A stencil of sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora's face has become ubiquitous graffiti in San José, Costa Rica. Mora was murdered by local turtle egg poachers on Moín Beach on 31 May 2013. Photo: Haime Luna / Tico TimesExtreme weather events dominated doom imagery in 2014. The California mega-drought was the big global warming story; assorted record flooding in various locations punctuated the background. The Philippines endured another brutal typhoon season, and Alaska experienced its most powerful storm on record.

The usual Desdemona stories rolled on, as humans continued to destroy the natural world assiduously: poaching rates of charismatic megafauna, like African elephants and rhinos, skyrocketed, leaving both species with only a few years to extinction; overfishing accelerated to the point that even Japan called for a 50% reduction in bluefin tuna catch (too little, too late); poachers continued to take huge quantities of endangered sea turtle eggs, one year after the murder of turtle conservation activist Jairo Mora.

A crater located in the permafrost about 18 miles from a huge gas field north of the regional capital of Salekhard, roughly 2,000 kilometers northeast of Moscow, on 16 June 2014. The crater probably was caused by methane released as permafrost thawed due to global warming, researchers in Russia say. Photo: AFP / Getty Images 

The most surprising image of 2014 came with the discovery of large craters  in the Yamal peninsula in Siberia, caused by sudden releases of methane as the permafrost thaws and collapses. This image captures a bit of the profound change that humans have precipitated in the great biogeochemical cycles of the planet, to the doom of all.

Check out Desdemona’s doomiest posts of previous years:

A sign over a dessicated California field reads, 'NO WATER - West Side Farms 2014'. Though this is the third year of drought, fieldworker Antonio Chavarrias believes it's just the beginning of the hardships. Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

HURON, California, 30 May 2014 (Los Angeles Times) – The two fieldworkers scraped hoes over weeds that weren't there.

"Let us pretend we see many weeds," Francisco Galvez told his friend Rafael. That way, maybe they'd get a full week's work. […]

The slowly unfurling disaster of California's drought is catching up to him. Each day more families are leaving for Salinas, Arizona, Washington — anywhere they heard there were jobs.

Even in years when rain falls and the Sierra mountains hold a snowpack that will water almonds and onions, cattle and cantaloupes, Huron's population swells and withers with the season.

These days in Huron — and Mendota and Wasco and Firebagh and all the other farmworker communities on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley — even the permanent populations are packing up. 

"The house across the street from us — they all left yesterday," Galvez said. "Maybe this town won't be here anymore?" […]

Huron already whispered of the ghost town it could soon be: It has a $2-million deficit. Only about 1,000 people in a town with a permanent population of 7,000 are registered to vote, and of those, only some 200 actually do. No one has declared for the two open City Council seats — including the incumbents. Each week at school, Galvez's children have fewer classmates.

California drought yields only desperation – ‘It’s going to get worse. They’re not planting. Think what it will be like at harvest.’

The bed of the Almaden Reservoir in San Jose was cracked-dry in early February. By the end of April 2014, 100 percent of the state of California was in a drought. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

The bed of the Almaden Reservoir in San Jose was cracked-dry in early February. By the end of April 2014, 100 percent of the state of California was in a drought. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Drought worsens in western U.S. – All of California now in drought, cost estimated to be at least $7.48 billion

California drought: 17 communities at risk of running dry

Why California could run out of water in two years if the drought continues – ‘Pray for rain’

Folsom Lake, 20 June 2011

Aerial view of Northern California's Folsom Lake on 20 June 2011. The reservoir, 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, shrunk from 97 percent capacity in 2011, to just 17 percent capacity in January 2013, according to a news release from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). Photo: DWR

Folsom Lake, 16 January 2014

Aerial view of Northern California's Folsom Lake on 16 January 2014. The reservoir, 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, shrunk from 97 percent capacity in 2011, to just 17 percent capacity in January 2014, according to a news release from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). Photo: DWR

25 February 2014 (NBC News) – Northern California's Folsom Lake on 16 January 2014.

The reservoir, 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, has shrunk from 97 percent capacity in 2011, to just 17 percent capacity this past January, according to a news release from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

NASA is combining forces with DWR to combat and understand future droughts.

Image of the Day: Folsom Lake at 17 percent of capacity, 16 January 2014

Photo gallery: Drought in California  

Cachuma Lake, the source of drinking water for 200,000 people on the southern coast of Santa Barbara County, California, is disappearing. In the past, rain would always come to the rescue. But that’s not on the horizon now. This map shows land areas exposed in 2013 by California's record drought. Graphic: Los Angeles Times

Cachuma Lake, the source of drinking water for 200,000 people on the southern coast of Santa Barbara County, California, is disappearing. In the past, rain would always come to the rescue. But that’s not on the horizon now. This map shows land areas exposed in 2013 by California's record drought. Graphic: Los Angeles Times

Record drought withers California’s Cachuma Lake

Aerial view of California's Folsom Lake, before the record drought dried it up. Photo: Google Earth

Aerial view of California's Folsom Lake, after the record drought dried it up. Photo: California Department of Water Resources

Image of the Day: California’s Folsom Lake reservoir before and during record drought

Jaguari Reservoir, 16 August 2013

Satellite view of the Jaguari Reservoir in Southeastern Brazil, 16 August 2013. Southeastern Brazil is suffering through one of its worst droughts in decades. The situation is worst near the city of São Paulo (home to about 20 million people) and in São Paulo state. Rainfall totals for the year are 300 to 400 millimeters (12 to 16 inches) below normal, and reservoirs have dwindled to 3 to 5 percent of storage capacity. Photo: Jesse Allen

Jaguari Reservoir, 3 August 2014

Satellite view of the Jaguari Reservoir in Southeastern Brazil, 3 August 2014. Southeastern Brazil is suffering through one of its worst droughts in decades. The situation is worst near the city of São Paulo (home to about 20 million people) and in São Paulo state. Rainfall totals for the year are 300 to 400 millimeters (12 to 16 inches) below normal, and reservoirs have dwindled to 3 to 5 percent of storage capacity. Photo: Jesse Allen

23 October 2014 (NASA) – Southeastern Brazil is suffering through one of its worst droughts in decades. The situation is worst near the city of São Paulo (home to about 20 million people) and in São Paulo state. Rainfall totals for the year are 300 to 400 millimeters (12 to 16 inches) below normal, and reservoirs have dwindled to 3 to 5 percent of storage capacity.

The Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired these two natural-color views of the Jaguari Reservoir in Brazil. The bottom image shows the area on 3 August 2014 (the most recent cloud-free view of Jaguari); the top image shows the same area on 16 August 2013, before the recent drought began. Jaguari is one of five reservoirs in the Cantareira System, which supplies water to roughly half of the people in the São Paulo metropolitan area.

The largest city in Brazil is running dangerously low on water – São Paulo reservoirs at less than 5 percent of capacity, 13 million people face water outages

A Sao Paulo state worker stands next to water markers at Jaguari dam, 100km from Sao Paulo, 28 October 2014. Photo: Reuters

A Sao Paulo state worker stands next to water markers at Jaguari dam, 100km from Sao Paulo, 28 October 2014. Photo: Reuters

Biggest Brazil metro area desperate for water – ‘If deforestation in the Amazon continues, São Paulo will probably dry up’

A resident looks out of her apartment in a building painted with a drought-related mural, painted by Brazilian artist Mundano, depicting a man getting water from a cactus plant, in Sao Paulo, 25 November 2014. Photo: Nacho Doce / Reuters

A resident looks out of her apartment in a building painted with a drought-related mural, painted by Brazilian artist Mundano, depicting a man getting water from a cactus plant, in Sao Paulo, 25 November 2014. Photo: Nacho Doce / Reuters

São Paulo taps emergency water reserves which may last for two months – ‘If it doesn’t rain, we won’t have an alternative but to get water from the mud’

One of Anna Berington’s team dogs looks back as they mush down the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, 4 March 2014. Photo: BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News

4 March 2014 (Climate Progress) – The Iditarod, the annual sled-dog race across 975 miles of Alaska, started in earnest on Sunday. While much of the local buzz is on whether the usual strong slate of Alaskan mushers can hold off the Norwegians, much of the attention has turned to how the race will be affected by the warm weather Alaska experienced earlier this year.

“It’s a minefield out there,” said former Yukon Quest champion Hugh Neff. “It’s the roughest I’ve ever seen,” said Jeff King, a 22-time race finisher. Aliy Zirkle reported “No snow. Zip. Zero. None.” Many suffered crashes, busted knees, bruises, and sprained ankles. Several are out of the race already.

The abnormally warm weather melted snow in Alaska, which made a return toward more normal cooler temperatures in much of February create a different kind of dangerous condition: ice, and hard debris.

“The problem has been frequent mild days, which have been knocking down the snowcover,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston.

Warm winter turns Iditarod trail into ‘minefield’ with ‘no snow’

Researcher Claude Duguay stands on the cracked ice of an Arctic lake. Arctic lakes have been freezing up later in the year and thawing earlier, creating a winter ice season about 24 days shorter than it was in 1950, a University of Waterloo study has found. Photo: Claude Duguay / University of Waterloo

Researcher Claude Duguay stands on the cracked ice of an Arctic lake. Arctic lakes have been freezing up later in the year and thawing earlier, creating a winter ice season about 24 days shorter than it was in 1950, a University of Waterloo study has found. Photo: Claude Duguay / University of Waterloo

Global warming cuts winter ice season by 24 days, thinning Arctic lake ice – ‘We were stunned to observe such a dramatic ice decline during a period of only 20 years’

NASA LANCE MODIS Rapid Fire hotspot analysis of extreme fire outbreak in the Amur region of Russia on 28 April 2014. In this shot, the Amur runs west to east through the frame. To the right is the Pacific Ocean [off frame] to the left is a corner of Russia's massive Lake Baikal. The red spots indicate currently active fires. Photo: NASA LANCE-MODIS

6 April 2014 (The Siberian Times) – The past week saw record warm weather in western Siberian cities including Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Barnaul, and Gorno-Altaisk.

Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi warned a conference chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: “The forest fire situation is tense in Russia this year. Due to a shortage of precipitation the forest fire season has begun almost one and a half months ahead of the norm.”

By 2 April, 17 forest fires had been registered across 2,000 hectares. Among the areas now at risk after a faster-than-usual snow melt are the south of Siberia to the territory of the Far Eastern Federal District, to Baikal and the Amur regions.

“It was the hottest April 1 on record for several western Siberian cities, including Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Barnaul, and Gorno-Altaysk,' said Renad Yagudin, of the Novosibirsk meteorological service. 'The average temperature in Russia increased 0.4 degrees every ten years. Overall, the temperature in the area is 6.5-16.2 degrees Fahrenheit (2-9 Celsius) higher than the record set in 1989.”

Some parts of Russia have shown even more extreme warming. In the Arctic, south Chukotka and Kamchatka regions temperatures rose 150 to 200 per cent more than in the rest of the country, reported RIA Novosti.

Forest fires arrive early as Siberia sees record high temperatures – ‘Due to a shortage of precipitation the forest fire season has begun almost one and a half months ahead of the norm’

In this aerial photo taken on 27 September 2014, some 35,000 walrus gather on shore near Point Lay, Alaska. Photo: Corey Accardo / NOAA

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, 30 September 2014 (Associated Press) – Pacific walrus that can't find sea ice for resting in Arctic waters are coming ashore in record numbers on a beach in northwest Alaska.

An estimated 35,000 walrus were photographed Saturday about 5 miles north of Point Lay, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The gathering of walrus on shore is a phenomenon that has accompanied the loss of summer sea ice as the climate has warmed.

Pacific walrus spend winters in the Bering Sea. Females give birth on sea ice and use ice as a diving platform to reach snails, clams and worms on the shallow continental shelf.

Unlike seals, walrus cannot swim indefinitely and must rest. They use their tusks to "haul out," or pull themselves onto ice or rocks.

In recent years, sea ice has receded north beyond shallow continental shelf waters and into Arctic Ocean water, where depths exceed 2 miles and walrus cannot dive to the bottom.

