Door County, Wisconsin

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Solar panels at the Milwaukee Zoo

 

Wisconsin has stood out nationwide for state officials’ hostility toward solar and other renewable energy sources, as codified in decisions by the Public Service Commission as well as moves by Gov. Scott Walker and state legislators. But there are also numerous bright spots in Wisconsin’s clean energy landscape, including leadership by rural electric cooperatives in renewable development. 

Wisconsin’s renewable energy markets and the larger benefits of renewable energy are among the topics to be explored at a day-long clean energy summit hosted by RENEW Wisconsin on Thursday in Madison. 

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Adam Browning of Vote Solar

Midwest Energy News talked with one of the summit’s keynote speakers, Adam Browning, in advance. Browning is executive director and co-founder of the advocacy group Vote Solar, which aims to make solar power mainstream nationwide. He previously ran a pollution prevention program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and also served in the Peace Corps in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, which along with his Miami upbringing “taught him about the power of the sun,” as his bio says. 

Midwest Energy News: Are you optimistic about the future of solar development in the United States — will it become ‘mainstream’ any time soon? 

Browning: I feel very optimistic about the future of solar for a couple reasons. Poll after poll shows a super-majority of Americans of all political persuasions really want to see more renewables, and solar in particular.  If you’ll forgive the pun, solar polls through the roof. Secondly, the costs are getting better and better. Around the country we’re seeing wholesale solar prices that beat that of building new coal or natural gas or nuclear plants. In sunnier parts of the country, we regularly see long-term contracts under 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, fixed for 20 or 25 years. The gravitational pull of low prices is inexorable. Those are the twin pillars of solar — the popularity and the dropping cost. 

You mention how solar can increasingly compete with other forms of utility-scale generation, but how about residential solar? Is that becoming financially accessible to big parts of the population too? 

Both [utility-scale and residential solar] are a function of scale. Back in 2002 [when Vote Solar was founded], solar was really expensive. But we had good analysis that the more you deployed, the more capital you invested, the more entrepreneurship you attracted, the lower costs would become. And that’s exactly what has happened. 

In the early days we focused on incentives, incentives with a purpose and goal in mind. Developing the local jobs and infrastructure, a local market that is sustainable. If you’re able to do that, right now the majority of the cost of a solar system isn’t in the hardware, it’s in customer acquisitions and all the other business expenses that surrounds having a [solar] business. The larger and more efficient your market, the lower the per-unit cost for customers.

What might the Trump administration mean for solar, including the fact that the Clean Power Plan could be killed?

A really important point here is that the most important decisions around electricity are made at the state level, not the federal level. This allows states to take leadership about where they want to go. The history of solar to date has been about state-level leadership. 

The biggest issue is that last year the solar industry negotiated a deal around the federal Investment Tax Credit with a five-year smooth ramp-down in exchange for permanent lifting of the oil export ban. This year it’s widely expected there will be comprehensive tax reform. The question is will that deal that was struck last year continue to be honored? If you abruptly pull the plug on the business environment that was negotiated, that’s disruptive. 

On the state level as you mentioned, what is the outlook in Wisconsin for solar and other forms of renewables?

There are some real bright spots. The rural electric cooperatives are not regulated by the Public Service Commission. They’re not answerable to political appointees, they’re answerable to their member-owners. You’ve seen real leadership. Richland Electric, Vernon Electric Cooperative have done really interesting community solar programs that allow individual member owners to make individual investments and see real economic benefits of investing in renewables. 

With a lot of the controversy going on around utilities adding fixed fees to their customers who want to generate solar, I would point out that Wisconsin’s average retail electricity prices are around 13-14 cents per kilowatt-hour, and in Hawaii, we just saw this week a deal for solar plus storage being offered at 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. If utilities are trying to force structural changes to make solar uneconomic, the time is not that far off when customers will have another option, cutting the cord completely, in the way that cell phones made what Ma Bell was offering with landlines irrelevant. 

Technology will find a way. If customers want solar, a business model based on denying customers what they want isn’t a very smart business model. Given the mass of benefits that solar provides, given the low costs, given the fact it doesn’t pollute, and the fact it’s not using coal mines and natural gas … the totality of those benefits will be seen as an opportunity and a path forward where everybody wins.

