Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

Follow FrankRrrr on Twitter

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 .

Bookmark and Share

SEARCH: Use search engine below to find anything posted since 1998.

Loading

Daily Updates: Thursday, April 20, 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:

  • 4/20/2017 - Take ACTION! This is your opportunity to tell Pruitt’s EPA that “scrapping air-pollution and radiation rules” is craven and crazy. It’s like asking a hostage if it’s OK if you tape both their mouth and their nose closed while the hostage takers torture them. Go here to tell Pruitt’s EPA, Thank you very much for asking, but no I’d like to have a sustainable future if you don’t mind and don’t even consider scrapping air-pollution and radiation rules. Click here to comment. The EPA wants to know what you think about scrapping air-pollution and radiation rules The US has a lot of rules about which kinds of gases, particles, and forms of radiation can get pumped into the atmosphere. Many of those regulations were written by the Environmental Protection Agency, under the authority Congress granted it through the Clean Air Act. President Donald Trump and many other conservatives see these rules as overly burdensome and believe the country should have fewer of them. Trump's EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, vocally endorses that position, too. (April 19, 2017) Business Insider [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 4/20/2017 - Really, you think the #MarchForScience is “raising questions about the appropriateness of mixing science with politics”?!?!! You don’t think gutting the EPA, slashing environmental regulations, maybe pulling out of the Paris Agreement, and giving polluters more access to government than scientists have anything to do with this unprecedented effort to #StandUpForScience when it is being dismissed, even though it has been the backbone of our country’s policy’s on health, environment, infrastructure, and just about everything else? Really? You think it’s scientists who are upsetting the donkey cart?  You think it’s scientists who are upsetting the donkey cart?  Science march's political overtones spark debate A march aimed at promoting scientific-based public policy in the Trump era is raising questions about the appropriateness of mixing science with politics. The "March for Science" -- whose beginnings reflect the viral birth of the Women's March on Washington -- occurs this Earth Day. It will be comprised of scientists and their supporters, and largely grew out of opposition to President Donald Trump's environmental and energy policies. (April 19, 2017) CNN

  • 4/20/2017 - I know, with Trumpmageddon, the threat of nuclear war, and Climate Change, why worry about Plastic pollution? Well, plastic bits, microbeads, microfibers and plastic junk are getting into our oceans, our Great Lakes, and now we find they are in the warming Arctic—by the trillions. Plastic pollution isn’t just unsightly, like those ubiquitous plastic bags blown up against our hedges all along our streets and trail, plastic tends to be mistaken as food by critical animal (fish) species that keep our ecosystems thriving. And, plastic in our waterbodies have this annoying trait of accumulating other toxins we have put in our waters, which mean they accumulate in the food we eat—like fish. Plastic pollution is going to have to be solved along with Climate Change, and other pollution, invasive species, and the loss of biodiversity. So, maybe we shouldn’t gut the EPA. Hint, hint. Time passes. Trillions of Plastic Bits, Swept Up by Current, Are Littering Arctic Waters The world’s oceans are littered with trillions of pieces of plastic — bottles, bags, toys, fishing nets and more, mostly in tiny particles — and now this seaborne junk is making its way into the Arctic. In a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, a group of researchers from the University of Cádiz in Spain and several other institutions show that a major ocean current is carrying bits of plastic, mainly from the North Atlantic, to the Greenland and Barents seas, and leaving them there — in surface waters, in sea ice and possibly on the ocean floor. Because climate change is already shrinking the Arctic sea ice cover, more human activity in this still-isolated part of the world is increasingly likely as navigation becomes easier. As a result, plastic pollution, which has grown significantly around the world since 1980, could spread more widely in the Arctic in decades to come, the researchers say. (April 19, 2017) New York Times [more on Recycling and Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/20/2017 - Maybe one of the reasons why the public confuses science with politics is that the media puts environmental issues in Politics section. Maybe each media should have a separate section for Environment, like these media. POLITICS Portman: Wetlands sites ‘working’ Senator pledges support for $300M Great Lakes restoration effort U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) pledged his continued support Tuesday for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s $300 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as well as the agency in general and other agencies vital to Lake Erie programs and monitoring its algal blooms. Mr. Portman began his visit to the area with a stop at the man-made wetland developed by the University of Toledo and others west of Maumee Bay State Park’s entrance. THE BLADE  Enlarge | Buy This Image The wetland’s planning dates back to the early 1990s, when a local task force was trying to identify sources of bacteria at the state park beaches. (April 19, 2017) The Blade [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/20/2017 - On the other hand, if you don’t believe in Climate Change how do you explain the changes? Playing dumb? Hey, what that Climate Change, yuck, yuck? You could blame it on the shifting baseline syndrome, where the changes we are experiencing are happening so slowly (in our daily experience) that we fail to see it—except that everyone else is seeing it. How about accountability? At what point in time do you say, I was wrong about climate denial and, sorry about the effects of my feet dragging. Our Climate Future Is Actually Our Climate Present How do we live with the fact that the world weknew is going and, in some cases, already gone? The future we’ve been warned about is beginning to saturate the present. We tend to imagine climate change as a destroyer. But it also traffics in disruption, disarray: increasingly frequent and more powerful storms and droughts; heightened flooding; expanded ranges of pests turning forests into fuel for wildfires; stretches of inhospitable heat. So many facets of our existence — agriculture, transportation, cities and the architecture they spawned — were designed to suit specific environments. Now they are being slowly transplanted into different, more volatile ones, without ever actually moving. (April 19, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/20/2017 - When sea level rise due to Climate Change compels coastline communities to move, where they gonna go? Maybe Rochester. #RochesterNY #ROC #Rochester We should be prepared. Time passes. Rising seas could push some U.S. migration to areas far from coast: study Rising sea levels caused by climate change may drive U.S. coastal residents to areas far from the seaboard, not just to adjacent inland regions, according to a study published online in the journal Nature Climate Change. Even landlocked states such as Arizona and Wyoming could see significant increases in population because of coastal migration by 2100, and may be unprepared to handle the surge, said the analysis from a University of Georgia researcher. "We typically think about sea-level rise as being a coastal challenge or a coastal issue," Mathew Hauer, author of the study and head of the Applied Demography program at the University of Georgia, said in an interview on Tuesday. "But if people have to move, they go somewhere." (April 18, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2017 - It would be nice if our local media gave a more complete report about Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Plan 2014 which is not only a plus for the environment, but a plan that will help the entire region adapt to Climate Change. It’s going to be very hard to plan for Climate Change and adapt if the media only focuses on those whose immediate concerns are addressed. Part of the Plan 2014 is to help compensate the losses for those disproportionally affected by this Plan 2014 and it would be nice if our local media addressed that also. It would also be nice to see if the Plan 2014 is the immediate cause of rising lake levels now. So, maybe first we should determine whether the recent Lake Ontario high water levels are a result of the Plan 2014 or a “wet spring”. Sodus Point Flooding: Good for Environment, Bad for Business In the Lakeside Village of Sodus Point, the spring rains have raised the water level of Lake Ontario to a point of concern. Residents are stacking sandbags in preparation for a possible flood. "Worst case scenario, we will have to shut down the village, and evacuate the people," said Mayor Chris Tertinek. "We flooded five times in a period of over 100 years; the low was 3 times below their limit in a hundred years. With the new plan, we're going to flood 17 times in 100 years." (April 17, 2017) Spectrum News Rochester [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2017 - Of course, we have been tinkering with our environment for centuries, which put us in this Climate Change peril in the first place. The question is whether we go at this tinkering under the rubric of geoengineering with a determined plan. There are 3 main problems with geoengineering: 1. We really don’t know what we are doing and never have in such a complex ecosystem as ours. 2. Even if our efforts seem successful, the public may get lulled into thinking this is the ONLY way to bring a planet’s temperature down. 3. Geoengineering will only address the mitigation part of Climate Change and do little to help us adapt, that is, deal with the centuries of warming that’s coming even if we do stop more greenhouse gas emissions right now. Is It O.K. to Tinker With the Environment to Fight Climate Change? Scientists are investigating whether releasing tons of particulates into the atmosphere might be good for the planet. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea. For the past few years, the Harvard professor David Keith has been sketching this vision: Ten Gulfstream jets, outfitted with special engines that allow them to fly safely around the stratosphere at an altitude of 70,000 feet, take off from a runway near the Equator. Their cargo includes thousands of pounds of a chemical compound — liquid sulfur, let’s suppose — that can be sprayed as a gas from the aircraft. It is not a one-time event; the flights take place throughout the year, dispersing a load that amounts to 25,000 tons. If things go right, the gas converts to an aerosol of particles that remain aloft and scatter sunlight for two years. The payoff? A slowing of the earth’s warming — for as long as the Gulfstream flights continue. Keith argues that such a project, usually known as solar geoengineering, is technologically feasible and — with a back-of-the-envelope cost of under $1 billion annually — ought to be fairly cheap from a cost-benefit perspective, considering the economic damages potentially forestalled: It might do good for a world unable to cut carbon-dioxide emissions enough to prevent further temperature increases later this century. (April 18, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/19/2017 - One of the consequences of Climate Change will be more extreme weather, like heatwaves. Good to monitor all that. Check out this resource to find out about Heat Warnings in your area, Planning for, Heat waves, At-Risk Groups, and more: National Integrated Heat Health Information System "The NIHHIS is an integrated system that builds understanding of the problem of extreme heat, defines demand for climate services that enhance societal resilience, develops science-based products and services from a sustained climate science research program, and improves capacity, communication, and societal understanding of the problem in order to reduce morbidity and mortality due to extreme heat. The NIHHIS is a jointly developed system by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."

  • 4/18/2017 - What the Pruitt EPA refuses to understand is that most environmental regulations came about because of catastrophes that had to be righted. Rivers burned because of industrial pollution, people got sick, ecosystem were dying and finally after years and years of our government dragging their feet, environmental regulations had to be placed. Because our memories are so short (shifting baseline syndrome) too many folks tend to think our government just willy-nilly began creating and enforcing environmental regulations to fit some liberal agenda. This is hogwash because if most cases, these regulation were a result of disasters that the public finally got sick of. Republicans set their sights on the EPA’s science The federal agency that regulates our environment may soon have less data to work with. Federal regulatory changes can be about as interesting to ponder as drying paint. Of course, federal regulations also are the reason that drying paint is lead-free in this country. Now, the way that the U.S. makes many federal environmental regulations may be changing. In March, the House passed two bills aimed at defanging the Environmental Protection Agency, largely along party lines. The first, House Bill 1430 – named the HONEST Act – would challenge the EPA’s access to scientific data. The second, House Bill 1431 – named the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017 – would replace scientists and public health experts on its advisory panel with industry members and politicians. Both bills are now in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Previous versions passed the House in 2014 and 2015, but stalled in the Senate, with former President Barack Obama threatening to veto. It’s unlikely President Donald Trump would do the same. (April 14, 2017) High Country News [more on Environmental Health in our area] 

  • 4/18/2017 - You know what’s really weird? Local environmental agencies scrambling to help citizens adapt to Climate Change and the feds denying the whole thing. On one level, our freaking politics, it kinda makes sense. But on the other level, where reality hits the road, it doesn’t make any sense at all. How can only pockets of people be preparing for Climate Change and others just ignoring the whole thing? If our successors ever get a chance to have a future, they’re going to look back at these times and just wonder a how incredibly amazing that some people tried to adapt to Climate Change and others didn’t. They probably won’t think much of those who denied the science behind the warmer world our children will inherit. Local Government Training Workshop: Preparing for Extreme Weather Events through Land-Use Planning in the Lake Erie/ Niagara River Region   Date: May 3, 2017 Time: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm (check in and refreshments 8:00 - 8:30 am) Where: Erie County Fire Safety Training Center, 3359 Broadway, Cheektowaga, NY 14227 (Lake Erie/Niagara River Region Local Government Resiliency Training, May 3 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation sent this bulletin on 04/17/2017 02:09 PM EDT )

  • 4/18/2017 - For those who ‘get’ Climate Change but think it’s going to be slow and gradual, think again. This Climate Change isn’t our great ancestors’ climate change. Climate Change Reroutes a Yukon River in a Geological Instant In the blink of a geological eye, climate change has helped reverse the flow of water melting from a glacier in Canada’s Yukon, a hijacking that scientists call “river piracy.” This engaging term refers to one river capturing and diverting the flow of another. It occurred last spring at the Kaskawulsh Glacier, one of Canada’s largest, with a suddenness that startled scientists. A process that would ordinarily take thousands of years — or more — happened in just a few months in 2016. Much of the meltwater from the glacier normally flows to the north into the Bering Sea via the Slims and Yukon Rivers. A rapidly retreating and thinning glacier — accelerated by global warming — caused the water to redirect to the south, and into the Pacific Ocean. (April 17, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/18/2017 - In order to address Climate Change here in the U.S. and elsewhere we need the “long memories, centuries old wisdom and deep knowledge of this land” of Indigenous scientists. #MarchForScience #StandUpForScience Let Our Indigenous Voices Be Heard "Indigenous Science March for Science Letter of Support"

  • 4/17/2017 - There they go again ‘accidentally’ spewing more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and further warming the planet. Fossil fuel companies, ya gotta laugh. BP Struggles to Control Damaged Well in Alaskan Arctic The British oil giant BP worked through the weekend to control a damaged oil well on Alaska’s remote North Slope that had started spewing natural gas vapors on Friday morning, the company and Alaska officials said. There have been no injuries or reports of damage to wildlife, but crews trying to secure the well have failed amid frigid winds gusting to 38 miles an hour. (April 16, 2017) New York Times [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/17/2017 - Only a selfish, isolationist, anti-science, and immoral country would ‘exit’ the Paris Agreement. Let that not be the U.S. Scott Pruitt calls for an ‘exit’ from the Paris accord, sharpening the Trump White House’s climate rift President Trump’s top environment official called for an “exit” from the historic Paris agreement Thursday, the first time such a high-ranking administration official has so explicitly disavowed the agreement endorsed by nearly 200 countries to fight climate change. Speaking with “Fox & Friends,” Pruitt commented, “Paris is something that we need to really look at closely. It’s something we need to exit in my opinion.” “It’s a bad deal for America,” Pruitt continued. “It was an America second, third, or fourth kind of approach. China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030. We front-loaded all of our costs.” Pruitt’s claim about China and India having “no obligations” until 2030 is incorrect — while these countries do indeed have 2030 targets, they are already acting now to reduce their emissions by investing in renewable energy and other initiatives. (April 14, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/17/2017 - Earth Day was supposed to be a celebration that we have changed our ways and become stewards of our planet. And note our progress. But with Trump and Pruitt’s EPA we must claw our way back to a sane attitude towards our life support system. Sad. EARTH DAY IN THE AGE OF TRUMP Next week, millions of Americans will celebrate Earth Day, even though, three months into Donald Trump’s Presidency, there sure isn’t much to celebrate. A White House characterized by flaming incompetence has nevertheless managed to do one thing effectively: it has trashed years’ worth of work to protect the planet. As David Horsey put it recently, in the Los Angeles Times, “Donald Trump’s foreign policy and legislative agenda may be a confused mess,” but “his administration’s attack on the environment is operating with the focus and zeal of the Spanish Inquisition.” The list of steps that the Trump Administration has already taken to make America polluted again is so long that fully cataloguing them in this space would be impossible. Here’s a sample: (April 12, 2017) The New Yorker [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/17/2017 - The media should view events through the lens of Climate Change—every freaking day. The media needs to be proactive on providing the public continual reporting of a quickly warming world and shouldn’t be waiting for someone, or some group, or some incident urges them to report on this crisis. Suzuki wants journalists to forget the Dow Jones, report on climate every day David Suzuki cuts straight to the chase. The state of Canada’s climate action is “disgusting,” he says, and the federal government should be ashamed. “Canada should hang its head,” he told National Observer in an interview. “(Trudeau) has given no indication that he was serious about the promise made at Paris.” It’s a typically frank assessment by the 81-year-old star environmentalist, scientist and broadcaster. In 2015, he famously called Justin Trudeau a “twerp” during a phone call about the Liberal climate change platform, after Trudeau reportedly indicated that his comments were “sanctimonious crap.” As Trudeau’s Liberals today cling to widely-criticized Harper-era climate change targets and continue to approve new oilsands pipelines, Suzuki says countries like Sweden, Morocco and Costa Rica are blazing ahead in climate leadership. Even India and China, two of the world’s biggest emitters of heat-trapping carbon pollution, are leaders in wind and solar investment — statistics that put Canada to shame, he says. (April 13, 2017) National Observer [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/17/2017 - Think you know the Great Lakes? These lakes that hold 20% of the world’s usable fresh water have gone through many tremendous changes because of us. Read “Death and Life of the Great Lakes” Death and Life of the Great Lakes The five mighty Great Lakes, separated from the ocean for millennia, hold twenty percent of the world’s surface freshwater. Dreams of trade spurred construction of the St Lawrence Seaway, opening the lakes to intercontinental shipping but transforming their ecosystems, thanks to unintended biological hitch-hikers such as Quagga and Zebra mussels. Environmental journalist Dan Egan’s new book, “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes”, details the changes, and he discussed the impact on the Great Lakes with host Steve Curwood. (April 14, 2017) Living on Earth [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 4/17/2017 - It’s inconvenient but it’s getting warmer. Who will be held accountable for not planning for the consequences? March Was Second Hottest on Record Globally The exceptional global heat of the past few years continued last month, with March ranking as the second hottest on record for the planet. It followed the second hottest February and third hottest January, showing just how much Earth has warmed from the continued buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. March was 2.02°F (1.12°C) warmer than the 1951-1980 average, according to NASA data released Friday. It ranks behind only March 2016, which was 2.29°F (1.27°C) above that same average. NASA’s global temperature records extend back 137 years. (April 14, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/15/2017 - Which begs the questions, how many Americans are eating pesticides and how likely will the Pruitt EPA tell us? How many pesticides have you eaten today? A new report finds that about half the food consumed in Europe contains pesticide residues. The EU's food safety authority says there is no danger. Environmentalists aren't convinced. Traces of pesticides are contained in almost half of the food Europeans eat, according to an annual report issued this week by the European Union's food safety watchdog. Researchers found pesticides in 46.7 percent of the samples.  While this may sound like a lot, only 2.8 percent exceeded maximum residue levels permitted under EU law. The rest, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stressed, is completely safe. The figures, based on about 85,000 food samples, are for the year 2015. (April 13, 2017) Deutsche Welle [more on Pesticides and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 4/15/2017 - Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a system of thought that all people respected and followed during Climate Change? If all people respected science we still might have a chance. Time passes. World must hit zero carbon emissions 'well before 2040', scientists warn New research suggests it will be an ‘enormous challenge’ to prevent global warming getting out of hand Humans must reduce net greenhouse gases emissions to zero “well before 2040” in order to ensure global warming does not go above 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, scientists have warned after carrying out a study using a sophisticated new computer model. The analysis suggests that efforts to prevent temperatures rising to potentially dangerous levels may have to rely heavily on “negative emissions” technology that is still in its infancy. Commenting on the study, Professor Richard Betts, head of climate impacts at the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre, said the “important” research spelled out the “enormous challenge” ahead. (April 14, 2017) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/15/2017 - The real tragedy is that we had already put climate denial to rest before the last US elections. Denier arguments have no merit but they are now in power. And now we have to continually defend science. Valuable time at a crucial moment in time is being wasted on fighting a war that has long been over in academia. Even if reasonable people and expert scientists win again, which we will (because, duh, it’s physics) we will have most likely have lost valuable time preparing and holding back the worst of Climate Change. America has made a mistake we may not recover from. Climate Change Projections Are Based on Hard Scientific Data It is extremely difficult to battle climate change when those in charge are resistant to the science that points to its future danger. Climate scientist's projections are not just based on guesses made to support an agenda, they are derived from hard data run through complex models on supercomputers, giving us the most accurate information possible. (April 7, 2017) Futurism [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/15/2017 - Diversion, taking water from the Great Lakes to other areas is an issue that won’t go away as Climate Change makes other regions more desperate for water. For all the laws and attitudes against taking water from the Great Lakes, it’s going to be hard to resist pleas from communities who cannot get enough water. On the other hand, removing great quantities of water from the greatest freshwater system in the world could vastly affect our region’s ecology, weather, and lake levels. One solution would be for folks who need water to come to the Great Lakes basin region and live amongst us and help keep this fantastic water resource clean and plentiful. I’m thinking, anyway you look at it, the Great Lakes region is going to be a great attractant for folks to live as water elsewhere become more problematic. #WaterIsLife Pipe Great Lakes water to Southwest? Not so fast Talk of a fictional pipeline that could carry Great Lakes water to the Southwest caused a recent uproar from folks around the lakes. But the NASA scientist who mentioned the idea says Phoenix and other desert cities aren’t coming for the Great Lakes’ water any time soon. “Such models, that can realistically transport water from a natural system via aqueducts, canals, pipelines, etc., to another managed or natural system, really don’t exist,” said hydrologist and water scientist Jay Famiglietti. (April 14, 2017) WXXI News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/15/2017 - Another feature of a Climate Change world: However great your state may be, if it ain’t got water it won’t be livable. NYS has water, lots of fresh, clean, un-Fracked water. Every state, and nation for that matter, should be doing all it can to protect its water resources because soon water in a warmer will be more valuable than gold. NY's water systems to get $2.5B boost The state budget includes $2.5 billion over five years to improve New York's clean-water infrastructure. The Clean Water Infrastructure Act, passed as part of the 2017-18 state budget, allocates the $2.5 billion toward assisting local governments with addressing water emergencies, paying for infrastructure construction projects and investigating and mitigating contaminants in drinking water. “Cities in central New York like a lot of older cities in the state have been suffering with water pipes breaking literally, and it’s not sexy but it’s important and it’s expensive,” Cuomo said Wednesday in Syracuse. “So we have $2.5 billion to help cities rebuild their water infrastructure.” (April 14, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/14/2017 - This is where our local media is failing us. Media should connect the Climate Change dots. Rather than simply characterizing the threat of the invasive species Hydrilla in our Finger Lakes as a problem with boating and fishing and a brief mention to water quality, our local media should also be mentioning that the increase in many invasive species that wreck our local ecosystems is due to Climate Change. Warmer waters are making our Northern water bodies friendlier to Southern invasive species. One of the reasons we put climate deniers into office and fail to plan for our local environmental problems accurately is because our media won’t demonstrate to our public the local connections to the consequences of Climate Change. “Invasive species originating in warmer climates are moving north, exemplified by the sudden threat of Hydrilla to Cayuga Lake (and potentially across the Great Lakes Basin), and the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid to our steep-banked, cool-water creeks.” Climate Change & Related Issues Cayuga Lake Watershed Network   Hydrilla threatens to overtake Finger Lakes Fast-spreading aquatic plant growing in Cayuga Lake can choke off waterways and make boating and fishing nearly impossible Hydrilla, a weed that grows like crazy and can eventually choke waterways and kill recreation, is now found throughout 27 acres in Cayuga Lake. If left to spread, the plant — which can grow 6 to 8 inches per day — could eventually overtake not just Cayuga but other Finger Lakes, including Canandaigua. “If hydrilla takes root it will grow at record speed, leaving millions in economic damage to Cayuga Lake in its wake,” said U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer Wednesday in a press conference at Cayuga Lake State Park in Seneca Falls where he called for federal funding to fight hydrilla. “Seneca County and the Finger Lakes region generates millions in economic activity, in large part due to the tourists, boaters, and fisherman who visit these true treasures every year. A single aquatic plant could put all of that at risk,” Schumer continued. (April 13, 2017) Daily Messenger [more on Finger Lakes and Water Quality and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 4/14/2017 - With Climate Change, there will be heat. Is our community prepared for heat stress, especially those vulnerable to heatwaves—the young, the sick, the elderly, those who live alone without help in case of a power failure, which tends to happen when everyone is running their ACs? Can our public health system handle more extreme weather? Now is the time to ask, not after the fact. Early Heat Wave Bakes India, Sign of What’s to Come Temperatures across northern India, including the capital New Delhi, are set to soar well above 100°F (37.8°C) through the weekend and into next week thanks to a pre-monsoon heat wave that has set in somewhat earlier than normal. Such heat waves are expected to become both more common and more intense as the world warms from the continued buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, in India and elsewhere, posing a threat to public health. Studies have suggested that India will be a particular hotspot for populations stressed by the combination of extreme heat and humidity. (April 13, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 4/14/2017 - You go into Climate Change with the environment you have, so if your environment isn’t sustainable already, you’re going to be at a great disadvantage from the start. Water, the gold of the future, must be clean and ready for billions of people going into more dire environmental changes. Two billion people drinking polluted water worldwide: WHO Dramatic improvements are needed in ensuring access to clean water and sanitation worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday, warning that nearly two billion people currently use fecal-contaminated water. Hundreds of thousands of people die each year because they are forced to drink contaminated water, the WHO said, urging large investments to help provide universal access to safe drinking water. (April 13, 2017) Press TV [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/14/2017 - Within the City of Rochester, we have an old growth park: WASHINGTON GROVE PRESERVATION PROJECT Washington Grove is a city owned woodland area nestled on the eastern edge of Cobbs Hill Reservoir. “Urban old growth forests like the ancient preserve and the North Woods tend to harbor greater ecological complexity and biological diversity while giving city-dwellers a glimpse of what their states looked like before white colonists began cutting forests centuries ago” Respect the elderly: Saving cities’ oldest trees Old growth forests are increasingly rare in US cities—protecting these health-boosting relics from bulldozers, invasives and apathy is no easy feat. Jeff Stant was nervous. He passed easily through the undergrowth and spring pools of an unlikely old growth forest standing five miles from downtown Indianapolis, but he was looking out for contractors working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “I’m waiting for some people to show up and tell us to leave,” said Stant, executive director of the Indiana Forest Alliance. Over the background noise of chickadees, crunching leaves, humming traffic and a leaf blower clearing the shoulder along 42nd Street, Stant spent that morning in early March extolling the virtues of the Crown Hill North Woods — a 15-acre pre-settlement relict of the flatwood swamp forest that once covered much of the state. His organization spent the past year working to spare the woods from a VA plan to clear part of the land for a National Cemetery. “You can count the number of forests you have like this basically on two hands in the northern two-thirds of this state,” Stant said. (April 13, 2017) Environmental Health News [more on Plants in our area]

