RENewsletter | February 2, 2014

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

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

 

[01/26/2014 – 02/02/2014]

 

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

 

 

Opening Salvo: “Climate Change, the second phase

 

In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama stated that ‘…the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact.” Yet many folks in our country are not convinced that the debate is over.  Some of those still spewing uncertainty on an issue long settled by world climate scientists are powerful folks with serious political clout. They don’t intend to give an inch on what is for them an ideological issue and is for us actual reality.

 

Unlike the other issues hijacked by rich and powerful merchants of doubt—the dangers of cigarette (including second-hand) smoking to one’s health, acid rain, ozone layer thinning, and DDT (Read “Merchants of Doubt”)--Climate Change threatens to quickly overwhelm our ability to sustain our environment, which despite having been rendered an externality by economists, is our life support system.

 

While most agree that efforts to address Climate Change must include a political strategy to work around and through obstructionists, many environmental groups think the President has gone too far in appeasing the fossil fuel corporations. Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy, which translates into a “have your cake and eat it too” policy by increasing both renewable energy and fossil fuels, is pure folly:

 

Jekyll And Hyde: The Two Sides Of Obama’s Energy Strategy In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama once again tried to reconcile the split personality of his energy policy. On the one hand, the President clearly stated his Dr. Jekyll commitment to cutting carbon pollution and fighting climate change. But not before he pushed his Mr. Hyde expansion of domestic fossil fuel production, starting early in the speech, where he touted this success: “More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world –- the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years.” (January 28, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress

 

Obama’s action on reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), which may or may not be accurately portrayed by his boast that “the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth”, is nevertheless a leap forward from his predecessors. [You can fact check the President’s carbon claims here,  but that still won’t cover carbon emissions from  CAFOs, Fracking, and existing natural gas pipeline leaks.] Especially heartening is the possibility that he may be able to “…continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.” Hurrah! Even though it has long reached advanced adulthood, the fossil fuel industry is still suckling on our shriveling tax base.

 

The President said nothing about whether he would stop the XL Keystone Pipeline through the US.  A decision to approve piping this dirty fossil fuel through our country and into our local gas tanks alone would negate most what of he’s accomplished so far.  But even if Obama stops the pipeline dead in its tracks, he will ‘own’ the Climate Change issue only until 2016. Then it will be another American president’s problem.

 

The first phase in understanding Climate Change has come through the collected work of scientists, intrepid reporters and editors, environmentalists, writers, teachers, business leaders, bloggers and heroic political leaders who have brought us to this point, a point where Climate Change is understood to be a world crisis. No small feat that. Wherever you stand on this issue, no one who calls themselves educated can at this phase be unaware of the science behind Climate Change and the level of gravity it implies.

 

Climate Change, the second phase: Beyond Obama the possible election of a leader heedless of Climate Change and willing to cut back what meager efforts have been accomplished thus far is likely the next dramatic phase in what portends to be a long slog towards a planetary solution to this problem.  Already in Japan, Australia, and Canada, previous measures to tax carbon and move towards producing less greenhouse gases have been thrown back.  Just this week a less than robust European Union (the leaders in addressing Climate Change) effort has caved into economic and political realities:

 

New EU climate plans not good enough, say the experts The European Union's new proposals are simply inadequate for a climate pioneer like Europe, say the experts. Many suspect that big business is getting preferential treatment. For years Europe has been seen as a world leader on climate issues, but economic constraints are now hitting environmental policy. That was the subtext of José Manuel Barroso's presentation on Wednesday (23.01.2014) as the head of the EU Commission outlined proposals for new climate goals for the bloc. For Arthur Neslen, a European energy policy expert and journalist with the EU affairs website EurActiv, the proposals are disappointing, but understandable. "It's politically safe to propose the minimum, most painless, climate protection solution for industry now," Neslen said. "But, ultimately, we are just storing up problems for down the road." (January 23, 2014) DW

 

Here’s the question for this next phase of Climate Change: How in this world are we going to sustain our commitment to those who come after us if we undercut what little gains we’ve made every time there’s an election? It’s taken us several decades since we began to think seriously about this issue to get where we are—and that’s still a place where manmade GHGs are steadily accumulating and extreme weather events are increasing.  

 

What is it that will keep us focused on bringing down GHGs year after year, decade after decade, election cycle after election cycle, until it’s sustainable—and keep it there? What is there inside us that we can muster to become the kind of species we need to be to do that?  Whatever that is, we’d better figure it out soon. 

 

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

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

 

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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.]

 

 

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

 

February 2014

 

·         2-4 PM, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 | Pittsford Community Center, 35 Lincoln Ave., Pittsford, NY, 14534

o   "IT'S THE END," said the caterpillar (to climate changing fossil fuels?)  "IT'S THE BEGINNING," said the butterfly (to the mitigation of climate change) Transition to fossil free energy is a Sierra Club goal.  The presenter is a NYS Sierra Club leader, and will give a brief overview of a vision for such a transition, as well as methods noted in SWITCH TO RENEWABLE ENERGY,  followed by a discussion.  Transition isn't a turn-key process, nor is green shopping, alone, a solution.  Monthly, Sunday afternoon TRANSITION TALKs speakers on the multifaceted transition to 100 % renewable, clean and free energy.  Conservation and efficiency is a person’s place to start.  Title: Home energy conservation and efficiency: Vision or dream, its up to you and your leaders. When: 2-4 PM, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 Where: Pittsford Community Center, 35 Lincoln Ave., Pittsford, NY, 14534 limited seating Who: Bill Labine, Certified Planner, Airtight Services, Avon, NY Sponsored by the Transition Committee, Sierra Club, Rochester Group & Pittsford residents. For more information go to:  NewYork.SierraClub.org/ Renewable Energy Toolkit | BuildingScience.com Boston-based architecture and building science consulting firm. Site contains many articles about sustainable building practices and guides for house design

 

March 2014

 

 

April 2014

 

 

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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. 

 

 

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