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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.
11/30/2013 - We are not alone! Other states besides New York think rushing headlong into Fracking not so smart either. Bill would ban gas fracking in Mass. for 10 years BOSTON (AP) — A bill aimed at temporarily banning a natural gas drilling technique that involves blasting chemical-laden water deep into the ground is making its way through the Statehouse. The Legislature's Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources has approved a bill that would create a 10-year moratorium on the technique, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Although the state isn't seen as a rich source of shale gas, there could be limited deposits in western Massachusetts. Environmental activists argue that fracking can lead to water contamination, illness and damaged rural landscapes. They say the potential problem is heightened in Massachusetts by the fact that many communities in the Pioneer Valley rely on groundwater as their sole source of drinking water. (November 29, 2013) San Francisco Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]
11/30/2013 - What the Arctic 30 are trying to stop: Shipping & drilling in Arctic, thawing because of manmade Climate Change. Arctic Shipping Soars, Led by Russia and Lured by Energy A momentous season is ending for the world's newest nautical shortcut. Stable ice began forming in mid-October along the coast of Siberia's Yamal Peninsula, the large landmass north of the Arctic Circle that juts into the Kara Sea. The freeze was expected to spread steadily west and southwest, inundating Kara Strait (map) by this week. Once nature closes that narrow strait to the Barents Sea, it effectively shuts down until next summer the entrance to Russia's Northern Sea Route (NSR), the 3,000-mile (4,828-kilometer) east-west passage between Europe and Asia that global warming has made possible. (See related "Quiz: What You Don't Know About Energy in the Changing Arctic.") Never mind that Arctic sea ice rebounded 30 percent this year from its 2012 record low. (See related, "Summer Arctic Sea Ice Recovers From 2012, But Trend Is 'Decidedly' Down.") Seventy-one ships completed "transits," or complete journeys between the Barents Sea and the Bering Strait, up more than 50 percent from last year, according to Rosatomflot, Russia's state-operated nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet, which provides mandatory escort—for a fee. As recently as 2010, only four ships made the crossing. (Voice your opinion, "Arctic Development: What Do We Urgently Need to Know?") (November 29, 2013) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/30/2013 - Arctic Shipping Soars, Led by Russia and Lured by Energy A momentous season is ending for the world's newest nautical shortcut. Stable ice began forming in mid-October along the coast of Siberia's Yamal Peninsula, the large landmass north of the Arctic Circle that juts into the Kara Sea. The freeze was expected to spread steadily west and southwest, inundating Kara Strait (map) by this week. Once nature closes that narrow strait to the Barents Sea, it effectively shuts down until next summer the entrance to Russia's Northern Sea Route (NSR), the 3,000-mile (4,828-kilometer) east-west passage between Europe and Asia that global warming has made possible. (See related "Quiz: What You Don't Know About Energy in the Changing Arctic.") Never mind that Arctic sea ice rebounded 30 percent this year from its 2012 record low. (See related, "Summer Arctic Sea Ice Recovers From 2012, But Trend Is 'Decidedly' Down.") Seventy-one ships completed "transits," or complete journeys between the Barents Sea and the Bering Strait, up more than 50 percent from last year, according to Rosatomflot, Russia's state-operated nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet, which provides mandatory escort—for a fee. As recently as 2010, only four ships made the crossing. (Voice your opinion, "Arctic Development: What Do We Urgently Need to Know?") (November 29, 2013) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/30/2013 - But enacting tougher standards on Fracking assumes you can monitor and enforce them with an overworked DEC. Strong Rules on Fracking in Wyoming Seen as Model In energy-friendly Wyoming, oil and gas companies are getting a clear message: Drill, baby, drill — but carefully. Last week, state regulators approved one of the nation’s strongest requirements for testing water wells near drilling sites. The measure is intended to address concerns that groundwater can become contaminated from drilling activities. It is the latest of several groundbreaking regulations related to energy production issued by Wyoming, which in 2010 became the first state to require disclosure of some of the chemicals used in the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. (November 22, 2013) New York Times
11/30/2013 - You’re wondering, if Climate Change is true then when will the US start noticing? Ans: About the time we go broke. Climate Change Will Pose Rising Burden on U.S. Taxpayer LONDON – Such losses, says Ceres, a U.S.-based non-profit organization which promotes environmentally sustainable business practices, are set to rise considerably in the years ahead as a result of climate change, imposing an ever bigger burden on the U.S. taxpayer. Federal and state disaster relief payouts last year alone are estimated to have cost every person in the U.S. more than $300. Yet according to a new report by Ceres, Inaction on climate change: the cost to taxpayers, the U.S. administration, its agencies and state bodies are still not facing up to the grave financial implications of a warming world. “Part of the reason for our collective shortsightedness is that the issue of climate change, and what to do about it, has become politicized in the U.S.,” it says. The report says there have been at least 200 weather-related natural catastrophes annually in North America in recent years, compared to around 50 a year in the early 1980s. (November 29, 2013) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/30/2013 - I know, we’re a long way from having a public discussion on increasing Monroe County’s recycling rate, but we can go to Buffalo and dream. Buffalo Recycling Policy: a Public Forum, Friday, December 6, 10:00 am to 11:30 am, 237 Main Street, Suite 1200, Downtown Buffalo, Cornell University ILR Suite, What can Buffalo do to boost its recycling rate? Sam Magavern from the Buffalo Recycling Alliance and the Partnership for the Public Good and a team of nine students from SUNY Buffalo Law School will present a set of recommendations for changes to the City of Buffalo’s laws and policies and ask for public input before presenting a proposed ordinance to the City., Free and open to the public., To reserve a seat or if you have questions, call or email, Sam Magavern, firstname.lastname@example.org, 852-4191, ext. 117
11/30/2013 - Bush II’s encouragement “And I encourage you all to go shopping more,” didn’t work for the Iraq War and it won’t work for Climate Change. Is Every Day Black Friday? How Climate Inaction And Hypermaterialism Betray Our Children Black Friday has become an orgiasticcelebration of hyper-materialism. Black Friday is a sort of reverse “Hunger Games,” an annual ritualized competition, but one built around overabundance, rather than scarcity. It is perhaps the inevitable outcome of a country whose citizens are commonly referred to as “consumers.” So what better time to think about how the global economic system is a Ponzi scheme, an utterly unsustainable system that effectively takes wealth from our children and future generations — wealth in the form of ground water, arable land, fisheries, a livable climate — to prop up our carbon-intensive lifestyles. We cannot stop catastrophic climate change — in the long term and possibly even the medium-term — without a pretty dramatic change to our overconsumption-based economic system. We have already overshot the Earth’s biocapacity — and the overshoot gets worse every year. (November 29, 2013) ThinkProgress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/30/2013 - Though New York State is still a Frack-free island in an ocean of places gone Fracking, it doesn’t mean we cannot use Fracking reports from other regions to anticipate what would happen to New York if we Fracked. Using a report on Fracking in Europe (see below) we can connect the dots as to why Fracking wouldn’t be good for New York. The reports says,”where water is in short supply there may not be enough available from public water supplies or the environment to meet the requirements for hydraulic fracturing.” So, while New York State may have water in abundance supply most of the time, Climate Change reports describe challenges ahead, “Lower rainfall amounts in the summer may increase the frequency of drought, and may negatively affect the ability of small drinking water supply systems to meet demand.” (NEW YORK’S CHANGING CLIMATE, Cornell Climate Change ) Do we really want to pit communities needing water in our summers with the Fracking industry? Water Industry Admits Fracking Compromises UK’s Water Supply Today, two industry groups signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating that their members will minimize the impact of onshore oil and gas development in the UK on the country’s water resources. The memorandum accompanies a report released by Water UK. The report concludes that ”where water is in short supply there may not be enough available from public water supplies or the environment to meet the requirements for hydraulic fracturing.” (November 27, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]
11/29/2013 - Still no mention of Climate Change, which increases evaporation, has lessened ice cover, and lowers lake levels, in local press on Lake Levels. And, while we’re at it, the Great Lakes are the largest fresh water system in the world, and not just stomping grounds of fishermen and shoreline property owners. It’s a massive system that will play a very large role in our regions climate as it warms, affecting our water quality, aquatic life, invasive species, lake-effect storms, wildlife and a whole lot more. Let’s not treat the Great Lakes as only the interests of a relatively few ‘stakeholders’. Landowners, advocates disagree over Lake Ontario levels Sodus, N.Y. (AP) Potential changes in Lake Ontario's water levels are driving a debate among those who live on and use the lake. Let the lake go up and down more, say environmentalists and outdoors sportsmen. The current levels have made the lake's 63,000 acres of surrounding wetlands unhealthy. Wildlife, native plants and fish are suffering according to the Post Standard. They favor a new plan being considered by a joint American/Canadian commission to let the lake rise and fall more. (November 29, 2013) WHAM [more on Great Lakes in our area]
11/29/2013 - Is present cold snap in the Northeast a sign that Climate Change is cooling off? I don’t think so. It’s Climate Disruption. A nice and slow, gradual convenient slip into a comfortable Southern-like climate full of peach trees and cream is not in for the forecast. A possible rapid “altering the jet stream” is. Snow Cover May Help Usher in Historic Cold to Northwest As a Thanksgiving-eve storm — which snarled air and road traffic up and down the East Coast on Wednesday — comes to a close, it’s leaving the country with the largest snowpack for this time of year since at least 2003. That snow cover is likely to play a big role in helping to usher in a wave of potentially historically cold air during the week after Thanksgiving, starting in the Pacific Northwest and eventually encompassing most of the Central U.S., particularly the Upper Plains states and Upper Midwest. In fact, according to some long-range computer model projections, the entire lower 48 states may be experiencing below-average temperatures by mid-December. Computer models show an unusual weather pattern may bring record cold temperatures to areas from Seattle to Portland, and eastward to Minneapolis, starting about Dec. 2 and continuing through at least December 12. (November 27, 2013) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/28/2013 - Ruminating on our distress at crow messes, I got to thinking how few animals gravitate towards us, instead of away, and crow mess is not the kind of toxic mess we leave behind in the air, land, and water. I know, why worry about crow ‘hazing’ using “using pyrotechnics, spotlights , lasers and amplified recordings of crows in distress”? Compared with the stuff—‘harvesting’, destroying their habitats, treating them as collateral damage (road kill) via our transportation systems, and ‘testing’ for beauty products--we do to Wildlife, ‘hazing’ is pretty mild. We are a pretty intolerant species. Rochester Tries To Disperse The Crows...Again Rochester will again be taking steps to try and disperse the large number of crows that tend to gather downtown. This is the third straight year the city has tried a program that involves 'hazing,' using pyrotechnics, spotlights , lasers and amplified recordings of crows in distress. Officials say these methods will not harm the crows. (November 27, 2013) WXXI News
11/28/2013 - Very interesting: “New info about Climate Change, Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, City of Ithaca Water Plant, Emerald Ash Borer: The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network's recent fall conference focused on Six Mile Creek. Tony Ingraham's "Walk in the Park" show has two new episodes about it. Go here http://ithacafingerlakes.com/ and scroll down to click on and watch episode 61, “Gorge Tree Killer” and episode 62, “Six Mile Creek, Trees and Water” – and stay a while to enjoy Tony’s long-running local series.”
