Texas Reports First Locally Transmitted Case of Zika in US This Year

                                                    

CLICK HERE - Texas Department of State Health Services - Health officials find probable local Zika infection - July 26, 2017

cnn.com - by Debra Goldschmidt - July 26, 2017

A resident of Hidalgo County, Texas who has now recovered from the Zika virus was probably infected within the county, local and state health officials said Wednesday. This represents the first locally transmitted case of the virus reported in the continental United States this year.

"Because the individual has not recently traveled outside the area or had any other risk factors, the infection was probably transmitted by a mosquito bite in South Texas sometime in the last few months," according to a joint statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services and Hidalgo County Health and Human Services.

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Multi-Billion Dollar Electric Grid Risks Need Risk Transfer: Swiss Re

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Swiss Re - LIGHTS OUT: THE RISKS OF CLIMATE AND NATURAL DISASTER RELATED DISRUPTION TO THE ELECTRIC GRID - 25 July 2017

artemis.bm - July 25, 2017

Risks to the electric grid due to severe weather, natural catastrophes and climate change can cause losses in the billions of dollars, and while threats make our energy future more uncertain there is a role for risk transfer and potentially the capital markets in helping to stave off economic disruption.

A new report published by reinsurance firm Swiss Re but authored by students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) explains that the electric grid is among the most important pieces of our critical infrastructure, but is also one of the most exposed to natural disasters, weather and climate related threats.

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Satellite Snafu Masked True Sea Level Rise for Decades

           

Credit: Joe Raedle  Getty Images 

Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea level rise is accelerating as Earth warms and ice sheets thaw

scientificamerican.com - by Jeff Tollefson - July 19, 2017

The numbers didn’t add up. Even as Earth grew warmer and glaciers and ice sheets thawed, decades of satellite data seemed to show that the rate of sea-level rise was holding steady—or even declining.

Now, after puzzling over this discrepancy for years, scientists have identified its source: a problem with the calibration of a sensor on the first of several satellites launched to measure the height of the sea surface using radar. Adjusting the data to remove that error suggests that sea levels are indeed rising at faster rates each year.

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CLICK HERE - University of Colorado - CU Sea Level Research Group

CLICK HERE - New estimate of the current rate of sea level rise from a sea level budget approach

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Prospect of Trump Tariff Casts Pall Over U.S. Solar Industry

           

FILE PHOTO: An employee makes a final inspection on panels during a tour of an REC solar panel manufacturing plant in Singapore, May 5, 2017.  Edgar Su/File Photo

reuters.com - by Nichola Groom - July 25, 2017

U.S. solar companies are snapping up cheap imported solar panels ahead of a trade decision by the Trump administration that could drive up costs and cloud the fortunes of one of the economy's brightest stars.

Domestic consumers and businesses have been embracing solar energy at a furious pace - thanks to a big assist from China. Low-cost photovoltaic cells and panels made in China and other Asian countries have helped drive down costs by around 70% since 2010, enabling more Americans to go solar.

Installations in the United States last year hit a record. Jobs are mushrooming too.

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Why are Californian Solar Firms Paying to Give Away Power?

           

Getty Images

bbc.com - June 29, 2017

California companies are generating so much solar power that firms in other states are getting paid to take it.

The state has been forced into the arrangement to "avoid overloading its own power lines", according to the Los Angeles Times.

The situation doesn't necessarily mean we are "throwing money away", says economist Severin Borenstein, a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

"But it probably is an indication that there are some serious problems in the way we're running the grid and the way we're making investment decisions."

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Jimmy Carter Powers Half of His Hometown With Solar

           

From peanut farmer to solar farmer . . . A view of the new solar "farm" on land owned by former President Jimmy Carter, with the city of Plains seen in the background. Nearly four decades after he turned heads by installing solar panels on the White House roof as part of his push to increase "clean" energy use in America, Carter has leased part of his property to SolAmerica. The Atlanta based company says more than 50 percent of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's hometown will be solar-powered as a result.  SolAmerica

ecowatch.com - by Joe McCarthy - July 13, 2017

 . . . Earlier this year, he <Jimmy Carter> commissioned SolAmerica to create a solar farm on 10 acres of his land in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. Today, that farm is supplying half of his town's electricity needs. It's expected to supply 1.3 megawatts of electricity annually, the equivalent of burning 3,600 tons of coal.

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TEPCO Chair: Nuclear Plant Must Release Contaminated Water

           

Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s new Chairman Takashi Kawamura speaks during an interview at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Kawamura said the utility needs to stop dragging its feet on plans to dump massive amounts of treated but contaminated water into the sea and make more money if it’s ever going to succeed in cleaning up the mess left by meltdowns more than six years ago at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

abcnews.go.com - by Mari Yamaguchi - July 13, 2017

. . . Takashi Kawamura, an engineer-turned-business leader who previously headed Hitachi's transformation into a global conglomerate, is in charge of reviving TEPCO and leading the cleanup at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. In an interview Thursday with selected media including The Associated Press, Kawamura said despite the massive costs of the cleanup and meeting tighter safety requirements, nuclear power is still vital for Japan's national security.

Below are highlights from the interview, where Kawamura spoke in Japanese:

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Climate Change Refugees - Houma Sugar Farms are Finalists for Isle de Jean Charles Resettlement

           

A sugar cane farm known as the Evergreen property is one of two resettlement sites under consideration for the residents of Isle de Jean Charles, a rapidly-disappearing island on Louisiana's coast. (Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Office of Community Development)

nola.com - by Tristan Baurick - July 18, 2017

The people of Isle de Jean Charles will likely trade their sinking island for a sugar farm 40 miles inland. An experimental program aimed at transplanting the small community in coastal Louisiana to safer ground has narrowed its search from 16 properties to two large farms north of Houma in rural Terrebonne Parish.

