Blandit sit amet veroeros
These Daily Updates for this month represent just one month in over a decade of connecting the dots on our area's environmental situation.
Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL STORY ABOUT THE ROCHESTER, NY AREA FROM A CREDIBLE SOURCE? SEND IT TO ME! Looking for something specific. Use Control + F and search for it on this page.
These daily updates pertain to what is going on in our environment in Rochester & around the world. Although I do not see RochesterEnvironment.com, or Global Environmental Resources, as environmental activist sites, I do view them as active. They are active conduits for all the environmental news, services, links, and an on-going discovery for the potential role that I believe the Internet will play in environmentalism. Your local news media is not doing its job in informing the public on the breath and depth of our environmental problems, so you are going to have to get on the Internet.
3/31/2015 - Florida is what climate denial leadership looks like. Is this what we want for the 2016 presidential elections? Do you really want a pilot flying our plane in a sky he doesn’t believe in? Florida’s Climate Denial Could Cause Catastrophic Recession Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) has made Florida the punchline for countless jokes since we learned in early March he barred state officials from using the term “climate change.” As Jon Stewart joked last week holding a copy of “Roget’s Denial Thesaurus,” Florida is headed toward “statewide jacuzzification,” and “It appears by 2020, Miami will be involved in a surprise pool party.” But the joke is on all of us: Florida has led the way in all but ignoring the growing twin threats created by human-caused climate change — sea level rise and superstorm surge — thereby creating a trillion-dollar real-estate bubble in coastal property. When the next superstorm like Katrina or Sandy makes its target Florida and bursts that bubble, the state can declare bankruptcy. So too could some insurance companies. But taxpayers — you and I — will get the several hundred billion dollar bailout bill.(March 30, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/31/2015 - The 2016 US presidential election should be a referendum, or rather an end, to the politicization of Climate Change. It’s hard to believe at this late date that the US still considers putting a climate denier into office. If the US public votes against science and for an anti-reality ideology in the next presidential election, this will seriously hamper our ability to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. US politics has so devolved that we are at the mercy of those who would take us down with them to keep their ideology alive. And we are so used to this delusionary state of US politics that we think it is normal to give those with enough power and money to present any ideology of theirs to run our country—even if that ideology is an anathema to life itself. We think it more normal now to consider voting for a party that has backed itself into an impossible position against science, than deciding which candidate can best serve our own best interests—which includes Life (all life, even for future beings), liberty (all liberty), and the possibility of pursing Happiness for all. Ted Cruz embodies Republican climate change dilemma Candidate Ted Cruz’s comment likening climate change activists to ‘flat-Earthers’ begins election in which scientists suggest issue may receive much higher billing than before (March 27, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/30/2014 - Considering that that the Northeast has already experienced a 71% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events from 1958 to 2012, we had better find a freaking way to fund these wastewater infrastructure updates. map [See Figure 2.18: Observed Change in Very Heavy Precipitation] Raw sewage for drinking water will wake us up for the need to plan for Climate Change, but by then it will be very nasty and difficult to fix because a lot of other consequences will be going on. Climate Change is about planning. Maybe our economists can figure out a way to make their economic system work in a way we can plan for Climate Change. If not, the economic system needs some serious reality checking. Why aren’t we having this conversation about infrastructure updates and Climate Change? Why it is so unfashionable still in the Rochester area to connect the dots with extreme weather, our infrastructure, and Climate Change? Time passes. New York State Exposed: Underground water infrastructure Out of sight, out of mind. That saying could best describe our underground water infrastructure. You don't think about it until it isn't working and more and more frequently, problems are arising. New York's sewer lines and water mains are old and deteriorating. Many groups are sounding the alarm that an infusion of money is needed now to avoid major problems down the road. A report by the state DEC found that $36-billion is needed over the next 20 years to address the state's wastewater infrastructure needs. (March 30, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]
3/30/2015 - As for soil, I’m reading Dr. Wolfe’s “Tales From The Underground: A Natural History Of Subterranean Life.” It’s really really important. If our soil is going to be dramatically affected by Climate Change (think more erosion, more floods, more droughts), then we had better turn our attention to those environmental processes that are so critical to life. So, Dr. Wolfe is a major climate scientist for Northeast (contributing to several major climate reports for our region) and teaches at the School of Integrative Plant Science Horticulture Section. We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it War, pestilence, even climate change, are trifles by comparison. Destroy the soil and we all starve Imagine a wonderful world, a planet on which there was no threat of climate breakdown, no loss of freshwater, no antibiotic resistance, no obesity crisis, no terrorism, no war. Surely, then, we would be out of major danger? Sorry. Even if everything else were miraculously fixed, we’re finished if we don’t address an issue considered so marginal and irrelevant that you can go for months without seeing it in a newspaper. It’s literally and – it seems – metaphorically, beneath us. To judge by its absence from the media, most journalists consider it unworthy of consideration. But all human life depends on it. We knew this long ago, but somehow it has been forgotten. As a Sanskrit text written in about 1500BC noted: “Upon this handful of soil our survival depends. Husband it and it will grow our food, our fuel and our shelter and surround us with beauty. Abuse it and the soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it.” (March 25, 2015) The Guardian [more on Plants in our area]
3/30/2015 - However, in Rochester, NY media we don’t have a ‘hope gap’ on Climate Change; we have an ‘existence gap.’ We’d be happy just to see Climate Change just mentioned once in a while. In Rochester’s media we don’t mention it, discuss it, or acknowledge it. The world is getting warmer and folks are taking responsibility and taking action all over the world, but in Rochester it’s still unfashionable to speak the name of Climate Change. I suspect this denial will catch up with us. Media Contributing to ‘Hope Gap’ on Climate Change News cycles tend to be dominated by horror and carnage — a recipe for depression that spills into climate change coverage, fueling what some experts call a ‘hope gap’ that can lead people to fret about global warming but feel powerless to do anything about it. The latest evidence that media outlets deem the myriad problems posed by climate change more newsworthy than solutions to it was contained in a study published this week in Nature Climate Change. (March 28, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/30/2015 - Some countries (even developing countries) are taking pledges for reducing GHG emissions for COP21 very seriously. Why not others? Mexico Announces Ambitious Climate Target White House praises commitment that surpasses China's and could motivate other developing nations on the road to Paris climate talks. Mexico promised on Friday that its emissions of greenhouse gases will peak by 2026 and then begin to decline, making it the first developing country to present a formal climate pledge under a United Nations process that is meant to rope in all the world’s nations, rich and poor. (March 27, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/28/2015 - One of the reasons to focus on Bicycles in Rochester, NY is an adaptation strategy for Climate Change. And, of course, the massive health and economic benefits. Here’s what you get when you include bicycles in our transportation system: “Making 50% of short trips by bicycle would yield savings of approximately $3.8 billion/year from avoided mortality and reduced health care costs (95% CI: $2.7 billion, $5.0 billion].” (November 2, 2011 Air quality and exercise-related health benefits from reduced car travel in the midwestern United States, published by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) . Art and bikes collide at RoCo Art Center Rochester Contemporary Art Center's latest exhibit was eight years in the making — if you add in wishful thinking. That's how long executive director and curator Bleu Cease has wanted to bring together historical, contemporary and forward-looking ideas about the region's bicycling and bike culture. "Ride It: Art and Bicycles in Rochester" is the result. From April 3 to May 15, the exhibition links that culture with documentary photography, paintings, advocacy efforts, historical displays and short films. There have been a number of topical exhibitions at RoCo over the years (about labor and employment, food and consumption), but this is the first time so many organizations — groups such as the Rochester Public Library, the Genesee Center for Arts & Education, and the University of Rochester Rare Books Library — have been contributors. (March 27, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]
3/28/2015 - How can you produce a community report card on education, children, the economy, health and housing without including environment and Climate Change? ACT Rochester’s past decision to remove ‘environment’ in their reports is delusional, especially as Climate Change has already effected our region and will increasingly affect all the major issues in our region (and every other region for that matter). Please consider asking our friends over at ACT Rochester to put ENVIRONMENT back into their data sets so we can have a realistic report card and plan our future so all are other issues aren’t overwhelmed by the mother of all problems. There is no excuse that there aren’t Climate Change Indicators to measure and provide data for—Just ask the EPA “Climate Change Indicators in the United States” | ACT Rochester Presents 4th Community Report Card ACT Rochester presented its fourth community report card Friday showing our nine-county region doing well or better than New York State in areas of education, children, the economy, health and housing. (March 27, 2015) Time Warner Cable News [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/28/2015 - The Biggest Story in the World. Are you listening in on The Guardian’s attempt to change journalism on Climate Change? The story on journalism is not how they are going to pander to corporate interests in order to survive; the story of journalism is how they are going to shift to report on a world that is warming, a world where the public needs to be thoroughly informed on the biggest story in the world. How is our local media changing in light of the mother of all problems? The biggest story in the world "Behind the scenes at the Guardian, the editor in chief Alan Rusbridger and his team reveal a newspaper's mission to save the world from climate change. Can they find a new narrative to tell a 20 year-old story? And what will they risk in their efforts to do so?" The Guardian
3/28/2015 - Recycling apples and oranges. What can we learn from comparing Buffalo’s and Rochester’s recycling rates? If we don’t have standardized ways to measure the recycling rates from community to community, and on up to state to state, country to country, what do our measurements mean? If we can inflate our recycling rates by throwing in all kinds of recycling, as Buffalo has, how can the public possibly be able to measure the worth of their efforts or evaluate the effectiveness of their local recycling programs? According to the Investigative Post, the recycling rate was 11.3% last year for Buffalo and the national average is 25%. According to the D&C: “Available information shows 117,000 tons of waste, or 16 percent of all the solid waste generated at homes, businesses and institutions, is now recycled or composted annually. And, based on the Monroe County solid waste plan “Based on the best, but limited, NYSDEC data available for the year 2010, it is estimated that approximately 27% of the waste generated in the County was diverted from disposal via recycling and composting efforts. ” --”For MSW, the future planning projections call for an increase from 20% to 60% diversion over the ten (10) year planning period. ” Are we trying to measure apples and oranges? Why aren’t we standardizing recycling rates so the public knows what’s going on and why doesn’t our media continually watchdog this issue for every community like the Investigative Post does? City Hall inflating Buffalo’s recycling rate Mayor Byron Brown’s administration has found a new way to inflate the city’s recycling rate by counting clothing donations given to nonprofits such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army. By taking credit for clothing donations – some 4,800 tons last year – the Brown administration is expanding on a practice started in 2013 of counting materials the city does not collect and which state and federal authorities discourage localities from including when calculating recycling rates. Brown, by including these materials, has claimed an ever increasing recycling rate. But data obtained by Investigative Post shows the city’s curbside recycling rate has plateaued at about 11.3 percent – well below the national average of about 25 percent. (March 23, 2015) Investigative Post [more on Recycling in our area]
3/28/2015 - What if NYS communities, one by one, just said Yes! to our environment: started banning Bomb Trains, banning single-use plastic bag, and more… What if ‘green issues’ were no longer viewed as specialty issues, but reality? Of course, because Americans will do the right thing after everything fails, we will align our concerns with reality, but will it be in enough time to actually matter? County Committee to Draft Call for Action on ‘Bomb’ Trains With Philipstown residents urging it on, a Putnam County legislative committee last week threw its unofficial support behind environmental efforts on three major issues — trains that carry volatile fuel oil along the Hudson River, the proposed Algonquin gas pipeline, and PCBs in the Hudson and adjacent waterways — and began considering a fourth, a ban on plastic shopping bags. Meeting Wednesday night (Feb. 11) at the county office building in Carmel, the Health, Social Educational and Environmental Committee (Health-Environment Committee, for short), joined by several other members of the nine-person legislature, agreed to prepare resolutions expressing county concern about the hazards associated with the oil trains, which currently run on the Hudson’s western shore, and a thorough cleanup of PCB pollution in and near the Hudson River. (February 17, 2015) PhilipsonTown.info [More on Energy in our area]
3/28/2015 - Deadline looming for pledges on reducing greenhouse gas levels for COP21 Paris Treaty. Will humanity step up to the plate? Or, will we fail ourselves and all other animals and plants on Earth? Some countries (and many people, I suspect) don’t recognize this looming deadline. How wonderful for them. Time passes. US set for Paris climate pledge as UN deadline draws near Washington primed to outline scale of carbon cuts but other developed countries and emerging economies stay silent Developed countries have less than 48 hours to meet a deadline to reveal what levels of greenhouse gas reductions they would be willing to accept under a UN deal. The submissions are seen as a critical step on the path towards a universal carbon cutting treaty, due to be signed off in Paris this December. So far only the EU’s 28 member states, Switzerland, Mexico and Norway have released their figures, which account for around 13% of annual emissions. The US will “definitely” deliver its goal on Monday or Tuesday, Jake Schmidt at the Washington DC-based National Defense Resources Council told RTCC. It is likely to confirm its intention to slash emissions 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2025, as revealed in the US-China climate announcement last November. (March 27, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/27/2015 - The state of NYS energy options during Climate Change: Fracking ban, bomb trains increasing across our state on rails, massive gas storage that locals don’t want, some renewable energy, some divestment, and a major fossil fuel pipeline (NED) proposed through our state that the local don’t want. So, in a time when energy use equals a moral imperative on Climate Change, New York is still getting seriously bullied by the fossil fuel industry’s that hampers our ability to be good—to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. Time passes. WATCH: Stephentown residents say 'no' to NED pipeline The meeting room at the Stephentown Volunteer Fire Hall was filled to capacity for a public hearing about the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project. The proposed gas line would pump highly pressured natural gas, fracked in Pennsylvania, through large pipes buried a few feet underground through Stephentown and into Massachusetts. One by one town residents got up and told board members in no uncertain terms that they were against the Texas based company Kinder Morgan expanding the capacity of the interstate Tennessee pipeline through their community. (March 26, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area]
3/27/2015 - Find out about “Green Visions” an incredible Rochester Greentopia program for greening up our neighborhoods. Green Visions: “Employing both localized workforce development and phyto-remediation, the program helps foster healthy community in the JOSANA neighborhood of Rochester, NY. Green Visions is a two-part community-based program based on a vision for a more vibrant and flourishing Rochester. It is a workforce development program AND phytoremediation project in the City of Rochester’s JOSANA neighborhood. Together with neighbors, we install and cultivate flourishing gardens of flowers on once-vacant and decaying lots.” http://greentopia.org/green-visions/
3/27/2015 - One of the Climate Change adaptation strategies for wildlife are environmental corridors so animals can migrate. But animals cannot read. Environmental corridors are already a part of our climate plans to help wildlife move across our grid of highways and roads in order to seek a climate where they can survive. The problem is that we treat animals as roadkill when it comes to transportation, which is to say we give only passing attention to the complex problem of wildlife trying to adapt when their environment is fenced in by our transportation system. And our wildlife are One with our environment, our life support system, so roadkill is not just about them—it’s about us. When you read our climate studies, we know about this problem of wildlife and transportation, but we not addressing this at all in the real world. ‘If you build it they will come’ fails for turtle crossings It’s really too bad that turtles can’t read. If they did, it would make saving them so much easier. When people create an ecopassage so the reptiles can safely cross a road by going underneath or over it, they could let the animals know with little signs saying “Don’t become roadkill! Safe crossing, left 20 meters.” Instead, we have to rely on fencing to keep the turtles and snakes off roads, which is a good idea because 98 percent or more of turtles are killed in their first attempt at a road crossing. But the reliance on fences may be a problem, a new study shows. When there aren’t effective fences to keep the reptiles out, they don’t use the ecopassages, James Baxter-Gilbert of Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, and colleagues report March 25 in PLOS ONE. (March 25, 2015) Science News [more on Wildlife and Transportation in our area]
3/27/2015 - What countries are doing their part to make the COP21 Paris Climate Treaty a success? See the just-launched CAIT Paris Contributions Map and keep checking back. With new tools like this we can verify the promises made to see if we are actually addressing Climate Change—or just talking the talk. Tracking New Climate Action Plans in the Lead-Up to COP 21 in Paris During the coming months, countries around the world are expected to release details about the climate action plans they intend to implement after 2020. Known asintended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), these plans will form the basis of a new international climate change agreement, set to be finalized during a high-level climate summit in Paris in December (COP 21). Today, WRI is launching its CAIT Paris Contributions Map, a new tool on the CAIT Climate Data Explorer, for tracking and analyzing these INDCs. (March 26, 2015) World Resources Institute [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/27/2015 - Low oil prices are an opportunity to install a carbon tax, divest, and increase renewable energy—not squeeze Earth dry of its fossil fuels and screw up the planet further. Watch Naomi Klein’s short video. Naomi Klein: Shock of Oil Price Plunge Is Opportunity World Must Seize Riffing on key ideas from her last two books, Canadian author argues time is perfect to employ "shock doctrine" for good by using climate change as opportunity to "change everything" about our economy and energy systems As part of the Guardian newspaper's recently launched "keep it in the ground" campaign, Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein appears in a new video on Wednesday in which she argues the current moment is ripe for the world to take advantage of the dramatic drop in global oil prices by kicking the fossil fuel industry "while it's down." (March 25, 2015) Common Dreams [More on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
