Talking Climate and Health: “The Water Will Come” Author Jeff Goodell

19 hours 53 minutes ago

Journalist and author Jeff Goodell has dedicated much of his career to sounding the alarm on the climate crisis. In his incredible 23 years as a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, he’s written countless stories about the need for urgent action. Most writers would be content there, but Goodell’s also produced a series of revered books from Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future (2006) to 2017’s The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World.

Across this wide body of work, what consistently distinguishes Goodell’s writing is the combination of deep research and exquisite prose seeking to reveal the truth about our warming world and the dangerous stakes of a fossil fuel-driven future. Which makes him a voice worth listening to.

>> Learn more: What Is Sea-Level Rise? <<

As part of our global broadcast event exploring the climate-health crisis, 24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves, long-time Climate Reality friend and fellow Rolling Stone journalist Jamil Smith sat down to speak with Goodell about sea-level rise and how it puts the health and well-being of millions at risk.

Interview condensed and edited for brevity.

Jamil Smith: So, we obviously we know each other from working together at Rolling Stone, but I want to know more about this book, The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World. What would you say is the key finding of your book?

Jeff Goodell: Well, I think the most important thing that I kind of discovered about while I was reporting this book that I think is sort of widely misunderstood about the risks of sea-level rise is that this is something that is already kind of baked into the system. You know, we've talked a lot about the importance of cutting carbon emissions and all of that – and that's important for all the reasons that we've been talking about on this show for hours now.

But it's also really important to understand that from a sea-level rise point-of-view, you know, this is already kind of a done deal. It doesn't mean that cutting carbon emissions isn't important because it can certainly slow the trajectory over the long-term.

But we have, you know, depending on… certainly five to six feet of sea-level rise sort of baked into the system now, which is a really, really big deal, and really important to think about because it means that we really have to think both about how do we cut carbon pollution as quickly as possible but also how do we begin to adapting to a different world. Because that's what we're making for ourselves, and I think sea-level rise is sort of emblematic of that.

JS:  To research your book, you traveled the globe extensively interviewing scientists. You traveled to Alaska with former United States President Barack Obama to investigate the extent to which the climate crisis and rising sea levels will impact humanity. What did you find – and how dire is that situation overall?

JG: Well, you know, one of the things about sea-level rise is that it's different everywhere, right? I mean, so we have a global sea-level rise that the scientists talk about and the range right now is between say, three to seven feet or so, one to two meters by the end of the century, and it'll continue going after that depending on what we do with carbon emissions. But thinking about the risks and economic costs of sea-level rise is very different in different places.

>> Get The Facts: Why Are Sea Levels Rising? <<

So for example, I spent a lot of time reporting this book in Miami, Florida, where you have a lot of really high-value real estate and a lot of population living in a very flat area, and not only that [but] you have Miami sort of built on a kind of porous limestone that's basically like Swiss cheese, which makes it very difficult to build sea walls or other kind of protections.

So the risks in a place like Miami are very different than say Jakarta, which is also low-lying but it also happens to be subsiding or sinking. The land happens to be sinking itself, which exacerbates the risks of sea-level rise. So there's much greater sort of urgency there.

Then, you know, you could compare it to a place like New York, which everyone saw with Hurricane Sandy has a lot at risk from storm surges and sea-level rise, but also has a lot of high ground that one can imagine sort of migrating to – and [there’s] a lot of money obviously in New York to spend on sea-level defenses. So one of the most important things I realized and learned is that this story plays out differently everywhere. Even though it's a global story, every sort of city and locale has an individual narrative.

JS: Yes, I was reporting in Miami recently and I know that certainly it is entered into the dialogue of our politicians as well. I wanted to know what you found in reporting your book and throughout your overall reporting? How has this talk about rising sea levels entered our political dialogue as you've seen it?

JG: Well, I mean it's starting to enter into our political dialogue in a very tangible way because people are experiencing the flooding – like wildfires and like heat extremes. This is one of the manifestations of climate change in the here and now. It's another example of how this is not a distant faraway future event; this is an event that we're beginning to see and experience in real time. And I think that with increased flooding in a lot of regions, we're seeing people who are experiencing more and more floods within the United States with these hurricanes and the bigger storm surges that come with that. So it's starting to drive politicians to think about, “Okay what are we going to do? How are we going to deal with this?”

In South Florida, you're starting to see the city of Miami Beach spend $500 million to increase drainage and install an elaborate system of pumps to help pump the water out and elevating streets.

>> Learn more: Climate Change and Florida: What You Need to Know <<

You know, one of the things that's driving this is a lot of concern in coastal communities around the world that people will begin to leave. And so as people leave there's obvious costs to the economy [and] to the tax base, and so there's a lot of political effort put in trying to convince people to stay and convincing them that we can deal with these risks. We can build sea walls. We can help with the drainage. We can elevate buildings. We can do all these things so that our community, our city will be viable for the coming decades.

JS: Now, of course Jeff, there are naysayers and climate deniers in every culture. Maybe some have a hard time imagining science as the future holds; maybe some have a political end. What in your experience is the best way to convince people who might not understand what rising sea levels mean for the respective communities?

JG: Well, I think the best way is to like go hang out on Miami Beach during king tides and see what's going on for yourself. You know, when you see three feet of water in Miami Beach on a sunny day, you get a sense that something's going on. But I myself, as a journalist and someone who's written about this and thought about this a lot, I think that for me there's a certain subset of people who don't want to believe this.

The water will be rising up around their chins and they'll still not believe that this is anything related to what humans are doing with burning fossil fuels or anything.

I'm really trying to address and think about it and help people understand. People get that climate change is an issue, that it is caused by humans. That it is a result of our burning fossil fuels and other human practices.

But [they] don't really understand the urgency of the risks. And I think talking about sea-level rise is a really good way of thinking about that and understanding that because it's pretty easy to visualize and think about what a city like Venice or Jakarta or Shanghai or Miami looks like with three or four or five feet of sea-level rise. It doesn't take, you know, a really vivid imagination to understand what a big problem that is.

Watch the Full Interview:

JS: Indeed. I remember reading a dystopic graphic novel where it envisioned a big wall outside of Santa Monica here in Los Angeles to protect against the rising Pacific Ocean. You've been writing about this for a very long time – about 15 years. What in your opinion are the actual practical solutions for dealing with these rising sea levels?

JG: Well, I think there there's a whole variety of solutions and they're different in every place. Some places, you know, like lower Manhattan for example, I'm sure that there will be elaborate sea walls built because it's the most valuable real estate in the world and there's a kind of granite foundation that would allow that. In places like Venice, you see these attempts of building large barriers outside the lagoon area to try to keep sea levels at bay. They're talking about building different kinds of barriers on the Thames to protect London. In some places in the Netherlands, they're experimenting with floating structures.

I think there's going to be a variety of solutions. I think that things like, you mentioned a seawall outside of Santa Monica. I mean, I think that that's highly unlikely, and I think that walls are very problematic for a lot of reasons – social justice issues being one of them.

You know, if you build me a wall in lower Manhattan and the wall ends at 42nd Street and you live downtown on 25th Street, you're happy. You feel safe behind the wall. If you're on 50th Street, you're wondering why the wall didn't go up there, and if you're living in Red Hook Brooklyn, you know, there's not going to be Danish architects out there building billion-dollar walls to protect you. So there's every media question: well, why do they get the wall and we don't?

There's a lot of complexity in this and there's a lot of complexity region-to-region. But I think the big thing that we're going to see, the really important overview, is that there's going to be retreat. People are going to leave from coastal areas. There will be adaptation. There will be sea walls. There will be all kinds of innovation and interesting structures and floating this and that. But there will also be people who leave. And there will be people who are left behind in flooding areas who don't have the means to retreat. And I think that as we move into thinking more about this and as the waters begin to rise more and more, we're gonna see more and more what a huge social justice issue this is.

JS: Indeed. Jeff Goodell, contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine, thank you very much, my friend and colleague. Appreciate you joining us.

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We respect your privacy. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. The Climate Reality ProjectWhat Exactly Are Greenhouse Gases, Anyway?Talking Climate and Health: IPCC Report Lead Author Dr. Kristie EbiTaking on Climate Change and Petrochemicals in the Ohio River ValleyLead: “When you see three feet of water in Miami Beach on a sunny day, you get a sense that something's going on”:facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/talking-climate-and-health-water-will-come-author-jeff-goodell?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=24hoursEmail Subject: Talking Climate and Health: “The Water Will Come” Author Jeff GoodellTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2Fy1rmI
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How Climate Change Is Affecting Our Lives

3 days ago

We’re going to make an educated guess here. When we talk about who climate change affects, we’re guessing your first thought isn’t me. Or your friends and family today.

You’re not alone. If you’re like most people, you maybe imagine your grandchildren or even great-grandchildren having to deal with record heatwaves. Or people far away struggling in the face of rising seas.

But the (rather inconvenient) truth is that the climate crisis is already affecting most of us right here and right now. From the second we wake up in the morning, to the minute we doze off at night. And we have to do something about it.

We all know that global temperatures are rising – and we know why.

>> What is the Greenhouse Effect? <<

For centuries, humans have been burning fossil fuels to power their lives. This process releases additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping heat that would escape into space otherwise.

We’ve known for decades about the damage all that extra heat is doing to the Earth. Now, a recent UN-backed report on climate change highlights just how dangerous that process has been. The planet has already warmed 1 degree Celsius and temperatures could rise even more – significantly changing life as we know it.

We’re already seeing the first impacts of this crisis. But here’s the good news – we still have time to turn things around.

Here are three ways that climate change is already affecting people’s lives:
1. Health

Climate action is just what the doctor ordered. And we mean that quite literally. Medical professionals have increasingly been sounding the alarm about the risks and consequences of continually burning fossil fuels.

Here’s the problem. The same dirty fossil fuel emissions that contribute to the greenhouse effect can lead to respiratory diseases – such as asthma – in children and adults. And they can be quite dangerous. Air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization.

By trapping heat into our planet, carbon emissions also damage the human body and mind in other ways. We’ve all heard about the risks of heat strokes. But did you know that warmer temperatures are linked to a 2 percent increase in mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and even PTSD?

2. Home

There’s really no place like home. But for many living in coastal communities, sea-level rise could lead to an unwanted (and sudden) move.

As our globe warms, glaciers melt and ocean water expands, leading seas to rise about 7 to 8 inches on average since 1900 – about 3 inches of that since 1993. The added volume of water creeping up coastlines slowly swallows land and homes and fuels more flooding inland (to name just a few impacts).

For example, in the United States, from 2005 to 2015, the median annual number of flood days more than doubled on the East Coast between Florida and North Carolina, thanks in part to rising sea levels.

In Miami, even residents that live far away from the beach could be forced to relocate. Lower-income, people of color, and immigrants could lose their homes to wealthy residents who want to move away from the coast and into neighborhoods safe from the water, driving property values and rents up and out of reach of regular people. This is called “climate gentrification,” and it’s a hot topic within the environmental justice movement.

3. Food 

No two people in this world are exactly the same. But there’s something that we all do, regardless of our culture, language, or personality. We all eat. So it’s hard to ignore the impacts of climate change on food.

The same CO2 accumulating in our atmosphere thanks to fossil fuels is actually changing the composition of fruits and vegetables that we eat, making them less nutritious. Extra CO2 is speeding up photosynthesis and causing plants to grow with more sugar and less calcium, protein, zinc, and important vitamins.

According to Harvard researchers, if we don’t reduce carbon emissions right now, this could spell big problem for our diets. By the middle of the century about 175 million more people could develop a zinc deficiency and 122 million people could become protein deficient as a result of these changes to plant physiology.
 

Climate Facts: Climate Change and Food

Food for thought: Want to know how climate change affects you? Just take a look at your plate. #YEARSproject (via Years of Living Dangerously)

Posted by Climate Reality on Friday, November 17, 2017

 

Climate change is not only hitting close to home – it’s knocking on the front door and demanding to come in. But we’re not going to let that happen. We know a lot about the climate crisis and we know how to fix it – by switching to cleaner sources of energy and reducing carbon emissions.

That’s why we’re training everyday people like you to make a difference and together make our leaders act on climate. Join us by becoming a Climate Reality Leader activist at our free training in Atlanta from March 14-16.

Attend the Atlanta Training and you’ll learn about the science of climate change and how it’s transforming the Earth. You’ll hear how this crisis hits low-income families and communities of color hardest of all. Most of all, you’ll learn what you can do personally to make a difference and lead the movement for a fair and health future powered by clean energy.

climate changeclimate actiontrainingThe Climate Reality ProjectFour Ways Climate Change Affects Our HealthClimate Change and Health: Food SecurityGet the Facts: Why Are Sea Levels Rising?Lead: Climate change is not only hitting close to home – it’s knocking on our front door and demanding to come in. But we’re not going to let that happen.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/how-climate-change-affecting-our-lives?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: How Climate Change Is Affecting Our LivesTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2HjkR05
ipacha

Yes, It’s Cold. Yes, Our Climate Is (Still) Changing

5 days 21 hours ago

It’s back.

The infamous Polar Vortex – a meteorological phenomenon that scientists discovered decades ago but has recently gained the kind of hype that typically goes with a Supreme drop or Oscar snub – will be rearing its (ugly?) head once again.

So what does that mean?

First, it’s going to get cold. You know, during winter.

Second, climate change is still happening. Overall, average temperatures across the Earth and in the oceans keep rising and breaking records, despite the occasional cold snap. And that’s bad news for all of us.

 Here’s what you need to know.

Your 10-Day Forecast: Cold Ahead

First up, what is the Polar Vortex?

Despite the Avengers villain-sounding name, the Polar Vortex is just a band of very strong winds some 20,000 feet off the ground above the Arctic Circle.

For more than a month now, meteorologists have been forecasting it will split. This can lead to the steering winds (i.e. the jet stream) in the atmosphere to shift from blowing in a west to east orientation to blowing more north to south.

When that happens, the winds now blasting south can blow frigid Arctic air into North America and Europe. As far south as the southern US, for instance, and perhaps beyond. Which naturally causes temperatures to drop.

We’re already getting a taste of this transition to a much colder pattern over the eastern two-thirds of the US. Plus, indications are that this is just the beginning. We could be in for an extended period of brutally cold (and in some cases, snowy) weather that lasts right into February.

Your 10-Year Forecast: A Lot More Heat and a Lot Wilder Weather

So we’re about to get some extremely cold weather in the short term. But this does nothing to change the long-term trend of global warming. As in the video below, weather is what happens over the short term and is changing all the time, with many factors in play. Climate is the long-term aggregate of weather events over seasons and decades – and the trend line is heading in one clear direction: toward a warmer and more dangerous world.
 


