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Climate Crisis Coalition Newsfeed (Dec 31, 2006)

The Arctic

U.S. Interior Secretary Proposes to List Polar Bears as Threatened . By Felicity Barringer and Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times, December 28, 2006 . “ The Interior Department proposed Wednesday to designate polar bears as a threatened species, saying that the accelerating loss of the Arctic ice that is the bears’ hunting platform has led biologists to believe that bear populations will decline, perhaps sharply, in the coming decades… Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said that although his decision to seek protection for polar bears acknowledged the melting of the Arctic ice, his department was not taking a position on why the ice was melting or what to do about it… Kassie Siegel, the lawyer for the Center for Biological Diversity, a group based in Arizona that took the lead in the lawsuit calling on the department to list the polar bear, added, ‘I don’t see how even this administration can write this proposal without acknowledging that the primary threat to polar bears is global warming and without acknowledging the science of global warming.’ As a result of the lawsuit, the Interior Department had a court-ordered deadline of Wednesday to make a decision.”

Major Ice Mass Breaks Free from Canada's Arctic: 'Largest in 30 Years' . By Rob Gillies, The Associated Press, December 29, 2006. "A giant ice shelf has snapped free from an island south of the North Pole, scientists said Thursday, citing climate change as a 'major' reason for the event. The Ayles Ice Shelf — all 41 square miles of it — broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 500 miles south of the North Pole in the Canadian Arctic. Scientists discovered the event by using satellite imagery... Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the newly formed ice island and couldn't believe what he saw. 'This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years,' Vincent said. 'We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead'... The ice shelf was one of six major shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic. They are packed with ancient ice that is more than 3,000 years old. They float on the sea but are connected to land. Some scientists say it is the largest event of its kind in Canada in 30 years... Within days of breaking free, the Ayles Ice Shelf drifted about 30 miles offshore before freezing into the sea ice. A spring thaw may bring another concern: that warm temperatures will release the new ice island from its Arctic grip, making it an enormous hazard for ships."

Norway to U.S. Politicians: Come See Climate Change for Yourselves . The Associated Press, December 28, 2006. " Norway plans to invite U.S. politicians to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard to see the effects of climate change with their own eyes, the foreign minister said Wednesday. 'Our experience is that it has a good effect to invite decision-makers and give them the opportunity to see the effects of global warming themselves,' Jonas Gahr Stoere said. 'The world needs the U.S., which has not ratified the Kyoto treaty on climate change, to be involved in efforts to tackle global warming and other environmental challenges'... Stoere said he hopes Congress will show more interest in climate change when the Democrats take over in January, but also noted that many Republican politicians are concerned about the environment, such as Senator John McCain and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2004 McCain and fellow senator Hillary Clinton visited Svalbard at the invitation of former Foreign Minister Jan Petersen."

Rising Oceans

Rising Sea Levels Threatening Labrador's Porcupine Strand . CBC News, December 28, 2006. "Global warming is being cited as a threat to the Porcupine Strand, one of Newfoundland and Labrador's natural wonders. The Porcupine Strand is 50 kilometres of spectacular beach and dunes on the Labrador coast north of Cartwright. A big storm last fall caused a lot of erosion, a problem scientists say will only worsen if warm temperatures continue to cause sea levels to rise... Norm Catto, a geography professor at Memorial University, says people can expect to see storms like that more often. He says global warming and rising seas pose a threat to all of Labrador's beaches, and there will be more severe storms and less ice in the spring and fall to protect the shore from erosion."

Climate Change Threatens Yukon's Herschel Island . CBC News, December 28, 2006 . "The Yukon's Herschel Island is being slowly washed away by rising sea levels caused by global warming, says the territory's historic sites manager. Located off the territory's north coast in the Beaufort Sea, the territorial park contains many artifacts from its colourful past, including the oldest frame building in the Yukon, a former whaling station built in 1893... The Inuvialuit lived on Herschel Island for hundreds of years before American whalers moved in 1889... There are no longer any permanent residents on the island.”