  • 4/13/2017 - Free Science from Politics! U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL nails it: A country as large and complicated MUST get on the same page on SCIENCE. Nelson, near Trump’s Palm Beach resort, calls for end to attacks on climate science  Three years after he held a field hearing in Miami Beach to draw attention to a region at ground zero for climate change, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson convened a second hearing in West Palm Beach on Monday with a new target: the Trump administration’s attack on climate science. Held just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s vulnerable island retreat, the hearing highlighted worsening conditions — and the need to free science from politics. “There are people trying to muzzle scientists. I’ve seen it in Washington. I’ve seen it here in the state of Florida,” said Nelson, a Democrat and the state’s former insurance commissioner. (April 10, 2017) Miami Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2017 - Here’s why we #StandUpForScience: Powerful ideologies in Washington really want to rip out science by the roots. However crazy, we can’t let that happen. Get engaged. Be there on Earth Day. #climatechangeadaptation #adaptingtoClimateChange #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters #ClimateChange #BeInconvenient #PeoplesClimate #RochesterNY Scott Pruitt Faces Anger From Right Over E.P.A. Finding He Won’t Fight When President Trump chose the Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Pruitt, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, his mission was clear: Carry out Mr. Trump’s campaign vows to radically reduce the size and scope of the agency and take apart President Barack Obama’s ambitious climate change policies. In his first weeks on the job, Mr. Pruitt drew glowing praise from foes of Mr. Obama’s agenda against global warming, as he moved to roll back its centerpiece, known as the Clean Power Plan, and expressed agreement with those who said the E.P.A. should be eliminated. His actions and statements have galvanized protests from environmentalists and others on the left. But now a growing chorus of critics on the other end of the political spectrum say Mr. Pruitt has not gone far enough. In particular, they are angry that he has refused to challenge a landmark agency determination known as the endangerment finding, which provides the legal basis for Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan and other global warming policies. (April 12, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2017 - I know, permafrost probably isn’t on your radar or really your ‘thing.’ But now we’ve gone and broken it and now we own it. We are melting vast swaths of formerly frozen ground that used to hold a lot of greenhouse gases and now those gasses are going into our atmosphere warming up the planet quicker than we ever thought possible. Looks like hardy ole Earth is much more sensitive than we thought. We ain’t putting this Humpty Dumpty permafrost back together again and we’re going to have to deal with the consequences. Going into denial ain’t gonna work. Time passes. Each degree of warming thaws India-sized area of permafrost – study Frozen tundra may be more sensitive to rising temperatures than previously thought, releasing methane and worsening global warming Permafrost, the layer of permanently frozen ground that lies just beneath the Earth’s surface in the polar regions, has been found to be more sensitive to the effects of global warming than climatology had recognised. In a study published in Nature Climate Change journal, scientists say they expect the warming to thaw about 20% more permafrost than previously thought, potentially releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere. (April 4, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2017 - Trump isn’t being 'unclear' about Climate Change, he’s being coy. Just trying to squirm out of our county’s responsibility. Sad. Four emerging countries are pushing the US to stop being 'unclear' about climate change China, Brazil, India and South Africa have urged industrialized countries to honor financial commitments made in Paris in 2015 to help developing countries fight against global climate change, they said in a statement on Tuesday. Following a meeting in Beijing, climate change ministers from the "BASIC" bloc of four major emerging economies called on rich countries "to honor their commitments and increase climate finance towards the $100 billion goal", and said more clarity was needed to "track and account for" those pledges. (April 12, 2017) Business Insider [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2017 - As the number two top emitter of greenhouse gasses, shouldn’t the U.S. give a rat’s ass about Climate Change? Is that unreasonable? Am I missing something? Because, say, if you’re the number two reason why your basketball team loses every game, wouldn’t it be prudent for the team’s coach to do something about that? This Interactive Chart Explains World’s Top 10 Emitters, and How They’ve Changed A lot has happened since countries met in Paris in 2015 and agreed on an accord to combat climate change. So far, more than 140 countries have ratified or otherwise joined the Paris Agreement, representing more than 80 percent of global emissions. Several major economies, including Canada, Germany and Mexico, have also developed long-term plans to decarbonize their economies. As countries implement their targets and policies and develop more detailed pathways to reduce their emissions, it’s important to fully understand our global emissions picture and how it has changed over time. WRI recently updated its CAIT Climate Data Explorer on the world’s top greenhouse gas-emitting countries with the latest global data available (2013). Here’s an interactive chart to explore it by country and by economic sector, showing how the top emitters have changed in recent years. (April 11, 2017) World Resources Institute [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2017 - Something to live by: If climate scientists are worried about present Climate Change consequences, we should be worried too. Ignoring scientists is like dismissing your car mechanic who says your car ain’t going to make it. Great Barrier Reef at 'terminal stage': scientists despair at latest coral bleaching data ‘Last year was bad enough, this is a disaster,’ says one expert as Australia Research Council finds fresh damage across 8,000km Back-to-back severe bleaching events have affected two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, new aerial surveys have found. The findings have caused alarm among scientists, who say the proximity of the 2016 and 2017 bleaching events is unprecedented for the reef, and will give damaged coral little chance to recover. (April 9, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2017 - A must-read local newsletter The Banner, Vol. 3, No. 15 - States of Resistance, from our friends over at We Are Seneca Lake.

  • 4/12/2017 - Students in Rochester, NY and probably around the U.S. understand Climate Change. They understand that their future is at risk. Wouldn’t it be nice if our kids didn’t have to brainstorm their way around Trump’s anti-science administration in order to have a sustainable future? Shouldn’t us adults be fixing our climate so it’s fit for our kids? The Rochester Youth Climate Summit was one of the many events of Earth Month in Rochester. There’s more events coming and a chance to bus to DC for the People Climate Mobilization March on April 29th. Students come together to fight climate change Rochester, N.Y. - Middle and high school students put their heads together Sunday at the Rochester Museum & Science Center to brainstorm ideas on how to fight climate change. It all happened at the Climate Summit, which was held by the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders. (April 9, 2017) WHAM Rochester [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/12/2017 - Extreme weather isn’t a fluke anymore if it happens all the time. Did last winter seem a little extreme to you? Maybe, because it was. Maybe we’re getting so used to extreme weather that we don’t notice that the new normal is extreme. One of the strange characteristics of being human is the shifting baseline syndrome, where we tend to get so used to the new normal that we forget that they aren’t normal. Like Presidential behavior, where the new normal of the behavior of our present President isn’t as outlandish and unprecedented as we first thought. With winter weather, we’ve become used to wild swings between lots of snow and little. It is with the help of science and careful monitoring that we know our winters have been shifting radically according to the predictions of Climate Change in our area. We should be backing science and get our politicians to plan for more extreme weather because it ain’t just a fluke. There was nothing normal About America’s Freakish Winter Weather A tornado in Massachusetts, wildfires in the Great Plains, and record snow in the Sierra Nevada. It’s been a weird winter. It’s not your imagination. The weather has been weird. So weird, in fact, it’s had an almost biblical feel: a February tornado in Massachusetts; record wildfires across the Great Plains and beyond; more snow than ever in the Sierra Nevada; and temperatures whiplashing from balmy to frigid, killing crops and coaxing flowers out of their winter slumber. While some of the swings may result from chance, scientists agree climate change is adding to weather mayhem and that the world will have to brace for worse. President Donald Trump is also seeking to roll back measures to fight global warming, saying the regulations kill jobs. “The bottom line: It’s not just in our minds that the weather is changing,” said David Titley, a meteorology professor at Pennsylvania State University. “It is changing, and changing rapidly in ways we understand and ways we are just beginning to examine.” (April 10, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2017 - Take home message on Trump’s anti-environmental assaults: There will be marches and litigation and a lot of our money spent protecting what we already had. Sad. Trump moves to open Atlantic coast to oil drilling for first time in more than 30 years The White House is taking steps that could open up new areas of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans to offshore oil and gas drilling, according to multiple individuals briefed on the proposal. The White House is considering an executive order instructing the Interior Department to reverse President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of hundreds of millions of offshore acres from future drilling in December. The executive order — which could come out in the next few weeks — represents President Trump’s latest attempt to promote domestic energy exploration by rolling back restrictions put in place by previous administrations, though it would take considerable time for Interior to carry out aspects of the proposed directive. (April 7, 2017) The Washington Post

  • 4/11/2017 - Been waiting for the DEC report on the investigation of the Kodak pollution on the lower Genesee River? Be nice if someone would boil down this lengthy, wonky report into something the public can actually understand. My take (and I’m not an expert or a scientist) is that yeah, there’s a lot of stuff in the Genesee River, but it probably cannot be linked to Kodak. The report is out but it’s really detailed: RCRA FACILITY INVESTIGATION for the Lower Genesee River (Operable Unit 5 of the Eastman Business Park) March 2017: This is the summary: “Nature and Extent of Contamination Historical sample results and analytical data compiled as part of this RFI were compared to applicable and appropriate screening levels for each media to assess potential impacts to the lower Genesee River and to develop an understanding of the distribution of environmental contaminants. Contaminants of concern identified in the lower Genesee River based on exceedances of NYSDEC criteria or guidance values include the following: Silver and other metals Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) Pesticides/herbicides Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Dioxins/furans While these compounds have been identified as contaminants of concern, they are not all necessarily attributable to historic EBP operations.” To read the whole report, which is so long you have to download it or go someplace and read it, the DEC says “Because of the large file size, the full investigation report is available on request through DEC's file transfer service. To request access, send email to: here. ” The report also is available for review at the following locations: Maplewood Community Library, 1111 Dewey Avenue, Rochester, NY 14613; Greece Public Library, 2 Vince Tofany Boulevard, Rochester, NY 14612; NYSDEC Region 8 Office, 6274 East Avon-Lima Road, Avon, NY 14414-9519, Open Monday – Friday,(585) 226-5324, Please call for appointment.” Whew! Genesee River Project - Investigation Report Available DEC has issued a report on investigation of the lower Genesee River. The investigation assessed the effects of historic releases from Kodak's operations at the Eastman Business Park (EBP) located in Rochester, New York. The investigation identified EBP-related contamination of certain river sediments, wetland/floodplain soils, and biota (fish/mussels) that has the potential to adversely affect ecological receptors at some locations. The investigation also identified the potential for human exposures to EBP-related contaminated wetland/floodplain soils and biota (fish/mussels). The primary EBP-related contaminant of concern is silver. While the potential for adverse risk to ecological and human receptors appears to be relatively low and localized, DEC will undertake a Corrective Measures Study (CMS) to further evaluate these exposure pathways, and to identify and evaluate possible cleanup options that could be taken to reduce exposures. (March 2017) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (More on the Genesee River and  Brownfields in our area] 

