Climate Change This Week: Breaking Clean Energy Barriers, A Hot Year and More!

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

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Forests Store Both Carbon and Biodiversity like this Asian cup moth caterpillar. Source flickriver.com

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

OO US Forests Will Store Less Carbon As Growth Is Cancelled By Losses due to pests, wildfires and droughts worsened by climate change, for example, predicts a new study.

This could undermine U.S. goals to cut carbon emissions.

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Conserving Forests Is Key to cutting carbon emissions, and represents one of the quickest, lowest cost and most non-controversial approaches to solving the climate problem.

OO The Imperative Of Forest Conservation

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@@ Fascinating Predatory Glow Worms in the Peruvian Amazon - a cool video of forest caterpillars that act like deep sea angler fish, using bioluminescent lures to attract prey. Note the powerful jaws waiting for the unwary insect drawn to the eerie forest light.

OO Deforestation May Threaten Majority Of Amazon Tree Species, study finds, and in turn threatens fascinating biodiversity, like the glow worms above.

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Deforesting Biodiversity threatens more than half of all tree species in the Amazon, a new study suggests.

OO Extinction Threatens Over Half of Amazon Trees Species -
What You Eat Affects That
especially over the next 30 years.

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2 New Major Clean Energy Initiatives:

Breakthrough Energy Coalition, and
MISSION INNOVATION

OO A Big Win For Cheap, Clean Energy - Bill Gates announced the creation of 2 new initiatives:

Mission Innovation a commitment of 20 major national economies (so far), to invest more in research on clean energy;

Breakthrough Energy Coalition a global group of private investors, representing several billions in capital, who will support companies that are taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace. BEC will interact with MI.

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Besides Bill, BEC investors include the magnates of Facebook, Salesforce, Amazon, LinkedIn, HP, various others -- and the University of California at Berkeley - Go Bears!!!

Their mantra: Make More Clean Energy, and Money

Related Headline:

OO UC Joins Bill Gates' Clean Energy Coalition With $1 Billion Investment

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MORE CLEAN ENERGY NEWS

OO India Secures $100 Billion for Renewable Commitments in 2015

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Anatomy of a Biodigester - Cheap Gas, No Fracking Involved. Mining waste, rather than creating wastes from mining. Source www.biodigester.com

OO Biodigesters: Turning Poo Into Cheap Gas without fracking to do so.

US gas could be far cheaper and greener, using sewage, a valuable resource, this way.
Takeaways:

A Vietnamese farmer set up one:
  • fueled by 4 pigs and family waste
  • cost less than50 to install
  • paid itself off in a few months
  • needs little maintenance
  • produces more than family needs
Elsewhere:
  • UK starting to turn sewage into gas
  • most of Britain could supply natural gas to the grid from sewers

OO New York: Gov. Cuomo To Order Large Increase In Renewable Energy By 2030

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@@ The Fixer -- Clean Power Plan? Really? SNL has nothing over this hilariously cool flick - brought to you by the good folks at LCV

OO Clean Power Plan: Governors Resist, But Not Utilities responsible for making the cuts. Why? "Everybody is moving in this direction anyway," said one utility CEO... the clean energy direction, that is.

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WATERY WORRIES

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Less White, Less Water Later as snowpack is an effective way to store water on a massive scale; Sierra snowpack in California in 2013 and 2014 offers a stark illustration. NASA

OO In A Warming World, More Rain Can Mean Less Water Countries 'may need to prepare for a world where the snow reservoir no longer exists,' researchers say.

Related Headline:

OO Billions Of People Depend On Water From Shrinking Snowpacks drainage basins fed by rain and snow are declining in many parts of the world, researchers report.

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Wheeler Winds Down As the climate changes, disappearing snow and ice on Wheeler Peak -- Nevada's second-highest mountain -- raise concerns about the future of water in the state.

OO Nevada: Disappearing Wheeler Peak Glacier
Is A Barometer For Climate Change
Less snowpack means:

  • Less runoff to recharge the surrounding aquifer
  • Less vegetation, food and water for wildlife
  • Less water for agriculture
  • Less water for ranching
  • More wildfires and floods are likely

Similar stories are unfolding across the nation's parks.

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Folsom Lake, Before and After. Because of California's record drought, its lakes and rivers are shrinking. Credit Google Earth, CA Dept Water Resources

OO California's Vanishing Lakes:
A Climate Change Cautionary Tale
for many cities across the planet that rely on lakes and reservoirs.

