Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Looks More Like March - Near an Arctic Tippinig Point?

30 F. maximum temperature yesterday (2:37 AM).
25 F. average high on February 1.
36 F. metro high on February 1, 2016.

February 2, 1996: The all-time state record low temperature is set in Minnesota. With numerous media folk present, the low dips to -60 three miles south of Tower. Governor Arne Carlson cancelled school statewide due to the cold.
February 2, 1988: The temperature bottoms out at -43 at Embarrass.
February 2, 1927: Spring-like temperatures are felt on Groundhog Day. Tracy is 57 and Fairmont reaches 56.

Chilled Groundhogs - 6 More Weeks of Winter? Yep

"It's almost as if the atmosphere has forgotten HOW to snow" a friend lamented the other day. Once again it's awfully brown out there for early February. A trend or an atmospheric fluke?

The last above average winter for snow was 70 inches in 2013-14, the year the 'polar vortex' set up shop just to our north. It was consistently cold enough for snow most of the winter. This year? Not so much.

Big snowstorms require cold air AND a fire hose of southern moisture. But this winter temperatures have been too warm aloft; big storms have dumped more rain and ice than snow. Winter temperatures have warmed over 5F at MSP since 1970 according to Climate Central, so we shouldn't be terribly surprised by the changes we're seeing.

A snowy coating is possible Saturday - models still hinting at a plowable snow next Tuesday, followed by a couple of subzero nights.

Any arctic fling will be brief. Mild, Pacific air may dominate our weather pattern much of February, adding insult to injury for snow lovers.

No matter what the groundhog sees or doesn't see - 6 more weeks of winter seems like a good bet at this latitude.

Punxetawn Phil Track Record. NOAA NCDC has compiled recent predictions and verifications (what really happened). You be the judge: "The table (above) gives a snapshot, by year since 1988, of whether Phil saw his shadow or not along with the corresponding monthly national average temperature departures for both February and March. The table shows no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years of this analysis. Since 1993, the U.S. national temperature has been above normal 12 times in February and 15 times in March, below normal 6 times in February and 2 times in March, and near normal 6 times in February and 7 times in March..."

Groundhogs, Snow Fleas, Skunks or Tornado Bob? So many animals - so little time. 6 more weeks of winter seems like a pretty safe bet at this latitude. Here's an excerpt of an illuminating article at "...According to the History Channel’s website, the first Groundhog Day was celebrated at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Penn. in 1887 and has roots in an ancient Christian tradition called Candlemas Day during which time clergy members would bless candles and distribute them for the winter. These candles, according to lore, served to represent the length and severity of the winter. This tradition was expanded upon later by the Germans, who selected the first animal, the hedgehog, as a means of predicting the weather. The practice first came to America with the German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania who continued the tradition, switching their animal of choice from hedgehogs to groundhogs which were more plentiful in their new home..."

* January was mild and gray across Minnesota...

* February is a relatively dry month across Minnesota and many northern states...

Hard to Believe: Another Storm for California and West Coast. The conga-line of storms stacked up thicker than 737s over Midway continues - more heavy rain, high winds and mountain snows push into the west coast today, while lake effect snows continue downwind of the Great Lakes - a few light rain showers over the south, where a premature spring is in full swing. 84-hour NAM: NOAA and

Brief Arctic Interlude - Otherwise Flashes of March. Check out the 15-Day outlook for MSP from the ECMWF (European) model, showing an awful lot of 30s, even a shot at 40 F by mid-February. A few cold days are brewing the end of next week, but any arctic fling will be brief. Graphic: WeatherBell.

Garbage Left by Ice Fishermen Becoming Bigger Problem. Good grief. Here's an excerpt from Star Tribune: "The biggest piece of ice fishing trash ever handled by Mille Lacs area game warden Scott Fitzgerald was a living room couch. But every winter there’s a new surprise and Minnesota ice anglers continue to scatter tons of garbage on frozen lakes across the state. “It seems to be getting worse,’’ said Lt. Col. Greg Salo, enforcement division assistant director at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Salo said the biggest problem areas tend to be on lakes that attract large clusters of 100 or more independently operated fish houses. It’s normal for the occupants of those shacks or mobile wheelhouses to set refuse outside on the ice..."

Photo credit: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune. "A DNR conservation officer picked up trash on a lake in Prior Lake in 2010. The littering problem has gotten worse statewide since then. Overnight guests often are the worst offenders."

