Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Updates: Saturday, August 27, 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:

  • 8/27/2016 - The trouble with nuclear power plants is that there is no room for error—but we keep having them. Environmentalists point to FitzPatrick safety incidents in new report Environmental critics of nuclear power are seizing on a few safety incidents at the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant detailed in a report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  The report notes multiple mishaps, like the oil leak into Lake Ontario that was connected to a temporary shutdown of the plant, and another event when two FitzPatrick employees were unintentionally exposed to radiation. The starkest finding is that solid nuclear waste which had spilled onto the floor of a contained room in the plant has been left untreated for at least four years. NRC spokesperson Neil Sheehan said that spill did not leave the site. (August 26, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/27/2016 - This program to teach mayors and their aides how to tackle major problems—“… climate change to poverty to public health …” sounds like a great fit for Rochester. Being a part of this program would also demonstrate to the public that Rochester cares deeply about handling a warmer future sustainably and justly. How do we sign up? Bloomberg gives Harvard $32 million to teach mayors and aides Former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is giving $32 million to Harvard University to launch a program to teach mayors and their aides how to tackle major problems facing cities. The gift, made through Bloomberg Philanthropies and announced Thursday, will harness faculty at Harvard’s business and government schools as well as other urban experts to provide executive training to as many as 300 mayors and 400 aides over the next four years. Bloomberg, a billionaire business executive, served three terms as mayor of the nation’s largest city. (August 25, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/27/2016 - Humanity was born to walking as birds are to fly and fish are to swim. Humanity was not born to sit in a gas guzzler and warm the planet. We must get right with our life support system. 50 Reasons Why Everyone Should Want More Walkable Streets From making you live longer to making cities more resilient: If you want a reason to make your city more walkable, it's in here. As more cities try to improve walkability—from car-free "superblocks" in Barcelona to heat-protected walkways in Dubai—a new report outlines the reasons behind the shift, the actions that cities can take to move away from a car-centric world, and why walkability matters. "The benefits of walkability are all interconnected," says James Francisco, an urban designer and planner at Arup, the global engineering firm that created the report. "Maybe you want your local business to be enhanced by more foot traffic. But by having that benefit, other benefits are integrated. Not only do you get the economic vitality, but you get the social benefits—so people are out and having conversations and connecting—and then you get the health benefits." A single intervention can also lead to environmental and political benefits. The report sifted through dozens of studies to quantify 50 benefits of walkability in cities. (August 24, 2016) Fast CoExist [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 8/27/2016 - Biofuels and gasoline are both bad for the climate because in both cases you’re putting more greenhouse gases into the air. Though gasoline has traditionally put more greenhouse gases into the air, biofuels rob our soil from ingredients that should be put back in the soil. We should be growing plants for food, not to burn for fuel. Trying to prove the worthiness of biofuels based solely on lifecycle analyses puts a lot of faith in our future ability to grow crops sustainably and creating more and more monocultures (think acres and acres of corn) that are subject to collapse. Study Finds Biofuels Worse for Climate than Gasoline Years of number crunching that had seemed to corroborate the climate benefits of American biofuels were starkly challenged in a science journal on Thursday, with a team of scientists using a new approach to conclude that the climate would be better off without them. Based largely on comparisons of tailpipe pollution and crop growth linked to biofuels, University of Michigan Energy Institute scientists estimated that powering an American vehicle with ethanol made from corn would have caused more carbon pollution than using gasoline during the eight years studied. (August 25, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/27/2016 - If a warmer more acidic Antarctic isn’t favorable to krill due to Climate Change, then then a major ecosystem may collapse. Some species are more important than others for keeping ecosystems thriving because of they’re the main item on the menu. Ecosystems are the organs of our planet’s biology. Time passes. Climate Change Could Put Tiny Krill at Big Risk They may be small, but krill — tiny, shrimp-like creatures — play a big role in the Antarctic food chain. As climate change warms the Southern Ocean and alters sea ice patterns, though, the area of Antarctic water suitable for krill to hatch and grow could drop precipitously, a new study finds. Most Antarctic krill are found in an area from the Weddell Sea to the waters around the Antarctic Peninsula, the finger of land that juts up toward South America. They serve as an important source of food for various species of whales, seals and penguins. While those animals find other food sources during lean years, it is unclear if those alternate sources are sustainable long-term.  (August 26, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/26/2016 - Time is of the essence so every community now, even Rochester, NY should prioritizing the use climate data into planning. 5 Chicago Communities Will Use Data to Plan for Climate Change A $300,000 grant will help five Chicago-area communities use climate data to address potential climate extremes, such as flooding or drought. The American Planning Association received the grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help communities incorporate the data into capital improvement plans. Over the course of the two-year project, planners and climatologists will work with the pilot communities to incorporate climate data into planning efforts, identify climate resources and create guidelines that could help other communities.  (August 24, 2016) Next City [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/26/2016 - The quality of your health shouldn’t be directly linked to your zip code, the environment in your neighborhood. But too often it is. Every environment should give everyone the same chance at good health. This is what Climate Justice will be all about. HEALTH AND NEIGHBORHOOD ARE TOO OFTEN LINKED. THESE PEOPLE ARE OUT TO CHANGE THAT. Across the U.S. people are trying to reduce inequities in how environment affects physical well-being As an emergency room physician in Washington, D.C., it didn’t take long for Leana Wen to notice a pattern: Patients making repeat visits to the ER, wheezing and coughing from asthma exacerbations or suffering from lead poisoning, conditions that most often afflict those living in low-income neighborhoods. She helped soothe her patients’ immediate needs, but she was acutely aware she was only providing temporary relief, leaving the root causes unchecked — and a gap in the health of residents living in the city’s poorest ZIP codes versus those in the wealthiest. She wanted the opportunity to intervene earlier in those ER patients’ lives. (August 25, 2016) Ensia [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/26/2016 - The TU Editorial Board has an interesting spin on the Hudson River PCB cleanup—and it ain’t pretty. Though Climate Change is now gaining traction as one of our main environmental concerns, Brownfields, the industrial pollution of our land and waters, were one of our top environmental concerns for the last century. We have much to clean up form the times we allowed industry to pollute our life support system willy-nilly. We go into Climate Change with the environment we have, which is to say an environment compromised by pollution is not a good environmental baseline from which to address the great warming. Brownfields need to be cleaned up completely. More harm to the Hudson It would be easy to mistake state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos’ statement that more needs to be done about PCBs in the Hudson River for stating the obvious. It’s more than that. Welcome as it is to hear that assessment – and news that the state finally intends to dredge the Champlain Canal – it should not divert attention from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s failure to address Hudson River issues before now. The administration seems to be moving in a new and positive direction. That’s good, but Mr. Cuomo should recognize the mistakes he has made so they’re not repeated. (August 25, 2016) Albany Time Union [more on Brownfields in our area]   

  • 8/26/2016 - That humans have been mucking with our climate longer than we previously thought is because our scientists had to get their heads around the concept that humans could even effect our entire planet’s climate. Once realized, now it seems that even before the Industrial Revolutions (there were at least two) scientists understand that we have been changing the climate by our behavior. Scientists are learning a lot about how we have been changing the climate but most of humanity are still trying to get their heads around the concept that humans could even effect our planet’s climate. We don’t have a whole lot of time for that epiphany to occur worldwide. Time passes. Humans Have Caused Global Warming for Longer Than We Thought Global warming isn't just a 20th and 21st century phenomenon People have been contributing to global warming since the mid-nineteenth century, decades before scientists previously estimated, according to new research published in the journal Nature. (August 24, 2016) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/25/2016 - The PCB cleanup in the Hudson: Did they get all or did they leave too much pollution behind? Best not to have polluted at all. NY challenges effectiveness of PCB cleanup in the Hudson New York's conservation chief is challenging the effectiveness of recently completed dredging of contaminated sediment from the upper Hudson River, saying unacceptably high levels of industrial waste were left behind. Commissioner Basil Seggos says dredging improved the Hudson but the federal Environmental Protection Agency needs to re-evaluate the six-year project and get objective analysis in its ongoing review of fish, water and sediment data. His letter to the EPA comes a year after General Electric finished dredging a 40-mile stretch of the river for PCBs in a federal Superfund project. (August 22, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 8/25/2016 - One of the most difficult problems in messaging Climate Change to the public is scientifically connecting individual weather events to Climate Change. Climate Signals, in beta, is attempting to do just that. And while it may not be perfect, it offers a glimpse of how important this science is to helping the media and the public and our governments to ‘see’ important feedbacks of a warming world. We can plan for Climate Change better when we can see it. “Climate Signals is a digital science platform for cataloging and mapping the impacts of climate change. Currently in open-beta release, the platform is designed to identify the chain of connections between greenhouse gas emissions and individual climate events.” Climate Signals

  • 8/25/2016 - #ParisAgreement hinges on ratification by China and US. While not perfect, this agreement would offer humanity a mechanism to work together on addressing Climate Change.  Our future should not have to be teetering at this time on the “uncertainties” in the US treaty ratification process. We should not have a political system that does not respect science. China and US to ratify landmark Paris climate deal ahead of G20 summit, sources reveal Move may tip momentum and bring accord into force at global level China and the United States are set to jointly announce their ratification of a landmark climate change pact before the G20 summit early next month, the South China Morning Post has learned. Senior climate officials from both countries worked late into the night in Beijing on Tuesday to finalise details, and a bilateral announcement is likely to be made on September 2, according to sources familiar with the issue. President Xi Jinping will meet his US counterpart Barack Obama for the G20 summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, two days later on September 4. (August 25, 2016) South China Morning Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/25/2016 - The problem with nuclear power plants is that there is no room for error. Should we have to put our environment in jeopardy to get energy? In a time of planetary warming, we need to ask ourselves important questions about how we get energy because if we don’t ask these questions we’ll be desperate and recklessly choose energy sources that are either too dangerous or makes Climate Change worse. Early planning with renewable energy—wind and solar—and conservation and energy efficiency would have given us time to develop safe energy options—that provided lots of jobs. We shouldn’t have to hitch our wagons (our future) to technology that makes news every time a little glitch occurs. We should NOT have to pin our hopes and future on Murphy’s Law. Misplaced '<' in emergency plan earns Ginna plant an F Is it ">" or "<"? Remember those vexing "greater than-less than" problems in middle-school math? Seems they have trouble with the concept at the Ginna nuclear plant too. Federal regulators have cited plant owner Exelon Corp. for a safety violation because the Wayne County generating station's emergency plan contained a sentence that misused less-than symbols. Had there been a serious accident at Ginna, that little boo-boo in the written emergency management decision flowchart, could have led control-room operators to mistakenly call for a mass evacuation because they thought the nuclear fuel core was headed for meltdown. (August 24, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/24/2016 - If we’re talking just money, “Americans in their 20s and 30s could lose trillions of dollars in potential lifetime earnings as climate change disrupts the global economy”.   If we’re talking life, future life, and wondering if we can stop Climate Change before it goes beyond our ability to adapt—well, that’s far more important than our economy.   There’re really no dollar signs for Climate Change because you can’t take it when you go.  Although our media likes to frame Climate Change as an economic issue to reach the people who only see reality through an economic prism, except for how our economics drives our behavior there’s no relationship between the physics of Climate Change and the practice of economics. Climate doesn’t give a farthing for our dollars. Climate change could cost millennials trillions of dollars in lifetime income Americans in their 20s and 30s could lose trillions of dollars in potential lifetime earnings as climate change disrupts the global economy and weakens U.S. productivity, according to a new report by NextGen Climate said. If countries fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the amount and pace of global warming, a 21-year-old college graduate today could lose $126,000 in lifetime wages and $187,000 in long-term savings and investments, the report found. This would outrank the lost income due to student debt or wage stagnation. (August 23, 2016) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/24/2016 - When Climate Change was first taken seriously in the last century, humanity was hard pressed to find evidence. Now, climate indicators are pooling all around us. However: “Not just a sign of global warming, these so-called supraglacial lakes can cause an ice sheet to collapse.” Nearly 8000 Strange Blue Lakes Have Appeared in Antarctica Researchers studying East Antarctica have observed nearly 8,000 dazzling, blue lakes appeared on the Langhovde Glacier between 2000 and 2013. Not just a sign of global warming, these so-called supraglacial lakes can cause an ice sheet to collapse. (August 22, 2016) Futurism [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/24/2016 - During Climate Change, look to the skies because we are learning that clouds are much more substantive to our future than previously thought. Though, clouds are still the wildcard in climate modeling. Where previously in humanity’s history we looked at clouds with wonder and amusement and for signs of impending weather, we must now try to determine whether manmade Climate Change has changed role of clouds from friend to foe. We are living on a warmer planet now and we must be aware of the new skyscape. Time passes. Clouds’ climate impact defies simple analysis The perennial question of how clouds affect the Earth’s climate takes another twist, with one study expecting cooling and another the opposite. Scientists have just been presented with new evidence on how tropical clouds’ climate impact affects rates of global warming, and therefore need to be factored into computer simulations of climate change over the next century. Confusingly, one study says thin tropical clouds at 5km height are far more common than thought, and have a substantial cooling effect on climate. The other suggests that as the world warms there will be fewer low-level clouds, which will therefore reflect less sunlight back into space and possibly push global temperatures to 2.3°C above the average for most of  human history. (August 22, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/23/2016 - ACTION: Still there are too many old TV’s and e-waste being illegally curbed in Rochester. Help do the right thing and get your old e-waste to this City event and even volunteer to help out. Saturday, October 15 at 8:15 AM - 1 PM, Sahlen's Stadium, 460 Oak St, Rochester, NY 14608 “Join RPCC in supporting the City of Rochester's E-Waste Day. Help unload cars of electronic equipment, cell phones, etc. for recycling. rocpcc@gmail.com.  FREE breakfast, lunch and water will be provided! Please note: This job will require occasional heavy lifting.  This is a perfect volunteer opportunity for work teams, Eagle Scouts, older Girl Scouts, high-schoolers, or just YOU!” Link to sign up!