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Mexican Mennonite Farmers Migrating as Mexican farmers in general are drying up their aquifer on more and thirsty crops. Source bigbendnow.com

OO Leaving But Not Learning, Mexico: Farmers Drain Land Dry & Leave ...To Repeat, Elsewhere
- Takeaways:
  • traditional & Mennonite farmers are emptying their aquifer
  • the aquifer will likely dry up in 20 years at current rate
  • fighting has begun between these farmer groups over water
  • Mennonites are moving to Argentina and looking elsewhere

Migrant Mennonites will farm elsewhere -- but use water sustainably?
Remaining Mexican farmers face a dry future.

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OO US Thirst For Oil Straining International Freshwater Supplies disproportionately across the globe, says a new study, especially in the developing world.

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Ice to Water: This area near Goose Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada, has morphed from mostly permafrost to mostly wetland.

OO Concern Grows:
Runaway Global Warming From Melting Permafrost
- as frozen soil melts, releasing climate changing carbon emissions that will, in turn, promote further global warming and melting.

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A Cycling Rainbow: Commuters in Portland, Oregon. Source www.bloomberg.com

OO Expansion of Bicycling Worldwide
Would Cut Climate Change Emissions 11%,
Save $24 Trillion
- and we're only talking about increasing bicycling from 1% to 7% of urban US mileage.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Kurdish soldiers fighting against the Syrian regime.

OO Syria War Linked To Climate Change: Britain's Prince Charles said recently, and to the global warming that creates it.

OO Climate Change > Worsens Drought > Food Shortages > ... Social Unrest?
South Africa
- South Africa's severe drought may prevent many farmers planting this year and could lead to food shortages, social unrest, and stall land redistribution.

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Children Go Hungry in Zimbabwe, where 80% of maize comes from small-scale farmers; extreme weather has severely depleted stocks of food in many homes.

OO Zimbabwe: School Dropout Rate Rising As Drought Boosts Hunger

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Not As Green As One Wishes, growing marijuana indoors uses a tremendous amount of energy. Source www.tokeofthetown.com

OO Mushrooming Monster Energy Eater:
Indoor Marijuana Farming
is taking off as states legalize its sale. But just growing 4 mature plants uses about as much power as running 29 refrigerators around the clock.

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THE KEYSTONE CRUSADE CONTINUES...

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As Keystone Died, Many Other Pipelines Grew such as this one in Alberta. Credit Enbridge Energy

OO With Pipeline Stopped, Fight Ramps Up
Against 'Keystone Of The Great Lakes'
Groups are urging US State Dept. scrutiny of an Enbridge pipeline they say is moving twice the amount of tar sands oil into the U.S. than it's permitted for.

OO Canada: Stung By Keystone Reversal, Alberta Doubles Down On Renewable Energy The rejection was a "major wake-up call" from the U.S., ultimately leading to the announcement of an aggressive climate-change plan recently.

OO California Attorney General Urged To Investigate Exxon Over Climate with a law that allows the AG to pursue securities violations.

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What A Mouthful: of a Port Jackson shark, subject of a study showing how badly sharks will fare in warmer, more acidic waters. Many kinds of sharks act as oceanic recyclers, culling out the unfit, and maintaining balance among competing species. Source 2011.underwaterfestival.org

OO Climate Change Threats: Consider The Shark - a recent study found that warmer, more acidic water will blunt sharks' famous ability to hunt by scent, while increasing their energy needs, spelling disaster for the creatures and affecting food chains.

Far more life forms on land and sea are feeling the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on their habitats.

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CLEAN ACTION NEWS

OO US EPA Intends Tougher Downwind Air-Pollution Rule In 23 States

OO Cheap Fix to a Costly Problem:
Upgrade New York Building Heating Systems To Cut Emissions
and save on energy costs, urges a new study.

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Bye-bye, Big Oil for now; may you never come back!

OO Following Shell Oil, Oil Major Statoil Will Also Exit The Alaskan Arctic as low oil prices dim potential profits from Arctic drilling.

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Heatstroke Wave: 400+ people died of heatstroke in Karachi, Pakistan in June 2015 during a severe heatwave, likely to increase in intensity and frequency under continued global warming. Source Fox News

OO Heat Stress: The Next Global Public Health Crisis? Farm workers's deaths in Central America are being linked to heat stressed kidney damage. Researchers warn of far worse to come.

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CLEAN SOLUTIONS

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OO Building Green Cars Greenly:
Tesla's Gigafactory Will Be a Net-Zero Energy Consumer

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The Machines Behind the Submarine Storage Source Toronto Hydro

OO Canada: Firm Project Uses Giant Underwater 'Balloons'
to Store Clean Energy


Takeaways:

  • Clean energy can be stored as compressed air underwater
  • Compressed can be used to drive electric generators
  • A zero emissions system
  • Half the cost of best batteries
  • Lasts twice as long as batteries

OO Canada: Alberta to Introduce Carbon Tax estimated to
generate US $2.25 Billion in annual revenue.

