The Keeling Curve

The Keeling Curve since 1958
The Keeling Curve: A daily record of atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1958 from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Friday, August 23, 2019

How climate change threatens public health » Yale Climate Connections

From prolonged droughts to dangerous sun exposures, the weather affects human health in numerous ways, and climate change has already ratcheted environmental health threats up a notch. Disease-carrying bugs have expanded their range, hotter heat waves last longer, and storms have gotten more extreme.

“Climate change is impacting our communities, in our backyards, right now,” says Amir Sapkota, a professor at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health.

Citing health threats posed by climate change, more than 70 major medical groups in the U.S. released a call to action in June 2019 declaring climate change “a true public health emergency.”

Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH, director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin, is an expert on climate change and public health. His view: “It’s so important that people recognize that climate change is about our health. There are so many pathways through which climate impacts our health.”


A 2013 heatwave caused near-record temperatures at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, forcing those stationed there to hydrate frequently to avoid heat-related injuries such as heat stroke. (Photo credit: U.S. Air Force)

Those pathways include heat, air pollution, extreme weather, vector-borne diseases, and access to safe water and food. The health risks posed by climate change already disproportionately harm marginalized groups including people with disabilities or infirmities, low-income families and individuals – and climate change is likely to deepen those disparities.

Continue reading: How climate change threatens public health » Yale Climate Connections

Iceland holds ceremony for first glacier lost to climate change | News | DW | 18.08.2019

Iceland has been commemorating the loss of Okjokull with the prime minister and guests from international universities and the United Nations. A ceremony at the site highlighted the urgency of climate protection.

Island Luftaufnahme Gletscher Okjökull | 1986 & 2019

These two photos taken in 1986 and 2019 show the loss of ice at the glacier

Iceland has been commemorating the country's first glacier lost to climate change, with a memorial plaque warning of the effects of global warming being installed at the site.

Icelandic officials, activists and others took part in a ceremony on Sunday that included poetry, silence and political speeches on the urgency of taking action to curb rising global temperatures.

The disappearance of Okjokull, a glacier in the west of the sub-Arctic island, is being seen as directly due to the warming of the climate caused by human activity.

The memorial for the Icelandic glacier is the first of its kind. The words are written by Icelandic author and poet Andri Snaer Magnason.

Continue reading: Iceland holds ceremony for first glacier lost to climate change | News | DW | 18.08.2019

Watch: "We are chasing the last of the big fish" – Fisheries scientist on overfishing, whaling and climate change - Unearthed

One of the world's most prominent fisheries scientists talks to Unearthed about overfishing, whaling and climate change

Watch: "We are chasing the last of the big fish" – Fisheries scientist on overfishing, whaling and climate change - Unearthed

US Subsidizes Fossil Fuels To The Tune Of $4.6, $27.4, Or $649 Billion Annually, Depending On Source | CleanTechnica

In 2022 in the USA, wind will get zero subsidies, solar will get very little, and fossil fuels will get $4.6 to $649 billion depending on accounting.

Graph courtesy of US Congressional Research Service

Continue reading at: US Subsidizes Fossil Fuels To The Tune Of $4.6, $27.4, Or $649 Billion Annually, Depending On Source | CleanTechnica

Sanders to unveil $16tn climate plan, far more aggressive than rivals' proposals | US news | The Guardian

Democratic presidential hopeful’s 10-year plan warns of devastating economic consequences if crisis is not addressed

Bernie Sanders has laid out an ambitious 10-year, $16.3tn national mobilization to avert climate catastrophe, warning that the US risks losing $34.5tn in economic productivity by the end of the century if it does not respond with the urgency the threat demands.

The Vermont senator has long spoken of the climate crisis as a existential danger to the US and the world, and he has previously endorsed a Green New Deal, which he put forward with the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

 Bernie Sanders’ plan calls for complete decarbonization by 2050. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

Sanders will formally unveil his proposal on Thursday during a campaign visit to Paradise, California, a town that was destroyed in 2018 by one of the deadliest wildfires in US history. After the tour, the senator will hold a climate change town hall in Chico, California.

Continue reading: Sanders to unveil $16tn climate plan, far more aggressive than rivals' proposals | US news | The Guardian

Amazon fires an emergency, say Merkel and Macron

The French and German leaders say the record number of fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest is an international crisis which must be discussed at this weekend's G7 summit.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the "acute emergency" belonged on the agenda, agreeing with French President Emmanuel Macron's earlier rallying cry.
"Our house is burning," he tweeted.
Environmental groups say the fires are linked to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's policies, which he denies.
Mr Bolsonaro has also accused Mr Macron of meddling for "political gain". He said calls to discuss the fires at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, which Brazil is not participating in, evoke "a misplaced colonialist mindset".
Satellite image of forest fires burning in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil. 14th August 201
Smoke from fires burning in the Amazon can be seen from space. NASA
The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.
It is also home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.
Map showing active fires in the Brazilian Amazon

Continue reading at: Amazon fires an emergency, say Merkel and Macron

Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles

A growing body of evidence indicates that the continuing destruction of tropical forests is disrupting the movement of water in the atmosphere, causing major shifts in precipitation that could lead to drought in key agricultural areas in China, India, and the U.S. Midwest.
very tree in the forest is a fountain, sucking water out of the ground through its roots and releasing water vapor into the atmosphere through pores in its foliage. In their billions, they create giant rivers of water in the air – rivers that form clouds and create rainfall hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
But as we shave the planet of trees, we risk drying up these aerial rivers and the lands that depend on them for rain. A growing body of research suggests that this hitherto neglected impact of deforestation could in many continental interiors dwarf the impacts of global climate change. It could dry up the Nile, hobble the Asian monsoon, and desiccate fields from Argentina to the Midwestern United States.
Moisture produced by the world's forests generates rainfall thousands of miles away.
Moisture produced by the world's forests generates rainfall thousands of miles away. RICHARD WHITCOMBE / SHUTTERSTOCK

Until recently, the nuggets of data delivering such warnings were fragmented and often relegated to minor scientific journals. But the growing concerns came to the fore in reports presented at two forest forums held by the United Nations and the Norwegian government in recent weeks.
In Norway, Michael Wolosin of the U.S. think tank Forest Climate Analytics and Nancy Harris of the World Resources Institute published a study that concluded that “tropical forest loss is having a larger impact on the climate than has been commonly understood.” They warned that large-scale deforestation in any of the three major tropical forest zones of the world – Africa’s Congo basin, southeast Asia, and especially the Amazon – could disrupt the water cycle sufficiently to “pose a substantial risk to agriculture in key breadbaskets halfway round the world in parts of the U.S., India, and China.”
Trees pull water from the ground and release water vapor through their leaves, generating atmospheric rivers of moisture.
Trees pull water from the ground and release water vapor through their leaves, generating atmospheric rivers of moisture. WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE

Continue reading at: Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The advisory list for self classification of hazardous substances

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency publishes an advisory list for self classification of chemical substances – with advisory classifications of more than 54,000 substances.