11/28/2013 - What have the Deciders decided on Fracking on public lands and GHG emissions from power plants? FEDERAL AGENCIES: White House releases agenda for hundreds of new rules Federal agencies have a packed schedule for the coming year that includes expected rules targeting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, tightening control over hydraulic fracturing on public lands and updating efficiency requirements on a variety of appliances, according to a sweeping plan released by the White House today. The fall issue of the biannual "Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions" -- which typically is published in October -- was not nearly as delayed as this year's spring version, which came out in July instead of its traditional April release (Greenwire, July 8). At the same time, its publication right before Thanksgiving will dampen the attention it receives. The document contains the long- and short-term plans for every agency in the executive branch, detailing both the marquee and the mundane plans being carried out across the federal government (November 27, 2013) E&E Publishing
11/28/2013 - Take home message about health of Genesee River today: “Most fish caught here are stocked rather than wild” A healthy, thriving riparian and river ecology with a health fishing industry is not one that has to be continually stocked. As the Genesee River was named the 32nd worst toxic polluted river in the US according to this report: Wasting Our Waterways 2012, it would be good to make a concerted effort to assess the health of the Genesee River and clean it up—instead of just writing happy articles about how much fun the fishermen are having. Learn more about the health of our Genesee River. Rochester's Lower Falls an angler's paradise Beyond the mist of Lower Falls, at the base of the Genesee River gorge, Ryan Lawrence casts his line into the swift-flowing waters from the edge of the rocky shore. The late fall morning has drawn a dozen other fisherman. Some push closer to the thundering waterfall, and venture into the eddy, while others stake out locations downstream. There, the river is so calm and shallow it is possible to wade well into the channel. On either side, the wooded ravine is a spray of bright fall colors that reflects in the Genesee. The picturesque fishing hole is framed beneath arched supports of the Driving Park bridge some 200 feet above. "I love it in the fall time," says Lawrence, 22, of Penfield, who fishes these waters three times a week this time of year in the hopes of hooking steelhead trout. "A lot of fish come up here. It's a big river. ... (But) you're in the middle of the city. I'm sure not a lot of people even know about it." (November 16, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Genesee River in our area]
11/28/2013 - I know it’s Thanksgiving and it’s freaking cold outside, but Climate Change is about planning—so here’s how to plan for urban heat: Adapting to Urban Heat: A Tool Kit for Local Governments Even Rochester, NY is going to experience hotter days more often in the summer and to protect our public health we need to plan. –from Georgetown Climate Center “The nonpartisan Georgetown Climate Center seeks to advance effective climate, energy, and transportation policies in the United States—policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to climate change.”
11/27/2013 - Our Northeast region of the US is already experiencing Climate Change; find out solutions – from Cornell. New website is 'one-stop shop' for climate change info Farmers, gardeners and students have a new place to learn about climate change and how to be part of the solution. The new website, climatechange.cornell.edu, is a one-stop shop for everything climate change, says David Wolfe, faculty fellow at Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and chair of the center’s Climate Change Task Force. At the core of the site is a searchable directory of climate change research and outreach programs at Cornell with summaries, contact information, and links to more information. In addition, issue-specific pages to help farmers, local government officials, youth educators and others connect with Cornell’s research-based resources and tools for reliable information. “The Northeast is already feeling the effects of climate change,” notes Wolfe. “There are so many people at Cornell working on practical solutions to these challenges – from research in agriculture to economics, engineering to social sciences, and Cooperative Extension’s work with farmers and communities. Our website will help the public engage with the expertise at Cornell to put these solutions into practice.” (November 26, 2013) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/27/2013 - The rich taking our Brownfield cleanup money subsidies to build when it’s not even a Brownfield? Cuomo say it ain’t so. N.Y., corporate welfare capital Tax credits, often economically counterproductive, cost us billions They might be the fastest-growing form of welfare in New York State — and they have nothing to do with feeding the poor, healing the sick or supporting the elderly. They’re the form of corporate welfare known as business tax credits — and they’re taking an increasingly huge bite out of state finances. The state will dole out almost $1.8 billion in tax credits to businesses this year alone, an amount that has almost doubled since 2010. That startling fact comes from a study prepared for Gov. Cuomo’s tax reform commission — which should jolt Albany to roll back or eliminate the worst giveaways. Other eye-opening findings from the study by Donald Boyd of the Rockefeller Institute of Government and Marilyn Marks Rubin of John Jay College: -Many of the tax credits are “refundable,” meaning they go beyond merely reducing or eliminating a company’s tax bill to actually cutting a check from the state treasury — sometimes for tens of millions of dollars (November 27, 2013) NY Daily News [more on Brownfields in our area]
11/27/2013 - But I thought Landfills were the silver bullet for our trash; now I find they’re not and we have to pay for their cleanup? Whatupthat? $2.5 Million Plant to Treat Contaminated Ground Water at the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund Site in Nassau, New York Nears Completion; EPA Announces Agreements with Companies to Conduct Studies of Contamination at the Site; Total Actions Expected to Cost at Least $4.5 Million (New York, N.Y.) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck today visited the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund site in Nassau, Rensselaer County, New York to announce that General Electric Company and SI Group, Inc. (formerly Schenectady Chemical) have agreed to conduct comprehensive studies of the contamination at the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund site. The site, which is located four miles northeast of the village of Nassau in southern Rensselaer County, is contaminated with volatile organic compounds and other hazardous substances that have seeped out of the landfill and contaminated the ground water. In addition, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have also moved downstream, contaminating sediment and several species of fish in and near Nassau Lake. The EPA also announced that the construction of a new water treatment system for collecting and treating liquid seeping from the landfill and ground water is nearly complete and is expected to begin operations in January 2014. Many volatile organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals and can cause cancer in people. PCBs are chemicals that persist in the environment and can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and can cause cancer. (November 26, 2013) EPA News Releases [more on Recycling and Brownfields in our area]
11/27/2013 - Trees are good, plant more, keep them in the ground, best easy-peasy solution for Climate Change. Feds award Great Lakes area urban forest grants The U.S. Forest Service is awarding nearly $2.5 million worth of grants in six Great Lakes states for projects designed to improve urban forests and tree canopies in ways that will boost water quality. It’s part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an Obama administration program attempting to make progress on longstanding environmental problems in the region. (November 26, 2013) The Detroit News [more on Water Quality and Plants in our area]
11/27/2013 - No duh: "Neither the U.S. nor Canada can afford the risk of polluting the Great Lakes with toxic nuclear waste…," Proposal to bury Canadian nuclear plant waste along Great Lakes draws criticism from US lawmakers KINCARDINE, Ontario -- Ordinarily, a proposal to bury radioactive waste in a scenic area that relies on tourism would inspire "not in my backyard" protests from local residents -- and relief in places that were spared. But conventional wisdom has been turned on its head in the Canadian province of Ontario, where a publicly owned power company wants to entomb waste from its nuclear plants 2,230 feet below the surface and less than a mile from Lake Huron. Some of the strongest support comes from Kincardine and other communities near the would-be disposal site at the Bruce Power complex, the world's largest nuclear power station, which produces one-fourth of all electricity generated in Canada's most heavily populated province. Nuclear is a way of life here, and many residents have jobs connected to the industry. Meanwhile, the loudest objections are coming from elsewhere in Canada and the U.S. -- particularly Michigan, which shares the Lake Huron shoreline with Ontario. (November 26, 2013) Syracuse.com [more on Great Lakes in our area]
11/27/2013 - If methane, a far more potent GHG than CO2, from oil and gas and cattle industries is underreported, shouldn’t we get the right figures before we Frack New York and ramp up Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)? Probably best not to Frack at all and go vegan like Al Gore just did. U.S. Methane Emissions Vastly Underestimated: Study The federal government has vastly underestimated climate change-fueling methane being emitted in the United States, primarily from the oil and gas and cattle industries, according to a new Harvard University study. The oil and gas industry, largely in the south-central U.S., may be emitting nearly five times the methane that scientists previously estimated, while methane emissions of livestock operations are twice previous estimates and overall nationwide methane emissions are up to 1.7 times what had been thought until now. The study, conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard and seven other institutions, was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. Methane is a greenhouse gas that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports is 34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2), although it has a much shorter atmospheric lifetime. While the boom in shale oil and gas drilling and fracking has helped to reduce carbon emissions by shifting some electricity generation to natural gas-fired power plants from coal-fired ones, methane emissions have become a major climate concern. (November 25, 2013) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/27/2013 - Is the New York Times keeping you pretty and dumb on Climate Change? if so, you might want a more adult relationship with environmental news. Something Is Rotten at the New York Times Something is rotten at the New York Times. When it comes to the matter of human-caused climate change, the Grey Lady's editorial page has skewed rather contrarian of late. A couple months ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publishedits 5th scientific assessment, providing the strongest evidence to date that climate change is real, caused by us, and a problem. Among other areas of the science where the evidence has become ever more compelling, is the so-called "Hockey Stick" curve -- a graph my co-authors and I published a decade and a half ago showing modern warming in the Northern Hemisphere to be unprecedented for at least the past 1000 years. The IPCC further strengthened that original conclusion, finding that recent warmth is likely unprecedented over an even longer timeframe. (November 21, 2013) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/27/2013 - Missed some of those webinars of the most comprehensive and authoritative programs on addressing Climate Change in New York State: “Climate Smart Communities is an unprecedented state-local partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save taxpayer dollars and advance community goals.” The program on ‘National Flood Insurance Community Rating System’ is especially enlightening given insurance rates, FEMA flood maps, and Climate Change. Live near water? You might want to check that one out.
