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: Thursday, April 21, 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:

  • 4/21/2016 - Victorian scientists, artists, novelists, politicians (and monarchies), and the public missed early signs of Climate Change. But we have no excuse. #Sign4Climate #ParisAgreement Address #ClimateChange. Victorians experienced early climate change but missed the signs She would not have been amused. The omens were there that the world was starting to warm as early as Queen Victoria’s reign – but Victorian scientists seem to have missed them. Retreating glaciers and early melting of ice on lakes were all beginning to appear shortly after the industrial revolution. “The signs were there for this period, mainly in Europe and North America,” says Victor Venema of the University of Bonn, Germany. Venema re-examined temperature and meteorological data recorded between 1850 and 1920 in Europe’s industrialised heartland and North America. Previous estimates of the average global temperatures for that time period suggested there was no warming – or that if there was any it was negligible, Venema says. Indeed, the UK’s Met Office uses 1850-1900 as a baseline for pre-industrial temperatures when measuring global warming. (April 20, 2016) New Scientist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/20/2016 - #keepitintheground for #ClimateChange will also keep it out of our lungs. More than half US population lives amid dangerous air pollution, report warns American Lung Association’s ‘state of the air’ report finds 166 million Americans are living in unhealthy ozone or particle pollution with serious health risks More than half of the US population lives amid potentially dangerous air pollution, with national efforts to improve air quality at risk of being reversed, a new report has warned. A total of 166 million Americans live in areas that have unhealthy levels of of either ozone or particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association, raising their risk of lung cancer, asthma attacks, heart disease, reproductive problems and other ailments. The association’s 17th annual “state of the air” report found that there has been a gradual improvement in air quality in recent years but warned progress has been too slow and could even be reversed by efforts in Congress to water down the Clean Air Act. (April 20, 2016) The Guardian [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 4/20/2016 - ACTION: Act on giving bicyclists a 3-ft break from vehicles, making biking safer, and reducing greenhouse gases. 3 FT PASSING LAW Thanks to the strong leadership of Board President Jim Reed and Board Member Emeritus Ivan Vamos, who himself was hit by a car, and support from Transportation Alternatives, the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC) has launched an all-out campaign this legislative session in Albany to amend the vague and impossible to enforce 2010 Safe Passing law. At the very least, we think there should be a 3 feet passing standard, which is now the law in 26 other states across the country. Email your legislators now by sending an email through this very easy-to-use form. [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 4/20/2016 - If you know the cause of Climate Change, you can affect the effects. Climate denial is counterproductive. Study: humans have caused all the global warming since 1950 Global warming attribution studies consistently find humans are responsible for all global warming over the past six decades. A new study published in Climate Dynamics has found that humans are responsible for virtually all of the observed global warming since the mid-20thcentury. It’s not a novel result – in fact, most global warming attribution studies have arrived at the same general result – but this study uses a new approach. (April 19, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2016 - One of the gaping holes in the Paris Agreement is the effect and benefits of proper Agriculture on Climate Change. Rochester’s Earth Week attempts to fill that hole. Check out all the events Rochester’s Earth week here and for more complete coverage of this amazing press conference go here: City of Rochester kicks off 2016 Earth Week This year focuses on the relationship between food and climate change City kicks off 2016 Earth Week The City of Rochester kicked off "Earth Week" on Monday. This year's Earth Week focuses on the relationship between food and climate change. On Earth Day this Friday, April 22, over 100 countries will sign the global climate agreement negotiated in Paris at the end of last year. This year's Earth Week discussion topics include how agriculture affects healthy soil and greenhouse gas emissions, and alternative strategies for dealing with the climate crisis. (April 18, 2016) RochesterFirst.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2016 - Look, at the end of the day if we aren’t tracking emissions accurately our efforts to address Climate Change won’t mean shit to a tree. A major focus should be placed on accurate measurements of greenhouse gas emissions and where they are coming from so we can actually monitor and address them. Anything else is delusional. There should be objective worldwide ways to measure emissions and I would think that satellites measuring all the greenhouse gases around the world should be a worldwide joint project. Here’s What Happens When Companies Track Emissions Ten years ago, as part of a sustainability initiative, Walmart decided to take a look at its greenhouse gas emissions. The retail giant not only tallied up the carbon footprint of its trucking fleet and supersize stores, it also set out to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the countless products offered on its shelves. With the help of the Environmental Defense Fund, the company calculated that these goods accounted for the vast majority of its emissions — between 90 and 95 percent, says Jenny Ahlen, a supply chain expert at EDF who works with Walmart. (April 16, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2016 - An early start date on the Paris Agreement is still a treaty that should have been initiated decades ago. It’s important that Paris Agreement get signed and all of us get going ASAP but in no way are we jumping the gun by getting done now what should have been done a long time ago. US and China lead push to bring Paris climate deal into force early Early start date would add momentum for deeper emissions cuts and lock a future US president into the deal for four years The US and China are leading a push to bring the Paris climate accord into force much faster than even the most optimistic projections – aided by a typographical glitch in the text of the agreement. More than 150 governments, including 40 heads of state, are expected at a symbolic signing ceremony for the agreement at the United Nations on 22 April, which is Earth Day. It’s the largest one-day signing of any international agreement, according to the UN. (April 18, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2014 - Complete video of press conference in ‪#‎RochesterNY‬ includes City’s announcement of Climate Action Plan and ‪#‎EarthWeek‬ events. Watch this remarkable event where local groups join their city in a commitment to address Climate Change. The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC), comprised of over 70 groups—labor unions, environmental groups, faith groups, businesses, and many more--joined the City of Rochester to open Earth Week festivities. Earth Week highlights many events going on in Rochester, including the Earth Eve Climate March Forward on Thursday. Mentioned in the press conference is the City of Rochester’s Climate Action Plan, which will soon be presented to the public for their participation. (More coming on this at the Seneca Park Zoo Earth Day events on Saturday, April 23rd.) We hope all who see this video of this press conference will share it in all their social media contacts. We hope all in Monroe County will get engaged on addressing Climate Change and to do that we need you to Become The Media! Please "like" and share with all your social media so we can highlight all the events in Earth Week: Demonstrate your support for addressing Climate Change in the Rochester region by attending the Earth Eve Climate March Forward at Washington Square Park on Thursday, April 21st at 5PM 

  • 4/16/2016 - Will 2016 be even hotter than 2015? Only your grandchildren will know for sure. Endless rises in temperature are still avoidable but the window of opportunity is closing quickly. Don’t put a climate denier into high office, do shift to renewable energy, do press your press to properly inform the public of what is going on, and be engaged is this worldwide crisis. New Milestone: Earth Sees 11 Record Hot Months in a Row The past 11 months have been the hottest such months in 135 years of recordkeeping, a streak that has itself set a record and puts in clear terms just how much the planet has warmed due to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. New global temperature data released on Friday by NASA put March at 2.3°F (1.28°C) above the 1951-1980 average for the month, making it the warmest March on record. It beat out the previous warmest March, from 2010, by 0.65°F (0.36°C) — a handy margin. It also marked the 11th month in a row to set such a record, beating out the previous such streak of 10 months set back in 1944. March also marked six straight months with temperatures that were more than 1°C above average, a notable mark given the stated goal of international climate talks to keep warming in the 21st century below 2°C (with some talk of even aiming for 1.5°C). (April 15, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/16/2016 - Imagine that instead of today’s 403.19ppm of CO2 where our CO2 count would be if the fossil fuel industry had shifted to renewables back in the 1960’s. It literally takes one’s breathe away to think of how different our world would be if our fossil fuel energy corporations had acted responsibly and worked with the public and governments to shift to energy options that wouldn’t put us where we are today: more than halfway to hell, where we’ve passed 1C and are moving to the agreed limit of 1.5. CO2's Role in Global Warming Has Been on the Oil Industry's Radar Since the 1960s Historical records reveal early industry concern with air pollutants, including smog and CO2, and unwanted regulation. The oil industry's leading pollution-control consultants advised the American Petroleum Institute in 1968 that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels deserved as much concern as the smog and soot that had commanded attention for decades. Carbon dioxide was "the only air pollutant which has been proven to be of global importance to man's environment on the basis of a long period of scientific investigation," two scientists from the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) told the API. This paperalong with scores of other publications, shows that the risks of climate change were being discussed in the inner circles of the oil industry earlier than previously documented. The records, unearthed from archives by a Washington, D.C. environmental law organization, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), reveal that the carbon dioxide question—an obscure corner of research for much of the 20th century—had been closely studied since the 1950s by some oil company researchers (April 13, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/15/2016 - One of the unknown knowns of Climate Change is the amount of methane leaks from our existing natural gas infrastructures. I know, this is boring stuff. We still use natural gas to heat our home and light up most of our stoves. But we must remember that the pipelines bringing us this gas (which, we are trying to get off and move to a non-fossil fuel way of heating and cooking) are old and they are probably leaking. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. In order to actually bring down greenhouse gas emissions we actually have to bring all of them down. And to do this we need to make sure our natural gas pipe are not leaking and if they are to stop them leaking until we can get off this addiction. With New Tools, A Focus  On Urban Methane Leaks Until recently, little was known about the extent of methane leaking from urban gas distribution pipes and its impact on global warming. But recent advances in detecting this potent greenhouse gas are pushing U.S. states to begin addressing this long-neglected problem. Battered by storms and weakened with age, the natural gas distribution pipes of urban New Jersey have long been in need of repair. And for a long time, the state’s largest utility, Public Service and Enterprise Group (PSE&G), has wanted to replace them. The problem is that pipelines cost upwards of $1.3 million per mile, and the utility owns 4,330 miles of them. Replacing it all would cost at least $6 billion, not to mention decades of work. (April 4, 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/15/2016 - At first scientists thought their models were broke, but no Greenland’s ice is really melting that quickly. Greenland sees early ice sheet melt Ice-sheet melt is one of the more visible and key signs of man-made global warming from the burning of fossil fuels. Greenland's massive ice sheet has experienced such an early and extensive melt that scientists this week thought their models were broken when they saw the data. Summer-like warm temperatures and rain resulted in about 12 percent of the ice sheet surface area - 1.7 million square kilometres - showing signs of melting ice on Monday, scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) said. "We had to check that our models were still working properly," climate scientist Peter Langen told DMI's Polar Portal website. Such a melt is normal for late May, but not mid-April. (April 15, 2016) Al Jazeera [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/14/2016 - Yes, boys and girls, hauling oil can be fun and rewarding as long as you don’t die from exposure to deadly gases. Of course, like everything else, there are many trade-offs for continuing with a fossil-fuel infrastructure, like warming our planet, and threatening our future, and so forth and so on. I hope you have learned something day about this very important subject. Thank you. Goodbye. WATCH: Oil workers exposed to deadly gases Working in the oil patch can be dangerous. Some of those dangers aren't visible to the naked eye. When workers open oil tanks to gauge levels, they can be surrounded by deadly gases. At least nine people in Colorado, Texas and North Dakota have died from exposure to these gases. Inside Energy's Emily Guerin reports from North Dakota on how oil haulers have been dealing with this hazard. (April 13, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/14/2016 - Fast Forward Film Festival #FFFF short films by Rochesterians on our environment coming soon. Environmental perspectives at the Fast Forward Film Festival The Little Theatre and George Eastman House will host the second annual Fast Forward Film Festival on April 21 & 23. The festival showcases environmental perspectives with short films made by local filmmakers. Andy stern, executive director, Fast Forward Film Festival, and filmmakers Ben Doran and Jack Aman join us on Good Day Rochester. Film Screenings The Little Theatre April 21, 7:00 p.m. (April 13, 2016) FOX Rochester

  • 4/14/2016 - Climate Change is subtle only if you’re not paying attention. Birds are paying attention. So should we. Did you notice fewer birds flew south this winter? Study blames climate change Climate change is starting to change the behavior of birds around the world, including some species here in the United States, according to a study conducted by an international team of researchers. Warmer temperatures in some northern states are providing more ideal conditions for certain types of northern birds, so more of them seem to be staying up north instead of flying south for the winter, the researchers found.    Among their key findings, the researchers found the population of American robins has decreased in some southern states, like Louisiana and Mississippi, and has expanded in northern states, including North Dakota and South Dakota, where temperatures have been warming up during recent decades.  (April 13, 2016) NJ.com [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/14/2016 - "1.5 to stay alive." UN climate science body green-lights 1.5C report Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change accepts call for report on tough aspirational global warming threshold agreed in Paris The UN’s climate science body will produce a special report by 2018 on the impacts of 1.5C global warming and emissions cuts needed to stay within that threshold. That was agreed by government representatives at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Nairobi this week. They were responding to a call in the Paris Agreement for a review of evidence around the tough aspirational limit on temperature rise. “1.5 to stay alive” was a rallying cry for campaigners, warning that even low levels of warming could see small island states swallowed by rising seas. (April 14, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2016 - Great article in Rochester City News @roccitynews on the evolution of #EarthDay & how #RochesterNY fits in. ‪#‎EarthDayRocs Lots happening during Earth Week 2016 | The evolution of Earth Day  Climate change is a central theme of Earth Day 2016, which is on April 22. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to New York City for a public signing of the Paris climate agreement. And many Rochester-area Earth Week events are connected to climate change, including the Rochester Sierra Club chapter's forum on sustainable agriculture, Mothers Out Front's climate march, and the Rochester People's Climate Coalition's talk on connecting with conservatives on the issue. The first Earth Day took place in 1970 in a country facing serious air and water pollution. The event was so popular that it helped convince a previously reluctant Congress to pass new anti-pollution laws. Earth Day 1970 marked a tipping point, and over the next 46 years it helped bring environmental issues into the mainstream. Children now learn about recycling in school, and most adults know better than to dump household wastes and motor oil down storm drains. (April 13, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2015 - Of course, the whole point of President Obama’s quick action on Paris Agreement is to head off climate deniers at the pass. If the US is crazy enough to put a climate denier into the top political position, this would put not only the US but the world in jeopardy. It should be very hard indeed for a future climate denier president to pull out of the Paris Agreement. Climate Change is a real as gravity and we don’t want to be crushed by a leader with an insane ideology. Obama’s rapid move to join the Paris climate agreement could tie up the next president In late March, when the United States and China jointly declared that they’d be moving to immediately sign and then join the Paris climate agreement “as early as possible this year,” it was seen as the latest show of joint leadership by the two largest emitters. But there’s another possible implication that went largely unnoticed. If the nations of the world, led by its two biggest contributors to climate change, jump through all the hoops needed to bring this agreement into force before President Obama leaves office, the next U.S. president could have a difficult time — or at least, a long wait — if he or she wanted to get out of it. (April 11, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2016 - What could possibly go wrong piping millions of gallons of oil through the Great Lakes? Michigan lawmaker wants moratorium on Great Lakes pipelines An upcoming state senate bill would curb new oil pipelines in the Great Lakes. Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says he'll introduce legislation this week that would block new pipelines from running through Great Lakes waters. The bill would also require existing lines to undergo a third-party safety review – including Enbridge's Line 5 beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Jones says his bill would shut down the 63-year-old line, and others, if the safety review deemed it unsafe. (April 11, 2016) Michigan Radio [more on Great lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/13/2016 - Extreme weather due to Climate Change is getting closer to home. Check out Environment New York’s interactive map. Updated interactive map shows impact of extreme weather events on New York New York, NY–One hundred percent of New Yorkers live in counties affected recently by weather-related disasters according to an interactive, online map released today that crunches data from the federal government. Scientists say global warming is already exacerbating some extreme weather events and their impacts. “From massive floods to severe storms, like Hurricane Sandy, dangerous weather is already hitting close to home,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “And without action to stop climate change, scientists say these extremes—and their impact on New Yorkers—will only get worse.” Environment New York researchers, who created the online map, Hitting Close to Home, found that since September 2010, New York experienced 11 weather- disasters, including severe storms, tornadoes, floods, tropical storms, snow and ice storms, and droughts. (April 7, 2016) Environment New York [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2016 - Climate Change is causing heavier rainfalls which are overwhelming our combined sewer systems around Great Lakes. This little piece of information should be top priority to those communities the live in the Great Lakes basin. If our region is not planning to change this situation, we are going to be quickly overwhelmed by the consequences of Climate Change in our region. Our media and our governments, who run our waste water infrastructures around the Great Lakes should be readying the public for this crisis and preparing. Time passes. Rainfall fuels raw sewage dumpings into Thames April showers bring, well, you may not want to know. Heavy rainfall this spring is fuelling more human sewage pollution of the Thames River from London, a problem linked to the explosive growth in recent years of life-killing toxic algae in Lake Erie, into which the Thames ultimately flows. In the first three months of 2016, figures reported by the city on its website show London dumped 59,473 cubic metres of raw sewage into the river from its waste water treatment plants and 91,171 cubic metres of partially treated waste. That sewage — from so-called “bypasses,” when heavy rains overwhelm the system — was enough to fill about 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools. (April 10, 2016) IFPress [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area] 

