Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Updates: Saturday, December 20, 2014

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

  • 12/20/2014 - Watched “Gasland” last night; New York State so dodged a catastrophe when Cuomo banned Fracking. An incredible opportunity to begin a full effort for renewable energy was lost for six years in our state because the Fracking debacle hijacked our focus on Energy in a time of Climate Change.  The media played impotent host to an unnecessary battle between New Yorkers, instead of informing the public about Climate Change and the dangers or more fossil fuels and what our politicians and authorities should be doing to address this worldwide crisis. With global temperature moving in the red zone, our media needs to adapt.  Fracking banned in New York Environmentalists are celebrating after Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there will be no hydrofracking in New York for now, citing inconclusive scientific evidence on the health effects of the gas drilling process. Cuomo’s acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker says as he examined numerous completed and still ongoing studies on fracking’s effects on drinking water, air quality and other health issues,  several “red flags” were raised, and he says he has “identified significant health risks in the current data” that have not been  answered by conclusive long term studies with “large population pools.” “I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” Zucker concluded. He says his decision on whether to endorse fracking really came down to one key question. “Would  I let my child play in the school field nearby (a drilling well), or let my family drink the water from the tap?” Zucker asked. “After looking at the plethora of reports, my answer is no.” (December 17, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/20/2014 - Solving Invasive species issues during Climate Change is going to a very thorny problem because as our environment changes, invasives may do better filling an environmental niche than an endemic species.  Not to mention with issues like the Zebra mussel which came upon us so fast and is so invasive that to extract them completely is impossible. Some like the Purple Loosestrife and the Mute Swan are so beautiful that is hard to see them as invasives.  Wouldn’t it be better to bring our Climate Change studies into the open, to the public and to the media, so we can view and attempt to solve thorny issues through the lens of Climate Change, instead of ad hoc measures we are doing now that only create factions and endless court battles? If we don’t bring Climate Change to the forefront, we are going to be fighting issues like the Mute Swan as if it only exists in a bubble, not in a warming world where the preservation of our life support system gets top priority.  At some point, as Climate Change is physics, the need to address all our environmental issues will become obvious, but the chance to solve them may have passed.  Cuomo vetoes bill to halt eradication of mute swans Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have put a halt to state plans to eradicate a species of swan. Cuomo vetoed the measure late Wednesday that called for a moratorium on the state Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed management plan for mute swans. In December 2013, the DEC released a draft plan that called for eradication of the swans, which the agency says is an invasive species. There are an estimated 2,200 free-ranging mute swans in New York. The DEC said the birds cause damage to certain habitats and can be aggressive toward people, among other negative impacts. (December 19, 2014) Poughkeepsie Journal [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 12/20/2014 - Why would EPA’s new coal ash standards be a setback for environmental groups and not the public? Humm… Is it because only environmental groups are harmed by coal ash? Can the media only characterize potential hazardous waste issues to all of us as a battle only between the fossil fuel industry and the ‘environmentalists’? At this late date, where Climate Change rules now, can we still believe that there are those who believe that our environment is a magical spring of energy and natural resources and those who believe that our environment is our life support system—and the media is somewhere in the objective middle looking down on the squabbles as gods? Are we going to continue to frame environmental issues as only struggles between idealists who want to keep our environment pure and those who are practical and think an unfettered, unlimited use of our environment is the only reality we know? Idealists are those who think our present squandering of our greatly compromised environment can continue on indefinitely with a media that can only look on while Earth burns. EPA Coal Ash Standards a Setback for Environmental Groups Six years ago, there was a massive spill of coal ash sludge in Tennessee. Three years later, tons of coal ash swept into Lake Michigan. Last February, there was another spill and gray sludge spewed into the Dan River in North Carolina. With each disaster, environmentalists sounded alarms and called for the byproduct of burning coal to be treated as hazardous waste. On Friday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyreleased the first standards for the coal-burning waste, but they were hardly what environmental groups were hoping for. The EPA ruled that the ash can be treated like regular garbage, meaning regulating the stuff will be left up to states and watchful citizens. "We had to go to court to force EPA to issue this first-ever coal ash rule, and unfortunately, we will be back in court to force coal plants to clean up their ash dumps and start disposing of their toxic waste safely," said EarthJustice attorney Lisa Evans (December 20, 2014) ABC News   

  • 12/20/2014 - “… Arctic has warmed twice as fast as the lower latitudes…” proving those non-binding, voluntary agreements don’t work. For all the talk about the best way to solve Climate Change from the bottom up, from grassroots efforts, the reality is that they are not slowing down global warming at a rate and/or scale that is doing any good.  There are a lot of folks doing a lot of stuff to address Climate Change in a lot of communities, but obviously it’s not enough. Good intensions and heart felt promises by a relative few will not bring down global temperatures.  If 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris turns into non-binding mush, it’s because humanity was unable to lay down the law. Persistent Warming Driving Big Arctic Changes SAN FRANCISCO — Not every year can be a record setter. But records are only one small piece of a larger puzzle that shows persistent change in the Arctic. And that change hasn’t slowed according to this year’s Arctic Report Card released at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting on Wednesday. Long-term trends in rising temperatures, spiraling sea ice loss, and ecosystem shifts paint a picture of a region in transition due to climate change that is transpiring at a much faster rate than the rest of the globe. “We continue to see the impact of a persistent warming trend on the Arctic,” Jacqueline Richter-Menge, a scientist at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, said. “The fact that we have that persistence (in observations) lets us see those signals become stronger.” (December 17, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 12/19/2014 - National Hockey League (NHL) takes Climate Change seriously enough to do something about it—shouldn’t Rochester’s media? They didn’t even pass on reports of the COP20 Lima climate talks last week. Which is to say the public doesn’t take Climate Change seriously, and our leaders and authority don’t feel pressed to do something—not even inform the public on what they are doing to address this issue locally.  Rochester is in deep Climate Change denial. National Hockey League Checks Climate Change But the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that it’s partnering with energy services company Constellation to offset its carbon footprint in all 30 of its markets. “In keeping with its priorities to reduce its environmental impact and accelerate a greater movement toward a healthier planet, Constellation will work with the NHL to conduct energy efficiency analyses and recommend energy management strategies for the league’s facilities,” said the announcement. “At the NHL’s request, Constellation will also provide Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Carbon Offsets to match the league’s estimated total carbon footprint—550,000 metric tons—for the 2014-15 season.” Admittedly, it’s not a very large carbon footprint. But the league hopes that it can raise awareness among its fans of the need to pay attention the impact of our actions on the climate. It will be promoting efficient energy use at major events in the upcoming season including the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. (December 18, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/19/2014 - With a milquetoast COP20 Lima talks and high-profile climate deniers worming their way to high office, the road to Paris 2015 is going to be long indeed. Between now and December of next year, when the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris takes place to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world, many changes must occur.  One of those changes (admittedly not a small one) is that humanity must morph into environmentalists all. There are no winners in a world that’s too warm to live. We must change and do so quickly. The People Have Spoken: This Is The Most Brazen Lie Of 2014 Earlier this year, readers of the Tampa Bay Times’ fact-checking project PolitiFact were asked to vote on what they believe was the year’s biggest lie. And as of Wednesday, theresults are in: “Climate change is a hoax” was the overwhelming choice. Over nine other options, almost 32 percent of the PolitiFact’s 14,467 poll voters chose the “hoax” claim, which was the title of a video released this summer by failed congressional candidate Lenar Whitney. Whitney, who proclaimed herself as one of themost conservative members of Louisiana’s state Legislature, released a 5-minute tirade against climate scientists and the existence of global warming. To prove her point, Whitney stated that the earth is getting colder, that there is a record amount of sea ice in the Arctic, and that climate scientists have been proven to actively falsify their data. (December 18, 20140 Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/19/2014 - By banning Fracking in New York State, Cuomo really acted on reducing methane pollution from gas. Lots more to go, but this was an important benchmark. America Agrees That It’s Time to Act on Methane Pollution From Oil and Gas There’s not much in Washington these days that Americans can agree on. But a new poll released last week by the American Lung Association found that a large majority of voters would support EPA regulations requiring the oil and natural gas industry to cut methane pollution in half by 2020. This comes as EPA nears a decision – likely in the coming weeks — on whether to tackle the growing problem of unregulated methane pollution from the oil and gas sector. It’s a big decision. Reducing methane pollution from the oil and gas sector by half would save close to $1 billion a year in wasted energy and, over a 20-year time frame, cut climate pollution equivalent to closing about 90 coal-fired power plants. (December 18, 2014) Environmental Defense Fund [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/19/2014 - Lots of Climate Change activity in 2014 but the take home message is that our chances of staying under 2C are slim.  One thing we should remember: if we don’t keep our global temperatures below 2C, it won’t be just the environmentalists that lose.  The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: How The World Fought Climate Change (Or Didn’t) In 2014 Getting meaningful action to address climate change out of the United States’ political system has been a bit like pulling teeth. Denial that human activity is driving global warming runs higher among Americans than in any other advanced country, and is rife in Congress. Despite our wealth, we’re one of the few advanced western nationswithout a price on greenhouse gas emissions. And the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new effort to cut the nation’s emissions, while significant in its own right, is less ambitious than equivalent efforts in Europe, not to mention politically and legally embattled. Still, President Obama sought to put the U.S. at the forefront of the global effort to address climate change this year, taking more action than any president in the country’s history. And America is far from the only player here. Countries like China and the members of the European Union are big contributors to global emissions, and are deeply involved in the international discussion about what the world can do about them. So here are the big climate moves — good, bad and ugly — from around the world this year: (December 18, 2014) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/18/2014 - New York State banning Fracking can be viewed as a responsible response to addressing Climate Change and protecting our own.  It would have been the height of absurdity and hypocrisy for the state of New York to pass Fracking (a major fossil fuel leaker of methane) and at the same time try and save New York City from the consequences of rising seas and strong hurricanes. Cuomo did the right thing—finally. Those who fought the freaking Fracking threat for six years in New York State are heroes. But let us stop our efforts to address Climate Change and evolve from historical battles between ‘them and us’ because in Climate Change is all ‘us’. There is no win if we don’t bring down greenhouse gases—this is the nature of addressing Climate Change. Even continuing to battle amongst ourselves is time we can no longer squander. NYC Tops List for Seeing Increased Storm Outages | Hurricane Sandy left Lower Manhattan completely dark, eerily bereft of the electricity that keeps New York City buzzing 24 hours a day. Across town, 34,000 people living in the Rockaways, an exposed spit of land that acts as a barrier island, were left without power for weeks when the storm hit in October 2012. On the heels of that devastation comes a new study that says New York City is among the cities most sensitive to increasing hurricane intensity, making it more likely that major hurricanes will cut off power to even more people, fueled in large part by climate change. (December 17, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/18/2014 - Our Great Lakes should not have to endure an environmental catastrophe when outdated fossil fuel pipelines get breached. Our life support system seems always at threat from fossil fuel pipeline, rails, drilling and storage. We must change quickly from the constant threat of an energy form that heats the planet and threatens every aspect of our environment with its infrastructure.  Must we really pit our existence with a choice between business as usual fossil fuel and renewable because we won’t address Climate Change?  Really?  We’d rather not change and die? Really? Pinhole-Sized' Pipeline Leak Raises Great Lakes Fears Enbridge officials say leak is a design flaw; state officials say it underscores the need for the energy giant to stabilize aging pipeline. Environmental officials are worried about a pinhole-sized leak and what it says about the integrity of a petroleum pipeline that runs across the Upper Peninsula and under the Straits of Mackinac, connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The small leak was discovered during a scheduled Dec. 8 inspection of the 61-year-old Line 5 pipeline. Because of it, an undetermined amount of natural gas liquid was dispersed into the atmosphere north of Manistique, near the Indian River, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Tuesday. Officials with the Canadian oil giant Enbridge, which operates the Line 5 pipeline, said the natural gas didn’t escape because of a leak, but because of a “pinhole-sized defect, observed in the weld of the pipe,” the Detroit Free Press reports. (December 17, 2014) Rochester-Rochester Hills Patch [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/18/2014 - The move to ban Fracking in New York State, decided by Governor Cuomo and won with the hard work of dedicated activists, is a great victory for the people of New York. While this Fracking threat of more dangerous, unhealthy fossil fuel extraction hijacked our precious time in New York from moving quickly to renewable energy, there is still time. Still time to press for a wholesale change in our energy infrastructure towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuel energy by stopping the massive increase in fossil fuel by rail across our state and the storage of LNG gas near Seneca Lake. The Fracking battle in New York should have never happened.  We should not have to fight amongst ourselves to have a sustainable existence. The recent COP20 Lima climate talks have given us a year to make a substantial greenhouse gas reduction agreements in COP21 Paris 2015. Stopping New York from becoming a major injection of more fossil fuel was very important. But we are not going to be able to keep global temperatures down to a livable level if we can only achieve this by constantly battle ourselves over fossil fuels.  We don’t have time.  Fracking ruled out in NY  After more than six years of review, fracking is on the outs in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration said Wednesday it will move to ban large-scale hydraulic fracturing throughout the state, citing concerns over human health risks and questioning the economic benefits of the controversial technique used to release natural gas from underground shale formations. The move by the state's top health and environmental regulators is the culmination of a decision-making process that has stretched through more than six years, two governors, several layers of review, numerous missed deadlines and countless protests and rallies across the state. It represents a major victory for fracking critics, many of whom have trailed Cuomo at events for the past four years. Supporters of fracking, including the natural-gas industry, assailed Cuomo for not following the lead of at least 30 states and promised to assess their legal options. (December 17, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle  [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/17/2014 - Hopeful as many articles are about how COP20 Lime climate talks were (mostly because climate talks didn’t crash altogether and the ‘wall’ between developing nations and developed nations has broken down) there is the fact that trend for more warning is going on unabated. Greenhouse Gas Increases Are Leading to a Faster Rate of Global Warming New Worldwatch Institute analysis examines trends in greenhouse gas emissions and reduction efforts Washington, D.C.—According to the most recent estimates, 2014 emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main contributor to global climate change, are projected to be 2.5 percent higher than 2013 levels, which translates into the release of 37 billion additional tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. As negotiators wrap up their talks at the international climate conference in Lima, Peru, there is no indication that this trend will change soon. Scientists estimate that future emissions should not exceed 1,200 billion tons of CO2, in order to keep Earth's temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius and to avoid severe and irreversible environmental effects. Yet at the current rate of emissions, this remaining “quota” would be used up in less than a generation, writes Joel Stronberg, contributing author for the Worldwatch Institute’s (www.worldwatch.org) Vital Signs Online.  As in 2013, the primary emitters in 2014 from the combustion of fossil fuels are expected to be China (28 percent), the United States (14 percent), the European Union (10 percent), and India (7 percent). In emissions per person, however, the United States ranks first with more than twice the per capita emissions of China, ranked second. There is a continued geographic shift in emissions from industrialized to developing countries. (December 17, 2014) Worldwatch Institute [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/17/2014 - How is Climate Change going to affect New York State? Ask the Lake Trout. They ‘like’ deep cold water and there will be less of it. Of course, as with most issues with Climate Change, it’s not about the fish, it’s about what they are telling us about the new normal. New York: Dwellers of the Deep What Lake Trout Can Teach Us About Climate Change Since the retreat of the glaciers 10,000 years ago, the top native predator in Adirondack waters has been lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush). The large, slow-growing fish inhabits the coldest, deepest lakes of the Adirondacks. Its species name, namaycush, is believed to be an Algonquin term for “dweller of the deep.” As the longest-lived member of the salmon family, it’s not unusual for lake trout to live 20 years or longer. Now they are helping us learn important lessons about climate change. Why study lake trout? Lake trout require very cold (colder than 55°F), clean, high-oxygen water. They serve as a sentinel for change, bringing to light otherwise invisible changes in water quality. A decline can signal stress among lesser-known species such as cisco and round whitefish. How will climate change affect lake trout? Mean annual air temperature in the eastern Adirondacks warmed by 2.1°F between 1976 and 2005, according to a 2010 report by the Adirondack and Vermont chapters of The Nature Conservancy. The range of anticipated additional warming in northern New York over this century is 6–11°F. Episodes of heavy rain have been more frequent in the past four decades than in the early 1900s. The Nature Conservancy [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/16/2014 - Buffalo news at least passes on articles about COP20 Lima climate talks, but not Rochester. Whats Up That? So, right next door in Buffalo, the media isn’t afraid to at least pass on articles from other media about this historic climate talk in Lima from the AP or NYT, but in Rochester’s media there’s nary a word.  This is a serious problem. We cannot even ask the question of our authorities about what they are doing to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change in our region. When our local press is too timid to inform the public about this worldwide crisis, the public fails to understand the importance of their role in planning right now. Our public health, and our water, telecommunications, waste, and transportation infrastructures need adapting and that’s going to need long-term support (election year after election year) from the public. We are in serious Climate Change denial in Rochester, NY and that means we are not planning for the inevitable. Most in Rochester don’t have a clue about local adaptions to Climate Change. Shame on the local media. Demand they continually report on Climate Change.  At UN climate talks, a crack in rich-poor barrier A last-minute deal that salvaged U.N. climate talks from collapse early Sunday sends a signal the rich-poor divide that long held up progress can be overcome with a year to go before a landmark pact is supposed to be adopted in Paris. Still, it remains to be seen whether governments can come up with a new formula for how countries in different stages of development should contribute in a way that keeps global warming from reaching dangerous levels. "This issue will be contentious and it will need to be worked through all the way to Paris," U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said after the marathon talks in Lima finished, more than 30 hours behind schedule. (December 14, 2014) Buffalo News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/16/2014 - This is a Fracked Pennsylvania. New York is this what you want?  Natural Gas Infrastructure in PA "This map shows natural gas infrastructure in Pennsylvania. Using this map, you can view natural gas facilities and pipelines, as well as report pollution directly to state and federal agencies. "

  • 12/16/2014 - The trouble with the secret scheme to transport tons of dangerous fossil fuels through New York is incompetency. Even if ‘we the people’ had been asked if it would be a good idea to trek tons of dangerous fossil fuel through our state in a time of Climate Change, and we approved, we would have had a chance to insist that it be done on a rail system and tank cars especially retrofitted or designed to do this sort of thing. Obliviously, we weren’t asked and now everyone is playing catch up—before we are train bombed. Inspectors find 100 defects on crude oil trains, tracks A broken rail, defective train car wheels and missing bolts on the tracks were among some of the problems state and federal teams found during its most recent round of statewide inspections of oil trains and the rail lines they use. They identified 100 defects, including eight safety defects that require immediate action, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said in a release. Inspection teams from the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration on Dec. 9 examined 704 crude oil tank cars and about 95 miles of track as part of the state’s on-going response to a surge in rail shipments of Bakken crude across nearly 1,000 miles of New York. (December 15, 2014) LoHud [more on Energy in our area]

  • 12/16/2014 - It matters: The debate on liquid propane gas near Seneca Lake. Connections: The Debate on Liquid Propane Gas Storage in FLX More than 100 people have been arrested since October at the sight of a proposed expansion of liquid propane gas storage (LPG) near Seneca Lake. Many of the recent arrests are prominent business owners. The owners of a new high-wattage wine project -- one from California, one from Germany -- now say that if they had known this LPG project was going forward, they probably would have skipped coming to the Finger Lakes. So why has it gotten so heated? What's the latest development? We've invited Crestwood Energy to join us. So far, no response, but they've given statements to other media outlets. We've also reached out to state lawmakers. Our guest for this topic are: Will Ouweleen, owner of O-Neh-Da Vineyards Joseph Campbell, Gas Free Seneca Phil Davis and Lou Damiani, co-owners of Damiani Wine Cellars (December 15, 2014) WXXI Connections [more on Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 12/16/2014 - Been thinking that now coal is bad, gas leaks too much methane, so at least we have hydroelectric to help with Climate Change? Think again. Check out this 12-minutue video “Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers.” Dams, of which there are now over 75,000 in the US alone, are not your beaver’s dams. They are bigger, there are considerably more of them than even a hundred years ago, and they have a myriad negative effects on our life support system. Building more dams during Climate Change could be catastrophic. We really need to rethink Dams.  In fact, you may want to check out this incredible new documentary (which you can now stream on Netflix) DamNation “This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.” http://damnationfilm.com/   

  • 12/16/2014 - If Greenland’s ice cap is melting from the top to bottom and bottom to top too and a total melt will raise sea levels 20ft and it’s unstoppable … Greenland’s Ice Sheet Shifts Could Speed Melt New discoveries in Greenland’s warming ice sheet tell a chilling tale of change in its depths. Mysterious under-snow lakes pockmarking its edges and deep layers of ice at higher elevations both point to changes that could hasten melt and send water cascading into the ocean, pushing global sea levels ever higher. Researchers revealed findings of the inner workings of Greenland’s icy coat at this year’s American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting on Monday. Radar flown by plane and dragged by snowmobile, as well as satellite measurements show how the ice cap is potentially turning into a Slip ‘N Slide for meltwater to rush to the Atlantic. (December 15, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - Today’s question boys & girls: How removed is Congress from reality. Ans. They think Food is produced magically.  Nothing to do with our environment or our agricultural practices.  Food just is. If you want Food just go to restaurant or vending machine. Don’t poison Food with environmental ideology.  Congress, ya gotta laugh. Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices. Congress now has slapped them down. Lawmakers attached a list of "congressional directives" to a massive spending bill that passed both the House and the Senate in recent days. One of those directives expresses "concern" that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee "is showing an interest in incorporating agriculture production practices and environmental factors" into their recommendations, and directs the Obama administration to ignore such factors in the next revision of the guidelines, which is due out next year. The directive is not legally binding, but ignoring it would provoke yet another political battle between the Obama administration and Congress. (December 15, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Food in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - For this step in NYS recycling law to work it must be enforced. Electronics recycling mandatory statewide starting Jan. 1 Certain electronics will no longer be allowed in the trash as of Jan. 1.  By state environmental law, certain electronics will no longer be allowed in the trash as of Jan. 1, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reminded citizens in a press release. In Ontario County and surrounding areas a number of sites will take such items to be properly recycled. Those include Regional Computer Recycling & Recovery at 7318 Victor-Mendon Road (Route 251) in Victor, which also provides information and a list of other sites. Or call (585) -924-3840. Citing the potential for environmental harm from improperly disposing electronics, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens urges New Yorkers to properly recycle their unwanted computers, televisions and other electronics through the many free or low-cost options available. (December 12, 2014) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - At this point in humanity’s existence, we are here: “Countdown Clock to Paris Is Now Ticking” Countdown Clock to Paris Is Now Ticking A deal struck in Lima between 196 nations today leaves open the possibility of saving the planet from dangerous overheating. But its critics say the prospects of success are now slim. The talks—which ran two days longer than scheduled—set a series of deadlines which mean that every nation is charged with producing its plans to cap and reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. These commitments will then be assessed to see if they are enough to prevent the world heating up more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold political leaders say must not be crossed in order to avoid dangerous climate change. The Lima agreement invites all countries to set out their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by March 31. The next step will be to draft a legally binding international agreement on how to get below the 2°C threshold. This text is to be made available to all countries for comment by May 2015. December 14, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - This should scare bejesus out of everyone: “the world is still on pace for temperature increases of 3°C (5.4°F) or more by 2100.” For those haggling about the infinitely myriad concerns about climate agreements and how the climate talks are conducted and what is fair and who is responsible, the fact that we are still rushing towards disaster takes priority—whether you think so or not as it comes down to physics.  For those sitting this one out, you may not get a chance to stand up. Lima climate deal: Every single country now plans to tackle emissions. Sort of. Under a new UN deal on climate change agreed to in Lima, Peru, every single country has agreed to submit a plan next year for addressing their greenhouse-gas emissions. That's a first. Past climate deals only targeted the emissions of wealthier nations and exempted fast-growing countries like China and India. But there are huge caveats. The plans will all be voluntary — countries can promise to cut as much or as little as they want. And there's no rigorous outside review. (The US wanted one, but this was opposed by China and India.) Experts warn this deal isn't enough to prevent significant global warming: the world is still on pace for temperature increases of 3°C (5.4°F) or more by 2100. Which means how to adapt to warming has become an equally large part of these talks — especially for poor nations. (December 14, 2014) VOX [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - Take home message of COP20: Rich happy, poor unhappy; both agree to too little too late; both, business as usual or nothing … Maybe this will work out. Please. World set for climate disaster, say activists, as Lima talks falter Proposals too weak to keep global warming to the agreed limit of two degrees above pre-industrial levels Frustrated climate campaigners have claimed that the world was on course for an unsustainable four-degree rise in temperatures, as two weeks of negotiations for a climate change agreement headed for an unsatisfying conclusion. The proposals, still under discussion on Saturday, a day after the talks were scheduled to end, were too weak to keep global warming to the agreed limit of two degrees above preindustrial levels, setting the world on course to a climate disaster, according to developing countries at the summit. “We are on a path to three or four degrees with this outcome,” said Tasneem Essop, international climate strategist for WWF. She said the final draft text, a five-page document put forward for approval on Saturday, offered little assurance of cutting emissions fast enough and deeply enough to curb warming. “We are really unhappy about the weakening of the text. This gives us no level of comfort that we will be able to close the emissions gap to get emissions to peak before 2020,” she said. Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, put it even more succinctly: “It sucks. It is taking us backwards.” (December 13, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - For COP20 Lima talks, I’m hearing “new,” “informal deadline, “amid warnings that far tougher action will be needed,” and “tough decisions about how to slow climate change were postponed”.  This is code for COP20 was a success because it didn’t fail the participants, just the rest of the planet.  Gonna be an interesting stretch to Paris 2015. U.N. talks agree building blocks for new-style climate deal in 2015 About 190 nations agreed on Sunday the building blocks of a new-style global deal due in 2015 to combat climate change amid warnings that far tougher action will be needed to limit increases in global temperatures. Under the deal reached in Lima, governments will submit national plans for reining in greenhouse gas emissions by an informal deadline of March 31, 2015 to form the basis of a global agreement due at a summit in Paris in a year's time. Most of the tough decisions about how to slow climate change were postponed until then. "Much remains to be done in Paris next year," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. (December 14, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2014 - An intelligent alien species looking down on our COP20 Lima climate talks, must wonder at our inability to understand the big picture. From our point of view, we have never had a problem like Climate Change, where our business as usual way of solving problems is to make sure we get as much as we can from a deal is not working. Our fate hinges on our ability to change our ways quickly to changed circumstances. Things have changed, our planet is on a trajectory of an unlivable planet. As remote as Climate Change may seems to those not experiencing the immediate effects of this relentless warming due to our present energy use, they must have an Uncle Tom’s Cabin like epiphany, an awaken of the moral and physical nature of this issue.  Frantic final talks to salvage Lima climate conference Peruvian environment minister urges climate negotiators not to leave empty-handed Frantic negotiations to salvage the UN’s 20th climate conference are running right up to the wire after an earnest plea to negotiators by its president, Peruvian environment minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, that they must not leave Lima empty-handed. At a stocktaking session on Thursday night, after it looked as if the talks would fail, he called on all parties to put the conference back on track, saying “please help me . . . please don’t leave me alone” to thunderous applause from delegates and observers. Mr Pulgar-Vidal’s dramatic plea followed a breakdown in the talks after the “leaking” of a streamlined draft of what the conference co-chairs – Germany’s Artur Runge-Metzger and Trinidad’s Kishan Kumarsingh – envisaged as the outcome of the conference. The controversial draft appeared briefly on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change website, before being removed – but not quickly enough to avoid capture by some highly dismayed representatives of developing countries. The seven-page “draft decision” was prepared by the co-chairs and the convention’s secretariat as a default position after the Lima negotiating text had “ballooned out of control”, with so many rival options included in it that agreement would have been impossible. (December 13, 2014) The Irish Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2014 - Time will tell whether this happy news about legislation (not action or laws) will actually prevent Asian Carp from entering Great Lakes.  So much of our environmental news is rife with framing the issues as if any movement towards addressing them is something worth celebrating.  At the end of the day making sure our life support system is working and whether it will continue to work so we can survive and thrive is what’s important. The Asian Carp, if it gets into the Great Lakes system, could wreak bloody havoc with the most important ecosystem in our region. Happy talk won’t stop the carp; stopping the carp will stop the carp. Great Lakes Commission welcomes legislation aimed at protecting the Great Lakes from Asian carp The Great Lakes Commission supports legislation introduced yesterday by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), supported by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, that would reduce the risk of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes by implementing control measures at the Brandon Road lock and dam on the Des Plaines River in Joliet, Ill. The Brandon Road site provides a strategic “choke point” to reduce the risk of upstream movement of Asian carp and other invasive species into Chicago-area waterways that connect to Lake Michigan. The “Guarding Our Great Lakes Act” directs federal agencies to develop measures at the existing lock such as a specially engineered approach channel with new electric barriers, and to use the site to test new technologies to prevent the movement of Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species. The plan would maintain efficient navigation in the river for barges and recreational boats. (December 12, 2014) Great Lakes Commission [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area] 

