Record-breaking temps 20C above norm in Arctic in January

Arctic Hothouse Turns UK, Europe, Eastern North America into an Icebox

It remains shockingly warm in much of the eastern Arctic (See my previous post that explains what is happening Arctic Hothouse Turns Europe into an Icebox )

Iqaluit one of the most northern communities in Canada is +2.1.C  (Jan 6) — a whopping 20C above normal as it has been for weeks. Normal night temps are -30C. This winter heat wave is creating havoc with rain instead of snow throughout much of the eastern Arctic.

Part of the reason is the heat stored in the Arctic ocean from this summer’s ice melt has delayed the annual freeze up. Here is the very latest satellite measurements which show the Arctic sea ice extent for December as the lowest on record.

This is affecting winter weather in many places such as Britain which had its coldest Dec in 100 years. And yes, climate change is a major player in all this.

For more on this see Joe Romm’s take on Climate Progress.

This is part of Community Supported Environmental Journalism, independent reporting supported by citizens in several countries thru one-time, weekly or monthly or in-kind donations.

Media Fails on Climate Change in 2010 – How You Can Ensure 2011 Will Be Better

Few people understand the serious danger climate change poses all of us largely because media have done a poor job in covering it. In 2010, US TV media pretended it had all gone away – no more global warming…poof, bad dream, moving on.

From the must-bookmark The Daily Climate:

Drexel University professor Robert Brulle has analyzed nightly network news since the 1980s. Last year’s climate coverage was so miniscule, he said, that he’s doubting his data.


Coverage of December’s United Nations climate talks in Cancun is Exhibit A: Total meeting coverage by the networks consisted of one 10-second clip, Brulle said. By contrast, 2009’s Copenhagen talks generated 32 stories totaling 98 minutes of airtime. “I’m trying to check it again and again,” Brulle said of the 2010 data. “It’s so little, it’s stunning.”

Newspapers do little better with a huge decline in the US/Canada in 2010 which had some of the lowest level of coverage in the world, lower than Asia and the Pacific according to this graph. Continue reading

Top 10 for 2011 – What Stories do YOU Want to see in Print?

I’m looking for your ideas on what important issues

you think need to be reported on in 2011.

Please be specific as you can in pitching your story ideas. I can’t promise to write an article on your idea or issue but I will give all suggestions the consideration they deserve. And remember my expertise and focus is on environmental and related issues (just look thru this site to get a better idea).

Please use the form — it goes directly to me and won’t be made public without your permission. — Stephen

This is part of  Community Supported Environmental Journalism, independent reporting supported by citizens in several countries thru one-time, weekly or monthly or in-kind donations.


Be a Partner in Independent Enviro Journalism

More than 20,000 people from 190 nations attended the international climate meeting in Cancun, Mexico and it received one ten second clip on US network TV 

Coverage of environment and science has been gutted. If there is coverage it rarely digs below the surface. It’s not just TV, it’s all media. After 18 years of being published in major publications on two continents, I now count myself lucky to get $150 to $200 for an in-depth article. The few independent media outlets are either non-profits or struggling.

Urgent environmental issues didn’t go away just because most media stopped covering them.

Many, many people tell me:we need people like you to write about these issues”.

I’d like to do more but it is impossible to continue without your support for what I call Community Supported Journalism. People directly support independent journalists who craft honest and thoughtful articles about important subjects the mainstream media ignores or gloss over.

Community Supported Environmental Journalism Works

In 2010 dozens of people offered their help, donating $5,750 which helped ensure many breaking international stories were covered including the first media reports on the global die-off of corals and how climate change may be bringing colder winters to Europe and eastern North America. Those donors — who are really partners — enabled me to cover important international meetings like the UN Convention on Biodiversity, UN climate change conference, scientific meetings and much more.

Please join us. Consider a donation of just $10 a month to support enviro journalism that serves the public interest.

Contributions can be made safely and easily via PayPal* or Credit Card*. [You can cancel at any time, automatically. No need to contact me] 

Monthly support options starting @ $10 a month

One-time donations are most welcome. Click and enter the amount.

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If you’d like a mailing address or contact me with story ideas, please complete this comment form.

Thanks for reading. — Stephen

Letters of Support:

We need people like you. In tough economic times, where information flow is increasingly channeled and controlled, you perform a simply critical role. Hang in there. You are an admirable role model for the future.”

– E. Ann Clark, Associate Professor, University of Guelph.

“Stephen Leahy has done a superb job exposing the enormous sums the US government is spending on corporate welfare for big oil.”

Ross Gelbspan, Pulitzer-prize winning editor and author of The Heat is On

My continued appreciation to those who have contributed in the past.

Ending Africa’s Hunger Means Listening to Local Farmers Instead of Agribusiness

Africa is hungry – 240 million people are undernourished.

“Africa has enormous quantities of land and resources…and now there is a stampede to lock those up.”

By Stephen Leahy

NAGOYA, Japan, Oct 16, 2010 (IPS)

Africa is hungry – 240 million people are undernourished. Now, for the first-time, small African farmers have been properly consulted on how to solve the problem of feeding sub-Saharan Africa. Their answers appear to directly repudiate a massive international effort to launch an African Green Revolution funded in large part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Instead of new hybrid seeds, chemical fertilisers and pesticides, family farmers in West Africa said they want to use local seeds, avoid spending precious cash on chemicals and most importantly to direct public agricultural research to meet their needs, according to a multi-media publication released on World Food Day (Oct. 16).

“There is a clear vision from these small farmers. They are rejecting the approach of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa,” said report co-author Michel Pimbert of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a non-profit research institute based in London.

“These were true farmer-led assessment where small farmers and other food producers listened and questioned agricultural and other experts and then came up with their own recommendations,” Pimbert told IPS.

“Food and agriculture policy and research tend to ignore the values, needs, knowledge and concerns of the very people who provide the food we all eat — and often serve instead powerful commercial interests such as multinational seed and food retailing companies,” he said.

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