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: Monday, September 25, 2017

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

* My comments are in Bold text:

  • 9/25/2017 - Don’t like the cold of winter anymore and want to move to someplace that’s always hot? Stay right where you are. Summers Are Lengthening While Winters Shrink While the West has been feeling the heat, fall-like temperatures dominated the eastern half of the country in August. But just as the calendar flips to astronomical fall, summer-like heat is making a return to many of those same places. So this week we examine the last annual occurrence of a hot, summer-like day in these U.S. cities. (September 20, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/25/2017 - Within the span of my lifetime (I‘m almost 66) the Arctic went from stable, to decades of shrinking, to where it might be virtually free of ice in summer before I die. Seems like a slow process to me, but geologically it’s but a snap of time. Hard to believe we humans could change such a major feature of our planet is such a short time—not in a good way. We Charted Arctic Sea Ice for Nearly Every Day Since 1979. You’ll See a Trend. Arctic sea ice has been in steep decline since the late 1970s, when satellite images were first used to study the region. NASA says that the extent of ice covering Arctic waters has fallen by 13 percent per decade. The 10 lowest ice minimums — measured each September, after the summer thaw — have all been recorded since 2007. Scientists say the disappearance of sea ice is largely a result of climate change, with the Arctic warming at a faster rate than any other region. This year, sea ice reached its minimum on Sept. 13, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. At that point, ice covered 1.8 million square miles, or 4.6 million square kilometers, of Arctic waters. That makes this year’s minimum the eighth-lowest on record. (September 22, 2017) The New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/23/2017 - Considering the priority of addressing Climate Change, shouldn’t solar power be as inexpensive as possible? Solar Panel Tariff Threat: 8 Questions Homeowners Are Asking If the ITC ruling leads to tariffs on cheap solar imports, it could send shock waves through the market. What would that mean for solar prices and jobs? The stage is nearly set for the Trump administration to slap tariffs on imported solar panels, after the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled on Friday that two bankrupt solar manufacturers had been harmed by the flood of competition from overseas. But the surge of low-cost panels from China and elsewhere, which the ITC said harmed manufacturers Suniva and SolarWorld, has been a boon to American consumers, making power from the Sun much more affordable. Installers and financiers of solar power systems have warned that a Trump administration effort to protect the moribund U.S. manufacturers would undercut the market, forcing sharp price increases after years of price declines for photovoltaic energy. And that, they warned, would also put tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and billions of dollars of investment at risk. (September 22, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/23/2017 - With Climate Change, it is more likely that there will be more wildfires and they are more likely to be more costly. We should plan and not play with wildfires. Over $2 Billion In US Fire Suppression Costs From This Year’s Wildfire Season There has been more than $2 billion spent on fire suppression efforts so far this budget year in the US (the budget year runs from October 1 through September 30), according to the US Forest Service. (September 19, 2017) Clean Technica [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/23/2017 - It’s important that 14 state governors have vowed to support the Paris Accord, but there are things states can and cannot do. We need to get the USA back into the world community on addressing Climate Change—as in many ways there is no substitute.   How Can U.S. States Fight Climate Change if Trump Quits the Paris Accord? WASHINGTON — In the months since President Trump declared that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate deal, 14 state governors have vowed to continue upholding the agreement and press ahead with policies to fight global warming. But a key question has always lingered: How much can these states really do on climate by themselves, without help from the federal government? Now some numbers are emerging. On Wednesday, three governors in the United States Climate Alliance — Jerry Brown of California, Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, and Jay Inslee of Washington — unveiled a new studyby the research firm Rhodium Group that said the 14 alliance states were on pace to meet their share of the Obama administration’s pledge under the Paris accord, thanks in part to local mandates on renewable energy and electric vehicles. “Together, we are a political and economic force, and we will drive the change that needs to happen nationwide,” Mr. Brown said at a news conference in New York, held as world leaders were gathering for the United Nations General Assembly. (September 20, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/23/2017 - ACTION: Considering the importance of public transportation during Climate Change, Rochester’s attempts to redesigning our bus system are welcomed. People in all walks of life, for all the reasons we must get around, it’s really important that we have a varied transportation system that suits all—and also be resilient and robust enough for the challenges the Climate Change brings. Transportation accounts for 27% of greenhouse gases and so taking public transportation, walking and bicycling must be real options for getting around and lower our carbon footprints. Get involved inReimagine RTS Information Session, Learn about the study and share your ideas on how we can improve public transit in Rochester—together. A formal presentation will be held followed by topic/activity stations. Wednesday, October 25, 6 - 7:30pm, SUNY Brockport MetroCenter, 55 St. Paul St., Rochester - across the street from the RTS Transit Center”

  • 9/23/2017 - Quietly, while you sleep, the Trump administration is addressing our environmental protections and Climate Change—but not in a good way. It’s the most amazing thing to watch an entire government backtrack on science and force reality to fit their ideological stance. There will be consequences to ‘we the people’ as our government turns away from science and justice to appease the fossil fuel industry. Sad. The Energy 202: Climate change terms altered in another corner of EPA’s website Numerous mentions of “climate change,” “greenhouse gasses” and other phrases related to global warming have been found to be altered or deleted from another portion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, according to a new environmental watchdog report. At the beginning of President Trump's term, the EPA’s SmartWay program, designed to help businesses looking to lower their impact on the environment find ways of doing so when shipping goods, told visitors that “many companies monitor their carbon emissions and establish inventories or overall 'carbon footprint' to help decision makers identify the best strategies for reducing climate impacts." But by May, those descriptions had been replaced by more generalized terms. Instead of tracking carbon emissions, firms could monitor “fuel consumption.” Instead of shrinking their carbon footprint, companies could address their "environmental footprint." Instead of reducing climate impacts, they were told they could “improve sustainability.” (September 22, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/23/2017 - Think recycling is important and want to share and get info on this locally, check out this very useful Facebook site: RAD Rochester Recycler “Hello, my name is Karen and I’m a recycleholic. Recycling is an obsession of mine. There are so many environmental problems that I can’t personally impact, but I can control what I reduce, reuse and recycle. I’m really into it! So into it that people have been asking me for recycling info and advice. I thought it might be time to create a resource for people interested in doing what they can to reduce their waste impact in my town, Rochester, NY. Thus, the Rad Rochester Recycler was born. Please feel free to ask questions, add info and generally enjoy this facebook page.”

  • 9/22/2017 - Or we could approach climate silence by TV during the recent spate of record-breaking hurricanes by asking how effective was not mentioning the C-word? Or, how likely will it be that we will address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter if we cannot even say, “Climate Change”? Time passes. Commentary: In TV hurricane coverage virtually no trace of the C-word. For all of its A-plus, life-saving urgency in backing up evacuation efforts, TV news still can't bring itself to even ask the question. I was in charge of CNN's Weather Department for five years, including the mind-boggling mid-2000's when Katrina was far from the only Atlantic coast catastrophe.   I've watched less and less of CNN and its cable competitors in recent years, despite the fact that turning 60 years old makes me a demographically-typical viewer.  With the twin horrors of Harvey and Irma raking the Texas Gulf coast, Caribbean and Florida, I've once again been immersed in following the drumbeat of storms and their aftermaths. I've found both great pride in how TV steps up to help save lives in advance of a major storm, and equal dismay in the utter silence about the potential links between extreme weather, severe storms and climate change.   Even if it's a little incongruous to be doing a live shot in thigh-deep water in a street intersection, declaring that emergency personnel are the only ones with any business being outside, TV reporters and meteorologists routinely play a heroic role when they chase potential viewers away from the couch and into the evacuation queue. (September 11, 2017) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/22/2017 - Hurricanes are getting stronger and getting strong more quickly with warmer waters and warmer atmosphere. I'm thinking Climate Change. Years of Living Dangerously September 20 at 5:09pm ·  "Hurricane Maria's devastation of Puerto Rico is the latest tragedy in an extreme season fueled by warming waters." #YEARSproject #ClimateFacts 402K Views

  • 9/22/2017 - Did you know it’s “Climate Week 2017” in New York State? I didn’t, and now there are only two days left. My local media must have missed that. Sad. There’s lots of information and resources on Climate Change for our state and it would be great if our media helped get our citizens engaged in the crisis of our age.  Time passes. Climate Week 2017 The Climate Group's ninth annual Climate Week NYC (link leaves NYSDEC) is being held September 18-24, 2016. There are a wide variety of events (link leaves NYSDEC) occurring in NYC throughout the week. Follow NYSDEC on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about climate change and climate action throughout the week. Call to Action Take simple steps in your everyday life, like getting energy efficient, switching to renewable energy, driving less (or driving electric), buying local (and buying less), and recycling, to bring down your carbon footprint. Many of these measures have the added benefit of saving you money. Also important are the steps you take to be informed, to support leaders and organizations who are taking action using the best available science, and to keep yourself and your family prepared and safe in the face of weather emergencies and climate-related health concerns. | Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/22/2017 - Our Monroe County is one of the municipalities being acknowledged by New York State for their recycling efforts… Help Celebrate Recycling in New York State There are many reasons to celebrate recycling and waste reduction this Fall in New York. September 1st, 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the NYS Municipal Recycling Law in which all NYS municipalities were required to adopt a local law or ordinance that mandated the source separation and segregation of recyclable or reusable materials from solid waste. November 15th marks the annual celebration of New York Recycles Day. This is part of a nationwide campaign, America Recycles Day, in which communities organize outreach events related to recycling for schools and the public. DEC awarded a $329,300 grant to Columbia County to improve the amount and quality of recyclables recovered in the County. From September until NY Recycles Day on November 15th, the DEC will be celebrating recycling and waste reduction efforts across the state. Help us in acknowledging the following municipalities for their recycling efforts… City of Buffalo Fulton County Madison County Monroe County New York City Department of Sanitation Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority Town of Bethlehem Town of Brookhaven Westchester County (September 21, 2017) Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 9/22/2017 - This is what happens when environmental protections and science are dismissed and vital infrastructures are not maintained. We go into Climate Change with the environment and our infrastructure we have, which is to say everything that causes or is affected by a quickly warming planet must be ready. Our leaders must be planning for all the consequences of Climate Change and making sure our water systems are always clean is very important. Flint’s lead-poisoned water had a ‘horrifyingly large’ effect on fetal deaths, study finds The fertility rate in Flint, Mich., dropped precipitously after the city decided to switch to lead-poisoned Flint River water in 2014, according to a new working paper. That decline was primarily driven by what the authors call a “culling of the least healthy fetuses” resulting in a “horrifyingly large” increase in fetal deaths and miscarriages. The paper estimates that among the  babies conceived from November 2013 through March 2015, “between 198 and 276 more children would have been born had Flint not enacted the switch in water,” write health economists Daniel Grossman of West Virginia University and David Slusky of Kansas University. In April 2014, Flint decided to draw its public water supply from the Flint River, a temporary measure intended to save costs while the city worked on a permanent pipeline project to Lake Huron. Residents immediately began complaining about the odor and appearance of the water, but well into 2015 the city was still assuring residents that the water was safe to drink. (September 21, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 9/22/2017 - Magic Mirror on the wall, who now is making America great again? Over the country in the West is a governor doing the best for California and all the rest. American cannot be great if we are not joining the world with addressing Climate Change. In a quickly warming world, only those leaders focusing on leading us quickly through this crisis will be thought as great. Jerry Brown’s climate coalition now covers 39% of the global economy California governor’s list of city, state and national governments nears 200 and is shifting climate diplomacy beyond the caprices of national leaders The Marshall Islands and Mozambique have joined a growing group of governments convened by California governor Jerry Brown that have committed to deep carbon pollution cuts. The Under2 coalition has now been signed or endorsed by 187 governments. Signatories agree to reduce their CO2 emissions drastically by the middle of the century. On Sunday, on the eve of the UN’s Climate Week in New York, Brown announced ten new members, including the low-lying Pacific islands. “Climate change threatens the very existence of the Marshall Islands and many other places,” said Brown. “Cities, states and countries are joining the Under2 Coalition to curb emissions and prevent a horrible catastrophe.” (September 18, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/21/2017 - There are a lot of repercussions to a rapidly melting Arctic, none of them good when you think about it. Besides changing our jet streams and screwing up our weather here in NYS, a major ecosystem is undergoing a profound change that will have ripple-effects in other ecosystems, oil companies and shipping companies are tempted to drill and ship through this pristine environment where oil spill are more likely to be devastating and very hard (if not impossible) to clean up, and people’s way of lives are being disrupted because that Arctic is no longer stable. Quickly turning off one of our planet’s refrigerators and warming up the methane-loaded permafrost, which has the potential to release a lot of potent greenhouse gases, should cause humanity alarm and stimulate major efforts to address Climate Change and make sure this compromised part of our planet is not compromised. Time passes.   Melting Arctic ice cap falls to well below average • This summer’s minimum is the eighth lowest on record Shrinking ice cap increasingly linked to extreme weather events around the world, say scientists The Arctic ice cap melted to hundreds of thousands of square miles below average this summer, according to data released late on Tuesday. Climate change is pushing temperatures up most rapidly in the polar regions and left the extent of Arctic sea ice at 1.79m sq miles at the end of the summer melt season. This is the time when it reaches its lowest area for the year, before starting to grow again as winter approaches. The 2017 minimum was 610,000 sqmiles below the 1981-2010 average and the eighth lowest year in the 38-year satellite record. (September 20, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/20/2017 - Climate scientists need federal support both funds and attitude to monitor and help us plan for Climate Change. Champion our scientists. Budget cuts to critical climate science and fostering climate doubt is reckless at this important time in history. Time passes. With Maria Threatening Puerto Rico, How Climate Science Can Improve Forecasts Understanding how much heat has been trapped in the ocean is one critical piece of more accurate hurricane forecasts. Another hurricane—Maria—is barrelling across the islands of the Caribbean, and scientists with the National Hurricane Center are warning that it could hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a "potentially catastrophic" storm. In less than a day, the hurricane blew up from Category 1 to Category 5 with 160 mph winds that tore away roofs as it struck the tiny island nation of Dominica.  Forecasters are able to predict hurricane behavior fairly accurately a few days out now. But to determine more precisely and earlier how hurricanes like this will strengthen and move, they need a better understanding of how oceans are warming, how land temperatures and vegetation are changing, and the impact these changing climates will have on the storms themselves. That knowledge can be a matter of life and death for people in the path of storms as communities and relief agencies prepare for storm impacts and recovery efforts. (September 19, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 9/20/2017 - We would know better if “Harvey, Irma, Jose and now Maria have rapidly strengthened” because of Climate Change if Trump administration would turn towards science instead of away. We need to find out if “rapid intensification could get worse in a warming climate” quickly. We need more climate scientist and they need their equipment to help us monitor Climate Change and help us plan. Time passes. #ScienceMatters #ClimateFacts The scariest thing about 2017’s hurricanes: They keep getting really strong, really fast “Maria is developing the dreaded pinhole eye,” wrote National Hurricane Center forecaster Jack Beven on Monday evening, as the storm reached Category 4 intensity. That inward contraction of a hurricane’s eye can be one telltale indicator of what hurricane gurus technically call “rapid intensification,” although a more evocative word might simply be “explosion.” Whatever you call it, it’s something we keep seeing this year. Harvey, Irma, Jose and now Maria have rapidly strengthened — and all too often, have done it just before striking land. It’s a dangerous and scary phenomenon that scientists and forecasters are still trying to understand. (September 19, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/20/2017 - According to this responsible local Rochester NY article, there are “… 55 water bodies in the state with confirmed or suspected blue-green algae blooms…” adding that “other lakes are now at risk due to the effects of climate change and other contributing factors.” Along with these algae blooms, our region is experiencing more heavy rainfall (71% increase since 1958), and several other consequences. New rash of algae in Canandaigua Lake People are warned to watch out for blue-green algae that is back in Canandaigua Lake. Water samples taken Monday are being tested for toxins. Canandaigua Lake Watershed Program Manager Kevin Olvany, who has been out collecting samples with other staff, said areas of most concern are mid-lake and along the east side, though you may see blue-green algae anywhere in the lake. The warm, sunny weather is adding to troubles. “It is popping up more each day,” Olvany said. Results from samples sent to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry for testing could be back today. (September 19, 2017) WHEC [more on Wather Quality in our area]

  • 9/19/2017 - The ‘right conditions’ under which the US should stay in the Paris Accord would be to take responsibility for much of this present Climate Change. The greenhouse gas emissions that have already caused warmer oceans, acidification of our oceans, a warmer atmosphere which holds more water vapor and causes heavier precipitation, and is probably responsible for the extreme weather we have been experiencing for the past decades—is ours. Other nations, like China, are now putting more greenhouse gases into our weather system, but it is our nation’s major contribution to past greenhouse gas emissions that is now causing the present consequences of Climate Change. We should get ourselves back into the Paris Accords with a different attitude—a responsibility to right what we have wronged. Time passes. Tillerson says U.S. could stay in Paris climate accord The United States could remain in the Paris climate accord under the right conditions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday, signaling a shift in tone from the Trump administration, which angered allies with its decision to pull out of the agreement. President Donald Trump is willing to work with partners in the Paris agreement if the United States could construct a set of terms that are fair and balanced for Americans, Tillerson said on the CBS’ “Face The Nation.” Asked if there was a chance the United States could stay in the accord, Tillerson responded, “I think under the right conditions.” (September 17, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 9/19/2017 - If we had acted robustly decades ago to the potential threat caused by Climate Change, we would be far ahead in both adapting to the consequences of Climate Change and slowing down the rise in heat. But we argued with ourselves for decades and held stubbornly to attitudes that did not like the kind of major changes we would need to actually make a difference on a planetary scale. Now, rather than finding  that our slow, wait-and-see approach put us in a better position to deal with this crisis, we find that we’ve ratcheted up dramatically the consequences of Climate Change and our inability to work together to solve it. (The election of Trump has sent us back decades in achieving a worldwide effort to address this crisis.) We have been reacting to Climate Change, a complex, existential problem for our species, very badly (as we have many past disasters) but with this crisis we are running out of time. We need to become stewards of our life support system very quickly—and the signs are that we aren’t doing that. We don’t need hope as much as we need to just dig in, and get moving quickly. Check out this great essay about #ClimateChange: The Real Unknown of Climate Change: Our Behavior (September 18, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/19/2017 - Record-breaking hurricanes amplified by Climate Change offer us a chance to do what we do best: Adapt to changes. Changing our electric grid with many outlets for renewable energy and backup batteries will get us back in action faster than one large grid power by fossil fuels that will shut millions down for weeks and maybe months. We need to adapt to energy sources that don’t pollute and leave themselves vulnerable to wholesale blackouts. Climate Change is perhaps humanities greatest challenge (besides curbing our own destructive tendencies ((one of which is to stick to past energy sources that caused Climate Change)) and we may still have the means to adapt and lessen the horrific consequences warming up an entire planet will ensue. Time passes. After the Hurricane, Solar Kept Florida Homes and a City's Traffic Lights Running By using energy storage with solar panels, some homeowners were able to go off-grid, showing how distributed power could speed future storm recovery. Just after midnight on Sept. 11, Eugenio Pereira awoke to the sound of tropical-storm-force winds slamming his Gainesville, Florida, home. Hurricane Irma had arrived. At 1:45 a.m., the power flickered out, and he was in total darkness. Unlike large swaths of Florida that were facing days if not weeks without electricity, Pereira knew he would have power when the sun rose. He had installed rooftop solar panels two weeks before the storm, along with an inverter that allows him to use power from the solar panels without being connected to the grid. The next morning, he plugged an extension cord into the inverter, flipped it on, and let his 7-kilowatt rooftop solar array do the rest. He was able to use his appliances and his Wi-Fi, so he could continue his work as a home-based IT consultant while the neighborhood waited for grid power to came back on. (September 15, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 9/18/2017 - Exploring the possibility of drilling for oil in the melting Arctic caused by the use of fossil fuel is beyond reckless and immoral. If we don’t still the human propensity to continue doing the same things that jeopardize our future, we won’t have one. Drilling for oil in the Arctic doesn’t need to be discussed and explored; it needs to be abandoned as depraved and a stalling tactic to keep renewable energy from the sensible energy source for our future. Trump Administration Moves to Open Arctic Refuge to Drilling Studies An internal Interior Department memo has proposed lifting restrictions on exploratory seismic studies in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a possible first step toward opening the pristine wilderness area to oil and gas drilling. The document proposes ending a restriction that had limited exploratory drilling to the period from Oct. 1, 1984, to May 31, 1986. It also directs the agency to provide an environmental assessment and a proposed rule allowing for new exploration plans. The document, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, was first reported by The Washington Post. (September 16, 2017) New York Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/16/2017 - The steady increase in the number of lakes in our Rochester, NY region getting nailed by Blue-green algae blooms spells Climate Change. More nutrients and warmer waters and heavier rainfalls are a sign of Climate Change in our region and this problem isn’t going to go away by ignoring it. Our drinking water, our shoreline property values, and the invaluable ecosystems that are our lakes are under threat and we must address this. Time passes. Blue-green algae blooms reported in 7 Finger Lakes, including Skaneateles It's been a bad week for the Finger Lakes and blue-green algae — a very bad week indeed. Canandaigua, Keuka, Cayuga, Conesus, Honeoye and Owasco, all Finger Lakes, appear on the NYS DEC harmful algal bloom notification list that was updated this afternoon. Joining them is a real eye-opener: Skaneateles Lake, which reported a bloom this week for the first time since public tracking of them began in 2009. The discovery set off alarm bells in Syracuse, which draws unfiltered drinking water from the lake. Until now, many had thought it all but impossible for blue-green algae to bloom to any great degree in Skaneateles, one of the cleanest of the Finger Lakes. (September 15, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Cimate Change and Water Qualiity and Finger Lakes in our area]