  • 12/13/2014 - Looks like rich countries just understanding that Climate Change is happening is not enough for poor countries. Poor countries understand what they’ve really lost and what they will lose (a future) if the countries who created Climate Change don’t adjust for the unequal use of the commons. Lima climate summit extended as poor countries demand more from rich Talks stumble amid rising frustration over ‘ridiculously low’ cash commitments offered by rich nations to help pay for emissions cuts Climate talks in Lima ran into extra time amid rising frustration from developing countries at the “ridiculously low” commitments from rich countries to help pay for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The talks – originally scheduled to wrap up at 12pm after 10 days – are now expected to run well into Saturday , as negotiators huddle over a new draft text many glimpsed for the first time only morning. The Lima negotiations began on a buoyant note after the US, China and the EU came forward with new commitments to cut carbon pollution. But they were soon brought back down to earth over the perennial divide between rich and poor countries in the negotiations: how should countries share the burden for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and who should pay? (December 12, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2014 - Perhaps the hosts of the Lima, Peru seem more focused on solving Climate Change than we because for them it’s up close and personal.  The realities of climate change in Latin America As negotiators meet in Lima, Peru for the United Nations climate talks, we take a look at the climate impacts already causing dire consequences throughout the region alongside projected ones mentioned in the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With 2014 on track to be the world’s hottest on record, it cannot be overstated the need for urgent action to prevent the most damaging impacts of climate change. But are negotiators listening? 350.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/12/2014 - Will the DEC’s friendly reminder that as of this January 1st it’s prohibited in NYS to put your e-waste at the curb actually work? Here’s what they say “The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded New Yorkers that as of January 1, 2015, the NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act prohibits certain types of electronic waste from being placed in the trash, or at the curbside for trash pickup.” DEC Urges New Yorkers to Recycle, Not Trash, Electronics - A New NYSDEC Press Release The DEC’s friendly message does not define what they mean by ‘prohibits’ in the sense that they do not mention of the repercussions of putting your old TV or Computer into the trash.  But the law itself says, “§ 71-2729. Enforcement of title 26 of article 27 of this chapter.  1. a. Any consumer, as defined in title twenty-six of article twenty- seven of this chapter, who violates any provision of, or fails to  perform any duty imposed by, section 27-2611 of this chapter, shall be  liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one hundred dollars for each  violation.” ENVIROMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW ARTICLE 27 TITLE 26 | ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT RECYCLING AND REUSE (If I have it right ((and a good investigative media would be helpful here)) folks who march their old TV’s to the curb could get a $200 fine. This would be a game changer in people’s behavior with e-waste.) The DEC mentions all the stuff you could and should do with your old e-waste, but a lot of folks won’t take the effort to dispose of their e-waster properly unless motivated by a penalty.  What’s happening now is that when folks do put their old computers and TV’s in the trash, the local authorities pick that e-waste up and send it to a separate recycling center—so I’ve been told. The problem, even if this is happening, is that in between the time the e-waste is set outside and until the authorities pick it up, scavengers smash through the equipment, take the copper and other valuable, and leave the remains about our neighborhoods, remains that that are hardly recyclable anymore. What needs to happen is for our local media to investigate this issue and find out if our local authorities are going to uphold this part of the law that kicks in this January—a law that has been coming for five years.  If our laws were upheld, it would create a viable market for recycling and taking care of e-waste because once the public felt the sting of a few fines, a new playing field would be established. With a new playing field, it would be more convenient to take care of e-waste properly (even e-waste companies competing for your e-waste) if the media did its job on informing the public about this January deadline and investigating what the local authorities intend to do about it. If the media doesn’t press this deadline, then the authorities don’t feel compelled to act, and the e-waste throughout our neighborhoods continues. DEC Urges New Yorkers to Recycle, Not Trash, Electronics - A New NYSDEC Press Release DEC Urges New Yorkers to Recycle, Not Trash, Electronics Give a Gift to the Environment This Holiday Season by Recycling Unwanted Electronics IMPORTANT DEADLINE FOR ELECTRONICS RECYCLING ON JANUARY 1, 2015 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded New Yorkers that as of January 1, 2015, the NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act prohibits certain types of electronic waste from being placed in the trash, or at the curbside for trash pickup. Citing the potential for environmental harm from improperly disposing electronics, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens urges New Yorkers to properly recycle their unwanted computers, televisions and other electronics through the many free or low-cost options currently available. "Incinerating electronic waste or disposing of it in a landfill can potentially put hazardous materials into the air and soil," DEC Commissioner Martens said. "New York State law requires manufacturers to provide recycling of electronic waste for consumers. Recycling electronics is one of the greatest gifts New Yorkers can give to the environment." Consumers can learn how to easily recycle electronic waste, as well as which electronic equipment can be recycled for free in New York State at the DEC website, http://bit.ly/NYewaste. (December 11, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)   

  • 12/12/2014 - It will be interesting now the Secretary Kerry says that the USA will take the lead on Climate Change to see in what sense the word ‘lead’ is used. If ‘lead’ is used in the sense that ‘do what we say and not what we do’ that won’t work. If it means that the USA will encourage the media to educate the public as to the full implications of Climate Change, so the public understands and backs adaptation and mitigation efforts, that would be a great step forward. If it means no binding worldwide climate agreements, leadership in this sense doesn’t mean much at all. This part in the article rings loudly: “Karen Orenstein, a senior analyst at Friends of the Earth US, said that she was tired of “empty boasting” from the US. “Yes, the political climate in Washington DC is indisputably difficult,” she said. “But that doesn’t excuse president Obama’s advocacy for a non-science-based, voluntary climate agreement internationally, or his decision at home to give fossil fuel polluters access to publicly owned lands.” Kerry: Every nation must act to tackle climate change  US secretary of state says US will take the lead, but other nations must follow for success in fight against climate change  Every country, rich or poor, must take action to tackle climate change, said US secretary of state John Kerry, addressing the UN climate talks in Lima today. “Every nation – and I repeat this as we hear the debates going back and forth here – every nation has a responsibility to do its part if we’re going to pass this test,” he said. “Only those nations that step up and respond to this threat can legitimately lay claim to any mantle of leadership and global responsibility. “And yes, if you’re a big developed nation and you’re not helping to lead, then you are part of the problem.” As countries try to agree on a new UN deal to tackle climate change in Lima, familiar battles have resurfaced over who should bear the brunt of tackling climate change. (December 11, 2014) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/12/2014 - It’s pretty pathetic that the “endgame for microplastic is dangerous interaction with entire ocean ecosystems.” This doesn’t sound the proper management of our wastes, especially our plastic waste. We’re damaging our life support system with plastic stuff that only breaks down to something worse that it started. Groundbreaking Study: 5 Trillion Pieces of Plastic Floating in World’s Oceans You’ve probably heard of the 5 Gyres, those huge deposits of plastic found in rotating masses in the world’s oceans. Now a new study released yesterday by the 5 Gyres Institute provides the first comprehensive estimate of how much plastic there actually is in the world’s oceans. It found that plastic was not just confined to the gyres, but was widely dispersed throughout the oceans. The report was compiled from information gathered during 24 expeditions from 2007-2013. The estimate concludes that approximately 5.25 trillion plastic particles—about 269,000 tons—have ended up in the oceans. It looked at both microplastics and macroplastics. Previously, studies only look at particular size classes of plastic so their density estimates were much lower. The study showed that, despite a loss of microplastics from the surface of the five gyres, there was a large volume and widespread distribution of the smallest of the microplastics in remote ocean areas. (December 11, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/11/2014 - The DEC, which protects our life support system, does not need more love. It needs staff and it needs public money and more public attention. It needs more staff on “Climate Change Communities” so this voluntary program to help communities adapt to Climate Change can actually work.  It needs more funds for more studies on how our public health and wildlife and ‘we the people’ will be able to adapt to Climate Change. It needs more folks paying attention to what kind of job the DEC is doing in getting us all ready for Climate Change, including massive monitoring of our present environment for a proper baseline to determine the changes coming—and what is normal.  DiNapoli: DEC needs some love State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is out with a new report detailing years of staff cuts to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, questioning whether the key state agency has the resources it needs. Over the same time period, total spending at the agency went from $795.3 million in 2003-04 to $1 billion last fiscal year. That's about the same as the rate of inflation over the decade. (December 10, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/11/2014 - Can you imagine Climate Change warning labels on gas pumps happening in Rochester, NY where the only thing that matters is lower gas prices? Connecting the dots between the growing awareness of how we use energy and how that affects our climate is not even palatable in our local media, just imagine labels where “The gas-pump warnings mix a message of consumer responsibility and political awareness” would affect our local public.  I’m sure there would be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Warning: Gassing up is hazardous to your health ... and the planet’s Picture a typical hazy California afternoon. You drive your car to a gasoline station, sidle up to a gas pump, and find a warning label dangling off the hose. Driving a petroleum-powered car contributes to global warming, the label tells you. How many times do you have to see such a label before it affects either your feelings or your decisions — if ever? Two cities in California may soon attempt to find out. Last week, the Berkeley city council voted to move forward with a plan that would require fuel stations (even electric charging stations and those offering biodiesel) to affix small-but-conspicuous signs to pumps, reminding drivers about the role of petroleum-based fuels in climate change. San Francisco is considering a similar proposal. Two other Canadian cities — West Vancouver and Fredericton — have also weighed proposals for gas-pump-label bylaws in the past few months. (December 1, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/11/2014 - For COP20 Lima climate conference “more achievable, policy goals” is code for non-binding delusional goals where leaders will feel warm and fuzzy—and so will their planet. Actually, the idea is to reach a global deal that will actually result in global temperatures coming down and a Green Climate Fund sufficient so that developing nations have room to grow and adapt on a planet where the developed nations have taken more than their fair share of the planet’s eco-budget—resources and the commons. Anything short of this is a deal that doesn’t work, doesn’t provide a framework for an actual sustainable future. But most seem focused on not asking for too much and not having another failed climate talk—regardless of how useless and delusional a ‘successful’ goal might be. With Compromises, a Global Accord to Fight Climate Change Is in Sight  Diplomats from 196 countries are closing in on the framework of a potentially historic deal that would for the first time commit every nation in the world to cutting its planet-warming fossil fuel emissions — but would still not be enough to stop the early impacts of global warming. The draft, now circulating among negotiators at a global climate summit meeting here, represents a fundamental breakthrough in the impasse that has plagued the United Nations for two decades as it has tried to forge a new treaty to counter global warming. But the key to the political success of the draft — and its main shortcoming, negotiators concede — is that it does not bind nations to a single, global benchmark for emissions reductions. (December 9, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/10/2014 - Breaking: Rochester, NY media prevented from covering critical COP20 Lima climate talks because of crow invasion.  Rochester media crews were ready to board planes and attend the last week of this major meeting in Lima, Peru where the text of agreements are being hammered out for the Paris 2015 climate talk—an effort to keep greenhouse gases to a livable level. Rochester realizes that what happens at Lima is critical to our future, that 2014 may be the hottest in human history. But the crows “It's out of control.” Crow shit everywhere. So, while the greatest intentions were there, Rochester’s media couldn’t plow through this local disaster to inform the public of the worldwide crisis of Climate Change and one of the most historic moments that humanity will have to address it.  Those crows. Don’t they know we own Rochester now and that they should just leave? Crows Once Again Invading Rochester (December 9, 2014) RochesterHomePage.net

  • 12/10/2014 - Though often considered very intelligent, humans are just as apt to put aside danger once it passes as the most humble of beasts. You’d think that folks would do anything to prevent a repeat of Toledo’s summer drinking crisis (or address Climate Change for that matter) but we don’t. Water-quality bill in trouble State House deals with other issues in measure COLUMBUS — A bill at least partly designed to prevent a repeat of Toledo’s summer drinking crisis is in trouble as lawmakers prepare to possibly wrap up business this week and gavel the two-year legislative session to a close. The clock may run out before legislators can work out various issues on the bill, including language attached late to House Bill 490 that is seen as potentially undermining the legal obligation of telecommunications companies to maintain basic land-line phone service. (December 9, 2014) The Toledo Blade [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/10/2015 - Yikes! Once you see it on a map, the potential nuclear dump site on Great Lakes looks disturbingly close to Rochester, NY. Cannot believe (actually, I can) that local Rochester media has not brought up the potential danger of this crazy idea to store nuclear waste upstream from us. This issue should be on our radar. Decision on Canadian nuclear dump site expected in mid-2015 After public hearings on a proposed underground nuclear waste dump along Lake  Huron, a review panel will recommend if the Canadian federal government should approve the project. A decision to issue the construction license to Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is expected by mid-2015. The Ontario government owns the company, one of the largest power companies in North America. It provides more than half of the electricity for the province. Currently, the company uses storage buildings in Kincardine, Ontario, for all the low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste produced from its 20 nuclear reactors. (December 10, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/10/2014 - My fellow Americans, we’d like to protect your environment, but frankly there’s more money to “derail environmental oversight and promote fossil fuels…”  If you think all the years you spent getting legislation passed to protect your life supports system is the end of the road, think again, it’s just the beginning.  Making sure they stay passed is just the next step. States Form Secret Alliance With Energy Companies To Kill Environmental Regulations Energy firms and state attorneys general have established a secretive alliance in an effort to derail environmental oversight and promote fossil fuels, according to an in-depth New York Times’ investigation published this weekend. Having reviewed thousands of emails and legal documents and undertaken dozens of interviews, the Times found that “Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda.” Using Oklahoma as an example, open-records requests revealed that Attorney General Scott Pruitt delivered a letter to the EPA in 2011 accusing the agency of significantly overestimating the air pollution caused by fracking. Pruitt did not mention that the letter was originally written by representatives of Devon Energy, one of the state’s largest oil and gas companies. “The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature,” reports the Times. (December 7, 2014) Climate Progress  

  • 12/10/2014 - If Cuomo truly wants to create “a "critical mass" of residents and businesses with solar power” he must ban Fracking. Cheap fossil fuels will kill renewable energy. Cuomo starts community solar power initiative New York is starting a new initiative designed to help local communities expand their use of solar power. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the program on Friday. Called Community Solar New York, the effort will offer assistance to local governments, schools and community groups interested in investing in solar energy. (December 6, 2014) Penfield Post [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 12/10/2014 - Maybe if the fossil fuel industry left the COP20, we could talk intelligently about fossil fuels and Climate Change. Kinda hard to think straight when billions of dollars are whispering in your ear that ‘coal is the moral choice’. Goal to end fossil fuels by 2050 surfaces in Lima UN climate documents Campaigners in Lima are eyeing an ‘inevitable’ end to the fossil fuel industry by mid-century It’s a rare thing when you can point to paragraphs in a United Nations climate negotiating text and feel they more or less match what most of the science says should become a reality. Yet in Lima on Monday, it happened. Our little revolutionary moment comes in a document with the memorable title “ADP 2-7 agenda item 3 Elements for a draft negotiating text” with its climate-busting section D (paragraph 13.2) outlining several possible long-term goals for a new climate change agreement. (December 8, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/10/2014 - Even though “Climate change is the biggest threat to health of the 21st century” COP20 leaders not connecting the dots.  Which is odd because it is at the level of public health when Climate Change, or any other factor (heat waves, aftermath of extreme weather) for that matter, threatens public health Climate Change becomes unavoidable. If you wait for a pandemic due to Climate Change to breakout and haven’t planned to address that with a sufficient infrastructure, everything else you’re doing, or think you’re going to be doing, will come to a halt. IFMSA: Health – The missing piece in the climate negotiations From extreme snowstorms in America, to heavy storms in Australia, to Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines, the world is already feeling the tremendous impacts of climate change. All those extreme weather events are strongly linked to climate change and they all have an overwhelming effect on the physical, mental and social health and well being of people around the world. As the doctors of tomorrow and members of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), we are deeply concerned about the unhealthy environments in which our future patients are most likely to live in. Air pollution is already causing 1.2 million additional deaths per year. We have made tremendous progress in the past year in reducing malaria; however the disease is still causing 900,000 deaths annually and this number is set to increase if we don’t stay below a 2C line. Climate change is the biggest threat to health of the 21st century; yet sadly many people, states negotiators included, still do not see the several ways in which climate change and health are intrinsically linked. (December 7, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area] 

  • 12/09/2014 - Today’s lesson boys & girls: What is “eminent domain”? Ans: That’s where gas companies try to endear NYer’s into Fracking by threatening to stomp on their property rights.  Be afraid. Be very afraid. Shale gas pipeline developer threatens to seize land using eminent domain provisions The developer of a $750 million natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania into New York is threatening to seize land from reluctant landowners through eminent domain. (December 8, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/09/2014 - The Soft Plan, advocated by NYT Dot Earth Revkin, has a better chance of a successful COP20 in the sense that recruiting an army with no commitments would be successful.  Sure, if you ask the developed nations to promise they’ll make binding agreement at their national level, at whatever level feels comfortable to them, you are more likely to get them to agree at Lima. However, no matter how many times Revkin makes you go to his innumerable links from experts who agree with the Soft Plan, it isn’t going to actually get GHG emissions down to a safe level.  If there was a ghost of that happening, it would have already happened—governments and industry and individuals would have already brought our GHGs down. GHGs are going up. Without worldwide legal barrier (top down) adapting to and mitigating Climate Change ain’t gonna happen. The soft parade of those trying to sabotage COP20 will go on talking and ‘proving’ that the Hard Plan (binding agreements) won’t work until the soft approach—one that feels good but won’t work—becomes the default. And then the soft approach will morph into a much harder Hard Plan because we’ll be desperate, but by that time even the Hard Plan will be too late.  Read: “Rich countries try to sabotage climate talks--again”| The Soft Path to a Climate Agreement, From Lima to Paris Needless to say, there’s been a big and promising shift in tone and some substance in global warming diplomacy of late — led by the paired pledges of China and the United States to intensify efforts to curtail heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions. Other countries, including gas-rich Malaysia, have promised to act on climate. No one should presume things will be easy in Lima, Peru, where negotiators are gathering through next week to shape a global climate agreement that could be finalized in Paris a year from now. There’s strong — and to a large extent justified – resistance to new carbon commitments in India, for example, where hundreds of millions of people lack access to any modern energy sources, let alone clean ones. And there will be intensifying demands for billions to flow from industrialized countries that spent decades building wealth burning fossil fuels to poor, vulnerable ones. Given continuing economic troubles in many developed countries, those demands will be hard to meet. (December 5, 2014) Dot Earth NYT

  • 12/09/2014 - Fracking is not your grandmother’s oil well; Get informed about Fracking and keep it out of New York State.  WATCH: ‘Fracking 101′ Narrated by Edward James Olmos Chances are you’re already up in arms about fracking and its impact on people’s health, the environment and our climate. It’s also likely you know some people who don’t know a lot about it, but they may have heard a newscaster say that it’s behind dropping gas prices and they think “That’s great!” You may have also seen some polls that show a lot of Americans approve of fracking—but they’ve also shown that people don’t know very much about its impacts, and once they do, they’re likely to oppose it. The Sierra Club has put together a two-and-a-half minute animated video called Fracking 101 that’s simple enough for a kindergartner to understand and short enough so that even the most attention-challenged will get it. Cancer-causing poisons? Check. Polluted aquifers? Check.Climate change-causing methane-emissions? Check. It’s all here in digestible and entertaining form. (December 8, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in your area]

  • 12/09/2014 - Democracy Now! is in Lima, Peru covering the COP20 climate talks, where the fate of our future is negotiated. Where’s your media? 