The advisory list for self classification of hazardous substances

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Why The Green New Deal Cuts Consumer Energy Costs & Unemployment

The Green New Deal is a proposal to transition the United States entirely to clean, renewable, zero-emission energy in all energy sectors, to promote removal of carbon from the air through natural reforestation and land preservation, and to create jobs. By focusing on renewable energy that is both clean and zero-emission, the Green New Deal reduces, in one fell swoop, energy insecurity due to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries, 62,000 deaths and millions more illnesses annually from US energy-related air pollution, and the US’ contribution to global warming.

Critics claim, though, that the Green New Deal is unaffordable and uneconomical and will sink the US into more debt. Having led the research team that developed science-based plans to transition each of the 50 states to 100% wind, water, and solar (WWS) in all energy sectors (electricity, transportation, heating and cooling, and industry), we conclude the opposite is true: the benefits of clean energy systems greatly exceed the costs. 10 other independent research groups similarly find that 100% renewable energy systems are low cost without fossil fuels with carbon capture or nuclear power.

However, a 100% transition of all energy sectors by 2030, while technically and economically possible and desirable, may not occur that fast for social and political reasons. As such, we have consistently proposed a goal of 80% transition by 2030 and 100% no later than 2050 and hopefully earlier. The electricity sector, for example, can transition by 2035. If accomplished worldwide, this goal limits global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Continue reading: Why The Green New Deal Cuts Consumer Energy Costs & Unemployment

Across U.S., Toxic Blooms Pollute Lakes

TOLEDO, Ohio – In the middle of a muggy summer night, Keith Jordan got an urgent text: Toledo’s tap water wasn’t safe to drink.

“I thought it was a joke," said Jordan, who works with at-risk youth in Toledo’s inner city. He went back to sleep. When he got up a few hours later, he took a shower and had a cup of coffee, then turned on the news.
“They were saying don't drink the water, don’t take a shower – the water is messed up,” Jordan said. “You couldn’t even touch the water. It was something you could not believe was happening here in Toledo.”

That was Aug. 2, 2014. For the next three days, half a million people in and around this industrial city at the western edge of Lake Erie scrambled to find safe water.
Continue reading at: Across U.S., Toxic Blooms Pollute Lakes

A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises - The New York Times

BANGALORE, India — Countries that are home to one-fourth of Earth’s population face an increasingly urgent risk: The prospect of running out of water.

From India to Iran to Botswana, 17 countries around the world are currently under extremely high water stress, meaning they are using almost all the water they have, according to new World Resources Institute data published Tuesday.
Many are arid countries to begin with; some are squandering what water they have. Several are relying too heavily on groundwater, which instead they should be replenishing and saving for times of drought.
In those countries are several big, thirsty cities that have faced acute shortages recently, including São Paulo, Brazil; Chennai, India; and Cape Town, which in 2018 narrowly beat what it called Day Zero — the day when all its dams would be dry.
Continue reading at: A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises - The New York Times

National Drive Electric Week 2019 - Event Map

National Drive Electric Week™ is September 14-22, 2019.
Join us for a celebration near you.
Image result for National Drive Electric Weekâ„¢ is September 14-22, 2019
If you're thinking of organizing or helping at an event, please join us for a National Drive Electric Week Webinar:
Drive Electric Week: Engaging With Media Tuesday , August 20, 2019 at 9:00 am Pacific/12:00 pm Eastern
Drive Electric Week: Engaging With Attendees Tuesday , August 27, 2019 at 9:00 am Pacific/12:00 pm Eastern

National Drive Electric Week 2019 celebrations will take place across the US and other countries. The map below shows all of the event locations. Click on a pin to get more information about any of the 238 2019 events.
Continue reading at: National Drive Electric Week 2019 - Event Map

A new map is the best view yet of how fast Antarctica is shedding ice | Science News

The research could help improve projections of sea level rise
Decades of satellite observations have now provided the most detailed view yet of how Antarctica continually sheds ice accumulated from snowfall into the ocean.
ICE ICE BABY  Glaciologists used observations from a cohort of satellite missions over decades to create the most detailed map yet of ice flow across Antarctica. ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΊΑ ΠΟΡΤΝΆ/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The new map is based on an ice-tracking technique that is 10 times as precise as methods used for previous Antarctic surveys, researchers report online July 29 in Geophysical Research Letters. That offered the first comprehensive view of how ice moves across all of Antarctica, including slow-moving ice in the middle of the continent rather than just rapidly melting ice at the coasts. 
Charting Antarctic ice flow so exactly could reveal the topography of the ground underneath, as well as improve forecasts for how much ice Antarctica stands to lose to the ocean in the future. Ice melting off the continent is already known to be a driver of global sea level rise (SN: 7/7/18, p. 6).
Glaciologists at the University of California, Irvine, uncovered subtle movements of Antarctic ice with a kind of measurement called synthetic-aperture radar interferometric phase data. By using a satellite to bounce radar signals off a patch of ice, researchers can determine how quickly that ice is moving toward or away from the satellite. Combining observations of the same spot from different angles reveals the speed and direction of the ice’s motion along the ground.
Continue reading at: A new map is the best view yet of how fast Antarctica is shedding ice | Science News

Friday, August 16, 2019

New UN climate report is bleak, but there's a solution: trees

Humanity must overhaul the global food system to stop the climate breakdown, according to a dire report released today.
The report, issued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), lays out in stark terms the disastrous environmental impacts of unsustainable agriculture and its potential to exacerbate the effects of climate change.
The world’s food system — from farming to transportation to grocery store packaging — is a top cause of deforestation, contributing approximately 30 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, the report finds. It also projects that climate change from deforestation will create additional stress on agricultural land systems, adversely impacting crop yields and food security, and causing soil erosion. As countries continue to clear forests and peatlands for agriculture, their commitments under the Paris Agreement to cut climate-warming carbon emissions edge further out of reach.
In response to the report, conservationists called for the widespread restoration of forests, which absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.
“Restoring forests is the only thing on Earth that can reverse the emissions that drive global warming,” Conservation International CEO M. Sanjayan said, calling the report a “wake-up call.”
A recent study quantified 1.7 billion hectares of treeless land around the world where forests would naturally grow and planting programs could thrive, without encroaching on food production or living area.
Continue reading at: New UN climate report is bleak, but there's a solution: trees

Climate Change: The Science and Global Impact | edX

Free to attend - $49 for certificate
Climate Change: The Science and Global Impact
About this course
Climate change is arguably the greatest challenge of our time. Human activity has already warmed the planet by one degree Celsius relative to pre-industrial times, and we are feeling the effects through record heat waves, droughts, wildfires and flooding. If we continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, the planet will reach two degrees of warming by 2050 - the threshold that many scientists have identified as a dangerous tipping point. What is the science behind these projections?
Join climate scientist expert Michael Mann to learn about the basic scientific principles behind climate change and global warming. We need to understand the science in order to solve the broader environmental, societal and economic changes that climate change is bringing.
By the end of this course, you will:

  • Develop a deep scientific understanding of HOW the climate system has been changing;
  • Articulate WHY the climate system is changing;
  • Understand the nature of these changes;
  • Develop a systems thinking approach to analyzing the impacts of climate change on both natural and human systems.

