extract it --> costs of resources rises sharply --> less industrial output --> leaving less money for health, while climate change yields less food --> many people dying

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Created by resource expert Dennis Meadows ("Growing, Growing, Gone" ) the model predicts:

  • 2015 as the beginning of "overshoot and collapse"
  • Death rates will rise around 2020
  • Population decline will increase to half a billion per decade by 2030

Solution: bring populations humanely to sustainable levels, and dramatically cut polluting emissions. We have the means and know-how to do it.

Related:

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Syria Ran Dry Before It Exploded as people sucked its aquifer dry and a drought enhanced by global warming made life desperate for many. Source worldpreservationfoundation.org

OO How Climate Change Is Behind The Surge Of Migrants To Europe - experts warn that the migrant flood is likely to worsen as climate change becomes a driving factor.

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@@ Evolution of a Climate Scientist: The Art and Science of Stefan Rahmstorf - an incredible scientist and photographer of unfolding climate change --check it out!

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This NASA animation shows the great conveyor belt of oceanic circulation, which is actually a major conveyor of heat around the globe via giant marine currents -- any big change would spell big changes in our weather.

OO Global Warming Could Disrupt Ocean Currents indicate two new studies, halting the flow of warm air to northern latitudes and putting parts of Europe under ice.

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OO Cities Could Save $17 Trillion Just by Reducing Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030 says a new report, with more energy efficient buildings, solar panal installations, and better public transit, for example. The emissions cut would equal the annual emissions of India.

Related:

OO Clean Energy Investments Could Save Cities Trillions Of Dollars

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Now, They Believe -- But Won't Act. Credit Michael Lukovich

OO The Republican Plot to Destroy an International Climate Agreement - the willingness of the rest of the world to act rapidly to reduce emissions has merely redoubled Republicans' commitment to destroy any cooperative structure to reduce emissions.

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California's Future Source www.solarpanelsforyourhome.us

OO California Passes a Bill Targeting 50% Renewables by 2030 - but it does not include a mandate for cutting gasoline use in half.

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OO US Drilling Boom Increasing Harmful Waste Spills that foul the land, kill wildlife and threaten freshwater supplies.

Related:

OO Texas: Fracking Boom Linked To Spills, Air Pollution

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David Letterman showed concern about climate change, as he interviewed presidential security advisor John Holdren in 2014.

OO David Letterman to Host New TV Climate Series - highlighting solutions to climate change.

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Emissions Debt: If the atmosphere is a limited resource to be shared equally by all, then those who pollute more than their fair share - that is, more than the global average - can be said to be in "emissions debt."

OO Everyone In The US, Australia Owes $12,000 In CO2 Emissions - our consumption comes at a price: the emissions debt.

Related:

OO World's Leading Polluters Have Racked Up A $10 Trillion Carbon Debt since 1990, says a new study.

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Leapfrog to Clean Renewable Power over flawed traditional energy sources, as illustrated by these relatively cheap, simple solar cookers at an African refugee camp.

OO Eight Ways To Reach 100 Percent Renewable In Developing Countries
Recognize that:

  • Clean renewables are becoming affordable, scalable, and quickest way to supply new power
  • Expanding renewables saves money
  • There's no business case for fossil fuels anymore

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Fossil Fuels: No Longer A Viable Option for the planet.

Then act:

  • Invest intelligence and money into cleanly powered microgrids
  • Get governments behind renewables
  • Use technology to leapfrog over developed nations
  • Encourage competition, but protect consumers from shoddy products

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DROUGHTS BEYOND CALIFORNIA

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Source archives.deccanchronicle.com

OO It's After Labor Day, So Why Is It Still So Hot? Climate scientists expect intense heat waves to become more common as the planet warms.

OO Climate Change Is Darkening Seattle's Water Forecast - one of the fastest-growing US cities suddenly has a long-term water problem.

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Farmer culls dried plants in a dried field. Credit Amit Dave at Reuters

OO Drought Shrivels India's Crops - as India suffers back-to-back drought years: reservoir water levels are at their lowest in at least a decade for the time of year.

OO Europe Is Parched, In A Sign Of Times To Come - under worsening global warming. Europe underwent a severe drought this summer, the worst in over a decade.

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The sharp Seven-Fold Population Growth on Earth in the 20th century has created one of the gravest global problems of present - the lack of fresh water.

OO Central Asia To Experience Water Crisis In 35 Years

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OO What Climate Change Means in Australia: Heating Up - says a new study, that shows how over a century, the ratio of hot to cold new record temperatures went from 1:1 to 12+:1; this is happening, less extremely, worldwide, and will worsen droughts.

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Could This Machine Be An Answer To Global Warming? Source www.timesofisrael.com

OO It's Hot: Could Recycling CO2 Help Solve Global Warming? Israelis have patented a device that, they say, extracts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turns it into fuel, powered by solar energy. Burning the fuel releases CO2 back into the air, completing the cycle -- and not adding more CO2 into the air.

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Credit Paul Nicklen at sam-and-paul.com

OO Southern Ocean 'Remarkable' Reviving Its Ability to Absorb Carbon - that's the good news. The bad news? Absorbing more CO2 increases oceanic acidity - not good for ocean life.

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Don't Wait Til Your Planetary Home Explodes - act now to insure a safer future for your children: elect leaders who understand this.