Climate systems are complex. Evidence has been mounting that our warming Earth is leading to all sorts of changes in our atmosphere and with our weather throughout the year. To put it another way, that rising temperatures can even affect winters.`

For example, in winter, we’re seeing moisture-infused storm systems that are capable of producing incredible amounts of snow and rain and potentially more lake-effect snow events. And although winters have been getting shorter and warmer, we still see bouts of very cold weather from time and time.

In fact, there’s a growing body of research indicating that as Arctic ice melts and temperatures warm, the jet stream is slowing down and becoming wavier. That can mean weather patterns move more slowly (they get stuck!). It can also mean a jet stream that occasionally dips well to the south in places (i.e. the eastern US) like what’s happening now. In wintertime, that can allow frigid polar air masses to hit places that aren’t as accustomed to seeing them.

The Bottom Line

Even though our planet is warming, and record warm days far outnumber record cold ones, we still see periods of colder weather from time to time. We expect that we will far into the future. It doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t happening. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we can stop working to cut emissions and solve the climate crisis.

None of this, of course, will stop the fossil fuel PR effort and the professional deniers. Every time the temperatures drop, they’re out there with the same talking points that everyone who understands the science knows are bogus. It’s as predictable as the sunrise. But now you know the truth.

To learn more about the basics of climate science and the crisis now threatening the Earth, download our free e-book, Climate Crisis 101 and get up to speed with what’s happening – and what you can do.

*/ climate changewintercoldclimate crisisjet streamstormExtreme Weatherweatherclimatesnowpolar vortexThe Climate Reality ProjectA ‘Perfect Storm’: Extreme Winter Weather, Bitter Cold, and Climate ChangeIs Climate Change Really Making Weather More Extreme? Why People Ignore the Science Behind the Climate Crisis (and What You Can Do)Lead: More and more research indicates that as global temperatures warm and Arctic ice melts, the jet stream is slowing down and becoming wavier, allowing frigid polar air to spill into places that aren’t as accustomed to seeing it.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/yes-cold-yes-our-climate-still-changing?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Yes, It’s Cold. Yes, Our Climate Is (Still) ChangingTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2QZScwC
ipacha

What’s Happening at the Atlanta Training?

6 days 21 hours ago

You know the climate crisis hits low-income families and communities of color especially hard. And you know that fossil fuel pollution too often poisons the air these communities breathe and the water they drink.

Sound fair to you? Us, either.

That’s why we’ll be in Atlanta, Georgia from March 14–16 for the 40th Climate Reality Leadership Corps training. We’re bringing together some of the inspiring men and women leading the fight for climate justice along with former Vice President Al Gore and forward-looking policymakers, communicators, technology thinkers and more.

We’ll explore how the climate crisis is hurting communities and fueling injustice throughout the Southeastern US and beyond. And we’ll learn how people like you can stand up and fight for climate solutions that not only help protect our planet and health for the long haul, but help make this a more equitable and fair world for us all.

You don’t have to be a lifelong activist to attend. All you have to be is ready to make a difference.

Want to know who will be there at the Atlanta training? What it will cover? What you’ll get out of it? Read on.

Who’s Speaking at the Atlanta Training?
  • Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II: Reverend Dr. William Barber is the founder of the new Poor Peoples Movement, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, and one of the leading figures in the fight for social and environmental justice in the US today. Dr. Barber is pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, president of the North Carolina NAACP, and the architect of the Moral Mondays movement fighting discrimination and hate in state government in previous administrations. He is also the president and senior lecturer of the Repairers of the Breach, leading the organization’s fight to rebuild, raise up, and repair the moral infrastructure of the US.
  • Dr. Robert Bullard: Dr. Robert Bullard is widely known as the “father of environmental justice.” Throughout an activist career stretching back to the 1970s, Dr. Bullard has highlighted and fought the systematic discrimination communities of color face in the environment everywhere from the location of garbage dumps in black neighborhoods to unequal recovery efforts after disasters. He is the author of 18 award-winning books and the distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University.
  • Former Vice President Al Gore: Former Vice President Al Gore is the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project and a leading voice in the global climate movement. He is the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth as well as An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, and is the author of six New York Times bestselling books. In 2007, he received the Nobel Peace Prize along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for, “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”
What Are the Big Ideas in Atlanta?
  • Dirty Energy Fuels Injustice: The fossil fuel economy is not only wreaking havoc on the climate. It’s also poisoning communities across the Southeastern US. At the training, we’ll look at how fossil fuel pollution hits low-income families and communities of color especially hard, thanks to a legacy of racial segregation and discrimination. We’ll explore how activists can tackle this challenge head on and together create a healthy environment and more just country for all.
  • Stronger Storms and Rising Seas: With carbon pollution from fossil fuels changing our climate, seas are rising and storms are getting stronger up and down the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. The result: more and more people see not only their homes, but their very livelihoods threatened. At the Atlanta Training, we’ll look at the science of what’s happening and how we can work for just recoveries after climate events so low-income families and communities of color have the support and resources to rebuild their lives.
  • Climate and Health: It started as a climate crisis, driven by fossil fuels. Today, it’s slowly becoming one of the greatest health crises we’ve ever faced. In the Southeast, heatwaves are becoming stronger and lasting longer, with dangerous consequences for children, the elderly, and outdoor workers in particular. Meanwhile, rising temperatures deepen existing public health threats in low-income communities, like inadequate waste disposal, enabling infectious diseases to spread further and faster. In Atlanta, we’ll chart this growing health threat and see how embracing practical climate solutions can help protect our communities.
  • Climate and Agriculture: Georgia peaches. Florida oranges. Virginia peanuts. You can’t talk about the Southeast without talking about these iconic crops. But today, these crops and more face growing threats from rising temperatures, stronger hurricanes, and other climate impacts, putting entire communities and economies at risk. We’ll explore how rural communities are already experiencing these threats and responding with a turn toward greater sustainability.
  • Making the Just Transition: The Southeast is perfectly poised for a clean energy revolution. With abundant sunshine and miles of coastland, the region has all the resources it needs to transform its economy and leave coal and other fossil fuels behind. The challenge activists now face is ensuring the transition to a low-carbon economy is a just one that benefits all communities – especially those who have been excluded or marginalized in the past. In Atlanta, we’ll learn how together we can make the transition to clean energy an inclusive and positive one that creates jobs and opportunities for people everywhere.
What Will You Take Away?
  • Understanding what the Climate Crisis Means for You: In Atlanta, you’ll spend time with former Vice President Al Gore seeing his legendary climate presentation live and learn how to give it yourself. You’ll learn what the crisis means for you personally and your community.
  • Powerful Communications Skills: Work with field-leading communications professionals to learn how to tell stories and share a message that inspires audiences to act.
  • A Roadmap for Climate Justice: Gain a deeper understanding of how fossil fuels drive injustice in almost every sector and how together we can fight back.
  • A Network to Win: Join a global network of thousands of other forward-looking activists and learn how to build campaigns that get results and create a healthier and more equitable world.
How Do I Apply?

Easy. To apply to this free training, just visit our Climate Reality Leadership Corps training page. The training takes place from March 14-16 and there’s no application or registration fee to attend.

This is going to be special. We hope to see you there.

*/ climate changeclimate reality leadership corps. atlantatrainingGeorgiaThe Climate Reality ProjectHow Does Climate Change Affect Georgia?Join Us in Atlanta How Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the USLead: Join us in Atlanta from March 14-16 and learn how you can work for climate justice.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/what-happening-atlanta-training?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=CRinATLEmail Subject: What’s Happening at the Atlanta Training?Twitter URL: https://bit.ly/2stGjVZ
ipacha

It’s a Fact: Wind Farms and Birds Can Coexist Peacefully

1 week ago

This is an excerpt from our free e-book, It’s a Breeze: The Facts about Wind Energy.

Here’s what a lot of people don’t know: Wind power’s overall impact on birds is low compared with other human-related causes like tall buildings or traffic. In fact, if you compare wildlife deaths across energy sources, studies show that the oil, gas, and coal industries account for far more bird deaths than wind power.

Check it out:

And climate change (driven by the fossil fuel industry) represents an enormous threat to birds. In fact, due to climate change, “shrinking and shifting ranges could imperil nearly half of US birds within this century,” according to a study by the National Audubon Society.

Better yet, new technology is making wind farms safer for birds all the time. In one case, researchers are developing a system where “antenna towers continuously scan for the birds' radio frequencies.” If a bird gets too close to a turbine, the system monitors recommend the operator temporarily shuts down the turbine.

We don’t have to choose between protecting wildlife and harnessing wind power – we can have both!

Get the Facts in Our Free New E-Book

In our brand-new e-book, we get straight to the facts about wind energy – because there’s a lot of good news to share.

Costs keep falling. The sector keeps putting more and more people to work. And growing numbers of cities, states, countries, and companies around the world are embracing wind as a powerful tool to cut emissions and create a sustainable future.

Big Polluters are blowing a lot of hot hair about wind energy. But you can download our free e-book now and help spread the facts.

wind energybirdswind powerwind and wildlifeclimate changerenewable energyClean EnergyrenewablesturbinesThe Climate Reality ProjectHow Does Wind Energy Work, Anyway?Reasons for Hope: The Answer Is Blowin’ in the WindHow Land Under Solar Panels Can Contribute to Food SecurityLead: Understandably, a lot of people worry that wildlife (especially birds) are killed by wind turbines. But wildlife and wind farms can coexist peacefully.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/its-fact-wind-farms-and-birds-can-coexist-peacefully?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Wind Farms and Birds Can Coexist PeacefullyTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2DelGTK
ipacha

Taking on Climate Change and Petrochemicals in the Ohio River Valley

1 week 2 days ago

When it comes to the fossil fuel industry, we’ve all heard the promises before: new jobs, economic growth, and happier communities, all thanks to their generosity and entrepreneurial spirit.

If you’re struggling or there aren’t a whole lot of other options for work, it can all sound glowing and great.

But what they always fail to mention is that their business damages ecosystems, drives climate change, and fills our air and water with dangerous, carcinogenic chemicals. Which all have a way of transforming lives and communities for the long-term and in ways that don’t exactly make great PR.

We know this because we’ve seen the same tragic story again and again: fossil fuels and petrochemicals causing disastrous health outcomes for normal Americans just trying to live their lives.

In particular, in southern Louisiana along an 85-mile corridor of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, petrochemical plants are causing some of the nation’s highest cancer rates. There are important lessons to be learned from this area, infamously dubbed “Cancer Alley.” Especially as the fossil fuel industry plans to invest over $200 billion in new petrochemical facilities across the US in the coming years.

To understand this issue, it’s worth a quick recap on petrochemicals and the problems they create. What are petrochemicals, how are they used, and what problems can they cause? Read on for answers.           

The Truth About Petrochemicals

Put simply, the term “petrochemical” encompasses several different chemical compounds derived from fossil fuels, most commonly oil and natural gas. These chemicals are produced by applying extreme temperatures and pressures to the fossil fuel used in order to extract them. How extreme? We’re talking temperatures of over 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of over 1,000 pounds per square inch (PSI).

And what is all this heat and pressure for? In essence, petrochemicals are used to create plastics, dyes, fertilizers, and other synthetic compounds for various industries.

You may be asking yourself, “So what? What’s the big deal here? Why do I need to worry about all this stuff?”

The answer is simple: If you’re concerned about climate change and human health, you need to worry about petrochemicals.

The truth is, there’s no way to produce these compounds without burning an incredible amount of fossil fuels. More investment in petrochemical facilities means more climate change from multiple sources, and critically, more plastics.

Today, a lot of petrochemical investment is going into to building multiple ethane cracker plants. These plants separate ethane from natural gas through the heat and pressure process described above. Plants then use it to create ethylene, one of the major building blocks used in making plastics. Not only does this process involve burning fossil fuels, but the end result is another kind of pollution.

Increasing investment in these facilities will not only deepen our reliance on fossil fuels; it’ll also increase the amount of plastics that end up in our oceans – at a time when we should instead be concentrating on alternatives like clean energy.

Yet, the petrochemical and fossil fuel industries keep finding ways to lock us into their products and business. And the story only gets more frustrating from there. Because beyond even the threat they pose to our climate and the future health of the planet, petrochemical facilities are a significant danger to human health.

We already know the threats to regional watersheds from hydraulic fracturing (fracking), including soil erosion, groundwater pollution, and drinking water contamination. But we should also recognize that the danger doesn’t stop once natural gas leaves the ground. For example, multiple studies have shown that petrochemical facilities that use natural gas expose employees – as well as surrounding communities – to multiple toxins that are incredibly damaging to their health.

The results are clear. Research shows that people living and working in and near petrochemical facilities can have  higher rates of cancer, diabetes, various skin conditions, respiratory problems, and other life-altering diseases. In some cases, rates of toxic chemicals and carcinogens found among people living by plants have been as high as three times the national average.

So, what can we learn from all of this beyond the fact that this industry is bad for our bodies and our planet? Here are a few key takeaways:

1. The Industry Knows It’s Causing Harm

In multiple communities along Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” these problems have gotten so big that the petrochemical industry has issued buyouts for residents’ homes. In some ways that could sound like a kind of victory, as families may have the ability to relocate. But what we know is that the damages caused have been so significant that, even if they move, people will likely be dealing with ongoing health issues for the rest of their lives.

Moreover, as their friends, neighbors, and relatives have gotten sick and even died, people in Cancer Alley and similar areas are left dealing with not only a loss of life, but also, the loss of community. Even so, the interests behind petrochemical investment keep pushing forward. With one hand they offer a too-late “solution,” and with the other, ever-more money to keep harming people and the planet.

2. These Damages Can Be Exacerbated by Natural Disasters such as Floods

If it’s not bad enough that these facilities release dangerous pollutants, some plants are also creating “pollution dumps” following major rainfall events storms and floods, putting surrounding communities at even greater risk.

During power outages or flooding at plants, some safety features may turn off without warning. If operations are not shut down quickly or efficiently enough, the result can be increased pollutants entering the air. Plus, flooding can wash even more pollution into nearby lakes, rivers, and even groundwater.

And as climate change has actually been shown to make storms more frequent and severe, these risks will likely only get worse as time goes on.

3. There’s Legal Precedent for Fighting Fracking

All of his sounds terrible, we know, but we do have some good news. The (super) simple version of how fracking works is that companies force chemicals into the ground at such high pressures that it cracks the Earth’s crust, releasing gas trapped below. Companies can only frack on land where they own the legal right to what’s under the ground (known as “mineral rights”). The danger is that the cracks they make can spread and allow toxic chemicals to leach into soil and groundwater far beyond the fracking site.