  • 4/12/2016 - This is the part you have to get your head around: Considering the state of our transportation infrastructure, “Over the last six years the amount of crude oil being transported by rail has increased approximately 5,000 percent…” I’m thinking that the DOT is not doing all it can to prevent Bomb Trains and that an online safety manual just isn’t going to fix this problem.  The most important thing the DOT could do to prevent serious damage from a 5,000 % increase in dangerous crude is to stop it altogether and get the public to adopt renewable energy because there ain’t no way to make this kind of increase in the trafficking of fossil-fuels safe. PHMSA, FRA Lay Tracks for Proactive Rail Incident Preparedness Over the last six years the amount of crude oil being transported by rail has increased approximately 5,000 percent—more than ever before in our nation’s history. This significant increase has affected communities along rail lines in many ways: from increased traffic at grade crossings to concerns about leaks, spills, potential derailments or other incidents.  The Department is doing all we can to ensure that all involved – community members, included- are prepared in the event of an accident. We work especially closely with local law enforcement, emergency responders and hazardous materials professionals to share information and support their efforts to prepare for and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials.  Most recently, we released the Transportation Rail Incident Preparedness and Response (TRIPR) training resource. Developed in conjunction with other public safety agencies, TRIPR leverages the expertise of rail carriers and industry subject matter experts to better prepare first responders to safely manage large-scale incidents involving unit trains transporting flammable liquids. This off-the-shelf training is available online and can be used anywhere throughout the country. (April 4, 2016) Transportation.gov [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 4/12/2016 - Study: Even if we reduce our GHGs, over half of world’s population will experience very hot summers by the next 20 years.  This is why the adaptation component of Climate Change is so important: it’s going to get hot and inconvenient regardless of how much we do to mitigate Climate Change. At least for a while, because we’ve baked so much heat into our air and water.  If we plan to adapt properly and if we seriously bring down GHGs, then we might come out of it OK. If.  Historically hottest summers projected to be the norm for more than half of the world's population within 20 years We project that within the next two decades, half of the world's population will regularly (every second summer on average) experience regional summer mean temperatures that exceed those of the historically hottest summer, even under the moderate RCP4.5 emissions pathway. This frequency threshold for hot temperatures over land, which have adverse effects on human health, society and economy, might be broached in little more than a decade under the RCP8.5 emissions pathway. These hot summer frequency projections are based on adjusted RCP4.5 and 8.5 temperature projections, where the adjustments are performed with scaling factors determined by regularized optimal fingerprinting analyzes that compare historical model simulations with observations over the period 1950–2012. (April 7, 2016) IOPScience [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2016 - The Climate Change question for the day: Can we suck enough CO2 out of the air to matter and if so how? The time when we could save the plant by just doing little things here and there is over. Now we all gotta to pitch in and we have to develop technology to make up for what we didn’t do back in the day. Time passes. In-depth: Experts assess the feasibility of ‘negative emissions’ To limit climate change to “well below 2C”, as nations agreed to do in Paris last December, modelling shows it is likely that removing carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere later on this century will be necessary. Scientists have imagined a range of “negative emissions” technologies, or NETs, that could do just that, as explained by Carbon Brief yesterday. But are any of them realistic in practice? Carbon Brief reached out to a number of scientists, policy experts and campaigners who have studied both the necessity and feasibility of negative emissions. (April 12, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2016 - The public trust doctrine is valid. We must give children a future. (I thought that was baked into our genes.) I thought the whole point of producing children was to carry on our existence, human existence. What would be the point of going through the trouble of having kids and not giving them a future? If we are going to ignore the existential crisis of Climate Change, wouldn’t it make more sense to just ‘eat, drink, and be merry’? Federal Court Rules On Climate Change In Favor Of Today's Children In the first lawsuit to involve a planet, Judge Thomas Coffin of the United States Federal District Court in Eugene, Oregon, ruled on Friday in favor of twenty-one plaintiffs, ages 8 to 19, on behalf of future generations of Americans in a landmark constitutional climate change case brought against the Federal Government and the Fossil FOSL +0.68% Fuel Industry. The lawsuit alleges that the Federal Government is violating the Plaintiffs’ constitutional and public trust rights by promoting the use of fossil fuels. The Complaint explains that, for over fifty years, the United States Government and the Fossil Fuel Industry have known that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels causes global warming and dangerous climate change, and that continuing to burn fossil fuels destabilizes the climate system. (April 10, 2016) Forbes [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2016 - Great to be on George Payne’s Rochester Free Radio program “The Broken Spear Vision”. George and I had a chance to discuss some Rochester area environmental issues in relation to Climate Change, Earth Week, and Climate Change. Listen inThe Broken Spear Vision 33 by Rochester Free Radio Published April 2, 2016 Usage Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Topics climate changemainstream media Frank Regan, coordinator of RochesterEnvironment.com joins George to talk about climate change.  What is the mainstream media missing?  What's being done in Rochester?

  • 4/11/2016 - So, again, it’s not that climate change hasn’t occurred before, it’s that this Climate Change is occurring very fast and we are in it. On another subject, I’ve been reading a biography of William Lloyd Garrison, the “great prominent American abolitionist, journalist, suffragist, and social reformer”. What strikes me about Garrison is that Abolitionism, abolishing slavery, was around a long time before the 1830’s when Garrison’s work was flourishing. What made Garrison different is that he spoke about abolishing slavery NOW! Until Garrison, folks, even Southerners, were talking about the evils of slavery and something would be done about it eventually. But Garrison put this foot down and said NOW! At some point soon, I suspect, humanity is going to recognize that compelling reports as the one that follows demands that we stop Climate Change Now! Time passes. Mass extinctions and climate change: why the speed of rising greenhouse gases matters We now know that greenhouse gases are rising faster than at any time since the demise of dinosaurs, and possibly even earlier. According to research published in Nature Geoscience this week, carbon dioxide (CO₂) is being added to the atmosphere at least ten times faster than during a major warming event about 50 million years ago. We have emitted almost 600 billion tonnes of carbon since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and atmospheric CO₂ concentrations are now increasing at a rate of 3 parts per million (ppm) per year. With increasing CO₂ levels, temperatures and ocean acidification also rise, and it is an open question how ecosystems are going to cope under such rapid change. (March 23, 2016) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area)  

  • 4/11/2016 - Learn even more about the Climate Change soil mix at #RochesterNY #‎EarthWeek EarthWeek2016 | Treating Soil A Little Differently Could Help It Store A Huge Amount Of Carbon Climate change is a massive problem with the potential to completely reshape the world, both literally (with rising sea levels and melting glaciers) and figuratively (with the way we grow food, or the way that we handle allergies). And while the consequences caused by climate change could be huge, the solutions — transitioning to a completely fossil fuel-free economy, or geoengineering — can often seem equally daunting. But what if something as simple as the dirt under your feet could help mitigate some of the worst of climate change? The Earth’s soils contain a lot of carbon, and helping to manage and restore them could be a key way to help tackle climate change, according to a recent study in Nature. (April 7, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2016 - NYS DEC’s WAVE program for citizen scientists monitoring local water quality in our streams is great way to care for our environment. NYS Looking For Volunteers To Assess Stream And River Quality New York State is recruiting volunteers to help with stream and river evaluations this summer. The Department of Environmental Conservation samples streams and rivers across the state to create an inventory of stream water quality. The agency relies on volunteers to help flag sites that have potential water quality concerns. (April 11, 2016) WXXI News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/11/2016 - Ice is melting so quickly because of Climate Change that Earth is wobbling differently. Nothing to worry about. It’s just interesting. Sit back relax. It’s like riding down the highway and feeling a clunk in the back of the car and the car starts weaving just a tiny bit. Nothing to worry about. Tell the kids to turn their TV’s back on and watch the pretty towns go by. La-de-da…  NASA: Global warming now changing how Earth wobbles Scientists say massive melting of polar ice has affected the distribution of the planet's weight. Global warming is shifting the way the Earth wobbles on its polar axis, a new NASA study says, highlighting what one expert said is the "large" impact humans have on the planet. According to the study published on Friday in the journal Science Advances, melting ice sheets - especially in Greenland - are changing the distribution of weight on Earth. As a result, both the North Pole and the wobble, which is called polar motion, have changed course. "The recent shift from the 20th-century direction is very dramatic," said Surendra Adhikari, lead author at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. While scientists said the shift is harmless, it is meaningful (April 8, 2016) Aljazeera [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2016 - So pathetic that nations must race to lock in Paris Agreement before US elects a climate denier and puts humanity in jeopardy. What’s wrong with this picture? Nations seek rapid ratification of Paris climate deal, four-year lock Many nations are pushing for swift ratification of a Paris agreement to slow climate change and lock it in place for four years before a change in the White House next year that might bring a weakening of Washington's long-term commitment. More than 130 nations with 60 leaders including French President Francois Hollande are due to sign December's pact at a U.N. ceremony in New York on April 22, the most ever for a U.N. agreement on an opening day, the United Nations said. Both China and the United States, the world's top emitters accounting together for 38 percent of emissions, have promised to sign then. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to attend. (April 10, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/09/2014 - If a single Loon dies of a tropical disease because of Climate Change, can you feel it? Wildlife are an integral part (which is to say, they are one) of our environment, which is to say our life support system, so I suspect our wildlife dying from a tropical disease is an unknown unknown about the consequences of Climate Change in our Northeast region. We know that our public health is going to be dramatically affected by Climate Change via tropical diseases because our climate is warming, but how many knew our wildlife was going to be so threatened? What are we doing to do about this? Time passes. Why one loon’s death is stirring fears of tropical disease, climate change A New England loon has died from avian malaria, according to researchers who believe this to be the first known case of a loon dying of the tropical disease. The loon was found floating last summer on Lake Umbagog, a 7-mile-long lake straddling the New Hampshire and Maine border, and was quickly brought to scientists for examination. In less than a week, the avian malaria was detected, surprising wildlife biologists and stirring conversations about climate change and its future impact on wildlife. (April 8, 2016) Bangor Daily News [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]  