3/26/2015 - If the hours at eco-park have been reduced it’s because an astonishly few folks have been using this critical county recycling facility. At a meeting a few years ago, I heard that only 1% of county residents are using this facility, probably one of the best public recycling centers around, so it’s probable that the county would have to reduce hours and remove staff. But here’s the thing: If the public is not using eco-park, where are they taking their hazardous waste? Where are they taking those hard to recycle items that need to be prevented from going into our landfills? Is it really the case that the vast majority of our county residents are not using this critical facility because they are too freaking lazy to make an appointment and driver over to this place to recycling and disposed of hazardous materials safely? Americans have become very dismissive about our environment, our life support system. [See "Americans Don’t Care That Much About the Environment, Poll Shows" Eco-park is the one thing that our county is doing absolutely right about our environment and the public should take advantage of this voluntary way to dispose of their stuff correctly. Remember: At some point in time, when our environment gets really unhealthy, the voluntary component of recycling will disappear from recycling (as it has in many places) and then we’ll carp about Big Government telling us what to do. There are recycling companies who are having a hard time getting going in Monroe County because folks just don’t care, so they work from here and recycle elsewhere. How sane is that? Humans, ya gotta laugh. [Full disclosure: I am the former chair of the Rochester Sierra Club’s Zero Waste Committee] Monroe County Enhances Ecopark Recycling Monroe County is expanding hours and services at its ecopark. That's a facility near the Rochester Airport that accepts a number of types of items for recycling, and it's open to all county residents. County Executive Maggie Brooks says they specialize in handling those difficult to dispose of items. “It’s not just what you’re putting in your bins at the curb, at home; clothing dropped off here is given to Goodwill, old cell phones are provided to a program called 'Cellphones for Soliders', computers and monitors are recycled here.” (March 25, 2015) WXXI News [more on Recycling in our area]
3/26/2015 - Hard to throw you fellow citizens in jail when they are putting their comfort zone on the line to protect your environment. Our region needs a healthy environment and a safe renewable energy infrastructure, not a freaking massive gas storage infrastructure on the shores of the Finger Lakes. It would be nice if our state (and all the others states for that matter) began restructuring our environment so that it will be sustainable—even through Climate Change—so that these heroes didn’t have to take on the threat of jail for all of us. No one prospers in an environment that is unsustainable. Reading court dismisses cases READING--In three hearings held Wednesday, March 18 in the town of Reading court, Judge Raymond Berry granted a motion to dismiss all charges "in the interests of justice" brought by 42 Seneca Lake protesters. All had been arrested as part of a sustained civil disobedience campaign at the gates of Crestwood Midstream. The campaign, "We Are Seneca Lake," opposes the expansion of gas storage in abandoned lakeside salt caverns owned by Crestwood. (March 24, 2015) Observer-Review.com [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
3/26/2015 - Americans don’t think that much about our environment because they mistakenly believe that have the luxury to do so. Our environment is our life support system. When you cannot breathe the air, drink the water, or adapt to the Climate Change, you don’t get to do the things you want to do. When other folks in other countries cannot adapt to a break down in our life support system, Americans and those others in developed nations, will find their demise coming quickly on the heels of the less fortunate. With Climate Change we are at a moral and physical crisis and our media and our politics are treating us like the pampered privileged. Americans Don’t Care That Much About the Environment, Poll Shows Americans concerns near record lows Americans care less about environmental issues now than they have in the past—and they’re no more worried about global warming than they were decades ago, a new poll shows. The Gallup survey released on Wednesday shows Americans were more concerned about the environment in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but interested dropped off in the early 2000s. Since then it’s remained close to historic lows. And when it comes to global warming specifically, Americans are no more worried now than they were in 1989. (March 25, 2015) Time
3/26/2015 - Remember, without a robust Green Climate Fund (where developing nation can develop sustainably) there won’t be a successful COP21. The developed nations have a moral imperative and self-interest in making sure this fund can sufficiently aid developing nations prosper in a world where the developed nations have already used up their fair share of the carbon budget. Green Climate Fund names 7 intermediaries to channel cash National bodies in Senegal and Peru, non-profit investors Acumen and the Pacific’s SPREP approved to disburse funds The UN’s flagship climate finance initiative has named seven intermediaries to channel cash to projects in poor countries. At around 0130 in Songdo, South Korea, the Green Climate Fund board approved Pacific island fund SPREP and national entities based in Senegal and Peru. (March 26, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/26/2015 - The weakening of the AMOC, ”one of the planet’s most important circulation systems”, sounds like Climate Change is giving Earth a heart attack. The more we find out about how Climate Change is affecting our life support system the more we realize how little we know about how much damage we have done. Fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a rough ride, maybe our last. Atlantic Circulation Weaker Than In Last Thousand Years A sweeping ocean conveyor system that ushers warm tropical waters into the North Atlantic appears to have partly recovered from a near-collapse around the time that the Beatles were breaking up, but the system remains weaker than it had been since before humans figured out how to write modern music on a page. Powerful Atlantic Ocean currents fuel Gulf streams, affect sea levels, warm cities in continental Europe and North America, and bring nutrients up from ocean depths that help sustain marine ecosystems and fisheries. But an avalanche of cold water from the melting Greenland ice sheet appears to be slowing the ocean circulation to levels not experienced in more than 1,000 years. (March 23, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/25/2015 - This “As communities develop and climate patterns shift…” is official code for ‘Plan for Climate Change’. Preparing our water infrastructure for Climate Change is going to take a lot more than handouts from the government, it’s going to take all hands on deck and local leadership —especially on informing the public what is at stake. EPA Provides New York State $197 Million for Clean Water Projects The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has allotted $197 million to New York State to help finance improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment. The funds will be used to finance water quality protection and drinking water projects that will last far into the future. “This funding will improve water quality and protect drinking water across New York,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "Clean drinking water and proper wastewater treatment are fundamental to protecting people’s health, but aging water infrastructure needs to be upgraded and repaired. EPA’s funding helps New York to continue its program to invest in drinking water and wastewater systems and protect people’s health.” (March 19, 2015) EPA Region 2 Press Releases [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]
3/25/2015 - Looks like industry’s claim that the public supports massive gas storage at Seneca Lake is playing naughty with the truth. Get real, the local public around Seneca Lake, the wineries, businesses, tourism industry, health experts, are dead set against the massive storage of explosive greenhouse gas near the Finger Lakes, especially in a time of Climate Change, where we need to build up an infrastructure of clean energy, not hijack opportunity by establishing an infrastructure for more fossil fuels. Good grief, when are we going to start acting like Climate Change is the mother of all problems instead of business as usual? Questions Over Portrayal Of Support For LPG Facility Near Seneca Lake Opponents of a liquid propane gas facility near Seneca Lake say that the company behind the project is misrepresenting its support. Crestwood Midstream from Texas wants to expand the facility to store propane gas in the underground salt caverns. Opponents argue it’s a risk to the water supply and the environment. (March 25, 2015) WXXI News [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
3/25/2015 - How are we going to protect the greatest fresh water system in the world from Climate Change when we aren’t taking care of it now? One of the great problems with Climate Change is that we not only have to address this warming, we have to address all the other problems we have caused to our ecosystems at the same time. Pivotal to the heath and prosperity of our Great Lakes region is the health of the Great Lakes itself and it ain’t very health. We need to get moving to protect our life support system in a very big way. Great Lakes are a ‘dumping ground for our toxic waste:’ report Canada is taking its vast freshwater resources for granted, wrecking them in the process, says a scathing new report. Titled Blue Betrayal, it also warns that climate change; industrial farming; melting glaciers; oil, gas and mineral extraction; and dumping of waste — sometimes toxic waste — into our waterways are all growing threats to our diminishing water supplies. The report, authored by Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, a non-governmental organization, accuses Ottawa of turning its back on water resources to advance the interests of the energy industry. "On both sides of the border, we continue to see the Great Lakes as a dumping ground for our toxic waste, and more recently, as a carbon corridor to transport tar sands bitumen, fracked gas and fracking wastewater," Barlow said on Monday, calling those the "most dangerous energy sources on Earth." (March 24, 2015) The Hamilton Spectator [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]
3/25/2015 - NestWatch an excellent opportunity for you to be a citizen scientist and help monitor the health of our environment You can help monitor baby birds for science Spring means Michiganders breaking out the shorts when it's above 40 degrees, grocery store aisles full of marshmallow bunnies, and itty-bitty baby birds. You can help keep an eye on those babies as part of the citizen science project NestWatch. It's a program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Cornell Lab has been monitoring nesting birds for 50 years, and more than 130 studies have relied on the data from NestWatch. Robyn Bailey is the project leader for NestWatch. She says anyone can become certified as a nest-watcher through the project website (although kids should always be supervised by an adult). (March 24, 2015) Michigan Radio
3/25/2015 - Important webinar coming up by DEC’s Climate Smart Communities on Transportation and GHG emission. Considering that “that transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse can emissions and is the second largest expense for US households. It is estimated that by 2045, the US population will increase by 70 million and vehicle miles travelled (VMTs) will increase by 23-27%.” we should be focusing on mitigating and adapting to Climate Change via our transportation system. In reality, we don’t even want to spend the money to maintain our existing system where our bridges and road are dangerously ill. See “Transportation Group Says 1/3 Of Rochester Area Roads In Poor Or Mediocre Condition”. We are so not working on Climate Change in a real way in our neck of the woods. If we cannot even maintain our existing transportation system, how are we going to get the public to understand the expensive changes to retrofit our transportation system as our climate get hotter and more erratic with more heavier precipitation? There are many things we could be doing on Transportation (as it accounts for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions) but we haven’t even begun to think about it and informing the public. Webinar: Reducing Community Transportation Emissions - April 9, 2015 Thursday, April 9, 2015 10:30 a.m. – Noon his webinar will examine ways communities can reduce their emissions from transportation through implementing transportation demand management (TDM) programs, traffic signal optimization, complete streets policies, providing electric vehicle charging stations and supporting and encouraging bike/pedestrian projects and car sharing programs. Alternative transportation options and operational practices that reduce VMTs will also be discussed. (See attached agenda) (March 24, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Transportation in our area]
3/25/2015 - This is horribly funny, a tongue-tied Florida official tries to pander to denier policy when confronted by the real world. A world where denying the reality of Climate Change, where planning is critical, is not merely pathetic, it is a clear and present danger to our lives. The public needs to get on the same page on Climate Change and never vote a Climate Change denier into office—because to do so is not in the public’s (no matter what political party they belong to) interests. Florida's unspeakable issue leaves climate change official tongue-tied Emergency chief says anything but phrase ‘banned’ by governor Fema to pull funding for states that refuse to address climate change The latest victim of Florida governor Rick Scott’s unwritten ban on state officials using the words “climate change” is his own disaster preparedness lieutenant, who stumbled through verbal gymnastics to avoid using the scientific term in a newly surfaced video. (March 23, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/25/2015 - In theory nuclear power would be a godsend for clean energy in a warming world; in practice it’s a nightmare. You cannot really talk about the advantages of nuclear power without talking about the potential and real danger this form of energy poses to our present and future. Climate Change is bad enough without the wreckage of a power option that allows no room for error. Some believe that we cannot mitigate or adapt to Climate Change without nuclear power, but this is a stance not a fact. We can change our ways, bring down our greenhouse gas levels and change how we use energy—instead of demanding that we have the same energy supply throughout Climate Change regardless. Amid rampant waste, Fukushima's frozen wall up in smoke More than a half-billion dollars (nearly 200 billion yen) of Japanese taxpayer money has been wasted in the struggle to contain and cleanup the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to a government audit. Japan’s Board of Audit reported that TEPCO, the company nominally in charge of the crippled facility, along with other construction and utility giants, had operated an insular and insufficiently transparent process that resulted in a lengthy list of massive expenditures on untested tactics and shoddy equipment. (March 24, 2015) Aljazeera America [more on Energy in our area]
3/25/2015 - If China thinks that Climate Change is going to have a “huge impact” on China, it will have a huge impact on all of us. Although, US politics tries to convince us Climate Change an ‘over there’ kind of problem, it’s a worldwide problem because that’s how climate works. How Climate Change is going to affect other countries is going to have a profound effect everyone and our news and information about how the world is affected by Climate Change should be important to us all. Top Beijing Scientist: China Faces 'Huge Impact' From Climate Change China's top weather scientist has made a rare official acknowledgement: climate change, he says, could have a "huge impact" on the country's crop yields and infrastructure. Zheng Guogang, the head of China's meteorological administration, tells Xinhua news agency that China is already experiencing temperature increases that outpace those in other parts of the world. As a result, China — the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases — faces a possible "ecological degradation," he says. "As the world warms, risks of climate change and climate disasters to China could become more grave," Zheng said. (March 22, 2015) NPR [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/24/2015 - Instead of focusing on clean energy during Climate Change, local media is still pissing & moaning about NY Fracking ban. Good grief. New York State’s movement towards clean renewable energy was completely hijacked for six long years by the media focusing on Fracking—a new way of drilling for old, polluting, greenhouse gas emitting energy in a time of Climate Change. How about the media calling up our public officials and asking our politicians what they are doing in our energy sector to address Climate Change, about more jobs that should come with that, and how our energy use is connected to the mother of all problems? Please, this is not about Fracking, this is about our moral energy choices in a time of Climate Change. Reed: NY could use U.S. fracking rules New federal regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands should compel Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reconsider New York's ban on the drilling method, Rep. Tom Reed said Monday. The Interior Department announced the final regulations Friday. "To see that Gov. Cuomo can't do in New York state what the Obama administration is doing on the federal level is amazing," Reed told reporters in a conference call. (March 23, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]
3/24/2015 - Of course, if the fish in the Great Lakes region are being drugged we probably are also. NYS gets more water from Great Lakes than any other state—by far. Presently, we cannot find it within ourselves to keep our very expensive Transportation system in repair (as many of our roads and bridges are in deplorable condition and nobody wants to pay) so what are we going to do about our wastewater treatment plants that were not designed to filter drugs (nor plastics for that matter)? I know, it’s overwhelming. But avoiding getting overwhelmed is why we need to address Climate Change that is the mother of all problems, where more extreme heavy precipitation events will put more untreated water back into our drinking water. Time passes. Hormone-mimickers widespread in Great Lakes region wastewater, waterways and fish. Larry Barber spent ten years testing water and fish in the Great Lakes region. But he wasn’t looking for the pollutants everyone’s heard of. Mercury … PCBs … these are still problems. But there’s a lesser-known class of contaminants, which have insidious and concerning health impacts on aquatic creatures. Barber, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, was looking for, and found, hormone-disrupting compounds – called alkylphenols - making it through wastewater treatment plants and contaminating rivers and fish in the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River regions. The compounds pervade the Great Lakes basin waterways that receive wastewater treatment plant effluent. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a large urban wastewater plant, a mid-size city wastewater plant or individual septic tanks,” Barber said. “These chemicals are present.” (March 23, 2015) Environmental Health news [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]
3/24/2015 - Climate Change will affect your health. What are your public officials doing to inform you? What are they doing to plan? Especially for heat waves that kill more folks over the long term than any other weather-related events. Climate Change is a Threat to Health: Heat-Related Illnesses As the average global temperature increases, heat waves will become more frequent, more intense, and longer-lasting. Exposure to extreme heat can have lethal consequences. Extreme or long-lasting heat can override the body's ability to cool itself by circulatory changes and sweating. The consequences may range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Severe cases of heat stroke may result in death. The heat wave that struck Europe in the summer of 2003 claimed the lives of more than 70,000 people especially those most vulnerable with chronic heart or lung disease. It was a tragic example of what may occur more frequently as global warming continues. If a heat wave of similar magnitude were to occur in the United Sates, heat-related deaths would surge to more than five times the current national average. Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)
3/24/2015 - So, ya gotta ask yourself, why would anyone in their right mind vote a climate denier into office? Like say, a president of a country? Are we going to spend our last years of precious time squandering it over asking ourselves whether anyone who is a climate denier should be voted into high office? The answer is simple: No. There’s no way we can adapt to and mitigate Climate Change with the person at the top dragging our feet. If a candidate cannot explain how they will address this (see below) then they should take up something else where reality isn’t such crucial factor. Climate Work Highlighted on World Meteorological Day The United Nations agency responsible for comprehensively tracking the planet’s weather and climate system has once again raised its voice to add to the chorus proclaiming the exceptional warmth that pervaded the planet as a whole last year, along with many particular regions and countries. A new report released Monday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) catalogues the record hot temperatures — hallmark events of a climate warmed by human activities — and other extreme weather events that pummeled places around the world last year. The report’s release and the events fall on World Meteorological Day, which marks the WMO’s founding. (March 23, 2015 Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/24/2015 - There was a little hope today. Costa Rica goes 75 days powered by 100% renewables For the last 75 days, Costa Rica has powered itself using only renewable energy sources. That means the Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015. Last week, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced that 100% of the country electricity came from renewables for the first 75 days of the year, as heavy rains boosted the country’s hydroelectric power plants. Wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy have also helped power the country (March 23, 20150 tcktcktck [more on Energy in our area]
3/23/2015 - This map [See Figure 2.18: Observed Change in Very Heavy Precipitation] by the National Climate Assessment (the US government) shows that the Northeast has experienced a 71% percent increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events from 1958 to 2012. In other words, this is the change we have already observed. This also means that our infrastructures—transportation, water, wastewater, telecommunications (think telephone poles)—our ability to grow traditional crops, and have clean water are already being challenged by Climate Change. Also, if your home insurance is not anticipating the increase in these very heavy precipitation events (think floods and lake-effect snow) many folks with either not be covered anymore or their insurance rates will go through the roof. This is why the public must see these maps and understand that dramatic Climate Change is already occurring in our region. We have to plan and the public needs to know why we have to plan so they’ll support these plans. This is not an issue that can be put off any more.
