How Climate Change Is Affecting California

1 day 16 hours ago

From lush vineyards, relaxing beaches, and beautiful snowcapped mountains to the vast studio lots where movie magic is made, California is one of a kind. The state is best known for its extraordinary natural beauty and laid back perspective, but it’s increasingly making headlines for a different reason altogether. Namely, the many ways our warming climate is transforming the environment.


Over the last several years, the recurring drought situation in California has been getting all kinds of media attention – and for good reason. From 2012 to 2016, the state experienced one of the worst droughts in its history. And it took the wettest winter in a century in California’s northern Sierra Nevada mountains to rescue the state from the prolonged dry spell.

The recent relief may prove short-lived: Climate scientists forecast hotter and drier conditions for the state as the climate crisis continues.

And in California, which gets about 75 to 80 percent of its freshwater from the Sierra Nevada snowpack, that combination of rising temperatures and decreasing precipitation, particularly in the winter and early spring, could prove especially dangerous.

“The Sierra Nevada snowpack functions as the most important natural reservoir of water in California. Under current conditions, the snowpack is created in fall and winter and slowly releases about 15 million acre-feet of water in the spring and summer, when California needs it most,” according to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office. “California’s dams and water storage facilities are built to handle the snow melt as it happened in the past. Higher temperatures are now causing the snowpack to melt earlier and all at once. Earlier and larger releases of water could overwhelm California’s water storage facilities, creating risk of floods and water shortages.”

(Assuming there’s even snow to melt: Earlier this year, after “an historically dry December,” the snow-water equivalent (SWE) of the northern Sierra Nevada snowpack was at just 27 percent of its multi-decade average.)

It’s important here to remember how truly global climate change is – because part of California’s precipitation woes could come down to a phenomenon happening half a world away in the Arctic. 

A recent study, conducted by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and published in the journal Nature Communications, discovered a link between diminishing Arctic sea ice and the buildup of high ridges of atmospheric pressure over the North Pacific. In short, California’s rain and snowfall are sensitive to both tropical and mid-latitude atmospheric circulation changes – and these ridges are effectively pushing storm tracks away from the state.

“Using complex new modeling, the scientists have found that rapidly melting Arctic sea ice now threatens to diminish precipitation over California by as much as 15 percent within 20 to 30 years,” the Los Angeles Times writes. “Such a change would have profound economic impacts in a state where the most recent drought drained several billion dollars out of the economy, severely stressed infrastructure, and highlighted how even the state most proactively confronting global warming is not prepared for its fallout.”


Wildfires have become more frequent and more severe across California in the last few decades, and the science behind why is pretty simple: Droughts dry out the land, killing plant life. All these dead and dried-out plants then act as tinder, igniting when the heat soars or lightning strikes or a careless cigarette butt is tossed in the wrong direction. And, with less predictable rains, once fires begin, it’s harder to stop them.

“Today's fire season in the western United States starts earlier, lasts longer, and is more intense than in the last several decades,” AG Becerra’s office writes.  “Wildfire occurrence statewide could increase several folds by the end of the century, increasing fire suppression and emergency response costs and damage to property.”

For a state whose 100 million acres are 80 percent covered by forest and rangelands, it’s an existential concern, particularly after last year’s devastating wildfire season. Several major wildfires burned their way across the state in 2017, including the largest-ever in California’s history, the Thomas Fire, costing the state a record high of $702 million in firefighting alone.

The Thomas Fire ignited in early December and burned about 281,900 acres, an area equivalent in size “to more than Dallas and Miami combined,” according to CNN. And while it may stand as the state’s largest, it’s not the only devastating one to strike recently:  Seven of California’s 10 largest modern wildfires have come in just the last 14 years.


This Neighborhood Was Devastated by the Fires in California

We’re devastated to see the human impact of the unprecedented fires in California. We must do everything we can to prevent fires like this from becoming our new normal. (via NowThis)

Posted by Climate Reality on Monday, October 16, 2017



While drought and all that comes with it usually come to mind first when it comes to climate impacts on the Golden State, it’s important to remember California’s 840 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline – and the major flood risk it faces as sea levels rise.

About 85 percent of California’s more than 39 million residents live and work in coastal counties. And while the amount of sea-level rise the state can expect by the end of the century varies wildly from a low-emissions scenario to a high one – from one foot to 10 feet, respectively – one thing is looking more clear than ever: California is likely to see greater sea-level rise than the global average.

This has everything to do with changes in the rate and orientation of Earth’s rotation, gravitational fields, and crust,  according to an April 2017 study conducted by a seven-scientist working group of the California Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team.

Scientific American reports the team found “that the rate of ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is increasing. [This] soon will become the primary contributor to global sea-level rise.”

For California, this increased melting, particularly in the Antarctic, could create something of a worst-case scenario, greatly increasing the amount of sea-level rise along its coast.

“For California, there is no worse place for land ice to be lost than from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet,” the study concluded. “For every foot of global sea-level rise caused by the loss of ice on West Antarctica, sea-level will rise approximately 1.25 feet along the California coast.”

By the end of the century, the state estimates that a 55-inch (4.6 feet) sea-level rise could threaten “$100 billion in property and infrastructure, including roadways, buildings, hazardous waste sites, power plants, and parks and tourist destinations.” While that 55 inches may sound exaggerated, it’s less than half of what scientists project could happen in an extreme sea level rise scenario.

And this doesn’t even include the cost of sea-level-rise-driven saltwater contamination of California’s freshwater delta and levee systems. The San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta and the San Francisco Bay were found to be "particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and changes in salinity, temperature, and runoff” by the National Climate Assessment, meaning that as sea levels rise, the nearly 30 million Californians who use these systems could see their drinking water become contaminated with salt.


We Can Solve This: San Francisco Leads The Way

San Fran is well ahead of the curve when it comes to fighting the climate crisis. Here’s what other cities can learn. (via The Years Project)

Posted by Climate Reality on Thursday, March 1, 2018



There are numerous health consequences from drought, wildfires, and coastal flooding. Fresh drinking water could become more and more scarce as drought and warming combine to dry up reservoirs, rivers, and groundwater – or polluted floodwater runoff contaminates what they do have to offer. And, of course, fires can cause devastating direct injuries.   

But here, we’d like to focus on a few things we haven’t yet covered: namely the health impacts of extreme heat and air pollution associated with climate change.

Extreme heat elevates the risk of death from heart attack, heat stroke, organ failure, and more – and just last year, the state endured several record-setting bursts of it.

On September 1, San Francisco set an all-time heat record of 106 degrees – in what went on to become the state's hottest recorded summer, overall. Further south, as the Thanksgiving holiday approached, the Los Angeles area was gripped by a run of 90-degree Fahrenheit days, a full 20-plus degrees above the normal for late-November.

Average temperatures in southern California have already warmed about 3 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century.

“From 1950 to 1970, temperatures in Walnut Creek, for example, topped 100 degrees six days a year, on average. But from 2006 to 2016, there were nine days on average. And unless there are significant reductions in greenhouse gases, from 2030 to 2050 there will be 16 days a year over the century mark, and a sweltering 32 days a year by 2100,” the Mercury News reported, using information from a database of temperature statistics and C02 emissions scenarios created by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Washington. “The numbers are similar for every other major California city.”

Californians should also expect to see an uptick in asthma and allergies right alongside these rising temperatures. The science here is true in many places around the globe: With rising temperatures, pollen seasons will start earlier and last longer. Plus, concentrations of ozone and particulate matter in the air (which contribute to asthma and allergy attacks) will increase.

“Californians already experience the worst air quality in the nation. Hotter temperatures lead to more smog, which can damage lungs, and increases childhood asthma, respiratory and heart disease, and death,” the state attorney general’s office cautions. “Certain segments of the population are at greater risk, including the elderly, infants, persons with chronic heart or lung disease, people who can’t afford air conditioning, and those who work outdoors.”


Luckily for Californians (and the rest of the planet!), the state is at the forefront of climate action in the US. Among elected officials, Governor Jerry Brown is “America’s de facto leader on climate change,” and the state will host a Climate Action Summit later this year in San Francisco to bring together “the leaders of states, cities, businesses, and others who made pledges to curb heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris accord.” 

The state’s leaders know the climate crisis threatens their future – and they’re taking action. But so are regular Californians up and down the state, pushing the envelope in everything from sustainable business to community-based clean energy.

In California and across the country, everyday activists supporting sustainable solutions in their communities are making the difference in the fight against the climate crisis. With federal-level climate action stalled, our movement is working hard to effect change at the local level. That’s why we invite you to learn more about our Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Climate Reality Leadership Corps trainings are where everyday citizens become world-changers. Join us and spend three days learning from former Vice President Al Gore and a host of business icons, thought leaders, and pioneering activists how we can solve the climate crisis together.

Give us three days. We’ll give you the tools to change the world.

  climate changeclimate crisiscaliforniaimpactsdroughtheatpublic healthfloodingSea Level RiseClimate Reality Leadership CorpsThe Climate Reality ProjectHow Climate Change Is Affecting GermanyCoal Will Not Bring Appalachia Back to Life – But Tech and Government Jobs CouldHow Is Climate Change Affecting Mexico?Lead: Climate scientists forecast hotter and drier conditions for the state as the climate crisis continues.facebook link: Subject: How Climate Change Is Affecting CaliforniaTwitter URL:

A Rising Tide: How Green Events Drive Change

2 days 12 hours ago

If you don’t work in the event industry, you might not know it’s changing in major ways – with sustainability efforts taking center stage.

The headline is that over the past several years, the industry rolled out the ISO 20121 Sustainable Event Management Standard and the APEX/ASTM Sustainable Event Standard, which spelled out what makes a green event and set the bar for planners and venues alike.

For us in the climate movement, this has two important effects. First, venues that want to earn the business of planet-conscious planners now have a clear set of benchmarks to hit, creating financial incentives for an industry-wide shift toward sustainability.

Second, planet-conscious planners have a clear set of criteria to use not only in deciding who gets their business, but also in every step of designing and executing events that minimize impacts and leave positive and lasting legacies. It’s one part using your dollars to advance your values and one part turning values into the forks, food choices, and other factors that express them.

At Climate Reality, we use these standards to ensure that our green initiatives and our overall event management systems are in line with industry best practices no matter where we hold events, from Manila to Johannesburg to New Delhi. And with a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training coming up in Mexico City, we had another opportunity to put our money where our mouth is and put these standards into practice to make a truly green event a reality.

Supporting Other Industries’ Sustainability Standards

One of the things we love about the ISO 20121 and APEX/ASTM standards is

how they support sustainability standards across multiple industries. For instance, when completing a venue search the event planning team looks for venues that hold green building certifications like LEED. When printing our materials, we always identify local printers that maintain green printer certifications, like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain-of-Custody certification. And, when purchasing cleaning products, we source items that earn certifications like Green Seal.

By supporting sustainability standards across a variety of industries, we help demonstrate the necessity of industry-wide green associations and certification programs. We also support the companies that take the practical steps to earn these valuable certifications, proving to their competitors that caring about the planet pays off.

We’ll be in Seattle this week for our next Climate Reality Leadership Corps training! Here’s how we make our events sustainable.

Posted by Climate Reality on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Promoting Green Venues

Choosing a venue for the event is probably the planning team’s most important decision. Choose the right place and (almost) everything else follows. Following green event standards, some of the most important criteria we consider are:

  • Is the building LEED certified?
  • Does it have an effective waste diversion system separating recycling, compost, and landfill items?
  • Does it have sustainable procurement policies?

How does this work in practice? We chose the Hilton Mexico City Reforma for our upcoming Climate Leader training in Mexico City based on its:

  • Comprehensive waste diversion system;
  • Policy of purchasing seasonal and local ingredients for its kitchen;
  • Leadership in food and product donation programs; and
  • Willingness to go the extra mile to decrease the venue’s environmental footprint during our event – including working with us to implement its first-ever compost pilot program.