You are based in California, a leader on solar policy and deployment. Even though the politics and climate are very different, does California hold lessons for Wisconsin? 

First let me emphasize that there are examples of real national leadership right in Wisconsin. What the rural electric cooperatives are doing right now with community solar is setting a national example. I wish we had programs like that in California. 

That said, there’s a lot of interesting stuff happening around the country. There’s a lot [Wisconsin] could do to increase its investor-owned utilities’ investment in wholesale solar, and to create a path for rooftop solar. Financing could be improved, the cloudiness around the ability to do solar leasing should be fixed. In a place like California, in the past year about 10 percent of the state’s power came from solar, and a good third of that came from rooftop solar. By 2030, California will be well over 30 percent solar-powered. California is showing it is definitely possible to do. 

The Green Tea Coalition has voiced Republican support for solar in Wisconsin and other places. In light of all the national attention on political polarization and the disenfranchisement of many rural and conservative people, is solar something that can bring people together? 

Frankly solar is an issue that has probably the most overlap between Trump and Clinton supporters. Pew did polling around the time of the election that showed about 90 percent support [on different questions related to solar]. If there’s anything that could be a uniting factor in our divided country, solar would make sense.

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Iberdrola Renewables built these wind turbines as part of the Blue Creek Wind Farm in Van Wert, Ohio. Gov. Kasich’s veto of a bill delaying state mandates on renewable energy is only the first step toward developing more wind farms. The legislature two years ago changed property setback standards that the industry says has made building new wind farms impossible. (Karen Schiely)

By John Funk, The Plain Dealer 

Gov. John Kasich today jumped into the breach between conservative lawmakers and green industries and their environmental allies with a veto of legislation that would have made state renewable and efficiency standards voluntary for the next two years.

The veto of House Bill 554 means Ohio’s traditional utilities as well as any other power company selling electricity here must supply an annually increasing percentage of power generated by wind, solar and other renewable technologies until that percentage is 12.5 percent in 2027.

The standard has been frozen at 2.5 percent since 2014 while lawmakers studied the issue. The veto means the standard grows by 1 percent  to 3.5 percent in 2017 and then annually by 1 percent for several years until it reaches 12.5 percent in 2027.

To comply with the standards, power companies can build their own wind and solar installations or contract to buy the green power from independent companies that build them. Most power companies have bought the power.

Lawmakers in 2008 put the mandates in place — in a near unanimous vote of approval — in order to jump-start the renewable energy industry, which then grew as expected until bitter legislative debates in 2013 and the 2014 freeze.

Kasich had repeatedly pledged during his presidential bid that Ohio would support wind and solar, that he would not allow more conservative lawmakers to extend the two-year freeze, and that making the standards voluntary was unacceptable.

In his message to lawmakers accompanying the veto, Kasich wrote that HB 554, as it was passed, ran the risk of eliminating the “energy generation options . . . most prized by the companies poised to create many jobs in Ohio in the coming years, such as high technology firms.” He was referring to companies such as Amazon and Google.

Kasich was also critical of the impact the legislation would have had on businesses that work in the broad energy efficiency markets, whose technologies, he said, have helped Ohio businesses and consumers save more than $1 billion.

The veto also means FirstEnergy, American Electric Power and the other traditional utilities must offer customers energy-efficiency programs in order to meet   increasingly stringent standards to help them reduce power consumption by using new technologies. AEP never shut down its programs; FirstEnergy did. The Akron-based company is still negotiating with regulators about a new efficiency program but expects approval next month.

“FirstEnergy supported sensible modifications to Ohio’s energy efficiency mandates out of concern for the rising compliance costs that were being passed on to our customers,” said Todd Schneider, spokesman. The program will meet or exceed the standards, he added.

Schneider said the company has been neutral about whether the renewable mandates should be goals or mandates.

The efficiency standards require that by 2027, utilities reduce peak demand by 22 percent compared with the highest demand in 2009. The standards increase 1 percent annually until 2020 and then by 2 percent annually through 2027.

The state’s largest industries were able to win the right to opt out of the efficiency programs two years ago by arguing that they were more expert at efficiency than the utilities. Large commercial customers would have been permitted to leave efficiency programs under the vetoed bill.

