Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area


Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Updates: Saturday, July 04, 2015

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

  • 7/04/2015 - Here’s what we got to ask ourselves as Climate Change become more dire: Is it OK for government leaders to be climate deniers? Think about it. Republican Governors Signal Their Intent to Thwart Obama’s Climate Rules As President Obama prepares to complete sweeping regulations aimed at tackling climate change, at least five Republican governors, including two presidential hopefuls, say they may refuse to carry out the rules in their states. The resistance threatens to ignite a fierce clash between federal and state authorities, miring the climate rules in red tape for years. The fight could also undermine Mr. Obama’s efforts to urge other nations to enact similar plans this year as part of a major United Nations climate change accord. (July 2, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2015 - Because heat waves kill more folks than any other weather-related calamities, adapting to them is a critical Climate Change obligation by our health authorities. Regardless of where your government stands on Climate Change (actually all NYS-wide government climate documents agree that Climate Change is happening and they must take action, but not all political parties are on board) they will have to prepare the public adequately for more heat waves. The problem is that without proper planning much can go wrong if a particularly long and hot heat wave strikes. There’s much more to addressing this issue than opening up some fire hydrants and some buildings with air conditioners with folks who don’t have AC’s themselves. According to “Heat Wave: A SOCIAL AUTOPSY OF DISASTER IN CHICAGO” by ERIC KLINENBERG, 700 people died in the Chicago heat wave of 1995 because of city officials’ failure to understand and plan for the many factors involved—like not having enough first responders to get quick attention to those who could have been saved otherwise, by not communicating and checking up on folks who are isolated from social networks and hard to reach, by not readying hospitals for the amount of folks suddenly falling ill, and much more. Heat waves and addressing them properly as Climate Change worsens is one of the consequences that are an unavoidable issue governments will have to address—no matter how steeped they are in climate denial. They will be held accountable, as were the Chicago officials in the aftermath of the 1995 disaster. United Nations Issues First-Ever Guidelines on How to Survive a Heat Wave Soaring temperatures worldwide and a spate of deadly heat waves over the past decade has led the United Nations to issue its first-ever guidelines on dealing with risks posed by extreme and dangerous heat. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), both U.N. agencies, published the guidelines Wednesday, the same day the U.K. saw the hottest July day on record, with apeak temperature of 98.1 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 degrees Celsius) recorded at London’s Heathrow Airport. The guidelines recommend early-warning systems for heat waves aimed at reducing the health effects of hot weather, which can include dehydration, heatstroke and sunburn. (July 3, 2015) Newsweek [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2015 - Great phrase by Prince Charles: “… rewire the global economy to stop climate change”.  ‘Rewiring’ or adjusting or even replacing our global economy, however viewed as heresy by economists and politicians, must be achieved or this belief in an economic system that has caused the worldwide crisis of Climate Change will run us into the ground—as it forces us to drill more and more fossil fuels out of it. Prince Charles: rewire the global economy to stop climate change Heir to the throne calls for end to ‘business as usual’ approach that does nothing to avert catastrophic global warming – and praises Guardian’s climate campaign Prince Charles has said that “profound changes” to the global economic system are needed in order to avert environmental catastrophe, in an uncompromising speech delivered in front of an audience of senior business leaders and politicians. The heir to the throne – often criticised for his meddling in political affairs – argued that ending the taxpayer subsidies enjoyed by coal, oil and gas companiescould reduce the carbon emissions driving climate change by an estimated 13%. Although the prince’s passion for environmental causes is well known, the speech delivered on Thursday evening in St James’s Palace, London was particularly pointed in its criticism of companies that protected vested interests and came with a report that proposed raising taxes on them. (July 2, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/04/2015 - Our carbon budget (which itself is probably a dangerous delusion) will be blown by new coal-fired power plants. Actually, right around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when our greenhouse gases were about 280ppm of CO2 was probably the “amount of greenhouse gas that we can safely pour into the atmosphere”. But baked into our assumption that sustainable development must occur (which may well be another dangerous illusion, based on the assumption that our environment must balance its needs with our need to develop) are the political presumptions that we have the luxury to pour even more GHGs into our atmosphere—even though we are at 400.71ppm of CO2 and many scientists think 350ppm is a safe level. If we could remove our own desires for continual development from the notion of sustainability, the most reasonable assumption would be that we must dramatically bring down worldwide GHG concentrations immediately. We know that our environment has already dramatically changed (extreme weather and glaciers melting) with a 400ppm of CO2 and because this CO2 stays in our atmosphere a long time, we have many more changes to come—even if we could stop the release of all GHGs right now. But there is probably a lot we don’t know about how our environment has changed. We have warmed the planet far faster than it has warmed for millions of years and we are still struggling to find out all the implications. It’s absurd to think we have a carbon budget at all, except that our present economy and our political zeitgeist demand it. New coal plants 'most urgent' threat to the planet, warns OECD head Governments urged to rethink plans for new coal-fired power plants as study estimates they will release more than 500bn tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050 Governments must rethink plans for new coal-fired power plants around the world, as these are now the “most urgent” threat to the future of the planet, the head of the OECD has warned. In unusually strong terms for the organisation – best known as a club of the world’s richest countries – its secretary general Angel Gurria, told governments to think “twice, or three, or four times” before allowing new coal-fired plants to go ahead.  “They will still be emitting years from now,” he warned. As a result, many could turn into “stranded assets”, having to be mothballed decades before their economic lifetime had expired. “We are on a collision course with nature,” he warned. (July 3, 2015) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/03/2015 - New York State’s Fracking Ban is a beacon of hope for other places being terrorized by fossil fuel giants in a time of Climate Change. But banning Fracking is not enough. New York should also ban Bomb Trains (moving dangerous crude oil through our communities on rail) and stopping the incredible gas storage development at Seneca Lake. With the jackboot of Fracking removed from neck, we should be going full force to develop renewable energy by 2030 (see http://thesolutionsproject.org/) before the zealots of an old technology strangle us with more fossil fuel energy options that have warmed the planet. Fractivists say NY's ban is influencing moratorium decisions elsewhere New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced this week that he is leaving that position, just two days after he issued the final environmental impact statement banning hydrofracking in the state.  The final report on fracking is a signal for others to move on as well. Anti-fracking groups say they are using New York’s stance to help convince other states -- and even countries -- to also ban the gas drilling process. Julia Walsh, who’s led the group Frack Action through years of protests, hearing testimony, and other actions, helped deliver a thank you petition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo  the day the fracking ban was formalized. “Today is a great day to be a New Yorker,” Walsh said, when the statement was finalized on June 29. (July 2, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area] 

  • 7/03/2015 - This “Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling Program” by RG&E looks like a great way to recycle hard to recycle items like your old refrigerator. They’ll even come and get it so you won’t have to try and stick it in your car. Just saying…    [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 7/03/2015 - If COP21 Paris climate treat is a dud (non-binding) business-as-usual will probably render our oceans null and void. A climate treaty that only makes promises and pledges will only continue our ‘tragedy of the commons’ behavior towards our oceans, where every countries tries to maximize their misuse of this critical resource. Market forces and other kinds of magical thinking will not curb every nation’s desire to exploit the oceans until every fish and coral reef is gone and do nothing to protect our oceans from Climate Change. However distasteful to those who believe in unfettered economic freedom, only a binding treaty on Climate Change that monitors and holds each country accountable for their performance will a treaty in December actually matter on a scale and time frame to address something as vital as a sustainable existence. Oceans face massive and irreversible impacts without carbon cuts – study Business-as-usual carbon emissions would cause global warming that brings serious ocean acidification, death of corals and mangroves, scientists say Time is rapidly running out for the world’s oceans and the creatures that live in them as the Earth’s climate continues to warm, say scientists. Only “immediate and substantial” reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can hope to prevent “massive” impacts on marine ecosystems, warn the experts. Researchers compared the fate of the oceans under two scenarios, one a “business-as-usual” approach and the other involving drastic cuts in emissions. (July 3, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/02/2015 - It must finally dawn on Rochester that Bomb Trains are not viable after another major derailment and fire in Tennessee yesterday. We need to stop these Bomb Trains and we need evacuation plans at the very least, not to mention proper insurance to cover losses and better training for emergency crews. Read my article “Running Bomb Trains through Rochester, NY”  Also consider acting: Saturday, July 4, 9:30 AM, Fairport: Mothers Out Front is marching in Fairport's 4th of July 2015 Parade to protest the hundreds of explosive North Dakota Bakken Oil Trains that pass thru Fairport, Rochester and other communities on their way to Albany. Please join Mothers Out Front and spread the word. Bring signs! The parade line up starts at 9:30 AM on Hart St heading North. It continues to Maple St and ends on Whitney Rd. Please do not enter Maple St from Whitney Rd. There will be a lot of activity on the day of and it's best to take East Ave to Hart St. Learn more about Bomb Train in New York State from People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE) Train derailment: 5,000 evacuated Thursday morning in Tennessee Fire officials say about 5,000 people and several businesses are being evacuated in a 2-mile radius around a train derailment and fire in eastern Tennessee this morning. Reports say at least one CSX train car carrying a flammable and toxic gas derailed and caught fire late Wednesday night. (July 2, 2015) Daily Messenger

  • 7/02/2015 - Just had a free energy audit on my home. I had an ice dam the size and weight of a VW bug on my roof last winter and so needed to figure out how to stop all that. One of the issues, one I could have never figured out myself, was the tongue and groove joints installed by a previous owner in my attic were leaking heat like a sieve. Consider getting a free audit by experts and stop wasting fuel that goes out of your home and into the atmosphere, warming up the climate, and causing you energy bills to soar. Here’s how to get started: Free Home Energy Efficiency Workshops, Sponsored by NYSERDA for more info Contact Us: Office: (585) 442-2030 ext. 213 SaveEnergy@pathstone.org www.PathStoneEnergyInfo.org  For even more information, check out this brochure.

  • 7/02/2015 - Your chance to monitor local water quality during more heavy rains due to Climate Change, Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law. Heavy rains have increased in our region dramatically (71% since 1958) and that means our stormwater and sewage treatment plants can be overwhelmed easier and dump raw sewage into our rivers and lakes. Attend a DEC session locally (July 15, 7 p.m.: Monroe Community College, Monroe B, Rochester, NY) and let our environmental agency in NYS that you’d like to be informed if raw sewage is being dumped into our drinking water. This is a major way ordinary folks can hold their officials accountable for addressing Climate Change. Get Informed: Your Right  to Know About Water Pollution You have several upcoming chances to learn about the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law, so you can make informed comments on this important public health and environmental law by July 31. As our newly released “How’s the Water?” report shows, sewage discharges continue to make some areas of the Hudson River Estuary and its watershed unsafe for swimming, too frequently.  The Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law is one important tool in educating the public about known hazards, and building public support for two of Riverkeeper’s high priority actions: Closing the annual $800 million funding gap for wastewater statewide, and restoring staff and budgets for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC information session in our area July 15, 7 p.m.: Monroe Community College, Monroe B, Rochester, NY  (July 1, 2015) Riverkeeper [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/02/2015 - The July 2015 newsletter from our friends over at The Rochester Pachamama Team: The newsletter "As we celebrate July 4, may we remember that our real freedom comes when we are grounded in our connection with all life – and are part of creating a better world for all. " Check out their Facebook page.