  • 8/23/2016 - Our ecosystems extend far beyond our parks. It would be nice if humanity had the foresight to remove the blocks—roads, buildings, parking lots, baseball fields, you-name-it--in our parks so that animals and plants could adapt (move) and keep our ecosystems healthy. But our ecosystems, these major organs of our environment, which is to say our life support systems, don’t just exist within the confines of our parks. Ecosystems are everywhere throughout our countryside, our cities, our private and public lands. We’ve got to find the public will, the money, and a way to jump the legal hurdles to keep the animals and plants thriving that make up our ecosystems. Climate change will create new ecosystems, so let’s help plants move Australia’s ecosystems are already showing the signs of climate change, from the recent death of mangrove forests in northern Australia, to the decline in birds in eastern Australia, to the inability of mountain ash forests to recover from frequent fires. The frequency and size of these changes will only continue to increase in the next few years. This poses a major challenge for our national parks and reserves. For the past 200 years the emphasis in reserves has been on protection. But protection is impossible when the environment is massively changing. Adaptation then becomes more important. If we are to help wildlife and ecosystems survive in the future, we’ll have to rethink our parks and reserves. (August 23, 2016) The Conversation [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/23/2016 - Climate Change will amplify existing public health issues, “including a rise in infectious disease, drought and rising water levels that cause mass displacement, and even violent conflict.” Of course the poorest people in the poorest countries who did not cause Climate Change will get most immediate public health challenges, then the poorest people in the richest nations will be hit, then the richest people in the poorest nations, then the richest people in the richest nations. That’s what the richest people in the richest nations probably think—a great big buffer of humanity gets nailed before the rich have to worry their pretty little heads. But this non-historic crisis may not work out in a historic way. A large amount of the poor, who do not have adequate health care coverage, may get hit so badly that the repercussions cascade right through all classes to the richest. Who knows? Who knows why our governments aren’t preparing properly for the devastating public health effects of Climate Change, effects that may ripple though humanity very quickly. Demand that your government at all level prepare for the health effects of Climate Change. Climate change a significant threat to public health, CMA members hear Climate change is the “greatest global health threat of the 21st century,” so it is incumbent that physicians take a stand to protect their patients, one of the world’s leading human-rights advocates says. “Responding to climate change is not just a scientific or technological issue,” James Orbinski, a founding member of both Médecins sans frontières(Doctors Without Borders) and Dignitas International, told the general council of the Canadian Medical Association in Vancouver on Monday. “It’s time for the CMA to step up and step out, to be genuinely courageous on climate change,” he said. (August 22, 2016) The Globe and Mail [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/23/2016 - Great profile of Rochester, NY climate activist and co-founder of Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, Abigail McHugh Grifa MUSICIAN TURNED CLIMATE JUSTICE ACTIVIST INSPIRES MOTHERS EVERYWHERE TO JOIN THE FRONT LINES (August 21, 2016) Gandhi Earth Keepers International

  • 8/22/2016 - If the Great Lakes are indeed warming to several degrees above normal this summer and this is due partly to warmer air temperatures and “above normal overnight lows”, these are what one sees in climate projections for the Great Lakes. But, of course, this article does not mention Climate Change or global warming. One of the characteristics of Climate Change in our Northeast summers is that during heatwaves we won’t get much relief from the high temperature is because the overnight lows won’t be very low. It’ll stay hot. Great Lakes several degrees warmer than normal (August 19, 2016) Petoskey News-Review

  • 8/22/2016 - Has mainstream media done an adequate job of properly characterizing Louisiana’s deadly flood as an extreme weather event, possible an indicator of the weather to come in a warmer world? Or were our too media busy with other stuff our dysfunctional media are more comfortable with? What Fueled Louisiana’s Deadly Flood? As news media fixated on athletic achievements at the Rio Olympics, and of course remained fixated on Donald Trump, different corners of the United States were confronting weather-related hazards — including relentless steamy heat in the East and drought-fueled wildfires all around California, including the explosively spreading “Blue Cut” Fire east of Los Angeles. But nothing has come close to the deadly off-the-chart deluges and flooding in southern Louisiana, which the Red Cross says have produced the country’s worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy. (August 17, 2016) Dot Earth, New York Times. 

  • 8/22/2016 - Can the Nature Conservancy’s new mapping tool for renewable energy in NYS, Biodiversity and Wind Siting Mapping Tool, help place enough renewable energy to address Climate Change? Or will it just find excuses not to place renewable energy in a region that has been historically responsible for much of the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere? Should our priority be placed on local biodiversity or addressing Climate Change? Can we prioritize both goals? Are the impacts of Climate Change given their due? Getting to 50 by '30, and Preserving Nature New York state has committed to getting 50 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030, and now conservation groups are creating tools to help make that happen.  The Clean Energy Standard was approved Aug. 1.  Cara Lee, senior conservation manager at the Nature Conservancy, says achieving the standard's renewable energy goal is critical for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it will require a rapid expansion of the state's renewable energy infrastructure. (August 22, 2016) Public News Service [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/20/2016 - Important viewpoint on using nuclear energy to help free us from fossil fuels in this article, Where is the outrage?, in Audrey Newcomb’s newsletter: Sifting & Winnowing “Being outspoken on fossil fuels and silent on crazy plans to rehabilitate potentially-dangerous aging nuclear plants needs urgent consideration of a policy upgrade by every organization purporting to be working to preserve the earth.”

  • 8/20/2016 - Important Event: Learn how an aggregate of trained citizen scientists (that’s you) can help fill critical gaps in important research on our environment.   One-Day Microplastics/Citizen Science Workshop – Learn how to get involved. October 11, 2016 – SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, The Gateway Center, 1 Forest Drive, Syracuse, NY.  

  • 8/19/2016 - Some folks think that because climate scientists cannot directly link specific extreme weather events with Climate Change there’s no reason for concern or urgency to address Climate Change. Some folks think this kind of uncertainty provides no reason for complacency. Time passes. Drought worsens south of Rochester A swath of land from Buffalo to Seneca Falls, as well as the area centered on Ithaca, are now listed in "extreme drought." It's only the second time since 2000, when the U.S. Drought Monitor began posting weekly reports, that any part of New York state has received that designation — the second-most-severe of five categories used by the Drought Monitor. The only other New York dry spell that was categorized as "extreme" was in the late winter and spring of 2002. (August 18, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 8/19/2016 - The Arctic, as our species has known it, is entering its death spiral and it should NOT be just scientists who are sad. An ice-free Arctic means that a major ecosystem has undergone a radical change; that a gold-rush of sorts will rage through humanity for more oil and more minerals; and that more sea routes previously unattainable will be possible. When one of our planet’s refrigerators was working properly humanity and our avarice were kept at bay—somewhat. Climate Change isn’t a time for sadness any more than finding that your car, which is speeding along at 100 miles per hours, has just lost its brakes. Time passes. Time to listen to the ice scientists about the Arctic death spiral The Arctic’s ice is disappearing. We must reduce emissions, fast, or the human castastrophe predicted by ocean scientist Peter Wadhams will become reality Ice scientists are mostly cheerful and pragmatic. Like many other researchers coolly observing the rapid warming of the world, they share a gallows humour and are cautious about entering the political fray. Not Peter Wadhams. The former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge has spent his scientific life researching the ice world, or the cryosphere, and in just 30 years has seen unimaginable change. When in 1970 he joined the first of what would be more than 50 polar expeditions, the Arctic sea ice covered around 8m sq km at its September minimum. Today, it hovers at around 3.4m, and is declining by 13% a decade. In 30 years Wadhams has seen the Arctic ice thin by 40%, the world change colour at its top and bottom and the ice disappear in front of his eyes. (August 18, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/19/2016 - #ParisAgreement is not ratified yet. 55 is the magic number. 404.48ppm of CO2 is the reality number. Time passes. The Arab world could be a DECIDING FACTOR in the fight against CLIMATE CHANGE As Morocco hosts the next global climate change meeting in November 2016, the world looks to the Middle East and North Africa region for leadership in the fight against climate change 55 is the magic number. Sure - 175 parties (174 countries plus the European Union) signed the Paris Agreement in April in New York City earlier this year. But this alone is not enough. It matters not only how many countries signed the document, but also how many countries ultimately join the Paris Agreement by ratifying it. Only once the Paris Agreement is ratified, does it become operational and legally binding. And this is where the magic number 55 comes in. It matters in two respects. At least 55 parties have to ratify the Paris Agreement, and enough countries need to have joined so that their collective emissions exceed 55 percent of global emissions. (August 17, 2016) The World Bank [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/18/2016 - If you live in New York State (if you live in Rochester, NY, you do) check out our Climate Change profile—by ClimateNexus. Maybe, send this link to your local political leaders and ask them how they are protecting us from this crisis.