As expected, reaction from a coalition of environmental groups was positive if not enthusiastic.

“Governor Kasich’s veto sends the signal that Ohio is back in the clean energy game, and ready to deliver good jobs and a healthy environment to businesses and families,” said Samantha Williams, Staff Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“While the lawmakers who fast-tracked this legislation seem determined to freeze Ohio in the past, the administration wisely sees that embracing the clean energy shift that is already under way can only help the state move forward. Jobs and investment are coming to the region–the governor is right to steer them to Ohio.”

Reaction was also positive from a coalition of businesses that had opposed extending the freeze.

A group of seven companies, including Nestle, Whirlpool, GAP and energy bar maker Cliff Bar with operations in Ohio had written to Kasich urging him to veto the bill.

The governor “has sent a clear market signal that clean energy jobs, investment and innovation are welcome in Ohio, the seven said in a joint statement issued by CERES, a non-profit national clean energy group that served as a spokesman for the group.

The governor also won praise from one group that has worked hard but only occasionally in public for renewables and efficiency.

The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, a Republican organization supported by Christian groups and led by Kasich ally Mike Hartley, saw the veto has a step toward a more comprehensive energy debate in 2017.

“Next year provides a real opportunity for Ohio to address its energy portfolio in a way that will support economic development, the co-existence of renewable and traditional energies — and benefit rate payers,” said Hartley in an interview following the veto.

The thorough debate that Hartley envisions would occur as American Electric Power and FirstEnergy push lawmakers to “re-structure” the industry or, more bluntly, return to some sort of regulation guaranteeing that customers subsidize their aging coal-fired power plants that cannot compete with gas-fired plants now dominating wholesale markets.

Reaction from Sen. William Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican and the driving force behind legislative efforts since 2013 to modify or scrap the state’s  energy and efficiency mandates was quick and somewhat bitter.

“It is apparent that Gov. Kasich cares more about appeasing his coastal elite friends in the renewable energy business than he does about the millions of Ohioans who decisively rejected this ideology when they voted for President-elect Trump,” he wrote in an email immediately after the release of the veto.

While praising Trump and his “amazing Cabinet of free market capitalists,” Seitz vowed to make another effort in the coming year to get rid of the standards.

“We will do our part by launching a full-scale effort next session to totally repeal these [former Gov. Ted] Strickland-era mandates. With veto-proof majorities next session, we are optimistic of success.

Seitz’s position implied that the lawmakers will not convene an emergency session this week to override the veto.  But John Fortney, spokesman for the Senate’s GOP leadership, said a special session on Thursday had not been ruled out.

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger will decide on Wednesday whether to call a special Thursday session, said Brad Miller, House spokesman.

Rosenberger did issue a statement, leaving no doubt that 2017 will be an energy debate year, though maybe not what Mike Hartley of the Conservative Energy Forum had in mind.

“I am disappointed that Governor Kasich has expressed disagreement with the majority of his Republican colleagues in the legislature. Through today’s actions, it is clear that serious differences of opinion exist between the House and the administration on issues such as energy policy and taxation. Make no mistake, many of these policies will continue to be priorities among our caucus as we head into the next General Assembly, and I look forward to working with the administration on those issues.”

Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston had testified against some aspects of the bill and had written directly to Kasich in an effort to help persuade him to veto the bill if it could not be modified.

Weston’s concerns are more consumer-orientated than environmentally focused.  He has testified before lawmakers that the utilities had found ways to substantially increase profits by offering energy efficiency programs. HB 554 would have added to their profits at the expense of consumers, he told lawmakers.

“The Governor’s veto will help protect Ohioans’ electric bills,” Weston said in a statement after the veto. “I look forward to working with legislators in the future toward maximizing consumer benefits from energy efficiency, while limiting the costs and profits that utilities’ charge consumers for energy efficiency programs. Our goal is to reduce what Ohioans pay for electricity.”

FirstSolar, the state’s only solar panel manufacturer, praised Kasich for the veto.

“As a major employer in northwest Ohio and a center of solar technology innovation, we commend Governor John Kasich for his veto of HB 554,” said Mike Koralewski, Sr. Vice President of Global Manufacturing at First Solar. “Our Perrysburg facility is the largest solar photo-voltaic (PV) module manufacturing site in the United States.