  • 7/02/2015 - While it pours in record amounts in our Northeast, Europe is almost as hot as hell. Climate Change is upon us. For those sitting on the sidelines comforted that science still hasn’t made a direct link between a warming Arctic and a very wavy Jet Stream, how wonderful for them. How wonderful it must be to still live in the past where we had a stable climate for 10, 000 years, how wonderful the deniers can still scorn the concern of the rest of the world for being alarmed about Climate Change, how wonderful the fossil fuel industry can only focus on profits and block the attempts for renewable energy for the rest of us. Heatwave: hottest July day on record for Britain, Records broken in France, Red alert for Switzerland Currently in Europe a blocking high, called an Omega Block, is situated over Western Europe due to a large bend in the jetstream causing heatwave conditions in England, Spain, Portugal, France, etc, with conditions likely to continue for at least several days.  What causes the increased waviness in the jetstream? The reduced temperature differential between the Arctic and mid latitudes. These conditions are similar to the 2003 heatwave that killed 70,000 people. People are more alert now, but there is still a high health risk, and of course an elevated fire risk. I reported on how climate change is affecting extreme weather including more intense heatwaves in Arctic amplification, the Jet stream and Extreme weather in Northern Hemisphere in March 2013. A recent study published this year found that Seventy Five percent of heatwaves now attributed to climate change on a global level. Cities are also to get much hotter as heatwaves amplify the Urban Heat Island Effect. (July 2, 2015) Climate Citizen [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/02/2015 - Rochester hasn’t signed the Compact of Mayors or contributed figures to the carbonn Climate Registry, but still …, shouldn’t we be doing our part to make COP21 Paris climate treaty be a success? Cities like Rochester, NY shouldn’t be sitting on the sidelines while the most important treaty in humanity’s history is unfolding, a treaty that may put us on the road to sustainability or the other road. We have a Monroe County executive election coming up this year and we haven’t even brought Climate Change into the debate—let alone environmental issues. What will it take to wake Rochester up? 1,700 cities stress local action key to UN climate deal  Coalition representing 60 million inhabitants to deliver carbon-cutting pledges as mayors prodded globally to act  Holding half of the world’s population and releasing 70% of its greenhouse gases, cities are vital players in fighting climate change. Barcelona, Munich and Vienna are among 1,700 cities and municipalities to reaffirm commitments to cut carbon on Thursday, at a summit of mayors and local leaders in Lyon, France. The Climate Alliance, which binds its members from 25 countries to halve per capita emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels, will deliver the pledges at the close of the World Summit – Climate and Territories. Analysis: How can cities influence a global climate deal in Paris?  (July 2, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/01/2015 - Of course, our local media won’t connect the dots between rainfall in June and Climate Change. But maybe June’s rainfall isn’t so un-normal now. If you surf over to the National Climate Assessment (where your government reports on Climate Change, they say “Heavy Downpours Increasing Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades, with the largest increases in the Midwest and Northeast. Increases in extreme precipitation are projected for all U.S. regions.” Our region has experienced a 71% in heavy rainfall since 1958 (see Figure 2.17: ‘Observed Change in Very Heavy Precipitation’ and click on New York). Although our local media won’t even suggest that we have a new normal of heavy rainfall, they do explain the effects of a heavy rainfall month. There’s a lot of disruption and if science has got it right these disruptions are going to increase. We ought to be planning for more—not just hoping and believing that things will return to a pre-1958 normal.  (See: Both Cleveland and Akron-Canton are seeing one of the top ten wettest Junes on record so far.) |  Summer 2015 in NYS: Sink or swim? Many are glad to see a soggy June is a thing of the past, because it’s hurt business and morale, but is a dry July in the forecast? Precipitation totals for the month of June throughout the area well above normal, said meteorologist Dan Kelly, who is stationed out of the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Canandaigua measured 7.62 inches for the month, 4.12 inches above normal. Head east, same story. Geneva had 8.75 inches of rain, 5.08 inches above normal. Head north — you get the picture. Macedon, Wayne County, had 10.5 inches of rain in June, considerably more than the 3.26 inches normally measured — with one day unreported, Kelly said. To make matters worse, the June totals ended at 8 a.m. Tuesday, with more rain falling throughout the day. (July 1, 2015) Fairport-East Rochester Post

  • 7/01/2015 - Check for local events, links, and articles. From our friends at Penfield Green Initative the July 2015 E-newsletter

  • 7/01/2015 - Humans “caused shifts in world ecosystems” sounds so benign, like falling off a cliff disturbed some of your internal organs. Shift in ecosystems, like destroying wetlands which act as our life support systems’ kidneys, should be presented in appropriate language that reflects the catastrophe they truly represent. Ecosystems aren’t like theme parks where folks can go to experience either crocodiles or penguins; ecosystems are a complex life systems connected to other complex life systems that took billions of years become what they are and we are destroying them in only a moment. "Top predator" humans causing catastrophic ecosystem shifts - study Never before has a single species become the top predator on land and sea, and human dominance over the natural environment has caused shifts in world ecosystems unprecedented in the last 500 million years, researchers said on Tuesday. Human activity is leading to an international decline in the variety of plants and animals through extinction, as organisms not useful to human needs are killed off by ecosystem changes or over-exploitation, according to a new study. The biggest immediate losers will be large predators like tigers and lions while creatures domesticated by humans, including house cats, will thrive in the new world, said Jan Zalasiewicz, a professor of palaeobiology at the University of Leicester in central England, and co-author of the study. (June 30, 2015) Thomson Reuters Foundation