  • 8/18/2016 - The urgency to address Climate Change is compounded by humanity’s inability to achieve even the pathetic goals we set for ourselves. It’s like an alcoholic saying he’ll only drink a six-pack each day but keeps drinking two six-packs. We’ve kick the Climate Change can down the road for so long that we’ve come to think the road is an endless highway, when in fact we’ve long since left the road. Scientists (not politicians) have been telling us a “safe” global temperature threshold was probably the one we were at for most of the Holocene—around 350ppm of CO2.  Any goals that include the allowance for future warming is a dangerous delusion. Rethink needed on Paris emissions targets Warning that humans may already have emitted enough carbon dioxide to undermine the 1.5°C temperature rise threshold agreed by 195 nations last December. The historic international agreement to limit global warming to a global average rise of 1.5°C may be a case of too little, too late. In December last year, 195 nations at the Paris climate summit promised a programme of action to contain greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change. But UK scientists now warn that humans may have already emitted enough carbon dioxide into the planetary atmosphere to take air temperatures over land to above 1.5°C. And that means nations may have to think again about what constitutes a “safe” global temperature threshold. (August 16, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/17/2016 - We can “say about the about the Louisiana floods and climate change” is that the Northeast should get ready and plan properly. The Northeast (Rochester’s home) has seen a 71% increase in heavy precipitation since 1958. Read “Heavy Downpours Increasing” from the National Climate Assessment/Northeast What we can say about the Louisiana floods and climate change Here we are again, with a flood event upending the lives of large numbers of Americans and making everybody wonder about the role of climate change. In this case, it’s the stunning, multiday flooding in southern Louisiana that hit after a low pressure system combined with record amounts of atmospheric water vapor, dumping more than two feet of rainfall over three days in some places. At least 11 people were killed, and thousands have had to leave their homes. (August 15, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/17/2016 - From the Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC) newsletter: ACTION: "City of Rochester's E-Waste Day - Seeking Volunteers! Action:  Join RPCC in supporting the City of Rochester's E-Waste Day. Help unload cars of electronic equipment, cell phones, etc. for recycling.  When:  Saturday, October 15, 8:15am to 1:00pm Where: Sahlen's Stadium, 460 Oak St, Rochester, NY 14608 Contact: Sign up for yourself or your group here. If you have questions, please email rocpcc@gmail.com.   FREE breakfast, lunch and water will be provided! Please note: This job will require occasional heavy lifting.   This is a perfect volunteer opportunity for work teams, Eagle Scouts, older Girl Scouts, high-schoolers, or just YOU! "  * Sign up for the RPCC newsletter at the bottom of this page PRESS.

  • 8/17/2016 - Today it’s Louisiana, recently it was Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina and West Virginia. However, research shows greatest concern is for “… Northeast, Midwest and Upper Great Plains regions…” for VERY heavy rainfall. Northeast, that us here in Rochester. Are we ready for really heavy flooding, which is to say, are our roads and bridges and other infrastructures robust and resilient enough for the rains bombs that come with a warmer air that can hold more water? Flooding in the South Looks a Lot Like Climate Change Climate change is never going to announce itself by name. But this is what we should expect it to look like. That’s what many scientists, analysts and activists are saying after heavy rains in southern Louisiana have killed at least 11 people and forced tens of thousands of residents from their homes, in the latest in a series of extreme floods that have occurred in the United States over the last two years. That increase in heavy rainfall and the resultant flooding “is consistent with what we expect to see in the future if you look at climate models,” said David Easterling, a director at the National Centers for Environmental Information, which is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Not just in the U.S. but in many other parts of the world as well.” (August 16, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/16/2016 - When our governments and insurance companies can no longer afford to keep up with frequent extreme weather from Climate Change, then many will ‘get’ Climate Change. But by then, of course, it will be too late to do much else but suffer the worst consequences. Historic Rains Flood Southeast Louisiana (August 14, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/16/2016 - I know, US politics are screwed up. But still, not talking about Climate Change in 2016 in our presidential elections displays a major flaw in our political mindset that has to be fixed. Our media and our leaders are doing ‘we the people’ a great disservice by NOT allowing Climate Change to be the central focus of this election year. We need to get our priorities straight. Scientists Call on Presidential Candidates to Address Key Science Issues Prominent organizations try for the third straight election to get candidates to answer questions about climate change and other crucial issues. Science, especially climate science, has again gotten so little attention in the presidential campaigns that a group of more than 50 science organizations is seeking to push it into the conversation. The group, which includes the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The National Academy of Sciences, the American Geophysical Union and Duke University, represents more than 10 million scientists and engineers nationwide. It is calling on the U.S. presidential candidates to address a set of questions related to science, engineering, technology, health and the environment, including climate change. It is also encouraging the media, the moderators that ask the debate questions and voters themselves to ask these questions of the candidates in the course of the campaign. (August 10, 2016) Inside Climate News

  • 8/16/2016 - If we are around to look back and see the Climate Change warning signs we ignored, we’ll probably wonder at our capacity to avoid the obvious. Scorching July is World’s Hottest Month on Record The reign of record hot months in 2016 continues, with last month claiming the title of hottest July on record globally, according to data released by NASA on Monday. This July was also the hottest month on record for the world. The streak means that 2016 is still well on its way to upsetting last year as the hottest year on record. Or as Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, said on Twitter, there is still a 99 percent chance 2016 will take the top slot. (August 15, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/16/2016 - Scientist in ‘Climate forensics’ episode of podcast @ourwarmregards talks about animals not having to contend with roads in past climate changes. Meaning our transportation infrastructure thwarts animals’ and plants’ ability to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. How about a whole show on Climate Change and our present infrastructures (the veins and arteries of our 7-billion numbered species? Our built infrastructures—roads, water, waste, telecommunications--will be affected by Climate Change and will affect Climate Change? Check out podcast: Warm Regards

  • 8/16/2016 - Major article in New Republic on the absolute urgency of addressing Climate Change now by Bill McKibben. A World at War We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII. BY BILL MCKIBBEN In the North this summer, a devastating offensive is underway. Enemy forces have seized huge swaths of territory; with each passing week, another 22,000 square miles of Arctic ice disappears. Experts dispatched to the battlefield in July saw little cause for hope, especially since this siege is one of the oldest fronts in the war. “In 30 years, the area has shrunk approximately by half,” said a scientist who examined the onslaught. “There doesn’t seem anything able to stop this.” In the Pacific this spring, the enemy staged a daring breakout across thousands of miles of ocean, waging a full-scale assault on the region’s coral reefs. In a matter of months, long stretches of formations like the Great Barrier Reef—dating back past the start of human civilization and visible from space—were reduced to white bone-yards. (August 15, 2016) New Republic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/15/2016 - The Blame-Game Climate Change future: When Climate Change disasters hit the public, they will sue their governments. But their governments didn’t prepare because the public didn’t support their governments preparing for Climate Change. Sound absurd but this is the way we are probably going to try and adapt to Climate Change. Time passes. Watch Suing for the Climate With insurance losses from natural disasters rising, insurers are beginning to point a finger at local governments for neglecting to update critical infrastructure. This raises an important question: who should be held responsible for the costs of climate change? Nexus media

  • 8/15/2016 - Find out what Climate Change impacts are happening in the Northeast US right now and what are projected. Great summary by Climate Nexus @ClimateNexus of what changing are and will occur in our region because of Climate Change so we can plan. The public will get behind our leaders on Climate Change when our leaders lead on adapting to the changes and help stop more heat going into our atmosphere. Northeast Climate Change Impacts "Connecticut Ÿ• Delaware •Ÿ Maine Ÿ• Massachusetts Ÿ• New Hampshire Ÿ• New Jersey Ÿ• New York • Pennsylvania Ÿ• Rhode Island Ÿ• Vermont Ÿ• West Virginia Ÿ• District of Columbia The following is a compilation of climate change impacts occurring right here, right now in the Northeast, as well as projected impacts, economic and human health consequences, and notable recent events. Over 64 million people are concentrated in the Northeast and are already beginning to experience climate change impacts. These include record temperatures, more extreme precipitation events, and coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge. " Climatenexus

  • 8/13/2016 - We should get ‘ticked off’ that when our public broadcasting system does a news story that includes Climate Change and not mentions ‘Climate Change’.  We will have more incidences of vector-driven (including ticks and mosquitoes) diseases (Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, malaria, etc.) with Climate Change because our climate is moving towards a more tropical climate that is favorable to ticks surviving longer and making more of them. Note this is code of Climate Change: “As few as ten years ago it was unusual to find even one brown dog tick or lone star tick on your person after a weekend of camping in northern NY state. Now in many places all you have to do is set foot in the brush to get several black-legged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks, which are harder to see than other ticks.” Ticked off  Summer should be a carefree season full of picnics and swimming, a time for hikes and barbeques on the deck, not a time to fret about tick-borne illnesses. We want limes, not Lyme. As few as ten years ago it was unusual to find even one brown dog tick or lone star tick on your person after a weekend of camping in northern NY state. Now in many places all you have to do is set foot in the brush to get several black-legged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks, which are harder to see than other ticks. The deer tick is known to transmit Lyme disease as well as babesiosis, anaplasmosis, Powassan virus and other serious illnesses. In fact it’s possible for two or more diseases to be transferred to a host, human or otherwise, by a single tick bite. (August 12, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/13/2016 - When climate scientists attempt to model climate they will have to factor in humanity’s behavior—how we’ve polluted our environment and what our responses will be to warming. This is to say, humans have become a major force on our environment so much so that our past and future actions have to be a part of the data (challenging as that will be) we use to predict future climate scenarios. If we plan properly to address Climate Change it is more likely that our behavior will present hopeful data for climate modeling. Project maps the chemistry of the world's oceans Human actions are changing the oceans' chemistry. Pollution washes in from the coasts, iron-laden dust blows in from increasingly arid land, greenhouse gases raise surface temperatures and carbon dioxide levels. To predict how marine ecosystems are going to respond to these changes, we need to understand how marine biology and ocean chemistry interact. (August 11, 2016) PHYS.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/13/2016 - I know, we cannot prove this present heatwave in Rochester is related to Climate Change, but these hot times portend to be the new normal for our summers. We should be mindful of how we live during this heatwave and how substantially uncomfortable and dangerous even a slight rise in temperatures will be in a warmer climate. Outside workers will be greatly challenged to stay outside and work. We should plan so that our public health and our public infrastructures (transportation, water, waste, and telecommunications ((which are now the life’s blood for humanity))) can handle the increases in heat. Heat index cracks 100 in Rochester The heat index has risen above 100 degrees in Rochester, and government officials galore are warning everyone to take it slow and easy. The temperature here at 1 p.m. was 92 degrees. But with a mass of super-humid air in place, the "this-is-how-hot-it-feels" heat index was 102. At 2 p.m., the temperature and the heat index had fallen by one degree each — but the heat-index value was high enough to pose a health threat to people who exert themselves outdoors. (August 12, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle  

