The Blog

Climate Change This Week: Vanishing Life, Solar Power Boom Year, and More!

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

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

And the chances of Donald Trump's family and fortune surviving climate change are small, dwindling daily and irreversibly.


Saving BUB, Beautiful Unique Biodiversity, as in the blooming orchids and flowers in this gorgeous video, is another reason to preserve carbon storing forests: 10% of all plants are endangered, a percentage growing as natural habitats are being wiped out by exploding human populations. Screen capture

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon


Credit Rhett Butler, mongabay com

OO Indonesia's Richest Are Deforesting It For Palm Oil
- And Helping Drive Climate Change
- nearly half of the 32 Indonesian billionaires listed in Forbes magazine have made their fortunes at least in part from palm oil, and that includes 6 of the country's 10 richest. They sit at the top of a very unequal society... much like the US.

  • The expanding industry is decimating the country's rainforests,
  • fueling a land-grabbing epidemic,
  • desiccating Indonesia's vast peat swamp zones,
  • that fuel disastrous fires yearly, and blanket the region in a choking haze.


Burning Up Our Future - as Indonesia sets fire to its peatlands (mostly) and forests, to clear them for the most lucrative agriculture: palm oil plantations. Source

  • The entire planet suffers as resulting carbon emissions
  • Add to toxic air pollution and global warming,
  • And as we lose important carbon storing systems.
  • Ultimately, the future of rich and poor alike
  • will be destroyed by the
  • Avalanching effects of global warming.


Forests Can Be Pandora Boxes Of Pathogens - We break them open at our own risk. Credit jarO at flickr

OO How Tropical Deforestation, Land-Use Change,
Is Driving Emerging Infectious Disease
is highlighted in a recent study of a global pathogen:

  • 250 known human emerging (new/newly increasing) infectious diseases are known
  • many have been traced to tropical rainforests, especially freshwater aquatic systems;
  • one such is the Buruli ulcer [BU] pathogen.
  • When deforestation destroyed a freshwater food web,
  • It destroyed top predators first -
  • allowing lower food chain organisms, hosting the BU pathogen, to increase -
  • the disease then increased in local human populations.


A Single Explosion of a Pathogen Can Spread It as the Zika virus has shown.
Source Center for Disease Control and Prevention

  • As deforestation increased further,
  • host organisms decreased;
  • Then both pathogen and human disease decreased.

Even a temporary explosion of a pathogen, however,
can result in its expansion (eg, the Zika virus),
or economically cripple an already struggling developing nation.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.





Cheetahs Are Racing Towards Extinction - one of the fastest animals on earth is no match for exploding human populations that are destroying its habitat.

OO Vanishing: The Extinction Crisis Is Far Worse Than You Think -

In all of Earth's history, there have been five mass extinction events.
The sixth is now underway,
Driven by the global scale of the human enterprise.
It can be stopped:
experts say we have the solutions we need.




OO Coffee Belt Feels Climate Squeeze - Takeaways:

  • Small-scale farmerrs grow most of the world's coffee;
  • They now face falling production and quality
  • due to rising temperatures and extreme weather.


Imagine That's Squid Instead replacing the fish in this iconic English dish, fish n chips. But squid have much less of the omega 3 fats vital to human brain health. Source

OO Fish Suppers Undergo Sea Change In UK as squid replace the fish; in the oceans, climate change appears to have benefited squids immensely.

OO Meeting Global Climate Target May Up Fish Catch
By 6 Million Tons Yearly
if countries abide by the Paris Agreement global warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, a new study has found.

  • But if we do not ultimately stop heating and acidifying oceans,
  • Through burning fossil fuels,
  • Humans could drive most types of fish to extinction.


Oysters Are Also On the Climate Chopping Block - especially in the US northwest, where acid waters make growing the babies difficult. Source

OO Atmospheric Rivers Fueled By Climate Change
Could Decimate Wild Oysters In San Francisco Bay
- vis freshwater flooding from extreme storms, as happened in 2011, well before warming acidifying ocean waters do so.