Image of the Day: 35,000 walrus haul out in northwest Alaska

A man watches fires burn out of control in Valparaiso on Saturday, 12 April 2014. 'It's been one of the worst fires in history,' said Fernando Reseio, the fire superintendent in Vina del Mar. The fires were worsened by heavy winds and unusually high temperatures in the zone for this time of year, the Southern Hemisphere's autumn. Photo: Felipe Gamboa / AFP / Getty Images

A man watches fires burn out of control in Valparaiso on Saturday, 12 April 2014. 'It's been one of the worst fires in history,' said Fernando Reseio, the fire superintendent in Vina del Mar. The fires were worsened by heavy winds and unusually high temperatures in the zone for this time of year, the Southern Hemisphere's autumn. Photo: Felipe Gamboa / AFP / Getty Images

Death toll in Valparaiso wildfire rises to 16 – 10,000 residents evacuated, 500 homes consumed – ‘It’s been one of the worst fires in history’

Thick smoke nearly obscures the sun above San Marcos, California, where the wildfire continues to burn, 15 May 2014. Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

15 May 2014 (Los Angeles Times) – "May Gray" and "June Gloom" usually offer a cool respite for firefighters as they prepare for the summer and fall's hot weather and heavy winds.

But for much of this month, May Gray has failed to materialize. Instead of the low clouds and chill common to Southern California around this time, May has brought heat waves and blistering Santa Ana winds. And that has sparked fires like the ones in San Diego County that are considered highly unusual for the month.

"Poor May Gray. Everybody whines about it, but they are pining for it now," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

So far this year, California has seen double the number of brush fires than average. Because there was so little rain this year, the moisture level in the brush is incredibly low.

Fire officials said the conditions are the byproduct of three years of bone-dry winters.

Photo gallery: Ash is the new ‘May Gray’ in Southern California

A sculpture titled 'We're fryin' out here' at a beach in Sydney, Australia, during the hottest spring on record in 2014. Photo: Getty Images

A sculpture titled 'We're fryin' out here' at a beach in Sydney, Australia, during the hottest spring on record in 2014. Photo: Getty Images

Australia has hottest spring on record as temperatures soar – Australian Open changes 2015 heat policy to avert ‘inhumane’ conditions for players

Aerial view of flooding along the Thames River, 10 February 2014. Flooded homes along the River Thames were evacuated and thousands more were at risk, with water levels rising for the next 24 hours. Photo: BBC News

Aerial view of flooding along the Thames River, 10 February 2014. Flooded homes along the River Thames were evacuated and thousands more were at risk, with water levels rising for the next 24 hours. Several Thames gauges showed their highest levels since being installed in the 1980s and 90s. Photo: BBC News

Homes evacuated as swollen Thames keeps rising – UK Environment Agency has never issued so many severe flood warnings – Many areas have seen more than double their average rainfall

Aerial view of homes sitting submerged due to overflowing rivers in Doboj, a northern city of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 16 May 2014. Photo: Kemal Zorlak / Anadolu / Getty Images

18 May 2014 (Associated Press) – Floodwaters triggered more than 3,000 landslides across the Balkans on Sunday, laying waste to entire towns and villages and disturbing land mines leftover from the region's 1990s war, along with warning signs that marked the unexploded weapons.

The Balkans' worst flooding since record keeping began forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and threatened to inundate Serbia's main power plant, which supplies electricity to a third of the country and most of the capital, Belgrade.

Three months' worth of rain fell on the region in three days, producing the worst floods since rainfall measurements began 120 years ago. At least two dozen people have died, with more casualties expected.

Flooding in Serbia and Bosnia triggers more than 3,000 landslides, wiping out whole villages – Floods disturb land mines from region’s 1990s war – ‘The situation is catastrophic’

A flooded restaurant with a picture of Poseidon - 'God of the Sea' by the bank of the Sava river in Sremska Mitrovica, 90 kilometers west of Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, 17 May 2014. Record flooding in the Balkans leaves at least 20 people dead in Serbia and Bosnia and is forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes. Three months' worth of rain has fallen on the region in just three days, and meteorologists say the flooding is the worst since records began 120 years ago. Photo: Darko Vojinovic / AP Photo

MAGLAJ, Bosnia, 17 May 2014 (AP) – Packed into buses, boats and helicopters, carrying nothing but a handful of belongings, tens of thousands fled their homes Saturday in Bosnia and Serbia, seeking to escape the worst flooding in a century.

Authorities said 20 people have died but warned the death toll could rise further.

Three months' worth of rain has fallen on the region in just three days, creating floods that meteorologists say are the worst since records began 120 years ago.

Observed from the air, almost a third of Bosnia, mostly its northeast corner, resembled a huge muddy lake, with houses, roads and rail lines submerged under water. Admir Malagic, a spokesman for Bosnia's Security Ministry, said about a million people, or over a quarter of the country's population, live in the affected area.

Thousands flee, 20 die in worst floods ever recorded in Balkans – Bosnia and Serbia get three months’ worth of rain in three days

A temple to to the god Ganesh is immersed in floodwaters in Indian-administered Kashmir after the worst floods in half a century. Photo: Rock937online.com

9 September 2014 (BBC News) – Tens of thousands of people are still stranded in Indian-administered Kashmir after the worst floods in half a century. With road and communication links cut off, the Indian military is using helicopters and boats to reach those in distress.

Worst floods in 50 years hit Kashmir – Relief operation a major challenge

Aerial view of the mudslide that buried two neighborhoods in Oso, Washington, on 22 March 2014. Photo: Washington State Dept of Transportation

26 March 2014 (Slate) –  The death toll from this weekend’s mudslide through Oso, Washington, is still climbing, with more than 100 still listed as missing.

The stories emerging are the definition of heart-rending. Here’s one, from the Seattle Times:

“It’s much worse than everyone’s been saying,” said the firefighter, who did not want to be named. “The slide is about a mile wide. Entire neighborhoods are just gone. When the slide hit the river, it was like a tsunami.”

The most immediate cause of the mudslide is a near-record pace of rainfall for the area so far in the month of March.

