Watch now: Planned Parenthood President thanks CREDO members

On Feb. 26, Dr. Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood’s new president, joined us at the CREDO office for a special interview to talk with CREDO Action Co-Director Heidi Hess about the fight for reproductive rights in the Trump era.

During her visit, Dr. Wen took a moment to thank CREDO members for their activism and support of Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights. As one of Planned Parenthood’s largest corporate donors, CREDO has given nearly $3.5 million to the organization, which has only been possible because of the incredible loyalty of our members who use our products and services every day.

Please take a moment to watch this short video of Dr. Wen’s visit.

Recap: Interview with Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen

#TBT to our live Q&A with Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen. Keep checking our Facebook page to hear about more events like this!

Posted by CREDO Mobile on Thursday, March 28, 2019

Center for Biological Diversity, the National LGBTQ Task Force and Restaurant Opportunities Center thank CREDO members for their support

A blue image with text saying "Thank you from our grantees" next to a photo of people at a rally holding signs and a rainbow flag
Each month, CREDO members vote on how we distribute funding to three incredible organizations. Those small actions add up – with one click, they help fund groups fighting for our environment, standing up for LGBTQ rights and the rights of workers and better wages. In March, over 51,000 CREDO members voted to distribute $150,000 in donations to the Center for Biological Diversity, the National LGBTQ Task Force and Restaurant Opportunities Center United.

These donations are made possible by CREDO customers and the revenue they generate by using our products and services. The distribution depends entirely on the votes of CREDO members like you. And for that, our March grant recipients thank you.

Center for Biological Diversity
“Thank you for your continued financial support of the Center for Biological Diversity and our work. Together, we continue to make a difference in defense of the planet.” To learn more, visit biologicaldiversity.org.

National LGBTQ Task Force
“Thank you for your support and partnership! CREDO members help the National LGBTQ Task Force build a future where everyone is free to be themselves. We are working hard to make sure all LGBTQ people and their families are counted on the 2020 census.” To learn more, visit thetaskforce.org.

Restaurant Opportunities Center United
“We deeply appreciate your support and solidarity! Generous CREDO members like you are so important in helping ROC United to transform the restaurant industry into a source of opportunity for all the people who cook, prepare and serve our food.” To learn more, visit rocunited.org.

Now check out the three groups we are funding in April, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.

CREDO members who use our products are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile and CREDO Energy and join our movement.

Vote to fund the Economic Policy Institute, Free Press Action Fund and the National Domestic Workers Alliance this April


Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute $150,000 between three great progressive organizations. This April, you can help groups fighting for economic justice, net neutrality and workers’ rights by casting your vote for Economic Policy Institute, Free Press Action Fund and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Economic Policy Institute
The Economic Policy Institute brings the voices of working people to the table in the fight for economic justice. The organization produces research to help the progressive movement raise workers’ wages and protect critical services for working families.

Funding from CREDO members will help EPI quickly respond to critical policy debates with honest research and analysis that supports the progressive movement and restores worker power in today’s economy.

Free Press Action Fund
Free Press Action Fund fights for net neutrality, safe online spaces, racial justice and trustworthy local journalism.

Funding from CREDO members will help Free Press Action restore real net neutrality protections by working to pass the Save the Internet Act, challenging the FCC in court and organizing communities to fight for people’s digital civil rights.

National Domestic Workers Alliance
The National Domestic Workers Alliance is the leading voice for respect, dignity and rights for domestic workers across the United States. Its movement is led by women working as nannies, house cleaners and care workers, many of whom are women of color and immigrants.

CREDO funding will help NDWA fight for the rights of domestic workers across the country – including passing a National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights for the first time in history.

Your vote this month will determine how we divide $150,000 in donations among these three progressive groups. Be sure to cast your vote to support one, two or all three by April 30.

CREDO members who use our products and services everyday are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile and CREDO Energy and join our movement

New Video: Interview with Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell

Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, talking with Nicole Regalado, CREDO Action campaign director

On March 28, we were honored to host Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell at CREDO headquarters for a special interview with CREDO Action Campaign Director Nicole Regalado, where they discussed harnessing grassroots political power to reclaim our democracy, transform our economy and save our planet.

