Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Updates: Saturday, July 23, 2016

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:

  • 7/23/2016 - As Climate Change creates more heatwaves there is more likelihood of ground-level ozone increases. This is a special health risk to all. As we move further into Climate Change, reporting on daily ground-level ozone so that everyone gets the message is critical for our public health. You can find the Air Quality Index (AQI) Forecast for New York State here. If you would like to be notified when daily air quality reaches a level of your choice, you can sign up for Enviroflash at enviroflash.info. But for the future, we need a way for everyone, especially those who do not get the daily news, to get informed about hot days with dangerous levels of ozone. When Summer Heat Takes Your Breath Away Sunny, sticky days surely make you sweat, but they can also hamper breathing—especially for children and seniors. UR Medicine Urgent Care’s Dr. Michael Loeb explains how ozone levels can be dangerous to your health. A rising ozone level in the air can trigger severe breathing problems for people who suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as for those who smoke. (July 1016) Health Matters, University of Rochester Medical Center [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 7/23/2016 - For some the #CleanEnergyMarch in Philly on Sunday is upfront and personal. “For the Ramapough people, the impacts from dirty energy and environmental injustice are both present and painful.” N.J. tribe chief: We're marching for environmental justice to DNC 2016 | Opinion This weekend, myself and more than 100 Ramapough Lunaape will make the journey from Mahwah to Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. Thousands of others will be joining us from across the country. But we don't expect to make it to the sports arena filled with delegates and big money donors. We will be marching for our very lives. The Ramapough Lunaape Nation will help to lead the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, which calls for a ban on fracking and an end to dirty and dangerous fossil fuel extraction. Nearly 1,000 organizations have endorsed the march — including organized labor, faith, environmental and social justice groups. (July 22, 2016) NJ.com [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/23/2016 - The targets that the US would miss if new gas lines are built are our part of the world goal to have a future. We cannot continue business as usual and expect different results in the trajectory towards doom. We must immediately shift from a fossil fuel infrastructure to a renewable infrastructure as the Paris Agreement suggests. New gas pipelines would make U.S. miss climate target: report The United States will miss its emission-reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement if 19 pending natural gas pipelines are built across eastern states, a report published on Friday by environmental groups said. Oil Change International and 11 other organizations found that 19 proposed pipelines due to move natural gas from the shale fields of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to states from Louisiana to New York would unlock at least 15.2 billion cubic feet per day of new natural gas production. This would lock the country into more natural gas-fired electricity rather than renewable energy, and cause the United States to miss a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 83 percent from 2005 levels by 2050, the report said. (July 22, 2016) Reuters [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/23/2016 - Many folks from Rochester, NY will joining our friends in Philly for a #CleanEnergyMarch to get the DNC’s and the public’s attention on a #JustTransition to #RenewableEnergy. The window of opportunity to avoid the worst consequences of Climate Change is closing quickly so everyone needs to get engaged on the crisis of our age. Anti-fracking advocates to march down Market Street prior to DNC Demonstration follows study linking fracking to increased risk of asthma attacks Thousands of environmental advocates will march throughout Philadelphia on Sunday, prior to the Democratic National Convention, urging Pennsylvania officials to ban fracking for natural gas in favor of renewable energy solutions. The "March for a Clean Energy Revolution" will begin at noon on Sunday and will take protesters from City Hall to Independence Hall. Several thousand people from varying environmental groups are expected to march the mile between the two sites. (July 19, 2016) Philly Voice

  • 7/22/2016 - Providing a lot of solar power for a local community and using the solar farm as a teaching opportunity for kids, c'est tres cool. Largest solar project in NY for public school opens at Avon Central School District The Avon Central School District now has the largest public school solar project in our state. It spans seven acres and will produce enough energy to power more than the entire district. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads The project was supported with approximately $564,000 in incentives from Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun initiative, which is advancing the growth of a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry across the state. The school district is expected to see about $1.6 million in credits on its electric bills that offset their electricity use over the life of a 25-year agreement. (July 21, 2016) WHAM  Rochester [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 7/22/2016 - Working outdoors in the heat of Climate Change is going to come at a very high cost—in every sense of the word. Of course, the most dramatic effects are already happening in the poorest countries that didn’t cause Climate Change. But someday the devastating heat of Climate Change will come to us. If we increase the ability of the poorest people and nation to withstand the heat of Climate Change, we’ll also be readying ourselves to the inevitable. Climate Change is having a dramatic effect on public health. Who will be there to keep things going when it’s too hot to work outside? Climate change’s costs are still escalating Scientific reports released for a conference today on disaster risk reduction warn that people are already dying and economies being hit by climate change − and that the dangers are growing. The massive economic and health losses that climate change is already causing across the world are detailed in six scientific papers published today. Perhaps most striking is the warning about large productivity losses already being experienced due to heat stress, which can already be calculated for 43 countries. The paper estimates that in South-East Asia alone “as much as 15% to 20% of annual work hours may already be lost in heat-exposed jobs”. (July 19, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/22/2016 - Climate Change is going to hurt the most vulnerable the quickest and hardest. Access to better weather alerts are crucial for the poor during Climate Change. Kofi Annan: Poor people need weather alerts Growing up in Ghana, I learned how harsh the harmattan can be. The dry, dusty wind from the Sahara sweeps across West Africa from November to March. It brings dust storms that damage airways, eyes and skin, and sudden cold spells that can jeopardise vulnerable people. Now climate change threatens to magnify its threat, as the harmattan becomes more severe and less predictable, and carries more dust. The evolving threat of the harmattan is a stark example of how we need to collaborate to protect public health from the effects of climate change. In the case of the harmattan, we need to make sure that accurate weather forecasts travel the “last mile” to reach people in the wind’s path so they can take shelter. (July 22, 2016) The Africa Report [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/21/2016 - Historically, when political parties (think Whigs) try to force the “arc of the moral universe” backwards (think Climate Change denial), those political parties tend to fail and disappear on the “ash heap of history”. Just saying…  Conservative groups push back against Republican party's climate denialism Partnership for Responsible Growth and other groups launch campaigns to urge Republicans and Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to accept climate change Conservative and free-market groups have staged a rearguard effort to get the Republican party to accept the dangers of climate change, criticizing climate denialism within the GOP and Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Climate change, and other environmental concerns, are unlikely to receive much, if any, attention during the Republican convention in Cleveland this week. This is despite a slew of temperature records being broken – June was the 14th consecutive month of record heat around the world – and extreme examples ofArctic ice decline and drought and wildfires in the US west. (July 20, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/21/2016 - On the other hand, regardless of how Climate Change polls in upcoming US election, temperatures are rising. In essence, it’s impossible to go back in time, to have Climate Change true at some point in the past and then become false now that your political party doesn’t like the science behind Climate Change. The only thing that changing attitudes towards Climate Change really mean is that we either prepare properly so we can adapt to a warmer planet or we don’t. If you put a climate denier into high office you cripple everyone’s future. Climate Change is not politically divisive; our US politics has become ineffectual in addressing a clear and present danger. Ahead of the Election, Americans’ Climate Concerns Slosh Fresh analysis from a research group tracking voter views on global warming shows the country’s range of attitudes sloshing more than surging. There was some drama on this issue as liberals and centrists sparred over the Democratic climate and energy platform in recent days. But given such findings, and now that Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton, don’t expect global warming to take center stage in the fall fight. Since 2008, the “Six Americas” survey by researchers at Yale and George Mason University has provided a valuable running view of the range of American views on climate change and related issues. A new analysis in the context of the election, drawing on data from March, shows we’re going back in time, in essence. (July 12, 2016) NYT: Dot Earth [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/21/2016 - To some burying tones of GHGs under the water while continuing to burn CO2 sounds like a good idea. Others think stop burning CO2 and sequestering it long-term into the soil with organic agriculture practices is a much sounder form of sustainability. (Read this review by David Suzuki: “How the World’s Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change”.) It’s hopeful that we are starting to think about carbon sequestration seriously because we not only have to bring down our greenhouse gas emissions down quickly—we have to reverse them to flourish. Rotterdam offers burial at sea for greenhouse gases A scheme to collect millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases and bury them under the North Sea off the coast of Rotterdam is Europe's best hope of showing it can make carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology work. Rotterdam, Europe's largest port, is the home to the sole survivor of a dozen European Union pilot plans to test CCS technology that has been thwarted by years of false starts. Fossil fuel and mining firms need to make CCS work if they are to avoid being left with "stranded assets", or energy resources whose value has to be written off because they fail to meet regulatory rules. (July 19, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/20/2016 - Much of what scientists know about our future climate comes from climate modeling. How do climate models work and how reliable are they? ALL THE QUESTIONS YOU HAD ABOUT CLIMATE MODELS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK A SCIENTIST EXPLAINS Climate scientists tell us it’s going to get hotter. How much it rains and where it rains is likely to shift. Sea-level rise is apt to accelerate. Oceans are on their way to becoming more acidic and less oxygenated. Floods, droughts, storms and other extreme weather events are projected to change in frequency or intensity. But how do they know what they know? For climate scientists, numerical models are the tools of the trade. But for the layperson — and even for scientists in other fields — climate models can seem mysterious. What does “numerical” even mean? Do climate models take other things besides the atmosphere into account? How do scientists know if a model is any good? (July 14, 2016) Popular Science [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/20/2016 - How to read new graph on unprecedented Earth heat temperature rise: We’re not paying enough attention to the most important thing in the world. For all the talk and non-talk about Climate Change it is Earth’s temperature rise that will be the measure of our existence. For without addressing Climate Change on a time and level that will matter, nothing will matter. First Half of 2016 Blows Away Temp Records The first half of 2016 has blown away temperature records, capped off by a record hot June, once again bumping up the odds that 2016 will be the hottest year on record globally, according to data released Tuesday. The monthly numbers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts the planet on track to surpass 2015 as the hottest on record. “2016 has really blown that out of the water,” Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said. (July 19, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/20/2016 - Update of the Regulations and Quarantines for invasive species Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) including Map of NYS infested areas and quarantine boundaries and List of towns within Restricted Zones. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 7/20/2016 - Here’s the take home message at this point in time about the #ParisAgreement: “…but so far only 19 governments have ratified the deal…” We tried for 20 years to get a climate deal that the world would sign on to. Are we now going to drop the ball when it comes to actually ratifying the deal of the millennia? Ban Ki-moon calls on world to unite behind Paris climate deal UN encourages countries to ratify Paris deal, as US weather agency NOAA reports June heat shattered global records UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has asked world leaders to ratify the Paris climate deal on 21 September at a “special event” during the General Assembly meeting in New York. “The next step in our collective journey to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future is to ensure the rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement,” he said in a letter to governments. (June 19, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/20/2016 - You would think that transporters of Dangerous Crude Oil trains through our communities would be more forthcoming about these shipments, but they had to be FOILed.  We still have questions about how safe transporting so much volatile crude oil near our schools and homes is—not to mention why in a time of Climate Change are we still facilitating more fossil fuels infrastructure CSX: 20-35 oil trains per week cross upstate NY Twenty to 35 trains, each carrying at least 1 million gallons of Bakken crude oil, pass through Monroe, Genesee and Wayne counties each week, according to information provided to the state by CSX Transportation. State officials released the information this week to organizations that filed requests under the Freedom of Information Law after announcing last week they have denied a request by freight railroads to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The railroads began providing the information to the State Emergency Response Commission on June 7 under an emergency order signed by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. (July 16, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 7/19/2016 - Good climate news, I suppose: When trying to fix ozone layer from CFCs with HFCs we caused more warming—and now we’re trying to limit HFCs. With the window of opportunity to stop the worse consequences of Climate Change closing fast, we don’t have a whole lot of time to fiddle around with ‘solutions’ that cause even more harm. We really should be supporting our climate scientists big time to find out how exactly our climate system works when pushed to the limit by human industry. The world is poised to take the strongest action of this year against climate change This story has been updated. When the world moved to phase out ozone-destroying chlorofluorcarbons, or CFCs, it solved one enormous and urgent environmental problem — but it left behind another. CFCs were bad for the ozone layer and also caused a great deal of global warming to boot. But a key substitute — hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs — spare the ozone layer but are still powerful greenhouse warming agents. That’s why diplomats and leading national ministers have assembled in Vienna this week for negotiations under the Montreal Protocol, the treaty that led to the phaseout of CFCs and is now aiming its sights at HFCs. If an amendment to the treaty can be adopted this year, advocates say, it could represent the single largest tangible piece of climate progress in all of 2016. (July 18, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/19/2016 - Without getting political, those with great historical wisdom @historiansondonaldtrump urge Americans to dump Trump. A Trump presidency would be an existential crisis. Listen to historians like Ken Burns and David McCullough and other historians who have moved out of their comfort zone to speak directly to the American public on the unprecedented threat Trump represents to the US—and the world. Check out these amazing video stories from Facebook: Historians on Donald Trump

  • 7/19/2016 - “Trees, forests and land use in drylands, The first global assessment” | Climate Change is going to make areas that are very dry even drier. Urgent action is required to keep these regions of the world viable and able to produce food. “Drylands cover about 41 percent of the Earth’s land surface and are characterized by a scarcity of water (Box 1 contains a full definition). About 90 percent of the estimated 2 billion people living in drylands are in developing countries (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). The majority of these people depend on forests and other wooded lands, grasslands and trees on farms to meet basic needs for food, medicines, shelter, cooking, heating, wood, and fodder for livestock, and for income.” (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Rome, 2016 )

  • 7/19/2016 - Due to Climate Change even our Buffalo/Rochester region is getting hotter and stickier each summer. Check it out. Summers Getting Muggier As Dewpoint Temp Rises As summers get hotter from the increase in greenhouse gases, they are also getting stickier. More evaporation occurs in a warming atmosphere, and on a world where water covers nearly three-quarters of the surface, it means an increase in water vapor in the air. (July 6, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/18/2016 -  I’m of two minds on these continual black bear reports by local media. On the one hand, I think it’s important to publish these reports for the public to be continually aware that potentially dangerous creatures like the black bear are around and so folks become cautious in their outdoor camping and hiking. On the other hand, these bear reports seem like money-grabbing, attention getters for the local media because these articles don’t really provide information on what to so when creatures like a bears are encountered, or how to behave so both bear and us remain safe. These article seem like: “Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!” What would be even more helpful in getting the public familiar and educated about living with bears in our region (by the way they were here first) is that bears, as with almost all our wildlife, are going to have to adapt to Climate Change. Never do our local media connect the dots between Climate Change and what we will have to do to allow our local wildlife to adapt. Bears, for example, are going to have to flee from the heat, which means if we want them to survive the great warming, we are going to have to find a way for bears to cross our roads and highways safely. Some regions are building bridges for bears and other wildlife across our major highways for this to happen. But that is going to take a lot of money, which will take a lot of public education on this issue for support. Our local media should learn to adapt to a warmer world. Black bear swims past kayaker in Hemlock Lake A kayaker's voyage was interrupted by a black bear swimming alongside his kayak in Hemlock Lake. (July 17, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/18/2016 - We are not going to be able to spray our way out of Climate Change either, though without planning we will most certainly try. One of the tragedies of not planning for Climate Change and the increasing spread of vector-driven (misquotes or ticks) diseases like Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, and the brand new (there may be more in the future) Zika virus, we will default to massive spraying of pesticides. This will contaminate our air, ground, and water even more. There are many other ways to address insect pest problems—including organic agriculture, and integrated pest management—and many other strategies. But they will take time to develop so if you don’t plan and educate the public on the probable increase in vector-driven diseases, we will spray and spray and spray. Which will increase insect evolution to adapt to pesticides requiring us to develop even more potent pesticides and further deplete our environment with the loss of biodiversity by pesticides affecting other creatures who were not intended to be killed. Pesticides may be a bullet, as it were, but not a silver one. Houston's mosquito hunters take on Zika: 'We cannot spray our way out' The health department that serves Houston is at the forefront of efforts to limit the spread of the mosquito-borne disease, and there’s no ‘silver bullet’ Now, at the height of mosquito season, Shah’s team of scientists is the only line of defense against disease-carrying mosquitos in one of America’s buggiest regions. The mosquito hunters have developed sophisticated technologies for rooting out the virus. But they are painstaking, time-intensive and expensive. And Shah says they and other departments around the country need more money and staff immediately. Shah has shifted funds to begin the Zika response in Harris County and rolled out programs to show people how to protect themselves (largely with bug spray and by emptying standing water). He called for research into Aedes mosquito control, cash to staff his lab, and more academic study of Zika. Experts estimate a vaccine is 10 to 15 years away. (July 12, 2016) The Guardian [more on Pesticides and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 7/18/2016 - Just when you think there’s hope for humanity for solving our environmental problems and Climate Change, the US House passes a bill with 65 anti-environmental riders that deprive us of the ability to enforce some of our most important environmental laws. “House Bill 5538 includes a rider to prevent enforcement of the Clean Water Rule that protects streams and wetlands, and another to block new rules to prevent smog pollution for at least eight years.” Often the passage of our environmental laws have come from the result of great environmental harm, where after years and years environmental activists finally get an important bill to prevent similar disasters, there lurks behind our back some of our representatives work to undo all that has been done to change our collective behavior so we can exist sustainably. In a legislative moment all that has been done to protect our water and air can be undone by folks with ideologies that don’t respect science. Humanity, you have to laugh. U.S. House Votes to Gut Environmental Protections Environmental groups say the appropriations bill to fund the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that passed the U.S. House on Thursday contains dozens of anti-environmental riders that would end efforts to clean up pollution and slow climate change. Riders are attachments to a bill used to say what a government agency cannot spend money on. Martin Hayden, vice president of policy and legislation for the environmental law firm Earthjustice, thought last year's House appropriations bill - with 60 riders - set a record that would be hard to beat. (July 15, 2016) Public News Service 

