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Reposted from wjhamilton29464 by LakeSuperior

Charleston, SC- Transit in the Lowcountry needs your support today. While we’ve been working to plan a better system for the future long standing problems and exposure to the dysfunctions of our national politics threaten the survival of CARTA bus transit service here.

On May 31 the current Federal funding authorization for public transit runs out unless it is renewed or extended. As we’ve seen for the past few years Congress is capable of shutting down the entire government for weeks. The once unthinkable interruption of essential government services is now common. Mark Sanford’s bill to end federal funding for public transit is still pending in the US Congress despite his assurance he only introduced it to spark debate.

We don’t know how long CARTA could operate if Federal Funding was interrupted. We expect another round of bus route cuts in June that have been under study for six months. This will be the fourth round of route and service cuts in Seven years during which CARTA has managed to increase total ridership on its remaining service. However increased ridership is nothing to celebrate for the riders on nights, weekends and in areas which have lost bus service.

We’ve been preparing for these challenges for four years, since a federal transit budget cut slashed support for public transit across the United States. We’re now part of a growing network of public transit rider’s groups in hundreds of cities. We supported the effort in Columbia, SC to bring their transit system back from the dead through our connections in the SC Progressive Network. Locally we have pro transit neighborhood groups forming on James Island, N. Charleston and in Summerville as well as Truckers for Transit.

We’re not where we need to be and frankly, now isn’t the best time for the work with cities in an uproar and summer coming, but we have to push forward now.
We’re asking everyone we’re in contact with to sign our online petition opposing Mark Sanford’s bill to cut federal funding for public transit and to ask your friends to sign online. http://www.gopetition.com/...

We’ll be at Charleston City Hall this evening (Tuesday, April 28) at 5 pm to speak out about the irresponsibility of building a huge new residential development West of the Ashley without building transit in. We would use help leafleting the crowd. We can have prosperity, development and community, but we can’t continue to build and develop if every new household adds a dozen additional car trips a day to the road system. A world where every trip to work, shop, go to soccer practice or attend church requires two car trips and two parking spaces in impossible. There will never be the space or the money to build that many roads and those roads will be of little or no use to our working poor, disabled and elderly populations who can’t drive. Please read up on the proposed development and join us at Charleston City Hall at 4:45 pm today.  http://www.live5news.com/...

I know you’re tired and you don’t have much confidence in the system any longer, but last week a US Congressman interrupted his day to wait on us and hold a 20 minute skype conference on public transit. When we get loud, things move. This work is hard, but sitting still in traffic on I26 while our cities burn will be harder. If I’m lucky, we’ll reach some people today online and at city hall. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch the #40 bus home so I can tend my tomatoes. They’re up two feet and the grow in compost made out of the stuff we threw out of our kitchen last year.

You can turn garbage into fresh tomatoes and you can turn the problems we have no into a great new regional rapid transit system too. Let’s help each other.

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Pope Francis has made a number of unexpected moves in his tenure, the most recent being an upcoming encyclical that's expected to be about climate change. Though the encyclical isn't due out for some months, the Pope will be hosting a summittoday called: "Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity. The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development." The event will convene leaders such as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Jeffery Sachs.

While most are welcoming this "Growing Movement for Climate Justice," deniers are predictably scrambling for cover. This means that not only are they pushing out the usual drivel saying climate change is 'no big deal' and 'the policies to fix it are worse,' but they're also saying the moral thing to do is help the poor get more fossil fuels. For example, the Cornwall Alliance has sent Pope Francis an open letter on the issue, rife with the usual denier talking points.

What's more, the Guardianhas a piece reporting on how the discredited Heartland Institute sent folks to Rome to lobby the Pope. Heartland held a press conference (covered by DeSmog) during which Monckton charged that the Pope making a statement on climate "will be kicking the poor in the teeth."

At Breitbart, Delingpole deploys his usual humility and grace, starting his piece with a title that includes "Manbearpig," and ending it saying the Guardian's coverage of Heartland's trip, "should ensure a lively turn out of reporters." Considering that it looks like all of abouta dozenpeople showed up, Heartland should certainly thank the Guardian for the publicity.