  • 9/16/2017 - If we allow Climate Change to wreck ecosystems, spaceship Earth cannot call Houston. They’re flooded Glacial melt will wreck ecosystems The alarming rate of glacial shrinkage worldwide threatens our current way of life, from biodiversity to tourism, hydropower to clean water supply. Glaciers cover one-tenth of the planet’s land surface – but not for much longer. Glaciers worldwide are in retreat, and losing mass. They are shrinking and melting, and that will create problems almost everywhere, according to new research. Between 2003 and 2009, glaciers melted on a gargantuan scale, with an estimated 1,350 cubic kilometres of meltwater streamed from what had once been vast streams of slowly flowing ice. Ice has been in retreat in the Gulf of Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, Greenland and Antarctica. In the European Alps summers have become measurably warmer during the last 30 years, snowfall has diminished and 54% of the ice cover in the mountains has disappeared since 1850. By 2100, Alpine summits may have lost around nine-tenths of the ice that still covered them in 2003. In South America, the glaciers of Bolivia lost almost 50% of their mass in the last 50 years. In western Canada, somewhere between 60% and 80% of the ice measured in 2005 will have disappeared, and flowed into the sea to raise sea levels everywhere. (September 15, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/16/2017 - When is the best time to talk about Climate Change? Now, after record breaking hurricanes, before our elections, in elementary school where all the other sciences are taught, at Thanksgiving or Christmas family gatherings, at community gatherings, over a drink at the local tavern, on social media, while driving and connected to our Smartphones, only when taking a college course on Climate Change, while on a vacation or a long bike ride, at a bus stop while waiting for a bus, during a doctor visit, while walking the dog, on a date, jogging down the street with a friend, intermission at a movie or basketball game, or after every emergency, every appointment, every game, TV show, or only after every other thing has been exhausted and there’s nothing left to talk about (and even then just keeping quiet about Climate Change would be preferable)? My guess, after watching this issue unfold over the decades is that NEVER is the answer most people would like. Of course, that would be suicidal for us and our children. Time passes. Now really isn’t the best time to talk about climate change Experience shows extreme weather is a poor catalyst for changing minds about climate change, the conversation needs to begin before times of distress Hurricanes Irma and Harvey were unprecedented in many ways. But of greatest interest to us, as people who have been fascinated by climate change communication, was that for the first time we heard climate scientists in the media making a confident (albeit hedged) connection between an extreme weather event and climate change. Recent breakthroughs in modelling have enabled scientists to attribute the role of climate change in an extreme weather event quickly and accurately. But this raises an important question: are people in Florida, Texas, the wider US and the Caribbean going to make that connection, or accept it when made by others? In short, will storms like Harvey and Irma increase public concern about climate change and generate increased demands for collective action? Those who are already actively engaged – including activists and climate scientists – tend to assume that extreme weather events lead to increased public concern. After all, this is the point where the rubber hits the road, where the models and the graphs become tangible and real. Of course people can deny something which is theoretical and placed in the future, but how, it is often argued, can people deny the evidence in front of their own eyes? (September 14, 20170 Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/16/2017 - Important podcast where experts talk about our recent spate of record-breaking hurricanes and Climate Change on Climate One: HARVEY AND IRMA: A HURRICANE’S HUMAN FINGERPRINTS

  • 9/16/2017 - What folly it would be to end NASA’s role in monitoring Climate Change with satellites. Just when we should be ramping up our commitment to helping the world monitoring the state of our environment and how Climate Change is affecting our life support system, we are ramping down. To gut NASA’s Climate Mission would be blinding ourselves to some of our greatest threats about how our environment is responding to our warming it. This makes it a moral issue. The public should be aware of this issue and encourage Congress not to let this NASA program end. What Could We Lose if a NASA Climate Mission Goes Dark? Researchers are racing to replace the pioneering Grace satellites, which are threatened by both dying batteries and Trump-era budget cuts. In late August, as Hurricane Harvey began smashing into the Texas coast, a flood of data began pouring in along with the catastrophic quantities of rainwater. It wasn’t from the nonstop news coverage on CNN and elsewhere; it was from the transmissions that lay behind it, in the pulses of information coming down from space. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites, crucial tools for monitoring big storms in the Gulf of Mexico, were capturing cloud formations, surface temperatures and barometric pressures, which were then fed into computer models tracking the storm’s strength and intensity. At the same time, NASA was using a group of satellites to keep tabs on soil moisture, flood patterns and power failures all over East Texas. In various ways, this torrent of data was being collected continuously from hundreds (or even thousands) of miles overhead, through radar instruments and spectroradiometer sensors and exquisitely calibrated imaging cameras. The machines being used aren’t household names — they go by acronyms like GOES-13, Modis and SMAP — but they demonstrate why the popular view of Earth as a big blue planet with only the Moon as its companion could do with some revising. We are also surrounded by a constellation of satellites spinning elliptical webs of environmental observation, day and night. (September 12, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/15/2017 - Pruitt’s EPA “back to basics” agenda might have made sense in 1492 before we ramped up Climate Change—and launched an industrial assault on our environment. Pruitt cannot ensure “the core mission of the agency charged with protecting the nation's air, water, and public health” without seriously addressing Climate Change. We have to wonder if we can recoup after Pruitt is out of office and we’re done with his out-of-date ideology on our life support system. Time passes. Scott Pruitt criticizes Obama as 'environmental savior,' moves EPA away from climate change Few Trump administration agency chiefs have moved as decisively to implement an agenda as Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and he's quite clear about what he wants to do. He calls it a "back to the basics" agenda, removing the government from what he considers extraneous activity — namely, the climate change battle taken up by former President Barack Obama, who he questioned as an "environmental savior." Asked to define his early legacy, Pruitt, in a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Examiner at EPA headquarters Monday, reached for his coffee mug, leaned his small, stout frame forward in his chair, and embarked on a lengthy denunciation of the Obama administration. (September 13, Washington Examiner [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/15/2017 - Water is life. Climate Change is threatening fresh water supplies, like glaciers for millions. This must be addressed because Water is Life. #WaterIsLife Asia's glaciers to shrink by a third by 2100, threatening water supply of millions High mountains of Asia hold biggest store of frozen water outside the poles and feed many of the world’s great rivers, including the Ganges Asia’s mountain glaciers will lose at least a third of their mass through global warming by the century’s end, with dire consequences for millions of people who rely on them for fresh water, researchers have said. This is a best-case scenario, based on the assumption that the world manages to limit average global warming to 1.5C (2.7F) over pre-industrial levels, a team wrote in the journal Nature.  Tibet's fragile ecosystem is in danger. China must change its flawed environmental policy Lobsang Sangay   Read more “To meet the 1.5C target will be a task of unprecedented difficulty,” the researchers said, “and even then, 36% (give or take 7%) of the ice mass in the high mountains of Asia is projected to be lost” by 2100. (September 13, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]

  • 9/15/2017 - In New York State “September is preparedness month!” which means preparing for Climate Change. Check out the NYS Department of Health’s “Climate, Weather & Health” website for how Climate Change is going to impact our public health and what we can do about it. News from the Office of Climate Change September 2017 September is preparedness month! Check out New York State Department of Health’s (NYSDOH) great tabletop presentation (below), designed to support counties in tackling preparedness for climate change health issues. Even if you’re not a county, NYSDOH has a variety of useful tools, guidance, and videos on their Climate, Weather & Health page. Community News The European Union’s International Urban Cooperation initiative in North America has launched a call for U.S. cities that wish to cooperate with a city in the EU to participate in a new City-to-City Exchange Program. Interested U.S. cities are encouraged to apply for a pairing by Friday, September 22, 2017. Successful cities will be paired with EU cities tackling related challenges, allowing the pairs to build cooperation, share experiences, and exchange knowledge. Representatives from each city will take part in study tours, staff exchanges, trainings, and seminars. (September 14, 2017) Department of Environmental Conservation   [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 9/15/2017 - Water is life. Do you know all seven categories of the water cycle? With Climate Change, you’ll be tested. Know your water. Can’t fix waterworks without knowing how water works Most people don’t know where their water comes from or where it goes after it runs down the drain. That’s according to a study researchers at Indiana University recently published in the academic journal Judgment and Decision Making. The team asked 500 students to draw a diagram depicting the journey water takes as it reaches the tap and returns to the environment. They compared these to diagrams drawn by experts. Most students omitted significant stages: 64 percent didn’t depict a wastewater plant; 29 percent did not include a water treatment plant. Only 7 percent of the student diagrams included all seven categories of the water cycle – source, treatment, distribution, household use, collection, wastewater treatment and environmental return. (June 29, 2017) Great Lakes Echo [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 9/14/2017 - Why would the major media outlets not communicate Climate Change connections to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma? Climate denier money? Keeping the public dumb on the crisis of our age will serve what ends? Just because people voted for Trump doesn’t mean they accept his version of science. There will be consequences of allowing Climate Change to get worse and not addressing it properly, so why not educate the public that Climate Change is a real threat? Time passes. Major news networks are failing to explain that Hurricane Harvey was fueled by climate change Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that has laid waste to Barbuda and inundated Puerto Rico, is headed for Florida. The most powerful storm ever to descend on the Atlantic, Irma has produced winds so fierce some scientists have suggested it deserves a new classification — Category 6. Will the major broadcast networks report on the role of climate changein shaping this storm? If Hurricane Harvey is any indication, the answer is ‘probably not.’ But by ignoring climate science, they are missing an opportunity to tell a great story. Last week, Harvey tore through Texas, killing dozens of people and displacing more than a million. The National Weather Service describedthe storm as “beyond anything experienced.” The agency had to add new colors to its maps to portray the unprecedented volume of rainfall. Brock Long, the head of FEMA, said, “You could not dream this forecast up.” (September 9, 2017) QUARTZ [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/14/2017 - It’s unlikely that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will convince Trump that Climate Change is happening. That convincing is up to us. For some reason or another, many Americans voted Trump into office. But that doesn’t mean putting a climate denier at the top will address Climate Change—by trying to bury it in a dazzle of incompetency and White House chaos. In our own interest, we must convince the Trump administration that the clear and present danger of Climate Change must be orchestrated at the top. Time passes. Irma and Harvey lay the costs of climate change denial at Trump’s door The president’s dismissal of scientific research is doing nothing to protect the livelihoods of ordinary Americans As the US comes to terms with its second major weather disaster within a month, an important question is whether the devastation caused by hurricanes Harveyand Irma will convince Donald Trump and his administration of the reality of climate change. The president’s luxurious Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida may escape Irma’s wrath, but with the deaths of so many Americans, and billions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses, the costs of climate change denial are beginning to pile up at the door of the White House. Just days before Harvey formed in the Atlantic last month, Trump signed an executive order to overturn a policy, introduced by his predecessor Barack Obama, to help American communities and businesses become more resilient against the risks of flooding, which are rising because of climate change. (September 9, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/14/2017 - Did your media even mention the Climate Change connection to Hurricanes Harvey or Irma? If not, why not? Too divisive, too much info, too boring, too wonky, too scary? What else is your media keeping from you? To solve Climate Change, to plan in a time frame and scale that will matter the public needs to be engaged with this crisis. That is going to be more unlikely to happen when their media is not reporting fully on extreme weather, why these storms are getting to big, causing so much damage, and what can be done to prevent them in a warmer world. Time passes. A Storm of Silence: Study Finds Media Is Largely Ignoring Link Between Hurricanes and Climate Change "A Storm of Silence." That’s the title of a new report by the watchdog group Public Citizen that looks at the media’s failure to discuss climate change in its wall-to-wall hurricane coverage. While all the television networks commented on the magnitude of Hurricane Harvey and "extreme weather," virtually none explained how warmer ocean temperatures lead to heavier winds, warmer air causes more precipitation, and higher sea levels exacerbate storm surges. The report examined 18 media sources’ coverage of Hurricane Harvey—looking at 10 major newspapers, three weekly news magazines and national programming from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNNand Fox News over the course of eight days’ worth of Hurricane Harvey coverage. The report concludes, "Many failed to discuss the issue [of climate change] much or failed to cover important aspects of it. ... Two of the three major broadcast networks, ABC and NBC, did not mention climate change at all in the context of Hurricane Harvey." We speak to David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program. (September 12, 2017) Democracy Now! [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 9/13/2017 - It should be obvious that an energy project is not in the public interest if it contributes greatly to Climate Change. Big business and big oil lose climate battle in pipeline review Canada's National Energy Board has rejected recommendations from big business and big oil, agreeing for the first time in its history to consider both upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions while reviewing a major pipeline project. The federal regulator confirmed Wednesday that "indirect" heat-trapping pollution from TransCanada's Energy East pipeline will be considered during upcoming hearings for the proposed project, which aims to ship more than a million barrels of oil per day from the Canadian Prairies to the East Coast. That means panel members will take into account emissions that would be produced not only during the pipeline's construction and operation, but in the refining, processing and transportation of its oil as well. The NEB typically considers "direct" greenhouse gas emissions during pipeline reviews, but the impact of "indirect" emissions produced down the road is a historic first. (August 23, 2017) National Observer [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/13.2017 - Imagine the ability to communicate and help move sustainability forward if every campus and community developed a “Sustainable Campus and Community Map” Cornell maps Ithaca's sustainable campus Keep up with campus sustainability by consulting Cornell’s new online Sustainable Campus and Community Map. In just a click you’ll find reusable bottle water filling stations, bike share and car share locations, environmentally friendly trails, electric car charging stations, campus sustainability centers and institutes, and reuse centers. (August 30, 2017) Cornell Chronicle

