Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Updates: Friday, January 30, 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

  • 1/30/2015 - Couldn’t have said it better myself: "Landfilling is yesterday's technology,.." We absolutely have to stop with the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude towards waste.  Check out this study: “Stop Trashing the Climate Geneva supervisor wants 90% less garbage at Ontario County landfill Geneva representative sets ambitious goal for 2028 if landfill expansion OK'd  As Ontario County officials wait to move forward on the final phase of expansion at the Seneca-based landfill, an Ontario County supervisor is preparing for the facility's closure. Supervisor Mark Venuti (D-town of Geneva) has drawn up a resolution for the board's consideration that he said sets a course for Ontario County to be prepared for Nov. 24, 2028, when the contract between the county and Casella Waste Services, which operates the facility, has ended.  The focus of the resolution is to establish that Ontario County is out of the landfill business for good when that contract has expired or when the facility reaches capacity. (January 29, 2015) Daily Messenger [more Recycling in our area]

  • 1/30/2015 - Calling on all Rochester-area women to take action on Climate Change. Check our Rochester’s ‘Mothers Out Front’. "Public narrative is the art of sharing stories that communicate lived experience and values through emotions to inspire others to take action.  Attendees develop their stories about why they are involved, or why they want to be involved, with Mothers Out Front.  We will then develop the story of what we are called to do together to protect our children's future in the face of climate change. Sharing stories is an essential practice of organizing and movement building.  Stories are the fuel that inspire us and others to act. Date: Sunday, March 1, 2015 Time: 1:00pm - 5:30pm Place: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 2000 Highland Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618 Who: mothers, grandmothers, caregivers, and their friends concerned about climate change Contact person: Neely Kelley. neely.kelley@mothersoutfront.org"

  • 1/30/2015 - Great opportunity to join your friends and groups and neighbors to help clean up our parks at the annual event. "The 6th annual Pick Up the Parks Event  is scheduled for Saturday, April 25th, 2015 9am-noon (Cleanup in all Monroe County-managed Parks) noon-2pm (Thank You Picnic in Olmsted Lodge at Highland Park) Join Cascades Recovery and the Monroe County Department of Parks, along with many local recreation and environmental groups for “Pick Up the Parks.”  This event is designed to foster stewardship of our *21 parks and 12,000 acres within.  We are all stewards of the great outdoors, so we encourage you to do your part to keep our parks, our waterways, and watersheds clean and green."

  • 1/30/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: Did Climate Change pass New York State by? Ans. No. The fastest warming season for us is winter. Because of the shifting baseline syndrome, where the ‘now’ seems like the ‘way it has always been’ are winters overall are warming up. A Country Divided by Seasons and Warming While winter is the fastest-warming season in most states, spring and fall are making strides in this dubious race, particularly in the western part of the country. And then there’s the Lone Star state, which stands alone as the only state where summer is warming the fastest. Don’t mess with Texas. The one thing that unites the country is that each and every season has been warming since 1970 nationally and that the rate of warming has accelerated compared to the past. In summer, the Lower 48 has warmed by 0.4°F per decade. In the winter, the U.S. average temperature has risen by about 0.6°F per decade. (January 29, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/30/2015 - At Wind Power the going gets tough for environmentalists: Do we block fossil fuel infrastructure or all energy infrastructure? Historic fights to preserve land and water will have to be rethought if we are to build a renewable energy infrastructure—or we could ask folks not to have any energy at all.  Feds Opening Waters to Largest U.S. Offshore Wind Farm The Atlantic’s powerful bluster twirls thousands of wind turbines off the coast of Europe, sending gigawatts of renewable energy coursing into the power grid there. Currently, there is not a single wind turbine generating even a watt of electricity in American waters as oil platforms represent the only offshore energy development in the U.S. But the race is on to change that, beginning with a landmark wind rights auction on Thursday, which aims to open a vast swath in the Atlantic off the Massachusetts coast for what could be the the first and largest offshore wind power project in the U.S. Twelve wind energy companies will be vying Thursday to bid on the right to develop dense wind farms within 742,000 acres of federally controlled open ocean beginning about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard — the largest area off the Atlantic coast open to wind development. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which also administers oil and gas leasing off the nation’s coastlines, expects that if those waters are fully developed with wind turbines, they could produce up to 5 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 1.4 million homes. (January 28, 2015) Climate Central [more on Wind Power and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/30/2015 - Are your kids learning about the science behind Climate Change in school? If not, why not? Kinda hard to grow up and thrive in the real world, if you’re not learning about the real world. Kids Caught in Crossfire of Climate Education Battle New science standards require students be taught climate change as a scientific fact. They face resistance in several states from climate skeptics. While President Barack Obama wants to protect young people from the catastrophic effects of global warming, school boards and lawmakers in some states are fighting to prevent students from learning the science of climate change. In the most recent skirmish, parents and science educators in West Virginia blocked an attempt to weaken the teaching of climate change in elementary and secondary school classrooms. Responding to petitions and protests, the state Board of Education voted Jan. 14 to undo revisions to teaching guidelines that would have cast doubt on global warming and the reasons for it. (January 29, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Environmental Education and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/29/2015 - Which is to say, if Lake Michigan is going to be profoundly affected by Climate Change, so will Lake Ontario and all the other Great Lakes and their basins and, of course, Rochester, NY. So maybe our local media should be connecting the dots so we can properly address the myriad environmental and economic issues coming down the tube. Climate affects how the Great Lakes grow and flow New climate projections suggest increases in maximum and minimum daily temperatures in the Lake Michigan basin by as much as 8 degrees by 2099. With temperatures rising, annual water flow from precipitation and runoff is expected to increase during winter and decrease in spring, especially in northern Michigan and Wisconsin. A recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is intended to help land managers cope with the seasonal changes resulting from climate change in the lake basin. (January 29, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area] 

  • 1/29/2015 - Over the years, Rochester NY has done much to address Lead Poisoning from old paint. But the fight ain’t over. Look to your porches. More Lead on Porches Than in Homes, Study Finds Porches on older homes can be a significant source of lead dust, according to a recent study. Katrina Korfmacher is the Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at University of Rochester's Environmental Health Science Center. She participated in the study, in which samples were taken from 79 houses across Rochester. "The first major finding was that porches do tend to have higher lead levels than indoor floors, so that's significant when children are playing on the porches." (January 28, 2015) WXXI News [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 1/29/2015 - Historically, this has not been the case: "Economic growth and improving the environment go hand in hand." Economic growth trashed our environment. We could change our economic growth so that it does improve our environment (our life support system) if we put our top priority on a healthy environment then fix the economy so that it results in an improved economy.  These two only go hand in hand if we get our priorities straight. Decline of England's natural environment 'hits economy' England's natural environment is in decline and its deterioration is harming the economy, an independent advisory group has told the government. The Natural Capital Committee says pressures will rise with population growth and has called for a 25-year investment plan. Its report said measures like investing in improved air quality and greener cities would bring economic benefits. Defra said it had set "long-term goals" to halt "decades of decline". (January 27, 2015) BBC News  

  • 1/29/2015 - Just when you think we’re out of ideas on how to mobilize folks to address Climate Change, ‘Mothers Out Front’ comes to Rochester. One by one, day by day, woman by woman, there’s a powerful new voice rising, a voice of concern, demanding attention to the worldwide crisis of Climate Change. This is a wonderful article about a new route in our region on how to address a problem that seems intractably unpalatable to the public. Moms mobilize against climate change The house party was organized by Mothers Out Front, a fledgling group that organizes mothers, grandmothers, and other caregivers into a movement for climate action. And it uses a bottom-up approach, with the house parties serving as the starting point. The organization, which started in Massachusetts, is expanding into New York. It has five house parties scheduled for the Rochester area through early March, and a couple of parties set up in Tompkins County and the Adirondacks. "The house party is where we reach people," says Neely Kelley, a city resident, mother of two, and Mothers Out Front's lead New York organizer. House party guests start by talking a bit about themselves and the concerns that brought them there. Then they get a brief overview of the science behind climate change and the effects. (January 28, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/29/2015 - Care about Seneca Lake: "The Seneca Lake Academy is a free, day-long, public event that will take place in Montour Falls, NY on February 28, 2015."  Save the Date! The Seneca Lake Academy is a free, day-long, public event that will take place in Montour Falls, NY on February 28, 2015. Classes (like none you ever took in school) will be offered by a dynamic group of knowledgeable and passionate teachers on a variety of subjects relevant to better understanding Seneca Lake and its unique natural and cultural history. Pre-registration will likely be required for the event. Stay-tuned for details. E-mail adriannalouise@gmail.com  to get notification of when pre-registration opens. Saturday, February 28, 2015 Free Admission (scholarships for everyone!) Mind-bogglingly Interesting Classes with Parallel Programming Especially for Kids 9 am-5 pm Special Community Dinner (with live music) (a fundraiser for Schuyler County 4-H groups) Open-mic Cabaret to share stories, songs, poems, skits, etc.  related to our love of Seneca Lake and the Finger Lakes Region Let's go back to the basics. The Seneca Lake Academy is an exploration of things that make Seneca Lake and the Finger Lakes region a place that inspires us and a place that people want to live and visit. The Seneca Lake Academy is a one-day "interpretive" event where dynamic and passionate speakers will teach short classes near the south end of Seneca Lake on a variety of subjects that pertain to the natural and cultural history of the lake and its surroundings. Earth Arts will be providing parallel programming for younger children. So bring the whole family! Pre-registration will likely be required. This should happen through this website so be sure to check back or send an e-mail to adriannalouise@gmail.com  to be put on our update e-mail list so that you can know when registration opens up.

  • 1/28/2015 - Spoiler Alert! DEC’s “interim Great Lakes Action Agenda” is heavily peppered with “Climate Change.” It’s interesting that in the public announcements of these Great Lakes Action Agenda Public Workshops, the DEC nowhere mentions that Climate Change is integral to planning for a Great Lakes healthy future. They talk about “persistent toxic substances, Control sediment, nutrient and pathogen releases, Accelerate the delisting of New York's Areas of Concern, Combat invasive species, Conserve and restore fish and wildlife, Conserve Great Lakes water supplies, Enhance community resiliency and ecosystem integrity, Promote smart growth, redevelopment and adaptive reuse, Enhance recreation and tourism opportunities, Plan for energy development” but not Climate Change. But the actual report has Climate Change seriously baked in. Be nice if the DEC helped educate the public on the need to understand how Climate Change will affect the Great Lakes by promoting their workshops with this information. Not only is Climate Change a part of future planning, it should be the lens from which we understand and act on keeping our environment healthy. DEC and NY Sea Grant to Host Great Lakes Action Agenda Public Workshops Workshops Scheduled in Jefferson, Cayuga, Erie and Ontario Counties New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York Sea Grant are hosting a series of public workshops across New York's Great Lakes basin to provide information on the Great Lakes Action Agenda, Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. "The Great Lakes Action Agenda is an important tool to help achieve our shared vision for the conservation, restoration and protection of New York's Great Lakes Basin," said Commissioner Martens. "The upcoming workshops will seek input on establishing priorities to achieve watershed health throughout the Great Lakes region." Upcoming workshops will be held at the locations below. There is no cost to attend the workshops but pre-registration is required with NY Sea Grant at sgoswego@cornell.edu  or 315-312-3042. (January 27, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on the Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/28/2015 - Time to start sprucing up for this year’s Earth Day: Earth Day CleanUP  Poster Contest Deadline Extended to February 13th Delta Laboratories wants to get even more people involved with our Earth Day CleanUp by using your student’s artwork. The poster designs should focus on picking up litter and keeping our environment clean. Applications are welcome from students in grades 5-8 in all Greater Rochester area public, private, and home schools. There is no limit to the number of entries from any single school. Link to Earth Day Poster Contest Flyer Link to Earth Day Poster Contest Instructions Link to Earth Day Poster Contest Registration --from Delta Laboratories  with  the Adopt-A-Stream Program 410 White Spruce Blvd. Rochester, NY 585.234.1726

  • 1/28/2015 - Check out this new “comprehensive online Green Guide & Business Directory for New York State” from our friends over at Greentopia. Greentopia Launches New York's First Online Green Guide! We are proud to announce the launch of the Greentopia Green Guide, a comprehensive guide and portal to all things green! This guide is for businesses and consumers alike. --from Greentopia.

  • 1/28/2014 - Off-shore oil drilling is not a ‘balanced approach’ to addressing Climate Change when the scales have already tipped towards disaster.  This idea that we must continue to balance the needs of our life support system, which keep us alive and thriving, with the desires of the fossil fuel industry is unsustainable—which is to say crazy. White House unveils plan to open Atlantic waters to offshore oil drilling Move to lease large swaths of ocean along east coast and double down in Gulf of Mexico oddly comes in wake of attacks against right for climate change denial Barack Obama pivoted from his goal of fighting climate change on Tuesday, setting out a plan to allow the first oil drilling in Atlantic waters off the US east coast but bar companies from some of the pristine waters off the north coast of Alaska. Arriving a week after the president attacked climate deniers in his State of the Union address, the same week as his use of executive authority to protect huge swaths of Alaskan wilderness and in the shadow of the BP oil spill trial, the proposals could allow the first oil drilling rigs off the Outer Banks of the Carolinas and other tourist destinations near Virginia and Georgia. However, they would not include the whaling grounds and other sensitive areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. (January 27, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/28/2015 - The COP21 Paris talks are coming and ‘business as usual’ and ‘meat’ are not on the menu for success. Global calculator: 7 emissions pathways for the world  A new tool backed by the UK government allows anyone to test the impact of lifestyle, fuel and land use choices on the climate Ahead of a critical round of UN climate talks in Paris this December, countries are preparing their draft national contributions to a global climate deal. China, India and Colombia are among those drawing on a calculator tool developed by the UK government to test out different policy combinations. On Wednesday, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) launched a global version, with the input of more than 150 experts worldwide. Based on evidence from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, it shows the likely climate impacts of choices in 14 different policy areas. (January 28, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/27/2015 - Bike sharing would work in Rochester if the public viewed this mode as one of our best ways to address Climate Change. This all matters because it is at the point of transportation planning that Rochester must connect the dots between Climate Change and demonstrating its intention to act. By far most of our transportation tax dollars are gobbled up by bridge and road repair, so adapting our existing infrastructure to accommodate low or no GHG emissions when getting around town is relatively low-hanging fruit, financially. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by using alternatives to gas guzzlers as much as possible may be the most effective Climate Change strategy Rochester has in its toolbox. Fewer vehicles, less need for parking them. But when we have surveys and public discussions about our transportation future, we do not mention ‘Climate Change'. It is still unfashionable to connect the climate crisis with our Rochester lifestyle. If we planned our local transportation strategies so that the public believed there was a shared effort in addressing this worldwide crisis, wouldn’t they be more likely to do their part? Someone who must use a car might be more likely to tolerate those who don’t—and share the freaking road. Read more: “Climate Change occurring in Rochester too; we should act like it Bike sharing can work here, advocates say Cities big, small, balmy and snowy have launched bicycle-sharing programs across the U.S. Could the same idea take off in Rochester? In short, yes, according to a feasibility study to be released Wednesday. Bike shares offer short-term, self-service bike rentals for brief trips. A study commissioned by the Genesee Transportation Council recommends starting such a system in Rochester's Center City and East End, and expanding in later years to other neighborhoods and parts of adjoining Brighton. Eventually, the system could have satellite locations in the suburbs, including areas near the Rochester Institute of Technology in Henrietta, in the villages of Brockport, East Rochester, Pittsford and Fairport, and in Canandaigua, says a summary by consultants Toole Design Group and SRF & Associates. (January 26, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 1/27/2015 - So, this kinda caught my attention: “Lake Erie fishing may not be possible in the future.” ‘May’ is the operative word, meaning we may be able to prevent this disaster if we get off our ass.  Climate change is Risky Business that could alter the Great Lakes, reducing walleye  Longer shipping seasons for lake freighters, but fewer walleye for sport fisherman and the fishing industry are just one of the distinct risks involved in global climate change. In its latest report, the Risky Business Project has taken a closer look at the economic impact of hotter summers, warmer winters and unpredictable weather on the Midwest, the nation's agricultural heartland and its manufacturing hub. (January 26, 2015) Cleveland.com [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/27/2015 - New Yorkers, Thinking all you had to do for a sensible energy policy for our state was to stop Fracking? Think again.  It ain’t over until greenhouse gases come down—a lot.  How we use Energy directly impacts on the worldwide crisis of Climate Change. The Energy Vision Needs Your Voice “The public's voice must be heard so that we can demand an energy future that is designed by and for New Yorkers. Join the call for energy democracy, enforceable environmental goals, consumer protection and energy affordability. Attend an upcoming public hearing near you.”  Also: Other Ways to Comment: Internet or Mail: In addition speaking at the formal hearings, members of the public desiring to comment may submit written comments by sending them electronically to the Secretary at here MatterCaseNo=14-m-0101 or by mail or delivery to Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, Public Service Commission, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350. Comments should refer to "Case 14-M-0101 Reforming the Energy Vision." Toll-free Opinion Line: Comments may also be submitted through the Commission’s Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This number is designed to take comments about pending cases from in-state callers, 24 hours a day. Callers should press “1” to leave comments for the cases referenced above. These comments are not transcribed but are summarized, with the summary reported to the Administrative Law Judge and the Commission. Comments will be accepted throughout the pendency of this proceeding. Written comments will become part of the record considered by the Commission. Written comments may be accessed on the Commission’s website by searching Case 14-M-0101 in the input box labeled "Search for Case/Matter Number") and clicking on the “Public Comments” tab. Many libraries offer free Internet access. Comments are due Feb. 10.

  • 1/27/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: During Climate Change can it still snow? Ans: Yes, and then some.  Thinking the harder it snows the less chance that Climate Change is real is like thinking the harder you throw a brick up into the air the softer it will come down. What A Warming World Means for Major Snowstorms The first flakes have already begun falling from New Jersey up through Boston. More than 5,000 flights have already been cancelled. Store shelves have been cleared of bread and milk. The blizzard is coming. An intense nor’easter is slated to drop snowfalls ranging from a few inches to around 3 feet in the worst-hit spots from Monday through Wednesday according to forecasters, along with strong winds and storm surge in coastal areas. It might seem strange to talk about a major winter storm in the context of a warming world, but as the climate changes, extreme snowfalls may become a bigger proportion of all snowstorms. Simply put, the warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, which can mean more snow as long as temperatures remain cold enough; average snow amounts are actually expected to decrease with warming by 2100, but the most extreme snows won't drop off quite as quickly. (January 26, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/27/2015 - Is this plastic bag floating in the oceans with billions of others yours? If so please come and pick it up. Not only does it matter if we recycle, we should make sure that our recycling system reuses this stuff properly so that it doesn’t end up suffocating our life support system. To this end, continual investigative reporting on the entire waste streams in our communities would help a lot. It is good if you recycle; but if everyone doesn’t recycle so that it matters, your individual efforts won’t matter much. The externalities (treating our life support systems as a toilet) of our present way of life are quickly catching up with us. The little things you do must escalate to big things rapidly. We could end up with 'as much plastic in our oceans as fish' The head of Ocean Conservancy says a burgeoning middle class and low recycling rates could lead to not-even-remotely-acceptable levels of trash washed out to sea A failure to address the mountains of waste in the developing world will result in as much plastic in our oceans as fish, the head of Ocean Conservancy has warned. Andreas Merkl, CEO of the Washington-based environmental NGO, said the combination in the developing world of a burgeoning middle class and low recycling rates will lead to an exponential rise in the amount of plastic washed out to sea. If governments and the private sector fail to solve this problem, “we end up with an ocean that has an amount of plastic that’s in the same order of magnitude as the amount of fish, in terms of tonnes”, Merkl told Guardian Sustainable Business. (January 26, 2015) The Guardian [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/27/2015 - And the longer we wait to address Climate Change the more expensive and more difficult (in every sense) it gets. We can solve climate change, but it won’t be cheap or easy Pretty much everyone who acknowledges the problem of climate change is hungry for good news about it, which makes sense, as most of the news is overwhelming and awful. There is high demand for optimism — I hear it every time someone asks me to write or speak on climate — so inevitably there is supply. Take, for instance, Paul Krugman, who crows, in a column called “Salvation Gets Cheap,” that “even under the most ambitious goals the [IPCC] assessment considers, the estimated reduction in economic growth would basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.” Joe Romm touts the same number in “Climate Panel Stunner: Avoiding Climate Catastrophe Is Super Cheap — But Only If We Act Now.” I appreciate the can-do spirit, but as Krugman and Romm no doubt both know, the idea that aggressive climate mitigation is going to shave precisely 0.06 percent off GDP growth is utterly fantastical. For one thing, as I’ve said before, the economic models from which IPCC and others draw these numbers are just this side of wild guesses, based on assumptions about economic growth, resource prices, and technological development decades in the future. (January 26, 2015) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/26/2015 - Because the Steelhead is a cold water fish, why didn’t public broadcasting include Climate Change in fish’s future? When NPR gutted its climate journalist team, their reasoning was that now Climate Change would be baked into all their articles. Clearly, not. Cold water fish, like the Steelhead and other fish in the Great Lakes, are going to be profoundly affected by Climate Change. Read this short encapsulation “Global Warming and the Great Lakes” by the National Wildlife Federation that says, “Disappearing Cold-Water Fish Species - Scientists projected changes to the distribution of fish species under a 2xCO2 climate scenario at 209 locations in the contiguous United States.” The fish in deep water Great Lakes won’t be affected as soon as fish in shallower lakes, but the Great Lakes waters will be warming up. “Lack Of Vitamin B” in Steehead doesn’t quite cover the threats to fish in the Great Lakes and our public broadcasting news should be reporting about our wildlife through the lens of Climate Change—as they promised when they gutted their climate reporting teams. Lack Of Vitamin B Threatens Steelheads Steelhead – a strain of rainbow trout - are showing stress in Lake Ontario and its tributaries. For the first time in New York, some steelhead are dying from an apparent vitamin B deficiency. The DEC’s Salmon River Fish Hatchery is helping research this disorder, also known as EMS or Early Mortality Syndrome. Steve LePan runs the Great Lakes Fisheries office in Cape Vincent. He told WXXI that this fall, anglers were reporting rainbow trout that seemed to be in distress. They were struggling to swim. For the first time, the steelhead were spotted on river bottoms, dead. But why? Tests for usually troublesome viruses, bacteria and parasites were negative. However, a lack of Vitamin B or Thiamine, showed in the dead fish. (January 26, 2015) WXXI News [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/26/2015 - ACTION: CONCERNED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE? Recruiting people to come to the REV hearings on 1/29 Want to be sure that NYS Moves to Renewable Energy and that it is Affordable? Want more control over our energy future? Raise your voice at the NYS Upcoming Hearing on REFORMING THE ENERGY VISION (REV) Thursday, January 29 at downtown Erie County Public Library, Lafayette Square Information sessions at 3:00 and 6:00 and Public Comment at 4:00 and 7:00  Want to learn more before the Public Hearing?  Come to a Sierra Club/PUSH session on Saturday, January 24 at 4:30 at the offices of PUSH 271 Grant Street, Buffalo Help make phone calls to advise people of the Hearing Monday, January 26 at 7:00 on Grant Street For more information, see  niagarasierraclub.com

  • 1/26/2015 - I know, we should be happy India and USA are even talking on Climate Change and Congress is clearly deaf, but no, 2C no future. There will be a lot of wheeling and dealing and promises before COP21 Paris Climate Conference, but regardless of all the negotiations and good intentions, if all end in a treaty that doesn’t bring GHGs down, we are screwed.  We must keep our eyes on the prize. The prize is a sustainable future—not our comfort zones. U.S. And India Announce ‘Cooperation’ On Climate Change President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sunday that the two countries will work together to fight global climate change, laying out a set of goals that the two countries hope “will expand policy dialogues and technical work on clean energy and low greenhouse gas emissions technologies.” While not a concrete emissions reductions agreement like the one Obama reached with China this past November, the deal includes efforts to cooperate on reducing emissions of fluorinated gases, invigorate India’s promotion of clean energy investment, and partner to reduce the debilitating air pollution that has plagued many of India’s cities. (January 25, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/26/2015 - I know, President Obama doesn’t ‘own’ the Arctic. But if he did maybe he could “seal the area off from oil exploration and give it the highest degree of federal protection available to public lands” also. The fact that the Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth and is now ‘available’ for oil exploitation (drilling and exploration) and year-round shipping should make proof positive that Climate Change is occurring. The refrigerator of our planet is turning into our furnace in just our lifetimes. The need to not screw up this pristine part of our planet with oil spills, which would be almost impossible to contain and fix, is critical. Obama to seek wilderness designation for Alaska wildlife refuge President Barack Obama says he will ask Congress to designate more than 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), including the Coastal Plain, as a wilderness area. The designation would seal the area off from oil exploration and give it the highest degree of federal protection available to public lands. The nearly 20 million acre refuge has long been a piece of contentious land in the struggle between conservationists and advocates of greater energy exploration in the United States. In a White House video released Sunday, Obama says he is seeking the designation "so we can make sure that this amazing wonder is preserved for future generations." (January 25, 2015) CBS News

  • 1/26/2015 - New York banned Fracking, but still might have a major methane problem. Have we checked our gas lines? Take Rochester for example: When is the last time we checked our gas lines and what percent of our gas (methane) is leaking into our atmosphere? We should know. Considering how potent methane is (many times better as a greenhouse gas in the short term than Carbon Dioxide) we ought to be on top of this. Here’s a sample: “Urban areas and their aging natural gas pipes and valves are also responsible for a lot of methane emissions, which is about 35 times as potent as a greenhouse gas over the span of 100 years and makes up about 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in terms of CO2 equivalents.” Boston’s Got Gas as Methane Seeps from City The stink gives it away. Spend half a day walking the streets of New York, Los Angeles or Boston and the occasional whiff of rotten eggs makes it clear that natural gas is leaking from somewhere. Just as oil and natural gas fields have been found to be emitting more methane than official government estimates suggest, a new study shows that more methane than previously thought may be leaking from the other end of that system — cities, where people actually use natural gas for heating and cooking. Cities have a giant greenhouse gas footprint and are responsible for 70 percent of all global CO2 emissions, according to NASA. Urban areas and their aging natural gas pipes and valves are also responsible for a lot of methane emissions, which is about 35 times as potent as a greenhouse gas over the span of 100 years and makes up about 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in terms of CO2 equivalents. (January 22, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/24/2015 - In Cuomo’s State of the State, he mentions green jobs but not Climate Change. That’s not leading on Climate Change. And he promised he would: We will lead on climate change New York must press ahead with urgency to equip itself for the new age of extreme weather.” (November 15, 2012, Daily News)

  • 1/24/2015 - Imagine where New York State would be now if we had obsessed about Solar Power instead of Fracking for the last six years. At least now, with a Fracking ban in our state, we should put the energy and media attention on real solutions to addressing Climate Change.  We should be getting folks jobs with a renewable energy and bringing attention to the relationship to energy use and the worldwide crisis of Climate Change. Climate Change is happening in Rochester too.  Let’s start acting like it. From a town dump to a solar array in Williamson Closed for 20-plus years, the old town dump in Williamson has not been good for much except as a trash graveyard. You cannot build there. And unlike bigger landfills, the roughly 20 acres of fenced-off Wayne County land doesn't even generate enough methane from the rotting refuse underground to be useful as a source of energy. But today, deep in the heart of upstate New York apple country, the south face of that hump of land is covered with rows upon rows of solar panels — the largest solar power installation in the Rochester region and one of the largest in the state. (January 23, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 1/24/2015 - Historically, relief from heat waves and warmer weather would be cooler nights. With Climate Change not so much. Cold Nights Are Decreasing Across the U.S. It’s easy to think of global warming as something that happens at a steady pace everywhere. But that’s not the full story. It’s true that the global average temperature has been rising overall since modern record-keeping began, and it’s true that 2014 was the hottest year on record, but the rise hasn’t been perfectly steady. Each year isn’t always warmer than the one before, and some places — the Arctic, for example — have warmed faster than others. (January 23, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/24/2015 - What if the solutions to Climate Change don’t exist within the present financial zeitgeist—the financial system that caused the problem in the first place? Will we continue to press market-based solutions regardless? Climate deniers are not the only problem. In Your Wildest Schemes The free market won’t stop climate change, but its failure is inspiring the people who will The Nib

  • 1/24/2015 - There wouldn’t be a ‘battle for pollution’ if we lived sustainably. Pollution is a result of treating our environment as an externality. We will be continually battling our life support system until we start to treat our life support system as our life support system. Of course, with Climate Change we can battle against our environment only for so long because we won’t even be able to move away. China's smoggy capital to close 300 companies in battle on pollution Beijing plans to shut 300 companies this year to help reduce choking air pollution in the Chinese capital, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday. (January 23, 2015) Reuters [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 1/23/2015 - There are connections between what you eat, your health, and the health of our environment. Learn more: Connections: Considering A More Plant-Based Diet We're post-holidays, and everyone is joining gyms... and some people are doing "juice cleansing." A discussion of what the science says about that, and we'll talk about how to build a permanent eating regimen that is more plant-based. Panel in studio: Dr. Vicky Hsiao, UR Medicine endocrinologist Rachel Reeves, UR Medicine dieticians Damaris Pinedo, owner of Just Juice 4 Life Dr. Ted Barnett, co-coordinator of the Rochester Area Vegan Society (January 20, 2015) Connections [more on Food and our Environment in our area] 

  • 1/23/2015 - Invasive species, faucet snails, that are toxic to ducks found near Rochester, NY—among other places of course. Survey finds invasive snail in Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River that could threaten waterfowl New research has found a larger presence of faucet snails in the Great Lakes than previously recognized, including the northern parts of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The invasive species can carry three types of intestinal parasites that can injure and kill waterfowl such as ducks. “That’s a major concern for wildlife,” said Ely Kosnicki, an aquatic invertebrate ecologist at SUNY Brockport, one of the many universities and agencies that took part in the research. “When you have a higher presence of snails, there’s a higher risk.” When the waterfowl eat the snails, the parasites attack internal organs, causing lesions and hemorrhage. Birds affected by the snail will fly and dive erratically before their eventual death. (January 19, 2015) Watertown Daily Times [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 1/23/2015 - This is a great tragedy and our efforts to address Climate Change are going to be hindered greatly. What were voters thinking? Like not taking action on Climate Change, we are going to pay dearly for putting climate deniers into political office, especially offices that are instrumental in orchestration our attempts to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. As if Climate Change isn’t tough enough.  Good grief.   New Senate Environment Chair Gets His Gavel, Goes On Rant Arguing Climate Science Is A Hoax Wednesday was a big day for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). In the morning, he officially took the gavel as chairman of the Senate’s Environment Committee. In the afternoon, he took the Senate floor for a long speech about how human-caused climate change is fake. In sum, the speech has everything. References to the oft-debunked “ClimateGate” stolen e-mail “scandal”, a poster of a Time Magazine cover from 1974 claiming an ice age is coming, and multiple references to former Vice President Al Gore. It has a mention of a survey of weather-casters who think global warming is caused by natural variation, but does not mention that weather-casters are not climate scientists. It even includes the claim that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “started” the whole idea that climate change is happening, even though the idea was conceived about 200 years ago. (January 22, 2015) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/22/2015 - Important EVENT: Beyond the Ban: Fracking, Health & Infrastructure in New York State from Port Ambrose to Seneca Lake with Sandra Steingraber, Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald. Time and Place: Thursday, February 26, 2015, from 7 – 9 pm, First Baptist Church, 309 North Cayuga Street, Ithaca, NY. This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. New York state has newly banned fracking due to its known hazards and risks. But New Yorkers are still at risk from hazardous gas facilities and pipelines, pollution, food chain contamination and other problems of the fracking boom. Ithaca-based non-profit, The Bioscience Resource Project, is hosting Beyond the Ban: Fracking, Health & Infrastructure in New York State from Port Ambrose to Seneca Lake. Sandra Steingraber, Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald will provide an overview of post-ban fracking threats to New York state. --from Bioscience Resource Project

