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Mary Ellen Harte: Climate Change This Week: 400,000 Call For Climate Action, Hottest August on Record and More!

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

Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Jan 16 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 bakes in unusually hot temperatures; the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent much rain from reaching California, sending it into further 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.

(Add 0.3-0.4 C to have these anomaly values calibrate with those of NASA.) Daily updates of can be seen here for both the temperature anomalies map, and the jetstream map. For real time animated US surface wind patterns, click here, and here, for the planet. (Clicking on "earth" there reveals data and map options.)


Solar Getting Cheaper, Attracting More Investment reports Seth Zuckerman at ClimateCast. The price of rooftop solar dropped up to15% in 2013, says a new report, continuing a trend that has seen prices cut in half since 2009, and continues in 2014.

The prices bolster the business case for US residential and commercial solar, which is seeing a 50% increase this year in private investment.

Check it out here, right now!

More Solar Headlines:

OO Indoor Air Pollution Kills Millions But Solar Could Help Save Them - with solar ovens and lights for the developing world's poor. Here's how.

OO Duke Energy Commits To Largest Solar Farm East Of Mississippi

OO Wisconsin: Push To Impose Extra Fees On Solar Customers Draws Outrage - "It would not only end solar but remove the economic viability for any renewable energy in Wisconsin."


OO Unsubsidized Renewables Increasingly Rival Fossil Fuels - says a new cost analysis; fossil fuels are becoming expensive, dirty energy fossils.

OO Five US States Leading The Distributed Energy Revolution And Profiting From It by laying out the regulatory groundwork needed to attract business and the bucks - New York, Hawaii, California, Massachusetts and Minnesota. To the other 45: Game On!

Source: AP/Julie Jacobson

Leaders Announce Climate Actions Ahead Of UN Summit reports Seth Zuckerman at ClimateCast to cut carbon pollution. Obama rolled out a potpourri of projects to boost renewables and reduce energy demand, including new efficiency standards for air conditioners, and touted voluntary commitments from big business to phase out a climate-tweaking refrigerant.


California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of bills to promote more CA electric cars, while New York Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled plans for $1 billion in energy retrofits for municipal buildings and pressuring landlords into reducing energy use.

Related Headlines:

OO White House Commits $68 Million To Boost Solar, Cut Greenhouse Gases

OO Obama Administration Unveils Plan To Improve Efficiency In Hotels

Broad Base Of Nations, Investors Back Carbon Price reports Seth Zuckerman at ClimateCast. More than 70 countries, seven states, and three Canadian provinces, collectively responsible for over half the world's global warming pollution, went public Monday with their support for the World Bank's call for a price on carbon.

The statement, signed by all three West Coast states, also won the backing of investors managing $24 trillion in assets, even as demonstrators massed on Wall Street in opposition to continued reliance on fossil fuels.

Smart meters and solar houses, as these in Hawaii, mean big savings for everyone. Source: NREL

OO 50 Million US Smart Meters and Counting - over 40% of households have smart meters--and the benefits are rolling in for many.

OO More US Coal Plants Are Retiring Than Previously Thought says a new government report.

OO Vermont: Largest City Gets All Its Power From Wind, Water, Biomass - and Burlington is benefiting.


Speaking Out:

400,000 Strong: History's Largest Climate Demonstration Calls For Climate Action - Up to 400,000 people marched through Manhattan calling for climate action September 21st, reports Seth Zuckerman at ClimateCast, representing the diverse faces of the climate movement, and the many messages they brought to it.

Rockefellers, Descendents Of Big Oil Founders, Say No To Fossil Fuels reports Seth Zuckerman at ClimateCast. The $860 million Rockefeller Foundation said that it will divest of fossil fuels, citing both the "moral and economic dimension" of investing in companies whose activities contribute to global warming.

Divesting from coal is not just a good moral move, but a good economic one, too. Source: apcdaily

They join 180 institutions with assets worth more than $50 billion that have vowed to sell off their fossil fuel energy stocks. Not a bad investment move, too, given the bleak news about coal plant retirements, falling exports, problematic leases, and China's diminishing appetite for coal

OO Denying Climate Change 'Will Cost Us Billions Of Dollars,' US Budget Director Warns

Good Ideas:

Source: Weyvalleysolar OO Putting Solar Panels On School Roofs Could Dramatically Up US Solar Capacity - says a new report, adding 5.4 gigawatts to US solar capacity. What a great lesson for all of us!

