Sustainable Communities Network is a  commnity-based  non-profit organization located in Lexington, Ky that endeavors to educate, inspire, build, create and empower sustainable cities

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Climate Science - General

Dramatic Ice Loss Spreads to Northwest Coast of Greenland

Scientists report that the loss of ice from Greenland, previously documented in the south of the island, has spread rapidly since 2005 to the northwest coast. "These changes on the Greenland ice sheet are happening fast, and we are definitely losing more ice mass than we had anticipated," says Isabella Velicogna, one of the researchers. "We also are seeing this trend in Antarctica, a sign that warming temperatures really are having an effect on ice in Earth's cold regions."

Forest Protected Areas Can Help Slow Climate Change

A new study involving scientists from 13 different organizations, universities and research institutions states that forest protection offers one of the most effective, practical, and immediate strategies to combat climate change.

NOAA: Decline of Arctic Sea Ice is Affecting Fall and Winter in U.S. and Elsewhere

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said earlier this week (16 March 2010) that the decline in Arctic sea ice is affecting the patterns of atmospheric pressure in the region, particularly in the Fall and early Winter.  It says that these pressure changes in turn "impact large scale wind patterns over the Northern Hemisphere, allowing cold air to move southward."  Simply stated, changes in Arctic sea ice already are affecting climate and weather outside the region -- and the effects are likely to grow with further declines in sea ice.

Birds in every U.S. region will be impacted by climate change, says new report

A new report, released from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, highlights the troubling decline of bird populations in the U.S. over the last 40 years. “Now they are facing a new threat--climate change--that could dramatically alter their habitat and food supply and push many species towards extinction," says the Secretary of Interior

Southern Hemisphere Summer is Warmest on Record; Dec-Feb Period is Second Warmest Globally

Data released yesterday (12 March 2010) by NASA indicates that summer (December-February) surface temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere were the warmest on record.  The same period in the northern hemisphere (winter) was the fifth warmest on record and globally it was the second warmest December-February on record.  In North America there were sharp contrasts: while NOAA reports that the U.S. experienced the 18th coolest winter on record (out of 115 years), Environment Canada says it was the warmest and driest winter on record for Canada.

Engaging College Campuses with the U.S. Senate on Climate Change

Educational dialogue is taking place between Senate staffers and college campuses all over the U.S. The goal is to engage young people with federal decision-makers on important climate and energy policy changes shaping the future. Upcoming calls include New Mexico, North Carolina, Florida and Iowa.

From Tobacco to Climate Change: How Doubt-Mongers Systematically Undermine Public Policy

In a videotaped lecture, Naomi Oreskes discusses the upcoming book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, which she coauthored with Erik Conway. "The failure of the United States to act on global warming as well as the long delays between when the science was settled and when we acted on tobacco, acid rain and the ozone hole are prima facie empirical evidence that doubt-mongering works," Oreskes said.

Video: Empirical Evidence of Climate Change

A video about the empirical evidence on climate change—it details what the science reveals and how we know what we know.  "Of course, no amount of proof is sufficient for those who believe climate science is all a global conspiracy," acerbically notes the video's producer, Peter Sinclair.

Senator Bernie Sanders on Climate Change: "The longer we delay...the less prepared we will be"

In a U.S. Senate hearing last week (23 Feb 2010), Senator Bernie Sanders eloquently and pointedly responded to those in the Congress and elsewhere who reject the fundamental scientific basis for action on climate change.  "I find it incredible, I really do, that in the year 2010 on this committee, there are people who are saying there is a doubt about global warming," Sanders said. "The longer we delay, the longer we have this senseless debate, the less prepared we will be.

Midwest could face increased flooding & difficult crop growing conditions, says new study

A new study reports that as climate rapidly changes, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois could by 2070 experience as much as a 28% increase in precipitation, most of which would come in the winter and spring.

Online Resources: Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystems and Species

Rising greenhouse gas concentrations are changing the world's climate and acidifying the oceans, and these already are affecting ecosystems and species on all the world's continents and oceans.  Those impacts will rapidly grow during the rest of the 21st century -- and beyond.  We provide a sampling of key online resources on those impacts on natural systems and wildlife.

Ecosystems chapter of Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (2009), a report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program. High resolution images from the chapter also are available online.