Now the good news. In a recent court decision, Pennsylvania judges ruled that companies have to contain these cracks to avoid trespassing on other properties where they do not possess mineral rights. This sets a powerful precedent to make the case that mineral rights in one area should not mean that fracking companies and their partners can pollute or alter ecosystems with abandon. More importantly, this victory in the courts should increase momentum for other legal action against polluters and the broader fossil fuel industry.

4. Organized Communities Have the Power to Fight Back

Here’s an infuriating fact: the fossil fuel industry often actively seeks to work in poorer communities because they know wealthier ones have the resources and will to fight them. The wealthy interests behind these investments don’t want these toxic chemicals in their own backyard – but yours will do just fine.

Environmental injustice has a long history in this country. Chemical plants and other toxic facilities have always been built in modest-income communities and, especially, communities of color.

But there’s good news here too.

You see, we know that there is power in community action. When people stand together and work across boundaries to fight for change, their collective action can be a powerful force. Those buyouts we described in Cancer Alley? They happened because people in those communities joined forces to fight together for compensation.

Communities all over that 85-mile stretch of Louisiana are still fighting the good fight. They’re calling for reductions in emissions, mandatory monitoring systems, and improved safety features and management.

Change is hard. But it’s also very possible. And we believe this fight is winnable.

Taking on Petrochemicals in the Ohio River Valley

We can’t give up on the fight to clean up the petrochemical corridor of Louisiana. We also can’t ignore the lessons we’ve learned there.

Right now, the petrochemical industry is eyeing the Ohio River Valley – a region spanning southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, West Virginia, and east Kentucky – as a site for massive investments in new facilities and ethane cracker plants. We can’t let this region turn into a second Cancer Alley.

The fight has already begun. Right now, The Climate Reality Project is mobilizing communities, organizations, activists, and policymakers across the region to stand up to oppose these developments and protect people and our planet.

And if you’re reading this, we need your help!

If you live in the Ohio River Valley, in particular, there are many ways you can take action:

We can win this! But we need you to join us.

climate changeclimate crisisohio river valleyPittsburghpetrochemicalsethanecracker plantCancer AlleyThe Climate Reality ProjectLet’s Talk about Climate EquityEthane Cracker Plants: What Are They?2030 or Bust: 5 Key Takeaways from the IPCC ReportLead: The fossil fuel industry is trying to lock our economy into relying on dirty energy and its byproducts. We’re working to stop them.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/taking-climate-change-and-petrochemicals-ohio-river-valley?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=HGWEmail Subject: Taking on Climate Change and Petrochemicals in the Ohio River ValleyTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2sp8Hsl
ipacha

How Is Climate Change Affecting Australia?

1 week 5 days ago

Tourists know the country for the koalas and kangaroos that fill nature shows and iconic places like the Sydney Opera House that seem to appear in every Hollywood film shot Down Under. And then there’s the timeless mystery of vegemite.

But talk to many climate scientists and they’ll tell you that Australia is especially vulnerable to the climate crisis, putting all this wonder at risk. Talk to many activists and they’ll tell you it’s no wonder, since Australia exports more coal than any other nation on Earth.

But there’s good news, too. The country is also home to an incredible community of activists, who’ve fought potentially world-changing developments like the Carmichael coal mine tooth and nail.

So what’s at stake in the fight against coal and for climate solutions in Australia? Here are four key ways climate change is impacting the nation and its people – and one big way you can help turn Australia’s climate-fighting potential into a reality.

Heat and Drought

Here’s the climate reality: Since 1910, Australia's climate has warmed by more than 1 degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). In fact, without action, Australia is expected to warm as much as 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2090.

Simply put, Australia is already a hot and dry country and it’s expected to generally get hotter and drier without action on climate change. And make no mistake: An increase of 5 degrees Celsius (or 9 degrees Fahrenheit) is a huge deal.

Consider this: “Scientific records over the past million years show that as periodic ice ages ended, global average temperatures rose a total of 4-7 degrees Celsius over the course of about 5,000 years.” What happens in Australia when they rise by about that much in the space of less than 200 years? It’s uncharted territory.

We’re already seeing the impact of rising temperatures today. In January 2018, temperatures in Sydney soared to over 47 degrees Celsius (about 117 degrees Fahrenheit). It was the hottest day the city had seen in nearly 80 years. It’s true, heatwaves are not a new phenomenon. But climate change is making heatwaves more common, more severe, and longer lasting. Heatwaves have real impacts on human health and wellbeing – leading to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

Image: Centers for Disease Control, Climate Change and Extreme Heat: What You Can Do to Prepare

There’s also a direct link between a hotter world and more drought. Andrew King, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne, explained the connection to the Guardian:

“In general climate change is exacerbating drought, mainly because in a warmer world we experience more evaporation from the surface, and we project for that to continue in the future. So when it does rain, more of that water is likely to be lost to the atmosphere through evaporation than before human-caused climate change.”

 

In 2018, Australia battled “its worst drought in living memory.” And climate models indicate that, as rain patterns continue to change and heat continues to rise, southern Australia in particular will spend more and more time in drought going forward – unless we act.
 

It’s the middle of winter in Australia. And there’s a crippling drought

Australia’s most populous state in the grip of a major dry spell – and it may cost the country dearly. (via World Economic Forum)

Posted by Climate Reality on Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Bushfires / Wildfires

Here’s the climate reality: Fire season in Australia has become longer and longer since the 1950s. Bushfires (what the Northern Hemisphere calls wildfires) are also becoming more extreme, especially in southern and eastern parts of the country.

We already know that Australia is becoming hotter and drier due to climate change – making the perfect conditions for bushfire. Plants dry up and die, the ideal kindling to fuel a fire.

At our Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Los Angeles, Ken Thompson (former deputy fire chief of the state of New South Wales) reported that fire season now runs for nine months out of the year in Australia. He explained, “The climate is changing and we’re seeing the effects of that on the frontline by more and more fires, more frequently, and more severe.”

“Trends from 1978 to 2017 in the annual (July to June) sum of the daily Forest Fire Danger Index—an indicator of the severity of fire weather conditions.”

Image: Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, State of the Climate 2018, cc by 3.0 AU

 

>> Read More: Climate Change and Health: Wildfires <<

At the end of 2018, the Guardian characterized fire conditions in the nation as “catastrophic” as residents endured an extreme heatwave. In fact, at some points in mid-November 2018, the eastern state of Queensland battled nearly 200 fires – something Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland’s premier, described as “off the charts.” She went on to say, “No one has ever recorded these kinds of conditions ever in the history of Queensland.”

Agriculture and Livestock

Here’s the climate reality: Farmers depend on a steady climate to grow food and raise livestock. The climate crisis makes it increasingly difficult for farmers to grow food for Australia.

As Australia’s climate changes, every type of farmer will be affected – from those who raise dairy cows to fruits and vegetable producers to wine growers and everything in between. According to Melbourne Sustainability Society Institute’s report, Appetite for Change: Global Warming Impacts on Food and Farming Regions in Australia:

  • Dairy cows can’t take the heat! “Heat stress on dairy cows typically reduces milk yield by 10-25 percent, and by up to 40 percent in extreme heatwave conditions.”
  • The largest fruit industry in Australia? Wine grapes. And “up to 70 percent of Australia’s winegrowing regions will be less suitable for grape growing by 2050.”
  • Carrots are “the nation’s most valuable vegetable export… Higher temperatures associated with climate change are likely to make carrot production less viable in warmer areas with shifts to cooler regions such as Tasmania.” (To add insult to injury, warmer temperatures also make carrots less tasty and change their texture.)

One Australian farmer, John Said, explained it well: “There’s no doubt climate change is a reality now. We’re seeing abnormal temperatures. We’re seeing abnormal fluctuations in weather patterns… Climate change will certainly disrupt food security, there’s no doubt about that.”

>> Read more: Climate Change and Health: Food Security <<

The Ocean and the Great Barrier Reef

Here’s the climate reality: The Great Barrier Reef is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on our planet that can be seen from outer space. It might seem too huge to hurt, but our carbon dioxide emissions are killing the reef.

Ever heard of ocean acidification? We explained it in a blog from 2016:

“Our oceans are an incredible carbon sink — they absorb about 25 percent of the carbon dioxide humans produce every year. But this is changing sea surface chemistry dramatically: when carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, it dissolves to form carbonic acid. The result, not surprisingly, is that the ocean becomes more acidic, upsetting the delicate pH balance that millions and millions of organisms rely on.”

Our oceans are being hit hard by a double whammy: they’re becoming warmer and more acidic – all because of greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1910, Australia’s ocean surface temperatures have warmed by about 1 degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) .
 

What Does Climate Change Mean For The Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef is under serious risk unless greenhouse gas emissions are slashed. Here are the #ClimateFacts. (via The Climate Council)

Posted by Climate Reality on Thursday, October 18, 2018


Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef has been hit exceptionally hard by both factors. Stressed by warmer and more acidic waters, coral expels the colorful algae it depends on to survive. The coral turns white – known as “coral bleaching” – and unless the coral has a chance to recover and the algae can return, it can die, upsetting entire marine ecosystems.

This can happen on a vast scale, in what’s called a “mass bleaching event.” In 2016, the Great Barrier Reef experienced a mass bleaching event that scientists say was made 175 times more likely by climate change.

Coral can recover from bleaching but that doesn’t always happen. In fact, about 30 percent of corals on the reef have died since the 2016 mass bleaching event.

Marine life depends on the Great Barrier Reef – and so do Australians. A Deloitte Access Economics report values the reef at over AUD $57 billion (over $40 billion in US dollars). The reef supports fisheries, helps employ more than 64,000 people, and brings tourists from around the globe to see this World Heritage Site. If we’re going to save the Great Barrier Reef, we must act on climate.

>> Read More: Global Warming’s Evil Twin: Ocean Acidification <<

It’s clear that Australia has a lot to lose to climate change if we don’t take action. Unfortunately, much like in the US, Australia’s federal government has not risen to the challenge. Our friends at Australian climate change organization The Climate Council said it well: “Australia lacks credible national climate policy to drive down greenhouse gas pollution. This is why we are not on track to meet even our woefully inadequate 26-28 percent emissions reduction target for 2030.” 

What can change this? You.

From June 5–7, 2019 Climate Reality will be training Climate Reality Leader activists in Brisbane, Australia. Climate Reality Leaders are everyday people who decide to help lead the fight for climate solutions in their own nation and around the world.

Come to Brisbane and you’ll spend three days working with former Vice President Al Gore and world-renowned scientists and communicators learning about the climate crisis and how together we can solve it.

Join us and gain the skills, knowledge, and network to shape public opinion, influence policy, and inspire your community to act at this critical time. Learn more now and apply to join us in Brisbane before March 31!

  */ climate changeglobal warmingclimate actionclimate crisisAustraliaAUSdown underclimate impactsgreat barrier reefrising temperaturesagricultureThe Climate Reality ProjectGet the Facts: Why Are Sea Levels Rising?Climate Change and Health: WildfiresWhat People Are Saying about Our Climate Reality Leadership Corps TrainingsLead: Few countries see almost every side of the climate crisis as clearly – and have as much to lose – as Australia. facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/how-climate-change-affecting-australia?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=CRinAUSEmail Subject: How Is Climate Change Affecting Australia?Twitter URL: https://bit.ly/2QNAMmL
ipacha

Talking Climate and Health: IPCC Report Lead Author Dr. Kristie Ebi

1 week 5 days ago

Dr. Kristie Ebi is a professor of global health and environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Washington. For over 20 years, she’s been researching the health risks of climate variability and change, focusing – in her own words - on “understanding sources of vulnerability, estimating current and future health risks of climate change, and designing adaptation policies and measures to reduce the risks of climate change in multi-stressor environments.”

Few have such a high level of expertise – and that’s why she was named as a lead author on not one, but two recent blockbuster climate reports: the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Global Warming of 1.5ºC and the Fourth National Climate Assessment. If that makes her sound like a science world rock star, well, that’s because she is.

>> 2030 Or Bust: 5 Key Takeaways from The IPCC Report <<

As part of our global broadcast event exploring the climate-health crisis, 24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves, we invited Dr. Ebi to join Emmy Award-winning Telemundo journalist, co-founder of Sachamama.org, and long-time Climate Reality friend Vanessa Hauc to discuss the IPCC report and National Climate Assessment, the health impacts of climate change, and why she remains optimistic that we will solve this crisis.

The interview has been condensed and edited for brevity below.

Vanessa Hauc: Professor, you were the lead author on the recent IPCC report as well as the National Climate Assessment. If you have to boil your data to a few points, what did you learn from authoring these two reports and what has changed since the previous report?

Dr. Kristi Ebi: There's a number of key messages that come out of both reports. The first is that we, of course, know that the climate is changing. But these reports detail that climate change is already affecting our health, our livelihoods, and our ecosystems in ways that are making our lives much more challenging.

We also know that each additional unit of warming will increase the level of risk. That came through very strongly in the IPCC special report. So we have very strong messages on the risks that we're facing, and how those risks are likely to evolve in a warmer world.

And further, both reports go into quite a bit of detail on the large number of options we have for being able to better manage those risks in the short term via adaptation and to reduce the risks in the long term via mitigation. And so [they] provide a really a wide range of opportunities that people can take advantage of – from the individual to the state to the national to the international scale – to ensure that we increase the resilience of our societies, so that the risks that are projected for the future don't actually turn into experienced impacts.

VH: What did you learn specifically about health?

KE: There's a wide range of risks from health, [and] I think you may have just heard about some of those from Dr. Naira from the World Health Organization. The weather affects our health directly when it's too hot or it's too cold, when there's extreme weather and climate events, when there's flooding, for example, or drought. So we know that people's health is affected very directly.

Most of the impacts on health are what we call “indirect.” These operate through changes, for example, in our atmosphere. Where there are greater levels of air pollution, there's higher levels of pollen that can affect respiratory diseases, for example.

We know that vector-borne diseases are changing their ranges, so the mosquitoes and the ticks that can carry diseases that harm human health are expanding geographically with warmer temperatures.

>> Learn more: Climate 101: Climate Change and Infectious Disease <<

That puts more people at risk of suffering from these diseases. Some people will die from these diseases. We're also seeing changes in agricultural productivity, so that crop yields are falling in many parts of the world, particularly the cereal crops that so many people rely on for most of their nutrition.

There's also new literature coming out on how rising levels of carbon dioxide are reducing the nutritional quality of rice, wheat, and other critical crops; that as carbon dioxide increases, the protein, iron, zinc, other micronutrients, and the B vitamins decline quite significantly. Which will affect hundreds of millions of people around the world.