  • 7/16/2016 - One of the known unknowns is how global warming will affect the jet stream. When you think of how influential the jet stream is on our weather, especially our crazy winter weather, we need to know more. Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change Research Highlights Decoding the Jet Stream Response to Global Warming Scientists simulate the climate warming forces driving the jet stream's sometimes erratic path The jet stream influences weather patterns over the northern mid-latitude region, a place most of the world's people call home. Like an atmospheric "steering wheel," the jet stream directs cold fronts and propels warm fronts eastward around the globe. The residents in the mid-latitudes are familiar with typical weather events driven by the jet stream. Yet, like dropping a powerful rock in the atmospheric "pond," climate forcing from greenhouse gases can provoke the jet stream to shift in unexpected ways. (June 2016) Pacific Northwest National Lavatory [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/16/2016 - I know, a single severe drought in NYS with no relief in sight does not a Climate Change indicator make. But this year’s drought in a state surrounded and infused with water should bring the importance of water’s importance to the forefront of our thoughts as Climate Change threatens our region with more heavy rainfall events and droughts. Though this drought is early more droughts (according to climate studies for our region) will occur towards the end of our summers. Severe drought hits much of region A landscape of brown, straw-like fields and front yards has turned into a common sight for residents of the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier this summer, as much of the region is now considered to be in a severe drought. For local farmers, this scorcher of a summer is more than an eyesore, it's a blow to business. Stephen Cummins, who owns Indian Creek Farm in Trumansburg, said low snowpack from a mild winter, continued drought, and watering needs for crops have left his irrigation pond 75 percent empty. (July 15, 2016) Ithaca Journal [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/16/2016 - I suspect that it’s worse than reported. The loss of biodiversity and failed ecosystems will jeopardize more than agriculture and human health. When our ecosystems are not functioning properly, it’s like when major organs in your body are failing. Climate Change threatens to amplify and accelerate the loss of biodiversity and many other elements that affect ecosystems. Biodiversity is below safe levels across more than half of world's land – study Habitat destruction has reduced the variety of plants and animals to the point that ecological systems could become unable to function properly, with risks for agriculture and human health, say scientists The variety of animals and plants has fallen to dangerous levels across more than half of the world’s landmass due to humanity destroying habitats to use as farmland, scientists have estimated. The unchecked loss of biodiversity is akin to playing ecological roulette and will set back efforts to bring people out of poverty in the long term, they warned. Analysing 1.8m records from 39,123 sites across Earth, the international study found that a measure of the intactness of biodiversity at sites has fallen below a safety limit across 58.1% of the world’s land. (July 14, 2016) The Guardian [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 7/16/2016 - We go into Climate Change with the environment we have. We have done much to compromise our environment’s ability to endure a warming world with pollution, loss of biodiversity, over population, causing massive extinctions and carving up our environment (for example with our Transportation systems) to suit ourselves—not protect and sustain our ecosystems. To adapt to the changes coming we need to make our environment more resilient and robust. We should have long ago begun massive preparations. Adapt or die: UN urges countries to build climate resilience Projected heatwaves, rising sea levels and intense rainfall linked to climate change mean vulnerable countries need to get their house in order In the Paris Agreement there is a new emphasis on the need for all countries, rich and poor, to prepare national adaptation plans. Some years ago the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) received support to deliver their climate resilience programmes, known at the UN as NAPAs. These were meant to identify and then support urgent and immediate adaptation actions in these countries, which are mainly in Africa and Asia. (July 15, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/15/2016 - In order to be an urban transportation leader you city needs to help make urban living more sustainable by “improve mobility for all residents, reduce transportation greenhouse and air pollution emissions, and improve safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians.” In a warmer world when most of us will live in urban areas making active transportation (walking and bicycling) safer and easier makes for a better environment. And that’s not just a social value, it will be essential. Chile’s Capital Wins 2017 Sustainable Transport Award Chile’s capital city, Santiago, has just been awarded the honor of hosting Mobilize 2017, the new annual Sustainable Transport Summit put on by the New York-based multinational Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Over the past year, Santiago has made major improvements in pedestrian space, cycling, and public transit that earned it the ITDP’s recognition. Established in 2005, the Sustainable Transport Award has been given each year to a city that has implemented innovative sustainable transportation projects in the preceding year. The award recognizes “profound leadership, vision, and achievement in sustainable transportation and urban livability,” says the ITDP on its website. (July 13, 2016) Environmental News Service [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7115/2015 - It’s interesting that our NYS Department of Health (DOH) knows the relationship between mosquito-borne viruses and Climate Change but doesn’t include this information in its Report for Testing of Mosquito-borne Viral Diseases. Why is our DOH hesitant to go full throttle on educating the public on how Climate Change and public health are related? Isn’t the DOT responsible for educating and protecting the public from public health threats? State Publishes First Weekly Mosquito Report for Testing of Mosquito-borne Viral Diseases, Including Zika he New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) announced today that it has begun issuing the results of seasonal mosquito surveillance and testing statewide, and added Zika to its list of mosquito-borne viruses under surveillance. The Department conducts surveillance for mosquito-borne viruses that pose a risk to human health, including West Nile virus (WNV) Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEv), and Zika virus.Activities are performed in cooperation with local health departments (LHDs) and include training personnel on mosquito trapping and species identification; testing of mosquitos, humans and when appropriate, animals, by Wadsworth Center; helping identify areas with disease risk; and providing surveillance information to guide local decision-making on prevention and control measures. New York's mosquito surveillance and testing program has been in effect since the 1970s, making the system one of the most mature, robust and reliable in the nation. (June 30, 2016) New York State Department of Health [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 7/15/2016 - Cleaning up Brownfields “especially those in areas characterized by high poverty, unemployment or other indicators of community distress” is critical in preparing for Climate Change. Many of our Brownfields-- abandoned sites, usually in urban locations, that are tainted by either real or perceived contamination, making them undesirable for private redevelopment efforts—exists within poverty areas and when more extreme weather comes with Climate Change there is more likelihood that leaching due to flooding will put more pressure on public health in areas least prepared for these increased environmental hazards. NEWS RELEASE - EPA AWARDS ROCHESTER $200,000 FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the City of Rochester $200,000 in supplemental funding for the City’s Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund. The funding will be used for cleanup and re-use efforts at contaminated manufacturing sites, especially those in areas characterized by high poverty, unemployment or other indicators of community distress.  “These funds will advance our efforts to help city neighborhoods that have suffered from neglect and disinvestment,” said Mayor Warren. “Cleaning up these contaminated properties in our most challenged neighborhoods is critical to our efforts to create more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities in our schools. I want to thank Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter for their work to help us secure these funds.”  The funding is awarded under EPA’s brownfields program, which helps local communities clean up, redevelop and reuse properties with environmental concerns or conditions. (July 13, 2016) City of Rochester, NY [more Brownfields in our area] 

  • 7/15/2016 - Caution: This article and video of “A huge swath of garbage has been found in Lake Ontario” is more than disgusting, especially if you drink the water. When it comes to Water Quality around the Great Lakes we must consider the pollution and effects of Climate Change on the entire Great Lakes water basin. When communities all around the Great Lakes are drinking and swimming and fishing in these waters, no community is an island unto itself. If this article is even remotely true, we need to find out if our Rochester area water is being affected by pollution. Hopefully our local media will get on that. Two-Kilometre Stretch of Garbage found in Lake Ontario A huge swath of garbage has been found in Lake Ontario, complete with condoms, tampons, wet naps, and plastic applicators. Mark Mattson and two associates from the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper were a kilometre from the Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant Friday when they found the garbage island, stretching about two kilometres across. As of Monday, Mattson reported the area had been cleaned up. (July 13, 2016) Toronto, ON, Canada / Talk Radio AM640 (More on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/15/2016 - If you’re a powerful fossil fuel company, you can think like this: “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass Exxon climate probe takes surreal turn as congressman subpoenas state attorneys general The Republican chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee issued subpoenas of two state attorneys general and eight environmental organizations on Wednesday, seeking records about their investigation into ExxonMobil Corp's climate denial activities.  The subpoenas are the latest in a string of investigations from Texas Rep. Lamar Smith and the majority members on his committee into climate change research in the federal government, as well as activist groups and now states that are looking into whether Exxon broke the law by misleading investors and the public about the true causes of global warming. (July 14, 2016) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2016 - Including a memorial rally in Rochester, NY, there were many #StopOilTrains week of actions around the country to stop Bomb Trains running though our communities. There has been a dramatic increase in the transporting of volatile crude oil though our communities and this presents a grave threat to our communities and an unsustainable fossil fuel infrastructure. Not to mention we should be not creating any more fossil fuel infrastructures anymore, but increasing renewable energy infrastructures. Ban the Bomb Trains Week of Action ends with a bang! Don’t panic, It wasn’t that kind of bang: After an amazing week of action all over the country, we won a big victory in Baltimore MD (your author’s home town) when Houston Big Oil pusher Targa Resources withdrew plans to ship volatile crude oil on so-called “Bomb Trains” through to the port. It was a great way to wrap up the #StopOilTrains week of action so many Environmental Action members have shown up or chipped in to support. Our goal for the week was to raise awareness about the bomb trains — shipments of crude oil and other fossil fuels by rail through United States and Canada. While some events were overshadowed by the bloody violence in Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota — many more went forward as planned and delivered real results. (July 13, 2016) Environmental Action [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area] 

  • 7/14/2016 - Considering methane’s incredibly potent greenhouse gas abilities, you’d think we know more how CH4 affects Climate Change more than we do. But there seems to be a lot of unknowns about the workings of methane as it evaporates into our already warming world. Check out Connections on what is being done locally to learn more about methane and Climate Change and the Great Lakes and more. I learned a lot in this program about this key element in the Climate Change crisis. Connections: Monthly Science Roundtable Examines Methane In The Great Lakes Our monthly Science Roundtable looks at methane in the Great Lakes and how it relates to climate change.  John Kessler, an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester, is leading a new research project that zeroes in on freshwater environments as a source of methane. He discusses the impact this type of research has on understanding and mitigating climate change. (July 14, 2016) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2016 - Of course, it’s not our governments who should be deciding whether biodiversity is an add-on or critical to our existence. It should be our scientists who decide whether or not biodiversity and ecosystems are integral parts of our life support system and I believe they have weighed in heavily that they do.  On Climate Change, biodiversity, pollution, and keeping our ecosystems safe our scientists have spoken, but the public, the media, and our governments still aren’t listening.  Vanishing Act: Why Insects Are  Declining and Why It Matters Insect populations are declining dramatically in many parts of the world, recent studies show. Researchers say various factors, from monoculture farming to habitat loss, are to blame for the plight of insects, which are essential to agriculture and ecosystems. (July 6, 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Pesticides and Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/13/2016 - A public bikeshare system in Rochester, NY would look great on our new Climate Action Plan. Remember, according to the EPA, transportation accounts for 26% of our greenhouse gas emissions. More bikes, more walking, less greenhouse gas emissions. The City of Rochester is looking for a public bikeshare system The first phase of the system will focus on the downtown area This week Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced the city is looking for businesses or groups to create a public bikeshare system. Right now the city is looking for a vendor who will own and operate the system without city funding. A study was done by the Genesee Transportation Council that showed bikesharing would work in both the urban areas and neighboring towns. (July 12, 2016) RochesterFirst.com [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/13/2016 - Need for negative emissions for future sustainability sounds so dull. Let me state this another way, Climate Change is at a Holy Shit! moment. When studies prove that the only way we can meet what the world has agreed to be safe limits of carbon dioxide concentrations is to Remove “15 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by the end of the century —  in order to prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C (3.6°F),” and we don’t really know how to accomplish this at the level required, it’s more than something to scoff at. What this study says is that addressing Climate Change has been long past urgent.  Of course, you can just say this study is probably an example of the single-study syndrome, or we got lots of time based on faith, or some other rationalization one uses to continue business as usual to solve issues regardless. I guess what stands out for me in this article is this quote “None of these have been demonstrated to be plausible on a large scale…,” because, though I have read that soil can sequester carbon dioxide, I’m realizing that it probably cannot happen on a scale and speed that is necessary. Negative Emissions Key to Meeting 2°C Threshold Humans will have to not only stop emitting greenhouse gases by 2085, but also develop technology that will result in negative emissions — the removal of 15 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by the end of the century —  in order to prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C (3.6°F), according to a new study. Human greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and carbon dioxide, have already warmed the globe more than 1°C (1.8°F) compared to pre-industrial levels. The Paris Climate Agreement negotiated last year seeks to cap warming to below 2°C, while at the same time pursuing an even more ambitious goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C. (July 12, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/13/2016 - The next step in human progress should see humanity itself declaring Climate Change as a top priority. At some point, probably not too far in the future, humanity will put Climate Change adaptation as its top priority because we will have to. More extreme weather and social unrest will focus our attention wonderfully on our priorities. Beyond 2C life will get very dicey. But wouldn’t it be more prudent to treat Climate Change with the urgency and a sense of fairness that it deserves NOW so it doesn’t have to be so dire henceforth? UN Human Rights Council declares climate a priority Influential UN body considers human rights and climate change post-Paris, emphasises importance of the climate negotiations in protecting communities At the beginning of this month, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a new resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change, emphasising the links between UN climate negotiations and the protection of human rights. A core group comprised of Bangladesh and the Philippines – the two countries having historically spearheaded this area of work of the Human Rights Council – as well as Vietnam promoted the resolution. (July 13, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/13/2016 - If it helps, think of a carbon tax this way: You don’t get to use our atmosphere as your toilet for free anymore. Very Capitalistic. Exxon Touts Carbon Tax to Oil Industry Exxon Mobil Corp. is ramping up its lobbying of other energy companies to support a carbon tax, marking a shift in the oil giant’s approach to climate change as the industry faces growing pressure to address the politically charged issue. Exxon’s official position has long been the same—a carbon tax is the best way to address the risks of warming temperatures—but it has done little to actively advocate for that goal in recent years. Lately, Exxon has been making the case with its U.S. counterparts to support a carbon tax, arguing that the industry must not oppose all climate policies, according to people familiar with Exxon’s thinking. (June 30, 2016) MSN.com [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 7/12/2016 - When your drinking water is contaminated you are going to want to know about immediately, not when officials get around to telling you. New inquiries open into handling of Hoosick Falls water crisis Governor Cuomo’s administration faces greater scrutiny over handling of the Hoosick Falls water crisis. In recent days a Congressional committee opened an inquiry, and both the state Assembly and Senate will hold hearings. Senator Kathy Marchione, whose district includes the village of Hoosick Falls, is the latest to open an inquiry into the handling of the water crisis, amid allegations that the Cuomo administration knew the water was contaminated with the chemical PFOA, but delayed telling residents for over a year. “The Senate is going to be holding hearings,” said Marchione. “The first one will be held here, in Hoosick Falls.” (July 11, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/12/2016 - How safe are aging nuclear plants? How safe are aging nuclear plants? How safe are aging nuclear plants? How safe are aging nuclear plants? Nuclear plan would cost $1B over 2 years A newly proposed plan to save upstate New York's aging nuclear plants would cost electric utilities nearly $1 billion in its first two years, according to the state Department of Public Service. The proposal, unveiled late last week, would require electric utility companies -- and ultimately, their customers -- to purchase energy from the three remaining upstate nuclear power plants at an inflated rate in an attempt to keep them in service. (July 11, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/12/2016 - How is our war with the EAB and our ash trees going? Some think fewer trees mean fewer EAB. Some think Climate Change will allow more EABs to proliferate and kill off our ash trees (read: In warmer climate, a bid to preserve trees threatened by emerald ash borer) some don’t. With Climate Change I wouldn’t bet your ash on it. Hope for ash Experts used to say the number of ash trees lost in Michigan was tens of millions. Now they say hundreds of millions, according to Deb McCullough, a professor in Michigan State University’s entomology and forestry departments. Still, there’s hope for the ash’s survival. “In a nutshell, what I found is that [ash] seems to be holding on quite well,” said Dan Kashian, who studies ash tree regeneration. The mortality varies among species, but now the devastation has become an international epidemic, McCullough said. While some patches are worse than others, it’s hard to find a lot of live ash trees in Lower Michigan and much of the eastern and central Upper Peninsula. (July 11, 2016) Great Lakes Echo [more on Plants and Invasive Species in our area] 