The Pacific Northwest has had an exceptionally wet finish to its rainy season, as storms that historically would have hit California were re-routed northward by a semi-permanent dome of high pressure that’s been mostly responsible for the intensifying drought there.

Climate change may make terrible mudslides more common – ‘The slide is about a mile wide. Entire neighborhoods are just gone. When the slide hit the river, it was like a tsunami.’

Seattle smashes record for all-time wettest March

Photo gallery: Building toward disaster – Aerial photographs from 1933 to 2014 show how development contributed to deadliest landslide event in U.S. history

Image of the Day: Satellite view of landslide and barrier lake near Oso, Washington

Aerial view of the damage from a landslide in the Asaminami ward of Hiroshima, 20 August 2014. Photo: KYODO / REUTERS

20 August 2014 (Associated Press) – At least six people were confirmed dead and 22 were missing after rain-soaked hills in the outskirts of Hiroshima gave way early on Wednesday in several landslides.

Damage from land and mudslides has increased over the past few decades due to more frequent heavy rains, despite extensive work on stabilising slopes. In the past decade there have been nearly 1,200 landslides a year, according to the land ministry, up from an average of about 770 a year in the previous decade.

In October 2013 multiple mudslides on Izu-Oshima, an island south of Tokyo, killed 35 people, four of whose bodies were never recovered. Those slides followed a typhoon that dumped a record 824mm (more than 32 inches) of rain in a single day.

Search and rescue effort underway on outskirts of Hiroshima city, after rain-soaked hillsides give way – Japan landslides have increased by 64 percent over previous decade

This 21 June 2013 file photo shows a steamroller and a backhoe used to crush seized elephant tusks during a destruction ceremony at the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. Political and military elites are seizing protected areas in one of Africa’s last bastions for elephants, putting broad swaths of Zimbabwe at risk of becoming fronts for ivory poaching, according to a nonprofit research group’s report that examines government collusion in wildlife trafficking. Photo: Bullit Marquez / AP

20 April 2014 (AP) – Political and military elites are seizing protected areas in one of Africa's last bastions for elephants, putting broad swaths of Zimbabwe at risk of becoming fronts for ivory poaching, according to a non-profit research group's report that examines government collusion in wildlife trafficking.

The report describes a toxic combination of conflict, crime, and failures of governance throughout Africa that threatens to wipe out the continent's dwindling elephant herds.

China, the world's largest market for ivory, is compounding the threat, the report said.

Chinese companies have won lucrative contracts in Zimbabwe for mining and construction projects near remote elephant habitats, bringing waves of workers and new roads that can be exploited by East Asian crime organizations, the report said.

Land grabs threaten last elephant bastions

Poignant image of Adine Rhoode owner of Camp Jabulani near Hoedspruit, Limpopo South Africa with 'Gertjie' a rhino orphaned by poachers, 29 May 2014. Photo: Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

10 June 2014 (The Huffington Post) – At least  442 rhinos have been slaughtered in South Africa this year, hunted for their horns that can often be worth more than their weight in gold. Despite ongoing attempts to save this endangered species, poachers are killing these animals in record numbers, leaving many newborns to fend for themselves, including a 4-month old rhino named Gertjie.

Rescuer workers at South Africa's Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre have been rehabilitating the little fellow since May after he was found next to his dead mother, who had been killed by poachers.

“It was a devastating sight, as the tiny animal would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably for her," the group wrote in a blog post.”

Orphaned baby rhino scared to sleep alone at night after mother killed by poachers

With death of rhino, only six northern white rhinos left on the planet – ‘Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race’

The bodies of 25 to 30 pilot whales slaughtered during the Danish Faroese Grind hunt of 2014 lay on the shore of Fuglafjørður. Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

18 May 2014 (Sea Shepherd Operation Grindstop 2014) – Latest report of today’s appalling slaughter is that 25 to 30 beautiful pilot whales have been massacred.

Pilot whales slaughtered in Faroes ‘Grind’ hunt

Iceland whale poachers butcher an endangered fin whale. Photo: Halldor Kolbeins / Getty Images

10 September 2014 (takepart.com) – While the world’s attention focuses on Japan’s annual dolphin-killing season under way in Taiji, Iceland has been quietly escalating the hunting of endangered fin whales.

But no one seems to be paying much attention, according to a report released Wednesday on the  eve of the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which enforces an international ban on the commercial hunting of whales.

“Iceland’s escalating whale hunts are clear and willful abuses of the IWC’s moratorium as well as the ban on international commercial trade in whale products,” states the report issued by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).

Why is the world ignoring Iceland’s growing slaughter of endangered whales? – ‘This is really the biggest abuse of the IWC’s moratorium on whaling’

Shark catch in Kesennuma, Japan. In January 2014, scientists released a study warning that one quarter of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction. Photo: Shawn Heinrichs 

7 February 2014 (mongabay.com) – Last month scientists released a study warning that one quarter of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction.

The research, published in the open-access journal eLife on January 21, was the result of collaboration between 300 scientists from 64 countries. It concluded that overfishing is the biggest threat to the most number of species, noting that up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins alone.

"Fins, in particular, have become one of the most valuable seafood commodities," the authors write, "It is estimated that the fins of between 26 and 73 million individuals, worth US$400-550 million, are traded each year."

35 pictures of the sharkfin trade that will shock and dismay you

27 August 2014 (euronews) – Is the sun setting on Japan’s tuna fishing industry? Faced with a recent report that the bluefin tuna population is close to collapse, Tokyo has done an about-turn and decided to slash catches by half.

Video: Japan sounds bluefin tuna warning, calls for 50 percent catch reduction

9,400 sea turtle eggs were found in the trunk of a car outside Nicoya, Guanacaste, on 9 September 2014. Photo: Costa Rica Public Security Ministry

September 2014 (Tico Times) – Costa Rica’s National Police have seized what is likely the biggest illegal stash of poached sea turtle eggs this year, just outside of Nicoya, Guanacaste.

In a separate incident, two women, including a 15-year-old girl, were caught with 223 illegal turtle eggs on Tuesday afternoon at Playa Bejuco, on the central Pacific coast.