VH: Very important findings, professor? What can we do individually and what can we lose to our public health system?

KB: Individually, it depends a bit on what kind of health outcome we're concerned about. For example, for heat waves, heat wave early warning systems save lives. The greater awareness people have of heat and the risk it presents to our health and the greater access to information means that people can take appropriate choices, so that when it is too hot outside people drink sufficient fluids. They go and find a cooling center. They make sure that they keep their core body temperature from rising too much. And we can pay attention to our neighbors. We can pay attention to our families that may be at higher risk. So we've got quite a lot that can be done.

>> Climate Change and Health: Heatwaves <<

We certainly have seen in the United States how important it is to have this kind of information. In the last year, we've had so many extreme events in the United States with floodings and in heatwaves, and far too many people have suffered and some people have died. So ensuring that we have that information and people know how to take appropriate actions [are] very important.

For other health risks such as air quality… I live on the West Coast in California, [and] we've had extensive wildfires and air quality has been worse on the West Coast at various periods in time than it has been in New Delhi or it's been in Beijing.

The options at the individual level have to really focus on having as little exposure as possible. In finding ways to for people to protect themselves, so they don't inhale too many particulates.

So there's a range of issues that individuals can take action on, but there's other actions where we really require our health systems to step in. Providing those early warning systems. Letting people know what to do when the air quality is really poor. Helping people make appropriate dietary choices as the quality of some of our food crops start to decline. Helping support people who have mental health issues following extreme events, for example.

So there's a broad basket of issues that we need our health systems to engage in. Our health systems are eager to engage. They would really like to protect population health. They would like to be able to be more effective. A main challenge has been there's almost no funding for them to do so. It's a large task for them to take on in addition to all their other responsibilities in protecting population health.

Watch the full interview:

VH: Professor, what is something that people globally don't understand and you feel they should know?

KE: It's surprising how few people understand that climate change is affecting our health. That with the release of these reports over the last few weeks, plus the report on the Lancet Countdown – and I understand you'll hear from Dr. Nick Watts later on that –  that what I hear a lot is people are surprised.

They didn't realize a change in climate would affect us individually. Would affect our children. Would affect our neighbors. And so it's been very important for the media to cover these reports to the extent they have, so people can start really understanding [that] this means us. And that it means us now – and we need to start taking action now if we're to protect our health in a warmer world.

VH: Professor, how urgent in your view is the situation we are in right now?

KE: The situation is very urgent. We know from the special report on warming of 1.5 degrees that the Earth has already warmed 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times, and that we’ll see another half of degree of warming sometime between about 2030 to 2050. So on average in the 2040s.

And the science is very clear – that that additional half of degree of warming will present significant risks to our health, to our livelihoods, to our ecosystems.

We also know from the report that whether or not the warming of the Earth reaches 1.5, it’s up to us. It's up to the decisions that we make individually to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. It's up to our nations as they look at how to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The more quickly we reduce our emissions, the faster we're going to start seeing benefits for health and the faster we’ll create new jobs through the economies that will be created as we transition from using fossil fuels to using renewable energies and to being much more efficient in how we use the energy that we already have.

VH: Professor, you have been working on climate change for more than 20 years, and I know that right now we can sound a little bit depressing, but you seem optimistic. Are you?

KE: That's a really good question. I characterize myself as a worried optimist.

When you look at the ingenuity of human beings, of what we've been able to accomplish over the course of our history, of our ability to come together in times of crises and to create new technologies to do extraordinary things, it gives you cause for optimism. We know that the actions need to be taken quite urgently for both adaptation and mitigation to really make a difference.

So I'm worried that there will be enough of a synergy, enough of a level of ambition right now to ensure that that carries forward over the next decade, so that we do have a much more resilient climate, we have a much more resilient society come 2030, and we're prepared for the changes and we take the actions we need and the projections we have of risk don't really occur because we've reduced vulnerability. We've reduced exposure, and we've made our societies much more resilient to the world that we created by emitting greenhouse gases in the first place.

VH: Thank you so much, professor, for being with us. Thank you for your time and for the wonderful job that you do.

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We respect your privacy. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. The Climate Reality ProjectWhat Exactly Are Greenhouse Gases, Anyway?Climate Science Belongs in the ClassroomClimate Change and Health: Food SecurityLead: Dr. Kristie Ebi joined Emmy Award-winning journalist Vanessa Hauc on 24 Hours of Reality to discuss the health impacts of climate change and why she remains optimistic that we will solve this crisis.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/talking-climate-and-health-ipcc-report-lead-author-dr-kristie-ebi?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Talking Climate and Health: IPCC Report Lead Author Dr. Kristie EbiTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2smAOZ7
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How the Climate Crisis is Affecting North and South Carolina

2 weeks 2 days ago

Like so many Southeastern US states, North and South Carolina are already feeling the effects of the climate crisis. And also like in so many of these places, these effects will only become more pronounced unless we act boldly to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

“[I]n the coming decades, the region's changing climate is likely to reduce crop yields, harm livestock, increase the number of unpleasantly hot days, and increase the risk of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses,” according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Read on to learn more about how North Carolina and South Carolina could be affected by this ongoing crisis.  

Sea-Level Rise

The beaches and barrier islands along the Carolina coastline are popular vacation destinations for Americans from across the country (as well as folks from all around the world). From Kitty Hawk and Nags Head in North Carolina’s Outer Banks to Myrtle Beach’s arcade-dotted boardwalk in SC, these sandy shores have become family favorites, attracting millions of visitors every year. Add to that historic cities like Charleston, Charlotte, and Ashville; the unparalleled beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains along NC’s border with Tennessee; and a burgeoning culinary scene in the Blue Ridge Mountains foothill escape of Greenville, SC, and you have the recipe for a perfect vacation.

The millions flocking to these incredible destinations each year drive a huge part of the economy in the Carolinas. In South Carolina alone, tourism bolsters the state’s economy by over $15 billion – and tourism jobs make up over 10 percent of the state's employment.

But all that could change as the climate crisis escalates – and the Carolinas know it.

So it’s no wonder then that nine long years ago, the Charleston City Paper was already sounding the alarm over the climate threat posed to tourism in a cover story titled “Climate change and SC tourism.” If that sounds too understated, consider instead the article’s sub-head: “Paradise lost?”

The state’s official tourism slogan is “Made for Vacation.” But that motto may not hold true for much longer as sea levels rise. Depending on the action we take to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, sea levels are likely to rise anywhere from one to four feet in the next century along the coasts of North and South Carolina.

Making matters worse, parts of the Carolina coast are sinking, leaving many towns and cities, railways, ports, airports, and oil and gas facilities (which when inundated with water can result in added pollution spillage) even more vulnerable.

“Along much of the Atlantic Coast” – including parts of both North and South Carolina – “the land surface is sinking, so the observed rate of sea level rise relative to the land is greater than the global average rise,” EPA reports

Water Security

Beyond tourism and infrastructure, sea-level rise and attendant erosion threaten coastal homes and real estate, as well as one of the most necessary things for life on earth: fresh water.

“As sea level rises, salt water can mix farther upstream and farther inland in aquifers and wetlands,” EPA continues.

The most serious and dangerous effect of this is saltwater contaminating potable drinking water for communities throughout North and South Carolina. But natural ecosystems are also incredibly vulnerable to this type of impact.

“Many species of birds and fish in North Carolina depend on coastal wetlands threatened by rising sea level. Blue crabs, shrimp, and southern flounder use marshes for both feeding and evading larger predators. Larger fish such as sea trout and red drum also feed in these marshes,” according to EPA.

In South Carolina, rising seas and saltwater intrusion into brackish and freshwater wetlands, rivers, and creeks spells trouble for a few different types of marine life, including clams, mussels, and oysters, as well as birds like egrets and the endangered wood stork. 

Many of these – blue crabs, clams and mussels, sea trout, southern flounder, shrimp – are also valuable food exports for these states, compounding the economic threat swelling seas pose to the Carolinas.

Powerful Storms

In September 2018, powerful Hurricane Florence roared ashore in the Carolinas. While the once-mighty Category 4 storm had lost much of the ferocious wind energy it carried across the open Atlantic Ocean before making landfall, it retained something that has become a hallmark of climate change-exacerbated tropical storms: truly overwhelming precipitation.

“Florence is a sobering example of how a warmer planet has worsened the impacts of hurricanes,” CNN reported in the storm’s aftermath. “Florence's environment was warmer and moister because of climate change, said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and that set the stage for what was to be the storm's biggest threat: heavy rainfall and flash flooding.”

This is, in part, because a warmer atmosphere can hold more and more moisture. For every 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) of sea surface temperature warming, about 7 percent more moisture is held in the air. And as we saw with Florence, eventually all that extra moisture comes down as rain.

Indeed, according to National Geographic, studies have found that Hurricane Florence’s rains were projected to be “more than 50 percent worse than [they] would have been without global warming.”
 

Climate Facts: Another Sandy

Remember Hurricane Sandy? The science suggests storms like these will only become more severe as climate change progresses. #ClimateFacts (via The Years Project)

Posted by Climate Reality on Monday, September 10, 2018


In parts of the Carolinas, Hurricane Florence quickly set records for the highest rainfall received from a single storm, as more than 30 inches swamped communities, giving the storm the dubious distinction of being the wettest tropical system to ever strike the US East Coast.

And it’s not just tropical systems alone bringing more precipitation to the North and South Carolina, EPA notes:

“Evaporation increases as the atmosphere warms, which increases humidity, average rainfall, and the frequency of heavy rainstorms in many places — but contributes to drought in others. … Since 1958, the amount of precipitation during heavy rainstorms has increased by 27 percent in the Southeast, and the trend toward increasingly heavy rainstorms is likely to continue.”

Extreme Heat and Spreading Disease

The Carolinas also must contend with rising temperatures and the threat of dangerous heat waves. Today, North Carolinians can expect temperatures to rise above 95 degrees Fahrenheit about 10 days each year. In 70 years, that number could be anywhere from 20 to as many as 40 days per year in most of the state.

This extreme heat can be dangerous and even deadly for people. But it can also harm animals on farms, disrupting their metabolisms and reducing livestock productivity. Add to that the impact of climate-related flooding and drought on plant and animal life – a flood will wash a farm away as surely as thirst will reduce it to dust – and the result is a real and growing threat to food security for many.

Taken together, extreme heat, flooding, and drought can also increase the incidence of many infectious diseases. Pooled standing water, widespread post-storm debris, and warmer temperatures spreading into previously cooler areas are helping to create more and more habits friendly to vectors like mosquitos carrying life-changing diseases like Zika. 

What Can I Do to Fight Back?

Knowledge is power.

Feeling inspired to learn more about the climate crisis so you can take action in your community? Become a Climate Reality Leader by attending our next Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Atlanta, Georgia from March 14-16.

Spend three days with former Vice President Al Gore and an all-star lineup of environmental justice leaders, faith voices, business visionaries, and other experts. Through wide-ranging workshops, panel discussions, networking events and more, you’ll:

  • Learn how the climate crisis is transforming the Southeastern US.
  • Hear how fossil fuel pollution and climate impacts like heatwaves threaten low-income families and communities of color.
  • See how shifting to clean energy can solve this crisis, create jobs, and lead to a healthy and fair future for all.
  • Develop the know-how and network to lead your community in working for practical and affordable clean energy solutions.
  • Learn how to build broad, inclusive, and powerful coalitions to lead on critical climate and social justice issues.

As we like to say: Give us three days. We’ll give you the tools to change the world.

climate changeclimate realitynorth Carolinasouth Carolinaclimate crisisimpactsaffectingSea Level RiseExtreme WeathertourismThe Climate Reality ProjectClimate Change and Florida: What You Need to KnowJoin Us in Atlanta How Does Climate Change Affect Georgia?Lead: From dangerous heat waves to changes in long-standing precipitation patterns that may transform the states’ economies, climate impacts could make the future of North and South Carolina look very different from today.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/how-climate-crisis-affecting-north-and-south-carolina?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=CRinATLEmail Subject: How the Climate Crisis is Affecting North and South CarolinaTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2D9jxbY
ipacha

The Five Stages of Climate Optimism

2 weeks 5 days ago

During a recent visit to The Daily Show to discuss the global broadcast of 24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves, former Vice President Al Gore, had this to say about the recent flurry of scientific reports about climate change:

“It is hard at times to hear all that and feel the tragedy of it and maintain your hope and optimism that we’re gonna solve this problem. I continue to believe that we will, because we have faced almost insurmountable obstacles in the past… and we have rallied, as human beings, to do what’s right.”

Even as scientists uncover distressing new information about climate change impacts and tell us that we have only a few years to make enormous global changes if we’re to avoid the worst, here at Climate Reality we remain optimistic.

We keep our #ClimateHope tanks filled in many different ways, but here are five things we’ve found to be particularly helpful in staying optimistic that we will solve this crisis and enjoy a safe, sustainable future.

1. Acceptance

As a climate advocate, you’re likely tuned in to the latest research and policy progress regarding climate change. So it’s not news to you that the headlines aren’t always sunny.

Many people who contemplate climate issues find that they wrestle with a whole spectrum of emotions – including, for some, grief. And it’s no wonder.

But the five stages of grief end with acceptance, and there is great power in acknowledging and talking about the feelings we have about the climate crisis. And of course, accepting our own feelings is important if we’re to turn acceptance into powerful action.

2. Community

The best antidote to feelings of despair is community – the friends, family, coworkers, and more you can talk with, learn from, and work alongside to make a difference.

We’re lucky to be surrounded by a community that at every turn finds new reasons to be optimistic. They even have a name: Climate Reality Leaders.

Climate Reality Leaders are seasoned community organizers, first-time activists, and business executives. Concerned parents and curious high-schoolers. Retired college professors, writers and actors, scientists, stay-at-home parents, faith leaders, and so much more. 

Our trained Leaders come from all walks of life. But they all share the same desire to make a difference and help create a sustainable future for the Earth.

>> Learn more about joining former Vice President Al Gore at a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training to learn how you can lead the global fight for climate solutions. <<

Many of our dedicated Climate Reality Leaders have started public Climate Reality chapters in their communities to support climate action at the local level.

And that gives us hope.

>> Find a Climate Reality chapter near you. <<

3. Inspiration

"In the struggle between hope and despair, I always come out on the side of hope." - Vice President Al Gore

It’s not too hard to find inspiration in the work of Climate Reality Leaders, but where else can you go for a quick dose of hope?

The bad news often grabs the big headlines, but it continues to be true that in spite of attention-getting policy setbacks at the national and international levels, the economy continues to turn in favor of clean, renewable energy. For instance, in some parts of the US, wind and solar are already cheaper than coal and natural gas, and the We Mean Business Coalition now boasts 835 companies committed to climate action.