Pacific Domination. No sign of any extended streaks of bitter air in the coming weeks as a positive phase of the NAO conspires with a Pacific flow to keep temperatures above average across much of America in 2 weeks. The only exception may be the Great Lakes and New England.

Nothing To See Here - Please Move Along! Hey, the arctic is running 20-50F. warmer than average and the temperature anomaly forecast for February looks like a ketchup commercial gone bad, but let's enjoy the warm streak! We'll see if NOAA's CFSv2 (Climate Forecast System) outlook verifies, but the trends are pretty glaring. Don't buck the trends - forecast warmer than average and odds are you'll be right. Map: WeatherBell.

50 Degrees by Mid-February? That's what Wednesday's 18z GFS forecast is hinting at by Friday, February 17. Not sure I buy it yet but 40s within 2 weeks seems like a pretty sure bet. Welcome to March.

5.7 Trillion Gallons of Water Snowed on California in January. Fantastic news for California's water supply, but underground aquifers will take much longer to recover. Here's an excerpt of an interesting nugget at USA TODAY: "Over five trillion gallons of water — much of it still locked up as snow in the mountains — fell across California in January, ending the prolonged drought in the northern part of the state. The parade of snowstorms that blasted the state in January dumped the equivalent of about 5.7 trillion gallons of water, according to researchers at Colorado University’s Center for Water Earth Science and Technology. (That's how much water was in the snow that fell). Many ski areas in the Sierra were pasted with 20 to 30 feet of snow. Mammoth Mountain had its snowiest month ever recorded, with over 20 feet..."

Photo credit: "January storms in the Sierra Nevadas reduced California's deficit in stored snow water by about 37 percent." Credit: Flickr user Perfect Zero, CC BY 2.0.

Storms Filled 37 Percent of California Snow-Water Deficit. NASA has more perspective: "The "atmospheric river" weather patterns that pummeled California with storms from late December to late January may have recouped 37 percent of the state’s five-year snow-water deficit, according to new University of Colorado Boulder-led research using NASA satellite data. Researchers at the university's Center for Water Earth Science and Technology (CWEST) estimate that two powerful recent storms deposited roughly 17.5-million acre feet (21.6 cubic kilometers) of water on California’s Sierra Nevada range in January. Compared to averages from the pre-drought satellite record, that amount represents more than 120 percent of the typical annual snow accumulation for this range. Snowmelt from the range is a critical water source for the state's agriculture, hydropower generation and municipal water supplies..."

Map credit: "These maps show how much water was stored in the Sierra snowpack on Jan. 6 (left) and Jan. 24 (center), 2017. Darker colors indicate more water. The inset bar graph in the center figure shows the annual snowpack water storage relative to the pre-drought average as well as the cumulative snow-water deficit.  The map on right shows snowpack water storage on Jan. 24 as a percentage of pre-drought average snowpack water storage at its greatest. Areas in green are over 100 percent of average." Credit: CU/NASA.

Snow Totals Setting Records at Resorts. The snowfall amounts out west are pretty staggering; here's an excerpt from The Orange County Register: "...Mammoth Mountain, Lake Tahoe resorts and Big Bear Mountain Resort are reporting a record-setting month of snowfall after consecutive storms dumped enough snow to cover cars and shut down operations while leaving skiers and snowboarders salivating at the sight of new snow. Mammoth Mountain reports “the snowiest month ever on record,” with a week still left in January. The latest storm brought 58 inches of snow, sending the month's total to 241 inches, shattering the previous mark – 209 inches in December 2010. “We're already 3 feet over that,” said Mammoth Mountain spokesman Tim LeRoy. “It's a record breaker by a pretty wide margin.” Mammoth also is boasting the deepest snowpack of any resort in North America, with 345 inches for the season. Records at the resort date to 1969..."

25 Snowiest U.S. Cities So Far This Winter. has a running tally of snowiest cities (with populations over 100,000). Rochester, New York and Rochester, Minnesota both made the cut so far: "...The first number is the current spot the city is on the snow mountain. The second number is where the city was at the end of the last update. We will be switching it to how the city started this season and then the current updated place as the cities receive snowfall totals. This is where the Top Twenty Five Snowiest US Cities leading so far in the new Golden Snow Globe Contest will be updated..."

