Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Updates: Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

* My comments are in Bold text:

  • 7/27/2017 - Dear Mr. Trump, the consequences of gutting our health care and our environmental protections are real, not fake. When the poor cannot survive in your dystopian world, the rich will be close behind. Has the Moment for Environmental Justice Been Lost? Facing Trump’s proposals for cutting programs that help minorities and the poor, Democrats scramble to make up for missed opportunities to protect them. Given how President Donald Trump has taken aim at the Environmental Protection Agency with regulatory rollbacks and deep proposed budget cuts, it may come as no surprise that the Office of Environmental Justice is on the chopping block. This tiny corner of the EPA was established 24 years ago to advocate for minorities and the poor, populations most likely to face the consequences of pollution and least able to advocate for themselves. It does so by acting as a middleman, connecting vulnerable communities with those who can help them. It heads a group that advises EPA officials about injustices and another that brings together representatives from other federal agencies and the White House to swap proposals. When it works, all the talk leads to grants, policies and programs that change lives. (July 24, 2017) ProPublica [more on Climate Change and Environmental health in our area]

  • 7/27/2017 - Actually, a bicyclist’s greatest fear is getting whacked by a car from a driver who won’t share the freaking road. More precaution, more education, more being predictable, and more accommodation on our streets for all kinds of transportation modes is better than more insurance. Active transportation (walking and bicycling) are real modes of future transportation that will reduce greenhouse gas emission and keep us healthy—if everyone abides by the rules of the road. We will need to change our attitudes and behavior to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter—active transportation can help a lot. According to the EPA, transportation accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. AAA offering road side service to bicyclists Starting soon, AAA won’t just be helping you behind the wheel; it will be lending a hand to those behind the handlebars as well. It is every bike rider’s biggest fear. You’re out riding your bike and you look down to see you have a flat tire. What do you do? Who doesn’t love a good bike ride when the sun is shining? “I try to go three of four times a week.” Bonnie Germain says it’s a great way to stay active and take in some nature. On Wednesday, she’s riding at the Corning Preserve – one of her favorite spots. (JUly 26, 2017) RochesterFirst.com [more on Trasnportation in our area]

  • 7/27/2017 - Of course, if we don’t transform our economy so that our communities can address Climate Change (and do so fairly), we will all pay a very dear cost—a cost we may not recover from. Time passes. Cities set the pace on fighting poverty, climate change but who will pay? NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Fast-growing cities will determine how the world manages to fight poverty, disease and climate change in coming decades but increased resilience is likely to come with a hefty price tag, said urban development experts. While cities are poised to benefit from technological innovation, tackling crippling inequality is crucial to help cope with shocks and stresses which are set to rise alongside urban populations, said experts at a New York summit organized by the Rockefeller Foundation-backed 100 Resilient Cities. "The way we design food systems, community health systems, economies that create opportunities across the socio-economic spectrum and public infrastructure... will very much define how the world performs in the fight against poverty, hunger, disease, inequality and against climate change," said Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. (July 25, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/27/2017 - Seems like what went on the Great Lakes didn’t stay in the Great Lakes. Pollution doesn’t disappear, it radiates out into our environment. Pollution has a way of ratcheting up if we don’t aggressively look for it and deal with it. The best way to clean up pollution is not to be wasteful and NOT use our life support system as a sewer. We are finding more and more that our Great Lakes, the largest fresh water system in the world, is heavily polluted with plastics (of all kinds) sewage (from sewer systems that haven’t been updated to deal with the Climate Change consequence of more heavy precipitation) and old industrial waste. We need this ecosystem to be healthy for us to be healthy (we drink this water) and for this critical ecosystem to go into Climate Change as robust and resilient as possible. Time passes. Great Lakes waters threaten Beluga whales Great Lakes pollutants threaten a special population of beluga whales. Their chemical structures figure prominently in a picture artist Eric Gajewski recently drew to illustrate the plight of the mammals living in the St. Lawrence River. “Water is such a sacred thing—that it can also be so toxic and poisonous seems to go against a life law,” said Gajewski, an environmental studies doctoral student at York University in Toronto, Ontario. The water draining from the Great Lakes through the St. Lawrence and into the ocean contain a toxic stew that may contribute to a recent rise in the number of whales that die shortly after giving birth, scientists say. (July 26, 2017) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/27/2017 - If extreme heat is going to be the new normal, we need to be prepared: gloves for pushing shopping cart, cars like ovens, and little relief at night. Of course, Earth is going to cook unevenly. While some places that are already hot will get hotter, some place may get colder: “New research suggests that warm spells at the top of the world can, surprisingly, cause unusually cold weather in parts of North America — and that could be hurting plants, damaging agriculture and even affecting the amount of carbon dioxide that goes into our atmosphere.” (July 10, 2017, The stubborn worry about climate change that just won’t go away, The Washington Post) Is Extreme Heat the New Normal? The Real News team spoke with first responders and science and medial experts in Arizona, where high temperatures have grounded planes and significantly increased health emergencies (july 26, 2016) The Real News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/26/2017 - Rochester, NY getting five electric buses. Stop. “puts Rochester in the lead on electric buses in New York” Stop. Helps address Climate Change in our region. Stop. Will Stop more greenhouse gas emissions when our grid goes green. Stop. RTS adding electric buses to its fleet The half-rumbling, half-whirring grind of a diesel bus is unmistakable. For a lot of Rochesterians, it’s the sound of public transit. But the next era of RTS buses could be much quieter and cleaner. The transit agency plans to begin a process for buying five electric buses in the late summer or early fall, says spokesperson Tom Brede. RTS received a $5 million award from the state in April to help pay for the vehicles, which would could be in service by the end of 2019 and would replace diesel buses. RTS will also have to install charging stations to serve the buses. (July 26, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/26/2017 - ACTION: Got a swimming pool? Help monitor Asian Longhorned Beetle and stop invasive forest pest infestations DEC Announces Statewide Asian Longhorned Beetle Outreach and Survey DEC and Partners Conduct Annual Swimming Pool Survey and Tree Tagging Flag to Raise Awareness of Invasive Pest ALB The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that the annual Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) Swimming Pool Survey is underway, marking the program's sixth summer of research work. DEC invites pool owners, now through August 30, to check their pool filters and help keep watch for these invasive beetles before they cause serious damage to the State's forests and street trees. DEC and partners will also be hanging tags on host trees to encourage people to learn more about ALB and to demonstrate the potential impacts in neighborhoods and parks. The majority of invasive forest pest infestations are found and reported by members of the public, making citizen science a vital component for protecting urban and rural forests. August is National Tree Check Month when the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) encourages the public to look for evidence of ALB attack on trees in their area. The timing of these survey activities is important as ALB do not emerge from infested trees until the end of July and are most active in late summer. DEC is asking people with swimming pools to periodically check their pool filters for insects that resemble ALB and either email photos to the Forest Health Program at foresthealth@dec.ny.gov or mail insects to DEC's Forest Health Diagnostics Lab for identification, Attn: Jessica Cancelliere, 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054. (July 25, 2017) Department of Environmental Conservation  [more on Plants and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 7/26/2017 - The rise in Lyme Disease is a Climate Change Indicator, according to the EPA, because ticks can survive longer in a warmer climate. There are other causes as to why ticks are spreading and other diseases caused by the spread of ticks, according to this article, but Climate Change should be baked into an article on the increase in Lyme disease and other Climate Change indicators so the public gets used to the consequences of a warmer world. Time passes. It’s High Time for Ticks, Which Are Spreading Diseases Farther SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — This town is under siege from tiny invaders. A doctor at Southampton Hospital recently pulled a tick off a woman’s eyeball. After a 10-minute walk outside, a mother reported finding a tick affixed to her 7-year-old daughter’s buttocks. Another mother called the hospital in a “hysterical state,” according to the nurse who answered, because a tick had attached itself to her son’s penis. Like many towns across the country, Southampton is seeing a tick population that is growing both in numbers and variety — at a time when ticks are emerging as a significant public health danger. “Tick-borne diseases are a very serious problem, and they’re on the rise,” said Rebecca Eisen, a research biologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (July 24, 2017) New York Times [more on Lyme disease and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 7/26/2017 - We waste 40% of our Food in the US. That’s inefficient and immoral and the tragedy is compounded exponentially when we landfill it. We know how to compost; we know how to get food not needed by some and give it to others; we know how to live sustainably and yet we produce so much waste. Time passes. New Jersey Is Cutting Food Waste to Help the Climatenew law in New Jersey aims to shrink the state’s climate footprint and feed the hungry by drastically reducing the amount of wasted food that ends up in landfills. The law requires the state to develop a plan over the next year to cut the state’s food waste by half by 2030. The bipartisan measure, which passed the state legislature without a single dissenting vote and was signed last week by Gov. Chris Christie, mirrors an Environmental Protection Agency goal for the entire country set under the Obama administration in 2015. (June 25, 2017) Climate Central [more on Food, Climate Change, and Recycling in our area]

  • 7/26/2017 - If you become complacent about the role of Science in our lives, it’s more likely you won’t understand the urgency of our environmental issues.  It’s hard to believe that we are in a time where this occurs: “Similarly, for the past many decades, global agribusiness agents in Iowa have been working hard to make sure Iowa’s public officials and residents do not perceive and do not act on the urgency of polluted streams, the urgency of soil erosion and contaminated drinking water, or the urgency of Iowans' well-being compromised by massive animal confinement operations, or by annual spraying of 35 million pounds of corn and bean pesticides.” Use science and facts to shape future of state's land and water quality Urgency is a matter of perception. After massive rainfall in 2008, one early June morning our fire chief updated Cedar Falls city staff and council members on the latest flood conditions; parts of the city were already flooded badly. “The peak flood elevation is forecast to reach 6 feet higher than the previous highest in city’s history.” We also learned that we had 24 hours to act to save downtown Cedar Falls. An emergency was declared immediately. A command post was set up to coordinate an all-city response, school buses lined up to transport hundreds of volunteer residents for sand-bagging, businesses helped with dump trucks carrying sand, major rescue operations began in areas where residents were stranded, certain roads were closed to public. All other plans were put on hold. A massive mobilization effort saved our downtown during that flood. Urgency is a matter of perception. (July 24, 2017) The Des Moines Register

  • 7/25/2017 - In a warming Arctic that allows for more shipping (and drilling) a catastrophe in this major ecosystem is more likely. Are we prepared for something going wrong, something going wrong, something… With More Ships in the Arctic, Fears of Disaster Rise When the Crystal Serenity, a 1,000-passenger luxury liner, sails in August on a monthlong Arctic cruise through the Northwest Passage, it will have a far more utilitarian escort: a British supply ship. The Ernest Shackleton, which normally resupplies scientific bases in Antarctica, will help with the logistics of shore excursions along the route from Alaska to New York through Canada’s Arctic Archipelago. But the escort ship will also be there should the Serenity become stuck in ice or if something else goes wrong. The Shackleton can maneuver through ice and will be carrying emergency water and rations for the liner’s passengers and 600 crew members, gear for containing oil spills and a couple of helicopters. As global warming reduces the extent of sea ice in the Arctic, more ships — cargo carriers as well as liners like the Serenity taking tourists to see the region’s natural beauty — will be plying far-northern waters. Experts in maritime safety say that raises concerns about what will happen when something goes wrong. (July 23, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/25/2017 - “…with about 340 bikes at 46 stations” Rochester, NY’s bike-sharing is a great start. Help make it awesome. Reduce GHGs. Be sustainable. Curious about Rochester bike-sharing? Here's our review It's been less than a week since Rochester's bicycle-sharing program, via a partnership with the company Zagster, was opened to the public. It works basically the same here as similar programsin dozens of other cities: bikes are stored at pick-up stations around town. Once you're there, you go through the check-out procedure and have a simple but reliable bicycle at your disposal. I do a lot of cycling, both recreationally and commuting to work, and I've used bike-share programs elsewhere, so I was interested to see how it worked here. Videographer Olivia Lopez and I spent Monday morning on the roads, testing the bikes, the Zagster app and the city's biking infrastructure. (July 24, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/25/2017 - Important essay on recent heavy rainfall, flooding on Lake Ontario’s shorelines, and Climate Change. If we don’t understand the big picture (Climate Change), we ain’t going to address the right cause. Essay: Gov. Cuomo, do you remember climate change? It has been frustrating that Governor Cuomo has been ignoring the connection between Lake Ontario flooding and climate change. As it turns out, climate change is not just impacting Long Island and NYC. Climate change does not just raise sea level and worsen hurricanes, but is creating more variability and more extreme weather events everywhere in New York. As Meagan McDermott and Steve Orr’s July 5th article, “Lake Ontario flooding: Your Plan 2014 questions answered” points out, extreme rainfall is becoming more common due to the warming climate. Warmer air holds more water vapor so more water falls down as rain. Although they also note that it is not clear how much of the current problem is attributable to climate change, it is the second-wettest spring season on record and climate models predict that the northeastern US will continue to be impacted in this way as warming continues. (July 21, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/25/2017 - Rochester, NY acknowledged as “a trailblazing community in the fight against the lead poisoning of children” In protecting children from lead, Toledo needs to follow in Rochester's footsteps In 2005, Rochester, N.Y., became a trailblazing community in the fight against the lead poisoning of children. More than a decade later, not nearly enough cities have followed in Rochester’s footsteps, but Toledo is thankfully one of the few. As Toledo followed Rochester’s lead in crafting and approving an ordinance to protect vulnerable children from the lead that lurks in older housing stock, Toledo must now follow Rochester’s lead in following through. There are inevitable bumps in the road ahead, and, like Rochester, Toledo must stay the course because the payoff is worth it. Rochester has seen the number of children testing positive for lead poisoning drop by more than two-thirds. (July 23, 2017) The Blade [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 7/25/2017 - It’s July 2017. Do you know what the Daily Average Mauna Loa CO2 is? Hint: It’s not under 400ppm and unlikely to ever be again. What we do to address Climate Change should be measured against the concentrations of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) to keep us honest. Time passes. Earth System Research Laboratory Global Monitoring Division | Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide  

  • 7/23/2017 - Don’t all countries have a responsibility to humanity (and all other life, for that matter) to keep vital ecosystems within their sovereignties healthy? It is imperative that we keep major ecosystems--forests, coral reefs, wetlands, tundra, grasslands—thriving as Climate Change challenges these systems that make our existence possible. It may not be possible to hold countries legally accountable for keeping these systems within their boundaries healthy (that day may come), but there are moral reasons and the collective need for shared resources which we all depend on. However much we carve up our political boundaries, Earth is one system—with no extraneous parts. Climate Change demands that we act in our planet’s best interest, which is to say it is in all of our self-interest to keep our entire planet’s environment healthy. Time passes. Countries with coral reefs must do more on climate change – Unesco Custodians of world heritage-listed sites should aim to keep global temperature increases to just 1.5C, UN agency says Countries with responsibility over world heritage-listed coral reefs should adopt ambitious climate change targets, aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions to levels that would keep global temperature increases to just 1.5C, the UN agency responsible for overseeing world heritage sites has said. At a meeting of Unesco’s world heritage committee in Kraków, Poland, a decision was adopted that clarified and strengthened the responsibility of countries that have custodianship over world-heritage listed coral reefs. (July10, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 7/23/2017 - If fossil fuel companies don’t find the science behind Climate Change compelling, perhaps they’ll find liability litigation more to their taste. One way or the other, an energy transition must occur if we are to have a future. Time passes. Rising Seas Spark Tobacco-Style Lawsuits in California Several flood-prone municipalities in California filed first-of-their-kind lawsuits against fossil fuel companies this week as they attempt to recoup the cost of coping with rising seas. The suits point to indisputable climate science and decades of industry efforts to mar that science. Experts likened the legal complaints to those brought against the tobacco industry in decades past, which succeeded by alleging the use of anti-science tactics to mask the dangers of their products. (July 19, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/22/2017 - Monitoring Climate Change is critical to our ability to address it. Our local universities are helping. More federal monies to help more monitoring like this would be good. Climate scientists create Caribbean drought atlas Cornell atmospheric scientists have developed the first-of-its-kind, high-resolution Caribbean drought atlas, with data going back to 1950. Concurrently, the researchers confirmed the region’s 2013-16 drought was the most severe in 66 years due to consistently higher temperatures – a hint that climate change is to blame. Because of its topographic complexity, the new atlas delivers critical research data by providing a historical climate backdrop. (July 28, 2017) Cornell Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/22/2017 - How far back will the Trump administration send our environmental protections and put us in jeopardy? Might want to track that. White House details plan to roll back environmental regs The Trump administration provided details for its aggressive plan to roll back environmental regulations Thursday. In the first regulatory agenda of the Trump administration, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget detailed when and how agencies plan to repeal numerous Obama administration rules regarding air and water pollution, fossil fuel extraction and more. Many of the rollbacks had already been announced, though some new timelines or justifications were revealed. (July 20, 2017) The Hill [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 7/22/2017 - However economically sound “Paying People to Not Cut Down Trees Pays”, our priorities are entirely backwards. Life first, not money. Humanity needs to keep trees and soil healthy to feed ourselves and address Climate Change. To these ends, our economic experts should shape economic policies to make this happen. Life comes before human invented economics. If life doesn’t pay, your economics is whacked. One of the major reasons why humanity is not addressing Climate Change on a scale and in a time frame that will matter is that we are still putting our economics before our own existence. We need to get our priorities straight. Time passes. Paying People to Not Cut Down Trees Pays Off, Study Finds A 'payment for ecosystem services' experiment in Uganda found the climate benefits of reducing deforestation outweighed the program’s cost by more than 2 to 1. Across dozens of villages in rural Uganda, researchers have explored what they believe could be an easy way to help tackle climate change: paying landowners to leave their trees standing. The concept is simple—and controversial, because critics say it can foist the burden of cutting emissions onto developing countries. But the researchers, led by an economist from Northwestern University, found that these financial incentives—or "payments for ecosystems services"—have both a climate and economic benefit, something that had not been firmly established in previous studies. "This idea of payments for ecosystem services is not new, but there's still a lot of debate over how well it works," said Seema Jayachandran, an associate professor of economics at Northwestern who focuses on developing countries. (July 20, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change and Plants in our area]