Global Warming Claims Lohachara Island, Home to 10,000 in Bay of Bengal . By Geoffrey Lean, The London Independent, December 24, 2006. "Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true. As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities. Eight years ago, as exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, the first uninhabited islands - in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati - vanished beneath the waves. The people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated as a precaution, but the land still juts above the sea. The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented... Refugees from the vanished Lohachara island and the disappearing Ghoramara island have fled to Sagar, but this island has already lost 7,500 acres of land to the sea."

Alaskan Villages Face Physical and Cultural Erosion . By Rachel D’oro, The Associated Press, December 24, 2006 . It's a dilemma taking on a new urgency as the effects of climate change escalate in a region many consider a harbinger of global warming. Erosion and flooding are nothing new here, but communities are increasingly vulnerable to melting permafrost and shorter periods of the shorefast ice that historically protected them from powerful storms. Erosion and flooding affect 86 percent – or 184 – of 213 Alaska native villages to some degree, according to a 2003 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is trying to determine which communities need the most help from a network of state and federal agencies… Joining another community is unacceptable… In their nomadic past, natives generally stayed within a certain region. Today they hunt the same animals as their ancestors, create their artwork with the same materials, know the land intimately… Being absorbed into another culture, even one only 100 miles away, could amount to cultural death, exposing residents to urban ills including alcohol, which is banned in Shishmaref and other dry villages. Residents fear the subsistence lifestyle their traditions and economy so heavily rely on would fall off, pushing them to welfare… But Alaska natives, who represent 11 distinct cultures and 20 languages, are fighting back. They're hosting culture camps and rural student exchanges. Villages have resurrected dances and festivals that were banned a century ago by missionaries. Schools have launched native language immersion programs.”

Climate Policy Makers

New Mexico Governor Signs Greenhouse Gas Reduction Executive Order . BlueClimate.com, December 29, 2006 . “ New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has signed an executive order (pdf) that lays out greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies that the State of New Mexico will use to fight global warming. The Governor’s executive order creates a state government implementation team tasked with ensuring policies from the order are carried out. Those policies include:
• Creating a market-based greenhouse gas emissions registry and reduction program
• Advancing carbon capture and sequestration technology
• Promoting the use of manure from the dairy industry in power generation
• Developing an education and outreach program on green buildings for those private sector builders
• Creating new procurement rules that ensure state government offices have energy efficient appliances
• Mandating that state vehicles use mainly clean, renewable fuels
• Proposes a one-time tax credit of up to 40 percent for the purchase, construction or retrofitting of alternative fuel filling stations.
The Governor had previously announced support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks and to require that 15 percent of electricity generation be from renewable sources by 2015.”

Dems Plan Renewable Energy Fund Paid for by Big Oil . H. Josef Herbert, The Associated Press, December 26, 2006. “House Democrats in the first weeks of the new Congress plan to establish a dedicated fund to promote renewable energy and conservation, using money from oil companies. That's only one legislative hit the oil industry is expected to take next year as a Congress run by Democrats is likely to show little sympathy to the cash-rich, high-profile business. Whether the issue is rolling tax breaks — some approved by Congress only 18 months ago — pushing for more use of ethanol and other biofuels instead of gasoline, or investigations into shortfalls in royalty payments to the government, oil industry lobbyists will spend most of their time playing defense. Details of a renewable fuels fund have yet to be worked out. Nonetheless, it's one of the initiatives the House will take up during its first 100 hours in session in January, according to aides to Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi.”