11/27/2013 - With environmental issues, like water quality, air quality, and Climate Change thrown into the mix, we need more coverage, not less from mainstream media. Last weekend’s NYT coverage of the Warsaw Climate Talks was inept. NY Times’ Climate Coverage Suffers After Dissolving Environmental Team and Green Blog The New York Times has produced less environmental news coverage overall since dismantling its reporting team and blog devoted to this issue area earlier this year, the newspaper’s public editor said. In her Nov. 23 column, New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan reported that environmental coverage and investigative projects decreased significantly since the newspaper disbanded its issue-specific team in January and discontinued the Green blog in March. This decision drew wide criticisms and concerns, which were substantiated by a corresponding drop in coverage on environmental issues, including the omission of two major climate stories in August. The decrease came despite assurances from editors that “they were not abandoning the subject—just taking it out of its silo and integrating it into many areas of coverage.” Sullivan reported: (November 26, 2013) EcoWatch
11/26/2013 - From the beginning of the Fracking issue in NYS, five years ago, the job creations issue has always been questioned because locals aren’t needed—these are jobs that need experts that come and go with the flow. Why would the Fracking industry train locals for positions they already have employees to do this kind of work and are ready to move? Study calls fracking job number claims ‘exaggerated’ | A new report claims that the job impact of shale gas drilling is exaggerated by supporters. The analysis finds only one out-of-every 795 jobs was shale gas related in the six-state area it focused on. The study by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative looked at the six states that span the Marcellus and Utica Shale, including New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The report finds that direct shale-related employment fell in the 12 months between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013. Steve Herzenberg from the Keystone Research Center in Pennsylvania says claims that 180,000 people in the six states have drilling-related jobs are incorrect. “There are 33,000 shale-related jobs in this six-state region. We also find that shale jobs are a tiny fraction of all jobs, only about one-eighth of one percent in the six-state region,” said Herzenberg. Herzenberg says having proper jobs numbers will help state and local governments plan for the effect of hydrofracking. (November 25, 2013) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]
11/26/2013 - As long as Sen. Schumer is asking, why not a 24/7 watch around Ginna nuclear power plant in Rochester, NY too? I know, who in their right mind would want to attack Rochester? On the other hand, if we dropped nuclear power plants altogether, we wouldn’t even have to think about someone attacking a wind turbine or solar panel. Not sexy enough. Senator wants 24/7 security in the water around Indian Point PEEKSKILL – There has never been an attempt to breach security at a nuclear power plant from the water, and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY) says the chance of such an attack is probably less than one percent. That’s too much of a chance, said the senator, on a windy and cold Monday morning, on the banks of the Hudson River, about a mile from the Indian Point reactors. Schumer cited the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project, commissioned by the Department of Defense, which finds that an attack on Indian Point could result in serious damage to the plant and a large release of radiation in a densely populated area. The report was completed this past August. (November 26, 2013) MidHudsonNews
11/26/2013 - Why rake leaves when mulching is easier and better for your lawn? I know, it’s fun and seasonal. Rake the Leaves? Some Towns Say Mow Them DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. — They have been burned, blown into piles, raked into bags and generally scorned by homeowners everywhere. Fall leaves — so pretty on the trees, such a nuisance when they hit the ground — have long been a thing to be discarded. But now some suburban towns are asking residents to do something radical: Leave the leaves alone. In the past few years, lawn signs have sprouted in this Hudson River village and across Westchester County, proclaiming the benefits of mulching the leaves in place, rather than raking them up and taking them away. The technique involves mowing the leaves with special mulching blades, which shred them into tiny bits. That allows them to quickly decompose and naturally feed lawns and shrubs. (November 24, 2013) New York Times [more on Recycling in our area]
11/26/2013 - Hard to believe at this late date that articles talk about new flood zones, insurance rate hikes, but don’t even mention Climate Change. Why do you think the flood zones and insurance rates are changing; it’s not just population growth? Read “FEMA Climate Change Report” AECOM conducted the Climate Change Study for FEMA to analyze potential long-term implications of climate change on the NFIP. The climate change impact assessment includes all 50 states, as well as consideration of the U.S. territories. However, since the concern is impact on the NFIP as a whole, it is recognized that not all regions have the same relative significance. A detailed region-by-region assessment of climate change was not intended. Major attention, therefore, was given to areas of greatest population and the largest inventory of at-risk properties. FEMA intends to use the findings of this study to assist in the development of recommendations addressing the impacts of climate change and future development on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Download and read the study, "The Impact of Climate Change and Population Growth on the National Flood Insurance Program" | FEMA flood plain mapping near completion in north country Property owners along waterways in the north country are expected to see increases on flood insurance premiums, but there are no answers yet as to how much. “Rates are changing,” said Karen Dunbar, National Flood Insurance Program customer service representative. “Premiums will go up.” She didn’t know how much of an increase policy holders could see, but said, “Different elevations will get different rates. We can’t give a rate if we don’t know what the map is going to say.” According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, only about 20 percent of National Flood Insurance Program policyholders pay subsidized rates. Of those, 5 percent — those with subsidized policies for non-primary residences, businesses and severe repetitive loss properties — will see premium increases of 25 percent annually until their premiums are full-risk premiums. (November 25, 2013) Watertown Daily Times [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/26/2013 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is “methane hydrates”: These are big methane bombs under the Arctic best served cold, very cold. Arctic Storms, Warming Mean More Methane Released Underneath the Arctic Ocean sits a large reserve of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Understanding how much of that is making it to the atmosphere is an important but relatively new area of research. The latest findings published on Sunday in Nature indicate that more could be escaping than previously thought, thanks in part to stormy weather. The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is a swath of land underneath the shallows of the East Siberian Sea, which is part of the Arctic Ocean. It stretches for 2 million square miles and contains large deposits of methane hydrates, which are frozen deposits of highly concentrated methane. When the hydrates melt, they turn into methane gas, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.Methane hydrates are found throughout the world's oceans but generally under hundreds of feet of water. That means as they melt, there's more time for the gas to disperse and mix with the surrounding ocean water. But because the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is much shallower, with an average depth of 150 feet, there's more of a chance for that methane gas to reach the surface. That's why understanding how much methane is stored in the shelf and if those stores are stable is so important to climate researchers (November 24, 2013) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/26/2013 - The more you learn about the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the more concerned you get. Learn more: Expose The TPP The Top Secret Trade Deal You Need to Know About A cornerstone of President Obama’s plan to create more American jobs is a new agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), referred to by some as “NAFTA on steroids.” While negotiations are being carried out in secret and very little about the terms has been leaked, enough is known to worry about its possible effect on trade unions and our copyright and patent laws, not to mention environmental, health and safety regulations. This week on Moyers & Company, Bill discusses the TPP with two perceptive observers of the global economy. Yves Smith is an expert on investment banking who runs the Naked Capitalism blog, a go-to site for information and insight on the business and ethics of finance. Dean Baker is co-director of the progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. (November 1, 2013) Moyers&Company
11/25/2013 - Horrible Warsaw Climate Talks coverage by NYT; Maybe they should have been there like Democracy Now! I don’t really see how “Deals at Climate Meeting Advance Global Effort”, especially when Japan, Australia, and Canada pulled back on promised greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mentioned the US planned all along to drag its feet: Leaked Memo Reveals U.S. Plan to Oppose Helping Poor Nations Adapt to Climate Change and six major environmental groups walked out of the talks. None of which the NYS mentions. Because the NYT is acting like a mouthpiece for the developed nations, and no longer as a responsible news agency, the measure of success at a Climate talk is that there will a another meeting—where, of course, the can will be kicked down the road again. Really, success is when the meetings don’t go so horrible wrong that folks agree to come back? And this statement ascribed to Todd D. Stern (President Obama’s climate envoy) is absurd “He argued that peer pressure was the best hope for concerted action after the 2009 Copenhagen meeting showed a binding top-down approach could not succeed at the international level.” How can ‘peer pressure’ work if nobody but the developed countries has any clout? If you have meeting where the developing nations won’t be listened to, where fossil fuel lobbyists are invited, and the NGO’s walk out—what ‘peers’ are you talking about? The good ole boys? If you think about Climate Change for more than a selfish minute, nothing, but nothing will work to stop a planetary crisis like Climate Change without ‘binding top down’ measures. Baby steps at this point in time where the window to avoid catastrophic warming (over 2C) is quickly closing is too absurd. Please, will somebody over at mainstream media take a science course? Deals at Climate Meeting Advance Global Effort WARSAW — Two weeks of United Nations climate talks ended Saturday with a pair of last-minute deals keeping alive the hope that a global effort can ward off a ruinous rise in temperatures. Delegates agreed to the broad outlines of a proposed system for pledging emissions cuts and gave their support for a new treaty mechanism to tackle the human cost of rising seas, floods, stronger storms and other expected effects of global warming. The measures added momentum to the talks as United Nations members look toward a 2015 conference in Paris to replace the moribund Kyoto Protocol. “I think this is what they needed to move the ball forward,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute, “even if you can’t say that it provided a lot of new ambition.” (November 23, 2013) New York Times
11/25/2013 - ACTION: Chance to make public comment on Invasive Species on species like Asian Carp, Emerald Ash Borer, Zebra Mussel, and Purple Loosestrife at closest meeting to our region-- Buffalo Tuesday December 10, 2013 at 2:00 DEC Region 9 Headquarters, First Floor Conference Room 270 Michigan Avenue Buffalo, NY 14203 Lands and Forests Emergency, Proposed & Recently Adopted Regulations Invasive species are having a detrimental effect upon the State's natural communities and systems by out-competing native species, including threatened and endangered species, diminishing biological diversity, altering community structure and, in some cases, changing ecosystem processes. To reverse this trend, the proposed regulations were developed by the Department, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Markets. These regulations, once implemented, are expected to help control invasive species, a form of biological pollution, by reducing the introduction of new and spread of existing populations, thereby having a positive impact on the environment. Details of the rule development process and public participation process: The Department filed a Proposed Rule Making with the Department of State to amend 6 NYCRR by promulgating a new Part 575 pertaining to invasive species. The proposed regulations will be published in the State Register on October 23, 2013. A sixty day public comment period will begin on October 23, 2013 and continue through December 23, 2013. Public hearings will be held at four locations across New York State as follows: Buffalo Tuesday December 10, 2013 at 2:00 DEC Region 9 Headquarters, First Floor Conference Room 270 Michigan Avenue Buffalo, NY 14203 NYS DEC
11/25/2013 - The military, whose job it is to “prevent and defeat threats to our homeland,” doesn’t have the luxury of climate denial. The Arctic Is Melting, So The U.S. Military Has Another Place It Has To Defend For the first time, the Pentagon has a comprehensive strategy for the Arctic. This move is prompted mainly because climate change is causing the sea ice to steadily melt and allow ships to access more of the Arctic Ocean. On Friday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel helped to open the 5th Halifax International Security Forum by speaking about the Department of Defense’s Arctic Strategy. The Strategy opens by saying the Arctic is at a “strategic inflection point” because “its ice cap is diminishing more rapidly than projected.” This brings increasing “human activity, driven by economic opportunity” that ranges from shipping and fishing to fossil fuel extraction and tourism. Most experts believe there will be no Arctic sea ice in the summer by 2030. (November 22, 2013) Climate Progress/Thinking Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/23/2013 - Oh sure, ship Tar Sands crude oil across Great Lakes as Climate Change warms up region. What could possibly go wrong? Public meeting in Superior to focus on shipping crude oil across Great Lakes The construction of a proposed oil terminal in Superior that would allow crude oil to be shipped across Lake Superior will be the center of a public meeting next week. The Wisconsin DNR called for the session to allow for public comment specifically on the process of repairing the dock at which the terminal could be located in Superior. On a larger scale, the project would include taking oil from existing Enbridge pipelines and transferring it to the proposed Elkhorn waterfront site via the Calumet refinery's existing pipeline route. As currently proposed, the terminal would load one barge every four days with Tar Sands crude oil to be shipped east via the Great Lakes. (November 21, 2013) Northlands NewsCenter [more on Great Lakes in our area]
11/23/2013 - Our Rochester, NY area prides itself on fresh clean water, but do we have a clue about our wastewater treatment plants’ ability to screen prescription drugs and other newly emerging contaminants in sewage? Be nice to have our local media, which is losing more reporters every day, find out about that so we don’t engage in faith-based water drinking. Only half of drugs, other newly emerging contaminants removed from sewage Only about half of the prescription drugs and other newly emerging contaminants in sewage are removed by treatment plants. That’s the finding of a new report by the International Joint Commission, a consortium of officials from the United States and Canada who study the Great Lakes. The impact of most of these “chemicals of emerging concern” on the health of people and aquatic life remains unclear. Nevertheless, the commission report concludes that better water treatment is needed. (November 22, 2013) Environmental Health News [more on Environmental Health and Water Quality in our area]