  • 1/22/2015 - Shouldn’t we also be asking whether our waste water treatment plants can filter out pharmaceuticals?  Are prescription drugs harming Great Lakes fish? Lots of things end up in Great Lakes that shouldn’t be there. Plastic bottles and microbeads, fertilizer runoff from farm fields, and invasive species are only a few. Now, add to that list prescription drugs. Researchers are increasingly worried about how chemicals from prescription medication could be impacting aquatic wildlife. (January 20, 2015) WKAR [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 1/22/2015 - Rochesterians say ‘thanks Cuomo for banning Fracking,’ ‘no big gas storage at Seneca Lake’ and ‘Renewable energy, please’ Rochester Residents Travel to Albany to Thank Governor For Fracking Ban Rochester residents treked to the state capital today, all to thank Governor Cuomo for his new ban on fracking.  They are rallying outside the State of the State address along thousands of other New Yorkers.  They believe fracking, the deep drilling process of extracting natural gas from rocks, is toxic to the environment.  Although they are thrilled with Cuomo's decision, they still have other issues to take up with the governor. We're going to Albany to urge Governor Cuomo from storing natural gas from the salt taverns on Seneca Lake," said Harry Davis of Rochester. (January 21, 2015) RochesterHomePage.net [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 1/22/2015 - Is plastic even in our meat? “… ground beef products that may be contaminated with plastic materials…” Good grief. Recall Notification Report: Massachusetts Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible Foreign Matter Contamination Class III Recall   J & G Foods, Inc., a Sutton, MA establishment, is recalling approximately 33,948 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with plastic materials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. (January 14, 2015) U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) [more on Food in our area]

  • 1/22/2015 - Honoring Martin Luther King Day by channeling his message to protest for fundamental rights, like clean water at Seneca Lake. 20 Arrested at Crestwood Midstream Gate in MLK Day Blockade  20 Arrested at Crestwood Midstream Gate in MLK Day Blockade as Part of Continuing Civil Disobedience Campaign Against Seneca Lake Gas Storage; total arrests in 3-month campaign hit 200 Arrestees Include Former Tompkins County Legislator Pamela Mackesey, Who Marched with MLK in 1963 Action Follows on the Heels of Mothers/Grandmothers Blockade on Friday Watkins Glen, NY – Wearing blue T-shirts proclaiming “We Are Seneca Lake” over their coats and parkas, 20 protesters formed a human blockade on the driveways of both the main gate of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14 and a smaller gate a quarter mile south. After a 3.5-hour blockade, during which they turned away two trucks, the protesters were arrested at 2:00 p.m. by Schuyler County deputies. All were charged with trespassing and released. All were ordered to appear in court on February 18. Forty other protesters rallied in support along the shoulder of the highway.  Four other protesters were originally part of the blockade but left the scene early or dispersed and were not arrested. (January 19, 2015) We Are Seneca Lake [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 1/22/2015 - A critical part of the celebrants’ s message to Governor Cuomo is not only ‘thanks for not Fracking NY,’ but a push for renewable energy. Fracking should never have been allowed to hijack our state’s energy options in a time of Climate Change. Now that Cuomo has banned Fracking, let him push for energy options—wind and solar—that will produce many jobs and reduce our state’s carbon footprint as the world moves away from fossil fuel energy. Fracking critics to celebrate, not protest Cuomo's State of the State For the past two years, anti-fracking protesters lined the hall from the state Capitol to the Empire State Plaza Convention Center when Gov. Andrew Cuomo annually delivered his State of the State address. Cuomo's administration announced Dec. 17 that it plans to keep high-volume hydraulic fracturing from proceeding, citing concerns about the process and what effect it may have on human health. It was a big victory for critics of the natural-gas industry, who had trailed Cuomo at public events throughout his time in office. Among those expected to participate in the rally today: "Gasland" director Josh Fox and singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant, who lives in the Hudson Valley and has been active in anti-fracking circles. Organizers say participants will be holding signs and banners with the image at right. (January 21, 2015) LoHud The Journal News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 1/22/2015 - If we truly recognize the threats to the pristine Arctic “posed by climate change and increased oil and gas exploration and shipping as the ice recedes” we’d stop them. Citing climate, Obama issues Arctic executive order  At least 23 different federal agencies are responsible for implementing the Obama administration's policies in the Arctic Ocean, from the Office of Science and Technology Policy to the State Department to NASA. So President Obama signed an executive order Wednesday to better coordinate all those efforts, creating an Arctic Executive Steering Committee to eliminate overlapping areas of responsibility. "Over the past 60 years, climate change has caused the Alaskan Arctic to warm twice as rapidly as the rest of the United States, and will continue to transform the Arctic as its consequences grow more severe," Obama said in the executive order. That warming, he said, has resulted in widespread glacier retreat, coastal erosion, acidic oceans, earlier spring melting, insect outbreaks and wildfires. '(January 21, 2015) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/22/2015 - US Congress beginning to wake from its slumber on Climate Change, but it’s not fully awake. If you don’t get the cause and effect of this Climate Change, you’ll only be swatting at every fly, every extreme weather event, every effect, and never address the cause. Until Congress connects the dots of cause and effect, they’ll spend most of their efforts thwarting the rest of us from addressing Climate Change. 'Climate change is real and not a hoax,' Senate overwhelmingly decides The U.S. Senate has made it official: Climate change is not a hoax. As part of the long debate on the Keystone XL pipeline, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for an amendment that aimed to answer once and for all whether senators believe the climate is changing. The tidy resolution said simply: "It is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax." By a vote of 98 to 1, the Senate agreed. Even Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), whose book on climate change is called, "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future," supported the measure. (January 21, 2015) Los Angeles Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/21/2015 - The City of Rochester, NY starts to put together a Climate Action Plan. It’s very milquetoast but it’s a start. It seems to be the City’s goal to quietly address Climate Change with the ‘no regrets’ strategy, which is to say actions that can be justified economically, socially, and environmentally whether Climate Change is real or not. This is not leadership; this is hedging your bets politically. Although the City is doing many things on the climate front, few know about these efforts. Number one on the Climate Action Plan should be ‘community engagement’. That is not happening. Even the City’s bicycle projects (bikeROCHESTER) which is fantastic effort and constitutes one of the City’s strongest adaptation strategies (as 27% of greenhouse gas emission come from the transportation sector) ‘Climate Change’ or even ‘greenhouse gases’ are not mentioned. You cannot lead by quietly setting an example that nobody knows about. You lead by continually educating the public so that they will understand the threat, by updating our various infrastructures so that will be resilient and robust enough to tolerate more frequent extreme weather, and by asking the public to become engaged in viewing and acting on all our local issues through the lens of Climate Change—election year after election year. Rochester to undertake citywide climate inventory The City of Rochester will hire a consultant to help it put together a Climate Action Plan — a step that an official says builds on other projects and programs helping to make Rochester a more sustainable and, therefore, more desirable city. "You want to be in a community that's somewhat progressive in sustainability areas. People like that," says Anne Spaulding, the city's energy and sustainability manager. "It's a place where people kind of like to live and like to be." The plan will essentially be a blueprint that will include goals, actions, and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city, she says. The city will accept proposals from interested consultants until January 30. (January 21, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/21/2015 - We cannot let climate deniers off with dismissive slogans. Follow the Presidents lead on addressing climate denial.  Climate Change is complicated and it’s science and because it’s the mother of all problems, it cannot be dismissed by intelligent people by folks with a political and ideological agenda that will bring our environment to its knees. It’s our life support system, stupid. Obama Touts Climate Action, Mocks The ‘I’m Not A Scientist’ Caucus In his State of the Union address, President Obama told a joint session of Congress and the American public on Tuesday night that “no challenge  —  no challenge  —  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” He mocked the now-standard “I’m not a scientist” dodge used by climate science deniers. And he touted his record on climate change and clean energy. Did you know, as Obama said, that “America is number one in wind power”? It’s true — if instead of going by installed capacity you go by “the total amount of electricity, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), that each country produces from wind and delivers to customers each year,” according to statistics from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). (January 20, 2015) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/21/2015 - This may be the hallmark of 2015: “The political clash over climate change.” In what way can politics trump physics? Denying our environment (life support system) must be factored in our dietary considerations is unsustainable—which is to say crazy. Latest climate change battle may center on food pyramid The political clash over climate change has entered new territory that does not involve a massive oil pipeline or a subsidy for renewable energy, but a quaint federal chart that tries to nudge Americans toward a healthy diet. The food pyramid, that 3-decade-old backbone of grade-school nutrition lessons, has become a test case of how far the Obama administration is willing to push its global warming agenda. The unexpected debate began with a suggestion by a prominent panel of government scientists: The food pyramid — recently refashioned in the shape of a dinner plate — could be reworked to consider the heavy carbon impact of raising animals for meat, they said. A growing body of research has found that meat animals, and cows, in particular, with their belching of greenhouse gases, trampling of the landscape and need for massive amounts of water, are a major factor in global warming. (January 18, 2015) LA Times [more on Food and and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/21/2015 - With most New York State voters now “pleased Gov. Andrew Cuomo has decided to ban hydraulic fracturing”, we’ve come a long way. Poll: Voters support NY fracking ban Voters were pleased Gov. Andrew Cuomo has decided to ban hydraulic fracturing, a poll released Tuesday found. Voters, even in upstate, supported the fracking ban Cuomo's administration said Dec. 17 it would adopt. The ban ended six years of deliberations by state officials on whether to proceed with the controversial drilling technique. By a 57 percent to 23 percent margin, voters said they supported the fracking ban. Even in upstate, where fracking would have occurred, voters supported the ban 57 percent to 33 percent, the Siena College poll found. The poll didn't break out regions of upstate, including the Southern Tier, where the richest portion of the Marcellus Shale formation lies. (January 20, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 1/20/2015 - Tragic we aren’t heeding IPCC’s message on Climate Change, even more so when their figures may be greatly underestimating the problem. IPCC: misguided yardstick understates climate crisis In the film, “Chasing Ice,” a mountain of ice calved from a glacier. Its estimated size was almost two cubic miles, higher than the Empire State building, and as long as Manhattan up to 34th Street. That calving was a demonstration of how Earth’s new heat has reached the deep recesses of Greenland ice, releasing it from its ancient moorings. Witnessing such unprecedented and monumental ice decay should strike everyone as overwhelming evidence of an impending climate tragedy. If, at the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conference in Lima, Peru, the calving portion of the film had played repeatedly behind the lectern as each delegate spoke, would the delegates shed their narrow, nation-centered prejudices and see universal climate disaster? Would they get to work cooperatively and do their job? The IPCC’s fifth Assessment Report (AR5) says climate change is a collective-action problem. Since the planet functions as one system, so must the nations of the world. Could this truth lead to a global government as the only effective way to move forward on climate change? The AR5’s summary for policymakers hints at that solution. Outside the United Nations, the people of the world are impatient. They demand collective action on an effective emissions-reduction plan, and they demand it now. (Winter edition of Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter newsletter) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2015 - “… 2014 was officially the hottest year since records began” Another benchmark to be ignored, scoffed at, and ridiculed? It is amazing, no it’s fantastic, that we’ve so politicalized Climate Change that one wonders what feature of physics we’ll pooh-pooh at next… gravity? Heat Wave, or a Heat Tsunami? 2014 Set the Record Ten of the hottest years ever have occurred in the past 18 years. Scientists say the trend is 'driven by greenhouse gases.' The year 2014 was officially the hottest year since records began,federal scientists announced on Friday, part of a long-term warming trend driven by the burning of fossil fuels. Ten of the warmest years ever have occurred since 1997. Global ocean and land temperatures, which have been calculated since 1880, measured 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average temperature in 2014, and 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial averages. December also marked the 358th consecutive month—nearly 30 years—of above-average global temperatures (January 16, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2015 - Governor Cuomo is not a weather expert; he’s the governor and he’s responsible for leading on Climate Change.  Predicting flooding (code for Climate Change) is crucial as is being able to predict all the consequences of Climate Change in our region so the state and local governments can prepare (adapt) to what’s coming. A bigger, better, and smarter weather forecasting system means we’ll be able to monitor the changes that come with Climate Change. Advanced weather detection system: New York NOW Is there a way to mitigate the damage caused by devastating storms like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene or the blizzard that blanketed parts of western New York recently? Governor Cuomo wants New York to take matters into its own hands with a state wide Advanced Weather Detection System. But can this project limit the damage to property and loss of life caused by previous storms? “I don’t know what you can do even in retrospect about record rainfall and record floods that are gonna fill creeks, that are gonna come down and damage bridges and roads as they do it.” In 2011, an unusually drained Governor Cuomo addressed the media after touring some of the widespread devastation in the Catskills and Capital Region caused by Hurricane Irene. Just one year later, Superstorm Sandy slammed into New York City, causing nearly 40 deaths and completely destroying some neighborhoods like Breezy Point in Queens as well as 100-thousand other homes on Long and Staten Islands. (January 16, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2015 - We don’t have to be saddled with bad fossil fuel Energy options in New York State that warm up the planet and endanger our environment. There are models of better energy systems. Check this out: "TALK: Energy Democracy! What can We Learn from Germany? Sierra Club ~ Niagara Group Climate and Clean Energy Writers will feature a presentation from: Aaron Bartley Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo Energy Democracy!   What can we learn from Germany?  Aaron recently traveled to Germany and witnessed entire communities that produce, maintain, distribute, and sell their own renewable energy. Let's hear what he learned and how PUSH Buffalo sees it applying to WNY!    Monday, February 2, 6:00-7:30 PM Unitarian Universalist Church 695 Elmwood at Ferry (Garden Entrance), Buffalo For a printable flier, click here. "

  • 1/19/2015 - Concerned about Water Quality in our region? Find out more: "You are cordially invited to attend an FMCE/GLC special presentation in Penfield on Monday, January 26, 2015: Doors open at 7:00pm.   7:15-8:15pm  -  "Plastic Microbeads in the Great Lakes" Presented by Jennifer Nalbone, Environmental Scientist at the NYS Attorney General's Office in Buffalo. The presentation will provide the scientific foundation underlying proposed State legislation to prohibit the sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads, with time for Q&A.   You may optionally stay for: 8:15pm - 9:15pm Discussion of Other Current Issues & FMCE Decisions   Location: The meeting will be held downstairs at First Baptist Church, 1862 Penfield Road (on the north side of Rt. 441), just east of Five Mile Line Road and the firehouse.  Park and enter at the east end in the rear of the building.   Hosted by FMCE and GLC The Federation of Monroe County Environmentalists http://fmce.org/ and the Great Lakes Committee of the Rochester Regional Group of Sierra Club"

  • 1/19/2015 - What if our kids just took the grownups to court for screwing up their future? And won? Teens Take Politicians To Court Over Climate Change For politicians who fail to act on climate change, Kelsey Juliana has a few words. "I want to remind them that we are their employer," said Juliana, 18, a native of Eugene, Oregon, and freshman at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. "The government works for us. If you're not doing your job, then I'm going to call you out on it." Those aren't idle words, either. Juliana is a plaintiff in a potentially precedent-setting court case against Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) and the state. She and co-plaintiff Olivia Chernaik, 14, claim that their government isn't doing enough to protect its current and future citizens from the devastating effects of climate change. Pre-trial motions were filed in circuit court Jan. 9 and argument on the motions has been scheduled for March. "This could be a landmark decision on the question: Does government, as trustee over our essential natural resources, have to protect it from carbon pollution and the impacts of climate disruption?" said Julia Olson, executive director of the nonprofit Our Children's Trust, and originator of a suite of youth-led lawsuits since 2011. (January 17, 2015) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2015 - One of the reasons why the public may not be hearing scientists on Climate Change: “…trouble understanding the provisionality of science” (Or, as is probably more likely, many folks simply just don’t want to hear about Climate Change, regardless.) What Scientists Really Do  "What’s depressing about these two cases is the misconception of science they reflect. Much of the public clearly does not know what to make of scientific research and has a poor understanding of how findings are reached, especially when it comes to assessing future risk. This seems to be true in all countries, but it is particularly striking in the United States, where so much of today’s scientific research originates. This paradox is worth exploring." (October 23, 2014) New York Review of Books [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2015 - We have until December at the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris to get our act together, not the long arc of scientific history. The point of 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris whose “objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.” is that we have run out of time. The ‘wait and see’ approach, or the notion that reason and human exceptionalism is so baked into the system that everything will somehow ‘work out’ for us is…. Well, absurd. A Bad Day for Climate Change Deniers … and the Planet Three new studies offer new proof of how bad the earth's fever has gotten It’s not often that the climate change deniers get clobbered three times in just two days. But that’s what happened with the release of a trio of new studies that ought to serve as solid body blows to the fading but persistent fiction that human-mediated warming is somehow a hoax. Good news for the forces of reason, however, is bad news for the planet—especially the oceans. The most straightforward of the three studies was a report from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirming what a lot of people who sweltered through 2014 already suspected: the year is entering the record books as the hottest ever since reliable records started being kept in 1880—and the results weren’t even close. (January 16, 2016) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2015 - Hitching your wagons to nuclear power has consequences as even Rochester is finding out: “Customers could be forced to foot the bill…”  Of course, if one of the oldest nuclear power plants in the nation had ‘other issues’ we would have to do more than just foot the bill. Why won’t we switch to renewable energy (wind, solar, battery back-up, micro grids, smart grids, conservation, and energy efficiency) instead of dangerous energy options and fossil fuels that warm up the planet?  We have good energy choices in New York State, why aren’t we making them? Choices that will provide a lot of jobs and allow us to keep our way of life in a warming world. Why are we continuing to do the same things with our energy options expecting different results? NY extends deadline on Ginna-RG&E contract; RG&E customers may need to pay more  Rochester Gas and Electric customers may soon have to pay more to keep the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant running. A recent report says the cost of operating that plant has gone up significantly and, in order to keep it running, the plant's operator says it needs to charge more. Otherwise, the plant may have to close, putting hundreds of people out of a job State regulators Thursday extended until Feb. 6 a deadline on a contract to keep Ginna running. Negotiations are continuing between RG&E and Exelon, which operates the Ginna plant. The companies are in talks over whether or not to extend their partnership. (January 15, 2015) Irondequoit Post [more on Energy in our area]

  • 1/19/2015 - This is dreary as we aren’t even close to actually achieving 2C.  “The internationally agreed upper climate change limit of two degrees Celsius above the planetary temperature in pre-industrial times lies beyond the climate change boundary, the authors warn.” Earth’s ‘Planetary Boundaries’ Disrupted by Human Activities Human activities have “dangerously compromised” four of the nine processes that are crucial to maintaining the stability of the planet, warns an international team of researchers . In a study published online today, the 18 authors, from universities and research institutes around the world, provide new evidence of changes to the systems which regulate the resilience of the Earth, placing current and future societies at risk. Climate change, the loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, and altered biogeochemical cycles such as phosphorus and nitrogen runoff have all passed beyond levels that put humanity in a “safe operating space,” the scientists report. (January 16, 2015) Environmental News Service [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/17/2015 - Please raise your hand if you think storing methane, propane, and butane in unlined, depleted salt caverns that were never engineered to store anything, on the shores of Seneca Lake, is a good idea? I don’t see any hands. Go to http://gasfreeseneca.com/ and learn how to help stop this crazy fossil fuel storage boondoggle.  Finger Lakes Businesses Discuss Proposed Gas Facility FINGER LAKES, N.Y. -- A group of businesses within the Finger Lakes region came together Friday morning to discuss the issues surrounding the proposed construction of a gas facility in the heart of the Finger Lakes. More than 60 wineries and hundreds of businesses and organizations throughout the region will take part in the Department of Conservation's issues conference in February. They're asking the DEC to deny the permit for a Texas-based company to construct a liquified petroleum gas facility. The plans include turning depleted salt mines along the southern portion of Seneca Lake into major propane and butane storage and transport hub for the northeastern U.S. (January 17, 2015) Time Warner Cable News Rochester [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 1/17/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls, Is Monroe County and Rochester updating water infrastructure for Climate Change? Ans: We don’t know; nobody has asked. Few adaption to Climate Change issues are more critical to the Rochester, NY region as “protect[ing] our drinking water sources and enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change by avoiding financial and water supply losses from leaking pipes and reducing pollution from sewer overflows and wastewater discharges.” So, has anyone (our local media) asked if our City and county are working on that and if they are, how about some of the details? Water Quality is a point at which even Rochester can no longer avoid Climate Change. EPA Launches Finance Center to Improve Community Water Infrastructure and Resiliency  WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center today to help communities across the country improve their wastewater, drinking water and stormwater systems, particularly through innovative financing and by building resilience to climate change. The center was announced as Vice President Biden and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy toured the construction site for a tunnel to reduce sewer overflows into the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. by 98 percent. The center is part of the White House Build America Investment Initiative – a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment and promote economic growth by creating opportunities for state and local governments and the private sector to collaborate, expand public-private partnerships, and increase the use of federal credit programs.  “Infrastructure is central to the President’s plan to build on the progress the U.S. economy is making by creating jobs and expanding opportunity for all Americans,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By modernizing the nation’s infrastructure we can protect our drinking water sources and enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change by avoiding financial and water supply losses from leaking pipes and reducing pollution from sewer overflows and wastewater discharges.” (January 16, 2015) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]  

  • 1/17/2015 - As our climate warms we are going have to chew gum and save the oceans and stop Sixth Great Extinction at the same time. Our journey to develop our way of life has been very tough on our life support system. Now we have to solve many dire environmental issues that are all happening at the same time.  Getting overwhelmed and dismissive really won’t solve these problems in any concrete way. We have a tiger by the tail. Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. “We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science. But there is still time to avert catastrophe, Dr. McCauley and his colleagues also found. Compared with the continents, the oceans are mostly intact, still wild enough to bounce back to ecological health. (January 15, 2015) New York Times

  • 1/17/2015 - Excellent article: Instead of panicking about the collapse of honeybee populations, we should worry about “the Big Ratchet.” The big picture about our present-day agriculture is grim. Bee Colony Collapse Syndrome is part of a much more dire issue about food and our environment. “It is the latest and most extreme example of a cycle of technological innovation that has allowed humanity to thrive in the face of constant ecological crises.” We need to find out how to ratchet down our reliance on technology, pesticides, herbicides, irrigation, genetically modified seeds, and monocultures to feed more and more people or our next food crisis will be our last. Save the Honeybee, Sterilize the Earth A decade ago, people started panicking about the collapse of the honeybee population and the crash of our food supply. But today there are more honeybees than there were then. We have engineered our way to a frenzied and precarious new normal. It’s tempting to mourn beekeeping’s bucolic past and condemn wholesale the forces that have driven it to its current state, but it’s important to remember that some of those forces are also responsible for historically unprecedented bounty. Monocultures, mechanized harvesting, and even pesticides have enabled a relatively miniscule number of people to produce greater quantities of more nutritious food more cheaply than ever before. As absurd and precarious as the current system is, we wouldn’t have gotten here if each step didn’t seem logical at the time. (January 5, 2015) Pacific Standard [more on Food and our Environment in our area]   

  • 1/17/2015 - Climate Change: Scientists collecting data, it’s complicated and it’s comprehensive and “the world is hotter than ever.” From buckets to beehives: how scientists collect climate data From old seafarers to modern scientists, RTCC looks at the past and the present of temperature records  In 1852, a US Naval officer drew up a map of the North Atlantic. The lines and figures neatly stencilled in by Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury represented data on wind, currents and water temperature from the log books of dozens of ships in the waters off Florida, the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean. For scientists today, this sepia document shows how keen sailors and explorers were to measure the heat of the ocean even before the climate had started to change. Over 150 years ago, their reasons were different from those who set out to gather sea temperature data today. The captains of these 19th century ships hoped their records would improve weather forecasting, allowing them to avoid the storms that could wreck their vessels. But the data that they collected – using thermometers dunked into wooden buckets of water hauled on deck – is still used today by climate scientists curious to see how the planet is warming. (January 17, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/16/2015 - ACTION: Pound for pound, getting community leaders to pledge to the state’s ‘Climate Smart Communities’ program is one of the most effective things people can do to address Climate Change. Take action! It’s all spelled out for you here: Take Action on 'Climate Smart Communities': New York State's Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program supports municipalities as they identify, plan and carry out projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and prepare for the challenges climate change will bring. This program provides resources that enable localities to act on climate, without mandating which programs or policies they should adopt. 

  • 1/16/2015 - This is going to get old: “… treaty it will be under attack from Congressional Republicans who question the science behind climate change.” For the next year, it looks like a lot of our energy to address Climate Change before the crucial COP21 Paris Climate Conference will be spent fighting extreme ideology. Global Climate Fund on GOP's Budget Hit List The money is a key component in the push for a global agreement this year to limit global warming. The yearly battle over the U.S. budget officially begins on Feb. 2, when the president plans to send his fiscal 2016 funding proposal to Congress, where it will be torn to shreds or ignored entirely. While the annual drama involves trillions of dollars, it's usually of limited interest to far-flung governments around the world. Not this year, though, thanks to a budget line item whose fate will be closely tracked by an international audience. The line item of interest is President Barack Obama's expected request for money for the Green Climate Fund, which is a key component in the push for a global agreement this year to limit global warming. The fund is meant to collect and distribute money from developed nations to help poorer and developing countries lower future carbon emissions and prevent further damage from the effects of climate change. (January 14, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/15/2015 - Food does not magically appear at our tables: Food and environment and social justice are real and bound together. How we produce food and get food to our tables plays an enormous role in our existence, even if (especially) if all we do is run to the fast-food joint and order up a quick meal.  Food and Field Notes: The ‘Rising’ Food Movement For Widespread Issues of Social Justice How the current food movement allows us to examine the issues of justice and equity in American society I hope to be writing more about the concept of “food justice” in future posts, as I feel I have only scratched the surface here. This entry is meant to shed light on how the ‘good food movement’ necessarily entails and is intricately married to addressing current social justice issues. I see an enormous tsunami-of-a-movement happening in the push to change how our food is being produced, distributed, consumed, and then disposed of. It is exciting to see new farmers and new markets cropping up all over the country. To see small-scale entrepreneurs investing in value-added products, many restaurants making a viable business off of sourcing ingredients locally, and community gardens taking hold (especially in urban and suburban regions) is incredibly inspiring and hopeful for the future of our food system. These practical realities are the foundations of a new food system that refutes the principles on which its industrial predecessor was created. (January 1, 2015) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Food and our Environment in our area]

  • 1/15/2015 - Quietly, and with little fanfare, local media bakes Climate Change into environmental articles—as they should. If the public is not continually informed of the changes that Climate Change is having locally, they’re going to continue to think Climate Change is a political issue. We cannot possible plan for our future if our local reporters don’t consider Climate Change in the present and in the future.     “Shifts in precipitation patterns, brought on by climate change, also play a role in the erosion. Overall, the amount of precipitation that the Rochester area gets hasn't changed much, but more frequently it's coming in heavy bursts. And those downpours tend to be more intense than in the past. "On an observation basis, I think we've seen more what we call flashy storms, where the water rises very quickly within the creek, within the parks, more so than in the past," says Monroe County's Rinaldo.” Water power Fortifying Irondequoit Creek's banks Water is a powerful natural force, with enough brute strength to wash away cities and the persistence to wear down rock. And in humankind's more practical moments, people have figured out how to work with that force — think of the mills and hydroelectric plants powered by swift streams and waterfalls. But humanity's relationship with water is complex, and people have also tried to tame water by battling its natural tendency to flow, spread out, and wear down. That's the case with Irondequoit Creek, which starts in the Ontario County hamlet of Fishers and passes through heavily developed areas before emptying into Irondequoit Bay. Government officials and private landowners have been trying for at least a couple of decades to keep the stream from eating away its own banks. This spring, construction will begin on a new round of projects to shore up the stream's banks. Monroe County will work on four sites — two in Ellison Park and two in Powder Mills Park — while the YMCA of Greater Rochester addresses a problem area in its Camp Arrowhead, which is surrounded by Powder Mills Park. (January 14, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 1/15/2015 - There are still many unknown knowns and unknown unknowns on Climate Change science, but no doubt about moral connection. Scientist know that Climate Change is happening and the GHGs spikes since 1850’s are ours. They still don’t know how the energy that has been absorbed by the oceans will playout into our atmosphere and they don’t know much about how our soil will react to dramatic shifts in snow cover, flooding, freezing and unfreezing, and a sudden rise in heat.  But we all know that the manmade disturbance of Climate Change is a moral issue. This is a no-brainer. When our way of life causes a major disruption to our life support system that involves our responsibility to remedy this situation. Catholics unite for climate action as Pope urged to divest  Catholic organisations and leaders from across the world have united to call for a sustainable climate future, today, as the Pope’s visit to the Philippines sparks renewed calls for the Roman Catholic Church to divest from fossil fuels. Launched head of the Pope’s visit to the climate vulnerable Philippines tomorrow, where he will visit Tacloban, the city devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the newly formed Global Catholic Climate Movement brings together laity and clergy, theologians, scientists and activists in a global call for climate action. (January 14, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/15/2015 - Glad that the COP20 Lima talks didn’t fall apart (progress), but a half-ass COP21 Paris treaty will seal our fate. We’ve kicked the can down the road on taking real action to bring down greenhouse gas emissions that we’ve approach the wall—the point where the can can’t be kicked anymore: “We no longer have the luxury of leaving the fate of the climate to the vicissitudes of national politics and vagaries of economic conditions in the 196 disparate nations of the world.” At COP21 Paris we must have binding agreements that do the job. The Turbulent Lima Climate Talks: Voluntarism Won't Save the Climate The turbulent UN global climate talks that ended last December 14th in Lima, Peru without setting firm global GHG emissions limitations left the future of the world's climate in limbo. In a sensible world, those talks should have established a mandatory global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) cap and an enforceable system for allocating emission quotas to each nation. Under such a program, the total global annual emissions ceiling would be gradually lowered and the allowable national GHG emissions would thus steadily shrink so that global emissions would be constrained to tolerable if not safe levels. (January 13, 2014) TheWorldPost [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/15/2015 - The glaciers melt. The seas rise. Time passes. COP21 Paris awaits us.  Sea level rise quickens more than thought in threat to coasts Sea level rise in the past two decades has accelerated faster than previously thought in a sign of climate change threatening coasts from Florida to Bangladesh, a study said on Wednesday. The report, reassessing records from more than 600 tidal gauges, found that readings from 1901-90 had over-estimated the rise in sea levels. Based on revised figures for those years, the acceleration since then was greater than so far assumed. The report said the earlier readings were incomplete or skewed by local factors such as subsidence. (January 14, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/14/2015 - Posting a showing of Rochester’s own “Comfort Zone” by the Rochester Business Journal kinda gives Climate Change a local legitimacy. I was taken aback that the business community in Rochester is starting to take Climate Change into their hearts. Now, if we can only get the public to understand the existential nature of Climate Change. We must address Climate Change because if will affect everything—pubic heath, our transportation, food, water, waste, telecommunications infrastructures and, Oh yeah, our future—not to mention, as Pope Francis mentions, it is a major ethical issue. If we, who created much of this Climate Change in the developed nations, allow those who did not cause Climate Change in the developing nations to perish (we will follow shortly after), that would be immoral.  Harley to show documentary on climate change The Harley School will play host to a screening of the locally produced documentary “Comfort Zone”—a production focused on climate change—as part of The Commons Speakers Series. It will be shown Jan. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The 67-minute long film was produced by Rochester natives David Danesh, Sean Donnelly and Kate Kressman-Kehoe. The filmmakers’ aim was to depict their journey to understand the scientific, economic and personal aspects of climate change. There will be a question-and-answer session with filmmakers following the screening. The showing is to be held at the Briggs Center for Civic Engagement in The Commons at 1981 Clover St. The event is free and open to the public. (January 13, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/14/2015 - US leadership role in addressing Climate Change is crucial. COP21 Paris treaty cannot fail. There’s no Plan B. US keen on success of climate talk in Paris The United States is keen to work with India to help international community reach a landmark agreement to deal with climate change when the United Nations will hold a conference on the issue in Paris next December, American Secretary of State John Kerry said here on Monday. Kerry on Monday confirmed that climate change would figure prominently on the agenda of US President Barack Obama’s discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on January 24.   “We are committed to working with India to reach a landmark climate change agreement in Paris at the end of this year and I know this will be a topic of the President’s conversation with the prime minister,” the US Secretary of State told journalists at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. (January 13, 2014) Deccan Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/14/2015 - So yeah, while I’m out in the freaking (really) cold trying to #NoKXL once again, I’m thinking Sen. Whitehouse’s characterization of GOP as “the political wing of the fossil fuel industry” is an apt description. President Obama, please reject the Keystone XL pipeline Once and For All.  Time to Wake Up: Let's Reject the Keystone Pipeline January 13,2015- In this week's "Time to Wake Up" speech, Sen. Whitehouse discusses his opposition to legislation approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. -from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

  • 1/14/2015 - Several of us in Rochester, NY said #NoKXL not in anybody’s backyard! Obama reject KXL once and for all! And yeah, it was freaking cold out there, but lots of folks saw us. Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4. Keystone XL Opponents Rally in All 50 States Thousands of people rallied yesterday in all 50 states urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. At 158 events from Maine to Los Angeles, with many weathering frigid temperatures in the single digits, people chanted, sang songs, and held signs and banners calling on President Obama to veto the Keystone XL bill if and when the bill passes the Senate. (January 14, 2014) EcoWatch

