June 2012

Killer Heat June 1, 2012 : 1:03 PM

150,000 Americans could be killed by extreme heat according to the NRDC:

"Climate change is literally killing us. According to NRDC's "Killer Summer Heat" report, more than 150,000 Americans could die by the end of this century due to the excessive heat caused by climate change. And that estimate only covers America's top 40 cities."

"Why will climate change cause so many casualties? Illnesses that are caused or made worse by extreme heat -- including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease -- currently lead to hundreds of deaths each year."


Solar Goes Transcontinental June 1, 2012 : 8:48 PM

Another hallmark for renewable energy ­ the first solar powered transcontinental flight:

"An experimental solar-powered airplane took off from Switzerland on its first transcontinental flight Thursday, aiming to reach North Africa next week."

"Pilot Andre Borschberg planned to take the jumbo jet-size Solar Impulse plane on its first leg to Madrid, Spain, by Friday. His colleague Bertrand Piccard will take the helm of the aircraft for the second stretch of its 2,500-kilometer (1,554-mile) journey to the Moroccan capital Rabat."


12,000 People - $100 billion June 2, 2012 : 2:13 PM

12,000 people hospitalized; $100 billion -- ­ that's the cost of coal:

"The coal industry plans to spend $40 million this year trying to convince you that coal is good for the country. One thing they'll tell you is that coal is clean. But we said it before, and we¹ll say it now: There is no such thing as 'clean' coal. Annual carbon pollution from a single coal plant is equal to the annual emissions from more than 650,000 cars."

"Each year almost 12,000 people are hospitalized because of pollution from coal plants. If pollution from coal plants remains unchecked it could add an astonishing $100 billion to our annual healthcare bill."

Source: Climate Reality Blog


Bad News June 3, 2012 : 4:36 PM

From Joe Romm:

"First the bad news from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Thanks to a huge jump in Chinese emissions, "global carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel combustion reached a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011."

"The worse news is that, "The new data provide further evidence that the door to a 2°C trajectory is about to close," according to IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol. Why does that matter? As Reuters reported:"

"Scientists say ensuring global average temperatures this century do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is needed to limit devastating climate effects like crop failure and melting glaciers."

"Darn you truth-telling scientists, always ruining the party (see "James Hansen Is Correct About Catastrophic Projections For U.S. Drought If We Don't Act Now")."

"And the worst news, as Birol told Reuters, is that:"

"When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius [11°F], which would have devastating consequences for the planet."


Shale Gas Won't Help the Climate June 4, 2012 : 1:51 PM

The Guardian reports:

"Using shale gas instead of coal does nothing to help the climate, one of the biggest investors in gas has said, because shale gas companies are failing to use simple technology to fix leaks of a potent greenhouse gas."

"Switching from coal to shale gas is supposed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because gas produces less carbon than coal when burned. The difference in emissions has been the chief basis for claims by the gas industry that this new form of gas represents a "green" shift that will help to tackle climate change."

"But at present these savings do not exist, according to an authoritative study by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, a major financial investor in fossil fuels. It would take two or three decades for shale gas to make a genuine dent in greenhouse gas emissions, as large amounts of coal power went offline, the analysis found."


Disclosure June 5, 2012 : 3:38 PM

It's time for publicly traded companies to disclose their climate risks to investors. Reuters reports:

“Institutional investors and environmental advocates on Thursday urged companies to disclose their risks from the impact of climate change, two years after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued guidelines for firms to do just that.”

“While the SEC guidelines do not force publicly traded corporations to assess such climate-related events as severe storms, droughts, floods and heat waves, some companies have done so anyway.”

“But those disclosures have not been particularly useful, according to Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp.”


Greenwashing June 6, 2012 : 7:47 PM

The Union of Concerned Scientists released an important report last week detailing the hidden anti-climate activities of some of the world’s largest corporations:

“Some of America's top companies are spending heavily to block action on climate change or discredit climate science, despite public commitments to sustainable and green values, a new report has found.”

“An analysis of 28 Standard & Poor 500 publicly traded companies by researchers from the Union of Concerned Scientists exposed a sharp disconnect in some cases between PR message and less visible activities, with companies quietly lobbying against climate policy or funding groups which work to discredit climate science.”

The report contains the following details:

“But even General Electric Company, which ranks climate change as a pillar of its corporate policy on its website, had supported trade groups and thinktanks that misrepresent climate science, the researchers found.”

“Caterpillar Inc, despite its public commitment to sustainability, also worked behind the scenes to block action on climate change. The company spent more than $16m (£10.3m) on lobbying during the study, with nearly five times as much of that spent lobbying to block climate action than on pro-environmental policies.”

“Other big corporate players were fairly consistent with their public image. Nike and NRG Energy Inc lobbied in support of climate change policy and supported conservation groups.”

