Saturday, March 4, 2017

Winter 2017 Environmental reports

Environmental Reports from the Winter 2017 Issue of Nonviolent Change (

(the graphs for this post did not copy properly.  Please see the original article at

Environmental Developments

         Stephen M. Sachs

              Nadia Prupis, "'Game Over' for Climate? Report Warns Warming Is Still Underestimated: Researchers say "business as usual" could actually put planet on track for 4.78°C to 7.36°C rise by 2100," Common Dreams, November 10, 2016,, reported, "
Greenhouse gases are rising so fast that it could soon be "game over" for the climate, a leading scientist warned in response to a new study published Wednesday that finds the planet could be heading for more than 7°C warming within a lifetime.
              The study, published in the journal Science Advances, reported that the United Nations' most accurate estimates on the "business as usual" rate of global warming may actually be vastly underestimated.
            The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently estimated that continuing to use fossil fuels at current rates would put the Earth on track for an average temperature rise of 2.6°C to 4.8°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
              But the authors, a team of climate researchers and scientists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Washington, the University of Albany, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, say the range for that same time period is actually 4.78°C to 7.36°C. That's because the climate has "substantially higher sensitivity" to greenhouse gases during warm phases, they write—which ultimately means that "within the 21st century, global mean temperatures will very likely exceed maximum levels reconstructed for the last 784,000 years."
            The results correspond with other recent data that finds, despite all the pledges made in the landmark Paris climate agreement, the planet is still on track for at least a 3°C global temperature rise. Scientists have long warned that catastrophic, irreversible damage would come at 2°C.
              President-elect Donald Trump, who has denied that climate change exists, has vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement, and his transition team is rife with fellow deniers and fossil fuel industry lobbyists. Green groups on Wednesday reacted to his win by calling on people around the world to mobilize against his anti-environmental policies 'for the sake of our brothers and sisters around the world and for all future generations.'
              Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University told the Independent that the study 'does indeed provide support for the notion that a Donald Trump presidency could be game over for the climate.'
              'By 'game over for the climate,' I mean game over for stabilizing warming below dangerous (i.e. greater than 2°C) levels,' he wrote in an email to the outlet. 'If Trump makes good on his promises, and the U.S. pulls out of the Paris [climate] treaty, it is difficult to see a path forward to keeping warming below those levels.'
              Dr. Tobias Friedrich, one of the authors, said, 'Our results imply that the Earth's sensitivity to variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide increases as the climate warms. Currently, our planet is in a warm phase—an interglacial period—and the associated increased climate sensitivity needs to be taken into account for future projections of warming induced by human activities.'
              'The only way out is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible,' he said."

              Justin Jillis, "Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year," The New York Times, January 18, 2017,, reported, "Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row."
              The rate of increase from year to year has been rapid as well, alarming scientists who had not expected such a rapid acceleration in increase of the Earth's temperature. One possibility for the surprise to most scientist in the rapidity of the increase may be an underestimation in the various positive feedbacks that have been occurring, including the rate of the ever increasing release of extremely global warming methane as once frozen areas melt.

              David Kirby, "Climate Change Is Already Altering the World’s Gene Pool: A new study finds that a warming world is interfering with genetics, body mass, and the sex ratios of the planet’s wildlife," Takepart, November 11, 2016,, reported, "The dire impact of human-caused climate change on ecosystems, species, and public health is already well under way, a landmark study published Friday in the journal Science warns.
            The study authors analyzed a vast array of studies showing how climate change is altering the world around us and concluded that the planet’s warming has interfered with more than 80 percent of biological processes, including genetics, body mass, sex ratios, and productivity."
                The article, Brett R. Scheffers, et al, "The broad footprint of climate change from genes to biomes to people," Science, November 11, 2016,, included:
            The many observed impacts of climate change at different levels of biological organization point toward an increasingly unpredictable future for humans. Reduced genetic diversity in crops, inconsistent crop yields, decreased productivity in fisheries from reduced body size, and decreased fruit yields from fewer winter chill events threaten food security. Changes in the distribution of disease vectors alongside the emergence of novel pathogens and pests are a direct threat to human health as well as to crops, timber, and livestock resources. Humanity depends on intact, functioning ecosystems for a range of goods and services. Enhanced understanding of the observed impacts of climate change on core ecological processes is an essential first step to adapting to them and mitigating their influence on biodiversity and ecosystem service provision."

              Lauren McCauley, "Forget Paris, Scientists Say 'Radical Change' Only Way to Stay Below 2 Degrees: Study by former IPCC chair comes amid rash of new research, all predicting the Earth will soon blow by key global warming thresholds," Common Dreams, September 30, 2016,, "To much fanfare, global leaders have agreed to tackle the climate crisis by ratifying the Paris climate agreement, but a group of esteemed scientists is warning that current pledges to reduce emissions are far from sufficient and, in fact, put the world on track to reaching the dangerous 2°C climate threshold by 2050.
              'The pledges are not going to get even close,' said Sir Robert Watson, former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and lead author of a new report out Thursday. 'If you governments of the world are really serious, you're going to have to do way, way more.'
              Aptly titled The Truth About Climate Change, the report, put forth by the Argentina-based Universal Ecological Fund (Fundación Ecológica Universal FEU-US), comes amid a rash of new research, all suggesting that key global warming thresholds will be reached much more rapidly than previously thought.
              Led by Watson, the team examined the climate commitments, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), put forth by COP21 signatories and concluded that the delayed commitment to climate action has essentially eliminated the possibility to keeping the Earth's temperature increase beneath 1.5°C.
              The report states:
              '[T]he 1.5°C target has almost certainly already been missed because of the lack of action to stop the increase in global GHG emissions for the last 20 years. Global average temperature has already reached 1°C above pre-industrial times in 2015, as reported by the World Meteorological Organization. This is a significant increase, compared to the 0.85°C above pre-industrial times in 2012 reported by the IPCC. An additional warming of 0.4-0.5°C is expected as a consequence of GHGs that have already been emitted. This additional increase in global temperature is due to the slow response of the ocean-atmosphere system to the increased atmospheric concentrations of GHGs.
              Global GHG emissions are not projected to decrease fast enough, even if all the pledges are fully implemented. Full implementation of the pledges will require the promised US$100 billion per year in financial assistance for developing countries to be realized. As a result, the 1.5°C target could be reached by the early 2030s and the 2°C target by 2050.'
            Further, the researchers minced no words when laying the blame for the missed targets on 'political and sectorial interests, including those 'benefiting from the use of fossil fuels,' for promoting 'deliberate misinformation' about the current situation.'
              Thursday's study, which came just one day before European leaders agreed on a fast-track, joint ratification of the Paris accord, concludes with a call for nations to 'rais[e] the ambition of the INDCs' and commit to 'a radical change in the way the world produces and uses energy.'
              Much like the landmark report published last week by fossil fuel watchdog Oil Change International, the latest findings leave no room for future emissions or new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Even as the commitments stand, scientists predict that U.S. will miss its target for 2025 if 'fundamental changes' are not made.
              In the past week, two separate reports have warned that the planet will likely pass the 1.5ºC benchmark this decade and, under current emissions projections, is 'locked in' to reaching a 2 million-year temperature record.
              With 2016 on track to set another heat record, the wave of research comes as the planet reached another grave milestone: atmospheric carbon has permanently surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm).
Appearing on Democracy Now! on Friday, author and co-founder Bill McKibben reiterated his call for a World War II-scale mobilization to combat the global warming 'siege.'
              'If we're going to have a chance of dealing with climate change, it means mobilizing in ways that we haven't in a very long time,' he continued:
              In this case, it's not that we need to go to war with climate change, it's that we’re under siege. I mean, by all the measures by which one thinks about warfare, we're in one. We're losing territory all the time. I mean, there are literally islands disappearing. You know, we've lost huge swaths of the coral in the world this year alone. A wave of warm water swept across the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. In many places, 80, 90 percent of coral died in a matter of weeks, these atolls that have been there forever in the Arctic. You know, ice that's been there for millennia upon millennia is now gone. I mean, the world looks entirely different from a satellite now than it did 30 years ago.
              So, the question is not whether or not we're in a conflict. The question is whether or not we’re going to fight it, or whether we’re going to keep listening to the Exxons of the world and do nothing.
            According to the cumulative research, that's not a viable option."

              Previously, in what may already be an out dated finding, to the extent it does not conform with the just above findings, Lauren McCauley, "The New, New Climate Math: 17 Years to Get Off Fossil Fuels, Or Else: 'If you're in a hole, stop digging'," Common Dreams, September 22, 2016,, reported, "Though it may not have seemed possible, climate catastrophe is even closer than previously thought, with new figures released Thursday finding that—when the wells already drilled, pits dug, and pipelines built, are taken under consideration—we are well on our way to going beyond 2°C of warming.
            "If you're in a hole, stop digging," begins the study, put forth by the fossil fuel watchdog Oil Change International (OCI), in partnership with 14 other environmental organizations.
              The report, The Sky's Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production (pdf), calculates the potential carbon emissions for already developed reserves and transportation projects, such as oil wells, tar pits, pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and exports terminals.
              The findings are bleak: 'The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world's currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming,' the study confirms. 'The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.'
              'In other words," campaigner Bill McKibben wrote at the The New Republic on Thursday, 'if our goal is to keep the Earth's temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do? Here's the answer: zero."
              Similarly, the researchers state unequivocally, 'No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them."
              As the researchers note, the stark new figures 'scientifically groun[d] the growing movement to keep carbon in the ground.' The report comes at the same time that environmentalists and Indigenous activists, in North Dakota and elsewhere, are literally risking their bodies to fight oil pipeline expansion, while campaigners across the U.S. dog the federal government for continuing to lease public lands for oil and gas drilling.
The time for 'expanding the fossil fuel frontier' is over, McKibben states.
              The author and co-founder of compares OCI's findings to his seminal 2012 essay on the 'terrifying math' of climate change, which argued that untapped fossil fuel reserves contained five times more carbon than feasible to burn to stay beneath the 2°C threshold, and concludes that "the new new math is even more explosive."
              OCI reportedly paid a hefty $54,000 for industry data from Rystad Energy, a leading oil and gas consultancy, and compares it against carbon budgets derived from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
              In addition to OCI, the report was produced in collaboration with as well as Amazon Watch, the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), Bold Alliance, Christian Aid, Earthworks, Équiterre, Global Catholic Climate Movement, the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Indigenous Environmental Network, IndyAct, Rainforest Action Network, and
              Report author Greg Muttitt explained that while previous studies only focused on the burning of fossil fuels, this analysis also factored in what carbon budgets and existing extraction operations mean for the supply of those energy sources. 'Once an extraction operation is underway, it creates an incentive to continue so as to recoup investment and create profit, ensuring the product—the fossil fuels—are extracted and burned. These incentives are powerful, and the industry will do whatever it takes to protect their investments and keep drilling,' he said. 'This is how carbon gets 'locked-in.''
              In short, even if a government says it wants to reduce the use of fossil fuels, as long as it keeps approving new infrastructure, carbon will be emitted.
              Or as McKibben put it, 'It's not that if we keep eating like this for a few more decades we'll be morbidly obese. It's that if we eat what's already in the refrigerator we'll be morbidly obese.'
McKibben goes on to calculate some of this 'new new" math:
In the United States alone, the existing mines and oil wells and gas fields contain 86 billion tons of carbon emissions—enough to take us 25 percent of the way to a 1.5 degree rise in global temperature. But if the U.S. energy industry gets its way and develops all the oil wells and fracking sites that are currently planned, that would add another 51 billion tons in carbon emissions. And if we let that happen, America would single-handedly blow almost 40 percent of the world's carbon budget.
              'If the world is serious about achieving the goals agreed in Paris, governments have to stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry,' said OCI executive director Stephen Kretzmann. 'The industry has enough carbon in the pipeline—today—to break through the sky's limit.'
              In addition to halting all new infrastructure projects, the report also recommends that 'some fields and mines—primarily in rich countries—should be closed before fully exploiting their resources, and financial support should be provided for non-carbon development in poorer countries.'
              'This does not mean stopping using all fossil fuels overnight,' the researchers continue. "Governments and companies should conduct a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it.'
Given OCI's assessment that, 'If you let current fields begin their natural decline, you'll be using 50 percent less oil by 2033,' McKibben estimates that the world has 17 years to replace current fossil fuel infrastructure with renewable energy.
            'That's enough time—maybe—to replace gas guzzlers with electric cars. To retrain pipeline workers and coal miners to build solar panels and wind turbines.'
              'This is literally a math test," he concludes, 'and it's not being graded on a curve. It only has one correct answer. And if we don't get it right, then all of us—along with our 10,000-year-old experiment in human civilization—will fail.'"

              Deirdre Fulton, "'Climate Change Is Here': August Was Another Hottest Month for the Record Books: As one climate scientist noted, the temperature has risen even though this year's unusually strong El Niño is on the wane," Common Dreams, September 12, 2016,, reported "Another month, another temperature record shattered.
              NASA data released Monday shows not only that last month was the hottest August since record-keeping started in 1880, but that it tied with July for the warmest month in the last 136 years.
              According to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, August 2016's temperature was 0.16 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous warmest August in 2014. Last month also was 0.98 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean August temperature from 1951-1980.
              Notably, NASA points out, "the seasonal temperature cycle typically peaks in July."
              But recent months have been anything but typical. "The record warm August continued a streak of 11 consecutive months dating back to October 2015 that have set new monthly high-temperature records," NASA said in a press release.
              What's more, climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf pointed out on Twitter, the temperature has risen even though this year's unusually strong El Niño is on the wane.
              The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will release its own August figures later this month. 
              Regardless, Mary Beth Griggs wrote for Popular Science, 'this heat streak continues to put 2016 in the running to be be the hottest year since 2015, which broke the record set by 2014.'
              And while the endless string of 'hottest months' may induce fatigue among some observers, Astrid Caldas of the Union of Concerned Scientists explains in a blog post on Monday why the string of broken records is still 'big news.'
              'While there may be a tendency to be complacent about the recurring record temperatures, with each month come more climate-related consequences that cannot be ignored, and they make for big news stories,' Caldas writes. 'From wildfires and droughts to devastating floods, climate change fingerprint is all around us and does play a role in making events more extreme. An example are the recent Louisiana floods, caused by intense rains which, according to the science of attribution, were at least 40% more likely to happen because of climate change.'
              "Climate change is here, its effects are being already felt in a variety of ways...and we do not need to wait years or decades to see its effects," she says. "We should heed the warnings and act now, investing in preparedness and emissions reductions, so as to minimize possible added (and maybe worse) future risks and impacts.'"

              Nadia Prupis,  "As Paris Treaty Hits Threshold, Climate Groups Demand Bolder Action: Calls for action come as renowned economist warns that global economy is set to "self-destruct" if the world continues burning fossil fuels," Common Dreams, October 06, 2016,, reported, "The landmark Paris climate treaty finalized last year has reached the requisite number of signatories and is set to go into effect in 30 days—but environmentalists are not planning to let world leaders simply pat themselves on the back.
            The European Union on Wednesday became the latest body to sign onto the agreement, which requires nations to take measures to keep global temperatures from rising 1.5°C, a threshold which climate experts say the planet is already on track to reach.
              In a televised address, U.S. President Barack Obama described the accord as 'the best possible shot to save the one planet we've got,' and said, 'If we follow through on the commitments that this Paris agreement embodies, history may well judge it as a turning point for our planet.'
              However, the announcement comes as a slew of new studies find greenhouse gas emissions are still skyrocketing, fossil fuel use has made the world hotter than it's been in 115,000 years, and the Earth will warm 2°C or higher in a decade absent radical, systemic change. Likewise, renowned climate scientist James Hansen warned Thursday that the Paris agreement will not solve climate change.
              So a broad array of watchdogs—from the environment to the business sector—say they are not going to let world leaders off the hook.
              'A legally binding international climate deal is a vital step, but this is no time to stop and pat ourselves on the back. Scientists have warned that we have already passed a key threshold, and people across the globe are facing killer floods and droughts. What matters most is action now, rather than later,' said Asad Rehman, a campaigner for the U.K.-based environmental group Friends of the Earth International.
              Tamar Lawrence-Samuel, associate research director at Corporate Accountability International, also said, 'The true test begins now: how will governments live up to their obligations and do their fair share?'
Wealthy countries like the U.S. 'are responsible for this crisis yet are not doing their fair share to cut emissions and support the just transition from fossil fuels,' Lawrence-Samuel said. 'And we know why—the fossil fuel industry is interfering in climate policymaking to suit its interests. A critical first step in solving the climate crisis must be protecting policymaking from fossil fuel industry interference. Parties must kick big polluters out.
              To that end, on Thursday, a major new report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate called on world leaders and financial institutions to invest in sustainable infrastructure to make the renewables sector viable against fossil fuels.
              'Yesterday the Paris agreement reached the required number of countries and emissions to enter into force,' said commission chair and former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón. 'We have agreed on a global climate agenda, now we should act on it. Investing in sustainable infrastructure is the wisest decision we can take for our future. Not only can it deliver on the goals of the Paris agreement it is also the best growth path forward.'
              Commission member and renowned economist Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, who helped make climate change a global priority with a 2006 cost analysis, also warned Thursday that the global economy is set to 'self-destruct' if the world continues burning fossil fuels.
              Investment in renewable energy 'will set off innovation, discovery, much more creative ways of doing things,' he said. "This is the story of growth, which is the only one available because any attempt at high-carbon growth would self-destruct.'"

              Deirdre Fulton, "Climate Change and the Coming 'Humanitarian Crisis of Epic Proportions': Military and national security experts are sounding the alarm about tens of millions of climate refugees," Common Dreams, " December 01, 2016,, reported, "Climate change—and resultant natural disasters, droughts, and sea level rise—'could lead to a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions,' senior military figures told the Guardian on Thursday.
              Specifically, the experts echoed a recent warning from the United Nations that without radical action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 'we will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy,' as the number of global climate refugees climbs.
              'We're going to see refugee problems on an unimaginable scale, potentially above 30 million people,' Maj. Gen. Munir Muniruzzaman, chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on climate change and a former military adviser to the president of Bangladesh, told the Guardian.
              'Climate change could lead to a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions,' added Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney, a member of the U.S. State Department's foreign affairs policy board and CEO of the American Security Project. 'We're already seeing migration of large numbers of people around the world because of food scarcity, water insecurity, and extreme weather, and this is set to become the new normal.'
              Such a crisis would serve 'as an accelerant of instability,' Cheney said—even more so than it has already.
              As Forbes explained on Tuesday:
              Natural disasters displaced 36 million people in 2009, the year of the last full study. Of those, 20 million moved because of climate-change related factors. Scientists predict natural disaster-related refugees to increase to as many as 50 to 200 million in 2050. This will cause increasing social stress and violence, mostly in developing nations without the resources to cope, such as in poorer coastal countries in Asia, and in regions of Africa subject to desertification.
              Dozens of military and national security experts, including former advisers to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, issued a similar admonition in September, in the form of a Briefing Book for A New Administration (pdf) that warned of 'the potential for ongoing climatic shifts to contribute to near and/or over-the-horizon instances of instability,' including mass migration.
              But it's not clear these words of caution will be absorbed or acted on by the incoming Trump administration.
              As Scientific American pointed out this week, '[t]he military and intelligence communities may soon turn a blinder eye toward some climate change-related threats, indicated by President-Elect Donald Trump's recent choices of climate-change skeptics for national security jobs, along with his own dismissive comments."
              With climate skeptics like Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) nominated for high-profile national security positions, University of Texas at Austin professor Joshua Busby told the magazine, 'some of the gains made by the Pentagon and other executive agencies to prepare for the security consequences of climate change could be undone.'"

              Elisabeth Malkin, Isidro Baldenegro, Mexican Environmental Activist, Is Shot to Death," The New York Times, January 18, 2017,,
"Isidro Baldenegro López, an indigenous activist whose struggle to protect the pine-oak forests of Mexico’s Sierra Madre range won him the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, has been killed by a gunman, the authorities said on Wednesday.
              A leader of the Tarahumara people who live among the jagged peaks of the western Sierra Madre, Mr. Baldenegro defended the area’s old-growth forests against powerful local strongmen allied with drug traffickers and loggers.
              The killing was the second of a Goldman prizewinner in less than a year. Last March, gunmen attacked and killed Berta Cáceres, who led her Lenca people of Honduras against a proposed dam."

            "Humans Have Pushed Oceans to Their Absolute Limit, Warns Report: Oceans protected us from worst effects of climate change by absorbing most of humans' CO2 emissions, report finds, but they can't take anymore—and will soon release that CO2 back into the air," Common Dreams, September 6, 2016,, "The effect of climate change on the world's oceans has been understudied, a recent report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) finds, and it is far worse than many scientists and politicians had previously thought.
              'We all know the oceans sustain this planet," said Inger Andersen, IUCN's director general, to National Geographic, "yet we are making the oceans sick."
            The oceans have been shielding us from the worst effects of climate change, according to "Explaining ocean warming: causes, scale, effects and consequences" (pdf), by absorbing 93 percent of the excess CO2 that human industrial activity has emitted into the atmosphere—and humans have produced so much CO2 that without the oceans, surface temperatures worldwide would have risen by 36° Celsius since the 1970s.
Instead, thanks to the oceans' capacity to absorb so much CO2, global temperatures have only risen about 0.5° since the 1970s, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
              'Without this oceanic buffer, global temperature rises would have gone much, much speedier,' Andersen said.
              However, the massive amount of CO2 absorbed by the oceans has sent the water temperatures soaring, the report finds, rapidly depleting the biodiversity of marine and coastal species—from microbes to whales—and changing weather patterns worldwide.
              'Up to now, the ocean has shielded us from the worst impacts of climate change," the report's preface notes. 'The costs is that its chemistry has been altered as it absorbed significant amounts of the extra carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, but it has also warmed at an alarming rate in recent decades.'
              And the oceans can't take much more: the alarming, rapid rise in sea temperatures indicate that they have reached capacity and will soon release that extra carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere in what the IUCN report characterizes as a 'positive feedback loop.'
Coastal regions whose economies rely heavily on fisheries are already feeling the effects of a rapidly warming ocean, while coastal cities are greatly threatened by sea level rise from melting polar ice caps.
              The report also predicts that ocean temperatures will rise by an additional 1° to 4° Celsius by 2100, with the most warming occurring in the Southern Hemisphere. The polar regions are predicted to warm even more than the rest of the world's oceans.
              'Ocean warming is one of this generation's greatest hidden challenges—and one for which we are completely unprepared,' Andersen said, according to the Independent.
              'The only way to preserve the rich diversity of marine life, and to safeguard the protection and resources the ocean provides us with, is to cut greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and substantially,' Andersen added."

              Nadia Prupis, "Point of No Return: Earth Reaches 400ppm Threshold Permanently: Scientists say it is 'almost impossible' that carbon dioxide output will drop below symbolic milestone in our lifetimes," Common Dreams, September 29, 2016,, reported, "September's carbon dioxide output failed to drop below 400 parts per million (ppm) despite historically being the year's low point for CO2 emissions, which means the Earth has very likely passed that symbolic climate threshold forever.
            The Earth has hit 400ppm before, but seasonal cycles have always reduced carbon dioxide output back below that level. Now, climate scientists say it is 'almost impossible' that will ever happen again.
              According to Climate Central:
              September is usually the month when carbon dioxide is at its lowest after a summer of plants growing and sucking it up in the northern hemisphere. As fall wears on, those plants lose their leaves, which in turn decompose, releasing the stored carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. At Mauna Loa Observatory, the world's marquee site for monitoring carbon dioxide, there are signs that the process has begun but levels have remained above 400 ppm.
              'Is it possible that October 2016 will yield a lower monthly value than September and dip below 400 ppm? Almost impossible," scientist Ralph Keeling, who runs the carbon dioxide monitoring program at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography, wrote in a blog post this week. 'Brief excursions towards lower values are still possible but it already seems safe to conclude that we won't be seeing a monthly value below 400 ppm this year—or ever again for the indefinite future.'
              Climate Central continues:
              We may get a day or two reprieve in the next month, similar to August when Tropical Storm Madeline blew by Hawaii and knocked carbon dioxide below 400 ppm for a day. But otherwise, we're living in a 400 ppm world. Even if the world stopped emitting carbon dioxide tomorrow, what has already put in the atmosphere will linger for many decades to come.
              'At best (in that scenario), one might expect a balance in the near term and so CO2 levels probably wouldn't change much—but would start to fall off in a decade or so,' Gavin Schmidt, NASA's chief climate scientist, said in an email. /In my opinion, we won't ever see a month below 400 ppm./
              The confirmation comes soon after a report from the U.K. Met Office in June warned that the planet was well on its way toward that grim milestone as the impact from rising fossil fuel emissions was worsened by a turbulent El Niño event. Similar predictions came in May as climate scientists cautioned the limit could be hit at any time.
              Another recent report also found that the planet could pass another point of no return—the agreed-upon 1.5°C warming threshold—in a decade."

