Climate Change

SOLD! Democrats Reverse Ban On Donations From Fossil Fuel PACs

  ‘Absolute Failure’ By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (8/10/18) Just two months after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was celebrated by environmentalists for banning donations from fossil fuel companies, it voted 30-2 on Friday to adopt a resolution from Chair Tom Perez that critics said effectively reverses the ban and represents “an absolute failure by the DNC.” The Huffington Post‘s Alexander Kaufman tweeted Friday: @AlexCKaufman Replying to @AlexCKaufman UPDATE: resolution passed in a 30-to-2 vote. from DNC epic: “After hearing concerns from Labor that this was an attack on workers, this resolution acknowledges the generous contributions of workers, including those in energy, who organize and donate…

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Experts Warn That If We Don’t Stop Climate Change, CA Fires “Will Seem Mild In Comparison To What’s Coming”

  [Editor’s Note: One of the guests in this Democracy Now! interview provides an excellent description of how the impact of climate change in the Arctic is changing the jet stream, which is having direct impacts on our weather and the wildfire situation this summer. — Mark L. Taylor] Democracy Now! (8/9/18) The Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California is now the largest wildfire ever recorded in California’s history. It started burning in July—the state’s hottest month on record. Of the 20 largest wildfires in California history, 15 have occurred since 2000. This year’s fires have already burned nearly three…


‘Climate Change…In Real Time’: California’s Frightening Fires Are The Nightmare Scientists Long Predicted

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (7/31/18) As deadly wildfires continue to rage in California—destroying hundreds of homes, threatening thousands more, and forcing tens of thousands of residents to evacuate—experts believe the blazes are part of “the new reality” that climate scientists have warned about for decades. “This past month shows climate change for real and in real time,” The Fresno Bee declared in an editorial published Monday. The ferocious California fires, the Guardian reports, have “spawned bizarre pyrotechnics, from firenados to towering pyrocumulus clouds that evoke a nuclear detonation. These events are not aberrations, say experts. They are California’s future.” “More acres are burning,” Michael Wehner, a…


The Empire Files: The History Of Worldwide Tyranny Of Big Oil

“The oil industry is our government. There is no difference.” — Greg Palast, Investigative reporter. By Abby Martin The Empire Files / teleSur (1/15/16) The oil industry is a powerhouse with control over land, resources, politics and more. In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin uncovers big oil’s strong-arm reach–its growth, its crimes, its power and its impunity. Featuring interviews with two investigative journalists who have covered oil disasters on-the-ground–Antonia Juhasz, author of “Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill”, and Greg Palast, author of “Vulture’s Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pig, Power Pirates, and…


‘Earth Overshoot Day’ Hits August 1: World Resources Consumed In Ever Greater Destructive Pace

“Munch, munch…”   By Jonathan Watts The Guardian (7/22/18) Humanity is devouring our planet’s resources in increasingly destructive volumes, according to a new study that reveals we have consumed a year’s worth of carbon, food, water, fibre, land and timber in a record 212 days. As a result, the Earth Overshoot Day – which marks the point at which consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate – has moved forward two days to 1 August, the earliest date ever recorded. To maintain our current appetite for resources, we would need the equivalent of 1.7 Earths, according to Global Footprint Network, an international research…


Missing The Story: Climate Change Is Behind Global Heat Wave. So Why Won’t The Media Say So?

The science is clear. Journalists need to start using it. By Leah C. Stokes The Los Angeles Times (7/15/18) Last week’s heat wave brought record temperatures to Southern California. Hot winds blew fire into my community in Santa Barbara County, ripping through a dozen homes and threatening hundreds more. I tuned into the local news channel, where reporters reminded viewers that we had just finished a record-breaking fire season. They strained to list all the fires we’d had over the past decade. There were too many to recall. Fires are happening a lot more often across California. You can’t accurately…


Fossil Fuel Industry Outspent Environmentalists & Renewables By 10:1 On Climate Lobbying, New Study Finds