  • 4/11/2017 - How many of you actually voted for Trump to make our life support unsustainable? Did you mean to give what's left of our environment to the polluters so we can all choke and die? Or, is making life impossible just one of those collateral damages that come with having a president who promises to fix everything that annoys you? We are all going to suffer greatly for this colossal lack of judgment. What’s at Stake in Trump’s Proposed E.P.A. Cuts What is at stake as Congress considers the E.P.A. budget? Far more than climate change. The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget are deep and wide-ranging. It seeks to shrink spending by 31 percent, to $5.7 billion from $8.1 billion, and to eliminate a quarter of the agency’s 15,000 jobs. The cuts are so deep that even Republican lawmakers are expected to push back. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the chairwoman of the Interior and Environment Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, pointedly reminded Mr. Trump last month that his budget request was just “the first step in a long process.” Here are some proposed cuts that are likely to face resistance when the budget reaches Congress. (April 10, 2017) New York Times [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 4/11/2017 - #MarchForScience will happen on #EarthDay in #RochesterNY and around the country. No one can sit on the sidelines of science. No one should sit on the sidelines when science is being discounted. Local scientists, supporters plan to March for Science on Earth Day Adding to growing momentum for the upcoming national "March for Science," a Rochester contingent is planning a series of science-related events and activities for Earth Day. The Rochester "March for Science" on April 22 will kick off with a 9:30 a.m. rally at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Manhattan Square Park, to be followed by a march to the first-ever Rochester Science Expo, which begins at noon at the Hyatt Regency Rochester, 125 E. Main Street. Organizers announced their event on Monday at Rochester City Hall. Amanda Preske, who holds a PhD in Chemistry from University of Rochester is the founder of Circuit Breaker Labs in Rochester and an organizer of the March for Science. She said one aim of the event is to help show the tight links between science and everyday life. Her company, which has three employees, makes jewelry from recycled electronics. (April 10, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/10/2017 - Unlike the Trump administration which bases its Climate Change policy on ideology, New York is going science based. Superb! But, we must realize that states, or nations for that matter, cannot do it alone on addressing Climate Change. At the state level, much can be done to adapt to Climate Change by protecting the public health, upgrading our infrastructures, and working with other states and the federal government on joint projects. As for mitigation, or stopping more global warming, everyone—individuals, cities, rural communities, states, and nations—all need to be on the same science-based page to address this worldwide crisis. States can do a lot, but without a responsible, science-based policy and action from the US federal government and other nations, we will not able to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes. Time is running out. Time is not on our side. New York Adopts Science-Based Sea Level Rise Projections New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation announced Monday that the state has adopted official sea-level rise projections to help state agencies and coastal communities plan for the impacts of climate change, becoming one of the first states in the nation to formalize sea level rise projections. The DEC first proposed the projection regulations in October of 2015. The projections are based on peer-reviewed research conducted by scientists at Columbia University, Cornell University, and Hunter College as part of the New York State ClimAID study, which included consideration of possible rapid melt of land-based ice in Antarctica and Greenland. (February 7, 2017) East End Beacon [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/10/2017 - We must switch gears to renewables immediately to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees by 2020. The Single Shining Hope to Stop Climate Change | Science is under attack at the very moment when we need it most. President Donald Trump’s March 28 executive order went much further than simply throwing a lifeline to fossil fuels, as industry-funded congressional climate change–deniers have done in the past. It intentionally blinded the federal government to the impacts of climate change by abolishing an interagency group that measured the cost of carbon to public health and the environment. Now, the government won’t have a coordinated way to account for damages from climate change when assessing the costs and benefits of a particular policy. With that in mind, Trump should read the landmark “2020” report now published by Mission 2020, a group of experts convened by the former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate ChangeThe report establishes a timeline for how we can ensure a safe and stable climate. We don’t have much time — 2020 is a clear turning point. (April 8, 2017) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2017 - Our consumer-driven way of life produces a lot of waste and getting rid of this stuff is critical for our communities, like any living organism, to work. We expect our local governments to take this stuff away and they do a pretty good job. But our waste removers aren’t magicians; they need the public to comply with recycling rules so this system doesn’t get jammed up. This excellent article highlights why we have recycling rules and why it’s important for the public to become engaged in this vital part of how our communities work. Waste has to be gotten rid of and recycled properly for our way of life to work. Plastic bags wreak havoc at recycling plant I learned a new word on a recent visit to the Monroe County Recycling Center: wishcycling. It refers to the behavior of people who really, really want certain items to be recycled — lawnmower blades, old fake Christmas tree parts, plastic bags — so they toss them into the curbside recycling bin. Don’t do this. Last year, 2,569 tons of inappropriate stuff ended up at the Monroe County Recycling Center, about 5 percent of the total take-in. This rate is pretty good compared with other municipalities. Waste Management, the company that operates Monroe County’s curbside recycling program, has a national average of 16 percent. (April 7, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 4/08/2017 - Climate Change is motivating us to learn about things like “Atlantification” “where warm Atlantic water is increasingly pushing to the surface and melting floating sea ice.” But not in a good way. How much wiser it would have been to learn about how our planet’s environment worked BEFORE we began seriously warming it. Now we have to learn as we warm and hope to hell we can keep it altogether. Time passes. Climate change is literally turning the Arctic ocean inside out There’s something special — and very counterintuitive — about the Arctic Ocean. Unlike in the Atlantic or Pacific, where the water gets colder as it gets deeper, the Arctic is upside-down. The water gets warmer as it gets deeper. The reason is that warm, salty Atlantic-originating water that flows into the Arctic from the south is more dense, and so it nestles beneath a colder, fresher surface layer that is often capped by floating sea ice. This state of “stratification” makes the Arctic Ocean unique, and it means that waters don’t simply grow colder as you travel farther north — they also become inverted. But in a paper in Science released Thursday, a team of Arctic scientists say this fundamental trait is now changing across a major part of the Arctic, in conjunction with a changing climate. (April 6, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2017 - I know, by their very nature springs are erratic. But Climate Change is putting this seasonal volatility on another disruptive level and it must be planned for. Or farmers may not be able to cope. Michigan's Tart Cherry Orchards Struggle To Cope With Erratic Spring Weather The Montmorency tart cherry is pretty much the only sour cherry grown in the U.S. And cherry growers in Michigan know the tree really well. It was brought here from France a couple hundred years ago. "This is older than most people think of as heirloom varieties and it's our main variety to this day," says Jim Nugent, a cherry grower in northern Michigan. The tree is "very cold hardy" in the dead of winter, he says, and grows well in the state. But it is susceptible to damage from spring frost, making it very sensitive to the extreme weather shifts made more likely by climate change. And that made tart cherry growers nervous. (April 7, 2017) NPR [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2017 - An amazingly detailed interactive article, part two of New York Time’s “Changing Climate, Changing Cities”. How climate change is challenging the world’s urban centers. Rising Waters Threaten China’s Rising Cities In the Pearl River Delta, breakneck development is colliding with the effects of climate change. The rains brought torrents, pouring into basements and malls, the water swiftly rising a foot and a half. The city of Dongguan, a manufacturing center here in the world’s most dynamic industrial region, was hit especially hard by the downpour in May 2014. More than 100 factories and shops were inundated. Water climbed knee-high in 20 minutes, wiping out inventory for dozens of businesses. Next door in Guangzhou, an ancient, mammoth port city of 13 million, helicopters and a fleet of 80 boats had to be sent to rescue trapped residents. Tens of thousands lost their homes, and 53 square miles of nearby farmland were ruined. The cost of repairs topped $100 million. (April 7, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2017 - An amazingly detailed interactive article, part one of New York Time’s “Changing Climate, Changing Cities”. How climate change is challenging the world’s urban centers. Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis Climate change is threatening to push a crowded capital toward a breaking point. On bad days, you can smell the stench from a mile away, drifting over a nowhere sprawl of highways and office parks. When the Grand Canal was completed, at the end of the 1800s, it was Mexico City’s Brooklyn Bridge, a major feat of engineering and a symbol of civic pride: 29 miles long, with the ability to move tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater per second. It promised to solve the flooding and sewage problems that had plagued the city for centuries. Only it didn’t, pretty much from the start. The canal was based on gravity. And Mexico City, a mile and a half above sea level, was sinking, collapsing in on itself. It still is, faster and faster, and the canal is just one victim of what has become a vicious cycle. Always short of water, Mexico City keeps drilling deeper for more, weakening the ancient clay lake beds on which the Aztecs first built much of the city, causing it to crumble even further. (February 17, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/07/2017 - This is what happens when you let the fox take over the henhouse. Stunned silence. For now anyways. World Leaders Watch in Silence as Trump Cuts Climate Efforts Nations mute criticism as U.S. cuts enviromental efforts Germany, others plan to jointly push Trump at G7, G20 summits As President Donald Trump tries to rip U.S. climate change efforts out by the roots, world leaders are watching in silence. Presidents and prime ministers around the globe have raised few, if any, public objections to Trump’s sweeping orders to gut environmental regulations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said nothing about climate last month during her appearance with the U.S. president. And the issue is unlikely to come up in detail this week when he meets with Chinese president Xi Jinping. The muted international reaction underscores the cautious line nations are treading with a president threatening to upend worldwide efforts to stop global warming. Rather than publicly confront him, leaders are largely keeping criticism of Trump’s climate stance behind closed doors, avoiding a showdown that might prompt him to double down on support for fossil fuels. (April 6, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/07/2017 - So, what you’re saying is just about the time Trump leaves office we blow our carbon budget and cook. Sad. Terrible. Analysis: Just four years left of the 1.5C carbon budget Four years of current emissions would be enough to blow what’s left of the carbon budget for a good chance of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5C. That’s the conclusion of analysis by Carbon Brief, which brings the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) carbon budgets up to date to include global CO2 emissions in 2016. Our infographic above shows how quickly the budgets for 1.5C, 2C and 3C will be used up if emissions continue at the current rate. For 1.5C, this could be a soon as four years’ time. (April 5, 2017) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/07/2017 - Of course, when farming get tougher as Climate Change worsens, getting food to the table becomes more problematic. If we planned for Climate Change on a scale that mattered, I suspect protecting agriculture would be near the top of our priorities. Thinking that air conditioned tractors, GMO’s, more industrial fertilizers and pesticides will do the trick, instead of stopping soil degradation and stopping more warming, is only likely to ratchet up the consequences of this crisis. The longer we wait to address Climate Change, the more likely we’ll crash trying to feed more people in extreme conditions. America’s farmers face uncertain future New research indicates that climate change will wreak havoc on farmers in America as they struggle to adapt to the rapid increase in heat. Spare a thought for the farmers of America: climate change is going to make their lives more difficult. Growing seasons will be extended, as spring arrives ever earlier and winter’s onset is delayed. But that also throws one of farming’s great specifics into new uncertainty. What matters most immediately to farmers is not just the overall pattern of rain and sunlight; it is the number of days on which they can successfully and fruitfully work the soil. And this, say agricultural researchers, is crucial. (April 5, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Food and  Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/07/2017 - This must be a mistake because no politician would be mean enough to take away federal funds that protect children from lead poisoning. Right? Trump’s EPA moves to dismantle programs that protect kids from lead paint Environmental Protection Agency officials are proposing to eliminate two programs focused on limiting children’s exposure to lead-based paint, which is known to cause damage to developing brains and nervous systems. The proposed cuts, outlined in a 64-page budget memo revealed by The Washington Post on Friday, would roll back programs aimed at reducing lead risks by $16.61 million and more than 70 employees, in line with a broader project by the Trump administration to devolve responsibility for environmental and health protection to state and local governments. Old housing stock is the biggest risk for lead exposure — and the EPA estimates that 38 million U.S. homes contain lead-based paint. (April 5, 2017) The Washington Post {more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 4/06/2017 - Of course, the climate change 50 million years ago didn’t have today’s 7 billion people to feed and our infrastructure to maintain.  And 50 million years ago during the Eocene, the shoreline communities, such as they were, wouldn’t get suddenly flooded as it have been much more gradual and besides the ungulates (hoofed animals)  and Mesonyx, bats, proboscidians (elephants), primates, rodents and marsupials, pythons and turtles, (Wikipedia) would have just moved until they couldn’t. This Climate Change is different from past climate changes. Read my essay: “Why this Climate Change should be capitalized”   Time passes.   The Climate Could Hit a State Unseen in 50 Million Years No, the headline is not a typo. Current carbon dioxide levels are unprecedented in human history and are on track to climb to even more ominous heights in just a few decades. If carbon emissions continue on their current trajectory, new findings show that by mid-century, the atmosphere could reach a state unseen in 50 million years. Back then, temperatures were up to 18°F (10°C) warmer, ice was almost nowhere to be seen and oceans were dramatically higher than they are now. The implications of the research, published on Tuesday in Nature Communications, are some of the starkest reminders yet that humanity faces a major choice to curtail carbon pollution or risk pushing the climate outside the bounds that have allowed civilization to thrive. (April 4, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/06/2017 - Dear Earthlings: I know you are being gobsmacked by Trump’s anti-science shitstorm right now, but Climate Change needs your attention. Keep your eyes (we only have one in the middle of our forehead, which is why I use the plural) on the ball because Trumps will come and go but your life support system once wrecked will be too hard to fix. And, we are too far away to help you right now. But if you can keep your species and ecosystems together just a few million more years, we can help you out. You can do it. Imagine a sustainable future and move towards it relentlessly.  See ya real soon. These stunning timelapse photos may just convince you about climate change Melting glaciers, from Greenland to Antarctica, have become symbols of global warming — and monitoring their retreat is one major way scientists are keeping tabs on the progress of climate change. Now, scientists are trying to bring the issue a little closer to home by using time-lapse photos to show the effects of climate change are already occurring. A paper published last week by the Geological Society of America presents dramatic before-and-after photographs of glaciers around the world over the last decade. Most of the photos were taken by photographer James Balog as part of a project called the Extreme Ice Survey, which began documenting changing glaciers around the world in 2007. The project was featured in the 2012 documentary “Chasing Ice.” (April 3, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/06/2017 - Two important marches in Rochester, NY during Earth Month: March for Science on Earth Day and a solidarity march for the People's Climate Mobilization taking place in Washington, DC April 29th. Demonstrate you commitment to a sustainable future. No one should be on the sidelines when science is being attacked; no one can be on the sidelines as Climate Change happens. Marches promote science, climate action Rochester is steeped in science. George Eastman's film business was basically chemistry. The cutting-edge medical and tech research happening at the University of Rochester Medical Center uses just about every branch of science, from biology to theoretical physics. Photonics, a high-potential industry for the Rochester region, is a branch of science. And that just scratches the surface. The April 22 Rochester March for Science (rocmarchforscience.org) is partly intended to recognize what the sciences have done for Rochester. But as the local satellite event to the national March for Science, the idea is emphasize the importance of government funding for the sciences and to denounce President Trump's proposed cuts to federal science programs. Trump's 2018 budget rips funding from National Institutes of Health research budgets, from federal weather forecasting services, from Environmental Protection Agency research, and more. In other words, it threatens important programs that fight disease, protect the environment, and advance technology. The cuts could hurt local initiatives and jobs, says Stephanie Gallant, a teacher and chair of the Rochester March for Science organizing committee. (August 5, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/06/2017 - Fantastic essay by Rochester City Newspaper’s, Mary Anna Towler. City Newspaper has been one of the region’s few media that has continually reported on Climate Change and helped connect the dots to this worldwide issue at the local level.  The rest of our areas media has been very milquetoast on this crisis of our age and will either have to change their attitude on Climate Change or fall into obscurity as irrelevant. Rochester, with the rise of the Rochester Peoples Climate Coalition (100 member organizations, RPCC continues to expand, evolve, and galvanize our local climate movement) is especially set to kick off Towler’s message: Earth Day provides a good focal point. And this month is a good time to start building alliances. by collecting all the Earth Month activities into one coherent theme. Protecting the Earth is a moral issue  So many awful things are happening in Washington right now that it’s hard to single out one particular area of atrocity. But at the moment, in this month, Washington’s attack on the environment stands out. Pull back from the Paris climate agreement? Loosen environmental regulations? Give a thumbs-up to polluting the air and spoiling the water and destroying the lands we’ve designated as special, protected spaces? How could we? What on earth are we thinking? This isn’t an issue of Republicans versus Democrats, Tea Partiers versus liberals. The people unleashing practices that will pollute the air and water – endangering public health in the process – aren’t following the principles of a political party. Nor are they adhering to sound business practices. They’re simply greedy, looking out for their own interests (August 5, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/05/2017 - A must read if, unlike Trump, you really care about the Great Lakes the largest freshwater system in the world. If you really want to get your head around how humanity’s bringing in invasive species have wreaked havoc on our Great Lakes, you must read "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes" by Dan Egan. This book just came out and while I thought I knew a lot about how humanity has changed this largest freshwater system in the world into one ridden and profoundly altered by invasive species, this book really gives me the big picture of what we are up against in fixing this precious system of freshwater lakes. Invasive viruses from Ballast water is only the latest assault on our Great Lakes. We must get the Great Lakes ready for Climate Change which will accelerate and amplify all the environmental issues with our Great Lakes. Exploring the death, and life, of the Great Lakes The Great Lakes are a marvel — an unrivaled natural resource and a stunning landscape that defines the surrounding states. But in the middle of the 20th century, they were in trouble. Pollution strangled the beaches, and rivers feeding the lakes were so filled with chemicals they literally caught on fire. Then came the Clean Water Act of 1972. "In 1972, suddenly industries and cities were being held accountable for what they were putting in our water bodies," reporter Dan Egan told MPR News host Tom Weber. "The improvement was vast and dramatic — and in many ways people thought the problem had largely been solved." Not so fast. (March 13, 2017) MPR News [more on Water Quality, Invasive Species, Great Lakes in our region. ]

  • 4/05/2017 - If you are going to be a part of the many beach cleanups this month around the Great Lakes, you will find plastic bags. Even though there weren’t plastic bags before 1960, we now tend to think plastic bags strewn through our environment is normal and safe. Not so. Plastics because they clog drains, starve animals, accumulate toxins, and deface our environment are a real threat to the largest freshwater system in the world. Plastic bags waste isn’t normal for our environment. Exploring the death, and life, of the Great Lakes The Great Lakes are a marvel — an unrivaled natural resource and a stunning landscape that defines the surrounding states. But in the middle of the 20th century, they were in trouble. Pollution strangled the beaches, and rivers feeding the lakes were so filled with chemicals they literally caught on fire. Then came the Clean Water Act of 1972. "In 1972, suddenly industries and cities were being held accountable for what they were putting in our water bodies," reporter Dan Egan told MPR News host Tom Weber. "The improvement was vast and dramatic — and in many ways people thought the problem had largely been solved." Not so fast. (March 13, 2017) MPR News [more on Water Quality, Invasive Species, Great Lakes in our region. ]

  • 4/05/2017 - Low morale at the EPA demonstrates how quickly humanity can unravel its commitment to our life support system. It isn’t easy being green; it takes hard work, research, knowledge, and commitment to restructure our way of life from an unsustainable path to a sustainable path. Though these Trump anti-science times are rough going , we must keep the vision of a viable future in our sights and strive for them as if we expect humanity to properly become the stewards of this planet that we are destined to be. At Trump's EPA, going to work can be an act of defiance As California’s top energy regulator, Michael Picker has an absurdly busy job. So it was a little surprising to find him recently near a Washington, D.C., metro stop, randomly handing out help-wanted fliers in the middle of a workday. But with morale plummeting at the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office, Picker saw in that patch of sidewalk near its headquarters an opportunity — and perhaps a publicity stunt — to lure top-shelf talent that never before would have considered bolting from the agency. The dim outlook at the EPA is weighing heavily on its 15,000 scientists, engineers, investigators and other employees, many of whom perceive their life’s work to be under assault from within. The Trump administration is moving as quickly as it can to diminish the place, with plans to cripple the EPA science office, stop the agency’s climate change work, cut its Superfund program in half and outright eliminate 50 programs, down to the voluntary Energy Star stickers that help consumers locate efficient appliances. (April 4, 2017) Los Angeles Times [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 4/05/2017 - April in Rochester is Earth Month and there are lots of events going on. This excellent program describes the state of our environment right now, what’s going on, and what you can do during this critical time. Rochester is definitely not sitting this one out. Connections: Climate change policy, and a busy month of events In several billion years, the sun will run out of hydrogen at its core, and that will be game over for humans. So why are we so hung up on climate change? Well, in the event that you think it's worth protecting the planet for several billion more years, there are some things going on. Start with the recent policy changes and reversals from the Trump administration, from coal to clean energy to Paris. There are also a number of events going on this month. Our panel discusses state and federal policy, recent developments, and the upcoming march, among other things. In studio: Mark Dunlea, president and chair of the Green Education and Legal Fund Ben Frevert, member of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition leadership team and its Community Choice Aggregation project Linda Isaacson-Fedele, member of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition leadership team and the Sierra Club Rochester Regional Group (April 3, 2017) Connection WXXI [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/05/2017 - Transportation in Rochester is about justice and health and finding and keeping a job and addressing Climate Change. Transportation is more than just getting round. Going into the future, we have some choices about the kind of place where we want to be and how we are going to get to that place. If we want that place to be just and fair to all, with equal opportunities and have a viable future, our transportation system needs to change and it won’t just happen without your input. Public Transit in Rochester: Still Miles from Where it Needs to Be When I lived in D.C., I walked everywhere. To work, to get groceries, even downtown. Since I’ve moved back to Rochester, I’ve been car-bound, despite working just eight minutes from my house and living mere streets from the Public Market. This is for a number of reasons but mainly because getting around any other way is exceedingly slow and cumbersome. There’s no question that transportation in the city of Rochester is severely lacking, negatively impacting residents’ ability to find and/or commute to work, get to high-quality grocery stores, and more. For a city where everything is 15 minutes away, residents without a car often feel isolated and face an inability to travel easily, conveniently and cheaply. “We take transportation for granted here,” said Ravi Mangla of ROCitizen. “You can drive from one end of the city to the other in, what, 15 minutes? About 25 percent of people don’t have access to the car. That’s upwards of a quarter of people, families. That’s your access to grocery stores, job, green spaces, everything.”(March 31, 2017) Open Mic [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 4/04/2017 - Take ACTION for Wildlife in NYS. Make comment to the DEC that you want a state plan for managing wildlife through the lens of Climate Change. Due date for your comments is May 1, 2017. Our state wildlife are going to be severely impacted by a quickly warming climate and our state’s environmental agency has done little in actually informing the public of what needs to be done and actually doing things that will protect the beings that are largely responsible for the environment we inherited.  Learn more about Wildlife and how they will be impacted by Climate Change in our area. This is the time to act. DEC Invites Public Comment on Proposal to Update Habitat Management Activities Comments Accepted on New Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement through May 1, 2017 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to update its Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) on Habitat Management Activities for DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife is now available for public review and comment. The draft SEIS describes and evaluates habitat management techniques implemented on nearly 234,000 acres of state land, designated primarily as Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and managed for wildlife production and wildlife-dependent recreation. Comments will be accepted through May 1, 2017. DEC recognized the need to update the state's 1979 PEIS to reflect current practices. DEC uses a variety of methods to manage habitat for wildlife, including controlling undesirable vegetation, maintaining impoundments for waterfowl and wading bird production, planting trees, mowing and removing brush to maintain grasslands, and cutting trees to create openings in the forest. (April 3, 2017) Department of Environmental Conservation  [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 4/04/2017 - What’s the most immediate effect of Trump’s suspension of rules to improve the energy efficiency? Litigation, litigation, litigation. Every bad environmental Trump move deserves its day in court. Rather than doing anyone any good, much time and effort and money are going to be focused on keeping what good environmental standards and rules we have worked decades to put in place. Sad. It didn’t have to be this way, wasting our time on Trump’s anti-sustainable ideology when we should be addressing Climate Change and keeping our environment healthy. New York, other states take on Trump over energy efficiency A coalition of U.S. states has mounted a broad legal challenge against what it called the Trump administration's illegal suspension of rules to improve the energy efficiency of ceiling fans, portable air conditioners and other products. The challenge, also joined by environmental groups, came after the U.S. Department of Energy last month delayed standards proposed under the Obama administration to reduce air pollution and operating costs associated with the products. Ten Democratic attorneys general, plus New York City and a Pennsylvania regulator, on Monday notified Energy Secretary Rick Perry of their plan to sue in 60 days for stalling proposed standards for air compressors, commercial boilers, portable air conditioners, power supplies, and walk-in coolers and freezers. The same group, excluding Maryland, on Friday petitioned the federal appeals court in New York to force the administration to implement ceiling fan efficiency standards that were to have taken effect two weeks ago, but have been delayed to Sept. 30. (April 3, 2017) Reuters [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/04/2017 - ACTION: from our friends over at Alliance for the Great Lakes  "There are Adopt-a-Beach events scheduled at beaches near you for Earth Month — and we want you to join us for one! Being an Adopt-a-Beach volunteer is fun and easy, plus you get to make a difference with your community at your local beach. Keeping Great Lakes beaches and shorelines clean and healthy has never been so easy. You can sign up for an Adopt-a-Beach cleanup today. Spring Kickoff events take place from April 1 through Memorial Day. So, all you have to do is find an event near you that fits your calendar and sign up. I’m happy to help you with any questions you may have, just email me at ndrag@greatlakes.org or call me at (716) 261-9393. Happy Earth Month! Nate Drag Alliance for the Great Lakes "

  • 4/04/2017 - The Keystone XL pipeline was a bad idea then and it’s a worse idea now. Constructing a major fossil-fuel pipeline infrastructure will lead us down the wrong energy path for a long time and we may not find out way back. From my essay in 2011: Jobs vs. our Environment – Wrong characterization of Tar Sands Action Time passes. Environmental groups sue Trump administration for approving Keystone pipeline Several environmental groups filed lawsuits against the Trump administration on Thursday to challenge its decision to approve construction of TransCanada Corp's controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. In two separate filings to a federal court in Montana, environmental groups argued that the U.S. State Department, which granted the permit needed for the pipeline to cross the Canadian border, relied on an "outdated and incomplete environmental impact statement" when making its decision earlier this month. By approving the pipeline without public input and an up-to-date environmental assessment, the administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act, groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and the Northern Plains Resource Council said in their legal filing. (March 30, 2017) Reuters [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/04/2017 - We have awakened a great giant who is now stirring and warming after its great thaw threatening to further disrupt our world. We should be slowing its arousal and trying to understand the implications of this profound change before we start exploiting the effects of this phenomenon whose influence is most likely planet wide.  We should have let this sleeping dog lie, but we didn’t. Thinning Arctic Sea Ice Prompts Algae Bloom Study Climate change is stirring life in the Arctic Ocean as thinning sea ice lets in more sunlight, allowing microscopic algae to bloom in the inhospitable region around the North Pole, scientists said. The micro-algae may now be able to grow under the ice across almost 30 percent of the Arctic Ocean at the peak of the brief summer in July, up from about 5 percent 30 years ago, they wrote. Blooms may become even more widespread. "Recent climate change may have markedly altered the ecology of the Arctic Ocean," wrote scientists in the United States and Britain led by Christopher Horvat of Harvard University. The first massive under-ice bloom of algae was seen in 2011 in the Chukchi Sea north of the Bering Strait separating Alaska and Russia, a region until then thought too dark for photosynthesis. (April 2, 201) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/01/2017 - Earth Month starts today in Rochester, NY. Lots of events going on. More imp than ever you get engaged. Don’t stand on the sidelines as your future unravels. Here’s what I wrote about Earth Day in 2010: “Earth Day: The Real Meaning” Click here for Earth Month Flyer or the Full Schedule from the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition.