  • 6/30/2015 - Instead of focusing on energy options for New York in a time of Climate Change, this critical dialogue was hijacked for six long years by one of the worst options—Fracking, another fossil fuel option. During that time we could already be moving forcefully towards 100% renewables by 2030, which many groups are now just starting to press their representatives on. (I’ve attended some of those meetings myself.) One of the fundamental problems with the whole Fracking issue is how the NYS Department of Environment understands its mission: “based on the balance between protection of the environment and public health and economic and social considerations.” Although this may seem the obvious to most folks, the role of our environmental agency is fundamentally flawed. Our environmental agency should have one mission only, as does Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality “DEQ's mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon's air, land and water.” Our DEC’s mission should not be to balance anything but the integrity of our life support system—especially as we rush headlong into Climate Change. There are other agencies, businesses, and groups who can and should fight for their slice of our environmental pie. But if our state authority continues to see its mission as a balancing act for everyone and everything who wants a part of our very compromised environment, we are in deep trouble. As the public weighs in on our energy options as our region is more and more affected by Climate Change (we are already experiencing a 71% increase of heavy rainfall in the Northeast since 1959) our environmental authority should only be focused on how those options will affect our environment. Let every energy option proponent prove their option will do no harm. New York makes its fracking ban official  It is done: New York has officially banned high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the state's shale formations. State officials announced their intention to ban high-volume fracking back in December, but they also said that they needed to complete a few steps to finish out the environmental review. That's done, and today, the Department of Environmental issued its findings statement. The 40-plus-page long document includes a lot of history and explanation, but here's the passage stating the DEC's decision: (July 29, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/30/2015 - One way the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle could attract more Generation X and younger audiences is to connect the dots between local consequences of Climate Change (more heavy rainfall, change in growing season lengths, public health concerns like Lyme disease) and watchdog how our local officials are doing on that. The younger generation is going to be living in a warmer world and they need a newspaper that helps them prepare for that. And maybe help them find ways to mitigate (or stop) a lot of the Climate Change consequences coming our way. The D&C has been very milquetoast on Climate Change and hardly covered the road to the historic Paris climate talks coming up in December –that will forever change every living generation’s future. If the D&C continues to pander to sports and lifestyle issues in their headlines instead the mother of all issues, they will go the way of the dinosaur.  D&C publisher: We see a bright future How are you trying to attract Generation X and younger audiences? They need to be networked in ways that perhaps baby boomers were not, and they need to be more socially engaged. We better be there for them or they'll go find somebody else. We have to understand their needs really well. We have to research them. We have to get out of this building and talk to them. It is important, whoever you are, that you see yourself reflected in everything we do. (June 29, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/30/2015 - Ok, let’s say you don’t care about Climate Change or its moral or existential considerations, you just like to fish. Time to wake up. Climate change, pollution threats to trout in Great Lakes region North America’s already-embattled native trout populations continue to face serious threats, according to a comprehensive new report by Trout Unlimited. “The State of the Trout” details the status of 28 separate species and subspecies of trout and char native to the United States. Of those detailed populations, three are already extinct and more than half of the remaining trout and char populations occupy less than 25 percent of their native waters. While the state of trout in America is tenuous, there are success stories that prove trout recovery is possible, and the report lays out a roadmap for that recovery. Trout Unlimited scientists spent more than a year preparing the detailed report with input from TU’s field staff and independent, federal and state fisheries experts. The full report is available in digital form at tu.org. (June 28, 2015) GlobeGazette.com [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/30/2015 - As it turns out, our messing with Earth’s thermostat has caused many unintended consequences. One of those consequences, screwing up the oceans’ circulation maybe a Humpty Dumpty we and all our king’s horses and men cannot put back together again—even with all our geoengineering and prayer. Melting Arctic sea ice could be disrupting the oceans’ circulation—with major consequences We already know that melting sea ice in the Arctic is bad news. Less ice means less habitat for animals like polar bears, and it also means there are fewer reflective surfaces in the North to bounce sunlight back into space, allowing the planet to absorb more heat. And as global warming continues to warm up the Earth, we’re only going to lose more ice. A study released Monday in Nature Climate Change is drawing attention to yet another ice-related problem — one that could cause some large-scale consequences. According to the study, retreating sea ice could disrupt a major ocean circulation pattern and even affect climate patterns in Europe. As it turns out, sea ice in the Greenland and Iceland seas is an important player in the workings of a powerful ocean current known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. This current acts as a kind of conveyor belt, carrying warm water from the equator to the poles, and then shuttling cold water back to the tropics where the cycle starts all over again. The Atlantic overturning circulation, in turn, is the Atlantic branch of a much larger global overturning circulation, which shuttles water all over the globe. (June 29, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/30/2015 - New York has officially banned Fracking and now we must have 100% renewables by 2030 to be sustainable. Rather than spend many more years fighting crude oil being shipped across railroads and in cars not capable of transporting them safely (Bomb Trains) and increasing the fossil fuel infrastructure near Seneca Lake for storing enormous amounts of gas, New York now needs to shift dramatically to solar and wind and geothermal, energy conservation, energy efficiency, better agricultural practices (that don’t release gobs of greenhouse gases), and battery storage to free ourselves from a future that is not sustainable. New York state officially bans fracking It's official: New York has banned fracking. After more than seven years of study, the state Department of Environmental Conservation today issued the final document needed to ban the controversial drilling practice, known formally as high-volume hydraulic fracturing. "Prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens in a prepared statement. "High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated. This decision is consistent with DEC's mission to conserve, improve and protect our state's natural resources, and to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state." Today's finding statement has been in the works since December, when Martens said he would ban fracking because too little was known about the potential health impacts. Last month, the DEC released a 1,448-page report on fracking that began in 2009. Today's findings statement is based on that report. (June 29, 2015) Syracuse.com [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/30/2015 - The Supreme Court says the environment must prove its worth before inconveniencing industry with regulations. One of the troubling issues about “saying the costs of compliance should be taken into account at the very earliest stages of the regulatory process” is the shifting baseline syndrome—or the failure by the courts to appreciate the incredible damaged state our environment (our life support system) is in because of past historical abuse. How can the courts place the health of industry before the health of its citizens? Industry can switch to a healthy, clean, renewable more. Humanity will always need to breathe clean air. Where are our priorities? Supreme Court Blocks Obama Administration Plan On Power Plant Emissions The Supreme court has ruled against an Obama administration effort to limit toxic mercury emissions from power plants, saying the costs of compliance should be taken into account at the very earliest stages of the regulatory process. In a 5-4 decision, the court sided with industry and 23 states that challenged the Environmental Protection Agency over the rules for oil- and coal-fired utilities, which the EPA estimated would cost $9.6 billion annually. The states and industry groups said the cost estimate far outweighed the benefits the rules would produce, estimated at $4 million to $6 million per year. The court's majority agreed, saying the EPA interpreted the regulation "unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants." (June 29, 2015) NPR [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/29/2015 - $40 Billion and that’s just the Climate Change damage amount to our National Parks, not to mention our cities and your property. Every day we delay in acting on Climate Change the cost will go up and if we delay long enough no amount of money will repair the damage. Climate Change Could Cause More Than $40 Billion In Damage To National Parks A report released this week by the National Park Service (NPS) found that sea level rise — a phenomenon caused by climate change — could cause more than $40 billion in damage to America’s national parks. The report, released in time for the two-year anniversary of the announcement of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, examines the effects of a sea level rise on 40 coastal national parks across the United States. The NPS study examined “assets” in each national park, defined as historic sites, infrastructure, museum collections, and other cultural resources, finding that over 39 percent of the 10,000 assets were categorized as “high-exposure” to sea-level rise caused by climate change. In total, it found, damages to high-exposure assets would cost taxpayers more than $40 billion. (June 26, 2015) Think Progress|Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/29/2015 - “Binding deal at Paris climate talks” is the only kind of deal that makes any sense. Anything else is nonsense. EU ministers seek ambitious, binding deal at Paris climate talks: draft European Union ministers are seeking an ambitious, durable and legally binding deal to curb global warming, enforced through five-yearly reviews, a draft of their position statement for U.N. climate talks shows. EU environment ministers meet on Sept. 18 in Brussels to iron out their joint position ahead of the U.N. talks in Paris in December. Diplomats have already drawn up a draft text. The Paris climate agreement must be "legally binding in order to enshrine the strongest expression of political will and provide predictability and durability", says the EU ministers' draft seen by Reuters. (June 25, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2015 - Which begs the question, how will Rochester prepare for Climate Change and where will be the hardest hit areas? “Cities throughout the U.S. will suffer from more extreme weather due to climate change” this article says and so we must ask is Rochester doing its part to protect the poor and everyone else from the flooding and heat extremes? Why isn’t our media asking the question Climate Change preparation for Rochester? Think Detroit has it rough now? Just wait ‘til climate change gets ahold of it You could be forgiven for thinking Detroit’s current situation couldn’t get much more grim: poverty, unemployment, abandonment and vacancy, civic bankruptcy, rampant crime and tax evasion, an inability to deliver basic services. What other plagues could possibly hit the city? Well, brace yourself, because things will be getting much worse. Climate change will mean more extreme weather for Detroit: more powerful storms, more heat waves, more extreme cold and heavy snow. In fact, it has already begun, with unusually severe winter weather the past two years and flooding last summer caused by massive downpours. Cities throughout the U.S. will suffer from more extreme weather due to climate change, of course, but the impact will be particularly severe in Detroit because it has a population with greater needs and a local government with fewer resources to meet them. “Poverty amplifies everything,” says Guy Williams, CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ). (June 9, 2015) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2015 - When it comes to Climate Change, “the child is the father of the man” and rightly so because Earth will soon be the child’s. Our youth are starting to realize that they must demand a future worth living if the adults in their world are just going to let things heat up and do nothing. Groundbreaking Court Ruling Says State Must Address Climate Change, Thanks to Teen Lawsuit In an unprecedented decision, a judge in Washington State has ruled in favor of a group of young people who filed a lawsuit last year asking that the state be required to develop a science-based plan for limiting carbon emissions in order to protect the climate for future generations. (June 25, 2015) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2015 - If you understand energy taxes as a measure of environmental impacts of energy use, it’s X-mass every day for USA. Energy taxes misaligned with environmental impacts of energy use Governments are under-utilising taxation as a tool to curb the environmental consequences of energy use, foregoing revenue and weakening their attack on the principal source of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change and air pollution, according to new OECD analysis.   Taxing Energy Use 2015 – OECD and Selected Partner Economies compares taxes on energy use in 41 countries worldwide, which together use 80% of global energy.    The OECD says that taxes on energy use provide a transparent policy signal and are one of the most effective tools governments have for reducing the negative side effects of energy use.  However, the new analysis shows that energy taxes are poorly aligned with the negative side effects of energy use, and are having limited impact on efforts to reduce energy use, improve energy efficiency and drive a shift towards less harmful forms of energy. (June 26, 2015)  The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2015 - With only a third of the glass full, and five months to Paris will COP21 fail? If so, only extremophiles win. Euroland: psyched and ready for climate charm offensive The European Union has its climate negotiating priorities set out on six-foot banners, but will it get its way in Paris? The spectre of Copenhagen hangs heavy in the minds of officials working in the European Commission’s warren of slick glass and steel. In 2009, climate negotiations in the Danish capital imploded. Chastened, countries have taken six years to re-attempt striking a global warming pact. The stage is set for an agreement of sorts at a December summit in Paris. But conferences over the past year in Lima, Geneva and Bonn, tasked with clearing the heavy load, have flubbed. (June 26, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/26/2015 - How much carbon emissions are there in your lifestyle choices? Or, how heavy are our carbon footprints on our life support system?  Whole-life carbon: Lifestyle Every day we make lifestyle choices - such as the coffee we prefer every morning or the new gadget we buy. Most have a very small carbon impact as single actions. However, the cumulative effect of everyday habits often generates a greater environmental impact than homes and the offices we occupy. The following graph shows the carbon impact of an average Londoner’s lifestyle choices. Results have been extracted from a recent project in which Sturgis Carbon Profiling was commissioned by developer Argent to quantify not only the carbon emissions of the buildings it is creating in King’s Cross, but also the carbon footprint of the new community established there. Some of our smallest everyday choices can have a huge impact on carbon emissions within and beyond the built environment. Juan J Lafuente and Theodore Darviris of Sturgis Carbon Profiling explore the cumulative effect of lifestyle choices on our carbon footprint (November 13, 2014) Building.Co.UK [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/26/2015 - How long can and will your government be the insurer of last resort as the seas rise and there’s more extreme flooding? Will Climate Change change your flood insurance rates? Or with those who continually rebuild in the growing flood plains depend on the government to fund their rebuilding? As Climate Change will include more regions where we have built homes as flood plains, the problem of rising insurance costs (or getting your insurance dropped altogether) will be the point at which many will finally believe actions need to be taken on Climate Change. But that will also be the point at which the government has run out of resources to rebuild your home—because many other things are failing at the same time. Science Panel Tries to Reinject Reality into Flood Insurance Pricing Federal flood insurance in the United States is a mess, with politics continuing to trump data, and taxpayers paying the price. Just track the heroic passage of the Biggert*-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act in 2012 and its subsequent gutting as property owners howled. The followup bill in 2014 had a name that perfectly reflects the irrational nature of what transpired: Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. Will we ever have a Homeowner Taking Responsibility for Building in Flood Zones Act? (June 19, 2015) Dot Earth | New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/25/2015 - But what if (as science suggests) the sky really is falling and we just sit around and scorn the alarmists? What if the climate deniers are finally held accountable for thwarting the rest of us from acting in a time frame and level that will actually matter? With an issue like Climate Change, because it is physics at the core, we’ll find the answers to these questions at some point, but we might not like it. Be better, according to the Precautionary Principle to get moving on preventing the worst. 2015 set to be hottest year on record With another record month witnessed in May, 2015 remains on track to be the warmest year in recorded history. Last week, NASA released its global temperature data for May, showing that current temperatures are 0.71C (1.3F) above the long-term average. This was quickly confirmed by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data, which showed the combined land and ocean surface temperature for May was 0.87C (1.57F) above the 20th-century average, 0.08C (0.14F) degrees above the previous record set last May. Every month in 2015 so far has ranked among the top four warmest for the globe. (June 22, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/25/2015 - How can we solarize Rochester, a plan tailor for our region, affordable, and make all that happen in a time frame and level that will matter? How about "Solarize the Flower City"? Connections: Solar Energy Campaign We keep hearing about the benefits of using solar energy; so why don't we see more solar panels on homes? That could soon change, thanks to a new campaign aiming to "Solarize the Flower City." We'll discuss the ways that costs have come down, possible benefits, and what the average home needs in order to get solarized. Our guests: Nancy Johns-Price, City of Rochester Lane Young, O'Connell Electric Susan Spencer, ROCSPOT Dan Courtney, owner of home with solar (June 24, 2015) Connections [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 6/25/2015 - I wonder, at what point will the US Supreme Court order the government to act on Global Warning? Very late in the game I suspect—long after the crowds and players and vendors have left, the lights have gone out, and the fat lady long since sung her songFor first time, a court orders a government to act on global warming In a landmark victory for climate activists, a court in the Netherlands ruled Wednesday that the government must take action to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming. Brought by 900 Dutch citizens and climate activists, it is the first successful court case anywhere in the world that ordered a government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Hague District Court agreed with plaintiffs that the Dutch government has a legal obligation to protect its people against climate change, which threatens the low-lying country with sea level rise-related flooding. Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, and the government maintains an extensive network of barriers to keep back the rising seas from inundating its countryside. (June 24, 2015) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/25/2015 - When one leader connects extreme weather with Climate Change and one does not, one plans properly and the other fails you. Most Extreme Weather Has Climate Change Link, Study Says Global warming has created a 'new normal,' scientists say, and the old hesitance to attribute extreme weather to climate change is outdated. In the wake of major hurricanes, floods and heat waves, scientists are quick to say that no single weather event can be attributed to climate change until careful analysis draws that conclusion. Now, a new study argues that thinking is backwards, that all extreme weather has a link to climate change. The default position has been holding science back in connecting weather and climate, concludes the authors of a peer-reviewed paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change. (June 23, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/24/2015 - Be nice if our local public health authorities and media would connect the dots between Climate Change and public health. Without adequate planning, public health issues related to Climate Change, like heat waves, will cause many unnecessary deaths—not to mention our public health system being overwhelmed when major extreme weather events occur more often. Climate change threatens to undermine the last half century of health gains The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last fifty years of gains in development and global health, according to a major new Commission, published in The Lancet. However, the report provides comprehensive new evidence showing that because responses to mitigate and adapt to climate change have direct and indirect health benefits -- from reducing air pollution to improving diet -- concerted global efforts to tackle climate change actually represent one of the greatest opportunities to improve global health this century. (June 23, 2015) ScienceDaily [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/24/2015 - We should be locking ourselves into renewable energy not fossil fuels. Renewables are sustainable, fossil fuels are the other thing where you go down a long, long road, get tired and thirsty, and find out you can’t make your way back. Gas plants and cars bring ‘carbon lock-in’ risk – study  Investing in fossil fuel infrastructure undermines the shift to a low carbon economy, researchers warn – and it’s not just coal  Investing in fossil fuel infrastructure today locks in greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come, hampering efforts to tackle climate change. This “carbon lock-in” problem is most obvious for coal-fired power stations, which are highly polluting and last 40-50 years. But gas plants and cars also come with a significant lock-in risk, according to analysis from the Stockholm Environment Institute. On the supply side, energy companies are sinking capital into costly offshore oil and gas platforms that do not fit with a cost-effective shift to a green economy. (June 23, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/23/2015 - ACTION: Remember, in order to get to Albany, the Bomb Trains go through Rochester. Here's a note from People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE)  Show up on Monday July 16th at 11:45AM - 12:45 corner of Eagle and Park, in Albany and marching to the Governor's mansion  | "On Monday, July 6th, we are holding a noon rally commemorating the 2nd anniversary of the 47 who died in Lac-Megantic, Canada as a result of an explosive crude oil derailment. This very same catastrophe could happen in New York due to the large volume of volatile oil that travels in fragile rail cars over decrepit infrastructure. We'll be meeting at the edge of Lincoln Park in Albany and marching to the Governor's mansion where we lay the responsibility of protecting the people all through NY at Cuomo's feet. Here is the link to the facebook event. With the DEC's recent decision to withdraw the permit for heating tar sands at the Port of Albany, PAUSE and friends had a significant win. Because the state has authority over the receipt and storage of oil at the Port of Albany, the Cuomo administration can actually stop it at that location. This would mean the trains wouldn't be able to come south from Montreal at all b/c they'd have nowhere to go. However, he is refusing to consider doing this. The national story of stopping the bomb trains from coming into Albany would be huge and have far reaching implications for all fossil fuel build-out. I invite you to take part in turning the tide toward a sustainable, renewable future. Please join us. As you know, if we don't show up, they win." The flyer.

