Nowhere on the surface of the planet have we seen any record cold temperatures over the course of the year so far. Every land surface in the world saw warmer-than-average temperatures except Alaska and the eastern tip of Russia. The continental United States has been blanketed with record warmth — and the seas just off the East Coast have been much warmer than average, for which Sandy sends her thanks. Continue reading →
People in the Midwest sure haven’t seen any rain in a while, and the economic consequences have already begun to ripple. Despite reports that climate scientists expect drought conditions to level off in the coming weeks, it’s a little too late for Midwestern farmers who have already seen major crop losses. We traveled to the regions of Iowa and Illinois to capture what people were seeing out there.
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Among these ripple effects are a major spike in food prices. (For those on food stamps, even a slight increase can make a big difference and that program could face serious cuts according to the latest House Farm Bill). And what crop is most at threat due to this historic drought? Corn, but not only because of its demand as a food source and livestock feed. Forty percent of corn is used for ethanol in fuel due to the Renewable Fuel Standard which mandates a certain amount of U.S. biofuel production. That 40 percent is therefore removed from the food supply.
Although we’ve all experienced severe thunderstorms and stints with lack of rain, this has been a summer of extremities. Climate scientists called this most recent storm, and the one in late June that left millions of Mid-Atlantic residents without power, a derecho. This powerful storm should occur once approximately every four years. We’ve already had two within a month, both with rare severity and damage.
However, it’s not too late to do something before we’re completely at the mercy of dangerous elements. Greenpeace ships are deep in the Arctic seas now, collecting evidence on melting ice caps and raising awareness on the threat of Shell drilling for an inconsequential amount of oil in this critical ecosystem.