  • 4/09/2016 - From Dr. James Hansen, Good news: lawsuit to protect future generations from carbon pollution of our atmosphere cannot be stopped by fossil fuel industry. Bad news: there’s homework. Home work, more reading: UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON KELSEY CASCADE ROSE JULIANA; et al., Case 6:15-cv-01517-TC | Historic Victory in Court 8 April 2016 James Hansen The United States District Court in Oregon, in a ruling that may reverberate in history, denied the request of the United States and its co-defendant intervenors (American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Fuels and Petrochemical Association) to dismiss our case (see prior Communications of 9 March 2016and 12 August 2015). Your homework assignment for the weekend is to read Judge Coffin’s ruling, which includes the rationale for his decision. It will warm your heart and may restore some faith in our government.  Judge Coffin’s ruling is attached. (April 8, 2016) Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions | Earth Institute Columbia University [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/09/2016 - Major Rochester, NY press conference on April 18th at Rochester City Hall to kick off Earth Week 2016 to highlight the Paris Agreement signing, many local Earth Week events, and Earth Eve Climate March Forward | City of Rochester Joins Local Climate Coalition to Launch Earth Week 2016   Rochester’s ‘Earth Week 2016: A Menu of Climate Actions to Suit Every Taste’ focuses on the relationship between Food and Climate Change, an important ingredient left out of the Paris Agreement.     Monday, April 18, 2016, 10AM @ Rochester City Hall, 30 Church St, Rochester, NY 14614   The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) is excited to welcome its newest member, the City of Rochester’s Department of Environmental Services!  Together, representatives from the City and other RPCC member organizations will hold a press conference on Monday, April 18, to kick off RPCC’s celebration of Earth Week 2016. Speakers will include a City of Rochester official (yet to be determined) and RPCC spokesperson Linda Isaacson Fedele.     This year’s lineup of Earth Week events highlights the relationship between our food choices and climate change.  From April 16 to April 22, RPCC’s member organizations will offer “daily specials” to showcase a range of climate action opportunities-- something for every taste.  Some will focus directly on how agriculture affects healthy soil and greenhouse gas emissions, while others will address alternative strategies for dealing with the climate crisis.   Mindful of the important Paris Agreement that global officials will sign on Earth Day, April 22, 2016, Rochester seeks to draw attention to this special occasion and to the omission of any provision to reduce agriculture’s impact on climate change from the final agreement.  RPCC’s calendar of Earth Week events provides participants with a variety of opportunities to get involved in climate change solutions --- food-related, energy-related, and many more.   We invite you to join us in celebrating and protecting our planet during Earth Week 2016!  Visit Earth Week 2016 to see our complete calendar and event listings. April 8, 2016) Rochester People's Climate Coalition [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/09/2016 - A lot of Climate Change was caused by humanity’s ignorance about the GHGs and fossil fuels connection but not all of it. Some knew. Think Tank With Fossil-Fuel Ties Subpoenaed in AG's Climate Inquiry The subpoena of the Competitive Enterprise Institute by the Virgin Islands AG represents a widening of the investigations into Exxon and other companies. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank and one of the fossil fuel industry's most steadfast allies, disclosed on Thursday that the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands is demanding to see records of the group's donors and activities involving climate policy. The subpoena represents a broadening of a multifaceted legal inquiry into whether fossil fuel companies broke any laws as they sought for decades to undermine the scientific consensus and head off forceful action to address the climate crisis. (April 8, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - How concerned should folks in the Rochester, NY area be about urban gardening and Lead Poisoning? Important read. Kids face higher lead exposure playing in urban gardens Cornell and New York state scientists estimate that some gardeners who toil in urban gardens and children who play in them could be exposed to lead levels that exceed U.S Food and Drug Administration thresholds. Their new research, which also offers mitigation strategies, was published in the journal Environmental Geochemistry and Health. Researchers from the New York State Department of Health and Cornell University examined 564 soil samples and 159 vegetable specimens from approximately 60 community gardens in New York City to determine the probabilities of adults and children being exposed to lead. (April 7, 2016) Cornell Chronicle [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - Before you can deal with Invasive Species you have to know where they are. Check out iMapInvasives and the Mobile version. FL-PRISM Update: Using iMapInvasives As A Tool For Mapping Invasive Species Across The Landscape Invasive species have become a familiar, albeit complicated, challenge to managing our natural resources. We need to be strategic when deciding where to focus our efforts, whether for control projects or for finding new infestations early. These types of decisions necessitate good data and a way to quickly share new information. The New York Natural Heritage Program manages the state invasive species database, iMapInvasives, and provides a way for agencies, organizations, and concerned citizens to view known distributions of species and report new locations. (April 7, 2016) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - The power of clouds cooling Climate Change is proving ethereal. Quickly disrupting a complex system suggests no easy solutions. Rather than hope and pray various aspects of our environment will rise to safe us, we should be shifting dramatically in our behavior to make sure they do. Climate Models May Overstate Clouds’ Cooling Power, Research Says The computer models that predict climate change may be overestimating the cooling power of clouds, new research suggests. If the findings are borne out by further research, it suggests that making progress against global warming will be even harder. The new paper, in the journal Science, focuses on what are known as mixed-phase clouds, which are found around the world and contain both cooled water and ice crystals. The balance of water and ice in clouds affects the impact that carbon dioxide levels have on atmospheric temperatures, a factor known as equilibrium climate sensitivity. A higher sensitivity would mean that carbon dioxide levels would cause more warming than previously thought. (April 7, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - Uh–oh fossil fuel industry, it’s not nice to try and fool the laws of physics. It’s gonna be hard to address Climate Change when powerful bad actors are only really interested in their own self-interests. Weekly wrap: Oil majors accused of undermining climate laws Oil majors claim to be committed to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, but a study out this week says they spent $115 million trying to nix new climate laws. That’s the finding from London-based NGO Influence Map, which names Exxon-Mobil, Shell and the American Petroleum Institute lobby group as main offenders. The revelations come at a time when top fossil fuel companies are being pushed by shareholders and top regulators to disclose the risks climate change poses to their business plans. April 8, 2016) Climate Home [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - Remember when your mother said, “Finish everything on your plate”? It wasn’t just about you. #Climate Change and Food waste don’t mix. Reducing food waste would mitigate climate change, study shows Scientists estimate up to 14% of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better Reducing food waste around the world would help curb emissions of planet-warming gases, lessening some of the impacts of climate change such as more extreme weather and rising seas, scientists said on Thursday. Up to 14% of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better, according to a new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “Agriculture is a major driver of climate change, accounting for more than 20% of overall global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010,” said co-author Prajal Pradhan. (April 7, 2016) The Guardian [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/07/2016 - Brighton Town Supervisor, William Moehle, talks about advancing Solar Power in Brighton, NY ROCSPOT solar assemblies seek to increase Brighton solar energy use A few years ago, I had the pleasure of taking a Danube River cruise. As we sailed down the river through Germany, in the midst of the beautiful scenery, I couldn’t help but notice the ubiquitous solar panels on homes, businesses and even farm buildings. Germany leads the world in per capita solar photovoltaic energy production. Solar energy generates as much as 7 percent of electricity produced in Germany and over 30 percent of electricity in Germany is renewable, in each case far more than we produce here in the U.S. Even though much of Germany receives less sun than Rochester, governmental policies have greatly increased the use of solar energy in Germany. (April 7, 2016) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 4/07/2016 - Trying to figure this out… So, we are helping wildlife to adapt to Climate Change by killing (harvesting) them in larger numbers. Hmmm…. What role do bears play in our modern environment? How will bears adapt to a warmer New York State? What are we doing to educate the public on wildlife and Climate Change? How many bears did we kill this year? This we DO know: “New York bear hunters took 1,715 black bears during the 2015 hunting seasons…,” According to the agency in our state responsible for managing our Wildlife, which means I guess making sure there are enough of them to ‘take’ or ‘harvest,’ we know that we are killing bears in larger numbers, so the bear populations must be healthy. Is this the question we should be asking about Wildlife and Climate Change: How many bears will we be able to kill in 2050 or say 2100? If we are able to kill them in massive numbers as time goes on, we will have done our job, right? Still, that sounds like a very odd way to manage our wildlife as our environment changes rapidly from Climate Change. What’s wrong with this picture? DEC Announces 2015 Bear Harvest Results Second Largest Bear Harvest on Record for 2015 New York bear hunters took 1,715 black bears during the 2015 hunting seasons, the second largest bear harvest on record in New York, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Only the 2003 harvest (1,863) surpassed the 2015 year's take. "Our bear population is flourishing in New York State, providing increased opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers alike to enjoy these important species" DEC Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "DEC's science based management strategies are working to increase the bear population and allow for expanded hunting opportunities." (April 6, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation  (more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 4/07/2016 - It ain’t over until we keep it all in the ground. Because the world’s total GHG emissions are what matters, we have to stop it all. We have to do our part in our part of the world but the results still have to add up to a worldwide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Hundreds of coal plants are still being planned worldwide — enough to cook the planet I've written before about the global coal renaissance — the single biggest energy and climate story of the past 15 years. Since 2000, countries like China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam have been building coal-fired power plants at a torrid pace: The coal boom has had undeniable benefits, helping poor countries climb out of poverty. But it also has serious downsides: Carbon dioxide emissions accelerated in the 2000s, and if coal continues to be the world's leading source of electricity, we'll cook the planet. So the biggest, most important climate question for the next 15 years is: How long will this global coal boom last? Or, put another way, when will the rise of clean energy finally stop coal's growth for good? One invaluable data source here is an annual report from three environmental groups: CoalSwarm, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace. Each year, the authors document all the new coal plants that have been announced, permitted, or are currently being built around the world. (April 5, 2016) VOX [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/06/2016 - How can we shift focus from NIMBY and bird issues to Climate Change on placement of large scale wind farms? It’s not that local concerns and birds are not important but when large scale wind farms, which are a major component of our renewable energy goals, are thwarted where do we get that critical clean energy? I have suggested some guidelines on how to switch our traditional concerns about large scale wind farms in the context of a rapidly warming world.  “Ground rules for deciding on large-scale wind farm placement| Area wind farm listed as bad for birds The huge Lighthouse Wind project near the Lake Ontario shoreline in Orleans and Niagara counties has been named one of the nation's 10 worst wind farms for birds — and it doesn't even exist yet. The declaration comes from the American Bird Conservancy, which asserts that Lighthouse Wind's giant turbines would be smack in the middle of an important migratory pathway. "Vast numbers of songbirds and raptors concentrate within six miles of the shoreline during spring and fall of each year," the group said in a blog announcing its choices. The rest of the list includes five existing wind farms and four other proposed facilities, none of them in New York state. The conservancy is not a big fan of anything that can harm birds, including wind turbines, habitat loss, pesticides and, of course, house cats. The developer of the Lighthouse Wind project, Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy, said the 10-worst list was for the birds. (March 25, 2016) 520 An Environmental Blog

  • 4/06/2016 - Both shipping and airplane industries must pull their weight on Climate Change as they are a very heavy factor in warming. France, Morocco urge shipping to make ‘fair share’ of carbon cuts Six countries are calling on the International Maritime Organization to pull its weight in efforts to tackle climate change Pressure is mounting on the UN shipping body to develop a greenhouse gas emissions strategy for the sector. Six countries are urging the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to contribute its “fair share” to global efforts to tackle climate change. France, Germany and Morocco have lent their weight to a proposal to be considered at the London-based body’s environment committee meeting from 18-22 April. (May 5, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/06/2016 - This report on the impacts of Climate Change on human health in the US reveals a major threat that all communities must address. This report was produced by U.S. Global Change Research Program, which is to say your government whose job it is to preserve and protect the American people.  Consider at least skimming this report to get an idea of the threats we should be preparing for right now. Also, consider how insane it would be to put a climate denier into office who isn’t preparing our public health structure for this crisis. White House: Climate Change Poses Urgent Health Risk Climate change is a major threat to human health, with extreme heat likely to kill 27,000 Americans annually by 2100, according to a report released Monday by the White House. The report, by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, outlines numerous ways global warming could devastate public health in the U.S. this century. Global warming will lead to heat waves so extreme that in the hottest times of the year, it will be “physiologically impossible” for people who work outdoors to do their jobs, John Holdren, a science advisor to the Obama administration, said during a news conference about the report. (April 4, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change  and Environmental Health in our area] 

  • 4/05/2016 - Here’s the financial skinny on Climate Change: Taking action on Climate Change will be expensive but not doing so will be really, really expensive, perhaps overwhelmingly so. Even if you don’t care about our life support system, our kids having a future, or the moral depravity of climate denial, you probably do care about your financial assets. And if humanity doesn’t address Climate Change you can kiss those assets goodbye. Climate change will wipe $2.5tn off global financial assets: study Losses could soar to $24tn and wreck the global economy in worst case scenario, first economic modelling estimate suggests Climate change could cut the value of the world’s financial assets by $2.5tn (£1.7tn), according to the first estimate from economic modelling. In the worst case scenarios, often used by regulators to check the financial health of companies and economies, the losses could soar to $24tn, or 17% of the world’s assets, and wreck the global economy. The research also showed the financial sense in taking action to keep climate change under the 2C danger limit agreed by the world’s nations. In this scenario, the value of financial assets would fall by $315bn less, even when the costs of cutting emissions are included. (April 4, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/05/2016 - Transitioning to renewable energy won’t be easy for traditional energy employees but it can be made easier and less traumatic. Many groups who are trying to get New York State to transition from a fossil fuel energy source are baking re-educating, transitional funds, equal pay and many more positive features into the change. When you think of how creative destruction occurred in the past, when one kind of industry failed and move to another creating mass unemployment and misery, this new approach is a great leap forward in a humanitarian strategy for refitting ourselves to the future. Tonawanda sees some state tax help with closing of Huntley Many people agree that it is time to end coal-burning power plants in order to reduce pollution, but that also carries a stiff financial burden for some local taxpayers. Coal plants pay millions of dollars in taxes. So a $30 million fund included in the state budget to help communities hit hard by the closure of power plants is welcome news in the Town of Tonawanda, where the closing of the Huntley plant on River Road will mean the loss of $6 million in local tax revenues. The town and the Kenmore-Tonawanda school district along with citizen groups lobbied for a year for the fund. (April 1, 2016) The Buffalo News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/05/2016 - As a kid my favorite animal was the wolverine because they were incredible tough and persistent but they’re not tougher than Climate Change. We should not have to use the Endangered Species Act to save wildlife from Climate Change; we should address Climate Change under a comprehensive Climate Action Plan that keeps our ecosystems healthy, which would include saving creatures like the wolverine. Judge orders U.S. to address climate threat to wolverines A federal judge on Monday rejected a decision by U.S. wildlife managers to deny wolverines Endangered Species Act protection, ruling the government erred in discounting the threat posed by climate change to the weasel-like predator of the Northern Rockies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013 proposed an endangered species listing for the estimated 300 wolverines believed to still inhabit the Lower 48 states, most of them in the snowy peaks of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The Interior Department agency said then that human-caused global warming was lessening mountain snows needed by wolverines for building dens and storing food (April 4, 2016) Reuters [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/04/2016 - Potentially affecting soil microbes is one of those unknown unknowns of Climate Change we must know and prevent. If our soil is rendered null and void during Climate Change, we are history. For those dismissing or denying Climate Change they must ask themselves if they are in any way preventing humanity from discovering this potential threat from Climate Change. If so, all the king’s ideology and all the king’s political power will not prevent the collapse of a major planetary ecosystem. Time passes. Is Climate Change Putting  World's Microbiomes at Risk? Researchers are only beginning to understand the complexities of the microbes in the earth’s soil and the role they play in fostering healthy ecosystems. Now, climate change is threatening to disrupt these microbes and the key functions they provide. In 1994, scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory moved soil from moist, high-altitude sites to warmer and drier places lower in altitude, and vice versa. In 2011, they returned to the sites and looked again at the soil microbes and found that they had done little to adapt functionally to their new home. That's a bad sign, experts say, for a world convulsed by a changing climate. (March 28. 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Plants in our area]

  • 4/04/2016 - Some of the grave environmental threats on our life support system come from Climate Change in the form of the looming destruction of our major ecosystems.  Coral reefs are the Amazon forests of the oceans, where life accumulates in great abundance. This Is What Climate Change Has Done To The Great Barrier Reef Researchers say the widespread coral bleaching across the vast ecosystem is the worst on record. A new aerial survey of the Great Barrier Reef shows the vast extent of a “severe” bleaching event that’s caused widespread coral death over the past several weeks. The National Coral Bleaching Taskforce study found 95 percent of individual reefs in the most pristine section of the ecosystem showed severe bleaching. The research covered 520 reefs across more than 600 miles of coastline and found just four that didn’t show signs of damage. Coral becomes “bleached” when the usually kaleidoscopic reefs are harmed bywarmer oceans or other environmental factors. The colorful algae that feed coral polyps leave the structures during times of stress, leading to the ghostly white appearance. (March 29, 2016) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/02/2016 - Actually four words would better describe the high water for Lake Ontario: Moisture and warmth and Climate Change. Probably much of the moisture and warmth can be explained by the warming of the Arctic, which influences our lack of ice this year on the Great Lakes and we already know heavy rainfall is caused by Climate Change. Rather than focus on the effect of high water on shoreline properties our media would do well for all the public to focus on Climate Change as it relates to the Great Lakes so we can find a comprehensive solution—instead of ignoring the Climate Change ingredient altogether when the consequences of this crisis show up at our door. High lake level worries some Water watchers are casting a wary eye toward Lake Ontario, where the level is nearly a foot above normal and two feet higher than a year ago. "It's getting to be the spring period and that's when we get the storms out of the northeast that push the lake another foot higher," said Dan Barletta, a Greece dentist who lives along the shore on Edgemere Drive. "And then we get the storm surge and waves on top of it." Waves  like the 20-foot breakers a week or so ago that were crashing into the foundation of Cheryl and Bob Stevens' home on Shore Acres Drive in Parma, throwing sand and stones against their living room windows. "It was unbelievable," said Cheryl Stevens. "We haven't had waves breaking against the house since back in 2012." (April 1, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 4/02/2016 - Take Action on Clean Energy, from Mother's Out Front Sign the petition to move the Clean Power Plan forward! "You know that climate change is real, and we need to take action. According to the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the most recent decade was the Nation’s and the world’s hottest on record, and human activities – like burning fossil fuels – are the primary cause of these changes. As mothers, this kind of change is an immediate concern. Regardless of where you live, climate change is shifting weather patterns and increasing the frequency of extreme weather events. As mothers we’ll do anything to protect the health of our children. That’s why we need to be concerned about – and do something about -- climate change. Wildfires and burning fossil fuels threaten air quality, increasing pollution and rates of asthma, especially among children. Heavy rainfall and severe flooding threaten water quality as well. Fortunately, the National Climate Assessment is hopeful and so are we. We can avoid the worst consequences of a changing climate with immediate public policy that promotes energy production from clean and renewable sources. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency published a Clean Power Plan requiring states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. Yet it’s up to state officials to create policies to implement the plan. Those that promote clean energy the most will have the biggest benefit. Today, please sign our petition to let your state officials know that you support the fastest and most just transition to 100% clean energy. Together we can ensure a clean energy future and a livable climate for all children. Thanks for taking action,  Ellen van Bever Communications Team Lead Mothers Out Front Mothers Out Front "