11/23/2013 - Watching the Warsaw Climate Talks fail is learning experience: How a planet with ‘intelligent’ life allows itself to die. U.N. climate talks blocked over aid, steps to 2015 deal (Reuters) - Almost 200 nations were deadlocked on Saturday over how to step up aid to ease the impact of global warming on developing nations as part of the foundations of an elusive U.N. climate accord due in 2015. The Warsaw meeting, which had been due to end on Friday but extended into Saturday morning, had little to show after two weeks except for a deal on new rules to protect tropical forests, which soak up carbon dioxide as they grow. (November 23, 2013) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/23/2023 - They say ignorance is bliss, so the less you know about Fracking the more likely you are to like it—but not in a good way. Americans Uninformed About Fracking Says New Study Most Americans have heard little or nothing of the oil and gas production process called hydraulic fracturing, and many don’t know if they support or oppose it, according to a new paper by researchers from Oregon State, George Mason and Yale universities. The research, published this week, is based on questions about fracking included in the 2012 biennial Climate Change in the American Mind survey, which gauges the public’s understanding of issues associated with climate change. Advances in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, technology are responsible for the current shale oil and natural gas drilling boom in the U.S. The boom has begun to fuel a shift in electricity generation from carbon-emitting coal-fired power plants to cleaner natural gas power plants, reducing overall carbon emissions from electricity generation. The boom has also sparked concerns about how methane emissions from fracking and leaks in the natural gas production and distribution system may fuel climate change, which scientists have yet to fully quantify. (November 21, 2013) Climate Central [more on Fracking and Climate Change in our area]
11/23/2013 - For developed nations, failure at Warsaw is success; for developing nations, the failure is catastrophic Warsaw climate talks move into overtime Deliberations at the United Nations climate conference have extended one day past the original end date of the meeting. Delegates are said to disagree on funding for climate protection measures in developing nations. The climate negotiations in Warsaw continued into the early hours of Saturday morning, past the originally scheduled end of the conference on Friday. Climate negotiators from 194 nations were wrangling over key points that are meant to lay the framework for a global climate agreement to be put into effect by 2015 at a meeting in Paris. (November 23, 2013) Deutsche Welle (DW) [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/22/2013 - Very sad that Western press is obsessed with JFK Assassination anniversary when Climate talks are being sabotaged by developed nations and industry while nary a word from our press. Rochester Man Recalls His Role In Investigation Into JFK Assassination (November 22, 2013) WXXI News
11/22/2013 - Wonder if folks in Rochester, NY region have noticed the great decline in local news, or have become accustomed to news as nonsense. Like the boiling frog syndrome, the merging of competitive media to one dull voice, the gutting of reporters to find out real news, and the lack of real investigative reporting on pollution and that world is warming has so become the norm in the Rochester area that most folks haven’t a clue about the environmental issues in our area—or that real consequences of Climate Change that are coming to our region. Become the media: demand that your media check stuff out about pollution and warming; use social media to stove pipe important news to your groups, and get a real public media that understands environmental sustainability as the real objectivity for news—not pandering to the public’s inclination for happy news. Messenger Post lays off journalists at Monroe County weeklies Messenger Post Media laid off a huge swath of the full-time reporting staff at its eight weekly newspapers serving communities in Monroe County on Friday. The layoffs affected just a handful of reporters. But those reporters represented virtually the totality of the newsgathering operation, with each acting as one-person traveling bureaus that sometimes churned out as many as a dozen stories a week. This week’s edition of the Henrietta Post, for example, contains stories about the town supervisor’s election, an elementary school honoring veterans, the opening of a new restaurant and a theater review, all under the same byline. That reporter also wrote a piece about a cancer fundraiser that appeared in at least two of the weeklies. (November 15, 2013) Democrat and Chronicle
11/22/2013 - With environmental groups walking out, the developed nation sabotaging Climate talks, 3 countries pulling back on the GHG’s emission promises, and US refusal to address Climate Justice, and then packing Climate Talks with corporate polluters seems really craven indeed. See “Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions” | Corporate Lobbyists Flood Warsaw Climate Talks WARSAW, Poland — The United Nations is holding this year’s climate conference in Warsaw, a city steeped in history. Nicolaus Copernicus, the famous Polish astronomer who first posited that the Earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa, is celebrated here. The Frederic Chopin Airport is named for the brilliant composer who lived here. The pioneer in the science of radiation, Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (she won two of them), was born here. Here also was the Warsaw Ghetto, one of the many awful hallmarks of the Holocaust, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were imprisoned before being shipped off to their deaths at Treblinka and other Nazi concentration camps. It was under the oppression of the German occupiers that the Jews of the Ghetto rose up, in a courageous act of self-defense. Later, inspired by the Ghetto uprising, the non-Jewish residents of Warsaw rose up as well and fought for two months before being crushed. By the end of World War II, six million Poles, half of them Jews, had been killed. Eighty-five percent of Warsaw was demolished. This is where the so-called COP 19 is being held, the 19th conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UNFCCC. Sequestered in the new National Stadium, thousands of negotiators from the body’s 198 member countries hurry through the temporary, canvas-walled corridors erected on the stadium’s field, along with representatives of countless nongovernmental organizations and members of the press. This year’s meeting has a new feature: corporate sponsorship. (November 21, 2013) Democracy Now! [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/22/2013 - It must be very frustrating for the developed nations to sabotage the Climate Talks and then not be able to contain that. With the Internet, email, intelligent and communications-savvy environmental groups, those hoping to maintain business as usual while the world rockets towards an uninhabitable 4C rise in greenhouse gases are not going to be able to do that in secret. Green groups quit Warsaw climate talks over lack of progress (Reuters) - Around 800 people from environmental groups, including Greenpeace and WWF, walked out of U.N. climate talks in Warsaw on Thursday in protest at what they see as a lack of progress towards a global deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions. It is the first time green groups have staged such a coordinated walkout at U.N. climate talks and could further dent public perceptions of the effectiveness of the Warsaw conference. "This does not affect the work going on behind closed doors but it certainly won't help people's perceptions at home of what we are trying to do here," a U.N. delegate who wished to remain anonymous told Reuters. (November 21, 2013) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/21/2013 - If you’re shrugging off the implacability of accomplishing anything at Warsaw Climate talks, think what warming might be like here in Northeast. North Country scientist rewrites history of global climate change A researcher in the Adirondacks is literally rewriting the history of global climate change. Curt Stager, a scientist at Paul Smiths College, is publishing an article later this month in the journal Science that describes an ancient drought that transformed Asia and Africa thousands of years ago. The "H1 mega-drought" may have wiped out whole tribes of humans, as it dried up rivers and lakes across whole continents. As Brian Mann reports, Stager thinks that devastating event could be a warning for people living in a new period of global warming. (March 1, 2011) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/21/2013 - Great opportunity to help fund a critical environment group in Rochester, NY region Center for Environmental Initiatives (CEI) Contribute to CEI on Roc the Day 2013! On 12/11/13, browse to Roctheday.org and contribute to the charities/non-profit groups that you would like to support. To contribute to CEI, click here or search for CEI on their site.
11/21/2013 - Pitiful news coming out of Warsaw on tackling Climate Change is not just an ‘over there’ problem. Ice loss on Great Lakes is happening, with consequences for us. Radar, algorithm analyze Great Lakes ice for boats, fisheries, forecasters Think all ice is the same? That’s not the case on the Great Lakes. And now scientists have found out how to detect the differences. With math. The development, reported recently in the International Association for Great Lakes Research, is important because it could help guide freighters through icy seas, assist the Coast Guard in breaking up large ice formations and help weather scientists predict evaporation that could lead to lake effect snow. Researchers George Leshkevich of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Son Nghiem of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, developed a radar system and an algorithm to detect types of ice formations on the Great Lakes. (November 20, 2013) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]
11/21/2013 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is ‘How best to prepare for a 4C rise in Climate Change by 2021?’ Ans: Don’t let it happen! Warsaw's widening climate chasm could lead to 4C warming Scientists say countries attending United Nations climate talks are going backwards on policy and risking 4C of global warming There's a gap that's getting wider in the global climate talks taking place in Warsaw between the near unanimous pledge to keep global warming below 2C and the ability of current policies to achieve the goal. When I say gap, I really mean a chasm. And when I say chasm, I mean a huge, gaping, canyon-like hole big enough to either eat a planet or at least lose an Earth or a carbon dioxide swamped Venus down there for a while. The 19th United Nations Conference of Parties (COP19) meeting has just two days left to run in Poland. Some scientists yesterday delivered a sobering assessment of what was meant to be slow but definite progress. Rather than limiting global warming to 2C - which in itself is not likely to be a painless destination - an assessment released yesterday by scientists found that current policies and pledges would deliver to the world global warming of 3.7C, but with increasing use of coal things could get worse. (November 20, 2013) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/21/2013 - I’m not a real fan of techno-fixes to get us out of Climate Change, as it’s more complicated than a quick geek fix. But the technology that will allow air flights over land to ‘see’ of environment in ways that we couldn’t otherwise is critical to our survival—provided we can understand what we are seeing. Get a sense of the kind of knowledge we can gain about our environment in this 20 minute video and you’ll come away thinking, ‘we need this stuff to address Climate Change’: Greg Asner: Ecology from the air (November 20, 2013) TED Ideas Worth Spreading
11/20/2013 - That ‘wait and see’ and ‘let’s not accomplish anything at Climate talks’ strategies doesn’t seem to be working, maybe we should dillydally some more… Globe’s Unbroken Warm Streak Approaches 29 Years The globe’s unbroken hot streak is inching closer to 29 years, with new data showing that October was the 344th consecutive month with global average surface temperatures above the 20th century average. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released on Monday, the global average surface temperature for the month of October was 1.13°F above the 20th century average (1961-1990) for the month. That’s enough to make this the seventh-warmest October on record in what is also likely to be the seventh-warmest year on record, according to a recent report from the World Meteorological Organization. The last time the globe had a cooler-than-average month was February 1985, and the last cooler-than-average October occurred in 1976, shortly before Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford in that year's presidential election. (November 19, 2013) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/20/2013 - With 3 countries bailing out of Climate talks and USA snubbing Climate Justice, we pass another tipping point… 3 Countries That Are Bailing on Climate Action Japan isn’t the only country walking away from climate promises. When Japan dramatically slashed its plans last week for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, from 25 percent to just 3.8 percent compared to 2005 figures, the international reaction was swift and damning. Britain called it “deeply disappointing.” China’s climate negotiator, Su Wei, said, “I have no way of describing my dismay.” The Alliance of Small Island Nations, which represents islands most at risk of sea level rise, branded the move “a huge step backwards.” The decision was based on the fact that Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors—which had provided about 30 percent of the country’s electricity—are currently shuttered for safety checks after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, despite the government trying to bring some of them back online. That nuclear energy is largely being replaced by fossil fuels. (November 19, 2013) Climate Desk [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/20/2013 - How is American media doing on informing US public of Climate Change? Warning: It’s not pretty. Philippe Cousteau and Andrew Revkin Discuss Media’s Lack of Climate Change Coverage Philippe Cousteau and Andrew Revkin joined CNN’s Frank Sesno on Reliable Sources Sunday to discuss the media’s lack of coverage of global climate change. Cousteau, co-founder and president of EarthEcho International, shared his insights on the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that shows researchers are more certain than ever that humans are causing climate change and that some of its most dangerous impacts are accelerating faster than expected. Revkin, author of the New York Times’ Dot Earth, discussed concerns that the public and media tend to only cover the role of climate change during dramatic extreme weather events like Typhoon Haiyan (November 18, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/19/2013 - Ignoring Climate Justice may sabotage Climate talks, including Warsaw talks, so they accomplish nothing, except more warming. Leaked Memo Reveals U.S. Plan to Oppose Helping Poor Nations Adapt to Climate Change Newly leaked documents have revealed how U.S. negotiators at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw are opposing efforts to help developing countries adapt to climate change. According to an internal U.S. briefing memo seen by Democracy Now!, the U.S. delegation is worried the talks in Warsaw will "focus increasingly on blame and liability" and that poor nations will be "seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts." We speak with Nitin Sethi, a journalist with The Hindu newspaper who first reported on the leaked document. (November 19, 2013) Democracy Now! [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/19/2013 - Question: Why aren’t Warsaw Climate talks worthy of Rochester, NY local news, when the doings of Toronto, Canada mayor are? Our lives will be affected by Climate talk outcomes, but not Toronto’s mayor’s shenanigans.