  • 9/13/2017 - Our trees and urban forests, even in Rochester, are important for addressing Climate Change. Learn more: Experts discuss role of urban forests as protector from climate change Seoul suggests street trees, small parks as remedy for fine dust, heat waves Seeking global partnerships to fight climate change, representatives from 17 countries gathered in Seoul on Wednesday to make city lives safe and sustainable by sharing ideas and policies on urban forests. Around 200 scholars, representatives from governments and nongovernmental organizations participated the second Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting, hosted by Korea’s state-run forest agency, to seek ways to resolve urban pollution by expanding greener spaces in the cities. (September 13, 2017) The Korea Herald [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/13/2017 - Besides being an existential crisis, Climate Change will be very expensive—especially if we only prepare for Trump administration’s fake future. Climate Change is happening and there are consequences if we procrastinate in getting ready for more extreme weather. Time passes. Damage from Hurricane Irma, Harvey Add to Growing U.S. Costs of Climate Change Government watchdogs have been warning about the financial risks of climate change, from extreme storms to wildfires, and their impact on the U.S. budget. First Harvey, then Irma, and the hurricane season isn't over. This is the year that repeated, dire predictions about the fiscal risks of climate change—its increasingly heavy burden on the federal budget—are coming true. The hurricanes' successive blows may cost taxpayers more than they spent on relief and recovery in any previous year. And that doesn't factor in the price for this year's other disasters—heat wavesdroughtsfires and floods—that are among the hallmarks of global warming. "The magnitude of the damage is getting bigger," said Adam Rose, a research professor with the University of Southern California's Price School of Public Policy and an expert in the economics of natural disasters. "What does it mean for the federal treasury? It means we're likely to see a greater burden on federal and state governments to help people. You can't just leave people who've suffered a disaster. You can't abandon them." (September 11, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/13/2017 - Looks like Rochester likes alternative transportation choices like bike sharing. Good for us; good for planet. Rochester's bikesharing debut deemed a success The operator of Rochester's new bikesharing program is touting its success. "It's gone as about as well as we could have hoped for and we saw a tremendous number of people signing up right out of the gate," said Jon Terbush, a spokesman for Zagster. The program launched on July 20. In the first seven-and-a-half weeks, more than 6,000 riders logged about 13,000 bike rides. Riders are 55.5 percent male and 44.5 percent female. They’re still getting used to the idea that they can pick up and return a bike to any public bike rack in the city; it doesn't have to be a Zagster station. (September 12, 2017) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 9/12/2017 - Then imagine a 2°C or 3°C because that’s where we are going if we don’t wake up to Climate Change. Time passes. 1°C rise has massive polar impact ‘Most realistic ocean warming experiment to date’ reveals that even an apparently insignificant rise in polar temperature doubles the growth of life on Antarctic seabed. Global warming could have unprecedented consequences for one of the most unknown regions of the planet – the seabed of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. A rise of just 1°C could almost double the growth of life on the seabed. A rise of 2°C could change the pattern of seafloor diversity in unpredictable ways, to trigger a set of species shifts further up the ocean food chain. Polar warming Researchers report in Current Biology that in their “most realistic ocean warming experiment to date” they chose to warm an area of seabed not far from the Rothera Research Station of the British Antarctic Survey. They placed heated panels to raise the temperature above the ambient level of a thin layer of water by 1°C or 2°C. These are the temperatures expected within the next 50 and 100 years, under global warming scenarios. With a 1°C warming, a single pioneer species of filter-feeding invertebrate, known as a bryozoan, took off: within two months, this species, Fenestrulina rugula,dominated the community and reduced the variety of competing species. A marine worm called Romanchella perrieri also got the message and grew: this time in individual size, to become 70% larger than fellow worms still enjoying present temperatures. (September 11, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/12/2017 - How will world leaders react to US leaders’ reaction to obvious signs of Climate Change in the US? To what extent will climate deniers in the US force their ideology on the rest of the US public and leave us unprepared for the next battering of record-breaking storms? French minister calls out Trump on climate change as Irma wreaks havoc French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said on Friday extreme weather conditions like the powerful hurricane bearing down on Florida risked becoming the norm, and took a dig at U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change. In an interview with France 2 TV about Hurricane Irma, Hulot implied that Trump - who has called global warming a hoax - was ignoring the reality of man-made climate change, which most mainstream scientists regard as an established fact. Trump said in May he was pulling the United States out of the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change that was brokered in Paris, saying it would harm the U.S. economy and cost jobs. (September 8, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/12/2017 - It’s very, very insensitive for EPA Pruitt not to explain to the American public the relationship of record-breaking hurricanes with Climate Change. It’s hard to believe that our elections resulted in putting a climate denier at the head of the very federal agency we need to clean up after two major storms that were amplified by Climate Change. We expect our government to help prepare us for the future, but we have an EPA chair only interested in the past. Pruitt’s attitude towards Climate Change is unsustainable; he must be held accountable for We the People will be hammered with the consequences. Hurricane Irma Linked to Climate Change? For Some, a Very ‘Insensitive’ Question WASHINGTON — Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, says it is insensitive to discuss climate change in the midst of deadly storms. Tomás Regalado, the Republican mayor of Miami whose citizens raced to evacuate before Hurricane Irma, says if not now, when? “This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the E.P.A. and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change,” Mr. Regalado told the Miami Herald. “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come.” (September 11, 2017) New York Times (more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/12/2017 - Is the US Congress going to Wake Up! and address Climate Change? Or feed doubt at this critical moment? Don’t let Congress go the wrong way on Climate Change as they did on not addressing slavery in the 1850’s. Put Climate Change at the top of your agenda. Time passes. 5 Ways Congress Can Help To Rebuild Stronger and Safer Communities After Harvey Hurricane Harvey delivered a devastating and deadly blow to Houston, southeast Texas, and parts of Louisiana. The storm unleashed unprecedented amounts of rain—more than 50 inches in some areas—and caused catastrophic flooding that consumed communities, including the entire Houston area. As of this writing, the storm has killed at least 70 people, destroyed or damaged more than 185,000 homes, and inflicted economic costs that could rise as high as $190 billion. It will take years for many Texas and Louisiana residents to recover from the storm. For others, recovery will never happen unless federal, state, and local officials channel disaster assistance into rebuilding strategies that will reduce the costs, health impacts, and loss of life brought on by floods and extreme weather events. Scientists are confident that climate change will only intensify storms like Harvey in the future, as sea level rise contributes to bigger storm surges, warmer oceans fuel more powerful winds, and rising air temperatures trigger heavier downpours. (Sepetember 7, 2017) Center for American Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/12/2017 - Now is the time to talk about Climate Change, stop fossil fuel infrastructures, step up renewable energy, and push back against climate deniers thwarting our ability to adapt. Now is the time to press the media on connecting the dots between more extreme weather and Climate Change. Now is the time to see the elephant in the room that so many find inconvenient. Now is the time to make sure that our leaders are preparing us for a warmer future—and all that comes with that. As Onondaga Lake cleanup winds down, new threats to lake, rivers emerge As the cleanup of industrial pollution in Onondaga Lake enters its last phases, scientists are turning their attention to new threats to the lake, its river system and Lake Ontario. Researchers from Syracuse University and the Upstate Freshwater Institute this summer are measuring the amount of pesticides, personal care products and pharmaceuticals pouring into the lake and river system from water treatment plants. The chemicals, known as "contaminants of emerging concern," are suspected of altering the function of hormones in humans and wildlife. Onondaga Lake is particularly susceptible to those contaminants because up to 20 percent of the water that flows into the lake comes through the Onondaga County water treatment plant at the south end. That might be the highest percentage of any lake in the state, said Dave Matthews, director of the freshwater institute and one of the researchers in the study. (September 8, 2017) Syracuse.com [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 9/12/2017 - Have our political leaders left us vulnerable to Climate Change? Have loss of life, property, and infrastructure been due to the lack of preparation for what climate scientists have been predicting? Are we going to ask these questions in the aftermath of these horrific storms in Texas and Florida or are our ideologies too strong? Time passes. Florida governor has ignored climate change risks, critics say TAMPA - Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has been ubiquitous in recent days as Hurricane Irma bears down on the Sunshine State, warning of deadly winds and storm surges and imploring residents to heed evacuation orders. "This is a catastrophic storm our state has never seen," he cautioned at one of many news conferences. By all accounts, Scott and other officials have aggressively tried to prepare the state and its residents for the destructive storm's impact and immediate aftermath. But for all of Scott's vigor in readying Florida for Irma's wrath, his administration has done little over the years to prepare for what scientists say are the inevitable effects of climate change that will wreak havoc in the years to come. With its far-reaching coastline and low elevation, Florida is one of the states at greatest risk from rising sea levels, extreme weather events - including more powerful hurricanes - and other consequences of a warming planet. (Septemmber 8, 2017) SFGate.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/11/2017 - Should developing nations that didn’t cause Climate Change get compensated for loss and damage? Or, is this another Climate Change topic we cannot talk about? Along with not talking about the relationship with extreme weather, like record-breaking hurricanes, there are many parts of Climate Change (including the science) that far too many powerful people don’t want to talk about. Just when there’s something important to talk about, everyone who’s holding power just wants everybody else to shut up. Time passes Irma forces Caribbean delegates to abandon UN climate science meeting Representatives from Caribbean island nations want to put extreme weather damage on the agenda for the next IPCC comprehensive report At a meeting of the UN climate science panel in Montreal, Caribbean scientists – some of whom couldn’t make it to Canada because of Hurricane Irma – are urging a focus on extreme weather damage. Irma has astonished meteorologists with its intensity, maintaining top wind speeds of 185m/h (300km/h) for a world record 37 hours. Outer islanders surveyed the devastation on Friday as Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida prepared to be hit next. Three thousand kilometres north, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is laying down the outline of its next comprehensive report on the state of climate science, due out in 2021-22. (September 8, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/09/2017 - With overfishing, industrial waste, and inadequate wastewater systems, our Lakes are severely challenged. We need to make them viable ecosystems as Climate Change comes upon us. Preparing for our future means we need to clean up our past pollution. As Onondaga Lake cleanup winds down, new threats to lake, rivers emerge As the cleanup of industrial pollution in Onondaga Lake enters its last phases, scientists are turning their attention to new threats to the lake, its river system and Lake Ontario. Researchers from Syracuse University and the Upstate Freshwater Institute this summer are measuring the amount of pesticides, personal care products and pharmaceuticals pouring into the lake and river system from water treatment plants. The chemicals, known as "contaminants of emerging concern," are suspected of altering the function of hormones in humans and wildlife. Onondaga Lake is particularly susceptible to those contaminants because up to 20 percent of the water that flows into the lake comes through the Onondaga County water treatment plant at the south end. That might be the highest percentage of any lake in the state, said Dave Matthews, director of the freshwater institute and one of the researchers in the study. (September 8, 2017) Syracuse.com [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 9/09/2017 - With more and more media around the world including the climate science connection with recent record-breaking hurricanes, climate denial is going to be tough. Maybe climate deniers should step away so the rest of us can prepare for the real future without them thwarting us all along the way. Climate denial is a parasite meme that threatens our ability to adapt and stop the Climate Change crisis. Mother Nature's wrath: Is climate change making mega-hurricanes the new normal? Two powerful hurricanes within two weeks, and sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico have been among the highest in the world this year - coincidence? Or is global warming fueling these massive storms? It's hurricane season - and this one is a rough one. Less than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey left a swath of deadly destruction in Louisiana and Texas, causing massive flooding in Houston, Hurricane Irma is ripping through the French Carribean. Irma has already killed at least 10 people on various islands, hitting the dual-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda especially hard. (September 7, 2017) Deutsche Welle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/09/2017 - Given their intransigence and revulsion towards science, the Trump administration is unlikely to see Hurricanes Harvey and Irma as ‘wake-up calls”. So we have to wake them up. Connect the dots between Climate Change and stronger hurricanes and making our infrastructures more resilient—continually. HURRICANE HARVEY AND THE STORMS TO COME In the leadup to the historic flood, Texas Republicans abetted Trump’s climate-change delusions. On August 29, 2005, at six-ten in the morning, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the border of Mississippi and Louisiana, just east of New Orleans. Katrina had spent days wobbling over the Gulf of Mexico, and by the time it reached the coast it was classified as a strong Category 3 storm. As it pressed inland, its winds, which were clocked at up to a hundred and twenty-five miles an hour, pushed water from the Gulf westward into Lake Pontchartrain, and north, up a mostly abandoned shipping canal. The levees that were supposed to protect New Orleans failed, and low-lying neighborhoods were inundated. That day in Louisiana, at least six hundred and fifty people died. (September 11th edition) The New Yorker [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/09/2017 - Unlike the Trump administration’s attitude, connecting the dots between strong hurricanes and Climate Change is critical now. With these record-breaking hurricanes that are doing so much damage to people’s lives, our government would give the climate scientists the benefit of the doubt that more very strong storms are coming and the need to prepare for them is paramount. Time passes Hurricanes and Climate Change: What We Know Climate change intersects with hurricanes by increasing storm rainfall, intensity, and surge.   A warming atmosphere causes more evaporation, meaning more water is available for precipitation. For every 1°F increase in temperature, the atmosphere can hold around 4 percent more water vapor, which leads to heavier rain and increases the risk of flooding of rivers and streams. We saw the impact of extreme rainfall during Harvey. Though no research has yet been done to attribute the staggering rainfall totals from this storm to climate change, the downpours are very much in line with heavy precipitation trends. (September 6, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/08/2017 - When you don’t have strong environmental protections and cleaned up Brownfields, there will be hell to play when this sh**t hits the fan. We go into Climate Change with the environment we have. If we haven’t cleaned up our Brownfields (which probably leak pollution continually) and put strong environmental protections on possible pollution threats we are going to exponentially amplify the consequences of the stronger storms that come with Climate Change. This is true of all regions, including our Monroe County region (which has been getting 71% more heavy rainfall since 1958), not just areas continually battered by hurricanes. We need to stop being surprised by the obvious and take responsibility for planning responsibly. Residents cough, rub eyes in Harvey pollution spike Petrochemical corridor residents say air that is bad enough on normal days got worse as Harvey crashed into the nation's fourth-largest city and then yielded the highest ozone pollution so far this year anywhere in Texas. The Houston metro area was ranked 12th in the nation for worst ozone pollution by The American Lung Association this year, although its air was better than the Los Angeles and New York regions. Plants owned by Shell, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil and other industry giants reported more than 1.5 million pounds (680 metric tons) of extraordinary emissions over eight days beginning Aug. 23 to the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality in Harris County, which encompasses Houston. That amounted to 61 percent of this year's largely unpermitted emissions for the county and five times the amount released in the same period in 2016. Of the known carcinogens released during Harvey, more than 13 tons were benzene. Inhaling it can cause dizziness and even unconsciousness and long-term exposure can trigger leukemia. (September 8, 2017) ABC News [more on Climate Change and Brownfields in our area]

  • 9/08/2017 - How would you rate media coverage of recent hurricanes with Climate Change? Are the media getting the public engaged with the crisis of our age or simply sowing doubt? Climate Change is complicated and the ability for scientists to attribute Climate Change to each and every major extreme weather event is still dicey. But, given the rise in the heat and greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and oceans (which scientists know for certain), and changes already being seen in our ecosystems, wouldn’t it be prudent to prepare for the very likelihood that our way of life is going to be heavily impacted by what 98% of climate scientist believe to be true? If Trump were NOT elected in the US, how different would media coverage be on this rash of very strong hurricanes? We need to talk. Time passes. Media reaction: Hurricane Harvey and climate change Hurricane Harvey continues to rock the southern US, where at least nine people have died after unprecedented flooding. The events around Houston, Texas have sparked early debate over the links between the hurricane and climate change. Commentary from scientists suggests that warming is likely to have intensified its impact. Above-average sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico provided more energy and moisture for the developing hurricane, they say. And sea level rise ensured a larger storm surge at the coast and prevented floodwater from draining more quickly. Nevertheless, many other factors are likely to have played a role. These include Houston’s population explosion, continued building in flood-prone areas and subsidence due to groundwater over-extraction, media reports suggest. (August 29, 2017) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 9/08/2017 - When should we talk about Climate Change, if we cannot speak about it when it’s happening? When it’s over? (Wouldn’t that be a denier’s dream?) Now, when this hurricane season ramps up damage by the warmer waters caused by Climate Change and unprepared development caused by denial, is the time. We must prepare for Climate Change so we can weather our future. Time passes. Are Irma-like Super Storms the 'New Normal'? Distinguished climate scientist Michael Mann explains that a business-as-usual scenario will lead to increasingly devastating storms DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dimitri Lascaris for The Real News. Hurricane Harvey brought the biggest rainfall in United States history last month. Now Hurricane Irma, a category five storm that is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded over the Atlantic, has battered Caribbean islands such as St. Martin and St. Barts, and has begun to pummel Puerto Rico. Michel Magras, a senator from St. Barts, has described the aftermath of Irma as apocalyptic. Although it remains unclear whether Irma will strike Florida, the chances of that happening are increasing. A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for the Florida Keys. Authorities estimate that Irma could begin to strike south Florida as early as Friday night. Meanwhile, authorities are nervously watching two other tropical storms that have developed in the last few days. The first is Katia, which is in the Gulf of Mexico. The second is Jose, which is over the Atlantic to the east of Irma. Are superstorms the new normal? Can we expect more of these monsters, and has climate change making them worse? To discuss this, we are pleased to be joined again by Professor Michael Mann. Professor Michael Mann is a frequent guest on The Real news, a distinguished research professor, and a director of the Earth Science System Science Center of Penn State University. He is the author of the book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. His latest book, coauthored with Tom Toles, is titled The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change is Now Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy. Thank you again for joining us, Professor Mann.(September 7, 2017) The Real News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/07/2017 - Imagine if all Invasive Species were as beautiful as the Mute Swan. How would we keep our environment healthy? “Mute swans compete with native wildlife for aquatic food plants and nesting areas. In addition, people are unable to use some water areas where the highly territorial birds nest.” Invasive Species, such as the Asian Carp which are not beautiful (and most other invasive species for that matter) are on our radar and we are working diligently to eradicate them from our ecosystems because they pose a threat. But, when the invasive species are so beautiful that we become emotionally attached, they present a new problem. Are we hypocrites about our environmental health or especially sensitive to what appears beautiful? Interesting. DEC Releases Third Draft Mute Swan Management Plan and Announces Public Hearings Plan Seeks to Control, Not Eliminate, Swans From New York The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the completion of a revised draft state management plan for mute swans. DEC made significant changes to the plan in response to public comments received over the past three years. "Wildlife management can present challenges in trying to balance conflicting interests, such as when a beautiful bird can have harmful impacts," said Commissioner Basil Seggos. "DEC's revised draft management plan is responsive to the public's concerns about complete elimination of mute swans from New York, taking a more regional approach to management. The plan should limit the potential future impacts of mute swans on native wildlife as well as human enjoyment of the state's aquatic resources. At the same time, the plan emphasizes non-lethal management techniques, in direct response to public concerns about how and where management is accomplished." The mute swan (Cygnus olor) is a non-native, invasive species brought to North America in the late 1800s to beautify estates in the Lower Hudson Valley and on Long Island. Over the past century, swans that escaped or were released established wild populations in downstate New York that now number close to 2,000 birds. A separate population of mute swans became established near Rochester in the late 1980s, but past control efforts by DEC and other agencies have helped to limit their numbers. In August, DEC conducted a large-scale summer population survey to obtain a current statewide population estimate and will have the results tallied in the next few weeks. (September 6, 2017) Department of Environmental Conservation  [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 9/07/2017 - Climate Change needs to be acknowledged and addressed Pope, Orthodox leader make climate change appeal to 'heal wounded creation' Pope Francis and Orthodox Christian leader Patriarch Bartholomew called on Friday for a collective response from world leaders to climate change, saying the planet was deteriorating and vulnerable people were the first to be affected. The appeal comes three months after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a global agreement, struck in Paris, to limit greenhouse gas emissions. “We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized,” Francis and Bartholomew said in a joint statement. “Above all”, the leaders of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics and up to 300 million Orthodox Christians asked for a response “to the plea of millions and support (for) the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation.” (September 1, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/07/2017 - Just how much plastics are there in our lives? Check out this amazing report. “It is everywhere: the most enduring, insidious, and intimate product in the world. From the soles of your shoes to the contact lenses in your eyes, the phone in your pocket to the food in your refrigerator, the evidence is unmistakable: We are living in The Plastic Age.” INVISIBLES The plastic inside us (Orb Media)

  • 9/06/2017 - The notion that many folks have that even if Climate Change were happening it would be doing so slowly is not true. Climate Change is happening quickly, sometimes you can see it clearly, sometimes not. But it’s a phenomenon that is working quickly through all aspects of our lives. It is more likely that we’ll adapt if we too move quickly to counteract this crisis. Time passes.

  • 9/06/2017 - Climate Change: reality vs. ideology. If you pit your stance on reality against Reality, who’s more likely to win? What do you think the prospects are for a federal administration that ignores Reality and allows victims of Climate Change to just pile up? Trump wants to slash budgets of federal agencies at the forefront of disaster relief Budget cuts in the works as climate change intensifies storms. Numerous federal agencies targeted for major budget cuts or even elimination by the Trump administration are playing important roles in helping people recover from Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast. Many agencies in the budget crosshairs also are closely monitoring the path and intensity of Hurricane Irma and making preparations if the storm strikes the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies have been responding to Harvey and could be sending staff to Florida later this week if Irma strikes the state. These same employees, as they provide vital services to storm-damaged areas, understand their jobs are in jeopardy based on President Donald Trump’s budget priorities. (September 5, 2017) Think Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/06/2017 - It’s worth repeating and repeating. Climate Change is making our storms stronger. We need to plan accordingly. Time passes. Hurricane Irma becomes most powerful storm ever recorded in Atlantic Ocean | Hurricane Irma strengthened to a Category 5 storm with winds up to 185 mph as it approaches the Leeward Islands of the northeast Caribbean, the U.S. National Hurricane Center announced Tuesday, making it the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Four other storms have had winds that strong in the overall Atlantic region, but they have been in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico, where the usually warmer waters fuel tropical cyclones. (September 6, 2017) CBS News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/06/2017 - Will Climate Change change how we develop and rebuild? Or will we continue doing the same thing regardless? There are forces within us and without pulling and pushing us in good and bad directions for future development. Which shall we choose? Time passes. How climate change could turn US real estate prices upside down Floridians have long recognised climate’s threat to their homes. Amid the disaster wrought by Harvey, home buyers may look to higher ground If Florida gleaned anything from Hurricane Andrew, the intensely powerful storm that tore a deadly trail of destruction across Miami-Dade County almost exactly 25 years to the day that Hurricane Harvey barrelled into the Texas coastline, it was that living in areas exposed to the wrath of Mother Nature can come at a substantial cost. At the time the most expensive natural disaster ever to hit the US, Andrew caused an estimated $15bn in insured losses in the state and changed the way insurance companies assessed their exposure to risk for weather-related events. (August 29, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/05/2017 - Listen to this episode of Warm Regards podcast where expert Climate Change communicators interview a climate activist on the front lines of this worldwide disaster.

  • 9/05/2017 - If the science behind Climate Change, the flooding, and threats to public health don’t convince you, maybe rising insurance costs will. Insurance companies don’t have the luxury of planning for an ideological future. They have to predict probable risk or they will be no more. If nothing else works, when insurance costs rise so will the public’s confidence that Climate Change is something they need to pay attention to. Insurance industry prices warming into Hurricane Harvey cost Because US infrastructure is not built to withstand climate change the cost of the disaster will be relatively high Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was “the first taste of a bitter cup that will be proffered to us over and over again,” according to former US vice president Al Gore at the time. Since then, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and now Hurricane Harvey have borne out this prediction. The latest storm may turn out to be less fatal than Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people but in economic terms it may be as bad. Hurricane Katrina cost about $160bn (£124bn) in economic losses in today’s terms, accounting for the last decade’s inflation, while Sandy wrought about $70bn in damage. Preliminary estimates for the damage caused by Harvey are wide apart, spanning $90bn to $190bn, reflecting the difficulty of judging an unfolding disaster. (September 1, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/04/2017 - Imagine, if Rochester and around our country we voted for our leaders based on their commitment to addressing Climate Change. Rather than a single-issue, Climate Change is the one issue in our warming world that should be orchestrating our collective actions on all other issues. Education, infrastructure, public health, tourism, you-name-it are all affected by Climate Change. Our leaders cannot address the future of Rochester, or any other place for that matter, if they aren’t using the science behind Climate Change to predict the consequences of warming and how best lead in this challenging time. Rochester is lucky to have a Climate Action Plan from which to help our leaders make intelligent choices in our region as it becomes more and more affected by extreme weather—like heavy rainfall events. Hurricane Harvey should at long last get the voting public to see where their priorities should be now. What are the candidates’ records or statements on addressing this crisis? When do we stop politics as usual and see the science on Climate Change? Time passes.

