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: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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

* My comments are in Bold text:

  • 1/17/2017 - USA TODAY Editorial Board gets it on the importance of Solar Power as real clean energy option and getting more US jobs—if we don’t put up a freaking tariff.  “Tariffs would also stifle a rising sector generating the cleanest of energies.” Solar tariffs would kill jobs, harm environment Any day now, President Trump is expected to decide whether to punish China with tariffs on cheap solar cells and panels it exports to America. For a president who raged against China during the presidential campaign, calling its mounting trade deficit with the United States "the greatest theft in the history of the world," it might be tempting to finally substitute action for rhetoric. But a decision to slap big import taxes on the Chinese-made solar parts would be a serious mistake, one likely to kill far more American jobs than it saves.  Artificially raising prices on imported solar cells and panels would hurt a burgeoning domestic solar industry that employs the kind of "forgotten" Americans whom Trump champions: small contractors who employ blue-collar workers earning a median of $26 an hour; one in 10 are veterans. (January 16, 2018) USA Today [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 1/17/2018 - One of the great things about living in Rochester, NY is that our sidewalks are plowed in the winter. (Seems odd that all Northern cities don’t do that.) Walking is a fundamental form of transportation (which is to say, a fundamental right) and sidewalk plowing is critical for many people (even those who drive and park) to get around. Much of my getting around involves walking and being able to do so even in winter is an important lifestyle component of my living in Rochester. Helping to keep the sidewalks in front of your property can make really increase the quality of life in Rochester. Could Syracuse remove snow from sidewalks like Rochester does? The Rochester program is funded by a frontage fee assessed on all city properties. Property owners pay 87.8 cents per foot of sidewalk for snow removal. For a property with 40 feet of sidewalk, then, the owner would pay $35.13 a year. Rochester property owners pay an additional 18 cents per foot for sidewalk repair. In Syracuse, sidewalk repair falls on the homeownerand is complaint-driven.  The annual cost of the program in Rochester varies with the severity of the weather. According to WHEC, Rochester's NBC affiliate, taxpayers spent $2.9 million on sidewalk snow removal this year. The Democrat and Chronicle reported that cost was $1.1 million in 2015. (January 16, 2017) Syracuse.com [more on Transportation in our area]  

  • 1/17/2018 - The Cornell Lab’s Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up February 16-19, 2018. Find out more and help with this incredible bird monitoring system. “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.”

  • 1/17/2018 - I know, it’s hard for many folks to believe humanity could both warm our planet and challenge life in our oceans. But science, which humanity developed to enhance and focus our senses, tells us so. #ScienceMatters We should not let politics cloud our minds over the science of Climate Change. Time passes. Disappearing Oxygen in the Ocean Threatens Marine Life A new paper published in Science magazine shows that oxygen concentrations in ocean water are declining, not least as a result of climate change. This is in turn posing a serious threat to marine life and people dependent on the ocean. The study, compiled by a network of scientists initiated by the UN, also highlights the importance of reining in both climate change and nutrient pollution to halt the expansion of low-oxygen zones spreading around the globe.   “Oxygen in fundamental to life in the oceans,” said Denise Breitburg, lead author and marine ecologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. “The decline in ocean oxygen ranks among the most serious effects of human activities on the Earth’s environment.” The study notes that the oxygen content of the open ocean and coastal waters has been declining for at least the past 50 years, largely because of human activities that increased global temperatures and nutrients discharged to coastal waters. (January 9, 2018) United Nations Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/17/2018 - To “address the scourge of plastic bag waste in the state” a NYS task force considers 8 solutions. As with many environmental issues, voluntary efforts have been tried and failed but not taking any options is not really an option. Plastic bag waste has gone from a little nuisance to a big problem. New York's Plastic Bag Task Force Issues Report to Combat Bag Waste Report Sent to Governor Cuomo and NYS Legislature for Consideration Identifying Eight Possible Solutions to Address Blight of Plastic Bags Chair of New York's Plastic Bag Task Force, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos, issued the Task Force's comprehensive report outlining eight potential solutions to address the scourge of plastic bag waste in the state. The report was sent to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for consideration. "As states across the nation and world struggle with the environmental and financial costs of plastic bag waste, New York is developing a comprehensive solution. Under Governor Cuomo's direction, the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force has identified equitable, statewide solutions to address plastic bag waste and this report provides a menu of options to tackle this issue. I'm grateful to the Co-Chairs and Task Force members for their efforts and hard work to develop this report," said DEC Commissioner Seggos. Convened in March 2017, the Task Force was directed to study the growing issue of plastic bag waste and develop a comprehensive statewide plan to address the detrimental impact plastic bags have on the environment. The report is the result of a dedicated effort by Task Force members, including elected officials, advocates, and other key stakeholders. The report was informed by a roundtable discussion and comments DEC received from interested parties and an exhaustive review of actions taken elsewhere to address plastic bag waste. (January 13, 2018) Department of Environmental Conservation  [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/16/2018 - In places like Alaska, where temperatures are risings faster than the rest of the USA, we can see more dramatic public health effects of Climate Change. But Alaska should not be our guinea pig. We should all be preparing. Alaska releases first detailed report on negative health impacts of climate change On Monday, the state Division of Public Health released the first comprehensive report about the adverse health impacts climate change could have on Alaskans. The sweeping list of potential health implications include the introduction of new diseases; an increase in accidents; an increase in anxiety and depression; a worsening allergy season; and increasingly dangerous hunting and harvesting conditions limiting subsistence activity. State health officials say the 77-page report is meant to raise awareness of how climate change could impact public health in a state where, over the past century, the air and water temperatures have warmed faster than the rest of the country. (January 8, 2018) Achorage Daily News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/16/2018 - What is an ‘ocean heat wave’? What are the consequences of them? What’s the connection with Climate Change? Human Emissions Made Ocean Heat Wave 53 Times More Likely Three 2016 marine heat waves that killed whales, birds, corals, and shellfish from Australia to Alaska were many times more likely thanks to climate change. The consequences for Alaska were stark: dozens of whales died, as did thousands of common murres and tufted puffins, while sealife native to the tropics came up in nets pulled from sub-Arctic seas. But an unusual mass of warm water nicknamed "the blob," which appeared off Alaska and hung around through 2016, didn't occur in isolation. In northern Australia in 2016, high ocean heat bleached hundreds of miles of corals, killed mangroves, and destroyed giant clams. Off New Zealand, an ocean hot spell wiped out black abalone and brought an oyster-killing disease. Just as atmospheric shifts can bring droughts and nasty heat waves on land, shifts in weather or ocean circulation also can spark deadly marine heat waves, which can thoroughly scramble life at sea. But until recently scientists understood little about what role climate change might play in these extreme sea events. (January 16, 2018) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/15/2018 - Pretty funny, Rochester, NY media so agog that Weather Channel did 20,000th Live Shot weather event in our city they missed Climate Change connection. At the end of the article, Mike Seidel says, “"I will tell you just from experience that the weather has become more extreme," Seidel said. " ... If anybody says the weather is not getting extreme, I'll show my travel log."” Rochester's snowfall brings The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel for 20,000th live shot (Jannuary 13, 2018) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/15/2018 - Imagine heating cities with cold winters (like Rochester, NY) with ‘district heating’ but not fossil fuels. Some cities are doing just that. “A district heating scheme is a network of insulated pipes used to deliver heat, in the form of hot water or steam, from where it is generated to wherever it is to be used.” District heating warms cities without fossil fuels Many cities which endure cold winters are adapting district heating schemes to keep people warm without the use of fossil fuels. Heating homes and offices without adding to the dangers of climate change is a major challenge for many cities, but re-imagined district heating is now offering an answer. A district heating scheme is a network of insulated pipes used to deliver heat, in the form of hot water or steam, from where it is generated to wherever it is to be used. As a way of providing warmth for thousands of homes, typically in multi-storey apartment buildings, district heating has a long history in eastern Europe and Russia. But the hot water it distributes typically comes from power stations burning coal or gas, which means more greenhouse gas emissions. Tapping into other forms of producing hot water, from renewable energy, bio-gas or capturing waste heat from industrial production, supermarkets or IT systems, provides alternative sources of large scale heating without adding to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Sweden has pioneered the switch from fossil fuels to other ways of heating water. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency says  the country has gone from almost exclusively relying on fossil fuels to being 90% powered by renewable and recycled heat in 2017. (January 15, 2018) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/15/2018 - Great public service by Climate Central and others to help inform about specific extreme weather events and how they may be related to Climate Change. This is a valuable tool I hope the media uses to help the public understand that our world is warming and the need to act is urgent.World Weather Attribution (WWA) is an international effort to analyze and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events, such as storms, extreme rainfall, heat waves, cold spells, and droughts. Recognizing society’s interest in reducing the human, economic, and environmental costs of weather-related disasters, WWA delivers timely and scientifically reliable information on how extreme weather may be affected by climate change. WWA is a partnership of Climate Central, the University of Oxford Environmental Change Institute (Oxford ECI), the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), the University of Melbourne, and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (the Climate Centre). Climate Central also administers WWA. WWA was initiated in late 2014 after the scientific community concluded that the emerging science of extreme event attribution could be operationalized.”

  • 1/13/2018 - Be nice if local media (like Rochester, NY’s) put recent spate of cold snaps in the context of Climate Change instead of late shopping mall openings due to a heavy snow dump. We are experiencing weather extremes, which probably have a global warming connection. That should be discussed—as it is in other media—to familiarize the public with the changes already happening in a warming world. Time passes. In a fast-warming world, scientists say recent cold wave was exceptionally weird The record-crushing cold that rang in 2018 was like a blast from the past that will become increasingly rare. For much of the Eastern United States, the polar vortex unleashed the coldest start to a calendar year in recorded history. The punishing cold was exceptional for both its strength and duration, shattering scores of records and persisting two weeks after its invasion on Christmas Eve. (January 11, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/13/2018 - @realDonaldTrump must STOP RACISM and START working with the rest of the world to address Climate Change. Our media’s attention needs to be diverted from Trump’s outrages and focused on how quickly our planet is warming. The time to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter is running out. The likelihood of low emission scenarios, where we act quickly to bring down our greenhouse gas emissions and keep the warming within tolerable limits, is shifting to a world where only the highest emission scenarios will be played out. That may be intolerably hot. Time passes. Warming set to breach Paris accord's toughest limit by mid century: draft OSLO (Reuters) - Global warming is on track to breach the toughest limit set in the Paris climate agreement by the middle of this century unless governments make unprecedented economic shifts from fossil fuels, a draft U.N. report said. The draft, of a report due for publication in October, said governments will also have to start sucking carbon dioxide from the air to achieve the ambition of limiting temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times. “There is very high risk that ... global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” the U.N. panel of experts wrote, based on the current pace of warming and current national plans to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. (January 11. 2018) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area)

  • 1/13/2018 - It’s easy: Food Donation and Food Waste Recycling is GOOD. Incinerating and landfilling food not eaten is BAD. Food waste should be composted either by you or your community. Extra food should go to those organizations that can get this food to those in need. Burning food creates more greenhouse gases and warms the planet and deprives our soil of its ability to regenerate. Kudos to NYS DEC’s responsible plan: DEC Announces $3.5 Million in Grants Awarded in 2017 to Increase Donation of Wholesome Food and Divert Food Scraps from Landfills Food Donation and Food Waste Recycling Support Governor Cuomo's Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40 Percent by 2030 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that in 2017 DEC awarded $3.5 million to support the donation of wholesome food and municipal organics recycling projects across the state through the Environmental Protection Fund's Municipal Recycling and Climate Smart Communities grant programs. Directed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York is making significant investments to encourage donation of food and recycling of food waste, resulting in less waste directed to landfills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "Through Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York is becoming a national leader in pioneering a variety of investments and initiatives to encourage wholesome food donation and food waste recycling," said Commissioner Seggos. "Diverting food and food waste from landfills stands to benefit all New Yorkers by putting good, wholesome food to use at area food banks, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, and saving resources. New York State is making significant investments in the capability to donate food and municipal organics recycling infrastructure across the state, facilitating increased food donation to food banks, and providing funds for larger generators of food scraps to divert material from landfills." (January 12, 2018) Department of Environmental Conservation  (more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/13/2018 - Been getting down because there’s so much climate denial and global warming misinformation out there? Cheer up, learn the denial tricks and symptoms. Check out Skeptical Science, Getting Skeptical about global warming skepticism. Think about taking this free course—Making sense of climate science denial—it’s awesome informative and well designed. Help free the world of climate denial so humanity can act on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes.   

  • 1/13/2018 - Rather than the norm, these spates of cold snaps in places like Rochester, NY may become less likely. Overall, as we move further into Climate Change, our warms will be getting warmer and our colds not so cold. “In fact, the researchers calculated that a cold wave like this occurred about once every 17 years at the beginning of the 20th century, but now can be expected to occur just once out of every 250 years. In other words, there used to be a 5.8 percent chance of such a cold wave occurring in a given year, but now the odds are down to 0.4 percent.” As the world warms, it's making cold snaps like the recent one extremely rare The first week of January was the coldest such week on record in most locations in the Eastern United States. It was so frigid that week, and the week preceding it, that sea ice formed around Cape Cod and Chesapeake Bay, sharks froze to death on Massachusetts beaches, and alligators went into a resting state while entombed in ice.  One might think that a cold snap like this one all but disproves global warming, or at least refutes the more dire scenarios about winter all but disappearing as the globe responds to sharp increases in greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. However, the reality is far more complex, scientists say. In fact, it's getting harder to pull off a cold outbreak of the severity and longevity of the late December and early January Arctic blast, according to a new analysis published on Thursday. (January 12, 2018) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2018 - What if the developing countries are no longer willing to take the developed nations’ crap? Well, it can pile up and cause a lot of problems. Or, if developed nations could start living sustainably and helped developing nations do the same? Imagine humanity working together to find solutions to an economic system that treats our environment, our life support system, as a magical resource generator and a dump. Imagine existing so our way of living didn’t produce mountains of crap festering like a cancer on our planet. Time passes. Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling LONDON — Ever since China announced last year that it no longer wanted to be the “world’s garbage dump,” recycling about half of the globe’s plastics and paper products, Western nations have been puzzling over what to do when the ban went into effect, which it did on Jan. 1. The answer, to date, in Britain at least, is nothing. At least one waste disposal site in London is already seeing a buildup of plastic recyclables and has had to pay to have some of it removed. Similar backups have been reported in CanadaIrelandGermany and several other European nations, while tons of rubbish is piling up in port cities like Hong Kong. Steve Frank, of Pioneer Recycling in Oregon, owns two plants that collect and sort 220,000 tons of recyclable materials each year. A majority of it was until recently exported to China. “My inventory is out of control,” he said. (January 11, 2018) New York Times [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/12/2018 - Climate Change during the Trump administration years won’t be all bad. There’s hope in action and planning and divesting from fossil fuels and spreading the word about the importance of the science behind Climate Change. New Yorkers celebrate as NYC Mayor announces divestment from fossil fuels, files climate lawsuit #DivestNY victory reverberates around the world as New Yorkers vow to keep up the fight for bold climate action New York, NY — Today, following over five years of persistent campaigning from New Yorkers, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the City is moving forward with full fossil fuel divestment. The city’s five pension funds, a combined $191 billion, will divest $5 billion in securities from over 100 fossil fuel reserve owners. New York’s announcement brings the total number of global divestment commitments to 810 institutions representing more than $6 trillion in assets. “New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet. With its communities exceptionally vulnerable to a rising sea, the city is showing the spirit for which it’s famous: it’s not pretending that working with the fossil fuel companies will somehow save the day, but instead standing up to them, in the financial markets and in court,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. “Ever since Sandy, New Yorkers understand the risk, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable. Now, thanks to Mayor de Blasio and his team, the city is fighting back, and in ways that will actually matter.” In addition to this multi-billion-dollar hard-won divestment, Mayor de Blasio announced the City is launching a lawsuit against five major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips for climate damages. With New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman investigating ExxonMobil, and seven municipalities across California fighting similar damage lawsuits, this announcement adds significant momentum to the #ExxonKnew campaign to hold fossil fuel corporations accountable for the role in climate destruction. (January 10, 2018) 350.org [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2018 - Before we even consider putting one of the largest train trash incinerators in the small rural community Romulus, NY, which lies between the largest Finger Lakes (Seneca and Cayuga), why don’t we consider alternatives? Like living sustainably, as the NYS DEC suggests. New Year, New You! Wasting Less in 2018 As we start the New Year, we welcome our New Year's resolutions ranging from eating healthier to saving money to learning a new skill or hobby. This year, why not make a resolution to support waste reduction? Reducing your waste doesn't have to be an all or nothing goal. Try just one or two of these simple ideas to make changes that can help you keep a waste reduction lifestyle. (January 11, 2018) Department of Environmental Conservation  (more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 1/12/2018 - What if in 2018 there is as much loss due to extreme weather in the US as last year. “In 2017, there were 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States.” Who going to pay? What if we cannot pay any more. Wouldn’t planning for a warming world reduce the cost and suffering of climate disruption? As our climate gets warmer there are more people with more to lose, which at some point will probably be prohibitively expensive. What then? Time passes. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is the Nation's Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather and climate events in their historical perspective. As part of its responsibility of monitoring and assessing the climate, NCEI tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. NCEI is frequently called upon to provide summaries of global and U.S. temperature and precipitation trends, extremes, and comparisons in their historical perspective. Found here are the weather and climate events that have had the greatest economic impact from 1980 to 2017. The U.S. has sustained 219 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2017). The total cost of these 219 events exceeds $1.5 trillion. This total now includes the initial cost estimates for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. 2017 in Context… In 2017, there were 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 1 freeze event, 8 severe storm events, 3 tropical cyclone events, and 1 wildfire event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 362 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted. The 1980–2017 annual average is 5.8 events (CPI-adjusted); the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2013–2017) is 11.6 events (CPI-adjusted). NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2018). 