If you missed the original broadcast, you can watch the recording of the event below, on our Facebook page or on YouTube.

WATCH LIVE: Interview with Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell

Please join us for a special live interview with Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell and CREDO’s Nicole Regalado who will discuss harnessing grassroots political power to reclaim our democracy, transform our economy and save our planet.

—via act.tv

Posted by CREDO Mobile on Thursday, March 28, 2019

Tuesday Tip: How to Stop Auto-Updates on an Android Cell Phone

illustration of cell phone with auto-update animation

We’ve all been there. In the midst of a discussion, you state a fact that your friend doubts. For example, you tell your friend that two U.S. presidents have been impeached. But your friend insists that number is three. Your debate won’t last long. In a matter of seconds, you both think the exact same thing: Google it. Welcome to 21st-century personal communication!

So you grab your phone and just as you swipe the screen, you see the dreaded “auto-updates in progress.” You won’t be Googling anything.

Your phone is stuck in cellular limbo. It’s undergoing the tedious-but-necessary process of updating its software. A process that can take up to an hour. Not exactly a short amount of time when you need your phone.

Why Updating your Phone’s Operating System and Apps is Important

Auto-updates can be a real nuisance, but updating your software is important. Software developers release new updates to fix problems – often security issues – and add new features. If you don’t update your software, you leave yourself vulnerable to cyber attacks and malfunctioning apps.

The question then isn’t if you should update your cell phone apps and software, the question is how and when.

How to Stop Auto-Updates on Android Phones

In order to stop auto-updates and control when and how your cell phone updates, you must first turn off auto-updates.

If you’re on an Android phone, you’re probably running the latest operating system (OS) called Pie. These instructions to stop auto-updates assume that is the case. Even if you aren’t running Pie, the steps outlined here can be used as a general guide to help you turn off auto updates.

Updating your auto-update settings can also be phone specific, but again, these instructions will provide a basic framework from which to start with.

How to Stop your Phone from Auto-Updating its OS:

  1. Swipe down from the top edge of your screen to reveal the quick settings menu.
  2. Tap the cog (also called ‘gear’) icon, which is usually in the upper right corner. cog icon
  3. Tap “Software Update” from the list of options.
  4. Deselect “Download updates automatically”.
  5. Make sure all options are deselected.

How to Stop your Google Play Store Apps from Auto-Updating:

  1. Open the Google Play Store app. Google Play Icon
  2. On the upper left side of the screen, tap the menu icon. Menu icon - three horizontal lines
  3. Tap “Settings”.
  4. Tap “Auto-update apps”.
  5. Tap “Don’t auto-update apps”.
  6. Tap “Done”.

How to Manually Update Cell Phone Apps and Software

Now that you’ve turned off auto updates, you’ll want to make sure that you schedule a time to update your apps and software.

How to Manually Update your phone’s OS

  1. Swipe down from the top edge of your screen to reveal the quick settings menu.
  2. Tap the cog (also called ‘gear’) icon, which is usually in the upper right corner. cog icon
  3. Tap “Software Update” from the list of options.
  4. Tap “Manually update software”.

Your phone will now update to the latest version of the OS.

Tip: Restart your phone to ensure all updates are activated.

How to Manually Update Apps from the Google Play Store

  1. Open the Play Store app Google Play Icon
  2. Tap the  Menu icon Menu icon - three horizontal lines
  3. Select “My apps and games”
    1. Apps with an update available are labeled “Update.”
  4. Tap “Update All” to update all apps.
    1. For individual apps, find the specific app you want to update and tap Update.

When to Update your Cell Phone’s Apps and Software

You can decide the best time to update your software. Some things to consider are data usage and convenience.

Save data – Update your apps when you’re connected to WiFi

If data use is a concern of yours, you can set your phone to only update when you’re connected to WiFi. This will ensure you don’t dip into your data plan to update your apps and software. It will also help speed up the updating process.

