Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

Follow FrankRrrr on Twitter

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 .

Bookmark and Share

SEARCH: Use search engine below to find anything posted since 1998.

Loading

Daily Updates: Friday, March 24, 2017

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

* My comments are in Bold text:

  • 3/24/2017 - Back in the day (2011) we had fought hard to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline boondoggle that would pollute and warm the planet even more. We won some battles but perhaps we have lost the war. It’s clear that environmentalists alone cannot make our way of life sustainable. Everyone needs to get engaged. Trump State Department to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline Permit by Monday Nearly a decade after it first applied for a presidential permit, TransCanada is getting the green light from the Trump administration for its $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline. POLITICO reported that the U.S. State Department's undersecretary for political affairs, Tom Shannon, will approve by Monday the cross-border permit needed for the project to proceed. Sec. of State Rex Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO, recused himself from the Keystone decision since Exxon stands to profit from the pipeline. The Keystone XL was blocked by President Obama two years ago because the pipeline would "not serve the national interests" of the United States. (March 23, 2017) EcoWatch [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/24/2017 - There’s something fantastical hypocritical about conservatives not endorsing a Carbon Tax, a fee that would correct the externality problem in their financial zeitgeist. The conservatives want to gut the EPA, which allows the public to pay for industrial pollution, and on top of that they fudge their maniacal belief in free market fundamentalism by providing billions of tax-payer subsidies for the fossil fuel industries each year and they refuse to put environmental pollution into the costs of doing businesses—where they take our natural resources up from the ground and then plow their pollution into our air and water which ruins our public health. Does this sound fair to you? When the public asks that at least these people accept a carbon tax to offset all their resources grabbing and pollution and fairly accept the cost running their businesses, they say NO! How craven is that? White House: Trump isn’t considering a carbon tax The Trump administration isn’t considering advocating for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, a White House official said Wednesday. The official sought to clarify the administration’s position after White House press secretary Sean Spicer seemed to be unclear on the matter at a Tuesday press briefing. “I think there's a robust debate going on with respect to comprehensive tax reform,” Spicer said in response to a reporter’s question on whether a carbon tax is under consideration by President Trump. (March 22, 2017) The Hill [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/24/2017 - If you do think that it’s unacceptable that communities and businesses around Lake Erie have to plan for the toxic algae threat each summer, then you’re going to have to focus on Climate Change too. Pollution from industrial agriculture is NOT the primary driver of toxic algae in western Lake Erie, after heavy rainfall washes the excess fertilizer and manure into streams. The primary driver is Climate Change because the warmer waters caused by Climate Change make more toxic algae outbreaks more likely and Climate Change is already dramatically (71% since 1958) causing heavy rainfall in our region, which is the reason why more excess fertilizers and manure get into our streams. Local governments voice solutions on toxic algae threat Lake Erie is the heart of Northern Ohio communities, and with warm weather approaching, the need to protect the waterway becomes a necessity, Elyria Fifth Ward Councilman Marcus Madison said. The Ohio Environmental Council’s Director of Clean Water Adam Rissien, Madison and Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer gathered together on World Water Day, March 22, at the Lorain Port Authority, 319 Black River Lane, to discuss solutions on toxic algae. (3/22/2017) The Morning Journal News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/24/2017 - Withdrawal from addressing Climate Change by national leaders can NOT be offset by businesses and local governments because governments rule. National governments set policy, distribute funds, make and enforce laws, maintain our infrastructures (transportation, water, waste, gas lines, sewers, and telecommunications), uphold public health standards, maintain social order and provide mass emergency aid, and they are the insurers of last resort. Thinking that Trump dragging his feet and gutting federal efforts to address environmental issues won’t matter much, or can be taken over by businesses and local governments, is delusional. Without Naming Trump, UN Acknowledges Retreat on Climate Secretary-general says businesses will take up the task Trump is pushing to dismantle federal environmental programs The United Nations is acknowledging that some countries may be retreating in the effort to fight climate change, recognizing an emerging fissure in the landmark Paris Agreement as U.S. President Donald Trump moves forward with plans to gut environmental programs. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who assumed leadership of the international body this year, told delegates at UN headquarters in New York that he remained optimistic that any withdrawal by national leaders will be offset by businesses and local governments that have pledged to continue cutting emissions. (March 23, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/24/2017 - Climate science is critical so we can find out how Climate Change is affecting us and what actions we should be taking.  We won’t get there by gutting NASA, the EPA, and NOAA. Global warming is increasing rainfall rates A new study looks at the complex relationship between global warming and increased precipitation The world is warming because humans are emitting heat-trapping greenhouse gases. We know this for certain; the science on this question is settled. Humans emit greenhouse gases, those gases should warm the planet, and we know the planet is warming. All of those statements are settled science. Okay so what? Well, we would like to know what the implications are. Should we do something about it or not? How should we respond? How fast will changes occur? What are the costs of action compared to inaction? These are all areas of active research. (March 22, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - Climate deniers don’t believe in the melting Arctic due to Climate Change but they’ll drill for oil as soon as the ice melts just the same. Terrible. Arctic ice falls to record winter low after polar 'heatwaves' Extent of ice over North pole has fallen to a new wintertime low, for the third year in a row, as climate change drives freakish weather The extent of Arctic ice has fallen to a new wintertime low, as climate change drives freakishly high temperatures in the polar regions. The ice cap grows during the winter months and usually reaches its maximum in early March. But the 2017 maximum was 14.4m sq km, lower than any year in the 38-year satellite record, according to researchers at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) and Nasa. “I have been looking at Arctic weather patterns for 35 years and have never seen anything close to what we’ve experienced these past two winters,” said NSIDC’s director, Mark Serreze. 2017 is the third year in a row the Arctic’s winter ice has set a new low. (March 22, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - We have entered a new era on Climate Change, the Trump era where we say goodbye to our future in a really nasty way  More Extreme Weather Coming After Record 2016 Heat, WMO Says Rate of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere isn’t easing February was record-breaking month for temperatures in U.S. Unusually warm weather in the Arctic is helping shift weather patterns this year from North America to the Middle East, after global warming shattered records in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Rising ocean temperatures that are melting polar ice sheets, killing marine life and flooding coastal communities may have increased more than previously reported last year, the WMO said in a report Tuesday. Average sea-surface temperatures hit their highest levels ever last year, and overall temperatures over sea and land were 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period. At least three times this winter, the Arctic has experienced the polar equivalent of a heat wave with Atlantic storms driving warm, moist air. (March 20, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - Even here in NYS, gutting the EPA would matter because of reduced funding for Superfund cleanups, where industry used our environment as their toilets and under Trump the public would either have to suck it up or pay out for past industrial Brownfields. Does this sound fair to you? How Trump's Deep EPA Budget Cuts Would Impact NY President Trump's proposed 31 percent budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency will have "disastrous impacts" across New York State, NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman predicted today. At a press conference held on the banks of the Gowanus Canal, Schneiderman outlined the negative environmental impact that slashing the EPA's budget would have on the city's Superfund sites—like Newtown Creek, the former Wolff-Alport Chemical Company in Ridgewood, and of course, the Gowanus Canal—in addition to Superfund sites across the state. Trump's proposed budget cuts would include a 43 percent reduction in Superfund site cleanup funding, which Schneiderman says will likely slow down cleanup and make it more difficult to add new polluted areas to the list. Schneiderman also noted that the budget will no longer provide adequate funding to maintain the state's drinking water and wastewater treatment infrastructure, meaning New York's clean drinking water supply could be compromised across the board. According to the Attorney General's data, about 95 percent of New Yorkers drink water from the public supply. (March 21, 2017) Gothanist [more on Water Quality and Brownfields and Environmental Health and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - Trump says ‘Trust me, I'm like a smart person’ and so when he says Climate Change is a hoax he must be right and everyone else is wrong. Right? Make sense to me. Think of all the money everyone is wasting on colleges and doing science. What if we all just declared that we were very smart? We’d put this down on job applications and they’d hire us lickety-split. Right? And if they didn’t hire us, we stomp our feet and fire out some really angry tweets. The White House calls climate change research a ‘waste.’ Actually, it’s required by law The day that President Trump’s climate science-slashing budget landed last week, his government held a public meeting here to prepare the nation’s Southeast region for rising seas, wildfires, extreme downpours and other impacts of climate change. Despite White House budget director Mick Mulvaney’s assertion Friday that studying climate change is a “waste of your money,” federal scientists are required, by a 1990 law, to do just that — and are carrying on for now, even under the cloud of budgetary uncertainty created by the Trump administration. It’s no easy task. Trump’s “skinny” budget proposes to slash many climate-related programs at agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration but often doesn’t go into specifics — raising doubts about the implications for climate science programs across 13 government agencies and the production of an exhaustive report about the impact of climate change in the U.S. that is required by law. (March 21, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - The #EPA was NOT created as a boondoggle for Trump to gut when he wants money to build a war machine. It was to protect all of us from crazy, irresponsible, environmentally destructive industrial practices that make our environment a wasteland. Here's Why the Environmental Protection Agency Was Created The Cuyahoga River burst into flames, while the Potomac stunk from the hundreds of millions of gallons of waste added to its waters every single day. As the Environmental Protection Agency becomes the subject of focus for major cuts under President Trump's proposed budget — and as the U.N. marks World Water Day on Wednesday — it's worth looking back at the moment in time when the EPA was first created, and why Richard Nixon saw a need for the agency to exist. Dirty water was only one ingredient. At the close of the 1960s, the United States could not escape the fact of, as TIME put it in 1968, "the relentless degradations of a once virgin continent." The evidence was right in front of citizens' faces. Pollution had gotten bad enough to be undeniable, and science had become advanced enough to make the reasons why clear. In 1963, smog had killed 400 New Yorkers, and Lake Erie's oxygen content had become so depleted that the center of the lake sustained precious little life. An oil spill off the California coast in 1969 coated 400 square miles with slime and killed hundreds of birds. Scientists announced that auto exhaust was at high enough levels in some places that it could cause birth defects. The city of St. Louis smelled, as one resident put it, "like an old-fashioned drugstore on fire." (March 22, 2017) Time [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/23/2017 - I #MarchForScience on #EarthDay to demonstrate the need for US to recommit to #ScienceFacts & make Congress aware cuts to #EPA are unacceptable. #StandUpForScience Climate denier in White House prompts a 'March for Science' on Earth Day The power of climate change deniers in Congress -- plus a president who once called global warming "a hoax" -- has galvanized Earth Day on its 47th anniversary. Its main event this year, on April 22, will be a March for Science in Washington, D.C., and around the world. Its goal being "to save science from this assault," in the words of Denis Hayes, president of the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation. "The concept of white coats marching is intriguing," said Hayes, who as a Stanford law student helped organize the first Earth Day in 1970. The assault on science is now and real. The Trump administration is talking of a 19-20 percent cut in the National Institutes of Health, the nation's bulwark against disease. The NIH usually approves grants on a multi-year basis. "If the cuts go through, they will be able to make no grants at all in 2018," Hayes said. (March 22, 2017) Seattle PI [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/22/2017 - Not only are we paying for Trump's Weekend Visits to Mar-a-Lago, it’s going to cost us big to gut the EPA. Sad. Terrible.

  • 3/22/2017 - Trying to reinvigorate a pollution fossil fuel infrastructure at the cost of indigenous people’s rights and our future is bad. Defund DAPL. #NoDAPL These Cities Are Pulling Billions From the Banks That Support the Dakota Access Pipeline From Seattle to San Francisco, Albuquerque to Raleigh, cities are joining the fight to defund the controversial pipeline. Last September, as water protectors faced down militarized police in North Dakota’s rural riverlands, activists in Seattle set out to withdraw municipal money from banks backing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Above all, they sought to cut their city’s ties to Wells Fargo, the Wall Street leviathan that has generously financed and serviced the pipeline’s parent companies. (March 20, 2017) The Nation [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 3/22/2017 - Take ACTION: Care about the largest fresh water system in the world? Register and show up: International Joint Commission’s Buffalo Public Meeting on the Great Lakes: Tuesday March 28, 2017, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm, WNED Studios | 140 Lower Terrace | Buffalo, NY, To register for the meeting and to read the governments’ and IJC’s progress reports visit participateIJC.org. International Joint Commission’s Buffalo Public Meeting on the Great Lakes At this point, we are all aware of the importance of the Great Lakes. In the past, we did take them for granted, dumping in anything that we wanted. Today, thankfully, it’s a different story. These fresh water lakes are the key to the future, and must be protected by all means. On Tuesday March 28 WNED | WBFO will host the International Joint Commission’s Buffalo Public Meeting on the Great Lakes (part of a series of IJC public meetings). The binational treaty organization is looking to collect and record public comments that will help to show the community’s support to protect and restore the the Great Lakes, by Canada and the United States. (March 21, 2017) Buffalo Rising [more on Great Lakes in our area] 

  • 3/22/2017 - Gutting the EPA could have a profound effect on New York State (not in a good way) and so NYS AG and environmental groups promise to fight back. Considering all the Brownfields and the innumerable challenges our way of life puts on our life support system, we need a strong federal regulator helping to fund and fortify all our efforts to have a clean health environment. The public must get engaged and not let our EPA and our environment get gutted. A.G. Schneiderman Highlights Devastating Impacts Of President Trump’s Environmental Budget Cuts – Which Threaten To Delay And Obstruct NY Environmental Projects Massive EPA Budget Cuts Would Potentially Impact Environmental Cleanup Projects All Across New York Schneiderman: If The Trump Administration Can't Meet Its Legal Obligation To Ensure A Clean, Safe, And Healthy Environment, I Won't Hesitate To Act To Protect New Yorkers Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today highlighted the disastrous impacts President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could have across New York State. Standing along the Gowanus Canal, which is a designated federal Superfund site, Attorney General Schneiderman highlighted how the significant loss of EPA funding and reduction in the agency’s staffing levels would potentially slow, halt, or even reverse environmental protection throughout the state. Under President Trump’s proposed budget “blueprint” released last Thursday, the EPA would face some of the steepest cuts, as funding for the agency would be reduced by 31 percent or $2.6 billion – bringing the EPA’s budget to $5.7 billion, its lowest level in 40 years when adjusted for inflation, and eliminating more than 50 programs and 3,200 jobs. (March 21, 2017) NYS A.G. Schneiderman  [More on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/22/2017 - Remember the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the one that gouged out the Great Lakes and put a mile-high pile of ice on Rochester? We are finishing it off. Just think how mighty and powerful is the human who can accomplish such a thing. Of course, in the process (Climate Change) of finishing off this once great ice sheet, we are threatening our existence and most of the creatures we evolved with. Maybe we should start thinking about how our behavior affects our life support system. Climate Change is on Pace to Kill an Ice Age Remnant Humans are in the process of changing the planet in a way that hasn’t happened in 2.6 million years. For eons, the Laurentide Ice Sheet has been a fixture of North America. At its peak, it covered the majority of Canada and sent icy tendrils down across the Midwest and Northeast, covering Chicago, New York and Toronto in a mile or more of ice. It helped carved mountains as it advanced, and it filled the Great Lakes as it receded at the end of the last Ice Age. About 2,000 years ago, the ice sheet remnants reached equilibrium on Baffin Island, Canada’s largest island, now dubbed the Barnes Ice Cap. But that equilibrium has been disrupted by human-driven climate change. A new study shows that the last vestige of the once-mighty ice sheet faces near certain death, even if the world rapidly curtails its carbon pollution. The results indicate the Arctic has entered a state nearly unheard of since the Pliocene, an epoch when the Arctic was largely free of ice. (March 21, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/21/2017 - Plastic bags are trashing our life support system, voluntary efforts haven’t worked, and folks don’t like bag fees. Give up? Are all the possible solutions to environmental problems being framed in such a way that it must be OK to trash our future because all the solutions are either too burdensome or inconvenient to too many people? Maybe the problem is that we don’t prioritize our environment, that which keeps us alive and give our children a future, as much as we should? Why won’t the public who dismiss the plastic bags problem take a moment and learn “The Effects of Plastic Bags on Environment” (from HealthGuidance) We need to seriously change our attitude about our environment. NYS Exposed: State weighing a 5-cent plastic bag fee for stores When you buy something at a store, if you can't carry the item yourself, you usually put it in either a paper bag, a re-usable cloth bags or go the easy route and fill up a plastic bag or two. But what if each flimsy little bag cost you an extra five cents? Statewide, we use about 23 billion a year. If that upsets you, you typically bring your own reusable bags like Sue Gyore. "Because if you look around at the sides of the roads," says Gyore, "you see all the plastic that's floating around that doesn't get cleaned up." (March 20, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 3/21/2017 - If Americans really do care about addressing Climate Change, they’d better get off their butts. They’d better #MarchForScience on Earth Day locally or in DC and #ClimateMarch for #PeoplesClimate on April 29th locally or in DC. Thinking Climate Change is happening but you won’t be affected is like finding out your next door neighbor, who doesn’t have health care and just got a nasty case of Ebola, won’t affect you. Good luck with that. How Americans Think About Climate Change Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that the changes will harm them personally. New data released by Yale researchers gives the most detailed view yet of public opinion on global warming. Americans want to restrict carbon emissions from coal power plants. The White House and Congress may do the opposite. (March 21, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/21/2017 - One of the things governments tend to forget, when they don’t address pollution, the public eventually gets really pissed off. For example for all those people in the US ignoring the gutting of the EPA, they’ll get energized with they cannot drink the water or breathe the air. But, lots of people will suffer with horrible pollution due to lack of governmental oversight and things may get to a point where they cannot be solved. Our life support system, our environment, is very complex and we may not be able to just go and fix it after we’ve broke it. Tensions rising as Chinese no longer willing to hold their breath on pollution problems  Cracking down on dissent has been a hallmark of Chinese public life. But a population once ignorant of the toxic cost of pollution is speaking out against a government intent on growing the economy. The war on pollution has increased tensions across China, Nathan VanderKlippe reports. In the village dubbed the birthplace of Beijing’s smog, anger is rising into a sky that seems permanently darkened by pollution. At least three times over the past two years, local residents in Songting have gathered to protest at the gates of the steelworks that surround the place generations have called home. People here once farmed rice, peanuts and corn until, in the years before the Beijing Olympics, their fields were transformed into an industrial forest of pipes, stacks and production lines, after iron and steel companies moved away from the capital to leave behind cleaner air for the Games. Two-hundred kilometres east of Beijing, they erected a metallic forest of emissions towers that belch exhaust and soot. During one severe episode in February, the air grew so thick that residents could no longer see across their narrow streets and workers got lost on the way home. Now the villagers are fed up. One of the recent steel-mill protests lasted more than a week. “Every day, more than 30 people gathered there,” said ZhaoXiuying, 54, who lives in an old village home that backs out onto a vista of metalworks. (March 19, 2017) Globe and Mail

  • 3/21/2017 - Hummm…., wondering if the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) will be anything like the first three. It’s supposed to be release in late 2018. From the other three reports, we learned a lot about how 13 agencies of the US government understand Climate Change and what their recommendations are for adapting. Agencies like the Department of State, of Agriculture, of Defense, of Transportation, etc. Starting with President Reagan “Assessments have been integral components of USGCRP since our inception. We have a legal mandate to conduct a National Climate Assessment (NCA) every four years, the third and most recent of which was released in May 2014.” Check out the previous reports and let’s make sure the fourth isn’t some climate denial claptrap. Be nice if the media got out ahead of this.   