  • 4/02/2016 - Like pointing to an awful accident, it’s hard not to sound alarmist about Arctic and Antarctica ice melt. One of the very strange aspects of Climate Change is that many have taken an attitude of dismissal or denial about this worldwide crisis even though the dramatic evidence is in their face day after day. Trying to get others to get engaged and deal with our generation’s epoch crisis is weird when you point to things like massive ice melt at our poles, scenes our species has never witnessed, and most just don’t even pay attention. It might be helpful if the general public were daily informed, like those paying attention, of the warming of our planet and its consequences but our major media, especially our local media, are very reluctant to do so. So what you get is a relatively small proportion of the public very alarmed and engage and most of the public indifferent. Which is quite odd because Climate Change is going to affect everyone—even climate deniers. But, at least in the near-term, the poor and those without adequate health plans, transportation, and adequate housing will suffer the most. Time passes. These Ice Cap Images Show the Arctic’s Rapid Change This has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for ice around the world. First came news that Arctic sea ice set a record low extent this winter (topping the old record set last year). Then came news that the West Antarctic ice sheet is facing the threat of runaway melt. Now, NASA Earth Observatory has decided to remind us that even small, less notable chunks of ice are under siege by rising temperatures, too. (March 31, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/02/2016 - Quick approval of the Paris Agreement is likely with China and the US on board. Quick actions after approval would be even better. US, China to approve Paris climate deal in 2016 Major economies represent two-fifths of global emissions edging climate treaty nearer to taking effect China and the United States, the world’s two leading carbon polluters, said on Thursday they planned to formally1 join the Paris climate agreement in 2016. In a joint statement, the major powers agreed to sign a historic carbon-cutting deal at a UN ceremony in April, and take “respective domestic steps” to approve it as “early as possible this year.” (March 31, 2016) Climate Home

  • 4/02/2016 - I suspect more than just our coastline cities being flooding by Climate Change has been underestimated. Many have underestimated the mother of all problems, so much so as to consider voting for a climate denier for public office—even high office. When our grandchildren ask why we didn’t respond to the calls to address Climate Change we can say we ‘underestimated’ the problem. US faces floods of climate refugees New research warns that more than 13 million American citizens could be at risk of being forced to move away from vulnerable coastal zones because of sea level rise. By the century’s end, millions of US citizens could become climate refugees. A study of US counties vulnerable to sea level risewarns that if the coasts are not protected, the movement of people could match the scale of the 20th-century “Great Migration” of African-Americans from the south to the northern states. Altogether, the new research concludes, more than 13 million people could be affected by a sea level rise of 1.8 metres. This is the high end of climate science projections for sea level rise, but even at the low end a rise of 0.9 metres will put more than 4 million people at risk. And another study of vulnerability worldwide suggests that, everywhere, the chance of being affected by sea level rise has been underestimated. What matters in such calculations are the concentrations of population in the coastal zones. (March 23, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/01/2016 - Fighting for smoker’s rights in our NYS Parks, Good Grief. Really, there’s groups for smokers' rights? Enough already.  Maybe we’d even consider smoking in our public parks if smokers picked up their butts, which are the major components of park trash. If you’ve been part of a park’s clean-up in your community, you know how many freaking cigarette butts there are in our parks. However libertarian you feel about our public parks, there are a lot of activities we don’t allow in our parks, like exploding bombs, and starting fires willy-nilly. Top Court Upholds Smoking Restrictions In NYS Parks ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  New York State's highest court has upheld smoking restrictions in state parks, including an outright ban at seven smaller parks in New York City.  The Court of Appeals unanimously rejected arguments from a smokers' rights group that parks officials exceeded their authority and smoking limits should be left to state lawmakers. (April 1, 2016) WXXI News [more on Parks in our area]

  • 4/01/2016 - From our friends over at Pachamama Rochester Community "April is a month full of opportunities in the Rochester area to become informed and engaged with others in action – celebrating Earth Day/Week/Month!" The Pachamama Alliance   April 2016 Newsletter

  • 4/01/2016 - Great Lakes diversion--drawing water out of the Great Lakes basin—should be on our radar. This case in Wisconsin is small but as Climate Change creates more droughts in the Southwest and West, it will loom large. Folks in need of fresh water will be looking to the largest fresh water system in the world and the Great Lakes basin is sensitive to water withdrawals, potentially changing levels and even our weather. Critique opposes U.S. community’s request to draw water from Great Lakes watershed Ontario says a precedent-setting plan that could see a small Wisconsin city draw water from Lake Michigan has some “key deficiencies” that should disqualify the proposal. The province has now weighed in with a nine-page critique of the proposed Waukesha diversion and has joined hundreds of other opponents saying the ban on drawing water out of the Great Lakes basin should stand. Waukesha, near Milwaukee, is asking permission from a bi-national group to draw as much as 38 million litres a day from Lake Michigan because its own aquifers are contaminated with radium. (March 30, 2016) LFPress.com [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/31/2016 - The placement of large-scale wind farms should be placed in the context of Climate Change, not just NIMBY and bird issues. Wind Power is a critical issue of our times and we have to understand it as our planet warms. Read more: “Ground rules for deciding on large-scale wind farm placement” | Migratory birds are latest issue in Somerset wind power controversy SOMERSET – The damage wind turbines might do to migratory birds is the latest area of controversy in the Somerset wind power debate, but the developer says the dispute is, well, for the birds. The American Bird Conservancy has listed Lighthouse Wind, the project proposed near the Lake Ontario shoreline by Apex Clean Energy, among the nation’s 10 worst-sited wind projects, either existing or proposed, in terms of its effect on birds. The group’s report claimed that the Somerset-Yates project would interfere with migratory songbirds and raptors, which “concentrate within six miles of the shoreline during spring and fall of each year.” Also, it would be built “close to breeding habitat for declining grassland birds,” which could be displaced, the conservation group claimed. (March 29, 2016) The Buffalo News

  • 3/31/2016 - NYS AG Schneiderman definitely rules on going after climate polluters. Congress should take some pointers from our AG A.G. Schneiderman, Former Vice President Al Gore And A Coalition Of Attorneys General From Across The Country Announce Historic State-Based Effort To Combat Climate Change Unprecedented Coalition Vows To Defend Climate Change Progress Made Under President Obama And To Push The Next President For Even More Aggressive Action Attorneys General From California, Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington State And The US Virgin Islands Agree To Coordinate Efforts Schneiderman: Climate Change Is The Most Consequential Issue Of Our Time. This Unprecedented State-To-State Coordination Will Use All The Tools At Our Disposal To Fight For Climate Progress NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined Attorneys General from across the nation to announce an unprecedented coalition of top law enforcement officials committed to aggressively protecting and building upon the recent progress the United States has made in combatting climate change. (March 29, 2016) NYS A.G. Schneiderman 

  • 3/31/2016 - I know, no one thought investigating major fossil fuel corporations for climate pollution would have any legs. Mon Dieux! Exxon Mobil Climate Change Inquiry in New York Gains Allies More government officials are asking what Exxon Mobil knew about climate change. Attorneys general from Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands announced Tuesday that they would join Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, in his investigation into whether Exxon Mobil lied in decades past to investors and the public about the threat of climate change. The additional participation was announced during a news conference at Mr. Schneiderman’s offices in Lower Manhattan announcing support from 15 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands for the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. (March 29, 2016) New York Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/31/2016 - Let’s face it most communities are 'unprepared for devastating effects of climate change'. Climate denial works until it doesn’t. For some reason our leaders and our health departments are very reluctant to match Climate Change predictions (and reality) with public health. This is unfortunate because heat waves, tropical diseases, and major upsets to our infrastructures—water, waste water, transportation, telecommunications, etc.—will mostly likely have an immediate and overwhelming effect on our health systems when they strike. If you aren’t planning for Climate Change, you’re in dangerous denial. British health systems 'unprepared for devastating effects of climate change' Leading health bodies urge ministers to be ‘properly prepared’ as extreme weather events such as flooding or heatwaves become more common British health systems are unprepared for the “devastating” effects of climate change, leading health bodies have warned. As extreme weather events such as flooding or heatwaves become more common, the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change urged ministers not to “wait for disaster” before acting. The new alliance, made up of leading health bodies including royal colleges, medical faculties, medical publications and doctors’ organisations, called on the government to be “properly prepared”. (March 30, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/31/2016 - There are very different scenarios between acting aggressively to stop climate pollution and milquetoast efforts. Under milquetoast you don’t do much then roast in hell. Check out some of the models in this article and see what happens to our shoreline cities when you act now and when you don’t.  Time passes. Antarctica at Risk of Runaway Melting, Scientists Discover The world’s greatest reservoir of ice is verging on a breakdown that could push seas to heights not experienced since prehistoric times, drowning dense coastal neighborhoods during the decades ahead, new computer models have shown. A pair of researchers developed the models to help them understand high sea levels during previous eras of warmer temperatures. Then they ran simulations using those models and found that rising levels of greenhouse gases could trigger runaway Antarctic melting that alone could push sea levels up by more than three feet by century’s end. The same models showed that Antarctica’s ice sheet would remain largely intact if the most ambitious goals of last year’s Paris agreement on climate change are achieved. (March 30, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/30/2016 - Remember Central New York State, Climate Change is here too, not just other places we don’t even visit.  This is to say, we should have begun planning for Climate Change quite a while ago to prevent serious damage to our public health and our infrastructures. By the time you start experiencing Climate Change, you realize a profound process of climate/heat adjustment is taking place and will continue to do so for a long time. We are now going to be scrambling to get public attention on Climate Change in our area to get public backing for plans to adapt. If you don’t feel a sense of urgency about Climate Change, you don’t understand Climate Change.  Time passes. Climate change bringing polar vortex, more rain to Upstate NY: ESF study Syracuse, N.Y. -- The bitter polar vortex that gripped Upstate New York two winters in a row and the recent increase in heavy rainfall Upstate are driven by climate change, says a new study by a SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry team. Warming in the Arctic and the north Atlantic Ocean has pushed both the vortex and evaporated ocean water to the south, said Myron Mitchell, the ESF professor who is co-author of the study. "As those northern areas are getting warmer, it's weakening the tightness of the polar vortex," Mitchell said. "It's beginning to slip down into eastern North America, and that causes a lot of changes, including some very cold temperatures and a higher proportion of water coming from those northern areas." (March 17, 2016) Syracuse.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/30/2016 - A couple of bolts mission on a solar panel or a wind turbine is not a big deal. On a nuclear power plant that’s another kettle of fish. As we consider clean energy options in a time of Climate Change we have to remember that with nuclear power there is no room for error. Do we really want a clean energy option like nuclear were we have keep ourselves and our environment at continual risk? There are other clean energy options that aren’t so risky. Repair Work Needed At Downstate Nuclear Plant A planned outage at the Indian Point nuclear power plant will be extended for several weeks after officials found missing bolts during an inspection.  Entergy Corp., which runs the facility north of New York City, said Tuesday that more than 2,000 bolts had been inspected when the Indian Point 2 reactor was shut down. Company officials said more than 200 of the bolts needed further analysis and that some of the bolts on the reactor's inner liner were missing. (March 30, 2016) WXXI News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/30/2016 - Our fossil-fuel, climate changing times are a’changing. But will the shift to clean energy happen quickly enough? With Climate Change, good is not good enough. Coal train delayed for 6 hours due to #leardblockade civil-disobedience The Leardblockade continues with more coal trains being stopped from transporting coal from Whitehaven and Idemitsu mines to Newcastle port for export in an act of peaceful civil disobedience.Original story published at nofibs.com.au Environment Officer Anisa Rogers (23), student Linah Winoto (20) and Horticulturalist Jim Kremar (33) occupied a coal train locomotive, stopping all coal trains from reaching the port of Newcastle, shutting down the coal transport line for 6 hours. Front Line Action on Coal spokesperson, Jason McLean, said of the action that “civil disobedience would not stop until the Government puts the well-­being of its citizens ahead of that of big business.”(March 30, 2016) Climate Citizen

  • 3/30/2016 - ACTION: Remember, the Paris Agreement ain’t an agreement if it ain’t signed. Remind our leaders that Earth Day is the day to sign. Add your name to urge President Obama, Secretary Kerry and other world leaders to sign the agreement on Earth Day, April 22! Tell President Obama, Secretary Kerry and other world leaders to sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day! Add your name The threat of climate change has never been more urgent.The threat of climate change has never been more urgent. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, and extreme weather events are becoming more and more common. We cannot allow this to become the new norm. That’s why we are urging President Obama, Secretary Kerry and other world leaders to officially sign the Paris Climate Agreement at the U.N. this Earth Day. We must continue the momentum of climate action set in motion in Paris. Under President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s leadership, we’re one step closer to seeing worldwide action on climate change. Let’s begin the global efforts against climate change and show the world we are committed to protecting our planet. Will you stand with us now? Add your name to urge President Obama, Secretary Kerry and other world leaders to sign the agreement on Earth Day, April 22! California League of Conservation Voters  Earth Day Network  League of Conservation Voters 