              Nika Knight, "'Climate Emergency': North Pole Sees Record Temps, Melting Ice Despite Arctic Winter: Arctic is losing ice and heating up despite seasonal onset of 24-hour darkness—phenomena that break all previous records," Common Dreams, November 18, 2016,, reported, "As 2016 continues on its march toward becoming the hottest year on record, the Arctic is seeing extreme warmth beyond anything previously recorded at this time of year—prompting alarm from climate scientists around the world.
            'Folks, we're in a climate emergency,' tweeted meteorologist Eric Holthaus.
              The temperature at the North Pole as of Thursday was a stunning 36ºF (20°C) above normal.
              The bizarre heat is fueling the rapid melt of the pole's ice caps, and it is particularly unusual because it's all happening during the polar night—the time of year when the North Pole never sees the sun, observed UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain:
              Other meteorologists on Twitter highlighted the abnormality of the situation:
              The cause? According to the Washington Post, it's the result of an elongated jet stream propelling hot air farther north than normal—which is caused by climate change.
              'The Arctic warmth is the result of a combination of record-low sea-ice extent for this time of year, probably very thin ice, and plenty of warm/moist air from lower latitudes being driven northward by a very wavy jet stream,' Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University, told the Post.
The Washington Post continued:
              Francis has published research suggesting that the jet stream, which travels from west to east across the Northern Hemisphere in the mid-latitudes, is becoming more wavy and elongated as the Arctic warms faster than the equator does.
              'It will be fascinating to see if the stratospheric polar vortex continues to be as weak as it is now, which favors a negative Arctic Oscillation and probably a cold mid/late winter to continue over central and eastern Asia and eastern North America. The extreme behavior of the Arctic in 2016 seems to be in no hurry to quit,' Francis continued.
              Another culprit is that areas of open ocean water are showing unusually hot surface temperatures, according to Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Center, who was quoted by environmental writer Hannah Waters on Twitter.
              Serreze commented to the Washington Post: 'There are some areas in the Arctic Ocean that are as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit above average now. It's pretty crazy.'
              The alarming Arctic weather happens during the United Nations climate conference in Morrocco, and as environmentalists and climate scientists in the U.S. grapple with the prospect of a president-elect who denies the existence of climate change. Things are indeed not looking good for the planet, experts warn."

              Carl Zimmer, "Global Warming Alters Arctic Food Chain, Scientists Say, With Unforeseeable Results," The New York Times, November 22, 2016,, reported,
The Arctic Ocean may seem remote and forbidding, but to birds, whales and other animals, it’s a top-notch dining destination.
              'It’s a great place to get food in the summertime, so animals are flying or swimming thousands of miles to get there,' said Kevin R. Arrigo, a biological oceanographer at Stanford University.
But the menu is changing. Confirming earlier research, scientists reported Wednesday that global warming is altering the ecology of the Arctic Ocean on a huge scale.
            The annual production of algae, the base of the food web, increased an estimated 47 percent between 1997 and 2015, and the ocean is greening up much earlier each year.
              These changes are likely to have a profound impact for animals further up the food chain, such as birds, seals, polar bears and whales. But scientists still don’t know enough about the biology of the Arctic Ocean to predict what the ecosystem will look like in decades to come.
While global warming has affected the whole planet in recent decades, nowhere has been hit harder than the Arctic. This month, temperatures in the high Arctic have been as much as 36 degrees above average, according to records kept by the Danish Meteorological Institute.   
            In October, the extent of sea ice was 28.5 percent below average — the lowest for the month since scientists began keeping records in 1979. The area of missing ice is the size of Alaska and Texas put together."

              Andrea Germanos, "New Study 'Sounds Alarm' on Another Climate Feedback Loop: 'What we know from this study is that warming will result in the loss of stored carbon in a wide variety of ecosystems—and that has potentially harmful effects in terms of future global warming,'" Common Dreams, December 26, 2016,, reported, "The loss of Arctic sea ice has already been shown to be part of a positive feedback loop driving climate change, and a recent study published in the journal Nature puts the spotlight on what appears to be another of these feedback loops.
            It has to do with soil, currently one of Earth's carbon sinks. But warming may lead to soils releasing, rather than sequestering, carbon.
              As study co-author John Blair, university distinguished professor of biology at Kansas State University, explained, 'Globally, soils hold more than twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, so even a relatively small increase in release of carbon from the Earth's soils can have a large impact on atmospheric greenhouse gases and future warming.'
              For the study, the researchers took data from over four dozen sites across the globe representing a variety of ecosystems and heated them approximately one degree Celsius.
              They found that the samples from lower latitude grassland soils showed little change, but the soil samples from the colder, higher latitude ecosystems—which hold more carbon—released large amounts of carbon with the temperature increase.
              The total amount of carbon lost by 2050 from these higher latitude soils could end up being the equivalent of as much as 17 percent of the expected human-caused emissions over this period, the results suggested.
              The study's abstract summarizes the findings thusly:
Despite the considerable uncertainty in our estimates, the direction of the global soil carbon response is consistent across all scenarios. This provides strong empirical support for the idea that rising temperatures will stimulate the net loss of soil carbon to the atmosphere, driving a positive land carbon–climate feedback that could accelerate climate change.
              According to Blair, who also directs the NSF-funded Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at Kansas State's Konza Prairie Biological Station, 'This study sounds an alarm that we need to be aware of these kinds of feedbacks in order to control greenhouse gasses while they are still controllable.'
              The study also directs attention to soil's climate buffering potential.
            'What we know from this study is that warming will result in the loss of stored carbon in a wide variety of ecosystems—and that has potentially harmful effects in terms of future global warming,' Blair noted. 'At the same time, it also highlights the potential role that the soil could play in storing carbon and helping to mitigate climate change.'"

              DarkSyde, "West Antarctica is cracking up, Daily Kos, January 19, 2017,, reported, "Temperature trends in West Antarctica (left) have greatly exceeded the global average. East Antarctica will soon join suit if present trends continue unabated.
              A berg the size of Scotland is poised to break off the Larsen ice shelf in West Antarctica at any time. And in an ironic twist, a similar and no doubt climate related lead nearby may soon shut down the British Antarctic Survey team that monitors climate at the cutting edge Halley research station:
            The highly unusual move is necessary because the Brunt Ice Shelf on which the research station sits has developed a big new crack. BAS officials say neither staff nor the base are in any immediate danger but believe it would be prudent to withdraw while the situation is assessed.
              The plan would be to go back once the Antarctic winter is over, in November."

              Barack Obama, "The irreversible momentum of clean energy: Private-sector efforts help drive decoupling of emissions and economic growth," Science, January 18, 2017, reported, that the United States is demonstrating that mitigation of the production of greenhouse gasses (GHCs) does not have to conflict with economic growth. There is clear evidence that it can increase efficiency, productivity, innovation and well paying employment. From 2008 to 2015, the U.S. experienced a drop in energy sector GHC emissions of 9.5%, while the economy grew by over 10%, and the amount of energy consumed per dollar of real gross domestic product declined by 11%. During this period, the quantity of CO2 per unit of energy consumed fell by 8%, with the amount of CO2 emitted per dollar of GNP declined by 18%.
              From 2008 to to 2015, private sector energy efficiency has increased, partly from government regulation, but also because it saves money. Meanwhile, renewable energy costs have declined by 41% for wind, 54% for rooftop photovoltaic, and64% for for utility scale photovoltaic. This has resulted in increasing of investment in renewable energy world wide.
            Slashdot, January 28, 2017,, reported. "Solar energy now accounts for 43% of the workers in the U.S. power-generating industry, surpassing the 22% from all workers in the coal, oil, and gas industries combined, according to new figures from the Department of Energy."
              "Solar industry created jobs at a rate 20 times faster than the national average, according to the Energy Department, while 102,000 more workers also joined the wind turbine industry last year, a 32% increase. In fact, 93% of the new power in America is now coming from solar, natural gas, and wind -- but it's building out new solar-generating capacity that's causing much of the workforce increases, according to the Energy Department."

              A three-month listening tour by an expert panel in Canada on rewriting environmental regulations was completed, in September 2016, aimed at realizing Prime Minister Trudeau's promise "to ensure that major projects are based on science, facts and evidence" (Lesley Evans Ogden, "Canada aims to rewrite environmental law, Science, September 30, 2016).

              Nika Knight, "Methane Emissions Are Soaring, Report Finds, and Agriculture Is to Blame: Research suggests agriculture is the main culprit for recent rapid increase in atmospheric methane—a greenhouse gas 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide," Common Dreams, December 12, 2016,, reported, Mere months after atmospheric carbon dioxide permanently surpassed a symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million, scientists have more bad news: emissions of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas, have skyrocketed in the past 20 years—and show no sign of slowing.
              That's according to a new analysis published Monday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
              The report, The Growing Role of Methane in Anthropogenic Climate Change, finds that 'methane concentrations in the air began to surge around 2007 and grew precipitously in 2014 and 2015,' observes
(Image: NOAA)
              Methane is 28 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat from the sun, making its short-term effects on global warming far more severe.
 Agence France-Press reports that 'the pace of recent [methane] emissions aligns with the most pessimistic scenarios laid out by the U.N.'s top science authority, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.' 
              Indeed, the rising rate of methane emissions poses a threat to ambitious global goals to limit warming to 1.5ºC by 2100, as laid out in the Paris climate accord, experts note. And the current rise of 1ºC over preindustrial levels is already resulting in extreme weather and widespread extinctions.
              When looking for the source of the rapid increase, the authors of the paper take note of the global rise in fossil fuel extraction—such as the fracking boom in the U.S. and the growing coal industry in China—as one culprit, but they concluded that the research mainly finds the agricultural sector to blame for the methane spike.
              'We think agriculture is the number one contributor to the increase,' Rob Jackson, an earth scientist at Stanford University who co-wrote the study, told the Washington Post, which adds:
              Jackson said some of the rise is 'almost certainly' coming from livestock and specifically cattle, and also pointed to rice paddies, landfills, and the management of manure in agriculture.
              'According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,' reports, 'livestock operations around the world expanded from producing 1,300 million head of cattle in 1994 to nearly 1,500 million in 2014—with a similar increase in rice cultivation in many Asian countries.'
              The report's authors suggest renewed efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, which other recent research supports as a critical tactic in the fight to mitigate climate change.
              'When it comes to methane, there has been a lot of focus on the fossil fuel industry, but we need to look just as hard if not harder at agriculture,' Jackson told 'The situation certainly isn't hopeless. It's a real opportunity.'"

              Global warming is profoundly changing the ecology of the Arctic Ocean food chain. Specific changes have been noted, but it is too early for scientists to predict what the long term result will be. From 1997 to 2015, the production of algae, the base of the food chain, increased by 47%, while the ocean has been increasingly greening up earlier in the year (Carl Zimmer, "Warming Alters Arctic Food Chain From the Bottom Up, Scientists Say," The New York Times, November 23, 2016).

              The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management finalized rules, in November 2016, governing the development of wind and solar energy on BLM lands.
            "Department of the Interior Finalizes Rule Providing a Foundation for the Future of BLM’s Renewable Energy Program
Rule codifies BLM’s Smart from the Start approach, establishes a robust framework for competitive leasing, and increases transparency and certainty,"’s-renewable-energy, saying in a press release,
            "Advancing the President’s Climate Action Plan to create jobs, cut carbon pollution and develop clean domestic energy, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized its rule governing solar and wind energy development on public lands. The rule strengthens existing policies and creates a new leasing program that will support renewable energy development through competitive leasing processes and incentives to encourage development in suitable areas.
              'This new rule not only provides a strong foundation for the future of energy development on America’s public lands, but is an important and exciting milestone in our ongoing efforts to tap the vast solar and wind energy resources across the country' said Secretary Jewell. 'Through a landscape-level approach, we are facilitating responsible renewable energy development in the right places, creating jobs and cutting carbon pollution for the benefit of all Americans.'
              The rule formalizes key aspects of the BLM’s existing Smart from the Start approach to renewable energy development. Notably, the rule:
      Supports development in areas with the highest generation potential and fewest resource conflicts through financial incentives, awarding leases through competitive processes and streamlining the leasing process 
      Ensures transparency and predictability in rents and fees – for example, gives developers the option of selecting fixed rate adjustments instead of market-based adjustments; and
      Updates the BLM’s current fee structure in response to market conditions, which will bring down near-term costs for solar projects.
The rule complements the Department’s landscape-scale planning efforts, including the Western Solar Plan, California’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, and Arizona’s Restoration Design Energy Project, which were designed to streamline development in areas with high generation potential, while protecting important environmental, cultural and recreational resources.
              'By offering incentives for development in areas with fewer resource conflicts, the BLM’s rule provides a framework to support all of the landscape scale planning we’ve done to better plan for and manage wind and solar development,' said Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider. 'The rule also refines the BLM’s approach to fair market value, to ensure that taxpayers get a fair return from these important resources.'
              The President’s Climate Action Plan calls on Interior to permit 20,000 megawatts of renewable power by 2020. Since 2009, Interior has approved 60 utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands, including 36 solar, 11 wind and 13 geothermal projects and associated transmission infrastructure that could support nearly 15,500 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, or enough to power approximately 5.1 million homes.
              'The BLM is incredibly proud of the work we’ve done over the last eight years supporting wind and solar development,' added BLM Director Neil Kornze. 'We went from only a handful of approved projects in 2008 to a robust program with over 15,000 MW approved, six times the amount we had approved in the 25 prior years.'
              The rule will support the full range of development activities anticipated by the BLM across the lands it manages. The rule’s competitive leasing provisions will help renewable energy development flourish on the 700,000 acres of public lands that have been identified in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. The regulations will become effective 30 days after they are published in the Federal Register.
              The rule refines the application review process and increases financial certainty by giving developers the option to lock in in fixed rate adjustments and providing for MW capacity fee phase-ins. The rule also allows the BLM to offer lands outside of DLAs competitively; however, the BLM anticipates that most projects in these areas will continue to use the application-by-application process.
              Copies of the signed rule and a fact sheet explaining the key changes between the proposed and final rules are available on BLM’s website: The BLM intends to schedule additional information sessions as part of the implementation process for the rule."

              Canada was moving to tax carbon emissions, in January 2017 ("Henry Gass, "Why Canada readies a 'carbon tax'," Science, January 2 and 9, 2017);

              China is producing a huge number of wind farms with more than 92,000 wind turbines, able generating 145 gigawatts of electricity. This is almost twice the capacity of wind farms in the United States. However, many of the wind turbines are idle. Among the many causes, two are paramount. First, many local officials favor coal and refuse to switch renewable energy. Second, the building of transmission lines to connect the generated electricity to users lags way behind the building of wind turbines (Javier C. Hernandez, "It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle," The New York Times, January, 15, 2017,

              California was beginning to install piezoelectric crystals to generate solar electricity on many of its freeways, in September 2016 (Christian Science Monitor, September 5, 2016).

              A 5.7 mile long section of the Dongru Glacier in western Tibet suddenly collapsed, July 17, 2016. killing nine people below ("Rapid glacier fall a deadly mystery," Science, September 2, 2016).

              Nika Knight, "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet: Western States Face Decades-Long Megadroughts: If fossil fuel emissions continue as usual, droughts lasting as long as 35 years a "near certainty" in parched Western U.S. states," Common Dreams, October 06, 2016,, reported, "'Megadroughts' that last for decades are threatening to strike already parched Western U.S. states by the end of the century, a new study finds, with one model predicting that a drought lasting about 35 years may be a 'near certainty.'
              A megadrought would bring back the devastating dustbowl conditions of the 1930s to California, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, but would last for a much longer period of time, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.
              'Using a combination of temperature and precipitation models,' the Guardian reports, 'the study predicts a 70 percent chance of a megadrought by the end of the century, should rainfall levels remain the same, with a 90 percent chance of an elongated drought should rainfall decrease, as most climate models forecast."
              'We can't rule out there could be a 99.9 percent chance of a megadrought, which makes it virtually certain,' Toby Ault, a scientist at Cornell University and lead author of the study, told the Guardian.
              'Historically, megadroughts were extremely rare phenomena occurring only once or twice per millennium,' the study observes. 'According to our analysis of modeled responses to increased [greenhouse gas emissions], these events could become commonplace if climate change goes unabated.'
A map shows the rising risk of megadraughts corresponding to varying increases in global temperatures. (Image: Science Advances)
'With 4 degrees of warming, which is the rate the planet is currently heading for, megadroughts are almost a certainty,' EcoWatch notes.
              'A megadrought occurring again in the Southwest in the coming decades would impose unprecedented stresses on water resources of the region, and recent studies have shown that they are far more likely to occur this century because of climate change compared to past centuries,' write the study authors, scientists from Cornell University, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
              Indeed, California's six-year-long drought has already changed the landscape, according to the Guardian: 'Areas of the Sierras have burned a few times and the forests aren't recruiting back, they are turning into grasslands and bush lands,' Mark Schwartz, professor of environmental science at the University of California, told the newspaper. 
              'Water availability is a deep issue for people living in the arid south-west,' Schwartz added. 'Megadroughts have the ability to dry up Lake Mead [which supplies water to Las Vegas] and hamper crops in southern California. We are doing a relatively poor job of allocating water efficiently. We need to get better at that.'
              'The new report does proffer a crumb of hope," the Guardian writes, 'if greenhouse gas emissions are radically cut then the risk of megadrought will reduce by half, giving a roughly 50:50 chance that a multi-decade stretch of below-average rainfall would occur this century. But the research found that the emissions cuts would have to be far steeper than those agreed to by nations in Paris last year, where a 2C limit on warming was pledged.'
              'We would need a much more aggressive approach than proposed at Paris,' Ault told the newspaper. 'It's not too late to do this but the train is leaving the station as we speak."

              David Gelles, “Falcons, Drones, Data: A Winery Battles Climate Change: Jackson Family Wines is among California winemakers employing both high-tech and old-school techniques to adapt to hotter, drier conditions, The New York Times, January 5, 2017,, reported, “So far the drought has not wreaked havoc on the California wine business. No harvests have been destroyed and quality remains strong. Moreover, many of the Jackson vineyards are in pockets of the California coast that benefit from the cool, humid fog.
But the challenges here are hardly theoretical. Already, climate change is threatening the world’s coffee supply. Several reports suggest that rising temperatures around the globe could imperil major winemaking regions in the coming decades. One study suggested that by 2050, many regions in Europe, including much of Italy and swaths of Southern France, could become unsuitable for wine grapes. The same study suggested that California production could fall by 70 percent by the century’s midpoint.
Already, winemakers in the region are noticing distinct changes that signal a hotter, drier future.”

              Justin Gullis, "Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun: Scientists’ warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline are no longer theoretical," The New York Times September 3, 2016,, reported that in Norfalk, VA, "Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.
              Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.
              And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.
              For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.
            Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.
Federal scientists have documented a sharp jump in this nuisance flooding — often called “sunny-day flooding” — along both the East Coast and the Gulf Coast in recent years. The sea is now so near the brim in many places that they believe the problem is likely to worsen quickly. Shifts in the Pacific Ocean mean that the West Coast, partly spared over the past two decades, may be hit hard, too.
              These tidal floods are often just a foot or two deep, but they can stop traffic, swamp basements, damage cars, kill lawns and forests, and poison wells with salt. Moreover, the high seas interfere with the drainage of storm water.
              In coastal regions, that compounds the damage from the increasingly heavy rains plaguing the country, like those that recently caused extensive flooding in Louisiana. Scientists say these rains are also a consequence of human greenhouse emissions.
              Chris Mooney, "Crack in Antarctic ice shelf grows by 11 miles; break could be imminent," Pittsburg Post Gazette, January 7, 2017, reported, "An enormous rift in one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves grew dramatically over the past several weeks, and a chunk nearly the size of Delaware could break away within months, British scientists reported this week.
              If this happens, it could accelerate a further breakup of the ice shelf, essentially removing a massive cork of ice that keeps some of Antarctica’s glaciers from flowing into the ocean. The long term result, scientists project, could be to noticeably raise global sea levels by 10 centimeters, or almost 4 inches.
              It’s the latest sign of major ice loss in the fast warming Antarctic Peninsula, which has already seen the breakup of two other shelves in the same region. These events have been widely attributed to climate change.
              The crack in the ice shelf, known as Larsen C, been growing at an accelerating rate. Since the beginning of December, it has grown about 11 miles in length, after extending 13 miles earlier in 2016. The rift has grown about 50 miles since 2011, to a length of almost 100 miles in total, and has widened to well over 1,000 feet. Now, only 12 miles of ice continue to connect the chunk with the rest of the ice shelf.
              When it breaks away, the loss would be of nearly 2,000 square miles of ice, say the researchers with Project MIDAS, a British government-funded collaboration based at Swansea and Aberystwyth universities in Wales. That’s larger than Rhode Island and almost as big as Delaware."
              Emily J. Gertz, "Water for Millions Is Vanishing as Bolivia’s Glaciers Melt: High mountain ice has retreated dramatically in the Andes and could be nearly gone by the end of the century," TakePart, October 22, 2016,, reported, "Glaciers in the Bolivian Andes have shrunk 43 percent since 1986 as a result of rising global temperatures, putting millions of people at risk for shortages of drinking water, irrigation, and hydropower.
              The losses add up to about 88 square miles of land ice cover, or just under 10 percent of the total area of the world’s tropical glaciers. Glaciers worldwide store about 70 percent of the world’s freshwater.
              This the first study to assess all three of Bolivia’s main glacier ranges, according to the team of British and Bolivian scientists who revealed the dramatic ice loss in research published Thursday in the journal The Cryosphere."
              "Based on current trends, the researchers estimated that the glaciers could fade to just 20 square miles by 2100.         
            The cities of La Paz and El Alto, whose 2.3 million residents comprise roughly 20 percent of the Bolivian population, rely on Andean glaciers for between 15 and 30 percent of their water supply, said scientist Simon Cook of Manchester Metropolitan University, the study’s lead author. 'The issue of water supply as these glaciers decline, to places like La Paz, has been documented before,' he said. 'What we’re saying, perhaps for the first time, is that these glaciers could be almost gone by the end of the century, which creates a significant water risk.'
              The dangers don’t stop there. The researchers found that as the glaciers recede, they are creating high altitude lakes that can cause dangerous flooding for mountain communities downstream."

              Josh Haner, Edward Wong, Derek Watkins and Jeremy White, "Living in China’s Expanding Deserts: People on the edges of the country’s vast seas of sand are being displaced by climate change," The New York Times, October 23, 2016,, reported,
"This desert, called the Tengger, lies on the southern edge of the massive Gobi Desert, not far from major cities like Beijing. The Tengger is growing.
              For years, China’s deserts spread at an annual rate of more than 1,300 square miles. Many villages have been lost. Climate change and human activities have accelerated desertification. China says government efforts to relocate residents, plant trees and limit herding have slowed or reversed desert growth in some areas. But the usefulness of those policies is debated by scientists, and deserts are expanding in critical regions.
              Nearly 20 percent of China is desert, and drought across the northern region is getting worse. One recent estimate said China had 21,000 square miles more desert than what existed in 1975 — about the size of Croatia. As the Tengger expands, it is merging with two other deserts to form a vast sea of sand that could become uninhabitable.
              Jiali lives in an area called Alxa League, where the government has relocated about 30,000 people, who are called 'ecological migrants,' because of desertification.
              Across northern China, generations of families have made a living herding animals on the edge of the desert. Officials say that along with climate change, overgrazing is contributing to the desert’s growth. But some experiments suggest moderate grazing may actually mitigate the effects of climate change on grasslands, and China’s herder relocation policies could be undermining that."