  • 12/09/2014 - Is the massive increase in the number of oil trains running through our communities with more volatile fossil fuels being met with increased oversight? We’ll find out one way or another. U.S. Crackdown on Oil Trains—Less Than Meets the Eye Federal regulators don't stop oil trains from being left unattended, engines running. This story is part of a joint investigation by InsideClimate News, The Weather Channel and The Investigative Fund. Read the main story Boom: North America's Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem.  The first public action U.S. rail regulators took after a fiery oil train explosion killed 47 people in Canada in July 2013 seemed clear, impactful and firm: Trains carrying hazardous materials could no longer be left unattended with their engines running unless the railroad first got approval from the Federal Railroad Administration. (December 8, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 12/08/2014 - You would think that the Arctic becoming a new place because of Climate Change would galvanize folks to pay attention to COP20 Lima.  Or, that 2014 will be the hottest year ever in human history. Or that ….  But we are fiddling away while ready to pounce on anyone who would dare raise our gas prices or make us pay to update our transportation infrastructure (which is crumbling away) to tolerate more extreme heat and frequent extreme downpours—as most climate studies tell us.  Humans., ya gotta laugh. The End and Beginning of the Arctic In the winter of 2013–14, hundreds of milk-white birds with luminous yellow eyes and wingspans of up to 5 feet descended on beaches, farmers’ fields, city parks and airport runways throughout southern Canada and the United States. Traditionally, snowy owls spend most of their time in the Arctic and subarctic regions. But every four years or so when populations of lemmings — among the owl’s favorite foods — cycle downward, a small number of young, inexperienced birds that are less adept than their elders at hunting will fly farther south than they might normally rather than starve to death. No one, however, had seen an irruption as big and as far-reaching as this one, which was the second major such event in North America in three years. By the first week of December, the big birds were spotted from North Dakota to Maine and from Newfoundland to Bermuda. At one point, owls collided with five planes at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports. (December 6, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/08/2014 - Which is to say, if Cuomo lifts Fracking moratorium, there will be a lot of permanently annoyed New Yorkers. Lifting the moratorium on Fracking will probably begin a new level of Fracking resistance because Fracking is not only a threat to our water and public health, it’s a threat to communities’ sovereignty—the authority of a community to govern itself. Cuomo should have lead on Climate Change and pushed for renewable energy. Instead he whiled away his time with visions of Fracking grandeur, an extreme fossil fuel extraction method that will warm up the planet more and change New York State permanently—not in a good way. Fracking in N.Y. would face local zoning hurdles Towns that want fracking may face a lengthy, complicated and contentious process involving public hearings, deliberation, and resolutions. Even if Gov. Andrew Cuomo approves shale gas development, natural-gas drilling probably won't begin until towns update zoning laws to allow hydraulic fracturing, according to lawyers and planners. Towns that want fracking — the controversial process to free natural gas from shale — may face a lengthy, complicated and contentious process involving public hearings, deliberation and resolutions. The outcome likely will vary from town to town, even in regions pegged "fracker friendly" by industry proponents and landowner groups. The fallout comes from a decision from the state's high court last July that upheld fracking bans in the towns of Dryden in Tompkins County and Middlefield in Otsego County. (December 6, 2014) Press Connects [more on Fracking in our area]  

  • 12/08/2014 - Happenings” newsletter this month has many expert articles on Climate Change in our Finger Lakes region. Must not be missed. It is not often that we get local Climate Change coverage in our media, so please go out of your way to check these articles on the most important issue of our time and how all that will affect our region. The FLI Happenings newsletter is a monthly publication with FLI staff and guest authors contributing articles relating to environmental topics and issues of concern for the Finger Lakes region.

  • 12/8/2014 - ACTION: Maybe your last chance to help stop Fracking, a dangerous public health and environmental issue because of extreme fossil fuel extraction in our region. Don’t sit this one out, sit on a bus to Albany on Jan. 7th:  "January 7, 2015: Rochester Bus to S.O.S. 2015  Anti-Fracking/Pro-Renewable Energy Rally in Albany, NY On January 7th in Albany, New York, it is URGENT that we send a loud message to Governor Cuomo: NOT ONE FRACKING WELL! Governor Cuomo has announced that the state's fracking health review, on which he has said his decision hinges, will be completed by December 31.  An overwhelming body of science shows that fracking endangers our health, water, and climate. But with the election over, Cuomo may issue a health review that was conducted in secret and open New York to fracking. Alarmingly, the governor recently said there was science on both sides of the issue, when we know that science increasingly shows just how dangerous fracking is.  January 7 is Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address, and we need every single New Yorker against fracking in Albany to tell Cuomo we will not accept even ONE WELL. It is imperative that we pack the Capitol to call on him to ban fracking, reject fracking infrastructure, and lead New York in a transition to safe renewable energy. Rochester/Pittsford pick-up details: St. John Fisher College Pittsford Park & Ride Lot: 90 Fairport Rd, East Rochester, NY 14445 Parking is available. Located on this St. John Fisher's College map as RTS Park & Ride “S” on the right hand side, next to building #8: MAP Reach through public transportation: Bus line 21 & 92 at St. John Fisher RTS Park & Ride. Leave: 7:30 a.m., Return: 7:45 p.m. (same day) TICKETS WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT WWW.NYAGAINSTFRACKING.ORG. Tickets are $30 for a round-trip seat. Limited scholarship seats are also available for those who cannot afford the fee. Your bus captain's contact info: Rita Yelda, 716.507.2077, ryelda@fwwatch.org. Click here for flyer.

  • 12/08/2014 - Of course, we already knew that rich countries support fossil fuel exploration far more than supporting the Green Climate Fund. It’s the actual figures-- $26.6 billion per year as opposed to $9 billion total—that astonish.  Our priorities are showing and they are not very nice. Analysis: Fossil Fuel Exploration and the Green Climate Fund At the end of the first week of UNFCCC climate talks in Lima, Oil Change International and Overseas Development Institute released a new analysis shining a light on the disparity between climate finance pledged to the Green Climate Fund and massive public support for exploration of new fossil fuels. The analysis shows public support from rich countries (so-called Annex II countries) for fossil fuel exploration totals some $26.6 billion per year, while pledges to the Green Climate Fund from those same countries come in at just over $9.5 billion. The billions in public support for fossil fuel exploration comes amidst warnings from scientists that some eighty percent of existing fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned in order to keep global warming below the internationally agreed limit of 2°C. (December 6, 2014) Oil Change International [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - Become the media! on local environmental issues. Tap your inner Francis Ford Coppola with you cell phone video.  At the Fast Forward Film Festival (FFFF) win prizes. Get important environmental stuff (think Climate Change) to the general public, not just folks in your silo.  Unprecedented opportunity for environmental groups.  Submit your short video soon. Connections: Arts Friday - Fast Forward Film Festival We spend this hour talking film and the environment with the Fast Forward Film Festival. It's an upcoming event at the Little and Dryden Theatres. Our guests are: Andy Stern, executive director, The Lost Bird Project Todd McGrain, artist, filmmaker, and film festival juror (December 5, 2015) Connections WXXI [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/06/2014 - So in order to help New York State get more renewable energy, the fed’s plan is to gut renewable energy with cheap natural gas.  Cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania is a bridge fuel that will arc over renewable energy and micro grids and better batteries and efforts to conserve energy and make it more efficient to a future that is uninhabitable. Shale gas line to the Northeast gets federal nod Federal energy regulators have approved a $700 million pipeline project designed to bring cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania into high-priced markets in New England and New York.  The project's backers said Wednesday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval means the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline could be built and operational by next winter, if it gets the remaining regulatory approvals from Pennsylvania, New York and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a timely fashion. The project is the first to be approved out of a slew of proposals designed to bring Marcellus Shale gas to New York and New England. The lead partners are Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams Partners LP and Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. Williams will operate the pipeline, while Cabot and Southwestern Energy have long-term agreements to supply the gas. Other partners include Piedmont Natural Gas Company Inc. and WGL Holdings Inc. (December 4, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - Is the road to Paris 2015 Climate talks, with all the stops along the way, making your head spin? Spin this infographic to make it easy to get your head around it all.  INFOGRAPHIC: UNDERSTANDING COP NEGOTIATIONS IN LIMA AND PARIS As the UNFCCC negotiations in Lima (COP20) officially start today, this infographic sets out to explain why the global climate talks are so important for tackling climate change.  (December 1, 2014) The Climate Group

  • 12/06/2014 - Today’s question boys and girls: Who wins in a power struggle at the COP20 Lima climate talks? Ans. That’s right, nobody does.  We all lose if these climate talks turn out to be a battle between rich and poor countries, not just because it’s immoral to pit rich against poor, but because we live on a finite planet and we are in this mess altogether whether we like it or not.  UN plans for 2015 climate deal favour rich, say developing countries  Delegates from Africa and other developing countries accused co-chairs of favouring EU and US views in UN climate talks  A tense atmosphere marked the beginning of today’s UN climate talks in Lima, as African countries accused co-chairs of driving an imbalanced process. All the 196 countries involved in the negotiations met this morning for their first round of formal discussions on the UN’s climate agreement, which is set to be signed in Paris next year. Talks in Lima are expected to lay strong foundations for this deal, but many parties expressed unhappiness with how the process had been conducted so far. (December 2, 2014) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - Of course, addressing Climate Change decades ago instead of trying to wish it away would have made the bill that’s coming due lot cheaper than $500B by 2050. And putting off real actions to stop and adapt to Climate Change are not like putting off a visit by the plumber, where the damage get worse and the bill goes up more the longer you wait—because with Climate Change after a certain point (and maybe we’ve already passed this point) there will be no need for a plumber or a house. UN: Climate change fight may be 3 times pricier than predicted Global bill for adapting to droughts and floods could hit $500 billion annually in 2050, unless urgent action taken, UN report warns Blunting the impacts of climate change may cost up to three times more than previously thought, even if nations hold temperature rises below “dangerous” levels, a UN report said Friday. The "Adaptation Gap Report" by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) said the bill for adapting to droughts, floods and typhoons from 2050 could triple a previous estimate of $70-100 billion annually. “The report provides a powerful reminder that the potential cost of inaction carries a real price tag. Debating the economics of our response to climate change must become more honest,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP. Action was imperative as costs to protect exposed communities from more erratic weather could spiral, the report said. (December 6, 2014) World Bulletin [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - It’s was MiKibben’s “The End of Nature” where I first realized that humanity was having a grave impact on our planet’s environment, and I (me, myself, and I) had a responsibility to act to save our life support system. More than just words, this book compels who ever reads it to a duty to a higher cause than their mere consumer existence. Stepping Down But Continuing Fight for Climate Justice My wife Sue and I are in Sweden this week—the Swedish Parliament is honoring me (which really means all of you) with the Right Livelihood Award, the so-called “alternative Nobel Prize.” We’re all in good company—the other honorees are veteran human rights activists from Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and some guy named Snowden. The trip comes at the end of a remarkable autumn, which has given me much to think about. The great People’s Climate March in New York happened 25 years to the day after the publication of The End of Nature, the book I wrote when I was 28 years old, and the first book for a general audience about climate change. That sea of people—and the pictures flooding in from other marches around the world—made me feel as hopeful about our prospects as any time in that quarter-century. (December 4, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - How will Climate Change affect our Finger Lakes? Our region doesn’t get a lot of climate study attention so this report, partially extrapolated from the National Climate Assessment (NCA) Summary, is a great start. A full throated climate study of the Finger Lakes and how that fits in plans and predictions for the whole of New York and the country, the hemisphere, and the planet would be nice.  Changing Climates- An Application to the Finger Lakes Region Across the country, climate change is becoming more realized and accepted. Projected changes in temperature and precipitation are sometimes hard to believe or “feel” however there is more to this issue than meets the eye. Biologically, climate controls the distribution and organization of species, their ecosystems and the processes (like photosynthesis for example) they are involved with and depend on. The National Climate Assessment (NCA) Summary is an impressive document (and there’s more where that came from) that provides an overview of what we are up against and what scientists expect in our not-so-distant future. Some of the key outcomes of climate change projections have been focused on temperature, precipitation, sea level rise and ocean acidification. But what does that mean to us in the Finger Lakes? Since we aren’t located near the coastline, this article will focus on temperature and precipitation. (December 1, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Climate Change and Finger Lakes in our region]

  • 12/05/2014 - COP20 Lima climate talks will answer at least one profound question about humanity: Will rich share to help themselves? Climate Change, manmade disruption of our worldwide climate due to the burning of fossil fuels, will ultimately affect everyone—as this disaster is occurring on a finite planet. The consequences of Climate Change will probably hit the poor first, or not because weather extremes can be very disruptive to all infrastructures. If the rich counties do not come to the table at Lima with sufficient measures to mitigate and help developing nations adapt to Climate Change the rich countries will be shooting themselves in the foot. We cannot insulate ourselves, our economy, our health, and our life support system from those of everyone on the planet. Failure to think and act globally at Lima will set the table for disaster. Lima climate talks: developing nations urge rich to aim for zero emissions Group of least-developed nations at UN climate summit say rich counties should do ‘substantially more’ to cut emissions Developing countries called on the rich on Tuesday to do more to lead the fight against climate change in line with scientific findings that global greenhouse gas emissions should fall to net zero by 2100 to avert the worst impacts. About 190 countries are meeting in Lima from 1-12 December to decide elements of a deal, due to be agreed in Paris in a year’s time, to reverse a steady rise in greenhouse gases to limit risks of more floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels. Yesterday underscored how much work remains to reach a global deal despite optimism in recent weeks after China, the United States and the European Union outlined goals for curbing their emissions beyond 2020. (December 3, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/05/2014 - Mark your calendars for no more fossil fuels: February 13th & 14th, Global Divestment Day "The fossil fuel divestment movement has built up some serious momentum in 2014, and next year we're not slowing down. In fact, this February we're pulling together something really exciting: On February 13th & 14th, we’re calling for the first ever Global Divestment Day, and we want you to be part of it. Right now, as climate negotiators from around the world meet in Lima -- exactly one year before a new global climate deal must be signed in Paris -- we face a pivotal moment in our movement’s response to the climate crisis. We know that world leaders won’t act in accordance with the urgency of the crisis as long as the fossil fuel industry holds the balance of power. That’s why the growing divestment movement is directly challenging the social license of these rogue corporations that continue to profit at the expense of people and planet -- and that's why we need as many people and institutions as possible to stand with us. Click here to RSVP on Facebook:"

  • 12/05/2014 - I cannot image Pesticides in any amount in our rivers are good for fish and insects, let alone humans. With Climate Change there will be more Pesticides.  Because more crop pests and vector-driven diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme disease, the Climate Change trajectory for our area is to use more Pesticides—unless we start planning properly for public health and agricultural practices and a whole lot more. Pesticides are not a solution for Climate Change, they are the consequences of it—unless we change our ways.  Pesticide levels in rivers may threaten fish, insects Pesticides, mostly from agricultural runoff and yard use, remain a concern for fish and insects in many of the country’s streams and rivers, warns a national study based in part on research done in Michigan. Although levels of pesticides usually didn’t exceed benchmarks for human health, their potential to harm aquatic life is likely underestimated, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey, part of the U.S. Interior Department. (December 4, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 12/05/2014 - Without legally binding commitments to reduce emissions actually addressing Climate Change ain’t going to happen. Making the stance that legally binding rules could ruin hopes for success is like saying no one will join your army if you make them ‘sign up’ and make a commitment.  It’s like saying if you want a successful army, you have to make it so when things get tough, recruits can just leave—no questions asked. Giving Climate Pact Legal Teeth Could Make It Toothless As negotiators gather in Peru for a critical round of climate talks, U.S. delegates are straining to explain what they calla “counterintuitive” reality: For next year’s global climate agreement to be effective, commitments made under it must not be legally binding. Such an outcome would disappoint many, including the European Union’s negotiating team, which says it will be pushing for binding commitments during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Lima this week and next. America’s negotiators are pushing for voluntary commitments. The success of the next climate agreement, which is due to be finalized during talks in Paris one year from now, may hinge on American negotiators winning in this latest spat in a long-simmering quarrel with their European counterparts. (December 3, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/04/2014 - Today’s lesson boys & girls: What are “Fracktivists”? They are folks who think screwing dangerous chemicals sideways into our bedrock for more fossil fuels is insane. Fracktivists say they won't let up until Cuomo decides Opponents of hydro-fracking say they want Governor Cuomo to declare a three to five year moratorium on fracking in New York. The gas drilling process has been on hold for several years. A coalition of groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, say Cuomo should immediately issue an executive order postponing any gas drilling in New York for the next three to five years. NRDC’s Kate Sinding says that’s preferable to trying to get a bill passed through a divided state legislature, where the Senate will be controlled by the Republicans in January. (December 3, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/04/2014 - I would rather characterize the game-over boondoggle Keystone XL pipeline as the ‘antagonist’, rather than the hero who help lead the fight against this insane project.  From the point of view that we need a health life support system, to well… live, antagonists are those who jeopardize all that. Should the media see our life support system as the top priority, not loony projects that threaten us all?  Keystone Antagonist Steps Down as Head of Climate Group 350.org Bill McKibben, a chief antagonist of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, is stepping down as chairman of the environmental group 350.org that he helped create. McKibben, an author and climate advocate, said the move will give him more time to write and to organize campaigns. He’ll remain as a senior adviser to the New York-based group that pushes for action to combat climate change. “If this sounds dramatic, it’s not,” McKibben wrote in a letter to supporters sent fromSweden, where he is receiving the Right Livelihood Award from Parliament. “I will stay on as an active member of the board, and 90 percent of my daily work will stay the same, since it’s always involved the external work of campaigning, not the internal work of budgets and flow charts.” (December 2, 2014) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/04/2014 - Got thoughts on planning of future GardenAerial projects in the High Falls, Rochester, NY region, a former industrialized area trying to go green? GardenAerial Project Public Survey 11/2014 "Greentopia wants to hear your opinions about the proposed GardenAerial Project at High Falls. Your answers to this brief survey will help us shape the future of this transformational project. For more information on the project, please visit: http://gardenaerial.org  Enter your email and ZIP code. Then answer a few quick questions to help us better plan, promote and apply for funding to create this project. Once you hit the "Done" button, you'll be automatically entered to win a new Apple iPad! The winner will be selected at random from all entrants after December 15, 2014. "

  • 12/04/2015 - Looks like not all Americans are ignoring the COP20 Lima climate talks. Rally, NYC 12/10/2014  “CLIMATE JUSTICE IS A HUMAN RIGHT:  RALLY FOR A GLOBAL CLIMATE TREATY Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 4-6pm Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, E. 47th Street, NYC (between 1st & 2nd Aves.) Climate change is the greatest threat to basic human rights: food security, access to water, employment, housing, public health and the right to live in dignity. On Wednesday, December 10th, International Human Rights Day, New Yorkers will gather to demand that world governments address the serious threat global warming poses to human rights, especially to people living in vulnerable communities throughout the world. This event coincides with a UN meeting in Lima, Peru, a part of the 2014-15 negotiations for a global climate treaty that will stress the urgency of the climate crisis and highlight the human rights dimension of the struggle for climate justice.”

  • 12/04/2014 - Event: SUNDAY, JANUARY 11   Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream symposium – 1-5 p.m. Join us in exploring a bold, empowering vision to create an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling society. Experience this interactive multi-media event! Temple Sinai – 363 Penfield Rd.  Free of charge. Visit www.pachamama.org  to register, or call Joyce Herman for more information at 585-385-1155.

  • 12/04/2014 - If 83% of US gets Climate Change but only 60% thinks it due to manmade causes, some serious dot connections need to be made. When you remove the ‘manmade’ part of Climate Change, you remove not only the guilt that you may be responsible for the planet’s atmosphere warming up, you also make it impossible to address the cause of this crisis. The road to getting the world to understand and act on Climate Change has been a long journey, fraught with dangers along the way.  One of those dangers is that the public will start to understand the overwhelming evidence of Climate Change but stuck on doing nothing because it is to them just a phenomenon that happens.  But “There is simply no other mechanism that can explain the significantly altered climate path and the changes in the radiative forcing other than human causes.” (From Open Source Systems, Science, Solutions.) We must hope that there is enough time to get folks to understand Climate Change in a way that results in their acting on it. Poll: 83% of Americans say climate is changing Eight out of 10 Americans now believe the climate is changing, according to a new survey conducted for Munich Re America, the world's largest reinsurance firm. "Our survey findings indicate that national sentiment over whether or not climatic changes are occurring has finally reached a tipping point," said Tony Kuczinski, president of Munich Re America. The survey's release today coincides with negotiations among more than 190 countries that got underway this month in Lima, Peru, on a long-elusive global climate accord that's supposed to be adopted next year in Paris. (December 2, 2014) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/04/2014 - You can track the global climate conversation LIVE from #COP20 in Lima with UN Climate Talks. "Welcome to Climate Talks Live, where you can get real-time data about the global Twitter conversation around the United Nations climate talks. The site gathers and visualizes millions of tweets on climate change-related topics, showing you the hot topics and trends as they’re happening."

  • 12/03/2014 - Important news in Rochester Sierra Club’s newsletter, including “James Hansen to Speak at 17th Annual Environmental Forum” “”Your Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club is delighted to announce that “rock star” climate-scientist turned activist, Dr. James Hansen, will be the featured speaker for our 17th Annual Environmental Forum, in April, 2015. Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club.

  • 12/03/2014 - As leaders at COP20 Lima climate conference try to lower greenhouse gas emissions, Rochester, NY happy about lower gas prices.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Drivers glad to pay less at pump  (December 2, 2014) WHAM

  • 12/03/2014 - “Lake sturgeon have been on the planet for 150 million years.” But a warmer Great Lakes because of Climate Change may do them in.  This magnificent creature has obviously overcome many challenges, including massive slaughtering in the last two centuries, but Climate Change, making our Great Lakes wasters warmer, among the other changes coming with Climate Change, may be a challenge the lake sturgeon cannot cope with. Lake Sturgeon “Thunder” Research Published 150 Million Years on the Planet, Sturgeon Staying Power Could be Attributed to Sound-Reproduction Link Lake sturgeon have been on the planet for 150 million years. Despite that long residency, scientists are still learning about these fish, the largest found in North America. An enduring question is what contributes to their survival skills. Answer: Sound. As one factor anyway. Based on biological examinations and detailed field recordings of the infrasonic sounds of this ancient fish, an article in the December 2014 Journal of Applied Ichthyology, bit.ly/1wdGt1j explains size may be one of the reasons why Wisconsin researchers believe sturgeon, which can reach a weight of more than 200 pounds and exceed 8 feet, achieve sounds so low that most of their energy escapes normal human hearing. The sounds apparently aid reproductive success. (December 1, 2014) University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute [more on Wildlife and Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2014  - The Penfield Green Imitative newsletter for December 2014 e-newsletter "PENFIELD GREEN INITIATIVE Planning Committee The voice for Penfield’s environmental assets! "

  • 12/03/2014 - The Town of Brighton has joined NY’s Climate Smart Communities “Local Action to Combat Climate Change” Has your community joined? Brighton is Climate Smart  The Town has signed onto this NYS Program by: Pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for unavoidable climate change and  Starting an effort to inventory the Town government's operations emissions. ColorBrightonGreen is following this effort and will share the progress with you on a regular basis. (December 2, 2014) Color Brighton Green [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2014 - Previous climate talks have failed and the numbers have gone up. We must not fail at COP20 Lima. For those who say that we should drop climate talks altogether because they have failed many times before, then they should be able to point to something that has worked—in the meantime. But instead they tell us other things are working (though the numbers are still going up) and that they don’t believe in Climate Change anyways. If COP20 Lima talks fail to keep global temperatures at 2C or 3.6F, the trajectory is 4C. A 4C world is a different world than which we live—not in a good way.  And, of course, 4C will most likely keep rising.  Hotter, Weirder: Our Changing Climate By the Numbers In the more than two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, life on Earth has changed, not just the climate. It's gotten hotter, more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder. The numbers are stark. Carbon dioxide emissions: up 60 percent. Global temperature: up six-tenths of a degree. Population: up 1.7 billion people. Sea level: up 3 inches. U.S. extreme weather: up 30 percent. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica: down 4.9 trillion tons of ice. "Simply put, we are rapidly remaking the planet and beginning to suffer the consequences," says Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University. Diplomats from more than 190 nations opened talks Monday at a United Nations global warming conference in Lima, Peru, to pave the way for an international treaty they hope to forge next year. (December 2, 2014) NBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2014 - Today’s lesson boys & girls: What does "Unequivocal" mean when used in the context of Climate Change evidence? Ans. It means it’s really, really, really, really, likely—like when you drop a stone into a bucket of water, it will go plop if gravity is in any way involved. Former NASA Scientist: Evidence of Climate Change is "Unequivocal" December 2, 2014- In today's EPW Committee Hearing, Dr. Drew Shindell, PhD discusses the overwhelming evidence of climate change. He notes that evidence such as shrinking ice caps, rising oceans, and rising temperatures are seen by satellites. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

  • 12/03/2014 - An important voice not at the table in COP20 Lima is a voice not at the table. Silence as a strategy works only if people are listening. Yeb Sano absence casts shadow over Lima climate talks  Star Filipino negotiator sends defiant tweets as delegation say they cannot explain why he is not in Peru  Mystery surrounds the absence of one of the most colourful and vocal climate diplomats from UN climate talks taking place in Lima, Peru. Yeb Sano led the Philippine delegation at the 2013 summit in Warsaw, making an emotional appeal for urgent action in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which left 6000 dead. Lately Sano had embarked on a 1000 kilometre walk across his country to raise awareness for climate impacts, but intended to finish in time for the Lima talks. In an email to RTCC yesterday he said he would not be in Peru, but gave no further details. But in a series of tweets today Sano, a government official at the Climate Change Commission, suggested there had been efforts to shut him out of the talks, silencing the views of a high profile and popular figure. (December 2, 2014) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/02/2014 - It’s science stupid. Can Lima talks make a real start in keeping us within our carbon budget? Or, maybe we’re just not up to the task and business as usual will reign and we just… Carbon emissions: past, present and future – interactive As the UN climate talks open in Lima to agree on a draft text for a treaty in Paris next year, here is a timeline of world’s top 20 emitters of carbon dioxide since the dawn of industrialisation dominated by UK and US. This interactive is jointly produced with the World Resources Institute  (December 1, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2014 - Almost there: 93% of goal. “We've reached 139,532 of our goal of 150,000.” Stop NPR from gutting its climate coverage. We need more mainstream media to cover Climate Change, not more silos of Climate Change information that only the converted read. Read: Demand NPR restore its climate reporting team