Continue reading and enroll at: Climate Change: The Science and Global Impact | edX

Paris Is Building the World's Largest Organic Rooftop Farm

It will be roughly three football fields in size.
Why Global Citizens Should Care: Urban agriculture can help cities improve food security for their residents, while also combating climate change and air pollution. The United Nations encourages countries to invest in innovative agricultural methods to end hunger by 2030.
A 150,695-square-foot organic rooftop garden will open in the heart of Paris in 2020, according to the Guardian.

Image: Valode & Pistre Architectes

More than 30 different plant species will be grown on the roof and gardeners will be able to harvest a metric ton worth of fruit every day. The fresh produce will be used to feed local communities and supply a restaurant in the building. The project will use state-of-the-art watering technology and doesn’t require soil, making the farming process incredibly resource-efficient.
This verdant feat of engineering will be the largest such farming project in the world and its realization provides a window into a rapidly growing form of agriculture that could significantly improve global food security, combat climate change, and reduce air pollution. 
Continue reading at: Paris Is Building the World's Largest Organic Rooftop Farm

Video: The North Atlantic ocean current, which warms northern Europe, may be slowing » Yale Climate Connections

'We are 50 to 100 years ahead of schedule with the slowdown of this ocean circulation pattern,' says climate scientist Michael Mann.
A stubborn blue spot of cool ocean temperatures stands out like the proverbial sore thumb in a recent NASA image of the warming world – a circle of cool blue on a planet increasingly shaded in hot red.
Globe showing blue spot
Watch the video
A region of the North Atlantic south of Greenland has experienced some of its coldest temperatures on record in recent years, a cooling unprecedented in the past thousand years. What explains that anomaly?
Climatologist Michael Mann of Penn State University, in this month’s “This is Not Cool” video, explains that this phenomenon may be an indication that the North Atlantic current, part of a larger global ocean circulation, is slowing down.
This current played a role in the 2004 science fiction movie The Day After Tomorrow, a film that was “based on science, but greatly overblown” and that therefore “frustrated a lot of climatologists,” Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland points out.
Stefan Rahmstorf of the University of Potsdam, Germany, says this circulation – called the thermohaline circulation, but popularly known to many in the U.S. as “the Gulf Stream” – keeps northern Europe several degrees warmer than it would otherwise be at that latitude.
Continue reading at: Video: The North Atlantic ocean current, which warms northern Europe, may be slowing » Yale Climate Connections

Could traditional architecture offer relief from soaring temperatures in the Gulf?

Temperatures in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Iran could soar to uninhabitable levels during the course of this century, according to a new study.
Already, places such as Al Ain and Kuwait can experience temperatures of up to 52℃. But the study predicts that the effects of global warming and the increase in greenhouse gases could push the average temperature up to the mid 50℃s or lower 60℃s.

Erwin Bolwidt/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA
Currently, many residents of the gulf can find refuge in air-conditioned homes, shopping centres and cars. But as temperatures increase, so does the need for cheaper, more sustainable, less energy-intensive ways of staying cool. Fortunately, the region’s past offers a rich source of architectural inspiration.
Continue reading at: Could traditional architecture offer relief from soaring temperatures in the Gulf?

Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic - BBC News

Even in the Arctic, microscopic particles of plastic are falling out of the sky with snow, a study has found.
The scientists said they were shocked by the sheer number of particles they found: more than 10,000 of them per litre in the Arctic.
It means that even there, people are likely to be breathing in microplastics from the air - though the health implications remain unclear.
Samples of Arctic snow
The researchers collected samples of snow in flasks. ALFRED-WEGENER-INSTITUT / MINE TEKMAN
The region is often seen as one of the world's last pristine environments.
A German-Swiss team of researchers has published the work in the journal Science Advances.
The scientists also found rubber particles and fibres in the snow.

Continue reading at: Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic - BBC News

Even with Trump in Office, the Climate Denial Movement Is Quietly Falling Apart - VICE

Behind the scenes, climate deniers are losing funding and succumbing to infighting.
t might seem like the climate denial movement is getting everything it wants.

The loose network of far-right think tanks and the reclusive billionaires who fund them helped convince Donald Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate treaty. The administration is passing a wish list of policies boosting the fossil fuel industry and escalating its rollback of climate research. Trump's Environmental Protection Agency this June killed one of America's most far-reaching and effective climate laws, the Clean Power Plan, and replaced it with something much weaker.
But those who track and investigate climate deniers told VICE the movement itself appears to be in flux. Veteran deniers are being pushed out, fossil fuel funding is harder to come by and longtime policy goals are for now out of reach. They're suing each other for hundreds of thousands of dollars and attacking companies like Exxon as "alarmist" sell-outs.
Continue reading at: Even with Trump in Office, the Climate Denial Movement Is Quietly Falling Apart - VICE

Amazon emergency: two-thirds of species are under threat from deforestation – dispatch

hen Marco Aurelio Zapata first built his farm named La Flor Del Amazonas (The Amazon Flower) deep in the Colombian rainforest nearly half a century ago, the only sound from his surrounding 288 hectares was that of the wild: howler and capuchin monkeys, macaws, and immeasurable birds, insects and amphibians striking up a cacophony of noise.

The modern era has violently interrupted this natural chorus. During the country’s long civil war which ended with a ceasefire in 2017 low flying crop-dusting planes would roar overhead dousing the forest canopy with herbicide in a bid to stem the guerilla’s cocaine production, much of it centred in Guaviare province where Zapata lives and tends to his smallholding.
Now it is the distant buzz of chainsaws, growing nearer all the time. Machete in hand hacking a path through the rainforest, the 62-year-old Zapata leads us to a clearing the size of several football pitches recently levelled by a neighbour to sell as cattle pasture.
“I feel sad and also angry to see it,” Zapata says. “This is a beautiful place and we want to protect the land but here anybody can do what they want.” 
Concerned landowner and former coca grower Marco Aurelio Zapata
Concerned landowner and former coca grower Marco Aurelio Zapata is under constant pressure to sell his land to commercial cattle ranchers CREDIT: DAVID ROSE /THE TELEGRAPH
This swathe of jungle on the edge of Colombia’s Chiribiquete national park, declared a world heritage site in 2018 and championed by the Prince of Wales as a vital lung of the earth, is part of a rapidly unfolding environmental crisis stretching right across the Amazon basin.
Continue reading at: Amazon emergency: two-thirds of species are under threat from deforestation – dispatch

What do Alaska Wildfires Mean for Global Climate Change? - Union of Concerned Scientists

What do Alaska Wildfires Mean for Global Climate Change? - Union of Concerned Scientists

Arctic wildfires spew soot and smoke cloud bigger than EU | World news | The Guardian

Plume from unprecedented blazes forecast to reach Alaska as fires rage for third month
A cloud of smoke and soot bigger than the European Union is billowing across Siberia as wildfires in the Arctic Circle rage into an unprecedented third month.