  • 8/13/2016 - Some are calling the rainstorm in Louisiana a “classic signal of climate change”.  It may be too soon to tell and certainly some will deny the relationship even if eventually all climate scientists agree. We can spawn debate every time it rains very hard, or gets very hot, or when a hurricane moves into new patterns of destruction. Or we can accept that Climate Change is happening and begin the tough planning for more of these events so we aren’t overwhelmed. The EPA just released its Climate Change Indicators in the United States, published in 2016. Perhaps our mainstream media should read this report and get a sense of the events that represent local indicators of Climate Change and then contact experts to verify and then inform the public so that ‘we the people’ can make informed choices about our warming world. America’s Latest 500-Year Rainstorm Is Underway Right Now in Louisiana Observers are calling the record floods a “classic signal of climate change” — and high-resolution models predict another one to two feet of rain by Saturday evening. By mid-morning on Friday, more than a foot of rain had fallen near Kentwood, Louisiana, in just a 12-hour stretch — a downpour with an estimated likelihood of just once every 500 years, and roughly three months’ worth of rainfall during a typical hurricane season. It’s the latest in a string of exceptionally rare rainstorms that are stretching the definition of “extreme” weather. It’s exactly the sort of rainstorm that’s occurring more frequently as the planet warms. (August 12, 2016) Pacific Standard [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/12/2016 - Burning methane hydrates (think leaking lots and lots of methane into our atmosphere) is unsustainable. Be concerned, be very concerned. Methane Hydrates, The Next Shale Gas? The talk a few years ago about an imminent peak in oil and gas production was proven incorrect by the technological strides made to access shale oil and gas resources. It seems that governments, exploration companies, and even the United Nations are striving to make the next technological leap – this time into accessing the gas resources available in methane hydrates. These are frozen combinations of gas and water that are stable at high pressures and low temperatures, found in Polar Regions and on the seabed (mostly shallow waters near continents and on continental slopes). (August 11, 2016) Resilience [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 8/12/2016 - It doesn’t sound corny to me at all to ask folks to “reduce, reuse, recycle” to save our wildlife from plastic pollution. It doesn’t sound corny when someone says 2 + 2 = 4. It doesn’t sound corny to remind folks that our environment is our life support system. All are true and if we don’t understand the basics, we’re basing our behavior on fantasy. We’ve treated our environment so badly for so long we copped this attitude that it’s corny to be green, to live sustainably, and to address Climate Change. Plastics, only something humans can make, are despoiling our ocean waters and our freshwaters. We are treating our environment as if it’s only a backdrop to our dreams, somehow forgetting that without a healthy environment, the one we thrived on for the past 10,000 years, our future is in jeopardy. Shame on us: “One in 10 Canadian freshwater birds are polluted with plastic…” Plastic hurting Canada’s loons, ducks and geese Study: One in 10 Canadian freshwater birds are polluted with plastic, which can block up their digestion and load them with contaminants Bottle caps, coffee cup lids, packing tape wire, foil, Styrofoam pellets—sounds like the ingredients for a MacGyver prison camp break out, right? Not quite—this is what Canadian researchers are finding in the stomachs of freshwater birds across the country, including birds like long-tailed ducks and loons, which prefer more remote, wild areas. The new research suggests Canada’s freshwater birds, just like their ocean-dwelling counterparts, are at risk from our plastic-saturated lifestyles. “We think of urban mallards or gulls around cities picking up contamination, but you think of long-tailed ducks or something … a person into wildlife would associate them with wild places,” said Mark Mallory, a professor and Canada research chair in coastal wetland ecosystems at Acadia University. “It’s kind of shocking really.” (August 5, 2016) Environmental Health News [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 8/11/2016 - The public should be concerned about aging nuclear power plants that are ‘struggling’ financially and operating with safety issues. If our energy future must have nuclear power that does not mean that we should keep aging, unsafe power plants going. These are two different issues. Proponents of the need for nuclear power to address Climate Change should distinguish keeping aging nuclear power plants separate from new generation nuclear (which can reuse spend nuclear materials) and small nuclear power operations (which can be built for less money and provide backup for renewable energy like wind and solar). It would be helpful to the public and our ability to plan for the future if our media investigated how safe aging nuclear power plants are when these local nuclear power plants are struggling financially and continually having safety issues. And keep that issue separate from next generation nuclear power. Ginna owner taking over additional Upstate nuclear plant Exelon, which owns the Ginna nuclear power plant, has agreed to buy the FitzPatrick plant in Oswego for $110 million. That means that Exelon will own all three of Upstate New York's nuclear power generators. And all three are struggling.  In recent years, each of the plants has been flagged by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission for non-critical mechanical or safety violations. Each has also been losing money, though the dual-reactor Nine Mile Point in Oswego has reportedly fared better than Ginna and FitzPatrick. (August 10, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/11/2016 - Two things jump out at me in this article about this year’s Rochester region's drought: That “The region has endured the fourth-driest June-July period since precipitation records began to be kept in Rochester in 1871.” And, if we get relief from this drought by a suddenly heavy precipitation (which according to the National Climate Assessment, our Northeast region has seen an increase in 71% of them since 1958) this would not be a good thing. Flooding and sewer system overflows and much more challenges come with too much rain at once—a phenomenon that is already occurring. With Climate Change in our region, we need to prepare for droughts (even though we have a lot of water) and more heavy precipitation (rain or snow). A dry soil can have a poor absorption ability so too much water at once can wreak havoc. More rain coming, still more needed One soaking rain down, several more to come. Will it be enough to end the Rochester region's drought? Um, well ... we'll see. Nearly everyone in western New York and the Finger Lakes received a good amount of rain in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday. Most of Monroe County got a half-inch or more in a few minutes' time as the storms moved through between 3 and 4 a.m. Areas to the west of Monroe County got less; areas to the east and southeast got more. Locales near Ithaca and Cortland got more than two inches of rain (August 10, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 8/11/2016 - With warmer temperatures in places that were once too cold for tropical diseases, Climate Change is probably helping to spread tropical diseases to new places, like New York. Climate Change is going to dramatically challenge our public health. We should plan appropriately. Time passes. Scientists Tease Out Climate Change’s Role in Zika Spread Athletes and tourists converging on Brazil this week are crowding into a country where rapid environmental change and natural weather fluctuations nurtured a viral epidemic that has gone global. The Zika virus has exploded throughout South America, up through Mexico and Puerto Rico and into Florida, but the conditions it needed to fester in northern Brazil were rooted in urbanization and poverty. The initial Brazilian outbreak appears to have been aided by a drought driven by El Niño, and by higher temperatures caused by longer-term weather cycles and by rising levels of greenhouse gas pollution. (August 4, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/10/2016 - Solar Power is increasing without much fanfare in our Western NY region, but Wind Power must try to proceed with much local resistance. Without a focus on keeping Climate Change as a top priority—for birds and bats and humanity—we will get lost in past ideas about using our environment for energy. Lighthouse Wind releases Avian and Bat Study Plan  On Aug. 1, Lighthouse Wind submitted its Avian and Bat Study Plan, detailing the study plan’s science methodology, for its wind project on the state Department of Public Service website. The Avian and Bat Study Plan — developed in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Environmental Conservation according to the cover letter provided by Lighthouse Wind attorneys — highlighted the methodology Lighthouse Wind used, and still is using, to determine the impact to bat and avian species in the project area. (August 9, 2016) The Daily News [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 8/10/2016 - Solar panels on Rochester’s roofs will look very nice on our future. There’s a lot of energy real estate on our roofs, which means we don’t lose power through long power lines. Not to mention, lots more Solar and a lot (really a lot) LESS fossil fuels means we get to have a freaking future. Solar campaign adds first Rochester home with rooftop panels The City of Rochester celebrated a first Tuesday afternoon. A home on Highland Avenue is the first in the city to have rooftop panels installed as part of the "Solarize The Flower City" campaign. The community-based organization ROCSPOT is backing the campaign. It receives funding from New York State and hasset a goal to produce as much solar power energy as Ginna Nuclear Power Plant by the year 2025. (August 9, 2016) WHAM Rochester [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 8/10/2016 - Check out Warm Regards @ourwarmregards a great podcast about noodling through the facts and implications of Climate Change. This new podcast provides great insights into the fundamentals of Climate Change that the public needs to know. “Warm Regards is a podcast about the warming planet. The show is hosted by meteorologist Eric Holthaus. Co-hosts are Jacquelyn Gill, a paleoecologist at the University of Maine, and Andy Revkin, a veteran reporter at the New York Times.”

  • 8/10/2016 - This EPA report is a ‘must read’ for those who really want to understand how Climate Change is happening in our region. You can get a really detailed and thorough view of how Climate Change is already impacting our US environment and gain a sense of the things (indicators) that we can monitor to see what to keep our eye on for the future in this report. Download and read the full report: EPA's Climate Change Indicators in the United States, published in 2016.  2016 full report (PDF)(96 pp, 24 MB, August 2016) "This report presents 37 indicators, each describing trends related to the causes and effects of climate change. It focuses primarily on the United States, but in some cases global trends are presented to provide context or a basis for comparison." (Environmental Protection Agency, EPA)

  • 8/10/2016 - It appears that permafrost melting due to Climate Change does more than put more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere: “Anthrax can lie dormant in frozen soil such as permafrost for decades and only becomes a problem if the permafrost melts.” A warming world will be a different environment than the one our species thrived on in the Holocene. Russian anthrax outbreak blamed on climate change Two people and over two thousand reindeer have been killed by the bacteria. (August 5, 2016) Aljazeera [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/09/2016 - Add the accumulated carbon from peatlands, which are warming and burning, to our carbon budget, which we have probably long passed. I suspect that a carbon budget is an economic fantasy term used by folks in the economic field, a field which did not factor in our environment for centuries except as an externality. As Peat Bogs Burn, a Climate Threat Rises RED EARTH CREEK, Alberta — Kristyn Housman grabbed the end of a sampling auger, a steel tube that two colleagues had just drilled into a moss-covered hummock in a peat bog, and poked through a damp, fibrous plug of partly decomposed peat. Peat has been building up for centuries in this bog, where the spongy moss is interspersed with black spruces and, on a late spring morning, the air is teeming with mosquitoes. The sample, taken from three feet down, is at least several hundred years old, said Ms. Housman, a graduate researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. “There’s literally tons of carbon here,” she said, looking around the bog, which covers several acres off a muddy oil-company road amid the vast flatness of northern Alberta. (August 8, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/09/2016 - Climate studies for our Northeast region predict more droughts towards the end of our summers. We should plan for the long-term so that government monies will be there in our warmer world. I know, many folks think we should not exist in a nanny state, where our government rescues farmers and other businesses from natural unpredictable disasters. But in the real world, it’s warming and extreme weather is becoming more predictable. If we don’t plan properly for Climate Change, private insurance and then our public agencies will quickly be overwhelmed. Time passes. Schumer Calls For Federal Action On Drought Relief New York Senator Charles Schumer is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin the process of issuing a disaster declaration to help Upstate New York farmers who suffer major losses and crop damage from the severe drought. (August 5, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/09/2016 - Climate Change is dramatically affecting our Great Lakes region (remember: Rochester is on the Great Lakes) and the consequences are getting stronger. Our politics, our media, and our public attention don’t reflect this urgent crisis but that doesn’t stop Climate Change. Only our abrupt change towards addressing Climate Change will matter. We should mitigate Climate Change so it doesn’t get worse; but we’ll have to adapt to the changes whether we like it or not. Time passes. Climate change warning signs getting stronger Great Lakes ills reflect trend Climate change is becoming more pronounced across our planet, with effects in the Great Lakes region including anything from more toxic algae to faster evaporation of Great Lakes water. Other documented Great Lakes impacts include higher shipping costs, more pollen, more Lyme disease, and changes in wintering habits of some birds that have been migrating across this part of North America for thousands of years. Climate change has received little attention in the 2016 presidential campaigns of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, save for Mrs. Clinton’s call for lower emissions and more renewable energy jobs during her Democratic National Convention acceptance speech. (August 8, 2016) The Toledo Blade [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/09/2016 - ACTION: From our friends over @FastForwardRoc "The Fast Forward Film Festival Call for Entries is now OPEN! "Accepting submissions from novice and veteran filmmakers who live in the Greater Rochester region NOW through February 27th, 2017! If you already have your film ready, please submit. If you haven't yet started filming, get your gear ready, and don't miss out on making the most of Rochester's beautiful summer weather!" Find out more here.

