Chetek Tornado Recap – More Extreme Rains – Avoiding a Bolt from the Blue

.33″ rain fell yesterday in the Twin Cities.
84 F. high temperature on Tuesday.
69 F. average high on May 16.
66 F. high on May 16, 2016.

May 17, 1915: Old man winter’s last hurrah dumps 5 inches of snow along the western shore of Lake Superior.

Beware of Electrical “Bolts From The Blue”

“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work” mused Mark Twain.
In my quest to know any (future) grand kids I have a healthy respect for lightning. The first growl of thunder I duck into a building or vehicle. 38 Americans were killed by lightning in 2016, almost all these deaths ultimately preventable.

I’ve run into coaches who don’t move kids to safety until they can “see the lightning”. Which is just asking for trouble. Because lightning can travel up to 10 miles, horizontally. People have been struck and killed with blue sky directly overhead, a distant thunderhead on the horizon. There’s a reason why the expression “bolt from the blue” exists.

A Conga-line of sloppy storms will antagonize farmers and construction crews into the weekend. Surface winds shift to the northeast today, lowering the risk of severe thunderstorms. But more heavy rain is expected this afternoon – another stormy surge on Saturday. Sunday may be salvageable, but don’t get your hopes up.

A/C will be optional, with highs in the 50s Thursday into Saturday. A cool, showery bias lingers into next week. Yes, spring MAY arrive any day.


“It’s a Mess. Tornado Hits Trailer Park Near Chetek, Wisconsin. Here is a late night update from Fox6 News in Milwaukee: “A tornado swept into a mobile home park near a small town in western Wisconsin on Tuesday, killing one person and leaving around 25 injured, as a storm system also pounded parts of at least seven states from Texas to near the Canadian border with high winds and hail. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told several media that the tornado damaged the Prairie Lakes Estates trailer park north of Chetek. The National Weather Service reported the tornado touched down in the area just after 5:30 p.m. Helicopter video from WCCO-TV and KARE-TV shows extensive damage at the trailer park, with several homes reduced to rubble...”



Classic Hook Echo. I issued the tweet above at 4:48 pm yesterday, when it was apparent that a tornadic, supercell thunderstorm was pushing toward Barron. You can see the cell, which looked like the number “6”, in the upper right of this image. A Tornado Warning was in effect at the time.


Overshooting Top Pinpoints Tornadic Updraft. Of course wisdom is possible with 20/20 hindsight. Here is a late afternoon visible satellite loop showing the supercell storm that went on to spawn a deadly tornado near Chetek, Wisconsin.  Look carefully and you can see a knob on the top of the thunderhead anvil just east of the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. That’s evidence of an extreme updraft which may correlate with the tornado that left dozens injured with at least one confirmed fatality.




Wedge Tornado. It’s risky inferring tornado strength based on appearance, but there is a rough correlation between width of a tornado funnel and the wind speeds within the vortex. This appears to be 1/4 to 1/2 mile wide, which would suggest a particularly severe tornado; EF-3 or stronger. Twin Cities National Weather Service employees will assess the debris field today before determining where this tornado ranks on the Enhanced Fujita scale.



Serious Soaking. NOAA’s 12 KM NAM model prints out 2-4″ rainfall amounts from near Omaha and Sioux City to Albert Lea, the Twin Cities and Rhinelander over the next 84 hours. Stating the obvious, more flash flooding is likely. Animation: Tropicaltidbits.com.


Saturated. May is a very wet month for many northern cities, but the sheer amount of real estate expected to see 3-5″ of rain over the next week is breathtaking, stretching from Texas and Colorado to the U.P. of Michigan. That’s roughly 3-6 weeks worth of rain falling in less than 1 week.


Slow-Motion Pattern. When weather systems slow or stall for days on end bad things can transpire, especially floods. Today’s storm winds up across the Central Plains, pushing a pinwheel of heavy rain and T-storms across the Upper Midwest. The East Coast enjoys a quiet Wednesday, while snow pushes from Boise to near Cheyenne and even Denver.


April Relapse. Yesterday felt like July 16; Thursday will feel like April 16. Makes perfect sense. Unusually cool weather spills into the  weekend, but 60s may return next week. Twin Cities ECMWF data: WeatherBell.

