RENewsletter | August 12, 2012

 

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“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

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[08/04/2012 – 08/12/2012]

 

Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |

 

 

Opening Salvo:  Strike while the Climate Change iron is hot

 

The small, but financially powerful, klatch of Climate Change deniers must be feeling beleaguered as so much information contrary to their belief system surfaces wildly throughout our media.  Besides major articles that connect the present warming in the US (The New Climate Dice: Public Perception of Climate Change by James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy — July 2012 and Global Warming's Terrifying New Math | Politics News | Rolling Stone by Bill McKibben), there are innumerable articles that make it plain that our present warming is like nothing else in the past several hundred years:

 

·         To date, 2012 is hottest year on record for the Northeast “New data released by the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) at Cornell shows the Northeast's seven-month average (January through July) of 49.9 degrees was the warmest such period since 1895, the year such record keeping began. It has been the second warmest such period in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the warmest first seven months of the year in the rest of the Northeast.”  (August 7, 2012)  Chronicle Online 

·         California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate “Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for California is bleak. A series of state-sponsored scientific studies released Tuesday warns that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe and damaging wildfires, emergency room visits and strain on the electric grid as the Earth continues to warm and sea levels rise along the state's 1,100-mile long coast.” (July 31, 2012) Home - San Jose Mercury News 

Climate Change champions must use this present heatwave as a teaching opportunity for the public before their attention wanes—like it did after Love Canal and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill when we returned to business as usual.  For without public understanding and support of Climate Change, most will continue to see this summer’s heatwave as merely a unique string of weather events. 

 

However, Climate Change champions should also take heed of NYT environmental reporter Andrew Revkin’s warning of the irrational exuberance that followed NASA’s story about a remarkably quick melting of Greenland’s glaciers this July.  

 

‘Unprecedented’ Greenland Surface Melt – Every 150 Years?  The flow of news releases and background science content from NASA is generally excellent, but the space agency badly blew it earlier this week with this headline, which has now reverberated around the Web: “Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt.” (July 25, 2012) Dot Earth

 

I mention Revkin’s article to highlight several points about the tangled web of Climate Change.  It’s complicated and easily confused by those who benefit from sowing doubt.  Environmentalists shouldn’t overstep the real facts with misleading facts, for the accumulated evidence over the past thirty years has been quite enough to convince an overwhelming majority of climate scientists that our atmosphere is indeed warming up.

Let’s be clear; this is the message from the UNFCCC Seventeenth Conference of the Parties, Durban Wednesday, 30 November 2011:

 

 “Warming in the climate system is unequivocal; Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations; Continue greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.”

 

Climate Change is like no other issue humanity has ever faced, where our actions and inactions will affect the fate of the entire planet.  Absurdly, and almost impossible to imagine, the series of heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts that have ravaged our country this summer are absent from the one arena where it might actually result in action on an issue of this magnitude—the presidential elections.  Even though it was only last April that President Obama released Administration Releases 10-Year Global Change Strategic Plan -- “… prepare for anticipated changes in the global environment, including climate change”, the issue of Climate Changes goes ignored (although not ignored by Climate Change champions like US Senator from Nevada Harry Reid and US Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders.) 

 

Already we have missed great opportunities to take responsibility for our planet, and that means years of continued warming even if we could stop all anthropogenic greenhouse gases right now.  One such missed opportunity was President Carter’s July 15, 1979malaise’ speech in which he told the American people:

 

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure. 

All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin to solve our energy problem. The American Experience

 

Because President Carter’s opponents successfully characterized the speech as dismal, our country leaped down ‘a mistaken idea of freedom’ path and voted in a president who unleashed the full power of free market fundamentalism, therefore removing any chance of addressing energy issues that are directly connected to Climate Change. Considering the threat of Climate Change now, what if we had listened more closely to President Carter then?