  • 1/12/2018 - Oh, and there’s another reason why climate deniers don’t like believing in the science behind Climate Change—accountability. What if those who lied and misrepresented the science behind Climate Change and spewed a lot of the greenhouse gases that are now warming the planet were finally held responsible for the damage they caused? New York City Sues Oil Companies Over Climate Change, Says It Plans to Divest The lawsuit against Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell and ConocoPhillips is the latest from a coastal city seeking to hold fossil fuel producers accountable. New York City is suing five of the largest oil companies over the billions of dollars it spends protecting the city from the effects of climate change, and it plans to divest its pension funds' $5 billion in assets involving fossil fuel producers, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. As head of the nation's largest city, de Blasio is throwing significant weight behind a movement by local governments to directly target fossil fuel companies for the role their products play in fueling global warming. "They are the first ones responsible for this crisis, and they should not get away with it anymore," de Blasio said at a news conference held in a building that flooded when Hurricane Sandy hit the city in 2012. "It's time for them to start paying for the damage they've done." (January 11, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/11/2018 - Great climate science won’t disappear because of the Trump administration’s anti-science agenda, it may have to move out of the US, though, to achieve some stability. Sad! French president taps climate scientist to ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ The race to see who will lead the fight against climate change is heating up. After President Donald Trump announced in June his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a “Make Our Planet Great Again” program that would bring climate scientists to France and fund their research with $70 million in three- to five-year grants. On Dec. 11, Macron unveiled the first round of recipients. Among the initial 18 scientists selected – 13 of whom are American – is Louis Derry, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences in the College of Engineering and faculty fellow with Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. (January 9, 2018) Cornell Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/11/2018 - Despite Trump administration’s disdain for the Paris Accord, other nations are working furiously to make the Paris climate deal work. The US trying to pull out of the Paris Accord doesn’t mean the worldwide agreement is defunct. It means other nations must work harder. Time passes. Five big gaps in national climate plans – and how to close them The Paris climate deal is based on pledges from 165 countries, but there are major omissions that need addressing before the next round in 2020 The 165 national climate action plans submitted by countries to the UN climate negotiations are key to implementing the Paris Agreement. Known as (intended) nationally determined contributions (iNDCs) in UN jargon, these documents spell out the world’s collective promise to move towards a low-carbon future and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The headline numbers are clear: if all the promises are kept, global mean warming by 2100 will be reduced from a projected 3.6°C to 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels. (January 2, 2018) Climate Home News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/11/2018 - The Trump administration is scrubbing ‘Climate Change’ from its website, which sows doubt in the public about the science. Thankfully, this attempt to deceive the American public is not going unnoticed. The US public can go to other places to get their environmental information, but it’s not the same as your federal agencies working with the public trying to solve the same problem. A situation where our government is trying to push their anti-environmental agenda is not in the public good at all. How Much Has ‘Climate Change’ Been Scrubbed From Federal Websites? A Lot. Nearly a year into the Trump administration, mentions of climate change have been systematically removed, altered or played down on websites across the federal government, according to a report made public Wednesday. The findings of the report, by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, an international coalition of researchers and activist groups, are in keeping with the policies of a president who has proudly pursued an agenda of repealing environmental regulationsopening protected lands and waters to oil and gas drilling, withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accordshrinking the boundaries of federal monuments, and appointing top officials who have questioned or denied the established science of human-caused climate change. The authors of the study said that the removal of the words “climate change” from government websites, and a widespread effort to delete or bury information on climate change programs, would quite likely have a detrimental impact. (January 10, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/10/2018 - Whether you or Stable Genius doubt Climate Change can accelerate and amplify social unrest, some (like world militaries and world health organizations) don’t have that luxury. Climate Change findings predict major social unrest because a warming planet presents an “underlying condition” (heat, extreme weather, droughts) that will force desperate people into the streets. Climate Change May Have Helped Spark Iran’s Protests One of Iran's biggest economic challenges has been a cycle of extreme droughts that began in the 1990s The impacts of climate change are among the environmental challenges facing Iran that helped spark protests in dozens of cities across the Islamic republic. At least 20 people have died in the uprising, driven by the sudden collapse of financial institutions, low wages and mistrust of national leaders. Rising temperatures are seen by some experts as an underlying condition for the economic hardships that led to the unrest. A severe drought, mismanaged water resources and dust storms diminished Iran's economy in recent years, according to experts who study the region. While the protests are largely driven by resistance to the country's hardline conservative government, such environmental factors might have contributed to the largest protests inside Iran in years. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad understood that climate change and water mismanagement was ravaging family farms, and his government provided subsidies to families who struggled to put food on the table, said Amir Handjani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center. When the current president, Hassan Rouhani, signaled that he would reduce those benefits, enraged Iranians across the nation's arid countryside joined the wave of protests. (January 8, 2018) Scientific American [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/10/2018 - In order to protect a critical ecosystem like the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system in the world, we need to know how we have treated this system historically (not all that well) and how dealing with issues like invasive species plays a major role in finding solutions to make this ecosystem sustainable. This book “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Great Lakes reporter Dan Egan id an excellent read and provides great insight into a system of waters we thought we knew. Great Lakes Author Dan Egan talks about invasive species There’s an urgency to “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Great Lakes reporter Dan Egan that reminds us there is still time to protect the fresh lakes and streams in the Adirondark Park. The book chronicles years of pollution, invasive species, and efforts to repair damage that in some cases changed the makeup of the five Great Lakes. And while the Great Lakes face different sets of challenges, you will recognize many of the issues – and some of the invasive species – because we’ve talked about them here. We spoke with Dan Egan last month, in advance of his talk to the Lake Champlain Research Conference January 8. Egan speaks from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Grand Maple Ballroom in the Davis Center of the University of Vermont in Burlington. (January 8, 2018) Adirondack Explorer [More on the Great Lakes in our area]

  • 1/10/2018 - Despite the ‘analysis’ of the Stable Genius coal for energy doesn’t make sense anymore. Not morally, not for addressing Climate Change, and not financially. Our future, if we are to have one, must shift quickly to 100% renewables. If we were acting prudent on our energy transition, we would be helping coal workers train for renewable energy and only use for fossil fuels for operations (like forging steel) that still can’t be done with solar or wind. Whatever carbon budget we have (and, I suspect we’ve already blown through that), we must use it only for those things that cannot be done without it--yet. We must advance technology so we can live completely without burning fossil fuels. Time passes. It’s the same story under Trump as under Obama: Coal is losing out to natural gas Just a day after federal regulators nixed a major Trump administration proposal to shore up the struggling coal industry, the nation’s top energy forecaster predictedcontinuing, slow declines in U.S. coal production and in the burning of coal for electricity in 2018 and 2019, thanks to cheap natural gas and coal plant retirements. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s monthly short-term energy outlook, the first to include predictions for 2019, projected that coal production will decline from 773 million short tons last year to 759 million in 2018 and 741 million in 2019. The burning of coal for electricity — its chief use in the United States — also will decline steadily. (January 9, 2018) Washington Post [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/10/2018 - Thankfully, climate denialism has its limit. That limit is called reality. Climate Denial Pervades the Trump White House, But It's Hitting Some Limits The administration's culture of denialism and support for fossil fuels has pushed rollbacks of policies meant to protect public health, safety and the environment. Five years after Donald Trump's infamous "hoax" tweet, in which he called climate change a fiction developed by the Chinese, the president, again on Twitter, reacted to a recent cold snap by saying "we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming"—this, at the tail end of a year that was the United States' third warmest on record. Trump's musings have gone from fringe fantasy to official obfuscation, enshrining a denialism that runs through the core of his administration, from the top down. Yet signs are beginning to surface that suggest this refusal to accept even the basics of climate science may come up against some limits. (January 8, 2018) Inside Climate News [mdore on Cimate Change in our area]

  • 1/09/2018 - If you’re just hearing about the HUGE trash incinerator being proposed for Romulus, NY (between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake), check out this video of the Trash Incinerator Forum January 7, 2018. This from the Seneca Lake Guardian: “On Jan. 7, 2018 we hosted an independent expert on how the impacts of the proposed “Waste to Energy” train trash facility at the Seneca Army Depot in the Town of Romulus​ would affect the Finger Lakes region.” Trying to solve our waste problem by sacrificing one of New York’s most valuable farm and wine country (not to mention our Finger Lakes) by constructing one of the largest trash incinerators in our country isn’t a good idea at all. The more you learn about this incinerator project the more you learn how devastating it will be for the region and why we need to transform how we use products so that we don’t feel compelled to burn them when we are done with them and warm the planet more. The Romulus Trash Incinerator idea is scary dumb. Romulus board proposes moratorium on new solid waste facilities, including proposed incinerator The Romulus Town Board has voted to introduce a local law imposing a six-month moratorium on all projects requiring approval by the town Zoning Board of Appeals, including a proposed $365 million waste-to-energy incinerator on former Seneca Army Depot property. The law would prevent issuance of any building permits or certificates of occupancy for any project requiring ZBA approval. It also reserves the town’s right to direct the town building and code enforcement officer to revoke or rescind any building permit or certificate of occupancy issued in violation of the local law. In addition, Supervisor David Kaiser said he is considering the introduction of a one-year moratorium on any and all waste-to-energy facilities or landfill operations within the town “to ensure that the town’s zoning code effectively prohibits environmentally hazardous operations.” (January 5, 2017) Finger Lakes Times [more on Seneca Lake and Recycling in our area]

  • 1/09/2018 - Some of the reasons why many folks don’t want to believe in the science behind Climate Change are its ramifications—addressing this crisis will be very inconvenient. We can and should design plans that deal with the consequences of Climate Change in such a way that the most vulnerable don’t take the full punch. Climate Change is a planetary crisis and sooner or later everyone will have to take on the heat, the flooding, the extreme weather—and more. Time passes. In New York, Drawing Flood Maps Is a ‘Game of Inches’ As FEMA revises the maps to account for climate change, deciding who is in the flood zone will be a battle with millions of dollars at stake. With its 520 miles of coastline and thousands of acres of waterfront development, New York has more residents living in high-risk flood zones than any other city in the country. Hurricane Sandy, the devastating October 2012 storm, did $19 billion in damage to the city, and the pace of development along the water has only increased. Now, after a year in which hurricanes ravaged Houston and the Caribbean, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is substantially redrawing New York’s flood maps for the first time in three decades. It is a painstaking process that will affect tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people, determining how and where buildings can be constructed and the cost of flood insurance on everything from modest bungalows to luxury skyscrapers. New York will be the first major metropolis to be remapped taking into account the realities of climate change, like rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms. (January 9, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2018 - Instead of this bitter cold snap disproving Climate Change “It is an example of precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.” Dr. Michael Mann. A ‘PERFECT STORM’: EXTREME WINTER WEATHER, BITTER COLD, AND CLIMATE CHANGE World-renowned climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann explains why the bitter cold and snowy conditions gripping the US are “an example of precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.” The US East Coast is experiencing an “old-fashioned” winter, with plenty of cold weather and some heavy snowfall in certain places. Listening to climate contrarians like President Donald Trump, you might think this constitutes the death knell for concern over human-caused climate change. Yet, what we were witnessing play out is in fact very much consistent with our expectations of the response of weather dynamics to human-caused climate change. (January 4, 2017) Climate Reality Project [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2018 - Even if you only allow yourself to view reality through the marketplace, when continual record-breaking weather due to Climate Change (or not) increases insurance rates you’re going to have to wake up. Or go broke. Insurers to pay out record $135 billion for 2017 after hurricanes Insurers will have to pay claims of around $135 billion for 2017, the most ever, following a spate of hurricanes, earthquakes and fires in North America, according to a report published on Thursday. German reinsurer Munich Re (MUVGn.DE), in its annual natural catastrophe review, also said last year’s total losses, including those not insured, were $330 billion, the second-worst in history after 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc in Japan. SPONSORED Although individual events could not be linked directly to climate change, global warming is playing a role, Munich Re said. It expected more frequent extreme events in future. “We have a new normal,” said Ernst Rauch, head of Munich Re’s Corporate Climate Center, which monitors climate change risks. (January 4, 2018) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2018 - Opening most of our US coastlines for drilling for more fossil fuels during Climate Change is such a flagrant disregard for the public interest, our environment, and science that it suggests madness. Trump administration plans to allow oil and gas drilling off nearly all US coast Ryan Zinke unveils plan to offer leases in Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Environmental groups and some Republicans lead outcry The Trump administration has unveiled a plan that would open almost all US offshore territory to oil and gas drilling, including previously protected areas of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans. Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, said a new oil and gas leasing programme, which would run from 2019 to 2024, would make more than 90% of the outer continental shelf available for what would be the largest ever number of lease sales to fossil fuel companies. (January 4, 2018)The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2018 - Rochester People's Climate Coalition's (RPCC) press release on Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State Address as related to Climate Change. The RPCC is an inclusive, non-partisan network of organizations and individuals unified by our determination to identify and implement effective climate solutions in the city of Rochester, NY. RPCC’s Response to Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State Address Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his “State of the State” address yesterday, in which he outlined a progressive agenda that prioritized several issues related to climate change. Some highlights include ambitious programs to support wind and solar projects, initiatives to reduce emissions from high-polluting power plants (including a plan to close all coal plants in NYS by 2020), and plans to reconvene research programs cut by the federal government (most importantly, the Scientific Advisory Committee). These are excellent initiatives that place New York State in a leadership role in the effort to meet the challenges faced by a warming climate. However, given the scope of the challenges we face, the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition urges Governor Cuomo to adopt even bolder and more decisive action. The scientific and technological know-how to transition New York State to a clean energy economy with net zero emissions exists today. What we lack is the political will to quickly implement effective climate solutions and end our dependence on fossil fuels. (January 5, 2017) Rochester People's Climate Coalition [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 1/05/2018 - What happens when you vote in a climate denier leader? Does Climate Change go away? Ans: No. Climate heroes struggle on to inform the public of this crisis and take action. Climate scientists exiled by Trump form panel to continue work The Trump administration disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change last year but the scientists on the panel won't be deterred. They're taking their research elsewhere. Columbia University's Earth Institute has hired one of the committee's researchers, Richard Moss of the University of Maryland, who will reconvene most of the former panel members and produce the same report. The shadow panel, announced Thursday, is the latest example of how President Donald Trump's antipathy toward climate change research and policy is pushing scientists into internal exile. (January 4, 2018) Los Angelies Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/05/2018 - Monotonous as the (mostly) steady news about the warmest months may seem to those who don’t get global warming, copping a ‘tude about Climate Change won’t put our humpty-dumpty climate back together again. Climate action might slow it down, though. Time passes. November 2017 was the third warmest November on record November 2017 was the third warmest November in 137 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Last month was +0.87 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean November temperature from 1951-1980, an insignificant 0.03°C cooler than November 2016 (+0.90°C). The warmest month of November according to the analysis happened in 2015 (+1.03°C) due to a strong El Niño. The last three Novembers — 2015, 2016, and 2017 — are the three warmest in the entire modern record. (December 18, 2017) NASA Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/05/2018 - If we were a prudent species, it would be wise for us to consider the possibility that our present cold snap in the US Northeast has a Climate Change component until climate scientists have completely nailed down this relationship. Adequate preparation for a disaster must go with the preponderance of the evidence, that may not always complete before you act. Of course, those who tend toward climate denial and/or don’t favor explanations with ‘uncertainty’ still lingering aren’t going to think our planet is warming when it’s freaking cold outside now. Somehow, and thanks for the NYT to messaging Climate Change in their extreme weather stories, we’ve got to get humanity, that’s all of us, to accept climate science. Given the nature of understanding our complex climate system, uncertainty on many aspects of Climate Change is going to be with us until we adequately fund science. #ScienceMatters.  Why So Cold? Climate Change May Be Part of the Answer As bitter cold continues to grip much of North America and helps spawn the fierce storm along the East Coast, the question arises: What’s the influence of climate change? Some scientists studying the connection between climate change and cold spells, which occur when cold Arctic air dips south, say that they may be related. But the importance of the relationship is not fully clear yet. The Arctic is not as cold as it used to be — the region is warming faster than any other — and studies suggest that this warming is weakening the jet stream, which ordinarily acts like a giant lasso, corralling cold air around the pole. (January 3, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/04/2018 - RochesterNY and other cold places in the Northeast should use present cold snap as to learn about Climate Change and global warming from the experts, not the hey-it’s-cold-so-how-could-climate-change-be-true folks. #Science Matters. This is how science links cold weather and global warming The recent cold snap prompted President Donald Trump to take to Twitter to challenge scientific research that concludes the earth is getting warmer. In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017 But while it may be counterintuitive, Indiana's cold spell — with wind chills as low as -20 to -35 degrees — may be a result of rising global temperatures, according to climate scientists. (January 3, 2018) IndyStar [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/04/2018 - If the new Cobbs Hill Village plan goes ahead, one of our most popular parks and real low-cost senior housing will be changed—not in a good way. They don’t make parks anymore and they don’t keep senior living rates at this level anymore. The more you learn about this boondoggle, the more you learn how bad a project to cut up one of our major Rochester Parks and take away truly affordable living for seniors is. Cobbs Hill Village plan heads to a vote At its January 8 meeting, the City Planning Commission will consider one of the most controversial development proposals it's dealt with recently: Rochester Management's proposal to demolish the buildings at Cobbs Hill Village – a senior housing complex inside Cobbs Hill Park – and replace it with new, more modern buildings for seniors. Rochester Management says the development, which it has been trying to get under way for more than a year, would help address a serious shortage of affordable housing for people over 55. But a large group of opponents has been fighting it. (December 27, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Parks in our area]

