RENewsletter | May 18, 2014


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


[05/11/2014 – 05/18/2014]


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Opening Salvo:  Make or break Paris climate conference in December 2015


The United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP21, is to be held in Paris in December 2015. That’s where we (humanity) will try to adopt a legally binding agreement to keep global temperature increase below 2°C. (Many climate scientists believe even 2°C is too high.) If this conference doesn’t work, and we fail to start the serious work to get greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions down by 2020, what will accomplish that? Business as usual? The invisible hand? Denial? Despair? Irrational exuberance? Magical thinking? Alien or super-person intervention? 


Many believe that climate talks are a dead end; that grassroots efforts are needed instead.  Their efforts make sense in an emotional sense (we have to do something). But I cannot think of anything other than a worldwide binding agreement that would actually manage to bring down an entire planet’s atmospheric concentration of GHGs to a sustainable level. Proof of this are the myriad efforts around the world to green our economy and reduce emissions that are working, but not quickly enough.  We are already passing the point where the lower emission scenarios (where, for example New York’s climate resembles Virginia’s) will no longer be viable, just the higher ones (where New York’s climate resembles Florida). 


“With negotiations on ice, temperatures outside and the levels of carbon dioxide, the main cause of climate change, are on an upward trajectory. A recent report from the UN’s IPCC climate science panel said CO2 emissions need to be halved by 2050 to have a chance of avoiding temperature rises of 2-4C by 2100.” (May 8, 2014) Responding to Climate Change


There are many reasons why the Paris climate talks will probably fail. We’ve failed twenty times already. One reason is high-profile and influential Climate Change deniers like Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, who even ‘scoffs’ at our military worrying themselves about warming:


Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a vocal skeptic of the established science that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming, scoffed at the idea that climate change is linked to national security threats.  “There is no one in more pursuit of publicity than a retired military officer,” he said of the report’s authors. “I look back wistfully at the days of the Cold War. Now you have people who are mentally imbalanced, with the ability to deploy a nuclear weapon. For anyone to say that any type of global warming is anywhere close to the threat that we have with crazy people running around with nuclear weapons, it shows how desperate they are to get the public to buy this.” Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers (May 13, 2014) New York Times


Deniers like Inhofe have become so straight-jacketed and invested in their ideology that they find it appropriate to impugn the character of those we have trusted to lead others into battle:  “There is no one in more pursuit of publicity than a retired military officer.” Really, retired military leaders are ranting about the dangers of Climate Change so they can go on TV?


We understand that Sen. Inhofe and his compatriots have committed themselves to their denial zealotry such that they cannot admit they are wrong. We must ask ourselves at what point will they be held accountable for their actions to thwart the rest of us in addressing Climate Change?


Yet there’s reason to believe that this time around climate talks might work. For example, there are signs that pre-Paris negotiations between the US and China are going on so that some of the biggest players are making critical agreements on lowering GHG emissions. That’s hopeful; China and the US are pivotal to a successful treaty. And President Obama’s campaign to leverage the National Climate Assessment to convey the urgency of addressing Climate Change might gain him the political capital to make significant contributions to the Paris talks. (BTW: President Obama will need your support if this strategy is to work.) 


So sure, there are hopeful signs. But hope is not enough.  It’s climate talk agreements (actually implemented) or mass delusionalism while we boil. I know, the rich think there’s wiggle room because they can air condition themselves out of this.


However we manage to set our priorities—making a living, raising a family, serving our country, teaching others, finding meaning—we as a species are going to have to include solving this worldwide crisis or none of our other priorities will matter. The specter of a world too warm to thrive is upon us. A future that  we have always assumed, that others will survive our own personal death (“the collective afterlife”), so integral to our existence that we probably never think of it, may be in jeopardy.


Quite astonishingly this ‘collective afterlife’ is probably the faith we all share. All of us—regardless of our religious faith or lack thereof. We believe that what we do and think will somehow matter in the end; but that cannot happen if no one is around.  (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.


May 2014



June 2014



September 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.