  • 6/23/2015 - In some places like the he Northeast you don’t see (except for extreme weather events) Climate Change. But if you listen to those experts who are tasked with tracking climate changes, they see warmer summers in our region as much as: 3.1°F since 1970 with an average: 0.4°F per decade. Not to mention, we have a (very dramatic) 71% increase in heavy rainfall since 1958. That is, when it does rain it pours and floods. Read: “Heavy Downpours Increasing” by the National Climate Assessment. Are our leaders preparing us for more heat waves, more flooding, more challenges to our agriculture? Or are they only giving a tepid response in our region to the worldwide crisis and putting us in danger? U.S. Summers Bringing More and More Heat It’s officially summer! We have now passed the points that mark the traditional start to summer (Memorial Day), the meteorological start (June 1), and now the astronomical start, or summer solstice (June 21) — so break out those flip-flops and beach towels! Though June, July, and August usually bring the heat, for parts of the country spring felt decidedly more like summer. Florida had its warmest spring on record and Georgia its third warmest. Seven states in the West had a spring that ranked among the top 10 hottest on record, exacerbating the historic drought there. Even some Northeastern states saw a record-warm May. (June 22, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/23/2015 - Great local conversation with local faith leaders (and a call-in by an Atheist) on Pope’s climate Encyclical.  I hope everyone will actually read the Encyclical.  It is a profound document about the state of our existence at this point in time.    This is what Pope Francis says on paragraph #14 of the Encyclical “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” There should be more platforms to have Climate Change discussions locally. Connections: The Pope and Climate Issues We examine the meaning of Pope Francis' new encyclical on climate change. What does it mean for the Catholic Church? More broadly, what does it mean when an organized religion wades into climate issues? Our panel discusses that and more: (June 22, 2015) Connections [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/22/2015 - Keeping the momentum going on Climate Change action should be the work of all humanity.  The release of Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical has injected a great attention to the worldwide crisis of Climate Change but to keep the pressure on our leaders, our media, and our neighbors we must leverage this fantastic messaging opportunity as much as possible. Pope Francis's Climate Encyclical: Next Comes the Hard Part After the Pope's much-anticipated document comes out Thursday, turning it into climate action will fall to the vast network of the Catholic church. When Pope Francis releases his highly anticipated encyclical on global warming Thursday, titled "Laudato Si," or "Be Praised," he will call on nations to take immediate action to curb greenhouse gas emissions on ethical grounds—cementing climate action as a pressing moral issue and sending a jolt through efforts to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December. (June 17, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/22/2015 - Is recycling with single stream (those big blue bins) really working? Or are our recyclables rife with contamination? Only with local investigative reporting can we know for sure. We don’t know if all the stuff we are throwing into our big blue bins are actually getting to where they are supposed to go, or if contamination by glass and other stuff makes it un-sortable, unusable, and ends up in our landfills. We don’t know how many residents and businesses are recycling and what percent of what can be recycled is recycled? We don’t know a lot about recycling because no one is asking the hard questions and demanding the answers. We want our stuff and when we are done with it we want it to magically disappear and according to the laws of physics that is absolutely impossible. Are we actually recycling properly or are we deluding ourselves into thinking we are? At the very least, we should get our media to do a thorough job in investigating whether our recycling system is making for a sustainable world. American recycling is stalling, and the big blue bin is one reason why Tucked in the woods 30 miles north of Washington is a plant packed with energy-guzzling machines that can make even an environmentalist’s heart sing — giant conveyor belts, sorters and crushers saving a thousand tons of paper, plastic and other recyclables from reaching landfills each day. The 24-hour operation is a sign that after three decades of trying, a culture of curbside recycling has become ingrained in cities and counties across the country. Happy Valley, however, it is not. (June 20, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 6/22/2015 - Are you a church goer? Not likely our Rochester local media will cover the encyclical by Pope Francis, but you can. Though the world media is covering the encyclical, which is an attempt to have a worldwide dialogue about the worldwide crisis of Climate Change, our local media hasn’t said a word about the release of this historic document since last Thursday. Which is to say Climate Silence on Climate Change in the Rochester region goes on. Consider responding to this New York Times request for your church’s response to the encyclical and maybe you could even drop a line to your local media to cover this. We are sleeping through the mother of all problems in the Rochester region and one way or another we will be held accountable—as this issue isn’t just about morality, it’s physics. Tell Us How Your Church Addressed the Pope’s Encyclical The encyclical by Pope Francis released on Thursday did not merely present a papal view on the environment and climate change. It was also an urgent call to action. The document appeared intended to persuade followers around the world to change their behavior, in hopes of protecting a fragile planet. (June 21, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/22/2015 - There is much media attention on the encyclical by Pope Francis, but have you read it yourself? Take a moment and do so. On our environment and humanity’s relationship to it, this document is a major philosophical work of our times. Rather than hear bits and pieces of this very easy to read and pity manuscript, you should take it upon yourself to read one of the most important documents of our age and this critical point in time.  There is a need for a wise and thoughtful insight about the state of our existence with our environment, our life support system, to be shared around the world without the filtering from others—so we can have a world dialogue about the mother of all problems. This may be the last time we have to do so. Please, read the encyclical.  

  • 6/22/2015 - Have we ‘broken’ Alaska? “In the long-term, the problem gets much scarier. Thanks to climate change, the state, with the rest of the Arctic, is currently heating up at twice the rate of lower latitudes, and its weather, as one state meteorologist, who was only sort of joking, put it, is “broken.”” Alaska’s climate hell: Record heat, wildfires and melting glaciers signal a scary new normal The Arctic state is battling two major blazes against a backdrop of rapid warming Here’s the immediate problem: Alaska is on fire. Wildfires have been raging all week in the northernmost state: two major ones are currently being fought near the communities of Sterling (#CardStreetFire) and Willow (#Sockeyefire), while more than fifty smaller blazes are demanding firefighting crews’ attention across the state. The Card Street fire exploded in size Thursday evening: at 12,000 acres, it’s officially the nation’s top wildfire priority. (June 19, 2015) Salon [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/20/2015 - Besides NYC, only Albany newspaper covers Pope’s message on Climate Change of NY major cities. What’s wrong with this picture? A search around Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Ithaca reveals a great silence on the major story of the release of Pope Francis’s encyclical on Thursday. Most media in our state has continually downplayed the worldwide crisis of Climate Change so I guess it’s no surprise that the Pope’s message, heard loud and clear around the world, goes unheard in our local media—which leads to New Yorker’s thinking this crisis doesn’t have anything to do with them. Our media needs to change, so that it reflects living in a warmer world. Time passes. Pope Francis letter on climate change draw cheers, jeers Environmental groups in New York and elsewhere welcomed a call by Pope Francis that said man-made climate change is real and urged as a moral duty the reduction of fossil fuel use along with greater efforts to expand renewable energy. In an 82-page encyclical on the environment issued Thursday, the pope stood behind a "very solid scientific consensus" that rising emissions of greenhouse gas from foss.... (June 19, 2015) Albany Times Union [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/20/2015 - 70% of water loss is due to aging and leaking pipes across the country. Does that include the Rochester region? New study says we are throwing away billions of gallons of drinking water because of crumbing water infrastructures. Be nice if our local media checked up on this to see how prevalent this phenomenon is going on in our region. Without a truly investigative media in our area on issues pertaining to our environment, our life support system, we are blind to issues like underground water leaks. How aggressive is our local media on the state of our environment? Billions of gallons of expensive drinking water going down the drain Paying for water that never reaches your tap Northeast Ohio water customers and millions across the country are paying for water that never reaches their faucet. Every community and every neighborhood across Northeast Ohio is plagued by the same water loss issue that faces water customers nationwide—an aging infrastructure that is slowly leaking 1.2 trillion gallons of water into the ground every year. That’s enough to cover Cleveland with 122 feet of water—more than twice the average depth of Lake Erie. And it costing ratepayers plenty—water rates are rising faster than any other utility. (June 19, 2015) NewsNet5 Cleveland [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/20/2015 - The Halo Effect of Pope Francis’s message on addressing Climate Change spreads throughout other religions. Let us hope the Pope’s message about Climate Change spreads throughout humanity, politics, economics, developed countries, and even hate radio hosts who have scoffed at concern for our environment continually. After the Pope’s plea, what do other faiths think on climate? Scholars from Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and leading evangelicals explain why the environment matters to their religion  For Christianity, Islam and Judaism, it is care for divine creation. In Hinduism, there is Rta – the principle of natural order. Every religion has its traditions of protecting the environment. The degree to which they are observed varies, as faith rubs up against economic and political realities. This week’s encyclical, or letter from Pope Francis to his flock, has been widely hailed for its urgent call to action on climate change. Coming six months before countries aim to strike a deal in Paris, it is an undeniably powerful intervention. (June 19, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/20/2015 - Looks like New York State dodged some earthquakes by banning Fracking. Not to mention health, water, and methane issues… Yes, Those Earthquakes Are Caused by Fracking Boom, Studies Confirm New work adds to scientific consensus that the earthquake surge in Texas and Oklahoma stem from wastewater injection wells. The surge in earthquakes shaking Oklahoma, Texas and other parts of the nation's mid-section are likely caused by million of gallons of toxic oil and gas wastewater being disposed of underground, two new studies have found. (June 19, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/18/2015 - This is why adequate funding of NASA matters: monitoring groundwater levels and other Climate Change effects. The GOP attack on NASA’s ability to monitor Climate Change is reprehensible. Read: “Anti-Science GOP 'Eviscerates' NASA Spending on Climate Change Research”  NASA Satellites Show World's Thirst For Groundwater New data from NASA's GRACE satellites show that many of the world's biggest aquifers are being sucked dry at a rate far greater than they are being replenished. Although scientists don't know how much water is left, they hope their findings will serve as a "red flag" for regions that may be overusing water. Globally, scientists estimate that roughly 2 billion people rely on water supplied from underground aquifers as their main source of freshwater. Groundwater is also used for farming, especially during times of drought. (June 17, 2015) North Country Public Radio

  • 6/18/2015 - This is what Climate Change will look like in our region, as the Northeast has seen a 71% increase in heavy rainfall since 1958. When it does rain it will pour and make Farming in our region a continual challenge. We should be preparing on a large scale to help farmers in our area deal with this trend is heavy flooding that will occur more often.  Read: “Heavy Downpours Increasing” by the National Climate Assessment. For area farmers, it's been 'a real mess heading toward a disaster' Torrential rains and generally rainy conditions of late have local farmers hoping for a dry spell. There is an old saying among the old-time farmers, said dairy farmer and Gorham Town Supervisor Fred Lightfoote. A dry year will scare you to death, but a wet year will kill you. And while no one is pulling the plug just yet on the growing season, persistent, heavy downpours of late — and more rain in the immediate forecast — have many farmers looking to the sky for relief. “This is a real mess heading toward a disaster,” Lightfoote said. Property owners in low-lying areas of Ontario County, including Richmond and Canadice, have been devastated by flooding. Farms in all parts of the county also have been hard-hit by torrential storms — and the impact is being felt now and perhaps will be felt weeks from now (June 17, 2015) Daily Messenger [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/18/2015 - Gonna be hard to be an open climate denier if all moral leaders take a strong stand on Climate Change. Faith Leaders Stand With Pope Francis on Climate Change Pope Francis is expected to take a strong stand on climate change in a major new papal document to be released Thursday. But faith leaders from other religions are already stating their support. On social media and in formal statements, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim leaders have backed the pope’s call for strong action to address climate change. (June 17, 2015) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/18/2015 - Unless we figure out a way to suck CO2 out of our atmosphere on a vast scale, warming is going continue regardless of how quickly we move to clean energy. Adapting (or trying to) to Climate Change will be with us for a long time because we waited so long to stop emitting CO2. Long-lived CO2 warms world for many millennia The heat given off by burning fossil fuels warms the Earth far less than the carbon dioxide emitted, which research shows traps the heat in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Gun the engine, and the ignition of fossil fuel produces not just working energy but heat that dissipates quickly into the atmosphere. But it also produces carbon dioxide that dissipates into the atmosphere. And in less than two months, according to new research, that pulse of carbon dioxide will have engendered more heat for the planet than the original touch of the accelerator. Xiaochun Zhang and Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution at Stanford, California, in the United States report in Geophysical Research Letters that the carbon dioxide warming exceeds the heat released by a single act of oil combustion in just 45 days. (June 15, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/17/2015 - This is what Climate Change looks like, as the Northeast has seen a 71% increase in heavy rainfall since 1958. Our transportation infrastructure must be updated to accommodate this consequence of Climate Change or closing roads to fix them because of heavy flooding will be the new normal. Read: Read “Heavy Downpours Increasing” by the National Climate Assessment. At this state of the game, we aren’t even finding it within ourselves to properly maintain our present roads and bridges, let alone getting them ready for Climate Change. We so aren’t planning for Climate Change in our region. Travel advisory issued for communities surrounding Honeoye Lake (June 15, 2015) Fairport-East Rochester Post [more on Transportation and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/17/2015 - Climate deniers who fear Big Government, attacking every attempt to address Climate Change will ensure Big Government. Because voluntary restraints on greenhouse gas emissions have not worked, and because climate deniers fight every regulation to ensure a sustainable future, the efforts of climate change deniers will necessitate that government—the folks with the military, who keep all your infrastructures intact, who protect your resources, and the insurers of last resort—will get bigger and bigger. Climate deniers want their cake and eat yours too. Naomi Oreskes, a Lightning Rod in a Changing Climate The job interviewer scrutinized the young American geology student sitting across from him. She was about to graduate from the Royal School of Mines in London, and was trying to break into a field long unwelcoming to women. What, he wanted to know, might she have to contribute to the geology of mining? Naomi Oreskes had a simple answer: “I want to find an ore deposit!” She wound up in the Australian outback in the early 1980s — not to search for deposits, exactly, but to help work out the complex geology of one that had just been found. It would eventually become one of the world’s largest uranium mines. (June 15, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/17/2015 - We hope our friends in Canada will comment “Are you out of your freaking mind?!” to nuclear storage in Great Lakes. The notion of storing dangerous nuclear waste in the largest freshwater ecosystem in the world is so incredible insane as to be batshit crazy. Canada opens comment period on nuclear dump proposed for Lake Huron A month after the Joint Review Panel decided that the best place for a Canadian nuclear waste dump is less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is calling for public comment on environmental conditions that would be imposed on Ontario Power Generation if the project gets a final go-ahead. The CEAA made the announcement on June 3. The general public, Aboriginal groups and registered participants in the Deep Geological Review process have 90 days to comment on 14 pages of "potential conditions." The deadline is Sept. 1. (June 16, 2015) The Voice [more on the Great Lakes in our area] 