  • 1/04/2018 - However, optimism on Climate Change must include addressing this crisis on a scale and within a time frame that will matter. The present trajectory towards 3 degrees centigrade by 2100 can only be viewed optimistically if we act to prevent this catastrophe in time. Much is changing in our collective behavior that gives us signs of hope, but much in our behavior doesn’t bode well at all. Any optimism we feel should not let complacency take hold. Those trying to frustrate our efforts to have a sustainable future are not going to be slowed by reason, science, nor our protests. In fact, they seem to thrive on our concerns. Humanity must change for optimism to flourish. Time passes.  Nine Reasons to Be Optimistic About Climate Change in 2018 Amid all the awful news are some points of light. There’s really no way around it: This was an awful year for climate change. And much—but not all—of that is due to Donald Trump. In his first year as president, Trump staffed his administration with climate deniers and fossil fuel allies, began the process of repealing the Clean Power Plan, pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement, and basically did everything possible to halt progress at a time when it desperately needs to be accelerated. As if that isn’t enough, a report in November showed that global emissions grew in 2017 after several years of modest decline, thanks in part to a bump in coal use in China. So yeah, it was a pretty terrible 12 months overall. But as bad as all these things are, they only tell part of a larger story. Buried in the avalanche of depressing news this year were legitimate reasons for hope. The nine trends and events listed below are not just excuses for wishful thinking: Any of these on their own is a major step forward for fixing climate change. And taken together, they show we might not be as screwed as the year’s headlines suggest. (December 28, 2018) Vice [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area] 

  • 1/04/2018 - A plan that attempts to “to shrink ocean monuments threatens vital ecosystems,” sounds like a plan with bad intent. Our priority as we go further into Climate Change must be to protect and keep healthy our critical ecosystems. Our life support system is composed of ecosystems, like organs of our body. And, like our bodies, our environment didn’t come with spare parts or backup organs. Trump plan to shrink ocean monuments threatens vital ecosystems, experts warn Ryan Zinke has recommended three major marine monuments be reduced to allow greater commercial fishing, prompting anguish from environmental groups The Trump administration’s plan to shrink four land-based national monuments has provoked howls of anguish from environmental groups, Native American tribes and some businesses, such as the outdoors company Patagonia. Accompanying changes to protected monuments in the oceans – vastly larger areas than their land-based counterparts – have received less attention, but could have major consequences for the livelihoods and ecosystems dependent upon the marine environment.(January 2, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/03/2018 - It’s profoundly disturbing that a bad meme like climate denial still infects the minds of so many whose only object is to sow doubt on the science of Climate Change and thwart a viable future for all of us. Much is being accomplished by many to alter our behavior, so we can address Climate Change, but those efforts are being undermined in insidious ways that must be brought to light. Our greatest battle in Climate Change seems to be ourselves. Time passes.  How Climate Change Deniers Rise to the Top in Google Searches Groups that reject established climate science can use the search engine’s advertising business to their advantage, gaming the system to find a mass platform for false or misleading claims. Type the words “climate change” into Google and you could get an unexpected result: advertisements that call global warming a hoax. “Scientists blast climate alarm,” said one that appeared at the top of the search results page during a recent search, pointing to a website, DefyCCC, that asserted: “Nothing has been studied better and found more harmless than anthropogenic CO2 release.” Another ad proclaimed: “The Global Warming Hoax — Why the Science Isn’t Settled,” linking to a video containing unsupported assertions, including that there is no correlation between rising levels of greenhouse gases and higher global temperatures. (December 29, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/03/2018 - Governor Cuomo's ambitious goals in 2018 State of the State: "Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Reduce Emissions Equitably From the Highest-Polluting, High Demand "Peaker" Power Plants | Issue Solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to Develop at Least 800 MW of Offshore Wind Projects and Foster Offshore Wind Industry and Workforce in New York State | $200 Million Investment to Meet Unprecedented Energy Storage Target of 1,500 Megawatts by 2025 In Order to Increase Transmission of Clean and Renewable Energy | Create the Zero Cost Solar for All Program for 10,000 Low-Income New Yorkers | Reconvene Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change Disbanded by the Federal Government |Governor Directs the Establishment of Energy Efficiency Target by Earth Day | Regulations to Close all Coal Plants to be Adopted" Governor Cuomo Unveils 20th Proposal of 2018 State of the State: New York's Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Reduce Emissions Equitably From the Highest-Polluting, High Demand "Peaker" Power Plants  Issue Solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to Develop at Least 800 MW of Offshore Wind Projects and Foster Offshore Wind Industry and Workforce in New York State $200 Million Investment to Meet Unprecedented Energy Storage Target of 1,500 Megawatts by 2025 In Order to Increase Transmission of Clean and Renewable Energy  Create the Zero Cost Solar for All Program for 10,000 Low-Income New Yorkers Reconvene Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change Disbanded by the Federal Government Governor Directs the Establishment of Energy Efficiency Target by Earth Day Regulations to Close all Coal Plants to be Adopted (January 2, 2017) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO [more on Wind Power, Energy, and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/02/2018 - Hard to believe that even though we now know how much our vehicles pollute the air we breathe and warm our planet, we still cannot come to a sustainable playing field (regulations) on emission reductions. It isn’t environmental regulations that are being “shoved down the throats” of car makers that’s the problem, it’s polluted air and a shaky future that’s being forced down OUR throats. Vehicles are now America's biggest CO2 source but EPA is tearing up regulations Transport overtook power generation for climate-warming emissions in 2017 but the Trump administration is reversing curbs on auto industry pollution Some of the most common avatars of climate change – hulking power stations and billowing smokestacks – may need a slight update. For the first time in more than 40 years, the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the US isn’t electricity production but transport – cars, trucks, planes, trains and shipping. Emissions data has placed transport as the new king of climate-warming pollution at a time when the Trump administration is reviewing or tearing up regulations that would set tougher emissions standards for car and truck companies. Republicans in Congress are also pushing new fuel economy rules they say will lower costs for American drivers but could also weaken emissions standards. Opponents of the administration fret this agenda will imperil public health and hinder the effort to address climate change. (January 1, 2018) The Guardian [more on Air Quality, Transportation, and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/02/2018 - Been looking for a climate scientist to talk to your group about Climate Change? Check out Climate Voices. “The Climate Voices network brings non-partisan conversations about the research findings of the majority of climate scientists to citizens across the United States and Puerto Rico. Scientists and other experts meet with neighbors and community organizations to initiate discussions about the local effects of a changing climate and possible ways to address impacts.”

  • 1/01/2018 - According to the EPA, transportation accounts for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions. So, how we get about matters to addressing Climate Change. Electric cars are increasing, but what about other electric vehicles?  New Wave Of Electric 2-Wheelers Hits U.S. City Streets As car companies make strides toward expanding the reach of electric cars in the U.S., the same is happening in the world of two wheels. Outside the U.S., motorcycles, mopeds and scooters are vital, affordable forms of transportation that alleviate congestion. They also run on fossil fuels, and many of the smaller motors are more polluting than regular cars. In the U.S., these smaller vehicles largely have been leisure devices. But as battery technology improves and cities get denser, some startups are seeking to produce cheaper and greener mopeds, scooters and motorized bikes. (December 29, 2017) Innovation Trail [more on Transportation in our area] 

  • 1/01/2018 - The reason why it’s so freaking cold out today in Rochester, NY may be due to Arctic melting because of global warming. Climate Change can disrupt our climate system in ways that don’t seem intuitive, which should be fuel for more science, not more denial. Time passes. Ice Loss and the Polar Vortex: How a Warming Arctic Fuels Cold Snaps The loss of sea ice may be weakening the polar vortex, allowing cold blasts to dip south from the Arctic, across North America, Europe and Russia, a new study says. When winter sets in, "polar vortex" becomes one of the most dreaded phrases in the Northern Hemisphere. It's enough to send shivers even before the first blast of bitter cold arrives. New research shows that some northern regions have been getting hit with these extreme cold spells more frequently over the past four decades, even as the planet as a whole has warmed. While it may seem counterintuitive, the scientists believe these bitter cold snaps are connected to the warming of the Arctic and the effects that that warming is having on the winds of the stratospheric polar vortex, high above the Earth's surface. Here's what scientists involved in the research think is happening: The evidence is clear that the Arctic has been warming faster than the rest of the planet. That warming is reducing the amount of Arctic sea ice, allowing more heat to escape from the ocean. The scientists think that the ocean energy that is being released is causing a weakening of the polar vortex winds over the Arctic, which normally keep cold air centered over the polar region. That weakening is then allowing cold polar air to slip southward more often. (September 28, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/01/2018 - We in the Great Lakes basin tend to take water and water quality for granted—though, considering the challenges, we shouldn’t. Fresh clean potable water, crucial to our life, is but a fraction of the water on Earth. We need to protect our water and the infrastructures we now must have to get that water in a time of quick planetary warming, where climate disruption (more floods and droughts) will be the norm. Water infrastructure challenges and opportunities Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council (WWC), describes how climate change is affecting the natural water cycle and points out the necessity for water infrastructure adaptation and finance.  With everybody talking about climate change in the hottest year on record, it is easy to get the impression that the sky is falling. And it is easy to forget that it is only rain that falls on our heads. This rain gives humanity the water we depend on: to drink, but also to grow food and produce energy, to stay clean and healthy, and much more. As climate change scientists predict, the gift of gentle rain will not be something we can depend on. The sky will not fall, but the rain might come down harder – or not at all. Understanding the problem of climate change requires an understanding of how water is distributed on the planet, and how it impacts all aspects of our lives. Only 2 per cent of the world’s water is fresh, not salty. Of that, less than 0.05 per cent is in the atmosphere at any given time as vapour, clouds, rain or snow. Yet this tiny portion is critical, as it drives the water cycle and brings fresh water to the world. The overall effect of climate change is an intensification of the water cycle, causing more extreme floods and droughts, and hampering many people’s resilience – mostly in the less developed countries. This global shift is affecting the distribution of water across the planet, threatening to fundamentally disrupt our water security. (November 30, 2017) Climate Action [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/01/2018 - Birds matter, of course, as fellow creatures with whom we share the world. But our way of living, including the way we are warming the planet, is challenging them greatly. Like all wildlife, birds indicate the health of our environment, our life support system. “But now human beings are changing the planet—its surface, its climate, its oceans—too quickly for birds to adapt to by evolving.” Why Birds Matter, and Are Worth Protecting They help the environment, but they also help our souls. In 2018 we’ll explore the wonder of birds, and why we can’t live without them.  (January 2018) National Geographic [more on Wildllife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/30/2017 - Most Americans, most nations, and most people around the world aren’t dismissing the science behind Climate Change. Most people are probably perplexed and horrified that the climate denial meme still has such a grip on such relatively small powerful group. Until this wrong-headed notion that science doesn’t matter, the efforts of billions will be seriously challenged for a sustainable future. Donald Trump calls for 'good old global warming' in tweet The US president has taken to social media to make his feelings about global warming clear, confusing weather and climate change. He claimed he would save the US trillions by pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. (December 29, 2017) Deutsche Welle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/30/2017 - Climate denial is a dangerous meme that puts humanity’s future at risk. With anger, lies, power, and a lot of money behind it, humanity is caught between this bad idea (transmitted by repetition and replication) and the hard reality of Climate Change. Time passes. How Big Oil Lost Control of Its Climate Misinformation Machine One of the longest and most consequential campaigns against science in modern history is becoming more extreme—and turning against its originators. The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank, launched a billboard campaign in 2012 to compare believers in global warming to "murderers and madmen" such as the Unabomber, Charles Manson and Osama bin Laden. The backlash was so severe that Heartland pulled the plug within 24 hours, but it still lost major donors and political allies and faced criticism that its fight against climate science was beyond extreme. Five years later, on June 1, 2017, the group's chief executive, Joseph Bast, was a guest of Donald Trump in the White House Rose Garden as the president announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement. "We are winning in the global warming war," Bast declared later in an email to supporters. Heartland's rebound is striking. Its ascent into the Trump administration's orbit, where it now advises the Environmental Protection Agency on climate change issues, marks the most dramatic success yet in a decades-long crusade, first funded by fossil fuel money, against the mainstream scientific conclusion that human activity is warming the planet and inviting disastrous consequences. (December 22, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 12/29/2017 - It would be nice, if like Buffalo, Rochester had an e-waste recycling event (ongoing would be better) for after X-mass. Curbing e-waste is against the law, but we need to make recycling this kind of toxic waste easier and more convenient for those who cannot get their used e-waste to the right place. Learn more from the New York State Department of Conservation on E-waste and the law and recycling opportunities.