  • 7/12/2016 - Clouds have made climate modeling well …, cloudy but not in a good way.  Some of our best laid plans for adapting to Climate Change may be thrown off by how the presence of clouds, which are created in many ways, affects our day-to-day weather and our long-time climate system. Clouds are another wild card in our future. Global Cloud Coverage Shifting in Ominous Sign of Climate Change We didn’t know enough about clouds until now. What a new study reveals is bad news. When politicians talk of climate “uncertainty,” they're often casting doubt on things that are well understood: Warming is happening, and humans are responsible. When scientists talk about climate uncertainty, they're usually talking about the clouds. Clouds are tricky because they do two things at once. All that puffy whiteness blocks solar energy from reaching the ground, bouncing it back to space, which provides a net cooling effect. But clouds also act like a blanket, capping and trapping heat in the lower troposphere, which is where people who aren't on the International Space Station live. That ambiguity makes it difficult to simulate with desirable precision how much and how fast the planet is warming, leaving a big mystery floating lazily over our heads. (July 11, 2016) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 7/12/2016 - Of course, past climate changes didn’t have our present infrastructures—transportation, water and waste water, telecommunications, etc.—in play so using the past as the predictors of our future is problematic. For example, our transportation system (roads and highways), which we now need to survive, will accelerate warming by absorbing more heat, and fragments ecosystems by making it more difficult for wildlife to adapt. Studying past climate change are critical in helping us understand the forces that will shape this Climate Change. But with over 7 billion souls now inhabiting the present with our accumulated pollution, loss of biodiversity, and compromised soil past climate changes will be of limited use. The challenges to our infrastructures as they meet more climate challenges might we viewed as trying to protect our inner organs of our communities as they are exposed to a warmer more dangerous world. We’d better get our infrastructures and ourselves ready for what won’t be our past’s climate change. Past presents warning on greater warming Reconstruction of climate events long before the Ice Ages shows that failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could eventually lead to temperatures rising by up to 10 degrees. If the distant past is anything to go by, then climate scientists may have under-estimated the hazards of greenhouse gases, and future global warming could be a lot worse than anybody thought. The calculation rests on two things. One is a detailed reconstruction of rising greenhouse gas concentrations and an interlude of dramatic warming 56 million years ago. The other involves an almost metaphysical concept called “climate sensitivity” − the degree of warming to be expected as carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere double. It isn’t a simple calculation. There are all sorts of possible feedbacks that might damp this sensitivity or amplify it, but the climate rule of thumb right now is that it means a 3°C rise. And on the evidence − reported in Geophysical Research Letters − of the sequence of events deep in the past, it could be a lot more. (July 4, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/11/2016 - We have to make making active transportation safe a very high priority. Active transportation (walking and bicycling) is critical to solving Climate Change and it must be safe. (27% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, according to the EPA, so more walking and bicycling really matters.) That in Monroe County between 2006 and 2015 “…. there were more than 3,000 fatal and personal injury accidents involving pedestrians hit by cars” is unacceptable. It’s amazing that we put up with such a horrific ‘accidents’ numbers, when these dismal numbers would be intolerable in any other scenario. But somehow we have come to accept that a certain number of deaths will occur around our home and communities every day. To actually make Monroe County a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community we need a major change of attitude so that we stop deaths and injuries by active transportation so we can move about safely and provide a real solution to addressing Climate Change. To actually move our numbers of deaths and injuries dramatically down we are going to do more than remind ourselves everyone once in a while that we need to pay attention more while we are driving and walking. We need to rethink Transportation and become intolerant of any deaths and injuries to do it. When so many are hurt because of the way we get around, we must admit that the present system is not working and change it so death and injury aren’t baked into the system. Caution: Pedestrians crossing Among the hundreds of thousands of crashes reported in Monroe County between 2006 and 2015 — everything from minor fender-benders, to animal strikes, to multi-vehicle fatal accidents — there were more than 3,000 fatal and personal injury accidents involving pedestrians hit by cars. Those accidents happened on main roads, on side roads, in neighborhoods and along scenic byways. Unsurprisingly, the crashes are concentrated in densely-populated areas — Rochester neighborhoods, villages and town centers. (July 10, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/11/2016 - Who will pay for a rapidly warming world? Private insurers? Zillionaire philanthropists? You know… June was record-hot for the U.S., and billion-dollar weather disasters surge to eight Last month was the hottest June on record for the Lower 48. If this kind of headline is starting to feel like a record on repeat, you’re correct — it’s the second June in a row that’s become the warmest on record for the U.S., although that fact is dwarfed by the string of globally hot months we’ve experienced over the past year. The average June temperature in the contiguous U.S. was 71.8 degrees — 3.3 degrees above the 20th-century average. It surpassed the previous record of 71.6 degrees in 1933. The first half of the year ended as the third-warmest for the Lower 48. The news is not surprising given the warmth measured across the globe since early 2015. (June 7, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/11/2016 - Drilling for fossil fuel in the Arctic should be made impossible because drilling without spilling is impossible. Not to mention it’s fossil fuels, which will even warm the planet more along with a warmer Arctic that also warms the planet. The Obama administration just made Arctic drilling hard to do — but not impossible This story has been updated. The Obama administration on Thursday finalized rules that will require companies to have strict safety and environmental protection plans in place before they drill for oil or natural gas in the Arctic Ocean. The new regulations do not expressly prohibit drilling in the Arctic, but they require companies to submit detailed plans for how they will drill safely and respond to oil spills and other emergencies. In part because of an extended slump in global oil prices, and also because of major setbacks to prospects for drilling in the Arctic, the industry has largely steered clear of plans to drill in the area recently. (July 7, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2016 - Well, maybe you could say something like, in return for those taxpayers’ investments a tax break for Wind Power would give the public a future. We give tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industries and those tax breaks will only wipe out our future. Maybe we ought to take a longer term look at energy tax breaks than today. Maybe we should consider tomorrow when we consider energy tax breaks. Just a thought…  Jefferson County lawmakers deny tax breaks to green energy projects Jefferson County lawmakers have voted not to grant tax breaks for big solar and wind projects. County leaders say large-scale alternative energy farms do not provide the county with enough incentives to justify a tax deal. Legislature Chairman Scott Gray said wind developers are approaching towns in Jefferson County not expecting to pay their full share of taxes.  “You’re asking the property tax payers of this community to subsidize a project. So we want to make sure there is something in return for those taxpayers’ investments." (July 8, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 7/09/2016 - Perhaps this will be Earth’s epitaph: It’s just human nature. Given human nature at this point in time it’s not surprising that industries getting lots of money from their government would want keep this public giveaway—even though the fossil fuel subsidies are threatening human existence. You think that an industry which makes more money since money was invented wouldn’t need any more money gifts from their governments but that’s the way we are. Hard to give up handouts even if you don’t need them and even if your product causes harm. It’s just human nature. Richest nations fail to agree on deadline to phase out fossil fuel subsidies Energy ministers from the world’s major economies have failed to reach agreement on a deadline to phase out hundreds of billions of dollars in government subsidies for fossil fuels — subsidies that campaigners say are helping to propel the globe toward potentially devastating climate change. Ministers from the Group of 20 major economies met in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday but failed to reach agreement on a deadline, despite Chinese and American efforts and a joint appeal from 200 nongovernmental organizations. (July 1, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2016 - Just started listening to new podcast Warm Regards that includes co-hosts NYT Andy Revkin, get some intelligent expert talk about Climate Change. Introducing “Warm Regards,” My New Podcast About Climate Change For those of us who think about climate change often—like unhealthily often—there's sometimes a sense that you're missing the story. Climate change is quite possibly the most important thing humans have ever done—I mean, we're altering our planet's atmosphere perhaps at a faster rate than at any point in Earth’s entire history. Yet it can often feel remote, abstract, and lost in a sea of statistics. To keep sane, you have to learn about the people and personalities involved behind the scenes; those who can help suss out when the latest science is truly freak-out worthy. That's why I made Warm Regards: a new podcast about climate change. (June 24, 2016) Slate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2016 - Just think, now that the Arctic is thawing so rapidly you can take a cruise though it and maybe see a walrus outside a zoo. Of course, there really isn’t a point to a walrus outside a zoo, other than displaying a living artifact. Even if we don’t care about ecosystems like the Arctic but like walrus and polar bears we should have stopped the Arctic from thawing if we wanted to have the wildlife that are integral to that ecosystem. As Global Warming Thaws Northwest Passage, a Cruise Sees Opportunity There are few opportunities for passengers to travel the sea route along the northern coast of North America. Even with global warmingopening up the Northwest Passage, fewer than 50 passenger ships have completed the full transit, and those were largely yachts and expedition boats with at most a few hundred people. With 1,070 passengers and a crew of 655, the Serenity is giant in comparison. Its foray into these waters will test not only the ability of man and machine to avoid ice, but also the readiness of a multinational search and rescue coalition. (July 6, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/08/2016 - Big solar is gaining perhaps but rooftop solar will remain vibrant. Despite the financial and central power lure of Big Solar, rooftop solar has many advantages, including the fact that rooftops already have a ready real estate advantage. When you use rooftop solar you lose very little energy through long electric lines and grids. With rooftop solar you are in charge of your charges, not a big utility company. Both Big solar and rooftop solar should exist Big time and fossil fuel energy should go the way of the dinosaur. Big solar is leaving rooftop systems in the dust Solar power is on pace for the first time this year to contribute more new electricity to the grid than will any other form of energy – a feat driven more by economics than green mandates. The cost of electricity from large-scale solar installations now is comparable to and sometimes cheaper than natural gas-fired power, even without incentives aimed at promoting environmentally friendly power, according to industry players and outside cost studies. Buoyed by appeals to self reliance and environmental stewardship, as well as government subsidies, the early solar industry was dominated by rooftop panels that powered individual homes and businesses. But such small-scale installations are expensive, requiring hefty incentives to make them attractive to homeowners. (July 5, 2016) Reuters [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 7/08/2016 - If You want to help lower greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, walk more. To walk more in our urban area walking needs to be safer. NYS’s new pedestrian safety plan, including a web site at www.ny.gov/pedsafety, might help to that end. Governor Cuomo Launches $110 Million Initiative to Keep Pedestrians Safe Across New York State Engineering, Education and Enforcement Campaign Set to Improve Safety New Pedestrian Safety Web Site Launched Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state’s first-ever, comprehensive pedestrian safety plan, a proactive, multi-agency initiative that provides $110 million for pedestrian safety improvements across upstate New York and Long Island during the next five years. The program will utilize an engineering, education and enforcement campaign to enhance safety. To kick off the campaign, the Governor introduced a new pedestrian safety web site at www.ny.gov/pedsafety. Beginning today, more than a dozen police agencies across the state are conducting pedestrian safety enforcement campaigns that will run through July 3. "Supporting these education programs and enforcement efforts will set a new safety standard for pedestrians and motorists and help make this state’s roadways safer for all,”Governor Cuomo said. "Through these efforts, we will help prevent avoidable tragedies and save lives." (June 20, 2016) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO  [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/08/2016 - What is your public health department doing to prepare you and your family from Climate Change? Is Climate Change planning even on their radar? Climate Change and public health are integrally related and much more than just heat is involved, vector-driven disease (where ticks and misquotes that carry warm diseases last long in place like Rochester), extreme weather outbursts like flooding, and much more threaten the public as our climate changes quickly. Study links heatwave deaths in London and Paris to climate change In 2003, more than 70,000 people across Europe died in a sweltering heatwave that spanned much of the summer. France was among the worst-affected countries, with 15,000 deaths in August alone. In the UK, the summer saw more than 2,000 heat-related fatalities. A new first-of-a-kind study works out how many of the deaths in Paris and London are down to the heatwave being intensified by human-caused climate change. The findings suggest that 506 of the 735 summer fatalities in Paris in 2003, and 64 of the 315 in London, were a result of human influence on the climate. (July 8, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2016 - You know that the Arctic is seriously warming up due to Climate Change when countries are gearing up to fight over it. Climate Change is an existential, moral, economic, environmental, and increasingly a military issue. Hard to understand how any political candidate wouldn’t see Climate Change as a top priority. NATO to consider climate change impact and military build-up in Arctic seas As global warming opens up new shipping lanes and access to valuable resources, countries are firming up their military presence in the Arctic. The increasing militarization of the north means Arctic affairs and climate change are both likely to land on the agenda at NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 8 and 9th, according to political observers. Ahead of the summit American conservatives are urging the U.S. to get the Arctic on NATO’s agenda and arrive at an agreed strategy for the region. “Economic, oil and gas, and shipping opportunities are increasing in the region—as are Russian military capabilities,” policy analysts Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis wrote in a mid-June brief for the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation. (July 7, 2016) National Observer [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/07/2016 - This is weird: How can US LNG exports help to lower global greenhouse gas emissions if there’s less environmental oversight? Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) is a greenhouse gas (methane CO4, actually a very potent greenhouse gas) and if any LNG escapes into our atmosphere it warms the place up. So how will less regulations to make sure LNGs gases don’t escape into our atmosphere lower global greenhouse gas emissions? It’s this kinda like saying the fox will make sure that the smell from the hen house won’t leave the henhouse because the fox will be inside the henhouse watching very carefully. Please. Federal court rules FERC doesn’t have to review upstream impacts of LNG The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is not required to examine the upstream impacts of natural gas development when reviewing the environmental impacts of new liquefied natural gas export facilities under the National Environmental Policy Act. Instead, the court said that if any agency should examine upstream impacts, it would be the Department of Energy, which has to approve LNG exports. The case involved two LNG terminals on the Gulf Coast, one in Sabine Pass, Louisiana and the other in Freeport, Texas. The D.C. Circuit is also reviewing challenges to Maryland’s Cove Point LNG terminal but has not yet ruled in that case. Charlie Riedl, executive director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, said the rulings “make clear” that the current environmental review process is complete when it comes to LNG exports. “The consequence of these rulings is that the US LNG industry will continue to grow – creating jobs, tax revenue and economic growth across the country,” Riedl said in a statement. “Additionally, studies have shown that US LNG exports help promote the use of natural gas by our allies and trading partners, which, in turn, helps to lower global greenhouse gas emissions.” (July 1, 2016) State Impact: Pennsylvania

