Climate Change Coalition

How to Adapt Your Garden to a Changing Climate

Last summer, I stuck up a pleasant conversation with Will Hsu, a prominent ginseng farmer in the state of Wisconsin. It was March, and the temperature at lunchtime had risen to more than 70 degrees.

“Isn’t it a gorgeous day?” I asked.

“No, it’s really bad,” he said.

Why wasn’t he pleased to be outside on a warm day after a long winter? Wisconsin’s history of cold winters and cool summers make it an ideal climate for growing ginseng, Hsu told WKOW. He was concerned for his crops, and with good reason.

Changing Climate pbs rewireTemperatures throughout the U.S. have been on the rise, most notably in the past 30 years, according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website. In fact, the 10 hottest years on record have happened since 1998.

But perhaps the most perplexing elements to farmers—and gardeners—are not the slowly climbing temperatures across the board, but sudden shifts in temperature (from warmth to frost and back again) and unpredictable patterns of precipitation, including heavy rains and drought, which can damage certain species of plants.

Noticeable effects in the changing climate

So how much does the temperature have to shift before a plant is affected?

Well, that depends on the plant, according to Brian Sullivan, The New York Botanical Garden’s Vice President for Gardens, Landscape and Outdoor Collections.

“All gardeners know the frustration of dealing with the vagaries of weather,” Sullivan said. “We get excited to put out our vegetable starts on the first spring-like day, only to find them nipped back by a hard frost a few weeks later. Or newly planted perennials in May could suffer from an unseasonal heat wave before they have successfully settled into the garden.”

Shifting temperature ranges are especially challenging for plants that flower once in early spring, like blueberry, according to Sullivan. If blueberry plants are flowering when the temperature drops unexpectedly, the flowers don’t perish in the cold, but the pollinators nevertheless are inhibited from pollinating and fruit set is lost for that season, he explained.

Know your zone

If you’re looking to start a garden and aren’t sure how to select plants, Laura Musacchio, associate professor in the department of landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota, recommends that find out where you fall on the United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone map. Once you identify your zone, you can cross-reference that with a list of plants that thrive in your region.

Changing Climate pbs rewireAccording to the U.S.D.A., the plant hardiness zones are determined by average annual extreme minimum temperature over a period of 30 years,” Musacchio said. “It’s that cold that can really affect a plant over time. The different zones on the map cross state lines. The mapping is pretty general, but it’s a great place to start.”

In addition to these broad zones, it’s also important to know your “microclimate,” according to Musacchio. The microclimate surrounding your home can be influenced by the amount of trees and shade, propensity for wind and even the ratio of evergreen to deciduous trees.

Coping with changes to your garden

Once you understand your garden’s climate, you’ll have a good idea of the plants that will thrive there, but, in the words of the Ancient philosopher Heraclitus, “the only constant is change.”

You may have a good thing going in your lawn right now, but the bottom line is this: keep an eye on your current conditions and be prepared to adapt. “The best option in dealing with any growing conditions is to work with the conditions you have,” Sullivan said.

Here are some tips for planting when your garden is too…

1. Wet
If the garden is wet, you should select plants that like “wet feet” like iris and sedges, according to Sullivan.

Changing Climate pbs rewire“Gardens with severe topography will always have a low point and this is where water will naturally collect,” said Sullivan. “This is a great opportunity to plant water-loving plants.”

Adding or improving drainage can help with resolving wet conditions. A French drain can be easily added to move the water from a wet area.

2. Dry
If you’re looking for plants suitable to drier conditions, you’ve got lots of options. Sullivan recommends plants lavender for full sun and Epimedium for dry shade.

“Perennial bulbs like daffodils do well in dry gardens, since they need dry conditions when the plant is dormant to ensure the underground bulbs don’t rot,” Sullivan said. “Plants with deep root systems, like grasses, are especially suited for dry gardens, as their deep root systems are able to seek out water at deeper depths.”

A garden may be dry for lack of rainfall or as a result of competition from tree roots, according to Sullivan. He also notes that gardeners can also add compost to the soil to increase water storage capacity and a layer of mulch to help retain moisture.

3. Sunny
If you like flowers, we’ve got good news for you: a sunny garden is an ideal spot for blooms. Many flowering plants demand full sun, and will flower less and be weaker if planted in anything less than full sun, according to Sullivan.

Changing Climate pbs rewire“Plants needing more sun will often stretch in the direction of the sun, indicating that they are planted in too much shade,” Sullivan said.

A sunny garden provides lots of options. “The list of sun-loving plants is long, indeed. Roses, dahlias, and salvias are some of the favorites,” said Sullivan. “Herbs and vegetables, too, appreciate as much sun as they can get.”