Texas Renewable Energy Program Threatened By New Law . Commentary by David Hurlbut, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, December 26, 2006 . " In 2005, when lawmakers were busy with the enormously complex issues of school finance and property tax relief, industry lobbyists successfully promoted a piece of stealth legislation that requires turning the state's renewable energy program on its ear. Never mind that the Texas program is hands down the most successful in the nation. Never mind that it has done its job at less cost to customers than anywhere else. Never mind that so many Texas political leaders hailed its success on the campaign trail this fall. Unless repealed, the new law will bring all that to an end ... Texas has been moving closer to the day when consumer preferences for green power can replace subsidies as wind power's competitive edge in the marketplace. When that happens, Texas will deploy enough wind power to make a serious dent in the amount of electricity generated from fossil fuel. To get there, however, customers must have the ability to choose green power today. The new law -- Section 39.904(m) of the Utilities Code -- threatens the long-term success of renewable power because it makes that choice impossible just when the green power market is gaining momentum. The Texas Public Utility Commission hasn't implemented the law yet, but if the Legislature does nothing, it will have no choice but to do so... Politicians from the governor on down professed support for renewable energy on the campaign trail this fall. Now it's time to see who's serious and who's not. Repealing Section 39.904(m) is the most meaningful action that the Legislature could take to promote renewable energy in Texas, but lawmakers have shown little interest. Perhaps they need a push from their constituents." David Hurlbut was a senior economist for the Texas Public Utility Commission until his resignation this month.

Eugene Oregon Strives to be Carbon Neutral. By Daisuke Wakabayashi, The Birmingham Post, December 26, 2006. "From an urban forest infused with hiking trails to wetlands housing endangered plants and animals, the natural beauty of Eugene, Oregon, provides a scenic backdrop befitting America's greenest city. Nestled between the Willamette and McKenzie rivers in central Oregon, the city has adopted aggressive environmental policies aimed at conserving energy, using alternative fuels and fostering an industry of green business. Nonetheless, Eugene struggles with many of the same problems facing other growing US cities: urban sprawl, congested roadways and limited public transport... Voters approved a $27.5 million (£14.1 million) bond in November to purchase land to build new parks, upgrade existing ones and expand hiking trails. Green space already accounts for 16 per cent of Eugene's land. Connecting it all will be the city's new rapid transit system of large hybrid-electric buses that run in dedicated lanes."

Schwarzenegger Pumps Up Global Warming Issue . By John Pomfret, The Washington Post, December 25, 2006. “ Schwarzenegger, a Republican, wants to use his star power to turn global warming into an issue in the 2008 presidential election. ‘There is a whole new movement because of the change of people sent to Washington,’ Schwarzenegger said in an interview last week, referring to the Democratic Party's impending takeover of Congress. ‘We want to put the spotlight on this issue in America. It has to become a debate in the presidential election. It has to become an issue.’"

U.S. Businesses Adapt or Don't

U.S. Companies Explore Ways to Profit From Trading Credits to Emit Carbon . By Claudia H. Deutsch, The New York Times, December 28, 2006. "While the trading of credits to emit carbon is under way in bits and pieces and California has moved to cap its production of greenhouse gases, no one expects nationally imposed limits to go into effect in the United States soon. Most experts see 2010 as the earliest possible date. Even so, a rapidly growing number of American companies are preparing for what they think will be a booming market after rules are approved. 'The U.S. market will be the mother lode of carbon trading, so we want to start setting up our brand now,' said Marc Stuart, director of new business development at EcoSecurities... EcoSecurities, which has spent seven years investing in the reduction of greenhouse gases in Europe, is setting up a New York office to expand into the United States. Similarly, Morgan Stanley plans to spend almost $3 billion to trade carbon credits on greenhouse gases over the next five years. Meanwhile, American Electric Power has started including the value of carbon credits when it compares the costs of traditional coal-burning plants with more expensive, cleaner ones."

Southern California Edison Signs Biggest Solar Deal Ever. By Alex Veiga, The Associated Press , December 21, 2006. " Southern California Edison said Thursday it has signed a new energy contract that will more than double the company's wind power-generating capacity in the region. The Rosemead-based company called the deal with Alta Windpower Development, a subsidiary of Australia-based Allco Financial Group Inc., the largest wind energy contract ever for a U.S. utility... The deal covers at least 1,500 megawatts of electricity; one megawatt is enough to power for about 650 average homes. The agreement involves projects in the Tehachapi region, about 75 miles north of Los Angeles, and would boost the power company's field of wind power generators to an area covering more than 50 square miles – more than triple the size of any existing U.S. wind farm... Once the project is completed, it will be capable of generating 4,500 megawatts of electricity, or enough power for nearly 3 million homes, Edison said."