  • 7/07/2016 - Rochester, NY’s Lac Megantic Memorial/Action Rally yesterday was part of a 60-city remembrance of the Lac Megantic 47 victims and a call to address Bomb Trains running through our communities. Learn more about Stand’s “Vigils and Protests Mark Anniversary of Fatal Oil Train Disaster: Events in 60 Cities and Letter to President on Stop Oil Trains Week of Action” here: Mothers Out Front protests oil trains on local tracks The protest marked three years since a deadly oil train wreck killed 47 Mothers Out Front was outside of the Federal Building in Rochester on Wednesday protesting the oil trains that travel on local railroad tracks.  The group was marking three years since an oil train derailed in Quebec. The explosion and fire caused by the wreck killed 47 people.  Suzanne Brown with Mothers Out Front is concerned that local communities may face the same risk. (July 6, 2016) RochesterFirst.com [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 7/07/2016 - Lots of challenges ahead for nuclear power, an industry where there’s little room for error. It looks like nuclear power plants are going to increase and old plants will be allowed to operate beyond their intended life span whether we like it or not. This means we will depend even more on our media and our governments to keep a close watch on this dangerous energy option. Along with pollution, Climate Change, overpopulation, mass extinctions, and the loss of biodiversity, we transforming our life support system into a mechanism of our doing—and there is a lot we don’t know about the workings of our environment. If nothing else, if we cannot stop ourselves from ratcheting up our impact on our environment, we should at least ratchet up our media coverage so we can adequately monitor this precarious life support systems we have built. Nuclear records paper over flaws Despite a record-breaking year of global nuclear construction in 2015, a report by the industry recognises that it still faces unresolved problems and uncertainties. The nuclear industry is celebrating breaking records that have stood for a quarter of a century − but a new update on its successes still fails to disperse the clouds over its future. Ten new nuclear reactors came on line last year worldwide, and more new reactors are being built than at any time since 1990. According to the report by the World Nuclear Association (WNA), there were 66 power reactors under construction across the world last year, and another 158 planned. Of those being built, 24 were in mainland China. In what it promises will be an annual update of the industry’s “progress”, the WNA presents a rosy picture of the future of the industry, which it hopes will produce ever-increasing amounts of the world’s power. (July 5, 2015) Climate News Network  

  • 7/07/2016 - For your own safety it’s a good idea to check the Sewage Pollution Right to Know before you go swimming. For a long time our local waters were used as industrial toilets and we still haven’t cleaned some of them up. And, when overflowed, because of heavy rains (there has been more since 1958 ((71% in our region)), our waters will be more challenged by sewage from our sewage infrastructures if we don’t plan for Climate Change. “The Sewage Pollution Right to Know law was enacted in 2013. The law requires that discharges of untreated and partially treated sewage discharges are reported by publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and publicly owned sewer systems (POSSs) within two hours of discovery to DEC and within four hours of discovery to the public and adjoining municipalities.” Before you swim in local waterways, check these sources The email arrived in my inbox at 8:23 a.m. Wednesday. Generated by an automated system overseen by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, it notified me of overflow sewage that had been discharged at various locations along the Hudson River in Newburgh. The notice estimated that at 4 a.m. Wednesday, approximately 5,000 gallons of untreated stormwater and sewage were being discharged — per minute. (June 30. 2016) Poughkeepsie Journal [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/06/2016 - Today’s question boys and girls: How do you destroy an entire planet quickly? During elections don’t talk about Climate Change. Just let yourselves be side-tracked by every little political peccadillo or outburst or batshit-crazy thing that comes out of a candidate’s mouth. Let the media avoid the elephant in the room, the social unrest of a dangerously warming world, and let them make lots of money by allowing them to focus on nonsense when the window of opportunity for acting on Climate Change is quickly closings.  Simply by doing nothing, by letting your candidates and your media get away with keeping you dumb, you’ll have a planet unfit for anything but some creepy crawlers feeding on a festering world. Climate change: the missing issue of the 2016 campaign Guardian US survey reveals anger of voters as election year debate fails to deal with concerns over the gathering global disaster The race for the White House is failing to grapple with the key issues of the day, especially the urgent need to combat climate change before atmospheric changes become irreversible, a slice of the American electorate believes. As the primary election season turns toward a head-to-head between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there is increasing anger and frustration over the nature of the contest. A Guardian call-out to online readers in the US asking them to reflect on the race so far was met by a barrage of criticism on the tone and substance of the world’s most important election – with the two main parties, individual candidates and the media all coming under heavy fire. The Guardian asked readers to identify the “one issue that affects your life you wish the presidential candidates were discussing more”. Resoundingly, the largest group of participants pointed to climate change. (July 5, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/05/2016 - Hillary avoids the carbon fee to appease the Republican squawk, because fixing the hole in their economy makes them balk. Hillary Clinton’s Ambitious Climate Change Plan Avoids Carbon Tax WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton, courting young voters and the broader Democratic base, has promised to one-up President Obama onclimate change, vowing to produce a third of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2027, three years faster than Mr. Obama, while spending billions of dollars to transform the energy economy. A half-billion solar panels will be installed by 2020, she has promised, seven times the number today, and $60 billion will go to states and cities to develop more climate-friendly infrastructure, such as public transportation and energy-efficient buildings. She would put the United States on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050. And, she says, she could achieve all that without new legislation from Congress. But Mrs. Clinton has avoided mention of the one policy that economists widely see as the most effective way to tackle climate change — and one that would need Congress’s assent: putting a price or tax on carbon dioxide emissions.  (July 2, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/05/2016 - Interesting that speculations about lower fish counts in Seneca Lake don’t include Climate Change. The article does speculate about Invasive Species, both plant and animals, but it doesn’t mention the elephant in the room. Our Finger Lakes are getting warmer that is causing more blue-green algae (Seneca Lake found blue-green algae for the first time last year) and invasive species to thrive better than endemic cold water fish—which could and probably is contributing greatly to lower fish counts.  Check this out from the ClimAid report “In aquatic systems, warmer waters and a longer summer season could increase vegetative productivity, but also increase the risk of algal blooms and other forms of eutrophication, leading to low dissolved oxygen (Poff et al., 2002) and negative effects on fish and other aquatic species. Many aquatic organisms mature more quickly but reach smaller adult sizes at higher temperatures. Rising temperatures are likely to be particularly harmful to coldwater fish, including brook and lake trout, while favoring warmwater species, such as large-mouth bass.” (Page 174, Responding to Climate Change in New York State – (Chapter 6: Ecosystems.) Something’s fishy: Seneca Lake anglers worried about lower fish count  People who have fished in Seneca Lake for years are concerned. They say they are not catching as many perch, bass, trout, bluegills and even sunfish as they used to. And it’s not because they’ve lost their angling skills. They say it’s because the fish population in the largest of the 11 Finger Lakes is down dramatically. And they’re not sure why. (July 4, 2016) Finger Lakes Times

  • 7/05/2016 - This report didn’t cover the fact that at the core of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases is Climate Change. Increases in Lyme diseases in our state are not just political and media issues, they are public health issues related to Climate Change. Until Climate Change enters the dialogue we will not solve Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, and other vector-borne diseases because we won’t be addressing the big picture, which is that our New York State climate is warming so that tick and mosquitoes that carry human disease will increase dramatically.  Check out this factsheet from the EPA: “Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial illness spread by ticks that bite humans. Tick habitat and populations are influenced by many factors, including climate. Nationwide, the rate of reported cases of Lyme disease has approximately doubled since 1991. Lyme disease is most common in the Northeast and the upper Midwest, where some states now report 50 to 90 more cases of Lyme disease per 100,000 people than they did in 1991.” Health and Society, EPA Lyme disease drives campaign in Hudson Valley As campaigns for local offices intensify, candidates are running on fairly traditional campaign issues — job creation, economic growth and Second Amendment rights, to name just a few. But in the Hudson Valley, an unexpected issue has emerged.. In a race in the 41st Senate district in the Hudson Valley, candidates from both major parties have made Lyme disease a central part of their campaigns. The ailment, a result of tick bites, can produce a wide range of symptoms including fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Dutchess and the surrounding counties have some of the highest levels of the disease in the nation. (July 5, 2016) Politicol [more on Lyme Disease in our area]

  • 7/05/2016 - Lively discussion on Cowspiracy @climateone. I found the film Cowspiracy offensive towards many who have tried to solve Climate Change, knowing this crisis’s deep complexity. The film, not a documentary, was simplistic and it played loose with the facts. There are so many other films like “Dirt the Movie”, and Symphony of the Soil that get to the heart of soil conservation in a time of Climate Change without insulting so many people and their efforts. Cowspiracy does not add to humanity’s effort to adapt and mitigate Climate Change; it unnecessarily polarizes the environmental community with food dogmatism. There certainly are issues with how we produce food and how that affects Climate Change, but this film doesn’t help the discussion—it just fuels disrespect and controversy among stewards of our planet. COWSPIRACY: REVELATION OR CHEAP TRICK? In the quest for a carbon-neutral lifestyle, it can be difficult to sort out which activities have the greatest negative impact on our climate, from driving a car to eating animal products. The documentary Cowspiracy, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, contends that animal agriculture is the number one source of climate killing pollution, and environmental non-profits are colluding to keep this information from the American public. (April 12, 2016) Climate One [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2016 - Climate Change reminder: You’re going to have to try and adapt to Climate Change because it will be in your face. And by then, it may be too late to avoid the great unpleasantness. NOT A PRETTY PICTURE: CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH IN FOUR INFOGRAPHICS The White House released a groundbreaking new scientific assessment on the impact of climate change on public health in the United States. US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murphy said, “The changes are happening right now… Climate change is going to impact health, and it’s not a pretty picture.”   This might seem like old news. But the Climate and Health Assessment connects the dots between climate change and its consequences for American public health more clearly than ever before. The new report (which is the product of three years of research by 13 federal agencies) emphasizes that climate change will continue to exacerbate existing threats to health as well as give rise to new ones. But like many scientific reports, it can get a little dense. So with some help from our friends at Climate Nexus and the American Public Health Association, here are four key findings from the assessment illustrated in infographics. (April 8, 2016) The Climate Reality Project

  • 7/04/2016 - The crisis of Climate Change isn’t going away because humanity has other things on its mind. As a matter of fact, the less we do to address it, the worse it gets and the more unlikely we will ever be able to. Seven climate records set so far in 2016 From soaring temperatures in Alaska and India to Arctic sea ice melting and CO2 concentrations rising, this year is smashing records around the world (June 17, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/02/2016 - One of the great under-reported environmental achievements in the Rochester, NY region is Genesee RiverWatch. For many decades the Genesee River, which runs northward from Pennsylvania, through Rochester to Lake Ontario, had been ignored as a riparian ecology until recently. Long used for industry waste and powering old mills, we kinda forgot about this wonderful environmental ecology and resource. It, like many rivers running through and near industrial communities, needed a lot of TLC. Now we have Genesee RiverWatch who is “Working to restore the waters of the Genesee, improve access, increase use and encourage economic development that benefits from and contributes to the water quality of our region.” The Genesee RiverWatch is not your usual environmental effort, but a sustained and comprehensive program that works with experts and volunteers to restore a major environmental component of our region. I encourage you to check out Genesee RiverWatch’s very comprehensive and easy-to-navigate website to website to gain an understanding of how a community can bring an old abused river back to life.   

  • 7/02/2016 - How to grow food and plants in your backyard so that your backyard and you thrive and flourish. So, what is sustainable gardening? And where to start? Sustainability is most often associated with the environment, especially with gardening. Sustainable gardening uses organic methods and puts emphasis on conserving resources. Key features include preserving and improving soil, using native plants, substituting beneficial insects for pesticides or manual tools for gas or electric powered. Growing one’s own food organically while utilizing every renewable resource that nature provides results in sustainable gardening and is one of the most important and most effective practice that we can follow. (June 20, 2016) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Food in our area]

  • 7/02/2016 - What is more intolerable a ban on plastic bags or a world filled with plastic bags? I suspect as the consequences of Climate Change become more dire our tolerance of human practices that compromise our life support system will become less acceptable. Some will see that our future is moving towards more harsh environmental regulations and some will see that we are not moving quickly enough to fix the life system we have so abused for so long. Freedom won’t be viewed in the future as just another word for pollution. Time passes. Going green: Morocco bans use of plastic bags As Morocco's ban on plastic bags comes into effect, green campaigners worry consumers will need time to change habits. As a ban on the production and use of plastic bags comes into effect across Morocco on Friday, green campaigners say that the country's consumers may need years to fully comply with the new law. A landmark bill passed by the Moroccan parliament last October banned the production, import, sale and distribution of plastic bags across the country. The bill, which became law on July 1, is part of a larger environmentally conscious effort across the North African country to go green. (July 1, 2016) Aljazeera [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 7/02/2016 - Do laws seem draconian that ban old vehicles from our streets if it’s what we need to do to clean up our air quality? I suspect, even if done fairly so that the poor don’t suffer disproportionally, laws attempting to eliminate older polluting vehicles from polluting our air wouldn’t be popular at all today. In the future, as air pollution becomes more intolerable, folks will wonder why we allowed old polluting vehicles to be used for so long. Change takes time except when we don’t have any more of it. Paris drives old cars off its streets Paris banned old, exhaust-belching cars from its streets on Friday in a war on air pollution that environmentalists hope will also drive dirty vehicles from the centers of other European cities. Air pollution, in large part caused by fine particulate fuel emissions, kills 48,000 people each year in France, some 400,000 in Europe and around 3.7 million worldwide, data published by France's public health agency this month showed. Any car registered before Jan. 1, 1997, will be barred from the city's streets from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (July 1, 2016) Reuters [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 7/01/2016 - Also, because the mosquitoes that carry the Zika Virus will fare better during Climate Change in NYS so with the Zika Virus. Read the NYT story: “In Zika Epidemic, a Warning on Climate Change” Our New York State public health department is sadly dropping the ball on informing the public on the need to prepare and adapt Climate Change. State Identifies 324 Cases Of The Zika Virus New York's Health Department says it has identified 324 cases of Zika, all associated with travel to areas where mosquitoes are known to transmit it. The department says Thursday it has found no cases so far from mosquito bites in the state. It has reported 22 pregnant women with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infection may cause birth defects. (July 1, 2016) WXXI News [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 7/01/2016 - Plan for bald eagles complete in NYS, except we haven’t a clue how these majestic birds will fare during Climate Change. We never talk about how our NYS Wildlife is going to handle Climate Change, that is, how Wildlife will survive a very rapid warming that will affect their prey, their homes, and their future. We are so not paying attention to Wildlife and Climate Change, even though man studies reveal that they are in deep do do. New York State Conservation Plan for bald eagles complete (June 30, 2016) June 30, 2016) WHEC Rochester [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/01/2016 - Some valuable citizen science programs on addressing Invasive Species from the Seneca Park Zoo Society for week of July 11-15th  Join us at the Zoo and in our local parks for hands-on invasive species citizen science programs. Come and experience guided hikes through Lower Seneca Park, where you will learn how to identify invasive and native species. If you’re looking to get even more hands-on, come to our invasive species pulls, where Zoo and Fingerlakes PRISM staff will work along the Genesee in boats and on the shore, pulling the invasive Water Chestnut. Become even more involved in citizen science with IMAP training, meeting representatives of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and learning about their invasive removal programs. Activities: Monday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Invasive species (Water Chestnut) pull with PRISM.  Guests can gather to remove invasive species.  Dress to get wet and messy!  We also encourage you to bring your own boat or canoe if you have one. Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Nature Hike through lower Seneca Park. Staff will give guests naturalist information, nature journaling information, and identify the invasive species in the park, along with their effect on native species. Tuesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. US Fish and Wildlife Services will be on grounds educating guests about invasive fish and aquatic plants. Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  iMapInvasives training with PRISM and a guided hike. Register on the Seneca Park Zoo website by 12 p.m. on July 8" [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 7/01/2016 - What does it mean about our ability to feed the world today if the result is no tomorrow? The greenhouse gas footprints of the world’s largest food commodities—rice, soy beans, corn, wheat and palm oil--must be brought down as we strive to push production up in an increasingly hungry world. Former projections about whether humanity could feed itself as its populations grew should have included the effects of producing so much food on our environment –especially on warming our planet. 5 Food Commodities Produce More GHGs than Any Country Apart from China, U.S. New research commissioned by Oxfam shows that rice, soy beans, corn, wheat and palm oil together lead to more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than any country’s individual footprint, with the exception of emissions giants China and the United States. The organization asserts that without making drastic emissions cuts to these five food commodities’ supply chains, the Paris Agreement’s goals to reach ‘net-zero’ by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will not be met. (June 27, 2016) Sustainable Brands [more on Food and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 6/30/2016 - As temperatures get warmer with Climate Change there will be more Air Quality Health and Ozone Advisories. This is an alert from the DEC yesterday “Air Quality Health Advisory Issued for New York State Ozone Advisory in Effect for Long Island Region” (I know, it’s not Rochester but you should still care.) Here’s what the DEC says about the health effects of ground-level ozone “People, especially young children, those who exercise outdoors, those involved in vigorous outdoor work and those who have respiratory disease (such as asthma) should consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity when ozone levels are the highest (generally afternoon to early evening). When outdoor levels of ozone are elevated, going indoors will usually reduce your exposure. Individuals experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing should consider consulting their doctor.” What I suspect many people are hearing is that only young people or old or those with asthma should limit their vigorous outdoor work and exercise. But that’s not what the DEC is saying; they are saying that all people should take these advisories seriously—especially the young people, etc. Climate Change is going to limit the ability of workers and athletes to function outdoors more frequently. No matter how freaking tough you think you are.   