4. Shady
With a woodland garden, you have the opportunity to create a unique, lush experience.

“A dappled area can be a beautiful place to garden, especially if the shade is from deciduous trees,” Sullivan said. “This is a great opportunity to plant spring ephemerals like bloodroot and trillium, which thrive in the spring sunlight of a deciduous canopy.”

Once shaded as the canopy leafs out in summer, Sullivan points out that the garden is perfectly suited to growing ferns, sedges, and other dry woodland plants.

5. Frosts, thaws and frosts again
Gardeners in cold climates know the frustration of losing new plants to a late frost, and that frustration is bound to grow as the weather becomes more unpredictable.

“Ideally, once a hard frost has occurred, the soils stay frozen until spring when the thaw begins,” Sullivan said. “In the case of an extended winter thaw, early spring plants will respond and may start to grow or flower and all plant parts exposed will be vulnerable to a freeze.”

Changing Climate pbs rewireThe best way to protect against this, Sullivan says, is to avoid early spring-flowering plants.  Still you can minimize the damage to the roots of plants if you anticipate a few cycles of freezes and thaws.

“Plants should be planted 6 weeks from the typical freeze date,” Sullivan says. “This allows roots to develop to anchor the plant against heaving out of the soil. A thick layer of mulch can be added after the ground has frozen to minimize fluctuations in soil temperature.”

Also, the less water in the soil, the better it will weather changes in temperature. “Improving the drainage in the garden will reduce the water in the soil that causes the expansion and contractions of the soils,” Sullivan says.

Consider plants that help conserve water

In certain climates, you might be either required by water restrictions or motivated by water bills to reduce the amount of water that you use to maintain your garden. And if you’ve followed the recommendations above, you should be in good shape, according to Musacchio.

“Water conservation is trying to match the right plant to the site,” Musacchio observed.

“Cacti and succulents are the classic water conservation plants,” Sullivan says.  “Eastern prickly pear cactus and sedum thrive in rock outcroppings and shallow soil and use very little water.”

Sullivan also notes that many perennials that thrive in dry conditions and, once established, don’t require any supplemental water. “In many cases native plants are perfect candidates to conserve water,” Sullivan said. “Yarrow, agasatache and catmint are all capable of thriving in low water conditions.”

Raised beds and why they matter

You may have seen them in your local community garden or in a neighbor’s yard—raised beds are gaining popularity for several reasons. A raised bed is either a bed that has been mounded above ground level or one above ground constructed from a wooden frame, according to Sullivan.

Changing Climate pbs rewire“One immediate benefit to a raised bed is improved drainage,” Sullivan said. “If the soil is wet and heavy, planting in mounded raised beds allows the plant roots to be in dryer soil, while still having access to the wetter soil below. A constructed raised bed has a number of benefits in addition to improved drainage, one of the most important is that it allows more control of soil quality.”

In fact, Musacchio recommends that individuals get their soil tested— for several reasons.

“Get your soil tested,” Musacchio said. “It will help you figure out the quality of the soil that you have, and to match the type of plants that can grow successfully there. If the soil quality is not good, a raised bed is an ideal solution, but check with your local university extension service or garden center to get specific advice for your particular situation.”

Raised beds are also ideal as a temporary garden—if you’re not sure you’re ready to commit to gardening for the long haul—and for those gardening in small spaces, according to Sullivan.


Click Here for original article

Climate Change in the American Mind: May 2017

To connect to the full report Click Here


Our most recent nationally representative survey finds that More than half of Americans (58%) believe climate change is mostly human caused. That’s the highest level measured since our surveys began in 2008. By contrast, only 30% say it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment, matching the lowest level measured in our November 2016 survey.

Four in ten Americans (39%) think the odds that global warming will cause humans to become extinct are 50% or higher. Most Americans (58%) think the odds of human extinction from global warming are less than 50%.

One in four Americans (24%) say providing a better life for our children and grandchildren is the most important reason, for them, to reduce global warming. More than one in ten Americans said preventing the destruction of most life on the planet (16%) or protecting God’s creation (13%) was the most important reason.