GM Blasts Proposed Change in U.S. Fuel Economy Rules . Reuters, December 26, 2006. "A proposal to increase the U.S. fuel economy standards would force Detroit-based automakers to 'hand over' the market for trucks and sport-utility vehicles to Japanese manufacturers, a senior General Motors executive said. Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman and the head of global product development, said the proposed changes to the government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE standards, would represent an unfair burden on the traditional Big Three automakers. Lutz, GM's vice chairman and the head of global product development, said the proposed changes to the government's CAFE standards would represent an unfair burden on the traditional Big Three automakers... 'For one thing, it puts us, the domestic manufacturers, at odds with the desires of most of our customers, namely larger vehicles,' Lutz said in a year-end posting on a website maintained by GM. 'That effectively hands the truck and SUV market over to the imports, particularly the Japanese, who have earned years of accumulated credits from their fleets of formerly very small cars.' Lutz, a longtime critic of government fuel economy regulations, compared the attempt to force carmakers to sell smaller vehicles to 'fighting the nation's obesity problem by forcing clothing manufacturers to sell garments only in small sizes'... A group called the Energy Security Leadership Council, which includes more than a dozen prominent U.S. executives and retired military officers, issued a report earlier this month calling on Congress to take steps to reduce the reliance on imported oil. The group called for tougher fuel economy regulation, including a 4% annual increase in CAFE standards, which have been held essentially flat for the past decade."

Energy Alternatives

New York Times Forum on Energy and the Environment . The New York Times, December 27, 2006. “ In a series of articles, a team of Times reporters described how the world is, and is not, moving toward a more secure, and less environmentally damaging, relationship with energy. Several of the writers responded to questions and comments. Read Responses (412)”

Wind Power: It's Free, Plentiful and Fickle . By Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times, December 28, 2006. "F or all its promise, wind also generates a big problem because it is unpredictable and often fails to blow when electricity is most needed, wind is not reliable enough to assure supplies for an electric grid that must be prepared to deliver power to everybody who wants it — even when it is in greatest demand... In Texas, as in many other parts of the country, power companies are scrambling to build generating stations to meet growing peak demands, generally driven by air-conditioning for new homes and businesses. But power plants that run on coal or gas must 'be built along with every megawatt of wind capacity,' said William Bojorquez, director of system planning at the Electric Reliability... At the American Wind Energy Association, Robert E. Gramlich, the policy director, said that one solution would be to organize control of the electric grid into bigger geographic areas, so that a drop-off in wind in one place would be balanced by an increase somewhere else, reducing the need for conventional backup."

Iowa Builds Wind Farms in Response to Challenge from Governor . The Associated Press, December 26, 2006. “A new wind energy project in western Iowa has gone into operation with the ability to produce enough electricity to power the homes of about 40,000 customers. MidAmerican Energy's Victory wind project consists of 66 wind turbines in Carroll and Crawford counties, near the towns of Westside and Arcadia. Construction on the 99-megawatt project began last spring. Its completion boosts MidAmerican's wind energy generating capacity in Iowa to 459.5 megawatts. The Des Moines-based company began building wind energy towers in 2004. It completed a 310.5-megawatt and 50-megawatt project last year. Both were in response to a challenge by Gov. Tom Vilsack to work toward achieving 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy in Iowa by 2010. MidAmerican plans to complete a 123-megawatt project near Pomeroy next year to help achieve that goal.”