  • 1/13/2015 - Considering how our use of energy plays into Climate Change, Solar Power always makes financial sense. Energy sources that don’t put more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere are always a good deal, especially now that solar power is continually getting more efficient and cheaper. Our priorities should be on living sustainably during Climate Change, not continually bowing and scraping to the present fossil fuel zeitgeist. Monroe County considering solar-power project Monroe County may sponsor construction of a solar power farm to provide lower-cost, renewable electricity to a county-owned facility. County officials currently are reviewing proposals received in November from a number of energy development companies that have offered to finance and construct a solar farm. Electricity generated by the photovoltaic cells would be sold to the county under a long-term purchase agreement. The size and location of the solar installation have not been determined, though the request for proposals issued by the county last fall said it would make sense to site the solar farm adjacent to one of its existing facilities. The document said proposers should consider sites near the county government's three biggest electricity users — the wastewater treatment plants off Lakeshore Boulevard near Durand-Eastman Park and off Payne Beach Road in Hilton, and the downtown Civic Center Complex. Other locations also were possible, the document said. The county would pursue the project only if it makes financial sense, said environmental services director Michael Garland. (January 12, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 1/13/2015 - In truth, we are just starting to get our heads around plastics in the Great Lakes—both causes and implications. Because the Great Lakes is the greatest fresh water system in the world (where we get our drinking water) you’d think we launch a full throated investigation into the plastic threat to our Great Lakes, instead of just a few stories here and there by the investigations of a few scientists.  We are acting as if we just don’t want know everything about how our way of life intrudes on our life support system—even though it may kill us if we don’t know what’s going on so we can plan properly. Plastics in our water tend to attract and accumulate toxins in the water and not break down further. And our wastewater treatment plants were not designed to remove this stuff. Scientists: Great Lakes teeming with plastic First, it was tiny plastic beads from facial washes and toothpaste turning up in the Great Lakes. Scientists now are raising concerns about fibers from synthetic clothing. Sherri Mason, a chemist with the State University of New York at Fredonia, says Friday that polyester fleeces and similar garments can shed thousands of fibers when laundered. They're making their way to wastewater treatment plants and then into the lakes. (January 10, 2014) WHAM Rochester [more on the Great Lakes in our area]  

  • 1/13/2015 - Not hard to understand the reasons why developing nations frustrated at climate commitments. They’re getting screwed. A treaty in COP21 Paris in December that doesn’t actually start to bring down global warming is merely something cooked up by developed nations to make themselves feel good and doesn’t stop the worldwide crisis of Climate Change. Climate change: Half-hearted commitments It doesn’t require rocket science to understand why countries settle for measures that may not address the problems for which they are intended in the first place  A new template to conclude major global treaties is in the offing. It could become a reality in the next 12 months. An early indication about the template has come from two unrelated developments. First, the latest meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru, last month, signalled the broad contours of the proposed climate treaty. The much-delayed pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol that lapsed in 2012 will now hinge on what each country proposes to do instead of an overarching deal with specific targets. Effectively, all 190 countries are required to provide their respective national plans for curbing the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the next three months. Based on those plans, a grand deal will be stitched for adoption at the meeting of the leaders in Paris later this year. (January 13, 2015) LIVEMINT  |  HINDUSTAN TIMES  |  LIVEHINDUSTAN [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/13/2015 - New climate action group sweeping through Rochester, NY- brought to you by the folks who Make things happen, “Mothers Out Front”. "Mothers Out Front Drinks! If you are a mother, grandmother, aunt, or other woman who is concerned about global warming, don't miss the first Mothers Out Front Drinks event!  Mothers Out Front is an organization focused on building a movement of women who use their collective energy and voice to convince elected officials and business leaders to push for a swift and complete transition away from fossil fuels, to clean energy.  Founded in Massachusetts in 2012, Mothers Out Front officially moved into New York State in November 2014, starting here in Rochester.  On the third Friday of each month, Mothers Out Front members and newcomers will gather to eat, drink, and discuss local climate issues and corresponding opportunities for action.  No previous knowledge or experience necessary.  Feel free to bring your friends along.     What: Mothers Out Front Drinks When: Friday, January 16, from 5:15-6:15 Where: Trata at Culver Road Armory, second floor bar - 145 Culver Road, Rochester For more information contact Sue Hughes-Smith at suehughessmith@gmail.com   If you can't make it on Friday night, but would like to learn more about Mothers Out Front, contact Neely Kelley (neely.kelley@gmail.com) or Abigail McHugh-Grifa (abigailmchugh@hotmail.com). "

  • 1/13/2015 - Climate Change isn’t just a social movement, it is well… science, which is to say it you don’t act, your planet heats up regardless. Those who are not alarmed about the trajectory of Climate Change at present must be those who are not paying attention and ignorant of the dangers to our way of life the consequences of Climate Change present. But ignorance of the laws of Nature is no excuse. New Year’s Resolution: Jumpstart The Climate Change Conversation — Like The Pope If you didn’t make a New Year’s resolution because they don’t seem to stick, or if you’ve already broken one, here’s one you can keep: Start talking about climate change. With everyone. If the Pope is going to do it, so can you. Indeed, if, as reported, Pope Francis does issue a rare encyclical this spring explaining to the Earth’s 1.2 billion Catholics why their faith creates a moral urgency for climate action, then 2015 is the year to truly jumpstart a broadened climate conversation. It’s time to break the deeply flawed — and ultimately self-destructive — unstated social contract on behalf of climate silence. I’m assuming it’s a social contract that explains, at least partly, why the media and the so-called intelligentsia and the vast majority of national politicians and Hollywood largely ignore or downplay what is the single most important preventable crisis facing American and the world (see here). (January 9, 2015) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 1/13/2015 - With the present manmade Climate Change, it’s the unprecedented speed that makes it impossible for most plants and animals to adapt. This ‘speed’ tends to disrupt exquisitely timed relationships in Nature—ones that took hundreds of thousands of years to develop. It’s as if chaos were introduced into airline scheduling. Sure folks could still travel by air, but where would they be? Climate Change Messing with Mother Nature’s Timetable In nature, timing is everything. From the mass migration of monarch butterflies to the simultaneous seminal release of corals to the collective deaths of salmon and cicadas, many species stick to schedules so strict, their habits could be used to mark the seasons. Unfortunately, more and more evidence suggests that climate change has already begun to cuss up these timetables. Some flowers, for example, seem to be adapting more quickly to global warming than the wild bumblebees they rely on for reproduction. The flowers bloom earlier, often before the bees have emerged to transport pollen between them. As a result, the plants produce fewer seeds. If the two can’t sync up, the lockstep dance of pollination that has developed over millennia may unravel over the relatively short course of centuries — or even decades. Scientists call this occurrence a “phenological mismatch,” but you could simply think of it as bad timing. (January 10, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 1/13/2015 - Of course, that is a problem when political climate deneirs “… overreaches or impedes the functioning of government.” Humans disagree, political parties disagree and that’s part of human nature. But when humanity disagrees about the workings of Nature itself, that another kettle of fish altogether. The extreme branch of the GOP has forced the entire party down a road that leads us all over a cliff. The test for the American people is whether they will let themselves be driven over this cliff like a herd of buffalos. With Keystone Bill GOP Targets Obama's Climate Agenda, but Will It Backfire? At least $700 million in campaign donations to the GOP from fossil fuel interests ensure that climate action will be a target in the new Congress. The 114th Congress opened this week with the latest salvo in the long fight between Republicans and the White House over the Keystone XL pipeline and President Obama's climate action agenda. But the GOP's strategy of doggedly challenging the administration's environmental policies could backfire if it overreaches or impedes the functioning of government. True to a vow he made after the Republican triumph in the midterm elections, new Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell made sure a bill mandating federal approval of the controversial pipeline was the first order of business. And the White House said, as it has since the midterms, that President Obama would veto it. (January 9, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2015 - On the other hand, the NYS Fracking ban will have a tremendous effect on our environmental and public health, tourism, water quality, and the likelihood of more Fracking bans in other states and countries.  This sour grapes article and the charge of hypocrisy (“Without fracking, New York will remain a state that consumes great quantities of natural gas but produces very little) fails to see the big picture that wrestling away our energy infrastructure from the fossil fuel industry is going to be difficult and when we are finally able to do that and replace gas and oil and coal with wind and solar, we won’t have to have the cynical charge of hypocrisy leveled against us anymore. NY frack ban to have little impact on national supply  New York's recent decision to ban fracking is hardly seen as a big loss for the nation's production of natural gas. That's because scientists say New York's available reserves of natural gas in the sprawling Marcellus Shale are minuscule compared to what can be extracted in other states. Penn State University geologist Terry Engelder estimates that the entire Marcellus Shale region has 127 trillion cubic feet of commercially viable shale gas reserves, mostly in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. (January 11, 2015) Daily Messenger [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 1/12/2015 - A very inconvenient truth about doing nothing on Climate Change: We’ll have to continually cut our losses. Because the Sixth Great Extinction is also occurring at the same time as manmade driven Climate Change and because we are doing little to save species and help them adapt, we are passing points at which we will have to cut our losses and focus solely on those species we must have to survive. Each day we aren’t addressing Climate Change we are condemning species to extinction because our ability to handle all the consequences of Climate Change will be limited. We haven’t been planning. It’s survival of the most useful when protecting species Consensus is growing that we are steering towards a sixth mass extinction event. There are calls for increased efforts to stop the accelerating loss of plants and animals. But do we really need to protect all species from global extinction? Over the past decade, ecologists have increasingly replaced the value of biodiversity – the diversity of plants, animals and bacteria – with the concept of “functional diversity”. The best way to understand this concept is to compare it with a familiar, striking equivalent: our cities. Our decision to live in permanent settlements is a success story that is fundamental to the rise of human civilisation. It is based on the partitioning of tasks and professional specialisation, which cohesively provides services to the community. Food, health, security and construction are among the life-blood of cities. Yet all of these professions are inherently diverse and without this diversity the community would soon collapse. (January 11, 2015) The Conversation [more on Wildlife in our area] 

  • 1/12/2015 - This should make you shutter: “Environmental considerations would play no part in shaping the new Dietary Guidelines.” Of course, the production of the food we eat has an enormous effect on the workings of our life support system—big really, really big, farming, agriculture, nutrients leaking into our water, land usage, Climate Change—so it’s mind blowing that this relationship between our environment and our Dietary Guideline is politically, therefore legally, discounted. This attitude needs to be revisited if we are to have a sustainable future.  A Lost Opportunity For Americans’ Health And The Environment Around the world, food production occupies more land than any other human activity (about 40 times the area of all cities and suburbs combined), uses more freshwater than anything else people do and is a major source of carbon pollution in the air and nitrogen pollution in the water.  So it should be obvious that the food choices we make in supermarkets, restaurants and in our homes have a big influence on the world around us. Making small changes in what we eat can have big environmental benefits. (January 9, 2015) Environmental Working Group [more on Food and our Environment in our area]  

  • 1/12/2015 - Rolling back renewable energy mandates would make sense if you were terraforming Mars. Or if you had a craven disregard for Earth. The fossil fuel party seems hell bent on making a profit regardless of the consequences to our planet that is quickly warming from manmade burning of fossil fuels. GOP sets sights on Colorado energy mandates DENVER — Colorado Republicans want to roll back the state’s renewable energy mandates, and with greater numbers in the state Legislature this year — along with falling energy prices — party leaders are feeling more confident about their chances. A group of Republican senators wasted no time proposing changes, introducing a bill on the session’s first day that would lower the amount of renewable energy sources required of Colorado electricity providers. For larger utilities, which serve most Colorado residents, renewable energy mandates would drop from 30 percent by 2020 to 15 percent by 2020. (January 10, 2015) Post Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2015 - As we now understand our air, as a worldwide commons, unregulated trash burning (of electronics plastics, etc.) is a major unknown of our Air Quality. Basically, if you burn it, you eventually breathe it, and it warms up the planet. And if you don’t monitor it, you don’t even know about a major factor in Air Quality and Climate Change. Environment: Scientists try to assess global health, climate impacts of unregulated trash burning ‘Air pollution across much of the globe is significantly underestimated because no one is tracking open-fire burning of trash’ As much as 1 billion metric tons of waste, including discarded plastics and electronics, is burned each year in unregulated fires, according to atmospheric scientists who set out last year to assess the impacts of trash burning. The real amount of garbage that’s simply burned in the open probably far exceeds any official government estimates, the researchers said, adding that the practice exposes people to toxic fumes and adds to air pollution woes, especially in developing countries. (January 11, 2015) Summit County Citizen Voice [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 1/10/2015 - ACTION:  Thinking there's too much plastic poisoning our planet? Do something about it. This from Story of Stuff:  "Let’s resolve to make 2015 a year with a lot less plastic! Since you’ve already taken action with us to reduce disposable plastics,we’re inviting you to join a select group of Story of Stuff Community members to try out our new Citizen Muscle Boot Camp. The Boot Camp is a four-week online program designed to equip changemakers with the skills and resources to put a stop to useless plastic in their communities. Save your spot in this next round of our Boot Camp and flex your citizen muscles to put a stop to the deluge of plastic in our lives and environments. Reserve your Spot! http://bootcamp.storyofstuff.org/?akid=577.550247.osjbRI&group=49&rd=1&t=2  The program launches on January 19th and we are only opening participation to a small portion of our Community: folks we know are ready to engage the content and kick some butt in the fight against plastic. Here are the details for the Citizen Muscle Boot Camp:  WHO: You and other engaged members of the Story of Stuff Community WHAT: A four-week online program to get you practicing the skills you need to make change in your community WHERE: Online! You can do the program from anywhere, anytime. The boot camp is free and you can join from anywhere in the world. WHEN: January 19th – February 16th for one hour a week whenever you can work it into your schedule WHY: Because a better world needs you flexing your citizen muscle! Are you ready to flex your citizen muscle and take on plastic?  Reserve your spot now!

  • 1/10/2015 - ACTION: From our friends over at Catskill Mountainkeeper  "HELP US STOP THE MASSIVE PIPELINE THAT WILL CUT THROUGH THE CATSKILLS" Attend the DEC Public Hearings and Send in Your Comments to Stop the Constitution Pipeline We did it! We stood up to big oil and gas -- the most powerful corporate interest in the world -- and won. Governor Cuomo's announcement that New York State will ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing in low permeable shale is a major victory and a step in the right direction, but it in no way means our fight is over.  We MUST stop the industrial build out of oil and natural gas infrastructure, which will tie us to harmful, climate changing fossil fuels for decades to come, and severely delay the transition to a clean, renewable energy future.  New infrastructure will increase the use of natural gas in New York State and New England to the detriment of the climate and neighboring states where fracking is allowed. We can work to stem the tide of climate change, while protecting New Yorkers in the direct path of the pipeline and our neighbors in Pennsylvania. We need your help to do it! Next week, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be holding public hearings on the Constitution Pipeline, a 124-mile federal transmission pipeline that would extend from northern Pennsylvania into New York, and through Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, and Schoharie counties, terminating near Albany.  If it's not stopped, the Constitution Pipeline will tear through the Catskills, and have significant cumulative impacts on local ecosystems and waterways. This includes forest loss and fragmentation along the pipeline route, which passes through some of the biggest forest blocks in that region along the Delaware and Otsego county line. The pipeline has already been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which failed to properly assess the environmental impact of the projects as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. They also overlooked the fact that the power companies failed to obtain many key permits, including a Section 401 Water Quality Certification from New York State, which is required under the Clean Water Act. The NYS DEC maintains the authority to prevent the project by denying a required 401 water quality certificate. There are many, many reasons why the proposed project will not meet NYS water quality standards. In New York alone, the pipeline would cross 20 aquifers, four public water supply watersheds, and 207 waterbodies, with impacts on 75 acres of wetlands.  Join us! Attend the hearings on January 12th, 13th, and 14th. All hearings start at 6PM. Monday January 12 East Middle School Auditorium 167 East Frederick St.  Binghamton  Tuesday January 13  SUNY Oneonta  Lecture Hall IRC #3 108 Ravine Parkway  Oneonta  Wednesday January 14  SUNY Cobleskill  Bouck Hall Theater St. Rt7  Cobleskill  When it came to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, state authorities took the responsible course of action and defended its citizens from the oil and gas industry. It responded to the concerns of New Yorkers by carefully reviewing the growing body of scientific evidence that highlights the health and environmental dangers of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The DEC has the authority to deny this permit and stop the Constitution Pipeline. Let's keep the momentum up and the pressure on.  Can't go to the hearings? You can still send in comments to the NYS DEC by January 30, 2015.  Visit the Stop the Pipeline Coalition website for more information about the pipeline and relevant topics for comments." http://www.stopthepipeline.org/ 

  • 1/10/2015 - ACTION: Got thoughts on how our local transportation infrastructure should adapt to Climate Change—more flooding and heat? Consider filling out this latest survey by our local transportation authority on transportation in our future with Climate Change in mind.   "The Genesee Transportation Council (GTC) conducted an initial survey in Summer/Fall 2014 on transportation opportunities and issues facing the nine-county Genesee-Finger Lakes Region and received a significant amount of input. Thank you!   A second survey is now being conducted that will provide GTC with additional information on preferred transportation alternatives. Please take a few minutes and complete LRTP 2040 Survey #2. "

  • 1/10/2015 - Ignoring Climate Change because it’s too scary, too inconvenient, too boring, too controversial, are insane responses to this worldwide crisis. EPA chief on climate change: “The scary thing is doing nothing” Climate change predictions can be scary, and political opposition to climate action is fierce. But EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says she can’t help but be optimistic about the future. McCarthy, speaking at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) annual meeting in Phoenix on Wednesday, struck a decidedly positive tone. “If there is ever a challenge where the U.S. can shine and provide leadership, it is the challenge of climate change,” she said. (January 9, 2014) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/10/2015 - Of course, the best way to deal with invasive species is to stop them from invading. But what if you can’t? FLPRISM Update: Fighting The Curve Prevention is the best and first line of defense when it comes to managing invasive species, but even the best prevention efforts will be unable to stop all invasive species from becoming established in a given area. Early detection and rapid response (EDRR) increases the likelihood that invasions will be controlled while populations are still localized and at low levels that can more easily be contained and eradicated. Once an invasive species becomes well established, it is significantly more difficult and expensive to control (Figure 1). In many cases, once a species reaches that point, all that may be possible is a lessening of their negative impacts. (January 1, 2015) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 1/10/2015 - Expanding on this great article a little, the fight to preserve our Western New York State environment should not simply be characterized as one industry vs. another.  As Roland Micklem (86), stated at the "We Are Seneca Lake Pre-Arraignment Press Conference at the Town of Reading Court, November 5, 2014", and I transcribe a portion: “…this action that we are doing is far more than trying to protect Seneca Lake. The actions we are taking now has cosmic implications. I look upon what we’re doing is the action to help save perhaps the only planet in the Milky Way galaxy that supports life. I want you to really think about that. This is much, much bigger than our local battle here to save Seneca Lake. Climate Change is now pretty well accepted by the world scientific establishment, and it seems like in this country is the only place in the world where there are still naysayers. And this is something that will sure do us in unless we take very strong and meaningful action. So if I’m going to jail, I look upon it as going to jail to save the planet….” That was a cold, cold evening listening to the speakers speak, but Roland’s talk warmed me up. We are all part of something very big going on at this time in history and we need to continually connect the dots. Finger Lakes' fuel, tourism industries clash Residents of the Finger Lakes are fiercely protective of the region's land and waters. As a result, the area is known for open roads and farmland; thick forests and sprawling vineyards; fresh air and, of course, gleaming freshwater. Residents know full well that the 11 Finger Lakes are an asset that few places in the country — and possibly the world — can match. And after state government and tourism officials caught on, they began marketing the region as a world-class destination; a relaxing, romantic getaway with all of the outdoor recreation and fine wine a visitor could handle. But along Seneca Lake — the largest of the Finger Lakes — residents and community leaders say that hard-won reputation is at risk because of two proposed underground fuel storage projects. They worry that the facilities will detract from the scenery, generate road-clogging truck traffic, and pose a threat to Seneca Lake's water. "There's this vision that we can build this world-class tourist destination," says Joseph Campbell, co-founder of the activist group Gas Free Seneca. "We've already been called the No. 1 wine destination in the world. And that vision is incompatible with this industrial gas storage." (January 7, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 1/10/2015 - One of the great unknowns on Climate Change is how our soil, critical to our environment, will react to changes in moisture. This new satellite from NASA (Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP)) can help alleviate some of our blindness on how our way of life is affecting the planet. We need a lot more information about Climate Change, and much can come from technology.  A lot of vital information can come from citizen scientists, folks trained by experts to monitor and collect vital data on our changing environment, and help establish a baseline to measure against when things do change. Also, more about soil and Climate Change needs to be known, for example: how does soil that previously lay for long periods in the deep cold of winter under a blanket of snow adjust to less snow and more back and forth freezing because of whacky winter weather due to Climate Change? NASA Satellite Set to Get the Dirt on Soil Moisture A new NASA satellite that will peer into the topmost layer of Earth's soils to measure the hidden waters that influence our weather and climate is in final preparations for a Jan. 29 dawn launch from California. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will take the pulse of a key measure of our water planet: how freshwater cycles over Earth's land surfaces in the form of soil moisture. The mission will produce the most accurate, highest-resolution global maps ever obtained from space of the moisture present in the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of Earth's soils. It also will detect and map whether the ground is frozen or thawed. This data will be used to enhance scientists' understanding of the processes that link Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles. "With data from SMAP, scientists and decision makers around the world will be better equipped to understand how Earth works as a system and how soil moisture impacts a myriad of human activities, from floods and drought to weather and crop yield forecasts," said Christine Bonniksen, SMAP program executive with the Science Mission Directorate's Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "SMAP's global soil moisture measurements will provide a new capability to improve our understanding of Earth's climate." (January 8, 2015) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/09/2015 - ACTION: Ya gotta ask yourself, do you want to bail out one of the oldest nuclear reactors in the nation, Rochester? Learn about this issue, attend a couple of public forums, get fact sheets, and make public comment on this critical energy issue to our area.  Even if you believe in nuclear power, think “Ginna is one of the oldest nuclear reactors in the U.S.” No Ginna Bailout (Comment Form And Info Page) In June, 2014, nuclear company Exelon announced that its Ginna nuclear reactor in Wayne County is losing millions of dollars and will close unless the Public Service Commission forces ratepayers to pay more money to keep the plant open. If Exelon gets its way, Rochester-area ratepayers would be on the hook to help Ginna become profitable again by digging into their own pockets! Sound outrageous? We think so, too, and we are organizing to keep Ginna from getting this bailout. Use the form below to submit a comment Comments will be submitted to the New York Public Service Commission and and your comment will become part of the public record. We have provided sample text, which you can use or edit to your liking. Public Forums Thursday, January 15 7:00pm - 8:30pm First Unitarian Church 220 South Winton Rd. Rochester, NY Friday, January 16 6:30pm - 8:00pm Webster Recreation Center 1350 Chiyoda Drive Webster, NY Get The Facts Download our quick fact-sheet 

  • 1/09/2015 - By taking leadership on addressing Climate Change, Rochester could vastly improve the lot of ‘extreme poverty’. Climate Change is about planning and adapting to changes—as climate studies that include our region suggest. Providing jobs that would improve our energy efficiency, updating our transportation, water, waste, and telecommunications infrastructures, proving a more robust public health system, and a continual education program on how Climate Change will affect our region could provide a lot of jobs. Rochester can turn its “extreme poverty” around by taking bold action on Climate Change. There would be a lot of volunteers and financial help for this massive change if we had strong leadership on the worldwide crisis of Climate Change—which, by the way, the poor will get nailed first and the hardest if we don’t’ act. Report: Rochester tops 'extreme poverty' list This is not the kind of national list that Rochester-area residents hope to top. Rochester now has more people living at less than half the federal poverty level than any other similarly-sized city in the U.S., says a report released Thursday by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and its ACT Rochester initiative. For a family of four, that means getting by on less than $11,925 a year — conditions that the report described as "extreme poverty." (January 8, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 

  • 1/09/2015 - Regardless of our insane US politics, climate scientists have probably been too nice about climate warnings.  I know, Climate Change is now politically sensitive and we should all try to appease the financial influences of the fossil fuel companies in our government because what’s good for them is good for us (except that it isn’t) and so we should continue to doubt Climate Change and even if we do accept that Climate Change is true, we should always go with the most convenient scenarios. Except that will bake us all on our own planet. This is an important article on what the climate numbers mean. Playing Dumb on Climate Change SCIENTISTS have often been accused of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they ought to be more emphatic about the risk. The year just concluded is about to be declared the hottest one on record, and across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted. Science is conservative, and new claims of knowledge are greeted with high degrees of skepticism. When Copernicus said the Earth orbited the sun, when Wegener said the continents drifted, and when Darwin said species evolved by natural selection, the burden of proof was on them to show that it was so. In the 18th and 19th centuries, this conservatism generally took the form of a demand for a large amount of evidence; in the 20th century, it took on the form of a demand for statistical significance. (January 3, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/09/2015 - Rochester, NY for example should “plan for climate change migrants” because Climate Change won’t hit us so hard as soon as other regions. With our plentitude of fresh water, great soil, and no Fracking, we’ll be a destination for many whose states and countries who are going to get nailed sooner and harder than us.  However, in Rochester, not only is climate change politically sensitive, it’s invisible.  Because we have the luxury of being in Climate Change denial a little longer than those states burning up or countries going under the seas, we have yet to make Climate Change public at all. Read: “Rochester, NY: a portrait in climate denial| Experts warn governments to plan for climate change migrants * Rising seas, heatwaves may force millions from homes * Better planning needed to help those displaced Governments need to plan better for rising migration driven by climate change, experts said on Thursday, citing evidence that extreme weather and natural disasters force far more people from their homes than wars. Projections by leading climate scientists of rising sea levels, heatwaves, floods and droughts linked to global warming are likely to oblige millions of people to move out of harm's way, with some never able to return. The issue is politically sensitive at a time when economic austerity is straining the generosity of host governments and anti-immigrant sentiment is rising in many countries, especially in Europe. (January 8, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/09/2015 - New study suggests that oceans could soon ‘throw-up’ a lot of warming they have been digesting from rapid manmade Climate Change. We are still learning a lot about Climate Change and how our climate reacts when more heat from the sun gets trapped in our greenhouse gases and in our oceans. Waiting until we know exactly when the oceans will release a lot of heat, maybe very quickly according to some scenarios, seems foolhardy. We should be planning and acting now. Ocean warming speeds up cycle of climate change British and German scientists have identified another consequence of global warming that is likely to accelerate climate change still further. The warming oceans could start to return more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as the planet warms, according to new research. And since 70% of the planet is covered by clear blue water, anything that reduces the oceans’ capacity to soak up and sequester carbon could only make climate change more certain and more swift. It is a process that engineers call “positive feedback”. And under such a cycle of feedback, the world will continue to get even warmer, accelerating the process yet again. Many such studies are, in essence, computer simulations. But Chris Marsay − a marine biochemist at the UK’s National Oceanography Centre in Southampton − and colleagues based their results on experiments at sea. (January 9, 2014) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/09/2015 - Now that GOP has taken over Congress and COP21 Paris means we must address Climate Change, a friendly reminder about winter…  Yes, It’s Cold. Global Warming Is Still Real. Freezing temperatures are being recorded all across America. It was 10°F degrees in Washington, D.C., this morning, but that was just the tip of the (ahem) iceberg. New Yorksaw wind chills of 0°F, with gusting to minus 12°F. Schools were forced to close in Chicago because of temperatures plunging to -28°F. In Ohio, Minnesota, and the Dakotas, forecasters predicted winds chills as low as minus 20°-30°F below zero. It’s pretty cold in Texas, too. All that’s to say it’s cold — “dangerously cold,” in fact — in many parts of America. But (and I can’t believe I still have to say this) none of that means anything about the existence of global warming. As you may remember, global warming means that the globe — i.e., the whole planet, not just where you live — is steadily increasing in temperature, on average. The fact that it is very cold in one small part of the world for a short period of time does not disprove a long-term global trend. (January 8, 2015) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/08/2015 - Climate Change is going to have to be factored in when considering all our environmental issues—including Lake Erie ‘dead zones.’ It’s like getting a bad case of the flu and having a broken arm. No, the flu didn’t cause the broken arm, but if not addressed the flu will make healing the arm a lot more complicated. Scientists: Weather impacts Lake Erie ‘dead zones’  Reducing phosphorus levels in Lake Erie is a worthy goal but not necessarily a cure-all for one of the lake’s biggest environmental hazards: “dead zones” with oxygen levels so low that fish can’t survive, scientists said Tuesday. Researchers with the Carnegie Institution for Science said Erie’s biggest dead zone on record formed in summer 2012. While phosphorus-laden fertilizer runoff from farms played a part, weather conditions including drought and low flows from tributary rivers and streams were even more influential, they said. The findings suggest policymakers working on plans for combating the lake’s dead zones — and its worsening problem of harmful algae blooms — should consider meteorological trends as well as agricultural management practices, said environmental scientist Anna Michalak, who led the study. That’s especially the case as climate change brings more extreme weather, she said. (January 6, 2014) The Detroit News [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/08/2015 - Today’s lesson boys and girls, What if the “2°C goal is far out of reach”? Ans: Your future will get ‘interesting.’ Although we don’t know all the ramifications of missing the 2°C goal, we do know that the world will be a dramatically different place—not in a good way. Not to mention that we don’t know at what point we could stop further GHG emissions and how far beyond a 2°C rise in GHGs since preindustrial times we would go and in what time frame unmanageable warming would occur.  So, you’d think that everything humanly possible would be to limit GHGs to 2°C. That’s not happening. Climate Mission Impossible: Scientists Say Fossil Fuels Must Go Untapped New study says vast amounts of coal, oil, and gas must be left untouched to limit global warming. Canada's tar sands need to stay in the ground, the oil beneath the Arctic has to remain under the sea, and most of the world's coal must be left untouched in order to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2°C, a study released Wednesday says. The research, unlike other bleak assessments of the world's climate predicament, zeroes in on which regions should halt their production of coal, oil, and gas—and by how much. It comes ahead of climate talks in Paris later this year that aim to broker a new global accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions must remain within a "carbon budget" of about 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050 to meet the internationally accepted goal of limiting the rise in temperatures to 2°C (3.6°F) above preindustrial levels, according to the United Nations-led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. To do that, countries must slash their use of fossil fuels. (January 7, 2015) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/08/2015 - Of course, the great big problem with relying on voluntary carbon emission limits from existing coal-fired power plants is that they don’t want to.  If the emitters of greenhouse gases were willing to limit GHGs and change to a renewable energy option that doesn’t warm the planet we wouldn’t have a Climate Change crisis.  But we do. EPA to Create CO2-Slashing Plan for States That Won’t The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will prescribe power plant CO2 emissions cuts for states that refuse to slash carbon pollution themselves the EPA announced Wednesday. The Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s proposal to cut carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants as a way to tackle climate change, leaves it up to states to figure out how they’ll slash CO2 emissions from power plants. But some states, such as Texas and others that rely heavily on fossil fuels, have said they won’t comply with the emissions cuts plan because they fear it could hurt the energy industry and the jobs it provides. The EPA responded to those states Wednesday, saying it will use the Clean Air Act to implement its own CO2-slashing plan in the states that choose not to create their own plan. (January 7, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/07/2015 - Not using Climate Change modeling for stress-testing insurance industry, is like jumping out of a plane and hoping someone will throw you a parachute. If your insurance company is only using historical data (as most US insurance companies are) in a time when Climate Change is the new normal, you are now paying for faith-based insurance policies. Folks, no matter how deep they are in climate denial, will notice Climate Change when their insurance companies cannot pay up after frequent heavy flooding because they are overwhelmed.  Climate change a ‘stress test’ for insurance industry Climate change is described as a “stress test” for the insurance industry in a recent report from the Urban Land Institute. “For many insurance products, including property and business continuity insurance, climate change upends the notion that experience is a good predictor of future losses,” it says. “Climate change’s destabilizing effects are also likely to increase the political pressure on governments to intervene in insurance markets.” A review of available data by specialty insurer Lloyds found that using recent weather trends is likely to be sufficient for time horizons of less than ten years. Decisions with longer time horizons, however, should incorporate the findings of climate change models. Climate change doesn’t appear to be a major concern in New Mexico just yet, probably because the two big natural disasters associated with climate change – hurricanes and tornadoes – haven’t made a big impression here. (January 5, 5, 2015) Albuquerque Journal [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/07/2015 - May the drumbeat for Climate Change action worldwide get louder and louder so that COP21 Paris talks become a success. More and more leaders and individuals are learning that next December’s climate talks at Paris is a fundamental benchmark in human history—one that will actually decide what kind of species we are—a selfish, rapacious, planet crashing species, or a responsible steward of our planet willing to turn our way of living around so that it’s sustainable. Don’t sit this one out. Demand for climate action grows as 2015 deadline approaches  Pope Francis and TV naturalist David Attenborough have become the latest to add their voice to the growing calls for climate action, as the world gears up to a pivotal year for climate change. The broadcaster, who made his name presenting documentaries that explore the natural world, warned global leaders are in denial about the dangers posed by climate change. (January 5, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/07/2015 - Penfield Green Initiative January 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