  • 12/02/2014 - From our friends over at Pachamama: Rochester is so blessed with many resources and events to help us create a better world for future generations! Please see December newsletter to explore the many opportunities this month to learn and become engaged in the Great Turning! “Be the change you wish to see in the world!” – Ghandi With much gratitude for the love in our hearts and lives, The Rochester Pachamama Team

  • 12/02/2014 - New local effort to get folks to take action on Climate Change. Check this out: Come learn about Mothers Out Front - an organization dedicated to organizing mothers around the issue of climate change, on behalf of all children. Mothers Out Front was started in Massachusetts in 2013 and is now in New York, starting in Rochester! Two house parties are scheduled:   Date: Saturday, December 6th, 6:30pm - 9:00pm  Place: Park Avenue neighborhood, Rochester -  RSVP to Neely Kelley, NYS Lead Organizer: neely@mothersoutfront.org  or 334 590 7367   Date: Wednesday, December 17th, 6:30pm - 9:00pm  Place: Park Avenue neighborhood, Rochester -  RSVP to Neely Kelley, NYS Lead Organizer: neely@mothersoutfront.org   or 334 590 7367

  • 12/02/2014 - Great explanation of climate change- why it's happening and what we are in for. Climate change is simple: David Roberts at TEDxTheEvergreenStateCollege "David Roberts is staff writer at Grist.org. In "Climate Change is Simple" he describes the causes and effects of climate change in blunt, plain terms. "

  • 12/02/2014 - The developing nations at the Lima Climate Conference want clarity, not historical doubletalk, on adapting and financing in Climate Change. The South Demands Clarity in Financing and Adaptation at COP20 At the 12-day climate summit that began Monday in the Peruvian capital, representatives of 195 countries and hundreds of members of civil society are trying to agree on the key points of a new international treaty aimed at curbing global warming. The official delegations and the representatives of organised civil society in the developing South are looking to move forward towards a binding draft agreement on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, to be signed a year from now. Expectation surrounds the commitments that industrialised countries will make on how to finance the fight against climate change and the inclusion of binding targets to reduce the current vulnerability, civil society representatives told IPS. “Lima has to produce a text that has elements laying the foundations of the 2015 agreement,” Enrique Maurtua, international policy adviser to the Latin America branch of the Climate Action Network (CAN), told IPS. “It will be signed next year, but the elements have to be here now, such as for example the contributions of the countries and what they will consist of.” (December 1, 2014) Inter Press Service [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2014 - One thing that is changing with each climate talk is that just saying “NO!” for Green Climate Fund has a price. Missing Money for the Green Climate Fund earns first Fossil from Lima Climate Talks The first Fossil of the Day in Lima at the UN Climate Talks goes to Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Austria, Iceland, Greece and Portugal for being the only developed countries who have so far failed to contribute to the Green Climate Fund. After a string of encouraging initial contributions, it seems a few free-riders within Annex 2 believe they are off the hook on this one.  (December 1, 2014) Climate Action Network International [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2014 - For the U.N. global climate talks in Lima, “Climate change has been inextricably linked to social justice.” As climate talks open, human rights issues take the spotlight The U.N. global climate talks are no longer just about emissions limits and trends. The annual negotiations, opening today in Peru, have also become the most visible effort to address social justice and human rights.  'It's about manifest injustice.' For all the flack the U.N. climate talks have taken over the past 20 years, one major achievement will be on display as the next round of negotiations open in Peru today. Climate change has been inextricably linked to social justice. The key questions that face the delegates as they meet in Lima are no longer simply about carbon emissions targets and timetables, but also about people and human rights. One mark of that shift is the $9.6 billion committed so far by rich nations to the U.N.'s Green Climate Fund to help poor countries.  But it's not just about money. (December 1, 2014) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2014 - Years ago a campaign to start up a Climate Talk Radio might have been a good idea, but now it would just be another silo.  The trouble would putting a special voice out on the air waves devoted to telling the truth about Climate Change is that only the choir ( and even then only the relatively few in the choir who listen to radio at all) would listen to it. The challenge today, where 2014 will be the warmest year ever for humanity, and the crucial negotiations at Lima begin in order to make read climate deal in Paris 2015, is that Climate Change must become mainstream. No more Climate Change silos, where most of the public remain ignorant of what is going on. The news that NPR gutted its climate reporting team is the real message we should be getting. The public must demand of their media, mainstream media, that Climate Change is so important that it must be aired continually, comprehensively, and convincingly so that the public will back the measures needed to address this issue.  Climate Talk Radio [www.ClimateTalkRadio.com] "Help Us Air a Daily Talk Radio Show in DC and XM and Take Back Radio from the Climate Denying Hosts! Telling the Truth and Solving the Climate Crisis! FROM OUR FLAGSHIP STATION WPWC 1480 AM IN WASHINGTON DC  (where this Congress needs to hear it!) 4-6 PM Eastern DAILY! TO THE WORLD ONLINE (AND IF THIS CAMPAIGN DOES REALLY WELL, ON  XM SIRIUS RADIO) FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS TO HEAR! "

  • 12/01/2014 - If Rochester, NY were to take action on Climate Change what tools would it have? How about White House’s “U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit”? The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides scientific tools, information, and expertise to help people manage their climate-related risks and opportunities, and improve their resilience to extreme events. The site is designed to serve interested citizens, communities, businesses, resource managers, planners, and policy leaders at all levels of government. White House offers climate change help to U.S. cities After announcing two major global initiatives on climate change last week, the Obama administration pivoted on Monday to American towns and cities to help them adapt to the impacts of global warming. The move came after a task force of U.S. governors, mayors and tribal leaders sent Vice President Joe Biden and senior White House officials recommendations on how they can help local communities deal with extreme weather. White House officials also unveiled measures, including a Web-based climate resilience toolkit, to help local leaders adopt measures to prepare municipalities for rising sea levels, droughts, diseases and other climate impacts. (November 17, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/29/2014 - While local news sets the table for the holidays & lots of shopping, Climate Change conference in Lima sets the table for Paris 2015. One of the most fascinating things to me about Climate Change is the incongruity between the lack of information and action locally on Climate Change and the information available worldwide about this crisis.  Despite the Internet and the unlimited resources—including worldwide news and climate studies--to find out about the most important crisis of our age, there is almost no local efforts to connect the dots between the local consequences of Climate Change and the plans to deal with it. It is as if we are in 1850’s and nobody will talk about slavery.  Actually, with Fredrick Douglas in town back in the day running the The North Star, from the basement of the Memorial AME Zion Church in Rochester, New York, Rochester was the hot bed of ending the evil system of slavery.  What has happened to Rochester, NY? Why are we now one of the leading capitols of Climate Change denial? As a major industrial region in the US Northeast that help put most of the manmade greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that is now wreaking havoc on the developing nations, why have we forsaken them? The crucial negotiations coming up in few days that will nail down the agreement into real binding agreements in Paris 2015 is not even news in our region—news of an event that will transform our future.  How can we be so blind to a crisis that (besides being a worldwide moral problem) is in fact a physical problem and will eventually become unlivable for US—if we do not act? We have major studies and plans to deal with Climate Change locally, and you probably haven’t even heard of them.  So, what’s really fascinating about Climate Change is that because Climate Change is not simply a moral problem, but a life support kind of problem, there are grave consequences with not paying attention to this issue in a time frame and level that will matter. RARE OPTIMISM AHEAD OF CLIMATE TALKS IN LIMA Energized by new targets set by China and the United States, the world's top climate polluters, U.N. global warming talks resume Monday with unusual optimism despite evidence that human-generated climate change is already happening and bound to get worse. Negotiators from more than 190 countries will meet in the Peruvian capital for two weeks to work on drafts for a global climate deal that is supposed to be adopted next year in Paris. Getting all countries aboard will be a crucial test for the U.N. talks, which over two decades have failed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. Pledges by Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this month to limit their emissions after 2020 sent a powerful signal that a global deal could be possible next year. The two countries, which produce about 40 percent of all global emissions, long have been adversaries in the U.N. climate talks. (November 29, 2014) Associated Press (AP) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/29/2014 - I know, many think we have an inalienable right to have and to use as many plastic bags as we want and throw them wherever. There’s a problem with that. Besides the physicals limits, or the carrying capacity, of our planet to have a sustainable environment for humanity in the light of increasing human population and development is also the point at which litter just becomes intolerable and eventually countries pass rules to stop that.  Those who think we can and should do anything we want, despite the critical workings of our life support system, will find that voluntary limits on human excess will have to be overridden by involuntary checks.  Those who fight environmental regulations fail to realize that the insane idea that we have an infinite right to do as we please on a finite planet, just becomes intolerable to many—which produces environmental regulations. Europe Passes Historic Limits on Plastic Bags European Union (EU) members would have to set goals to reduce the amount of lightweight, one-use plastic bags in circulation under new draft rules agreed upon by member countries. The rules would require that EU countries do one of two things: institute policies that would reduce bag use from the current level of nearly 200 per person annually to 90 by 2019 and 40 by 2025 or require that they not be given out free plastic bags after 2018. The rules would apply to bags thinner than 50 microns, which comprise about 90 percent of the plastic bags used used in Europe and the ones mostly likely to become litter or waste. (November 28, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 11/29/2014 - One of the great unknowns about Climate Change is how soil, especially its microbial properties, adapt to rapid warming. For those who dismiss Climate Change or think they have gotten their heads around the kind of consequences Climate Change will bring, they probably haven’t been thinking about soil—that layer of life around our world that decomposes life and brings new life to life.  By failing to act on Climate Change for so long in a world where we have already greatly disturbed one of the most important elements of life, we have blinded ourselves further on how to act for a sustainable future. We don’t even have a handle on the nature of the Climate Change problem, let alone how to solve it. Impact of climate change on the soil ecosystem Scientists are working to evaluate the impact of climate change on the ecosystems of the soil by monitoring its microbial properties over time. The research areas are located at altitudes of between 1,500 and 2,600 meters, which provides a broad range of different climate conditions and makes it possible to observe how the altitude affects the properties of the soil and the micro-organisms living in it. Preliminary results indicate that microbial properties are highly dependent on the physical and chemical properties of the soil on a small scale and on the environmental conditions existing at the moment when the samples are gathered. (November 27, 2014) Science Daily [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/29/2014 - Now, rather than called nonsense, the Paris 2015 is viewed by some to be too milquetoast. Shouldn’t we try to see if we can even accomplish Paris 2015 goals? One of the great unknowns about Climate Change is whether humanity can muster the will to anything on a level and in a time frame that will matter in bringing down greenhouse gases. Shouldn’t we give the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris “to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world” a chance to find that out before we say scrap it and make take even bolder actions? We're Kidding Ourselves on 2-Degree Global Warming Limit: Experts A temperature rise that could cause irreversible and potentially catastrophic damage to human civilization is practically inevitable, according to rising chatter among experts in the lead up to a year of key negotiations on a new climate change global accord. World leaders have voluntarily committed to limit warming by the end of the century to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial level, a threshold beyond which, scientists argue, severe drought, rising seas and supercharged storms as well as food and water security become routine challenges. Given the world's historic emissions combined with a continued reliance on fossil fuels to power humanity for the foreseeable future, limiting the increase to 2 degrees Celsius is all but impossible, according to David Victor, a professor of international relations and an expert on climate change policy at the University of California, San Diego. (November 29, 2014) NBC News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/28/2014 - What’s more important, getting a good deal on Black Friday or good deal at the COP 20 in Lima? Might be a good time to get our priorities straight.  The COP 20/CMP 10 Lima Climate Change Conference - December 2014—could be the biggest deal in our lives. But most folks probably still think getting a good deal and buying a whole lot of crap they don’t need on a loony shopping thought up by godsknowswho is not only better than getting a great deal at a pivotal climate conference, they’re media probably has even informed them of the Lima conference coming up in a few days that could very well change the course of history—or end it. What’s At Stake in Lima Climate Talks It’s nearly time for a reboot on global climate action. The Kyoto Protocol of 2008 through 2012 succeeded in introducing the world to the concept of coordinated climate action. Aside from creating a weak European carbon market, however, it did little to actually ratchet greenhouse gas levels. Nations that met their obligations under the protocol did so with the help of economic downturns. The U.S. never ratified the pact. Canada eventually withdrew, avoiding repercussions for the climate-changing carbon billowing from its tar sands mines and processing facilities. An extension to the protocol will govern just one out of every sevencarbon dioxide molecules produced by humanity during the next five years. Seventeen years after that protocol was negotiated in Japan, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is preparing to take its second shot. Global climate pact 2.0, which will look nothing like its beta, is now little more than a year away. (November 27, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 11/28/2014 - I suspect that carbon capture should be part of the global climate change agreement in Lima, but not in the sense that it’s bullshit.  I remember carbon sequestration, back in the day, was heralded as the Holy Grail of Climate Change solutions, so much so that we didn’t (six years ago) need to worry our pretty little heads any more. We’d just suck the extra carbon out of the air with CCS/CCUS (carbon capture utilization and storage) and go about our business as usual.  The trouble with that was that much of our carbon goes into our oceans—so just sucking it out of our air won’t matter on a level that will matter.  Not to mention, the technology to actually capture lots of Carbon Dioxide turned out to be far more complicated that the first blush of hubris exclaimed. That kind of technology is not going to happen on a large scale in the near future. Now, the carbon capture grail has turned to the realization that trees and soil have already been doing a lot of our carbon capturing and so we should just keep our forests and soil intact. Trouble is we don’t really mean ‘our’ soil and trees.  We mean developing countries’ soil and trees, whereby we can keep mucking with ours and preventing developing countries from mucking up theirs.  That’s why the developing nations are so pissed off at the idea of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and formed NO REDD. A real, non-bullshit, attempt at carbon capture would be to actually use agricultural practices and forestry programs that keep large swaths of our environment’s ability to nationally capture carbon in the ground—for a long, long time.  But getting to this idea is going to be a long row to hoe if we continue to think other nations should do our carbon capture, while we go on with business as usual, and continue to believe that a techno carbon capture fix is just around the corner.  56 countries seek carbon capture incentives in next climate deal Fiscal incentives for carbon capture should be part of the global climate change agreement that replaces the Kyoto Protocol, 56 countries belonging to the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said in a statement on Tuesday. The recommendation by the UNECE member states puts the issue formally on the table for a meeting of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015, which aims to agree a legally binding treaty to replace Kyoto. Delegates from almost 200 nations will meet in Peru next month to work on the accord, amid new scientific warnings about risks of floods, heatwaves, ocean acidification and rising seas. (November 25, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/28/2014 - From an environmental point of view, from your life support system’s point of view, plastic bags are the bad guys. The Green Hand: What’s the Big Deal About Plastic Bags? It seems we have always used thin plastic bags. Right? What else would you use to bring groceries home, line your waste basket, or take out the garbage? Well to some of us single-use plastic bags are pretty new. They have only been used in retail stores since the late 1970s. It may be a surprise to some that we have only been using plastic for the last 40 years or so. Plastic is such a handy, easy product to use that it is hard to think of it as the bad guy. It does have beneficial uses in industry for machine parts, for example, and in our lives as electronic components, toys, and more. But we are living in a time of awareness, a time to be mindful of misusing the planet’s natural resources and a time of noticing that we have interfered with the balance of nature. The first caution in using plastic is that it is made from petroleum products, a non-renewable resource. (November 3, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 11/28/2014 - Excellent encapsulation of COP 20/CMP 10 Lima Climate Change Conference - December 2014 . I wish I could affect this breezy style that informs about this critical juncture in climate negotiations—without sounding apocalyptic. Let’s hope that the recent mid-term elections and fading public interest in Climate Change doesn’t portend the last chapter in the climate history book. Preparing for COP20 On December 1st, the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) will commence in Lima, Peru to continue attempts to draft a global treaty on climate change. It has been 25 years since the international community called for action on greenhouse gases, 26 since climate scientist James Hansen testified to U.S. congressional committees about global warming. When the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, treaty negotiators borrowed language from the Montreal Protocol (an agreement that addressed chemicals destroying the ozone layer): that member states would "act in the interests of human safety even in the face of scientific uncertainty." In the time since then, the scientific uncertainty about climate change and its causes has been greatly diminished. Thousands of technical peer-reviewed papers are published each year, and in the most recent report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, experts expressed high confidence level (over 95%) that climate change is indeed human-caused. A number of factors and events from the past year will make COP20 not only important, but also interesting. (November 24, 2014) The World Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/27/2014 - Center of Rochester, NY (High Falls) on its way to become major eco-center of the state, by Friends of the GardenAerial Long-term effort to recover industrialize center of Rochester, is moving towards providing an environmentally healthy core to our city—for learning, for living, for businesses, and proving that we can recover loss ecologies from our industrialized past. Garden Aerial Breaks Ground Garden Aerial is taking part in an effort to help beautify High Falls. We talk with Lisa Baron about the project's recent groundbreaking. (November 21, 2014) FOX Rochester News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 11/27/2014 - Lecture “mitigating climate change by pulling existing GHGs from the atmosphere” Monday, December 1, 2014 – 6:00 to 7:30 PM Unitarian Universalist Church ( 2nd Floor Alliance Rm.), 695 Elmwood Ave. at West Ferry, Buffalo, NY ; Free and open to the public All invited – Niagara Sierra Club Climate and Clean Energy Writers Group monthly session The presenter will be Dave Majewski of  Premium Services, Inc. His topic will be mitigating climate change by pulling existing GHGs from the atmosphere. Concepts explored will include soil restoration, carbon storage, agroforestry, photosynthesis, root biomass/fungi, farming practices, reduction in synthetics, removing the “moron principle’ (more-on = more-on = more-on…!) and habitat conservation and restoration. Go here to see a current article about David’s work. As climate activists, the more facts and information we have fresh at our disposal, the more effective we can be.

  • 11/27/2014 - I know, for many folks in Rochester it’s snowing so it means global warming isn’t happening, but seriously folks, worldwide heatwaves endanger the elderly. Out of all the complicated scenarios that occur when our atmosphere and water trap more heat into our climate system is that our weather gets thrown out of whack, like more frequent and extreme lake-effect snow. But there is an obvious scenario that occurs—more frequent heatwaves put a lot of heat stress on the elderly.  Ageing population will compound deadly effects of heatwaves caused by climate change A combination of global warming and population growth means more people will be exposed to extreme weather systems, with an ageing population particularly at risk from heatwaves, says Royal Society The double whammy of global warming and a growing, ageing population will mean peoples’ exposure to deadly heatwaves will multiply tenfold this century, according to a new report from the Royal Society. The researchers from the UK’s science academy warn the world is not prepared for the extreme weather which is already being exacerbated by climate changetoday. The world’s population is expected to swell from 7bn today to a peak of 10bn by mid-century, and the new analysis examines for the first time how this boom will affect the number of people hit by extreme weather, if the relentless rise in carbon emissions is not reversed. (November 26, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 11/27/2014 - Today’s lesson boys and girls, What are Bomb Trains and where can you find them? Ans. They transport your dangerous fossil fuel energy in outdated tank car models. As to where they are…. It’s a secret.  We so should have gone renewable energy (wind and solar) instead of saddling ourselves to a fuel that will make our life support system unsustainable. Gov’t Data Sharpens Focus on Crude-Oil Train Routes A ProPublica analysis of federal government data adds new details to what’s known about the routes taken by trains carrying crude oil. Local governments are often unaware of the potential dangers they face. The oil boom underway in North Dakota has delivered jobs to local economies and helped bring the United States to the brink of being a net energy exporter for the first time in generations. But moving that oil to the few refineries with the capacity to process it is presenting a new danger to towns and cities nationwide — a danger many appear only dimly aware of and are ill-equipped to handle. Much of North Dakota's oil is being transported by rail, rather than through pipelines, which are the safest way to move crude. Tank carloads of crude are up 50 percent this year from last. Using rail networks has saved the oil and gas industry the time and capital it takes to build new pipelines, but the trade-off is greater risk: Researchers estimates that trains are three and a half times as likely as pipelines to suffer safety lapses. Indeed, since 2012, when petroleum crude oil first began moving by rail in large quantities, there have been eight major accidents involving trains carrying crude in North America. In the worst of these incidents, in July, 2013, a train derailed at Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and exploded, killing 47 and burning down a quarter of the town. Six months later, another crude-bearing train derailed and exploded in Casselton, North Dakota, prompting the evacuation of most of the town's 2,300 residents. (November 25, 2014) ProPublica [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/26/2014 - Thinking that Ginna nuclear reactor (one of the oldest in the country) shouldn’t be threatening a shutdown unless they get a bailout is a bad idea? Maybe there’s a job for you: Alliance for a Green Economy Seeks Rochester-area Energy Democracy Organizer --from Alliance for a Green Economy

  • 11/26/2014 - Before Governor Cuomo pushes the button to lift the Fracking moratorium, have we learned anything about Fracking elsewhere?  We should have never let our energy options in a time of Climate Change be hijacked by the Fracking issue here in New York State.  Imagine if we had gone %100 on renewable energy six years ago (when the Fracking controversy hit NYS) instead of setting the table for Fracking with Bomb trains and gas storage near the shores of Seneca Lake.  Look, we don’t want Governor Cuomo to get in a freaking debate about Climate Change; we want him to lead on Climate Change as he promised. And that he has not done: “Cuomo, he who said he would lead on Climate Change, isn’t Where Oil and Politics Mix After an unusual land deal, a giant spill and a tanker-train explosion, anxiety began to ripple across the North Dakota prairie. TiOGA, N.D. — In late June, as black and gold balloons bobbed above black and gold tables with oil-rig centerpieces, the theme song from “Dallas” warmed up the crowd for the “One Million Barrels, One Million Thanks” celebration. The mood was giddy. Halliburton served barbecued crawfish from Louisiana. A commemorative firearms dealer hawked a “one-million barrel” shotgun emblazoned with the slogan “Oil Can!” Mrs. North Dakota, in banner and crown, posed for pictures. The Texas Flying Legends performed an airshow backlit by a leaping flare of burning gas. And Gov. Jack Dalrymple was the featured guest. Traveling through the “economically struggling” nation, Mr. Dalrymple told the crowd, he encountered many people who asked, “Jack, what the heck are you doing out there in North Dakota?” to create the fastest-growing economy, lowest unemployment rate and (according to one survey) happiest population. (November 23, 2014) New York Times [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/26/2014 - So if NYS lifts the moratorium on Fracking, our DEC will be ready to inspect, regulate, and monitor—right? Or just like North Dakota?  The underside of the Fracking boom is like the underside of an iceberg—it’s the majority of the problem, not just an aspect of the problem. The Downside of the Boom North Dakota took on the oversight of a multibillion-dollar oil industry with a regulatory system built on trust, warnings and second chances. WiLLISTON, N.D. — In early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family land in Billings County, N.D. There had been an accident at the Skurupey 1-9H oil well. “Oh, my gosh, the gold is blowing,” she said he told her. “Bakken gold.” It was the 11th blowout since 2006 at a North Dakota well operated by Continental Resources, the most prolific producer in the booming Bakken oil patch. Spewing some 173,250 gallons of potential pollutants, the eruption, undisclosed at the time, was serious enough to bring the Oklahoma-based company’s chairman and chief executive, Harold G. Hamm, to the remote scene. It was not the first or most catastrophic blowout visited by Mr. Hamm, a sharecropper’s son who became the wealthiest oilman in America and energy adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign. Two years earlier, a towering derrick in Golden Valley County had erupted into flames and toppled, leaving three workers badly burned. “I was a human torch,” said the driller, Andrew J. Rohr. (November 22, 2014) New York Times [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/26/2014 - Greentopia I FILM is now open for submissions of non-fiction features, shorts, and children’s films *The deadline to submit is December 22, 2014.  In its fourth year, innovative documentary film festival, Greentopia | FILM, brings inspiring and award-winning non-fiction films and events to Rochester area moviegoers. Spanning five days, from Tuesday through Saturday, March 17 – 21, 2015, Greentopia | FILM has become known for its lively cross-pollination of art, ideas, community engagement and fun. Greentopia I FILM "Greentopia | FILM believes in our community and in showcasing the positive changes, projects and people that are often not covered in more mainstream news and media channels. Through the incredible generosity of local film makers, Greentopia | FILM has been able to produce 3 short documentaries a year for the past 2 years. In 2014, we received funding from NYSCA (New York State Council on the Arts) to actually commission the films, offering a $1,000 stipend and festival film passes to each of the 3 selected film makers. All Community Supported Films (CSFs) tell a story of something happening in the Greater Rochester area that embraces the concept of sustainability or community building in some way. We look for positive success stories – no docs trying to expose some injustice. Here are examples of films produced over the past two festivals. " Greentopia