Methane Power from County Landfill Goes Online in Georgia . The Atlanta Journal Constitution, December 27, 2006 (free subscription may be required) . "When thousands of Georgia residents flick their light switches, the resulting illumination is powered by rotting food scraps and moldering paper in a DeKalb County landfill. The county is the first government in Georgia to harness the power of landfill gas. Since October, two 20-cylinder engines have been creating electricity by burning methane emitted from the county-owned Seminole Landfill... They now consume about two-thirds of the methane emitted from the decomposing garbage, producing 3.2 megawatts per hour. It's a miniscule amount in comparison with the massive coal-fired plants dotting Georgia, but it's a start for consumers willing to pay extra for green energy. 'We're producing enough electricity for about 3,000 homes,' said Billy Malone, an assistant director with the county Sanitation Division."

Solar Panels Energize Learning in Texas Classrooms . By Bob Banta, The Austin American Statesman, December 26, 2006. " Penny Smeltzer views the new solar panels at Westwood High School as a chance for her statistics students to engage in some high-level mathematical forecasting. Chris Delbar thinks that the sun-generated electricity could launch her Westwood chemistry students into a field of study that could make the planet a lot healthier... Students can track the power savings at each campus while also learning about energy and light, said Leslie Libby, renewable energy manager for Austin Energy."

Greening Old Buildings More Viable but Still Lagging . By Aubrey Cohen, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 23, 2006. “A Seattle office building is one of a few older office buildings nationwide undergoing environmentally friendly remodeling… The U.S. Green Building Council has certified 669 green office buildings through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program. But just 38 have been remodels. ‘There are fewer remodels because LEED has only been around for six years, and it was originally just used for new commercial construction,’ said Taryn Holowka, spokeswomen for the Green Building Council. The council launched a separate rating system for existing buildings in October 2004. Such green building materials as recycled-wood products, environmentally friendly carpeting and concrete containing recycled fly ash have become cheaper, better and easier to get in just the past few years.”

Can Alternative Energy Spur Job Growth? By Brian Tumulty, Gannett News Service, December 23, 2006 . “The Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor unions and environmental advocates, is advocating a $300 billion, 10-year public-private program to create "clean energy" industries. The group projects the program would create 3.3 million new jobs and free the United States from imported oil. But is that a realistic goal?”

Silicon and Solar Energy . By Andrew Berger, TechNe wsWorld, December 29, 2006 . “Silicon is the second most common mineral element on earth. It has been widely used since antiquity in construction, metals refining and glass manufacturing. It is fundamental to the production of an extraordinary range of goods: healthcare products; fabrics; automotive, marine, aerospace and electrical components; telecom equipment; semiconductors; and solar photovoltaic cells. Despite its abundance, the production of refined metallurgical silicon -- various grades of which are used to manufacture semiconductors and solar PV cells -- is costly, complicated and energy-intensive… In the past year, amid forecasts of continuing double digit growth rates -- and having been caught unprepared by the recent surge in demand for polysilicon -- the major manufacturers of silicon that is refined and pure enough for use in semiconductor chips and solar PV cells have announced major expansion plans… Despite growing demand, with planned capacity expansions and ongoing advances in silicon refining, the cost of manufacturing solar PV cells is expected to come down in the next few years.”

Vulnerable Forests

Western Wildfires Linked to Atlantic Ocean Temperatures . By Jeff Barnard, The Associated Press, December 25, 2006 . " Using fire scars on nearly 5,000 tree stumps dating back 450 years, scientists have found that extended periods of major wildfires in the West occurred when the North Atlantic Ocean was going through periodic warming. With the North Atlantic at the start of a recurring warming period that typically lasts 20 to 60 years, the West could be in for an extended period of multiple... The study is published in the Dec. 26 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences... Ron Neilson, a U.S. Forest Service scientist who has developed models that predict wildfire danger based on climate models, agreed with the study's conclusions, and noted all the oceans are affected by global warming. And that in turn could exacerbate the wildfire cycle... The year 2002 saw three huge fires that stretched firefighting resources to the breaking point: Biscuit burned 500,000 acres in southwestern Oregon, Rodeo-Chedeski burned 462,000 acres in Arizona, and the Hayman fire burned 136,000 acres in Colorado. In 2006, 89,000 fires burned across 9.5 million acres. The U.S. Forest Service spent $1.5 billion fighting those fires - about $100 million over budget... The most severe fire seasons fell between 1660 and 1710, when the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation was at its warmest, the study found. The least severe fire seasons happened from 1787 to 1849, when North Atlantic temperatures were at their coolest."