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Top Climate and Clean Energy Stories:

Vatican climate change summit to highlight moral duty for action. Francis has already said that he believes global warming is mostly man-made and that a Christian who does not protect God’s creation “is a Christian who does not care about the work of God”.

National Parks’ place in president’s climate legacy. Our legacy for national parks cannot be Glacier National Park without glaciers, or Everglades National Park swallowed by rising seas.

75% of Heat Waves Are Attributable to Climate Change. “What used to be a one-in-a-thousand day, a one-in-three-year event, actually occurs four times in three years,” Erich Fischer, a researcher at the Institute for Atmospheric & Climate Science in Zurich and one of the study’s authors, said

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the WSJ's editorial page, the zombie arguments have returned. (We're kidding, of course; not about the zombies, but the idea that the WSJ's editorial page could ever be thought safe!) In the latest of a slew of contrarian WSJ op-eds, Lamar Smith—a Texas Republican and chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee—has a piece he seems to have written years ago and is only now bothering to dust off and publish.

Smith's piece resuscitates a number of dead denial myths and bizarrely focuses on the 2008 IPCC report instead of the new one from 2013. He even quote mines the 2010 InterAcademy Council's review of the IPCC, choosing a quote that says there are shortcomings in the IPCC process and apparently hoping his readers won't go to the actual report, which concludes, “that the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall and has served society well.”

Smith also discusses the pause, extreme weather and Obama's climate policies, presenting old denier talking points instead of anything fresh (or accurate). A rebuttal can be found at Huffington Post.

Finally, to end with some irony, we have Smith's conclusion. He states, "The intellectual dishonesty of senior administration officials who are unwilling to admit when they are wrong is astounding. When assessing climate change, we should focus on good science, not politically correct science." Perhaps Representative Smith should heed his own advice by admitting he was wrong and focusing on good science, instead of playing Dr. Frankenstein and reviving zombie myths.

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Top Climate and Clean Energy Stories:

Republicans are engaging in smog and mirrors on climate. The nation’s climate debate has been impoverished by the absence of responsible conservative voices. A revenue-neutral carbon tax is a reform Republicans should love.

Australia 'public enemy number one' of UN climate talks, says Nobel laureate. "Australia is seen as very much out of touch and out of sync with what’s happening globally.”

Laurent Fabius: Our Climate Imperatives. A country that develops its own solar- or wind-energy production takes nothing from anyone: The light and wind that it uses are not only renewable; they belong to all. We should not underestimate the major contribution this could make to peace and security.

Carbon Pricing Helping Farmers Ease Methane Pollution. Beneath the sun-parched plastic, microbes were breaking down the manure from about 1,000 cows into methane, which was being piped to the generator and burned to produce electricity.

Indigenous Louisiana Tribe Losing Their Land To Climate Change Faster Than Anywhere In World. With their land and culture threatened by the effects of climate change and other human activities, one Louisiana tribe is doing everything it can to gain federal tribal recognition

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Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Lefty Coaster

The Koch funded Heartland Institute is sending some of its industry compliant scientists to Rome to correct Pope Francis ideas about Global Warming.

Koch-backed group sending ‘real scientists’ to school Pope Francis about ‘Biblical duty’ to pollute

The libertarian Heartland Institute — perhaps best known for working alongside cigarette manufacturers to question the dangers of second-hand smoke — will host a workshop featuring two “real scientists” Tuesday in Rome ahead of a Vatican summit on the environment, although the group neglected to identify its scientists.

Pope Francis plans to issue an encyclical letter this summer that will address environmental issues, and very likely climate change — which could make the issue a moral and religious concern for Christians worldwide.

The Vatican summit will feature UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs – who the conservative group complained ignore “abundant data showing human greenhouse gas emissions are not causing a climate crisis.”

They said proposed international regulations on airborne pollutants would amount to “a radical reordering of global economies that will cause massive reductions in human freedom and prosperity.”