  • 12/29/2017 - As Governor Cuomo says an increase in Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) in NYS “is exacerbated by heavy rain events and warming waters related to climate change”. That means addressing HABs means addressing Climate Change and that would best be accomplished through a comprehensive state-wide Climate Action Plan. Do we have such a plan in NYS and if so is it the Climate Action Plan Interim Report? If so, why isn’t it being messaged by the governor and if not, why isn’t it being implemented. Time passes. Governor Cuomo Unveils 12th Proposal of 2018 State of the State: Protecting New York's Lakes From Harmful Algal Blooms Governor Proposes $65M investment to combat Algal Blooms That Threaten Recreational Use of Lakes as well as Drinking Water  State's Water Quality Rapid Response Team to Convene Regional HABs Forums, Develop Community-Specific Action Plans and Cutting-Edge Pilot Projects Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled the 12th proposal of the 2018 State of the State: implementing a $65 million 4-point initiative to aggressively combat harmful algal blooms in Upstate New York that threaten the recreational use of lakes that are important to upstate tourism, as well as sources of drinking water. Twelve priority lakes that are vulnerable to HABs and are critical sources of drinking water and vital tourism drivers were chosen as priority waterbodies because they represent a wide range of conditions and vulnerabilities and the lessons learned will be applied to other impacted waterbodies moving forward. Those lakes are: (December 21, 2017) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO  [more on Water Quality, Finger Lakes and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/29/2017 - Enlightening discussion on podcast Warm Regards “on how best to communicate with climate deniers”. Somehow, in order to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter, we need to dispel this dangerous climate denial meme, which is thwarting our collective efforts to deal with this crisis. It’s going to be complicated, probably unpleasant (as many still holding onto this meme despite all climate expert evidence tend to be rude), but the trajectory of Climate Change is so that the consequences of this crisis (more heat, more public health threats, more extreme weather) compels us to try. One by one, folks held in the grips of the climate denial meme will move towards the science whether those who try and communicate with them succeed or not. Because Climate Change is a physical reality bearing down on us all. Time passes. Finding Shared Values - Katharine Hayhoe on Engaging with Climate Change Deniers Renowned scientist and communicator Katharine Hayhoe joins Jacquelyn for an enlightening discussion on how best to communicate with climate deniers. Katharine shares concrete and insightful ideas on engaging with those who ignore, dismiss, or outright deny climate change. (December 20, 2017) Warm Regards [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 12/29/2017 - Considering that humanity has known about lead poisoning since 2000 BC and efforts to regulate lead go back to the 1500’s, why so slow in preventing this toxin from poisoning us? E.P.A. Wanted Years to Study Lead Paint Rule. It Got 90 Days. A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to revise its nearly 17-year-old standard for dangerous levels of lead in paint and dust within one year, a rare legal move that amounts to a sharp rebuff of President Trump and Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator. The decision also called attention to the persistent threat of lead paint to children in millions of American homes, four decades after the federal government banned it from households. “This is going to protect the brains of thousands of children across the country,” said Eve C. Gartner, a staff attorney for Earthjustice who helped argue the case on behalf of groups pushing for tougher standards. “It’s going to mean that children that otherwise would have developed very elevated blood lead levels will be protected from the damage associated with that, assuming E.P.A. follows the court order,” she said. (December 27, 2017) New York Times [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 12/28/2017 - There is a viewpoint on Climate Change communications that folks pounding on the urgency of addressing Climate Change are not reaching many people who don’t agree with or won’t even listen to the news and information about this crisis. That the stridency and the dismissive attitude of climate activists towards climate denial are themselves dismissed and won’t be heard by those who don’t like the solutions suggested by their opponents. That Climate Change activists are living in a bubble, where their politics don’t match reality. This observation might be true if Climate Change were only a political issue. But Climate Change is a reality, physics, biochemical, and in-your-face heat and weather extremes kind of issue. Climate deniers may choose to ignore climate activist, but they cannot ignore Climate Change anymore than they can ignore clear and present dangers. The point at which climate deniers and climate activists may agree is likely to be at a point far past the edge of a cliff. Time passes. How Republicans Think About Climate Change — in Maps Over the past two decades, Republicans have grown increasingly doubtful about climate change, even as Democrats have grown increasingly convinced that it’s happening and is caused by humans. But recent research published in the journal Climatic Change reveals greater nuance in partisan climate opinions across the country. (December 14, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/28/2017 - Strange and unsettling as it sounds, in the near future we will likely be speaking of the Arctic as the ‘Old Arctic’ and the ‘New Arctic’. The New Arctic will be mostly ice-free in the summer, an ecosystem quite different from the Old Arctic, a pristine land increasing under threat from shipping and oil extraction, and the driver of some very erratic weather for places like Rochester. Sad. Let it go: The Arctic will never be frozen again Last week, at a New Orleans conference center that once doubled as a storm shelter for thousands during Hurricane Katrina, a group of polar scientists made a startling declaration: The Arctic as we once knew it is no more. The region is now definitively trending toward an ice-free state, the scientists said, with wide-ranging ramifications for ecosystems, national security, and the stability of the global climate system. It was a fitting venue for an eye-opening reminder that, on its current path, civilization is engaged in an existential gamble with the planet’s life-support system. In an accompanying annual report on the Arctic’s health — titled “Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades” — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees all official U.S. research in the region, coined a term: “New Arctic.” (December 18, 2017) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/28/2017 - What are the indicators (“observations or calculations that can be used to track conditions and trends.”) of Climate Change as our federal government within the National Climate Assessment understands them?   See graphs and descriptions for: "Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, Arctic Glacier Mass Balance, Arctic Sea Ice Extent, Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, Frost Free Season, Frost Free Season, Global Surface Temperature, Heating and Cooling Degree, Ocean Chlorophyll Concentrations, Sea Surface Temperatures, Start of Spring, Start of Spring, Terrestrial Carbon Storage, and U.S. Surface Temperatures." Thirteen Agencies of our federal government understand quite clearly that Climate Change is bringing rapid change. Why doesn't the Trump administration? Time passes.

  • 12/27/2017 - A “Free online course: Making Sense of Climate Science Denial” promoted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is pretty freaking amazing. Have our public officials (some of them anyway) finally beginning to realize how incredibly dangerous climate denial is to our collective ability to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter? Everyone needs to take this course in order to understand this climate denial meme that is thwarting our ability to have a future. Kudos for the DEC—and those (edx) presenting this series of courses. Free Online Course Starts January 9th: Making Sense of Climate Science Denial This massive open online course (MOOC) is offered by edX, a MOOC provider founded by Harvard University and MIT. Course material is primarily delivered via short videos. This MOOC focuses on climate change communication and includes forums for online conversations with fellow learners and course moderators. Course Title: Making Sense of Climate Science Denial What You'll Learn: How to recognise the social and psychological drivers of climate science denial How to better understand climate change: the evidence that it is happening, that humans are causing it and the potential impacts How to identify the techniques and fallacies that climate myths employ to distort climate science How to effectively debunk climate misinformation Price: Free. (Certificates are available for a fee.) Dates: 7 weeks starting on January 9, 2018 Level: Introductory Effort: 2-4 hours a week For more information and to register, click here. Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/27/2017 - Climate Change is the mother of all problems because it amplifies and accelerates all our other problems—global warming, past and present pollution, social unrest, overpopulation, overconsumption, loss of biodiversity, and much more. We can and should use Climate Change as the lens through which we find solutions to our past and present environmental abuses and get on a sustainable path. Time passes. 'Coral bleaching is getting worse ... but the biggest problem is pollution' Conservationists are battling to save the 700-mile Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in the Caribbean suffering the effects of mass tourism and global warming The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere – an underwater wilderness stretching over 700 miles along the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. One of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the Americas, the reef is home to a dazzling variety of coral and more than 500 species of fish, and provides a livelihood for more than a million people. But now, a combination of mass tourism and poor waste management has left the reef increasingly vulnerable to climate change, placing this natural wonder in serious trouble. “Throughout the Caribbean, we have seen a massive decrease in coral coverage,” says Michael Webster, executive director of the Coral Reef Alliance, a nonprofit organisation that works on reef conservation in Honduras. “Whereas we might have had 60-70% coral coverage in the past, now it’s down to 5-10% in places.” (December 27, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/26/2017 - Very interesting discussion on via ‘Climate One’ podcast @climateone on what President Obama did on addressing Climate Change and what took a long-time, influential climate denier to see the science. #ScienceMatters CHANGING MINDS: CLIMATE POLITICS AND SCIENCE Donald Trump once advocated for climate action. Now, he’s moving Barack Obama’s efforts in the opposite direction. Obama’s former science advisor, John Holdren, talks about the damage being done by today’s White House. For twenty years, Jerry Taylor ran the energy and climate programs for conservative organizations funded by the Koch brothers, before coming around on climate change. He recounts his journey, going from a climate denier to a climate mainstreamer. On this episode of Climate One, Holdren and Taylor join Greg to talk about climate science and politics. John Holdren, Former science advisor to President Obama; Professor of Environmental Policy at the Kennedy School of Government (December 2017) Climate One [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/26/2017 - Climate Change is upon us. We should address it so it doesn’t get worse. Time passes. 2017 is a record-breaker -- and not in a good way As this year comes to a close, 2017 is on track to set the all-time record for the most billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in any single year in US history. There were 15 in the first nine months (equal to all of 2011, which set the record) and the final count, due early next year from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will no doubt include at least some of the hurricanes and wildfires that have happened since September. (December 20, 2017) CNN [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/26/2017 - If it’s so freaking cold outside here in Rochester, how can Climate Change be true? It’s physics, a quickly warming Arctic is flushing tons of melted freshwater into what was a relatively stable climate system. Our climate is going to get more whacky for a while eventually getting dangerously warm. If you want to know more precisely, stand behind climate science. #ScienceMatters   How a Wayward Arctic Current Could Cool the Climate in Europe The Beaufort Gyre, a key Arctic Ocean current, is acting strangely. Scientists say it may be on the verge of discharging a huge amount of ice and cold freshwater that could kick off a period of lower temperatures in northern Europe. For millennia, the Beaufort Gyre — a massive wind-driven current in the Arctic Ocean — has been regulating climate and sea ice formation at the top of the world. Like a giant spinning top, the gyre corrals vast amounts of sea ice. Trapped in this clockwise swirl, the ice has historically had more time to thicken than it generally does in other parts of the Arctic Ocean, where currents such as the Trans Polar Drift transport the ice into the warmer north Atlantic more rapidly. In this way, the Beaufort Gyre — located north of Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory — has helped create the abundant layers of sea ice that, until recently, covered large parts of the Arctic Ocean year-round. (December 11, 2017) Yale Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/26/2017 - Question: What are the resources for “The industry of climate change denial”? Ans: Your life support system and your future. The longer this wrong-headed industry thrives, the shorter the time we have to adapt to Climate Change. Time passes. The industry of climate change denial, and a warm Alaskan winter We're tackling climate change denial this week on Climate Cast. MPR News chief meteorologist Paul Huttner talks to three expert researchers who study many facets of the so-called climate change denial industry. Plus, we'll hear about some extra warm temperatures in the northernmost city in the country. Here's what else you can expect on this week's episode: (December 21, 2017) MPR News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/26/2017 - Despite efforts by Trump administration to deny Climate Change and the science behind it, the climate crisis is getting worse. We are already paying a great procrastination cost for dragging our feet; and the cost will get greater. We can help address Climate Change by doubling down our efforts to get the science out about our planet’s warming and our need to address this issue in a time frame and a scale that will matter. Time passes. Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Expected, and It’s More Extreme New research suggests human-caused emissions will lead to bigger impacts on heat and extreme weather, and sooner than the IPCC warned just three years ago. In the past year, the scientific consensus shifted toward a grimmer and less uncertain picture of the risks posed by climate change. When the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its 5th Climate Assessment in 2014, it formally declared that observed warming was "extremely likely" to be mostly caused by human activity. This year, a major scientific update from the United States Global Change Research Program put it more bluntly: "There is no convincing alternative explanation." (December 26, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/25/2017 - Some good advice on how to recycle after Christmas. But when you put out the tree to be picked up at the curb or take it to a central pickup location, remove the ornaments--the squirrels will remove themselves. Trash those holiday lights: A Christmas recycling guide Don't trash the wrapping paper, but do throw out that evergreen-scented candle when the holiday season is over. There's a lot of things you can do to stay green this Christmas, so resist the urge to throw out everything, and refer to this quick guide for the basics. Let's start with what you cannot recycle. Keep these items out of your blue or green recycling box at all costs. (December 25, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 12/25/2017 - One of the scenarios that even our military understands is that soon there will be “many people displaced by climate change”, causing humanitarian and security issues around the world. It looks like this scenario is already playing out. How are we dealing with that? Climate Change Is Driving People From Home. So Why Don’t They Count as Refugees? More than 65 million people are displaced from their homes, the largest number since the Second World War, and nearly 25 million of them are refugees and asylum seekers living outside their own country. But that number doesn’t include people displaced by climate change. Under international law, only those who have fled their countries because of war or persecution are entitled to refugee status. People forced to leave home because of climate change, or who leave because climate change has made it harder for them to make a living, don’t qualify. The law doesn’t offer them much protection at all unless they can show they are fleeing a war zone or face a fear of persecution if they are returned home. (December 21, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area}

  • 12/25/2017 - I know, it’s freaking cold outside this Christmas day and we’re giving our kids presents. But if we don’t address Climate Change, we’ll be bequeathing to our progeny an unimaginable heat—that comes with more humidity. This shouldn’t be the gift to our children: a world where this become common:  “Laboratory experiments have shown wet-bulb readings of 32°C are the threshold beyond which many people would have trouble functioning outside. This level is rarely reached anywhere today.” Climate Change Is Driving People From Home. So Why Don’t They Count as Refugees? More than 65 million people are displaced from their homes, the largest number since the Second World War, and nearly 25 million of them are refugees and asylum seekers living outside their own country. But that number doesn’t include people displaced by climate change. Under international law, only those who have fled their countries because of war or persecution are entitled to refugee status. People forced to leave home because of climate change, or who leave because climate change has made it harder for them to make a living, don’t qualify. The law doesn’t offer them much protection at all unless they can show they are fleeing a war zone or face a fear of persecution if they are returned home. (December 21, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/25/2017 - As we go further into Climate Change, we must constantly monitor the health of the greatest freshwater system in the world—the Great Lakes. Humanity can and therefore should keep their planet’s ecosystems sustainable. Biggest Great Lakes stories of 2017, month by month The past year was loaded with turmoil for the Great Lakes. A new president tried to cut $300 million in  restoration projects. Homes were flooded along Lake Ontario. And one of the scariest invasive species -- the Asian carp -- was found less than 10 miles from Lake Michigan. Here's a look at some of the biggest stories that Great Lakes Today brought you -- from New York to Minnesota, as well as the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. (December 22, 2017) WXXI News [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/23/2017 - “Huge trash incinerator planned for Finger Lakes” isn’t just absurd. It’s wrong-headed in how we handle our waste, our water, produce energy, our air, and how we treat our public health. Huge trash incinerator planned for Finger Lakes; opponents call it 'absurd' A trash incinerator nearly three times bigger than the one that burns Onondaga County's garbage has been proposed for the former Seneca Army Depot in Seneca County. Activists say the incinerator would bring traffic and pollution to rural Romulus, which sits between the two biggest Finger Lakes, Seneca and Cayuga. "It's just another absolutely absurd proposal for the Finger Lakes region and for Seneca County, which is already home to the largest landfill in New York state," said Joseph Campbell, with anti-incinerator groups Seneca Lake Guardian and Romulus Residents Opposed to the Trash Train. (December 20, 2017) Syracuse.com [more on Air Quality and Recycling in our area]

  • 12/23/2017 - Our region’s Genesee River is a critical ecosystem in our region. Check out what is being to restore this vital part of our environment from Genesee RiverWatch’s latest newsletter.

  • 12/23/2017 - Help get more environmental awareness in our Rochester region. "Submit your film by February 26, 2018 to be considered as a contender for this year's Fast Forward Film Festival."