OO Time To Purchase a Planetary Climate Insurance Policy that dramatically lowers emissions, because the odds of experiencing far more catastrophic climate change are bigger than you think, says climate scientists Michael Mann. (You know, the scientist that climate deniers tried to silence.)

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Man-made global warming is set to produce exceptionally high average temperatures this year and next.

OO Global Warming To Speed Up In 2015, 2016 - boosted by El Nino, said Britain's top climate agency.

"It looks very likely that globally 2014, 2015 and 2016 will all be amongst the very warmest years ever recorded...

This is not a fluke. We are seeing the effects of energy steadily accumulating in the Earth's oceans and atmosphere, caused by greenhouse gas emissions."

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Imagine Mother Earth As the Truck - get the picture?

If we do not grow sustainably,
Our children will die inhumanely.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Support organizations that educate communities on family planning.

And there are many more actions you can do, right here.

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SOLAR KEEPS RISING

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OO IRS Says Individual Community Solar Investor Qualifies for Federal Tax Credit - encouraging even more community solar projects.

OO America Will Add 1 Gigawatt of Solar Every Month Between Now and the End of 2016

OO Solar Will Soon Be the Dominant Generation Source for Microgrids


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Credit Aaron Lamoureux, University of Michigan

OO Origami Inspires Improved Solar Cells by cutting and flexing a sheet of thin film solar cells, allowing them to track and absorb more solar energy -- an improvement over heavy, expensive tracking equipment.

OO National Grid CEO Says Rooftop Solar Will Supply Baseload Power with centralized power stations used to provide peak demand in the future.

State by State:

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A Hawaiian solar facility with storage. Source www.pv-magazine.com

OO Hawaii: Utility-Scale Solar with Storage Takes Hold
"This is a breakthrough project on technology and on price."

OO Massachusetts: A Bright Future for Roadside Solar Farms

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OO Nevada: A Solar Success Story - thanks to Senator Harry Reid's efforts. It ranked third nationally for solar capacity installed in 2014, and led the nation in solar job growth on a per capita basis.

OO California: Palm Springs To Save $25 Million By Going Solar over next 25 years, installing solar panels in 8 sites around the city.

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Saving Money With Solar

OO Global Solar PV System Pricing Set to Fall 40% by 2020

OO India's Prime Minister Tells Coal Power Plants to Subsidize Solar Power - what a great idea for the US!

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Source Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power

OO World's Largest Solar Park to Light Up Pakistan's Future - some 400,000 solar panels, spread over 200 hectares of flat desert will produce 100 MV of solar power; the first project of a giant joint Pakistani-Chinese economic development plan.

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Check it out here, right now!

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WHAT WORKS

Speaking Out:

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OO Canada: First Nation Native Americans Lead Protest
Against Polluting Fossil Fuel Industrial Area

OO Seattle Calls On Bill Gates To Divest From Fossil Fuels

OO Activists Occupy British Museum to Protest Fossil Fuel Sponsor BP

Good Ideas:

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Community Solar Power Shines in Vermont. Source www.vermontbiz.com

OO How Vermont Became A Clean-Power Powerhouse

OO Alabama Adds Evolution Requirement, Climate Study For Schools

OO Scientists: Replacing Old Gas Pipes Reduces Leaks - you'd think that's pretty obvious, yes?

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WHAT DOESN'T WORK

Fossil Fuel Follies

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OO Oil Boom a Loser for North Dakota Cities study finds.

OO Oil Energy Job Cuts Approaching 200,000 Worldwide

OO Melting Ice Isn't Opening Arctic to Oil Bonanza as shifts in the global energy economy, environmental opposition, and logistical obstacles dim the initial shine of this pipedream.

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OO Gulf Of Mexico Lease Sales To Offer 42 Million Acres For Drilling as Deepwater Horizon's disastrous effects linger.

OO The Disaster That Keeps On Giving: 1989 Exxon Valdez Spill Effects Linger where even very low levels of oil contamination disrupt the development of salmon and other fish.

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School Children: Future Disaster Victims? Thousands of U.S. schools sit along rail corridors used to carry toxic substances such as crude oil and would be at risk in the event of a derailment, an environmental group says.

OO Oil Train Risks Affect Many US Schools, Forest Ethics says.

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Sep 21, 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, 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.

Just writing this column was a challenge in the sizzling heat that penetrated my house here in hot, dry California.

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.

Natural Repercussions:

OO 'Disastrous': Low Snow, Heat Eat Away At Northwest Glaciers - glaciers across the North Cascades could lose 5-10% of their volume this year, accelerating decades of steady decline, to what one estimates is a 4,000 year low.

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White Death: A bleached coral may look pretty, but is useless to the fish that feed and hide within it. (Note how they cluster around the dark live one behind it.)

OO Scientists Expect Hawaii's Worst Coral Bleaching Ever saying warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures around Hawaii this year is likely lead to the worst coral bleaching ever seen there.

Social Repercussions:

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Dengue Fever Is Also Spreading in the US via mosquitoes spreading with warmer climate. Source www.euvaccine.eu

OO Dengue Cases In India At Five-Year High - climate change is believed to be making the environment more friendly for the dengue-spreading Aedes mosquitoes.

OO South Asia "At Front Lines" Of Mounting Climate Costs - think MANY billions. South Asian economies stand to lose 1.3% of their collective annual GDP by 2050, even if global temperature increases are kept to 2 degrees Celsius, experts and public officials warn.

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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 blue iris 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. 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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