  • 8/09/2016 - We may very well need to suck a lot of CO2 out of the atmosphere to address Climate Change but we still don’t know if we can do it on a scale and speed that will matter. Negative emissions technology, where we find a techno-fix for our inability to curb CO2 emissions and stay on our carbon budget, is a reliance on a silver bullet we haven’t even invented yet. Considering the amount of climate disruptions we are already experiencing--record-breaking heatwaves in parts of the world, wildfires, sea level rises, damage to our coral reefs, and more extreme weather—we have probably long blasted through our carbon budget. If we have put ourselves in a state where negative emissions are necessary to survive, it should have been happening quite a while ago. Many put their faith on planting trees on a massive scale but it would have to be a lot of trees and it would have to be done quickly. Time passes.  Michigan Scientists See Urgency for Negative Emissions ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When Sarang Supekar describes how he thinks global warming will have to be stabilized, he talks in terms of sucking a lot of carbon dioxide out of the air and in a very short timeframe. Supekar, a systems engineer at the University of Michigan, is part of a team developing a computer model that estimates how countries can stay within their carbon budgets, limiting their greenhouse gases so that the earth does not warm beyond the 2°C (3.6°F) threshold. His research, which is ongoing and has not yet been published, is suggesting an increasingly dire situation: Countries may have only until 2026 to begin retiring most old coal-fired power plants and replacing them with 100 percent renewable power sources, or the globe is likely to blow through its carbon budget and exceed 2°C of warming. (August 8, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/08/2016 - Too many humans, unlike some fish who think global warming is night, have another strategy and pretend global warming is a hoax. When the consequences of not planning for Climate Change (of which global warming is a subset) hit home, fairy tale time will end. Some fish tackle ocean global warming by pretending it's night Some fish may cope with the changing chemistry of the oceans linked to global warming by permanently setting their body defenses to night-time levels, the time of day when they find sea water least hospitable, a study said on Monday. Man-made carbon dioxide, released into the air by burning fossil fuels, forms a weak acid when mixed with water that can harm marine life in what is likely to be a worsening effect of global warming this century. Fish adjust their bodies every day because levels of carbon dioxide naturally in the seas peak at night and dip during sunlight hours when algae, seaweed and other plants absorb carbon dioxide to generate energy. (August 1, 2016) Reuters (more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/08/2016 - Climate Change as the opening ceremony at the Rio Olympics demonstrates that however much politicians and media and deniers aggressively ignore the crisis of our age, the message gets through. I suspect as the great warming gets more dire, the growing population of concerned people will find more ways to reach the public on Climate Change. But time is running out. The Rio Opening Ceremony Put Climate Change Front And Center Brazil wasted no time with the whole world watching. The Opening Ceremony at the Rio Olympics Friday evening was filled with celebrations of Brazilian culture and unity. But for a few brief moments, the message was polarizing and crystal clear: The world must do whatever it can to stop climate change. (August 7, 2016) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/06/2016 - Heatwaves in Northeast during Climate Change still get reported in local media as anomalies that don’t break historical records. We are reminded that in the “… Summer of 1952. In that year, the thermometer touched 90 a total of thirty-two times!” Though, when we look at the big picture (climate) we find that “Heat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. Many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their planning.” And “Under both emissions scenarios, the frequency, intensity, and duration of heat waves is expected to increase, with larger increases under higher emissions” (See the National Climate Assessment | Northeast) And, we know right now that records are being broken on heat records in many places around the world. 2015 Set Frenzy of Climate Records The warming of the world’s climate has reached a fever pitch in recent years, causing records to fall like dominoes. In 2015, the planet saw a number of such records set, from the hottest global temperature measured to the largest annual increase in carbon dioxide. Those records — along with numerous other indicators of the considerable change wrought on land, in the oceans and air, and to ecosystems — are detailed in the annual State of the Climate Report released Tuesday by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (August 2, 2016) Climate Central And 2016 is quite likely to break 2015 records, as some are already broken this year. Yes, El Niño is making last year and this year hotter, but Climate Change is making these cyclical weather phenomenon more acute. My point is that  our local media should be focusing on putting our heat waves in the context of what is being experienced around the world and within climate studies of our region and climate models, not simply a maniacal parochial fixation on our present heat waves, as if we were not part of a warming world. Yet another Heat Wave for Rochester ...and yet another 90 degree day Today's high temperature in Rochester was 92 degrees. Yup, another 90 degree day! This was the seventeenth time it's hit 90 degrees in Rochester this season.  As you might imagine, we've had our full quota of 90 degree days this season. A typical Summer in Rochester brings nine 90 degree days. This Summer, we've had nearly double that! (August 5, 2016) RochesterFirst.com

  • 8/06/2016 - Wildlife, if nothing else, are indicators of environmental health, which is to say the state of our life support system. This situation, where terns are experiencing premature feather loss, is still unknown origins (“as-yet unknown toxins or pathogens,” the study said.) or may be weather related. Wildlife have a value in and of themselves. But even if you don’t care about our wildlife you should still care what happens to them because, more likely than not, whatever affects them will affect us. Helping Wildlife adapt to Climate Change should be given high priority because wildlife are key features of the ecosystems that keep us alive—which makes them Climate Change indicators. These birds of a feather lost their feathers We’re told that birds of a feather flock together. But what happens when flocks of birds lose their feathers? Scientists are puzzling over a rare occurrence: premature feather loss among common tern chicks at Gull Island in northern Lake Ontario, Canada. The July 2014 discovery was the first known occurrence of premature feather loss among terns in 40 years, a new study said, and “was largely of unknown origin.” The phenomenon affected about 5 percent of tern chicks that were banded that season. (August 5, 2016) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes and Wildlife in our area]

  • 8/06/2016 - Will your vote (or not voting) this year for US President produce a 2C world or a 4C world? That is the question. Why the 2016 Election Is About Climate Change The Risk of Moving Too Slowly The thumbnail definition of risk is probability combined with potential consequences. Americans understand a lot about risk. Taking calculated risks built this country. We now face the catastrophic risk of climate change and consequences beyond human experience. From 1980 to present there have been 196 climatic extreme events that have caused damage greater than $1 billion. The total aggregate cost for damages is $1.1 trillion. Globally, 90 percent of disasters are weather-related. In 2016, the disaster damage reached $250 billion (Forbes, May 12, 2016). As the weather changes with a changing climate, the cost of damages is projected to exceed $1 trillion by 2020. Global urban infrastructure expenditure is expected to reach $350 trillion by mid-century. (August 5, 2016) Planet Experts [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/06/2016 - Blue-green algae is the bad of algae (the kind that produces toxins) and it will represent a continual problem as our lake waters warm up with Climate Change. We should prepare and educate accordingly, instead of reporting on these outbreaks as random oddities that come and go. Sandy Bottom Beach closed due to blue-green algae A popular beach on Honeoye Lake is closed due to blue-green algae. Officials say Sandy Bottom Beach is closed due to the blooms. The algae can produce toxins which can pose health risks. Symptoms include allergic reactions or eye, skin, nose and throat irritation. (August 5, 2016) WHEC Rochester [more on Water Quality and Honeoye Lake in our area]

  • 8/05/2016 - The media, ya gotta laugh: Biologists trying to reintroduce monstrous alligator gar into the Great Lakes never thought they could handle the Asian Carp. Asian Carp would vastly outnumber the gars and the gars cannot even open their jaws wide enough to eat an Asian Carp. But the media likes to publish stories about bringing back great big monster-bad fish to eat the hordes of big invasive species—and save the day! Good grief.  Our media needs to evolve into an information system that will get us through Climate Change, the mother of all problems (which will include dealing with invasive species). Alligator Gar Not Effective Weapon Against Asian Carp, Says Biologist A spate of recent news articles have suggested that reintroducing a mammoth fish called the alligator gar into Illinois waterways may help protect Lake Michigan from the invasive Asian carp. But not everyone believes this to be true, including Dan Stephenson, a longtime biologist and chief of fisheries at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. That's the state agency that’s reintroducing the once-extinct alligator gar into Illinois’ waterways. “We’re just trying to bring back an extirpated species, a native fish that was here once and we’d like to have them back,” Stephenson said. “There was never a thought in our minds at all about any kind of control on Asian carp.” (August 3, 2016) Chicago Tonight WTTW [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 8/05/2016 - Should the $7.6 billion dollar bailout of nuclear power plants in New York State be blamed on renewable energy or cheap fracked gas? It seems that we are still dealing with ‘all of the above’ when trying to provide energy in a time of Climate Change. The public subsidies nuclear and oil, gets lured into cheaper fracked gas because of prices, and doesn’t focus enough on Solar Power and Wind Power. Solar and Wind should be our top priority for our energy needs in a time of Climate Change because of physics and safety. Fossil fuel energy options, while still providing jobs, are heating up the planet and nuclear power, large aging nuclear plants, are a public safety wildcard. We could shift to 100% renewable energy very soon if we put our top priority on bringing down our greenhouse gases in a time of warming—where we are putting our future in danger.  Our energy goals should be to help transition workers to a new, cleaner, sustainable energy paradigm by shifting our attitudes and economic incentives to make that happen. Time passes. Nuclear Power Is Losing Money At An Astonishing Rate Half of existing nuclear power plants are no longer profitable. The New York Times and othershave tried to blame renewable energy for this, but the admittedly astounding price drops of renewables aren’t the primary cause of the industry’s woes — cheap fracked gas is. The point of blaming renewables, which currently receive significant government subsidies, is apparently to argue that existing nukes deserve some sort of additional subsidy to keep running — beyond the staggering $100+ billion in subsidies the nuclear industry has received over the decades. But a major reason solar and wind energy receive federal subsidies — which are beingphased out over the next few years — is because they are emerging technologies whose prices are still rapidly coming down the learning curve, whereas nuclear is an incumbent technology with a negative learning curve. (August 4, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/05/2016 - So far 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement at a ceremony in New York on 22 April, 2016, but only 19 countries have ratified the Agreement. We need 55 nations whose greenhouse gas emissions add up to 55% of the world’s total in order to ratify Paris by Earth Day 2017 Press Release: UN Secretary-General invites all Member States to event on 21 September aimed at accelerating Paris Agreement entry into force Early entry into force seen as critical for boosting climate action United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited leaders from all countries to attend a special event on 21 September to deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the Paris Agreement on climate change. The event will also provide an opportunity to other countries to publicly commit to joining or ratifying the agreement before the end of 2016. The agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance with the Secretary-General. It is expected that the September event will help efforts to secure early entry into force of the agreement. (July 18, 2016) UN Sustainable Development Goals [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/04/2016 - Sorry, but no species benefits from global warming. We cannot compartmentalize the effects of the mother of all problems. Singles species may do well for a while as our climate quickly warms but eventually all will cook under the relentless climb of global temperatures. And even in the short run, there are many factors—availability of food, predation, ecosystems stress, how human will react to warming—that will probably not benefit any single species. When you change the entire temperature of the planet quickly there are innumerable consequences, many of which are unknown. Those who think there are both good and bad elements of Climate Change, don’t know Climate Change. It’s like saying the one benefit of your house burning down is that you will get to live in another place. Attempts by the media to find happy points in Climate Change and global warming are misguided and shortsighted. Global warming good for endangered Fowler's toad at Long Point on Lake Erie Global warming is not all bad - at least if you are a Fowler's toad at Long Point on Lake Erie. Listed as endangered in Canada, the warty amphibians have been studied by McGill University professor David Green and his students for more than 25 consecutive years. What Green has found is the climate at Long Point southeast of London has been changing slowly. "Over a period of nearly a century and a half it has gotten a little bit warmer and a little wetter and the toads have been coming out a little earlier," Green said. (July 24, 2016) The London Free Press [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/04/2016 - Actually, we don’t just want future generations to enjoy the Great Lakes, we need to have the Great Lakes work as a healthy ecosystem. If the Asian Carp are allowed to invade the largest fresh water system in the world and screw it up, we’ll only have ourselves to blame. But a broken ecosystem is not merely a moral failure, it will be a vital component of our life support system broken, which will have many known and unknown physical consequences some of which we may not be able to recover from. Have we done enough to stop the Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes? The media tends to characterize threats to major ecosystems, like the Great Lakes, in terms of ending fun for some people, people who like to boat and swim and fish. But our media should long ago have helped educate the public how important an ecosystem is to our existence and how we can adapt to the changes that are coming to our Great Lakes in a warmer world. Asian carp ‘fatigue’ threatens Great Lakes Boat captains call on Congress to renew efforts to address potential invasion Great Lakes charter boat captains are calling on Congress to refocus efforts on Asian carp, the exotic species with a voracious appetite that many fish biologists fear would wreak havoc on the region’s $7 billion fishery if they ever became established in it. Those fishing captains are one of the groups with the most to lose, because they are highly dependent on a diverse mix of fish species to make their businesses more attractive. That’s especially true in Lake Erie, where more fish are spawned than the rest of the Great Lakes combined. (August 3, 2016) The Toledo Blade [more on the Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 8/04/2016 - Is the drought we are experiencing in Western NY (including Monroe County) due to Climate Change? I don’t know. But we know this kind of drought is projected in climate models to be the new normal towards the end of our Western NY summers—so we should be planning for these droughts to be the new normal at this time of year (though this particular drought is early.) Just for giggles, check out the U.S. Climate Resilient Toolkit’s Climate Explorer for Rochester, NY and Monroe County for present and projected temperature and precipitation levels for our region: Even though our City and County have a lot of water, droughts are not to be ignored. Read the DEC’s warnings: Governor Cuomo Directs DEC to Issue Heightened Drought Warning for Western New York Under a framework established under an Executive Order, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to issue a heightened Drought Warning for most of Western New York. In response, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos issued a Drought Warning for western State Drought Regions VI, VII and VIII. These regions include the following counties in western NYS: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates. Commissioner Seggos issued the warning after consulting with experts from the State Drought Management Task Force and Federal technical agencies. The remainder of the State remains under a previously declared Drought Watch. "Recent rains helped to reduce the severity of drought conditions in the eastern portion of NY. However, much of western NY did not receive large rainfall amounts over the past weekend and continues to experience significant drought conditions with extremely low stream flows and reduced groundwater levels," Governor Cuomo said. "Residents throughout the state should continue to conserve water whenever possible during the coming months." (August 3, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