  • 7/22/2017 - When and if the Asian Carp invasive species get into our Great Lakes and begin transforming this major ecosystem, who will be held accountable? Will, like Climate Change, it be a case where after-the-fact we our leaders just say, “We didn’t know for sure, it’s was somebody else’s problem, or the dog ate my homework?” Time passes. Senate bill forces release of Asian carp report Lansing — The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a funding bill for energy and water that would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release a report on ways to keep Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. The Senate provision would force the stalled report’s release within 30 days after the budget is signed. The Trump administration delayed the scheduled release of the report in late February amid concerns from the commercial barge industry. (July 20, 2017) The Detroit News [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 7/22/2017 - One of the scientific predictions of Climate Change is the increased thawing of permafrost. Is that happening on a scale that should concern us? Or, are these tales just apocryphal, unrelated, and merely interesting? Imagine if the US wasn’t gutting its EPA and climate science how much better we would be able to monitor Climate Change indicators and inform the public accurately. Time passes. All hell breaks loose as the tundra thaws A recent heatwave in Siberia’s frozen wastes has resulted in outbreaks of deadly anthrax and a series of violent explosions Strange things have been happening in the frozen tundra of northern Siberia. Last August a boy died of anthrax in the remote Yamal Peninsula, and 20 other infected people were treated and survived. Anthrax hadn’t been seen in the region for 75 years, and it’s thought the recent outbreak followed an intense heatwave in Siberia, temperatures reaching over 30C that melted the frozen permafrost. Long dormant spores of the highly infectious anthrax bacteria frozen in the carcass of an infected reindeer rejuvenated themselves and infected herds of reindeer and eventually local people. Methane release from melting permafrost could trigger dangerous global warming   Read more More recently, a huge explosion was heard in June in the Yamal Peninsula. Reindeer herders camped nearby saw flames shooting up with pillars of smoke and found a large crater left in the ground. Melting permafrost was again suspected, thawing out dead vegetation and erupting in a blowout of highly flammable methane gas. (July 20, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/22/2017 - One of the most important (and quickly changing) Climate Change indicators is Arctic Ice melt, i.e., a reality check. Climate Change indicators are a necessary feedback to keep some of our wild opinions (climate denial, for example) about this phenomenon in check. Here’s How Much Arctic Sea Ice Has Melted Since the ‘80s Arctic sea ice has been melting at a steady clip this summer as it heads toward its annual low point. But a new chart shows that with nearly two months still left in the melt season, sea ice area is already below what would have been a yearly low in the 1980s. The comparison shows the clear long-term decline of Arctic sea ice fueled by the global rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The dramatic shrinkage of sea ice over the past few decades is driving major changes, from the loss of crucial Arctic habitat to the potential influence of weather patterns around the world. (July 21, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/21/2017 - One of the unintentional consequences of the Climate Change experiments we are running: How much heat can humans tolerate? The answer is probably like a bell curve, where at the ends the young and old and sick get nailed by the heart first, with the majority, the healthy (who aren’t working or playing hard in the heat outside), being able to tolerate more heat. Of course, as the heat (and the humidity) go up there’s a point where even the healthiest cannot work outside without a spacesuit. Science is leaning towards the idea that the human body cannot work, air-condition itself after a certain point. Check my essay: “Remember, no matter how divisive Climate Change is… there’s the heat.” | Methane Seeps Out as Arctic Permafrost Starts to Resemble Swiss Cheese Measurements over Canada's Mackenzie River Basin suggest that thawing permafrost is starting to free greenhouse gases long trapped in oil and gas deposits. Global warming may be unleashing new sources of heat-trapping methane from layers of oil and gas that have been buried deep beneath Arctic permafrost for millennia. As the Earth's frozen crust thaws, some of that gas appears to be finding new paths to the surface through permafrost that's starting to resemble Swiss cheese in some areas, scientists said. In a study released today, the scientists used aerial sampling of the atmosphere to locate methane sources from permafrost along a 10,000 square-kilometer swath of the Mackenzie River Delta in northwestern Canada, an area known to have oil and gas desposits. Deeply thawed pockets of permafrost, the research suggests, are releasing 17 percent of all the methane measured in the region, even though the emissions hotspots only make up 1 percent of the surface area, the scientists found. (July 19, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/21/2017 - Even if you don’t believe methane releases from permafrost is a present concern for accelerating Climate Change, it would be foolhardy to ignore this. We know our climate is warming quickly; we know methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, we know some permafrost areas are releasing some methane because of warming; we don’t know how much or how fast methane will be released from permafrost in the future. We don’t know if there will be a tipping point, where a whole lot of thawed permafrost methane will be released in a short time. We need to monitor this closely and increase funds for scientists to do their freaking jobs so we can be informed so we can make plans for a warming world. Time passes. Methane Seeps Out as Arctic Permafrost Starts to Resemble Swiss Cheese Measurements over Canada's Mackenzie River Basin suggest that thawing permafrost is starting to free greenhouse gases long trapped in oil and gas deposits. Global warming may be unleashing new sources of heat-trapping methane from layers of oil and gas that have been buried deep beneath Arctic permafrost for millennia. As the Earth's frozen crust thaws, some of that gas appears to be finding new paths to the surface through permafrost that's starting to resemble Swiss cheese in some areas, scientists said. In a study released today, the scientists used aerial sampling of the atmosphere to locate methane sources from permafrost along a 10,000 square-kilometer swath of the Mackenzie River Delta in northwestern Canada, an area known to have oil and gas desposits. Deeply thawed pockets of permafrost, the research suggests, are releasing 17 percent of all the methane measured in the region, even though the emissions hotspots only make up 1 percent of the surface area, the scientists found. (July 19, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/21/2017 - Which one: “fewer regulations will boost business growth and lead to higher corporate profits” or fewer regulations will compromise our environment and public health? I suppose if you don’t believe in science or Climate Change or you believe corporations are more important than people then it does look like anyone opposing your views are pushing “unnecessary regulatory burdens”. Is there going to be any accountability when these environmental protections being gutted end up making people sick and putting our life support system at risk? We have entered a time of ‘extreme recklessness’. Time passes. White House deregulation push clears out hundreds of proposed rules WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said Thursday it had withdrawn or removed from active consideration more than 800 proposed regulations that were never finalized during the Obama administration as it works to shrink the federal government's regulatory footprint. In a report, the Trump administration said it had withdrawn 469 planned actions that had been part of the Obama administration's regulatory agenda published last fall. Officials also reconsidered 391 active regulatory proceedings by reclassifying them as long-term or inactive "allowing for further careful review," the White House said. (July 20, 2017) Reuters

  • 7/20/2017 - Wanted: If you don’t believe in the science behind Climate Change, get a top job in #Trump administration. Great salary, lots of influence, and work very easy. SAD. Trump just nominated a climate skeptic to USDA’s top science post President Trump on Wednesday nominated Sam Clovis, a former college professor and talk radio host who has challenged the scientific consensus that human activity has been the primary driver of climate change, to serve in the Agriculture Department’s top scientific post. “Dr. Clovis was one of the first people through the door at USDA in January and has become a trusted advisor and steady hand as we continue to work for the people of agriculture,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement Wednesday evening. “He looks at every problem with a critical eye, relying on sound science and data, and will be the facilitator and integrator we need. Dr. Clovis has served this nation proudly since he was a very young man, and I am happy he is continuing to serve.” Clovis, whose expected nomination has been previously reported by The Washington Post and several other outlets, is a former economics professor at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, who served as one of Trump’s first campaign policy advisers. In a 2014 interview with Iowa Public Radio, he said he was “extremely skeptical” about climate change and added that “a lot of the science is junk science.” (July 19, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/20/2017 - Action from our friends over at Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) Help Wanted: Table Staffers Type of request: Volunteer service 7/18 update: We now have a Tabling Coordinator, who can help with planning and logistics, so YOU just need to show up and show your passion! Description: To raise awareness and climate change and let people know how they can make a difference on this issue, we often have a table at local festivals, farmers’ markets, and other events, where people can come talk to us, sign up for our newsletter, and take action by signing postcards or petitions. In order to do more of this, we need more volunteers to staff these tables. If you enjoy starting conversations with strangers and can remain respectful and pleasant even when they disagree with you, you would be a perfect fit for this job! It would require approximately 2 hours of your time per month (or more if you want). Requesting organization: RPCC Contact information: abby@rocpcc.com 

  • 7/20/2017 - Had a meeting across town (Rochester, NY) last evening. Rode bike. Felt great. Left car in garage to charge. Saw lots of other folks bicycling too. Lots of people moving and not spewing greenhouse gases. Biking Rochester works. Don’t have a bike, could use one quick, try our City’s Bike Share. Bike-sharing program in Rochester to launch on Thursday The City of Rochester will launch its new bike-share program on Thursday, according city release. Mayor Warren will join the program's vendor, Zagster, for the launch Thursday morning. According to the release, the city will also announce new "bicycle-related community event series" that will begin this summer. (July 19, 2017) Rochester WHEC [more on Transportation in our area] 

  • 7/19/2017 - I don’t know exactly what brought the US to a climate-denier Trump administration, but climate facts are no less true. When you put a pot of water over a flame, the water eventually boils. Time passes. Surrendering to fear brought us climate change denial and President Trump I propose that people take indefensible positions like climate denial and Trump support simply out of fear This story picks up where an earlier post left off a few weeks ago. Then, I discussed some of the political realities associated with inaction on climate change. In that post, I said I would revisit the question of why so many people deny the evidence of a changing climate. Now is the time for that discussion. (July 17, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/19/2017 - And if the public wasn’t so complacent about our environment (life support system), they’d be decrying cuts to the EPA budget also. Environmental groups, employees decry cuts to EPA budget Environmental groups and federal employees on Monday battled back against congressional budget cuts proposed for the Environmental Protection Agency, saying human and environmental health are threatened. The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday is expected to vote on a fiscal 2018 budget for the EPA that slashes the agency's budget nearly 8 percent across the board, or $528 million, to the lowest funding level since 2008. The groups said the House budget includes a 15 percent cut to science and technology programs and a 9 percent cut to environmental field work by the agency, saying Congress appears willing to stand aside as critical environmental issues remain unresolved or worsen — things like drinking water contamination and toxic algal blooms in lakes. (July 17, 2017) Deluth News Tribune [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/19/2017 - Just how urgent is addressing Climate Change? Some say it’s all a hoax; some say it’s too late; some say it’s very urgent but not hopeless. I suspect communicating Climate Change is going to change as it becomes warmer and one’s audience changes. (You probably don’t want to tell a class of 6th graders that “the 's*** is hitting the fan'”.)  I don’t think anyone has a real handle on the best way to communicate Climate Change because it’s so complicated. And, with the election of Trump, climate denial has been given new (monstrous) life. In my opinion, it would be good for Climate Change communicators to bake benchmarks (like the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) and other climate indicators into their messaging in order to keep measuring and monitoring wherever we are in this crisis—with some degree of objectivity. The EPA In 2016, just before Pruitt arrived on the scene, put out their most recent report “Climate Change Indicators in the United States”. (It still looks valid.) Other governments and organizations are probably putting out their Climate Change indicators and I’m thinking it would be useful if humanity had a way of monitoring our progress, or lack of, on how our planet is actually responding to the warming. We are getting bombarded in the media with news about solutions, renewable energy, actions states, and other nations are taking etc., but the final arbitrator is Earth itself. If we don’t keep exact track of the indicators of Climate Change, many of our efforts will be delusional—making our efforts to communicate this crisis delusional as well. Time passes. Carbon dioxide must be removed from the atmosphere to avoid extreme climate change, say scientists One of the first scientists to warn of the dangers of climate change, Professor Jim Hansen, warns the 's*** is hitting the fan' Humans must start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as soon as possible to avoid saddling future generations with a choice between extreme climate change or spending hundreds of trillions of dollars to avoid it, according to new research. An international team of researchers – led by Professor Jim Hansen, Nasa’s former climate science chief – said their conclusion that the world had already overshot targets to limit global warming to within acceptable levels was “sufficiently grim” to force them to urge “rapid emission reductions”. But they warned this would not be enough and efforts would need to be made to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 12.5 per cent. (July 19, 2017) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/18/2017 - One of the things to remember about this energy transition (there have been many throughout human history) is that this move from fossil fuel to renewable energy is trying to bake fairness into it. Finding jobs and retraining workers for those who will be replaced by this quick move from dirty energy to clean energy is unprecedented and praiseworthy. After the Civil War, when fossil fuel oil replaced whale oil, whalers did not have programs to get retrained. Back in the day, Creative destruction was the rule, where the merciless result of free market fundamentalism just pushed ‘ahead’ without any thought to those whose livelihoods were destroyed by new technology. In our present energy transformation, there is a real effort to retrain and lighten the loss of those who must retrain for an energy that won’t crash the planet. This must be remembered as we all try and move to an energy system that will get us through Climate Change, a future where we can thrive. Rising from the ashes, a Buffalo suburb ends its dependence on coal Sixteen months ago, the coal-fired Huntley Generating Station, which sits on the banks of the Niagara River, stopped producing power for first time since World War I. Erie County lost its largest air and water polluter. But the town of Tonawanda, a working class Buffalo suburb 13 miles downstream of America’s most storied waterfalls, also lost its biggest taxpayer. The impact of Huntley’s decade-long slowdown — and finally shutdown — hit this upstate New York community like a punch to the gut. In just five years, between 2008 and 2012, Huntley’s pre-tax earnings tumbled by $113 million as it operated far below capacity, translating into a combined revenue hit of at least $6.2 million to the town, county, and local school district. That precipitous decline came when state education funds were also shrinking. Belt-tightening wasn’t enough; 140 teachers lost their jobs. Three elementary schools and one middle school closed their doors. (July 11, 2017) Grist [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/18/2017 - American should NOT be complacent about Pruitt’s epa gutting our environmental protections; they came at a high cost. The characterization of our environmental protections by the Trump administration as burdensome, unnecessary regulations is completely false and the Trump administration’s attitude must be recognized by the public as the threat they are to our lives and our environment—our life support system. The public cannot sit this one out where our environmental protections are being gutted by an administration clouded by a false (anti-science) ideology. Time passes. Environmental regulations weren’t created without cause So, Donald Trump supporters, you say you’re all for dialing back environmental regulations and taking us back to the good ol’ days before those frumps at the Environmental Protection Agency started sticking their noses into everything. OK, so let’s explore that notion. Join us on a trip to the 1960s and early 1970s with this true-or-false test about the Clean Water Act, which turns 45 this year, and the Clean Air Act, which is 2 years older. (July 17, 2017) Las Vegas Sun [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 7/18/2017 - Climate Change is a threat multiplier and our military doesn’t have the luxury of ignoring this relationship—however inconvenient to the Trump administration. Understanding Climate Change is more than a fixation on exactly what our scientists can tell us with complete certainty. Understanding Climate Change means that humanity must include projecting probable scenarios that may or may not turn out. This is because we cannot get take a chance that we won’t be prepared. Our military especially cannot be caught off guard when it comes to climate disruption because they are charged with taking care of crises. Climate denial is a serious threat because it leaves us paralyzed and impotent in the face of danger. Time passes. HOW CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL THREATENS NATIONAL SECURITY IN A CRAMPED meeting room Wednesday on Capitol Hill, House Democrats hosted a roundtable to discuss climate change with several national security experts. In attendance were two former admirals, a retired general, a once-ambassador to Nigeria, and the former undersecretary to the Secretary of Defense. Over several hours of questioning, they described how climate change would escalate instability across the globe and make it harder for the US military to conduct its operations. Nothing they said, however, was all that new. In fact, the Department of Defense has known about, and sometimes planned for, the security threats created by climate change for well over a decade. Congressional Democrats—minority members of the House Science Committee—called the roundtable as a plea to the Republican-led Congress to stop standing in the way of the military's preparations for the heightened dangers of a warming world. (July 17, 2017) Wired [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/17/2017 - No way increasing natural gas infrastructures is going to address Climate Change in a good way. Natural gas, methane, CH4, is a very potent greenhouse gas.  While we struggle over how to communicate and plan for Climate Change, the fossil fuel industry is quietly and busily building the very system that will warm our planet beyond our ability to cope. Time passes. Natural Gas Building Boom Fuels Climate Worries, Enrages Landowners They landed, one after another, in 2015: plans for nearly a dozen interstate pipelines to move natural gas beneath rivers, mountains and people's yards. Like spokes on a wheel, they'd spread from Appalachia to markets in every direction. Together these new and expanded pipelines — comprising 2,500 miles of steel in all — would double the amount of gas that could flow out of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The cheap fuel will benefit consumers and manufacturers, the developers promise. But some scientists warn that the rush to more fully tap the rich Marcellus and Utica shales is bad for a dangerously warming planet, extending the country's fossil-fuel habit by half a century. Industry consultants say there isn't even enough demand in the United States for all the gas that would come from this boost in production. (July 17, 2017) NPR [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/17/2017 - How do we communicate the urgency of Climate Change as the window of opportunity steadily closes without scaring the bejesus out of the public? Much of the controversy over how to communicate Climate Change is trying to figure out the right balance between urgency and calm that the audience hears. And trying to accurately monitor what’s what will transpire when a planet quickly warms. I suspect as things become more dire, so will the message. Time passes.  Doomsday scenarios are as harmful as climate change denial Michael E. Mann is distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. Susan Joy Hassol is the director of Climate Communication LLC. Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post. It is easy to understand why advocates for climate action have become somewhat dispirited in recent months. In the space of less than a year, we’ve seen the United States go from playing a leading role in international climate negotiations to now being the only nation in the world to renege on its commitment to the 2015 Paris climate accord. It is in this environment of defeat and despair that we’ve witnessed a dramatic rise in the prominence of climate doomism — commentary that portrays climate change not just as a threat that requires an urgent response but also as an essentially lost cause, a hopeless fight.  Some of the more egregious examples can be found among fringe characters such as ecologist Guy McPherson —a doomist cult hero who insists that exponential climate change likely will render human beings and all other species extinct within 10 years. (July 12, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/17/2017 - Reducing our ability to monitor and understand the impacts of Climate Change and redirecting funds to dig up more fossil fuels is suicidal. Climate denial has truly metastasized. Trump Plan Would 'Reduce or Eliminate' Important Data Access, Federal Science Official Warns A USGS email alert to international scientists says a wide range of research areas would be hit, including work on flood risks, wildfires and climate change. A U.S. Geological Survey program coordinator has sent an alert to colleagues around the world, warning that the Trump administration's proposed 2018 budget cuts, if approved, will undermine important data-gathering programs and cooperative studies in areas including forests, volcanoes, flooding, wildfires, extreme precipitation and climate change. The email went to 500 researchers on June 19 to give them time to comment on the proposed changes and prepare. In it, Debra Willard, coordinator for the USGS Climate Research and Development Program, wrote that the cuts "would reduce or eliminate the availability of current data and collaborations between the USGS, other agencies and universities." The reductions threaten as many as 40 programs involved in monitoring the speed and severity of climate change impacts and the effects of other land use changes, Willard said. (July 15, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/15/2017 - Now in the US: Scientists say Climate Change is urgent and needs planning. Trump government says Don’t worry your pretty little face. The trouble with the Trump government’s stubborn stance against the science behind Climate Change and the many, many climate studies urging action to avoid the ‘high scenario’ is that the ‘low scenario’ will pass us by. The lack of wholesale planning for Climate Change, which climate deniers seem hell bent on achieving, means that ‘low scenarios’ where we might have been able to plan on a time frame and scale that will matter won’t happen. Imagine where we would be now if we had put denial aside and began a fair and competent effort to address and mitigate Climate Change decades ago. Time passes. Published Study Identifies When Hundreds of Coastal Communities Will Face Inundation, Possible Retreat Meeting Paris Agreement Goals Could Spare Many Communities from This Fate WASHINGTON (July 12, 2017)—More than 90 U.S. communities already face chronic inundation from rising seas caused by climate change, and the number could jump to nearly 170 communities in less than 20 years and as many as 670 by the end of the century, according to a study by analysts at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) published in the peer-reviewed journal Elementa today. The analysis is the first to look at the entire coastline of the lower 48 states and identify communities that will experience flooding so extensive and disruptive that it will require either expensive investments to fortify against rising seas or residents and businesses to prepare to abandon areas they call home. The analysis projects when communities can expect to see this degree of flooding and which cities and towns might avoid such flooding if the long-term temperature goals of the Paris climate agreement are achieved. The study was published on the same day a 2,200 square mile iceberg—one of the largest ever recorded and nearly the size of Delaware—broke off from an ice shelf in Antarctica, highlighting how quickly the planet is warming. (July 12, 2017) Union of Concerned Scientists) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2017 - Unlike the anti-Climate Change ideologs in the Trump administration, our military doesn’t have the luxury of avoiding the clear and present danger of Climate Change. Our military has long recognized the security and amplifying effect Climate Change has on our military’s mission. Our military cannot just UN-recognize this existential threat just because the Trump administration is in serious climate denial mode. Time passes. House defeats amendment to strip climate study from Defense bill The House defeated an amendment to a defense policy bill Thursday that would have blocked a Department of Defense study into the impacts of climate change on national security. The amendment, from Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), would have stripped a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provision that would have required a study into the 20-year impacts of climate change on the military. Perry said his amendment was not meant to debate the existence of climate change, but rather, “my point is that this should not be the priority" for the military. (July 13, 2017) The Hill [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2017 - ACTION: With this extension to July 24, 2017 to make public comment you can make sure the cleanup at one of Rochester’s most industrially polluted sites gets done so to the highest standard—not just what can be squeezed out of other parties. Please make comment on this issue so that this local polluted Brownfield gets best and most thorough cleanup possible to make our neighborhoods and environment safe. For some background on this issue, check out the City of Rochester’s website VACUUM OIL BROWNFIELD CLEANUP PROGRAM | Public Comment Period Extended About Proposed Cleanup of Contamination at Site on Flint St., Rochester Note: the public comment period has been extended through July 24, 2017. The following link opens a fact sheet that invites the public to comment on a proposed remedy to address contamination related to the 5 & 15 Flint Street Site #C828162 (Rochester, Monroe Co.) within New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program: here. NYSDEC is now accepting public comments about the proposal through July 24, 2017.Please see fact sheet to learn about the proposal and how to comment. (July 11, 2017) Department of Environmental Conservation

