Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care.  For all Daily Updates going back to 1998, go to Update Archives.

* Please read this carefully, it's not the usual Yada Yada

Rochester, NY with its new bridgeLocal Media Doing their Job on Our Environment?

Coming up with a policy or an evaluation on the state of one's environment is impossible without data.  This truism is so obvious that it need not be expressed if it were not a fact that so many engage in both without enough information to support either.   

The government at the local, state, and federal levels does not have enough money (for whatever reasons) to pay for all the independent, objective and thorough studies needed to fully understand all an area’s flora and fauna and their interrelations, their ecology.  Neither do universities; neither do environmental organizations--though all cover various pieces of the puzzle that is our complex environment.   

There's one group left who can and should help the public evaluate the state of our environment - the media.  Besides making a profit, the media's job historically and manifestly is to inform the public on all critical matters, which, I submit, includes the state of our environment.  We need a healthy environment to survive and to do so we need a timely and complete picture of it.  We, the public, need information to be able to form evaluations and policies on our environment, so we can anticipate dangers, decide on solutions, and choose responsible leaders. Without a media with trained environmental reporters, a vital ingredient in the equation of a sustainable environment goes missing. Scientists cannot see all that occurs in the environment despite their expertise. 

The government won't notice danger signals, except those they are predisposed to see.  Environmentalists would have little to evaluate the health of our environment and the roles of those responsible.  And the public, without a media fully tuned to the environment, will think everything is going fine until a disaster indicates a tipping point and the aftermath splashes across the headlines.     

This is all to say that in recent years it is becoming increasingly obvious that because of financial and other extraneous considerations, our local media is experiencing a dearth of trained dedicated environmental reporters.  Only these professionals, who have the time and training to gather all the information from all the participants in our environment, can fill this critical role in our society.  Without them, what we get is a disparate snapshot of events going on in our environment that may or may not spell disaster.  A dedicated environmental reporter in each of our print and visual media would have the necessary, continual contacts to provide us with the depth and perspective that environmental stories need.  If our local media were doing their job, we could be anticipating environmental problems, instead of trying to catch up to long-standing realities .

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Daily Updates: Saturday, January 21, 2017

These are the daily recordings of what I believe are important indicators of our Rochester-area environment --since 1998. For all Daily Updates, go to Update Archives

* My comments are in Bold text:

  • 1/21/2017 - Humanity seems particularly vulnerable to the shifting baseline syndrome (a sort of environmental amnesia) where many folks tend to think Climate Change is true every time it gets warm and false every time it gets cold. If this is true, how many people will forget that the US federal government backed the scientific findings behind Climate Change now that the new administration seems hell bent on sowing climate denial? Can we really begin to believe that Climate Change isn’t urgent, true, and not worth bothering our pretty little heads about? Time passes.  It’s happening: Climate change starts disappearing from government websites.   Before the inauguration was even over, the Trump administration was already purging whitehouse.gov, as Climate Central’s Brian Kahn discovered: Instead, we have An America First Energy Plan, which only refers to climate change in the context of rolling back the “burdensome regulations on our energy industry”: (January 20, 2017) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/21/2017 - Not just Toronto, which is just across Lake Ontario from Rochester, but all communities must prepare for Climate Change. In order for communities to become more resilient to the extreme changes coming with Climate Change, each should have a particular plan tailored to the challenges coming their way. Rochester is completing its Climate Action Plan soon. Why Toronto Should Become More Climate Change Resilient Climate change is already well underway, but with some smart choices Toronto can mitigate the impact. The future could get a whole lot hotter. Imagine it’s 2040, and the daily temperature reaches a high of 44°C. This isn’t idle speculation—it’s what is projected for Toronto, according to a staff report [PDF]. But climate change isn’t just a threat that exists in the distant future. In reality, the effects of global warming are already plainly apparent across the Greater Toronto Area, and call for immediate action. We need only look back to 2013 as a reminder that our typically moderate climate is not immune to the extreme weather associated with climate change: On July 8 of that year, a month’s worth of rain fell on the city in a matter of hours. Five months later, an ice storm rocked Toronto, leaving some residents without power for 12 days, and cost $106 million to clean up. (January 19, 2017) TorontoIST [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/21/2017 - Our friends over at the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) remain steadfast on addressing Climate Change in Rochester, NY. Good article at a critical moment on how the RPCC, an umbrella organization for over 100 groups, intends on taking action to address Climate Change at the local level. Rochester Climate Coalition unbowed by Trump's planned changes This was not a good week for the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition. On Wednesday scientists reported that the Earth had hit its highest recorded temperature for the third year in a row. On Friday the United States inaugurated a president who calls climate change a hoax and has vowed to roll back federal efforts to limit greenhouse gas. RPCC leaders who met on Thursday morning were trying to stay upbeat. (January 20, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - 2016 was the #HottestYear on record. 2017 is the year to really, really #ActOnClimate. 2016: The Hottest Year on Record Published on Jan 18, 2017 NASA and NOAA have declared 2016 the hottest year on record. There was some positive climate news in 2016, but it was also a year of dangerous climate impacts. (January 18, 2017) Nexus Media Studios [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - The reality is that Climate Change is happening now and we need to address it on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes. Global Warning: 24 hours on the climate change frontline as Trump becomes president – as it happened With climate change deniers moving into the White House, the Guardian is spending 24 hours focusing climate change happening now. After reporting from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, we’re now focusing on how warming temperatures will affect the Asia-Pacific region  • Our partner, Univision News, is hosting a parallel event in Spanish today. Follow it here  • The Tumblr community is joining us with personal posts about climate change. See them here We’re just a few hours from Donald Trump being inaugurated as the president of the United States, and we’re signing off from our 24-hour Global Warning live blog: a marathon effort from our Guardian offices in London, New York and Sydney, as well as our correspondents dotted around the globe. What we’ve seen, as we’ve travelled around the world, is that regardless of what climate deniers (yes, deniers) like Trump may say about the science, the stark reality is that it is happening now. (January 20, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - Friends don’t let friends go extinct. Our fellow primate species, as are thousands of species, are threatened by our way of life and our Climate Change. “The Sixth Great Extinction Is Underway—and We’re to Blame” (July 25, 2014 – Time) Most Primate Species Threatened With Extinction, Scientists Find Our fellow primates are in trouble. In a study of unprecedented scope, a team of 31 primatologists has analyzed every known species of primate to judge how they are faring. The news for man’s closest animal relatives is not good. Three-quarters of primate species are in decline, the researchers found, and about 60 percent are now threatened with extinction. From gorillas to gibbons, primates are in significantly worse shape now than in recent decades because of the devastation from agriculture, hunting and mining. (January 18, 2017) New York Times [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - At 1.1C of warming now, where 1.5C will be hell for developing nations, it’s time for the developed nations to step off the gas and step up the Green Climate Fund. World’s poorest urge G20 to make long-term climate plans Chair of Climate Vulnerable Forum looks to Merkel for leadership as developing countries try to ratchet up pressure on wealthy nations That’s the demand from a coalition of 43 of the poorest and most climate vulnerable countries ahead of July’s G20 summit in Hamburg. They want governments from the wealthy Group of 20 to start work on long term plans to ditch fossil fuels ahead of a UN climate policy review in 2018. “Chancellor Merkel now should convince as many of her G20 partners as possible to develop and submit their national 2050 strategies by 2018, in order to inform the global stock take and enable a lifting up of ambitions,” says the open letter to the German leader. (January 19, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - Remember when we never heard about the goings on at the Arctic in our media? Now, because of Climate Change, the amount of ice and heat at this major part of our planet makes continual news. It’s critical that we keep our eye on the Arctic and we probably should have been doing so decades ago. Warm Air Invades Arctic Again, Slowing Sea Ice Growth A surge of warm air and stormy weather has once again invaded the Arctic, sending temperatures soaring and stagnating winter sea ice growth. These repeated incursions have helped keep sea ice area at record low levels for much of the freeze season, and have even contributed to an exceptional cold season retreat. These recent record lows are part of a clear downward spiral of Arctic sea ice caused by regional temperature rise that is happening at twice the global pace, fueled by continued greenhouse gas emissions. 2016, the hottest year on record for the planet, was something of an exclamation point on that Arctic trend, with seven months of record low sea ice levels, as well as record high air temperatures in the region. (January 19, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2017 - And now a word on “Global Temperature in 2016” from climate expert, author, and activist Dr. James Hansen Missed Dr. Hansen’s talk in Rochester, NY on April 21st at Monroe County Community College during Earth Week 2015? Watch the entire speech, with introduction by Dr. Susan Spencer. Very high quality video.  Global Temperature in 2016 Abstract.  Global surface temperature in 2016 was the highest in the period of instrumental measurements.  Relative to average temperature for 1880-1920, which we take as an appropriate estimate of “pre-industrial” temperature, 2016 was +1.26°C (~2.3°F) warmer than in the base period.  The 2016 temperature was partially boosted by a 2015-16 El Niño, which was almost as strong as the 1997-98 “El Niño of the century”.  We estimate current global temperature excluding short-term variability as +1.07°C relative to 1880-1920, based on linear fit to post-1970 global temperatures. Update of the GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) global temperature analysis (GISTEMP)[i],[ii] (Fig. 1a), finds 2016 to be the warmest year in the instrumental record.  (More detail is available at here; figures in this summary are available from Makiko Sato on the latter web site.)  For the second year in a row the prior record was broken by a substantial margin.  2015 and 2016 annual temperatures were, in part, boosted by the 2015-16 El Niño.  Because of the delayed global response to the natural El Niño/La Niña variability,[iii] it is likely that the 2017 global temperature will fall below that of 2016, as discussed below. (January 18, 2017) Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, Earth Institute Columbia University (more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2017 - Important newsletter from our friends over at the Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC)  RPCC News, vol. 8: Now's the Time to Get Involved! "This volume contains information on upcoming local climate events,#DayAgainstDenial, New York's Pilgrim Pipeline, Rochester's Climate Action Plan, Earth Day 2017 and People's Climate March in Washington DC. "

  • 1/19/2017 - That humanity started seriously warming up Earth’s atmosphere around the mid-1800’s is being verified and verified around the world. Most of the human-caused greenhouse gasses that have already warmed our atmosphere to 1C was put there by US, the developed nations, which means we have a moral obligation to help the developing nations with a planetary problem we caused. Tibetan Tree Rings Trace Climate Change to 1870s A new study shows that temperatures have been rising since the industrial revolution. Climate change has made the Tibetan Plateau warmer than ever, according to meteorological records from as early as the 1950s. Now, researchers have found evidence that the rise in temperatures may have actually been underway since the industrial revolution. In a report published Wednesday in the science journal Nature Communications, researchers studied tree rings and found that climate change affected the sparsely populated plateau as early as the 1870s. Scientists from China and Europe analyzed samples taken from 153 Picea balfouriana trees, a type of spruce, which grow at altitudes of more than 4,000 meters above sea level and can live for more than 300 years. The researchers studied the width and density of the trees’ rings to calculate the seasonal temperature during the formation of each ring. (January 18, 2017) Sixth Tone [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2017 - Oftentimes, writers, reporters, educators, and scientists refer to Climate Change as an existential problem. Here’s what they mean by that “In reality, the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization.” Time passes. Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row. The findings come two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back his predecessor’s efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. In reality, the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization. (January 18, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - Dream Bikes in Rochester sounds like a wonderful program because bicycling, instead of using gas-guzzling vehicles, really does help our environment, promote good health, and in this case helps the lives of our Rochesterians. Transportation is responsible for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions, so the more we can get folks to use active transportation (walking and bicycling) the better we can address Climate Change. Rochester steps up to the plate on addressing Climate Change with Dream Bikes”. Bike shop peddles opportunity BIcycles are a socially conscious form of transportation. They aren't as personally isolating as cars, they're better for the environment, and they're accessible to a broader range of people. Bicycles can also improve lives. That's the idea behind Dream Bikes, a nonprofit shop that opened this month at 1060 University Avenue. The shop's inventory of bikes, bike components, tires, cycling clothing, and gear is largely used, but there's more to the operation than what it sells. (January 18, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - In order to address Climate Change, developed nations must contribute to the Green Climate Fund so that developing nations don’t trash our climate by developing the way we did. Most of the human-emitted greenhouse gasses that warmed our planet to 1C since the mid-1800’s, where we are already experiencing extreme weather and more, came from the developed nations like ours. We developed nations not only have a moral responsibility to contribute to the Green Climate Fund, we must do so in our own interests so that the developing nations use renewable energy and quickly use the best agricultural and technology to live sustainably—so that our planet doesn’t warm more. Time passes. U.S. makes $500 million grant to climate change fund: State Department The United States has made a $500 million grant to the Green Climate Fund, meant to help developing nations combat climate change, the State Department said on Tuesday. (January 17, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - When our region’s major e-waste recycler is able to recycle more e-waste that is good for all of us. E-waste is a major source of pollution and it is now illegal in New York State for even homeowners to curb their e-waste where it goes into landfills. Check out “Electronic Waste Recycling” from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. | Sunnking's new equipment to boost profitability Brockport-based Sunnking Inc. has purchased new equipment to help the firm become more efficient in dealing in end-of-life electronic equipment, officials said.  The company moved to a new 204,000 square-foot facility in November. “End-of-life electronics and equipment are a growing global concern,” CEO Duane Beckett said. “We are excited about our new equipment because it helps us accomplish our mission to provide superior asset management and recovery services. We use proven reuse and recycling techniques that maximize asset value and promote environmental sustainability, while meeting data sanitation requirements of our clients.” (January 17, 2017) Rochester Business Journal [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - In order to address Climate Change, it’s important that we be able to monitor our own greenhouse gasses emission—even in our homes. Feedback, in this case, information about how our behavior is affecting our planet, is crucial so we can live sustainably in a time of warming. Check out this great webinar and find out how our homes can be a part of the worldwide effort to get our greenhouse gas emissions down.  “Wouldn’t it be great to understand a home’s energy efficiency like a car’s miles per gallon? This Climate Smart Communities (CSC) webinar will describe a voluntary program in Tompkins County where homeowners would get an “energy score” for their home that could be shared with prospective buyers, tenants, or other interested parties. A home energy score is a succinct summary of the energy efficiency and physical structure of a residential building.” Residential Energy Score Project – A Model for Advancing Energy Efficiency – A Climate Smart Communities Webinar Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM Wouldn’t it be great to understand a home’s energy efficiency like a car’s miles per gallon? This Climate Smart Communities (CSC) webinar will describe a voluntary program in Tompkins County where homeowners would get an “energy score” for their home that could be shared with prospective buyers, tenants, or other interested parties. A home energy score is a succinct summary of the energy efficiency and physical structure of a residential building. The Residential Energy Score Project seeks to create strong market demand for energy efficiency in existing houses and, by extension, to reduce utility costs for homeowners, to increase energy literacy, and to help promote sustainability goals. Please provide us with your name and community affiliation, either via email or telephone to the Office of Climate Change at climatechange@dec.ny.gov or 518-402-8448. In the event that we cancel or postpone this webinar, respondents will be notified. (January 17, 2017) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - In order to address Climate Change, we must grow many more trees, not cut them down. We should especially be setting aside large areas of pristine forests, which have not been disturbed by human development and severed by trails and roads. Forest are carbon sinks and the keepers of biodiversity. Forests are an ecosystem whose entire nature we do not yet know about, though there are studies that suggest forest are like a large communicating hive of life, far more sensitive to disturbances than we ever thought. Check out this great book: “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate-Discoveries from a Secret World” by Peter Wohlleben and a review of this book in the NYT: German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too (NYT, January 2016). Humans have destroyed 7% of Earth’s pristine forest landscapes just since 2000 The world’s natural places are disappearing at a galloping clip, says a new study, released Friday in the journal Science Advances. It suggests that more than 7 percent of Earth’s natural, intact forest landscapes have been lost since 2000 — and these ecosystems may be in danger of disappearing entirely from at least 19 countries in the next 60 years. These landscapes represent some of “the last portions of the Earth that are not significantly affected by human influence,” said Lars Laestadius, a forest expert, consultant on natural resources policy and co-author of the new study. “As we lose these, we lose something that is bigger than ourselves.” (January 13, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Plants in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - A sizeable part of our world’s ecosystem (Japan's biggest coral reef) is failing because of human-caused global warming. This event may be happening on the other side of the world, but your ox is being gored. When major ecosystems are failing because of Climate Change, we and all who might come after us will feel the pain. Time passes. Almost 75% of Japan's biggest coral reef has died from bleaching, says report Coral in the Sekisei lagoon in Okinawa has turned brown and is covered with algae, according to a government study Almost three-quarters of Japan’s biggest coral reef has died, according to a report that blames its demise on rising sea temperatures caused by global warming. The Japanese environment ministry said that 70% of the Sekisei lagoon in Okinawa had been killed by a phenomenon known as bleaching. Bleaching occurs when unusually warm water causes coral to expel the algae living in their tissues, causing the coral to turn completely white. Unless water temperatures quickly return to normal, the coral eventually dies from lack of nutrition. (January 11, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - It shouldn’t be “amazing!” when our leaders finally get around to addressing water quality issues that have gotten so bad they are unavoidable. If our leaders and our media were on the ball, things like this would not have happened in the first place: “Raw sewage in Scajaquada Creek near the Buffalo History Museum. Manure and pesticides in Chautauqua Lake.  Elevated levels of lead in drinking water in schools and homes. Floatable debris polluting beaches and even Canalside.” Our expectations of our media and our leaders are so low when it comes to our environment, our life supports system, we are agog when they do their freaking job. Cuomo's $2 billion clean water push called 'amazing' Raw sewage in Scajaquada Creek near the Buffalo History Museum. Manure and pesticides in Chautauqua Lake. Elevated levels of lead in drinking water in schools and homes. Floatable debris polluting beaches and even Canalside. Raw sewage in Scajaquada Creek near the Buffalo History Museum. Manure and pesticides in Chautauqua Lake. Elevated levels of lead in drinking water in schools and homes. Floatable debris polluting beaches and even Canalside. ADVERTISEMENT Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he wants to address problems like these with a $2 billion proposal to improve water quality in the Buffalo Niagara region and the rest of New York State. Part of the money would be spent on projects beyond gray infrastructure – like replacing water and sewer lines and expanding wastewater plants – and instead pay for ways to prevent water pollution in the first place, proponents said. (January 17, 2017) The Buffalo News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - Just when you think bees are OK because the media hasn’t been reporting on threats to their existence, bees end up on our endangered species list. What happened, how did we get to this state? Our present mainstream media likes big news, like the beginning and ending of environmental problems. It’s the middle, where environmental issues metastasize and become incurable, that our media fall down. The public needs constant monitoring of our environmental issues by our media so that our life support issues can be addressed. Only reporting on the collapse of environmental pieces isn’t all the helpful. Time passes. U.S. Lists First Bumble Bee Species as Endangered The rusty patched bumble bee, a prized but vanishing pollinator once familiar to much of North America, was listed on Tuesday as an endangered species, becoming the first wild bee in the continental United States to gain such federal protection. One of several species facing sharp declines, the bumble bee known to scientists as Bombus affinis has plunged nearly 90 percent in abundance and distribution since the late 1990s, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (January 14, 2017) Climate Central [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - From our friends over at Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC) "Show support for the City of Rochester's Climate Action Plan (CAP): To read the plan, go to the City's CAP website to download it.  Look for "To review the draft community-wide Climate Action Plan, click here" in the "What's Next?" section.  From that website, you can also view the posters that were displayed during the Nov. 9 Open House.    Thank you to our many members who attended!  We are told that the City and their consultants were very impressed by the turnout and interest in the CAP.   While the general comment period is closed, the CAP still needs to be passed by City Council.  Let's continue to show the City that there is strong support for climate action in our community!   Please send a note thanking the City for leading on climate change, and/or expressing support for officially passing the CAP.   Send your personal note and/or one from your organization to: Anne Spaulding, Director of the Office of Energy and Sustainability: anne.spaulding@cityofrochester.gov. "

  • 1/17/2017 - It’s time again for those amazing jumping fish photos. The invasive Asian Carp could potentially change the Great Lakes ecosystem. Are we doing enough to prevent this ecological threat, a threat that will do a lot more than “… disrupt food chains and compete with valuable native species.” Efforts Continue to Stop Spread of Asian Carp (AP) - Federal officials say they'll continue efforts to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, despite uncertainty about what Donald Trump might propose. The Obama administration has spent over $388 million since 2010 to shield the lakes from the invasive fish, which could disrupt food chains and compete with valuable native species. (January 13, 2017) The Associated Press [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - Heating buildings, especially in our Northeast, accounts for a lot of our greenhouse gas emissions. So, finding ways to reducing or conserve energy use can make a big difference in addressing Climate Change. State offers $4.2 million to fund energy training programs New York state is making available $4.2 million for training programs aimed at reducing energy use in buildings. The funding will be used for building operations and to instruct maintenance workers on best practices. It's part of a broader statewide effort under the Clean Energy Fund to offer customized technical assistance to increase energy efficiency. To be eligible for the funding, buildings, or groups of buildings, must have total annual energy expenditures of $1 million. (January 16, 2017) WXXI News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - Times are a-changing. One thing we get with more online shopping is more cardboard. And that cardboard should be recycled. County reminds residents to recycle cardboard Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Waste Management of New York are reminding residents to recycle cardboard, especially after the holidays. Cardboard used for shipping has become one of the most disposed of household materials with the increasing popularity of online shopping. (January 11, 2017) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/16/2017 - Bicycles should be a viable transportation option in the Rochester region. Along with more bike share programs, we should have more media attention on bicycling safely pertaining to both cyclists and motorists so it is more likely that everyone will follow the rules of the road and keep all forms of transportation in our streets safe. Active transportation (walking and bicycling) can have a major effect on reducing greenhouse gasses in our region. Time passes. The brakes aren't up on city-wide bikeshare program in Rochester The brakes aren't up on city-wide bikeshare program in Rochester. This bikeshare program would let you rent a bike around town. The city is on board with the program, but they aren't funding it. The map of plans for a bike share system only includes areas with corporate sponsors who can foot the bill. For areas with smaller businesses, Reconnect Rochester is asking you for your help to get the program into gear. (January 16, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 1/16/2017 - Knowing whether weather conditions are caused by Climate Change is critical in convincing the public that Climate Change is happening and addressing the proper causes of extreme weather. If for example, a giant dust storm is caused by human conflict then that should be addressed. If a storm is caused by Climate Change, that’s a whole other kettle of fish. Human conflict can (in theory) be stopped immediately. Climate Change has a long lag time and cannot be stopped immediately. The warming we have already baked into our climate system since the mid 1800’s has already caused extreme weather and changes to our ecosystems and this will take time to play out. Time passes. Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict Researchers have concluded that the most likely cause of a giant dust storm that struck the Middle East in 2015 was climate and unusual weather rather than conflict. (January 13, 2017) Science Daily [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/14/2017 - Understanding the Big Picture of getting “North America’s unconventional oil reserves to market”: it’s a whack-a-mole game between activists and the fossil fuel industry that may end up threatening the Great Lakes. #keepItInTheGround is more complex and dangerous than we ever thought. “As pipeline protests have raged out West for the last decade, ever-growing volumes of North American oil have been discreetly flowing through the far more populous Great Lakes region, under its forests, rivers, ponds, wetlands, cities and towns and even, in one extreme case, across the bottom of the Great Lakes themselves. This is the story of what could be called the Great Lakes XXL — a swelling, invisible river of oil flowing through the world’s largest freshwater system at a time when other regions on the continent are rejecting the risk of new pipelines.” Path of least resistance As new pipelines stall on the Great Plains, oil pressure builds in the Great Lakes As pipeline protests have raged out West for the last decade, ever-growing volumes of North American oil have been discreetly flowing through the far more populous Great Lakes region, under its forests, rivers, ponds, wetlands, cities and towns and even, in one extreme case, across the bottom of the Great Lakes themselves. This is the story of what could be called the Great Lakes XXL — a swelling, invisible river of oil flowing through the world’s largest freshwater system at a time when other regions on the continent are rejecting the risk of new pipelines. (January 13, 2017) Journal Sentinel [more on Great Lakes and Energy in our area]

  • 1/14/2017 - We know Climate Change will impact Wildlife. But how many wildlife species will impact Climate Change? Our environment, our life support system is extremely complex. It’s a system that has evolved for billions of years, everything finely tuned and in sync with all other life forms. An even slight change in climate causes ripples throughout our life support system. These changes don’t go just one way; these changes move according to biological patterns we are just beginning to find out about. Trying to find hope in these patterns will be fleeting and ephemeral because the complexity of our environment is still beyond our knowledge of it. Before we changed the climate on Earth, maybe we should have planned that out a little better. Time passes. How Reindeer Could Help Combat Climate Change Reindeer are climate change victims themselves, but they could also be a powerful weapon against it, a study suggests. Climate change poses a serious threat to reindeer. Over the past decade, at least 80,000 of them have starved to death in Siberia because of melting sea ice. In the North Pole, warmer temperatures have caused reindeers to shrink in size. But it turns out that reindeer may themselves be a useful weapon in the fight against global warming, a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters last month finds. And their own appetites could help ensure their continued survival. Researchers visited the Arctic county of Troms, Norway, and discovered that reindeers’ grazing could help slow climate change by increasing albedo, or the amount of solar radiation reflected back into space, in the Arctic. (January 6, 2017) The Huffington Post [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/14/2017 - What is the “social cost of carbon”; how much is it; and, why should we care? Will Trump’s Climate Team Accept Any ‘Social Cost of Carbon’? The nation’s top science panel has just sketched a clearer way to set a fair price today for cutting tomorrow’s climate risks. Some of Trump’s advisers say the price should be zero. President-elect Donald Trump and members of his proposed cabinet and transition team have taken aim at many of President Obama’s climate and clean-energy policies, programs and legacies — from the Paris Agreement to the Clean Power Plan. But there’s probably no more consequential and contentious a target for the incoming administration than an arcane metric called the “social cost of carbon.” (January 11. 2017) ProPublica [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 1/13/2017 - One of the predicted effects of Climate Change in our region is an increase in mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile, Dengue, Zika and tick-borne Lyme disease because of a warmer temperatures. This study by “… Cornell will serve as the hub for a team of medical entomologists, virologists, epidemiologists, ecologists, modelers and molecular biologists, under the direction of entomology professor Laura Harrington.” Climate Change will affect public health and we must find out how that is going to happen. $10M CDC grant funds center to fight vector borne diseases Managing mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile, Dengue, Zika and tick-borne Lyme disease have been a challenge due to lack of resources, knowledge and trained expertise. To better understand, prevent and treat diseases passed from insects to people, the Cornell-led Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases will launch later this month, thanks to a $10 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (January 9, 2017) Cornell Chronicle [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/13/2017 - Carbon sinks can only be carbon sinks when we #KeepItInTheGround Some regions should be kept entirely free of human development. Carbon deposit in Congo swamp equal to 20 years of U.S. gas emissions: study Scientists say a recently discovered area of peatland straddling the two Congos contains 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 20 years of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and must be protected to prevent major environmental damage. The British and Congolese teams, who made the discovery in 2014, say it is the largest known tropical peatland - home to rare gorillas and forest elephants - and in Wednesday's edition of Nature they say development there would release the gas. Carbon dioxide is linked to climate change and peatlands, formed from the accumulation of dead plant material, act as "carbon sinks." Peat does not decompose in a water-logged state but when it dries, the organisms that break down plant material revive and the carbon seeps back into the atmosphere. (January 11, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in  our area]

  • 1/13/2017 - With Climate Change, development, our infrastructures, pollution, threats to our ecosystems, and the lives of seven billion people, scientists are crucial to humanity’s ability to have a sustainable existence. Protecting the integrity of science and our scientists is a must in a world so finely woven with humanity’s influence. On eve of Trump, Obama’s Energy Department announces new policy to protect scientists | Speaking at the National Press Club Wednesday, outgoing Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a new “scientific integrity” policy for an agency recently wracked by concerns about how an administration led by President-elect Donald Trump will treat employees who worked on climate change and other sensitive energy-related issues. “It’s part of establishing the environment that allows scientist to do their work, to stay with us, and to recruit new people,” Moniz said in announcing the new policy. (January 11, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2017 - One thing we can do about the nearly 2,000 square miles chunk of ice about to break off the Antarctic Ice Shelf is just deny that it’s happening. Of course, that would be crazy. Antarctica is about to lose an enormous piece of ice. The question is what happens after that. Last week, British scientists announced a disturbing finding — a crack in the Larsen C ice shelf in the Antarctic Peninsula had dramatically accelerated its spread, increasing 11 miles in length in the space of a month. This means the floating ice shelf, which is nearly as big as Scotland and the fourth largest of its kind in Antarctica, is poised to break off a piece nearly 2,000 square miles in size, or over 10 percent of its total area. An ice island the size of a small U.S. state would then be afloat in the Southern Ocean. [The crack in this Antarctic ice shelf just grew by 11 miles. A dramatic break could be imminent] That’s dramatic enough, but there is uncertainty in the science world about what would happen next. On the one hand, the researchers with Project MIDAS, who announced the growth of the rift, have published research suggesting that, in their words, it “presents a considerable risk to the stability of the Larsen C Ice Shelf.” If they’re right, it’s hard to understate how big a deal it is — Antarctica has lost ice shelves before, but not one so enormous. Not only would a loss of Larsen C change the map of the Earth itself; the shelf holds back glaciers capable of contributing about 4 inches of global sea level rise over time. (January 10, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2017 - Fast Forward Film Festival (FFFF) - Rochester, NY @fastforwardroc due date for your short environmental film submissions is due by February 27. The festival itself will be held this year at the Little Theatre on March 31 and at the Fast Forward Film Festival gala at the George Eastman Museum on April 1.  I wrote “Become the Media! in Rochester, NY on Climate Change” back in 2014 and included the importance of the Fast Forward Film Festival. More than ever communicating our environment to everyone is critical. This from our friends over at the FFFF: “Greetings from Rochester and happy 2017 from the Fast Forward Film Festival! We hope your organization will consider participating in this year's festival!  Read on... In Rochester, we pride ourselves on being at the cutting edge of science and technology, culture, and creativity. And for a long time our community has been a fantastic film town. These are reasons why the Fast Forward Film Festival is such a great fit for this community.  FFFF is a juried local film festival focusing on environmental issues, perspectives, and concerns expressed in short, five-minute films.  Whether you are an experienced filmmaker with a state of the art professional video/film setup--or have never made a film before and and have a smart phone in your pocket--you can join the FFFF fun! Whatever your environmental passion--climate change, water quality, air quality, biodiversity, energy, solid waste, wildlife, transportation, food and agriculture, urban or rural development, etc. etc. etc.--you can express, share, teach, and advocate with your five-minute film submitted to the festival! FFFF welcomes entries in the adult (18 and over) and youth (17 and under) categories; cash awards will be bestowed upon selected winners! There is no entry fee, and selected films will be showcased at a premier at the Little Theatre  on March 31 and at the Fast Forward Film Festival gala at the George Eastman Museum on April 1.  In addition, community screenings throughout the year at prominent venues such as the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Memorial Art Gallery and City of Rochester Public Market will showcase the selected short films.  Submitting your film to the Fast Forward Film Festival is a terrific way to provide information and inspiration to the community on environmental issues close to your heart! There's still time to make a film. Submission deadline is February 27; films of all genres and styles are welcome, but must be five minutes or less. We hope you will enter a film this year, and hope you will spread the word about this opportunity to your networks. (Fast Forward Film Festival}