  • 11/26/2014 - Question: How many arrests does it take for the public to stop the storage of dangerous gas near Seneca Lake? Ans. More than 73. Many are putting their bodies on the line to save our region’s water, environment, and wine industry. Crestwood arrest total now up to 73 READING — There have now been 73 people arrested for trespassing in connection with the four-week-old protest at Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility. On Friday, 12 people were arrested, including Mariah Plumlee of Covert. On Thursday, nine were arrested. Margie Rogers of Elmira was arrested Thursday for a second time. She was previously among the “Seneca Lake 12” who were arrested in March 2013 for blocking Crestwood’s gate. She returned and was arrested as part of the current “We Are Seneca Lake” movement (November 23, 2014) Finger Lakes Times [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/26/2014 - COP 20 in Lima is not only setting the table for real action on Climate Change in COP 21 in Paris, it’s making us all hungry for a real meal.  400,000 of us marched around in New York City for the People’s Climate March because we demanded action on Climate Change for our leaders.  How is that action going? Watch Lima. Let’s make sure 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris doesn’t turn into another dud like Copenhagen.   | CAN Annual Policy Document: "Lima: Raising the Curtain on Paris" History was created when more than 400,000 people from all walks of life took to the streets of New York City in September to tell the world, ‘More Climate Action, Now’.  COP 20 in Lima must be the turning point for political will from governments to reflect these ambitious calls by people from across the world. At COP 17, Governments agreed to the Durban platform for enhanced action.  Negotiations under the Durban platform will culminate in 2015 at COP 21 in Paris, where Parties are to agree to the next stage of a global climate agreement. COP 20 in Lima holds the key to this next stage as it is set to define the parameters of this 2015 global agreement.  The Lima COP, guided by the strong momentum for greater climate action and the recent IPCC scientific assessment, needs to steer political will to deliver decisions on the shape, composition and ambition of the 2015 agreement. As Lima will set the foundations for the outcomes in Paris, Climate Action Network presents its views on issues that need to be addressed at COP 20 in order to set the right foundation for the 2015 agreement. (November 17, 2014) Climate Action Network International [more on Climate Change for our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - Can there really be a Thanksgiving if our Finger Lakes are being threatened by dangerous fossil fuel storage and heroes sit in jail to stop that? Are we prostrate with “Climate Helplessness” as Sandra Steingraber  suggests, – which includes a  “corroboration and appeasement of both the mainstream environmental community and the federal government toward the oil and gas industry”? Have we entered an age where we just sit like deer in the headlights as our leaders, our media, our environmental groups, and our government, infantilizes us with senseless silence as the fossil fuel industry drills roughshod over our future? This raises interesting questions about ourselves as we comport ourselves during this historic trial by fire of Climate Change.  The Crappy Mom Manifesto: Letter to Fellow Mothers from the Chemung County Jail Last month extreme fossil fuel extraction and I were both recipients of an accusatory outburst by my 13-year-old. “I hate fracking!” he said, half yelling, half sobbing. “Fracking turns you into a crappy mom!” And he is right. Because of my ongoing efforts to halt both fracking and fracking’s metastasizing infrastructure from invading New York State, I have not chaperoned a school trip in three years. I missed Elijah’s opening-night star turn in Romeo and Juliet. I did not attend the high school girls’ cross country state championship, in which his sister competed. In fact, I missed all the races of the whole season, and, as such, am the only parent of a varsity runner who can make that claim. I know that because my 16-year-old periodically reminds me of my exceptionalism on this front. (November 24, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Seneca Lake and Water Quality in our area] 

  • 11/25/2014 - Report on World Bank report on dangerous ‘New Climate Normal’ for development mention’s Buffalo’s snowstorm. Even though our region gets on the world stage for a possible extreme weather event connected to Climate Change, we don’t talk about it here. World Bank: ‘New climate normal’ poses risk to development  As Sao Paolo runs out of water in Brazil’s worst drought in 80 yearsSomalia faces famine, Buffalo digs itself out of record snow drifts, and Sydney swelters through more bat-killing heat waves; the World Bank is warning that the world is headed for a “new climate normal” that will have dire impacts on the developing world. In its latest Turn Down the Heat report, the bank warns that the world now locked on a path towards a 1.5C rise in average temperatures. And, while limiting warming below 1.5C is still feasible if immediate action is taken, every decade lost makes the challenge to do so increasingly great. Heat waves and other weather extremes that have occurred every few hundred years will occur more frequently, creating a world of increased risks and instability, warns the report. Increases above 1.5C mean more rapidly melting glaciers in central Asia and shifts in the timing of water flows, which will lead to less water resources in summer months and high risks of torrential floods. (November 24, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - When you know that governments are spending $88 billion every year supporting fossil fuel exploration, then screwing alternative fuels is craven. No way should the Environmental Protection Agency roll back a renewable fuel standard. White House threatens to put brakes on alternative fuels As biotech masterminds and venture capitalists scramble to hatch a new generation of environmentally friendly fuels that can help power the average gasoline-burning car, they are confronting an unexpected obstacle: the White House. Yielding to pressure from oil companies, car manufacturers and even driving enthusiasts, the Obama administration is threatening to put the brakes on one of the federal government's most ambitious efforts to ease the nation's addiction to fossil fuels. The proposed rollback of the 7-year-old green energy mandate known as the renewable fuel standard is alarming investors in the innovation economy and putting the administration at odds with longtime allies on the left. (November 24, 2014) Los Angeles Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - One of the consequences of Climate Change in our area is that poison ivy will get more poisonous to us. There’s more…. Likely Changes. | Plan to rid land of invasives hits snag in Town of Canandaigua  The Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association is seeking to remove the invasive vegetation and restore the land to its natural condition, before it was used as farmland and abandoned in the early 1970s. The $4,800 project, funds for which were raised by the organization, would rid about four acres of land of poison ivy, European buckthorn and other invasives and plant and seed natural trees and plants in their stead. (November 25, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - If you don’t like a wind turbine, just take it down. If you don’t like the old nuclear plant, suck it up. Some think nuclear power is the answer to our energy woes in a time of Climate Change—it’s just the 10 years and 10 billion dollars building it and the forever getting rid of it that presents the problems. Renewable energy goes up quickly, provides lots of jobs, doesn’t warm your planet, doesn’t get in the news every time there’s a ‘problem’, and when parts wear out you just take them away and recycle them. With nuclear power, no matter how far beyond their due date, you are required to live with them.  Seems like we’ll do anything to avoid the best solutions to all our energy needs—wind and solar and geothermal, and wave and better batteries and energy conservation, energy efficiency and micro grids. We demand of our politicians lower costs, and more energy, and we don’t care what it does to the planet and if any politicians don’t give us this we will vote them out. Gonna be hard to find impossible solutions in a time of Climate Change. NYC decries plan for Ginna plant What does New York City — the state and nation's most populous city — care about an aging upstate power plant in a county just a fraction of its size some 300 miles away on the shore of Lake Ontario? The answer lies in a little-noticed, highly technical document filed in August with the state Public Service Commission. Within its 13 pages, a branch of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office weighed in against a request from the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County to force an electric utility — Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. — to negotiate a payment plan to keep the plant running and the Rochester-area power grid reliable. The filing also points to the Cayuga Power Plant in Lansing, Tompkins County, and another in Chautauqua County, citing similar circumstances. Essentially, the city asks: If Ginna gets approval for a survival package that will likely be paid for by RG&E ratepayers, what's keeping other power plants from holding other utilities and their customers hostage? (November 23, 2014) Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - Climate Change may well mean worse lake-effect storms—until things really warm up. What Warming Means for Lake Effect Snow The plight of Buffalo, socked in under feet upon feet of snow, has entranced the country. Social media lit up with mind-boggling pictures of the snow-buried landscape, from hundreds of cars trapped on the highway to doorways blocked by walls of snow. While Buffalonians are no strangers to large amounts of snow that the lake effect (so called because the lake provides the moisture that fuels the snow) can bring, but even this was a little much for them. “This is definitely one of the strongest lake bands that we’ve experienced,” Judy Levan, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Buffalo, said. “It’s definitely in the top five.” And it’s something Buffalo could face more often in a warming world. Rising global temperatures are also warming the Great Lakes and keeping them ice-free longer during the cold season. (November 1, 2014) [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - Excellent article on the Merrill's Law and importance of clarifying the present "safe distance" law with a more exact 3-foot law. It is amazing how quickly those don’t believe distracted driving is an important issue and/or hold an outright craven disregard for the safety of others will change their attitudes when a police officer informs them they have violated the law—or worse, have struck someone with their vehicle and maimed them. Active transportation (walking and bicycling) is a crucial part of our transportation system and it will increase.  If careless vehicle operators don’t voluntarily share the road with those not encased in a steel jacket with lots of gadgets, more laws protecting the safety of all of us will come. More education and constant reminders by the city and county (as public service announcements) would go far in moving our increasingly diverse transportation system forward. A 'safe' distance? Cyclist law unenforced Between 2011 and 2013, an average of 29 Merrill's Law tickets were written statewide each year, according to state Department of Motor Vehicles figures. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office has recorded just one citation under the law, in May 2011, spokesman Cpl. John Helfer said. Town or village police agencies have written just three other citations under Merrill's Law since 2010, not including any handed out by city and state police, Helfer said. This year through mid-September, the DMV has recorded a total of 22 Merrill's Law tickets statewide. Monroe County has seen a number of cyclists struck on local roads recently, including a woman who was run down by driver on Clifford Avenue in July and a man killed on Paul Road in Chili in August. (November 24, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 11/24/2014 - 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is coming up in a year. Find out why this is important to you. You will be hearing a lot about the Paris 2015 climate conference and it will be a benchmark in your life and for our environment. Whether we, humanity, take this climate talk seriously is up to us.  Climate change is not just about science – it’s about the future we want to create Next December, 196 nations will meet in Paris to agree a course of action to respond to climate change. They will do so under the auspices of the UN framework convention on climate change. This is an international treaty negotiated at the Earth summit in Rio in 1992 with the objective to “stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system”. The discussions in Paris in 2015 will be informed by the latest climate science. In our play 2071, which recently completed its inaugural run at the Royal Court theatre in London, directed by Katie Mitchell, we explore the science, its implications and the options before us. A key aim is to leave the audience better placed to participate in the public discourse, in which we all need to play a part. Climate change is a controversial subject that can raise strong emotions. We are all susceptible to being less open-minded and rational about it than we may appreciate. The climate system is very complex, yet its discussion is often oversimplified. There are gaps in our knowledge, and many scientific uncertainties, some of which are fundamentally unknowable. This makes it extremely difficult to predict precisely what the future holds and to determine exactly what actions, if any, to take. In addition there are economic considerations, political implications and ethical questions that further complicate the way forward. (November 22, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/23/2014 - This Thanksgiving give thanks to the natural wonder that is Seneca Lake and those who sit in jail as a stance to protect it from fossil fuel invaders. Learn about this local environmental issue and help: WE ARE SENECA LAKE | Steingraber, Boland and Micklem Sentenced to 15 Days in Jail for Protesting Methane Gas Storage Renowned author, biologist and advocate Sandra Steingraber, PhD, U.S. Air Force veteran Colleen Boland (retired) and avid environmentalist Roland Micklem headed to the Chemung County jail Wednesday evening after pleading guilty and refusing to pay a fine in New York’s Reading Town Court. Judge Raymond Barry issued the maximum jail sentence of 15 days. Steingraber, Boland and Micklem were arrested for blockading the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake. They are part of the “We Are Seneca Lake” campaign working to stop the major expansion project at Crestwood’s methane gas storage facility where plans are underway to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west side of Seneca Lake. Micklem, who will not have to serve his full sentence, was released yesterday afternoon for health reasons. “I’m a die-hard environmentalist and I think that if we do not protect our environment, we are all history. A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do,” said the 86-year-old. (November 21, 2014) EcoWatch  [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/22/2014 - One thing for sure, if former Brighton Supervisor Sandra Frankel becomes Monroe County Executive: No more Climate Change denial. With Sandy Frankel in office we can properly plan for our future. Climate Change means we have to plan. In the Monroe County, including the Rochester region, we can barely speak about the worldwide crisis of Climate Change, let alone begin a major effort in our region to educate the public and begin properly planning for the changes that will come (and are happening now) to our region. Sandy Frankel has spoken out many times publically on our critical need to address Climate Change and even backed our local efforts to get Rochesterians to the recent People’s Climate March in NYC to demonstrate our need for our leaders to act. Sandy Frankel is a proven leader and her leadership in our county would be a major step forward in planning for our future. I am so not political, as the present scene is dreadful, but I must speak out for what would be a demonstrable change in the climate of our region. With someone leading on Climate Change in our county we would see a major shift in public attitudes on the crisis of our age, changes in the media and their willingness to connect the dots of local extreme weather with warming predictions, and changes in business who’d get a clear message that really being green means a sustainable future.  If you are looking for good news on the Climate Change crisis, Sandy Frankel as Monroe County Executive could be that news. Let the debates begin. Frankel weighing second county exec bid (November 20, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper

  • 11/22/2014 - Why does our military give a rat’s ass about our addiction to fossil fuels? Watch ‘The BurdenCheck this out by Producer/ Director, The Burden : “I am very excited to announce the release of the official trailer for The Burden.  You can watch it here: www.theburdenfilm.com, and please feel free to forward it far and wide.  In advance of our public release and official premiere (stay tuned), we've already received an overwhelming response at private screenings at venues like West Point, the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol and elsewhere.  These screenings are helping spread the word and raise the funds we need to continue promoting the film and its strategic advocacy campaign.  As you are one of The Burden's most ardent supporters, I wanted to make sure you saw our latest press release as we begin our media outreach.  Please take a look below to see what we are up to, and thank you again for your dedication to helping end our fossil fuel dependence as soon as possible.” http://www.theburdenfilm.com 

  • 11/22/2014 - Today’s lessen boys and girls, In what way are earthquakes and Climate Change alike? Ans. Both REQUIRE planning and action to protect the public. Politicians must often balance the problem of reassuring the public in the face of danger or misleading them and lulling them into a false security. With both earthquake warnings and Climate Change predictions there presents to the decision makers the quandary of calling a false alarm, where there occurs much unnecessary disruption to the public, or not calling alarm resulting in catastrophic damage and loss of life. Unlike the subtle warnings of earthquakes rumbling away for weeks, Climate Change can no longer be viewed as a far-off threat where we can wait and see. Climate Change is happening and continues to get worse. Those leaders that lean towards the message given by the deniers and money from those who benefit from business as usual, instead of listening to the vast majority of scientists who say our climate is warming quickly and we must act—will be held accountable. L'Aquila earthquake scientists freed but political lessons remain It has been five years since an earthquake hit the Italian city of L’Aquila leaving 309 people dead. In the aftermath one public official and six earthquake scientists were charged with multiple counts of manslaughter. Each defendant was sentenced to six years in jail. It is commonly believed the scientists were condemned for failing to predict the earthquake but, in truth, the case was about communicating risks to a vulnerable population. The defendants were accused by the prosecution of giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information”. (11/21/2014), Dr. Lawrence Torcello, The Conversation [ more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/22/2014 - Like slowly boiling frogs, we have become so accustomed to the new normal of higher temperatures we don’t see the threat.  We don’t see this constant march of warmer months in our local news, so when your living in a place like Rochester or Buffalo and you’re getting nailed by lake-effect snow (though more extreme) you tend not to think it’s getting steadily warmer worldwide.  This denial of the worldwide view and the lack of extreme weather connection with Climate Change is incredibly irresponsible of our media. Something has to give and it will not be the physics of Climate Change. October: maintaining the warming trend for 2014 September broke global temperature records and October was pretty close behind, recent data from NASA and the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) confirm. According the the JMA, October was the hottest month on record with a 0.6°F above the 1981-2010 average. This was preceded by the hottest September, August, June and March-May. NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which uses a different baseline of 1950-1980, recorded October global temperature as 1.4°F above the average. According to NASA data, although October did not break monthly temperature records, it tied with 2005 as the warmest October since 1880. (November 20, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/22/2014 - Of course, one way to keep our children safe from crude-oil trains is to go renewable energy (wind and solar).  Increasingly, it’s hard to imagine, except for business as usual, why we put our children, our water, and our climate in such danger when we have other options for energy.  Even if we didn’t have other options, should our stance be that we will have our way of a fossil-fueled life or none at all? The Climate Change crisis is teaching us one thing if nothing else: We are paying a high price indeed for an energy system dependent on burning, digging, and transporting fossil fuels.  Oil and schools don't mix, enviro groups say About 350 New York state schools, including at least 63 in Monroe County, lie within a mile of railroad tracks used by trains carrying volatile crude oil, a coalition of environmental and other advocacy groups said Thursday. The groups urged state and federal official to bolster emergency planning at those educational facilities and to require crude-oil trains to travel more slowly near schools. "We are deeply concerned about the growing number of crude oil rail cars passing through the Hudson Valley and across New York State every day," said Claire Barnett, executive director of the Albany-based Health Schools Network. "A catastrophic event, should it happen near an occupied school, could devastate a community for a generation or more." (November 20, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 11/21/2014 - This is code for Climate Change: "No matter how you cut it, this event will end up in the top five for the Lake Erie area …" But, of course, our local public media cannot say this because it’s too controversial, which is to say when it is no longer controversial to connect the dots with extreme weather (warmer lake water, no ice, more snow) and Climate Change, we will have squandered a lot more time when we could have been preparing.  How I ‘cut it’ is that it’s possible that our present snow storm is connected to Climate Change and I’m not the only one. Cold snap caused by climate change-weakened jet stream, scientists suggest  and These Photos of Lake Effect Snow Are Crazy | Buffalo Area Needs To Dig Out; Then Prepare For Possible Flooding Roofs began to creak and collapse and homeowners struggled to clear waist-high drifts atop their houses Thursday as another storm brought the Buffalo area's three-day snowfall total to an epic 7 feet or more. Gov. Andrew Cuomo begged drivers "pretty, pretty please" to stay off slippery, car-clogged roads in western New York while crews tried to dig out. Some areas got close to 3 feet of new snow by Thursday afternoon. (November 21, 2014) WXXI

  • 11/21/2014 - All those who think building a massive gas storage facility that would threaten our Finger Lakes waters a shitty idea, please raise your hand.  Finally, a local Rochester, NY media is giving us a sense of the gravity and importance of the threat to our local environment because of the goings on at Seneca Lake shores.  Go to We Are Seneca lake  and Gas Free Seneca to find out more and how to help.  This crisis is not just about them, it’s about US. Opposition builds to gas storage facility on Seneca Lake shore As protests continue over construction of a gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake, people across the entire Finger Lakes region opposed to the project are getting involved. As protests continue over construction of a gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake, people across the entire Finger Lakes region opposed to the project are getting involved. “The Finger Lakes is all of us,” said Rosemary Hooper, a Naples resident who has joined others from Ontario County in participating in the campaign to stop the building of the gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake in Schuyler County. Texas-based Crestwood Midstream's proposal is to use old abandoned salt caverns along the lake to store millions of barrels of liquid petroleum gas and billions of cubic feet of natural gas. Those opposed include organizations, individuals, businesses and municipalities. The Ontario County Board of Supervisors, Yates County Legislature, Seneca County Board of Supervisors and Geneva City Council are among those that have passed motions opposing the proposed storage facility. (November 19, 2014) Gates-Chili Post [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/21/2014 - How is New York State staking up on its Climate Change Adaptation Plans with other states? Check that out: State and Local Adaptation Plans States and communities around the country have begun to prepare for the climate changes that are already underway.  This planning process typically results in a document called an adaptation plan.   Below is a map that highlights the status of state adaptation efforts. Click on a state to view a summary of its progress to date and to access its full profile page. State profile pages include a detailed breakdown of each state's adaptation work and links to local adaptation plans and resources. Please move the map to view Alaska and Hawaii. Georgetown Climate Center

  • 11/21/2014 - Do you have something to say about our environment? Have you figured out the video function on your cell phone? Enter Rochester’s FFFF.  The Fast Forward Film Festival, what a unique and fund chance for you, or your group, to message concerns about our environment that are not being addressed by local media. FFFF “The Fast Forward Film Festival (FFFF) invites emerging and established filmmakers from the greater Rochester area to submit to the inaugural Fast Forward Film Festival. As an incubator for innovative thinking and artistic expression, FFFF encourages films that tap into the local experience and compel audiences to engage with the community and raise environmental awareness.”

  • 11/21/2014 - Has Climate Change caused this cold spell with extreme snowfall in our region?  People, rightly so, are starting to ask.  My view is that if it is even remotely possible that we have upset our weather by Climate Change on level where we get the jitters every time extreme weather hits, we ought to start planning and adapting to Climate Change.  While the deniers continual to say that these extreme weather events fall within the normal range, or cold spell means Global Warming is not happening, climate experts are filling in our gaps of knowledge between extreme events and Climate Change. Waiting until we have exact proof that this or that storm was caused by Climate Change is a gamble—because in the meantime we haven’t been preparing on a worldwide level. The ‘wait and see’ stance that our local media are taking on these extreme events is a gamble that Climate Change is not the cause—which means we are squandering more and more time doing nothing to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change.  Cold snap caused by climate change-weakened jet stream, scientists suggest Experts say ocean warming-induced supertyphoon a factor in changed direction of cold blast hitting the US Arctic conditions in eastern United States this week may have been the result of climate change-induced stressors on the jet stream that regulates weather over the northern hemisphere, according to meteorologists. Residents in a large swath of the country's east have been met with sub-freezing temperatures over the past week. And overnight Wednesday, more than 5 feet of snow descended on parts of western New York state. Media have referred to the strange weather pattern as the Polar Vortex and the Arctic Blast.  Ironically, though, it was warmer-than-usual temperatures that likely sent the cold weather southwards. Climate change-induced ocean warming in the Pacific turned Typhoon Nuri into a “supertyphoon” that punched the jet stream off its course, bringing the North Pole's weather down over the eastern U.S., according to experts. (November 20, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/21/2014 - The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is not a giveaway; it is “a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world, in order to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.” It is in the best interest for the developing nations to create a fund where developing nations can develop without developing in the dirty energy way we did—because our life support system cannot handle that. U.N. Green Fund gets $9.3 billion in pledges at Berlin conference Donor nations pledged up to $9.3 billion on Thursday to a U.N. fund to help developing countries tackle climate change, but environmental campaigners said the funds fell short of what they want. The U.N. Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a major part of a plan agreed in 2009 whereby rich countries agreed to give $100 billion a year from both public and private sources from 2020 to help developing nations reduce carbon emissions and adapt to a changing global climate. The United Nations has set an informal target of $10 billion in initial contributions for the GCF this year, a goal that Germany - host of Thursday's conference - said was now within sight. Developing countries are pushing for $15 billion. (November 20, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/20/2014 - After dismal mid-term elections on Climate Change can GOP lead on Climate Change? Remember: They’re no scientist.  Watch Colberts' The Republicans' Inspiring Climate Change Message  

  • 11/20/2014 - If Congress doesn’t include Climate Change in talks on algae contamination of Lake Erie drinking water they’re missing the elephant in the lake. Read EPA's 2-page fact sheet "Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms " | Congress holds hearing on algae contamination of Lake Erie drinking water WASHINGTON, D. C. - A Lake Erie algae outbreak this summer that rendered Toledo area tap water undrinkable spurred a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Wednesday to examine what's being done to address problems. Subcommittee members including Bowling Green Republican Rep. Bob Latta called on the federal, state and local governments to work together to better understand the science, and human effects of algae contamination. "There is no single smoking gun that leads to algae-based toxin in drinking water," said Illinois Republican Rep. John Shimkus, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. "There are still plenty of things we don't know about this subject." (November 19, 2014) Cleveland.com [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 11/20/2014 - Shopping for kid’s Christmas presents? Don’t buy them toxic toys, find our more… Empire State Consumer Project 2014 Children’s Products Safety Report MEDIA ALERT:   CONSUMER GROUP STILL FINDS HIGH LEVELS OF TOXICS IN CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS     Pittsford, New York - Empire State Consumer Project (ESCP) announces its 43rd Annual Toy and Children's Products Report in a news conference Tuesday, November 18 at 10:00 AM in Room 101 of the Pittsford Recreation Department, 35 Lincoln Avenue, Pittsford.     ESCP's annual report highlights unsafe children's products, product designs and toxic product ingredients. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in the three year period from 2008 through 2010, there were 333 deaths of children under 5 from nursery products, or an average of 111 annually. For calendar year 2012, there were 11 reports of toy-related deaths and 265,000 toy-related injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments. ESCP of Rochester is one of the country's leading consumer advocacy groups. In 2013, the group's 2010 testing of apple juices for arsenic led the FDA to set arsenic limits on apple juice of 10 ppm.   For more information on Empire State Consumer Project's 43rd Annual Toy and Children's Products Report (attached), contact Judy Braiman at 585-383-1317. (November 2014) Empire State Consumer Project, Inc.  [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 11/20/2014 - Rachel Maddow nails the absurdity of vote on Keystone XL. Watch, only 6.15 minutes. What On Earth Were They Thinking? Rachel Maddow On The Democratic Party