@@ Jon Stewart's 2014 Climate Protest Coverage,
& Hilarious Takedown of Climate Deniers
- okay, class, get out your paper mache and baking soda so we can show how climate science works to these nice people on the House Committee of Space, Science, and Technology - yes, yes, you're right, Bobby, there's mostly space between their ears...

Seriously, folks, it gets right down to clarifying to these IQ-challenged humans their confusion behind melting ice cubes in a glass...



Donald Trump's Children Likely Face Climate Apocalypse in their lifetimes; the likely crash of civilization that follows will crash their fortune and survival chances for their kids - and all of ours. Unless, of course, Trump acts to cut emissions, hugely. Source

OO Scientists Are Frantically Copying US Climate Data fearing it might vanish under Trump.

OO Trump Vows To Boost Drilling And Fracking;
Foes Turn To Courts


OO Exxon Now In Charge Of US Climate Diplomacy - With Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, also a former head of a Russian company, as Donald Trump's choice to head the State Department.

OO Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson Is, Strangely, The Most Pro-Climate Trump Nominee - coming from a company that is struggling to come to grips with its role in global warming.


Credit David Horsey at the Los Angeles Times, modified

OO Fiends Of The Earth - Trump's Climate Denial Team - Highlights:

  • Secretary of State: CEO Exxon Rex Tillerson, who oversaw misleading the public on climate change over the past decade or so...
  • Secretary of Energy: Rick Perry, who likes Texas wind, but loves fracking and pipelines; climate change is a conspiracy, he says...
  • Secretary of the Interiror: Ryan Zinke, who says climate change is real, but would love to open public lands to more fossil fuel fracking. I guess he wants to spread the joy.

This comprehensive piece also covers numerous other minor figure; the team threatens to corrode any US efforts to act on climate change.

OO Trump's Transition: Climate Deniers Guide Every Agency Dealing With Climate Change


Credit Michael Lukovich

OO Climate Denial Rides Trump's Coattails To A Roaring Comeback

OO The Oil And Gas Industry Is Quickly Amassing Power In Trump's Washington

OO As Trump Signals Climate Action Pullback, Local Leaders Push Forward - say governors and mayors.



@@ Climate Change 101: Why Care?
What You Need to Know
- Bill Nye tells it all in five minutes amid graphic, dynamic, engaging, compelling imagery. Check it Out!




Beautiful Green Portland, OR Source

OO Portland Bans New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure In Stand Against Climate Change using a zoning ordinance, the Oregon city bans new projects and expansion of existing facilities.

OO Texas: EPA Proposing More Emissions Restrictions



Credit NASA

OO New NASA Imagery Shows How Fast Glaciers Are Melting - containing nearly 70% of the world's freshwater, they are slowly slipping into the sea, and raising sea levels.

But --

OO Trump Likely To Scrap NASA's Climate Research - worries a senior NASA official, as Trump selects a climate denier to lead it. This will rob the US of finding out just how fast the planet is changing from global warming.

OO Shrinking Mountain Glaciers Are 'Categorical Evidence' Of Climate Change,
Scientists Say
Smaller glaciers worldwide are also steadily shrinking - and scientists say they constitute some of the clearest signals of climate change on the planet.


Source NOAA

OO 'The Arctic Is Unraveling,' Scientists Conclude after latest sobering climate report, with unprecedented warming that has sent the Arctic into uncharted territory.

OO Incredibly Thin Arctic Sea Ice Shocks Researchers - it acts very differently from just 10 years ago, breaks up far more easily, and melts much faster.

OO Warm Ocean Water Is Melting The Biggest Glacier In East Antarctica scientists confirm. It's the Totten Glacier.




OO Fossil Fuel Divestments Now Represent $5.2 Trillion A record number of investors have agreed to - or already are - kicking fossil fuels to the curb and investing in clean energy.

OO Emerging Markets Now Deploy More Renewables
Than Developed Nations
- the center of the clean energy universe has shifted.