  • 6/17/2015 - Not funding the relief of poverty is not only immoral, it is dangerous. Desperate people will take desperate efforts to stay alive. Desperate people will destroy their resources and ecosystem to stay alive today, because without a ‘today’ there is no tomorrow. If the developed nations do not immediately and adequately fund the developing nations so they can thrive without destroying their critical ecosystems (water, forests, wildlife) we, the developed nations, will be allowing key ecosystems and resources to be destroyed that will have profound worldwide effects. Many, especially the developed nations, still do not understand that Climate Change is a worldwide crisis on a finite planet where everyone is dependent on another. Funds lacking to help poor tackle climate impacts, says World Bank Not enough cash is flowing to boost resilience in the face of sea level rise and weather extremes, development banks warn  Funding to help developing countries prepare for future climate impacts lags well behind carbon cutting initiatives, a report published today reveals. Only 18% of the US $28 billion directed towards climate finance projects by the world’s top six multilateral development banks in 2014 was focused on climate adaptation. The rest was devoted to mitigating greenhouse gas emission, reveals the report commissioned by the World Bank along with top development banks covering Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Rachel Kyte, World Bank special envoy on climate change, said increasing investment in resilience was a concern for all the banks. “Support is urgently needed now to support those who are most vulnerable,” she said in a statement sent to media. (June 16, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/17/2015 - We do not expect Encyclical to solve Climate Change, we expect it to end climate silence and cause deniers to overreact. What the Papal Encyclical says is not new, as much about Climate Change and its effect on the poor and our environment have been part of the international dialogue on Climate Change for several decades. What’s different is the leader of the Catholic Church is moving his message to so many people, including massive coverage in the media. It will be difficult for a while for climate silence around us and in the press to thrive which such bold move by Pope Francis. A great bonus to the Encyclical would be for the climate deniers, especially those seeking and already holding high office, to overreact and create a major backlash—demonstrating their complete indifference to the science and morality of this worldwide crisis and demonstrating their being totally unfit to hold leadership roles in our government. Pope Francis’s Encyclical Could Have Bigger Impact Than the Paris Climate Talks, Says NASA Scientist As the world eagerly awaits Pope Francis′s encyclical on climate change this Thursday, some scientists have come out and said that the papal letter could draw a larger impact than the world leaders hammering out emissions negotiations at the UN climate summit in Paris this December. (June 15, 2015) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/17/2015 - Can you imagine the social, political, economic, and environmental impact when oil is spilled in the Arctic? This preventable disaster is inevitable—unless we stop it. "Battling the Death Star": Seattle "Kayaktivists" Slow Arctic-Bound Shell Oil Rig as Fight Goes On The oil giant Shell is on its way to the Arctic, but not before a final showdown with environmental activists in kayaks. On Tuesday, dozens of "kayaktivists" were arrested after paddling up to a Shell drilling rig and preventing it from leaving the Port of Seattle. Several dozen supporters lined up behind them. The activists set off at 4 a.m. after learning of Shell’s plans to leave later that morning. Following a brief standoff, Shell’s Polar Pioneer was able to depart after the Coast Guard pulled the activists from the water. Monday’s action marked the latest in a series of protests since Shell arrived in Seattle last month. Shell is stationing its vessels in the Puget Sound while it drills for oil in pristine and highly remote waters in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. Environmentalists warn Arctic drilling will threaten wildlife and worsen climate change. The Obama administration has tentatively approved Shell’s plans to begin oil extraction off the Alaskan coast this summer. We are joined by John Hocevar, oceans campaign director of Greenpeace. He was one of the activists, or "kayaktivists," detained by the Coast Guard during Monday’s action against Shell oil drilling in the Arctic. (June 16, 2015) Democracy Now! [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/16/2015 - Some regions will run out of water in Climate Change that is a known. What regions? That is an unknown. Result? Unknown, unknown. Earth's groundwater being drained at rapid rate: studies Washington (AFP) - Human activity is leading to the rapid draining of about one third of the planet's largest underground water reserves and it is unclear how much fluid remains in them, two new studies have found. Consequently, huge sections of the population are using up groundwater without knowing when it will run out, researchers said in findings that will appear in the journal Water Resources Research and were posted online Tuesday. "Available physical and chemical measurements are simply insufficient," University of California Irvine professor and principal investigator Jay Famiglietti said in a statement. "Given how quickly we are consuming the world's groundwater reserves, we need a coordinated global effort to determine how much is left," added Famiglietti, who is also the senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (June 17, 2015) Yahoo News [more on Water Quality in our area]  

  • 6/16/2015 - I wish humanity was as interested in addressing Climate Change as they are in the leakage of the Pope’s encyclical. Pope Francis, the latest and perhaps the most influential, messenger that Climate Change is happening, it is caused by mankind, it’s unfair to developing nations, and it needs immediate attention is yet another attempt to wake us up to this unprecedented threat to our existence. Ultimately, our focus should be on the problem not on the messenger. Themes of the Pope’s Encyclical on Climate, Equity and the Environment Emerge in Italian Leak The Italian translation of Pope Francis’s much-anticipated encyclical letter on humans, climate and nature was posted today by L’Espresso, one of Italy’s leading weekly news magazines. The Vatican news office says it’s not the final version but is not questioning the authenticity of the document. There’s every indication that the themes, if not every punctuation mark, reflect what is coming later this week. The magazine’s news article is here and the document itself can be read or downloaded here. As Jim Yardley wrote over the weekend, the Vatican had been working on this papal letter for more than a year, with five translations undertaken in recent months and a choreographed rollout planned on Thursday, led by Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, who oversaw the drafting effort. (June 15, 2015) Dot Earth \ New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/16/2015 - The window to keep global warming within safe limits is quickly closing. Time passes. Current Climate Pledges Won't Prevent Dangerous Warming, Agency Says According to an analysis, the world will not avoid racing past the 2 degrees Celsius boundary without more urgent emissions cuts. Pledges made so far by Europe, the United States and China to cut greenhouse gas emissions aren't enough to keep global warming within safe limits, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency. But the agency also said that if nations increase their efforts, there is just enough time to change direction with existing technology and without economic penalty. (June 15, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/15/2015 - On the other hand, US Bishops will find Pope Francis’s Climate Change moral stance unavoidable. Much of the Climate Change inertia in the developed countries has sprung from the opinion of economists, politicians, and the public that making the changes needed to adequately address Climate Change will be very inconvenient. Just as abolishing slavery was going to be very inconvenient to those who profited from that immoral system, many were lukewarm about ending slavery immediately. And things probably would have gone on in the mid-1800’s with folks equivocating, prevaricating, and downright dragging their feet, until John Brown and the abolitionists, said NO! Pope Francis has said NO! to a  continuance of ignoring Climate Chang and it’s moral implications. When Pope Francis releases his encyclical this week, many of those who have been downplaying and obstructing humanity’s efforts to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change will be very annoyed. Finally! Pope Francis May Find Wariness Among U.S. Bishops on Climate Change The church bulletin inserts are nearly ready to go. So are the emails to every Roman Catholic parish in the United States with preaching suggestions for the first Sunday after Pope Francis releases his encyclical on the environment. A week after that, on June 28, churches worldwide are being asked to ring their bells at noon to commemorate a “Thank you, Pope Francis” march in Rome being held that day. Never before, church leaders say, has a papal encyclical been anticipated so eagerly by so many. With Francis expected to make the case that climate change, unchecked development and overconsumption are exacerbating the suffering of the poor, advocates for the environment and the poor are thrilled. (June 13, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/15/2015 - Climate Change should make us aware that each time we turn on a light, drive a car, or flush a toilet we are affecting our future. One of the things that Climate Change should awaken us to is that much of the activities that we have taken for granted shouldn’t be taken for granted—they determine our relationship to our life support system. With Climate Change we should be acknowledging that we are up against a very solid wall. That Climate Change the mother of all problems means that our energy use, our use of water, and our greenhouse gas emissions have reached a limit, a limit where our ability to maintain a sustainable environment is in question. If our waste water treatment plants, for example, are not ready for more extreme weather and heavier downpours when it rains (a dramatic phenomenon that is already occurring in the Northeast—71% from 1958-2012) we will seriously compromise our water quality if our wastewater system are overwhelmed. Read “Heavy Downpours Increasing” by the National Climate Assessment. Upgrades and headaches at county sewage plant Monroe County's main sewage treatment plant has not met all environmental standards this year for the treated wastewater that it discharges deep into Lake Ontario. Draft data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that the VanLare treatment plant exceeded discharge limits in the first quarter of this year for phosphorus, suspended solids and other types of regulated substances. The data shows similar, but less severe violations early last year as well. County officials last week acknowledged the violations and said they are working closely with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to get to the bottom of the problem. They said that the episode has posed no risk to the environment or to public health, and that the issue stems from a project that will ultimately make the plant run more efficiently and cheaply than it does today. (June 14, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/15/2015 - A politically ground-breaking agreement is not the same a science-based agreement and with Climate Change it matters. That many of the G-7 countries have continually backed fossil fuel infrastructures and delayed on cutting back on greenhouse gases means that when they are shamed into doing the right thing, they can only make gestures towards sustainability. And these gestures look like major breakthroughs, even then when these gestures fall far from the mark as to what is needed. “Don’t kill the good in pursuit of the best” is what corporations often say when they make lukewarm gestures towards healthy environmental practices. This phrase might make sense in the corporate world, but nothing less that complete compliance, the perfect, actually works with the laws of Nature. The balance of Nature does not mean the balance between what we want and how Nature works. The G7 and its 85–year carbon pledge The G7 gives itself a lifetime to fulfil its climate change promise If you thought it was hard to keep up your New Year's resolution, try keeping an 85-year pledge. That's exactly what Canada and the other G7 countries are committing themselves to as they try to get control of global greenhouse gases. While Canada failed on its Kyoto agreement and won't meet its 2020 Copenhagen target, that's not stopping Prime Minister Stephen Harper from making even more long-lived environmental pledges. First, a deep cut in carbon emissions by 2050 and second, an eventual end to fossil fuel use by 2100. At first glance, it's praiseworthy. The world's leading economies commit to decarbon the world economy. Some environmental groups were quick to call the G7 announcement "groundbreaking," although not everyone is as supportive and approving. (June 9, 2015) CBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/15/2015 - As we attempt to address Climate Change wouldn’t it make sense to bake in a lot of Native traditional methods and land management activities into our climate actions? Knowledge from peoples who lived and thrived on this continent for millenniums? Native traditional methods revived to combat California drought, wildfires Local tribes called on for traditional knowledge of forest stewardship to preserve water and create wildfire buffers As California battles its worst drought in 1,000 years  — and after massive wildfires swept across the state for two consecutive summers — a number of tribe members, scientists and U.S. Forest Service officials are working to revive traditional Native American land management practices that some believe could help contain the blazes and lessen effects of the drought. Native Americans in California had long tended the land in ways that preserved watersheds to ease droughts and created barriers to out-of-control fires, said Rick Flores, steward of the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum.  Flores is leading the program in conjunction with California’s Amah Mutsun tribe to revive the knowledge of those cultural practices. One of the activities they have carried out is controlled burning in an effort to preserve certain useful plants and prevent larger fires. (June 12, 2015) Al Jazeera

