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In today’s sustainable snapshot, extreme weather rages around the world, California leads on clean energy, and reporters dig into Shell’s appalling actions in the Arctic.

Heat, Flood or Icy Cold, Extreme Weather Rages Worldwide

“Britons may remember 2012 as the year the weather spun off its rails in a chaotic concoction of drought, deluge and flooding, but the unpredictability of it all turns out to have been all too predictable: Around the world, extreme has become the new commonplace.” – The New York Times

U.S. Seared In Hottest Year On Record By Far

“A brutal combination of a widespread drought and a mostly absent winter pushed the average annual U.S. temperature last year up to 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit, the government announced Tuesday. That’s a full degree warmer than the old record set in 1998.” – Associated Press

Fear Of ‘Catastrophic’ Sea-Level Rise As Ice Sheets Melt Faster Than Predicted

“Glaciologists fear they may have seriously underestimated the potential for melting ice sheets to contribute to catastrophic sea-level rises in coming decades which could see increases of a metre or more by 2100.” – The Independent

Australia’s Climate Inferno “Encroaching on Entirely New Territory”

“Australia’s top government-appointed climate commissioner says this week’s heatwave is occurring amid record-breaking weather around the world. “This has been a landmark event for me,” Professor Tim Flannery told Climate Desk from his home in Melbourne. ‘When you start breaking records, and you do it consistently, and you see it over and over again, that is a good indication there’s a shift underway—this is not just within the normal variation of things.'” – Mother Jones

Australia Is So Hot They Had To Add New Colors To The Weather Map

“As scorching temperatures persist across Australia, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology added a new color to its weather forecasting map, extending the range to 54ºC, or 129ºF, from the previous cap of 50ºC, or 122ºF.” – Washington Post

Sen. Boxer Adds Climate Change Post To Environment Committee Staff

“’Dangerous climate change poses an urgent threat and we have a responsibility to address that threat. I am so pleased that Joe Mendelson will be joining the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee team. We will make the most of his expertise as we craft solutions to climate change,’ Boxer said in a statement.” – The Hill

New Federal Report: Climate Change Is Really, Really Scary

“Say what you want about the Obama administration’s relative ignoring of climate issues: Many of his top scientists are paying rapt attention, and they think we’re about to get our butts kicked…” – Mother Jones

California Solar Energy Systems Top 1 Gigawatt

“California’s rebate program for businesses and homeowners who install solar panels has now funded enough systems to generate 1 gigawatt of electricity – a level few countries and no other states have ever reached.” – San Francisco Chronicle

Shell Gets Massive, Involuntary Aid Package From Alaska, U.S. Coast Guard, And You

“Shell made a bad bet. Hoping in part to avoid an estimated $6 million tax bill, it decided to risk the stormy weather on Dec. 27. The bet didn’t pay off. Lucky for the company, it wasn’t only betting with its own money. It was gambling yours, too.” – Grist

Projecting Warming’s Impact On Bay Area

“There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that fossil fuels are primarily to blame for the warming in recent decades. Nearly 98 percent of climate scientists actively publishing agree with that conclusion, according to a 2010 study by researchers at Stanford.” – San Francisco Chronicle

China Unveils Big Renewable Energy Ambitions For 2013

“China, the world’s largest carbon emitter due to its dependence on coal, plans to add 49 gigawatts of renewable-energy capacity this year in an effort to boost power production without increasing its reliance on fossil fuels.” – Business Day

Chilling Effect: How Warmer Winters Could Ruin Fruit

“Think of your favorite fruits and you might think of the warm climates they tend to thrive in. Florida oranges, Texas grapefruit, California strawberries — and grapes, figs, pears, and apricots. But here’s the funny thing: Most fruit trees have to chill. Literally.” – Grist

Latest Shell Debacle in Alaska Part of a Larger Pattern of Risk and Failure

“Shell has poured billions of dollars into offshore Arctic drilling, but no matter how much it spends, it cannot make the effort anything but a terrifying gamble. And if Shell, the most profitable company on Earth, can’t buy its way to safety in Alaska, nobody can. ” – The Huffington Post

Between Two Worlds: Tears for the Unheeded Wisdom of Elders

“The history of humanity gives reason to believe that for all of the tragedies and errors of human behavior, mankind has an innate capacity to learn and evaluate experience. If this is so, it should be possible for humanity to move to a higher level of comprehension and existence. But this capacity may be insufficiently shared to avert disaster, or may be overridden by stronger inclinations.” – Monagabay


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