Companies, as well as local governments, continue to prove they can make big changes. Cities, which are responsible for approximately 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and where policies like building codes and renewable energy standards can make a real difference, are stepping up in a big way. In fact, 27 major cities (including London, New York City, and Melbourne) have already succeeded in reducing their emissions by 10 percent over a five-year period.

The point is, the news isn’t all bad, even if it may seem that way sometimes – and we’re consistently inspired by the real-world progress that we see beyond the doom-and-gloom headlines.

4. Action

Knowing the reality of the climate crisis is important – because we must see it for what it is before we can fight it. But without hope and inspiration, it’s hard to maintain the will to act. That’s a big reason why Climate Reality continually looks to highlight and support the work for solutions underway to fight the climate crisis.

>> Americans Will Win On Climate (Yes, Really!) <<

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The fight for a clean energy future is a fight for a fair future.

But sadly, climate impacts often fall disproportionally and unfairly on society’s most vulnerable.

“While climate change affects us all, it hits families living paycheck to paycheck the hardest,” according to the Center for American Progress (CAP).

“In a world of growing inequities, it is not mere coincidence that the poorest among us not only live and work in areas most prone to flooding, heat waves, and other climate change effects but are also least resourced to prepare adequately for and withstand those impacts.”

But there is a way forward. By putting environmental justice front-and-center in local climate policy, activists, towns, and cities around the world can do the right thing by those most in need while working for a sustainable future for everyone.

When we take action to help those with the least among us, we take action that benefits us all.

5. Self-Care

When confronting the existential crisis presented by climate change, we can’t always jump to our feet – sometimes the sheer scope and size of it all, and the weight of our emotions, means we must take time to sit with our feelings and take care of ourselves.

One way we like to recharge ourselves is to get out in a natural place – get close to the very environment we’re all working so hard to protect. Whether you head to the beach, forest, mountains, or a local park, the simple act of being outside has numerous physical and mental health benefits.

Consider, as well, taking a break from the news and the science for a time. Often, simply taking a break to pause and appreciate the life we have on this planet is just the thing needed to allow us to come back refreshed and ready to make change.

Whatever it is you do to care for yourself, make sure you make time for it. And of course, if you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or other forms of mental health distress, be sure to reach out to a qualified professional.

This fight won’t be over soon, and it won’t be easy – but if we look out for ourselves and each other, if we focus on sources of inspiration and opportunities to act, we can make a positive difference in the future we see – and we pass on to the next generation.

>> Free download: Beginning the Climate Conversation: A Family’s Guide <<

Take the Next Step

We hope you get a chance this holiday season to disconnect, enjoy time with friends and family, and re-charge your batteries. Because in the new year, we’ll be ready to help you turn your revitalized climate optimism into urgent action.

This March, we’re heading to Atlanta, Georgia to host the next Climate Reality Leadership Corps activist training. And then in June, we’ll head Down Under to Brisbane, Australia to train even more new Climate Reality Leaders.

Applications for both three-day events are now open – and we want you to be there. 

You’ll walk away hopeful, connected, and with more knowledge and determination than ever before. Join over 17,000 people who’ve already attended a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training and become part of an incredible community of activists fighting for our planet’s future.

Apply for the Atlanta or Brisbane training today.

climateclimate realityoptimismclimate hopehopeself-caretrainingAtlantaBrisbaneThe Climate Reality ProjectAmericans Will Win on Climate (Yes, Really!)Climate Science Belongs in the ClassroomClimate Change and Florida: What You Need to KnowLead: We keep our #ClimateHope tanks filled in many different ways.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/five-stages-climate-optimism?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: The Five Stages of Climate OptimismTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2RZT2Lq
ipacha

What Exactly Are Greenhouse Gases, Anyway?

2 weeks 6 days ago

Here at Climate Reality, we sometimes need to take a step back.

You know how your good friend Dave can rattle off pre-season stats with the precision of a brain surgeon, always seems to win your fantasy football league, and can’t begin to understand why you’re still rooting for [insert “Your Team” here]? Well, we’re kind of the Dave of climate action.

We’re so in the thick of climate everything that we can forget the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report isn’t exactly flying off the shelves, so to speak, like Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming.

But every so often, a headline will pop up that brings us right back down to the very Earth we’re working so hard to protect.

Citing a survey done by Yale and George Mason universities, Vox declared last year, “Almost 90 percent of Americans don’t know there’s scientific consensus on global warming.” More recently, the Verge proclaimed: “About half of Americans don’t think climate change will affect them — here’s why.”

These headlines are far from an aberration and come as no surprise: amid near-constant partisan squabbles and a lack of uniform learning standards, climate change education is uneven at best – and woefully lacking at worst. It doesn’t help that it can also feel like such an overwhelming worry that many simply tune it out entirely.

So, that’s why we’re getting back to basics to answer one of the most foundational questions a person can have about our warming world: What exactly are greenhouse gases, anyway?

Well, they’re gases, Silly Billy

That’s right! They’re also largely naturally occurring. But they act a little differently than non-greenhouse gases like nitrogen, oxygen, and argon.

You see, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, greenhouse gases (GHG) like carbon dioxide (the main GHG driving climate change), include “any gas that has the property of absorbing infrared radiation (net heat energy) emitted from Earth’s surface and reradiating it back to Earth’s surface.”

Did you get all that? Some but not all? Same.

In more straightforward speak, here’s the gist: GHGs like CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone let sunlight in to heat the Earth’s surface but they don’t let all that heat energy back out. Think about it like the global equivalent of wrapping yourself up in a big blanket – or the way the glass walls and roof of an actual greenhouse let sunlight in during daylight hours and retain that warmth at night.

Actually, it’s exactly like that. Hence their name. Get it?

So they “trap” heat in the atmosphere?

Yes. And under normal circumstance, this is a great, necessary thing – and it’s exactly how the planet is built to work.

“Earth's surface warms up in the sunlight. At night, Earth's surface cools, releasing the heat back into the air,” NASA’s Climate Kids explains. “But some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. That's what keeps our Earth a warm and cozy 59 degrees Fahrenheit, on average.”

This is known as the “greenhouse effect,” and without it the planet would be too cold to support life. NASA estimates that without naturally occurring GHGs, Earth's average temperature would be near 0 degrees Fahrenheit (a very chilly negative 18 degrees Celsius).

Brrrrrrr.

>> Learn more: What Is the Greenhouse Effect? <<

Well, what’s the problem then?

The concern with GHGs isn’t the gases themselves – at least not on their own. Like we mentioned, most are naturally occurring and their action to retain heat is imperative for life on Earth. The problem has to do with the amount of certain GHGs in our modern atmosphere.

Since the Industrial Revolution, our burning of fossil fuels for energy has emitted hundreds of billions of tons of heat-trapping CO2 into the atmosphere, where it stays for a very long time. More and more CO2 (and other GHGs) means more and more heat.

Unlike the naturally occurring CO2 that acts as part of the normal greenhouse-effect process, this added carbon and the extra heat are more than the Earth’s finely balanced systems can handle. At least without changing our climate and making storms more violent, oceans more acidic, and on and on.

With all the coal, oil, and gas being burned, it’s unsurprising then that CO2 levels as of 2017 (the most-recent complete year) stood at 405.0 parts per million (ppm), higher than at any point in at least the past 800,000 years.

If history is any guide here, that’s not good news for the Earth – or for us.

“The last time the atmospheric CO2 amounts were this high was more than 3 million years ago, when temperature was 2°–3°C (3.6°–5.4°F) higher than during the pre-industrial era, and sea level was 15–25 meters (50–80 feet) higher than today,” according to NOAA.

Remember the bottom line here: Burning fossil fuels creates GHGs, polluting the atmosphere. More GHGs equals more heat and more climate change. More dangerous storms. More terrible wildfires. More farms drying out. More diseases spreading further across the Earth. You get the picture.

Watch:
 

What is Global Warming? feat. Katharine Hayhoe

So, what is global warming? This adorable animation makes it super simple.

Posted by Climate Reality on Saturday, June 4, 2016


What can I do?

Our movement is at a critical turning point in the fight for common-sense solutions to the climate crisis. The good news is, the power to make meaningful progress on climate is in our hands.

But it all starts with understanding what is happening to our planet.

Sign up today to receive emails from Climate Reality and we’ll deliver the latest on climate science and innovative ways you can get involved in the climate movement right to your inbox.

 

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We respect your privacy. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. The Climate Reality ProjectClimate Change and Health: Hurricanes3 Big Myths about Natural Gas and Our ClimateClimate Change and Health: WildfiresLead: We’re getting back to basics to answer one of the most foundational questions a person can have about our warming world: What exactly are greenhouse gases, anyway?facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/what-exactly-are-greenhouse-gases-anyway?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: What exactly are greenhouse gases, anyway?Twitter URL: https://bit.ly/2A404HU
ipacha

Time to Make Some Climate Resolutions

3 weeks 3 days ago

It’s not hyperbole to say that 2018 was a big year in the climate world.

First, international scientists sounded the alarm on the extraordinary dangers ahead without massive emissions cuts with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) bombshell report, Global Warming of 1.5ºC.

And with the recent Fourth National Climate Assessment, brave scientists from US federal agencies brought the message home, calling out what unchecked temperature rise means for all Americans.

But climate deniers – particularly the denier-in-chief, President Donald Trump – and Big Polluters keep doing everything they can to block progress, undermining US fuel economy standards, introducing a pro-polluter power plan projected to cost some 1,400 lives every year, and so much more.  

Which means that we have a lot of work to do in 2019 to protect the health of our families and the future of our planet.

For us, this means working a world shifting from dirty fossil fuels to affordable clean energy sources like wind and solar. Where the seven out of 10 Americans who see our climate changing and want our government to act are the ones shaping federal policy. And where scientific facts – not Big Polluter spin from oil and coal companies – inform our global policies.

If you’re ready to help make this world a reality, here are some ways you can take action in 2019:

1. Join a Global Community of World-Changers

In 2018, we’re hosting trainings in Atlanta, Georgia, and one in Brisbane, Australia and we’d love for you to join us.

Attend a training and you’ll join our over-17,000-strong Climate Reality Leadership Corps, a global network of trained activists committed to spreading awareness of the climate crisis and working for solutions.

Climate Reality Leaders speak to groups and communities of all sizes about what’s happening to our planet and how together we can solve it, raising awareness on a global scale. They also pressure policymakers at all levels to act and run diverse campaigns that fight for clean electricitycarbon pricing, and much more.

As just one example of the difference these incredible activists make, in 2018, five Climate Reality Leaders served as plaintiffs in the US federal court case Juliana v. United States. The case filed by the 21 young plaintiffs in Juliana v. US asserts, “Through the government's affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.”

How’s that for taking a stand?

2. Take Action Locally

You’d never know it from the White House, but all across the US, Americans want bold action on the climate crisis – and they’re standing up to make it happen.  Witness: hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets and marched for climate solutions. Meanwhile, over 70 percent of the population wants the US to “emphasize the development of alternative energy such as wind and solar power” over dirty fossil fuels.

Want in? Our Climate Reality Chapters bring together Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life to push for practical clean energy solutions in their communities and fight the fossil fuel agenda on the national stage. And there’s a place for you.

Already, Climate Reality chapters have become a vital force for progress. They’re helping expand clean energy alternatives, tackling the legacy of fossil fuels in low-income communities, and pushing for carbon pricing policies, to name just a few of the many campaigns already underway.

In 2018, for example, when the Trump Administration proposed replacing the historic Clean Power Plan with a pro-polluter alternative, members of our Chicago chapter testified at an EPA hearing to oppose the move.

3. Arm Yourself with the Facts

Did you know that there’s more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than at any point in the past 800,000 years? Wow. Or that in the US, average annual temperatures have warmed about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since the beginning of the 20th century?

Every week, we share valuable resources and facts like these to help you better understand how our climate is changing, the solutions that exist, and what you can do to help solve this crisis.

We know staying up-to-date on the latest policy changes, innovative solutions, and actions to end the climate crisis isn’t easy (there’s a lot happening). But visit our blog and we’ll keep you posted on the latest on the movement for climate solutions – plus, there are quizzes like this one to test your knowledge! And if you sign up for our email list, you’ll never miss a thing.

What are your climate resolutions for 2019?

climate deniersclimate changeclimate scienceclimate actionAl Goreclimate realityend of yearnew year resolutionsclimate resolutionsThe Climate Reality Project2018: Looking Back on the Year in Climate2018 Wrapped: Your Climate Hope Playlist 30 Reasons Why 2018 Gave Us Climate Hope Lead: What are your climate resolutions for 2019?facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/time-make-some-climate-resolutions?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Time to Make Some Climate ResolutionsTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2V160dp
ipacha

2018 Wrapped: Your Climate Hope Playlist

3 weeks 6 days ago

We don’t need science to tell us that music can affect our brains or our moods – though it seems to, time and time again. Some researchers are convinced that our contact with music starts even before birth: because we’re “surrounded by those natural rhythms of the body — heartbeat and pulse and breath." But even without science telling us so, all of us have more than likely cranked up the radio and played offkey backup singer to Beyoncé (pick your poison) in good times and in bad.

But music does more than just change our moods – though we know it can do so powerfully. Music has also been an enduring, well, instrument of social movements. The Beatles had their “Revolution” and John Lennon went on to “Imagine”; Marvin Gaye wondered “What’s Going On?”; Macklemore and Ryan Lewis urged us to see all love as the “Same Love”; and Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”? Well, it’s sure to give you chills. 

While you’re taking time for some well-deserved rest over the holidays and start looking forward to the new year, turn up our “2018 Wrapped: Climate Hope” playlist. We chose some of the best songs we could find – new and old alike – to help you start off 2019 optimistic and ready to rejoin the fight.
 

(Can't see the playlist? Click here to open it in Spotify.)

Together, We Can Win This

Become a Climate Reality Leader in 2019! As a trusted messenger in your community, you can help spread the word about climate change and how we solve it to people you know. Join former Vice President Al Gore at a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training and learn how you can lead the global fight for climate solutions. We hold trainings all over the US and around the globe and best of all, they are free. Learn more now.