“The Holy Father is being misled by ‘experts’ at the United Nations who have proven unworthy of his trust,” said Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute. “Humans are not causing a climate crisis on God’s Green Earth – in fact, they are fulfilling their Biblical duty to protect and use it for the benefit of humanity..."

The Kochs are doing the Lord's work! They embody human prosperity! Why can't Pope Francis see that?  
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As part of President Barak Obama's speech at the White House Correspondent's dinner, as part of his speech, the President introduced his anger translator who expressed -- forcefully -- perspectives that many in the reality-based community feel (and believe are pent up in many) and wish were part of the general and open dialogue across our society. A bit more than halfway through this routine, things shift ... when it comes to climate change.

See video here:

At the three minute mark, President Obama shifts the discussion from money in politics to "the need to focus on big challenges: like climate change". For nearly a minute, the routine continues with President Obama speaking in the 'acceptable' zone of somewhat banal political language even if straightforward in laying out that

The science is clear.
But, then President Obama begins to lean in forcefully.
OBAMA: The science is clear, the science is clear. Nine out of the 10 hottest years ever came in the last decade.

LUTHER: Now I’m not a scientist, but I do know how to count to ten.

OBAMA: Rising seas, more violent storms…

LUTHER: You got mosquitoes, sweaty people on the trains stinking it up. It’s just nasty!

OBAMA: I mean, look at what’s happening right now. Every serious scientist says we need to act. The Pentagon says it’s a national security risk. Miami floods on a sunny day and instead of doing anything about it, we’ve got elected officials throwing snowballs in the Senate.

LUTHER: Okay, I think they got it, bro.

OBAMA: It is crazy! What about our kids? What kind of stupid, short-sided irresponsible bull —

LUTHER: Whoa, whoa whoa, whoa!

OBAMA: What?

LUTHER: Hey!

OBAMA: What!

LUTHER: All due respect, sir, you don’t need anger translator. You need counseling.

For years, those understanding of climate change risks and challenges have expressed strong concern over "climate silence". From inadequate media coverage, to absence in the 2012 Presidential debates, to gaps in OFA calls for action, to commentators' failures to associate climate when discussing things like California's drought to ...., there was a prolonged period of stunning and distressing inadequacy of discussion of climate change -- including from the Oval Office's Bully Pulpit.

This has changed.

This has changed significantly.

President Obama has been speaking forcefully on climate change.

President Obama has been confronting forcefully science denial.

President Obama has been working forcefully to encourage those with a basic respect for science to move toward more meaningful action.

President Obama has been issuing forcefully executive orders and directing Agency moves (such as EPA regulations under the Clean Air Act).

Last night, President Obama let his anger shine forth in what some are calling his most forceful statement yet on climate change.

Last night, President Obama hammered forcefully the nail in the coffin any claims of the White House engaging in Climate Silence.

That is a coffin we need to bury across all of society.

President Obama's anger against those who deny climate science and who are impeding movement toward a prosperous, climate-friendly society is anger that we all should share.

While everyone who has understanding of climate science implications requires some form of counseling (let's be honest, this is pretty overwhelming and depressing ...), perhaps we need to emulate President Obama and let our anger shine forth.

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Reposted from Leslie Salzillo by A Siegel
In this visually beautiful and mesmerizing piece, 27 year-old Prince Ea apologies to future generations for what we are doing, and not doing, to the planet today. The six-minute video contains so many great thought-provoking quotes, it's bound to be shared for many years. So far, in less than 48 hours, his video has garnered over 35 million views on Facebook.

Here are some excerpts:

"Dear Future Generations, I think I speak for the rest of us when I say, 'Sorry.' Sorry that we left you with a mess of a planet. Sorry that we were so caught up in our own doings - to do something."

"Let me tell you, trees are amazing. We literally breathe the air they are creating They clean up our pollution, our carbon, store and purify our water, give us medicine that cures our disease, food that feeds us…"

"I'm sorry that we put profits above people, greed above need, the rule of gold above the Golden Rule. I'm sorry we used nature as a credit card with no spending limit…"

The majority of the video focuses on what we as a people are doing to hurt the environment and what we as a people can do differently. Interestingly, Prince Ea chooses to zero in on the 'environmentally-challenged' Fox News and Sarah Palin, and he basically shames them.
"Hey Fox News, If you don't think climate change is a threat, I dare you to interview the thousands of homeless people in Bangladesh. See while you were in your penthouse nestled, their homes were literally washed away beneath their feet due to the rising sea levels."