  • 8/04/2016 - Actually, since 2000 the National Climate Assessment under the Global Change Research Act of 1990, every government agency has had to consider Climate Change. 13 branches of government have “produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.”1 These governmental agencies know quite well how Climate Change is going to impact their department’s bailiwicks and what they need to do to address Climate Change.  It’s almost unimaginable to think we’d install a president who denies the challenges our country will have to face with Climate Change. From now on, every government agency will have to consider climate change In the past several weeks alone, the Obama administration has made multiple new moves to fight climate change. The administration announced new steps to help fill U.S. roadways with electric vehicles. It ruled that greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft endanger human health and welfare. And on the international stage, it moved the world closer to a deal to phase out super-polluting HFCs, chemicals in refrigerants and other industrial substances that warm the climate. But as Obama’s term dwindles, the act isn’t over — on Tuesday the White House released yet another policy to fight climate change, one with potentially far-reaching consequences. The White House’s chief environmental office, the Council on Environmental Quality, finalized a six-year process of shaping how the government’s agencies, across the board, will factor climate change into their decisions. (August 2, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/04/2016 - Climate change is about planning to save ecosystems not baseball bats. Sen. Schumer hits a home run: “It's not just baseball bats on the line.  It's whole forests and many of the trees that decorate mainstreets all over New York state. Emerald ash borers have killed roughly 50 million ash trees across the country since 2002. ” Climate Change, where our Northern winters will tend to be warmer, will allow the Emerald Ash borer to do more damage to our ash trees. It would be nice if our public broadcasting system could connect the dots between invasive species proliferation and Climate Change instead of pandering to the public’s fear of losing baseball bats. Asian beetle threatens Adirondack forests that produce iconic baseball bats (August 1, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 8/03/2016 - Whatever your attitude—from alarmed to denial—about Climate Change, if you’re not focused on the rising temperatures you’re fooling yourself. It is the physics of Climate Change that catapults this issue above all others. If humanity doesn’t focus our priority on bringing down the heat, we are going to cook. And all those other things you wanted to do won’t happen. 2015 Set Frenzy of Climate Records The warming of the world’s climate has reached a fever pitch in recent years, causing records to fall like dominoes. In 2015, the planet saw a number of such records set, from the hottest global temperature measured to the largest annual increase in carbon dioxide. Those records — along with numerous other indicators of the considerable change wrought on land, in the oceans and air, and to ecosystems — are detailed in the annual State of the Climate Report released Tuesday by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (August 2, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/03/2016 - Once we get our heads out of ground and look to the sun, there will be no limits on how to harness the energy of the sun. Not even humans can screw up the Sun so we ought to go whole hog on solar power and ditch dirty fuel energy right now. Using solar tech to clean pollution A Portland, Oregon, company has received state backing to perfect using a solar technology to clean farm and factory pollution.      State research investors with Oregon BEST believe Focal Technologies has a promising technology based on using the sun’s rays to clean up contaminated water. The idea is not new, according to Ken Vaughn, commercialization director at Oregon BEST. He said scientists have long worked to use solar energy to purify water. (August 1, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 8/03/2016 - Even if you agree that nuclear power must be a part of our Energy mix to address Climate Change, it’s still dangerous to keep aging nuclear power plants going years after their expiration dates. What extra care? what concerns? and what should the public know about keeping aging nuclear power plants operating? —these are not question we addressed at the Clean Energy Standard meetings around the state. We discussed the desire of folks and communities benefiting from nuclear power jobs and we discussed how we’d have to turn back to coal if we the state didn’t subsidies nuclear power. We didn’t discuss increasing large-scale wind farms and implementing energy efficiency and energy conservation to pick up the slack while we dismantled aging nuclear power plants. If we had prioritized Climate Change planning and public safety at these Clean Energy Standard meetings the outcome would have been different. New York State Aiding Nuclear Plants With Millions in Subsidies Utility customers in New York State will pay nearly $500 million a year in subsidies aimed at keeping some upstate nuclear power plants operating, regulators in Albany decided on Monday. The subsidies were included in an order from the Public Service Commission to establish new rules on how power consumed in the state is generated. The policy, championed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, calls for half of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources, such as solar or wind, by 2030. (August 1, 2016) New York Times [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/03/2016 - To toxic flame retardants in our Great Lakes we can add pharmaceuticals, plastic bits, human waste (from periodic sewer overflows), invasive species, pesticides, and much more. We will go into Climate Change with the environment we have and the Great Lakes, which will be incredibly vital to our ability to adapt to Climate Change, must be restored to the healthiest state possible. Read:  Restoring the Great Lakes - Success Stories from the 2014 Field Season from the US. Fish and Wildlife Service. New York State Aiding Nuclear Plants With Millions in Subsidies Utility customers in New York State will pay nearly $500 million a year in subsidies aimed at keeping some upstate nuclear power plants operating, regulators in Albany decided on Monday. The subsidies were included in an order from the Public Service Commission to establish new rules on how power consumed in the state is generated. The policy, championed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, calls for half of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources, such as solar or wind, by 2030. (August 1, 2016) New York Times [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 8/02/2016 - Humanity has learned how to supplant the role of many animals within ecosystems but not how to duplicate ecosystems themselves. Individual animals we will mourn the loss of as we make their ecosystems inhabitable to them with Climate Change and fail to help them adapt to a very rapid warming. But when enough animals and enough of the particular animals (think keystone species) needed to make an ecosystem thrive bring down an ecosystem, humanity will quickly follow. While many of us focus on the survival of individual animals and species, it is health of our ecosystems that we must prioritize. Ecological Impacts of Climate Change Collection 2015-2016 How climate change affects the structure and function of ecosystems—past, present, and future–is a well-represented topic in PLOS publications for 2015-2016. The following, highlighted articles constitute the PLOS Ecological Impacts of Climate Change Collection and include a small sample of the work authors from both PLOS One and PLOS Biology have contributed towards better understanding our changing planet.   The collection was started in 2013 by PLOS Academic Editor, Ben Bond-Lamberty to reflect the broad diversity of climate change informed research in PLOS publications. The collection is divided into subsections:  climate impacts on oceans, assessments of large-scale vulnerability, pests and disturbance, soils in a warming world, management and conservation, climate impacts on animals, and learning from the past. (August 1, 2016) PLOS Ecology Community (more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/02/2016 - Today’s question boys and girls: Who’s going to pay for bigger and hotter wildfires that come with Climate Change? Ans: Everyone. There are going to be more wildfires in a warmer world in regions already prone to wildfires (and eventually areas that have not been prone to massive wildfires) and these fires have no respect for public or private property, rich or poor, or anything else for that matter. How do we provide insurance for a planet burning up? Burning Economic Issues Behind America’s Wildfire Problem The West, and federal taxpayers, have a serious and growing problem as communities continue to expand in and around forested and grassy landscapes prone to fire. As Headwaters Economics has shownso vividly in fine-grained maps, there is a vast amount of developable land in vulnerable zones that, without changed policies, will greatly increase exposure to hazard, and do so even as climate change boosts odds of fire-friendly conditions. (August 1, 2016) NYT: Dot Earth [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/02/2016 - Questioning why humanity should save endangered species could only come from a pompous and irresponsible being quite removed from reality. For some time now, we have created money and economic systems and still haven’t grasped life’s costs. What is the point on saving endangered species? It will cost billions of dollars to save all the world's threatened species. What's in it for us? In 1981, mountain gorillas were at rock-bottom. Confined to a small mountain range in central Africa, with humans encroaching on their habitat bringing poaching and civil war,their population was estimated at just 254. They would all have fitted into a single Boeing 747. Today things look a little better. A survey in 2012 reported thatthe population was up to 880. That is a big improvement, but it's still only two Boeing 747s of mountain gorillas. They remain critically endangered. (July 14, 2016) BBC [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 8/01/2016 - The Paris Agreement signed by most countries on Earth Day 2016 but still to be ratified, is the agreed bottom-up approach to address Climate Change that most said was the only way to go. It’s now August of 2016, how’s Paris working out? After Paris, how are governments tackling climate change? Governments appear committed to delivering on their promises, but many will require more funding and assistance to deliver a fast and effective green transition The Paris climate talks marked a high water mark in international diplomacy, as countries queued up to present plans shaping their contribution to emissions reduction and climate resilient growth. The overall ambition to hold temperature rise to well below 2C was rightly regarded as a landmark. Seven months on, the Vienna conference on amending the Montreal Protocol has made major strides toward cutting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which could curb global warming this century by up to one degree. (July 25, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/01/2016 - Climate Change means that it is more likely that we will continue to break high temperature records in places—until even higher temperatures are the norm. With human intelligence, ingenuity, compassion, and empathy, we could have made Earth our heaven. Instead, it we are making it a hell. Searing Kuwait Temp Could Rank Among World’s Hottest The Middle East is no stranger to scorching heat, but a recent heat wave sent temperatures soaring to heights that are rarely seen even there. On July 21, Mitribah, Kuwait, recorded a temperature of 129.2°F (54°C) during the height of the heat wave. If it checks out, that will be the second hottest temperature ever measured in the Eastern Hemisphere. (July 29, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/30/2016 - Actually, NYS could shift to 100% renewable energy (without the freaking nukes) by 2050. See The Solutions Project. Wind, nuclear advance as NY moves ahead with energy plan New York state committed last year to generating half of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2030. Now comes the hard part: figuring out how to do it. Several big decisions in the next few weeks could fill in some of the details about how the state will meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo's renewable energy standard and decide where New Yorkers will get their energy in the years to come. (July 28, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 7/30/2016 - From our friends over at THE PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER August 2016 Newsletter   "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”