  • 9/04/2017 - Now that we can see what being unprepared for a major Climate Change disaster looks like after Hurricane Harvey, do we have a moral obligation to act? To prepare for the next climate disaster? Now that we can see clearly what happens when we sprawl into regions that are prone to devastating extreme weather due to conditions (warmer water and high sea levels) brought about our greenhouse gas emissions and infrastructures that we did not prepare for major disruptions (which should not have been a surprise), should our leaders re-visit the Paris Accord and our National Climate Assessment? The answer is and has been obvious for a long time but we are still entertaining the idea that politics trump nature—which, of course, it doesn’t. Time passes. Now we have a moral duty to talk about climate change This is what climate change looks like. Entire metropolitan areas -- Houston in the United States and Mumbai in India -- submerged in catastrophic floods. Record-breaking rainfall: Harvey's 50-plus inches of torrential deluge set a new national tropical cyclone rain record for the continental United States. They used to make Hollywood disaster movies about this sort of thing. Now it's just the news. Officials as senior as Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, have suggested that now -- during a natural disaster -- is not the time to raise the divisive and highly politicized issue of global warming. But if not now, when? After the waters subside, the news crews pack up, and the long task of rebuilding begins, the world's attention inevitably moves on. Watching Trump tour the flooded areas, I was reminded of his Rose Garden press conference less than three months ago announcing the US withdrawal from the Paris climate treaty. In that act of wanton international vandalism, Trump was helping condemn millions more people to the threat of intensified extreme events in future decades. (August 31, 2017) CNN [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/04/2017 - Why should Rochester, NY, which had a very nice summer, care if other places had dreadful heat and floods? We share the same planet. Extreme weather around the world are indicators that what climate scientists have been predicting is true and our day for major disruptions (like heavier rainfall in spring) is coming. Time passes. Australia has hottest winter on record as climate change drives long-term warming trend The danger period for bushfires has moved a month forward into September because of the more arid conditions The hottest winter ever has been recorded in Australia amid a "long-term warming trend" mostly caused by climate change, according to the country's Bureau of Meteorology. Peak temperatures during the day were up by 1.9 degrees Celsius (3.4 Fahrenheit) on the long-term national average of 21.8C during the period between June and August. Winter rainfall was also down to the least amount since 2002 and the ninth-lowest on record. Australia started charting the statistics in 1900 for rainfall and 1910 for temperatures. (September 3, 2017) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/04/2017 - One of the reasons for having an EPA is to prevent the kind of toxic discharges that can build up to a tipping point, a Hurricane Harvey for example. Do we have the EPA we need to protect us from ourselves, environmental protections that will protect us as the extreme weather we amplified becomes the norm? AP EXCLUSIVE: Toxic waste sites flooded, EPA not on scene HIGHLANDS, Texas (AP) — Floodwaters have inundated at least seven highly contaminated toxic waste sites near Houston, raising concerns that the pollution there might spread. The Associated Press visited the sites this past week, some of them still only accessible by boat. Long a center of the American petrochemical industry, the Houston metro area has more than a dozen such Superfund sites, designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as being among the most intensely contaminated places in the country. (September 2, 2017) WTOP [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/04/2017 - “the ongoing monsoon flooding in India” and Hurricane Harvey are telling us that we must adapt to Climate Change. Preparation is key. It’s irresponsible for our political leaders to think every major extreme weather event is unrelated and therefore seen as a onetime event—when all the evidence leans towards more extreme event becoming the new normal. Are our politicians readying us for the real future, or just their stubborn stance on their ideological future? Time passes. What Climate Scientists Want You to See in the Floodwaters STANFORD, Calif. — Like most Americans this week, we have been transfixed by the still unfolding disaster in Houston and coastal Texas, described on the airwaves as “unprecedented” and “beyond anything experienced.” If that wasn’t bad enough, on the other side of the globe, another climate-related calamity has been unfolding, though it has received less attention: the ongoing monsoon flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal that has killed more than 1,000 people and displaced millions. As in Houston, recovery there will take years. (September 2, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/02/2017 - What is the connection with Hurricane Harvey and Climate Change? Should you listen to Trump’s parrots or scientists? Does it matter? If you think like Trump, you try and deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and hope to hell it doesn’t’ happen again. If you think like a scientist, you realize that Climate Change is getting worse and we have to do a lot more to prepare for more major extreme weather here in the USA and around the world. So, yeah it matters. Time passes. What’s the Connection Between Climate Change and Hurricane Harvey? First responders, neighbors, volunteers, city, county, state, national and international institutions, businesses, and people around the world are heeding the call to help save lives and provide resources for keeping people safe throughout the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey and aftermath.  Even as the storm slipped back offshore of Texas and then like a pinwheel spun back over to Louisiana and is now moving further inland on a northeast trajectory, questions are already being asked: Is this storm unprecedented? Are there telltale signs of climate change? (August 31, 2017) Union of Concerned Scientists [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/02/2017 - What if climate denial is not simply a lack of education and a public too overwhelmed by other things to pay attention to this crisis? What if it’s something darker? What if there are a number of powerful, rich people who are having a profound influence on humanity’s inability to address this existential crisis called Climate Change? Are we at the mercy of our own failings to address Climate Change or are there bad players making it almost impossible for us to save ourselves? Who do we blame? And, with this being an existential crisis does blame matter? Listen to this conversation on Climate One: JANE MAYER: BEHIND DARK MONEY Who are the people bankrolling our political system? New Yorker writer Jane Mayer takes us behind the scenes and exposes the powerful group of individuals who are shaping our country. In her latest book, “Dark Money: the Hidden History Behind the Rise of the Radical Right,” Mayer traces the billions of dollars spent by the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins, and the Bradleys and uncovers their influences on policies related to climate change, the economy and more. Mayer told a sold-out Climate One audience that her research led her to uncover the Koch brothers’ family connection to Hitler. “When you’re doing a book like this you really don't know what you’re gonna find,” she says. “It turned out that he and a partner were building a refinery…that became very important to the Hitler war effort in World War II.” (April 4, 2017) Climate One [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/02/2017 - How our major ecosystems (like marine ecosystems) respond to Climate Change is critical for our existence. We need more scientists (really a lot) to find out how our environment, our life support system is responding to this quick planetary warming, and especially Earth’s ecosystems (which are like the organs of our body) so we can plan correctly. #ScienceMatters Hot Spots in a Freezing Ocean Offer Lessons in Climate Change | Climate change will dramatically alter life in the oceans, scientists say, but there’s so much still to learn about marine ecosystems that it’s hard to know exactly how. On Thursday, researchers with the British Antarctic Survey offered a glimpse of that future with the results of an unusual study years in the making. The scientists heated a patch of the sea floor off the coast of Antarctica and tracked the effects on a few local species. Some animals responded by doubling their growth, stunning the researchers. (August 31, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/02/2017 -  Preparing for Climate Change means you anticipate disasters like Hurricane Harvey so that public health issues and infrastructures damages aren’t overwhelming. When you go into a Climate Change disaster with Brownfields that haven’t been cleaned up and infrastructures that haven’t been maintained and made resilient, then things go much worse. Getting our government ready for more major flooding, more public health issues, and more economic challenges due to insurance claims are some of the things that we should be anticipating. But if you don’t believe in the science behind Climate Change, you’re going to be surprised and unprepared each time this happens. There are two parts of Climate Change we must be aware of: mitigation, where we stop putting more greenhouse gas emission into the atmosphere, and adaptation, where we ready ourselves for the consequences of Climate Change. Mitigation we should do; adaptation (as we see with Hurricane Harvey) we must do. Time passes. Harvey Aftermath: A Public Health Crisis in the Making From water contamination to diseases to mold in the walls, dangers continue long after the hurricane. These sorts of risks accompany climate change. The Gulf Coast faces an evolving public health crisis in the wake of Hurricane Harvey that's likely to unfold over months or even years. Health officials are concerned about everything from immediate injuries and exposure to germs and toxic chemicals to more insidious and long-term threats, including mold in the walls of flooded homes and mental health problems. Many of those public health concerns match what experts have been warning we'll see more of as climate change brings more severe weather. When storms hit, they can tip the vulnerable over the edge of danger. ANew York Times interactive of requests for help from Houston-area residents offers a snapshot of the wide range of problems that can arise in the midst of a storm, from "on last oxygen tank," to "no food and babies have no milk," to simply "neck deep in water. (August 31, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/02/2017 - I hear Climate Change when I hear this: “We all want the water quality of Honeoye Lake to improve,” she said. “It’s not just Honeoye Lake. This trend we are seeing all over the world with an increase in harmful algal blooms.” An increase in harmful algal blooms (HABs) all over the world sounds like a worldwide phenomenon that has been predicted when warmer waters and more rainfall from Climate Change make these blooms more likely. But this article, like most in this area of increasing HABs, does not mention Climate Change. Why not? Why not make the public aware of what the EPA has said years ago in its factsheet on HABs: “Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms” It is more likely that we’ll be more prepared to address Climate Change if we better inform and prepare the public for Climate Change. Little lake sees big developments with Honeoye research Honeoye, one of the smallest of the Finger Lakes, is the site of research with a far-reaching impact. New research on Honeoye Lake could crack the code for what ails that lake and waterways everywhere: Harmful blue-green algae. The project involving citizens, students and scientists has this summer uncovered new clues to what spawns and fuels those nasty algae blooms that plague Honeoye and other lakes. “The types of blooms we are seeing are changing,” said Roxanne Razavi, an assistant professor at State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Algae can multiply quickly in waterways with an overabundance of nitrogen, which is the focus of the study that has been taking place this summer. Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges received a $25,000 grant from Great Lakes Research Consortium and state Department of Environmental Conservation to research the role of nitrogen in harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes Basin. (August 31, 2017) Daily Messenger [more on Honeoye Lake and Water Quality in our area]

  • 9/01/2017 - Is Rochester, NY doing enough to protect our drinking water from blue-green algae that is amplified by Climate Change? It is more likely with Climate Change in our area that there will be more heavy rainfall (there’s been 71% more since 1958 in the Northeast, see figure 2.18) and more lake water warming where the even the relatively lower (lower than other local lakes) man-made nutrients loads near Canadice and Hemlock Lakes will create more blue-green algae outbreaks. Are we ready for this consequence of Climate Change in our region and the many other consequences? After outbreaks, Rochester's on guard against blue-green algae LIVONIA - The roar of an outboard motor seems incongruous, even jarring, at Hemlock Lake. Hemlock, nestled in the hills south of Rochester, is one of the most unspoiled lakes in this part of New York. The lake, surrounded by wooded hills, is serenely silent. All but the smallest boats and motors are banned. But one boat, an ungainly pontoon with a 50-horsepower motor, is an exception. It’s a surveillance craft, its occupants charged with spying out telltale signs of unwelcome visitors to the pristine lake: potentially toxic blue-green algae. Hemlock and its smaller neighbor, Canadice, have been prized as the source of clean, high-quality Rochester drinking water since 1876. (September 1, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 9/01/2017 - Missed the “Candidates Talk Climate: Mayoral Primary Forum” that focused exclusively on Climate Change for Rochester NY? Go here to see that August 30th forum. Sponsored by Rochester People's Climate Coalition and League of Women Voters, this was a historical moment where candidates for the mayor of Rochester answered only questions on how they would address Climate Change in our region. This is unprecedented forum may turn out to be the new normal of political debate as our way of life become inundated by the consequences of Climate Change. Definitely, check out this video of the forum (the rest of the fourm is on audio here): Democratic Primary for Rochester Mayor Forum 2017

  • 9/01/2017 - In a world that is warming, affordability takes on a new meaning: Our energy sources are not sustainable if our response to Climate Change is not sustainable. We cannot afford to stay linked to an energy system that warms the planet anymore. Fossil fuels are not affordable at any price any more than poison (even if it’s really, really cheap) can be a food source. We must change our energy grid like California is doing and make it affordable because we cannot make Climate Change cool down with fossil fuels. In other words, we can change our economics to fit our reality, but not the other way around. Humanity must make renewable energy work economically. We need to get our priorities straight. California's goal: an electricity grid moving only clean energy California lawmakers are considering a future without the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity, a step that would boost the renewable energy industry and expand the scope of the state’s battle against global warming. If approved at the end of the legislative session next month, the proposal would eventually ensure only clean energy moves through the state’s electricity grid, a goal nearly unmatched anywhere in the world. It would accelerate the adoption of renewable energy by requiring utilities and other electricity providers to obtain 60% of their power from resources such as the sun and wind by 2030. Then it would task regulators with phasing out fossil fuels for the remaining 40% by 2045. The goal: Less than three decades from now, no coal or natural gas would be burned when Californians charge their electric cars, run their air conditioners or flip on their lights. (August 31, 2017) Los Angeles Times (more on Climate Change and Enegy in our area]

  • 8/31/2017 - Hurricane Harvey has got us thinking: With extreme weather increasing because of Climate Change, how much should we invest in preventing extreme flooding? I suspect these questions are more likely to be asked more often as we go deeper into Climate Change. Special Report: Boston hurricane barrier eyed; cost estimate $10B Harbor project would cost $10B With Tropical Storm Harvey inundating Houston, experts say Boston could face its own extreme flooding crisis in the next century — threatening massive damage and justifying a $10 billion hurricane barrier outside the harbor. “An event like this is a call to pay attention to the risk,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT and a leading climate change expert. “We’ve actually gotten reasonably good at quantifying how that risk will change over the next century, and unfortunately, that does not look good for Boston. It looks like both the intensity of hurricanes and the amount of rain they produce will go up over the century.” (August 29, 2017) Boston Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/31/2017 - From our friends over at Rochester People's Climate Coalition: "Watch this video to learn more about CCA and Rochester People's Climate Coalition's effort to bring renewable energy to Rochester, New York and beyond. "

  • 8/30/2017 - Trump pay now to fortify our infrastructures against Climate Change or pay dearly later. Federal government is the issuer and emergency help of last resort. Trump reversed regulations to protect infrastructure against flooding just days before Hurricane Harvey Ten days before Hurricane Harvey descended upon Texas on Friday, wreaking havoc and causing widespread flooding, President Donald Trump signed an executive order revoking a set of regulations that would have made federally funded infrastructure less vulnerable to flooding. The Obama-era rules, which had not yet gone into effect, would have required the federal government to take into account the risk of flooding and sea-level rise as a result of climate change when constructing new infrastructure and rebuilding after disasters. Experts are predicting that Harvey — the most powerful storm to hit the US since 2004 — will cost Texas between $30 billion and $100 billion in damage. (August 28, 2017) Business Insider [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/30/2017 - Excellent essay on Americans getting the message that Harvey (and Sandy and Katrina) are sending us. We have a situation and we cannot deny ourselves out of it. Hurricane Harvey Was No Surprise Stanford, Calif. — On Sunday, amid the unfolding disaster in Texas, President Trump tweeted his amazement that Hurricane Harvey was producing unprecedented rainfall and flooding. He shouldn’t have been surprised. Climate science has repeatedly shown that global warming is increasing the odds of extreme precipitation and storm surge flooding. Refusing to acknowledge this impairs our ability to prepare for future extreme weather and endangers American lives and property. The storm has already caused tremendous damage in Houston and the surrounding region, including at least five deaths. And because it is likely to remain stalled along the Gulf Coast, more destruction seems a certainty. (August 29, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/30/2017 - Even as Trump administration tries to scrub “Climate Change” from all federal web sites, the warming reality stubbornly persists. Time passes. Another US agency deletes references to climate change on government website The term ‘climate change’ was changed to simply ‘climate’ on website of the National Institutes of Health, the world’s leading public health research body The National Institutes of Health deleted multiple references to climate change on its website over the summer, continuing a trend that began when the Trump administration took charge of the dot.gov domain. The changes were first outlined in a report by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI), which has been using volunteers to track changes to roughly 25,000 pages across multiple government agencies since Trump took office. EDGI counted five instances in which the term “climate change” was changed to simply “climate” on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) site. Trump is deleting climate change, one site at a time   Read more The NIH, an agency of the federal government, is the world’s leading public health research body. (August 23, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/29/2017 - Public transit is critical to addressing Climate Change. Everyone needs to get somewhere without polluting the climate. Public transport is critical for everyone having a chance at a job, getting groceries, health services, and actually having a life. Bus stops are a part of the public transit component. Bus stops need to be more available, more safe, more shelter, more accommodating to handicap travelers (which means continual snow removal on our sidewalks to the bus stops) the buses need to come more often, and there should be more information about when the buses are coming and going. We had a lot of this back in the day before the gas guzzlers took over and we need to get this public transit infrastructure back—one that doesn’t pollute and actually functions in a way that serves the public. A bit of comfort at the bus stop Volunteers see a need, build cubes for those who wait A Henrietta bus stop last year failed to win the nation’s “sorriest bus stop” award—a roadside refuge in Silver Spring, Md., earned that honor—but the nomination did shine a light on a longtime transportation dilemma. When funding is an issue, how do you cost-effectively meet the needs of public transportation customers? A group of volunteers with Reconnect Rochester—a not-for-profit organization that works to improve transportation choices in the region—for several years have been providing a partial solution to that challenge. And it resembles a popular toy from childhood. (August 29, 2017) Rochester Business Journal [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 8/29/2017 - With Climate Change, we are more likely to have massive storms like Harvey and more news speculating about the relationship to warming. At some point in time, there is likely to be a tipping point where the majority of the public stops thinking these massive storms are just freak occurrences. And that may come about because insurance, human costs, and infrastructure damage are so high that we absolutely have to get together and plan. We’d come up with multigovernmental studies planning like the National Climate Assessment and we’d join in worldwide efforts to address Climate Change—like the Paris Accord. I know, we did all that. And we’re going to have to do them again and undo the Trump administration’s anti-sustainable policies. It is (very, actually impossible) unlikely that climate denial can address Climate Change. Did Climate Change Intensify Hurricane Harvey? “The human contribution can be up to 30 percent or so of the total rainfall coming out of the storm.” Every so often, the worst-case scenario comes to pass. As of Sunday afternoon, the remnants of Hurricane Harvey seem likely to exceed the worst forecasts that preceded the storm. The entire Houston metropolitan region is flooding: Interstates are under feet of water, local authorities have asked boat owners to join rescue efforts, and most of the streams and rivers near the city are in flood stage. Some models suggest that the storm will linger over the area until Wednesday night, dumping 50 inches of water in total on Houston and the surrounding area. “Local rainfall amounts of 50 inches would exceed any previous Texas rainfall record. The breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before,” said a statement from the National Weather Service. “Catastrophic flooding is now underway and expected to continue for several days.” (In years of weather reporting, I have never seen a statement this blunt and ominous.) (August 27, 2017) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 8/29/2017 - Climate Change is making it so pine-killing beetles from Central American are making it to New York. There are so many things that happen when our climate quickly warms that it’s naïve to say that anyone will benefit or that just focusing on one solution will fix this problem. We are changing our entire life support system in ways that are going to be especially difficult to tease out—more so if our attitude is out of whack with what is happening. Tree-Killing Beetles Spread into Northern U.S. Forests as Temperatures Rise A study finds strong links between climate change and the spread of southern pine beetles, whose damage increases the risk of ecosystem harm and forest fires. Southern pine beetles are among the most destructive insects invading North America's pine forests today, and they're spreading farther north as global temperatures rise, putting entire ecosystems at risk and creating fuel for wildfires as they kill the trees they infest. A new study shows the insects' range could reach Nova Scotia by 2020 and cover more than 270,000 square miles of forest from the upper Midwest to Maine and into Canada by 2080. Winter cold snaps that once killed the beetles in their larval stage are becoming less frequent at the northern edge of the beetles' current range, which will allow them to multiply and spread into new territory quickly, the study's authors say. (August 28, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/28/2017 - For those still considering nuclear power to help power our future, we still have a nuclear waste problem that hasn’t been adequately addressed. Check out this humorous look at a persistent problem with nuclear power by Jon Oliver. “Nuclear waste poses a serious threat to public health if it's not stored in a safe place. John Oliver explains why the United States desperately needs to build a metaphorical toilet for all that waste.” (Nuclear Waste: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO))