  • 1/07/2015 - With a pledge to veto XL Keystone bill, looks like President Obama is going to walk the walk on addressing Climate Change White House Pledges Keystone Veto President Barack Obama will veto legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline if it passes Congress, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday. The now Republican-controlled Senate pledged earlier in the day that the controversial pipeline project that would carry tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast would be its first piece of legislation on the new Congress. Senate leaders say they now have enough support to approve the project, which failed to pass by one vote when Democrats controlled the Senate last year. The House is expected to pass its version of a bill approving the pipeline before the Senate on Friday. But Earnest said the bill will not be approved once if it reaches the president's desk. "I can confirm that the president would not sign this bill," Earnest told reporters Tuesday. (January 6, 2015) NBC News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 1/07/2015 - Excellent program on how nitrous oxide plays a role in the planet's warming and why that’s important (on the ozone in the upper atmosphere).  Also, the talk about the unprecedented speed at which global warming is occurring now by paleoclimatologist is critical in understanding the ‘crisis’ aspect of human induced warming. Be nice to have a show that focuses on the speed of present-day warming. Connections: Science Roundtable January 2015 During this science rountable we talk about climate change, global warming, and how nitrous oxide plays a role in the planet's warming. (January 5, 2015) WXXI Connections. [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/07/2015 - The ‘fight’ over the ‘Six-plus years of robust debate’ over the XL Keystone pipeline was fueled by money not facts. If it all had been about facts, the fight to stop this fossil fuel boondoggle would not have lasted this long. The facts that this project would warm the planet, cause environmental and public health harm, and provide only a few permanent jobs have been known for some time.  Let’s not characterize the fossil fuel industry to keep cramming really environmentally bad stuff during Climate Change as ‘robust debates’. They are human conflagrations fueled by fossil fuel green that hijack our attention and energy from making clean energy choices in a time of Climate Change. Keystone, climate change and the US economy: the truth behind the myths Six-plus years of robust debate has led to plenty of speculation about the perceived benefits of the pipeline – some of which are drastically overstated America has 2.5m miles of oil and gas pipelines. But none of those pipelines are anywhere near as contentious as the Keystone XL, which would transport tar sands crude oil from Canada to refineries on the US gulf coast. Over the past six-plus years, Keystone has become a stand-in for a broader debate about climate change. It’s also the subject of much myth-making about climate change and the economy. Below, a look at some of the most prominent of those myths, and the truth behind them. (January 6, 2015) The Guardian [more on Energy in our area]

  • 1/07/2015 - Uncloaking invisible fossil fuel emission leaks provides a new tool for gassed victim’s allegations. Because the burden of proof is usually placed on the victim of the natural gas industry, it’s been the dickens for folks to prove their homes near oil and gas drilling and storage sites are subject to a lot of harmful fumes resulting from leaking infrastructure. Now the victims have technology that helps them. Two Ways Infrared Cameras Have Boosted the Case for E.P.A. Rules Cutting Methane Leaks  I first realized the enormous value of infrared imagery in pollution detection in 2009, when I co-wrote “Curbing Emissions by Sealing Gas Leaks” with Clifford Krauss. In the related Dot Earth post, I included some remarkable video shot for the Environmental Protection Agency showing the difference between looking at an oil or gas facility with a standard camera and one tuned to the infrared wavelengths absorbed by gases like methane — the main constituent of natural gas: Now it’s becoming clear that this simple and affordable technology has played a two-pronged role in helping the Environmental Protection Agency, in the face of perpetual industry resistance, move toward clamping down on leaks of methane and other compounds from oil and gas wells, tanks and other facilities. (January 5, 2015) NYT Dot Earth [more on Fracking in our area] 

  • 1/06/2015 - New York promises that weather monitoring system will include Climate Change. Why not measure the effects of climate change now? You’d think our local weather would have been monitoring the effects of Climate Change in our state for a long time now. Not only has this oversight blinded our weather forecasters, its omission has lead the media and the public to think Climate Change is a future and far-off event that will only affect other states and nations. How can you weigh the facts in decision-making (like planning for Climate Change adaptation) if you’re not even gathering the facts? Most climate studies that refer to our region, list many Real Changes already being affected by our weather and climate and Likely Changes to come. But day-to-day, our leaders and our public have been blinded by a the lack of pro-active monitoring of how the worldwide phenomenon of Climate Change is affecting us--now. New York State Weather Network Aims To Be Most Advanced in the Country Governor Cuomo has said the data collected by the mesonet would help better predict storms. Chris Thorncroft says more quality data is always good, but these systems would actually be best at understanding what's happening right now - like the technological equivalent of sticking your hand out the window, if your hand was equipped with thousands of dollars’ worth of environmental sensors. Thorncroft says this information has several applications. including enabling emergency management services to respond faster. In the future, he says his network would also help measure the effects of climate change on the state. (January 5, 2015) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in this area] 

  • 1/06/2015 - January Green Drinks, Thursday, January 15, 6-7:30PM @ Good Luck Restaurant, 50 Anderson Avenue, Rochester, NY  - Sponsored by the Fast Forward Film Festival Bring a friend and catch the fever for film.   See you there! "Green Drinks is a monthly networking event where people in the environmental field and the sustainably minded meet over drinks (alcoholic or non), in an informal setting to exchange ideas, find out who's doing what and spread the word on what you're doing, find employment leads and make new friends and contacts. "

  • 1/06/2015 - How does one reconcile 2014 as the hottest year ever with a Climate Change denial Congress in 2015? How does one think about a rapidly warming planet with a political body hell bent on thwarting everyone’s efforts to address the Climate Change challenge—because it threatens their ideology and bankroll? How could we have elected so many people into an office where they can act purposefully against all of our best interests? Like Climate Change itself, which is human caused, this 2015 Congress crisis happened because too few folks gave a shit about this worldwide crisis: “Big threat for Obama's climate efforts from GOP-run Congress” When things get really hot, remember we are the blame: Climate Change is where humanity shot itself in the foot. One for the Record Books: 2014 Officially Hottest Year It’s official: 2014 has taken the title of hottest year on record. That ranking comes courtesy of data released Monday by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the first of four major global temperature recordkeepers to release their data for last year. The upward march of the world’s average temperature since 1891 is a trademark of human-influenced global warmingwith 2014 being the latest stop on the climb. All 10 of the hottest years have come since 1998. The average temperature was 1.1°F above the 20th century average according to JMA’s data. That edges 1998, the previous warmest year, by about 0.1°F. (January 5, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2015 - U.S. to lead Arctic Council. But I’m still trying to get my head around “the rapidly warming Arctic” and “meltdown.” We should pause and think about what is happening with the Arctic warming faster than any other place on Earth. Just in our lifetimes, a major component of our planet is shifting from being a refrigerator to acting as a furnace—at the loss of white ice will be replaced by darker water that absorbs sunlight faster. Shifting baseline syndrome allows many to think of a warming Arctic, one that allows more shipping and drilling, as normal. But a frozen Arctic is what existed through our species entire history until a few decades ago. This thought may not stop those who will drill for more fossil fuels in the pristine Arctic, but it should quiet all the voices who say Climate Change isn’t happening. What continually astonishes me is the speed at which our planet is warming and the complacency most feel towards this crisis. Not only are what little action we have taken so far to address Climate Change not slowing the warming, we are racing to take advantage of the Arctic, a place that hasn’t known major human interference. Can you imagine a Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill scenario in the Arctic? Looking Ahead in the Arctic, With the United States on Point An American admiral is in line to lead the eight-nation Arctic Council as a climate steward and a caretaker of the ocean. This year is expected to bring a breakthrough for global climate action—and that includes the rapidly warming Arctic.  Starting in April, the United States will take over leadership of the Arctic Council, the intergovernmental body charged with coordinating the eight Arctic states: Canada; Denmark, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands; Finland; Iceland; Norway; Russia; Sweden and the United States—along with a number of observer nations, including China, India, Japan and South Korea. Though the council can't issue policy, it provides the main forum for consensus building in the region, and produces recommendations that the delegates can bring back to their home countries. (January 1, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/05/2015 - New consumer mindset on new e-waste deadline in New York State can provide a lot of new jobs. E-waste law enters new phase in New York You won’t be able to throw out old computers, televisions or video game consoles in the trash anymore in New York state once a new e-waste law is goes into effect Jan. 1. This is the final phase of the state’s electronic waste recycling law that’s meant to divert electronics that can harbor dangerous metals from getting into the landfill.   Andrew Radin, with the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Center, says this is meant to keep dangerous metals out of landfills. But he also notes there is a jobs component to all of this. “When you have these materials, you need to de-manufacture them, so there’s a whole new processing function, that requires people with certain skills to recover and reuse certain materials.” So what does one do with that old TV they don’t need anymore? Well, it depends on where you live. Radin says in Onondaga County there are a couple of options. (December 30, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/05/2015 - At some point (how about now) we need to talk about crop insurance and Climate Change. Farmers, insurance, politicians, and climate scientists need to get on the same page because as our climate changes in this region various crops (and their pests) are going to change the viability of various crops. Recently, a local climate expert told a young farmer at a forum on climate and local agriculture that this is the first time in farming history that historical climate data is not reliable. In other words, you cannot talk about crop insurance without talking about Climate Change. Or the insurance industry will quickly get overwhelmed and leave our government, the insurers of last resort, on the hook. Schumer wants crop insurance for local farmers U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D- NY) has scheduled a trip to Pioneer Malting in Chili on Monday to promote a plan that could help local malt barley farmers. Schumer wants U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to establish crop insurance for such farmers to help protect their investments. The insurance could help as many as 10 Rochester-area farmers from risks in growing the crop. In a release, Schumer said that barley production must increase by 15 times to match demand. Crop insurance is available in other states, but not in New York. (January 4, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Plants in our area]

  • 1/05/2015 - Important essay on how to change to a sustainable existence from someone in the Rochester, NY region who definitely is walking the walk. Thriving In One’s Habitat By George Payne, Director of The Ghandi Earth Keepers International "Mohandas K. Gandhi, the man who led India to national independence by using nonviolent civil disobedience, has inspired every major social movement since his assassination in 1948, including what I am calling the “Green Revolution” happening today. " January 1, 2015)  Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute

  • 1/05/2015 - The road to COP21 Paris in December via Rome, Australia. All roads now lead to Paris—or they don’t. Time passes.  Sunday Explainer: All climate change roads lead to Paris (via Rome) This is the year that the world is supposed to save itself from itself. Governments have set a deadline of a December summit in Paris to land a deal to address the issue. What are the chances of success? What may success look like? And what role is Australia playing? Adam Morton explains. First things first: it seems pretty hot out there. How warm is it? Warm in more than just a "look-out-the-window-it-is-41-degrees-today" kind of way. The final data for 2014 isn't in yet, but a provisional statement by the World Meteorological Organisation released to coincide with the UN climate conference in Lima, Peru last month said it was on track to be the hottest year on record, largely because the sea surface temperature across the planet broke previous records. About 93 per cent of the excess energy trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases emitted by human activity ends up in oceans. (January 4, 2015) The Sydney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/05/2015 - The best way to handle the relentless and rapacious Fracking industry is to ban them altogether as New York State has. There are so many more advantages of providing energy in a time of Climate Change with renewable energy.  But even New York, even though we here have banned this unsafe extreme extraction of more fossil fuels in our state, The Fracking industry will never give up as long as there is a buck to be made. Instead of getting on with our efforts to address Climate Change, if Cuomo hadn’t banned Fracking, we would be assailed with this: Heavyweight Response to Local Fracking Bans LONGMONT, Colo. — This northern Colorado city vaulted onto the front lines of the battle over oil and gas drilling two years ago, when residents voted to ban hydraulic fracturing from their grassy open spaces and a snow-fed reservoir where anglers catch smallmouth bass. But these days, Longmont has become a cautionary tale of what can happen when cities decide to confront the oil and gas industry. In an aggressive response to a wave of citizen-led drilling bans, state officials, energy companies and industry groups are taking Longmont and other municipalities to court, forcing local governments into what critics say are expensive, long-shot efforts to defend the measures. Continue reading the main story RELATED COVERAGE Citing Health Risks, Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York StateDEC. 17, 2014 Denton Journal: In Texas, a Fight Over Fracking OCT. 8, 2014 Siemens Makes $7.6 Billion Bet on Fracking in U.S.SEPT. 22, 2014 While the details vary — some municipalities have voted for outright bans, and others for multiyear suspensions of fracking — energy companies in city after city argue that they have a right to extract underground minerals, and that the drilling bans amount to voter-approved theft. They also say state agencies, not individual communities, are the ones with the power to set oil and gas rules. (January 3, 2014) New York Times [more on Fracking in our area] 

  • 1/05/2015 - Maybe the new Congress will be so boldly anti-science that the people will finally understand the true threat and kick the bums out.  With this new year and a new Congress, we are entering a time of great Climate Change certainty and widespread realization that our window of opportunity for acting to keep greenhouse gas emissions at a safe level is quickly closing. And we are enter a time when powerful anti-science kooks will be threatening all our attempts to act morally and properly for generations to come.  BTW: Who did you vote for in the mid-term elections? It's not the heat, it's the stupidity. The new Congress may be the most boldly anti-science body since the time of the Scopes Monkey Trial. The 114th Congress convenes this week. The last time a Congressional anti-science caucus was this strong may have been during the Scopes Monkey Trial ninety years ago. But that’s not the worst part of it: The folks who want to gut government research and deny climate change are virtually guaranteed perpetual re-election and jobs for life. Let’s get straight to the moral of this story: Entrenched anti-science isn’t going away. Not soon, maybe not in our lifetimes.  Every one of the most ardent congressional climate deniers who chose to run won re-election, mostly by runaway margins, and probably have jobs for as long as they want them. A landscape of gerrymandered “safe” districts and wide-open campaign cash spigots make their futures even safer, even as their behavior helps make our own a little more bleak. (January 3, 2014) Environmental Health News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/5/2015 - So what do some climate scientists feel personally about Climate Change? If you think they think it’s a hoax, you’d be very wrong. It’s kinda like ‘we cannot believe humanity doesn’t take this particular science seriously, the science to end all science.’ 18 Scientists On What They Actually Think About Climate Change Science communicator Joe Duggan asked several researchers working in climate science how they really felt about climate change. These quotes are excerpted from their answers. (December 22, 2014) Buszzfeed [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/04/2015 - Here’s the December 2014 edition of a great local newsletter: these sections: “Josh Fox: “This is huge! It can’t be underestimated””; “170 citizens—winemakers, teachers, artists risk jail time for Seneca Lake”, “Rochester fracktivists rock!”; “Industry and government roadblocks account for some health study delays”: Sifting & Winnowing December 2014 by Audrey Newcomb

  • 1/03/2015 - Instead of connecting the dots between our fossil fuel use and Climate Change, Rochester media laments that we are not benefiting from country-wide falling gasoline prices. Rochester is a city in climate denial and its media is complicit. While communities around the world are making great strides towards renewable energy and taking responsibility for a warming planet, Rochester’s media only seems to care about pandering to the present fossil fuel zeitgeist. Consider this: Two California cities weigh putting climate-change warning on gas pumps Officials in San Francisco and Berkeley are considering what they say would be a first-in-the-nation move to require warnings about climate change to be placed at gas pumps at filling stations in the two California cities. (November 19, 2014 Reuters)  Rochester gas prices highest in continental US The Rochester area is benefiting from falling gas prices, but the average price per gallon here remains the highest of any metro area in the continental United States. On Friday, AAA reported the average price for unleaded regular was $2.83 a gallon in the Rochester area, compared with $2.23 nationwide. Only Anchorage, Alaska, ($2.91) and Honolulu ($3.45) have higher average pricesamong U.S. metro areas, according to the website, GasBuddy.com. Buffalo is less than a penny behind Rochester. Actual prices at the pump in the Rochester region ranged Friday from a low of $2.67 a gallon in Ontario, Wayne County, to more than $3 a gallon in Gates. (January 2, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 1/03/2015 - From our friends over at Pachamama: "Dear Pachamama friends, Happy New Year!   Please see the attached newsletter for information and inspiration!  May this new year be full of vision and action in creating the world we all know is possible for ourselves and future generations!   In the newsletter please note 4 events that are coming up soon…………to participate yourself or pass on to others! Jan 5 – deadline to sign up for the powerful Game Change Intensive webinar!!! Jan 11 – Symposium at Temple Sinai (see and pass on attached flyer) Jan 13 – Book discussion Jan 18 – Symposium follow-up session – OPEN TO ALL PAST PARTICIPANTS!!! Join us to reconnect with the Pachamama vision, power and community!   May this new year be full of blessings and joy and passion to make a difference! Together in one vision, The Rochester Pachamama Team "

  • 1/03/2015 - Clever ‘Grist’ line and probably true: “Pope Francis could prove to be environmentalists’ secret dream pope.” Although we need leaders to lead on Climate Change, it will be the growing number of ordinary folks, ordinary folks who have not been traditionally labeled as ‘environmentalists’, who collectively will decide that we all must become stewards of our life support system—not simply parasites on it. We must all change, and we must all change soon, our relationship to our environment. 3 stories that will shape the climate fight in 2015 2014, for environmentalism, was a year of both the big guy and the little guy: The biggest changes seemed to come either at the federal level (as in new EPA regulations) and at the city level (as with many successful battles against new coal export facilities). This was the year that environmentalists in Washington continued to push through new power plant emissions regulations, and environmentalists across the country got smart about regional organizing. It was the year that a collaboration between environmental and civil rights groups began to form. And it was a year that a chain reaction, due mostly to local, grassroots work, delayed Keystone XL to the point where its approval seems a lot less likely. So what does 2015 hold for rabblerousing? Herewith, a few theories. (December 31, 2014) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/03/2015 - One of the greatest fears of the climate denialists, I suppose, is that most injustices and environmental threats in the world will now be bundled under the rubric of Climate Change. This may be why that as the science of Climate Change and consequences of that become clearer, the climate deniers are becoming more shrill and adamant in their denial. And it is this denial that will obstruct a lot of our efforts to address Climate Change. Much of our effort to address Climate Change will be squander fighting ourselves—having no effect of the physics of bringing down the level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. It’s a great tragedy of our times that humanity cannot address Climate Change without the accumulated baggage of outdated ideologies we won’t let go of. Climate change increasing stresses on fragile states Briefing for UK aid workers says climate-related factors are making the world increasingly unstable and adding to hardships of the poorest people. A chilling account of how climate change is already adding to the problems of conflict and social breakdown in fragile states is contained in an advice document to the staff of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). “Topic Guides” on a variety of subjects are briefings to staff on key problems and how to deal with them when providing overseas aid. This guide, called “Conflict, Climate Change and Environment”, describes how and where society is already breaking down. Although the guide – compiled by experts from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and International Alert (IA)− says climate change is only part of the problem, it concludes that it adds to food and water shortages, rapid urbanisation, unemployment, and weak and corrupt governance, which increase the chance of conflict. (January 2, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/03/2015  - Dear Buffalo & Rochester Bus Riders,   We've just gotten word that Governor Cuomo has delayed his State of the State address from January 7th to January 21st, following the death of his father Mario Cuomo. The rally/party has been rescheduled for that day as well. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and hope that you're able to stick with us on this new date. Thank you for your patience. Rally Against Fracking and For Renewable Energy  Don’t sit this one out, sit on a bus to Albany on Jan. 7th:  NEW YORK HAS BANNED FRACKING!  On January 21st (moved from  7th) in Albany, New York, we will come together to celebrate an incredible victory for science, public health, the environment, and our movement, and will give thanks to Governor Cuomo and speak to the importance of this decision for the whole nation and the opportunities ahead for renewable energy! What: Rally to Celebrate New York Fracking Ban and Lead the Nation in Renewable Energy! See Event on Facebook.

  • 1/03/2015 - David Attenborough nails the existential nature of Climate Change “Never in the history of humanity in the last 10 million years have all human beings got together to face one danger that threatens us – never. “It’s a big ask but the penalty of not taking notice is huge.” David Attenborough: Senior politicians in denial on climate risk   (January 2, 2015) Responding to Climate Change

  • 1/03/2015 - As we eventually move beyond coal and other fossil fuels, we will look back at our legacy and start to appreciate the real cost of development. We can no longer be heedless of the consequences of our actions on our life support system—treating it as an externality, a magical resources provider. DEP report details legacy of coal mining A new state report details troubling mining legacies in 10 Pennsylvania counties, including Elk, raising questions about the true cost of coal for those communities as new, more modern forms of energy development begin to take root. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) report compiled with University of Pittsburgh researchers is the fourth in an ongoing series detailing the effects of mining in Elk, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Clearfield, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Somerset and Washington counties. It links the activity to everything from sinkholes to water pollution, while addressing regulatory shortcomings, hurdles and past successes. The data was not detailed by county, but rather given in an overview of area incidents. The report found a total of 46 underground coal mines were active during the five-year reporting period, 2008 to 2013, beneath 31,343 acres of land. The figure represents an 18 percent decline in the amount of land under-mined during a previous five-year assessment period. (January 1, 2014) The Bradford Era [more on Energy in our area]

  • 1/03/2015 - We, meaning humanity, used to take our environment for granted. Now spaceship Earth needs some serious attention—every day. No longer can we place mankind above Nature or think that we are too small to affect something as big as a planet’s environment. We have broken our life support system and now we must fix it and protect it from ourselves. 2014: A look back at the year’s biggest environmental stories and a peek ahead. What's in the water? We can tell you. What's in your food? You don't want to know. Here's a look at the big environmental health stories that shaped 2014 and a glimpse at what's to come in 2015. A warning from our feathered friends; water woes in California, Ohio and West Virginia; concerns about chemicals in food and cosmetics … it was a busy 2014. (January 2, 2014) Environmental Health News

  • 1/02/2015 - With the ban on Fracking in New York State, can set a new energy standard—one that addresses Climate Change. N.Y. can set new energy standard As America watched the ball drop in Times Square, New Yorkers could ring in the New Year with similar celebration for the clean, renewable energy jobs growing in 2015 and beyond. With major decisions coming out of the governor's office and Public Service Commission last month, we closed 2014 with a state getting into its clean energy groove. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent decision to ban fracking protects us from harmful health impacts and methane emissions. It also adds the chorus to an anthem emerging from New York as the state's energy efficiency, solar and wind industries have risen over the last five years. As the door finally closed on fracking here, the governor and Public Service Commission ushered in a suite of decisions acknowledging that private sector and community development of clean energy is poised to lead national job creation and expand consumer choice. (December 31, 2014) Albany Times Union [more on Energy in our area and Fracking in our area]

  • 1/02/2015 - But…, What if the sky really IS falling? What if there really is a wolf? What if Climate Change wasn’t a liberal hoax? What if all this is true and we haven’t been preparing? What if we spend this year that ends with the COP21 Paris treaty just thinking up excuses why we aren’t acting on Climate Change?  Climate Change’s Calling Card in 2014: Heat None of this should come as a surprise. As the world warms, record heat is climate change’s calling card. As a new year turns over, a number of signs point to 2015 following in this year’s toasty footsteps. This includes the possibility of a weak El Niño further raising global temperatures and clues from coral reefs indicating a heat spike could be looming in the near future. Consider that the 15 hottest years on record have all come since 1997. Or that this will be the third straight decade to break the mark for global temps. And that it’s been 358 months since the planet had a cooler-than-average month, and more than 100 years since we last had a record-cold month. (January 1, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/02/2015 - DEC’s ‘Climate Smart Communities’ program offers free webinar on low cost, low GHG emissions building on 1/8/2015 @ 10:30 AM. There is much that the state voluntary program to help communities deal with Climate Change, Climate Smart Communities, can do for you. Has your community signed up yet? There’s no good reason for every community in New York State not to be a part of this growing program. Learn more from the Rochester Sierra Club’s Earth Day forum:  2014 Earth Day Forum  "Climate Smart Communities:  Let’s Get With the Program" | Reminder CSC Webinar Next Thursday: Getting to Net-Zero Energy Homes Our Climate Smart Communities webinar entitled “Getting to Net-Zero Energy Homes” will be held Next Thursday, January 8, 2014 at 10:30 AM.   Is it possible to construct new residential dwellings at comparable costs to current residential construction and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time creating highly desirable living environments? The answer is yes. The “Welcome Home! Community That Works” project demonstrated that with the inclusion of standard rooftop PV, it is both possible and practical to build net-zero or near net-zero energy homes that provide extremely high levels of resident satisfaction. (December 31, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • 1/02/2015  - Blinding ourselves, jeopardizing NASA’s research into Earth's changing climate, is insane. Don’t let this happen. Money for NASA priorities at risk in next Congress WASHINGTON — Key elements of NASA's space program faced tough scrutiny from Republicans even before the Nov. 4 elections gave the GOP control of the Senate and expanded its majority in the House. When the next Congress convenes in January, the Obama administration can expect more questions — and criticisms — targeting some of the agency's top priorities, including: The agency's research into Earth's changing climate. (November 26, 2014) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/02/2015 - World leaders should be leading the world on addressing Climate Change, not trying to thwart the rest of us.  It’s too bad that in 2015 much of the struggle to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change will spent on folks in political high office who don’t believe in science. We will be fighting to lower greenhouse gases and help folks adapt to that with one arm tied behind our backs. David Attenborough: Senior politicians in denial on climate risk  TV naturalist calls out scepticism in governments ahead of a politically important year in fight against global warming  World leaders are in denial about the risks posed by climate change, says naturalist Sir David Attenborough. The broadcaster, whose documentaries explore the natural world, told Sky News that governments often take the easy route of closing their eyes to the problem. “Wherever you look there are huge risks,” he said. “The awful thing is that people in authority and power deny that, when the evidence is overwhelming and they deny it because it’s easier to deny it – much easier to deny it’s a problem and say we don’t care.” He emphasised the scale of the problem, and the difficulty of creating the unity needed to solve it. “We won’t do enough and no-one can do enough because it’s a very major serious problem facing humanity but at the same time it would be silly to minimise the size of the problem. (January 2, 2015) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/02/2015 - The warming is upon us. Animals and plants are trying to adapt. Are we smart enough to adapt too? Warming world already causing dramatic changes, say scientists  Fish, forests, birds and wildflowers affected by a wide range of impacts – human and natural – from global warming   Lumberjacks are selecting different trees, US fishermen are sailing further north to catch black sea bass, desert birds are nesting later in California and Arizona, and one kind of wildflower is changing shape in the Rocky Mountains − and all in response to climate change, according to new research. None of these responses is simple, or necessarily ominous, and global warming is not the only factor at work. But all are nevertheless examples of adaptation to − so far – very modest changes in temperature. (January 2, 2015) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/1/2015 - The fact that ‘Climate Change’ is one of the most often Google-search phrases should induce media to report more and make more money. I’m sure that if the media, especially local media, began to realize that Climate Change was a popular as sports, pets, sex, accidents, arrests, and new products, there would be a major shift in the amount of media coverage on this issue. One of the great tragedies of Climate Change is that the media hasn’t done their job locally of informing the public of the changes coming to our in our area because of warming, the need to plan far ahead to address these climate changes, and the moral implications of not acting on Climate Change.  So, if the media just wants to make a buck, the fact that folks crave more info on Climate Change should wake local media up.  Climate Change in 2015 Could be Bigger Than Religion – or Selfie The phrase “climate change” yields roughly 108 million results in a Google search – in the ballpark in terms of numbers of results with “Jesus Christ,” “Mohamed” and “selfie” – and you can expect the phrase to become an even more popular topic in the coming year. Climate change is now on Pope Francis’ agenda. It’s certain to be a topic pressed hard by the president of the United States and many national leaders, who are unlikely to take their foot off the gas pedal in their push to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to a changing climate. In fact the year that is now passing will itself likely bolster the climate change topic in 2015. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2014 is on track to be the warmest year on record. This was also a year of progress on climate change for President Obama, including what some call a “landmark deal” with China to reduce carbon emissions (December 31, 2014) Insurance Journal [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/1/2015 - This is true, the more you look at Fracking studies, the more you realize this extreme fossil fuel extraction method is a bad idea for New York and everywhere else.  New York, with a ban once in place, can now set the table for a remarkable future with renewable energy and long-lasting jobs.  Wednesday, we’re going to tell Governor Cuomo just that: Rally Against Fracking and For Renewable Energy  Don’t sit this one out, sit on a bus to Albany on Jan. 7th:  NEW YORK HAS BANNED FRACKING!  On January 7th in Albany, New York, we will come together to celebrate an incredible victory for science, public health, the environment, and our movement, and will give thanks to Governor Cuomo and speak to the importance of this decision for the whole nation and the opportunities ahead for renewable energy! What: Rally to Celebrate New York Fracking Ban and Lead the Nation in Renewable Energy! See Event on Facebook. Once a fracking supporter, Fiala says ban argument was 'compelling' Four years ago, then-Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala was one of the state's biggest Democratic boosters of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. Fiala dispatched her county attorney to research the issue and attend gas-industry conferences. Twice, she attempted to lease the gas rights to county land for millions of dollars to an upstart oil-and-gas company from Colorado. She held a press conference in 2010 urging then-Gov. David Paterson not to sign a fracking moratorium that lawmakers passed earlier in the year. That was then, this is now. In an interview Wednesday, Fiala -- who retired Tuesday as commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles -- said the state's top environmental and health regulators laid out a "compelling argument" for a ban on fracking at a Dec. 17 meeting of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's cabinet. At that meeting, state acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker recommended prohibiting large-scale fracking from moving forward in New York, citing unknowns about its impact on human health. (December 31, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 1/1/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls, What if our oceans throw up all that Climate Change heat it’s been eating? Ans. It won’t be pretty.  Much of the energy from humanity’s use of fossil fuels is being taken into our vast oceans and scientists are not entirely sure how and when that heat that’s been hording in our waters will be released into our atmosphere. But if one of the scenarios is a sudden release, everything we can do to prevent this should be on the table. Clues in Coral Hint at Looming Temperature Spike Chemical clues in skeletons produced by coral growing at Kiribati contain a newly discovered warning. They caution of a global climate system that’s capable of drawing decades’ worth of hoarded heat out of the Pacific Ocean, and belching it back into the atmosphere. A cryptic chemical weather log kept by Tarawa Atoll’s stony coral in the tropical Pacific archipelago has been cracked, helping scientists explain a century of peaks and troughs in global warming — and inflaming fears that a speedup will follow the recent slowdown. Added to a growing body of research, the newly published findings indicate that all it would take to trigger what could be an historically unparalleled period of rising global temperatures would be a shift in the winds. And that type of change in the intensity of Pacific trade winds appears to happen every 20 to 30 years or so. (December 22, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/1/2015 - Every once in a while as we debate Climate Change and what to do, we should be monitoring this reality. Unlike most other issues humanity faces, Climate Change is an existential phenomenon that only reacts to physical inputs.  You either do something that will keep our climate to human sustainability levels or you don’t. All the good intentions must end up lowering greenhouse gas level in our atmosphere and adapting to the increased levels already baked into our present climate by past fossil fuel emissions.  Keeping our eye on the ball, on our scientific data as it were, is critical to this issue.   Climate Monitoring Welcome to Climate Monitoring at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. Our mission is to monitor and assess the state of the Earth's climate in near real-time, providing decision-makers at all levels of the public and private sectors with data and information on climate trends and variability including perspectives on how the climate of today compares to the past. Use the menu on the left to navigate our available products. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • 1/1/2015 - The bigger question, above whether low oil prices will increase renewable energy, is, should we allow oil prices to supplant our moral system? We should be demanding that the fossil fuel industry move to renewable energy instead of meekly wondering whether big industry and the invisible hand will have their way with our future. Oil prices should not determine our future. We should determine our future. AP Interview: French climate envoy says low oil prices could help produce global warming deal Low oil prices could paradoxically help the world reach an international agreement to fight global warming, according to the French ambassador charged with organizing a key climate conference in Paris. France is spending the next 11 months trying to cajole more than 190 countries into overcoming disagreements about acceptable greenhouse gas emissions levels and who should pay to achieve them to produce a binding accord to limit emissions. Laurence Tubiana, France's special representative for the 2015 climate conference in Paris, says now nations can't cite high energy prices as a reason to avoid taking action. (December 31, 2014) Fox Business [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/1/2015 - Besides being a great environmental, economic, and humanitarian issue, Climate Change is a great moral issue. Hopefully, all our moral leaders will lead as Pope Francis is doing on this issue and highlighting the importance of a successful COP21 Paris treaty.  Pope Francis Going All In On Climate Change In 2015 Pope Francis, leader of the world’s one billion plus Catholics, has decided to make climate change one of the primary focuses of his evangelical efforts in 2015. After making good progress in his cleanup of Vatican politics and banking during the first couple of years on the job, Francis is now turning his attention to global issues including financial reform, climate change and improving U.S.-Cuba relations. Climate change is primary item on the pope’s 2015 agenda According to Vatican sources, in 2015 the pope will issue a string message on climate change to Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions. The pope has decided to undertake all these activities, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, because he wants to directly influence the critical UN climate meeting in Paris next year, when global nations will try to finalize 20 years of difficult negotiations with an across the board commitment to reduce carbon emissions. (December 30, 2014) ValueWalk [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/1/2015 - I know, it’s freaking cold outside in Rochester, NY but the rest of the USA and the world has record-breaking heat. Our climate will heat up unevenly, but it will heat up. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. We must plan so we can adapt and mitigate Climate Change so it doesn’t get worse. Seventeen U.S. Cities on Track for Hottest Year The globe is on track for its warmest year on record. But global average temperature watchers won't be the only ones feting record heat when the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday. A number of U.S. urban areas will also join in the record-setting festivities while not a single major urban area will be raising a glass to record cold. In fact, it's been nearly 30 years since a major U.S. city had a record cold year. Climate Central conducted analysis of the 125 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. (though 11 were weeded out due to insufficient data), which showed that 17 are slated to have their hottest year on record. Every metro area primed for a record warm year sits to the west of the Rockies. The heat follows Interstate 5 from Seattle down through Portland, Sacramento and San Diego with detours to San Francisco, Fresno and Modesto before heading east to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno and Tucson. Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and El Paso are among other western metro areas also in line for one of their top 5 warmest years. (December 30, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/1/2015 - 2015 is going to be a big year for Climate Change. Will COP21 in Paris in December be a great transformation towards humanity’s stewardship of our planet or will we merely watch as critical   benchmarks, irreversible events, unfold?  The top 5 climate science and policy developments to watch in 2015 2014 was a year in which mammoth climate science assessments seemed to appear once a week, and policymakers made an unprecedented (albeit still sluggish) push toward establishing an effective global climate policy framework. The longstanding divide between the industrialized and developing countries over the responsibility to address global warming was partly bridged this year, in a surprising way. After all, who would have thought at the start of 2014 that the U.S. and China would make joint commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? (December 31, 2014) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/31/2014 - Now that DEC has banned Fracking in NYS, they have the bandwidth to enforce new e-waste deadline. This video will change your life: New NY law requires electronic recycling  On January 1, 2015 a New York State law will make it illegal to throw electronics in the trash. It's the last potion of the state's Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse law to take effect. "I would say yes it should generate more volume, how much I can't say," said Mike Whyte, President of Regional Computer Recycling & Recovery, RCR&R, in Victor, N.Y. It's one of the many facilities in the state that will recycle the electronics falling under this law for free. "The variety of electronics is always changing so we're constantly having to figure out new ways to dismantle, new ways to test products," he explained. (December 31, 2014) WHAM [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 12/31/2014 - ACTION:  SIGN THE PETITION: Voice your opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world. The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process. Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests. (December 30, 2014) Senator Bernie Sanders