"And Sarah Palin. You said you loved the smell of fossil fuels. Well, I urge you to talk to the kids of Beijing who are forced to wear pollution masks just to go to school."

He goes on for a minute or two more apologizing to the future, stops the music, and then makes a incredibly proactive quote.
"Cut the beat."

"I'm not sorry. This future, I do not accept it. Because an error does not become a mistake, until you refuse to correct it."

Here is the video: Dear Future Generations
Amazing.
To learn more about this cause and what you can do to help, visit: StandForTrees.org
Here are more stunning images from Prince Ea's YouTube video:

Special thanks to Rachael Christine, and Daily Kos Kossack 'SunBro'.
Discuss
Reposted from wjhamilton29464 by LakeSuperior
From Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit

This statement was prepared for the April 23rd. protest at the Office of US Congressman Mark Sanford in Mount Pleasant, SC. At that protest the Congressman agreed to meet with the demonstrators via Skype from his DC office. An intense, but polite 20 minute exchange took place during which the congressman said he introduced his bill to completely defund federal support for public transit over a period of five years to stimulate debate. 3 other members of the SC Congressional delegation are among the 8 co sponsors. Sanford stated he didn’t want to see local transit service end. The current federal authorization to fund public transit across the entire United States expires on May 31, 2015. Activists with Hungryneck Straphangers continue to work on the issue in their Stand Up 4 Lowcountry Transit effort..

On Tuesday, Japan set a new rail speed record of 374 miles per hour on their experimental mag lev research line.  In 1850, it was possible to travel by railroad between Charleston and Summerville faster than you can now at rush hour on I26. In two years, it may be nearly impossible to make the trip for four or more hours every day. Our region, which pioneered passenger railroad transportation for this hemisphere with the Best Friend of Charleston in 1830 is slowing to auto induced gridlock.

Mark Sanford’s proposed bill to end federal public transit funding would deprive CARTA and hundreds of other transit systems across the US of over a third of their total funding. These systems have been underfunded and neglected for decades. The North Neck CARTA bus I and a candidate for Mayor of Charleston rode on Tuesday was six years past its design life, carrying 30 people on a small bus designed for 24 seated passengers.

Sanford complains transit systems are subsidized by gas taxes, but his proposal would continue to grant cars a six billion dollar a year subsidy from general government funds. The amount now granted to transit from the transportation trust fund comes from general tax revenues much of which is paid by the half of the population which does not drive. Sanford proposes to leave 30 million transit riding Americans with about half of the inadequate service they have now while continuing to use their tax money to subsidize the automobile.

Sign our online petition against Sanford's Bill

Sanford would force the working people of his own district, who make our tourism and medical industries possible, to attempt to operate cars with their limited income. He has voted not to increase their minimum wage six times.  They would face an annual six thousand dollar a year ownership cost  and two thousand dollar downtown parking cost they can’t possibly afford. Many would join the 10% of drivers on our roads now who aren’t licensed or insured. For those who find automobile operation impossible, including many of our disabled and senior citizens, dangerous bicycle trips and walks home in an area plagued by one of the nation’s highest rates of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities would be their only option.

The huge dishonesty within Sanford’s justification for such callous treatment of his own constituents is his refusal to admit the huge subsidies government already provides operators of private automobiles, estimated to be over five thousand dollars per year, per car.  Much road construction locally has been funded by sales taxes on goods other than gas through the half penny sales tax.   Police and fire department car wreck emergency costs add to that total. In Mount Pleasant, a public works employee, whose pay, benefits and vehicle cost the town over 50 thousand dollars a year spends most of his time sweeping up broken glass and debris at the locations of car wrecks.