This report is based on findings from a nationally representative survey – Climate Change in the American Mind – conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication ( and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication (, Interview dates: May 18 – June 6, 2017. Interviews: 1,266 Adults (18+). Average margin of error +/- 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Key Findings

  • Seven in ten Americans (70%) think global warming is happening, which nearly matches the highest level in our surveys (71%), recorded in 2008. By contrast, only about one in eight Americans (13%) think global warming is not happening.
  • Americans are also more certain global warming is happening – 46% are “extremely” or “very” sure it is happening, its highest level since 2008. By contrast, far fewer – 7% – are “extremely” or “very sure” global warming is not happening.
  • Over half of Americans (58%) understand that global warming is mostly human caused, the highest level since our surveys began in November 2008. By contrast, three in ten (30%) say it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment – the lowest level recorded since 2008.
  • Only about one in eight Americans (13%) understand that nearly all climate scientists (more than 90%) are convinced that human-caused global warming is happening.
  • Over half of Americans (57%) say they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming. About one in six (17%) are “very worried” about it.
  • Six in ten Americans (59%) think global warming is affecting weather in the United States, and half think weather is being affected “a lot” (25%) or “some” (27%).
  • About one in three Americans (35%) think people in the U.S. are being harmed by global warming “right now.”
  • Most Americans think global warming is a relatively distant threat – they are most likely to think that it will harm future generations of people (71%), plant and animal species (71%), the Earth (70%), people in developing countries (62%), or the world’s poor (62%). They are less likely to think it will harm people in the U.S. (58%), their own grandchildren (56%) or children (50%), people in their community (48%), their family (47%), themselves (43%), or members of their extended family living outside the U.S. (41%).
  • Four in ten Americans (39%) think the odds that global warming will cause humans to become extinct are 50% or higher. Most Americans (58%) think the odds of human extinction from global warming are less than 50%.
  • Four in ten Americans (40%) say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming, six in ten (60%) say they have not.
  • Only one in three Americans (33%) discuss global warming with family and friends “often” or “occasionally,” while most say they “rarely” or “never” discuss it (67%). Additionally, fewer than half of Americans (43%) hear about global warming in the media at least once a month, and only one in five (19%) hear people they know talk about global warming at least once a month.
  • Six in ten Americans (63%) say the issue of global warming is either “extremely” (10%), “very” (16%), or “somewhat” (38%) important to them personally. Four in ten (37%) say it is either “not too” (22%) or “not at all” (15%) important personally.
  • Half of Americans say they have thought “a lot” (18%) or “some” (31%) about global warming. The other half say they have thought about global warming just “a little” (33%) or “not at all” (17%).
  • By a large margin, Americans say that schools should teach children about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to global warming (78% agree vs. 21% who disagree).
  • Four in ten Americans (42%) say their family and friends make at least “a moderate amount of effort” to reduce global warming. A similar number (45%) say it is at least “moderately important” to their family and friends that they take action to reduce global warming.
  • The most common reason why Americans want to reduce global warming is to provide a better life for our children and grandchildren – a reason selected by one in four Americans (24%). The next most common reasons are preventing the destruction of most life on the planet (16%) and protecting God’s creation (13%).
  • Few Americans are optimistic that humans will reduce global warming. Nearly half (48%) say humans could reduce global warming, but it’s unclear at this point whether we will do what is necessary, and nearly one in four (24%) say we won’t because people are unwilling to change their behavior. Only 7% say humans can and will successfully reduce global warming.


Click Here for original source, and full online version of the report

Door County signs on for PACE program

Door County last week signed on as a participant in a program to provide low-interest, long-term loans to businesses on the peninsula looking for dollars to improve energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy and water conservation improvements.

The PACE program – an acronym for Property Assessed Clean Energy – provides the mechanism for businesses to borrow money from local lenders for installing energy-efficient lighting, heating and other projects, using the savings generated to repay the loan.

PACE provides coordination among businesses, government, lenders and contractors, according to Jon Hochkammer, outreach manager for the Wisconsin Counties Association, addressing the Door County Board last week Tuesday. Hochkammer was Manitowoc County Board Chairman for eight years and is currently the mayor of Verona.

“Not only does it (PACE) do economic development, but it promotes sustainability,” Hochkammer said. “More and more counties and villages and cities are getting involved in sustainability issues.”

In addition, he said, “There are no federal, state, or local dollars involved in the program. It’s a voluntary program between the property owner and a lender.

“I have not found a downside,” Hochkammer said.

Jason Stringer, senior manager of Clean Energy Finance with the nonprofit Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation, said 44 states have similar programs. However, he said, Wisconsin doesn’t provide funding for residential energy saving efforts that some other states do.

The PACE Program is a “financing tool,” Stringer said. Door County would not have any costs in adopting the program.

The only reason the county board had to adopt a resolution and ordinance to participate in PACE, Stringer said, was because, “financing is secured by a special charge, which is a form of tax assessment.”

The County Board’s Finance Committee recommended adopting the program after reviewing it beginning in April. The vote at the June 27 County Board meeting was unanimous for joining PACE.