11/19/2013 - Here’s the problem with just a local focus on our Air Quality: Our atmosphere is a world-wide resource. Even if we monitor and reduce greenhouse gases locally, which we ain’t doing much, there’s still communities across the Great Lakes and beyond spewing their garbage into our commons—our atmosphere. That’s why large-scale effort are critical and it matters what your neighbors are doing. Coal fuels half of Michigan's electricity Ontario residents will still be breathing air polluted by coal after the province's power plants stop burning it next year. That's because about half of Ontario's smog comes from the U.S., where hundreds of coal plants are still generating power and emitting sulphur dioxide, mercury, arsenic, heavy metals and other pollutants. Ontario's Liberal Party came to power in 2003 promising to eliminate coal-fired electricity generation in the province and now says that will happen by the end of 2014. The Lambton Generating Station, south of Sarnia, burned through the last of its coal pile in September and it's officially scheduled to close at the end of year, along with Ontario's Nanticoke coal plant. But, just across the St. Clair River from the Lambton station, Michigan has 24 coal plants that remain a big part of its electricity picture, although its share of the electricity market has been dropping. (November 13, 2013) The Observer [more on Air Quality in our area]
11/19/2013 - Get the Brownfield study: New York's Billion Dollar Brownfields The State of New York has cut checks in excess of $1.14 billion dollars to fund the primary vehicle for cleaning up dangerous, contaminated brownfields statewide, a new analysis by Environmental Advocates of New York has found. And that price tag will continue to grow significantly as 321 more sites are currently enrolled in the program creating a multi-billion dollar public liability. Environmental Advocates of New York
11/19/2013 - Let me see if I have this right: In NYS if you are rich your Brownfield gets cleaned up with public money, but if you’re poor you’re screwed. Cleaning Up Toxic Brownfields - Upscale NY Gets VIP Treatment NEW YORK - A new report says a billion-dollar-plus toxic cleanup program is not reaching neighborhoods that need it most - and now is the perfect time to fix it. Andrew Postiglione, a fiscal policy associate with Environmental Advocates of New York, said plenty of cleanup has been happening in high-property-value areas in Manhattan, but the program needs to be fixed so more cleanup and redevelopment happens in struggling communities upstate. "The brownfields tax credit is a very expensive program. It's over $1 billion to clean up only 131 sites" he explained. "This program is also off-target; it's not going to the communities that need public dollars the most." (November 18, 2013) Public News Service [more on Brownfields in our area]
11/19/2013 - Important report by National Wildlife Federation that questions the assumption of large deer populations in Climate Change Nowhere to Run: Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World | Download the full report: Nowhere to Run: Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World (pdf) Even the largest species on the landscape—our nation’s treasured big game wildlife—are being directly exposed to changing climate... Populations and habitats have already been affected, and landscapes are changing. Increasingly severe drought, rising temperatures and greater weather extremes will leave no big game species untouched. Huge investments were made to restore big game in the 20th century and continue today. These investments have come from many sources, especially special excise taxes paid by hunters through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. As a result, many big game habitats and populations have been successfully restored across the Nation. However, restoration of caribou, deer, moose, mule deer, pronghorn and white-tailed deer are expected to be set back by climate change. Bighorn sheep, still at a small fraction of their historical levels, can ill-afford the added challenge of climate change. It appears that bears will be less affected and only elk may fare better, at least for the near future. National Wildlife Federation
11/19/2013 - Full coverage of the second week of the Warsaw Climate talks by Democracy Now! Democracy Now! at the UN Climate Summits Democracy Now! has been on the ground to cover every United Nations Climate Change Summit since 2009 in Copenhagen, including the 2010 Summit in Cancún, the 2011 Summit in Durban, and the 2012 Summit in Doha. This year’s conference — known as COP 19 — takes place in Warsaw, Poland. Watch this page for our coverage of COP19’s official proceedings, as well as the events outside the conference. Also browse highlights from our previous reports, and related meetings such as the 2010 World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change in Bolivia, and the 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit. - Democracy Now!
11/18/2013 - Interesting, What if climate predictions are wrong and deer population decrease instead of increase. Then, hunters will get alarmed. Most climate studies do report that deer population will increase as our region warms up as they are opportunists. But this study says bugs will prey on deer and diminish their numbers. So, I suspect that hunters, who do a lot of our New York State Department of Conservation’s funding via stamps and licenses, have been ignoring Climate Change because everything was look rosy, But this report challenges that view: Game Over? New England Hunters Confront Climate Change BOSTON - Hunters in Massachusetts and New England are warned in a new report that the warming winters brought on by climate change may someday take away the quarry they pursue. A report from the National Wildlife Federation says the big game that sportsmen and federal and state governments worked to preserve in the 20th century is threatened in the new millennium by climate change. According to the report's lead author, Dr. Doug Inkley, a senior scientist at the NWF, the concern is starting to spread. "The hunters - in particular when they're a little bit little grey in the beard or long in the tooth - they were hunting when it was so cold. Now, they're swatting mosquitos on their hunting gear," he said. "They're the ones who get it, and they're talking to their other hunters." (November 18, 2013) Public News Service [more Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
11/18/2013 - Just because our species tends to have a short memory for things we don’t like, but need to know, here are some of this year’s Extreme Weather highlights. Extreme Weather and Climate Event 2013
11/18/2013 - Dysfunctional as today’s Senate is, I’m glad were not back the ‘Caning of Senator Charles Sumner’ 1856 days where unpopular truths were not tolerated. Though in its cruelty to those without wealth, Climate Change denial at the level of the US Senate must seen like quite a beating. Hurrah, for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for delivering a speech every week on Climate Change on the floor of the Senate to educate his fellow leaders on the crisis the world faces. One Senator’s War Against Climate Change Every week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, heads to the floor of the Senate, sets up an easel and some poster board, and delivers a speech. He works hard on these speeches. They’re deeply researched and beautifully crafted. He delivers them with passion -- to a mostly empty room. His colleagues figure they have better things to do than listen. But 100 years from now, when our grandchildren look back and try to understand what we were doing while the world burned, these speeches may well be some of the most famed rhetoric of the age. The speeches are on climate change. They range in tone from morally outraged to deeply wonky. One focused on how best to structure a carbon fee. “We should start by setting aside about $140 billion -- or 12 percent of the total -- to help lower-income households,” Whitehouse said. (November 13, 2013) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/16/2013 - Doesn’t sound like Fracking Ohio has turned out to be all peaches and cream over there. NYS should go renewable energy. Water Quality Impact Study in Ohio’s Fracking Hotbed COLUMBUS, Ohio – Oil shale gas development has taken parts of Ohio by storm, and researchers are going to a hotbed of hydraulic fracturing activity to study the impacts on water quality. Carroll County has more than 200 wells permitted for hydraulic fracturing. That's why Amy Townsend-Small, an assistant professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati, is leading a study to monitor groundwater wells at varying distances from fracking sites. She says because Ohio is a new player in the fracking game, it's critical to gather baseline data to assess future changes. "Natural gas is obviously a big driver of economic growth and the U.S. government is very interested in pursuing more gas drilling for energy independence,” she says. “So it looks like it may be here to stay and we want to make sure it's done safely." (November 14, 2013) Public News Service [more on Fracking in our area]
11/16/2013 - Some local investigative reporting on recycling in the Rochester, NY region. More, please… Got tips? questions? ask Steve. Tip awry: Recycling waste is really recycled Tips are always welcome here at the Democrat and Chronicle. Send more. We love ‘em. They make our world go ’round. Whether they’re spot-on or, you know, not. A few weeks ago, we got a tip from a reader who said he or she had heard from X — the reader used “X” as a pseudonym, like in a European spy story — that 70 to 80 percent of what we leave in the blue or green recycling boxes at curbside was deemed “hazardous” and re-routed straight to the landfill. X was said to be someone in the recycling business who had knowledge that our recycling program was a sham. (November 14, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 520 [more on Recycling in the area]
11/16/2013 - Climate Change “that includes unusually warm spring weather, a hot summer, low water levels and a lack of rain” can spell doom for our wildlife. Invasive species, climate changes can combine to wreck havoc on Great Lakes loon population Four times in the last seven years, migrating waterfowl in the Great Lakes basin, especially common loons, have experienced massive die offs during their fall migrations. These anomalies, if unchecked, can have dangerous repercussions for the survival of Michigan loons into the next decade. But, for better and for worse, based upon an array of environmental and climatological conditions, one can set their clock by when the die offs take place. The next step, biologists say, is finding preventative measures to deal with those conditions to preserve a species already threatened in the state. The problem is, at this point, solutions are hard to come by. Unfortunately, the loons, a symbol of northern lakes and wild places with their eerily lonely two-note call, serve as the end result sentinel of a growing environmental danger in the Great Lakes. (November 15, 2013) Macomb Daily [more on Great Lakes, Wildlife, and Climate Change in our area]
11/16/2013 - The public is not on the sidelines of the fossil fuel industry and climate activists struggle: They’re in the middle burning up. It's Time To Free the Arctic 30 & Stand Up Against Fossil Fuel Extraction Everywhere All around the globe, record numbers of people from all walks of life are being thrown into jails because they are standing up to protect the most basic of human needs -- uncontaminated water, unpolluted lands, and a liveable climate free from the ramifications of extreme fossil fuel extraction. If the greed-driven fossil fuel extraction corporations -- and the governments that do their bidding to assure sustained record profits -- don't stop endangering our critical and already-compromised life support systems, there is little doubt that the numbers of individuals standing up will grow exponentially. People are increasingly recognizing the critical necessity to safeguard our communities and our ecosystems, and growing numbers around the world are taking that bold step to engage in the time-honored tradition of peaceful civil disobedience as a means of alerting others to the dangers that threaten us all. This map from The Public Society shows some of the major protests against fossil fuel extraction in the past year alone, and the reach is staggering. (November 15, 2013) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/16/2013 - Looks like all hat and no cattle over there in Warsaw Climate Talks. Can we wait until 2020 for action? Rich nations must meet climate promises before talks can advance, China says Slow-moving U.N. negotiations on fighting climate change can advance only if rich nations fulfill their promise to provide billions of dollars in finance to developing countries, China's chief climate negotiator Su Wei said Thursday. He told reporters in Warsaw that developed nations should make good on pledges made in 2010 and immediately pay the promised $US30 billion to help poor countries cope with the effects of climate change. Rich countries also need to clarify how they intend to scale that up to $US100 billion ($107 billion) per year by 2020, he said. "That would be a very important starting point and key to the successful conclusion of the negotiation of a (post-)2020 agreement," said Su. Advertisement Delegates from nearly 200 nations are in the Polish capital for Nov. 11-22 negotiations on a new global climate treaty. (November 15, 2013) Sydney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/16/2013 - What! Now pro-frackers reveal they have the same qualms about Fracking as the anti-frackers? From sunset to new dawn Capitalists, not just greens, are now questioning how significant the benefits of shale gas and oil will be for America. The new sceptics are missing the big picture IN A new book, “The Frackers”, Gregory Zuckerman says of the late George Mitchell, a pioneer of the technique of hydraulic fracturing to tap “unconventional” reserves of oil and gas, that “his impact eventually might even approach that of Henry Ford and Alexander Graham Bell.” Yet of late doubters have been making themselves heard too. In October Peter Voser said that one of his biggest regrets as boss of Shell is the $24 billion his firm has invested in North America’s shale beds. This summer, the firm took a big writedown on this investment and slashed its production targets. Also last month BHP Billiton, which spent around $20 billion in 2011 in a bet on shale, said it would auction half of its oil and gas acreage in Texas and New Mexico. It is not just the biggest energy companies that have turned sceptical on shale. More than a dozen chief executives of smaller firms specialising in unconventional gas and oil have lost their jobs this year, as the firms’ troubles have made them the targets of activist investors. (November 16, 2013) The Economist [more on Fracking in our area]