The takeaway is this. Booking events is a competitive business. There are lots of venues that want to host your events. By choosing those that go green – and rewarding them with your business – you’re sending a message to the industry as a whole. Plus, you’re encouraging those not with the sustainability program to get with it or risk losing more and more business. That’s how change happens.

Driving Demand for Sustainable Products

At The Climate Reality Project, we like to think of ourselves as minimalists – we don’t like excess or unnecessary items. Yet, there are some unavoidable purchases we must make to produce our Climate Reality Leader trainings. Luckily, the green event standards’ procurement guidelines help us minimize the environmental impact of event-related purchasing.

An important step is developing a sustainable procurement policy that requires our planning team to find eco alternatives to standard event items. For example, the lanyards used for attendee name badges are actually made from 100 percent recycled soda bottles (recycled PET plastic).

The standards’ sustainable purchasing requirements don’t just lower the environmental impact of events like ours, though. They also drive demand for more green products. Each time event producers seek out eco products, they demonstrate consumer demand for sustainable alternatives to traditional items and incentivize suppliers to green their inventories.

A Changing Industry

Our favorite part about green event standards like ISO 20121 and APEX/ASTM? Following them is quickly becoming the norm for the events industry! Some of the biggest and most influential events in the world are incorporating sustainable event management standards into their operations. A couple notable examples include:

  • The Olympics – ISO 20121 was first popularized at the 2012 London Olympics. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang both received ISO 20121 certification.
  • The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos – This prestigious meeting for the world’s leaders in politics, business, and other sectors earned ISO 20121 certification in 2018.
  • World Sailing – The governing body for the sport of sailing became the first international sports federation to earn ISO 20121 certification in 2018.
How Can You Support the Standards?

Let’s keep momentum going for sustainable event standards! Show your support for the standards and for green event management. When you see an example of a green event practice, share it with the #greenevent tag!

Want to learn more about event activism and green event planning? Check out posts about our event sustainability strategy, our green venue selection process, how we build our green teams, and how our attendees can go green.

You can also apply to attend our next Climate Reality Leadership Corps training and see a #greenevent in action! Join former US Vice President Al Gore and other incredible climate influencers at our next Climate Reality Leaderships Corps training.

climate changeAl Gorejaime nackgreen eventglobal warmingmexicoISOolympicssustainabilityJaime NackThree Ways for Business to Put Climate Action Back on TrackWait, Why Is Climate Change a Bad Thing?How Is Climate Change Affecting Mexico?Lead: Many people probably never think of event planning as a form of climate activism. But do it right and that’s exactly what it is.facebook link: Subject: A Rising Tide: How Green Events Drive ChangeTwitter URL:

How Climate Change Is Affecting Germany

6 days 11 hours ago

Germany is the largest national economy in Europe and the fourth-largest in the world. It is a well-known and innovative manufacturer, a center of art and culture, home to Alpine vistas and thriving cities, and one of the globe’s great beer-makers. And it’s in trouble.

Climate change is transforming Germany’s environment and future – and for the nation’s nearly 83 million citizens, making climate solutions a priority could mean the difference between a bright, sustainable future… and something very different.

From extreme heat and powerful storms to related public health and food security concerns, this world leader is far from invulnerable to the impacts of our warming world. Read on to see what the climate crisis looks like in Germany.


Like so much of the planet, Germany has seen its number of extremely hot days increase across the last several decades, with the number of days where temps exceeded 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) rising from three per year to eight.

And its major cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne, cannot escape the “urban heat island effect.” This happens when natural landscapes are replaced with buildings and asphalt streets that absorb and store more heat, making cities warmer than surrounding areas. In the summertime, temperatures in German cities can climb as much as 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than in the country’s rural areas.

But even in those rural or mountainous areas of the country, like Bavaria and the Rhineland, where temperatures are rising more slowly, the consequences of even a fairly minor increase may ultimately be disastrous.

“Mild temperatures will mean the end of Alpine glaciers by the end of this century. They will melt away due to the higher temperatures, causing flooding at that time,” according to Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international public broadcaster. “But rivers like the Rhine, which depend on glacial melt, will turn into a trickle of their former strength.”

Major rivers shrinking could have a serious impact on everything from German agriculture to energy production. Power plants extract water from nearby rivers as part of their necessary cooling systems. However, if river water is already too warm – or the water levels in summer are too low (more on that below) – a lack of sufficient cooling water could result in functionality problems for power plants across the country.


So while heat itself is a concern for the EU nation, that problem is in many ways dwarfed by the resulting changes in precipitation.

A study by the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS) discovered, according to, that “precipitation in Germany has increased by 11 percent since 1881 – and according to the forecasts, this trend is set to continue. It now rains considerably more in winter almost everywhere in Germany; in some cases, precipitation volumes have increased by as much as 30 percent in the cold season. In contrast, summers in many Federal States have become dryer.”  

Those dryer summers – particularly at a time of overall warming – could be a major concern, because below-average rainfall naturally increases the probability and duration of forest fires.

This is a particular worry for areas like the Alps, where snowpack is melting ever-earlier as unseasonably warm temperatures begin earlier in the spring and creep deeper into the fall. Keeping in mind that forests are considered combustible about a month after the snowmelt ends, the result is a much longer than usual period of time when forests are vulnerable to fire. And, with less predictable rains, it’s harder to stop these fires once they begin.

It’s no surprise then that climate change-driven drought and all that comes with it have led to an increased risk of wildfires in the Alps.

At other times of year, however, Germany has suffered from the flip side of what we just described. This was especially true just last year:

“So far the summer has been, at least in terms of weather, one thing above all: extreme. As a result, the German Meteorological Service (DWD) declared July 2017 the rainiest month Germany has seen since measurements thereof began back in 1881.”

Elsewhere, sea level rise and increased storm surge height may cause flooding along the country’s North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts, allowing salt water intrusion into inland areas, potentially contaminating ground and surface freshwaters. The result: Without adaptation, by the 2080s, total losses due to sea level rise in Germany may top 2.6 billion Euros per year.


Extreme heat elevates the rate of death from illnesses like heart attack, heat stroke, organ failure, and more. But in Germany, a more pressing concern will come from diseases spreading as insects travel farther and farther as our climate changes. 

“With increasing temperatures, disease carriers (vectors) can migrate into new habitats and thereby extend the regional scope of the diseases they transmit,” writes the nation’s federal environment agency, Umweltbundesamt. “This includes, inter alia, vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks or bugs. … In Germany, especially the generally rising temperatures favor the growth and spread of vectors. Mild winters increase the survival rate of many disease vectors. They cause accelerated generation successions and prolonged annual activity periods.”

In some regions in southern Germany, even truly tropical vectors like the Asian tiger mosquito are spreading – and they’re bringing severe diseases like malaria or dengue fever with them.

Because of the climate crisis, Germans should also expect to see an uptick in asthma and allergies. The science here is true in many places around the globe: With rising temperatures, pollen seasons will start earlier and last longer, and concentrations of ozone and particulate matter in the air will increase.

“The direct health effects caused by higher ozone concentration include irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory reactions such as reduced lung functions, cardiovascular diseases, as well as an impaired physical performance,” according to Umweltbundesamt.


If we keep burning fossil fuels at our current rates, food may become harder and harder to grow in many places. Fresh drinking water could become more and more scarce as polluted floodwater runoff contaminates rivers, lakes, and reservoirs – or drought and warming combine to simply dry it all up.   

Like so much of climate change’s story, the threat to food and water security in Germany is a tale of rising temperatures’ impact on the water cycle – something understood all too well by the nation’s government:

“In the context of climate change, the amount of rainfall and its distribution is changing in Germany. This has a direct effect on the temporal and regional availability of water. Altered precipitation leads to fluctuations in soil water and groundwater levels. Thus, the soil quality and productivity of agricultural land are affected. If the temperatures rise at the same time, the consequences for the agricultural production will be even more severe.”

Decreases in summer precipitation by up to 30 percent are expected across Germany by 2080, potentially leading to problematic heat and drought conditions in some areas and resulting in reduced crop yields and poor harvest quality. And with the rising heat and changes in precipitation patterns, previously uncommon plant diseases could become more common.

“As a result of rising temperatures, it is expected that plant diseases and pests so far only found in warmer regions will spread. This has effects on fruit production, for example,” climate scientists in Germany have found. “Thus, the fungal disease apple scab has already led to high quality and yield losses, especially in south-west Germany. Infected plants are less resistant to water and temperature stress and thus more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”


The point is, climate change touches every aspect of our lives – in Germany and all over the world. But there’s plenty of good news too: With clean energy solutions like wind and solar getting more affordable, batteries getting better, and buildings becoming more efficient every year, the solutions to this crisis are available to us right now. The sustainable future we want is finally in our hands. And at Climate Reality, we won’t let it slip away.

We’re working to accelerate the global shift from the dirty fossil fuels driving climate change to renewable energies, so we can power our lives and economies without destroying our planet.

If you’re ready to join us, learn more about becoming a Climate Reality Leader. Sign up now and we’ll keep you updated about our upcoming trainings and ways you can get involved with the movement for climate solutions.

*/ climate changeclimate crisisgermanyfloodingdroughtpublic healthwater securityFood Securityclimate leadersThe Climate Reality ProjectHow Is Climate Change Affecting Mexico?How is the Climate Crisis Affecting the Mid-Atlantic?How Is the Climate Crisis Affecting the Pacific Northwest?Lead: The climate crisis touches every aspect of our lives – in Germany and all over the world.facebook link: Subject: How Is Climate Change Affecting Germany?Twitter URL:

Is Climate Change Really Making Weather More Extreme?

1 week ago

Every new year seems to arrive on the heels of another unfortunate climate record set. And 2017’s is among the most startling: Climate-related and other natural disasters caused a staggering $306 billion in total damages in the US, making 2017 by far the most expensive year on record for disasters in the country.

And globally, in the wake of Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey, an immensely destructive wildfire season in the American West, and a dire drought in South Africa, one question has been hard to escape:

Is the climate crisis making weather more extreme? The simple answer is yes.

Carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas is warming our planet and driving climate disruption. It’s throwing natural systems out of balance – to often devastating effect.

What does that mean for us? Events like torrential rains, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, the “polar vortex,” and drought are becoming more frequent and/or intense.

You don't have to be a scientist to know what's on the horizon, if politicians and business leaders keep denying reality and refusing to act. We’re seeing it already.

In our free new e-book, we explain in plain language how burning fossil fuels is driving climate change and making our weather more intense and dangerous. We also share stories about how extreme weather is affecting people just like you, in their own words. Download Extreme Weather and the Climate Crisis for free now.

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How Is Climate Change Affecting Women?

1 week 1 day ago

According to the US Census Bureau, 50.8 percent of Americans are female. They’re mothers, caregivers, and heads of family – and they’re also feeling the effects of climate change, particularly on their health.

Climate Reality Leaders and health professionals Bruce Bekkar and Susan Pacheco know that climate change hits women particularly hard. “As an obstetrician, I want people to see how much climate change is already affecting girls and women right here in the US. Susan Pacheco, a pediatrician, and I share the concern that these effects are both cumulative and increasing,” Bruce told Climate Reality.

Bruce and Susan are working on an academic article discussing how climate change uniquely impacts women’s health in the US. We sat down with them to discuss why the climate crisis is a women’s issue, here’s what we learned.

Climate and Women’s Health

Everyone knows about the financial costs of the climate crisis as heatwaves, wildfires, and storms become more powerful and more frequent. For example, in 2017, weather and climate disasters caused more than $300 billion in damage according to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

But the costs of our changing climate aren’t just financial. As temperatures rise, everyone, including children playing outside are increasingly at risk from heat-related illnesses and the expanding tropical diseases. Plus, burning fossil fuels releases toxic pollutants into the air we breathe, which can cause more frequent asthma flare ups and higher rates of illnesses like lung and heart disease.