Door is the 20th Wisconsin county to join the program. Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Ozaukee and Racine are other counties on the Lake Michigan shore in the program. Dane, Marathon, La Crosse and the counties along Lake Superior – Douglas, Bayfield and Ashland — are some of the other PACE counties.


Click here for original article


Dane County announces plans to adhere to Climate Paris agreement terms

Dane County will stick to the terms of the Paris climate agreement, despite President Donald Trump’s pulling the United States out of the accord earlier this month, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Monday.


The county has already met the country’s previously agreed to goal of reducing 2005 carbon emission levels by 26 to 28 percent. Parisi said the county will continue to try to reduce carbon emissions, increase the use of solar and renewable energy and prepare for the impact of a changing climate.


“We can show other units of government and leaders in the private sector that we can make a positive impact on the government and at the same time saving dollars and improving the environment,” he said.

A recently created Office of Energy and Climate Change will work with a county climate council to identify ways for the county to meet, or exceed, goals of the Paris climate agreement, he said.


The announcement comes after Trump said this month that he would pull the U.S. out of the agreement that sought to limit the impact of climate change and minimize global temperature increases.


Trump said the deal was unfair to the U.S. and would result in lost jobs, lower wages and closed factories.

But as of May more than 1,200 U.S. cities, counties, states, universities and businesses like Apple and Nike in the “We Are Still In” coalition have vowed to adhere to the provisions of the climate pact, saying that sticking to the terms of the agreement would create jobs and promote trade while reducing carbon emissions.


The agreement has been signed by 149 countries.

Elsewhere in Wisconsin, UW-Stevens Point and the cities of Milwaukee and Glendale have agreed to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord.


The Dane County Board will review a resolution affirming its support of the county’s move in the coming weeks.


Dane County will send a letter to the Wisconsin Counties Association this week to encourage other counties in the state to join the coalition or agree to meet goals of the Paris agreement.


With the state and federal government “putting their heads in the sand with climate change, it’s up to us at the local level to fight climate change and lead by example,” Parisi said.


Click here for original source

Read More:


Lawmakers say GOP reining in DNR scientists who rebelled on climate change

California farmers unite to uphold Paris Agreement goals


Full Belly Farm in Guinda signed it. Earth Equals Farm in San Diego signed it. Nye Ranch in Fort Bragg signed it, too.

Last week, the Community Alliance With Family Farmers (CAFF) and the Farmers Guild, its network of local farming groups, posted the California Farmers Climate Pledge in response to President Trump’s June 1 announcement that he was pulling the country out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, an international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More than 80 farmers and ranchers, to date, have signed on to the pledge in order to support “the science, commitment and goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.”

“We vow to continually improve our own on-farm practices to conserve energy and sequester carbon,” the farmers’ pledge reads in part. “But we also believe in the dire importance of a collective, worldwide commitment by all nations — including our own — to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target stated in the Paris Climate Agreement, all while building a cleaner, 21st century economy.

Immediately after the president’s Paris Agreement announcement, governors of 12 states and Puerto Rico committed to honoring the Paris Agreement even if the federal government would not. Mayors of hundreds of U.S. cities, big and small, signed on. Numerous universities and major corporations have since added their names to a “We Are Still In” pledge (posted at

Evan Wiig, communications and membership director for CAFF, said several farmers who were inspired by the governors and mayors told the Davis organization they would like to do something similar. It took several weeks for the group to draft language and circulate it.

Rich Collins, of Collins Farm in Solano County near Dixon, said that he signed the pledge out of a sense of embarrassment.

“(The Paris Agreement) is so foundational and fundamental. Soil and agriculture — when I say agriculture I don’t just mean row crops but rangeland — can play a big role in mitigating climate change,” Collins said. “It’s only going to be to the benefit of agriculture. Soils with more carbon in them perform better, they have more water capacity and diverse soil life, and can produce more disease-resistant crops. It’s such a profound win-win-win.”

Wiig said the signatories represent a wide spectrum of ranches, orchards and vegetable farms. The majority of the signers are currently located in Northern California, but the counties they represent were tinted both red and blue on 2016 election maps.

“A lot of the farmers we work with are concerned with this conception that farmers are more conservative,” Wiig said. “There are a lot of agriculture organizations that attempt to speak for farmers who deny climate change or avoid the regulations and efforts to combat climate change. In our experience, that’s not representative of all farmers.”

The pledge invites additional California farmers and ranchers to sign on. Wiig said that the goal is to show voters and legislators that farmers are ready to take action to combat climate change, and that funds shouldn’t just go to clean energy, but also to the agricultural sector. “We’re not talking just about reducing carbon emissions,” Wiig said, “but reversing that cycle and taking that carbon in the atmosphere and putting it back in the ground.”