  • 12/23/2017 - Of course, with human activity (increased use of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus) And Climate Change, which warms our lake waters, the threat of blue-green algae blooms is likely to increase. Human activities impacting spread Area residents can make a difference when it comes to blue-green algae blooms, which can be toxic to humans and animals. This past summer, the blooms were found on a widespread level on both Chautauqua and Findley lakes, according to the County Department of Health and Human Services. Blue-green algae blooms, also known as cyanobacteria blooms, were found in both the north and south basins of Chautauqua Lake, while blooms were found throughout Findley Lake. While the issue is not new in Chautauqua County, it pays to be informed and to monitor one’s own activities in the watershed, said County Executive-elect George Borrello. (December 23, 2017) Observer [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes and Finger Lakes in our area]

  • 12/23/2017 - Regardless of Pruitt’s anti-environmental ‘tude, there is “an increasing flood risk to toxic sites posed by the changing climate.” Climate Change presents a challenge for Brownfields and Superfund sites that have not been cleaned up. Can a gutted, discouraged, and a pro-industry EPA do their job? All regions that have Brownfields, or abandoned industrial waste site that have not been cleaned up, and an increased threat of heavy precipitation that causes floods due to Climate Change should have an immediate plan to get those cleaned up. In our Northeast region, heavy rainfall has increase 71% since 1958 and we still have Brownfields to clean up.  With an EPA taking a lax attitude on regulating dangerous chemicals, we need to watch the further disintegration of the EPA more and more. AP finds climate change risk for 327 toxic Superfund sites Nearly 2 million people in the U.S. live within a mile of 327 Superfund sites in areas prone to flooding or vulnerable to sea-level rise caused by climate change. See photos. This year’s historic hurricane season exposed a little-known public health threat: Highly polluted sites that can be inundated by floodwaters, potentially spreading toxic contamination. In Houston, more than a dozen Superfund sites were flooded by Hurricane Harvey, with breaches reported at two. In the Southeast and Puerto Rico, Superfund sites were battered by driving rains and winds from Irma and Maria. The vulnerable sites highlighted by AP’s review are scattered across the nation, but Florida, New Jersey and California have the most, and the most people living near them. They are in largely low-income, heavily minority neighborhoods, the data show. (Dece,ber 22. 2017) WTOP | The Associated Press [more on Brownfields and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/22/2017 - I know, this sounds incredibly naïve, but why would the EPA allow the use of manufactured chemicals that might possibly harm the public and our environment? What is the purpose of our Environmental Protection Agency but to protect us from potentially harmful chemicals and keep our environment healthy? E.P.A. Delays Bans on Uses of Hazardous Chemicals The Environmental Protection Agency will indefinitely postpone bans on certain uses of three toxic chemicals found in consumer products, according to an update of the Trump administration’s regulatory plans. Critics said the reversal demonstrated the agency’s increasing reluctance to use enforcement powers granted to it last year by Congress under the Toxic Substances Control Act. E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt is “blatantly ignoring Congress’s clear directive to the agency to better protect the health and safety of millions of Americans by more effectively regulating some of the most dangerous chemicals known to man,” said Senator Tom Carper, Democrat of Delaware and the ranking minority member on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee. (December 19, 2017) New York Times [more on Environmental Health in our area] 

  • 12/22/2017 - You’d think because Alaska is warming faster than any other state because of Climate Change, they’d addresses this crisis differently than drilling for more fossil fuels. Sad. “Alaska has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the nation, bringing widespread impacts. Sea ice is rapidly receding and glaciers are shrinking. Thawing permafrost is leading to more wildfire, and affecting infrastructure and wildlife habitat. Rising ocean temperatures and acidification will alter valuable marine fisheries.” Alaska, National Climate Assessment. Climate change driving record snows in Alaskan mountains: study Snowfalls atop an Alaskan mountain range have doubled since the start of the industrial age, evidence that climate change can trigger major increases in regional precipitation, according to research published in the journal Scientific Reports on Tuesday. The study by researchers from Dartmouth College, the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire, shows modern snowfall levels in the Alaska Range at the highest in at least 1,200 years, averaging some 18 feet per year from around 8 feet per year from 1600-1840. (December 19, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/22/2017 - “… climate change can trigger major increases in regional precipitation,” and in some places, which are still cold, that precipitation will fall as snow. Climate Change will affect regions differently and more quickly (for example the Arctic is warming faster than most regions around the world). Though eventually, if we allow the high emission scenarios to be the only choice because did NOT act to address Climate Change, every place on Earth will be disrupted, hot, and intolerable.  Climate change driving record snows in Alaskan mountains: study Snowfalls atop an Alaskan mountain range have doubled since the start of the industrial age, evidence that climate change can trigger major increases in regional precipitation, according to research published in the journal Scientific Reports on Tuesday. The study by researchers from Dartmouth College, the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire, shows modern snowfall levels in the Alaska Range at the highest in at least 1,200 years, averaging some 18 feet per year from around 8 feet per year from 1600-1840. (December 19, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/22/2017 - Climate Change will further challenge some of our fundamental human environmental rights, clean air, clean, water and the ability to move out of harm’s way. Along with Wildlife, much of humanity is going to need to move away from places that can no longer support their way of life. One of the reasons humanity was able to survive and thrive was our ability to move as the climate became intolerable Warming drives climate refugees to Europe Immigration, already a highly controversial topic in Europe, is set to grow as many more climate refugees head for the continent. The numbers of climate refugees seeking asylum in Europe by the end of the century will be almost three times greater than today unless the world makes radical cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers say migrants applying for asylum in the European Union will by 2100 nearly triple over the average of the last 15 years if carbon emissions continue at their current rate. They say cutting emissions could slow this human tide, but even then Europe would see asylum seekers rising by at least a quarter. “Europe is already conflicted about how many refugees to admit,” said the study’s senior author, Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and a professor at the university’s Earth Institute. (December 22, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/22/2017 - Trump administration’s attempts to eviscerate our environmental protections and trying to leave US vulnerable to Climate Change are not a slam dunk. Many, including several state attorneys general, are sticking up for our environment, our life support system. I’m thinking our federal government will eventually get back on track with making our future sustainable. But for a while, during these times when the polluters have taken over, much is being done to preserve the environmental protections that took so to get so we can get back on track as quickly as possible. The New Climate Watchdogs: Democratic Attorneys General Take on Trump A blue-state coalition filed nearly two dozen lawsuits in 2017 involving climate change, energy and the environment. Donald Trump was just hours from inauguration as the 45th president of the United States when a coalition of Democratic attorneys general went to court to defend EPA regulations limiting interstate air pollution. It was a legal shot across the bow of the fossil fuel industry, and the start of a war of attrition the AGs waged throughout 2017 against the new administration and its coalition of red states and fossil fuel companies intent on weakening climate and other pollution rules.(December 21, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/21/2017 - BTW: about those environmental protections the EPA is trying to gut, it seems even a little air pollution is bad. What about a lot of air pollution? There are repercussions for using our natural resources like our air, water, and land for industrial waste. It’s time to rethink chemical exposures —“safe” levels are doing damage: Study It’s time to rethink chemical exposures —“safe” levels are doing damage: Study Environmental health expert says low doses of the most ubiquitous toxics are hurting people—updating how we test and regulate could save lives. We've all heard the old adage—"the dose makes the poison." Well—for many pollutants—it may be time to reexamine that. Some of the most common, extensively tested chemicals — radon, lead, particulate matter, asbestos, tobacco and benzene — appear to be proportionally more harmful to a person's health at the lower levels of exposure, according to a new review of decades of research. "Not only is there no apparent safe levels or thresholds, but at the lowest levels of exposure, there is a steeper increase in the risk," said author Dr. Bruce Lanphear, a professor and researcher at Simon Fraser University. (December 21, 2017) Environmental Health News [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 12/21/2017 - Why the Arctic is melting is just as important as when it will melt. Interestingly, why did we let the Arctic melt?  What other planetary icons will disappear as we stand by and merely watch as our complicity in these phenomenons continue? Time passes. When Will the North Pole Melt? In the near future, the North Pole could truly be relegated to the realm of history. Since scientists started measuring winter sea ice, we’ve lost half a million square miles of it—and for every additional ton of carbon dioxide in the air, about 32 square feet of summer sea ice disappears. In this episode of You Are Here, The Atlantic writer Robinson Meyer details the history of the mythical North Pole and its uncertain future. (December 19, 2017) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/21/2017 - I know, the US has turned very isolationist now, but what about the very near future: Will we help with ‘climate migrants’ as Climate Change devastates the nations who contributed the least to this crisis? Or will we maniacally hold to ‘America first and only.’ We have already passed many moral benchmarks as we have denied the science behind Climate Change, kept quiet about this crisis (because it’s too divisive), and failed to plan adequately so our children will have a future. How far down the road to perdition will we ignore the science, the people, and the ecosystems affected by a quickly warming planet? Time passes. Climate change will displace millions in coming decades. Nations should prepare now to help them Wildfires tearing across Southern California have forced thousands of residents to evacuate from their homes. Even more people fled ahead of the hurricanes that slammed into Texas and Florida earlier this year, jamming highways and filling hotels. A viral social media post showed a flight-radar picture of people trying to escape Florida and posed a provocative question: What if the adjoining states were countries and didn’t grant escaping migrants refuge? By the middle of this century, experts estimate that climate change is likely to displace between 150 and 300 million people. If this group formed a country, it would be the fourth-largest in the world, with a population nearly as large as that of the United States. Yet neither individual countries nor the global community are completely prepared to support a whole new class of “climate migrants.” As a physician and public health researcher in India, I learned the value of surveillance and early warning systems for managing infectious disease outbreaks. Based on my current research on health impacts of heat waves in developing countries, I believe much needs to be done at the national, regional and global level to deal with climate migrants. (December 18, 2017) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/21/2017 - Climate Change is getting very expensive and will likely get vastly more expensive. It'll be costly too--lives, ecosystems, and much more. We should be planning for the worst. Adapt. 2017 Was the Year of the Billion-Dollar Disaster Climate change is increasing the trend in weather and climate extremes in the U.S. A NOAA/NCEI report indicates that through September, the U.S. has had 15 individual billion-dollar weather disasters in 2017. Only 2011 had more billion-dollar disasters with 16, and that was through the entire year. Even without the final calculations from Harvey, Irma and Maria, the total cost is for 2017 about $25 billion, which is far behind the costliest year, 2005 ($215 billion). (December 20, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/20/2017 - Though we in the US tend to view the entire world from just our point of view, Climate Change is a world crisis. This innovative tour of this year’s Climate Change news reflects the big picture, the state we are in. Time passes. Mapped: A world tour of 2017 in climate change news What a year. Take a virtual world tour of our 21 top stories, from forest diamonds to Fiji-on-the-Rhine climate talks. Yes, Donald Trump makes an appearance (December 18, 2017) Climate Home News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/20/2017 - So, is Climate Change a national security risk or not? Climate scientists, military, and even (sometimes) Trump himself say it is. Time passes. Trump confused on climate’s security threat The new US national defence strategy appears to leave President Trump in two minds on the risk from climate’s security threat. Confused about climate’s security threat? Don’t worry – you’re not the only one. Donald Trump seems to be having great difficulty in knowing what to make of it too. He’s even explicitly contradicted a senior colleague – and himself. And he’s prompted suggestions from retired military officers that America’s armed forces will continue to prepare for the reality of climate change undeterred. The Trump administration has dropped climate change from a list of global threats in a new National Security Strategy the president has launched. Instead, President Trump’s NSS emphasises the need for the US to regain its economic competitiveness in the world, with his “America First” plan focussing on four themes surrounding economic security for the US. (December 19, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/20/2017 - In a time of Climate Change where our environment is warming quickly, and our environmental abuses are catching up with us, is it really a good idea to gut the EPA? “People complain about the actions of the EPA, but when you ask about the specific benefits ... no one says, ‘I want that to go away,’” he said. “They don’t say ‘my drinking water is too safe’ or ‘the beaches are too clean. I really miss that hazardous waste site next to my kids’ school ...’ What It’s Like Inside the Trump Administration’s Regulatory Rollback at the EPA The fate of a rule more than a decade in the making is a microcosm of larger changes afoot. Since Trump was elected, dozens of environmental rules have been either opened for reconsideration or overturned altogether. These regulations would have had far-ranging effects, from banning hazardous pesticides and offshore oil drilling to stopping coal-mining debris from being dumped into local streams to forbidding hunters from shooting Alaskan wolves on wildlife refuges. They would have required infrastructure projects to be built to higher flood standards and greenhouse gas emissions to be limited and tracked. ProPublica took a close look at the effluent rule, which was one of the most scrutinized and meticulously researched of the regulations the new EPA leadership is preparing to overturn. Longtime staffers and environmental experts say it is an instance in which science and prevailing industry practices were swept aside to benefit a handful of coal-fired power plants that were having trouble meeting the new standards (December 18, 2017) ProPublica [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 12/19/2017 - Sad. Horrible. Alarming. Ideological. Mean. Delusional. Dangerous. Ignorant. Vulnerable. Wrong. Hopeless. Dismissive. Arrogant. Belligerent. Spiteful. Uninformed. President Trump to Reverse Obama's Recognition of Climate Change as a National Security Threat (December 18, 2017) Time.

  • 12/19/2017 - The Erie Canal clear-cutting plan by two state agencies seemed like a fait accompli until local leaders, neighbors, and activists (and the media) jumped into the fray. Rising up and making your voice heard makes a difference. Erie Canal clear-cutting to be delayed, state may compromise, crowd at meeting told Two state agencies overseeing a $2.6 million Erie Canal project that calls for the clear-cutting of trees and brush along embankments have agreed to delay work until February in Brighton, Perinton and Pittsford and are willing to compromise on how much work is done. Supervisors for all three towns revealed that information Monday night at a public hearing at the Pittsford Community Library, which sits just few hundred yards from the canal at Schoen Place. More than 120 residents were there to express concern about whether so much work is even necessary and some were annoyed, saying state officials have provided little public information about the project. (December 19, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Parks in our area]

