Wednesday, August 24, 2016

CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS FOR AUGUST 2016

CC NEWS FOR AUGUST 2016

The Ohio Valley ReSource posted an article on July 22 by Glynis Board titled,  The Flood Next Time: Warming Raises the Risk of Disaster,  Clicking on the link will let you read the article and also hear a 5.1-minute audio broadcast on WFPL at 89.3 on July 25.  Referring to the recent extreme flooding in West Virginia, the report says,
“The National Weather Service described the West Virginia disaster as a 1000-year event, a term meteorologists use to describe the rare probability of such extreme rains. Many scientists who study the climate, however, warn that our warming atmosphere is increasing the likelihood and severity of flooding disasters. Further, a review of emergency planning shows that while risk of extreme rainfall is on the rise in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, the states are not doing enough to prepare for the rising waters.”
Climate scientists like Michael Mann at Penn State University point out that as the atmosphere warms it is able to carry more moisture, leading to more intense rainfall and flooding.
“NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reported that last month was the warmest June for the U.S since temperature record-keeping began more than a century ago, and 2016 is on track to become the globe’s warmest year ever recorded. Mann explained that our atmosphere is like a sponge, and the warmer it is the more water it can hold.”
A report by NOAA and some sixty other scientific agencies shows that intense rainstorms have increased significantly in many parts of the country over the past half-century. In West Virginia and parts of the northeastern U.S., the proportion of precipitation that comes down in the heaviest storms went up by 71 percent. In Kentucky and Ohio, those heavy storms are up by about a third over the same time period.”
“The nonprofit Climate Central, which offers scientific research and information on climate change, produced a report last November called States at Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card. The report rated states on how well each is preparing for predicted increases in risks, including flooding.”  The Report Card gives letter grades to states for how well prepared they are to deal with the increasing risk of flooding.  Kentucky gets a grade of F, West Virginia gets a D+ and Ohio gets a D.

NOTE: If you go to the Report Card link you will find an interactive map of the U.S. Moving your cursor over a state of interest will show its letter grade for climate preparedness.  California, New York and Massachusetts, which have some of the country’s lowest per capita carbon emissions, all get A.  My state, Delaware, gets a B+.

On July 22 the Climate Reality Project posted an article titled, Thanks Obama!  Five Ways the U.S is Leading the World on Climate Change.  The five ways are:

  •   The Clean Power Plan
  •   A Moratorium (Temporary Freeze) on Leasing Public Lands for Coal Mining
  •   Proposed New Fuel Economy Standards for Vehicles
  •   Improving Energy Efficiency in Homes and Businesses
  •   Reducing Methane Emissions


On July 25 the Sightline Institute published a 26-page report by Kristin Eberhard titled, What is the Best Way to Ensure Climate Justice in Oregon?
In the Executive Summary of the full report Eberhard writes,
Sightline believes any climate policy must be effective, efficient, and fair. One important way to promote climate justice is to make polluters pay when they pollute and dedicate a portion of polluters-pay revenue to projects that both reduce pollution and benefit disadvantaged people.  (emphasis added)  California pioneered such a policy by implementing a science-based cap on climate pollution, investing cap-and-trade auction revenue in projects that reduce climate pollution, and ensuring that a portion of these projects directly benefit disadvantaged people. The Golden State dedicates 25 percent of climate auction revenue to pollution reduction projects that are geographically located in or that benefit the 25 percent of census tracts (each census tract is an area with around 4,000 residents) with the highest cumulative concentrations of environmental and social disadvantages, as measured by a 19-indicator environmental justice screen. Projects include improving transit, building affordable housing near transit, planting trees, and subsidizing electric vehicles.”
“In 2016, Oregon advocates and legislators proposed a bill that would have followeda similar approach to climate equity. However, Oregon faces two major barriers:

1. Oregon’s constitution likely requires all revenue from the transportation
sector—almost all the available auction revenue from a possible future
climate cap-and-trade program—be deposited in the Highway Trust Fund and spent exclusively on roads. The Oregon Supreme Court’s interpretation of the state constitution prohibits Oregon from investing transportation sector money in transit, affordable housing, trees, electric vehicles, or most other projects that could benefit disadvantaged people while cutting pollution. Not only is Oregon cut off from these beneficial projects, but most Highway Trust Fund money is spent on highways. More and better highways can induce more driving, creating more pollution, and further disadvantaging nearby communities.