  • 4/01/2017 - Trump has obviously forgotten what happened to Bush when the then-president didn’t respond quickly enough to Hurricane Katrina. For all the climate denial hogwash and efforts to thwart humanity’s efforts to address Climate Change, the public will not forgive a leader who didn’t protect them and gutted the resources to pick them back up again when the consequences of this crisis hit home. Folks may think they have a choice about mitigating (stopping) Climate Change, but they don’t have a choice to adapt to it. For billions of years, life which did not adapt didn’t get to play another day. Check out my 2014 essay “Climate Change mitigation (People’s Climate March ==> Paris 2015) & adaptation: what’s the diff?” Time passes. Trump Order Targets Local Efforts to Adapt to Warming As President Trump moved this week to halt federal efforts to slow climate change, his executive order on energy and climate also directed agencies to retreat from efforts to help cities and counties adapt to the effects of warming temperatures. Tuesday’s executive order rescinded directives issued by President Obama in 2013 and 2015, which sought to better protect Americans from floods, wildfires, heat waves and other disasters that are being amplified by greenhouse gas pollution. The order followed a budget proposal by the White House to eliminate federal spending on a wide range of programs that partner with local governments, scientists and industry to help Americans cope with everything from rising temperatures to rising seas. (March 31, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/01/2017 - Soil is one of those incredible natural processes that should give humanity pause whenever we think we can outsmart Nature. For all our ingenuity, we’ve created nothing like the soil beneath our feet, which can allow life to breakdown properly and flourish again. We’ve paved over it, poisoned it, dug it up and threw it away, eroded it and washed it away, over-fertilized it, but we haven’t duplicated it. We should pause and find out what soil really is and then how best to protect it, as this extremely complex society of beings may be one of our most important allies in addressing Climate Change. Here’s an essay I wrote about last year’s Earth Week that included the importance of soil: “Rochester’s Earth Week highlights Paris Agreement and agriculture omission” Time passes. Soil microbes hold key to climate puzzle Scientific studies cast new light on the complex role soil microbes play in affecting ecosystems, atmospheric carbon levels and the climate. LONDON, 28 March, 2017 − Climate scientists puzzled by the traffic of carbon between soil and air may have to think more deeply about the role played by soil microbes − the planet’s smallest inhabitants. One research team has just found that soil microbes could actually lighten the colour of arid land soils, to reflect more light and bounce more radiation energy back into space. Another has identified an unexpected source of atmospheric carbon: 17% of the soil carbon that gets into the atmosphere from a floodplain has its origins among micro-organisms at depths of more than two metres. And a third group has identified soil bacteria that could help plants survive drought, and enhance crop yields in drylands such as Arizona, Israel and the Nile Valley. (March 28, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Plants and Food in our area]  

  • 4/01/2017 - But the Carbon Law wouldn’t be like Moore’s Law precisely because of “the current political climate” which thwarts human ingenuity and sustainability. Doubling of computer processing every two years is what humanity really, really wants. With a Carbon Law, just as hard as some innovators are increasing renewable energy, push-backs like Trump’s push for coal try to undo all we have gained. Many bad players really, really don’t want to give up old technologies. There’s the ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back Law’ that humanity must put to rest before we can address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will actually matter. Time Passes. Carbon law could make Paris promise a reality Leading scientists say a carbon law requiring CO2 emissions to be halved every decade could drastically cut global warming – and is feasible. LONDON, 1 April, 2017 – By 2020, fossil fuels will no longer be subsidised by the taxpayer, anywhere in the world. And by then, carbon dioxide emissions worldwide will have started to fall. By 2030, coal will no longer be mined or burned. The construction industry will be carbon neutral. So will some of the world’s great cities, lit up by renewable energy, the traffic powered by hydrogen, or by carbon neutral biofuels. And by 2040, crude oil will no longer be an energy source. Europe will be the first continent with zero carbon emissions, and by 2050, the entire global economy will be carbon neutral: those who do still rely on fossil fuel combustion will also by then have found ways to remove the carbon dioxide they have released. That’s the ambition. In the current political climate it may seem improbable. But scientists within a number of great organisations think it can be done, and explain how it can be done in the journal Science. (April 1, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/31/2017 - A good, concise, and fair local report on Plan 2014, though I would have said, “Our warming climate [will] exacerbate things.” We are hoping that local shoreline property owners are properly compensated for possible damage to their property due to this plan, which allows Nature to adjust Lake Ontario water levels more naturally. The big picture is that Climate Change is going to affect myriad aspects of the largest freshwater system in the world, including wetlands’ ability to provide a buffer for increases in shore erosion, and we should prepare the entire Great Lakes basin for what’s coming. Preparing and adapting to Climate Change is going to be increasingly more difficult if we all aren’t on the same page with the science behind Climate Change. The Great Lakes plan folks love to hate For 15 long years, the international group that oversees water levels in Lake Ontario argued about the need to change the rules. The old lake-level plan was designed to keep the water from getting too high or too low if at all possible. But experts argued that plan had inadvertently altered tens of thousands of acres of wetlands along the shoreline by creating an artificial stability in water levels that favored cattails and disfavored other wetlands growth, experts have said, ruining diversity and harming wildlife. So a new more environmentally sensitive approach, dubbed Plan 2014, was crafted and eventually adopted. The governments of the United States and Canada signed off on it late last year, and it went into effect in January. (March 31, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/31/2017 - Is it immoral and illegal if you knowingly allow the use of an insecticide that could harm children and farm workers? Or is it just plain recklessness? E.P.A. Chief, Rejecting Agency’s Science, Chooses Not to Ban Insecticide WASHINGTON — Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, moved late on Wednesday to reject the scientific conclusion of the agency’s own chemical safety experts who under the Obama administration recommended that one of the nation’s most widely used insecticides be permanently banned at farms nationwide because of the harm it potentially causes children and farm workers. The ruling by Mr. Pruitt, in one of his first formal actions as the nation’s top environmental official, rejected a petition filed a decade ago by two environmental groups that had asked that the agency ban all uses of chlorpyrifos. The chemical was banned in 2000 for use in most household settings, but still today is used at about 40,000 farms on about 50 different types of crops, ranging from almonds to apples. (March 29, 201) New York Times [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 3/31/2017 - Remembering the past: As Trump administration tries to gut our environmental regulations and stop us from addressing Climate change, my essay from MARCH 30, 2013 rings more true than ever: “You go into Climate Change with the environment you have

  • 3/31/2017 - This is what happens when science becomes political: You spend tax dollars to fund a team to fit your ideology into reality. Of course, you still have the problem of science vs. nonsense. These scientists want to create ‘red teams’ to challenge climate research. Congress is listening Prominent scientists operating outside the scientific consensus on climate change urged Congress on Wednesday to fund “red teams” to investigate “natural” causes of global warming and challenge the findings of the United Nations’ climate science panel. The suggestion for a counter-investigative science force — or red team approach — was  presented in prepared testimony by scientists known for questioning the influence of human activity on global warming. It comes at a time when President Trump and other members of the administration have expressed doubt about the accepted science of climate change, and are considering drastic cuts to  federal funding for scientific research. (March 29, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/30/2017 - Consider the environmental and psychological effects of our consumer society by #RochesterNY Sierra Club’s John Kastner’s excellent art. Compelling. #PeoplesClimate Revel in the details: John Kastner’s consumer hell  Rochester-based illustrator John Kastner's work is rooted in a deep concern with the environment. He's become known for the social criticism he injects into his chaotic cartoon realms in gouache on matte board. His newest work, "Filthy Animal's Plasticrap," incorporates plastic trash he's picked up on walks to and from work. And leading up to the People's Climate March and Earth Day, he's looking for a permanent home for the piece. Many of Kastner's chaotic illustrations are reminiscent of the hellish right panel of Hieronymus Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights" — a scene of the world after it's gone to shit. (March 29, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 3/30/2017 - If Trump team’s efforts to eviscerate President Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulation is going to involve “scientific evidence,” they will be stumped. Trump has launched a blitzkrieg in the wars on science and Earth’s climate Trump’s anti-science budget, anti-climate executive orders, and general disdain for scientific expertise come at a bad time Today, Donald Trump signed an executive order taking aim at America’s climate policies. On the heels of a report finding that the world needs to halve its carbon pollution every decade to avoid dangerous climate change, Trump’s order would instead increase America’s carbon pollution, to the exclusive benefit of the fossil fuel industry.  Trump’s anti-climate executive orders One part of the executive order tells the EPA to review and revise (weaken) its Clean Power Plan and methane regulations. However, revising these regulations isn’t so simple. It requires proceeding through the same years-long rulemaking process the EPA used to create the rules in the first place. This involves considering the scientific evidence, crafting draft rules, responding to millions of public comments, and defending the new plan in court. Environmental attorneys are confident “this is another deal President Trump won’t be able to close.” (March 28, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/30/2017 - As the NYT Editorial Board says, Trump’s assault on the US addressing Climate Change “was dismaying”. Although, that doesn’t quite cover it. President Trump Risks the Planet That didn’t take long. Only 10 weeks into his presidency, and at great risk to future generations, Donald Trump has ordered the demolition of most of President Barack Obama’s policies to combat climate change by reducing emissions from fossil fuels. The assault began with Mr. Trump’s pledge in Detroit to roll back fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, continued with a stingy budget plan that would end funding for climate-related scientific programs and reached an unhappy apex Tuesday with an executive order that, among things, would rescind the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s clean power strategy, a rule that would shut down hundreds of old coal-fired power plants and freeze the construction of new ones. None of this was unexpected from a man who has described climate change as a hoax invented by the Chinese to destroy American industry and who has surrounded himself with cabinet officers and assistants who know or care little about the issue of global warming and its consequences — and who, in many cases, owe their political success to the largess of the oil, gas and coal companies. (March 28, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/29/2017 - Proud to live in New York State, one of the two states with governors willing to stand up to Trump’s anti-science agenda. There’s still some light in a country that is going dark on its moral responsibilities to itself and the world. New York, California, vow to fill climate-change void left by Pres. Trump The governors of California and New York said Tuesday that they will push ahead with their aggressive climate change policies despite President Donald Trump's executive order that seeks to boost the coal industry. Democratic Governors Jerry Brown of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York said in a joint statement that they will help fill the void left by Trump's decision to unravel former President Barack Obama's plan to curb global warming. "With or without Washington, we will work with our partners throughout the world to aggressively fight climate change and protect our future," the governors wrote. (March 29, 2017) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 3/29/2017 - I know, if you believe in U.S. exceptionalism and don’t believe in Climate Change, you don’t care if the US is considered a “rogue state” around the world. But most of us DO care that the rest of the world considers US as another great hurdle in their attempt to address Climate Change. We have a great responsibility to lead on Climate Change because the vast increase in human-caused greenhouse gasses is ours. And, we have just relinquished that responsibility. If you believe in U.S. exceptionalism and don’t believe in Climate Change, you don’t care if we caused a crisis that you don’t believe in and you don’t care if the rest of the world doesn’t like us anymore. We get it. We understand. But there’s a problem with becoming a rogue state who continually pisses off the rest of the world. Trump scraps Obama climate plan, undermining international trust The US is becoming a “rogue state” as it backslides on hard-fought global pact, say international observers After weeks of speculation, US president Donald Trump has signed an executive order to dismantle the policies that made an international climate pact possible. Flanked by invited coal miners and introduced by four members of his cabinet, Trump promised “the start of a new era in American energy” that would “put miners back to work”. (March 28, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/29/2017 - The majority of Americans, scientists, and the rest of the world are against the US gutting its responsibilities on addressing Climate Change. Sad. Terrible. But not hopeless if the public gets engaged. Trump’s Executive Order is Out of Step With Americans President Trump is expected to start the rollback of a wide swath of Obama-era climate regulations when he signs a new executive order on Tuesday. On the chopping block are the Clean Power Planmethane and coal regulations, and accounting for the social cost of climate change in federal projects. Tuesday’s executive order is part of what Trump has described as an “America First” energy policy that favors fossil fuels over renewables and aims to cut back on regulating carbon pollution. These moves run counter to what the vast majority of Americans would prefer when it comes to climate change. (March 28, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/28/2017 - Of course, Climate Change deniers are NOT in charge as physics and biology are. Climate deniers are just thwarting us from having a sustainable future. The public must decide whether we are going to let these clowns get away with that. Climate Change Denialists in Charge As President Trump prepares to unveil an executive order to dismantle President Barack Obama’s climate change policies, Washington’s policy-making posts are filling with officials who have a record of openly denying the established science of human-caused climate change. Climate denial starts at the top: President Trump Mr. Trump, the ultimate decider, has demonstrated a cavalier approach to the peer-reviewed atmospheric data that makes up the core of climate science. He has called Mr. Obama’s climate change regulations “stupid.” But in other forums, he has denied making some of those statements and shifted his position. (March 27, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/28/2017 - Have we already forgotten Hurricane Katrina, Cuyahoga River Fire, Hurricane Sandy, Flint Water Crisis, and thousands of other environmental incidents the national government has had to address? Have we cleaned up all our Brownfields, where industry picked up and left after polluting our life support systems? Is it now open season on our land, air, and water for an exponential increase in abuse? Who ya gonna call when your water is not drinkable, when a disaster strikes and you cannot get any food or shelter, when industrial pollutants are making you sick, when you environment, or your life support system is now an open sewer for industry? Where are you going to go to find out the true state of your environment? Trump Takes Aim At A Centerpiece Of Obama's Environmental Legacy President Trump will sign sweeping executive orders Tuesday that take aim at a number of his predecessor's climate policies. The wide-ranging orders and accompanying memorandums will seek to undo the centerpiece of former President Obama's environmental legacy and national efforts to address climate change. It could also jeopardize America's current role in international efforts to confront climate change. A senior White House official says the goal is to make the U.S. energy independent and to get the Environmental Protection Agency back to its core mission of maintaining clean air and water. In a symbolic gesture, the president is expected to sign the documents at EPA headquarters. (March 28, 2017) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/28/2017 - Because buildings account for about 40% of our greenhouse gas emissions, creating a house that doesn’t leak heat can make a profound difference on our ecological footprint. A major part of our efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions must come from how we heat our building and how we contain that heat so it isn’t wasted (cost more money) or sent out into our atmosphere as a warming pollutant. Home in Honeoye Falls named most efficient house built in 2016 across the US Home improvement season is just starting to ramp up and one home in Honeoye falls is showcasing the ultimate improvement in home efficiency. This "passive home" built last year received the highest rating in all of North America for it's energy savings out of more than 200,000 homes. Matt Bowers is the owner and also a certified passive house designer that saw a great opportunity for his own home. Construction started in August 2015 and the house was completed in July 2016. Heating costs run anywhere from $10-20 during peak times of the year. (March 23, 2017) RochesterFirst.com [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/28/2017 - Scientists are finding “evidence of the effect of climate change on the jetstreams.” Jetstreams are nature’s way of sharing Climate Change. Which is to say, I would think that local predictions of the consequences of Climate Change may fluctuate, become unpredictable, unstable, wobbly, vacillate, and otherwise change. For those regions like Rochester, NY we may see wild fluctuations in precipitation and warming and flooding. We may see warm stretches when it used to be cold and cold spells when it used to be warm. Time passes. Climate change is altering global air currents – increasing droughts, heatwaves and floods Massive loops in the Arctic jetstream that have a major impact on our weather show a 'clear fingerprint of human activity' One of the scientists who demonstrated conclusively that global warming was an unnatural event with the famous “hockey stick” graph is now warning that giant jetstreams which circle the planet are being altered by climate change. Professor Michael Mann said extreme weather events – such as the “unprecedented” drought in California last year, the flooding in Pakistan in 2010 and the heatwave in Europe in 2003 – were happening more often than they should do, even taking the warming climate into account. This, he said, meant there had to be an additional factor. ​Jetstreams are influenced by the difference in temperatures between the Arctic and the equator. (March 27, 2017) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/27/2017 - Fact Check: The truth, of course, is that climate denial is a politically driven fabrication and that NOT taking steps to mitigate its impact will harm the U.S. economy. Climate denial is in denial that theirs is a stubborn stance against taking responsible action on Climate Change. Lamar Smith, unbound, lays out political strategy at climate doubters’ conference (March 24, 2017) Science [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/27/17 - Check out EARTH MONTH 2017 events in Rochester, NY from Rochester People’s Climate Coalition members. Lots going on to celebrate our environment. “Join us in celebrating and protecting our planet during Earth Month – April 2017!  The member organizations of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition are sponsoring a series of events that will provide participants with a variety of opportunities to take action on climate. To Change Everything, We Need Everyone! This was the rallying call of the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City, and it continues to inspire the climate movement across the United States.  “We need everyone” to speak out for renewable energy and the jobs that it will create, and against the public health hazards and climate crisis created by fossil fuel use, processing and transport.”