And women feel these health issues more acutely. According to Bruce and Susan, “There is evidence of how climate change is associated with an increase in asthma in adolescent girls, a higher risk of acquiring lung cancer and heart disease in mid-life, and heart attacks, strokes, and dementia in older women.”

The research is especially concerning for pregnant women. “Adverse pregnancy outcomes, specifically premature birth and low birth weight, both of which often have life-long consequences, as well as stillbirth, have been associated with increasing heat and air pollution,” they said.

A Global Women’s Issue

And these issues are not unique to American women. Studies show that 80 percent of people displaced by climate change around the globe are women. Not to mention women are more likely than men to experience poverty and have less socioeconomic power than men, making recovery from extreme weather events more difficult.

But Bruce and Susan believe that women can and should play a unique role in the fight against the climate crisis by speaking out to demand climate action from our leaders. As mothers, caregivers, and heads of family, they know how seriously climate impacts the health and wellbeing of our children.

“Given women’s vital role as mothers, in families and throughout society, we cannot afford to let climate change affect their health without risking great harm to us all…In the vital family roles that women traditionally perform in our society, they may bear additional impacts due to the climate’s effects on others that rely on them. If her children or spouse are suffering physically or mentally, additional duties may fall on her – taking time and energy away from a career and/or needed self-care.”

Read More: Use This Research-backed Message to Talk About Climate Change and Health with Anyone

But there is some good news – women in the US have the opportunity to use their voice to demand climate action right now. The Obama Administration designed America’s historic Clean Power Plan to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being released into the air we breathe from dirty power plants. Because these emissions frequently come with other dangerous air pollutants from burning fossil fuels, it turns out that reducing them is just as good for our body as it is for our planet.

Now, with a new administration in the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency is working to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with an alternative much friendlier to fossil fuel interests. But with EPA accepting comments on its intentions to repeal the Clean Power Plan until April, 26, 2018, Americans have the chance to speak up for the health of their families and the health of our planet – and tell the administration to cut greenhouse gas emissions from dirty power plants. Just like the Clean Power Plan intended.

Add your name and ask Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to uphold America’s Clean Power Plan.

climate and healthclimate change and healthClimate changes healthclimate change asthmaclimate change pregnancyclimate change womenclimate change women’s healthHow Is Climate Change Affecting Women?The Climate Reality ProjectUse This Research-Backed Message to Talk About Climate Change and Health with AnyoneWomen Climate Champions Spotlight: Dr. Sylvia A. EarleBreathe Easy: How America’s Clean Power Plan Is Good for Your HealthLead: We know that climate changes health, but did you know that it could affect women’s health in particular? Here’s why. facebook link: Subject: How Is Climate Change Affecting Women?Twitter URL:

Wait, Why Is Climate Change a Bad Thing?

1 week 6 days ago

You might be wondering, “So what if there's a little climate change? What's wrong with a couple extra days at the beach?” Or maybe popular imagery has led you to believe that climate change is an issue just for polar bears and not humans.

Unfortunately, global warming doesn’t mean more fun in the sun – in many places, it could actually get way too hot for that – and it definitely isn’t just a polar bear problem. The climate crisis is real and it’s impacting people around the world today. From our well-being to our wallets, we’re seeing the effects of a world transformed by rising temperatures and changing climate patterns, and the outlook is about as far from a relaxing seaside escape as it gets.

(Oh, and while we’re on the topic, rising sea levels may already have their eye on your favorite seaside escape.)

Here are just a few ways that climate change impacts our everyday lives:

Climate Change Is Bad for Our Health

Climate change impacts human health in countless ways, but four are worth emphasizing here:

  • Rising temperatures: As temperatures climb around the globe, we expect to see more heatwaves – and ever-more intense ones at that. Extreme heat can “overpower the human body” and cause dehydration, heatstroke, and major organ damage. And certain populations are more at risk from the impacts of heatwaves than others, including the elderly, children, and the poor.
  • Air quality: Pollution from burning fossil fuels is bad enough for the air we breathe, but many impacts of climate change also impact air quality. For instance, climate change has been linked to more wildfires. Wildfire smoke carries fine particles that “can penetrate deep into your lungs.” Exposure has been linked to burning eyes, heart and lung diseases, and even death. 
  • Vector-borne diseases: Vector-borne diseases are illnesses spread by insects or arachnids like mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and ticks. As our climate becomes warmer, some insects will see their geographic ranges grow – bringing the Lyme disease and West Nile or Zika viruses they carry along with them to new regions.
  • Extreme weather: While we go into more detail on this later, climate change has been linked to many types of extreme weather, including hurricanes and floods. Not only can these extreme weather events have immediate fatal consequences, but they can lead to major injuries and the spread of waterborne illnesses such as wound infections, dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and ear, nose and throat infections.

The short of it? Healthy people need a healthy climate.

>> Read more: Not A Pretty Picture: Climate Change And Health In Four Infographics <<

Climate Change Means More Extreme Weather  

When we pollute the atmosphere by using dirty energy sources like oil, coal, and gas, we end up with dirty weather.

Climate change affects weather, in large part, by intensifying the water cycle. In short, water evaporates into the atmosphere from both land and sea and returns to Earth’s surface in the form of rain and snow. As the world warms, the rate of evaporation from our oceans seems to be increasing, powering ever-stronger storms.

Consider Hurricane Harvey, which moved across abnormally warm waters in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico before dropping unprecedented rain on Houston, Texas. Hurricanes and typhoons work like “giant engines that use warm, moist air as fuel.”

Think about heating a large pot of water on your stove — the higher you turn the dial, the faster the water evaporates. Now, imagine a powerful cyclonic swirl sucking up all that steam, carrying it over land, and dropping it like a bomb.

So far, it sounds like the world is getting wetter, right? Not so fast!

We also know that climate change increases the risk of severe drought. But how does that work? Contrary to what you might expect, more intense rain doesn’t necessarily mean wetter or healthier soils. Quite the opposite. Rain that falls as a violent downpour doesn’t gently soak into the soil, and instead quickly runs off into rivers and is carried back to the sea, leaving the land to get drier and drier between periods of precipitation.

Climate Facts: Droughts and Floods

Have you ever wondered why #ClimateChange leads to more intense droughts, but also more flooding? (via Years of Living Dangerously)

Posted by Climate Reality on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The short of it? Climate change "loads the dice" and makes extreme weather more likely to happen.

>> Read more: A ‘Perfect Storm’: Extreme Winter Weather, Bitter Cold, and Climate Change <<

Climate Change Is Bad for Water Security

Climate change poses a huge threat to something humans need above all else – water. We need it for drinking, of course, but also for growing food.

We’re seeing the dire consequences climate change can have on our water supplies right now in places like Cape Town, South Africa. Put simply? The city – and the four million people who call it home – could run out of water (and soon).

While many factors have led to Cape Town’s water crisis, climate change has undoubtedly made a bad situation much worse. We know that increasing global temperatures can lead to droughts, and Cape Town has been experiencing record drought for years – getting only about half of its average annual rainfall since 2015

Many cities around the world could face a similar fate. We already know that the largest reservoir in the US – Lake Mead – contained less than half the amount of water in 2015 as it did in 2000.

The short of it? Everyone deserves access to water for their survival. And climate change is making our water supply much less secure.

Climate Change Is Bad for Our Agriculture and Food

Farmers around the world depend on a stable climate to grow their crops and put food on our plates. But as climate change leads to more droughts, floods, and extreme weather, we see harvests wither or wash away.

In 2011, during Mexico’s worst-ever drought on record, more than 2 million acres of crops were lost. Climate change also makes soil less suitable for farming, as nutrients key to plant growth are stripped out by these same droughts and floods.

Some deniers will argue that carbon dioxide is “plant food” and that more of it will help crops flourish. But this is a huge oversimplification of science. Plants also need water, but does that mean a flood is a good way to get it to them? Absolutely not. The same holds true for carbon. Experiments show that some plants may do better in a world with more carbon dioxide, but many actually show signs of damage.

Global Weirding: Plans and Animals Will Just Adapt to Climate ...

Carbon dioxide is just plant food, right? And animals will just adapt to climate change, huh? No — that’s a huge oversimplification of science. Here’s the full picture, from Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. (via Global Weirding)

Posted by Climate Reality on Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Not convinced? Recent research has revealed that elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere can actually have a “junk food effect” on typically nutritious foods. As increasing CO2 speeds up photosynthesis, plants are producing more and more carbohydrates to keep up with their sped-up growth – at the expense of the minerals, vitamins, and proteins that take longer to build (and which we need).

The short of it? Carbon pollution and climate change mean both more floods and droughts – making it harder and harder for farmers to grow good quality, nutritious food.

Climate Change Is Bad for Our Economy

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to point out that the planet’s economies depend on, well, the planet.

In 2017, a team of scientists and economists mapped out the potential economic damages different counties in the US can expect as the climate continues to change. The researchers found “that if warming continues at recent rates, it could shave 3 to 6 percentage points off of the country's gross domestic product by century's end — the warmer it gets, the bigger the hit to the economy.”

Extreme weather linked to climate change also has huge economic repercussions. In fact, 2017 was the United States’ costliest disaster year on record. Between 2007 and 2017, the federal government spent an estimated $350 billion responding to extreme weather and fires.


Double tap if you know #ClimateAction is good for the planet and our wallets. . . #Cop23 #Bonn #ClimateChangeIsReal #LeadOnClimate #Hurricane #Harvey #Maria #Katrina #Wildfire

A post shared by Climate Reality (@climatereality) on Nov 13, 2017 at 8:02am PST

On the other hand, climate solutions like renewable energy are fueling our economy and creating good, well-paying jobs. In 2016, renewable energy employed nearly 10 million people around the globe. This sector has offered hope to laid off fossil fuel workers in places like Alberta – where (during the 2015 oil price crash) “an estimated 100,000 Canadian oil workers were laid off, at some points causing Alberta’s unemployment rate to hover around 10 percent.”

The short of it? There are no jobs on a dead planet.

Take Action Now

No matter where you live, climate change poses risks to both our economy and our way of life — and the time to start solving this problem is now. So how can you take action?

  • Download our free new e-book, Extreme Weather and the Climate Crisis: What You Need to Know. In it, we explain (in detail) the links between extreme weather and climate change, and share stories of how extreme weather is impacting people around the world. And at the end, we give you several ways you can join the climate movement and make a difference today. Download the e-book now.
  • Learn about becoming a Climate Reality Leader. Every year, we train thousands of everyday activists from across the globe to take the next step by learning the science of climate change and how to communicate it in a way that inspires people to take action. Join former US Vice President Al Gore at our next training – get more details now.
  • Join our email activist list. We’ll deliver the latest on climate science and innovative ways you can get involved in the climate movement right to your inbox. 

Header image: ©2014 isnapshot/Flickr cc by nc 2.0

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Three American Cities That Could be the Next Cape Town

2 weeks 2 days ago

The world watched attentively as Cape Town residents counted the days (and drops) to Day Zero – when the city’s taps could have run dry. The South African city has now pushed back the dreaded deadline to 2019, but it’s still in the midst of its worst drought in history. Poorer citizens are bearing the brunt of the water crisis, and all residents have been advised to limit their water consumption to only 50 liters, or 13.2 gallons a day. Think two-minute showers and reusing your bathing water to flush the toilet.

It sounds like a Mad Max movie, but the Cape Town water shortage is quite real and could be closer to reality for the rest of us than we would like. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that by 2025, two-thirds of the world population could be struggling with water shortage. And right here in the United States, cities across the country are watching their water reserves dwindle.

Although factors such as poor planning and population growth are driving droughts in some regions, there is one common culprit that is exacerbating water crises around the globe: climate change. Experts point to high temperatures, drying rivers, and melting snowpack as some of the factors behind the dry spells. They’re also a wake-up call that the climate crisis is no distant threat. In fact, it’s already affecting three big American cities and the daily lives of millions.