              Coral Davenport, "Nations, Fighting Powerful Refrigerant That Warms Planet, Reach Landmark Deal," The New York Times, October 15, 2016,, reported, "Negotiators from more than 170 countries on Saturday reached a legally binding accord to counter climate change by cutting the worldwide use of a powerful planet-warming chemical used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.
              HFCs are just a small percentage of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but they function as a sort of supercharged greenhouse gas, with 1,000 times the heat-trapping potency of carbon dioxide.
The Kigali deal was seven years in the making, and is a compromise between rich nations and poorer, hotter ones, including some where rising incomes are just starting to bring air-conditioners within reach. Wealthier nations will freeze production of HFCs more quickly than poorer countries, though some nations, including those in Africa, elected to phase the chemicals out more rapidly than required, citing the grave threats they face from climate change."
              "the Kigali deal includes specific targets and timetables to replace HFCs with more planet-friendly alternatives, trade sanctions to punish scofflaws, and an agreement by rich countries to help finance the transition of poor countries to the costlier replacement products."
              "Over all, the deal is expected to lead to the reduction of the equivalent of 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — about two times the carbon pollution produced annually by the entire world."
              "The United States and other rich countries had pushed a plan that would freeze the use of the heat-trapping chemicals by 2021, reducing them to about 15 percent of 2012 HFC levels by 2046. That plan would have eliminated the equivalent of about 90 billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution from the atmosphere by 2050.
              Negotiators from India and some of the world’s other hottest and poorest countries pushed back hard at that proposal. In India, millions of people are on the verge of being able to afford air-conditioners cooled by HFCs."
              "The final deal will divide the world economy into three tracks. The richest countries, including the United States and those in the European Union, will freeze the production and consumption of HFCs by 2018, reducing them to about 15 percent of 2012 levels by 2036.
            Much of the rest of the world, including China, Brazil and all of Africa, will freeze HFC use by 2024, reducing it to 20 percent of 2021 levels by 2045.
            A small group of the world’s hottest countries — India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait — will have the most lenient schedule, freezing HFC use by 2028 and reducing it to about 15 percent of 2025 levels by 2047."

              John R. Platt, "Renewable Energy Is About to Get Supersized: Investors are pouring money into supergrids, which can carry electricity generated by huge but remote wind and solar farms across national borders," takepart, October 20, 2016,, reported, "A new report from Navigant Research finds that investment in supergrids—large-scale power networks that could carry energy from wind and solar farms and across international borders—will hit $10.2 billion by 2025. That’s up from an estimated $8.3 billion this year.
              Supergrids are “about capacity and distance,” said Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst for Navigant Research and one of the authors of the report. They would allow sources such as wind farms to provide energy to cities hundreds or even thousands of miles away. This would let utilities invest in massive solar or wind farms in areas where they would generate the most electricity, which might not be where people live.
              They would also provide flexibility to draw electricity from different sources if on any given day the wind dies or clouds block the sun in a particular region."
              "Utilities already transmit power long distances—from state to state, for example, or between Canada and the U.S.—but this would take things to a new level. One planned supergrid, now under construction, would link energy production in China, South Korea, Mongolia, Russia, and Japan. The first phase of construction is estimated to cost $6.2 billion.
              Much of the investment in supergrids so far—nearly 75 percent—is in Asia. China itself has driven most of that investment within its own borders."

              John R. Platt, "Oregon Finds Switching From Coal to Renewable Energy Is a Bargain: Replacing coal-fired electricity with ever-cheaper wind and solar power will raise utility rates just 0.1 percent by 2030," TakePart, August, 11, 2016,, reported, "Oregon may have a reputation for rainy weather, but the outlook for the renewable energy there is definitely sunny.
              Earlier this year the state passed legislation that requires utilities to stop generating electricity from coal by 2030. At the time, one of Oregon’s two main energy utilities, Pacific Power, predicted that the switch to renewables would come with a fairly high cost, hitting customers with a rate increase of 0.8 percent per year through 2030. That’s a cumulative increase of about 12 percent over the next 14 years.
              Since then, however, things have changed. After the legislation passed, Pacific Power put out a request for bids for renewable energy projects, and developers came back with prices much lower than expected.
            How low? Try 0.1 percent through the year 2028. That’s not per year, like the previous estimate. It’s the projected rate increase for the entire time period."
              "The cost savings come not only from solar energy’s increasing efficiency and falling prices for the technology output but from the volume of development."

              However, Michael Forsyth, "China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020," The New York Times, January 5, 2017,, reported, "China intends to spend more than $360 billion through 2020 on renewable power sources like solar and wind, the government’s energy agency said on Thursday.
              The country’s National Energy Administration laid out a plan to dominate one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, just at a time when the United States is set to take the opposite tack as Donald J. Trump, a climate-change doubter, prepares to assume the presidency.
              The agency said in a statement that China would create more than 13 million jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2020, curb the growth of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming and reduce the amount of soot that in recent days has blanketed Beijing and other Chinese cities in a noxious cloud of smog."

              Taylor Hill, "Germany Wants to Ban Fossil-Fuel-Powered Cars: The nation’s parliament is calling for the elimination of the internal combustion engine by 2030," takepart, October 11, 2016,, reported, "Germany, home of global automotive giants Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, is on the road to banning gas and diesel engines from its highways and byways.
The Bundesrat, the upper house of Germany’s parliament, passed a resolution on Monday that calls for the elimination of vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel engines by 2030.
              The resolution is nonbinding and needs the approval of the European Union, as it would also apply to vehicles from other EU nations. But it marks a shift in thinking for a country whose automobile industry is one of the largest in the world and the driver of the German economy.
              Taylor Hill, "The Tide Is Turning for a New Source of Green Energy: The first underwater turbines are connected to Scotland’s power grid," TakePart, September 1, 2016,, reported, "Two turbines installed off Scotland’s coast aren’t harnessing the country’s winds to generate power. Instead, these blades are spinning underwater, using an even more predictable renewable power source in the region—tides.
            The offshore array is the world’s first network of tidal turbines to deliver electricity to the power grid, according to Nova Innovation, the company behind the development."
            The governments of more than 190 nations agreed for the first time, in October 2016, to act to reduce the emissions of jet aircraft as a step to limit global warming induced climate change. This will likely lead to greater fuel efficiency for aircraft, among other measures (Henry Fountain, "Countries Agree to Climate Accord On Jet Emissions," The New York Times, October 7, 2016).

              Storage of solarvoltaic and wind electricity for times the sun is not shining or the wind not blowing has been a major problem. Several solutions have been in the process of being tried, but a major breakthrough appeared to be in progress at the beginning of February 2017 when Tesla opened three massive electricity storage facilities in California, each tying together millions of small batteries. Together, the plants have 15% the capacity of all of the world's battery storage in 2016. If this system works well in practice, it will make it possible to switch to almost entirely renewable electric energy ("Tesla's Battery Revolution Just Reached Critical Mass," Slashdot, January 31, 2017,

              Volkswagen and BMW have teamed up with Charge Point of California to install 100 electric car charging stations at key points along major highways on the U.S. east and west coasts ("Signs of Progress," Christian Science Monitor, October 21, 2016).

              Numerous Nations at the International Climate talks in Morocco, in November 2016, reacted to the election of Donald Trump, a climate change denier, as President of the United States, by threatening to penalize the U.S. if it does not keep its Paris Accord commitments to counter global warming (Coral Davenport, "'New World Order, Sinks in At Talks on Climate Pact," The New York Times, November 16, 2016).

            The U.S. Department of the Interior announced, October 27, 2016, that it will auction more than 79,000 acres offshore of New York State for wind energy development ("Interior Department to Auction Over 79,000 Acres Offshore New York for Wind Energy Development," U.S. Department of the Interior News Release, October 27, 2016,

              As of late September, 2016, Costa Rica had run on 100% renewable energy, for 100 days in 2016, with 76 of those days in a row. The ecological downside may come from the high reliance on dams creating hydroelectric power ("Costa Rica: The country ran for 76 straight days on renewable energy," Christian Science Monitor, September 26, 2016).

              Ian Austen, "Justin Trudeau Approves Oil Pipeline Expansion in Canada," The New York Times, November 29, 2016,, reported, "In a decision that will almost surely prompt showdowns with environmentalists, indigenous groups and some political allies, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada approved on Tuesday the expansion of a pipeline linking the oil sands in Alberta to a tanker port in British Columbia.
              The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project will increase the capacity of a 53-year-old pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day from 300,000 and expand the tanker port. In recent weeks, there have been several large protests against the project, particularly in Vancouver, British Columbia. But Rachel Notley, the premier of Alberta, has repeatedly said that the project is critical to the future of her province’s energy industry."
              Embridge Energy terminated its plan to build the Sandpiper crude oil Pipeline in Northern Minnesota, in September 2016 ("Embridge Energy drops plans for Sandpiper crude oil Pipeline through Northern Minnesota," NFIC, September 2016).

              The Obama Administration, in November 2016, banned all Arctic gas and oil drilling, which will likely be attempted to be reversed by the Trump Administration (Brady Denis and Steven Mufson, "Arctic offshore drilling banned, 'right path forward," Christian Science Monitor, November 19, 2016).

            Although the world's major banks have begun, slowly, to move away from financing deforestation, recent studies indicate that over the last few years they have continued to fund numerous very large projects that involve massive deforestation, including palm oil plantations. Some details are in Hiroko Tabuchi, "The Banks Putting Rain Forests in Peril," The New York Times, December 4, 2016).

              Andrea Germanos, "Climate Commitments Be Damned, Trudeau OKs 'Carbon Bomb' LNG Project: "It's not possible to be a climate leader and build new fossil fuel infrastructure like the Petronas fracked gas plant," Common Dreams, September 28, 2016,, reported, "The Canadian government on Tuesday greenlighted a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in British Columbia which climate experts and advocacy organizations say tramples Indigenous rights, threatens ecological damage, and essentially throws the country's climate commitments out the window.
              Final approval' of the Pacific NorthWest project led by Malaysia's state-owned energy company Petronas, as CBC reports, 'depends on the meeting of more than 190 'legally binding' and 'scientifically determined' conditions.' 
              The climate impacts of the fracked gas project have been described as 'just enormous,' and the Vancouver-based Wilderness Committee said the 'project would be the largest source of carbon pollution in Canada.'
              Derrick O'Keefe points out at Ricochet that 'In a submission to the project's environmental assessment, Marc Lee of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives described Pacific NorthWest LNG as a 'carbon bomb.''
              The multiple conditions the federal government attached to the project did little to quell climate concerns from environmental groups.
              Matt Horne, associate B.C. director at the Pembina Institute, said, 'Even with the conditions included in the approval, the project would still be significantly higher polluting than other LNG proposals in the province (31% higher than LNG Canada, and 75% higher than Woodfibre LNG).'
              On top of that, Horne said, 'B.C. is already projected to miss its climate targets by a wide margin and the province's new climate plan did little to solve the problem.'
              Added Caitlyn Vernon, campaigns director at Sierra Club B.C., '190 conditions don't change the math: it's not possible to be a climate leader and build new fossil fuel infrastructure like the Petronas fracked gas plant.'
            'Not only will this project push our Paris climate  commitments further out of reach, it also goes against the expressed wishes of several First Nations along the route,' stated Mike  Hudema, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Canada.
              And 'Beyond the project being one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in Canada,' writes Council of Canadians political director Brent Patterson:, 'the LNG terminal and its associated upstream operations would also consume 5.1 million cubic meters of fresh water per year, the equivalent of the annual fresh water use of 56,000 people.'
              And then there's the issue of the project's impacts on salmon.
              The Wilderness Committee explains that the terminal 'is slated to be built on top of an eelgrass bed that supports 88 per cent of the salmon in the Skeena River and all those who rely on them.' Vernon says the approval means 'Canada's second largest salmon run, on the Skeena River, may have had its death warrant signed.'
              Also warning of its impacts on the salmon population, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said, 'This is another example of betrayal of the rights and interests of First Nations people.'
              Ninety scientists and climate experts from Canada, the U.S., and Australia in May wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to reject the project, stating, 'Honoring the commitment Canada made in Paris to limit global warming well below 2.0 degrees above pre-industrial levels will require a massive effort to reduce emissions. We must begin by rejecting plans that would increase GHG emissions and lock us in fossil fuel extraction for decades to come.'
              'If you are in a hole, you shouldn't dig deeper. What you should really do is start to get out of that hole,' signatory Kirsten Zickheld, a professor at Simon Fraser University, said to the Vancouver Sun. 'In this case, what it really means is leaving fossil fuels behind and embarking on a renewable energy trajectory.'
              Otherwise, said Vernon, we can't 'expect to pass on a livable world to our children and generations yet unborn.'"

              A series of earthquakes in Alberta from 2011-16 have been found to have been caused directly by fracking, as a result of pressure increases, first from injecting fracking fluids, and then from their remaining in the ground (Henry Fountain, In Alberta, a Link Between Fracking and Earthquakes," The New York Times, November 18, 2016).

              Keith Bradshaw, "Despite Climate Change Vow, China Pushes to Dig More Coal," The New York Times, November 29, 2016,, reported, "America’s uncertain stance toward global warming under the coming administration of Donald J. Trump has given China a leading role in the fight against climate change. It has called on the United States to recognize established science and to work with other countries to reduce dependence on dirty fuels like coal and oil.
              But there is a problem: Even as it does so, China is scrambling to mine and burn more coal.
              A lack of stockpiles and worries about electricity blackouts are spurring Chinese officials to reverse curbs that once helped reduce coal production. Mines are reopening. Miners are being lured back with fatter paychecks.
              China’s response to coal scarcity shows how hard it will be to wean the country off coal. That makes it harder for China and the world to meet emissions targets, as Chinese coal is the world’s largest single source of carbon emissions from human activities."

              Henry Fountain, "Scientists See Push From Climate Change in Louisiana Flooding," The New York Times, September  7, 2016,, reported, "Climate change has increased the likelihood of torrential downpours along the Gulf Coast like those that led to deadly floods in southern Louisiana last month, scientists said Wednesday.
            Using historical records of rainfall and computer models that simulate climate, the researchers, including several from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that global warming increased the chances of such intense rains in the region by at least 40 percent.
              'But it’s probably much closer to a doubling of the probability” of such an event, or a 100 percent increase, said Heidi Cullen, chief scientist for Climate Central, the research organization that coordinated the study.'"

              Mary Annette Pember, "Flooding in Northern Wisconsin Hits Bad River Reservation, July 14, 2016,, reported, "Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency Tuesday in the northern part of the state after storms caused flooding in eight counties. The Bad River Ojibwe reservation, located in Ashland County, has been hit hard.
              Several roads on the reservation and surrounding area have been washed out."
              “High water has cut off car traffic to Ashland, the main town in the region. The Bad River near Odanah broke records with a rise of 27.28 feet." A natural gas main washed out on the Bad River reservation leaving many without a means to prepare meals and some households have lost power."

              New England was suffering from an unusual and extreme drought over the summer and into the fall of 2016. Rivers have been low, many wells have gone dry, farmers had lost millions of dollars of ruined and damaged crops, as of late September (Jess Bidgood, "Scenes From New England’s Drought: Dry Wells, Dead Fish and Ailing Farms," The New York Times, September. 26, 2016,

              Craig S, Smith, "How a Changing Climate Is Shaping a Leaf Peeper’s Paradise," The New York Times, November  2, 2016,, reported, "A century ago, the flaming fall foliage in Nova Scotia would have long faded by early November. But today, some of the hills are still as nubbly with color as an aunt’s embroidered pillow.
            Climate change is responsible, scientists say. As the seasonal change creeps later into the year, not only here but all across the northern United States and Canada, the glorious colors will last longer, they predict — a rare instance where global warming is giving us something to look forward to."

              Niraj Chokshi and Henry Fountain, "Oklahoma Orders Shutdown of Wells After Record-Tying Earthquake," The New York Times, September 3, 2016,, reported that in Oklahoma, where numerous earthquakes have been found to be caused by injecting waste water from fracking into deep wells, at the beginning of September, "Oklahoma officials on Saturday ordered oil and gas operators to shut down three dozen wastewater disposal wells following a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that tied a record as the strongest in state history.
              The quake, centered near Pawnee, rattled the state just after 8 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, tying a record set in 2011 for the strongest such tremor in Oklahoma history, according to the National Weather Service.
Local officials reported moderate to severe damage and at least one nonlife-threatening injury."
              “Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for Pawnee County. She said on Twitter that crews inspecting bridges for damage found few in need of repair.
              The United States Geological Survey recorded later earthquakes of magnitudes 3.6, 3.4 and 2.9. The first quake was felt as far away as Chicago and Austin, Tex.
              Thousands of earthquakes have hit Oklahoma in recent years. Most have been imperceptible, but the number that can be felt — generally of magnitude 3.0 and higher — has risen significantly. Only three earthquakes of that size or stronger were recorded in 2009. Last year, the state had 907 such quakes. So far this year, there have been more than 400."

              The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reversed its findings on fracking, reporting in December 2016 that fracking for oil and gas has contaminated some drinking water (Coral Davenport, "E.P.A. Shifts on Fracking, Citing Harm to Water," The New York Times, Decmber14, 2016)

              The Sierra Club reported and commented, December 4, 2016,, "The Obama administration just announced that it will not grant the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline! Instead, the Army Corps of Engineers will conduct an environmental review and explore alternate routes for the project, away from the Missouri River crossing which would impact Tribal land and cultural resources.
              Under this announcement, Energy Transfer Partners must stop construction of the pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux's ancestral homelands until an environmental review has been conducted that includes public input.
              The fight to reject the Dakota Access Pipeline isn't over and we aren't going to back down until this pipeline is rejected once and for all, but the administration's announcement today ensures Energy Transfer Partners can't continue its assault on the Standing Rock Sioux's ancestral homelands. This couldn't have happened without the Standing Rock Sioux and the Water Protectors standing up for what's right and solidarity from millions of Americans. Sierra Club supporters like you made an unprecedented 20,000 calls and sent 115,000 letters to the White House last month alone on this issue."
              "Over the past few months, thousands of people and hundreds of Tribes from around the world have traveled to North Dakota to peacefully support the Standing Rock Sioux and oppose this dangerous pipeline. Their prayers and songs were increasingly met by a militarized police force using dogs, water cannons, rubber bullets, pepper spray, concussion grenades, and other tactics designed to intimidate, antagonize and invoke fear. This weekend more than 2,000 veterans traveled to the camps to show their support for Standing Rock and serve as self-proclaimed 'human shields.' 
              "History has taught us that it's never a question whether a pipeline will spill, rather a question of when, and a comprehensive environmental review will show that this dirty and dangerous project will threaten the safety of every community it cuts through. The 1,168-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, if completed, would carry 450,000 barrels of fracked oil every day through four states. It would cut through communities, farms, sensitive natural areas, wildlife habitat, and tribal lands like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's ancestral lands. It would also cross under the Missouri River just upstream of the Tribe's drinking water supply, where a spill would mean a serious threat to the Tribe's health, culture, and way of life."
              However, under Trump, reported February 1, 2017,, "Last week Donald Trump told the US Army Corps of Engineers to stop their comprehensive environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It's up to us to deny that request. Sorry, Donald.
              Yesterday, things got worse. This review moved one step closer to being scrapped as the Acting Secretary of the Army Corps directed them to grant the final permit needed. It could happen any time now and construction could resume - unless we flood the Army Corps with comments telling them to continue their full environmental review of the pipeline.
            If we succeed, DAPL will be forced through a multi-month review of its impact on drinking water, tribal rights and the climate."

              Jack Healey and John Schwartz, "U.S. Suspends Construction on Part of North Dakota Pipeline," The New York Times, September 9, 2016,, reported, "The federal government on Friday temporarily blocked construction on part of a North Dakota oil pipeline, an unusual intervention in a prairie battle that has drawn thousands of Native Americans and activists to camp and demonstrate."
              The Army Engineers and the Justice Department acted saying that in this, and other cases, more consultation needs to take place with effected Indian nations before major projects go ahead.
              However, the construction continued on private land in North Dakota.
            As of the end of October, Sue Skalcky ad Monica Davey, "Tension Between Police and Standing Rock Protesters Reaches Boiling Point," The New York Times, October, 28, 2016,, reported, "For months, tensions had mounted between protesters and law enforcement officials over the fate of an oil pipeline not far from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Late this week, the strained relations boiled over as officers tried to force the protesters out of an area where they had been camping.
Scores of officers dressed in riot gear walked in a wide line, sweeping protesters out of the area as face-to-face yelling matches broke out. Several vehicles, including at least one truck, were set ablaze. A standoff unfolded beside a bridge known as the Backwater Bridge, where protesters set fire to wooden boards and signs and held off the line of officers over many hours.
              By Friday evening, officers said they had arrested at least 142 protesters on charges including engaging in a riot and conspiracy to endanger by fire and explosion. Protesters gathered near the bridge were refusing to leave, the authorities said.
              Each side complained vehemently about violent tactics by the other. Officers said that protesters had attacked them with firebombs, logs, feces and debris. They acknowledged using pepper spray and beanbag rounds against the protesters, as well as a high-pitched sound device meant to disperse crowds."
              "The confrontation has been brewing for months as Energy Transfer Partners tries to finish construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, which is to carry oil 1,170 miles from North Dakota to Illinois. Company officials contend that the pipeline will be a safer way to transfer oil. But Native Americans and environmental activists, many of whom have gathered here, say the $3.7 billion pipeline threatens the region’s water supply and would harm sacred cultural lands and tribal burial grounds.
              Even as crews here were continuing construction of the pipeline along private lands, all sides were awaiting a review by the Army Corps of Engineers on a crucial stretch of the proposed path, through Army Corps land and under the Missouri River."
              "Protesters were not being asked to evacuate a second, larger camp that they have set up on federal land, a few miles away. The authorities said those who were swept off the private land would be permitted to stay in the second camp.
              But tribal leaders said the land in question was tribal land, and called on federal authorities to step in and oversee the actions of local law enforcement — particularly given Thursday’s sweep, which brought the total number of protesters arrested since August to 411."
              The "private land" in question is within the boundaries of lands that two treaties between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the U.S. government sets out as Standing Sioux land. But the government has not adhered to those treaties concerning the reservation boundary.
     reported and commented, January 25, 2017,, "It's been 48 hours since Trump signed his executive actions on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and already more than 50,000 people have pledged to fight these projects to the end.
            Trump made it seem like he was approving these pipelines, but he didn't. Both Dakota Access and Keystone XL face legal, procedural and financial hurdles -- not to mention the multi-million person opposition to his administration.
              We've stopped these pipelines before, and we can do it again.     Here's what you need to know about Trump's actions on Tuesday:
     He did *not* approve Keystone XL or Dakota Access. He briefly succeeded in confusing a lot of people on this point (including me, I will admit).
     On Dakota Access, he told the Army Corps of Engineers that the pipeline is in our "national interest" and told them to "consider" revoking the environmental review placed on it by the Obama Administration.
     On Keystone XL, he invited TransCanada to re-apply and if they do, mandated a final decision on the pipeline within 60 days and waived input from environmental agencies.
     And when TransCanada does re-apply, they no longer have permits in Nebraska, and their permits in South Dakota are being challenged.
     Trump also placed conditions on approval of the pipelines -- like limiting oil exports, and determining where the steel comes from -- that the oil companies might not accept.
And even if either pipeline moves forward, they will face a fierce, mobilized resistance from Indigenous communities and landowners who will bear the biggest impacts of spills and toxic pollution on their lands.
In other words: it ain't over until it's over -- and it's definitely not over. Every pledge is a demonstration that this mass movement is prepared and ready to resist. We, the signers, are a warning to any company, bank, or politician who chooses to support fossil fuel projects that will further tip our climate past its limits. 
              These pipelines will transport more oil that we don't need, and that our climate can't bear. We have the solutions to transform our energy system -- and we have the power and will to fight for them."

              Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) reported February 1, 2017,, " I just heard that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may try to rush a number of fracked-gas pipeline permits through this week."
              "FERC is the little-known but powerful federal agency that regulates interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity and approves construction of interstate natural gas pipelines and related infrastructure. That gives it a deciding voice in the drive to replace coal-fired power plants with fracked natural gas.
            This week, FERC may try to rush through the approval of several pending permit applications. Due to the resignation of a FERC commissioner, FERC may lose by Friday the quorum they need to approve permits – leading to speculation that the industry is pushing FERC to approve several pending permit applications in the next two days. These pipelines would cross the states of MI, IL, OH, PA, NY, MD, VA, WV, NC and SC."

              Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the expansion of the Kinder-Morgan Pipeline in Western Alberta, linking the Alberta Tar Sands to an oil port in British Columbia. The pipeline's capacity is to be increased from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels a day (Trudeau Approves Oil Pipeline Expansion in Canada," The New York Times, November 30, 2016).

              The rupture of a pipeline in Alabama, in September 2016, reduced gasoline supplies in the southeastern U.S., raising gasoline prices, while likely causing environmental damage. Perhaps 360,000 gallons of gasoline spilled in Shelby County, south of Birmingham, AL (Alan Blinder, "Gas Prices Rise in
South After Rupture in a Pipeline," The New York Times, September 20, 2016).
            Another Pipeline burst in Alabama, October 30, 2016. The Colonial gas pipeline broke with a fiery explosion south of Birmingham. People were evacuated from within three miles of the break, as the gas escaping from the pipe was allowed to burn off ("Fiery Pipeline Explosion in Alabama," The New York Times, November 1, 2016).

              "Obama Administration Cancels Illegal Oil Drilling Leases on Land Sacred to Blackfeet Tribe," Earth Justice, November 16, 2016,, reported, "The Blackfeet Nation won a hard fought victory today after the Interior Department announced the cancellation of 15 illegal oil and gas drilling leases in a wild area adjacent to Glacier National Park.
              These leases would have threatened this undeveloped region, known as the Badger-Two Medicine area, which is a federally-recognized Traditional Cultural District encompassing 130,000 acres along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front and adjacent to the southeast boundary of Glacier National Park. For more than 10,000 years, the area has provided strength, subsistence and cultural identity for members of the Blackfeet Nation. Earthjustice is working in partnership with tribal members to protect this special area."

              Daphne Wysham, "This City Just Banned Virtually All New Dirty-Energy Infrastructure:  Portland, Oregon has adopted a first-of-its-kind offensive strategy to prevent new oil, gas, and coal export facilities from being built," Institute for Policy Studies, December 21, 2016,, reported, "On December 14, the city council in Portland, Oregon, voted unanimously to set “the first stone in a green wall across the West Coast,” in the words of Mayor Charlie Hales. He was referring to a groundbreaking new zoning ordinance that effectively bans all new fossil-fuel-export infrastructure within the city’s limits—including new port facilities for shipping coal, and holding tanks for oil and natural gas—and prevents existing facilities from expanding. The vote marks a hard-fought victory for local activists and environmental groups. And, in anticipation of the Trump administration’s pro–fossil fuel agenda, it signals to other cities that innovative action to counter climate change is still possible at a local level."

              Greenpeace reported November 18, 2016,;jsessionid=06E4D06D9815093C9EBA23C73C8EA07E.app313a?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2051&autologin=true, "The Obama administration just released its final plan on where fossil fuel companies will be allowed to start new drilling for the next five years. Earlier this year we got the good news that the Atlantic Ocean would not be leased to fossil fuel companies — and today, we can say the same for the U.S. Arctic Ocean"

              Grassroots International, "Haiti and Climate Change," October 1, 2016,, reported, "As you may know our partners in Haiti are feeling the harsh effects of climate change in a very real way every single day. When I went to Haiti last summer I saw with my own eyes a rice field so dry that the earth was literally cracking and pulling apart. As a result, farmers were unable to make a living growing rice. And this was meant to be Haiti’s rainy season.
              I also heard from our partners that natural water sources are drying up all over in the Northwest. Since the government doesn’t provide any water infrastructure, people now must walk 6 or 7 hours a day to access water."

              Lizette Alvarez and Francis Robles, "Intensified by Climate Change, ‘King Tides’ Change Ways of Life in Florida: King tides, which frequently flood South Florida even when the sun shines, are the most blatant example of the interplay between rising seas and the alignment of the moon, sun and Earth.
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ and FRANCES ROBLESNOV. 17, 2016,, reported on Fort Lauderdale, FL, "In an enclave of a city known as the Venice of America, where dream-big houses look out over a maze of picturesque canals, the comparison to the Venice of Italy no longer seems so appealing.
              On Monday morning, shortly after November’s so-called supermoon dropped from view on Mola Avenue, it was easy to see why. The tide swelled on command. Seawater gurgled audibly up through manhole covers and seeped from the grass. Under a sunny sky, the water drowned docks and slid over low sea walls. By 8:15 a.m., peak tide, this street in the Las Olas Isles neighborhood was inundated, just like the Venice across the pond."
              "In South Florida, which takes rising sea levels seriously enough to form a regional compact to deal with global warming, climate change is no abstract issue. By 2100, sea levels could swell high enough to submerge 12.5 percent of Florida’s homes. These so-called king tides, which happen frequently, are the most blatant example of the interplay between rising seas and the alignment of the moon, sun and Earth. Even without a drop of rain, some places flood routinely."

              As climate change has brought an increasing number of strong storms, though most often it is difficult to tell if any particular weather occurrence is the result of climate change, Haiti suffered tremendous damage, and likely loss of life, as Hurricane Matthew with 145 MPH winds, became the worst natural event to strike the island nation since the 2010 earth quake. Initial reports indicated that at least 400 homes had been destroyed and several thousands of livestock had been killed. The threat of disease, particularly an expanded cholera epidemic, following the storm, was large. Hurricane Mathew was headed for the Atlantic coast of Florida and possibly north along the Atlantic coast to North Carolina, before heading out to sea. The rise in sea level makes such storms greater threats than previously (Azam Ahmed, "Hurricane Matthew Pummels Haiti and Moves Toward U.S.," The New York Times, October 4, 2016,
              While it may never be known how many died in the near total devastation of some towns and rural areas of Haiti in Hurricane Mathew, by October 9, officially known and reported dead were well over 300 and could in fact be over 800 or even 1000.
              Meanwhile, Hurricane Mathew passing offshore caused some damage in North Eastern Florida and on up through South Carolina, before swamping North Carolina for over 100 miles inland with massive amounts of rain. As of October 9, a number of rivers were at record high levels and flooding and were expected to stay high, perhaps becoming even higher, for at least several days. Some people said this was the worst flooding ever experienced in North Carolina (Jess Bidgood, Alan Blinder and Jonathan M. Katz, October 9, 2016, "North Carolina, Saturated and Surprised, Reels from Hurricane Matthew," The New York Times, October 9, 2016,

              Franklin Courson reported by E-mail, November 14, 2016, "North Carolina is Burning," "First of all, we are in a severe drought situation.  Our area has had only 1.3' of rain since September first and the land is parched. No rain in sight for at least another 10 days.  As a result, fires have broken out.  The largest is now over 7,000 acres and is in the county adjoining Asheville.  Mandatory evacuations are in effect there.  There are also voluntary evacuations in other parts of that county as well as our county where several fires have reached over 300-400 acres.  There are around 30 fires, large and small in our area as well as Eastern Tennessee and the northern part of South Carolina.  Firefighters from 30 states have travelled to help us."
              Alan Blinder, "Wildfires Char Over 80,000 Acres in the Parched South," The New York Times, November 15, 2016,, reported, "Dozens of large wildfires raged on Tuesday in the South, where more than 80,000 acres have burned and where emergency officials faced ominous forecasts of more dry weather and spreading flames.
            Although the fires often stayed miles from cities and towns, the blazes had broad effects in the South. Smoke drifted far from the fires, reaching places like Atlanta and Charleston, S.C., and prompting state environmental agencies to issue air quality warnings."
              John Jeter, Jonah Engle Bromwich and Niaj Choksi, "Gatlinburg Wildfires Force Evacuations: ‘It Was Like Driving Into Hell’," The New York Times, November 29, 2016,, "Deadly wildfires ripped through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee on Monday night and Tuesday, forcing thousands to flee as emergency responders sought to contain a blaze that conjured biblical comparison.
              'Everywhere you looked, there were fires everywhere. It was like driving into hell,' said Rain Moore, 32, a lieutenant with the Sneedville Fire Department, about an hour and a half away.
Mr. Moore said he arrived early Tuesday and, while fighting the fire in the darkness, saw orange flames burning from the center of trees, indicating a strong intensity.
              Fueled by high winds and a drought in Tennessee, the fires damaged about 150 buildings and forced thousands to evacuate. Three people died and 14 others were injured, officials said Tuesday afternoon.
            More than 14,000 people left Gatlinburg, and others were evacuated from nearby Pigeon Forge as well as other parts of Sevier County."

              On October 15-16, 2016, the State of New Mexico was in the midst of an unusual heat wave. In numerous places around the state Albuquerque Chanel 4 weather reported that temperatures equaled or exceeded the record highs for those days. In most cases the record that was broken was made in 2014 or 2015.
              Weather report indicated that the heatwave, with record temperatures for the date, took place over the next few days in the Midwest and the East. A week later the heat wave, with many record daily temperatures, retuned to New Mexico.

              In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’.," The New York Times, January                           Q 28, 2017,, " Doug Palen, a fourth-generation grain farmer on Kansas’ wind-swept plains, is in the business of understanding the climate. Since 2012, he has choked through the harshest drought to hit the Great Plains in a century, punctuated by freakish snowstorms and suffocating gales of dust. His planting season starts earlier in the spring and pushes deeper into winter.
            To adapt, he has embraced an environmentally conscious way of farming that guards against soil erosion and conserves precious water. He can talk for hours about carbon sequestration — the trapping of global-warming-causing gases in plant life and in the soil — or the science of the beneficial microbes that enrich his land.
              In short, he is a climate change realist. Just don’t expect him to utter the words “climate change.”

              With Tornado season now much longer, on November 30, 2016, tornadoes killed 5 people and damaged dozens of homes and businesses in Polk County, TN and Rosailie, AL ("Deadly Tornadoes Rip Through Alabama and Tennessee," The New York Times, November 30, 2016).
              Another tornado, in what previously would have been out of season, struck Hattiesburg, MS, January 21, 2016, killing four people and destroying and damaging numerous buildings ("Tornado Kills 4 People in Hattiesburg, Miss.," The New York Times, January 21, 2016,
              The unusually strong thunder storm weather continuing, Richard Fausset and Jonah Engel Bromwich,  "At Least 18 Die as Tornadoes Sweep Southeast U.S.," The New York Times, January 22, 2017,, — "At least 18 people were killed and 43 more injured in Georgia and Mississippi after thunderstorms and tornadoes roared through the South this weekend, leaving some things standing and some things fallen, some lives whole and others blown to bits."

              Global warming induced climate change continues to bring more extreme weather, sometimes in pairs of opposites as hit the U.S. west coast in January when somewhat eased severe long term drought, especially in California, was broken by a series of storms with tremendous rains and snow bringing floods from Southern California to Portland Oregon. On one day, Long Beach, CA received a record 1.54" while record snows brought many feet snow pack to the Sierra Nevada, quickly going from very little to 1.63% of normal. 12 feet of snow fell at the ski area at Tahoe, while Crater Lake in Oregon received some 8 feet of snow, and a foot feel in southwest Washington, that normally receives precipitation as rain. There was severe flooding, evacuations and rescues in some areas, including near Sacramento, CA (Adam Nagourney, "It Never Rains in California (It Pours)," The New York Times, January 14, 2017; and Marcio J. Sanchez and Janie Har, "Drought-ending storms swamp Northwest," Albuquerque Journal, January 12, 2017).

              As a likely indicator of climate change, The English City of Carlisle has received three huge deluging storms since 2005 of a scale that previously occurred only once every 200 years ("Storms in Succession The New York Times, September 13, 2016).

              Unusually strong winds and dryness spread wildfire through Haifa and areas of Northern Israel for a number of days, in November 2916, devouring forests, damaging homes and other buildings and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people (Isabel Kershner, Israeli Officials Pointing to Arson as Wildfires Rage for Third Day," The New York Times, November 25, 2016).

              Northern North Korea suffered severe rains brining the worst flooding in many years, in September 2016, causing tens of thousands of people to lose homes (Choe Sang-Hun, "North Korea Draws Aid In Response To Flooding: Emergency Food For Over 140,000," The New York Times, September 15, 2016).

              Typhoon Haima Slams Into The Philippines, World Food Program, October 20, 2016,, "Last night a Category 4 typhoon lashed the Philippines with 140 mile-per-hour winds, torrential rain and storm surges, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The storm left behind a broad path of debris, flooding, landslides and damage to homes and buildings.
              One village official said it was the worst storm he’s ever experienced. 'I'm 60 years old, this is the strongest typhoon I have ever seen,' Willie Cabalteja told The Associated Press in the country’s Ilocos Sur province. 'We haven't slept. Trees were forced down, houses lost their roofs and fences and metal sheets were flying around all night.'
              Yesterday's Super Typhoon Haima in the Philippines comes just weeks after Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in need of emergency food assistance. Like Haiti, the Philippines is especially vulnerable to natural disasters. A changing climate means storms like these are becoming more frequent and intense. According to Reuters, Haima is the 12th typhoon to strike the island nation so far this year."

              Nicholas Kristof, “As Donald Trump Denies Climate Change, These Kids Die of It, The New York Times, January 6, 2017,, noted, “Southern Africa’s drought and food crisis have gone largely unnoticed around the world. The situation has been particularly severe in Madagascar, a lovely island nation known for deserted sandy beaches and playful long-tailed primates called lemurs.
But the southern part of the island doesn’t look anything like the animated movie ‘Madagascar’: Families are slowly starving because rains and crops have failed for the last few years. They are reduced to eating cactus and even rocks or ashes. The United Nations estimates that nearly one million people in Madagascar alone need emergency food assistance.”
The drought is also severe in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and a related drought has devastated East Africa and the Horn of Africa and is expected to continue this year. The U.N. World Food Program has urgently appealed for assistance, but only half the money needed has been donated.
The immediate cause of the droughts was an extremely warm El Niño event, which came on top of a larger drying trend in the last few decades in parts of Africa. New research, just published in the bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, concludes that human-caused climate change exacerbated El Niño’s intensity and significantly reduced rainfall in parts of Ethiopia and southern Africa.
The researchers calculated that human contributions to global warming reduced water runoff in southern Africa by 48 percent and concluded that these human contributions ‘have contributed to substantial food crises.’”

              Vivian Yee and Patrick McGeehan, "Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant to Close by 2021," The New York Times, January 6, 2017,, reported, "The Indian Point nuclear plant will shut down by April 2021 under an agreement New York State reached this week with Entergy, the utility company that owns the facility in Westchester County, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal."

              The Tennessee Valley Authority announced, in September, that it is selling the partially constructed Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Alabama at a huge loss, the site to be used for other purposes ("Partially Built Nuclear Plant To Be Sold at Huge Loss," The New York Times, September 12, 2016).

              The government of Great Britain, in June 2017, approved the building of a nuclear electric generating plant, the Hinkley Point C generating station, on the Somerset Coast (Stephen Castle, "Britain  Gives O.K to Build Nuclear Plant Tied to China.," The New York Times, June16, 2016).

              Jonathan Soble, "Japan’s Nuclear Industry Finds a Lifeline in India After Foundering Elsewhere," The New York Times, November  11, 2016,, reported, "Despite objections from antinuclear campaigners, Japan’s government cleared the way on Friday for companies that build nuclear power plants to sell their technology to India — one of the few nations planning big expansions in atomic energy — by signing a cooperation agreement with the South Asian country.
The deal is a lifeline for the Japanese nuclear power industry, which has been foundering since meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northeastern Japan in 2011. Plans to build a dozen new reactors in Japan were canceled after that, a gut punch for some of the country’s biggest industrial conglomerates, including Toshiba and Hitachi."

              Mike Ives, "More Than 9 in 10 People Breathe Bad Air, W.H.O. Study Says, The New York Times, September 27, 2016,, reported, World Health Organization said Tuesday that 92 percent of people breathe what it classifies as unhealthy air, in another sign that atmospheric pollution is a significant threat to global public health.
            A new report, the W.H.O.’s most comprehensive analysis so far of outdoor air quality worldwide, also said about three million deaths a year — mostly from cardiovascular, pulmonary and other noncommunicable diseases — were linked to outdoor air pollution. Nearly two-thirds of those deaths are in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region, compared with 333,000 in Europe and the Americas, the report said."

              Lauren McCauley, "Making Case for Clean Air, World Bank Says Pollution Cost Global Economy $5 Trillion: Impact is most severe in developing nations where '93 percent of deaths and nonfatal illnesses attributed to air pollution worldwide occurred' in 2013," Common Dreams, September 8, 2016,, reported, "Air pollution is the fourth-leading cause of premature deaths worldwide and the problem only continues to worsen, but governments have been reluctant to make the dramatic changes necessary to curb polluting industries in favor of cleaner alternatives.
              In an effort to strengthen the case for action, the World Bank along with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle released a joint study (pdf) Thursday warning about the economic effects of pollution-related fatalities.
              In 2013, one in every 10 deaths was caused by diseases associated with outdoor and household air pollution—such as lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, and chronic bronchitis. And, according to the study, these fatalities cost the global economy roughly $225 billion in lost labor income. That number rises to more than $5 trillion when accounting for so-called 'welfare costs' —what people are willing to pay for the reduction or prevention of pollution-induced death.
              Noting that the losses equal the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of India, Canada, and Mexico, the report authors say the findings are 'a sobering wake-up call.'
              And this problem is only growing worse, particularly in developing nations where rapid urban growth is clogging city air while billions of households are still reliant on cooking with solid fuels—such such as wood, charcoal, coal, and dung—which produce high levels of damaging pollutants.
              'In 2013 about 93 percent of deaths and nonfatal illnesses attributed to air pollution worldwide occurred in these countries, where 90 percent of the population was exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution,' the report states. 'Children under age 5 in lower-income countries are more than 60 times as likely to die from exposure to air pollution as children in high-income countries.'
              What's more, these fatalities are crippling poor nations economically.
            In 2013, which is the most recent data available, China lost nearly 10 percent of its GDP, India lost 7.69 percent, while Sri Lanka and Cambodia each lost roughly 8 percent, as a result of pollution-related deaths.
              'Apart from the sheer magnitude of the costs, the disproportionate impacts on the poorest segments of the population make air pollution a threat to shared and inclusive prosperity,' the report states. 'The poor are more likely to live and work in polluted environments, but they are less able to avoid exposure or self-protect.'
              Rich nations are not immune, however. Pollution was found to have cost the United States $45bn, Germany $18bn, and the United Kingdom $7.6bn. Iceland, with losses of just $3m, was found to be the least impacted by deaths related to dirty air.
              The report does not even include the myriad other economic impacts of pollution, such as health costs as well how it impacts productivity 'by stunting plant growth and reducing the productivity of agriculture,' for example, or by 'making cities less attractive to talented workers, thereby reducing cities' competitiveness.'
              Therefore, the true costs could be 'very much more,' as Urvashi Narain, lead author and senior environmental economist for IHME, put it. Adding, 'The scale of the problem is truly daunting.'
              'However impressive and abstract these large numbers are, it is our hope that the cost of premature deaths for countries' economies will leave the pages of this study and inform public debate and policy decisions at the national level,' the authors conclude. 'In country after country, the cost of pollution in human lives and on the quality of life is too high. We must work together to reduce it.'"

              Geeta Anand, "300 Million Children Breathe Highly Toxic Air, Unicef Reports," The New York Times, October 30, 2016,, reported, "About 300 million children in the world breathe highly toxic air, the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a report on Monday that used satellite imagery to illustrate the magnitude of the problem.
              The vast majority of these children, about 220 million, live in South Asia, in places where air pollution is at least six times the level that the World Health Organization considers safe, Unicef said.
The agency said the children faced serious health risks as a result.
              'Children are uniquely vulnerable because their lungs are still developing,' said Nicholas Rees, the author of the report."

              Poland was suffering very bad smog in mid January, especially in its cities, as a cold snap brought thousands of people to use heaters burning things like coal and garbage. The air pollution levels were the highest on record in the short time that Poland has been monitoring air quality. Poland has 33 of the 50 most polluted cities in Europe ("Joanna Beendt, Warsaw Grapples With Gloomy, Gray Smog," The New York Times, January 14, 2017,

              Geeta Anand, "Farmers’ Unchecked Crop Burning Fuels India’s Air Pollution," The New York Times, November  2, 2016,, reported, "Desperate to reduce the pollution that has made New Delhi’s air quality among the worst in the world, the city has banned private cars for two-week periods and campaigned to reduce its ubiquitous fireworks during holiday celebrations.
              But one thing India has not seriously tried could make the most difference: curtailing the fires set to rice fields by hundreds of thousands of farmers in the nearby states of Punjab and Haryana, where much of the nation’s wheat and rice is grown.
              Although India’s environmental court, the National Green Tribunal, told the government last year to stop farmers from burning the straw left over from their rice harvests, NASA satellite images in recent weeks have shown virtually no abatement. Farmers are continuing to burn most of the leftover straw — an estimated 32 million tons — to make room to plant their winter wheat crop.
              While fireworks associated with the Hindu holiday of Diwali were blamed for a particularly bad smog problem in recent days, smoke from the crop fires blowing across the northern plains into New Delhi accounts for about one-quarter of the most dangerous air pollution in the winter months. In the growing metropolis of nearly 20 million people, pollution soared well above hazardous levels in the past week."

              Suhasins Raj and Ellen Barry, "Delhi Closes Over 1,800 Schools in Response to Dangerous Smog," The New York Times, November 4, 2016,, reported, "For the first time ever, more than 1,800 public primary schools in India’s capital will close on Saturday to protect children from exposure to dangerous levels of air pollution, the authorities said on Friday.
              The decision affects more than a million children.
              A thick, acrid smog has settled over the capital over the past week, a combination of smoke from burning crops in surrounding agricultural states, fireworks on the Hindu festival of Diwali, dust and vehicle emissions.
              Levels of the most dangerous particles, called PM 2.5, reached 600 micrograms per cubic meter in different parts of the city this week, according to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.
              Sustained exposure to that concentration of PM 2.5 is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes a day, said Sarath Guttikunda, the director of Urban Emissions, an independent research group.
              The particles are small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream, increasing the risk of stroke and heart failure, and can cause severe respiratory problems including asthma and pneumonia."

              George Monbiot, "One-Way Street," published in the Guardian 9th November 2016,, reported on Great Britain, "The High Court judgment on air pollution is an opportunity to rethink our whole transport system.
              The government’s defeat in the High Court last week was devastating – but I’m not talking about the Brexit judgment. The environmental lawyers ClientEarth sued it over air pollution for the second time, and for the second time won. After trying every trick in the book to continue poisoning the British population, the government will now have to take action.
This will mostly consist of designating more clean air zones, in which diesel engines will be restricted. After 18 years of promoting diesel, that’s quite a reversal. In several city centres, we will be entitled to inhale the attar of roses and essence of orange blossom that wafts out of petrol engines. Outside the clean air zones, you are politely requested to die quietly.