  • 12/31/2014 - This is the kind of local program to adapt to Climate Change that we must see continually.  It’s a warmer world (I know, It’s freaking 17F as I write this, but it’s climate not weather), let adapt our gardening and all else. "Want to learn about Climate Change and Your Garden?   Want to get in on the fun of gardening at our community garden, Wide Water Gardens?     On Saturday, January 10 at 10:30 a.m. The Monroe Public Library, 809 Monroe Avenue,  will be hosing a garden talk entitled, Gardening in a Warmer World: Climate Change and Your Garden. After the talk (approximately 11:30) we will have open registration for new gardeners."  Wide Water Gardens info@widewatergardens.org

  • 12/31/2014 - The road to COP21 Paris climate talks will be long and USA must lead the way and the world will be watching.  We here in the USA have a tendency to view Climate Change as our annoying little problem, but the world, especially the developing world, does not view Climate Change in this way at all.  They see developed nations like ours who used up the commons (natural resources, air, and oceans) for their development--with little left over for the developing nations to develop. So, from the developing nation’s perspective our intransigence on Climate Change is not acceptable.  Climate change: In 2015, the long march to Paris Agreements on climate change -- to paraphrase what the 19th-century German statesman Otto von Bismarck said about law-making -- are like sausages. It's best not to know how they are made. On December 11 2015, 195 states are scheduled to strike a deal in Paris to curb the fossil-fuel gases imperilling Earth's climate system. The outcome will be determined in the coming months by Bismarck-style sausage-making -- a long, slow grind, and with many questionable ingredients. What emerges will prompt future generations to either praise us for taming the carbon monster or curse us for short-sightedness and greed. The stakes are "nothing less than the shape of the climate regime for the next several decades," says Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a veteran US climate monitor. (December 31, 2014) Egypt Independent [more on Climate Change in this area] 

  • 12/31/2014 - Methane (CO4) as a greenhouse gas makes Carbon Dioxide (CO2) look like a puddle next to a lake. Probably 30 times more potent as a GHG.  “Methane accounts for about 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and the biggest single source of it — nearly 30 percent — is the oil and gas industry, government figures show.” Delaware-size gas plume over West illustrates the cost of leaking methane CUBA, N.M. — The methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near this desert trading post may be colorless and odorless, but it’s not invisible. It can be seen from space. Satellites that sweep over energy-rich northern New Mexico can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and miles of pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” said NASA researcher Christian Frankenberg. The country’s biggest methane “hot spot,” verified by NASA and University of Michigan scientists in October, is only the most dramatic example of what scientists describe as a $2 billion leak problem: the loss of methane from energy production sites across the country. When oil, gas or coal are taken from the ground, a little methane — the main ingredient in natural gas — often escapes along with it, drifting into the atmosphere, where it contributes to the warming of the Earth. (December 29, 2014) The Washington Post [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/31/2014 - Except without cooperation and authority of governments, bottom-up efforts will be ad hoc, insufficient and counterproductive.  Read my “Addressing the Big Lie that there are alternatives to the Paris Climate Conference 2015| World's future climate will depend on people in 2015, not governments Series of increasingly dire warnings about effects of global warming met with inaction by world leaders As the world looks ahead to the signing of a global climate treaty in Paris next year — a year predicted to be the hottest on record after 2014 — a lack of significant pledges to cut carbon emissions by world leaders signals a lack of political will that could be catastrophic for the entire globe. Though the entire world will face the consequences of inaction, it is likely the poorest  will be affected first. Low-lying states like the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific may be drowned by rising seas if climate change is not curbed. Nearby Kiribati is already preparing for a full-scale evacuation of its residents due to climate change. Researchers warned that a hotter world would have a severe impact on agriculture, with global implications for food prices. Scientists warned last month that saving the world as we know it would require leaving up to 85 percent of currently recoverable fossil fuel reserves in the ground. If not, the global average temperature could increase more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius)  over pre-Industrial era temperatures — leading to abrupt climate disruption. (December 25, 2014) Aljazeera American [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/31/2014 - 4 min. video of “THE FUTURE” from a Dot Earth display at the People Climate March. Warning! Very sad. With Warming, ‘The Future’ Isn’t What it Used to Be Dot Earth visitors may recall a photograph of an ice sculpture of “The Future” that ran with my piece on the New York City climate march coinciding with the United Nations summit. Here’s the sculpture’s fate, captured in time-lapse video. The artists who created the piece, Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese, also interviewed passersby. The video will be displayed next month at the Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. (December 23, 2014) DOT Earth NYT [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/30/2014 - Maybe you’re one of those people who don’t believe something unless you can see it with your own eyes: Here’s Climate Change from space. he Year’s 7 Most Telling Climate Images From Space What’s better than a year-end list? A year-end list ... from space. As of July this year, there were 1,235 satellites in operation by countries around the world tracking everything from carbon dioxide to the weather. Throw in the International Space Station and you’ve got one heck of an Earth-observing system circling this fair planet. (December 29, 2014) The Weather Channel  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/30/2014 - Check out who’s been naughty or nice on Climate Change pledges for the COP21 Paris climate treaty. For all the talk about the best way to take action on Climate Change is from the bottom up—cities, states, businesses, countries—find out who is actually stepping up to the plate and making public pledges for emissions reductions, urban environment, energy efficiency, renewable energy, land use, low emissions development, use of carbon price, resilience, non-CO2 greenhouse gases, carbon capture use and storage, and other. I see Portland Oregon, but no Rochester, NY commitment.  Many companies and cities, and states are proving they are willing to make commitments but the numbers must add up to keeping temperatures at (at least) 2C. Rochester should be a part of the worldwide effort to address Climate Change.    Read the press release on the Nazca Climate Action portal: PRESS RELEASE Climate Action Portal to Capture and Catalyze Climate Action in Support of 2015 Agreement Site Spotlights Rapidly Growing Momentum by Cities, Subnational Regions and Companies   Lima, 11 December 2014-- A way to increase the visibility of the wealth of climate action by cities, regions, companies and investors was launched today by the government of Peru. The portal aims to demonstrate the strategic action being taken by ‘non-state actors either individually or as part of cooperative initiatives. The on-line site, developed with the support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has been named the Nazca Climate Action Portal, after the vast ancient lines found in the landscape of Peru. These world-famous works of art depict among other things the agility of the hummingbird, the creativity of the monkey and the soaring ambition of the condor—all key qualities that are needed now and into the future for realizing short and long term climate action. (December 11, 2014) Untied Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/30/2014 - Pope Francis’s characterization of Climate Change as a moral crisis is not ‘environmental radicalism’, it is a moral and physical reality. Great praise for Pope Francis who show great leadership on this worldwide crisis. Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches Pontiff hopes to inspire action at next year’s UN meeting in Paris in December after visits to Philippines and New York He has been called the “superman pope”, and it would be hard to deny that Pope Francis has had a good December. Cited by President Barack Obama as a key player in the thawing relations between the US and Cuba, the Argentinian pontiff followed that by lecturing his cardinals on the need to clean up Vatican politics. But can Francis achieve a feat that has so far eluded secular powers and inspire decisive action on climate change? It looks as if he will give it a go. In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on the subject to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions. (December 27, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/30/2014 - With Republicans set to take over both houses of Congress in January, Climate Change needs Sen. Whitehouse more than ever. Thirteen agencies of our government (Department of AgricultureDepartment of CommerceDepartment of DefenseDepartment of EnergyDepartment of Health & Human ServicesDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of StateDepartment of TransportationEnvironmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics & Space AdministrationNational Science FoundationSmithsonian Institution, and Agency for International Development) not only participated in the findings of the National Climate Assessment, but their actions will be based on this particular study. Congress must not be muzzled on Climate Change by powerful deniers. In 83 Weeks, Sen. Whitehouse Has Urged Climate Action 83 Times  We here at Planet Experts are big fans of Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI). In July, Whitehouse shouldered the thankless burden of explaining science to unrepentant climate denier Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a senator who has called global warming “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.” At the time, Sen. Whitehouse was defending Senate Resolution 524, a measure sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that called for the Senate to simply acknowledge that climate change is real and a potential danger to the United States. (December 29, 2014) Planet Experts [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/29/2014 - Why am I not surprised that a newspaper devoted only to the god almighty dollar disagrees with New York State Fracking ban? Other polls, not so insular and removed from reality, think the Fracking Ban is a good idea. Q Poll: NY voters support fracking ban (December 22, 2014) Politics on the Hudson There have been many studies that suggest Fracking is not good for the public health. Including this just released: Fracking Fumes: Where There's a Well, All is Not Well Now, if jobs are the really the issue, many jobs can be realized by making renewable energy—safe and healthy and not warming the planet—happen.  Many, many more jobs than would ever have come from Fracking. Most readers disagree with fracking ban By a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent, the majority of RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll respondents this week disagreed with the decision to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York.  After years of study by state officials, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s environmental commissioner, Joe Martens, last week said he would ban fracking in the state. The decision followed completion of a review of potential health risks related to fracking, which is used to extract gas deeper than 2,000 feet. In effect, this continues a prohibition on fracking in New York that has existed since the review began some six years ago. The study cited a range of potential but not proven health and environmental risks such as air, water and soil contamination, and earthquakes induced during fracturing. (December 26, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/29/2014 - The Fracking monster has slithered away from New York, but the Crude Oil Transport issue is rearing its ugly head.  Crude Oil Transport With very little public awareness and no study of environmental impacts, the oil industry has made the Hudson Valley into one arm of a dangerous “virtual pipeline” for crude oil that snakes thousands of miles by rail, barge and ship from oil fields in North Dakota, Canada and elsewhere, to refineries on both coasts. The New York State segment of this “virtual pipeline” primarily moves a particularly volatile crude oil by rail from the Bakken shale formation of North Dakota and nearby states and provinces, where oil production has doubled in three years, to the Port of Albany. There, billions of gallons of crude oil can be offloaded onto barges and ships destined for East Coast refineries. Additional trains loaded with crude oil destined for refineries to the south continue along the west side of the Hudson River, through communities in Greene, Ulster, Orange and Rockland counties. Some of these trains carry Canadian tar sands crude bitumen, and there are proposals that would facilitate the shipment of heavy crudes like this by barge as well. Riverkeeper

  • 12/29/2014 - ColorBrightonGreen.org 2015 Winter Film Series  is starting up. Learn about the consequences of Climate Change and more environmental issues your local media isn’t telling you about.  Presents a screening of CHASING ICE   'National Geographic' photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. But through his Extreme Ice Survey, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. In 'Chasing Ice,' we follow Balog across the Arctic as he deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras designed for one purpose: to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers. Balog's hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.   Traveling with a young team of adventurers by helicopter, canoe and dog sled across three continents, Balog risks his career and his well-being in pursuit of the biggest story in human history. As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramp up around the world, 'Chasing Ice' depicts a heroic photojournalist on a mission to gather evidence and deliver hope to our carbon-powered planet.   Wednesday January 21, 2015    6:30 pm Brighton Memorial Library Friends Learning Center   Other upcoming films: Wednesday February 18 – ‘Garbage Warrior’ Wednesday March 18 – ‘Cowspiracy’   For more information, contact: info@colorbrightongreen.org or Cheryl Frank at cherylmfrank@yahoo.com

  • 12/29/2014 - Seems like computer models that try to get a sense of the pace of warming are continually too conservative.  Maybe we ought to plan for the worst--instead of ‘wait and see,’ denial, and all the other excuses we use to ignore the most important crisis of our age.  Greenland ice loss outpaces climate models Most detailed study yet of Greenland ice sheet illustrates complex process causing billions of tonnes to melt every year  Greenland’s ice sheet shrank by an average of 243 billion tonnes a year between 2003 and 2009 – a rate of melting that is enough to raise the world’s sea levels by 0.68 mm per year. In what is claimed as the first detailed study, geologist Beata Csatho, of the University of Buffalo in the US, and colleagues report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they used satellite and aerial data to reconstruct changes in the ice sheet at 100,000 places, and to confirm that the process of losing 277 cubic kilometres of ice a year is more complex than anyone had predicted. The Greenland ice sheet is the second biggest body of ice on Earth − second only to Antarctica − and its role in the machinery of the northern hemisphere climate is profound. (December 29, 2014) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/29/2014 - As the temperatures rise from Climate Change and our population rises (because that’s what it does) basic foods like wheat may become very dear.  Food production on a quickly warming planet is going to get more and more complicated. Warming Will Reduce Wheat Production, Research Shows Global wheat yields are likely to fall significantly as climate change takes hold, new research has shown. The researchers found that wheat production would fall by 6 percent for every 1°C increase in temperatures. The world is now nearly certain to warm by up to 2°C compared with pre-industrial levels, with political efforts concentrated on holding the potential temperature rise to no higher than that limit. But some analyses suggest that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at current rates then warming of as much as 5°C could be in store. In forecasting the effect on wheat production – one of the world’s most important staple crops – the researchers tested 30 computer models against field experiments to establish the most likely scenario. (December 28, 2014) Climate Central {more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/29/2014 - Looks like the best way it to prevent dangerous health effects from Fracking is not to Frack at all. Fracking Fumes: Where There's a Well, All is Not Well After analyzing 24 scientific studies, the Natural Resources Defense Council finds plenty to worry about, from birth defects to deadly effects. Emissions from oil-and-gas production pose a significant threat to human health, and immediate steps must be taken to reduce exposure to the toxic pollution, according to an analysis of scientific studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council. After reviewing the findings of 24 studies conducted by both government agencies and academic organizations, the evidence shows that people living both close to and far from oil-and-gas drilling are exposed to fracking-related air pollution that can cause at least five major types of health problems, according to the NRDC's report, Fracking Fumes. (December 22, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/27/2014 - Excellent news video from WHEC on e-waste Jan. 1 deadline. Folks will abide by this law if they know it will be enforced. This law is very important because immediately after discarded e-waste gets put on the curb scrappers break into the units for valuable metals and leave remains all over your neighborhood—and these remains are very difficult to recycle. What if the public called 311 if they see an old TV or computer on the curb? This might fix the ‘enforcement gap’ in this law.  Electronics recycling law to go into effect January 1 State leaders hope you’ve been recycling electronics for years now, but come January first you won’t have a choice – it will be your responsibility to recycle it. Best Buy is one of the many places across Monroe County where you’ll be able to do that. Jared Rider, the general manager at Best Buy in Henrietta said, “Recycling electronics is going to become what recycling paper was in the 90s eventually. All this stuff gets reused in the newer technology because obviously it's not going to biodegrade in the wasteyards.” This is part of a law that’s been in effect since 2011. Businesses are already required to recycle electronic equipment responsibly. Now the public will be forced to do the same. (December 26, 2014) WHEC [More on Recycling in our area]

  • 12/27/2014 - Got Climate Change concerns baked into your financial investment portfolio? Might want to watch those fossil fuel assets. For those not much interested in the moral or environmental consequences of Climate Change, they might get their interests stirred when their investments start to tank because of the potential "carbon bubble" in the world economy. Australian Super calls on banks to assess climate change risk  One of the country's biggest investors, Australian Super, has asked the chairmen of the nation's biggest banks how they are responding to carbon exposure risk, as lenders face growing pressure over their response to climate change. Australian Super's investment manager for governance, Andrew Gray, said banks needed to give investors comfort that they were "assessing and managing" the risks appropriately. "We've actually engaged with the boards of the banks and have been asking them about this issue themselves," he said. Mr Gray said the discussion had occurred over the past year or so and had been "constructive". "Companies that actually have fossil fuel assets – they would have direct exposure – but banks as financiers of those companies therefore also potentially have exposure," he said. (December 26, 2014) The Sydney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/27/2014 - Banning Fracking in New York State: Those pro-fracking people will never give up as long as there is a buck to be made. On the other hand, the folks fighting the anti-Crestwood blockade north of Watkins Glen aren’t likely to give up either because it’s their health, livelihood, water and environment that’s a stake. WRITE ON: NY’s fracking wars continue The New York decision to ban hydrofracking was a clear victory for the thousands of people that worked hard to convince state authorities this natural gas extraction technology is too dangerous to use. But this one victory is just that — one single victory. Keeping a hydrofracking ban inNew York will be a long, protracted struggle. Opponents are battling an international juggernaut of well-heeled corporations that know mostly how to drill, extract and count profits. But even as celebratory champagne corks popped, hydrofracking proponents were planning a multi-pronged counteroffensive. (December 26, 2014) Finger Lakes Times [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/27/2014 - The continuing struggle to oppose the Texas-based Crestwood corporation’s project to store volatile gases extracted from other states, such as Pennsylvania, in salt caverns along the shores of Seneca Lake. A Report From the Frontlines in the War Against Fracking A mixture of emotions is running through the Finger Lakes region of New York in the wake of Governor Cuomo’s announcement on Wednesday, December 17 to ban hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the state. Residents are relieved to be protected from the health risks and environmental damage produced from fracking. Nevertheless, they are continuing their struggle to oppose the Texas-based Crestwood corporation’s project to store volatile gases extracted from other states, such as Pennsylvania, in salt caverns along the shores of Seneca Lake, which provides drinking water for approximately 100,000 people. Crestwood is seeking to make the Seneca Lake location a hub in its broader infrastructure that supports fracking. Since October of this year, wave after wave of residents comprising the group We Are Seneca Lake (WASL) have practiced non-violent civil disobedience at the gates of the Crestwood facility protesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision permitting the storage of methane in the salt mines. A proposal to store liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is currently before the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The momentum of the uprising has only grown since then. During the week of November 17-21 there were 48 arrests as activists blocked the gates every day. Among those arrested were local residents, business owners, farmers, and wine makers (Seneca Lake is in the center of New York’s agricultural region and its wine country). (December 26-28, 20140 Counterpunch [more on Seneca Lake and Fracking in our area]

  • 12/27/2014 - So, what’s wrong with the TPP? Extreme Secrecy, Threat to Forests, Wildlife, and Fish, Unfettered Rights to Corporations, Increase in Dirty Fracking. Learn more about why the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a bad deal. Obama hopes to enlist GOP in push for trade pact, despite Democratic resistance President Obama is preparing a major push on a vast free-trade zone that seeks to enlist Republicans as partners and test his premise that Washington can still find common ground on major initiatives. It also will test his willingness to buck his own party in pursuit of a legacy-burnishing achievement. Already, fellow Democrats are accusing him of abandoning past promises on trade and potentially undermining his domestic priority of reducing income inequality. The dynamic, as the White House plots strategy for the new year when the GOP has full control of Congress, has scrambled traditional political alliances. In recent weeks, Obama has rallied the business community behind his trade agenda, while leading Capitol Hill progressives, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have raised objections and labor and environmental groups have mounted a public relations campaign against it. (December 26, 2014) The Washington Post

  • 12/27/2014 - Many cities around the country are preparing their communities for the impacts of Climate Change. Rochester, NY? Be nice if our local media began grilling our local leaders and authorities on what is being done in our region to prepare for the probable changes due to Climate Change. One of the things they should be doing and are not doing is educating the public, which, of course, the media isn’t doing either. Here’s what’s already happening in our area due to Climate Change: Real Changes Here’s what predicted for our region due to Climate Change: Likely Changes | States, Cities Brace for Global Warming Fallout SAN FRANCISCO – Eroding beaches and the seawater that laps onto the Embarcadero waterfront during high tide—not to mention severe storm flooding—were sending a clear message to a city surrounded by water on three sides. San Francisco responded in September, when its Capital Planning Committee decreed that in all future construction projects, city and county agencies, including low-lying San Francisco International Airport, must acknowledge the rising sea level and come up with plans to adapt. The sea level around San Francisco rose nearly 8 inches during the last century, and it is projected to rise by as much as 55 additional inches by 2100. In addition to trying to curb the carbon emissions that accelerate global warming, many state and local officials around the country have begun to address warming’s concrete effects, from rising seas to more extreme weather. In the face of resistance from climate change skeptics, their efforts are producing progress, from improved drainage and storm water systems to elevated infrastructure. (December 23, 2014) The Pew Charitable Trusts (more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/26/2014 - Wildlife and landowners, it’s not just about turkeys. When you consider how much land in New York State is privately owned (I don’t know the percentage, but it’s got to be a lot, really a lot) you start to appreciate how much of our state’s wildlife habitats exists on privately owned land.  I would think any attempt to study the state of present-day wildlife populations and plan for sustainable wildlife populations in the future, including planning for how wildlife will adapt to Climate Change, should deeply involve private landowners on a continual basis.  I know, I’ve already raised the hackles of many private property owners because of possible intrusions on their rights as property owners. But if studies like these on wild turkeys are not allowed to be studied on all possible habitats, including private property, how are we going to know the actual state of our wildlife? How can we plan for wildlife adaption to Climate Change if we don’t know where potential environmental corridors can and could exist so wildlife have room to move and adapt? DEC Seeking Landowners To Assist With Wild Turkey Research Wild Turkey Survival Study to Begin in January; Findings Will Improve Wild Turkey Management A third year of a research project on wild turkey survival to help improve the management of this popular game bird will kick off in January, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced. "Wild turkey populations have changed dramatically in New York over the past decade," Commissioner Martens said. "This project will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and harvest to help guide management of this important game species. I encourage landowners that have wild turkey on their property this winter to consider participating in this study." Over the past 10 years wild turkey populations have declined in many parts of New York State. To better understand the factors influencing population changes and how these changes affect turkey management, DEC is beginning the third year of a four-year study. This project will provide wildlife managers with current estimates of harvest and survival rates for female wild turkeys, or hens, in New York and guide management efforts. (December 23, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Wildlife in our area] 

  • 12/26/2014 - The Australian Carbon Tax was freaking working. Though it was yanked to please the fossil fuel industry, we now know it works.  It’s easy to undo the Carbon Tax as Australia has done, but it’s not so easy to undo the knowledge that this tax worked, and can work in other places around the world and that someday (sooner, hopefully than latter) Australia will come to its senses. Australia records biggest emissions drop in a decade as carbon tax kicks in Greens and conservation group say significant drop in annual emissions shows the carbon price, which was scrapped by the Abbott government, was effective Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 1.4% in the second full year of the carbon price – the largest recorded annual decrease in the past decade. Data released by the Department of the Environment (pdf) showed that emissions in the June quarter rose 0.4%. However, annual emissions to June 2014 dropped 1.4%. This period includes the second 12 months of the carbon pricing system, which was introduced by the previous federal government in 2012. The Coalition fulfilled an election pledge by abolishing carbon pricing in July. (December 23, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/26/2014 - Few things can help Capitalism compensate for climate externalities as the Carbon Tax and now we know it works.  The Carbon Tax cannot not only help address Climate Change it can help Capitalism fix a major flaw in its theory—the flaw that views our environment, our life support system, as a magical spring for natural resources. Our environment is not a magical spring, it is a very complicated 4.5 billion year old process that we’ve managed to screw up in a couple of centuries with a hubristic economic theory that distains the very system it and all life on Earth exists on. One of the great worries about adopting a Carbon Tax, the Holy Grail of keeping fossil fuel extraction down, is that once it passes, a politician will come along and undo it. Australian emissions set to soar: new report shows carbontax was working Just two days before Christmas Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt released the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory June quarter update report which shows that Labor's Carbon pricing, abolished in July 2014, was being highly effective at reducing emissions, especially from the electricity generating sector. The Abbott Government wants to bury this story, hence it's release right before Christmas. Carbon tax abolition was, after all, Prime Minister Tony Abbott's greatest achievement as Minister for Women, as we were told. Despite the timing, there was mainstream coverage by the Sydney Morning Herald and in the Guardian, but the details are easily forgotten in the pre-christmas activity and celebrations by most people. Reading the Latest data in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory indicates that in the 2013-2014 year to June 2014 (when the carbon tax was in force) greenhouse gas emissions for the energy - electricity sector were reduced by 4 per cent compared to 2012-2013. The rate of reduction had also accelerated from the previous year. Overall, from all sectors annual emissions reduced by 1.4 per cent. (December 26, 2014) Climate Citizen [more on Climate Change in our area]     

  • 12/26/2014 - Today’s question boys and girls, Will humanity finally wake up and deal with Climate Change in 2015? We hope so, boys and girls, we sincerely hope so.  Drought, Heat and Ice: 2015 Could Be Tipping Point on Climate With 2014 looking like it will go down as the warmest year globally on record, climate scientists now wonder whether 2015 will be the year nations finally take significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They'll have a chance at a climate summit in Paris next December, but the road there goes through two countries: the U.S. and China. The world's biggest carbon dioxide emitters, they've pledged to cut back, and other nations are watching them closely. "I think the big issue in 2015 will be solutions," says Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. (December 25, 2014) NBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/26/2014 - I’ve seen some of these ‘must see’ climate action videos from this year, but not all of them—yet 7 Climate Action Videos from 2014 You Have to Watch You probably remember watching these videos – and then grabbed  your friends, grandma, and random acquaintance and made them also watch. These are the videos that inspired us the most this year – films of incredible people and communities standing up for the climate. (December 2014) 350.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/25/2014 - Please remove any decorations or lights from Christmas trees before recycling them.  This belaboring of the obvious is pretty funny, but I guess the authorities got to mention it because boys and girls there are people who just think the world is their personal garbage can.  We so have to make our environment, our life support system, our top priority.  Monroe County Offers Christmas Recycling Program ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Once Christmas is over, Monroe County is offering people a green way to dispose of their unwanted holiday decorations. Monroe County's ecopark on Avion Dr. will accept unwanted trees, lights, wrapping paper and gift packaging. The county and City of Rochester will accept trees that are brought out on your normally scheduled garbage pick up day. (December 25, 2014) Time Warner News Rochester [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 12/25/2014 - $100 fine if you place e-waste to the curb in NYS after Jan 1st.  Demand that your community enforce this law.  If this new deadline is ignored by the authorities the  e-waste litter and pollution will go on and recycling industry misses a fantastic opportunity to create more jobs and a cleaner environment. This January deadline for homeowners who toss old TV’s and computers at the curb, where scrappers come and smash them for valuable metals and leave them about your neighborhood and also make the remains worthless to recyclers, needs the teeth of an enforceable law. The great big questions is will this new law be enforced, or is it simply greenwashing? Here’s an interesting question: What if you see a discarded TV or computer on the curb and you called 311 after Jan 1st and reported it?  What if everyone did that? Be interesting to see if the ‘enforcement gap’ of this part of the e-waste law gets some teeth. Don't throw away that flatscreen: Electronics recycling law to take effect Jan. 1  If Santa brings you a shiny new laptop, video game console or flat-screen TV, don't toss the old one in the trash. Starting Jan. 1, the final phase of New York's 2010 electronics recycling law takes effect, making it illegal for consumers to throw so-called "e-waste" in the garbage. "Now you have to recycle it," said John Shegerian, CEO of Fresno, Calif.-based Electronic Recyclers International, which provides e-waste recycling services for New York City, Los Angeles and 150 other municipalities across the country. "You need to find a legitimate recycler and get your material to them." Violators can be fined $100. (December 23, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Recycling in our area]   

  • 12/25/2014 - Top climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, who will be appearing at Rochester Sierra Club’s Earth Day forum April 2015 talks about the implications of the “Lima Accords” in “Assuring Real Progress on Climate” Some important considerations.  Must read. “Nations are to define their specific plans prior to a final agreement in Paris in December 2015. No country will be legally bound to a specific reduction, but the hope is that peer pressure will result in both ambitious targets for the general good as well as good faith efforts at compliance.” Assuring Real Progress on Climate In the “Lima Accord”, adopted a week ago in reasonably congenial negotiations in Peru, nearly 200 nations agreed to reduce their fossil fuel emissions from burning of coal, oil and gas. Nations are to define their specific plans prior to a final agreement in Paris in December 2015. No country will be legally bound to a specific reduction, but the hope is that peer pressure will result in both ambitious targets for the general good as well as good faith efforts at compliance. So, are we on the verge of real progress in the fight to stabilize climate and help assure a good future for young people, future generations, and other life on the planet? Nothing in the Accord assures that. If Paris produces only another attempt to “cap” emissions nation by nation, as suggested above, that will be a huge loss of valuable time. We should not despair though. Key players in the discussions know that a rising carbon fee or tax is essential, if global fossil fuel emissions are to decline rapidly. What is unclear is how much leadership and courage exist, so two vastly different outcomes are possible for the Paris Protocol: (December 23, 2014) Dr. James Hansen [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/25/2014 - Banning Fracking in New York State presents a major opportunity to address Climate Change by going renewable energy. Now that we’ve dodged a major environmental challenge to our environment, our health and our climate by NOT Fracking New York, we have opened the door for wind and solar power and micro grids. With more and better battery power, conserving energy, making energy more efficient and updating our energy infrastructure with Cuomo’s existing New York Energy Highway can now accelerate—fixing leaking gas (methane) pipes, support green energy, reducing bottlenecks affecting renewable energy, advance Smart Grid technologies, and providing many jobs. We’ve lost six precious years fighting Fracking in New York, now let’s focus on the provisions of the COP20 Lima climate talks and make major strides in New York for a successful COP21 Paris climate agreement.   BTW: Did I mention more jobs? More jobs than Fracking would have ever provided New Yorkers? The switch to renewable power is a battle we cannot afford to lose The Lima climate talks saw a shift towards action with renewable energy taking centre stage, says the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency Since the final gavel fell at the Lima climate talks earlier this month, discussions have centred on one question: what did the talks actually accomplish? After two weeks of intense negotiation, governments settled on a draft text that will hopefully lead to a successful global climate deal in Paris next December. While opinions vary regarding the success or failure of the outcome, there is another story emerging outside the negotiation room. This year’s conference represented a highly-significant shift in the positive momentum to act on climate change. While negotiators engaged in contentious debates, businesses, non-governmental organisations and local authorities stepped forward to present their own climate initiatives and committed to more action on the ground. In this shift, renewable energy took centre stage. (December 24, 2014) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/24/2014 - Buried in DEC’s “Revisions to List of Species of Greatest Conservation Need” is critical Climate Change component. Here it is way down thin the text: “DEC and species experts also identified the conservation threats to each species, with the most common problems being habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, and climate change.” Rather than list Climate Change last in a litany of concerns for threats to species, Climate Change should be the lens from which the DEC views all these concerns. We should be planning top-down from what we have learned about Climate Change so as to assure that our wildlife and plants and total environment can adapt to and also mitigate Climate Change.  Climate Change isn’t just one of the issues facing our environment, it is the planning mechanism we should be using to determine how to ensure the sustainability of our environment as it warms far faster than it ever has—faster than most animals and plants can adapt.  Until Climate Change is the priority of our environmental actions, we will be flailing away at the symptoms and leaving ourselves blinded to the causes. DEC Announces Revisions to List of Species of Greatest Conservation Need Information Will Help Target Conservation Efforts to Improve Habitat and Maintain Healthy Ecosystems The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) revised the list of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), which includes species that are at risk in New York. DEC developed revisions to the SGCN list in collaboration with numerous species experts and conservation partners. "By identifying those Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New York, DEC and our conservation partners will be better able to focus our conservation resources where they are most urgently needed," said Commissioner Martens. "We are working to identify and eliminate threats such as habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, and invasive species to maintain healthy and balanced ecosystems, which are critical in maintaining our state's fish and wildlife resources." (December 23, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Wildlife, Invasive Species, Plants, and Climate Change in our area]  