OO America's First Offshore Wind Farm Spins To Life - The Block Island Wind Farm paves the way for more offshore wind projects elsewhere along the US east coast.



OO California Adopts Nation's First Energy-Efficiency Rules For Computers

OO Michigan Passes Legislation To Boost Renewables Mandate which the governor plans to sign into law.


OO Bill Gates Pushes Green Energy On Call With Trump,
While Building $1 Billion Fund
- the fund will emphasize investing in clean energy innovations.

The thing is, Bill: we already have enough innovations - now we need the gigantic investment in building clean energy sources.... Come on, Bill, take a BIG leap!

OO Australia: Queensland's Largest Solar Farm Plugs Into The Grid A Month Early

OO Luxury Giant Corp Will Cut Emissions 50% by 2025 - Kering owns high-end fashion brands including Gucci, Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney.




OO Study: Miami's Causeways Highly Vulnerable To Sea-Level Rise

OO San Francisco: King Tides Expected To Have More Impact As Sea Levels Rise


OO Why Britain's Coast Is Doomed - rising seas and storms; during the 2013-14 winter, storms:

  • generated the maximum recorded sea level at 20 of the 40 tide gauge sites around the UK,
  • and the largest number of extreme sea level events in any season in the last 100 years.

OO For South Asian Policy-Makers, Climate Migrants Still Invisible - Crop failure, rising sea levels and flooding all caused by climate change is pushing migration like never before in South Asia, says a new study.


A Risky, Often Lethal Ride - to a better life is sometimes the only choice open for people whose lives have been dismantled by climate change and violence. Source

OO Heat, Hunger And War Force Africans Onto A 'Road On Fire' - men and boys on the highly risky migrant trail out of countries like Niger and Mali say fickle rains and hotter days leave them no option.


The Future Dries Up for many farmers in Africa, forcing many to become refugees. Credit Josh Haner at the New York Times

OO Africa At Highest Risk Of Major Economic Blow From Future Climate Threats -

  • Countries most dependent on agriculture are also
  • at high risk of experiencing changes in climate over the next 30 years
  • and face the biggest costs in dealing with the effects of extreme weather,
  • says a new global climate index.



OO NASA Just Created A Stunning New 3-D View Of CO2 and how the potent climate changing gas moves through the atmosphere, thanks to NASA scientists, satellites and supercomputers.

OO Tackling New York's Rising Power Demand With An Affordable Housing Microgrid The solar-plus-storage-plus-fuel-cell project showcases what utilities can do when they have the right incentives.

OO Breathe Less ... Or Ban Cars:
Cities Have Radically Different Responses To Pollution
- When thick smog recently hit, Londoners were advised to avoid exercise, while Parisians got free public transport. Which is best?


Pre-Cooked Beans Cut Firewood, Keep Forests as women need far less wood to reheat the beans, - and far less time to gather the wood and cook the beans.
Credit Pius Sawa at the Thomas Reuters Foundation

OO Pre-Cooked Beans Could Turn Down Heat On Africa's Dwindling Forests - as factories pre-cook beans for mass distribution, it greatly reduces the firewood needed to reheat them, the cooking time, the levels of cooking pollution, and the levels of local deforestation.

OO Time To Focus On Cutting Manmade Methane Emissions which are growing faster than any time in the past two decades, most likely coming from food production, says an international team of scientists.

OO Scotland: Orkney Building A Hydrogen-Based Energy System,
Using The Wind And Ocean
- Scottish isles look to store and re-use excess generation from a tidal test bed.


What A Fossil Fuel Investment Looks Like once it's burned: climate change and toxic pollution.

OO Transparency Should Be Fossil Fuel Companies' New Normal,
Say Climate Risk Experts
- economic experts unveil a set of recommendations to protect investors.



@@ A Simple And Smart Way To Fix Climate Change given by Dan Miller in 2014 at a Ted talk suggests a way to profit as we tackle climate change, by finally charging those who sell and use fossil fuels - and distributing the revenues back to all of us.

The strategy is sure to speed transition to clean renewable energy. What's not to like? Check it out!