  • 3/25/2017 - Then, or course, corruption and climate denial make addressing Climate Change even more difficult. Maybe we’re not the right species that can stop itself from ruining the entire planet. Maybe an alien species will step in and help us grow up. How Corruption Fuels Climate Change Anti-corruption campaigners achieved a number of crucial victories in 2016, not least by ensuring accountability for one of Big Oil’s most crooked deals: the acquisition of Nigerian offshore oil block OPL 245 in 2011 by Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, Italy’s largest corporation. Last December, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission indicted some of the Nigerians involved, and Italian prosecutors then concluded their own investigation, bringing the executives and the companies responsible for the deal closer to standing trial. (March 22, 2017) Project Syndicate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/25/2017 - Trump thinks gutting the EPA will make America healthy again. Ya gotta laugh. Trump cuts and the EPA: Making America less healthy again | Opinion The most drastic cut in President Donald Trump's recently released budget outline is to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency tasked by law with setting and enforcing national standards to limit water, air, and land pollution; conducting scientific research to protect our health and the environment; and assisting state and local governments in reducing pollution. Even as the tasks assigned to it by Congress have multiplied over the years, the EPA's budget has been cut sharply in the past two decades. From a high point of 18,110 employees in 1999, the agency's work force responsible for enforcing the nation's environmental laws now numbers fewer than 15,000 people. Despite this, the Trump budget proposes the elimination of 3,200 more employees in 2018 and to cut the agency's overall budget by 31 percent. (March 22, 2017) SunSentinal [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/25/2017 - I’d push back on Trump’s plan to allow the EPA “to focus on its highest national priorities” and let states and local entities take over responsibility to fund local environmental efforts. First of all, Trump’s gutting the EPA’s role in addressing Climate Change means that he clearly does NOT want to focus on our nation’s highest priorities. What would be ‘higher’ than planning and addressing the existential crisis of Climate Change that will impact our way of life and all life on this planet? Secondly, restoring and protecting the largest fresh water system in the world that provides one-fifth of all freshwater, that is bounded by two countries and eight U.S. states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) is of the highest freaking priority. Water, fresh clean drinking water for drinking and agriculture, is going to be the most precious and scarce resource the US and the world has. Ditching national involvement in restoring the Great Lakes is unsustainable—which is to say suicidal. Legislature Shows Support For Great Lakes Program Chautauqua County legislators are taking a stance against President Donald Trump’s plans to slash funding for a program that’s helped improve Lake Erie and the Great Lakes system as a whole. During Wednesday’s meeting, the legislature unanimously supported a motion opposing any funding cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative under the Environmental Protection Agency. The program initiated in 2010 and tackles some of the largest threats posed to the Great Lakes system, whether it be algal blooms, invasive species or pollution issues. Trump’s plan details states and local entities taking over responsibility to fund local environmental efforts to allow the EPA “to focus on its highest national priorities.” The program, which receives around $300 million annually, has aided around 3,000 projects among states that line the Great Lakes. (March 24, 2017) The Post-Journal [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, Invasive Species, in our area]

  • 3/25/2017 - How much will Climate Change influence massive wildfires in the U.S. West? We don’t know we’re too busy gutting the science that would tell us. Over here in the U.S. we are going dark and stupid. Sorry, world. Time passes. Drought, Weather Fuel Record Oklahoma Wildfires Wildfires fueled by gusting winds, hot, dry weather, and desiccated plant life have burned nearly 900,000 acres of Oklahoma so far this year, a record, as well as parts of Kansas and Texas. The blazes have destroyed dozens of buildings and killed seven people as well as hundreds of cattle. Late winter and early spring are typically the peak wildfire season for the region, as dry, windy weather arrives before the spring green-up of crops and other plants. But this season has been particularly active because of drought conditions that have creeped up during the winter, driven by record warm temperatures and a lack of precipitation. Climate change is expected to impact many of the factors, such as precipitation, that can contribute to wildfires. But exactly how it might affect future wildfire risks in the central and southern Plains is an open question, and one that has seen relatively little attention to date. (March 24, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/25/2017 - Of course, when we say “Humans cause up to 70% of sea ice loss” we don’t mean 100% of humans. Check out this chart from the Union of Concerned Scientists “Each Country's Share of CO2 Emissions”. China comes first, then the U.S. and most countries don’t even make the chart. When we in the U.S. say NO! to addressing Climate Change, it not quite the same when island nations sinking under the rise of the oceans due to Climate Change say no. And, of course, they don’t say no because they are sinking under the rise of the oceans due to Climate Change. Climate Justice demands that we put as much energy into addressing Climate Change as we did causing this problem and compensating those nations that did not. Time passes. Humans cause up to 70% of sea ice loss Research into natural causes of summer loss of Arctic sea ice reveals human responsibility for drastic changes to the region’s ecology. Scientists have calculated that at least 30% and perhaps one half of the decline in Arctic summer sea ice could be attributed to natural causes – changes of ocean and atmospheric circulation that happen according to some long-term cycle. And that means humans can be held responsible for at least 50% and up to 70% of a pattern of decline that could devastate Arctic ecology, and accelerate climate change in the temperate and tropical zones. The new research does not mean that global warming or the retreat of the glaciers is a natural phenomenon. In fact, it clears up a long-standing uncertainty: just how much global warming − driven by prodigal human combustion of fossil fuels − is changing the rhythms of life in one zone of the planet. Sea ice decline in the Arctic has been dramatic and sustained over the last five decades, but it has been an uneven decline. The burden of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased over those decades, and so have average atmospheric global temperatures.(March 17, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/24/2017 - Back in the day (2011) we had fought hard to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline boondoggle that would pollute and warm the planet even more. We won some battles but perhaps we have lost the war. It’s clear that environmentalists alone cannot make our way of life sustainable. Everyone needs to get engaged. Trump State Department to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline Permit by Monday Nearly a decade after it first applied for a presidential permit, TransCanada is getting the green light from the Trump administration for its $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline. POLITICO reported that the U.S. State Department's undersecretary for political affairs, Tom Shannon, will approve by Monday the cross-border permit needed for the project to proceed. Sec. of State Rex Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO, recused himself from the Keystone decision since Exxon stands to profit from the pipeline. The Keystone XL was blocked by President Obama two years ago because the pipeline would "not serve the national interests" of the United States. (March 23, 2017) EcoWatch [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/24/2017 - There’s something fantastical hypocritical about conservatives not endorsing a Carbon Tax, a fee that would correct the externality problem in their financial zeitgeist. The conservatives want to gut the EPA, which allows the public to pay for industrial pollution, and on top of that they fudge their maniacal belief in free market fundamentalism by providing billions of tax-payer subsidies for the fossil fuel industries each year and they refuse to put environmental pollution into the costs of doing businesses—where they take our natural resources up from the ground and then plow their pollution into our air and water which ruins our public health. Does this sound fair to you? When the public asks that at least these people accept a carbon tax to offset all their resources grabbing and pollution and fairly accept the cost running their businesses, they say NO! How craven is that? White House: Trump isn’t considering a carbon tax The Trump administration isn’t considering advocating for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, a White House official said Wednesday. The official sought to clarify the administration’s position after White House press secretary Sean Spicer seemed to be unclear on the matter at a Tuesday press briefing. “I think there's a robust debate going on with respect to comprehensive tax reform,” Spicer said in response to a reporter’s question on whether a carbon tax is under consideration by President Trump. (March 22, 2017) The Hill [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/24/2017 - If you do think that it’s unacceptable that communities and businesses around Lake Erie have to plan for the toxic algae threat each summer, then you’re going to have to focus on Climate Change too. Pollution from industrial agriculture is NOT the primary driver of toxic algae in western Lake Erie, after heavy rainfall washes the excess fertilizer and manure into streams. The primary driver is Climate Change because the warmer waters caused by Climate Change make more toxic algae outbreaks more likely and Climate Change is already dramatically (71% since 1958) causing heavy rainfall in our region, which is the reason why more excess fertilizers and manure get into our streams. Local governments voice solutions on toxic algae threat Lake Erie is the heart of Northern Ohio communities, and with warm weather approaching, the need to protect the waterway becomes a necessity, Elyria Fifth Ward Councilman Marcus Madison said. The Ohio Environmental Council’s Director of Clean Water Adam Rissien, Madison and Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer gathered together on World Water Day, March 22, at the Lorain Port Authority, 319 Black River Lane, to discuss solutions on toxic algae. (3/22/2017) The Morning Journal News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/24/2017 - Withdrawal from addressing Climate Change by national leaders can NOT be offset by businesses and local governments because governments rule. National governments set policy, distribute funds, make and enforce laws, maintain our infrastructures (transportation, water, waste, gas lines, sewers, and telecommunications), uphold public health standards, maintain social order and provide mass emergency aid, and they are the insurers of last resort. Thinking that Trump dragging his feet and gutting federal efforts to address environmental issues won’t matter much, or can be taken over by businesses and local governments, is delusional. Without Naming Trump, UN Acknowledges Retreat on Climate Secretary-general says businesses will take up the task Trump is pushing to dismantle federal environmental programs The United Nations is acknowledging that some countries may be retreating in the effort to fight climate change, recognizing an emerging fissure in the landmark Paris Agreement as U.S. President Donald Trump moves forward with plans to gut environmental programs. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who assumed leadership of the international body this year, told delegates at UN headquarters in New York that he remained optimistic that any withdrawal by national leaders will be offset by businesses and local governments that have pledged to continue cutting emissions. (March 23, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/24/2017 - Climate science is critical so we can find out how Climate Change is affecting us and what actions we should be taking.  We won’t get there by gutting NASA, the EPA, and NOAA. Global warming is increasing rainfall rates A new study looks at the complex relationship between global warming and increased precipitation The world is warming because humans are emitting heat-trapping greenhouse gases. We know this for certain; the science on this question is settled. Humans emit greenhouse gases, those gases should warm the planet, and we know the planet is warming. All of those statements are settled science. Okay so what? Well, we would like to know what the implications are. Should we do something about it or not? How should we respond? How fast will changes occur? What are the costs of action compared to inaction? These are all areas of active research. (March 22, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - Climate deniers don’t believe in the melting Arctic due to Climate Change but they’ll drill for oil as soon as the ice melts just the same. Terrible. Arctic ice falls to record winter low after polar 'heatwaves' Extent of ice over North pole has fallen to a new wintertime low, for the third year in a row, as climate change drives freakish weather The extent of Arctic ice has fallen to a new wintertime low, as climate change drives freakishly high temperatures in the polar regions. The ice cap grows during the winter months and usually reaches its maximum in early March. But the 2017 maximum was 14.4m sq km, lower than any year in the 38-year satellite record, according to researchers at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) and Nasa. “I have been looking at Arctic weather patterns for 35 years and have never seen anything close to what we’ve experienced these past two winters,” said NSIDC’s director, Mark Serreze. 2017 is the third year in a row the Arctic’s winter ice has set a new low. (March 22, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - We have entered a new era on Climate Change, the Trump era where we say goodbye to our future in a really nasty way  More Extreme Weather Coming After Record 2016 Heat, WMO Says Rate of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere isn’t easing February was record-breaking month for temperatures in U.S. Unusually warm weather in the Arctic is helping shift weather patterns this year from North America to the Middle East, after global warming shattered records in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Rising ocean temperatures that are melting polar ice sheets, killing marine life and flooding coastal communities may have increased more than previously reported last year, the WMO said in a report Tuesday. Average sea-surface temperatures hit their highest levels ever last year, and overall temperatures over sea and land were 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period. At least three times this winter, the Arctic has experienced the polar equivalent of a heat wave with Atlantic storms driving warm, moist air. (March 20, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - Even here in NYS, gutting the EPA would matter because of reduced funding for Superfund cleanups, where industry used our environment as their toilets and under Trump the public would either have to suck it up or pay out for past industrial Brownfields. Does this sound fair to you? How Trump's Deep EPA Budget Cuts Would Impact NY President Trump's proposed 31 percent budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency will have "disastrous impacts" across New York State, NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman predicted today. At a press conference held on the banks of the Gowanus Canal, Schneiderman outlined the negative environmental impact that slashing the EPA's budget would have on the city's Superfund sites—like Newtown Creek, the former Wolff-Alport Chemical Company in Ridgewood, and of course, the Gowanus Canal—in addition to Superfund sites across the state. Trump's proposed budget cuts would include a 43 percent reduction in Superfund site cleanup funding, which Schneiderman says will likely slow down cleanup and make it more difficult to add new polluted areas to the list. Schneiderman also noted that the budget will no longer provide adequate funding to maintain the state's drinking water and wastewater treatment infrastructure, meaning New York's clean drinking water supply could be compromised across the board. According to the Attorney General's data, about 95 percent of New Yorkers drink water from the public supply. (March 21, 2017) Gothanist [more on Water Quality and Brownfields and Environmental Health and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - Trump says ‘Trust me, I'm like a smart person’ and so when he says Climate Change is a hoax he must be right and everyone else is wrong. Right? Make sense to me. Think of all the money everyone is wasting on colleges and doing science. What if we all just declared that we were very smart? We’d put this down on job applications and they’d hire us lickety-split. Right? And if they didn’t hire us, we stomp our feet and fire out some really angry tweets. The White House calls climate change research a ‘waste.’ Actually, it’s required by law The day that President Trump’s climate science-slashing budget landed last week, his government held a public meeting here to prepare the nation’s Southeast region for rising seas, wildfires, extreme downpours and other impacts of climate change. Despite White House budget director Mick Mulvaney’s assertion Friday that studying climate change is a “waste of your money,” federal scientists are required, by a 1990 law, to do just that — and are carrying on for now, even under the cloud of budgetary uncertainty created by the Trump administration. It’s no easy task. Trump’s “skinny” budget proposes to slash many climate-related programs at agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration but often doesn’t go into specifics — raising doubts about the implications for climate science programs across 13 government agencies and the production of an exhaustive report about the impact of climate change in the U.S. that is required by law. (March 21, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - The #EPA was NOT created as a boondoggle for Trump to gut when he wants money to build a war machine. It was to protect all of us from crazy, irresponsible, environmentally destructive industrial practices that make our environment a wasteland. Here's Why the Environmental Protection Agency Was Created The Cuyahoga River burst into flames, while the Potomac stunk from the hundreds of millions of gallons of waste added to its waters every single day. As the Environmental Protection Agency becomes the subject of focus for major cuts under President Trump's proposed budget — and as the U.N. marks World Water Day on Wednesday — it's worth looking back at the moment in time when the EPA was first created, and why Richard Nixon saw a need for the agency to exist. Dirty water was only one ingredient. At the close of the 1960s, the United States could not escape the fact of, as TIME put it in 1968, "the relentless degradations of a once virgin continent." The evidence was right in front of citizens' faces. Pollution had gotten bad enough to be undeniable, and science had become advanced enough to make the reasons why clear. In 1963, smog had killed 400 New Yorkers, and Lake Erie's oxygen content had become so depleted that the center of the lake sustained precious little life. An oil spill off the California coast in 1969 coated 400 square miles with slime and killed hundreds of birds. Scientists announced that auto exhaust was at high enough levels in some places that it could cause birth defects. The city of St. Louis smelled, as one resident put it, "like an old-fashioned drugstore on fire." (March 22, 2017) Time [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - I #MarchForScience on #EarthDay to demonstrate the need for US to recommit to #ScienceFacts & make Congress aware cuts to #EPA are unacceptable. #StandUpForScience Climate denier in White House prompts a 'March for Science' on Earth Day The power of climate change deniers in Congress -- plus a president who once called global warming "a hoax" -- has galvanized Earth Day on its 47th anniversary. Its main event this year, on April 22, will be a March for Science in Washington, D.C., and around the world. Its goal being "to save science from this assault," in the words of Denis Hayes, president of the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation. "The concept of white coats marching is intriguing," said Hayes, who as a Stanford law student helped organize the first Earth Day in 1970. The assault on science is now and real. The Trump administration is talking of a 19-20 percent cut in the National Institutes of Health, the nation's bulwark against disease. The NIH usually approves grants on a multi-year basis. "If the cuts go through, they will be able to make no grants at all in 2018," Hayes said. (March 22, 2017) Seattle PI [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/22/2017 - Not only are we paying for Trump's Weekend Visits to Mar-a-Lago, it’s going to cost us big to gut the EPA. Sad. Terrible.

  • 3/22/2017 - Trying to reinvigorate a pollution fossil fuel infrastructure at the cost of indigenous people’s rights and our future is bad. Defund DAPL. #NoDAPL These Cities Are Pulling Billions From the Banks That Support the Dakota Access Pipeline From Seattle to San Francisco, Albuquerque to Raleigh, cities are joining the fight to defund the controversial pipeline. Last September, as water protectors faced down militarized police in North Dakota’s rural riverlands, activists in Seattle set out to withdraw municipal money from banks backing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Above all, they sought to cut their city’s ties to Wells Fargo, the Wall Street leviathan that has generously financed and serviced the pipeline’s parent companies. (March 20, 2017) The Nation [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 3/22/2017 - Take ACTION: Care about the largest fresh water system in the world? Register and show up: International Joint Commission’s Buffalo Public Meeting on the Great Lakes: Tuesday March 28, 2017, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm, WNED Studios | 140 Lower Terrace | Buffalo, NY, To register for the meeting and to read the governments’ and IJC’s progress reports visit participateIJC.org. International Joint Commission’s Buffalo Public Meeting on the Great Lakes At this point, we are all aware of the importance of the Great Lakes. In the past, we did take them for granted, dumping in anything that we wanted. Today, thankfully, it’s a different story. These fresh water lakes are the key to the future, and must be protected by all means. On Tuesday March 28 WNED | WBFO will host the International Joint Commission’s Buffalo Public Meeting on the Great Lakes (part of a series of IJC public meetings). The binational treaty organization is looking to collect and record public comments that will help to show the community’s support to protect and restore the the Great Lakes, by Canada and the United States. (March 21, 2017) Buffalo Rising [more on Great Lakes in our area] 

  • 3/22/2017 - Gutting the EPA could have a profound effect on New York State (not in a good way) and so NYS AG and environmental groups promise to fight back. Considering all the Brownfields and the innumerable challenges our way of life puts on our life support system, we need a strong federal regulator helping to fund and fortify all our efforts to have a clean health environment. The public must get engaged and not let our EPA and our environment get gutted. A.G. Schneiderman Highlights Devastating Impacts Of President Trump’s Environmental Budget Cuts – Which Threaten To Delay And Obstruct NY Environmental Projects Massive EPA Budget Cuts Would Potentially Impact Environmental Cleanup Projects All Across New York Schneiderman: If The Trump Administration Can't Meet Its Legal Obligation To Ensure A Clean, Safe, And Healthy Environment, I Won't Hesitate To Act To Protect New Yorkers Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today highlighted the disastrous impacts President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could have across New York State. Standing along the Gowanus Canal, which is a designated federal Superfund site, Attorney General Schneiderman highlighted how the significant loss of EPA funding and reduction in the agency’s staffing levels would potentially slow, halt, or even reverse environmental protection throughout the state. Under President Trump’s proposed budget “blueprint” released last Thursday, the EPA would face some of the steepest cuts, as funding for the agency would be reduced by 31 percent or $2.6 billion – bringing the EPA’s budget to $5.7 billion, its lowest level in 40 years when adjusted for inflation, and eliminating more than 50 programs and 3,200 jobs. (March 21, 2017) NYS A.G. Schneiderman  [More on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/22/2017 - Remember the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the one that gouged out the Great Lakes and put a mile-high pile of ice on Rochester? We are finishing it off. Just think how mighty and powerful is the human who can accomplish such a thing. Of course, in the process (Climate Change) of finishing off this once great ice sheet, we are threatening our existence and most of the creatures we evolved with. Maybe we should start thinking about how our behavior affects our life support system. Climate Change is on Pace to Kill an Ice Age Remnant Humans are in the process of changing the planet in a way that hasn’t happened in 2.6 million years. For eons, the Laurentide Ice Sheet has been a fixture of North America. At its peak, it covered the majority of Canada and sent icy tendrils down across the Midwest and Northeast, covering Chicago, New York and Toronto in a mile or more of ice. It helped carved mountains as it advanced, and it filled the Great Lakes as it receded at the end of the last Ice Age. About 2,000 years ago, the ice sheet remnants reached equilibrium on Baffin Island, Canada’s largest island, now dubbed the Barnes Ice Cap. But that equilibrium has been disrupted by human-driven climate change. A new study shows that the last vestige of the once-mighty ice sheet faces near certain death, even if the world rapidly curtails its carbon pollution. The results indicate the Arctic has entered a state nearly unheard of since the Pliocene, an epoch when the Arctic was largely free of ice. (March 21, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/21/2017 - Plastic bags are trashing our life support system, voluntary efforts haven’t worked, and folks don’t like bag fees. Give up? Are all the possible solutions to environmental problems being framed in such a way that it must be OK to trash our future because all the solutions are either too burdensome or inconvenient to too many people? Maybe the problem is that we don’t prioritize our environment, that which keeps us alive and give our children a future, as much as we should? Why won’t the public who dismiss the plastic bags problem take a moment and learn “The Effects of Plastic Bags on Environment” (from HealthGuidance) We need to seriously change our attitude about our environment. NYS Exposed: State weighing a 5-cent plastic bag fee for stores When you buy something at a store, if you can't carry the item yourself, you usually put it in either a paper bag, a re-usable cloth bags or go the easy route and fill up a plastic bag or two. But what if each flimsy little bag cost you an extra five cents? Statewide, we use about 23 billion a year. If that upsets you, you typically bring your own reusable bags like Sue Gyore. "Because if you look around at the sides of the roads," says Gyore, "you see all the plastic that's floating around that doesn't get cleaned up." (March 20, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 3/21/2017 - If Americans really do care about addressing Climate Change, they’d better get off their butts. They’d better #MarchForScience on Earth Day locally or in DC and #ClimateMarch for #PeoplesClimate on April 29th locally or in DC. Thinking Climate Change is happening but you won’t be affected is like finding out your next door neighbor, who doesn’t have health care and just got a nasty case of Ebola, won’t affect you. Good luck with that. How Americans Think About Climate Change Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that the changes will harm them personally. New data released by Yale researchers gives the most detailed view yet of public opinion on global warming. Americans want to restrict carbon emissions from coal power plants. The White House and Congress may do the opposite. (March 21, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/21/2017 - One of the things governments tend to forget, when they don’t address pollution, the public eventually gets really pissed off. For example for all those people in the US ignoring the gutting of the EPA, they’ll get energized with they cannot drink the water or breathe the air. But, lots of people will suffer with horrible pollution due to lack of governmental oversight and things may get to a point where they cannot be solved. Our life support system, our environment, is very complex and we may not be able to just go and fix it after we’ve broke it. Tensions rising as Chinese no longer willing to hold their breath on pollution problems  Cracking down on dissent has been a hallmark of Chinese public life. But a population once ignorant of the toxic cost of pollution is speaking out against a government intent on growing the economy. The war on pollution has increased tensions across China, Nathan VanderKlippe reports. In the village dubbed the birthplace of Beijing’s smog, anger is rising into a sky that seems permanently darkened by pollution. At least three times over the past two years, local residents in Songting have gathered to protest at the gates of the steelworks that surround the place generations have called home. People here once farmed rice, peanuts and corn until, in the years before the Beijing Olympics, their fields were transformed into an industrial forest of pipes, stacks and production lines, after iron and steel companies moved away from the capital to leave behind cleaner air for the Games. Two-hundred kilometres east of Beijing, they erected a metallic forest of emissions towers that belch exhaust and soot. During one severe episode in February, the air grew so thick that residents could no longer see across their narrow streets and workers got lost on the way home. Now the villagers are fed up. One of the recent steel-mill protests lasted more than a week. “Every day, more than 30 people gathered there,” said ZhaoXiuying, 54, who lives in an old village home that backs out onto a vista of metalworks. (March 19, 2017) Globe and Mail

  • 3/21/2017 - Hummm…., wondering if the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) will be anything like the first three. It’s supposed to be release in late 2018. From the other three reports, we learned a lot about how 13 agencies of the US government understand Climate Change and what their recommendations are for adapting. Agencies like the Department of State, of Agriculture, of Defense, of Transportation, etc. Starting with President Reagan “Assessments have been integral components of USGCRP since our inception. We have a legal mandate to conduct a National Climate Assessment (NCA) every four years, the third and most recent of which was released in May 2014.” Check out the previous reports and let’s make sure the fourth isn’t some climate denial claptrap. Be nice if the media got out ahead of this.   