3/23/2015 - This is a map of the projected dominate forest change because of Climate Change for the Northeast by 2100. This looming dramatic change says volumes about the speed of change that is occurring right now in our environment—our life support system. It took hundreds of thousands of years to our forests to be the way that are to today. Maple, Beech, and Birch trees dominated our New York State forests in 1990. By 2100, the conditions that these trees need to have will only exist from Rochester to Buffalo in New York. If Climate Change is going to have this big a change to our forests, imagine the changes to our environment and our way of life. Climate Change is about preparing. Time passes.
3/23/2015 - And it matters that the public understands Climate Change because without their understanding and support there is no solution. If the public doesn’t understand Climate Change they are not going to vote in leaders who will make sure our infrastructures are being adapted to more extreme weather; they will not accept the changes that must come to live in a warmer world with wackier weather. Perhaps the reason that the public in the developed nations ignore Climate Change is because they think they can. But they cannot. We have thrown the climate of our world out of whack because of our use of burning fossil fuels for our way of life and the consequences of that concrete reality is catching up with us quickly. U.S. Is Laggard Among Developed Nations in Understanding Climate Change The Middle East, Africa, Russia, Commonwealth States and developing nations of Asia still trail America in understanding the threat of climate change For three decades, more than half of Americans have considered climate change a serious threat. Yet today, the U.S. still lags behind much of the rest of the developed world as understanding of global warming has become more widespread. That's one finding of a new analysis of dozens of international climate polls since the 1980s by researchers at Cardiff University in Wales. (March 23, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/21/2015 - Increasing public transportation in a time of Climate Change is a no-brainer. Our roads and bridges are in deep disrepair. Our existing Transportation system adds 27% of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere each year. More folks using public transportation will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and alleviate the pressure on our roads and bridges because folks won’t need to use their vehicles as often. Actually, increasing public transportation is already a major component of Climate Change adaptation in our region (and many others for that matter) so this issue should be framed as such, instead of a side-discussion about whether folks care about this or not. Because our government, the media, and our transportation authorities are reluctant to talk about Climate Chang at all, this critical topic (already baked into existing climate adaptation plans) of increasing public transportation to address Climate Change gets buried in budget constraints and personal transportation preferences. The dots between public transportation and Climate Change are not being connected. Time passes. The Push for More Funding for Transit Systems Supporters of public transportation are calling for more funding in the state budget. Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority CEO Bill Carpenter joined other advocates in pushing for an additional 25-million dollars for upstate operating assistance, and a capital investment for upstate and downstate transit systems of at least 100-million. (March 20, 2015) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]
3/21/2015 - Sewage is going to be a major threat as more extreme weather comes with Climate Change. Let’s get prepared. Here’s a great Fact Sheet from the DEC about making sure what happens to your ‘stuff’ after it is flushed and how to make sure it gets treated properly. I know, we don’t want to think about this stuff, but with Climate Change nipping at our heels, we’ve got to think about all our contacts with our life support system. I FLUSHED. NOW WHAT? DEC recently published a fact sheet for Sewage Pollution Right to Know. Download, print, and share this new, easy to view document that summarizes the SPRTK law and how DEC is using NY-Alert to implement the law. It also has information on how the public can sign up to receive sewage spill alerts, what they can do to prevent sewage spills, and links to online resources. The fact sheet is available on DEC's website here: Information about sewage pollution When you flush your toilet, where does waste go? What happens to water that goes down the drain after you wash dishes? In many communities, this water from homes and businesses (known as “wastewater” or “sewage”) goes through a wastewater treatment system that treats (cleans) the water before it is returned to a local river, lake or ocean. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
3/21/2015 - As I noodle through and write my book on Climate Change, one of the issues that intrigues me is humanity’s bifurcation of our ecologies—like what our Transportation system does to our environment. This is an amazingly honest study about the disruption our transportation system has probably inflicted on our environment and we’ve only begun to consider the implications. Check out this short study “Toward understanding the ecological impact of transportation corridors” by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. This article (below) covers the deforestation problems that carve up our forests, but think about how much our roads and highways have carved up our forests everywhere—especially as our flora and fauna need to adapt to warmer conditions by ‘moving’ to other regions. The world’s forests are fragmenting into tiny patches — risking mass extinctions Much of the Earth was once cloaked in vast forests, from the subarctic snowforests to the Amazon and Congo basins. As humankind colonised the far corners of our planet, we cleared large areas to harvest wood, make way for farmland, and build towns and cities. The loss of forest has wrought dramatic consequences for biodiversity and is the primary driver of the global extinction crisis. I work in Borneo where huge expanses of tropical forest are cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. The biological cost is the replacement of some 150 forest bird species with a few tens of farmland species. But forest is also frequently retained inside or at the edges of oil palm plantations, and this is a pattern that is replicated globally. (March 20, 2015) Raw Story [more on Plants in our area]
3/21/2014 - Last evening at the Greentopia Film Festival, I watched an incredible documentary—“Seeds of Time”--about protecting the genetic diversity of our agricultural seeds in a time of agricultural industrialization and Climate Change. Protecting the biodiversity of our seeds as a way to protecting our food chain from the changes coming with more pests, more droughts, more CO2, more heat, and less diversity is going to be (and already is) a major challenge. I learned a lot about this issue from this amazingly beautiful and elegantly presented film. This issue is critical in understand the links between Food and Climate Change. Go here for showings or buying the film yourself: Seeds of Time "A perfect storm is brewing as agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler races against time to protect the future of our food. Seed banks around the world are crumbling, crop failures are producing starvation and rioting, and the accelerating effects of climate change are affecting farmers globally. Communities of indigenous Peruvian farmers are already suffering those effects, as they try desperately to save over 1,500 varieties of native potato in their fields. But with little time to waste, both Fowler and the farmers embark on passionate and personal journeys that may save the one resource we cannot live without: our seeds. "
3/21/2015 - Regardless of how much the GOP has gotten their knickers in a twist over new rules on Fracking in our public lands, Fracking should not be allowed there anyway. The whole point of our designated public lands is to give them a break from human development and interference. What could be more interfering than drilling for more fossil fuels? The U.S. Just Got New Environmental Rules For Fracking, And Republicans Are Freaking Out On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its final version of rules governing the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on America’s public lands. Under the rules, companies that want to frack on lands like national parks and forests would have to comply with stronger standards to protect the environment. Republicans and the oil industry are not happy about this. So unhappy, in fact, they’ve already taken up drastic measures to stop the rule. According to Politico, 27 Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to block them, and two oil industry groups have filed a lawsuit to nullify them. (March 20, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Fracking in our area]
3/20/2015 - It’s absurd to have to explain to the public why our transportation system has to be properly maintained. Humans, ya gotta laugh. Not only will it cost more later if we don’t repair our roads and bridges NOW!, people will die in the meantime from potholes, and lousy roads and bridges. We haven’t even begun the conversation about the how and the expense of retrofitting our transportation system to the extreme heat and extreme weather of Climate Change. We cannot even maintain the roads and bridges we have. This is really crazy folks. Here’s that report about state of our system: CONDITIONS AND SAFETY OF NEW YORK’S ROADS AND BRIDGES MARCH 2015 from TRIP, a national transportation research group Transportation Group Says 1/3 Of Rochester Area Roads In Poor Or Mediocre Condition A transportation organization that pushes for more money for roads and bridges says that the Rochester area's infrastructure needs a lot of work. The group called "TRIP," consists of people involved in the highway and construction industry, related unions and other organizations. But its director of Research and Policy, Rocky Moretti, says they pull their data from information available from state and local governments. (March 15, 2015) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]
3/20/2015 - ACTION: Who in their right mind wouldn't want their food properly labeled? Let your state legislators that Yeah! it freaking matters that you know what you're freaking eating. GMO labeling: Let’s do this, New York! Last year time ran out in the NY Legislature to pass GMO labeling. Let’s not let that happen again! Tell your state legislators that you want genetically engineered food sold in New York to be labeled – so you can make an informed choice. If enough New Yorkers speak out now, before the powerful biotech and grocery lobbyists swarm Albany, we can gain the upperhand in this important consumer battle. from NotInMyfood.org
3/20/2015 - Transporting volatile crude oil across New York State in larger and larger amounts and more ‘accidents’ occurring more often are under reported in our state. Learn more about this present threat to our safety and developing another fossil fuel infrastructure in our state when we should be creating a renewable energy structure. Find out more and attend this meeting: "Ban the Bomb Trains: WNY Drilling Defense Meeting Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 6 p.m. Crane Branch Library (Upstairs) - 633 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo Every week trains loaded with volatile crude oil “fracked” in North Dakota's Bakken shale travel through Buffalo and Erie County. With very little public awareness and no study of environmental impacts, the gas & oil industry has made our region a dangerous hub for highly flammable oil using these “bomb trains.” Rail lines snake from the oil fields of North Dakota through Buffalo and to refineries on both coasts. The rail system was never built for this kind of dangerous cargo, yet these trains travel through population centers and next to schools, homes, and businesses. Rail safety standards for crude oil are weak and emergency responders are not equipped or trained for accidents. Bakken crude oil carried by rail is more toxic and more volatile than conventional crude oil, and each car carries the explosive equivalent of 2 million sticks of dynamite. Crude oil is also more carbon intensive which further exacerbates climate disruption and extreme weather. According to the Wall Street Journal, Erie County sees about 27.5 trains weekly carrying Bakken crude oil. Oil trains are more than a mile-long with 100+ cars, which only concentrates the risk of an accident. This means that at least 2,750 cars full of crude oil travel through Buffalo and Erie County in a week, presenting an immediate danger to our public health and natural resources. Unfortunately, this issue does not seem to be going away, as oil train traffic has increased more than 4,000% in the last five years. This increase is largely due to the gas & oil industry's efforts to evade regulations and costs associated with building new pipelines to ship crude oil. What's worse is that the dangerous DOT-111 cars, which make up the majority of U.S. oil tanker trains, are defective and prone to puncture during derailments. It seems each month another city or town is facing a terrifying oil train derailment, poisoned drinking water, or a deadly explosion. One of the most tragic incidences was the explosion of crude oil cars in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec in 2013, which incinerated 47 people and destroyed the downtown area. The legally responsible parties declared bankruptcy and left the taxpayers to foot the bill. The same thing could happen here, to us, to our families and to our neighborhoods! Now is the time for us to get involved! This meeting is open to all! More information on Crude oil trains: http://www.scribd.com/doc/256565630/Ban-The-Bomb-Trains-Traveling-Through-Buffalo-Erie-County#scribd www.explosive-crude-by-rail.org www.projects.propublica.org/graphics/oil-trains www.wsj.com/articles/oil-trains-hide-in-plain-sight-1417663983 www.priceofoil.org/rail/ Help spread the word by RSVP-ing on Facebook & inviting friends! https://www.facebook.com/events/627029894095975/ "
3/20/2015 - UN March 31 deadline coming for carbon cutting commitments. US’s and China’s pledges will matter. But does theirs and all the other commitments add up to sustainable level of greenhouse gas concentrations? Climate Change solutions include a lot of politics but at the end of the day science and math will matter more. If Nature isn’t in on the COP21 Paris Climate Treaty negotiations, the results of the treaty will be a dangerous delusion. US climate envoy hails special relationship with China Common ground growing between two superpowers, Todd Stern tells reporters after two-day meeting in Beijing US climate envoy Todd Stern has hailed the close relationship between Beijing and Washington days before the two countries are expected to reveal their contribution to a 2015 UN climate pact. Speaking in the Chinese capital after two days of talks, Stern told reporters there were growing areas of common ground between the two superpowers, which are responsible for just under 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. (March 20, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/20/2015 - Not only it is morally imperative for developed nations to contribute to the development of developing nations to compensate for damages due to the developing of developed nations, but helping developing nations develop sustainably, instead of the way developed nations developed, developed nations would be helping themselves by not making Climate Change worse. Study: rich nations could pledge US$2tn to tackle climate change in developing countries A new study shows developed nations could give up to $2 trillion (£1.35 trillion) each year until 2050 to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change without exceeding more than 2% of the GDP or the finance provided being prohibitive. The research conducted by the London School of Economic’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment used economic models to calculate the finance. The authors calculated how much money developed countries would need to transfer if the costs of cutting emissions to avoid dangerous climate change were based on GDP. (March 19, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/20/2015 - Time passes. Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low Winter Peak It’s official: When the sea ice that blankets the Arctic Ocean hit its yearly peak on Feb. 25, the maximum area was a record low. Warm temperatures in parts of the polar regions kept sea ice levels depressed, and also contributed to the winter peak occurring much earlier than usual, the National Snow & Ice Data Center announced Thursday. The maximum normally isn’t reached until early March, but was recorded about a week early this year, the NSIDC said. That low occurred on the backdrop of overall dwindling sea ice levels, fueled by global warming. (March 19, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/19/2015 - Warm and fuzzy DEC report on saving brook trout in Adirondacks with helicopters is pretty loony and delusional. First, although it makes for sexy news for our wildlife to be save by helicopters (very Hollywood), it doesn’t really matter to our wildlife if we fly in for liming remote lake to neutralize decades of acid rain or not. If the DEC were trucking this stuff in would it be still be news? Secondly, is the problem of Acid Rain (which has caused the loss of brook trout in our remote lakes) over? Did we fix that? Or is Acid Rain still a problem? Acid Rain was big news for a long time and it has disappeared from the news, but is that because we actually stopped it (by plugging up the smoke stacks west of New York)? Or do we have to continually lime our lakes and restock them in order for fish to survive because Acid Rain continues? If we have to do all this wildlife babysitting (liming and restocking) we do not have a sustainable fish population that keeps our lakes healthy. Of course, if we keep temporarily fixing the lake acidity and restock the fish continually fishing folks can still fish and money for the DEC can still come in from selling fishing licenses. BUT it is highly unlikely that our brook trout that will need cold water and less acidity and continual restock can thrive if we don’t plan for Climate Change. I know, fixing Acid Rain, and helping our Wildlife to adapt to Climate Change is not sexy, but it’s the name of the game. And there is much in this report that is missing about how our Wildlife will fare in New York State as our state warms far faster than any of its wildlife can adapt on their own. What is the DEC doing about Wildlife in the time of Climate Change? State Helicopters Assist In DEC Project To Reintroduce Brook Trout To Remote Adirondack Pond Transport of Lime Part of Effort to Mitigate Effects of Acid Rain and Create Hospitable Habitat for Brook Trout in Bear Pond As part a collaborative effort to mitigate the impact of acid rain and restore brook trout to the Adirondacks, state helicopters delivered 80 tons of lime to an acidified pond in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in the town of Webb, Herkimer County, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Judy Drabicki announced. On March 10, 12 and 13, approximately 40 DEC staff and New York State Police helicopter crews conducted the liming operation, which included 120 helicopter flights to transport 160,000 pounds of lime from a staging area near the boat launch at Stillwater Reservoir to Bear Pond. Crews deposited the lime on the ice at the pond and later spread it across the frozen surface. The liming of acidic lakes or ponds is a management tool used to neutralize the water's acidity and create water quality that is more favorable for fish and aquatic life. When the pond thaws this spring, the lime will enter the water and reduce its acidity level. (March 18, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [More on Wildlife in our area]
3/19/2015 - Seeing is believing, as they say, will convince some who doubt and deny Climate Change, but reading some climate studies would be good too. There are a lot of climate studies that make it crystal clear that Climate Change is happening, it’s going to get worse if we don’t act, that there are plans on how to act. Get the facts yourself and understand how they are supported by science and now accepted by your governmental agencies.