Continued Green Light for the Destruction of Argentine Forests. By Marcela Valente, Inter Press Service, December 28, 2006 . " Despite the continued destruction of Argentina's forests due to the advance of the agricultural frontier, a draft law that would have declared a 'state of emergency' for the country's forests was postponed until next year... The bill on environmental protection for native forests, which cover 33 million hectares in this South American country, is aimed at curbing the destruction of at last 250,000 hectares of forests a year, the result of the boom in intensive agriculture and livestock raising... 'It's a disgrace, a humiliating scandal. The pressure from the provinces where the deforestation is occurring made the deputies that were in favour of the bill do an about-face,' said Hernán Giardini, coordinator of Greenpeace Argentina's forest campaign."

Individual Communities and People Reducing Their Carbon Footprints

Concert for the Ocean Foundation Announces ‘Sustainability through Local Actions’ Grants . Press Release, Leonard Sonnenschein, Concert for the Oceans Foundation, December 31, 2006. “Starting today after years of planning, a global mission of scientists, community leaders, organizations, institutions, and governmental departments is starting a plan of action to deal with issues of pollution of our oceans & waterways, overfishing, global warming and working towards sustainability through developing local actions. Today we are announcing 15 actions that will begin immediately in over 50 countries affecting millions of people that may just start changing the tide of impending doom… Concert for the Oceans Foundation (CFTOF) is committing over $250,000 to these actions. [ These actions include two in North America sponsored by the Climate Crisis Coalition]: Town Hall Meetings on Global Warming: A Wake-Up Call to America; and Earth Circles: Building Community Action to Address Global Warming…It is hoped that individual, community, corporate and organizational efforts can help to turn the tide of the dire condition our planet is in.” [CCC will be providing more information about its two projects in the coming weeks.]

A Little More Green; a Little Less Gas . By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post, December 31, 2006. “Plenty of people concerned about global warming have replaced their household light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones and bought hybrid cars. But even the most politically correct Americans are loath to cut back on their biggest contribution to climate change: airline travel. Commercial aviation worldwide ranks among the biggest single emitters of greenhouse gases linked to global warming, contributing nearly as much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year as the United Kingdom or Canada, according to the advocacy group Environmental Defense. So a few entrepreneurs and environmental groups have devised a simple way to compensate for this damage: Plant a tree… At least two companies, the Welsh-based Treeflights and the U.S.-based travel booking site Travelocity, now offer a way for travelers to plant trees for every trip they take. While this will address only a fraction of the pollutants linked to climate change, it's a gesture that has become increasingly popular among American and British consumers. Using trees to absorb carbon dioxide remains controversial among some environmentalists, who see the programs as delaying action on more meaningful regulatory curbs on air pollution.”

A Grass-roots Push for a 'Low Carbon Diet'. Book review by The Christian Science Monitor, December 28, 2006. "David Gershon's book, Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds, guides readers through a series of behavioral changes to reduce their 'carbon footprint'... The book guides participants through a month-long process of behavioral change. Each participant calculates his or her footprint - the average U.S. household emits 55,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, the book says - and then browses a list of emissions-lowering actions. The goal is to reduce that amount bit by bit. Replacing an incandescent bulb with a fluorescent, for example, counts for a 100-pound annual reduction. Purchasing an energy-efficient furnace counts for 2,400 pounds. Just tuning up your existing furnace reduces your carbon emissions by 300 pounds while insulating your warm air ducts lowers them by 800 pounds... Gershon heads the Empowerment Institute in Woodstock, N.Y., a consulting organization that specializes in changing group behavior."