  • 12/19/2017 - We’re still very far from getting our Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system in the world, free from our pollutants and ready for the challenges of Climate Change. Time passes Flushed: Painkillers And Antidepressants Contaminate Great Lakes As America confronts the opioid crisis, environmental scientists are warning about a related problem. Chemicals from pain-killers and other drugs often end up in lakes and rivers, creating what some scientists say could be a deadly cocktail for fish and other wildlife. “What we use in our everyday lives goes down the drain and ends up somewhere, it just does," says Emma Rosi, an aquatic ecosystem ecologist at the Cary Institute in New York. Rosi's team studies a long trail of chemicals from opioids, antidepressants, and even illicit drugs, like cocaine. They get into the environment through human urine and feces. Sometimes unused medications are flushed down toilets and drains. The compounds eventually reach streams, lakes and rivers. (December 19, 2017) WOSU Public Radio [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/19/2017 - Solving the problem of rising waters and property rights is compelling. Though very difficult, Climate Change is going to force a solution to this dilemma. It’s more likely we’ll find equitable solutions the sooner we address this issue, than if we wait until the choices are few and onerous. Time passes. An American Beach Story: When Property Rights Clash with the Rising Sea The American ethos of individualism is clashing with efforts to protect coastal communities against sea level rise, often to the homeowners’ detriment. Rising sea levels driven by climate change are forcing communities like Humarock to confront a troubling future. The global water line has risen by about 8 inches on average since 1900, and it's expected to rise about that much or more by 2050. As public officials at all levels of government try to protect the nation's coasts from rising seas, they're confronting an American ethos that champions individualism over central planning. The federal government has no master plan for adapting to sea level rise. States often leave critical decisions about coastal infrastructure to local governments. And many people would prefer to protect their own property. (December 16, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/19/2017 - Usually, doesn’t a nation drop a global threat in a national security strategy until the threat has been addressed? I don’t remember the Climate Change crisis having been solved. Must have missed that tweet. Trump drops climate change from US national security strategy President outlined new approach in unprecedented White House speech Obama administration added climate to list of threats to US interests The Trump administration has dropped climate change from a list of global threats in a new national security strategy the president unveiled on Monday.  Instead, Trump’s NSS paper emphasised the need for the US to regain its economic competitiveness in the world. That stance represents a sharp change from the Obama administration’s NSS, which placed climate change as one of the main dangers facing the nation and made building international consensus on containing global warming a national security priority. (December 18, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/18/2017 - Of course, in another sense (the real sense), it’s impossible to wipe Climate Change away by removing data from governmental sites. Climate Change has object permanence until you actually act to address it. Even babies eventually learn this principle. Time passes. As “Climate Change” Fades from Government Sites, a Struggle to Archive Data When the Environmental Protection Agency’s website underwent an overhaul of climate change information on a Friday in late April, Toly Rinberg and Andrew Bergman, both Harvard Ph.D. students in applied physics, set off to figure out what was gone. Sitting in their shared Washington, D.C. apartment, they started a spreadsheet to track the changes. Suddenly missing, they noticed, were scores of pages dedicated to helping state and local governments deal with climate change. The EPA site where those pages lived, titled “Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments,” would disappear for three months, only to come back in July without the word “climate” in its title. The new website now focuses only on energy policy and resources, and is down to 175 pages from 380. Also affected by the April changes was a website on the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which had previously included fact sheets on carbon pollution from power plants and the impact of those emissions on different groups across the country. In its place was a new site featuring a picture of President Donald Trump signing an executive order aimed at dismantling the Clean Power Plan. (December 8, 2017) PBS Frontline [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/18/2017 - The 2017 Arctic Report Card from NOAA is in. It looks like humanity is failing the Arctic in all areas. Time passes. 2017 Arctic Report Card: Visual Highlights On December 12, 2017, NOAA and its partners released the 2017 issue of the Arctic Report Card at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans. Now in its 12th year, the Arctic Report Card is a NOAA-led, peer-reviewed report that brings together the work of scores of scientists from across the world to report on air, ocean, land and ecosystem changes in the Far North. It is a key tool used around the world to track changes in the Arctic and how those changes may affect communities, businesses, and people. Below is a collection of maps and other images highlighting some of this year's key findings. (December 12, 2017) NOAA Climate.gov [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/16/2017 - And New York State is only one of the states (and provinces) in the Great Lakes basin releasing untreated sewage during big storms (that will occur more often during Climate Change). What’s the plan to fix this? If we had a national and international Climate Action Plan to ready our Great Lakes for the many challenges ahead for more Climate Change, we could address this sewage releases and other Great Lakes issues on a scale and time frame that would matter. Time passes Study: NY sewer overflows totaled billions of gallons The problem of sewer overflows affects the entire Great Lakes region. More than 182 municipalities have systems that can release untreated sewage during big storms, the Environmental Protection Agency says. A group called Environmental Advocates of New York analyzed sewage discharge data published by the state. The group estimates that more than 3.8 billion gallons of sewage was released into waterways from 2013 through July 2017. Liz Moran, the water and natural resources director for the group, says those figures could be even bigger. “Significant underreporting of overflow events continues to exist.” (December 8, 2017) WBFO [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/16/2017 - Instead of getting our country ready to adapt to Climate Change, the Trump administration is gutting our environmental protections. At what number of protections gutted will a public tipping point against this monstrosity occur? How far or at what point does the public say enough is enough? Time passes. 60 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump Since taking office in January, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration — with help from Republicans in Congress — has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change. To date, the Trump administration has sought to reverse at least 60 environmental rules, according to a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School’s Environmental Regulation Rollback Tracker, Columbia Law School’s Climate Tracker and other sources. (December 15, 2017) New York Times [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/16/2017 - According to National Climate Assessment, our Northeast region has increased heavy rainfall 71% from 1958 to 2012. How bad will it get? Are our infrastructures—road and bridges, water and wastewater—ready? Or are we frozen in doubt by politics so much so that we haven’t even accomplished normal infrastructure updates—leaving us and our children vulnerable to the increase in flooding?  Time passes. A harder rain’s a-gonna fall in the US Ever-heavier downpours threaten mainland America with harder rain as a consequence of global warming. US cities need to be ready. For the US, harder rain is on the way: America’s summer thunderstorms are about to get stormier. Later this century, the notorious mesoscale convective storms of middle America will not just darken US skies: they will dump as much as 80% more water  on the farms, highways and cities of the 48 contiguous states. Mesoscale thunderstorms cover an area of around 100 kilometres: these have been on the increase, both in frequency and intensity, in the last 35 years and new research suggests that, as the world warms, their frequency could triple. “The combination of more intense rainfall and the spreading of heavy rainfall over larger areas means that we will face a higher flood risk than previously predicted,” said Andreas Prein, of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in the US, who led the study. “If a whole catchment area gets hammered by high rain rates, that creates a much more serious situation than a thunderstorm dropping intense rain over parts of the catchment. This implies that the flood guidelines which are used in planning and building infrastructure are probably too conservative.” (December 13, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/16/2017 - According to NASA Global Climate Change, today’s climate is “407.06 ppm CO2, temperature is 1.7F since 1880, Arctic ice minimum down 13.2 percent per decade, land ice down 286.0 gigatonnes per year, and sea level is up 3.4 millimeters per year”. Find out what all this means and more about monitoring the health of our planet during Climate Change. Climate Change includes myriad information, opinions, plans, and it must also include exact information about how our planet is responding to our warming it.

  • 12/15/2017 - Besides what we think are the usual uses of our precious Great Lakes, we must not forget we are still using the largest freshwater system to dump our pollution. We must ready the Great Lakes for Climate Change by cleaning it up, filtering out pharmaceuticals, getting the plastics out, stopping sewage overflows, preventing invasive species, and much more if we are to depend on this greatest of natural resources as we warm our planet. Time passes. Who uses the Great Lakes' water? The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River make up the world's biggest freshwater system -- and an enormously valuable resource. It supplies drinking water for millions of residents and powers the region's economy. Last year, 42 million gallons were withdrawn from the basin each day, according to a new report from the Great Lakes Commission. Here's where it went. (December 15, 2017) WXXI News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 12/15/2017 - If say, you’re a blogger trying to communicate a full understanding of Climate Change, the urgency to address it, and its local implications, then you’re going to like NYS AG Schneiderman efforts to Protect Net Neutrality. The Internet gave many of us a voice, don’t let big telecommunications corporations shut you up. Learn more about this important right of Net Neutrality, you’ve just lost from FreePress.

  • 12/15/2017 - When the Pruitt EPA isn’t gutting our environmental protections, it’s pitching American gas exports around the world. Our EPA has really changed—not in a good way. Pruitt promotes gas exports in trip abroad U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt pitched American gas exports this week as part his environmental talks in Morocco, thrilling the energy industry and infuriating environmentalists. The EPA chief traveled to North Africa to meet with foreign officials, "update" an environmental work plan under the Morocco Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and discuss Morocco's interest in importing liquefied natural gas, according to a press release the agency sent last night. "These meetings allowed us to directly convey our priorities and best practices with Moroccan leaders, as well as identify opportunities for continued cooperation, as our two countries further talks around the Environmental Work Plan," Pruitt said in a statement. "We are committed to working closely with countries like Morocco to enhance environmental stewardship around the world." (December 13, 2017) E&E News [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 12/15/2017 - Hard for the Trump administration to play dumb on Climate Change when our government’s National Climate Assessment explains the science and the crisis pretty darn well. US ‘no position’ on how much humans are changing climate, says Trump envoy George David Banks speaks with Arthur Neslen about keeping the US in the Paris deal, morale in the state department and why he said he didn’t know what 2C means Donald Trump’s climate advisor George David Banks cut an intriguing, divisive figure at the recent climate talks in Bonn. His appearance at negotiations to lay down rules for the Paris Agreement, which Trump wants to leave, attracted widespread opprobrium. But few White House officials understand international climate policy as well as Banks. The free market advocate served as a special advisor on international climate affairs under president George W Bush. After Bush decided not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the precursor to the Paris climate agreement, Banks designed the ‘major economies forum’, a meeting that became a key driver of climate ambition during the Obama presidency. (December 13, 2017) Climate Home News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/15/2017 - More confirmation from expert studies that warmer waters caused by Climate Change “supercharges” extreme, record-breaking storms. A warmer world where our oceans are sucking up most of the heat must be planned for accordingly. Time passes. Climate Change Likely Supercharged Hurricane Harvey Two separate studies find that climate change boosted the storm’s rainfall by at least 15 percent In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than four feet of rain on Houston, Texas, in a matter of days, sending unprecedented floods through one of the largest cities in the U.S. In the deluge’s aftermath, climate scientists noted that storms like Harvey are rare—but cautioned that unusually warm waters, made likelier by human activity, may have supercharged the hurricane’s extreme rainfall. Now, two separate teams of scientists have found humans’ fingerprints all over the storm. One research team’s results, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), found that in comparison to a typical 1950s hurricane, climate change likely increased Harvey’s seven-day rainfall by at least 19 percent. A separate study, published today in Environmental Research Letters (ERL), found similar results, showing that climate change boosted Harvey’s three-day rainfall by about 15 percent. (December 13, 2017) National Gerographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/14/2017 - Climate Change effect on Northeast farmers: The good news is that the growing season will be longer; the bad news is that farmer’s fields will be too soggy to take advantage of that. Northeast farmers weigh warm climate, drenched fields Farmers in the Northeast are adopting production habits tailored to longer, warming climate conditions, but they may face spring planting whiplash as they confront fields increasingly saturated with rain, according to a new Cornell-led paper in the journal Climatic Change, November 2017. Climate change in the Northeast could present two faces. “Climate change can easily intensify agricultural susceptibility, but also present fresh, surprising opportunities,” said David Wolfe, professor of plant and soil ecology and senior author of the paper. For the past two decades, the Northeast has been getting warmer for longer periods of time. Concurrently, the region has seen a 71 percent increase in the frequency of extreme precipitation events – more than any other region in the United States, according to the paper. Heavy rainfall, for example, increases the likelihood of foliar diseases, such as potato and tomato late blight, and plant root fungal problems that stress carrots and other root vegetables. (December 13, 2017) Cornell Chronicle [more on Climate Change and Food in our area]

  • 12/14/2017 - At some point, it is more likely that low-pollution scenarios, where our coastal cities don’t get inundated by sea level rise, will be moot unless we dramatically address Climate Change and bring our greenhouse gas emission levels down. Business as usual means only high-pollution scenarios are available. This will be a very high procrastination penalty, indeed. Time passes. Antarctic Modeling Pushes Up Sea-Level Rise Projections Antarctic ice sheet models double the sea-level rise expected this century if global emissions of heat-trapping pollution remain high, according to a new study led by Dr. Robert Kopp of Rutgers University and co-authored by scientists at Climate Central. Global average sea level is expected to rise by one foot between 2000 and 2050 and by several more feet by the end of the century under a high-pollution scenario because of the effects of climate change, according to the projections in the new peer-reviewed study. It shows 21st century sea-level rise could be kept to less than two feet if greenhouse gas emissions are aggressively and immediately reduced, reflecting a larger gap in sea-level consequences between high and low emissions scenarios than previous research has indicated. (December 13, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/14/2017 - Climate Change is sending our weather into new territory. “In a first, an American Meteorological Society annual report found certain extreme weather events could not have happened without human-caused CO2 emissions.” 2016’s Record Heat Not Possible Without Global Warming, Study Says In a first, an American Meteorological Society annual report found certain extreme weather events could not have happened without human-caused CO2 emissions. The devastating heat wave that hit Asia in 2016 and the unprecedented warmth of ocean waters off of Alaska that year had something in common: neither would have been possible without the excess carbon dioxide that humans have pumped into the atmosphere over the past century, according to new research. That year was the warmest on record globally, and that extreme also would have been impossible without climate change, the report said. The findings marked an ominous first for the American Meteorological Society's annual report on the role of climate change in extreme weather events, which was released Wednesday. While five previous editions included research showing that climate change made dozens of heat waves, droughts and storms more likely or more severe, none had determined that the events could not have occurred under "natural" conditions. (December 13, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2017 - If we are losing the battle against Climate Change, who are we losing it to? Ourselves. Humanity is confronting what it means to be human in this existential crisis. We will either become a better people or wipe ourselves out. Time passes. World is losing the battle against climate change, Macron says PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a bleak assessment on the global fight against climate change to dozens of world leaders and company executives on Tuesday, telling them: “We are losing the battle”. “We’re not moving quickly enough. We all need to act,” Macron said, seeking to breathe new life into a collective effort that was weakened this summer when President Donald Trump said he was pulling the United States out of an international accord brokered in the French capital two years ago. Macron, who has worked to establish his role as a global leader since his sweeping election win in May, said modern-day science was revealing with each day the danger that global warming posed to the planet, he said. (December 13, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/13/2017 - Many people, communities, and institutions still don’t believe in the science behind Climate Change, but insurance companies are learning they don’t have the luxury of denial. Increasingly, insurance companies are learning that it is in their best interest to make sure those they are insuring prepare adequately for Climate Change. Because if they don’t, they’ll go broke. Time passes. To Test for Climate Disasters: Break, Burn and Throw Stuff A team of researchers is destroying things — with wind, water and fire — to help insurers manage the increasing risks of extreme weather. In the backwoods of Rhode Island, a team of researchers spends whole days trying to destroy things: setting boxes on fire, shattering chunks of ice, hurling debris through the air at hurricane speed. They work for an insurance company, FM Global, and the pandemonium simulates the hazards that are expected to strike with increasing frequency in this age of extreme weather. “There’s a realization that hazards are changing, and we need to understand that,” said Louis Gritzo, the lab’s research manager, who has spent his career studying deadly risks. “This year will be a tipping point.” (December 11, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2017 - I know, you’re already habituated to the fact that the Arctic is warming really fast; but remember “What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic; it affects the rest of the planet …” Time passes. Arctic permafrost thawing faster than ever, US climate study finds Sea ice also melting at fastest past in 1,500 years, US government scientists find ‘The Arctic is a very different place than it was even a decade ago’ – author Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing faster than ever, according to a new US government report that also found Arctic seawater is warming and sea ice is melting at the fastest pace in 1,500 years. The annual report released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed slightly less warming in many measurements than a record hot 2016. But scientists remain concerned because the far northern region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe and has reached a level of warming that’s unprecedented in modern times. (December 12, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2017 - “… young people who say their rights are at risk from the government’s inaction on climate change” are being heard in our legal system. Shouldn’t everyone have a right to a clean and un-cooked future? Time passes. SF court cool to Trump administration attempt to quash youths’ climate suit A federal appeals court in San Francisco gave a chilly response Monday to the Trump administration’s argument to scuttle a far-reaching lawsuit by 21 young people who say their rights are at risk from the government’s inaction on climate change. The youths, aged 10 to 21, sued President Barack Obama’s administration in 2015. Their lawyers contended that the government’s long-established obligation to protect public resources such as rivers and seashores applies to the atmosphere, and that the youths’ constitutional right to life and liberty, and to due process of law, is being violated by federal policies on fossil fuels and related issues. Ruling that the youths had made at least a preliminary showing that the government’s policies were likely to harm them, a federal judge in Oregon refused to dismiss the suit in November 2016. At a hearing Monday attended by 18 of the young plaintiffs, a Trump administration lawyer called the ruling “unprecedented” and asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to overturn it. (December 11, 2017) San Francisco Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/13/2017 - 'One Planet' climate summit in Paris: "it's about directing all investments worldwide towards climate-friendly options."  Macron urges swifter action at 'One Planet' climate summit in Paris Politicians and finance industry representatives are meeting to discuss how to promote green investments to fight global climate change. The summit is taking place on the second anniversary of the Paris climate accord. More than 50 world leaders have arrived in Paris on the second anniversary of the Paris climate agreement for a summit on how to promote green investments to combat global climate change. High-profile public figures also attending the "One Planet" summit include Sean Penn, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Elon Musk. French President Emmanuel Macron warned the delegates that the world was not reducing its carbon dioxide emissions fast enough.  "We are losing the battle" against climate change, Macron said. "We are not moving fast enough." Germany's Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said before the conference began that "it's about directing all investments worldwide towards climate-friendly options." (December 12, 202017) Deutsche Welle [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/12/2017 - To get the Great Lakes ecosystem as healthy and resilient as possible, as we go farther into Climate Change, we must also address pharmaceuticals, plastics, invasive species, sewer overflows, lake levels and much more. There are a lot of environmental issues facing the largest freshwater system in the world and we would be wise to address them all as soon as possible so we can depend on fresh clean water, fishing, and recreation as the consequences of a warmer climate increase. Time passes. Pain-killers, other drugs found in Great Lakes ecosystem As America confronts the opioid crisis, environmental scientists are warning about a related problem. Chemicals from pain-killers and other drugs often end up in lakes and rivers, creating what some scientists say could be a deadly cocktail for fish and other wildlife. “What we use in our everyday lives goes down the drain and ends up somewhere, it just does," says Emma Rosi, an aquatic ecosystem ecologist at the Cary Institute in New York. Rosi's team studies a long trail of chemicals from opioids, antidepressants, and even illicit drugs, like cocaine. They get into the environment through human urine and feces. Sometimes unused medications are flushed down toilets and drains. The compounds eventually reach streams, lakes and rivers. (December 12, 2017) WBFO [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area] 

