Climate-related disasters cost American taxpayers $96 billion last year

By John Upton @ Grist.org Schools and roads are nice to have. But what American taxpayers are really dropping serious money on, through no direct choice of their own, is cleaning up and helping out after all those climate-related disasters. A new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that the federal government dished out $96 billion last year on what the NRDC calls “federal climate disruption costs.” That works out to $1,100 per taxpayer, or one-sixth of the government’s non-defense related spending. It’s more than the feds spent last ...

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Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants 1,360 Acre Forest

Deforestation and desertification are critical problems in India that have led to barren land, increased soil erosion, decreased agricultural production, and devastated local wildlife. However one Indian man has made a stand – by single-handedly planting and cultivating a 1,360 acre forest that is home to a complex, thriving ecosystem. Jadav “Molai” Payeng started his project 30 years ago when he was still a teenager. Then, in 1979, flood waters washed a large number of snakes ashore on the local sandbar in Jorhat, some 350 km from Guwahati. When ...

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Al Gore Asks How Many Climate Disasters Will It Take For Us To Act

By Brad Johnson @ Climate Progress Jun 22, 2011 at 11:54 am Vice President Al Gore has rejoined the public fight on global warming, issuing a clarion call to take action to address the climate crisis. Twenty years ago, he participated in the international mobilization against the future threat of fossil fuel pollution heating up our atmosphere. For decades, he and other leaders have battled the fossil fuel industry and their corporate and political allies to mobilize for a sustainable civilization. Now, the crisis of dangerous climate change is upon us. ...

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A Father’s Day essay on the world we’re leaving our children

By Joe Romm @ Climate Progress Jun 19, 2011 at 9:49 am On the one hand, should I be blogging on Father’s Day?  On the other hand, what more important day is there to blog on climate change than Father’s Day?  So as a compromise, I’m doing some cross-posts and reposts. Last year, Salon published my Father’s Day essay. It was a sequel of sorts to “Is the global economy a Ponzi scheme?“  Sadly, it needs to be updated since, of course, we didn’t pass a climate bill and thus took a quantum leap closer to leaving our children a ruined climate...

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How climate change is starving the world

by Jess Zimmerman It was supposed to take until 2080 for food prices to double. Sure, climate change can make arable land into irrigation-hungry desert, and increase the likelihood of crop-destroying severe weather (and wildfires). But ironically, increased carbon dioxide also helps plants grow, so this was all supposed to be under control for the foreseeable future. Turns out: Nope. Prices had already doubled or even tripled for some staples before the recession, and they're on their way back up. World hunger is poised to increase at a speed not ...

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Ecuador looks to its own people in the battle against climate change

Ecuador's indigenous peoples are proactive in adapting society to deal with global warming, effectively guiding the government by: John Vidal Ecuador's Yasuni park where, as part of the climate change battle, oil will be left in the ground if donors pay half its value. Photograph: Dolores Ochoa/AP We left thirsty Peru and have reached Quito in Ecuador on the great Oxfam/Guardian Andean climate journey. First stop is to meet the government and community leaders of a state that stretches from the Pacific coast, over the mountains, and deep into the ...

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Antique Pressed Orchids Used as Climate Change Data

By Jess McNally Plants picked by Victorian collectors up to 150 years ago are a valuable new source of data for ecologists seeking to understand how climate change will affect the timing of flowering plants. Scientists have used the carefully labeled and dated specimens of the early spider orchid, Ophrys sphegodes, to examine the affect of spring temperatures on flowering. The flowers were collected between 1848 and 1958. The results, in Journal of Ecology September 21, found that for a 1.8 degree Fahrenheit increase in the spring ...

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Does cold weather disprove global warming?

The skeptic argument... It's freaking cold! "Austria is today seeing its earliest snowfall in history with 30 to 40 centimetres already predicted in the mountains. Such dramatic falls in temperatures provide superficial evidence for those who doubt that the world is threatened by climate change." (Mail Online) What the science says... It's easy to confuse current weather events with long-term climate trends, and hard to understand the difference between weather and climate. It's a bit like being at the beach, trying ...

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How can we de-politicize climate change?

Image via Dispatch Politics Is such a thing even possible? The existence of climate change itself has clearly become a political issue, and the trend is only looking to deepen. Look, for example, at the current crop of Senate GOP candidates: Every single one of them opposes policy to address climate change, and nearly all of them question man's role in global warming. After the midterm elections, the GOP's stance on climate change will be further removed from the science than even the Bush administration's was. Meanwhile, polls show liberals growing slightly ...

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The U.S. Clean Air Act is 40! Happy Birthday!

Photo: Flickr, CC Time Flies When You're Cleaning the Air The Clean Air Act was signed by President Richard Nixon on December 31, 1970, and so it is 40 this year. To celebrate, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking back at the past few decades to see how things have changed and what kind of impact this important piece of legislation had on air quality in the U.S. (and around the world, since there's only one atmosphere, and many other countries follow U.S. regulations pretty closely). Read on for more details. Photo: Flickr, ...

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