  • 1/12/2017 - Addressing Climate Change is good for businesses. You can’t run a company on a failed planet. US business to Trump: don’t ditch climate laws Coalition of American businesses repeats call made at 2016 UN climate summit, urges new administration to respect global climate pact Nike, Mars, Unilever and DuPont are among 630 US companies that have released a letter to lawmakers asking them to keep the country in the Paris climate deal. According to US green business group Ceres, which has coordinated the move, the businesses are based across 44 states, employ nearly 2 million people and take in $1.15 trillion a year. “We want the U.S. economy to be energy efficient and powered by low-carbon energy,” write the companies, who also include Starbucks, Hewlett Packard and IKEA. (January 10, 2017) Climate Home [more on Green Business and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2017 - Does the clarity of the science behind Climate Change become less clear if people in high places sow doubt on certainty? It took a long, long time by a lot (meaning experts from around the world) of climate experts to confirm that Climate Change is real, it is happening, this climate change is human caused, and it’s a major threat to our future. Can all that be unraveled by politics? Can physics be influenced by opinions? We know the answer to this question, we should not be behaving as if we don’t. Exxon’s Tillerson Murky on Future of Paris Climate Pact Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson downplayed global warming’s dangers during a hearing into his nomination for secretary of state on Wednesday, refusing to rule out an American withdrawal from a climate treaty even as he acknowledged that “the risk of climate change does exist.” Tillerson recently resigned after a four-decade career with America’s biggest oil company, allowing him take the top diplomacy job in the Trump administration if senators approve his nomination. Like Trump, Tillerson has no government experience and he has close and controversial ties with Russia. (January 11, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2017 - We probably are at the point in Climate Change when geoengineering should be taken seriously. It also means all else has failed and there’s the potential that the cure is worse than the disease. But it does seem prudent at this time where, “… scientists should at least be getting a head start on research in case geoengineering is someday needed.” Time passes. White House Urges Research on Geoengineering to Combat Global Warming A White House road map for federally funded climate research has for the first time recommended research into geoengineering, the concept of intervening in nature to slow or reverse global warming. The document, an update of a report that lays out a plan for climate-related research at 13 federal agencies until 2021, calls for studies related to the two most-discussed approaches to geoengineering: distributing chemicals in the atmosphere to reflect more heat-producing sunlight away from the earth, and removing carbon dioxide from the air so the atmosphere traps less heat. (January 10, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/11/2017 - I’m not a fan of the idea of a Carbon Budget and even if I was we have probably have already blown it. When you consider that along with global warming, we must solve the loss of biodiversity, pollution, over population, over consumption, loss of water quality, and breakdown of ecosystems, it seems very arbitrary to think we can put any more carbon in the system without causing catastrophic damage to our life support system. We have already experienced massive disruption as we have quickly raised our planet’s temperature by 1C—and we still don’t know the ramifications of that. So, to think we can go any further is reckless and delusional. That we are set to overrun even our arbitrary carbon budget is even more grim. We should be addressing Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter—right now and forget about trying to calculate fanciful carbon budgets. Very Soon, We'll Have Blown The World's Entire Carbon Budget [Updated] By one calculation, we have a little more than a year left to do something drastic with our carbon emissions before we lock in a future of drastic climate change. As of now—by one calculation—the world has one year to stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere if we want to stop climate change at 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, the aim of the Paris climate agreement. A carbon countdown clock from researchers at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change does the math, estimating the time left at current emission levels. Even with a higher limit of two degrees of warming and the most optimistic projections, we still only have about 23 years to fully transition to a carbon-free economy. (January 9, 2017) FastCoExist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/11/2017 - Governor Cuomo “Directs State Agencies to Determine Cost-Effective and Responsible Pathway to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy Statewide” Governor Cuomo Presents 25th Proposal of 2017 State of the State: Nation's Largest Offshore Wind Energy Project Off Long Island Coast and Unprecedented Commitment to Develop up to 2.4 Gigawatts of Offshore Wind Power by 2030 Calls on Long Island Power Authority to Approve 90 Megawatt Project Off Montauk and Supports Development of 800 Megawatt Offshore Wind Lease Area Off Rockaway Peninsula  2.4 Gigawatts Enough Power Generation for 1.25 Million Homes Directs State Agencies to Determine Cost-Effective and Responsible Pathway to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy Statewide Offshore Wind Master Plan to be Completed by End of 2017 All Offshore Wind Projects Developed Out of Long Island Coastal Viewshed and in Close Collaboration with Communities Critical to Governor's Directive to Reach 50 Percent Renewable Power by 2030 (January 10, 2017) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO  [More on Energy in our area]

  • 1/11/2017 - Climate Change isn’t just about polar bears; it’s about the kind of planetary change we are causing that threatens such a majestic species. When Newton realized that the same force that made an apple drop from the tree also drives the motions of the planets and stars, he was on to something big. Likewise humanity must realize that a force large and powerful enough to change our climate is something to be reckoned with. Not ignored or compartmentalized into various threats that might concern some people, as Climate Change will affect everything on Earth, especially humanity and their now critical infrastructures. Time passes. Human-Driven Global Warming Is Biggest Threat to Polar Bears, Report Says Federal wildlife officials on Monday called climate change the biggest threat to the survival of the polar bear and warned that without decisive action to combat global warming, the bears would almost certainly disappear from much of the Arctic. “It cannot be overstated that the single most important action for the recovery of polar bears is to significantly reduce the present levels of global greenhouse gas emissions,” the officials wrote in a report released by the Fish and Wildlife Service. “The sooner global warming and sea-ice loss are stopped, the better the long-term prognosis for the species,” they added. The report, called a conservation management plan, is required under the Endangered Species Act and outlines what must be done for a species to recover and avoid extinction. The polar bear was listed as threatened under the act in 2008. (January 9, 2017 New York Times [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/11/2017 - Climate scientists aren’t debating whether Climate Change is happening or whether it’s human-caused. They debating things like whether the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC is going to happen because of Climate Change. Is it possible … “within the span of a human lifetime” to shut down the AMOC “essentially by flooding the Atlantic with cold water and screwing up its finely tuned density cycle”? We, the public and our leaders, should not have to go back to learning about Climate Change from the start just because of a US election. We should be following closely what climate science is now talking about and addressing Climate Change based on the ample evidence of this crisis already provided by our experts. The Atlantic Ocean and an Actual Debate in Climate Science Scientists have recently begun to re-examine a scary question: Will a crucial ocean current shut down? Nor has there been a debate for years. Since at least 1995, the balance of evidence in climate science has indicated that human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions are behind the planet’s warming. Agreement on this question has only strengthened since. By 2012, an international panel of leading researchers in the field said there was at least a 95 percent chance that human activity has caused global warming since 1950. There are active discussions in climate science—they’re just not about this. So before we all have to talk about a topic on which there is near total scientific agreement, I thought it might be fascinating to examine a real area of dispute in the field. And one of the most consequential disagreements is about something called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC. (January 7, 2017) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/10/2017 - I know, at the moment you’re freaking freezing and we can still make snow balls in Rochester. But Climate Change is still happening. It’s climate stupid. Even if your ideology and political stance aren’t comfortable with the science, Climate Change is happening, it’s human caused, and it’s wreaking our future if we don’t get real. Time passes. 2016 Was Second-Warmest Year on Record in U.S. The average temperature of the lower 48 states reached the second-highest level in the historical record in 2016, the government said on Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that only 2012 had been warmer in archives stretching to 1895. The near-record average temperature was influenced by the long-term global warming trend caused by human emissions, scientists said, as well as by a burst of heat from the El Niño climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean. Among the 48 states, only Georgia set a temperature record in 2016, though several states in the Northeast came close, while every state was well above its 20th-century average temperature. “The breadth of the 2016 warmth is unparalleled in the nation’s climate history,” NOAA said in a statement. “No other year had as many states breaking or close to breaking their warmest annual average temperature.” (January 9, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/10/2017 - Past climate changes are a harbinger of Climate Change, except this self-induced climate crisis is happening faster, with 7 billion people, with our critical infrastructures—water, waste, transportation, telecommunications, etc.—in jeopardy.  Sea level threats because of Climate Change won’t just affect major coastline cities, it will create a stronger and more horrific hurricanes. We have upset a very sensitive system of climate on our planet and we don’t really know if we can adapt to changes we have wrought. Time passes. Antarctic past points to sea level threat Evidence of Antarctic ice sheet melting and sea level rise almost 15,000 years ago raises alarm over current climate change dangers. Scientists have identified a fearful lesson from the past. Some 14,700 years ago, the Antarctic continent experienced a warm phase, when ice sheets melted and the global sea level rose by three metres. And they warn that it could happen again, as conditions in the southern ocean that triggered the bygone event are being repeated. Changes in ocean-atmosphere circulation have left the southern ocean stratified − a cold layer at the surface, and a warmer ocean lapping the base of the ice below. And this is making the ice sheets melt more strongly, the scientists say in Scientific Reports journal. “The changes that are currently taking place in a disturbing manner resemble those 14,700 years ago,” says one of the authors, Michael Weber, an expert in paleoclimatology, geology and oceanography at the University of Bonn, Germany. (January 9, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/10/2017 - It’s very troubling to think our federal and state governments may now sow doubt into official Climate Change information. Our official agencies are key in informing the public and the media about clear and present dangers to the American public. Figuring out exactly how we are contributing to Climate Change and how Climate Change is going to affect our future isn’t just important—it’s information we need to exist. There are other resources to find Climate Change information, like my list Global Environmental News, which links to news and media with environmental news all around the world. But it is our government we should be able to trust with critical information about the worldwide crisis of Climate Change and what our official agencies are going to do about it. Everyone should be concerned about how the science of Climate Change is being presented to the public. Endangered Species Under GOP? Climate Change Information on the Web A recent reworking of language concerning climate change on a Wisconsin government website could be replicated under a Trump administration. James Rowen, a longtime Wisconsin journalist and environmental blogger, recently discovered a stark remaking of a state Department of Natural Resources webpage on climate change and the Great Lakes. Until December, the page, dating from the Democratic administration of former Gov. James Doyle, had this headline — “Climate Change and Wisconsin’s Great Lakes” — and a clear description of the state of the science, including this line reflecting the latest federal and international research assessments: “Earth’s climate is changing. Human activities that increase heat-trapping (“green house”) gases are the main cause.” The page described a variety of possible impacts on the lakes and concluded, “The good news is that we can all work to slow climate change and lessen its effects.” Nine hyperlinks led readers to other resources. (January 4, 2017) ProPublica [more on Environmental Education and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/07/2017 - Find out what coral bleaching is, how it’s connected to Climate Change, and why you should care. Coral Reef Conditions Are About to Get a Lot Worse Thanks to climate change Last year was a devastating one for coral reefs around the globe, but according to new research, it may have been just the tip of the iceberg. A new study published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports shows that coral bleaching—a process that sometimes precedes death where corals lose their color—will affect 99% of reefs each year by the end of the century if current climate change trends continue. “We are going to need to be much more innovative and proactive if we want to see coral reefs thrive into the next century,” says study co-author Gabby Ahmadia, a marine scientist at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “Conventional conservation is not going to cut it against the impacts of climate change.” (January 5, 2017) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/07/2017 - Predicting the future climate around the Great Lakes basin won’t be so unpredictable when climate models are factored in. Hint: For a while, as the Arctic warms up, things will get more unpredictable, aka disruptive (lake-effect snow and local flooding). Then, eventually our climate will get predictability warmer—with all the predictable warmer water implicatons, lower lake levels due to less ice and more evaporation, and dramatic changes to our environment in the largest fresh water system in the world. There’s a lot we don’t know about the future climate in the Great Lakes region and there’s a lot we do know. We should plan for life in the Great Lakes region because we already know a lot about Climate Change and the Great Lakes. Time passes. Predicting the unpredictable Great Lakes climate the subject of MTU computer model A Michigan Tech University researcher is leading the effort to create a comprehensive model for the complicated and diverse climate of the Great Lakes region.  Pengfei Xue, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, developed a model combining climate and water models with assistance from Loyola Marymount University, LimnoTech and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. (January 5, 2017) The Mining Journal [more on the Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/07/2017 - I suspect that as more people learn about the threats of plastic pollution in our environment there will be more efforts to ban the use of instant plastic trash—stuff like plastic cutlery, plastic bags, and other things used once and then thrown away. While banning items like instant plastic trash seems unlikely at this point in time, remember that plastic bags didn’t even exist before the 1960’s and now they cover the globe. Also, at some point in the future people will look aghast at photos of plastic pollution in our times and wonder what the heck were we thinking. “They just used this toxic stuff and then they just threw it into the landfills, into their forests and city streets, and into their lakes and rivers? Really?” Campaign could lead to ban on plastic shopping bags in Duluth The global effort to stop plastic shopping bags from lining roadside ditches, choking waterways and filling landfills will blow into Duluth soon if a new group gets its way. Bag it Duluth on Thursday announced a campaign for a city ordinance that would ban thin plastic shopping bags and impose a minimum 5-cent fee on all paper bags distributed within the city. The ban would be phased in over a year to allow retailers and consumers time to adjust. (January 6, 2017) Twin Cities Pioneers Press [more on Recycling and Water Quality  in our area]

  • 1/07/2017- Along with Climate Change, the loss of biodiversity threatens our life support system with a loss of resiliency and health it used to have. We should have left large segments of our environment alone back in the day (say 500 years ago) to keep our environment heathy and strong. But we didn’t. Humanity should consider giving back some of the environment we took so we and other species can survive. On one level it seems absurd that humanity would suddenly leave large swaths of land and water completely alone so the plants and animals that help create our environment can do their job. On another level, it seems absurd that we would find it absurd that our environment needs room to function properly. At some point, our attitudes about our environment must get in sync with science. Time passes. A BIOLOGIST'S MANIFESTO FOR PRESERVING LIFE ON EARTH An eminent scientist offers a bold vision for preserving Earth's biodiversity We are playing a global endgame. Humanity's grasp on the planet is not strong; it is growing weaker. Freshwater is growing short; the atmosphere and the seas are increasingly polluted as a result of what has transpired on the land. The climate is changing in ways unfavorable to life, except for microbes, jellyfish, and fungi. For many species, these changes are already fatal. (December 12, 2016) Sierra Magazine [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 1/07/2017 - I suspect in the near future there will be a lot more scary climate studies that will indicate possible scenarios that demonstrate a dramatic shift in our climate and the functioning of our environment. We were getting studies decades ago about climate potentialities of Climate Change that turned out to be true. Some didn’t. What has happened over time is that climate scientists are getting better at predicting climate changes and they are doing so as Climate Change is already wreaking the havoc previous studies anticipated. Humanity shouldn’t be sitting around hoping and betting the climate scientist are wrong. Humanity should be trying to stop the warming and prepare for the heat we’ve already put into the system. Time passes. Potential for Collapse of Key Atlantic Current Rises The large, looping Atlantic Ocean current that keeps northwestern Europe fairly warm and influences sea levels along the U.S. coast is a key component of the Earth’s climate system. But because of global warming, it may be more likely to substantially slow down — or even collapse — than previously thought, according to two new studies If that current, called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, were to slow down substantially, it could lead to chillier weather in northern and western Europe, starve economically important fisheries and cause waters to rise along the U.S. coast, leading to more so-called “sunny day” flooding and storm surge when hurricanes come ashore. It could also shift tropical rain belts, causing major disruptions to regional climate in Central and South America. The new studies factor in elements that have been missing from previous projections of how likely the collapse of the current is. One study factors in the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which is adding a pulse of freshwater into the North Atlantic, but is difficult to incorporate into current climate models. The other attempts to correct a bias in climate models that underestimates how unstable the AMOC really is. (January 5, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2017 - Insurance companies are not climate scientists. But if they think more extreme weather is associated with Climate Change (attribution), you’d better pay attention. Many people will finally discover the truth behind Climate Change when they can no longer afford home insurance, or think they have adequate insurance and then insurance companies just cannot handle the increase in disasters.  U.S. had more floods in 2016 than any year on record 2016 really was the year of the flood in the U.S.: In total, 19 separate floods swamped the nation last year, the most in one single year since records began in 1980. This is according to an analysis by Munich Re, a global reinsurance firm. The worst flood was in August in Louisiana. At least 13 people were killed and roughly 60,000 buildings were destroyed. The disaster cost $10 billion, Munich Re reported, which noted it was the worst natural catastrophe in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. (January 4, 2017) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2017 - According to IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature, If it wasn’t for the oceans sucking up the heat of human-caused Climate Change “…the surface of the Earth would have warmed by a devastating 36C, rather than 1C, over the past century…”  (“Soaring ocean temperature is 'greatest hidden challenge of our generation’” (September 15, 2016, The Guardian) BTW: “Thirty-six degrees Celsius is equal to 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it should come as no surprise that one of the repercussions of this is “Rising carbon dioxide levels threaten to permanently disrupt vital ocean bacteria”.  Climate Change is happening at a very rapid pace and it looks like many of the consequences are going on unseen (like deep in the ocean). Without the aid of expert climate scientists, we wouldn’t notice some of the most profound changes in our environment, our life support system. Science is now under threat because its findings in climate science have been undermined by wrong-headed ideology that is dismissing science when we need it the most. We purposely blind ourselves when we prioritize ideology over science. Project Censored  3. Rising carbon dioxide levels threaten to permanently disrupt vital ocean bacteria Systemic changes associated with global warming threaten human welfare and all life on earth through a multitude of different pathways. These remain largely hidden from public view. One potential pathway — directly dependent on carbon, not temperature — is through the catastrophic overproduction of Trichodesmium bacteria, which could devastate the entire marine food chain in some regions. It lives in nutrient-poor parts of the ocean, where it fixes atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium, an essential nutrient for other organisms — from algae to whales. (January 4, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/05/2017 - The nuclear waste pickle in our Great Lakes highlights the problem with present nuclear facilities: Too expensive to not put nuclear waste near environmentally sensitive regions and too environmental dangerous to do so. Why didn’t those who created nuclear energy producers know back in the day the job was dangerous when they took it—in other words, why hasn’t wasn’t the nuclear power waste problem anticipated properly? Which leads us to ask, what issues will we face with the present production of nuclear energy power facilities years down the road? Are we going to just hope these problems with nuclear power will just get solved in the future? Ontario study: Other sites too costly to store waste Government-owned Ontario Power Generation — the Canadian energy provider proposing underground nuclear waste storage along the shore of Lake Huron — said alternate sites for the facility increase environmental impacts as well as costs. The province’s minister of environment and climate change called for OPG to investigate alternate sites for the controversial project that has been opposed by many Michigan lawmakers, originally sited near Kincardine. For roughly a dozen years, the company has pursued approval to bury low-level to-mid-level radioactive wastes deep underground. (January 3, 2017) The Detroit News [more on Energy, Water Quality, and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 1/05/2017 - The Great Lakes, the largest fresh water system in the world, is changing because of Climate Change. There are many issues of water quality, invasive species, lake levels, diversion (where other communities outside the Great Lakes basin want these waters), plastic pollution, and much more involved in our Great Lakes besides Climate Change. But Climate Change will accelerate and amplify all the other challenges to this major ecosystem. We in Rochester, part of the Great Lakes basin, should be focusing major efforts and planning with other Great Lakes communities on addressing Climate Change. Signs of climate change hit Great Lakes  Climate change is an issue of concern for many around the world. Scientists say the signs are everywhere, and here in the Great Lakes region, the evidence of regional climate change can be seen in every day. The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center in Michigan specializes in presenting climate change information specific to this area. Researcher Laura Briley said one sure sign of regional climate change can be found in the water. (January 4, 2017) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 1/05/2017 - Been looking for some great educational videos on Climate Change to help folks understand the science behind this crisis? Check out NASA’s videos. Very elucidating. Featured Videos (NASA Global Climate Change)

  • 1/05/2017 - As we move further into Climate Change it’s useful to remember that we go into Climate Change with the environment we have. That is, an environment that is more robust and resilient is more likely to be able be sustainable longer in a warmer climate. An environment rich in biodiversity, good soil, clean water, and healthy plants and animals is more likely to be able to adapt to the challenges of Climate Change than an environment that is not. Many people assume that we and our environment can endure the quick warming that has already started with Climate Change based on the assumption that both humanity and our environment has weathered great changes before. That our environment can handle what is thrown at it. But we are learning that our environment, even in the New World, has been profoundly altered by humanity even before the Europeans came to these lands. Then, of course, since the Europeans came 500 years ago, humanity suddenly ratcheted up the challenges to our environment exponentially. This is all to say that by the time Climate Change kicks in, our environment has already been reeling from humanity’s impacts. We should be finding out as much as we can about the workings of a healthy environment before we plan for major changes coming with Climate Change. This video challenges some of our ideas of pristine New World in 1491 and urge us to search for a proper baseline from which to plan for Climate Change. In other words, as we plan for Climate Change, which environment should we attempt to preserve? Where we are now, or some other point in the past? If so, what point? Check out this video: Native America before European Colonization – (YouTube Apr 8, 2013 - Uploaded by Thomas Oklahoma)

  • 1/05/2017 - Agriculture plays a big role in Climate Change emissions. "There's a lot of fatigue with the negativity on climate change," said Thomas Driscoll, policy director at the National Farmers Union, the U.S.'s second largest farm group. "Agriculture and climate change is exciting because there's a lot that can be done. Doing the right thing for the climate can save farmers money." 2017: Agriculture Begins to Tackle Its Role in Climate Change After years of being off the table in climate talks, agriculture is now being considered widely by countries trying to reach their Paris emissions cuts pledges. By allowing countries to decide how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the landmark Paris climate agreement opened the door to new solutions. And over the past year, many countries, particularly in the developing world, decided that an especially effective way to reach those targets is through their farms. Nearly 80 percent of the countries said they would use agricultural practices to curb climate change, and more than 90 percent said they would use those practices in addition to changes in forestry and land use linked to farming. (January 4, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Food  and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/04/2017 - And there is more and more evidence that plastics in our Great Lakes is occurring and we should get on that. We are getting more and more evidence that plastics (in the form of microbeads, plastic bits from litter, and now our laundry) are already in the largest fresh water system in the world. We need to get the plastics out of our Great Lakes waster by better water filtering systems from water we pull in and water we put out in the form of sewage waste treatment and stormwater releases. We need more research on how pervasive and in what ways plastics are entering our water. We need more public education about this issue. And, it might be nice to know if we are drinking in plastics, as plastics tend to accumulate toxins. Great Lakes pollutant lurks in your laundry The United States and Canada are moving to ban microbeads -- the tiny plastic bits in toothpaste and facewash that are big water polluters. Now scientists are focusing on a similar problem -- and it’s lurking in your laundry hamper. When you do laundry, take a look at the tags on your clothes. You’ll find that most shirts and pants have some synthetic material -- like polyester, nylon or spandex. Every time you wash them, tiny plastic fibers go down the drain. Melissa Duhaime, part of a University of Michigan research team, says most fibers are captured by wastewater treatment plants. But not all of them. (January 2, 2017) WRVO Your Source for NPR News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 1/04/2017 - From our friends over at Reconnect Rochester: “Help Launch Rochester's Bike Share Campaign Ends 1/31 As you may know, this spring the City of Rochester will attempt to launch a Bike Sharing system. However, this system will not be funded by the City. The bike share will be operated by Zagster and each bike station will require a community sponsorship of $9,000 per year or they will not be placed. So we've set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for bike share stations in neighborhoods which might not otherwise be funded by a corporate sponsor. Our goal is to fund five (5) stations in the neighborhoods along the northern edge of downtown — including Upper Falls / Amtrak Station and South Marketview Heights / Public Market areas (see map above).You can help. Please visit our campaign page for more info and consider making a tax-deductible contribution today. Then share this message with you friends, co-workers, and other community groups you may be involved with. Thanks!!”

  • 1/04/2016 - Citizen science, trained citizens to monitor and educate about our environment, need to be an important component of our Climate Change adaptation. “In citizen science, members of the public participate in scientific and technical work in a variety of ways, including formulating research questions, conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and solving problems. In particular, community citizen science addresses questions defined by communities and allows for community engagement throughout the entire scientific process, empowering people to ask their own questions, collect their own data, and advocate for themselves.” Environmental Protection Belongs to the Public: A Vision for Citizen Science at EPA At EPA, we can’t protect the environment alone. Environmental protection belongs to all of us, and participating in environmental science is one way that members of the public can have an impact. Citizen science broadens environmental protection by enabling people to work together with government and other institutions toward shared goals. In citizen science, members of the public participate in scientific and technical work in a variety of ways, including formulating research questions, conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and solving problems. In particular, community citizen science addresses questions defined by communities and allows for community engagement throughout the entire scientific process, empowering people to ask their own questions, collect their own data, and advocate for themselves. (December 20, 2016) EPA Connect [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 1/04/2017 - Wildlife can adapt to Climate Change if the warming doesn’t occur too soon where they arrive before their food arrives. Changing migrating bird schedules are demonstrating that Climate Change is now happening and because it is happening so quickly many species are getting thrown out of sync with their environment. Climate change driving birds to migrate early, research reveals A University of Edinburgh study finds birds are arriving at breeding grounds too soon, causing some to miss out on food Migrating birds are responding to the effects of climate change by arriving at their breeding grounds earlier as global temperatures rise, research has found. The University of Edinburgh study, which looked at hundreds of species across five continents, found that birds are reaching their summer breeding grounds on average about one day earlier per degree of increasing global temperature. The main reason birds take flight is changing seasonal temperatures and food availability. The time they reach their summer breeding grounds is significant, because arriving at the wrong time, even by a few days, may cause them to miss out on vital resources such as food and nesting places. This in turn affects the timing of offspring hatching and their chances of survival. (December 28, 2016) The Guardian [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/04/2017 - From our friends over at the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’ December newsletter, eco-logue, we find that Aaron Mair, President of The Sierra Club, will be speaking at the club’s Environmental Forum this year. Probably around Earth Day. “Aaron Mair, came to environmental activism via the social justice pathway. In the 1980s, he joined a fight to shut down a solid waste incinerator in Albany, NY. Plumes of polluting smoke from the incinerator swept over his home in an inner city neighborhood, sickening Mair’s young daughters and other kids in the neighborhood. His efforts ultimately led to the facility’s closure and a $1.6 million settlement award to the community. Aaron has worked as an epidemiological-spatial analyst with the New York State Department of Health. He will speak about the ways in which we must address the history and policies that led to the divisions and injustice in our society today to successfully mitigate climate change and protect our planet for the future.” Stay tuned for more information on this event. Meanwhile read some interesting articles on our environment in the December eco-logue.