An aerial view of a wildfire in Boguchar, Russia. Photograph: Donat Sorokin/Tass
The normally frozen region, which is a crucial part of the planet’s cooling system, is spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and worsening the manmade climate disruption that created the tinderbox conditions.
A spate of huge fires in northern Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Canada discharged 50 megatonnes of CO2 in June and 79 megatonnes in July, far exceeding the previous record for the Arctic.
The intensity of the blazes continues with 25 megatonnes in the first 11 days of August – extending the duration beyond even the most persistent fires in the 17-year dataset of Europe’s satellite monitoring system.
Mark Parrington, a scientist in the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, said the previous record was just a few weeks. “We haven’t seen this before,” he said. “The fire intensity is still well above average.”
Continue reading at: Arctic wildfires spew soot and smoke cloud bigger than EU | World news | The Guardian

Russia's devastating wildfires mapped - Unearthed

Groundbreaking analysis of satellite imagery reveals the human activity linked to vast majority of catastrophic Siberian forest fires
Wildfires that ravaged millions of hectares of land and forests in Russia last year may have been caused by so-called “prescribed burning” – a controversial practice intended to prevent the spread of forest fire.

The aftermath of a forest fire near Lake Baikal, Siberia, in September 2018. Photo: Greenpeace
That’s according to a new analysis of 2018’s Siberian wildfires carried out by GIS specialists at Greenpeace’s Global Mapping Hub, who found that the overwhelming majority of those fires started close to places where people travel, work or live, or to sites of deliberate ‘prescribed burnings’.
Across the four regions studied the proportion of fires fitting into this category ranged from 65% in Krasnoyarsk Krai to 99% in Amur Oblast.
Continue reading at: Russia's devastating wildfires mapped - Unearthed
Go to the map:

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Kids Are Alright: The Youngster Climate Crusade

Taking a cue from young folk on climate activism
There are many reasons for climate change despair, summarized by scary headlines like “The Devastation of Human Life is In View.” But let’s talk about kids these days. If you have one, two or five—or are grandfather, aunt, friend or mentor to someone under 20—climate change is our greatest legacy to them and their adulthood. One would think that’d wake anyone from the immobilization of complacency or of praying someone else does something first. (In perhaps a sign from the climate change gods, my spellcheck tried to replace ‘immobilization,’ with ‘immolation’— which about says it all.) Yet while adults across the globe dither and delay, a whole bunch of young people have mobilized. And they want you and me to mobilize. (Hey, aren’t you and I the adults in their room?)

Continue reading at: The Kids Are Alright: The Youngster Climate Crusade

Consumers Energy settlement could lead to hundreds of megawatts of solar power

A proposed settlement between Consumers Energy and independent power producers could lead to hundreds of megawatts of solar power being built within the next four years.
On Thursday, the utility filed the proposed settlement with the Michigan Public Service Commission hoping to resolve a more than year-long dispute with solar developers looking to sell power to Consumers.
Multiple developers have challenged the amount Consumers is required to pay them under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act, or PURPA. Under the 1978 policy, utilities are required to purchase power from independent producers at the “avoided cost,” reflecting the amount it would cost the utility to build itself. Critics have claimed Consumers Energy proposed avoided costs rates that made their projects uneconomic to build.
The settlement is supported by the Solar Energy Industries Association as well as Cypress Creek Renewables, a national solar developer that has been an ongoing critic of Consumers Energy’s PURPA position. The groups had withheld support of Consumers’ proposed Clean Energy Plan calling for 6,000 megawatts of solar to be added to its system by 2040.
Consumers Energy settlement could lead to hundreds of megawatts of solar power
Thursday’s agreement says Consumers will use “commercially reasonable efforts” to interconnect 584 MW of solar by Sept. 1, 2023, which developers are ready to build. The utility aims to connect 150 MW of third-party power a year.
Continue reading at: Consumers Energy settlement could lead to hundreds of megawatts of solar power

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Climate change could raise the risk of deadly fungal infections in humans

Outbreaks of Candida auris have recently erupted around the world
While fungal diseases have devastated many animal and plant species, humans and other mammals have mostly been spared. That’s probably because mammals have body temperatures too warm for most fungi to replicate as well as powerful immune systems. But climate change may be challenging those defenses, bringing new fungal threats to human health, a microbiologist warns.
From 2012 to 2015, pathogenic versions of the fungus Candida auris arose independently in Africa, Asia and South America. The versions are from the same species, yet they are genetically distinct, so the spread across continents couldn’t have been caused by infected travelers, says Arturo Casadevall of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Candida auris fungus
FUNGAL THREAT  An emerging fungus called Candida auris (illustrated) can cause deadly infections in people’s blood and organs. Dr_Microbe/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Continue reading at: Climate change could raise the risk of deadly fungal infections in humans

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides

Bees, butterflies, and other insects are under attack by the very plants they feed on as U.S. agriculture continues to use chemicals known to kill.
America’s agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to honeybees, and likely other insects, than it was 25 years ago, almost entirely due to widespread use of so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a new study published today in the journal PLOS One.
This enormous rise in toxicity matches the sharp declines in bees, butterflies, and other pollinators as well as birds, says co-author Kendra Klein, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth US.
“This is the second Silent Spring. Neonics are like a new DDT, except they are a thousand times more toxic to bees than DDT was,” Klein says in an interview.
Image result for insect apocalypse
Picture credit: The New York Times
Continue reading at: Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Share of Fossil Fuel In Indian Power Mix Drops For 14th Consecutive Quarter

Despite the recent slowdown in capacity addition in the renewable energy capacity in India, and doubts related to future investments in the sector, the share of fossil fuel-based capacity in the country’s installed mix continues to contract.
According to CleanTechnica Research, the share of fossil fuel-based capacity in India’s total installed capacity declined for a 14th consecutive quarter at the end of June 2019. At the end of Q2 2019, the share of power generation capacity based on coal, diesel, natural gas, and naphtha had fallen to 63.05%.

CleanTechnica Research analyzed the trends for 17 quarters between Q2 2015 and Q2 2019 and found that the share of fossil fuel-based generation increased only in two quarters, i.e., Q3 2015 and Q4 2015 when it registered the highest share of 69.81%. Since Q4 2015 this share has declined at a compound annual rate of 0.78%. At the end of Q2 2015, the total installed capacity in the fossil fuel sector was 191 gigawatts which increased to 226 gigawatts at the end of Q2 2019.
The declining share is the direct result of the slow rate of new capacity addition in the fossil fuel sector compared to solar, wind, and the overall renewable energy sector over the last few years. Additionally, there have been several retirements as well as in the fossil fuel sector.