  • 11/20/2014 - ACTION: New York State needs a clear and enforceable climate action plan so we can prepare our state for damage to our public health, our water, waste, transportation, telecommunications infrastructures and agriculture.  This cannot be done ad hoc, or just with grants, or just using the market forces.  Properly planning for something as pervasive as Climate Change needs top-down direction from our leaders.  Urge Governor Cuomo to Develop a Climate Action Plan "Governor Cuomo,  The world is changing. New York communities have been caught devastated by the growing climate crisis, suffering through hurricanes and other extreme weather events. World leaders, assembled by the United Nations for a summit on the climate crisis, have recognized the need to act now to protect communities worldwide from the ravages of climate change, and to create an economy that works for the people and the planet.  Governor, you’ve already made a commitment to an 80 percent reduction in carbon pollution by 2050. We applaud you for this. We ask that you articulate your plan for getting us there. It is time for you to take the bold step to pull our state out of the dirty energy ways of the past and to move us forward with energy sources that are clean, healthy and beneficial for all New Yorkers.  We, the undersigned are asking your administration to seize the moment by creating a climate action plan for New York. We believe that without such a plan, piecemeal efforts to offset or mitigate the hazards of climate change will too little and too late. New York should be a clean energy leader, and a leader in cutting climate-altering pollution. We are calling on you to prepare a plan to fight climate change, keep our communities safe, and move New York away from the dirty fossil fuels of the past.  Sincerely, " from Environmental Advocates of New York

  • 11/20/2014 - Take action Tell EPA to put “strongest limits ever proposed to end the worst climate change polluter: dirty coal plants”: ACTION: SUPPORT A STRONG CARBON RULE  (You have about 10 days left to comment on the nation’s Clean Power Plan, as presented by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year. Nov 30th) The fossil fuel industry is rising up against the strongest limits ever proposed to end the worst climate change polluter: dirty coal plants. But the industry doesn’t have the public’s support. We do. Dirty power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution that is driving climate change. Right now, these plants are dumping as much carbon as they want into the atmosphere, and we and our children are stuck with the costs. It's time to adopt commonsense limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Tell the EPA you support these limits on carbon pollution and to make them as strong as possible. The polluters and their allies will be doing everything they can to stop it. So let’s give this everything we can." From Earth Justice  Read more: Nonrenewable Power Strikes Hardest At “The Least Of Us”  from CleanTechnica 

  • 11/20/2014 - Climate Change’s evil sibling—ocean acidification—needs to be monitored, adapted to, and mitigated also. Discovering a baseline is critical. 40 Years of Scratching Reveals Ocean Acidification Data As carbon dioxide levels increase due largely to human emissions, the world’s oceans are becoming highly corrosive to a number of organisms that call it home. But the rate of acidification and related changes are anything but uniform. That’s why a new study aims to set a baseline for nearly every patch of saltwater from sea to acidifying sea so that future acidification and its impacts can be better monitored. Taro Takahashi, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who authored the new study in Marine Chemistry, said it has been a decades-long process to compile enough data about ocean acidification to effectively set a benchmark. Think of the ocean as a giant scratch ticket and the ships and research stations in Bermuda, Hawaii, Iceland and elsewhere as a coin used to slowly scratch away at the surface, revealing just how much the ticket is worth. It took 40 years of scratching but now there’s finally enough data in Takahashi’s eyes to set an accurate baseline. (November 18, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/19/2014 - Proud moment on #noKXL when I saw NYS Senators Schumer and Gillibrand vote NO! on political theater pipeline bill last night. Our state senators can do much more to help NYS adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. Schumer, Gillibrand help defeat Keystone XL pipeline in U.S. Senate WASHINGTON, D.C. -- New York's two U.S. senators Tuesday night helped defeat a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast, striking a blow against a member of their own party. U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., were among 41 senators who voted against the bill, which needed 60 votes for passage. The bill fell one vote short of passage, 59-41. The bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., had the support of all 45 Republican senators. But Landrieu could not convince enough Democrats to cross over and support the legislation. Schumer said he voted against the bill because the pipeline's oil will be shipped overseas, instead of staying in the United States. (November 18, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/19/2014 - The G20 givth and the G20 taketh away. They pledge to phase out dirty fossil fuels, then give $88B to explore for more. What’s wrong with this freaking picture? G20 governments propping up fossil fuel exploration The G20 pledged to phase out 'inefficient' fossil fuel subsidies in 2009, yet new research finds that governments are spending $88 billion every year supporting exploration – more than double what the oil and gas companies are investing. READ THE FULL REPORT The fossil fuel bailout: G20 subsidies for oil, gas and coal exploration Publication - November 2014 (November 2014) Overseas Development Institute (ODI)  [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/19/2014 - ACTION: President Obama, please stop 'game over' dirty tars sands fossil fuel so we can get going on adapting to and mitigating Climate Change. Everyone, please sign this petition. Sign the petition to President Obama

  • 11/19/2014 - ACTION: Please sign Environmental Action's petition to UnFrack Obama's Clean Power Plan:  A few months ago, President Obama and the EPA proposed the nation's first-ever rules to limit global warming pollution from power plants. It's a great idea, but we've discovered a hidden flaw in the rules that could spell disaster: The rules currently favor fracked gas over renewables.  If these rules aren't fixed, they could encourage dozens of power plants to switch to gas, shackling Americans to toxic fracking for decades to come. We only have until December 1st to file official public comments telling the EPA to fix the rules.

  • 11/19/2014 - Keystone XL pipeline vote was political theater, President Obama should step up and reject this dirty tar sands pipeline once and for all. Keystone XL Bill Defeated in the Senate In response to a vote in the United States Senate on the Keystone XL pipeline, 350.org Executive Director May Boeve issued the following statement: “Once again, Congress tried to play games with our future–and failed. Since Keystone XL has always been President Obama’s decision, this vote was never anything more than an empty gesture of political theater. (November 18, 2014) 350.org [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/19/2014 - Climate Change: weather patterns like lake-effect snow will get more disruptive—warmer water, less ice, more snow. These Photos of Lake Effect Snow Are Crazy Lake effect snow is the result of that cold, dry air moving over warmer water and picking up the moisture and heat, then dumping it as snow on the nearest downwind shoreline. In this case, that’s western New York. As the overall climate warms, lake effect snow has been increasing around the Great Lakes, because of less ice capping off the water. (November 18, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2014 - The road to 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris will be fraught with humanity’s inertia. Learn more (first Hand) how U.S. Climate Diplomacy will work: Attend online: Entering the Homestretch: U.S. Climate Diplomacy on the Road to Paris November 24, 2014, 12:00pm ET - 1:00pm ET Register Here. --from Center for American Progress

  • 11/18/2014 - Turning Philadelphia and maybe Albany into fossil fuel hubs, is this what we really want? Or are we just too preoccupied to push for renewable energy that won’t threaten our life support system?  There are many ways where “The World Can Transition to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy Starting Today” http://thesolutionsproject.org/ Is it just easier and less inconvenient to let the fossil fuel industry, who are mad about making money regardless, preempt our moral responsibility to keep our environment healthy for generations to come? Could Philadelphia be the next Houston? The oil industry hopes so Public and private stakeholders are pushing to further capitalize on the Marcellus Shale fracking boom Philadelphia’s City Council will hold hearings this month to explore opportunities to help establish the city as an energy hub — a boon for an increasingly influential coalition of public and private players who want to transform it into the Houston of the Northeast. “Philly has the best ports, the best workforce, the best transportation and roads, great educational institutions and two very healthy refineries,” said Michael Krancer, a former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, now a lawyer working with some of the energy companies involved in pushing for the city to become an energy center. “To put it mildly, eastern Pennsylvania is where the opportunity is to valorize our shale industry,” he said. Krancer and others want to make Philadelphia a hub for processing and distributing the massive amounts of energy flowing through the state, thanks to the Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing boom. (November 15, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Fracking and Energy in our area]

  • 11/18/2014 - Meet some of the most prominent climate sceptics (and deniers) who will fight our every attempt to address Climate Change.  Not only do we have a dysfunctional media, an uninformed public, and physics, we have powerful folks who have nothing better to do with their lives than keep their anti-science ideology alive—even though it will put us all in great danger. Meet the Republicans in Congress who don't believe climate change is real On Tuesday, the Senate will vote to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. With Republicans now in control of both chambers in Congress, here’s a round-up of some of the most prominent climate sceptics (and deniers) in the GOP It’s much easier to list Republicans in Congress who think climate change is real than it is to list Republicans who don’t, because there are so few members of the former group. Earlier this year, Politifact went looking for congressional Republicans who had not expressed scepticism about climate change and came up with a list of eight (out of 278). But with the GOP taking over the Senate next year – and with the Senate set to vote on approving the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday – the question again arises of what, exactly, prominent Republicans think about the evidence that humans are changing the climate. (November 17, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2014 - “History knocked on your door—did you answer?” Climate Change Is a People’s Shock What if, instead of accepting a future of climate catastrophe and private profits, we decide to change everything? Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, by Naomi Klein (Simon & Schuster). Click here for information about the book and Naomi’s September/October 2014 tour dates. The Nation will be livestreaming her sold-out US book launch on September 18 at 6 pm EST; you can watch that here. About a year ago, I was having dinner with some newfound friends in Athens. I had an interview scheduled for the next morning with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s official opposition party and one of the few sources of hope in a Europe ravaged by austerity. I asked the group for ideas about what questions I should put to the young politician. Someone suggested: “History knocked on your door—did you answer?” (October 6,) The Nation / Naomi Klein [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2014 - 10 more arrested to protect Seneca Lake waters (35 arrested thus far) and a large rally is planned for the arraignment of the 16 arrested in earlier actions for Nov. 19th.  10 Arrested as ‘We Are Seneca Lake’ Protests Continue Ten people were arrested today for blockading the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake. This protest marks the fourth week of the “We Are Seneca Lake” campaign to stop the major expansion project at the methane gas storage facility where plans are underway to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west side of Seneca Lake. Thirty-five people have been arrested so far during this campaign, including Dwain Wilder who just finished serving eight days in jail after refusing to pay his fine. Today’s protest included a number of participants of the Great March for Climate Action who recently finished a 3,000-mile walk from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. The marchers arrived in DC on Nov. 1 and then spent a week blockading the entrances of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission—the federal agency that approved the Crestwood expansion project—where more than 100 people were arrested during the Beyond Extreme Energy protests. (November 17, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/17/2014 - Incredible news about G20 meeting hijacked by Climate Change and Green Fund, but nothing in Rochester news.  Or in the Sunday news programs for that matter, except some pissing and moaning that President Obama seems to have forgotten that the GOP was just given a mandate to ignore Climate Change after the mid-term elections.  Mainstream media, what incredible nonsense. Rochester media has really got to change from a position of climate denial to properly informing the public of what is going on now—Climate Change. You must let your media know this climate denial thing is unacceptable. G20 pledges lift Green Climate Fund towards $10 billion U.N. goal A promise by Japan on Sunday to give up to $1.5 billion to a U.N. fund to help poor nations cope with global warming puts the fund within sight of a $10 billion goal and brightens prospects for a U.N. climate pact next year. Japan's pledge, at the G20 meeting of world leaders in Australia, raises the total promised to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to $7.5 billion, including up to $3 billion by U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday. The Seoul-based GCF Secretariat in a statement hailed the pledges as a turning point before a first donors' conference in Berlin on Thursday. The United Nations has set an informal target of raising $10 billion this year. (November 16, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/17/2014 - For those who think the People’s Climate March didn’t make a difference, let them watch the proceedings of the G20.  The public, the pubic around the world that is, is getting impatient with Climate Change denial and the self-interest of the fossil fuel industry.  Changes in the public’s attitudes on Climate Change are afoot. Pressure mounts on G20 governments to drop fossil fuels  As world leaders meet in Australia for the G20 meeting, analysts, youth and religious leaders are all urging the heads of government of the biggest economies of the world to turn their back on fossil fuels, by ending their financial support for dirty energy. With this year’s G20 hailed as a finance and economics forum, there is no better platform for rich nations to put their money where their mouth is on climate change. Ahead of the meeting faith leaders added their voice to the mounting calls for G20 leaders to make good on their promises to eliminate “perverse” handouts to oil and gas companies, which are driving climate change and risking health and prosperity of untold millions of people globally. A new report released this week shows that G20 countries are spending a combined USD$88 billion a year subsidising exploration efforts for more oil, coal, and gas reserves despite pledging to get rid of “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” in 2009. (November 14, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/17/2014 - If you get your news in Rochester, you’ll have to look far away to find the biggest environmental story at your footstep.  Your neighbors are willing to put themselves in harm’s way and to be jailed to protect our wine country, our water, and the character of Seneca Lake. Be nice if some of our local media could inform our public about this issue and what the consequences of storing lots of liquid natural gas (I mean really a lot) in salt mines meant for say, salt, not extracted, explosive, fossil fuels that warm up the planet when burned. Upstate New Yorkers fear gas caves could blow wine, tourism industries Activists fight expansion of energy storage facility they say poses safety, environmental and economic threat In Watkins Glenn — an idyllic part of upstate New York best known for its Finger Lakes, fall foliage and wine — activists worry it could soon be known for something less appealing: industrial disaster. Protesters in the area are engaging in civil disobedience to stop the expansion of a gas storage facility that stores fracked gas from Pennsylvania in old mined-out salt caves, claiming it presents a safety risk to local residents, an environmental danger to the Finger Lakes region and an economic threat to the area’s wine and tourism industries. “We do not want the crown jewel of the Finger Lakes and the font of the wine industry turned into a massive gas station for the fracking industry,” said Sandra Steingraber, a prominent anti-hydraulic-fracturing activist and environmental studies professor at Ithaca College who was one of about a dozen protesters who have been arrested several times during continued protests, most recently on Nov. 3, for blocking the entrance to the storage facility. In Watkins Glenn — an idyllic part of upstate New York best known for its Finger Lakes, fall foliage and wine — activists worry it could soon be known for something less appealing: industrial disaster. Protesters in the area are engaging in civil disobedience to stop the expansion of a gas storage facility that stores fracked gas from Pennsylvania in old mined-out salt caves, claiming it presents a safety risk to local residents, an environmental danger to the Finger Lakes region and an economic threat to the area’s wine and tourism industries. “We do not want the crown jewel of the Finger Lakes and the font of the wine industry turned into a massive gas station for the fracking industry,” said Sandra Steingraber, a prominent anti-hydraulic-fracturing activist and environmental studies professor at Ithaca College who was one of about a dozen protesters who have been arrested several times during continued protests, most recently on Nov. 3, for blocking the entrance to the storage facility. (November 16, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/17/2014 - “All these extraction and dispersal activities [Earth’s crust] are unsustainable,” which is to say, unmaintainable, unsupportable, unbearable, unjustifiable, unworkable, indefensible, unviable, and unecological. SCD Concepts: Extraction and Dispersal- What’s In the Crust Should Probably Stay In the Crust Most of the time, our thinking about the environment and ecology of the Finger Lakes takes into account only half the picture – the half we see on the surface.  We look around and see sky, lakes, streams, forests, fields, and communities. Photos, maps, GIS data, and our daily observations almost always depict only what we see.  But there is another part of our Finger Lakes environment we tend to overlook. Below our fields, lakes, and forests is the unseen world below: the crust of the earth.  We do not see it or live in it, but we often extract useful things from it. And doing so may pose a slow-moving sustainability problem we need to turn around. In the Finger Lakes, we extract groundwater from wells where there is no suitable surface water, lake or stream, to draw water from for human use. We extract rock salt from deep mines, much of which goes to soften the well water or melt the winter snow and ice that hampers travel. We take natural gas from irreplaceable deposits in geologic formations to use as an energy source. Rock and gravel from quarry pits becomes asphalt of our roads and concrete of our buildings and sidewalks. (November 3, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 11/15/2014 - What’s the point of our creating environmental rules and regulations if our authorities don’t’ know about them? Help out, be pro-active on protecting your life support system by calling in environmental violations. New state hotline announced for reporting polluters, poachers The public will be able to instantly report poachers and polluters using a new toll-free hotline that will help to ensure strict enforcement of environmental laws that protect the State's natural resources, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced Thursday. The public will be able to instantly report poachers and polluters using a new toll-free hotline that will help to ensure strict enforcement of environmental laws that protect the State’s natural resources, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced Thursday. The toll-free hotline number is 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267). The hotline will be staffed 24/7 and connect callers to a DEC police dispatcher.  (November 13, 2014) Irondequoit Post [more on Action in our area]

  • 11/15/2014 - Looks like we are going to have to address the worldwide crisis of Climate Change with an arm tied behind our backs. A major supply of our energy to combat Climate Change will be spent (squandered) fighting the lunatics in our government who are dead set on holding to their climate denial ideology—no matter how many freaking times they’ve been proven wrong.  Senate Republicans Vow To Dismantle Carbon Emissions Rules Just days after the midterm elections, Republicans are picking the big targets at which to aim their new majorities, and the federal effort to cut carbon emissions is one of them. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled regulations cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new and existing power plants, respectively. President Obama has laid out a plan to honor the United States’ international commitment to reduce its GHG emissions 17 percent below their 2005 levels by 2020, and those two regulations form the core of that effort. They also appear to be near the top of the list of things the Republicans’ wish to dismantle, once they come into Congress in January with a newly-solidified grip on the House of Representatives and a new majority in the Senate. (November 9, 2014) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2014 - Beautiful Solutions: Addressing Climate Change doesn’t have to be as dreary as the fossil fuels makes it out, we can change.  There are solutions (admittedly, not good for the fossil fuel industry) and some of the solution can come from you. Check out Beautiful Solutions “The Beautiful Solutions Gallery and Lab is an interactive space for sharing the stories, solutions and big ideas needed to build new institutional power and point the way toward a just, resilient, and democratic future. Developed by Beautiful Solutions in partnership with This Changes Everything, this is an open-ended project that will continue to evolve based on the ideas you submit to the Lab, and the ongoing contributions of the thinkers and practitioners on the forefront of building alternatives.”

  • 11/15/2014 - Ok, I’ll admit, I wasn’t very impressed with NYS new website—until I typed “Climate Change” into their search engine. Then voila!  However, it would be nice if our state put up its Climate Change information front and center in their new website to inform New Yorkers of the importance of Climate Change, its Climate Smart Communities program to help all NYS communicates adapt to Climate Change, what the state is doing, and the latest Climate Study: Climate Action Plan Interim Report—which is a very comprehensive study about the consequences of Climate Change in our state and what the state is planning. These are all critical information for New Yorkers and you shouldn’t have to be hunting all over their new web to find out the most important information the state, your state, has to offer.

  • 11/15/2014 - One of the reasons the mid-elections went so bad for our environment, is that media coverage blinded many folks to the priority of Climate Change.  That our leading public communications outlet would gut their climate reporting team is unacceptable. Climate Chang is about planning and we cannot plan if the public is not informed of the all the implications and consequences of this disaster. So, please sign the petition and get your public radio to do their job on informing you of this complex crisis. Sign the petition: Stop NPR from gutting its climate coverage National Public Radio just made the baffling decision to drastically reduce its staff dedicated to covering climate change and the environment, leaving just one part-time reporter on the beat. It’s unacceptable for one of America’s major sources of journalism in the public interest to essentially abandon it’s coverage of climate and the environment by reducing the staff covering it from four full-time journalists to one part-time reporter. Tell NPR: One part-time reporter is not enough. Reverse the decision to slash your team of reporters covering climate change and the environment. NPR pays attention to its critics, and is sensitive to criticism that it is failing to meet its duty to inform the public on the most pressing issues of the day. Add your name to the CREDO petition to show NPR that Americans want more coverage of climate change and other environmental issues, not less. (November 12, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/14/2014 - Support cleaning up the Genesee River. CEI has entered the Genesee RiverWatch into the Ready to Roc video contest. You can support our efforts and help us win by going to this page and voting for our video.  Learn more about the Genesee RiverWatch here.

  • 11/14/2014 - As we fight for our lives and future to address Climate Change, remember the folks we are fighting have a lot of our money to fight with. With an industry solely bent on their survival and not necessarily ours, it’s going to be hard to reduce greenhouse gases when the very industry we are trying to curb is getting zillions of dollars of tax subsidies from us.  As for the character of our fight to address Climate Change: “I am he as you are he as you are me And we are all together” Which is to say WE ought to take those tax gifts away from the very industry warming up the planet. Rich countries subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by $88bn a year US, UK, Australia giving tax breaks to explore new reserves despite climate advice that fossil fuels should be left buried Rich countries are subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn (£55.4bn) a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn. Most of the support was in the form of tax breaks for exploration in deep offshore fields. The public money went to major multinationals as well as smaller ones who specialise in exploratory work, according to British thinktank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Washington-based analysts Oil Change International. (November 10, 2014) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/14/2014 - On Ginna nuclear power plant in Rochester, NY AGREE say’s “Ginna, Looking for a Handout”  “In June, 2014, nuclear company Exelon announced that its Ginna nuclear reactor in Wayne County is losing millions of dollars and will close unless the Public Service Commission forces ratepayers to pay more money to keep the plant open. If Exelon gets its way, Rochester-area ratepayers would be on the hook to help Ginna become profitable again by digging into their own pockets! Sound outrageous? We think so, too, and we are organizing to keep Ginna from getting this bailout. The Public Service Commission needs to hear from you. Submit a comment here:  --from Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) State board orders RG&E, Ginna plant talks The fate of aging upstate power plants was the focus of discussion Thursday in the state's capital, with a Rochester-area nuclear facility moving closer to a reprieve and an Ithaca-area coal plant the subject of protest. State regulators on Thursday ordered Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. to begin negotiating a plan that would keep the R.E.Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County up and running, but an eventual agreement would likely mean higher costs for ratepayers. Later in the day, a few dozen protesters from Tompkins County crowded a Capitol staircase, calling on the commission and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to oppose a proposed plan to switch the coal-burning Cayuga Power Plant in Lansing over to cheaper natural gas. (November 13, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/13/2014 - If you are even remotely interested in the future of life on this planet, this is a must read. The Big Climate Deal: What It Is, and What It Isn’t (November 12, 2014) 350.org

  • 11/13/2014 - Yeah, NYT editorial is saying what anti-frackers have been saying, “some environmentalists say there has been very little public input." The public already knows Fracking is bad for our environment, bad for our communities’ sovereign rights, bad for public health, and bad for energy development—as drilling for more fossil fuels in the bedrock of our state would undermine efforts to increase renewable energy during a time of Climate Change. Here’s the clincher: “"The governor will make enemies no matter what direction he moves in, but before moving at all he should insist on a comprehensive and credible analysis."” A secret DOH "review" is simply not a "comprehensive and credible analysis."  Round Two for Gov. Cuomo The decision on whether to authorize hydraulic fracturing for extracting natural gas along the state’s southern tier has been on hold pending a State Health Department study of the effects on the environment and human health. The study is due by the end of the year, and some environmentalists say there has been very little public input. The governor will make enemies no matter what direction he moves in, but before moving at all he should insist on a comprehensive and credible analysis. (November 9, 2014) New York Times (editorial) [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/13/2014 - Meet one of the heroes, retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Collen Boland, fighting to keep Seneca Lake waters free from contamination. Considering signing a petition or donating to help this cause to reject Inergy Midstream‘s (now Crestwood) proposal to store Liquefied Petroleum Gas and expand natural gas storage at facilities on the shore of Seneca Lake in Reading, NY. More at Gas Free Seneca Even folks in the Rochester area should care about the health of our Finger Lakes. Airman-turned-activist arrested for 'civil disobedience' Retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Collen Boland will mark Veteran's Day with a vigil outside Schuyler County Jail in New York tonight. That's where a fellow veteran is serving a 15-day sentence for refusing to pay a fine for trespassing — and where she too may end up following a court appearance scheduled for next week. Boland and Dwain Wilder, a former sailor, were among 10 protesters arrested Oct. 27 for blocking the entrance of an energy company that four days earlier got the green light to expand an existing natural gas storage facility near the largest of New York's pristine Finger Lakes. (November 12, 2014) AirForceTimes [more on Seneca Lake and Energy in our area]