  • 1/03/2017 - From many of our Attorneys General across the nation on addressing Climate Change (especially our NYS Attorney General Schneiderman): Broad Coalition Of States And Localities Urge Continued Defense Of Clean Power Plan In Letter To President-Elect Trump Clean Power Plan Builds On Successful State And Local Efforts To Reduce Emissions While Creating Jobs And Growing Economies  Schneiderman: The Science Is Clear – Too Much Is At Stake To Turn Back The Clock On Climate Efforts NEW YORK - A broad coalition of 19 states and localities, led by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, called on President-Elect Trump to continue the federal government’s defense of the Clean Power Plan in a letter sent today, urging him to reject “misguided advice” from a group of Attorneys General led by West Virginia to discard the plan, The letter details why the Clean Power Plan is vital to efforts to limit carbon pollution, and pushes back against ill-conceived efforts to urge the President-Elect to unravel the plan -- which, the letter explains, would be contrary to the law. (December 29, 2016) New York State Attorney General Schneiderman [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/03/2017 - The Trump Effect is emerging as one of the unknown unknowns on Climate Change. In Rumsfeld speak, unknown unknowns are the ones we don't know we don't know. Scientists, while investigating and modeling Climate Change on a very complex system like Earth’s, knew they’d be trying to understand and predict what a quick warming phenomenon would do to our life support system. Scientist knew that our glaciers would melt but not as fast as they have. That was a known unknown. But scientist did not anticipate that science itself would be on the chopping block. This is an unknown unknown and now the Trump Effect is going to have to be factored into our climate modeling. This would be the stronger likelihood that the worst scenarios in climate modeling are going to occur; and, the best scenarios will be less likely. The best scenarios, where we dramatically shift to renewable energy and plan and educate the public about our warming world, means we get to have a future—though it will still be a struggle. The worst scenarios are where we continue to ignore climate scientist warning and listen to our worst angels and put our future in jeopardy. Time passes. Trump and the Climate: His Hot Air on Warming Is Far From the Greatest Threat Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, has frightened many with his embrace of fossil fuels. What’s truly scary, scientists and others say, is how much larger the problem is than one American president. President-elect Donald J. Trump has long pledged to undertake a profound policy shift on climate change from the low-carbon course President Obama made a cornerstone of his eight years in the White House. “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop,” Trump tweeted a year ago. In recent weeks, Trump doubled down, nominating champions of fossil fuels to several cabinet positions and peppering his transition team with longtime opponents of environmental regulations. Both the rhetoric and the actions have provoked despair among many who fear a Trump presidency will tip the planet toward an overheated future, upending recent national and international efforts to stem emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas. (December 29, 2016) ProPublica [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/02/2017 - It’s so divisive and upsetting to mention Climate Change tipping points that we fail to see that it’s the point. Humanity has put off the kind of change that is necessary to avoid cascading climate disasters for so long that the only solution seems to avoid even thinking about it. Tipping points are when our climate tips over that edge towards a direction where we cannot sustain our existence. A tipping point often occurs long before you notice that you’ve passed it, allowing you the delusion that you haven’t. The only thing we can be sure about with tipping points is that ignoring the possibility that warming our planet quickly will trigger them is how tipping points occur. Climate Change 2016: The Year the Future Arrived Our planet's systems have a tremendous capacity to absorb punishment before they begin to show signs of degradation. Earth's ecology self-heals like a cut on a finger. It assimilates pollution by chemical, physical and biological means -- it changes pollutants into non-hazardous materials and proceeds upon its merry way as if there had been no pollution at all. Up to a point. Acid rain is an excellent example of how our planet can self-heal. By the late 1960s, the United States was emitting so many sulfate and nitrate pollutants (smog) from burning fossil fuels, that sulfuric acid washed from the sky was killing forests and lakes. President Richard Nixon's Clean Air Act stopped about half of the sulfur from going into our atmosphere. This was enough to allow nature to take over again and our forests and lakes began to heal. Global warming didn't really get started in a big way until the 1950s. Today, the warming rate is seven times greater than it was in the 1950s and the carbon emission rate is four times greater than in the '50s. (December 29, 2016) Truthout [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/02/2017 - Important environmental newsletter from our friends over at THE ROCHESTER PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE January 2017 Newsletter "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”

  • 1/02/2017 - Climate Change is changing our forests and these massive ecosystems need humanity’s help in order for them to adapt. If our forests can’t adapt to Climate Change, it’s unlikely that we will be able to either. “Changes in climate and extreme weather are already increasing challenges for forest ecosystems across the world. Many impacts are expected to remain into the future.  This means forest managers, conservationists and woodland owners continually need to address climate change to ensure forests can provide a broad array of benefits and services. The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the U.S. Forest Service provide tools to help address this need.” New and Improved Tools Help Adapt Forests to Changing Conditions Changes in climate and extreme weather are already increasing challenges for forest ecosystems across the world. Many impacts are expected to remain into the future.  This means forest managers, conservationists and woodland owners continually need to address climate change to ensure forests can provide a broad array of benefits and services. The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the U.S. Forest Service provide tools to help address this need. Collaboration between scientists and managers resulted in the publication Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers. This publication provides a suite of materials enabling land managers to consider the likely effects of climate change and increase the ability of forests to cope with climate change impacts. (October 5, 2016) US Dept. of Agriculture [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/31/2016 - Actions like ROCHESTER'S ENVIRONMENTAL JOB (REJOB) TRAINING PROGRAM are the kind of governmental programs that give me hope on addressing environmental issues. Although the industries that created our local Brownfields should have cleaned up their own freaking mess when they trashed our environment, our governments taking leadership and using these environmental issues to train local folks to clean up these environmental hazards is the responsible way to address our environmental problems and get a work force ready to take care of our environmental issues. At the end of the day, it is our government that must take responsibility to keep our environment healthy. Like it or not, when industry’s walk away from contaminating our life support system, our governments have to step in and take charge. Rochester starts training program for jobs in the environmental construction industry Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren says  that the city is launching a program to help the unemployed and under-employed get jobs in the environmental construction industry. The Rochester Environmental Job Training Program will help train city residents for full-time jobs with environmental construction and cleanup companies. Warren says the program will give people the skills they need to earn a living in a growing industry and also help clean up contaminated properties around the city. (December 30, 2016) WXXI News [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 12/31/2016 - When communicating the urgency of addressing Climate Change, it is important to spell out the consequences of not acting on this crisis—including characterizing the kinds of economic hardships this crisis will incur on all of us. But in the attempt to bring the issues in Climate Change to the public’s pocketbook, there is the danger that focusing on the economic hazards will create the illusion that Climate Change is only a money problem. Climate Change is a fundamental crisis affecting our life support system with innumerable consequences if we don’t plan and act that goes far beyond putting this crisis in the context of our economy. Humanity’s economies, which have ignored the environmental consequences, over the last centuries have played a major role in creating this climate crisis in the first place. A collective myopia towards our economics and a turning away from the biological imperatives of our environment has lead humanity to an existential crisis. Climate Change is going to do a lot more damage than hitting our pocketbooks. It’s going to affect all life on Earth, disrupt our ecosystems, and threaten our future. Climate communicators are going to be bending over backwards trying to tell the public why they should care about Climate Change. Some methods, like explaining how expensive not addressing Climate Change will be, may or may not work for some people. What Climate Change communication should do is get humanity (all 7 billion of us) to face up to the entire threat this crisis presents and not try and dumb it down to actions and concerns that won’t be too inconvenient. Because we have waited so long to deal with this crisis, it’s going to be inconvenient indeed. Four Unexpected Ways Climate Change Hits Our Pocketbooks An unseasonably hot day that scientists attribute to climate change can be either a drag or a benefit depending upon where you live and the time of year. The same goes for an extraordinary dump of snow that creates snow days out of work schedules and keeps kids at home when you’re not prepared. But climate change has delivered other headaches over the past year that ultimately translate to extra costs for households and will likely impact our wallets in future years, as well. (December 29, 2016) Triple Pundit [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/30/2016 - However sexy autonomous  vehicle may seem, it would be nice if our governmental officials, businesses, and researchers focused their attention on maintaining our existing transportation infrastructure so that is safe, fair to all, and resilient as Climate Change challenges those systems with more extreme weather. With $1.2 million NSF grant, UB to become testing ground for self-driving cars (December 22, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 12/30/2016 - Dear World, just because Trump will become US President soon doesn’t mean We the People will roll over on addressing Climate Change. States face off over future of Obama global warming plan Two weeks after officials in two dozen states asked Donald Trump to kill one of President Barack Obama's plans to curb global warming, another group of state officials is urging the president-elect to save it. Democratic attorneys general in 15 states, plus four cities and counties, sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday asking him to preserve Obama's Clean Power Plan. The letter was a rebuttal to one sent this month by mostly-Republican officials in 24 states. (December 30, 2016) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 12/30/2016 - With deadly Oak Wilt Disease found in Canandaigua and Ontario County, we in Monroe County should be concerned. “Oak wilt is a serious tree disease in the eastern United States, killing thousands of oaks each year in forests, woodlots, and home landscapes. It is caused by a fungus, Ceratocystis fagacearum. The fungus grows in the water conducting vessels of host trees plugging up these vessels and preventing water transport. As water movement within the tree is slowed, the leaves wilt and drop off, and the tree dies rapidly.” More on How to Identify, Prevent, and Control Oak Wilt, from the US Dept. of Agriculture Deadly Oak Wilt Disease Found in Brooklyn and Several Towns in Suffolk County New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) announced today that the oak tree disease, oak wilt, has been detected in the borough of Brooklyn, Kings County and in the towns of Babylon, Islip, Riverhead, and Southold in Suffolk County. The disease was identified by the Cornell Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic after samples from symptomatic oak trees were collected by DEC Forest Health Technicians. Oak wilt had previously been found in Scotia, Schenectady County, until it was identified in Canandaigua, Ontario County, and Central Islip, Long Island earlier this year. Since then, reports of symptomatic oak trees from concerned tree care professionals, as well as the public, have led to the additional detections. The confirmation of the disease in Brooklyn marks the fourth county where oak wilt has been confirmed in New York. There is no known treatment to contain and kill the oak wilt fungus other than to remove the infected trees, as well as any surrounding host oak trees. At this time, DEC will remove and destroy oaks that have tested positive for the fungus. Testing for oak wilt must be done during the growing season when the fungus is active, so intensive sampling will take place across Kings, Nassau, and Suffolk counties starting next spring to determine the extent of the disease. Aerial surveys will be conducted beginning in July when signs of oak wilt will be most apparent. (December 29, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Plants in our area]

  • 12/30/2016 - Humanity is going to need more tools in their toolbox to monitor their behavior towards Climate Change. We know humanity is causing Climate Change; now we need to monitor our effect on Climate Change so we can adjust our behavior so we can live sustainably. This particular feedback mechanism is for farmers, but humanity needs many, many more ways to monitor our impact on our life support system. Online calculator cuts farms’ emissions An internet tool is now available that helps to quantify and control farms’ greenhouse emissions released during the crop production cycle. It’s called the Cool Farm Tool (CFT)  – an easy-to-use online calculator that helps farmers monitor their emissions of greenhouse gases. Agriculture accounts for about 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, though when fertiliser manufacture and use and the overall food processing sector are included in calculations, that figure is considerably higher.  The land can also act as a vital carbon sink, soaking up or sequestering vast amounts of carbon: when soils are disturbed the carbon is released, adding to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The CFT was initially developed by researchers at the University of Aberdeen in the UK in partnership with Unilever and the Sustainable Food Lab.  (December 26, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change and Plants in  our area]

  • 12/20/2016 - Some important observations on Climate Change from our long-time friend and environmentalist in the Rochester region, Audrey Newcomb: The December issue of Sifting & Winnowing: Sifting&WinnowingDec2016 "The sea study in Monet’s 1881 painting has the same mighty grandeur as oceans do now, except today’s oceans are being modifi ed by human-induced climate change. The ice that covers Antarctica’s methane gas is thinning. When it bursts, more frequent and more severe storms, fl oods, and droughts will be upon us. Melting Arctic permafrost (stored frozen soil) acidifi es oceans, harming phytoplankton, and on up the marine food chain. Greenland’s 4-times-bigger-than-California ice sheet melt will send sea levels up 20 feet."

  • 12/30/2016 - This new stage in Climate Change is likely to be anything but undramatic. We are now in a time when much of humanity is ready to address this crisis and many are deadest against actions that will result in a sustainable life support system. Meanwhile, physics and biology rule. Time passes. Don’t kill US climate plans, 15 states warn Trump Attorneys general from Democrat states and four sub-state jurisdictions say they will see the new president in court if he rips up low carbon policies Donald Trump’s threat to scrap a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector in office will trigger legal action, 15 attorneys general said in a letter sent on Thursday. Top legal advisors for New York, California, Virginia, Vermont and New Mexico are among those warning they will go to court if Trump uses his presidential powers to cancel the plan. (December 29, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/30/2016 - Like it or not what President Trump does or doesn’t do on Climate Change is now environmental news. We are soon entering a new era, a time when the window of opportunity for addressing Climate Change on a scale and time frame will matter is soon closing, a time when humanity should be prioritizing addressing this issue, and a time when our fate may be decided. Time passes. Four Critical Energy Issues to Watch in 2017 The U.S. may be on the cusp of a stark turning point in energy and climate policy with the election of Donald Trump, who has stocked his cabinet with a majority of people who doubt or reject established climate science. Top priorities of the Trump transition team and cabinet nominees — many who disregard the connection between global warming and fossil fuel energy use — include rolling back eight years of Obama administration climate regulations and restrictions on coal, oil and gas development. (December 29, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 12/29/2016 - Addressing Climate Change as our top priority is complex because it includes many other critical environmental threats, such as the loss of biodiversity. Allowing species to go extinct on the scale of the other five great extinction events on Earth will not only make our species more lonely, their loss will probably mean our demise. Wildlife are but one of the vital components of our ecosystems—forests, lakes, oceans, wetland, etc.—that constitutes our environment, our life support system. We have to solve a lot of environmental issues as we address Climate Change, which explains much of the urgency behind this crisis. Radical overhaul needed to halt Earth’s sixth great extinction event Growing numbers of scientists have asserted that our planet might soon see a sixth massive extinction — one driven by the escalating impacts of humanity. Life has existed on Earth for roughly 3.7 billion years. During that time we know of five mass extinction events — dramatic episodes when many, if not most, life forms vanished in a geological heartbeat. The most recent of these was the global calamity that claimed the dinosaurs and myriad other species around 66 million years ago. Growing numbers of scientists have asserted that our planet might soon see a sixth massive extinction — one driven by the escalating impacts of humanity. Others, such as the Danish economist Bjørn Lomborg, have characterised such claims as ill-informed fearmongering. We argue emphatically that the jury is in and the debate is over: Earth’s sixth great extinction has arrived. (December 28, 2016) Cosmos [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 12/29/2016 - Climate Nexus is a fantastic climate news resources. While on holiday now, they gear up on January 3rd for their daily listing of Climate Change news. It’s more important than ever to stay abreast of Climate Change news, and because of the recent elections probably less likely that this will be easier. Sign up for their emails and get this excellent resource: Climate Nexus Hot News.

  • 12/29/2016 - We should savor this moment as our EPA sticks to new energy standards.  It may be some time until this federal agency can act on our behalf anymore. The Trump administration may roll back these new standards, but at least at this moment we can remember what it’s like to have our priorities straight. Humanity, especially people in developed nations, often rail against environmental regulations believing them to be part of a conspiracy to keep businesses down. However, environmental regulations are an attempt to keep our sustainability up. It may oftentimes appear is if environmental regulations are haphazard, onerous to some industries, and downright impossible to understand. This is probably because these regulations are often fought tooth and nail at every legal stage, so what results is often messy. If we had a level playing field, a public and business attitude that a healthy life support system is our top priority, I suspect our environmental regulations would not seems as though they were counterproductive. Humanity needs to change its priorities where a healthy environment is first. “Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.”-- Carl Sagan EPA will not extend review of fuel efficiency standards Federal regulators will not extend their deadline for comments on strict fuel efficiency standards, effectively allowing them to finalize the standards before President Obama leaves office next year.  In a letter to manufacturers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected an industry request to continue reviewing a November determination from the EPA that reaffirmed the fuel standards.  The November decision keeps in place the 54.5 mile-per-gallon fuel economy target for vehicles in the 2025 model year. (December 22, 2016) The Hill [more on Energy in our area]

  • 12/29/2016 - Gotta wonder, what will happen to this story about Exxon, Climate Change, and Exxon’s chairman to lead the State Department? Will this story get more attention or less? Time passes. Renewable Energy: An Exxon Investigation Given Second Life as Trump Taps Exec for Cabinet In 2015, Neela Banerjee, John H. Cushman Jr., David Hasemyer and Lisa Song of Inside Climate News spent close to a year producing “Exxon: The Road Not Taken” -- a comprehensive portrait of four decades of the oil giant’s relationship with climate science. The reporting showed, among other things, how Exxon lobbied against action on greenhouse gases. The work won an array of awards and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service, and the hard-won reporting has renewed relevance now that Exxon’s chairman and chief executive officer, Rex Tillerson, has been picked by President-elect Donald J. Trump to lead the State Department. (December 23, 2016) ProPublica [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/29/2016 - At this point in time, individual actions to address Climate Change are effective if they are scalable to a planetary level. Back in the day, we could have fooled ourselves that only our individual actions, like changing our light bulbs, would help address Climate Change by not wasting energy. And while this is important, we now know this isn’t enough. We must now take actions that will get everyone to change their light bulbs to very efficient light bulbs—and a whole lot more. Our actions to address Climate Change must be part of a concerted planetary effort if we mean to make the changes necessary. Here are some good ideas in that direction: 5 Things To Do About Climate Change, Just In Time For The New Year After I wrote What a Trump Presidency Means for Fighting Climate Change, a colleague suggested that I write an article with “5 concrete examples of on-the-ground things people can do.” I’ve been mulling that over. You can readily find lists online of 5 things, 10 things, 50 and more things to do about climate change. Many excellent suggestions. Nearly all of them call for individual actions. Things that you can do to reduce your personal carbon footprint. Individual actions are important. We learn through personal experience what works and what doesn’t, what’s easy and what’s hard. We prove change is feasible. We demonstrate our seriousness by walking the talk. We help motivate others to act. We move the needle, even if just a bit, in the direction that we need to move as a society. (December 28, 2016) Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/28/2016 - Check out The Banner, this week. It’s a very informative newsletter from We Are Seneca Lake about assaults on our environment and Climate Change. I’m thinking that for a while, it’s going to be more difficult to find out what’s going on locally about our environment and Climate Change in our region—and around the country. We need to focus on our life support system and the worldwide crisis of Climate Change more than ever. Not forget about it because of a bad election. Our window of opportunity to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter is quickly closing.  

  • 12/28/2016 - You have to ask yourself, why would some countries feel the urgency to address Climate Change and some don’t? Why would some countries attempt strong measures to curb greenhouse gasses and some try to turn back progress on reducing GHGs and ramp up fossil fuels? Climate Change is science, not politics. What if one country decided that it was sick and tired of gravity and would just start back-tracking on that? It might, for example, refuse to take efforts to maintain our existing transportation infrastructure because they might believe that cars should just be able to float above the ground. Highways are expensive, so instead of putting a lot of money into keeping them in proper repair, why not just change your mind about gravity altogether so that you have a world where roads and bridges aren’t necessary? What if we just picked and chose our science and lived accordingly. Oh yeah, right, the US is going to try that. Time passes.  Ontario set to tackle climate change with cap-and-trade launch on Jan. 1 On the first day of the new year, Ontario will launch its cap-and-trade system on carbon in a bid to vault the province to the front lines of the battle against climate change. It is the centrepiece of the Wynne government’s Climate Change Action Plan, meant not only to meet tough targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions but to spark a sweeping transition to a low-carbon society by changing the way Ontarians get around, heat their homes and run their businesses. (December 27, 2016) Globe and Mail [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 12/28/2016 - This evidence seems shaky and we need more of it but this seems likely: “ongoing climate change brings shifts in species distributions”. Given half a chance, many Wildlife could adapt to Climate Change as they have other climate changes. But this warming event is happening very quickly and oftentimes Wildlife are blocked by human development and highways. There should be local news about how our Wildlife will adapt (or whether they can) to Climate Change here in the Rochester, NY area. Our media should be pressing our environmental agencies about this and informing the public. Jackal adopts warmer Bohemian lifestyle Czech camera traps capture first evidence of new golden jackal settlement as ongoing climate change brings shifts in species distributions. Scientists in the Czech Republic have identified a potential beneficiary of climate change: a golden jackal, mostly identified with India and northern Africa, has been observed living in a new home just 40 kilometres from the capital city, Prague. When Klára Pyšková began her master’s degree at the department of ecology at Charles University in Prague, she was just making a study of carnivore species in habitats typical for a central European landscape. She certainly wasn’t looking for Canis aureus, also known as the Asiatic or common jackal, a wild, scavenging omnivore adapted to tropical and subtropical zones. (December 28, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/27/2016 - One of the most baffling aspects of climate denial is the possibility that these folks who don’t believe climate scientists might be wrong. I mean, even if there is a scintilla of chance that humanity might have triggered some climatic changes that would put our existence (and all other beings, for that matter) on an unsustainable path, wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to find out from the experts whether there’s even a possibility that the experts might be right? Wouldn’t you want to seriously check it out? Climate denial is like a space traveler cruising around the galaxy in a spaceship and thinking that the loud noise she heard striking the hull probably didn’t poke a hole in the ship. It’s possible that the thing that hit her spaceship didn’t put a big hole in the ship and start letting a lot of her air supply, but wouldn’t she at least check her control panel and get up out of the space seat and check it out? Climate denial is so weird. Especially now that we are already experiencing a lot of the consequences experts said we would back in the day. This Year’s Extreme Weather Was One For The Books A look back at the country’s most disastrous weather of 2016. The past year was scorching hot, freezing cold, soaking wet and consumed in flames ― and it’s just a sneak peek of what’s to come if we don’t change our course on energy, scientists say. Some of climate change’s more dire potential effects ― cities submerged by rising sea levels, accelerated mass extinctions, a ruined global economy ― haven’t happened yet, at least not in a way that feels immediate to our daily lives. But more intense and more frequent extreme weather is a consequence we’re experiencing right now.  Here are some of the biggest climate events the U.S. experienced in 2016: (December 22, 2016) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/27/2016 - Instead of fossil fuel whack-a-mole, when one dirty energy project gets stopped and so the fossil fuel industry shifts to another (perhaps worse form), we should be moving to renewable energy. Of course, fossil fuel proponents like blame the increases in Bomb Trains (dangerous crude oil trains that carry volatile Bakken crude oil through our neighborhoods) on environmental activist, saying that when activists stop big pipeline infrastructures the fossil fuel industry then has to ship more fossil fuels by even more dangerous and environmentally unfriendly methods. Well, no they don’t. We can shift to cleaner, far less dangerous methods of energy, instead of shifting to just another fossil fuel project. And we can do it quickly, And we can do it inexpensively. And we can do so with retraining workers and providing new jobs. When we truly appreciate the priority and urgency of shifting to renewables, we will do it. But by the time it gets to the point where our addiction to fossil fuels has drilled us too far in the ground to get ourselves out, it will be too late.  Time passes. With Dakota Access in limbo, more Bakken crude to move on trains As oil prices recover and U.S. shale production picks up, energy companies that had planned to ship crude on the Dakota Access Pipeline will turn to rail, a transport method that poses its own risks to the environment and local communities. Sunday's decision by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny Energy Transfer Partners an easement to complete the line means shippers who expected to see another 570,000 barrels of daily Bakken pipeline capacity in 2017 will have to find new ways to move supply. Rail comprises nearly 65 percent of total crude export capacity in the Bakken, but is currently underutilized because it is more costly and less efficient. In September, only 29 percent of total Bakken oil production moved by rail, according to the latest figures from the North Dakota Pipeline Authority. (December 22, 2016) Reuters [more on Energy and Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 12/26/2016 - My guess for the biggest environmental event for 2017 is an event that will go sight unseen as Climate Change reveals unknown unknowns. Though, it may be years before this event catapults to the headline of our media because our media, and even our scientists, are playing catch-up, as they try to figure how out how Climate Change is affecting our life support system. By creating Climate Change and not addressing past environmental abuses—overpopulation, over-consumerism, pollution, loss of biodiversity, the spread of invasive species, and creating the Sixth Great Extinction—and purposely blinding ourselves to how our planet’s ecosystems actually work, we have set up a phenomenon where we cannot anticipate many crucial environmental events. Humanity’s inability to prioritize Climate Change, an existential threat, where many of the important benchmarks go by without our noticing may be our undoing. What will be the big environment events in 2017? From air pollution to Trump and wildlife extinction, we look at the major environmental issues for the year ahead After five years of false starts and delays, 2017 will see exploratory fracking for shale gas begin in earnest in England. The first wells will likely be drilled in Lancashire and Yorkshire by the summer, and Cuadrilla, Third Energy and other companies will hope to confirm commercially viable quantities of the gas by the end of the year. With only 17% of people in Britain in favour of fracking, local and national protests are certain. Brexit negotiations will affect farming subsidies and possibly all European nature protection laws, including those for birds and habitats, air and water pollution, GM foods and animal welfare. If ministers attempt to roll back or trade off decades of environmental regulation, as some have threatened, they are likely to meet the most intense opposition. (December 25, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/26/2016 - Climate Change can be hard to see unless climate experts help you visualize what’s happening. Humanity might want to match what they see here with our actions in the coming years, the years where the window of opportunity to address this crisis is quickly closing. 11 GIFs That Show the Effects of Climate Change Sometimes nothing's as good as just showing people the GIFs. Some of the effects of climate change are tough to spot. Higher sea levels, when viewed from the shore, are pretty tough to prove. And while scientific evidence showing this year is the hottest ever should be irrefutable, all it takes is a cold snap in the Buffalo for politicians — who, let’s be real, are the recipients of fossil fuel campaign contributions — to cast doubt or start saying “there’s room for debate.” (Can you imagine if they said there was “room for debate” in a statistics class?) Sometimes nothing’s as good as just showing people the visual evidence, as the animated GIFs — the internet’s preferred image type — below do with such damning efficacy. “The glaciers are melting!” sounds like a cliche, until you see the GIFs. (December 21, 2016) inverse [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/26/2016 - Excellent podcast on Warm Regards ‏@ourwarmregards about how to communicate Climate Change, including scaling your individual efforts. The time has come when our individual efforts to address Climate Change must scale-up so they will actually matter. Warm Regards Podcast On humanizing science | This week, we’re talking with Dr. Jonathan Foley, executive director at the California Academy of Sciences. The California Academy bills itself as the greenest museum on the planet and one of the most future-focused scientific institutions in the world. He's the author of over 130 scientific articles and has had numerous accolades from the nation's most respected scientific institutions, not only for his global change research, but also his commitment to public outreach, including popular articles in National Geographic, The New York Times, and Scientific American. (December 5, 2016) Warm Regards [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/24/2016 - Why should you in Rochester, NY care if glaciers are melting because of Climate Change in some far-off place you cannot even pronounce? We haven’t had glaciers in 13, 000 years and we seem to have done just fine without them. Two miles of ice sitting on your property, who needs it? One of the aspects of Climate Change that should have died out years ago is playing dumb on this worldwide crisis. There has been more than enough information by scientists, governments, environmental agencies, and many more creditable sources that something profound in our lifetime has begun to occur—a quick warming of our climate that will have profound implications all over the world—even Rochester. Playing dumb, pretending Climate Change is just a hoax, is beyond immoral and wrong. It’s unsustainable. Warming is Sending Mountain Glaciers ‘Off a Cliff’ Photos showing the jarring, sometimes miles-long, retreat of mountain glaciers have long been emblems of the often stark changes wrought by Earth’s rising temperature. But while scientists could draw a line from human-caused warming to glacier loss on a global scale, attributing any one glacier’s retreat to climate change has been difficult because of relatively short records and glaciers’ large natural variations. (December 21, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/24/2016 - We haven’t heard much news on the invasive species, the Asian Carp (where there are actually 3 species), and it makes me wonder how the public perceives environmental news. For many years now, the media, scientists, and environmentalists have been warning the public and government officials that the Asian Carp may present a major threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem if they are able to enter the larges fresh water system in the world via the Mississippi River. The public hears a lot about this threat then the news dies off and we forget about it. Acid Rain was an issue for a long time, where Adirondack ponds were acidifying from coal-burning power plants in the mid-US, and now that issue too seems to have died away—presumable solved and nothing more to worry our little heads about. However, both Asian Carp threat and Acid Rain are still issues we must address, as they are still threats to some of our ecosystems. Just because our media turns its eyes away from an environmental issue for a while does not mean that issue has gone away. Most of the time, because these issues don’t continually present themselves as “news”, as spectacular immediate interest items, our present media drops these stories and forgets about them or waits until something attractive about the issue gains their attention again. The trouble with this traditional kind of press coverage on our environment is that this strategy has allowed many environmental issues to ratchet up and get much worse because we’ve allowed our attention to veer away. We need a media that reaches the public and continually informs them on the state of our life support system—so the public can vote accordingly and back efforts to keep our environment sustainable. Our present form of media is failing us. And we need a better monitoring, information system to keep our attention on our environment, which is undergoing dramatic changes. Invasive Asian carp less than 50 miles from Lake Michigan The news is mixed as Great Lake states and the federal government continue to devote money and brainpower to stopping a potential Great Lakes ecological disaster — invasive Asian carp species making their way from the Mississippi River into Lake Michigan. First the good news: The leading edge of the mass of bighead and silver carp hasn't made much progress lately up the Mississippi and connected rivers toward Lake Michigan. (December 23, 2016) Detroit Free Press [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/24/2016 - If you’ve read the previous three National Climate Assessments, “which includes 13 Federal agencies responsible for coordinating climate-science research, oversees the assessment process” (White House Notice), then you know how rigorous and comprehensive and compelling these official reports from the US federal government are. The U.S. Global Change Research Program is now releasing for public comment a draft for the fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4). These National Climate Assessments are not something President Obama cooked up to push a liberal agenda. Actually, “President Ronald Reagan created—and Congress in 1990 codified—the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP or Program), charged with providing a “comprehensive and integrated United States research program to assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” THE NATIONAL GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PLAN 2012–2021 This is all to say that one must wonder how the new in-coming federal administration is going to handle such an avalanche of official material and actions on Climate Change that our government has already put together and accomplished. Besides the immorality of such a thing, how does a government unravel decades of information gathering and action on addressing the most important crisis of our age? If you haven’t read even one of the National Climate Assessments, consider reading the last one to get a sense of the material and who provided it for the America public. Will this material be gone soon? On Climate Change, Obama Lays Down a Scientific Gauntlet for Trump Administration Unveiling a sobering state-of-the-climate report, President Obama makes clear the dire consequences of unabated global  As if parading its best evidence against an expected onslaught of climate denial, the Obama Administration released on Thursday an updated compendium of the accepted science about global warming. The science review is intended to guide the preparation of the government's next National Climate Assessment, a periodic comprehensive report scheduled to be released in in 2018. The last assessment was published in 2014.  (December 23,2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/23/2016 - This Christmas that special gift for all your loved ones who want a future: Talk about Climate Change and mention the melting Arctic. The gift of a sustainable future is the best gift of all because… North Pole expected to reach 50 degrees warmer than normal Temperatures are expected to climb to just below the freezing point on Thursday, much higher than is usual during an Arctic winter. Just a few days before Christmas, Santa may have to take off a few layers to stay comfortable at the North Pole. According to current weather models, the Arctic is going to be unseasonably warm later this week, with air temperatures climbing to just under the freezing point (32 degrees F.) on Thursday. While that may seem plenty chilly, it's sweltering by Arctic standards, about 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for this time of year. While anomalous warm days have always been possible – weather everywhere can have odd short-term fluctuations – some indicators suggest that unseasonable warmth at the North Pole is becoming more frequent due to global climate change and melting ice. (December 21, 2016) Christian Science Monitor [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/23/2016 - The story of 19th-century German scientist Alexander von Humboldt answers the question: When did humanity know about how our life support system works and when did we know it? Even though Humboldt was (very) popular around the world, shortly after his death his findings about our environment (including some great observations about Climate Change) fell out of our favor in our collective attention because his views were irreconcilable with humanity’s craze for rapidly advancing our industrial development. Imagine how better off we would be if we had baked in Humboldt’s scrupulous observations on our environment into our attitude about ‘growth’. We are not on a sustainable path but maybe we would be now if we had listened to the voices in the past about our life support system. Consider reading biographer Andrea Wulf’s book on Humboldt, The Invention of Nature. I found it breathtaking about how much was revealed about the workings of our ecosystems two hundred years ago. Humanity since has made some very bad choices because we failed to get our priorities straight. The Legacy of the Man Who  Changed Our View of Nature The 19th-century German scientist Alexander von Humboldt popularized the concept that the natural world is interconnected. In a Yale e360 interview, biographer Andrea Wulf explains how Humboldt’s vision helped create modern environmentalism. He was a fearless world traveler, a polymath whose expertise included botany, geography, geology, and more. He viewed nature as a web of life, and, in a conclusion stunning in its prescience, he named deforestation and “the great masses of steam and gas produced by industry” as the causes of climate change.  The name of the 19th-century Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt has remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world in the modern era.  Antonina Gern Andrea Wulf But historian Andrea Wulf, in her best-selling book The Invention of Nature, aims to return Humboldt to his rightful place as, in her words, “the father of environmentalism.”  (December 21, 2016) Yale: Environment 360