To only allow your phone to update when you’re connected to WiFi:

  1. Swipe down from the top edge of your screen to reveal the quick settings menu
  2. Tap the cog (also called ‘gear’) icon, which is usually in the upper right corner cog icon
  3. Tap “Software Update”
  4. Toggle “Auto download over WiFi” to On

To only allow apps to update when you are connected to WiFi:

  1. Open the Google Play Store app Google Play Icon
  2. On the upper left side of the screen,  tap the menu icon Menu icon - three horizontal lines
  3. Select “Settings”
  4. Select Auto-update apps
  5. Select “Over WiFi only”
  6. Tap “Done”

Tip: In some cases, you may need to restart your device to update an app.

Make it Convenient

Choosing when to update also means that you can do so when it is most convenient for you. We recommend choosing a time when you won’t need your phone for about an hour. You’ll also need a few minutes extra to restart your phone after the update.

How to Schedule Auto-Updates on your Phone

When programming your phone to run automatic updates at a specified time, we recommend choosing a time when you won’t need your phone for about an hour.

  1. Swipe down from the top edge of your screen to reveal the quick settings menu
  2. Tap the cog (also called ‘gear’) icon, which is usually in the upper right corner cog icon
  3. Tap “Scheduled update”
  4. Toggle “Scheduled software updates” to On
  5. Select the time you would like your phone to run its auto updates.

Tip: Restart your phone to ensure all updates are activated.

Victory: FOX News will not host Democratic presidential debate

Victory! After more than 56,000 CREDO activists and allies signed the petition to demand that Democrats not legitimize hate-spewing FOX News with a presidential debate, the Democratic National Committee announced that it would not partner with FOX to host any primary debates.

FOX is a vile, hate-spewing, misogynist dumpster fire of an organization that sparks violence and serves as Donald Trump’s personal propaganda network while masquerading as a news company. Hosts and guests on Fox News offer a steady stream of racist rhetoric and paranoid conspiracy theories to keep Trump’s approval ratings high among his Republican base. The network has always stood for far-right extremism, but with Trump in power, the network is pumping up the hate and fear to new heights.

There was never any reason whatsoever to host a Democratic debate on FOX News, and we’re glad to see the DNC come to its senses. Activism works – so thank you for everything that you do to hold those in power accountable.

Tuesday Tip: 5 ways to green your garden for spring

Illustration of a garden

March 20 is the first day of spring. And if you have a garden, you’ve probably started thinking about what improvements you’ll make this year. Here’s an idea: Make your garden greener.

But aren’t all gardens green? Actually, some gardens are “greener” than others: They’re more eco-friendly. They work with nature, not against it, functioning smoothly as ecosystems unto themselves and thriving without the chemical intervention of pesticides and artificial fertilizers. A green garden may not look like the Jardins du Chateau de Versailles, but it gives a natural satisfaction that no prefab garden can.

Here are five tips to make your garden greener.

 

Go native

Choose plants that are indigenous to your region. They’re well-adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, so they’ll be healthier than non-native plants and they’ll grow happily with less water and less care. They’ll attract local birds, butterflies, and other insects because they provide the nectar, pollen, and seeds these creatures look for.

When you go native, your garden will be a sustainable and dynamic natural ecosystem that displays the natural beauty and diversity of your local area. And you’ll find a native garden easy to start these days because gardeners everywhere have come to appreciate the advantages of native plants and many native plant nurseries have sprung up to serve them. Just Google “native plant nursery.”

Avoid chemicals

You don’t need pesticides to battle garden pests. You don’t need herbicides to eliminate weeds. You don’t need synthetic fertilizers to grow vibrant plants. There are natural alternatives to all of the above – and they’re better for you and your garden. And remember, as biological-control pioneer C.B. Huffaker once said, “When we kill off the natural enemies of a pest, we inherit their work.”

To discourage pests like aphids and leaf miners, encourage beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and spider mite predators. When you use pesticides, you kill these hardworking “good” bugs as well as the “bad” ones. Toxic pesticides also damage your soil by exterminating a lot of the beneficial organisms that live there.

If slugs and snails are a problem, there are natural remedies for them as well. Lay down a rough barrier of crushed lava rock, nutshells, coarse gravel or wood ashes. Soft-bodied slugs and snails will avoid crawling across it. Wrap a ribbon of copper tape around pots and they won’t climb up because the copper causes an unpleasant shock to their nervous system. Put out a small container of beer and slugs will crawl in and drown – perhaps happily.