Climate Change Wildlife and Wildlands Toolkit (2009). Developed by agencies of the U.S. government "to aid educators in teaching how climate change is affecting our nation’s wildlife and public lands, and how everyone can become `climate stewards.’” It includes links to information on 11 U.S. ecoregions. For each region there is a profile (what the toolkit calls a “case study) and 1-3 activities for students.

Ecological Impacts of Climate Change. Booklet from the U.S.National Academies (2008). Includes:

  • HTML version of the report, including coverage of these U.S. regions:
    • Pacific Coastline
    • Alaska and the Arctic
    • Western Mountains
    • Southwestern Deserts
    • Central United States
    • Southeast
    • Northeast

Species susceptibility to climate change impacts factsheet [PDF]. From the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (October 2008)

Ecosystems, their Properties, Goods and Services [PDF].  Chapter 4 of Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (2007). Report of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Connecting Biodiversity and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Report of the Second Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change [PDF]. From the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2009). Report of the Second Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change.


Global Warming and Wildlife (National Wildlife Federation) 

Climate Change - Wildlife & Wildlands (U.S. Global Change Research Program)

Web Sites

WWF US > Climate Change Blog > Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability  > Ecosystems and Species .  A few of our more popular and recent postings (updated 26 March 2010):

WWF International > Impacts of Climate Change > Nature at Risk


National Wildlife Federation > Wildlife and Global Warming

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) > National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center



At a time when responding to climate change is one of the nation's most important and complex endeavors, the National Academies provides helpful analysis and advice to policymakers and stakeholders through its expert, consensus reports and other activities. The reports are produced by committees of the nation's top scientists, engineers, and other experts who are convened to address key scientific and technical aspects of climate change and other topics.

What's New

Academies Reports Address Issues in Climate Controversy

Past controversies over historical temperature trends and access to research data have resurfaced amid a stir over old e-mail exchanges among climate scientists that were stolen from a university in the U.K. Two National Research Council reports in particular address these issues. Guiding principles for maintaining the integrity and accessibility of research data were recommended in Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age, released earlier this year. A 2006 report, Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Past 2,000 Years, examined how much confidence could be placed in historical surface temperature reconstructions. For further information on these reports, check the National Academies' news item here.

Report Examines "Hidden Costs" of Energy

Power LinesOctober 2009--The benefits to society of energy production and use are well-known, but energy also has many adverse effects not reflected in market prices, such as the damage air pollution imposes on human health and the environment. This congressionally requested report from the National Research Council, Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use, examines those "hidden costs" in an effort to inform energy-related policy decisions. The damages that the committee was able to quantify were an estimated $120 billion in the United States in 2005, a number that reflects damages from air pollution associated with electricity generation relying on fossil fuels, motor vehicle transportation, and heat generation. The report also considers other effects that are not included in the figure, such as damages from climate change, harm to ecosystems, effects of some air pollutants such as mercury, and risks to national security. A four-page Report in Brief is also available.

Science Academies Urge Faster Response to Climate Change
Desert SceneJune, 2009--In a joint statement, the science academies of the G8 countries, plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa, called on their leaders to "seize all opportunities" to address global climate change that "is happening even faster than previously estimated." The signers, which include U.S. National Academy of Sciences President Ralph J. Cicerone, urged nations at the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks to adopt goals aimed at reducing global emissions by 50 percent by 2050. The academies also urged the G8+5 governments, meeting in Italy next month, to "lead the transition to an energy efficient and low carbon economy, and foster innovation and research and development for both mitigation and adaptation technologies." View Statement

World's Science Academies Say Ocean Acidification Another Reason to Cut Emissions
CoralJune, 2009--The InterAcademy Panel, a network of the world's science academies, issued a statement warning that ocean acidification caused by carbon dioxide emissions will have a profound impact on marine ecosystems. The statement calls on negotiators at upcoming U.N. climate change talks to recognize the threat of ocean acidification and to mitigate it by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by at least 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, with further reductions thereafter. View Statement