2. Directing money to the 25 percent of census tracts with the most pollution, people of color, and poverty will not benefit most people of color or low-income households in Oregon. The top 25 percent of census tracts
identified by these three indicators include 402,572 people of color and
534,409 low-income people, while the other 75 percent of tracts include
470,174 people of color and 880,469 low-income people. Following
California’s lead and sending money to the most impacted census tracts may not be the most effective way to benefit low-income households and people of color in Oregon.”


On Aug. 12 BloombergView posted an article by Cass Sunsetin titled, A Court Ruling that Could Save the Planet.  He wrote,
A federal court this week upheld the approach that the government uses to calculate the social cost of carbon when it issues regulations -- and not just the cost imposed on Americans, but on people worldwide (emphasis added).  It’s technical stuff, but also one of the most important climate change rulings ever.
The social cost of carbon is meant to capture the economic damage of a ton of carbon emissions. The assumptions that go into the analysis, and the resulting number, matter a lot, because they play a key role in the cost-benefit analysis for countless regulations -- not only the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, but also fuel economy rules for automobiles and trucks and energy efficiency rules for appliances, including refrigerators, microwave ovens, clothes washers, small motors, and clothes driers. The cost-benefit analysis can in turn help agencies to determine the level of stringency for such regulations, and indeed whether to go forward at all.”
“First established by the Barack Obama administration in 2010, the central value for the social cost of carbon, last updated in 2015, is now $36. That figure is set within a range from $11 to $105, meant to acknowledge scientific and economic uncertainty. (Disclosure: As administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, I was involved in the process.) The $36 figure has international resonance; many nations are paying attention to it. It also plays a large role in discussions about the size of any possible carbon tax.”
“For climate change in particular, the court’s ruling is massively important. It upholds a foundation of countless regulations designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unless the Supreme Court intervenes (which is unlikely), that foundation is now secure. In the U.S. and elsewhere, the social cost of carbon is likely to play a defining role in the coming years.”
NOTE: When discussing the social cost of carbon, Sunstein is talking about the marginal cost to human society of the release of an additional ton of carbon dioxide (CO2 or its equivalent if another greenhouse gas, e.g., N2O, is involved), in dollars per ton.  Note the wide range ($11 to $105 per ton) given by the federal government, to include the uncertainties in the various estimates involved in determining the social cost.  One of the big unknowns is the importance of positive feedbacks that amplify the damage.  Prices on carbon are being set by governments around the world.  A summary of the current status can be found on the Price on Carbon website developed by Linda Swift of the Berkeley, Albany Emeryville (CA) League of Women Voters.  Sweden has the highest national carbon tax of $168 per metric tonne of CO2.
On August 15 the World Resources Institute posted an article by Andrew Light and Helen Mountford titled, Will the G20 Spur Post-Paris Climate Action?  3 Signs to Look For.  The authors point out that the G20 meeting in September in Hangzhou, China, brings together the leaders of the world’s largest economies for the first time since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.  They wrote, G20 Leaders Summits traditionally focus on economic growth and financial stability, but since more than 190 countries collectively agreed to greatly enhance mitigation of the causes and impacts of climate change, the need to tackle a changing climate and foster clean energy has become a clear economic and business reality.” 
Collectively, G20 countries represent roughly 80 percent of global GDP and roughly 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.  That means that if they hit their emissions reduction targets, these 20 countries can bend the global emissions curve downward, meeting their responsibility to their citizens, as well as to the smaller economies that are most vulnerable to climate change.”  The three things the authors suggest that we look for are:
  • A commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies no later than 2025
  • A push for green finance
  • Affirmation that the Paris Agreement is the way forward
About fossil fuel subsidies they wrote: “Leaders should acknowledge that fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks cost an estimated $550 billion per year globally and encourage inefficient investments in further fossil fuel exploration and production, discouraging energy innovation and efficiency. They also come at huge cost to the subsidizing governments -- often more than is spent domestically on health or on education...”  (emphasis added)
NOTE: Subsidizing fossil fuels made sense 150 years ago, when the Industrial Revolution was really getting underway and we stopped lighting our homes with whale oil, and eventually replaced horse-drawn carriages with automobiles.  Now, because of the dangerous risks of climate change, it amounts to shooting ourselves in the foot.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issues an annual report on the development of wind energy.  The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) announced the release of DOE’s 2015 Wind Technologies Market  Report on August 17 this year.  The main authors of the report are Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger.  Here are some of the highlights of the LBNL summary:
  • Wind power was the largest source of new U.S. electric supply in 2015, and now provides about 5% of the national total generation - providing more than 10% of the total in twelve states and more than 20% in three.
  • Going to larger, higher capacity turbines with longer blades is improving performance.  Capacity factors (the percentage of maximum possible power actually achieved on average in practice) averaged 26% for projects built from 1998-2003, 31% for those built from 2004-2011, and 41% in 2015 for projects built in 2014.
  • Falling costs of wind projects are pushing down project costs; wind projects installed in 2015 cost an average of $1690/kW, down $640/kW from 2009 and 2010.  
  • National average energy costs in Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) have dropped from 7 ¢/kWh in 2009 to 2 ¢/kWh in 2015. 
  • U.S. wind sector employment reached 88.000 full-time workers in 2015, and a significant fraction of the turbine components are manufactured in the U.S.