  • 12/24/2014 - “Whether you live on the lake or not, you should be concerned about this plan.” Because of Climate Change.  Because of Climate Change the adoption of Plan 2014 is more important than the immediate concerns of shoreline property owners—who by the way could be compensated for by the public. Our ability to protect the greatest freshwater system in the world by fortifying wetlands and keeping the Great Lakes environment strong should take priority. Monroe, Wayne leaders blast lake level plan With the waters of Lake Ontario lapping at the shore behind them, top leaders from Monroe and Wayne counties on Wednesday voiced their strong opposition to a plan that would change regulatory guidelines for the waterway's highs and lows. "Whether you live on the lake or not, you should be concerned about this plan," Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said at a news conference in Webster Park. Of primary concern to Brooks and Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Hoffman is the potential for damage to lakefront properties and infrastructure they say could come if the changes — called Plan 2014 — floated in June by the International Joint Commission are enacted. IJC is a U.S.-Canadian treaty organization that oversees water levels on Lake Ontario, regulating the levels via dams on the St. Lawrence River. The plan needs to be approved by the U.S. and Canadian federal governments before it can be enacted. (December 17, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/24/2014 - But, but Climate Change is a physics issue (you know energy/GHGs/heat) so why is it political in USA?  You know….    It’s amazing how much a lot of money can steer people’s minds from protecting their own self-interests and slavishly devote themselves to an ideology that will only bring them disaster.  There are a lot of challenges ahead to a successful COP21 Paris climate talks, and much of those challenges are unnecessarily nonscientific challenges. Much of our energy will be wasted on battling crazy ideologies backed by billions in subsides—our tax money. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy [year]! ... Meet the US Senate's most important anti-environmentalist James Inhofe believes climate change is a hoax; he even wrote a book saying so. What does Inhofe actually think, and what will it mean for the future? In 2003, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and then-chair of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, took to the Senate floor and asked, “With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people?” More than 10 years of science has been completed since Inhofe first posed his question. Nearly all of it shows climate change is definitely not a hoax. That hasn’t stopped Sen. Inhofe and other conservative politicians from waging a crusade against climate policy and science. Republicans took back the Senate in the November elections. That means Inhofe is headed back to the EPW chairmanship after a seven-year absence. He’s promised to use his position to stop environmental legislation in its tracks and rein in the Environmental Protection Agency. His tenure comes as the EPA gets ready to implementsome of the most sweeping environmental regulations of the past several decades, and as world leaders are gearing up to meet in Paris next year to come to a global agreement to respond to climate change. (December 22, 2014) The Verge [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/24/2014 - Media can make a big difference in the success or failure the COP21 Paris climate talks: Report carbon emission pledges.  The clock is ticking. We have one year until the Paris agreement and from now until then who pledges to reduce their carbon emissions by how much counts. “How the nearly 200 nations will choose to fill in the blanks in the Lima agreement will determine our planet’s average temperatures in 20, 50, and 100 years.” This is not a year for ‘wait and see’; this is a year where we must demand that our leaders pledge that our greenhouse gas emission be contained at a sustainable level. Feedback on that progress, continually reporting on how the numbers are adding up should be a major role of the media for the next year. MAD LIBS: THE LIMA CLIMATE SUMMIT WAS [ADJECTIVE] How these countries fill in the blanks in the Lima climate agreement will dictate our future. “A game of Mad Libs.” That’s how an anonymous negotiator predicted the climate change agreement, which was finalized yesterday in Lima, Peru, would come out. It’s a bit flippant to liken the document designed to prevent an environmental dystopia to a children’s word game. When presented with a blank space for their carbon emissions commitments, one wonders whether climate change foot-draggers like Australia or Canada will be tempted to write in “gonads” or something similar. Nevertheless, a climate change Mad Lib is essentially what we got—and that’s not allbad. There was never any chance that the midlevel apparatchiks from 196 countries would hammer out a grand climate change bargain, especially since past summit failures left them with no obvious starting point. Instead, they drafted a set of ideas and left many blanks (read the full agreement here) in the hopes that when the nations come together in Paris next November, they will have the framework necessary to replace the expiring 1997 Kyoto Protocol. (December 17, 2014) On Earth [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/24/2014 - The Fracking war and the battle for New York, history was made on December 17th, 2014. The Fracking Fight Spreads—and Spreads Apart From tiny towns to superstates, the battle lines were redrawn in 2014, with pockets of dissension showing in the ranks. This was the year the anti-fracking movement multiplied, diversified and suffered some growing pains. It was also the year the energy industry pushed back hard, spending millions on anti-fracking election campaigns, recruiting experts on public relations for messaging help and filing lawsuits against successful bans. At least 20 towns, counties and states across the country closed their borders to fracking and fracking waste in 2014.  Most recently, on Dec. 17, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York is banning fracking—becoming the first state to do so. Activists around the country, from California to Colorado to Washington, D.C. hailed the move. (December 24, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/23/2014 - Waiting to see how consumers respond to the new e-waste law is good idea, but planning for its failure would be prudent. Folks should want to properly recycle waste, especially hazardous e-waste before it gets gutted and stripped at the curbside, but in reality a lot of folks will not take the trouble. This new step in the NYS e-waste law is likely to produce no changes in recycling behavior unless the City and county and state take their own law seriously. There are a lot of ways to dispose of e-waste properly and until the state, county, and City comes out with reports, we won’t actually know what percent are actually complying. If ‘wait and see’ and ‘a collaborative effort‘’ really works, they would have done so by now.  This excellent report is a major step in the public knowing about this new deadline and maybe it will work. But as President Reagan said, “Trust but verify.”  No electronics in trash Jan. 1 Starting Jan. 1, New York state consumers will be legally barred from throwing out old computers, television sets and video-game consoles with their household trash. The curbside prohibition is the final phase in the state's electronic-waste recycling law, which since April 2011 has led to the diversion of tens of millions of tons of discarded electronics from New York landfills. Display screens and tubes, and the plastic-and-metal guts of electronic devices, harbor a variety of toxic metals and chemicals, and burial in a landfill creates the risk of leaks somewhere down the road. So the state Legislature adopted the e-waste recycling law, which put the onus on manufacturers such as Vizio and Hewlett Packard to set up and pay for programs to recycle used electronic products. This led to establishment of countless permanent and temporary collection sites around the state at retail outlets, private companies, municipal facilities, churches and other places. (December 22, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 12/23/2014 - What is a ‘faucet snail’ and why should you care if this hitherto unknown Great Lakes invasive species is wreaking havoc? We cannot assume entirely what the consequences of Climate Change will be in our area if our knowledge of our local environment is riddled with unknowns. Invasive species and how they radiate out into our environment will affect how our environment works and how it responds to Climate Change—which is why we should have a complete picture of our present environment before we assume we know all the consequences of Climate Change in our region.  Faucet snail? Climate Change is about planning and we cannot plan if we don’t know what our present environmental baseline is. That takes research and constant monitoring. We’re not there yet. Invasive snail population grows in the Great Lakes Waterfowl die-offs cause concerns  With the focus on Asian carp in recent years, some Great Lakes researchers fear the scientific community is losing sight of much smaller invaders from other continents that also pack a big punch. One in particular is the tiny faucet snail. A native of Europe, it has parasites that kill waterfowl such as ducks, scaup, and coots, the latter of which is a bird that Toledoans and others across North America affectionately call the mud hen. If you haven’t heard of the faucet snail, you’re not alone. Only a half-inch long and taking on the look of an ordinary snail, it has somehow kept a low-enough profile to elude many experts for decades, even though U.S. Geological Survey records show it was likely introduced into Lake Michigan back in 1870, presumably via ship ballast water. Now, as part of a massive five-year study in which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is spending $10 million to have 10 universities assess the health of Great Lakes coastal wetlands, researchers are learning the faucet snail is expanding its range across the region. (December 21, 2014) The Toledo Blade [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/23/2014 - ACTION: Help monitor changes in our environment with one of the best monitors ever—birds.  Join the Great Backyard Bird Count February 13-16, 2015 The Great Backyard Bird Count "Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Since then, more than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. We invite you to participate! Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 13-16, 2015.You can count from any location, anywhere in the world! If you’re new to the count, first register online then enter your checklist. If you have already participated in another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you can use your existing login. "

  • 12/23/2014 - Fracking ban in NYS shouldn’t divide scientists on Climate Change because the coal-to-gas link is an economic assumption, not science. The notion that because “Natural gas produced from shale is likely to help reduce U.S. reliance on coal-fired power plants for electricity generation” might be a ‘likely’ assumption if you are an economist, but it’s not a scientific argument. (Actually, establishing a Fracking natural gas infrastructure means you’re locked into this unlikely bridge fossil fuel option for decades, instead of establishing a renewable energy network.) We shouldn’t expect our scientific climate experts to connect the ‘likely’ dots society needs to take from dirty fuels (or dangerous options like nuclear for that matter) to renewable options. Their expertise is in what energy options affect our climate, not how to move society to these better options. Moving from coal and gas to wind and solar is the job of politicians, the public, and economists and business leaders, not scientists. NY Fracking Ban Divides Experts on Climate Impacts A lot of shale gas is going to stay locked under New York State, maybe as much as 9 trillion cubic feet of the stuff. That’s because New York just became the first energy-rich state to ban the method of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to extract natural gas found in underground shale formations. The ban came at about the same time that the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick officials said they’d prevent shale gas development, too. Those regions banned fracking solely for health reasons. But experts agree one of the broader ramifications of this week’s actions may be on the climate. Those experts, however, are divided on what the implications of the ban are. Natural gas produced from shale is likely to help reduce U.S. reliance on coal-fired power plants for electricity generation even as research shows that relying on natural gas to wean the country away from coal releases large amounts of methane into the atmosphere and could be an impediment to renewables development. (December 22, 2014) Climate Central [more on Fracking and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/23/2014 - Peer-pressure-based-emissions-after COP20-Lima-accounting system ain’t going to work if you leave gaping holes a plane can fly through.  Why instead of allowing each country to report its own greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), using its own measures, don’t we add a satellite system that measures GHGs from an eye in the sky? I know, it’s hard, expensive and stinks of Big Brother. But if we are really serious about bringing down GHG emissions, we cannot be fudging the numbers. Leaving out stuff like planes and ships is like leaving out the emissions of entire countries. Tell me Lima wasn’t just another delaying tactic.  Planes and ships escape scrutiny in bottom-up climate regime  International aviation and shipping are not mentioned in the Lima call for climate action, despite growing emissions  The new international approach to tackling climate change, reinforced at this month’s Lima talks, counts on national governments responding to peer pressure. Some are optimistic this heralds a race for the top; others argue it allows rich countries to duck their historic responsibilities. However you rate the chances this bottom-up approach will spur countries into more ambitious action, it does nothing to curb emissions outside national boundaries. International shipping and aviation, with substantial and growing emissions, fall through the gaps. (December 22, 2014) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/22/2014 - Don’t lie to your kids about Christmas. Listen to them that action Climate Change must take priority over frivolity if Christmas means anything. Our youth get Climate Change because they don’t want a world that is too warm for Christmas. Pledge to Be a Climate Leader "My name is Itzcuauhtli (Eat-Squat-Lee), and I am an 11-year-old indigenous eco hip-hop activist withEarth Guardians. Over the past year I’ve learned more about the urgency of our climate crisis and I worry about what kind of world my generation will be left with if we don’t cap carbon emissions and switch to clean, safe, renewable energy. I was tired of being ignored by our world leaders, so on Oct. 27, I went on a 45-day silence strike for climate action. What came next gave me hope! I saw people all over the world joining in and pledging to be climate leaders. We’ve been waiting for our leaders to solve this problem but now I see that we are the real leaders." (December 20, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/22/2014 - What is Divestment from fossil fuels and why does it matter? Remember February 13-14 is Global Divestment Day “February 13 and 14: Divest from fossil fuels. Together, we will show that we are a truly global and growing force to be reckoned with. As the fossil fuel industry throws more money at fossil fuel expansion, we will turn up the volume of our divestment movement. And we won’t stop until we win. Join us for Global Divestment Day on February 13 and 14 and together, let’s make fossil fuels history.” Divestment from fossil fuels: a critical appraisal Divestment is strictly the selling up of all fossil fuel share holdings. However it is currently difficult to decide which fossil should have priority for this though gas is widely, though probably inaccurately, considered to be of less priority than the other fossil fuels, or even exempt from divestment*. A wider debate concerning the ethics of any form of investment is outside the scope of this communication. Four main reasons have been suggested for divesting from fossil fuels: 1. It is morally right. 2. Fossil fuel shares are volatile, overvalued and risky. 3. Divestment sends a strong message to fossil fuel companies, banks that finance them, governments that subsidise them, and to the public, helping to strip the companies of their enormous and undemocratic political power. 4. It could reduce fossil fuel production and emissions which would be good for both climate and environment.  (December 19, 2014) Feasta

  • 12/22/2014 - Which then leads us to ask, What would Rochester, NY future look like if took Climate Change seriously? There are many things Rochester should be doing and many things they are doing to prepare for Climate Change, but it’s still not fashionable to talk about this or to mention it in the local press.  Too bad because when it is fashionable it might be too late to actually matter. Climate Change means planning and you cannot plan if you can’t even mention Climate Change in our area. What might the future look like if we took climate change seriously?new analysis lays out several detailed “pathways” to a low-carbon future for the United States, and offers practical guidance for policy makers. The bottom line finding is thatthere are multiple ways we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with known technologies and with an incremental cost equivalent to less than 1 percent of gross domestic product. But the choices we make in the short term matter a lot if we want to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. This work is important because the negotiations in Lima last week set a positive directionfor the international climate agreement planned for next December in Paris. As the United States considers its strategy, it is important to reflect on what it would take – on a nuts and bolts level – to meet an aggressive climate target. This includes talking about sources of energy, power lines, industrial facilities, homes and buildings, cars and trucks and the fuels they run on – the physical infrastructure necessary to massively reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. (December 19, 2014) NRDC Switchboard [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/22/2014 - Of course, most Americans wouldn’t be clueless about how Climate Change will affect their health if their leaders and media did their job.  In the Rochester, NY are you cannot connect the dots between the local health effects of Climate Change in the local media, at the City of Rochester, or the County of Monroe, or even the New York State Department of health—unless you type “climate change’ into the DOH’s search box. Then you will eventually get to this secret page: “Health Impacts from Weather and Climate Most Americans are clueless about how climate change will affect their health Americans aren’t thinking much about the effects climate change will have on their health, a new Yale study finds. But at least the White House is starting to. Back in October, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication surveyed 1,275 Americans about their views on global warming. Yesterday, the organization announced that very few of those they spoke to — only 3 in 10 — had thought a “moderate amount” or a “great deal” about how climate change will impact health. Most hadn’t considered the matter. Less than a fifth of all Americans could come up with a way in which climate change is affecting health, or could name which groups would be most vulnerable. (Of course, according to separate Yale survey, 19 percent of Americans don’t accept that climate change is happening at all.) Even many respondents who recognized that climate change poses health threats didn’t understand which threats were likely to affect American communities in the next 10 years. For example: (December 16, 2014) Grist [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/22/2014 - If climate scientists are alarmed by Climate Change, why aren’t you? Local media, local leaders, politicians, and many Rochesterians don’t seem alarmed about Climate Change at all (or even interested), yet most climate scientists are alarmed about our complacency in the face of a real danger that need major planning.  It’s very odd.  It’s like your car mechanic saying you shouldn’t drive your car any more until it gets fixed, and you say, “Bye, I’m going shopping.”  9 Things Scientists Did This Year To Ensure A Better Climate Future While in many ways this was the year of “I’m not a scientist” — a refrain used by politicians to eschew responsibility for an issue they’ve decided doesn’t behoove them or their donors — actual scientists were working hard, and mostly behind the scenes, to address an issue they see as preeminent to the future well-being of humankind. Ninety-seven percent of scientists already agree that global warming is driven by human activity and the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. While politicians work to obscure this consensus, scientists are working to better understand the implications of climate change and how to best deal with them through adaptation, mitigation, and innovation. If the year in climate science had to be summed up, the key takeaway would be that action now to reduce emissions and prevent catastrophic warming is still affordable, cheap even, while delayed action is costly in myriad ways. (December 15, 2014) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/20/2014 - Watched “Gasland” last night; New York State so dodged a catastrophe when Cuomo banned Fracking. An incredible opportunity to begin a full effort for renewable energy was lost for six years in our state because the Fracking debacle hijacked our focus on Energy in a time of Climate Change.  The media played impotent host to an unnecessary battle between New Yorkers, instead of informing the public about Climate Change and the dangers or more fossil fuels and what our politicians and authorities should be doing to address this worldwide crisis. With global temperature moving in the red zone, our media needs to adapt.  Fracking banned in New York Environmentalists are celebrating after Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there will be no hydrofracking in New York for now, citing inconclusive scientific evidence on the health effects of the gas drilling process. Cuomo’s acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker says as he examined numerous completed and still ongoing studies on fracking’s effects on drinking water, air quality and other health issues,  several “red flags” were raised, and he says he has “identified significant health risks in the current data” that have not been  answered by conclusive long term studies with “large population pools.” “I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” Zucker concluded. He says his decision on whether to endorse fracking really came down to one key question. “Would  I let my child play in the school field nearby (a drilling well), or let my family drink the water from the tap?” Zucker asked. “After looking at the plethora of reports, my answer is no.” (December 17, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/20/2014 - Solving Invasive species issues during Climate Change is going to a very thorny problem because as our environment changes, invasives may do better filling an environmental niche than an endemic species.  Not to mention with issues like the Zebra mussel which came upon us so fast and is so invasive that to extract them completely is impossible. Some like the Purple Loosestrife and the Mute Swan are so beautiful that is hard to see them as invasives.  Wouldn’t it be better to bring our Climate Change studies into the open, to the public and to the media, so we can view and attempt to solve thorny issues through the lens of Climate Change, instead of ad hoc measures we are doing now that only create factions and endless court battles? If we don’t bring Climate Change to the forefront, we are going to be fighting issues like the Mute Swan as if it only exists in a bubble, not in a warming world where the preservation of our life support system gets top priority.  At some point, as Climate Change is physics, the need to address all our environmental issues will become obvious, but the chance to solve them may have passed.  Cuomo vetoes bill to halt eradication of mute swans Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have put a halt to state plans to eradicate a species of swan. Cuomo vetoed the measure late Wednesday that called for a moratorium on the state Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed management plan for mute swans. In December 2013, the DEC released a draft plan that called for eradication of the swans, which the agency says is an invasive species. There are an estimated 2,200 free-ranging mute swans in New York. The DEC said the birds cause damage to certain habitats and can be aggressive toward people, among other negative impacts. (December 19, 2014) Poughkeepsie Journal [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 12/20/2014 - Why would EPA’s new coal ash standards be a setback for environmental groups and not the public? Humm… Is it because only environmental groups are harmed by coal ash? Can the media only characterize potential hazardous waste issues to all of us as a battle only between the fossil fuel industry and the ‘environmentalists’? At this late date, where Climate Change rules now, can we still believe that there are those who believe that our environment is a magical spring of energy and natural resources and those who believe that our environment is our life support system—and the media is somewhere in the objective middle looking down on the squabbles as gods? Are we going to continue to frame environmental issues as only struggles between idealists who want to keep our environment pure and those who are practical and think an unfettered, unlimited use of our environment is the only reality we know? Idealists are those who think our present squandering of our greatly compromised environment can continue on indefinitely with a media that can only look on while Earth burns. EPA Coal Ash Standards a Setback for Environmental Groups Six years ago, there was a massive spill of coal ash sludge in Tennessee. Three years later, tons of coal ash swept into Lake Michigan. Last February, there was another spill and gray sludge spewed into the Dan River in North Carolina. With each disaster, environmentalists sounded alarms and called for the byproduct of burning coal to be treated as hazardous waste. On Friday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyreleased the first standards for the coal-burning waste, but they were hardly what environmental groups were hoping for. The EPA ruled that the ash can be treated like regular garbage, meaning regulating the stuff will be left up to states and watchful citizens. "We had to go to court to force EPA to issue this first-ever coal ash rule, and unfortunately, we will be back in court to force coal plants to clean up their ash dumps and start disposing of their toxic waste safely," said EarthJustice attorney Lisa Evans (December 20, 2014) ABC News   

  • 12/20/2014 - “… Arctic has warmed twice as fast as the lower latitudes…” proving those non-binding, voluntary agreements don’t work. For all the talk about the best way to solve Climate Change from the bottom up, from grassroots efforts, the reality is that they are not slowing down global warming at a rate and/or scale that is doing any good.  There are a lot of folks doing a lot of stuff to address Climate Change in a lot of communities, but obviously it’s not enough. Good intensions and heart felt promises by a relative few will not bring down global temperatures.  If 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris turns into non-binding mush, it’s because humanity was unable to lay down the law. Persistent Warming Driving Big Arctic Changes SAN FRANCISCO — Not every year can be a record setter. But records are only one small piece of a larger puzzle that shows persistent change in the Arctic. And that change hasn’t slowed according to this year’s Arctic Report Card released at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting on Wednesday. Long-term trends in rising temperatures, spiraling sea ice loss, and ecosystem shifts paint a picture of a region in transition due to climate change that is transpiring at a much faster rate than the rest of the globe. “We continue to see the impact of a persistent warming trend on the Arctic,” Jacqueline Richter-Menge, a scientist at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, said. “The fact that we have that persistence (in observations) lets us see those signals become stronger.” (December 17, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 12/19/2014 - National Hockey League (NHL) takes Climate Change seriously enough to do something about it—shouldn’t Rochester’s media? They didn’t even pass on reports of the COP20 Lima climate talks last week. Which is to say the public doesn’t take Climate Change seriously, and our leaders and authority don’t feel pressed to do something—not even inform the public on what they are doing to address this issue locally.  Rochester is in deep Climate Change denial. National Hockey League Checks Climate Change But the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that it’s partnering with energy services company Constellation to offset its carbon footprint in all 30 of its markets. “In keeping with its priorities to reduce its environmental impact and accelerate a greater movement toward a healthier planet, Constellation will work with the NHL to conduct energy efficiency analyses and recommend energy management strategies for the league’s facilities,” said the announcement. “At the NHL’s request, Constellation will also provide Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Carbon Offsets to match the league’s estimated total carbon footprint—550,000 metric tons—for the 2014-15 season.” Admittedly, it’s not a very large carbon footprint. But the league hopes that it can raise awareness among its fans of the need to pay attention the impact of our actions on the climate. It will be promoting efficient energy use at major events in the upcoming season including the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. (December 18, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/19/2014 - With a milquetoast COP20 Lima talks and high-profile climate deniers worming their way to high office, the road to Paris 2015 is going to be long indeed. Between now and December of next year, when the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris takes place to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world, many changes must occur.  One of those changes (admittedly not a small one) is that humanity must morph into environmentalists all. There are no winners in a world that’s too warm to live. We must change and do so quickly. The People Have Spoken: This Is The Most Brazen Lie Of 2014 Earlier this year, readers of the Tampa Bay Times’ fact-checking project PolitiFact were asked to vote on what they believe was the year’s biggest lie. And as of Wednesday, theresults are in: “Climate change is a hoax” was the overwhelming choice. Over nine other options, almost 32 percent of the PolitiFact’s 14,467 poll voters chose the “hoax” claim, which was the title of a video released this summer by failed congressional candidate Lenar Whitney. Whitney, who proclaimed herself as one of themost conservative members of Louisiana’s state Legislature, released a 5-minute tirade against climate scientists and the existence of global warming. To prove her point, Whitney stated that the earth is getting colder, that there is a record amount of sea ice in the Arctic, and that climate scientists have been proven to actively falsify their data. (December 18, 20140 Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/19/2014 - By banning Fracking in New York State, Cuomo really acted on reducing methane pollution from gas. Lots more to go, but this was an important benchmark. America Agrees That It’s Time to Act on Methane Pollution From Oil and Gas There’s not much in Washington these days that Americans can agree on. But a new poll released last week by the American Lung Association found that a large majority of voters would support EPA regulations requiring the oil and natural gas industry to cut methane pollution in half by 2020. This comes as EPA nears a decision – likely in the coming weeks — on whether to tackle the growing problem of unregulated methane pollution from the oil and gas sector. It’s a big decision. Reducing methane pollution from the oil and gas sector by half would save close to $1 billion a year in wasted energy and, over a 20-year time frame, cut climate pollution equivalent to closing about 90 coal-fired power plants. (December 18, 2014) Environmental Defense Fund [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/19/2014 - Lots of Climate Change activity in 2014 but the take home message is that our chances of staying under 2C are slim.  One thing we should remember: if we don’t keep our global temperatures below 2C, it won’t be just the environmentalists that lose.  The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: How The World Fought Climate Change (Or Didn’t) In 2014 Getting meaningful action to address climate change out of the United States’ political system has been a bit like pulling teeth. Denial that human activity is driving global warming runs higher among Americans than in any other advanced country, and is rife in Congress. Despite our wealth, we’re one of the few advanced western nationswithout a price on greenhouse gas emissions. And the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new effort to cut the nation’s emissions, while significant in its own right, is less ambitious than equivalent efforts in Europe, not to mention politically and legally embattled. Still, President Obama sought to put the U.S. at the forefront of the global effort to address climate change this year, taking more action than any president in the country’s history. And America is far from the only player here. Countries like China and the members of the European Union are big contributors to global emissions, and are deeply involved in the international discussion about what the world can do about them. So here are the big climate moves — good, bad and ugly — from around the world this year: (December 18, 2014) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/18/2014 - New York State banning Fracking can be viewed as a responsible response to addressing Climate Change and protecting our own.  It would have been the height of absurdity and hypocrisy for the state of New York to pass Fracking (a major fossil fuel leaker of methane) and at the same time try and save New York City from the consequences of rising seas and strong hurricanes. Cuomo did the right thing—finally. Those who fought the freaking Fracking threat for six years in New York State are heroes. But let us stop our efforts to address Climate Change and evolve from historical battles between ‘them and us’ because in Climate Change is all ‘us’. There is no win if we don’t bring down greenhouse gases—this is the nature of addressing Climate Change. Even continuing to battle amongst ourselves is time we can no longer squander. NYC Tops List for Seeing Increased Storm Outages | Hurricane Sandy left Lower Manhattan completely dark, eerily bereft of the electricity that keeps New York City buzzing 24 hours a day. Across town, 34,000 people living in the Rockaways, an exposed spit of land that acts as a barrier island, were left without power for weeks when the storm hit in October 2012. On the heels of that devastation comes a new study that says New York City is among the cities most sensitive to increasing hurricane intensity, making it more likely that major hurricanes will cut off power to even more people, fueled in large part by climate change. (December 17, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/18/2014 - Our Great Lakes should not have to endure an environmental catastrophe when outdated fossil fuel pipelines get breached. Our life support system seems always at threat from fossil fuel pipeline, rails, drilling and storage. We must change quickly from the constant threat of an energy form that heats the planet and threatens every aspect of our environment with its infrastructure.  Must we really pit our existence with a choice between business as usual fossil fuel and renewable because we won’t address Climate Change?  Really?  We’d rather not change and die? Really? Pinhole-Sized' Pipeline Leak Raises Great Lakes Fears Enbridge officials say leak is a design flaw; state officials say it underscores the need for the energy giant to stabilize aging pipeline. Environmental officials are worried about a pinhole-sized leak and what it says about the integrity of a petroleum pipeline that runs across the Upper Peninsula and under the Straits of Mackinac, connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The small leak was discovered during a scheduled Dec. 8 inspection of the 61-year-old Line 5 pipeline. Because of it, an undetermined amount of natural gas liquid was dispersed into the atmosphere north of Manistique, near the Indian River, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Tuesday. Officials with the Canadian oil giant Enbridge, which operates the Line 5 pipeline, said the natural gas didn’t escape because of a leak, but because of a “pinhole-sized defect, observed in the weld of the pipe,” the Detroit Free Press reports. (December 17, 2014) Rochester-Rochester Hills Patch [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/18/2014 - The move to ban Fracking in New York State, decided by Governor Cuomo and won with the hard work of dedicated activists, is a great victory for the people of New York. While this Fracking threat of more dangerous, unhealthy fossil fuel extraction hijacked our precious time in New York from moving quickly to renewable energy, there is still time. Still time to press for a wholesale change in our energy infrastructure towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuel energy by stopping the massive increase in fossil fuel by rail across our state and the storage of LNG gas near Seneca Lake. The Fracking battle in New York should have never happened.  We should not have to fight amongst ourselves to have a sustainable existence. The recent COP20 Lima climate talks have given us a year to make a substantial greenhouse gas reduction agreements in COP21 Paris 2015. Stopping New York from becoming a major injection of more fossil fuel was very important. But we are not going to be able to keep global temperatures down to a livable level if we can only achieve this by constantly battle ourselves over fossil fuels.  We don’t have time.  Fracking ruled out in NY  After more than six years of review, fracking is on the outs in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration said Wednesday it will move to ban large-scale hydraulic fracturing throughout the state, citing concerns over human health risks and questioning the economic benefits of the controversial technique used to release natural gas from underground shale formations. The move by the state's top health and environmental regulators is the culmination of a decision-making process that has stretched through more than six years, two governors, several layers of review, numerous missed deadlines and countless protests and rallies across the state. It represents a major victory for fracking critics, many of whom have trailed Cuomo at events for the past four years. Supporters of fracking, including the natural-gas industry, assailed Cuomo for not following the lead of at least 30 states and promised to assess their legal options. (December 17, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle  [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/17/2014 - Hopeful as many articles are about how COP20 Lime climate talks were (mostly because climate talks didn’t crash altogether and the ‘wall’ between developing nations and developed nations has broken down) there is the fact that trend for more warning is going on unabated. Greenhouse Gas Increases Are Leading to a Faster Rate of Global Warming New Worldwatch Institute analysis examines trends in greenhouse gas emissions and reduction efforts Washington, D.C.—According to the most recent estimates, 2014 emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main contributor to global climate change, are projected to be 2.5 percent higher than 2013 levels, which translates into the release of 37 billion additional tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. As negotiators wrap up their talks at the international climate conference in Lima, Peru, there is no indication that this trend will change soon. Scientists estimate that future emissions should not exceed 1,200 billion tons of CO2, in order to keep Earth's temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius and to avoid severe and irreversible environmental effects. Yet at the current rate of emissions, this remaining “quota” would be used up in less than a generation, writes Joel Stronberg, contributing author for the Worldwatch Institute’s (www.worldwatch.org) Vital Signs Online.  As in 2013, the primary emitters in 2014 from the combustion of fossil fuels are expected to be China (28 percent), the United States (14 percent), the European Union (10 percent), and India (7 percent). In emissions per person, however, the United States ranks first with more than twice the per capita emissions of China, ranked second. There is a continued geographic shift in emissions from industrialized to developing countries. (December 17, 2014) Worldwatch Institute [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/17/2014 - How is Climate Change going to affect New York State? Ask the Lake Trout. They ‘like’ deep cold water and there will be less of it. Of course, as with most issues with Climate Change, it’s not about the fish, it’s about what they are telling us about the new normal. New York: Dwellers of the Deep What Lake Trout Can Teach Us About Climate Change Since the retreat of the glaciers 10,000 years ago, the top native predator in Adirondack waters has been lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush). The large, slow-growing fish inhabits the coldest, deepest lakes of the Adirondacks. Its species name, namaycush, is believed to be an Algonquin term for “dweller of the deep.” As the longest-lived member of the salmon family, it’s not unusual for lake trout to live 20 years or longer. Now they are helping us learn important lessons about climate change. Why study lake trout? Lake trout require very cold (colder than 55°F), clean, high-oxygen water. They serve as a sentinel for change, bringing to light otherwise invisible changes in water quality. A decline can signal stress among lesser-known species such as cisco and round whitefish. How will climate change affect lake trout? Mean annual air temperature in the eastern Adirondacks warmed by 2.1°F between 1976 and 2005, according to a 2010 report by the Adirondack and Vermont chapters of The Nature Conservancy. The range of anticipated additional warming in northern New York over this century is 6–11°F. Episodes of heavy rain have been more frequent in the past four decades than in the early 1900s. The Nature Conservancy [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/16/2014 - Buffalo news at least passes on articles about COP20 Lima climate talks, but not Rochester. Whats Up That? So, right next door in Buffalo, the media isn’t afraid to at least pass on articles from other media about this historic climate talk in Lima from the AP or NYT, but in Rochester’s media there’s nary a word.  This is a serious problem. We cannot even ask the question of our authorities about what they are doing to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change in our region. When our local press is too timid to inform the public about this worldwide crisis, the public fails to understand the importance of their role in planning right now. Our public health, and our water, telecommunications, waste, and transportation infrastructures need adapting and that’s going to need long-term support (election year after election year) from the public. We are in serious Climate Change denial in Rochester, NY and that means we are not planning for the inevitable. Most in Rochester don’t have a clue about local adaptions to Climate Change. Shame on the local media. Demand they continually report on Climate Change.  At UN climate talks, a crack in rich-poor barrier A last-minute deal that salvaged U.N. climate talks from collapse early Sunday sends a signal the rich-poor divide that long held up progress can be overcome with a year to go before a landmark pact is supposed to be adopted in Paris. Still, it remains to be seen whether governments can come up with a new formula for how countries in different stages of development should contribute in a way that keeps global warming from reaching dangerous levels. "This issue will be contentious and it will need to be worked through all the way to Paris," U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said after the marathon talks in Lima finished, more than 30 hours behind schedule. (December 14, 2014) Buffalo News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/16/2014 - This is a Fracked Pennsylvania. New York is this what you want?  Natural Gas Infrastructure in PA "This map shows natural gas infrastructure in Pennsylvania. Using this map, you can view natural gas facilities and pipelines, as well as report pollution directly to state and federal agencies. "