  • 3/30/2016 - We might have been dragging our feet on addressing Climate Change, but Mother Nature isn’t a slouch. Our life support system responds instantly to any changes within its wildly complex and remorseless rules. If we choose to ignore the warnings, even our own, and we’ve put our sustainability in jeopardy there’s no mercy. Time Magazine Got Global Warming Right In 2006: ‘Be Worried. Be Very Worried’ Ten years ago this week, Time magazine published a landmark cover on global warming with the headline, “Be Worried. Be Very Worried.” The main story was a very solid, even prescient, piece of reporting — warning about polar ice loss, sea level rise, severe drought, and other extreme weather: (March 29, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/29/2016 - Hummm…., let me see. Is emptying our toilets into the same water we drink out of a good idea? No, I don’t thinks so. EPA OK's ban on dumping boat sewage into St. Lawrence River Boats are allowed to dump their toilets into the waters of the St. Lawrence River, but that's about to change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that a "no discharge zone" can be established for the New York portion of the river. The state Department of Environmental Conservation petitioned the EPA to take that action to prohibit sewage-dumping from boats. (March 27, 2016) CNY Central.com [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/29/2016 - Boycotting Paris Agreement before it gets started would not benefit anyone, not even those who don’t like this agreement. The Paris Agreement is what we have, a mechanism to talk Climate Change around the world at a critical moment. The window of opportunity to address Climate Change is closing quickly and holding the Paris Agreement hostage before it even gets a chance would send everything back to the drawing table—precious time and opportunities lost. After the bottom-up, soft Paris Agreement is signed is the time to hammer out the imperfections and make it work—not before. Developing nations urged to boycott Paris Agreement signing Governments of poorer nations warned support for UN climate deal on 22 April could limit political leverage at negotiations later this year Developing countries should refuse to sign the Paris climate agreement until they receive stronger assurances on finance, technology and compensation for damage from extreme weather. That’s the key recommendation in a five-page briefing from an influential Malaysia-based think tank sent to members of the Arab Group of nations last week. “It will be more advantageous to developing countries to wait this year and not rush into signing of the PA [Paris Agreement],” says the note, written by Meena Raman from Third World Network. (March 29, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/29/2016 - US elections: reality vs. ideology. Climate Change is about planning but our ideology has our heads turned away. Our window of opportunity for addressing Climate Change is closing quickly and our media and our US politics seem hell bent on squandering our last moments. Climate change may be a burning issue – but election campaign tells another story As Alaskans choose their Democratic nominee after a winter wiped out by high temperatures, among Republicans the climate question has been near invisible As Alaskans go to the polls in the Democratic caucuses on Saturday, one of the most pressing issues should be what is staring them in the face – or, rather, what isn’t: snow and ice. “I’m looking out of the window here in Anchorage and I can just see grass instead of snow,” said Andy Moderow, state director of not-for-profit group Alaska Wilderness Action. Moderow grew up dog-sledding but said record temperatures have effectively wiped out Alaska’s winter, meaning a miserable time for those who enjoy snow sports. (March 26, 2016) Inside Climate News (more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/28/2016 - Tearing down Russell Station power plant in #RochesterNY shouldn’t be a sad event. Remember, it was a big polluter. “The Russell Station, built in 1948, is one of the State's oldest and dirtiest power plants. Last year, it emitted more than 1,800 tons of nitrogen oxides and 15,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, compounds linked to serious environmental damage and public health problems.” From “Air Pollution Suit Targets Upstate Power Plant” (October 11, 2006, NYS Attorney General) Crews tear down Russell Station power plant The Russell Station power generation plant, an iconic landmark near the Lake Ontario shoreline outside Rochester, is being torn down. Crews have begun demolishing the facility in Greece. The plant opened in the late 1940s and was shut down by Rochester Gas and Electric eight years ago because of costly environmental requirements. (March 28, 2016) (WHEC Rochester)

  • 3/28/2016 - Because if we don’t #KeepItInTheGround we won’t have a future.  Climate Activists Disrupt Gulf Oil and Gas Auction in New Orleans Protest of 300 people was the latest in a string of actions targeting federal onshore and offshore oil and gas leases. More than 300 climate activists swarmed the Louisiana Superdome Wednesday morning to protest a federal auction of oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The action was part of the larger "Keep It in the Ground" movement aimed at stopping new fossil fuel production on publicly owned lands and waterways. The protesters—environmental justice and climate leaders, college students, community organizers, tribal members and pastors—massed in the morning outside the Superdome in New Orleans, waving signs and banners and erecting climate-related art displays. About 100 demonstrators then marched in the stadium and into the auction room, chanting: "Don't auction our climate. The people won't be quiet!" (March 23, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/26/2016 - Interesting that Rochester, NY media is in a frenzy about lead in schools’ drinking water though experts say that’s not the problem. After the Flint, Michigan the lead poisoning problem is being heralded by local Rochester media by a search each day in another school and finding “elevated levels of lead in some water fixtures.” But recently The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning, said “The Coalition wants you to know that lead content found in water fountains does not pose a significant risk for children.” Read the letter “A Letter to Parents/Guardians of School Age Children Concerned About Lead in Drinking Water” So, who’s right? Are our local media going on a lead poisoning frenzy to make more money by needlessly scaring parents, not checking with the experts, or have the experts got it wrong? Be nice if our local media connected all the dots on lead poisoning. In retrospect, this article by the Democrat and Chronicle a while ago seems to be the most responsible coverage of this issue. “As schools scramble, lead's a hot issue” (March 19, 2016) Rochester school district to test water at schools for lead We've learned the Rochester City School District will begin testing for lead in its water. This comes after other local school districts -- Penfield and Brighton -- found elevated levels of lead in some water fixtures in their school buildings. (March 25, 2016) WHEC Rochester [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 3/26/2016 - One of the big holes in messaging Climate Change in our region is the warming consequences on the public health. You rarely hear about what public health issues come with Climate Change, but they are there, they are critical, and they will affect low income more quickly and more severely—unless we pay attention to this issue and get our leaders to act. This webinar demonstrates that our experts know about this issue and so should you. You can find out the relationship between Climate Change the public health at the NYS Department of Health, but you have to ‘search’ for it on their search engine to find it. That’s not really informing the public of this issue in a very robust way. So, check out this webinar: Webinar on the New York State Climate and Health Profile Wednesday, March 31, 2016 at 1:00 -1:30 PM Register A “Climate and Health Profile” is a critically important first step for states and cities in projecting their climate and health disease burden. This webinar will describe the process  undertaken by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to develop its initial Climate and Health Profile. (March 25, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [More on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/26/2016 - Now that the bottom-up strategy of the Paris Agreement to solve Climate Change is now in charge, those who fought against a top-down must realize that “unless the private sector gets involved in a substantive and meaningful manner” it will fail just as the window of opportunity is closing. We haven’t heard much about the ‘successful’ Paris Agreement lately in the media, which is odd considering the whole point of Paris was to get everyone galvanized and make Climate Change adaptation happen. If folks think that the Paris Agreement was a great treaty and now we can all go back and continue business as usual, they’re going to have a rude awakening when they find out this is the worst scenario of all—ignoring the issue completely. Physics doesn’t work that way. Time passes. We have an agreement in Paris: So, what’s next for the private sector? It's been two months now since the historic climate change conference, COP21, wrapped up in Paris, concluding with 195 countries pledging to take actions to keep global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius. This is an unprecedented achievement in the long history of international climate policy.   Compared to past negotiations, there was a different atmosphere in Paris. The negotiators were determined to find common ground rather than draw insurmountable lines in the sand. Investors lined up with billions of dollars in new financial commitments in addition to the suggested roadmap for developed nations to contribute to the needed $100 billion annually for mitigation and adaptation efforts. (February 9, 2016) The World Bank [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/26/2016 - So, Climate Change intensives El Niño and El Niño intensives Climate Change. Sounds like another positive feedback loop that isn’t so positive. I wonder how many more patterns in our environment since the Holocene will be dramatically altered because of positive feedback loops, like the melting Arctic occurring faster because ice melt (albedo effect) due to Climate Change. Might be best to find out everything we can about the consequences of Climate Change instead of burying our heads. Time passes. Understanding El Niño A recurrent weather phenomenon The El Niño weather phenomenon has been observed as becoming more intense over the past decades. Its impacts are even exacerbated by global warming. The 2015-2016 El Niño has substantially influenced weather patterns across the globe. Its impacts already include massive wildfires in Indonesia, droughts in many regions, and a record number of hurricanes in the Pacific. (March 25, 2016) Wall Street International [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/26/2016 - CO2 reductions brought on by renewable energy is vital but “solving this pesky climate change problem” will also take adaptation—and that’s a whole lot peskier than changing how we get and use energy. We will have to change dramatically to protect ourselves, our infrastructures, and others. “Pesky’ doesn’t begin to describe the ‘mother of all problems.’ Wind and solar are growing at a stunning pace (just not enough to stop climate change)There's good news and sour news on climate change in this hefty new report on renewable energy from the UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. First, the celebratory stuff. Renewable energy — mainly solar and wind, with a tiny bit of geothermal and biomass tossed in — is growing at a record pace. Last year, the world's nations plunked down $286 billion on renewable energy, twice what they spent on coal and gas. For the first time ever, renewables made up fully half of all new electric capacity installed worldwide, with 118 gigawatts coming online. Next time someone says renewables are a niche market, toss them this PDF. (March 24, 2016) VOX [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/25/2016 - Who in their right mind wouldn’t want their Food properly labeled? Look, if it’s in the Food and you know about it, label it. It’s not complicated; we have the right to know what we are eating. Is it time to label genetically modified foods? Gluten-free, organic, Fair Trade, you name it — there are all kinds of labels for shoppers to decipher on supermarket shelves these days. And advocates concerned about genetically modified (GMO) foods are making the argument that it’s now time to clearly label GMO products for consumers as well. Such labels might be pretty straightforward for products like corn and soy, which are often directly genetically modified. But meats and dairy present possible gray areas. For instance, what if your milk came from cows that have been fed genetically modified grain? Should that milk be allowed to carry a non-GMO label? (March 24, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Food in our area]

  • 3/25/2016 - Important notice about lead poisoning to parents of school age children from The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning: “Dear Parents/Guardians of School Age Children: Lead in drinking water has been in the news recently. Parents/guardians are right to be concerned about childhood lead exposure. However, the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning wants you to know that the main sources for childhood lead poisoning in New York State is paint in homes built before 1978, and renovation projects that do not follow lead safe work practices, not drinking water. The Coalition wants you to know that lead content found in water fountains does not pose a significant risk for children. It is NYS law that every child get tested for lead at age one and again at age two. And yet, only about 60% of the one year olds and about 25% of the two year olds get tested for exposure to lead in Monroe County. We can do better! It is vitally important to get that second test, as that is the time when babies begin exploring their world, spend a lot of time on the floor, and where the majority of lead dust can be found.” More…

  • 3/25/2016 - The Procrastination Fee for not addressing Climate Change sooner: Thanks to humanity’s reluctance to address Climate Change earlier and the specter of doubt about climate science sown by pro-fossil fuel climate deniers there will be a steep procrastination cost even if we act together now: Past emissions cause mounting climate havoc Despite signs that the world will cut its future fossil fuel use, greenhouse gases already emitted are still driving accelerating climate change. Climate change has reached the point where it may outstrip the quickening efforts to slow it by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, scientists say. They say humans are now releasing CO2 into the atmosphere 10 times faster than natural processes have ever done in the last 66 million years, before the extinction of the dinosaurs. The disclosure comes in the World Meteorological Organisation’s State of the Climate report, published in the journal Nature Geoscience. (March 25, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/24/2016 - Our leaders might have fooled themselves that Fracking would save our climate but not New York State, that’s why we banned it. Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry Our leaders thought fracking would save our climate. They were wrong. Very wrong. By Bill McKibben Global warming is, in the end, not about the noisy political battles here on the planet’s surface. It actually happens in constant, silent interactions in the atmosphere, where the molecular structure of certain gases traps heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space. If you get the chemistry wrong, it doesn’t matter how many landmark climate agreements you sign or how many speeches you give. And it appears the United States may have gotten the chemistry wrong. Really wrong. (March 24, 2016) The Nation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2016 - Check my ‘bold prediction’ for Rochester, NY’s environmental future by 2050, which bakes in Climate Change. “By 2050, the planet and our Rochester region …” Bold predictions  Rochesterians fire up their crystal balls, and in some cases, their imaginations, to share what they think the world, and Rochester, will be like in 2050. (March 23, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper

  • 3/23/2016 - We cannot adapt to Climate Change if our media and government don’t keep the public informed on the local consequences of warming. One of the local consequences of Climate Change in the New York State region is and will increasingly be combined sewer overflows, which is more raw sewage overflowing into our drinking water because of more flooding and outdated sewage systems that cannot handle the increase. Keeping the public informed of this situation is critical in order to get public support for the changes needed to update our waste water infrastructures. If not, we may find ourselves in a situation like Flint, Michigan where a sudden water quality crisis changes everything. That is, when we have frequent water contamination due to our waste water systems being continually overwhelmed, we’ll have to fix that crisis at whatever cost. Whereas, if we planned properly we wouldn’t be threatening our public health and the costs for updating wouldn’t be overburdening. NY Sewage Overflows Vastly Underreported Crumbling infrastructure and rampant underreporting of sewage overflows are endangering public health in New York, according to a new report. "Tapped Out," released by Environmental Advocates of New York, found huge discrepancies between estimated and reported volumes of raw sewage discharged into state waterways. In New York City alone, said report author Liz Moran, the group's water and natural resources associate, an estimated 28 billion gallons of raw sewage is discharged into New York Harbor every year. "However," she said, "on the database, New York City only reports a total volume discharge of just over half a million gallons over the course of two years." In 2012, the state passed the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, but the law has yet to be fully implemented and Moran said reporting remains largely voluntary. (March 15, 2016) Public News Service [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/23/2016 - Cryoconite phenomenon, one of those known unknowns about Climate Change, is apparently accelerating the melting of Greenland. It isn’t just that each day brings on the dreary litany that our climate is getting hotter, it’s that we are learning that when it warms it creates phenomenons that we barely knew about—but must learn about quickly.  Bacteria could be speeding up the darkening of Greenland's ice Greenland’s ice is melting, and scientists have discovered a photosynthesising microbe they believe to be responsible for accelerating the process A single species of bacteria could be about to accelerate the melting of Greenland. A photosynthesising microbe from a genus called Phormidesmis has been identified as the guilty party behind the darkening of Greenland. It glues soot and dust together to form a grainy substance known as cryoconite. As the surface darkens, the Greenland ice becomes less reflective, more likely to absorb summer sunlight and more likely to melt. And, Dr Arwyn Edwards, a biologist at Aberystwyth University tells theMicrobiology Society’s annual conference in Liverpool today, cryoconite holes now pockmark 200,000 square kilometres of the Greenland ice sheet. (March 23, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2016 - The trick for humanity will be to get more food out of less land while the planet warms and not destroy our life support system in the process. In the process we’ve got to stop wasting food, polluting our water with fertilizers, poisoning our soil with pesticides, and allowing much of our environment to thrive. We may be able to feed 9 billion people by 2050 but not at the cost we have paid to feed 7 billion thus far or we’re gonners. New Green Challenge: How to  Grow More Food on Less Land If the world is to have another Green Revolution to feed its soaring population, it must be far more sustainable than the first one. That means finding ways to boost yields with less fertilizer and rethinking the way food is distributed. For researchers trying to figure how to feed a world of 10 billion people later in this century, the great objective over the past decade has been to achieve what they call “sustainable intensification.” It’s an awkward term, not least because of conventional agricultural intensification’s notorious record of wasting water, overusing fertilizers and pesticides, and polluting habitats. But the ambition this time is different, proponents say: To figure out almost overnight how to grow the most food on the least land and with the minimal environmental impact. The alternative, they say, is to continue plowing under what’s left of the natural world. Or face food shortages and political unrest. (March 21, 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Food in our area]   