11/16/2013 - Rochester, NY isn’t on the list of the 414 Cities Taking Action Against Climate Change, but we’re getting a new mayor. Hope springs eternal and all that... 414 Cities Take Action Against Climate Change It’s no secret that tackling the global climate change issue will take lots of dedication at the local level in nations all over the planet. It’s a long haul, but a November report discussed at the ongoing United Nations Warsaw 19th Conference of the Parties (COP 19) on climate shows that 414 cities made 4,000 actions to do their part in battling climate change by 2020. Some of those goals are completed, and 63 percent of the reduction commitments are above 1 percent per year. (November 14, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/15/2013 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is, “Why will NYS experience Flooding Insurance Cost Hikes?” Ans: Climate Change. Yes, boys and girls, climate studies predict more extreme weather, more precipitation in the winter and spring (as rainfall) which will cause more flooding, more often, creating new flooding zones, and making your future flood insurance rates go right slick and clean through your roof. Read more climate studies | Schumer warns of flood insurance cost hikes U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer warns big increases in the national flood insurance premiums are expected. Schumer says he's supporting a measure to delay the spike until the Federal Emergency Management Agency completes its national study which includes considering affordability. (November 15, 2013) WHEC Rochester
11/15/2013 - Why wouldn’t any state that is being held hostage by the Fracking Industries at least make them look before they drill? Wyo. now requires water tests before drilling CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission adopted new rules Tuesday that will require companies drilling for oil and gas in the state to first test for pollution in nearby water wells and other water sources. The goal is to document the condition of groundwater near oil and gas wells. That could help state regulators determine the source of any groundwater pollution that turns up later. One example of a place where testing might have helped is the Pavillion gas field. Local homeowners and gas field owner Encana Corp. have been disputing for years the cause of foul-smelling well water there. The five-member commission chaired by Gov. Matt Mead met in Casper. Three years ago, the commission adopted rules that made Wyoming the first state to require companies to disclose the ingredients in the specially formulated fluids they use during hydraulic fracturing. (November 12, 2013) GrenwichTime .com [more on Fracking in our area]
11/15/2013 - Don’t use Yellow Pages, White Pages, or Phone Books, then Opt-Out! and stop trash before it starts. National Yellow Pages Consumer Choice & Opt-Out Site "About LSA The Local Search Association (www.localsearchassociation.org) is the largest trade organization of companies focused on print, digital, mobile and social media solutions that help local businesses get found and selected by ready-to-buy consumers. Association members include U.S. and international Yellow Pages companies, search engines, online listings and review sites, digital advertising agencies and mobile search providers. The Association has members in 28 countries. About the ADP The Association of Directory Publishers (ADP) (http://www.adp.org), founded in 1898, is the oldest trade association in North America representing the interests of directory publishers and the companies whose products and service support the industry. "
11/15/2013 - Your country really cannot calculate their forests as carbon sinks if they’re destroying them. Vanishing Forests: New Map Details Global Deforestation A new global map of deforestation reveals that 888,000 square miles (2.3 million square kilometers) of forest has vanished since 2000. The interactive map (viewable online) is based on satellite data and is the first of its kind. The calculations are accurate down to about 100 feet (30 meters), enough detail to provide useful local information while still covering the whole globe. "We say that it's globally consistent but locally relevant," said Matt Hansen, a geographer at the University of Maryland who led the mapping effort. "We can describe a global dynamic and compare regions as apples to apples, but if you cut out any particular corner, it would be accurate and have meaning." Mapping deforestation The map covers the time frame from 2000 to 2012, and includes both forest losses and forest gains. During that time, 309,000 square miles (800,000 square km) of new forests were gained. Of the 888,000 square miles lost and 309,000 square miles gained, about 77,000 square miles (200,000 square km) were areas that were lost between 2000 and 2012 and then re-established. (November 14, 2013) Live Science [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]
11/15/2013 - Wish our own NYS DEC would understand importance of biodiversity and Climate Change instead of hunter’s interests Europeans Urge Greater Protection for Animals and Plants BRUSSELS, Belgium, November 14, 2013 (ENS) – Nearly nine out of 10 Europeans (88 percent) believe that biodiversity loss – the decline and possible extinction of animals and plants, natural habitats and ecosystems in Europe – is a problem, finds a new public opinion survey. Nine in 10 respondents to the latest Flash Eurobarometer survey believe that the decline of forests, climate change, the endangering and disappearance of animals, the decline of natural habitats and the endangering of some plants are all serious problems. The survey was carried out by TNS Political & Social network in the then 27 Member States of the European Union and Croatia June 26-28 and released in November. (November 14, 2013) Environmental News Service [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
11/15/2013 - Can we really let another Climate talk go by without dramatic efforts to reduce Climate Change? Where else, besides, climate talks can we act as one on a planetary crisis, where the window to avoid catastrophic disruptions is quickly closing? Climate Talks in Poland Will Open Amid Flurry of New Scientific Warnings All the reports sound a common theme: more needs to be done, and faster. As delegates from around the world descend on Warsaw for talks toward a new climate treaty, scientists are issuing more and more dire warnings that time is running out to avoid dangerous global warming. In the past week, several new reports echoed the common theme that urgent action is required to reverse emission trends. Otherwise, greenhouse gas accumulations will surely break through the threshold that scientists say will lock in unacceptable warming—with the attendant droughts, floods, storms, sea rise and damage to ecosystems. (November 7, 2013) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/15/2013 - Of course, eating less meat altogether for humanity would be better for our health, better to curb Climate Change, and make us more humane. New Label Tells Consumers if Meat is Free of Growth-Enhancing Drugs A new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification program for livestock producers would permit them to market their products with a special label saying the meat contains no drugs called beta agonists—which some estimates say are fed to up to nearly 80 percent of U.S.-raised livestock. Beta agonists are feed additives used to increase muscle mass and promote weight gain in livestock animals. The drugs are typically added to feed along with vitamins and given to animals while they’re in feedlots for a few weeks before slaughter. (November 14, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Food in our area]
11/14/2013 - Breaking! Rochester, NY media mentions Climate Change, but not Warsaw Climate Talks, baby steps… Scientists warn of hot, sour, breathless ocean WASHINGTON (AP) - A new international report from scientists says greenhouse gases are making the world's oceans hot, sour and breathless, and the way those changes work together is creating a grimmer outlook for global waters. The report said the world's oceans are getting more acidic at an unprecedented rate, faster than at any time in the past 300 million years. But it's how this interacts with other global warming impacts - such as warmer water and less oxygen moving around in the oceans - that scientists say is getting them even more worried. (November 13, 2013) WHAM [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/14/2013 - Gee, I hope DEC is watching our Rochester air quality and not just reading Fracking letters and giving out hunting permits. But that would mean that our local media would have to get off their butts and put less sport scores, dog stories, and ab routines in the headlines. A smell surrounding Peace Bridge air study State's spin on tests results misrepresented key finding; monitoring skipped summer, when pollution is heaviest State officials proclaimed a month ago that air monitoring results near the Peace Bridge showed no serious pollution problem in the adjacent neighborhood plagued by high asthma rates that studies have linked to bridge traffic. In fact, officials went so far as to declare: “the data suggest that there are no significant differences between air quality in the plaza neighborhood and in the City of Buffalo overall.” However, an Investigative Post analysis has determined that conclusion is “not scientifically valid,” in the words of Sherri Mason, associate professor of chemistry at SUNY Fredonia, one of nine experts interviewed for this story. Officials are correct in saying air quality near the Peace Bridge meets federal standards. But what they didn’t say is the air ranks among the dirtiest in Western New York, with pollution levels comparable to those recorded at monitoring stations near chemical plants in Niagara Falls and one of the busiest stretches of highway in the region in Buffalo. “I certainly would not reach a conclusion saying that the air is safe,” said Judith Enck,regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. Read the DEC’s Peace Bridge Air Monitoring Study Here (November 13, 2013) Investigative Post [more on Air Quality in our area]
11/14/2013 - Tomorrow is America Recycles Day. This would be a good time to have local media find out our recycling rate for Rochester and Monroe County. How much of the actual trash that is produced in our region is getting recycled? How much is going to local landfills? If you don’t know your recycling rate, you don’t know if your recycling, or just creating the illusion that you are recycling. Recycling isn’t just about feeling good, the figures on how much trash is trashing our environment needs to be revealed so we can figure out how to do better. America Recycles Day Arrives Nov. 15 Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the U.S. Today, there are more than 10,000 curbside programs across the country, according to Keep America Beautiful (KAB). America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. On Nov. 15, the 12th annual ARD will be observed, providing a snapshot of recycling across the country. “While we’re celebrating recycling on America Recycles Day, recycling isn’t a one-day proposition,” Rob Wallace, vice president of communications for KAB, tells Earth911. “It should be a 24/7, 365-day effort.” (November 2013) Earth 911
11/14/2013 - Be great if the Rochester, NY area media investigated plastics in our Great Lakes waters so public can make better decisions on how we address water issues in our region. More plastic pollution found in Lake Erie, group raises alarm Facial products likely contribute PORT CLINTON — When Sherri “Sam” Mason set out on a research boat in 2012, one of her goals was to see if plastic might be polluting the Great Lakes. The professor at State University of New York in Fredonia knew her team’s research would be preliminary, sort of a scouting mission to see if pieces of plastic were there, as they are found in large numbers in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. She never expected her findings would receive the national attention they have in the past year. The research caused a group of mayors in Great Lakes Cities, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to approach the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently about what the agency plans to do regarding the plastic pollution. “It’s definitely kind of unusual as a scientist,” Mason, an associate professor of chemistry, said of the attention. “As a scientist who’s looking to make change, that makes me happy.” (November 12, 2013) PortClintonNewHerald [more on Great Lakes in our area]