National Police spokesman Jesús Ureña said the eggs likely are from olive ridley sea turtles, which come ashore to nest this time of year. Ureña told The Tico Times the eggs probably would be destroyed due to their poor condition.

Police find 9,400 endangered sea turtle eggs in car trunk outside Nicoya, Costa Rica

Little has changed 1 year after slaying of Costa Rica conservationist Jairo Mora  

A dolphin carcass lies on the beach at Puerto Eten in Lambayeque, Peru, Saturday, 4 January 2014. Photo: AP

LIMA, Peru, 3 February 2014 (AP) – More than 400 dead dolphins were found last month on the Pacific Ocean beaches of northern Peru where twice that amount were encountered in 2012, officials said Monday.

Authorities never established the cause of the deaths in 2012. They are doing autopsies on the latest dolphins found during January in the Lambayeque region on the northern coast.

Autopsies of some of the more than 870 dolphins found in 2012 were inconclusive. Speculation ranged from biotoxins in the sea to seismic testing to an unknown ailment.

More than 400 dead dolphins found on north Peru coast

A Hawaiian green turtle with the tumor-forming disease Fibropapillomatosis, which is the leading known cause of death in green turtles. Pollution in urban and farm runoff in Hawaii is causing these tumors in the endangered sea turtles. Photo: Van Houtan, et al., 2014

30 September 2014 (Duke Environment) – Pollution in urban and farm runoff in Hawaii is causing tumors in endangered sea turtles, a new study finds.

The study, published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed open-access journal PeerJ, shows that nitrogen in the runoff ends up in algae that the turtles eat, promoting the formation of tumors on the animals’ eyes, flippers and internal organs.

“We’re drawing direct lines from human nutrient inputs to the reef ecosystem, and how it affects wildlife,” said Van Houtan, who is also a scientist in NOAA’s Turtle Research Program.

Nitrogen runoff from Hawaii cities and farms causing lethal sea turtle tumors – ‘We’re drawing direct lines from human nutrient inputs to the reef ecosystem, and how they affect wildlife’

A dying sea star. The leg of this purple ochre sea star in Oregon is disintegrating, as it dies from sea star wasting syndrome, 16 May 2014. Oregon had been the only part of the West Coast that had been largely spared this devastating disease. Photo: Elizabeth Cerny-Chipman / Oregon State University / flickr

Sea star disease epidemic surges in Oregon, now present on entire U.S. West Coast, local extinctions expected – ‘This is an unprecedented event’

Satellite view of river delta changes in China. China's Huang He (Yellow) River is the most sediment-filled river on Earth. Each year, it transports millions of tons of soil from a plateau it crosses to a delta it has built in the Bohai Sea. These images show the delta's growth from 1985 to 2014. The latter image also shows another change: ponds that hold shrimp and other seafood (seen here as dark geometric shapes along the coastline) were built on what were once tidal flats. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS / NASA

(NASA) – Satellite view of river delta changes in China. China's Huang He (Yellow) River is the most sediment-filled river on Earth. Each year, it transports millions of tons of soil from a plateau it crosses to a delta it has built in the Bohai Sea. These images show the delta's growth from 1985 to 2014. The latter image also shows another change: ponds that hold shrimp and other seafood (seen here as dark geometric shapes along the coastline) were built on what were once tidal flats.

Image of the Day: Satellite view of tidal flat destruction on China’s Huang He River

Screenshot of a CNN interview with Conservation International senior scientist M. Sanjayan. Sanjayan describes how the search for flight MH370 is made enormously more difficult by the immense quantities of garbage in the world's oceans. Photo: CNN

2 April 2014 (CNN) – Another debris field, another new and so-far futile focus in the search for Flight MH370.

More than three weeks after the Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared, one thing has been made clear: the ocean is full of garbage, literally.

"It isn't like looking for a needle in a haystack," Conservation International senior scientist M. Sanjayan said of the difficulty in finding the Boeing 777 aircraft. "It's like looking for a needle in a needle factory. It is one piece of debris among billions floating in the ocean."

Environmentalists like Sanjayan have warned for years that human abuse of the planet's largest ecosystem causes major problems for ocean life and people that depend on it.

With the world's eyes now scouring Asian waters for any trace of the plane that was more than 240 feet long and weighed more than 700,000 pounds, the magnitude of the ocean debris problem has become evident.

Two objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean, including one nearly 80 feet long, initially were called the best lead to date when a satellite detected them last week.

So far, though, search planes have yet to find them or any other plane debris, with speculation mounting that the larger item was a shipping container lost at sea.

Search for Flight MH370 hampered by ocean garbage problem – ‘The world does use the ocean as its toilet, and then expects that toilet to feed it’

Wildlife biologist Terry Hines stands next to a poached redwood tree in California in May 2013. The burls provide unique and beautiful patterns for coffee tables and bar counter tops. Photo: Laura Denn / Redwood National and State Parks / AP

6 May 2014 (CNN) – Tree poaching conjures up the lawless Amazon jungle, but America's magnificent redwood forests now face a piecemeal but steady assault by poachers too, California officials say.

Thieves are cutting massive chunks from the base of the champion trees, which are the tallest on Earth and are up to 2,000 years old. While state officials say the damage is far from any Amazonian deforestation, they do rank the desecration alongside elephant tusk poaching.

Under the cloak of darkness, bandits are poaching the burl from the old-growth redwoods in Redwood National and State Parks in California, and that lumpy feature from the tree base is then sold for thousands of dollars to make furniture, bowls and even souvenirs, officials say.

"We've seen a peaked increase (of theft and damage)," says Candace Tinkler, chief of interpretation and education at the park. "Unfortunately I feel that it's more than we can keep track of."

Tinkler compares the theft to elephants being killed for their ivory tusks. She has been with the parks for three years and has noticed a spike in thefts during her tenure, she said.

"The distribution goes beyond what we could have imagined. There's a black market for this stuff, and it goes well beyond California borders," she said Tuesday.