The following items are from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), Carol Werner, Executive Director. Past issues of its newsletter are posted on its website under "publications"
 at http://www.eesi.org/publications/Newsletters/CCNews/ccnews.htm
 
EESI’s newsletter is intended for all interested parties, particularly the policymaker community. 


pastedGraphic.pdfWhite House Announces Clean Energy Savings for All Initiative

On July 19, the Obama Administration launched an initiative to expand access to solar panels for low- and middle-income households. The initiative, Clean Energy Savings for All, aims to produce one gigawatt of solar electricity by 2020 through solar installations in low- and moderate-income communities, which would involve an estimated 250,000 homes. The program will be coordinated by six federal agencies. Program participants would not be responsible for paying for the solar upgrades if their home is sold or foreclosed. Additionally, the Department of Energy will be launching a new Solar Training Network to help create solar jobs in low- and moderate-income areas. California Governor Jerry Brown commented that the initiative is, "another important government effort to accelerate the movement to renewable energy and efficient housing so we're not wasting water, we're not wasting gas and electricity, and we're using the sun as much as we can."

For more information see:



pastedGraphic_1.pdfWhite House Announces New Electric Vehicle Charging Station Loan Guarantees

On July 21, the White House announced that it was partnering with the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation (DOT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Airforce and the Army to release a number of actions to promote electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure. To support this work, the White House is releasing up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for commercial-scale EV charging stations. In addition, almost 50 vehicle manufacturers, electric utilities, EV charging companies, states and other organizations signed onto the White House's "Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure," a commitment to increase EV charging stations.

For more information see:



pastedGraphic_2.pdfMontreal Protocol Negotiations Could Lead to Largest Move on Climate in 2016

On July 15-23, world climate leaders met in Vienna, Austria, to consider a draft amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The Montreal Protocol phased out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a class of chemicals commonly used as refrigerants, due to their damage of the ozone layer. However, in place of ozone-damaging CFCs companies began using HFCS, which are powerful greenhouse gases that despite their short lifespan can heat the atmosphere up to 1,300 times more than carbon dioxide over a hundred-year period. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said banning HFCs may prevent a global average temperature increase "as high as half to one degree [Celsius] by the end of the century." The delegates will probably officially approve the amendment at a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda in October.

For more information see:



GOP Platform Calls for Reversing Decades of U.S. Climate and Clean Energy Policies

On July 18, the Republican Party formally adopted its platform, which states, "Climate change is far from this nation's most pressing national security issue. This is the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it." The platform supports leaving the Paris Agreement on climate change, dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and turning it into a commission, overturning a Supreme Court ruling that the EPA must regulate greenhouse gases, stopping regulations on carbon emissions from the power sector (the Clean Power Plan), and calls for opening up federal waters and lands to greater oil, coal and gas extraction. The platform says that the United States should use "all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies," which it says includes nuclear power, natural gas, hydropower, oil, and coal.