Continue reading at: Share of Fossil Fuel In Indian Power Mix Drops For 14th Consecutive Quarter

HAB Bulletin: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory - Ann Arbor, MI, USA

NOAA provides forecasts of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria blooms, in Lake Erie from July to October. Some cyanobacteria blooms can grow rapidly and produce toxins that cause harm to animal life and humans so scientists describe them as harmful algal blooms (HABs). Coastal communities can use NOAA's forecasts as a decision making tool.

NOAA bulletins provide analysis of the location of cyanobacteria blooms, as well as 3-day forecasts of transport, mixing, scum formation, and bloom decline. During the Lake Erie HAB season, which typically begins in July, bulletins are emailed to subscribers twice weekly during a bloom.

Below, you will find the latest HAB Bulletin. Please visit the NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services website at for official forecast information or to subscribe to receive the bulletin directly in your inbox.

Continue reading at: HAB Bulletin: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory - Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Saturday, August 3, 2019

1 dead, 5 injured, 7 missing in Kentucky pipeline explosion

Junction City, Ky. – A regional gas pipeline ruptured early Thursday in Kentucky, causing a massive explosion that killed one person, hospitalized five others, destroyed railroad tracks and forced the evacuation of a nearby mobile home park, authorities said.

Some homes were consumed by the blaze when firefighters extinguished the flames hours later, Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Don Gilliam said.

Image result for 1 dead, 7 missing in Ky. explosion of pipeline owned by Enbridge
A fire burns after an explosion near Junction City, Ky. A regional gas pipeline owned by Enbridge ruptured early Thursday in Kentucky, causing a massive explosion that killed one person, hospitalized five others, destroyed railroad tracks and forced the evacuation of a nearby mobile home park, authorities said. (Photo: Naomi Hayes, AP)

“The part of the area that has been compromised, there’s just nothing left,” Gilliam said when asked whether residents might return to their trailer homes. “The residences that are still standing or damaged will be accessible. There doesn’t really look like there’s any in-between back there. They’re either destroyed or they’re still standing.”

Continue reading at: 1 dead, 5 injured, 7 missing in Kentucky pipeline explosion

Friday, August 2, 2019

Reshaping development pathways in LDCs - Climate CoLab

What are solutions to restore degraded landscapes, helping communities in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) become more climate resilient?

Climate change, population growth, conflicts, and food and nutrition insecurity are linked with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Climate change is projected to exacerbate the process of ecosystem degradation through the intensification of extreme weather events, undermining the resilience and sustainability of agriculture and food systems and further endangering livelihoods of already vulnerable communities.

With the increasing threats that climate shocks and stresses present, there is an urgent need to reshape development pathways into prioritizing proactive disaster risk reduction instead of reactive measures in the devastating aftermath of the event. Particularly the poorest and most vulnerable countries, such as the LDCs, suffer the worst effects of climate change and experience the highest rates of damage and loss to their natural ecosystems. To foster the climate resilience of these countries, incremental measures must give way to concerted efforts fostering transformation if we are to solve the root causes of vulnerabilities.

To reshape development pathways for the overall achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN Climate Resilience Initiative (A2R) and the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP)[1], are calling for innovative, scalable solutions and best practices to restore degraded ecosystems, helping vulnerable communities in LDCs become more climate resilient.

Supported by the UK Department for International Development

Read more at: Reshaping development pathways in LDCs - Climate CoLab

Saturday, July 27, 2019

EU Lending Bank To End All Fossil Fuel Financing By 2020

After years of pressure from environmental campaigners, the European Investment Bank, the lending arm of the European Union, has proposed to end financing for all fossil fuels by 2020. It would be the first multilateral financial institution to make such a commitment.

It may have been the tough confirmation battle of the incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that convinced the EIB to make the policy change. During her meetings with European Parliament political groups ahead of her confirmation vote, Von der Leyen embraced the idea of French President Emmanuel Macron to create a European climate bank, saying she would transform the EIB into such an entity.

Demonstrators display a banner calling for the EU's lending arm to stop all investments in fossil fuels at the One Planet summit organized by Emmanuel Macron (Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Demonstrators display a banner calling for the EU's lending arm to stop all investments in fossil fuels at the One Planet summit organized by Emmanuel Macron (Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) GETTY

Continue reading at: EU Lending Bank To End All Fossil Fuel Financing By 2020

Friday, July 26, 2019

How Science Got Trampled in the Rush to Drill in the Arctic

Every year, hundreds of petroleum industry executives gather in Anchorage for the annual conference of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, where they discuss policy and celebrate their achievements with the state’s political establishment. In May 2018, they again filed into the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, but they had a new reason to celebrate. Under the Trump administration, oil and gas development was poised to dramatically expand into a remote corner of Alaska where it had been prohibited for nearly 40 years.

Tucked into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a bill signed by President Donald Trump five months earlier, was a brief two-page section that had little to do with tax reform. Drafted by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the provision opened up approximately 1.6 million acres of the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas leasing, a reversal of the federal policy that has long protected one of the most ecologically important landscapes in the Arctic.

The refuge is believed to sit atop one of the last great onshore oil reserves in North America, with a value conservatively estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars. For decades, the refuge has been the subject of a very public tug of war between pro-drilling forces and conservation advocates determined to protect an ecosystem crucial to polar bears, herds of migratory caribou, and native communities that rely on the wildlife for subsistence hunting. The Trump tax law, for the first time since the refuge was established in 1980, handed the advantage decisively to the drillers.

A visitor and a lone caribou watch each other on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain, an area in the north of the refuge known for its rich biodiversity. | Nathaniel Wilder for Politico Magazine
A visitor and a lone caribou watch each other on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain, an area in the north of the refuge known for its rich biodiversity. | Nathaniel Wilder for Politico Magazine

One of the keynote speakers at the conference that afternoon was Joe Balash, a top official at the Department of the Interior. Balash, who grew up in a small town outside Fairbanks and describes himself as “a local kid,” referred to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a “jewel,” and predicted that the entire North Slope region was “about to change in some pretty astounding ways.” The executives were there to hear him talk about what was going to come next: Before development could begin, Interior needed to complete a review of potential environmental impacts, and then get the first leases sold to industry. He recounted for the audience that on his second day on the job—right around when the tax bill was passed—then-Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt sat him down and told him that he would be “personally responsible” for completing the legally complex environmental review process for the wildlife refuge and “having a successful lease sale.”

“No pressure,” Balash said to audience laughter.

The pressure, in fact, couldn’t be greater.

Continue reading at: How Science Got Trampled in the Rush to Drill in the Arctic

Europe Sees 1.9GW Offshore Wind Boost | Offshore Wind

Europe added 1.9GW of new offshore wind capacity in the first half of 2019, up from the 1.1GW installed in the same period last year, according to WindEurope.
Countries that contributed to the new installations are the UK with 931MW, including Ørsted's Hornsea Project One offshore wind farm, Denmark with 374MW, Belgium with 370MW and Germany with 252MW.