Poachers take chunks from California redwoods, putting majestic trees at risk – ‘It’s not just a crime against us as Americans … it’s a crime to everyone’

Dense smoke cloaks central Sumatra, Indonesia, in this image taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites on 28 February 2014. The smoke is coming from fires in Riau province, where palm oil and pulpwood plantations are abundant. Though illegal for all but small landowners, fire is frequently used to clear brush and trees for farming, especially plantations. Photo: Jeff Schmaltz / NASA GSFC

28 February 2014 (NASA) – Dense smoke cloaks central Sumatra, Indonesia, in these images taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. The smoke is coming from fires in Riau province, where palm oil and pulpwood plantations are abundant. Though illegal for all but small landowners, fire is frequently used to clear brush and trees for farming, especially plantations. The forest and peat soil produce dense smoke when burned, as shown in these images.

The fires and resulting air pollution have forced the Riau government to declare a state of emergency. The smoke has caused illness, closed schools for the past two weeks, and reduced visibility.

Image of the Day: Satellite view of smoke from illegal forest-clearing fires in central Sumatra

A wooded area on the outskirts of town shows the scars of extensive logging in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 14 January 2014. Severe energy shortages are turning even wealthier families into wood scavengers. Photo: Tim Craig / The Washington Post

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, 1 February 2014 (Washington Post) – In a country where about 20 percent of residents lack basic utilities, generations of poor and rural Pakistanis have relied on timber to make it through the winter. But severe energy shortages are turning even wealthier families into wood scavengers.

They snap branches, uproot saplings and hack trees, and they carry their bounty any way they can — by truck, motorcycle and even bicycle. And with each trip, Pakistan loses another piece of its tree canopy, an alarming trend for one of the world’s least forested countries.

Environmentalists and government officials fear Pakistan is now at a tipping point, having retained just 2 to 5 percent of its tree cover. Officials fear the deforestation will contribute to more lethal floods, disruptive landslides, bacteria-ridden drinking water and stifling air pollution. The country may also become more vulnerable to climate change.

“This is a very dangerous situation for Pakistan,” said Pervaiz Amir, a local forestry and agriculture expert. “The middle class are now cutting trees and burning trees.”

Energy shortages force Pakistanis to scavenge for wood, threatening tree canopy – ‘The middle class are now cutting trees and burning trees’

Fire and smoke dominate the landscape in this image of Southeast Asia taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on 18 March 2014. Marked in red, the fires burn largely in the subtropical forests common in northern Indochina. Most fires in this region are deliberately set for a variety of reasons, including slash and burn agriculture. Photo: Jeff Schmaltz / NASA GSFC

18 March 2014 (NASA) – Fire and smoke dominate the landscape in this image of Southeast Asia taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on 18 March 2014. Marked in red, the fires burn largely in the subtropical forests common in northern Indochina. Most fires in this region are deliberately set for a variety of reasons, including slash and burn agriculture. When a plot of land becomes exhausted, farmers shift cultivation to another plot where they cut the trees and brush at the beginning of the dry season in January and February. Once the dead plant material has dried, they set fire to it. Such fires peak in March and April.

Image of the Day: Satellite view of slash-and-burn forest fires in Southeast Asia

Aerial view of activists in Ecuador's Yasuní national park spelling 'Vive Yasuní' with their bodies. Photo: Progreso Semanal

23 May 2014 (theguardian.com) – Drilling for oil in a part of the Amazon rainforest considered one of the most biodiverse hotspots on the planet is to go ahead less than a year after Ecuador's president lifted a moratorium on oil drilling there.

Last August, Rafeal Correa scrapped a pioneering scheme, the Yasuní Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) initiative, to keep oil in the ground under a corner of the Yasuní national park in return for donations from the international community.

He said only $13m (£8m) of the $3.6bn goal had been given, and that "the world has failed us", giving the green light to drilling.

On Thursday, environment minister, Lorena Tapia, said permits for drilling had been signed for the 6,500-square-mile reserve, known as block 43, and oil production might begin as soon as 2016.

The permits allow Petroamazonas, a subsidary of the state oil company, to begin construction of access roads and camps to prepare for drilling.

Esperanza Martinez, an environmental activist in Ecuador, was quoted in a leading national daily as saying Petroamazonas had a bad record on oil spills and it could not be trusted to drill safely in the Yasuní-ITT.

Ecuador signs permits for oil drilling in Amazon’s Yasuní national park – Companies could start extracting oil underneath key biodiversity reserve by 2016

Northern California’s Redding Wildlife Park has continued to earn praise from visitors and industry observers alike for its progressive commitment to housing all of its animals in their natural destroyed habitats. Zoo officials say they continuously adjust the amount of pesticide runoff in the jaguar’s deforested habitat to match actual levels in the Amazon.  Photo: The Onion

[Yes, this is satire, but still, all too real. –Des] REDDING, CA, 11 April 2014 (The Onion) – Long considered among the nation’s premier zoos, northern California’s Redding Wildlife Park has continued to earn praise from visitors and industry observers alike for its progressive commitment to housing all of its animals in their natural destroyed habitats, sources reported this week.

The cutting-edge zoological park, which houses some 3,000 animals from more than 500 species within its grimy and litter-strewn enclosures, reportedly spends tens of millions of dollars each year to maintain a vast variety of polluted and decimated habitats that closely replicate living conditions in the outside world.

“Our zoo is dedicated to providing every one of our animals with surroundings that mimic their natural homes as closely as possible, which is why we’ve built dozens of modern habitats that contain the precise types of discarded plastic and styrofoam packaging, acidified water sources, and industrial byproducts they typically encounter in the wild,” zoo director Michael LaForge said of the facility’s trailblazing enclosures, which occupy more than 100 acres of largely drought-ravaged and eroded land abutting a chemical processing plant. “In the past year alone, we’ve spent over $20 million to systematically contaminate dozens of exhibits for our animals, from our freshwater pond tainted with hydraulic fracturing runoff to our temperate woodlands that we reduce in size every month through systematic deforestation.”