For more information see:



Report Finds that Hotter Temperatures Make It Hard to Work in Some Places

On July 18, the International Institute for Global Health of the United Nations University published a report highlighting how higher temperatures related to climate change could shrink global economic output by over $2 trillion by 2030. According to the report, extreme temperature in up to 43 countries will shorten laborers' workdays due to unsafe working conditions. Tord Kjellstrom, a director at the Health and Environmental International Trust, commented that, "With heat stress, you cannot keep up the same intensity of work, and we'll see reduced speed of work and more rest in labor-intensive industries." The report also says certain regions could experience decreases in heat-related productivity in many jobs by over 40 percent by 2050, if climate change continues unabated.

For more information see:



pastedGraphic_3.pdfUnited Nations Says 2016 On Track to Be Hottest Year on Record

On July 21, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said 2016 is on track to have the hottest average temperature globally of any year on record, with the first half of the year 2.4 degrees F above the 19th Century average. The WMO found that June this year was the 14th consecutive month that was record-hot, and noted that carbon dioxide's atmospheric concentrations have passed the milestone of 400 parts per million. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas commented, "Another month, another record. And another. And another."

For more information see:



pastedGraphic_4.pdfNew NOAA Tool Lets Communities Map Their Climate Futures

On July 27, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a new Climate Explorer program online to expand American communities' access to the organization's historical climate data and climate change predictions. In coordination with the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, the Climate Explorer provides easy-to-read reports with maps, data tables and graphs showing the potential impact of climate change on counties across the contiguous United States. Herring, a communication and education program manager at NOAA's Climate Program office, commented, "Projections of how much and how fast [climate] change is happening is crucial to help communities prepare and become resilient."

For more information see:



Scientists Urge President Obama to End Coal Leasing on Public Lands

On July 27, a group of more than 65 scientists wrote a letter to the Department of Interior (DOI), advocating an end to coal leasing and extraction on public lands, which account for 41 percent of national coal production. The letter argues that in order for the United States to meet international climate commitments, coal production needs to be quickly phased out. The scientists reference a study that says approximately 95 percent of U.S. coal has to stay in the ground to "preserve a reasonable probability" of keeping warming below the goal of two degrees. Drew Shindell, a climate scientist from Duke who was one of the letter's authors, said an end to federal coal mining should be, "part of a broader effort to stop burning coal at all in order to save the American people from the disastrous damages that it causes."

For more information see:



Environmental Groups Delivers Hundreds of Thousands of Comments to Stop Federal Coal Leasing

On July 28, The Hill reported that a coalition of environmental groups has submitted 250,000 comments to the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in support of ending coal leasing on public lands, before the comment period on BLM's coal leasing program ended July 29. Sierra Club alone says it delivered over 130,000 comments. The groups also sent a letter to President Obama describing the benefits of permanently halting coal leasing, including preventing 212 billion metric tons of carbon from being released. Michael Saul at the Center for Biological Diversity commented, "The science is clear that there's no reasonable path to avoiding the worst effects of climate change without the phaseout of coal mining and combustion."

For more information see:


pastedGraphic_5.pdfClimate Change Threatens Coastal Military Bases in United States

On July 27, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a report projecting how severe coastal flooding triggered by climate change will threaten the daily operations of U.S. coastal military bases. Through a study of 18 East and Gulf coastal military installations, the report concluded that increasingly extreme high tides and hurricane storm surges will place a majority of these bases "at risk of losing [consistent access to] land where vital infrastructure, training and testing grounds for thousands of its personnel currently exist" by as soon as 2050. The report further predicts that eight of the studied coastal military bases will be vulnerable to permanent land losses of 25 to 50 percent from rising sea levels by 2100.

