RENewsletter | October 6, 2013


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


[09/29/2013 – 10/06/2013]


Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Take Action



Opening Salvo:  “How to talk to a climate change skeptic if you must”


After arrested we allow defendants to plead their case for only so long. They’re allowed expert help and ample time to convince a jury of their innocence. The jury deliberates and then decides.  On Climate Change, the jury has decided. The verdict is in:


“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. The evidence for this has grown, thanks to more and better observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response and improved climate models. Warming in the climate system is unequivocal and since 1950 many changes have been observed throughout the climate system that are unprecedented over decades to millennia. Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850…,” (IPCC PRESS RELEASE, 27 September 2013)


I make this loose analogy of the US legal system for the case against Climate Change deniers to make a point about decision time on Climate Change.  Of course the US legal system is fraught with inequities and injustice but, just for a moment, let’s pretend it works as intended. At a specific juncture in our legal continuum the defendant is judged guilty or non-guilty.  A judge communicates the jury’s verdict, and at that moment either the defendant walks free or goes to the crowbar hotel.


We desperately need such a specific juncture in the public debate about Climate Change. For over thirty years, the merchants of doubt have kept the media and our public in a state of irrational doubt and confusion over the most important crisis of our age.  I say ‘irrational’ because, even though Climate Change is a deeply complex science that has experts scrambling all over the world to accrue the kind of rigor required for world governments to act as one on bringing greenhouse gas emissions down, 95% of climate scientists have spoken with absolute clarity. Unless we bring our atmospheric temperature down, our planetary environment may be rendered uninhabitable.


Those not satisfied with the many climate studies (including the International Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), which substantiates the IPCC’s previous studies with more certainty) feel threatened by the implications of these studies to their beliefs. They will not stop their efforts to hijack our collective ability to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change to save their version of reality. 


Someone who doesn’t appreciate how science works and finds 95% agreement among climate scientists not good enough, may ask: What if the Climate Change science is wrong and we upset our economic and political systems for nothing? This sounds like a sensible question except that the standard for measuring the state of our environmental health is to induce that 4.5 billion years of life on this planet defines a healthy planet, rather than deducing environmental healthiness from the absurd position of free market fundamentalism.  It would be like asking if a group of people on a spaceship had the right to use the ship’s air system, waste system, and communication system for any purpose they wanted. The answer (regardless of one’s idea of Freedom) is clear; you cannibalize these systems for something other than what they were intended, and it’s game over. 


Climate Change skepticism is a major hurdle in our efforts to solve this crisis and we need to address it.  I’m not talking about serious scientists asking serious questions relating to the impossibly difficult science of climate. That’s how science works. I’m talking about those seeking to increase public doubt on Climate Change by cynical artifice and throwing our collective ability to act into an endless quagmire.


President-elect Barack Obama stated this problem emphatically years ago: “The science is beyond dispute… Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response.” (Climate Progress, November 18, 2008)


So, the answer to how to talk to a climate change skeptic is not to argue with them at all.  Providing these folks with more facts, more certainty, and more patience will be fruitless. The truth is that you cannot have a conversation with a determined climate change skeptic. Trying to change a climate change skeptic’s mind is like trying to teach a pig to talk.  You can’t do it, and it irritates the pig.  Their goal is to tie us up in knots forever for their short-term gain. 


A climate change skeptic’s argument only makes sense if you haven’t done your homework and haven’t read any climate studies.  The facts we do know about our climate system and the many unknown unknowns are enough to motivate nations to work as one to this common threat. 


Climate Change means planning. We have to plan.  We have to plan to save our way of life, others’ lives, and other beings’ ecosystems on a time scale very far ahead of the tipping points that make collapses inevitable. Doubt on the validity of Climate Change offers us a deadly hope because, like the songs of the mythic sirens, the beast within us will always yearn for lies that endless consumption and fossil fuel energy will lead us to the only thing that seems to matter, our own creature comforts.


We should talk to a climate change skeptic in the way one communicates with a rabid racist--with stone cold silence.  A furious silence that pervades the media and all forms of public discourse so that climate denial becomes that which cannot be spoken aloud for it displays an abhorrent disregard to all people, plants, animals, and ecologies around the word. We don’t have the hundreds of years it took for most in this country to rise above racism; Climate Change will force us to be better stewards of our planet—or it won’t.  (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.]





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.


October 2013






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.