  • 3/22/2016 - What meteorology looks like on planet warming from Climate Change: UN weather agency pivots to developing countries in warmer era A radio tip-off of prolonged dryness can save a Malawi smallholder’s maize crop. Warnings of an incoming typhoon can evacuate Pacific islanders to higher land. Information saves lives and secures food supplies. Yet almost 100 countries lack robust early warning systems. That’s doubly serious in the face of a hotter, stormier planet, says Petteri Taalas, the new secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization. “We are seeing more weather-related disasters like heatwaves, drought and tropical storms,” he tells Climate Home by phone from Geneva. “We have to be better prepared.” (March 22, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/22/2016 - Hopefully, now Americans don’t think Climate Change a “hoax” invented by the Chinese” and will vote accordingly. Climate Change is a clear and present danger and requires leaders who are leading us to adapt to the consequences of a warming planet. Beyond politics is the reality of Climate Change and humanity must catch up to the facts. 'A tipping point': record number of Americans see global warming as threat New polling data shows that public concern about climate change is at a new high, as the US emerges from its warmest-ever winter A record number of Americans believe global warming will pose a threat to their way of life, new polling data shows, amid strengthening public acceptance that rising temperatures are being driven by human activity. “I think a shift in public opinion and consciousness has been underway for several years now,” Michael Mann, a prominent climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, told the Guardian. (March 18, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/21/2016 - Much still has to be done to bring the Paris Agreement to fruition but it marked the beginning of the end of the fossil-fuel era. Paris Agreement 100 days on: The dawn of a new era? The outlook for the global green economy has never looked better, argues James Murray, and the new normal created by the Paris Agreement deserves a lot of the credit 100 days on from the end of the Paris Summit and there are many memories from that dramatic, draining, and defining few days that remain vivid. I suspect some of them will stay with me my entire life.  I remember the way the time delay on the TV screens scattered through the cavernous halls meant that as the deal was done the applause and cheers rippled across the vast site like rolling thunder. I remember Francois Hollande's description of the Agreement as "the most beautiful and most peaceful revolution" and Barack Obama's characteristically eloquent assertion that "we may not live to see the full realization of our achievement - but that's okay". He's right, it is. (March 21, 2016) Business Green

  • 3/21/2016 - Few issues sound more boring than “increased support for upstate local roads, bridges and culverts” until these systems fail. Critical to adapting to Climate Change is maintaining and making our transportation system more robust and resilient for more flooding and more extreme weather that comes as a consequence of Climate Chang in our region. But we aren’t even properly maintaining this infrastructure, let alone preparing it for the future. Time passes. Upstate fights for fair share of infrastructure funding State Sen. Michael Nozzolio and state Assemblyman Bill Nojay agree to take the message of parity and safety to Albany. You get what you pay for — even with roads and highways — which is why a number of regional highway officials are pressing for more money from the state to improve area driving conditions. State Sen. Mike Nozzolio, R-Fayette, Seneca County, recently met with town and county highway superintendents from his Senate district, which includes parts of Ontario County — including Canandaigua — and Wayne, Monroe and Seneca counties. During their visit to Nozzolio’s Capitol office, the group discussed the need for additional funding for local roads and infrastructure in the 2016-17 state budget, as part of the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), according to Nozzolio’s office. “A well-funded, well-maintained transportation infrastructure is critical for the safety and well-being of our residents and helps to create economic growth and opportunity in New York State,” Nozzolio said in an emailed release. “As state senator, I will continue my aggressive efforts to support the funding needed to keep our local roads, bridges and highways safe.” (March 18, 2016) Victor Post

  • 3/19/2016 - NYS considers fines for idling your vehicle because of Climate Change—awesome take home-message.  Getting a fine for Idling your car because “Pollutants from gas-powered cars contribute to climate change” is the point when many will finally understand Climate Change. For those who whose job it is to protect us, they are starting to pay attention to the global threat of Climate Change and how they must address that locally. It will be an inconvenient wake-up to many who have been denying or ignoring Climate Change to find out that their public officials haven’t had the luxury to ignore the worldwide crisis of Climate Change. For a very long time many folks have not been voluntarily trying to mitigate Climate Change. Now we are at a point where we may be compelled to do so. Many won’t like that. But we are at a point, as we near the danger zone of warming, where all our actions, not just those trying to address Climate Change in their daily lives, will have to get onboard because changes need to be made at a level and speed that will bring down worldwide greenhouse gases. We have procrastinated a long time now and there will be a penalty for that. If this bill doesn’t make it, future ones will. The times are a-changing. Idling car would draw fine under NY bill Idling your car could draw a fine under a bill introduced in the state Legislature. The legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, D-Mt. Pleasant, Westchester County, would make it illegal to idle a passenger vehicle for more than three minutes at a time, with first-time violators hit with an official warning. After the warning, all future offenses would draw a $150 fine. The bill, which Abinanti has sponsored since 2012, picked up a boost Thursday when Sen. Tony Avella, D-Queens, introduced it in the Senate. It's the first time the bill has had a Senate sponsor. At least 22 local governments across New York have adopted anti-idling laws, according to a memo attached to the bill. The state legislation would apply a statewide standard. The bill memo lays out its rationale: Pollutants from gas-powered cars contribute to climate change. (March 18, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/19/2016 - How are we protecting our climate sensitive indigenous species during Climate Change? Or, are they going to be lost to us anyways? Just because many are still denying Climate Change or have put off thinking about how to adapt to Climate Change doesn’t mean Climate Change has slowed down a bit. One of the issues, the survival of our indigenous flora and fauna, should concern us right now because decision and action time are right now. In fact, our delay in addressing Climate Change may have already condemned some local species because our local species’ environment is already on track to change quicker than these species can adapt. At some point in the near future, I suspect we’ll stop worrying about the survival of our indigenous flora and fauna because we’ll finally realize that it’s our local ecosystems—wetlands, forests, lakes, etc.—that we’ll have to prioritize, cutting our losses on saving local species. With Climate Change there will be a procrastination price to be paid. Climate change threatens rare Minnesota orchid As climate change threatens wet landscapes with persistent and intense droughts, natural resource managers look for ways to preserve the remaining habitats of the rare species that dwell in them. It’s not easy. “There’s a big problem with managing climate sensitive species,” said Sue Galatowitsch, professor of fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology at the University of Minnesota. That problem – the uncertainty of the future climate – was the focus of a recent study of how best to protect a rare orchid in Minnesota called the small white lady’s slipper. (March 18, 2016) Great Lakes Echo [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/19/2016 - Environmental journalists are vital to keeping us informed about the health of our life support system. In a Climate Change world, where our past environmental abuses are coming together as our atmosphere warms, we need a new breed of environmental journalists to make us see clearly the state we are in. In Flint Crisis, A New Model  For Environmental Journalism Curt Guyette is an investigative reporter who dug deeper into the Flint water crisis. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he explains his work as a journalist employed by a Michigan nonprofit and how it could be a model for in-depth, local reporting on the environment. Last summer, investigative journalist Curt Guyette found himself knocking on doors of families in Flint, Michigan, carrying not only a pen and notebook, but water-testing kits. Residents realized there was something wrong with their drinking water after the city’s state-appointed emergency manager had switched its source to the Flint River in the spring of 2014 to save money. Michigan officials insisted the water was safe. Guyette, the first investigative reporter in the nation hired by an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) chapter, broke the story on possible widespread contamination in early July. He then helped organize door-to-door testing for lead and filed Freedom of Information Act requests in search of the truth. (March 10, 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Lead Poisoning and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 3/18/2016 - From our friends over at 350.org: Please share widely. "This week NASA announced that February 2016 was the most abnormally hot month in history -- by a heart-stopping margin. The fossil fuel industry is pushing our climate to the brink faster than anyone expected. That’s why people on every continent have been making plans for a wave of action from May 4 to 15. By the thousand, we will show the world that now is the time we need to Break Free from fossil fuels. We made this video about this moment, and we think you'll want to see it:" This May: Break Free From Fossil Fuels

  • 3/17/2016 - The threat of Climate Change and humanity’s dismal response. Humans, ya gotta laugh. Record global temperatures are shocking — and yet we don't respond seriously We treat climate change records as we treat new fashions, phones or films. But we seem unable to understand that we are driving such changes And another one bites the dust. The year 2014 was the warmest everrecorded by humans. Then 2015 was warmer still. January 2016 broke the record for the largest monthly temperature anomaly. Then came last month. February didn’t break climate change records – it obliterated them. Regions of the Arctic were were more than 16C warmer than normal – whatever constitutes normal now. But what is really making people stand up and notice is that the surface of the Earth north of the equator was 2C warmer than pre-industrial temperatures. This was meant to be a line that must not be crossed. (March 15, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/17/2016 - Since Flint lead poisoning is a hot issue but this has always been a problem and known for some time. It’s great that our media and our local officials are now scrambling to make sure our children and the public is not being contaminated by lead poisoning. But consider how many children would not have had lead poisoning if our media had focused on this issue a long time ago. This sudden revelation about lead poisoning makes me think of Climate Change and the media and how less devastating the consequences of Climate Change would be if our media had continually connected the dots on Climate Change so that the public would have been engaged much earlier and able to plan sooner.  Our media coverage of environmental issues is like those idiot lights on our old vehicles’ dashboards—where the lights flash when the problem is obvious and your car won’t start. Thanks a lot. As schools scramble, lead's a hot issue Local school districts are rushing to test drinking fountains and faucets for the presence of lead, testament to a nationwide surge in concern about the toxic metal. On Wednesday, Penfield Central School District announced it had shut off shut off several drinking fountains in Cobbles Elementary School after detecting lead in levels above the federal action level. Penfield joined Brighton, which said last week it had detected excessive lead in fountains or taps in four of its buildings. Numerous other local districts are now conducting their own voluntary searches for leading in school drinking water. (March 17, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 3/17/2016 - Whether or not Climate Change warnings on gasoline pumps would ‘work,’ it should be done. Who knows how some folks will react to this kind of negative reinforcement. There are warnings on cigarettes and folks till smoke like crazy.  But we should be moving towards a constant recognition that a major cause of Climate Change is gasoline instead of our present state where our local media obsesses on how high our gasoline prices are in relation to our neighbors. We should stop creating the delusion that Climate Change is not a problem everywhere and that our use of gasoline has nothing to do with it. So yeah, even though lots of folks still smoke despite the warning labels, no one thinks that smoking is healthy for them. Could climate-change warnings on gasoline pumps actually work? Later this year, someone stopping to fuel up in North Vancouver will be the first customer to see the controversial warning labels. They’ll be wrapped around the gas pump handles. The exact wording isn’t settled yet, but here’s the gist of it: Every time you pump gas, you’re contributing to air pollution and climate change. What will they look like? We don’t know that, either, but here’s one candidate considered by the city council that voted in the new warning-label law: (March 16, 2016) Grist [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/17/2016 - Carbon emissions flat for another year but temperatures are still rising dangerously. We need to shift into reverse, seriously. Climate hopes raised as global energy emissions stall for second year Early figures show emissions from energy sector stayed flat in 2015 on renewables surge, says influential forecaster Global greenhouse gas emissions resisted a rise for a second straight year in a sign climate policies are working, the leading energy forecaster projected on Wednesday. Renewable power played a “critical role” in holding CO2 emissions to around 32 billion tonnes, the International Energy Agency said in a statement. The Paris-based think tank also cited falling coal use in top carbon polluters China and the United States in its preliminary data. The figures mark the first period in 40 years that a halt or reduction was not tied to an economic downturn. The data does not account for pollution from transport or changes in land use. (March 16, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/16/2016 - Seeing more toxic algae but enjoying it less? Our local lakes are increasing in toxic algae each year and one of the things that has changed is warmer waters due to Climate Change, which increases the likelihood of toxic algae. Our local media, when reporting on toxic algae in our local lakes, should include this trend so the public will understand how Climate Change is affecting us locally. Toxic Algae Will Thrive As The Planet Warms | Last summer, one of the largest toxic algal blooms in recorded history hit the West Coast, shutting down fisheries from California to Washington. Scientists were seeing cells of the toxic bloom as far south as Mexico, and as far north as Homer, Alaska. At the time, Vera Trainer, manager of the Marine Biotoxin Program at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, told ThinkProgress that the bloom was uniquely widespread, “more so than we’ve seen in the past.” But scientists now are saying that, with climate change, toxic algal blooms like the one seen last summer might become more common along the Pacific coastline, impacting marine communities as far north as Alaska with much more consistency than in the past. (March 15, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/16/2016 - Of course, if the “bottom-up” strategy of the Paris Agreement doesn’t work, it’ll be back to “top-down” and praying. Previous climate talks tried the “top-down” strategy, where the UN tried to orchestrate counties’ effort to curb greenhouse gases. And each year we failed to adopt this strategy. Now, we are hopeful that the Paris Agreement will achieve through markets and promises what we could not achieve by binding agreements. With Paris we might have avoided being told what to do but if this kind of voluntary-kind of agreement of Paris doesn’t work, we’ll have to make “top-down” work because our survival will be at stake. Already the media and governments are ignoring the Paris Agreement, probably because there are no binding agreements and little inclination to be pressured into major changes. Time passes. The Paris climate agreement calls for big investments in renewable energy. Here’s why governments love it. This past December, governments of the world met in Paris to negotiate a global climate agreement. It’s considered a breakthrough. Here’s why. Until now, climate agreements were “top-down,” giving countries targets and timetables for reducing climate-warming carbon emissions. The Paris agreement, by contrast, allows governments to come up with their own emissions reduction plans. Every five years, governments meet to review how well each country has done in meeting its pledges. This “bottom-up” strategy is a remarkable departure from the conventional top-down approach. (March 14, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 3/15/2016 - Their recent newsletter “The Banner” from our friends over at We Are Seneca Lake "We Are Seneca Lake is an ongoing, citizen-based, grassroots campaign that seeks to protect Seneca Lake and the surrounding region from gas storage expansion by Texas-based energy company, Crestwood Midstream. Crestwood’s intention is to repurpose the crumbling salt mines underneath Seneca Lake’s hillside into massive, unlined gas tanks for three highly pressurized products of fracking: methane (natural gas), and propane and butane (LPG, or Liquefied Petroleum Gases) and to turn the Finger Lakes into a fracked gas transportation and storage hub for the entire Northeast. Our intention is to direct the future of our community down sustainable, renewable pathways. "