Here are three big American cities that could be the next Cape Town:

1. Los Angeles

California has a long history of water shortage, and Los Angeles is often at the center of the dust storm. In the early twentieth century, the dispute for water between the city and rural farmers was so bitter that it became known as the California Water Wars (and was turned into the Academy Award-winning movie Chinatown (1974) starring none other than Jack Nicholson).

Decades have passed since, but the city’s water woes are seemingly getting worse. In 2014, the City of Angels was listed as one of the most water-stressed large city in the world by The Nature Conservancy. One of the proofs was that LA was hit with the worst drought in at least 1,200 years in 2014, triggered by high temperatures and reduced rainfall linked to the change of climate and weather patterns.

As a result, for the first time in history, Angelenos were instructed to limit their water usage by 25 percent in 2015. The directive has since been lifted, but if the world doesn’t tackle the climate crisis, new dry spells will always be on the horizon. This year, for instance, snowpacks in the northern part of the state are frighteningly low —and they’re one of the main suppliers of water for California.

2. Salt Lake City

© 2012 Thomas Hawk/Flickr cc by NC 2.0

For every degree Fahrenheit of warming in the Salt Lake City region, the flow of nearby streams could decrease by an average of 3.8 percent annually, according to a recent report by the Western Water Assessment. The number is worrisome, considering that global temperatures have been steadily rising, and the city depends on healthy streams for its fresh water supply.

Making matters even worse, rivers that flow into the Great Salt Lake – and that could be an alternative source of water to the city – are headed in the same direction. The lake itself has shrunk to nearly half of its former size in the last 170 years. It’s no wonder that in 2014, the University of Florida’s Environmental Hydrology Laboratory found that Salt Lake City was at a high level of fresh water vulnerability.

Residents have already started feeling the effects of water scarcity. In 2015, the mayor’s office asked for cautious with water waste. Instructions included adjusting sprinklers and checking for leaks to protect the city’s fragile water supply. If you ask us, it’s time for the city to take climate action, especially since its population is expected to nearly double by 2050.

3. Miami

Why is Miami on this list? After all, the city is surrounded by water in all forms – it literally sits on the sea and has access to plenty of rain, lakes, and groundwater. However, the megacity is facing climate-related water concerns no less daunting than any other city on this list.

We all know that climate change has been fueling rising sea levels, and it’s not just in the Pacific Islands. In America’s Magic City, the rising seawater is leaking into, and contaminating, fresh water supplies above and underground. And although the problem has been around since the 1930s, rising sea levels mean these leaks are increasing at unprecedented rates . The water is even breaching underground defense barriers that were installed in recent decades and reaching freshwater wells.

As a result, neighboring cities are already struggling to find drinkable water. Hallandale Beach, which is just a few miles north of Miami, had to close six of its eight wells due to saltwater intrusion. And residents of the nearby Everglades National Park (including alligators) are getting salty with the ocean sweeping into the swamps. Miami-Dade residents all well aware of the risks, as more than 50 percent believe that the climate crisis will impact them personally.

Climate Facts: Cape Town Drought

Cape Town is about to run out of water – but this does not have to be the new normal. #ClimateChange (via Years of Living Dangerously)

Posted by Climate Reality on Thursday, January 25, 2018

As mean temperatures creep up, there's a risk that the crisis will worsen water stress across the United States and the rest of the world. But it’s not a lost cause. We can work together with government officials, businesses, schools, and faith communities to take climate action to the next level. Together we can reduce carbon emissions by adopt viable climate solutions – such as ditching dirty fossil fuels and embracing renewable energy.

Want to dive deeper into how the climate crisis is affecting rainfall, droughts, and even hurricanes? Download our Climate Change and the Water Cycle e-book and check out answers to four of the most confusing questions about how the crisis impacts this vital resource. And learn why citizens everywhere support policies that accelerate the global transition to a clean energy economy.

cape townAfricawaterWater CrisisWater ShortagedroughtrainmiamiLos AngelesSalt Lake Cityunited statesclimate changeSea LevelsFresh Water.The Climate Reality ProjectCape Town May Become the First Major City to Run Dry – But It Might Not Be the Last Poor More Likely to Suffer During South Africa’s Dire DroughtHow is climate change impacting the water cycle?Lead: As Cape Town faces a severe water crisis, three American cities could be on the same path. facebook link: Subject: Three American Cities That Could be the Next Cape TownTwitter URL:

Spring Into Action: 6 Tips for Climate-Smart Gardening

2 weeks 6 days ago

After a long – and in some places very cold – winter, spring is almost here. And with its arrival comes one of our favorite things to do as the days get longer and sunnier.

What if we told you that you can make a major difference without leaving your own backyard? That’s right, by simply rethinking how you garden, you can do your part to fight the climate crisis.

With just a little bit of gumption and some know-how, you can lessen your carbon footprint and conserve important resources like water, all while showing your family, friends, and neighbors how much you care about common sense solutions. Solutions they can then take back to their own gardens.

Up your sustainability game with these six simple tips for climate-smart gardening – and do your part to fight for a healthier future for our fragile planet.


There are plenty of reasons to be weary of synthetic fertilizers. Chemical runoff from haphazardly applied fertilizer can drain into streams and lakes, making its way to our water supplies. They can disrupt naturally occurring soil ecosystems, and are a temporary solution to a long-term solvable problem.

But when it comes to climate, it’s their manufacturing that really gets our goat.

“Four to six tons of carbon are typically emitted into the atmosphere per ton of nitrogen manufactured,” according to Dr. David Wolfe, professor of plant and soil ecology in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University. “Anything you can do to be more efficient and conservative about nitrogen use is one of the biggest things you can do in the garden.”

Instead, look to compost, worm castings, and manures to perk up your plants.

And for next year’s garden, consider sheet composting (though we prefer its fun nickname, “lasagna gardening”), a cold composting method where alternating layers of carbon and nitrogen materials are placed directly on the soil and break down over time, turning into a fantastic growing medium.


Environmentally, trees and shrubs are all kinds of awesome. Their size and long lives mean they remove more carbon dioxide (CO2) – the heat-trapping greenhouse gas driving the climate crisis – from the atmosphere than other plants, sequestering it in both above- and below-ground biomass. Their one-and-done planting means they require less energy (and all that comes with it) than many other plants too, particularly compared to the constant tending annuals often require. And their roots secure soil in place, making them important to fighting things like erosion and even holding back dangerous mudslides.

They also offer cool shade in the summer and protection from blistering winter winds, so a well-placed tree can even reduce emissions (and energy bills!) associated with heating and cooling your home.


We know that the warmer temperatures associated with the climate crisis increase the rate of evaporation of water into the atmosphere, drying out some areas and then falling as excess precipitation in others. This can lead to a cycle of water misuse in ever-drier areas, and plant diseases in regions where average annual precipitation is on the rise.

Watering of lawns and gardens is estimated to account for 30 percent of all residential water use in the US, according to the EPA, and that number “can be much higher in drier parts of the country and in more water-intensive landscapes.” And as much as 50 percent of it lost to evaporation, wind, or runoff.

Fifty percent! That’s never okay, but it’s particularly uncool at a time when climate change-exacerbated drought is pushing cities with millions of residents ever-closer to running out of water entirely

So, what can you do?

If you have a small or medium-sized garden, you can easily hand-water your veggies rather than use an overhead sprinkler system, applying the water near the base of the plant slowly to allow time for it to absorb into the soil near the roots. Also, consider drip irrigation, a type of micro-irrigation that helps maintain ideal moisture levels by allowing water to drip slowly and directly to the roots of plants.

“Less frequent, deep watering also encourages deeper root growth to areas where the soil stays moist longer,” according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension. “If supplemental water is determined to be necessary at a specific time and location, be sure to use no more than is needed and minimize your use of potable water.”

You can also capture and save rainwater for later use in a rain barrel or cistern. (Just make sure you keep it covered to save your rain harvest from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitos.) But before you head to your local garden supply shop to pick up a big ole bucket, make sure you check out your state’s laws around rainwater collection. Some US states and municipalities, largely (but not exclusively) in the American West, have laws restricting the collection of rainwater.


The climate crisis is literally changing the very ground we walk on – and grow crops in. Download our e-book to learn how rising global temperatures affect soil health, food production, and much more.

Posted by Climate Reality on Monday, February 5, 2018


The story of climate change’s impact on soil health is really a tale of changing precipitation patterns. Extreme downpours can lead to runoff and erosion, stripping healthy soil of key nutrients needed to sustain agriculture. On the other end of the spectrum, frequent droughts can kill off the vital living soil ecosystems necessary to grow healthy crops – and of course, plants can’t grow without water either.

But you can fortify your soil against climate change-related weather challenges, increase its fertility and productivity, and even improve your plants’ resistance to pests and disease by training your eye on something called “soil organic matter.” 

Healthy soil rich in organic matter sequesters carbon and stores water kind of like a sponge, helping it mitigate climate impacts like heavy rainfall and short-term drought by keeping the right amount of water where your plants need it – in the ground around its roots, an area called the “rhizosphere.”

It also adds nutrients to your foods as all that organic matter breaks down. (A very big bonus you can feel!) So remember to keep your plants happy by feeding their soil organic matter regularly with compost and by growing cover crops.


A low- or no-till approach to gardening plays a very big role in building the soil organic matter talked about above. The reason why is pretty simple: When you tear up the ground, you wreck the soil ecosystem. 

At its most basic, no-till gardening is the practice of growing produce without disturbing the soil through tillage or plowing. In addition to locking up more carbon in the soil, this approach dramatically cuts back on fossil-fuel use in gardening. After all, gasoline-powered garden tools are emitters of CO2.

No- or low-till gardening plays a role in making some of the other tips on this list even easier. As soil organic carbon levels increase through reduced tillage, so does the amount of nutrients that the soil can hold, meaning gardeners have less need for synthetic fertilizers.


So, if you can’t use your trusted weed eater or rototiller in the garden, how are you supposed to get anything done? We hear you, and believe us, we understand. So we’ll break it to you gentle – you’re gonna have to do this the old fashioned way.

There are numerous easy-to-use hand tools that can help make gardening a clean, exhaust-free breeze. From push-mowers and rakes to the real nuts-and-bolts stuff like hand trowels, shears, and weeders, no matter what you’re trying to do, there’s a gizmo for that.

If you’re looking to scale up your garden game and smaller implements simply won’t cut it, consider adding a broadfork to your shed. These big guys consist of five or six metal tines, each around eight inches long and spaced a few inches apart, on a horizontal crossbar with two handles that extend upwards to around chest or shoulder level, depending on your height. To operate, you step on the crossbar, driving the tines into the ground, and pull backward to loosen the soil.

A broadfork will lightly aerate the soil and improve drainage while leaving the soil layers intact, preserving the soil structure and the living ecosystems necessary for your plants to thrive.

Now, take the extra step to help us protect what matters.

While it’s unlikely to inspire a telethon, over time the toll of erosion, pollution, losses in organic matter, and other soil impacts of the climate crisis imperil a very basic human need – to eat.

Take an in-depth look at climate change’s impact on soil health as well as what’s at stake and what you can do to support a world where we can provide our booming population with fresh, healthy food grown in a sustainable soil ecosystem in Right Under Your Feet: Soil Health and the Climate Crisis.

Download this free resource now – and make sure you share it with your friends and family.

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Germany Is a Clean Energy Superpower – And Here’s the Proof

3 weeks 1 day ago

Most people know Germany for things like its popular car manufactures Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, its annual Oktoberfest – fun fact: Germany has 1,300 breweries and 5,000 different brew brands – and all those brilliant composers (Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann, anyone?). But did you know the country is also a clean-energy superpower?

Indeed, Germany was one of the first major economies to take significant steps to transition from nuclear and fossil fuels to clean energy, beginning in the 1990s. This transition was known as “Energiewende” (or “energy transition”), and its success is a major reason why Germans have come to embrace the many benefits of clean energy.