If you have weeds, weed killers are a tempting option – one squirt and they die. But herbicides are not only carcinogenic, they run into streams and rivers and cause damage on a planetary scale. Instead, pull weeds by hand. Approach it in the right frame of mind and you’ll find it relaxing. Or try a mixture of vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap, which withers weeds naturally with multiple applications.

While you’re at it, sign our petition calling on Kroger to stop selling food containing bee-killing, brain-harming, and cancer-causing pesticides and commit to selling more organic food. Add your name here.

Invite insects

Insects are good for your garden. Bees and butterflies pollinate your flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Wasps, flies, ladybugs, lacewings, and beetles eat pests. Step one to attract insects is to plant natives. Step two is to offer different sources of nectar – including shrubs, trees, and flowers – that bloom from spring to fall. Step three is to avoid pesticides. They kill the beneficial bugs as well as the destructive ones and they poison the environment in general.

Provide shelter for insects. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators need protection from predators and the elements as well as a place to raise their young. An old log in a sunny spot makes a good home. Drill a few holes in it and you’ll attract native mason bees. They’re solitary, docile and the most effective pollinators in North America.

If you like butterflies – who doesn’t? – choose plants that appeal to them. There are dozens to choose from. And remember that butterflies need water. They appreciate a birdbath, and they like muddy puddles because the puddles provide salts and nutrients as well as H2O.

Be bird-friendly

Birds play a vital role in your garden ecosystem. They eat slugs, snails and damaging insects. And, of course, they’re just a joy to have around. Bushes and trees with fruits or berries will attract birds but a feeder provides a more reliable source of food. Get your seeds from a knowledgeable shop to ensure you have the right varieties for your local flock. Keep your feeder free of old seeds and place it far from sources of cover where cats can hide. A birdbath is important not only because birds like a bath, but because seed-eating birds need water to wash the seeds down. Add a few stones for birds to stand on.

Hummingbirds are a constant source of color and enjoyment in a garden. They also appreciate a birdbath, and they need nectar as a source of energy for their almost-perpetual motion. If you have a feeder, fill it with sugar water that’s one part sugar, four parts water but never honey, artificial sweeteners or dyes. Hang it in the shade so the sugar won’t ferment. Also, plant flowers – especially red or orange tubulars – which hummingbirds like as well as a feeder. And, again, avoid pesticides. Hummingbirds eat insects for protein and they feed their chicks a diet of almost exclusively arthropods.

Compost

Compost contains nutrients your plants need for good health, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It encourages bugs, worms, and microorganisms that create rich soil. It enhances drainage while retaining moisture. And a compost pile is the perfect place to toss your kitchen scraps and garden leaves, instead of the garbage can.

All you need to get started composting is a corner of your yard to start your pile – and patience because it will take time for your compost to “cook.” While you wait, consider the lesson that compost teaches: the natural cycle of decay and growth. In nature, there is no “waste.” Waste is a human phenomenon. In nature, every plant and animal is part of our planetary organism and every end sustains a new start.

Victory: We just forced JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo to stop financing private prisons

UPDATE: On March 12, in response to questioning by progressive champion Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a House Financial Services hearing, Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan confirmed that the company will no longer finance two private prison companies detaining immigrants.  Wells Fargo now joins JPMorgan Chase as companies that will no longer fund mass incarceration and immigrant detention.

Thank you to the more than 100 organizations and thousands of activists who stood up to the financial institutions that are bankrolling hate and made this incredible victory possible.

 


Our people-powered movement just forced JPMorgan Chase to deal a massive blow to the private prison industry.

After years of activism led by immigrant rights groups and progressive allies, the bank recently announced that it would stop financing private prison and immigrant detention corporations.

This is a huge win made possible by more than 200,000 CREDO members who signed petitions and joined immigrant rights activists to occupy bank branches and march in the streets. Your CREDO Donations votes also made a significant impact, driving critical funding to some of the anchor organizations that led this fight.

It’s important we celebrate the good news so everyone in our social networks knows that our activism is getting real results. Help us strengthen our movement by sharing on social media the news about this huge win:

Click here to spread the news of our victory by sharing this graphic on Facebook.

Click here to retweet this news on Twitter.