  • 6/30/2016 - What if the credit rating industries used the Paris Agreement as a guide for future credit assessments? Investors need to operate in a somewhat predictable world where they are assured that every country is doing its best to achieve a sustainable existence. The less a country does to prepare for Climate Change the less likely investors will look on it favorably.  Even the economic world is changing because of Climate Change. Moody’s calls for rapid Paris climate deal approval Credit giant says speedy ratification will calm markets, pledges to use UN climate pact as benchmark for rating companies Moody’s has called on countries to accelerate work towards ratifying the Paris climate deal, as it will lower the risks of a damaging transition from fossil fuels.1 On Tuesday, the leading credit rating agency said it will now use the raft of commitments delivered by nearly 190 governments last December’s UN pact to guide future credit assessments. (June 28, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/29/2016 - It’s getting down to the wire, “universal support” (everyone, 100%) including businesses to fulfill their Paris Agreement promises. Universal support needed to tackle global warming, UN climate chief says Private sector needs to work in Africa, Asia and Latin America to drive down carbon emissions, Christiana Figueres to tell business and climate summit “Universal support” is needed from businesses across the world to tackle global warming, the United Nations climate chief says. Business leaders and politicians are meeting in London to discuss how to implement the first comprehensive climate agreement, secured at UN talks in Paris in December, to cut greenhouse gas emissions and avoid dangerous temperature rises. (June 28, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/29/2016 - Monitoring wildlife’s response to global warming is critical to protecting them during Climate Change. You can be a part of that with Audubon’s Climate Watch Pilot Program. Here’s Your First Look at Audubon’s New Birds and Climate Project Climate Watch is getting volunteers across the country to admire bluebirds (for science). Bluebirds and lots of other species are on the move because of climate change, and Audubon volunteers and scientists are on the case to find out where and how fast. Earlier this year, the National Audubon Society launched a new citizen science project across 10 states, partnering with 19 Audubon chapters and one center to track how North American bluebirds are responding to global warming. The pilot project, Climate Watch, asks volunteers to visit 10-kilometer squares in their locale to count Mountain, Western, and Eastern Bluebirds and submit their data through eBird. The surveys take place in January and June, allowing participants to sample both the birds’ wintering and breeding seasons. (June 22, 2016) Audubon [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/28/2016 - Climate Change should not be made funny. But then again, if it communicates the urgency and threat of this crisis…   CLIMATE CHANGE EXPLAINED IN 10 CARTOONS “Do I need to draw you a picture?”   If you’ve ever attempted to skim the latest 30-page scientific study from Nature Climate Change, or tried to go shot-for-shot with a climate change denier on Twitter, you’ve probably asked this question with at least some frustration in your voice. The fact of the matter is, showing a visualization can be very useful in understanding a subject – or even convincing someone of your point of view. With that in mind, we gathered some of the best cartoons to explain the climate crisis – and how we can solve it. (June 16, 2016) Climate Reality Project [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/28/2016 - Important to remember, as this article does, that Climate Change must factor into any discussion about stopping harmful algae blooms in our Finger Lakes. Farmers helping to limit algae in Great Lakes Summers along the Great Lakes include fishing, boating -- and dangerous algae blooms that can shut down beaches. These blooms are caused by excess phosphorous, a lot of which comes from farms. Now some of the region's farmers are testing agricultural practices that could reduce harmful runoff. (June 28, 2016) WXXI News  [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/28/2016 - Trying to get humanity to do the right thing on Climate Change, not batshit crazy stuff, must be frustrating for climate scientists. If you knew, as 97% of climate scientists do, that our planet is warming quickly, perhaps beyond our capabilities of adapting to it, and every time you pulled away from the studies and mounting research that solidified the case of Climate Change and tried to message the urgency of this crisis to the world at large and every time to you did you got dismissed by the media and the public and their politicians, it must seem very surreal.  Like trying to explain to someone very stubborn that every time they try and throw an anvil into the air it’s going to come right back down immediately—not disappear magically down the street into a hardware shop. Scientists Plead With Australia To Get Off Coal To Save The Great Barrier Reef Coral reefs around the world are in a dire predicament, as warmer-than-usual waters are causing widespread bleaching and death among these crucial marine organisms. Now, more than 2,500 marine scientists and policy experts are urging the Australian government to protect the world’s largest and most well-known coral ecosystem: the Great Barrier Reef. “Coral reefs … are threatened with complete collapse under rapid climate change,” the scientists, who last week attended the International Coral Reef Symposium in Hawaii, write in their letter to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “Fifty percent of coral reefs have already been destroyed by a combination of local and global factors. Additional serious degradation will occur over the next two decades as temperatures continue to rise.” The scientists also offer up a way to protect the Great Barrier Reef from future climate change: Get off coal. (June 27, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/28/2016 - This simple sentence should give you pause then next time you dismiss Climate Change: “Ocean circulation is critical to the climate system because it distributes heat and helps store carbon dioxide in the deep ocean.” Our human induced Climate Change is messing with a profoundly complex system. And ignorance of the way climate works will be no excuse for the consequences of our meddling. The smart thing to do would be to get temperatures back where they were before we sent them through the roof. Wind-blown Antarctic sea ice helps drive ocean circulation Antarctic sea ice is constantly on the move as powerful winds blow it away from the coast and out toward the open ocean. A new study shows how that ice migration may be more important for the global ocean circulation than anyone realized. A team of scientists used a computer model to synthesize millions of ocean and ice observations collected over six years near Antarctica, and estimated, for the first time, the influence of sea ice, glacier ice, precipitation and heating on ocean overturning circulation. Overturning circulation brings deep water and nutrients up to the surface, carries surface water down, and distributes heat and helps store carbon dioxide as it flows through the world's oceans, making it an important force in the global climate system. The scientists found that freshwater played the most powerful role in changing water density, which drives circulation, and that melting of wind-blown sea ice contributed 10 times more freshwater than melting of land-based glaciers did. (June 27, 2016) PHYS.org

  • 6/28/2016 - The trend towards privatizing emergency services because public services go broke does not bode well for Climate Change adaptation. What will happened when private services go belly up during extreme weather events (flooding, heatwaves, and public health crises)? The answer to providing public services, including emergency services, is not to go private (which tend to focus on making money, not the public good). The answer is to find a way to make public services work by the public by prioritizing these fundamental services a government provides. Educate the public on Climate Change and plan for the future where there will be much disruption. However you view private verse public services, at the end of the day, in great emergencies, which are coming with Climate Change, it will be your government who will have to address these emergencies. Private services can walk away. When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers Today, people interact with private equity when they dial 911, pay their mortgage, play a round of golf or turn on the kitchen tap for a glass of water. Private equity put a unique stamp on these businesses. Unlike other for-profit companies, which often have years of experience making a product or offering a service, private equity is primarily skilled in making money. And in many of these businesses, The Times found, private equity firms applied a sophisticated moneymaking playbook: a mix of cost cuts, price increases, lobbying and litigation. (June 25, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2016 - When we find ourselves unprepared for the threats Climate Change poses remember those whose powerful denial ideologies dismissed our concerns. Why the GOP is trying to stop the Pentagon's climate plan The Defense Department, long in the vanguard in dealing with climate change, may see its latest plan defunded. In Washington, big agencies rarely get high marks for innovation and foresight. But when it comes to coping with climate change, the largest federal agency—the Pentagon—has taken a spot in the vanguard. As far as back as the George W. Bush administration, the Defense Department was warning that global warming posed a threat to U.S. national security, and that the military needed to be preparing accordingly. This year it went further, laying out a new game plan that assigns specific top officials the jobs of figuring out how climate change should shape everything from weapons acquisition to personnel training. Last week, however, House Republicans voted to block it. By a 216-205 vote Thursday, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the department from spending money to put its new plan into effect. (June 23, 2016) Politico [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2016 - From our friends over at THE PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER July 2016 Newsletter "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”

  • 6/25/2016 - Stay cool in Rochester, NY with Cool Sweep as we heat up …, for a while anyways, then we’ll need more robust measures. Mayor Warren announces Cool Sweep program On Friday Mayor Lovely Warren announced this year’s Cool Sweep program, the season of which will begin Monday and go until August 27, according to the City of Rochester. The City of Rochester says that Cool Sweep operations take place when temperatures are expected to get up to, at least, 85 degrees. During these operations there are cooling sprays at fire hydrants, as well as extended hours at places such as Durand Eastman Beach, and City spray parks and pools. (June 24, 2016) WHEC Rochester

  • 6/25/2016 - The June edition of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s newsletter (the Ecologue) has been published. Lots of local environmental news and more…

  • 6/25/2016 - A lot organizations, including your government, are taking Climate Change seriously and providing lots of specific information for everyone on how to adapt. U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit "In response to the President’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order to help the nation prepare for climate-related changes and impacts, U.S. federal government agencies, led by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality, gathered resources that can help people take action to build their climate resilience. The impacts of climate change—including higher temperatures, heavier downpours, more frequent and intense droughts, wildfires, and floods, and sea level rise—are affecting communities, businesses, and natural resources across the nation. "

  • 6/25/2016 - Local news connects the dots between more outbreaks of blue-green algae and Climate Change in our Finger Lakes. “Outbreaks of blue-green algae are become more and more common, with warming temperatures and other aspects of climate change partially to blame.” Last year Seneca Lake had its first official case of blue-green algae. Canandaigua Lake continues to be plagued by toxic algae. And the shallow Honeoye Lake usually has a blue-green algae problem. Climate Change is changing our Finger Lakes and this needs to be on our list of present consequences of this crisis so we can plan properly. Health advisory issued for blue-green algae in Conesus Lake Conesus Lake has the dubious distinction of sporting the first confirmed outbreak of blue-green algae in the Rochester region this summer, prompting the Livingston County Department of Health to issue an advisory. Thirteen lakes now appear on the DEC's harmful algal bloom alert page. Among them is the Avon Marsh Dam Pond, also in Livingston County, where there is a suspicious but unconfirmed bloom of something nasty-looking. (June 24, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Conesus lake and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/24/2016 - New Initiative by DEC and DOH to allow pharmacies to take back unwanted drugs could have huge impact on water quality. OK, many know that’s it’s now insane to flush unwanted drugs down the toilet because our waste water treatment plants cannot filter out these drugs so these drugs go back out into our drinking water. Clearly, that’s mad. So, what do you do with unwanted drugs besides wait for a legal (must have security measures) unwanted drugs event or take them to your local police station to drop them off.? One of the best solutions would be for pharmacies to be able to accept unwanted drugs because they know drugs and pharmacies are everywhere. (Ok, there’re not ‘everywhere’, but there are probably several close to where you live.) This should be happening so our waters are free of unwanted pharmaceuticals. DEC and DOH Announce Initiative to Improve New Yorkers Ability to Dispose of Unwanted Medication New Yorkers now have more options to safely dispose unused, unwanted, and expired drugs, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Howard Zucker announced today. Governor Cuomo recently signed legislation that will facilitate drug collection efforts by now allowing pharmacies to take back unwanted drugs. "Many New Yorkers want to properly dispose of their unwanted drugs, but collection events and locations were not always convenient," Commissioner Seggos said. "Now that pharmacies are allowed to be a collection point, people can take their medicine to the same location where they get their prescriptions filled, which helps keep them out of our waterways. The state encourages everyone to properly dispose of their unwanted medications." (June 23, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 6/24/2016 - Threats to food production in places like Africa because of Climate Change means regions like US Northeast, which has great soil and water, must prepare. We must prepare to keep our soil and water free from contamination and we must prepare for an increase in agriculture to help feed the world. More knowledge about how Climate Change is impacting the world and vital systems like food production can help our region prepare for what’s coming. Race is on to feed warming world Scientists warn that plant breeders will need to accelerate development schedules if they are to ensure the ever-growing population can be fed as global temperatures rise. It can take up to 30 years to improve a crop variety, test it and persuade farmers to adopt it. That means the speed of climate change in Africa could make a new variety of maize useless even before the first harvest, according to new research. But two separate studies that address the challenge of food security in a rapidly warming world suggest that the answers may lie not just in future weather but in today’s soils. (June 22, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/24/2016 - Climate Change causes some diseases and perhaps that knowledge can help us predict disease outbreaks. Climate Change is going to have a profound effect on public health but if we plan properly in a warmer world we can prepare so that the consequences are not as bad. Denying Climate Change is blinding ourselves to solutions. Scientists use climate, population changes to predict diseases Model can predict outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, such as Ebola and Zika, based on changes in climate British scientists say they have developed a model that can predict outbreaks of zoonotic diseases - those such as Ebola and Zika that jump from animals to humans - based on changes in climate. Describing their model as "a major improvement in our understanding of the spread of diseases from animals to people", the researchers said it could help governments prepare for and respond to disease outbreaks, and to factor in their risk when making policies that might affect the environment. (June 12, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 6/23/2016 - As Climate Change presses on, Water, clean potable water for all, is crucial. Continual testing of our water must happen. Many areas of our country and the world are already experiencing water shortages vital to life because of Climate Change. We in the Northeast have plenty of water and we also have a long history of discharging waste, including industrial waste, into our precious waters.  We need a major attitude change towards our water where we continually monitor our water and make sure every source of contamination is removed from this vital substance. When you cannot drink the water, your life changes. But not in a good way. New York searches statewide for industrial chemical in water New York environmental regulators are looking statewide for potential sites of groundwater contamination from a cancer-causing industrial chemical previously used to make Teflon and other non-stick, stain-resistant and water-repellant products. The Department of Environmental Conservation sent formal surveys last week to more than 150 facilities that may have manufactured or used PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, Peter Walke, the agency’s chief of staff, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. Surveys also were sent to fire departments, airports and major storage facilities that may have used the related chemical PFOS, a component of firefighting foam. (June 22, 2015) The Post Star [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/23/2016 - Discovering Blue-green algae blooms on the shallow Finger Lake’s Conesus Lake so soon is all over local media, but not the Climate Change connection. The predictions of the EPA (and DEC for that matter)  is that there will be more of these toxic algae bloom sooner and more often in our local waters because of Climate Change. In order for the public to understand why this is occurring so frequently and how Climate Change is really affecting us our media needs to get on the stick. Read:  Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms Climate change is predicted to change many environmental conditions that could affect the natural properties of fresh and marine waters both in the US and worldwide. Changes in these factors could favor the growth of harmful algal blooms and habitat changes such that marine HABs can invade and occur in freshwater. An increase in the occurrence and intensity of harmful algal blooms may negatively impact the environment, human health, and the economy for communities across the US and around the world. The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide climate change researchers and decision–makers a summary of the potential impacts of climate change on harmful algal blooms in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Although much of the evidence presented in this fact sheet suggests that the problem of harmful algal blooms may worsen under future climate scenarios, further research is needed to better understand the association between climate change and harmful algae. May 2013 US Environmental Protection Agency | Blue-green algae blooms found on Conesus Lake Blue-green algae has been found in the southeast area of Conesus Lake, according to the Livingston County Department of Health. (June 22, 2016) WHAM Rochester [more on Conesus Lake in our area]