The combined installations of new offshore and onshore wind capacity amounted to 4.9MW in H1 2019, which is an increase from the 4.5GW added in the same period last year.
Europe invested EUR 8.8 billion in the construction of future wind farms, with EUR 2.4 billion dedicated to offshore wind. These investments will result in 5.9GW being installed and connected over the next two to three years, WindEurope said.
At the end of last year, Europe set the target to have at least 32% of electricity produced by renewable energy by 2030.
According to WindEurope, Europe is also talking about a net-zero economy by 2050, but the rate of installations so far this year will not bring to the target.
Continue reading at: Europe Sees 1.9GW Offshore Wind Boost | Offshore Wind

UK solar power pioneer Solarcentury profit grows 860% in a year

Profits from subsidy-free solar farms have helped to connect millions in Africa to cheap lighting
A UK solar power pioneer has grown its profits eight-fold by investing in subsidy-free solar farms, a portion of which will help connect homes in Africa to small-scale solar-powered lighting systems.
Solarcentury, one of the UK’s fastest growing renewable energy companies, will report profits of £14.4m for the year ending in March, compared with £1.5m the year before.
A 5% share of the record profits will be channelled into SolarAid, a charity that has helped connect 2m homes in Africa to reliable electricity since it was founded by Solarcentury in 2006.
The rapidly rising profits follow a four-year growth strategy in which the company has invested heavily in building and running subsidy-free solar projects in southern Europe, Latin America and Africa.

A project manager for Solarcentury walks the lines of solar panels at a solar farm near Truro in Cornwall. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Continue reading at: UK solar power pioneer Solarcentury profit grows 860% in a year

Thursday, July 25, 2019

How plastic-industry pollution threatens Gulf seafood [Opinion] -

From Padre Island to the Florida Keys, the Gulf of Mexico is turning into a plastic soup. Researchers are finding microplastic trash in almost every water sample collected from the Gulf, at some of the highest concentrations reported in the world. And the situation is about to get far worse — off the Texas coast and in other U.S. waterways.

Shrimp infused with microplastics? The pollutants are making their way onto our dinner plates.

Photo: Lauri Patterson, Contributor / Getty

That’s because the petro-plastic industry is embarking on a reckless expansion boom. Determined to turn the country’s oversupply of fracked natural gas into more throwaway packaging and products, industry plans to build or expand 80 facilities that turn fracked gas into plastic, including 48 in Texas.

Continue reading at: How plastic-industry pollution threatens Gulf seafood [Opinion] -

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

World Hunger Is on the Rise - Heated

Let’s face it: The U.S. is not feeding the world

kuarmungadd for Getty Images

For the third straight year, U.N. agencies have documented rising levels of severe hunger in the world, affecting 820 million people. More than 2 billion suffer “moderate or severe” food insecurity. During the same period, the world is experiencing what Reuters called a “global grains glut,” with surplus agricultural commodities piled up outside grain silos rotting for want of buyers.

Obviously, growing more grain is not reducing global hunger.

Yet every day, some academic, industry, or political leader joins the Malthusian chorus of warnings about looming food shortages due to rising populations and strained natural resources. For example, here’s Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University, sounding the familiar alarm: “We’ve got to find a way to feed the world, double the food supply,” he said. “And we all know if we don’t produce enough food, what the outcome is: it’s war, it’s competition.”

“How will we feed the world?” calls the preacher. “Increase our bounty,” responds the choir.
There is so much wrong with that answer. And even with the question, which is profoundly arrogant.

How will “we” feed “the world?” We know who we mean when we ask that question: rich countries, with high-yield seeds and industrial-scale agriculture. The United States thinks it’s feeding the world now. It is not.

Continue reading at: World Hunger Is on the Rise - Heated

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Climate change: Arctic permafrost now melting at levels not expected until 2090 | The Independent

My comment: One of the tipping points I posted about earlier. Things are speeding up. 10-15 years may be too optimistic?

Series of 'anomalously warm summers' caused ground to thaw, researchers say

Permafrost hs begun thawing in the Canadian Arctic more than 70 years early because of climate change, according to new research.

A "series of anomalously warm summers” has dramatically accelerated melting rates at three sites despite average annual ground temperatures remaining low. Ponds and hillocks have formed as a result. 

It had been thought that the permafrost - ground that remains frozen for at least two years - would remain until at least 2090.

But the study found thawing levels were above 150 to 240 per cent above historic levels. 

Researchers called this a “truly remarkable amount".

Image result for permafrost thawing early

Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island was the worst-affected site, according to the study, published on the journal Geophysical Research Letters

There, permafrost thawing levels were 240 per cent higher than historic levels and the ground sank 90cm over the course of the study which ran for over 12 years, between 2003 and 2016.

Researchers also recorded thawing at depths not expected until air temperatures rose to levels that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted it would reach in 2090...

Continue reading at: Climate change: Arctic permafrost now melting at levels not expected until 2090 | The Independent

Friday, July 19, 2019

It’s the End of the World as They Know It – Mother Jones

The distinct burden of being a climate scientist


On election night 2016, Kim Cobb, a professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, was on Christmas Island, the world’s largest ring-shaped coral reef atoll, about 1,300 miles south of Hawaii. A climate scientist, she was collecting coral skeletons to produce estimates of past ocean temperatures. She had been taking these sorts of research trips for two decades, and over recent years she had witnessed about 85 percent of the island’s reef system perish due to rising ocean temperatures. “I was diving with tears in my eyes,” she recalls.

In a row house made of cinder blocks on the tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, she monitored the American election results, using a satellite uplink that took several minutes to load a page. When she saw Donald Trump’s victory, she felt shock and soon descended into severe depression. “I had the firm belief that Washington would act on climate change and would be acting soon,” the 44-year-old Cobb says. “When Trump was elected, it came crashing down.”

Continue reading at: It’s the End of the World as They Know It – Mother Jones

PFAS Resources — The Endocrine Disruption Exchange

PFAS (per- and poly- fluorinated alkyl substances) comprise a group of over 5,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic to humans and wildlife and last so long in the environment they have been referred to as ‘forever chemicals’. PFAS are used in numerous consumer products to confer waterproof, greaseproof, stain-proof and non-stick properties. They are also used for industrial purposes such as fire fighting foam. It is now becoming clear that PFAS are in the food, water, air, and bodies of many people around the world. The few PFAS that have been thoroughly studied show adverse impacts on the endocrine, immune, and metabolic systems.


Learn more about PFAS chemicals using the following resources provided by TEDX and our partners.

Read more at: PFAS Resources — The Endocrine Disruption Exchange

The Cure to the Tragedy of the Commons? Cooperation | Hakai Magazine

When fishers communicate openly, coral reefs win.

Fishers who keep their lines of communication open — even when they are competing for the same fish — end up with healthier fishing grounds. Researchers interviewed almost 650 fishers in Kenya and found that those who shared info about when and how they work had more fish and higher biodiversity in their waters. “The hardest thing in conservation is getting a bunch of disparate people to cooperate to ensure the perpetuation of a resource that they all depend on,” says ecologist Jack Kittinger. “When that happens, lo and behold, you’ve got better ecological success.”

