Obama unveils the final version of America’s Clean Power Plan, which sets a goal of cutting carbon pollution from power plants by 32 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The rule assigns each state a target for reducing its carbon pollution from power plants, but allows states to create their own custom plans for doing so. Obama says that the plans will lead to lower energy bills for everyday Americans and create jobs in the renewable energy sector.
[These rules are] the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.Power plants are the single biggest source of harmful carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. But until now there have been no federal limits to the amount of that pollution that those plants can dump into the air….Climate change is not a problem for another generation. Not anymore.
Pope Francis blames human selfishness for global warming in his long-awaited encyclical calling for action on climate change. In the letter, he urges the rich to change their lifestyles to avert the destruction of the ecosystem. In excerpts from the 184-page document:
What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? The question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal…Today, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
NASA reports that the last intact section of the Larsen B Ice Shelf, which has existed for at least 10,000 years, is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels. What is left covers about 1,600 square km. A NASA glaciologist says analysis of the data reveals that a widening rift in Larsen B will eventually break it apart completely, probably around the year 2020. Once that happens, glaciers held in place by the ice shelf will slip into the ocean at a faster rate and contribute to rising sea levels.
This study of the Antarctic Peninsula glaciers provides insights about how ice shelves farther south, which hold much more land ice, will react to a warming climate.
Three meteorological agencies on the Pacific Rim (The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, United States Climate Prediction Centre and Japan Meteorological Agency) agree that the El Nino weather phenomenon, which can spark deadly and costly climate extremes, will return strongly this year. The Japan Meteorological Agency has forecast that it would continue into late 2015, but there is no consensus between the three agencies over how long it will last, as they each have their own criteria for the phenomena. Commercial forecasters also have their own opinions, which also diverge. The U.S. Climate Prediction Centre says there is a 70 percent chance the pattern will continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer. The Australian weather bureau says:
We know that once an El Nino event’s established, it’s very likely to last through to the end of the year.
Lee introduces House Concurrent Resolution 29, a resolution which warns that because of the conflict and instability that global warming will create, women will be forced into prostitution in order to obtain enough food and clean water for their families. Excerpt:
Women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change. Food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health.