Climate Change This Week: Humanity Is Drying Out, China Goes Cleaner, and More!

Climate Change This Week: Humanity Is Drying Out, China Goes Cleaner, and More!

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

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

When Forests Go, So Do These: An African forest butterfly is just one of numerous beautiful creatures living in threatened forests in Africa. Credit Adrian Hoskins

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

OO Corruption, Poverty Hinder Fight To Save Africa’s Forests as poverty fuels corruption, which hinders enforcement of regulations.

OO Congo Basin Forest Restoration Restarts With New Scrutiny – Protecting increasingly threatened forests there will require cash, and African governments enforcing their own forest regulations while pulling their people out of poverty, donors said on Tuesday.


The largest Amazonian animals disperse seeds for the largest trees. As hunters kill them off, the big trees will also disappear… this can happen elsewhere, study authors warn.

OO Loss of Big Animals Reduces Forests’ Carbon-Storing Capacity says a new study.



@@ A Race to the Bottom of the US Bread Basket – the largest US Aquifer, the Ogallala, which fuels the major production of cereal crops in the US: wheat, corn, soy, comprising 20% of total US agriculture. A gut wrenching story. Takeaways:

  • it’s drying out, fast, to fuel our food production;
  • it could disappear well before 2100 – possibly even before 2050;
  • no conservation measures are known to keep it from drying out (except stop using it).
  • it takes 6,000 years to fill it again.

How are we going to feed the US population?

And the same thing is happening in the US vegetable basket, California.

How Fast The World’s Big Aquifers Are Drying Up. Source NASA, University of California at Irvine

OO A Drying World: groundwater supplies are being sucked dry by exploding human populations worldwide. Takeaways:

  • most human societies depend on aquifers for food and water
  • the largest, fastest drying aquifer is in the politically unstable Middle East
  • even the slowest drying aquifers have only decades of water left, under current use

Likely ramifications:

  • starvation and war will confront billions within this century
  • starving people in battered societies will be vulnerable to epidemics
  • global civilization is likely to break down under massive die-offs

What I want for Christmas: a rational explanation for why this will not happen… and remember, technology cannot replace finite resources. Up until now, all it has done is prolong the shell game.

@@ Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis Of Vanishing Groundwater – around the world, groundwater is rapidly vanishing, forcing people to confront a growing crisis. 4 videos give samples of this evolving crisis in Kansas, California, India, Peru, and Morocco.


Tis the Season to Be Merry, Merry…

OO Satire Alert: “Well, it seems like my brother and I both had the same idea about limiting the petroleum industry’s liability for toxic spills, and ensuring taxpayers shoulder the majority of cleanup costs. That’s just so us, you know?” said Charles in this xmas sendup.

Need more laughs? Check out this Onion headline:

OO Ben Carson Tormented By Periodic Rational Thoughts
“Calling the disturbing incidents a persistent source of anguish, GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson told reporters…”

See also:
OO Fact-Checking Ben Carson’s Claims



OO As GOP Jeers in DC, US Diplomats Seek Progress Toward A Climate Deal – even as the US military targets climate change as a major security threat. So much for GOP being big on national security.

Deny This – climate change is fueling ever more extreme weather in the US and the world. And humans are fueling climate change. Almost all scientists agree.

OO Senate Climate Denying Republicans Hold Hearing on Climate Change
which felt very much like something from The Twilight Zone. Star witnesses, lacking the climate change research credentials and credibility from most of the scientific community, denied there was anything seriously wrong with the climate – agreeing with the Senator convening the hearing, climate denier Ted Cruz.

OO Ted Cruz Rejects Climate Science
As He Rises In The Polls
showing how clueless he is about national security threats.



Getting A Little Greener?

OO American Electric Power Quits ALEC
As It Helps States Move to Clean Power
– a good move for one of the largest US electricity utilities, given that ALEC is an organization notorious for promoting legislation that discourages clean energy or addressing climate change.

OO Australia: New Leader Reverses Ban on Wind Power Investment




OO China Now Wants to Build 450 Gigawatts of Wind and Solar by 2020 – quadrupling its previous targets, as it sharply shifts toward clean energy.

OO China’s Natural Gas Use Plummets
Despite Its Pledge To Switch From Coal
– Use of gas slowed as China:

  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Built more clean energy sources
  • Slowed economic growth
  • Shifted its economy away from energy hungry manufacturing
  • Regulated price of gas; coal is cheaper

The slowing market has slowed development of Chinese shale gas.

Given that mining natural gas is so dirty that the total emissions over its lifetime often equals that of coal, the above should be good news.

It’s time to leap frog over natural gas… as we hop away from all other fossil fuels, too!


OO US Government’s Energy Use Hits 40-Year Low as the government is beginning to lead by example on energy efficiency, reducing its energy use to its lowest level since 1975.

OO Global Carbon Emissions Dipped in 2015,
But Don’t Celebrate Just Yet
– It is the first time to happen during economic growth, and probably tied to China’s shift to cleaner energy sources, but it is very unlikely to be a peak, say experts.

Related Headline:

OO Global Emissions To Fall For First Time
During A Period Of Economic Growth

How many ways can one photograph the Eiffel Tower?