U.S. Billion Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters 1980-2017. Over a trillion dollars in weather and climate-related disasters since 1980. So far we’ve seen 5 confirmed billion dollar events, but I suspect Missouri/Arkansas flooding and the recent Denver hailstorm will also qualify as billion dollar disasters, bringing the subtotal up to 7 so far this year. All of 2016 brought 15 separate billion dollar weather and climate disasters to the United States. Details from NOAA NCEI: “The U.S. has sustained 2018 weather and climate disasters since 1980 in which overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Values in parentheses represent the 2017 Consumer Price Index (CPI cost adjusted value (if different than original value). The total cost of these 208 events exceed $1.1 trillion.”




Just Imagine: 1.5 Million in Evacuation Gridlock as a Hurricane Aims at Tampa Bay. The west coast of Florida has been (supernaturally) lucky in recent decades. Pondering a worst-case scenario for the Tampa area gives emergency planners the chills, explains TBO.com: “…Nearly every scenario seems nightmarish: In Pinellas County, a Level D evacuation gives 585,000 people — half the county’s population — 36 hours to crawl across the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Howard Frankland and Gandy bridges. In Pasco County, a Level B evacuation means nearly 175,000 people would have 24 hours to flee east along just two roads, State Roads 52 and 54. And if a monster hurricane takes aim at the bay area, the highest evacuation level in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Manatee counties would result in a total of 1.5 million — half the region — ordered to leave their homes over two full days. The Tampa Bay area has a booming population but a busted road network. Emergency management officials wonder how a region that can’t handle rush-hour traffic will deal with the realities of a major hurricane evacuation. The bay area hasn’t had a direct hurricane strike in nearly a century and hasn’t had a major evacuation in more than a decade...”

Photo credit: “Vehicles pack the northbound lanes of the Howard Frankland Bridge heading toward Tampa during the evacuation for powerful Hurricane Charley on Aug. 12, 2004.” Times (2004)


National Drought Recedes to Record Low Level. NOAA has the details: “April showers bring May flowers,” or so the saying goes. Perhaps a more appropriate description this year might be, “Heavy April showers bring record flooding.” All that rain helped shrink the drought footprint for the contiguous U.S. to the lowest level since the nationwide Drought Monitor program began in 2000. It also caused loss of life and extensive property destruction in many communities. Last month, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 53.8 degrees F, 2.7 degrees above the 20th-century average. The month ranked as the 11th warmest April in the 123-year period of record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information...”

U.S.Drought Monitor courtesy of The National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska at Lincoln.


April 27 Was Second Warmest on Record, Worldwide. NASA GISS has the details: “April 2017 was the second warmest April in 137 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Last month was 0.88 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean April temperature from 1951-1980. The two top April temperature anomalies have occurred during the past two years. April 2016 was the hottest on record, at 1.06 degrees Celsius warmer than the April mean temperature. April 2017’s temperature was 0.18 degrees Celsius cooler than April 2016. This past April was only slightly warmer than the third warmest April, which occurred in 2010 and was 0.87 degrees warmer than the mean…”


Farmers Scramble to Adapt to Volatile Weather. The Wall Street Journal reports: “U.S. farmers are putting aside politics and arming themselves for volatile weather that they expect will be the new normal. Intense heat waves, droughts and floods have led to erratic yields in California, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and other agricultural states. Expecting that trend to continue, farmers big and small are investing in ways to preserve water in their soil, plant crops more quickly and irrigate more efficiently. “We are watching springs dry up,” says Pat O’Toole, a Savery, Wyo., rancher, who uses portable, solar-powered pumps to retrieve groundwater for his 6,000 sheep and 1,000 cows. “We are aggressively looking at our whole operation.” The year 2012, with its record-setting heat wave and drought, was a turning point for many. Growers in 22 states suffered what federal agencies considered “crop failure,” the worst agricultural calamity since a severe dry spell in 1988...” (File photo: Rob Koch).



1 in 1,000 Year Rainfall Caused Missouri Floods. By my count the USA experienced at least 5 separate thousand-year rains in 2016, a number that may be topped this year. Here’s an excerpt from USA TODAY: “The massive amount of rain that caused the devastating flooding in the past few weeks in Missouri was a rare 1-in-1,000-year event, meteorologists said Friday. Most of the “once-in-a-millennium” rainfall from late April to early May occurred in Texas and Howell counties in southern Missouri, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Some areas picked up over a foot of rain within a few hours April 29. “This incredible rainfall resulted in widespread and historic flooding,” the National Weather Service in Springfield, Mo., said. “Numerous roads, bridges and buildings were destroyed.” Other portions of the state, as well as parts of Illinois and Indiana, experienced less extreme rainfall, on the order of 1-in-200 and 1-in-500-year levels...”