During a time when a racist autocrat is occupying the Oval Office and attacking our communities and democracy, wins like these give us hope and serve as an important reminder that each and every one of us holds tremendous power to fight back.

But this isn’t just a win that proves that activism works. It is also a testament to the tactical savvy of immigrant rights and progressive groups who are changing the narrative around mass incarceration by exposing – and working to cut off – all sources of funding for the private prison and immigrant detention industry.

None of this would have been possible without the leadership of our allies at Make the Road New York, Center for Popular Democracy, MamásConPoder, The National Domestic Workers Alliance, Presente, Hand-in-Hand, MoveOn and all the members of the Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Coalition.

Thank you for sticking with us through this fight. When we join together – even when the odds are stacked against us – we are unstoppable.

The Trump-GOP Tax Cuts Are a Huge Failure. Now What?

Photo credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Shrinking tax refunds this winter have raised renewed skepticism over the Trump-GOP tax plan rushed into law in late 2017. While a smaller refund doesn’t necessarily mean higher taxes, there’s plenty else in the Republican law for working families to complain about.

The so-called Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) mainly benefits the nation’s richest people and most profitable corporations. It will cost nearly $2 trillion, which Trump and Congressional Republicans want to cover by cutting Medicare, Medicaid, education and other public services working people depend on.

This is exactly the opposite of what the American people want, which is a fairer tax system that demands more from those best able to pay, preserves and strengthens vital services, narrows economic inequality, and helps create an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

Republicans claimed their tax cuts would magically pay for themselves. That’s not happening. Tax revenue from corporations—which were the biggest winners from the plan—was down by over $80 billion, or about a third, in the first full year under the new law. Corporations are estimated in 2018 to have kicked in the lowest share of total government funding at any time in the past 85 years.

That big cut in corporate taxes is one of the reasons the TCJA is such a boon for the wealthy, who own the vast bulk of corporate stock, and such a bust for working families, half of whom don’t own any stock at all. Once the law is fully implemented, the wealthiest 1% will get 83% of the benefits.

The GOP assured working people they would benefit indirectly from the corporate tax cuts through higher wages. Trump went so far as to explicitly promise that corporations would give working families a $4,000 raise. That’s not happening either.

Only 4% of American workers have gotten any kind of bump in their pay thanks to the Trump-GOP tax law, and most of those have been one-time bonuses rather than raises. Meanwhile, corporations have been celebrating their tax-cut bonanzas and resulting higher profits by further enriching their CEOs and shareholders through stock buybacks.

Since Trump signed the plan into law, firms have authorized nearly $1 trillion of share repurchases. These divert corporate profits from making new investments or paying higher wages to jacking up the value of stock, which is mostly owned by the wealthy. Companies have spent about 140 times more on stock buybacks than they have on worker pay boosts tied to the tax cuts.

Among industries that gained the most from the Trump-GOP tax giveaway are some of the least deserving. Huge drug companies saved billions of dollars in taxes last year alone and stand to reap a $76 billion tax cut on all the profits they’ve spent years stashing offshore. Those profits were wrung out of American patients and public health programs through the outrageous overpricing of prescription medications.

Big banks crashed the economy a decade ago and were only saved from their own recklessness by bailouts from the American people. Banks enjoyed record profits last year of over $230 billion, boosted by nearly $30 billion in tax cuts. The six largest banks alone, including scofflaw Wells Fargo, were showered with at least $14 billion in cuts and have authorized $72 billion in stock buybacks since the GOP plan was enacted. The “Bix 6” banks have given their workers little in tax-cut-related benefits.

Thankfully, beyond this winter of tax-scam discontent lies a spring of genuine tax reform. Members of the new Congress are finally addressing our broken tax system with the energy the problem deserves.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) reminded us that multimillion dollar incomes used to be taxed at much more progressive levels – 70%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would attack the crisis of wealth inequality with a small 2% annual asset tax on families worth more than $50 million, with billionaires taxed a bit more. Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to reinvigorate the estate tax, the only current federal curb on the growth of dynastic wealth that destabilizes our economy and undermines our democracy.

On the corporate side, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) have introduced legislation to repeal tax incentives that actually encourage offshoring of American profits and outsourcing of American jobs.

These progressive tax reforms would raise trillions of dollars.