Climate playlistclimate hopeplaylisthopeclimateclimate changesongs about climate changeclimate actionglobal warming playlistglobal warmingAl Goreclimate realityThe Climate Reality Project30 Reasons Why 2018 Gave Us Climate Hope Join Us in Atlanta ‘Why I’m Here’: Chapters Are Standing Up for What’s RightLead: It’s been a turbulent year for the climate movement. And while here at Climate Reality, we have plenty of hope, we also know that sometimes the tough news can really get you down. That’s why we put together a playlist (a la Spotify’s “Wrapped”) to help you end 2018 on a high note and start 2019 more determined than ever as a climate activist. facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/2018-wrapped-your-climate-hope-playlist?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=24DaysEmail Subject: 2018 Wrapped: Your Climate Hope Playlist Twitter URL: https://bit.ly/2CppFNb
ipacha

Countdown: Top Five Climate Change Videos of 2018

3 weeks 6 days ago

It’s been an incredible year for climate action around the globe. And an incredible year for videos telling this story!

We’re looking back at the videos that struck a chord with our Climate Reality audience in 2018. These top five videos were published on our Facebook page and were watched a total of 42 million times. It’s an incredible number that makes us hopeful that the world is becoming more and more aware of the climate crisis – and that together, we can stop the fake debates and focus on real solutions.

Take a look at our top five videos of 2018 – it’s a great opportunity to catch the ones you may have missed and rewatch the ones that made our own piece of history!

#5: A Magic Box

 

The Off-Grid Box Provides Clean Power and Clean Water

This box provides electricity and clean water wherever you are! (via World Economic Forum)

Posted by Climate Reality on Thursday, January 25, 2018

 

We love stories about innovative technology, especially when it involves renewable energy. This particular invention – combining solar power, energy storage, and water purification technology in a single shipping container –  caught our attention – and that of our supporters – for a very good reason. It can bring clean energy to the most remote places around the globe and to those in dire need after natural disasters. A single box is easy to set up and can generate clean electricity for 1,500 people. Now that’s a bright idea if you ask us.

#4: Rwanda’s Climate Solution

 

The capital city of Rwanda bans cars for one day every month

Kigali, Rwanda, is one Africa’s cleanest cities and an example to rest of the world. (via World Economic Forum)

Posted by Climate Reality on Saturday, January 27, 2018

 

 

Rather than following the Western playbook, many countries in Africa are increasingly pioneering their own unique approach to tackling climate change. Rwanda is a great example. Did you know that the country has banned plastic bags and even confiscates them at the airport? But that’s not all. Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, has implemented a car-free day every month to promote healthy living and reduce car emissions. A great idea to be copied around the world.

#3: Pakistan Heat

 

Pakistan Heat

Imagine a day so hot that people can’t even step outside. It just happened in Pakistan. (via The Years Project)

Posted by Climate Reality on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

 

When we say that the planet is getting warmer thanks to all the carbon pollution in the atmosphere, we really, really mean it. Heatwaves are becoming more and more common and they’re already affecting human health.

How? Extreme heat can cause cramps, exhaustion, heat strokes, and even death. And even worse, this heat affects young children, the elderly, the poor, and people with preexisting health conditions most of all. Sitting in third place, this video illustrates how scalding temperatures can affect our everyday lives.

#2: The International Solar Alliance

 

The International Solar Alliance

There’s a big plan in the works to save our planet. (via The Years Project)

Posted by Climate Reality on Friday, May 18, 2018

 

We knew early on that this video was going to be a smashing hit – so much that we even wrote a blog about it back in August. It continued to draw attention until the very end of the year, so it’s certainly deserving of the second place on our list.

Here’s why we think it’s so popular – The International Solar Alliance could potentially triple the amount of solar power installed around the world by 2030. So the video gave us everything that we needed: concrete solutions, global cooperation, and climate hope.

#1: Trump's War on Solar

 

Trump's War on Solar

Nearly every American solar company said President Trump's solar tax was a bad idea. They were right. (via The Years Project)

Posted by Climate Reality on Friday, July 27, 2018

 

Put your hands together for the most watched video on our Facebook page in 2018! We’re honestly not surprised that this one took the crown. The Trump Administration has done a lot of damage for the climate movement this year – and clearly people were paying attention.

Every week (and sometimes every day) seemed to present another instance of the White House on the wrong side of climate history. Case in point: the administration’s decision to place a tariff on solar panels manufactured overseas. This video explains why imposing this tariff was such a terrible idea, hurting both American workers and our planet.

Feeling inspired to take climate action?

Become a Climate Reality Leader in 2019! As a trusted messenger in your community, you can help spread the word about climate change and how we solve it to people you know. Join former Vice President Al Gore at a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training and learn how you can lead the global fight for climate solutions. We hold trainings all over the US and around the globe and best of all, they are free. Learn more now.

videosclimate changeclimate actionFacebookThe Climate Reality ProjectWhat World Leaders Are Saying About COP 24 (in Tweets) Countdown: The Top Five Climate Videos of 201710 of the Best Tweets on Climate Change Lead: As we wrap up 2018, let’s take a look back at the most popular videos among Climate Reality supporters.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/countdown-top-five-climate-change-videos-2018?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=24DaysEmail Subject: Countdown: Top Five Climate Change Videos Of 2018Twitter URL: https://bit.ly/2PU1V7a
John Mitchell

2018: Looking Back on the Year in Climate

4 weeks 1 day ago

Are you tired? We know we sure are.

It’s been a very busy year in the movement for climate solutions, and there’s no reason to beat around the bush here: It’s also been a tough, sometimes disconcerting 12 months. In the US, we saw moves to weaken America’s historic Clean Power Plan, vehicle emissions standards, and many more environmental and climate protections. Globally, there was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest unnerving report, Global Warming of 1.5ºC, with no coordinated response. Take them together and you’d be forgiven for letting your #ClimateHope slip just a little bit.

But the thing is, we’ve been here before. We’ve weathered failed climate negotiations and moneyed special interests trying to pull the wool over our eyes. We’ve watched Big Polluters refuse to clean up their acts. We’ve seen the representatives we put into office go on to vote the fossil fuel party line.

Yet, we come back stronger every. single. time.   

So once again, in America and around the world, we faced a choice: give in to despair and check out – or stand strong and fight like our world depends on it.

Here at Climate Reality, we went with the latter. And thankfully, thousands and thousands of our supporters did too.

And you know what? It made a difference. How? Read on to find out!

Climate Reality Leader Trainings 

Each year, Climate Reality’s founder and chairman, former US Vice President Al Gore, and teams of field-leading experts in communications, climate science, and organizing train regular citizens to become Climate Reality Leaders, powerful activists with the skills and knowledge to mobilize their communities for action.

If you’re looking for proof that more and more people every day are ready to make a difference in our planet’s future, look no further than the incredible success of our Climate Reality Leadership Corps and chapters programs in 2018.

This year, we hosted training events in three cities around the world: Mexico City, Berlin, and Los Angeles. And we trained more new Climate Reality Leaders than ever before, welcoming 3,420 newly trained activists to our ranks, each of them ready to jump into the fight for a sustainable future.

Our training in Los Angeles stands as our largest-ever. And if you needed proof of what motivated activists can do, the swift action of many attendees to call their representatives in the state capital during the event played a key role in helping one of the most important recent pieces of climate legislation advance through the California legislature and become law.

One of the most exciting aspects of these trainings and the program itself is that they’re open to everyone. The Climate Reality Leadership Corps takes people from all walks of life – from doctors, educators, and police officers to electricians, farmers, and construction workers – and makes them exceptional leaders.

>> Learn more: 7 Reasons to Attend a Climate Reality Training <<

Join us for an event and we’ll take your commitment to creating a better tomorrow and give you the tools to turn it into action, providing training in climate science, communications, and organizing to inspire communities and spark grassroots action worldwide.

It all starts at the training – and if you’re interested in becoming a Climate Reality Leader, you’re in luck: The application for our upcoming trainings in Atlanta, Georgia and Brisbane, Australia are now open.

Take this fun quiz to see if you should become a Climate Reality Leader.

Chapters Go Public and Our Supporters Get to Work

With the Trump Administration doing basically everything it can to block progress and push a fossil fuel agenda, one of the most important stories this year has been the incredible fight for solutions happening at the local level all across the US. And all across the US, Climate Reality chapters have been bringing together friends, neighbors, colleagues and more to join this fight.

When we first launched these chapters in 2017, they were founded and led by Climate Reality Leaders. This summer, we opened them to the public and the response was incredible.

“The beauty of Climate Reality chapters is that each chapter can determine which specific local issues, causes, events, and actions they want to tackle or support,” Climate Reality Leader and Bellingham, Washington Chapter Chair Jill MacIntyre Witt told us earlier this year. “Climate Reality has a variety of campaigns that chapters can pursue in their communities – and when more and more chapters work on these campaigns, these local successes ripple across the entire country.”

In Washington State, MacIntyre Witt’s chapter, alongside other chapters united from across the state, saw an important early win: They succeeded in getting enough signatures to get a statewide ballot initiative, I-1631, on the ballot for the recent midterm elections. I-1631 sought to put a price on carbon pollution – and though it ultimately did not succeed on Election Day, it did raise an incredible amount of awareness for the fight to make the corporations responsible for the climate crisis pay for its impacts. It also laid out an important blueprint for how other state-wide carbon pricing initiatives could get off the ground.

>> Pricing Pollution: How We’re Pushing for Fair Energy Solutions <<

But our Washington chapter is far from alone in making waves in the fight for climate action.

In the heart of Texas oil country, our Dallas-Fort Worth chapter is in the early stages of planning a promising campaign that could help bring solar energy to public schools. In Illinois, members of our Chicago chapter were on hand at an October EPA hearing to speak out against the Trump Administration’s proposed replacement for America’s Clean Power Plan and testify about the vital importance of strong, good-faith climate action.

These friends, neighbors, and colleagues are bringing clean energy to their towns, fighting fracking developments, and so much more. Most of all, they’re making a real difference for our climate when it matters – and you can too.

Check to see if there is an existing Climate Reality chapter in your area now and join the fight for a sustainable future.

Key Comment Periods

The Trump Administration seems to have one governing principle when it comes to climate change: ignore, deny, or pretend (despite voluminous reports from within the administration itself) that we don’t have enough facts to act.

This year, our work to counter this administration’s denial focused on two major areas: vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards and saving America’s Clean Power Plan. We rallied our supporters around a common goal – to let President Trump know that the majority of Americans know our climate is changing and believe we must take urgent action to counter it.

In short, we are the Climate Majority.

In October, Climate Reality™ submitted more than 26,000 comments to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), opposing its plans to weaken fuel efficiency standards and replace the Clean Power Plan with a polluter-friendly policy that would allow coal-fired power plants to emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

These Cleaner Cars and Dirty Power Scam campaigns secured 13,017 and 13,123 signatures, respectively, from, well, you – our incredible network of supporters and activists.

>> Majority Rules: American Attitudes on Climate in 7 Stats <<

Dangerous Storms

Nothing hit home the need for urgent climate action more than the dangerous extreme weather communities around the world endured in 2018.

Early in the new year, a rare “bomb cyclone” brought measurable snowfall to cities as far south as Savannah, Georgia, and spread bitter cold, whiteout conditions across the US Northeast.

Dr. Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and author of The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars and, more recently, The Madhouse Effect, explained in a guest blog for Climate Reality that the storm and accompanying brutally cold temperatures, at the same time that much of the rest of the world remained uncommonly warm (see image below), amounted to “an example of precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.”

He explained that many climate scientists believe dramatic loss of sea ice in the Arctic because of global warming may favor an increasingly meandering “dipole” jet stream pattern, allowing frigid Arctic air to spill deeper than normal into the US – at the same time that a warmer Atlantic Ocean provides more fuel for storms travelling up the coast.  

“As the oceans continue to warm, cold Arctic air masses collide with increasingly warm Atlantic Ocean waters. That means larger temperature contrasts and potentially stronger storms,” Dr. Mann explained. “But those warmer oceans also mean more moisture in the atmosphere, even more energy to strengthen the storm, and the potential for larger snowfalls.  We might, if you’ll forgive the pun, call this a ‘perfect storm’ of factors for intensification.”
 

(Image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA)

And as the year went on, still more instances of climate change-exacerbated extreme weather piled up.

In Florida in October, an initially weak hurricane intensified rapidly due in part to very high water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. The result was Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 monster that effectively leveled the Panhandle town of Mexico Beach.

Powerful Droughts

At very nearly the same time that extreme winter weather was paralyzing the US Northeast, but on the other side of the planet, years of drought came very close to earning Cape Town, South Africa a truly alarming distinction: the first major city to run out of water.

Climate change worsens drought because as temperatures rise, evaporation increases. When this evaporation happens over land, soils dry out. Many places are also experiencing both decreases in annual precipitation and longer periods without significant rain. The result is reduced water levels in streams, rivers, lakes, and (importantly) reservoirs. When rains do come, much of the water runs off the hardened ground and is carried back to the ocean before it can fully replenish dams, reservoirs, or the water table.
 

Hurricane Michael Hits

BREAKING: Supercharged by extra-warm ocean waters, Hurricane Michael slammed into Florida with windspeeds just 2 miles per hour short of a Category 5 storm. #YEARSproject

Posted by The Years Project on Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Deadly Wildfires

At the same time, deadly wildfires raged across the American West.

The climate crisis creates the perfect conditions for extreme wildfire seasons around the globe. The reasons why are pretty simple science: Warm weather is arriving earlier and earlier and lasting longer.

It goes to figure that snowpacks are melting earlier too, leaving less water available during the heat of the summer. Precipitation patterns are also changing. The result? Lands getting parched and plant life dying.

All these dead and dried-out plants then act as tinder, igniting when the heat soars and lightning strikes or a careless cigarette butt is tossed in the wrong direction. And, with less predictable rains and seemingly more unpredictable wildfire behavior, once fires begin, it’s harder to stop them.

In US state of California, these ongoing changes have brought about one record-breaking fire season after the next. And this year’s has earned a particularly frightening distinction – the northern California Camp Fire is now the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history.  As of this writing, 86 people lost their lives in the fire.

You Make the Difference

We worked hard all year to share the truth about these and other climate change-exacerbated natural disasters – and our readers responded, downloading our free educational guides and fact sheets and sharing our content on Facebook and Twitter.

This is a bigger deal than you may realize. When you talk, your friends and family listen. That’s why simply sharing the facts of the climate crisis is one of the best ways to take climate action. So when we see such a great response to our blogs, e-books, and more, we know you have the facts and are out there speaking truth to power. Thank you.

>> If you haven’t already, sign-up here to get the latest from Climate Reality. <<

Onward

So where does all of that leave us now?

Ready to fight even harder for urgent, aggressive climate action.

As this year’s global broadcast of 24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves brought home, the climate crisis is also a global health crisis, creating an ever-more dangerous world for all of us. And as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report, Global Warming of 1.5ºC, makes abundantly clear, we have to think big and act quickly if we want to keep global warming at levels we can live with.

Luckily, thinking big is our specialty.

But we need your help.