“Peabody Energy Corporation, which produces coal, was ranked the most obstructionist of any of the companies. It spent more than $33m to lobby Congress against environmental measures and supporting trade groups and think tanks which spread disinformation about climate science, the researchers found.”

Source: Guardian


400 Parts Per Million June 7, 2012 : 2:02 PM

We are about to cross another frightening threshold:

“The world’s air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant.”

“Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn’t quite a surprise, because it’s been rising at an accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350 ppm mark that many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide. It now stands globally at 395.”

“So far, only the Arctic has reached that 400 level, but the rest of the world will follow soon.”

“The fact that it’s 400 is significant,” said Jim Butler, global monitoring director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo. “It’s just a reminder to everybody that we haven’t fixed this and we’re still in trouble.”

Source: Associated Press


Moving toward Action June 12, 2012 : 4:02 PM

Climate Reality Project CEO Maggie Fox writes at the Huffington Post:

“It's easy to miss that there is a lot more happening on the climate change front than the alarming rise in severe weather all over the world. Without question, the latest news is sobering: Even as we learn that global carbon pollution reached record levels in 2011, most of our leaders haven't stepped up to address this crisis with the urgency that is required.”

“But the bad news is only part of the story. Across Asia, Latin America, Australia and even here in the United States, a few important steps are being taken to tackle the most important issue of our time. As a few nations are passing laws and regulations to reduce carbon pollution, people everywhere are seeing the impacts of climate change on their day-to-day lives, and deniers are being forced to throw in the towel.”

“Just recently, the Heartland Institute here in the U.S. -- a group known for its relentless and outrageous campaigns that deny climate change science -- rolled out an ill-advised billboard campaign equating those who know that climate change is real with serial killers and murderers. In less than a day, public outrage forced Heartland to take the billboard down. During their annual conference in Chicago, organizers announced that in the wake of public outcry over their desperate antics, funding for the group is drying up -- and this year's climate denial conference may well be their last.”


Another Month, Another Record June 13, 2012 : 5:54 PM

We've set another record:

“The period from June 2011 to May 2012 was the warmest 12-months since records began (in 1895) in the continental United States. This unprecedented stretch of warmth bests the previous 12-month record, established just one month ago.”

Source: Capital Weather Gang


Mexico Takes a Huge Step June 14, 2012 : 3:14 PM

Mexico joins a long list of our allies to pass climate legislation:

"Mexican President Felipe Calderon has signed a law introducing binding targets on climate change."

"Mr Calderon said on Twitter that the law would make Mexico the "first developing country with integral legislation against climate change".

"The law, which sets targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy, is only the second of its kind in the world."

"The measures had been passed by the Senate in April by 78 votes to nil."

Source: BBC


Europe Slashes Auto Emissions June 17, 2012 : 4:29 PM

Leaked documents reveal Europe will be taking some big steps in the right direction, slashing auto emissions by a third:

“Carmakers will have to slash the carbon emissions of new cars sold in Europe by a third by 2020, according to leaked European Commission documents seen by the Guardian.”

“The EC proposals would be legally binding and the document plans for even stricter emissions targets for 2025 and 2030, which could only be met if hybrid or electric vehicles become mainstream.”

“Greg Archer, of campaign group Transport & Environment, said: "Tighter CO2 standards for cars will be welcomed by drivers across Europe who will save €500 per year at the petrol pump on average if this proposal is adopted."

Source: The Guardian


Wildfires June 19, 2012 : 7:48 AM

The climate crisis will make wildfires, such as those burning right now in the American west, much more prevalent:

“Climate change will make U.S. western wildfires, like those now raging in parts of Colorado and New Mexico, more frequent over the next 30 years, researchers reported on Tuesday.”

“More broadly, almost all of North America and most of Europe will see wildfires more often by the year 2100, the scientists wrote in the journal Ecosphere, a publication of the Ecological Society of America” . . .

“Using satellite-based fire records and 16 different climate change models, the international team of researchers found that while wildfires will increase in many temperate zones due to rising temperatures, fire risk may actually decrease around the Equator, especially in tropical rainforests, because of increased rainfall.”

Source: Reuters


Romney is "Bus-ted" on Green Jobs June 20, 2012 : 4:42 PM

It should no longer be a surprise the lengths to which Mitt Romney and other conservatives will go to obscure truth in pursuit of their narrow ideology. Case in point was the recent bus tour on which the Republican candidate campaigned against green jobs in states where hundreds of thousands have been created:

“Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney begins a five-day bus tour today. He’ll cross six different states, focusing on economic issues and the “ordinary concerns of the American people.”

“As he has throughout the campaign, Romney will likely talk about why he doesn’t believe that clean energy is good for the country. In recent months, the Romney campaign has attacked American renewable energy companies, lied about the clean energy stimulus, and called American green jobs “illusory” — even with 64,000 clean energy jobs in his home state of Massachusetts.”