  • 11/13/2014 - Want to know about Lead Poisoning in Rochester? You have to go to Buffalo’s Investigative Post.  All sounds very nice in lowering lead poisoning in our children, but ya gotta ask: Why did we put lead in our paint and our gasoline for so long, when we knew the dangers of lead? I know, we should be happy that the numbers of lead poisoning cases are doing down, and we are, but there’s a lesson to be learned here, that the burden of proof for dangerous chemicals we put into our products is placed on the victims. Until folks drop or are permanently damaged by injecting lead into them, we assume Corporations would never put anything in their products that would do our children or environment any harm—and we are continually proven wrong. Rochester leads on lead while Buffalo dallies Rochester used to have a lead problem at least as bad as Buffalo’s. But officials there got serious a decade ago and developed a program that’s considered a national model that some think Buffalo should emulate. Ralph Spezio, principal of an inner-city elementary school, was Rochester’s catalyst for change. Fifteen years ago he overheard two nurses talking about a pupil’s high blood lead level. “Then the other one said, ‘They are all lead poisoned,’” Spezio said. He was alarmed and wanted to know more. He signed a confidentiality agreement with the Monroe County Health Department and obtained lead test results for his youngest pupils. (November 17, 2014) Investigative Post [more on Lead Poisoning in our area] 

  • 11/13/2014 - Pretty funny hearing climate critics downplaying Obama’s deal with China, when it’s what GOP has demanded on any agreement. It’s frustrating, especially after the People Climate March, to know that the people want to see our leaders act on Climate Change, but most of the energy to fight Climate Change will get consumed by fighting those who would keep us fueled by fossil fuels regardless.  Bad as things might have been, it’s going to be so much worse trying to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change with the small but powerful deniers as monkeys on our back. Obama Reaches Climate Deal with China — and GOPCongress May Not Be Able to Stop It The United States and China, the world’s two largest polluters, have agreed on new target limits for greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. Announcing the deal in China with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Obama said the United States will set a goal of reducing carbon emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a doubling of current reduction efforts. China has also made its first-ever commitment to stop emissions from growing by 2030. We are joined by Jake Schmidt, director of the International Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. (November 12, 2014) Democracy Now! [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/13/2014 - When the cat’s away, the mice will play. When Obama is forging a deal with China, as GOP insisted must happen, the GOP tries to ram Keystone down the US.  I suspect as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris gets nearer, it’s going to get very whacky in Congress. The more we try to make a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world, the more those with lots of money to make from fossil fuels will double-down their efforts to stop measures to lower greenhouse gases.  We are living in very interesting times. Keystone pipeline approval bills advance in Congress Legislation to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline began racing through the U.S. Congress on Wednesday as Democrats and Republicans appeared to be coming together in a challenge of President Barack Obama'soversight of the project. In a series of rapid developments that unfolded just hours after Congress returned from a seven-week recess, there were indications the measure could pass and be sent to Obama sometime next week. Republicans, victorious in the Nov. 4 congressional elections in which they campaigned heavily on the need for Keystone, have been pushing for approval of the project amid objections from some Democrats. (November 13, 2014) Reuters [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/12/2014 - As the LPG storage crisis near Seneca Lake shores continues, we must ask ourselves if NYS is setting the table for Fracking?  The lure of lots of money (I mean a lot) is making a lot of people stupid about threats we are putting on our local fresh water and putting more fossil fuels into our atmosphere and warming things up even more.  While we are on the subject of natural gas, we ought to find out how much methane is already escaping into our atmosphere from existing gas pipelines, just as they did in Boston “Thousands of gas leaks in Boston area, study finds| DEC issues conditions for Seneca Lake LPG storage The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued draft permit conditions for the Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC's proposed liquid propane gas storage facility that would use existing underground salt caverns. The release of the draft permit conditions is not an indication that DEC will approve the permit, according to the DEC. It is the next step leading to an issues conference Feb. 12 at the Holiday Inn Express in Horseheads. Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC has proposed to construct and operate a new facility for the storage and distribution of propane and butane on a portion of a 576-acre site located west of Seneca Lake in the Schuyler County Town of Reading. (November 11, 2014) StarGazette [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/12/2014 - Just watched incredible documentary on our relationship to Water WATERMARK: By Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky  Maybe Rochester can get a local showing of this film. "Watermark is a feature documentary from multiple-award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, marking their second collaboration after Manufactured Landscapes in 2006. The film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. We see massive floating abalone farms off China’s Fujian coast and the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world – the Xiluodu, six times the size of the Hoover. We visit the barren desert delta where the mighty Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean, and the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka.We witness how humans are drawn to water, from the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, where thirty million people gather for a sacred bath in the Ganges at the same time. We speak with scientists who drill ice cores two kilometers deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet, and explore the sublime pristine watershed of Northern British Columbia. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. In Watermark, the viewer is immersed in a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted- until it’s gone."

  • 11/12/2014 - ‘Green Drinks’ for November is coming up: Center for Environmental Initiatives  Join us for November Green Drinks on Thursday, November 20 from 4-6 pm at RED Rochester LLC's Kings Landing Waste Water Treatment Plant, 480 Maplewood Dr., Rochester 14615. Tour the facility and learn about RED Rochester's initiatives. Tour starts promptly at 4.

  • 11/12/2014 - Let’s face it Rochester, NY we do not have watchdog journalism like Buffalo’s Investigate Post. Watch this on Lead Poisoning.  What if Rochester journalism included investigating our sewer system, our addressing Climate Change, transportation, recycling and landfill, and more environmental issues with the doggedness of the Investigative Post?  Buffalo is ‘ground zero’ for lead poisoning Young children in Erie County, mostly from Buffalo’s inner city, are testing positive for lead poisoning at more than triple the state average. As a result, hundreds of children enter Buffalo schools every year dealing with the impacts of lead poisoning, which can include lowered IQ and behavioral problems. The chief source of the problem is lead-based paint chips and dust in Buffalo’s old housing stock. “Buffalo is ground zero in the entire country for lead poisoning,” said David Hahn-Baker, a local environmental activist who has studied the lead problem for three decades. Yet City Hall treats lead poisoning as someone else’s problem to resolve. (November 11, 2014) Investigative Post [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]   

  • 11/12/2014 - Brighton Color Green’s program--during one week in spring and one week in fall—to reduce greenhouse gases emissions via transportation results are in: Curb Your Car Week Fall 2014 Results "The Fall 2014 Curb Your Car Week event took place the week of October 5–11, 2014. During that week, 60 residents from Brighton and Rochester registered their pledge to walk, bike, carpool, or ride the bus for at least a day as an alternative to drive their car." Brighton Color Green

  • 11/12/2014 - Could the “Omega Block,” an anomalous atmospheric setup at the cutting edge of climate change research be causing our cold spell, that some are calling: “Super Frigid Terrifying Polar Express Storm Vortex Snowpocalypse." Tighten your seatbelts, our climate is going to get whacky. Meet the “Omega Block,” Your Wintry Companion for (At Least) the Next Two Weeks North America’s weather is a complete mess right now. And it’s not about to change anytime soon. Thanks to a boost by the impressive extratropical remnants of Typhoon Nuri, which over the weekend likely became the Bering Sea’s most intense storm on record, the atmosphere has entered an extreme pattern. The highly elongated jet stream, whose circuitous route right now bends from Siberia down toward Hawaii back to the Arctic north of Alaska and then straight south toward the Midwest and East Coast, is morphing into an “Omega Block,” named after the Greek letter of a similar shape. (November 10, 2014) Slate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/12/2014 - How do trade agreements—NAFTA, TPP, and TTIP—affect our ability to address Climate Change? Why the climate movement cannot ignore trade In September, I joined more than 400,000 community members on the front lines of climate disruption— environmentalists, workers, students, parents, and others—to demand action on climate and to claim our collective rights to clean water, air, and land. As someone who has spent many years in the halls of Congress and United Nations climate conventions calling for strong climate action, this diverse and in-the-streets action was a beautiful, incredible feat that signals a tipping point in the climate movement that policymakers will not be able to ignore. But there is another tipping point that will affect the success of the climate movement: free trade. The health of our planet depends on our ability to make big changes in our economy. These changes include moving beyond fossil fuels and building local green economies. However, our current model of free trade, which is written into agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and free trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), threatens nearly every aspect of this much-needed economic transition. And yet, the U.S. is currently negotiating massive new free trade pacts, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 Pacific Rim nations and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union (October 27, 2014) Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - Big three-part series on dangers posed by lead paint contamination in Buffalo. Wondering if Lead Poisoning is even on Rochester’s radar.  Buffalo’s big lead poisoning problem Investigative Post, in the first of a three-part series, examines the danger posed by lead paint contamination in Buffalo. Buffalo children aged five and under test positive for lead poisoning at more than three times the state average. Erie County’s rate is the worst of the 11 counties that test 10,000 or more children a year. “Buffalo is ground zero in the entire country for lead poisoning,” said David Hahn-Baker, an environmental activist in Buffalo. (November 10, 2014) Investigative Post [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - Over 400 ocean ‘dead zones’ where Climate Change comes into play further increases our need to act on this worldwide crisis. So many of our eco-zones—land, oceans, and air—are under threat of many issues—pollution, development, etc.—and then Climate Change, the threat multiplier. Larger ‘dead zones,’ oxygen-depleted water, likely because of climate change Three years ago, the Chesapeake Bay was hit by an unusually large “dead zone,” a stretch of oxygen-depleted water that killed fish from the Baltimore Harbor to the mid-channel of the Potomac River and beyond, about a third of the bay. Another giant dead zone returned last summer, smaller than the first but big enough to rank as the estuary’s eighth largest since state natural resources officials in Virginia and Maryland started recording them in the 1990s. In a future of climate change, those behemoths might not seem so unusual, according to a new report by the Smithsonian. As the global temperatures warm, they will create conditions such as rain, wind and sea-level rise that will cause dead zones throughout the world to intensify and grow, the report says. (November 10, 2014) The Washington Post [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - If all of us starting pollinating all the plants that needed pollinating by all the bees, we might accomplish the work of one bee. With Climate Change, pesticides, our disruptive transportation infrastructure, and Collapse Colony Syndrome killing off our bees, we might just have to take on bee work just so we can eat.  Climate Change Disrupts Bee’s Pollination of Flowers Sexual deceit, pressed flowers and Victorian bee collectors are combined in new scientific research which demonstrates for the first time that climate change threatens flower pollination, which underpins much of the world’s food production. The work used museum records stretching back to 1848 to show that the early spider orchid and the miner bee on which it depends for reproduction have become increasingly out of sync as spring temperatures rise due to global warming. (November 8, 2014) Climate Central [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - A very inconvenient report about our transportation infrastructure and Climate Change from the US Forest Service.  This report (see below) is inconvenient because the underlying question--Are transportation networks hindering the ability of wildlife to successfully respond to climate change?—is absurd. It’s absurd because of course animals and plants (not to mention soil) cannot ‘move’ to adapt to Climate Change because of our ubiquitous roads, and highways, and parking lots.  It’s also absurd because even if we are able to conduct these studies, which will reveal the obvious, there is no way we will dig up roads to replace natural habitats.  The burden of proof for these studies, however irrational, are going to be placed on the researchers, on the folks who say that building more roads and even maintaining our existing transportation infrastructure is not only bad for our environment, but will make it almost impossible for animals and plants to adapt.  Nothing will stop engineers from building more roads and the public wanting more roads even if we find that this attitude will lead us to environmental perdition.  If we really, really cared about adapting to Climate Change, we’d get the public to know that this report exists and that it’s going to address some very troubling questions about our build environment. Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change realistically will not only involve greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, but more fundamentally the barriers to a healthy environment that our transportation system presents.  At the very least, we should begin thinking of way to help developing countries move away from creating a transportation system like ours—and that will be very difficult. Toward understanding the ecological impact of transportation corridors  Transportation corridors (notably roads) affect wildlife habitat, populations, and entire ecosystems. Considerable effort has been expended to quantify direct effects of roads on wildlife populations and ecological communities and processes. Much less effort has been expended toward quantifying indirect effects. In this report, we provide a comprehensive review of road/transportation corridor ecology; in particular, how this new field of ecology has advanced worldwide. Further, we discuss how research thus far has shaped our understanding and views of the ecological implications of transportation infrastructures, and, in turn, how this has led to the current guidance, policies, and management options. We learned that the impacts of transportation infrastructures are a global issue, with the potential to affect a wide variety of taxonomically diverse species and ecosystems. (2011) U.S. Forest Service [more on Transportation and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - Listen to this archived version of today’s (11/10/2014) WXXI program on the effect of recent elections on Climate Change. Three local experts examine the possible repercussions of our efforts to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change after the recent dismal election turnout.  Have we shot ourselves in the foot, as it were? Have we crippled our ability to adapt to Climate Change locally and possibly hampered our efforts to lead on Climate Change at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris?  Encourage WXXI and more local media to engage the public on Climate Change, the crisis of our generation. Connections: Recent Elections and Climate Change What do the election results mean for those who had hoped for more aggressive public policy relating to climate change? To say the least, advocates are disappointed. What's next? We discuss with our panel: Lawrence Torcello, RIT Ethics professor  Dr. Susan Spencer, solar scientist Abigail McHugh-GrifaThe Rochester People's Climate Coalition [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - Great encapsulation of the fight to save Seneca Lake waters from liquid gas storage near the shores of our largest Finger Lakes. Standing by Those Who Stand in the Way of Fracking Infrastructure It all began taking shape back in March of 2013, when Sandra Steingraber – the noted biologist, author, educator and advisor ofAmericans Against Fracking – and 11 other courageous individuals were arrested for blockading the entrance to a natural gas compressor station on the banks of Seneca Lake, in the environmentally sensitive Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. These so-called “Seneca Lake 12” were simply doing what countless other Americans have done over generations when they knew their health and safety were threatened, when their elected leaders weren’t there to help, and when they had no other choice: they stood up for their neighbors, their families and themselves, and were hauled off to jail. Sandra spent 10 days behind bars after defiantly refusing to pay a fine. (November 10, 2014) Food and Water Watch  [more on Seneca Lake]

  • 11/10/2014 - Important News: Why hasn’t NYS upheld the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act? Are we swimming in raw sewage?  “New Yorkers have a right to know when potentially harmful untreated sewage is discharged into waterways in their communities,” Cuomo said in August 2012. But the state Department of Environmental Conservation is not following the law. Seventeen months after the legislation was enacted, New Yorkers still do not “know if they are swimming, boating or fishing in raw sewage,” Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said in a prepared statement. WHAT'S IN THE WATER? STATE AGENCY'S FAILURE TO FOLLOW SEWAGE POLLUTION LAW PROVOKES QUESTIONS Each year the aging sewer infrastructure in New York’s cities, towns and villages dumps billions of gallons of raw sewage mixed with dirty stormwater into local waterways. These overflows close beaches, kill fish and wildlife, and sicken scores of people each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “No one swims in their toilet,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo. “We don’t want to swim in waterways that are contaminated.” In an attempt to provide immediate notification to New York residents about this public health threat, two years ago Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act into law. (October 30, 2014) City and State [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 11/10/2014 - If you haven’t read Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything,’ you haven’t read an important book being compared with “Silent Spring” Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ “Every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable.” Thus spoke President Kennedy in a 1961 address to the United Nations. The threat he warned of was not climate chaos — barely a blip on anybody’s radar at the time — but the hydrogen bomb. The nuclear threat had a volatile urgency and visual clarity that the sprawling, hydra-headed menace of today’s climate calamity cannot match. How can we rouse citizens and governments to act for concerted change? Will it take, as Naomi Klein insists, nothing less than a Marshall Plan for Earth? “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” is a book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable. Klein’s fans will recognize her method from her prior books, “No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies” (1999) and “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” (2007), which, with her latest, form an antiglobalization trilogy. Her strategy is to take a scourge — brand-­driven hyperconsumption, corporate exploitation of disaster-struck communities, or “the fiction of perpetual growth on a finite planet” — trace its origins, then chart a course of liberation. In each book she arrives at some semihopeful place, where activists are reaffirming embattled civic values." (November 6, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/10/2014 - What if we’ve been waiting to address Climate Change until it gets really bad and find out it got really bad long ago? The problem with trying to address Climate Change is that not only is our climate changing quickly so is our ability to measure it.  We should assume, as the Precautionary Principle demands, because there are still a lot of unknowns (like, are we measuring the temperature rises accurately?) we should act immediately and on a large scale to address Climate Change—assuming we could very well be underestimating the problem. Ironically, the Precautionary Principle where “the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action” means that we should take action to address Climate Change because the business-as-usual trajectory is where the burden of proof falls. Prove that continually warming the planet by burning fossil fuels won’t warm and harm the planet. Climate Change action would be to take action to adapt and mitigate a situation (massive human development using fossil fuels) where the Precautionary Principle was ignored. New study questions the accuracy of satellite atmospheric temperature estimates A new study finds that satellites may be underestimating the warming of the lower atmosphere Over the past decades, scientists have made many measurements across the globe to characterize how fast the Earth is warming. It may seem trivial, but taking the Earth’s temperature is not very straightforward. You could use temperature thermometers at weather stations that are spread across the globe. Measurements can be taken daily and information sent to central repositories where some average is determined.  A downside of thermometers is that they do not cover the entire planet – large polar regions, oceans, and areas in the developing world have no or very few measurements. Another problem is that they may change over time. Perhaps the thermometers are replaced or moved, or perhaps the landscape around the thermometers changes which could impact the reading. And of course, measurements of the ocean regions are a whole other story. (November 7, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 11/10/2014 - I don’t think that capping Earth’s temperature rise at 2C will avert disaster; but I’ve never heard we could reach 5C by mid-century. This must be a typo: “Scientists have said that at the current levels of emissions, the world is on track for as much as a 5 C rise by the middle of this century.” In all the articles and studies I have read (really a lot) I have never heard that 5C could be achieved by the middle of this century. If this scenario is even remotely true, it’s already game over. I’d like to see some supporting evidence for this mid-century 5C level, but the author gives none. Be nice to nail this figure down. As much as I think the public and the media are delusional about downplaying the consequences and lack of urgency on Climate Change, I think anyone who says that we could possibly reach 5C by mid-century should bring a lot of expert references to bear before making such a dramatic statement. I have read many times that 5C could be possibly be reached by 2100 if we continue business as usual, but never by mid-century. 5C, as most scientists would agree, would be probably beyond even our ability to adapt by 2100, but by 2050—just about impossible.  Capping warming at 2 C not enough to avert disaster, climate experts warn Former UN climate chief says 'no such thing as safe rise'; scientists fear tipping point will be met Scientists, environmentalists and world leaders alike have generally agreed that capping Earth’s temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius would prevent the worst effects of climate change — a cut-off touted again in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But many experts in the field, including former IPCC leaders, have said that even if global warming is kept to that limit, such a rise could nevertheless devastate the environment and endanger humanity — the very effects that the latest study warns will happen if the 2 C ceiling is breached. (November 8, 2014) Aljazeera American [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/08/2014 - Wouldn’t it be far more likely that there would be detrimental health effects from living next to a noisy highway than near a wind turbine? And yet we do not require continual public health impact studies for the folks who live near the zillions highways that surround us.  Could it be that we’ll do anything to avoid having renewable energy sources because that might threaten the fossil fuel industry? So we do studies on wind turbine noise, when clearly we rarely do studies on a more likely suspect for public health effects and noise.  No definitive link between wind turbines and poor health, says Health Canada study There is no connection between exposure to the wind turbine noise and health effects, says a new comprehensive Health Canada study. Living near towering wind turbines can be extremely annoying but there is no connection between exposure to the wind turbine noise and health effects, says a new comprehensive Health Canada study. Noise from wind turbines did not have any measurable effect on illness and chronic disease, stress and quality of sleep, the study found. But the louder the noise from the turbines, the more people got annoyed by different aspects — from the noise to the aircraft warning lights atop the turbines to the way they caused shadows to flicker. But Health Canada said the study on its own cannot provide definitive answers and more research may be needed. It also pointed out that annoyance isn’t trivial — those who were annoyed were more likely to report other health issues. (November 8, 2014) The Star [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 11/08/2014 - I don’t suppose at this eleventh hour that New York State just ban Fracking altogether because extreme extraction for more fossil fuels during Climate Change is nuts. I know, the present zeitgeist is that it’s insane to talk about renewable energy sources (wind and solar) because everyone, including the zillions of dollars and tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry being poured into this discussion about energy really, really wants to drill baby drill--regardless. The media has so filled the airwaves about more fossil fuels and so ignored the worldwide crisis of Climate Change that it seems crazy to do the right thing and get our energy in such a way that it doesn’t threaten our water, our soil, our air, and warm the planet up.  Science and reason and facts are no longer a part of the energy issue in New York State; they have been hijacked by this mad rush for more fossil fuels. Election Over, Will Cuomo Decide on Fracking? Now that elections are over, supporters and opponents of hydro fracking are wondering what will be Governor Andrew Cuomo’s next move on the long stalled gas drilling process in New York State. New York has had a defacto moratorium on fracking for several years. Most recently Governor Cuomo has said he’s awaiting results of an over two years long health review being conducted by his administration. During a debate in October, Cuomo said the review would finally be completed by the end of the calendar year. (November 7, 2014) WXXI News {more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/07/2014 - One of the things we absolutely have to do to address Climate Change is make sure our critical utilities are ready for more frequent disruptions. For all the doubt and dismissing of Climate Change in our region, our public officials must see to it that we are prepared for Climate Change and that we are prepared for the collateral damage due to Climate Change.  Our public officials do not have the luxury of doubting Climate Change—no matter how loony their political parties. More media attention, resulting in more public awareness, of what our public servants like A.G. Schneiderman, are doing to help folks after Hurricane Sandy ( a horrific storm probably resulting from Climate Change) damage and fortifying our critical utilities would bet to make it crystal clear to the public that Climate Change is real, that it is happening, and it must be planned for—especially by your government because only our government can set the playing field for addressing Climate Change and only our government (no matter how many donors and volunteers help out after a disaster) will always be the insurers and help of last resort. A.G. Schneiderman: Two Years After Sandy, We Must Remain Committed To Making New York Stronger Than Ever NEW YORK – Two years ago, on October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the Eastern seaboard with unprecedented strength and impact. Over 150 Americans lost their lives, including 53 in New York State, and millions were displaced.  The region suffered massive property damage – estimated at approximately $65 billion – to homes, buildings and infrastructure. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued the following statement on this solemn anniversary: “Two years ago today, Sandy slammed into our shores, wreaking havoc on our infrastructure and our communities. In the wake of this tragedy, people throughout the state, across the country and around the world came together to help however they could. Some helped neighbors to clean up, while others volunteered or donated to a charitable organization. Together, New Yorkers once again demonstrated tremendous resilience and our commitment build our state back even stronger than before. (October 29, 2014) NYS Attorney General Schneiderman [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2014 - What you have to ask yourself is what US politics has to do with the physics of Climate Change? Time passes. Chevron spent $72 per voter to defeat these green candidates — and failed At the headquarters for the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) Tuesday night, a man in a superhero mask made to look like the Chevron logo was capering around, handing play money to people and saying, “Vote for me!” It might have been a depressing piece of political theater, but given how the election turned out, it wasn’t. By the end of the night, it was clear that the RPA’s entire slate of candidates had won by a landslide — despite Chevron’s funneling at least $3 million into defeating them (about $72 for each registered voter in the city). RPA city council candidates Eduardo Martinez, Jovanka Beckles, and outgoing mayor Gayle McLaughlin all won, and RPA-endorsed candidate and city council member Tom Butt became the city’s new mayor. Butt’s election will free up a city council seat, which the RPA will try to fill with one of their own. If that happens, the group will have the four votes that will give them a majority on the council. (November 5, 2014) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2014 - How will the results of the US mid-term elections affect the relentless physics of Climate Change? Zip. Even installing Inhofe as chair of Senate environment committee, the denier-in-chief, will only affect our ability to address this worldwide crisis, but it won’t affect what happens when we fail to stop putting more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.  More GHG into the atmosphere, more disruption to our climate. We cannot politics ourselves out of Climate Change. We either plan successfully or we don’t. GOP Election Rout Delivers Blow to U.S. Leadership Role on Climate Change Deck in Congress is stacked in favor of fossil fuels, throwing Obama’s climate agenda in doubt during his lame-duck years. The role of the United States in confronting the global climate crisis has been cast into serious doubt after an election that stacked the deck in Congress in favor of fossil fuel industries. Republicans seized firm control, and added several new senators who deny that climate change is a problem. A solid majority of voters who spoke to exit pollsters said they regarded climate change as a significant matter, but most were on the Democratic side. By a huge margin, Republican voters said the opposite. And in state after hotly contested state, they elected their own to the Senate. (November 5, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 11/07/2014 - Does Rochester, NY really need another media, one that highlights what you have to say about issues important to you? YES! It freaking does. Move away from mainstream corporate media and become the media with Rochester Free Radio. Read “What is ‘local’ news on a warming planet?Get RFR On The Air Goal:  $15,000.00 Total:  $1643.00 To get Rochester Free Radio on the air and have your voice heard, we need your help to get our start-up costs covered.  $15,000 is our goal and with your support, we can make it.  Watch our video below then check out the amazing, one-of-a-kind swag we have for you.  Rochester Free Radio