  • 3/21/2017 - People, even though they voted for Trump, whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by Climate Change won’t get much help from the climate denier in chief. Sad. “Weeks without snow or rain and late-winter temperatures scraping 80 degrees are threatening to create even more blazes in Western states grappling with the growing fire danger posed by climate change.” Our crazy politics are going to extinct us if we don’t separate politics from science. Burying Their Cattle, Ranchers Call Wildfires ‘Our Hurricane Katrina’ Weeks without snow or rain and late-winter temperatures scraping 80 degrees are threatening to create even more blazes in Western states grappling with the growing fire danger posed by climate change. Hundreds of homes were evacuated this weekend because of a wildfire that erupted in the dry hills near Boulder, Colo. By Monday, the fire was about 80 percent contained. The Kansas fires — the largest in state history — burned more than 400,000 acres here in Clark County alone. Ten days later, Mr. Gardiner was still burying cows on his family’s ranch. One by one, an orange loader scooped them off the bare sandy soil and trundled them to a pit being dug by a backhoe. (March 20, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/20/2017 - Whatever your freaking politics, warming up something as large and influential as our oceans will result in more than just a tweeting furry. Our oceans, which drive our climate and our sea levels, are changing quickly. Denying this and trying to kick this can further down the road will only make it less likely we’ll be able to adapt. Only governments (all of them) can address this consequence of Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes. Rate of Ocean Warming Has Nearly Doubled Over Two Decades, Study Says The world's oceans have warmed at twice the rate of previous decades and the extra heat has reached deeper waters, finds data stretching back to 1960. The rate of ocean warming has nearly doubled since 1992 compared with the previous three decades. And the warming has reached deeper waters, scientists reported Friday. The findings are important because the world's oceans provide one of the best records of the excess energy trapped on Earth by increased greenhouse gases, largely from the burning of fossil fuels. As the seas heat up from climate change, the water expands and rises, causing coastal flooding and, in Antarctica, ice shelves to disintegrate. (March 11, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/20/2017 - How ya gonna keep ‘em in a gas guzzler after they’ve driven an electric car? One of Trump’s efforts to send us all back to the Dark Ages and warm up our planet will be thwarted by the efficiency and technological breakthroughs in new cars. Trump Can’t Stop Cars From Getting More Energy-Efficient Economics (and performance) are driving efficiency gains, as much as the EPA. Sweden, you can keep your silly turbos. Japan, spare us with the toddler-size kei cars. Donald Trump wants to make America better in a nostalgic way, and to many, that means big cars with brutish engines burning dinosaur-era goo.   Trump has promised to scrap efficiency rules that required automakers to produce vehicles with an average efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. At the moment, that looks like 17 million Toyota Priuses (Prii?). In a meeting with auto executives this week, the president said he may slice environmental standards in about a year, providing carmakers deliver "big numbers in terms of jobs." The EPA now has until April 2018 to decide whether the 2025 milestone is feasible. (March 16, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/20/2017 - This year’s Monroe County 8th Pick Up the Parks Event is looking quite different from previous years. Instead of a big one-day pickup, there are going to be pickups on 7 consecutive Saturdays (April 1st through May 13th). Consider volunteering to give our region’s parks a thorough cleaning, which helps our urban environments. Back at the first PickUpTheParks event, I had helped get the Sierra Club get involved in these efforts and we picked up a lot of trash. Now this event has grown and includes many more parks with many more people. We are learning that one of the major pollutants in our water—in our streams and rivers and lakes—is microfibers from cigarette butts, which constitute a large part of our park’s litter. So, it’s important to get this stuff out of our ecosystems. [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 3/18/2017 - Because Trump never accepts blame for anything, who will be held accountable for US abandonment on addressing Climate Change? Who will shoulder the responsibility for telling the world that even though the US contributed much to the present Climate Change crisis, we are now only concerned about ourselves and will do little to help monitor this crisis, help out those countries who did not contribute to this crisis (but will reap the consequences), and flagrantly up the ante on promoting more fossil fuel emissions? Will it be Congress? Will it be the American public? Who will say the US desires to no longer be great, just selfish while the rest of the world scrambles to make our environment habitable? Trump Budget Would Cripple U.S. International Climate Change Work Cuts to State Department budget include essentially walking away from U.S. involvement in international climate efforts, even without withdrawal from Paris accord. (March 17, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/18/2017 - Hard to believe anyone would want to cut the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in a time when the largest freshwater system in the world is in jeopardy. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been instrumental in more than 3,000 projects — funding wetlands restoration, fighting harmful algae blooms in western Lake Erie, leading efforts to keep invasive Asian carp from reaching the lakes and causing chaos in the ecosystem, and improving fish and shoreline habitat.” Great Lakes funding cuts are absurd, irresponsible, lawmakers say Proposed budget would eliminate federal program to clean up and maintain the Great Lakes Environmental advocates and congressional Democrats vowed to fight President Donald Trump's plan to slash environmental spending as part of his proposed 2017 budget — including the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which since 2010 has provided more than $2.2 billion for improving and protecting the lakes. "President Trump's budget is even worse than we thought for the Great Lakes," U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said. "It completely eliminates funding for protection." (March 16, 2017) Detroit Free Press [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/18/2017 - Looks like US is turning its back on the world and will leave addressing Climate Change, much of it caused by the US, to its former friends. Sad. The US public must contact their representatives in Congress and tell them not let our country become a pariah. Instead we want leadership on the most important crisis of our age. Climate veterans say Trump budget undermines global cooperation China and India experts say cuts challenge progress on emissions, while an architect of the Paris climate deal criticises the US for not being “truthful” to its commitments Donald Trump’s first budget proposal as US president has confirmed the climate community’s worst fears. Swingeing cuts to climate programmes and research at home and abroad will undermine international efforts to protect people from dangerous global warming, veterans of UN talks told Climate Home. Laurence Tubiana, one of the architects of the historic Paris climate deal, described the US U-turn as “shocking”. (March 17, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/17/2017 - Look, the president was fairly straightforward about his hatred of science, reason, your future, your children’s future—and he certainly doesn’t care about the rest of the world or any of the other people in it. He considers it a waste of his money and yours to go out and spend anything on all that. So, please stop whining. The sun shines down on all his speeches, his audiences are bigger than anyone else’s, he has secret knowledge about everything, he gets secret information that nobody else does, and that is that. You have forked over your existence to a madman, so deal with it. (Tump, ya gotta laugh.) Scientists Bristle at Trump Budget’s Cuts to Research Before he became president, Donald J. Trump called climate change a hoax, questioned the safety of vaccines and mocked renewable energy as a plaything of “tree-huggers.” So perhaps it is no surprise that Mr. Trump’s first budget took direct aim at basic scientific and medical research. Still, the extent of the cuts in the proposed budget unveiled early Thursday shocked scientists, researchers and program administrators. The reductions include $5.8 billion, or 18 percent, from the National Institutes of Health, which fund thousands of researchers working on cancer and other diseases, and $900 million, or a little less than 20 percent, from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which funds the national laboratories, considered among the crown jewels of basic research in the world. (March 16, 2017) March 16, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 3/17/2017 - No room in budget to restore Great Lakes from industrial waste, invasive species, diminished water quality, and bad farming practices. Sorry, largest fresh water system in the world, Trump wants more guns instead. Sorry, Trump just thinks more guns are more important than a future. We’re really sorry about this, but you have to understand that Trump has his priorities and they aren’t you or your life support system. That’s just the way things go. Have a nice day. Trump budget cuts Great Lakes restoration, Sea Grant programs The Trump Administration’s proposed budget is out – and it eliminates the $300 million in annual funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which finances environmental projects all over the region. The budget also zeroes out the $250 million allotted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grants, including 33 Sea Grant programs nationwide. Based at universities, Sea Grant programs focus on educating the public, outreach and research.  The budget says the programs are a “lower priority than core functions maintained in the Budget such as surveys, charting, and fisheries management.” (March 16, 2017) WXXI News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 3/17/2017 - Good that not all GOP and Trump administration against addressing Climate Change, but it’s still not enough for actual hope. Time passes. The House Republicans Calling for Climate Action in the Trump Era A group of GOP lawmakers have signed a resolution warning that “the consequences of a changing climate have the potential to adversely impact all Americans.” Will it translate to legislative action? At a time when President Donald Trump is working to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy, more than a dozen House Republicans are calling for action to confront the threat of a changing climate. Seventeen Republican lawmakers, including Elise Stefanik of New York, Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Mia Love of Utah, Don Bacon of Nebraska, and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, introduced a resolution on Wednesday that urges the House of Representatives to “address the causes and effects” of climate change,  according to a press release sent out by Costello’s office. (March 15, 2017) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/17/2017 - While it is true that derailments are bound to happen and just like cars on our highway have accidents, cars on rails also have accidents, there is no freaking comparison of a train load of railroad cars filled with dangerous and volatile substances having an accident with an automobile on a highway having an accident. When a car on a railroad filled with dangerous substances goes off the rails massive human and environmental consequences can be the result. Instead of downplaying or trying to compare our all accidents with exceptional, long-term catastrophic accidents, we should be informing the public of just what our railroad cars are carrying and when they go off the rails just exactly what were the consequences. For the consequences can be grave indeed. See derailment in Newburg (March 7, 2017) “CSX freight train derailment cleanup continues today” See derailment in Batavia (March 8, 2017) “Train carrying gun powder derails in Batavia due to wind” And, check out this editorial “Train derailment could have affected wetlands”(March 14, 2017) The Daily News)  

  • 3/17/2017 - While sometime in the future it may be possible to get a US leader who will overturn Trump’s anti-science, anti-help-the-US-and-the-world-address Climate Change, it may be too late to stop the worst consequences of this crisis. Time passes. Budget Proposal Would Hamper Climate Efforts Abroad The Trump administration’s budget proposal would hamper efforts abroad to slow global warming, especially by poor and fast-developing countries, compounding the hazards of America’s retreat from efforts to ease its own climate impacts. A 54-page proposal released Thursday would end payments to global climate initiatives, such as a United Nations fund that helps poor countries deploy clean energy and adapt to climate change. It would also sharply reduce funding for the World Bank and other development programs. Meanwhile, the budget proposal and executive orders by Trump would increase the amount of climate pollution released by Americans for years to come, largely by eliminating regulations and spending designed to help the U.S. meet obligations under the Paris climate treaty. (March 16, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 3/16/2017 - Climate Change is already affecting our health and it will get worse if we don’t address it. #climatechangeshealth | Climate change is making us sick, top U.S. doctors say From increases in deadly diseases to choking air pollution and onslaughts of violent weather, man-made climate change is making Americans sicker, according to a report released Wednesday by 11 of the nation's top medical societies. The report was prepared by the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, a new group that represents more than 400,000 doctors, who make up more than half of all U.S. physicians. “Doctors in every part of our country see that climate change is making Americans sicker,” said Mona Sarfaty, the director of the new consortium and a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. (March 15, 2017) USA Today [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/15/2017 - Just got Dan Egan’s Kindle version of "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes". We have treated the largest freshwater system in the world badly and we must now get it ready for Climate Change. To do that we need some history. Exploring the death, and life, of the Great Lakes The Great Lakes are a marvel — an unrivaled natural resource and a stunning landscape that defines the surrounding states. But in the middle of the 20th century, they were in trouble. Pollution strangled the beaches, and rivers feeding the lakes were so filled with chemicals they literally caught on fire. Then came the Clean Water Act of 1972. "In 1972, suddenly industries and cities were being held accountable for what they were putting in our water bodies," reporter Dan Egan told MPR News host Tom Weber. "The improvement was vast and dramatic — and in many ways people thought the problem had largely been solved." Not so fast. As Egan explains in his new book, "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes," the Clean Water Act took steps in battling industrial pollution. But it failed to deal with biological pollution, which today is causing damage at an alarming speed (March 13, 2017) MPR News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/15/2017 - Here’s the thing the GOP doesn’t want you to know about Climate Change: The worst things get, the more likely Big Government will need to step in. Shrinking the role Climate Change plays in decisions across the government won’t make it go away. It will make it unmanageable. Only our government can make deals with other countries; only our government can make umbrella policies that affect our nation, only our government can bring in US military to bring massive help in natural disasters, only government is the insurer of last resort. Thinking Big Government shouldn’t be telling us what to do about our life support system is the surest way to ensure that Big Government has to come to the rescue. I wrote this essay back in 2013, “Why Climate Change means big, really big government” I know, one of the reasons many in the GOP don’t want to acknowledge and address Climate Change is because they fear it’s a great big liberal nanny state takeover. If humanity and businesses had over the decades voluntarily addressed Climate Change and environmental degradation, things would not have gotten to the point where the only solution was for our government to come in a save us from ourselves. Trump to Drop Climate Change From Environmental Reviews, Source Says Directive to reverse Obama-era mandate for agency actions Clean Power Plan, methane rules and coal halt also addressed President Donald Trump is set to sign a sweeping directive to dramatically shrink the role climate change plays in decisions across the government, ranging from appliance standards to pipeline approvals, according to a person familiar with the administration’s plan. The order, which could be signed this week, goes far beyond a targeted assault on Obama-era measures blocking coal leasing and throttling greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that has been discussed for weeks. Some of the changes could happen immediately; others could take years to implement. It aims to reverse President Barack Obama’s broad approach for addressing climate change. One Obama-era policy instructed government agencies to factor climate change into formal environmental reviews, such as that for the Keystone XL pipeline. Trump’s order also will compel a reconsideration of the government’s use of a metric known as the "social cost of carbon" that reflects the potential economic damage from climate change. It was used by the Obama administration to justify a suite of regulations. (March 14, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/15/2017 - How hard it must be to work for a healthy environment for most of your career only to have it all gutted by an ideologue. Terrible. Chief Environmental Justice Official at EPA Resigns, With Plea to Pruitt to Protect Vulnerable Communities Mustafa Ali quits after 24 years, as new administrator prepares deep cuts in programs affecting the poor and minorities. The head of the environmental justice program at the Environmental Protection Agency has stepped down, departing the government with a lengthy letter to Scott Pruitt, the EPA's new administrator, urging him not to kill the agency's programs.   Mustafa Ali, a senior adviser and assistant associate administrator at the agency, worked to alleviate the impact of air, water and industrial pollution on poverty-stricken towns and neighborhoods during nearly a quarter century with the EPA. He helped found the environmental justice office, then the environmental equity office, in 1992, during the presidency of President George H.W. Bush. Ali leaves the EPA as Pruitt, who took office Feb. 17, prepares to implement deep cuts in the agency's budget and staff. A Trump administration proposal would cut the EPA's $8 billion budget by $2 billion and reduce its roster of 15,000 employees by 20 percent. An internal memo obtained by multiple news outlets on March 1 called for a complete dismantling of the office of environmental justice and elimination of a number of grant programs that address low-income and minority communities. A story in the Oregonian reported that funding for the office would decrease 78 percent, from $6.7 million to $1.5 million. (March 9, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/14/2017 - Is this Northeast Blizzard March 2017 prove Climate Change is a hoax? Not likely. Climate Change means climate disruption and “Between 1961 and 2010, there have been twice as many extreme regional snowstorms in the US compared to 1900 to 1960.” Our climate is changing radically and we need to know more and our local media needs to connect the freaking dots. Northeast Blizzard March 2017  inter Storm Stella is hitting the Northeast, and states from Maryland to Maine are expected to witness more than a foot of snow, hurricane force winds, and coastal flooding March 13 through 15. The massive snowstorm has multiple climate connections helping to fuel its destructive power. Elevated sea levels will amplify and extend the reach of Stella's storm surge. A warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor for Stella, increasing blizzard risk as the storm can collect and dump that moisture as extreme snowfall, sleet and rainfall. Sea surface temperatures are record warm in the Atlantic Gulf Stream, pumping more heat energy and moisture into the storm, further increasing the risk of blizzard. The amplification of these physical mechanisms can be seen in the long-term trends. Between 1961 and 2010, there have been twice as many extreme regional snowstorms in the US compared to 1900 to 1960. In New York City, which is forecast to receive between 12 to 18 inches of snow over the course of one day, 6 of the 10 all-time biggest snowstorms on record have occurred since 2000. An extreme event driven by natural variability and amplified by climate change is consistent with what science projects for a warming world. (March 13, 2017) Climate Signals [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/14/2017 - What if young folks successfully sued that “the federal government has violated the constitutional right of the 21 plaintiffs to a healthy climate system”? Imagine a world that considered all life and a sustainable existence for the future of young folks, instead of the looming dystopia brought on by business as usual, in which the fossil fuel industry rules. Time passes. The climate change lawsuit the Trump administration is desperate to stop going to trial Young people aged between nine and 20 claim the federal government has promoted fossil fuel production, worsening climate change and therefore violating their constitutional right to life, liberty and property A groundbreaking climate lawsuit, brought against the federal government by 21 children, has been hailed by environmentalists as a bold new strategy to press for climate action in the United States. But the Trump administration, which has pledged to undo Barack Obama’s climate regulations, is doing its best to make sure the case doesn’t get far. (March 10, 2017) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/14/2017 - In a way, I suppose, we should be glad that cities and governments might be racing to the top on addressing Climate Change. The trouble is that if cities are leading the charge (bottom up) they are going to be in conflict with governments (top down) efforts who are either helping or trying to hinder them. The best scenario is leadership and planning coming from the top down from governments with cities implementing coordinated actions and tailoring them to their local communities. If we the public and our cities and our states and our nations aren’t on the same page for addressing Climate Change the result will be ad hoc, mismatched, counterproductive (in many cases), and most likely not enough effort on a large enough scale in a timely manner to make a difference. We need a coordinated planetary response to Climate Change in order to bring down a planet’s temperature and make our way of life sustainable. Time passes. As cities from Sydney to Oslo set more ambitious targets to cut climate change than national plans, is conflict ahead?  Cities test limits of power vs governments over climate change * More than half of the world's population in urban areas * From Oslo to Sydney, city ties with government strained * In America, city of Austin fears Trump plans will hinder goals Cities from Oslo to Sydney are setting goals to curb climate change that exceed national targets, causing tensions with central governments about who controls policy over green energy and transport and construction. More than 2,500 cities have issued plans to cut carbon emissions to the United Nations since late 2014, setting an example to almost 200 nations that reached a Paris Agreement in December 2015 to fight global warming. Although there are no officially collated statistics available, many city targets are more ambitious than those set by governments under the Paris accord, which imposes no obligations on cities, regions or companies to define goals. (March 13, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/13/2017 - Economic incentives are crucial for giving electric vehicles a fighting chance against polluting gas guzzlers backed by fossil-fuel politicians and massive subsidies. The technology behind electric non-polluting vehicles is here and ready to help all of us transform to transportation options that can stop many of our greenhouse gas emissions from warming our atmosphere more. But as electric vehicles take hold state-by-state, they are being fought by fossil-fuel industry far more concerned with their immediate self-interest than our long-term sustainability. Here’s an interesting way to look at this issue: If the middle class in China only buys traditional gas guzzlers humanity is doomed. China is moving towards only producing electric vehicles in order to bring up the standards of all and not condemn our future. The US needs to do our part to stave off a crisis we helped to create. Check out: “China, Europe drive shift to electric cars as U.S. lags” (January 15, 2017, Reuters) Behind the Quiet State-by-State Fight Over Electric Vehicles When Georgia repealed its generous $5,000 tax credit on electric vehicles in July 2015, and instead slapped a $200 registration fee on electric cars, sales quickly tumbled. In the month before the repeal, nearly 1,300 electric vehicles were sold in the state. By August, those sales had all but evaporated — to just 97 cars. It was a hint of what would come. Today, the economic incentives that have helped electric vehicles gain a toehold in America are under attack, state by state. In some states, there is a move to repeal tax credits for battery-powered vehicles or to let them expire. And in at least nine states, including liberal-leaning ones like Illinois and conservative-leaning ones like Indiana, lawmakers have introduced bills that would levy new fees on those who own electric cars. The state actions could put the business of electric vehicles, already rocky, on even more precarious footing. That is particularly true as gas prices stay low, and as the Trump administration appears set to give the nascent market much less of a hand. (March 11, 2017) New York Times [more on Transportation and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/11/2017 - Interesting how quickly critics of governmental funding circle for blood when disaster strikes. Despite the opinion of many that governments just waste public monies (especially those who promise to cut spending and keep taxes low), too many are quick to criticize when our government does NOT address the consequences of extreme weather quickly and comprehensively as they would like. This state of hypocrisy must change because if we don’t support our government to plan properly for a climate disruption, we are going to impotently criticize our government when they cannot possibly address the consequences of Climate Change—more flooding, more infrastructure failures, and more public health problems—because our government wasn’t given the resources to protect our citizens. We cannot continue to support politicians who promise to gut public governments of their funding, then carp about that same government when they are unable to address disasters when they come. Cuomo Blows Off Any Criticism He Wasn't Here Sooner (March 10, 2017) Time Warner Cable News Rochester