  • 6/12/2015 - US GOP attempts to discredit the Pope on Climate Change are but another nail in their coffin as the GOP goes the way of the Whigs. There are many responsible Republicans who do believe in science they should quickly distance themselves from the irresponsible ideologues who have painted themselves into a corner on Climate Change. Climate Change is about planning and we cannot put climate deniers into office because they would be unfit to led during this worldwide crisis. It’s 2015, the deniers have lost, and they should join the world is helping us adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. Angry US republicans tell Pope Francis to ‘stick with his job and we’ll stick with ours’ The US right will launch pre-emptive attacks on the pope’s stance on climate change Leading figures on the American right are launching a series of pre-emptive attacks on the pope before this week’s encyclical, hoping to prevent a mass conversion of the climate change deniers who have powered the corps of the conservative movement for more than a decade. The prospect that the pope, from his perch at the pinnacle of the Catholic church, will exhort humanity to act on climate change as a moral imperative is a direct threat to a core belief of US conservatives. And conservatives – anxious to hang on to their flock – are lashing out. “The pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours,” James Inhofe, the granddaddy of climate change deniers in the US Congress and chairman of the Senate environment and public works committee, said last week, after picking up an award at a climate sceptics’ conference. (June 13, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/12/2015 - Which is another way of saying expanding Canadian Oil Sands, the Keystone XL Pipeline, is insane. Scientists Call for Halt to Canadian Oil Sands Expansion The controversial proposed Keystone XL Pipeline put Canada’s vast carbon-laden tar sands on the map for many Americans, with its builders promising that it would carry 800,000 barrels of petroleum per day from Alberta’s tar sands to oil refineries in Texas. But a group of 100 scientists on Wednesday called for a moratorium on further oil sands development, saying it isn’t compatible with stabilizing the climate and meeting greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets. (June 10, 2015) Climate Central

  • 6/12/2015 - Interesting, NYS Department of Health connects the dots with Lyme disease and Climate Change here “Health Impacts from Weather and Climate” but not in its most recent press release here “Don’t Let Ticks Ruin Your Summer Outdoor Fun.” Wouldn’t it be prudent for our state health department to continually connect the dots with public health issues and how they will change during Climate Change in our region? How can various local health agencies and insurance companies prepare for more Climate Change health related issues, if the state health department won’t educate the public on the road ahead?

  • 6/12/2015 - If the public doesn’t push their governments on Climate Change, we’ll continue to have half-ass progress. Trying to get a free ride on Climate Change negotiations seems to rule--still.  A free ride is when a few countries step up to the plate to address Climate Change and the rest do nothing, hoping they’ll get the benefits for the others’ work without having to do the serious work of leading their nation towards a worldwide solution. We have to change how we negotiate critical issues like Climate Change and do so quickly. Negotiators told to ‘hit the accelerator’ as climate talks inch forward  Against a backdrop of real world momentum for climate action, the latest round of UN climate talks wrapped up today in Bonn, delivering some progress on the road to a meaningful climate deal in Paris but with widespread demands for negotiators to “pick up the pace” in the coming months. A historic announcement from the G7, signalling the beginning of the end for fossil fuels, the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund’s decision to divest from coal and IKEA’s announcement to pledge €1billion to climate action all show the real-economy and real-Leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel understand what’s at stake in Paris. (June 12, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/12/2015 - This is what happens when you screw up at the ballot box. Giving Inhofe such power in a time of Climate Change is an embarrassment.  Pope Francis is minding his own business on Climate Change; he is addressing and leading on the moral crisis of our age. Republicans' leading climate denier tells the pope to butt out of climate debate James Inhofe, infamous for tossing a snowball across the Senate floor to demonstrate ‘the greatest hoax ever perpetrated against the American people’, says Pope Francis should ‘stay with his job’ during a pitch to fellow unbelievers (June 11, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/12/2015 - The Weather Channel’s new webpage on communicating Climate Change is yet another try to get humanity to pay attention to this worldwide crisis. 25 of the Most Powerful Voices on Climate Change Brought to You by The Weather Channel Some very prominent voices have gotten a lot of media attention for their comments on climate change, including President Obama and Pope Francis. And there are people within the scientific community who have been speaking out for years, providing us with information and thoughtful insights. The Weather Channel’s new media package, The Climate 25: Conversations With 25 of the Smartest Voices on Climate, Security, Energy and Peace, is bringing to the forefront a diverse set of voices and perspectives worthy of more attention. (June 10, 2015) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/10/2015 - Local media screws up: The Passenger Pigeon did not run out of evolutionary luck, they were exterminated by the billions. Ohforgawdsakes, this story is so loony as to be very misleading. Humanity killed off a bird that flew in the billions across our lands and there is increasing speculation that Passenger Pigeons needed to exist in the billions in order to have a sustainable population. Which is to say, it would be insane to bring back a species we exterminated, especially now that we have aircraft which would not be able to tolerate birds in these numbers. The fate of the Passenger Pigeon should be a lesson to mankind of how incredible daft we are when it comes to wildlife and their role in our environment—and this news story only propagates this lack of education we have about the creatures that our one with our life support system. Which is especially sad since we have done nothing to prepare Wildlife in our region for Climate Change.  For some sensible reading on the Passenger Pigeon read Elizabeth Kolberts’ “They Covered the Sky, and Then… Rochester Museum Helping the Passenger Pigeon make a Comeback Jurassic World opens in movie theaters at the end of the week. The movie is based on scientists genetically creating dinosaurs. Science fiction? Yes. But, researchers maybe closer than you think to bringing an animal back from extinction and one local museum is playing a crucial role..  The common species of pigeon is alive and kicking, but their relatives, the Passenger Pigeon ran out of evolutionary luck a little over a hundred years ago. The birds once flocked in the billions across the western New York sky. Now, some scientists want to bring them back from extinction, something never done by humans (June 9, 2015) RochesterHomePage.net [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 6/10/2015 - This highlights the Climate Change tragedy: by the time our leaders to decide to act it’s too little, too late. Our leaders (including local leaders of whom I spoke to an assistant of yesterday) understand the science of Climate Change but don’t seem to be willing to understand the speed at which Climate Change is happening nor the scale of the response we must make to adapt to it. Environmentalists are made to look like alarmists, though it is they who understand that planning for Climate Change must have begun long ago to avoid catastrophic damage. The complacency in our leaders bleeds down through the public so that we leave ourselves unprepared. G7 Carbon Goal May Come Too Late, Scientists Say Ridding the global economy of its carbon is the only way to stabilize the climate, something the leaders of the G7 nations recognized Monday when they called for all countries to cease emitting climate-changing greenhouse gases over the next 85 years. But there’s a sense among some climate scientists that such a goal may be too little too late, even though it serves as a necessary first step toward a commitment among nations to slash global carbon emissions. A new pact is expected to be finalized at the Paris climate summit taking place in December. (June 9, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/10/2015 - If you’ve joined any beach cleanups (I‘ve led several), you know that cigarette butts are the most common form of litter. Finally, we are getting some information on the kind of ecological damage this form of litter is causing. One of the things I find intriguing about this study is that it talks about the amount of micro plastics cigarette butts inflict on our waters. I’m wondering…, that while microbeads from lotions, toothpaste, etc. accounts for much of the plastic contamination of our Great Lakes, a lot of plastic contamination probably comes from cigarette butts. For years I have tried to make stop littering a part of litter cleanups, as Zero Waste chair of the Rochester Sierra Club. Litter cleanups should not be enabling practices for those who continually litter and litter should not be assumed to be our way of life. Why cigarette butts threaten to stub out marine life With cigarette filters made up of tiny pieces of plastic capable of causing untold damage to marine life, banning them could be one answer A torn up love letter, a wedding dress and a loaded handgun. These are just some of the items discovered during the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup initiative (ICC). But these intriguing finds aside, year after year cigarette butts are the most commonly found form of ocean litter. In 2014, ICC volunteers collected some 2m cigarette butts – a huge amount, but just the tip of the iceberg. Approximately 4.5tn of the 6tn cigarettes consumed annually are littered across the globe. (June 9, 2015) The Guardian [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/9/2015 - One community, Brighton NY, proves giving your gas guzzler for a rest for just a week helps our reduce GHG emissions. Curb Your Car Week Spring 2015 Results The Spring 2015 Curb Your Car Week event took place the week of May 10–16, 2015. During that week, 40 residents from Brighton and Rochester registered their pledge to walk, bike, carpool, or ride the bus for at least a day as an alternative to drive their car. (June 8, 2015) Color Brighton Green [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 6/9/2015 - Brownfields are the physical manifestations of an economy that treats our environment as a toxic toilet. Whatever it takes to make Brownfields unacceptable and get them cleaned up is the policy we must adopt. How much industry can be brought to the table to fix the problem they created, or however much the public will be stuck with the bill, Brownfields must be cleaned up. Brownfields tend to exist more often in poorer regions. Climate Change will tend to make Brownfields more of a hazard as more extreme weather and flooding will cause more leaching of toxic substances into our ground and water. DEC Accepting Public Comment on Proposed Amendments to Brownfield Cleanup Program Regulations Public Hearing to be Held July 29 Proposed amendments to the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) regulations are available for public review and comment, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The proposed regulations (6 NYCRR Part 375) implement statutory changes made in the 2015-16 Budget. This proposed rulemaking defines the terms "affordable housing project" and "underutilized" as part of the eligibility requirements for tangible property tax credits for brownfields in New York City. The "affordable housing project" definition affects the amount of potentially available tax credits statewide. The proposed rulemaking also amends the "brownfield site" definition in accordance with the recent statutory amendments. (June 8, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 6/9/2015 - During May, Rochester was caught in the Denial Zone, the border between drier than average East and wettest Central regions. Because our local media doesn’t cover Climate Change and the public doesn’t go looking for it elsewhere, Rochester’s present sweet spot keeps many locals in Climate denial and silence. For many in our area don’t see Climate Change as a clear and present danger, they see it as a far-off phenomenon that can be addressed at our leisure. Something that others experience, but not us. But when the anomaly, the sweet spot, disappears, we’ll better understand that Climate Change is a planetary crisis and we are a part of it--in all aspects. We should be a part of the public education and planning for Climate Change instead of business as usual. Rainy May Sets Record for Soggy U.S. The numbers are in, and the month of May broke a number of records across the U.S. Alaska had its warmest May by a wide margin. California continued to see its warmest year-to-date. And thanks to staggering rains that swamped the Southern Plains, May was the wettest month on record for the contiguous U.S. (June 8, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/8/2015 - Why don’t UK and US citizens want their governments to address Climate Change? Oh, just because … UK and US main barriers to addressing climate change, survey finds They're the two biggest emitters of greenhouses gases in the world — but the US and China have very different ideas about tackling the problem of climate change. In a new survey taken months before officials meet for perhaps the most significant climate change talks ever held, YouGov found that people the US and UK lag far behind countries including China in wanting those talks to produce a meaningful commitment to address climate change. In December, international representatives will meet in Paris to discuss an international agreement that some think could be humanity's last chance to limit the terrible effects climate change could have on the world and its population. But much of the US and the UK don't want their governments to do anything at all. (June 8, 2015) The Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/8/2015 - EPA Fracking report from someone who’s actually read it. It’s not a final statement and not a roadmap. All You Need To Know About The EPA Fracking Report: “Significant Data Gap For Hazard Identification” Ohfergawdsakes. For all the squawking that’s going on about the new EPA fracking report, you’d think that that the agency has traded in its law enforcement hat for a ride on the Welcome Wagon. Well, we think not, for a couple of reasons which we’ll get to in a minute. Before we get to that, let’s note up front that the EPA fracking report — yes, the one that came out last week — is not actually a final statement of agency policy, let alone a road map for the Obama Administration’s energy policy. (June 8, 2015) Clean Technica [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/8/2015 - As much as we’d like to get rid of the invasive Zebra Mussels from the Great Lakes, pesticides are not the answer. FLEXING THEIR MUSSEL The bivalves that ate the Great Lakes are fueling toxic algal blooms, too. Can’t we get rid of them already? David “Bo” Bunnell trawls the bottom of Lake Michigan for fish every summer, conducting a survey that began 40 years ago. Around the mid-aughts, the fisheries ecologist started dragging tiny mussels in with his net. These weren’t zebra mussels, whose stripes he’d become familiar with ever since the stowaways from Russia filled the lake with their kind in the late 1980s. These were smaller, with comma-shaped shells. At first they popped up here and there, but over the years they appeared in more and more samples. Eventually the brown bivalves, called quagga mussels, were clogging Bunnell’s trawl, 400 to 500 pounds at a time, preventing him from catching the fish he needed to count and identify. His curiosity about the creatures soured. (June 4, 20150 OnEarth [more on Zebra Mussels in our area]