  • 12/23/2016 - Rochester’s own Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) finds that Lake Ontario has 3 million pounds of plastics flow into it every year. “Great Lakes get 22 million pounds of plastics annually.” The Great Lakes as a whole get a lot more plastics in them than any thought, mostly because until the discovery of plastics in the ocean and microbeads in our lakes, we didn’t think to look. This revelation about the incredible amount of plastics entering into the largest fresh water system in the world highlights how little we are actually searching for the impacts of our developed, industrial life on our ecosystems. If we were constantly looking, assuming that industrial waste would eventually end up in our environment, how could we have missed such an enormous amount of plastic waste in the Great Lakes? You can also find this story in RIT’s University News. Also, a quick Google search shows that the Rochester Business Journal covered this story, but no other local media posted this story—as far as I know. If so, this lack of informing the public on so important a matter is a serious breach of our media’s responsibilities. The public needs to know about the state of our region’s water quality and a whole lot more in in order to plan for the future. What else are we missing about the state of our environment? Our environment is our life support system so why wouldn’t we want to know how it is functioning? Time passes. Great Lakes get 22 million pounds of plastics annually A new study by Rochester Institute of Technology estimates that nearly 22 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes every year. Scientists at the university worked to track and inventory where and how much plastic enters the lakes and where it goes then, with their results now published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. "This study is the first picture of the true scale of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes," said Matthew Hoffman, assistant professor in RIT's School of Mathematical Sciences and an author of the report. (December 21, 2016) Duluth News Tribune [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/22/2016 - Despite US election results and a strong El Niño earlier this year, our incredibly hot year was caused by Climate Change, which is to say us. The U.S. Has Been Overwhelmingly Hot This Year In a politically divisive year, there’s been one tie that has bound most of the U.S. together. We all live in the United States of Warming (USW! USW! USW!). In all likelihood, the U.S. is going to have its second-hottest year on record, trailing only 2012. Every state is slated to have a top 10 warmest year and even at the city level, unrelenting warmth has been the main story in 2016. Climate Central conducted an analysis of more than 1,730 weather stations across the Lower 48 that include daily temperature data up until Dec. 15. A paltry 2 percent are having a colder-than-normal year. That leaves 98 percent running above normal. Not only that, 10 percent of those weather stations are having their hottest year on record. (December 21, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/22/2016 - In one sense suing the EPA over Lake Erie because of “excessive algal-forming phosphorus” is Kafkaesque because the EPA has been the one federal agency that has been harping on the relationship between Climate Change and the increase in “excessive algal-forming phosphorus” for years. Check out this 3-page announcement by the EPA Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms  May 2013 US Environmental Protection Agency  But now “a coalition of environmental, fishing, and conservation groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to take enough action.” For a long time now there has been plenty of warnings in climate studies and in our federal agencies that Climate Change was going to adversely affect our environment, including increasing algae in our lakes, in part because of warmer waters. We now have harmful algae outbreaks in several of our Finger Lakes recently. Our media, especially our local media, has been very reticent about explaining the relationship between Climate Change and the increase in algae outbreaks and now groups want to sue the very organizations that have put out this warning. What makes all this truly Kafkaesque is that the new federal administration is going to dramatically change the EPA by installing a climate denier to lead the EPA. Which is to say, the opportunity to sue the EPA over Climate Change related consequences is going to be vanishingly small, very soon. Because we have dallied so long in addressing Climate Change, we may have missed many critical opportunities to address this crisis on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes. Coalition sues U.S. EPA over Lake Erie Several groups call out agency’s failure to act to save waterway The campaign to get western Lake Erie declared as a federally impaired body of water took on a new twist on Tuesday with an announcement that a coalition of environmental, fishing, and conservation groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to take enough action. The notice was sent Monday by Alliance for the Great Lakes, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, Lake Erie Foundation, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, National Wildlife Federation, and the Ohio Environmental Council. The groups contend the agency has an obligation under the federal Clean Water Act to make the optimal effort to save Lake Erie from toxic algae, which they believe can best be accomplished with a special designation that could open up more funding and better coordinate restoration efforts. (September 21, 2016) The Blade [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/22/2016 - Fee-fi-fo-fum, Trump’s presidential transition team smells the scent of wasted US money going to address Climate Change. Be it sound or be it wasted they’ll crush the funds to make their bread. We’ve entered a very bad fairy tale where the ending may not turn out so well. Trump team asks State Dept. what it spends on international environmental efforts Donald Trump’s presidential transition team has asked State Department officials to disclose how much money it provides each year to international environmental groups. It’s the latest example of how the incoming administration is reassessing the U.S. government’s approach to tackling climate change and other environmental priorities. As part of a list of questions posed last week to the department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, according to multiple people familiar with the matter, the Trump landing team asked, “How much does the Department of State contribute annually to international environmental organizations in which the department participates?” (December 20, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/21/2016 - Quite an indictment, the NYS DEC says EPA didn’t do enough to make sure the Hudson River cleanup was adequate. This Hudson River PCB contamination issue has gone on a long time, through many legal, public protest, industry refusals and many, many hurdles and still the job isn’t done. Imagine a world where environment regulations are even less stringent and less popular. DEC's Independent Analysis Finds EPA's Hudson River Cleanup Fails to Protect Human Health and the Environment New Report Challenges Effectiveness of EPA's Remedy for PCB Cleanup DEC calls on EPA to expand PCB investigation to Lower Hudson, renews call for additional sampling to ensure legitimate Hudson River PCB cleanup The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released an independent report on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) review of the cleanup of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Hudson River(PDF, 221 KB). Using EPA's guidance, DEC finds the cleanup is not protective of the public or the environment. In an effort to improve the cleanup, New York State sent a letter with the report to EPA (PDF, 248 KB)prior to EPA's anticipated release of its Five Year Review in 2017. Using EPA criteria for the agency's five year Superfund reviews, DEC determined that high concentrations of PCBs remain in fish in portions of the Hudson River resulting in human health and ecological risks in excess of EPA's acceptable risk range. DEC also found that, as highlighted in a previous Five Year Review, higher than anticipated sediment concentrations will remain after dredging, indicating that the targeted reductions in fish PCB concentrations will not be achieved in the time frames EPA relied upon when choosing the remedial plan for the Hudson River. "It's simple. DEC is calling on the EPA to finish the job and hold GE accountable for cleaning up the Hudson River," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "If EPA won't do the job and protect New Yorkers and the environment, DEC is ready to step in and lead." (December 20, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/21/2016 - Great course coming up from The Rochester Area Vegan Society:  "Course explores benefits of vegan diet The Rochester Area Vegan Society will present "A Plant-Based Diet: Eating for Happiness and Health," a six-week course taught by Dr. Ted Barnett, a radiologist with Unity Health and medical director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine. The course outlines the benefits of plant diets for human health, and how they help create a sustainable planet. Food samples and recipes will be provided, as well as references to current scientific findings. The course will be taught two times, with the first six-week class meeting on Tuesdays, from January 3 through February 7, 2017, at 6:15 p.m., at the Jewish Community Center, 1200 Edgewood Avenue. The second round of classes will be held on Wednesdays, February 22 through April 5, at 6:15 p.m., at Highland Hospital. Cost: $150. Information: here."  (from Rochester City Newspaper Urban Action)

  • 12/21/2016 - Read “The Banner” an incredibly informative newsletter about Climate Change and fossil fuels, from We Are Seneca Lake. Increasingly, it is critical that the public get their news about Climate Change from other sources other than mainstream media and our government. Of course, it would be better to get such critical information from our mainstream media and our government, but our media and now our government seem to have another agenda other than sticking to science and protecting the public. Our media wants your money and our government will soon want you to accept their ideology. Time passes. Massive North Dakota Oil Spill Still Not Cleaned Up 3 Years Later In September 2013, a Tesoro Corp. pipeline ruptured in a wheat field near Tioga, North Dakota, spewing 840,000 gallons of fracked oil from the Bakken Shale, causing one of the biggest onshore oil spills in recent U.S. history. More than three years later, only a third of the spill has been recovered. To make matters worse, as the Associated Press reported, Tesoro has not even set a date for clean-up completion despite 'round-the-clock work to fix the break. (December 19, 2016) EcoWatch [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 12/21/2016 - Will Americans under Trump’s climate denial thumb have to surf over to other countries to get the truth about Climate Change? Most of our mainstream media has been appallingly reticent about informing the public properly of the science behind Climate Change. So many of us who appreciate the importance of monitoring the information necessary in order to plan properly to address Climate Change have for decades gone to official websites like NASA, NOAA, US Forest Service, National Climate Assessment, and many others for up-to-date accurate information on what Climate Change is, what it means for policy makers, what changes are happening, what changes are coming down the tube, and how each of our federal agencies are going to address Climate Change through their offices. I covered the potential loss of one of our countries most important public Climate Change documents in my last newsletter: “Get EPA’s climate indicators 2016 while you can”. Even if the public hasn’t taken the trouble to explore these federal public information websites about Climate Change themselves, many of the responsible media who have tried to properly inform the public do monitor these websites both for critical information and how our federal government is going to interpret that information. Because the US doesn’t hold the only information about the science of Climate Change, we still can go to other nations’ websites on Climate Change and glean what we can about the science of Climate Change. But it will be increasing hard, I suspect, to find out what our government is and isn’t doing to address Climate Change. It’s tragic that we have come to a time when we won’t be able to trust our federal government for accurate information on Climate Change. A lot of voters really made a bad decision and now we all are going to suffer for it. Time passes. Public Climate Information Threatened Under Trump Google “climate change” and the top two hits are websites that are part of NASA’s online climate portal, followed by a Wikipedia entry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s climate website. Websites maintained by the federal government are among the first online stops for the general public — from students, local policymakers and everyone else — to learn about climate change. There is rising concern among scientists and climate communications experts that those websites may be among the first to be deleted, politicized or degraded with inaccurate climate information after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, all of which would impact the public’s understanding of the science and urgency of climate change. (December 20, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/21/2016 - For perhaps a brief moment longer, our politics and science agree: protecting fragile ecosystems like the Arctic are critical for addressing Climate Change. Time passes. Obama Bars Arctic Drilling Ahead of Trump Inauguration The Obama administration on Tuesday put vast swaths of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans off limits to oil and gas drilling to protect marine life, address climate change and safeguard the areas from development after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January. At the same time, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will designate all Arctic Ocean waters under Canadian control as indefinitely off limits to future offshore oil and gas development. (December 20, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/20/2016 - When US climate scientists fear to do their job in our country, WE have a PROBLEM. How did we get to this state of absurdity? Too many people, too many intelligent people, allowed this to happen. There are so many parallels to our present state of fear for the truth and 1930’s Germany. That Science could be in jeopardy in one of the most advanced countries in the world seems so implausible and absurd—and yet this kind of reversal in a nation’s judgment has happened before. This present state of affairs didn’t just happen to us, we have failed to get our priorities straight. Time passes. I’m a scientist who has gotten death threats. I fear what may happen under Trump. Michael E. Mann is a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. He co-authored, with Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles, “The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy.” My Penn State colleagues looked with horror at the police tape across my office door. I had been opening mail at my desk that afternoon in August 2010 when a dusting of white powder fell from the folds of a letter. I dropped the letter, held my breath and slipped out the door as swiftly as I could, shutting it behind me. First I went to the bathroom to scrub my hands. Then I called the police. (December 16, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/20/2016 - When the US public loses faith in the science and the scientists behind Climate Change, the public loses the sense of urgency and priority of this crisis. Then it becomes (at least for the US) an attempt to address the consequences of Climate Change—more extreme weather, failing quality of our public health, and the collapse of ecosystems—without getting at the fundamental problem of a quickly changing world environment. This will cause our country to be throwing money at myriad problems in the wrong direction. But even this isn’t the whole story because the rest of the world is not on board with climate denial and will be doing their utmost to address Climate Change without their most important player. Climate Scientists Fear Trump May Fatally Undermine Their Work Scientists say some of the transition team's moves are unprecedented Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election shocked climate scientists and policymakers after a campaign in which Trump had suggested—falsely—that climate change was a hoax and vowed to largely undo federal and international measures aimed at addressing global warming. Nonetheless, climate advocates took solace in the days following the election, noting that the market forces largely responsible for the shift away from coal and the incontrovertible science supporting climate regulations would remain true regardless of who was President. But in the six weeks since the election, Trump’s transition team has suggested that the incoming administration will not simply challenge the Obama administration’s policies but will also launch an attempt to undermine the years of science underpinning them. Such an effort could have major implications for the credibility of U.S. government data—and the ability of the world to fight global warming. (December 19, 2016) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/20/2016 - Plants and wildlife are ‘moving’ best they can in response to Climate Change, often extincting them from their former habitats. “This does not mean that species have become extinct: the effects are local. Amphibian species that once frequented particular ponds and streams have slipped away, meadow wildflowers have migrated, and once-familiar butterflies and bees have flown favourite nesting places, all in response to global warming.” Global warming already causing local extinctions Almost half of plant and animal species have experienced local extinctions due to climate change, research reveals, with the tropics suffering the most pronounced loss. Climate change is already beginning to alter the natural world. A study of 976 plant and animal species worldwide – freshwater, terrestrial and marine – reveals that local extinctions have happened in 47% of their natural ranges. This does not mean that species have become extinct: the effects are local. Amphibian species that once frequented particular ponds and streams have slipped away, meadow wildflowers have migrated, and once-familiar butterflies and bees have flown favourite nesting places, all in response to global warming. (December 20, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/19/2016 - Counties don’t NEED coal when they increase their ‘clean energy capacity’. India to halt building new coal plants in 2022 Draft government plan finds no need for new coal stations beyond those already under construction, calls for massive renewable energy push India needs no extra coal power stations until at least 2027, according to the government’s latest draft National Electricity Plan.2 The plan, released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for public consultation, makes no room for further generation capacity beyond the 50GW coal fleet that is under construction. (December 16, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/19/2016 - Imagine the how many more houses and business would be using renewable energy (Wind and Solar) if they got as much in subsidies as the fossil fuel industry? Imagine how much further we would be towards addressing Climate Change if our future wasn’t being hijacked by the fossil fuel industry. Check this out: “For the last several years, President Obama has proposed eliminating $4 billion in oil and gas subsidies from the U.S. budget. While these are nowhere near the entirety of the subsidies that this mature and very profitable industry enjoys, they are some of the most obvious. But Congress has never even considered approving President Obama’s budget cuts to subsidies.” (Oil Change International Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels) Wind Power Enjoys Rebirth as Solar’s Obstacles Mount A year after Congress extended generous tax credits for renewable energy projects, the U.S. wind industry is thriving. Solar power companies, meanwhile, are hunkering down for a rough 2017. The tax credit renewal has boosted the long-term outlooks for both industries. But in the short term, the subsidies are far more attractive for wind power, which has spurred utilities to launch wind projects while they scale back or delay solar installations.  Advances in wind turbine technology are also opening up new locations for development and driving a wave of spending to upgrade existing projects.(December 18, 2016) Climate Central [more on Solar Power and Wind Power in our area]

  • 12/17/2017 - New NASA three-dimensional animation showing carbon dioxide emissions is almost like being there. For that, go outside. It is important for climate experts to model climate change interesting and accurately as possible for the public. This information should compel the public to take action but not hypnotize them with the medium. Video: NASA produces first 3D animation of global carbon emissions NASA, the US space agency, has released an “eye-popping” three-dimensional animation showing carbon dioxide emissions moving through the Earth’s atmosphere over the course of a year. It says the 3-D visualisation is “one of the most realistic views yet” of the “complex patterns in which carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, decreases and moves around the globe”. The data used to produce the visualisation was collected by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite from September 2014 to September 2015. The data was then modelled and visualised by the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. (December 14, 2016 Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/17/2016 - With the last US election, humanity didn’t just take a step backward. It did so over a cliff. The US has legitimized an unscientific miasma that threatens to choke off our future. Environmental groups need to switch tactics because continually trying to find common ground with those who disagree with environmental regulations and accurate scientific information on our climate will render environmental groups complicit in the great step backward. Climate Denial Rides Trump's Coattails to a Roaring Comeback On the brink of irrelevance just a year ago, the conservatives who out-and-out deny man-made global warming now have major roles in the Trump administration. As the nation heads toward a Donald Trump presidency, environmental advocates and their political allies are grappling with a presence set to loom large in the nation's policy-making. It's a set of viewpoints that had been teetering on the edge of irrelevance under President Obama: the resurgent climate denial movement. Over the last month, that viewpoint not only rushed back into the mainstream, it threatens to dominate Trump's cabinet. He has filled his transition team and top energy and environment posts (among others) with a litany of climate science denialists who oppose government action on global warming, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (Department of Energy)Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (Environmental Protection Agency), and Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke (Department of Interior). (December 15, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/17/2016 - First of all, in order to address Climate Change, businesses, government, and individuals need up-to-date and accurate information. Secondly, there needs to be a climate not hostile to science. How to make a profit from defeating climate change From rising sea levels to more severe storms and more intense droughts, climate change will present serious risks to, and create major opportunities for, nearly every industry. Citizens, consumers, businesses, governments, and international organisations are all taking action. And entrepreneurs are developing disruptive technologies that will create and destroy value. The challenge is that investors currently don’t have the information they need to respond to these developments. This must change if financial markets are going to do what they do best: allocate capital to manage risks and seize new opportunities. Without the necessary information, market adjustments to climate change will be incomplete, late and potentially destabilising. (December 14, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/17/2016 - This isn’t all that comforting: East Antarctica ice sheet isn’t unstable: just that it could become unstable. It’s like saying, your car tires aren’t falling off right now but they could at some point. This would be enough information for me to take the car in and have it serviced. East Antarctic icesheet unsettles science Scientists now believe that the East Antarctic ice sheet could become unstable, a discovery with potentially serious global implications. East Antarctica, the supposedly stable sheet of ice that makes up the greater part of the Southern Continent, may not be so stable after all. Scientists from the Netherlands have identified a mechanism that can trigger melting deep in the huge ice shelf. And an international team of researchers has found that the planet’s single greatest body of ice is not just vulnerable to disintegration, but has played a dynamic role in natural climate change for at least 8,000 years. (December 17, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/16/2016 - Even in New York State, where we banned Fracking, we still need to reduce our natural gas use in order to address Climate Change. This story highlights how difficult it is to stop fossil fuel infrastructures that warm our planet because Climate Change is a planetary problem. Stopping fossil fuel infrastructures in one place but continuing to import fossil fuels from other place is not sustainable. Two years into fracking ban, use of natural gas rising Two years ago, the state banned hydrofracking of natural gas within the state’s borders. But a group of Cornell scientists who study the effects of climate change say New Yorkers are using more natural gas than ever. In December of 2014, Governor Cuomo’s Administration decided not to allow hydrofracking within New York’s borders. But two years later, scientists and professors from Cornell University say the state’s use of natural gas is on the rise, and has increased by 18%, with over 500,000 new business and residential customers signing up for gas service. Bob Howarth is a Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology at Cornell and has studied climate change for three decades. (December 14, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Fracking and Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 12/16/2016 - Humanity cannot live on Bullshit alone: To address Climate Change we need lots of expert data. This, among many, many other scientific data gathering efforts on changes in our environment is critical: “calculating the most precise estimates yet for the amount of water contained in the world’s 1.42 million lakes.” McGill database will help climate-change experts track world's lakes When it comes to lake water, some McGill University geographers are in deep. They spent the past three years calculating the most precise estimates yet for the amount of water contained in the world’s 1.42 million lakes. And ecologists, climate-change experts and other scientists are about to reap the benefits of their research, published Thursday in the journal Nature Communications. Most lakes have been mapped but “one thing that was completely missing was the volume of lake water,” said senior author Bernhard Lehner, an associate professor in McGill’s geography department. (December 15, 2016) Montreal Gazette [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/16/2016 - Starting to lose your faith in Science and Climate Change because of Rochester’s recent spate of cold and snow? Quick, get a science fix. Feeling a Chill? Blame the Polar Vortex. And Global Warming. On Thursday, temperatures on the East Coast are expected to plummet, and some people — fellow journalists and weather broadcasters, we’re looking at you — may start talking about a “polar vortex.” We thought you might want to know what the polar vortex is, and what it’s not. (And we wanted to pre-empt the inevitable chatter about climate change that usually crops up when the thermometer drops — “It’s bone-shakingly cold, how could the Earth be warming?” We’ll tell you how.) First, the polar vortex always exists. That catchy, extreme-sounding phrase is another term for the polar jet streams, which are caused by low-pressure and cold air, encircling both poles. They swirl from west to east, centered around the poles. (December 15, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/16/2016 - From our friends over at Toxics Targeting: "Nationwide gas/oil production recently skyrocketed to the highest levels in 45 years due to shale fracking. As a result, America became the biggest gas/oil producer on the planet. IN CONTRAST, NEW YORK LED THE NATION IN CUTTING NATURAL GAS AND OIL PRODUCTION BETWEEN 2007 and 2015 according to state and federal data. Thanks to our relentless efforts, New York's production of natural gas plunged 65%. Crude oil production dwindled 30% to a level that seems paltry. Statewide, daily oil output would not fill even one measly backyard swimming pool. That hardly seems worth the effort. In short, New York's gas/oil industry is reeling toward extinction as existing production wells play out and few, if any, new wells are drilled because shale fracking is prohibited."

  • 12/16/2016 - VANISHING a great Interactive program on the 6th Great Extinction by CNN. Human-caused Climate Change is now one of the major factors contributing to mass extinction of species and this 6th mass extinction presents an even greater challenge to addressing Climate Change.

  • 12/16/2016 - Along with the Paris Agreement, the Green Climate Fund is an important component of the world addressing Climate Change. And like the Paris Agreement, it’s a voluntary pledge which won’t help at all if countries don’t keep their promises. Green Climate Fund misses 2016 target as US donation in doubt Board celebrates approval of projects worth $1.3bn at meeting in Samoa, but falls short of $2.5bn goal and delays key policy decisions The Green Climate Fund board approved eight funding proposals worth US$315 million as a meeting in Samoa concluded on Friday. It brings the total allocated by the UN’s flagship climate finance initiative in 2016 to $1.3 billion, far short of a $2.5bn aspirational goal. Looming over the fund is a threat by US president-elect Donald Trump to axe an outstanding pledge that accounts for nearly a quarter of the $10bn starting capital. (December 16, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2016 - ACTION: Got three days of your time? Been thinking that now, really now, our Rochester region needs someone from Climate Reality Leadership Corps training and work with former US Vice President Al Gore and renowned climate scientists and communicators to learn about what’s happening to our planet? And that someone could be you? Then, sign up here. The dates for this training are March 2-4, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. APPLICATION DEADLINE IS JANUARY 24, 2017. More: “You know our climate is changing. You want to make a difference. We’ll show you how. Join us for a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training and work with former US Vice President Al Gore and renowned climate scientists and communicators to learn about what’s happening to our planet and how you can use social media, powerful storytelling, and personal outreach to inspire audiences to take action. Give us three days. We’ll give you the tools to change the world.”

  • 12/15/2016 - Today’s questions boys and girls: What is the worst plastic for the Great Lakes: bags, bits, or microbeads? Ans: All of them. In one form or another the Great Lakes has a lot of plastic and plastics absorb toxins. We need to keep all kinds of plastics out of the largest fresh water system in the world. What's in the Great Lakes? Thousands of plastic bags It’s an effort that takes place through the Alliance for the Great Lakes. The group leads clean-up events in cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. This year, the group's workers collected 431 plastic bags in the western New York region.  Across the Great Lakes Basin, over 15,000 single-use plastic bags. "So it’s definitely a part of the problem," said Nate Drag, who spearheads the group's program in Western New York. "There’s a lot of other plastic stuff out there. I wouldn’t say bags are the number one item but they’re there and they’re visible and they can entangle wildlife. (December 14, 2016) WBFO  Buffalo's NPR News Station [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/15/2016 - One of the most dangerous threats from Climate Change are ecosystems disruptions. Our environment, our life support system, is a system of ecosystems especially sensitive to all kinds of disruptions, including warmer temperatures. There are innumerable repercussions that come with upsetting the systems we evolved with and just one of those is pathogen spread. Through development and a disdain for our environment we have made addressing Climate Change far more complex than melting the Arctic and making the seas rise. We cannot dumb down Climate Change; it is the most complex and dangerous threat to human existence outside our propensity to war with increasingly destructive weapons. Trying to find a middle ground, trying to unify and merge science with anti-environmental ideology, will simply not work not matter how hopeful and inviting this sounds. You either live according to the rules of physics or perish. Nature is a harsh mistress. When nature gets sick, so do we That human health and Earth’s health are intertwined can sound like a truism—more of a bumper sticker or poetic truth than scientific fact. Yet a growing body of research suggests that disrupted ecologies may indeed produce more disease. The latest such study comes from French Guiana, where researchers led by ecologist Aaron Morris of Imperial College London wanted to understand the origins of Bruli’s ulcer, a debilitating skin disease caused by the bacteria Myobacteria ulcerans. The first cases of Bruli’s ulcer were documented in the late 1940s; since then incidence has risen, with 2,200 cases reported in 2014, but the disease’s precise origins and reasons for its spread have remained mysterious. Scientists did know, though, that Bruli’s ulcer is most common in people who live near or work around fresh water, and several insect species are implicated in its transmission. So Morris’s team took bacterial samples from more than 3,600 freshwater organisms at sites across the country, measuring their load of M. ulcerans and noting the environmental conditions in which they were found. (December 14, 2016) Anthropocene (more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]   

  • 12/15/2016 - While I admire Governor Brown’s sentiment, no state’s satellite climate monitoring program can replace NASA’s. The US federal government’s role in maintaining a climate monitoring program is critical because of the costs, the expertise, the data, the equipment, and the relationships with climate experts around the world. It may be cathartic for us to think of federal work arounds to maintain our country’s lead in addressing Climate Change, but even if we had the resources we don’t have the time. California governor: 'If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite' California Gov. Jerry Brown gave a fiery speech on climate change policy on Wednesday, during which he said, "If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite,"according to The Los Angeles Times. Brown was speaking at the 2016 meeting of the American Geophysical Union, a prominent body of scientists who study Earth and space. In November, a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump suggested the incoming administration would eliminate NASA's earth science programs. (December 14, 2016) Business Insider [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/14/2016 - The Arctic just got its Report Card. It didn’t fail. We failed it. Which is to say, we make get kicked out of school. “The average surface air temperature for the year ending September 2016 is by far the highest since 1900, and new monthly record highs were recorded for January, February, October and November 2016.” Arctic Report Card

  • 12/14/2016 - You must speak up for climate scientists now or we will be lost. #ClimateChange is science, not a special interest. Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference. The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information. (December 13, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/14/2016 - Excellent program on Connections about the “Latest on the LPG facility near Seneca Lake”. I Tweeted this comment about half-way into the show “Why isn’t this liquid propane gas storage project being discussed as a fossil fuel infrastructure project during Climate Change?” Then the conversation did steer in that direction. All agreed that this crazy fossil fuel storage project was indeed but another bad step in the wrong direction if we are to live sustainably. But the closing comments about how introducing “Climate Change” into local fossil fuel infrastructure projects makes them too divisive is very concerning. The thought was that we should instead focus on unity and love and the challenges to other important topics and industries. But we cannot milquetoast Climate Change; we cannot talk about the elephant in the room without talking about the elephant in the room. However much “Climate Change” pisses off the public, we must be as relentless and adamant in pointing out the absolute necessity to address wrong-headed fossil fuel projects as parts of the Climate Change argument as William Lloyd Garrison was in naming slavery as the mortal sin that it was. We will never get our leaders to address Climate Change in the comprehensive way that it demands if we cannot even frame the issue properly in public. Responsible human beings cannot shut down every time they hear “Climate Change” in a room with some people in it. Abolitionists, like Garrison, knew that forcing the public to call the evil of slavery for what it was, was the only way to affect change. He accomplished that. After thirty years of publishing The Liberator with just that theme, Lincoln invited Garrison to attend the ceremony of the return of the American flag to Fort Sumter in 1865.  Connections: Latest on the LPG facility near Seneca Lake  The Cuomo administration has not yet made a decision on whether to allow a proposed expansion of a liquid propane gas facility near Seneca Lake. The out-of-state energy company involved has tried to amend their proposal in order to get it approved. Crestwood Energy argues that the project will create a handful of new jobs while alleviating local energy supply crunches. Opponents have been vocal, arguing that the project would be a serious problem for tourism and the wine industry. In fact, Paul Hobbs, an award-winning international winemaker, has said he would put his own planned Finger Lakes wine project on hold if the gas project goes forward. We're invited people from Crestwood Energy, along with the AFL-CIO, which is supporting the project, to come on our show. Here are the guests that did confirm to be on the show.  (December 14, 2016) Connections {more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 12/14/2016 - Behold one of the most important documents that our present Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts out and probably soon to be squashed because of the EPA changes under Trump’s thumb. "EPA Publishes its Latest Climate Indicators Report: In August, EPA launched the 4th edition of its climate change indicators report. The report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States, features 37 indicators and shows strong evidence of long-term changes to climate in the United States and around the world. The report includes seven new indicators: heat-related illnesses, West Nile virus, river flooding, coastal flooding, Antarctic sea ice, stream temperature, and marine species distribution. This edition also highlights climate change impacts on human health, with a focus on people most at risk to climate-related stresses. You can request a print copy of the report at: climateindicators@epa.gov [December 13, 2016, EPA Climate Change Indicator Team climateindicators@epa.gov]" You can download the full report here.