“The work we do here enables our company to deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil fuels for large-scale power generation.

“Governor Kasich’s decision will help ensure that Ohio can leverage increasingly competitive, locally manufactured utility-scale solar projects that customers large and small demand in greater numbers every year.”

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Huge, destructive fires are more common with climate change, and the loss of regeneration threatens to exacerbate global warming.
BY BOB BERWYN, INSIDECLIMATE NEWS

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Climate change is making fires like the Sand Fire that decimated tens of thousands of acres in Southern California earlier this year more common and are leaving forests ill-equipped to grow back. Credit: Getty Images

There are warning signs that some forests in the western U.S. may have a hard time recovering from the large and intense wildfires that have become more common as the climate warms.

After studying 14 burned areas across 10 national forests in California, scientists from UC Davis and the U.S. Forest Service said recent fires have killed so many mature, seed-producing trees across such large areas that the forests can’t re-seed themselves. And because of increasingly warm temperatures, burned areas are quickly overgrown by shrubs, which can prevent trees from taking root.

“With high-severity fires, the seed source drops off,” said study co-author Kevin Lynch, a forest researcher at UC Davis. “We aren’t seeing the conditions that are likely to promote natural regeneration.”

Historically, severe fires were uncommon in the forests covered by the study, largely made up of yellow pines and mixed conifers, but extended drought and heatwaves have exacerbated fire conditions across the West. The changing climate is also seen as a factor in recent wildfires in the Southeast, which is also mired in drought.

For the study, published Wednesday in the journal Ecosphere, the researchers surveyed 1,500 plots in burned areas at different elevations in the Sierra Nevadas, Klamath Mountains, and North Coast regions. There was no natural conifer regeneration at all in 43 percent of the plots, they reported.

“[O]ur data support growing concern that the well-documented trend toward larger and more severe fires is a major threat to conifer forest sustainability in our study region,” the authors wrote. They said the study results could apply to mixed conifer forests across the West.

Welch said the study was aimed at helping forest managers decide where to apply limited funding to replant forests that aren’t regrowing on their own. 

“There aren’t enough of the right kind of trees growing back, the sugar pines and the ponderosa pines,” he said, describing the native species that are ecologically and commercially valuable.

Firs and cedars dominated in the study plots where there was regeneration, but those trees  are much less resistant to future fires. Decades of logging of old fire-resistant trees and fire suppression shifted the composition of the forests, making them more dense. Add in the drying and warming climate, and it’s a recipe for intense fires.

“Pretty much everyone agrees that’s the climate change signal,” he said.

That meshes with findings in other recent studies, said Ellis Margolis and Collin Haffey, U.S. Geological Survey forest scientists in New Mexico who were not involved in the new study.

“The story from recent fires is that, due to a warming and drying climate, combined with increased fuels from a century of fire exclusion, high-severity burn patches in dry conifer forests have been increasing in size,” they said in an email response. “Importantly, some of these large, severe burn patches have no surviving trees within them.”

Some areas are being scorched repeatedly because wildfires are also becoming more frequent. Those re-burns have killed off even more of the mature seed trees.

“The loss of seed sources and increasing moisture stress after fires, both related to climate change, does not bode well for the future of large areas of dry conifer forests,” they said.

A wide-ranging 2015 study by other federal researchers suggested that entire forests could succumb to mega-disturbances like fire and insect outbreaks, and that climate change is already driving the transition of forests to shrub and grasslands in drier parts of the U.S. like the Southwest.

The new study offers some clues about short-term forest response, but regeneration after big fires can be a centuries-long process, according to Park Williams, a forest researcher with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

“Prior to the modern era, fires in this region seemed to typically be low-intensity,” he said. “In the more intense fires that we’ve been seeing recently, the patches killed by the fire are tending to be far larger and it could take a very long time for the native tree species to repopulate these areas. With climate getting warmer in the coming centuries, it seems more likely that many large burned forest areas in the Southwest U.S. will be recolonized by shrub species that can reproduce quickly and tolerate heat and drought.”

Alistair Jump, a forest ecologist in the U.K. who has studied forests on three continents, said recent forest die-offs around the world should be seen as part of a global forest crisis. The massive changes aren’t just a symptom of climate change—they could drive changes in the global carbon cycle that would speed the buildup of heat-trapping pollution.