  • 8/28/2017 - Continually, large communities are going to need information on how to plan for massive flooding that comes with Climate Change. The National Climate Assessment needs to be made more robust, not dissembled at the time of greatest need. Draft U.S. National Climate Assessment Confirms Fundamental Truths of Climate Change A key moment in U.S. climate action is approaching. The first of two parts of the latest U. S. National Climate Assessment (NCA), a report by top U.S. scientists from 13 federal agencies, is nearing its final stage of approval. Final comments are due this Friday before the report can be published by the administration. Mandated by Congress in 1990, the NCA is administered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy through the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program. The most recent NCA, released in 2014, delivered a detailed picture of the expected impact of climate change on American agriculture, energy, infrastructure, water supply and human health. (August 16, 2017) World Resources Insittute [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/26/2017 - New study challenges Trump supporter’s belief that voting for him makes them immune to Climate Change. In fact, it may have doubled their troubles. Sad. New study finds that climate change costs will hit Trump country hardest In the USA, the southeastern states are most vulnerable to the costly impacts from human-caused climate change Humans are causing Earth’s climate to change. We know that. We’ve known it for decades. Okay so what? The follow-up questions should be directed to what the effects of warming will be. What will the costs be to society, to the natural biosystem, and to human lives? Let’s be honest, if the consequences of warming are not large, then who cares? But, if the consequences are severe, then we should take action now to reduce the warming. This really comes down to costs and benefits. Are the benefits of reducing emissions greater or less than the costs?  But there is a nuance to the answer. The costs are not uniformly distributed. Some regions will suffer more and other regions will suffer less. In fact, some regions will actually benefit in a warming climate. We understand that the world is interconnected and costs will inevitably be shared to some extent. But it is clear we won’t all suffer the same.(August 24, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/26/2017 - So, if the relationship between hurricanes and Climate Change is complicated, we should assume there’s none, right? We should gut expert panels like the National Climate Assessment that try to help our nation determine what the relationship is to these disasters that will call on major national resources like the military, right? We should ignore all the indicators and possible consequences of Climate Change because our new president thinks climate science is nonsense, right. Because he is a very smart guy and has said so himself, right? We should just sit by and allow our climate denier president to blind us and cripple our ability to address Climate Change, right? We should just go about our lives and let Trump trash our climate science and our nation’s ability to address this worldwide crisis, right? Because rather than finding out what Trump is doing to unravel all that we’ve done to make our life support system sustainable, it’s easier and more convenient to turn off the fake news and only listen to Trump, right? I think not. The Relationship Between Hurricanes and Climate Change How much does Hurricane Harvey, or any particular storm, have to do with climate change? The relationship between hurricanes and climate change is not simple. Some things are known with growing certainty. Others, not so much. The most recent draft of a sweeping climate science report pulled together by 13 federal agencies as part of the National Climate Assessment suggested that the science linking hurricanes to climate change was still emerging. Looking back through the history of storms, “the trend signal has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes,” the report states. (August 25, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/26/2017 - Some local media attribute more harmful algae blooms in our lakes to Climate Change and some don’t. This one doesn’t. It would be nice if local media began consistently mentioning that Climate Change, with more heavy rainfall and warmer waters, was accelerating and amplifying this growing algae problem. This change of reporting would go far in convincing our politicians and the public that we are experiencing the consequences of Climate Change in our region and we need to act. Time passes. Algae blooms found in several more bodies of water The blooms, which can contain toxins that sicken humans and animals, have been found in Presque Isle Bay, Findley Lake and Chautauqua Lake. Harmful algae blooms have been detected in several bodies of water throughout the region this summer. The blooms, which can contain toxins that make humans and animals sick, have been found in Presque Isle Bay and, more recently, in Findley Lake and Chautauqua Lake in New York state. They also have been detected in Lake Erie, though most of them have been concentrated in the western end of the lake near Toledo. (August 25, 2017) GoErie.com [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/26/2017 - I’ll admit I cannot even fathom how reckless and out of touch Trump must be to dissolve the federal Advisory Panel for the Sustained National Climate Assessment. The American people need to understand what the panel does and why it’s removal will be so profound. Blinding ourselves from important information is unsustainable. Trump’s Rejection of National Climate Report Would Do More Damage Than Exiting the Paris Agreement A scientific report done every four years has been thrust into the spotlight because its findings directly contradict statements from the president and various Cabinet officials. If the Trump administration chooses to reject the pending national Climate Science Special Report, it would be more damaging than pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Full stop. This is a bold claim, but as an economist and scientist who was a vice chair of the committee that shepherded the last national climate assessment report to its completion, I can explain why this is the case. Informing Policy With Facts To see why the Climate Science Special Report is so important, first consider some historical context. In 1990 Congress mandated that government scientists prepare and transmit a report to the president and the Congress every four years that “integrates, evaluates, and interprets” findings of the United States Global Change Research Program. It must characterize the “effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems and biological diversity.” It also calls for scientists to project climate trends decades into the future. (April 21, 2017) The Energy Collective [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/25/2017 - Much has been done in Rochester to make bicycling a real transportation option. We need more education on how to be safe. We need drivers to watch for pedestrians and bicyclists and we need everyone on or near our roads to be predictable. Active transportation (walking and bicycling) are crucial to addressing Climate Change so we need to make it safe and that’s going to take some work. We can make active transportation work and make it safe. Bicycle fatalities increase; adults more likely to be victims Adults are more likely than children to die in a collision between a bicycle and a motor vehicle. That's a significant shift over the past four decades in the U.S. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, fatal bicycle crashes were up more than 12 percent in 2015 and the average age of the victim was 45. Scott MacRae, M.D., president of the Rochester Cycling Alliance, isn't surprised by the increase, since the popularity of bicycle commuting has soared in the last two decades. (August 24, 2017) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 8/25/2017 - The 2C limit for warming might “be a powerful principle for political organising”, but is it delusional? Climate Change science isn’t rocket science, which is to say there are a lot more variables we have to consider—ecosystems health, public health, climate justice, social unrest, wildlife adaptation, and the past accumulation of environmental problems, like species extinction, the loss of biodiversity, and pollution—than keeping a rocket on its trajectory. Not in any way to dismiss rocket science, but if we don’t address Climate Change correctly we won’t have a future. Because any arbitrary carbon budget is probably delusional, we should assume—according to the Precautionary Principle—that we’ve long overshot any environmental buffer. We should be doing a full court press on Climate Change now. Time passes. How did we end up with a 2C climate limit? The global temperature goal started life as a back-of-the-envelope guess but become a powerful principle for political organising If you read or listen to almost any article about climate change, it’s likely the story refers in some way to the “2 degrees Celsius limit.” The story often mentions greatly increased risks if the climate exceeds 2C and even “catastrophic” impacts to our world if we warm more than the target. Recently a series of scientific papers have come out and stated that we have a 5% chance of limiting warming to 2C, and only one chance in a hundred of keeping man-made global warming to 1.5C, the aspirational goal of the 2015 Paris United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference. Additionally, recent research shows that we may have already locked in 1.5C of warming even if we magically reduced our carbon footprint to zero today. And there’s an additional wrinkle: What is the correct baseline we should use? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) frequently references temperature increases relative to the second half of the 19th century, but the Paris Agreement states the temperature increases should be measured from “preindustrial” levels, or before 1850. Scientists have shown such a baseline effectively pushes us another 0.2C closer to the upper limits. (August 23, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/24/2017 - Having a team of students in Rochester gather information that can be used to turn abandoned properties into assets for their community ROCs. Our Brownfields need to be cleaned up. And, abandoned properties are tremendous assets in an urban setting because all the infrastructures (water, waste removal, power, telecommunications, roads, and more) are already there to get these properties useful again. Getting our City and all communities ready for more people and other likelihoods of Climate Change are part of adapting to things to come. A great wealth of information about our environment and our build environment can be gathered by citizen scientist, which include properly trained students gathering critical data so we can plan best for a warmer world. Time passes. Students gather data on vacant city lots to inspire future use There are about 2,100 vacant, city-owned lots in Rochester. Three hundred of them are in the Marketview Heights neighborhood alone. That's where a team of students spent the summer gathering information that can be used to turn some of those abandoned properties into assets for their community. Students from city high schools and RIT went from lot to lot using phone apps to record specific facts about what they saw. "Are there trees on the lot?", Said Ann Howard, director of RIT's University/Community Partnership program. "Is there available sun, should there be a garden? Is water available? Is it close enough to walk to transit?” (August 23, 2017) WXXI News 

  • 8/24/2017 - Have scientists and the public been deceived about the safety of genetic engineered foods? Interesting talk about this critical subject about our Food: How the Health Risks of GMOs Have Been Underestimated and Misrepresented” (August 15, 2017, Commonwealth Club)

  • 8/24/2017 - How can anyone believe in climate denial in the face of the race to plunder a warming Arctic? Is there any consistency in the wrongheaded belief in climate denial? Or, do deniers just take advantage of all warming when it suits their self-interest and then distance themselves from the moral and physical consequences when it doesn’t?  If you truly were a climate change denier, wouldn’t you just sit back and laugh at all the industries who think they can start more shipping lanes and find more wealth now that the Arctic is warming up—when you believe it’s not? One must wonder how climate denial will evolve as this tenacious ideology is continually confronted with the realities of a warming world. Time passes. Warming Arctic spurs battles for riches, shipping routes From a distance, the northern shores of Baffin Island in the Arctic appear barren — a craggy world of snow-capped peaks and glaciers surrounded by a sea of floating ice even in the midst of summer. Yet beneath the forbidding surface of the world's fifth largest island lies a vast treasure in the shape of an exceptionally pure strain of iron ore. The Baffinland mine, part-owned by a local company and ArcelorMittal, one of the world's biggest steel producers, is believed to hold enough ore to feed smelters for decades. As climate change pushes the cold and ice a little farther north each year, it is spurring talk of a gold rush for the Arctic's abundant natural resources, prized shipping routes and business opportunities in tourism and fishing. The Arctic, including the fabled Northwest Passagebetween the Atlantic and the Pacific, is among the last regions on earth to remain largely unexplored. In April, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reverse Obama-era restrictions on oil drilling. (August 23, 2017) ABC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/24/2017 - If the stuff in your freezer were suddenly thawing, you’d be very concerned. Earth’s freezers are thawing. Scientists are learning a lot about thawing permafrost very quickly because they need to know how that is going to happen. If we were a responsible species, we’d want to slow that down and plan rigorously for all the way it’s going to affect our future. ALASKA’S PERMAFROST IS THAWING The loss of frozen ground in Arctic regions is a striking result of climate change. And it is also a cause of more warming to come. YUKON DELTA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Alaska — The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as other parts of the planet, and even here in sub-Arctic Alaska the rate of warming is high. Sea ice and wildlife habitat are disappearing; higher sea levels threaten coastal native villages. But to the scientists from Woods Hole Research Center who have come here to study the effects of climate change, the most urgent is the fate of permafrost, the always-frozen ground that underlies much of the state. (August 23, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/23/2017 - Soil and how we treat it are pivotal in our ability to address Climate Change. We’re getting to know more about Soil and Climate Change. Agriculture a culprit in global warming, says U.S. research NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Agriculture has contributed nearly as much to climate change as deforestation by intensifying global warming, according to U.S. research that has quantified the amount of carbon taken from the soil by farming. Some 133 billion tons of carbon have been removed from the top two meters of the earth's soil over the last two centuries by agriculture at a rate that is increasing, said the study in PNAS, a journal published by the National Academy of Sciences. Global warming is largely due to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from such activities as burning fossil fuels and cutting down trees that otherwise would absorb greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. But this research showed the significance of agriculture as a contributing factor as well, said Jonathan Sanderman, a soil scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts and one of the authors of the research. (August 22, 2017) Thomson Reuters Foundation [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/23/2017 - “Blue-green algae found again in Rochester water supply” is troubling. BTW: isn’t this code for Climate Change “With algal blooms becoming more and more commonplace in New York and other states …”? If so, what is Rochester doing to prevent Blue-green algae from getting into our City’s waters supply in the next years and decades? Blue-green algae found again in Rochester water supply Potentially toxic blue-green algae turned up in one of the lakes that provide drinking water to the city of Rochester for the second time this summer. Like the first discovery, this one did not result in any impact whatsoever on city drinking water. But to be safe, the city is continuing enhanced surveillance of the two lakes from which it draws water. The bloom in Canadice Lake, discovered Aug. 1, released no toxin and dissipated later the same day it was found, city and New York state officials said. "Rochester water customers should have no concern," said Patricia Bedard, the city's manager of water production. (August 22, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/23/2017 - To help forests adapt to Climate Change we are going have to help them move—a pickup truck won’t be enough. Our forests not only provide lumber, they are major ecosystems that help make our planet sustainable for us. Our forests need the creatures that keep them healthy and these trees need to be able to ‘move’ with the climate, that is, replanting with species that can handle more heat. Time passes. Swiss trees swelter as climate warms The most important tree for Switzerland’s forestry industry, the Norway spruce, is in danger of dying out in much of the country because it cannot adapt fast enough as Swiss trees swelter in the rising temperatures. Caroline Heiri, the lead scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), described the findings as “astonishing” and said urgent action was needed to save Switzerland’s forests by planting saplings that can survive the conditions which will occur later this century as the trees grow to maturity. Switzerland is already acutely aware of the dangers of climate change to its economy as its glaciers shrink and the Alpine snow line rises. This has already forced some lower ski resorts out of business and shortened the season for others. (August 16, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/23/2017 - Although businesses are critical to our addressing Climate Change, they cannot solve this crisis alone. We certainly want businesses and communities on board with all the myriad things they can do to increase renewable energy and encourage the public to live sustainably. But businesses can only do so much in getting us through the wormhole of Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter. We are going into a time where the consequences from Climate Change will become more dire which means we are going to have to change the way we live so that all the other environmental problems—loss of biodiversity, pollution, over consumption, climate justice, and much more—get solved at the same time we bring down our planet’s temperatures and adapt to the changes. There is no one solution to the kind of existential problem Climate Change presents. We certainly don’t want businesses working against us. Time passes. Can Business Save the World from Climate Change? “We are still in.” On June 5, 2017, with these four words a group of U.S. businesses and investors with a combined annual revenue of $1.4 trillion sent a powerful message to the world: U.S. president Donald Trump may have withdrawn from the Paris agreement on climate change four days earlier, but corporate America was not following suit. “We Are Still In” launched with more than 20 Fortune 500 companies on board, including Google, Apple, Nike and Microsoft, as well as a host of smaller companies. The statement was coordinated by a large collective of organizations including World Wildlife Fund, Rocky Mountain Institute, Climate Mayors, Ceres and Bloomberg Philanthropies. It has now grown to include more than 1,500 businesses and investors, as well as nine U.S. states, more than 200 cities and counties, and more than 300 colleges and universities. (August 22, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/23/2017 - 100% renewable energy is not only possible; it’s mandatory if we are to address Climate Change. In the Rochester, NY region and everywhere else. We need to transition to sustainable energy options. Keep it 100 The unimaginable in now possible: 100% renewable energy. We can’t settle for less. THE KNOCK ON ENVIRONMENTALISTS IS THAT THEY’VE BEEN BETTER AT OPPOSING THAN PROPOSING. Sure, being against overheating the planet or melting the ice caps should probably speak for itself—but it doesn’t give us a means. So it’s important news that the environmental movement seems to be rallying round a new flag. That standard bears a number: 100 percent. It’s the call for the rapid conversion of energy systems around the country to 100 percent renewable power—a call for running the United States (and the world) on sun, wind and water. What Medicare for All is to the healthcare debate, or Fight for $15 is to the battle against inequality, 100% Renewable is to the struggle for the planet’s future. It’s how progressives will think about energy going forward—and though it started in northern Europe and Northern California, it’s a call that’s gaining traction outside the obvious green enclaves. In the last few months, cities as diverse as Atlanta and Salt Lake have taken the pledge. (August 22, 2017) In These Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/22/2017 - If you have ever taken the time to read one of the National Climate Assessment reports, you’ll get a sense of this loss. It’s hard to fathom just how far into climate denial one has to go in order to dismiss a panel whose job is to inform our government how 13 agencies of government understand Climate Change and what they recommend to the public.  Other groups, universities, even other countries will produce similar reports like the National Climate Assessment, but they won’t be from our government and they won’t have the impact and the authority that comes from federal agencies like our military. The Trump administration is purposely blinding themselves and the American people on the clear and present danger of Climate Change.  Time passes. Trump administration dismisses climate change advisory panel The Trump administration has fired another shot at the scientific community, this time dismantling a federal advisory committee on climate change. Members on the 15-person committee tell CNN they learned the news by email Friday. CNN has obtained a copy of the email sent from acting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Benjamin Friedman. "On behalf of the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), I am writing to inform you that per the terms of the charter the Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment (Committee) will expire on August 20, 2017," the email read. "The Department of Commerce and NOAA appreciate the efforts of the Committee and offer sincere thanks to each of the Committee members for their service." (August 21, 2017) CNN [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/22/2017 - Many of our wildlife that evolved in a cold environment are going to have to adapt to warmer temperatures. Are we helping them to adapt or merely observing their demise? And many of our wildlife will need to ‘move’ across our infrastructures (roads and dams) in order to find year-round temperatures they can endure. What are we doing to help? What are our plans? Warming rivers threaten iconic Michigan fish. With warmer temperatures, there can be a delay in development of embryos as well, said Cindy Chu, a freshwater ecologist researcher at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. “There’s also an increase in predators and the ability of fungus to establish on eggs … all can lead to a decrease in reproduction.”   Michigan is not alone. When researchers examined eastern U.S. brook trout streams from Georgia to Maine they reported that only 5 percent of the watersheds had populations of brook trout occupying more than 90 percent of historical habitat.  “Wild stream populations of brook trout have vanished or are greatly reduced in nearly half of the watersheds,” the authors wrote in the 2011 report.  Even out West, researchers fear the end of some species as they cross-breed with invaders thriving in the warmer water. A 2016 study on Ontario's Lake Simcoe watershed found that brook trout-friendly cold water habitat has reduced 27 percent over the past century and is estimated to reduce another 59 percent by 2065 due to a warming climate.  When Minnesota researchers estimated climate change impacts to three streams in the Lake Superior watershed they reported a 2.6 degrees F increase in July average water temperatures over the next 50 years, according to the 2015 study. (August 21, 2017) The Daily Climate [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/21/2017 - While Americans look to skies for today’s solar eclipse, Trump pulled the rug out from National Climate Assessment. Worse than Sad. Find out about the NCA before it’s gone Trump is destroying our tribal knowledge, our scientific consensus from 13 agencies of government, that we’ve been building since President Reagan began this process. The Trump administration just disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning. The charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment — which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives — expires Sunday. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee’s chair that the agency would not renew the panel. The National Climate Assessment is supposed to be issued every four years but has come out only three times since passage of the 1990 law calling for such analysis. The next one, due for release in 2018, already has become a contentious issue for the Trump administration. (August 20, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/21/2017 - Dear Mr. Trump, this Climate Change message seems especially designed for you. #ScienceMatters #ClimateFacts

  • 8/21/2017 - Wouldn’t it be great if plastic garbage was healthy food for wildlife? Then we wouldn’t feel bad when it poisons them. Hard to believe we didn’t really have plastic bags before 1960 and now they are so prevalent that in millions of years there will probably be a layer of this trash down deep in the ground that defines our existence to future generations. Sad. Why fish can't help but eat our plastic garbage It passes the sniff test, but it shouldn't. Plastic isn’t food, but fish seem to eat it anyway—to the confusion of many researchers. As the 9.5 billion tons of plastic the world has produced since the 1950s makes its way into the world’s rivers, lakes, and oceans, the animal consumption of such waste has become a big problem. Yes, a lot of that plastic is tiny—roughly the size of fish food—so it’s not a stretch to think that fish are simply confusing these morsels with plankton. But the fish that are apparently attracted to plastic are usually picky eaters. (August 15, 2017) Popular Science [more on Wildlife and Recycling in our area]

  • 8/21/2017 - May your appreciation for the precision of the science behind the predictions of today’s solar eclipse extend to the scientific rigor behind Climate Change. It’s the same science Should You Trust Climate Science? Maybe the Eclipse Is a Clue Eclipse mania will peak on Monday, when millions of Americans will upend their lives in response to a scientific prediction. Friends of mine in Georgia plan to drive 70 miles to find the perfect spot on a South Carolina golf course to observe the solar eclipse. Many Americans will drive farther than that, or fly, to situate themselves in the “path of totality,” the strip of the country where the moon is predicted to blot out the sun entirely. Thanks to the work of scientists, people will know exactly what time to expect the eclipse. In less entertaining but more important ways, we respond to scientific predictions all the time, even though we have no independent capacity to verify the calculations. We tend to trust scientists. (August 18, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/19/2017 - Is Climate Change based on science or the ruling of the ‘red team’? Hmm…. Who’s the red team? Trump Has Broad Power to Block Climate Change Report Influential advisers press the Trump administration to subject a draft climate change report to a “red team” review that many scientists decry as misplaced. Earlier this month, someone involved in the government’s latest report on climate change provided The New York Times with a copy of the version submitted to the Trump administration for final approval. The main intent of the leak, according to several people tracking the report, was to complicate any attempt to suppress the study or water down its findings. Publication of the document inflamed an already-fraught debate about climate change. Administration officials and Republican lawmakers accused the leaker and journalists of manufacturing a dispute. They said the report, which was required by law, was moving through a normal process of White House review. The report was submitted in late June and the Trump administration has broad authority to review its findings. Any one of a number of government agencies can block its release, which is ultimately subject to presidential review.(August 15, 2017) ProPublica [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 8/19/2017 - Some articles on toxic algae ruining our Northeast lakes connect the dots to Climate Change, some don’t. This one doesn’t (see below). This one does. So, which is it? Why are there more and more articles about more and more bodies of water being affected by toxic algae but less consistency on whether Climate Change is amplifying and accelerating this toxic threat to our lakes? How can we possibly solve this threat to our lakes if we all don’t get on the same page with climate science? Even the EPA (albeit the one before Pruitt screwed it up) informs about the rise in toxic algae and Climate Change. Researchers: Algal blooms have cost Ohioans $152 million in property value GIBRALTAR ISLAND, Ohio — If ever there was something in nature to be described as Public Enemy No. 1, western Lake Erie’s toxic algae would be a leading candidate. It has threatened public health, hurt marketing and branding efforts, diminished property values, and been a nuisance in many other ways. But while evidence has emerged that the state’s $1.7 billion sport-fishing industry is taking a big hit from it in Lake Erie, the Ohio River, and all of their associated tributaries, there’s no evidence of a decline among spawning populations of walleye, yellow perch, and other Lake Erie fish — at least not yet. (August 18, 2017) The Blade [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/19/2017 - With Climate Change comes more fires, with more fires come more smoke, with more smoke comes more dark particles on ice, with more dark ice comes more melting. Climate Change is becoming more predictable. We should plan accordingly. Time passes. Canada's forests are burning, and the smoke is drifting into the Arctic Forests in Canada are ablaze, with 2.2 million acres going up in flames so far this year in British Columbia alone. These fires, and others in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, have been belching smoke into the air, in some cases up to 8 miles high.  Once in the atmosphere, weather patterns are causing the wildfire smoke to converge into a blanket so thick it's blotting out the sun across northern Canada. This smoke is working its way to the high Arctic, where it could speed up the melting of sea and land ice.  According to NASA, the smoke has set a record for its thickness, and has been especially dense across the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut provinces. (August 18, 2017) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/19/2017 - Renewable energy—solar and wind—have the potential to make New York 100% clean energy—not intermittent, not costly, not dirty. Pipelines, besides being environmentally disruptive, are setting the table for decades more of fossil fuels, which are warming the planet. We are living at a time of an energy transition that has practical and moral implications, a time when we need to use clean energy, not go back to a fuel that has put our future in jeopardy. Constitution Pipeline in NY rejected by court Constitution Pipeline in NY rejected by court Constitution Pipeline in NY rejected by court ALBANY -- A federal Court of Appeals on Friday rejected a lawsuit from the owners of the Constitution Pipeline that challenged a state decision last year to not grant the project a water-quality permit. The controversial, 121-mile natural-gas pipeline has been planned to run through the Southern Tier and into the Catskills and Mohawk Valley. The Constitution Pipeline Co. sued in May 2016 to overturn the decision from the state Department of Environmental Conservation that rejected the project. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based in Manhattan, sided with the state, saying the DEC had the right to reject or approve the water permit (August 18, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/18/2017 - As our federal government’s environmental protections collapse others step in to quell the madness. Will it be enough and in time? Time passes. NYU Law launches new center to help state AGs fight environmental rollbacks NYU School of Law will launch a new center, financed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, aimed at helping state attorneys general fight any federal moves to roll back renewable energy, environmental protections and climate policies. The grant of nearly $6 million, which will establish the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center, marks a new step in the escalating battle between state attorneys general and the Trump administration over the nation’s energy and environmental trajectory. Although the center will provide assistance to states regardless of party, Democratic attorneys general have been particularly aggressive in challenging the administration’s efforts to unravel regulations and policies that aim to curb fossil fuel production in the United States as well as restrict drilling and mining on federal lands and in federal waters. (August 16, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Environmental Health, Energy, and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/18/2017 - Climate Change is warming up the stew of toxic algae blooms in our lakes so we need to turn down the freaking burner. Note:  “… a changing climate is creating the perfect stew of conditions for harmful algae to thrive.” Researchers search for clues to toxic algae blooms From Washington Lake in southwest Minnesota, to Lake Minnetonka, to Helen Lake in northern Minnesota, toxic blooms of algae are again surfacing on the state's lakes. They're suspected culprits in one case of human illness and two dog deaths so far this summer. When lake temperatures warm, blue-green algae thrives, often forming in thick, pea-soup colored blooms that spread out across the surface of lakes. The algae has been present in Minnesota since at least the turn of the 19th century. But it's only recently exploded on the public's radar. It's believed to have killed 20 dogs in Minnesota since 2004, including this August at Lake Minnetonka and at Lake Geneva, near Alexandria, Minn. (August 17, 2017) MPRNews [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/18/2017 - Will the Trump administration ignore the urgency and science behind the National Climate Assessment’s new Climate Change Report? Or, perhaps more appropriate, should the Trump administration ignore the urgency and science behind the National Climate Assessment’s new Climate Change Report? Or this: Are we going to let the Trump administration ignore the urgency and science behind the National Climate Assessment’s new Climate Change Report? Time passes. Watch: Climate Change Report vs. E.P.A. Chief "A draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies directly contradicts statements by Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, that human contribution to climate change is uncertain." (August 8, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/18/2017 - Climate Change is one of those issues that put demands on you whether you believe in it or not? Someone’s going to have to pay for Climate Change protections and damages. And, some communities may have to decide when to cut their losses because in some communities, no matter how much money is thrown at the problem, are going to be overwhelmed. Time passes. Miami Taxpayers Asked to Foot the Bill to Protect the City from Climate Change Miami is among the U.S. cities most vulnerable to rising seas due to climate change, and city officials estimate that they may have to spend at least $900 million in the coming decades to upgrade the city’s flood prevention and drainage systems to keep the Atlantic Ocean at bay. City officials don’t know exactly where all the money will come from, but in November the city will ask voters to approve a $400 million general obligation bond—new property taxes that will start chipping away at the cost of shoring up the city against the ravages of climate change. Like many coastal cities, Miami is grappling with more frequent high tide flooding and vulnerability to hurricane storm surges as the Atlantic intrudes into once-dry areas and percolates inland through porous bedrock. Like all cities planning for the effects of climate change, Miami is struggling with who will pay for the costly measures needed to protect its residents. (August 16, 2017) Climate Liability News [more on Climate Channge in our area]