  • 3/21/2017 - People, even though they voted for Trump, whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by Climate Change won’t get much help from the climate denier in chief. Sad. “Weeks without snow or rain and late-winter temperatures scraping 80 degrees are threatening to create even more blazes in Western states grappling with the growing fire danger posed by climate change.” Our crazy politics are going to extinct us if we don’t separate politics from science. Burying Their Cattle, Ranchers Call Wildfires ‘Our Hurricane Katrina’ Weeks without snow or rain and late-winter temperatures scraping 80 degrees are threatening to create even more blazes in Western states grappling with the growing fire danger posed by climate change. Hundreds of homes were evacuated this weekend because of a wildfire that erupted in the dry hills near Boulder, Colo. By Monday, the fire was about 80 percent contained. The Kansas fires — the largest in state history — burned more than 400,000 acres here in Clark County alone. Ten days later, Mr. Gardiner was still burying cows on his family’s ranch. One by one, an orange loader scooped them off the bare sandy soil and trundled them to a pit being dug by a backhoe. (March 20, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/20/2017 - Whatever your freaking politics, warming up something as large and influential as our oceans will result in more than just a tweeting furry. Our oceans, which drive our climate and our sea levels, are changing quickly. Denying this and trying to kick this can further down the road will only make it less likely we’ll be able to adapt. Only governments (all of them) can address this consequence of Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes. Rate of Ocean Warming Has Nearly Doubled Over Two Decades, Study Says The world's oceans have warmed at twice the rate of previous decades and the extra heat has reached deeper waters, finds data stretching back to 1960. The rate of ocean warming has nearly doubled since 1992 compared with the previous three decades. And the warming has reached deeper waters, scientists reported Friday. The findings are important because the world's oceans provide one of the best records of the excess energy trapped on Earth by increased greenhouse gases, largely from the burning of fossil fuels. As the seas heat up from climate change, the water expands and rises, causing coastal flooding and, in Antarctica, ice shelves to disintegrate. (March 11, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/20/2017 - How ya gonna keep ‘em in a gas guzzler after they’ve driven an electric car? One of Trump’s efforts to send us all back to the Dark Ages and warm up our planet will be thwarted by the efficiency and technological breakthroughs in new cars. Trump Can’t Stop Cars From Getting More Energy-Efficient Economics (and performance) are driving efficiency gains, as much as the EPA. Sweden, you can keep your silly turbos. Japan, spare us with the toddler-size kei cars. Donald Trump wants to make America better in a nostalgic way, and to many, that means big cars with brutish engines burning dinosaur-era goo.   Trump has promised to scrap efficiency rules that required automakers to produce vehicles with an average efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. At the moment, that looks like 17 million Toyota Priuses (Prii?). In a meeting with auto executives this week, the president said he may slice environmental standards in about a year, providing carmakers deliver "big numbers in terms of jobs." The EPA now has until April 2018 to decide whether the 2025 milestone is feasible. (March 16, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/20/2017 - This year’s Monroe County 8th Pick Up the Parks Event is looking quite different from previous years. Instead of a big one-day pickup, there are going to be pickups on 7 consecutive Saturdays (April 1st through May 13th). Consider volunteering to give our region’s parks a thorough cleaning, which helps our urban environments. Back at the first PickUpTheParks event, I had helped get the Sierra Club get involved in these efforts and we picked up a lot of trash. Now this event has grown and includes many more parks with many more people. We are learning that one of the major pollutants in our water—in our streams and rivers and lakes—is microfibers from cigarette butts, which constitute a large part of our park’s litter. So, it’s important to get this stuff out of our ecosystems. [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 3/18/2017 - Because Trump never accepts blame for anything, who will be held accountable for US abandonment on addressing Climate Change? Who will shoulder the responsibility for telling the world that even though the US contributed much to the present Climate Change crisis, we are now only concerned about ourselves and will do little to help monitor this crisis, help out those countries who did not contribute to this crisis (but will reap the consequences), and flagrantly up the ante on promoting more fossil fuel emissions? Will it be Congress? Will it be the American public? Who will say the US desires to no longer be great, just selfish while the rest of the world scrambles to make our environment habitable? Trump Budget Would Cripple U.S. International Climate Change Work Cuts to State Department budget include essentially walking away from U.S. involvement in international climate efforts, even without withdrawal from Paris accord. (March 17, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/18/2017 - Hard to believe anyone would want to cut the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in a time when the largest freshwater system in the world is in jeopardy. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been instrumental in more than 3,000 projects — funding wetlands restoration, fighting harmful algae blooms in western Lake Erie, leading efforts to keep invasive Asian carp from reaching the lakes and causing chaos in the ecosystem, and improving fish and shoreline habitat.” Great Lakes funding cuts are absurd, irresponsible, lawmakers say Proposed budget would eliminate federal program to clean up and maintain the Great Lakes Environmental advocates and congressional Democrats vowed to fight President Donald Trump's plan to slash environmental spending as part of his proposed 2017 budget — including the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which since 2010 has provided more than $2.2 billion for improving and protecting the lakes. "President Trump's budget is even worse than we thought for the Great Lakes," U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said. "It completely eliminates funding for protection." (March 16, 2017) Detroit Free Press [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/18/2017 - Looks like US is turning its back on the world and will leave addressing Climate Change, much of it caused by the US, to its former friends. Sad. The US public must contact their representatives in Congress and tell them not let our country become a pariah. Instead we want leadership on the most important crisis of our age. Climate veterans say Trump budget undermines global cooperation China and India experts say cuts challenge progress on emissions, while an architect of the Paris climate deal criticises the US for not being “truthful” to its commitments Donald Trump’s first budget proposal as US president has confirmed the climate community’s worst fears. Swingeing cuts to climate programmes and research at home and abroad will undermine international efforts to protect people from dangerous global warming, veterans of UN talks told Climate Home. Laurence Tubiana, one of the architects of the historic Paris climate deal, described the US U-turn as “shocking”. (March 17, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/17/2017 - Look, the president was fairly straightforward about his hatred of science, reason, your future, your children’s future—and he certainly doesn’t care about the rest of the world or any of the other people in it. He considers it a waste of his money and yours to go out and spend anything on all that. So, please stop whining. The sun shines down on all his speeches, his audiences are bigger than anyone else’s, he has secret knowledge about everything, he gets secret information that nobody else does, and that is that. You have forked over your existence to a madman, so deal with it. (Tump, ya gotta laugh.) Scientists Bristle at Trump Budget’s Cuts to Research Before he became president, Donald J. Trump called climate change a hoax, questioned the safety of vaccines and mocked renewable energy as a plaything of “tree-huggers.” So perhaps it is no surprise that Mr. Trump’s first budget took direct aim at basic scientific and medical research. Still, the extent of the cuts in the proposed budget unveiled early Thursday shocked scientists, researchers and program administrators. The reductions include $5.8 billion, or 18 percent, from the National Institutes of Health, which fund thousands of researchers working on cancer and other diseases, and $900 million, or a little less than 20 percent, from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which funds the national laboratories, considered among the crown jewels of basic research in the world. (March 16, 2017) March 16, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 3/17/2017 - No room in budget to restore Great Lakes from industrial waste, invasive species, diminished water quality, and bad farming practices. Sorry, largest fresh water system in the world, Trump wants more guns instead. Sorry, Trump just thinks more guns are more important than a future. We’re really sorry about this, but you have to understand that Trump has his priorities and they aren’t you or your life support system. That’s just the way things go. Have a nice day. Trump budget cuts Great Lakes restoration, Sea Grant programs The Trump Administration’s proposed budget is out – and it eliminates the $300 million in annual funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which finances environmental projects all over the region. The budget also zeroes out the $250 million allotted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grants, including 33 Sea Grant programs nationwide. Based at universities, Sea Grant programs focus on educating the public, outreach and research.  The budget says the programs are a “lower priority than core functions maintained in the Budget such as surveys, charting, and fisheries management.” (March 16, 2017) WXXI News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 3/17/2017 - Good that not all GOP and Trump administration against addressing Climate Change, but it’s still not enough for actual hope. Time passes. The House Republicans Calling for Climate Action in the Trump Era A group of GOP lawmakers have signed a resolution warning that “the consequences of a changing climate have the potential to adversely impact all Americans.” Will it translate to legislative action? At a time when President Donald Trump is working to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy, more than a dozen House Republicans are calling for action to confront the threat of a changing climate. Seventeen Republican lawmakers, including Elise Stefanik of New York, Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Mia Love of Utah, Don Bacon of Nebraska, and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, introduced a resolution on Wednesday that urges the House of Representatives to “address the causes and effects” of climate change,  according to a press release sent out by Costello’s office. (March 15, 2017) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/17/2017 - While it is true that derailments are bound to happen and just like cars on our highway have accidents, cars on rails also have accidents, there is no freaking comparison of a train load of railroad cars filled with dangerous and volatile substances having an accident with an automobile on a highway having an accident. When a car on a railroad filled with dangerous substances goes off the rails massive human and environmental consequences can be the result. Instead of downplaying or trying to compare our all accidents with exceptional, long-term catastrophic accidents, we should be informing the public of just what our railroad cars are carrying and when they go off the rails just exactly what were the consequences. For the consequences can be grave indeed. See derailment in Newburg (March 7, 2017) “CSX freight train derailment cleanup continues today” See derailment in Batavia (March 8, 2017) “Train carrying gun powder derails in Batavia due to wind” And, check out this editorial “Train derailment could have affected wetlands”(March 14, 2017) The Daily News)  

  • 3/17/2017 - While sometime in the future it may be possible to get a US leader who will overturn Trump’s anti-science, anti-help-the-US-and-the-world-address Climate Change, it may be too late to stop the worst consequences of this crisis. Time passes. Budget Proposal Would Hamper Climate Efforts Abroad The Trump administration’s budget proposal would hamper efforts abroad to slow global warming, especially by poor and fast-developing countries, compounding the hazards of America’s retreat from efforts to ease its own climate impacts. A 54-page proposal released Thursday would end payments to global climate initiatives, such as a United Nations fund that helps poor countries deploy clean energy and adapt to climate change. It would also sharply reduce funding for the World Bank and other development programs. Meanwhile, the budget proposal and executive orders by Trump would increase the amount of climate pollution released by Americans for years to come, largely by eliminating regulations and spending designed to help the U.S. meet obligations under the Paris climate treaty. (March 16, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 3/16/2017 - Climate Change is already affecting our health and it will get worse if we don’t address it. #climatechangeshealth | Climate change is making us sick, top U.S. doctors say From increases in deadly diseases to choking air pollution and onslaughts of violent weather, man-made climate change is making Americans sicker, according to a report released Wednesday by 11 of the nation's top medical societies. The report was prepared by the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, a new group that represents more than 400,000 doctors, who make up more than half of all U.S. physicians. “Doctors in every part of our country see that climate change is making Americans sicker,” said Mona Sarfaty, the director of the new consortium and a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. (March 15, 2017) USA Today [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/15/2017 - Just got Dan Egan’s Kindle version of "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes". We have treated the largest freshwater system in the world badly and we must now get it ready for Climate Change. To do that we need some history. Exploring the death, and life, of the Great Lakes The Great Lakes are a marvel — an unrivaled natural resource and a stunning landscape that defines the surrounding states. But in the middle of the 20th century, they were in trouble. Pollution strangled the beaches, and rivers feeding the lakes were so filled with chemicals they literally caught on fire. Then came the Clean Water Act of 1972. "In 1972, suddenly industries and cities were being held accountable for what they were putting in our water bodies," reporter Dan Egan told MPR News host Tom Weber. "The improvement was vast and dramatic — and in many ways people thought the problem had largely been solved." Not so fast. As Egan explains in his new book, "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes," the Clean Water Act took steps in battling industrial pollution. But it failed to deal with biological pollution, which today is causing damage at an alarming speed (March 13, 2017) MPR News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/15/2017 - Here’s the thing the GOP doesn’t want you to know about Climate Change: The worst things get, the more likely Big Government will need to step in. Shrinking the role Climate Change plays in decisions across the government won’t make it go away. It will make it unmanageable. Only our government can make deals with other countries; only our government can make umbrella policies that affect our nation, only our government can bring in US military to bring massive help in natural disasters, only government is the insurer of last resort. Thinking Big Government shouldn’t be telling us what to do about our life support system is the surest way to ensure that Big Government has to come to the rescue. I wrote this essay back in 2013, “Why Climate Change means big, really big government” I know, one of the reasons many in the GOP don’t want to acknowledge and address Climate Change is because they fear it’s a great big liberal nanny state takeover. If humanity and businesses had over the decades voluntarily addressed Climate Change and environmental degradation, things would not have gotten to the point where the only solution was for our government to come in a save us from ourselves. Trump to Drop Climate Change From Environmental Reviews, Source Says Directive to reverse Obama-era mandate for agency actions Clean Power Plan, methane rules and coal halt also addressed President Donald Trump is set to sign a sweeping directive to dramatically shrink the role climate change plays in decisions across the government, ranging from appliance standards to pipeline approvals, according to a person familiar with the administration’s plan. The order, which could be signed this week, goes far beyond a targeted assault on Obama-era measures blocking coal leasing and throttling greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that has been discussed for weeks. Some of the changes could happen immediately; others could take years to implement. It aims to reverse President Barack Obama’s broad approach for addressing climate change. One Obama-era policy instructed government agencies to factor climate change into formal environmental reviews, such as that for the Keystone XL pipeline. Trump’s order also will compel a reconsideration of the government’s use of a metric known as the "social cost of carbon" that reflects the potential economic damage from climate change. It was used by the Obama administration to justify a suite of regulations. (March 14, 2017) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/15/2017 - How hard it must be to work for a healthy environment for most of your career only to have it all gutted by an ideologue. Terrible. Chief Environmental Justice Official at EPA Resigns, With Plea to Pruitt to Protect Vulnerable Communities Mustafa Ali quits after 24 years, as new administrator prepares deep cuts in programs affecting the poor and minorities. The head of the environmental justice program at the Environmental Protection Agency has stepped down, departing the government with a lengthy letter to Scott Pruitt, the EPA's new administrator, urging him not to kill the agency's programs.   Mustafa Ali, a senior adviser and assistant associate administrator at the agency, worked to alleviate the impact of air, water and industrial pollution on poverty-stricken towns and neighborhoods during nearly a quarter century with the EPA. He helped found the environmental justice office, then the environmental equity office, in 1992, during the presidency of President George H.W. Bush. Ali leaves the EPA as Pruitt, who took office Feb. 17, prepares to implement deep cuts in the agency's budget and staff. A Trump administration proposal would cut the EPA's $8 billion budget by $2 billion and reduce its roster of 15,000 employees by 20 percent. An internal memo obtained by multiple news outlets on March 1 called for a complete dismantling of the office of environmental justice and elimination of a number of grant programs that address low-income and minority communities. A story in the Oregonian reported that funding for the office would decrease 78 percent, from $6.7 million to $1.5 million. (March 9, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/14/2017 - Is this Northeast Blizzard March 2017 prove Climate Change is a hoax? Not likely. Climate Change means climate disruption and “Between 1961 and 2010, there have been twice as many extreme regional snowstorms in the US compared to 1900 to 1960.” Our climate is changing radically and we need to know more and our local media needs to connect the freaking dots. Northeast Blizzard March 2017  inter Storm Stella is hitting the Northeast, and states from Maryland to Maine are expected to witness more than a foot of snow, hurricane force winds, and coastal flooding March 13 through 15. The massive snowstorm has multiple climate connections helping to fuel its destructive power. Elevated sea levels will amplify and extend the reach of Stella's storm surge. A warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor for Stella, increasing blizzard risk as the storm can collect and dump that moisture as extreme snowfall, sleet and rainfall. Sea surface temperatures are record warm in the Atlantic Gulf Stream, pumping more heat energy and moisture into the storm, further increasing the risk of blizzard. The amplification of these physical mechanisms can be seen in the long-term trends. Between 1961 and 2010, there have been twice as many extreme regional snowstorms in the US compared to 1900 to 1960. In New York City, which is forecast to receive between 12 to 18 inches of snow over the course of one day, 6 of the 10 all-time biggest snowstorms on record have occurred since 2000. An extreme event driven by natural variability and amplified by climate change is consistent with what science projects for a warming world. (March 13, 2017) Climate Signals [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/14/2017 - What if young folks successfully sued that “the federal government has violated the constitutional right of the 21 plaintiffs to a healthy climate system”? Imagine a world that considered all life and a sustainable existence for the future of young folks, instead of the looming dystopia brought on by business as usual, in which the fossil fuel industry rules. Time passes. The climate change lawsuit the Trump administration is desperate to stop going to trial Young people aged between nine and 20 claim the federal government has promoted fossil fuel production, worsening climate change and therefore violating their constitutional right to life, liberty and property A groundbreaking climate lawsuit, brought against the federal government by 21 children, has been hailed by environmentalists as a bold new strategy to press for climate action in the United States. But the Trump administration, which has pledged to undo Barack Obama’s climate regulations, is doing its best to make sure the case doesn’t get far. (March 10, 2017) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/14/2017 - In a way, I suppose, we should be glad that cities and governments might be racing to the top on addressing Climate Change. The trouble is that if cities are leading the charge (bottom up) they are going to be in conflict with governments (top down) efforts who are either helping or trying to hinder them. The best scenario is leadership and planning coming from the top down from governments with cities implementing coordinated actions and tailoring them to their local communities. If we the public and our cities and our states and our nations aren’t on the same page for addressing Climate Change the result will be ad hoc, mismatched, counterproductive (in many cases), and most likely not enough effort on a large enough scale in a timely manner to make a difference. We need a coordinated planetary response to Climate Change in order to bring down a planet’s temperature and make our way of life sustainable. Time passes. As cities from Sydney to Oslo set more ambitious targets to cut climate change than national plans, is conflict ahead?  Cities test limits of power vs governments over climate change * More than half of the world's population in urban areas * From Oslo to Sydney, city ties with government strained * In America, city of Austin fears Trump plans will hinder goals Cities from Oslo to Sydney are setting goals to curb climate change that exceed national targets, causing tensions with central governments about who controls policy over green energy and transport and construction. More than 2,500 cities have issued plans to cut carbon emissions to the United Nations since late 2014, setting an example to almost 200 nations that reached a Paris Agreement in December 2015 to fight global warming. Although there are no officially collated statistics available, many city targets are more ambitious than those set by governments under the Paris accord, which imposes no obligations on cities, regions or companies to define goals. (March 13, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/13/2017 - Economic incentives are crucial for giving electric vehicles a fighting chance against polluting gas guzzlers backed by fossil-fuel politicians and massive subsidies. The technology behind electric non-polluting vehicles is here and ready to help all of us transform to transportation options that can stop many of our greenhouse gas emissions from warming our atmosphere more. But as electric vehicles take hold state-by-state, they are being fought by fossil-fuel industry far more concerned with their immediate self-interest than our long-term sustainability. Here’s an interesting way to look at this issue: If the middle class in China only buys traditional gas guzzlers humanity is doomed. China is moving towards only producing electric vehicles in order to bring up the standards of all and not condemn our future. The US needs to do our part to stave off a crisis we helped to create. Check out: “China, Europe drive shift to electric cars as U.S. lags” (January 15, 2017, Reuters) Behind the Quiet State-by-State Fight Over Electric Vehicles When Georgia repealed its generous $5,000 tax credit on electric vehicles in July 2015, and instead slapped a $200 registration fee on electric cars, sales quickly tumbled. In the month before the repeal, nearly 1,300 electric vehicles were sold in the state. By August, those sales had all but evaporated — to just 97 cars. It was a hint of what would come. Today, the economic incentives that have helped electric vehicles gain a toehold in America are under attack, state by state. In some states, there is a move to repeal tax credits for battery-powered vehicles or to let them expire. And in at least nine states, including liberal-leaning ones like Illinois and conservative-leaning ones like Indiana, lawmakers have introduced bills that would levy new fees on those who own electric cars. The state actions could put the business of electric vehicles, already rocky, on even more precarious footing. That is particularly true as gas prices stay low, and as the Trump administration appears set to give the nascent market much less of a hand. (March 11, 2017) New York Times [more on Transportation and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/11/2017 - Interesting how quickly critics of governmental funding circle for blood when disaster strikes. Despite the opinion of many that governments just waste public monies (especially those who promise to cut spending and keep taxes low), too many are quick to criticize when our government does NOT address the consequences of extreme weather quickly and comprehensively as they would like. This state of hypocrisy must change because if we don’t support our government to plan properly for a climate disruption, we are going to impotently criticize our government when they cannot possibly address the consequences of Climate Change—more flooding, more infrastructure failures, and more public health problems—because our government wasn’t given the resources to protect our citizens. We cannot continue to support politicians who promise to gut public governments of their funding, then carp about that same government when they are unable to address disasters when they come. Cuomo Blows Off Any Criticism He Wasn't Here Sooner (March 10, 2017) Time Warner Cable News Rochester

  • 3/11/2017 - If the science behind Climate Change goes dark in the U.S., remember there are other countries where science is respected. It is beyond tragic that the U.S. EPA is going dark on Climate Change where environmental laws and regulations and public communications are being scrubbed here, but there are other places in world that watch Climate Change closely—not to mention that even while Climate Change communication can be suppressed, Climate Change itself is physics and won’t be suppressed until we start acting on it. Consider moving away from news that dismisses science and, via the Internet, make a concerted effort to find out what other nations and their media are learning about this crisis and doing about Climate Change. Read Climate Change reports from our friends around the world. Grim State of the Environment report warns climate change impacts could be irreversible The impact of climate change on the Australian environment and its ecosystems is increasing and some aspects may be irreversible, the latest State of the Environment report has warned. The condition of the environment was "poor" and "deteriorating" in some areas, despite improvements in the marine environment and the Murray-Darling Basin, according to the report. (March 7, 2017) Sydney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/11/2017 - Can a children’s book just published in England “speak across the divided politics of climate change” do well in the U.S. too? Maybe this book (Climate Change by HRH The Prince of Wales, Tony Juniper & Emily Shuckburgh (M Joseph £7.99) Ladybird book on the dangers of global warming 1,845 (4,435)) can reach across the ocean and reach across the aisle here in the United States and hit a tone that will communicate Climate Change to all of us. Gonna be hard, though, we’re pretty entrenched here and science itself is under attack. Prince Charles’ Ladybird book is a climate communications masterpiece With strong sales and positive coverage in the rightwing press, the prince’s children’s book has found a way to speak across the divided politics of climate change A recent Ladybird book on climate change achieved something few books on climate change do: it got read (or at least bought) by large numbers of people. Shooting straight to the top of the Sunday Times bestseller list upon release last month, Climate Change: A Ladybird Expert Book’s appeal had much to do with the profile and status of one of its authors: HRH Prince of Wales. (March 10, 2010) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/10/2017 - Cutting the Energy Star Program would be a big (swear word) to the American public and the world. Don’t let this happen. Climate-Friendly Energy Star Program Could be Cut Energy Star, the program that certifies toasters, air conditioners, computers and buildings for energy efficiency, could be killed by the Trump administration as part of its effort to shrink federal spending. The administration wants the program to be “zeroed out” in the 2018 Environmental Protection Agency budget, according to news reports and a memo that the EPA provided to the National Association of Clean Air Agencies last week. The EPA declined to comment. (March 9, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 3/10/2017 - Given humanity’s penchant for chopping down trees, it’s going to be hard for us to save our forests. But we absolutely must. Forests key to mitigating climate change Drought and unsustainable practices are placing forests at risk, yet they are crucial to the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming. Researchers have reminded the world’s governments that forests will play a vital role in mitigating the effects of climate change – provided policies are robustly pursued and reported with transparency. But even as European researchers set out the conditions for achieving this, other studies suggest that any pledges may be difficult to keep. A team from the UK, the European Commission, Italy and the Netherlands report in the Nature Climate Change journal that land management plans submitted by nations that pledged in Paris in 2015 to contain global warming to 2°C or less could contribute 25% of the total promised reductions in the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming. (March 9, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/10/2017 - This short video about addressing Climate Change from friend and dedicated advocate for strong action on Climate Change. Paul’s message, the importance of showing up and demonstrating that you care about our people and our planet, will get you moving. Imagine if we all felt and ACTED towards our life support system as Paul. RT. Please make Paul’s message go viral. #StandUpForScience  #climatechangeshealth  ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters #ClimateChange