Were we to add on top of that the two trillion dollar cost of our military presence in the Middle East to help secure the world oil supply (which Sanford has voted to increase ), a gas tax of over 12 dollars a gallon would be required to cover the car’s full cost to society.

In a city where climate change will put Murray Boulevard on the Battery under water at high tide for several hours a day by the end of this century, we should add the infrastructure costs of walling off the historic city from the rising sea, well over half a billion dollars for one part of one city to the cost of the car.

However. the worst impact of Sanford’s shortsighted attempt to defund public transit is our Lowcountry being forced to compete in a global market for young innovative talent without transit. Charleston needs to be a place which produces software, attracts visitors with high quality cultural events and generates local employment without resorting to expensive corporate subsidies, 280 million dollars was recently appropriated to build new access roads and highway ramps for Boeing. The cost of that road project alone would be enough to build a true regional rapid transit system for entire Lowcountry like the Swift Bus Rapid Transit system Boeing workers enjoy in Washington State.

The generation now bringing innovation to the challenging economy of this century does not love the car as their grandparents did. “According to Federal Highway Administration, from 2000 to 2010, the share of 14 to 34-year-olds without a driver’s license increased from 21 percent to 26 percent.” Higher income young people are more likely to walk, bike or use transit. “From 2001 to 2009, young people (16 to 34-years-old) who lived in households with annual incomes of over $70,000 increased their use of public transit by 100 percent, biking by 122 percent, and walking by 37 percent.” http://www.uspirg.org/...

If we allow Mark Sanford and the three other members of our State’s Congressional Delegation to destroy public transit here and in the rest of the US, the Lowcountry grants a permanent competitive advantage to communities like Atlanta, New York and Portland where robust transit systems are built and operating now.  These young innovators, who could be the job creators of a high tech, Charleston future, will chose to live where their time and money can be spent on something better than a car standing still on a gridlocked I26.

William Hamilton, Hungryneck Straphangers
(843) 870-5299 or wjhamilton29464@gmail.com

You can download a PDF of this document with footnotes to the sources referenced. If you want to cut and paste your content, remember to think about how you're going to handle your footnotes.
   

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Sat Apr 25, 2015 at 04:50 AM PDT

Breaking: 7.9 Earthquake in Nepal

by bevenroDEUX

Reposted from bevenroDEUX by rebel ga

Last Update: from me for now--have to start my day.  There's really nothing good coming out of this, except that the epicenter wasn't actually IN Kathmandu or Pokhara.  Death toll is currently over 700, including fatalities in India and Bangladesh, and reports of damage in China (Tibet) as well.  8 climbers have been reported killed at or near Everest Base Camp, while the higher camps haven't been directly affected people are stranded as a major route has been destroyed.  Structural damage in Kathmandu is extensive, including monuments/temples in Durbar Square.  I'll try to check back in a while.


This seems to be a bad one, unfortunately.  

7.9 Earthquake between Kathmandu and Pokhara at 11:56 am local time.  Shallow depth--15 km (I had previously stated 2km which isn't accurate).  This would be the worst quake in the region since 1934.

Shakemap from USGS.

Reuters is reporting 36 fatalities at the moment but there are accounts of heavy of damage in Kathmandu, and the earthquake could be felt as far as Delhi.  Sadly this is the kind of situation where the toll will rise dramatically as resources become available, and teams are able to penetrate hard-to-reach areas, or outlying regions.

Reports I'm seeing on Twitter suggest that Durbar Square in Kathmandu has been heavily damaged, but no confirmation yet.

BBC

I've also seen reports that there have been avalanches on Everest and Base camps 1 and 2 have sustained damage.  I DON"T KNOW if Base camp one is the same that all the trekkers end up at, or the next one up.

Anyway, Nepal is an extremely poor country, with extreme crowding, poorly constructed buildings and little recourse for many people.  I'm looking for hotline numbers and will post when I see them.

There are any number of twitter accounts where you can get up-to-date information--I've just been using NepalEarthquake for now.