The Onion: Progressive zoo houses animals in natural destroyed habitat

Actor Harrison Ford with an orphaned orangutan baby. Harrison Ford stirred up quite a flutter during his reporting trip to Indonesia when he bore down upon the country's foreign minister, asking repeatedly nothing was being done to curb illegal logging. Photo: Earth Island Institute

Actor Harrison Ford with an orphaned orangutan baby. Harrison Ford stirred up quite a flutter during his reporting trip to Indonesia when he bore down upon the country's foreign minister, asking repeatedly nothing was being done to curb illegal logging. Photo: Earth Island Institute

Showtime series uses star power to drive home the truth about our warming world

A burned Yellow-rumped Warbler was found at the Ivanpah solar plant in the California Mojave Desert. Workers at a state-of-the-art new solar plant. Birds that fly over the plant's five-mile field of mirrors are called 'streamers', for the puff of smoke as the birds ignite in mid-air and fall to the ground. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / AP Photo

Ivanpah Dry Lake, California, 18 August 2014 (Associated Press) – Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays — "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.

Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version.

The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.

Birds igniting: California solar power plant scorches birds in mid-air – One bird incinerated every two minutes in ‘mega-trap’ for wildlife

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman tweeted an image of Super Typhoon Vongfong in the western Pacific Ocean from the International Space Station on 9 October 2014, commenting, 'I've seen many from here, but none like this.' Photo: Reid Wiseman / NASA

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman tweeted an image of Super Typhoon Vongfong in the western Pacific Ocean from the International Space Station on 9 October 2014, commenting, “I've seen many from here, but none like this.” Photo: Reid Wiseman / NASA

Video: Super Typhoon Vongfong seen from International Space Station

Image of the Day: Super Typhoon Vongfong viewed from the International Space Station – “I’ve seen many from here, but none like this”

Image of Super Typhoon Hagupit from the Suomi satellite at 04:40 UTC on 4 December 2014. At the time, Hagupit was a peak-strength Category 5 storm with 180 mph winds. Photo: Dan Lindsey / NOAA/NESDIS/CIRA/Colorado State

6 December 2014 (AFP) – Typhoon Hagupit tore apart homes and sent waves crashing through coastal communities across the eastern Philippines on Sunday, creating more misery for millions following a barrage of deadly disasters.

The typhoon roared in from the Pacific Ocean and crashed into remote fishing communities of Samar island on Saturday night with wind gusts of 210 kilometres (130 miles) an hour, local weather agency Pagasa said.

The wind strength made Hagupit the most powerful storm to hit the Philippines this year, exceeding a typhoon in July that killed more than 100 people.

Typhoon tears down homes in disaster-weary Philippines – ‘Typhoon Hagupit is triggering one of the largest evacuations we have ever seen in peacetime’

Super Typhoon Hagupit closes in on the Philippines – Half a million Filipinos flee, one-third of the country to be affected

Homes flattened as typhoon roars through Philippines – 1.2 million people evacuated

Aerial view of damaged coconut trees at a remote village in Dolores, Eastern Samar, central Philippines, after Typhoon Hagupit made landfall, 9 December 2014. Photo: Erik De Castro / REUTERS

Aerial view of damaged coconut trees at a remote village in Dolores, Eastern Samar, central Philippines, after Typhoon Hagupit made landfall, 9 December 2014. Photo: Erik De Castro / REUTERS

Philippine rescuers struggle to reach villages after Typhoon Hagupit causes landslides – ‘It’s a long trek to the villages, it’s like Yolanda all over again’

A family sits outside the bunkhouse where they continue to live after being displaced by typhoon Haiyan. Many of those in bunkhouses are being targeted for permanent resettlement to safer land as part of recovery plans. Photo: Genevive Estacaan / Oxfam 2014

6 November 2014 (Oxfam) – There are 205,000 families living in ‘unsafe’ areas and only 1 percent of houses are built, said a new report published by Oxfam today called, In the Shadow of the Storm: Getting Recovery Right One Year After Typhoon Haiyan.

Oxfam said that significant progress had been made in the aftermath of the typhoon. However, the Philippine government now needs to show leadership in the relocation process for families.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013. It killed 6,000 people and made 4 million people homeless, with many unable to return to their houses. An estimated 1 million homes were destroyed or severely damaged. It was the strongest recorded storm to have made landfall. Almost a year after the storm families continue to struggle, with risks of deepening poverty.

According to the report, 205,000 families are still waiting to be re-housed. The families live in poor, makeshift shelters in areas prone to being hit by typhoons. As of October, less than 1 percent of homes had been built due to difficulties in buying safe land in the right place. Local authorities are straining because they lack skilled people, resources and clear policies from the government.

A year after Typhoon Haiyan, 1 million Filipinos still live in dangerous conditions – ‘It is now abundantly clear that all countries need to transition to a low-carbon energy future’

MODIS satellite image of the mighty extratropical storm Ex-Typhoon Nuri became in the Bering Sea on 8 November 2014. Photo: NASA

9 November 2014 (AccuWeather.com) – A powerful storm has moved into the Bering Sea and has become the most intense storm to ever impact the region.

The former Super Typhoon Nuri has tracked northward into the Bering Sea, located in between Alaska and Russia, and has lost all tropical characteristics.

The system has undergone rapid intensification, producing howling winds as the central pressure plummets to near record levels.

On Friday night, the Ocean Prediction Center analyzed the central area of low pressure to be 924 millibars.

This means that the storm has become the most powerful storm to ever move over the Bering Sea in recorded history in terms of central pressure.

Previous to this storm, the old record stood at 925 millibars from a powerful storm that moved over the Bering Sea on Oct. 25, 1977.

To put this in perspective, the lowest pressure recorded in Hurricane Sandy was 940 millibars.

Monster storm becomes strongest on record for Alaska

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of haze in the Kashmir Valley on 5 December 2014. Much of the haze visible in the image likely had its origins in charcoal production or the burning of biomass. Charcoal is widely used to heat homes in the Kashmir Valley in the winter and emits several types of polluting gases and aerosol particles into the atmosphere. Photo: Jeff Schmaltz / LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

10 December 2014 (NASA) – The mountains surrounding Kashmir Valley now trap air a bit like they once trapped water. The high ridges can set up airflow patterns that concentrate smoke and other airborne pollutants near the valley floor, causing outbreaks of haze. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of haze in the valley on December 5, 2014.