3/19/2015 - Breaking: The sun shines in Rochester, NY! (More than Germany actually.) Embrace solar power and get started here with this worthy cause: “ROC the SUN Solar Giveaway” Let’s give solar a freaking chance, instead of being a lapdog for fossil fuels. I’m not endorsing any one solar company ( I’ve never heard of Sustainable Energy Developments Inc.), but jeeze, helping to solarize housing for the homeless seems like an incredible way to demonstrate solar power’s power for good.
3/19/2015 - Got something very important to tell a very special person but don’t know how to say it? Here’s 13 steps to communicate Climate Change: COMMUNICATING ON CLIMATE 13 Steps and Guiding Principles. Not everyone is receptive to the fact that our climate is warming. It’s complicated. It’s POLITICIZED, it’s an opportunity to change live sustainably. And, it’s unavoidable. These folks specialize in helping delivering that very important message to very important people: ecoAmerica.
3/19/2015 - No Climate Change preparedness, no FEMA funds. Be a leader, not a mooch. Of course, if you don’t believe in Climate Change, you don’t need FEMA right? If you don’t believe that more extreme weather will come with more warming, business as usual should be OK and you shouldn’t need a bailout by the government. How long can states continue to ask for more federal funds for more disasters and not prepare for more disasters themselves and try to prevent these disasters from happening? How can states (like New Jersey) continuing to use federal funds to rebuild in places that will be continually hammered (think sea shore properties after Hurricane Sandy) more by Climate Change related extreme weather and have the luxury of not connecting the dots between extreme weather and Climate Change? How can you be a leader that does not believe in Climate Change in a state that isn’t preparing for Climate Change, but willing to receive federal funds for Climate Change disasters? That’s not a leader, it’s a mooch. FEMA to States: No Climate Planning, No Money Governors seeking billions of dollars in U.S. preparedness funds will have to sign off on plans to mitigate effects of climate change. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change. This may put several Republican governors who maintain the earth isn't warming due to human activities, or prefer to do nothing about it, into a political bind. Their position may block their states' access to hundreds of millions of dollars in FEMA funds. Over the past five years, the agency has awarded an average $1 billion a year in grants to states and territories for taking steps to mitigate the effects of disasters. (March 18, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/18/2015 - Let’s face it, even when properly inspected, even when they slow down, even when retrofitted, these oil Bomb Trains will never be safe. Check out one of the last disasters in West Virginia “West Virginia Begins Investigating Massive Train Derailment” Why does the public put up with these dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure schemes, which even if they did work safely, won’t provide enough jobs; they won’t be safe, they will warm the planet; and they will trash our ability to create a renewable, clean and safe energy infrastructure that will provide many jobs. Why do we continue to do the same thing expecting different results? Officials Find Safety Defects In Latest Oil Train Inspections Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the latest round of targeted crude oil tank car and rail inspections have uncovered 93 defects, including seven critical safety defects that required immediate corrective action. The inspections are the latest in a series of actions state agencies are taking to protect New Yorkers from potential dangers associated with the transport of crude oil by rail. (March 17, 2015) WXXI News
3/18/2015 - But what’s far more ‘disappointing’ is that too many of our politicians and media bemoan the lost fossil fuel schemes and fail to lead and inform on energy use in at time of Climate Change. For those media and politicians who have hitched their wagons to the use of more fossil fuels, the energy option that created Climate Change, the public will at some point turn away from them. New York State by banning Fracking has lifted the fossil fuel miasma so that we can think clearly about our energy options that don’t pollute and warm the planet more. There are a lot (really a lot) of renewable energy options and our New York politicians and media need to look forward, not backward technology, for jobs and a healthy environment. Rick Santorum: N.Y. fracking ban 'disappointing' Former Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said New York's decision to block hydraulic fracturing for natural gas is "disappointing," saying it has led to an economic boom in rural areas of his home state of Pennsylvania. Santorum, who has been weighing a 2016 presidential bid, was in Albany Tuesday to speak to a conference of church groups and conservatives hosted by New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and the New York Association of Christian Schools. (March 17, 20150 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]
3/18/2015 - Actually, there is another side to the gas storage issue at Seneca Lake and it’s not being reported on at all: Climate Change. The last thing our region needs is the massive (this is what those saying gas has been stored in this region for a long time don’t get, it’s a freaking massive increase) buildup of more fossil fuel infrastructure in a time of Climate Change. New York State is banning Fracking. We are increasing renewable energy by leaps and bounds. We are still under threat of a dramatic increase in Oil Bomb Trains that will never be sufficiently safe to rail through our cities. We are at a critical point in how we get energy in a time of Climate Change—that was caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Where is our media on connecting the dots to this crisis at Seneca Lake? Why can’t our local media frame this issue in the proper context—not as industry vs. the demonstrators--but as part of the dialogue on how we plan to use energy in the future and how that is tied to our future? When is our media going to wake up to a warming world? Gas storage expansion plans have support, company says Crestwood Midstream Partners cite approval by more than 1,000 Schuyler County residents; others still passionately opposed Wednesday marks the second anniversary of the first protest against gas storage expansion plans at Seneca Lake, but some say there's another side to the controversy. Supporters of a proposal to add liquefied petroleum gas storage in existing caverns on the lake's western shore say gas has been stored in the caverns safely for many years. But opponents continue to see a threat to their safety, health, drinking water supply and the economic sustainability of the region's hospitality industry. (March 17, 2015) Star Gazette [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
3/18/2015 - The COP21 Paris Climate Treaty cannot be a disaster, but it will connect weather disasters to Climate Change. As more and more of our leaders understand the increase in disasters caused by Climate Change and message that to the media, the more the media and the public will connect the dots. Let’s hope that by the time December comes around and COP21 begins our world leaders will have drowned out the deniers and convinced their constituents that we must act on a level and a time frame that will matter. Pacific nations to highlight Cyclone Pam in climate change talks Pacific Islands devastated by Cyclone Pam at the weekend will be using the disaster to drive home the need for a globally funded insurance pool to aid in the recovery from such events when they attend climate-change talks in Paris later this year. Ian Fry, the chief climate-change negotiator for the tiny island nation of Tuvalu, said the establishment of a permanent fund to help countries cope with the impact of climate-related disasters and other "slow-onset events" such as rising sea levels was a key goal for negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year. (March 17, 2015) The Sydney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/18/2015 - Once humanity starts treating Climate Change as a shared world disaster it’s more likely that we’ll begin acting like it. When we begin connecting the dots of extreme weather worldwide to the worldwide crisis of Climate Change in a way that not only informs, but warns of impending danger, more folks will appreciate this global threat. Climate Change is about planning. We must plan to adapt to a warmer world and we must plan to stop making Climate Change worse from our greenhouse gas emissions. World needs early warning of climate-linked disasters A leading French government minister says the number of natural disasters connected to climate change has doubled in two decades, and is urging a global early warning system. A senior French political leader, foreign minister Laurent Fabius, has told an international conference on how to reduce the risk from natural disasters that 70% of them are now linked to climate change, twice as many as twenty years ago. Mr. Fabius is the incoming president of this year’s round of negotiations by member states of the UN climate change convention, to take place in Paris in December. He said disaster risk reduction and the struggle against climate change went hand in hand: “It is necessary to tackle these problems together and not separately.” He was speaking against the background of two events which occurred thousands of miles apart on 14 March, linked by nothing except tragic coincidence. (March 15, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/18/2015 - Eventually, Climate Change denial with get out of US politics because the people will demand it, but in time? Obama: It’s ‘Disturbing’ That a Climate Change Denier Chairs Senate Environmental Committee President Barack Obama told Vice News in an interview released on Monday that it was “disturbing” that the chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works denied the existence of climate change. Obama was referring to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who threw a snowball on the Senate floor earlier this month to help make his case that climate change isn’t real. Even though Inhofe cited record low temperatures across the country as evidence that climate change was overplayed, the country has actually been experiencing a warmer than average winter. (March 17, 2015) Climate Desk [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/17/2015 - Even in water rich Rochester, NY we should stop wasting waste now. New York takes more water from Great Lakes than any other state by far. When you waste water—use what you don’t need, let leaking water faucets leak, etc,--that wasted water goes into our wastewater treatment system. Our region has a great big tunnel for waste water (and stormwater) overflows and that works fine, but when more frequent extreme rainfall events occur even this system can and will breach, putting raw sewage in the water we drink, fish, and bathe. Climate Change predictions predict more heavy flooding events and we should plan. Here’s where you can help: Creating rain gardens, using rain barrels, and stop wasting water can have a profound effect on keeping our water clean even in an area where we have a lot of fresh clean water. EPA Encourages Consumers to Save 1 Trillion Gallons of Wasted Water/ WaterSense Partners Celebrate Fix a Leak Week, March 16-22 Every year, more than one trillion gallons of water go down the drain because of household leaks. Leaks may increase a water bill by as much as 10 percent. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program encourages consumers to celebrate the seventh annual Fix a Leak Week, March 16-22, 2015, by finding and fixing water leaks in their homes. Annually, the average American family could be wasting more than 10,000 gallons of water — enough for 270 loads of laundry — due to easy-to-fix leaks. Since 2006 WaterSense has helped consumers save a cumulative 757 billion gallons of water and over $14.2 billion in water and energy bills. Here’s how to reduce water waste: (March 16, 2015) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) More on Water Quality in our area]
3/17/2015 - Does banning "Climate Change" and "Global Warming" in Florida have implications in Rochester, NY? Excellent discussion by experts. As I mentioned in my article this week-- Can Rochester journalism dare speak the name ‘Climate Change’?—the top-down hush on not saying ‘Climate Change’ has profound ripple effects though many areas: journalism, politics, and more… Connections: Banning "Climate Change" and "Global Warming" What are the implications of political leaders banning the terms "climate change" and "global warming?" Multiplereports out of Florida indicate that Governor Rick Scott has instructed state workers to stop using the terms in official state business. So what happens when leaders go beyond disbelief; what happens when they try to ban the terms when it comes to planning, business, the environment, etc? We ask our guests: Benjamin Deitchman, RIT public policy professor who researches and analyzes state-level climate and energy policy Lawrence Torcello, RIT ethics professor Suzanne Hunt, Hunt Green, LLC Joyce Hunt, Owner of Hunt Country Vineyards (March 16, 2015) WXXI Connections [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/17/2015 - As we move towards the COP21 Paris Climate Treaty we will make great strides towards addressing Climate Change and we must always ask, is it enough? Our GHG emissions must come down and our concentration of GHG in our atmosphere must come down to a livable level. However much we accomplish, it must add up to a real solution. Guardian petition for fossil fuel divestment receives 60,000 signatures The Keep it in the Ground campaign asks the Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation to divest their endowments from fossil fuels In less than 24 hours, more than 60,000 readers have joined a campaign on the Guardian’s website asking the world’s largest charitable foundations – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust – to divest their endowments from fossil fuels. It was, in the words of one reader, “a big day in civic journalism”. The Guardian’s website and front page have never looked quite like it, as oil dripped down where the news would normally be. (March 17, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/17/2015 - If coal is on its way out the door, please take oil and gas along, let renewables in, and then close the freaking door. We need to shift quickly to a form of energy that doesn’t pollute and warm up the planet. We have to say goodbye to fossil fuels. And we have to support developing countries so they can say goodbye to bad energy too. More coal plants are being cancelled than built The global coal boom has started to slow, a new report says, as more plans for new power plants are now being shelved than completed. The number of cancelled coal projects across the world has outstripped those completed at a rate of two to one since 2010, according to Sierra Club and CoalSwarm - two campaign groups that have tracked the progress of 3,900 intended plants since 1 January 2010. The findings update a 2012 report by the World Resources Institute, which estimated that 1,199 new coal-fired power plants, with a total capacity of 1,401 gigawatts, were in the pipeline for construction. New figures suggest that, by 2014, this had shrunk by 23% to a proposed 1,083 gigawatts of new coal-fired capacity. (March 16, 2015) The Carbon Brief [more on Energy in our area]
3/17/2015 - Florida governor banning “Climate Change” is like an airplane pilot telling passengers he decided to land them somewhere besides their destination. Imagine boarding a plane for Hawaii but your pilot doesn’t tell you he doesn’t believe that Hawaii exists, but he does believe that Alaska exists—and so he flies the plane to Alaska instead. So, you get off the plane in your summer stuff and it’s freaking freezing outside. Climate Change is about planning and if our leaders are planning for the right place, we’re screwed. As Gov. Scott Denies Ban, ‘Climate Change’ Order Reported at Other Agencies No one told Bart Bibler not to use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” during his six months on the job at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. (march 11, 2015) Florida Center for Investigative Reporting [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/17/2015 - A great big solar cap would look very nice on Rochester, NY. Energy from a massive solar arrays in cities like ours instead of our countryside would have very little impact on wildlife and our environment, as our cities have already done that. Cities Could Be Ideal for Utility-Scale Solar Plants But what if those solar power plants could be built in developed areas between or atop buildings and homes without having to impact the desert, many parts of which are environmentally sensitive? A Stanford University study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change says that can be achieved in many California’s cities, which are often overlooked as areas ideal for both utility-scale photovoltaic and concentrating solar power generations. The research looked developed land more efficiently by encouraging the construction of utility-scale solar development there rather than building large solar installations in environmentally sensitive undeveloped places. The study specifically modeled land-use efficiency for solar only in California because the state leads the U.S. in solar power generation. (March 16, 2015) Climate Central [more on Solar Power in our area]