Original Source

A climate solution where all sides win

Why are we so deadlocked on climate, and what would it take to overcome the seemingly insurmountable barriers to progress? Policy entrepreneur Ted Halstead proposes a transformative solution based on the conservative principles of free markets and limited government. Learn more about how this carbon dividends plan could trigger an international domino effect towards a more popular, cost-effective and equitable climate solution.

Original source

Upcoming Event! 7PM June 21st @ Sevastopol Town Hall

From the Ashes flyer JPEG

The news article that predicted the devastating impact of fossil fuels on climate change and warned the damage will be ‘considerable in a few centuries’ – in 1912!


  • The article appeared in Rodney and Otamatea Times more than 100 years ago 
  • The unknown author says the burning of coal is creating a ‘blanket’ for the Earth 
  • The ‘greenhouse’ effect was officially first discovered in 1824 by Joseph Fourier

A tiny clipping from a New Zealand newspaper more than 100 years ago predicts the effects of global warming ‘may be considerable in a few centuries’.

The author links the burning of coal and warming of the atmosphere – describing it as a ‘blanket’ for the Earth.

The snippet is only ten lines long and was probably just a ‘filler’ for a newspaper – but it suggests people understood the effects of burning coal earlier than thought.

Scroll down for video

The four-sentence article (pictured) was sandwiched between an article on a skipping machine and another about a Russian tunnel that would connect the Black and Caspian Sea

The four-sentence article (pictured) was sandwiched between an article on a skipping machine and another about a Russian tunnel that would connect the Black and Caspian Seas


The author links the burning of coal and warming of the atmosphere – describing it as a ‘blanket’ for the Earth.

The snippet was is only ten lines long and was probably just a ‘filler’ for a newspaper.

The ‘greenhouse’ effect was officially first discovered in 1824 by a French mathematician and physicist, Joseph Fourier.

He calculated that if take into account the size of the sun and Earth and the distance between them then the earth should be far cooler than it actually is.

The finding suggests people knew about global warming and the impacts of burning coal earlier than originally thought.

The clipping from 14 August 1912 was published in the Rodney and Otamatea Times and found online at the National Library of New Zealand.

The four-sentence article was sandwiched between an article on a skipping machine and another about a proposed Russian tunnel that would connect the Black and Caspian Sea.

The piece had also appeared in Australian newspapers – on 10 July 1912 in the Shoalhaven Telegraph and then in the Brainwood Dispatch on 17 July of the same year.

‘The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year’, the unknown journalist wrote.

‘When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly’.

‘This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the Earth and to raise its temperature’, he said.

The article finished with the prophetic line; ‘The effect may be considerable in a few centuries’.

The finding suggests people knew about global warming and the impacts of burning coal earlier than originally thought.

And its predictions appear to be coming true.

Today, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere are at their highest for at least the last 800,000 years.

Fourteen of the sixteen warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, with 2015 confirmed as the warmest year globally on record.

‘Such a run of high temperatures is extremely unlikely to have occurred in the absence of human-caused climate change,’ it says.

The author links the burning of coal and warming of the atmosphere - describing it as a 'blanket' for the Earth (stock image) 

The author links the burning of coal and warming of the atmosphere – describing it as a ‘blanket’ for the Earth

The ‘greenhouse’ effect was officially first discovered in 1824 by a French mathematician and physicist, Joseph Fourier.

He calculated that if take into account the size of the sun and Earth and the distance between them then the earth should be far cooler than it actually is.

This lead him to believe there was some sort of blanket mechanism which was keeping the Earth warm.

That figure is now known to be around 33°C colder than it would be otherwise.

In 1859 John Tyndall, an Irish physicist, shows the greenhouse effect is created by the accumulation of gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour.

‘We’ve known about CO2 and warming for about as long as we’ve known about evolution, or continental drift, or the age of the Earth,’ said Dr Cameron Muir at the Research centre for the National Museum of Australia in Canberra told


Click here for original article


Coal to solar switch could save 52,000 US lives per year

Solar Install Top2.jpg

So about those coal jobs: Turns out replacing coal with solar could keep a lot more people alive.

By Brian Bienkowski
The Daily Climate

Swapping out coal energy for solar would prevent 52,000 premature deaths in the United States every year, according to a new analysis from Michigan Technological University.

Amid all the talk from the Trump Administration that regulations targeting coal are hurting people, this shows “many more lives are saved by phasing out coal,” said Liz Perera, climate policy director for the Sierra Club, who was not involved in the study.

In addition the savings in health care costs added to the value of the solar electricity could in some cases bring in money, offsetting the costs of the switch.