  • 3/11/2017 - If the science behind Climate Change goes dark in the U.S., remember there are other countries where science is respected. It is beyond tragic that the U.S. EPA is going dark on Climate Change where environmental laws and regulations and public communications are being scrubbed here, but there are other places in world that watch Climate Change closely—not to mention that even while Climate Change communication can be suppressed, Climate Change itself is physics and won’t be suppressed until we start acting on it. Consider moving away from news that dismisses science and, via the Internet, make a concerted effort to find out what other nations and their media are learning about this crisis and doing about Climate Change. Read Climate Change reports from our friends around the world. Grim State of the Environment report warns climate change impacts could be irreversible The impact of climate change on the Australian environment and its ecosystems is increasing and some aspects may be irreversible, the latest State of the Environment report has warned. The condition of the environment was "poor" and "deteriorating" in some areas, despite improvements in the marine environment and the Murray-Darling Basin, according to the report. (March 7, 2017) Sydney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/11/2017 - Can a children’s book just published in England “speak across the divided politics of climate change” do well in the U.S. too? Maybe this book (Climate Change by HRH The Prince of Wales, Tony Juniper & Emily Shuckburgh (M Joseph £7.99) Ladybird book on the dangers of global warming 1,845 (4,435)) can reach across the ocean and reach across the aisle here in the United States and hit a tone that will communicate Climate Change to all of us. Gonna be hard, though, we’re pretty entrenched here and science itself is under attack. Prince Charles’ Ladybird book is a climate communications masterpiece With strong sales and positive coverage in the rightwing press, the prince’s children’s book has found a way to speak across the divided politics of climate change A recent Ladybird book on climate change achieved something few books on climate change do: it got read (or at least bought) by large numbers of people. Shooting straight to the top of the Sunday Times bestseller list upon release last month, Climate Change: A Ladybird Expert Book’s appeal had much to do with the profile and status of one of its authors: HRH Prince of Wales. (March 10, 2010) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/10/2017 - Cutting the Energy Star Program would be a big (swear word) to the American public and the world. Don’t let this happen. Climate-Friendly Energy Star Program Could be Cut Energy Star, the program that certifies toasters, air conditioners, computers and buildings for energy efficiency, could be killed by the Trump administration as part of its effort to shrink federal spending. The administration wants the program to be “zeroed out” in the 2018 Environmental Protection Agency budget, according to news reports and a memo that the EPA provided to the National Association of Clean Air Agencies last week. The EPA declined to comment. (March 9, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 3/10/2017 - Given humanity’s penchant for chopping down trees, it’s going to be hard for us to save our forests. But we absolutely must. Forests key to mitigating climate change Drought and unsustainable practices are placing forests at risk, yet they are crucial to the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming. Researchers have reminded the world’s governments that forests will play a vital role in mitigating the effects of climate change – provided policies are robustly pursued and reported with transparency. But even as European researchers set out the conditions for achieving this, other studies suggest that any pledges may be difficult to keep. A team from the UK, the European Commission, Italy and the Netherlands report in the Nature Climate Change journal that land management plans submitted by nations that pledged in Paris in 2015 to contain global warming to 2°C or less could contribute 25% of the total promised reductions in the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming. (March 9, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/10/2017 - This short video about addressing Climate Change from friend and dedicated advocate for strong action on Climate Change. Paul’s message, the importance of showing up and demonstrating that you care about our people and our planet, will get you moving. Imagine if we all felt and ACTED towards our life support system as Paul. RT. Please make Paul’s message go viral. #StandUpForScience  #climatechangeshealth  ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters #ClimateChange

  • 3/10/2017 - Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (an umbrella group for over 100 organizations in Rochester urging action on Climate Change) makes headway on community choice aggregation (CCA). Find out about how CCA allows a local government or a group of local governments to buy renewable energy for its residents. Very cool. Group asks city to lead clean-energy 'buyers club' Hydropower, wind, solar, and other renewables are providing more and more of New York's energy, a trend that government officials and environmental advocates want to continue. But for that to happen, the companies building new wind and solar farms need New York residents, businesses, and governments to buy their carbon-free power. Governments and business can do so relatively simply, since they consume lots of power, regularly seek out supply contracts, and can negotiate a good price. Residents and small businesses, however, have a tougher time sourcing renewable power, which they often pay a premium for. "Right now with a lot of these supply contracts, you have to pay extra to get green energy," says Sue Hughes-Smith, who's on the Rochester People's Climate Coalition's leadership team. "That doesn't make any sense. If we want to achieve a renewable energy supply, that needs to be the cheap option." (March 8, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - Actually, the “hard” sciences of the environment and the social science of economics were always linked. We just didn’t get it. For far too long economics treated our life support system as a magical resource generator and collective toilet--externality. Now that attitude is coming home to roost. And what is truly tragic is that our present economics is so entrenched into our way of life that the very economic system that put us into this Climate Change mess is very unlikely to get us out of it. Trying to right our economic system with a Climate Fee for carbon is a good idea, but it is far short of what we need to adapt to and stop the warming on a scale and time frame that will matter. We are going to pay a dear price for Climate Change procrastination. We need to take action now. Time passes. Basu: Economics of climate change will affect world poverty In a warming environment, visible climate change meets the “invisible hand” of economics, according to economist Kaushik Basu. “You can feel it. Two years ago … I visited Beijing and Delhi back-to-back,” said Basu, Cornell’s C. Marks Professor of International Studies and professor of economics. “You look up at the sky in both places and you realize that this is a problem that has been left for far too long – and now you have to work in a hurry. … You don’t have to read about it anymore. You need to look up and you are aware that something needs to be done.” (March 8, 2017) Cornell Chronicle [more on Food and Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - Climate Change probably had nothing to do with Great windstorm of 2017 in Rochester, NY. But extreme weather will get in your face when it comes. It is amazing at how blasé much of humanity is on Climate Change, about the dire warnings of more heat and extreme weather coming, and how dumb-struck we are when extreme weather actually happens to us. You cannot play golf in a hurricane. Much of the growth of humanity has been to adapt to extreme weather and plan to avoid that kind of weather we cannot adapt to. (One of the ways we have learned to adapt weather we cannot endure is to create insurance against losses due to weather damage.) You would think, given the predictions of Climate Change the extreme weather that is coming, we’d take the warnings much more seriously than we do. Yet, the US has shifted away from the science that tells us more extreme weather is coming. One of the reasons humanity has survived is our ability to plan. At the moment disasters strike, it’s too late to plan. We should be planning for Climate Change now. Time passes. 

  • 3/09/2017 - When the Trump Administration proposes a 97% reduction in funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, doesn’t that shift the costs to Canada? We share the responsibility for the health of the Great Lakes with our friend to the North. How is reneging on our responsibility to the largest freshwater system in the world being a good friend? Opposition efforts underway in response to proposed Great Lakes funding cuts An Erie County Legislator and local advocates for Great Lakes cleanup say the Trump Administration's proposed cuts to such efforts would prove harmful not only to the water and wildlife in it but also the local economy. The Trump Administration's ideas include a proposed 97-percent reduction in funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, cutting dollars from the current $300 million over the next five years down to $10 million in that same time span. (March 8, 2017) WBFO Buffalo's NPR News Station [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - So, if you remove ‘science’ and ‘Climate Change’ from your agency’s mandate, you’re legally unaccountable. Sad. The word 'Science' disappears from Environmental Protection Agency office's mission statement The government will instead focus on work that is 'economically and technologically achievable' An office of the Environmental Protection Agency has had all reference to science removed from its mission statement. The EPA once proudly told visitors that a large part of its work was scientific research to help improve the climate and the environment ADVERTISEMENT . But those references have since been removed and replaced with a reference to things that are "economically and technologically achievable". Campaigners have said that the change is likely hugely significant, in line with other attempts to remove scientific and climate change work from the US government. It is just one of a range of changes and statements from officials that seem to signal a significant change in the way the government works (March 8, 2017) Independent [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - I know, accepting Climate Change into your heart means you have to take responsibility for your actions. Stopping Climate Change is going to require more money, more inconvenience, more government, more learning, more responsibility towards future generations you will never meet, and much, much, more. And climate denial means you get to play dumb and take no responsibility and let others make the changes we need—while hurling insults at them or ignoring them altogether. The choices we make define who we are as a species. One worth saving, or not. Time passes. Spring Came Early. Scientists Say Climate Change Is a Culprit. After a mild winter across much of the United States, February brought abnormally high temperatures, especially east of the Rockies. Spring weather arrived more than three weeks earlier than usual in some places, and new research released Wednesday shows a strong link to climate change. By the 2017 calendar, the first day of spring is March 20. But spring leaves arrived in mid-January in some parts of the South, and spread northward like a wave. The map above plots the date of “first leaf,” a temperature-based calculation of when vegetation that has been dormant starts to show signs of life. This year, with the exception of a few small areas, the wave has arrived much earlier than the 30-year average. (March 8, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - There have been lots of climate change, but this human-caused Climate Change makes it moral and urgent. Humanity cannot continue to play dumb and pretend that Climate Change isn’t a crisis. Scientists and many media and the worldwide #ParisAgreement have honed scientific and world leaders’ message that we have a clear and present danger. Most people don’t know climate change is entirely human-made How much of the warming over the past century do you think is caused by human actions, as opposed to natural processes? If you think natural processes have played a big part, you are far from alone. Less than half of people in the UK (43 per cent), Germany (49 per cent) and Norway (just 34 per cent) think climate change is mainly or entirely due to human activities, according to a public opinion survey. In France, a slim majority (55 per cent) holds this view. (March 8, 2017) New Scientist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - Constant drumming that It’s Getting Hotter! would be uninteresting and boring if it wasn’t our life support system that was cooking. February’s Warmth, Brought to You by Climate Change A bonanza of heat records fell throughout February in almost all quarters of the U.S. and research released on Wednesday shows that this pervasive spring-like warmth was made possible by climate change. The rise in planetary heat made the freakishly warm February at least three times more likely than it was around 120 years ago, according to the analysis by scientists working on the World Weather Attribution team. While it was a month to remember, by mid-century that type of heat could occur every three years unless carbon pollution is curtailed. (March 8, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/08/2017 - Gutting a program “aimed at protecting waterways, conducting research and educating the public on environmental issues” is so manically ideological as to be suicidal. Report: Trump's budget eliminates Sea Grant The Trump administration appears ready to gut parts of the federal budget aimed at protecting waterways, conducting research and educating the public on environmental issues — including entirely eliminating funding for the Sea Grant program across the U.S. The Sea Grant cut was unveiled Saturday by a Washington Post story that quotes an unnamed source who provided an Office of Management and Budget document. If accurate, the elimination of Sea Grant's $76 million annual budget would be part of huge cuts in funding for research and outreach arms of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a division of the U.S. Commerce Department. The cuts target programs that deal with conservation, restoration, climate change and other environmental issues, especially research and public education. (March 6, 2017) Duluth News Tribune [more on Environmental Health and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 3/08/2017 - In retrospect, pulling out of the Paris Agreement by the US may be viewed as one of the most irresponsible political moves—ever. After 20+ years of the world trying to come together with an agreement, where they at least acknowledge the science, acknowledge the common threat, and acknowledge that much must be done by all and increasingly so as time goes so to bring down atmosphere temperatures, the world agreed on the Paris Agreement. For the US to drag its feet, or even try and squirm out of our responsibilities with the world on Climate Change, where most of the historic greenhouse gas emissions since the mid-1800’s came from US, would be catastrophic to our planet and our country’s image. We are now living in a moment where our fate is literally being decided by a tempest in the US between ideology and science. We don’t have to guess the outcome of what will happen if ideology wins—or is able to slow down our efforts to address this crisis. Time passes.  #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Top Trump Advisers Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change The White House is fiercely divided over President Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel” the Paris agreement, the 2015 accord that binds nearly every country to curb global warming, with more moderate voices maintaining that he should stick with the agreement despite his campaign pledge. Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s senior adviser, is pressing the president to officially pull the United States from the landmark accord, according to energy and government officials with knowledge of the debate. But, they say, he is clashing with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who fear the move could have broad and damaging diplomatic ramifications. March 2, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/08/2017 - According to Carbonify.com, the atmospheric carbon dioxide level was 365.26ppm in 1998 when I began RochesterEnvironment.com. Today it’s 406.13ppm. Now in some places, it’s projected to hit 410ppm. We have known for quite some time now that we are quickly warming up our planet, which is and will continue to affect all life on Earth, while increasingly making it problematic as to whether we can adapt. There is much about Climate Change that folks are debating and denying, but these figures on the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are pretty clear. Hard to squirm away from the math. Time passes. #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Carbon Dioxide Could Reach 410 PPM This Month A never-ending stream of carbon pollution ensures that each year the world continues to break records for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This year will be no different. Like a rite of spring, carbon dioxide is poised to cruise pass the previous mark set last year and reach heights unseen in human history. In the coming weeks, carbon dioxide will start to breach the 410 parts per million threshold on a daily basis at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. The monthly average for May could come close to topping 410 ppm, too, according to the U.K. Met Office’s inaugural carbon dioxide forecast, released last week. (March 6, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/07/2017 - Building sustainability into our way of living is something our Rochester region’s higher education facilities, like RIT, are really good at. Sustainable capstone project monitors RMSC exhibit An RIT senior capstone project at the Rochester Museum & Science Center has given a team of environmental science students a crash course in green infrastructure and sustainable design. RIT students are contributing to a five-year project to monitor the museum’s Regional Green Infrastructure Showcase. The installation reduces storm-water runoff and improves water quality. A museum exhibit, designed and developed by RIT students, illustrates the rain water saved by the installation in terms of bathtubs full of water. The capstone project, now in its second year, is overseen by the Water Education Collaborative, a not-for-profit organization that operates under the auspices of the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Christy Tyler, associate professor of environmental science in the Thomas H. Gosnell College of Life Sciences, is a member of the collaborative and the capstone adviser. (February 6, 2017) RIT University News

  • 3/07/2017 - If the threats to our public health and infrastructures don’t make Climate Change in our region sound urgent, maybe threats to wine industry will. Climate Change is going to continually challenge our local agriculture with warmer winters and summers, more flooding, more extreme weather and more unexpected frosts. The more we plan the better able our farmers and local businesses can adapt to this sudden change in our climate. Warmer winter could mean trouble for grapes along Lake Erie A 2007 study by the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association calculated that the region's grapes support more than 1,900 jobs and contribute more than $340 million to the regional economy. It is not a coincidence that most of the grapes produced in Pennsylvania are grown within a few miles of Lake Erie's shore. In the fall, winds coming off a warm lake tend to extend the growing season and delay frost for a few extra days — long enough, hopefully, to allow the crop to ripen. In the spring, cool winds off the lake typically prevent grape vines and fruit trees from breaking into bud too soon. Because it stays colder longer, they aren't vulnerable to an unexpected frost. At least that's how the region's fruit growers hope things work. But nearing the final weeks of an unusually warm weather in which Lake Erie never froze, many of them are wondering if they can count on the lake to manipulate the weather in their favor. (March 6, 2017) GoErie [more on Food and Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/07/2017 - Wake UP! Did America really vote to have #EPA gutted? Think! Trump plan for 40% cut could cause EPA science office ‘to implode,’ official warns In 2015, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C., unveiled a controversial regulation aimed at improving protection for wetlands and small streams, officials pointed to a 400-page technical tome assembled by agency researchers as the rule’s scientific foundation and justification. But that document carried little sway this week as President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at gutting the rule. Now, the White House wants to dramatically slash the budget of the EPA science office that produced that report, employs some 1700 researchers and others, and runs essentially all of the agency’s other major scientific activities. (March 3, 2017) Science [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/07/2017 - One thing that businesses cannot and won’t do but governments can is launch very expensive satellites to monitor Climate Change. It would be foolhardy and craven to gut NOAA’s ability to get “information that’s necessary to keep weather forecasts, agricultural outlooks, and disaster plans accurate as Earth’s climate warms.” The public must not allow a new administration with an anti Climate Change agenda to thwart our collective ability to adapt to Climate Change and have a viable future. #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Budget cuts at NOAA threaten climate-monitoring satellite program A White House memo suggests a 22-percent budget cut. But it hasn't happened yet. Why the Congressional budget-making process could offer hope for climate monitoring. Later this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to launch the JPSS-1 satellite. Completing a polar orbit 14 times each day, it will give NOAA an unprecedented amount of infrared and atmospheric data – information that’s necessary to keep weather forecasts, agricultural outlooks, and disaster plans accurate as Earth’s climate warms. These benefits won’t come cheap. NOAA has budgeted $800 million for JPSS – an abbreviation for Joint Polar Satellite System – this year alone, and projects a nine-digit price tag for the mission each year through the mid-2020s. But will NOAA be able to afford this satellite?  A White House budget memo obtained by the Washington Post on Friday reveals that the Trump Administration aims to cut NOAA’s budget by 17 percent next fiscal year. That’s in line with an 18 percent cut to the US Commerce Department, which administers NOAA. But the agency’s satellite data division would lose 22 percent of its funding, or $513 million. (March 4, 2017) Christian Science Monitor [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/07/2017 - Pretty Cool that “Rochester will launch a pilot to become an electric vehicle model city.” #RocheterNY Rocs! As the transportation sector accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions, ramping up electric vehicles use will help Rochester achieve some of its Climate Action Plans. More electric vehicle charging stations coming to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new electric vehicle campaign that includes the installation of charging stations, incentives for employers to encourage employees to drive electric vehicles and extensive public education and outreach. Cuomo says the increased use of electric vehicles will help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. The campaign, which supports the Governor’s Charge NY initiative, will be overseen by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. (March 6, 2017) WHEC [more on Energy and Transportation in our area]