  • 11/07/2014 - I’m thinking that if the EAB has acquired a taste for lilac’s it will be welcomed even less than it already is in Rochester, NY. Is the emerald ash borer (EAB) ‘thinking’ of branching out to new victims, like forsythia and lilac, unless we wage war with dangerous expensive chemical? Just when you think you’re getting your head around the invasive species issue and what problems plan for, some of them change their diets.  Not to mention Climate Change is going to change invasive species too. Borers branch out from ash trees Bad news in the bug department: The emerald ash borer, a tiny, glitter-green insect from China expected to kill virtually all ash trees in the eastern U.S. - unless they are treated with expensive chemicals - may have a new target. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that the borer had attacked the white fringe tree, which is in the same family as not only the ash, but forsythia and lilac. Experts don't know quite what to make of the find yet, other than that it is worrisome (November 6, 2014) McClatchy DC [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 11/06/2014 - In spite of US election results, the science of Climate Change and the up-coming Paris Climate conference are still on. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, whose “objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world” may be the last window of opportunity of mitigating Climate Change, bringing down GHG’s before the worldwide agreed on 2C above pre-industrial levels. Rochesterians and the world at large should be paying attention to this. IPCC Synthesis Report Highlights Science Strength  A distillation of the major findings of the fifth assessment report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been published today (Sunday 2 November 2014). Known as The Synthesis Report, the document pulls together all the various strands of the different AR5 documents published by the IPCC over the last year or so. The launch was accompanied by a major press conference in Copenhagen. At the press conference, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a global response to climate change: “We need everyone, even individual citizens, to take action,” he said. IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri told the press conference that “Business as usual is certainly not an option” and urged leaders to look at the science. (November 2, 2014)ReportingClimateScience.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/06/2014 - Notes from our friends over at Pachamama Alliance Group in Rochester:  “Discover the hope, connections and creative potential in these troubling times.  Awakening the Dreamer-Changing the Dream Symposium: an experience to inspire action toward the more sustainable, just and fulfilling world our hearts know is possible. Upcoming free events in our area:  Dec. 7, 2014, The Sufi Center,  494 East Avenue; Sinai Temple, Jan. 11, 2015 For info and registration see: http://www.uptous.org/ | For more information about hosting a symposium in the Rochester area, contact Sue Staropoli, suestar1@rochester.rr.com , 586-4007 or www.suestar.com

  • 11/06/2014 - I didn’t know that “GAS PRODUCTION BRINE APPROVED FOR USE ON MONROE AND NEIGHBORING COUNTY ROADS” Did you? GAS PRODUCTION BRINE APPROVED  FOR USE ON MONROE AND NEIGHBORING  COUNTY ROADS  ABOUT BRINE: 1/14/14: Democrat and Chronicle: Road Salt Recipes "Like Playing Mad Scientist" (no mention of fracking brine):  IN MONROE, GENESEE, WYOMING AND ORLEANS COUNTIES: Gas production brine (highly saline and potentially toxic and radioactive fluids) from conventional natural gas wells in Genesee and Wyoming Counties has been approved for use as a de-icing agent on certain Monroe, Wyoming, Genesee and Orleans Counties roads. Brine stored in East Rochester was used in the winter of 2011-2012, though not in 2012-2013, according to the BUD (Beneficial Use Determination) annual reports. R-Cause

  • 11/06/2014 - Of course, the soaring costs of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline does not include the environmental damage—as that externality isn’t figured in the books. TransCanada to Expand Pipelines, Even as Keystone Costs Soar Company Plans Billions in Spending to Meet Surging Growth in Distribution Needs CALGARY--- TransCanada Corp. said Tuesday it will spend up to 2.7 billion Canadian dollars ($2.38 billion) to expand its largest gas pipeline system in Western Canada to meet surging growth in shale gas supplies and will spend another C$475 million to expand a gas pipeline project in southern Ontario. (November 4, 2014) Wall Street Journal [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/06/2014 - Of course, you shouldn’t use Solar Power just because it’s cheaper, you should get it because it’s not a fossil fuel burning, GHG’s emitting, planet warmer. While You Were Getting Worked Up Over Oil Prices, This Just Happened to Solar Every time fossil fuels get cheaper, people lose interest in solar deployment. That may be about to change. After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states -- in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week. That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year. Even if the tax credit drops to 10 percent, solar will soon reach price parity with conventional electricity in well over half the nation: 36 states. Gone are the days when solar panels were an exotic plaything of Earth-loving rich people. Solar is becoming mainstream, and prices will continue to drop as the technology improves and financing becomes more affordable, according to the report. (October 29, 2014) Bloomberg News [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 11/06/2014 - Powerful statements on saving Seneca Lake made at “We Are Seneca Lake Pre-Arraignment Press Conference” last evening. One of the many highlights was Sandra Steingraber reading an amazing statement by the gas company that said “Our business involved many hazards and risks some of which might not be fully covered by insurance.” We Are Seneca Lake Pre-Arraignment Press Conference Published on Nov 5, 2014 Town of Reading Court, November 5, 2014. Lee McCaslin starts off with hoop drum and song. 1:48 Sandra Steingraber 7:33 Ret. Airforce Major Coleen Bolland 11:52 Jeannie and Patrick Judson [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/05/2014 - Americans, who ‘get’ Climate Change, will act only when they get hit with the consequences, like those who didn’t cause warming.  In short, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the moral arguments to address Climate Change (that not to do so will screw the developing nations first) are not working, nor obviously is the science of Climate Change.  Only when it is our ox that is being gored will we act, but by then of course, we will have lost the window of opportunity to keep GHG’s below 2C, and it will be too late. After the window closes and we haven't acted, we will try to adapt to more flooding, more droughts, more food disruption, more ecological collapse, the collapse of our water, waste, transportation and telecommunications infrastructures and more stress to our already inadequate public health system, and the failure of our insurance companies to pay for damages, and then we, like the many creatures and plants that will have fallen, we will follow. Belief in climate change doesn't always lead to action Americans are undergoing a significant shift in thinking about climate change, but rising public awareness of a warming climate has not translated into action, according to new survey research. In the recent 2014 Empire State Poll, 82 percent of New Yorkers say they believe climate change is happening. Downstate New Yorkers are even more convinced – 86 percent say climate change is real. However, less than 1 percent of the 800 New York state residents polled think climate change is the most important issue facing the state, and less than 20 percent would be willing to take political action. (November 4, 2014) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/05/2014 - What is being done to revive our local natural areas, our parks? Revival of Natural Areas Near You: State Parks’ Projects and Internship Opportunities New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) has always supported the enhancement, reconstruction and preservation of our state’s natural areas. In the upcoming years, Hobart and William Smith Colleges will see some particularly grand examples of these efforts in the state parks and historic sites closest to them. Students and faculty will also have the unique and exciting opportunity to assist NYS Parks with these projects through the Friends of Recreation, Conservation, & Environmental Stewardship (FORCES) program. (November 3, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Parks in our area]

  • 11/05/2014 - Just published and lots of local events and environmental information: Penfield Green Initative Nov 2014 e-newsletter "Penfield Green Initiative Vision Statement: The Penfield Green Initiative began in D12c 2007.  We are Penfield residents who want to promote positive environmental action & provide a forum for the general public to be involved supporting a "green Penfield." We encourage people to attend any of the following events or meetings. E-mail us with your comments & permission to publish them in the next monthly newsletter.  Please let us know of any other Environmental Issues or events. We'd enjoy hearing from you. "

  • 11/05/2014 - Of course in Rochester, NY and in many developed places the urgency behind the new IPCC study’s warming will not be heard: “We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2ºC of warming closes.” This ‘window’ that closes is our ability to still keep catastrophic warming from overtaking our future. Of course, even when the ‘window’ closes we will be able to (and will be compelled) to adapt to the consequences of Climate Change, but only for so long.  It is amazing that this message that the window of opportunity is closing, the most dramatic warning humanity has even been given by its experts, is going to be ignored.  When this window is passed and our children wonder why they are condemned to live on a planet whose life support system is scheduled to fail, hope (as we have known it) will be no more. IPCC warns time is running out to tackle climate change In the most comprehensive, authoritative and scrutinised assessment of climate change ever produced, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has offered its starkest warning yet about the challenges facing humanity. Not only does the IPCC show that climate change is real and that its impacts are happening faster than ever, but for the first time it lays out the true extent of human influence on the climate system. While previous estimates say human activity – primarily the burning of fossil fuels – is responsible for more than half of all warming, the latest report shows we are actually responsible for all warming since 1951. (November 3, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/05/2014 - The price we are going to pay because others desire to develop as we developed is going to be high indeed on a finite planet. Our commons—air, water, land, ocean—are proven not to be limitless.  670,000 smog-related deaths a year: the cost of China's reliance on coal Smog killed 670,000 people in 2012, says mainland study on pollution Smog caused by coal consumption killed an estimated 670,000 people in China in 2012, according to a study by researchers that tries to put a price tag on the environmental and social costs of the heavy reliance on the fuel. Damage to the environment and health added up to 260 yuan (HK$330) for each tonne produced and used in 2012, said Teng Fei , an associate professor at Tsinghua University. The 260 yuan is made up of two parts: the health cost and the environmental damage caused by mining and transporting coal. (November 5, 2014) South China Morning Post [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - Pretty please, don’t nuke the Great Lakes. Can we please get the energy we need from wind and not threaten the largest fresh water system in the world with nuclear waste? Blue Water communities oppose nuclear waste site As Canadian officials inch closer to a decision on an underground nuclear waste facility near Lake Huron, opposition in the Mitten is gaining strength. At least 76 communities in Michigan have formally opposed the proposed facility for low- and intermediate-level waste. The Ontario Power Generation facility would house about 7 million cubic feet of waste and be located about 2,200 feet below ground — about 0.6 miles from the shore of Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario. More than 30 of the communities opposed to the waste facility are in St. Clair and Sanilac counties. In September, the Canadian Joint Review Panel — a group established by the federal Ministry of Environment and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission — had a nine-day public hearing to discuss OPG's plans for the deep geologic repository. (October 31, 2014) The Times Herald [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - Toxic algae: connecting the dots with Great Lakes, Water Quality, Invasive Species and Climate Change.  This is our future, where Climate Change is the mother of all problems. We should be planning accordingly. But in Rochester, NY local news it’s not even on our radar. Invasive species compound toxic algae risk Conventional wisdom says western Lake Erie’s toxic algae is supported by commercial farm runoff, animal manure, sewage spills, faulty septic tanks, and other major sources of nutrients responsible for putting much of the excessive phosphorus and nitrogen in the water. But that’s not the whole story. As Great Lakes scientists probe deeper into the weeds on this issue, they find such contributing factors as invasive species and climate change also foster algal growth. Invasive species and climate change don’t cause algal blooms, but they worsen them. (November 3, 2014) The Toledo Blade [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, Invasive Species and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - No more rubbing stamping, FERC, including a methane gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake that allows methane storage in unstable salt caverns. Breaking: 25 Arrested Shutting Down FERC Office in DC Nearly 100 people from across the country participated in a nonviolent direct action protest this morning shutting down the office of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, DC. Today’s action was led by some of the Great March for Climate Action marchers who arrived at the nation’s capital on Nov. 1 after a 3,000-mile cross country walk from Los Angeles, California to Washington, DC. Police say 25 people were arrested this morning. “We walked 3,000 miles across the country and heard firsthand from families and communities the hardships they are facing due to extreme energy extraction,” said Faith Meckley, one of the climate marchers who lives in New York state. Meckley said she’s participating in these actions because FERC rubber stamped a methane gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake that allows methane storage in unstable salt caverns that threatens her community. (November 3, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - New IPCC graphs show how WE—not cows, not the sun, not sinister liberals, not Mother Nature, not your worst enemy—are changing the world’s climate.  IPCC report: six graphs that show how we're changing the world's climate We look at the data that underpins the forthcoming IPCC climate science report detailing humanity’s influence on the climate, global impacts and solutions On Sunday the world’s top climate scientists are expected to reiterate their warning that humanity’s influence on the climate is unequivocal, with wide-ranging impacts across the planet, from rising seas to melting ice. The UN’s climate science panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is currently meeting in Copenhagen to thrash out the final wording of its so-called ‘synthesis’ report, the most comprehensive account of the state on climate science in seven years. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is a megamix of three major reports that have already been published over the course of the last 13 months – one on the physical science of climate changeone on its impacts on ecosystems, our food supply and how we adapt, and one on the solutions, i.e. cutting emissions from our power plants, factories, cars and farms. (October 31, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - It is you we fear the most, the specter of lifting the moratorium on Fracking in New York State, the most fearsome of the Spirits. We can see into the future and we dread that what has happened to other communities will happen to us. But this future, a future of Fracking, does not have to be for New York State. Communities find little success in resisting fracking infrastructure Locals say their health concerns over wells and waste pits are ignored by oil and gas companies and state authorities Amy Nassif thought petitioning her Pennsylvania school board to vote against drilling near her two children’s school would be enough — but even without the board’s approval, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved the permits. “I was completely shocked at the total disregard for the safety of the community,” she said. “They have active-shooter drills at the school, they have drug free zones, but we can’t protect our kids from this.” In March the Pennsylvania-based company Rex Energy proposed drilling for natural gas under the Mars Area School District’s campus, where about 3,200 elementary, middle and high school students from four surrounding municipalities attend classes each weekday. (November 4, 20140 Aljazeera America [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/03/2014 - This is a little disturbing for the Rochester area, in Lake Ontario benthic “… algae blooms deteriorate…, get ripped off the lake bottom and get pushed up and deposited on shore, typically where beaches are.” Maybe, because it’s showing up more and more, Climate Change has something to do with harmful algae outbreaks outbreaking all over the Great Lakes—at least the EPA thinks so. “Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms”  | Lake Erie isn’t only lake with algae headaches; Lake Ontario also on the hook While news coverage of algal blooms has focused heavily on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario also faces similar problems, experts say. Lyman Welch, the water quality director of the Alliance for the Great Lakes in Chicago, called algae and blooms “a real threat to our entire Great Lakes region, not just Lake Erie.” Last summer’s toxic phytoplankton — also known as blue-green — blooms made headlines internationally when a drinking water ban was imposed on Toledo, Ohio. Lake Erie is the most susceptible of the Great Lakes to blooms due its shallow waters and the extensive agriculture-related industry along its shores. The growth in algal blooms directly relates to increased pollution from phosphorous used in farm fertilizers, according to scientists. (November 3, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 11/03/2014 - Wonder if Major new United Nations report on Climate just released yesterday, though not reported on locally, will affect voters in Rochester on Election Day. I’m thinking we here in Rochester are still stuck in the past, a world where Climate Change is but a hazy, amorphous, incorporeal, insubstantial sort of issue that may be of some interest to those with nothing better to do with their lives than worry about alien encounters and others such nebulous and ridiculous concerns. The media matters. Think of petitioning NPR for gutting its climate reporting team. Sign here | IPCC Report: Fossil Fuels Should Be ‘Phased Out by 2100′ Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the world body for assessing the science related to climate change—released the final component of its Fifth Assessment Report, the Synthesis Report in Copenhagen, Denmark. The IPPC report states that “Human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed on all continents. If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” The report details how “options are available to adapt to climate change and implementing stringent mitigations activities can ensure that the impacts of climate change remain within a manageable range, creating a brighter and more sustainable future.” (November 2, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/03/2014 - Purely from a speculative point of view, one has to wonder at what point self-preservation on Climate Change outweighs greed.  As the science becomes more clear that Climate Change is an existential threat, meaning no afterlife (folks carrying on, as it were, after we’re gone) is increasingly likely, the more the fossil fuel industry and those who think only the energy in the form that got us into this Climate Change mess is the form we should continue on: extreme extraction for more greenhouse gas emitting fuels. Humans, ya got laugh. IPCC Sounds Fresh Alarm as Fossil Fuel Interests Tighten Grip on Congress The contrast between the increasingly partisan American political divide and the increasingly solid international scientific consensus couldn't be starker. The leading international network of climate scientists is urging a rapid shift away from fossil fuels, just as allies of coal, oil and natural gas industries in the United States appear poised to tighten their grip on Congress—where opposition to cleaner energy is already entrenched. That outcome of Tuesday's midterm election would spell trouble for advocates of a strong international climate accord. Treaty negotiations are supposed to pick up in the next few months and culminate in Paris just over a year from now. (November 3, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/03/2014 - Science has spoken on Climate Change. People are prevaricating. Time passes. There was nothing we could do. Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC The unrestricted use of fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a UN-backed expert panel says. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the world's electricity can - and must - be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050. If not, the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" damage. The UN said inaction would cost "much more" than taking the necessary action. The IPCC's Synthesis Report was published on Sunday in Copenhagen, after a week of intense debate between scientists and government officials. (November 2, 2014) BBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/03/2014 - Major new United Nations report on Climate Change confirms what we already know: poor are getting screwed, followed increasingly by everyone. Here we are shortly before the mid-term elections and everyone is predicting a new pile of Climate Change deniers will be installed into office. We are so going to cook. U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming COPENHAGEN — The gathering risks of climate change are so profound that they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report. Despite growing efforts in many countries to tackle the problem, the global situation is becoming more acute as developing countries join the West in burning huge amounts of fossil fuels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said here on Sunday. Failure to reduce emissions, the group of scientists and other experts found, could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year. (November 2, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/02/2014 - McKibben, on today’s IPCC’s release of their new synthesis report. He’s feeling the frustration of messaging Climate Change: “to describe the effects of climate change – which for scientists, conservative by nature, falls just short of announcing that climate change will produce a zombie apocalypse plus random beheadings plus Ebola.” The IPCC is stern on climate change – but it still underestimates the situation | Bill McKibben At this point, the scientists who run the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change must feel like it’s time to trade their satellites, their carefully calibrated thermometers and spectrometers, their finely tuned computer models – all of them for a thesaurus. Surely, somewhere, there must be words that will prompt the world’s leaders to act. This week, with the release of their new synthesis report, they are trying the words “severe, widespread, and irreversible” to describe the effects of climate change – which for scientists, conservative by nature, falls just short of announcing that climate change will produce a zombie apocalypse plus random beheadings plus Ebola. It’s hard to imagine how they will up the language in time for the next big global confab in Paris. (November 03, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - Expensive nasty tactics to win against one particular environmentalist will have no effect at all: Mother Nature.  Our life support system will either crash or it won’t depending on our actions. Warring over our environmental regulations amongst ourselves is like rearranging the furniture on the Titanic by clobbering each other over the head with them.  We have so fallen out of step with our life support system. Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: ‘Win Ugly or Lose Pretty’ Richard Berman Energy Industry Talk Secretly Taped WASHINGTON — If the oil and gas industry wants to prevent its opponents from slowing its efforts to drill in more places, it must be prepared to employ tactics like digging up embarrassing tidbits about environmentalists and liberal celebrities, a veteran Washington political consultant told a room full of industry executives in a speech that was secretly recorded. The blunt advice from the consultant, Richard Berman, the founder and chief executive of the Washington-based Berman & Company consulting firm, came as Mr. Berman solicited up to $3 million from oil and gas industry executives to finance an advertising and public relations campaign called Big Green Radicals. The company executives, Mr. Berman said in his speech, must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups. And major corporations secretly financing such a campaign should not worry about offending the general public because “you can either win ugly or lose pretty,” he said. (October 30, 2014) New York Times

  • 11/01/2014 - Why, again, does Cuomo need to do a specific study on the public health of Fracking for NY when there are so many other studies completed?  Maybe Cuomo’s thinking that Fracking in New York would be like Fracking on Mars so we cannot use studies that link Fracking and public health issues from other planets. Toxic Chemicals, Carcinogens Skyrocket Near Fracking Sites The spikes almost certainly will lead to a cancer increase in surrounding areas, a study author says. Oil and gas wells across the country are spewing “dangerous" cancer-causing chemicals into the air, according to a new study that further corroborates reports of health problems around hydraulic fracturing sites. “This is a significant public health risk,” says Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-State University of New York and lead author of the study, which was published Thursday in the journal Environmental Health. “Cancer has a long latency, so you’re not seeing an elevation in cancer in these communities. But five, 10, 15 years from now, elevation in cancer is almost certain to happen.” Eight poisonous chemicals were found near wells and fracking sites in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming at levels that far exceeded recommended federal limits. Benzene, a carcinogen, was the most common, as was formaldehyde, which also has been linked to cancer. Hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs and can affect the brain and upper-respiratory system, also was found. (October 30, 2014) US News and World Report (more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - Here is the Rochester November Newsletter  of the Pachamama Alliance   It is full of information and opportunities.

  • 11/01/2014 - The commercial sale of public water, one of the ‘commons’ we cannot do without, is recklessly wasted on the fossil fuel industry. And when you think of invasive species, toxic contamination, plastics, pharmaceuticals in our drinking water, and Climate Change changing the distribution of water distribution (floods and droughts) of replenishing our water, our water ain’t what is used to be.  We should be thinking long and hard about how we use our water as Climate Change and past pollution has changed what many think as a limitless natural resource. New York State Allows Water Grab Withdrawal Permits, Bulk Water Sales Approved Without Environmental Reviews PAINTED POST, N.Y. — Barely a football field away from John Marvin’s modest house, 42 black railcars full of water sit waiting for the signal to begin rolling south to supply fracking drill pads across the Pennsylvania border. When the water train lurches and clanks through the village — often at pre-dawn hours — it sounds ear-splitting whistles at each street crossing. “How is everybody supposed to sleep at night?” asked Marvin, who tends his stroke-slowed wife in the family living room. “And what happens if they deplete our water supply? Do we go to water rationing?” Painted Post siphons water from a shallow, rain-dependent aquifer it shares with several neighboring communities, including the town of Corning. In 2012 the village signed a five-year deal reportedly worth up to $20 million with a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell to sell up to 1 million gallons a day used to frack Shell’s natural gas wells in Pennsylvania. The village has called the sale a routine disposal of “surplus property.”  Marvin is the unlikely linchpin in one of a pair of lawsuits that seek to compel the state to enforce its tough environmental law amid a statewide scramble for water rights. Corporations and municipalities are now trying to lock in rights to withdraw water and in some cases sell water to the highest bidder, and they do not want environmental reviews to slow them down. So far, the state is complying. (October 29, 2014) DCBureau [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - That is to say, the reason that amphibians are crashing around the world is because we’re dragging their deadly enemies to them. Our way of life, zooming all over the world for whatever reason, is having a devastating effect on the extinction of species, as Elizabeth Kolbert write in her excellent book: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History  | Newly found fungus is threat to salamanders worldwide A pathogenic fungus that infects salamanders and newts has jumped out of Southeast Asia through human export of amphibians and has wiped out local populations of European fire salamanders, according to a new study published Oct. 31 in the journal Science. Researchers investigating a crash in fire salamander numbers in the Netherlands last year discovered the previously unknown fungus,Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, which causes skin lesions in amphibians. (October 30, 2014) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - Not to mention the spread of aquatic invasive species will be greatly affected by Climate Change because of warmer water that invasives just love. NY plan to stop spread of aquatic invasive species New York environmental officials are accepting public comments on their plan to check the spread of aquatic invasive species. The draft plan is an update from 1993 and includes actions designed to prevent, detect, and respond to non-native species that can harm the ecology of New York's lakes and waterways. Among other things, the state proposes a public awareness campaign and expanding the boat launch steward program. (October 30, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - Study: if you want more fish, study Climate Change more. The state of the Great Lakes, wildlife, fish, Water Quality, invasive species, and lake levels should all be viewed through the lens of Climate Change. Climate Change should be our first concern, as everything else will be affected by it. Great Lakes fishery managers need insight on climate change impacts Great Lakes fishery managers worry that their operations may be harmed by invasive species, habitat loss and climate change in the long run, according to a new study. The study focuses on their need for information about climate change. Kate Mulvaney, a research participant in the Environmental Protection Agency-funded Oakridge Institute for Science and Education program, said a team of researchers “from a bunch of disciplines,” fisheries ecology, social sciences, climatology and engineering, worked in this project. Mulvaney is the lead author of the article published in the latest issue of Journal of Great Lakes Research The study was conducted by researchers from the Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and the University of Colorado-Boulder Institute for Environmental Sciences with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  (October 30, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Climate Change, Great Lakes, Wildlife, and Invasive Species in our area]