RENewsletter | November 17, 2013


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[11/10/2013 – 11/17/2013]


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Opening Salvo:  Will Rochester, NY slash its climate reduction target at Warsaw Climate talks like Japan?”


Japan decided to slash its climate reduction target at the Warsaw Climate talks because the Fukushima nuclear disaster is “forcing the country to increase its burning of fossil fuels.” (November 14, 2013) BBC ) One has to wonder if others will follow suit, searching their ‘excuses boxes’ to see if they have a handy excuse not to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG’s) even though we know the 'Window of Opportunity' to Curb Climate Change Quickly Closing.


How about Rochester, NY? If our local media is any indication, Rochesterians don’t even know that the Warsaw climate talks are going on. But if the climate talks this year were on our radar, and we too were going to come up with an excuse not to keep our promise on our climate reduction target, this is what we’d throw overboard:  “We strive to reduce energy consumption, waste generation, our dependence on fossil fuels and production of greenhouse gases.” (City of Rochester, NY Environmental Mission Statement) It’s not much, and it’s kind of fuzzy because it doesn’t have any red lines that won’t be crossed, but it’s something, I guess….


I know, you’re thinking what I’ve said so far is very unfair. Japan really got nailed and any reasonable person would expect them not to keep their promises on Climate Change because, heh, they just gotta have as much power as they had before the nuclear disaster no matter what. However, Japan’s excuse is probably hard to swallow by developing nations that don’t even get to have a good day because of increasingly horrific typhoons and sea rise caused by the developed nation’s lack of agreement year to year on climate talks. 


The Warsaw talks are the 19th in a series (COP 19) in our “attempts” to address Climate Change, and almost zip (“modest”) is expected to be accomplished.  That’s not a prognostication in this particular case, that’s an order by the developed nations.  If they were to jump the gun and start reducing GHG’s before 2020, as planned, the developed nations would freak. So everything is being done to have a non-climate talk with no hard decisions, just some clarifying, launching a PowerPoint display, and delivering a “path”.  Really, a path?  in 2013?


We must clarify finance that enables the entire world to move towards low-carbon development. We must launch the construction of a mechanism that helps vulnerable populations to respond to the unanticipated effects of climate change. We must deliver an effective path to pre-2020 ambition, and develop further clarity for elements of the new agreement that will shape the post-2020 global climate, economic and development agendas. (Opening address by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)

Ok, so Rochester, NY didn’t even get invited to the Warsaw Climate Talk because it’s not a country—though it’s probably bigger than some of those sinking nations (caused by sea level rise due to Climate Change) who were invited. But the United States (which sabotaged the Kyoto Protocol by not ratifying it) did get invited. Our goal at the talks will be (as usual) to kick the can down the road:


“Our task now is to fashion a new agreement that will be ambitious, effective and durable,” Todd Stern, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy for climate change, said in a speech in London last month. “(Washington Post)


While our leaders dillydally about bringing down atmospheric GHGs’s let’s be clear about some Climate Change assumptions: For one, the Fukushima nuclear disaster did not force Japan to increase its burning of fossil fuels. When you drive a nail into a board with a hammer, the nail is forced into the board. More likely, the political will failed keeping to their promise and using everything in their tool box--including energy efficiency, renewable, and energy conservation—would have made Japan’s leaders unpopular. No one seems to be questioning the Holy Premise that we, the developed nations, must all have energy and more of it—even if it means crashing the planet’s environment. 


Also, there is a growing movement around the world to create a carbon tax, new generation nuclear power plants, and numerous geoengineering schemes. And while they all have their merits, they all assume that we must address Climate Change with as little inconvenience to the developed nations as possible. This trajectory, that includes many assumptions about what the public will tolerate and actually do, will only address a few of the myriad problems that come with Climate Change.  Along with Climate Change comes economic justice, the loss of biodiversity, floods, incredible typhoons, and a whole lot of warming that’s already locked in because we keep letting the only platform for planetary agreement on Climate Change turn into excuses for not doing what we must.


Excuses are what you tell your teacher when the dog eats your homework.  (Click on my email for feedback)





* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @!/FrankRrrr   On Twitter and Facebook:  and Examiner/RochesterEnvironment,


I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens. The ability of this newsletter to inform and get the public focused on our local environment is dependent on reaching a lot of folks. 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. This newsletter looks and works great on your tablet device.


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 save 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


My companion book to written in 2005 still holds true. Now, “We Don’t Get It!” is an E-Book on and Kindle We Don't Get It! eBook: Frank Regan: Books



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




Updates Daily 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. Text in BOLD are my comments.]





Events Rochester 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: with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.


November 2013


April 2014





Action Take 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.