Climate Change This Week: Electric Microbes, Hot Pledges, 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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The Silk Henge of the Amazon - the silkhenge spider creates what looks like a tiny silken Stonehenge to protect a single egg encased at the base of the central spire. When forests disappear, so do these wonders. Source wired.com

OO It's Not Just Coal And Oil, But Deforestation: Forests Are Key To Climate - Forest clearing releases voluminous amounts of greenhouse gases. The carbon stored in the Amazon already has dropped by at least a third in twenty years.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

Related:

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Going, Going ... It takes a few minutes to burn a carbon-storing tree, but up to a century or more to replace it - a century we don't have to avert catastrophic climate change. The destruction of the Amazon forest, the world's largest intact rainforest, increased 16% in 2015; the government struggles to enforce legislation and stop illegal clearings.

OO Destruction Of Brazil's Amazon Forest Jumps 16% In 2015 - not good news. It takes a few minutes to burn a carbon storing tree, but up to a century or more to replace it.

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Banishing Hunger: Economy, Population, Environment, Community are important factors that society must address via women's reproductive rights, the economic right to nutritious daily food, a clean environment, and the communal force of collaboration.

OO To Feed The World In 2050 Will Require A Global Revolution FD: I sleep with one of the authors. Guess which one.

Takeaways:

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thesustainablefutureblog.blogspot.com, ccr 306

Overpopulation, overconsumption and economic inequality (OOE),
both alone and in combination,
have created many large global problems
AND impede efforts to resolve these problems

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Extreme weather is increasing.

Problems include:

  1. a worsening environment (e.g., climate change)
  2. the decline and maldistribution of resources (eg, food and water)

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Hungry Haitians, earthquake victims, push against UN troops.

Resulting resource conflicts
and needs of a vast, growing population
decrease the ability of governments and other social groups
to cooperate and to deliver solutions.

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Farming Sustainably is key to feeding the world in the long term, not pushing agriculture into temporary but harmful overdrive to maximize production. Source sustainableaged.org

Solutions Include:

  • Stop excessive use of chemicals in agriculture
  • Price and regulate water appropriately
  • Focus on sustainable agriculture

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Tax Carbon, and Big Consumers, Too is crucial, since economic equality is crucial towards feeding the global population adequately in a healthier environment.

  • Tax carbon appropriately
  • Revise tax codes to limit consumption & let poor people get adequate nutrition
  • Promote health, education and rights of women globally:
Allow universal free access to modern family planning methods

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Beautiful, and Necessary - preserving vast areas of nature ensures continuing vital ecosystem services to humanity, from clean water and air to important new sources of food and medicine.

  • Preserve vast natural areas, both land and sea, to preserve essential ecosystem services and biodiversity
  • Transition to an economic system that requires payment for environmental and resource damages.

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LEADERSHIP COUNTS
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OO Pope: 'Catastrophic' If Climate Deal Derailed

OO US Federal Agencies To Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40+ % below 2008 levels by 2025, the White House announced.

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Some of the members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition -- including the University of California at Berkeley -- Go bears!!!

OO The World's Most Prominent Tech Leaders Plan to Spend Billions on Clean Energy R&D via the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

OO Governments, Investors Partner To Break Through Clean Technology Barriers Bill Gates and some of the world's other richest entrepreneurs are pledging billions for investment into clean energy.

OO California At Forefront Of US Battle On Climate Change adopting some of the world's toughest air quality standards, experts say.

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Fracking Pollutes US Water Supplies, even if the EPA neglects to report it.

OO Board Questions EPA Draft Report On Fracking noting that it did not support the conclusion that shale gas fracking hasn't caused significant damage to the nation's water supplies.

OO Most Of Britain's Major Cities Pledge To Run On Green Energy By 2050

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LACK OF LEADERSHIP SLOWS ACTION

OO First EPA Chief Accuses Republicans Of Ignoring Science For Political Gain - The man considered the father figure of environmental protection in the U.S. has harsh words for republicans.

OO Coal CEO Asks GOP Lamar Smith To Expand Probe Of Climate Scientists

OO Renewable Energy: Many Green Power Plants Planned For UK 'Will Not Be Built' after subsidies for onshore wind and solar energy were slashed, campaigners have warned.

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CLIMATE CHANGE FOR DUMMIES

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OO Short Answers To Hard Questions About Climate Change - Here are the answers - now guess the questions!