“The common good is not represented. By Itai Vardi DeSmogBlog (7/18/18) Industry sectors based on fossil fuels significantly outspent environmental groups and renewable energy companies on climate change lobbying, new research has found. In a study published today in the journal Climatic Change, Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle shows that between 2000 and 2016, lobbyists spent more than $2 billion trying to influence climate legislation in the U.S. Congress. Analyzing data from lobbying reports made available on the website OpenSecrets.org, Brulle found that electric utilities spent the largest sums during this timeframe followed by the oil, gas, and coal industries, and transportation sector, respectively. Overall, lobbying…


Cool New Gadgets Yoked To Tired Old Thinking Will Not Save Us

  By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (7/5/18) Can technology be the answer to saving our Eco system? Having grown up in the “plastics” age as showcased in the 1967 classic “The Graduate”, many of us were conditioned to think that technology would solve humanity’s problems. Clearly the green revolution fed a bunch of people, but that has also proven to be unsustainable as the technology to mass produce food has required multiple forms of fossil fuels and chemicals with their accompanying “side effects” of runaway pollution, genetic adaptation of weeds requiring stronger chemicals, and climate changes brought upon us by…


Researchers Stunned By Sudden Die-Off Of Africa’s Ancient Baobab Trees

    Agence France-Presse (6/11/18) Some of Africa’s oldest and biggest baobab trees — a few dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks — have abruptly died, wholly or in part, in the past decade, researchers said Monday. The trees, aged between 1,100 and 2,500 years and some as wide as a bus is long, may have fallen victim to climate change, the team speculated. “We report that nine of the 13 oldest… individuals have died, or at least their oldest parts/stems have collapsed and died, over the past 12 years,” they wrote in the scientific journal Nature…


DNC To Ban Fossil Fuel Company Donations

  By Lorraine Chow EcoWatch (6/13/18) The Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted unanimously over the weekend to no longer accept campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies, Huffington Post reported. The proposal was reportedly introduced by Christine Pelosi, a member of the DNC and the daughter of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. “Climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels represents an existential threat to civilization,” the text states, “and Democrats committed in our 2016 Platform to curbing the effects of climate change, protecting America’s natural resources, and ensuring the quality of our air, water, and land for current and future generations.” The resolution cites President Obama’s…


TransCanada’s New ‘Best-In-Class’ Gas Pipeline Blows Up In Fiery Blast Mere Six Months After Completion

  By Sharon Kellly DeSmog.blog (6/7/18) This morning [6/7/18], residents of Marshall County, West Virginia, awoke at 4:15 a.m. to a major natural gas rupture and explosion on TransCanada’s Leach XPress pipeline on Nixon Ridge — a quickly built pipeline only half a year old. The fire was visible for miles, local TV news reported. Police warned anyone who could see the flames to evacuate — and the Emergency Management Agency director of neighboring Ohio County said officials had received dozens of 911 calls from locals able to see the fire, which was extinguished roughly four hours later. The blast was so powerful that…


Naomi Klein: 4,645 Deaths In Puerto Rico From Hurricane Maria Were “State-Sponsored Mass Killing”

  Democracy Now! (6/6/18) We look at Puerto Rico as it continues to recover from Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island last September. Researchers at Harvard recently revealed the death toll from Hurricane Maria may be a staggering 70 times higher than the official count. The official death toll still stands at 64, but the new study estimates a death toll of at least 4,645, with some projections topping 5,700. The Harvard study found that “interruption of medical care was the primary cause of sustained high mortality rates in the months after the hurricane, a finding consistent with the widely…


Pentagon Watered Down Realities Of Climate Report For Trump-Era Publication

  By Olivia Rosane EcoWatch (5/11/18) A Department of Defense (DOD) report on the potential impacts of climate change on U.S. military infrastructure paradoxically downplayed the importance of climate change, an earlier draft of the report obtained by The Washington Post and publicized Thursday revealed. The earlier, more urgent draft was written in 2016, while Barack Obama was still president, while the final was published in January 2018, a year into the presidency of Donald Trump. The differences suggest that the military is altering its tone to avoid antagonizing an administration that went so far as to remove mentions of climate change from its national security strategy. According to…