Kentucky Town Turning Devastation into Innovation. Some tornadoes have silver linings. Here’s an excerpt from Proud Green Building: “...Clark has been a part of the post-disaster recovery in West Liberty that was modeled after Greensburg. “Destroyed by an EF-5 tornado, only three buildings remained after this tornado and the community decided to build back a green sustainable community. They got a wind farm, they had to build everything from schools to government and homes in the community,” Clark said. Greensburg rebuilt its community with green building construction, using 100 percent renewable energy and using wind farms to keep the lights on. In West Liberty, that same goal was made part of its master plan to a degree…”

Photo credit: WKYT-TV.


Estimating Wildfire Fire Risk With a New Tool. NOAA NCEI explains how the new system works: “…So, NCEI and the NASA DEVELOP National Program collaborated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (link is external), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the South Dakota State Fire Meteorologist (link is external) to create a Fire Risk Estimation or FIRE tool that automatically processes satellite and weather station data—including temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, and wind observations—into a single measurement of fire potential. To create the FIRE tool, the team began with a list of indicators used to assess wildfire risk and the thresholds for each that would indicate higher risk. Provided by fire managers in South Dakota, these initial indicators and thresholds were based on meteorological conditions that accompanied several large, complex wildfires in the past decade…”


The Great American Eclipse is 100 Days Away, and Scientists are Ready. The Hartford Courant has a good overview: “This summer, darkness will fall across the face of America. Birds will stop singing. Temperatures will drop. Stars will become visible in the daytime sky. In about 100 days, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the continental United States for the first time since 1918. Astronomers are calling it the Great American Eclipse. For the amateur sky-watcher, a total eclipse presents a rare opportunity to witness a cosmic hiccup in our day-night cycle. For solar astronomers, however, the eclipse offers something else: three minutes (give or take) to collect as much data as possible about the sun’s usually hidden outer atmosphere. Researchers have been anticipating the event for years…”

Photo credit: “Williams College astronomer Jay Pasachoff prepares for a solar eclipse in Argentine Patagonia in February. He plans to observe this summer’s total eclipse from western Oregon.” (Photo courtesy of Jay Pasachoff)


Germany Just Broke a Renewable Energy Record. Here’s an excerpt from indy100: “The future came early on Easter Day in Germany, as green energy ran almost the entire country. On April 30, 64 per cent of electricity consumed in Germany came from renewable sources, such as wind power and solar. At 2pm, the share of renewables was 85 per cent and between 10am and 6pm over three quarters of demand was covered by clean energy – an impressive feat in a world still dominated by coal and oil. German think-tank Agora Energiewende shared the data of this momentous achievement, remarking that this sort of situation will be “completely normal” by 2030. Easter weekend in Germany also saw the the least amount of coal the country has used “in recent history” and nuclear power plants reduce their output by up to 40 per cent...”

Photo credit: Inhabitat.com.


Gas-Powered Vehicles Will Vanish in 8 Years, Says US Report. I’d be amazed if this happens, yet it’s hard not to argue with the trend toward electrification of the world’s transportation infrastructure. Then again, the future never turns out quite the way you think it will. Here’s an excerpt at The Telegraph and Stuff.co.nz: “No more petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will be sold anywhere in the world within eight years. The entire market for land transport will switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we have known it for a century. This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries. Prof Seba’s premise is that people will stop driving altogether. They will switch en masse to self-drive electric vehicles (EVs) that are 10 times cheaper to run than fossil-based cars, with a near-zero marginal cost of fuel and an expected lifespan of 1m miles...”

Photo credit: “Vehicles like the BMW i3 electric car are a future that is coming fast according to a report out the US.”


Minnesota’s Governor Dayton Vetoes State Legislature’s Attempt to Gut Renewables. Here’s an excerpt at ThinkProgress: “Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has locked horns with Minnesota’s Republican-led legislature over a set of budget bills that must pass before the session ends next week, or the state risks a shut-down. On Monday, the governor vetoed five omnibus bills over concerns that the legislature is cutting too much, too quickly — including a successful solar program. The energy and commerce omnibus bill would have eliminated the state’s renewable development fund — replacing it with an energy fund that could be used to fund a broad range of projects — and would have eliminated the state’s Made in Minnesota solar rebate program…”
Graphic credit: Solar Energy Industries Association.