  • Earth has heated up a significant 1.7 degrees F since the 1800s, enough to melt ice and raise oceans.
  • Future generations are in big trouble: without action, Earth will heat up another 8 degrees

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  • VOTE for climate action leaders! (Oh, and also "fly less, drive less, waste less" ... that is, CONSUME LESS! Duh.) And think about creating either one or no kids. Seriously.
  • Best case but not likely scenario: Earth isn't so sensitive to climate change; life adapts; society acts effectively; tech breakthroughs occur, which help increase political will.
  • Worst case scenario: hard to imagine... some starters: collapse of food production, then civilizations.
  • Don't count on a miracle tech breakthrough.
  • 2015-12-08-1449604288-474980-statueoflibertyfloodarisingSourcefullgrownministry.comccr290.jpg
    Wet Lady? Source fullgrownministry.com

    • Oceans are currently rising at a foot a century - but that could speed up significantly.
    • Predictions aren't perfect, but grounded in solid science.
    (The track record so far? Scientists tend to underpredict change.)
    • In some cases, climate change is tied to crazy weather.
    • People question climate change because their ideology makes them want to believe it's not happening.
    • Certain people will temporarily benefit from global warming.
    • Hope lies in sharing this information with friends, and your concerns with your leaders.

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    "What pause?" Asks Polar Bears who are now starving as their hunting grounds continue to melt away. This is an increasingly common Arctic sight.

    OO Exploding the "Warming Pause" Myth - Never Was One, 40 Studies Say - in a review. Gee, only 40?

    Related Headline:

    OO Study Drives A Sixth Nail Into The Global Warming 'Pause' Myth

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    GOOD CLEAN NEWS

    2015-12-08-1449604430-1321630-EcoVoltModularReactorselectrogenicbacteriacleanwatermakepowerSourcecambrianinnovation.comccr306.png
    EcoVolt Modular Reactors have electrogenic bacteria that clean water and produce electricity. Source cambrianinnovation.com

    OO Generating Electricity As You Clean Water: An Industrial Strength Water Solution - via EcoVolt Modular reactors (EVMs). Takeaways:

    • electrogenic bacteria generate both methane and electricity as they clean water
    • both water and energy are recycled back into the company
    • only good for water with high organic content
    • an EVM generates up to 400 kW, and cleans up to 300,000 gallons of water daily
    • successful demonstrations include brew companies
    • idea came from MIT

    Cambrian Innovation is offering EVMs to relevant companies at no up front costs.

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    2015-12-08-1449604470-9542776-solarrooflandscapeTDCccr306.jpg
    A Solar Future Is Starting

    OO Clean Energy Could Fuel Most Countries By 2050, Study Shows - The main barriers to 100 percent energy from solar, wind and water sources are 'social and political,' said Mark Z. Jacobson, lead study author.

    OO Coal's Biggest US Market Is Also the Windiest - And It's Turning to Wind Power - the Great Plains states that run south from Canada to Texas are increasingly turning to cheap wind power to generate electricity.

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    2015-12-08-1449604521-4912285-beautifulhikingSourcewww.crystallodge.comccr306.jpg
    This Beats the Mall Any Day. Source www.crystal-lodge.com

    OO The Green Backlash Against Black Friday - shop? Nah, take a hike. Many more are.

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    OO 19 Nations To Double Their Investment In Renewable Energy - The U.S. and 18 other nations pledge to double their investment in renewable energy technology by 2020.

    OO Clean Energy Investment in Emerging Markets Now
    Eclipses Activity in Rich Countries

    OO World Bank Sets $16 Billion Plan For African Climate Action to help African communities adapt to climate change; threats range from food-price increases to more frequent droughts and a rising malaria risk.

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    China's central government has an ambitious green infrastructure plan.

    OO China Wants To Build Green 'Sponge Cities' retrofitting cities by recreating natural water landscapes - streams, ponds, and wetlands - that manage water and help prevent flooding. It's an ambitious plan, but the government is behind it.

    OO Canada's New Leadership Reverses Course On Climate Change in less than a month. See what a difference leadership makes?

    OO Corporate Giant Unilever To Stop Using Coal For Energy Within Five Years - It pledges to go 'carbon positive' by 2030, generating 100% of its energy needs from renewables.

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    Sunny Sweden. Source www.youtube.com

    OO Sweden Sets Goal of Fossil-Free Economy - the government has a "minister for the future" that aims to steer the country toward a fossil-free economy by 2030.

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    OO Global Emissions Nearly Stall After A Decade Of Rapid Growth - report shows, due to China's decreasing use of coal. Stalled, not stopped. We're still emitting high levels of climate changing gases.

    OO Top Democratic Pollsters Agree: Climate Change Is A Winning Issue For Democrats Support is -- or has traditionally been -- wide and shallow, while opposition has been narrow and deep.

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    REPERCUSSIONS

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    Coming Soon to a Place Near You? - there are now mosquitoes in the US that carry West Nile virus, and warmer temperatures are allowing them to spread.

    OO Rising US Temperatures Mean Insects Can Carry Viruses To Wider Areas

    OO Virginia: Climate Change Threatens Trout - What About Your State? At least 3 types of fish, two prized by anglers, are now recognized at risk.