  • 6/6/2015 - EPA’s recent Fracking study is very narrow says DEC, who is still banning it, but even DEC doesn’t include Climate Change part of Fracking. Studies show that Fracking also releases methane during various stages (not to mention when it is burned as a fossil fuel) of the Fracking process but no mention of this part of the Fracking issue is being brought up in the recent brouhaha over the latest EPA study. Everyone, the EPA, the DEC, and the media, are all avoiding the elephant in the room: Fracking leaks methane (a very potent greenhouse gas) and the infrastructure that would be needed to escalate Fracking would squeeze out renewable energy. It is amazing that even New York State, which is banning Fracking, still cannot talk about the impacts of Fracking without ignoring Climate Change. It is as if we can only talk about Fracking and other environmental risks (like the massive increase in gas storage at Seneca Lake) in only very closely agreed on limits—and avoid the big picture about sustainability and Climate Change. DEC Statement on EPA High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Assessment Statement Attributable to DEC Spokesperson Tom Mailey: The EPA's review focused on impacts to water resources related to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, while the state review was much broader -- examining impacts to air, water, public health, ecosystems, wildlife and community character. Our review identified many potential significant adverse impacts. As the EPA said, states are in the best position to make decisions regarding high-volume hydraulic fracturing. In December, the DOH Report concluded that HVHF should not move forward in New York State. DEC will release its Findings Statement shortly consistent with this position. (June 4, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/6/2015 - Major developments during the UN climate talks in Bonn that our local press isn’t covering but will affect our existence. 2015 is an incredibly important year on Climate Change as we move towards the historic climate conference in Paris in December. But it’s not on our local radar because our local media has its attention elsewhere. Rochester is a part of this worldwide crisis and the public should be informed of what our local officials are doing on our behalf to respond to our part on adapting to and mitigating Climate Change. Daily Tck: Day four of the UN climate talks in Bonn Negotiations began in Bonn on Friday… wait, isn’t it day five? After a steadfast focus on ‘mechanical streamlining’ for most of the week, substantive issues on the architecture of the Paris deal are starting to feature in meetings between negotiators. Finance, technology transfer, and the timeframes that could feed into cycles for reviewing and increasing action was on the agenda. (June 6, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/6/2015 - Lowering our greenhouse gases are not enough, we are going to have to do a lot more. Like fixing our oceans we broke.  Climate Change is the mother of all problems because we are going to have to fix all our other environmental problems at the same time because Climate Change will make them worse. For example, our oceans are under severe stress caused by acidification from absorbing CO2 from our carbon emissions, but our oceans are also in great trouble from our pollution. Pollution ‘killing off marine life’ Cape Town - Six million tons of debris – weighing about the same as a million elephants – enter the world’s oceans every year and for just one plastic bottle to break up at sea, it takes around 450 years. These were some of the alarming figures given by Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, who was speaking at the Second African Summit on Marine Debris at Kirstenbosch. The summit started on Wednesday and ends on Friday. Thousands of animals – such as sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals – are also affected by marine pollution by getting entangled in or consuming fishing line, nets, ropes and other abandoned equipment. (June 5, 2015) ioLsciteck [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/05/2015 - Buried deep within NYS’s Wildlife Action Plan is Climate Change. To preserve Wildlife and their ecosystems, we must prioritize Climate Change. The plan says this “The most common threats to these species are loss of habitat, pollution, invasive species and climate change.” The DEC must do more than “maintain healthy populations” of wildlife presumably for more ‘harvesting’ and fishing that bring in money for our main environmental protection agency. Instead of viewing our Wildlife as fun furry creatures that dart around our neighborhoods and highways, we should be adopting a more mature view of Wildlife. Wildlife and our critical ecosystems—lakes, rivers, ponds, wetlands, forests, mountains, soil, and a whole lot more—are one. Meaning none of these ecosystems are healthy without healthy Wildlife populations. But we have not focused on how to address health Wildlife populations much at all in New York as Climate Change challenges all our endemic species. Our Wildlife is used to 10,000 years of a relatively stable climate, until recently when Climate Change has dramatically altered our wildlife’s homes—which is to say, critical elements of our life support system. The public needs to make sure our leading Wildlife protection agency prioritized protecting and our Wildlife during Climate Change, not continuing to bury this issue. Consider making public comment on this DEC draft and attending a local meeting on this: The closest meeting is in Avon at the DEC Region 8 Office on June 17 at 3-5 PM. There is much to be done to help our Wildlife adapt to Climate Change, including allowing them corridors where they can move to adapt to the warming temperatures and the other consequences of this crisis. It’s going to take money and time and the public getting involved. We haven’t even begun to discuss this critical aspect of Climate Change in our community. Proposed State Wildlife Action Plan Now Available For Public Comment 10-Year Plan to Target Conservation Actions for Species of Greatest Conservation Need and Their Habitats The proposed State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) to protect rare and declining wildlife species is now available for public comment, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The deadline for comment is Friday, July 17. "The State Wildlife Action Plan will help guide DEC's work to protect and restore wildlife, and ensure that these precious natural resources are conserved for future generations," said Commissioner Martens. "The SWAP is a ten-year plan to protect rare and declining wildlife species that is being developed to update the 2005 Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. At the upcoming meetings, DEC staff and conservation partners will present projects carried out through the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy to conserve species of conservation need and propose actions that all of us can do to help protect these species." (June 4, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)  [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 6/05/2015 - Let me see… definition of "cost": Paying the cost is when you buy something really cheap and that something destroys your future. The true cost of our energy is not what you pay for this energy at the pump or your electric bill that has been serious subsided by your government to make it extremely addictive and deadly. We must, if we are to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change, get a more mature definition of costs than the one provided by a loony economic system that treats our life support system as an externality. Calls grow for full fossil fuel reckoning From the International Monetary Fund to doctors, voices calling out the fossil fuel industry over its health costs are becoming louder - and more numerous. But a lot depends on the definition of "cost." Six major European energy companies have called on policymakers to put global carbon pricing on the agenda at United Nations climate talks in Bonn this week. They describe this as the most effective way of encouraging greener investments. But as a growing movement shows, putting a price on fossil fuels could also provide a solution to the increasingly visible problem of their costs falling to taxpayers. (June 2, 2015) Deutsche Welle [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area] 

  • 6/05/2015 - The greatest cost of fossil fuels is the dangerous illusion that they are affordable and not responsible for this worldwide crisis of Climate Change. The True Cost of Fossil Fuels Fossil fuels reap profits in modern economies in part because the costs of their environmental and health damage are not included in their price. A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finds that we're significantly underestimating society's subsidy for fossil fuel use worldwide. The report's co-author, IMF economist David Coady tells host Steve Curwood how they calculated fossil fuels subsidies worldwide annually cost taxpayers and consumers $5.3 trillion. (May 29, 2015) Living on Earth [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/04/2015 - ACTION: Make public comment on Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law from June 17 - July 31. Attend meeting in Rochester, Wednesday, July 15, Monroe Community College, Monroe B Warshof Conference Center,1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14623 | Meeting will start at 7:00 PM DEC Accepting Public Comment on Sewage Pollution Right to Know Regulations Public Can Now Enroll For NY-Alert to Receive Notice of Sewage Discharges Four Public Information Sessions to Be Held The public is invited to submit comments on regulations to implement the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law from June 17 - July 31 and can now sign up for NY-Alert to receive notice of sewage discharges, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced today. DEC will hold four public information sessions to provide background on the regulations. "The Sewage Right to Know Law is a critical tool for protecting public health by requiring municipalities to report sewage discharges," said Commissioner Joe Martens. "In developing the NY-Alert notifications for sewer discharges, DEC strived to find a way to provide New Yorkers with free and easy access to this information while minimizing the burden to municipalities. With the NY-Alert system in place, information can now be provided to residents in a timely manner." (June 3, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/04/2015 - ACTION: Fracking ain't over in New York until it's over: Take action: Call on the NYS Senate and Assembly to ACT NOW to pass the Hazardous Waste Loophole Bill! Read more: Time to Close New York’s Fracking Waste Loophole Despite the recent historic ban on high-volume fracking, New York still has a fracking waste problem. More than 510,000 tons and 23,000 barrels – and counting – of waste from oil and gas extraction operations in neighboring Pennsylvania have been shipped to New York landfills for disposal. Leachate from those landfills is then sent to nearby wastewater treatment facilities. And New York State continues to allow the use of certain kinds of waste from low-volume oil and gas extraction on our roads for de-icing and dust control. Fracking waste can contain a number of pollutants, such as chemicals, metals, excess salts, and carcinogens like benzene and naturally-occurring radioactive materials. Due to a loophole in state law, oil and gas industry waste is exempt from hazardous waste requirements, meaning that – no matter what it contains – fracking waste is not classified as hazardous. This “hazardous waste loophole” also means that fracking waste can be disposed of at facilities unequipped to handle it, and in ways that can put our health and environment at risk. (June 3, 2015) Riverkeeper [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/04/2015 - I’m passing on this info on a webinar on Fracking: Fracking Waste & New York: A Business Perspective | Webinar co-sponsored by the New York State Sustainable Business Council & Riverkeeper | Monday June 8  1-2pm | While achieving the fracking ban was a major victory, further action is needed to protect New York’s sustainable economic drivers from the impacts of continuing disposal of oil and gas waste. Did you know NYS has accepted over 500,000 tons of fracking waste from Pennsylvania since 2010? Did you know that NYS law specifically exempts waste from the oil and gas industry from the definition of hazardous and industrial waste?  Did you know that NYS allows low-volume oil and gas extraction waste to be spread on our roads for de-icing and dust control? Register for this webinar to learn more about the facts on gas and oil field waste disposal in New York, the implications for New York businesses, and what you can do to protect your community. Space is limited. A recording of the webinar will be available for viewing afterward. Register here:

  • 6/04/2015 - Of course, if our economics were a responsible system towards our environment, we wouldn’t need a freaking stick. Climate Deal Badly Needs a Big Stick Few economists are as versed in the global diplomatic effort to combat climate change as Nicholas Stern of Britain. So it was particularly distressing to hear him say, at a debate in New York a few weeks ago, that the international effort to achieve a worldwide climate agreement in Paris next December is already falling short on its most critical goal. The various pledges by nations to cut their emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, he noted, will not be enough to prevent the Earth’s temperature from rising beyond the level scientists consider the tipping point to devastating environmental disruption. (June 2, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/04/2015 - If Paris fails, this Will be the question “Can A 4°C Earth Support 10 Billion People?” If would be far better if we acted now to avoid this nightmare scenario.   Can A 4°C Earth Support 10 Billion People? “Homo sapiens is poised to become the greatest catastrophic agent since a giant asteroid collided with the Earth 65,000,000 years ago, wiping out half the world’s species in a geological instant.” So wrote anthropologist Richard Leakey in his 1995 book, “The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind.” Because of the vital dependence we have on the “ecosystem services” provided by the rest of nature, Leakey warned, “unrestrained, Homo sapiens might not only be the agent of the sixth extinction, but also risks being one of its victims.” Twenty years later, the great climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert has won a very deserved Pulitzer prize for her nonfiction book “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.” (June 1, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2015 - NYSERDA is helping NY to make sure when we flip that switch the power is coming from renewables. #NYSERDA ain’t nobody. Big changes on a massive scale and a fast track to renewable energy are critical for adapting and mitigating Climate Change. NYSERDA Proposes New Strategies to Continue Support of Large Scale Renewables Strategies Include a Long-Term Public Commitment to Attract Investment to New York and Spur Development of Clean, Stable Power The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced submission of its proposal for new and improved strategies to support large scale renewables such as solar, wind, and other clean technologies. These strategies would build upon New York’s clean power legacy, which began in the 1950s with major public investments in hydroelectric dams thatcontinue to provide low-cost, zero-emissions electricity for New Yorkers to this day. As part of the submission, NYSERDA proposes a long-term commitment to the next generation of large scale renewables through a $1.5 billion public investment over ten years, which is comparable to the level of investment made over the past decade through the existing Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Each year, New Yorkers collectively spend tens of billions of dollars on electricity. This investment in large scale renewables made over time would represent a small fraction of total electricity costs and is structured to lead to net customer savings similar to those New York’s clean, affordable hydropower provides today. (June 1, 2015) The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) [More on Energy in our area]

  • 6/03/2015 - New: June newsletter from Penfield Green Initiative June 2015 Newsletter Planning Committee 2015* Mel Callan, Susan DeRosa, Peter Maurer, Kate McArdle, Deb Muratore, Sue Pixley   The Voice for Penfield’s Environmental Assets   Environmental/Social Justice on a Grass Roots Level Join Penfield Green Initiative on their Facebook.