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CCC's Year-End Appeal

We’ve had a good response to our year-end appeal. The contributions we’ve received online and by mail are greatly appreciated! We’re still shy of where we’d like to be as we enter the New Year. If you have not already done so, please consider a donation today to help us in our work to convey a sense of urgency about the climate crisis to Americans across the country and to motivate citizen action. Your support will also help us to distribute the CCC Newsfeed to a widening audience . The dimensions of the Climate crisis keep growing but so do our opportunities, especially now as we prepare for the 110th Congress.

You can contribute online ( here ), or by mail. Checks should be made out to the Climate Crisis Coalition. If you would like a tax deduction please make it out to our fiscal sponsor – The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute. Either way, checks should be sent to: Climate Crisis Coalition, P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260. Many thanks for your support

Some people have reported trouble with online contributions. But we've checked the systems and contributions are coming in, for which we are most grateful. Please notify us if you are having any difficulty with your contribution. Many thanks.

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Commentary

Review of the year: Our Worst Fears are Exceeded by Reality. By Steve Conner, The London Independent, December 29, 2006. "It has been a hot year. The average temperature in Britain for 2006 was higher than at any time since records began in 1659... Little winter snow in the Alpine ski resorts, continuing droughts in Africa, mountain glaciers melting faster than at any time in the past 5,000 years, disappearing Arctic sea ice, Greenland's ice sheet sliding into the sea... You could be forgiven for thinking that you've heard it all before. You may think it's time to turn the page and read something else. But you'd be wrong. 2006 will be remembered by climatologists as the year in which the potential scale of global warming came into focus. And the problem can be summarised in one word: feedback... Everywhere scientists looked in 2006, they encountered [positive] feedbacks that will make things worse - a lot worse... Artic ice that reflected sunlight melts, exposing dark ocean that absorbs more sunlight and heats up, causing more ice to melt... Frozen peat bogs that turn into heat-absorbing lakes release methane, which means a stronger greenhouse effect and higher temperatures, leading to more permafrost melting... Another study in 2006 looked at perhaps the most important climate feedback there is. Yet it went unreported - so listen up. The Earth has been a very accommodating planet. During the past 200 years, it has absorbed more than half of all man-made emissions of carbon dioxide through natural carbon 'sinks', mostly in the ocean but also on land. The rest of the emissions have been left in the air to aggravate the Earth's natural greenhouse effect, so raising global average temperatures... [extensive computer modeling indicates] that as the world heats up, the ability of the land and the oceans to keep on absorbing carbon as efficiently as they have in the past 200 years gets appreciably worse... In other words, we cannot rely on planet Earth to be so accommodating in terms of mopping up half of our carbon pollution. But could something even worse happen? Could these carbon sinks turn into carbon sources? The answer is yes... It happened 55 million years ago when a trillion tons of methane were suddenly and mysteriously released from frozen stores on the seabed, causing global temperatures to soar 10C, and a mass extinction of species."

Global Warming-era Parenting. By Katherine Ellison, The Los Angeles Times, December 23, 2006. “Apocalyptic fears have shadowed U.S. childhood before this. Who among us boomers doesn't remember all that Cold War ducking and covering? But global warming is profoundly scarier. For starters, to trigger a nuclear holocaust, somebody has to be the first to bomb. To trigger eco-Armageddon, all we need do is continue to ignore leading scientists' warnings. Besides, quite unlike during the Cold War, there's no evidence that Washington has recognized this crisis. That leaves parents — hard-wired, unlike politicians, to engage in long-term thinking, calculate risks and buy insurance — in a bind. Given our government's glacial response to real-time melting glaciers, how can we help our kids cope?… Psychologist Madeline Levine in Kentfield, Calif., didn't believe U.S. teens were thinking much about climate change — until she asked several 15-year-olds. ‘The kids I spoke with are very knowledgeable and incredibly pessimistic. When I asked why they hadn't brought it up before, they said, yeah, well, it really sucks, but nobody's going to give up their car, so we're screwed.’ Levine now believes that it's less important what parents say than what we do. What our kids need to know most is that adults are acting like grown-ups.”