In stark contrast:

Flowers Already In Bloom. Plants, flowers and trees are in bloom close to the Gulf Coast,  a good 15-20 days ahead of schedule.

Drawing Blown Away by Tornado Found 100 Miles Away. This puts the updraft in a tornadic supercell into perspective. has details: "As the recovery effort continues in the Pine Belt, countless stories have emerged from the storm ravaged area. One man's story will likely be something he tells for the rest of his life. The tornado dug a path of utter destruction through the area, leveling neighborhoods and businesses. Some homes were spared while others in its path were demolished..."

Photo credit: "Daniel Baggett will forever have a reminder of that incredible force in the form of a grade school drawing." (Photo source: WLOX)

You're More Likely To Catch Flu After a Cold Snap, Study Says. Because we're indoors around other (sick) people - or bitter air is a shock to our immune systems? has the story: "Cases of flu are on the rise, according to a recent statement from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and experts are warning that this year's flu season will be worse than last. Now, a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Virology is shedding some light on exactly how cold weather and the spread of viruses are linked. It turns out, seasonal flu outbreaks first appear each year about a week after the winter's first cold spell -- or at least that's what happened in Sweden, over the course of three years when researchers tracked weather patterns and the prevalence of the virus..." (Image: NOAA).

Snowstorms May Bring Blizzard of Heart Troubles. Who knew? The result of stress from shoveling? Rougher commutes? Cold air behind the storm triggering asthmatic events?'s MedNews has the story: "Snowstorms may leave more than a big mess in their wake: New research shows a sharp spike in hospital admissions for heart trouble two days after these weather events. Hospital admissions for heart attacks, chest pain and stroke actually fell on the day of the storm, the study found, possibly because people can't get out for care. But they rebounded again within the next 48 hours. The reasons for the trends aren't clear, the researchers said..."

Air Pollution Increases Risk of Dementia Among Older Women, New Study Finds. Yale E360 has the story: "Older women who live in places with high air pollution levels are 92 percent more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Southern California. The risk is heightened even more in women with the APOE4 gene, a genetic variation associated with an increased chance of developing Alzheimer’s. It is the latest in a growing number of studies linking air pollution with dementia..."

Photo credit: "Smog over downtown Los Angeles, which is among the top five worst U.S. cities for air pollution." Steven Buss/Flickr.

Yosemite's Tragic History of Flooding, and the Steps Its Taken to Prevent Future Disasters. Capital Weather Gang has an interesting article and video link; here's an excerpt: "Twenty years ago, nearly two feet of warm rain fell on a deep, Sierra Nevada snowpack, resulting in the worst flood in Yosemite National Park’s history. The sudden inundation washed out roads, campgrounds, lodges and utilities, and it stranded several thousand stunned visitors and employees in the narrow Merced River valley. “Boulders the size of houses were rolling down the swollen Merced River,” said park spokesman Scott Gediman, who was in his first year on the job in January 1997. The force of the raging water destroyed everything in its path. He recalled how odd it was to see picnic tables, bear boxes and even fax machines floating through the park. The river burst its banks on New Year’s Day. The water level in the valley peaked at 16 feet over flood stage, inundating park infrastructure..."

Image credit: "During floods in May 1996 and January 1997, the roar of thundering Yosemite Falls rattled windows at the park offices a half mile away." (U.S. National Park Service).

The Deep History of California's Catastrophic Flooding. NexusMedia has the context and perspective: "...As the climate warms, I’m definitely concerned about what might come next. California has been growing in places, like the Central Valley and the Delta. Parts of the Delta are below sea level because it has been sinking. The Central Valley has also been sinking because of groundwater pumping, and some parts are 30 feet deeper than in 1861. It’s so much worse now — there are more than 6 million people living in the Central Valley alone. In 2011 the USGS presented the ARkStorm [Atmospheric River 1,000 Storm] scenario to model the impacts of an 1861-type storm, at the time thought to be a 1,000-year event. They modeled the storm with today’s geography and where people are living. The bottom line is damage totaled more than $700 billion..."

Photo credit: "The 1986 flooding of the Russian River in Sonoma County, California." Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

How To Stop The U.S. Flood Insurance Program From Drowning in Debt. Expect this problem to worsen over time, as the frequency and magnitude of flooding events continues to increase. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at TheHill: "This month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) had to borrow another $1.6 billion from the Treasury to break even on its 2016 losses. Add that to the existing debt, largely due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita and Superstorm Sandy, and the NFIP currently is almost $25 billion in debt. The NFIP is up for reauthorization later this year, and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, has already said that reforming the program will be a “major focus” for his committee this year..."

File photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard Aircrews.

New Weather Satellites Can Spot Floods Before They Happen. WIRED has the story; here's an excerpt: "...And because GOES-16 can scan the entire globe in 15 minutes, the US in five, and a major weather event (like a tornado or hurricane system) in 30 seconds, you’d better believe that weather prediction, turbulence forecasts, and storm warnings will improve too. “If you have five more minutes of warning, that’s the difference between your kid playing down the street and being in your basement,” Webster says. “In the end it’s about saving lives and property...”

A Look at the Northwest Earthquake That Shook the World. The Pacific Northwest is just as vulnerable to earthquakes as California. Here's an excerpt from "...An earthquake that shocked the whole coastline would’ve been massive, somewhere around 9.2 magnitude, and would’ve had to rupture the entire length of the 600 mile-long fault on the Cascadia subduction zone. But for years, scientists couldn’t narrow down exactly when it happened. By comparing historical records in Japan, oral histories of Native Americans and a complex computer simulation, researchers confidently pinpointed the earthquake to around 9 p.m. on Jan. 26, 1700. A quake of this magnitude could have gone on for five minutes or longer and would’ve generated a wave that would have resulted in a tsunami reaching Japan in about nine hours..." (Image credit above: EARTH Magazine).

Congress Claims Public Lands Are Worthless; We Disagree. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed that resonated from Reverend Mitch Hescox at Christian Post: "...In practice, what this means is public lands – the birthright of every American – become less accessible, or even off limits as states sell them to private interests. Most states simply do not have the financial resources to care for them properly, and it becomes easier for special interests to get their hands on them. As the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership puts it: "The national public lands transfer to the states would result in one likely outcome: the fire sale of these lands to the highest bidder – billionaires and foreign corporations who may neither understand nor value America's outdoor heritage. Once privatized, these lands will become off limits to most sportsmen in perpetuity." And not just off limits to sportsmen and the rest of us, but exploited for private gain as they go after what is below the ground with oil wells and pipelines and mining operations..."

Photo credit: " REUTERS/National Park Service. "A general view of the Yosemite Falls flowing in Yosemite National Park in this December 3, 2014 picture provided by the National Park Service."

Energy is the New Internet. I happen to agree with Brian LaKamp at "...At heart, the Enernet is the foundation for smart-city tech, including the “Internet of Things,” distributed systems, interconnected backbones and networking technologies, EV-charging services and autonomous vehicles, to name a few. These technologies will drive dramatic change and force us to rethink our cities, municipal services and sectors like transportation, insurance, real estate and financial services. From the Enernet evolution will come smart cities that are an order-of-magnitude smarter, healthier and safer. The new network will also present quantum leaps in energy security and emergency resilience that can stand in the face of superstorms or cyberattacks. Hold on to your seats. We’re at the early stages of something immense..."

Texas Was the Nation's Top Electricity User in 2015. Fuel Fix has the story: "Texas used the most electricity of any state in 2015, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Energy on Friday. The state used nearly 400 million kilowatt hours of electricity that year, and led the nation for most electricity use in homes, commercial buildings and industrial properties. California and Florida came in second and third in terms of electricity use, but each use more than 100 million kilowatt less than Texas..."

Photo credit:

Driven by Tesla, Battery Prices Cut in Half Since 2014. ThinkProgress has an update: "...Battery prices have continued their stunning decline, with game-changing implications for electric vehicles (EVs), the electric grid, and the cage fight between renewables and natural gas. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reports that lithium-ion battery prices have fallen “by almost half just since 2014” and “electric cars are largely responsible.” Last year, BNEF called this “the miracle of Musk,” referring to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, which jump-started the stagnant EV business and whose gigafactory will keep putting downward pressure on battery costs..." (File image:

Auto Dealers Want Trump To Weaken Car Emissions Rules. TheHill has the story: "Auto dealers are joining the call from carmakers for President Trump to roll back his predecessor’s aggressive vehicle emissions rules. At the group’s annual meeting in New Orleans, leaders and members of the National Automobile Dealers Association argued that the greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation make cars too expensive, Reuters reported. “You inflate the price of the vehicle, and a car that was maybe within reach of being affordable now may not be,” said Mark Scarpelli, the group’s new chairman, according to Reuters..."