  • 7/14/2017 - It’s especially difficult to communicate the role of greenhouse gases in influencing global temperatures if you’re an administration that doesn’t believe in human-caused Climate Change. Trying to twist science to fit an ideology can be very arduous, indeed, to communicate—not to mention immoral and deceiving. It’s kinda strange for the NOAA to now start releasing information about Climate Change that they’ve been doing for years and expecting the public to believe the subterfuge. Suddenly, sidestepping the scientific consensus that humans are primarily responsible for the rise in greenhouse gas is going to fool who? Climate-Altering Gases Spiked in 2016, Federal Scientists Report Annual greenhouse gas emissions rose more quickly last year than they have in nearly three decades, an increase scientists attributed in part to a strong El Niño weather pattern, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported this week. The Annual Greenhouse Gas Index also shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases that lead to warming, primarily driven by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activity, increased 40 percent between 1990 and 2016, a significant measure of man’s influence on the climate. Unlike most news releases accompanying the index during the Obama administration, NOAA’s announcement this year does not directly link human activity to emissions. “The role of greenhouse gases on influencing global temperatures is well understood by scientists, but it’s a complicated topic that can be difficult to communicate,” NOAA officials said in releasing the index. (July 13, 2017) New York Tiimes [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/13/2017 - Now that Larsen C is afloat, sort of an elephant in the ocean, how do we not talk about any Climate Change connection? These Images Show Just How Big the Larsen C Iceberg Is The Larsen C ice shelf has calved an iceberg after months of waiting and watching. With an area the size of Delaware and a volume of 277 cubic miles, its measurements boggle the mind. Even written comparisons don’t fully convey the hulking hunk of ice currently adrift in the Weddell Sea. After all, can you really imagine 463 million Olympic-sized pools, let alone all those pools filled with ice. To help create a more helpful visual frame of reference, Climate Central has created a series of images showing the ice next to familiar places. There are a few things to consider as you view these. First, this is an idealized ice ball. The real iceberg is obviously not uniform and its shape will change as it drifts and melts. (July 12, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/13/2017 - Local Rochester media carries syndicated news on the collapse of Larsen C ice shelf and even mentions Climate Change. Lordy, I hope there’s more. Are we seeing a thaw in Climate Change coverage in local news? What will this mean to subscription rates if climate deniers stop reading or watching local news because their favorite media begins to carry and even report on more news about Climate Change and the local consequences of Climate Change? Did your media mention this major planetary event in Antarctica and if they did, did they even mention that some climate scientists think the data leans toward human-caused Climate Change? Or, did they think this science is too divisive and just wouldn’t touch it. Time passes. Massive iceberg breaks away from Antarctica Iceberg has volume twice that of Lake Erie (CNN) - A massive iceberg weighing more than one trillion tons has broken away from western Antarctica, according to a UK-based research team. Scientists from Project MIDAS had been monitoring a break in the Larsen C ice shelf -- the fourth largest in Antarctica -- following the collapse of the Larsen A ice shelf in 1995 and had observed significant advances in the rift over the past 12 months. Experts said a 5,800-square-kilometer (2,239-square-mile) section of Larsen C was confirmed to have broken away between Monday and Wednesday by NASA's Aqua MODIS satellite. (July 12, 2017) RochesterFirst.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/13/2017 - Not to mention that cases of Lyme disease are very likely to increase with Climate Change: Check it out: “Climate Change Indicators: Lyme Disease” (EPA) A cautionary tale about Lyme disease (July 12, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Lyme disease in our area]

  • 7/13/2017 - Not to mention that poison ivy becomes more toxic with Climate Change. Check it out:What Climate Change Feels Like: A More Toxic Poison Ivy” (December 7, 2015, NYT) Rains bring more poison ivy: what you should know (July 12, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Plants in our area]

  • 7/13/2017 - I’m with the camp that says the collapse of the floating ice shelf called Larsen C is “a canary in a coal mine”. It would be prudent to interpret this major calving event as part of a wholesale change in our planet’s reaction to more heat, even if climate scientists are not completely sure of that. Because it seems foolhardy and reckless to say that scientists disagree so let’s continue burning fossil fuels with complete abandonment. The fact is that this Delaware-sized iceberg is free and may have opened the door for many other escapees who have to the power to do a lot of sea-level-rising damage. An Iceberg the Size of Delaware Just Broke Away From Antarctica A chunk of floating ice that weighs more than a trillion metric tons broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula, producing one of the largest icebergs ever recorded and providing a glimpse of how the Antarctic ice sheet might ultimately start to fall apart. There is no scientific consensus over whether global warming is to blame. But the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula has been fundamentally changed, according to Project Midas, a research team from Swansea University and Aberystwyth University in Britain that had been monitoring the rift since 2014. “The remaining shelf will be at its smallest ever known size,” said Adrian Luckman, a lead researcher for Project Midas. “This is a big change. Maps will need to be redrawn.” (July 13, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/12/2017 - Climate scientists are getting better and better at ‘attributing’ extreme weather events with Climate Change. Back in the day, when scientists began to see humanity’s carbon footprints on our climate, there was a lot of mission information (that is now being filled in), predictions (that are now be more fine-tuned), and more certainty that our burning of fossil fuels is causing a very quick warming of our planet’s atmosphere and oceans. Those who deny and carp about Climate Change information are not keeping up with expert information coming out of this quickly evolving science. This Map Shows Warming’s Fingerprints on Weather The field of climate science that looks for the fingerprints of climate change on extreme weather events has been growing rapidly in recent years, making it hard to keep track of the dozens of studies that have been done. A new interactive map put together by Carbon Brief, a UK-based data journalism site, makes that task easier. It rounds up the results of those attribution studies, as they are called, and color-codes them according to whether or not they found a discernable influence from human-induced warming. Nearly two-thirds of the 137 studies did find such an influence, in particular those looking at heat waves. (July 11, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/12/2017 - Saving individual animals may not be as important as preserving key species in sufficient amounts to keep vital ecosystems thriving. As we plunge deeper into the wormhole of Climate Change, what we will be most likely focusing on is getting out of the wormhole of more heat intact. In other words, as the time gets nearer and nearer to tipping points (of heat, of water level rise, of consumption and pollution thresholds) it is more likely that we will have to abandon many of our past values about our environmental and other species as we try to keep enough biodiversity and vital components of our environment for us to stay alive and thrive. I know, this sounds like selfish human priorities—and it is because when things get dire we are more likely to focus on saving ourselves. This isn’t how human should act, so much as how we do act. We should have been more focused on our life support system and more caring of other species long ago. Now, it is more likely we will have to cut our losses as our own plight becomes more dear. Time passes. (This sounds gloomy, but not as freaking gloomy as this: “The Uninhabitable Earth, Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.”) It's a Mistake to Focus Just on Animal Extinctions Population declines tell a much scarier story. Imagine if every animal and plant on the planet collapsed into a single population each, says ecologist Gerardo Ceballos. If lions disappeared except from one small corner of Kenya, the prey they keep in check would run amok everywhere else. If sparrows were no more except in one Dutch forest, the seeds that sparrows disperse would stay in place everywhere else. If honeybees became isolated to one American meadow, the flowers that they pollinate would fail to reproduce everywhere else. None of those species would be extinct per se, “but we’d still be in very bad shape,” says Ceballos. He uses this thought experiment to show that fixating on the concept of extinction can lead scientists to overestimate the state of the planet’s health. Extinction obviously matters. If a species is completely wiped out, that’s an important and irreversible loss. But that flip from present to absent, extant to extinct, is just the endpoint of a long period of loss. Before a species disappears entirely, it first disappears locally. And each of those local extinctions—or extirpations—also matters. (July 10, 2017) The Atlantic [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/11/2017 - Finding an Asian Carp near the Great Lakes wasn’t just a scare. It was a warning. Have we done enough to stop this ecosystem changer? Was Asian carp near Great Lakes just a scare? There's some good news from Illinois, where an Asian Carp was recently caught just nine miles from Lake Michigan. In two weeks of intensive, follow-up monitoring, no bighead or silver Asian carp were found, a regional monitoring group says. July 10, 2017) WXXI News [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area] 

  • 7/11/2017 - How we use Energy matters when addressing Climate Change. One option in Rochester, NY is Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). What is CCA? Community Choice Aggregation: Path to a Green Rochester On Friday, April 21, County Legislator and Mayoral candidate, James Sheppard, announced that it’s time for Community Choice Aggregation to come to Rochester. If he were to be elected, Sheppard hopes to bring Community Choice Aggregation into the area, which he says would not only benefit small businesses and residents in Rochester, but would help further Rochester in the fight against climate change. Though his call for action against global warming could be a step in the right direction for Rochester’s carbon footprint, one question still remains: what is Community Choice Aggregation? (June 21, 2017) Open Mic [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/11/2017 - It’s early July of 2017. Do you know what environmental protections are being taken away from you? When you or your family get sick how confident will you be that your government had done everything in its power to make sure your environment, your life support system, was free of pollution? Time passes. A Jaw-Dropping List of All the Terrible Things Trump Has Done to Mother Earth Goodbye regulations designed to protect the environment and public health. Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate deal may have followed months of anguished division among his closest advisers, but his administration has proceeded with quiet efficiency in its dismantling of other major environmental policies. The White House, Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency have dovetailed to engineer a dizzying reversal of clean air and water regulations implemented by Barack Obama’s administration. Unlike the travel ban or healthcare, Trump has faced few obstacles in sweeping away what he has called “job-killing” environmental rules that address problems such as climate change, water pollution and smoggy air. (July 8, 2017) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2017 - What happens when you suddenly turn up the heat on a medium-sized planet filled with life? The answer may surprise you! Climate change could green the Sahara and unleash monster hurricanes on the U.S. When you think about weather and the big storms that batter the North Country, you probably don't think of the Sahara Desert in North Africa. But a new study co-authored by Dr. Curt Stager at Paul Smiths College has found a link between the world's largest desert and the hurricanes that slam the East Coast of the U.S. Their research is part of a wider effort to understand how climate change is transforming our earth, turning deserts green and making oceans more volatile. When the Sahara was a lush region with big lakes and flowing rivers (July 4, 2017) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2017  - ACTION: Don’t let all the work we have put into environmental protections since the 1970’s be gutted. Stand up for our absolute right to have a healthy, thriving life support system—our environment. There is no ‘balance’ between industrial rights and humanity’s fundamental right to clean water, air, and land. The silent majority must awake from what is being done to our EPA. Stop the Attacks on Our Environment and Health: Save The EPA! To be delivered to: New York and Connecticut Congressional Delegation The President has proposed to slash the EPA budget, eliminate funding for programs to restore the Great Lakes and Long Island Sound, and cut programs to fight climate change. This would decimate EPA's ability to address a broad range of its responsibilities and put our environment, health, and economy at an unacceptable risk! I urge Congress to provide full funding for the EPA and critical programs that it administers, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Long Island Sound restoration, and efforts to fight climate change. (from Citizens Campaign for the Environment)

  • 7/08/2017 - The trouble with Climate Change is that you really cannot argue it away and just attack the symptoms because this planetary phenomenon has a way of overwhelming you. You can (but shouldn’t) deny the moral imperatives of Climate Change, but you cannot deny the compelling physical consequences of this crisis. We’ll adapt or die. Time passes. Beach replenishment is all that’s standing between North Carolina and storms Coastal communities are settling for short-term fixes instead of developing master plans. Millions of people visit North Carolina’s beaches each year, generating billions of dollars in revenue for the local economies. The natural beauty of North Carolina’s coastline, from the Outer Banks to the small towns south of Wilmington, is one of the top reasons for the popularity of the state’s beaches. Over the decades, though, humans have played a major role in ensuring visitors get to enjoy the sand and the waves along North Carolina’s coast. Many of the state’s beaches, especially in the lowest-lying coastal areas, are artificially maintained by engineering techniques, primarily through a practice called beach nourishment or replenishment. With beach erosion and sea level rise, communities along the state’s coast view these preservation methods — hauling in large amounts of sand to build up the dunes or widen the beach— as vital to sustaining their tourism economies. (July 6, 2017) Think Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2017 - Climate denial has put humanity in a tough place, the more you prove it wrong the more it grows. Time passes. How climate scepticism turned into something more dangerous Doubts about the science are being replaced by doubts about the motives of scientists and their political supporters. Once this kind of cynicism takes hold, is there any hope for the truth?  Last month Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. For his supporters, it provided evidence, at last, that the president is a man of his word. He may not have kept many campaign promises, but he kept this one. For his numerous critics it is just another sign of how little Trump cares about evidence of any kind. His decision to junk the Paris accord confirms Trump as the poster politician for the “post-truth” age. But this is not just about Trump. The motley array of candidates who ran for the Republican presidential nomination was divided on many things, but not on climate change. None of them was willing to take the issue seriously. In a bitterly contentious election, it was a rare instance of unanimity. The consensus that climate is a non-subject was shared by all the candidates who appeared in the firstmajor Republican debate in August 2015 – Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee and Trump. Republican voters were offered 10 shades of denialism. (July 7, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/07/2017 - One of the procrastination penalties of not addressing Climate Change soon enough will be the proliferation and probably lack of strict environmental regulations on pesticides. As food production becomes more difficult with Climate Change, which presents more challenges like increases in crop pests and weeds, there will probably be an increase use of pesticides—because we will be desperate. If we had begun better agricultural practices that focused on organic food production, better treatment of soils, sooner rather than dumping more pesticides and herbicides into our environment, we would have a far healthier environment as we go deeper into the great warming. Because we didn’t shift directions sooner on better environmental practices, we are more likely to depend on dangerous chemicals, which are less likely to get proper scrutiny as we become more desperate to feed more people in a climate more hostile to food production. By not addressing Climate Change sooner we are ratcheting up the likelihood of catastrophic collapses—tipping points. Time passes. A.G. Schneiderman Leads Legal Challenge Against EPA Over Toxic Pesticide Six Attorneys General Move To Intervene In Lawsuit Over Chlorpyrifos – Common Pesticide That Harms Children’s Neurological Development AGs Argue That EPA Is Violating Federal Law By Failing To Issue Required Safety Finding – Continuing To Allow Use Of Chlorpyrifos On Food, Even Though Its Own Scientists Can’t Identify A Safe Level NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is leading a coalition of six Attorneys General in taking legal action against the Trump administration over a toxic pesticide shown to harm children’s neurological development. The Attorneys General moved to intervene in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, after filing legal objections with the EPA last month. In March 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took action that allowed the continued use of chlorpyrifos on food crops even while the agency failed to identify a safe level for the pesticide. Chlorpyrifos is widely used, including on fruits and vegetables consumed by infants, young children, and pregnant women, and is shown to negatively impact proper development and functioning of the central nervous system and brain. (July 6, 2017) NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 7/07/2017 - The good news is that scientists are getting better at modeling how quickly Earth will warm; the bad news is that Earth may be warming faster than they thought. While insanely complicated, trying to determine how quickly global warming will occur, it would be prudent to practice the Precautionary Principle and assume that it would be in our collective best interest to act as quickly as possible to address Climate Change. We cannot get this wrong. Arguing about whether we are acting too soon and thus jeopardizing our present economic scheme (which, by the way, had much to do with causing Climate Change) means we haven’t got our priorities straight yet. If we don’t get through the wormhole of catastrophic warming intact, there will be no business as usual to preserve. Time passes. Global Warming Might Be Speeding Up When it comes to climate change, the Earth doesn’t cook evenly. But as cooler areas catch up, a study says things will get hotter faster. Two climate scientists suggest they’ve come closer to resolving a critical debate about how quickly human activity will heat up the planet. The answer isn’t good news. It’s almost universally understood that the Earth will continue to get warmer for the foreseeable future. The rate at which the planet warms, however, won’t remain the same, report Cristian Proistosescu and Peter Huybers of Harvard University. They say it’s likely to speed up. (July 6, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/07/2017 - Of course, in the anti-environment, anti-Climate Change Trump administration, we in US can only imagine how much valuable environmental data is being hidden. The inclination for irresponsible nations to hush and impede critical environmental data humanity needs to address this planetary crisis, besides being immoral, has practical problems. First, there are independent data and data from responsible nations on Climate Change that (through the Internet) will bleed into the US public. Not to mention, Climate Change is a physical reality and has physical consequences that will either show up soon or later. However strong your climate denial ideology, you cannot put Climate Change in a bottle and expect it to stay in there. Time passes. FOI documents confirm government holding almost one year's worth of pollution data The federal government has been keeping almost a year's worth of pollution data secret, despite it being scheduled for release in May, documents obtained under freedom of information laws reveal. Independent estimates suggest Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have risen sharply since the government last released its quarterly data in December - a trend that would make the nation's commitment to cutting emissions more disruptive and expensive. (July 7, 2017) The Sydney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/07/2017 - As the US steps down on taking responsibility for addressing Climate Change, other nations step up. Will US lack actions and lack of leadership on the crisis of our age matter? France will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, Emmanuel Macron’s government has announced. ADVERTISING The announcement comes a day after Volvo said it would only make fully electric or hybrid cars from 2019 onwards, a decision hailed as the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine’s dominance of motor transport after more than a century. Nicolas Hulot, the country’s new ecology minister, said: “We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.” Hulot added that the move was a “veritable revolution”. (July 6, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 7/06/2017 - Important article by D&C on Lake Ontario flooding and Plan 2014. Spoiler Alert: Climate Change is mentioned. Lake Ontario flooding: Your Plan 2014 questions answered Are lake-level regulators responsible for the record-high water on Lake Ontario this year, or is nature to blame?  Is newly implemented Plan 2014 a guidebook to rational lake-level management, or is it the devil’s handiwork? These are topics of intense interest to many people in the Rochester region — especially those on the shoreline who are now in their fourth month of coping with flooding and erosion. On June 26 we published a lengthy article that assessed all manner of theories and judgments about the water level in Lake Ontario and the regulatory approach of the International Joint Commission, the U.S.- Canada treaty organization that sets lake-level policy. (July 5, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/06/2017 - I’m not a scientist and don’t know the evolution of fish or how much industrial waste humanity can consume, but I suspect that PCB’s are not good for either us or fish—in any amount. The more we find out about our environment, the more we find how sensitive we and our life support system are to manmade industrial waste. There is an incredible amount of hubris in our ability to believe that manmade chemicals dumped into our water and air could be safe for us. Our environment never evolved to neutralize this stuff or deal with it at all. We just have always believed if you have waste and put it into a large body of water that waste will magically disappear. But in the last century, we have produced some chemicals never seen before on our planet and even our experts don’t really have a clue how it reacts with other manmade or ‘natural’ chemicals when it radiates throughout our ecosystems. If we don’t drop dead immediately from this kind of pollution it’s very difficult to see the cause and effect down the road. The most reasonable assumption would be to clean up all our industrial waste from our environment—but that bumps up against our belief in our economic system which treats our environment as an externality. This all highlights why the Pruitt epa trashing our environmental protections is so pernicious and hopelessly on the wrong path. Time passes. Do two fish contaminants create greater health threat than the worst one? A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives questions if advice on eating Great Lakes fish is restrictive enough. Ken Drouillard, a professor at the University of Windsor, looked at whether the Great Lakes region placed sufficient restrictions on monthly meals of sport fish. The results are in and while they say no, they weren’t as restrictive as Drouillard expected. Consumption advisories are used to limit human exposure to harmful substances that fish may contain. (July 5, 2017) Great Lakes Echo [more on Wildlife and Great lakes in our area]  