  • 12/14/2016 - Powerful article about the need to address Climate Change, even as our last election has turned our national government away from science and world opinion. This quote from the article is ominous because it highlights the gulf between what the science demands that we do for sustainability and the stubborn zeitgeist of our American leaders to inconvenience themselves with the truth: “… progress cannot be made in drafting effective climate strategies until national leaders agree there's an issue.” In Rochester, we are lucky: This is a recent statement by Mayor Warren: "Cities must take a leading role in confronting climate change regardless of federal policy," Warren said. "I have no doubt this is what our citizens expect of us and will allow us to lead by example on this critical issue." (from City aims to fight climate change, November 21, 2016, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle) Rochester will be releasing its Climate Action Plan early next year. But we are only one city and Climate Change is a world crisis. Time passes. You're getting warmer  If President-elect Donald Trump actually believes his own warnings about the threats of immigration, he should talk about ways to slow global warming, as well. Rising sea level, caused by the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps, will probably displace tens of millions of people in the decades ahead, and many may come to North America as refugees. Climate change will cause a suite of problems for future generations, and it's arguably the most pressing issue of our time. A year ago, world leaders gathered in Paris to discuss strategies to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and scientists at every corner of the globe confirm that humans are facing a crisis. (December 14, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2016 - One of the problems of not addressing Climate Change is that we’ll be locked into the worst case scenarios depicted in climate studies. And one of the worst case scenarios for our Northeast forests is that they will dramatically shift in tree species by the end of this century. Check out this study by the US Dept. of Agriculture: “Changing Climate, Changing Forests: The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada| Climate change strengthens an army of forest-eating insects Hemlock woolly adelgids aren't native to North America, but droves of them have settled into American forests where they threaten entire ecosystems. A tiny bug, no bigger than a grain of pepper, is wreaking big-time havoc in US forests, and forest managers are scrambling to keep up. Hemlock woolly adelgids aren't native to North America, but droves of them have taken up residence in hemlock forests, from New England to the West Coast, thanks to increased trade and travel. Nestled under the needles of hemlock trees, the invasive insects cut off nutrients to the tree and can eventually take down trees that have stood for 300 years. If left unchecked, the hemlock woolly adelgid and other pests are projected to put 63 percent of the nation's forests at risk by 2027, according to a studypublished this year in the journal Ecological Applications. The tiny invaders could put several species of hemlock at risk for extinction, threatening the biodiversity and stability of ecosystems across the country and cutting a carbon sink for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. [Editor's note: This paragraph has been corrected to reflect that this statistic includes multiple invasive pests.] (December 9, 2016) Christian Science Monitor [more on Climate Change and Plants and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 12/13/2016 - I get the Deer Problem but whenever wildlife are mentioned in our media it’s about nuisance issues—not on how we’ll help wildlife adapt to Climate Change. Also just as a reminder: Wildlife is not encroaching on our property, humanity is expanding into theirs. Through development and sprawl we are squeezing wildlife into smaller and smaller regions, making our roads their killing zones and providing more opportunities for our diseases like Lyme disease. Wildlife used to be the creatures that developed the environment where we thrived—now they seem only a nuisance or something to shoot at. We need a more holistic view of our environment, our life support system. Avon looks to curb deer population Some residents in the Village of Avon say the deer are not playing nice in their neighborhood. Chuck Kanty says deer sightings happen daily in his backyard, and sometimes the animals come by the dozens. (December 12, 2016) WHAM Rochester [more on Deer Problem in our area]

  • 12/13/2016 - Heads up! Raw sewage pouring into our Great Lakes basin is a continual problem and will be more so with the extreme weather coming with Climate Change. This is one of those issues (sewer overflows due to increased heavy rainfall) that has been reported on infrequently over the years and sometimes the link has been made that with a 71% increase since 1958 in heavy rainfall in the Northeast there will be more sewer overflows of raw sewage into our drinking water, our Great Lakes. This isn’t just about Canada or the United States. All communities in the Great Lakes basin must be mindful of their sewage systems, many of which are aged combined sewer and storm water systems that are easily overwhelmed by heavy rainfall. We need more media cover and more local governmental focus on this Climate Change-related crisis. We could have decreased the amount of raw sewage in our Great Lake had we been paying attention to this issue long ago. Time passes. Billions of litres of raw sewage, untreated waste water pouring into Canadian waterways Conservatives introduced new rules in 2012, but problem was actually worse last year More than 205 billion litres of raw sewage and untreated waste water spewed into Canada's rivers and oceans last year, CBC News has learned, despite federal regulations introduced in 2012 to try to solve the problem. Toilet paper washes up on beaches near small towns in Newfoundland and Labrador. In Victoria, B.C., divers report sick kelp and polluted scallops near sewage discharge pipes. In fact, the amount of untreated waste water, which includes raw sewage and rain and snow runoff, that flowed into Canadian rivers and oceans last year would fill 82,255 Olympic-size swimming pools — an increase of 1.9 per cent over 2014. The volume was supposed to drop as cities and towns move to comply with the standards the Conservative government adopted four years ago. (December 12, 2016) CBC News [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/13/2016 - If your gas pipeline leak in NYS isn’t really big and its way out in the country, don’t worry your pretty little head they’ll get it eventually. In the meantime, we should focus on ramping up renewable energy big time. Here’s one way to help renewable energy in NYS: “Comment To Defend And Improve Net Metering In New York Submit a comment today to make sure that we accelerate the transition to renewable energy and that ALL residents of NY can access community solar and wind.” YouTube video of pipeline gas leak gets attention Patrick Duddy was looking over his Facebook page Thursday when he found a YouTube video of what was an apparent leak in a natural gas line in a state forest near Franklinville. The Pittsburgh resident, who was in Colorado at the time, was curious when someone on the cellphone video said he had reported the gas leak to National Fuel Gas, but it wasn’t scheduled to be repaired until January. The video was shot by Ryan Weatherley of Olean and included Tim Ross, also of Olean. Posted on YouTube by ViralHog, the video had nearly 500 views as of Saturday morning. (December 7, 2016) Olean Times Herald [more on Energy in our area]

  • 12/12/2016 - Hard to talk about the future of transportation and public health and our environment without talking about Climate Change, but they still do. Perhaps one of the reasons climate deniers get into office is because our media is not connecting these concerns with the science of Climate Change. Time passes. Cornell awarded $7M to lead transportation research center Cornell University will receive up to $7 million in U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) funding over five years to lead a consortium of universities in researching and developing new transportation innovations to limit adverse impacts on public health and the environment. The announcement was made Dec. 8 by U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both D-N.Y. They announced $1.4 million in funding for the current fiscal year; subsequent funding for 2017 through 2020 will be made annually, subject to availability of funds and grantee compliance with terms and conditions. Allocated through the DOT’s University Transportation Center (UTC) program, the funding will be used to establish the Center for Transportation, Environment and Community Health (CTECH) and is one of 35 five-year grants to university consortia across the U.S. under the UTC program. (December 8, 2016) Cornell Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 12/12/2016 - As much as possible, the public should join in with climate scientists to monitor the advance of Climate Change. Climate Change is hard to see but not if highlighted and interpreted by climate scientists. Once the public understands how this climate change affects us, now, they are more likely to pay attention, support scientific efforts on monitoring Climate Change, and maybe start voting accordingly. Time passes. Mapping Three Decades of Global Water Change (December 9, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/12/2016 - If CO2 emissions are flattening out and methane emissions are rising, where should we place our efforts? We could focus on CO2, CH4, both, or deny Climate Change and let our children try and sort it out. I’m thinking the last option is immoral and suicidal. Methane’s rapid spurt risks climate curbs plan A recent rapid rise in methane could damage global attempts to slow climate change through cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. One year ago today, with huge relief, scarcely able to believe their achievement, world leaders finally agreed to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. But a bare 12 months later comes sobering news: atmospheric concentrations of another gas, methane, are growing faster than at any time in the last 20 years, putting further pressure on the historic Paris Agreement to deliver substantial cuts in emissions very soon. Some scientists say the world now needs to change course and do more about methane to have a chance of keeping average global temperatures from rising by more than 2°C. And one seasoned Arctic watcher says the changes there in the last decade are altering a system which has remained intact since the Ice Age. (December 12, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/12/2016 - The public should help scientists fight climate deniers to offset the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle so scientists can do their job. The public must now take an active role in protecting the science that will protect all of our futures. Climate scientists urged to fight back against ‘bullshit’ It might be time-consuming, but researchers need to defend the truth against a tide of misinformation, says commentary in journal Nature People who argue that climate change is not happening or  that the scientific case for it is overstated – climate deniers – should probably start preparing for a more robust response from scientists themselves. UK scientist Philip Williamson is urging his colleagues to challenge online lies and inaccuracies, to counter the climate deniers by objective statements of fact and to use the collective power of the Internet to improve what information reaches users. Williamson, an associate fellow in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, UK, says the way to challenge those who dismiss scientific evidence is in the scientists’ own hands. (December 12, 2016) Climate Home (more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/10/2016 - Rochester is moving quickly towards making Active Transportation (walking and bicycling) a real alternative mode of transportation in our region but we still have a long way to go. Two pedestrian deaths recently highlight how precarious it still is to get around safely. In order to reach our goal to have a walking and bicycle friendly community that will dramatically bring down our greenhouse gases, we need massive public education on reintroducing basic transportation modes into our still dangerous car culture. See: Hit-and-run kills man near Monroe Ave. in Rochester and Pedestrian struck in Greece dies

  • 12/10/2016 - Do we wait until an aging nuclear power plant proves it’s too old and dangerous before we dismantle it? Or do we switch to safe renewable energy now that is in the best interest for the public and our future. Nuclear Plant on Lake Michigan Plans to Permanently Shut Down A nuclear power plant with a recent history of reported leaks and shutdowns is expected to power down permanently in late 2018. Entergy Corporation announced it has agreed to an early termination of its power purchase agreement with Consumers Energy for the Palisades Power Plant in Covert Township, Michigan. The power plant sits on the shore of Lake Michigan, the primary source of drinking water for Chicago area residents. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals. (December 8, 2016) NBC Chicago [more on Energy in our area]

  • 12/10/2016 - It seems quite likely that increasingly shoreline property owners on lakes and oceans are going to be at odds with the rest of the public when it comes to protecting our environment and addressing Climate Change. This lake level plan for Lake Ontario highlights one aspect of the problem, but we also have very expensive shoreline private properties along the Eastern US shoreline that are going to be inundated with sea level rise and the storms that go with that. Protecting and replacing homes in new danger zones as our climate changes is going to be an increasing burden on us all. Shoreline property owners also tend to push back against the placing of on-and-off shore wind farms—which the rest of the public needs for sufficient renewable energy. If we could go back in time, we probably should not have allowed so much of our shorelines to be bought up by private property because of these critical environmental regions. But we did. Going forward, the most just and fair outcome is to somehow compensate these shoreline property owners for the public’s need to compromise their private ownership near critical battle lines in our efforts to address Climate Change. This is a problem that is not going to go away until the public at large adopts a fair and proper Climate Action Plan that addresses Climate Change at a top level. 16 years in the making: Water level plan for Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River approved Green groups and boaters along the St. Lawrence River and eastern Lake Ontario won a huge victory Thursday. The U.S. and Canada approved a new, more natural plan for managing water levels after 16 years of study that cost more than $20 million. It's the first time a new method for managing outflows at the Moses-Saunders hydroelectric dam has been enacted since the dam was built in the 1950s. The new regime, known as "Plan 2014," more closely mimics the natural ebbs and flows of the water, and is expected to improve northern pike populations and help revive 64,000 acres of wetlands. (WRVO Public Radio {more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/10/2016 - Look Climate Change is going to affect more than just Boston, which already acknowledges: “The number of very hot days will increase. Sea levels in Boston will continue to rise. Rainfall from storms will increase. The number of heat-related deaths each year in Boston will triple. Stormwater flooding will inundate thousands of structures. Increasingly large sums of money will be lost each year due to flooding damage, interruption of business activity, and other climate change impacts. Thousands of city residents will be affected. Some city neighborhoods will be hit harder than others.” 8 charts that show the toll climate change will take on Boston City officials this week released a report that included updated projections of how climate change is expected to impact Boston and outlined ways the city can prevent and brace for the potentially devastating effects. “Boston residents are already impacted by extreme heat, rain, snow and flooding,” Austin Blackmon, the city’s chief of environment, energy and open space said in a statement. The report “shows that these trends are expected to continue, and now we have a better understanding of what we need to do to prepare.” (December 8, 2016) Boston Globe [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/10/2016 - I stand behind NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's statement on Trump's choice for EPA new administrator. Statement By A.G. Schneiderman On The Reported Nomination Of Scott Pruitt As Administrator Of The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement on President-elect Trump’s reported intention to nominate Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:   “President-elect Trump’s reported nominee to lead the EPA is a dangerous and unqualified choice. As Attorney General, Scott Pruitt consistently failed to uphold his responsibility to protect our nation’s air and water, instead acting as an agent of the oil and gas industry – at the expense of the American people – every time. (December 7, 2016) NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

  • 12/10/2016 - Looks like our assumptions about the safety of conventional offshore drilling has been wrong too. We need to stop drilling and burning liquid dinosaurs or we’ll end up just like them. Thousands of Invisible Oil Spills Are Destroying The Gulf HURRICANE IVAN WOULD not die. After traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, it stewed for more than a week in the Caribbean, fluctuating between a Category 3 and 5 storm while battering Jamaica, Cuba, and other vulnerable islands. And as it approached the US Gulf Coast, it stirred up a massive mud slide on the sea floor. The mudslide created leaks in 25 undersea oil wells, snarled the pipelines leading from the wells to a nearby oil platform, and brought the platform down on top of all of it. And a bunch of the mess—owned by Taylor Energy—is still down there, covered by tons of silty sediment. Also, twelve years later, the mess is still leaking. (December 9, 2016) Wired [more on Energy in our area]

  • 12/09/2016  - Rather than viewing this new plan to regulate water levels in Lake Ontario as a win or a loss, it would be more helpful as viewing it as a wise movement towards addressing Climate Change. The Great Lakes (which, of course, includes Lake Ontario) is going to be profoundly affected by Climate Change, eventually losing a lot of water because of evaporation. In the meantime, we should be prioritizing the needs of the public at large (not just shoreline property owners, who could be compensated in some way or another) to address Climate Change by adopting plans like this so that our natural environment—wetlands and shorelines—can help buffer the local consequences of a changing environment. Controversial plan for Lake Ontario approved A bi-national agency has adopted a controversial new plan to regulate water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River: 16 years after it started developing it. And one federal representative is already vowing to fight it.  The International Joint Commission announced this afternoon that it approved Plan 2014, albeit an amended version.  The plan first needed approval from the executive branches of the US and Canadian governments, which it recently received. It lays out criteria for determining how much water passes through Moses-Saunders Dam, which bridges Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York, between the lake and the river. The plan allows for more variation in Lake Ontario water levels, which scientists as well as environmental, conservation, and sportsmen's groups say is crucial to restore degraded shoreline ecosystems and habitat. Coastal wetlands in particular will benefit, since the current plan, which was adopted in 1958, led to artificially high water levels. The high levels exacerbated erosion and encouraged the overgrowth of cattails in wetlands. (December 8, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on the Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/09/2016 - The Washington Post article on the relationship between Climate Change and diseases is spot on. Our media needs to do much more to spread the message from scientists that Climate Change is going to have a profound effect on public health—especially in the spreading of diseases. Our local public health officials also need to do much more in helping the public to understand how Climate Change and our public health our related. Too much of the public’s view of Climate Change is based on opinion and not on science. Our recent election results prove this point. Science just gave us more proof that destroying the environment can spread diseases to humans In a new study, scientists have demonstrated — yet again — the alarming effects of environmental change on the spread of infectious disease. It’s the latest link in a long chain of research suggesting that deforestation and other land-use changes can be major drivers of everything from malaria to the Zika virus, which the World Health Organization recently noted is a public health threat that’s “here to stay.” Many previous studies have focused on how changes to the environment can create landscapes that are more suitable for disease-carrying organisms, like mosquitoes, or bring them into closer contact with humans. For instance, research suggests that deforestation in Malaysia has brought human communities closer to forest-dwelling macaques — and now, people in these communities are starting to come down with a form of malaria usually found only in monkeys. And another study found that dams in South Africa, which can create standing water for mosquitoes to breed in, have caused a spike in malaria rates. (December 8, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 12/09/2016 - Important event coming up which needs co-sponsors: Inaugurating Hope event - Jan 20 “These times compel us to unleash a powerful, positive grassroots movement of hope right where we live.  On the evening of Inauguration Day, January 20, all of those who want to create positive change in our community and our world are invited to gather from 7 to 9 PM at the First Unitarian Church at 220 Winton Rd. South. It is our plan to explore ways to embody contagious hope wherever we are.  When we inspire, energize, support, and empower each other, we can create the world that needs to emerge, from the ground up.  We hope that you are able to respond positively to this proposal.  Please send back the form below to Sue Staropoli either by mail before December 16.  Make checks out to "Sue Staropoli", with "Inaugurating Hope" on the memo line.  Contact Sue Staropoli suestar1@rochester.rr.com or 585-734-2816 for more information).” Click here for the co-sponsor form.

  • 12/09/2016 - From our friends in Australia, this is an important message about the Paris Agreement: “Pull your weight, the world will be watching.” Yes, the recently ratified Paris Agreement by almost 200 nations doesn’t have the force of law, but it does have tattletale rights. Peer pressure among nations could have a lot of clout in bringing down our planet’s temperature. The Paris Agreement explained You have no doubt been hearing a lot about the Paris Agreement and know that it pertains to climate change, but are too embarrassed at this stage to ask for an simple explanation of what it's all about. That's where we come in. Here's an simple explanation of what it's all about. First, you need to know what came before the Paris Agreement. (December 9, 2016) ABC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/08/2016 - Even meteorologists are now getting pissed about misrepresenting Climate Change. Great freaking video on getting weather science right. Note to Breitbart: Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans Global warming is not expected to end anytime soon, despite what Breitbart.com wrote in an article published last week. Though we would prefer to focus on our usual coverage of weather and climate science, in this case we felt it important to add our two cents — especially because a video clip from weather.com (La Niña in Pacific Affects Weather in New England) was prominently featured at the top of the Breitbart article. Breitbart had the legal right to use this clip as part of a content-sharing agreement with another company, but there should be no assumption that The Weather Company endorses the article associated with it. (December 6, 2016) The Weather Channel [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/08/2016 - Even if you love your car and would never, ever, get out of it to ride a bike instead, others will and that will help you offset your carbon emissions, make your community more attractive and safe to life in, and provide a transportation mode more economically feasible for those who cannot afford a car. Respect bicyclists, respect pedestrians, be predictable, follow the laws (which are the same for bicyclists and car drivers), and make Rochester an even better Bicycle Friendly Community so that the City’s Climate Action Plan is more likely to result in a sustainable future. Oh, and read this great article mindful of all the efforts that have gone into making Rochester more livable via its transportation system:  Rochester builds on bike successes  Imagine taking a relaxed, pleasant bike ride on one of Rochester's moderately busy streets — coexisting peacefully with cars and enjoying the scenery. But then the lane just ends at an intersection or in a spot where the roadway narrows. Suddenly, you're forced into the street. "To the casual observer, you're riding along and you have accommodation, and then it stops, and it's hard to understand why that happens," says Glenn Cerosaletti of Brighton, who bikes roughly 2,000 miles a year, much of it in the City of Rochester. He's also on the board of the Rochester Cycling Alliance advocacy group. Fragmented bike lanes are a problem in the city, especially for inexperienced or casual cyclists. (December 7, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area] 

  • 12/08/2016 - Trump decides to put a very hungry fox in charge of the henhouse and we hens are very nervous. There’s a profound conflict between foxes and hens whose world outlook is fundamentally different. So much so that any chance of living together in harmony is vanishingly small. Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Climate Change Denialist, to Lead E.P.A. President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the Environmental Protection Agency, signaling Mr. Trump’s determination to dismantle President Obama’s efforts to counter climate change — and much of the E.P.A. itself. Mr. Pruitt, a Republican, has been a key architect of the legal battle against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies, actions that fit with the president-elect’s comments during the campaign. Mr. Trump has criticized the established science of human-caused global warming as ahoax, vowed to “cancel” the Paris accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate change, and attacked Mr. Obama’s signature global warming policy, the Clean Power Plan, as a “war on coal.” Mr. Pruitt has been in lock step with those views. (December 7, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/08/2016 - As Climate Change worsens the 'protection gap' widens. Insurance companies will be overwhelmed by payouts from increasing weather-related disasters caused by Climate Change forcing them to keep raising insurance premiums or dropping customers altogether. It’s not hopeless if the world begins adapting quickly to the storm ahead.     "Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, warns in the new report that: “Over time, the adverse effects of climate change could threaten economic resilience and financial stability [and] insurers are currently at the forefront.”" Climate change threatens ability of insurers to manage risk Extreme weather is driving up uninsured losses and insurers must use investments to fund global warming resilience, says study The ability of the global insurance industry to manage society’s risks is being threatened by climate change, according to a new report. The report finds that more frequent extreme weather events are driving up uninsured losses and making some assets uninsurable. The analysis, by a coalition of the world’s biggest insurers, concluded that the “protection gap” – the difference between the costs of natural disasters and the amount insured – has quadrupled to $100bn (£79bn) a year since the 1980s. (December 7, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/07/2016 - Besides a quickly melting Arctic, the Amazon rainforest (another major ecosystem and feature of our planet) is both changing and being changed by Climate Change. Both the Arctic and Amazon rainforests have important feedback effects on our climate and both host invaluable biota within their boundaries. If both these features of our planet fail it will be more than sad; it will be like the two front tires on your car falling away as you are barreling down the highway. Destruction of the Amazon is speeding up — just when the planet can least afford it Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, or INPE, released new data on the ongoing deforestation of the country’s portion of the Amazon rainforest this week, based on satellite measurements. And the news is very bad. From August of 2015 through July of this year, the enormous forest lost nearly 8,000 square kilometers of area to clear cutting, representing a 29 percent increase over a year earlier (when 6,207 square kilometers were lost). That’s an area considerably larger than the state of Delaware. This means that since 2012, when deforestation hit a historic low after many years at high rates, it is now bouncing back again — and doing so at a time when researchers say protecting tropical forests, and allowing them to regrow, is one of the most effective short-term ways of fighting climate change. (December 2, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/07/2016 - I guess some may be comforted by the word “may” in this sentence “… a swiftly warming Arctic may have profound effects on global weather.” I see no comfort in the possibility, actually the probability, that one of the planet’s major ecosystems and features of our climate is soon to be wacked. As innocuous as a ‘wobbling jet stream’ may sound to some, this phenomenon could be the difference between mild winters here or major winters. Or winters we’ve never experienced before. Upsetting a giant, like our planet’s climate, is not likely to be good. An Unusually Warm Arctic Year:  Sign of Future Climate Turmoil? This year will almost certainly go down as the warmest on record in the Arctic, with autumn temperatures soaring 36 degrees F above normal. In a Yale e360 interview, climatologist Jennifer Francis explains why a swiftly warming Arctic may have profound effects on global weather. (December 5, 2016) Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 12/06/2016 - It’s interesting to note that the landscape just before Trump’s ascendency for addressing Climate Change by reducing fossil fuel infrastructures projects is hopeful. What comes after is not ‘anyone’s guess.’ What comes after depends on the stance of ideologies for the fossil fuel industry and the commitment of those behind science and a sustainable future. What is horrible is that battling for our future at this time is like fighting over the steering wheel on the Lusitania. We may wrestle away the steering from those intent on colliding with the iceberg. But, as it is with large ocean-going ships, a change in direction must occur long before avoiding the actual disaster. Time passes. It's Not Just Dakota Access. Many Other Fossil Fuel Projects Delayed or Canceled, Too A combination of market forces and strong public opposition has led to a wave of infrastructure projects being shelved altogether or delayed. Additional canceled projects have been added to the list of shelved fossil fuel infrastructure plans. These include Shell Puget Sound Refinery's expansion and Targa's oil terminal. The Oregon LNG project and pipeline, which had been rejected by local authorities, have also been canceled. The Dakota Access pipeline, which has been in flux, is currently delayed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, pending a review of possible new routes and a more thorough environmental impact review. (December 5, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/06/2016 - I suspect that it will be popular to chip away at climate science at every ill-perceived opportunity in the next several years in the media. If the public truly wishes to have a sustainable future and be informed accurately about Climate Change, they are going to have to focus on credible science sources and move away from politics as their facts base. Because of the recent elections we are going to have to revisit every climate denying misstatement scientists already have corrected. And while the truth will win, we will ultimately lose because the seed of doubt about the veracity of science continues to be sown during at time with massive action is needed most. News Report on Global Temperatures Is Wrong, Scientists Say Scientists on Friday debunked a widely circulated news media report suggesting that recent record-high global temperatures were unrelated to climate change. The report, which first appeared in The Mail on Sunday and was summarized in Breitbart News, the right-wing opinion and news site, cited incomplete data and drew incorrect conclusions, the scientists said. Federal and international agencies have said that 2016 will likely be the hottest year on record, eclipsing the record set last year. In its report, The Mail on Sunday cited a recent decline in temperatures over land since the weather phenomenon known as El Niño ended this year, and said that El Niño, and not climate change, was responsible for the record heat. (December 2, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2016 - Despite the rise of renewable energy in New York State the life-threatening tentacles of dangerous fossil-fuel infrastructures still grows. Find out about some of these projects and how to shut them down. Fighting the Flow of Crude: New Opportunities in New York Over the past four years, the Sierra Club, along with our partners, has been fighting the mass transportation of crude oil through New York State via railcars, oil barges, tar-sands delivery infrastructure and pipelines. While the fight has largely centered on the Port of Albany, where North Dakota Bakken crude is transferred from railcars to river barges — the impact of this dangerous oil transport has been felt in almost every major city in upstate NY and along some of the state’s most important waterways. What has made this campaign especially difficult is the primacy that the petroleum industry and railroads have enjoyed over state and local laws, stymying public efforts to protect our communities from derailments, spills and catastrophic explosions — like the explosion and firestorm in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that killed forty-seven people and leveled an entire downtown area. [Sierra Atlantic Newsletter Volume 44, Fall 2016 Sierra Atlantic ]

  • 12/06/2016 - Have recent studies confirmed “…the first detection of a biological impact from climate change on the Great Lakes ecosystem… ’’? Only some more studies will know for sure? If true, this means there’s already a change at the very base of the food web. Climate Change is complicated and its effect will be comprehensive. It’s been predicted by climate studies that the Great Lakes, the largest fresh water system in the world, will be affected but we still know how it will play out. Studies like this one show how critical it is for the public to push for more funding for scientists so they can monitor the effects of Climate Change on our environment. We know Climate Change is happening, we know we are causing this Climate Change, but we don’t know all the implications. This lack of knowledge is not a good thing. Algae growth is first documented biological impact of warmer Lake Superior Scientists have known for years that Lake Superior and other Great Lakes have warmed rapidly in recent decades and now, for the first time, they have documented the first physical impacts of that warming — an explosion of a tiny algae called cyclotella. That’s the finding of a new study published Friday in the journal Limnology and Oceanography. “This is the first detection of a biological impact from climate change on the Great Lakes ecosystem,’’ said Euan Reavie, paleolimnology specialist for UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute, one of nine scientists from six states and provinces who collaborated on the project. (December 5, 2016) Duluth News Tribune [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2016 - Although local officials predict a drop on Rochester’s population, I say otherwise. I see a dramatic increase in our city’s population due to Climate Change refugees. Rochester offers an oasis of sorts for Climate Change because the consequences of warming won’t be so dramatic as they will be in other regions; we have lots of old manufacturing infrastructures, like the Erie Canal, plenty of fresh water (that won’t be Fracked); we have plenty of farming regions to grow more food, and much more to offer a refuges from a world in crisis. If we plan properly and stoke down the inclination towards xenophobia towards others who are different from us, Rochester can be a beacon of hope. Climate Change Will Stir ‘Unimaginable’ Refugee Crisis | Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale,” according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the “new normal”. The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency. Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required. (December 4, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2016 - Media should be clarifying future risks from Climate Change so we can prepare properly. But it is the job of the media to “alleviate some fears of widespread severe flooding in the future”? For one, a single study cannot provide a proper case of what is to be expected from Climate Change—especially one that might lull the public into thinking that Climate Change won’t be so bad. There are so many variables associated with Climate Change, including how people will react to climate disturbance, ecosystem changes, and many more unknown unknowns, that the only rational response to this worldwide crisis is hope for the best but expect the worst. That is, plan as urgently and energetically as possible to a worldwide phenomenon that is fraught will insufficient information in the sense that we are only beginning to understand the implications of what it means to warm an entire planet very quickly.  There will be studies on Climate Change coming to public awareness daily and the job of the media shouldn’t be trying to bake in false hope each time a single study leans towards dismissing the urgency of this crisis. Climate change will drive stronger, smaller storms in US The effects of climate change will likely cause smaller but stronger storms in the United States, according to a new framework for modeling storm behavior developed at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. Though storm intensity is expected to increase over today's levels, the predicted reduction in storm size may alleviate some fears of widespread severe flooding in the future. The new approach, published today in Journal of Climate, uses new statistical methods to identify and track storm features in both observational weather data and new high-resolution climate modeling simulations. When applied to one simulation of the future effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, the framework helped clarify a common discrepancy in model forecasts of precipitation changes. (December 5, 2016) PHYS.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/05/2016 - While it’s important to know how hot individual cities like Rochester get with Climate Change so we can plan and adapt responsibly, let’s not forget that Climate Change is not just about US. Climate Change is a worldwide phenomenon affecting us all. We lose both morally and physically when we allow others to succumb to the heat—for it will eventually be upon us all if we don’t act together. How Much Warmer Was Your City in 2015? Scientists declared that 2015 was Earth’s hottest year on record. In a database of 3,116 cities provided by AccuWeather, about 90 percent of them were warmer than normal. Enter your city in the field below to see how much warmer it was last year. (February 19, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/05/2016 - What can Rochester, NY learn about the US DOT’s Smart City Challenge to move our transportation system into the future? Sure, a city needs a lot of money to move ahead quickly with new transportation technologies and maybe Columbus is showing the way in that direction. We also can do much without a lot of money—building active transportation (walking and bicycling) infrastructure and education, and education, and education—to make our transportation more just, more convenient, more useful to everyone in Rochester—not just those lusting for autonomous vehicles. Smart City Challenge "About The Challenge The USDOT has pledged up to $40 million (funding subject to future appropriations) to one city to help it define what it means to be a “Smart City “and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network."