Over the past three decades, Germany has cemented its role as a climate solutions trendsetter. Below, check out seven reasons why it has become so dominant in the clean energy space:

1. Between 1990 and 2016, total greenhouse gas emissions in the nation dropped 27.4 percent, even as its GDP grew 50.5 percent.

2. Germany generated 36 percent of its electricity with clean energy in 2017, an increase of nearly 4 percent from just the year prior. It was the third year in a row that over one-third of electricity in Germany was sourced from renewables.

3. The country is one of the top three countries in solar PV capacity, and on certain sunny and windy days, clean energy has provided almost 100 percent of the nation’s daily electricity need.

4. Wind power is Germany’s second largest electricity source, accounting for 18.8 percent of Germany’s energy combination. In late December 2017, the nation’s power prices went negative, which meant that consumers were paid to use it thanks to low demand, unusually warm weather, and strong winds.

5. Germany has strong greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction goals. The country plans to reduce its GHG emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 and by up to 95 percent by 2050.

6. And it doesn’t stop there. Germany plans to reduce its primary energy consumption by 20 percent below 2008 levels by 2020, and by 50 percent by 2050.

7. Almost all Germans support clean energy! A 2017 survey found that a whopping 95 percent of surveyed citizens rate the expansion of renewable energy as important or extremely important.

At Climate Reality, we’re working to accelerate the global shift from the dirty fossil fuels driving climate change to renewable energies like wind and solar, so we can power our lives and economies without destroying our planet.

If you’re ready to join us, learn more about becoming a Climate Reality Leader. Sign up now and we’ll keep you updated about our upcoming trainings and ways you can get involved with the movement for climate solutions.

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Three Ways for Business to Put Climate Action Back on Track

3 weeks 3 days ago

By Michelle Gordon and Joachim Marc Christensen, Sustainia

In September 2015, all of the UN member states adopted 17 Global Goals to reach a more just and sustainable world by 2030 – “a better world with no one left behind.” Among them are ambitious targets such as putting an end to hunger and closing the gender equality gap.

One of these goals, Goal 13, is all about taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impact. With the Paris Agreement adopted just that same year, in theory we should be well underway towards a healthier global climate by now.

Unfortunately, we’re not on track to meet our climate action targets by 2030 – and consequently the goals set for 2100. According to a report released at the UN Global Compact’s Global Leader Summit last year and DNV GL’s report “The Future of Spaceship Earth,” our fight to stop climate change is one of the four Global Goals where we have the most to do to reach 2030 targets. 

Sustainia, along with DNV GL and UN Global Compact, is working to take a closer look at how business could help us make real progress on these goals. Not surprisingly, we found a number of carbon-slashing markets with big business potential.

These markets are included in our new Global Opportunity Report, and add to an increasing pool of business opportunities for fighting climate change featured on our innovation hub, the Global Opportunity Explorer.

Let’s take a closer look at three of the most interesting business opportunities that can help put climate action back on track:


In a warming climate, it follows that people will need to cool their homes and businesses. Much of our current air-conditioning technology is outdated, heavily-polluting, and simply does not offer a sustainable solution. This opens up a new business opportunity to make cooling more efficient and better for our climate. Here are a few innovations we could see more of in the future:

  • Solar-thermal technology represents not only an emissions-free alternative to cooling but also an energy-efficient one, consuming 30 to 90 percent less electricity than conventional AC.
  • Another opportunity? Creating a natural cooling environment. Aligned Energy has pioneered a combination of techniques to cool data centers in a way that is both cost-efficient and more sustainable than traditional cooling systems.
  • District cooling reduces cities’ carbon footprint and energy bills. Both Vienna and Copenhagen have taken advantage of waste heat from incineration plants to produce district cooling, a space-saving, environmentally friendly alternative to conventional cooling.

There’s no way around it: maritime transport is essential to global trade, but accordingly is also responsible for 2.6 percent of global carbon emissions. Fortunately, it’s already the least carbon- intensive way to transport goods. Through a combination of existing technologies and greater efficiency measures, the global fleet could reduce its consumption by 35-40 percent by 2050.

Sustainability is a growing priority in the boardrooms of the shipping sector’s clients, creating a lucrative opportunity for emissions-reducing products. For example, harvesting wind power isn’t just for sailing ships – the Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is a technology that can reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.

And you’ve heard of self-driving cars, but what about self-sailing ships? YARA Birkeland has seized this opportunity and developed the world’s first zero-emission, autonomous container feeder. This innovative solution offers the potential to result in the equilavent of 40,000 fewer diesel-powered truck journeys per year.


The world population is expected to balloon to 10 billion by 2050, and we can expect much of this growth to happen in the world’s cities. Everyone deserves a roof over their heads, but how do we provide this while keeping on track with our climate commitments? Especially when the construction industry is the largest global consumer of raw materials, with the built environment accounting for 25-40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.

Behind the risk of exhausting natural resources and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, there’s an opportunity to house the world with a lighter impact. We’ve uncovered some ingenious companies leading the way:

  • WinSun, which operates out of China, is 3D-printing entire prefabricated homes from recycled materials. The structures are highly energy-efficient, can withstand magnitude 9 earthquakes, and save significant time and resources during construction, with less waste and pollution of the environment.
  • Urban mining is an innovative opportunity offered by Dutch company New Horizon, which reduces waste by dismantling old buildings ready for demolition, enabling these materials for use in new construction.
  • Finally, Kokoboard is turning trash into cash! This Thai company is diverting agricultural waste from incineration and transformsing the material into construction boards, sequestering more than 200 tons of CO₂ annually.

Did these climate tackling business opportunities pique your curiosity? Browse the Global Opportunity Explorer for more markets and innovation. We designed this as an online hub for businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs who wish to create lasting impact, long-term value and a sustainable world by 2030. 

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Women Climate Champions Spotlight: Dr. Sylvia A. Earle

3 weeks 6 days ago

Not impressed yet? Dr. Earle won the prestigious TED Prize in 2009 and was awarded a knighthood by the prince of the Netherlands way back in 1981. The Library of Congress calls her a “living legend” and she’s founded three different organizations for protecting and exploring the Earth’s ocean.

The photo above was taken in 1979 (from Dr. Earle’s time at NOAA), as she prepared for a historic dive in an armored suit. Off the coast of Oahu, Dr. Earle, “descended 1,250 feet (381m) while strapped to the front of a small research submersible. Once on the seafloor, Earle untethered herself from the vehicle and went exploring at a depth no human had done before — or has since — for more than two hours.” And guess what? Dr. Earle still goes diving in the ocean, well into her 80s.

Believe us when we tell you, that’s just scratching the surface of what Dr. Sylvia Earle has accomplished.

“To those who doubt humans are driving the acceleration of planetary warming, of climate change… get over it. Get over it. Wake up. Realize. Then do what you can do or at least don’t get in the way.”

This feature is part of a series Climate Reality is writing to highlight the important contributions women make every day as climate activists and experts. You can also meet two of our other Women Climate Champions, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe and Catherine Coleman Flowers.

It’s clear that Dr. Earle has helped break the glass ceiling for women in marine biology and science. Just as important, she’s also become a vocal climate activist – often speaking out on the connections between ocean conservation and climate change. Because, in her own words, “It’s tragic that the United States is not leading the effort to do what humans can do to reduce carbon emissions, to respect the ocean, [and] to respect the atmosphere.”

Her work to connect ocean conservation and climate change comes at a critical time. Because while these may seem like distinct issues, our oceans are actually being hit by a double whammy when it comes to carbon emissions:

  • Carbon emissions are driving ocean acidification. The oceans are an amazing carbon sink. Every year, they absorb a quarter of the carbon dioxide humans put into the atmosphere – but that’s not without consequences. First and foremost, it’s changing the chemistry of the sea surface: as the oceans take in carbon dioxide, the gas dissolves to form carbonic acid. Simply put, more carbon dioxide means a more acidic ocean. And a more acidic ocean means delicate ecosystems (like coral reefs, for instance) start to fall apart.

    Dr. Earle said it well: It’s not good for an aquarium at home if your system becomes too acidic — you have to adjust it or the fish die.”

  • Carbon emissions are making our oceans warmer. Climate change isn’t just making our average temperatures on land higher – sea surface temperatures are also on the rise. Warmer oceans hold less oxygen, leading to less abundant sea life in affected areas or, worse, dead zones.  Warmer oceans also place additional stress on fish and other creatures, making it harder for marine life to flourish (a phenomenon known as “thermal stress). If thermal stress and dead zones aren’t enough, climate change also contributes to sea-level rise, changes in storm patterns, altered ocean currents, and changes in precipitation (all of which impact our oceans).

Dr. Earle has dedicated her life to protecting and preserving our oceans against human impacts like climate change and ocean acidification, as well as overfishing and pollution. She is adamant that healthy oceans mean healthy people and that we must do “everything [we] can to take care of [our] life support system.” Dr. Earle, we couldn’t agree more.

“[Dr. Earle] is the face of marine biology. She has taken a lifetime to make herself an expert in a topic that is central to the future of human civilization."
Former US Vice President Al Gore

Here’s What You Can Do

Dr. Earle has some advice for those who don’t feel like they can make a difference for the future of our planet: “Well, if you think there’s nothing you can do to make a difference, get over it, because think about whoever in history has made a difference. How do we have electric lights, how do we have cars, how do we have books, how do we have an alphabet, how do we have numbers? Somebody somewhere at some point discovered these and changed the world.”

Here are three ways you can take action to help address climate change and keep our oceans healthy:

  • Download our e-book, Climate Change and the Water Cycle: Four Big Questions Answered. The climate crisis has a big impact on the way our water cycle works – including our oceans. Get the facts in this free download.
  • Become a Climate Reality Leader. Join former US Vice President Al Gore and renowned climate scientists and communicators to learn about what’s happening to our planet and how you can use social media, powerful storytelling, and personal outreach to inspire people to take action. Apply now.
  • Dive into Mission Blue, Dr. Earle’s nonprofit organization dedicated to “exploring and caring for the ocean, our planet's blue heart.”


Every time I slip into the ocean, it's like going home. @MissionBlue #HopeSpots

— Sylvia A. Earle (@SylviaEarle) August 16, 2017

*/ climate changeglobal warmingClimate CentralNOAANational Climate Assessmentclimate recordsclimate solutionsNASAThe Climate Reality ProjectWomen Climate Champions Spotlight: Catherine Coleman FlowersHow Is Climate Change Impacting the Water Cycle?Women Climate Champions Spotlight: Dr. Katharine HayhoeLead: Dr. Sylvia Earle was the first woman to be named chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and was <i>Time</i> magazine’s first-ever Hero for the Planet.facebook link: Subject: Women Climate Champions Spotlight: Dr. Sylvia A. EarleTwitter URL:

As the Trump Administration Retreats on Climate Change, US Cities Are Moving Forward

1 month ago

By Katherine Levine Einstein, David Glick, and Maxwell Palmer (Assistant Professors of Political Science, Boston University). Republished from The Conversation with permission.

Instead, it actually seeks to weaken environmental reviews as a way of speeding up the infrastructure permitting process.

This proposal flies in the face of scientific evidence on climate change. It also contradicts the priorities of many local leaders who view climate change as a growing concern.

During the summer of 2017, we asked a nationally representative sample of 115 US mayors about climate change as part of the annual Menino Survey of Mayors. Mayors overwhelmingly believe that climate change is a result of human activities. Only 16 percent of those we polled attributed rising global temperatures to “natural changes in the environment that are not due to human activities.”

Perhaps even more strikingly, two-thirds of mayors agreed that cities should play a role in reducing the effects of climate change – even if it means making fiscal sacrifices.

Green roof on Chicago’s City Hall. Conservation Design ForumCC BY-SA


Cleaner, smarter cities

In our survey, mayors highlighted a number of environmental initiatives that they were interested in pursuing. Over one-third prioritized reducing the number of vehicles on the road and making city assets, such as buildings and vehicles, more energy-efficient.