  • 6/23/2016 - Climate Change means more heat and you’re thinking you can just tough it out. Think again. Humans, even the toughest of us can only handle so much heat then our natural cooling system shuts down.  We need to prepare for a world where oftentimes it will be too hot for us to do what we want and need to do outside. Dangerous Heat Wave to Grip the US: Top 10 Lessons to Survive Extreme Heat The US National Weather Service heat index forecast for June 18, 2016 looks scary.  It indicates a dangerous situation that everyone who lives in the red areas in the map below should take steps to prepare for. I am not kidding. Extreme heat can be life threatening if not taken seriously. (June 15, 2016) Union of Concerned Scientists [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 6/23/2016 - We’re going to have to be energy smart about our future. How we use energy is both a moral and existential feature of Climate Change. The more we know about Energy the better chance we have. Ten interesting things about energy Always turn off lights when you leave the room, unless you have CFLs To save energy, you should always turn off unneeded incandescent and halogen lights, since they're the most inefficient bulbs. Only 10 percent of the energy they use goes toward light; the other 90 percent just generates heat. But if you have CFLs, turning them on and off too many times shortens their lifespans. Turn them off if you'll be gone for 15 minutes of more. If you'll be right back, you can leave them on. (June 17, 2016) NASA Global Science Change [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 6/22/2016 - Let’s try something totally different: Let’s focus on the value of starting up bike sharing in Rochester instead of the price. Let’s, instead of obsessing on the cost, which is what it takes to start up this kind of service in a small city like Rochester, obsess about the advantages of bike rentals as a real transportation option in Rochester that will help your health and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The more people who walk and bike and rent bikes, instead of gas guzzles, the safer bicycling in Rochester get, the more healthier and friendlier our populations gets, the lower the price will be for bike rentals, and the more effect (27% of greenhouse gas emission come from Transportation) Rochesterians  will have on addressing Climate Change. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you want a city that is bicycle friendly and easy use, you’re going to have to prioritize your values. Someone has to pay to wrestle active transportation (walking and bicycling) back into our transportation system so we can live sustainably. Would you rent a bicycle in Rochester for $11 an hour? Kudos to the arrival of a bike hire station in downtown Rochester. ► Bike rentals come to downtown Cycling along the Genesee River sounds like a wonderful way to spend a sunny summer afternoon, right? But the price tag. Oh. My. (June 21, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 6/22/2016 - Cities are part of the problem and definitely part of the Climate Change solution. Cities are where we must live sustainably on a warmer planet. Our new alliance unites 600m city dwellers in fight against climate change Cities are huge carbon emitters but are ideally placed to tackle climate change. Michael Bloomberg on how the Global Covenant can give them the tools to do so When it comes to confronting climate change, the world’s cities are proving that there’s strength in unity. The historic climate agreement reached in Paris in December, which was approved by nearly all of the world’s nations, was made possible in part by the progress that cities have made by working together. Today, the two biggest coalitions of cities in the world – the EU-based Covenant of Mayors and the UN-backed Compact of Mayors – are forming an alliance to link more than 600 million city dwellers in the fight against climate change. (June 22, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/22/2016 - Of course, you really start to notice the problem of transporting dangerous crude oil by rail when they explode nearby. Increasing the transport of volatile oil via Bomb Trains is a fossil fuel infrastructure that is unsustainable and dangerous. Many communities, including Rochester, are threaten by this vast increase in crude oil transport on a system of cars and rails not designed for this crazy scheme. Protesters Arrested for Blocking Railroad in Call for Oil-by-Rail Moratorium Arrests come as Oregon's governor and others urge the Obama administration to ban oil trains in that state after a fiery crash in the Columbia River gorge. Twenty-one activists were arrested in Vancouver, Wash. on Saturday in a protest calling for a permanent moratorium on shipping oil by rail in Oregon and Washington, to protect people and the environment. Approximately 100 protesters took part in the event, blocking trains along the Columbia River gorge. The protest followed the derailment of an oil train in the gorge on June 3 that erupted in flames, spilled 42,000 gallons of crude oil and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. The crash came three years after a derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec that killed 47 people in July 2013. (June 21, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 6/21/2016 - If you like growing produce and eating them (and who doesn’t?), then you should know the Climate Change connection on extreme, unpredictable weather with agriculture. Climate Change cannot be ignored and we have to plan for it on a massive scale. Alumni learn about effects of extreme weather on farming Thor Oechsner ’87 spent years cultivating a rich layer of topsoil essential to growing lush fields of organic wheat, rye and buckwheat. But it took just a few minutes for those years of hard work to be washed away when more than 5 inches of rain fell on his Newfield, New York, farm last summer. Extreme weather events like the one experienced at Oechsner Farms are becoming more frequent and devastating, warnedToby Ault, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  (June 17, 2016) Cornell Chronicle [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/21/2016 - What are phragmites and why you should care about this Great Lakes invasive species? Mayors tackle scourge of the Great Lakes wetlands A new satellite-aided model shows that phragmites — invasive, feather-topped reeds twice the height of a basketball net — are forecast to spread exponentially across the Great Lakes. And officials say they’re barely able to manage existing stands of it, much less control its spread. “When I go into coastal wetlands and they’re infested with phragmites, it’s absolutely astonishing. We’re losing our wetlands because of them,” said Janice Gilbert, a wetland ecologist and a founder of the Ontario Phragmites Working Group. An analysis using NASA satellite mapping shows vast swaths of urban and rural land overtaken by phragmites by 2020. (June 17, 2016) IFP.com [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/21/2016 - Incredible video shows humanity’s move to cities over the millennia. Cities, where most of humanity will soon be, will factor large in addressing Climate Change. Each city around the world impacts our environment in similar ways—bringing in water, taking out waste, providing infrastructure, setting codes, enforcing laws—acting like huge beings whose behavior towards our life support system matters a lot. Each city should have a strong Climate Action Plan that coordinates with other cities on how to address planetary Climate Change. Watch 6,000 years of people moving to cities Humans have been building and living in cities for thousands of years. But only very recently — in the past few years — did the scales tip to more of us choosing to settle in cities than in rural areas. According to the United Nations, 54 percent of the world's population now lives in urban areas. That figure was 30 percent in 1950 and is expected to rise to 66 percent by 2050. In the video below, you can watch the stunning rise of human cities, from their humble origin in the Fertile Crescent in the year 3700 BC to the boom of the past century. (June 19, 2016) VOX

  • 6/21/2016 - Cities, like Rochester NY, are critical to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and addressing Climate Change. Consider filing out the survey on Rochester’s Climate Action Plan and give the City important feedback: CLIMATE ACTION PLAN | Hundreds of Cities Commit to Emissions Limits Cities today host more than half of the Earth’s human beings and account for about 70 percent of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Now, 228 cities around the world are taking the lead on climate action, setting greenhouse gas reduction goals or targets. Action in these cities, with a combined population of 439 million people, could ensure that countries meet their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the national greenhouse gas reduction pledges embodied in the Paris Climate Agreement. At the UN’s annual climate conference in December 2015 in Paris, 195 countries adopted the world’s first universal, legally binding global climate deal. (June 9, 2016) Environmental News Service [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/20/2016 - It's hot. Climate Change? Public health threat. Wildfires. Too alarmist? Not alarmist enough? Time passes. Deadly heat wave hits southwest U.S. A lethal, record-setting heat wave has hit the southwestern United States. So far four people have been killed in Arizona. At least three large wildfires are burning in the region, covering an area larger than Paris. And over 30 million people are under heat warnings or advisories. It's the hottest start to summer ever in three states -- California, New Mexico and Arizona -- according to CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. (June 20, 2016) CNN

  • 6/20/2016 - Remember: Where there’s wildfires there is smoke far beyond the fires themselves and Climate Change isn’t helping matters. Only you and everyone else can prevent Climate Change. Everything You Need to Know About Wildfires in One Map Summer's heat is settling in early in parts of the West, and is forecast to arrive in earnest this weekend. With sweltering days ahead, the rising specter of wildfires isn’t far behind. To get the big-picture, we’ve created a brand new wildfire tracker that shows where every wildfire is burning with a side of climate. Hover over a red circle to see how much area has been burned. Click on it, and you’ll get more climate context and the number of people at risk. No wildfire happens in a vacuum anymore. Large wildfires — those greater than 1,000 acres — have doubled since 1970 due in part to a warming climate. And with more people living in harm’s way, that’s raising the risk of losing life and property (a risk that became reality in California last year with the Valley and Butte fires). (June 15, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/20/2016 - Our national parks are being ravished by Climate Change, not to mention the threats to public health, our infrastructures, and just about everything else. Obama at Yosemite attacks 'lip service' to natural beauty amid climate inaction Barack Obama warned on Saturday that climate change could ravage many of America’s vaunted national parks, criticizing political opponents who “pay lip service” to areas of natural beauty while opposing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. During a visit to Yosemite national park, Obama said climate change was “no longer a threat, it’s a reality”. The first sitting president to visit Yosemite since John F Kennedy in 1962 said the famed glacial valley was already experiencing changes due to rising temperatures. (June 18, 2016) The Guardian [more on Parks and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/18/2015 - It is quite likely that whether we argue for a 1.5C or a 2C world is moot because at our present trajectory we’re going to blast by both thresholds. We are deluding ourselves if we are doing anything   full court press on addressing Climate Change. What Would a Global Warming  Increase of 1.5 Degrees Be Like? The Paris climate conference set the ambitious goal of finding ways to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than the previous threshold of 2 degrees. But what would be the difference between a 1.5 and 2 degree world? And how realistic is such a target? How ambitious is the world? The Paris climate conference last December astounded many by pledging not just to keep warming “well below two degrees Celsius,” but also to "pursue efforts" to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C. That raised a hugely important question: What's the difference between a two-degree world and a 1.5-degree world? (June 16, 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/18/2016 - Climate scientists are becoming more sure that the consequences of Climate Change are upon us and our situation is more dire.  Our fate may well be determined on our ability to make their warnings our top priority. Time passes. Shattered records show climate change is an emergency today, scientists warn Unprecedented temperature levels mean more heatwaves, flooding, wildfires and hurricanes as experts say global warming is here and affecting us now May was the 13th month in a row to break temperature records according to figures published this week that are the latest in 2016’s string of incredible climate records which scientists have described as a bombshell and an emergency. The series of smashed global records, particularly the extraordinary heat in February and March, has provoked a stunned reaction from climate scientists, who are warning that climate change has reached unprecedented levels and is no longer only a threat for the future. (June 17, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 6/17/2016 - The trouble with aging nuclear power plants is that they are always near the brink, timing is always tight, and there’s no room for error. Why cannot we have renewable energy options to power our future where we the people are in control of our future instead of the continual threat of nuclear power’s threats and demands?  Another Oswego County nuke threatens to close: Nine Mile 1 on the brink The owner of the Nine Mile 1 nuclear reactor told state officials Tuesday the plant is likely to close if new "clean energy" subsidies are not in place by September. Plant owner Exelon Corp. notified the state Public Service Commission in a letter that it will not undertake the $55 million cost of refueling the plant in March 2017 without a contract in place guaranteeing extra payments the plant needs to stop losing money. (June 15, 2016) Syracuse News [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 6/17/2016 - Some people are really, really effective in communicating the moral imperative of addressing Climate Change.  “The world is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on ecology, “Laudato Si”, and much of those celebrations are focused on taking climate action.” World celebrates Pope’s words as faith groups shift into action The world is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on ecology, “Laudato Si”, and much of those celebrations are focused on taking climate action. In Australia Thursday, four Catholic orders shifted their investments away from coal, oil and gas companies in the first ever joint Catholic divestment announcement. The moral case against fossil fuels has powered countless actions around the world, including the Interfaith Climate Statement, the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, and the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change this year. (June 17, 2016) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/16/2016 - After the fossil fuel industry has had their way with our life support system, will they clean up their mess or just walk away? You don’t leave behind a scarred and damaged environment if and when you remove renewable energy infrastructure.  Regulators Fear $1 Billion Coal Cleanup Bill Regulators are wrangling with bankrupt coal companies to set aside enough money to clean up Appalachia’s polluted rivers and mountains so that taxpayers are not stuck with the $1 billion bill. The regulators worry that coal companies will use the bankruptcy courts to pay off their debts to banks and hedge funds, while leaving behind some of their environmental cleanup obligations. The industry asserts that its cleanup plans — which include turning defunct mines back into countryside — are comprehensive and well funded. But some officials say those plans could prove unrealistic and falter as demand for coal remains weak. (June 6, 2016) New York Times [more on Energy in our area]

  • 6/15/2016 - Thinking of Green Businesses, businesses and industries and institutions, that want to do the right thing for our environment like composting for example: At a recent conference someone talked about a composting program that his institution started that runs the risk of not being able to make it financially doable for very long if there are no economic mechanisms or incentives in place to do so.  They’ll have to abandon the program if its bringing them down.  I think this is a good reminded that many of the changes we need to make to address Climate Change and live more sustainable are going to have figure in the economic externalities so that businesses and individuals can do the right thing without risking their survival. Take composting: It is definitely the right thing to do for a large institution to compost all of its food waste. But so doing can be a financial burden if the institution is using up too many financial and human resources to make this work. As budgets become tight, composting programs will be abandoned. So it’s important that our local governments put a legal structure or maybe a composting program in place so that businesses and institution that want to compost can do so a part of much larger program that can help distribute the burdens for those wanting to do the right thing. If we made the tipping fees (charges for dumping trash into a landfill), for example, very high for dumping food and waste into our landfills there would be a great incentive to do otherwise. Recycling, reducing, reusing and composting would flourish. We have long kept the externalities of environmental degradation out of our economics and we need to put it in so we can live sustainably, so doing the right thing pays. A carbon fee would be the right financial incentive for using fossil fuels, which are warming and polluting our planet, less desirable and renewable energy more desirable.  Time passes.  

  • 6/15/2016 - A wonderful review of an important biography about Alexander von Humboldt, from the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club. We knew a lot our about how our environment works at the begging of the 1800’s but we conveniently forgot it. Now we need to know what we knew about Climate Change and the importance of ecologies before we seriously disturbed each. Read this important book review about The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World. A Biography By Andrea Wulf Illustrated 403 pp. Alford A. Knopf A Great Naturalist Rediscovered Most of you do not know his name, yet in Napoleon’s era, Alexander von Humboldt was second in international fame only to Napoleon himself. In 1869, the Centennial of his birth was celebrated in Europe, Africa, Australia and all of the Americas. In Moscow, he was called the Shakespeare of the sciences. In Boston, Emerson called Humboldt “one of those wonders of the world” and the London Daily News wrote “that he was in some way bound up with the universe itself.”  (Spring 2016) Sierra Atlantic Newsletter  [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 6/15/2016 - Solar power options for those in the Rochester, NY region who rent or don’t have enough roof to grab the sun. Project aims to expand solar access Residential solar power has grown rapidly in recent years, fueled largely by improved panel efficiency, decreased equipment and installation costs, and aggressive state and federal tax incentives.  But some groups have limited ability to tap into solar. Renters and condo owners usually can't install arrays on their buildings, for example. And not all homeowners have the financial means to buy and install panels; some houses simply do not have roofs or yards with adequate exposure to the sun. (June 9, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 6/15/2016 - If Climate Change is dramatically affecting plants (and it is) we should be alarmed and demand urgent action. Plants don’t get to get up and move to a cooler climate to survive so humanity is going to have to prioritize protecting plants—critical parts of our life support system. 20% plant extinction, along with the other dramatic changes coming, means we are in a major world biological shift. We need plants. How should plants be protected in a changing world? A new study finds 20 percent of the world's plants are threatened with extinction. Plants are the backbone of all life on Earth. They produce oxygen and help control our climate. They are in our food, fuel and medicine. For the first time, an A-to-Z study of the plant kingdom has been carried out at the Royal Botanic Gardens, in Kew, West London. (May 10, 2016) Aljazeera [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/14/2016 - Trying to connect extreme weather events with Climate Change (extreme event attribution) is difficult, indeed. But perhaps not impossible. In order to inform the public better on Climate Change in a more immediate way, perhaps this effort will help the public appreciate that Climate Change is happening now. World Weather Attribution (WWA) "is an international effort designed to sharpen and accelerate the scientific community’s ability to analyze and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme-weather events such as storms, floods, heat waves and droughts. Recognizing society’s interest in reducing the human, economic, and environmental costs of weather-related disasters, WWA delivers timely and reliable information on how patterns of extreme weather may be affected by climate change. "