  • 12/16/2014 - The trouble with the secret scheme to transport tons of dangerous fossil fuels through New York is incompetency. Even if ‘we the people’ had been asked if it would be a good idea to trek tons of dangerous fossil fuel through our state in a time of Climate Change, and we approved, we would have had a chance to insist that it be done on a rail system and tank cars especially retrofitted or designed to do this sort of thing. Obliviously, we weren’t asked and now everyone is playing catch up—before we are train bombed. Inspectors find 100 defects on crude oil trains, tracks A broken rail, defective train car wheels and missing bolts on the tracks were among some of the problems state and federal teams found during its most recent round of statewide inspections of oil trains and the rail lines they use. They identified 100 defects, including eight safety defects that require immediate action, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said in a release. Inspection teams from the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration on Dec. 9 examined 704 crude oil tank cars and about 95 miles of track as part of the state’s on-going response to a surge in rail shipments of Bakken crude across nearly 1,000 miles of New York. (December 15, 2014) LoHud [more on Energy in our area]

  • 12/16/2014 - It matters: The debate on liquid propane gas near Seneca Lake. Connections: The Debate on Liquid Propane Gas Storage in FLX More than 100 people have been arrested since October at the sight of a proposed expansion of liquid propane gas storage (LPG) near Seneca Lake. Many of the recent arrests are prominent business owners. The owners of a new high-wattage wine project -- one from California, one from Germany -- now say that if they had known this LPG project was going forward, they probably would have skipped coming to the Finger Lakes. So why has it gotten so heated? What's the latest development? We've invited Crestwood Energy to join us. So far, no response, but they've given statements to other media outlets. We've also reached out to state lawmakers. Our guest for this topic are: Will Ouweleen, owner of O-Neh-Da Vineyards Joseph Campbell, Gas Free Seneca Phil Davis and Lou Damiani, co-owners of Damiani Wine Cellars (December 15, 2014) WXXI Connections [more on Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 12/16/2014 - Been thinking that now coal is bad, gas leaks too much methane, so at least we have hydroelectric to help with Climate Change? Think again. Check out this 12-minutue video “Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers.” Dams, of which there are now over 75,000 in the US alone, are not your beaver’s dams. They are bigger, there are considerably more of them than even a hundred years ago, and they have a myriad negative effects on our life support system. Building more dams during Climate Change could be catastrophic. We really need to rethink Dams.  In fact, you may want to check out this incredible new documentary (which you can now stream on Netflix) DamNation “This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.” http://damnationfilm.com/   

  • 12/16/2014 - If Greenland’s ice cap is melting from the top to bottom and bottom to top too and a total melt will raise sea levels 20ft and it’s unstoppable … Greenland’s Ice Sheet Shifts Could Speed Melt New discoveries in Greenland’s warming ice sheet tell a chilling tale of change in its depths. Mysterious under-snow lakes pockmarking its edges and deep layers of ice at higher elevations both point to changes that could hasten melt and send water cascading into the ocean, pushing global sea levels ever higher. Researchers revealed findings of the inner workings of Greenland’s icy coat at this year’s American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting on Monday. Radar flown by plane and dragged by snowmobile, as well as satellite measurements show how the ice cap is potentially turning into a Slip ‘N Slide for meltwater to rush to the Atlantic. (December 15, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - Today’s question boys & girls: How removed is Congress from reality. Ans. They think Food is produced magically.  Nothing to do with our environment or our agricultural practices.  Food just is. If you want Food just go to restaurant or vending machine. Don’t poison Food with environmental ideology.  Congress, ya gotta laugh. Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices. Congress now has slapped them down. Lawmakers attached a list of "congressional directives" to a massive spending bill that passed both the House and the Senate in recent days. One of those directives expresses "concern" that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee "is showing an interest in incorporating agriculture production practices and environmental factors" into their recommendations, and directs the Obama administration to ignore such factors in the next revision of the guidelines, which is due out next year. The directive is not legally binding, but ignoring it would provoke yet another political battle between the Obama administration and Congress. (December 15, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Food in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - For this step in NYS recycling law to work it must be enforced. Electronics recycling mandatory statewide starting Jan. 1 Certain electronics will no longer be allowed in the trash as of Jan. 1.  By state environmental law, certain electronics will no longer be allowed in the trash as of Jan. 1, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reminded citizens in a press release. In Ontario County and surrounding areas a number of sites will take such items to be properly recycled. Those include Regional Computer Recycling & Recovery at 7318 Victor-Mendon Road (Route 251) in Victor, which also provides information and a list of other sites. Or call (585) -924-3840. Citing the potential for environmental harm from improperly disposing electronics, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens urges New Yorkers to properly recycle their unwanted computers, televisions and other electronics through the many free or low-cost options available. (December 12, 2014) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - At this point in humanity’s existence, we are here: “Countdown Clock to Paris Is Now Ticking” Countdown Clock to Paris Is Now Ticking A deal struck in Lima between 196 nations today leaves open the possibility of saving the planet from dangerous overheating. But its critics say the prospects of success are now slim. The talks—which ran two days longer than scheduled—set a series of deadlines which mean that every nation is charged with producing its plans to cap and reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. These commitments will then be assessed to see if they are enough to prevent the world heating up more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold political leaders say must not be crossed in order to avoid dangerous climate change. The Lima agreement invites all countries to set out their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by March 31. The next step will be to draft a legally binding international agreement on how to get below the 2°C threshold. This text is to be made available to all countries for comment by May 2015. December 14, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - This should scare bejesus out of everyone: “the world is still on pace for temperature increases of 3°C (5.4°F) or more by 2100.” For those haggling about the infinitely myriad concerns about climate agreements and how the climate talks are conducted and what is fair and who is responsible, the fact that we are still rushing towards disaster takes priority—whether you think so or not as it comes down to physics.  For those sitting this one out, you may not get a chance to stand up. Lima climate deal: Every single country now plans to tackle emissions. Sort of. Under a new UN deal on climate change agreed to in Lima, Peru, every single country has agreed to submit a plan next year for addressing their greenhouse-gas emissions. That's a first. Past climate deals only targeted the emissions of wealthier nations and exempted fast-growing countries like China and India. But there are huge caveats. The plans will all be voluntary — countries can promise to cut as much or as little as they want. And there's no rigorous outside review. (The US wanted one, but this was opposed by China and India.) Experts warn this deal isn't enough to prevent significant global warming: the world is still on pace for temperature increases of 3°C (5.4°F) or more by 2100. Which means how to adapt to warming has become an equally large part of these talks — especially for poor nations. (December 14, 2014) VOX [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - Take home message of COP20: Rich happy, poor unhappy; both agree to too little too late; both, business as usual or nothing … Maybe this will work out. Please. World set for climate disaster, say activists, as Lima talks falter Proposals too weak to keep global warming to the agreed limit of two degrees above pre-industrial levels Frustrated climate campaigners have claimed that the world was on course for an unsustainable four-degree rise in temperatures, as two weeks of negotiations for a climate change agreement headed for an unsatisfying conclusion. The proposals, still under discussion on Saturday, a day after the talks were scheduled to end, were too weak to keep global warming to the agreed limit of two degrees above preindustrial levels, setting the world on course to a climate disaster, according to developing countries at the summit. “We are on a path to three or four degrees with this outcome,” said Tasneem Essop, international climate strategist for WWF. She said the final draft text, a five-page document put forward for approval on Saturday, offered little assurance of cutting emissions fast enough and deeply enough to curb warming. “We are really unhappy about the weakening of the text. This gives us no level of comfort that we will be able to close the emissions gap to get emissions to peak before 2020,” she said. Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, put it even more succinctly: “It sucks. It is taking us backwards.” (December 13, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2014 - For COP20 Lima talks, I’m hearing “new,” “informal deadline, “amid warnings that far tougher action will be needed,” and “tough decisions about how to slow climate change were postponed”.  This is code for COP20 was a success because it didn’t fail the participants, just the rest of the planet.  Gonna be an interesting stretch to Paris 2015. U.N. talks agree building blocks for new-style climate deal in 2015 About 190 nations agreed on Sunday the building blocks of a new-style global deal due in 2015 to combat climate change amid warnings that far tougher action will be needed to limit increases in global temperatures. Under the deal reached in Lima, governments will submit national plans for reining in greenhouse gas emissions by an informal deadline of March 31, 2015 to form the basis of a global agreement due at a summit in Paris in a year's time. Most of the tough decisions about how to slow climate change were postponed until then. "Much remains to be done in Paris next year," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. (December 14, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2014 - An intelligent alien species looking down on our COP20 Lima climate talks, must wonder at our inability to understand the big picture. From our point of view, we have never had a problem like Climate Change, where our business as usual way of solving problems is to make sure we get as much as we can from a deal is not working. Our fate hinges on our ability to change our ways quickly to changed circumstances. Things have changed, our planet is on a trajectory of an unlivable planet. As remote as Climate Change may seems to those not experiencing the immediate effects of this relentless warming due to our present energy use, they must have an Uncle Tom’s Cabin like epiphany, an awaken of the moral and physical nature of this issue.  Frantic final talks to salvage Lima climate conference Peruvian environment minister urges climate negotiators not to leave empty-handed Frantic negotiations to salvage the UN’s 20th climate conference are running right up to the wire after an earnest plea to negotiators by its president, Peruvian environment minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, that they must not leave Lima empty-handed. At a stocktaking session on Thursday night, after it looked as if the talks would fail, he called on all parties to put the conference back on track, saying “please help me . . . please don’t leave me alone” to thunderous applause from delegates and observers. Mr Pulgar-Vidal’s dramatic plea followed a breakdown in the talks after the “leaking” of a streamlined draft of what the conference co-chairs – Germany’s Artur Runge-Metzger and Trinidad’s Kishan Kumarsingh – envisaged as the outcome of the conference. The controversial draft appeared briefly on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change website, before being removed – but not quickly enough to avoid capture by some highly dismayed representatives of developing countries. The seven-page “draft decision” was prepared by the co-chairs and the convention’s secretariat as a default position after the Lima negotiating text had “ballooned out of control”, with so many rival options included in it that agreement would have been impossible. (December 13, 2014) The Irish Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2014 - Time will tell whether this happy news about legislation (not action or laws) will actually prevent Asian Carp from entering Great Lakes.  So much of our environmental news is rife with framing the issues as if any movement towards addressing them is something worth celebrating.  At the end of the day making sure our life support system is working and whether it will continue to work so we can survive and thrive is what’s important. The Asian Carp, if it gets into the Great Lakes system, could wreak bloody havoc with the most important ecosystem in our region. Happy talk won’t stop the carp; stopping the carp will stop the carp. Great Lakes Commission welcomes legislation aimed at protecting the Great Lakes from Asian carp The Great Lakes Commission supports legislation introduced yesterday by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), supported by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, that would reduce the risk of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes by implementing control measures at the Brandon Road lock and dam on the Des Plaines River in Joliet, Ill. The Brandon Road site provides a strategic “choke point” to reduce the risk of upstream movement of Asian carp and other invasive species into Chicago-area waterways that connect to Lake Michigan. The “Guarding Our Great Lakes Act” directs federal agencies to develop measures at the existing lock such as a specially engineered approach channel with new electric barriers, and to use the site to test new technologies to prevent the movement of Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species. The plan would maintain efficient navigation in the river for barges and recreational boats. (December 12, 2014) Great Lakes Commission [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area] 

  • 12/13/2014 - Looks like rich countries just understanding that Climate Change is happening is not enough for poor countries. Poor countries understand what they’ve really lost and what they will lose (a future) if the countries who created Climate Change don’t adjust for the unequal use of the commons. Lima climate summit extended as poor countries demand more from rich Talks stumble amid rising frustration over ‘ridiculously low’ cash commitments offered by rich nations to help pay for emissions cuts Climate talks in Lima ran into extra time amid rising frustration from developing countries at the “ridiculously low” commitments from rich countries to help pay for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The talks – originally scheduled to wrap up at 12pm after 10 days – are now expected to run well into Saturday , as negotiators huddle over a new draft text many glimpsed for the first time only morning. The Lima negotiations began on a buoyant note after the US, China and the EU came forward with new commitments to cut carbon pollution. But they were soon brought back down to earth over the perennial divide between rich and poor countries in the negotiations: how should countries share the burden for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and who should pay? (December 12, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2014 - Perhaps the hosts of the Lima, Peru seem more focused on solving Climate Change than we because for them it’s up close and personal.  The realities of climate change in Latin America As negotiators meet in Lima, Peru for the United Nations climate talks, we take a look at the climate impacts already causing dire consequences throughout the region alongside projected ones mentioned in the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With 2014 on track to be the world’s hottest on record, it cannot be overstated the need for urgent action to prevent the most damaging impacts of climate change. But are negotiators listening? 350.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/12/2014 - Will the DEC’s friendly reminder that as of this January 1st it’s prohibited in NYS to put your e-waste at the curb actually work? Here’s what they say “The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded New Yorkers that as of January 1, 2015, the NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act prohibits certain types of electronic waste from being placed in the trash, or at the curbside for trash pickup.” DEC Urges New Yorkers to Recycle, Not Trash, Electronics - A New NYSDEC Press Release The DEC’s friendly message does not define what they mean by ‘prohibits’ in the sense that they do not mention of the repercussions of putting your old TV or Computer into the trash.  But the law itself says, “§ 71-2729. Enforcement of title 26 of article 27 of this chapter.  1. a. Any consumer, as defined in title twenty-six of article twenty- seven of this chapter, who violates any provision of, or fails to  perform any duty imposed by, section 27-2611 of this chapter, shall be  liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one hundred dollars for each  violation.” ENVIROMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW ARTICLE 27 TITLE 26 | ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT RECYCLING AND REUSE (If I have it right ((and a good investigative media would be helpful here)) folks who march their old TV’s to the curb could get a $200 fine. This would be a game changer in people’s behavior with e-waste.) The DEC mentions all the stuff you could and should do with your old e-waste, but a lot of folks won’t take the effort to dispose of their e-waster properly unless motivated by a penalty.  What’s happening now is that when folks do put their old computers and TV’s in the trash, the local authorities pick that e-waste up and send it to a separate recycling center—so I’ve been told. The problem, even if this is happening, is that in between the time the e-waste is set outside and until the authorities pick it up, scavengers smash through the equipment, take the copper and other valuable, and leave the remains about our neighborhoods, remains that that are hardly recyclable anymore. What needs to happen is for our local media to investigate this issue and find out if our local authorities are going to uphold this part of the law that kicks in this January—a law that has been coming for five years.  If our laws were upheld, it would create a viable market for recycling and taking care of e-waste because once the public felt the sting of a few fines, a new playing field would be established. With a new playing field, it would be more convenient to take care of e-waste properly (even e-waste companies competing for your e-waste) if the media did its job on informing the public about this January deadline and investigating what the local authorities intend to do about it. If the media doesn’t press this deadline, then the authorities don’t feel compelled to act, and the e-waste throughout our neighborhoods continues. DEC Urges New Yorkers to Recycle, Not Trash, Electronics - A New NYSDEC Press Release DEC Urges New Yorkers to Recycle, Not Trash, Electronics Give a Gift to the Environment This Holiday Season by Recycling Unwanted Electronics IMPORTANT DEADLINE FOR ELECTRONICS RECYCLING ON JANUARY 1, 2015 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded New Yorkers that as of January 1, 2015, the NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act prohibits certain types of electronic waste from being placed in the trash, or at the curbside for trash pickup. Citing the potential for environmental harm from improperly disposing electronics, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens urges New Yorkers to properly recycle their unwanted computers, televisions and other electronics through the many free or low-cost options currently available. "Incinerating electronic waste or disposing of it in a landfill can potentially put hazardous materials into the air and soil," DEC Commissioner Martens said. "New York State law requires manufacturers to provide recycling of electronic waste for consumers. Recycling electronics is one of the greatest gifts New Yorkers can give to the environment." Consumers can learn how to easily recycle electronic waste, as well as which electronic equipment can be recycled for free in New York State at the DEC website, http://bit.ly/NYewaste. (December 11, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)   

  • 12/12/2014 - It will be interesting now the Secretary Kerry says that the USA will take the lead on Climate Change to see in what sense the word ‘lead’ is used. If ‘lead’ is used in the sense that ‘do what we say and not what we do’ that won’t work. If it means that the USA will encourage the media to educate the public as to the full implications of Climate Change, so the public understands and backs adaptation and mitigation efforts, that would be a great step forward. If it means no binding worldwide climate agreements, leadership in this sense doesn’t mean much at all. This part in the article rings loudly: “Karen Orenstein, a senior analyst at Friends of the Earth US, said that she was tired of “empty boasting” from the US. “Yes, the political climate in Washington DC is indisputably difficult,” she said. “But that doesn’t excuse president Obama’s advocacy for a non-science-based, voluntary climate agreement internationally, or his decision at home to give fossil fuel polluters access to publicly owned lands.” Kerry: Every nation must act to tackle climate change  US secretary of state says US will take the lead, but other nations must follow for success in fight against climate change  Every country, rich or poor, must take action to tackle climate change, said US secretary of state John Kerry, addressing the UN climate talks in Lima today. “Every nation – and I repeat this as we hear the debates going back and forth here – every nation has a responsibility to do its part if we’re going to pass this test,” he said. “Only those nations that step up and respond to this threat can legitimately lay claim to any mantle of leadership and global responsibility. “And yes, if you’re a big developed nation and you’re not helping to lead, then you are part of the problem.” As countries try to agree on a new UN deal to tackle climate change in Lima, familiar battles have resurfaced over who should bear the brunt of tackling climate change. (December 11, 2014) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/12/2014 - It’s pretty pathetic that the “endgame for microplastic is dangerous interaction with entire ocean ecosystems.” This doesn’t sound the proper management of our wastes, especially our plastic waste. We’re damaging our life support system with plastic stuff that only breaks down to something worse that it started. Groundbreaking Study: 5 Trillion Pieces of Plastic Floating in World’s Oceans You’ve probably heard of the 5 Gyres, those huge deposits of plastic found in rotating masses in the world’s oceans. Now a new study released yesterday by the 5 Gyres Institute provides the first comprehensive estimate of how much plastic there actually is in the world’s oceans. It found that plastic was not just confined to the gyres, but was widely dispersed throughout the oceans. The report was compiled from information gathered during 24 expeditions from 2007-2013. The estimate concludes that approximately 5.25 trillion plastic particles—about 269,000 tons—have ended up in the oceans. It looked at both microplastics and macroplastics. Previously, studies only look at particular size classes of plastic so their density estimates were much lower. The study showed that, despite a loss of microplastics from the surface of the five gyres, there was a large volume and widespread distribution of the smallest of the microplastics in remote ocean areas. (December 11, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/11/2014 - The DEC, which protects our life support system, does not need more love. It needs staff and it needs public money and more public attention. It needs more staff on “Climate Change Communities” so this voluntary program to help communities adapt to Climate Change can actually work.  It needs more funds for more studies on how our public health and wildlife and ‘we the people’ will be able to adapt to Climate Change. It needs more folks paying attention to what kind of job the DEC is doing in getting us all ready for Climate Change, including massive monitoring of our present environment for a proper baseline to determine the changes coming—and what is normal.  DiNapoli: DEC needs some love State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is out with a new report detailing years of staff cuts to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, questioning whether the key state agency has the resources it needs. Over the same time period, total spending at the agency went from $795.3 million in 2003-04 to $1 billion last fiscal year. That's about the same as the rate of inflation over the decade. (December 10, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/11/2014 - Can you imagine Climate Change warning labels on gas pumps happening in Rochester, NY where the only thing that matters is lower gas prices? Connecting the dots between the growing awareness of how we use energy and how that affects our climate is not even palatable in our local media, just imagine labels where “The gas-pump warnings mix a message of consumer responsibility and political awareness” would affect our local public.  I’m sure there would be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Warning: Gassing up is hazardous to your health ... and the planet’s Picture a typical hazy California afternoon. You drive your car to a gasoline station, sidle up to a gas pump, and find a warning label dangling off the hose. Driving a petroleum-powered car contributes to global warming, the label tells you. How many times do you have to see such a label before it affects either your feelings or your decisions — if ever? Two cities in California may soon attempt to find out. Last week, the Berkeley city council voted to move forward with a plan that would require fuel stations (even electric charging stations and those offering biodiesel) to affix small-but-conspicuous signs to pumps, reminding drivers about the role of petroleum-based fuels in climate change. San Francisco is considering a similar proposal. Two other Canadian cities — West Vancouver and Fredericton — have also weighed proposals for gas-pump-label bylaws in the past few months. (December 1, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/11/2014 - For COP20 Lima climate conference “more achievable, policy goals” is code for non-binding delusional goals where leaders will feel warm and fuzzy—and so will their planet. Actually, the idea is to reach a global deal that will actually result in global temperatures coming down and a Green Climate Fund sufficient so that developing nations have room to grow and adapt on a planet where the developed nations have taken more than their fair share of the planet’s eco-budget—resources and the commons. Anything short of this is a deal that doesn’t work, doesn’t provide a framework for an actual sustainable future. But most seem focused on not asking for too much and not having another failed climate talk—regardless of how useless and delusional a ‘successful’ goal might be. With Compromises, a Global Accord to Fight Climate Change Is in Sight  Diplomats from 196 countries are closing in on the framework of a potentially historic deal that would for the first time commit every nation in the world to cutting its planet-warming fossil fuel emissions — but would still not be enough to stop the early impacts of global warming. The draft, now circulating among negotiators at a global climate summit meeting here, represents a fundamental breakthrough in the impasse that has plagued the United Nations for two decades as it has tried to forge a new treaty to counter global warming. But the key to the political success of the draft — and its main shortcoming, negotiators concede — is that it does not bind nations to a single, global benchmark for emissions reductions. (December 9, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/10/2014 - Breaking: Rochester, NY media prevented from covering critical COP20 Lima climate talks because of crow invasion.  Rochester media crews were ready to board planes and attend the last week of this major meeting in Lima, Peru where the text of agreements are being hammered out for the Paris 2015 climate talk—an effort to keep greenhouse gases to a livable level. Rochester realizes that what happens at Lima is critical to our future, that 2014 may be the hottest in human history. But the crows “It's out of control.” Crow shit everywhere. So, while the greatest intentions were there, Rochester’s media couldn’t plow through this local disaster to inform the public of the worldwide crisis of Climate Change and one of the most historic moments that humanity will have to address it.  Those crows. Don’t they know we own Rochester now and that they should just leave? Crows Once Again Invading Rochester (December 9, 2014) RochesterHomePage.net

  • 12/10/2014 - Though often considered very intelligent, humans are just as apt to put aside danger once it passes as the most humble of beasts. You’d think that folks would do anything to prevent a repeat of Toledo’s summer drinking crisis (or address Climate Change for that matter) but we don’t. Water-quality bill in trouble State House deals with other issues in measure COLUMBUS — A bill at least partly designed to prevent a repeat of Toledo’s summer drinking crisis is in trouble as lawmakers prepare to possibly wrap up business this week and gavel the two-year legislative session to a close. The clock may run out before legislators can work out various issues on the bill, including language attached late to House Bill 490 that is seen as potentially undermining the legal obligation of telecommunications companies to maintain basic land-line phone service. (December 9, 2014) The Toledo Blade [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/10/2015 - Yikes! Once you see it on a map, the potential nuclear dump site on Great Lakes looks disturbingly close to Rochester, NY. Cannot believe (actually, I can) that local Rochester media has not brought up the potential danger of this crazy idea to store nuclear waste upstream from us. This issue should be on our radar. Decision on Canadian nuclear dump site expected in mid-2015 After public hearings on a proposed underground nuclear waste dump along Lake  Huron, a review panel will recommend if the Canadian federal government should approve the project. A decision to issue the construction license to Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is expected by mid-2015. The Ontario government owns the company, one of the largest power companies in North America. It provides more than half of the electricity for the province. Currently, the company uses storage buildings in Kincardine, Ontario, for all the low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste produced from its 20 nuclear reactors. (December 10, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/10/2014 - My fellow Americans, we’d like to protect your environment, but frankly there’s more money to “derail environmental oversight and promote fossil fuels…”  If you think all the years you spent getting legislation passed to protect your life supports system is the end of the road, think again, it’s just the beginning.  Making sure they stay passed is just the next step. States Form Secret Alliance With Energy Companies To Kill Environmental Regulations Energy firms and state attorneys general have established a secretive alliance in an effort to derail environmental oversight and promote fossil fuels, according to an in-depth New York Times’ investigation published this weekend. Having reviewed thousands of emails and legal documents and undertaken dozens of interviews, the Times found that “Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda.” Using Oklahoma as an example, open-records requests revealed that Attorney General Scott Pruitt delivered a letter to the EPA in 2011 accusing the agency of significantly overestimating the air pollution caused by fracking. Pruitt did not mention that the letter was originally written by representatives of Devon Energy, one of the state’s largest oil and gas companies. “The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature,” reports the Times. (December 7, 2014) Climate Progress  

  • 12/10/2014 - If Cuomo truly wants to create “a "critical mass" of residents and businesses with solar power” he must ban Fracking. Cheap fossil fuels will kill renewable energy. Cuomo starts community solar power initiative New York is starting a new initiative designed to help local communities expand their use of solar power. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the program on Friday. Called Community Solar New York, the effort will offer assistance to local governments, schools and community groups interested in investing in solar energy. (December 6, 2014) Penfield Post [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 12/10/2014 - Maybe if the fossil fuel industry left the COP20, we could talk intelligently about fossil fuels and Climate Change. Kinda hard to think straight when billions of dollars are whispering in your ear that ‘coal is the moral choice’. Goal to end fossil fuels by 2050 surfaces in Lima UN climate documents Campaigners in Lima are eyeing an ‘inevitable’ end to the fossil fuel industry by mid-century It’s a rare thing when you can point to paragraphs in a United Nations climate negotiating text and feel they more or less match what most of the science says should become a reality. Yet in Lima on Monday, it happened. Our little revolutionary moment comes in a document with the memorable title “ADP 2-7 agenda item 3 Elements for a draft negotiating text” with its climate-busting section D (paragraph 13.2) outlining several possible long-term goals for a new climate change agreement. (December 8, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/10/2014 - Even though “Climate change is the biggest threat to health of the 21st century” COP20 leaders not connecting the dots.  Which is odd because it is at the level of public health when Climate Change, or any other factor (heat waves, aftermath of extreme weather) for that matter, threatens public health Climate Change becomes unavoidable. If you wait for a pandemic due to Climate Change to breakout and haven’t planned to address that with a sufficient infrastructure, everything else you’re doing, or think you’re going to be doing, will come to a halt. IFMSA: Health – The missing piece in the climate negotiations From extreme snowstorms in America, to heavy storms in Australia, to Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines, the world is already feeling the tremendous impacts of climate change. All those extreme weather events are strongly linked to climate change and they all have an overwhelming effect on the physical, mental and social health and well being of people around the world. As the doctors of tomorrow and members of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), we are deeply concerned about the unhealthy environments in which our future patients are most likely to live in. Air pollution is already causing 1.2 million additional deaths per year. We have made tremendous progress in the past year in reducing malaria; however the disease is still causing 900,000 deaths annually and this number is set to increase if we don’t stay below a 2C line. Climate change is the biggest threat to health of the 21st century; yet sadly many people, states negotiators included, still do not see the several ways in which climate change and health are intrinsically linked. (December 7, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area] 

  • 12/09/2014 - Today’s lesson boys & girls: What is “eminent domain”? Ans: That’s where gas companies try to endear NYer’s into Fracking by threatening to stomp on their property rights.  Be afraid. Be very afraid. Shale gas pipeline developer threatens to seize land using eminent domain provisions The developer of a $750 million natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania into New York is threatening to seize land from reluctant landowners through eminent domain. (December 8, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/09/2014 - The Soft Plan, advocated by NYT Dot Earth Revkin, has a better chance of a successful COP20 in the sense that recruiting an army with no commitments would be successful.  Sure, if you ask the developed nations to promise they’ll make binding agreement at their national level, at whatever level feels comfortable to them, you are more likely to get them to agree at Lima. However, no matter how many times Revkin makes you go to his innumerable links from experts who agree with the Soft Plan, it isn’t going to actually get GHG emissions down to a safe level.  If there was a ghost of that happening, it would have already happened—governments and industry and individuals would have already brought our GHGs down. GHGs are going up. Without worldwide legal barrier (top down) adapting to and mitigating Climate Change ain’t gonna happen. The soft parade of those trying to sabotage COP20 will go on talking and ‘proving’ that the Hard Plan (binding agreements) won’t work until the soft approach—one that feels good but won’t work—becomes the default. And then the soft approach will morph into a much harder Hard Plan because we’ll be desperate, but by that time even the Hard Plan will be too late.  Read: “Rich countries try to sabotage climate talks--again”| The Soft Path to a Climate Agreement, From Lima to Paris Needless to say, there’s been a big and promising shift in tone and some substance in global warming diplomacy of late — led by the paired pledges of China and the United States to intensify efforts to curtail heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions. Other countries, including gas-rich Malaysia, have promised to act on climate. No one should presume things will be easy in Lima, Peru, where negotiators are gathering through next week to shape a global climate agreement that could be finalized in Paris a year from now. There’s strong — and to a large extent justified – resistance to new carbon commitments in India, for example, where hundreds of millions of people lack access to any modern energy sources, let alone clean ones. And there will be intensifying demands for billions to flow from industrialized countries that spent decades building wealth burning fossil fuels to poor, vulnerable ones. Given continuing economic troubles in many developed countries, those demands will be hard to meet. (December 5, 2014) Dot Earth NYT

  • 12/09/2014 - Fracking is not your grandmother’s oil well; Get informed about Fracking and keep it out of New York State.  WATCH: ‘Fracking 101′ Narrated by Edward James Olmos Chances are you’re already up in arms about fracking and its impact on people’s health, the environment and our climate. It’s also likely you know some people who don’t know a lot about it, but they may have heard a newscaster say that it’s behind dropping gas prices and they think “That’s great!” You may have also seen some polls that show a lot of Americans approve of fracking—but they’ve also shown that people don’t know very much about its impacts, and once they do, they’re likely to oppose it. The Sierra Club has put together a two-and-a-half minute animated video called Fracking 101 that’s simple enough for a kindergartner to understand and short enough so that even the most attention-challenged will get it. Cancer-causing poisons? Check. Polluted aquifers? Check.Climate change-causing methane-emissions? Check. It’s all here in digestible and entertaining form. (December 8, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in your area]

  • 12/09/2014 - Democracy Now! is in Lima, Peru covering the COP20 climate talks, where the fate of our future is negotiated. Where’s your media? 