Polar Vortex: Expect More of These US Deep Freezers - as a heating Arctic loosens the jetstream up there, allowing it to loop deep into the US, bringing Arctic weather with it.

OO Global Warming's Fingerprints Seen In 24 Weird Weather Cases in 2016 says a new scientific report. All studied heat related events were worsened by climate change.

OO Everglades' Water At Risk From Sea-Level Rise, Scientists Say Climate change and other hurdles mean it will take more water - and potentially more taxpayer money - to save the Everglades, says a new study.

OO Killer Whales And Greenland Sharks Could See Polar Bears As Prey warn polar experts. Polar bears are already threatened by receding levels of ice and dwindling food sources in the Arctic.




"We're facing big financial structures that are at odds with the survivability of our world," said CA Gov. Jerry Brown, and none know it better than the scientists under siege for uncovering the emerging reality of climate change. A group of them staged this demonstration on the city hall steps of San Francisco during the meeting.

OO 'The Time Has Never Been More Urgent':
At The World's Largest Earth Science Event
- For some, the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union - the largest Earth and space science gathering in the world - was a call to action.

California's governor, Jerry Brown, addressed the scientists, telling them, "the time has never been more urgent or your work ever more important. The danger is definitely rising."

"We're facing big oil, we're facing big financial structures that are at odds with the survivability of our world. It's up to you as truth tellers, truth seekers, to mobilize."

OO 'An Epic Mistake':
Environmental Groups Fume Over Rex Tillerson Nomination


OO Actor Leonardo Dicaprio: Climate Action Is
US's 'Biggest Economic Opportunity'
in its history, no matter who holds political office, said the Hollywood star and environmental activist.





OO Reversing Course, EPA Says Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water

OO Despite Oil's Collision With Climate Change,
Exxon Still Stepping On The Gas
- extracting and exporting it. And we're letting them do it.

OO Pipeline 150 Miles From Dakota Access Protests Leaks 176,000 Gallons Of Oil - Native American tribes and environmental activists have warned that a similar spill from the Dakota Access pipeline could contaminate water supplies for the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.


This Is What 24 States Want More Of?? - whether they realize it or not, they will get more of it with more freedom to emit fossil fuel emissions, which worsen dangerous weather and increase asthma rates, especially among the young.

OO 24 State Coalition Urges Trump To Kill Obama's Carbon Emission Plan the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's strategy to combat climate change and shut down coal-fired power plants. But is it really the people of those states who want this, or the fossil fuel industry supported lawmakers of them?

OO Black Coal, Thin Pickings:
China's Miners Are Sick From Coal, And Losing Jobs

OO Highways Shut, Flights Grounded As Smog Blankets China's Tianjin



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

@@ How Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Teen childbearing cost US taxpayers $9+ Billion in 2010
And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother.
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community:
publicize where women can access affordable contraception.


They can go here to find locations:


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



OO The U.S. Solar Industry Is Booming -- and It Isn't Afraid of Trump - Takeaways:

  • 2016 was biggest U.S. solar industry boom year yet
  • with a record-breaking 4,000+ megawatts of solar capacity added in the third quarter alone;
  • the fourth quarter is on track to surpass it,
  • with continued growth expected through the rest of the decade.

OO The Solar Industry Has Paid Off Its Carbon Debts - that is, all the energy that goes into making a solar panel, vs. all the clean energy it generates over its decades lifetime.

Solar panels are a much cleaner investment than any fossil fuel, and the energy they generate are just as cheap in many areas as climate changing fossil fuels. Will we learn in time?

Check it out here, right now!




Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Jan 1, 2017


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: although Pacific waters off California are now colder than normal, the effects of the warm spot (now centered further south) linger: high levels of toxin in Dungeness crab from the gigantic algal bloom earlier in 2016 limit the season's crab harvest.

Despite recent rains and a wetter winter than last, the drought persists in much of California, and the snowpack, vital to storing water for agriculture, is below normal.

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.



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 wild flower I photographed one spring. 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.

Here's to a Bright New Year in a Brave, New World!