  • 12/12/2017 - Are we doing as much as we can to prevent the very invasive species Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes? Many think not. Time passes. Congressmen demand faster action on Asian carp Twenty-six members of Congress — including U.S. Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green), Tim Walberg (R., Tipton), and Debbie Dingell (D., Dearborn) — have joined numerous other elected officials in demanding more aggressive action from the Army Corps of Engineers against destructive Asian carp threatening to enter the Great Lakes near Chicago. A bipartisan letter submitted Friday said the congressmen are firmly holding the Corps to an early 2019 deadline for completing the most crucial report to date for a long-term fix, called the Brandon Road Lock & Dam Study. (December 11, 2017) The Blade [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/12/2017 - It’s unlikely we’ll find solutions to “record-smashing” wildfires in S. California and other hot spots without addressing a “warming climate” (code for Climate Change). Wouldn’t a reasonable person, not even a scientist, conclude from the findings of Climate Change that there would be more record-breaking wildfires in regions where wildfires ‘normally’ occur? In some regions Climate Change unleashes more rain in the spring to grow plants quickly, then a summer drought dries everything out (including the soil) and you’ve got a region ripe for bigger and worse wildfires. There are other reasons (more houses being built in the fires’ path, great winds, etc.) for more major wildfires, of course, but without addressing Climate Change it’s unlikely we’ll stop the increase in damage. California’s record-smashing fire season sparks hunt for solutions This year’s wildfire season, still on the move in Southern California, is one for the record books. Federal firefighting costs soared to a new high. The nightmarish Wine Country blazes leveled more than 5,000 homes and killed 44 people. And two weeks before Christmas, when fire danger is typically gone, flames continue to eat through the outskirts of Los Angeles and San Diego, chasing tens of thousands from their homes and threatening the cushy estates of Elon Musk and Jennifer Aniston. Cities and towns watching the onslaught are grasping for ways — large and small — to avoid becoming the next Santa Rosa or Ventura. But while wildfire experts anticipate more devastating years ahead, they say communities can do a lot more to brace themselves, beginning with basic actions of clearing fire breaks in nearby forests and fields and planning a swift emergency response. The challenge, the experts say, is doing enough to meet the mounting threats posed by a warming climate and the housing development that’s put more people in fire-prone places. (December 9, 2017) San Franciso Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/12/2017 - Divesting from fossil fuel companies must be an important part of address Climate Change. When “big market players” announce they’re divesting, it seems to encourage others to do so. A very positive feedback loop, indeed. How divesting of fossil fuels could help save the planet Recently, a number of institutional investors, including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in Canada and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, announced their intent to reduce their exposure in investments linked to fossil fuels. The announcements show that investors withdraw their funds to either mitigate financial risks or for ethical reasons. But the question remains whether divestment and divestment announcements have a financial impact on the share price of fossil fuel companies. We’re a team of researchers at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo. We recently conducted an analysis that suggests divestment announcements have a statistically significant negative impact on the price of fossil fuel shares. Our study aggregates the impact of more than 20 announcements across 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies. The results suggest that share prices dropped on the days that institutional investors announced they were divesting of fossil fuels. (December 10, 2017) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/11/2017 - Are we really going to leave our children with an unbelievably hot world that will wreck their chances for a future? We’ll see. Time passes. Hotter world than predicted may be here by 2100 A hotter world could be on the way, unless nations act. That’s because the gloomiest predictions may not have been gloomy enough.  Tomorrow may experience a hotter world than anyone had feared. Global warming, under the notorious “business-as-usual scenario” in which humans go on burning fossil fuels to power economic growth, could by 2100 be at least 15% warmer than the worst UN projections so far. And the spread of uncertainty in such gloomy forecasts has been narrowed as well. Climate scientists had worked on the assumption that there was a 62% chance that the world would have warmed on average by more than 4°C if no action was taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But a new study has not only raised the stakes, it has narrowed the uncertainty. There is now a 93% chance that global warming will – once again, under the business-as-usual scenario – exceed 4°C by 2100. And since, in Paris in 2015, the world’s nations met and agreed to keep overall global warming to “well below” 2°C,  even that figure represents “dangerous” global warming.  One degree higher would count as “catastrophic”. And a rise of beyond 5°C would deliver the world into an unknown and unpredictable period of change. (December 8, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/11/2017 - As the Trump administration quietly guts our environmental protections, glad responsible media like #NYT is keeping close watch. After the fox has taken over the henhouse, at least someone’s watching the fox. Under Trump, E.P.A. Has Slowed Actions Against Polluters, and Put Limits on Enforcement Officers The highway billboard at the entrance to town still displays a giant campaign photograph of President Trump, who handily won the election across industrial Ohio. But a revolt is brewing here in East Liverpool over Mr. Trump’s move to slow down the federal government’s policing of air and water pollution. The City Council moved unanimously last month to send a protest letter to the Environmental Protection Agency about a hazardous waste incineratornear downtown. Since Mr. Trump took office, the E.P.A. has not moved to punish the plant’s owner, even after extensive evidence was assembled during the Obama administration that the plant had repeatedly, and illegally, released harmful pollutants into the air. “I don’t know where we go,” Councilman William Hogue, a retired social studies teacher, said in frustration to his fellow council members. “They haven’t resolved anything.” Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, has said the Trump administration’s high-profile regulatory rollback does not mean a free pass for violators of environmental laws. But as the Trump administration moves from one attention-grabbing headline to the next, it has taken a significant but less-noticed turn in the enforcement of federal pollution laws. (December 10, 2017) New York Times [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 12/11/2017 - The extinction of the North Atlantic right whale doesn’t have to happen if humanity doesn’t want that to happen. Humanity isn’t simply “an actor upon the stage” anymore, we are increasingly the directors. Endangered North Atlantic right whales are set to become extinct with just 100 breeding females remaining, officials warn North Atlantic right whales are among the rarest marine mammals in the world There are about 450 of the whales left and 17 of them have died so far in 2017 Officials say US and Canada must work to reduce human-caused whales deaths Vessel-strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are two frequently cited causes Officials with the federal government say it's time to consider the possibility that endangered right whales could become extinct unless new steps are taken to protect them. North Atlantic right whales are among the rarest marine mammals in the world, and they have endured a deadly year.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said there are only about 450 of the whales left and 17 of them have died so far in 2017. (December 10, 2017) DailyMail [more on Wildlife in our areaa]

  • 12/11/2017 - Many folks in Rochester region don’t think clear-cutting trees along Erie Canal is the best way to protect the embankment and stop flooding. Community members protest removal of trees along Erie Canal Activists and people who live along the Erie Canal are demanding a stop to the cutting of trees along the canal. The Canal Corporation is in the middle of a plan to clear more than 100 acres of woods. Community members rallied at the Ayrault Road launch in Perinton Sunday to say "no further.” Clearing down these trees will help protect the embankment and stop flooding, according to the Canal Corporation. (December 10, 2017) WHEC Rochester

  • 12/09/2017 - We are unlikely to adapt to Climate Change if do not stop sewage spills into New York waterways. Clean, potable water, is our region’s most valuable natural resource as we go farther into Climate Change and we must make it so our wastewater infrastructure is updated to be resilient for more heavy rainfalls (which has increased 71% since 1958 in our region, causing more sewer overflows). Increasing the ability and reliability of reporting on sewage spills is important feedback to make sure we are accomplishing this goal. Report Calls for Increased Water Infrastructure Spending ALBANY, N.Y. – Reporting of sewage spills into New York waterways has improved, but a new report says substantial investment is needed to stem the flow.  The analysis of Department of Environmental Conservation data says from May 2013 to last July, there were more than 10,500 sewage overflows in New York, totaling more than $3.8 billion.  Liz Moran, the water and natural resources director for Environmental Advocates of New York, says in one important way, the large number of reported spills is a good thing. "Reporting has actually increased by 273 percent," she notes. "And we think that this is because DEC finalized the regulations implementing the sewage pollution right-to-know law." But she cautions the data also shows under-reporting is still a problem, and it underscores the need for state investment in water infrastructure. The Sewage Right-to-Know law went into effect in 2013 and requires reporting of untreated sewage discharges. (December 8, 2017) Public News Service [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/09/2017 -   Permanently storing low-and intermediate-level radioactive waste in an underground chamber anywhere near the Great Lakes is insane. Suggesting something so reckless as doing something that could even remotely contaminate the largest freshwater system in the world must give anyone who thinks nuclear power is the way for our future pause. Obviously, we have not figured out the most salient problem with nuclear power: nuclear waste. Suggesting this project is not going to help the pro-nuclear power cause. Local mayors oppose proposed Canadian nuclear waste plan Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, Oregon Mayor Michael Seferian, Port Clinton Mayor Hugh Wheeler, Jr., and Sandusky, Mich. Mayor Thomas Lukshaitis are among 104 elected officials who signed a new letter imploring the Trudeau administration to stop Ontario Power Generation from burying low and intermediate-level nuclear waste a mile from Lake Huron. OBJECTOntario Power Generation — Canada’s largest utility — wants to build a deep underground bunker on the site of its massive eight-reactor Bruce nuclear power complex in Kincardine, Ont., about a four-hour drive north of Toledo. The radioactive waste, much of which is now being stored in above-ground vaults, would be sent down a half-mile shaft into a permanent structure called a Deep Geologic Repository, or DGR. The proposal has garnered controversy because of its proximity to the Great Lakes, the primary source of drinking water for 30 million Americans and 10 million Canadians. (December 8, 2017) The Blade [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/09/2017 - This article by the NYT is not only interesting because it reveals that mainstream media is filling in where our government is failing on assessing the damage from a Climate-Change related record-breaking extreme weather event, but that unless we make reasonable assumptions based on the reality of Climate Change we are going to miss critical information like the real mortality count from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. If we don’t get correct mortality counts and accurately assess the full extent of the damage these record-breaking storms cause, we are unlikely to prepare adequately for the next storm, which could be more damaging. We need to assume that Climate Change is happening and view our present reality through this lens—which our federal government is not doing. Deluding ourselves about Climate Change will not help us address it. Time passes. Official Toll in Puerto Rico: 62. Actual Deaths May Be 1,052. Homes were flattened. Power was knocked out. And all across Puerto Rico, bodies began showing up at morgues. Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico with great fury but the government there has reported an official death toll far lower than the devastation suggests. A review by The New York Times of daily mortality data from Puerto Rico’s vital statistics bureau indicates a significantly higher death toll after the hurricane than the government there has acknowledged. The Times’s analysis found that in the 42 days after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm, 1,052 more people than usual died across the island. The analysis compared the number of deaths for each day in 2017 with the average of the number of deaths for the same days in 2015 and 2016. (December 8, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 12/09/2017 - The consequences of Climate Change are probably going to be visited on the most vulnerable first, but maybe not. One America’s most persistent myths is that global warming won’t harm them personally. Many of us are thinking we won’t get nailed by this worldwide crisis because global warming moves too slow, or it only hits poor island nations and we don’t live there, or we have nice homes and great health policies and great home insurances that will cover us in any event in the near future. But this myth is being challenged every day by the growing evidence that this crisis is spreading quickly and comprehensively throughout the planet. We’ve come a long way in a couple of decades where most American didn’t even believe in Climate Change. But now most of us do, but we just don’t think we, ourselves, will get nailed. Which is kind of wrong and immoral when you think about it. Time passes. How Smoke From California’s Fires is Harming the Most Vulnerable David Ewing wore a bright white dust mask, his face behind it puffy and red, as he sat on a stone bench in downtown Santa Barbara, California. A fine layer of ash covered the pavement at his feet, dirty residue from wildfires ravaging the region. “When I woke up yesterday I couldn't breathe,” said Ewing, who is homeless and has been diagnosed with cancer. He spent the previous night sleeping behind a Saks department store. “This stuff is just wiping me out.” Ewing is among the tens of thousands of homeless in Southern California who are struggling to escape the smoke as wildfires tear through the region. Experts caution against spending time outdoors when it’s smoky, but for many, staying inside isn't an option. (December 8, 2017) Cimate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/09/2017 - Our infrastructures are humanity’s arteries and veins and we shouldn’t wait until they’re severely stressed by record-breaking storms until we doctor them. The conduits, the structures that make our collective life possible—roads and bridges, water and wastewater and gas pipes—must be healthy and resilient enough so while we’re adapting to Climate Change these external parts of ourselves evolve and adapt with us. It is unlikely that our infrastructures can be repaired and restructured for the future without our governments orchestrating their operations. With 7+ billion of us growing into a warmer future than humanity has ever experienced, we must act and think collectively to act on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes. Rethinking the ‘Infrastructure’ Discussion Amid a Blitz of Hurricanes Several experts on climate and resilience talk about the role of government. “Viewed correctly, sensible safeguards are part of freedom, not a retreat from it.” The wonky words infrastructure and resilience have circulated widely of late, particularly since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck paralyzing, costly blows in two of America’s fastest-growing states. Resilience is a property traditionally defined as the ability to bounce back. A host of engineers and urban planners have long warned this trait is sorely lacking in America’s brittle infrastructure. Many such experts say the disasters in the sprawling suburban and petro-industrial landscape around Houston and along the crowded coasts of Florida reinforce the urgent idea that resilient infrastructure is needed more than ever, particularly as human-driven climate change helps drive extreme weather. (September 13, 2017) ProPublica [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/08/2017 - Odd, even our US government’s National Climate Assessment clearly understands the public health risks of Climate Change. But, maybe Pruitt knows more than 13 agencies of our government and 97% of climate scientists. Or, maybe just sowing doubt will achieve Pruitt’s agenda. Read our government’s “The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment” Time passes. Pruitt Questions EPA Finding That Climate Change Is Health Risk The Obama administration rushed an analysis that found climate change is a risk to human health and welfare, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said, offering a justification that he could use to reverse that determination. The key concern, Pruitt told a congressional panel, was that the EPA in 2009 relied on scientific reports written by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s authoritative network of climate scientists. Pruitt called it a “unique situation” in which a regulatory procedure relied on outsiders’ scientific work. "There was a breach of process that occurred in 2009 that many believe was not handled the proper way," Pruitt told a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday. "That process in 2009 was short-shrifted.” (December 7, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 12/08/2017 - Rochester, NY too loves electric buses and we are adding 5 to our fleet. If we eventually power those buses with renewable energy and make all buses electric, our public transportation will be very green. 12 Major Cities, With 80 Million Citizens, Agree To Only Buy Electric Buses Mayors of 12 major cities around the world, with a total population of nearly 80 million citizens, have announced a move towards zero emission fleets under the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration – to make their cities greener, healthier and more prosperous. The plan envisions the procurement of only zero-emission buses from 2025. The total number of buses in the 12 engaged cities stands at roughly 59,000 – so its kinda a big deal! The second part of the new plan is the creation of major zero-emission areas in those cities by 2030. (December 8, 2017) Inside EVs [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 12/08/2017 - Humanity’s efforts to address the existential problem of Climate Change are going to be seriously challenged by the existential threat of nuclear war. For those of us environmentalists who think nuclear war is outside our bailiwick, we’ve got to think again. A sustainable future doesn’t include a nuclear war. Addressing Climate Change--besides the planning and environmental justice—must include avoiding war on scale humanity is now capable of. We cannot live this way. Time passes.  