3/16/2015 - I remember our efforts to stop that loony idea back in the day: “The county's 2001 plan initially called for the zoo to expand into the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed portion of the park.” Rochester needed a world-class zoo like a fish needs a bicycle. This new zoo idea seems less ambitious, but still why do we need zoos in the first place? They are a medieval entertainment frivolity that constantly needs to justify themselves in the modern world. When you take wildlife, those creatures who helped define their/our environment, and stick them in a zoo, they become mere living artifacts. What is a polar bear without the Arctic? Why are we trying to save species that will never be able to return to their environment because Climate Change is changing that environment, maybe forever? Why isn’t a nature program as educational as caging animals in prisons, where these creatures are totally out of their element? At least a nature program can connect the dots between wildlife and their environment in situ. Why don’t we put our efforts into saving the Arctic (which is disappearing very quickly) and many other environments around the world that are in extreme danger—which is to say ecologies that are integral parts of our life support system? Why can’t field conservation work be done via the DEC supported by tax dollars instead of the DEC getting funding by folks paying for licenses to kill and fish our wildlife? We are at a crucial point in saving wildlife, as Climate Change is changing our wildlife’s environment many times faster than they can adapt and the answer is not bigger and better zoos. Should tax dollars go to medieval torture chambers or for actually helping those creatures who defined our environment so they can continue to do so? Building a better zoo The Monroe County Parks Department is developing a new master plan -- a guide for development and growth -- for the Seneca Park Zoo. And this time, there will be no attempt to encroach into Seneca Park. "We don't need that headache," says county parks director Larry Staub. "We don't want it." The county's 2001 plan initially called for the zoo to expand into the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed portion of the park. But public outcry made the county change its mind. (March 13, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Wildlife in our area]
3/16/2015 - Today’s questing boys and girls: If I have five candy bars but I can only give you two, how many can you have? Ans: Five! Of course, you should have as many candy bars as you want—regardless. We have this great big transportation system that includes a zillion miles of roads and a lot of bridges (really a lot) and this infrastructure is getting old and needs to be repaired. But the public does not want to pay any more taxes to keep this great big system in repair (but you had better fix those darn pot holes!) not to mention that this infrastructure needs a lot of resiliency and robustness baked into it to adapt to Climate Change—as more heat and more extreme weather (think more flooding) are coming. Now, this dysfunctional attitude has led to widespread issues in transportation safety. When the obvious conclusion is pointed out that we may have to give up some bridges to keep folks safe our collective response is that we are going to do is not do anything but squabble. So what’s going to happen to a leader who says we not only have to raise your taxes to keep your transportation system safe, but even raise your taxes more to make it adaptable to Climate Change? That leader is going to get voted out of office. Not only have we not addressed Climate Change and transportation, we haven’t even addressed transportation. People, ya gotta laugh. Which bridges would you give up? Which roadway bridges might you be willing to give up in order to avoid spending additional money on fixes? Which ones could we give up and avoid creating traffic logjams and troubles for emergency service providers? Those are decisions local officials say we could face if more funds aren't devoted to maintaining and repairing this region's aging infrastructure. "We are woefully underfunded," said Mark Assini, Gates town supervisor. Last May, the Chili Avenue bridge over the Erie Canal in his town was shut down for emergency repairs when paint crews found structural damage that imperiled the span's integrity. "We have situations where many of our bridges are literally falling apart, and within the next two or three years may have to be shut down." (March 15, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]
3/16/2015 - Who is ALEC and why is he saying all those nasty things about addressing Climate Change? Find out about those thwarting your need to address the mother of all problems. Sen. Whitehouse Calls Out ALEC for Role in Funding Climate Deniers Despite the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in helping billionaires, Big Oil, Coal, Tobacco, the gun lobby and other dubious corporate interests to infiltrate our state lawmaking processes, it’s not every day you hear U.S. Senators name-drop ALEC during hearings. This week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took a swing at ALEC’s role in helping the fossil fuel lobby deny the science of climate change, during his weekly “Time to Wake Up” speech in the Senate. This comes at an interesting time, as climate denier Willie Soon has been exposed for promising “deliverables” in the form of Congressional influence to coal utility giant Southern Company, to billionaire Charles Koch and to ExxonMobil that paid for Dr. Soon’s climate denial “research.” (March 13, 2015) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/16/2015 - What if you were a scientist trying to put a man on the moon but several on your team were steering towards Krypton? And they keep having to explain to the public why the space ship keeps veering off course. As if climate scientist don’t have enough trouble explaining the rapidly growing knowledge of how our planet responds to more greenhouse gas emission, there are some scientists who have another agenda entirely—manufacturing doubt. Why science denial is about much more than corporate interests It’s not “An Inconvenient Truth” — yet. But for a movie focused on climate change, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Merchants of Doubt” — based on thewidely read book of the same name by historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, and directed by Robert Kenner (“Food, Inc.”) — is already generating a huge volume of discussion. It seems poised to become a must-watch film in the climate debate. The film, which opens today in Washington, D.C., explores a long history of challenges to the science behind a variety of environmental and public health risks. Smoking. CFCs. Acid rain. Climate change. In many cases, these challenges were linked to corporate interests – thus the tobacco industry, for many years, questioned the emerging science of smoking’s risks. (March 13, 2015) The Washington Post
3/16/2015 - I’m listening to the biggest story in the world by one of the biggest media in the world, finding their way forward to the next step in journalism. This is an interesting experiment by The Guardian: trying to reframe (or hone, or fix, or …) the message that Climate Change is the biggest story every by first convincing the public that the remaining fossil fuels must stay in the ground. The biggest story in the world podcast: Episode 1, Keep it in the ground Climate change is the biggest threat to humanity, yet journalism has struggled for two decades to tell a story that doesn't leave the public feeling disheartened and disengaged This podcast series lets you behind the scenes as the Guardian's editor in chief Alan Rusbridger and team set out to find a new narrative. Recording as we go, you'll hear what works, as well as our mistakes. Is there a new way to make the world care? (March 12, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/16/2015 - Businesses in order to stay in business must understand Climate Change challenges: energy, insurance, market disruptions, and more … How well prepared are businesses for climate change? The world is changing. The weather is becoming more volatile, with the number of extreme weather events on the rise. Climate change represents the new normal: the Earth is already showing the impacts of our actions, which will continue to become more visible. More and more businesses recognize what is at stake and are grappling with this ongoing change. Consumer goods company Unilever, for example, has estimated that extreme weather events, such as drought and flooding, cost it 200 million euros in 2011 alone. Supermarket chain Asda, meanwhile, has found that only 5% of its fresh produce supply is unaffected by climate change and that 370 million euros of value across its business is at risk. (March 5, 2015) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/14/2015 - Doesn’t seem like many folks in our area support a ban on single-use plastic bags, which is too bad because our environment cannot support them at all. Check this out: We could end up with 'as much plastic in our oceans as fish' So, yeah, this is kinda important. Plurality: No ban, tax on plastic bags The Westchester village of Hastings-on-Hudson recently became possibly the first New York municipality to ban both single-use plastic bags and foam food containers. Fully effective Feb. 1, the bans target these bags and containers because they do not biodegrade and are not easily recycled. Nearly half of respondents support neither a ban nor a tax for single-use plastic bags, while 49 percent of respondents favor a local law banning foam food containers. “While plastic molecules will remain as plastic particles in our environment for thousands of years,” the village notes on its website, “plastic bags are typically never used more than once before being discarded (average life-use of a plastic bag is 12 minutes). (March 13, 2015) Rochester Business Journal [more on Recycling in our area]
3/14/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: What weather-related event kills the most people over time? Ans: Heat Waves. And, as you probably guessed, more frequent and hotter heat waves are predicted to come with Climate Change. We ought to prepare. By 2050 some US cities will be hotter every year than their current record Projection from a digest of 39 different climate models shows cities including New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC will break their current hottest record every year, reports Mother Jones Within 35 years, even a cold year will be warmer than the hottest year on record, according to research published in Nature on Wednesday. The study, which used 39 climate models to make a single temperature index for places all over the world, estimates when major US cities’ average temperatures will never again dip below that of the hottest year in the past century and a half. As the chart below shows, that’s as early as 2043 for Phoenix and Honolulu, 2049 for San Francisco, and 2071 for Anchorage, Alaska. (March 12, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/14/2015 - As the March deadline for pledging for a successful COP21 approach will US do its part? Or will specter of a hostile Congress render US impotent? True “… a successful outcome of the UN climate summit; an effective, legally binding global climate change agreement with emission reduction commitments from all countries …” will be tough and the US Congress isn’t disposed to help US efforts to reduce GHG emissions. But who has more power—the US Congress or Mother Nature? I’m thinking if we continue to frame our existence as a battle AGAINST Mother Nature, instead of living WITH Mother Nature we’re screwed. The US must do its part and make the COP21 Paris treaty as success—regardless of the political hurdles (which are a human construct, not physics.) Europe submits UN climate pledges, calls on China and US to follow Last Friday, the European Union has submitted its formal promise on greenhouse gases cuts to the United Nations ahead of the climate change talks starting in December. As the first major economy to agree its position, the EU called on the US and China to follow its lead, in order to ensure a successful outcome of the UN climate summit; an effective, legally binding global climate change agreement with emission reduction commitments from all countries. “We expect China, the United States and the other G20 countries in particular to follow the European Union and submit their contributions by the end of March,” Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate and Energy, told reporters after a meeting of EU environment ministers in Brussels. (March 13, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/14/2015 - I wonder what the techno fix will be for pollination when the pollinators go extinct. Remember global pollination services are now provided by Wildlife and insects. A good portion of the food we eat needs to get pollinated. We could save the pollinators or learn to do an impossible complex job ourselves. Pollinating Birds, Mammals Falling Victim to Extinction It’s not just bees, the world is losing its pollinating birds and mammals, new research shows. More pollinating bird and mammal species are moving towards extinction than away from it, finds the first global assessment of trends in pollinators. About 90 percent of flowering plants are pollinated by animals and birds, and humans rely on many of these plant species for food, livestock forage, medicine and materials. (March 13, 2015) Environmental News Service (ENS) [more on plants and wildlife in our area]
3/14/2015 - Gonna be hard to increase renewable energy in states where the fossil fuel industry doesn’t like competition. States Reconsider Renewable Standards Many states have instituted Renewable Portfolio Standards, that require a proportion of energy needs be met by green power, rather than fossil fuels. But as the Clean Energy States Alliances’s Executive Director Warren Leon tells host Steve Curwood, despite better technology, public support and tax incentives, some states are looking to roll back their renewables policies. (March 6, 2015) Living On Earth [more on Solar Power in our area]
3/14/2015 - If true, stalled GHG emissions even during an economic rise could spell hope for COP21 Paris talks—where GHGs must come down. World carbon emissions stall after almost 40 years of gains: IEA Global emissions of carbon dioxide in the energy sector stalled in 2014, breaking steady rises over the past four decades except in years with an economic downturn, the International Energy Agency said on Friday. Emissions of carbon dioxide were flat at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014 from 2013, according to the IEA. "This is both a welcome surprise and a significant one," IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said in a statement. "This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today." (March 13, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/13/2015 - Greentopia Film Festival in Rochester NY coming March 17-21 with the theme of Sustainability. Greentopia Film Festival returns The Greentopia Film Festival returns to Rochester next week from March 17-21. The festival features a collection of films aimed to inspire changes that will lead the world to be more sustainable. (March 11, 2015) WHEC Rochester
3/13/2015 - Is our collective inability to stop the Asian Carp from getting into the Great Lakes a metaphor for Climate Change? Stopping a potential dangerous invasive species from getting into our Great Lakes’ ecology is relatively simple: keep a great big fish from swimming through a relatively narrow corridor in to the largest fresh water system in the world—and screwing it up. But mostly what we have done is explore a litany of excuses as to why we really won’t do the obvious. The same with Climate Change: Mostly we need to bring down greenhouse gas emissions so our environment can be sustainable: but instead of addressing this, we are doing everything but that. Excuses. Time passes. Asian Carp Swarm South of Chicago As Consensus on Permanent Solution Eludes Nation Bipartisan legislation proposed by Great Lakes lawmakers last month calls for interim measures to keep Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the lakes through Chicago. But steep price tags and disagreement among interest groups is blocking a long-term solution, according to lawmakers and regional organizations. The legislation, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, proposes to strengthen invasive species barriers at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River near Chicago. (March 11, 2015) Circle of Blue [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]
3/13/2015 - Even Atheists (who have nowhere else to go but here) “Worry About Global Warming and Support U.S. Action” Climate Change is a moral problem along with being the mother of all problems. American Catholics Worry About Global Warming and Support U.S. Action Ahead of Papal Encyclical, American Catholics are Worried about Global Warming and Support US Action This summer, Pope Francis, who leads 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, will issue a papal encyclical on climate change. An encyclical is a letter that sets church doctrine on critical issues and is one of the most important forms of communication within the church. Early indications are that he will define climate change as a fundamentally moral and religious challenge for the world. Pope Francis will then separately address the General Assembly of the United Nations and a joint session of the U.S. Congress in September in the lead-up to this year’s critical UN climate negotiations in Paris. What do American Catholics and other Christians currently believe about global warming, how worried are they, and do they support policy action? To answer these questions, we conducted a special analysis on our recent nationally representative survey conducted in the fall of 2014. Overall, we find that Catholics – 24% of all American adults – are more convinced that global warming is happening, are more worried, and are more supportive of policy action than other Christians. Yale Project on Climate Change Communication
3/13/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: If we dare not speak its name, can we address Climate Change? Ans: Not without magic. If you don’t know the cause of your problem, it’s not likely that only eliminating the symptoms will do any good. Climate Change is about planning so that we can adapt to and mitigate this worldwide crisis and that cannot be done by not informing the public what’s changing our planet’s climate. If your leader dares not speak the name of Climate Change, they should step aside so that a leader dares speak the name can lead. What Voldemort and Climate Change Have in Common At Hogwarts and in Florida, respectively, the threatening phenomena must not be named. For Oscar Wilde and his fellow aesthetes of Victorian England, there was the love that dare not speak its name. For the wary wizards and witches of Harry Potter’s world, there was he-who-must-not-be-named. And for Florida bureaucrats, there is the phenomenon that cannot be named, in spite of the fact many of them are attempting to prepare for its inevitable effects on the low-lying land. An in-depth report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, published Sunday in the Miami Herald, reports officials in the state’s Department of Environmental Protection “have been ordered not to use the term ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ in any communications, e-mails, or reports.” (March 10, 2015) Pacific Standard [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/13/2015 - Been waiting for the short and concise version of Climate Change so you can get the basics about this worldwide crisis? Check out the National Academics “Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices.” It’s not wonky, easy to read and understand. Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices The National Research Council is pleased to present this booklet in three parts that (1) summarizes the current state of knowledge about climate change; (2) explains some impacts expected in this century and beyond; and (3) examines how science can help inform choices about managing and reducing the risks posed by climate change. Climate Change at The National Academies