OO Paris Treaty Scoreboard: Big Solar Wins as Big Oil Loses –
Saving the world isn’t going to be cheap, but for green tech makers, it’s a potential bonanza.

OO Maryland: DEM Lawmakers Propose Raising Levels Of Renewable Energy Use and promote clean-energy jobs, with a particular focus on helping women and minorities.

OO Kellogg, Sony, Coca Cola And Others Sign Up To Emissions Goals committing to targets certified by independent assessors to cut their carbon emissions, they said.


OO Africa Planned Renewable Energy Drive
Could Make It World’s Cleanest Continent
– The African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) plans to develop at least 300 GW of new renewable energy generation capacity by 2030.



OO Texas Fracking Zone Emits 90% More Methane
Than EPA Estimated
says a new sweeping study.


@@ Watch 110,000 Pounds Of Methane Per Hour Gush From A Busted Pipe via Infrared footage, and see what an L.A. community has been living for nearly two months.

OO US Feds Seek To Plug Harmful Oil And Gas Leaks
On Wildlife Refuges
with new rules.

OO As US Crude Exports To Europe Rise,
So Will Imports Of Tar Sands For Processing
warn environmentalists. And so the US continues to export climate change, big time.

The Journey Away from Fossil Fuels Is a Long One for the world’s economies.

OO The Paris Treaty: Signaling Industry To Go Green
In An Era Of Carbon Reduction



Virginia: Land and Ideology Is Losing to Climate Change and rising Atlantic seas.

OO In Evangelical Country, An Apocalypse Of Rising Seas

OO US Costs of Climate Change:
US Doubles Climate Adaption Aid To Nearly $900 Million


@@ The Lost Winter – Climate change is having a deep impact on the people and communities that rely on the winter sports industry year-round; a compelling video.

OO Ethiopia: Millions Face Weather-Related Hunger says the Save the Children Fund aid group. Roughly one in 10 people in Ethiopia, or 10+ million people, will not have enough food to eat in 2016 due to a crippling drought made worse by the El Niño weather cycle.

Crawling Through the Smog: the heavy smog shrouding Beijing this week has proved to be a boon for China’s nascent electric car market.

OO In Smog-Choked China, Drivers Check Out Electric Cars

OO Asia’s Coastal Cities Face Challenge Of Rising Seas – creating a flooded future for some of the world’s biggest cities.


OO Arabia: South Asian Workers Fear Rising Temperatures – Global warming has left millions of migrant workers increasingly worried that they might have to leave if the region becomes hotter.



1 Degree C Warming = 7 Feet Of Sea Level Rise, scientists say… among other changes. 1 degree C + 2 degrees F. Source Climate Central

OO Troubling Science Has Pushed World
Toward A Much Tougher Climate Goal

OO Climate Change Will Make Inequality Even Worse
Than It Already Is
says new research.

Imagine Methane Leaking From Melt Lakes, even as the melting permafrost undermines trees.

OO Alaska: Up to A Quarter of Its Permafrost Could Melt by 2100 releasing long-trapped carbon that could make its way into the atmosphere and exacerbate global warming, a new study finds.


OO Chinese Glacier’s Retreat Signals Trouble For Asian Water Supply – the extreme effects predicted of global climate change are already happening in western China.

OO Greenland’s Glaciers Now Melting At A Speed
Not Seen Since Last Ice Age



Flawed But Just as Tasty – and usually cheaper, too! Source Source

OO Save The Planet. Eat Ugly – food, that is, which, because of its unappealing looks, is otherwise discarded, resulting in one billion tons of carbon emissions a year.

OO Turning Flywheels Into Multi-Hour Energy Storage Assets – A 20-megawatt contract gives a stealthy startup a venue to prove its groundbreaking four-hour flywheels.

OO New York Proposes Emission Limits On Building Generators fueled by natural gas and diesel, used to provide backup power at large buildings like hospitals and offices.



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 Taxypayers 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


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 U.S. Solar Market Is Having Its Best Year Ever with U.S. solar installations are expected to hit a new yearly high in 2015, likely installing 3+ gigawatts (a gigawatt is a billion watts) of solar capacity in the last quarter of 2015 alone, for a yearly total of 7+ gigawatts installedr.

OO Massachusetts: Morgan Stanley Invests $100 Million in Community Solar

OO North Carolina: Medieval Ignorance of Solar Power Displayed
As Community Rejects Solar Plant
– Solar power would “suck up all the energy from the sun” … one retired science teacher was concerned that panels would stop nearby plants from photosynthesizing – ie, stop growing… are people truly so confused, or are these shills for fossil fuel companies?

Trapping the Sun in Mirrors in Africa– the strategy of CSP, Concentrating Solar Power heads towards Morocco. Credit Randy Montoya

OO Morocco Set to Bring 160MW of Concentrating Solar Power On-Line as the technology moves to Africa and the Middle East.

OO Solar Power to Light Up Syrian Refugee Camps in Jordan as the UN seeks stronger ties with the private sector to roll out more clean energy.


Check it out here, right now!




Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Dec 22, 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, even as it experiences a rainy Christmas week in its central part.

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 these African wild flowers I photographed one spring in South Africa, now in drought. 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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