  • 12/08/2017 - Trying to recover from more extreme weather caused by Climate Change is going to increase the human misery index. We can do a lot to avoid what we know is coming with Climate Change if we plan. What Climate Change brings to our future is an understanding that humanity isn’t simply at the mercy of Nature; we understand much of the science behind extreme weather and we know how to fortify our communities so that disasters aren’t so disastrous. But we must understand the nature of Climate Change and plan ahead. Time passes. Harvey's health toll only now starting to be realized Upswing seen in mental problems, other ailments Three months after Hurricane Harvey, local health officials now are beginning to see the storm after the storm. In Harris County and the other hardest-hit regions of Texas, 17 percent of those who had houses damaged or suffered income loss report that someone in their household has a new or worsening health condition. A sweeping new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Houston-based Episcopal Health Foundation shows a similar proportion feels their own mental health has worsened. "We're not anywhere near the end yet," cautioned Dr. Cindy Ripsin, a family physician with the Memorial Hermann Medical Group in League City. (December 5, 2017) Chron News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 12/08/2017 - Another important way to ‘see’ Climate Change is via climate models. Predicting future climate through models has come a long way with a high degree of accuracy. The more scientists learn about global warming, the better the models. [Check out my essay from August 2016 "Modeling Climate Change"]  The Most Accurate Climate Models Predict Greater Warming, Study Shows In the range of climate models, those that most successfully simulate the past predict some of the worst-case scenarios for the future, researchers found. New research says we should pay more attention to climate models that point to a hotter future and toss out projections that point to less warming.   The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, suggest that international policy makers and authorities are relying on projections that underestimate how much the planet will warm—and, by extension, underestimate the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed to stave off catastrophic impacts of climate change. (December 6, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/08/2017 - What’s the connection between the wildfires in California and Climate Change? As 'Epic Winds' Drive California Fires, Climate Change Fuels the Risk Santa Ana winds are whipping up wildfires in Southern California after a devastating season in wine country. Rising temps can make the West dangerously combustible. Fires driven by fierce Santa Ana winds are threatening the Los Angeles area this week on the heels of the deadly blazes that swept through California's wine country this fall. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott McLean warned on Wednesday that "epic winds" with gusts near hurricane strength, dry brush and humidity in the single digits meant any new ember could quickly blow into a dangerous blaze. Wildfires are hugely complex events, complicated by human activity, including rampant development and decades of fire suppression strategies that left too much dry timber and underbrush for fires to burn.   Add the effects of climate change to the mix, and California's already fire-prone landscape grows increasingly combustible. (December 7, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our areaa]

  • 12/07/2017 - Who and who doesn’t get affected by industrial waste in the form of Brownfields and “airborne pollutants from oil and natural gas developments” should NOT fall to race, but it too often does. Environmental justice, where everyone has a right to a clean and healthy environment, is a fundamental right. Gas Industries Are Poisoning African-Americans The NAACP and the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) have co-authored a landmark report that, for the first time, demonstrates the specific health risks that airborne pollutants from oil and natural gas developments cause in African-American communities. The study, “Fumes Across the Fence-Line: The Health Impacts of Air Pollution from Oil and Gas Facilities on African American Communities” was recently released at the National Press Club by CATF and NAACP and supported by the National Medical Association. “We’ve found that fence-line communities, including many African Americans, are suffering especially serious health consequences as a result of these emissions,” says Lesley Fleischman, Research Analyst for Clean Air Task Force and co-author of the study. (November 28, 2017) Minornity Reporter [more on Brownfields, Energy, Environmental Health in our area]

  • 12/07/2017 - Landfills, where we dump our waste into a great big hole in the ground, is not a sustainable way to live. Reduce, recycle, donate, and compost are sustainable. We gotta change our behavior towards our life support system, especially in this time of Climate Change. Time passes. PERINTON LANDFILL'S STINK TOO MUCH FOR NEARBY RESIDENTS PERINTON, N.Y. — The High Acres Landfill and Recycling Center sits on 1,000 acres in the town of Perinton and began operating in the early 1970's. Although some neighbors living near the landfill say it's an eyesore, latel, it's been more about an odor. Town leaders began taking complaints about a persistent odor in the fall. "Sometimes it's a very chemical-type noxious gas, other times it's a garbage smell," said nearby resident John Reisinger. "And again, we're fairly lucky. I don't know if it's the wind currents or something, we get it maybe two three times a month, but I know that there's some houses to the north here and the winds seem to just take it and drop it right on them."  The town says its working closely with the operators of the landfill. Waste Management of New York has agreed to fix the problem, but the company says it first has to determine the source of the problem. (November 29, 2017) Spectrum News Rochester [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 12/07/2017 - In the American Civil War the Confederate strategy was to outlast the North’s willing to fight; with Climate Change, climate deniers just have to slow down our efforts to adapt to kill us all—even the deniers.  The window of opportunity where we can adapt to and mitigate Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter is closing quickly. Anything that slows us down from adapting to Climate Change is a threat to our collective existence. Time passes. Bill McKibben: Winning Slowly Is the Same as Losing The technology exists to combat climate change – what will it take to get our leaders to act? If we don't win very quickly on climate change, then we will never win. That's the core truth about global warming. It's what makes it different from every other problem our political systems have faced. I wrote the first book for a general audience about climate change in 1989 – back when one had to search for examples to help people understand what the "greenhouse effect" would feel like. We knew it was coming, but not how fast or how hard. And because no one wanted to overestimate – because scientists by their nature are conservative – each of the changes we've observed has taken us somewhat by surprise. The surreal keeps becoming the commonplace: For instance, after Hurricane Harvey set a record for American rainstorms, and Hurricane Irma set a record for sustained wind speeds, and Hurricane Maria knocked Puerto Rico back a quarter-century, something even weirder happened. (December 1, 2017) Rolling Stone [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/07/2017 - Dangerous leftovers from industrial waste, or Brownfields, don’t tend to get noticed in Rochester or anywhere else until they do—from flooding, from tests, environmental problems and (especially) from people getting sick. Like Climate Change, Brownfields don’t get noticed until we do testing. The effect of uncleaned up Brownfields on our health may occur slowly so we don’t notice. Brownfields need to be cleaned up, so folks don’t get sick in the future—because an industry just up and left the public with their dangerous waste—and Brownfields need to get cleaned up because Climate Change in our region is going to unleash a lot more flooding events, which will cause more flooding, which will cause more leaching of dangerous industrial waste into our neighborhood, our soil, and into streams and lakes. We go into Climate Change with the environment we have and if that environment has Brownfields we are at risk from dangerous waste spreading. STUDENTS, PARENTS STAGE PROTEST OVER CHEMICALS DETECTED NEAR ROCHESTER PREP ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A steady downpour of rain did not dampen the passion behind the voices of dozens of students who gathered for a demonstration outside of Rochester Prep Tuesday.  They were protesting over recent reports that traces of trichloroethylene (TCE), a carcinogenic chemical solvent from a former industrial site, remain near St. Paul Street and Martin Street. (December 5, 2017) Spectrum News Rochester [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 12/07/2017 - What is a pesticide? What are the rules for using them in New York State? Pesticides have allowed humanity to deal with a lot of pests, many of them dangerous to our health and crops. But pesticides are strong stuff and dangerous if not used correctly or overused. With Climate Change comes more heat and this means more ‘pests’ are going to have a more profound effect on our crops and health. Our inclination is to probably solve a lot of pest problems with more pesticides—but this could have profound environmental and health implications. There are alternatives to using pesticides and we should adopt them sooner rather than later, so we aren’t forced to use even more vast amounts of pesticides to sustain our existence. We should reexamine our dependence on pesticides before we are so addicted we cannot ever get off them. Thinking of using a pesticide? Did you know that any product that claims to kill, control, or repel pests is considered a pesticide? Every pesticide product used, distributed, sold or offered for sale in New York State must be registered by DEC - unless it is considered a Minimum Risk Pesticide. DEC, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Health, evaluates the risks of pesticides through scientific-based assessments to ensure that pesticides to be registered do not pose an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment when used as labeled. Pesticides containing certain active ingredients may not be registered, or may be required to list New York State specific language on the label. In addition, some pesticides may only be sold to Certified Pesticide Applicators (December 6, 2017) Department of Environmental Conservation  [more on Pesticiides in our area]

  • 12/07/2017 - Just reviewing the basics. Climate Change is happening. How do we know? Without scientists and responsible media, it would just be our opinion. Climate change: How do we know?  The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.  (December 7, 2017) NASA | Global Climate Change | Vital Signs of the Planet [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2017 - If you’re not watching these benchmarks pass on Climate Change, you’re not paying attention to Climate Change. It’s getting hotter, regardless of your opinion on global warming. Time passes. October 2017 was the second warmest October on record October 2017 was the second warmest October in 137 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Last month was +0.90 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean October temperature from 1951-1980, just barely warmer than October 2016 (+0.89 °C). The warmest month of October according to the analysis happened in 2015 (+1.08 °C). (November 16, 2017) NASA | Global Climate Change | Vital Signs of the Planet [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2017 - With our forests under threat from Climate Change how more resilient does biodiversity make them? It’s complicated. Mixed forests may not resist climate change Variety is not just life’s spice, but its support system. But it may not be so simple for mixed forests, researchers say. German researchers have confirmed once again that a good forest is a mixed forest, a natural one, with a diversity of species. The more diverse the forest, the better it becomes at doing what forests do. Forests with a greater number of species grow at a faster rate, store more carbon, and are more resistant to pests and diseases, according to a six-nation study of European woodlands. But this safety-in-species-numbers approach may not offer quite the protection against climate change and its consequences that such a finding should predict. A second study by European researchers suggests that when conditions become extremely wet, or extremely dry, diversity may not confer automatic resilience. The message is that healthy, diverse, natural forest systems remain important buffers against climate change – but also that climate extremes could diminish the capacity of the forest to absorb carbon and limit global warming. (December 4, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change and Plants in our area]

  • 12/06/2017 - Event coming up on Sunday about clearing trees along Erie Canal “Rally for the Canal Trees | Stop the Canal Clear Cut Sun December 10th 12 PM · Erie Canal Boat Launch Ayrault Road Perinton NY 14450 Group: STOP the CANAL CLEAR CUT here Event: here “STOP the CANAL CLEAR CUT is holding a rally to bring attention to the clear cutting that is taking place along the Erie Canal by the Canal Corporation / Power Authority. This canal path is loved by walkers, runners, bikers dog walkers and boaters for it's shady and tranquil beauty. We believe that there are less environmentally invasive ways of ensuring the safety of this waterway, and we want time to have a dialog with elected officials, experts not hired by the Power Authority, environmentalists and the public. Speakers will include Mike Barker Perinton Town Supervisor, Bill Smith Pittsford Town Supervisor and Sandra Frankel former Brighton Town Supervisor. Park at the Boat Launch and rally across the bridge on the canal.” 145 acres to be cleared along the Erie Canal BROCKPORT, NY (WROC) - By next year the Erie Canal will look a lot different in many places around Rochester. The New York State Canal Corporation is out and cutting back trees and shrubs to return the shoreline to the way it looked years ago. The area spans along 145 acres of the Erie Canal, intended to help drainage; one thing that has Janet Fleisher concerned. "In the spring it's like a lake back here," said Fleisher. (October 31, 2017) RochesterFirst.com

  • 12/05/2017 - The U.S. Forest Service didn’t have a reason for pulling 85% of Bears Ears National Monument from their protection, so what would be Trump’s brilliant motive for gutting this valuable park of ours?  U.S. Forest Service didn’t call for pulling its land from Bears Ears, USDA nominee tells Senate Democrats Two senior Senate Democrats want President Trump to explain why he’s poised to remove protections for U.S. Forest Service land in the Bears Ears National Monument when the agency did not recommend any such change, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Sen. Michael F. Bennet (Colo.), the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture subcommittee on conservation, forestry and natural resources, made the inquiry Friday after Trump’s nominee to serve as U.S. Department of Agriculture general counsel informed them that the department had not recommended the Interior Department remove any Forest Service acreage from existing national monuments. (December 1, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Parks in our area]

  • 12/05/2017 - Winters in the Rochester, NY region won’t simply be warmer in the future, they already are: 3.9 degrees warmer since 1970. We should plan and prepare. See How Much Winters Have Been Warming in Your City Winters are warming across the U.S., and in some locations, the warming is dramatic. The Northern Plains, Great Lakes, and the Northeast are warming the fastest, while warming is taking place at a slower rate in the western U.S. In parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and northern New England winters have warmed at an average rate of more than 1°F per decade since 1970 — that’s more than 4°F total. (November 29, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/05/2017 - There’s no good reason to put a nuclear waste dump anywhere near the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system in the world. Even a low risk to this priceless ecosystem (and our drinking water) is intolerable. Officials continue fight against nuclear waste dump on shores of Lake Huron Many local leaders sign opposition letter Just say no to a nuclear waste dump anywhere near the Great Lakes. Especially the one proposed for the shores of Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada, about 110 miles uplake from Port Huron. That’s the message delivered by more than 100 mayors, township supervisors and other elected officials in the region to Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Of the 104 signatories, 14 hail from St. Clair County or nearby communities (December 3, 2017) The Voice [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/05/2017 - Our media must report on our weather in the context of a warming planet, a longer view than day-to-day. The public needs to see Climate Change in the increase of record-breaking extreme weather. CNN shows the right way to report on hurricanes and climate change Climate scientist Michael Mann tells CNN climate change is "absolutely" making hurricanes worse  (December 4, 2017) MediaMatters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/05/2017 - It's going to be very hard to mitigate Climate Change with renewable energy if we don’t get our priorities straight, where renewable energy comes before aesthetic concerns of wind farms. The defeat of major wind power projects like Cape Wind is both a telling blow to how serious we take renewable energy and the loss of clean power in that area. Time passes. U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Is No More | Cape Wind, the offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts that drew the ire of the Kennedy and Koch families, is officially dead. Energy Management Inc. has ceased efforts to build what was once expected to become the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., according to an emailed statement from Chief Executive Officer Jim Gordon. The project’s Boston-based developer has already notified the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that it has terminatsed the offshore wind development lease it received in 2010. (December 2, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Wiind Power in our area]

  • 12/04/2017 - If your community hasn’t prepared for Climate Change, it might be not only a climate risk but an insurance risk also. Neither Mother Nature or insurance companies are very tolerant of risk. Time passes. Credit Rating Agency Issues Warning On Climate Change To Cities One of the largest credit rating agencies in the country is warning U.S. cities and states to prepare for the effects of climate change or risk being downgraded. In a new report, Moody's Investor Services Inc. explains how it assesses the credit risks to a city or state that's being impacted by climate change — whether that impact be a short-term "climate shock" like a wildfire, hurricane or drought, or a longer-term "incremental climate trend" like rising sea levels or increased temperatures. Also taken into consideration: "[communities] preparedness for such shocks and their activities in respect of adapting to climate trends," the report says. (December 1, 2017) National Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2017 - Just because some places (like Alaska and the Arctic) are warming quicker than others doesn’t mean your region won’t cook also—maybe sooner than you think if your media isn’t connecting the dots. Time passes. In Alaska's Thawing Permafrost, Humanity's 'Library Is on Fire' Rising Arctic temperatures are destroying ancient artifacts once preserved in the frozen ground and taking a toll on native traditions that depend on the sea ice. (November 30, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2017 - Of course, our oceans sucking up most of the heat from Climate Change comes at a great cost. Like our planet’s ecology, our oceans are much more sensitive to abuse that we thought. Time passes. If oceans stopped absorbing heat from climate change, life on land would average 122°F Since the 1970s, more than 93% of excess heat captured by greenhouse gases has been absorbed by the oceans. To understand how much heat that is, think of it this way: If the oceans weren’t absorbing it, average global temperatures on land would be far higher—around 122°F, according to researchers on the documentary Chasing Coral. The global average surface temperature right now is 59°F. A 122°F world, needless to say, would be unlivable. More than 93% of climate change is out of sight and out of mind for most of us land-dwelling humans, but as the oceans continue to onboard all that heat, they’re becoming unlivable themselves. (November 29, 2017) Quartz [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2017 - Our world is getting warmer and dustier. What does it mean to our ecologies and our health? Climate Connection: Unraveling the Surprising Ecology of Dust As droughts intensify and development expands, the amount of dust blowing around the earth is increasing, affecting everything from mountain snowmelt to the spread of disease. Scientists are just beginning to understand the complex dynamics of dust in a warming world. (November 30, 2017) Yale Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2017 - American opinions about global warming seem to depend on where they live, which is odd because we all live in the same place. What even more odd [this isn’t in the study] is that while most people in the US believe in Climate Change, most don’t think they personally are or will be affected—which is to say, they won’t be motived to do something. This last part may be our most difficult hurdle in getting the public to act on Climate Change. Somehow, we must convince the public they are being affected by Climate Change and that we have a responsibility to keep our environment sustainable for those who come next. Yale Climate Opinion Maps – U.S. 2016About Downscaling Climate Opinions | This version of the Yale Climate Opinion Maps is based on data through the year 2016. Public opinion about global warming is an important influence on decision making about policies to reduce global warming or prepare for the impacts, but American opinions vary widely depending on where people live.”