  • 8/17/2017 - Antarctica volcanos, an example of Climate Change’s unknown unknowns, something about this crisis we didn’t even know we didn’t know. Now we know. As scientist learn more about Climate Change and how our planet’s systems work and change with warming, we are more likely to find more unknown unknowns. And, as more of us get engaged with addressing Climate Change we are more likely to find within ourselves the capacity to cope with the warming. Time passes. Another climate-change nightmare: 91 new volcanoes beneath Antarctica’s ice Antarctica has been having a rough time of it lately, you may have heard. You know — greenhouse gases, warming oceans, trillion-ton icebergs breaking off the continent like a middle-aged man losing hair in the sink. Not the best century for the old South Pole. And now it turns out Antarctica has problems we didn't even know about. Deep problems. Volcanoes-under-the-ice problems, which doesn't sound healthy. University of Edinburgh researchers on Monday announced the discovery of 91 previously unknown volcanoes under west Antarctica. They do not sound nearly as alarmed as, say, Quartz, which called the possibilities terrifying. “By themselves the volcanoes wouldn't be likely to cause the entire ice sheet to melt,” said lead researcher Max Van Wyk de Vries, whose team published the study in the Geological Society in late May. But if the glacier is already melting because of global warming, he said, “if we start reducing significant quantities of ice … you can more or less say that it triggers an eruption.” (August 15, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/17/2017 - How much closer are climate scientists in attributing Climate Change to specific extreme events? And, in terms of communicating this crisis, how effective will more exact attribution be for getting the public engaged? Is the striving to get more exact science into the Climate Change dialogue going to be more effective in getting the public engaged in this existential crisis? Or, have most of the public already made up their minds on this self-inflicted phenomenon that is still evolving, becoming more clear as a crisis where great urgency is needed? Time passes. Does Climate Change Cause Extreme Weather Events? It’s a challenge to attribute any one storm or heat wave to climate change, but scientists are getting closer In 2003, a deadly heat wave struck Europe that would usher in a new era of climate science. In July and August alone, temperatures upward of 115 °F claimed nearly 70,000 lives. However, while average global temperatures have increased at a steady clip since the mid-20th century, strong heat waves had been documented from time to time before then. For climate scientists, that meant that attributing the heat wave to global warming would be next to impossible.   So when a team of British researchers used environmental data and model simulations to establish a statistical link between climate change and the heat wave, they got attention.  Though they couldn’t prove that global warming had “caused” the scorcher, the scientists did assert that warming from human emissions had doubled the risk of extreme weather events. Published in Nature, their first-of-its-kind study launched the new field of “attribution science,” which uses observations and models to tease apart the factors that lead to extreme climatic events.  (August 15, 2017) Smithonian.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/17/2017 - Because Climate Change is a worldwide phenomenon, a mild July in Rochester, NY doesn’t mean it was mild around the world. July got hotter for Earth. July ties record for warmest month on Earth, but I'm sure we have nothing to worry about In a surprising finding, NASA released data Tuesday showing that July 2017 is tied for the warmest such month on record, statistically deadlocked with July 2016. This means that July was one of the warmest months the planet has seen in 137 years of record-keeping, comparable to July and August 2016, which tied for the record for the warmest month overall.  What makes this year's July record noteworthy is that it occurred in the absence of a natural climate cycle, like El Niño, which would help heighten global average surface temperatures. A strong El Niño, combined with human-caused global warming, helped push 2016 to claim the record for the warmest year since reliable thermometer records began in 1880.  In addition, the finding comes during a summer in which large parts of the Arctic have seen below average temperatures, bucking the recent sharp warming trend there. (Critics of NASA's temperature data sometimes argue that Arctic warming skews the agency's figures so they are biased as too high.) (August 16, 2017) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/17/2017 - This episode of the podcast ‘You are not so smart’ about “The Climate Paradox” is not only enlightening but cathartic (at least, for me). At a time when the science on Climate Change is more robust than ever, the public seems less interested than ever. What’s with that? Is humanity just incapable of addressing something so complex and divisive as Climate Change? Is social power more powerful than science for humans? Check out this podcast.

  • 8/17/2017 - Rochester, NY is moving forward on community choice aggregation to address Climate Change. City moving on energy program A year or so from now, City of Rochester residents and small businesses could have easy access to 100 percent renewable energy at a price lower than their current rates. Mayor Lovely Warren is preparing legislation stating the city's intent to pursue community choice aggregation. Under a CCA arrangement, which state law allows, the city and any other local governments it partners with would negotiate an energy-supply contract for their residents and businesses. Those utility customers then would then buy power from the chosen supplier. If Council passes the mayor's legislation, then the city will begin soliciting bids for a program manager, which would help the city work through the technical aspects of the CCA process, says Anne Spaulding, manager of the city's Division of Environmental Quality. She estimates that process – which includes a review by state utilities regulators – could take a year. (August 16, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 8/17/2017 - The following mayors have pledged their support for a community-wide transition to 100% renewable energy: 89. Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester, NY Sierra Club's Mayors For 100% Clean Energy "Local leadership on clean energy is more important than ever.  As we face unprecedented threats to vital climate, environmental, and pollution protections, mayors and local leaders are seizing the moment to lead our nation towards a healthier, stronger future by committing to 100% clean, renewable energy for all. Mayors understand first-hand the threats to security and public health that families are facing across the country. We are asking mayors to respond to this moment by signaling their support for clean energy and healthy communities. Transitioning to 100% clean and renewable energy -- like energy efficiency, wind, solar and electrified transportation -- will protect our kids and families from pollution, create new jobs and local economic opportunities, and ensure that all people have access to affordable energy solutions. That's why with our Co-Chairs the Sierra Club's Ready For 100 Campaign is launching Mayors For 100% Clean Energy -- an initiative calling on all mayors -- regardless of political party, from big cities and small towns – to support a vision of 100% clean and renewable energy in their cities, towns, and communities, and across the country. Mayors have a powerful role in making 100% a reality, and a powerful voice to help us spread the message.  Whether you’re a mayor, activist, or partner, you can take action now! "

  • 8/17/2017 - Rochester, NY is making great strides towards addressing Climate Change with Sierra Club's "Mayors For 100% Clean Energy" initiative City of Rochester is furthering commitment to clean energy Mayor Lovely Warren made two announcements furthering the City of Rochester's efforts to protect the environment and combat climate change. Warren endorsed the Sierra Club's "Mayors For 100% Clean Energy" initiative, joining 141 other mayors from across the United States in supporting a community-wide transition to renewable energy. "We know that if we don't take action to battle climate change, the natural resources that we cherish will be at great risk. Yet still some deny that climate change is real. If Washington won't act, we will." (Aubust 16, 2017) WXXI News [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/16/2017 - How are our birds being affected by Climate Change? It’s not as easy as you think to tease this threat from other threats to birds. Wildlife, ecosystem engineers if you like, are being assaulted by many forms of human disruption, including the spreading of invasive species, habitat loss due to development, overuse of pesticides and herbicides, and much more. So, how do we tease out, or separate all the other threats to birds and other wildlife from the threat of Climate Change? Important questions as we go into Climate Change trying to save our ecosystems and those creatures who helped create them. Ecosystems aren’t just a thing some people like; humanity needs healthy ecosystems to survive. Are our Climate Change plans sufficient to cover all the threats coming at us? Time passes. Climate Change Or Habitat Loss? Study Weighs Future Priorities For Conserving Forest Migrants Birds are among the first to let us know when the environment is out of whack. But predicting what might happen to bird populations is tricky. Studies often focus on a single issue or location: breeding grounds or wintering grounds, changes in climate, loss of habitat. But in the real world, nothing occurs in isolation. A new study just published in the journal Global Change Biology pulls the pieces together. “This is really the first study to measure the combined impact of climate change and land-use change over a bird’s full annual cycle,” says lead author Frank La Sorte at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Typically, studies tend to focus on the breeding season. If you do that, you’re missing the real story which is inherently dynamic and complex.” The study merges projections for climate change with land-use change to model what the future might look like for 21 species of forest birds. Scientists ran dozens of scenarios to learn which combinations of factors would make this group of flycatchers, vireos, and warblers—all of which breed in eastern North America and winter in Central America—even more vulnerable to population decline. (July 24, 2017) All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornitholgoy [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/16/2017 - Mothballs are serious pesticides and not be to be taken lightly. Who knew? Mothballs Are Not For Errant Cats (Or Nosey Neighbors)... Use Pesticides Responsibly, Read the Label! Every year the NYSDEC Bureaus of Pest Management and Law Enforcement receive dozens of complaints regarding the use of mothballs to repel domestic animals and wildlife in urban settings. Label directions state mothballs are to be used in tightly closed containers to kill clothes moths and other fabric pests. Mothballs are not effective in keeping “unwanted visitors” out of vegetable and flower gardens, interior walls of buildings and/or drop ceilings. Besides, the use of mothballs in any manner other than is listed on the pesticide label is illegal and dangerous! Why Should I Be Concerned? mothball active ingredients are either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene the vapors from mothballs are toxic  Incorrect use and long-term exposure may cause health problems, harm children and contaminate soil, water, and plants  To learn more about mothballs visit the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC). (August 15, 2017) Department of Environmental Conservation [More on Pesticides in our area]

  • 8/16/2017 - Are we doing enough and on a scale that will actually keep the Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes? Is it even possible to stop this very invasive species out of the Great Lakes system, the largest freshwater system in the world? Have we covered all the possible routes the carp can use to get into the Great Lakes? Are we preparing for the possibility that this invasive species will get into our Great Lakes and keeping this system healthy as we go deeper into Climate Change? Are we planning on a large enough scale to address these issues with such an important ecosystem? Time passes. How Ohio is trying to keep Asian Carp out of Lake Erie CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Giant, leaping Asian Carp are already crowding native fish out of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Scientists worry the Great Lakes could be next. The fish native to China and Siberia escaped fish farms in the southern United States during floods in the 1980s and rapidly spread throughout the Mississippi River system. Numerous public works projects are underway to keep them from migrating into the Great Lakes and destroying its fisheries. Take a look at what Ohio is doing to protect Lake Erie. (August 15, 2017) Cleveland.com [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 8/16/2017 - Trying to fix our infrastructure without considering Climate Change is like building a house without a roof. Trying to fix our infrastructure without considering Climate Change may not be “costly and overly burdensome”—until extreme weather hits. Our infrastructures-water, waste removal, electric grid, transportation, telecommunications—are all at risk with Climate Change. One of the major ways we adapt to Climate Change is to make our infrastructures more resilient to the consequences of Climate Change—flooding, extreme weather, and heat. With a population nearing 9 billion by 2050, we cannot survive without health infrastructures and so to build without considering Climate Change is reckless indeed. Trump Signs Order Rolling Back Environmental Rules on Infrastructure A key element of the new executive order rolls back standards set by former President Barack Obama that required the federal government to account for climate change and sea-level rise when building infrastructure. It also puts in place what the White House called a “one federal decision policy” under which one lead federal agency works with others to complete environmental reviews and other permitting decisions for a given project. All decisions on federal permits will have to be made within 90 days, and agencies will have a two-year goal to process environmental reviews for major projects. “It’s going to be a very streamlined process, and by the way, if it doesn’t meet environmental safeguards, we’re not going to approve it,” Mr. Trump said. (August 15, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/15/2017 - While the Trump administration pounds coal in Washington, we in the Rochester, NY region ramp up Solar Power. Hope. Construction underway on future Greece solar farm Supervisor Bill Reilich recently announced work on Solar Liberty’s first solar farm in Greece is underway after two years of planning and working toward bringing alternative energy to the town.  This will result in a portion of the town’s electrical expenses being reduced to the maximum allowed limit. Solar Liberty is a solar electric installation company. It promotes energy independence through installation of solar electric systems. A solar electric system generates electricity and provides a secure return on investment by generating electricity through sunlight with little or no maintenance. Solar energy is generated when sunlight is absorbed into the cells of the solar panels. The electrons between the charged silicon layers of the cells become excited and produce DC electricity. The solar electricity passes through an inverter, which turns it into the same type of AC power that is delivered by the utility company. (August 14, 2017) The Post [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 8/15/2017 - In the US now, how do you find out if renewable energy has been given a fair chance at the grid? Sue, Baby, Sue. Time passes. Sierra Club sues U.S. Energy Department over power grid study Environmental group the Sierra Club sued the U.S. Energy Department on Monday in hopes of forcing it to reveal the groups it has consulted in conducting an eagerly awaited study on the electricity grid. It was the latest push-back on the department’s study from backers of renewable energy such as wind and solar power who fear it could be used by the Trump administration to form policies that could slow growth in the industry. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who commissioned the 60-day study in April, ordered his department to see whether "regulatory burdens" by other administrations including former president Barack Obama’s had forced the premature retirements of so-called baseload power plants, fired by nuclear and coal. Perry said those policies potentially put at risk the reliability and security of the national power grid. (August 14, 2017) Reuters [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/15/2017 - Climate Change is affecting every aspect of the Great Lakes, which means all communities in the basin must work together for solutions. Surface temperatures, water quality, precipitation, extreme weather, harmful algae blooms, fish and wildlife, ice coverage, water levels, tourism, shipping and recreation, and much more are being amplified and accelerated by Climate Change. Our media, our politics and elections, our planning for the future, and jobs should all reflect the relationship between Climate Change and the largest freshwater system in the world. Time passes.  How is climate change affecting the Great Lakes? Across the globe, climate change is increasing temperatures, spurring on extreme weather, harming ecosystems and raising sea levels. But what does it mean for the Great Lakes? For the 30 million Americans and Canadians who live in the Great Lakes basin, climate change, primarily attributed to human activities increasing greenhouse gas emissions, is a real threat to the home of 84 percent of North America’s surface fresh water. Rising temperatures could lower water levels in the lakes, intensify harmful algal blooms and threaten fish and wildlife. Here’s what the research says about how the globe's shifting climate affects these vast bodies of water in terms of temperature, precipitation, extreme weather, water quality and harmful algal blooms, fish and wildlife, ice coverage, water levels, shipping, tourism and recreation. (August 15, 2017) Cleveland.com [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/15/2017 - Climate Change in our Rochester region is bringing more heavy spring rains, more flooding, and more raw sewage into our waters. Our region and all communities in the Great Lakes basin must get together and help fortify all our sewage systems so that they don’t overflow with sewage as more heavy rains come. Addressing this sewage overflow problem as a Climate Change problem would go far in all communities working together for this present and looming problem. We must plan; we must plan together to address Climate Change. This sewage issue and flooding are the most salient ways we in this region are experiencing the consequences of Climate Change. Time passes. Spring rain caused severe sewage overflows in Lake Ontario This spring's heavy rains caused record-breaking flooding along Lake Ontario's shoreline. But what happened to the lake itself? New data from U.S. and Canadian cities shows that the rain pushed millions of gallons of raw sewage into the lake. This spring's heavy rain in the Lake Ontario region had quite an impact on homeowners, but it also affected the water offshore. The rainfall overwhelmed sewage systems in cities around the lake, and pushed millions of gallons of raw sewage into the water. Mike Garland is director of environmental services for Rochester and the rest of Monroe County, NY, which means he's in charge of showing off the county's wastewater treatment center. “It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it,” he says, as he walks through the center. Garland says this facility treats about 100 million gallons of sewage per day. Most days, everything works as it should, and no untreated sewage winds up in Lake Ontario. (August 14, 2017) North Cuntry Public Radio [more on Climate Change, Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/15/2017 - Even the Arctic’s caribou know Climate Change is happening. They can feel it. Ouch! Wildlife will have to adapt to Climate Change—or not. We can help addressing Climate Change and make it so Wildlife can adapt, allowing them to move to other regions without constraints (fences, roads, etc.). But Pesticides are not the answer to the growing swarms of insects because that would be throwing massive amounts of manmade toxins into our environment, our soils and waters. We need to treat our ecosystems as ecosystems as our planet warms, not a GMO and pesticide experiments on a massive scale. Time Passes. WHY THE ARCTIC'S MOSQUITO PROBLEM IS GETTING BIGGER, BADDER The trend could spell disaster for caribou (and more nasty bites for humans). When the wind drops and the endless summer sun bakes the ponds that dot the frozen tundra, some of the Arctic’s most ferocious predators emerge and form menacing blizzards that darken the horizon – and everyone’s mood. “It is the talk of the town when the Arctic mosquitoes are out,” says Lauren Culler, a postdoctoral researcher who studies insects in Greenland for Dartmouth College’s Institute of Arctic Studies. “There aren’t a lot of animals for them to eat in the Arctic, so when they finally find one, they are ferocious. They are relentless. They do not stop. They just keep going after you.” Climate change, it turns out, may make that even worse. (August 14, 2017) National Geographic [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]  

  • 8/15/2017 - States, “including New York…, are using the social cost of carbon to measure and reduce CO2 impacts from their power grids.” What are the social cost of carbon? “Put simply, the social cost of carbon is a dollar estimate of the future damages from droughts, sea level rise, heat waves and other climate impacts wrought by each ton of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere.” States Are Using Social Cost of Carbon in Energy Decisions, Despite Trump's Views The climate metric, maligned by the Trump administration, helps build the cost of future climate harms into state electricity plans and markets. The social cost of carbon was an arcane but important tool in the federal climate toolbox until President Donald Trump targeted it in his sweeping March 2017 executive order to weaken climate actions. Now, states are taking up the metric. Policymakers and regulators in several states, including New York, Minnesota, Illinois and Colorado, are using the social cost of carbon to measure and reduce CO2 impacts from their power grids. Some are using it to compensate rooftop solar panel owners who feed low-carbon power in the grid. Others use it to incentivize nuclear power and renewable energy. Their efforts, aimed at reducing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, come as Congress and the Trump administration try to restrict its use. (August 14, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 8/15/2017 - Is a country failing to address Climate Change denying young people their fundamental right for a viable future? What is the purpose of a government if not to protect our progeny from a clear and present danger? OK, US government — see you in court OPINION | JAMES HANSEN AND SOPHIE KIVLEHAN We are a 76-year-old grandfather and his oldest grandchild, who just graduated from high school in Pennsylvania. We are among 22 plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by Our Children’s Trust on behalf of young people and future generations against the federal government. The suit willl show that the government, by authorizing and subsidizing production, transport, and burning of fossil fuels, is substantially responsible for growing climate disruptions that could lead to irreparable harm to young people. These federal actions, we assert, violate young people’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, and equal protection of the law. The reality and intergenerational nature of human-made climate change are undeniable. It takes decades and centuries for the ocean to warm and ice sheets to melt in response to changes of atmospheric composition. Benefits of burning fossil fuels occur today, but the principal climate effects will be felt by young people and their offspring (August 14, 2017) The Boston Globe [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/14/2017 - Climate Change is complicated and it’s going to take more than technology do deal with it. Learn more about Climate Change communications at podcast, Warm Regards. Great podcast, listen in with experts on good conversations about communicating this worldwide crisis.