Much of the haze visible in the image likely had its origins in charcoal production or the burning of biomass. Charcoal is widely used to heat homes in the Kashmir Valley in the winter and emits several types of polluting gases and aerosol particles into the atmosphere.

“You can tell this is pollution and not fog or mist by exploring the aerosol data available on Worldview,” explained Hiren Jethva, a NASA atmospheric scientist. “You can see that the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) picked up a clear aerosol signal over the valley on December 5, as it did on several days in November as well.”

Image of the Day: Satellite view of air pollution filling the Kashmir Valley

Aerial view of an oil spill in the Evrona Nature Reserve, Israel, on 3 December 2014. Photo: Israel Environmental Protection Ministry

4 December 2014 (Climate Progress) – A nature reserve has been flooded with oil and more than 80 people have been hospitalized from exposure to toxic fumes after approximately 600,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a pipeline in southern Israel on Wednesday, according to media reports there.

The massive spill, which resulted from a breach in the 153-mile Trans-Israel pipeline, has been described as “one of the gravest pollution events in the country’s history.” That’s according to Israel Environmental Protection Ministry official Guy Samet, who also said the spill could take months, maybe years, to fully clean up.

“This is one of the State of Israel’s most serious pollution events,” Samut told Israel Radio. “We are still having trouble gauging the full extent of the contamination.”

Image of the Day: Oil spill in Israel’s Evrona Nature Reserve, 4 December 2014

A fire burns out of control in the open cut coal mine near Morwell, Australia. The town of Morwell and its 14,000 inhabitants has been blanketed in smoke and authorities fear it could take months to completely extinguish the blaze. The town is about 150 km east of Melbourne. Photo: Keith Pakenham / CFA Communities and Communication

3 March 2014 (theguardian.com) – Doctors have warned of serious health risks to people living around the Morwell coalmine fire, due to a carcinogenic air pollutant reaching levels up to 20 times the average level.

The Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) group, which spoke to a rally of Morwell residents on Sunday, is also renewing calls for federally regulated monitoring and reporting requirements to warn people of increasing risks as they occur.

Thousands of Victorians are being affected by smoke from the coal which has been burning for three weeks and looks to continue for many months to come. The fire was discovered to have been deliberately lit during one of Victoria’s most serious fire situations since Black Saturday.

Morwell coalmine fire: doctors warn residents face serious health risks from air pollution – Thousands affected by the fire, which has been burning for three weeks and may continue months

The former mayor of Cheshire, Scotty Lucas, 81, at his home, with the Gavin power plant in the background. Scotty Lucas is the former mayor of a town that no longer exists. This riverside village became briefly famous in 2002, when American Electric Power, the utility that operates two large coal-fired power plants here, bought it for $20 million — a deal the company preferred over dealing with residents' ongoing complaints about air pollution. Photo: Richard Martin

16 October 2014 (The Atlantic) – Scotty Lucas is the former mayor of a town that no longer exists. This double obsolescence seems to faze him little, which is not all that surprising considering that he has outlived his wife, one of his children, and the town he spent most of his 81 years in.

Lucas’s one-story brick home, with a bass boat in the driveway and wrought-iron patio furniture, is one of the few still standing in Cheshire, Ohio. This riverside village became briefly famous in 2002, when American Electric Power, the utility that operates two large coal-fired power plants here, bought it for $20 million—a deal the company preferred over dealing with residents’ ongoing complaints about air pollution.

For $20 million, a coal utility bought an Ohio town and a clear conscience – ‘We are all complicit in our dependence and use of coal as an energy source’

23 September 2014 (Mother Jones) – Presidents and diplomats aren't the only ones calling for climate action at the United Nations. During the opening ceremony of today's climate summit, ​Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner—a 26-year-old poet from the Marshall Islands—spoke eloquently about the threat that rising seas pose to her country.

Jetnil-Kijiner warned delegates of the high price of inaction and described the current challenge as a "race to save humanity."

"Those of us from Oceania are already experiencing it first hand," she said. "We've seen waves crashing into our homes … We look at our children and wonder how they will know themselves or their culture should we lose our islands."

"We need a radical change of course," she added. "It means ending carbon pollution within my lifetime. It means supporting those of us most affected to prepare for unavoidable climate impacts. And it means taking responsibility for irreversible loss and damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions."

Video: This poet from a tiny island nation just shamed the world’s leaders – ‘We’ve seen waves crashing into our homes’

A billboard in Calgary, Canada reads 'The Sun is the main driver of climate change. Not you. Not CO2.' Fossil-fuel industry front group, 'Friends of Science', acknowledges it is real. Photo: Slate

12 June 2014 (Slate) – Well, if there’s one thing you can always count on when it comes to organized global warming denial, it’s how Orwellian it is.

After all, that’s the only reasonable explanation for the group that calls itself “Friends of Science”. Because friends certainly don’t act the way they do. Ignoring all of science and then saying whoppers about it isn’t something I’d consider exactly friendly to science. For evidence, I present to you a billboard they put up in Calgary recently.

It says, “The Sun is the main driver of climate change. Not you. Not CO2.”

This is, to phrase it carefully, a huge load of stuff that comes out of the wrong end of a bull.

The Sun is not the main driver of climate change. At least, not modern climate change. In fact, the opposite is true, as Skeptical Science shows: The amount of energy emitted by the Sun has gone down slightly over the past few decades as temperatures have risen.

In this billboard, Friends of Science is using a mantic trick. Climate change over very long timescales is linked to the Sun, sure, but the modern upward surge in global temperatures is clearly not linked to the Sun. In fact, it can be shown it must be due to human influence.

Friends of Science – ‘With Friends Like These…’

Houses on Eastwood Avenue, Detroit, photographed in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013. Photo: Redditor Scarbane / Google Street View

9 June 2014 (Distractify) – It's no secret that the city of Detroit is not the thriving industrial city that it once was, but as things decay over time, it's sometimes hard to notice just how drastic some of the changes have been. Redditor Scarbane has compiled a startling collection of images from Google Street View showing just how much things have deteriorated in just a few years. These pictures broke my heart a little bit…

Photo gallery: Detroit’s sad decline is shown in these transformation photos

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