“Evolving the U.S. energy system utilizing clean, alternative technology will allow the U.S. to prevent thousands of premature deaths along with becoming a global leader in renewable technology adoption,” the authors wrote in the study published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Michigan Tech University researchers analyzed peer-reviewed health studies and calculated lives lost per kilowatt hour to coal each year—finding approximately 51,999 people die due to coal pollutants that spur respiratory, heart and brain problems.

“Coal-fired pollution harms human life. It kills people,” said senior author Joshua Pearce, a researcher and professor at Michigan Tech University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “From an American perspective this transition [from coal to solar] makes complete sense.”

Pearce and Michigan Tech Ph.D student Emily Prehoda calculated it would take 755 gigawatts of solar energy at a cost of $1.45 trillion to replace all current coal power. That would be a significant bump up from the current 22.7 gigawatts of solar power in the U.S.

“Coal-fired pollution harms human life, it kills people.” -Joshua Pearce, Michigan Tech University

This averages about $1.1 million invested per life saved. That cost, however, doesn’t take into account solar’s value. When the energy pumped into the grid is combined with the health care savings, a switch to solar would actually end up saving money, Pearce said.

He estimates that using a net metering system that credits commercial solar energy system users would actually bring in $1.5 million for every life saved and a residential net metering would bring in more than $2 million per life saved.

Solar’s growth, and coal’s decline, is undeniable. A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency last week estimated that solar jobs were up 82 percent over the past three years.

There are now about 260,000 solar jobs in the U.S., compared to just 51,000 in coal mining.

But solar only accounts for about 1.5 percent of the nation’s electricity. Pearce said that’s due to two things: inertia and policy. Citing a local example he said he and other professors were helping people near their university get solar power at their homes and the biggest obstacle is the local regulations on how much solar can be put into the grid.

“It’s rules like this that are stopping people from doing it individually,” he said. “I have Republican friends who installed solar—not to save the whales or anything, but to save money.”

And on the national level President Trump has been all-in on coal use.

Trump signed an executive order earlier this year to rescind the Clean Power Plan—currently on hold as it is litigated—which requires power plants to cut carbon emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

And just last week Trump announced that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, saying the accord would “decapitate” the U.S. coal industry.

He gave a nod to coal country saying he was putting Pittsburgh before Paris. (Pittsburgh has committed to powering itself by 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.)

But researchers say Trump and other pro-coal supporters are fighting an uphill battle.

“Trump can’t stop the will of the market and the will of the people to choose clean energy,” Perera said.


Click Here for original article

‘Drawdown’ and global warming’s hopeful new math

By: Joel Makower

This week marks the publication of an ambitious new book with the audacious goal of showing how to reverse the warming of the planet through a myriad of innovations, many of them led by business for profit.

“Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” (Penguin Books), was edited by the author and entrepreneur Paul Hawken along with a self-described “coalition” of research fellows, writers and advisors. (Full disclosure: I played a very small unpaid role in reviewing parts of the manuscript, and am included among the 120 or so advisors listed in the book.)

The book contains 80 solutions — “techniques and practices” — that are ready today, and 20 additional “coming attractions” — innovations just over the horizon — that collectively can draw down atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases in order to solve, not just slow, climate change by avoiding emissions or sequestering carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.

Hawken is quick to point out that the book’s seemingly brash subtitle is a bit tongue in cheek: this is the only “comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming,” he said. But the larger point is not lost. The book, along with an accompanying website, may be the first to provide the insight and inspiration, backed by empirical research and data, that could enable companies, governments and citizens to attack the climate problem in a holistic and aggressive way. Moreover, many, if not most, of the solutions can be undertaken with little or no new laws or policy, and can be financed profitably by companies and capital markets.

At minimum, “Drawdown” is likely the most hopeful thing you’ll ever read about our ability to take on global warming.

Two and a half years ago, as the project got under way, I provided some context for Project Drawdown, the nonprofit created by Hawken to produce the book. While its roots date to the early 2000s, the project’s inspiration came in large measure from a 2012 Rolling Stone article by activist Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” — “three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe,” as McKibben put it. His article offered a sobering arithmetical analysis underscoring “our almost-but-not-quite-finally hopeless” global predicament.

That article led Hawken to ask, “Why aren’t we doing the math on the solutions?” as he told me in 2014. The new book aims to do just that: provide the metrics for the solutions needed to solve the climate crisis.

The 80 solutions that make up the bulk of the book are grouped into seven buckets: energy; food; women and girls; building and cities; land use; transport; and materials. To qualify for inclusion, a solution must have proven to reduce energy use through efficiency, material reduction or resource productivity; replace existing energy sources with renewable energy; or sequester carbon in soils, plants or kelp through regenerative farming, grazing, ocean and forest practices.