  • 6/14/2016 - Got pets? Tying to rid them of fleas, ticks, and other pests? Are your pet groomers using pesticides? Check with the DEC: Pet Groomers and Pesticide Products Products intended or used to kill or control fleas, ticks, and other pests on pets are considered pesticides under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and their sale and use is regulated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Pesticides commonly used on pets may include: shampoos, dips, topical treatments, and collars. However, products such as these which do NOT claim to kill or control fleas, ticks, and other pests on pets, are NOT pesticides, unless they are applied with the intention to control pests. Visit the National Pesticide Information Center (link leaves DEC webpage) website to find further information about using pesticides on pets, and pesticide poisoning in pets. Any product that is considered a pesticide may only be sold or used in New York if it is registered by both the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the DEC. There is one exception to this registration requirement; pesticides known as "minimum risk" are exempt from EPA and DEC registration. More information regarding minimum risk pesticides can be found in the section below. New York State Department of Environmental Services [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 6/14/2016 - Will our energy options in the future be determined only by prices, demand and supply or will Climate Change change our behavior also? Time passes. The World Nears Peak Fossil Fuels for Electricity Coal and gas will begin their terminal decline in less than a decade, according to a new BNEF analysis. The way we get electricity is about to change dramatically, as the era of ever-expanding demand for fossil fuels comes to an end—in less than a decade. That's according to a new forecast byBloomberg New Energy Finance that plots out global power markets for the next 25 years.  Call it peak fossil fuels, a turnabout that's happening not because we're running out of coal and gas, but because we're finding cheaper alternatives. Demand is peaking ahead of schedule because electric cars and affordable battery storage for renewable power are arriving faster than expected, as are changes in China's energy mix. (June 13, 2016) Bloomberg [more on Energy in our area]

  • 6/13/2016 - Maybe what’s been ‘stealing’ fishermen’s fish in the Great Lakes is Climate Change and not the double-crested cormorants. Maybe what’s really challenging fish in our Great Lakes is warmer waters due to Climate Change where invasive species thrive better. Maybe decisions on how to protect our Great Lake’s region fish and birds should be prioritized by addressing Climate Change and not fishermen’s priorities. We need to see the big picture here, not the environmental whims of a select group. Can cormorants help control Great Lakes invaders? Double-crested cormorants are the bane of many Great Lakes anglers, devouring prize game fish and damaging the sport and commercial fishery. At least that’s a widely held belief about these birds — and a generally wrong one, Northern Illinois University (NIU) researchers say. Cormorants’ fish-stealing rep may be a bum rap — and the truth is more complex, as the first dietary study of cormorants in southern Lake Michigan shows. “Because this is the first such study, its results will help to inform discussion among local stakeholders and will provide valuable data to other researchers studying cormorant diet in the region,” said lead author Patrick Madura, who conducted the study as a master’s student. (June 6, 2016) Great lakes Echo

  • 6/13/2016 - For those of us who care about lead in our water (and who doesn’t care?) Senate Bill S7103B (testing school water for lead) matters. “2015-2016 Legislative Session Requires school districts and boards of cooperative educational services to conduct periodic testing of school potable water sources and systems to monitor for lead contamination in certain school buildings” DOWNLOAD BILL TEXT PDF | Five bills to watch for in Albany Lead in water Lead found in school water has been a growing concern across the state and the nation, and there is a bill that would require schools to regularly test water for lead. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County, said he’s talking with lawmakers about a possible deal in the final days of session. In particular, legislators in the Southern Tier want the bill after a number of schools in the region tested positive for lead in water — as well as similar results in the Rochester area and Hudson Valley. (June 12, 2016) Poughkeepsie Journal [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 6/13/2016 - Nostalgia is the remembrance of what once could have been. But I don’t feel nostalgic about not addressing Climate Change earlier. I feel impatient. We have wasted valuable time prevaricating on Climate Change that has gotten much more worse and entrenched and near the end of our ability to avoid the worse consequences. We will be held in contempt by those who come after us. 30 years ago scientists warned Congress on global warming. What they said sounds eerily familiar It was such a different time — and yet, the message was so similar. Thirty years ago, on June 10 and 11 of 1986, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works commenced two days of hearings, convened by Sen. John H. Chafee (R-R.I.), on the subject of “Ozone Depletion, the Greenhouse Effect, and Climate Change.” “This is not a matter of Chicken Little telling us the sky is falling,” Chafee said at the hearing. “The scientific evidence … is telling us we have a problem, a serious problem.” The hearings garnered considerable media coverage, including on the front page of The Washington Post (see below). (June 11, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/13/2016 - Climate Change is still controversial. Not among scientists but in the public. It’s critical that the public also get engaged with Climate Change. Science stories – Controversy "Published on Mar 6, 2015 The challenge for the future is how we can keep science as a public enterprise. Professor Geoffrey Boulton FRS, University of Edinburgh, and Dr Paul Williams, University of Reading, look at why accurate data are critical for the scientific record. This film is part of a series of Science stories to celebrate 350 years of scientific publishing by the Royal Society. " The Royal Society

  • 6/11/2016 - One of the great unknown unknowns we are starting to grasp is that local Climate Change can effect world Climate Change. We are continually learning more about what Climate Change is and the process isn’t just gathering more facts. There are some fundamental indicators and drivers of Climate Change we hadn’t previous known and are now realizing we must be bake into the process of adapting to and mitigating Climate Change. One of these is how the local consequences Climate Change can radiate out into the rest of the world. Climate Change we have known for a long time is a world-wide phenomenon but we don’t know all the particulars or even if we have missed some vital information that might change what we know about Climate Change and how to address it.  We need to know what’s coming at us and how to prevent the worst of it. How the effects of climate change in one place can radiate all over the world It’s well known that climate change will probably affect some places more severely than others. In general, scientists think developing nations will be hit hardest by such effects as an increase in severe weather events, drought and famine, and a boost in the spread of infectious diseases. But a new study reminds us that the effect of climate change in one place is capable of radiating throughout the rest of the world. The research, which was published Friday in the journal Science Advances, suggests that globalization — and the increasing connectedness among countries — can cause climate-related problems in one place to reverberate all over the globe. (June 10, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/11/2016 - New York State definitely made the right decision to ban Fracking after a long thought-out process.  Others state should have done the same. Thursday I went to Buffalo to watch the film, ‘DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA - The Clean Energy Revolution is Now’ - narrated by Mark Ruffalo, after learning about it on Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo and sponsored by the Niagara Sierra Club writers group.  Here’s a description of the film: “The film takes a cross-country look at drilling, highlighting its variety of contaminations, the stories of its victims, the false promise of an economic boom, with a focus on clean energy solutions that would allow us to proceed towards a future that does not rely on yet another dirty fossil fuel extraction process.” Check out the film’s web site to find more screenings. Federal Report Appears to Undercut EPA Assurances on Water Safety In Pennsylvania Dimock, one of many places where gas drilling boomed in Pennsylvania, gets a sobering take on the quality of its drinking water. Since 2009 the people of Dimock, Pennsylvania, have insisted that, as natural gas companies drilled into their hillsides, shaking and fracturing their ground, their water had become undrinkable. It turned a milky brown, with percolating bubbles of explosive methane gas. People said it made them sick. Their stories — told first through an investigation into the safety of gas drilling by ProPublica — turned Dimock into an epicenter of what would evolve into a national debate about natural gas energy and the dangers of the process of “fracking,” or shattering layers of bedrock in order to release trapped natural gas. (June 9, 2016) ProPublica [more on Fracking and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/10/2016 - I don’t know, trying to turn an old landfill into a park without removing the buried ‘stuff’ sounds like putting just a bandage on a gunshot wound.  Much that has gone into a landfill will probably never breakdown and even if they do there probably lots of toxic soups leaching into the ground and waters nearby. I suspect at some point we are going to be unearthing our past waste for resources and because we’ll be trying to determine the source of environmental and public health harm we thought we could bury and turn into a park. Where Coyotes, Foxes and Bobolinks Find a New Home: Freshkills Park The world’s largest landfill is slowly becoming a park — very slowly. The conversion of Freshkills on the western shore of Staten Island into a verdant expanse of green is now in its second decade, with two more to go before it is finished. Yet largely out of the public eye, a site that once received 29,000 tons of trash a day is undergoing a more rapid and remarkable transformation. Fifteen years since the landfill closed, the regeneration of Freshkills, which at 2,200 acres encompasses a site two and a half times larger than Central Park, is altering New York City’s ecological landscape: Mountains of garbage have become a vast grassland, a habitat that has been in decline across eastern North America. (June 9, 2016) New York Times [more on Parks in our area]

  • 6/10/2016 - Perhaps carbon capture and storage (CCS) will work to some degree but we would still have to reverse the Pandora’s Box of greenhouse gas emissions unleashed upon our environment and our societies. There’s going to be no one fix to Climate Change. We’re still going to have to adapt to the warming we’ve already baked into our climate for a long, long time. CO2 turned into stone in Iceland in climate change breakthrough Radical new technique promises a cheaper and more secure method of burying CO2 emissions underground instead of storing it as a gas Carbon dioxide has been pumped underground and turned rapidly into stone, demonstrating a radical new way to tackle climate change. The unique project promises a cheaper and more secure way of burying CO2 from fossil fuel burning underground, where it cannot warm the planet. Such carbon capture and storage (CCS) is thought to be essential to halting global warming, but existing projects store the CO2 as a gas and concerns about costs and potential leakage have halted some plans. The new research pumped CO2 into the volcanic rock under Iceland and sped up a natural process where the basalts react with the gas to form carbonate minerals, which make up limestone. The researchers were amazed by how fast all the gas turned into a solid – just two years, compared to the hundreds or thousands of years that had been predicted. (June 9, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/09/2016 - Actually, you don’t need to be a freaking expert to be concerned about Asian Carp making its through the Great Lakes to St. Lawrence. Many in the public have been attuned to news accounts of this particularly threatening invasive species making their way to the Great Lakes via the Mississippi River. So to hear there are now Asian Carp in the St. Lawrence is very disturbing. For those people and ‘experts’ who think that these carps (there are a couple of species) will present no great threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem I’m hoping they’ll own up if proven wrong. Why the discovery of a grass carp in the St. Lawrence River concerns experts Invasive species that 'feeds voraciously on plants' prompts roll out of $1.7M government detection plan Biologists are concerned about the discovery of an invasive grass carp in the St. Lawrence River, and are now struggling to determine its origins. Last month, two fishermen in Quebec's Lanaudière region reeled in the 29-kilogram specimen. The fish is native to east Asia, but has been used in North America as a way to manage aquatic vegetation and is viewed by some as a culinary delicacy. If it manages to reproduce in the St. Lawrence River or the Great Lakes, it could be a major problem for local fish and vegetation. Is it possible to stop the migration of Asian carp? Asian carp threatens Lake Erie population, study warns That's why the Quebec government decided to fast track its plan to fight the invasive species in the wake of the fishermen's finding.  (June 8, 2016) CBCNews [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/09/2016 - Let me see if I understand this proposed bill: If Rochester decides to put a fee on plastic bags to protect our environment, we will be not be able to. I wonder if the NYS Senate is also considering a bill preventing any community in New York from passing laws to address Climate Change or laws trying to prevent pollution. Bill proposals like this to prevent communities from protecting their environment remind me of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, where the Northern states were forced to enforce Southern slavery in the north. There’s seriously something wrong with bill proposals that put profit and industry above protecting our life support system. This pushback against environmental regulations is a dangerous ideology that threaten our ability to live sustainably. A plastic-bag tax? NY lawmakers push back  A battle over a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper bags in New York City could end with all cities being blocked from imposing similar taxes. Angered by the New York City tax approved in May, the state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would prevent the 5-cent fee from taking effect. The bill, however, goes further than New York City: It would block any city — from Buffalo to Rochester to Binghamton to White Plains — from implementing a tax on grocery bags. (June 8, 2016) Ithaca Journal [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 6/09/2016 - While our local media goes on about its business of …, it’s getting warmer on planet Earth. Time passes. Alaska Continues to Bake, on Track For Hottest Year Alaska just can’t seem to shake the fever it has been running. This spring was easily the hottest the state has ever recorded and it contributed to a year-to-date temperature that is more than 10°F (5.5°C) above average, according todata released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Lower 48, meanwhile, had its warmest spring since the record-breaking scorcher of 2012. While May as a whole was only slightly above average — thanks in part to whiplashing weather from the beginning of the month to the end — every state in the contiguous U.S. had warmer-than-normal temperatures for the spring as a whole. (June 8, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/09/2016 -Like our neighbors to the north, Rochester is also working on its climate action plan http://www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589968428 Check our Rochester’s plan and provide valuable feedback by filling out the action survey Ontario will spend up to $8.3B to fight climate change, offer incentives Climate change plan, to be announced Wednesday, would add $5 a month to home heating bills Ontario's action plan on climate change will include financial incentives to get cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks on the roads and to convince homeowners and businesses to lower their carbon footprints, The Canadian Press has learned. The plan, scheduled to be released on Wednesday, calls for government spending of $5.9 billion to $8.3 billion on climate change initiatives over the next five years. (June 7, 2016) CBCNews [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/08/2016 - While many are still conveniently in Climate Change denial mode, many young folks are helping to plan for a warmer future. Be nice if we could all get on the same page and plan properly for the future we are all going to share. Design exhibit offers N.Y. town climate change defense To keep riverfront communities intact in the face of rising waters due to climate change, landscape architecture master’s students at Cornell’s Climate-Adaptive Design (CAD) studio are sketching sturdy, flexible concepts for a city along New York’s Hudson River while factoring in the tide’s swell. Concepts for the south bay riverfront in Hudson, New York, are collected in an exhibition, “Waterfront Futures: Designing Resilience for an Epoch of Rising Tides,” on display through July 4 at the Hudson Opera House. Hudson is about 38 miles south of Albany on the eastern side of the Hudson River. (June 7, 2016) Cornell Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/08/2016 - Rash of European floods remind us that US Northeast has seen a 71% increase in heavy precipitation from 1958 to 2012. Check out “Heavy Downpours Increasing -Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades, with the largest increases in the Midwest and Northeast. Increases in extreme precipitation are projected for all U.S. regions.” from recent  US government’s National Climate Assessment. Deadly European floods are in line with climate predictions As floodwaters recede across France, Germany and other European countries, research warns of need for resilient infrastructure Last March a study reported in the journal Nature said climate change was already driving an increase in extremes of rainfall and snowfall across most of the globe, even in arid regions. The study said the trend would continue as the world warmed. The role of global warming in unusually large rainfall events in countries from the United Kingdom to China has been hotly debated. But this latest study showed that climate change is driving an overall increase in rainfall extremes. (June 6, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/07/2016 - In the context of another dangerous crude oil train incident on our rails this week, it’s remarkable our local media only focuses on railroad crossing safety. Our local media chooses to report about drivers not paying attention at railroad crossings (which is a fact and disturbing) but it pales against the backdrop of a dramatic increase in the transport of dangerous crude oil being transported through our communities, with increasing incidences of derailments and explosions. This week it was the catastrophe in Oregon (“Days after oil train derailment, normal seems far away in scenic Mosier”) but to get the full picture you have to check out this: Explosive Crude Oil Train Derailments in North America: A Timeline. There will be a rally tonight in Rochester and ya ought to think about demonstrating your concern about this dangerous increase in volatile fossil fuels being transported through our communities, like Rochester.  Mothers and Others Protest to Ban Bomb Trains Rochester, NY June 6, 2015 —Tuesday 6/7, at 5 p.m. the sidewalks in front of the Federal Building at 100 State Street will be lined with protesters objecting to the continued presence of explosive Bakken crude oil trains in Rochester. And, by the way, let our local media they ought to get with the program.  CSX teams up with law enforcement to promote railroad safety CSX has teamed up with local law enforcement agencies to promote railroad safety. (June 6, 2016) WHAM [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 6/07/2016 - Here’s the thing about large scale wind power. If they don’t actually get going, we’re stuck with Bomb Trains, gas storage in the Finger Lakes, aged nuclear power plants and bleak prospects for our future. That Rochester is joining in the conversation about renewable energy and the need for the kind of renewable energy that wind power brings is vital because upstate New York has traditionally not been so keen on large scale wind power. But without these projects, we cannot reach our goals of renewable energy supplanting energy options that will put our future in jeopardy.  Addressing Climate Change is top priority. We have to see the big picture and our upstate role in making sure large scale wind power happens. Local Solidarity with NY City-Long Island Offshore Wind Project On May 31 2016 a group of about 25 activists met at Rochester's Liberty pole. The action was led by Mothers Out Front, an environmental group advocating renewable solutions to climate change. The timing of the event was in national solidarity for the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Project. The project would construct a large number of 300 foot diameter wind turbines 12-15 miles from the south shore of Long Island. The project is a joint effort between Consolidated Edison Co. which supplies electricity to New York City, the New York State Power Authority and the Long Island Power Authority. Hearings were being in conducted in New York City at the same time as the national rallies, and a large crowd was assembled outside of New York's City Hall. (June 3, 2016) indymedia, Rochester NY [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 6/07/2016 - Wouldn’t the fact that the Asian carp made it to the St. Lawrence River be like making a touchdown? If the goal is keeping the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes and they’d made it all the way to the St. Lawrence River doesn’t that mean they’ve won? OK, a grass carp is not a silver carp (the really scary ecologicidal carp) but they are related and probably use the same traveling routes. Quebec fishermen snag Asian carp in St. Lawrence River Two Canadian commercial fishermen hauled an Asian carp out of the St. Lawrence River in late May, causing concern that a long-feared invasive species has been introduced to the waterway. Jacques Nadeau, director of communications for Quebec’s Forests, Wildlife and Parks Ministry, Quebec City, said the two men from Lanoraie, Quebec, caught the more than 3-foot-long, 54-pound fish May 27, a first for that section of the river. “It’s the first time any Asian carp has been caught in this region,” Mr. Nadeau said Monday. “We’ve been monitoring their presence, but had not seen any carp of this size or of this family to this point.” (June 7, 2016) Watertown Daily Times [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 6/07/2016 - Be sure to read the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition newsletter. This is the third newsletter from a climate action group with over ninety organization members. Check it out: “This volume contains information on the City of Rochester's Climate Action Plan survey, NY Attorney General Schneiderman's work on holding the fossil fuel industry accountable, July 24th March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia and screenings of Josh Fox's latest film on climate change at the Little Theater.” 