Smothered: Trump White House Quietly Cuts Off NASA Research Verifying Greenhouse Gas Cuts

  By Paul Voosen Scence (5/9/18) You can’t manage what you don’t measure. The adage is especially relevant for climate-warming greenhouse gases, which are crucial to manage—and challenging to measure. In recent years, though, satellite and aircraft instruments have begun monitoring carbon dioxide and methane remotely, and NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10-million-a-year research line, has helped stitch together observations of sources and sinks into high-resolution models of the planet’s flows of carbon. Now, President Donald Trump’s administration has quietly killed the CMS, Sciencehas learned. The move jeopardizes plans to verify the national emission cuts agreed to in the Paris climate…


Concerns Of ‘Catastrophic Collapse’ Grow As Gulf Stream Weaker Than It’s Been In 1,600 Years

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (4/11/18) New research published Wednesday in the journal Nature raises alarm about how global warming is impacting the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream System, and how weakening ocean currents could influence extreme weather in Western Europe and sea level rise along North America’s East Coast. Although the two studies draw different conclusions about timing and causation, researchers agree that the system of ocean currents called Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) has notably weakened in recent decades. This key takeaway, as Damian Carrington at the Guardian notes, throws into question “previous predictions that a catastrophic collapse of the Gulf Stream…


Don’t Sweat The Apocalypse: A Tour of Fun, Amenities-Stuffed Bunkers For The 1% In The Middle of Kansas

“A ‘Wow experience’ — Winner of multiple industry awards.” By Daisy Luther The Organic Prepper It’s time for another episode of Doomsday Bunkers of the Rich and Famous. You can find the last article about a doomsday neighborhood in Germany right here. This time, we’ll travel a bit closer to home – right in the middle of…Kansas. In the small town of Glasco, Kansas, population 473, lies the ultimate in luxury bunker destinations: Survival Condos. Basically, they prep for you and you only have to learn some stuff. So, if you’re curious about how the other half intends to ride out the…


But Of Course! Thoreau’s Walden Pond Is Being Killed By PEE-ople

  By Corky Siemaszko NBC News (4/6/18) If Henry David Thoreau were alive today, he might re-title his most famous work “On Golden Pond.” And he would be pissed. That’s because Walden Pond, the once-pristine jewel that inspired the American naturalist and philosopher in the mid 1800s, has been befouled by generations of swimmers urinating in the water, according to a new study. So much so that it is wrecking the ecosystem and devastating the fish population of the pond some 25 miles west of Boston that Thoreau immortalized in his best-known work, “Walden; or, Life in the Woods.” “These findings suggest that, although…


Plummeting Cost For Wind & Solar Means Economic Case For Coal & Gas Is ‘crumbling’

  By Joe Rom Think Progress (3/29/18) Prices for solar, wind, and battery storage are dropping so rapidly that renewables are increasingly squeezing out all forms of fossil fuel power, including natural gas. The cost of new solar plants dropped 20 percent over the past 12 months, while onshore wind prices dropped 12 percent, according to the latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report. Since 2010, the prices for lithium-ion batteries — crucial to energy storage — have plummeted a stunning 79 percent (see chart). “The economic case for building new coal and gas capacity is crumbling,” as BNEF’s chief of energy…


Here’s How To Battle Climate Change Without Washington DC.