Fisherman with traditional dhow fishing boat at Diani beach, Kenya
When Kenyan reef fishers who are in competition for the same fish species openly discuss tools and techniques and sort through problems, their cooperation results in healthier reef ecosystems. Photo by RZAF_Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Continue reading at: The Cure to the Tragedy of the Commons? Cooperation | Hakai Magazine

July on course to be hottest month ever, say climate scientists | Environment | The Guardian

If global trends continue for another fortnight, it will beat previous two-year-old record

Record temperatures across much of the world over the past two weeks could make July the hottest month ever measured on Earth, according to climate scientists.
The past fortnight has seen freak heat in the Canadian Arctic, crippling droughts in Chennai and Harare and forest fires that forced thousands of holidaymakers to abandon campsites in southern France and prompted the air force in Indonesia to fly cloud-busting missions in the hope of inducing rain.
If the trends of the first half of this month continue, it will beat the previous record from July 2017 by about 0.025C, according to calculations by Karsten Haustein, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford, and others.

Tourists leave the Acropolis on 4 July in Athens, Greece, after it closed because of high temperatures. Photograph: Miloš Bičanski/Getty Images

This follows the warmest-ever June, which was confirmed this week by data from the US space agency Nasa, following Europe’s Copernicus satellite monitoring system.

Continue reading at: July on course to be hottest month ever, say climate scientists | Environment | The Guardian

DOE Tour of Zero: Eastford Farm Bungalow by Paul Torcellini | Department of Energy

Paul Torcellini’s Connecticut home may look like a traditional bungalow. But there’s an important difference.

Torcellini: “It is a zero-energy house. We produce more energy onsite than we consume in the course of a year.”

Torcellini bungalow

As an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Lab, Torcellini has seen lots of tiny, zero-energy homes. But he wanted a more conventional size.

Torcellini: “You know, we’re like, we can do this with a family. We can do this taking five showers or baths a day, and all the laundry that goes with it, and four chest freezers so we can grow and store our own food.”

To provide that energy, he installed solar panels. And to keep heating and cooling needs low, he designed the home with south-facing windows and twelve-inch walls that provide tight insulation … all without breaking the bank.

Torcellini says going zero-energy no longer means drastically altering a building’s budget, size, or style. If a community wants to build a zero-energy school, for example …

Torcellini: “You’ll have multiple architects, engineers saying, ‘I can do that, and I can do it at no additional cost.’ So cost is not the excuse anymore. Technology is not the excuse. It’s the will to just do it.”

Learn more baout it here: DOE Tour of Zero: Eastford Farm Bungalow by Paul Torcellini | Department of Energy

Subscribe to Customized Maps of Environmental Concerns

Annotate & Share Your SkyTruth Alerts Map

SkyTruth’s latest update to Alerts adds features that allow subscribers to annotate a map view and share it with co-workers, organizations and interested parties. These additions add to a rich set of features that are unique to online mapping and satellite imagery viewing — all available for free to the public. New annotation features allow subscribers to:
  • Highlight traits found in satellite imagery
  • Measure the area of new development or changes in a habitat’s footprint
  • Add information to a SkyTruth Alerts incident
  • Measure boundary setbacks or the distance between 2 objects
  • Add text to the map in preparation for sharing with others
This is accomplished with a set of tools that can annotate by using shapes (rectangles, circles, polygons), lines, text, markers and measurements. A guide to these tools is available here.
New sharing capabilities allow you to save current map views either as a JPG image or a unique URL. Visit here for a  guide to sharing and some of its limitations.

Continue reading and subscribe at: Annotate

What is known about the mysterious disappearance of insects » Yale Climate Connections

These news articles and accessible scientific papers explain the latest findings on the 'insect apocalypse.'

Perhaps you remember when a drive in the country meant a windshield covered with the remains of many tiny insects. And you may have noticed that this is no longer always (or even usually) the case. Indeed, you can drive many interstate miles, even in rural areas, without having to clean your windshield to see properly.
(Photo credit: chapstickaddict / Flickr )
Are there really fewer insects than there used to be? Yes, in fact – a lot fewer. Is this drop-off an effect of a warming globe? Partly. We might call it one of the ways in which climate change is a threat multiplier – shifts in temperatures, rainfall, and drought increase the damage caused, for instance, by habitat loss and pesticides.

The drop-off in numbers of insects is also an example of a sliding baseline: Based on their own first-hand observations, young people set their expectations about the world decades later than their parents set theirs, and their parents in turn set theirs decades after their own parents or grandparents did. So those long, slow declines go relatively unnoticed. In the case of insects, which many of us don’t notice except as annoyances, even a faster decline may stay largely unobserved by many.

The best single article to read about all this (and the several recent scientific studies about it) is Brooke Jarvis’s “The Insect Apocalypse is Here” (Nonsubscribers can use one of their monthly free reads.) It is compelling to read, thorough, and rich in both information and human stories.

Continue reading at: What is known about the mysterious disappearance of insects » Yale Climate Connections

The 'war on coal' myth » Yale Climate Connections

Environmental regulations aren't the reason that coal is falling off the map.
Is environmental extremism causing the decline of the American coal industry? A look at the economics shows that coal has been beaten fair and square in the marketplace by cheaper and cleaner alternatives. The best way to support coal communities is to confront these economic realities, rather than creating a divisive and false narrative about the reasons behind the industry’s challenges.
Coal mining
Talen Energy in June announced the early closure of part of its Montana Colstrip power plant, the sixth-largest source of greenhouse emissions in the U.S. Two of the plant’s four coal-burning units are to be shuttered at the end of this year. The plant, and now its closing, are emblematic of the struggle between the fight to save coal communities and the inevitable economic forces plucking away at coal’s one-time dominance of American energy.
The Colstrip plant has four units, each its own power plant. The two oldest units, Units 1 and 2, are closing in light of insurmountable headwinds. They emit so much pollution that under federal law they are not permitted to operate unless the relatively cleaner units are also running and the net pollution then can be averaged-out. These 43-year-old units are also expensive to run compared to the amount of power they generate, so they are seldom used.
Continue reading at: The 'war on coal' myth » Yale Climate Connections

E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems - The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration took a major step to weaken the regulation of toxic chemicals on Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not ban a widely used pesticide that its own experts have linked to serious health problems in children.

The decision by Andrew R. Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, represents a victory for the chemical industry and for farmers who have lobbied to continue using the substance, chlorpyrifos, arguing it is necessary to protect crops.

It was the administration’s second major move this year to roll back or eliminate chemical safety rules. In April, the agency disregarded the advice of its own experts when officials issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, a known carcinogen. Agency scientists and lawyers had urged the E.P.A. to ban asbestos outright, as do most other industrialized nations.

