This week parts of Europe were colder than the North Pole. One scientist from Penn State, Michael Mann, Ph.D.,  put it this way, “This is an anomaly among anomalies. It is far enough outside the historical range that it is worrying — it is a suggestion that there are further surprises in store as we continue to poke the angry beast that is our climate.”

. . . further surprises . . .

In the Arctic, temperatures are approximately 36 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, while our world’s refrigerator,  Arctic Ocean sea ice, is at a record low for late February.

Mann and other scientists explain the cold in Europe this way. There are steady winds that envelop the arctic, and normally these winds keep the cold temperatures in place. But, because the arctic is warming and the sea ice is at a record low, the winds are slowing and this causes instability. The cold drops south.

Why is the Arctic so warm? All of this is due to the build-up of carbon pollution accumulating in our atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuels, according to Erik Solheim, head of the U.N. Environment. “What we once considered to be anomalies are becoming the new normal. Our climate is changing right in front of our eyes, and we’ve only got a short amount of time to stop this from getting significantly worse,” Solheim says.

For a good summary of the polar vortex happening right now, go here:

At times, the problem can seem overwhelming, which brings us to our second article from the Seattle Times on Montana’s coal-fired electrical plants at Colstrip. The plant produces and ships (via powerlines)over 2,000MW of electricity. That’s enough to power 1.5 million homes.

The owners of the plants don’t live in Montana, and they no longer want to buy power that comes from coal-fired electrical generators. Producing that power releases 14.4 million tons of CO2 each year, and it’s a bargain with the devil the people in Washington and Oregon no longer want to be part of.

Here’s the article about the future of Colstrip:

It’s very natural to worry about the changes coming. They’re substantial and they won’t be easy. But who wants “easy” if it means we’re degrading the world our children will inherit?

350 Montana’s leadership team meets this Monday at 5:30 on the second floor of the Union Hall and our action committee meets March 19 at the Missoula Public Library, also at 5:30. Why don’t you get active?