Frack oil train running alongside the vulnerable Mississippi River.    By Bill McKibben The Guardian (2/1/18) he most telling item in Donald Trump’s State of the Union address may have been what wasn’t there: any mention of climate change, the greatest problem the world faces. And just as telling was the fact that official Washington seemed barely to notice. Understandably preoccupied with his vile attacks on immigrants (or cheering his ability to actually stay with one task for one hour), press, pundits, and other politicians treated the omission as not even worthy of note. The Democratic response from Representative Joe Kennedy didn’t touch on…


Mass Extinction Of Wildlife Species Also Endangers World Food Supplies

    By Damian Carrington The Guardian (9/26/17) The sixth mass extinction of global wildlife already under way is seriously threatening the world’s food supplies, according to experts. “Huge proportions of the plant and animal species that form the foundation of our food supply are just as endangered [as wildlife] and are getting almost no attention,” said Ann Tutwiler, director general of Bioversity International, a research group that published a new report on Tuesday. “Plant and animal species that are the foundation of our food supplies are as endangered as wildlife but get almost no attention, a new report reveals.” “If there…


Some Hope: New Study Showing Ozone Recovery Hailed As Model For Tackling Climate Crisis

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (1/5/18) Hailed as an example of how concerted global action can help solve a planetary crisis, a new study conducted by NASA scientists documented the first direct evidence that an international effort to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has led to the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole. Published in the journal Geophysical Research Letterson Thursday, the study uses satellite observations to demonstrate that the decline in atmospheric chlorine that resulted from the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, enacted in 1989,has led to “about 20 percent less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005—the first year that measurements of chlorine and…


50 Ways 100% Clean Energy Won In 2017

  By Jodie Van Horn Sierra Club (12/30/17) We’d never argue that 2017 was a great year, but some really great things did happen. Here are 50 ways (yes, 50!) that clean energy kept winning in 2017 despite Trump’s attempts to roll back the country’s progress. 1. The Republican Mayor Championing 100% Renewable Energy in Louisiana Republican Mayor Greg Lemons made his small town of Abita Springs the first municipality in Louisiana to commit to 100% clean energy. Mayor Lemons said his 100% renewable energy vision for Abita Springs, which has a population of 2,900, aligns with the conservative values of his community—and it…


Oil Giants’ $180 Billion Investment In Plastic Factories Feeds Global Waste

  By Matthew Taylor Th Guardian (12/26/17) The global plastic binge which is already causing widespread damage to oceans, habitats and food chains, is set to increase dramatically over the next 10 years after multibillion dollar investments in a new generation of plastics plants in the US. Fossil fuel companies are among those who have ploughed more than $180bn since 2010 into new “cracking” facilities that will produce the raw material for everyday plastics from packaging to bottles, trays and cartons. The new facilities – being built by corporations like Exxon Mobile Chemical and Shell Chemical – will help fuel…


So What Is True Wealth And What Is The Essential Currency We Depend Upon?

Priceless: Romance Valley rainbow. “The fact that we price the commons with currency shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what real wealth s and how it is generated. “How, for example, do you price the consequences of having no breathable air, no drinkable water, or highly acidified oceans? What monetary value do you place on the last coral reef, the last breath of fresh air, the last pollinator, or the last stretch of rainforest? To cut to the quick, how do you price the value of the climate we evolved in — the precondition for all the prerequisites of life —…


Thawing Of Arctic Permafrost Faster Than Ever, Climate Study Reports

  Associated Press (12/12/17) Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing faster than ever, according to a new US government report that also found Arctic seawater is warming and sea ice is melting at the fastest pace in 1,500 years. The annual report released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed slightly less warming in many measurements than a record hot 2016. But scientists remain concerned because the far northern region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe and has reached a level of warming that’s unprecedented in modern times. “2017 continued to show us we…


As World Warms, Heart-Breaking Video Shows What It Looks Like When A Polar Bear Starves Due To Climate Crisis

By Julia Connely Common Dreams (12/8/17) A video of a starving polar bear led to calls for climate change denialists to confront the real-world effects of global warming this week. Taken by a Canadian conservationist and photographer and posted to social media, the video offered a stark visual of the drastic impacts of climate change that have already begun taking root. Paul Nicklen was traveling with the conservation group Sea Legacy in Canada’s Baffin Islands, located in the Arctic, when he spotted the emaciated animal struggling to walk across the dry land—historically covered with ice in December and home to…


Going From Pump To Plug: How Much Money Can Electric Vehicles Save Drivers?