  • 7/06/2017 - There’s going to be a stiff procrastination penalty for not addressing Climate Change. Future generations will have to deal with what we refused to deal with. We are taking all life on this planet quickly to a new climate, a climate we’ve never experienced fraught with unknown unknowns. Time passes. If we stopped emitting greenhouse gases right now, would we stop climate change? Earth’s climate is changing rapidly. We know this from billions of observations, documented in thousands of journal papers and texts and summarized every few years by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The primary cause of that change is the release of carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas. One of the goals of the international Paris Agreement on climate changeis to limit the increase of the global surface average air temperature to 2 degrees Celsius, compared to preindustrial times. There is a further commitment to strive to limit the increase to 1.5℃. Earth has already, essentially, reached the 1℃ threshold. Despite the avoidance of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions through use of renewable energyincreased efficiency and conservation efforts, the rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere remains high. International plans on how to deal with climate change are painstakingly difficult to cobble together and take decades to work out. Most climate scientists and negotiators were dismayed by President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. (July 4, 2017) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/06/2017 - Hopes of addressing Climate Change by business as usual isn’t working out because the heat hasn’t gone away, it’s being stored for another day. Hopes of mild climate change dashed by new research Planet could heat up far more than hoped as new work shows temperature rises measured over recent decades don’t fully reflect global warming already in the pipeline Hopes that the world’s huge carbon emissions might not drive temperatures up to dangerous levels have been dashed by new research. The work shows that temperature rises measured over recent decades do not fully reflect the global warming already in the pipeline and that the ultimate heating of the planet could be even worse than feared. (July 5, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/05/2017 - The Arctic, which is warming quickly, is reacting to global warming and human pollution in interesting ways—not good ways. While scientists do not have the power to conduct worldwide policies on Climate Change and keep nations on board with the science, they are able to monitor what’s going on and interpret that information to those who will listen. We hope humanity doesn’t wait too long to listen. Times passes. Speedier sea ice in warming Arctic could spread pollution farther In the Arctic, bad news for one country could mean bad news for all. As the region warms faster than the rest of the planet, new research demonstrates how pollution — from oil spills to organic contaminants — could be passed from one Arctic neighbor to another. In a new study released in the journal Earth's Future, scientists from Columbia and McGill universities examined the movement of sea ice from country to country in the Arctic Ocean. Comparing data from 1988 to 2014, they found that sea ice is moving faster between destinations, increasing the number of international ice-based exchanges. (July 4, 2017) Alaska Dispatch News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/05/2017 - Future generations will wonder why, when so much evidence was available, our generation did not act quickly enough on Climate Change. Sunny summer days fueling rapid Greenland ice melt Clear skies in Greenland aren’t necessarily a good thing: Over the past two decades, sunny summer days have caused huge amounts of ice to melt in Greenland, helping to raise sea levels worldwide, a new study said. In fact, about 4,000 gigatons of ice in Greenland has been lost since 1995. That's turned into roughly 1 quadrillion gallons of water, estimated study co-author Stefan Hofer of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. That's about as much water as there is in Lake Michigan.  Scientists used data from satellites along with computer models and determined that summertime clouds have been steadily decreasing there over the past two decades. This additional sunshine means more of the sun's radiation makes it to the surface of the Earth, fueling additional melting. Scientists found that from 1995 to 2009, summer cloud cover decreased by approximately 0.9% a year. (June 28, 2017) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/05/2017 - Energy storage is a critical component of the new clean energy infrastructure. Store Baby Store! New York, Massachusetts Move on Energy Storage Targets Massachusetts set its first targets, and quickly drew criticism for starting too low. New York lawmakers took their first step by passing an energy storage bill. New York is set to join the ranks of a small but growing number of pioneering states that are setting targets for energy storage as wind, solar and other renewable energies supply increasing amounts of power to their electric grids. So far, only a few states have laws demanding that utilities meet targets for energy storage—including California, Oregon, Massachusetts and Nevada—and their targets vary. Massachusetts drew criticism today when it announced its first targets, which energy experts considered well below what will be needed. New York's legislature has now passed a bill that would join those states by asking its Public Service Commission to set targets for energy storage in New York by as early as January of next year. (June 30, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2017 - I suspect long-term future extreme weather forecasting will be wildly unpopular. Imagine trying to get insurance in a city about to be nailed by a horrific storm in ten years. Even though we may be able to predict and therefore plan for specific extreme weather, climate deniers will foresee a great threat to their ideology and pour great piles of money into denying the threats—until the threats unfold and they had convinced the public not to prepare. Time passes.  Extreme weather forecasting, looking years or even decades into the future, could soon be a thing WE MAY grumble that they’re wrong about the weather but meteorologists are having none of it and say they may soon be able to conduct forecasts years ahead. WE’VE all been there. The weather forecast tells you it’s going to rain and it’s actually glorious sunshine. They say we’re going to bake and we get drenched. But the forecasting fraternity has hit back saying weather reports have never been more accurate. What’s more, a project is under way to predict major weather events year — even decades — out. A “quiet revolution” in meteorology is taking place, weather boffins say, combing big science, mathematics and some very large computers. (July 4, 2017) News.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2017 - Hard to understand the complacency by the ‘silent majority’ as their environmental protections are being gutted. Decades and decades of environmental protections for our public health and the health of our ecosystems have been secured, usually after great catastrophes demanded that something be done. Now, these protections are being stripped away in an ideological instant putting our future, our health, and our livelihoods in danger. How can the public stand by and watch this happen? If the public is thinking that we’ll just put these regulations back in place after this anti-environment administration leaves (as that scenario is the most likely because it leans towards sustainability), we should remember that many golden windows of opportunity are closing now in Climate Change, species extinction, and ecosystem damage. We may not be able to recover from the wreckage of this EPA catastrophe. When will the public wake up to this threat to themselves? Dozens of EPA Staffers Weigh In on the Damage Trump Has Inflicted Morale is seriously low. During the campaign, Donald Trump promised to “get rid of” the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form” and leave it in “little tidbits.” He’s begun to make good on that pledge during his first few months in office by putting climate change deniers in charge, bringing Obama-era regulations to a standstill and asking Congress to slash the agency’s budget by a third. But Trump’s attack on environmental policy hasn’t been limited to changing rules—he’s also undermined the workplace culture at the EPA. That lowered morale is evident in a report released this week filled with warnings from the people who know the EPA best—its longtime staffers. The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative is a watchdog group that formed after the election to monitor and archive federal data that many feared might be at risk in the Trump administration. On Monday, a team of EDGI researchers published a report, titled “The EPA Under Siege,” based on interviews with 48 current and former staffers. Because these accounts are anonymous, there is no way of knowing how reliable the specific accusations are and what any given interviewee’s current status at the agency is. But the report offers a snapshot of the confusion and fear that have dominated agency life in the first half-year of Trump’s presidency. (June 22, 2017) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 7/03/2017 - Even so, however many people and nations capitulate to Trump’s anti-science view of Climate Change, it’s PHYSICS stupid!  Rolling back efforts to address Climate Change won’t do anything but increase the likelihood that we won’t be about to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes. Germany ‘massively weakened’ draft G20 climate plan to appease Trump Latest draft of German plan for next week’s Hamburg meeting contains major concessions to US and opens door for coal projects to be defined as “clean” Germany’s G20 presidency dramatically weakened a climate action plan, gutting it of ambitious language and defining gas, and potentially even some coal power, as “clean technologies”, in an attempt to appeal to US president Donald Trump. The action plan was intended to be agreed at next week’s Hamburg G20 summit. Climate Home has seen two versions, drafted in March and May of this year. The latter shows the degree to which the German presidency has bent to the will of the Trump White House. (June 29, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/03/2017 - What will make more news? The latest Trump tweet or the break off of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica? One’s probably an indication of madness, the other is probably an indication that Climate Change is occurring quicker than experts thought. Where should humanity place our priorities? Both tragedies are human driven and both will have consequences, one of them particularly ominous for humanity and the life which has evolved on our planet for millions of years. Time passes. The Larsen C Rift is Racing to Its Conclusion A rift has torn the Larsen C ice shelf asunder and now the outside edge of the ice is moving at an unprecedented pace. When it breaks off, it will become one of the largest icebergs ever recorded. The crack is just eight miles away from breaking off what will likely be the second-biggest iceberg observed. The massive hunk of ice has already started to wiggle like a loose tooth. That includes ice near where the crack began, which is moving at an unprecedented speed of 33 feet per day. In the world of glacial-paced ice, that’s the equivalent of an all-out sprint. (June 28, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/03/2017 - Perhaps our greatest scientist: “Stephen Hawking says that US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement could lead to irreversible climate change.” Which is to say, Climate Change is a result of science and climate denial is a stance. Stance is “The attitude of a person or organization towards something” (OED) Hawking says Trump's climate stance could damage Earth Stephen Hawking says that US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement could lead to irreversible climate change. Prof Hawking said the action could put Earth onto a path that turns it into a hothouse planet like Venus. He also feared aggression was "inbuilt" in humans and that our best hope of survival was to live on other planets. The Cambridge professor spoke exclusively to BBC News to coincide with his 75th birthday celebrations. Arguably the world's most famous scientist, Prof Hawking has had motor neurone disease for most of his adult life. It has impaired his movement and ability to speak. Yet through it all, he emerged as one of the greatest minds of our time. His theories on black holes and the origin of the Universe have transformed our understanding of the cosmos. (July 2, 2017) BBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/03/2017 - Imagine if all teachers felt a sense of duty to teach Climate Change as if our life support system mattered. A Sense of Duty to Teach Climate Change Since my story about the clash between teenage climate skeptics and their high school science teacher ran earlier this month, several hundred teachers across the country have responded with their own stories of teaching on climate. After the initial flurry of replies, I wanted to get a handle on a broader range of teacher experiences, so I requested more stories. Climate change, of course, is a politically fraught topic in the United States, where Republican politicians and representatives of the fossil fuel industry have sought to cast doubt on the established science of human-caused global warming. Even most states that have adopted the scientific consensus as part of their education standards — and many have not — so far do not require assessments of whether students understand it. And one recent survey suggests that some science teachers simply skim over the topic. But many of the teachers I heard from, including those in conservative strongholds, described efforts to impart the reality of climate change whether or not it was an official part of the curriculum. Here’s a selection of those stories. Some were condensed for space. (June 28, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/01/2017 - Actually, where Climate Change is going to hit the hardest is our FUTURE! Finally, understanding Climate Change and looking around to see who and where is going to get hit first and the worst (the poor and various places around the word) is critical in helping those in immediate danger. But, let’s get real. We are all in danger of Climate Change, including our children and all that we care for. Climate Change is a planetary crisis in need of immediate attention by all of us, for all of us. If you’re marching in an army headed straight for a phalanx of heavily-armed soldiers (think, Pickett's Charge) aiming straight at your division, whether you’re in the front row or second or third won’t matter all that much because you are all going to have a terrible day. Here's where climate change will hit the U.S. the hardest Communities across the U.S. should brace themselves for severe economic losses if climate change continues undeterred, according to a new analysis.  Every jump of 1 degree Celsius in temperature will cost the U.S. about 1.2 percent in gross domestic product, researchers said in a study that appears Friday in the journal Science. They also delivered a grim message: expect America's income inequality to get worse as the planet warms.  The researchers crunched numbers on how climate change will continue to impact the economy and society in a wide range of ways. They projected the impact on everything from agriculture yields and the labor supply to mortality rates and violent crime. They identified how different communities' energy expenditures will change, and mapped out the locations likely to take the greatest hit from coastal damage.  Most importantly, they broke their analysis down on a granular, county-by-county level, producing a vivid picture of which U.S. communities stand to lose the most as global warming accelerates. (June 29, 2017) CBS News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/01/2017 - We (representatives of several local environmental groups) held a press conference Thursday (June 29th) on “NY Energy Independence Events: Free NY from Big Oil & Gas” in Rochester and around the state in many cities. But the media didn’t show up. They were contacted a couple of times but they were too busy, or their dog ate their homework, or they just still don’t understand the relationship between our energy use and the crisis of Climate Change. Anyway, watch these two short videos of our Rochester press conference because if you’re depending on our local media to report responsibly in a warming world, you’re going to get very hot: Video One, Video Two. Time passes.

  • 7/01/2017 - Let’s be clear: if your representative isn’t serious about addressing Climate Change, they don’t care about your future. If your elected official isn’t actively helping your community to adapt to Climate Change and working globally to mitigate this crisis, they are climate deniers heading you and your family off a cliff. Climate Change isn’t a special interest, it’s physics, it’s is a quickly warming world where there are grave consequences and terrible procrastination penalties for not acting in time and on a scale that will matter. How to Tell If Your Reps Are Serious About Climate Change In the wake of Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, how serious are your elected leaders about fighting back? Perhaps no president in recent times has unified the country, and the globe, as effectively as Donald Trump. In the hours following his rejection of the Paris climate accord, pretty much everyone who didn't actually work in a coal mine joined in the condemnation. Few trollers were quite as adept as the new French president, who issued a video urging climate scientists to emigrate from America, but the honchos at Facebook and Google did their part, weighing in with varied admixtures of shock, indignation and disappointment – in fact, Forbes kept a running tally of billionaires expressing their outrage, one of whom, Michael Bloomberg, pledged up to $15 million to help make up for the money America had promised the planet's poorest countries. Tesla's Elon Musk and the head of Disney quit the president's council of CEO advisers, while a senior Vatican official said exiting Paris was a "huge slap in the face for us." Politicians across the nation, noting that majorities of voters in every single state (even West Virginia!) opposed withdrawing from the pact, pledged to keep up the fight. More than 300 mayors and counting have announced a compact to fight for the goals of the Paris accord, and 12 states (including New York and California and representing more than a third of the nation's economy) formed the U.S. Climate Alliance to reach the targets set in the French capital in 2015. In fact, as the director of Canada's Climate Action Network said, "Trump's move to withdraw the U.S. from the accord has resulted in the clearest ... call for climate action from every corner of human civilization yet." (June 26, 2017) Rolling Stone [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/01/2017 - What will the Trump administration do about the National Climate Assessment process began by President Reagan and then mandated by Congress in 1990”? Thirteen agencies of our government (Department of AgricultureDepartment of CommerceDepartment of DefenseDepartment of EnergyDepartment of Health & Human ServicesDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of StateDepartment of TransportationEnvironmental Protection AgencyNational Aeronautics & Space AdministrationNational Science FoundationSmithsonian Institution, and Agency for International Development) not only participated in the findings of the NCA, but their actions will be based on this particular study. I don’t know what the Trump administration is going to do about this critically important document, that demonstrates just how comprehensively and urgently our government understands Climate Change but I suggest strongly that you read it now before it’s gone.  You can download the whole report or sections of it here. Hurry, before it’s gone. Check out my May 10, 2014 essay, “Just-released National Climate Assessment ain’t no foolin’ around” Time passes. Obama left Trump a major climate-change report — and independent scientists just said it’s accurate The United States’ top independent science experts have blessed a draft Obama administration climate science report — left behind for the Trump administration to finish — that presents a strong contrast to inaccurate scientific claims by President Trump’s top environmental official. The document, dubbed the “Climate Science Special Report,” is a product of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the federal entity that coordinates climate research across the government and publishes, every four years, a major assessment of how climate change is affecting the United States. A draft of the report was submitted for review to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine shortly before the change in administration. (March 15, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/30/2017 - Trump, please listen to your friend Prime Minister of Canada, recognize Great Lakes’ threat from Climate Change and act together.  The Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system in the world, is in deep trouble from Climate Change is causing great damage now and threatens to increasingly cause major disruptions to this critical ecosystem in the years to come. Solution must be made at the national levels and under the lens of Climate Change. “Flooding happens,” the Prime Minister said. “It happens more frequently, and its effects are felt across the city.” The plan’s flood protection measures are critical, and will become more so as climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events – something that Toronto, along with other Ontario and Quebec cities, has already seen in recent years. Toronto waterfront to undergo $1.185-billion flood-protection makeover With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement of funding for the $1.185-billion Port Lands Flood Protection project, that is the objective: to let the Don River flow more freely into Lake Ontario, as it once did. But the first goal is flood protection – mitigating the effects of extreme weather and climate change. “Flooding happens,” the Prime Minister said. “It happens more frequently, and its effects are felt across the city.” The plan’s flood protection measures are critical, and will become more so as climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events – something that Toronto, along with other Ontario and Quebec cities, has already seen in recent years. (June 28, 2017) Globe and Mail [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/30/2017 - Inconvenient for Great Lakes but Climate Change is bringing more rain, more sewer discharges, and wastewater systems need to be updated. It would make more sense if this climate adaptive measure was orchestrated from the federal level because the Great Lakes basin is a series of large lakes, bordered by many cities, states, and two countries. Editorial: Storm sewer systems must be upgraded to protect quality of our greatest asset To some extent, the problem affecting Lake Erie beaches is the same one tormenting property owners along the Lake Ontario shoreline: There’s too much water. Efforts are underway to attend to some of those problems, but among them needs to be the infrastructure program authorized in the state budget earlier this year. With the deluge of rain this spring, beach water along Lake Erie has frequently become too hazardous for swimming. That’s a dramatic change from last year, when a near-drought parched the landscape, but kept beaches busy and swimmers in the water. The problem with rain is runoff and overflows. With nearly 17.5 inches of rain since March 1, runoff into creeks and streams, sewer overflows, erosion and turbidity have fouled beach water far more frequently than last year. (June 28, 2017) The Buffalo News [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/30/2017 - ACTION: Think Fracking (which NYS banned on June 29, 2015) waste should be allowed in our NYS landfills? Make comment by 5:00 p.m. on July 21, 2017. We banned Fracking for good reasons, including the threats to our water and land and public health. So, why would we accept Fracking waste from other states? Seems kinda counterproductive. NYS Exposed: Fracking waste dumped in Finger Lakes landfill Hundreds of trucks roll into the Seneca Meadows landfill in Seneca Falls every day, dumping your garbage. But environmental advocates say, for years, trucks carried construction debris straight from Pennsylvania fracking sites. "The concerns are that they can contain the hundreds of chemicals that are used during the process, some of these chemicals are known or suspected carcinogens," says Liz Moran, Environmental Advocates of New York. (June 27, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/30/2017 - There’s going to be a procrastination penalty for not addressing Climate Change in time, some regions getting hit first and worse. If we plan and adapt accordingly things won’t get as bad as doing nothing. Climate Change Will Hit Southern Poor Hardest, U.S. Economic Analysis Shows Nationwide, rising temperatures could lower U.S. GDP by 6 percent this century while worsening economic inequality, the authors say. It’s “the poor getting poorer.” Without effective action to bend the upward curve of greenhouse gas emissions, parts of the American South could experience more than a 20 percent drop in economic activity due to global warming by the end of the century, according to a new analysis of the regional economic risks of climate change. The county-by-county analysis shows that the poorer regions of the country would be hit hardest, and that the nation as a whole could see as much 6 percent shaved off of its GDP by the end of this century. The analysis is based on a high-emissions trajectory that doesn't take into account future voluntary efforts to reduce emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement. (June 29, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/29/2017 - Regardless of the Travel Ban, Climate Change is going to compel US and others to open their doors. Or, let billions die for a crisis we created. Time passes. Communities around the world who have lots of water, land, housing, infrastructure, and public health systems, like Rochester, should be planning for Climate Change with refugees in mind. A warming world is going to shift world populations whether we like it or not.  Two billion people may become refugees from climate change by the end of the century  An unimaginable 2 billion people could become displaced from their homes by 2100 due to climate change-related rising ocean levels. That would be about one-fifth of the world’s population at that time, and account for those who live near coastlines, according to new Cornell University research. “We’re going to have more people on less land and sooner than we think,” the study’s lead author, Charles Geisler, said in a statement. “The future rise in global mean sea level probably won’t be gradual, yet few policy makers are taking stock of the significant barriers to entry that coastal climate refugees, like other refugees, will encounter when they migrate to higher ground.” (June 27, 2017) Daily News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/29/2017 - I know, just about the last thing the American public wants to hear about during the present fireworks over Health Care is Climate Change. But it’s important to have complete health coverage for everyone for everyone’s benefit as our planet warms up. Every official climate action plan at every level, including the nation’s Nation Climate Assessment (NCA), expresses the threats that Climate Change brings to our public health. BTW: The NCA is an amazing official study regularly published since the Reagan administration. Thirteen agencies of our government (Department of AgricultureDepartment of CommerceDepartment of DefenseDepartment of EnergyDepartment of Health & Human ServicesDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of StateDepartment of TransportationEnvironmental Protection AgencyNational Aeronautics & Space AdministrationNational Science FoundationSmithsonian Institution, and Agency for International Development) not only participated in the findings of the NCA, but their actions will be based on this particular study. This about human health from the National Climate Assessment: “Climate change affects human health, natural ecosystems, built environments, and existing social, institutional, and legal arrangements. Adaptation considerations include local, state, regional, national, and international issues. For example, the implications of international arrangements need to be considered in the context of managing the Great Lakes, the Columbia River, and the Colorado River to deal with drought., Both “bottom up” community planning and “top down” national strategies may help regions deal with impacts such as increases in electrical brownouts, heat stress, floods, and wildfires. Such a mix of approaches will require cross-boundary coordination at multiple levels as operational agencies integrate adaptation planning into their programs.” (Adaptation, National Climate Assessment) Check out my essay in 2014: “Just-released National Climate Assessment ain’t no foolin’ around