11/14/2013 - Great to see Paul McCartney, who the media will listen to, speak out for the Arctic 30. Paul McCartney urges Putin to help free ‘Arctic 30′ Greenpeace activists Former Beatle Paul McCartney said Thursday he has written to Russian President Vladimir Putin urging him to intervene to help 30 people jailed after a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic. “It would be great if this misunderstanding could be resolved and the protesters can be home with their families in time for Christmas. We live in hope,” the ageing British rocker said in his letter sent last month and now published on his website. McCartney, who is currently in Japan, said Putin had not yet replied, but the Russian ambassador to Britain had responded by saying the situation of the detainees “is not properly represented in the world media”. (November 14, 2013) The Raw Story [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/14/2013 - Wondering if horrific damages from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines will kick Warsaw Climate Talks into doing something worthwhile 2013 is seventh hottest year, rising seas worsen typhoon (Reuters) - This year is the seventh warmest since records began in 1850 and rising sea levels caused by climate change are aggravating the impact of storms such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday. More greenhouse gases in the atmosphere meant a warmer future, and more extreme weather, was inevitable, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement during November 11-22 climate talks among almost 200 nations in Warsaw. The WMO said the first nine months of the year tied with the same period of 2003 as seventh warmest, with average global land and ocean surface temperatures 0.48°C (0.86°F) above the 1961-1990 average. (November 13, 2013) Reuters [more on Climate Change in this area]
11/14/2013 - I’ve rethought my position on Fracking. I used to think it was bad for the environment, bad for public health, and now I think it’s insane too. New York State has a chance to be an oasis of sanity with energy solutions like wind, solar, better storage batteries, micro-grids, energy efficiency, and energy conservation. With so many other states going insane on Fracking whey doesn’t New York offer a respite from all that? Fracking the American Dream: Drilling Decreases Property Value Drilling conflicts are almost always described in the context of their impacts on air, water and health. But increasingly, as the drilling boom sweeps the country, another part of the drilling story is starting to bubble up in drilling hotspots like Colorado, Pennsylvania, New York, Wyoming and Texas. Increasingly, oil and gas development is butting up against, and often trampling, the bedrock American principles of property rights and the value of one’s home. The map below shows all the shale gas in play in North America. Industry estimates peg the number new wells that will be drilled across the U.S. over the next decade at more than 200,000. In this rush to tap once unreachable deposits, oil and gas development is pushing the boundaries of drilling. Innovations like fracking and horizontal drilling mean nothing is out of reach. Once the province of wide open spaces, drilling rigs now regularly inch up and even into communities that never anticipated having to address problems like round-the-clock noise, storage tanks, drums of toxic chemicals, noxious fumes, and pipelines near homes, schools, playgrounds and parks. (November 13, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]
11/13/2013 - The last thing New York State needs to get our Water Quality ready for Climate Change is Fracking. Us ‘stakeholders’ don’t like to drink fracking wastewater. BTW: Stakeholder is corporate speak for folks whose interests we only need concern ourselves for our bottom line. When we use stakeholders we mean folks with property, usually rich influential folks with property that we must ensure so they are not being inconvenienced. The ‘stakeholders’ that need insects to eat, the innumerable microbes in our soil that need uncontaminated stuff to thrive, and the poor in far-off lands whose terrestrial environment is sinking into an aquatic one are not mentioned so much. Stakeholder is a loony/craven word to use, along with environmental services, in planning for the sustainability of our life support system and all within it. There are no life forms on this planet that do not have a stake in their own survival. There are so many environmental services provided by our planet’s environment and so lacking in completeness of understanding that it is ludicrous to plan for our existence as if we can quantify and quality it all. Recent studies on how manmade toxins will get worse in a warming environment just missed the deadline for the draft of the IPCC AR5. We are still discovering animals and plants that would have a stake in how we address climate change if we knew of their existence. Whoops! Rethink on water resources required to combat climate change Catastrophic storms like Irene, Lee and super storm Sandy ravaged much of the Hudson River watershed with flooding and erosion. Environmental advocates and policy makers say that’s evidence that climate change is having a major impact on the quantity and quality of the region’s water supplies. Stakeholders joined the Hudson River Watershed Alliance and Mohonk Consultations for a conference in New Paltz eralier this week. They called for communities to seize this ‘watershed moment’ while admitting that changing existing attitudes towards water management can take a long time. Environmentalists said the intensity of storm events was increasing as a result of climate change. The rain water they dump on much of the watershed is overwhelming the state’s aging wastewater infrastructure. Advocate Tracy Brown of Riverkeeper says its causing overflow that contaminates public waterways with human waste. While a lot of communities have this problem, she says it’s worse in the Capital region. (November 13, 2013) Innovation Trail [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]
11/13/2013 - Governor Cuomo’s job, as he has stated “We will lead on Climate Change”, is to protect our entire state environment as it warms. Allowing NYS to be despoiled by Fracking for the benefit of the few would not accomplish that. Fracking would kill the renewable energy potential that will get us energy without contributing more greenhouse gases. Landowners to sue Cuomo, NY over ‘arbitrary’ fracking delay ALBANY – A pro-drilling landowners group says it will sue Gov. Andrew Cuomo, claiming he has arbitrarily delayed a decision on hydraulic fracturing for no “valid, rational or legally defensible reason.” In a newsletter sent to its members Tuesday, the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York sent out the lawsuit it intends to file against the state, Cuomo and the commissioners of the Health and Environmental Conservation departments. But the group is trying to raise money to pay the legal costs before the lawsuit is filed, according to the letter. The legal document takes Cuomo to task for repeatedly delaying a decision on large-scale fracking, claiming the delays violate state law and amount to an unconstitutional government “taking” of land rights. (November 12, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]
11/13/2013 - More invasive species are predicted for Great Lakes region, but not just more new invasive species too. Climate change opens door to forest pests new to Great Lakes The mimosa webworm was nowhere to be found on honeylocust trees at Michigan State University 20 years ago. But within the past decade, warming temperatures made the East Lansing, Michigan campus an appealing home for this destructive bug. “It was the canary in the coal mine,” said Deb McCullough, an entomologist at the university who witnessed the honeylocust trees disappear from campus as temperatures warmed and the mimosa webworm moved north into Michigan. It’s a phenomenon not confined to webworms and honeylocust trees as the Earth’s temperature rises and the variability of climate increases. Climate change will increase the frequency of droughts, increase the severity of snow/rain storms and make frosts occur later, said Sophan Chhin, assistant professor in the department of forestry at Michigan State University. As climate changes and growing seasons are interrupted by drought and frost, trees are preoccupied with regaining their strength and become more vulnerable to insects and disease. (November 11, 2013) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]
11/13/2013 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is ‘Climate Talks.’ Climate talks are where the rich and poor meet to talk about Climate Change and the poor get screwed.
11/13/2013 - I know, developed countries agreed not to accomplish anything at Warsaw Climate talks, but still the window of opportunity on adapting to and mitigating Climate Change is closing. Just saying… Window of Opportunity' to Curb Climate Change Quickly Closing: Report UNEP says world likely to 'lock in' worst effects of climate change at current rate The likelihood of limiting the world's overall temperature to a 2-degree Celsius rise and avoiding the worst effects of climate change has become "ever more elusive" and will not be possible without immediate and drastic measures on a global scale, a new report by the United Nations Environmental Program warned Tuesday. If countries stick to their current strategies, or lack thereof, for reducing greenhouse gases, levels will still be eight to 12 billion tons greater than suggested levels in 2020, according to UNEP's Emissions Gap Report 2013, which incorporated 44 scientific groups across 17 countries and analyzed countries' current pledges for emission cuts. UNEP found in this year's report that the "gap" between reduction pledges and the actual reductions suggested by climate experts is still widening. "Achieving the 2-degree goal is with every year less possible. Emissions always rise, even though they need to sink sharply," German Institute for International and Security Affairs researcher Oliver Geden told Agence France-Presse. (November 5, 2013) Common Dreams [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/13/2013 - Looks like even the USA has not emerged unscathed from Climate Change, so maybe we have something in common with poor countries. Though, of course, the poor countries didn’t cause Climate Change. And, we can still cope while they cannot. Extreme Weather Risk Index Unveiled at UN Climate Talks Haiti topped the chart as the country most at risk from extreme weather events in this year’s Global Climate Risk Index, because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 that left 200,000 people homeless and destroyed many crops. The Index, released on the second day of the UN climate conference here, noted that while the damage in New York made all the headlines it was in Haiti that losses were greatest. All ten of the countries most at risk from extreme events in the 1993 to 2012 period were developing countries, emphasizing the message in Warsaw that poor countries cannot cope with the increasing number of catastrophes by themselves. The major issue at the conference in the wake of the current Philippine disaster is how to finance “loss and damage” caused by an increasingly unstable climate. (November 12, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/12/2013 - Russia cannot address Climate Change by drilling for fossil fuel in the Arctic and throwing folks who mention that it their prisons. Greenpeace activists to face additional Russian charges Some of the activists will face additional charges of resisting law officers, which carries a maximum 5-year sentence Russian is to press additional charges against several Greenpeace activists who were arrested for a protest at the country's first offshore Arctic oil rig, investigators said Thursday. Russia is currently facing international criticism over the arrest and subsequent treatment of the 30 people on board the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise when activists tried to scale the Gazprom-owned Prirazlomnaya oil platform. Russian investigators initially charged all 30 with piracy but said last month they were changing the charge to hooliganism, cutting the maximum jail sentence they face to seven years from 15 years. But Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for a state investigative team which reports directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said some of the activists, in addition to being charged with hooliganism, will face charges of resisting law officers, which would carry a maximum five year-prison sentence. (November 7, 2013) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area
11/12/2013 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is ‘Geography.’ What major feature of Earth will disappear in your lifetime? Ans: Arctic! Questions: Who is Russia blaming for that? Ans: Arctic 30! That’s right boys and girls. Russia wants to drill for more fossil fuels under the melting Arctic that is melting because of the overuse of fossil fuels. And rather than take responsibility for that they are blaming the folks brave enough to call them out on this. Does that sound very nice of the Russians, boys and girls? No, you’re right, it does not.