3/13/2015 - I’m hoping The Guardian’s ‘Climate Change Campaign’ will wake up investigative reporting to the reality of a warming world. The media’s dysfunctional role in educating the public on Climate Change over the last decade, when it was clear Climate Change is a clear and present danger to our planet and our way of life, must transform to a media that informs the public about the reality facing us—not denial, not a laundry list of opinions by those who still doubt this reality, not hysteria, but a measured response to this crisis so that the public understands why everyone needs to understand the major shift that is changing the world our species thrived and flourished on. Anything else is a dangerous illusion. The public will be asked to make great changes and they must know why they are being asked, and know that everyone else is doing their part. We’ve waited so long to get started, little changes won’t fix a planetary problem. 'Find a new way to tell the story' - how the Guardian launched its climate change campaign Climate change is the biggest story journalism has never successfully told. The Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, has decided to change that. This podcast series follows Rusbridger and his team as they set out to find a new narrative on the greatest threat to humanity Climate change is the biggest threat to humanity. Yet journalism has struggled for two decades to tell a story that doesn’t leave the public feeling disheartened and disengaged. This podcast series lets you behind the scenes as the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, and team set out to find a new narrative. Recording as we go, you’ll hear what works, as well as our mistakes. Is there a new way to make the world care? (March 12, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/12/2015 - It’s a little late to start worrying about Lake Trout. Climate studies have long mentioned the problem of our cold water fish, creatures that maintain our life support system (riparian ecologies). Cold water fish need cold water because cold water has more oxygen dissolved in it. But when fish are mentioned in media it‘s almost always about fishing. Those who don’t care about fishing, turn off. But this issue of our endemic water species being able to tolerate the warmer waters coming with Climate Change is a crucial issue that should have been seriously addressed long ago. By the time the public understands the full implications of our wildlife being unable to adapt to a climate far warmer than they thrived it will be too late to save them—and we still don’t know what that will mean to our environment—our life support system. Climate Change is about planning and when you don’t plan you’re going to have to cut your losses. Can Adirondack lake trout survive climate change? Lake trout require a lot of cold, oxygenated water to survive. Lakes in the Adirondacks of upstate New York are at the southern edge of their natural range. Although about 100 Adirondack lakes and ponds are still home to lake trout, even a small increase in temperature could sharply cut that number. Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss the long-term prospects of a signature Adirondack aquatic species. (March 12, 2015) North Country Public Radio [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
3/12/2015 - In order for NYS to go 100% clean energy, we’re definitely going to need new battery technologies. Rochester leading the way. Charged up A new $1.5 million center at Rochester Institute of Technology will help companies small and large move new battery technologies out of their labs and toward commercial production. State and school officials unveiled RIT's Battery Prototyping Center last week. The facility, headed by RIT research scientists Christopher Schauerman and Matt Ganter, will work with companies that have new battery technologies or materials to first build prototypes and then analyze the batteries' performance. The lab is linked with the New York Battery and Energy Storage Consortium, which is made up of companies in the energy storage industry, utility companies, and state agencies. NY-BEST runs a commercialization center at Eastman Business Park, and that operation will work with the RIT center. The idea, Schauerman says, is to help ensure that technology conceived in New York is further developed here. (March 11, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper
3/12/2015 - Now that NYS has ditched Fracking, can we go 100% clean energy? Depends on what’s important to you: life, or business as usual. Energy isn’t just an ‘Energy’ choice anymore; it’s a moral choice and an are-we-going-to-have-a-future choice, and a whole lot more. And our personal choices have to merge so that in the end we bring down greenhouse gases, not do everything we can to maintain the status quo-which is baking the planet. Charting Clean-Energy Paths in New York and Beyond On Thursday morning I hope you’ll join me, either at Pace University or in a Google Hangout, for The Great New York Power Shift – Transitioning to a Low Carbon Future — a discussion of New York’s energy choices through 2050. The event will feature Mark J. Jacobson, a Stanford University engineering professor who has focused for years on identifying renewable-energy menus that can, in theory, entirely substitute for fossil fuels at the level of states, the nation and the planet. He’ll be joined by my colleague Karl R. Rábago, who is the executive director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center at Pace Law School and has worked in just about every capacity you can imagine related to providing sustainable electricity. The focal points of our chat will be recent papers in which Jacobson and others proposed how New York State could move entirely to renewable energy supplies by 2050, as well as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo‘s ambitious Reforming the Energy Vision (or REV) initiative, aimed at making the state’s electricity grid cleaner, more resilient and more affordable. (March 11, 2015) DOT Earth New York Times [more on Energy in our area]
3/12/2015 - Four years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, what have we learned? Nuclear power is safe until it isn’t? Is it really the case that we are so convinced that we must have the energy we want in the form we want that we’ll put our future in extreme jeopardy—even after the many warnings that nuclear power is a an energy option with no room for error? How can science and politics prove nuclear power is safe after Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island accident, and more… Watch this 1.42 minute video and then decide Nuke Your Guts Out (MakeNuclearHistory.org) Fukushima at 4: New choices mired in old priorities Energy choices are not born of necessity, they are born of politics. It is a point often made by David Freeman, once the Head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the vast, federally owned overseer of power generation and land management across six southern states. And it is a point driven home by the contrast, seen this week, of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe standing beside visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, discussing their energy and economic futures just days before the fourth anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, which left almost 20,000 dead, hundreds of thousands homeless or displaced, and started one of the most dire and enduring environmental crises in a generation. (March 11, 2015) Aljazeera America [more on Energy in our area]
3/11/2015 - Very happy news that Rochester, NY is getting $2000,000 for cleaning up Brownfields, but what % is that of remaining contamination? It’s hard to put on a happy face about this money (not very much really for cleaning up industrial waste) for cleaning up old contaminated sites and redeveloping them for new uses, when we don’t actually know how much more contaminated areas in our region needs to be cleaned up—especially with Climate Change nipping at our heels. In regions of poverty, where Brownfields tend to remain because the poor don’t get their areas cleaned up as quickly as the better off, runoff of toxic chemicals in a Brownfield due to more heavy extreme precipitation events, Climate Change will further challenge the poor. EPA Provides $200,000 to the City of Rochester, New York to Support Assessment, Cleanup and Reuse of Contaminated Properties The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it is providing $200,000 to the City of Rochester, New York to create a plan for revitalizing the neighborhood impacted by the Orchard-Whitney brownfield site. This funding is part of EPA’s Brownfields Area-Wide Planning program, which helps communities develop specific strategies that integrate the cleanup and reuse of brownfields sites in larger, coordinated efforts to revitalize neighborhoods. Brownfields are properties where moderate contamination threatens environmental quality and public health and can interfere with productive reuse of the properties. (March 9, 2015) United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [more on Brownfields in our area]
3/11/2015 - Calving, a calf being born, is a beautiful sight, unless the calf is the size of Manhattan and portends the loss of the Arctic. We are so warming the planet and simply marveling at the havoc we have wrought. There’s lots we could and should be doing to mitigate and adapt to Climate Change, but mostly we’re staring into the headlights of an on-coming disaster. See the award-winning documentary “Chasing Ice” as soon as you can.
3/11/2015 - With Climate Change it isn’t just the heat that will get you, it’s the rate of increase. Like turning up flame on boiling frogs. Many who dismiss Climate Change, thinking we’ve had planetary warmings (and cooling for that matter) before, fail to realize that our species wasn’t around during great past warmings, but even if we were this warming rate is unprecedented. There will be no time to jump out of the boiling pot as it were, and no place to jump to. So, we had better stop further greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the heat already baked into our climate system. Rate Of Climate Change To Soar By 2020s, With Arctic Warming 1°F Per Decade New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection — which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt — is consistent with several recent studies. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” finds that by 2020, human-caused warming will move the Earth’s climate system “into a regime in terms of multi-decadal rates of change that are unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years.” In the best-case scenario PNNL modeled, with atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations stabilizing at about 525 parts per million (the RCP4.5 scenario), the four-decade warming trend hits 0.45°F (0.25°C) per decade. That means over a 4-decade period, the Earth would warm 1.8°F (4 x 0.45) or 1°C (4 x 0.25). This is a faster multi-decadal rate than the Earth has seen in at least a millennium. (March 10, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/11/2014 - In the Rochester, NY region politicians are not being silenced on Climate Change; it doesn’t even occur to them to ask. Instead of leadership in this region of New York State, there is silence. Probably not a silence of political pressure necessarily, but the pervasiveness of Climate Change denial is so that bringing up Climate Change in our local political conversations would be like talking about jugglers in the Middle Ages. Which is all very odd because Climate Change is about planning and even the political parties not in office could take charge and lead the messaging on Climate Change in our area—and maybe even get elected. There’s much to plan for and much planning that has not been done on Climate Change in our region due to Climate Change silence. Florida’s Not The Only State Where Officials Censored The Term ‘Climate Change’ It may have seemed surprising when, on Sunday, four former employees of Florida’s state Department of Environmental Protection said they were forbidden to use the words “climate change” and “global warming” in any official communications. But as it turns out, the alleged practice is not unusual — at least in states with governors who do not accept the scientific validity of human-caused climate change. In fact, two states were accused of implementing a very similar practice with their environmental conservation agencies last year. (March 9, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/11/2015 - Connecting the dots between Climate Change and public health may be awful and inconvenient, but true. Failing to address Climate Change will make you and your family sick—even if you are sick and tired of hearing about Climate Change. Doctors Connect Climate Change and Worsening of Respiratory Illness Doctors seeing worsening of asthma associated with exposure to ozone or other pollutants, more severe allergy seasons, and more cases of lung disease. Scientists have attributed the frigid temperatures and historic snowfalls to storm tracks that have become stronger and more frequent because of increased greenhouse gas emissions that alter atmospheric conditions. "There's no doubt climate change had an effect on my patient's asthma and is having an effect on the health of others," Windt said. Windt and a majority of his colleagues in the American Thoracic Society who specialize in the treatment of respiratory illnesses are connecting some of their patients' disorders to climate change. (March 10, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]
3/11/2015 - With 9 months to COP21, does a lack of political leadership on Climate Change mean Grassroots leadership should take over? “To lead from below, from the streets, from the neighborhoods, from the smallest towns to the biggest cities. “ At this late date, we must demand that our leaders lead on Climate Change. But these kids are right, there is no Plan B if COP21 fails. I was talking to a local politician last night and that politician said ‘We don’t even talk about Climate Change.” So yeah, even here there’s not much leadership on Climate Change. Thousands of Londoners march on Westminster On Saturday, 20,000 Londoners marched from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Westminster to call for climate action ahead of the UN talks in Paris and the UK general elections in May. Organised by Campaign against Climate Change, the protest called for strong government action on climate change which included investment in renewables, energy efficiency and insulation in homes, and one million climate jobs. To reflect the diversity of the climate movement, the march was organised into solidarity blocs including LGBTQ, women, elderly for future generations, energy justice, art not oil, multi-faith and human rights. (March 10, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/10/2015 - ‘Be Beautiful if you want to survive as an Invasive Species’ is our conservation message in a time of Climate Change. The magnificent Mute Swan isn’t so ‘magnificent’ in our particular environment, but it looks so beautiful so we get our knickers in a twist every time something wants to deal with them like we do with most other Invasive Species. But the real story that should be coming out of the DEC and our media is how our environmental agency is addressing wildlife and adaptation during Climate Change. Most of our endemic species both plants and animals have evolved during the stable Holocene where the water and winters were mostly cold. What is the state doing about helping species to ‘move’ in order to adapt to warmer waters and air temperature, adapt to season changes, adapt to the syncing of migration patterns and the timing of food and prey? Why won’t the local media talk about Wildlife and Climate Change, but they will talk about sexy stories like killing beautiful swans, or a deer leaping through a living room windows, or your pet dog chumming up with a raccoon or something? Why won’t our local media inform the public about the real critical issue of Climate Change and wildlife—and our environmental agencies for that matter? Mute swans may have a new lease on life Mute swans may not be killed after all. The state Department of Environmental Conservation today released a revised mute swan management plan that would limit the eradication of most of the swans after groups pushed back against a state plan that called for their demise as an invasive species. It's largely been a problem in the Hudson Valley. (March 9, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Wildlife in our area]
3/10/2015 - If Climate Change is such a big deal, why aren't we acting and thinking on a level that will matter? Many are. Bigger Than Science, Bigger Than Religion We’re closer to environmental disaster than ever before. We need a new story for our relationship with the Earth, one that goes beyond science and religion. The world as we know it is slipping away. At the current rate of destruction, tropical rainforest could be gone within as little as 40 years. The seas are being overfished to the point of exhaustion, and coral reefs are dying from ocean acidification. Biologists say that we are currently at the start of the largest mass extinction event since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. As greenhouse gases increasingly accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures are likely to rise faster than our current ecological and agricultural systems can adapt. (February 18, 2015) Yes! Magazine [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/10/2015 - Thinking old nuclear power plants are bad, and you need a job, and if only you could scratch both of these itches at once? Then this job is for you. Alliance For A Green Economy Seeks Anti-Nuclear Organizer Summary: Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) is seeking a short-term organizer to run a Rochester-area campaign against the Ginna nuclear reactor. The term of the work will be 20-30 hours per week for 2-6 months, starting as soon as possible. From Alliance For A Green Economy
3/10/2015 - A new media in Rochester, NY is emerging, a voice that’s long been left out of informing the public on important matters—yours. Check into Rochester Free Radio. Listen, then begin your own program.