  • 8/14/2017 - Sorry, but this may be very inconvenient to greenhouse gas emitters : Drones offer not only to “more accurately measure surface reflectivity” for monitoring and managing Climate Change, but in the future properly equipped drones could help with independent verification of greenhouse gas emissions. This possible and probable scenario—where a system of drones seeks out and monitor all greenhouse gas emissions, could give humanity far more accurate data on sources for greenhouse gas emissions than independent reporting—which presently are not accounting for: 'Dodgy' greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord Potent, climate-warming gases are being emitted into the atmosphere but are not being recorded in official inventories, a BBC investigation has found. (August 8, 2017, BBC News) Drone tech offers new ways to manage climate change An innovation providing key clues to how humans might manage forests and cities to cool the planet is taking flight. Cornell researchers are using drone technology to more accurately measure surface reflectivity on the landscape, a technological advance that could offer a new way to manage climate change. “When making predictions about climate change, it’s critical that scientists understand how much energy the earth is absorbing and retaining,” said Charlotte Levy, a doctoral candidate who presented a talk on her research at the annual Ecological Society of America meeting, in Portland, Oregon, Aug. 8. (August 8, 2017) Cornell Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/14/2017 - Is our clean air, a fundamental right, really going back to being an industry sewer under the Pruitt epa? SEVEN WAYS SCOTT PRUITT IS THREATENING OUR HEALTH In selecting Oklahoma’s former Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head EPA, President Trump has prioritized polluters over the health of our families. Pruitt has an extensive record of suing the agency he now runs, and through his current leadership at EPA, Scott Pruitt is threatening our health Moms Clean Air Force

  • 8/14/2017 - Our EPA is now Pruitt’s epa. Under that EPA wetlands and other ecosystems we need to survive are being demoted. Other ecosystems? It’s a secret. Sad. Scott Pruitt Is Carrying Out His E.P.A. Agenda in Secret, Critics Say When career employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are summoned to a meeting with the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, at agency headquarters, they no longer can count on easy access to the floor where his office is, according to interviews with employees of the federal agency. Doors to the floor are now frequently locked, and employees have to have an escort to gain entrance. Some employees say they are also told to leave behind their cellphones when they meet with Mr. Pruitt, and are sometimes told not to take notes. Mr. Pruitt, according to the employees, who requested anonymity out of fear of losing their jobs, often makes important phone calls from other offices rather than use the phone in his office, and he is accompanied, even at E.P.A. headquarters, by armed guards, the first head of the agency to ever request round-the-clock security. (August 11, 2017) New York Times [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/12/2017 - It is a crime against humanity for a government to withhold a major climate study from the public they need to plan with.  You have to get your head around what is going on, don’t sit this one out: “Read the Draft of the Climate Change Report A final draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. The report was completed this year and is part of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years” (August 7, 2017, New York Times) Former EPA Administrator says climate report leakers should be thanked The former EPA regional administrator under President Obama says scientists who leaked the report on further evidence of climate change to the New York Times should be commended as "whistleblowers." Judith Enck, who was with the EPA from 2009 until President Trump took office, says it’s important that the public see the report. Compiled by scientists at 13 federal agencies, it contains the results of thousands of studies showing that climate change caused by greenhouse gases is affecting weather in every part of the United States, causing average temperatures to rise dramatically since the 1980s. Enck says those who leaked the report should be thanked for providing a public service.    “I would refer to whoever did it as a whistleblower, not a leaker,” Enck said. “Tax dollars were spent putting this report together.”   Enck says it’s also important that the draft report be seen, to protect against any potential watering down of its conclusions by the Trump Administration. (August 9, 2017) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/12/2017 - This from the DEC on Harmful Algal Blooms; “Harmful Algal Blooms Notifications | New waterbodies with harmful algal blooms (HABs) have been added today, August 11, to DEC’s Harmful Algal Blooms Notifications webpage. This week, 13 waterbodies were added to the notification list. There are currently 66 waterbodies with blooms on the list. Blooms Come and Go | Blooms may be short-lived (hours) or long-lived (days). Blooms may also be isolated within a specific part of a lake or widespread throughout the lake. Lakes with isolated blooms will support recreational activities outside of the bloom area. Avoid and Report Suspected Blooms Because waterbodies may have harmful algal blooms that have not been reported to DEC, we recommend avoiding contact with floating mats, scum and discolored water. If you suspect you have seen a harmful algal bloom, or you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a harmful algal bloom, please follow the instructions for reporting a bloom to DEC. If you see it, avoid it and report it!”

  • 8/12/2017 - According to scientific studies (as opposed to ideological rants) our Water Quality will be compromised by Climate Change—more toxic algae. How climate change will affect the quality of our water 8 Fertilizer, poop, and loads of rain Last year, slimy green and foul-smelling algae took over Florida’s beaches, releasing toxins that killed fish and shellfish and sickened people. The algal bloom prompted the Florida governor to declare a state of emergency and likely caused widespread economic damage. If climate change goes unchecked, we could see more of these algal blooms along our coasts and in lakes, according to new research. That means that climate change won’t just affect the quantity of our water supply — causing drought, for instance — but it will also affect its quality. A study published today in Science shows that, in the future, more rain and more extreme storms will wash out increasing amounts of nutrients like nitrogen into rivers and coastal waters. Nitrogen is food for tiny algae, called phytoplankton — and when it’s washed ashore, it can feed algal blooms like the ones in Florida. (Warming ocean waters are also to blame.) Using several climate models and projections, researchers showed that nitrogen runoff could increase by nearly 20 percent in the continental US by the end of the century — with the upper Mississippi Atchafalaya River Basin and the Great Lakes seeing the largest increases. (July 27, 2017) The Verge [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/11/2017 - If Climate Change was mentioned at this meeting on the proliferation of blue green algae in “the list of now 60 waterways” the press didn’t mention it.  This is odd because increasingly the media and scientists are linking the rise of this toxic algae in our waters with a warming world. Even the EPA still has this factsheet posted on this link:Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms” You should probably download and keep this document before the Pruitt EPA removes it. Just saying…. Pooling resources against algae An event Wednesday in Geneva focused on protecting water quality from blue green algae Keuka Lake became one of the latest Finger Lakes this summer to fall victim to harmful blue green algae. While some beaches on that lake were reopened within a few days, on Aug. 9, after health officials deemed them safe, the threat remains on Keuka and other waterways statewide. So far this summer, Canandaigua hasn’t joined the list of now 60 waterways — including Honeoye Lake — affected statewide by blue green algae. Harmful algae blooms can be deadly to animals and harmful to humans, causing vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, allergic reactions or difficulty breathing. (August 10, 2017) Daily Messenger [more on Water Quaity in our area]

  • 8/11/2017 - In a warmer world, we are likely to see more 'perpetually toxic lake', which are the dickens to recover. Address Climate Change and don’t let our lakes go toxic. “Lake Neatahwanta illustrates the increasing frequency of blue-green algae in a warmer world, and how hard it is to get rid of harmful blooms once they're established. Local and state officials have been working on a multi-pronged plan since 1991 to clean up the lake and finally re-open a beach. It's a long, expensive process with no guarantee of success.” Can a 'perpetually toxic lake' in Upstate NY be made swimmable again? Fulton, N.Y. - Standing near the pier on the north shore of Lake Neatahwanta, June Hutchinson remembered what the lake used to be. "When we were kids, we spent whole days swimming at the park," recalled Hutchinson, who grew up in Fulton. "I have a lot of good memories from back then." But now, when Hutchinson brings her granddaughter to the 715-acre lake in Oswego County, they stay on shore. "I wouldn't go near it now," Hutchinson said. "We just stand here." (August 10, 2017) Syracuse.com [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/11/2017 - How much heat can we stand? (55C = 131F) We are likely to find out if we don’t address Climate Change in time. Super-heatwaves of 55°C to emerge if global warming continues Heatwaves amplified by high humidity can reach above 40°C and may occur as often as every two years, leading to serious risks for human health. If global temperatures rise with 4°C, a new super heatwave of 55°C can hit regularly many parts of the world, including Europe. A recently published study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) – the European Commission's science and knowledge service – analyses the interaction between humidity and heat. The novelty of this study is that it looks not only at temperature but also relative humidity to estimate the magnitude and impact of heat waves. It finds out that the combinations of the two, and the resulting heatwaves, leave ever more people exposed to significant health risks, especially in East Asia and America's East Coast. (August 8, 2017) EU Science Hub [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/11/2017 - New York State cannot address Climate Change and go 100% renewable energy if we’re still setting the table for fossil fuels. Protesters aim to block gas pipeline to new CPV power plant in Orange County ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned hydrofracking in 2014, but that hasn’t brought an end to controversies over the natural-gas drilling technique. On Thursday, anti-fracking and other protestors called on Cuomo to block a pipeline connection that would supply gas to an under-construction power plant in Orange County. A halt to the Millennium pipeline feeding the CPV power plant could send a message that not only does New York ban extraction, but the state is also clamping down on the use of natural gas from beyond its borders in favor of renewables such as wind or solar. If the plant opens, though, demonstrators say it could set a precedent for even more gas generators. (August 10, 2017) Albany Times Union [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/11/2017 - The anti-environmental antics of the Trump administration are so absurd that sometimes ya just gotta laugh.

  • 8/11/2017 - With Climate Change are we triggering some of the horrors of our future that reflect some of the horrors of the past? Ocean oxygen depletion could happen again The deep past has cruel lessons for the near future, for example how ocean oxygen depletion can stifle the marine world. It could recur. It is possible to trigger ocean oxygen depletion, choking the world’s seas. The suffocation zone – the region of the deep sea floor that is now oxygen-depleted – could double in a century, because of human-triggered climate change and other actions. But don’t panic: the last time the oceans lost oxygen on such a scale was 94 million years ago. Up to half of the oceans became oxygen-depleted and stayed so for around 500,000 years. There were mass extinctions of marine animals. The story of the sustained death of marine species is recorded in ancient sediments, and the cause of that death is uncertain. But among the suspects are a series of potential causes, all of which are also happening now. Increased sea temperatures, sea level rise, the trapping of nutrients and discharges of magma from the Earth’s crust have all been blamed. And although the event fits into what forensic geologists would call an unsolved crime, there are parallels with the present. (August 11, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/10/2017 - ACTION: Think recently designated state-protected 228-acre Rush Oak Openings Unique Area should allow hunting? Attend a public meeting in Avon on this and/or make comment. You have until September 18th. Rush preserve plan allows hunting Down near the Rush-Avon border sits a state-protected swath of prairie-like land, where grasses, hedges, and wildflowers are interspersed with oak trees. It's an oak opening, and there used to be places just like it all across the Midwest and this part of New York. But the 228-acre Rush Oak Openings Unique Area is the last such spot in New York. And recently, the State Department of Environmental Conservation released a new, tentative plan for how it'll manage the public land, situated between State Route 15 and Honeoye Falls Five Points Road. In short, there will be no major changes, according to DEC Region 8 spokesperson Linda Vera. But that also means that the agency will continue to allow hunting on the property, a use that a handful of Rush residents previously asked the DEC to prohibit. "If hunting is permitted, there are several months when families cannot safely use this land," wrote Jim Chaize, whose comments were published in the draft plan. Other comments echoed that thought. And most of them referenced a 2014 hunting accident in which a 71-year old man was fatally shot by his friend's son. (August 9, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Wildlife and Parks in our area]

  • 8/10/2017 - With nearly 30% of our bridges in NYS not up to par, how are they going to handle more extreme weather with Climate Change? Our infrastructure, which is humanity’s life’s blood now that we are seven billion strong, must not only be maintained, they must be re-thought and made more robust and resilient as we go further into Climate Change. When you cannot get around, you cannot get to your job, your food doesn’t come to the grocery store, you cannot get emergencies addressed, and much more. We need our infrastructures more than ever before and we can no longer take them for granted. Who you gonna call when no one can get to you—or you to them? Plan. Time passes. The 10 worst bridges in Monroe County The 10 worst bridges in Monroe County The 10 worst bridges in Monroe County Nearly a third of all bridges in New York state, and Monroe County as well, are considered "structurally deficient" under the state's seven-point bridge rating system. Projects are underway to replace some of the lowest-rated bridges and some others that had been low-rated in recent years have undergone significant renovations. For example, work on the Route 390 spans over Trolley Boulevard kicks off this week.. And fixes to the Inner Loop over Browns Race and Broad Street over the Genesee River in Rochester have moved those spans up considerably in ratings. (August 9, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 8/10/2017 - Looks like even for those who think Climate Change a plus, it’s not all peaches and cream: Wildfires come with deicing. Our new normal for the climate we thrived in for the last 10,000 years is going to be fraught with known unknowns (like warmer climate might mean wildfires where we never experienced them) and unknown unknowns (things we didn’t even know we didn’t know). So, we should get engaged on addressing Climate Change and plan, plan, plan. Time passes. There’s a Wildfire Burning in West Greenland Right Now It’s not just the American West and British Columbia burning up. A fire has sparked in western Greenland, an odd occurrence for an island known more for ice than fire. A series of blazes is burning roughly in the vicinity of Kangerlussuaq, a small town that serves as a basecamp for researchers in the summer to access Greenland’s ice sheet and western glaciers. The largest fire has burned roughly 3,000 acres and sent smoke spiraling a mile into the sky, prompting hunting and hiking closures in the area, according to local news reports. There’s no denying that it’s weird to be talking about wildfires in Greenland because ice covers the majority of the island. Forests are basically nonexistent and this fire appears to be burning through grasses, willows and other low-slung vegetation on the tundra that makes up the majority of the land not covered by ice. Data for Greenland fires is hard to come by, but there is some context for fires in other parts of the northern tier of the world. The boreal forest sprawls across Canada, Russia, Alaska and northern Europe, and provides a longer-term record for researchers to dig into. That record shows that the boreal forest is burning at a rate unprecedented in the past 10,000 years. (August 7, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/10/2017 - Hope to see you on August 30. This may be the first EVER Candidate Forum devoted to Climate Change! While Climate Change is not political-- it's just reality-- every elected official should do something about it. What do these Candidates pledge?   First mayoral Candidate Forum devoted to #Climate#Change EVER. #RochesterNY 9/30/2017 6:30PM 115 South Avenue. Vote your future.

  • 8/10/2017 - It’s getting hotter, for some it’s getting hotter sooner, unaddressed Climate Change will make it hotter for all. Time passes. Study Asserts Climate Change Could Make South Asia Uninhabitable in Our Lifetime New research shows how, by the year 2100, many regions in South Asia could become so hot that humans could no longer survive there. The consequences of climate change are not only real and imminent, but increasingly catastrophic. Currently, climate change is has been attributed to dangerously increasing temperatures, sea levels rising, the extinction of a variety of species, and much more. Without fierce opposition, the effects of climate change will only become more and more destructive. Natural disasters, mass flooding, food shortages and other crises are all possible (some already happening, in fact) if current trends continue. One part of the world may even become uninhabitable in our lifetime. Elfatih Eltahir, a professor at MIT, recently published new research in the journal Science Advances that shows how, by the end of the century, areas in South Asia could be too hot for humans to survive there. In a Skype interview from Khartoum, Sudan with CBC News, Eltahir said, “The risk of the impacts of climate change in that region could be quite severe.” (August 7, Futurism [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/09/2017 - America, it’s getting down to the wire on Climate Change. Who are you going to believe? Trump or 13 federal agencies, 195 nations, and 98% of climate scientists? This is an astounding statement, when is American going to start feeling astounded? “Directly contradicting President Donald Trump, a draft report produced by 13 federal agencies concludes that the United States is already feeling the negative impacts of climate change, with a stark increase in the frequency of heat waves, heavy rains and other extreme weather over the last four decades.” Draft US Report Says Extreme Storms Driven by Climate Change Assessment has generally been released every four years under a federal initiative mandated by Congress WASHINGTON — Directly contradicting President Donald Trump, a draft report produced by 13 federal agencies concludes that the United States is already feeling the negative impacts of climate change, with a stark increase in the frequency of heat waves, heavy rains and other extreme weather over the last four decades. The preliminary report summarizes the current state of the science for the upcoming National Climate Assessment. Trump and his Cabinet have expressed public doubts that the warming is being primarily driven by man-made carbon pollution and will have serious consequences for Americans. (August 8, 2017) Flathead Beacon [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/09/2017 - Here’s information about Climate Change in the US that Trump doesn’t want you to know. Don’t let this study get squelched. I wrote about the importance of the National Climate Assessment back in 2014 “Just-released National Climate Assessment ain’t no foolin’ around” I’d said: “Actually, given the GOP’s reluctance to even admit warming is occurring, what is even more startling about the United States Global Change Research Program’s release of the NCA, is that President Reagan began our country’s response to the then-consensus that global change, including Climate Change, was going to seriously challenge our country’s ability to prepare for the future. ““President Ronald Reagan created—and Congress in 1990 codified—the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP or Program), charged with providing a “comprehensive and integrated United States research program to assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” THE NATIONAL GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PLAN 2012–2021””