For more information see:

  
New Research Shows Links Between Climate Change and Violence

On July 25, a new study was published linking climate-related natural disasters and the risk of armed conflict. Researchers found that this link was especially strong in countries with ethnic divides, where 23 percent of armed conflicts were linked to climate change, compared with nine percent of armed conflicts everywhere. One of the study authors, John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said that when climate-related natural disasters happen in places pre-fractured by ethnic divisions, the result is "explosive," likely because one group begins to scapegoat another due to location or income. The study concludes that central Asia and north and central Africa are "exceptionally vulnerable" to this kind of climate change-driven conflict in the future.

For more information see:

  
NOTE: There was a severe drought in Syria that lasted for about four uears before crop failures and job losses led to civil unrest and then to civil war.  Sectarian divisions, where a majority felt that they were unfairly treated, also contributed to the war.

pastedGraphic_6.pdfOcean Acidification Is Changing Fish Behaviors

On July 27, a new study was published indicating that ocean acidification from climate change has affected the reproductive habits of wild fish. Ocean acidification occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent greenhouse gas, dissolves into the ocean and reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid. The study analyzed the habits of Mediterranean ocellated wrasse at sites with high carbon dioxide input from volcanic vents as compared to those 100 miles away at a site with normal CO2 levels, and found the high CO2 area fish mated less frequently. Marco Milazzo, a researcher from University of Palermo, said, "For the first time in the wild, we showed fish species with complex reproductive behaviors to be affected by high carbon dioxide levels expected by this century's end."

For more information see:



New York State Pledges 50 Percent Renewables by 2030

On August 1, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the approved Clean Energy Standard, which mandates that renewable energy sources make up 50 percent of the state's electricity by 2030. The state estimates that the "50 by 30" mandate will raise average energy bills by less than two dollars per month. The Clean Energy Standard also supports maintaining New York's nuclear power plants through subsidies. The controversial Indian Point plants will be excluded for now, as their operations currently benefit from higher utility rates downstate. New York Chairman of Energy and Finance, Richard Kauffman, said that the standard, "affirms New York's position as a leader in combatting climate change."

For more information see:



Firms Ask Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Governors to Increase Cuts in Carbon Emissions

On August 2, over 90 businesses and institutional investors organized by the Ceres BICEP group (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy) urged the nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to increase their governments' yearly carbon reduction goals to five percent by 2020. In two separate letters sent to the states' governors, the signatories called for an expansion of the region's existing cap and trade program. Concerning the promise of the initiative, the coalition of investors wrote that they "see the value of clean energy policies in helping companies and investors grow profits, save money, and mitigate the risks posed by climate change." The RGGI cap and trade program has nearly halved greenhouse gas emissions from the region's power plants over the past decade.

For more information see:



Ellicott City, MD Hit with Thousand-Year Flooding

On July 30, flash flooding at levels expected once a millennium submerged Ellicott City, Maryland. Up to eight inches of rain fell in just three hours, killing two people and damaging close to 200 buildings. First responders estimate at least 120 people were rescued. Maryland State Senator James Rosapepe drew connections between the intensity of the flooding and climate change. Rosapepe pointed to the oft-ignored threats to upland communities, saying that the flood, "reminds us that climate change is about more than polar bears and the rising sea level in the Chesapeake Bay." While climate change cannot be linked definitively to any one event, it does increase the likelihood of natural disasters like the flooding in Ellicott City.

For more information see:



Federal Court Upholds Department of Energy's Social Cost of Carbon
  
   
On August 8, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied the commercial refrigeration industry's legal petition to repeal energy efficiency regulations instituted by the Department of Energy in 2014. Through a cost-benefit analysis, the Department of Energy quantified the social cost of carbon to be $36 per metric ton emitted, a value which the agency then used to defend the need for regulations combating climate change. Concerning the impact of the ruling, Denise Grab, a senior attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity, stated that "other federal agencies will likely be more confident in using the social cost of carbon going forward." The court's decision marks the first successful legal defense of the legitimacy of the Obama administration's social cost of carbon, which opponents have called poorly calculated and under-informed.