Climate deniers and Big Polluters have spent decades on well-coordinated campaigns to spread doubt and sway public opinion about the reality of climate change. Join us now to dispel their myths and build upon the climate victories we’ve seen around the world.

Become a Climate Reality Leader in 2019! As a trusted messenger in your community, you can help spread the word about climate change and how we solve it to people you know. Join former Vice President Al Gore at a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training and learn how you can lead the global fight for climate solutions.

We hold trainings all over the US and around the globe and best of all, they are free. Learn more now.

  climate realityclimate crisisclimate changechaptersClimate Reality Leadership CorpsExtreme Weatheryear in review2018The Climate Reality ProjectBeginning the Climate Conversation: A Family’s Guide30 Reasons Why 2018 Gave Us Climate Hope Climate Science Belongs in the ClassroomLead: There is no wishing this crisis away – and in this critical moment, we need to decide what sort of world we want to live in.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/2018-looking-back-year-climate?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=24DaysEmail Subject: 2018: Looking Back on the Year in ClimateTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2UYU10g
ipacha

24 Days to Make a Difference

1 month ago

Just a few days ago, we rolled the closing credits for 24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves.

This incredible event highlighted the powerful work people like you are doing across the globe to stand up for our planet and address the climate crisis head on. But our work is far from over.

We have a question for you: what sort of world do you want to live in?

One where a handful of climate deniers – including the denier-in-chief, President Donald Trump – are calling the shots? And where the Trump Administration hosts an event at COP 24, a major UN climate summit, that absurdly promotes the use of fossil fuels in the fight against global warming? Or one where we are leading the way to protect the health of our families and the future of our planet?

We know which one we’d prefer.

We want to see a world that shifts from dirty fossil fuels to affordable clean energy sources like wind and solar. Where scientific fact – not Big Polluters like oil and coal companies – inform our global policies and solutions.

With your support we can:

Create Activists

Help train thousands of world-changing activists to fight the fossil fuel agenda and accelerate the renewable energy revolution planet-wide. With over 17,000 trained leaders already, we want to mobilize even more in 2019. 

Start an American Energy Revolution

Help our 80-plus chapters – and growing! – mobilize Americans coast to coast to bring practical climate solutions like clean energy and carbon pricing to their communities.

Catalyze a Global Solution

Keep the pressure on world leaders to strengthen the Paris Agreement to cut emissions and avert the worst.

Join us for our 24 Days of Giving campaign to help us reach our ambitious goal to take bold action to fight the climate crisis. With the help of a generous $175,000 matching gift, your support today can help us lead the way in the fight for our planet.

24 Daysclimate deniersclimate changeclimate scienceclimate actionAl Goreclimate realityend of yearThe Climate Reality ProjectJoin Us in Atlanta Climate Science Belongs in the ClassroomBeginning the Climate Conversation: A Family’s GuideLead: Join us for our 24 Days of Giving campaign and help us take bold action to fight the climate crisis.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/24-days-make-difference?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=24DaysEmail Subject: 24 Days to Make a DifferenceTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2E21khy
ipacha

COP 24 in Brief: The Good, the Bad, and the Inspirational

1 month ago

It was a buzzer-beater in extra time. For two weeks, negotiators at the UN’s COP 24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland had gone back and forth on the guidelines that would turn the high-level promises in the Paris Agreement into practical policies and processes for measuring and reducing emissions, known collectively as “the Paris Rulebook.”

With scientists warning that global emissions were once again rising and the world economy had only 12 years to radically de-carbonize or risk catastrophic climate change, the stakes couldn’t have been higher.

But from the outset, the conference scene was tense and at times even circus-level surreal. For one, the host nation, Poland, welcomed negotiators with a marching band of coal miners and opened the conference  by flatly announcing it had no intention of abandoning coal. Then the US decided to play the role of cigarette salesman at a lung cancer convention with a presentation praising coal to a stunned and jeering audience. All while island nations about to be swallowed by rising seas were pleading with wealthy countries to cut emissions so they could simply survive.

Meanwhile, talks seemed to constantly stall and were in real danger of falling apart. With an ardent climate skeptic about to become president, Brazil pulled out of hosting next year’s conference and threatened to walk away when negotiators tried to close a loophole allowing it to double count carbon reduction credits by protecting the Amazon.

Oh, and oil-producers – including the US – tried to block real acceptance of the IPCC’s latest report on the impacts of global warming as a foundation for talks. None of which exactly inspired hope.

But somehow, the adults in the room prevailed and kept going, even extending the conference for another day to get a deal done and keep the Paris Agreement going.

The finished product is full of compromises and far from perfect (see below), but the truth is it could’ve been a lot worse. Plus, we ended up with a much more balanced rulebook, the Katowice Climate Package, than many expected and a set of guidelines that in theory keep us on track for the next big step in 2020. Here are the big takeaways.

The Good: We Have a Framework for Global De-carbonization

Reaching the rulebook was itself a huge accomplishment, especially with all the fossil fuel energy working against it. The rulebook lays out several points that may sound merely technical and tedious, but in practice have huge implications and provide a framework for moving to a low-carbon world.

1. One set of rules and one system for reporting: The Paris Agreement aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (making best efforts for the more ambitious 1.5 degree goal). And according to the latest IPCC report, we have a pretty good idea of how to hit the latter: basically, reduce emissions 45 percent by 2030.

The challenge is that it turns out measuring emissions reductions on global scale is kind of complicated (who knew?). Closing coal plants, reducing deforestation, planting trees – they all effectively cut emissions in different ways and degrees. Countries then get credit toward their Paris Agreement commitments.

For this process to work, countries have to know what action counts for what credit. And they have to trust that everyone is playing by the same rules and using the same formulas, so a 1 million tonne reduction in GHG emissions really means a 1 million tonne reduction, no matter where or how it happened.

The rulebook sets out a single set of guidelines for all countries so everyone is using the same system and timelines to measure and report their emissions, progress on Paris commitments, and other steps.

Developing countries can get a little more flexibility in the short term if they need it, but the net result is a practical framework for cutting emissions planet-wide. Plus, the rulebook aims to build transparency and trust into the process, so countries know everyone’s acting in good faith and if they’re making tough choices, others are too.

2. Countries submit new or updated NDCs in 2020: In the Paris Agreement, each country makes a commitment to cutting emissions and other steps known as a nationally determined contribution (NDC). The Paris Rulebook re-affirms that starts in 2020, countries are set to re-submit or update their NDCs, giving the world a chance to get serious about de-carbonization. Because we have to.

3. The global stocktake starts in 2023: The way the Agreement is set up, every five years, countries have the chance to measure how much progress we’re making as a planet and make even more ambitious commitments to cutting emissions (which right now are out of control). COP 24 sets ground rules for the stocktake, the first of which will take place in 2023.

The Bad: The Rulebook Doesn’t Go Nearly Far Enough

For all the progress we saw with the rulebook, there are several areas where negotiators had to stop short or kick the can down the road to keep countries like Brazil on board. The bottom line is that there are big questions we still need to answer – and have to hope that countries will tackle at the UN’s Climate Summit in September and COP 25 in November next year.

1. The rulebook isn’t nearly ambitious enough: Right now, we’re way off track to meet the 2 degree target, much less the 1.5 goal that means a future we can live with. All the procedures in the rulebook won’t change that, meaning real pressure is going to have to come from everyday people and businesses to make countries get really, really, really serious about cutting emissions by 2030.

2. Missing a clear requirement and process for increasing commitments: The rulebook reaffirms 2020 as the date for countries to step up their NDC commitments to climate action. But it doesn’t have any forceful requirement for them to do so.

Which leaves the process depending on goodwill from politicians and national leaders, rather than an ironclad set of requirements and penalties. And with President Trump in the White House and President Bolsonaro about to take office in Brazil, this means federal action from two of the biggest players is years off at least.

3. Too much flexibility for climate finance: Developing countries (rightfully) want real financial support from the developed nations most responsible for climate change to adapt and pursue low-carbon growth. Some have made their own climate action conditional on this support.

At COP 24, several wealthy countries announced they were increasing their financial support for solutions in developing nations. Which is great, but the rulebook doesn’t require them to fulfill these pledges in any meaningful way. It also gives them way too much latitude with what counts as climate finance when they do report. Which means developing countries could once again get left hanging in the wind as rising seas swallow up their coastlines.

The Inspirational: Change Is Coming

Fifteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg first made headlines for going on strike from school to highlight adults’ inaction on the climate crisis – inspiring tens of thousands of other students to follow her lead.

At COP 24, she became a global superstar with a searing indictment of current political efforts that should inspire anyone with a pulse. The next time you hear some complaint about Generation Z, point them in the direction of Greta Thunberg. This is required viewing.
 


At Climate Reality, we know global climate policy and events can seem distant and overly complicated. But we also believe that understanding these events can help all of us understand how we can solve the climate crisis. If you find this content valuable, please support our work with a gift today. Your gift will help us produce eye-opening content like this post and train and empower climate activists worldwide. Thank you. 

*/ COP 24climatekatowice climate packageglobal warmingparis agreementThe Climate Reality Project2030 or Bust: 5 Key Takeaways from the IPCC Report30 Reasons Why 2018 Gave Us Climate Hope Think Global, Start LocalLead: After weeks of tense negotiations constantly on the edge of collapse, the UN’s COP 24 climate conference wrapped up on Saturday with an agreement on how to keep the Paris Agreement moving forward. The deal – known as the Katowice Climate Package – left no one 100 percent happy and some big questions unanswered, but it also includes several key elements to ensure international progress continues. Here’s what you need to know.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/cop-24-brief-good-bad-and-inspirational?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=24DaysEmail Subject: COP 24 in Brief: The Good, the Bad, and the InspirationalTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2T04QNy
ipacha

24 Hours of Reality: Top Five Inspiring Moments

1 month ago

Let us tell you – it’s no easy task putting together a 24-hour-long live broadcast event like 24 Hours of Reality. It takes months to write the script, shoot documentary-style videos around the globe, and line up interviews with thought leaders, policymakers, business innovators, and climate activists. But when the curtains close and the show is over, we look back and one thing is always clear: it was all worth it.

This year’s broadcast, Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves, was especially significant. The show revealed how the climate crisis is impacting human health. We showcased the latest on how heat-trapping emissions are threatening the livelihood of our families – right here and right now. And told the stories of people, organizations, and countries that are implementing ambitious climate action to ensure that future generations live long and healthy lives.

>> Climate Change and Health: Children<<

The program—broadcast to 800 million homes in more than 180 countries—featured thought-provoking conversations with a long list of incredible guests, including and world talent, including:

  • Elected officials such as Columbian President Duque Marquez, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö;
  • Health professionals such as Public Health Foundation of India President Dr. K. Srinath Reddy and World Health Organization Director of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health Dr. Maria Neira; and
  • Activists such as Indigenous Climate Action Executive Director Eriel Deranger and Goldman Environmental Prize-winner Desmond D’Sa.

If you missed the show (even if it was just for a minute somewhere in the whole 24 hours), or just want to watch your favorite parts again, no worries. We’ve compiled the most inspiring moments for you. With so many eye-opening segments throughout the broadcast, it was difficult to pick only five that deserved the spotlight. But we tried and here are our picks:

1. The Health Connection

If it wasn’t clear before, 24 Hours of Reality brought home how the climate crisis is not only threatening the environment, it’s also putting our health at risk. Changes in climate conditions and fossil fuel pollution are driving a spike in infectious diseases, heat-related illnesses, and unprecedented respiratory problems among children and adults.

The broadcast not only showcased the latest research and interviews with leading health professionals, but also showed the human side of this story. We were blown away by the testimony of Nalleli Cobo, a 17-year old activist in Los Angeles who has suffered from respiratory and other diseases for much of her life due to a neighboring oil drilling operation.

2. Shining Stars

 

Stars – they’re just like us, right? They go on coffee runs, ride their bikes, and yes, they care about our planet!

We had a record number of celebrities and musical talent participating in our broadcast this year, helping us share the urgency of tackling the climate crisis. (After all, we need all the help that we can get). From U2 to the Lumineers to the Foo Fighters and Sting and Shaggy we were honored to have amazing musical talent on the show this year. Other celebrities like Bryan Cranston, David Oyelowo, Claire Danes, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and many other stars joined us to help spread the word.

It’s hard to highlight only one celebrity moment among so many, but we’re going with former Vice President Al Gore’s inspirational one-on-one interview with Jaden Smith. They may seem very different people, but they share the same commitment to protecting our planet, which give us a much-needed shot of climate hope.

3. Stop and Listen

 

It may surprise you that scientists are increasingly finding tropical diseases as far north as the state of Alabama – but it’s true. The southern United States is being hit hard by many health impacts of the climate crisis, and they’re hitting low-income families and communities of color hardest of all.

During the broadcast, we had a chance to speak with Catherine Flowers of the Center for Earth Ethics about this injustice and how people everywhere can stand up to work for a fair and healthy future for all. (And if you’re ready to join this fight, join us in Atlanta, Georgia in March and train as a Climate Reality Leadership Corps activist. Applications are now open for this three-day event – and we want you to be there!)

4. Poetry in Motion

 

We always say – poetry can change the world. American poet @AmandaSCGorman will bring her powerful words to 24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves: https://t.co/DOAGiPNa1q #24HoursOfReality pic.twitter.com/cRoYZlAzBj

— Climate Reality (@ClimateReality) December 1, 2018


There’s nothing like poetry to make us think about what really matters in life. American Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman did just that during 24 Hours of Reality. We’ve been in awe of her work for some time now, but her poem “Earthrise” was the perfect complement for the show. It captured the essence of why we fight so hard for a healthier planet day after day. And gave us the strength to move forward in spite of the many challenges ahead. We really couldn’t put any better than she did in her poem:

“There is no rehearsal. The time is
Now
Now
Now,
Because the reversal of harm,
And protection of a future so universal
Should be anything but controversial.”

5. Bark If You Want Climate Action
 

Oreo says if you're not watching #24HoursofReality , what are you doing with your life? pic.twitter.com/4v3JlyyAVH

— Samie Hayward (@SolsticeEve) December 4, 2018


The beauty of a live broadcast is that unexpected things can happen that make the show even better than originally planned! One segment on the show is our social media corner, hosted by actors and activists like Calum Worthy, Stephanie Shepherd, Vanness Wu, Minzy, and Alyson Stoner. It’s a chance for the audience worldwide to join the conversation and share what’s important to them. Which – this year – turned out to be cats and dogs. Lots and lots of cats and dogs watching the show. Cuteness aside, we know why pets were paying attention. The climate crisis can affect their health as well. Take our latest quiz to find out more.