  • 3/10/2017 - Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (an umbrella group for over 100 organizations in Rochester urging action on Climate Change) makes headway on community choice aggregation (CCA). Find out about how CCA allows a local government or a group of local governments to buy renewable energy for its residents. Very cool. Group asks city to lead clean-energy 'buyers club' Hydropower, wind, solar, and other renewables are providing more and more of New York's energy, a trend that government officials and environmental advocates want to continue. But for that to happen, the companies building new wind and solar farms need New York residents, businesses, and governments to buy their carbon-free power. Governments and business can do so relatively simply, since they consume lots of power, regularly seek out supply contracts, and can negotiate a good price. Residents and small businesses, however, have a tougher time sourcing renewable power, which they often pay a premium for. "Right now with a lot of these supply contracts, you have to pay extra to get green energy," says Sue Hughes-Smith, who's on the Rochester People's Climate Coalition's leadership team. "That doesn't make any sense. If we want to achieve a renewable energy supply, that needs to be the cheap option." (March 8, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - Actually, the “hard” sciences of the environment and the social science of economics were always linked. We just didn’t get it. For far too long economics treated our life support system as a magical resource generator and collective toilet--externality. Now that attitude is coming home to roost. And what is truly tragic is that our present economics is so entrenched into our way of life that the very economic system that put us into this Climate Change mess is very unlikely to get us out of it. Trying to right our economic system with a Climate Fee for carbon is a good idea, but it is far short of what we need to adapt to and stop the warming on a scale and time frame that will matter. We are going to pay a dear price for Climate Change procrastination. We need to take action now. Time passes. Basu: Economics of climate change will affect world poverty In a warming environment, visible climate change meets the “invisible hand” of economics, according to economist Kaushik Basu. “You can feel it. Two years ago … I visited Beijing and Delhi back-to-back,” said Basu, Cornell’s C. Marks Professor of International Studies and professor of economics. “You look up at the sky in both places and you realize that this is a problem that has been left for far too long – and now you have to work in a hurry. … You don’t have to read about it anymore. You need to look up and you are aware that something needs to be done.” (March 8, 2017) Cornell Chronicle [more on Food and Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - Climate Change probably had nothing to do with Great windstorm of 2017 in Rochester, NY. But extreme weather will get in your face when it comes. It is amazing at how blasé much of humanity is on Climate Change, about the dire warnings of more heat and extreme weather coming, and how dumb-struck we are when extreme weather actually happens to us. You cannot play golf in a hurricane. Much of the growth of humanity has been to adapt to extreme weather and plan to avoid that kind of weather we cannot adapt to. (One of the ways we have learned to adapt weather we cannot endure is to create insurance against losses due to weather damage.) You would think, given the predictions of Climate Change the extreme weather that is coming, we’d take the warnings much more seriously than we do. Yet, the US has shifted away from the science that tells us more extreme weather is coming. One of the reasons humanity has survived is our ability to plan. At the moment disasters strike, it’s too late to plan. We should be planning for Climate Change now. Time passes. 

  • 3/09/2017 - When the Trump Administration proposes a 97% reduction in funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, doesn’t that shift the costs to Canada? We share the responsibility for the health of the Great Lakes with our friend to the North. How is reneging on our responsibility to the largest freshwater system in the world being a good friend? Opposition efforts underway in response to proposed Great Lakes funding cuts An Erie County Legislator and local advocates for Great Lakes cleanup say the Trump Administration's proposed cuts to such efforts would prove harmful not only to the water and wildlife in it but also the local economy. The Trump Administration's ideas include a proposed 97-percent reduction in funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, cutting dollars from the current $300 million over the next five years down to $10 million in that same time span. (March 8, 2017) WBFO Buffalo's NPR News Station [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - So, if you remove ‘science’ and ‘Climate Change’ from your agency’s mandate, you’re legally unaccountable. Sad. The word 'Science' disappears from Environmental Protection Agency office's mission statement The government will instead focus on work that is 'economically and technologically achievable' An office of the Environmental Protection Agency has had all reference to science removed from its mission statement. The EPA once proudly told visitors that a large part of its work was scientific research to help improve the climate and the environment ADVERTISEMENT . But those references have since been removed and replaced with a reference to things that are "economically and technologically achievable". Campaigners have said that the change is likely hugely significant, in line with other attempts to remove scientific and climate change work from the US government. It is just one of a range of changes and statements from officials that seem to signal a significant change in the way the government works (March 8, 2017) Independent [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - I know, accepting Climate Change into your heart means you have to take responsibility for your actions. Stopping Climate Change is going to require more money, more inconvenience, more government, more learning, more responsibility towards future generations you will never meet, and much, much, more. And climate denial means you get to play dumb and take no responsibility and let others make the changes we need—while hurling insults at them or ignoring them altogether. The choices we make define who we are as a species. One worth saving, or not. Time passes. Spring Came Early. Scientists Say Climate Change Is a Culprit. After a mild winter across much of the United States, February brought abnormally high temperatures, especially east of the Rockies. Spring weather arrived more than three weeks earlier than usual in some places, and new research released Wednesday shows a strong link to climate change. By the 2017 calendar, the first day of spring is March 20. But spring leaves arrived in mid-January in some parts of the South, and spread northward like a wave. The map above plots the date of “first leaf,” a temperature-based calculation of when vegetation that has been dormant starts to show signs of life. This year, with the exception of a few small areas, the wave has arrived much earlier than the 30-year average. (March 8, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - There have been lots of climate change, but this human-caused Climate Change makes it moral and urgent. Humanity cannot continue to play dumb and pretend that Climate Change isn’t a crisis. Scientists and many media and the worldwide #ParisAgreement have honed scientific and world leaders’ message that we have a clear and present danger. Most people don’t know climate change is entirely human-made How much of the warming over the past century do you think is caused by human actions, as opposed to natural processes? If you think natural processes have played a big part, you are far from alone. Less than half of people in the UK (43 per cent), Germany (49 per cent) and Norway (just 34 per cent) think climate change is mainly or entirely due to human activities, according to a public opinion survey. In France, a slim majority (55 per cent) holds this view. (March 8, 2017) New Scientist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/09/2017 - Constant drumming that It’s Getting Hotter! would be uninteresting and boring if it wasn’t our life support system that was cooking. February’s Warmth, Brought to You by Climate Change A bonanza of heat records fell throughout February in almost all quarters of the U.S. and research released on Wednesday shows that this pervasive spring-like warmth was made possible by climate change. The rise in planetary heat made the freakishly warm February at least three times more likely than it was around 120 years ago, according to the analysis by scientists working on the World Weather Attribution team. While it was a month to remember, by mid-century that type of heat could occur every three years unless carbon pollution is curtailed. (March 8, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/08/2017 - Gutting a program “aimed at protecting waterways, conducting research and educating the public on environmental issues” is so manically ideological as to be suicidal. Report: Trump's budget eliminates Sea Grant The Trump administration appears ready to gut parts of the federal budget aimed at protecting waterways, conducting research and educating the public on environmental issues — including entirely eliminating funding for the Sea Grant program across the U.S. The Sea Grant cut was unveiled Saturday by a Washington Post story that quotes an unnamed source who provided an Office of Management and Budget document. If accurate, the elimination of Sea Grant's $76 million annual budget would be part of huge cuts in funding for research and outreach arms of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a division of the U.S. Commerce Department. The cuts target programs that deal with conservation, restoration, climate change and other environmental issues, especially research and public education. (March 6, 2017) Duluth News Tribune [more on Environmental Health and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 3/08/2017 - In retrospect, pulling out of the Paris Agreement by the US may be viewed as one of the most irresponsible political moves—ever. After 20+ years of the world trying to come together with an agreement, where they at least acknowledge the science, acknowledge the common threat, and acknowledge that much must be done by all and increasingly so as time goes so to bring down atmosphere temperatures, the world agreed on the Paris Agreement. For the US to drag its feet, or even try and squirm out of our responsibilities with the world on Climate Change, where most of the historic greenhouse gas emissions since the mid-1800’s came from US, would be catastrophic to our planet and our country’s image. We are now living in a moment where our fate is literally being decided by a tempest in the US between ideology and science. We don’t have to guess the outcome of what will happen if ideology wins—or is able to slow down our efforts to address this crisis. Time passes.  #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Top Trump Advisers Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change The White House is fiercely divided over President Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel” the Paris agreement, the 2015 accord that binds nearly every country to curb global warming, with more moderate voices maintaining that he should stick with the agreement despite his campaign pledge. Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s senior adviser, is pressing the president to officially pull the United States from the landmark accord, according to energy and government officials with knowledge of the debate. But, they say, he is clashing with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who fear the move could have broad and damaging diplomatic ramifications. March 2, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/08/2017 - According to Carbonify.com, the atmospheric carbon dioxide level was 365.26ppm in 1998 when I began RochesterEnvironment.com. Today it’s 406.13ppm. Now in some places, it’s projected to hit 410ppm. We have known for quite some time now that we are quickly warming up our planet, which is and will continue to affect all life on Earth, while increasingly making it problematic as to whether we can adapt. There is much about Climate Change that folks are debating and denying, but these figures on the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are pretty clear. Hard to squirm away from the math. Time passes. #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Carbon Dioxide Could Reach 410 PPM This Month A never-ending stream of carbon pollution ensures that each year the world continues to break records for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This year will be no different. Like a rite of spring, carbon dioxide is poised to cruise pass the previous mark set last year and reach heights unseen in human history. In the coming weeks, carbon dioxide will start to breach the 410 parts per million threshold on a daily basis at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. The monthly average for May could come close to topping 410 ppm, too, according to the U.K. Met Office’s inaugural carbon dioxide forecast, released last week. (March 6, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/07/2017 - Building sustainability into our way of living is something our Rochester region’s higher education facilities, like RIT, are really good at. Sustainable capstone project monitors RMSC exhibit An RIT senior capstone project at the Rochester Museum & Science Center has given a team of environmental science students a crash course in green infrastructure and sustainable design. RIT students are contributing to a five-year project to monitor the museum’s Regional Green Infrastructure Showcase. The installation reduces storm-water runoff and improves water quality. A museum exhibit, designed and developed by RIT students, illustrates the rain water saved by the installation in terms of bathtubs full of water. The capstone project, now in its second year, is overseen by the Water Education Collaborative, a not-for-profit organization that operates under the auspices of the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Christy Tyler, associate professor of environmental science in the Thomas H. Gosnell College of Life Sciences, is a member of the collaborative and the capstone adviser. (February 6, 2017) RIT University News

  • 3/07/2017 - If the threats to our public health and infrastructures don’t make Climate Change in our region sound urgent, maybe threats to wine industry will. Climate Change is going to continually challenge our local agriculture with warmer winters and summers, more flooding, more extreme weather and more unexpected frosts. The more we plan the better able our farmers and local businesses can adapt to this sudden change in our climate. Warmer winter could mean trouble for grapes along Lake Erie A 2007 study by the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association calculated that the region's grapes support more than 1,900 jobs and contribute more than $340 million to the regional economy. It is not a coincidence that most of the grapes produced in Pennsylvania are grown within a few miles of Lake Erie's shore. In the fall, winds coming off a warm lake tend to extend the growing season and delay frost for a few extra days — long enough, hopefully, to allow the crop to ripen. In the spring, cool winds off the lake typically prevent grape vines and fruit trees from breaking into bud too soon. Because it stays colder longer, they aren't vulnerable to an unexpected frost. At least that's how the region's fruit growers hope things work. But nearing the final weeks of an unusually warm weather in which Lake Erie never froze, many of them are wondering if they can count on the lake to manipulate the weather in their favor. (March 6, 2017) GoErie [more on Food and Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/07/2017 - Wake UP! Did America really vote to have #EPA gutted? Think! Trump plan for 40% cut could cause EPA science office ‘to implode,’ official warns In 2015, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C., unveiled a controversial regulation aimed at improving protection for wetlands and small streams, officials pointed to a 400-page technical tome assembled by agency researchers as the rule’s scientific foundation and justification. But that document carried little sway this week as President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at gutting the rule. Now, the White House wants to dramatically slash the budget of the EPA science office that produced that report, employs some 1700 researchers and others, and runs essentially all of the agency’s other major scientific activities. (March 3, 2017) Science [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/07/2017 - One thing that businesses cannot and won’t do but governments can is launch very expensive satellites to monitor Climate Change. It would be foolhardy and craven to gut NOAA’s ability to get “information that’s necessary to keep weather forecasts, agricultural outlooks, and disaster plans accurate as Earth’s climate warms.” The public must not allow a new administration with an anti Climate Change agenda to thwart our collective ability to adapt to Climate Change and have a viable future. #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Budget cuts at NOAA threaten climate-monitoring satellite program A White House memo suggests a 22-percent budget cut. But it hasn't happened yet. Why the Congressional budget-making process could offer hope for climate monitoring. Later this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to launch the JPSS-1 satellite. Completing a polar orbit 14 times each day, it will give NOAA an unprecedented amount of infrared and atmospheric data – information that’s necessary to keep weather forecasts, agricultural outlooks, and disaster plans accurate as Earth’s climate warms. These benefits won’t come cheap. NOAA has budgeted $800 million for JPSS – an abbreviation for Joint Polar Satellite System – this year alone, and projects a nine-digit price tag for the mission each year through the mid-2020s. But will NOAA be able to afford this satellite?  A White House budget memo obtained by the Washington Post on Friday reveals that the Trump Administration aims to cut NOAA’s budget by 17 percent next fiscal year. That’s in line with an 18 percent cut to the US Commerce Department, which administers NOAA. But the agency’s satellite data division would lose 22 percent of its funding, or $513 million. (March 4, 2017) Christian Science Monitor [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/07/2017 - Pretty Cool that “Rochester will launch a pilot to become an electric vehicle model city.” #RocheterNY Rocs! As the transportation sector accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions, ramping up electric vehicles use will help Rochester achieve some of its Climate Action Plans. More electric vehicle charging stations coming to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new electric vehicle campaign that includes the installation of charging stations, incentives for employers to encourage employees to drive electric vehicles and extensive public education and outreach. Cuomo says the increased use of electric vehicles will help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. The campaign, which supports the Governor’s Charge NY initiative, will be overseen by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. (March 6, 2017) WHEC [more on Energy and Transportation in our area]

  • 3/06/2017 - Remember back in the day when folks said there wasn’t enough sunlight in New York State for solar power to be a viable option? Let them eat their hats. Solar power makes rapid advances across New York ENERGY: Projects since 2011 account for nearly 744 megawatts. Rooftop and commercial solar projects getting state support are mushrooming in New York, with the Cuomo administration pushing hard to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and get to an energy diet of 50 percent renewables by 2030. State officials report that state-supported solar energy projects increased in 2016 to 795 percent more than the number that was in the pipeline just five years earlier. “The residential market for solar is thriving in New York state,” said David Sandbank, director of the NY-SUN, an arm of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. (March 6, 2017) Niagara Gazette [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 3/06/2017 - The increase in Lyme disease in our Northeast region most likely will have many causes—all accelerated and amplified by Climate Change. Lyme disease is a major Climate Change indicator for our area. Check out this web page from the EPA, because it may soon get scrubbed by the new administration “Climate Change Indicators: Lyme Disease” #StandUpForScience  #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Forbidding Forecast For Lyme Disease In The Northeast Since the early '90s, reported cases of Lyme disease have tripled, to about 30,000 cases each year. The CDC thinks the actual number is 10 times higher. "We think the true burden of Lyme disease in the U.S. is about 300,000 cases," Kugeler says. "Lyme disease is quite a big public health problem." The reasons for this Lyme explosion are many, Ostfeld says. Climate change is part of it. The surge in deer — which feed ticks and spread them around — has also been a factor. (March 6, 2017) North Country Public Radio [more on Lyme disease in our area]

  • 3/06/2017 - Plastics pollution in our waters—our oceans and our lakes—is a looming water quality issue. From microplastics, plastic bits, and plastic bags in our Great Lakes to these plastics in our oceans, we have a problem that must be addressed. Check out microplastics:

  • 3/06/2017 - Stripping away the ability to regulate environmental pollution from agencies like the EPA is cruel, immoral, and threatens our future. Those who incorrectly say that environmental regulations are crippling industries forget why these regulations were put in place in the first place. Exposure to pollution kills millions of children, WHO reports find Exposure to polluted environments is associated with more than one in four deaths among children younger than 5, according to two World Health Organization reports published Monday. Worldwide, 1.7 million children's deaths are attributable to environmental hazards, such as exposure to contaminated water, indoor and outdoor pollution, and other unsanitary conditions, the reports found. Weaker immune systems make children's health more vulnerable to harmful effects of polluted environments, the report says. (March 5, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/04/2017 - Gutting the EPA will have a profound effect on the Great Lakes ecosystem—not in a good way. Sharp cutbacks in Great Lakes restoration could make this largest freshwater system in the world unsustainable. Which is to say, dead. Great Lakes restoration would be gutted in early White House plan With reports swirling that President Donald Trump intends sharp cutbacks at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Free Press has learned that a drastic reduction may be under consideration for Great Lakes restoration efforts, which in the past have received bipartisan support. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies confirmed for the Free Press late  Thursday that an initial proposal from the White House Office of Management and Budget calls for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to be cut from $300 million a year to about $10 million. (March 2, 2017) Detroit Free Press {more on Climate Change, Water Quality, Wetlands, and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/04/2017 - As we know from the loss of the Georgia EV tax credit, aid from the government for the purchase of electric vehicles can have a profound effect. There could be a dramatic rise in electric vehicles and a drop in greenhouse gasses if New York follows through with this rebate. I know, it’s hard to believe that Georgia had the second most electric vehicles in the nation until the repeal of their tax incentive. New York to launch electric vehicle rebate New York State will soon launch a rebate designed to make electric vehicles more price competitive with traditional cars. Officials said Friday they'll launch the initiative by April 1. The rebate of up to $2,000 will be available for zero-emission and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. The incentive is part of efforts to reduce automotive carbon emissions, the state's largest climate change contributor. (March 1, 2017) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/04/2017 - The new normal is not the new sustainable. It is the new normal that our temperatures are going up, which tends (as in the boiling frog metaphor) to create the illusion that we must now simply adapt to a warmer climate, much in the same way that early man adjusted to climate changes of the past. But this Climate Change is different and if we don’t understand that we are going to cook. Our temperatures are going up dramatically, far faster than humanity has ever experienced. And in order to support 7 billion people, we have vast infrastructures (transportation, water, waste water, etc.), which are the lifeblood of our growing communities. These infrastructures are vulnerable to extreme weather from Climate Change. Already, many people have become inured by the constant news of warming and lulled into thinking that it’s now just normal for things to warm. The problem is that during our lifetimes the planet is quickly becoming too warm and without a quick and dramatic shift in how we use energy we will soon come to the point of no return. I know, people have become habituated to apocalyptic news that has always been a part of our media so it enters into the miasma of constant bad news we’ve learned to accept and tolerate. Bad news has always been the new normal. But not all bad news is the same. People dying in the other part of the world is not the same as your doctor giving you the news that you have cancer. Your future has a cancer that must be addressed now. If we habituate to this, we allow ourselves to become inured to an unsustainable future. Time passes. #ScienceMatters Climate change made NSW’s hottest summer 50 times more likely Researchers find strong climate signal behind the heatwaves and record average temperatures that beset Australia’s eastern states this summer Sleepless nights and bushfire days; the hottest summer on record in the Australian state of New South Wales was made 50 times more likely due to climate change, researchers have found. Repeated heatwaves broke maximum temperature records, culminating in the epic days of 11-12 February that pushed the mercury beyond 45C in many parts of the state. Devastating fires consumed whole villages and wildlife perished from exposure to the heat. Analysis of the events by a team from World Weather Attribution and the University of New South Wales found the record average heat could “be linked directly to climate change”. (March 2, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/04/2017 - Even if there ever was a carbon budget, where we thought we still had wiggle room on warming, we’ve probably long since blown it. I do agree that scientists need to figure out how much carbon will be sequestered and released in our soils and waters in order to make our climate models as accurate as possible--so we can plan. But I don’t think we, the public and policy makers and environmental planners, can (or should) deduct from this information how much more carbon emission we can release into our environment. It’s monumental hubris to think that we still have room in our climate system to pump more carbon into it. We’ve already noticed massive changes to our climate with a rise from 280ppm of carbon dioxide since the mid-1800’s to now where we are consistently over 400ppm. As this article suggests (see below), our climate system is extremely complex and there are many known unknowns (like how much carbon is stored and released by water and soil) and even unknowns unknowns (where we don’t even know what we don’t know) that should steer us away from assuming we could possibly allow any more carbon into the system. If anything, we should be working furiously to sequester carbon dioxide and get it back to a point that we know is sustainable—280ppm. Water and soil muddy carbon budget thinking New research on soil, ponds and lakes means a rethink is needed on how to help tackle climate change by balancing the carbon budget. Climate scientists, struggling with the enduring problem of the carbon budget, may have to think again as a result of new research findings. One experiment, in the UK, has shown that the ponds, lakes and standing water that cover 4% of the Earth that isn’t glaciated could release perhaps twice as much greenhouse gas as they warm this century. And a second study, in the US, has demonstrated that climate scientists have seriously over-estimated the soil’s capacity to absorb carbon. It may be able to soak up only about half as much as they thought. (March 4, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/03/2017 - The reason we created the EPA in the first place is because we realized that we could NOT take clean water and air for granted. So, how would gutting the EPA help keep our environment clean? What is the media doing to expose the gutting of the EPA? What is the media doing to explain why the public should know about this? Are you alarmed? #ScienceMatters Trump Says He Loves Clean Air and Water. So Why Is He Gutting the EPA? The dirty details of the president's environmental policies. Even President Donald Trump likes clean water and air. During his speech to Congress Tuesday night, Trump certainly didn't dwell on the matter: His pledge to "promote clean air and water" was lumped in a sentence with commitments to work with both parties, push for paid family leave, and "invest in women's health." But it was still there. No matter who you ask—Republicans or Democrats—everyone likes to breathe air and drink water that won't kill them. Air and water poll so well, in fact, that Republicans will almost never come out and say that their policies might actually make them dirtier. Trump used similar lines about clean air and water throughout the campaign, saying things like, "We are going to work very, very hard on clean air and clean water." The subject also appears near the bottom of the energy section of the White House website. But earlier Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order that directed the Environmental Protection Agency to limit the scope of what counts as a regulated body of water under the Clean Water Act. More executive orders are on their way, and career staff are waiting to hear how many of their jobs may be cut. (March 1, 2017) Mother Jones [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/03/2017 - Really, the EPA is no longer requiring the oil and gas industry to provide information on methane emitted from its operations? Hard to fathom the depths of abject irresponsibility of this move. Even if, say, millions of American don’t care or don’t care to know how much methane our industries are producing, what about the rest of the world? When we say to the world we aren’t producing much of the methane, which is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, won’t they say, “How would you know?” U.S. EPA withdraws request for methane information from oil, gas companies (March 2, 2017) Reuters