    By Union of Concerned Scientists EcoWatch (12/1/17) What would you do with an extra $770 a year? Buy a new laptop? Pay off debt? The Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed how much money many drivers could save by switching from a gasoline-powered car to an electric vehicle. We analyzed the cost of refueling electric and gasoline vehicles in each of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. In every city, there is a rate plan that would save the average EV owner on fuel costs, with a median savings of more than $770 per year. EVs are becoming more affordable to purchase,…


American Leaders Should Read Their Official Climate Science Report

  By John Abraham The Guardian (11/27/17) The United States Global Change Research Program recently released a report on the science of climate change and its causes. The report is available for anyone to read; it was prepared by top scientists, and it gives an overview of the most up to date science. If you want to understand climate change and a single document that summarizes what we know, this is your chance. This report is complete, readily understandable, and accessible. It discusses what we know, how we know it, how confident we are, and how likely certain events are to happen if…


There’s More CO2 In The Atmosphere Now Than Any Point In Almost A Million Years

  The World (10/30/17) Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2016. The concentration of the heat-trapping gas is higher than it’s been in at least 800,000 years, including all of human history.30/17) That’s the word from the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization. The WMO says last year’s CO2 spike was 50 percent greater than the average increase over the past decade, which Petteri Taalas, the organization’s secretary-general, says is very bad news. “This is demonstrating that we are not moving in the right direction at all,” Taalas said at a news conference Monday from the WMO’s home…


Warning Of ‘Ecological Armageddon’ After Dramatic Plunge In Insect Numbers

  By Damian Carrington The Guardian (10/18/17) The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists. Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society. The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for…


Interior Sec. Zinke Mocked For Flying Goofy Flag When He Visits Interior Dept. DC Office

“His Royal Heinous Sir Ryan of Zinke, clown prince of Interior, has an official flag that is raised when he appears at his departmental seat.” By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (10/13/17) The Washington Post on Thursday reported that the Department of the Interior raises the department’s official flag above its Washington, D.C. headquarters to indicate when Secretary Ryan Zinke visits the office. Zinke—who has cultivated a reputation for launching unprecedented attacks on public lands and jettisoning key protections for wildlife—”has revived an arcane military ritual that no one can remember ever happening in the federal government,” the Post reported. The Post explained: “A security staffer takes the elevator to the seventh floor, climbs…


General Motors To Run Ohio, Indiana Factories With 100% Wind Power

    By Greg Alvarez Nation of Change (9/24/17) Last week I predicted it wouldn’t be long before we had more news on Fortune 500 wind power purchases. Well, a whole seven days passed before there were new deals to report. Wind powers the open road for GM General Motors (GM) just announced wind power purchase agreements with projects in Ohio and Illinois. The automaker is buying enough wind-generated electricity to power the Ohio and Indiana factories that build the Chevrolet Cruze and Silverado, and the GMC Sierra. “Technology is driving solutions for mobility and safety in our vehicles, as well as the new energy solutions that…


Former Sierra Club Leader Carl Pope With A Creative & Hopeful Message On Climate Breakdown

  West Minster Town Hall Forum (9/19/17) Carl Pope is the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club and a veteran leader in the environmental movement. He is now a senior climate advisor to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the principal advisor at Inside Straight Strategies, where he focuses on the links between sustainability and economic development. A graduate of Harvard College, he is the author of three books, including Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, which he co-authored with Michael Bloomberg. He was a founder of the BlueGreen Alliance…