New Booklet Explores Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
American PikaApril, 2009--Life on Earth is profoundly affected by the planet's climate. Animals, plants, and other living beings around the globe are moving, adapting, and, in some cases, dying as a direct or indirect result of environmental shifts associated with our changing climate—disrupting intricate interactions among Earth's species, with profound implications for the natural systems on which humans depend. To illuminate how climate change has affected species and ecosystems across the United States, this booklet, based on the conclusions of an independent, expert committee of the nation's leading scientists, describes some of the ecological impacts of climate change that have already been observed right in our own backyard. Explore Booklet and Related Resources

America's Climate Choices Summit Held March 30-31
America's Climate ChoicesMarch, 2009--A two-day summit on climate change brought together top scientists, members of Congress, Obama administration officials, business leaders, state government officials, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations. The summit--which launches America's Climate Choices, an NAS project that will generate a series of congressionally requested reports--was held to lay the groundwork for how the nation can limit the magnitude of climate change, adapt to its impacts, and provide paths to action. "Given that climate change is intertwined with other strategic priorities, such as energy and national security, we have invited speakers with a broad array of expertise and perspectives to start an open dialogue as the country charts a course to respond to climate change," said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. View Sessions from the Webcast Archive

New Report Recommends Changes in Federal Climate Change Research
Restructuring Federal Climate Change ResearchFebruary, 2009--Climate change is one of the most important global environmental problems facing the world today. Policy decisions are already being made to limit or adapt to climate change and its impacts, but many of these decisions are being made without the science support that could help shape better outcomes. In the United States, the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is responsible for coordinating efforts to generate the scientific knowledge to understand, predict, and respond to climate change. At the request of the CCSP, the National Research Council established a committee to evaluate the progress of the program and to identify future priorities. This, the committee's second and final report, proposes six priorities for restructuring the United States' climate change research program to develop a more robust knowledge base and support informed responses. [more]

New Report Offers Plan to Improve Weather and Climate Monitoring
Lightning in CityNovember 2008--The Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate issued Weather and Climate from the Ground Up: A National Network of Networks. The report calls for a more integrated and effective nationwide meteorological and chemical weather network that measures atmosphere conditions at various heights and scales. In addition to weather observations, such a system could assist in a number of other applications, including tracking the dispersion of biological and nuclear contaminants from industrial accidents; monitoring smoke from wildfires; providing high-resolution weather information for aviation and waterways, water management, and food production; and supporting regional climate monitoring. [more]

Schwarzenegger Requests National Academies Study on Sea Level Rise
November 2008--California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order on November 14th directing state agencies to "enhance the state's management of climate impacts from sea level rise, increased temperatures, shifting precipitation and extreme weather events." According to a state-issued press release, the order responds to "the serious threat of sea level rise to California's water supply and coastal resources and the impact it would have on our state's economy, population and natural resources." Among four key actions of the executive order is a request for the National Academy of Science establish an expert panel to report on sea level rise impacts in California to inform state planning and development efforts. [more]

New Study Will Guide America's Climate Choices
America's Climate ChoicesNovember 2008--The National Academies is launching a new, congressionally requested study to be called "America's Climate Choices." This suite of activities will provide policy-relevant advice, based on scientific evidence, to guide the nation's response to climate change. Experts representing various levels of government, the private sector, and research institutions will serve on the study's four panels and its main committee. Five consensus reports will be released in 2009 and 2010. America's Climate Choices will examine and evaluate the actions and strategies available to limit the magnitude of future climate change, adapt to climate change impacts, advance climate change science, and inform effective decisions and actions. Watch for news and information about the study at

Recap of "America's Energy Future" Summit Now Available
AEF logoNovember 2008--A recap of discussions at the National Academies' America's Energy Future Summit held in March 2008 is now available at The America's Energy Future initiative will evaluate the contributions and future potential of various energy technologies in a series of expert consensus studies, the first of which is expected to be released in late 2008.


ACE Weekly download articles

Gardens of Eatin

Shovel Ready

Lexington Gardens Grow

Dig It: Gardens Root

HOBY Eco-Art 2009
HOBY Eco-Art 2008

Model of the Year
Closing the Food Gap

Greening of Bryan Station High School

Growing Food & Justice conference

Community Garden Tour Report

Gardening with Class

The Great Work

The Great Turning

Farm to School

School gardens

Catherine Ferguson Academy

 Grown in Detroit_

Food and Sacred Earth Connections

Religion and Environment

Closing the Food Gap 2008

Profile of Food Policy Councils by State

interactive map of food policy councils