              Thomas Erdbrink, "As a Noxious Smog Descends, Tehran Tries to Ignore It," The New York Times, November
15, 2016,, reported,
"Like many other metropolises in developing countries, including New Delhi and Beijing, Tehran and other Iranian cities regularly disappear under a thick blanket of smog. Every year in the autumn, the pollution gets trapped by the Alborz Mountains that hug the city like an overbearing mother. It happens so often that it is hardly news anymore.
For most Iranians, the pollution is the new normal, a problem so large and complex that it is better just to pretend that it is not there.
              Of course, the consequences are undeniable. On Tuesday, a City Council member said that 412 people had died because of the pollution in recent days. Iranian officials estimate that the pollution causes the premature deaths of about 45,000 people nationwide each year.
              Hospital wards are filled with coughing patients. Children are told to cover their mouths when they go outside. With the increase in air pollution over the past decade, cases of bone marrow and lung cancer related to high levels of lead in the air have exploded, health experts say."

              Andrew E. Kramer, "In Siberia, a ‘Blood River’ in a Dead Zone Twice the Size of Rhode Island," The New York Times, September, 8, 2016,, reported, "A river in the far north of Siberia turned bright red this week, residents said, leading Russians to nickname the tributary the “blood river.”
              A government ministry said it was investigating a possible leak of industrial waste, but had not determined what caused the discoloration. One hint at the possible cause is the path the river, the Daldykan, takes past the Norilsk Nickel mine and metallurgical plant, by many measures one of the world’s most polluting enterprises. The plant belches so much acid rain-producing sulfur dioxide — two million tons a year, more than is produced in all of France — that it is surrounded by a dead zone of tree trunks and mud about twice the size of Rhode Island."

              Lauren McCauley, "Fall of the Wild: Study Documents 'Catastrophic Decline' in World's Untouched Places: With 10 percent lost in just 20 years, researchers say wilderness is being lost at a 'staggering' pace," Common Dreams, September 08, 2016,, reported, "Wilderness, though remote by nature, is not immune to the ravages of humanity. In fact, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology, the world's wild places are undergoing "catastrophic decline" and could be facing elimination within decades if monumental policy shifts are not implemented.
              'If we don't act soon, there will only be tiny remnants of wilderness around the planet, and this is a disaster for conservation, for climate change, and for some of the most vulnerable human communities on the planet,' warned lead author Dr. James Watson, of the University of Queensland in Australia and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. 'We have a duty to act for our children and their children.'
              Watson and his team mapped wilderness areas around the globe, which were defined as 'biologically and ecologically intact landscapes free of any significant human disturbance,' and then compared that to one produced by the same methods in the early 1990s.
              The amount of wilderness loss in those two decades was 'staggering,' according to co-author Dr. Oscar Venter of the University of Northern British Colombia.
              The study reported total losses of 3.3 million km² since the 1990s, particularly in South America, which experienced 29.6 percent loss, and Africa, with 14 percent. The world currently has a total of 30.1 million km² of remaining wilderness, which is primarily located in North America, North Asia, North Africa, and Australia.
              Overall, the researchers found that rapid development had wiped out roughly 10 percent of wilderness over the past 20 years—a pace that, researchers say, spells disaster for these pristine ecosystems if no changes in policy are made.
              'Despite being strongholds for endangered biodiversity, for buffering and regulating local climates, and for supporting many of the world’s most politically and economically marginalized communities,' Watson noted that wilderness areas 'are completely ignored in environmental policy.'
              'We probably have one to two decades to turn this around,' he warned.
              Venter agreed, stating, 'You cannot restore wilderness, once it is gone, and the ecological process that underpin these ecosystems are gone, and it never comes back to the state it was.'
              'Without proactive global interventions we could lose the last jewels in nature's crown," he continued. 'The only option is to proactively protect what is left.'
              Indeed, coming just weeks after scientists announced that the planet has officially entered a new epoch, the Anthropocene, due to the impacts of human activity, the rapid decline of wild spaces also comes as 'no surprise' to many.
              'Given the fact that we have already converted a third of the world's land surface to agriculture of some kind, and that we are changing the atmosphere so rapidly that unless we start taking truly effective action now, it should not be surprising that the wild and natural areas of the world are being altered and even destroyed so rapidly,' said Peter Raven, chairman of the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration and president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, according to National Geographic."

            Nika Knight, "Indonesia's Illegal Deforestation Fires Killed Over 100,000: Study: Illegal fires used to deforest land for palm oil and pulpwood plantations are raging again today," Common Dreams, September 19, 2016,, reported, "As illegal forest-clearing fires once again burn acres of tropical peatland in Indonesia, new research on last year's deadly blazes estimates that 100,000 people died prematurely from the toxic haze that resulted from the fires.
              The fires are set each year to cheaply and quickly clear tropical peatland for palm oil and pulpwood plantations. While technically illegal, Indonesia has historically failed to regulate the devastating practice.
              An Indonesian scientist described the fires last year as a 'crime against humanity,' and NASA characterized the out-of-control blazes as the worst climate disaster on Earth at the time, as Common Dreams reported.
              Yet the Indonesian government last year only reported 19 deaths from the blaze that forced school closures and grounded flights in the neighboring countries of Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.
              Now, research from scientists at Harvard and Columbia estimates that the human death toll was over 5,000 times the government estimate.
            'If nothing changes, this killer haze will carry on taking a terrible toll, year after year."—Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace Indonesia
              The study, published Monday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, 'combined satellite data with models of health impacts from smoke exposure and readings from pollution monitoring stations,' the Guardian notes.
              The results led the researchers to estimate that 100,300 died from the toxic haze that blanketed the region for weeks in 2015. They estimated 91,600 deaths in Indonesia, 6,500 in Malaysia, and 2,200 in Singapore.
              And those estimates are conservative, Greenpeace International observed in a statement:
              The cost to human health calculated in the new report is a conservative estimate, because the study did not include the impacts of the cocktail of other toxins which formed part of the haze, such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic and a host of others. It considered only premature adult deaths brought on by breathing high levels of smoke particles known as PM2.5. Measuring 2.5 micrometers or less, they are small enough to be inhaled and some are small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream. They are known to cause deaths due to lung, heart and circulatory diseases including asthma, heart attack and stroke. Harm to children and pregnancies was not included, although the report notes that 'impacts on children are likely significant.'
              Indeed, Greenpeace International also quoted Dr. Nursyam Ibrahim, deputy of the West Kalimantan chapter of the Indonesian Medical Association, saying that the 'greatest impact from breathing particles from peat fire smoke falls on vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant women, babies, and children.'
              'The Indonesian Medical Association in West Kalimantan calls on all parties to work together to prevent fires, especially in peatlands,' Ibrahim added. 'What is at stake is a decline in the quality of Indonesia's future human resources. We are the doctors who care for the vulnerable groups exposed to toxic smoke in every medical center, and we know how awful it is to see the disease symptoms experienced by babies and children in our care.'
              The toll wasn't limited to humans, of course. Orangutans were also displaced and sickened by the thousands as their habitats went up in smoke.
              And the disaster continues, as fire season is once again well under way in Indonesia. Last month, Singapore was again blanketed in the toxic haze produced by Indonesia's plantation industry's "slash and burn" practices.
              Several weeks ago, environmental groups also reported that the illegal practice of burning peatland was spreading to the relatively untouched province of Papua.
              'More than a hundred thousand are estimated to have died prematurely last year. Now fires are back again. If nothing changes, this killer haze will carry on taking a terrible toll, year after year,' said Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Yuyun Indradi. 'Industry and government must take real action to stop forest clearing and peatland drainage for plantations.'
              'Now that we know the scale of the death toll, failure to act immediately to stem the loss of life would be a crime,' Indradi concluded."

              Jen Hayden, "Sinkhole at FL fertilizer company leaked 215 mil gallons of radioactive water, seeped into aquifer," Daily Kos, September 19, 2016,,reported, "The Mosaic Company noticed a dropping water level at their fertilizer facility in Mulberry, Florida on August 27th and notified state authorities. They didn’t notify the public for another 3 weeks and by then a large amount of 'slightly radioactive water' had already leaked:
            A sinkhole spanning 45 feet (13.7 meters) in diameter opened at a Mosaic Co phosphate fertilizer facility in Florida, leaking 215 million gallons of 'slightly radioactive water,' a company spokesman said on Friday.
              Needless to say, people are questioning why it took the company three weeks to notify the public. 
              'It’s hard to trust them when they say 'Don’t worry,' when they’ve been keeping it secret for three weeks,' she said.
              The Floridan aquifer is massive and extends all the way to South Carolina, supplying much of Florida with their water:
The Floridan aquifer, as opposed to surficial aquifers, is the portion of the principal artesian aquifer that extends into Florida, parts of southern Alabama, southeastern Georgia, and southern South Carolina. In Georgia, it supplies the cities of Savannah and Brunswick. In Florida it supplies the cities of Daytona BeachDeltonaFlagler BeachGainesvilleTampaJacksonvilleOcalaOrlandoSt. Petersburg, and Tallahassee, several municipalities in South Florida, and numerous rural communities.
              Residents are beginning to protest and question the reporting and clean-up process:
              Jessica Broadbent lives a few miles from where the sinkhole swallowed all of that water.
              'It’s going into our water supply,' she said. 'It affecting our children. Our children’s children, eventually, our community. It affects our environment.'
              She adds she is concerned about the lapse in time between when the sinkhole opened, and when the public was made aware of the issue.
              'Oh, I’m very upset about that,' she said. 'I think there should’ve been a hundred percent transparency. The minute there’s a leak, a sinkhole, whatever the case may be, there needs to be immediate community involvement and understanding so that there can be transparency.  So it doesn’t look like a cover up because that’s what it looks like.'
              The Minnesota-based Mosaic Company says it is trying to "recover" the radioactive water:
            Mosaic is using ground water well P-4 to recover water that was lost as a result of the sinkhole formation. The well, which is 24-inches in diameter and 800 feet deep, is located west of the south gyp stack and is shown in the photo below.
How’s it possible to recover radioactive water that has already seeped into the aquifer? Resident Bruce Mullins asked the same question in an interview with WFLA:
            'If you drop 215 million gallons of water into a moving body of water, how in the world are you going to reclaim even a good portion of that much less any of it?”  Mullins said. “I would like to see the science behind that and how they can prove that they have reclaimed this water.'
WFLA was able to capture video footage of what appears to be the water leaking into the aquifer, noting the stream of water was not seen in video from the day before. They also note the EPA and Florida environmental agencies kept a lid on the leak for three weeks as well. In the jaw-dropping interview below, a Mosaic rep says the clean-up process will take years, but everything is fine. Just. Fine. Nothing to see here."

              Peter H. Gleick, "Water Strategies for the Next Administration: Water policy offers opportunity for nonpartisan agreement," Science, November 4, 2016, comments that the U.S. is urgently in need of an appropriate water policy, as "Water problems directly threaten food production, fisheries, energy generation, foreign policy, public health, and international security. Access to safe, sufficient and affordable water is vital to well being and to the economy. Yet the U.S. water systems, once the envy of the world, are falling into disrepair and new threats loom." The article provides an analysis of the problem complex and how it might be approached.

              Les Neuhaus, "Sewage Overflow Again Fouls Tampa Bay After Storm," The New York Times, September 16, 2016,, reported, "When Hurricane Hermine bowled onto Florida’s Gulf Coast this month, officials in this city were confronted with a familiar problem: The hurricane and days of rain before it had overloaded St. Petersburg’s water pipes and treatment tanks so there was no room for the city’s waste.
              As a result, city officials said, over the course of roughly 10 days, the St. Petersburg authorities released 136 million to 151 million gallons of partly treated raw sewage, mixed with rainwater, into Tampa Bay. Officials said they were still determining the precise amount.
              It was the third time in the last 13 months that St. Petersburg had discharged significant amounts of sewage containing a variety of bacteria and contaminants into local waters. On Friday, state environmental regulators said they would be looking into how the city handled the hurricane and its efforts to fix the waste-treatment system."

              Taylor Hill, "Coffee Grounds Could Clean Up Lead-Contaminated Water: Researchers find that a sponge like material made of recycled espresso could make drinking water safer," TakePart, September  26, 2016,, reported, "Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world, which makes spent coffee grounds one of the most frequently tossed out waste products of your morning routine.
Over the years, people have found myriad uses for spent coffee grounds, ranging from fertilizer fodder to meat marinades, but scientists have found a way to use the discarded grounds to filter lead and mercury out of water.
              The discovery could give residents dealing with harmful heavy metals in their water systems cheap and sustainable access to safer drinking water.
Scientist Despina Fragouli and her colleagues at the Italian Institute of Technology found that mixing spent coffee grounds with a silicone product creates a rubbery foam substance capable of separating out lead and mercury from water, according to a study published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering."

              John R. Platt, "The West Coast’s Largest Estuary Is Being Starved of Water: A report warns the decades-long diversion of rivers that feed San Francisco Bay has put the vital ecosystem on the verge of collapse," takepart, October 13, 2016,, reported, "California’s vibrant and biodiverse San Francisco Bay, the biggest estuary on the West Coast of North America, is running out of freshwater.
            In some years, as much as two-thirds of the freshwater that would normally reach the bay—an estuary where freshwater and ocean water mix—is diverted for urban and agricultural use, effectively starving the ecosystem, according to a new report from the Bay Institute, an environmental organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the local watershed."
              The water is already becoming more saline, driving out some fish species. As the fresh water supply lessons, the whole eco system is being impacted.

              Nida Najar, "Violence Erupts in Southern India Over Order to Share Water," The New York Times, September 12, 2016,, reported
"Violent protests broke out in the southern state of Karnataka on Monday after the Indian Supreme Court ordered the state to release water to the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu, the latest chapter in a longstanding dispute.
              The authorities in the Karnataka city of Bangalore banned public gatherings and deployed riot police officers as protesters set fire to vehicles and pelted buildings and cars with stones. The police fired on protesters who were setting fire to police vehicles in Bangalore, killing one and injuring two others, said Madhukar Narote, an assistant subinspector for the state police."
              The water is on a river that runs between states. Droughts and weak monsoons, happening more often and likely related to climate change, often cause conflicts over water in India.

            The New Mexico Rio Grande Pueblos of Isleta, Sandia, Santa Ana and Cochiti came together with the Audubon Society and the Club at Las Campanas, a Santa Fe golf course, to return important water flow to the Rio Grande River. The Pueblos and the club each contributed around 100 acre-feet of their water from the San Juan-Chama diversion project, while the Audubon Society worked closely with the Middle Rio Grande Conservation District on bringing the San Juan-Chama water to the Rio Grande, and sought New Mexico state funding for habitat restoration on tribal land (Sandra Postal, "Native Americans and Conservationists Collaborate to Return Vital Flow to the Rio Grande," National Geographic's Freshwater Currents, September 28, 2016).

              Studies have found that the world's oceans have always been near the point of anoxia, oxygen depletion to the point that they cannot support life, and past environmental crises have caused very wide spread anoxia. Currently, oxygen levels in the oceans are dropping, partly as the result of human activity that has increased the nutrients flowing down rivers into oceans, but more importantly as a direct result of global warming (Andrew J. Watson, "Oceans on the edge of anoxia," Science, December 23, 2016).

              Rising global temperatures are reducing ocean fish populations. A study of 892 ocean species finds that, over fishing and other factors aside, a rise in atmospheric temperature of 1.5 degree C. would cause global fish losses of 2.5%. At 3.5 degrees increase in global temperature, fish losses would rise 8% over all, but in tropical locations fish declines would be between 20% and 80% (Elizabeth A. Fulton, "A stich in time saves nine...billion," Science, December 23, 2016).

              Faced with the shrinking of Ponyang, China's largest freshwater lake, the local government has proposed building a 10,000 foot slice gate, to keep more water in the lake in the winter. But environmental scientists object, saying that damming the lake in that way would interrupt regular water cycles and cause great ecological damage (Mike Ives, "As China's Largest Freshwater Lake Shrinks, a Solution Faces Criticism," The New York Times, December 29, 2016).

              A combination of heavy demand for water from oil drillers and the shrinking of glaciers due to global warming has been drying up the centuries old Karez tunnel irrigation system of China's Xinjiang Provence (Andrew Jacobs, " Xinjiang's Ancient Water Tunnels Are Running Dry," The New York Times, September 22, 2016).

              The Environmental Protection Agency issued a final report, in January 2017, finding that water quality in the affected rivers, including the San Juan. have returned to their state before the Gold King Mine Spill of August 2015 (Donovan Quintero, "EPA final report: Water back to pre-spill state," Navajo Times, January 12, 2017).

              Nika Knight, " Up to 14 Million Children Exposed to Toxic Industrial Chemicals in Schools: Harvard researchers estimate toxic PCBs may be present in up to 26,000 U.S. schools," Common Dreams, October 06, 2016,, reported, "Millions of children in the U.S. are being exposed to deadly polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in their schools, despite the fact that such chemicals have been banned for decades.
              That's according to a new report from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) that analyzed Harvard research and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, and which also uncovered a dismal lack of regulation around the illegal chemicals in school buildings.
              PCBs are industrial chemicals so toxic that they were banned by Congress 40 years ago.
              'PCBs are some of the most toxic and persistent chemicals ever produced,' said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which analyzed the data on PCBs in Sen. Markey's report. 'It's shocking to find that while they were banned decades ago, millions of kids and other Americans continue to be exposed today.'
              Indeed, EWG in a 2005 study found 147 different PCB contaminants in the umbilical cord blood of 10 American newborns.
            The environmental group explains the dangers associated with PCB exposure and how such exposure can occur:
              PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, have been linked to cancer, harm to the immune system, neurological damage, learning deficits, lowered birth weight and decreased thyroid function. Manufactured from the 1920s to the 1970s by Monsanto, PCBs were used as insulators for electrical equipment, oils for hydraulic systems, plasticizers in paints and caulks, components of fluorescent light fixtures and in consumer products such as carbonless copy paper. Not long after Monsanto introduced PCBs, the company discovered they were hazardous, but hid that information from the public and regulators.
              Schoolchildren are most often exposed by old, PCB-laden caulk and crumbling fluorescent light fixtures. They may also come in contact with PCBs that leached into soil, or that were incorporated into paints and floor finishes. Any school building constructed between the 1950s and the late 1970s is likely to test positive for PCBs, but the EPA does not currently require such tests.
              It's worth noting that Monsanto has been sued multiple times in different states for knowingly contaminating the environment with PCBs, but those suits have thus far been unsuccessful.
              '[B]ecause [PCBs] were commonly used in building materials for decades, they continue to contaminate classrooms in between 13,000 and 26,000 schools nationwide,' the Washington Post reports.
              Old building materials are 'leaking PCBs into the schools where the kids and the teachers inhale them. They get contaminated dust on their skin,'     Harvard professor Robert Herrick, whose research has focused on the problem for years, told WNPR. 'Our research has shown that in the teachers, if you look at the PCB levels in their blood, they have higher levels than you find in the general population.'
              Moreover, Sen. Markey's office released a report (pdf) Wednesday on the phenomenon of PCBs in schools based on EPA data and Herrick's research, and found that the regulations for such chemicals in schools are extremely weak or nonexistent.
              'My report reveals that first, schools do not test for PCB hazards, and are not required to do so," Markey told the Connecticut public radio station. 'And when PCB contamination is found, no one has to report it to the EPA... To put it plainly, we have no real idea how many students are being exposed to PCBs in their classroom each and every day.'
              'This is absolutely outrageous,' said Jennifer deNicola, president of the public health advocacy group America Unites for Kids. 'No parent or educator should stand for it. Our government, which requires that children attend school, should also ensure they're in schools and classrooms free from toxic chemicals like PCBs'."

              The Navajo Nation Department of Health announced, in September 2016, that the Navajo Birth Cohort Study has found high concentrations of uranium in the urine of those studied. 21% of those studied had higher amounts of uranium in their urine than the national average, with more than a third of the men and almost a quarter of the women having uranium in their urine. Most disturbing is that Navajo young people have on average an increasing amount of the metal in their urine. As new born babies, the average is only .6%.  At six months that rises to 17%, and at one year 24%. The overall Navajo average of uranium concentration in Urine has also been increasing. In 2014, it was 7%. in 2016, it was 21%. Further study is needed to determine the geographical spread of the uranium contamination of people, resulting from year's of mining of the radioactive metal at over 500 sites on the reservation (Terry Bowman, "Study finds uranium in Navajo Babies," Navajo Times, September 22, 2016).

              The chemical industry in China suffered almost one accident a day from January to August 2016, with 232 reported, mostly involving highly toxic substances, killing 199 people an injuring 400, according to Chinese government data studied by Greenpeace (Javier Hernandez, "Grim Toll in China Chemical Accidents," The New York Times, September 22, 2016).

              Alaska Wilderness League stated October 13, 2016,, "Last week, nearly-record low Arctic Ocean ice coverage forced about 6,000 walrus onto land, distancing them from their food source. It's time for the Senate to act by taking a stand against Arctic Ocean oil spills."

              Michelle Innis, "Great Barrier Reef Hit by Worst Coral Die-Off on Record, Scientists Say," The New York Times, November 29, 2016,, reported, "Scientists surveying the Great Barrier Reef said Tuesday that it had suffered the worst coral die-off ever recorded after being bathed this year in warm waters that bleached and then weakened the coral.
            About two-thirds of the shallow-water coral on the reef’s previously pristine, 430-mile northern stretch is dead, the scientists said. Only a cyclone that reduced water temperatures by up to three degrees Celsius in the south saved the lower reaches of the 1,400-mile reef from damage, they added.
              On some atolls in the north, all the coral has died, said Prof. Terry Hughes, the director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Townsville, in the eastern state of Queensland. Professor Hughes and a team of scientists drew their findings from about 900 dive surveys along the length of the reef in October and November.
              'The good news is that in the south, only about 1 percent of the reef’s coral has died, and the mortality rate in the middle is about 6 percent,' Professor Hughes said. Vibrant color has returned to that coral, and the reef there is in good condition, he added."

              Sean Lyngaa, "Ousting Squatter Farmers to Save Forest, Ivory Coast Sets Off New Crisis," The New York Times, December 1, 2016,, reported, "Ivory Coast has a serious deforestation problem: Some scientists say it is losing its woodlands faster than any other nation in Africa. Four-fifths of the forest cover that the country had when it became independent in 1960 was gone by 2010, according to the European Union.
            Government officials put much of the blame on the many tens of thousands of people who took advantage of years of political unrest to seize land in protected forests and use it illegally to grow cocoa, the country’s most important export crop. Now, the officials say, the squatters have to go.
              Teams of rangers like Mr. Ouattara fanned out across Mont Péko over the summer to evict the cocoa farmers. Deprived of their livelihood and driven from the forest, the farmers have poured into nearby villages, creating a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations estimates is affecting more than 51,000 people."

              To combat illegal logging, the European Union has gone into partnership with Indonesia, one of the world's largest deforesters, under a wood trading licensing program. Businesses that earn certification under the program receive expedited access to European markets ("Signs of Progress," Christian Science Monitor, October 21, 2-016).

              A study by Scientists at the University of Utah published in the Proceedings of the National Science Foundation, October 10, 2016, found that since 1979 climate change has been responsible for more than one-half of the dryness of western forests and in the increase in the length of climate change. Since 1984, those factors have enlarges the cumulative fire area by 16,000 square miles (Tatiana Schlosberg, "Half of Rise in Fire Risk Is Tied to Climate Change," The New York Times, October 11, 2016).

              Ivory Coast has suffered perhaps the fastest deforestation in Africa, having lost 80 percent of the woodland it had in 1960, by 2010. Officials say the largest cause is the thousands of people who set up illegal cocoa farms in the midst of protected forest. Recently, the government has taken steps to end the practice, forcing perhaps 51,000 cocoa growers out of the forest. But no steps have been taken at resettlement, and the flood of refugees has been creating a humanitarian crisis (Sean Lyngaas, "From Dwindling Forests, a Flood of Refugees," The New York Times, December 2, 2016).

              At least 2 million bees were killed by spraying of insecticide intended to kill mosquitos that carry zika virus, at an apiary in Summerville, SC, when a city employee failed to notify the apiary of the coming spraying (Alan Blinder, "Aimed at Zika Mosquitoes, Spray Kills Millions of Bees," The New York Times, September 2, 2016).