  • 12/09/2014 - Is the massive increase in the number of oil trains running through our communities with more volatile fossil fuels being met with increased oversight? We’ll find out one way or another. U.S. Crackdown on Oil Trains—Less Than Meets the Eye Federal regulators don't stop oil trains from being left unattended, engines running. This story is part of a joint investigation by InsideClimate News, The Weather Channel and The Investigative Fund. Read the main story Boom: North America's Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem.  The first public action U.S. rail regulators took after a fiery oil train explosion killed 47 people in Canada in July 2013 seemed clear, impactful and firm: Trains carrying hazardous materials could no longer be left unattended with their engines running unless the railroad first got approval from the Federal Railroad Administration. (December 8, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 12/08/2014 - You would think that the Arctic becoming a new place because of Climate Change would galvanize folks to pay attention to COP20 Lima.  Or, that 2014 will be the hottest year ever in human history. Or that ….  But we are fiddling away while ready to pounce on anyone who would dare raise our gas prices or make us pay to update our transportation infrastructure (which is crumbling away) to tolerate more extreme heat and frequent extreme downpours—as most climate studies tell us.  Humans., ya gotta laugh. The End and Beginning of the Arctic In the winter of 2013–14, hundreds of milk-white birds with luminous yellow eyes and wingspans of up to 5 feet descended on beaches, farmers’ fields, city parks and airport runways throughout southern Canada and the United States. Traditionally, snowy owls spend most of their time in the Arctic and subarctic regions. But every four years or so when populations of lemmings — among the owl’s favorite foods — cycle downward, a small number of young, inexperienced birds that are less adept than their elders at hunting will fly farther south than they might normally rather than starve to death. No one, however, had seen an irruption as big and as far-reaching as this one, which was the second major such event in North America in three years. By the first week of December, the big birds were spotted from North Dakota to Maine and from Newfoundland to Bermuda. At one point, owls collided with five planes at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports. (December 6, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/08/2014 - Which is to say, if Cuomo lifts Fracking moratorium, there will be a lot of permanently annoyed New Yorkers. Lifting the moratorium on Fracking will probably begin a new level of Fracking resistance because Fracking is not only a threat to our water and public health, it’s a threat to communities’ sovereignty—the authority of a community to govern itself. Cuomo should have lead on Climate Change and pushed for renewable energy. Instead he whiled away his time with visions of Fracking grandeur, an extreme fossil fuel extraction method that will warm up the planet more and change New York State permanently—not in a good way. Fracking in N.Y. would face local zoning hurdles Towns that want fracking may face a lengthy, complicated and contentious process involving public hearings, deliberation, and resolutions. Even if Gov. Andrew Cuomo approves shale gas development, natural-gas drilling probably won't begin until towns update zoning laws to allow hydraulic fracturing, according to lawyers and planners. Towns that want fracking — the controversial process to free natural gas from shale — may face a lengthy, complicated and contentious process involving public hearings, deliberation and resolutions. The outcome likely will vary from town to town, even in regions pegged "fracker friendly" by industry proponents and landowner groups. The fallout comes from a decision from the state's high court last July that upheld fracking bans in the towns of Dryden in Tompkins County and Middlefield in Otsego County. (December 6, 2014) Press Connects [more on Fracking in our area]  

  • 12/08/2014 - Happenings” newsletter this month has many expert articles on Climate Change in our Finger Lakes region. Must not be missed. It is not often that we get local Climate Change coverage in our media, so please go out of your way to check these articles on the most important issue of our time and how all that will affect our region. The FLI Happenings newsletter is a monthly publication with FLI staff and guest authors contributing articles relating to environmental topics and issues of concern for the Finger Lakes region.

  • 12/8/2014 - ACTION: Maybe your last chance to help stop Fracking, a dangerous public health and environmental issue because of extreme fossil fuel extraction in our region. Don’t sit this one out, sit on a bus to Albany on Jan. 7th:  "January 7, 2015: Rochester Bus to S.O.S. 2015  Anti-Fracking/Pro-Renewable Energy Rally in Albany, NY On January 7th in Albany, New York, it is URGENT that we send a loud message to Governor Cuomo: NOT ONE FRACKING WELL! Governor Cuomo has announced that the state's fracking health review, on which he has said his decision hinges, will be completed by December 31.  An overwhelming body of science shows that fracking endangers our health, water, and climate. But with the election over, Cuomo may issue a health review that was conducted in secret and open New York to fracking. Alarmingly, the governor recently said there was science on both sides of the issue, when we know that science increasingly shows just how dangerous fracking is.  January 7 is Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address, and we need every single New Yorker against fracking in Albany to tell Cuomo we will not accept even ONE WELL. It is imperative that we pack the Capitol to call on him to ban fracking, reject fracking infrastructure, and lead New York in a transition to safe renewable energy. Rochester/Pittsford pick-up details: St. John Fisher College Pittsford Park & Ride Lot: 90 Fairport Rd, East Rochester, NY 14445 Parking is available. Located on this St. John Fisher's College map as RTS Park & Ride “S” on the right hand side, next to building #8: MAP Reach through public transportation: Bus line 21 & 92 at St. John Fisher RTS Park & Ride. Leave: 7:30 a.m., Return: 7:45 p.m. (same day) TICKETS WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT WWW.NYAGAINSTFRACKING.ORG. Tickets are $30 for a round-trip seat. Limited scholarship seats are also available for those who cannot afford the fee. Your bus captain's contact info: Rita Yelda, 716.507.2077, ryelda@fwwatch.org. Click here for flyer.

  • 12/08/2014 - Of course, we already knew that rich countries support fossil fuel exploration far more than supporting the Green Climate Fund. It’s the actual figures-- $26.6 billion per year as opposed to $9 billion total—that astonish.  Our priorities are showing and they are not very nice. Analysis: Fossil Fuel Exploration and the Green Climate Fund At the end of the first week of UNFCCC climate talks in Lima, Oil Change International and Overseas Development Institute released a new analysis shining a light on the disparity between climate finance pledged to the Green Climate Fund and massive public support for exploration of new fossil fuels. The analysis shows public support from rich countries (so-called Annex II countries) for fossil fuel exploration totals some $26.6 billion per year, while pledges to the Green Climate Fund from those same countries come in at just over $9.5 billion. The billions in public support for fossil fuel exploration comes amidst warnings from scientists that some eighty percent of existing fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned in order to keep global warming below the internationally agreed limit of 2°C. (December 6, 2014) Oil Change International [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - Become the media! on local environmental issues. Tap your inner Francis Ford Coppola with you cell phone video.  At the Fast Forward Film Festival (FFFF) win prizes. Get important environmental stuff (think Climate Change) to the general public, not just folks in your silo.  Unprecedented opportunity for environmental groups.  Submit your short video soon. Connections: Arts Friday - Fast Forward Film Festival We spend this hour talking film and the environment with the Fast Forward Film Festival. It's an upcoming event at the Little and Dryden Theatres. Our guests are: Andy Stern, executive director, The Lost Bird Project Todd McGrain, artist, filmmaker, and film festival juror (December 5, 2015) Connections WXXI [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/06/2014 - So in order to help New York State get more renewable energy, the fed’s plan is to gut renewable energy with cheap natural gas.  Cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania is a bridge fuel that will arc over renewable energy and micro grids and better batteries and efforts to conserve energy and make it more efficient to a future that is uninhabitable. Shale gas line to the Northeast gets federal nod Federal energy regulators have approved a $700 million pipeline project designed to bring cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania into high-priced markets in New England and New York.  The project's backers said Wednesday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval means the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline could be built and operational by next winter, if it gets the remaining regulatory approvals from Pennsylvania, New York and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a timely fashion. The project is the first to be approved out of a slew of proposals designed to bring Marcellus Shale gas to New York and New England. The lead partners are Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams Partners LP and Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. Williams will operate the pipeline, while Cabot and Southwestern Energy have long-term agreements to supply the gas. Other partners include Piedmont Natural Gas Company Inc. and WGL Holdings Inc. (December 4, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - Is the road to Paris 2015 Climate talks, with all the stops along the way, making your head spin? Spin this infographic to make it easy to get your head around it all.  INFOGRAPHIC: UNDERSTANDING COP NEGOTIATIONS IN LIMA AND PARIS As the UNFCCC negotiations in Lima (COP20) officially start today, this infographic sets out to explain why the global climate talks are so important for tackling climate change.  (December 1, 2014) The Climate Group

  • 12/06/2014 - Today’s question boys and girls: Who wins in a power struggle at the COP20 Lima climate talks? Ans. That’s right, nobody does.  We all lose if these climate talks turn out to be a battle between rich and poor countries, not just because it’s immoral to pit rich against poor, but because we live on a finite planet and we are in this mess altogether whether we like it or not.  UN plans for 2015 climate deal favour rich, say developing countries  Delegates from Africa and other developing countries accused co-chairs of favouring EU and US views in UN climate talks  A tense atmosphere marked the beginning of today’s UN climate talks in Lima, as African countries accused co-chairs of driving an imbalanced process. All the 196 countries involved in the negotiations met this morning for their first round of formal discussions on the UN’s climate agreement, which is set to be signed in Paris next year. Talks in Lima are expected to lay strong foundations for this deal, but many parties expressed unhappiness with how the process had been conducted so far. (December 2, 2014) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - Of course, addressing Climate Change decades ago instead of trying to wish it away would have made the bill that’s coming due lot cheaper than $500B by 2050. And putting off real actions to stop and adapt to Climate Change are not like putting off a visit by the plumber, where the damage get worse and the bill goes up more the longer you wait—because with Climate Change after a certain point (and maybe we’ve already passed this point) there will be no need for a plumber or a house. UN: Climate change fight may be 3 times pricier than predicted Global bill for adapting to droughts and floods could hit $500 billion annually in 2050, unless urgent action taken, UN report warns Blunting the impacts of climate change may cost up to three times more than previously thought, even if nations hold temperature rises below “dangerous” levels, a UN report said Friday. The "Adaptation Gap Report" by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) said the bill for adapting to droughts, floods and typhoons from 2050 could triple a previous estimate of $70-100 billion annually. “The report provides a powerful reminder that the potential cost of inaction carries a real price tag. Debating the economics of our response to climate change must become more honest,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP. Action was imperative as costs to protect exposed communities from more erratic weather could spiral, the report said. (December 6, 2014) World Bulletin [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - It’s was MiKibben’s “The End of Nature” where I first realized that humanity was having a grave impact on our planet’s environment, and I (me, myself, and I) had a responsibility to act to save our life support system. More than just words, this book compels who ever reads it to a duty to a higher cause than their mere consumer existence. Stepping Down But Continuing Fight for Climate Justice My wife Sue and I are in Sweden this week—the Swedish Parliament is honoring me (which really means all of you) with the Right Livelihood Award, the so-called “alternative Nobel Prize.” We’re all in good company—the other honorees are veteran human rights activists from Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and some guy named Snowden. The trip comes at the end of a remarkable autumn, which has given me much to think about. The great People’s Climate March in New York happened 25 years to the day after the publication of The End of Nature, the book I wrote when I was 28 years old, and the first book for a general audience about climate change. That sea of people—and the pictures flooding in from other marches around the world—made me feel as hopeful about our prospects as any time in that quarter-century. (December 4, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2014 - How will Climate Change affect our Finger Lakes? Our region doesn’t get a lot of climate study attention so this report, partially extrapolated from the National Climate Assessment (NCA) Summary, is a great start. A full throated climate study of the Finger Lakes and how that fits in plans and predictions for the whole of New York and the country, the hemisphere, and the planet would be nice.  Changing Climates- An Application to the Finger Lakes Region Across the country, climate change is becoming more realized and accepted. Projected changes in temperature and precipitation are sometimes hard to believe or “feel” however there is more to this issue than meets the eye. Biologically, climate controls the distribution and organization of species, their ecosystems and the processes (like photosynthesis for example) they are involved with and depend on. The National Climate Assessment (NCA) Summary is an impressive document (and there’s more where that came from) that provides an overview of what we are up against and what scientists expect in our not-so-distant future. Some of the key outcomes of climate change projections have been focused on temperature, precipitation, sea level rise and ocean acidification. But what does that mean to us in the Finger Lakes? Since we aren’t located near the coastline, this article will focus on temperature and precipitation. (December 1, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Climate Change and Finger Lakes in our region]

  • 12/05/2014 - COP20 Lima climate talks will answer at least one profound question about humanity: Will rich share to help themselves? Climate Change, manmade disruption of our worldwide climate due to the burning of fossil fuels, will ultimately affect everyone—as this disaster is occurring on a finite planet. The consequences of Climate Change will probably hit the poor first, or not because weather extremes can be very disruptive to all infrastructures. If the rich counties do not come to the table at Lima with sufficient measures to mitigate and help developing nations adapt to Climate Change the rich countries will be shooting themselves in the foot. We cannot insulate ourselves, our economy, our health, and our life support system from those of everyone on the planet. Failure to think and act globally at Lima will set the table for disaster. Lima climate talks: developing nations urge rich to aim for zero emissions Group of least-developed nations at UN climate summit say rich counties should do ‘substantially more’ to cut emissions Developing countries called on the rich on Tuesday to do more to lead the fight against climate change in line with scientific findings that global greenhouse gas emissions should fall to net zero by 2100 to avert the worst impacts. About 190 countries are meeting in Lima from 1-12 December to decide elements of a deal, due to be agreed in Paris in a year’s time, to reverse a steady rise in greenhouse gases to limit risks of more floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels. Yesterday underscored how much work remains to reach a global deal despite optimism in recent weeks after China, the United States and the European Union outlined goals for curbing their emissions beyond 2020. (December 3, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/05/2014 - Mark your calendars for no more fossil fuels: February 13th & 14th, Global Divestment Day "The fossil fuel divestment movement has built up some serious momentum in 2014, and next year we're not slowing down. In fact, this February we're pulling together something really exciting: On February 13th & 14th, we’re calling for the first ever Global Divestment Day, and we want you to be part of it. Right now, as climate negotiators from around the world meet in Lima -- exactly one year before a new global climate deal must be signed in Paris -- we face a pivotal moment in our movement’s response to the climate crisis. We know that world leaders won’t act in accordance with the urgency of the crisis as long as the fossil fuel industry holds the balance of power. That’s why the growing divestment movement is directly challenging the social license of these rogue corporations that continue to profit at the expense of people and planet -- and that's why we need as many people and institutions as possible to stand with us. Click here to RSVP on Facebook:"

  • 12/05/2014 - I cannot image Pesticides in any amount in our rivers are good for fish and insects, let alone humans. With Climate Change there will be more Pesticides.  Because more crop pests and vector-driven diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme disease, the Climate Change trajectory for our area is to use more Pesticides—unless we start planning properly for public health and agricultural practices and a whole lot more. Pesticides are not a solution for Climate Change, they are the consequences of it—unless we change our ways.  Pesticide levels in rivers may threaten fish, insects Pesticides, mostly from agricultural runoff and yard use, remain a concern for fish and insects in many of the country’s streams and rivers, warns a national study based in part on research done in Michigan. Although levels of pesticides usually didn’t exceed benchmarks for human health, their potential to harm aquatic life is likely underestimated, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey, part of the U.S. Interior Department. (December 4, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 12/05/2014 - Without legally binding commitments to reduce emissions actually addressing Climate Change ain’t going to happen. Making the stance that legally binding rules could ruin hopes for success is like saying no one will join your army if you make them ‘sign up’ and make a commitment.  It’s like saying if you want a successful army, you have to make it so when things get tough, recruits can just leave—no questions asked. Giving Climate Pact Legal Teeth Could Make It Toothless As negotiators gather in Peru for a critical round of climate talks, U.S. delegates are straining to explain what they calla “counterintuitive” reality: For next year’s global climate agreement to be effective, commitments made under it must not be legally binding. Such an outcome would disappoint many, including the European Union’s negotiating team, which says it will be pushing for binding commitments during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Lima this week and next. America’s negotiators are pushing for voluntary commitments. The success of the next climate agreement, which is due to be finalized during talks in Paris one year from now, may hinge on American negotiators winning in this latest spat in a long-simmering quarrel with their European counterparts. (December 3, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/04/2014 - Today’s lesson boys & girls: What are “Fracktivists”? They are folks who think screwing dangerous chemicals sideways into our bedrock for more fossil fuels is insane. Fracktivists say they won't let up until Cuomo decides Opponents of hydro-fracking say they want Governor Cuomo to declare a three to five year moratorium on fracking in New York. The gas drilling process has been on hold for several years. A coalition of groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, say Cuomo should immediately issue an executive order postponing any gas drilling in New York for the next three to five years. NRDC’s Kate Sinding says that’s preferable to trying to get a bill passed through a divided state legislature, where the Senate will be controlled by the Republicans in January. (December 3, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 12/04/2014 - I would rather characterize the game-over boondoggle Keystone XL pipeline as the ‘antagonist’, rather than the hero who help lead the fight against this insane project.  From the point of view that we need a health life support system, to well… live, antagonists are those who jeopardize all that. Should the media see our life support system as the top priority, not loony projects that threaten us all?  Keystone Antagonist Steps Down as Head of Climate Group 350.org Bill McKibben, a chief antagonist of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, is stepping down as chairman of the environmental group 350.org that he helped create. McKibben, an author and climate advocate, said the move will give him more time to write and to organize campaigns. He’ll remain as a senior adviser to the New York-based group that pushes for action to combat climate change. “If this sounds dramatic, it’s not,” McKibben wrote in a letter to supporters sent fromSweden, where he is receiving the Right Livelihood Award from Parliament. “I will stay on as an active member of the board, and 90 percent of my daily work will stay the same, since it’s always involved the external work of campaigning, not the internal work of budgets and flow charts.” (December 2, 2014) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/04/2014 - Got thoughts on planning of future GardenAerial projects in the High Falls, Rochester, NY region, a former industrialized area trying to go green? GardenAerial Project Public Survey 11/2014 "Greentopia wants to hear your opinions about the proposed GardenAerial Project at High Falls. Your answers to this brief survey will help us shape the future of this transformational project. For more information on the project, please visit: http://gardenaerial.org  Enter your email and ZIP code. Then answer a few quick questions to help us better plan, promote and apply for funding to create this project. Once you hit the "Done" button, you'll be automatically entered to win a new Apple iPad! The winner will be selected at random from all entrants after December 15, 2014. "

  • 12/04/2015 - Looks like not all Americans are ignoring the COP20 Lima climate talks. Rally, NYC 12/10/2014  “CLIMATE JUSTICE IS A HUMAN RIGHT:  RALLY FOR A GLOBAL CLIMATE TREATY Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 4-6pm Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, E. 47th Street, NYC (between 1st & 2nd Aves.) Climate change is the greatest threat to basic human rights: food security, access to water, employment, housing, public health and the right to live in dignity. On Wednesday, December 10th, International Human Rights Day, New Yorkers will gather to demand that world governments address the serious threat global warming poses to human rights, especially to people living in vulnerable communities throughout the world. This event coincides with a UN meeting in Lima, Peru, a part of the 2014-15 negotiations for a global climate treaty that will stress the urgency of the climate crisis and highlight the human rights dimension of the struggle for climate justice.”

  • 12/04/2014 - Event: SUNDAY, JANUARY 11   Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream symposium – 1-5 p.m. Join us in exploring a bold, empowering vision to create an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling society. Experience this interactive multi-media event! Temple Sinai – 363 Penfield Rd.  Free of charge. Visit www.pachamama.org  to register, or call Joyce Herman for more information at 585-385-1155.

  • 12/04/2014 - If 83% of US gets Climate Change but only 60% thinks it due to manmade causes, some serious dot connections need to be made. When you remove the ‘manmade’ part of Climate Change, you remove not only the guilt that you may be responsible for the planet’s atmosphere warming up, you also make it impossible to address the cause of this crisis. The road to getting the world to understand and act on Climate Change has been a long journey, fraught with dangers along the way.  One of those dangers is that the public will start to understand the overwhelming evidence of Climate Change but stuck on doing nothing because it is to them just a phenomenon that happens.  But “There is simply no other mechanism that can explain the significantly altered climate path and the changes in the radiative forcing other than human causes.” (From Open Source Systems, Science, Solutions.) We must hope that there is enough time to get folks to understand Climate Change in a way that results in their acting on it. Poll: 83% of Americans say climate is changing Eight out of 10 Americans now believe the climate is changing, according to a new survey conducted for Munich Re America, the world's largest reinsurance firm. "Our survey findings indicate that national sentiment over whether or not climatic changes are occurring has finally reached a tipping point," said Tony Kuczinski, president of Munich Re America. The survey's release today coincides with negotiations among more than 190 countries that got underway this month in Lima, Peru, on a long-elusive global climate accord that's supposed to be adopted next year in Paris. (December 2, 2014) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/04/2014 - You can track the global climate conversation LIVE from #COP20 in Lima with UN Climate Talks. "Welcome to Climate Talks Live, where you can get real-time data about the global Twitter conversation around the United Nations climate talks. The site gathers and visualizes millions of tweets on climate change-related topics, showing you the hot topics and trends as they’re happening."

  • 12/03/2014 - Important news in Rochester Sierra Club’s newsletter, including “James Hansen to Speak at 17th Annual Environmental Forum” “”Your Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club is delighted to announce that “rock star” climate-scientist turned activist, Dr. James Hansen, will be the featured speaker for our 17th Annual Environmental Forum, in April, 2015. Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club.

  • 12/03/2014 - As leaders at COP20 Lima climate conference try to lower greenhouse gas emissions, Rochester, NY happy about lower gas prices.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Drivers glad to pay less at pump  (December 2, 2014) WHAM

  • 12/03/2014 - “Lake sturgeon have been on the planet for 150 million years.” But a warmer Great Lakes because of Climate Change may do them in.  This magnificent creature has obviously overcome many challenges, including massive slaughtering in the last two centuries, but Climate Change, making our Great Lakes wasters warmer, among the other changes coming with Climate Change, may be a challenge the lake sturgeon cannot cope with. Lake Sturgeon “Thunder” Research Published 150 Million Years on the Planet, Sturgeon Staying Power Could be Attributed to Sound-Reproduction Link Lake sturgeon have been on the planet for 150 million years. Despite that long residency, scientists are still learning about these fish, the largest found in North America. An enduring question is what contributes to their survival skills. Answer: Sound. As one factor anyway. Based on biological examinations and detailed field recordings of the infrasonic sounds of this ancient fish, an article in the December 2014 Journal of Applied Ichthyology, bit.ly/1wdGt1j explains size may be one of the reasons why Wisconsin researchers believe sturgeon, which can reach a weight of more than 200 pounds and exceed 8 feet, achieve sounds so low that most of their energy escapes normal human hearing. The sounds apparently aid reproductive success. (December 1, 2014) University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute [more on Wildlife and Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2014  - The Penfield Green Imitative newsletter for December 2014 e-newsletter "PENFIELD GREEN INITIATIVE Planning Committee The voice for Penfield’s environmental assets! "

  • 12/03/2014 - The Town of Brighton has joined NY’s Climate Smart Communities “Local Action to Combat Climate Change” Has your community joined? Brighton is Climate Smart  The Town has signed onto this NYS Program by: Pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for unavoidable climate change and  Starting an effort to inventory the Town government's operations emissions. ColorBrightonGreen is following this effort and will share the progress with you on a regular basis. (December 2, 2014) Color Brighton Green [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2014 - Previous climate talks have failed and the numbers have gone up. We must not fail at COP20 Lima. For those who say that we should drop climate talks altogether because they have failed many times before, then they should be able to point to something that has worked—in the meantime. But instead they tell us other things are working (though the numbers are still going up) and that they don’t believe in Climate Change anyways. If COP20 Lima talks fail to keep global temperatures at 2C or 3.6F, the trajectory is 4C. A 4C world is a different world than which we live—not in a good way.  And, of course, 4C will most likely keep rising.  Hotter, Weirder: Our Changing Climate By the Numbers In the more than two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, life on Earth has changed, not just the climate. It's gotten hotter, more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder. The numbers are stark. Carbon dioxide emissions: up 60 percent. Global temperature: up six-tenths of a degree. Population: up 1.7 billion people. Sea level: up 3 inches. U.S. extreme weather: up 30 percent. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica: down 4.9 trillion tons of ice. "Simply put, we are rapidly remaking the planet and beginning to suffer the consequences," says Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University. Diplomats from more than 190 nations opened talks Monday at a United Nations global warming conference in Lima, Peru, to pave the way for an international treaty they hope to forge next year. (December 2, 2014) NBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2014 - Today’s lesson boys & girls: What does "Unequivocal" mean when used in the context of Climate Change evidence? Ans. It means it’s really, really, really, really, likely—like when you drop a stone into a bucket of water, it will go plop if gravity is in any way involved. Former NASA Scientist: Evidence of Climate Change is "Unequivocal" December 2, 2014- In today's EPW Committee Hearing, Dr. Drew Shindell, PhD discusses the overwhelming evidence of climate change. He notes that evidence such as shrinking ice caps, rising oceans, and rising temperatures are seen by satellites. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

  • 12/03/2014 - An important voice not at the table in COP20 Lima is a voice not at the table. Silence as a strategy works only if people are listening. Yeb Sano absence casts shadow over Lima climate talks  Star Filipino negotiator sends defiant tweets as delegation say they cannot explain why he is not in Peru  Mystery surrounds the absence of one of the most colourful and vocal climate diplomats from UN climate talks taking place in Lima, Peru. Yeb Sano led the Philippine delegation at the 2013 summit in Warsaw, making an emotional appeal for urgent action in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which left 6000 dead. Lately Sano had embarked on a 1000 kilometre walk across his country to raise awareness for climate impacts, but intended to finish in time for the Lima talks. In an email to RTCC yesterday he said he would not be in Peru, but gave no further details. But in a series of tweets today Sano, a government official at the Climate Change Commission, suggested there had been efforts to shut him out of the talks, silencing the views of a high profile and popular figure. (December 2, 2014) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/02/2014 - It’s science stupid. Can Lima talks make a real start in keeping us within our carbon budget? Or, maybe we’re just not up to the task and business as usual will reign and we just… Carbon emissions: past, present and future – interactive As the UN climate talks open in Lima to agree on a draft text for a treaty in Paris next year, here is a timeline of world’s top 20 emitters of carbon dioxide since the dawn of industrialisation dominated by UK and US. This interactive is jointly produced with the World Resources Institute  (December 1, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2014 - Almost there: 93% of goal. “We've reached 139,532 of our goal of 150,000.” Stop NPR from gutting its climate coverage. We need more mainstream media to cover Climate Change, not more silos of Climate Change information that only the converted read. Read: Demand NPR restore its climate reporting team

  • 12/02/2014 - From our friends over at Pachamama: Rochester is so blessed with many resources and events to help us create a better world for future generations! Please see December newsletter to explore the many opportunities this month to learn and become engaged in the Great Turning! “Be the change you wish to see in the world!” – Ghandi With much gratitude for the love in our hearts and lives, The Rochester Pachamama Team

  • 12/02/2014 - New local effort to get folks to take action on Climate Change. Check this out: Come learn about Mothers Out Front - an organization dedicated to organizing mothers around the issue of climate change, on behalf of all children. Mothers Out Front was started in Massachusetts in 2013 and is now in New York, starting in Rochester! Two house parties are scheduled:   Date: Saturday, December 6th, 6:30pm - 9:00pm  Place: Park Avenue neighborhood, Rochester -  RSVP to Neely Kelley, NYS Lead Organizer: neely@mothersoutfront.org  or 334 590 7367   Date: Wednesday, December 17th, 6:30pm - 9:00pm  Place: Park Avenue neighborhood, Rochester -  RSVP to Neely Kelley, NYS Lead Organizer: neely@mothersoutfront.org   or 334 590 7367

  • 12/02/2014 - Great explanation of climate change- why it's happening and what we are in for. Climate change is simple: David Roberts at TEDxTheEvergreenStateCollege "David Roberts is staff writer at Grist.org. In "Climate Change is Simple" he describes the causes and effects of climate change in blunt, plain terms. "

  • 12/02/2014 - The developing nations at the Lima Climate Conference want clarity, not historical doubletalk, on adapting and financing in Climate Change. The South Demands Clarity in Financing and Adaptation at COP20 At the 12-day climate summit that began Monday in the Peruvian capital, representatives of 195 countries and hundreds of members of civil society are trying to agree on the key points of a new international treaty aimed at curbing global warming. The official delegations and the representatives of organised civil society in the developing South are looking to move forward towards a binding draft agreement on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, to be signed a year from now. Expectation surrounds the commitments that industrialised countries will make on how to finance the fight against climate change and the inclusion of binding targets to reduce the current vulnerability, civil society representatives told IPS. “Lima has to produce a text that has elements laying the foundations of the 2015 agreement,” Enrique Maurtua, international policy adviser to the Latin America branch of the Climate Action Network (CAN), told IPS. “It will be signed next year, but the elements have to be here now, such as for example the contributions of the countries and what they will consist of.” (December 1, 2014) Inter Press Service [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2014 - One thing that is changing with each climate talk is that just saying “NO!” for Green Climate Fund has a price. Missing Money for the Green Climate Fund earns first Fossil from Lima Climate Talks The first Fossil of the Day in Lima at the UN Climate Talks goes to Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Austria, Iceland, Greece and Portugal for being the only developed countries who have so far failed to contribute to the Green Climate Fund. After a string of encouraging initial contributions, it seems a few free-riders within Annex 2 believe they are off the hook on this one.  (December 1, 2014) Climate Action Network International [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2014 - For the U.N. global climate talks in Lima, “Climate change has been inextricably linked to social justice.” As climate talks open, human rights issues take the spotlight The U.N. global climate talks are no longer just about emissions limits and trends. The annual negotiations, opening today in Peru, have also become the most visible effort to address social justice and human rights.  'It's about manifest injustice.' For all the flack the U.N. climate talks have taken over the past 20 years, one major achievement will be on display as the next round of negotiations open in Peru today. Climate change has been inextricably linked to social justice. The key questions that face the delegates as they meet in Lima are no longer simply about carbon emissions targets and timetables, but also about people and human rights. One mark of that shift is the $9.6 billion committed so far by rich nations to the U.N.'s Green Climate Fund to help poor countries.  But it's not just about money. (December 1, 2014) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2014 - Years ago a campaign to start up a Climate Talk Radio might have been a good idea, but now it would just be another silo.  The trouble would putting a special voice out on the air waves devoted to telling the truth about Climate Change is that only the choir ( and even then only the relatively few in the choir who listen to radio at all) would listen to it. The challenge today, where 2014 will be the warmest year ever for humanity, and the crucial negotiations at Lima begin in order to make read climate deal in Paris 2015, is that Climate Change must become mainstream. No more Climate Change silos, where most of the public remain ignorant of what is going on. The news that NPR gutted its climate reporting team is the real message we should be getting. The public must demand of their media, mainstream media, that Climate Change is so important that it must be aired continually, comprehensively, and convincingly so that the public will back the measures needed to address this issue.  Climate Talk Radio [www.ClimateTalkRadio.com] "Help Us Air a Daily Talk Radio Show in DC and XM and Take Back Radio from the Climate Denying Hosts! Telling the Truth and Solving the Climate Crisis! FROM OUR FLAGSHIP STATION WPWC 1480 AM IN WASHINGTON DC  (where this Congress needs to hear it!) 4-6 PM Eastern DAILY! TO THE WORLD ONLINE (AND IF THIS CAMPAIGN DOES REALLY WELL, ON  XM SIRIUS RADIO) FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS TO HEAR! "

  • 12/01/2014 - If Rochester, NY were to take action on Climate Change what tools would it have? How about White House’s “U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit”? The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides scientific tools, information, and expertise to help people manage their climate-related risks and opportunities, and improve their resilience to extreme events. The site is designed to serve interested citizens, communities, businesses, resource managers, planners, and policy leaders at all levels of government. White House offers climate change help to U.S. cities After announcing two major global initiatives on climate change last week, the Obama administration pivoted on Monday to American towns and cities to help them adapt to the impacts of global warming. The move came after a task force of U.S. governors, mayors and tribal leaders sent Vice President Joe Biden and senior White House officials recommendations on how they can help local communities deal with extreme weather. White House officials also unveiled measures, including a Web-based climate resilience toolkit, to help local leaders adopt measures to prepare municipalities for rising sea levels, droughts, diseases and other climate impacts. (November 17, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]