  • 8/08/2017 - Dear Mr. Trump, If we here in the US cannot say ‘Climate Change’ anymore, is it still OK if the rest of the world does? Or have you found a way to shut everyone up who doesn’t agree with your madness? Perhaps suppressing our country from mention the crisis of our age, which all the media around the world is mentioning (including US media), will make it more likely that the public not think about Climate Change. Just like people aren’t talking about the Russian scandal, or you tax returns, or the freaking chaos at the dumpy White House. SAD. The Trump administration's solution to climate change: ban the term The US Department of Agriculture has forbidden the use of the words ‘climate change’. This say-no-evil policy is doomed to fail In a bold new strategy unveiled on Monday in the Guardian, the United States Department of Agriculture – guardians of the planet’s richest farmlands – has decided to combat the threat of global warming by forbidding the use of the words. Under guidance from the agency’s director of soil health Bianca Moebius-Clune, a list of phrases to be avoided includes “climate change” and “climate change adaptation” to be replaced by “weather extremes” and “resilience to weather extremes.” Also blacklisted is the scary locution “reduce greenhouse gases” and here the agency’s linguists have done an even better job of camouflage: the new and approved term is “increase nutrient use efficiency”. (August 8, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/08/2017 - Climate Change makes it more likely that heavy rainfall will cause combined sewer over flow systems to spew more sewage into our lakes and streams. Major infrastructure upgrading to prevent this must anticipate even more flooding to the myriad outdated sewer systems in the Great Lake and Finger Lakes basins—including Onondaga Lake, which is not usually linked with the Finger Lakes. Sewer overflows double in 2017, but Onondaga Lake 'performing admirably' Syracuse, N.Y. -- Sewage and rain water have overflowed into Onondaga Lake and its tributaries twice as often this year as in the first seven months of 2016. Onondaga County says, however, that lake still largely met water quality standards because of major improvements the county has made to the waste water treatment system in the past decade. "We're just doing so much more to capture the combined sewer overflows and protect the health of the lake," said Tom Rhoads, commissioner of Onondaga County's Water Environment Protection Department. (July 28, 2017) Syracuse.com [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/08/2017 - One way to deter invasive Asian Carp from the Great Lakes might be to continually loop Trump speeches to scramble their brains. They’d be so disoriented that they wouldn’t know which way they were going. God knows, it’s working with us. Just saying…   Water jets, 'complex noise' could deter Asian carp, says Army Corps Asian carp could be deterred from advancing upstream by a mixture of noise, water jets and another electric barrier, according to a draft plan to stop the invasive fish from reaching the Great Lakes by strengthening a choke point in the Chicago waterway system. On Monday, August 7, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the so-called Brandon Road study after a six-month delay while the report was under review by the Trump administration, which blocked its release at the last minute. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder called the report release a "critically important step forward in the fight to protect our Great Lakes from invasive carp." The report analyzes options for upgrading the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Ill., which the Army Corps considers a bottleneck to prevent the fish from getting into Lake Michigan via the various Chicago-area waterways. (August 7, 2017) MLive Michigan [more on Water Quality, Invasive Species, and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/08/2017 - One might make the case that the chaos at the White House has been especially designed to conceal the gutting of our environmental protections. The media is being so dazzled by that antics at the White House and Trump tweets, decades of environmental regulations are being undermined by a group of zealots who are only interested in (their) business as usual. When the public gets sick, who will be held accountable? Time passes. The battle over science in the Trump administration President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to roll back environmental regulations and change the playing field for the fossil-fuel industry. His administration's actions over its first six months have followed that lead, including what many scientists say is a full-fledged battle against research and facts. Last week the twitter account for the Department of Energy tweeted out an op-ed written by a scholar at the Cato Institute, a right-leaning think tank, with the headline: "In the fight between Rick Perry and climate scientists -- He's winning" (August 6, 2017) CNN [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/08/2017 - Dear Mr. Trump, We know you are very busy while on vacation but please release this study that shows “Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now.” In the interest of the American people, we ask that you put your crazy ideology aside and release this study that goes far in convincing the public that Climate Change is NOT a hoax, but a clear and present danger. This study will be part of the next National Climate Assessment, where our government has been reporting on the state of Climate Change to the public and the world for some time now. Please get your priorities straight and do the right thing. Time passes.  Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S. The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration. The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited. “Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” a draft of the report states. A copy of it was obtained by The New York Times. (August 7, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/07/2017 - Isn’t it counterproductive (crazy/insane) for the public to give billions for fossil fuel subsidies, then have to pay zillions more for the health consequences of that? “HEAL’s own report says the subsidies support an industry that causes premature deaths, ill-health and huge health costs worldwide, in stark contrast to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. It urges policymakers to end subsidies and use the public money saved to support healthy energy or health care investments instead.” Fossil fuel subsidies are dwarfed by health cost The fossil fuel subsidies paid to the industry that exploits them is a fraction of their cost to people’s health in the rich world. Health campaigners say the energy policies of the world’s richest countries are inflicting a double burden on their citizens, not only using their taxes to pay fossil fuel subsidies, but also loading huge health costs on them. The work of the Health and Environment Alliance, HEAL, the report says that although fossil fuel combustion causes deadly air pollution and climate change, virtually all governments spend vast sums of public money – their citizens’ taxes – on supporting the oil, gas and coal industry in fossil fuel energy production. A report by HEAL says the health costs associated with fossil fuels are over six times higher than the subsidies the industry receives in the G20 group of the globe’s leading industrialised countries. (July 31, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/07/2017 - Maybe the US should start another environmental agency to make sure the Pruitt environmental agency doesn’t strip us of the necessary environmental regulations that the previous (pre Pruitt) environmental agency gave us. We need to be protected from an environmental agency that is protecting corporations over the public. Much of our attention and the public right to a future are being squandered defending rights and regulations we already had before these anti-environmental ideologues came along. Sad. Trump administration delivers notice U.S. intends to withdraw from Paris climate deal The Trump administration outlined the United States’ intention to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement in an official notice delivered to the United Nations on Friday. It was the first written notice to the U.N. that the administration plans to pull out of the 2015 pact, which has won the support of nearly 200 nations. In a statement, the State Department said the administration will nonetheless continue participating in international climate change negotiations, including talks aimed at implementing the Paris climate deal, "to protect U.S. interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration." Trump announced in June that the U.S. will leave the agreement. (August 4, 2017) Politico [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/05/2017 - Did I really think Trump would come to his freaking senses and not really pull US out of the Paris Accord? Yeah, I kinda did. I thought there might be a scintilla of concern in our present president’s mind that breaking away from our nation’s responsibility to the world and help take care of a crisis we helped create and that Trump would relent, ditch his crazy “Climate Change is a hoax” stance and allow us to sleep at night.  But, no. Trump seems hell-bent on making our existence just as unsustainable as his loony, chaotic presidency. Time passes. Trump administration delivers notice U.S. intends to withdraw from Paris climate deal The Trump administration outlined the United States’ intention to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement in an official notice delivered to the United Nations on Friday. It was the first written notice to the U.N. that the administration plans to pull out of the 2015 pact, which has won the support of nearly 200 nations. In a statement, the State Department said the administration will nonetheless continue participating in international climate change negotiations, including talks aimed at implementing the Paris climate deal, "to protect U.S. interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration." Trump announced in June that the U.S. will leave the agreement. (August 4, 2017) Politico [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/05/2017 - If the public raises a stink about trash, the media and the City respond. As former chair of the Rochester Sierra Club’s Zero Waste Committee, I found this story very hopeful. Not only is piled-up trash that isn’t being picked up in your neighborhood unsightly and unhealthy, it also creates the Broken Window effect, where social order starts to break down when it looks like no one cares. So, while waiting around for my doctor, I saw on TV part one of this story “Mounds of trash sit for weeks behind Rochester apartment building”. It was amazing to see neighbors calling for the media to step in and publicize this trash buildup. Then, in the next phase of this story (see below), the City of Rochester gets motivated and gets this situation solved. This highlights something our Zero Committee found to be true: if the public gets engaged in their environment, and get their media engaged, they’ll get their government engaged. This is to say, the public needs to speak up when their health and environment are compromised because our media and government may not notice otherwise. In my experience, the public tends to complain about the media (I know I do) and their government, assuming they just don’t care. But many times, they just don’t know until the public speaks up. Follow this story, it’s very hopeful. Trash pileup in Rochester cleaned up News10NBC told you about piles of trash sitting for weeks behind an apartment building in the 19th Ward of Rochester. Tenants reached out to us after the owners of this apartment building on Thurston Road ignored dozens of complaints about the dumpsters that were full and attracting rodents, flies and maggots. After our story aired, the city stepped in to clean up the trash. The Suburban Disposal bins were picked up and replaced with City of Rochester bins.  City officials tell us this ensures tenants will have adequate trash pickup. When an owner fails to provide a means for tenants to dispose of their waste, the city can step in and force them to pay for city refuse service. (August 4, 2017) News10NBC [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 8/05/2017 - Because we go into Climate Change with the environment we have, we need our ecosystems healthy, resilient, and robust. We must protect those ecosystems—wetlands, forests, plains, deserts, mountains, rivers, lakes--we haven’t compromised yet and remediate those we have. Some say that in order to address Climate Change we must get the public engaged as if we are preparing for a world war; we must also get our environment, with all its critical ecosystems ready for the heat and disruptions. Time passes. On Healing Sick Ecosystems I believe there is a compelling moral case for preserving healthy, diverse ecosystems. There is also a strong practical case: we depend on intact ecosystems for services like clean waterfresh air, and pollinators that help our crop plants reproduce. Living near green spaces also improves our healthand society as a whole. Thus, I chose a career studying how to help ecosystems best recover from our more destructive impacts. In my PhD research in Prof. Brenda Casper’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania, I studied how interactions between plants, soil-dwelling microbes, and heavy metals can affect the long-term development of ecosystems on metal contaminated soils. (Auguest 3, 2017) Union of Concerned Scientists [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/04/2017 - Toxic algae blooms increasing in lots of our local ponds and lakes. Is Climate Change making them worse? EPA thought so before Pruitt: “Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms” Time passes. Toxic algae spreads to more New York lakes and ponds; nearly 50 this week  The number of lakes and ponds with toxic algae blooms continues to grow in New York state. The Department of Environmental Conservation reported today that 48 water bodies have suspected or confirmed or outbreaks of blue-green algae. A week ago, 39 lakes and ponds had the algae. Sixteen lakes or ponds were new to the list this week. Some water bodies dropped off as the outbreaks dissipated, while others had new outbreaks. The number of outbreaks will likely grow, as August and early September are peak times for the blooms. The algae produces toxins that can damage human livers and can also kill pets. More than 100 of about 1,000 samples have tested positive for blue-green algae this year at one of the main testing labs, at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. (July 28, 2017) Syracuse.com [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/04/2017 - On the other hand, Climate Change may not be causing the slowdown in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). So, no reason to act, right? I would think if even some scientific predictions conclude that Climate Change could screw up “the planet's largest ocean circulation system”, we’d want to get on that. Just wait and see, doesn’t seem a prudent reaction to a possible irreversible calamity. Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet Scientists have long known about the anomalous "warming hole" in the North Atlantic Ocean, an area immune to warming of Earth's oceans. This cool zone in the North Atlantic Ocean appears to be associated with a slowdown in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), one of the key drivers in global ocean circulation. A recent study published in Nature outlines research by a team of Yale University and University of Southhampton scientists. The team found evidence that Arctic ice loss is potentially negatively impacting the planet's largest ocean circulation system. While scientists do have some analogs as to how this may impact the world, we will be largely in uncharted territory. (August 3, 2017) Forbes [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/04/2017 - If “Citizens in 13 countries ranked climate change the No. 1 threat to national security,” how do they perceive climate deniers? Hummm…… Globally, public sees climate change as a top security threat In countries on the front lines of climate change, public opinion appears to be catching up to reality. Citizens in 13 countries ranked climate change the No. 1 threat to national security, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. The 13 countries — out of 38 surveyed — were mostly in Africa and Latin America, where many populations are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly rising average temperatures and extreme weather events. The findings came as little surprise to at least one expert. The report “is indicative of a shift we’re seeing in public perception and how intensely individuals are internalizing climate change as not just a global or regional but also a personal issue,” said Shyla Raghav, a climate change expert at Conservation International (CI), which works in seven of the 13 countries. “The results of a poll like this are a wake-up call — that voters, consumers and shareholders everywhere want to see their leaders reflect a deeper sense of responsibility in their organizations, countries and companies.” The findings come on the heels of a handful of studies and media reports with gloomy predictions for the Earth’s future climate (and for humanity’s chances of achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change). (Augues 3, 2017) Concervation International [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/04/2017 - You cannot get blood from a stone, nor water from a glacier that Climate Change has melted. For many people, mountain top glaciers are their only source of water and when that becomes scarce, people fight. #WaterIsLife Time Passes. Dying gods: Mt Kenya’s disappearing glaciers spread violence below Those who rely on Mount Kenya’s glaciers for water have turned against one another as the rivers fed by the mountain dry up The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that only 10 of the 18 glaciers that covered the mountain’s summit a century ago remain, leaving less than one third of the previous ice cover. The Lewis Glacier, the largest on Mt Kenya, has decreased by 90% in volume since 1934, with the highest rates of ice volume loss occurring around the turn of the century. “When the melting starts, rivers first experience high flows because of the melting ice,” says Kalua. “But this subsequently reduces because the glaciers never really recover like they did before climate change became a reality. Because of this, there is less and less water in the rivers in the years that follow.” (August 2, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/03/2017 - People continually helping to gather data on our wildlife could help us monitor the health of our animals and ourselves during Climate Change. If more were done by our environmental agencies to engage the public with monitoring our wildlife, it is more likely we’d have better information on how Climate Change is affecting our local environment and those creatures that help make our environment what it is. Be nice if our media connected the dots between wildlife and Climate Change and our future. Citizen-scientists track N.Y. bears with iSeeMammals app Black bear populations are on the rise in New York state, and Cornell researchers are combining digital technology with on-the-ground conservation efforts to better manage the growing numbers of the animals in the state. Catherine Sun, a doctoral student in the Department of Natural Resources, working with Angela Fuller, associate professor of natural resources and leader of the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, led the development of the iSeeMammalsapp, which enables users to collect and submit information about bear sightings or any signs – such as tracks, scat, hair or markings – that indicate the presence, or even absence, of bears. Users can submit information from one-time observations, hikes and trail cameras. (August 2, 2017) Cornell Chronicle [more on Wildlife in our area] 

  • 8/03/2017 - We know one of our planet’s air conditioners is shutting down, we just don’t know how quickly. We should plan. Arctic winter warming events becoming more frequent, longer-lasting Arctic winter warming events – winter days where temperatures peak above 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius) – are a normal part of the climate over the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. But new research by an international team that includes NASA scientists finds these events are becoming more frequent and lasting longer than they did three decades ago.  Because fall and winter is when Arctic sea ice grows and thickens, warmer winter air temperatures will further impede ice growth and expansion, accelerating the effects of global warming in the Arctic. A new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters on Jul. 10, shows that since 1980, an additional six warming events are occurring each winter in the North Pole region. The study also shows the average length of each event has grown from fewer than two days to nearly two and a half days. (July 11, 2017) NASA Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/03/2017 - Important environmental/activist newsletter for our region, “The Banner” from We Are Seneca Lake is a must read. “if you're reading this from a borrowed or shared copy, you too can be a subscriber for $0.00/eternity. Just email your full name to banner@wearesenecalake.com”

  • 8/03/2017 - Unlike a charging lion, noticing the danger of Climate Change was not hot-wired into our alarm system. This is a problem. We need experts to help us to understand the kind of problem this threat is to us—at a gut level. We’re going to need many more experts to help us visualize or hear or smell or touch the indicators of Climate Change in such a way that our senses rise to the level of clarity that historical threats to our species presented. Our ancestors just moved on when the climate changed, with this Climate Change there’s nowhere to go. A History of Global Warming, In Just 35 Seconds Last year, there was the temperature spiral. This year, it’s the temperature circle that’s making the trend of global warming crystal clear. A new video shows the rhythm of global warming for countries around the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Bars representing each country’s annual average temperature anomaly pulse up and down. It's like watching a heartbeat on a monitor. Rather than staying steady like a normal heartbeat, it’s clear that temperatures for more than 100 countries are climbing ever higher on the back of increasing carbon pollution. While there are individual variations in how hot any year is, the signal of climate change is unmistakable. “There are no single countries that clearly stand out from the graph,” said Antti Lipponen, a physicist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute who made the graphic. “The warming really is global, not local.” (August 2, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/03/2017 - How much Climate Change can you tolerate? Seems like 95F at 90% humidity might be the limit. (Or, because it’s a sliding scale, 100F at 85%.) We cannot tough this one out. Even if you’re fit, shaded, and in an area well ventilated, heat can kill. By not addressing Climate Change we are playing with fire; we are putting ourselves up against the limits of our bodies to cool itself. Heat Waves Creeping Toward Deadly Heat-Humidity Threshold As global temperatures rise, river valleys in South Asia will face the highest risk of heat waves that reach the limits of human survivability, a new study shows. If global warming continues on its current pace, heat waves in South Asia will begin to create conditions so hot and humid that humans cannot survive outdoors for long, a new study shows. The deadly heat would threaten millions of vulnerable people in some of the world's most densely populated regions in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh—low-lying river valleys that produce most of the region's food. About 1.5 billion people live in the crescent-shaped region identified as the highest-risk area in a new study by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The researchers combined global and detailed regional climate models to show where the most extreme conditions are expected by the end of this century. The researchers focused on a key human survivability threshold first identified in a 2010 study, when U.S. and Australian researchers showed there is an upper limit to humans' capacity to adapt to global warming. That limit is expressed as a wet-bulb temperature, which measures the combination of heat and humidity for an index of physical human misery. When the wet-bulb temperature goes above 35 degrees Celsius, the body can't cool itself and humans can only survive for a few hours, the exact length of time being determined by individual physiology. (August 2, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/02/2017 - Remember, when planning for our future “increasingly extreme weather” is code for Climate Change. Cannot plan sensibly without it. Be nice if the media could get comfortable about questioning authorities about obvious Climate Change links to future planning because of extreme flooding and communicating all that to the public. This would go far in squelching climate denial. Time passes. How Toronto is trying to prevent future floods City looks at break walls, berms and industrial pumps While Toronto Island enthusiasts clamoured to check out the reopened park on Monday, the City of Toronto was already preparing for the next flood. City staff are examining different responses to prevent and mitigate the kind of flooding that effectively closed the Island to the public for three months. The city was already planning to build a break wall at Gibraltar Point, where the Island's utilities are stationed. Construction will begin in the fall and take five years. But spokesperson Wynna Brown said the city is reconsidering the extent of the upgrades given this year's devastating flood. (July 31, 2017) Toronto Metro [more on Climate Change, Water Quality, and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/02/2017 - Trump can waive Environmental Laws. Mother Nature has no such authority, as she is completely bound by physics, biology, and chemistry. #ScienceMatters Homeland Security To Waive Environmental Rules On Border Wall Projects The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it will use its authority to bypass environmental laws and other regulations to "ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads" near the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego. "The sector remains an area of high illegal entry for which there is an immediate need to improve current infrastructure and construct additional border barriers and roads," the agency said in a statement. "To begin to meet the need for additional border infrastructure in this area, DHS will implement various border infrastructure projects." (August 1, 2017) NPR [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/01/2017 - Wouldn’t it be more prudent to clean up and prevent contaminants in the Great Lakes rather than arguing about how much toxic crap is safe? We cannot possibly know what safe levels of industrial toxins in our fish or ourselves are, we can only guess. We have created stuff, like PCBs, that neither Great Lakes fish or humanity has evolved with. We shouldn’t be tolerating any levels of these toxins in our fish or inside us. Do two fish contaminants create greater health threat than the worst one? A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives questions if advice on eating Great Lakes fish is restrictive enough. Ken Drouillard, a professor at the University of Windsor, looked at whether the Great Lakes region placed sufficient restrictions on monthly meals of sport fish. The results are in and while they say no, they weren’t as restrictive as Drouillard expected. Consumption advisories are used to limit human exposure to harmful substances that fish may contain. (July 5, 2017) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, Wildlife, and Food in our area]

  • 8/01/2017 - The Paris Accord goal was to get nations to start to work together on Climate Change, its target of 2C was probably hopeful at best—a political target. Now that it seems we are unlikely to achieve even this arbitrary political target of 2C, we should proceed as if absolutely no increase in greenhouse gas emissions by humanity should be encouraged. We should proceed with great haste as if we have long ago overshot our planet’s climate system to accommodate us with a climate we were familiar with. We should proceed with great urgency to address an extremely complex phenomenon, hoping we’ll find something within ourselves and our adaptive abilities to endure this blight we have up upon our Earth. We should stop agonizing whether it’s worth trying and try. EARTH WILL WARM TWO DEGREES THIS CENTURY, SCIENTISTS PREDICT Researchers have confirmed that Earth is likely to warm by more than 2 degrees by the end of the century, an increase often cited as a “tipping point” by climate scientists—and one that people should try to avoid by limiting greenhouse gas emissions. In findings published Monday in Nature Climate Change, University of Washington researchers show a 90 percent chance that temperatures will have increased by 3.6 to 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.0 to 4.9 degrees Celsius) by the end of the 21st century. Using statistical projections based on 50 years’ worth of past data in countries around the world, they found just a 5 percent chance that Earth will warm by 2 degrees or less in the next eight decades. As far as staying within the target set by the 2016 Paris agreement—an increase of 1.5 degrees or less—the researchers put the chances of that becoming a reality at a mere 1 percent. (July 31, 2017) Newsweek [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/01/2017 - “Farm runoff, sewage overflows and lawn fertilizers cause harmful algae blooms” and Climate Change makes them worse. We cannot talk about algae blooms in our lakes without talking about Climate Change, which will accelerate and amplify the other causes of this increasing algae phenomenon. Researchers creating warning system for toxic algae in lakes Farm runoff, sewage overflows and lawn fertilizers cause harmful algae blooms Satellites in space and a robot under Lake Erie's surface are part of a network of scientific tools trying to keep algae toxins out of drinking water supplies in the shallowest of the Great Lakes. It's one of the most wide-ranging freshwater monitoring systems in the U.S., researchers say, and some of its pieces soon will be watching for harmful algae on hundreds of lakes nationwide. Researchers are creating an early warning system using real-time data from satellites that in recent years have tracked algae bloom hotspots such as Florida's Lake Okeechobee and the East Coast's Chesapeake Bay. (July 31, 2017) - CBC New | Windsor [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/01/2017 - Pruitt and Trump can take Climate Change out of the EPA (maybe), but they won’t take Climate Change out of our future. Sad. It’s going to take more than a couple of ideological denialists to make Climate Change go way—for that is going to take leadership, working together with the rest of the world on this crisis, and getting our science right. Denying that Climate exists or should be anything but our top priority is madness. Time passes. At EPA museum, history might be in for a change Scott Pruitt has repeated a particular line again and again since becoming the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. “The future ain’t what it used to be at the EPA,” he’s fond of saying. As it turns out, the past may not be what it once was, either. In an obscure corner of the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building, a debate is underway about how to tell the story of the EPA’s history and mission. A miniature museum that began as a pet project of former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy has come under scrutiny. It features the agency’s work over 4½ decades, with exhibit topics such as regulating carbon dioxide emissions and the Paris climate accord. The Obama administration championed such efforts, but President Trump’s policies are at odds with them. (July 30, 2017) The Washington Post

  • 8/01/2017 - Communicating Climate Change is evolving as the science gets more certain and the deniers more powerful. Listen to Warm Regards podcast, and get some perspective on how to message the crisis of our area.

  • 8/01/2017 - The procrastination penalty for not addressing Climate Change sooner is that ‘later’ is going to be tougher. We’ve already baked in a lot of trouble for our kids. You’d think that would galvanize us into action. Time passes. Earth to warm 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, studies say By the end of the century, the global temperature is likely to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This rise in temperature is the ominous conclusion reached by two different studies using entirely different methods published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday. One study used statistical analysis to show that there is a 95% chance that Earth will warm more than 2 degrees at century's end, and a 1% chance that it's below 1.5 C. (July 31, 2017) CNN.com [more on Climate Change in our area]