Breakfast Was The Most Important Meal of the Day – Until America Ruined It. A fair criticism? Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post: “…All the cereal, whole grain or not, is processed in a way to give it indefinite shelf life. As the nutritious parts of our food are what goes bad on the shelf, just about every processed-grain product on the shelf is nutritionally barren. Sukol walked me through the basic physiology. When sugar enters our bloodstream, the hormone insulin is released to deliver the sugar to its proper destination. If more sugar comes in than the insulin can transport, the sugar is stored as fat and the insulin system is strained, which can result in diabetes and other diet-related diseases…”

Image credit: “Whatever happened to “a balanced breakfast?” (Washington Post illustration/iStockphoto.


Where Automation Poses the Biggest Threat to American Jobs. Here’s an excerpt at CityLab: “…A new analysis suggests that the places that are going to be hardest-hit by automation in the coming decades are in fact outside of the Rust Belt. It predicts that areas with high concentrations of jobs in food preparation, office or administrative support, and/or sales will be most affected—places such as Las Vegas and the Riverside-San Bernardino area may be the most vulnerable to automation in upcoming years, with 65 percent of jobs in Las Vegas and 63 percent of jobs in Riverside predicted to be automatable by 2025. Other areas especially vulnerable to automation are El Paso, Orlando, and Louisville. Still, the authors estimate that almost all large American metropolitan areas may lose more than 55 percent of their current jobs because of automation in the next two decades...”

Map credit: The Atlantic, Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis, University of Redlands.


How Untreated Depression Contributes to the Opioid Epidemic. Interesting food for thought at The Atlantic: “It can sometimes seem strange how so much of the country got hooked on opioids within just a few years. Deaths from prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone have more than quadrupled since 1999, according to the CDC. But pain doesn’t seem to be the only culprit: About one-third of Americans have chronic pain, but not all of them take prescription painkillers for it. Of those who do take prescription opioids, not all become addicted. Several researchers now believe depression, one of the most common medical diagnoses in the U.S., might be one underlying cause that’s driving some patients to seek out prescription opioids and to use them improperly. People with depression show abnormalities in the body’s release of its own, endogenous, opioid chemicals. Depression tends to exacerbate pain—it makes chronic pain last longer and hurts the recovery process after surgery…”

File photo: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters.


Your Shoes Will Be Printed Shortly. 3-D printers will be capable of amazing things, as reported at The Wall Street Journal: “This may be the year you get 3-D-printed shoes. By the end of 2017, the transformation of manufacturing will hit a milestone: mass-produced printed parts. Until now, that concept was an oxymoron, since 3-D printing has been used mainly for prototyping and customized parts. But the radical innovation of 3-D printing techniques means we are finally going to see some previously impossible designs creep into our consumer goods. In the long term, it also means new products that previously would have been impractical to produce, and a geographical shift of some manufacturing closer to customers…”

Photo credit: “Adidas’s Futurecraft 4D performance runnning shoes feature plastic midsoles crafted using “digital light synthesis” 3-D printing technology pioneered by Carbon Inc.


Virtual Reality Concerts Are Nearly a Reality. A cool concept, but something may be lost in translation. Here’s a clip from 512tech in Austin: “It’s likely that five years from now, attending concerts via virtual reality will be a thing.   It’s plausible that superstar artists booking one-off live performances, and big ticket festivals — the Coachellas and the Lollapaloozas of the world — will actually be able to convince web users to pony up cash to take in the experience online.   Virtually attending a performance by Austin psych-rock titans The Black Angels, presented by LiveNation and NextVR, at First Avenue in Minneapolis this weekend made it easy to see why industry execs are racing to develop VR concerts. But the technology isn’t quite there yet. NextVR, a company whose stated goal is to “get 7 billion people closer to the events they love,” is developing content for the Google Daydream View and the Samsung GearVR headsets…”


Do You Suffer from “Railway Madness”? I’m fine on the rails, but get me on the interstate during rush hour and I feel waves of forced-insanity washing over me. There has to be a better way. Here’s an excerpt from Atlas Obscura: “…As the railway grew more popular in the 1850s and 1860s, trains allowed travelers to move about with unprecedented speed and efficiency, cutting the length of travel time drastically. But according to the more fearful Victorians, these technological achievements came at the considerable cost of mental health. As Edwin Fuller Torrey and Judy Miller wrote in The Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present, trains were believed to “injure the brain.” In particular, the jarring motion of the train was alleged to unhinge the mind and either drive sane people mad or trigger violent outbursts from a latent “lunatic.” Mixed with the noise of the train car, it could, it was believed, shatter nerves…”