Other popular programs included shifting toward green and alternative energy sources; promoting energy efficiency in private buildings; reducing risks of damage from flooding; and installing smart traffic lights that can change their own timing in response to traffic conditions. Many mayors are already implementing these initiatives in their communities.

When we asked mayors what would be required for a “serious and sustained effort to make a meaningful impact in my city” in combating climate change, they identified multiple programs. Large majorities agreed that significantly reducing their cities’ greenhouse gas emissions would involve steps such as requiring residents to change their driving patterns, increasing residential density, reallocating financial resources and updating building codes and municipal facilities.

Interestingly, mayors largely did not think that such initiatives would require imposing costly new regulations on the private sector. Only 25 percent of mayors said such action was integral to addressing climate change.

Mayors’ top priorities for investments in the environment and sustainability. BU Initiative on Cities, CC BY-ND

Climate politics is national and local

Mirroring national opinion, mayors’ views on climate change and environmental policy were sharply divided along partisan lines. While 95 percent of the Democratic mayors we surveyed believed that climate change was a consequence of human activities, only 50 percent of Republican mayors shared that view. And a mere 25 percent of Republican mayors believe that mitigating climate change necessitated fiscal sacrifices, compared with 80 percent of Democrats.

Interestingly, Republican views appear to have become more negative over time. When we surveyed mayors in 2014, just over one-third of Republicans did not believe that their cities should make significant financial expenditures to prepare for and mitigate impacts of climate change. By 2017, that figure had risen to 50 percent. This shift suggests that Republicans are increasingly opposed to major policy initiatives targeting climate change, even at the local level.

However, despite these partisan differences, there was considerable consensus about making sustainability investments in cities, albeit perhaps for different motives. Democrats were more likely to highlight green and alternative energy sources, and Republicans were more inclined towards smart traffic lights, but there was significant support across party lines for these kinds of improvements.

Mayors were asked how strongly they agreed with this statement: Cities should play a strong role in reducing the effects of climate change, even if it means sacrificing revenues and/or expending financial resources. BU Initiative on Cities, CC BY-ND


A missed opportunity

President Trump’s strongest support in the 2016 election came from rural areas, and urban leaders have strongly opposed many of his administration’s proposals. We asked mayors about their ability to combat federal initiatives across an array of policies. Mayors identified two areas – policing and climate change – as opportunities where cities could do “a lot” to counteract Trump Administration policies.

Indeed, mayors have already banded together to send a strong political signal nationally, and perhaps even globally, on climate change. After President Trump abandoned the Paris climate agreement, many mayors publicly repudiated Trump and signed local commitments to pursue the accord’s goals. A large number of mayors have also more formally allied and joined city-to-city networks and compacts around climate change and other issues. Mayors see political value in these kinds of commitments. As one mayor put it, compacts “increase political voice … [it] give[s] more clout to an issue when mayors unite around common issues.”

Almost two-thirds of the US population lives in cities or incorporated places. While mayors and local governments cannot comprehensively tackle climate change alone, their sizeable political and economic clout may make them an important force in national and global sustainability initiatives. In our view, by not proposing substantial investment in infrastructure – including climate resilience in cities – the Trump administration is missing an opportunity to build better relationships with cities through steps that would benefit millions of Americans.

As the Trump Administration Retreats on Climate ChangeUS Cities Are Moving ForwardThe ConversationHow Is Climate Change Affecting Mexico?The Solar Tariff Case: What You Need to KnowCape Town May Become the First Major City to Run Dry – But It Might Not Be the Last Lead: Despite almost universal scientific consensus that climate change poses a growing threat, President Donald Trump’s recent infrastructure plan makes no mention of the need to build resilience to rising global temperatures.facebook link: Subject: As the Trump Administration Retreats on Climate Change, US Cities Are Moving ForwardTwitter URL:

How Does Wind Energy Work, Anyway?

1 month ago

Wind energy is both a clean alternative to the fossil fuels driving the climate crisis and an engine for job creation across the US – it’s a virtual smorgasbord of sustainable awesomeness.

But like any new technology as it starts to take hold, there are bound to be questions. And there’s no time like the present to get everyone up to speed.

You’ve asked. We’ll answer. Exactly how the heck does wind energy work, anyway?

How do we get energy from wind?

It all starts with a simple technology known as a turbine.

There are two basic types of turbines: horizontal-axis and vertical-axis turbines. A vertical-axis turbine kind of looks like an eggbeater, but you’re probably much more familiar with horizontal-axis wind turbines. These are the turbines that typically have two or three large propeller-like blades that face into the wind. Wind turbines can be built on both land and – increasingly and to great effect – offshore in large bodies of water like oceans and lakes.

The turbine converts the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical power.

It’s actually pretty simple: The energy in wind turns the turbine’s blades around a rotor that is connected to the main shaft, which itself spins a generator to create electricity.

Looking for a deeper dive? Check out this clip from the US Department of Energy:

How much electricity can a wind turbine generate?

That depends.

“The output of a wind turbine depends on the turbine's size and the wind's speed through the rotor,” according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “An average onshore wind turbine with a capacity of 2.5-3 MW can produce more than 6 million kWh in a year – enough to supply 1,500 average EU households with electricity.”

Meanwhile, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that about 25 million households can be powered with current installed wind capacity in the US.

And it’s creating jobs?

Good jobs. A lot of them, too – and more every day.

The most recent employment data available shows US wind generation put nearly 102,000 Americans to work in 2016 (expect 2017 numbers shorty). That’s a 32 percent increase from just the previous year. And the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of wind turbine service technician jobs is expected to increase by 96 percent by 2026, making it the second fastest-growing job in America.

With a median annual pay of $52,260 in 2016, that’s an awful lot of well-paying jobs on the horizon.

And while it’s not a contest, it’s also definitely worth noting that America’s fastest-growing jobs are in clean energy.

Should we use wind energy over energy produced by fossil fuels?


This one is pretty straightforward, too: Energy produced by wind doesn't pollute the air with toxins or emit the dangerous greenhouse gases driving climate change. Power plants that rely on the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, oil, or natural gas to create electricity do both of those things in spades.

Moreover, particularly given the White House’s bluster about American energy independence, it’s important to note that wind is a domestic source of energy. Those turbines you see spinning on the horizon aren’t importing or exporting the breeze.

How much does a “small wind turbine” generate electricity?

When we talk about small wind turbines we’re also talking about microgeneration – the small-scale generation of electric power by individuals – as opposed to the larger, grid-tied power production of commercial wind turbines, such as those found on wind farms. That’s right, you can have your very own wind turbine, just like you can have rooftop solar panels!

According to the Wind Energy Foundation, a 5 kilowatt turbine with an 18-foot rotor diameter is the average residential size. A turbine of this size will produce around 8,000 kWh of electricity per year in 12-mph average winds. That’s about 100 percent of what the average home in the US requires.

Wind energy sounds great. What can I do to support it?

A lot.

You could get involved with our 100% Committed campaign encourage your community to go 100-percent renewable. And of course, you could always become a Climate Reality Leader and join our global network of activists committed to spreading awareness of the climate crisis and working for solutions.

The sky’s the limit.

But first, take our latest quiz to discover your style of climate activism.

Those of us committed to solving the climate crisis all share a common purpose. But that definitely doesn’t mean we approach action the same way. Take the quiz below and we’ll tell you how you roll – and offer up a perfect-fit way for you to get started and take action now.

Powered by */ climate changeclimatewindwind energyturbinejobsThe Climate Reality ProjectNew Report: Renewable Energy Will be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels by 2020Four Lessons Psychology Teaches Us about Inspiring Climate ActionReasons for Hope: The Answer Is Blowin’ in the WindLead: It all starts with a pretty simple technology known as a turbine.facebook link: Subject: How Does Wind Energy Work, Anyway?Twitter URL:

How Is Climate Change Affecting Mexico?

1 month 1 week ago

As Mexico City’s chief resiliency officer, Arnoldo Kramer, said to The New York Times, “Climate change has become the biggest long-term threat to this city’s future. And that’s because it is linked to water, health, air pollution, traffic disruption from floods, housing vulnerability to landslides — which means we can’t begin to address any of the city’s real problems without facing the climate issue.”

And we’d argue the same is true for the rest of the nation – and the world. Climate change touches every aspect of our lives.

Here are three leading ways climate change is already hitting Mexico and its people. Plus, as a bonus, two ways you can take action today to help solve the climate crisis.


Here’s the climate reality: Since the 1960s, Mexico has gotten warmer. And scientists expect temperatures to keep rising.

In fact, by the end of this century, northern Mexico could see its average annual temperatures rise by 3 – 4 degrees Celsius (about 5.4 – 7.2 Fahrenheit). And the rest of the country? It could see temperatures climb by 1.5 – 2.5 degrees Celsius (about 2.7 – 4.5 Fahrenheit).

A few degrees might not seem like a big deal, but think of it this way: What’s the difference between 0 and 1 degree Celsius? Well, that’s the difference between ice and water. A small change in temperature can really disrupt the systems we depend on to survive.

As Mexico (and our world) becomes warmer, the fingerprints of climate change can be seen everywhere you look. Climate scientists observe impacts like sea-level rise, longer and more intense wildfire seasons, and devastating droughts (just to name a few). And more importantly, everyday people experience the effects.

As Arnoldo Kramer, Mexico City’s chief resilience officer, put it: “Climate change has become the biggest long-term threat to this city’s future." (cc: The Climate Reality Project Mexico & LATAM)

Posted by Climate Reality on Monday, February 20, 2017


Here’s the climate reality: In Mexico, millions of people are at risk from a lack of adequate water due to climate change. And water supplies are already strained because of other factors like population growth.

Mexico City is especially thirsty. Centuries ago, the city (then called Tenochtitlan) was known as “the Venice of the New World” because of its enormous lakes. But today, Mexico City must pump water from deep underground – in fact, it gets “as much as 40 percent of its water from remote sources.”

Climate change, while not the only factor, is predicted to only make this dire situation worse, and the impact will fall heaviest on poor communities. We’re already seeing these inequities play out as water becomes scarce in cities like Cape Town, South Africa.

Water insecurity also means food insecurity. In 2011, Mexico had what was described as its worst drought on record. More than 1.7 million cattle died of starvation or thirst – and at least 2.2 million acres of crops withered across at least five states. The government was forced to haul water to 1,500 villages and send food to farmers who lost all their crops. 

So, how is climate change related to drought? As humans release more and more greenhouse gas emissions into the air, they trap more and more heat, meaning the air temperatures rise. And as air temperatures rise, more moisture evaporates from land and lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Warmer temperatures also increase evaporation in soil, which affects plant life and can reduce rainfall even more.

>> Related: Download our free e-book, Climate Change and the Water Cycle <<


Here’s the climate reality: Climate change is making Mexico’s land far less suitable for growing food and crops. And that’s already impacting families today.

In fact, climate change may lead to a 40 to 70 percent decline in Mexico’s current cropland suitability by 
2030. Worse, this could soar to an 80 to 100 percent decline by the end of this century. We’re talking about Mexico potentially losing over half its workable farms in less than 12 years – and all of them by 2100. That’s not cause for concern – it’s a catastrophe in the making.

Loss of cropland can 
mean malnourished populations, displacement, and ultimately? Permanent migration, especially by rural families.

"A lot of [of Mexican migration] is being driven either by vulnerability to crop loss, or wage laborers losing their jobs because farmers can no long afford to hire them," said Arizona State University development economist Valerie Mueller.


In March, Climate Realty will be in Mexico City to train hundreds of new Climate Reality Leaders – everyday citizens who are committed to solving the climate crisis. At our Climate Reality Leadership Corps trainings, attendees work with former US Vice President Al Gore and leading climate scientists and communicators to learn how inspire action in their own communities.

Interested? Learn more about what it means to be a Climate Reality Leader today.

And if you’re looking for another way to take action, you can download our free e-book, Right Under Your Feet: Soil Health and the Climate Crisis, which gets into the details of how climate change impacts the two most basic things we need to survive – our water and our food. Download this free e-book and take action today!