  • 3/03/2017 - More evidence (overwhelming) coming in that our planet is warming up dramatically. Getting hard to find new ways of saying FIRE! #ScienceMatters Scientists have handed the science behind Climate Change on a silver platter to everyone free of charge, but it seems that however backed by hard-won, peer-reviewed, solid science too many folks haven’t bothered themselves to find out about this worldwide crisis that is like no other in human history. Sad. Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius), the U.N. weather agency said on Wednesday. The Experanza base set the high on March 24, 2015, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said after reviewing data around Antarctica to set benchmarks to help track future global warming and natural variations. "Verification of maximum and minimum temperatures help us to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers," said Michael Sparrow, a polar expert with the WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme. (March 1, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/03/2017 - Scientists are getting better at discovering whether Climate Change is linked with individual cases of extreme weather: Attribution. Sydney’s Swelter Has a Climate Change Link, Scientists Say Southeastern Australia has suffered through a series of brutal heat waves over the past two months, with temperatures reaching a scorching 113 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of the state of New South Wales. “It was nothing short of awful,” said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney. “In Australia, we’re used to a little bit of heat. But this was at another level.” So Dr. Perkins-Kirkpatrick, who studies climate extremes, did what comes naturally: She looked to see whether there was a link between the heat and human-driven climate change. (March 2, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/03/2017 - From our friends over at Rochester Pachamama Alliance:  "Rochester Pachamama Alliance has started a new monthly gathering to inspire, support and empower each other as we live into our vision of an environmentally sustainable, socially just, inter-culturally respectful, relationally rich, and spiritually fulfilling world.  All are invited to our next gathering: 1:30-3:30 pm on Sunday, March 5, in the red brick building immediately to the west (left) of Asbury United Methodist Church. (The building’s own address is 1010 East Ave.)  At this next gathering, we will explore how we experience and participate in the old paradigm of separation, competition and domination (see Paradigm shift chart--it should appear in your browser when you click on it). We will experience the ways this paradigm creates pain in ourselves and the things we care about.  We will envision ways we can live into the emerging paradigm of interconnectedness, interdependence and cooperation.  And we will discern our own next steps towards embodying that emerging paradigm. Music, visuals and a whole-body awakening will help engage our whole selves in the process.  This is an open-ended/drop-in group.  No ongoing commitment is necessary.  Please share this with anyone you know who might be interested.  And if you plan to attend, please email Padme at padmelivingstone@gmail.com so we can plan accordingly. "

  • 3/03/2017 - Thinking that gutting the EPA will allow businesses to flourish is like thinking that having your kidneys removed will make it so you don’t have to go to the bathroom so often. #ScienceMatters Former EPA scientists to Trump: ‘Evidence does not change when the administration changes’ The Trump administration’s proposal to cut the Environmental Protection Agency is looking dramatic indeed. The plans call for laying off thousands of staff, eliminating entire programs and making deep cuts to the agency’s research office, the Office of Research and Development (ORD), according to recent reportingby The Washington Post. That’s not to say all of this will happen — or that any of it will. Congress makes the final decisions on funding the government. But it’s a stunning proposal to researchers familiar with the workings of the EPA. (March 2, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/02/2017 - More evidence (a 1991 film, actually) that the fossil fuel industry knew their product was warming the planet—but chose to not to #KeepItInTheGroud Sad. Kafkaesque. #ScienceMatters Keep it in the ground: Shell's 1991 film warning of climate change danger uncovered Public information film unseen for years shows Shell had clear grasp of global warming 26 years ago but has not acted accordingly since, say critics More than a quarter of a century ago, oil giant Shell made an extraordinary public film about the dangers of global warming, called Climate of Concern, which has just been rediscovered. The film, says one leading climate scientist, is one of the best he has ever seen: the science is sharp, the predictions uncannily accurate and the suggested solutions smart. The film even had an urgent message: “Action now is seen as the only safe insurance.” Yet Shell has spent the 26 years since investing many billions in highly polluting tar sands and helping to lobby against climate action. As Bill McKibben told me: “Imagine if Shell had taken their own advice and we’d spent the last quarter century in all-out pursuit of renewables, energy efficiency, and conservation. We wouldn’t have solved the problem of global warming, but we’d be well on the way. Shell made a big difference in the world – a difference for the worse.” (March 1, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 3/02/2017 - Instead of banking on science, we are halting efforts to stop very invasive species, Asian Carp, into the largest freshwater system in the world because of special interests. Sad. Businesses whose interests are perceived to be thwarted because of efforts to stop the Asian Carp have a new friend in a new administration that puts special commercial interests against the public’s need for a healthy environment. Once in, the Asian Carp may change our Great Lakes profoundly and we may look back to this moment when this tragedy was inevitable. #ScienceMatters White House orders Asian carp plan delay The Trump administration has ordered a hold on the release of a tentative plan to stop Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes by strengthening a choke point in the Chicago waterway system, according to the Detroit Free Press. The White House wants to review the plan for stopping Asian silver and bighead carp at the Brandon Road Lock & Dam, which the U.S. Army Corps had been scheduled to release in draft form on Feb. 28, the newspaper reported. The release is on indefinite hold for now, confirmed Allen Marshall, public affairs officer for the Army Corps Rock Island District. (March 1, 2017) MLive Michigan [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/02/2017 - If massive (the size of Alabama) areas of permafrost are thawing and they hold a lot of carbon (“Scientists estimate that the world's permafrost holds twice as much carbon as the atmosphere.”), then the warming will accelerate. Not to mention the widespread thaw of permafrost creates more landslides, warmer and increase sediment in rivers. Yes, there have been other climate changes, but this Climate Change is happening in our time with 7 billion of us and our infrastructures—and it is happening by us. And, after certain points, positive feedbacks, like melting glaciers and permafrost amplify the havoc we’ve wreaked. #ScienceMatters Denying Climate Change is suicide. Massive Permafrost Thaw Documented in Canada, Portends Huge Carbon Release Study shows 52,000 square miles in rapid decline, with sediment and carbon threatening the surrounding environment and potentially accelerating global warming. Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers. A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama. According to researchers with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey, the permafrost collapse is intensifying and causing landslides into rivers and lakes that can choke off life downstream, all the way to where the rivers discharge into the Arctic Ocean. (February 28, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - Here’s the news Rochester, NY local media is not telling you: with warmer winters “ancient cycles are being broken”. For the past week or so our local media has highlighted how many people more are getting outdoors, and golfing, and other late-spring fun activities. But they are failing to put this warming into context and providing the public what they need to know about what’s going on in the rest of the world on Climate Change and what changes are coming to this region. Rochester, let’s face it, is never going to be Florida—it’s going to be a seriously screwed up Rochester. Time passes. #ScienceMatters It’s 1 March, but spring started weeks ago As warmer days wake parts of nature from their winter slumber earlier and earlier, ancient cycles are being broken Spring is arriving ever earlier in the northern hemisphere. One sedge species in Greenland is now springing to growth 26 days earlier than it did a decade ago. And in the wintry United States, spring arrived 22 days early this year in Washington DC, the national capital. The evidence comes from those silent witnesses, the natural things that respond to climate signals. The relatively new science of phenology – the calendar record of first bud, first flower, first nesting behaviour and first migrant arrivals – has over the last three decades repeatedly confirmed meteorological fears of global warming as a consequence of the combustion of fossil fuels. Researchers say the evidence from the plant world is consistent with the instrumental record: 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded, and it was the third record-breaking year in succession. Sixteen of the hottest years ever recorded have happened in the 21st century.(March 1, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - There are a lot of known unknowns, like how “non-carbon aerosolised particles impact on global temperatures” and how clouds will factor in climate models, and even unknown unknowns (stuff that we didn’t even know we didn’t know (like The Trump Effect on Climate Change)) but be assured that Climate Change is happening and it’s complicated and because it’s complicated it doesn’t mean we should avoid addressing it. #Science Matters Aerosol Study Targets Great Unknown in Climate Science Australian scientists are studying air pollution and cloud formation in Antarctica in an effort to understand how non-carbon aerosolised particles impact on global temperatures. It’s the first comprehensive study of the composition and concentration of aerosols in the Antarctic sea ice area, a region that influences cloud formation and weather patterns for much of the southern hemisphere. (February 25, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - This article (see below) demonstrates how Climate Change should be reported locally. In order to adapt, we need context. Even if we do reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is still is a lot of heat to play out in our climate system, a lot, hundreds of years. This means we have to adapt to the quick changes coming and the myriad environmental issues this brings. The problems in Lake Erie highlight how Climate Change will accelerate and amplify all those conditions. And, this article gets at the absolute necessity why governmental agencies like the EPA must lead all efforts in our ability to adapt comprehensively to what’s coming ahead. Everyone, including businesses and farmers who will not be able to thrive is a failing environment, should be encouraging Trump and the EPA to keep up their pivotal role in addressing Climate Change and all the complicated consequences coming with that. #ScienceMatters Great Lakes Scientist says, “If We Lose The EPA, We Lose Lake Erie” At the 8th Binational Meeting of the Lake Erie Millennium Network, 125 scientists gathered at the University of Windsor in Ontario to hear experts weigh-in on the health of the southernmost, warmest and shallowest of the Great Lakes. They presented research on everything from climate change, water quality, phosphorous, agricultural run-off, cynobacteria (blue-green algae), hypoxia (deficiency in oxygen), cladophora (green algae) to ice, invasive species, sediment concentrations, and much, much more. Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume, and yet it has the highest population living along it’s shorelines, which makes it more vulnerable to pollution and many other problems than the rest of the Great Lakes. (February 24, 2017) Great Lakes Now [more on Climate Change and Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - Old sewage pipes leaking human waste into the Great Lakes basin is probably occurring often. Many wastewater infrastructures around the entire Great Lakes water basin are getting old and in need of repair and updating for Climate Change. And the statement that probably 2 million gallons of human waste has already flowed into the Grand River but that only constitutes only 1% of the area’s water is NOT comforting. One has to wonder, when at what percent of the water IS human waste will folks get concerned—25%, 50%? We should be planning dramatically to prepare the largest freshwater system in the world for Climate Change. About 500K gallons of human waste spilling into Grand River each day SPRING LAKE, MICH. - People are asked to avoid contact with a portion of the Grand River following a sewage spill that's released at least a million gallons of human waste. A no body contact advisory affects an area about a mile east of the U.S. 31 bridge over the Grand River and downstream to Lake Michigan. (February 28, 2017) WZZM [more on Great lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/01/2017 - Rochester, NY is really warm: “That is in keeping with conditions everywhere, which experts attribute to the impact of climate change.” (See below) The present zeitgeist around town seems to be that it’s been a warm February but what a relief, instead of concerns that this long stretch of warm temperatures in February is a harbinger of things to come. Temperatures worldwide are going up and are dramatically affecting other regions, but here we’re having April weather in February. That doesn’t seem to alarm us. Maybe even a welcome. But even this kind of warming in Rochester is concerning as it is throwing off our plants, where I’m seeing as I walk around town some already 8” and 10” high. It’s not only not normal, it might mean that if a long cold comes along it may wreck the plants we’ve planted. It may be wreaking havoc with agriculture, where fruit trees are kicking into gear too soon, their buds opening themselves to freezing. It would be helpful if our media looked into the effects of such a long warming spell on trees and plants and maybe even some animals that are maybe being fooled into waking up from their wintry slumbers, and perhaps how fish are reacting to another winter on the Great Lakes without ice cover for protection. Things are changing with Climate Change, even here in Rochester, and they are deeply profound and disturbing because they are happening way too quickly. (“The problem is the speed at which the world is warming. It’s not that the climate is changing ― it’s the rate.” Bill Nye, 2/27/2017, The Huffington Post) Crazy hot day to follow crazy hot month The warmest February in the modern record book will usher in what almost surely will be the warmest March 1 that Rochester's ever seen. That's because the Rochester region is in the midst of one of the warmest periods in local history. Since November 2015, every single month has featured above-average temperatures except for April of last year. Two of those months, December 2015 and August 2016, were the warmest on record. Calendar-year 2016 wound up the fifth-warmest in local history.That is in keeping with conditions everywhere, which experts attribute to the impact of climate change. Globally, 2016 was the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880, and the second-warmest ever in the United States. (February 28, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/28/2017 - When you think about it, US public opinion about whether global warming is happening is NOT about whether it IS happening.  For that ask a climate scientist. #ScienceMatters If you want to know if global warming is happening, ask 97% of climate scientists around the world. Check out Yale Climate Opinion Maps – U.S. 2016 “Estimated % of adults who think global warming is happening, 2016

  • 2/28/2017 - Addressing Climate Change and making the Great Lakes ecosystem healthy is more than obsessing about “a few cattails in the marsh”. Good grief. Pretty irresponsible reporting by local Rochester media on IJC Plan 2014 for Lake Ontario's water levels. Although this reporting mentions that most people and international governments have agreed that IJC Plan 2014 is necessary to make this ecosystem healthy, most of the report is about the effect of this law on some local shoreline owners. Yes, there should be enough money to compensate: “"The IJC has a legal requirement to provide the money, the funding to the counties based on the economic damage done," he said.” They have informed me that they must provide that compensation and they don't have any money to do it.” It would have been far more responsible for this reporting to give planning for a healthy ecosystem and planning for Climate Change more weight—instead of parading out this nonsense: "Common sense would say our president (and) the secretary would care more about the economy of our country than a few cattails in the marsh," said Congressman Collins. In the background of all this is the fact that ice cover on the Great Lakes is dramatically decreasing over the decades (as predicted my climate studies of our region), which means that there will be more water evaporation in the Great Lakes causing lower levels in the future. It’s going to be hard enough to address Climate Change and come together on solutions that will impact some citizens unevenly without trying to undo sensible solutions that are in the best interest of everyone. Lake Ontario residents appealing to president for help with water levels Many people living on the Lake Ontario shoreline have been living with fear since January 7th. They're bracing for flooding and erosion. They say it's the result of a new plan that controls the lake's water levels. The United States agreed to that plan with Canada during the Obama Administration. Those people on the lake are now appealing to the new president. IJC Plan 2014 basically calls for higher highs and lower lows for Lake Ontario's water levels. Environmentalists say it will make the lake healthier. But people living on the lake say those higher highs will cause issues. (February 27, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/28/2017 - Getting around Rochester, or anywhere else for that matter, in a time of Climate Change is a moral matter. Reducing greenhouse gases by transportation emissions, redesigning our transportation infrastructure so it includes more public transportation that is accommodating to all, and including venues for more active transportation (walking and bicycling) with Complete Streets action, should be on our minds as we shift to more adaptive living and cities that are friendlier to humans than gas-guzzling vehicles. Check out this: Important film from our friends over at Reconnect Rochester. : Rochester Street Films - Save the date (and your seat)   March 15, 6:30 p.m. at The Little Theatre   The big-screen debut of short films by Alex Freeman, Nate Butler, and Ericka Jones will explore three very different perspectives on moving around Rochester. Panel discussion will follow.   No one refused for lack of funds, but space is limited. Reserve your seat in advance by making a donation to Reconnect Rochester ($5-25 suggested).   Reserve Your Seat    Getting to the Event BIKE to this event and park in our bike corral attended by Rochester Cycling Alliance. Or take RTS Bus Route #31 or #57 to The Little Theatre. See if your friends are attending – RSVP and invite them on Facebook.