Illustration credit: “An illustration from the Illustrated Police News, Saturday 11 May 1889.” All Images: © The British Library Board. All rights reserved/ Courtesy The British Newspaper Archive


More Americans Are Naming Children After Star Wars Characters. And why not? Here’s a clip from Quartz: “Last year we analyzed the effect that the Star Wars franchise has had on the names of American children. The number of Lukes, Leias, and even Darths rose after the first film, A New Hope, came out in 1977. Now, with the latest data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) on baby naming in 2016, can we say the same about The Force Awakens, the 2015 film that continued Star Wars’ main storyline? We’ll let this chart speak for itself...”


TODAY: Showers and T-storms likely, cooler. Heavy rain likely Winds: NE 8-13. High: 69

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: More rain, heavy at times. Low: 51

THURSDAY: Showers taper early, clouds linger – cool breeze. Winds: NE 10-20. High: 57

FRIDAY: Dry start, another round of showers. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 44. High: 56

SATURDAY: More rain, potentially heavy. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 46. High: 57

SUNDAY: Damp start, then sunny peeks. Better. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 47. High: 59

MONDAY: Sunny start, few PM pop-up showers. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 46. High: 67

TUESDAY: Still cool, few instability showers. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 48. high: 63


Climate Stories…

Trump Country is Flooding, and Climate Ideas Are Shifting. E&ENews has an eye-opening article focused on changes being witnessed in the Mississippi River Valley: “…The politics of climate change make it challenging for mayors south of St. Louis to discuss it openly, said Colin Wellenkamp, executive director of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. They talk about disaster mitigation or disaster resilience — often code words for how they’re responding to climate change without saying the words. Counts and other mayors understand that disasters are on the rise, though. Counts laughs when Wellenkamp is asked whether there’s such a thing as a 100-year flood anymore. Wellenkamp trots out familiar statistics: Since 2011, the 10-state Mississippi River corridor has seen $50 billion in natural disaster impacts, including a 100-year flood, a 200-year flood, a 500-year flood, a 50-year drought and two hurricanes. The 75 cities in his network are learning how to live with the river, Wellenkamp said, “not make the river live with us.” “Our focus has been: How do we really increase the number of solutions that are on the table?” he said. “And how many of those solutions can work in the long term?…”

Image credit: “A flooded home on stilts near Thebes, Ill.” Photo by Erika Bolstad.


Data Drive to Help Farmers Cope With Climate Change Via Their Smartphones. Reuters explains: “As smartphones spread to rural areas, an initiative backed by tech giants aims to help small farmers in poor countries access data on crops, weather and soil, helping them boost production in the face of climate change, a farming group said on Monday. Global agricultural research organization CGIAR said it joined forces with tech firms including IBM and Amazon to analyze vast amounts of agricultural data and advise farmers on the best production methods for them. “It’s time for smallholder farmers to stop looking at the sky and praying for rain,” said Andy Jarvis, a research director at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), which is part of CGIAR. “With enough data and enough analysts we’ll be able to say if the rains will be late or on-time,” he said in a statement…”


Climate Change: Extreme Rainfall Will Vary Between Regions. Here’s an excerpt of a story summarizing new research at ScienceDaily: “A new study by researchers from MIT and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich shows that the most extreme rain events in most regions of the world will increase in intensity by 3 to 15 percent, depending on region, for every degree Celsius that the planet warms. If global average temperatures rise by 4 degrees Celsius over the next hundred years, as many climate models predict given relatively high CO2 emissions, much of North America and Europe would experience increases in the intensity of extreme rainfall of roughly 25 percent. Some places such as parts of the Asian monsoon region would experience greater increases, while there will be smaller increases in the Mediterranean, South Africa and Australia…”



Managing Risk in a Changing Climate. WPSU-TV at Penn State has a description and link to the documentary: “Climate change poses real threats that call for tough choices under deep uncertainty. Louisiana has been called “the canary in the coal mine” for climate impacts as it reports rates of relative sea level rise among the highest in the world as more and more land disappears into the Gulf of Mexico. The public television documentary Managing Risk in a Changing Climate examines how Louisiana decision makers engage with researchers and stakeholders to inform choices about how to manage risks driven by changing sea levels and storms. Featuring some of the nation’s leading climate experts and narrated by Peter Coyote, Managing Risk in a Changing Climate examines one of humanity’s most pressing challenges through the lens of the many academic disciplines needed to address the impacts and surrounding economic, social, and environmental issues that come with managing risk in a changing climate…”