  • 3/06/2017 - Remember back in the day when folks said there wasn’t enough sunlight in New York State for solar power to be a viable option? Let them eat their hats. Solar power makes rapid advances across New York ENERGY: Projects since 2011 account for nearly 744 megawatts. Rooftop and commercial solar projects getting state support are mushrooming in New York, with the Cuomo administration pushing hard to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and get to an energy diet of 50 percent renewables by 2030. State officials report that state-supported solar energy projects increased in 2016 to 795 percent more than the number that was in the pipeline just five years earlier. “The residential market for solar is thriving in New York state,” said David Sandbank, director of the NY-SUN, an arm of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. (March 6, 2017) Niagara Gazette [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 3/06/2017 - The increase in Lyme disease in our Northeast region most likely will have many causes—all accelerated and amplified by Climate Change. Lyme disease is a major Climate Change indicator for our area. Check out this web page from the EPA, because it may soon get scrubbed by the new administration “Climate Change Indicators: Lyme Disease” #StandUpForScience  #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Forbidding Forecast For Lyme Disease In The Northeast Since the early '90s, reported cases of Lyme disease have tripled, to about 30,000 cases each year. The CDC thinks the actual number is 10 times higher. "We think the true burden of Lyme disease in the U.S. is about 300,000 cases," Kugeler says. "Lyme disease is quite a big public health problem." The reasons for this Lyme explosion are many, Ostfeld says. Climate change is part of it. The surge in deer — which feed ticks and spread them around — has also been a factor. (March 6, 2017) North Country Public Radio [more on Lyme disease in our area]

  • 3/06/2017 - Plastics pollution in our waters—our oceans and our lakes—is a looming water quality issue. From microplastics, plastic bits, and plastic bags in our Great Lakes to these plastics in our oceans, we have a problem that must be addressed. Check out microplastics:

  • 3/06/2017 - Stripping away the ability to regulate environmental pollution from agencies like the EPA is cruel, immoral, and threatens our future. Those who incorrectly say that environmental regulations are crippling industries forget why these regulations were put in place in the first place. Exposure to pollution kills millions of children, WHO reports find Exposure to polluted environments is associated with more than one in four deaths among children younger than 5, according to two World Health Organization reports published Monday. Worldwide, 1.7 million children's deaths are attributable to environmental hazards, such as exposure to contaminated water, indoor and outdoor pollution, and other unsanitary conditions, the reports found. Weaker immune systems make children's health more vulnerable to harmful effects of polluted environments, the report says. (March 5, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/04/2017 - Gutting the EPA will have a profound effect on the Great Lakes ecosystem—not in a good way. Sharp cutbacks in Great Lakes restoration could make this largest freshwater system in the world unsustainable. Which is to say, dead. Great Lakes restoration would be gutted in early White House plan With reports swirling that President Donald Trump intends sharp cutbacks at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Free Press has learned that a drastic reduction may be under consideration for Great Lakes restoration efforts, which in the past have received bipartisan support. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies confirmed for the Free Press late  Thursday that an initial proposal from the White House Office of Management and Budget calls for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to be cut from $300 million a year to about $10 million. (March 2, 2017) Detroit Free Press {more on Climate Change, Water Quality, Wetlands, and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/04/2017 - As we know from the loss of the Georgia EV tax credit, aid from the government for the purchase of electric vehicles can have a profound effect. There could be a dramatic rise in electric vehicles and a drop in greenhouse gasses if New York follows through with this rebate. I know, it’s hard to believe that Georgia had the second most electric vehicles in the nation until the repeal of their tax incentive. New York to launch electric vehicle rebate New York State will soon launch a rebate designed to make electric vehicles more price competitive with traditional cars. Officials said Friday they'll launch the initiative by April 1. The rebate of up to $2,000 will be available for zero-emission and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. The incentive is part of efforts to reduce automotive carbon emissions, the state's largest climate change contributor. (March 1, 2017) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/04/2017 - The new normal is not the new sustainable. It is the new normal that our temperatures are going up, which tends (as in the boiling frog metaphor) to create the illusion that we must now simply adapt to a warmer climate, much in the same way that early man adjusted to climate changes of the past. But this Climate Change is different and if we don’t understand that we are going to cook. Our temperatures are going up dramatically, far faster than humanity has ever experienced. And in order to support 7 billion people, we have vast infrastructures (transportation, water, waste water, etc.), which are the lifeblood of our growing communities. These infrastructures are vulnerable to extreme weather from Climate Change. Already, many people have become inured by the constant news of warming and lulled into thinking that it’s now just normal for things to warm. The problem is that during our lifetimes the planet is quickly becoming too warm and without a quick and dramatic shift in how we use energy we will soon come to the point of no return. I know, people have become habituated to apocalyptic news that has always been a part of our media so it enters into the miasma of constant bad news we’ve learned to accept and tolerate. Bad news has always been the new normal. But not all bad news is the same. People dying in the other part of the world is not the same as your doctor giving you the news that you have cancer. Your future has a cancer that must be addressed now. If we habituate to this, we allow ourselves to become inured to an unsustainable future. Time passes. #ScienceMatters Climate change made NSW’s hottest summer 50 times more likely Researchers find strong climate signal behind the heatwaves and record average temperatures that beset Australia’s eastern states this summer Sleepless nights and bushfire days; the hottest summer on record in the Australian state of New South Wales was made 50 times more likely due to climate change, researchers have found. Repeated heatwaves broke maximum temperature records, culminating in the epic days of 11-12 February that pushed the mercury beyond 45C in many parts of the state. Devastating fires consumed whole villages and wildlife perished from exposure to the heat. Analysis of the events by a team from World Weather Attribution and the University of New South Wales found the record average heat could “be linked directly to climate change”. (March 2, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/04/2017 - Even if there ever was a carbon budget, where we thought we still had wiggle room on warming, we’ve probably long since blown it. I do agree that scientists need to figure out how much carbon will be sequestered and released in our soils and waters in order to make our climate models as accurate as possible--so we can plan. But I don’t think we, the public and policy makers and environmental planners, can (or should) deduct from this information how much more carbon emission we can release into our environment. It’s monumental hubris to think that we still have room in our climate system to pump more carbon into it. We’ve already noticed massive changes to our climate with a rise from 280ppm of carbon dioxide since the mid-1800’s to now where we are consistently over 400ppm. As this article suggests (see below), our climate system is extremely complex and there are many known unknowns (like how much carbon is stored and released by water and soil) and even unknowns unknowns (where we don’t even know what we don’t know) that should steer us away from assuming we could possibly allow any more carbon into the system. If anything, we should be working furiously to sequester carbon dioxide and get it back to a point that we know is sustainable—280ppm. Water and soil muddy carbon budget thinking New research on soil, ponds and lakes means a rethink is needed on how to help tackle climate change by balancing the carbon budget. Climate scientists, struggling with the enduring problem of the carbon budget, may have to think again as a result of new research findings. One experiment, in the UK, has shown that the ponds, lakes and standing water that cover 4% of the Earth that isn’t glaciated could release perhaps twice as much greenhouse gas as they warm this century. And a second study, in the US, has demonstrated that climate scientists have seriously over-estimated the soil’s capacity to absorb carbon. It may be able to soak up only about half as much as they thought. (March 4, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/03/2017 - The reason we created the EPA in the first place is because we realized that we could NOT take clean water and air for granted. So, how would gutting the EPA help keep our environment clean? What is the media doing to expose the gutting of the EPA? What is the media doing to explain why the public should know about this? Are you alarmed? #ScienceMatters Trump Says He Loves Clean Air and Water. So Why Is He Gutting the EPA? The dirty details of the president's environmental policies. Even President Donald Trump likes clean water and air. During his speech to Congress Tuesday night, Trump certainly didn't dwell on the matter: His pledge to "promote clean air and water" was lumped in a sentence with commitments to work with both parties, push for paid family leave, and "invest in women's health." But it was still there. No matter who you ask—Republicans or Democrats—everyone likes to breathe air and drink water that won't kill them. Air and water poll so well, in fact, that Republicans will almost never come out and say that their policies might actually make them dirtier. Trump used similar lines about clean air and water throughout the campaign, saying things like, "We are going to work very, very hard on clean air and clean water." The subject also appears near the bottom of the energy section of the White House website. But earlier Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order that directed the Environmental Protection Agency to limit the scope of what counts as a regulated body of water under the Clean Water Act. More executive orders are on their way, and career staff are waiting to hear how many of their jobs may be cut. (March 1, 2017) Mother Jones [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/03/2017 - Really, the EPA is no longer requiring the oil and gas industry to provide information on methane emitted from its operations? Hard to fathom the depths of abject irresponsibility of this move. Even if, say, millions of American don’t care or don’t care to know how much methane our industries are producing, what about the rest of the world? When we say to the world we aren’t producing much of the methane, which is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, won’t they say, “How would you know?” U.S. EPA withdraws request for methane information from oil, gas companies (March 2, 2017) Reuters

  • 3/03/2017 - More evidence (overwhelming) coming in that our planet is warming up dramatically. Getting hard to find new ways of saying FIRE! #ScienceMatters Scientists have handed the science behind Climate Change on a silver platter to everyone free of charge, but it seems that however backed by hard-won, peer-reviewed, solid science too many folks haven’t bothered themselves to find out about this worldwide crisis that is like no other in human history. Sad. Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius), the U.N. weather agency said on Wednesday. The Experanza base set the high on March 24, 2015, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said after reviewing data around Antarctica to set benchmarks to help track future global warming and natural variations. "Verification of maximum and minimum temperatures help us to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers," said Michael Sparrow, a polar expert with the WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme. (March 1, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/03/2017 - Scientists are getting better at discovering whether Climate Change is linked with individual cases of extreme weather: Attribution. Sydney’s Swelter Has a Climate Change Link, Scientists Say Southeastern Australia has suffered through a series of brutal heat waves over the past two months, with temperatures reaching a scorching 113 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of the state of New South Wales. “It was nothing short of awful,” said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney. “In Australia, we’re used to a little bit of heat. But this was at another level.” So Dr. Perkins-Kirkpatrick, who studies climate extremes, did what comes naturally: She looked to see whether there was a link between the heat and human-driven climate change. (March 2, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/03/2017 - From our friends over at Rochester Pachamama Alliance:  "Rochester Pachamama Alliance has started a new monthly gathering to inspire, support and empower each other as we live into our vision of an environmentally sustainable, socially just, inter-culturally respectful, relationally rich, and spiritually fulfilling world.  All are invited to our next gathering: 1:30-3:30 pm on Sunday, March 5, in the red brick building immediately to the west (left) of Asbury United Methodist Church. (The building’s own address is 1010 East Ave.)  At this next gathering, we will explore how we experience and participate in the old paradigm of separation, competition and domination (see Paradigm shift chart--it should appear in your browser when you click on it). We will experience the ways this paradigm creates pain in ourselves and the things we care about.  We will envision ways we can live into the emerging paradigm of interconnectedness, interdependence and cooperation.  And we will discern our own next steps towards embodying that emerging paradigm. Music, visuals and a whole-body awakening will help engage our whole selves in the process.  This is an open-ended/drop-in group.  No ongoing commitment is necessary.  Please share this with anyone you know who might be interested.  And if you plan to attend, please email Padme at padmelivingstone@gmail.com so we can plan accordingly. "

  • 3/03/2017 - Thinking that gutting the EPA will allow businesses to flourish is like thinking that having your kidneys removed will make it so you don’t have to go to the bathroom so often. #ScienceMatters Former EPA scientists to Trump: ‘Evidence does not change when the administration changes’ The Trump administration’s proposal to cut the Environmental Protection Agency is looking dramatic indeed. The plans call for laying off thousands of staff, eliminating entire programs and making deep cuts to the agency’s research office, the Office of Research and Development (ORD), according to recent reportingby The Washington Post. That’s not to say all of this will happen — or that any of it will. Congress makes the final decisions on funding the government. But it’s a stunning proposal to researchers familiar with the workings of the EPA. (March 2, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/02/2017 - More evidence (a 1991 film, actually) that the fossil fuel industry knew their product was warming the planet—but chose to not to #KeepItInTheGroud Sad. Kafkaesque. #ScienceMatters Keep it in the ground: Shell's 1991 film warning of climate change danger uncovered Public information film unseen for years shows Shell had clear grasp of global warming 26 years ago but has not acted accordingly since, say critics More than a quarter of a century ago, oil giant Shell made an extraordinary public film about the dangers of global warming, called Climate of Concern, which has just been rediscovered. The film, says one leading climate scientist, is one of the best he has ever seen: the science is sharp, the predictions uncannily accurate and the suggested solutions smart. The film even had an urgent message: “Action now is seen as the only safe insurance.” Yet Shell has spent the 26 years since investing many billions in highly polluting tar sands and helping to lobby against climate action. As Bill McKibben told me: “Imagine if Shell had taken their own advice and we’d spent the last quarter century in all-out pursuit of renewables, energy efficiency, and conservation. We wouldn’t have solved the problem of global warming, but we’d be well on the way. Shell made a big difference in the world – a difference for the worse.” (March 1, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 3/02/2017 - Instead of banking on science, we are halting efforts to stop very invasive species, Asian Carp, into the largest freshwater system in the world because of special interests. Sad. Businesses whose interests are perceived to be thwarted because of efforts to stop the Asian Carp have a new friend in a new administration that puts special commercial interests against the public’s need for a healthy environment. Once in, the Asian Carp may change our Great Lakes profoundly and we may look back to this moment when this tragedy was inevitable. #ScienceMatters White House orders Asian carp plan delay The Trump administration has ordered a hold on the release of a tentative plan to stop Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes by strengthening a choke point in the Chicago waterway system, according to the Detroit Free Press. The White House wants to review the plan for stopping Asian silver and bighead carp at the Brandon Road Lock & Dam, which the U.S. Army Corps had been scheduled to release in draft form on Feb. 28, the newspaper reported. The release is on indefinite hold for now, confirmed Allen Marshall, public affairs officer for the Army Corps Rock Island District. (March 1, 2017) MLive Michigan [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/02/2017 - If massive (the size of Alabama) areas of permafrost are thawing and they hold a lot of carbon (“Scientists estimate that the world's permafrost holds twice as much carbon as the atmosphere.”), then the warming will accelerate. Not to mention the widespread thaw of permafrost creates more landslides, warmer and increase sediment in rivers. Yes, there have been other climate changes, but this Climate Change is happening in our time with 7 billion of us and our infrastructures—and it is happening by us. And, after certain points, positive feedbacks, like melting glaciers and permafrost amplify the havoc we’ve wreaked. #ScienceMatters Denying Climate Change is suicide. Massive Permafrost Thaw Documented in Canada, Portends Huge Carbon Release Study shows 52,000 square miles in rapid decline, with sediment and carbon threatening the surrounding environment and potentially accelerating global warming. Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers. A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama. According to researchers with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey, the permafrost collapse is intensifying and causing landslides into rivers and lakes that can choke off life downstream, all the way to where the rivers discharge into the Arctic Ocean. (February 28, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - Here’s the news Rochester, NY local media is not telling you: with warmer winters “ancient cycles are being broken”. For the past week or so our local media has highlighted how many people more are getting outdoors, and golfing, and other late-spring fun activities. But they are failing to put this warming into context and providing the public what they need to know about what’s going on in the rest of the world on Climate Change and what changes are coming to this region. Rochester, let’s face it, is never going to be Florida—it’s going to be a seriously screwed up Rochester. Time passes. #ScienceMatters It’s 1 March, but spring started weeks ago As warmer days wake parts of nature from their winter slumber earlier and earlier, ancient cycles are being broken Spring is arriving ever earlier in the northern hemisphere. One sedge species in Greenland is now springing to growth 26 days earlier than it did a decade ago. And in the wintry United States, spring arrived 22 days early this year in Washington DC, the national capital. The evidence comes from those silent witnesses, the natural things that respond to climate signals. The relatively new science of phenology – the calendar record of first bud, first flower, first nesting behaviour and first migrant arrivals – has over the last three decades repeatedly confirmed meteorological fears of global warming as a consequence of the combustion of fossil fuels. Researchers say the evidence from the plant world is consistent with the instrumental record: 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded, and it was the third record-breaking year in succession. Sixteen of the hottest years ever recorded have happened in the 21st century.(March 1, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - There are a lot of known unknowns, like how “non-carbon aerosolised particles impact on global temperatures” and how clouds will factor in climate models, and even unknown unknowns (stuff that we didn’t even know we didn’t know (like The Trump Effect on Climate Change)) but be assured that Climate Change is happening and it’s complicated and because it’s complicated it doesn’t mean we should avoid addressing it. #Science Matters Aerosol Study Targets Great Unknown in Climate Science Australian scientists are studying air pollution and cloud formation in Antarctica in an effort to understand how non-carbon aerosolised particles impact on global temperatures. It’s the first comprehensive study of the composition and concentration of aerosols in the Antarctic sea ice area, a region that influences cloud formation and weather patterns for much of the southern hemisphere. (February 25, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - This article (see below) demonstrates how Climate Change should be reported locally. In order to adapt, we need context. Even if we do reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is still is a lot of heat to play out in our climate system, a lot, hundreds of years. This means we have to adapt to the quick changes coming and the myriad environmental issues this brings. The problems in Lake Erie highlight how Climate Change will accelerate and amplify all those conditions. And, this article gets at the absolute necessity why governmental agencies like the EPA must lead all efforts in our ability to adapt comprehensively to what’s coming ahead. Everyone, including businesses and farmers who will not be able to thrive is a failing environment, should be encouraging Trump and the EPA to keep up their pivotal role in addressing Climate Change and all the complicated consequences coming with that. #ScienceMatters Great Lakes Scientist says, “If We Lose The EPA, We Lose Lake Erie” At the 8th Binational Meeting of the Lake Erie Millennium Network, 125 scientists gathered at the University of Windsor in Ontario to hear experts weigh-in on the health of the southernmost, warmest and shallowest of the Great Lakes. They presented research on everything from climate change, water quality, phosphorous, agricultural run-off, cynobacteria (blue-green algae), hypoxia (deficiency in oxygen), cladophora (green algae) to ice, invasive species, sediment concentrations, and much, much more. Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume, and yet it has the highest population living along it’s shorelines, which makes it more vulnerable to pollution and many other problems than the rest of the Great Lakes. (February 24, 2017) Great Lakes Now [more on Climate Change and Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - Old sewage pipes leaking human waste into the Great Lakes basin is probably occurring often. Many wastewater infrastructures around the entire Great Lakes water basin are getting old and in need of repair and updating for Climate Change. And the statement that probably 2 million gallons of human waste has already flowed into the Grand River but that only constitutes only 1% of the area’s water is NOT comforting. One has to wonder, when at what percent of the water IS human waste will folks get concerned—25%, 50%? We should be planning dramatically to prepare the largest freshwater system in the world for Climate Change. About 500K gallons of human waste spilling into Grand River each day SPRING LAKE, MICH. - People are asked to avoid contact with a portion of the Grand River following a sewage spill that's released at least a million gallons of human waste. A no body contact advisory affects an area about a mile east of the U.S. 31 bridge over the Grand River and downstream to Lake Michigan. (February 28, 2017) WZZM [more on Great lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - Rochester, NY is really warm: “That is in keeping with conditions everywhere, which experts attribute to the impact of climate change.” (See below) The present zeitgeist around town seems to be that it’s been a warm February but what a relief, instead of concerns that this long stretch of warm temperatures in February is a harbinger of things to come. Temperatures worldwide are going up and are dramatically affecting other regions, but here we’re having April weather in February. That doesn’t seem to alarm us. Maybe even a welcome. But even this kind of warming in Rochester is concerning as it is throwing off our plants, where I’m seeing as I walk around town some already 8” and 10” high. It’s not only not normal, it might mean that if a long cold comes along it may wreck the plants we’ve planted. It may be wreaking havoc with agriculture, where fruit trees are kicking into gear too soon, their buds opening themselves to freezing. It would be helpful if our media looked into the effects of such a long warming spell on trees and plants and maybe even some animals that are maybe being fooled into waking up from their wintry slumbers, and perhaps how fish are reacting to another winter on the Great Lakes without ice cover for protection. Things are changing with Climate Change, even here in Rochester, and they are deeply profound and disturbing because they are happening way too quickly. (“The problem is the speed at which the world is warming. It’s not that the climate is changing ― it’s the rate.” Bill Nye, 2/27/2017, The Huffington Post) Crazy hot day to follow crazy hot month The warmest February in the modern record book will usher in what almost surely will be the warmest March 1 that Rochester's ever seen. That's because the Rochester region is in the midst of one of the warmest periods in local history. Since November 2015, every single month has featured above-average temperatures except for April of last year. Two of those months, December 2015 and August 2016, were the warmest on record. Calendar-year 2016 wound up the fifth-warmest in local history.That is in keeping with conditions everywhere, which experts attribute to the impact of climate change. Globally, 2016 was the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880, and the second-warmest ever in the United States. (February 28, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]