Also live updates from The Guardian (thanks DRo)

**********
Enquiry: Hotline Numbers:

For U.S. citizens in Nepal

+977 1 423 4068

Here's numbers in India (Ministry of External Affairs has posted this)

+91 11 2301 2113
+91 11 2301 4104
+91 11 2301 7905

How to Help:  SHELTERBOX Diary is here:  
Shelterbox

3:09 AM PT: update: 11 fatalities also reported in India, 6 in the state of Uttar Pradesh.  

3:50 AM PT: update: death toll from Reuters is 449 from one report.  Although USGS estimates suggest that the final toll could be in the tens of thousands.  USGS

5:02 AM PT: update: the historic Dharara tower in Kathmandu, built in the 19th century, has collapsed with possibly around 100 people inside at the time.

Discuss

There's a new database out that is filled with interesting information. The Anti-Environmental Archives, as the project is called, allows anyone to go through and help digest thousands of documents from various conservative "think tanks" that have long gotten industry funding to attack environmental organizations and regulations.

As Kert Davies points out in a blog post introducing the archives, you can clearly see that some organizations are still around and still repeating the same messages they always have throughout the 20 years' worth of documents.

For example, we poked around and found this 1996 CFACT newsletter. In it, you can read Sallie Baliunas (Willie Soon's mentor) trying to deny 1995's record heat, using the exact same talking points that others used to try to deny 2014's record heat. Among the repeated denier lines are: measurements aren't precise enough to distinguish between record years (the whole 'temperature measurements are within the margin of error' issue), satellites contradict land measurements, models overestimate warming compared to satellites, and there can't be global warming if winters are cold and snowy.

In light of all this, we'd like to apologize to the WSJ for singling them out yesterday and saying they've been a broken record on climate change. Apparently it's not just them, but the entire industrial-denial complex that's been a broken record for decades.

In this case, these deniers sound like a broken record that denies broken records.

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Top Climate and Clean Energy Stories:

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Blackfeet tribal leaders have joined with environmental groups, other American Indian tribes and the band Pearl Jam to campaign for the cancellation of oil and gas leases near Glacier National Park.

U.S. Maps Pinpoint Earthquakes Linked to Quest for Oil and Gas. “Oklahoma used to experience one or two earthquakes per year of magnitude 3 or greater, and now they’re experiencing one or two a day. Oklahoma now has more earthquakes of that magnitude than California.”

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So far this April, there seems to have been a major uptick in the number of fear-mongering WSJ opeds claiming the Clean Power Plan (like every other energy sector regulation) will cause skyrocketing electricity prices and blackouts.

While these claims aren't new, the rapid-fire rate of publication does suggest the anti-climate forces see electricity prices and blackouts as their strongest arguments against the Plan and the best way to defend their corporate masters from pesky regulations.

Like most everything the WSJ editorial page prints on climate and clean energy, the attacks have little basis in reality. Media Matters does a great job providing a point-by-point rebuttal, with solid citations and quotes that plainly contradict the WSJ's anti-regulatory alarmism. Union of Concerned Scientists has a special 4-pack of rebuttals debunking various industry-backed reports used to support these anti-EPA claims.

Over at EDF, the former Commissioner of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, Cheryl Roberto, provides insight on the grid's ability to handle the Clean Power Plan changes, concluding that, "In 45 years of implementing the Clean Air Act, clean air standards have never caused the lights to go out. And nothing about the proposed Clean Power Plan – with all of its tremendous flexibility – will alter that record."

Unfortunately, proving the WSJ wrong yet again probably won't alter the its record either. Their broken record, as it were.

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Top Climate and Clean Energy Stories:

John Kerry: On Earth Day, time running out for climate change

With solar project, Littleton seventh graders power up climate change fight. Bernard and a group of fellow [then] sixth graders helped keep 40,000 pounds of coal a year from being burned into -- and warming -- the atmosphere.

Australia pays $4 million for Bjørn Lomborg’s flawed methods that downgrade climate change. Climate change contrarian Bjørn Lomborg’s think tank methods have ‘no academic credibility’ says leading climate economist

On Earth Day, Obama says climate change could destroy Florida Everglades. "Climate change can no longer be denied," he said. "It can't be edited out, it can't be omitted from the conversation and action can no longer be delayed."