*/   mexicoclimate changemexico cityglobal warmingMexico water crisisagriculturefoodwater securityFood Securityfarming in MexicodroughtThe Climate Reality ProjectThree Steps to Green: How to Get Involved in the Climate MovementMexico’s New Take on Green Energy: Cactus Power! How Is Climate Change Affecting the Philippines?Lead: Mexico is known for its incredible Rio Grande and the breathtaking Sierra Madres. For centuries, the Mayan, Aztec, and Toltec people built their lives there. It was the birthplace of renowned painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. But today, climate change is transforming Mexico’s geography, environment, and future – a country that more than 120 million people call home. facebook link: Subject: How Is Climate Change Affecting Mexico?Twitter URL:

Take Heart! Here’s How You Can Show the Love for the Earth this Valentine’s Day

1 month 1 week ago

For the third year running, Climate Reality is teaming up with The Climate Coalition for the annual Show the Love celebration! Every year around Valentine’s Day, we get together to really put our hearts into fighting climate change.

Show the Love is all about protecting the things we love but could lose to climate change. It’s part of the ongoing effort to stand up for the people and places we love by demanding that our leaders make the switch to clean energy and by honoring everyday activists who are making that switch a reality.

Here are five ways you can join us and show the love this February.

1. Download a free #ShowTheLove Valentine’s Day postcard. Print one out and send it to your representatives and elected officials to show the love for our planet, and call for climate action.

2. Make a green heart!! Get crafty with your kids or over wine with your friends. Green hearts will be popping up all over on Valentine’s Day — make your own special heart and post it on social media using #ShowTheLove.

3. Take the quiz and find out: What kind of climate activist are you? Every one of us brings something different and important to the climate movement. So what kind of activist are you? Take the quiz below and we’ll tell you!


4. Learn the basics of climate change. In this free-e-book, we outline the fundamentals of climate change in plain language, provide tips on how to take action, and list additional helpful resources. Whether you’re learning about the climate crisis for the first time or simply need a refresher, Climate Crisis 101 is a great way to get started.

5. Share a green heart graphic. Help us build awareness about climate change on social media by sharing the graphic below on Facebook or Twitter (make sure to include #ShowTheLove). 


Have more ideas or unique ways to join in? Let us know! Tweet @ClimateReality and tell us how you’re going to #ShowTheLove. No matter how you choose to take part, we hope you can join in and speak out for climate action this Valentine’s Day.

*/ climate changeglobal warmingValentine’s Dayshow the loveearthThe Climate CoalitionCupidThe Climate Reality ProjectFour Lessons Psychology Teaches Us about Inspiring Climate ActionQuiz: What Kind of Climate Activist Are You?New Report: Renewable Energy Will be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels by 2020Lead: Roses are red, violets are blue. Poetry is hard. But hey, here’s how to take climate action this Valentine’s Day. facebook link: Subject: Take Heart! Here’s How You Can Show the Love for the Earth this Valentine’s DayTwitter URL:

Cape Town May Become the First Major City to Run Dry – But It Might Not Be the Last

1 month 2 weeks ago

Imagine turning on the kitchen tap one morning and nothing comes out. No water at all.

It’s an unnerving prospect that could soon become a reality for the citizens of one of Africa’s largest cities. Cape Town, South Africa, is a little more than three months away from seeing its water taps turned off. After years of drought, population growth, and lax enforcement of water restrictions, the popular tourist city is about to run out of water.

But the incredible moral and environmental challenges ahead in Cape Town don’t end there. Because if we do not act to end climate change, other cities are likely to find themselves in similar crises.

Why? For one, we know that climate change increases both the frequency and intensity of drought across the planet. As global average temperatures continue to climb, scientists expect to see more drought. Plus, when droughts occur, they’re likely to last longer than usual. And while climate change alone is not fully responsible for Cape Town’s water crisis, it almost certainly has made the situation far worse.

“Climatic envelopes are shifting and most regions of the world already have slightly different climate characteristics than they did 30-40 years ago. This change is going to accelerate even more in coming decades,” says Shravya K. Reddy, Climate Reality’s former director of science and solutions. “Older climatic and weather patterns no longer can be taken as an article of faith, and one must look at climate change projections to better understand current and future trends.”

Reddy now lives in Cape Town, and is a principal at Pegasys Strategy and Development, where she drives the growth of the organization’s climate adaptation and mitigation, clean energy strategy and policy, and low-carbon development efforts across Africa and the developing world.

“What do all these model projections and studies tell us? There is overwhelming evidence, and has been for years, that this region will receive less rainfall over time, including marked reduction in the main rainy season, and will become more drought-prone,” she continues. “Thus, even if one discounts or ignores all other factors, we know that for Cape Town, climate change means less rainfall, more aridity, and more drought.”

“In light of that knowledge, I think it is safe to say that the fingerprints of climate change are palpable in the way this drought has played out. Some have said that this is Cape Town’s worst drought in a century, and thus it was hard to predict it would get so bad. To the contrary, climate science tells us that what would be one-in-100-year drought will now become more frequent, and occur multiple times in a century. That the gaps between drought years will shorten over time.”

Climate Facts: Cape Town Drought

Cape Town is about to run out of water – but this does not have to be the new normal. #ClimateChange (via Years of Living Dangerously)

Posted by Climate Reality on Thursday, January 25, 2018

These impacts – declining annual precipitation, climbing temperatures, longer periods without rainfall, drier soils, and shrinking water levels in rivers and reservoirs – are not unique to South Africa. Indeed, climate-exacerbated drought is a major and growing threat to the long-term water security of towns, cities, states, and nations around the world.

Poor More Likely to Suffer During South Africa’s Dire Drought

In the southwestern United States, Arizona, California, and Nevada are all facing strains on their water supply because of a years-long drought.

“As soon as 2019, the water level in Lake Mead on the Colorado River could drop below an elevation of 1,075 feet. That will trigger mandatory cutbacks in water diversions from the reservoir under an agreement negotiated between the federal government and three lower-basin states that rely on the river,” News Deeply writes.

For the people in this corner of the US, this could translate into major conservation efforts and eventually water shortages, as it did in then-drought-impacted California in 2015.

The Golden State instituted water conservation rules that banned using drinkable water to wash off sidewalks or driveways, prohibited watering a lawn within 48 hours of measurable rainfall, and forbid restaurants from serving water unless customers requested it. While these rules were the most common, each local water department set their own. And it’s easy to see that if the drought had continued to worsen, more-severe restrictions may have followed.

In Syria, a major climate-related long-term drought – said to be the Middle Eastern nation’s worst in 900 years – was an “important driver of the initial unrest” that contributed to the destabilization of the country as it descended into a civil war that has claimed almost half a million lives, displaced nearly 7 million people, and created 4.8 million refugees.

And now, in South Africa, a major metropolitan area of about 3.7 million people is preparing for “Day Zero,” when it runs out of water.

“For now it feels like the biggest focus is on getting through the remainder of this year. The next step is to somehow ensure that the city has functional, reliable, secure, and effective systems in place to ensure that when Day Zero hits, people will still have access to their 25 liters a day,” Reddy says. “This means testing out water distribution points, communicating to people where these points are, how one can access them, what security measures are in place to manage conflict or crime that may arise over scarce resources, and how the city will ensure that no one is able to abuse the system and take advantage of it to get more than their allocated share.”

Food and Water Security and The Climate Crisis: What You Need to Know

Reddy says South Africa is working to ensure new and additional water is made available to the city. A new dam is in the works, a previously unused underground water aquifer is being tapped, and desalination plants are under construction. But many of these projects are behind schedule – and none are expected to be operational until the second half of the year at the earliest, months after “Day Zero” arrives.

“Whatever can be done to ensure water is brought to Cape Town, it must now be done, even if costs are high,” she says, even if that means “shipping or trucking in water from other parts of the country, [or] paying other countries with more technical experience in such matters to build accelerated desalination plants.”

But these are short-term solutions to a lasting problem.

“Several other parts of the country are suffering drought conditions too,” Reddy adds. “They have not reached the situation Cape Town has, but this is a red flag for them to act now, and to take stronger measures now to prevent this level of crisis for them next year or the year after.”

Are you ready to make a difference for the future of Cape Town and places like Puerto Rico, Texas, and California, as they continue to recover from climate-related extreme weather events?

At Climate Reality, we’re working to accelerate the global shift from the dirty fossil fuels driving climate change to renewable energies like wind and solar, so we can power our lives and economies without destroying our planet. Will you join us?

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Four Lessons Psychology Teaches Us about Inspiring Climate Action

1 month 2 weeks ago

There’s the old line that the first step to solving a problem is understanding it. But when it comes to climate change, what happens when understanding alone isn’t enough?

We know it’s important to educate the public so people understand why climate change is happening, what regions are most at risk, and how impacts like sea-level rise, extreme weather, and ocean acidification continue to harm our health and economy.

But education is the easy part. It’s getting people to take action that can be a challenge – and that’s because changing people’s attitudes and behaviors is a daunting task.

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution, say, to eat healthier – and you find yourself saying “yes” to that second piece of chocolate cake on January 15? You may know eating too many sugary treats isn’t good for your health (attitude), but you may find it difficult to stick to eating healthier (behavior).

Social scientists of all kinds have studied the question of how to change human behavior in many different contexts from public health to public policy to environmental psychology and more. In the climate context, environmental psychologists have begun exploring this larger question by trying to understand why, for example, more Americans aren’t taking action with their votes and voices. Especially when the majority agree that humans are causing climate change.

There’s no simple answer here. The reality is that changing the behavior of one person is hard enough – let alone millions of citizens around the world. But psychology can give us some insight into better ways to motivate people to change their behavior and stand up for the planet we share.

That’s why we’ve compiled four lessons from the field that any activist can take and use to help inspire their friends, colleagues, family members, and more to act.

1. Connect the climate crisis to what’s happening in real communities to reduce psychological distance.

Climate change is a unique issue because although millions of people in the US and around the world feel the drastic effects of it in their daily lives, many people don’t (yet).

Why does this matter? Because of a construct known as psychological distance. Psychological distance refers to things that are not in our immediate reality or felt in the present moment. For example, you might think about your first year of marriage if you’re still single (temporal distance), what neighborhood or city you might buy a home in one day (spatial distance), how your best friend or family member perceives you (social distance), or how your career would be different if you had studied a different major in college (hypothetical distance).

Why is psychological distance relevant to the climate crisis? Studies have found that people who believe the effects of climate change are unlikely to happen to them or are more likely to affect other people and regions of the world are less likely to be concerned about solving it. In other words, if climate change feels psychologically distant, you worry less about it in your daily life and feel less urgency to take action.

To bridge this gap, research suggests that we should discuss how climate change affects communities and families on the local level. That means calling attention to real-life examples of how the climate crisis is affecting real people, especially in regions experiencing extreme weather. From wildfires destroying homes in the western US to hurricanes damaging homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast and southern US to droughts affecting farms in dozens of countries, it’s clear that extreme weather is devastating the livelihoods of many communities around the world.

2. Make climate action a group experience to promote social norms.

Humans are pack animals. In 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow created his Hierarchy of Needs, which proposed that humans have certain needs that begin with the most basic needs (food, sleep, safety) and end with ego-centered needs (self-esteem, creativity).

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The hierarchy also proposed that once humans have their physical and safety needs satisfied, the next need in the hierarchy is belongingness. Put simply, humans are social beings that respond to group norms, and for our ancestors, group acceptance meant access to shared resources and feeling protected from predators.

Today, humans are just as keenly aware of social dynamics and psychology tells us that we fear feeling socially rejected. That’s why the more we can make climate action the norm in our social and family circles, the more likely others will join in.  

3. Talk about what we’re gaining, not what we’re losing, to avoid loss aversion.

The psychological concept of loss aversion is nothing new, but behavioral scientists have started thinking about it more as it relates to the climate movement. One study examined how framing climate change impacts can affect attitudes and perceptions. In the experiment, researchers presented different climate change impacts to participants (sourced from the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report), who then answered questions about what they saw.