  • 2/28/2017 - If the EPA scrubs Climate Change from its websites, does that mean they are no longer accountable for addressing it? Should we look elsewhere for official responsibility to preserve and protect our environment? Does dissembling about the science behind extreme weather mean the EPA’s former clarity on this subject somehow become more unclear? What are we to become resilient to and how are we to become resilient to it? What is the cause of our need to increase our resiliency? Instead of helping to inform the media and the public about Climate Change, is it now the role of the EPA to un-inform, unravel so to speak, decades of hard-won research and clarity on climate science? Should we attend official programs to wipe the certainty and clarity of the Climate Change to match the new EPA’s agenda? EPA Removes Mentions of 'Climate Change' in Water Utilities Program Agency changed ‘Climate Ready’ to ‘Resilient’ from the title and webpage before Trump took office, in possible anticipation of coming chill from the administration. The Environmental Protection Agency's website has gotten a makeover since the Trump administration took office, with some references to climate change now wiped from its pages.   But the agency removed the word "climate" from a division's name and webpage even before President Donald Trump's inauguration, suggesting that EPA employees may have started constraining information in anticipation of the incoming chill from the new administration. The division once known as Climate Ready Water Utilities was rebranded as the Creating Resilient Water Utilities in late December, according to archived webpages. By then, Myron Ebell had been in place as head of the agency's transition team for more than a month. Ebell, a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute who has long promoted climate denial in his work, was considered a threat to the agency's mission by many of the career employees. (February 28, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/27/2017 - But what if Climate Change is happening and we deny it? What kind of people does that make us? Nonexistent. Here’s why it's so frickin’ hot right now There's something about a warm February day that reminds you that something just isn't right. It gives you that nagging feeling that maybe global warming is real after all.  February 2016 has featured prolonged warm weather the likes of which many areas have not seen before, or have only experienced on rare occasions.  Taken as a whole, the month-to-date in the U.S. has seen a ridiculously lopsided ratio of daily record highs to daily record lows, which is a key indicator of short-term weather variability and, over the longer term, human-caused climate change. (February 24, 2017) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/27/2017 - Though it’s possible that some people view the “EPA much like they look at the IRS” as, allegedly, burdensome bloodsuckers, it’s a false analogy. First, both the IRS and EPA are necessary federal agencies who We The People designed to keep our economy and our life support system healthy. Secondly, if we don’t get our taxes right, our economy will crash. If we don’t get our environmental regulations right, we don’t get to have a future. Time passes. #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Aggressive cuts to Obama-era green rules to start soon: EPA head U.S. President Donald Trump's administration will begin rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations in an "aggressive way" as soon as next week, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said on Saturday - adding he understood why some Americans want to see his agency eliminated completely. "I think there are some regulations that in the near-term need to be rolled back in a very aggressive way. And I think maybe next week you may be hearing about some of those," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told the Conservative Political Action summit in Washington DC. Pruitt added the EPA's focus on combating climate change under former President Barack Obama had cost jobs and prevented economic growth, leading many Americans to want to see the EPA eliminated completely. (February 25, 2017) Reuters [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/27/2017 - The problems with the loss of Biodiversity and the Sixth Great Extinction are far more important than economic issues surrounding supply and demand, where demand cannot exceed supply indefinitely. Somehow humanity has supplanted our biological imperative for a healthy life support system with a financial system indifferent to environmental degradation. Somehow we have come to believe that humanity is able to stand on the sidelines as the pillars (plants and animals and healthy soil and air and water) of our environment fall away. Of course, we cannot. We have been able to ratchet up our ability to Band-Aid our environmental disruptions with temporary fixes that in turn ratchet up tipping points when these ad hoc temporary fixes break down. For example, feeding our growing populations by GMO’s, dumping more fertilizers and pesticides onto our soils, and carving up more area for food production instead of allowing ecosystems to work properly, we are ratchet making our ability to survive more precarious—far more affected by the vagaries of the weather and climate to catastrophic collapse. We are not living sustainably and somehow convinced ourselves that we are. Time passes. #ScienceMatters At the Vatican, a call to avoid 'biological extinction' 'Nothing less than a reordering of our priorities based on a moral revolution can succeed.' Download Partha Dasgupta's and Paul Ehrlich's working paper on the sixth great extinction here. By Environmental Health News Staff Experts in biodiversity and extinction are gathering at the Vatican this week to discuss biological extinction—and how to save the natural world on which we all depend. The conference focuses on the alarming signs, from various branches of science, that we are outstripping out planet's ability to sustain us. It follows on Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si, calling for better care and concern for "our Common Home," as well as an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggesting we are on a course to destroy up to 40 percent of biodiversity on Earth by century's end. (February 27, 2017) Environmental Health News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/24/2017 - A sick EPA won’t be an effective environmental regulatory agency. It would be like your surgeon going on an extended vacation instead of fixing you up. Actually, it would be more like all your health care providers going on vacation until you perished. #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts  MarchForScience #ScienceMatters  Former EPA regional administrator urges colleagues to 'fight back' Judith Enck, the former regional administrator of the EPA under President Barack Obama, said the new head of the EPA under President Donald Trump threatens to roll back major environmental regulations, including climate change actions and pollution protections. In an interview for public radio and television, Enck explained why she took the unprecedented step of signing on to a letter, along with hundreds of former EPA staff, protesting Scott Pruitt. (February 24, 2017) WXXI News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/24/2017 - The amount of plastics pollution in our Great Lakes is alarming. Plastics accumulate toxins. Plastics get into our Great Lakes water in many ways—litter (cigarette butts included), microbeads from products, and as microfibers from our laundry. On this last item, microfibers are getting much more attention because they may exist in our waters in great qualities, though the microfibers themselves are really, really small—making a strand of our human hair look like a huge pipe in comparison. When I contacted an expert on this issue, the expert stated that there might be some merit in putting a lint filter on your washing machine drain hose to help divert these microfibers from getting into our wastewater, and thus out to our lakes. I’ll keep monitoring this possible solution to see if it pans out. Meanwhile, there are new products you can put in your washing machine that will collect this tiny, tiny fibers. Check out this very good video which explains much of this microfiber problem and a possible solution: “A human-scale solution to the biggest plastic pollution problem facing our ocean: Synthetic Microfibers” | New model tracks plastic in Great Lakes Researchers have developed a new way to source, track and estimate concentrations of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. The new mathematical model using National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data has discovered 80 percent of the plastic pollution sinks while the other 20 percent gathers on the shoreline or breaks down into micro plastics. And plastic from Chicago often crosses Lake Michigan and ends up on Michigan beaches. (February 24, 2017) Great Lakes Echo [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 2/24/2017 - I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but a lot of folks have forgotten why the EPA was created. It should be freaking obvious, but if not, this from NRDC:  Why We Need the EPA Let’s not forget what America looked like before we had the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Our rivers caught on fire, our air was full of smog, and it stank (literally). “Restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions,” said Richard Nixon, the founder of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in his 1970 State of the Union speech. If only. While there was clearly a time when support for environmental regulations transcended politics, the GOP’s broad support for EPA antagonist and Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the agency he so maligns tells us that day has passed. (February 14, 2017) NRDC [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/24/2017 - We need scientists to see Climate Change, but getting rid of scientists won’t make Climate Change disappear. Killing the messenger, disrespecting scientists and their work, is only going to make addressing Climate Change impossible—which is to say, goodbye to our future. This concept of “ratio of record highs to record lows” (see below) is more difficult to understand and less intuitive than making a snowball and tossing it to a bunch of Congressmen (thinking that because there’s still snow Climate Change must be a hoax), but critical, like other complicated Big Picture views of Climate Change for the public to understand. There has been no lack of scientific information provided by our scientists about Climate Change and the urgency for humanity to address it. There has been a great lack of information provided in our mainstream media about Climate Change and a great disinclination from the public to get engaged on the crisis of our age. Time passes.  #StandUpForScience  #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters The U.S. is Poised to Set a Record-Setting Record California's biblical deluge has occupied many a meteorologists’ mind this February. But another notable story is unfolding across the eastern U.S. Unseasonable warmth has kickstarted spring up to a month early in the Southeast, cut into already paltry Great Lakes ice cover and created skiing conditions more reminiscent of April in the Northeast. But the most outstanding aspect of the persistent February warmth is what it has done to the ratio of record highs to record lows. There have been 3,146 record highs set for the month-to-date compared to only 27 record lows, ensuring February will go down as the 27th month in a row with more highs than lows. The astonishing 116-to-1 ratio of highs to lows would easily set a record for the most lopsided monthly ratio in history. There have also been 248 monthly record highs and no monthly record lows. (February 23, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/24/2017 - Climate Change is driving wildlife up mountains to escape the heat, to coolers waters, and, in the case of polar bears, scavenging. Some wildlife run out of mountains to climb, some run up against dams, and some try to eke out a living best they can in a new land. Trouble is that even when wildlife are afforded a route through our cities, farms, highways, and other human disturbances, they are removed from the ecosystem they help create and, in turn, a place that created them. We move around because of jobs, just for the hell of it, or because of man’s inhumanity to man. Moving around for many wildlife, which are going extinct at an alarming rate around the world because of humanity (See: Holocene extinction), is not like humanity moving around. When we move, we change. When wildlife moves, their home, their ecosystems (which we need to survive) changes—usually not in a good way. We should be planning for Climate Change with wildlife in mind if we want a sustainable future. Tiny Eskimo village becomes 'polar bear capital of United States' What happens when a remote community of 290 people is inundated with some rather large new residents As Trump struggles to get his Mexican border wall off the ground, another group of immigrants are making themselves at home at the opposite end of the country, in America’s 49th state – with no one to stop them. Thirty years ago, polar bears were rarely spotted on Alaska’s Arctic coast. But in recent years, they have been coming ashore in such high numbers that a whole new tourism industry has exploded around the phenomenon. As a result, the tiny Iñupiat Eskimo village of Kaktovik on Barter Island – just off Alaska’s frigid north coast – is fast becoming the polar bear capital of the United States. The overwhelming evidence points towards climate change as the key driver behind these creatures seeking solace on mainland Alaska, due to the Arctic icepack retreating further and further each summer. (February 24, 2017) Independent [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/24/2017 - Change the dismal trajectory of history: Get Tickets. "Charter Buses for the People's Climate Mobilization March, Rochester to DC Join us in Washington, DC to stand up for our communities and our climate. The Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC) is sponsoring two 56-seat buses for roundtrip travel to this critical event in Washington DC on April 29, 2017. The March is free. Use the TICKETS button above right to purchase bus tickets and/or to make a donation. About Donations: We are offering half-off and 75%-off tickets (full fare is $81) at the outset, so that everyone can participate in this historic event. We are taking a leap of faith, counting on our generous community to enable this. If you can't attend the March but want to contribute to the groundswell of support for strong climate action, please make a donation. We are very appreciative! " More....

  • 2/24/2017 - Sorry about the steady drumbeat of Climate Change consequences but avoiding them and turning to denial will make things worse. Unlike many issues that come and go as the public discourse on them changes, Climate Change will get steadily worse if we do not stop the warming and adapt to the warming we’ve put into our climate system. 100+ species face extinction as warming hits Australia’s southern waters Scientists tell senate committee that marine animals and plants at Australia’s southern-most point have “nowhere to go” and will disappear this century Seaweeds, invertebrates, fish and giant, ethereal kelp jungles are among a group of more than one hundred species that are being driven towards extinction by warming waters around Tasmania, an Australian senate inquiry has heard. Neville Barrett, a research fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Hobart, where the hearing was held, told the Environment and Communications References Committee that the waters around Tasmania were a global hotspot for warming. (February 21, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/24/2017 - Is making NASA’s climate research ‘uncertain’ really a wise trajectory as humanity hungers for more info on Climate Change? Just when we are starting to connect the dots on how amazingly complex warming our planet is, what advantage would we get by blinding ourselves to the clear and present danger ahead? A huge Antarctic glacier just lost another chunk of ice — and we know because of NASA One of Antarctica’s most rapidly melting glaciers has shed yet another large block of ice in an event that NASA scientists say is “further evidence of the ice shelf’s fragility.” The agency drew attention to the incident in a tweet Wednesday morning.   Pine Island Glacier, located on the edge of the increasingly unstable ice sheet of West Antarctica, is a top concern for climate scientists and one of the region’s biggest potential contributors to global sea level rise. It’s pouring about 50 billion tons of ice into the ocean each year, and scientists think this rate could continue to increase in the future. Altogether, the glacier has the potential to raise global sea levels by an estimated two feet. (February 22, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/24/2017 - If Climate Change is a factor in the present famine crisis (and it probably is), what are the chances climate denier nations will help alleviate a situation they helped cause?  Time passes. Why 20 Million People Are on Brink of Famine in a ‘World of Plenty’ UNITED NATIONS — In a world filled with excess food, 20 million people are on the brink of famine, including 1.4 million children at imminent risk of death. In the face of such grim numbers, a stark question confronts the world’s most powerful: Why in 2017 can’t they avert such a seemingly archaic and preventable catastrophe? Secretary General António Guterres of the United Nations raised the alarm Wednesday afternoon about the risk of famine in northern Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. And this week, the United Nations declared famine in a patch of South Sudan. “In our world of plenty there is no excuse for inaction or indifference,” Mr. Guterres said at a news conference, flanked by the heads of his aid agencies. (February 22, 2017) New York Times [more on Food in our area]

  • 2/24/2017 - One of the things that these communities around the Great Lakes have in common is Climate Change. For Climate Change will affect all the issues related to our Great Lake region. Added to this, residents in the Great Lakes region should voice their concerns about water infrastructures around the lakes that need fixing and updating, the prevention and removal of plastic bits in these waters, invasive species, and much more that will be amplified by Climate Change. Public meetings in Buffalo, other cities target Great Lakes Residents in the Great Lakes region will get a chance to voice their concerns about the waters' health in a series of March meetings. The International Joint Commission, which helps regulate use of the Great Lakes, has announced dates and other details of meetings scheduled in Buffalo and five other cities. "We’re going to be listening to local concerns that are particular to that area," said Lana Pollack,  chairperson for the IJC’s U.S. section. "But it will also be interesting to see how much these different areas have in common." (February 22, 2017) WBFO Buffalo's NPR News Station [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 2/24/2017 - One of the great gifts humanity has received from #Science is an objective baseline from which to make wise environmental decisions. Instead of allowing self-interests and ideology to rule our behavior towards our environment, our life support system, we finally had a chance for a way of rigorous, peer-reviewed, and testable thinking to guide and free us from our lesser angels. But, we are throwing one of our greatest gifts away here in the US. Sad. Time passes.   Partisan Divide in Congress Wider Than Ever on Environmental Issues, Group Says League of Conservation Voters' voting scorecard shows record disparity on green issues, with GOP campaigns increasingly funded by fossil fuel company contributions. House Republicans cast pro-environmental votes just 5 percent of the time in 2016, while their Democratic colleagues tallied a 94 percent voting record, according to the League of Conservation Voters. That makes the 114th Congress the most politically polarized in the 46-year history of LCV's Scorecard, the new numbers released Thursday show. In the Senate, the average GOP member was voting pro-environment 14 percent of the time, while the Democrats' average was 96 percent. The gap of 85 points between the Republican and Democratic average scores in 2016 was only slightly smaller than the record 87-point divide in 2015. As a whole, Congress was more divided than ever in the two years before the most recent election. (February 23, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/24/2017 - This is the worst possible time to ramp up climate denial and downplay the role of scientists.  #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts We’re now breaking global temperature records once every three years Denial and “alternative facts” haven’t stopped the Earth from warming to record-shattering levels According to Nasa, in 2016 the Earth’s surface temperature shattered the previous record for hottest year by 0.12°C. That record was set in 2015, which broke the previous record by 0.13°C. That record had been set in 2014, beating out 2010, which in turn had broken the previous record set in 2005. If you think that seems like a lot of record-breaking hot years, you’re right. The streak of three consecutive record hot years is unprecedented since measurements began in 1880. In the 35 years between 1945 and 1979, there were no record-breakers. In the 37 years since 1980, there have been 12. The video below illustrates all of the record-breaking years in the Nasa global surface temperature record since 1880. (January 23, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/23/2017 - Attempts to downplay Trump’s possible exit from the Paris Agreement are delusional. While China and businesses around the world are stepping up to the plate on addressing Climate Change, they are no replacement for the strategic role the U.S. must take in this international crisis. There are many elements to addressing Climate Change besides renewable energy and bringing down our planet’s temperature. We have to adapt to the changes—ecosystem changes, more flooding, more drought, more heat, more threats to our food systems, and more social upheaval—and without the US being engaged with this crisis in a leadership role, even China’s efforts are likely to fail—however positively their political efforts might be framed. If the US pulls out of the Paris Agreement, it will be awful for everyone and every effort should be made to make sure that doesn’t happen. (Maybe everyone should get together and by Trump a computer with just Twitter on it or something.) We cannot just paint over this potential catastrophe with happy talk. #ScienceMatters China trumps US on climate change UK environmental campaigner Bryony Worthington says China’s positive action on climate change is much more significant than Donald Trump’s threat to exit the Paris agreement. LONDON, 23 February, 2017 – A leading voice in the debate on climate change says more attention should be paid to positive action being taken to tackle CO2 emissions in China rather than worrying about the US and Donald Trump. Bryony Worthington, a Labour peer and co-author of the 2008 Climate Change Act, says the White House “soap opera” is compelling but a distraction and not a potential road block to successful worldwide action against global warming. “In many ways it would be ‘back to business as usual’ if Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate change agreement as he has threatened,” she argues. (February 23, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/23/2017 - If you surf over to http://wxshift.com/, then insert your zip code you get today’s temperature—and (if you are living in Rochester) a post that says “Rochester winters are warming” and below that you get an orange box that says “Show Me” and when you click on that you get the graph  that shows that Rochester’s winter average temperatures have been going distinctly up since 1970. It’s pretty dramatic. (Sorry about all the wonky directions but I couldn’t just get a url for Rochester because it’s a search result on the above url.) Anyway, I woke up this morning at 6AM and it was 54 degrees (in February) and I just had to find out how freaking abnormal have our winter temperatures been over time. It’s getting warmer. Nice weather out there today, but it’s February and it’s getting warmer. Scientists cannot say whether this winter and today’s temperatures are a result of Climate Change because there is so much ‘noise’, so many other factors in a day’s weather, that it’s difficult to attribute today’s warming to Climate Change. But the trend in our winter temperatures is making it more clear that our winters are warming up. If this trend keeps up (and it will, we just don’t know how long), things are going to change. Not in a good way. However pleasant we might find today’s temperature, this spate of warming is wreaking havoc with our region’s plants’ and animals’ (ecosystems) life cycles that have been finely tuned for cold winters all through the Holocene. We need to address Climate Change.  #ScienceMatters   

  • 2/22/2017 - I’m liking Michael Moore’s 9th point, on addressing the Trump scourge, Become the Media. I’ve long since advocated that ordinary citizens to Become The Media! as I have done since 1998 with RochesterEnvironment.com. Our mainstream media has missed environmental news and Climate Change. But there is an amazing amount of news, data, studies, and information on the state of our environment on the Internet. There are local events, presentations, classes, and many other venues that we can leverage and exploit so that the public gets the news and information they need to make informed decisions about the health of our environment and ultimately ourselves. We need a good librarian to tailor important worldwide environmental news to our localities—which I have been doing for a long time. It’s time, more than ever, to become the media! Listen to Michael: “9. YOU MUST BECOME THE MEDIA: Stop complaining about the media, stop wishing they were something they’re not, find the ones who are doing a good job and then start your own “media empire” by sharing their work and your work on the internet. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites to spread news and information. Make sure all your friends and family are signed up. Yes, I’m talking to you, Baby Boomers. Get over it, put down your postage stamps and your “TV clicker” and find a six-year old to show you how to start tweeting. You can be your own reporter, your own editor. You can curate the news for your friends. And now Facebook lets you have your own network with Facebook Live! It’s all free. Get on social media now. Imagine, your own CNN is in the palm of your hand...” Do These 10 Things, And Trump Will Be Toast (February 21, 2017) The Huffington Post

  • 2/22/2017 - “Unprecedented Warmth” is code word for Climate Change in Rochester, NY because to put our amazing February weather in the context of this worldwide crisis is still unfashionable here. When there is the possibility that these string of above 70 temperatures in February are a fluke or part of a worldwide pattern in disruptive weather due to Climate Change, our media chooses fluke: “This is Amazing! What are you going to do in this great weather? Play ball? Skip work and go for a ride?” Unprecedented February warmth for Rochester Rochester, NY – A record warm stretch of weather is on the way for Rochester. It’s possible that this stretch of warmth will be unprecedented compared to our cities 146 years of records. (February 21, 2017) WHAM [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/22/2017 - ACTION: One of the most effective ways to help our environment is to become a Citizen Scientist and help monitor the state of our environment. Become a Citizen Scientist Through FrogWatch USA New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in partnership with Friends of Reinstein Woods, will train interested volunteers to help FrogWatch USA on Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in the town of Cheektowaga, Erie County. Community members can join an international team of citizen scientists by monitoring frog populations in the many wetlands throughout the preserve. (February 21, 2017) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/22/2017 - We remember proudly what a stalwart champion the EPA was for our public and environmental health. RIP. #ScienceMatters “Condescending and Hypocritical”: An EPA Staffer Blasts Scott Pruitt’s First Speech Trump’s new EPA boss isn’t exactly getting rave reviews. Scott Pruitt may have wanted to ease Environmental Protections Agency staffers' concerns about him Tuesday, but his first remarks as head of the agency hardly mentioned environmental protection at all. With Donald Trump's EPA transition staff sitting nearby, Pruitt delivered an 11-minute speech, in which he declared, "We as an agency and we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment." He also quoted famed conservationist John Muir: "Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to pray in and play in." Pruitt did lament the "toxic environment" in the country, but it was a reference to the political climate—part of a call for a more civil discourse. (February 21, 2017) Climate Desk

  • 2/22/2017 - Many people in many places, including the U.S., don’t have the luxury climate denial for they are desperately trying to adapt to Climate Change. In Massachusetts, Coastal Residents Consider How To Adapt To Climate Change Living by the ocean might sound nice, but in the era of climate change, it's a risky proposition. As sea levels rise, coastal residents are faced with tough choices: try to fortify their homes, move to higher ground or just pull up roots and leave. Homeowners in Nahant, Mass., are grappling with these wrenching questions. The community lies on a rocky crescent moon of land in the Atlantic Ocean just north of Boston (February 17, 2017) NPR [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/22/2017 - Seems sort of reckless to transport solid and liquid nuclear waste, not to mention nuclear weapons, through our highways—but this may work out. Accidents don’t happen very often. They know what they’re doing. Everything will be OK. We won’t worry. Toxic Liquid Nuclear Waste Headed for US Roadways Less than two ounces, says one analysis, could destroy a city's water supply. The Department of Energy, to the consternation of environmental groups, is preparing to transport 6,000 gallons of highly toxic liquid nuclear waste over American roadways. The spent nuclear fuel is "target residue material" containing highly enriched uranyl nitrate—which after processing can be used as fuel. The DOE has spent years planning for the transfer of the waste from Canada's Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario to the Savannah River Site, a reprocessing facility in South Carolina. It will be transported in at least 100 to 150 separate truck shipments over a period of about three years, encased in cannisters normally used to transport solids that have been retrofitted to handle liquids. For security reasons, DOE won't reveal the exact timing or routes of the shipments. But elected officials in states it is likely to pass through are concerned about safety. (February 15, 2017) Mother Jones