Each solution is ranked by cost-effectiveness, speed to implementation and societal benefit. Also included for each is its projected savings in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and the solution’s total financial cost — the amount of money needed to purchase, install and operate it over 30 years — and its net cost or benefit — how much money would be required to implement the solution compared to the cost of repeating business as usual.

“Drawdown’s” aggregate bottom line is shockingly affordable: When you total up the net first costs and subtract the net operating costs for all 80 solutions, the net operating savings add up to $74 trillion over 30 years.

Cold calculations

Consider refrigerant management, the book’s No. 1 solution. Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs — the chemicals used in refrigerators, supermarket cold cases and air conditioning systems — have up to 9,000 times greater greenhouse gas warming potential per molecule than carbon dioxide, depending on their exact chemical composition. Ironically, these chemicals were tapped in the 1990s to replace chlorofluorocarbons, which were found to deplete the planet’s protective ozone layer.

Last fall, a global deal was forged by nearly 200 countries to phase out HFCs by the late 2020s, but the chemicals will persist in kitchens and condensing unit for decades. Ninety percent of their climate emissions happen when fridges and AC units are disposed of at the end of their useful lives.

On the other hand, creating refrigerant recovery “has immense mitigation potential,” said the “Drawdown” authors. After being carefully removed and stored, refrigerants can be purified for reuse or transformed into other chemicals that do not cause warming, they explain: “The latter process, formally called destruction, is the one way to reduce emissions definitively. It is costly and technical, but it needs to become standard practice.”

The book models the adoption of practices to avoid leaks from refrigerants and destroy them at end of life. Over 30 years, it calculates that 87 percent of refrigerants can be contained, avoiding emissions equivalent to 89.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide.

However, this is not one of the book’s more profitable activities. “Although some revenue can be generated from resale of recovered refrigerant gases, the costs to establish and operate recovery, destruction and leak avoidance outweigh the financial benefit — meaning that refrigerant management, as modeled, could incur a net cost of $903 billion by 2050.”

That’s a far cry from the No. 2 solution, onshore wind energy, not exactly a new technology, but one ripe for scaling; it already is cost-competitive with fossil-fuel energy in some areas, and continued cost reductions soon will make wind the least expensive source of installed electricity capacity.

“Drawdown” calculates that an increase in onshore wind from 2.9 percent of world electricity use to 21.6 percent could reduce emissions by 84.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide and create a net savings of $7.4 trillion from business as usual by 2050. Adding offshore wind energy could save 14.1 more gigatons of greenhouse gases and generate $275 billion in additional net savings.

Falling shibboleths

In the run-up to the book’s official launch, I recently asked Hawken how the solutions presented in “Drawdown” differ from what he and his team expected to find.

“We had our biases,” he admitted. “We all do. We had solar and wind right up there. We had ranked managed grazing very high from just reading the anecdotal literature. We didn’t have food as high as we found that to be. We had EVs much higher than they turned out to be. We probably had pretty much the same list that most people come up with: solar; wind; don’t cut trees; don’t eat so much meat; and electric cars.”

It may seem logical, said Hawken, but it wasn’t to be. “The only one of those that made it to the top seven solutions was wind.”

One solution never made it onto the final list at all: biofuels. “They don’t actually have any net contribution whatsoever, and that surprised us,” said Hawken. “It’s a shibboleth that fell for us.”

I asked Hawken to reflect on what had changed during the roughly three years between the project’s launch and the book’s publication.

“I think the big shift for us was on the economic side,” he said. “During that time, we might have crossed some threshold where the profit that could be made from the solutions now is greater than the profit being made from the problems.”

Regenerative agriculture is another area of significant progress. “You’re seeing some literally good-old-boy farmers from Saskatchewan right down through Texas and into White Oak farm in Georgia — thousands and thousands and thousands of acres. Their costs are going down. Their productivity is going up. Their vet bills are 10 percent of what they were. The yields have increased. The inputs have disappeared. These guys are buying more land from farmers who ruined their land and are going out of business. And they’re practicing regenerative agriculture in different and sundry ways.”

Women’s work

Still another area that yielded surprises for the “Drawdown” team were solutions involving women and girls. As the book’s authors explain:

“Due to existing inequalities, women and girls are disproportionately vulnerable to its impacts, from disease to natural disaster. At the same time, women and girls are pivotal to addressing global warming successfully — and to humanity’s overall resilience. As you will see here, suppression and marginalization along gender lines actually hurt everyone, while equity is good for all. These solutions show that enhancing the rights and well-being of women and girls could improve the future of life on this planet.”