“In fact, those jobs are far from illusory. In the six states that Romney plans to visit on his bus tour, there are nearly half a million green jobs across a diverse range of sectors like wind, solar, land conservation, green buildings, and waste-to-energy.”

“According to 2010 data compiled by the Brookings Institution, there are 418,512 green jobs in the states on Romney’s bus tour.”

Source: Climate Progress


Oil Companies admit the truth June 22, 2012 : 4:12 PM

Now it's time they take real action. From the Climate Reality Blog:

“When it comes to protecting their profits, oil companies explicitly acknowledge that climate change poses a threat to their bottom line.”

“ExxonMobil tells its investors that “rising greenhouse gas emissions pose risks to society and ecosystems that could be significant.” Chevron says on its website: “[T]he use of fossil fuels to meet the world’s energy needs is a contributor to an increase in greenhouse gases … There is a widespread view that this increase is leading to climate change, with adverse effects on the environment.” ConocoPhillips goes further: “ConocoPhillips recognizes that human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is contributing to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that can lead to adverse changes in global climate.” BP even cites the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on its website. And Shell urges that “CO2 emissions must be reduced to avoid serious climate change.”


The Climate Crisis Is Hazardous to Your Health June 23, 2012 : 3:41 PM

Kaiser Permanente warns of the health problems the climate crisis could create:

“One of America’s largest health care companies is warning that climate change will worsen public health problems and make it more difficult to provide services.”

“Kaiser Permanente is the biggest non-profit health care company in the U.S., serving more than 9 million people with an operating revenue of $44 billion. Speaking to Andrew Winston of the Harvard Business Review, a Kaiser spokeswoman explained why the health care giant is concerned about a warming planet:”

“I spoke recently with Kathy Gerwig, KP’s Environmental Stewardship Officer, to find out. I expected a more typical answer about achieving GHG reduction goals or doing the right thing. What I got instead was one of the most straightforward statements about the role of climate change in public health and in corporate strategy.”

As Gerwig put it, “there’s credible evidence of significant climate change that will impact our ability to provide quality health care.”

Source: Climate Progress


How does your state stack up? June 24, 2012 : 6:55 PM

Climate Central launched yet another great new tool showing how individual states have warmed over the past 40 and 100 years:

“Our state-by-state analysis of warming over the past 100 years shows where it warmed the most and where it warmed the least. We found that no matter how much or how little a given state warmed over that 100-year period, the pace of warming in all regions accelerated dramatically starting in the 1970s, coinciding with the time when the effect of greenhouse gases began to overwhelm the other natural and human influences on climate at the global and continental scales.”

Check out the tool by clicking here.


Heat Kills June 26, 2012 : 5:02 PM

Extreme heat kills more people in the US than hurricanes, tornados, floods, and earthquakes combined:

“Hurricanes, tornados, floods, and earthquakes may be the most harrowing displays of Mother Nature’s power. But heat waves — with temperatures like today's possible record-breaker — are responsible for more deaths a year in the United States than all of the above combined.”

“About 700 people die each year from heat-related deaths — a toll that is projected to rise as global climate change brings heat waves that are hotter, longer, and more frequent.”

Source: Philly.com


The Myths and Facts about Natural Gas June 27, 2012 : 4:43 PM

Media Matters writes up the myths and fact about natural gas extraction:

“Natural gas can help the U.S. transition away from reliance on coal in the near-term if it is produced responsibly. But conservative media have dismissed the risks involved with the rapid spread of natural gas extraction to push for deregulation, attack the Obama administration, and ignore the need for a comprehensive energy policy to transition to renewable energy.”

Read the entire document by clicking here.


$100 Million June 28, 2012 : 5:48 PM

The cost of recent flooding in Minnesota will top $100 million according to The New York Times:

“The waters in Duluth are receding, but the damage is done: the northeastern Minnesota city estimates more than $100 million will be required to repair utilities, streets, parks and trails in the city and surrounding county of St. Louis, said Pakou Ly, a spokeswoman for Duluth. The State Department of Transportation estimates its roads have sustained $20 million worth of damage.”


History Repeats Itself June 29, 2012 : 3:14 PM

Fifty years ago when Silent Spring was released, author Rachel Carson was viciously attacked. Yale Environment 360 compares those assaults to what today’s climate scientists face:

“When Silent Spring was published in 1962, author Rachel Carson was subjected to vicious personal assaults that had nothing do with the science or the merits of pesticide use. Those attacks find a troubling parallel today in the campaigns against climate scientists who point to evidence of a rapidly warming world.”

“Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. More than a century and a half after Darwin's On the Origin of Species appeared, nearly half the adults in the United States still don't believe that evolution happens. And 50 years after the 1962 publication of Silent Spring, naysayers still rage from long-entrenched positions of ignorance at Rachel Carson and her ground-breaking critique of pesticide use.”

Read the entire piece by clicking here.