  • 2/21/2017 - Actually, I suspect that all major urban areas in the Great Lakes basin need serious attention to their water infrastructures. Because of aging water systems and Climate Change, the cost of updating (meaning, not just repairing but tailoring our infrastructures for a warmer climate) is going to be far more urgent and difficult than this news piece suggests. I suspect the updates are going to have to be accomplished at a much more aggressive time scale. If we had been paying attention to our crucial infrastructures, like our water pipes, and figured out how to pay for their upkeep more fairly earlier, we would not be in the position of having to replace massive infrastructures at a great burden to the public. There is a price to be paid for Climate Change procrastination. Getting our infrastructures up to snuff is going to be a major hurdle. Because the public hasn’t been continually informed of the critical need we now have of infrastructure (historically and politically, only focusing on price) and the coming consequences of Climate Change, things are going to be much worse than that should have been. Time passes. #ScienceMatters Erie County needs $1 billion in water system improvements  It’s estimated it would cost Erie County Water Authority $1 billion to replace hundreds of miles of old pipe that run underground. But the authority is taking a piecemeal approach — at this point — to maintain the cost of bringing water to and from homes to prevent bills across the region from sky-rocketing. Although it may not seem like it, 2016 actually included fewer water main breaks than the year prior. But the late-July break in Amherst wreaked havoc because of the number of people whose pipes suddenly went dry in the middle of the summer. (February 17, 2017) WIVB [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/21/2017 - Remember, however mild and wonderful some may find the loss of ice coverage on the Great Lakes, it’s not a good sign. Learn more: “Changes in the extent and duration of winter ice cover may influence lake levels via water loss through evaporation.  Loss of lice cover earlier in the spring can lead to higher water temperatures by affecting the onset of summer warming.” (from GLEAM GREAT LAKES ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND MAPPING PROJECT) | Meager ice cover on Lake Superior this winter Except for coastline areas, Lake Superior is mostly open water this winter. THUNDER BAY — Most of Lake Superior remains ice-free at mid-February, which improves the chances of an early start to navigation this spring. Data obtained by tbnewswatch.com from The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan shows only 8.2 per cent of the largest great lake is currently ice-covered, which is virtually identical to the situation last year at the same time.  George Leshkevich, who manages the facility for the U.S. government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, noted that "Last year was a strong El Nino year, and that seems to be kind of carrying over to this year, too, although maybe it's not as strong." (February 18, 2017) SooToday [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/21/2017 - Does this spate of unseasonably warm weather in Rochester this week “fuel climate change skepticism”? It probably will and it shouldn’t. People tend to believe their eyes, not their climate scientists. This is not good because, without scientists, we’d still think Earth was the center of the universe. And, although we tend to like mild weather in the winter here in Rochester, warmer winters will throw off plants and animals that thrived in more predictable season changes. Read more because #ScienceMatters Do mild days fuel climate change scepticism? When it comes to the weather, research suggests people often trust the evidence of their own eyes rather than expert opinion Why do so many people remain sceptical about climate change when the evidence for it seems so obvious? One recent study may offer an interesting clue, because American scientists stood the argument on its head and looked at places across the globe that will probably enjoy more pleasant weather with climate change. For Britain, northern Europe and North America there will be more days of mild weather, defined as 18 to 30C, with low humidity and little rain – the sort of weather which by most people’s accounts would be most agreeable. Parts of southern England, for example, will get an extra 10 to 15 days of mild weather a year by the end of this century. It’s not entirely good news, because the mild days will tend to come in spring and autumn, while the summers will grow hotter and more humid. (February 20, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/21/2017 - We know that snow, when it melts, provides water but what’s the “amount of liquid water contained in snow cover”? #SnowEx Because Climate Change is affecting how much snow that has traditionally fallen in regions dependent on water from snow, this is important information for future planning. How much snow needs to fall in order to have a normal amount of water? This is the kind of research and information our federal government agencies provide everyone, including the public. This is why it matters that our government stay on top of monitoring and addressing Climate Change. #ScienceMatters NASA: Snow Science in Support of Our Nation’s Water Supply Researchers have completed the first flights of a NASA-led field campaign that is targeting one of the biggest gaps in scientists' understanding of Earth's water resources: snow. NASA uses the vantage point of space to study all aspects of Earth as an interconnected system. But there remain significant obstacles to measuring accurately how much water is stored across the planet's snow-covered regions. The amount of water in snow plays a major role in water availability for drinking water, agriculture and hydropower. Enter SnowEx, a NASA-led multi-year research campaign to improve remote-sensing measurements of how much snow is on the ground at any given time and how much water is contained in that snow. SnowEx is sponsored by the Terrestrial Hydrology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The first year of the ground and air campaign takes place in February in western Colorado. (February 16, 2017) NASA [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/20/2017 - DAPL is on the frontline of the battle to address Climate Change. #NoDAPL Things are moving rapidly, not slow and gradual. Be engaged. No one is on the sidelines in the battle to address Climate Change. #ScienceMatters Pipeline or Roller Coaster? A Timeline of DAPL’s Dizzying Developments Even in this age of Trump where executive orders are shot out of the White House as if it were a malfunctioning ball machine on meth, reality has a way of pressing the pause button. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the travel ban suspension in a unanimous decision, and funds to build the multi-billion dollar border wall aren’t exactly sitting in Peña Nieto’s wire transfer queue. But the battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline is another story altogether. Game changing developments have been cropping up nearly every day. The Trump administration has set in motion a path to pipeline completion that’s advancing at a bewildering pace, and DAPL opponents — most notably the Standing RockCheyenne RiverYankton and Oglala Sioux Tribes, whose drinking water, ancestral lands and spiritual ceremonies would be irreparably harmed by a spill — are waging a renewed battle on all fronts. (February 18, 2017) Planet Experts [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/20/2017 - Science rallies like the big one in Boston yesterday do have the appearance of looking like a special interest rally. They are. Humanity’s interest. For those thinking that they are looking from the sidelines shaking their heads at scientists out in the streets rallying for the return of the integrity of science, remember there are no sidelines. We cannot survive without scientists and their work. Our way of life, with 7 billion people, is not possible without science. How is it that we have come to a time when centuries of proving the values of science have come under suspicion and question? What will become of us? #ScienceMatters Hundreds rally for science at demonstration near AAAS meeting BOSTON--Hundreds of science supporters gathered here in Copley Square this afternoon at a rally coinciding with the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. Ralliers chose the meeting—the first major gathering of scientists since Trump took office—as an opportune moment to demonstrate that the science community plans to fight recent policies that many see as dangerous to the role of science in society.    “We scientists want to send a message to Mr. Trump, and that’s that America runs on science,” Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral fellow studying energy modeling at MIT and science history at Harvard, tells Science. “Neither scientists nor citizens are going to stand idly by while the administration peddles anti-science rhetoric and alternative facts.”   The Rally to Stand Up for Science, which was supported by over a dozen science activism groups, is not the first of its kind, and it won’t be the last. Concerned scientists organized a similar event at the December American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, shortly after President Trump was elected. And science supporters in the hundreds of thousands have pledged to march in cities around the globe on Earth Day (22 April). (February 19, 2017) Science Magazine

  • 2/20/2017 - Rapid ice melt in the Arctic that scientists predicted in 1979 has come to pass. Not by magic or crystal ball. By science. What if we and our political leaders had listened to our scientists decades ago? #ScienceMatters Researcher's 1979 Arctic Model Predicted Current Sea Ice Demise, Holds Lessons for Future Study from decades ago proved remarkably accurate in showing how global warming would affect the Arctic's sea ice, currently in steep decline. Claire Parkinson, now a senior climate change scientist at NASA, first began studying global warming's impact on Arctic sea ice in 1978, when she was a promising new researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Back then, what she and a colleague found was not only groundbreaking, it pretty accurately predicted what is happening now in the Arctic, as sea ice levels break record low after record low. Parkinson's study, which was published in 1979, found that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide from preindustrial levels would cause the Arctic to become ice-free in late summer months, probably by the middle of the 21st century. It hasn't been ice-free in more than 100,000 years. Although carbon dioxide levels have not yet doubled, the ice is rapidly disappearing. This record melt confirms the outlook from Parkinson's 1979 model. (February 20, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/18/2017 - We should have learned from our past environmental experiences: “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.” (Mark Twain) Scott Pruitt Confirmed To Lead Environmental Protection Agency Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency Pruitt has long criticized. The Senate approved Pruitt on a 52-46 vote Friday afternoon, with two Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — voting for his nomination. Republican Susan Collins of Maine voted no. The vote came after a failed Democratic attempt to delay the confirmation proceedings until after a new batch of documents from Pruitt's state office are made public under court order. Those emails will be released beginning next week. (February 17, 2017) WXXI News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/18/2017 - We are hearing more and more about banning plastic bags and Styrofoam to–go containers in various regions. Our Great Lakes waters are polluted with plastics and we can do something about it. In Monroe County, consider signing a petition to rid our county of Styrofoam to–go containers. ‘Bag-It Duluth’ Calls On City Council For No-Plastic Ordinance DULUTH, Minn. – Momentum is building as community members gather to talk about and potentially come up with a plan to rid away from using plastic bags and Styrofoam to–go containers. The event Thursday that was hosted by “Bag–It Duluth.” The group is hoping to raise the level of concern involving plastic and our surrounding water supply. Researchers and city council members were present to answer any questions the community had about the impacts plastic has on our watershed. (February 16, 2017) FOX 21 [more on Recycling and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/18/2017 - Considering the ecological havoc the invasive species, the Zebra Mussels, have already wrought on the Great Lakes, you’d think we do everything in our power to keep invasive species out of the largest freshwater system in the world. NY's AG Leads Coalition Against Bill To Strip State Authority On Ship Discharges New York’s Eric Schneiderman and 10 other attorneys general have sent a letter to U.S. Senate leaders. The letter urges opposition to a bill that would eliminate states’ authority to protect waterways from ships’ polluted discharges, making it easier for non-native species to invade the Hudson River and Great Lakes. Schneiderman says the legislation would stop states from taking actions they deem necessary to protect their waters from aquatic invasive species discharged by commercial ships. This occurs when ships dump ballast water Dr. David Strayer is a freshwater ecologist with the Millbrook-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. (February 16, 2017) WAMC [more on Invasive Species and Zebra Mussels and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/18/2017 - Helps to eradicate invasive species if you can intensify them easily. We should be aware of the various invasive species in our area because they can wreak havoc.  When an invasive species arrives, they usually do not have any natural enemies and they can, over time, change our area's ecology. New video helps identify some Great Lakes region’s watery invasives. Video helps volunteers take on aquatic invasives Early detection is often critical in the fight against invasive species. Citizen groups in Michigan and Wisconsin are combating invasive aquatic plants by producing videos to help them identify invasive species fast. “Video is great because we can easily show plants from different angles,” said Jo Latimore, outreach specialist in the department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. Latimore starred in the Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch video co-produced by the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program and Michigan’s Department of Environment Quality. It highlights four common invasive aquatic plants in Michigan lakes. (February 17, 2017) Great Lakes Echo [more on Water Quality and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 2/17/2017 - You don’t have to be a Liberal to understand the danger of putting a fossil-fuel defender at the top of the EPA. Someone who’s first concern is protecting our environment is the only proper candidate for the chair of the EPA—politics be damned. #ScienceMatters Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s EPA Nominee, Ordered to Release Thousands of Emails On the eve of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's confirmation vote to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a judge from the Sooner State ordered the release of thousands of emails between his office and fossil fuel companies. Oklahoma County District Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons told Pruitt's office that it would have to hand over the emails to the Center for Media and Democracy, or CMD, which requested the first batch of documents in 2014, or to the court. (February 16, 2017) NBC News

  • 2/17/2017 - I know, banning the plastic bags seems like such small potatoes for most of us and a great burden for the poor. But we are poisoning our ecosystems with plastics. There were no plastic bags before 1960 but now they are polluting our water, breaking down and accumulating toxins that contaminate fish and then us. Humanity should learn more about how plastics are accumulating in our ecosystems (which must be healthy if we are to thrive) and how to move away from single-use plastic bags in a way that is fair to all people. Ireland and other places can move away from single-use plastic bags and so can we. Plastic, Or Reusable? Environmentalists Discuss Impact Of Single-Use Bags BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It's an item used on a daily basis, but many don't realize how much it is actually being used. Researchers say the United States uses roughly 100-billion plastic bags a year. "We need to look at proactive solutions that help advance the environment and create a regenerative economy while also balancing economic needs,” said Ryan McPherson, WNY Environmental Alliance Chair. Hoping to address the issue, and how it's impacting the ecosystem, the Alliance held a public forum Wednesday. "Unfortunately our research has proven the Great Lakes are as contaminated with plastic pollution as some of the worst parts of the world's oceans,” said Dr. Sherri Mason, SUNY Fredonia Geology and Environmental Sciences Chair. (February 16, 2017) Buffalo News [more on Recycling and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/17/2017 - ACTION: One of the things we found in the five-year work of the Rochester Sierra Club’s Zero Waste committee was that Styrofoam was really bad. It aint’ good for nothing, except a single-use monstrosity. Our committee helped work with Monroe County to get 3-7 plastics recycled. We help clean up Monroe County’s parks by helping to start the Pick Up the Parks yearly events, We helped local events, like Tour de Cure bike race, Greentopia, and the Clothesline Festival become zero waste events—including composting. We helped pressure the media and the City and the County about getting rid of e-waste properly and complying with the new state laws. And a lot more, but we made no freaking headway with Styrofoam. Please sign this petition because you cannot recycle Styrofoam—it’s not only instant trash; it’s an instant toxic substance. Ban EPS (aka Styrofoam) from Monroe County, NY. It is time to eliminate expanded polystyrene foam (commonly known as Styrofoam) from Monroe County. As the federal government turns its back on environmental conservation, local citizens must pick up the slack. Despite the little 6 found on the bottom of most Styrofoam products, Styrofoam is virtually impossible to recycle. In Monroe County, Styrofoam is not accepted at curbside pick-up. Persistent individuals aiming to recycle packing Styrofoam can deliver it to the Monroe County EcoPark near the airport, but single-use food containers remain unrecyclable. According to the EcoPark’s website: “Styrofoam meat trays, egg cartons, coffee cups, takeout containers or other small post-consumer items have no local recycling option and should be placed in your trash.” This is partially because Styrofoam breaks down so easily that, if someone tried to clean it, all they would get is a mess of tiny beads. (Sierra Club Rochester Regional Group )

  • 2/17/2017 - Climate Change is and will continue to affect public health in profound ways. That’s not debatable. It’s debatable as to whether we’ll care enough to address this crisis in time.  Until the public has a complete understanding of Climate Change, a quick planetary warming, and all the consequences that come with it, their opinion about this crisis is suspect. The public must take initiative and learn about Climate Change. For, we have to believe that those against addressing Climate Change don’t understand it. Because, if they do and are still against it, there is no hope. Critical condition: Health experts sound the climate alarm. Experts paint a dire portrait of climate change’s public health impacts, but leave a little room for hope. ATLANTA—In a gathering impacted by presidential politics, an all-star cast of public health experts largely stuck to their own bleak script: Climate change is poised to unleash an unprecedented, global public health crisis.  Not even former Vice President Al Gore, who served as the day's emcee, waded into the political swamp. He presented a half-hour, health-themed version of his much-lauded slide show.  While Gore summarized the gobsmacking array of climate impacts—heat stress, water supplies, food security, mental health, respiratory and infectious diseases, allergens, and weather disasters—he left room at the end for some more convenient truths: The world, he said, is more than able to shift to a clean energy economy, reduce CO2 emissions, and blunt the worst impacts of climate change.  Harvard internist Ashish Jha discussed the climate-related spread of pathogens, and provided one of the conference’s few direct political jabs: “Walls,” he said, “will not keep these pathogens out.” (February 16, 2017) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/17/2017 - It can be difficult to communicate Climate Change if the audience only views reality as about US. However, the end result of ecosystem crashes are about US, and you, and them. That means environmental protections, like the Endangered Species Act, really matter. “Scientists say that while the Endangered Species Act focuses on individual species, it actually helps protect ecosystems that support those species.” Keeping ecosystems healthy is not simply a special issue, as if some people like forests and others like shopping malls. Shopping malls, while nice for a while, are not places that support life on their own. Our planet needs ecosystems; it’s done without shopping malls for billions of years. How the Endangered Species Act Helps Save Humans, Too As some Republican members of Congress seek to roll back the Endangered Species Act, conservation groups have taken to familiar arguments about protecting wildlife. But there's one species that is often overlooked in that defense: Homo sapiens. As it turns out, biodiversity protects against climate change and helps ensure a stable food supply. And those both have economic benefits that in some cases dwarf the value of developing land. (February 15, 2017) Time [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/16/2017 - Our oceans have been gorging on our greenhouse gas emission and now they are really sick. If our oceans hadn’t been doing this, we’d be gonners already. More: “Soaring ocean temperature is 'greatest hidden challenge of our generation'” (The Guardian) “The ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the extra heat created by human activity. If the same amount of heat that has been buried in the upper 2km of the ocean had gone into the atmosphere, the surface of the Earth would have warmed by a devastating 36C, rather than 1C, over the past century.”   #ScienceMatters #ClimateChange #StandUpForScience Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues. The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change. (February 15, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/16/2017 - The EPA is doing its job keeping US sustainable! Why would anyone in their right mind want to gut this agency? America’s Climate Pollution is Falling, EPA Report Says After two years of increases, greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2015, reducing America’s overall climate pollution to below 1994 levels, according to a draft Environmental Protection Agency report published Tuesday. The decline in 2015 was mainly because that year’s mild winter reduced demand for heat across the country, and electric power companies were using less coal and more natural gas to generate electricity than in previous years, the report says. Emissions fell 2.2 percent overall. The draft report is required to be produced annually under an agreement with the United Nations. It is open for public comment and scheduled to be finalized in April, according to an EPA statement. (February 14, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/16/2017 - The most reasonable and responsible response to environmental regulations is to learn how to comply with them, not gut the gut the regulatory agency. Businesses can only thrive in a healthy environment and the EPA was designed to keep businesses and their environments stable and sustainable. Tearing down one of the most successful agencies, an agency that sprung from the renewed and responsible attitudes towards our life support system on the first Earth Day, is collective suicide. #ScienceMatters EPA Veterans Mobilize to Defend Agency's Work, Bracing for Trump's Impact Former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency, who typically steer clear of politics, have begun advocating to support the work in Trump's crosshairs. Retired and former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are banding together in rare activism to defend colleagues still working for the agency, as fears of deep layoffs, regulatory rollbacks and science suppression spread through the federal ranks. Though organizing is still in its early stages, they're holding protest rallies, looking to nurture agency whistleblowers and pushing senators to vote against President Donald Trump's EPA administrator nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Having vehement opponents of regulation and deniers of mainstream climate change science as president and administrator of the EPA propelled them into a type of activism most had never embraced, former EPA employees said. (February 15, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/15/2017 - Farming practices both contribute to and address Climate Change on a large scale. This needs humanity’s attention. #Science Matters Farming a warmer planet What’s happening here is emblematic of forces that reach far beyond Moussa’s venture in these arid, windswept mountains of southwestern Morocco. Worldwide, 3.4 billion people live in rural areas, often in poverty and with lifestyles that expose them disproportionately to the effects of changes in Earth’s warming climate. From Afghanistan to Bolivia, as well as in large swaths of Africa, many of them cultivate land that’s dry or growing drier. The challenge for farm communities is to adapt and respond before climate change starts to erode agricultural productivity. For governments and development groups, the challenge is broader: They are recognizing that it’s not just that climate change is affecting farmers, it’s also that farmers are affecting the climate. While plants like argan trees can help store excess carbon that would otherwise add to the world’s emissions, many agricultural practices create greenhouse gases. They, in fact, account for about a quarter of such emissions worldwide. (February 12, 2017) Christian Science Monitor [more on Food and Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/15/2017 - Now that we know that microplastics are contaminating the Great Lakes we need to get them out and stop anymore from getting in. Looking at the big picture, we should have known long ago that dumping plastics and cigarette butts (which have microplastics in their filters) and plastic fibers in our laundered clothes and microbeads from our body care products which get washed into the greatest freshwater system in the world all have to go someplace and that place, Duh!, turns out to be where we drain our waste—right where we drink and fish and swim and eat. But we didn’t proactively look for where our trash was going and now we have looked, long after we have been putting plastics into our Great Lakes. Now we know. So, now we need to get those plastics out because plastics accumulate toxins, because fish eat plastics instead of their food, and much more. We cannot play dumb on our environment anymore. International Joint Commission Recommends Action to Curb Microplastics in the Great Lakes The International Joint Commission is calling for the U.S. and Canada to take action against micro-plastics in the Great Lakes. The commission’s report recommends a binational plan for research, education and outreach. It also recommends a standardized scientific approach to sampling and finding out where the plastic is coming from. (February 13, 2017) WKSU [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality and Recycling in our area]

  • 2/15/2017 - ACTION: From our friends over at the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition: Climate Friendly Food Choices |”Food Choices are extremely important for anyone who wants to take climate change action because: Food Choices have a profound effect on greenhouse gas emissions (one study shows as much as 51%). Food Choices are amongst the easiest changes that make a huge difference—the biggest bang for our individual buck.” Find out more about this issue and contact RPCC to see how you can help this issue locally. More on Food in our area.