  • 7/30/2016 - Less than a week ago 10,000 of us marched in the streets to ratchet up Clean Energy at the #CleanEnergyMarch in Philly. Did it matter? Did we make an impact? Do we have to ratchet up our voices before we conform to the physics of Climate Change? Time passes. Over 10,000 Climate Protesters March in Philadelphia on Day Before Democratic National Convention Thousands of climate activists, public health advocates and others arrived in the streets before the first day of the Democratic National Convention, despite blazing heat that was just one degree shy of the hottest July 24 on record in Philadelphia. With temperatures in the mid-90s, a crowd that organizers estimated included over 10,000 marchers converged on Independence Mall near the home of the Liberty Bell. (July 25, 2016) DESMOG [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 7/30/2016 - Phenomenons known as “wet microbursts” aka ‘rain bombs’ are more intense rainfall events due to Climate Change. They will produce instant flooding, but more ominously they portent a change in the way our atmosphere holds more water then releases it all at once. According to the National Climate Assessment, we are already seeing more (71%) heavy rainfall events in the Northeast since 1958. We changed our atmosphere so that it rains less frequently because it’s storing up more water to release it in rain bombs. Knowing this should galvanize folks into action. Instant flooding will be useless to agriculture and threatens our transportation infrastructures (think washed out highways and bridges). We have to both prepare for a climate in the Northeast that rains harder and stop using fossil fuel energy so we don’t make it worse. Time passes. Forget Tornadoes. Rain Bombs Are Coming for Your Town Climate change is weaponizing the atmosphere. Evidence shows that the sky is coming down on our heads—the watery part of it, anyway, in larger and larger cascades. It’s largely our own fault. The past two months have seen some doozies just in the U.S. The Empire State Building was struck by lightning twice on Monday during a storm that brought an inch of rain down in what felt like a single sheet. (July 29, 2016) Bloomberg News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/29/2016 - Rochester, NY and Monroe County work together to reduce gasoline emissions to address Climate Change. I know, this greeny collaboration between Rochester and Monroe County seems like small potatoes, but it’s really significant. Monroe County, which contains the City of Rochester and most of the people in Monroe County, has rarely been forthright on addressing Climate Change. Right now the City of Rochester is finishing up the touches to their Climate Action Plan (CAP) which attempts to move beyond greening up city buildings and vehicle fleets (the import of the press release below) but the county has not been a part of this CAP plan much at all. The county of Monroe has been mum on Climate Change since Climate Change began. Anything the City of Rochester wishes to attempt to do to address Climate Change—updating our infrastructures, tracking our energy use, and measuring our air quality—the county of Monroe needs to be a major player in all these efforts—not just sharing some bio-fuel for their respective vehicle fleets. It is hopeful that the county and the City are collaborating on this specific project. But this particular effort with our governmental vehicle fleets is but a drop in the bucket for joint efforts on a time level and scale needed to help our region adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. This is press release is a breath of fresh air and probably the first time that both the City and County were together mentioning Climate Change: ““The City of Rochester is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and our continued transition to cleaner fuel sources for our vehicles plays a major part in that effort,” said Mayor Warren. “Vehicle emissions are one of the leading sources of greenhouse gasses – which leads to climate change. Our efforts in partnership with the County government to reduce gasoline emissions helps make Rochester and Monroe County a cleaner, more sustainable region -- which moves us closer to our goals of creating more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and better schools.”” NEWS RELEASE - CITY, COUNTY CELEBRATE MILESTONES TOWARD GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTIONS Mayor Lovely A. Warren and County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo today celebrated the City and County governments’ united effort to protect the environment by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions generated by each agency’s fleet of vehicles. “The City of Rochester is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and our continued transition to cleaner fuel sources for our vehicles plays a major part in that effort,” said Mayor Warren. “Vehicle emissions are one of the leading sources of greenhouse gasses – which leads to climate change. Our efforts in partnership with the County government to reduce gasoline emissions helps make Rochester and Monroe County a cleaner, more sustainable region -- which moves us closer to our goals of creating more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and better schools.” (July 20, 2016) City of Rochester, NY

  • 7/29/2016 - OK, I’ll admit I have NOT come across any predictions of horseshit bursting into flames in any climate models or studies. There are a lot of unknown unknowns (things we don’t even know we don’t know) coming with Climate Change and this little story about horsey fire starters in a warming world is one of them. (I’ll just bet our local media could not resist publishing this horse poop bursting in flames story, but if true ((who knows, it could have been a slow day at the press)) anything that spontaneously combusts when things gets hot and dry are dots that need to be connected in our warming world.) Heat causes horse manure to burst into flames THROOP — This summer has been so hot and dry in upstate New York that the horse poop in Throop is bursting into flames. The state Department of Environmental Conservation says one of its enforcement officers responded July 5 to multiple calls complaining of smell and smoke coming from a burning pile of horse manure at a property in the town of Throop, Cayuga County, 20 miles west of Syracuse. (July 28, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/29/2016 - New animated graphics demonstrate how quickly we are blowing through our carbon budget--and no adults to make up the difference. Scientists are making climate science easier and easier for the public to visualize the complicated science behind our climate so making critical decisions clearer and clearer for everyone. However, climate scientists cannot make us do the right thing. They’re just interpreters for our life support systems, systems we need to keep healthy for us to have a future. Scientists have found a perfect illustration of how the climate is spiraling ‘out of control’ Several months ago, climate scientist Ed Hawkins made headlines with a stunning animated visualization of the change in global temperature over the past 150 years. At the time, he told The Washington Post that the graphic was an attempt to “communicate in a different way,” and his efforts seemed to have worked: The visualization was shared thousands of times and covered by numerous news outlets touting its simple and effective demonstration of the progression of global warming over time. Now, scientists have developed two new visualizations, released Wednesday, intended to complement Hawkins’s original graphic. The result is an even clearer picture of not only the change in global climate but the undeniable human influence on its progression. (July 28, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/29/2016 - Clouds, the wildcards of science, appear to be changing dramatically because of Climate Change.  This matters because clouds can reflect sunlight and keep things cooler on the ground, or blanket greenhouse gases and make the land below warmer. Clouds matter as they are not really the stuff of dreams; they are some of the unknowns in climate predictions. Climate Change May Already Be Shifting Clouds Toward The Poles The way clouds cover the Earth may be changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the 1980s. Clouds in the mid-latitudes shifted toward the poles during that period, as the subtropical dry zones expanded and the highest cloud-tops got higher. These changes are predicted by most climate models of global warming, even though those models disagree on a lot of other things related to clouds, says Joel Norris, a climate scientist at the University of California, San Diego. (July 11, 2016) NPR [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/28/2016 - Local Rochester, NY media presents full discussion of connecting the dots with activism and Fracking and Climate Change. Maybe this is the start of a real dialogue on the crisis of our age and what to do about it in our local media. Which is to say, an opportunity to engage the public on Climate Change which deeply affects all our lives, no matter what your political persuasion, and whatever you might have planned for you and your family’s future. Activist Wendy Lynne Lee speaks on the Environment Professor and activist Wendy Lynne Lee spoke at the Flying Squirrel Community Space on July 21 2016. Lee is a professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg. The event was sponsored by the Green Party of Monroe County. The talk was about sustainability and how current social and philosophical attitudes make achieving it more difficult. The accompanying photo show showed the effects of fracking in Pennsylvania and world wide climate change. The video includes the full lecture, photos and follow up questions. (July 26, 2016) Rochester IndyMedia [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/28/2016 - Beyond the politicization and dysfunctionality of US politics on science is the present and looming reality of Climate Change. The more climate scientists learn about global warming (a subset of Climate Change), and gathering information for climate models, the more certain they are that we are heading for disaster if we don’t quickly shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy—and adapting to Climate Change. Climate models are accurately predicting ocean and global warming A new study from my colleagues and I vindicates climate models, which are accurately predicting the rate of ocean heat accumulation For those of us who are concerned about global warming, two of the most critical questions we ask are, “how fast is the Earth warming?” and “how much will it warm in the future?”. The first question can be answered in a number of ways. For instance, we can actually measure the rate of energy increase in the Earth’s system (primarily through measuring changing ocean temperatures). Alternatively, we can measure changes in the net inflow of heat at the top of the atmosphere using satellites. We can also measure the rate of sea-level rise to get an estimate of the warming rate. (July 27, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/28/2016 - One of the things that separates Climate Change from other issues is that because it’s based on basic physics it’s testable and predictive. Not to mention Climate Change is the mother of all problems for if we don’t adapt to and mitigate Climate Change all our other issues will be moot. A stunning prediction of climate science — and basic physics — may now be coming true A lot of people deny climate change. Not many, though, deny gravity. That’s why a recent animation released by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory — well, it came out in April, but people seem to benoticing it now — is so striking. Because it suggests the likely gravitational imprint of our changing climate on key features of the Earth in a way that’s truly startling. (July 27, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/28/2016 - On climate modeling: “If the world did not work this way, cars would not run, airplanes would not fly …” I’m reading this wonderfully accessible (and free) scientific paper on climate modeling “Demystifying Climate Models, A Users Guide to Earth System Models”. Get inside the modeling of climate and end climate denialism. Really, read this free online paper on how climate modeling works because it is with climate modeling that scientists are so sure that we cannot continue business as usual. This quote kinda says it all: “In the face of criticism of climate science, it is important to note that the physical science behind climate models and energy is based on physical laws known for several hundred years and is not new or subject to question. If the world did not work this way, cars would not run, airplanes would not fly, and everyday motions that we observe (baseball pitches, gravity) would not happen. As we demonstrate later, these underlying scientific principles are not cutting-edge science. The principles are not open to question or debate, any more than the law of gravity can be debated.” (Page 39, 2016) Demystifying Climate Models, A Users Guide to Earth System Models) (You can download this report here.)