OO How To Build Your Own Wind Power Generator From Scratch

Or, if you live in Malawi, collect some discarded timber, and get to work, as one man did.

William Kamkwambas caught the wolrd's attention when he built this first of several wind generators to power his village. Wikipedia.


Fossil Fuel Follies:

OO How Fossil Fuels Make Inequality Worse - Jobs, health, safety, or concentration of wealth: fossil fuels help the well-off at the expense of the less well-off.

OO USGS: The Fracking-Earthquake Connection Is Real - just the latest in a string of studies that have suggested injected wastewater from drilling is migrating along dormant fault lines, changing their state of stress, and causing them to fail.

OO Coal Miners' Black Lung Disease At Highest Level In 40 Years just 15 years after it was "virtually eradicated."


OO Study Links Water Contamination To Fracking Operations In Texas, Pennsylvania

OO UN Data on Population Growth is Bad News for Climate A growing population has serious implications for food security, political stability − and climate change.

Population Explosion Lowers Chance Of Managing Climate Change says a new study reports Tim Radford at Responding To Climate Change. It's very likely (80%) that our population will explode through 9 billion to 12 billion or more by 2100. Such catastrophically unsustainable levels will also seriously threaten the underpinnings of our civilization.

OO Chinese Now Emit More Carbon Per Capita Than Europeans - highlights another population-connected dilemma: as populous developing nations prosper and consume more, emissions levels accelerate. A new study notes that carbon emissions continue to rise to record high levels. Delaying Action:

OO Three Decades Until Carbon Budget Is Eaten Through - if current trends continue, we'll blow past the world's 3.7°F warming goal in 28 years.


Planetary Warming Will Cost US In Fire And Farmland says a new study, reports Seth Zuckerman at ClimateCast. Global warming could increase the cost of U.S. wildfires by $60 billion a year.

The same warming trends will shrink the snowpack that feed the spigots of California's Central Valley, whose worsening drought is described vividly in National Geographic, and where residents' wells are drying up as farmers sink deeper pipes in pursuit of a falling water table.

OO Coca Cola, Heinz, Other Major Food Companies Warn Climate Change Threatens Business

OO In Washington D.C., Record-Breaking Floods Could Happen Yearly

Despite the colors on this map, it isn't a rosy picture of the world. NASA

OO NASA: Hottest August Globally Since Records Began In 1880 - the globe just keeps warming.

OO Natural Disasters Displaced 22 Million People Last Year, 3 Times More Than War - floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts and other hazards now cause twice as many people to lose their homes as in the 1970s.

OO Pakistan: 150,000 Stranded Kashmiris Face Disease Outbreak After Historic Floods

Restricting Personal Freedom:

OO Southern California Heat Wave Forces Schools To Cancel Outdoor Activities OO Oregon: Residents Warned To Avoid River After Potentially Toxic Algal Bloom Heat, drought and extreme rainfall could make harmful algal blooms like this more common.

KEEPING CARBON STORED: FORESTS UPDATE Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

Logging plans for a remote tropical island threatens the existence of this marsupial, the Woodlark Cuscus; Woodlark Island is its only home. Source:

OO Extinction Island: Plans To Log Half A Tropical Island Threaten Many Species including ones not yet discovered.

OO 'To Save the Planet, Don't Plant Trees'? NOT, Scientists Say in response to a bizarrely illogical NYTimes essay - and they use the author's own data to support their argument.

OO Brazil Cancels Tapajos Dam Auction Due To Indigenous Concerns

OO The Cheap Option On Climate Change: Recognize Indigenous Rights To Forests

Orangutans die when forests are destroyed for palm oil plantations. Rhett Butler/Mongabay

OO Palm Oil Giants Announce Deforestation Moratorium -- Effective Immediately - although previous such commitments by such companies have not stopped the purchase of deforesting palm oil.

OO Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' Donuts To Cut Palm Oil Linked To Deforestation from their supply chains.

Indonesia Finally Ratifies Transboundary Haze Agreement in Asia reports Loren Bell at Mongabay, after 12 years of delay; a big move, since Indonesia has been a big source of hazardous international air pollution from 1000s of forest fires yearly. Over 1000 fires burn there right now. OO Changing Climate Threatens Boreal Forests, a Major Part of Worldwide Forests - disrupting important fire cycles and threatening to leave behind the evergreens that now dominate it.

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 African wildflower I photographed recently. 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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