With world population mushrooming to a projected 9.7 billion by mid-century, food production will need to rise, said the authors, alongside reduced food waste and dietary shifts. Growing more food on the same amount of land cannot be done without attending to smallholders, many of whom are women, whose farming needs have been much overlooked.

“If women smallholders get equal rights to land and resources, they will grow more food, feed their families better throughout the year and gain more household income. When women earn more, they reinvest 90 percent of the money they make into education, health and nutrition for their families and communities, compared to 30 to 40 percent for men. In Nepal, for example, strengthening women’s landownership has a direct link to better health outcomes for children. With this solution, human well-being and climate are tightly linked, and what is good for equity is good for the livelihoods of all genders.”

“Drawdown” models reduced emissions from avoided deforestation that come from increasing the yield of women smallholders by 26 percent per plot, which can happen “if women’s access to finance and resources comes closer to parity with men’s.” That could yield a 2.1 gigaton drop in CO2 emissions by 2050 at a net savings of $87.6 billion.

And then there’s family planning, a “third rail” politically, although a fast track to climate resilience, according to “Drawdown.” It modeled how much energy, building space, food, waste and transportation would be used in a world with little to no investment in family planning, compared to one in which the projection of 9.7 billion is realized, which will require increased adoption of reproductive healthcare and family planning, according to the United Nations.

The answer: nearly 60 gigatons by 2050, equivalent to about nine years of current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, based on 2015 levels.

Educating girls is yet another promising solution, because education correlates to higher wages and greater upward mobility, contributing to economic growth. When girls attend school, their rates of maternal mortality drop, as do mortality rates of their babies. They are less likely to marry as children or against their will. They have lower incidence of HIV/AIDS and malaria. Their agricultural plots are more productive and their families better nourished. All of which leads to reduced climate impacts.

“The resulting emissions reductions could be 123 gigatons of carbon dioxide, at an average annual cost of $10.77 per user in low-income countries.” That yields roughly 60 gigatons of savings by mid-century.

When you add up these solutions — educating girls is No. 6 and family planning is No. 7 — empowering girls and women for addressing global warming represents the most impactful tool for achieving drawdown, said Hawken.

And then there’s the book’s “coming attractions,” the 20 innovations not yet ready for prime time, but which are poised to play a role in drawdown. They include things already entering the mainstream (autonomous vehicles, smart highways, industrial hemp) and others that are a bit more out there (marine permaculture, artificial leaves, skyscrapers made of wood). Their potential to reverse global warming isn’t calculated in the book, but their presence makes it clear that our capacity to solve global warming doesn’t rely solely on what we already know and do, and that innovations will continue coming.

Operating manual

The ultimate test of “Drawdown,” of course, is what impact it will have on companies, policymakers, activists, entrepreneurs and the many other players concerned about or working on climate issues. The book’s tentacles extend to nearly every business sector, culture, ecosystem and social structure — not to mention the everyday shopping, eating, energy, transportation and waste-management practices of the entire human species. In that regard, the book represents a kind of operating manual to life in the 21st century as it relates to a warming planet. Its vast scope is both breathtaking and, at times, overwhelming.

Hawken and the “Drawdown” community view the book as the first step in a larger effort to leverage their research and data to effect such systemic change. There’s a Facebook campaign already underway, a possible TV series and plans for a sequel — “D2,” as it’s being called internally. The data sets behind the book are being made available to researchers and others who want to build on or adapt them locally.

But meanwhile, there’s a book to sell, here and now.

In our recent conversation, I asked Hawken how he would measure the book’s success over the next few years.

First and foremost, he said, is that drawdown itself becomes a meme — and, ultimately, the organizing logic for the climate movement, replacing stabilization, mitigation and adaptation as the goal. “If it doesn’t achieve drawdown, then why are you doing it?” he asked. “Unless we actually name the goal — and the goal is reversal — then it’s a fat chance we’ll achieve it.”

Equally important, said Hawken, is to change the conversation about climate so that it’s inclusive and understandable.

“The implications of a global warming are very complicated and difficult to model. But the science itself is pretty straightforward. People need to feel included and understand that the solutions to it actually benefit them, not just their children or their grandchildren, which are also important to most people, but also them in their own life. And that it becomes a basis for coming together and listening and cooperating in a way that we don’t really see right now.”

Hawken believes the private sector could take the lead on this — not just in their products and services or investments, “but also on the moral level, on the CEO level, on a board level,” said Hawken.

“I think every CEO in the world has to let their people speak freely and openly about what they care about — their place, their family, their culture, their time here on earth and the future for their children. And let the First Amendment be practiced in corporations so that people can express their deepest hopes and aspirations and understand that solving and addressing global warming actually is what brings us together. It doesn’t divide us.”


Click Here for original article