  • 6/28/2017 - We definitely have to get our planet’s temperature down quickly and a carbon fee makes economic, ethical, and physical sense. Efforts by Citizens' Climate Lobby, both locally and nationally, to put a laser focus on this strategy are freaking amazing. Seeking to change the climate on carbon Climate activists have been bruised and bloodied over the past few months. And yet there's a group in Rochester that still has hope that Congress will act to cut US carbon emissions. The local chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby has watched its numbers swell since President Donald Trump's election. It now gets around 40 people at its meetings, says chapter co-leader Sarah Mittiga. "We've been exploding," Mittiga says. "We used to have 10 people at a meeting; 15 people would be like 'Oh! Big turnout!'" And while the members have watched the White House assault on climate regulations, programs, and agreements – some long-standing, and some new – they've seen something encouraging. Citizens' Climate Lobby has two priorities: growing the size of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House and getting Congress to pass a carbon tax known as "carbon fee and dividend." And both are gaining support among Congressional Democrats and Republicans. (June 28, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/28/2017 - Many a ‘gotcha moments’ on renewable energy have been had because of the ‘baseload’ argument. Does that make sense anymore? Now that renewable energy has taken hold, the modern electrical grid system is changing to reflect that. “The Brattle report, commissioned by NRDC, explains that no single technology or fuel type is needed to keep the lights on 24/7.” “Baseload” in the Rearview Mirror of Today’s Electric Grid With changing dynamics of both supply and demand in the electricity industry, including low natural gas prices, flat electricity demand due to increased efficiency, and robust growth of cheap, clean renewables, the term “baseload”—which historically has been used to refer to large coal and nuclear plants—is now outdated. That’s the conclusion of new analysisreleased by The Brattle Group , a global economics consulting firm, which says grid planners and operators should be technology-neutral in finding the best energy resources to reliably meet the operational needs of the modern electricity system. (Here's a press releasediscussing the Report.) Industry stakeholders should focus on defining, compensating, and planning around the operational needs of the power grid, as well as public policy goals and customer preferences, rather than applying anachronistic frameworks that group power plants according to whether or not they are “baseload,” “intermediate,” or “peaking.” (June 26, 2017) Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) [more on Energy in our area]  

  • 6/28/2017 - We defeated Fracking in New York State not because the gas was a greenhouse gas and caused more Climate Change (though it does}. Mostly, we defeated Fracking because this horizontal drilling operation threatened so much of our water and land resources. We definitely need to be switching to renewable energy as soon as possible and stop fossil fuel infrastructure, which both warms up the planet, undercuts renewable energy, and locks us into decades of an expensive, sprawling destructive substructure. Anyway, I found this article about how Fracking needs to clean up its act because of environmental regulations. The article says, “Even though President Donald Trump’s Cabinet promised to ease regulations on the fossil fuel industry, fewer rules raise more risks for the petroleum sector. Lax laws lead the industry to overuse water, to under-manage natural gas leaks and to ignore things that cause seismic activity. “Water scarcity, methane leakage, earthquakes, all those things are real,” Logan said. “For the industry to have a long-term future, you need a strong, stable regulatory environment.”” We “need a strong, stable regulatory environment.” Imagine that from an industry that has learned the hard way that they lost a lot of public support because historically this industry has run slipshod over our public health and environment. It might be a lesson they have learned too late because the world is turning away from this old energy source—and it may take a very long time to clean up their innumerable messes. BTW: The fossil fuel industry is not going to have a long-term future because that doesn’t make financial or environmentally sustainable sense. Fracking essential to oil and gas production, but risks remain One of the most important advancements for the modern oil and gas sector has become a household curse word. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is crucial to producing petroleum and natural gas and transformed the U.S. industry in the last decade. Fracking is responsible for the industry’s success. But drilling companies must be upfront with the public about environmental risks, or face backlash, said Andrew Logan, Ceres oil and gas program director. The process is controversial because residents in several states claim chemicals from drilling and fracking have contaminated groundwater. New York and Maryland banned fracking and municipalities in 16 states have moratoria or other restrictions. (June 22, 2017) New Orleans City Business [more on Fracking in our area] 

  • 6/27/2017 - I suppose it’s easier and more politically satisfying to blame the IJC for Lake Ontario flooding than Climate Change. But this is unlikely to solve the problem. Local officials head to Washington to talk about recent lake flooding Several local officials will be in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to meet with members of the local Congressional delegation and others about the recent flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline. Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo says she will be urging area representatives to put pressure on the United States’ appointees on the International Joint Commission.  That U.S. – Canadian panel helps regulate the flow of Lake Ontario. (June 26, 2017) WXXI News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/27/2017 - Ignoring the heat that’s coming when dismissing Climate Change could cost you both now and later. Our infrastructures (think transportation) were built with a certain range of temperatures in mind. So were our electrical systems. So were our food supply systems. And we certainly didn’t expect continual dangerous heat as a threat to human health. We, nor our infrastructures (which are the life blood of our 7 billion people existence now) are not ready for the heat that’s coming. We should be planning locally and worldwide to address Climate Change because if you don’t include the heat in your future, you may not have one. (Check out my last week’s essay: “Remember, no matter how divisive Climate Change is… there’s the heat.” Time passes. Extreme Heat Waves Will Change How We Live. We’re Not Ready Extreme heat struck across the Southwest U.S. this week, sending temperatures in Phoenix soaring to near 120°F and grounding airplanes that were unable to operate in such warm weather. Heat waves are nothing new, but they have increased in frequency and severity in recent decades as a result of climate change. And each extreme heat event reveals another way our society simply isn't built for such high temperatures, from our transport systems to the agriculture industry. "We’ve built entire infrastructures with particular temperatures in mind," says Matthew T. Huber, an associate professor of geography at Syracuse University. "When temperatures get really high, we don’t have the material capacity to deal with that." (June 23, 2017) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2017 - There are many possible explanations why CO2 concentrations are rising even though our emissions have ‘stabilized’. First, we may not be very good compiling data on our own because we just don’t have enough monitoring equipment. Secondly, there may be bad players who aren’t owning up to their emissions amounts. Third, we may be missing sources of CO2 emissions that we haven’t even thought of. Four, as this article describes, our natural CO2 sponges, like our oceans which soak up the lion’s share of our CO2 emissions are unable to keep up. Or, we have somehow triggered a tipping point in our planet’s very complex climate system—an unknown unknown that’s now expressing itself. I’ve long thought that the idea of a carbon budget, where we think we have a certain amount of CO2 emissions we can still emit before we overdo it, was bogus and hubristic. Our climate system is too complex and we still have much to learn before we can say more carbon emissions (bloodletting) is possible. Instead of assuming we still can continue to burn fossil fuels, we should be scaling down that dramatically and increasing the monitoring of our greenhouse gas emissions. We don’t have the luxury of making a mistake on this issue. Time passes. Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize Scientists are concerned about the cause of the rapid rises because, in one of the most hopeful signs since the global climate crisis became widely understood in the 1980s, the amount of carbon dioxide that people are pumping into the air seems to have stabilized in recent years, at least judging from the data that countries compile on their own emissions. That raises a conundrum: If the amount of the gas that people are putting out has stopped rising, how can the amount that stays in the air be going up faster than ever? Does it mean the natural sponges that have been absorbing carbon dioxide are now changing? (June 26, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/26/2017 - Looks like not even the Trump administration can deny the “protection of human rights from the impacts of climate change” US joins UN resolution to protect human rights from climate change The US said climate change had “a range of implications for the effective enjoyment of human rights”, in a departure from recent diplomacy and Trump’s rhetoric The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution that calls for the protection of human rights from the impacts of climate change, with the support of the US. Two weeks of discussions began with much uncertainty regarding the role that the US would play after the decision by the US president Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. After intensive but constructive negotiations over the wording, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam1 proposed a resolution for adoption by all members of the Council on Thursday. Addressing the Council as governments were about to consider the adoption of the text, US representative Jason Mack cleared any doubts about the US position on this resolution. “As we said previously on this topic, the effects of climate change have a range of implications for the effective enjoyment of human rights. On this basis we join consensus,” said Mack. (June 23, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/26/2017 - I know, when nations DO stay committed to the Paris Accord, it doesn’t make a lot of news. Though, it should. Remarks from the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change about the government motion to remain committed to the implementation of the Paris Agreement Mr. Speaker, It’s a privilege to rise here today to address the honourable members—and indeed, all Canadians—to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the Paris Agreement. Today—after decades of warning—the effects of climate change are no longer a distant threat. Across our own country, we see its impacts seared on the landscape. In the boreal forest, wildfires rage longer and harsher than ever before. In the Prairies, droughts and floods occur with greater frequency and with more devastating effects. In the Arctic, sea ice is thinning at alarming rates, altering the land where Inuit have hunted for millennia. And from coast to coast to coast, the threat of sea-level rise is very real and potentially catastrophic. Mr. Speaker, these are great challenges we face—and we see them happening around the world. But by tackling them now—by lowering our emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy—we can take hold of a tremendous opportunity. It’s an opportunity to not only prevent the worst impacts of climate change, but to spark innovations in technology, strengthen our economy, and create good-paying jobs for Canadians, in the clean-growth century. But Mr. Speaker, let’s be clear: As temperatures rise and the environmental crisis advances—inaction and indifference are no longer an option. (June 6, 2017) Environment and Climate Change Canada [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/24/2017 - Although the pre-Pruitt EPA strongly suggested the connection between Harmful Algal Blooms in our US fresh waters with Climate Change in 2013, it’s still under review. In our local media, it’s not even under review. This statement is interesting: “The toxic bacteria are an increasing problem nationwide. Experts are warning that heavy rains this spring could fuel an especially vigorous crop of cyanobacteria this summer.” (Monroe County to use Twitter to issue algae-bloom alerts (June 23, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)) It’s interesting because there is strong evidence that Climate Change is amplifying and accelerating the production of toxic bacteria in our regions’ lakes. And we know that heavy rains have been increasing by 71% in our region since 1958 because of Climate Change. But our local media is still reluctant to publish a story about the local increase in Harmful Algal Blooms and even mentioning Climate Change. It’s no wonder people in our region don’t realize that Climate Change is already profoundly affecting our region. Time passes. Effect of climate change on Great Lakes' algae under review Climate change experts are trying to predict what will happen to the waters of the Great Lakes — including a surge of algae blooms. A warmer climate is conducive to more of these harmful blooms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but experts often deal in hypotheticals. Jeffrey Andresen, Michigan’s state climatologist and a geography professor at Michigan State University, expects relatively more warming in the winter than warming in the summer. That means a chance for more rain or snow during months that precede spring. That means more nutrients from livestock, farm fields and urban streets that can run into lakes. And all those extra nutrients can fuel the growth of algae. )June 22, 2017) Traverse City Record-Eagle [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/24/2017 - Are Asian Carp almost ready to radically change the Great Lakes ecosystem? Did we do enough to stop this Invasive Species? Like the very disruptive Zebra Mussels that now invest our Finger Lakes and other small lakes, we knew for a long time that they would radiate out of the Great Lakes (where they arrived from Europe from the bilges of ships that entered the Great Lakes) by water in boats being transported by fishermen and pleasure boaters from the Great Lakes to other lakes. There were and still are efforts to stop the invasions but were those efforts and efforts today enough? What actions are being taken to prepare for the arrival of invasive species of all kinds that we unwarily transport from one ecosystem to another?  Cause For Serious Concern': Invasive Carp Caught 9 Miles From Great Lakes A live Asian carp — an invasive fish so threatening to local U.S. ecosystems that officials have struggled to keep it out of the Great Lakes — has been caught 9 miles from Lake Michigan, beyond a system of underwater electric barriers. The silver carp, one of several species of the invasive fish, was captured below the T.J. O'Brien Lock and Dam on Thursday morning "with a grill net by a contracted commercial fisher," the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee said in a statement Friday. "The silver carp was 28 inches in length and weighed approximately 8 pounds." Kevin Irons, an official with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, tells NPR that tests of the fish and its surrounding waters are now underway and further information will be released soon. "There are seven species of carps native to Asia that have been introduced to the United States," explains the ACRCC, a group composed of federal and local agencies, "but only four types that are considered a threat to the Great Lakes: bighead, silver, black and grass." (June 23, 2017) NPR [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area] 