  • 12/05/2016 - We need feedback in the form of scientific instruments (satellites) and scientists to interpret them so we can see and make informed plans about adapting to Climate Change.  We need good and accurate feedback, not bad, crazy feedback. 5 Fascinating Google Earth Time-Lapse Videos Show 32 Years of Climate Change | Google Earth has added four years of new data along with high-resolution satellite imagery to its time-lapse feature, which is available to anyone who wants to see how the planet has changed since 1984. You'll see glaciers receding, cities growing and lakes shrinking. Satellite data now ranges from 1984 to 2016 and includes more than 5 million satellite images from the past 32 years by five different satellites. Most of the images come from Landsat 8. Launched by NASA in 2013, it orbits 438 miles above the Earth, imaging the entire planet every 16 days. Additional images come from Sentinel-2, launched in 2015 by the European Space Agency to provide environmental monitoring. (December 4, 2016) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2016 - Been feeling bewildered and confused and anxious about Trump’s anti addressing Climate Change win? Check this episode of Warm Regards. Climate anxiety in the Trump era It’s been a long week and a half. We’re still processing everything that’s happening, just like all of you. We might never understand it, but it’s clear the consequences for the climate are immediate and have already begun. This week’s episode will be a little bit different. We’ve recorded three separate interviews with leaders on the environment, and asked them what they’re doing in response to the election results. We’ve also asked them what we can do. (Warm Regards)

  • 12/03/2016 - As the US loses its way on addressing Climate Change, how will the world respond? Germany makes climate change G20 priority Agenda for Hamburg summit submitted by chancellor Angela Merkel to cabinet calls for global push on climate and development goals Securing the world against the challenges posed by climate change will be one of the central pillars of its G20 presidency1, the German government has said. On Wednesday it released its first policy guide to the Hamburg summit, which is scheduled for July 2017. That statement listed global warming among only a few headline issues it wants discussed. “One main concern is to make progress on realising the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change,” reads a line in the G20 agenda, which chancellor Angela Merkel presented to her cabinet. (December 1, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2016 - Our infrastructures are our now our species life’s blood as we have come to depend on these services to keep our communities alive. Just imagine how Climate Change has and will continue to affect just some of our infrastructures--electric grid, bridges, pipelines, railroads, airports, ports and inland waterways—and how not maintaining them and not making them more robust for the consequences of Climate Change—more heat, more flooding, and more drought--will affect our lives and ability to survive. If we have more people (9 billion by 2050 and up to 12 billion by 2100) and they move to urban areas (most of humanity ((66%)) will live in urban areas by 2050), then we must gear up all our infrastructure (of which the ones that I mentioned above are but a sample) to withstand Climate Change. Maintaining and adapting our infrastructures are role of our government and cannot be replaced by the private sector or the free market. I know, this is just the argument that is present political heresy and is even more unlikely to attract people to address Climate Change—until their infrastructures break down. Time passes.  Six maps that show the anatomy of America’s vast infrastructure President-elect Donald Trump's plan to invest about $550 billion in new infrastructure projects across the country was a central theme in his campaign. “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it,” Trump said. Details are still murky, but it appears that the plan will rely on tax credits to spur private investment. The maps you are about to see show the massive scope of America’s infrastructure using data from OpenStreetMap and various government sources. They provide a glimpse into where that half-trillion dollars may be invested. (December 1, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2016 - The health of our soils are critical during Climate Change for growing food and trees and also for holding carbon dioxide as a sink. But it’s appearing that more warming in the atmosphere stimulates soil to release more carbon. Instead of soils holding and sequestering more greenhouse gases they would be adding another positive feedback loop of warming. “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive ...” ourselves that we could put off addressing Climate Change for so long. Scientists have long feared this ‘feedback’ to the climate system. Now they say it’s happening At a time when a huge pulse of uncertainty has been injected into the global project to stop the planet’s warming, scientists have just raised the stakes even further. In a massive new study published Wednesday in the influential journal Nature, no less than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global warming considerably worse over the coming decades. That feedback involves the planet’s soils, which are a massive repository of carbon due to the plants and roots that have grown and died in them, in many cases over vast time periods (plants pull in carbon from the air through photosynthesis and use it to fuel their growth). It has long been feared that as warming increases, the microorganisms living in these soils would respond by very naturally upping their rate of respiration, a process that in turn releases carbon dioxide or methane, leading greenhouse gases. (November 30, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2016 - From all apparent signs it looks like we are entering the climate danger zone very quickly. It’s looking less likely that we’ll be able to adapt to the consequences of Climate Change and it looks less likely that we’ll bring down the temperatures. The danger zone, where we lose the ability to address Climate Change, looms. Time passes. What You Should Know About Trump’s Cabinet & Climate As President-elect Donald Trump continues to round out his cabinet and White House staff, his policies and priorities are coming more into focus. All indications so far point to a bleak future for addressing climate change, or even recognizing it as one of the world’s largest challenges. A number of his cabinet nominees, political appointees and closest advisors are outright climate deniers while others have funded the denial of climate change or are lukewarm on accepting the science. (November 30, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2016 - We can’t have our cake and eat it too. The US can’t lead on Climate Change while funding fossil fuel projects all over the world. Obama's dirty secret: the fossil fuel projects the US littered around the world Through the Export-Import Bank, the Obama administration has spent nearly $34bn on dirty energy plants in countries from India to Australia to South Africa Seemingly little connects a community in India plagued by toxic water, a looming air pollution crisis in South Africa and a new fracking boom that is pockmarking Australia. And yet there is a common thread: American taxpayer money. Through the US Export-Import Bank, Barack Obama’s administration has spent nearly $34bn supporting 70 fossil fuel projects around the world, work by Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project and the Guardian has revealed. (December 1, 2016) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - We shouldn’t have to fix our failing infrastructure as an “olive branch to the incoming Republican president”. We should retrofit our infrastructures so that they are robust and resilient enough to sustain the consequences (more flooding and extreme weather) of Climate Change, not to mention redesigning our infrastructures so that they are more just to those challenged by transportation and other infrastructure issues. Our infrastructures—our roads, bridges, waste, water, telecommunications, and energy—are now critical to our human existence—especially since urban populations are growing. By 2050 most people will be living in urban settings. Living in urban areas needs to be sustainable so as humanity is congregating its footprints on our environment it can do so environmentally responsibly. Schumer eyes infrastructure money under Trump A proposal by President-elect Donald Trump to invest $1 trillion in the nation's infrastructure would be good news for aging New York roads and bridges, Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday. Trump talked during the campaign about a $1 trillion investment, and Schumer said he was hopeful New York would be a prime beneficiary of spending by the home-state president. “I’m looking at ways we can work together in a bipartisan way to improve our country, starting with the failing infrastructure,” Schumer, the new Senate minority leader, said in a conference call with reporters. (November 30, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - Activists fighting fossil fuel infrastructures around the world are not ‘those’ people just fighting ‘their’ issues. They are taking responsibility for our future. The world as it just made the Paris Agreement official has decided that the only way we can have a viable future is to stop digging for more fossil fuels, stop transporting this toxic stuff through sensitive ecosystems, and stop burning it. So arguments by the fossil fuel industry that they have taken great care and with due diligence to make sure that their operations are safe and good—are nonsense.  The public should encourage their media not to characterize fossil fuel development any more as ‘us-vs-them’ reports. Our media should report on developments in our warming world as if our media too were part of this world, not mere objective observers who don’t have a stake in a sustainable future. Canada pipeline opponents ready to take on Kinder Morgan, Ottawa If Canada approves Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the company's four-year campaign for the project will be far from over. Next up is a battle against hardening opposition amongst some communities along its planned route. The C$6.8 billion ($5.04 billion) project is a big step toward opening up Asian markets to supply from Canada's massive oil sands. Kinder Morgan plans to build a pipeline parallel to an existing line and nearly triple capacity on the artery to 890,000 barrels per day. Without the expansion, Canadian oil sands producers may find it too costly to ship crude by rail, missing out on billions of dollars of export revenue. (November 29, 2016) Reuters [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - Every town, city, state, and nation should be taking stock of how Climate Change is affecting their communities and then acting. Our media and our governments have not been as thorough as they should be in connecting the dots with Climate Change, its consequences, and your community. How climate change is shaping Michigan In the United States, the effects of climate change vary by state. In California, for example, climate change is believed to be exacerbating the region’s current drought. But in Michigan, the trend is for the weather to become both warmer and wetter. That’s according to Jeffrey A. Andresen, a professor of geography at Michigan State University, who also serves as a state climatologist. “There are parts of the U.S. that have warmed significantly more than here,” he says. “There are even some parts of the U.S. where it’s a little bit cooler on average than it’s been in the past. But by and large, in most of the country — and most of the world — areas have warmed, especially over the last several decades.” (November 30, 2016) Detroit Metro Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - News, action, events, courses and much more about our environment in a time of warming from our friends over at THE PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER December 2016 Newsletter "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”

  • 12/01/2016 - The first rule in planning is don’t wait until you see damage before you act. That’s why flight Attendants instruct the passengers on how to operate the safety features of the jet before, not after, a crash. Our leader are supposed to be leading our efforts to plan for a sustainable future, not following the disasters when it’s too late. Study finds coastal officials eschew climate planning until they see damage When is the best time to start planning for an emergency? Is it better to get a head start, or wait until a problem manifests? A recent study finds that local officials in coastal North Carolina are unlikely to plan for the effects of climate change until they perceive a threat to their specific communities. "If public officials are supposed to be planning for the future, waiting until a threat is apparent really limits the amount of lead time that public agencies have to prepare," says Brian Bulla, lead author of a paper on the study. "We found that many public officials need to see damage before they're willing to act," says Bulla, an assistant professor at Appalachian State University who did the study while a Ph.D. student at NC State. (November 30, 2016) PHYS.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - The people on the front lines of Climate Change are not in denial and they are standing up for action. At some point soon many if not most will be on the front lines of the consequences of Climate Change but by that time it may be too late. Time passes. David Attenborough on climate change: 'The world will be transformed' – video An extract from Liberatum’s documentary In this Climate, in which a range of cultural and environmental figures including Noam Chomsky, David Attenborough and Mark Ruffalo respond to the threat of climate change and to the deniers. The full-length film is scheduled for release before the World Economic Forum in January 2017 (November 29, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - It’s important to keep abreast of the news unfolding as scientists learn more and more about the unknowns about Climate Change. Besides keeping our eyes on the temperature rises, we need to know how species vital to our ecosystems are able to adapt to so swiftly a warming. Some folks imagine, I guess, that because the world has endured climate changes before that things will just work themselves out, but this Climate Change is occurring much faster than before and it’s our environment now, the one we thrived on—not the dinosaurs’ environment. We cannot just assume that species will just adapt and we need not bother our pretty little heads. We need to know everything about Climate Change because it’ll be the dickens to adapt to it. How Warming Is Threatening The Genetic Diversity of Species Research on stoneflies in Glacier National Park indicates that global warming is reducing the genetic diversity of some species, compromising their ability to evolve as conditions change. These findings have major implications for how biodiversity will be affected by climate change. (November 28, 2016) Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - Sadly, Governor Cuomo vetoed the Geothermal “ …bill that would have provided a tax credit of 25 percent, up to $5,000, for homeowners and business that install geothermal energy systems.” (See article below) Heating homes and businesses, which constitutes a large percentage of our greenhouse gases and energy bills, is important and we shouldn’t give up on a tax credit so vital for the industry to exist. Geothermal says, “1.If you'd like to express your disappointment to the Governor at 518-474-8390, that would be appropriate.  It is important for elected officials to hear about it when they disappoint us. 2. Please save the dates of April 19th and 20th for NY-GEO 2017 - Helping NY meet its greenhouse gas goal - 40% by 2030 - NY-GEO's annual conference in Albany NY.  This industry WILL RISE to cut the use of fossil fuels for heating.  We invite you to stand with us in the process.” Cuomo vetoes more than 70 bills, signs roughly 60 Among the vetoed bills was a provision that would have established tax credits for music and video game production in a similar vein to the state’s film tax credit program. Also vetoed was legislation that would have allowed charities to offer raffle ticket sales online and another bill that would have provided a tax credit of 25 percent, up to $5,000, for homeowners and business that install geothermal energy systems. (November 29, 2016) Albany Times Union [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - If the scientific and economic imperatives don’t convince the US to stay committed to the Paris Agreement, maybe the moral ones will.  It took a long time to get to Paris and it would only take a short while to unravel our best worldwide efforts to address this worldwide crisis. If the US allows our best efforts to address Climate Change (a condition we are largely responsible for) to fail, it would be more than a shame. It would be immoral. Pope Francis has no patience for threats to abandon the Paris climate agreement Looking at you, President-elect Donald Trump. On Monday, Pope Francis urged world leaders to remain steadfast in their commitment to fighting climate change, requesting that they continue to implement international environmental agreements as quickly as possible. During a speech addressing a group of international scientists, including theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, the pope warned against turning away from climate pacts for political reasons — a thinly veiled reference to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has promised to withdraw the United States from the historic U.N. Paris climate agreement. (November 30, 2016) Think Progress/Climate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - The Paris Agreement needs major US involvement for the deal to be effective at the most critical time in our history.   Paris climate deal needs US, warns White House Report by outgoing Obama administration hints at damage Donald Trump could do if he backs out of international efforts The world “will not achieve its climate goals” without an active US administration leading on greenhouse gas cuts, the White House has warned. In a report published on 16 November, US president Barack Obama’s climate team argue the country’s leadership is vital to “galvanize the international community”. “Indeed, the United States has been a key driving force behind the strong recent momentum toward global action on climate change, including rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement,” they write. (November 29, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - Even some communities in the United State see Climate Change as an immediate and direct threat to their existence—not just distant small island nations in the Pacific Ocean. A Wrenching Choice for Alaska Towns in the Path of Climate Change With its proximity to the Arctic, Alaska is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the United States and the state is heading for the warmest year on record. The government has identified at least 31 Alaskan towns and cities at imminent risk of destruction, with Shaktoolik ranking among the top four. Some villages, climate change experts predict, will be uninhabitable by 2050, their residents joining a flow of climate refugees around the globe, in Bolivia, China, Niger and other countries. New York Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/29/2016 - NASA’s work on Climate Change is “politically correct environmental monitoring” in the sense that being alive is a popular idea. It’s not just popular to do environmental monitoring or being alive, it’s well… being alive! Pulling out NASA’s ability to monitor our environment can be scrapped by those politically powerful tenants (for there are still limits how long they can stay in power) who think Climate Change is a hoax but this will not stop Climate Change—just seriously thwart our ability to do so. TRUMP’S PLAN TO DEFUND NASA’S CLIMATE RESEARCH IS ... YIKES CLIMATE CHANGE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT POLITICS Today, The Guardian reported that President-Elect Donald Trump plans to defund NASA’s Earth Science Division to cut down on what a campaign advisor referred to as “politically correct environmental monitoring”. NASA may instead focus on a Cold War-era throwback space race to explore the cosmos, leaving climate research to other agencies. But NASA’s unique position as a space agency means that it has a view of Earth that other agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are rarely afforded. Indeed, NOAA and NASA often partner on climate-monitoring projects like the recently launched GOES-R satellite or the DSCOVR climate observatory, which watches for space weather that can knock out electrical grids (among many other things). (November 23, 2016) Popular Science [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/29/2016 - In the years to come it may be necessary to “making a strong moral appeal to public opinion” (See NYT article below) in order to address Climate Change on a scale and speed that will matter. The window for take this kind of action is quickly closing as warned by our climate scientists. All over, including locally, efforts are already being prepared to make a moral appeal to public opinion in a concerted and effective way. Check this out: The REAL Political Revolution Comes to Rochester - Please distribute widely!  "Are you frustrated by the current state of American politics?  Angry?  Scared?  Feeling powerless?  Well, prepare for a bold alternative to complaining to your friends over drinks or speeding up the QEW towards Toronto.    Soon you'll have an opportunity to channel your emotional energy towards major political reform. On Saturday December 10, 2016, Democracy Spring, an organization embracing the non-violent methods of MLK and Gandhi, will offer a one-day training session for those motivated to join the democracy revolution.  The immediate organizational goal is to achieve enactment of this suite of democracy enhancing legislation. DEMOCRACY SPRING TRAINING, DECEMBER 10, 2016, 9 AM - 6:30 PM, FIRST UNIVERSALIST CHURCH OF ROCHESTER, 150 SOUTH CLINTON AVE., ROCHESTER, NY 14604. | Excited?  Hopeful?  Please register online here.  Now. The training will be free of charge. Those who can are asked to make a small donation to help defray the facility charge and cost of refreshments (lunch will be served). One-Day Training Agenda: 8:00 am Trainer Setup, 9:00 am Registration, 9:25 am Welcome, Facing the Problem, Break, Story-sharing & Resonating, The Theory of Change, 1:00 pm Lunch, Our Strategy, Democracy Spring Principles, Decision Point, Break, Act, Recruit, Train Cycle, Action Planning, Break, Nonviolent Discipline, Building Local Teams, 6:30 pm Closing. Post training we will come together as a group to get to know each other better and begin to build the mutual trust necessary to successfully employ tactics that will likely result in some of us being arrested.  Please do not be discouraged if your current responsibilities do not allow you to be arrested.  There will be roles for everyone who feels the urgency to act.  Register now.” The Art of the Protest Protests can change policies, however — and often have. In other countries and throughout American history, ordinary citizens banding together have triumphed over governments, even when a single party holds sweeping control. Many of those protests used resources that the opposition to President-elect Trump enjoys today. They can learn from how those victories were won. (November 21, 2016) New York Times

  • 11/29/2016 - One of the great problems with making Climate Change political is that addressing this crisis can change with every election. Things get done, things get undone, things get added, and things get taken away, like a house getting remodeled every time it gets sold. Except in this house, our planet and its 3-billion-year-old biology, when you remolded you may very well make the place uninhabitable. If we don’t use climate science as our priority when we change leaders, if will probably be a disaster that the next leader cannot fix. How Much of Obama's Climate Agenda  Can Trump Undo With the Stroke of a Pen? President Obama relied on executive orders to issue climate rules because of an uncooperative Congress, but now those orders are vulnerable. President Barack Obama issued 263 executive orders during his eight years in office, at least 35 of them dealing with climate change, energy or the environment. When President-elect Donald Trump takes office, revoking some of those executive orders could be among his first acts, because it can be done without Congress, by the simple stroke of a pen. "On the first day of my term of office, my administration will immediately pursue" canceling "every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama," Trump said in his 100-day action plan.   Trump has made it clear that among his top priorities is the unfettered development of America's oil, gas and coal. He pledged to revive the coal industry, although its decline is largely due to market forces, to lift restrictions and moratoriums on energy production, and to rescind regulations that stand in the way of this future. This clearly has put rules like the Clean Power Plan and methane regulations on the chopping block, but beyond that his agenda is still unclear. (November 23, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/28/2016 - Has Arctic warming reached a tipping point? If not, should we wait until the effects of the warming at the Arctic are irreversible? And do nothing? If Arctic warming is already irreversible, do we just try to make the best of it (like creating shipping lanes through it and Drill Baby Drill) or do we find out the full implications of what changing a major ecosystem on our planet portends. Time passes. Overheated Arctic sign of climate change 'vicious circle' Freakishly high temperatures in the Arctic driven by heat-packed oceans and northward winds have been reinforced by a "vicious circle" of climate change, scientists said Thursday. Air above the Polar ice cap has been 9-12 degrees Celsius (16.2 to 21.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above average during the last four weeks, according the data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), which tracks hourly changes in Arctic weather. And during several days last week, temperatures above the North Pole were a balmy zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), a full 20C (36F) above the levels typical for mid-November, said Martin Stendel, a DMI climate researcher based in Copenhagen. "This is by far the highest recorded" in the era of satellite data, starting in 1979, he told AFP. (November 24, 2016) PHYS.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/28/2016 - The bigger question is, If we’ve know about Climate Change for 200 years why did we wait so long to address it? Next question, Why are we now trying to un-know and undo everything we’ve learned about this crisis? Katharine Hayhoe: Here's How Long We've Known About Climate Change One of the biggest myths about climate science—a myth that has been deliberately fostered, for decades—is that we just don't know that much, yet. The field is still in its infancy, people argue and a lot more is needed before coming to consensus. After all, aren't scientists always changing their minds? Just a few decades ago, they were predicting an ice age, not global warming! Even for those of us on board with the scientific consensus that climate is changing and humans are responsible, might be hard pressed to pick a year when climate science really began. Surely before 1990, when the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment was published? Maybe in 1988, when Jim Hansen testified to Congress? Or in 1981, when he published his first paper on the greenhouse effect of trace gases? (November 25, 2016) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/28/2016 - Activist shareholders are trying to influence companies to address Climate Change and environmental concerns before attitudes are likely to shift away from corporate environmental responsibility. How do activists shore up environmental safety measures before Trump? Time passes. More company climate votes ahead, as Trump may loosen energy rules Activist shareholders plan a record number of resolutions focused on climate change at U.S. company annual meetings in 2017, even as President-elect Donald Trump looks set to loosen environmental regulations. Based on filings so far, U.S. companies are on track to face roughly 200 resolutions on climate matters at their shareholder meetings next year, according to Rob Berridge, who follows the subject for Ceres, a sustainability advocacy group. (November 25, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/26/2016 - ACTION: Help Riverkeeper Defeat a Proposal for Increased Crude Transport & Storage on the Hudson River | This from Riverkeeper "I'd like to share this powerful 7-minute film produced by acclaimed filmmaker Jon Bowermaster and ask you for help in elevating this campaign to a national audience.   The maritime industry has requested the Coast Guard establish a significant increase in anchorage grounds on the Hudson River to facilitate an expected increase in transport and storage of crude oil on the Hudson River transloaded from oil trains at Albany and possibly other Hudson River facilities.   The Coast Guard has moved forward with considering the proposal with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The comment period on the ANPRM ends on December 6th and we are advocating to (1) stop the proposal from moving forward to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking but if we can't succeed there, (2) require the Coast Guard to conduct a comprehensive environmental impact statement. You can learn more by watching the video or by visiting here.   Assistance from national, regional and local groups sending an e-blast and sharing on social media would give a major boost to our efforts, as this is another major proposal to facilitate the movement of Bakken and tar sands to refineries and for international export. Below I’ve included a sample comment letter your members could submit. "

  • 11/26/2016 - From the vantage of Climate Change, I found this prediction of Rochester’s wintry weather curious. I don’t doubt the accuracy of all the factors that lead up to the conclusion that this winter for us in Rochester will be colder and have more snow than last year but not have as much cold or as much snow as the year before. But I’m fascinated that this long weather segment on the factors that will influence this winter’s weather is entirely missing Climate Change. Our local weathermen are still trying to work in a bubble. (Even though the World Meteorological Organization says this “The global climate 2011-2015: heat records and high impact weather”.) Trying to predict of local weather now seems like a concerted effort to focus on the shifting baseline paradigm, where you only ‘see’ the facts and figures pertaining to your objective (reporting on the weather) and fail to see the bigger picture based on a longer time frame. The shifting baseline paradigm shows up when for centuries your ancestors chopped down trees on your island and continue to do so when there are now almost no trees to chop down. The baseline from which to predict weather has shifted. That is, human-caused Climate Change has put the factors that contribute to our local weather in a different context. El Nino and jet streams and polar vortex and ocean currents and the snow in Eastern Europe that weathermen still use as predictors of weather are now influenced by Climate Change. The rapid melting of the Arctic is having huge affect on our weather and our local meteorologists should be informing the public of this, instead of pretending Climate Change doesn’t exist. The problem with the shifting baseline paradigm is that it works right up to the point that it doesn’t. Climate Change is going to be a major disruptor of our weather and we are not going to be coming around eventually to a historical pattern we recognize. Our local meteorologist have an important impact on how the public views our weather and climate and they ought to get with the program. What to Expect for the 2016-17 Winter Season TWC NEWS VIDEO: Get a full preview of what Mother Nature has in store for the winter season in the Rochester area. Our meteorologists will look back at last winter, show you what the global patterns are and what their local predictions are for the 2016-17 winter. (November 24, 2016) Time Warner Cable News Rochester [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/26/2016 - Important article from the NYT on Climate Change and our US Eastern seacoast properties and insurance. For one, a major real estate market collapse, causing colossal damage to our economy, is likely to occur if we don’t own up to the consequences of sea level rise on our coasts and plan properly before everyone goes broke trying to sustain an unsustainable way of life. I suspect at some point the general public is going to balk at folks rebuilding in flood prone areas because the financial costs—not to mention the environmental and human—will be too great. Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate Homeowners are slowly growing wary of buying property in the areas most at risk, setting up a potential economic time bomb in an industry that is struggling to adapt. Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water’s edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps? Rising sea levels are changing the way people think about waterfront real estate. Though demand remains strong and developers continue to build near the water in many coastal cities, homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. A warming planet has already forced a number of industries — coal, oil, agriculture and utilities among them — to account for potential future costs of a changed climate. The real estate industry, particularly along the vulnerable coastlines, is slowly awakening to the need to factor in the risks of catastrophic damage from climate change, including that wrought by rising seas and storm-driven flooding. (November 24, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/26/2016 - To understand how Nature works without human disturbance we should try and preserve as many pristine places left. This point about the Adirondack Park itself is amazing: "It is globally significant," added Sheehan. "The Adirondack Park essentially protects the largest intact temperate deciduous forest left on Earth." NY Urged to Designate New Wilderness Area A coalition of conservation organizations on Monday called on New York State's Adirondack Park Agency to designate the Boreas Ponds area of the park as motor-free wilderness. Sitting well within the boundaries of the park, the tract of land was acquired by the Park Agency this year.  According to John Sheehan, communications director for the nonprofit Adirondack Council, the Boreas Ponds area is one of the most fragile and pristine parcels of land to enter state ownership in a generation. And designating two-thirds of it a wilderness area would keep it that way. "A road leading to the edge of these ponds would be the beginning of the end for their viability," he said. "Essentially, the ecological integrity of the place would be compromised by that." (November 15, 2016) Public News Service [more on Parks in our area]

  • 11/25/2016 - I don’t think this is the question we should be asking about our forest in a time of Climate Change: “Can science help the American chestnut make a comeback?” I think we should be asking: What kinds of trees should we be focusing on as our climate warms? How would the American chestnut fare in a warmer New York climate even if it could be reestablished? In this study by the US Dept. of Agriculture there are three emission scenarios that try and predict what kind of trees will thrive in a low, medium, or high greenhouse gas emission scenario. Check out the graph on the top of page 18: “Figure 7. —Current and projected suitable habitat for major forest types in New England under low and high emissions scenarios. See Figure 5 for details of the scenarios. Under the low emissions scenario, the conditions will favor maplebirch-beech forests, while under the high emissions scenario suggest that conditions they will favor oak-hickory forests. Adapted from Iverson et al. 2007.” Changing Climate, Changing Forests: The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada Before we try and reestablish historical species with genetic modification (which is another kettle of fish), shouldn’t we try and gage what is the most likely emissions scenario and whether the species we are trying to save could survive them? Can science help the American chestnut make a comeback? Genetically modified food is something that’s discussed a lot. But scientists in Syracuse are trying to take that technology one step further, and create the first genetically modified wild forest tree. And with that, rest hopes that the American chestnut tree could make a comeback with a scientific nudge. Chestnut trees once dominated swaths of the Eastern seaboard. That was more than a century ago, before an Asian fungus decimated a population known for delivering chestnuts to holiday revelers, and wood that doesn’t rot to builders. The fungus is now endemic throughout the Eastern U.S. (November 24, 2016) WXXI News [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/25/2016 - Although this program aired before the last presidential election, it’s really a great encapsulation of how the climate movement must move forward. It is refreshing to listen to experts talk about Climate Change communication with no pulled punches. At this point in time, before Trump actually takes office, we don’t know what will happen, but we do know what has occurred in the climate movement and climate science thus far. This hour program with Bill McKibben is a great opportunity to take stock of where we are on addressing Climate Change. MCKIBBEN AND TAMMINEN: DISRUPTIVE CLIMATE AND POLITICS Climate change seems to have taken a backseat in this year’s presidential campaign. What’s ahead for the climate movement in the next administration? Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org Terry Tamminen, CEO, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation This program was recorded in front of a live audience at the Commonwealth Club of California on October 21, 2016. (October 21, 2016) Climate One

  • 11/25/2016 - One of the problems facing Climate Change adaptation is flood insurance. More extreme weather in the form of flooding is going to require massive dollars for people to put their lives back together again after major flooding. But insurance companies and even our government can run out of funds to pay for damages and rebuilding. Also, floodplains, where insurance companies believe floods will occur and thus flood insurance will be available, are quickly changing. Your property may have moved in or out of a floodplain increasing your changes of a flood and decreasing your chance to get flood insurance. There are many ways people are going to feel the dramatic effects of Climate Change and more frequent (warm air holds more moisture) flooding is one of them. Is your insurance company and our government ready for Climate Change and protecting your interests? Caught Without Flood Insurance In A Changing Climate With the worst storms strengthening due to climate change, towns like Lumberton, North Carolina, face the kind of flooding that hits the unsuspecting. It turns out the federal government wasn’t expecting a flood in the Frenches’ neighborhood, either. But such floods might be the new normal in places unaccustomed to inundation, a watery welcome to an era of rising seas and warmer oceans spurred by climate change. And some observers fear the new Trump administration will halt the small steps that the federal government had taken to protect people living where floods now threaten. (November 22, 2016) BuzzFeed [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/25/2016 - But on the other hand, we shouldn’t have to defend science every time our US agencies need money to monitor our environment. Threats to our US science budgets seem very crazy when you free yourself from politics. We have altered our environment a lot in the past, including warming the planet, and now we want to blind ourselves and cripple our ability to monitor our effects on our life support system, including our ability to address the consequences. A Trump Budget Could Decimate Climate Funding The world is waiting to hear what President-elect Donald Trump has in mind for governing the U.S. Among the biggest questions is what will happen to the budget for climate and energy-related activities. Though they’re a relatively small piece of a federal budget that is in excess of $1 trillion, how the administration deals with climate and energy will go a long ways toward determining the future of the planet. (November 23, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/25/2016 - The Arctic is warming and therefore changing quickly. Within a short time, humanity has altered a major Earth feature and how it works. Scientists don’t know all the implications of a rapidly warming Arctic on this planet, but it’s not likely to be a favorable change in a biological/chemical/physical system that took billions of years to develop. Like the Sorcerer's Apprentice we have mucked with something far beyond our knowledge and our capabilities of putting it right. Global Warming Alters Arctic Food Chain, Scientists Say, With Unforeseeable Results The Arctic Ocean may seem remote and forbidding, but to birds, whales and other animals, it’s a top-notch dining destination. “It’s a great place to get food in the summertime, so animals are flying or swimming thousands of miles to get there,” said Kevin R. Arrigo, a biological oceanographer at Stanford University. But the menu is changing. Confirming earlier research, scientists reported Wednesday that global warming is altering the ecology of the Arctic Ocean on a huge scale. (November 22, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - How more terrible will the clashes get as the fossil fuel industry and protesters fight harder over an infrastructure heedless of justice and a sustainable future? Protester’s Arm Nearly ‘Blown Off’ in Explosion at Dakota Access Pipeline Site Protesters say police threw a concussion grenade at the woman, which police deny A New York woman who was among several hundred people protesting the Dakota Access pipelinein North Dakota early Monday had her left arm nearly “blown off” during an explosion at the protest site, her father said. (November 22, 2016) Time