For more information see:



pastedGraphic_7.pdfOlympics Broadcast Climate Message to 3.3 Billion Viewers

The August 5 Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympics emphasized the serious threat of global climate change. In a video broadcast to over three billion viewers worldwide, narrators described the threat of sea level rise on coastal urban areas and of deforestation on forests' capacity to absorb excess atmospheric carbon. Fernando Meirelles, director of the acclaimed film City of God and one of the creative directors behind the opening ceremony, stated that "the world is threatened because of global warming. We are calling for action." In addition to playing the climate-themed video, Opening Ceremony organizers had every athlete plant a tree seedling in MaracanĂ£ Stadium, which will then be transplanted to the Athletes' Forest in the Deodoro neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro following the Games.

For more information see:


pastedGraphic_8.pdfExxon Urges Judge to Block AG Investigation into its Climate Activities

On August 9, the coalition of state attorneys general investigating Exxon Mobil Corp.'s alleged misrepresentation of climate change risks requested that the company's attempt to block the case be rejected in U.S. district court. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, currently backed by New York and a dozen other states, filed a subpoena in April, leading Exxon to file suit. Exxon is accused of lying to the public and its investors by knowingly withholding data on the climate risks associated with man-made emissions. Opponents suggest the states' investigation is politically motivated and threatens First Amendment rights to question climate science. The attorneys general argue Exxon's suit should be tossed, as it would obstruct the states' right to investigate unlawful corporate actions. The case is part of an ongoing effort by states to hold oil and gas companies accountable for downplaying the impacts of their products on climate change, in violation of state consumer protection and securities fraud laws.

For more information see:


pastedGraphic_9.pdfScientists Caution 1.5 Celsius Threshold May Prove Unattainable

On August 6, The Guardian reported that many climatologists have expressed great doubt in the world's ability to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Recent data show monthly averages for global temperatures have already regularly exceeded 1 C during the past year, leading many scientists to predict that the international community will not be able to achieve decarbonisation before exceeding the 1.5 C threshold. Professor Chris Field of Stanford University commented that "the 1.5 C goal now looks impossible or at the very least, a very, very difficult task," adding "there is an upper limit to the rate at which we can move to a carbon-free future." Some scientists insist that carbon must be actively removed from the atmosphere in order to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

For more information see:


pastedGraphic_10.pdfPeat Bogs, a Vital Carbon Sink, at Greater Risk of Wildfires

On August 8, The New York Times reported on the increased risk of wildfires facing peat bogs due to climate change. Peat bogs, normally covered in damp moss, are drying out because of increased temperatures, leaving them vulnerable to deeper, more intense burning. This is particularly impactful because peat is a massive carbon stock, containing thousands of years' worth of carbon. Making up roughly three percent of the Earth's land surface, global peat bogs store almost as much carbon as is found in the entire atmosphere.

For more information see:


Middle East Heat Wave Previews Consequences of Climate Change

A scorching Middle East heat wave has left countries like Iran and the United Arab Emirates facing a heat index of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat wave is expected to continue this week, and such extreme weather events are projected to become more common in future years across the Persian Gulf. The record-breaking temperatures have exacerbated existing crises in the region related to water scarcity and armed conflict. Iraqi economist Bassem Antoine estimates his country's GDP has taken a 10 to 20 percent hit because of the heat, which has limited working hours and destroyed crops. Iraqi engineer Aymen Karim, whose family avoids the outdoors before seven at night, summed up the feeling of his countrymen, stating, "We're prisoners."

For more information see:


Warming Waters More Hospitable to Cholera-Causing Bacteria 

On August 8, scientists published a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concerning the worrying impact of climate change-related ocean warming on the prevalence of disease-causing Vibrio bacteria. The primary cause of gastrointestinal illnesses like cholera, Vibrio populations were found to increase as ocean surface temperatures increased. Researchers wrote that "such increases are associated with an unprecedented occurrence of environe Atlantic coast of the United States in recent years." While modern water treatment facilities should protect developed nations from uncontrolled Vibrio outbreaks, the researchers warned that less developed nations are at serious risk of widespread infection due to poor water purification practices and greater occurrence of extreme floods and typhoons.

For more information see:


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New Castle County Congregations of Delaware Interfaith Power and Light