The results showed that framing climate change impacts in a way that highlights possible gains rather than losses increased positive attitudes toward mitigation responses. Participants also perceived climate change impacts as more severe when they were framed as gains.

So when talking about climate change with your friends and family, explain how action is an opportunity. For example, America’s Clean Power Plan, which is now under threat by the Trump Administration, could lead to public health and climate benefits worth an estimated $34 billion to $54 billion annually in 2030. Those are some serious gains! If you agree, we invite you to add your name to support the Clean Power Plan and stand up for clean energy.

4. Give your friends real ways to take action to prevent “environmental melancholia.”

We know that the climate crisis isn’t just an environmental issue. Not only do the people who experience extreme weather, warmer temperatures, drought, rising sea levels, and other devastating impacts feel psychological effects, but many people are affected simply by hearing about the crisis or seeing unsettling images in the news.

Dr. Renee Lertzman, a researcher who promotes climate change activism inside the workplace, explains that people often experience “environmental melancholia.” She explains that although we know the climate crisis is a threat, many people feel anxious and powerless about how they can make a difference, which can prevent them from doing something.

By understanding that people may feel powerless when thinking about the climate crisis, we should communicate and provide real ways to take action and support them throughout the process. If your friends or family members feel powerless or have anxiety about getting involved, one way to help is to share helpful content that gives them specific ways to take action. Our blog post, “Four Ways Anyone Can Take Climate Action,” is a great place to start.

How You Can Make a Difference

Humans are complicated and changing behavior is no easy task, but thinking about how to overcome apathy or powerlessness is the first step to getting others involved with the movement for solutions. If you’re ready to make a difference in your community, download our Make It a Reality Action Kit now to get started. Our climate action kit will give you a thorough look at the climate crisis and ways you can participate in the fight for a bright, sustainable future.

climate actionpsychology climate changepsychology global warmingloss aversion climate changepsychological distance climate changeThe Climate Reality ProjectHow to Talk to Your Friends About the Paris AgreementWhy People Ignore the Science Behind the Climate Crisis (and What You Can Do)Four Ways Anyone Can Take Climate ActionLead: Changing the behavior of one person is hard enough – let alone millions of citizens around the world. Find out what lessons psychology can teach us about inspiring climate action. facebook link: Subject: Four Lessons Psychology Teaches Us about Inspiring Climate ActionTwitter URL:

Reasons for Hope: Renewables Give Alberta a Second Chance

1 month 2 weeks ago

Sometimes, the oil industry’s trail of destruction extends far beyond the climate.

In the midst of the global oil price crash in 2015, residents of the Canadian province of Alberta watched in disbelief. Dirty tar sands oil makes up a hefty share of the region’s economy, and in recent years, it's helped make the oil and gas sector the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. However, they also provide a living for generations of families. So when the oil industry was forced to scale back dramatically, regular Albertans were hit hard.

During the oil price crash, an estimated 100,000 Canadian oil workers were laid off, at some points causing Alberta’s unemployment rate to hover around 10 percent. Many of the workers had dedicated their entire lives to the oil industry and had no idea where to turn for work, or hope. “I talked to people on the phone and they were all freaking out, just watching their savings dwindle and not knowing what was going to happen,” Jen Turner, director of the organization Iron + Earth, told Climate Reality.

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As time passed, it became clear that the oil slump was more than just a temporary downturn – it was also an eye-opener for those who had relied on Big Polluters for so long. Many Canadians knew the oil industry was dirty and damaging to the environment, but now they were also seeing how destructive its volatility could be to the communities they called home. The renewable energy sector, on the other hand, was growing steadily, and could carry Albertans into a sustainable future and provide alternative energy sources for the community.

Lliam  Hildebrand, Matthew Linnitt, Kerry Oxford, Jen Turner, and Delia Warren had worked in or close to the oil industry and saw which way the wind was blowing. They saw that workers could easily transition into clean energy jobs — after all, many already had useful skills for the industry and required only some extra training. With this in mind, they founded Iron + Earth , an organization that organizes hands-on workshops training oil workers for new careers in renewables like solar.


24 Hours of Reality 2017: A New Day in Alberta (Alberta, Canada)

When its oil sands industry began to crash in 2015, fossil-fuel-dependent Alberta, Canada, went into panic mode. Only three years later, the province is excited about renewable energy.

Posted by Climate Reality on Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The combination of the province making big moves to install more renewables and an abundance of qualified workers is bringing new energy into Alberta’s once-ailing economy and charting a much more sustainable way forward.

“Solar became unrecognizably better compared to what it was not too long ago. The costs came down. It became more competitive. And there’s absolutely no way that incorporating more forms of energy into our energy mix isn’t going to be better for Canadians and the environment,” Turner said.

Now the future is looking better – and cleaner – for the Canadian province. Renewable energy capacity is doubling roughly every two years and is expected to create thousands of new jobs. And there’s even more progress: By 2030, the provincial government plans to source 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and even phase out another dirty fuel: coal. For Alberta, a province that was once synonymous with tar sands oil, that’s a big deal – and for the rest of us, a big reason for hope.

Check out the video above to watch the full story of workers in Alberta. To learn more about renewable energy, download our Top Solar Myths e-book to understand the benefits of solar power and how it can help people, businesses, cities, and countries fight the climate crisis and move forward to a brighter future.

solar energyrenewable energyCanadaAlbertaOil Sandstar sandsThe Climate Reality ProjectReasons for Hope: Entrepreneurial Spirit Is a Renewable Resource (Video)Reasons for Hope: The Answer Is Blowin’ in the WindMexico’s New Take on Green Energy: Cactus Power! Lead: After layoffs and plunging oil prices devastated their communities, oil sands workers in Alberta, Canada, are charting a more sustainable path in renewable energy. facebook link: Subject: Reasons for Hope: Renewables Give Alberta a Second ChanceTwitter URL:

Quiz: What Kind of Climate Activist Are You?

1 month 3 weeks ago

Each of us brings our own set of skills (and our own story) to the table. So what kind of activist are you? Take the quiz below and we’ll tell you – and show you one way to take action that works with your style.


  According to the Quiz, What Kind of Climate Activist Are You?

Tell us on Twitter, and ask your friends to take the quiz too! 

I'm a storyteller climate activist! (Tweet this)

I'm a change agent climate activist! (Tweet this)

I'm a budding climate activist! (Tweet this)

I'm a truth-to-power climate activist! (Tweet this)

I'm a citizen climate activist! (Tweet this)

Hungry for More Ways to Take Climate Action?

We’ve got you covered! Here are a few ways anyone can get involved in the climate movement.


climate change quizclimate quizclimate activismclimate actionactivist quizactivistglobal warming quizglobal warmingThe Climate Reality ProjectExtreme Winter Weather: Climate QuizReasons for Hope: The Answer Is Blowin’ in the WindNew Report: Renewable Energy Will be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels by 2020Lead: Those of us committed to solving the climate crisis all share a common purpose. But that definitely doesn’t mean we approach action the same way. facebook link: Subject: Take the quiz! What kind of climate activist are you?Twitter URL:

Poor More Likely to Suffer During South Africa’s Dire Drought

1 month 3 weeks ago

Cape Town, South Africa is in the throes of a years-long drought that could earn it a truly alarming distinction: the first major city to run out of water.

South Africa as a whole is experiencing its worst drought in a century. The six dams that supply Cape Town’s water have dropped to just 15.2 percent capacity of usable water, according to the Los Angeles Times, down from 77 percent in September 2015. Enforcement of strict water restrictions – which cut permitted daily consumption from 23 gallons per day to just 13.2 gallons – begin February 1.

Shravya K. Reddy, principal at Pegasys Strategy and Development and Climate Reality’s former director of science and solutions, lives in Cape Town and says that while several factors – including relatively rapid population growth, poor planning, and people ignoring previous water restrictions – have all contributed to this crisis, officials’ failure to recognize the role that climate change plays in exacerbating drought has made the situation even more dire.

“Decision-makers well-versed with climate science would have taken it seriously and would have started treating this drought, even in 2015 or 2016, as if it would last longer than usual,” Reddy tells Climate Reality. “Instead, they seemed to never escalate the preparations for additional water supplies or accelerate water augmentation projects in the belief that taking drastic action would be overkill, since the rains would come. If they had taken more concerted action two years ago or early last year, then they would not need to be on such war footing right now.”

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, resulting in reduced water levels in streams, rivers, lakes, and (importantly) reservoirs. When rains do come, much of the water runs off the hard ground and is carried back to the ocean before it can fully replenish dams, reservoirs, or the water table.

Learn more about Climate Reality's work in Africa here.

All of Cape Town’s citizens are feeling the impact of the drought, but the city’s lower-income residents are already bearing the brunt. Should the city, which has a population of more than 4 million people in its greater metropolitan area, run out of water on April 21, as many are predicting, their plight will become truly desperate.

“Socio-economic disparity is evident in both peoples’ access to critical information, as well as in the measures people are taking to prepare for ‘Day Zero,’ the day when the city has to shut off municipal water and taps literally run dry,” Reddy says. “In speaking with people who typically have to work the longest hours just to financially survive, it seems to me that they simply don’t have access to the same levels of information we do, and thus are less empowered to make informed decisions about how they will cope and manage.”

This disparity, she adds, can often be traced back to a lack of computer and internet access among many of South Africa’s lower-income communities.

Another imbalance has become clear: Wealthier citizens have the resources to prepare and safeguard themselves from the worst of the water crisis’ impacts.

“Those with more disposable income can stock up on more bottled water. We can also invest in more water-saving devices,” Reddy explains. “Many of Cape Town’s most under-resourced residents live in what we call townships or informal settlements – what the West would call shanty towns or even slums – and they’re lucky if they have a communal water source amongst eight to 10 families. They certainly cannot buy and hoard bottled water.

“People with means – transportation as well as leisure time – can drive farther out of the city to areas where clean, potable water comes out of natural springs and can collect water to take home. Those who don’t have the luxury of a car and time to drive around are less able to take advantage of such natural springs hours away.”

She notes that some retailers are even taking advantage of the situation, increasing the price of common water conservation tools like buckets, pitchers, and other water storage units because of higher market demand, making them even less accessible to the people who may need them the most.

And beyond the obvious necessity of clean drinking water, Reddy worries that “significant public health challenges will emerge as a result of people not being able to maintain individual and institutional hygiene.” The risk of water-borne diseases and other bacterial infections may also rise sharply, elevating the risk of serious public health issues.

Climate Facts: Cape Town Drought

Cape Town is about to run out of water – but this does not have to be the new normal. #ClimateChange (via Years of Living Dangerously)

Posted by Climate Reality on Thursday, January 25, 2018

“Money buys other adaptation means too. The wealthy have greater ability to buy more new clothes as a response to less clothes washing, ordering takeout food as a response to less cooking and dishwashing, buying ‘chemical toilets,’ tons of wet-wipes, hand sanitizer, and leaving the city for long stretches of time to escape elsewhere – either by renting places in other cities or staying with friends and family who can afford to accommodate long-term guests,” she continues.

“Based on what several people in my circles have been saying, it is clear that some people will have the ability to temporarily leave the city and move to their second homes out in the countryside, to parts of the province that are not as water stressed. Some may even temporarily move to Johannesburg or leave the country until some semblance of normalcy is restored. The majority of the city’s residents do not have that immense privilege.”

Reddy concludes on a note that has become all too familiar for many already experiencing the climate crisis firsthand: “Certainly in the case of climate change adaptation in any community, anywhere in the world – those with greater means at their disposal will fare better.”

With each new natural disaster, the truth becomes clearer: The most vulnerable among us are on the front lines of a crisis they had the least to do with creating – and if we don’t act now to support solutions and end climate change, we may reach a point of no return.

Will you join us to make a difference for the future of our shared planet:


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