  • 6/23/2017 - Major flooding, like that which occurred this spring in the Northeast, is expected to increase because of Climate Change. Prepare. Quebec floods: Why experts say disaster will strike again At 4 a.m. on Feb. 28, 2010, as residents slept in La Faute-sur-Mer in western France, the 80-year-old seawall built to protect their town collapsed and the ocean came pouring in. Whipped up by 160-km/h storm winds, the waters of the frigid Atlantic surged into the dozens of homes built in a below-sea-level bowl near the beach, killing 29 mostly older residents trapped in one-storey bungalows. Hundreds of survivors perched on their roofs for hours in the biting rain, awaiting rescue. In the aftermath, mayor René Marratier was sentenced to two years in prison, accused of covering up flooding risks in order to reap the “cash cow” of property development. Authorities ruled 1,500 homes had to be razed so their occupants would not live in “mortal danger.” (June 5, 2017) Montreal Gazette [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/23/2017  - There is much US cities and states can do to fill the gap left by Trump’s pullout from Paris and much we cannot do. Nations can do things that states and cities cannot do to work and negotiate on the world stage to solve a world problem. It’s one of the reasons why we have nations and not city states anymore. US cities and states back Paris deal but ignore climate finance Several US states and cities have committed to cut emissions despite president Trump, but only Seattle remembered cash commitments to the developing world A wave of anti-Trump, pro-climate enthusiasm has washed across the US since president Donald Trump decided to abandon the Paris climate agreement. Affirmations of the Paris goals have come from thousands of centres of power. State capitols, mayors’ offices and boardrooms have aligned to tell Trump “We Are Still In”. Twelve states, plus Puerto Rico, representing a third of US citizens, have joined the United States Climate Alliance, which commits to meet the carbon cuts the US pledged to the Paris accord. But those standing by the agreement had, until this week, universally ignored the part of the deal that binds it all together – cash. (June 15, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/23/2017 - Remember, no matter how divisive Climate Change is… there’s the heat. Even if you don’t want to think about Climate Change, there’s the heat. Even if you think your one solution will fix it all, there’s the heat. Even you don’t believe in Climate Change, there’s the heat. Even if you don’t humanity has the capacity to transition to another energy source that doesn’t warm the planet, there’s the heat. Even if you think there are more important issues than Climate Change, there’s the heat. At the end of the day, there’s the heat. 95-Degree Days: How Extreme Heat Could Spread Across the World Extremely hot days, when temperatures soar to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, can be miserable. Crops wilt in the fields. Electric grids strain to keep pace with demand. People are at greater risk of dying. And those hot temperatures are expected to be much more frequent in the coming decades. The map above, based on a new analysis from the Climate Impact Lab, shows how 95-degree days (35 degrees Celsius) are expected to multiply this century if countries take moderate climate action. In this scenario, countries would take some measures, but not drastic ones, to curb emissions — roughly the trajectory of the current pledges under the Paris climate agreement. The resulting global warming would still cause significant shifts for many cities (June 22, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 6/22/2017 - Welcome to new communities into NYS’s Climate Smart Communities program. Rochester has been a member since 2009—and it makes a difference. Imagine if every community in NYS, or the whole country for that matter, was working together to adapt and mitigate Climate Change. We’d be moving much faster to address Climate Change and making a much bigger impact. Governor Cuomo Names Tompkins County and Town of Ithaca New York's 12th and 14th Certified Climate Smart Communities Model Municipalities Recognized for Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Build Climate Resiliency  Supports the Governor's Goal to Reduce Statewide Emissions 40 Percent by 2030 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today recognized Tompkins County and the town of Ithaca as New York's 12th and 14th local governments to be designated as Certified Climate Smart Communities. Actions to strengthen resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in these communities support the Governor's aggressive goals to reduce statewide emissions 40 percent by 2030. "New York continues to make significant strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and by joining forces with communities across the state and the nation, we are combatting climate change to provide a more sustainable environment for future generations of New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "I commend Tompkins County and the town of Ithaca for supporting these clean energy initiatives, and I encourage municipalities across New York to follow their lead and become Certified Climate Smart Communities."(June 21, 2017) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/22/2017 - You go into Climate Change with the environment you have. If major ecosystems are in trouble, so are we. We have to stop thinking of our great big ecosystems, which would include our planet, as systems we can use as we please because they can take care of themselves. Actually, the more we learn from scientists is that our environment has always been very sensitive, humanity just hasn’t been large enough and capable of destroying major sections of it until recently. As our planet warms up, we are going to need healthy, thriving ecosystems, like the largest freshwater system in the world, to be as healthy and resilient as possible. This is going to take a lot of work, and money, and cooperation, and planning. We need to get our faith back in sciences. Time passes. Great Lakes aren't doing so great, says new government study Toxic chemicals in the Great Lakes have dropped but invasive species and algal blooms threaten the lakes' ecosystems and keep them from being truly great, says a new report from the U.S. and Canadian governments. The "State of the Great Lakes 2017 Highlights Report" from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its Canadian counterparts says Lake Erie is in the worst condition. It describes Lake Erie as "deteriorating," with algal blooms caused by agricultural runoff contaminating drinking water in its western end, and beach fouling and habitat loss plaguing its eastern end. Positive trends in Lake Erie include increased walleye throughout the lake, declines in sea lamprey injuries to native fish, and a resurgence of native plants in Michigan and Ohio after a successful campaign to reduce invasive phragmites. (June 21, 2017) Cleveland.com [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/22/2017 - Of course, if the Asian Carp does take over the Great Lakes there will be lots of blame to go around but it won’t matter. We’ll be too busy scrambling to keep this ecosystem viable. Time passes. Bill Seeks to End White House Delays in Combatting Asian Carp Invasion Groups Applaud Efforts by Members of Congress to Make Latest Research Available to the Public Joint Media Statement from: Alliance for the Great Lakes, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ohio Environmental Council, Prairie Rivers Network, Save The River, Sierra Club, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council A bipartisan bill introduced today in Congress would push the Trump Administration to stop delaying a key effort to stop the Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes. Conservation groups from around the Great Lakes region expressed support for the bill. The groups stressed that the current Asian carp control measures, from electric barriers to harvesting, are not enough to keep the harmful fish out of the Great Lakes. Two years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was tasked with studying additional protection measures at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, IL. The facility is a logical choke point location to install control measures to stop the fish from moving closer to the lake. The study was paid for at taxpayer expense and is ready for public review. The draft report was supposed to be released for public review and input on February 28, 2017. But, instead of releasing it to the public, the White House blocked the report’s release, leaving it hidden away on a Washington, D.C. shelf gathering dust. And with it, efforts to install critical prevention measures to halt Asian carp have all but come to a halt, putting the Great Lakes at risk. (June 21, 2017) Alliance for the Great Lakes [more on the Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 6/22/2017 - After all, natural gas is a fossil fuel and needs a large, expensive infrastructure that gobbles up our time and financial resources and still warms the planet. We should be moving away from developing any more fossil fuel infrastructures and quick transforming our energy sources to renewables if we want a sustainable future. It has become obvious to most around the world now that we cannot use our atmosphere as a dump, or our water and land for that matter. We have to change and do so quickly. Time passes. Natural gas can’t help to curb climate change Too much reliance on natural gas to generate electricity means the Paris climate target will be missed and money wasted on underused pipelines. Natural gas will have to be phased out along with coal if the world is to be kept safe from dangerous climate change. And that seems likely to have to happen far sooner than most official forecasts, according to a new report. If countries want to reach their Paris Agreement goals of limiting the long-term world temperature rise to 1.5°C, then many of the proposals to increase gas production and distribution will be unnecessary. New terminals and pipelines will never be fully used and will become stranded assets. The authors also warn that unless countries realise quickly that further investment in gas production is both unnecessary and damaging to the climate, they may lock themselves into emissions that they cannot afford to make. The report, Foot off the Gas, is published by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), an independent science-based assessment which tracks countries’ emission commitments and actions. CAT’s members are Climate AnalyticsEcofys and NewClimate Institute, with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as a collaborator. (June 22, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/22/2017 - What caught my eye about this article on Trump 'betrayed' Great Lakes region is that the article is from Canada. However much the Trump administration desires to thwart his political enemies in the US, there are his ‘base’ and other countries who need the Great Lakes to be a healthy, thriving ecosystem. U.S. Sen. Brown believes President Trump 'betrayed' Great Lakes region Funding for enviromental programs could be eliminated under Trump administration U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) said this morning he believes President Trump has betrayed the Great Lakes region by trying to eliminate funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other environmental programs, from climate change research to Ohio Sea Grant funding. “It makes no economic sense. It’s just a betrayal,” Mr. Brown told reporters in the hallway of the National Museum of the Great Lakes before headed into a panel his office convened for him to hear more directly about such concerns from Lake Erie shoreline business leaders, fishermen, Toledo drinking water officials, academic researchers and others. “The problem is you have a President and a White House who’s hostile to this,” Mr. Brown said. He noted the Great Lakes region was an important part of the voting bloc that got Mr. Trump elected over his Democratic rival, former U.S. Sen. and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of New York. (June 19,2017) The Blade [more on Great lakes in our area]

  • 6/21/2017 - Lake Ontario water level war between IJC and Cuomo highlights the difficulty in addressing Climate Change when planning remains regional. If humanity doesn’t work out a world-level planning system that prioritizes Climate Change, we are going to remain fighting amongst ourselves trying to address regional issues only. This issue also highlights a problem inherent in geoengineering because if some adapting measure (like Plan 2014 to readjust lake levels) is viewed as causing a specific problem (like shoreline property owners betting their beaches flooded) those adapting measures will probably get all the blame instead of looking at the big picture, Climate Change. One of the great advantages of the Paris Accord finally getting accepted worldwide (except for 3 holdouts) is that there would be a dialogue among national leader about how to address Climate Change across borders with leaders who could make nationwide decisions. The US pulling out of the Paris Accord is going to make issues like controlling the water levels of Lake Ontario, that borders two countries, more difficult to resolve—especially now as our federal governments are not on the same page when it comes to climate science. War of words: IJC responds to Cuomo’s ‘nastiest’ letter about Lake Ontario flooding (VIDEO) The International Joint Commission has issued its response to a letter from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that called the state’s flooding a “direct result” of the binational group. Leaders with the board pushed back against the governor on multiple points and repeated their assertion that the damage was caused by a “record-setting” influx of water. “The Board has been and continues to act in good faith, with as much foresight as unpredictable weather conditions allow,” wrote Gordon W. Walker and Lana Pollock, the IJC’s Canadian and American section chairs. “It has taken appropriate action in consideration of all interests.” Their letter, sent Friday, also urged the governor to improve the state’s coastal resiliency beyond repairing current damage in order to handle extreme conditions, “which are likely to occur again in the future.” (June 20, 2017) Watertown Daily News [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/21/2017 - The kind of heat we are going to experience in our Climate Change future is going to challenge our way of life and our own body’s ability to keep cool. When you warm up an entire planet, everything cooks along with it. Time passes. It’s So Hot in Phoenix, Planes Can’t Takeoff An intense heat wave is crippling the West this week, sending the mercury above 120°F in places like Phoenix. In a sign of just how hot things are getting, some airlines have had to cancel flights because of the heat. American Airlines said it cancelled 50 flights out of Phoenix Sky Harbor aboard Bombardier CRJ aircraft on Tuesday because the planes can’t operate above 118°F. Heat waves are intimately tied to climate change as rising background temperatures make them more intense and common. The latest batch of heat will cook an area from northern California to western Texas, a region home to some seven of the 10 fastest-warming cities in the country. Temperature records have already fallen across California and heat will build throughout the week. Sacramento, San Jose, Palm Springs, Fresno and Death Valley all set daily highs on Monday. But the hottest temperatures aren’t even expected to arrive until Tuesday. They’ll last through Thursday, and forecast highs mean the region could set all-time records. (June 20, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 6/21/2017 - Saving and keeping healthy our major ecosystems like tropical forests are critical in addressing Climate Change. The free market economy is not going to provide special protection for these crucial components of our life support system. In fact, the market system is more likely to cause their complete destruction (with us along with them). We need people, moral leaders, politicians and more to speak out for ways for people to make a living without decimating the natural systems that make it so we can live. Time passes It’s So Hot in Phoenix, Planes Can’t Takeoff An intense heat wave is crippling the West this week, sending the mercury above 120°F in places like Phoenix. In a sign of just how hot things are getting, some airlines have had to cancel flights because of the heat. American Airlines said it cancelled 50 flights out of Phoenix Sky Harbor aboard Bombardier CRJ aircraft on Tuesday because the planes can’t operate above 118°F. Heat waves are intimately tied to climate change as rising background temperatures make them more intense and common. The latest batch of heat will cook an area from northern California to western Texas, a region home to some seven of the 10 fastest-warming cities in the country. Temperature records have already fallen across California and heat will build throughout the week. Sacramento, San Jose, Palm Springs, Fresno and Death Valley all set daily highs on Monday. But the hottest temperatures aren’t even expected to arrive until Tuesday. They’ll last through Thursday, and forecast highs mean the region could set all-time records. (June 20, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/20/2017 - Climate Change is a public health crisis for humanity. We need massive worldwide planning on this. Three-quarters of the world’s population could face deadly heatwaves within next 80 years, scientists warn 'We are running out of choices for the future' Nearly three-quarters of the world’s population could be hit by potentially lethal heatwaves within a lifetime if vast amounts of greenhouse gases continue to pour into the atmosphere, scientists have warned. A review of scientific papers found more than 1,900 places around the planet where people had died as a result of hot and humid weather since 1980, such as Moscow in 2010, when more than 10,800 people died, Paris in 2003 (about 4,900 deaths), and Chicago in 1995 (about 740 deaths). The researchers also estimated that about a third of the population had been exposed to 20 days or more of potentially deadly conditions in 2000. (July 20, 2017) Independent [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 6/20/2017 - One of the great assumptions about life, that our climate fluctuates between cold and warm, is quite likely no longer true. That our climate will only get warmer and warmer is a startling fact now about our existence. A world that just keeps getting warmer is really different from the one we thought we were living on. Humanity needs to pay attention to the science behind Climate Change because in our guts too many of us think our climate is ‘normal.’ Our guts are probably wrong on this one. We should be planning on a massive scale to adjust to this new world and keep it from getting warmer. Staying in the Paris Accord would have been helpful, working with other nations, and all that. Millennials have never lived through a colder than average month — and never will Scorching May continues decades-long streak of above-average months, and global warming is only accelerating. Last month was the second hottest May on record, NASA reported Thursday. Only May 2016 was warmer. “With May GISTEMP update,” tweeted Dr. Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), “my prediction is 2017 will be ~2nd warmest year in the record” [see figure above]. May continues a streak of warmer than average months that dates back to at least August 1985 in NASA’s data set. (June 16, 2017) ThinkProgress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/19/2017 - John Oliver explains why the US pulling out of the Paris Accord is still a really, really bad decision.  However small this issue has vanished in the minds of people who look for new news, the US trying to leave the Paris Accord will have profound consequences for our relationships with other nations, our environment, our economy, and US.  This really bad Trump decision could be game over in a crisis that needs worldwide action before things get worse. Many are stepping up to the plate to do more to lower greenhouse gases, but Climate Change involves adaptation and monitoring on a large scale that needs major US participation. Time passes. Paris Agreement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver  Donald Trump plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement on climate change. That's bad news for anyone who happens to live on this planet. {Published on Jun 4, 2017, HBO) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/19/2017 - It’s simple: warmer climate = more mice = more ticks = more Lyme disease = more folks get sick. Ans. Plan for Climate Change. Why you need to know about mice, ticks, warm temperatures and Lyme disease Twice in the same week, Lois Wood woke to find ticks crawling over her bare leg in her New Hampshire home. A few nights later, she spotted a mouse running across her bed. A mother of seven, Wood tries to shrug off her tiny bedfellows. “It’s a common rural problem,” she says, although she admits that she has “never experienced anything like this in my own bed.” The recent appearance of vermin and pests in Wood’s bedroom coincides with the warming temperatures related to climate change. The past three years have been the planet’s hottest on record, and it is in this changing climate that many pests thrive, negatively affecting human health. (June 18, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Lyme disease, Climate Change, and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 6/17/2017 - Of course, Trump or no Trump the fight to address Climate Change will endure. Responsible beings don’t let their life support system die. But this position from the Rochester Business Journal Staff is awkward: “If the U.S. is going to do its part to fight the real threat of climate change, Trump’s decision must be viewed not as permission to relax environmentally friendly practices but as a challenge to do more to protect the planet for future generations.” We who are trying to get our officials and the public to engage and address Climate Change have enough of a ‘challenge’ without the Trump administration thwarting our every efforts. I know the media, environmental groups, businesses, governors, and even other nations want to put a positive spin on Trump pulling out of the Paris Accord, but let’s get real. Trump action on Paris is a severe blow to nations working together as only they can to enact laws, enforce regulations, work on comprehensive planet-scale solutions, and lead their citizens in messaging the crisis of our age. Just at time when the consequences of Climate Change are boring in on us, the US federal government drops the ball—and this should not be downplayed at all. The public needs to get their head around the possibility that Trump’s actions could be game over for our future. Everyone has their opinion on Climate Change, but if those opinions aren’t based on science and the evidence that our planet is warming, those opinions are incorrect. Climate change fight endures It is difficult to claim President Donald Trump’s decision last week to withdraw the United States from the Paris accord on climate change will necessarily have a negative long-term effect on the environment. First, members of the agreement must wait three years before they are eligible to withdraw, which means Trump’s first term will be nearly over by the time the withdrawal takes place. If Trump doesn’t win a second term, the next president could rejoin the accord in as little as 30 days. Trump also has said he is open to rejoining the accord if the United States can secure better terms, so it’s possible—maybe even likely—that the country’s actual absence from the accord will end up being very short. (June 9, 2017) Rochester Business Journal [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 6/17/2017 - Even if environmentalists and lawyers are able to thwart the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies at every turn, time is running out. The window of opportunities to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter is closing. We are now battling furiously to keep what little progress we have made in making environmental regulations and creating positive actions towards a sustainable way of living. But instead of quickly building on those efforts for a just and viable future we are wasting time just keeping things from sliding backward. We may win all the battles and all of us (on both sides) may well lose the war. Time passes. Dakota Access pipeline: judge rules environmental survey was inadequate In what’s being hailed a ‘significant victory’ for pipeline’s opponents, a judge said he would consider whether operations must halt until assessment is redone A federal judge has handed a lifeline to efforts to block the Dakota Access pipeline, ruling Wednesday that the US Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider the possible impacts of an oil spill where the pipeline passes under the Missouri river. US district judge James Boasberg said in a 91-page decision that the corps failed to take into account how a spill might affect “fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial”. (June 14, 2017) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/17/2017 - Can both the US and Canadian mayors on both side of the Great Lakes address Climate Change on the level of the US federal government, who has pulled out of the Paris Accord? There are a lot of officials trying to make up for the US federal government not only taking a back seat and addressing Climate Change, but actually leaving the car. Can these governors, companies, groups, take charge and change laws, fix infrastructures, provide a massive emergency response, provide grants, and many of the other things that only a federal government can do? I’m thinking, that however energized these parties may be, they cannot address keeping the Great Lakes health and address Climate Change on a level and scale and that the US federal government can. Not to mention, these parties may be thwarted at many turns by a government that is hostile to science and environmental issues. Great Lakes mayors support efforts to address climate change Support for continued efforts to address climate change is expanding among Great Lakes mayors in the aftermath of President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, the world’s most comprehensive attempt to address climate change. The Chicago-based Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative announced at its annual conference today in Montreal it is pushing forward with efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in the eight-state, two-province region that provides drinking water to 30 million Americans and 10 million Canadians. The Great Lakes also hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water. “While the President of the United States has bowed out of the Paris Agreement, we are stepping up as cities to lead the charge against climate change,” Niagara Falls, N.Y. Mayor Paul Dyster, the group’s newly appointed chair, said. (June 15, 2017) The Blade [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 6/17/2017 - If many nations keep putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions and the US does not, how does that work economically? Besides the issue of nations stepping up to the plate and fixing their economies so that their economy reflects the price of warming the planet with fossil fuels, what about the increasing isolation of the US (a major greenhouse gas emitter) who will not put a price on carbon? What will be the ramifications of a country subsidizing the fossil fuel industry with billions of dollars each year and not putting a price on carbon that will make the goods coming from the US artificially low—because they don’t reflect the true cost of production and shipping? Doesn’t it seem unfair for a major polluter to ignore that the world is warming due to the use of fossil fuels and then doubling down on the use of fossil fuels? Isn’t this state of affairs going to cause a lot of resentment towards the US? 40 countries are making polluters pay for carbon pollution. Guess who's not. This map shows the steady, inexorable spread of carbon pricing. Most people who have given climate change policy any thought agree that it is important to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions. They are a form of harmful waste; those producing the waste should pay for the harms. (There’s plenty of debate over just how central pricing is to a serious climate strategy, but very little debate that it should play some role.) That policy consensus has been in place for quite a while. It seems the political world is beginning to catch up. The sustainability think tank Sightline has just updated its map of carbon pricing systemsacross the world. Things have gotten quite lively. Here’s an animated version: (June 15, 2017) VOX [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 6/17/2017 - From our friends over at "We Are Seneca Lake", their newsletter The Banner: June 13, 2017 In the wake of Trump's withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, states and cities and concerned business leaders have been establishing relationships with each other, and even with other nations. In addition to making the most of a handshake, French President Macron has found advantage in President Trump's plans to dump research funding, inviting U.S. scientists to live and work over there. We'll explore how state governors legislators, mayors, business leaders and other nations are responding to the nation's new anti-regulation and isolationist government. But first the news. 