In making the chlorpyrifos ruling, the E.P.A. said in a statement that the data supporting objections to the use of the pesticide was “not sufficiently valid, complete or reliable.” The agency added that it would continue to monitor the safety of chlorpyrifos through 2022.

A 2018 protest in California after a public hearing on increasing restrictions on the use of the agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos. 
A 2018 protest in California after a public hearing on increasing restrictions on the use of the agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos. CreditCreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times

Continue reading at: E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems - The New York Times

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom

NOAA and its research partners predict that western Lake Erie will experience a harmful algal bloom (HAB) of cyanobacteria this summer that is larger than the mild bloom in 2018. Scientists expect this year’s bloom to measure greater than a 7 on the severity index. The severity index is based on a bloom’s biomass – the amount of its harmful algae – over a sustained period. The largest blooms, 2011 and 2015, were 10 and 10.5, respectively. Last year’s bloom had a severity of 3.6 considered a mild bloom. However, the size of a bloom is not necessarily an indication of how toxic it is. For more information on the projection click here.

NOAA HAB Forecast Bulletin

Continue reading at: Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Tipping Elements - the Achilles Heels of the Earth System — PIK Research Portal

Tipping elements are components of the Earth system of supra-regional scale which - in terms of background climate - are characterized by a threshold behavior. Once operating near a threshold, these components can be tipped into a qualitatively different state by small external perturbations. To compare them with the human body, tipping elements could be described as organs which drastically alter or stop their usual function if certain requirements, such as oxygen supply, are not sufficiently fulfilled.

The threshold behavior is often based on self-reinforcing processes which, once tipped, can continue without further forcing. It is thus possible that the new state of a tipping element persists, even if the background climate falls back behind the threshold. The transition resulting from the exceedance of a system-specific tipping point can be either abrupt or gradual. Its large-scale environmental impacts could endanger the livelihood of millions of people.

Map of the most important tipping elements in the Earth System overlain on the Köppen climate classification. There are three groups of tipping elements: melting ice bodies, changing circulations of the ocean and atmosphere, and threatened large-scale ecosystems. Question marks indicate systems whose status as tipping elements is particularly uncertain. Source: PIK, 2017.

Continue reading at: Tipping Elements - the Achilles Heels of the Earth System — PIK Research Portal

11 Critical Global Warming Tipping Points - Job One for Humanity

Global Warming Tipping Points Which Can Create Mass Extinction Within Our Lifetimes

(If you do not understand the basics of what global warming (aka climate change,) is or how it works, we strongly advise you click here first to view some basic illustrations that explain it. If you are not familiar with the 20 major and worst consequences of global warming we strongly recommend you review this page first as it will deepen your understanding of how the global warming tipping points can interact with these other global warming consequences to create a global warming extinction scenario within our lifetimes. Also please note that the global warming extinction process is also sometimes called runaway global warming or irreversible global warming.)

"You cannot be called an alarmist if there really is something to be alarmed about." Unknown Source

While you are learning about key global warming tipping points, it is critically important to understand that no compensatory calculations for the effects of any global warming tipping points being crossed were ever included in the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC,) calculations for precisely how much we have to reduce our global fossil fuel use to save ourselves from extinction. This is important because the IPCC's global fossil fuel reduction calculations are currently being used by all of the member governments of the United Nations (about 190 countries,) for setting their own internal national fossil fuel reduction programs.

This horrific failure to include crossing any global warming tipping points in our current global and national fossil fuel reduction calculations is also true for the world's most recent 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. As you will soon discover this omission of including proper calculations for crossing global warming tipping points as the world continues to warm is the recipe for mutually assured destruction.

Yes, this failure to include allowance calculations for crossed tipping points also means that the national fossil fuel reduction programs of every member of the United Nations using the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement targets is also based on incomplete and inaccurate calculations. In other words, our current global fossil fuel reduction calculations are based on the inconceivable belief that "everything will work perfectly within our rapidly warming climate systems all of the time and we will never crossing any key global warming tipping points." Unfortunately, the immutable laws of mathematics and physics also do not work that way, particularly as we simultaneously continue to add massively more carbon and methane to our atmosphere each year.

We all know how "everything always goes perfectly as planned all of the time" so, there's nothing really to worry about here or, is there? As you explore the key global warming tipping points described below the shocking meaning to your future wellbeing of our government's not including crossing any global warming tipping points in their calculations for how much we have to reduce our global and national fossil fuel use to prevent extinction will become much clearer to you...

Tipping Points
The major Global warming tipping points within interacting climate, human, and biological systems are:
  1. The total amount of melting ice.
  2. The albedo effect.
  3. The release of methane from the warming of polar permafrost and tundra.
  4. The total amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.
  5. The die-offs of carbon-eating and oxygen-producing sea plankton because of the warming, carbonization, and acidification of the oceans.
  6. The ever-increasing atmospheric heat captured and stored by the oceans and sent to lower levels of the ocean.
  7. The loss of the atmospheric carbon-eating forests because of heat, drought, wildfires, and timber-harvesting or agriculture-related clearcutting.
  8. Soils that normally absorb carbon begin releasing it back into the atmosphere from their previously stored or inherent carbon because of the escalating heat.
  9. The changes in major ocean currents that help to stabilize our weather and seasons.
  10. The global warming-caused pandemic potential. When ancient ice, glaciers, permafrost, or frozen tundra melts, it releases still-living bacteria and viruses never seen before.
  11. Total weight of rising seas and melting ice shifting. Although research is sparse in this area, it has been posited that the total massive weight change from all ice melt areas (where ice covers land masses) as well as the heating, expanding and shifting weight effect on seas caused by global warming can move existing tectonic plates.
Continue reading at: 11 Critical Global Warming Tipping Points - Job One for Humanity

The urgency of Arctic change - ScienceDirect

This article provides a synthesis of the latest observational trends and projections for the future of the Arctic. First, the Arctic is already changing rapidly as a result of climate change. Contemporary warm Arctic temperatures and large sea ice deficits (75% volume loss) demonstrate climate states outside of previous experience. Modeled changes of the Arctic cryosphere demonstrate that even limiting global temperature increases to near 2 °C will leave the Arctic a much different environment by mid-century with less snow and sea ice, melted permafrost, altered ecosystems, and a projected annual mean Arctic temperature increase of +4 °C. Second, even under ambitious emission reduction scenarios, high-latitude land ice melt, including Greenland, are foreseen to continue due to internal lags, leading to accelerating global sea level rise throughout the century. Third, future Arctic changes may in turn impact lower latitudes through tundra greenhouse gas release and shifts in ocean and atmospheric circulation. Arctic-specific radiative and heat storage feedbacks may become an obstacle to achieving a stabilized global climate. In light of these trends, the precautionary principle calls for early adaptation and mitigation actions.

Recent Arctic erosion and loss of permafrost along the Alaskan coast near Drew Point. Thawing land ice (white) is clearly visible. This is part of the current rapid changes happening in the Arctic. Photo from USGS (

Continue reading at: The urgency of Arctic change - ScienceDirect