  • 2/15/2017 - Our infrastructures—dams, bridges, waste water systems, gas pipelines, electric grids, etc.—are old and they were designed for a world that wasn’t feeling the consequences of Climate Change. Our infrastructures here in the Northeast haven’t had to deal with the dramatic droughts of the West, but heavy precipitation (snow and rain) at a 71% increase since 1958 presents many problems with sewage overflows and damage due to increased flash flooding. This is a great article for understanding some of the key issues about addressing Climate Changing because it gets to more of the particulars than merely updating old structures. Our infrastructures of the future have to be ready for the climate disruptions that are different from the calmer climate when those structures were first designed. The public needs to be more aware of how our infrastructures—which are now key to our survival because there are so many of us who need food, waste, waste removal, communication, and transportation. And, oftentimes, when our infrastructures fail, they do so dramatically, because so many people are dependent on them. What California’s Dam Crisis Says About the Changing Climate After five years of record-setting drought, much of California is being pummeled by an extremely wet winter. The disaster unfolding at Oroville, where precipitation is more than double the average, is the latest reminder that the United States needs a climate-smart upgrade of our water management systems. In the West, much of our water infrastructure is old. Oroville Dam, north of Sacramento, was completed in 1968, nearly a half a century ago. Other major components of our water system are generations older, and maintenance has not been a priority. The damage to Oroville Dam, where the primary spillway developed a giant gash and the emergency spillway threatened to erode, illustrates the hazard of relying on aging infrastructure to protect us from extreme weather. But age and upkeep are not the only problems. Our water system was designed and built in an old climate, one in which extremely warm years were less common and snowpack was more reliable. Here in the West, we use the same dams and reservoirs for both water storage and flood control, so during the wet season, reservoir managers continuously balance the dual pressures of storing as much water as possible for the dry summer and releasing sufficient water to create room for the next storm. (February 14, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/14/2017 - A dramatic shift in Great Lakes ice cover due to Climate Change could have profound changes to lake levels, weather, and the entire ecosystem. There’s more on this story here.  Also, this is interesting: “From 1973 to 2010, annual average ice coverage on the Great Lakes declined by 71%.” (from GLISA a NOAA Risa team) Climate shifts affecting Great Lakes ice cover The mild winter across the Great Lakes is producing below average ice cover once again. As of Sunday, 13.5 percent of the Great Lakes is covered with ice according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That’s well below the historical median of about 30 percent for this week of the year, according to the Canadian Ice Service. (February 13, 2017) MPR News [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/14/2017 - Great local effort to grow our renewable energy supply. Find out more and how you can get involved: Click here to learn more about RPCC’s Community Choice Aggregation Project! "The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition is pursuing the development of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) as a way to use the market to grow our local renewable supply.  We began exploring this issue in September 2015 and formed a committee on CCA in December.  Our committee members have begun meeting with governmental leaders to inform them of this policy option. " Rochester People's Climate Coalition

  • 2/14/2017 - With more certainty than ever that humanity is driving Climate Change to dangerous levels, we should be working harder to address this issue. Right? Our actions should reflect the urgency: “The human magnitude of climate change looks more like a meteorite strike than a gradual change.” Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces Researchers behind ‘Anthropocene equation’ say impact of people’s intense activity on Earth far exceeds that of natural events spread across millennia For the first time, researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces. The equation was developed in conjunction with Professor Will Steffen, a climate change expert and researcher at the Australian National University, and was published in the journal The Anthropocene Review. The authors of the paper wrote that for the past 4.5bn years astronomical and geophysical factors have been the dominating influences on the Earth system. The Earth system is defined by the researchers as the biosphere, including interactions and feedbacks with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and upper lithosphere. (February 12, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/14/2017 - Major Earth Day Festival coming up in Rochester. Consider helping out to make this a big event. Become a sponsor. SunCommon & Abundance Co-op present the: ROCWorthy Earth Festival, Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 2017, 10am-2pm, South Ave between Averill and Hamilton, 570 South Ave., Rochester NY, 14620

  • 2/13/2017 - As of today, (for who knows what NASA will be able to say in the indefinite future) NASA says that Carbon Dioxide concentrations are 405.25ppm. What does this number mean? Why would humanity even consider taking their eye off this critical benchmark, when it’s a gauge on how (or if) we will survive? Our climate has seen 400ppm of CO2 before but not with so many people ( over 7 billion now and coming up on 9 billion by 2050) and with not the vital infrastructure we have created to keep such a large number of us alive. How the World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters Last year marked the first time in several million years that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 passed 400 parts per million. By looking at what Earth’s climate was like in previous eras of high CO2 levels, scientists are getting a sobering picture of where we are headed. (January 26, 2017) YaleEnvironment360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/13/2017 - The huge iceberg soon to break off from the Larsen C Antarctic ice shelf, that won’t itself cause the seas to rise, demonstrates one of the many routes Climate Change will take. Once removed, the already floating iceberg provides a path for the melting Antarctica glaciers to flow into the oceans—which will cause sea rise. This story provides a look into how complicated Climate Change is and how, without the aid of scientists, we wouldn’t be able to see Climate Change happening. It also demonstrates a warming process that is unstoppable—though it may take a while for this particular process to unfold. (But who knows for sure how long these processes will take when one thing leads to another and we don’t know all the links in the processes.) We can adapt to rising seas; but if we don’t stop putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere we will at some point be overwhelmed. It’s very hard to believe that we here in the US are even thinking of cutting back on science research and Climate Change monitoring when such things are unfolding before our eyes. #ScienceMatters As Antarctic ice shelves shrink, 'shelfwatchers' await major break-off A huge iceberg is likely to soon break off from the Larsen C Antarctic ice shelf. Although break-ups themselves don't contribute to sea rise, they can indirectly increase it. Sometime in the 1960s, a tiny crack emerged in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. Today, it’s more than 100 miles long, two miles wide in places, and growing at a rate of five football fields per day. Only 12 miles now connect the soon-to-be iceberg to Larsen C. Several media outlets, including The Christian Science Monitor, have been on “shelfwatch” for months, as scientists expect an iceberg the size of Delaware to break off from Larsen C in the near future. That would mark one of the largest such events on record, joining similar break-offs from Larsen A and B. Almost 600 square miles of ice separated from Larsen A in 1995, and in 2002 more than 1,200 square miles broke from Larsen B, whose shrinkage is captured in a new satellite image. (February 9, 2017) Christian Science Monitor [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - Of course, generations of Americans will wonder why just when it mattered most did we drop the ball on addressing Climate Change. The answer to that question will be of interest only to some future historians, for the rest of humanity will be scrambling to survive. For whatever reason, the Trump Effect is in play and we have to now deal with that. Sad. #ScienceMatters Americans Oppose President Trump's Environmental Deregulation, Poll Says The majority of Americans oppose President Donald Trump's plan to eliminate environmental regulations that combat climate change, according to a new poll, underscoring skepticism about an oft-repeated promise the campaign trail. The Quinnipiac University poll shows that 61% of Americans oppose removing regulations that combat climate change, with remaining 29% supporting the rollback. Trump has aggressively pursued deregulation in the environmental area during his first weeks in office, working with Congress to undo a slew of rules recently implemented under former President Barack Obama. The Clean Power Plan, Obama's most significant domestic measure to fight climate change, remains on the books, though Trump promised during the campaign to undo it. (February 9, 2017) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - It would be nice if just once our local mainstream media would inform the public about how our wildlife will adapt to Climate Change, instead of continually characterizing our wildlife as hunter fodder. Interest in our local wildlife, like Climate Change, shouldn’t be framed in our media as just special interests, but as important information to all the public. Wildlife was, and in many cases, still is instrumental in shaping our local environment, meaning how they exist defines the environment we live in. Our media needs to learn how to monitor the health of our wildlife in such a way as to help the public understand how our life support system works and how it will adapt to Climate Change. There’s a reason why Americans don’t put much weight on and much interest in Climate Change and the health of our environment: our media has a very limited framework from which to characterize our environment—as only a special interest, as something only environmentalists are concerned with, how much money the DEC brings in through harvesting our wildlife, or when a deer crashes through someone living room window. If we are to be stewards of our planet, we need a media that correctly monitors our environmental health. Whether this sells more media or not. #ScienceMatters NY bear hunting fell slightly in 2016 In 2016 the success of New York’s bear hunters fell just short of the previous year’s totals, according to a Department of Environmental Conservation report released Friday. In 2016, 1,539 bears were harvested throughout the state, compared with the previous year’s total of 1,715. Hunters in the northern zone of the state killed 514 black bears, and 1,025 black bears were taken in the southern zone, a 10 percent and 12 percent drop, respectively, the state report said. (February 10, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - While US waffles and dawdles on the Climate Change crisis it helped to create, the world scrambles to adapt. If Americans took the trouble to scan the news around the world about Climate Change, instead of the politicized and fossil-fuel driven news here, they’d see a world that does not have the luxury of getting themselves deeply mired in climate denial. WMO gears up for extreme weather, climate change in Asia Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (WMO) - Climate change, environmental degradation, population growth and urbanization are putting pressure on water supplies in many parts of the Asian region, and exposure to extreme weather and other hazards is increasing. The World Meteorological Organization’s Regional Association for Asia, which holds its four-yearly conference from 12-16 February, will consider how to meet these challenges. The meeting, hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi, will focus on how to strengthen weather, climate, water and environmental services to keep pace with rapidly evolving needs. WMO's Regional Association for Asia groups 35 Member States and territories across a variety of geographic and climatic zones. The Region extends from the Arctic to the Equator, spanning the world’s highest mountains and low-lying coastal plains and islands. It is home to densely populated nations and crowded cities as well as vast desert expanses and remote rural areas. (February 10, 2017) World Meteorological Organization [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - The Arctic is undergoing a massive, rapid change. We have pulled the plug on one of our planet’s air conditioners. Something is very, very wrong with the Arctic climate This Arctic winter has startled even the most even-keeled scientists, with records set for low sea ice extent, high temperatures and other indicators of a climate gone awry.  Sea ice has plummeted to record lows and stayed there as pulses of unusually warm air have swept across the region, with the latest one set to reach the North Pole on Thursday. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), sea ice extent hit record lows for the months of November, December and January. (February 9, 2017) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - I’ve known that Invasive Species are a problem in our region, but I didn’t know that New York State was a major hub for this kind of environmental problem. New York should be especially concerned with educating the public and learning how to deal with this situation: “With some of the busiest airports and ports in the United States, New York has far more invasive species of certain types than any other state, federal officials say.” Downside of Being a Global Hub: Invasive Species Some are disarmingly named, like the cutesy Chinese mitten crab. Others have names more indicative of their undesirable nature, like rock snot, an algae that slimes up cool forest streams. They are some of more than 100 invasive species that conservationists must battle in New York State, which teems with a growing number of plants, birds, fish, insects, mosses, molds and fungi that actually belong somewhere else. With some of the busiest airports and ports in the United States, New York has far more invasive species of certain types than any other state, federal officials say. Carried inside airplane wheels or in the ballast water of large boats, many creatures and spores show up in New York first, making it a laboratory of sorts where scientists and others strive to devise methods to banish the outsiders or risk losing native flora and fauna to invading hordes. (February 8, 2017) New York Times [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 2/10/2017 - Those inclined to pin their hopes on "The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends," for addressing Climate Change, because this is the most we are likely to get from a wrong-headed ideology, should remember that the free market system cannot fix Climate Change. Climate Change is deeply complex and will affect all aspects of our life support system, including our infrastructure, our individual health, our social stability, and our ability to adapt to the heat already built up in our climate system. While a carbon dividend will go far in slowing down human-cause greenhouse gas emissions, it is far short of a complete plan to address Climate Change. #ScienceMatters Our politics need to get their priorities straight. Tax carbon emissions and give the money to ordinary Americans, says group of prominent conservatives Several prominent economists, businessmen and government figures, many of whom have served under Republican presidents, say taxing carbon emissions and putting the dividends back in the pockets of Americans would be an effective way to combat climate change and support disaffected citizens, while adhering to conservative principles of free market economics and limited government. The report, "The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends," was published online Wednesday by the Climate Leadership Council. The paper acknowledged that the evidence for climate change is "mounting" and that while "the extent to which climate change is due to man-made causes can be questioned, the risks associated with future warming are too big and should be hedged." (February 8, 2017) CNBC [More on Energy in our area] 

  • 2/10/2017 - Actually, if the “Great Lakes Asian grass carp invasion has already begun”, the time to act was decades ago. The Asian Carp/Great Lakes problem is a case of the camel’s nose getting into the tent, for once this Invasive Species get into the Great Lakes system it’s probably unlikely that we can get it out. There are many environmental problems that are not recoverable; we can only try and adapt to the changes. I’m thinking if there is even a remote chance that we can prevent the worst species of Asian Carp from taking hold in the largest fresh water ecosystem in the world, we should be doing a full court press. The Great Lakes Asian grass carp invasion has already begun Asian grass carp have invaded the Great Lakes and the time to act is now. That's the conclusion of a Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) report on grass carp, 48 examples of which were found in open waters or Great Lakes tributaries last year. The problematic fish have "arrived" in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie and are "very likely" to become established within 10 years, according to the peer-reviewed study, which lays bare in frank terms an unfortunate reality. That's the bad news. The good news is that grass carp, while problematic, are not the same level of threat posed by the plankton-gobbling, leaping bighead and silver carp that are advancing toward the Great Lakes through Illinois waters. (February 9, 2017) MLive [more in Invasive Species and Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/10/2017 - States like New York are taking responsibility for clean energy and environmental leadership as our federal government is crippled by ideology. Of course, we need a strong position from our federal government on our life support system—there’s really no substitute. Maybe states like New York can lead the way for a while, that is, until our federal government recovers from its appalling stumble. Geothermal energy can play a major role in heating our homes and businesses in our region if we only give it a scintilla of a chance that the fossil fuel industry got and still gets with billions of our dollars in subsidies each year. Governor Cuomo Rescues Geothermal Jobs as Washington Drops the Ball Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced an emergency program to rescue geothermal jobs in New York State, setting aside $15 million over two years in geothermal heating and cooling rebates for New Yorkers. Geothermal installations use the constant temperature under the ground’s frost line to renewably heat and cool homes and businesses without producing greenhouse gases on site. This industry is key to New York reaching its 40 percent greenhouse gas reduction goal by 2030 as more than a third of the state’s greenhouse gases come from the heating sector. Over 1,000 New York jobs in the industry had been put at risk by the sunset of a 30 percent federal tax credit which faces dim prospects of renewal with federal energy policy now firmly controlled by fossil fuel interests. Cuomo had been urged to act by a wide ranging coalition of environmental organizations, local elected officials and geothermal businesses. The governor’s announcement comes as part of a comprehensive draft Renewable Heating and Cooling Policy Framework that he released on Feb. 7. (February 8, 2017) Renewable le Energy World [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/10/2017 - Be nice if all of humanity acted to help developing nations cope with climate impacts—especially since we developed nations caused this crisis. We should own up to #ClimateChange #ScienceMatters Netherlands invests €1m in global climate adaptation centre Dutch join forces with Japan, UN among leading donors for project aimed at helping countries understand how they can cope with climate impacts A new climate adaptation centre will open in the Netherlands by the end of 2017, charged with helping countries cope with an expected uptick in extreme weather events. Backed with €1 million from the Dutch government and further support from Japan and the UN Environment Programme, the project is being billed as an adaptation skills-hub. “I’m not looking for a theoretical institute,” Dutch environment minister Sharon Dijksma told Climate Home, stressing the need to ramp up support for at-risk countries. (February 8, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/10/21017 - One has to wonder what our children will think about us for not having prepared and adapted for Climate Change. #ScienceMatters Coastal Cities Could Flood Three Times a Week by 2045 The lawns of homes purchased this year in vast swaths of coastal America could regularly be underwater before the mortgage has even been paid off, with new research showing high tide flooding could become nearly incessant in places within 30 years. Such floods could occur several times a week on average by 2045 along the mid-Atlantic coastline, where seas have been rising faster than nearly anywhere else, and where lands are sagging under the weight of geological changes. (February 9, 2010) Climate Central  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/10/2017 - What sort of country will the United State be if the EPA is undermined? A self-inflicted dystopia. #ScienceMatters Trump Administration Considering Shutting EPA’s Enforcement Office: Report Critics say the move could imperil families across America. The Trump administration is considering closing down the enforcement division of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report Wednesday evening from Inside EPA. The new administration is reportedly looking to close the Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance, or OECA, and instead let individual program offices (such as the air program, the water program and others) handle enforcement. The outlet Inside EPA quoted “a source familiar with the plan” who says the Trump administration intends to “disassemble the enforcement office ... take it, break it up and move it back into the program offices.” In a statement emailed to The Huffington Post, the agency’s press office said the “EPA does not have a confirmed Administrator and we cannot speculate on future plans for the agency.” (February 8, 2017) The Huffington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/09/2017 - Actually, it DOESN’T sound CRAZY that some US conservatives are concerned about Climate Change and urge their party to address this crisis. It doesn’t sound crazy that intelligent people find the science behind Climate Change compelling. It DOES sound CRAZY to think environmental regulations should be rolled back and the free market (which, by the way, was instrumental in causing Climate Change) be allowed to take over. The political parties will disagree about how to address Climate Change, but both political parties should NOT disagree that Climate Change is happening because that is CRAZY! A Conservative Case for Climate Action CRAZY as it may sound, this is the perfect time to enact a sensible policy to address the dangerous threat of climate change. Before you call us nuts, hear us out. During his eight years in office, President Obama regularly warned of the very real dangers of global warming, but he did not sign any meaningful domestic legislation to address the problem, largely because he and Congress did not see eye to eye. Instead, Mr. Obama left us with a grab bag of regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions, often established by executive order. In comes President Trump, who seems much less concerned about the risks of climate change, and more worried about how excessive regulation impedes economic growth and depresses living standards. As Democrats are learning the hard way, it is all too easy for a new administration to reverse the executive orders of its predecessors. (February 8, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2017 - Important words about understanding Climate Change by world renowned science communicator Dr. David Suzuki. The public and the media cannot just cherry-pick news and information about the worldwide complex issue of Climate Change. Climate Change, as much as possible, needs to be understood and communicated in the fullness of its impact and the exactness of its science. #ScienceMatters Understanding Climate Change Means Reading Beyond Headlines Seeing terms like "post-truth" and "alternative facts" gain traction in the news convinces me that politicians, media workers and readers could benefit from a refresher course in how science helps us understand the world. Reporting on science is difficult at the best of times. Trying to communicate complex ideas and distil entire studies into eye-catching headlines and brief stories can open the door to misinformation and limited understanding. Recent headlines about a climate study, "Shifting patterns of mild weather in response to projected radiative forcing", in the February 2017 issue of Climatic Change illustrate the predicament. Some news outlets implied the study showed countries such as Canada and the U.K. would benefit from increasingly frequent "mild weather days" brought on by climate change. Many failed to convey the true take-home message: Climate change will have devastating consequences for human civilization. (February 9, 2017) Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2017 - Luckily, science is a worldwide discipline that cannot be shut down by just one country, now being driven by hateful ideology. One of the great anxieties about the rise of climate denial in the most powerful country is that the window of opportunity for addressing Climate Change in a time frame and scale that will matter is quickly closing. Climate denial is so last century and we don’t have time for even one country to revisit it. #ScienceMatters Australia's chief scientist compares Trump to Stalin over climate censorship Alan Finkel warns that forcing EPA data to undergo political review before publication will ‘cause long-term harm’ Australia’s chief scientist has slammed Donald Trump’s attempt to censor environmental data, saying the US president’s behaviour was comparable to the manipulation of science by the Soviet Union. Speaking at a scientific roundtable in Canberra on Monday, Alan Finkel warned science was “literally under attack” in the United States and urged his colleagues to keep giving “frank and fearless” advice despite the political opposition. “The Trump administration has mandated that scientific data published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency from last week going forward has to undergo review by political appointees before that data can be published on the EPA website or elsewhere,” he said. (February 6, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2017 - Impressive review of important Climat Change information. The federal government can scrub its websites of important Climate Change information and article, but it cannot scrub the Internet. The Battle against Climate Change "This is a collection of links to some of the most important statistics, articles, papers and videos on climate change - we've done the googling for you! Scroll down, read, save what you think is most important." Curated by Secular Politics