  • 6/16/2017 - Important public event in Rochester coming up on intersectionality of issues of social injustice with environmentalism. This is an excellent chance for environmental leaders and the public to learn and dialogue on the future of environmental issues in our region. Spread word of this event widely.  Sierra Club President Gives Powerful Address on Environmentalism and Intersectionality   Carlson Commons, 70 Corretta Scott Xing Rochester, NY 14608,  July 11, 6:30 -8 PM.    On April 20 this year, the first African American president of the Sierra Club. Aaron Mair came to Rochester to the New Bethel. CME church to talk about the history of the Sierra Club. People who attended were spell-bound by the depth and breadth of what Aaron shared in a short time, and many regretted that more people in our community did not have the chance to hear it.  Others who were there said they wanted a chance to hear it again as he packed so many ideas in so quickly.  Come watch the video and experience his powerful address!  Learn some astonishing details about how the largest environmental organization began, its history of racism, and his amazing courage and activism that is helping to change the organization. In his words, he wants to help the Sierra Club to be "a more welcoming environment to all people, regardless of their race or socio-economic status." He makes it clear that environmental organizations must understand the intersectionality of issues of social injustice with environmentalism to ensure success in the future. After the video, there will be time for questions, and discussion on how to move forward with intersectionality to address problems in Rochester.   (This event is brought to you by collaboration of the Sierra Club, PLEX (Plymouth Exchange Neighborhood Assoc., BHEIRS (Building Healthy External/Internal Relationships Steadfastly), and the Pachamama Alliance of Rochestser) FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  Questions? Call  585-820-2018 or sierraclub.rrg@gmail.com 

  • 6/16/2017 - What will the EPA look like when Pruitt’s has his way with your environmental protection agency? Ravaged. One of the most immediate ways in which US citizens could be impacted by the Trump administration’s anti-science, anti-environment ideology is a failure to monitor, inform, and address environmental problems which are a clear and present danger to you. How Can Scott Pruitt Defend Drastic Cuts to EPA’s Budget? Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has trouble telling the truth. The world saw that from his brazen attempts on TV recently to spin President Trump's withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. Many fact-checkers have called him out on his lies. See here, or here, or even here. Pruitt will be in the spotlight again on Thursday. He’s scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee on Trump’s draconian FY18 budget proposal for EPA. There's no way that a 31% budget cut will not paralyze environmental protection and threaten public health. (June 14, 2017) Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) [more on Environmental Health in our area]  

  • 6/16/2017 - Under the Pruitt epa polluters get a reprieve. Seems like if environmental protections get to burdensome for the fossil fuel industry, they just contact the epa and complain. They got to love it. But our future, not so much. U.S. EPA extends delay of oil, gas rules to two years The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it would propose a two-year stay of the previous administration's oil and gas industry methane emissions standards while the agency reconsiders the regulation. (June 13, 2017) Reuters

  • 6/15/2017 - Good hour discussion locally on the moral and real repercussions of the US pulling out of the Paris Accord. We should be asking ourselves, if we are moral creatures, how should we view our nation’s downplaying this crisis? Admittedly, it’s a crisis like no other humanity has faced? If you missed this program, check out the podcast: Connections: The impact of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement It has been almost two weeks since President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. What will it mean for our country? Our guests weigh in on how the decision will affect the environment, the economy, diplomacy, and the future of alternative energy. In studio: Lawrence Torcello, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at RIT Kevin Schulte, CEO of SunCommon NY (June 14, 2017) Connections [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/14/2017 - If Trump administration gets their way on gutting the EPA, who ya gonna call when you cannot drink the water or breathe the air? Because our environment and public health has been and is continually being challenged by industrial waste and Climate Change, there will be problems—which is why we created the EPA in the first place. I hope the public isn’t going to wait until Trump has gutted our environmental protections before they wake up to what is a happening to their lives. Raw, partially treated sewage dumped in Lake Ontario by city during heavy rain fall Toronto forced to dump 521 Olympic sized pools of partially treated sewage into Lake Ontario last month because of the rainfall. As spring rains pelted Toronto last month, the City dumped 1.3 million cubic metres of partially treated sewage into Lake Ontario — the equivalent of 521 Olympic sized pools. But these “bypasses” don’t mean you should give up your water sports this summer. As a basic rule, people should start thinking about water quality like the weather — “it’s something that changes every day,” said Krystyn Tully, the vice-president of the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Exercise caution for 48 hours after it’s rained, but “if it hasn’t rained for several days, then for the most part we don’t think people should be afraid of the lake at all.” (June 12, 2017) The Star [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/14/2017 - Sewage systems in the Great Lakes basin need to be updated so that Climate Change caused heavy rains don’t pollute our drinking water. Old and non-resilient sewage systems that are overwhelmed when heavy rains come, which is now happening and will increase because of Climate Change consequences in our Northeast region, must be addressed now. Raw, partially treated sewage dumped in Lake Ontario by city during heavy rain fall Toronto forced to dump 521 Olympic sized pools of partially treated sewage into Lake Ontario last month because of the rainfall. As spring rains pelted Toronto last month, the City dumped 1.3 million cubic metres of partially treated sewage into Lake Ontario — the equivalent of 521 Olympic sized pools. But these “bypasses” don’t mean you should give up your water sports this summer. As a basic rule, people should start thinking about water quality like the weather — “it’s something that changes every day,” said Krystyn Tully, the vice-president of the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Exercise caution for 48 hours after it’s rained, but “if it hasn’t rained for several days, then for the most part we don’t think people should be afraid of the lake at all.” (June 12, 2017) The Star [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/14/2017 - As our infrastructures (like water pipes) are disintegrating from neglect, there will be an urge to allow private companies to take over. Because we don’t like paying the taxes that are needed to rebuilt and make our infrastructures resilient during the vagaries of Climate Change. But there are problems with that, one of which is that companies tend to focus on their making a profit—not the public who owns and depends on water. Who pays for water infrastructure? As facilities age and public funding declines, private companies may step in. Private investment in public works isn’t a new idea: In 2014, former President Barack Obama launched an initiative focused on partnerships between public agencies and private companies to boost infrastructure financing and innovation. Now, President Donald Trump is calling for more such collaborations, and even outright privatization, in an attempt to shore up the nation’s aging highways and water systems. Water infrastructure, for both drinking and irrigation, is especially in need of improvement in the arid West. Amid a wave of aging reservoirs, treatment plants and pipelines, and a Congress unwilling to pony up funding to fix them, the Bureau of Reclamation is considering private investment as a possible solution. While some municipalities in the U.S. have partnered with private companies on water projects, such deals are almost non-existent on the federal level. (June 12, 2017) High Country News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/14/2017 - Of course, the US cannot reset “the dialogue to say Paris is not the only way forward to making progress” if no other nation is listening. Going against science and the welfare humanity and our environment has its consequences. You become just a footnote, a foot-dragger, in history. U.S. left as 'footnote' in G7 climate talks Rifts between the United States and its leading industrial allies over climate change deepened on Monday when Washington refused to subscribe fully to a Group of Seven statement on the environment. The U.S. said it would not sign up to a pledge by Italy, Canada, Japan, France, Britain and Germany which called the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change "irreversible" and key for the "security and prosperity of our planet". As a consequence, Washington formally refused to back multilateral development banks -- bodies designed to finance poorer nations and help them reduce their pollution emissions. U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris deal earlier this month and the U.S. position was laid out in a brief note at the bottom of a general communique following a meeting of G7 environment ministers in this northern Italian city. "The U.S. is now left as a footnote to climate action and that's very sad," said Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. "Everyone expressed their deep disappointment with the U.S. decision," she said. (June 12, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/13/2017 - Please take pity on US as we have contracted a particularly virulent strain of climate denial and cannot think straight anymore. Sad. This is what the U.S.’s new global isolation on climate change looks like Now that the Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris climate deal, we’re starting to see concretely what that means on the world stage. In particular, it seems to suggest the United States is increasingly isolated as other nations reiterate their commitment to climate action in group statements and the United States, via footnote, says it isn’t part of all that. In a meeting of Group of Seven environment ministers in Bologna, Italy, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, declined to “join” large sections of the communique. That includes a full 18 paragraphs on climate change, and another eight on multilateral development banks (which fund climate initiatives around the world). (June 12, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/13/2017 - Actually, because the Great Lakes are really a system of lakes flowing in one direction, an oil spill anywhere would be disastrous. As Climate Change is going to severely challenge our efforts to keep the largest freshwater system in the world sustainable for us and our environment, we need to keep bad stuff out of it—like oil, nuclear waste, plastics, invasive species, industrial waste, sewage, and pharmaceuticals. Because we in Rochester are one of the major cities in the Great Lakes basin, we should be one of the major stewards of this most incredibly important water systems. New study looks at 'sensitive' parts of the Great Lakes and oil There’s a new study that identifies what parts of the Great Lakes might be most at environmental risk if there’s an oil spill. Oil is transported through the Great Lakes region by pipeline, train and ship.   Jerome Marty is the president of the Society of Canadian Limnologists.  The society studies inland waterways.      Marty has mapped where the region’s most environmentally sensitive areas cross paths with where oil is transported.  He’s especially concerned about areas near the shoreline. (June 11, 2017) Michigan Radio [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/13/2017 - I’m thinking ‘disappointment’ at the U.S. decision to leave the Paris Accord doesn’t quite cover it. Instead of being a leader on addressing Climate Change, the US has reneged on its promises, turned its back on its scientists, and become a pariah. How quickly all the knowledge we have gained and good will we have earned over decades has dissolved into chaos. Instead of helping the world through a difficult time and preparing properly for a world that is warming, we in the US are trying up the world in doubt and denial about that which we and the world were certain. It remains to be seen whether humanity can use its powers of science and planning to head off a disaster coming at us slower than a hungry lion. We either evolve to address threats or we don’t. Time passes. U.S, G7 partners remain at odds on climate at environment meeting Differences between the United States and other leading economies over climate change remain wide and are not likely to narrow, environment ministers from G7 countries said on Sunday. Group of Seven (G7) environment ministers and officials are meeting in Bologna on Sunday and Monday to discuss issues ranging from climate change to sustainable development and litter at sea. But earlier this month U.S. President Donald Trump said he would withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, drawing condemnation from other world leaders. "Positions over the Paris accord are far apart ... and will remain that way," Italian Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti said on the sidelines of the meeting. Italy holds the G7 presidency for 2017. (June 12, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 6/13/2017 - What is a passive house? Where can I find them in Rochester? How will they help us address Climate Change? A house that heats and cools itself isn’t spewing tons of greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere and gobbling up a big portion of your paycheck. Buildings which heat and cool themselves – passive housing – save householders money and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Imagine living in a house which heats and cools itself, which saves significantly on energy costs and keeps you healthy and comfortable – and helps to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the process. The good news is that, in the UK and several other countries, you don’t need to imagine it. Houses as good as that are available to those who can afford them, thanks in large measure to the Passivhaus Trust, an independent non-profit organisation which promotes the principles of low-energy design. “If you want to get to zero carbon, Passivhaus gets you most of the way there, and a bit of renewable energy finishes the job”, says Jon Bootland, the Trust’s CEO. (June 12, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 6/12/2017 - According to the USDA, the US wastes “30-40 percent of the food supply”. This is unconscionable and however much American’s despise the Nanny State (environmental protections) voluntary efforts to stop wasting food hasn’t worked. Much too much food waste goes into our landfills where it gets burned and adds to our greenhouse gas emissions. Food should not be wasted (as this is unsustainable) and what food is left over should be composted and returned to the ground so we can grow more food. State legislation aims to curb food waste Bipartisan legislation under consideration in both the New York State Senate and Assembly would give grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, and other food industry companies an incentive to donate surplus food to local food banks or pantries through a  a tax credit. Supporters of the measure say food waste is concern across the country and New York ranks among the top 20 states with the worst food hardship with one in eight residents struggling with hunger. (June 12, 2017) WXXI News [more on Food in our area]

  • 6/12/2017 - Hard to believe that in such a short time US has conceded its scientific leadership and now must outsource our scientists. Sad. Here in the US we know so much about what to do, about what Climate Change means, how to adapt to it, and help bring down global temperatures. But our hands are tied by an anti-science and anti-environmental Trump administration. We can do much individually, as communities, states, and groups. But orchestration a nations policies and efforts must be done at the federal and global level—because it’s a planetary crisis. Macron wants American researchers to move to France to fight climate change The new leader of France won't let go of President Trump's decision to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. So far, the nation has openly trolled the president over the issue and French President Emmanuel Macron joined other world leaders to "speed up" efforts to fight climate change, in spite of Trump. Now, Macron's throwing down the gauntlet by pushing Americans, and others across the world, to move to France to fight global warming. And he's doing it with Trumpian vigor. (June 10, 2017) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/10/2017 - Because of increases in heavy precipitation that comes with Climate Change in Great Lakes basin, communities are going to be challenged to keep sewage out of our waters because of overflows from combine sewage overflow systems. All communities need to do something and one solution is to build tunnels underground for these overflows. We in Rochester and Monroe County have such as system, but we still hear news every so often from even these systems being overwhelmed. We need to plan for Climate Change accordingly. How can cities keep sewage out of Great Lakes? Dig. It’s caused by a combined sewer overflow – a common problem in over 700 cities and towns nationwide.   Some cities are finding a solution underground. By 2035, Cleveland will be home to seven enormous tunnels sunk more than 200 feet below ground.  The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is constructing tunnel number two on the city’s east side, just a couple of miles from Lake Erie. The sewer district’s Jennifer Elting watches as a crane travels down a long, dark shaft.  “Right now the crews are lowering the individual segment pieces that will be used to create a ring that will line the tunnel once its completed,” she says. The tunnel – 24 feet wide and three miles long -- will serve as a storage basin during big storms, protecting Lake Erie from sewage overflows. (June 6, 2017) Great Lakes Today [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area] 

  • 6/10/2017 - Admittedly, predicting violence due to food shortages caused by Climate Change is scientifically messy. But we’d be fools to ignore this. Already, our military (despite Trump) has long known the connection between Climate Change and unrest around the world because they don’t have the luxury of ignoring the threats caused by climate disruption. Food shortages due to climate change could fuel violence, unrest Food shortages caused by climate shocks like drought or floods could exacerbate violence and riots in politically unstable countries, researchers say. Fragile states that are poor and depend heavily on agriculture are most at risk of violent uprisings since they struggle to cope with climate change, according to a study published this week in the Journal of Peace Research. "We've already started to see climate change as an issue that won't just put the coasts under water, but as something that could cause food riots in some parts of the world," said study co-author Bear Braumoeller from The Ohio State University. June 10, 2017) ABS CBN News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/10/2017 - One of Rochester’s largest Brownfields, Vacuum Oil site, needs to be cleaned up. This is an issue of environmental justice and environmental health, and public health. Last link in Rochester's south river corridor hinges on developer and ExxonMobil On a dead-end street about a mile south of downtown Rochester, an abandoned junkyard and ramshackle building jutting out from the overgrowth mark the site of the old Vacuum Oil refinery. Many of the building's windows are shattered. The door is propped open, and the walls are covered in murals and graffiti, both inside and out.  But the legacy of this place is in the foul soil and groundwater that, decades later, still bear the stain of weathered petroleum and other contaminants. Someone has scrawled a message in black spray paint on the side of a small brick structure. It reads: "DHD, who you be?" The question is directed at the property owner, prominent downtown developer DHD Ventures. (June 9, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 6/10/2017 - Rochester, NY recognized as a model city planning for Climate Change. Governor Cuomo Recognizes Rochester as Model City for Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Build Climate Resiliency Rochester Designated New York's 11th Certified Climate Smart Community and 50th Clean Energy Community Supports the Governor's Goal to Reduce Statewide Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40 Percent by 2030 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today recognized the City of Rochester as a model municipality for the city's actions to strengthen resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In recognition of this achievement, New York designated Rochester as the 11th Certified Climate Smart Community and the 50th Clean Energy Community in New York State. These achievements support the Governor's aggressive goals to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050. "New York is leading the nation in reducing our carbon footprint, and thanks to Rochester's efforts in building green infrastructure and supporting a more resilient community, we are one step closer to achieving our aggressive climate goals," Governor Cuomo said. "As we continue to bolster our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state, I commend Mayor Warren and the city of Rochester for transforming the Finger Lakes community into a clean energy city and encouraging all of New York's municipalities to become climate smart." (June 9, 2017) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/9/2017 - By 2050 Climate Change New York’s Southern Tier could be 4.4 to 6.3 degrees warmer and a 4-10 percent increase in annual precipitation. It will look like this: Climate Change Garden offers a lens into the future In the shadow of Barbara McClintock’s historic campus shed, plots of foliage thicken in the university’s Climate Change Demonstration Garden. Located at the Cornell Botanic Gardens, these raised beds provide a living illustration of how future temperature conditions may affect plants. “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing,” said Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Botanic Gardens. “For the general public, climate change is something they hear about, but it can be out of sight, out of mind. It is some sort of future phenomenon. It is not going to happen in our lifetime. It’s going to happen to somebody else in another part of the world, other than ourselves.” (June 8, 2017) Cornell Chronicle [more on Environmental Education and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/9/2017 - Are your kids learning about Climate Change in school? Are they being fed bullshit or science? You might want to know. American schools teach climate change differently in every state — except these 19 Last week, President Trump announced the US will pull out of the Paris climate agreement, saying the deal was unfair to American businesses. Trump's speech didn't mention his own thoughts on climate change, and White House officials refused to answer questions about his belief in the overwhelming evidence that humans are contributing to climate change. Still, senior members of his administration — like EPA head Scott Pruitt— seem set to discredit evidence supporting climate change. (June 7, 2017) Business Insider [more on Environmental Education and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/9/2017 - EPA’s Pruitt attempts to re-litigate the science of climate change would be like going back to the courts to test if murder is still against the law. Pathetic. Most of the scientists around the world must be aghast at Pruitt’s audacity. Here we are a country that has contributed more than our share of greenhouse gas emissions to warm the planet and just because Pruitt got to be head of the US’s EPA on the coattails of Trump the climate denier, we expect US and the rest of the world to suddenly shift to the notion that decades of peer-reviewed, exhaustive science, and the collection of countless data from independent sources to start their work all over again? If the flat-earth society got voted into office, would we suddenly put a three dimensional world on trial and expect the rest of the world would put up with this nonsense? EPA’s Scott Pruitt wants to set up opposing teams to debate climate change science Multiple scientific assessments have concluded that man-made climate change is real and poses risks to human health and the environment. Even so, Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, told Breitbart News on Monday that he would like to essentially re-litigate the science of climate change. In an interview with Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, Pruitt proposed setting up opposing teams to debate key climate science issues. “What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,” Pruitt said. (June 7, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/8/2017 - Gonna be hard for even New York State to retrofit our energy grid to renewables if the public doesn’t understand Climate Change. We are going through an energy transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy use but the fossil fuel advocates will be a constant drag on this effort. We are running out of time to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter. We cannot play dumb on Climate Change anymore. Our greenhouse gas emission must be lowered immediately. NYS Exposed: Cuomo energy plan brings support, questions Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plans to require more of the state’s electricity come from green sources brought cheers but also skepticism. “Renewable energy is the sign of the future, no matter what people think,” exclaimed homeowner Joe Fox. Fox showed off his home solar array in Somerset where Apex Clean Energy planned to build the 200 megawatt “Lighthouse” solar energy farm on some 10,000 acres of farmland across Orleans and Niagara counties. “Wind turbines come. They will provide an excellent tax base for the community. And, really, it's a positive step in the right direction for the future of the town and the future of the entire state.” (June 5, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Energy in our area]

  • 6/8/2017 - There are probably worst places to dispose of nuclear waste than near the Great Lakes but I cannot think of any. With overfishing, invasive species, heavy precipitation resulting in local flooding, plastic pollution on the rise, and Climate Change we do not need to further challenge the largest freshwater system in the world with possible nuclear waste contamination. Lawmakers ask State to fight nuclear disposal plan A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Great Lakes states wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, urging him to stop the Canadian plan to build a nuclear waste repository less than a mile from Lake Huron in Ontario. The letter – led by Michigan Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, and Dave Trott, R-Birmingham – follows a report last week by Ontario Power Generation supporting its plan for an underground storage facility for low- to mid-level nuclear waste near Kincardine, Ontario. The company has sought approval for the project for more than a decade. Thirty-two members of Congress, including 13 from Michigan, signed the letter, saying they want the power utility to choose another location outside the Great Lakes Basin, noting that 35 million people (24 million of them Americans) rely on the freshwater lakes for drinking water. (June 7, 2017) The Detroit News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/8/2017 - Check out this month’s Rochester People’s Climate Coalition’s newsletter. The RPCC, which now has well over 100 local groups participating, is become a major player in our region adapting and mitigating Climate Change. Check out what’s going on and how you and your organization can get involved—there are even help-wanted opportunities.   