“Mortality events might be perceived as local. Even on a vast scale they are easy to dismiss as the problem of another state or country,” he said. “However, the drivers of such events are substantially global (changing climate and its interaction with pests and disease) and many of their impacts are global. Consequently, we need a coordinated global approach to address the problem.

“There’s a band of very dedicated people working on this issue across the globe but with staggeringly little recognition of the seriousness of the problem from most of our political leaders. In short, we risk a very significant exacerbation of our environmental problems at a global scale if we continue to overlook large scale mortality across the world’s forests.”

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Joshua Emerson Smith BY: Joshua Emerson Smith Contact Reporter 

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Kashmiri fishermen in India use their nets to catch fish in the waters of the Anchor Lake on a cold day in Srinagar on Dec. 20, 2016. (Danish Ismail/ Reuters)

Village anglers to commercial fleets could see a combined annual loss of more than 7 million tons of fish by the end of this century if global warming continues unabated, according to a report published Thursday in the journal Science.

The study is the latest in a growing body of work that seeks to quantify the economic and health risks associated with climate change.

In their new report, the authors said world leaders can avoid massive disruption of the the planet’s fisheries by limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — the target called for in the Paris accord on climate change that was formulated last year.

“Moving forward is actually persuading the countries and even the private sector to achieve” that goal, said William Cheung, the study’s lead author and a professor at the University of British Columbia who studies fisheries management.

The authors project that for every Celsius degree of warming Earth experiences, fish catches could drop by more than 3 million metric tons a year. Around the world, the amount of fish caught per year currently totals about 109 million tons.

In 2015, the planet was on average 1 degree Celsius warmer than preindustrial levels — the first time it reached that milestone, according to NASA.

The forecasted impacts of global warming won’t be felt evenly, climate experts have said.

As the planet warms, fish will migrate to cooler habitats. Places where people have the least ability to adapt to these shifts will be affected the most, scientists said.

For example, the new report found that fishing communities in the South Pacific could see as much as a 40 percent decrease in fish catches by the turn of the century.

“Regionally, we’ll also see these winners and losers,” Cheung said. “If you look at the salmon fisheries off the coast of California, we know some of the stocks are doing really badly with particularly warmer temperatures. For fishermen up in Alaska, the salmon runs are going much stronger.”

Climate change also could expand fishing territory in the Arctic if there’s dramatic melting of the sea ice there, and Cheung said this in turn could create conflicts if commercial fleets increasingly move into the region and raise competition with local subsistence anglers.

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Unprecedented warming has sent the Arctic into uncharted territory, says latest NOAA report, as its science faces potential hostility from the Trump administration.

BY BOB BERWYN, INSIDECLIMATE NEWS

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Secretary of State John Kerry, center, visited Norway this year, witnessing the impacts of a melting Arctic. Credit: Getty Images

The ill winds of climate change are irrevocably reshaping the Arctic, including massive declines in  sea ice and snow and a record-late start to sea ice formation this fall. Those were the sobering conclusions of the 2016 Arctic Report Card released Tuesday.

The report card is sponsored by the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and co-authored by more than 50 scientists from Asia, North America and Europe. The data shows that the Arctic is warming at double the rate of the global average temperature. Between October 2015 and September 2016, temperatures over Arctic land areas were 2.0 degrees Celsius above the 1981-­2010 baseline, the warmest on record going back to 1900.

The report, released at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, clearly links the Arctic heatwave to a record-late start to formation of sea ice this fall, and to record high and low seasonal snow cover extent in the Northern Hemisphere. If the extreme warmth recorded in the Arctic this fall persists for the next few years, it may signal a completely new climate in the region, scientists said.

Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA’s Arctic Research Program, said the report highlights the clear and pronounced global warming signal in the Arctic and its effects cascading throughout the environment, like the spread of parasitic diseases in Arctic animals.

“We’ve seen a year in 2016 like we’ve never seen before … with clear acceleration of many global warming signals. The Arctic was whispering change. Now it’s not whispering. It’s speaking, it’s shouting change, and the changes are large,” said co-author Donald Perovich, who studies Arctic climate at Dartmouth College.