If all this makes sense to you—in fact are wondering why it took politicians so long to figure it out—you’re not alone. Polls show strong, bipartisan support for higher taxes on the rich. We need that revenue to meet our existing obligations to seniors, children and families, as well as make necessary investments in improved health care, repaired infrastructure, a response to dangerous climate change and other priorities.

And we need to restore an economy and society in which everyone has a fair shot, no one is left out or left behind, everyone has the chance to make their dreams come true. Real tax reform—not the scam foisted on us in 2017—can be a major step.

Frank Clemente is executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, an organization that mobilizes public support for progressive tax reform so we have the revenue needed to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and make new investments in education, infrastructure and health care to create an economy that works for all. Since 2017, CREDO members have voted to donate over $133,000 to ATF.

A Year of Climate Change Evidence: Notes from a Science Reporters Journal

2018 was filled with new evidence and warnings of the high risks and costs of climate change.

Our heat-stricken planet is orbiting through the end of a year that humanity might rather forget. But several recent climate reports tell us that 2018 may be remembered as a turning point, for better or worse, in the fight to cap global warming.

Compelling new evidence shows we will speed past a dangerous climate-risk threshold as soon as 2030 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, potentially triggering climate change on a scale that would present grave dangers to much of the living planet.

Several reports conclude that investing in a global economic transformation now would save huge amounts of money compared to paying spiraling costs for climate disasters later. Others outline the tremendous challenge: We are still shoveling millions of tons of coal into furnaces every day; CO2 emissions have increased 4.7 percent since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2015.

Although there were many promises of action and signs of progress as coal plants closed, renewable costs dropped and companies and state and local governments tightened their rules, the United Nations Environment Program said the gap remains as large as ever between commitments under the Paris agreement and the cuts needed to reach its goals.

IPCC: 1.5°C Warming Is Bad; 2°C Is Worse

The climate science highlight of the year was published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of a report mandated by the Paris Agreement, Global Warming of 1.5 Celsius.

It authoritatively reinforces the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions by roughly half in the next 12 years in order to move toward the treaty’s most ambitious goal, and to eliminate emissions by 2050.

That means transforming energy, agriculture and forest systems on a large scale. It means rethinking how and where we build, work, shop, play and live; how we get around and feed ourselves; where we obtain the energy we need for economic development, and how we adapt to the global warming impacts that are ahead.

Chart: Global temperatures have been rising

The report concludes that the impacts if the planet warms by 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times are much greater than if we can keep warming to 1.5°C:

  • 2°C would push extreme heat events past the upper limit of variability into a climate regime never experienced by humans, especially in the tropics.
  • Sea level would rise about 4 inches more with 2°C of warming than with 1.5°C, affecting 10 million more people.
  • 2°C of warming would double or triple the species extinction rate compared to 1.5°C.

National Climate Assessment: Lots of Red Flags

After four years of work by scores of government and outside scientists, the United States issued its authoritative National Climate Assessment, which reaffirms the basic findings of the IPCC and zooms in to the impacts in the United States.

Among its findings:

  • With warming of 2°C or more, the U.S. can expect 9,300 additional heat-related deaths per year by 2100.
  • Heat waves, drought and extreme storms are impacting energy production and infrastructure, which ripples through the entire economy, including transportation, manufacturing, retail and healthcare.
  • Many ecosystems are at risk, including forests becoming more susceptible to fires, disease and insects.
  • Water and food security are threatened in many places.
Chart: Rising Demand for Air ConditioningChart: U.S. Is Seeing More Extreme Rainfall

The assessment, mandated by law and rigorously peer-reviewed, also offers a path toward resilience and sustainability, including a series of best-practices case studies, showing how investments in adaptation and resilient infrastructure can pay off, by preserving local agriculture, reducing traffic emissions or boosting forest restoration efforts, for example.

Emissions Are Still Rising

Carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollution, mostly from burning fossil fuels, cause global warming, so several reports in 2018 focused on pinpointing the worst sources of the greenhouse gases, measuring how fast they are building up and also how they are absorbed by oceans, forests and fields.

All the reports show a significant increase in emissions, which means the world is not yet on track to limit global warming, no matter how the problem is measured.