  • 3/15/2016 - President Obama’s move to shut down Arctic oil drilling is the only sane choice available for a sustainable world. Drilling for more fossil fuels in the Arctic that is quickly melting by human-caused Climate Change would be in such flagrant disregard for what we now know about the health of major ecologies, climate justice, and our continued existence as to be barking mad. Obama to kill off Arctic oil drilling President also expected to protect large areas of Atlantic coast after backlash from communities that fear Gulf of Mexico rig disaster could happen again The Obama administration is expected to put virtually all of the Arctic and much of the Atlantic off limits for oil and gas drilling until 2022 in a decision that could be announced as early as Tuesday. The decision reverses Barack Obama’s move just last year to open up a vast swathe of the Atlantic coast to drilling – and consolidates the president’s efforts to protect the Arctic and fight climate change during his final months in the White House. (March 15, 2016) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/15/2016 - To make it work on level and speed that’s necessary every country should bake the Paris Agreement into their laws. Mere good intentions won’t bring down our planet’s level of greenhouse gasses, which is causing Climate Change. Climate change deal: 'Zero carbon' laws promised by government Climate laws will be tightened to cut carbon emissions effectively to zero, the government has said. Under current law, emissions must be cut by 80% by 2050 - but ministers have said this does not go far enough. Following the climate deal in Paris, it is clear the UK must not increase CO2 at all because the warming threat is so severe, they added. No details of the law change have been given - and critics said the UK was failing to meet even current targets. The global climate agreement, which was finalised at a summit in Paris in December, commits to keeping global temperatures "well below" 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity. (March 15, 2016) BBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/15/2016 - Considering how potent methane is as a GHG and how prevalent natural gas leaks are fixing this problem is crucial. The Obama-Trudeau Climate Pledge Contains Overdue Steps to Fix Natural Gas Leaks Today’s “Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership” by President Obama and Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, contained lots of welcome environmental commitments, particularly on curbing emissions of methane leaking from existing oil and gas infrastructure. They pledged to cut such emissions 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025 from the oil and gas sector. Methane is the main constituent in natural gas and a valuable fuel if kept in pipelines and burned efficiently. But it’s a potent greenhouse gas if it leaks into the air, which happens far too routinely at tens of thousands of wells, compressors, pipelines and other pieces of North America’s vast energy infrastructure. (March 10, 2016) NYT: Dot Earth [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/14/2016 - Fracking as a ‘clean bridge’ to renewable energy to address Climate Change is more like a ‘dirty downward spiral’. Fracking to prompt sharp rise in greenhouse gas emissions, study says Authoritative research undermines industry and government claims that shale gas is a relatively clean fuel Fracking is set to lead to a sharp rise in emissions of climate changing greenhouse gases, newly undermining industry and government claims that shale gas is a relatively clean fuel that can help combat global warming, an authoritative new study reveals. On Thursday, the United States and Canada agreed to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by almost half. The new study strikes another blow at the strategy of both the US and British governments to rely on shale gas as a relatively clean “bridge” from dirty fossil fuels to non-polluting renewable sources such as the sun, winds, waves and tides. (March 12, 2016) Independent [more on Fracking in our area] 

  • 3/14/2016 - Earth Week 2016 is building in Rochester, NY. Check out all of the events from April 16th through April 22nd Keep coming back to this webpage on Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) for more details as they come in.

  • 3/14/2016 - If it was just “the stink” landfills would be bad enough but a great big hole in the ground to dump all our waste is unsustainable—which is to say suicidal. Read “Stop Trashing the Climate” The study dispels myths about the climate benefits of landfill gas recovery and waste incineration, outlines policies needed to effect change, and offers a roadmap to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions within a short period. Seneca landfill neighbors: 'No trash train' SENECA FALLS — Stop the stink — that was the message of more than 300 protesters who marched down Seneca Falls streets Saturday, saying they feel betrayed by actions at Seneca Meadows Landfill, where tons of trash may begin to pour in from New York City by rail. Canadian-owned Seneca Meadows is, by some accounts, the largest landfill in the Northeast. While trash is already trucked there from various areas of the state, such as New York City, a multibillion-dollar contract is in the works to transport that city trash by train, which landfill officials say will keep truck emissions and road damage to a minimum. (March 12, 2016) Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 3/12/2016 - If the Buffalo, NY region thinks a plastic bag ban is a good idea, then why not the Rochester, NY region too? Our environment is suffocating in plastic bags and we need to fix and voluntary efforts have not worked. Environmentalist praises proposed plastic bag ban Your trips to the supermarket could be impacting the water you drink. That’s one reason why Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is proposing a ban on plastic bags at all stores in the county. Poloncarz’s plastic bag ban is one of ten initiatives he’s presenting at his State of the County address Thursday afternoon. The bags don’t biodegrade and are made out of natural gas that’s 80 times more potent than other forms of carbon. Former Sierra Club Chair Lynda Schneekloth said she appreciates Poloncarz bringing up the issue. (March 10, 2016) WBFO Buffalo's News Station [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 3/12/2016 - In theory we might discover/create bacteria that will eat their way through our plastic pollution problem but don’t plan on it. We have a lot of plastic pollution, so much so that millions of years from now our epoch may defined by a layer of plastic around the world and in oceans sediment. This penchant of our media to make big news out of fantastic technical solutions to massive environmental problems caused by humans may be what’s driving so many folks to do nothing about Climate Change. They’re just waiting for a group of researchers to discover the right bug to make it right. Hmmm….. I wish our mass media would spend more time educating and connecting the dots to our pollution and our sustainability instead of fantastic stories that do nothing but make the public more complacent. Our media should be conveying a sense of urgency as our pollution and warming problems pile up. Researchers find plastic-eating bacteria in recycling plant Scientists discovered a bacterium that will consume one of the most common forms of plastic. Is it the first step toward a solution for plastic pollution? Plastic is everywhere around us. We drink out of plastic cups, buy disposable water bottles, unwrap new electronics from plastic packaging, take home plastic shopping bags, and even wear plastic in polyester fabrics.  Some 311 million tons of plastic is produced across the globe annually, and just 10 percent makes it back to a recycling plant. The rest ends up in landfills, or as litter on land or in the ocean, where it remains for decades and longer. As for the plastic that has been recycled, it has given rise to an unintended side effect: A team of scientists searching through sediments at a plastic bottle recycling plant in Osaka, Japan have found a strain of bacteria that has evolved to consume the most common type of plastic. (March 10, 2016) Christian Science Monitor [more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 3/12/2016 - Too bad some states some states were in too much of a great big hurry to Frack before they looked. Stopping Fracking in New York State was a really, really good idea. But we wasted six long years here in New York considering that bad fossil fuel option, and now we have to make up for time with massive renewable energy projects as our climate warms and warms. Federal jury awards $4.24 million to Dimock families in fracking case An eight-member federal jury found Cabot Oil and Gas negligent and ordered the driller to pay a total of $4.24 million to two Dimock families for polluting their well water starting back in 2008. The company says it will appeal the decision. Only two families out of the original 44 plaintiffs in the case against Cabot Oil and Gas went to trial after years of delays, lack of representation, and legal setbacks. Lead plaintiff Scott Ely worked for the driller before becoming a whistleblower (March 10, 2016) StateImpact: Pennsylvania [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 3/11/2016 - On Earth Day 2016 the Paris Agreement on Climate Change needs to become operational. It’s getting very hot. CO2 data is 'wake-up call' for Paris climate deal Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere grew more in past 12 months than at any time in the past 56 years. Measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii went up by more than three parts per million(ppm) in 2015. Scientists say the spike is due to a combination of human activities and the El Niño weather pattern. They argue that the data increases the pressure on global leaders to sign and ratify the Paris Climate Agreement. (March 10, 2016) BBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/10/2016 - At this time it looks like “The job of assessing a country’s emissions is heinously complicated.” But couldn’t satellites do the job? Because it is absolutely necessary now to monitor our GHG emissions, wouldn’t it be easier and more comprehensive if we had a satellite system measuring all GHG emission from above? Wouldn’t it be less likely for various industries to fudge their figures so we’d get an accurate accounting? In order to bring down our GHG we have to be sure we are getting all the sources, or we are just fooling ourselves. The carbon counters: tracking emissions in a post-Paris world As the Paris climate deal requires developing countries to monitor their emissions, organisations are using online courses to train a new breed of green accountants capable of the complex task, reports Environment 360 Michael Gillenwater is so tired he is mixing up his words, worn out from weeks of conference calls with the United Nations, the German government, and more. “I’m exhausted,” he says. In the wake of the Paris climate agreement last December, everyone wants advice from the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (GHGMI) – Gillenwater’s non-profit organization based in Washington, DC – on how to step up the developing world’s capacity for counting carbon. The institute offers online courses in greenhouse gas monitoring to practitioners around the globe, and since the Paris agreement was reached, business has been brisk. “We’re excited,” he says. “There’s a window here to make something permanent happen.” The work of these new, green accountants may not sound very sexy – calling them “accountants” conjures up the old image of bespectacled bean counters pushing oversized calculator buttons with the back of a pencil. But this new breed of accountant is, in essence, the overseer of the planet’s new rescue mission. (March 9, 2016) The Guardian

  • 3/10/2016 - Every community needs a “plan to deal with the potentially extreme effects of climate change”.  Even if we stop manmade greenhouse gas (GHS) emissions right now we still have to deal with the consequences of the long-lasting GHGs we’ve already put up into our atmosphere and into our oceans. California’s “Safeguarding California” is the kind of plan every state and community should have to adapt to what is coming in their neck of the woods. In fact, it is the responsibility of our local governments to do so—a far more important responsibility than providing jobs. California Government Prepares For Extreme Effects Of Climate Change California has released its plan to deal with the potentially extreme effects of climate change. California’s Natural Resources Agency released a final plan Tuesday that spells out how California will prepare for the extreme weather and sea level rise expected to accompany Earth’s changing climate. The plan aims to enhance the state’s readiness for future droughts and wildfires as well. (March 8, 2016) CBS SF Bay Area [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/09/2016 - Natural gas is not a fossil fuel substitute because natural gas is a fossil fuel. Duh. Is natural gas a fossil fuel substitute, or does it just crowd out renewables? Natural gas is consumed more flexibly than any other fossil fuel. Whereas coal is deployed primarily for electricity generation and oil for transportation, natural gas straddles the energy economy with uses spanning electricity, industry, residential and commercial heating, and transportation. Emerging technologies opening more abundant supplies of natural gas have heightened its importance, while world leaders increasingly seek solutions to climate change. The flexibility of natural gas means that its substitutions for other fossil fuels can impact climate warming emissions upward (via methane leaks and carbon dioxide exhaust) or downward (via reduced use of coal and oil). That's why Shayak Sengupta and I worked in 2012 and 2013 to compare the net greenhouse gas impacts of various substitutions of U.S. natural gas for other fossil fuels. (March 8, 2016) The Hill

  • 3/09/2016 - A couple of decades ago we used to be united to address Climate Change, then the fossil fuel industry got hysterical. Then, after crawling and scraping through decades of big money climate denial lies and misleading, we have arrived at a worldwide consensus that Climate Change must be address—but what valuable time we have lost. The window of opportunity to stop catastrophic damages to our environment and our people is closing quickly. 25 years later: When the world united against climate change The Paris climate deal was the latest chapter of a story that started a quarter of a century ago, and owes much to US Republicans and UK Conservatives It was an era when the weight of a laptop could break your knees, phones were the size of bricks and twitter was left to the birds. But if communications technology in the late 1980s seems rudimentary compared to today’s standards, the scale and pace of global diplomacy was the opposite. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union had disintegrated and the Cold War thawed. One academic even predicted the end of history. (March 3, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/09/2016 - With a warming Arctic due to Climate Change, we have forgotten how much freaking ice the Arctic had. Perhaps the most dramatic feature of Climate Change is the loss of ice on the Arctic. What do long-dead whalers have to do with climate change? Today, the most valuable harvest from the whaling years might be the ships’ logbooks. A team of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Washington and the U.K. Meteorological Office’s Hadley Centre are enlisting 22,000 volunteers from around the world to comb through hundreds of thousands of pages of old ships’ logs. They’re looking for old weather data like this:  “Made the ice at 3:30 PM. Barometer 29.5. Latitude 60.27 N, Longitude 175.51 E. 106:00 Thermometer 8 above, barometer 29.5.” (March 8, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/08/2016 - Time passes. Average Temperature Briefly Tops 2 Degrees in New Climate Milestone The world has reached a new climate change milestone. On Thursday, for a brief period, the average temperature in the Northern Hemisphere was more than 2 degrees Celsius above normal for the first time in recorded history. (March 7, 2016) Democracy Now! [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/08/2016 - Understanding the threat of the increase (71%) amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events in the US Northeast is critical to planning for Climate Change. Not only more flooding, but the soil changes. Warming Brings Increasing Flood Risk And Heavier Rain Umbrella and galosh manufacturers may do well as the planet continues to warm — if they can find somewhere dry to build their factories. Findings of a new analysis of storm data and model projections warn that flooding is going to be a worsening problem around the world, with a warmer atmosphere already leading to heavier downpours in both arid and wet climates. (March 7, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/08/2016 - This Climate Change that is causing this "global bleaching event" are really terrible for ocean ecosystems. You're Running Out of Time to See One of Nature's Most Spectacular Sites If you have ever been snorkeling in a tropical paradise and seen the psychedelic colors and teeming variety of otherworldly sea critters, you were gazing upon something increasingly rare: a healthy coral reef. That site also does a lot more than dazzle vacationers. Coral reefs occupy just 0.1 percent of the oceans' bottom but provide habitat to a quarter of the world's fish species. They also prevent erosion along coastlines and buffer the impact of storms, providing protection, food, and livelihoods for about 500 million people. (March 7, 2016) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/07/2016 - One of Dr. James Hansen’s most pithy and cogent arguments on the need for Climate Change action yet (see below). It’s getting hot but not evenly all over the world. The countries most responsible for the heating are not reaping the worst consequences. Human conflict will increase as the temperatures rise and the human body has a limit to how much heat it can tolerate. Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are the cause of Climate Change and the low latitudes will soon become inhospitable if we continue business as usual. Many still do not understand the compelling nature of Climate Change, which it will get worse if it is not addressed and planned for, at their peril. This short article by Hansen is a must read. Regional Climate Change and National Responsibilities Global warming of about 1°F (0.6°C) over the past several decades now "loads the climate dice." Fig. 1 updates the "bell curve" analysis of our 2012 paper1 for Northern Hemisphere land, which showed that extreme hot summers now occur noticeably more often than they did 50 years ago. Our new paper2 shows that there are strong regional variations in this bell curve shift, and that the largest effects occur in nations least responsible for causing climate change. In the United States the bell curve shift is just over one standard deviation in summer and less than half a standard deviation in winter (Fig. 2). Measured in units of °F (or °C) the warming is similar in summer and winter in the U.S., but the practical implication of Fig. 2 is that the public in the U.S. should notice that summers are becoming hotter but is less likely to notice the change in winter. Summers cooler than the average 1951-1980 summer still occur, but only ~19% of the time. Extreme summer heat, defined as 3 standard deviations or more warmer than 1951-1980 average, which almost never occurred 50 years ago, now occur with frequency about 7%. (March 2, 2016) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/05/2016 - We must, according to all local Climate Change studies, view the updates in our infrastructure through the lens of Climate Change. Because our infrastructures—water, waste, transportation, telecommunications, and more—are going to be severely impacted by more extreme weather and heat by Climate Change our infrastructure updates must be prioritized by the major challenges coming to them by Climate Change. Our local leaders are still acting as Climate Change won’t impact us. Local Call for Funding Parity on Infrastructure  Business, labor and government leaders are calling for equity in funding for infrastructure. President of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Bob Duffy, and UNICON Executive Director Joe Leone convened the meeting to express their concerns about upstate/downstate parity. (March 4, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/05/2016 - Taboo topic or not, Climate Change is bearing down on Fort Lauderdale, Florida and they’ll either plan for reality or... Rising Seas Pull Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Building Boomtown, Toward a Bust The Venice of America is expecting its population to grow by a third, but it already can't handle the impacts of climate change. FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—Along the canals that slice through downtown Fort Lauderdale, dozens of freshly razed lots sit ready for construction, many nestled next to historic riverfront mansions and yachts bobbing dockside. Cranes and half-built high-rises tower overhead. Everywhere, there are signs that this mid-size city of 170,000 is thinking big. Mayor Jack Seiler says the goal is to turn Fort Lauderdale into “the city you never want to leave.” The population is expected to grow by a third, more than 50,000 people, in the next 15 years. Nearly 5,500 apartments and condos are, or will soon be, under construction and developers are seeking to build another 2,400 units in the next few years. The city processed 26,000 building permits with a construction value of $1.8 billion last year alone. (March 3, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/05/2016 - Climate Change and our need for more fresh water are adding to the demise of our lakes, one of our most important ecosystems and natural resources. We should plan for our future as if our lakes really mattered. Many of world’s lakes are vanishing and some may be gone forever Bolivia’s second largest lake has vanished into thin air. In December, Lake Poopó became a dry salt pan and its largest lake – Lake Titicaca – is heading towards trouble, too. Recent research and new data suggest that lakes in other parts of the world may also be on their way out. The combination of silting up and irrigation withdrawal from the Desaguadero River, which feeds Poopó, together with climate change and the extra warmth from current El Niño, were enough to finish this lake off. (March 4, 2016) New Scientist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/05/2016 - Fantastic full length film (24 minutes) on the invasive species the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid that is destroying our Hemlock forests, which is to say one of our crucial ecosystems. (Find out how Little Larry (a bio-control species) might help us address this issue.) Learn about several local invasive species, what is being done about them, and what you can do to help. "The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid – A Film About The Loss Of An Ecosystem" "The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid – A Film About The Loss Of An Ecosystem" is an education film to engage, raise awareness, and create momentum on this destructive forest pest and invasive species in general. The goal of this project is to make the hemlock woolly adelgid a more common household name. Learn more by reading our full synopsis.