Ocean output rivals big nations' GDP, but resources eroding. Economic output by the world's oceans is worth $2.5 trillion a year, rivalling nations such as Britain or Brazil, but marine wealth is sinking fast because of over-fishing, pollution and climate change, a study said on Thursday.

Catching Waves and Turning Them Into Electricity. Carnegie’s current design generates electricity at a cost of about 40 cents a kilowatt-hour. This is competitive with electricity from diesel, said Mr. Ottaviano, hence Carnegie’s focus on island nations that rely on diesel.

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Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Lefty Coaster

President Obama speaking on Earth Day in the threatened Florida Everglades forcefully rejected Florida Governor Rick Scott's prohibition against state officials mentioning Global Warming or Climate Change in their official roles.

Obama in Everglades: ‘Climate change cannot be edited out of the conversation’

BY JENNY STALETOVICH AND PATRICIA MAZZEI

President Barack Obama on Wednesday paid his first visit to the Everglades, delivering an Earth Day speech that tied the threat of rising seas pose for the imperiled River of Grass to wider climate change risks across the nation.

But his choice of South Florida as a venue also was clearly calculated to make political points. Voters will elect Obama’s successor in 18 months, and the Republican field so far is teeming with would-be candidates, including two from Florida, who question whether climate change is man-made, despite significant scientific scholarship concluding that it is largely a result of carbon emissions.

In a speech delivered at Everglades National Park, the president also got a subtle dig in at Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has come under fire for ordering state staffers to avoid the term “climate change.”

"Climate change can no longer be denied...cannot be edited out of the conversation," Obama said. The governor, who declined an invitation to join Obama on his Glades tour, has denied such a mandate exists.

This week, scores of scientists meeting in Broward County revealed new research that showed even more dramatic changes in store under climate change projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that predicts increases in temperature, sea level and ocean salinity.

Protective mangrove coasts could disappear, studies found, and soils collapse under increasingly salty conditions, allowing Florida Bay to grow and the Everglades to shrink. The wetlands, which provides much of South Florida’s freshwater, are already half their original size.

“We’re at this key moment where there’s crucial public recognition,” said Florida International University ecologist Evelyn Gaiser, who has been invited to meet with Obama after his speech.

South Florida's Everglades is one of the areas of the nation most threatened by Global Warming and the resulting rise in Sea Levels. Rick Scott and all of the Republicans running for President in 2016 including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are trying their hardest to pretend that Global Warming isn't a potentially catastrophic problem for South Florida and other parts of the country most at risk.
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Those interested in diving deep into the psychology of climate science denial will be thrilled to hear about a free new "Massive Open Online Course" that starts April 28th. (That's right, you still have time to sign up!) The class is titled, "Making Sense of Climate Science Denial," and is a seven-week program created by John Cook, so you know it will be good. (Cook, you may recall, is the creator of Skeptical Science and is the lead author of the 97% consensus paper.)

The course looks promising, featuring interviews with an impressive number of experts (75 in all), from renowned climate scientists like Katharine Hayhoe and Mike Mann to the legendary Sir David Attenborough. Hosted by the University of Queensland, but available anywhere with internet, the course will teach students about the consensus gap between scientists and the public, the psychological and social factors that lead some to reject the consensus, and how denial has clouded public perception of and attitudes toward climate change.

Bottom line, if you've ever wondered what's going through the mind of a denier, this may be your best chance!

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Top Climate and Clean Energy Stories:

Most wells near Duke Energy ash ponds contaminated. Of 117 test results mailed to neighbors, 87 exceed state groundwater standards

Study links swarm of quakes in Texas to natural gas drilling. "There's almost an abundance of smoking guns in this case."

Here are 4 big pollution problems EPA has (mostly) fixed already. The dangers they posed were real, but you probably haven’t heard about them in a while. There’s a good reason for that: We put smart policies in place to fix them.

Earth day: leading scientists say 75% of known fossil fuels must stay underground. Leading scientists and economists release statement to mark Earth Day in which they urge leaders to keep to commitments to avoid dangerous global warming

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