Ready to Join the Fight for Solutions?

These are only some of the great parts of 24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves, but we hope that they made you feel as inspired as we are. The fact is that the climate movement is growing and solutions are already available today. Now it’s time to make world leaders act for a cleaner and healthier future for all of us.

Sign up for our email list today and we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest climate science and all the ways you can get involved in the movement for climate solutions.

*/ 24 hours of realityclimate changeHealthChildren’s Health Content Components:  Not in the US? 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We respect your privacy. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. The Climate Reality ProjectSee Who’s Joining Us for 24 Hours of RealityGet Involved in 24 Hours of RealityJoin Bill Nye, Jaden Smith, and Jonathan Scott to Spread the Word About 24 Hours of Reality™ (VIDEO)Lead: This year’s 24 Hours of Reality broadcast is officially in the rearview mirror. But it will go down in history for connecting the dots between the climate crisis and human health.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/24-hours-reality-top-five-inspiring-moments-0?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=24hoursEmail Subject: 24 Hours of Reality: Top Five Inspiring MomentsTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2PLJVMp
ipacha

30 Reasons Why 2018 Gave Us Climate Hope

1 month ago

We get it. Being an activist in the climate movement can be frustrating. Progress feels slow; we see national leadership fall short; and a new dire report seems to come out every week.

But despair can sometimes be just as bad (and as paralyzing) as denial. It can be hard to see all of the incredible progress we’ve made when the news cycle works at hyper speed. That’s why we put together 30 reasons (plus one big bonus reason!) why 2018 left us feeling hopeful – that we must, we can, and we will solve the climate crisis.

Local (and Sometimes Very Young) Activists Lead the Way

1. In 2018, more than 3,400 people stepped up in a big way and became Climate Reality Leader activists. We held trainings in Mexico City, Berlin, and Los Angeles – hearing from world-renowned scientists, firefighters on the frontlines, mayors leading the way, and more. (By the way, we’re starting 2019 off right and heading to Atlanta and Brisbane!)

2. In Washington State, the collaborative work of Climate Reality chapters in Seattle, Bellingham, Tacoma, and Snohomish County played a key role in collecting the signatures to get carbon pricing on the November ballot. (And while, disappointingly, the initiative failed this year, our chapters’ tireless work and commitment continues to inspire us.)

3. Greta Thunberg (a 15-year-old activist hailing from Sweden) was the voice heard around the world, as she took world leaders to task at COP 24 in Poland: “Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”

4. Twenty-one incredible young people (some of them trained Climate Reality Leaders) made headlines as they took the US government to court alongside Our Children’s Trust. As plaintiffs, they argue the federal government is not doing enough to protect their future from climate change.

5. In 2018, our Dallas-Fort Worth chapter began working on a promising campaign that could help bring solar energy to public schools throughout the Dallas Independent School District.

6. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” In July, young people came together for a march that was the first-ever of its kind: Zero Hour’s Youth Climate March. And the person at the helm of it all? Powerhouse activist Jamie Margolin, who was trained as a Climate Reality Leader in 2017.

7. World-renowned scientists are using the world’s most popular video game, Fortnite, to talk about… climate change? No, we’re not kidding. And yes, it just might be working.

 

Every global movement needs leaders.

Posted by Climate Reality on Thursday, April 13, 2017

 

Even as the Trump Administration Abandoned Leadership, American Cities and States Did Not

8. The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this September led to a lot of big deal commitments that could accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and de-carbonization worldwide. The best part? The summit was mostly made up of governors, mayors, business leaders, and civil society representatives – people who don’t have an official seat in UN climate negotiations but can actually get a whole lot done to make Paris promises happen.

9. California also made history not once but twice this year – committing to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity in the power sector by 2045 and approving a law requiring all new homes and apartment buildings to have some form of solar power installed.

10. But it’s not just California who deserves all the credit. Small towns made a difference this year, too. One example? The work of our Hudson Valley and Catskills chapter led to plenty of businesses in Upstate New York committing to make the transition to 100 percent renewable electricity.

11. Plus, research shows that mayors (across party lines and around the country) know that cities have a vital role to play in fighting climate change.

12. In fact, Cincinnati, Ohio became the one-hundredth US city to commit to 100-percent renewable electricity on December 5. And the very next day, Dunedin, Florida made it 101.

13. The state of New York sued fossil fuel giant Exxon-Mobil, “claiming the company defrauded shareholders by downplaying the expected risks of climate change to its business.”

14. And that’s not the only place where Big Polluters are being taken to court – suits were filed against fossil fuel companies by the state of Rhode Island; California cities San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Santa Cruz and more; the city of Baltimore; King County in Washington; Boulder County in Colorado, and the list goes on and on.

And Other Countries Forged Ahead, Too

15. Talk about an Irish goodbye! In July, Ireland passed a historic divestment law – making the commitment to pull 8.9 billion euros, or about $10.4 billion, out of investments in dirty fossil fuels. (Can we recommend investing them in renewable energy instead? Just an idea.)
 

Ireland Divests

The Emerald Isle is going green! (via The Years Project)

Posted by Climate Reality on Wednesday, September 5, 2018


16. In Ukraine, a solar farm went live in October – remarkably, only about 300 feet from the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.

17. They say you should only compete with one person: Yourself. Well, in 2015, Costa Rica ran on renewable electricity for 299 consecutive days. In 2018, the nation broke its own record and made it 300.

18. One Pacific island nation, Palau, put plans in motion to make the world’s fastest-ever shift to renewable energy. Palau has committed to ditching diesel for 100-percent solar by the end of 2019.

19. Contrary to what Big Polluters would have you believe, developing nations like Chile and India are leading the renewable revolution – and reaping big benefits.

20. Canada is forging ahead on putting a national price on pollution. In October, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, Canada will implement a revenue-neutral carbon tax starting in 2019, fulfilling a campaign pledge he made in 2015.” The prime minister said it well: “Starting next spring, it’ll no longer be free to pollute in Canada.”

>> Join the global movement calling for a price on carbon pollution <<

Renewable Energy Just Gets Cheaper and Cheaper

21. According to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, almost all renewables could be as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020. Yes, really!

22. And coal already isn’t keeping up. Former Vice President Al Gore summed it up well: “Electricity from new wind and solar power is now cheaper than from existing coal plants in many regions of the US. The economic benefits of clean energy are here and now.” Here’s the proof.

23. In fact, a new report found that over 40 percent of global coal capacity isn’t even profitable – and that the US could save billions by closing its coal-fired power plants.

24. And it’s not just coal. Renewables are also starting to close in on natural gas – often labeled a “bridge fuel” between fossil fuels and renewable energy. David Roberts at Vox said it well, “The natural gas ‘bridge’ to sustainability may be shorter than expected.”

Climate Action Just Made Good Business Sense

25. And because renewables are getting so cheap, “for the first time, a major US utility has committed to 100% clean electricity.” That’s right. Xcel Energy (which serves 3.6 million people) wants to make it happen by 2050 – and we hope it happens even sooner.

26. In January, T-Mobile announced that it would “cover 100 percent of its business” with renewable energy by 2021. The company’s CEO, John Legere, said it well: “It’s not just the right thing to do – it’s smart business! We expect to cut T-Mobile’s energy costs by around $100 million in the next 15 years thanks to this move.”

27. Better yet? Social media giant Facebook wants to do it by 2020.  Bring on the competition. (Like.)
 

This Swedish City has Slashed CO2 Emissions While Growing by a Third

This city shows how economies can grow while going green. (via World Economic Forum)

Posted by Climate Reality on Saturday, November 24, 2018


28. Volkswagen isn’t one to be left out, either. The company announced that it will be exclusively making electric cars after 2026. There’s some unfortunate history here, of course, but going all-in on electric? That’s drive.

29.  Better yet, economies around the globe are seeing their economies grow even as their emissions fall. Just one example of many? “San Francisco… hit its peak greenhouse gas emissions in 2000 and has since reduced them by 30 percent from 1990 levels. During the same period, the city’s economy grew 111 percent and its population 20 percent."

30. And renewable energy is putting people to work. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the two fastest-growing jobs in the market are solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians.

Bonus!

31. We can’t resist a bonus reason for hope (our cup runneth over, you know). We had a close call at COP 24 in Poland — things could have gone very wrong here (in fact, it looked almost guaranteed at some points). And, yet they didn’t. Miraculously, leaders managed to extend negotiations by a day and agreed on a rulebook.

We still need to make this rulebook a lot more ambitious, but it’s “a uniform set of standards for measuring [each nation's] planet-warming emissions and tracking [its] climate policies. And it calls on countries to step up their plans to cut emissions ahead of another round of talks in 2020.”

Basically, our favorite basketball team went into overtime and managed to score a hard and messy (but significant) win. And the crowd went wild, because the world still has the chance to work together and stop climate change before it’s too late. That’s certainly a big reason for hope, no doubt about it.

Together, We Can Fuel Climate Hope in 2019

We want to see a world that shifts from dirty fossil fuels to affordable clean energy sources like wind and solar. A world where scientific facts – not Big Polluter spin from oil and coal companies – inform our global policies. A world where there are plenty more reasons for climate hope.

Sign up for our email list today and we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest climate science and all the ways you can get involved in the movement for climate solutions.

hopeclimate changeclimate action2018hopefuloptimismoptimisticreasons for hopetop stories 2018top climate storiesThe Climate Reality Project2030 or Bust: 5 Key Takeaways from the IPCC ReportHow Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the WorldReasons for Hope: The Answer Is Blowin’ in the WindLead: Yes, really.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/30-reasons-why-2018-gave-us-climate-hope?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=24DaysEmail Subject: 30 Reasons Why 2018 Gave Us Climate Hope Twitter URL: https://bit.ly/2UWugOa
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Think Global, Start Local

1 month 1 week ago

You’ve seen the headlines. You’ve seen the pictures. Hurricanes pounding the eastern coast of the United States. Wildfires raging across California. Unprecedented droughts in South Africa. The bottom line: The climate crisis is impacting people and communities everywhere.

So what do we do? We get to work cutting emissions and accelerating the shift to clean energy. And the important story that’s not making the headlines is that this is happening right now in counties across the US, thanks to the County Climate Coalition.

Not What the White House Intended

Think back to July 2017, when President Trump announced he’d withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, jeopardizing the impact of the accord and climate action worldwide.

Chances are, there were a lot of champagne corks popping in fossil fuel company boardrooms after the announcement. But maybe a little too soon. Because rather than pouring cold water on the US climate movement, the announcement became a match to tinder.

Almost immediately, states, communities, businesses, and everyday people across the country stepped up and made it clear that if the federal government wouldn’t act to make good on our Paris Agreement commitments, they would. So all of a sudden, people and governments were asking, “What can I do to help solve this crisis?”

Santa Clara Steps Up

One answer came from the County of Santa Clara in California. First, the county passed a resolution reaffirming the Paris Agreement and laid out a roadmap for shrinking greenhouse gas emissions.

But the county also recognized that while cutting its own emissions was progress, getting many other counties to follow its lead would be a huge step forward in helping the US meet its Paris commitments.

The result was the County Climate Coalition, created to help counties throughout the country cut carbon pollution and together put real pressure on the federal government to act.

It was the start of a powerful new kind of local climate movement, with more and more counties joining in and bringing their own particular expertise and voice to the fight. Maybe the most exciting thing about this development was how it gave many local communities a way to get involved and make a huge impact when it comes to addressing this crisis.

Here’s why:

Personal Knowledge Is Personal Power

Climate change can be a daunting topic, but joining others in your community to fight it as a county has a few built-in advantages.

First, you know the very community you’re fighting to protect. You likely have a better understanding than any outsider ever could of where your friends and neighbors stand on our changing climate. You’re also more likely to know – and perhaps even have access to – your county officials. And understanding their role in your local government structure will only empower you.

There is power in this type of knowledge. Use it to urge your local community to press the county to act. In turn, your county can play a key role in the larger climate movement at the state and even national levels, ultimately joining a global network working to uphold the Paris Agreement.

(It perhaps goes without saying that to be an effective advocate on behalf of the Paris Agreement, you also need to understand the agreement and its goals. Learn more here.)

Making Local Voices Heard

Big change has to start somewhere – why not in your local community?

To put it simply, if the federal legislation you want to see isn’t there, start local and grow. Take a look at your town, its schools and businesses as part of a larger ecosystem. Institutions like these everywhere are committing to 100-percent renewable electricity. Each win grows our movement; each success is a step in the right direction.

Remember, county officials are in office to represent and be the voice of county citizens – so make sure they know what is important to the people living in your county. Working with your county to create the change you and your friends and neighbors want is a surefire way to make sure your voices are heard loud and clear.

You Are Not Alone

The County Climate Coalition is a nationwide community of counties that have signed on to uphold the Paris Agreement. Once your county signs up too, you become part of a national network – offering resources, opportunities for progress, and people to help you accomplish your active goals. You can collaborate with other counties to brainstorm fresh ideas for climate action.

Whether you’re in California or Maryland or any state in between, within the County Climate Coalition, you will have allies who share your goals and want to work together to protect our climate. This is your opportunity to take a stand.

Our changing climate is a global, non-partisan challenge. The only way we solve it is through action.

How to get started

The first step to action is understanding the problem – and joining forces with like-minded everyday activists to solve it.

If you’re ready to take the next step, join Climate Reality™ and former Vice President Al Gore in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 14-16 to become a trained Climate Reality Leader.

At Climate Reality Leadership Corps trainings, individuals ready to make a difference in our planet’s future spend three days working with former Vice President Gore and world-renowned scientists and communicators learning about the climate crisis and how together we can solve it.

At a training, you’ll gain the skills, knowledge, and network to shape public opinion, influence policy, and inspire your community to act at this critical time. The training will give you the tools you need to have a major impact, both in your community and in the world.

Can’t make it to Atlanta? Join your local Climate Reality chapter.

Across the country, everyday Americans are joining Climate Reality chapters and working together for practical climate solutions. These friends, neighbors, and colleagues are bringing clean energy to their towns, fighting fracking developments, and so much more. Most of all, they’re making a real difference for our climate when it matters – and you can too.

Alongside your fellow chapter members, you can work to get your home county to join the County Climate Coalition and pass a climate resolution reaffirming the Paris Agreement.

climate changeclimate crisisclimate realitycounty climate coalitionLocal ActioncaliforniaThe Climate Reality ProjectClimate Science Belongs in the ClassroomJoin Us in Atlanta Get the Facts: Why Are Sea Levels Rising?Lead: The County Climate Coalition is connecting counties across the US to fight the climate crisis together – whatever the White House does.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/think-global-start-local?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Think Global, Start LocalTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2SGfSHJ
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