  • 3/04/2016 - On a walk yesterday in Rochester, NY, I came across 3 old TV’s that were curbed. (This was walk in a well-to-do neighborhood, not a poor neighborhood) I thought this was illegal in NYS as of last January 2015. Hummm….. “Disposal Ban: Beginning January 1, 2015, consumers may no longer dispose of certain types of electronic equipment in landfills, waste-to-energy facilities, in the trash, or at curbside for trash pickup.” NYS DEC Recycling Your Electronic Waste last Sunday, Senator Robach put on Another Successful Electronics Recycling Event, with our Senator helping out kids and families organizations unload ewaste from cars after cars. Why are some folks still curbing their old ewaste illegally and some take a moment for these free opportunities to get rid of their ewaste properly? Thanks to Senator Robach!

  • 3/04/2016 - A real transportation option in Rochester, NY. Find out about how R Community Bikes, Inc. does it “a grassroots, 501(c)3 organization, staffed entirely by volunteers, that collects and repairs used bicycles for distribution, free of charge, to the Rochester, NY area’s most needy children and adults.” Check out their latest Annual Report 2015 and maybe you can help out to increase bicycling as real transportation option in our city. An Amazing organizing.

  • 3/04/2016 - A strong, healthy urban forest program can have a huge effect on Climate Change adaptation and mitigation in communities. Brighton, NY  rules. Trees keep things cool, help for a healthy soil, act as a carbon sink, provide homes for birds and other creatures, increase home values, and provide so many more important environmental benefits that you can’t shake a branch at. Arbor Day Foundation names Brighton a 2015 Tree City USA The Tree City USA program recently designated Brighton as a Tree City USA. Brighton achieved Tree City USA designation by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual forestry tree planting budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day Tree Planting observance and proclamation. (March 2, 2016) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Plants in our area]

  • 3/04/2016 - Maybe the time has come for carbon pricing, where Capitalism fills that externality hole in its economic theory. Canada PM, provinces set outlines of carbon pricing deal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau persuaded the country's 10 provinces on Thursday to accept the concept of putting a price on carbon but agreed the specific details could be worked out later. The compromise deal was unveiled at the end of a tough day's talks with the provinces, many of which had signaled their opposition to the idea of Ottawa imposing a single price across the country. Instead, the two sides agreed that mechanisms for pricing carbon would take into account each province's specific circumstances. The two sides will present more detailed proposals at a meeting in October. (March 3, 2016) Reuters

  • 3/03/2016 - From our friends over at Rochester, New York Pachamama Community , the Rochester Pachamama March, 2016 Newsletter "Pachamama Alliance Communities around the globe gather to connect, learn more and have fun with people who share a similar vision for the world. " Also, link up on Facebook

  • 3/03/2016 - Instead of a ‘methane bomb’ created by a quickly thawing permafrost caused by Climate Change, we could get more snow cover and so better growing conditions. Neat, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Study focuses on how permafrost thawing affects vegetation, carbon cycle Neil Sturchio, professor and chair of the University of Delaware's Department of Geological Sciences, is exploring how the thawing of permafrost, a subsurface layer of soil that remains mostly frozen throughout the year, affects vegetation and the carbon cycle in the Toolik Lake area of the Alaska's North Slope. "There is a lot of carbon frozen in the Arctic soil's permafrost layer. If this all thaws out, prevailing thought is that the carbon in the soil could be released to the atmosphere and potentially accelerate global warming," said Sturchio. (March 3, 2016) PHYS.org

  • 3/03/2016 - Take Food for example, it seems like even small changes in food availability caused by Climate Change could have profound implications. Future food scarcity in various places in the world could mean a mass migration to places like Rochester that has plenty of water and land for agriculture. We should plan for what’s coming with Climate Change. Food scarcity caused by climate change could cause 500,000 deaths by 2050, study suggests The effects of climate change on food production around the world could lead to more than 500,000 deaths by the year 2050, according to a grim new study. Climate-related impacts on agriculture could lead to an overall global decline in food availability, the research suggests, forcing people to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and less meat. And the public health impacts of these changes could be severe. Climate experts have long predicted severe consequences for global food security if serious steps are not taken to mitigate climate change. Rising temperatures, more frequent droughts and more severe weather events are expected to cause agriculture in certain areas to suffer, all while the global population — and its demand for food — continues to skyrocket. (March 2, 2016) Washington Post [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/03/2016 - Who doesn’t agree with the scientific consensus that global warming is mainly caused by humans? Please explain. Here’s What Super Tuesday Voters Think About Climate Change Voters in a dozen or so states are heading to the polls Tuesday for the year’s biggest presidential primary clashes so far. The victors will find themselves a giant step closer to the Oval Office, where they would have a chance to reshape US policy on a wide range of issues, including climate change. So we decided to take a look what voters in the Super Tuesday states think about global warming. Last year, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication released a nationwide study of Americans’ attitudes toward climate science and policy. In many states—especially the large bloc of southern states voting on Tuesday—the results were not particularly encouraging. (March 1, 2016) Climate Desk [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/02/2016 - ACTION: Transportation and Climate Change are connected. Mayor of Rochester, NY encourages residents to share their ideas about safety and challenges to our transportation system on the City’s USDOT SMART CITY CHALLENGE to share their ideas. Learn more at: Rochester launches Smart City challenge effort Rochester is taking a crack at $40 million to improve safety and address challenges related to transportation. City officials said the city would work with state and regional partners to apply for the  U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge. The challenge aims to leverage transportation data, technologies and applications to improve safety, enhance mobility, address climate change, connect underserved communities and support economic vitality. (February 29, 2016) Rochester Business Journal [more on Transportation and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/02/2016 - If your thoughts on Climate Change don’t give priority to the temperate gauge, you’re not really thinking about it. All that we think and do about climate adaptation and mitigation must be predicated on the where the needle is on warming. In this way, Climate Change is not an issue. Climate Change is a reality that needs our immediate attention for our reality to continue. If you do not feel a sense of great urgency, you don’t get Climate Change. “The Old Normal Is Gone”: February Shatters Global Temperature Records Our planet’s preliminary February temperature data are in, and it’s now abundantly clear: Global warming is going into overdrive. There are dozens of global temperature datasets, and usually I (and my climate journalist colleagues) wait until the official ones are released about the middle of the following month to announce a record-warm month at the global level. But this month’s data is so extraordinary that there’s no need to wait: February obliterated the all-time global temperature record set just last month. Using unofficial data and adjusting for different base-line temperatures, it appears that February 2016 was likely somewhere between 1.15 and 1.4 degrees warmer than the long-term average, and about 0.2 degrees above last month—good enough for the most above-average month ever measured. (Since the globe had already warmed by about +0.45 degrees above pre-industrial levels during the 1981-2010 base-line meteorologists commonly use, that amount has been added to the data released today.) (March 1, 2016) Slate [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 3/02/2016 - Is the Paris Agreement that is barely two months old going to grow up big and strong? The baby needs some serious TLC. Cold light shines on Paris climate pledges New research finds signs that many countries are making serious attempts to stick to action pledges made at the Paris climate summit – but others are still lagging way behind.  The world’s leading economies are heading in the right direction on tackling climate change, but some still have a long way to go to make their undertakings politically credible, according to a UK research centre. With the Paris Agreement barely two months old, the world now moves from talk to action − or at least that’s the theory. The Agreement will open for signature from 22 April. And after those two frantic and heady weeks in the French capital last December, individual countries’ commitments to cut their greenhouse gas emissions will shuffle into the coldly critical light of day. (February 29, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/02/2016 - Imagine the baseline information we would have now if we had assessed human impact on nature before we screwed it up. One of the critical components of addressing Climate Change is discovering the proper baseline from which to measure the health of our environments as it changes due to Climate Change. The present (where we have eliminated many species and polluted much of our waters and air) is not a good baseline. We don’t even know if our present environment, with 7 billion humans, is sustainable even without the specter of Climate Change.  This study, long overdue, will be helpful. But I suspect there will be a lot of unknown unknowns about our ecosystems we can’t even imagine. We didn’t know much about environmental science before we made drastic changes to it. So we’re going into Climate Change with the environment we have, of course, but how can we repair our present environmental systems so they are as robust and resilient as they can be before Climate Change gets worse? This study may help. Global group to assess human impact on nature over three years A global scientific group on Sunday launched a three-year assessment of mankind's impact on nature to help protect plants and animals from threats ranging from pollution to climate change. The study, due in 2019, would examine biodiverstiy, from bacteria to blue whales, and "ecosystem services", which range from the value of coral reefs as nurseries for fish to the role of forests in absorbing greenhouse gases. (February 28, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2016 - How much should we spend on adapting our communities to Climate Change? Whatever it freaking takes! Next question. Huge divide in spending on climate change adaptation across world’s megacities The amount of money going towards adapting to climate change in ten of the world’s biggest cities has increased by a quarter in recent years, according to new research. Against a backdrop of a global recession, this might seem like good news. But representing at most 0.33% of a city’s wealth, resilience-building is still a small fraction of total spending. The new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, also highlights the “staggering” difference between adaptation spending in developed and developing countries, with the city of New York spending 35 times more per person to protect its residents than Lagos. The disparity is “proof of concept” that money is being spent preferentially to protect physical capital over people, say the authors. (February 29, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2016 - Diverting Great Lakes waters out of its basin could have profound weather and ecosystem implications for our Rochester, NY region. Great Lakes Diversion issue should be on our radar. Plan to pipe Great Lakes water draws fire When the Great Lakes states organized a decade ago to craft an unprecedented plan to protect their water from thirsty outsiders, they made sure the rules made it difficult for anyone to tap into the lakes. Still, when the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact was approved in 2008, the signatories left the door open, just a crack, for communities on the outside edge of the Great Lakes watershed to at least ask. Now, Waukesha is asking. (February 28, 2016) Duluth News Tribune [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/01/2016 - As with many other great movements in human history, there comes a point when the right thing is to say, No! Addressing Climate Change, it seems, cannot be left to ‘business as usual and many are taking the stance that taking our chances with slow and gradual change is unacceptable. (Learn more about Break Free 2016)  Climate activists threaten to shut down world's major coal sites Reclaim the Power says it will use direct action at a dozen international sites in May, including the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in south Wales Climate activists will use direct action to try to shut down major fossil fuel sites across the world in May, including the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in southWales. The dozen international sites facing civil disobedience from the Break Free 2016campaign span the globe from the US to Australia and South Africa to Indonesia. The Ffos-y-fran opencast mine, near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, is about halfway through extracting 11m tonnes of coal. Ellie Groves, from the Reclaim the Powernetwork, said: “The only way we can stop catastrophic climate change is taking action to keep fossil fuels in the ground.” (March 1, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 3/01/2016 - Our Forests are major ecosystems and their loss has huge repercussions, especially as Climate Change amplifies everything. How Forest Loss Is Leading  To a Rise in Human Disease A growing body of scientific evidence shows that the felling of tropical forests creates optimal conditions for the spread of mosquito-borne scourges, including malaria and dengue. Primates and other animals are also spreading disease from cleared forests to people. In Borneo, an island shared by Indonesia and Malaysia, some of the world’s oldest tropical forests are being cut down and replaced with oil palm plantations at a breakneck pace. Wiping forests high in biodiversity off the land for monoculture plantations causes numerous environmental problems, from the destruction of wildlife habitat to the rapid release of stored carbon, which contributes to global warming.  But deforestation is having another worrisome effect: an increase in the spread of life-threatening diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. For a host of ecological reasons, the loss of forest can act as an incubator for insect-borne and other infectious diseases that afflict humans. The most recent example came to light this month in the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases, with researchers documenting a steep rise in human malaria cases in a region of Malaysian Borneo undergoing rapid deforestation. (February 23, 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Plants in our area]

  • 3/01/2016 - We often forget that the Great Lakes were seriously polluted from past industrialization. They won’t clean themselves. Cleaning up the Great Lakes and getting them ready for a warmer climate will take some work. What It Takes to Make the Great Lakes' Areas of Concern Less Concerning Eliminating the pollution from industry requires a lot of time, money, and effort on the part of local groups, states, and federal entities. For more than a century, the Great Lakes region has been at the heart of our country's industrial engine. Steel mills, saw mills, foundries, and automotive production facilities have flourished there. "They got us through two world wars and made the country the world leader in the automotive sector," says Cameron Davis, senior adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency administrator. As time would tell, however, that industrial boon came at a price, one that affected the health of the lakes and the people living around them. Pollution marred these huge bodies of freshwater. In some places, PCBs and mercury smeared the lakes' bottoms. In others, cadmium and nickel seeped into the sediment. Many toxic areas festered for years, contaminating fish, ruining habitat, and destroying local economies. (February 25, 2016) Pacific Standard [more on Great Lakes in our area]