  • 6/8/2017 - How will the United States’ schizophrenia on Climate Change play out in the real world where the planet is warming and the seas rising? Our country still hasn’t realized that Climate Change cannot be a kept in the closet as our particular political issue—no matter how much it’s fueled by the fossil fuel industry. Climate Change is a condition that is happening to the planet that will impact our existence much in the way that changes in our environment have shaped animals and plants for billions of years—except this sudden alteration of our planet’s environment is happening far faster than ever before and we caused it. Climate Change cannot be voted out of existence.  Most Americans want 'aggressive' action on climate change: Reuters/Ipsos poll Most Americans believe the United States should take "aggressive action" to fight climate change, but few see it as a priority issue when compared with the economy or security, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday. The June 2-4 opinion poll suggests American voters may not penalize President Donald Trump too harshly for walking away from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, even if they would have preferred he keep the country in the deal. The poll found 68 percent of Americans want the United States to lead global efforts to slow climate change, and 72 percent agree "that given the amount of greenhouse gases that it produces, the United States should take aggressive action to slow global warming." (June 6, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/8/2017 - On Climate Change leadership, today’s governors are yesterday’s presidents. Leaders are going around the Trump-dump Paris fiasco and trying to work the numbers so that the net result is that it doesn’t matter that Trump reneged on Paris. But it does matter because while governors can help mitigate Climate Change, they won’t be able to adapt a whole country to this crisis. There’s much more to Climate Change now than bringing down greenhouse gases because we have to adapt to the warming we’ve already put into our air and oceans. As Trump Steps Back, Jerry Brown Talks Climate Change in China Gov. Jerry Brown of California should be fading quietly into the final days of his career. After 40 years in public life, Mr. Brown, 79, a Democrat, is in the final stretch as the state’s chief executive. He has been talking about the Colusa County family ranch where he wants to retire. And a battery of younger politicians is already battling to succeed him. But instead, Mr. Brown was in China on Tuesday, emerging as a de facto envoy from the United States on climate change at a time when President Trump has renounced efforts to battle global emissions. In a meeting packed with symbolism — and one that seemed at once to elevate the California governor and rebuke Mr. Trump — President Xi Jinping of China met with Mr. Brown, at the governor’s request, at the very moment China prepares to take a more commanding role in fighting climate change. “California’s leading, China’s leading,” Mr. Brown said at a wide-ranging and at times feisty news conference after he met with Mr. Xi. “It’s true I didn’t come to Washington, I came to Beijing. Well, someday I’m going to go to Washington, but not this week.” (June 6, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/7/2017 - The fossil fuel industry must be very worried about divesting as it preys on investor’s fears of a transition to cleaner, cheaper, better energy. Fossil fuel industry pushes back against divestment in NY A study from an oil and gas trade group suggests it would be a bad idea for New York state to end its investments in fossil fuel companies. The report was co-authored by a University of Chicago law professor and underwritten by the Independent Petroleum Association of America. It concludes that divesting from fossil fuels would reduce the diversification of pension investments, decrease returns and increase risk. (June 7, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Energy in our area]

  • 6/7/2017 - Mayor of Rochester, NY, Mayor Lovely A. Warren, joins with other mayors to ramp up addressing Climate Change after Trump dumps Paris. NEWS RELEASE - MAYOR WARREN JOINS CLIMATE MAYORS Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today that she has joined the Mayors National Climate Change Agenda, a coalition of U.S. mayors who have vowed to work together to strengthen local efforts for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and support federal policies that combat climate change and protect the environment. “President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords was reckless and short-sighted,” Mayor Warren said. “Future generations deserve to inherit a healthy planet, therefore I am proud to join with mayors from across the country to support this agenda. As Mayor, I am committed to reducing our city’s carbon footprint and protecting the environment.”  Mayor Warren also signed on to an open letter to President Trump regarding the roll back of U.S. Climate Actions. (June 5, 2017) City of Rochester, NY) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/7/2017 - All of the Great Lakes’ water levels are higher, which is to say Lake Ontario’s waters are higher, because it’s the last lake in the system. Surging Lake Erie waters hit highest level in 20 years The months of rain and snow melting into Lake Erie has swelled its water level to the highest level since 1998, and a U.S. Corps of Engineers' forecast released Monday projects the lake will remain 4 to 9 inches above average through November. On the U.S. and Canadian shores, beaches are disappearing, piers are rising and shoreline walkways are swamped by water. “It’s pretty evident the water levels are the highest they’ve been in 20 years,” said Wayne Redekop, the mayor of Fort Erie, Ont. But unlike the damage caused by high Lake Ontario water levels, no major damage has been reported along Lake Erie’s New York or Canadian shorelines. (June 5, 2017) Buffalo News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/7/2017 - ‘Cancer Alley’ in Louisiana kinda defines what happens when there is no Environmental Justice. Climate Justice must be the way of the future where those who will get hit first and worse by Climate Change get a chance to have an existence and thrive on our shared planet. For those who believe the free market is the only way save us and our life support system conveniently forget that greed produces injustice for millions and is threating to wreck out environment altogether. For those who say we cannot grow with growing pains, we ask: Will we survive our growing pains—our pollution, our planet warming, and our creating the Sixth Great Extinction event?  'Cancer Alley' residents say industry is hurting town: 'We're collateral damage' In Louisiana’s industrial heart, the shadow of Trump’s deregulation push looms as St James residents fight chemical plants, pipelines and laissez-faire policies We’re sick of being sick, we’re tired of being tired,” said Pastor Harry Joseph of Mount Triumph Baptist Church, which serves this sleepy riverside town of about 1,000 residents, mostly poor and African American. Once a bucolic village of pasturelands and sugarcane fields on the banks of the Mississippi, St James, Louisiana, is now a densely packed industrial zone in the heart of Louisiana’s petrochemical corridor, commonly referred to as “Cancer Alley”. The investigations swirling around Donald Trump – a short guide   Read more It’s only anecdotal evidence of what life is like here, but Joseph says he has buried five residents in the last six months, all victims of cancer. After a $1.9bn methanol plant recently broke ground and with another $1.3bn methanol plant and a controversial new oil pipeline planned for the area, Joseph’s one-room church has become a staging ground for an environmental justice fight – albeit one with tempered hopes under Donald Trump, even before he served notice on the Paris accord on climate change last week Joseph has emerged as the de facto leader of a group of local residents demanding residential buyouts – for those who say they have had enough and struggle to sell their homes – and pressuring state and federal agencies to halt further development. With regulation that critics say is loose and incentives-rich, even by Louisiana standards, St James offers a glimpse into the type of unchecked development that Trump has hailed as a precondition for American jobs and economic growth. (June 6, 2017) The Guardian [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 6/7/2017 - As we know, as we are experiencing, Climate Change will be expressed in Rochester, NY with heavy precipitation in the springs. Warmth will worsen wet and dry extremes Wet and dry extremes across the world will become more marked as the planet heats up, evidence from past climates shows.  Two US scientists have once again confirmed one of the oldest predictions of climate change: that those regions already wet will become wetter, while the arid zones will become drier. This time the reasoning comes not just from computer models of future climate, but also from the evidence of the past. Because the northern hemisphere will warm faster than the southern, the temperature difference will drive the planet’s rainbelts northwards, at least during the winter months. The tropics will become wetter, while the subtropics and the mid-latitudes will become drier, and this will be most noticeable in June, July and August. The predictions – made in the journal Science Advances – come from two researchers. Aaron Putnam is a glaciologist who studies ancient climates at the University of Maine. Wallace Broecker is an oceanographer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and one of the pioneers of climate research. (June 6, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/6/2017 - What it means is that Trump’s ideology is more important than our ecosystems and our future. Obviously, now that science has taken a backseat to extreme political dogma what is now important is that we don’t inconvenience anyone or anything that Trump likes. And obviously, Trump doesn’t like the largest fresh water system in the world. Sorry Earth, you’ve been outvoted. What Paris Climate Accord pullout means for Great Lakes The Paris Climate Accord is designed to have a worldwide reach -- all the way to Paris Township, Mich., near the shore of Lake Huron. And now that President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement, we offer a summary of some climate-related issues in the Great Lakes region. Weather. The winter of 2016-17 was unusually warm, and ice cover on the Great Lakes was almost non-existent. Cities around the region are bracing for warmer weather -- and more erratic weather, including bigger and more frequent storms. That could be bad news for a number of reasons -- from erosion along the shoreline to sewage overflows from overburdened municipal utility systems. (June 1, 2017) WBFO Buffalo's NPR News Station [More on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/6/2017 - Well, I guess you could say that #Trump knows more about Climate Change than the entire US military.  (He’s a very smart guy, you know, he’s said so himself.) Or, our military has got to put itself through some serious mental and physical contortions in order to reconcile Trump’s ideology and their need for reality-based planning. Time passes. Trump's climate doubts ignore U.S. military consensus on risks U.S. President Donald Trump relies far more than his recent predecessors on advisers with a military background, but his apparent disregard for climate science is at odds with the U.S. military's consensus on the risks of climate change to security. Over the last decade, the U.S. military and intelligence officials have developed a broad agreement about the security threats that climate change presents, in part by threatening to cause natural disasters in densely populated coastal areas, damage American military bases worldwide and open up new natural resources to global competition. (June 2, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/6/2017 - I know, I must be missing something: Fox News is reporting on Ocean crisis and Climate Change? Is Fox News considering responsible reporting? Or, is it that our environmental issues and Climate Change have become so obvious and urgent that even this conservative press outlet cannot avoid it? UN chief warns oceans are 'under threat as never before' Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the first U.N. conference on oceans Monday with a warning that the seas are "under threat as never before," noting one recent study warns that discarded plastic garbage could outweigh fish by 2050 if nothing is done. The U.N. chief told presidents, ministers, diplomats and environmental activists from nearly 200 countries that oceans — "the lifeblood of our planet" — are being severely damaged by pollution, garbage, overfishing and the effects of climate change. The five-day conference, which began on World Environment Day, is the first major event to focus on climate since U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement — a decision criticized by Bolivian President Evo Morales and other speakers Monday. (June 5, 2017) Fox News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/6/2017 - United States Climate Alliance forms to fill in the Trump-dump-Paris gap. United States Climate Alliance Adds 10 New Members to Coalition Committed to Upholding the Paris Accord U.S. Climate Alliance, Co-Chaired By Governors Cuomo, Brown and Inslee, Now Includes 13 Members  The U.S. Climate Alliance announced that Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia have all joined the coalition, which is committed to upholding the Paris Accord and taking aggressive action on climate change. In response to President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee formed the Alliance to convene U.S. states committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan. With input from all participants, the U.S. Climate Alliance will also act as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices, and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy. (June 5, 2017) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/6/2017 - Many states and corporations rushing in to fill the gap by Trump dumping Paris, but will it be enough? Is isn’t just the numbers (how many greenhouse gas emissions can these entities offset?), it’s also about planning on a worldwide scale to adapt to the consequences to the heat already built up on our atmosphere and oceans. With the US government dragging their feet on addressing Climate Change can the world really carry the US and address Climate Change too? State and Corporate Climate Action Just Got Serious More than 1,200 corporations, academic institutions and state and local governments said Monday that they plan to stand behind the Paris climate agreement, despite President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the multinational pact. Trump’s Paris decision washed over the climate action landscape like a tsunami on Thursday. As the waters of that tsunami recede, states, cities and businesses are forging new connections and banding together against the next wave. “In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, and businesses representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions,” the parties wrote in an open letter to the world. (June 5, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/05/2017 - New York State emerges as one of the climate leaders after Trump dumps Paris Rally cry: divest fossil fuels from New York retirement fund Local officials from around New York plan to meet Monday at the state capital in Albany to rally against climate change. They plan to release a letter signed by more than 200 elected officials asking State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to drop the $5 billion that the New York's Common Retirement Fund invests in fossil fuels. The move comes in the wake of President Donald Trump's decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement. (June 5, 2017) WHEC [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/05/2017 - No good reason to gut Energy Star program that works for consumers, for the environment, and for businesses. Congress Should Help Protect EPA Voluntary Programs That Work The new administration has put the Environmental Protection Agency in its crosshairs. The EPA, like any agency, should periodically be reexamined and its relationship with states and the private sector reassessed. But perhaps surprising to some, quite a few of its programs are almost universally lauded — on Capitol Hill and elsewhere — and shouldn’t be put under the knife, including those that are voluntary and support growing markets. Among those programs is Energy Star, which is familiar to anyone who’s ever bought a dishwasher. Energy Star and similar voluntary programs provide the public and private sectors with a range of tools, technical assistance, research and data designed to reduce waste and increase savings for both consumers and business owners. Other similar programs at EPA include WaterSense for saving water and Safer Choice for finding cleaning products that are safer for the environment. (May 18, 2017) Morning Consult

  • 6/05/2017 - We’d like to believe that those communities in the Great Lakes basin, like Rochester, NY, are taking care of the largest freshwater system in the world. But are we? When garbage and sewage wash back to us, as it will increasingly so with Climate Change, it’s a reminded that we need to give this precious water source a very high priority when planning for more heavy rainfall events—like we had this spring. Time to clean up Lake Ontario's shoreline, environmentalists say Record-high water levels have caused more debris to wash up Now is the time to collect debris along the shoreline, environmentalists say, as record-high water levels have stirred up more garbage than usual. About 70 volunteers were out at Canoe Landing in City Place on Thursday, combing through the bushes and grass, picking up discarded bottles and bags. "We're seeing quite a bit of litter along shorelines," said Susan Debreceni, the outreach specialist for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, a conservation initiative that hosts cleanup events and also helps groups or businesses organize their own.  "In actuality, we're just seeing what's always been out there but the higher water levels have just brought all the garbage in." (June 2, 2017) CBC News [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, and Recycling in our area]

  • 6/05/2017 - Community gardens, like those in Rochester, NY, provide local food, enhance community spirit, and provide educational opportunities. Cultivating Community: Community Gardens Bring Residents Together Community gardening is growing- literally. In Rochester, there are approximately ten operating gardens focused on educating people about growing their own food and providing access to fresh produce missing in urban neighborhoods, not to mention grassroots community garden efforts, where residents teach each other. The CasusingEffects garden located at 739 Jefferson Avenue is one of those green spaces that want to fill the gap between accessible nutrition and the black community. “That’s always our goal, to spread it through the neighborhood so everyone has their own garden to grow, can their food and create self-sufficiency,” said Tonya Noel co-organizer of CausingEffects. She said she wants to see her community stop relying on the corner store for produce that’s ultimately inadequate and start producing for themselves. The best way to do that is through creating teachable opportunities. (June 1, 2017) Open Mic [more on Food and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 6/03/2017 - Of course, after Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate change accord it’s kinda pointless to speculate whether he’s a secret believer in science. His actions speak louder than his tweets. Does Donald Trump Still Think Climate Change Is a Hoax? No One Can Say As a businessman, President Trump was a frequent and scornful critic of the concept of climate change. In the years before running for president, he called it “nonexistent,” “mythical” and a “a total con job.” Whenever snow fell in New York, it seemed, he would mock the idea of global warming. “Global warming has been proven to be a canard repeatedly over and over again,” he wrote on Twitter in 2012. In another post later that year, he said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” A year later, he wrote that “global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!” But on Friday, a day after Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate change accord, the White House refused to say whether the president still considers climate change a hoax. As other leaders around the world vowed to confront climate change without the United States, Mr. Trump’s advisers fanned out to defend his decision and, when pressed, said they did not know his view of the science underlying the debate. (June 2, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2017 - Trump’s irresponsible move to pull out of the Paris Accord has been condemned around the world and in Rochester. The world and the US is now going to have to address Climate Change with one hand tied behind our backs. We hope that we can convince the unwilling to accept that we must be the stewards of our planet quickly before time runs out for us. Dozens in favor of Paris Climate Accord hold rally in Rochester Rochester, N.Y. - As protests over President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord happen across the country, dozens held one in Rochester. The group known as The Rochester People's Climate Coalition gathered for a rally outside the Federal Building Friday morning. (June 2, 2017) WHAM Rochester [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2017 - We protested Trump’s irresponsible move to pull out of the Paris Accord and highlighted much that is being done by Rochester and New York State to address Climate Change. Environmental activists rally in Rochester More than 50 people gathered outside the federal building in Rochester  Friday afternoon  for a rally in response to  President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord. The rally was organized by the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition  and one of the leaders of that group, Linda Isaacson Fedele, says even with the withdrawal from that agreement, there are still a number of people and organizations around the U.S. who will continue to push for those standards. (June 3, 2017) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2017 - Proud that New York State Governor and Rochester, NY’s Mayor have spoken out strongly against Trump’s pull out of Paris Accord. We will move forward to address Climate Change despite Trump’s irresponsible decision that is condemned worldwide. Cuomo, Warren issue statements reacting to the decision to pull out of the climate accord Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren also released a statement after Pres. Trump announced the U.S. would pull out of the climate accord: "Today, President Trump announced his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accords - making us one of three countries in the entire world not a part of the agreement, alongside Syria and Nicaragua.  The Paris agreement set our planet on a sustainable course, and it made me more confident in the world we will leave our children and their children.  This reckless decision by President Trump goes against everything America stands for - and everything we are working on together here in Rochester." (June 2, 2017) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2017 - Yesterday’s rally in front of the Federal Building to protest Trump pulling out of the Paris Accord was inspiring and determined. Listen to Linda and Abby describe the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition’s reaction to Trump’s irresponsible move that has been condemned worldwide.

  • 6/03/2017 - Rochester, NY goes green when Trump goes dark. Mayor Warren speaks out against Trump’s pull out of Paris Accord. City Hall in Rochester goes green to highlight climate change Rochester's City Hall is one of many buildings throughout the U.S., and around the world, that was lit up green following President Trump's decision to abandon the Paris climate accord. Mayor Lovely Warren spoke out against the president's decision. (June 2, 2017) WHAM Rochester [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2017 - This is the direction our energy should flow: Up from fossil fuel energy renewable energy will rise. CNY coal plant owner to build one of New York's largest solar farms The owner of a coal-fired power plant in Tompkins County plans to build Upstate New York's largest solar farm by covering roughly 75 acres next to the coal plant with photovoltaic panels. Riesling Power, owner of the 300-megawatt Cayuga coal plant in the town of Lansing, today announced plans to build a $25 million solar power facility on site. The solar farm would produce up to 18 megawatts, enough power for about 3,100 households, company officials said. (May 31, 2017) Syracuse.com [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 6/01/2017 - ACTION: If you've been reading all the reports coming in about plastics in our oceans, you must be looking for a way to stop this kind of pollution. Take Action: Save our Oceans - End plastic pollution now! "By 2050, our oceans will have more plastic trash than fish.  It’s shameful. Half of the plastic made we use just once and throw out, choking our seas and all the animals in it.  But in days, our governments can stem this tide when they meet at a historic summit to outline their clean ocean commitments. Public pressure just got #2 polluter Indonesia to commit to a 70% reduction in plastic waste! Now we need to go after the other top polluters. If one million of us get behind a global call the Head of the UN Environment Programme will announce our petition from the summit podium and work with us to push countries to ban single-use plastics and let our oceans breathe again. Add your name. " (Avaaz )

  • 6/01/2017 - Are local communities going to have to sue the government each time heavy precipitation overwhelms our sewer systems, or are we going to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with Climate Change in our region? Heavy rains and threats to our waste water infrastructures are going to increase in the future. Shouldn’t we bite the bullet and address this issue through the lens of Climate Change? Main sewage tank in Sodus Point almost full As if the water from all of the flooding wasn't bad enough for people who live along the lake, there are now concerns in one community about sewage. Village officials in Sodus Point have a sewage tank that's almost at capacity and another that will take hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. The state is giving money for flood relief, but is it enough? (May 31, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Water Quality in our area]