Sustained observations of the Arctic is crucial to making science-based policy decisions, he added, a goal threatened by the inclusion of numerous climate deniers in President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. This week, Trump’s transition team posted a new “Energy Independence” websitethat repeats his previous intentions to open up vast areas for fossil fuel development and to scrap existing climate action plans.

Arctic ice doesn’t care about politics, and what happens in the region now is critically important to the U.S., said Rafe Pomerance, chair of Arctic 21 and a member of the Polar Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

“What kind of Arctic do we want to have? It has to be one that maintains the stability of the climate system,” he said. “The melting of Greenland is going to put an enormous hit on real estate values. The fate of Greenland is the fate of Miami. It’s in the U.S. national interest to stop Greenland’s ice sheet from melting. How are we going to bring it to a halt?”

The scientific report stands in stark contrast to the incoming administration’s apparent intention to foster more fossil fuel development, he said.

“This is a byproduct of the poison of denialism, a political issue that has taken hold so deeply so that this is the kind of stuff that can be contemplated,” he said. “Evidence doesn’t mean anything, science doesn’t seem to mean anything. They ought to take what’s going on in the Arctic really seriously. This is a crisis. The Arctic is unraveling.”

The report card underscores nearly a year of unusual conditions, said Lars Kaleschke, an Arctic researcher at the University of Hamburg who was not among the report’s authors. Extremely warm air temperatures last January and February led to the smallest maximum winter sea ice extent on record, equaling the record set in  2015. And the return of extreme warmth in November led to a short period of ice retreat at a time when it’s usually growing fast.

Kaleschke said he’s become concerned by reports that the incoming U.S. administration may cut NASA’s Earth observation budget, which includes many programs critical to understanding Arctic global warming changes.

“That would be a huge loss for the climate research community,” he said. Those programs are critical to efforts to understand rapid Arctic changes.NASA’s airborne IceBridge program, for example, helps confirm ice thickness measurements made by the European Space Agency’s CryoSat program.

Kaleschke said Trump appears to have a clear anti-science attitude that will affect the world’s ability to respond to climate change.

The  global warming signal was particularly evident in Greenland in 2016, said Marco Tedesco, a climate researcher with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who was involved in the report.

“The Greenland Ice Sheet continued to lose mass in 2016. The melt onset was the second earliest and the melt season was 30 to 40 days longer than average in the northeast, he said. Spring snow cover extent in Greenland and other parts of the Arctic reached new record lows in spring and there’s new evidence that snow depth is also decreasing, which would be a precursor to even earlier and faster melting.”

Arctic permafrost is also releasing more greenhouse gases in the winter than plants can take up in the summer, making the Arctic a net source of heat-trapping pollution, he added.

Snow cover on land helps cool the entire Northern Hemisphere climate system, insulates soil and regulates the water cycle through the seasons.

Highlighting the the recent changes in the Arctic is even more important in light of the current political context, said University of Sheffield geographer Edward Hanna, who co-authored the report’s chapter on air surface temperatures.

Air temperatures across the Arctic between January and March 2016 soared past previous record highs, with some locations reporting anomalies of more than 8 degrees Celsius. In recent decades, there have been more frequent surges of warm air from mid-latitudes far north into the Arctic. That lends support to the emerging hypothesis that the Arctic meltdown is changing the path of the jet stream, possibly leading to more sustained extreme weather events in the Northern Hemisphere, Hanna said.

The steady trend toward thinner, younger ice in the Arctic is also notable, suggesting the meltdown is irreversible.

“It’s hard to see how the summer sea ice will survive,” he concluded.

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On a positive note: Click Here to learn what the world has accomplished in 2016!

 

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By: Joe McCartney

It took a while, but the consensus is now clear: climate change is a real and is a serious threat to the planet. Even better than this recognition, countries are finally doing something meaningful about it.
In the past, the stranglehold of fossil fuels proved too hard to break. But now renewable energy, combined with a renewed sense of purpose on the global stage, is making solutions appear more viable than ever.
Part of this urgency stems from the endless parade of horrible environmental news: 2016 was the hottest year in recorded history, pollution is making life unlivable in cities across the world, oceans and forests are dying, and species are plummeting. Despite this narrative of darkness, 2016 had many environmental wins that show climate change can be reined in.

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