  • 11/24/2016 - Now that Rochester, NY is finishing up its Climate Action Plan it would have been nice to see our mayor, along with many other mayors, send a letter to president-elect Trump  to “take bold action within our cities to tackle the climate crisis head-on.” Cities can do a lot to help their local communities adapt to Climate Change—more flooding, more droughts, more challenges to our infrastructures, more issues with public health—but without federal guidance and support the effect of cities on mitigating and addressing this worldwide crisis will be limited. 37 #ClimateMayors are urging Trump to be the leader we need at the federal level on Climate Change because we are at a very critical moment where we can avoid the worst consequences. In order to address Climate Change at this late date, we have to have leadership and support at the federal level however much folks thinks it is unlikely to change Trump’s mind. There might be time for our mayor to sign on to this letter: Open Letter to President-elect Donald Trump on Climate Action Dear President-elect Trump, As Mayors, we have taken it upon ourselves to take bold action within our cities to tackle the climate crisis head-on. We write today to ask for your partnership in our work to clean our air, strengthen our economy, and ensure that our children inherit a nation healthier and better prepared for the future than it is today. We lead 37 small and large American cities, comprising nearly 31 million Americans in both blue and red states. We have joined together in the U.S. Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda (MNCAA), or the #ClimateMayors, in addressing the greatest challenge of our time, climate change. Each of our cities is committing to ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, set climate action, regularly report on our progress, share lessons and hold each other accountable. Around the globe, cities are working together through organizations like C40 as well. (November 22, 2016) Climate Mayors [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - Yes, we’ve been hearing about “increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events with dangerous and costly impacts” but not from our meteorologists. Imagine how better informed the public would have been on Climate Change if the ever-present meteorologists talking every day and night on TV and radio had connected weather and climate years ago. Our media and our meteorologists are a crucial part of Climate Change messaging for the public. Without these crucial links in our information systems the US public would have voted in an administration wholly dysfunctional on Climate Change at the most important moment, perhaps the last chance to avoid catastrophic damage due to Climate Change. Whoops! The global climate 2011-2015: heat records and high impact weather Extreme weather increasingly linked to global warming The World Meteorological Organization has published a detailed analysis of the global climate 2011-2015 – the hottest five-year period on record  - and the increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events with dangerous and costly impacts. The record temperatures were accompanied by rising sea levels and declines in Arctic sea-ice extent, continental glaciers and northern hemisphere snow cover. (November 8, 2016) World Meteorological Organization [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - This article captures the importance of Rochester’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) at a critical time. Although the City’s Climate Action Plan has been a long time coming, it’s arriving when the Trump presidency threatens to bully us and the rest of the world with the Denier-In Chief’s anti-sustainable machinations. The Trump threat to pull the United States out of the recently adopted Paris Agreement not only puts everyone’s future at risk, it threatens our country’s credibility and legacy of leadership on world issues. The City’s CAP is no substitute for the Paris Agreement, but it is a demonstration that communities like Rochester appreciate the urgency and importance of addressing Climate Change locally. Further, a local CAP provides a blueprint for adapting to Climate Change, as adapting to the extreme weather, heat, and flooding that will increase in our region is an absolute necessity—regardless of what side of the political isle you are on the science of Climate Change. (I know, this sounds strange because science should not have degenerated into politics.) Also, worked into the City’s CAP and many other community’s climate action plans are the needs of businesses. Businesses need a healthy environment to operate in. Which is to say, predictability: clean water, clean air, and uniform regulations. A template like the City’s CAP also provides the local media with a realistic framework from which to report and put into context the consequences we are already experiencing from this worldwide crisis. Many of those communities already challenged by job shortages, transportation issues, public health concerns, food availability, and security issues will find the CAP a very useful vehicle to leverage their apprehensions about a sustainable future. You can find out more about participating in the CAP here and providing comment to the draft by contacting Anne Spaulding in the City’s Office of Energy and Sustainability at (585) 428-7474, or emailing her anne.spaulding@cityofrochester.gov | Rochester plans local action on climate  This year has been one long string of bad news for the climate. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels passed an undesirable threshold, arctic sea ice melted at record levels, average global temperature records were repeatedly beaten, and a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef's coral died during a massive bleaching event. This is what manmade climate change looks like, and across the world, communities and countries are asking how they can fight it. The City of Rochester's answer is its recently released Climate Action Plan. The document sets a goal of reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and provides a blueprint to get there. Officials are taking comment on the plan right now, and expect it'll go to City Council for a vote within the next few months. (November 23, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - The loss of NASA’s space monitoring of Earth’s ecosystems would be blinding ourselves just when we need it the most. Turning NASA’s ‘eyes’ away from our life support system and towards deep space would be like stopping eating and drinking for a year so you could save up enough money for a trip overseas. Theoretically you could do it, but you’d be too dead to enjoy the trip. Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’ Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding as the president-elect seeks to shift focus away from home in favor of deep space exploration Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said. Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century. (November 23, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - It’s 2016, the planet is warming, do you know what your children are learning about Climate Change in their classrooms? NPR has produced this great article, filled with lots of important links on teaching Climate Change, in a time when the climate deniers are about to take the helm in the US. Are you worried? Are your children’s teachers teaching Climate Change correctly, or at all? Will the changed political climate in the US make your children’s teachers less likely to teach Climate Change accurately? There are reasons why we voted in a climate denier into the highest office at a very critical moment in our history, could part of the answer be a lack of science education in our schools? What Does A Trump Presidency Mean For Climate-Change Education? On Nov. 8, the World Meteorological Organization published a press releasesummarizing the findings from a report on global climate from 2011-2015. The report identified the last five years as the hottest on record, with 2015 marking the first year with global temperatures more than 1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial era. Arctic sea ice declined, sea levels rose and many extreme weather events occurred — events that were "made more likely as a result of human-induced (anthropogenic) climate change." The same day the press release was published, Donald Trump was elected as the next president of the United States. (November 21, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 11/23/2016 - Vegetation has responded to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but it gets complicated. For one, CO2 is only one of the components plants need: NASA says: “Plants also need water, sunlight, and nutrients, especially nitrogen. If a plant doesn’t have one of these things, it won’t grow regardless of how abundant the other necessities are. There is a limit to how much carbon plants can take out of the atmosphere, and that limit varies from region to region. So far, it appears that carbon dioxide fertilization increases plant growth until the plant reaches a limit in the amount of water or nitrogen available.” Effects of Changing the Carbon Cycle (NASA) And too much carbon can be bad from some important (to us) crops: “Sample crops, grasslands, and forests all seemed to lose some ability to absorb nutrients when exposed to rising CO2 levels in large-scale field experiments held in eight countries across four continents.” Climate Change: Plants Choke on too Much Carbon (2015, Nature World News) For those thinking that a rise in CO2 will be a positive thing haven’t considered all the complications of a warming planet. Even a rise in CO2 for plants is not necessarily favorable. Plants’ carbon hunger won’t halt warming The greenhouse effect has prompted plants to consume more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere − but not enough to prevent global warming. The green economy has begun to respond to a greenhouse world, with new research suggesting that the vegetable kingdom has stepped up its appetite for carbon dioxide as emissions continue to grow. The outcome is that although carbon dioxide proportions in the atmosphere have soared in less than two centuries, from 280 parts per million to 400 ppm now everywhere on the planet, the rate of increase has appeared to slow. Unfortunately, the bad news from the researchers is that this increased appetite for carbon is nowhere near enough to halt human-induced climate change. According to a study in Nature Communications, the rate at which CO2increased in the atmosphere between 2002 and 2014 was contained at 1.9ppm per year. And researchers put this down to growing stimulus in the photosynthesis industry. (November 18, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/23/2016 - The US dropping the Paris Agreement is not popular with scientists, environmentalist, or Americans. So why do it? Why would we do something so decidedly against our own self-interest? Trump wants to dump the Paris climate deal, but 71 percent of Americans support it, survey finds Since the election of Donald Trump as president, climate change has rushed to the front of the news because of Trump’s pledges to wipe away major U.S. attempts to address it. Of particular concern to scientists and environmentalists around the world is Trump’s vow to “cancel” U.S. participation in the Paris climate agreement, negotiated by nearly 200 countries late last year and the foundation for a global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, country by country. However, a new survey released by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Monday suggests that if Trump were to withdraw from the agreement, that may not be popular in the United States. The survey of 2,061 Americans, conducted in June, finds that 71 percent support the Paris deal, including 57 percent of Republicans — – a notable finding on a topic that, at least so far, does not seem to have received much polling attention. (November 21, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/22/2016 - Near-record November storm in Rochester, NY proves Climate Change is a hoax. Just kidding. I’m just poking a little fun at our local media’s inability to characterize our crazy winters in the light of Climate Change. Climate Change doesn’t mean, of course, that there would be less and less snow each year until it’s gone altogether. Quite the opposite for a while. The melting of the Arctic (which is dramatic this year) is having a profound effect on our winter, lake-effect snow patterns, not to mention that warmer lake waters reduce lake ice which increases the changes of major lake-effect snowfalls. It would be nice if our local media would start characterizing our extreme weather events in the context that they are now happening—in time of warming where there will be more climate disruption. The public might not vote so crazily if our media connected the dots between our extreme weather and Climate Change. The rest of the world gets Climate Change, while the US is still living in the past. Near-record November storm buries Rochester (November 22, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle {more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/22/2016 - Articles about microbeads vs. microfibers pollution in our Great Lake basin are curious indeed. It’s odd to characterize that microfibers are a ‘new’ threat when they constitute 71% per cent of the microplastics collected in “plastic pollution in 29 tributaries of the Great Lakes”. This high percentage of microplastics hints that microfibers were the culprit all along, not just microbeads. It’s just that the media and our lawmakers find it easier to find and set laws against microbeads than microfibers. This matters because microfibers, which are teeny-weeny plastics, come from a variety of manmade products, including cigarette butts, probably litter in the form of plastic bags, and a lot of other items than fleece in your laundry. I agree that this is the problem “microfibers are not as easily excreted as other plastic fragments. Each fiber that makes its way into the environment is a poison pill that can absorb chemicals and make its way into a fish.” But our media should not be focused on this incredibly sticky problem with a solution as easy as changing our laundry habits. Our media has this tendency to frame environmental issues as ‘new’ and ‘easy’ to solve once you read their article. Not so. Microfibers in our freshwater system has probably been a threat for a long time; it going to be very hard to solve because it’s coming from a large variety of sources, and it’s going to be expensive. Somehow we are going to have to filter our waste water better and filter our drinking water more thoroughly. A relatively few people who are willing to change their laundry habits will not address the microfiber problem at all and a warm and fuzzy article to this effect does not help. Microfibers emerging as new environmental threat as Canada moves toward banning microbeads The Canadian government released proposed regulations on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, to ban the sale of microbeads in toiletries by July, 2018. Natural health products and non-prescription drugs containing microbeads are to be banned a year later in July, 2019. The move comes just five months after microbeads were labelled toxic based on growing evidence that they were contributing to microplastic pollution (fragments less than 5mm in size) in our waterbodies. But now it seems a different type of microplastic is becoming a growing threat. U.S. researchers recently examined plastic pollution in 29 tributaries of the Great Lakes and found that 98 per cent of plastics collected were microplastics. Seventy-one per cent of these were microfibers. (November 13, 2016) The National Post [more on Water Quality and Recycling in our area]

  • 11/22/2016 - However our media and politics might try to disconnect science and the science of Climate Change, science is one. We must respect the role of science as we continue to warm the planet and learn how to turn the temperature down. We cannot accomplish that with magical thinking. In post-election media, colorful thread develops on science—mainly climate science Is Donald Trump “the first anti-science president we have ever had”? Within three days, Nature had posted an editorial and five news stories on Trump-era science. In the coverage generally, fears of climate catastrophe proliferated. Within a week, an Atlantic headline had proclaimed the “prospect of a new Dark Age.” From Time to Mother Jones, from Huffington Post India to Vox, and from the Independent to Truthdig and beyond, headlines trumpeted the word disaster—including twice at the Guardian, once on 11 November and again two days later. Within the science-related trickle that wasn’t about climate, a post-election BBC headline asked, “What does Trump win mean for US science?” The article conjectured that the president-elect might misunderstand the need for pure research. He might also hamper or even hobble immigration necessary for benefiting from first-rate talent. The article reminded readers that Trump once called the National Institutes of Health “terrible.” It also reported that Trump seems enthusiastic about NASA. Concerning that enthusiasm, Space News surmised that Trump’s policy would likely focus on human spaceflight and on technology development and commercialization, with diminished attention to Earth science. (November 18, 2016) Physics Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/22/2016 - Both the Arctic and Antarctic are being dramatically affected by Climate Change, which is to say our planet’s air conditioners are starting to shut down. Global Warming Melts Polar Ice To Record Lows As Temperatures Rise Under Climate Change Effects They are quite literally poles apart but both the North Pole and the South Pole have something unfortunate in common at the moment: They are both seeing the lowest levels of sea ice since modern record-keeping began. News about the Arctic sea ice being at its lowest level ever for this time of the year — it hits its minimum in September and starts to build up again in October as the six-monthlong polar winter sets in — came a few days ago. Temperatures near North Pole are said to be 36 degrees higher than normal for this time of the year, and the sea ice level — which has fallen by about half since records began in 1979 — is lesser than its previous low of 2012. (November 21, 2016) IBTimes.com [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/22/2016 - There are a lot of good reasons why the US should not leave the Paris Agreement, including that doing so would probably make the US a pariah in the world. And if the US doesn’t lead on Climate Change, the world has a less chance of being sustainable. The Problem With Abandoning the Paris Agreement Bill O’Reilly and Barack Obama agree: President-elect Trump shouldn’t walk away from the first international climate treaty. If the Trump administration withdraws the United States from the Paris Agreement, the country would face a massive global diplomatic backlash and permanently cede worldwide leadership on climate and renewable-energy issues to China, experts warn. Withdrawing from the treaty “would be a huge mistake, even forgetting about climate change,” said Todd Stern, the former U.S. special envoy on climate change. He added that it would have “radiating bad impacts with respect to U.S. standing” on all other international issues. (November 18, 2016) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/21/2016 - While it’s true that businesses will respond to a marketplace that encourages renewable energy, businesses still need predictable regulations that are fair and sustainable. Only governments can do this and only our governments can keep our infrastructures from being overwhelmed by extreme weather and the other consequences of Climate Change. Businesses cannot fill in the gap left open by a disengaged government. Hundreds Of US companies urge climate action Hours after world leaders recommitted themselves to the Paris Climate Agreement at the opening of the high-level segment of the United Nations Climate Conference here, Jonathan Pershing emerged from his temporary office at the US pavilion to a gaggle of businessmen and NGO representatives. As lead US negotiator and then as US Special Envoy for Climate Change, he’d been a driving force in the creation of the agreement, and now he faced the prospect of seeing the president-elect pulling his country out of it. But he wasn’t here to discuss the negotiating process. He was here to discuss Business Diplomacy — a new term for a sense that had been percolating here all week: namely, that to fix the climate mess, we must reform the private sector, and that requires private-sector leadership. (November 18, 2016) GreenBiz [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/21/2016 - While we’ll miss the New York Times environmental blog Dot Earth, run by Andrew Revkin, this expanded coverage by the NYT for Climate Change is welcome. And maybe you can be the editor of this new direction: The New York Times is looking for a climate change editor. This from Revkin: “My ProPublica Move: From Blogging and Teaching Back to Deep Digging on Climate”

  • 11/19/2016 - An important event from our friends over at Rochester Pachamama Alliance, the Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Church and the Rochester Peoples Climate Coalition: Save the date to help Inaugurate Hope in Rochester! We can no longer wait for Washington to be our source of hope.  These times compel us to unleash a powerful, positive grassroots movement of hope together right where we live.  On the evening of Inauguration Day, January 20, all of those who want to create positive change in our community and our world are being invited to come together to explore ways to embody contagious hope wherever we work, live, volunteer, and interact.  When we come together to inspire, energize, support, and empower each other, we can create the world that needs to emerge, from the ground up.  Details of time and location will be available soon.  This event is being co-sponsored by the Rochester Pachamama Alliance, the Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Church and the Rochester Peoples Climate Coalition.  We invite other organizations to join us in co-sponsoring and spreading the word about this “Inaugurating Hope” event! (Contact Sue Staropoli suestar1@rochester.rr.com or 585-734-2816 to co-sponsor or for more information).

  • 11/19/2016 - Since Trump won, Climate activists need to rethink strategy. I understand this sentiment ““The climate movement needs to connect with other conversations like the ones on trade, on gender, on economic rights, because we realize that people are disenfranchised for a reason.”” But I’m not so sure that trying to fit the urgency of Climate Change solely into other concerns are the way to go. Though it is important to focus on the “linkages of clean air, drinkable water and healthy ecosystems with an increasingly hotter world”, it is also important to prioritize how the physics of Climate Change will affect not only the present but the future. We can try and must get folks to understand that their concerns are linked to Climate Change but for the sake of our future addressing and mitigating Climate Change must come first—no matter where the public puts Climate Change in their list of concerns. The planet is burning up and if that doesn’t get addressed quickly all people’s other concerns won’t matter. I oftentimes think that climate messaging is thought of as an advertisement for a great product that everyone should buy because it has something for everyone. Climate Change is a clear and present threat to our existence and the public should understand the full implications of this—it’s not like a product they might buy into or a list of issues they might chip into to. Trump won: It’s time for climate NGOs to stop preaching to the choir The latest elections showed climate change is not a priority for the American public. NGOs in Marrakech say it’s time to reconnect with the grassroots For all the organisers’ plans, this year’s climate talks won’t be remembered as the “implementation COP”. Few will recall that it was meant to be “all about Africa”. Instead, Marrakech 2016 will be associated with the name of a man who said that climate change is a Chinese hoax. Donald Trump hijacked the climate world overnight, causing havoc among negotiators, observers and scientists who now fear the rise of mainstream denialism and that aid will soon run dry. (November 11, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2016 - So, if 196 nations and 97% of climate scientists say we should address Climate Change, why wouldn’t we do that? Why would we go against the science and the world about the urgency of addressing Climate Change? 196 countries to Trump: UN must tackle climate change Nations stand as one in Marrakech to reaffirm their commitment to the fight against climate change in the face of populism and division in America The governments of the world have issued a repudiation of the voices of doubt by reaffirming their commitment to defeat climate change. At a UN climate conference in Marrakech, ministers and negotiators from almost 200 countries stood as one to applaud a document  that reaffirmed the world’s commitment to climate progress in the face of the shock election result in the US. “We call for the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority,” said the Marrakech Action Proclamation, read by Morocco’s foreign minister and conference president Salaheddine Mezouar. (November 17, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/18/2016 - That wildlife diseases are proliferating around the globe and that Climate Change is one of the possible contributing factors is alarming. Wildlife are essential for our ecosystems (like the Great Lakes region) and if Climate Change is already affecting our Wildlife we should be planning accordingly. We have known through climate studies that wildlife will be affected by Climate Change with warmer weather and more extreme weather (flooding and heat) but probably another one of the ways that make Climate Change a challenge for wildlife is through more diseases.  Sick wildlife increase in Great Lakes Wildlife disease has been increasing globally for decades. Recently, the Great Lakes region has witnessed its own proliferation: avian botulism, chronic wasting disease, white-nose syndrome and others. Another contributing factor to the rise in avian botulism is low water and a warming climate, Owen said. The keys are for more people to understand climate change and other human impacts on wildlife disease and that they do what they can to limit them, Owen said. (November 16, 2016) Traverse City Record-Eagle [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2016 - Considering that Transportation accounts for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions, planning for our future transportation options is important. Find out about this December 2nd “The Future of Transportation Technology: A Community Symposium”, sign up, and help shape our sustainable future.

  • 11/18/2016 - Something to remember as Climate Change causes more coastal flooding in the US and threatens major cities: The federal government plays a major role in protecting these communities and rescuing them after the floods. Kinda hard to do that if the federal government doesn’t see a causal relationship between the more frequent sea level rise flooding and Climate Change. If the federal government doesn’t plan properly (understand the role of Climate Change) for this potential catastrophic damage, it will quickly go broke trying to keep pace with the expenses. Supermoon Floods Warn of Crisis Facing Trump, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is preparing to lead America during a perilous period for the 130 million residents of its coastal counties. High tides linked to the full moon since the weekend caused minor flooding from Florida to New England, underscoring the need for improved coastal infrastructure at a time of faster rising seas. (November 17, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2016 - It sounds odd to the ear to hear that the US has found three specific ways to “deeply decarbonize" our economy by 2050 to keep our part of the Paris Agreement, but this remains a wishful climate plan. A wishful (or magical) plan would be one that  encourages more fossil fuel infrastructures and drilling for more oil off-shore, will keep greenhouse gas emission down and result in a sustainable future. (“… I have a feeling we not in Kansas anymore” The Wizard of Oz)  White House Releases Wishful Climate Change Plan Before Trump Takes Office At COP 22, U.S. climate envoys lay out a vision to 'deeply decarbonize' the economy by 2050, just as a Trump presidency threatens to reverse climate progress. MARRAKECH, Morocco—The White House released an optimistic but somewhat wishful strategy for long-term climate action on Wednesday, outlining options envisioned by the lame-duck Obama administration to reduce the nation's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Speaking at the global climate talks, Brian Deese, the senior adviser to President Barack Obama, hedged what the mid-century report is—and is not. "It's a long-term vision," said Deese. "It's not a policy prescription. It's not a set of specific recommendations or a blueprint for any future administration." It is also not meant to replace the country's existing climate pledge under the Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels. (November 17, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/17/2016 - So yeah, burning down forests to save them does sound counterintuitive. Deciding to rehabilitate our forest by taking down large old trees and burning up invasive species at a time when our experts are telling us that we must keep our carbon in the ground seems really, really counterintuitive and counterproductive. In a changing climate, we don’t know if our endemic species will even survive the warming. Shouldn’t our priorities towards forests in a time of Climate Change be to keep as many trees and plants in the ground as much as possible? And try to anticipate how our forest ecosystems with fare as our climate changes dramatically instead of trying to preserve endangered species that might not survive Climate Change anyways. Climate Change does not appear in this article nor the report. Interesting. Clearing the path for new forests Foresters throughout the Great Lakes region are destroying mighty oaks and other trees to regrow hardwood forests. That may seem counterproductive, but forestry officials say oaks need special attention to maintain a diverse and healthy forest system. That means cutting down decades-old trees and clearing shrubs to encourage new oaks to grow. The efforts include projects in every Great Lakes state. (November 16, 2016) Great Lakes Echo [more on Plants in our area]

  • 11/17/2016 - Gonna be hard to convince the public of the urgency of addressing Climate Change if the fox runs the henhouse media. Disinformation about Climate Change is rife—from the producers of fossil fuels, though mainstream media, all the way now to government—and there is no accountability. Part of environmentalist’s job now should be providing some kind of effective strategy to counteract this climate of denial and disinformation about the crisis of our age. There are many online resources, like the Union of Concerned Scientists (and even locally like RochesterEnvironment.com), but most of the public don’t even know they exist. This needs to change. Time passes. The Climate Accountability Scorecard: Ranking Major Fossil Fuel Companies on Climate Deception, Disclosure, and Action (2016) An in-depth analysis of eight leading fossil fuel companies finds that none of them has made a clean break from disinformation on climate science and policy.  Union of Concerned Scientists [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/16/2016 - So this is pretty funny, the feds need more information before they build DAPL project. Really? Read #Paris Agreement #NoDAPL #KeepItInTheGround #ClimateChange Army Wants Further Study Of Dakota Access Pipeline Route The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday that it needs more information before it can decide whether to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built along its planned route. In a joint statement by the U.S. Army and Department of the Interior, the Corps announced it had finished a review of the route, and concluded that more study was needed before it could grant the pipeline company the easement it needs to cross under a section of the Missouri River. (November 14, 2016) NPR [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 11/16/2016 - Even if Climate Change didn’t ‘cause’ toxic algae in Russia’s Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world, it probably accelerated and amplified the effects of pollution making toxic algae more likely, which is probably what is happening in our Great Lakes and Finger Lakes. Vast and Pristine, Russia’s Lake Baikal Is Invaded by Toxic Algae Some government officials and academics insist that the problems are caused by climate change, not pollution; others blame mud volcanoes, or even say that Lake Baikal’s eutrophication is a lie made up by scientists to gain funding. Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has yet to formally acknowledge that the lake’s health is in question at all. “One of the tragedies of Baikal is that top-level, senior scientists who are themselves never on a field expedition mistakenly believe that the lake can never be eutrophied because it is too huge, too pure and full of too much water,” Dr. Timoshkin said. “It’s an easy idea to have, but it’s wrong.” (November 14, 2016) New York Times [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/16/2016 - This statement about Climate Change’s effect on so many ecosystems is ominous, indeed. Have we waited too long to act on a scale and time frame that will matter? “The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere, with no ecosystem on Earth being spared. It is no longer sensible to consider climate change as a concern only for the future.” – Climate News Network Warming wreaks havoc with ecosystems As climate change negotiations continue in Marrakech, scientists warn that global warming is affecting four-fifths of ecological processes vital to ecosystems. Climate change has already begun to alter the world’s ecosystems – at sea, in rivers and lakes, and in the forests and meadows on land, according to an international team of scientists. They have identified 94 vital ecological processes that support healthy ecosystems, and have found that more than 80 per cent of them are already affected by global warming. With the UN climate change conference taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, the scientists report in Science journal that although global temperatures have risen on average by just 1°C in a century, the living world has begun to respond. (November 13, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2016 - Some thoughts on environmental action in a world trumped by Trump by Bill McKibben. Donald Trump Is a Disaster for the Earth on Every Single Level Bill McKibben on what environmentalists should do now. We reached out to author and activist Bill McKibben, who co-founded the environmental advocacy group 350.org, to ask about what all this means for the fate of the planet. In short: He's worried that the new administration will make it even harder to deal with the "physics" of climate change—the indisputable scientific fact that no matter what our next president tweets, emissions are quickly adding up. (November 11, 2016) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2016 - One of the things we tend to forget about Climate Change is that it’s not just about US. Millions will suffer if we don’t act. Untold millions in the future. Millions in lands that didn’t cause Climate Change but will reap the consequences first and worst. Time passes. Africa forgotten amid global climate battle between rich countries As negotiations enter the second week, countries from the continent feel neglected despite this year’s big promises African countries are set to leave this year’s UN climate talks empty handed, according to observers from the continent. Adaptation finance is not keeping pace with the needs of countries increasingly exposed to droughts, floods and sea level rise. Work to address loss and damage faced by the world’s poorest still lags behind. “I think that this COP was branded ‘the African summit’ just to make Africans feel good, but nothing is being done to salvage the interests of the continent,” said Nnimmo Bassey, former chair of Friends of The Earth International. (November 14, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2016 - Environmentalists who didn’t vote in US elections, what were they thinking? As we try to figure out how the US elections went so wrong, when so many either didn’t vote or did not vote in their best interests, one of the things we might have missed is that many folks who are concerned about Climate Change and our environment just did not vote? Why? Who were they? What were they thinking? Millions who know about the science behind Climate Change and the importance of keeping our environment healthy means communicating Climate Change with facts and evidence isn’t enough. There’s probably more about this pass election we missed. Why would humanity veer off in the wrong direction at just the most critical moment? How do we talk to ourselves about important stuff? Like addressing Climate Change so we can survive and thrive? Environmentalists Don't Vote. This Man Will Change That With Big Data Although most Americans list environmental issues as a top priority, most voters do not. That is about to change, and it could change everything. When you sit next to "The Voting Guru" Nathaniel Stinnett, you feel an excitement and energy pouring off him that's usually only encountered among Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs who've just closed their first round of funding. In some ways, this makes sense, because like that crowd, Stinnett is on the verge of changing the world. In his case that means changing the make-up of the electorate so that environmental issues become a top political priority. Before anyone panics, be assured that what Stinnett is doing is brilliant, creative, and 100% legal. His non-partisan nonprofit is called the Environmental Voter Project, and it's the first organization of its kind. (November 8, 2016) INC.