Chart: The Keeling Curve - A History of CO2 in the AtmosphereThe Global Emissions Gap Between Policies and the Paris Goals

According to the 2018 Global Carbon Budget, global fossil fuel emissions increased more than 2 percent in the last 12 months. Since the Paris Agreement was signed, fossil fuel CO2 emissions have gone up more than 4 percent.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Greenhouse Gas Index, released each spring, measures the annual increase in the heating effect of all greenhouse gases combined. In 2017, the increase was 1.6 percent and since 1990. Human-caused emissions “turned up the warming” by 41 percent in less than three decades.

Biodiversity, Food Security and Extinction

In other research fields, scientists have also started identifying global warming impacts to biodiversity, and by extension, the effects on humans due to the loss of important food crops or the ecologically valuable services of species like pollinating insects and bats.

By 2070, global warming could be the main driver of biodiversity decline. Warming temperatures can affect animals directly, by changing their habitat, and also by disrupting natural reproductive cycles between species, like flowers, insects and birds.

Tidal Flooding Is Rising with the Sea

A World Wildlife Fund study released in October found that global populations of vertebrate species have, on average, declined in size by 60 percent in the past 40 years. Habitat loss and direct exploitation are the main factors, and are linked with overconsumption of resources, which is also at the root of global warming.

In November, the European Commission Joint Research Centre suggested global warming will cause cascading extinction effects at up to 10 times the rate of existing estimates.

Scientists also showed how populations of crop-killing insects will boom with global warming, and how warming temperatures are throwing the plant-pollinator cycle out of sync.

In the oceans, hundreds of fish species are moving north to cooler water, disrupting coastal economies and threatening food supplies in less developed countries in the Global South.

In the Arctic: Rapid Changes Underway

Several 2018 reports also described how global warming continues to force rapid changes in Arctic ecosystems, including changes to ocean chemistry that are affecting marine life, as well as melting ice and thawing permafrost that is directly affecting local communities and the wider global climate system.

2018: Arctic's Second-Warmest Year on Record

The international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program shows the Arctic Ocean continuing to become more acidic as it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. Among the impacts:

  • The changing water chemistry will affect basic biological activity in the region in ways that are still not fully understood, but there will be disruptions to the food web.
  • A wide range of species, from tiny plankton to shellfish, have a harder time reproducing in more acidic water, and the changes also affect their basic metabolism.
  • Entire ecosystems are expected to change in the coming decades as parts of the Arctic become more like adjacent temperate ocean areas.

A separate NOAA 2018 Arctic Report Card describes additional changes, including more toxic algae outbreaks, coastal permafrost erosion and a big decline of caribou herds, affecting food sources for indigenous communities.

How Climate Change Is Loading the Dice

Scientists are growing increasingly confident in linking global warming with climate disruption.

The American Meteorological Society said civilization isn’t keeping up with the sweeping changes, and that leaves people vulnerable. In today’s human-changed climate, extreme weather is much more likely. Studies showed:

Chart: Strongest Tropical Storms Have Grown More Common Since 1980Chart: Climate Change's Economic Impact in the U.S.

Despite all the evidence, and the overwhelming scientific consensus about what it all means, the world is producing “the kind of change in emissions you would expect if we didn’t know global warming was a thing,” climate scientist Adam Levy said in a recent video.

What’s Should We Be Learning from All This?

The massive amounts of information can seem overwhelming, but if you strip away most of the technical and scientific jargon, the message is clear, said Michigan State University professor Kyle White, who co-authored a National Climate Assessment chapter on Tribes and Indigenous People.

“The reports are all about one thing: To reach the global climate goal, we have to fundamentally rethink our relationship with the environment and realize that we aren’t separate from the environment,” White said.

The indigenous knowledge expressed in several of this year’s reports has universal relevance for the systems-level change we need, he said. “A sustainable environment must become a basic aspect of governance. Indigenous knowledge systems are not just about recording environmental data. They’re about the way society should be organized to learn from people who know about the environment,” he said.

Perhaps the strongest message for climate action came from a Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, who mesmerized an audience of seasoned treaty negotiators from countries around the world at the annual meetings on the Paris accord.

“You are not mature enough to tell it like is,” she said. “Even that burden you leave to us children.”

MORE BY BOB BERWYN