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Religion Needs A Revolutionary Shift, taking responsibility for our "common home" and rejecting fundamentalism, to point humanity to better, wiser solutions for problems like climate change, said religious leaders meeting recently.

OO A 'New Deal' Of Sorts For Religion

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THE HEAT IS ON

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OO October 2015 Becomes First Month To Cross Key Global Warming Boundary October was so warm that the records themselves set records.

  • Hottest October on record
  • Greatest heat deviation from the monthly average ever recorded
  • Almost certainly ensures 2015 will be the hottest on record
  • Helps 2015 average temperature be 1 degree C above preindustrial levels, highest recorded
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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Credit Michael Lukovich

OO Most GOP Candidates Flunk Climate Science - say a panel of scientists.

In contrast, two of the three Democratic presidential candidates are A students. See a pattern here?

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Credit Clay Jones at claytoonz.com

OO As Congress Probes Global Warming 'Pause,'
Actual Temperatures Surge


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Credit Mike Luckovich

OO Republican GOP Senators Vow To Block US Climate Aid,
To Undermine Paris Climate Talks
- they are blocking the first US payment of $500 million to the United Nations climate fund.

Related Headline:

OO GOP Grasps For Leverage Over Paris Climate-Change Deal by blocking US aid to the climate fund. Gee, thanks, goppers - politics over pollution protection!

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OO Senate Passes Resolutions to Kill Obama's Power Plant Rule a symbolic action, given that Obama can veto their resolutions; it simply shows how adamant GOP senators are about not improving air quality.

OO Britain Pulls the Plug on Renewables baffflng environmentalists, business leaders and even many government allies.

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GROWING CURTAINS FOR COAL

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OO 'To Hell With the Fossil Fuel Industry,' Says Bernie Sanders
calling for Republicans to abandon the corrupting influence of the Koch brothers and other wealthy energy magnates.

"This is a party that rejects science and refuses to understand that climate change is real," he said of the GOP during the annual Blue Jamboree in North Charleston, S.C.

OO Britain Calls for Closing of Coal-Fired Power Plants by 2025

OO Major Step Forward:
Rich Countries Agree To Slash Export Subsidies For Coal Plants
- it's a beginning...


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Solar Power Is Best Answer to Energy Poverty It is an increasingly affordable clean energy source spreading throughout rural communities in developing nations worldwide - and replacing kerosene lamps. Source sunnymoney.org at cleantechnica.com

OO Coal Is Not Solution to Energy Poverty, Say Agencies - current energy policies that focus heavily on coal risks leaving a billion people without access to electricity and 3 billion without access to clean cooking facilities by 2030.

The analysis comes as a new report suggests consumption of coal for power is likely to have peaked in 2013 and is set to decline2-4% in 2015.

OO Global Coal Consumption Likely Has Peaked, report says, although coal still provides about 40% of the world's electricity.

OO Turkey: In Coal Country Turks Rally For Coal-Free Future as the G20 summit starts there.

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If we do not grow 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

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community.

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

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SOLAR KEEPS SURFING

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OO White House Pushes Community Solar as Rooftop Alternative as it recently hosted a summit to figure out ways to expand retail solar power beyond traditional rooftop arrays.

OO Flying Robots Are the Future of Solar - and enormously valuable as drones for utility-scale PV maintenance and data collection, says a new report.

OO Global Megawatt-Scale PV to Surpass 390GW by 2020 - with more than half of that operations and maintenance market arising in the last two years.

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OO Strong Funding for Solar Finance, Technology and Startups
Despite Stock Market Carnage

OO Stock Up While Stocks Are Down:
Solar Stocks Continue to Plummet
in a 'Bizarre Confluence of Contradictory Events'
- including influence from the unconnected oil market, which supplies a different energy demand.

OO US Residential Solar Would Likely Plummet Without Tax Break

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OO Brazil Gives Go-Ahead to 53 New Solar and Wind Farms

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Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Nov 30, 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.

The world has just experienced the hottest October ever recorded, and heading towards the end of what is almost certain to be the hottest year recorded ... yet.

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.

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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 tree with a tale I photographed one summer in the Rockies. 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.

As she panted through forest,
Howls of hounds
Echoed closer, closer..
"Enter," whispered Aspen,
Torso split wide.
And she did...

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