3/10/2015 - The Florida Climate Change scandal is not the half of it, US politics is making addressing Climate Change almost impossible. How can our leaders lead on Climate Change if they dare not even mention ‘Climate Change’ and what the implications for preparing the public are? The public cannot address Climate Change by voting in deniers. Science vs. politics Kennedy School panelists scrutinize climate change denial If you wonder why worldwide scientific consensus hasn’t yet quashed climate change denial in the United States, a panel this week at Harvard Kennedy School offered an answer: It’s the politics, stupid. Persistent efforts to cast doubt on a scientific certainty have their roots in philosophical opposition to big government and government regulation, expressed in a fierce, expertly managed, well-funded campaign, participants said. “It’s a story about government regulation, about organizations that take a position against government’s role in the marketplace,” said Naomi Oreskes, a history of science professor at Harvard. Oreskes, co-author of “Merchants of Doubt” (2010), which looked at campaigns to discredit scientific data from tobacco to the ozone hole to climate change, said the current opposition carries strong echoes of the tobacco wars. For decades, tobacco companies used disinformation to combat increasing evidence that smoking caused cancer and other illnesses. (February 14, 2015) Harvard Gazette
3/10/2015 - This is why the ‘Climate Change Hush’ by local governments is so tragic, we are not preparing our public or our infrastructures. We are responding to unprecedented change with business as usual thinking it will address the problem. And yet every freaking climate study demands that government get going on all levels, including preparing our wastewater systems for more frequent extreme heavy precipitation events for combined sewer overflows. What does this mean? It means that even though the Monroe County wastewater system, even with is tunnel system to collect storm water runoff until that waste can be treated, this system can and has been breached. When that happens raw sewage goes into our streams and lakes. (Remember New York uses more water from the Great Lakes per day than any other state—by far.) Much can be done by the public to help alleviate this problem with rain barrels and rain gardens. This county is doing this a little (H2O Hero), but not through the lens of Climate Change. In order for this retention of water by the public to matter it has to be pervasively—on a very large scale. We should have rain gardens and rain barrels everywhere to help our environment (which is very paved over with impermeable surfaces) retain as much precipitation as possible so our wastewater system never overflows, to give our aging wastewater infrastructure (pipes, etc.) a break when massive amounts of water hits it in a short amount of time—which is already happening and will happen more often in the near future. Climate Change is about planning and preparing the public and getting the public to help and more folks would use rain barrels and rain gardens (with deep roots to capture more water) if they had our government and media connecting the dots with Climate Change. Global Warming Could Hit Rates Unseen in 1,000 Years This finding comes from new research also showing that the Arctic, North America and Europe will be the first regions to transition to a new climate We are standing on the edge of a new world where warming is poised to accelerate at rates unseen for at least 1,000 years. That’s the main finding of a paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change, which looked at the rate of temperature change over 40-year periods. The new research also shows that the Arctic, North America and Europe will be the first regions to transition to a new climate, underscoring the urgent need for adaptation planning. (March 9, 2015) Scientific American [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/10/2015 - How many other states, counties, and cities quietly ban the term ‘Climate Change’ by not doing anything on this crisis? Climate Change is about leading, about educating the public, about fixing and adapting our infrastructures—water, waste, transportation, telecommunications—for changes already happening due to our increasing greenhouse gas emissions. And yet in our region, as in many others, there is little in the local media or the local political leadership on how our public health, how adapting our wildlife, how preparing our insurance rates for more areas that will be designated flood areas, will be addressed in our area. It is and it has been very quiet in our region on Climate Change, so is Florida only the tip of the ice berg? When was the last time our local media grilled our local government on anything pertaining to Climate Change? In Florida, officials ban term 'climate change' The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years. But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes. DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. The policy goes beyond semantics and has affected reports, educational efforts and public policy in a department with about 3,200 employees and $1.4 billion budget. (March 9, 2015) Miami Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/09/2015 - I wonder if folks will be considering protecting the bald eagle from Climate Change. Sure the “impacts from land clearing, human disturbance, pollutants, and collisions with vehicles, power lines and wind turbines” are great challenges to this top predator in our region. But Climate Change will affect the environment upon which the eagle thrives—whether or not its prey can adapt to Climate Change and whether the plants that the prey eats that the eagle feeds can survive. Climate Change is about planning and the DEC is done very little on educating the public on the importance of planning for wildlife’s adaptation during Climate Change. The public shouldn’t even have to press the DEC on protecting wildlife from Climate Change, it should be baked into all the future wildlife plans. NY proposes bald eagle conservation plan The state Department of Environmental Conservation is taking public comments on a proposed conservation plan to guide future management actions for bald eagles. Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens says New York State was instrumental in the restoration of the bald eagle in the Northeast and continues to play an important role in providing suitable habitat. The bald eagle is currently listed as a threatened species in New York. (March 9, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Wildlife in our area]
3/09/2015 - Been having trouble communicating Climate Change when you only have a moment of someone’s time? Message this about Climate Change: The Big Five facts of Climate Change: “It’s real, it’s us, it’s bad, scientists agree, and there’s hope.” Anthony Leiserowitz on the Public Perception of Climate Change at MIT Conference YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz provided a keynote address about the public's understanding of climate change at the MIT Climate CoLab conference 2014, Crowds & Climate: From Ideas to Action, held November 6-7, 2014. (November 14, 2014) Yale project on Climate Change Communication.
3/09/2015 - I suspect a utility company’s worse nightmare is not just folks putting their own solar panel on their roofs; it’s divestment. The public can end their nightmare of Bomb Trains and forever paying for outdated energy options by going here: GoFossilFree. Or go here: A Solar Home Companion. Rise in rooftop solar systems is game-changer for electric utilities Santa Fe resident Amy Bunting is a utility company’s nightmare. Her 20-year-old home on the city’s southeast side is powered by the sun. She’s not connected to the electric grid, and Public Service Company of New Mexico makes no money off of her. Like Bunting, a growing number of people are installing solar power systems at their homes and businesses, though most hook into the electrical grid. The number of PNM customers installing solar panels has climbed steadily since 2006 as tax credits, net metering and the dramatic decline in costs have made the systems more affordable. (March 8, 2015) Sante Fe New Mexico [more on Solar Power in our area]
3/09/2015 - No, this isn’t a photo of an old Bomb Train explosion, it’s the photo of a new Bomb Train explosion; it is the new normal. Here’s the really scary part about Bomb Trains. It’s not just that no matter how stringent our governments make Bomb Train regulations and how much sturdier Bomb Trains are made, this increase in the use of fossil fuel by will be more dangerous to our communities and the world at large. While we are moving towards more renewable energy; we are doubling down on the use of fossil fuels and there is absolutely no way we can make fossil fuels more safe and sound. Train derails in Northern Ontario, heightening safety fears A second fiery derailment near a Northern Ontario community is adding to concerns that federal rail-safety regulations – brought into effect after the 2013 tragedy in Lac-Mégantic – do not go far enough in addressing the dangers of shipping crude oil by rail. The accident, which occurred early Saturday morning, marks the second time in less than a month that a Canadian National Railway train carrying crude oil has derailed and caught fire near the community of Gogama, Ont. Between 30 and 40 tank cars went off the tracks less than four kilometres from Gogama, about 100 kilometres south of Timmins, causing a massive blaze that was still burning Sunday afternoon. (March 9, 2014) Globe and Mail [more on Energy in our area]
3/07/2015 - Deep down in the DEC’s report “A Gathering Storm - New York Wastewater Infrastructure in Crisis” is this: “Future Infrastructure Challenges - Design of new infrastructure must address issues such as climate change and emerging contaminants that may require new, adaptive approaches.” Not only our wastewater infrastructure but all our other infrastructure—water, transportation, telecommunications, etc.—are under a great threat because of more frequent heavy extreme weather events (floods, snow, floods from quick snow melt, heat) that is coming with Climate Change but little mention is made of Climate Change. If our media and state, county, and city officials were doing their job they would be highlighting the importance of addressing Climate Change with these threats in mind so the public will understand the challenges and back our government’s efforts. The public will be really pissed when they discover all our officials and media did is downplay the threats. Just recently, The Guardian (one of the largest media in the world) has decided to put Climate Change front and center in their coverage from now on. What about our local media pressing our local officials on connecting the dots between Climate Change and our infrastructure? Clean Water Advocates: State's Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems in Dire Straits New York State is facing an aging wastewater infrastructure crisis. That's according to a coalition of clean water and environmental advocates, who are calling on the state to invest 800-million dollars from bank settlement money on new clean water infrastructure grants. A report from the Department of Environmental Conservation called "A Gathering Storm," states that sewage and wastewater treatment facilities in this state are deteriorating. The DEC estimates the 20-year need for clean water and sewage infrastructure spending at 36-billion dollars. (March 6, 2015) WXXI News [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]
3/07/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: Which US state uses the most Great Lakes water per day by far? Ans: New York. Ontario Province in Canada uses more, but (of course) they are not a US state. Maybe we here in New York ought to do our fair share of restoration and keeping the Great Lakes ready for Climate Change.
3/07/2015 - The question is NOT why The Guardian @guardian (one of the largest media in the world) is putting Climate Change front and centre; It’s why aren’t all the other media not doing so also? The media industry is bemoaning the loss of journalism as a career, but the reason journalism is tanking is that most journalism has devolved into a lap dog to business interests, sports, political peccadillos, and puppy new, instead of ferreting out the most important news the public needs to know: Climate Change—what is it really, how do we adapt to it and how does humanity act on a scale and speed that will matter? Climate change: why the Guardian is putting threat to Earth front and centre As global warming argument moves on to politics and business, Alan Rusbridger explains the thinking behind our major series on the climate crisis Journalism tends to be a rear-view mirror. We prefer to deal with what has happened, not what lies ahead. We favour what is exceptional and in full view over what is ordinary and hidden. Famously, as a tribe, we are more interested in the man who bites a dog than the other way round. But even when a dog does plant its teeth in a man, there is at least something new to report, even if it is not very remarkable or important. There may be other extraordinary and significant things happening – but they may be occurring too slowly or invisibly for the impatient tick-tock of the newsroom or to snatch the attention of a harassed reader on the way to work. (March 6, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/07/2015 - The Sierra Club is watching the road to COP21 Paris Climate Change treaty and what nations are taking actions to reduce GHG emission. US contribution is coming up soon. SIERRA CLUB STATEMENT ON EUROPEAN UNION’S EMISSIONS REDUCTION PLAN Today, the European Union submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), representing a pledge by the 28 members states to reduce carbon emissions by 40% from 1990 levels before 2030. This follows a wave of positive international action to reduce emissions in countries across the globe on the road to the COP-21 negotiations in Paris this winter, including the landmark U.S.-China commitments, a pledge by the UK to move beyond coal, and the introduction of carbon pricing in South Korea. The U.S. is expected to officially announce its INDC pledge later this month. (March 6, 2015) Sierra Club [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/07/2015 - The most important news your local media hasn’t informed you about: COP21 in Dec. is a critical benchmark in human history. Considering how important it is for the public to understand Climate Change and how many in the public still think this is a non-issue or one that can be put off, the media, especially local media, needs to make up for lost time: Here’s some catch-up info explaining why the COP21 came to be so important. Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About the UN Climate Talks But Were Afraid to Ask Climate change negotiations seem to crawl along interminably at the pace of the glaciers they are meant to protect, with little perceptible progress as meeting follows meeting and conference follows lackluster conference. But this year we are seeing remarkable momentum building toward a historic conference in Paris in the closing days of 2015, by the end of which we will either have a new international agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, or we will have seen the last of truly global efforts to strike a deal on saving our planet. We began the year with the outcome of Lima, last December’s United Nations gathering at which delegates drafted the outline of such an agreement that would come into force starting in 2020. That in turn followed a landmark deal between the U.S. and China in November to set limits on their greenhouse gas output. By the end of spring, all of the world’s major economies should be coming up with similar plans. Then, after some months of considering these proposals, and as 2015 ends, Paris will host COP-21 – the most important meeting on global warming since the Copenhagen talks six years earlier. What is decided there will determine the future of Earth’s climate for decades to come. (March 5, 2015) New Security Beat [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/07/2015 - Today’s climate report for Rochester, NY. It was a cold winter for us but the West didn’t get a winter. How Did Your City Fare This Winter? Winter is officially over, at least for meteorologists who mark the end of the season as the calendar flips from February to March. Just don't tell Washington, D.C. residents who spent yesterday shoveling out their cars. And come to think of it, don't tell West Coast residents who just dealt with the winter that wasn't. Let's start with the West where balmy temperatures and low snow were the norm. Ski areas in the Sierra Nevada were dealing with February slush as temperatures climbed into the 60s at times. Lower elevations were also extremely warm compared to average and several Western cities, including Reno, Fresno, Portland, Sacramento, Tucson, and San Francisco, set records for their hottest winter on record. Each of those cities is also coming off their hottest year on record, reflecting the prolonged warm spell that has gripped the West. This was also an incredibly dry winter for the West, potentially setting up water woes for the coming summer. (March 6, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/06/2015 - Actually, it’s not the IPCC who is at a critical crossroads, it’s us. Killing the messenger, won’t address Climate Change. We really need to keep our eye on the ball, which is getting greenhouse gas emission down. That’s physics. Everything else is …, everything else. IPCC future hinges on greater relevance, amid tricky politics. The unique intergovernmental panel has forged scientific consensus on climate change by steering clear of hot-button issues. Will new leadership find a way to address the most critical issues for curbing global warming? While news was breaking that the IPCC chairman had been caught up in a sexual harassment scandal, two-dozen climate science experts were meeting in Berlin to discuss a question likely of far greater importance to the panel's future: Was the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change capable of tackling the most critical questions the world faces as it grapples with global warming? Or was the IPCC hopelessly hamstrung by politics? "The IPCC is at a crossroads," said a memorandum developed by the group, led by scientists from Harvard, Stanford, and leading academic institutions in Italy and Germany. Although the academics praised the IPCC for performing important functions "in a scientifically-informed manner," they said the panel "does not always address the most critical issues, and it is at risk of losing the participation of the world's best scientists due to the burdens that participation involves." The key recommendation from the group, which included social scientists who had seen their work deleted from last year's IPCC summary reports, was that the panel should find a way to better integrate social sciences like economics and international relations into its work. (March 2, 2015) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/06/2015 - Are you buying into a product that kills even when used correctly? Climate Change denial destroys—everything. It’s going to be hard to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. It’s going to be even harder if the public continues to buy into Climate Change denial. There is no excuse. There are countless official documents and websites and university courses, and news that says we must address this worldwide crisis. Doubt over climate science is a product with an industry behind it With its roots in the tobacco industry, climate science denial talking points can be seen as manufactured doubt It’s a product that you can find in newspaper columns and TV talk shows and in conversations over drinks, at barbecues, in taxi rides and in political speeches. You can find this product in bookstores, on sponsored speaking tours, in the letters pages of local newspapers and even at United Nations climate change talks. This product is doubt - doubt about the causes and impacts of climate change, the impartiality of climate scientists, the world’s temperature records, the height of the oceans and basic atmospheric physics. (March 5, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/06/2015 - Magic Mirror on the wall, who has the oldest and economically challenged nuclear power plant of them all? Do we looking so vainly into our energy options each day and consider only passed-their-due-date nuclear power plants and dangerous and Climate Change warming fossil fuels instead of renewable power and an updated more reliable and smart grid? Regulators to look at Ginna contract Rochester Gas and Electric has agreed to support the financially struggling Ginna nuclear plant so that the plant can keep operating, at least temporarily. But the deal first needs the approval of the State Public Service Commission. The commission will hold a procedural conference on the contract — a formal hearing in front of an administrative judge — on March 10 in Albany. Supporters and opponents of the deal will present issues that they want the commission to consider. In a subsequent hearing, the groups will present evidence supporting those positions. Last year, Ginna filed a petition saying that it lost $100 million over the past three years and requesting the temporary support contract. The commission agreed to the request because, it said, the sudden closure of Ginna could create reliability problems in the local electric system. (March 3, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area]
3/06/2015 - Excellent essay on Rochester’s future with snow. If Rochester wishes to characterize itself as a walkable city (as it often does), it cannot be un-walkable for several months of the year. Walkability is now heralded as a desirable quality in a sustainable city, making it a destination for retirees who want more exercise and less car in their lives. More important, it takes major action towards addressing Climate Change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If we took our sidewalks as seriously as we do our roads, we would be walkable city. We could encourage more folks to shovel their sidewalks. The city could prioritize main and secondary streets—(think of Monroe Ave., Goodman, Culver, Norton, and Field Street)—in such a way that pedestrians would have no more than 3 blocks of poorly-cleared sidewalks between them and their destination. Everyone should have the right to walk their cities, even when it snows. Climate Change is certain; what is uncertain is whether the increased frequent precipitation will fall as rain or snow in any given year. Rochester has a chance to address many of its most pressing issues by solving them through the lens Climate Change, which will offer many opportunities for a city like ours, well-situated among increasingly critical natural resources. Our future with snow We've certainly had enough this winter, with both snow and cold. It's not that we're not used to snow in the winter. But the cold, the day-after-day, single-digit bitterness, has been spirit wearing. And it has magnified the worst aspects of the snow. This year's snow hasn't melted. It's just piled up. And relatively short, pretty showers now elicit groans, not admiration. In my city neighborhood, nice, two-lane side streets have been reduced to a bumpy single lane. Some major two-lane streets are still wide enough for two cars to pass, but not a car and a truck. And for those of us who live on streets with alternate-side parking - where we're required to park on one side of the street one day, the opposite side the next - the snow has presented a new danger. During the hour in which it's legal to park on both sides, the streets have become so narrow that it would be impossible for a fire truck to get down them. (March 3, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/06/2015 - Every state (and country for that matter) should have a Climate Change website like ‘Climate Wisconsin’ that demonstrates this issue so clearly. “Climate Wisconsin is an educational multimedia project featuring stories of climate change. All stories are supported by research conducted in collaboration with the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. Background essays and teaching tips were developed with support from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Center for Biology Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Climate Wisconsin is a project of the Educational Communications Board with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”
3/06/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: What causes Bomb Trains? Ans: Our addiction to fossil fuels. Freight train carrying crude oil derails near Illinois city A freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said. The BNSF Railway train derailed around 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The train had 103 cars loaded with crude oil, along with two buffer cars loaded with sand. A cause for the derailment hadn't yet been determined. No injuries were reported. Only a family of two agreed to leave their home, Galena City Administrator Mark Moran said at a news conference late Thursday, adding that the suggestion to evacuate was prompted by the presence of a propane tank near the derailment. The derailment occurred 3 miles south of Galena in a wooded and hilly area that is a major tourist attraction and the home of former President Ulysses S. Grant. The Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Department confirmed the train was transporting oil from the Northern Plains' Bakken region. (March 5, 2015) AP The Big Story [more on Energy in our area]
3/05/2015 - ACTION: What’s the point of having a bicycle for reducing GHGs if you cannot put your bike on a train for long distances? Make bicycles a real transportation alternative by making it easy to get you and your bicycle on a train when you travel far. Support Roll-on Bicycle Access on Amtrak! From New York Bicycle Coalition.