Buzz Kill: Climate Change Threatens Coffee-Pollinating Bees

  By Marlene Cimons Nexus Media (9/11/17) The best coffee grows in the mountains, where it is cool. It needs low temperatures to thrive, which is why growers often put shade trees in their fields. But the mountains are getting hotter. And the higher you go, the less room there is to grow coffee. This is one reason scientists predict coffee will suffer in a changing climate. New research suggests the fate of coffee may be worse than previously thought. Earlier projections underestimated the effects of climate change, specifically in Latin America, and failed to consider the consequences for coffee-pollinating bees, according…


Chris Hedges: As The Seas Rise, Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls

  By Chris Hedges TruthDig (9/10/17) How many times will we rebuild Florida’s cities, Houston, coastal New Jersey, New Orleans and other population centers ravaged by storms lethally intensified by global warming? At what point, surveying the devastation and knowing more is inevitable, will we walk away, leaving behind vast coastal dead zones? Will we retreat even further into magical thinkingto cope with the fury we have unleashed from the natural world? Or will we respond rationally and radically alter our relationship to this earth that gives us life? Civilizations over the past 6,000 years have unfailingly squandered their futures through…


Scientists Warn Climate Breakdown May Wipe Out A Third Of World’s Parasites, With Disastrous Ripple Effects

  Democracy Now! (9/11/17) As the United States continues to deal with unprecedented floods and hurricanes, a new study has revealed climate change is also driving the mass extinction of parasites that are critical to natural ecosystems, and could add to the planet’s sixth great mass extinction event that’s currently underway. The report in the journal Science Advances warns that about a third of all parasite species could go extinct by 2070 due to human activity. The loss of species of lice, fleas and worms could have profound ripple effects on the environment and might pave the way for new…


Harvey, Hell, High Water & Hypocrisy

  By John Atcheson Common Dreams (9/4/17) Katrina, Sandy, Harvey. Three record-breaking storms in a dozen years. Harvey is a 1,000 year storm, Sandy had the largest diameter of any hurricane on record to strike the US, and Katrina had the largest storm surge ever recorded. [Add to the total Hurricane Irma, now surging toward Florida. – Ed.] Meanwhile, the fire map for California covers the entire state, and for much of August, British Columbia’s record-breaking wildfire season blanketed the entire northwestern portion of the US and Canada with a dense, impenetrable layer of smoke and haze. Driving through western North Dakota, Montana, Idaho…


A ‘Commoner’ Writes With A Question: Could There Be More To Hurricane Harvey Than Climate Change?

  Dear Commoner Call, Considering that many have investigated geoengineering processes and have shown significant data from many sources, I think it is important to question how it is that a huge storm like Hurricane Harvey could behave as oddly as it did. The questioning of geoengineering and the likelihood that these processes must also be included in weather analysis as opposed to simply assigning ‘climate change’ influence as the explanation to weather anomalies.  This is NOT to say that those investigating geoengineering are climate change deniers.  In fact, it is their concerns about climate change that prompt them to…


We Have A Moral Duty To Talk About Climate Change

  By Mark Lynas CNN (9/1/17) This is what climate change looks like. Entire metropolitan areas — Houston in the United States and Mumbai in India — submerged in catastrophic floods. Record-breaking rainfall: Harvey’s 50-plus inches of torrential deluge set a new national tropical cyclone rain record for the continental United States. They used to make Hollywood disaster movies about this sort of thing. Now it’s just the news. Officials as senior as Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, have suggested that now — during a natural disaster — is not the time to raise the divisive and highly politicized issue of global warming….


Santa Fe Aiming For 100% Renewable Energy By 2025

  By Lorraine Chow EcoWatch (8/1/17) New Mexico’s capital has joined the growing movement of U.S. cities committing to 100 percent renewable energy. On Wednesday, Santa Fe’s City Council unanimously adopted Mayor Javier Gonzales’ resolution directing City Manager Brian Snyde to develop a feasibility study on how the city can transition to renewables by 2025. Snyde will report the findings in 90 days. “The City of Santa Fe has historically been a leader in the fight against global warming and has a responsibility to continue to set a positive example for other cities, states and countries to follow,” the resolution states. “Such a transition to…