              Tatiana Schlossberg, "A Bumblebee Gets New Protection on Obama’s Way Out," The New York Times,  January 10, 2017, , reported, "The Obama administration, rushing to secure its environmental legacy, has increased protection for a humble bumblebee.
              The rusty-patched bumblebee, once common across the continental United States, has been designated an endangered species by the Fish and Wildlife Service: the country’s first bumblebee, and the first bee from the lower 48 states, to be added to the register. Seven bees were previously listed as endangered, but they are found only in Hawaii."

              Ten Fishers, the second largest Weasel, were reintroduced to Mountaineer National Park in Washington, and thus to Washington State, December 2, 2016, a culturally important event to Tribes in the state, a well as a conservation advance ("Fishers Return to Washington State," Christian Science Monitor, December 26, 2016).

              Another result of climate change: Jess Bidgood, Ticks, Thriving in Warm Weather, Take a Ghastly Toll on New England Moose," The New York Times, January 19, 2017,, reported, "The moose is an iconic image in the Northeast and a crucial part of its tourism and recreational economy. But in parts of northern New England, researchers say moose are being killed by droves of winter ticks that thrive when the fall is warm and the winter comes late. By the thousands, the ticks attach themselves to moose — calves are the most vulnerable — and essentially drain their blood and strength.
            Researchers say that over the last few years, ticks have killed about 70 percent of the calves they have tagged in certain regions, an indication that the tick is taking a significant toll."

              The African elephant population shrank by 30 percent from 2007-2014, largely because of poaching. Both of Africa's elephant species were impacted (Niraj Chokshi and Jeffrey Gettleman, "Dire Figures on Elephants Across Africa," The New York Times, September 29, 2016).

              Richard Conniff, "Climate Change Killed This Critter, but Can Others Be Saved From Extinction? Scientist grapple with whether to relocate wildlife threatened by warming temperatures, sea level rise, and drought," TakePart, November 22, 2016,, reported, "Australian scientists were 'devastated' in 2014 when they visited the tiny island home of the Bramble Cay melomys, the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal, and found no one home. They described it as probably 'the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change'"
              "That painful example has many conservationists thinking hard about what they call “assisted colonization.” That is, they are wondering whether and how to move species to places they have never lived before—because that may be their only chance to survive the climate change regimen of warmer temperatures, rising seas, and extreme weather events like drought, flooding, and wildfire."
              Climate change brought a plague of millions tiny white flies from the South of Iran to Tehran, in October 2016 (Thomas Erdbrink, "As Bugs Come for Its Mulberry Trees, a City Wraps Itself in Flypaper," The New York Times, October 4, 2016,

              Victoria Burnett, "Avocados Imperil Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Home in Mexico," The New York Times, November  17, 2016,, reported, "The green volcanic hills that tower above Apútzio de Juárez have begun to fill with swarms of monarch butterflies, which return each year for the winter stretch of their celebrated — and imperiled — migration.
But downhill from the monarchs’ mountain roost, in the oak and pine forests that border this small farming town, there lurks a new threat to their winter habitat: a lust to grow the lucrative avocados that are being consumed at record rates in the United States.
            Spurred by soaring demand for the creamy fruit, farmers here in the western state of Michoacán are clearing land to make room for avocado orchards, cutting oak and pine trees that form a vital buffer around the mountain forests where the monarchs nest."

              The African Wildlife Foundation reported November 15, 2016,, reported, "It turns out poachers aren't the only enemy threatening Africa's wildlife. A changing climate threatens wildlife's very existence: In warming temperatures mountain gorillas would lose 75% of their shrinking habitat. Elephants spend on cast amounts of water that would dry up in prolonged droughts. Cheetah populations are declining as increasing temperatures affect their ability to reproduce. Serengeti migration patterns will change brining millions of animals into conflict with people.

              WildEarth Guardians, "Settlement Reins in Rogue GovernmentWildlife Killing Program," October 19, 2016,, "We have good news to share! Guardians recently reached a landmark settlement with the rogue federal wildlife-killing program “Wildlife Services” that could stop the bloodshed and advance our vision for compassionate coexistence with native wildlife.
            The settlement halts all killing activities in Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas in Nevada—more than six million acres of our public lands—and requires the agency to abandon its woefully outdated 1994 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, which it relied on to justify killing wildlife nationwide.
The program will now be forced into the spotlight as it re-evaluates its killing practices, and that means you and I will have an opportunity to ensure that decisions are grounded in science and modern attitudes about the ethical treatment of animals, especially carnivores.
              Our hope is that the program will finally abandon its outdated kill first, think later attitude and adopt a coexistence mandate.
              Our legal victory also hopefully means the program’s days of killing over 4,000 native animals every day with our tax dollars are numbered.
That means less bloodshed and more compassionate coexistence with wolves, cougars, bobcats, and black bears as well as coyotes, beavers, and prairie dogs."

              Edward Wong and Jeffrey Gettleman, "China Bans Its Ivory Trade, Moving Against Elephant Poaching," The New York Times, December 30, 2016,, reported, "China announced on Friday that it was banning all commerce in ivory by the end of 2017, a move that would shut down the world’s largest ivory market and could deal a critical blow to the practice of elephant poaching in Africa."
              Jeffrey Gettleman, "Closing China’s Ivory Market: Will It Save Elephants?" The New York Times, December 31, 2016,, pointed out that it will take more than China simply making the ivory trade illegal to save the elements. It will also have to go strongly after the illegal ivory market in China, which will expand with the closing of the legal market. Also, neighboring countries will need a strong crackdown on the ivory trade. If only China acts effectively, the ivory market will simply move abroad.

              "Breaking: Historic Action Protects Sacred Land in Utah and Nevada!" Pew Charitable Trust, December 28, 2016,, reported,
"President Barack Obama made history today by designating Bears Ears in southern Utah and Gold Butte in southern Nevada as national monuments, safeguarding significant cultural areas and honoring tribal nations with ancestral connections to the regions. Our two newest national monuments will preserve traditional land use, outstanding natural resources, and world-class opportunities for outdoor recreation for future generations.
        This incredible victory for our public lands was made possible by thousands of people across the country who joined tribes and local elected officials, business owners, community groups, scientists, cultural resource specialists, and recreation enthusiasts to call on our national leaders to safeguard two beloved landscapes.
       Bears Ears contains more than 100,000 archeological and cultural sites, is rich in biodiversity, and remains of critical importance to the Colorado River Basin, upon which 40 million Americans rely for clean water. Its red rock canyons, alpine peaks, and forested plateaus are a magnet for all types of outdoor enthusiasts from across the country and around the world. Gold Butte's marvels include thousands of petroglyphs, historic mining and pioneer-era artifacts, rare and threatened wildlife, dramatic geologic features such as red sculpted sandstone and rock spires, and fossil sites that are now protected forever.
       But there are some in Congress who are attempting to dismantle the Antiquities Act, the law used by President Obama--and 15 past presidents of both political parties--to safeguard these and other national treasures".

              President Obama established the first U.S. Atlantic marine monument, preserving an area of underwater mountains and canyons off the coast of New England, in September, as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument It is an area about the size of Connecticut, about 130 miles from Cape Cod (Julie Hirishfield Davis, "Obama Protects an Area Of Canyons and Peaks In the Warming Atlantic," The New York Times, September 16, 2016).

              Danny Hakim, "Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops," The New York Times, October 29, 2016,, reported, "Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise.
              An analysis by The Times using United Nations data showed that the United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields — food per acre — when measured against Western Europe, a region with comparably modernized agricultural producers like France and Germany. Also, a recent National Academy of Sciences report found that “there was little evidence” that the introduction of genetically modified crops in the United States had led to yield gains beyond those seen in conventional crops.
              At the same time, herbicide use has increased in the United States, even as major crops like corn, soybeans and cotton have been converted to modified varieties. And the United States has fallen behind Europe’s biggest producer, France, in reducing the overall use of pesticides, which includes both herbicides and insecticides."

Environmental Activities

    Stephen. M. Sachs,, in January 2017, was calling for a freeze on all new fossil fuel development, saying "letter urging ExxonMobil to stop deceiving the public about climate change," while preparing for the People's Climate Mobilization in Washington, DC, supported by numerous demonstrations elsewhere, and working from divestment of investment in fossil fuels.
For details go to:

               The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), in January 2017 was engaged in a campaign urging ExxonMobil to stop deceiving the public about climate change. UCS was working against the Trump administrations disregarding of good science, and science based policy, concerning the environment and in other areas.
               For more information visit:
              People’s Climate Movement, January 25, 2017,, CONTACT: Paul Getsos, National Coordinator 646-732-0041 or Paige Knappenberger, 602-549-0344,, stated, "Activists Announce Major Climate March in DC & Nationwide on April 29th. Communities Begin Organizing Nationwide to Resist Attacks on the Environment and Our Communities And to Call for a New Clean Energy Economy that Stops Climate Change and Creates Good Jobs for All." " For more information on The People’s Climate Movement and the mobilization on April 29th, please visit:"

              The peaceful demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline led by members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were continuing in early September, facing harassment by the the Dakota Access, LLC, including turning dogs on the demonstrators. On September 8, was circulating the following petition, "Tell the State of North Dakota to Investigate the Security Guards Who Commanded Their Dogs to Attack DAPL Protesters," Petition by Matthew A Hildreth, to be delivered to Francine Johnson, Executive Director, NDPISB, "By turning their dogs loose on protestors, the security guards hired by Dakota Access, LLC acted in a reckless and inhumane manner. The guards had no uniforms, drove vehicles with out-of-state plates, and appeared to have little or no training. It's unclear whether or not they're even licensed to operate in the state.
              The North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board must investigate the actions of the private security guards hired by Dakota Access and ensure they are properly trained and licensed to operate in North Dakota."

              Lauren McCauley, "Over 20 Arrested After Militarized Police Raid #NoDAPL Prayer Ceremony: Water protectors say that 'with state police protecting Dakota Access Pipeline,' President Obama's 'words are meaningless,'" Common Dreams, September 29, 2016,, reported "Twenty-one water protectors were arrested in North Dakota on Wednesday after a military-style raid interrupted a peaceful prayer ceremony at a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction site.
Hundreds of demonstrators have been taking part in the prayer ceremony in recent days, according to the Red Warrior Camp, traveling to sacred sites that are being threatened by the pipeline construction, beginning Tuesday with the ancestral site where private security guards unleashed attack dogs on unarmed protesters earlier this month.
            Construction was halted Tuesday as a result of the peaceful demonstration. On Wednesday, police helicopters and a circling crop-duster followed the caravan of cars south of Mandan, North Dakota.
              According to the independent journalism outfit Unicorn Riot, which has been reporting live on the Dakota Access protest from the camps, after praying at the second site, 'a large amount of police vehicles arrived and blockaded the only exit on the public road leading to the DAPL work site.'
              Unicorn Riot continued:
              Dozens of militarized police with shotguns appeared with a Bearcat armored vehicle as well as a [Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, also known as an MRAP]. The Bearcat was also brought out by police at yesterday’s action, but the MRAP, a larger tan colored armored vehicle, had not been seen at any DAPL sites until today
              After blockading the exit points, police vehicles sped across open fields towards the crowd of protectors as they left the site. Several arrests were made, as police brandished loaded shotguns, and assault rifles. The latest information we gathered is that there were up to 21 arrests.
              The Sacred Stone Camp has started a legal defense fund to support those arrested and others involved in the direct action campaign.
              Though images and videos of the raid were shared widely on social media, as others noted, there was no corporate media coverage of the arrests.
              In the following video, posted on by the Red Warrior Camp, a Sacangua Lakota grandmother recalls the raid. 'The next thing i knew there were like 40 police and they were all dressed in riot gear,' she said. 'I've never in my life seen a gun in real life and I've never had a gun pointed at me and I went into shock. I think everybody went into shock.'
              In another video posted by Thomas H. Joseph II, he describes how the prayer caravan was 'surrounded by cops' with 'their weapons out.' The protectors are seen chanting, 'We have no weapons! We are unarmed.'
              'Today's action where uncalled for, the police was a direct threat to woman and children,' Joseph wrote online. 'We gathered in prayer un-armed, prayed, sang songs, and attempted to leave. No threats, No vandalism, No violence was taken on our part.'
              On Facebook, Thomas encouraged viewers to 'share this,' and 'flood the White House with phone calls and demand Obama to act and enforce his previous declaration of no construction. With state police protecting Dakota Access Pipeline his words are meaningless.'
              This is not the first time that North Dakota law enforcement have acted on behalf of the oil pipeline company. But, as many pointed out, this latest show of force appeared particularly egregious. Further, as Native in D.C. blogger Marie Jordan noted, Wednesday's raid was eerily reminiscent of other historic government assaults on tribal land.'"

              As the effort adjacent to Standing Rock to block the DAPL continued into late November, the police authorities were becoming more aggressive against peaceful demonstrators. While, reports from participants indicate that everyone joining the demonstration on site has been given a lengthy orientation about acting non-violently, the law authorities have become more violent. Daily Kos, "Call the DOJ: Demand an investigation into Morton County's brutal attack on Standing Rock water protectors," November 22, 2016,, reported and commented, "On November 20th the Morton County Sheriff's office put Standing Rock water protectors in grave danger. Over 160 people were injured, including an elder who went into cardiac arrest and several people treated for rubber bullet injuries to the face. One person faces amputation after a "less-than-lethal" projectile ripped through her arm.
            Police fired water cannons at the protectors for at least six hours in below freezing temperatures, exposing them all to hypothermia. Medical professionals at the camp called for a cessation of this tactic because of the real threat that people could die. And Morton County law enforcement just kept drenching water protectors in water, tear gassing them, firing concussion grenades and using sonic weapons against them.
              Call the Department of Justice: Demand an investigation into Morton County's brutal attack on Standing Rock water protectors."

            The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) condemns the use of Deadly Force by Law Enforcement against Standing Rock Water Protectors, calls for additional UN action," November 22, 2016,, stated, "The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) offers this statement on the occasion of today’s press conference to provide updates on the condition of Ms. Sophia Wilansky. She was injured as a result of deadly force used by Morton County North Dakota Sherriff’s Department against water protectors from the Oceti Sakowin Standing Rock Camp on the night of November 20th, 2016. IITC, first and foremost, offers our thoughts for her and her family, and our prayers for her recovery. 
              Ms. Wilansky’s arm was severely injured when she was reportedly struck by a concussion grenade fired at several hundred unarmed water defenders opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).  The multi-billion dollar oil pipeline threatens the water, Treaty rights and sacred sites of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.  Due to the severity of her injuries, Ms. Wilansky, who is 21, was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis where she has undergone several hours of surgery.  IITC Board member Lisa Bellanger, based in Minneapolis, is in close contact with the family and we will continue to monitor her condition in that way.    
              In addition to concussion grenades, North Dakota law enforcement also used high pressure water cannons, mace, tear gas and rubber bullets against the water defenders who were attempting to cross a bridge near the DAPL construction site. Many suffered from hypothermia as a result of cold water directed at them at high velocity in sub-freezing temperatures with potentially life-threatening effects.
              The IITC considers these actions as constituting use of deadly force. New reports indicate that over 300 water protectors were injured in this incident, and 27 were taken to hospitals including some with broken bones and head injuries. Photos, videos and eyewitness accounts were widely circulated on social and other media. The IITC strongly condemns this escalating violence used against peaceful human, Treaty and environmental rights defenders opposing the DAPL.
              The IITC has reported this latest incident and the escalation of police violence it represents to the United Nations (UN) human rights system including the UN Rapporteurs on Human Rights Defenders, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, members of the UN Working Group on Human Rights and Multinational Corporations, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. IITC has requested that UN human rights bodies immediately contact the United States government to call for an immediate halt to the increasing human rights violations including the use of deadly force against these unarmed defenders.
              As a result of information and reports submitted by IITC which documented the actions of law enforcement at Standing Rock up to that time, on November 15th 2016 the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Peaceful Assembly Mr. Maina Kiai issued a statement, reported in the Washington Post, Indian Country Today and the UN Press, calling the use of the tactics used by “law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard up to that time as 'unjustified' and 'excessive force'. However, the tactics used in the November 20th incident far exceeded those used previously which were addressed by the Rapporteur
              IITC worked with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) to organize an official visit by Grand Chief Edward John, member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in late October to observe the continued impacts of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction such as threats to water, Treaty rights and sacred areas. His report included the escalating levels of repression, violence and intimidation against Tribal members and their supporters by state law enforcement, private security and the National Guard. Roberto Borrero representing the IITC accompanied him as a human rights observer.
              IITC and the SRST also submitted two joint urgent actions to the UN Human Rights system, including four UN Special Rapporteurs, in August and September of this year. This submission highlighted a number of human rights violations and requested that these UN human rights mandate holders call upon the United States to uphold its commitment, including to the Tribes’ right to Free Prior and Informed Consent, under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty. Primary concerns expressed by the SRST included the potential devastating effects on the Missouri River, its primary water source as well as on sacred sites and burial grounds. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has also extended an invitation to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of indigenous Peoples, which is currently in process.
              IITC has also recently received very disturbing reports of suspected pesticides or other toxic chemicals being sprayed over the Oceti Sakowin camp, possibly by airplanes during the night, causing immediate health effects. The use of chemicals by private individuals or law enforcement has not been confirmed, but a growing number of on-site reports indicate that there is cause for serious concern. IITC calls on local law enforcement, the State of North Dakota, the United States Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency to determine if such chemicals have been used in this way, obtain samples of suspicious droplets found on vehicles and tents, and report their chemical contents and known or suspected heath impacts without delay. Such applications in this situation, including exposure of the many children in the camp, may constitute the use of chemical weapons under international law. This must be investigated, confirmed or denied without delay.
            For more information or to provide testimony regarding human rights violations contact: Andrea Carmen, IITC Executive Director, (520)273-6003,; Roberto Borrero, IITC Communications Coordinator,, (917)334-5658; Lisa Bellanger, IITC Board of Directors member (612) 730-8935,"

              The Indigenous Environmental Network, November 26, 2016,, "Army Corps Threatens to Close Oceti Sakowin Camp on December 5th," reported and commented,
              Contacts: Dallas Goldtooth,, (507)-412-7609, Jade Begay,, (505)-699-4791.
              Cannon Ball, ND - Today Colonel John W. Henderson of the United States Army Corps sent a letter to Dave Archambault II, the Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, stating that on December 5th all lands north of the Cannon Ball River will be closed to the general public. This includes the Oceti Sakowin encampment where nearly eight thousand people are camping to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline. Henderson said, 'This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials.'
              In response to the Army Corps’ letter Chairman Archambault and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe stated, 'the best way to protect people during the winter, and reduce the risk of conflict between Water Protectors and militarized police, is to deny the easement for the Oahe crossing, and deny it now.'
              The following is a statement from the Indigenous Environmental Network:
              'We stand by our relatives of the Oceti Sakowin and reaffirm their territorial rights set in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. If the Corps wants to keep people safe and prevent further harm, then deny the easement, rescind the permit, order a full Environmental Impact Statement, and send Department of Justice observers. This decision by the Army Corp and the United States is short-sighted and dangerous. We have already seen critical injuries cased by the actions of a militarized law enforcement. We implore President Obama and the White House to take corrective measures and to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline once and for all."

              Lauren McCauley, "This Ain't Over: Rallies in 100 Cities to Demand Obama Cancel DAPL: The Standing Rock Sioux won a temporary victory on Friday, but pipeline opponents say that the fight need not drag on," Common Dreams, September 12, 2016,, reported, "The fight is not over, is the word from the tribes gathered at the Sacred Stone camp, whose months-long resistance against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) has captured national attention. Heeding that call, more than 100 #NoDAPL solidarity actions are being held on Tuesday to put national pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama to revoke the pipeline's permits once and for all.
              'To defeat a pipeline, it takes a movement of people from all corners of the nation,' reads the call to action.
              'Right now, we're witnessing one of the most courageous stands against a fossil fuel project this country has ever seen,' it continues. 'Thousands of Indigenous activists have set up prayer camps along the pipeline route in a historic moment of nonviolent resistance. They're fighting with everything they have to protect their water, the land, their history, and the climate—and we need to fight with them.'
              In Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Square, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is scheduled to speak alongside Tara Houska with Honor the Earth, Chase Iron Eyes with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Van Jones, Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Youth member Jasilyn Charger, and other native leaders from North Dakota.
              The Standing Rock Sioux won a temporary victory on Friday when the Obama administration suspended construction on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until further review. The statement further called on the pipeline company to halt construction within 20 miles of that site.
              But pipeline opponents say that the fight need not drag on, and that Obama can revoke the permit granted by the U.S. Army Corps—just like he rejected Transcanada's Keystone XL pipeline.
              Further underscoring the dangers of the project, a new analysis on Monday by the fossil fuel industry watchdog Oil Change International found that the 1,172-mile crude oil pipeline would lock-in yearly emissions equivalent to 30 coal-fired power plants and would make it impossible to meet the targets set forth in the Paris climate agreement.
              'The Dakota Access pipeline would be with us decades into the future,' wrote Lorne Stockman, research director with Oil Change International.
              'Once built and operating the economic incentives to keep it going will be hard to overcome. Every year it will be the source of carbon emissions equivalent to nearly 30 coal plants. Even though it may be the case that those emissions would anyway occur this year or next year, or five years from now, it cannot be the case that those emissions can occur in 20, 30 or 40 years from now. Building Dakota Access would be yet another barrier to the path to climate safety.'
              Tuesday's Day of Action follows similar events over the weekend—from Maine to Arizona to Massachusetts—during which local tribes came together with hundreds of supporters to 'stand in unity and solidarity, to protect the protectors," as articulated by Michael Rossi, a member of the Lakota Nation and the organizer of the Phoenix, Ariz. rally.'"     

              Deirdre Fulton, "Citing Environmental Risks, Scientists Back Tribes in Dakota Access Fight: Meanwhile, a Reuters investigation finds pipeline spill detection system severely flawed," Common Dreams, September 30, 2016,, reported, "Close to 100 scientists have signed onto a letter decrying "inadequate environmental and cultural impact assessments" for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and calling for a halt to construction until such tests have been carried out as requested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
              Lead signatories Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley, Anne Hilborn, Katherine Crocker, and Asia Murphy drew attention to the missive in a letter to the journal Science published Friday.
              'The DAPL project is just one of many haphazard approaches to natural resource extraction that overlook broader consequences of oil development,' they wrote.
              Furthermore, the open letter (pdf) states, 'We as scientists are concerned about the potential local and regional impacts from the DAPL, which is symptomatic of the United States' continued dependence on fossil fuels in the face of predicted broad-scale social and ecological impacts from global climate change." Specifically, they cite the Standing Rock Sioux's concerns that the pipeline project threatens biodiversity and clean water.
Underscoring those concerns, a Reuters investigation into the nation's pipeline system published Friday reveals that 'sensitive technology designed to pick up possible spills is about as successful as a random member of the public...finding it, despite efforts from pipeline operators.'
              In fact, according to the Reuters analysis of U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) data, '[o]ver the last six years, there have been 466 incidents where a pipeline carrying crude oil or refined products has leaked. Of those, 105, or 22 percent, were detected by an advanced detection system.'
            Even more troubling, the data 'shows the leak detection systems have caught small leaks and missed some of the largest,' Reuters reports, with six out of the largest 10 pipeline spills in the U.S. since 2010 going undetected by these systems.
              Beyond its potential for local devastation, DAPL will make it nigh impossible for the U.S. to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming, the scientists said in their letter.
              As Bill McKibben said Friday on Democracy Now! of the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies: 'They're holding the line against something that threatens not only their reservation, but threatens the whole planet. We do not—we cannot pump more oil. We've got to stop opening up new reserves.'"
              Jack Healy "Ranchers Tote Guns as Tribes Dig In for Long Pipeline Fight," The New York Times, October 10, 2016,, reported,
"Ranchers are arming themselves before they climb onto tractors or see to their livestock. Surveillance helicopters buzz low through the prairie skies. Native Americans fighting to prevent an oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation are handing out thick blankets and coats and are building maple-pole shelters that can withstand North Dakota’s bitter winter.
              As the first deep freeze looms, many here are bracing for a long fight as the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline races to finish the $3.7 billion project by January, and thousands of protesters tucked into tents, tepees and trailers in prairie camps vow to stop it."