 

Winston Churchill said of us, "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." While that may garner hope for some, Climate Change champions would do well not to let this summer’s Climate Change reality disappear back into business as usual.  For ‘business as usual’ is interpreted by most Climate Change studies as the worst case scenario for those who follow us.

 

 

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com  (Click on my email for feedback)

 

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* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @ http://twitter.com/#!/FrankRrrr   On Twitter and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterEnvironment  and Examiner/RochesterEnvironment, I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens.  If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up.  We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news.

 

The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region--supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose.  How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms--in enough time to safe ourselves?

 

Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan

 

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NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]

 

·         Bat populations fall 90% from white-nose syndrome; Hudson Valley caves are research target 

·         Discovery Part of New York State's EAB Early Detection Program An Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation was found in the Catskill Forest Preserve at a state-owned campground,

·         Drought Forces Reductions in U.S. Crop Forecasts 

·         West Nile virus outbreak causes Dallas to declare emergency 

·         California Gathers Facts to Plan for a Hot, Dry Future 

·         Some Idaho Farmers Pray, Others Turn On The Water 

·         Governor Cuomo Announces $107 Million Available Through NY-Sun Inititiative for Large Solar Power Installations 

·         Anti-frack signs go missing in Richmond 

·         Cleanup planned at Irondequoit Bay Marine Park  Green living catching on in the suburbs 

·         Governor Cuomo Signs Bill to Protect Public Health by Requiring Sewage Plants to Notify Public When Discharge Occurs 

·         Series of Test Results at TCI Site and in the Surrounding Community Indicate No Threat to Public Health 

·         PCB tally isn't known 

·         Canada must focus on energy sector to meet emissions target 

·          Storms linked to climate change may be depleting the ozone layer, study shows 

·         Profits on Carbon Credits Drive Output of a Harmful Gas 

·         U.S. Freezes All Nuclear Power Plant Licensing Decisions 

·         Obama Fast-Tracks Renewables on Military Bases, Public Lands 

·         Cape Vincent’s Planning Board mulls termination of BP wind application 

·         Green growth plagues south end of Canandaigua Lake 

·         Andrew Cuomo signs sewage discharge bill

·         Papers show heavy PCB traffic at TCI 

·         Drought Prompts Attack on U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard 

·         Cayuga County legislators oppose new BV7 plan 

·         Drought: Farmers dig deeper, water tables drop, competition heats up 

·         State of the Lake: new report investigates water quality and health of Lake Champlain 

·         Fossilized polar bear jawbone speaks to scientists about climate change 

·         It's official: It's been hot in the Northeast 

·         Beekeepers are abuzz over climate change and mounting bee losses 

·         Offshore Wind Energy in New York…Coming Soon! 

·         To date, 2012 is hottest year on record for the Northeast 

·         Governor praises coal-to-biomass plant conversion at Fort Drum 

·         Rochester Hearing & Speech to recycle hearing aid batteries 

·         DEC's fracking review grows to 4,000 pages 

·         Fracking poses risk to water systems, research suggests: U.S. study 

·         Heat tough on Great Lakes fisheries  

·         EWG Responds to Report that New York is About to Approve Fracking 

·         End of the anti-frack world near 

·         Analysts Conclude Fracking Wastewater Poses Substantial Risk to Drinking Water 

·         Lump of Coal: Promising Mine Deal Hits Headwinds 

·         Fracking concerns voiced in Ontario County 

·         City of Canandaigua ponders bottling water 

·         Governor Cuomo Announces Unprecedented Acquisition of 69,000 Acres of the Former Finch Pruyn Lands in the Adirondack Park 

·         Climate change is here — and worse than we thought 

·         GreenSpace: Parents' groups urge action on climate for children's sake 

·         Growing willows for fuel 

·         UPDATE: Cuomo commits to spend $49 million in "historic" expansion of Adirondack forest preserve 

·         Dryden, NY: A Year at the Center of Debate Over Fracking 

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UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]

 

 

 

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EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

 

August 2012

 

 

September 2012

 

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ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 

 

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AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]