  • 2/08/2017 - Check out future summers in Rochester, NY: "By 2100 summers in ROCHESTER, NY 79 .41 °F will be like summers now in EGYPT LAKE-LETO, FL 90 .68 °F" #ScienceMatters Warming-Driven Heat Waves Could Tax U.S. Electrical Grid  (February 6, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/08/2017 - If we use fossil fuels to stay cool in a warmer world, we shut down the grid and make the world warmer. Doesn’t make sense. #renewableenergy #ScienceMattes Warming-Driven Heat Waves Could Tax U.S. Electrical Grid When a searing heat wave sends the temperature soaring, Americans turn to their air conditioners for relief. But with heat waves becoming more intense and happening more often as the world warms, that air conditioner use on the hottest days will put substantially more demand on the nation’s electricity grids, a new study finds. That increased demand means electricity providers will need to increase capacity to guard against spikes in usage, potentially requiring up to $180 billion of additional grid investment, the study, detailed Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests. “The big implication of this study is that adaptation to rising temperature . . . will be more expensive than what the existing models tell us,” co-author Catie Hausman, an energy and environmental economist at the University of Michigan, said. That means that reducing greenhouse gas emissions now to avoid those future costs is also a more valuable prospect. (February 6, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/08/2017 - One of the consequences of Climate Change in our Great Lakes region has been a dramatic increase in heavy precipitation—71% increase since 1958. This causes flooding, damage to aquatic habitats, crop loss, soil erosion, and affects the ability of some plants and animals to adapt to Climate Change because of “undersized and poorly placed road stream crossings can serve as barriers for fish passage and other aquatic life.” (Plants and animals need to ‘move’ to adapt to warmer habitats.) Although, this funding project talked out in the article to address these issues is on the right path, shouldn’t all this be done under a comprehensive climate action plan so it’s effect on a scale and time frame that will matter? Seems like trying to fix some of the consequences of Climate Change in our region are trying to do so without seeing the big picture, which is that our climate is getting warmer and will need very comprehensive approaches, not a haphazard, no-regrets (Hey, maybe Climate Change isn’t true (It is.)) approach which denies Climate Change and attempts to Band-Aid the consequences. Without getting the big picture, we are not going to be able to address Climate Change. Funding available for road stream crossing assessments New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball recently announced that $190,000 is available for the evaluation of road stream crossings to prevent potential flooding and improve aquatic habitats in the Great Lakes Watershed. This includes counties in Western New York, the North Country, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions. “The funding being provided through this program will help the State proactively address potential flooding that could impact both our residential and agricultural communities, including crop damage and loss,” Ball said. “It will also give our Soil and Water Conservation Districts the opportunity to prioritize crossings that may be affecting the habitats of our fish and other aquatic life.” (February 7, 2017) The Daily News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/07/2017 - Will US try to lie its way out of the Paris Agreement using Climategate deplorable tactics? Even when the world knows climate science is NOT bunkum? Sad. Alarming. The public can be duped by lies, but not physics. #ScienceMatters Climate Change, Science, NOAA Falsely Maligned by Tabloid Spin As a result of human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, the planet is warming. Those who deny this fact have pointed to a supposed “pause” in warming to justify opposition to climate action. In 2015, a study led by NOAA’s Tom Karl was published in Science that flatly refuted the idea of a “pause.” It is one of many. But its high profile made it a target for attack. On Saturday, a feature in the UK’s Mail on Sunday by David Rose makes outrageous claims that were already disproven as the paper version hit stands, and that he has already had to in part correct. Rose, who has a history of inaccurate reporting, spins a scandal out of a letter by a former NOAA employee published on a climate change denial blog. The letter makes accusations of wrongdoing in the methodology and data archiving procedures used in the study. These accusations have already been shown to be faulty. Even if they were true, the implications have been blown out of proportion by Rose. Rebuttals were published in record time, as within minutes there was a tweet describing the story as “so wrong its hard to know where to start”:  (Climate Nexus)

  • 2/07/2017 - If the public really cared about our environment, how we get energy, and how all this relates to Climate Change, we wouldn’t have more fossil fuel infrastructure projects like the “Northern Access Pipeline would cross 192 streams in Western New York along a 97-mile swath from northwestern Pennsylvania to Elma.” The public has a chance to weigh in on this project with a couple of hearings tonight and tomorrow. If the public only cares about cheap energy, no matter the costs to our future, we are lost. We have other renewable options that offer us a viable future, not one with a trajectory towards doom. National Fuel pipeline would cut through 192 streams in Western New York National Fuel's proposed Northern Access Pipeline would cross 192 streams in Western New York along a 97-mile swath from northwestern Pennsylvania to Elma. “This comes straight up north through Western New York, through its streams, waterways and hilly terrain – there are just all kinds of potential perils to the environment,” said Diana Strablow of the Sierra Club’s Niagara Group. She cited increased risks for natural gas leaks polluting water and land as well as methane in the atmosphere adding to the danger of climate change. (February 7, 2017) The Buffalo News [more on Water Quality and Energy in our area]

  • 2/07/2017 - The Big Crack in the Antarctic ice shelf is growing and It’s ominous because it portends something about Climate Change humanity cannot fix. Scientists, however clever, have not yet invented a glue that will seal the Big Crack and stop it from uncorking Antarctic glaciers from sliding into the oceans and dramatically raising sea levels. Scientist can explain what is going on and why it’s probably going on (Climate Change) and what the possible repercussions of this Big Crack are. And without scientists, we wouldn’t even know this phenomenon was taking place. Humanity needs to start listening to its scientist not climate deniers—and maybe even holding climate deniers accountable.  #ScienceMatters A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf has scientists concerned that it is getting close to a full break. The rift has accelerated this year in an area already vulnerable to warming temperatures. Since December, the crack has grown by the length of about five football fields each day. The crack in Larsen C now reaches over 100 miles in length, and some parts of it are as wide as two miles. The tip of the rift is currently only about 20 miles from reaching the other end of the ice shelf. Once the crack reaches all the way across the ice shelf, the break will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according to Project Midas, a research team that has been monitoring the rift since 2014. Because of the amount of stress the crack is placing on the remaining 20 miles of the shelf, the team expects the break soon. (February 7, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/07/2017 - Looks like trying to factor in the externality costs of using plastic bags doesn’t appeal to free market fundamentalists—who want all the freedoms and none of the responsibilities. Putting a fee on single-use plastic bags is becoming popular in many places because it’s an attempt to halt the massive plastic bag litter/pollution by inserting a small fee to slow down the waste. But as soon as some politicians find the public trying to put their environment before profits, they try and legislate against that. Sad. NY Lawmakers Vote to Block New York City's Plastic Bag Fee New York state lawmakers have voted to block the plastic bag fee passed by the City Council last year.   The 5-cent fee on single-use plastic shopping bags was set to kick in on Feb. 15 at retail stores in New York City, with retailers keeping the revenue from the fee.  But state lawmakers pushed their own bill to overrule the fee, despite local leaders urging them not to interfere with a local decision. The state Senate and Assembly announced Monday they worked out an agreement to halt the bag tax indefintely. It can now only be reauthorized by a new City Council whose members start their terms on or after Jan. 1, 2018, they say. (February 6, 2017) 4 NY NBC [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 2/07/2017 - If real estate moguls run for public office to save their properties, it only makes sense for scientists to run for public office to save their profession too. But, of course, this doesn’t make sense at all. Scientists need to be doing their job, especially when an expert understanding of our environment is critical. Not pounding the pavement trying to whip up support for science. Public office holders should be doing their jobs in such a way that that those doing other critical jobs don’t feel compelled to run for office also in order to save necessary disciplines for our way of life to work.  #ScienceMatters In Age of Trump, Scientists Show Signs of a Political Pulse Michael Eisen, an evolutionary biologist, is among the elite of American scientists, with a tenured position at the University of California, Berkeley, and generous funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for his research on fruit flies. But late last month, dismayed over the Trump administration’s apparent disdain for evidence on climate change and other issues, Dr. Eisen registered the Twitter handle @SenatorPhD and declared his intention to run in the 2018 election for a seat in the United States Senate from California. His campaign slogan: “Liberty, Equality, Reality.” (February 6, 2017) New York Times

  • 2/07/2017 - Knock. Knock. “Anyone home?” “Hello, is anyone here?” “Just wanted to remind you, the Arctic is in crisis.” “Bye, bye, have a nice day.” The Winter of Blazing Discontent Continues in the Arctic Weird. Strange. Extreme. Unprecedented. These are some of the words that describe what’s been happening in the Arctic over the past year as surge after surge of warm air have stalled, and at times reversed, sea ice pack growth. And the unfortunate string of superlatives is set to continue this week. Arctic sea ice is already sitting at a record low for this time of year and a powerful North Atlantic storm is expected to open the flood gates and send more warmth pouring into the region from the lower latitudes. By Thursday, it could reach up to 50°F above normal. In absolute temperature, that’s near the freezing point and could further spur a decline in sea ice. (February 6, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/06/2017 - Is America right now in the process of dumbing-down science education in our schools? How mad is that? #ScienceMatters An ‘alternative facts’ South Dakota bill sparks fears for science education in the Trump era This is the text of S.B. 55 that just passed in the South Dakota Senate, which purports “to protect the teaching of certain scientific information.” BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA: Section 1. That chapter 13-1 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read: No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48. It doesn’t mention any specific scientific subject, so what does it actually mean? The Argus Leader quoted Deb Wolf, a high school science instructional coach in the Sioux Falls School District, as saying the bill says that teachers can essentially teach what they want in science class as long as they do it in a certain way: “This is horrible, but let’s say I believe in eugenics.” S.B. 55 “says that I couldn’t be prohibited, I couldn’t be stopped from teaching that, as long as I did it in an objective scientific manner, and it doesn’t specify what that means.” (February 5, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 2/06/2017 - Do we want a bright future, or return to the dirty practices of the past that will jeopardize our future? #ScienceMatters Time passes. We Know What The Country Looks Like Without The EPA: Filthy Donald Trump and his administration may trash-talk environmental enforcers, but America looked a lot worse without them. Soon after the Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970, it began a monumental project to photograph the United States, in all its industrial glory. The initiative, dubbed Documerica, employed more than 100 freelance photographers to capture “images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life.” From 1972 to 1977, they took more than 81,000 photos, many before the EPA instituted programs to clean up the country’s fouled landscapes, air and waterways.  “By the late 1960s, the American landscape was ravaged by decades of unchecked land development, blighted by urban decay in the big cities, and plagued by seemingly unstoppable air, noise, and water pollution,” C. Jerry Simmons, an archivist and historian at the National Archives in Washington, wrote in 2009. “The project takes rightful credit for the United States’ first serious examination of its rapidly decaying natural environment.” (January 24, 2017) The Huffington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/06/2017 - Just for the record NBC, scientists aren’t ‘mad’; they are ANGRY about Trump’s policies towards science #ScienceMatters Scientists are angry and willing to take actions because of the new administration’s MAD policies on science. Scientists Are Now Mad About Trump’s Policies and Taking Action They're usually more comfortable behind the scenes, working cautiously and pressing forward only step by step as they test and prove their ideas. But now, tens of thousands of scientists are mad. And biologists and physicists, botanists and physicians are taking action. The Trump administration's strict restrictions on immigration, declarations about climate change, reported overtures to an anti-vaccine activist and a pledge to repeal of the Affordable Care Act have turned some in the medical and science community into militants. (February 4, 2017) NBC News

  • 2/04/2017 - All candidates running for office in Rochester, NY, or anywhere else for that matter, should speak up to address Climate Change and provide real solutions as this candidate for Rochester City Council.  With its powerful Climate Action Plan, with Rochester being a Sanctuary City, with Rochester’s abundance of clean unFracked water, and so many environmental groups ready to lead on Climate Change, we are a city of the future. Rochester is a city where #ScienceMatters Rochester should choose clean energy Climate change can seem a nigh-unstoppable wave bearing down upon us, and it’s easy to feel powerless to make a difference. After all, not many of us can afford to buy a Toyota Prius or install a geothermal furnace. But a recent legislative change at the state level has allowed municipalities in New York to band together and use an entire region’s combined buying power to purchase energy. As discussed in Erica Bryant’s column on Jan. 20, it’s called Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), and it also allows the CCA to specify that their energy come from 100 percent renewable resources — be it wind power, solar energy, hydropower, or otherwise. (February 3, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/04/2017 - Could the recent increase in toxic mercury in Great Lakes fish and birds be caused by Climate Change demonstrating the deep complexity of this worldwide crisis? Our environment is complex and sensitive to changes and humanity has been insensitive to this truth about our life support system—believing for far too long that humanity is too small to have big impacts on our planet. Science has discovered otherwise. #ScienceMatters After decades of decreases, mercury rises in Great Lakes wildlife. Scientists are seeing an uptick of the legacy toxic in Great Lakes fish and birds. Warming waters are the suspected culprit. More coal will make it worse. Toxic mercury is once again increasing in some Great Lakes fish and birds after decades of consistent, promising reductions. Scientists are still trying to figure out what’s going on, but one of the suspected culprits in reversing decades of mercury reductions in wildlife is a climate change-induced increase in water temperatures. Mercury is a known toxic—in wildlife it impairs reproduction, growth, behavior, or just flat-out kills them.  The reports of increases are a surprise as there’s been steady progress on mercury since the 1970s. Fewer domestic coal plants, accountable for about half of U.S. mercury emissions, helped decrease pollution. From the 1970s to the early 2000s, Great Lakes wildlife saw regular, consistent reductions in mercury loads. But mercury travels the globe, and as coal has taken off in places such as Asia over the past 20 years so, too, has the atmospheric export of toxic mercury. Those additions have offset coal reductions in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, climate change is altering how legacy chemicals are stored, transformed and transported in land, water and air. (February 2, 2017) The Daily Climate [more on Wildlife and Climate Change and Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/04/2017 - Fracking ain’t over, even in New York State, until it’s over everywhere. GETTING FRACKED OVER — EVEN IF YOUR STATE DOESN'T DO IT The trucks came from West Virginia into neighboring Kentucky — down Interstate 64, as Huntington’s craggy tops faded, before heading south on Highway 89, or perhaps 82, where today the frosted hills melt into snow-splattered farmland. The convoy barreled through a 55 mph lane, past rusting Cat tractors, Baptist churches and a sign reading “Welcome to Estill County: Where the Bluegrass Kisses the Mountains.” After taking a left off the highway, upon reaching their destination at the landfill across the street from the high school, the trucks dropped off their precious cargo: 1,200 tons of radioactive waste. (February 3, 2017) OZY [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 2/03/2017 - Thanks to WXXI News for covering the rally in front of US Federal Building yesterday “calling for New York Senator Charles Schumer to show leadership in the fight against climate change.” Other media invited to cover this news, but they didn’t. So sad. For a video of main speech at this event, go here. | Rallies, protests continue locally in connection with recent actions by the Trump administration Groups opposed to recent executive orders and policies of President Donald Trump continue to make their voices heard at rallies and protests in Rochester. More than 60 protesters gathered Thursday afternoon outside the Federal Building calling for New York Senator Charles Schumer to show leadership in the fight against climate change. Specifically, many of the demonstrators are upset about President Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency. They are worried Scott Pruitt will favor oil and gas companies at the expense of the environment. (February 3, 2017) WXXI News

  • 2/03/2017 - As humanity still wrestles with itself over what to do about Climate Change, the Arctic gets warmer and warmer. Time passes. #ScienceMatters ‘Beyond the extreme’: Scientists marvel at ‘increasingly non-natural’ Arctic warmth The Arctic is so warm and has been this warm for so long that scientists are struggling to explain it and are in disbelief. The climate of the Arctic is known to oscillate wildly, but scientists say this warmth is so extreme that humans surely have their hands in it and may well be changing how it operates. Temperatures are far warmer than ever observed in modern records, and sea ice extent keeps setting record lows. (February 1, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/03/2017 - On ice cover for the Great Lakes, this is the take-home message today, as it’s code for Climate Change: “The Great Lakes have been experiencing a downward trend in ice cover since 1973” #ScienceMatters Great Lakes Mostly Open Water This Winter Less Than 10 Percent Of The Great Lakes Covered In Ice The Midwest may be in the throes of winter, but most of the Great Lakes are open water. Right now, roughly 10 percent of the combined surface of the Great Lakes is covered in ice, according to George Leshkevich, research physical scientist for the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Great Lakes have been experiencing a downward trend in ice cover since 1973, according to Leshkevich. (February 1, 2017) Wisconsin Radio [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 2/03/2017 - Remember when the USA used to believe in Climate Change and when it openly admitted it would cooperate with the international community? Take a last look at what was once at the EPA and should be now: "As a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States is committed to working with the international community to promote the convention’s key objective: stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous human-induced interference with the climate system. The United States is actively engaging with the international community to find solutions and promote global cooperation on climate change." EPA airbrushes climate webpage as Pruitt nears confirmation US federal environment agency has quietly removed a reference to UN climate cooperation from its website Scott Pruitt is on his way to approval as Donald Trump’s environment chief after Republican senators waved him through a committee vote on Thursday. The controversial choice, who as Oklahoma attorney general sued the Environmental Protection Agency he is about to lead, got through despite a Democrat boycott. He is expected to pass a full senate vote next week. Even before he takes up the position, mentions of climate cooperation have been scrubbed from the EPA website, in a clear signal of intent from the new US administration. (January 3, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/02/2017 - At noon today, in #RochesterNY, the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club and Rochester People’s Climate Coalition spoke at 'Resist Trump' Rally in front of the federal building to get Activists to Tell Senator Chuck Schumer to Fight White House’s Dangerous Agenda. Many came. #ScienceMatters. Watch video here.

  • 2/02/2017 - Back in the day, our Rochester Sierra Club Zero Waste Committee tried to halt the delivery of these phone books with little effect. That now the phone company admits that this is a 12-tons-of-waste each year that can be avoided is interesting. Our group noticed over the years how phone books were tossed on to apartment complex porches’ and left for months there while folks just walked over them, avoiding them completely. And for many, many people the phone books would go immediately into the recycling bin—at best. At worst, folks threw them into the trash or let them scattered throughout the neighborhoods. We were told by the powers that be that although many people don’t use these books the advertising dollars that came from the phone books were too important. Now, finally, after long last, phone books are on the way out because they waste paper and aren’t needed. Which has been the case for years. Consider putting the nail this this wasteful coffin by surfing over here: Department of Public of Service, Comment Form using this case number 17-C-0013. Phone books to disappear for good The phone book, a one-time necessity that many now consider a wasteful nuisance, is about to disappear from your life forever. Frontier Communications, which provides landline phone service in the Rochester area and some other areas in New York, has asked state regulators for permission to end mass delivery of phone books to its customers. The books contain business listings, government contact information and consumer information. (February 1, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 2/02/2017 - One of the Awlfullest things about “Trump's Big Ball of Awful” is the sweeping miasma of doubt that has come over the public’s respect for science. That US scientists must even consider a march for Science in Washington, DC in the coming days would have been unimaginable only weeks ago. But in Trump’s world, data and evidence that don’t fit his agenda is being scrubbed from federal websites and dismissed as a hoax. Back in the day, pre-Trumpian days, environmentalists and Climate Change communicators have had to continually defend science to accurately portray the human-caused warming of our planet. Facts and evidence were brought forward by both sides, challenged, and picked apart like foxes on chicken bones. But now, with anti-science given a political legitimacy since Trump’s election, science as the arbitrator for sensible discussions on Climate Change, ecosystem health, and future planning has been dealt a crippling blow. What distinguishes modern life from a time when life was "'Nasty, brutish and short” was humanity’s discovery of modern science and the scientific method. The measure of a man was his knowledge and respect for what humanity had collectively tested and found to be true. Now, in an instant, that great heritage of human accomplishment is being questioned and too often dismissed. So sad. #ScienceMatters Trump's Big Ball of Awful  The Trump administration also gagged employees at federal agencies, including scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, National Parks Service, NASA, and the US Department of Agriculture. Trump hasn't made it clear whether this is a pause until his people take the helm, but the move alarmed agency staff and advocacy groups. All of those agencies have published important research and data on climate change, which Trump dismisses as a hoax despite overwhelming scientific proof that it's real, that human activity is driving it, and that it's an immediate threat. Trump's cabinet appointees are either dismissive of climate change or hostile toward climate science. And the administration has started scrubbing mentions of climate change from federal agency websites. (February 1, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/01/2017 - Back in the day, it was thought that we should only do a little bit to address Climate Change because too much effort might hurt our economy. Now, it looks like it’s too late. Whoops!  I’m thinking we should leave decisions as to whether we should address Climate Change to the scientists, not economists who are worried about a man-made system, not the 13 billion year old biological system we need to survive. Economist’s change of mind a worry for climate change Some people who study climate change believe that addressing it later — when economic growth has made humanity wealthier — would be better than taking drastic measures immediately. Now, though, one of this group’s most influential members appears to have changed his mind. In the early 1990s, Yale’s Professor William Nordhaus was among the first to examine the economics of reducing carbon emissions. (February 1, 2017) Today Online [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/01/2017 - The fox is now running the henhouse and is starting to gobble up the hens as quickly as it can. So sad. #ScienceMatters Congress can now start erasing some of Obama’s environmental rules. Here’s what they’re targeting. This week, Republicans in Congress may finally have the opportunity to begin dismantling a series of environmental rules finalized by the Obama administration. And they’re likely to initially target two controversial environmental regulations released in the closing months of 2016, which place greater restrictions on both the coal and the oil and gas industries.   The first is a regulation finalized in mid-November that seeks to curb fugitive methane emissions from oil and gas drilling operations on public lands. And the second, a last-minute rule adopted in December, prohibits coal-mining companies from engaging in any activities that could permanently pollute streams and other sources of drinking water. (January 30, 2017) Washington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/01/2017 - World still plows on with the COP23 meeting in Bonn, attempting to address Climate Change, and hoping the US won’t leave the table. So sad. Just when we need to accelerate world effort, we are stepping on the brakes. #ScienceMatters Fiji says 2017 climate summit to focus on vulnerable nations Host of COP23 meeting in Bonn calls for a focus on delivering support to at-risk nations and crafting Paris Agreement rulebook Fiji will use this year’s UN climate summit to highlight the risks faced by low-lying countries in a warming world, its prime minister has said. The tiny Pacific Island state will host the 2017 meeting at the UN climate body’s headquarters in Bonn, Germany, where talks will continue on developing a set of rules for the 2015 Paris Agreement. “Our Presidency will keep the interests of all nations – including those that are low-lying and vulnerable – at the forefront of our negotiations,” Frank Bainimarama said. (January 31, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]