              Nika Knight, "Impacted Communities Take Fight Against Dakota Access to Corporate Heads: Protesters from oil-impacted communities around the country are descending on Houston, Texas, for prayer action at Dakota Access Pipeline company offices," Common Dreams, October 12, 2016,, reported, "Activists from oil-impacted communities around the country are descending on Energy Transfer Partners' corporate offices in Houston, Texas, to protest the company's Dakota Access Pipeline and other controversial pipeline projects.
              Despite ongoing, growing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the federal government's repeated requests that Energy Transfer Partners halt its construction, the company has reiterated its intention to continue building the pipeline, undaunted.
              Wednesday's action is a part of nationwide protests against the corporate powers behind Dakota Access. The demonstration will see members from communities affected by the fossil fuel industry from Richmond, Calif., Chicago, Ill., the Gulf Coast, and others joining local Texas organizers to voice their collective opposition to Energy Transfer Partners' pipeline projects, and to push for a just transition to renewable energy.
              'Energy Transfer Partners has drawn national attention for driving both the Dakota Access Pipeline and the equally controversial Trans Pecos Pipeline, that has also violated the rights of Indigenous peoples in West Texas, and poses significant threat to the water and land for many communities in Texas,' Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, an organizer of the demonstration, noted in a press statement.
              The protesters will gather for a prayer action that is set to begin at 1:30pm Central Time.
              The scene on the streets in #HoustonTX at @BEA4Impact & @tejasbarrios #solidarity action calling @EnergyTransfer to demand #NODAPL #NOTPPL
— Delaware Sierra Club (@desierraclub) October 12, 2016
              'From Chicago to Houston we stand with all of our communities impacted by the oil and gas industry in fighting back. It took us twelve years to shut down the two coal plant[s] in Chicago and we commit to fighting until our communities have justice," said Kim Wasserman of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) in Chicago. "While these companies think they have only money and stocks to lose we have to remind them it's our lives and world at stake.'
              'We stand in deep solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters banded together to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline,' added Radical Arts and Healing Collective member Jayeesha Dutta, from New Orleans. "Our fights are quite literally one: the Gulf South is where that Bakken crude oil will eventually end up for refining and transportation."
              'We are already on the frontline of environmental disasters, like the BP oil catastrophe, which we are still recovering from,' Dutta said. 'It is time to put an end to extractive energy production, and the exploitation of our land and labor that comes along with that.'
              'Clean water is a basic human right that should be afforded to everyone. No treaty, law or structure should have to reinforce a necessity, yet we understand that we live in a world driven by corporate greed that sacrifices sacred lands, vulnerable populations and people of color,' said Yvette Arellano of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS). 'I am humbled by the solidarity and courage grassroots, big greens and supporting organizations from all over the country are demonstrating to face Energy Transfer Partners at their doorstep in the house of the largest petrochemical complex of the nation.'
              'Together we press forward, rise, and demand a clean world for future generations in our struggle to survive,' Arellano said."

              Christopher Mele, "Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters,"
The New York Times, November
29, 2016,, reported, "As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the construction of an oil pipeline, organizers said.
The effort, called Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, is planned as a nonviolent intervention to defend the demonstrators from what the group calls “assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force.”
              The veterans’ plan coincides with an announcement on Tuesday by law enforcement officials that they may begin imposing fines to block supplies from entering the main protest camp after a mandatory evacuation order from the governor. Officials had warned earlier of a physical blockade, but the governor’s office later backed away from that, Reuters said.
              Protesters have vowed to stay put."

              "Indigenous Environmental Network Responds to Acting Secretary of Army Corps’ Recommendation to Issue DAPL Easement," Indigenous Environmental Network, January 31, 2017,, reported and commented, "Today Robert Speer, acting Secretary of the Army Corp of Engineers, directed the Corps to proceed with the easement to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline. While this is not an official grant of the easement, it does indicate that the Corps will disregard the Environmental Impact Statement that was ordered by the Obama Administration and completion of the controversial pipeline could begin as soon this week.
              The following is a statement from the Indigenous Environmental Network: 'We are disgusted but not surprised by the Secretary of the Army’s decision to recommend the easement on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead of following proper legal procedure and completing the Environmental Impact Study, the Army has chosen to escalate an already tense situation, go against their own processes, and potentially put peoples in harm's way.  
              We are falling into a dangerous place where the United States government makes up its own rules. We know the Trump Administration stands to gain from this project, the President of United States is an investor himself, and their actions reveal a blatant disregard for the rule of law and a clear interest in lining their own pockets. This decision follows Trump’s unfortunate attacks on immigrants, women, and the press. Now he is working even harder to attack sovereign tribal nations and historic treaties.
              Trump and his climate denying cabinet are clearly doing what is best for their businesses and are willing to put profit before human rights and the environment. But make no mistake: we are prepared to mobilize and resist this brazen power grab.'”

              Deirdre Fulton, "Ten Activists Arrested for Helping Shut Down US-Canada Tar Sands Pipelines: 'My love for the beauties of this world is far greater than my love of an easy life,' said one of those arrested, 50-year-old Emily Johnston," Common Dreams,  October 12, 2016,, reported, "Ten activists have been arrested for shutting down five tar sands pipelines in four states on Tuesday, an act of non-violent direct action taken to avert climate catastrophe and in support of the call for International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock
              According to Climate Direct Action, the group coordinating the shut-down, not only were the five activists who manually turned off the pipelines taken into custody, but also five support team members and videographers.
              In Anacortes, Washington, authorities arrested Ken Ward for turning the wheel on an emergency shut-off valve for a Kinder Morgan pipeline, as well as documentarians Lindsay Grizzel and Carl David. According to the local NBC affiliate, the Skagit County Sheriff's office charged them with burglary and criminal sabotage.
              Michael Foster, Sam Jessup, and documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg were arrested in North Dakota for shutting down Transcanada's Keystone pipeline; and Leonard Higgins was taken into custody in Montana after tampering with the valve on a Spectra line. Reed Ingalls was also detained for questioning in Montana.
              Meanwhile, Climate Direct Action reported on Facebook that Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein, who turned off the valves on Enbridge lines 4 and 67 in Leonard, Minnesota, had appeared in court Wednesday morning and would be held at Clearwater County Jail until they reached bail—a combined $15,000.
              To the participants in Tuesday's shut-down, the consequences are worth it. As Johnston said ahead of the action: 'For years we've tried the legal, incremental, reasonable methods, and they haven't been enough; without a radical shift in our relationship to Earth, all that we love will disappear. My fear of that possibility is far greater than my fear of jail. My love for the beauties of this world is far greater than my love of an easy life.'
              Indeed, filmmaker Josh Fox—whose colleague, Schlosberg, was one of those arrested in North Dakota—declared on Twitter:
              The Climate Disobedience Action Fund, which supported Tuesday's 'unprecedented' action, is raising funds for the activists' legal fees."

              Wild Earth Guardians ("A Force for Nature"), announced, September 7, 2016, "Victories to KeepMore Coal in the Ground(Cause That’s Where it Belongs!),", "WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program is tearing it up for the climate, this time securing three rulings that promise to keep millions of tons of coal in the ground and millions more tons of carbon out of our atmosphere
              It’s plain and simple. You and me, we’re winning. Because as much as we’re getting the job done, we can’t possibly keep our coal in the ground without your support and belief in our ability to get that job done.
            In the past two weeks, the success has been immense (
            We overturned an expansion of Peabody’s Twentymile coal mine in northwestern Colorado.
            We derailed Pacifiorp’s plans to expand the Bridger coal mine in southern Wyoming.
Topping it off, we secured a court ruling ordering the Obama Administration to conduct an unprecedented environmental review of the San Juan coal mine in northwest New Mexico.
            We’re not just saying “Keep it in the Ground,” we’re making it happen. In doing so, we’re protecting our public lands, keeping our climate safe, and opening the door for clean energy to flourish."

              Beyond Extreme Energy, reported, September 7, 2016, "At the end of August, Beyond Extreme Energy assembled for our first-ever offsite retreat. I thought it was a remarkable retreat and am excited about going forward together! I learned a lot and feel we are a little more solid about our direction, and I appreciate having had the time to be with everyone.
              One of the most important things I learned was that listening is a radical, transformative move. By listening to each other, and to our many allies, BXE believes we can help create the exploitation free renewable energy future we're all working towards.
              Coming out of our retreat we've identified four major areas of focus:
             1. De-legitimize FERC;
             2. Build/assist with direct action in D.C. at FERC and other agencies;
             3. Provide capacity in our organization to support frontline struggles; And
             4. Expand support for current and new frontline groups.
              We still have a lot of work to do to identifying, implementing, base building, and fundraising for those four areas of focus. But you can already see we're hard at work. Since the retreat we've begun planning more major actions at FERC, helped coordinate at least 4 solidarity actions with the Red Warrior Camp and others opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, and launched our new frontline community support fund.
              But to do all this work, and expand our focus on alignment with fights against coal, oil, mining, nuclear, and all other forms of extreme energy; Not to mention fights against white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy, among others, requires support."

              Care2Petitions, was involved in a campaign in mid September 2016, "Stop PacRim Coal and Protect Cook Inlet Whales,", "A Delaware corporation is trying to dig up 14 miles of a thriving salmon river that feeds into the Cook Inlet in Alaska. The river is home to all five species of pacific salmon, which the whales of the inlet rely upon. Sign Marcy's Care2 petition demanding Alaska's leaders reject PacRim Coal's horrible strip mine!
              The runs of the Chuitna are critical to the wildlife of Cook Inlet, including an endangered Beluga whale population, as well as orca pods. Approving this strip mine would be a terrible decision for these whales, and all who rely on the salmon.
              The Chuitna River is also important to a couple of small communities that rely on the salmon runs. Care2 member Marcy Valka is a member of the Dena'ina Athabascan tribe and lives in the native village of Tyonek, which would be devastated by the impacts of PacRim's strip mine.
              Marcy is so concerned about the future of the Chuitna River and the salmon her community relies upon that she started this petition to urge Alaska's governor and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner to protect the Chuitna.
              If PacRim is allowed to proceed it would set a horrible precedent for Alaska; this would be the first time the state allowed the wholesale removal of a salmon stream. Salmon runs across the state would be at risk of future mining, drilling and development."

     reported, October 19, 2016,, "On October 24th, throngs of young people from across Canada will risk arrest for the Climate 101 action in Ottawa to call on Prime Minister Trudeau to reject the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
              Across Canada, people are grilling the Trudeau government in the lead up to the Kinder Morgan decision in December. Just last week, hundreds in Winnipeg confronted the Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr calling for a rejection of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Now, weeks before the next round of UN climate talks, young people will bring this fight to the capital city."

              Nadia Prupis, "Alliance of 600,000 British Doctors Calls for 'Imperative' Coal Phase-Out: Doing so would constitute 'double win for tackling the twin health threats of air pollution and climate change,' report states," Common Dreams, October 19, 2016,, reported, "A coalition representing Britain's 600,000 doctors and health workers on Wednesday called for a rapid phase-out of coal, saying it was an 'imperative' measure and that climate change and air pollution were both ‘major health threats.'
"Ending the use of coal is a simple, no-regrets public health intervention. The rapid phase-out of coal fired stations is an imperative first step. Coal is the most carbon-intensive source of power generation, and is a key focus for reducing the risks of climate change," the U.K. Health Alliance on Climate Change said in a report.
              'Climate change and air pollution are both major health threats,' the report, A Breath of Fresh Air, states. "They share a common driver: the combustion of fossil fuels. Pollution from coal plants alone costs the U.K. as much as £3.1bn [roughly $3.8bn] each year in human health impacts."
Pollution also disproportionately impacts children and can cause diseases ranging from lung cancer to stroke, killing 40,000 people a year in the country. In a press release (pdf) for the report, Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health fellow Jonathan Griggs calls it the "silent killer," and notes that the phasing out of coal would constitute a "double win for tackling the twin health threats of air pollution and climate change."
            Although the U.K. government promised almost a year ago that it would phase out coal by 2025, the groups raised concerns over the seeming lack of preparation to do so, with no consultation documents published since the plan was announced, the groups note.
              Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the medical journal The Lancet, said the phase-out of coal use "is an essential step towards creating a sustainable energy policy for the U.K. It is also a vital co-benefit for health—ending coal use will deliver long-lasting health and environmental dividends for the British population. Life expectancies will be prolonged, disease and disabilities reduced, and future risks to health diminished. This is an opportunity to be seized."
              The report calls for replacing coal with renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which are beneficial to both air quality and climate safety, which in turn is "advantageous to health," the report states. "Indeed, joining up policies on health, air pollution, and climate change can offset the costs of climate mitigation policies through the health benefits that they bring."
              Added Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, 'Cutting air pollution from coal will greatly benefit the lives of many people with long-term chronic health conditions and help to protect the health of future generations. Tackling air pollution and climate change will have numerous health benefits but it requires a joined-up approach from government to ensure the health impacts are better recognized and fully realized'."

              Among the many environmental, American Indian and justice groups supporting the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and calling for a stopping of the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline is, "United for Peace and Justice, a national antiwar coalition since 2003, supports the tribes gathered to protect the Missouri River from illegal pipeline construction in North Dakota.
                          We call on President Obama to intervene on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to close down the pipeline: The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project is a 1,134-mile oil pipeline from the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota to refineries in Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline is proposed to transport over 570,000 barrels per day.
          DAPL would contribute to 50 million tons C02 per year- the equivalent of 10 million cars or 15 coal plants. It is a massive pipeline that will transport crude oil across native prairie lands, valuable farm lands and critical waterways including the Missouri River.
        The pipeline crosses treaty lands of the Oceti Sakowin and will pass along the northern borders of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation.
        DAPL will cross the Missouri River less than 1 mile north of Cannon Ball, ND. It will also cross just 12 miles upstream from the drinking water intake for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water supply, impacting over 10,000 Tribal citizens.
        The construction work for the pipeline as it crosses the Missouri River will increase the toxic levels of contaminants and could cause the release of diesel fuel or other pollutants into the Missouri.
            Main Concerns About the Dakota Access Pipeline:
        No Proper Consultation With Tribes: Tribes were not properly consulted on the cultural and environmental impacts of the pipeline. There are numerous cultural and sacred sites along the pipeline route.
        Inadequate Environmental Review: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) did not do a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. This was despite the fact that in April 2016,  the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of the Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation all wrote a formal letter to the USACE requesting a full EIS.
        Historic Preservation and Sacred Sites: The area where the pipeline crosses the Missouri River is a historically significant place for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, full of cultural and sacred sites. These sites were not properly surveyed, nor was the tribe properly consulted on surveying these sites. The pipeline would dig through Indigenous Peoples' cultural and sacred sites. We are concerned about the potential irreparable damage construction would have on these significant sites.
        Environmental Racism: Dakota Access moved the pipeline route away from Bismarck while keeping it close to Native American communities. This is an environmental justice issue, where the impacts on and input from a more affluent, white community had priority over the impacts on and input from Indigenous Peoples.
        Nationwide Permit 12: The USACE used Nationwide Permit 12 to segment the project into hundreds of pieces and rubber stamp each individual river or stream crossing without ever looking at the whole thing. This is the way they were able to skip the environmental review and public participation required by federal law. NWP12 was intended for projects like boat ramps and mooring buoys, not oil pipelines.
        Pipeline Spill: It is not a matter of IF a pipeline breaks, it is a matter of WHEN a pipeline breaks. There are no safe pipelines. A spill will threaten drinking water for thousands of people, including the majority of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. A spill will destroy critical farm lands of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois.
        Climate Change: The pipeline would go against Obama’s promise to act on Climate Change. DAPL would contribute to 50 million tons of CO2 each year. The president has promised to act on climate. Building more pipelines only locks us into more oil and gas.
              The only real solution is to KEEP THE OIL IN THE GROUND, develop alternative renewable energy systems that are community-controlled, and make a plan for supporting workers to shift into jobs in new sectors" (
              Among the other organizations supporting the Standing Rock Sioux is Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), whose statement is at:

              "GlobalPrayer Action: United We Rise Up - Flood the Banks," UNIFY, January 17, 2017,, announced, "Standing Rock is still standing strong through freezing temperatures, bravely holding the prayer for our water, our earth and our children's future - And they need our help.
            You are invited to join a global synchronized Prayer Action on January 28 to carry the prayer from Standing Rock to Banks World Wide
              The Global Prayer Action is carrying the prayer and request from Standing Rock to the steps of the Banks around the World who are funding Oil Pipelines, sending a clear message of solidarity and demand for change - The frontline is now everywhere
              There will be a live prayer broadcast shared from Standing Rock camp - a prayer for all water, for all life - led by indigenous elders. You can join from wherever you are!
              This is an opportunity to be a part of history by uniting our global community to support the water protectors at Standing Rock through local actions at banks."
              "At UNIFY we share virtual and in-person transformational experiences that support your most passionate, peaceful, purposeful, and amazing life. 
              We also organize global synchronized meditations and days of social action. We now have more than 7,500 organizers that bring their communities together for campaigns we launch on Peace Day, Earth Day, Water Day, and more."

              Environmental Action, "Protect the Gulf - Stop the Dumping of Toxic Fracking Wastewater, January 4, 2016,, stated, "Right now, US policy allows offshore drilling operations to dump unlimited toxic wastewater from their platforms into America’s waters in the Gulf of Mexico — along with chemicals like arsenic, benzene, cadmium, lead, formaldehyde, chlorine, and mercury that have been associated with cancer, developmental disabilities and reproductive harms.
            These chemicals can contaminate Gulf seafood and poison the imperiled sea turtles, dolphins, and other marine wildlife that rely on Gulf waters for their survival. Environmental Action is committed to protecting these natural treasures."

              Earth Justice, "Restore Wild Salmon: Remove the Lower Snake Rive Dams," October 20, 2016,;jsessionid=00000000.app314b?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1902&utm_source=crm&utm_content=ResponsiveSidebarTakeActionButton&autologin=true&NONCE_TOKEN=0FC826B8FFFB6D4498E0CBCEBCF5F277, stated in a campaign, " We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake rivers, once the greatest salmon rivers in the world. We can do this by removing four outdated and expensive dams on the lower Snake River.
              But we need your help.
              For nearly 20 years, in spite of multiple court rulings that have found their actions illegal, the federal agencies that own these salmon-killing dams have refused to fully evaluate removing them. That changed last May when a federal court judge directly ordered the agencies to develop a plan for dam operations that will restore our wild salmon—and directed them to specifically consider dam removal.
            Now the agencies are seeking the public’s input on what they should do. For years scientists have said that removing the four deadly dams on the lower Snake is the single biggest step we can take to restore wild salmon to the river basin.
              Wild salmon, steelhead and pacific lamprey are dying by the thousands due to these four outdated dams: Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite. Astonishingly, both taxpayers and rate-payers—you and me—lose millions of dollars operating and maintaining these dams every year even though they produce only about 3 percent of the region’s power and kill hundreds of thousands of baby salmon. Meanwhile, the electricity the dams produce can be economically replaced by carbon-free energy alternatives. The dams’ other primary purpose, providing barge transportation, has declined nearly 70 percent in 20 years and what little demand remains can be replaced by rail or other effective options.
Further, the dams exacerbate the effects of climate change on the few remaining salmon, trapping the fish in slack-water reservoirs that overheat and contribute to disease, mortality and increased predation. Removing these four dams would open up a pathway for salmon to thousands of miles of pristine cold-water streams in the wilderness of central Idaho—a concrete action to combat the worst effects of climate change on our wild salmon.
              These salmon are an icon of the Pacific Northwest way of life. They are a keystone species that help keep the natural world healthy by bringing nutrients from the briny ocean back to the high mountain streams. They are a critical food source for many other species, including endangered orcas.
              The time is now to remove the four outdated, low-value, deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River. If we free the Snake, we can save the salmon and bring about the biggest river restoration in history."

              Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WSC) commented, September 26, 2016,, "WHAT MANY HAIL AS A VICTORY RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS," "Not everyone is celebrating the recent announcement by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that it will remove federal protections from 9 global populations of humpback whales including humpbacks that feed off the east coast of the US and Canada.  Based on a White House, this decision is 'evidence that U.S. efforts to protect and restore thousands of endangered animals and plants are working.' However, WDC believes this decision is premature for some populations of humpback whales, in particular the humpback whales in the Gulf of Maine. NMFS itself has that '(t)here are insufficient data to reliably determine current population trends for humpback whales in the North Atlantic overall', and ignored recently published pointing to more than one breeding stock for Western North Atlantic humpbacks."

              "Four Groups Urge NRC to Halt Review of License Application for High Level Waste Dump in Texas: Application Raises Prospect of “Permanent Parking Lot Dump” of Nuclear Waste In Absence of Permanent Repository and Shifting Nuclear Waste Costs From Industry to Taxpayers," October 27, 2016, at, stated, Opposed to an industry scheme that risks a proposed short-term nuclear waste storage site becoming a permanent site while sticking taxpayers for the bill, four leading national and Texas groups -- Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Public Citizen, and the Texas-based Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition -- are calling on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to follow the law and terminate its review of the license application for the controversial plan by Waste Control Specialists (WCS) to construct an interim high-level nuclear waste dump in Andrews County, TX.
            WCS seeks a permit to build and operate the supposedly short-term storage facility for up to 40,000 metric tons of highly dangerous nuclear waste in Andrews County, but only if the U.S. government first assumes responsibility for the waste and further agrees to ship it to the Texas site by rail. The license application is for the first 5,000 metric tons but the company’s promotional materials show they are planning on expanding the site to accommodate more than half of the estimated 75,000 metric tons of commercial nuclear waste currently in the U.S.  
              The groups are concerned that the “interim” storage facility may become the de facto permanent home for the highly toxic waste. Given the long battle over Yucca Mountain, the groups have zero confidence that Congress or federal regulators would have the stomach for fighting to move the nuclear waste a second time from WCS or any other “interim” site. And, with utilities totally off the hook and taxpayers footing the entire bill, those that generated the waste would have no incentive to ensure its safe disposal in a permanent geologic repository.
              Available online at, the letter from the four groups to the NRC’s top executive argues that the WCS proposal would require the NRC to break federal law, which bars the U.S. government from assuming responsibility for interim waste storage in the absence of a federal repository for permanent disposal. They contend that, until a long-term geological repository is ready, federal law forces utilities to solve their own interim storage problems, including bearing the economic burden for facility construction and operation, and liability for accidents."
              "About the Groups,
              Beyond Nuclear is a national nonprofit organization that aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.
              Nuclear Information and Resource Service is the national information and networking center for organizations and individuals concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation and sustainable energy issues.
              Public Citizen, Inc., is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization with over 400,000 members and supporters nationwide.  Public Citizen’s mission is to protect openness and democratic accountability in government and the health, safety and financial interests of consumers.  Public Citizen advocates for policies that will lead to safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy.
              SEED Coalition is an environmental nonprofit organization with 2,000 members that works in Texas and other states to protect human health and the environment, including land, air, water and wildlife. The organization focuses on clean energy advocacy as a means to reduce pollution. SEED Coalition opposes the storage of radioactive waste from around the U.S. in Texas or New Mexico due to health and safety and environmental concerns. SEED Coalition’s members include neighbors of the proposed WCS facility and associated transportation routes.
              Media Contact:  Max Karlin, (703) 276-3255 or"

              With Ulan Bator, the capitol of Mongolia, one of the ten most air polluted cities in the world, large public demonstrations were being held in late January 2017, pressuring the government to act to clean the air. Most of the city's population of 1.3 million burn coal, old tires. plastic, and other materials to keep warm in the frigid months, causing extreme air pollution ("Mongolians Seek Action on Pollution," The New York Times, January 29, 2017).

