As is usually the case with this blog, I am going to summarize the Sierra Club’s bi-monthly report as included in the Sierra Magazine. It contains some bad news along with some very good news as far as human life on our planet is concerned. First the bad news:
The Baird’s sparrow is being pushed out of North Dakota and Montana and into Canada by climate change.
Rising temperatures and hybridization with non-native rainbow trout threaten Montana’s famed cutthroat trout with extinction.
May was the hottest month on record.
The West Antarctic ice sheet is in irreversible collapse according to a joint University of California, Irvine/NASA study. The ice sheet contains enough water top raise sea levels worldwide by four feet.
That last one is most disturbing, but it is countered by some good news.
One-fifth of the world electric energy production now comes from renewables.
The EPA proposes a rule to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector, including existing coal-fired power plants, by 30 percent by 2030. (You may recall that the EPA is one of the main targets of the Koch brothers!) Meanwhile, Finland (whose school system is the best in the world) aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century.
Tesla motors (makers of the world’s most efficient electric cars) has surpassed Toyota as the largest auto industry employer in California. Further, their CEO, Elon Musk, has opened his company’s patents to other automakers for free in order to help widespread adoption of electric cars.
America now has more solar workers than coal miners — (for those who think the pursuit of renewable energy will cost the country jobs).
And finally, Pope Francis says that destroying the earth is a sin. (Not to mention suicidal).
Good news always welcome.
Thanks, Hugh! One thing I wonder about with the Baird’s sparrow being pushed farther north, it’s the latest in a growing number of species being found farther north than ever, and even at higher elevations than ever. I have not yet seen much data on how well the habitats in those more-north regions — often smaller geographic areas, such as England, where a lot of butterflies are showing up — can sustain the new populations. Fortunately, many of those animals going farther north so far are not big mammals, but what happens when they start to move more north, too?
So many consequences of what is going on.
i pondered that part about the sparrows moving north as well. i hope that we find a way to stop the runaway roller coaster, as we are heading for major problems.
Hugh, I love the balanced report. Is the solar jobs comparison solid as that is definitely a “canary in the coal mine” pun intended? I find it bemusing that an Argentine minister knows more about protecting the planet than many of our leaders in Congress and fossil fuel industries. Well done, maestro. BTG