  • 6/03/2015 - At Bonn, on the road to Paris, deciding if emissions cuts should be binding is like asking a drug addict if heroin should be free. Look, we’ve already proven we have a problem with fossil fuel abuse and don’t care about the repercussions of our addiction on our health, on our environment, and on other peoples of the world, so why would we think a world treaty on cutting greenhouse gas emissions should be voluntary? Who are we kidding? What’s the point of a treaty on Climate Change if cutting GHG emissions are not made binding? Halfway There: Countdown to Paris Climate Talks Woah, we're halfway there. To the Paris climate summit in December that is (sorry if you were hoping for news of a Bon Jovi tour). The big event in December is part of an ongoing process of climate talks that include interim meetings scheduled in Bonn, Germany these next two weeks. The main goal of all the talks is simple to state, but hard to achieve: cut carbon and keep the world’s climate from warming more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Attached to it are a host of other issues including finance, climate adaptation, and weighing who cuts emissions when. The meetings in Bonn happen to overlap with a gathering of the world’s leaders at G7 elsewhere in Germany where climate change is also on the agenda. Further boosting those discussions was the news on Monday that six of the world’s largest oil companies threw their support behind carbon pricing, adding to flurry of climate activity. (June 2, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2015 - I know, they’re just scientist who are saying the need to make renewables cheaper than coal the biggest scientific challenge of the century. But some still do take scientists seriously—when it’s not too inconvenient that is. 'Moon shot' call on clean energy A group of scientists and economists is calling for the equivalent of the Apollo space programme to produce cheap, clean energy. Apollo engaged America’s best minds to put a man on the Moon in the Cold War. The academics say a similar effort is needed to make renewables cheaper than coal within a decade in what they call the biggest scientific challenge of the century. Such a project has been mooted in the past – but always failed. The group of experts call their project Global Apollo. They say they have generated interest from major nations in their plan for an investment of 0.02% of their GDP into research, development and demonstration (RD&D) of clean electricity. Their report, launched at London’s Royal Society, says on current projections the world will exceed the 2C danger threshold of climate change by 2035. (June 2, 2015) BBC News [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 6/03/2015 - Of course, if “everyone” (meaning Everyone) understood that time is quickly running out to keep the world below the agreed target of warming of no more than 2 degrees, COP21 Paris would be a success. If the world’s public truly understood the implications of allowing our warming to exceed 3 or 4 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial averages, they’d make sure their leaders made Paris exceed all expectations. Bonn Climate Talks Aim to Build a Springboard to Paris, Not a Sinkhole Six months before what may be the last chance for a global climate agreement in Paris, negotiators get to work on the draft text. Six months from the start of a Paris conference where the United Nations hopes to complete a far-reaching deal on the climate crisis, negotiators meeting in Bonn, Germany this week and next are back to working on their unwieldy draft text even as the treaty's goals slide over distant horizons. Christiana Figueres, head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, optimistically compared Bonn's newly built venue to a construction site where people are moving in while the structure is still going up. (June 2, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2015 - If cannot have a conversation about Climate Change during a presidential election, when can we have this crucial conversation in public? The whole point of a presidential election is to present the citizenry with candidates’ positions on critical issues. If the next presidential election doesn’t help ‘we the people’ figure out the best leader in a time of Climate Change, we will wish we had come to our senses. Will the presidential candidates have a substantive debate on climate change? Republican New Jersey governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie briefly made news last week when he said that global warming is real and that “human activity contributes to it.” Yet as a whole, climate change has yet to emerge as a major issue in US presidential elections, which is consistent with the recent history. In 2012, neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney talked much about it on the campaign trail. Climate change also did not come up during the presidential and vice presidential debates for the first time since 1984. And according to an analysis by Media Matters, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox collectively spent less than one hour talking about climate change as part of their coverage of the 2012 campaign (MSNBC spent about three hours). Will the 2016 election be different? Will climate change emerge as an important issue for either voters or the candidates? (May 13, 2015) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2015 - Using American trees to generate electric power for Europeans to lower their GHG emissions is counterproductive in the way robbing your son Peter to pay your son Paul would be to your family’s finances. Trees are amazing; they are carbon sinks, they protect our soil, trees are part of our planetary breathing process. Trees must be left in the ground to do their job. How Europe’s climate policies have led to more trees being cut down in the U.S. For the sake of a greener Europe, thousands of American trees are falling each month in the forests outside this cotton-country town. Every morning, logging crews go to work in densely wooded bottomlands along the Roanoke River, clearing out every tree and shrub down to the bare dirt. Each day, dozens of trucks haul freshly cut oaks and poplars to a nearby factory where the wood is converted into small pellets, to be used as fuel in European power plants. Soaring demand for this woody fuel has led to the construction of more than two dozen pellet factories in the Southeast in the past decade, along with special port facilities in Virginia and Georgia where mountains of pellets are loaded onto Europe-bound freighters. European officials promote the trade as part of the fight against climate change. Burning “biomass” from trees instead of coal, they say, means fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (June 1, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2015 - The 2C goal for COP21 Paris is feasible, it is something humanity can do. What humanity cannot do is survive unchecked warming. We are kidding ourselves if we think humanity’s attitude is a law of physics and keep framing what we are and are not going to do as fact. And we are kidding ourselves if we think the laws of physics are not laws of physics, something open to argument.  U.N. climate deal in Paris may be graveyard for 2C goal The U.N.'s Paris climate conference, designed to reach a plan for curbing global warming, may instead become the graveyard for its defining goal: to stop temperatures rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Achieving the 2C (3.6 Fahrenheit) target has been the driving force for climate negotiators and scientists, who say it is the limit beyond which the world will suffer ever worsening floods, droughts, storms and rising seas. But six months before world leaders convene in Paris, prospects are fading for a deal that would keep average temperatures below the ceiling. Greenhouse gas emissions have reached record highs in recent years. (June 1, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 6/02/2015 - How philosophers (including Rochester’s own from RIT) think about Climate Change. Is trying to survive on a warmer planet changing this ancient discipline? BTW: Watch video included, about Greenland's melting glaciers. It is phantasmagoric and yet real and very troubling. Caution: some very profession people resort to some very colorful language when describing what they are seeing. The Perfect Moral Storm: Philosophers Respond to the Impending Anthropogenic Apocalypse For at least the next 200 years, weather forecasts predict shitstorms, with global temperatures now set to remain elevated for hundreds of years to come. The latest IPCC report explains that our emissions are nearing the point of no return. Even if industrialized nations switched to solar power overnight, it is now too late to fully reverse the planet's course. Geologists have officially termed this new epoch, where the human species has irreparably shaped earth's geological history, the Anthropocene. Policymakers no longer have the luxury to decide how we might "stop" global warming. Instead, we have to figure out how we'll manage amidst climate instability. (May 31, 2015) Vice [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/01/2015 - Godzilla El Niño, or El Wimpo? Only Climate Change knows for sure. Maybe we should start planning for Climate Change so we can reduce the consequences of extreme weather when weather patterns, fueled by more manmade greenhouse gases, cause more extreme catastrophes. Post excuses and apologies aren’t really an antidote for proper planning. Is an El Niño next in pattern of treacherous weather?  Rain Friday in Texas pushed Dallas to a new record for the month of May. More than 16 inches have fallen this month. That's about an inch-and-a-half short of the all-time record for any month in Dallas. Oklahoma City has had almost 19 1/2 inches of rain -- making this the wettest month since they started keeping records 125 years ago. Scientists say the floods could be a sign the weather-pattern known as El Niño is gaining strength in the Pacific. If so, California could finally get the drought-busting storms it desperately needs. Tornadoes are tearing up the Plains. Texas is getting swamped by floodwaters. California is deep in drought. And now, a hurricane is forming in the Pacific. The government's National Climate Assessment warns that "increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events are projected for all U.S. regions." Josh Willis, a NASA climate scientist, tells CBS News that in the past two years, scientists have seen a change in the jet stream that could be attributed to climate change. It often takes on a wavy pattern, causing more extreme weather - such as all that snow in Boston this past winter. Now, scientists are watching an El Niño rapidly grow in the Pacific Ocean. (May 31, 2015) RochesterHomePage.net [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/01/2015 - There are those who link the increase in extreme weather deaths with higher population concentrations in dangerous areas and do not link so much with Climate Change. In other words, these folks think that there have always been heat waves in India and floods in Texas and the reason more people die now is because there are more people in these areas of danger—not because Climate Change is making more extreme weather more extreme. But Climate Change is making the whole world more dangerous for humanity and that means we must plan more carefully for more extreme weather in historic danger zones and zones that have historically not been dangerous. Weather Extremes Wear Climate Change's Fingerprints Extreme heat in India, flooding in Houston, wildfires in Alberta suggest a new normal, made more chaotic by global warming. Communities across the globe got a sobering snapshot this week of what the future is likely to hold more of: extreme weather getting even more extreme thanks to climate change. Historic rainfall and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma left thousands homeless and dozens of people dead. India is in the midst of a prolonged heat wave that has already claimed more than 1,800 lives.  Wildfires in Alberta consumed hundreds of square miles of forest while creeping closer to Canada's tar sands, shutting down production of the carbon-intense fossil fuel. (May 29, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/01/2015 - With only about 200 days before the historic COP21 Paris Climate talks begin, how much is Rochester even aware of this monumental event? I have heard almost no mention in our local media about what will turn out to be (one way or the other) one of the most important conferences in humanity’s history. We will both slow down and reduce manmade greenhouse gas emissions at a time when it matters, or we won’t. Paris must not fail and the public should be very aware of the stakes. When our local media doesn’t explain what’s going on at Paris and Climate Change the public thinks all this doesn’t matter. And yet we will all be held accountable. 200 days out from Paris climate talks, momentum grows for global deal  With less than 200 days until the UN climate summit in Paris, governments met in Germany this week to continue the momentum towards securing a new global agreement for taking on climate change. Environment ministers from 35 countries met together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande as part of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin this week, to discuss key points of the global climate agreement to be signed this December. Hollande and Merkel called for urgent and ambitious action to limit global temperature rise below the internationally agreed 2C threshold and called on all nations to submit clear, formal promises on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The two leaders also reaffirmed the need for a complete energy transition, where fossil fuels are phased out and clean energy is phased in. (May 30, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/01/2014 - Climate talks in Bonn hope to insure no Big Surprises in Paris this December. No excuses, Paris must not fail. Climate talks resume in Bonn as clock ticks on UN deal  Two weeks of tough negotiations expected as envoys prepare to radically cut huge text for Paris deal  Officials from nearly 200 countries meet in Bonn on Monday to try and thrash out the basis of a global climate change deal, due to be signed in Paris this December. Governments are tasked with slashing a 90-page negotiating text down to size by the end of the summer, as the UN tries to avoid a repeat of the last time it tried and failed to secure agreement. The current set of proposals runs to over 4000 lines, an includes a bewildering variety of proposals to cut greenhouse gas emissions, promote green energy technologies and set a long term climate goal (June 1, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC)

  • 6/01/2015 - We cannot achieve emissions-reduction targets if we allow GHGs to escape any more than we can collect water in sieve. Climate targets are letting ‘outsourced emissions’ slip through the cracks Just because a country meets its emissions-reduction targets doesn’t mean it isn’t responsible for increased emissions elsewhere. This isn’t as weird as it sounds. The way national targets are calculated means some countries effectively “outsource” their emissions to other regions. If countries such as the UK don’t include the global emissions impact of their economy they run the risk of believing they are staving off climate change when they are not. (June 1, 2015) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/01/2015 - Learn more about the Solutions Project and moving New York State towards 100% renewable Energy:  TheSolutionsProject "The Solutions Project accelerates the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy for all people and purposes. To achieve this mission, we engage the public, celebrate and convene leaders, and advance partnerships and policies that make strides on the road to 100%. We implement this integrated model at the state level. To maintain our national reach, we develop inspired content, amplify stories and media, and create opportunities to celebrate and activate leadership across the country."