Land Use and Climate Change Could Increase Flood Frequency, Experts Say. In light of recent severe flooding across Quebec CBC News in Canada provides perspective: “…An increasing body of scientific evidence shows that human-driven climate change is leading to more frequent severe weather events — including snowfall. Warmer air can hold more moisture, Schreier said, which leads to more precipitation. But that’s not the whole story. In a 2012 paper, Kevin Trenberth — a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado — found that, as average temperatures rise, we should expect to see record levels of precipitation more often. As well, a 2017 study lead by Michael Mann of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University found that human activity is altering the behaviour of the jet stream — a sort of atmospheric conveyor belt that moves heat and moisture around the northern hemisphere — in a way that is causing storm systems to stall more often. These stalled systems result in longer bouts of extreme weather, both wet and dry...”

Photo credit: “A growing body of scientific research suggests extreme flooding like that seen in Kelowna this month will become a lot more common in the future.” (Manjula Dufresne/CBC).


Rising Conservative Voices Call for Climate Change Action. Here’s an excerpt of an interview at PBS NewsHour: “…SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: Virtually every Republican who has looked at the climate change problem and come to a solution comes to the same solution, which is a price on carbon, a market signal that is revenue-neutral and gives all the money back to the public. And I think our answer is, ‘Yes, yes, we’ll do that.’ So, we agree on the getaway car, we agree on the need for escape, and really the last political problem is how you get Republicans through that kill zone that the fossil fuel industry has set up in Congress.

STEPHANIE SY: The fossil fuel industry has actually come out in favor of some sort of carbon pricing. Do you view them as genuine allies on climate action?
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: No. Every part of the fossil fuel industry’s and Big Oil’s political apparatus is still lined up to say, ‘If you dare talk about a carbon price, we are coming after you…”
Image credit: “Climate change is one of many issues seen as dividing Democrats and Republicans. A dominant wing of the GOP has denied climate change exists, as some Democrats have tried to reduce air pollution and push for alternative forms of energy. But meanwhile, some Republicans are also pushing for climate action.” NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Stephanie Sy reports.


Under Fire, Climate Scientists Unite with Lawyers to Fight Back. The New York Times reports.


It’s All About Solutions. J. Drake Hamilton of Fresh Energy will give a presentation on “Minnesota’s Clean Energy Solutions to Climate Change” at the Maple Grove Library (8001 Main St, Maple Grove) on Thursday, May 25th at 7:00PM.


Mom Aims to Protect her Children and the Planet. Does your son or daughter have asthma? A warmer, wetter atmosphere will probably aggravate their symptoms as time goes on. Here’s what one concerned mom did to make a difference, courtesy of Yale Climate Connections: “…A warmer climate is expected to cause more days with poor air quality. And ragweed season will likely get longer – triggering more asthma attacks. Becker’s own asthma raised a red flag … increasing her concern about her kids’ future. Becker: “I want them to inherit a planet that people are actually conscientious about what they’re doing, how much energy they’re using, where is the energy coming from, what type of impact are they having on the planet for future generations.” So Becker got involved. As part of the Moms Clean Air Force, she communicates her concerns to elected officials – encouraging them to follow the old advice, and listen to our mothers.”


Treat Climate Change Symptoms and Don’t Worry About the Cause. But unless we address the cause (addiction to fossil fuels,  deforestation, etc) we’ll never be able to lower the gases that are warming the planet, right? Semantics? Let’s just call it “endless summer”. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at USA TODAY: “…A policy that focuses on the impact of rising sea levels, building infrastructure that is needed regardless of its cause, and can be financed conservatively — that is a compromise everyone should be able to live with. Republicans don’t have to accept that global warming is real as long as they don’t deny that sea levels are rising. And Democrats get actions to deal with the consequences of climate change, even if the causes are inadequately addressed. If we are very lucky, the rapid transition to solar energy may reduce carbon emissions enough to stabilize global temperatures without onerous taxes or regulations that are, in any event, politically impossible at the moment. Addressing symptoms while sidestepping causes will not satisfy the Al Gores of the world. But it might get us moving on concrete actions to deal with the consequences of global warming. We will need them no matter what.”


Drawdown. Paul Hawken has written and edited a book focused on solutions, concrete steps required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without upsetting the global economy. It’s a worthy read. Here’s an excerpt: “Drawdown maps, measures, models, and describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world…”

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