  • 7/27/2016 - House Science Committee Chairman bitch-slap states’ attorney generals for doing their job investigating EXXON for allegedly lying to their investors on Climate Change. High level Climate Change deniers, ya gotta laugh. Those folks will do anything--kill the messenger, lie, and use their power to crush science--to pursue their crazy denial ideology at any and all cost to our future. Read this: “Exxon's Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels' Role in Global Warming Decades Ago” (from Inside Climate News) 2 attorneys general refuse subpoenas on climate change probe The New York and Massachusetts attorneys general are refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking records about their investigations into whether Exxon Mobil misled investors about man-made climate change. In an escalating political fight over global warming, House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith is pursuing records from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, along with nine environmental, scientific and philanthropic organizations. (July 27, 2016) WXXI News [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]   

  • 7/27/2016 - Cool so see many folks riding bike share bikes in Philly during #CleanEnergyMarch on Sunday. #biketheroc will look good on Rochester too. Bike share hits smaller metros  Urban bike-share programs aren't the big-city novelty they used to be; smaller metros such as Boise and Buffalo have programs now, and Rochester is looking into starting one, too. City officials don't want to put a substantial amount of taxpayer money into the project, though, so they're seeking a company, a nonprofit, or some combination of the two to take it on. Proposals are due by August 3. In the eyes of public transit and active transportation advocates such as Mike Governale, president of Reconnect Rochester, bike share's time has come. (July 27, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/27/2016 - Have you been seeing lots of green in our local Rochester-region waters lately? It’s probably Cladophora. Find out more: Research: Connections- Invasive Species and Benthic Algae in the Finger Lakes Have you noticed the green shorelines and algae streaming off of the rocks in your lake this summer? Residents of Cayuga and Seneca Lakes have been reporting lots of algae sightings – both in the water and washing up on shorelines. What exactly is this algae and is it dangerous? Much of the algae is Cladophora, including those long strings of algae hanging on rocks. Cladophora looks dark green and is often attached to hard substrates such as rocks, break walls, and docks. Since it propagates on the bottom of lakes it is referred to as ‘benthic algae’. Below is a picture of a rock from Seneca Lake with Cladophora attached.  (July 22, 2016) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [More on Finger Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/27/2016 - Good article in the D&C about the state of the Kodak cleanup of the Genesee River. Helps to make sense of the separate restorations efforts and the remedial work (if any) after the investigations are made public. Read: Genesee River Project - Investigation Update - February 2016 “During 2015, DEC's engineering consultant (Parsons) conducted field sampling to assess the sediments, water, biota and floodplains in the lower Genesee River in Rochester from near the Lower Falls to the mouth of the river at Lake Ontario. The sampling program started in August 2015 and was completed in December 2015. Parsons is currently evaluating information collected during the investigation and will be preparing a report that is expected to be available to the public in the late summer of 2016. DEC will keep the public informed about this project through periodic posting of updates/documents on this website, issuance of factsheets, and public meetings at key project milestones.” Comments sought on plan for restoring the Genesee River Acknowledging that their industrial activities had marred the Genesee River ecosystem, Eastman Kodak Co. agreed two years ago to provide $4.3 million for restoration projects. The public now is getting a chance to comment on how that money should be spent. Some suggestions that already have been floated include diversifying wetlands along the riverbank or creating spots along the lower Genesee where boaters and paddlers can tie up and have a picnic. "We’re really excited about this. We have a good opportunity to do some great restoration and recreation projects," said Amy Roe of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service office in Cortland, which is coordinating the planning. (January 26, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on the Genesee River in our area]

  • 7/26/2016 - I wish there was as much environmental opposition to oil pipeline under Great Lakes as there is over offshore and onshore wind projects. Actually, in the Rochester region there is almost no recognition of the threat of oil pipelines under the Great Lakes as there is a hue and cry every time renewable energy proponents suggest erecting wind turbines near the Great Lakes shores—on or off land. We should get our priorities straight in a time of this great warming. We need large scale wind farms in our Great Lakes region to supply sufficient renewable energy to replace the fossil fuel energy infrastructures. Spillage coming from a broken and corroded oil pipelines is going to do a lot more environmental damage throughout the Great Lakes, where the water flows through the system towards Rochester and out the St. Lawrence, than a wind turbine falling down. What's next for oil pipeline under Great Lakes? The hot button issue of oil pipelines continues to get a lot of attention. In the Great Lakes there’s a long running battle over a crude and natural gas line that runs through a waterway connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. (July 25, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 7/26/2016 - ACTION: The closing date for public comment on the Genesee River Draft Restoration Plan is September 30, 2016. “In 2014, the Trustees resolved a natural resource damage claim with the Eastman Kodak Company for the Genesee River located in the City of Rochester, Monroe County, New York. The Draft Restoration Plan outlines the restoration project categories that have been selected to address injuries to and lost use of natural resources.” Find our more here: Notice of Availability for Public Comment, Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for Genesee River Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New York State, collectively the Trustees, announce the availability of the Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Genesee River, and Genesee River Watershed, New York (Draft Restoration Plan) for public review and comment. In 2014, the Trustees resolved a natural resource damage claim with the Eastman Kodak Company for the Genesee River located in the City of Rochester, Monroe County, New York. The Draft Restoration Plan outlines the restoration project categories that have been selected to address injuries to and lost use of natural resources. Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration settlement funds will be used for projects that restore, rehabilitate, or conserve aquatic habitats and recreational uses in the Genesee River and Watershed, New York. The closing date for public comment is September 30, 2016. The Draft Restoration Plan can be found at: here. More information about the Settlement can be found at: here.

  • 7/26/2016 - Given that offshore wind projects in the Northeast are usually opposed by local communities, these “suction cup’ anchored wind turbines far offshore might be a way to use Great Lakes wind for energy. Low cost, low environmental disruption, and providing local power without long transmission lines could assuage a lot of local opposition to wind turbines here in the Northeast. In order for our Northeast region to be a part of the #CleanEnergyRevolution, we need to start saying Yes! to wind power and stop saying NO! Could Giant Suction Cups Turn Lake Erie Into a Regional Energy Hub? The Icebreaker project represents a major innovation in offshore wind farming. While science and free market forces will ultimately decide whether Great Lakes wind is a viable energy source, one cannot discount the personalities of the two who are intricately involved. When Olsen was 20, he was the heir to a shipping magnate fortune, but decided to forego college and work as a deck hand for a few years on the family cargo vessels. That hands-on and more simplistic approach allowed him to move his company from being a North Sea oil producer to being one of the pioneers in wind energy because of his personal views on global warming. “If the warming continues,” Olsen told Fortune magazine in a rare interview last year from his home in Oslo, “the oceans will rise, and the place we’re sitting now, and many cities, will be under water … I used to fly over the North Pole and all you saw was thick white ice, cracked like the surface of an oil painting. Now you see lots of black water, and that accelerates the heating of the oceans.” (July 25, 2016) Pacific Standard [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 7/26/2016 - Although it may be difficult to exactly link war and climate, intuitively extreme weather must be an accelerator of social conflict. When you cannot get enough potable water and drought and floods have crippled your ability to grow enough food, you seek the most immediate means for relief. Do we really have to ‘prove’ extreme weather drives humanity to extremes before we seek solutions? Weather Disasters Can Fuel War in Volatile Countries Following the warmest two years on record and spikes in violence that fueled a global refugee crisis, climate scientists on Monday reported that armed fighting is prone to follow droughts, heatwaves and other weather-related calamities in turbulent countries. Nearly a quarter of deadly armed conflicts in the countries with the most diverse ethnic makeups from 1980 to 2010 were found to have occurred at around the same time as an extreme weather event. “It’s significant that you can make that statement — that nearly 25 percent of those conflicts coincided with some type of climate-related disaster,” said Jonathan Donges, a Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research scientist who helped lead the new study. (July 25, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/25/2016 - Pretty funny our public broadcasting media in #RochesterNY avoids Sunday’s #CleanEnergyMarch but is agog over today’s ‘Fart-In’ in Philly. Our local media, ya gotta laugh. Thousand rally for clean, renewable energy in a time of Climate Change the day before the DNC and our local media cannot think of a way of even mentioning the event and instead mentions rallies today in Philly through bathroom humor. What’s wrong with this picture? Who is going to keep us informed about the changes to our life support systems if we cannot even depend on our public broadcasting system? Why have they forsaken the people they are meant to serve? Rallies, Marches And A 'Fart-In': Philadelphia Gets Ready For The DNC (July 24, 2016) WXXI News

  • 7/25/2016 - Thanks to local #RochesterNY media that posted an AP story on #CleanEnergyMarch that didn’t focused much on what the march was about. The march was about changing direction for our energy future, but mainstream media really, really has trouble with such messages and rather likes a nice political squabble in which to frame the existential issue of our lives—where we have to shift our energy options away from fossil fuels if we want a future.  No matter how many thousands march in the streets. We saw a lot of major media at the rally, while 10,000 of us marched through the streets of Philadelphia right in front of the major media companies, but the media were mostly oblivious to the march as they set up for the DNC.  DNC starts in Philadelphia with huge protests, high temps  The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Philadelphia on Monday with much bigger demonstrations than the Republican convention and much higher temperatures, as the region copes with an oppressive heat wave. (July 25, 2016) WHAM Rochester [More on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/25/2016 - Even if the final count was 10,000 folks at the #CleanEnergyMarch we need a lot more folks out in the streets demanding a viable future.  We need to #KeepItInTheGound, it being fossil fuels, stored carbon, and to do that many, many more folks need to be engaged with the hard hot reality of our times. Thousands March in Center City Against Fossil Fuels Organizers said 10,000 people marched in the March for a Clean Energy Revolution. It was a peaceful kickoff to a week of DNC protests in Philly.  Thousands marched from City Hall to Independence Mall today to call for a “clean energy revolution” — protesting fossil fuel extraction methods like fracking, pipeline projects like Mariner East and the use of nuclear power. It was the first major protest of Democratic National Convention week in Philadelphia. “We got, what, like 10,000 people on the streets of Philadelphia on a 100-degree day,” said David Braun, a longtime anti-fracking activist who served as an emcee once the march reached Independence Mall. “To stand up for a clean and just renewable energy future. To take us away from fossil fuels. We did it in the heart of where fracking is happening.” (July 24, 2016) Philly Magazine [More on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/25/2016 - The #CleanEnergyMarch wasn’t partisan. It was a chance to reach the public about the importance of shifting our energy systems to renewable energy systems that won’t wreck the planet. Thousands of clean energy supporters shut down Center City in first march of DNC Despite sweltering heat Sunday, thousands hit the streets in Philadelphia ahead of the Democratic National Convention as part of the March for a Clean Energy Revolution. Organizers and participants said they don’t support any particular candidate, but want Democrats to see the public’s support of solar, wind, water and other natural forms of energy. (July 24, 2016) Metro Philadelphia More on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/25/2016 - Not all of us dressed up as a polar bear in the blistering heat but we all helped bring the Clean Energy Revolution to the public. #CleanEnergyMarch Before DNC: Thousands defy heat to demonstrate for Bernie, against fracking An environmental advocate dressed in a furry, head-to-clawed-paw polar bear suit defied Philadelphia's staggering heat wave on Sunday and prepared to join thousands of more comfortably dressed protesters at the March for a Clean Energy Revolution. The march, aimed at banning the natural gas drilling practice known as fracking, promised thousands of participants from all 50 states on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. At least 1,000 people gathered at Broad and Market as the march began and police estimates at 2 p.m. ranged between 5,000 and 10,000 as the march proceeded. (July 24, 2016) Philly.com [More on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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