Use of Ad-Blocking Software Rises by 30% Worldwide. Here's a clip from The New York Times: "Facebook has tried to ban it. Google has attempted to outsmart it. But no matter what these tech giants do, people’s use of software to block digital advertising — often the lifeblood of companies’ online business models — keeps gaining traction worldwide. In total, roughly 11 percent of internet users globally relied on ad blockers to avoid some form of digital advertising last year when surfing the web. That equates to more than 600 million devices, from smartphones to traditional computers. The figure represents a 30 percent annual increase, according to a new report published on Wednesday by PageFair, a start-up that helps companies recoup some of this lost advertising revenue, which now totals tens of billions of dollars each year..."

Great Places to Retire on $1,000 a Month. has an interesting article that offers new cities to ponder when making a decision on where to live, inexpensively: "...Americans 65 years of age or older average nearly $44,686 in annual expenses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, you do not have to put your retirement on ice even if your net worth does not quite approach that of King Midas. GOBankingRates ranked U.S. cities to find great places to retire on $1,000 a month. The ranking considered several local factors, including:
  • Housing — rental prices for a one-bedroom apartment, rounded to nearest dollar.
  • Percentage of retirees — in the local population as of April 1, 2010.
  • Walkability — scores ranging from 25 for Montgomery, Ala., to 65 for Allentown, Pa.
  • Safety factors — scores ranging from 6 for Rochester, N.Y., and Louisville, Ky., to 30 for Boise, Idaho.
Each city was given a weighting for each of the criterion and was ranked based on the overall score. Avoid making a big mistake during your golden years and instead consider one of the following 25 great places to retire..."

The Mystery and Occasional Poetry of...Um..."Filled Pauses". Here's the intro to an illuminating explainer at Atlas Obscura: "Nearly every language and every culture has what are called “filled pauses,” a notoriously difficult-to-define concept that generally refers to sounds or words that a speaker uses when, well, not exactly speaking. In American English, the most common are “uh” and “um.” Until about 20 years ago, few linguists paid filled pauses much attention. They were seen as not very interesting, a mere expulsion of sound to take up space while the speaker figures out what to say next. (In Russian, filled pauses are called “parasite sounds,” which is kind of rude.) But since then, interest in filled pauses has exploded. There are conferences about them. Researchers around the globe, in dozens of different languages, dedicate themselves to studying them. And yet they still remain poorly understood, especially as new forms of discourse begin popping up..."

Photo credit: "Tokyo at night." Zengame/CC BY 2.0

TODAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Wind chill near 0. Winds: W 10-15. High: 18

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear and chilly. Low: 6

FRIDAY: Plenty of sun, still nippy. Winds: W 8-13. High: 24

SATURDAY: Coating of light snow. Slick spots? Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 15. High: near 30

SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, cooler breeze. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 20. High: 27

MONDAY: Overcast, good travel weather. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 17. High: 32

TUESDAY: Chance of a plowable snowfall. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 26. High: 29

WEDNESDAY: Flurries taper, gusty winds - turning colder. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 13. high: 18

Climate Stories...

Global Warming Threatens Winter Sports. Climate Central reports: "...The number of days below 32°F in the U.S. has been declining. This trend is projected to continue, threatening many of the winter activities that rely on cold conditions, including skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and outdoor ice hockey. These winter recreational activities are an integral part of the economy in many states. Data from 2009-10 show that the ski, snowboard, and snowmobiling industries were directly and indirectly responsible for employing 211,900 people and adding an estimated $12.2 billion in economic value to the U.S. economy. As winter loses its chill, these winter tourism activities will be impacted and with them, people’s livelihoods..."

A New Battle Over Politics and Science is Brewing. And Scientists Are Ready For It. Here's an excerpt from Chris Mooney at The Washington Post: "...Scientist marches on Washington, creation of alternative Twitter accounts, legal defense funds, and much more — these are signs of a much more engaged, and politically realistic, scientific community than the relatively reticent one that existed in George W. Bush’s day. This is the consequence of scientists experimenting for more than a decade with blogging and social media, of their focus on scientific communications to the public, and of their growing awareness of political attacks on science and the need to counter them. In this context, it is far more likely that any scientist who feels the need to speak out will find a ready support structure, both within the community and also in social media — including legal aid if necessary. In other words, researchers have more protections, but they also are better networked and have more social support. Both are crucial..."