  • 11/15/2016 - Will Trump reshape US policy on Climate Change? Don’t worry your pretty little heads, we’re hearing. Just when you want Trump to finally shut up, he goes mum on the most important issue in the world. You gotta laugh. The Agonizing Wait For Trump to Speak on Climate Policy Scientists, analysts, activists and world leaders on Monday were anxiously waiting to learn how President-elect Donald Trump plans to reshape climate policy following a campaign in which he dismissed the global warming crisis — with America’s own climate negotiators being left in the dark. Trump publicly warned of the dangers of climate change before running for president; then he angrily dismissed climate change as a “hoax” on the campaign trail. His presidency threatens to end American leadership on climate at the United Nations at a pivotal moment for the planet. (November 14, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2016 - Major investigative news story about lead poisoning in Geneva, NY by Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. It’s about a lead poisoning warning delayed. “But state and city officials never warned residents and the decision to clean it up was deferred 16 more years, a Democrat and Chronicle investigation has found. Children dug for worms and played in the dirt, and adults planted gardens for more than a generation; oblivious to the small but real risk posed by that tainted soil.” Lead tainting Geneva's soil kept hidden for 30 years Thirty years ago, New York state officials first uncovered evidence that toxic metals from an old foundry in this historic Finger Lakes city had contaminated an adjoining neighborhood. A state environmental health expert concluded then that people were at risk of lead poisoning and neighbors should be warned. "Young children (those prone to placing fingers, other objects or dirt in their mouths) are of particular concern," the expert, Dr. John Hawley, wrote in an internal memorandum in June 1987. (November 14, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 11/14/2016 - Trying to change Trump’s mind on Climate Change will be like trying to teach a pig to talk. You can’t do it and it irritates the pig. Maybe Trump’s dismissal of Climate Change was just campaign rhetoric; if not, we are all in deep trouble. The window through which we can avert the worst consequences of Climate Change is slamming shut. Environmentalists launch 'emergency' campaign to persuade Trump climate change is real amid fears of 'planetary disaster' US President-elect is 'not only mad and bad but he’s also dangerous', UK politician says One of the biggest ever environmental campaigns has been launched by a group of the world's most eminent scientists and environmentalists in an 'emergency' effort to convince the President-elect, Donald Trump, that global warming is real before he becomes US President in January. Mr Trump, who described climate science as a “hoax” perpetrated by China, has already appointed a prominent climate change denier, Myron Ebell, to a key environmental post and promised that he will rip up the landmark Paris Agreement climate deal when he enters the White House. Climate sceptics in Australia crowed that the Paris Agreement was "cactus" – meaning finished – following his election this week. (November 11, 2016) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/14/2016 - The world waits to see if the new Trump presidency will actually try and undo the US’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile we act. U.S. to push ahead on climate pact before Trump takes over: Kerry U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the Obama administration would do everything it could to implement a global agreement to combat climate change before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. Kerry made the comments during a visit to New Zealand just before setting off to Marrakesh, Morocco to take part in climate talks between 200 nations. Donald Trump, who calls global warming a hoax and has promised to quit the Paris Agreement, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to a source on Trump's transition team. (November 13, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/12/2016 - Recycling is important and it’s important that we know that our recyclables are being recycled properly. In a finite world with an exquisitely sensitive environment we cannot just be satisfied that the things we throw away disappear so we can get more. You’ll Never Believe Where Your Old Computer Could End Up After You Hand It In for Recycling Suburban Hong Kong appears to have become the new favorite dumping site for exported U.S. electronic waste, watchdog finds Roughly 20 km away from Hong Kong’s slick, densely packed urban center lies the New Territories — a suburban mishmash of rugged hills and scruffy villages, soaring new housing developments and vacant lots. This is where over half of the territory’s 7.2 million people live. It could also be the resting place for your old PC or printer. Up to 20% of all U.S. electronic waste may be ending up in Hong Kong. Not in some scrapyard in the developing world, picked over by haggard children and wheezing laborers, but in the backyard of one of the world’s most sophisticated financial capitals. That, at least, is the claim of a new investigation, which says the movement of these items is violating international treaties restricting cross-border transfer of hazardous electronic materials. (November 11, 2016) Time [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 11/12/2016 - Climate Change will warm some regions (like the Arctic and Alaska) more quickly than others. Alaska Continues to Bake Through October Temperatures in the Lower 48 have been way above normal again this year, but they’ve had nothing on Alaska. Heat records there continued to pile up through October as the notoriously chilly state heads towards its hottest year on record. Through October, the year-to-date temperature in Alaska was 36.3°F, an astounding 6.7°F above average. This exceeds the previous record for the same period — set in 1926 — by 2.5°F. (November 10, 2016) WXshift [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/12/2016 - In other news, at COP 22 Marrakesh nations are trying to make the Paris Agreement work and deliver humanity a future. "In Marrakesh, many nations have reaffirmed backing for the Paris Agreement's goals of shifting to wind, solar and other cleaner energies." Trump's climate plan 'catastrophic': France's Royal Donald Trump's plan to drop out of world cooperation on slowing climate change would be "absolutely catastrophic" and weaken the United States, France's environment minister said on Friday. But Segolene Royal, defending a 2015 Paris climate agreement she helped construct, told Reuters she believed the U.S. president-elect might switch track once he takes office. Trump has called global warming a hoax, wants to cancel the Paris Agreement and halt all U.S. funding of U.N. global warming programs. "If such decisions are taken it would be absolutely catastrophic," said Royal, a Socialist. (November 11, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2016 -  Our friends in Australia will ratify the Paris Agreement highlighting the way for nations to object to climate deniers. We should all now be doubling our efforts to address Climate Change. Turnbull signals Australia won't follow Trump's lead on Paris climate agreement Prime minister confirms Australia will ratify agreement despite opposition from One Nation and conservative Coalition MPs Malcolm Turnbull has signalled Australia will not seek to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement even if the US president-elect, Donald Trump, follows through on his threat to cancel the emissions reductions commitments made by Barack Obama last December. Turnbull on Thursday confirmed Australia had ratified the Paris agreement despite domestic opposition from the One Nation party, a critical Senate bloc for the government, and persistent climate change scepticism roiling within Coalition ranks. After Trump’s victory, and ahead of Turnbull’s confirmation of the government’s intentions with ratification on Thursday morning, the chairman of the government’s backbench committee on the environment and energy, the Liberal MP Craig Kelly  (November 9, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2016 - Besides being my favorite quote of the day, this quote highlights what climate scientists have been saying for a long time—it’s physics stupid! ““It’s clear Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world... but even he does not have the power to bend and change the laws of physics,” said Alden Meyer, policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.” (Imagine what would be our reality today if our media and our politicians had prioritized science instead of bullshit.) Decades of poor media coverage and fossil-fuel monies poured into our political system have brought us to this horrible state—where politically nonsense has trumped sense. But the climate clock is ticking and a quickly warming planet has physical consequences that will have to be addressed regardless. Time passes. Trump win will not derail global climate effort, activists vow Grim-faced activists at U.N. climate negotiations in Morocco pledged on Wednesday that the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president would not derail global action to curb climate change and deal with its worsening consequences. “It’s clear Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world... but even he does not have the power to bend and change the laws of physics,” said Alden Meyer, policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists. As climate change exacerbates extreme weather and other problems including sea-level rise, Trump will have an obligation to protect U.S. citizens, activists say, and could miss key opportunities to create the millions of new jobs he has promised, if the country backs off renewable energy expansion. (November 9, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2016 - If it is so that now and for the time being much of the effort to address Climate Change will come from the states, New York State may (as it did with stopping Fracking) show the nation a way through the coming anti-science miasma.  We should also remember that the rest of the world did not vote in a climate denier and many of these nations are going to be on the front lines of Climate Change. This isn’t so much hope, as a realization that the efforts by individuals, groups, states, and nations to address Climate Change won’t be undone by some bad players who have taken a stance against science and planning for what climate science portends. Trump win means little for NY climate programs President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to roll back federal environmental regulations will likely have little effect on New York's efforts to combat climate change, according to the state's top energy official. Richard Kauffman, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's chairman of energy and finance, touted New York's various clean-energy programs Thursday while noting they predate the federal Clean Power Plan, an emissions-reductions program Trump has vowed to scale back. Should Trump curb environmental regulations at the federal level, New York's programs — including the Clean Energy Standard, which subsidizes renewable and nuclear energy — would remain in place. (November 10, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/10/2016 - ACTION: Last night’s Open House gathering at the City Hall Atrium for the public to learn about the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was well attended. Many folks posted their suggestions and observations about the CAP, which will help fine-tune this document for passage at the end of the year. There is still time to review the CAP draft and comment on how the City intends to address Climate Change locally. This is a chance for individuals and groups to see how Climate Change will impact their lives. Providing feedback is also opportunity for everyone to help shape their future by addressing their concerns—housing, water, energy, public health, transportation, and much more—while prioritizing the challenge of our age.   Go to the City’s CLIMATE ACTION PLAN website, download the “the draft community-wide Climate Action Plan”, then send your comments to the draft plan to Anne Spaulding at anne.spaulding@cityofrochester.gov .  

  • 11/10/2016 - Regardless of Trump’s Climate Change doubts, we will have to address the consequence of this quick warming that will affect every aspect of our lives. Trumps will come and go but Climate Change will go on relentlessly unless we stop it. It’s physics. And whether the new administration likes it or not they will have to help the public adapt to this crisis. Time passes.   Managing climate risk in Trump’s America On Tuesday, it appears, a slim plurality of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States. However, thanks to the Electoral College sway of Florida and the Rust Belt, the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, is now the president-elect of the United States. The new president will take office at a singular time in the history of our planet. The year 2016 is the first in well over a million in which the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere did not fall below 400 parts per million. Physics that has been known since the nineteenth century tells us that these high levels of carbon dioxide should make the planet warmer; and, indeed, this year will almost certainly be the warmest on record, with a global average temperature gearing up to be about 2.2°F (1.2°C) warmer than the late nineteenth century average. And, over the past quarter century, global average sea level has risen at a rate of about 1.2 inches per decade – more than twice as fast as the average twentieth century rate. These are all well-established scientific facts. (November 9, 2016) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/10/2016 - I think it’s fair to say climate scientists are very worried about a Trump presidency. The public must now embrace science like never before. Time passes. US election: Climate scientists react to Donald Trump’s victory In what’s widely being described as the most shocking upset in US election history, Donald J Trump has beaten Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. As one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, any change at the top of US politics warrants a consideration of what it might mean for the country’s climate and energy priorities. But given Trump’s comments on the campaign trail, the US’s recent reputation under Barack Obama as a nation serious about tackling climate change now looks to be in peril. (November 9, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/09/2016 - Trump wins US Presidency, with GOP House and Senate Majority. But this is the news: ""We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement." Last five years were hottest on record, more signs heat is man-made: WMO The past five years were the hottest on record with mounting evidence that heat waves, floods and rising sea levels are stoked by man-made climate change, the United Nations weather agency said on Tuesday. Some freak weather events would have happened naturally but the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said greenhouse gas emissions had raised the risks of extreme events, sometimes by a factor of 10 or more. "We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. (November 8, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/09/2016 - The Trump win is a major benchmark in human history—not in a good way. At just the point in history when the window of opportunity to avoid the worst consequences of Climate Change, humanity has taken a huge leap backwards in addressing Climate Change. A mindset completely at odds with science. Time passes. There’s no way around it: Donald Trump is going to be a disaster for the planet This is happening. Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States. And there’s no way around it: What he’s planning to do looks like an absolute disaster for the planet (and the people on it). Specifically, all the fragile but important progress the world has made on global warming over the past eight years is now in danger of being blown to hell. Trump has been crystal clear about his environmental plans. The mainstream media never wanted to bring it up, never wanted to ask about it in debates, never wanted to turn their addled attention away from Hillary Clinton’s email servers to discuss what a Trump presidency might mean for climate change. But all the indications were there: (November 9, 2016) VOX [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/09/2016 - Trump “has threatened to 'cancel' the Paris Agreement”. Can and will he attempt to do it? Why President Donald Trump is an even bigger disaster than you thought World's most influential climate champion elects man who does not believe in the science behind man-made climate change, and has threatened to 'cancel' the Paris Agreement Climate experts who have been nervously watching the US election from the UN summit in Marrakech will now go into crisis mode at the news that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. Many attendees stayed up through the night to find out whether a man who has previously described “the concept of global warming” as being     “created by and for the Chinese” will be named the most powerful leader in the world. The Morocco summit has seen representatives from around the world gather to discuss how last year’s groundbreaking Paris Agreement will be implemented in practice. (November 9, 2016) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/09/2016 - How is the Trump presidency, with a majority of GOP in the Senate and House, going to affect addressing Climate Change? One thing is for sure, they won’t make physics go away. But this new turn of events will profound affect humanity’s ability to have a sustainable environment. We had better tighten our seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. LIVE: UN climate talks reaction as Trump wins US presidency -Climate sceptic wins White House in shock result -Republicans take control of both houses in Congress -US dollar and Mexican peso sink in trading chaos -COP22 summit on hold as envoys ponder implications -Billionaire promised to nix Paris climate deal -UN says ‘no plan B‘ for Trump victory On the surface, the UN talks in Marrakech appear to be progressing as normal, with meetings on ensuring the Paris Agreement becomes operational taking place around this huge complex. But beneath the surface there is a huge amount of uncertainty. US envoys are understandably reluctant to talk; one usually accessible EU negotiator also brushes off questions. The truth is no-one really knows what happens next or what the long term impacts of a Trump presidency will have on the Paris climate agreement. The last time a Republican hostile to the carbon cutting agenda took office was in 2000: the next year George W Bush pulled the country out of the Kyoto Protocol. (November 9, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/08/2016 - New Study: If we continue business as usual, sea levels will rise incredibly faster than we thought. Time passes. Why scientists are so worried about sea-level rise in the second half of this century Even as negotiators meet in Marrakech, Morocco to take the next steps to avert dangerous human-caused climate change — and, even as the U.S. decides whether or not to elect a president who is skeptical it is happening — a new study has highlighted the sharp stakes involved, particularly when it comes to the ongoing rise in global sea level and the dramatic but uneven way in which it could affect the world’s coastlines. The goal of the Paris climate agreement is to hold the planet’s temperature rise to “well below” a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase above what it was in pre-industrial times. We’ve already seen about a 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase since then. But the new research just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that if we stay on a current, high-emissions pathway and do not achieve the cuts that the Paris agreement seeks to institutionalize, then we could hit 2 degrees Celsius by 2040 or so (November 2, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/08/2016 - I know, we want to know if Great Lakes warmer water this year will result in less ice, “… increased storm activity and significant lake effect snow accumulation”. Could happen. The more important question though is whether warmer Great Lakes water EVERY winter will result in less ice, lower lake levels, more lake effect snow, and a whole lot more that are predicted in climate studies for our region.  With weather, it’s going be difficult to predict each year for a while how the warming and the melting of ice in the Arctic affects our winters. It’s like to be disruptive—as changes are coming quickly. With climate, the trend is going to be towards warmer Great Lakes waters and that is going to affect weather, wildlife, fish, plants, forests, agriculture, public health, shipping, water for hydroelectric and nuclear power plants—which need a certain level of cold water for cooling. Our media must gain a broader perspective of what Climate Change is going to do to our Great Lakes basin region—keeping their eyes on the weather and including Climate Change so we can plan properly. Will warm Great Lakes mean less ice this winter? The Great Lakes are much warmer than usual, and that will be a factor in limiting ice formation this winter, the National Weather Service says in its "freeze-up outlook." Large portions of the Great Lakes froze in 2014 CREDIT NASA How warm is it? Here's a sampling of water tempertaures at harbors around the region. Buffalo: 60, normal 54 Cleveland: 62, normal 56 Chicago: 60, normal 53 Duluth: 52, normal 44 (November 7, 2016) WBFO Buffalo's NPR News Station [more on the Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/08/2016 - Local Rochester NY media article mentions that Climate Change “… might have to do with an increase in ticks in our area.” That’s a step forward for local news, especially given that this year is “the worst year yet for ticks”. Public health will be dramatically affected by Climate Change because, like with ticks, warmer-climate diseases like West Nile Virus, malaria, and Lyme disease are driven by insects which will be able to make a stronger hold in a warmer New York. Our local media should do more to connect the dots between public health and the local consequences of Climate Change so we can all plan properly for our future. Local veterinarian: worst year yet for ticks Entomologists said climate change and deer migration might have to do with an increase in ticks in our area. (November 7, 2016) WHAM Rochester [more on Lyme Disease and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2016 - Great citizen reporter article on the #NoDAPL rally in support of #StandWithStandingRock in Rochester, NY. Including Representative Louise Slaughter’s complete speech at the rally. Compare this coverage with local mainstream press coverage of this event. You’ll see why Talker of the Town needs to be a part of our local media mix. Iakaonne´tha ne oneka Iakaonne´tha ne oneka (A rough translation of “Water is Life” offered by members of the Seneca tribe.) Yesterday at the Liberty Pole, several hundred Rochesterians gathered at the Liberty Pole to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The oil pipeline would stretch 1,200 miles underground through the Missouri River, carrying a half million barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois daily. Part of the river is the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in central North and South Dakota. (November 6, 2016) Talker of the Town [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2016 - From the stratosphere to our oceans, the science behind Climate Change clear and ominous. Whatever your attitude is towards Climate Change, the science should be your priority because humanity needs to see what is actually happening to our planet. Much about Climate Change includes our values—preserving Nature, Climate Justice, Freedom, and much more—but we are no longer living in a world where we have all the time in the world to work out our principles and values. The temperatures will steadily rise unless we get our energy use under control. If we fail to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter, our inclination to keep our values intact as humanity struggles for life will get more unlikely. Stratosphere shrinks as record breaking temperatures continue because of climate change Those warning of climate change impacts have been likened to Chicken Littles, scuttling around, warning the sky is falling. That worry, it turns out, is based on fact too. Cooling in the stratosphere is causing it to shrink, lowering that layer by "a number of kilometres", NASA noted recently. Our burning of fossil fuels and emissions of other greenhouse gases mean more of the earth's heat that would have been radiated back to space – warming the stratosphere on the way – is being trapped at lower levels of the atmosphere. (November 6, 2016) Sydney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2016 - We need to de-politicize Climate Change in the US. Why Republicans Still Reject the Science of Global Warming Only one major political party in the world denies climate change, and it's in charge of the most important political body in the world For decades, climate-change deniers got away with dismissing the growing body of science as speculation and guesswork, hysterical or politicized warnings of a disastrous future. Now, their church is crumbling. Every month of this year set a new record for the hottest monthly average global temperature in history. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years ever recorded have occurred in the 21st century. The facts are at our doorstep in the form of drought-fueled wildfires ravaging Southern California; rising sea levels in New York, Norfolk, Virginia, and Miami Beach; melting glaciers in Alaska; bleached coral reefs in the Virgin Islands. We've reached the point where the planet's warming – and the extreme weather it causes – is outpacing the very models scientists use to predict the future. (November 3, 2016) RollingStone [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/05/2016 - Apples are Big in the Finger Lakes region and Climate Change is presenting a challenge for this important crop. “Apples have several unique characteristics that affect their responses to climate change. Apple trees are particularly sensitive to small deviations in temperature. If unusually warm temperatures hit in February, these blossoms will be blooming in March and not April, and freezing becomes a seriously detrimental possibility. A single cold snap can ruin the harvest.” Food and Field Notes: Comparing Apples to Apples on Climate Change It’s hard to believe, but October is upon us, conjuring up the usual fall nostalgia – crisp air, flaming foliage, flannels… and apple-picking. Autumn is simply not complete without a day trip to the orchard, borderline-gluttonous apple cider drinking, the occasional apple pie. Amidst these apple-related festivities, World Food Day was October 16th. An annual day of action against global hunger, this year’s theme is climate change. This article is about the connection between apples and climate change. Just a word of warning – the following content may damper the above-mentioned apple nostalgia that we all know and love, but I think it’s important to understand the challenges facing apple crops and orchards as we enjoy them this year. (October 27, 2016) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/05/2016 - Important recycling information from ColorBrightonGreen: “Finding Places to Recycle Alkaline Batteries is Becoming More Difficult: Please buy rechargeable batteries and chargers. While single use batteries, including alkaline or zinc batteries may be disposed of in the regular trash, ColorBrightonGreen has been working hard to find ways to get them recycled. Recently, the places that we have found to take them for recycling have been closing their doors to alkaline battery recycling. We are still making efforts to find places to take them, but we recognize that we may not ultimately be successful. Meanwhile, using rechargeable batteries is a much better alternative. We are asking that you make the investment in buying battery chargers and rechargeable batteries. This would be a great gift for yourselves, your friends and family members, and our environment. For further information on greening your battery choices, please visit our website.”

  • 11/05/2016 - NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite is able to tease out recent human CO2 emissions from the total amount of background concentrations. Giving ourselves critical feedback about our greenhouse gas emissions is critical to our ability to control them. New, space-based view of human-made carbon dioxide Scientists have produced the first global maps of human emissions of carbon dioxide ever made solely from satellite observations of the greenhouse gas. The maps, based on data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite and generated with a new data-processing technique, agree well with inventories of known carbon dioxide emissions. No satellite before OCO-2 was capable of measuring carbon dioxide in fine enough detail to allow researchers to create maps of human emissions from the satellite data alone. Instead, earlier maps also incorporated estimates from economic data and modeling results. (November 1, 2016) NASA Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2016 - To be truthful, we don’t know what the #ParisEffect will have on #ClimateChange any more than our doctor informing us we will die unless we stop smoking. The #ParisAgreement is document with legal force; it is an admission by the nations of the world that its doctors have agreed that we have a very serious health condition and we have the means to solve it. That’s it. We either listen to our climate scientists, our doctors as it were, or we ignore them. About 100,000 years ago something almost miraculous evolved in the human species allowing us language, making us different from all other species in the world. Now we know we are causing the destruction of the entire planet by overwhelming all its ecosystems by emitting too much heat-trapping gases. Language acquisition came to us; addressing Climate Change will have to come from us. Time passes. The Paris Effect: How the Paris Agreement is Driving Climate Action Today, the Paris Agreement has entered into force. Less than a year after the landmark climate pact was adopted at the COP21 negotiations, the world has already seen a significant shift towards stronger climate action. The adoption of the Paris Agreement delivered a signal to governments, businesses and the global public: All parties, from national governments to small businesses, must do their part to minimize the risks and impacts of climate change. (December 4, 2016) Climate Nexus [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2016 - The Paris Agreement on Climate Change Is Official. Now we act on a scale and in a time frame that will matter. Or… The Paris Agreement on Climate Change Is Official. Now What? When the landmark Paris Agreement to address climate change officially goes into effect on Friday, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe will be floodlit green to celebrate the occasion. Now comes the hard work: figuring out the details. Top energy policy makers and corporate leaders caution that it will be challenging to meet even the deal’s modest goals to reduce planet-warming emissions of greenhouse gases. Many companies have not even figured out yet how much greenhouse gas they emit, much less made plans to curb these emissions. Rapid technological advances in areas like electric cars are not enough to stop the world’s long climb in oil consumption, let alone reverse it. (November 3, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2016 - We can now add deoxygenation of our oceans to the litany of Climate Change consequences. This isn’t just adding insult to misery, it’s describing the further consequences of our quickly warming our environment. Warmer waters hold less oxygen making natural occurrences of hypoxia worse. The ocean is losing its breath – and climate change is making it worse Global climate change produces many effects – warming air energizes the atmosphere and intensifies storms; warmer water expands and raises sea level; storage of more carbon dioxide in the oceans is acidifying large realms. Now it is becoming clear that another, profound result of human activities is underway: lower oxygen levels in our oceans. The world’s oceans, coastal seas, estuaries, and many rivers and lakes are experiencing declines in dissolved oxygen. Long known as an issue associated with sewage discharges and fertilizer runoff, the problem now is exacerbated by climate change, often independent of nutrient loads, and is global in scale. (October 31, 2016) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2016 - Even if we keep our commitments to the Paris Agreement we fall short of seriously warming the planet. But the odds are that we aren’t even going to keep our commitments. For example, however adamant President Obama is about making the Paris Agreement hold, he himself is not stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline, he’s thinking of rerouting it. You cannot keep to the Paris Agreement and allow major fossil fuel infrastructure development to proceed. World on track for 3C of warming under current global climate pledges, warns UN Current climate commitments are insufficient to reduce emissions by the amounts needed to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, says Unep report The commitments made by governments on climate change will lead to dangerous levels of global warming because they are incommensurate with the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report. The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) said that pledges put forward to cut emissions would see temperatures rise by 3C above pre-industrial levels, far above the the 2C of the Paris climate agreement, which comes into force on Friday. At least a quarter must be cut from emissions by the end of the next decade, compared with current trends, the UN said. (November 3, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/03/2016 - Those countries that did not cause Climate Change and are bending under the weight of it felt compelled to help solve it by making the Paris Agreement work but they may have committed to the impossible. Perhaps their devotion to addressing Climate Change will shame us polluting countries into giving the promised monies to the Green Climate Fund so that developing nations can cope with the warming and also put our proportional share into addressing this problem. Time passes. Africa’s “buyer’s remorse” over Paris climate deal Some African governments are regretting the ambition of emissions targets submitted towards the Paris Agreement, say advisers When Chad announced in September 2015 it aimed to slash its greenhouse gas emissions 71% by 2030, the country was hailed as a climate leader. The government of the arid, oil producing state – long ravaged by warfare – even offered to slash carbon pollution 18% from business-as-usual in the event it received no external funding or support. The generous gesture was seen by many observers as proof of a new age of African climate ambition, one of the 190 pledges that underpinned the historic Paris Agreement. Ten months on, the country’s climate envoy tells Climate Home that Chad was pressured into this ambitious contribution and it will not be able to deliver. (November 3, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/03/2016 - Just when you think you’ve accounted for all mankind’s greenhouse gas emission, up comes the gases from Wastewater treatment plants. As an “estimated 3 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally” that’s a big oversight. I suspect we’ll find more greenhouse gas (GHG) emission sources as time goes on but we need to get a handle on these sources as soon as possible. At the end of the day, it’s what GHG emissions that make it to our atmosphere and warm up the planet that matter. We have to account for them all or our accounting is delusional—just as if you were budgeting for you household expenses and didn’t account for maintenance or pets or vacations. I should think an eye in the sky, a worldwide satellite system, to access all our GHG emissions, a top down approach, would be more accurate than a bottom-up approach. If we had a system of monitoring in the sky, we wouldn’t have to depend on independent monitoring or trying to figure out all the GHG emission sources because we’d ‘see’ the emission rising into the atmosphere from their sources. I know, this sounds very sneaky and an invasion of privacy but like a family budget this accounting of GHG emissions has to be comprehensive and accurate or its delusional. Sewage Plants Overlooked Source of CO2 Wastewater treatment plants may be responsible for emitting up to 23 percent more greenhouse gas than previously thought because of fossil fuels in detergent-laden water from residential showers, household washing machines and industrial sites, new research shows. Treatment plants emit greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide when they purify drain water containing detergents and personal care products derived from petroleum. International tallies of greenhouse gas emissions are underestimating the plants’ effect on the climate, however, because they do not account for carbon dioxide emissions when that water is processed, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. (November 2, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/02/2016 - Dramatic NASA animation of Arctic ice shrinkage is spellbinding when you realize that we are causing this and we have pulled the plug on one of our planet’s refrigerators. One shouldn’t look at this short animation dispassionately because it’s like watching an accident we caused.  Older Arctic Sea Ice Disappearing  Arctic sea ice has not only been shrinking in surface area in recent years, it’s becoming younger and thinner as well. In this animation, where the ice cover almost looks gelatinous as it pulses through the seasons, cryospheric scientist Dr. Walt Meier of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center describes how the sea ice has undergone fundamental changes during the era of satellite measurements. (Published on Oct 28, 2016) NASA Goddard

  • 11/02/2016 - In other words, depending on something as indefinite as clouds to keep us cool during Climate Change is delusional. Clouds can both reflect sunlight away and trap warm below—that’s when they’re around. Herding clouds to predict how various regions will respond to Climate Change is more challenging than trying to herd cats because at least cats are attracted to food. Clouds don’t eat. Just saying…  Clouds dampened warming since 1980s, study shows A new study helps unravel one of the biggest uncertainties for scientists making climate change projections – how clouds will be affected as the Earth’s warms up. Clouds can have both a warming and cooling effect on the Earth. They insulate the Earth’s surface like a blanket, while simultaneously cooling it by reflecting away energy from the sun. Overall, scientists expect that changes to clouds will amplify human-caused warming in the long-term. But a new study, published in Nature Geoscience, shows that they can have an important short-term cooling impact. (October 31, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/01/2016 - Let’s get real, on both side of the Great Lakes we want complete transparency around sewage bypasses. This will be critical public information as more extreme precipitation events occur with Climate Change in our Great Lakes basin, overwhelming many sewer systems. This is one of the most immediate dangers of Climate Change in our region and our governments and media need to keep the public continually informed so we can make informed choices. We do need to worry our pretty little heads about this issue. Environment watchdog wants transparency around Lake Ontario sewage A new report from Ontario's environmental commissioner takes the city to task for not reporting sewage bypasses in real time. Ontario’s environmental watchdog says a lack of transparency around sewage bypasses in Toronto means beachgoers could be unwittingly swimming in a “toxic stew” of feces, gasoline and other pollution. Extreme rain can overwhelm the city’s water treatment plants, causing thousands of cubic metres of sewage and stormwater runoff – which can contain contaminants ranging from gasoline to pet feces – to flow into local waterways. Sewage bypasses occur about two or three times a month in Toronto, but the public is only notified a few days later – if at all. (October 27, 2016) Toronto Metro News [more on Water Quality and the Great lakes in our area]

  • 11/o1/2016 - I know, few things piss off Americans who believe in Exceptionalism than other nations giving us advice but this moment before our elections we ought to. Let science be our priority at this point in human history, not politics. In rare move, China criticizes Trump plan to exit climate change pact China on Tuesday rejected a plan by U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to back out of a global climate change pact, saying a wise political leader should make policy in line with global trends, a rare comment on a foreign election. The world is moving towards balancing environmental protection and economic growth, China's top climate change negotiator told reporters, in response to a query on how China would work with a Trump administration on climate change. . . "If they resist this trend, I don't think they'll win the support of their people, and their country's economic and social progress will also be affected," Xie Zhenhua said. (November 1, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/01/2016 - Before the Flood - Full Movie by National Geographic is available free online. As vehicle for messaging Climate Change at this point in time, it is superb. I suspect there will be a time in the very near future if we don’t heed the warnings of important attempts like ‘Before the Flood’ in Climate Change messaging the word ‘hope’ will no longer be used. About halfway through this film there is a poignant moment when Leonardo DiCaprio interviews an Indian leader about how the world is watching how lackluster the US and other first world nations are addressing Climate Change and how we lecture them about burning fossil fuels. There are more people in India without electricity than the population of the US.

  • 11/01/2016 - Some of the unknown unknowns about Climate Change are that we don’t when, and where, and what tipping points will occur. Lord Stern says, “And we do not know how many tipping points might lie between today’s climate and a world that is 2°C warmer than pre-industrial level.” Lord Stern: we need negative emissions to avoid 2C warming Speaking at the Royal Society, top climate economist reflects on challenges and opportunities a decade after his seminal review into implications of a warming world I am going to speak about five issues. First, I will outline the risks, the required action and the global agenda. Next, I will speak about the urgency and scale of action required. Third, I will describe the 21st century growth story, and how to deliver on the global agenda. Then I will turn to the importance of building sustainable infrastructure. And finally I will look forward to the next ten years and the prospects for the future. Let us begin by considering where we may be headed on our current pathway in terms of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and global average temperatures. (October 28, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]