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    Glacier National Park Source 99traveltips.com

    OO As It Gets Hotter, Many US Glaciers Could Vanish
    In A Few Decades

    OO Is The 2 °C World A Fantasy? No - It's Likely

    Related Headline:

    OO The Magic Number

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    OO Climate Change Sends Chile's Wine Industry Southward - as vintners in the world's fourth largest wine exporter are watching some of their promising vines wither with climate change.

    OO Laos Counts The Cost Of Climate Change: Record Floods, Drought And Landslides

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    Dhaka Drowning? With multiplying impacts of climate change - increasing floods, cyclones, and drought - thousands of climate refugees are migrating to this Bangladesh city, which, well beyond its carrying capacity, is bursting at the seams.

    OO Bangladesh: A City of Climate Refugees Is Collapsing

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    Somali pastoralists long accustomed to a harsh environment are reeling as drought and cyclones lay waste to their herds and leave families weak from thirst and hunger.

    OO Somaliland: Climate Change Is Now A Life-Or-Death Challenge

    OO Climate Change: Stories From Around The World - from fishermen in Galicia to Ugandan coffee farmers and disappearing islands in the Pacific, communities around the world are hoping for action. Here are some of their stories.

    OO Northern China Is Suffering Under A Cloud Of Heavy Pollution Bigger Than Spain

    OO Chinese Report On Climate Change Depicts Somber Scenarios as if the air pollution wasn't bad enough. Envision:

    • Rising seas besieging vital costal zones
    • Conflicts on the Himalayan frontier over dwindling water supplies
    • Giant infrastructure, like Three Gorges Dam, strained by intense rainfall
    • And more, much more...

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    2015-12-08-1449604972-5564066-coralbleachinggreatbarrierreefTDCccr306.jpg
    A Ghostly Sight That's Spreading as rising water temperatures are leading to the widespread bleaching and death of beautiful corals here in the Great Barrier Reef, and worldwide.

    OO Coral Reefs Worldwide Now Face An Unprecedented Threat including Australia's Great Barrier Reef from climate change and this year's El Nino.

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    Small Fry to Fry as their nursery sands heat up. Source pinterest.com

    OO Panama Turtle Eggs Could 'Fry' From Rising Temperatures - before hatching, baking in their nursery sand beaches.

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    OO The Dirty Side of Electric Cars: When Coal Runs Them -Alongside the boom has come a surging demand for power to charge the vehicles, which can consume as much electricity in a single charge as the average refrigerator does in a month and a half.

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    GOOD IDEAS

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    Taxing Turkey? Source www.healthymommyhappybaby.com

    OO More Support For a Climate Change Meat Tax Than Thought a study shows. Growing meat creates as much climate changing emissions as vehicles do.

    OO Poor Nations Need Support To Cut Emissions From Farming - via the right technologies and financial support to put them into practice, researchers say.

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    OO Better Batteries A Key To Beating Global Warming - by storing solar and wind energy for when it's needed, allowing the widespread use of these sources of clean renewable energy.

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

    @@ Myth vs Truth: The Huge Value of Contraception is an incisive, heartfelt recognition of the value of contraception by Sarah Brown, CEO, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

    Unintended Pregnancy Costs US Taxpayers:

    Unintended Pregnancies Cost US Taxpayers Nearly $11 Billion Yearly
    - the Guttmacher Institute

    Teen Childbearing Alone 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 DANCING

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    OO France, India To Launch Global Solar Alliance aimed at eventually bringing clean and affordable solar energy within the reach of all.

    OO Solar Power May Be Cheaper Than Coal In India By 2020 - up to 10% cheaper than coal power, some experts say.

    2015-12-08-1449605149-1369548-SmartflowerpopsolarpanelinstallationSourcewww.smartflower.comccr306.jpg
    A Smart Solar Flower - opens up in the morning and starts harvesting solar energy. Source www.smartflower.com

    OO Watch Your Garden Grow ... Into An Energy Saver - the Smartflower POP is a solar flower that claims to be the world's first all-in-one photovoltaic system.

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    Source www.wieserelectro.de

    OO Germany: Residential Solar Rooftop and Storage for $11,000;
    Community Solar and Storage Available, Too
    - Sonnenbatterie is offering both packages. Takeaways:

    • one step closer to home energy independence
    • system pays for itself within 12 years
    • monthly service fee about20
    • allows customers to share energy and save money
    • only available in Germany for now. Dang. Stay tuned.

    OO How A Fast Solar Power Project Is Lighting Up Rwanda - from contract to connection took less than a year, and is providing 8.5 megawatt (MW) of power. It highlights both solar energy's increasing affordability, and how nimble it can be.

    OO Solar Panels on All Dubai Roofs by 2030 says the government as part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to make Dubai a global center of clean energy and green economy. A $27 billion fund will be created to provide low-cost loans for investors in Dubai's clean energy sector.

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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, Dec 8, 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. From my Berkeley window, I watch a light drizzle, and dream of so much more...

    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 dwarf Arctic rhododendron I photographed one summer tundra day. 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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