Photo credit: "People hold signs as they listen to a group of scientists speak during a rally in conjunction with the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in San Francisco. The rally was to call attention to what scientist believe is unwarranted attacks by the incoming Trump administration against scientists advocating for the issue of climate change and its impact." (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez).

"Beyond the Extreme": Scientists Marvel at 'Increasingly Non-Natural' Arctic Warmth. Are we close to a tipping point - or has the arctic already tipped over into a new state? Here's an excerpt from Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang: "...2016 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic, and 2017 has picked up right where it left off. “Arctic extreme (relative) warmth continues,” Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with WeatherBell Analytics, tweeted on Wednesday, referring to January’s temperatures. Veteran Arctic climate scientists are stunned. “[A]fter studying the Arctic and its climate for three and a half decades, I have concluded that what has happened over the last year goes beyond even the extreme,” wrote Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., in an essay for Earth magazine. At the North Pole, the mercury has rocketed to near the melting point twice since November, and another huge flux of warmth is projected by models next week. Their simulations predict some places in the high Arctic will rise over 50 degrees above normal..."

Images of Change. NASA has an interactive web site that shows the dramatic decrease in ice coverage from September 1984 to September 2016. It turns out it's not only aerial coverage of ice, but ice thickness as well. In the 1950s submarines in the U.S. Navy reported ice 6-10 feet thick; now it's only a couple feet thick in many locations.

"Planned Retreat" Enters the Climate Dialogue. For coastal Alaska and Louisiana it's already happening. Here's an excerpt from Scientific American: "As sea levels rise, U.S. communities have several strategies to cope with the effects of climate change, the president of the National Academy of Sciences said yesterday. There's triage for high-dollar assets, like airports and military installations and even the Statue of Liberty, Marcia McNutt said. But more and more, she added, “organized retreat” is a part of the conversation. That strategy, once politically unpalatable, has emerged from the shadows in recent months as scientists, community leaders and governments try to figure out how to move people out of the way of coastal flooding and other hazards..."

Photo credit: "Navigation channel amongst eroding wetlands in Coastal Louisiana southeast of Houma." IAN Image and Video Library.

Can States Lead the Way on Climate Change? Here's an excerpt from The Christian Century: "...California is setting an example, showing how much of a role entities other than the federal government can play. The future of climate change action will necessarily involve a broad range of participants—including state and local governments, corporations, advocacy groups (like, and consumers. Together these entities are already pushing the country toward both technological innovation and constructive regulation. The global goal articulated by the Paris agreement is to hold the increase in the global average temperature (above preindustrial levels) to below 2° Celsius. It’s an ambitious goal. While there may not be much support for it in Washington these days, the movement is not going away..."

File photo: Matt Brown, AP.

U.S. Will Change Course on Climate Policy, Says Former EPA Transition Head. Here's an excerpt from Reuters and Yahoo News: "The United States will switch course on climate change and pull out of a global pact to cut emissions, said Myron Ebell, who headed U.S. President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team until his inauguration. Ebell is the director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a U.S. conservative think tank, and helped to guide the EPA's transition after Trump was elected in November until he was sworn in on Jan. 20. Trump, a climate skeptic, campaigned on a pledge to boost the U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries by reducing regulation. He alarmed nations that backed the 2015 Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gases by pledging to pull the United States out of the global deal agreed by nearly 200 countries. However, Trump told the New York Times in November that he had an "open mind" on the agreement..."

A Climate Change Economist Sounds the Alarm. Which strengthens my conviction that decarbonization will come about through economics (lower costs for clean renewables) and energy security, not politics. Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg View: "...In his latest analysis, though, Nordhaus comes to a very different conclusion. Using a more accurate treatment of how carbon dioxide may affect temperatures, and how remaining uncertainties affect the likely economic outcomes, he finds that our current response to global warming is probably inadequate to prevent temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above their pre-industrial levels, a stated goal of the Paris accords. Worse, the analysis suggests that the required carbon-dioxide reductions are beyond what's politically possible. For all the talk of curbing climate change, most nations remain on a business-as-usual trajectory. Meanwhile, further economic growth will drive even greater carbon emissions over coming decades, particularly in developing nations..."

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