Deirdre Fulton, "'The Resistance Starts Now': Harsh Crackdown on Anti-Trump Protesters in DC: The militarized police response—which reportedly impacted both protesters and journalists—was a troubling harbinger of what's to come under Trump," Common Dreams, " January 20, 2017, http://www.commondreams.or"g/news/2017/01/20/resistance-starts-now-harsh-crackdown-anti-trump-protesters-dc, reported, "Riot police arrested and used tear gas and pepper spray against protesters in the streets of Washington, D.C., on Friday, as crowds blockaded inauguration checkpoints and clashed with law enforcement as well as supporters of newly sworn-in President Donald Trump.
From LGBTQ activists to members of the Black Lives Matter movement to Dakota Access Pipeline opponents to anti-fascists, protesters represented a wide array of concerns and employed multiple tactics. But they were united in their opposition to Trump, whose right-wing agenda they see as a threat.
For some, the militarized crackdown—which reportedly impacted both protesters and journalists—was a troubling harbinger of what's to come under a Trump administration, as Trump himself has repeatedly emphasized 'law and order must be restored.'
Much of the protest action was being documented under the hashtag #DisruptJ20.
              In another moment of resistance, six citizen activists stood on their chairs in the middle of Trump's inaugural ceremony, revealing the message "RESIST" across their sweatshirts and reciting the preamble of the Constitution. All six millennial activists—four women and two men—were escorted away by security personnel but not arrested.
              'Today we disrupted President Trump's swearing-in ceremony to show the world, and our fellow Americans, that the resistance starts now,' said Claire Sandberg with AllofUs. 'We will not stand idly by while a political conman flouts our Constitution and basic democratic norms, and pledges to violate the rights and dignity of millions of people on day one. We will fight to protect our families, neighbors, communities, and democracy from Trump's agenda of hate and greed every step of the way, and we will not back down.'
Friday's protests came on the heels of anti-Trump demonstrations on Thursday night, some of which were also met with clouds of tear gas and walls of riot police."

            Many hundreds of thousands of people participated in the 2017 Women's across the United States, January 21, 2017, opposing Donald Trump on a very wide range of issues. At the very least 500,000 people (and it could have been over 1 million) marched in Washington, DC alone. 400,000 marched in New York City, hundreds of thousands in Chicago, and in Los Angeles, and some 175,000 in Boston. Hundreds of similar protests took place in cities across the U.S., and abroad on every continent (Susan Chirta and Yamiche Alcindor, "Defiant Voices Flood U.S. Cities as Women Rally for Rights," The New York Times, January 21, 2017,

              Nadia Prupis, "#DayAgainstDenial Calls on Senate to Reject Trump's Anti-Science Cabinet: Nationwide actions highlight climate denialism of cabinet appointees, including Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and Scott Pruitt as head of EPA," Common Dreams, January 09, 2017,, reported, "Environmental groups are launching a nationwide campaign on Monday to highlight the climate denialism rampant among President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet picks and demand lawmakers reject their nominations.
            #DayAgainstDenial, spearheaded by the climate group but supported by a coalition of organizations and activists, calls on the U.S. Senate to vote against Trump's nominees to lead his administration, including former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, tapped for secretary of state; former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, nominated for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief; former Texas Governor Rick Perry for secretary of energy; and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) for secretary of the interior.
All four have denied climate change and have ties to the fossil fuel industry, the groups said.
            'Repeat after me,' 350's communications director Jamie Henn wrote on Twitter. 'The CEO of the world's largest oil company should not run our foreign policy.'
More than 70 rallies and other events are slated to take place at lawmakers' offices around the country on Monday. Organizers say they see the day of action as the start to long-term resistance to Trump's anti-science agenda.
            'The climate is changing, and anyone who denies this shouldn't be in the White House cabinet. It's up to the Senate to stop these nominations—and up to us to show up in person to tell our senators to fight Trump's climate denial cabinet,' 350 said.
              Confirmation hearings are set to take place throughout the week.
              The groups added that separate campaigns will target other controversial cabinet appointees—including attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder—throughout January."

            Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) statement on the Inauguration of Donald Trump, January 20, 2017,, "Today is a new beginning, one that has many Americans cheering—and others fearful. I know that many PSR members are among the latter group. I've heard from many of you who fear that this day marks the beginning of a long decline into a world they don't even want to imagine.
            But let me suggest reasons for hope today:
            If nothing else, this election proved that large numbers of people in this country are unhappy with the status quo. In their anger, many of them reached for the most volatile change agent offered to them. But I believe that the appetite for change in this country actually goes deeper than that. The frustration felt by many Americans often springs from a desire for healthy and sustainable communities, and for a positive future for their families. That's something were all want, wherever you fall on the political spectrum—and something that can bring us together.
              And it’s important to remember on this day that the issues that you care about, the ones that brought you to PSR, are concerns that are shared by a sizable majority of Americans. Just this week, a poll revealed that more than 60% of Americans would like to see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's powers preserved or strengthened, including 47% of Republicans. Similar polls suggest wide support for disarmament and peace.
              Today can be the start of something big, starting with tomorrow's march, which will bring hundreds of thousands of people to Washington D.C. to demonstrate that they reject the politics of fear. If we want any kind of hopeful future we'll have to come together and reject that kind of politics—and I think we're starting to.
              Let's look forward from today with hope. I look forward to working with you as we begin this journey.
              Warmest Regards,
              Jeff Carter, JD, Executive Director"

              The First Nation's people living near the construction site of the giant Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam have been vehemently protesting its construction, because all over Canada the reservoirs behind dams build up high levels of methyl mercury, poisoning people who eat fish and game downstream (Ian Austen, "Canada’s Clean Energy Might Not Be So Clean," The New York Times, November 23, 2016).

Environmental Dialoguing


       Vandana Shiva*

Republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License from Common Dreams, October 12, 2016,

              For more than a century, a poison cartel has experimented with and developed chemicals to kill people, first in Hitler's concentration camps and the war, later by selling these chemicals as inputs for industrial agriculture.

              In a little over half a century, small farmers have been uprooted everywhere, by design, further expanding the toxic fields of  the industrial agriculture.

              In India, a country of small farmers, the assault of the poison cartel has driven millions off the land and pushed 300,000 farmers to suicide due to debt for costly seeds and chemicals. The GMO seeds have failed to control pests and weeds. Instead they are creating super-pests and super-weeds, trapping farmers deeper in debt.

              And it is not just farmers who are dying. Our soil organisms and pollinators are dying. Our soils are dying. Our societies are dying. Our children are dying—because of diseases caused by food loaded with toxics.

              The introduction of GMOs, by the Poison Cartel, has accelerated the crisis of disease and death. The only reason GMOs are forcibly introduced is to claim patents on seeds - to collect royalties from every farmer, every season, every year. In India more than Rs 50 Billion has illegally been collected by Monsanto, from the cotton farmers of India. Within a few years of illegally entering India, Monsanto started to control 95% of the cotton seed supply. Most of the 300,000 farmers suicides are in the

              A patent of life and on seeds is a crime against farmers—who are trapped in debt for costly patented seed.

              It is also a crime against nature. The claim, that by adding a gene Monsanto is "making" life, violates the self organising, self-renewing capacity of seed. The crime is further aggravating by pushing out bio-diversity, and spreading genetic pollution through the introduction of GMOs.

              These issues are in courts everywhere.

              We are now organizing a Monsanto Tribunal, and People’s Assemblies across the world, to put the Poison Cartel on trial at the Hague (14th to 16th October). Alongside the Tribunal People’s Assemblies are being self organised by local communities everywhere.

              The Tribunal will both synthesize the existing crimes and violations for which Monsanto+Bayer is in courts across the world— in India, Europe, US, Mexico, Argentina, as well as expand the scope of criminal activity to include the crime of ecocide, the violation of the rights of nature.
Crimes against nature are connected to crimes against humanity.

              Corporate crimes have become visible everywhere, the corporations become bigger, claiming absolute power, absolute rights, absolute immunity, deploying more violent tools against nature and people. The People’s Assembly will not just take stock of the past and present crimes. It will look at future crimes with the aim of preventing them. Monsanto is now becoming Monsanto Bayer. Syngenta is merging with Chem China. Dow has merged with Dupont. Movements from India, China, Germany, Switzerland challenging these mergers will be addressing the People’s Assembly and planning future actions.

              The process of holding the Poison Cartel accountable is the culmination of 30 years of scientific, legal, social, political work by movements, and concerned citizens and scientists. This is the coalition that has got together to organize the Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly.
The chemical corporations had expected to take over all seed by the year 2000, through GMOs, patents, mergers and acquisitions. But most seed is not genetically modified, most countries do not recognize seeds and plants as corporate inventions, hence patentable. Monsanto’s crimes have become so well known that it now wants to disappear itself through the Bayer acquisition. The Movements against Monsanto have already won. Now we need to shut down the poison cartel.

              While GMOs fail, a new generation of genetic engineering based on CRISPR, gene editing, gene drives is being promoted to grab more patents and wreck the planet faster for the benefit of a few toxic billionaires.

              And because we built movements to stop "free trade" through WTO—such as the mobilizations in Bangalore, Seattle, Cancun and Hong Kong—corporations are now pushing new free trade agreements, such as TTIP and TPP. The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) systems in the new agreements are aimed at dismantling our constitutions, our rights, and our democracies.

              Corporate rule over the past two decades has led to an economy where 1% of the rich control as much wealth as 99% of humanity. More accumulation of wealth through corporations will lead to the extermination of most people, as their lands and livelihoods, their resources and democracies, are grabbed for profits and control.

              The Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assemblies organised in the Hague are already having repercussions in the International Criminal Court. Since 2002 when the court was set up by the United Nations, it has largely investigated war crimes and genocide linked to conflicts. The court has jurisdiction over the 124 countries which have ratified the Rome statute. It is now widening its remit, to look at destruction of the environment and violation of people’s rights to their resources. The court will also prioritize crimes that result in the "destruction of the environment," "exploitation of natural resources," and the "illegal dispossession" of land. It also included an explicit reference to land-grabbing.

              The ICC’s policy paper on case selection and prioritization declares: "The office [of the prosecutor] will give particular consideration to prosecuting Rome statute crimes that are committed by means of, or that result in, inter alia, the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land."

              Patents on seeds are an illegal exploitation of natural resources which have pushes hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers to suicide. This is a crime worth investigating, and ending.

              While courts can investigate crimes of the poison cartel, and this is important for justice, people have the power to change the way we grow our food. That is why hundreds of People’s Assemblies, being organized everywhere, will make commitments to create a healthy future of food and of the planet. From the People’s Assemblies we will launch a boycott campaign, to liberate our seeds and soils, our communities and societies, our planet and ourselves, from poisons and the rule of the poison cartel.

*Dr. Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist and eco feminist. She is the founder/director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis; Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs, including the International Forum on Globalization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and the Third World Network. She has received numerous awards, including 1993 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.

Environmental Articles


          Tom Solomon*

Republished with authors permission from CleanTechnica, October 12th, 2016, 

              There really is a feasible way to build our way out of the climate crisis in time to avoid the worst effects of global warming. We do it by rapidly replacing all fossil fuel-based energy with renewable energy built with current technology, installed in a smart grid. We pay for it without damaging the economy and actually save money vs. our current reliance on fossil fuels. The ‘side benefits’ include cleaner air, cleaner water, less disease, more jobs and a livable climate.

              The plan builds upon the great work done at led by Stanford University Professor Mark Jacobson. His work describes the end state of a 100% clean renewable energy future by 2050. What we add is a plan to actually build all that clean energy generating capacity, pay for the $6.3T cost over 22 years with the savings as we cease buying fossil fuels, and do it all in time to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis.
              We follow the mandate from the Dec 2015 COP21 Paris climate talks to keep total warming below 1.5°C by replacing all fossil fuels with clean renewable energy, with 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. This plan shows how to convert the US to 100% clean renewable energy (CRE). Similar plans could be created to convert the energy use for all other countries using the world-wide visions documented at the Solutions Project.

100% Clean, Renewable US Energy for All Purposes by 2050 (or Sooner)
              Professor Jacobson’s May 2015 paper shows a 100% clean renewable energy (CRE) plan for the US with end-use consumption of 1,591GW of renewable power by 2050. This will be renewable power for all purposes (including heating, cooling, transportation & industry), not just electricity. With the conservative capacity factor assumptions from his study, averaging 22% for solar and 33% for wind, this 1,591GW of end-use power scales up to a ‘new-build’ requirement of 6,448 GW of new nameplate generation capacity. The components of this are:
              3,966 GW PV-solar
              2,421 GW Wind
              61 GW of new Hydro+Geo+Wave+Tidal.

              To build 100% of this 6,448GW by 2050 and 50% by 2030, the build-out for the 99% that is Wind and Solar would look something like this:
Fig. 1 Building 100% Clean renewable energy (CRE) for the US, with 50% by 2030.

              Note in Fig. 1 that we reach 100% by 2037, not by 2050. This is an outcome of two factors:

              1) The current factory capacity to build and install wind and solar is tiny vs this need. In 2015 the US installed 7.3GW of solar PV and 8.6 GW of Wind. If we kept installing at that rate we’d need 405 years to reach 100% or 6,448 GW. So we need massive new capacity.

              2) The mandate to reach 50% by 2030 drives a wind and solar factory building boom of truly enormous scale. We have to build 488 gigafactories, most by 2029.

              If we assume that each wind and solar factory is a ‘gigafactory’, ie it builds 1 GW/year of nameplate capacity, and the average solar panel is 300W and average wind turbine is 5MW, we’ll need to build on average 29 of these 1GW factories per year for almost two decades. By 2029 we’ll have all the 295 solar factories built and 113 of the required 193 wind factories. That’s what’s required to reach 50% by 2030. If we then keep building 20 more wind factories per year, all 193 are completed by 2034. These factories will have such huge combined output (488 GW/yr), that it only takes until 2037 to finish the build-out for 100%. See Figure 2.

              SolarCity is building a solar panel gigafactory in Buffalo, NY, with production scheduled for 2017.
Fig. 2 Building the factories for 100% CRE, with 50% CRE by 2030"

What Will This Cost?

              Since 99% of this new CRE build is solar and wind, that’s where we’ll focus, starting with solar.

      Solar – per NREL and the SEIA the installed cost of Solar has been dropping by 7% per year since 2009, as the US started installing at gigawatt scale and spending on solar rose to $20B/year. But to build 3,966GW of solar capacity through 2037, we’ll be installing vastly more, or an average of 200-300 GW per year and spending $158B per year. With that kind of market power I assume that this price reduction of 7% per year continues through the buildout. That takes installed costs from $2.15/Watt in 2015 to $0.50 per Watt by 2037. Pressure to compete on price for a share this huge business will drive that trend. Actual price reductions since 2013 have been faster than this 7% model, as the model forecasted 2015 at $2.51/W, not the $2.15 we actually reached. Using the 7% model and the back-end loaded buildout above, the total cost of installing 3,966 GW of Solar PV through 2037 comes to $3,524B in 2015 dollars or $158B/year. The average installed cost per Watt is $0.89. Installations of 300W panels must average 597M per year. For a vision of how costs could possibly get down to $60 per installed 300W panel, we could consider literally rolling them out like this.
      Wind – The IEA published a cost reduction study in May 2012, forecasting a 30% drop in installed wind costs by 2030, followed by <1 2013="" 2037.="" 2037="" 2="" assumptions="" at="" b="" by="" cost="" down="" drops="" ends="" i="" installed="" installing="" known="" new="" of="" scale="" the="" thereafter.="" these="" thus="" to="" up="" used="" wind="" year="">$2,753B
in 2015 dollars, averaging $125B per year at an average cost of $1.17W. Installations of 5MW turbines (both off-shore and on-shore) would average 21,373 per year from 2016-2037.
      Total — the cost of installing 99% of the required nameplate capacity for 100% CRE by 2037 is $3,524B+$2,753B = $6.3T. This is similar to the calculated total cost of the Iraq + Afghan wars.
Fig. 3. For 22 years, (2016-2037) the US would install this much wind and solar capacity
How Can the Economy Save Money by Converting to 100% CRE?

              Key to understanding how this $6.3T investment pays for itself is to realize that:

              1) an energy system based on 100% renewables is fuel-free, and that

              2) the US EIA reported that the US economy spent $875B/year on fossil fuels (including 1% on nuclear) in 2010. So for every additional 10% of renewable, fuel-free power that we install, the economy will save another $87.5B per year in lower fuel spending.

Fig 4. The investment costs and fuel savings as we convert to 100% CRE

              Plotting the savings and costs as we convert, we see:

        Costs will peak around 2029 when total investment in wind and solar reaches $387B per year. But that year is also when yearly savings from lower spending on fossil fuels reaches that same level. Further spending will be roughly flat at about $387B/year through the full buildout in 2037, but yearly fuel savings keeps growing, until by 100% at 2037, the US economy is saving ALL of the former $875B we used to spend each year on fossil fuels (w/ 1% on nuclear ). Thus fuel savings alone will more than pay for the investment over time.
  This is an economy-wide corollary to a homeowner installing solar panels on their roof, which pays off over time due to a lower (or zero) electric bill.

              On top of fuel savings, Prof Jacobson estimates that the health care costs savings from lower air pollution would total $600B/year by 2050 (in 2013 $).
This is an investment with a great financial return. But it also explains why the oil, gas and coal industries are using their considerable political and economic power to prevent this future. That $875B per year is their revenue stream.
The net costs until the 2029 breakeven average $95B/year (net costs = investment-fuel savings).

What are Possible Ways to Fund the CRE Investment?

        Much of this investment will come from the private sector, as there is money to be made. A carbon tax on fossil fuels would spur CRE investment to be made sooner, and the need is urgent. A carbon tax could be revenue-neutral, as proposed by CCL.
       For direct government portion of CRE investments, a possible source of revenue could be a gas tax. Though a political anathema to some, a gas tax of $1 per gallon would raise $140B/yr, based upon the US 2015 gasoline consumption of 140B gallons.

              That exceeds the $95B/year net CRE investment costs and is nearly half of the average $283B/year CRE investment required, before fuel savings.

              With Jan-July 2016 gas prices averaging $2.20/gal, adding a $1/gal tax would still leave prices lower than their 2013-2014 levels of $3.50/gal. For fairness to lower income families, it could be paired with an increase in tax credits on earned income and child care.
                To put this spending in context, the US federal budget was $3.8T in 2015 with federal revenues totaling $3.2T (the rest was borrowing). The net CRE cost of $95B per year is less than the 2.7% of the budget that we spend on education ($102B).
      Of course an increase in income tax rates could be used. The NY Times reported that raising taxes on the top 1% to a 45% rate would bring in $276 billion.
      The cost of inaction on climate change could be $44T in losses by 2040: Citibank released a 2015 report showing that taking action now against the growing threat of climate change would save an astonishing $1.8 trillion by the year 2040. Conversely, the report says that if no action is taken, the global economy will lose as much as $44 trillion during that same time period.
What Else Must be Done?

              The 100% CRE solution also requires electrified cars, trucks and trains.

              RE air & sea transport may take technical breakthroughs to solve. Jacobson assumes compressed cryo-H2. Or it might be from algae-biofuels.

              Building heating, cooling and hot water must be converted to renewables.

              We must build a smart grid with some storage to handle intermittent renewable energy sources. This will require $24 B/yr for 20 years.
Invest in Geothermal, Wave & Hydro for the 1% of CRE that is not wind or solar.


              The solutions to converting to a new, renewable energy economy are here now.

              The barriers are political, not technical, and the need is urgent. The resistance comes from the economic sectors which will lose business (Oil, Gas & Coal and Utilities).

              The US economy will easily handle the costs, which are comparable to the $6T of spending on the Iraq and Afghan wars.

              Investments in clean renewable energy will ultimately be paid for by saving the $875B/year of wasted spending on fossil fuels.

              The industrial challenge is mighty. But it’s less than the scale of the war-time conversion that the US completed from 1941-43. We did it before. We can do it again.

To See This ?Analysis In presentation form:
Go to:

*The author is a retired electrical engineer active with in Albuquerque, NM. Tom Solomon had a 34 year career in semiconductor manufacturing at Intel Corp from 1978-2011. During 1999-2002 he was program manager for the planning, construction and production ramp of Intel’s $2B Fab 11X microprocessor plant in Rio Rancho, NM. Fab 11X was named Semiconductor International’s Top Fab of 2003. The insights from that experience were applied to this analysis.

Upcoming Environmental Events (A very limited list)

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), February 17, 2017 - February 18, 2017 in Madison, WI, Making the Connection 2017. This two day event will focus on many aspects of environmental health as well as addressing them in clinical, advocacy, and research settings. For more information visit:

UNESCO Week for Peace and Sustainable Development: The Role of Education is at Shaw Centre, Ottawa, Canada, March 6–10, 2017.  For details visit:

The 7th International Conference on "Livelihoods, Sustainability and Conflict: Religion, Conflict, and Reconciliation,” may be in March 2017, hosted by Kennesaw State University Conflict Management Program at Kennesaw State University Center for Continuing Education 3333 Busbee Drive Kennesaw, GA 30144. For more information go to:

The 9th International Conference on Climate: Impacts and Responses is at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK April
, 21-22, 2017. The Climate Change Conference is for any person with an interest in, and concern for, scientific, policy and strategic perspectives in climate change. It will address a range of critically important themes relating to the vexing question of climate change. Plenary speakers will include some of the world’s leading thinkers in the fields of climatology and environmental science, as well as numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by researchers and practitioners. For details go to: For details visit:
Summit Series: Cultivating the Globally Sustainable Self is April 27-30, 2017, at
James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA. For details visit: is sponsoring the People’s Climate Mobilization, a major march in Washington, D.C., when we will come together with hundreds of thousands of people to reject Trump’s attack on our communities and climate, and push forward with our vision of a clean energy economy that works for all, April 29, 2017. For more information go to:

The 5th annual workshop of Rising Voices: Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions will be held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado from 13-15 April, 2017. The workshop will be convened in partnership with Cultural Survival and the International Indian Treaty Council. For details go to:
Earth Day is April 22, 2017.

Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu Center for Peace Studies Professorial lecture: Climate Change, Environmental Security and Global Justice, Prof. Solomon Salako, is May 3, 2017, 4:00-6:00 pm, at Eden 130 Lecture Theatre, Hope Park Campus, Liverpool Hope University, Hope Park, Liverpool L16 9JD, Great Britain.

The 12th Annual Global Solutions Lab may is June 18-26, 2017, at the United Nations in New York and Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA.  Participants, from around the world, will be briefed by, interact with and question UN experts (from the UN Development Program, UN Environmental Program, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, FAO and other UN agencies) and then, working collaboratively in small teams, develop designs, programs and strategies that deal with one of the critical problems facing our world. The participants present their work to a group of UN, corporate and foundation leaders. After this their work is published in a book. This year's theme is Eliminating Extreme Poverty by 2030
The Global Solutions Lab is a structured learning experience that fosters creativity, disruptive innovations, global perspectives and local solutions. It is intense, fast-paced, and for many, transformative.
For information visit: Global Solutions Lab:

17th Melaka International Youth Dialogue: ‘Youth for Environmental Sustainability: Our Future, Our Care’ may be in June or July 2017, at World Assembly of Youth, World Youth Complex. For information go to:

The 13th International MEDCOAST Congress on Coastal and Marine Sciences, Engineering, Management & Conservation is October 31–November 4, 2017, at Paradise Bay Resort Hotel (All-inclusive), Mellieha - Malta. For details go to:

4th Annual International Conference on Poverty and Sustainable Development (ICPSD 2017) may be in December 2017. For information go to:
The 14th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability may be in January 2018. The On Sustainability knowledge community is brought together by a common concern for sustainability in a holistic perspective, where environmental, cultural, economic, and social concerns intersect. For details visit:

The 8th Annual Earth Care Summit, "Breath of Life: Earth's Atmosphere" may be in January 2017. For details visit:

The 7th World Sustainability Forum WSF2018 may be in January 2018. For information visit:

Earth Day is April 22, 2018