3/05/2015 - Check out the March newsletter of the local Pachamama group: March 2015 Newsletter, PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”
3/05/2015 - People's Climate Movement NY is a network of groups in NYC that formed out of the host committee for the People's Climate March. Please reach out to all who went to the PCM in September to 'like' this Facebook page and get involved.
3/05/2015 - I’m thinking that Matthieu Ricard is right; we need millions to march in the streets before Paris 2015. We cannot snooze our way to a successful treaty that will mitigate greenhouse gases. Our leaders must make significant efforts for real measures to bring down GHGs, while we still can. The public must get out in force and demonstrate that COP21 Paris treaty cannot fail. Q&A with Matthieu Ricard: “I hope millions will march in the streets before Paris 2015″ Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, author and photographer. The dialogue with his father, French philosopher Jean-Francois Revel, The Monk and the Philosopher, was a best seller in Europe and was translated into 21 languages. We caught up with him during the Davos World Economic Forum on January 23rd, 2015. Before you became a Buddhist monk, you were a molecular biologist at the Institut Pasteur in France. You said once that the reason why you gave up that career was because you had met many people from all walks of life, at the top of their fields – and yet many of them did not show similar excellence on the human side. You are here at Davos among the global elite, the most powerful people in the world. How do you see your role here and what impact can you have? (March 4, 2015) Road to Paris [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/05/2015 - Even if you don’t like to eat oysters, scallops and clams these creatures keep our oceans healthy and Climate Change is challenging that. We appreciate the media’s attempt to bring Climate Change home to readers by demonstrating that their jobs and favorite foods might be seriously impacted by acidification caused by Climate Change, but jobs and our favorite foods just don’t cover this problem. Our oceans are a major component of our life support system and when they fail, we fail. We need to act now to bring down GHG before this aspect of Climate Change gets worse. Climate change is really bad news if you like oysters, scallops and clams When it comes to carbon dioxide emissions, the first environmental problem that comes to mind is climate change. As humans pump more of this greenhouse gas into the air, the Earth gets warmer, and the climate changes in ways that could damage the economy, public health, infrastructure and society. But along with climate change, these same emissions are causing another pernicious problem in our oceans. Some of the carbon dioxide we emit gets absorbed in sea water, where it turns into carbonic acid in a phenomenon called ocean acidification. As our emissions rise, the oceans will turn more and more acidic, irreparably altering aquatic ecosystems. (February 24, 20150 The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/04/2015 - Very optimistic report on our region’s agricultural success but nary a word about how our agriculture business will adapt to Climate Change. Climate Change, where our growing season has changed, the amount of frequent heavy precipitation (flooding), more crop pests, and more droughts, should be included in any kind of report on our local agriculture. For example our fruit industry is going to be increasing threatened by back and forth freezing as our winter’s become more whacky. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us with Climate Change and the public should be informed of our choices so we can plan. Be nice if our local media could mention Climate Change once in a while. Report: NY agriculture sprouting with success Did you know that the Southern Tier has the most farms in New York, or that the Finger Lakes has the most wineries, or that the Hudson Valley has the most horses, donkeys and ponies? A report Tuesday found that New York has a growing agricultural industry and contributed $37 billion to the state’s economy in 2012, up 22 percent from 2007. The state has put a renewed focus on its farms as New York has become the nation’s leader in yogurt production and as its wines received greater praise and attention. Indeed, New York ranks in the top 10 in the nation for milk and other dairy production, as well as wine, apples and maple syrup, the report from Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found. (March 3, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Food in our area]
3/04/2015 - Been thinking that burning fossil fuels to heat your building is so last century and contributes to Climate Change? Think, Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHPs) and find out all about it here: Join Us for geopalooza - March 17th and 18th Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHPs) are the cleanest and most efficient way to heat and cool buildings. They are becoming increasingly important as we recognize the need to reduce fossil fuel use in the face of climate change and volatile price swings. We invite you NY-GEO's 2015 annual conference in Saratoga Springs, just North of Albany, March 17th and 18th. And please spread the word to any engineers, architects, builders, energy activists developers, and contractors you may know. Net-zero building will be an important focus of the conference. Net-zero happens when a property generates all the energy it uses. GHPs, when combined with renewable electricity such as solar PV, are the best way to get to net-zero in New York's climate, and net-zero is coming on strong in our state In addition to great speakers and workshops, the conference will feature a Top Job Competition, where 7 contractors will compete for the "2014 Top Geothermal Job" title. Another highlight is the location - Skidmore College plans to be 50% geothermal by 2020 and we've got some great "hands on" tours planned for you to see geothermal in action! Please see the attached flier, register today, and please help us spread the word in your company and/or your community. The first day of the conference will be mainly technical in nature, featuring Engineer, Contractor and Product Showcase tracks. 7.5 Professional Development Hour (PDH) credits are offered in the Engineering track. See schedule. From New York Geothermal Energy Organization.
3/04/2015 - Great local environmental news and events from this month’s Penfield Green Initiative’s newsletter: March 2015 Newsletter Penfield Green Initiative "The Voice for Penfield’s Environmental Assets Environmental/Social Justice on a Grass Roots Level " Contact them at PenfieldGreen@gmail.com or on their Facebook.
3/04/2015 - Our garbage, ubiquitous as it is, is not enough to stop sea gulls numbers from declining. They need sea life which are declining because of Climate Change. Whether you like sea gulls or not, when a species as adaptable as this bird is, is experiencing a decline because of Climate Change, it’s a sign, a signal, a warning, an alarm bell, a wake-up call, a … Seagulls: The Unlikely Canaries of Climate Change Beach visitors and seagulls do not go well together. For one, these water-bound birds are beggars – or rather, they have become beggars since the numbers of people in their environment has increased, as well as the food available to them. Yet seagulls are nowhere near exasperation-levels, as their levels have been declining for a few decades. A recent study by the University of British Columbia concluded that the number of seagulls on the coast has been reduced by half since the 1980s. The cause, the study explains, is a reduction in seafood that is usually consumed by seagulls, which is shellfish and small fish. (March 3, 2015) Plant Experts [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
3/04/2015 - There really is no turning back, COP21 Paris Climate treaty in December must be the way forward. Media should highlight the importance of the COP21, including Rochester’s local media. One of the most important of humanity’s benchmarks is coming up and if COP21 fails there is no Plan B. MARK KENBER: A GLOBAL CLIMATE DEAL IS NOT ONLY THE RIGHT CHOICE; IT IS THE SMART ONE. Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, explains why 2015 is such a critical year for climate action and low carbon investment, reminding us that while the global climate talks this December in Paris are not the economy's only opportunity, a global deal is a smart choice for a cleaner, safer and more prosperous future. This year can – and must – be the tipping point for climate action. The above phrase is hardly new, to me or anyone else who has worked on climate change over the last 20 years. And, though we’ve made an incredible amount of progress in that time, we haven’t made the game-changing transformation we all know is needed. This year things are different, though. The world is watching. In December, heads of state and government will gather in Paris for the global COP21 climate talks to attempt to hammer the final details on a new and binding climate treaty. (March 4, 2015) The Climate Group [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/04/2015 - Even a portion of “Chai Jing's review: Under the Dome – Investigating China’s Smog” is enough to convince anyone that polluting our air is unacceptable. Because our ocean of air and oceans of waters are planetary, polluting these vast resources takes time for the public to apprehend, but when they do … Poignant is the moment when Chai Jing recalls officials explaining the dense pollution over a major city as ‘fog.’ Smog sounds like fog, but it’s not. Not even close. China’s Surprising Reaction To An Online Video Exposing The Country’s Extreme Pollution Problem Over the weekend in China, 175 million people — more than the entire population of Bangladesh — watched a newly released in-depth and well-produced documentary about the country’s debilitating smog problem. Produced by former Chinese news anchor and environmental reporter, Chai Jing, the 104-minute “Under the Dome” has caught the Chinese public at a moment of intense focus on the wide-ranging impacts of air pollution from coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions. In a country known for spiking any media that paints the government in a bad light, the documentary has not been firewalled. China’s new environment minister, Chen Jining, even praised it on Sunday, saying it reflected “growing public concern over environmental protection and threats to human health.” He also compared it to the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which is often credited with inciting the environmental movement in the U.S., especially when it comes to the use of pesticides. (March 2, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Air Quality in our area]
3/03/2015 - Take home message about the Water Quality in our lakes and rivers: “sewage treatment plants aren’t equipped to filter out pharmaceuticals” Of course, pharmaceuticals in our water aren’t even half the problem with our riparian ecologies. We’ve treated our rivers so badly since pre-Columbian days that it’s a wonder they are considered ecologies at all. Several hundred years ago our rivers were almost impossible to canoe through because there was so many fish. Fishing was done with baskets. Today, even if you do catch a fish in our rivers, you might think twice about eating it. Rivers on drugs They're beautiful on the surface, but, our rivers are on drugs. The scientists at the Cary Institute for Ecological Studies say their findings show human drug use is having an increasing impact on the amphibious environment. PPCP’s are leaking into our waterways and changing the ecology. That’s pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Associate Scientist at the Cary Institute, Emma Rosie Marshall says people don’t fully metabolize most of the drugs they take and they’re coming out in our waste products which then seep into waterways. (March 2, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Water Quality in our area]
3/03/2015 - Just how important are the COP21 Paris Climate talks? Opinions vary: physics doesn’t. If there was a Plan B if UN Climate talks fail, those plans would already be in place and working. The UN climate talks are not stopping anyone or any nation from dramatically reducing their greenhouse gases and adapting to Climate Change. Those against the UN climate talks are against finding real solutions to this worldwide crisis and many have used the UN climate talks processes as a scapegoat. This blaming strategy won’t fix the problem, it just presents those dragging their feet more opportunity to delay and make Climate Chang worse. Connie Hedegaard: credibility of UN climate process hangs on Paris talks All leaders must rise to the challenge for December 2015, warns outgoing EU climate chief Climate change talks next year will be make or break for international efforts to curb global warming, with the credibility of the UN-backed process at stake, the outgoing EU climate chief, Connie Hedegaard, has warned. World leaders are expected to sign an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 onwards at a Paris conference in December 2015. It could be pivotal in climate negotiations, if China, the US and Europe agree to hold global warming within what scientists say are safe limits. But the risks are great, according to Hedegaard, who recently left the post of European commissioner for climate action and hosted the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009. “Say Paris could not deliver,” she said to the Guardian. “Who would believe the UN process would have credibility after that? That is what [we need] to make leaders understand – it’s now.” (December 28, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
3/03/2015 - Stark contrast between the folks who helped stop Fracking in NYS attempting to leverage that victory with a call for renewable energy and the folks who still want Fracking no matter how evidence show Fracking is bad for our health, our water, our environment, and making Climate Change worse. After six years of dreading the specter of Fracking, it was thrilling to watch “The Solutions Grassroots Tour: "A Solar Home Companion" Buffalo with Josh Fox and Zephyr Teachout” because we have an opportunity now that Fracking is banned to power our lives with clean energy. Much should be done to pave the way for renewable energy because we’ve lost a lot of time in New York, having had our attention hijacked by Fracking. More on “The Solutions Grassroots Tour” Fracking boosters, foes ponder what's next Without hesitation, Kirkwood resident Marchie Diffendorf can recall the exact date of the phone call: Dec. 7, 2007. It was a landman with a natural-gas company: Would he be interested in leasing the natural-gas rights to his 60-acre property in the rural Broome County town he's lived in his whole life? Around that same time, someone knocked on the door of Eileen Hamlin's blue-sided, one-story Kirkwood home — 2½ miles from Diffendorf's — with a similar offer. Take the deal today, the man said, because it will be gone tomorrow. Seven years and 10 days later, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration announced a decision that shocked them both: An effective ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the much-debated technique that promised to unlock the gas in the Marcellus Shale formation a mile below the surface. (March 2, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]
3/03/2015 - Of course, the looming warming spike caused by oceans being unable to absorb more heat may also be more than we can handle. The problem with denial and ‘wait and see’ is that we should have been planning instead of waiting around to see if the worse of Climate Change hits because we may not be able to handle the consequences when Nature ‘brings it on.’ Looming Warming Spurt Could Reshape Climate Debate Humanity is about to experience a historically unprecedented spike in temperatures. That’s the ominous conclusion of a vast and growing body of research that links sweeping Pacific Ocean cycles with rates of warming at the planet’s surface — warming rates that could affect how communities and nations respond to threats posed by climate change. Papers in two leading journals this week reaffirmed that the warming effects of a substantial chunk of our greenhouse gas pollution have been avoided on land for the last 15 to 20 years because of a phase in a decades-long cycle of ocean winds and currents. With Pacific trade winds expected to slacken in the years ahead, the studies warn that seas will begin absorbing less of global warming’s energy, and that some of the heat they’ve been holding onto will rise to the surface. (February 27, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]