  • 6/07/2016 - With Climate Change a positive feedback loop is not positive. Climate Change that begets wildfire that accelerate Climate Change is not good. Spike in Alaska wildfires is worsening global warming, US says Report from US Geological Survey says northern wildfires must now be seen as significant driver of climate change, not just a side-effect The devastating rise in Alaska’s wildfires is making global warming even worse than scientists expected, US government researchers said on Wednesday. The sharp spike in Alaska’s wildfires, where more than 5 million acres burned last year, are destroying a main buffer against climate change: the carbon-rich boreal forests, tundra and permafrost that have served as an enormous carbon sink. Northern wildfires must now be recognised as a significant driver of climate change – and not just a side-effect, according to the report from the US Geological Survey. (June 1, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/06/2016 - Bomb Train incidents, like that in Mosier, Oregon, are inevitable unless we stop transporting dangerous crude oil by rail altogether. How long will we try to keep fossil fuel infrastructures going when we know we have to shift to renewable energy options? Days after oil train derailment, normal seems far away in scenic Mosier Updated at 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. with further details from a community meeting.  On most June weekends, Mosier is filled with pleasure seekers -- drivers, cyclists and other outdoors enthusiasts who come to appreciate the majestic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge. But two days after a 96-car oil train partially derailed while passing through this city of 400, the traffic on Sunday was mostly industrial. Trucks hauled water, gravel and mobile toilets in big batches. A Portland Fire & Rescue engine circled near the police checkpoint in front of Mosier Fruit Growers, which is preparing for an early cherry harvest, brought on by the warm weather. (June 6, 2016) Oregon Live [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area] 

  • 6/06/2016 - Even if you like the idea of a tropical Arctic, we probably won’t survive the rapid changes that are causing this prospect. It is the speed at which we are warming the planet that is going to do us in. We should be voting for leaders who will make sure we are addressing Climate Change around the world. Crocodiles and Palm Trees in the Arctic? New Report Suggests Yes. If we keep burning fossil fuels, Earth will be 8 degrees warmer, returning to the climate of 52 million years ago, according to new research. It's the most dire prediction yet. In even the bleakest climate change scenarios for the end of this century, science has offered hope that global warming would eventually slow down. But a new study published Monday snuffs out such hope, projecting temperatures that rise lockstep with carbon emissions until the last drops of oil and lumps of coal are used up. Global temperatures will increase on average by 8 degrees Celsius (14.4 degrees F) over preindustrial levels by 2300 if all of Earth’s fossil fuel resources are burned, adding five trillion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere, according to the research by Canadian scientists published in Nature Climate Change. In the Arctic, average temperatures would rise by 17 degrees C (30.6 degrees F). (May 23, 2016) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/06/2016 - Don’t let this catastrophe happen in New York State as these Bomb Trains snake through many Rochester-area communities. Petition to Governor Cuomo: Protect the People. Cleanup underway after Oregon train carrying oil derailed Most of the cars from a Union Pacific train carrying crude oil that derailed and burst into flames in Oregon on Friday have been removed and the remaining oil will be hauled away on flatbed trucks, a spokesman for the company said on Sunday. A total of 16 cars of the 96-car train derailed, up from the company's previous report of 11 derailed cars, Union Pacific spokesman Justin Jacobs said. Thirteen train cars remained on site. Investigators were unsure how much oil spilled in the accident, the first major oil-by-rail incident in the United States in a year. Much of the oil was either contained or burned up, Jacobs said. (June 5, 2016) Reuters [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - This particular Bomb Train went off yesterday in Oregon yesterday but they are just as likely to explode in Rochester. The rise in trains built to transport corn oil that now carry very explosive crude oil is dramatic. The Rochester region should start focusing on the new kind of threat transporting this dangerous quantity of explosive fossil fuels across our state and through our communities, over our rickety bridges, and near our schools. Learn more about this issue and contact your political representatives: More on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area. Oil train derails near Mosier in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge An oil train derailment Friday in the Columbia River Gorge near Mosier sent up a massive plume of black smoke and stoked long-standing fears about the risks of hauling crude oil through one of the Pacific Northwest's most renowned landscapes. Eleven cars from a 96-car Union Pacific train jumped the tracks west of the small city about 12:20 p.m., next to Rock Creek that feeds the Columbia River. Several rail cars caught on fire and at least one released oil, but it's not known how much, railroad officials said. (June 3, 2016) Oregon Live [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - When you think about it, why do we need to pass bill to update our aging infrastructures? Infrastructure is such a dull word for the bloodline of our built environment. But we cannot live in the kind of communities we do without our infrastructures—water pipes, sewer lines, roads, etc.  They are getting old and they are going to be dramatically challenged by Climate Change. Why should we need to pass bill on maintaining these systems we have already put in place? Why don’t we just do the proper maintenance on these systems that we must, and make sure these systems always have the monies they need to keep them going? We don’t vote each month on whether we are going to pay our utility bills, or rents, or mortgages. When any community puts in their infrastructures they must be able to maintain these infrastructures no matter what the political climate, no matter what other issues the public may think is important at any one time. Ya gotta have water, roads, and sewage lines and to keep them updated and ready for Climate Change, you have to have them continually funded. When they fail because of neglect, everything else you wanted to do will stop immediately. Tonko's Bill to Address Nation's Aging Water Infrastructure Congresswoman Louise Slaughter is joining with fellow Representative Paul Tonko in calling for more resources to fight lead poisoning. Tonko has introduced the Assistance, Quality, Affordability Act, or AQUA Act. It would update the Safe Drinking Water Act and provide $500 million dollars toward repairing our national water infrastructure. (June 3, 2016) WXXI News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - I know, many bristle when they are compelled to change their behavior by more environmental regulations but our ecosystems must be protected. In many cases, long before environmental regulations were passed, like cleaning out your boat from invasive species as you transport from one body of water to another, these regulations were voluntary. As invasive species become more of a problem and more folks ignore the pleas by environmental officials to act to help protect our life support system, there comes a point when the preservation of our ecologies takes priority over the public’s power of choice. It’s anti-Libertarian but what are you going to do? The public must be engaged in stopping the transportation of invasive species. As Climate Change becomes more dire and the mother of all problems forces environmental regulators to ask more of the public to protect our environment, more compliance will avoid the need to make these requests enforceable by new laws. We must become stewards of our life support systems—one way or the other. New invasive species regulations put onus on boaters The coordinator of the invasive species- management program at the Finger Lakes Institute is applauding new state regulations designed to fight invasive species in New York’s waterways and natural habitats. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the adoption of new regulations that his administration said will help protect New York state’s waters from the spread of aquatic invasive species and preserve local ecosystems. Signed into law by Cuomo in September 2014, the regulations prohibit the launch of watercraft prior to taking “reasonable precautions,” including the removal of visible plant or animal matter, proper material disposal in a receptacle or upland location, and treatment by operators launching watercraft or floating docks into public waters. (June 2, 2016) Finger Lakes Times [more on Invasive Species and Finger Lakes in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - Our friends from the Buffalo area went to the #NYRENEWS event in Albany on Wednesday to encourage our NYS Assembly to pass the NYS Climate and Community Protection Act just as we in Rochester did. This is their experience that day. Important Climate Bill Passed by NY State Assembly - Fueled by People Power Hundreds of New Yorkers stood together at the State Capitol in Albany on June 1st, rallying to move the NYS Assembly to pass an important new bill, the Climate and Community Protection Act. If passed, the bill would require that New York move away from dirty fossil fuels, which cause pollution and global warming, and shift to clean, renewable energy that would lead to new jobs, healthy communities, and help stabilize the climate. People participating in the rally comprised a broad coalition of environmental justice, climate activist, conservation and labor groups. (June 2, 2016) Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - It could be a wonderful things to see the snows recede and land become green if it weren’t the Arctic thawing superfast just as we reach our carbon budget. Speed kills. Some major ecosystems are starting to change because of Climate Change and we must be ready for that change. Warming turns northern tundra green Rising temperatures are creating longer Arctic growing seasons and increasing the risk of carbon escaping into the atmosphere from the thawing permafrost. The northern edge of North America is getting steadily greener. In the most detailed study so far of plant growth across Alaska and Canada, scientists say that about a third of the land cover now looks less like tundra, and more like a warmer ecosystem. The researchers report in the Journal of Remote Sensing that examination of 87,000 images captured by the NASA Landsat satellite reveals that Alaska, Quebec and other regions became greener between 1984 and 2012. Landsat, a project also backed by the US Geological Survey (USGS), provides the longest space-based record of land vegetation in existence. (June 4, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2016 - Their newsletter from our friends over at Pachamama Rochester: "We are delighted to share another newsletter full of inspiration, information and action possibilities.  See attached and please share with others who might be interested.   The Rochester Pachamama Alliance team" June 2016 Newsletter

  • 6/03/2016 - As you’re formulating your ideas about our collective futures and Climate Change, remember things can get out of hand pretty quickly. Sending our planet’s climate through the roof in a relatively short period of time probably won’t conform to our predilections towards slow gradual change, towards keeping things in our comfort zone, or the common human hubris that we can take care of anything that comes along. The best approach to Climate Change is to begin planning decades ago for the worst and figure that as our temperatures rise there will be many unknowns we’ll have to address somehow. Waiting to know exactly what is going to happen in a warming world and trying to figure out how you will address it sometime in the future when all the facts come in is delusional. The time to kick into high gear and appreciate the urgency of Climate Change is now.  But in all probabilities that time was quite a while ago. The Temperature Spiral Has an Update. It’s Not Pretty. The temperature spiral that took the world by storm has an update. If you think the heat is on in our current climate, you ain’t seen nothing yet. To recap, University of Reading climate scientist Ed Hawkins wrecked the internet a few weeks ago with a revolutionary new way to look at global temperatures. Using a circular graph of every year’s monthly temperatures and animating it, Hawkins’ image showed planetary heat spiraling closer to the 2°C threshold in a way no bar or line graph could do. His tweet with the original graphic has been shared 15,000 times and it’s been dubbed the most compelling climate visualization ever made (sorry, landmarked Keeling Curve). The spiral’s popularity can be attributed in part to its hypnotic nature and the visceral way it shows the present predicament of climate change. Hawkins’ graphic hints at the temperature spiral to come, but now a new addition brings what the future holds into stark relief. (May 31, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2016 - Are the streams in the Northeast as contaminated by pharmaceuticals as the Southeast? I’m not a scientist but I’ll bet drugs aren’t good for Water Quality in any of our waters? We’re probably so used to the water quality in our small streams being compromised by some kind of pollution or another that pharmaceutical contamination doesn’t shock us. It seems normal. However, in the natural world, the world before humanity began using rivers and lakes and streams as their toilets, these kinds of contamination were not normal. This is to say our drugs like “common pain killers and antihistamines to medicines” in our waters, these critically important ecologies, suddenly change—but not in a good way.  A fish hasn’t a clue what to do with an antihistamine. Pharmaceutical Chemicals Found in Every Stream Sampled in USGS Study Our waterways are filled with traces of drugs, says a new study conducted by the USGS.  A team of researchers, led by hydrologist Paul Bradley, recently collected water samples from 59 small streams in the Southeast from Virginia to Georgia, which were analyzed for 108 pharmaceuticals and degradates. All 59 streams tested positive for at least one of compounds and the overall average was six different compounds per stream. “Pharmaceutical contaminants are growing aquatic-health concerns and largely attributed to wastewater treatment facility discharges,” the study says. But only 17 of the 59 streams have any reported wastewater discharges. (June 1, 2016) The Weather Channel [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/02/2016 - It looks like we freaking did it! #NYRENews “The New York State Assembly approved the nation's most ambitious climate change bill Wednesday.” New York Assembly Approves Climate Bill That Would Cut Emissions to Zero The bill, endorsed by a broad coalition, is also notable for its emphasis on environmental and economic justice, advocates say. This story was updated at 1:15 am ET on May 2, 2016, to reflect the state assembly's vote on the climate bill. The New York State Assembly approved the nation's most ambitious climate change bill Wednesday. The vote came hours after a broad coalition of environmental justice, climate activist, conservation and labor groups took to the State Capitol in Albany urging lawmakers to swiftly pass the bill before the legislative session ends on June 16. The legislation requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from major sources to zero by 2050. That would demand a near total decarbonization of its economy, and it would put New York among the world's leaders on forceful climate action. To achieve it, the bill gives the state until 2030 to get at least 50 percent of its electricity from clean energy. (June 1, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2016 - Scant coverage in Albany media of the #NYRENews Climate and Community Protection Act even though lots of folks attended. It is critical that we provide jobs and protection to New York as Climate Change gets worse. It would be nice if our media gave complete coverage when groups from around the state converge on the state capitol to explain to the public the immediacy of Climate Change, how it will affect the poor first and worst, how our legislators need to be informed on what New York can and is able to do about jobs and addressing Climate Change. Find out more about this bill and issue from the Sierra Club: From Environmental Advocates of New York: | Climate change rally held at State Capitol There was a rally at the State Capitol on Wednesday. Those who attended are calling on the legislature to pass the New York State Climate and Community Protection bill. (June 2, 2016) WNYT News Channel 13 Albany [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2016 - We brought our message to the NYS Capitol to Pass the NYS Climate and Community Protection Act #NYRENews Labor, green groups team up to push for clean energy in NY  Several labor unions and environmental groups teamed up Wednesday to urge New York lawmakers to do more to address climate change. The coalition, called NY Renews, rallied outside the state Capitol before the Assembly voted late Wednesday night to codify some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's clean energy goals. Environmental groups have long lobbied for more aggressive action on climate change, but the participation of the state's powerful organized labor movement could give the effort more muscle in Albany. Labor leaders said the unions see climate change as an issue of economic justice — and economic opportunity. (June 1, 2016) Stamford Advocate