Last year, Isle de Jean Charles became the first community in the U.S. to receive federal assistance for a large-scale retreat from the impacts of climate change.

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CLICK HERE - $7.7 million will pay for flood, climate resilience studies in Louisiana

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Haitians Found at Sea Show Dire Conditions Could Worsen on Island Nation

reuters.com - by Sebastien Malo - July 13, 2017

U.S. authorities sent home some 100 Haitian immigrants discovered on a rickety boat this week, the most found at sea in more than a year and a sign of more people likely to flee the impoverished island, advocates said on Thursday.

Haitians are struggling to survive a homeland devastated by natural disasters and disease, and the situation could worsen if U.S. officials return home more than 50,000 Haitians in the United States on temporary visas, they said.

Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has cast uncertainty over whether to extend a special immigration status that has been granted to Haitians since a 2010 earthquake.

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Elon Musk: Artificial Intelligence Is Society's Biggest Risk

           

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responds to a question by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval during the National Governors Association's meeting Saturday Providence, R.I. (STEPHAN SAVOIA/AP)

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO urged governors to regulate artificial intelligence before it's too late.

usnews.com - by Casey Leins - July 16, 2017

Artificial intelligence is the "biggest risk that we face as a civilization" Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Saturday, speaking to state leaders on the last day of the National Governors Association summer meeting.

The business magnate participated in a question and answer session with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the incoming chair of the National Governors Association, whose initiative explores how state leaders can prepare for and benefit from innovative technologies.

Musk made his stance clear that governors must address artificial intelligence proactively, or it will be too late.

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Hotez Measles Prediction: Something Awful is Happening in Texas

CLICK HERE - PLOS - Texas and Its Measles Epidemics

outbreaknewstoday.com - by Robert Herriman - July 15, 2017

The Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Dr Peter Hotez is concerned about measles in his state of Texas, so much that he is raising the alarm by predicting a measles outbreak could happen as early as the winter or spring of 2018.

In an article published in PLoS Medicine last fall, Hotez writes: Measles vaccination coverage in certain Texas counties is dangerously close to dropping below the 95% coverage rate necessary to ensure herd immunity and prevent measles outbreaks.

He tells me during the interview, “Something awful is happening in Texas,” Dr Hotez said.

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To Solve Climate Change, Solve Income Inequality

A new report says that the wider the gap between rich and poor, the more the environment suffers.

           

CREDIT: Pixabay

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Roosevelt Institute - Boiling Points: The Inextricable Links Between Inequality and Climate Change

thinkprogress.org - by Marlene Cimons - May 24, 2017

We often talk about how climate change exacerbates social and economic inequality, but rarely do we consider the opposite: that inequality itself can be a driver of climate change.

“What’s missing from the conversation is what our inequality crisis is doing to our planet,” said Susan Holmberg, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and author of a new report that shows how unequal societies inflict more environmental damage than more economically even societies. “One key topic that is still overlooked is how environmental degradation and climate change are themselves the toxic byproducts of our inequality problem,” Holmberg said.

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Why a Warming Arctic May Be Causing Colder U.S. Winters

             

A piece of ice breaks from Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska.  PHOTOGRAPH BY PETE MCBRIDE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

A new study shows how a warming Arctic could negatively impact regions thousands of miles away.

CLICK HERE - Nature Geoscience - Reduced North American terrestrial primary productivity linked to anomalous Arctic warming

news.nationalgeographic.com - by Sarah Gibbens - July 11, 2017

When a U.S. Republican senator threw a snowball onto the Senate floor in late February of 2015, he used it to underscore his belief that human-made climate change was an alarmist conclusion. The snowball had been rolled from the Capitol grounds in Washington D.C., which, at the time, was experiencing an uncharacteristically cold winter.

If global warming was real, he posited, how could the nation's capital experience such severe cold?

Uncharacteristically cold winters, however, just might be one of the most hard felt effects of climate change, according to a study published in Nature Geoscience by a team of researchers.

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Higher Seas to Flood Dozens of US Cities, Study Says; Is Yours One of Them?

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Union of Concerned Scientists - When Rising Seas Hit Home: Hard Choices Ahead for Hundreds of US Coastal Communities (2017)

cnn.com - by Jennifer Gray - July 12, 2017

For the past several years, scientists have been trying to get people to wake up to the dangers that lie ahead in rising seas due to climate change. A comprehensive list now names hundreds of US cities, large and small, that may not make it through the next 20, 50 or 80 years due to sea level rise . . .

 . . . If you live along the coast, your city could be one of them -- meaning you could be part of the last generation to call it home.

"This research hones in on exactly how sea level rise is hitting us first. The number of people experiencing chronic floods will grow much more quickly than sea level itself," Benjamin Strauss, Vice President for Sea Level and Climate Impacts at Climate Central said in reaction to this study.

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Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize

           

The Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station in Tasmania. Credit Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

nytimes.com - by Justin Gillis - June 26, 2017

CAPE GRIM, Tasmania . . . For more than two years, the monitoring station here, along with its counterparts across the world, has been flashing a warning: The excess carbon dioxide scorching the planet rose at the highest rate on record in 2015 and 2016. A slightly slower but still unusual rate of increase has continued into 2017.

Scientists are concerned about the cause of the rapid rises because, in one of the most hopeful signs since the global climate crisis became widely understood in the 1980s, the amount of carbon dioxide that people are pumping into the air seems to have stabilized in recent years, at least judging from the data that countries compile on their own emissions.

That raises a conundrum: If the amount of the gas that people are putting out has stopped rising, how can the amount that stays in the air be going up faster than ever? Does it mean the natural sponges that have been absorbing carbon dioxide are now changing?

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