11/12/2013 - When you use your economic system as your moral system: Those most likely to reap the consequences of Climate Change and Industrial pollution are the least likely to have caused it. Contaminated tribe: Hormone-blocking chemicals found in First Nation families Mothers and children of a First Nations tribe living in one of Canada’s most industrialized regions are highly exposed to estrogen-blocking chemicals, according to a new study. The research is the first to confirm the Aamjiwnaang community’s fears of elevated exposure to pollutants, and it may help shed some light on why the tribe has an unusually low percentage of baby boys. “While we’re far from a conclusive statement, the kinds of health problems they experience – neurodevelopment, skewed sex ratios – are the health effects we would expect from such chemicals and metals," said scientist Niladri Basu. The tribe received international attention in 2005 when scientists reported that its baby boys accounted for only 35 percent of births compared with 51.2 percent nationwide. The reservation is within 15 miles of “Chemical Valley,” a region along the U.S.-Canada border near Lake Huron with more than 50 industrial facilities, including oil refineries and chemical manufacturers. Many of the elevated compounds have been shown to block estrogen, an important sex hormone for fetal development. (November 11, 2013) Environmental Health News [more on Environmental Health in our area]
11/12/2013 - We here in Rochester, NY really don’t have to wait for a feasibility study to implement bike sharing. If we really wanted to ramp up our active transportation (walking and bicycling) in our city and recognize its value to reduce greenhouse gases to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change, we’d do it. We’d do something major like this to address Climate Change in the midst of Typhoon Haiyan and the Warsaw Climate talks. Rochester area to study bicycle-sharing system A public bicycle-sharing system may be coming to the Rochester area, depending on the results of a feasibility study to be commissioned this week. Such programs, through which people can rent bicycles for short-term trips at designated check-out points, are in place in dozens of cities across the country, from Spartanburg, S.C., with 14 bicycles available, to New York City with 10,000. They differ not only in size but in operation — some are privately run, some run by the local government. To see where the Rochester area might fit in, the Genesee Transportation Council has secured $100,000 in federal funds for a feasibility study. Among the questions to be answered: who will the users be? How many bikes and check-out stations are necessary, and where should they be? Who will operate it and how will it be funded? (November 11, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]
11/12/2013 - Not sure if this, or anything, will get affluent countries to help non-affluent countries on Climate Change: Philippines Negotiator Ties Massive Typhoon to Global Warming and Pledges Hunger Strike at Warsaw Climate Talks Diplomats, negotiators and civil society representatives from around the world held their breath this afternoon at the United Nations Climate Talks in Warsaw, Poland, this afternoon as Yeb Sano, the lead negotiator for the Philippines, began to address the opening of the conference. More than 10,000 people are feared dead in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into the Philippines this weekend, causing apocalyptic devastation across a number of islands. While scientists are careful not to connect any single weather event to climate change, it’s clear that global warming is loading the dice for devastating events like Typhoon Haiyan. Rising seas, warmer waters and a warmer and wetter atmosphere, all contribute to supercharge storms like Haiyan andHurricane Sandy. Scientists have warned that extreme weather events will only increase in intensity and frequency if climate change is left unchecked. (November 11, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/11/2013 - Until ‘green groups’ come together and view all environmental issues through the lens of Climate Change there will be strife. The Seneca Falls Convention in our region in 1848 brought the great thinkers together on Women’s Rights to strategize for the future. Greens, with Climate Change, need to reassess what it means to be green. "Serious fault line" splits Adk green groups Green groups in the Adirondacks remain bitterly divided following last week's vote over the NYCO minerals land deal. Voters across the state narrowly approved the controversial project. It will allow NYCO minerals to expand its mining operations in the Essex County town of Lewis onto roughly 200 acres of forest preserve land. Now a fierce war of words has erupted between green groups, with some environmental leaders lobbing accusations of unethical behavior and dishonesty. (November 11, 2013) North Country Public Radio
11/11/2013 - Don’t forget, if New York State lifts moratorium on Fracking we get to pay for very expensive transportation infrastructure reinforcements: "Fracking Infrastructure: Of great concern for New York State is the massive amounts of infrastructure currently being built to ship PA's, OH's, and Canada's fracked gas and oil to market: pipelines, compressor stations, LNG facilities, rail lines, etc. "…the main track through Rochester carries one or two oil trains across the city every day, each with about 100 DOT-111 tank cars, and one ethanol train with 81cars." Scroll down to the middle of this article: Here. "
11/11/2013 - How far out of your comfort zone would you go to address Climate Change, the biggest crisis of our generation? Arctic 30 protester: 'My little girl will have forgotten who I am if I get out of here in seven years' A defiant letter and a series of poignant drawings from Briton Phil Ball highlight the plight of the Arctic 30 in their eighth week of imprisonment in Russia , A joke but a very unfunny one," is how Phil Ball, one of the Arctic 30, described hearing he faced a charge of piracy. "Even when lawyers, cellmates and yes, even the prosecutor, made jokes about parrots and tried to say 'Arrr' in a Russian accent," the father of three young children wrote, in the latest letter to be received from the bleak Murmansk jail cells which are holding the Greenpeace Arctic 30 in their eighth week of imprisonment. In it Ball, 42, a cameraman from Oxford, said he was struggling to cope with the new charge the 28 activists and two journalists have now been told they face, an accusation of hooliganism that carries a sentence of seven years. Ball said he is appalled at the wording of the charge, which defines hooliganism as an act in "contempt of society", when he fervently believed the Greenpeace protest he was involved was quite the opposite. He accused "greedy mega-rich oil companies" of being themselves the hooligans, ignoring runaway climate change and acting "in contempt of the societies of our children and grandchildren". (November 9, 2013) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/11/2013 - Is USA thinking of putting all its energy eggs in one Fracking basket, and if so will that smash all renewable eggs? Could the fracking boom run dry?; Many wells are quickly losing productivity Surging oil and gas production is nudging the nation closer to energy independence. But new research suggests that the boom could peter out long before the United States reaches this decades-old goal. Many wells behind the energy gush are quickly losing productivity, and some areas could hit peak levels sooner than the U.S. government expects, according to analyses presented last week at a Geological Society of America meeting in Denver. "It's a temporary bonanza," says J. David Hughes, an energy expert at the Post Carbon Institute, a research group focused on sustainability. He studied two of the nation's largest shale rock formations, now the source of huge amounts of oil and gas, and says they could start declining as early as 2016 or 2017. The reason: "sweet spots" -- small areas with the highest yields. Hughes says these spots simply don't last long. Unless more wells are drilled, the Bakken shale of North Dakota and Montana loses 44% of its production after a year, and the Eagle Ford shale of Texas loses 34%. Most of the nation's major shale regions produce both oil and gas. (November 4, 2013) Penn Energy [more on Fracking in our area]
11/11/1013 - Important info on Fracking: "Shale Potential: The NY Shale Gas Potential Forum at Cornell last week was one of the best yet. Please sit back and enjoy retired Mobil Oil Executive Lou Alstadt's condensed version of that forum (under 15 minutes): New York Shale Gas Potential - An Industry Overview - Lou Allstadt) More information from that forum can be found here: Could the fracking boom run dry?; Many wells are quickly losing productivity Surging oil and gas production is nudging the nation closer to energy independence. But new research suggests that the boom could peter out long before the United States reaches this decades-old goal. Many wells behind the energy gush are quickly losing productivity, and some areas could hit peak levels sooner than the U.S. government expects, according to analyses presented last week at a Geological Society of America meeting in Denver. "It's a temporary bonanza," says J. David Hughes, an energy expert at the Post Carbon Institute, a research group focused on sustainability. He studied two of the nation's largest shale rock formations, now the source of huge amounts of oil and gas, and says they could start declining as early as 2016 or 2017. The reason: "sweet spots" -- small areas with the highest yields. Hughes says these spots simply don't last long. Unless more wells are drilled, the Bakken shale of North Dakota and Montana loses 44% of its production after a year, and the Eagle Ford shale of Texas loses 34%. Most of the nation's major shale regions produce both oil and gas. (November 4, 2013) Penn Energy [more on Fracking in our area]
11/11/2013 - Wondering when folks in Rochester, NY area will connect dots that inaction here on Climate Change means stuff happens elsewhere-too. Super Typhoon Haiyan: A Hint of What’s to Come? Super Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most intense tropical cyclones at landfall on record when it struck the Philippines on Nov. 7. Its maximum sustained winds at landfall were pegged at 195 mph with gusts above 220 mph. Some meteorologists even proclaimed it to be the strongest tropical cyclone at landfall in recorded history. Haiyan’s strength and the duration of its Category 5 intensity — the storm remained at peak Category 5 intensity for an incredible 48 straight hours — raises the question of whether manmade global warming tipped the odds in favor of such an extreme storm. After all, the global atmosphere contains 4 percent more water vapor than there was in the 1970s and global air and sea surface temperatures are higher now than they used to be, due in large part to manmade global warming as well as natural climate variability. These changes would, in theory at least, lead to stronger and wetter storms. (November 8, 2013) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/11/2013 - If Rochester, NY wanted to make life good and safe for people instead of cars and reduce greenhouse gases, we could this: This short-film on Amsterdam will BLOW YOUR MIND Where bikes are like water to a fish Here's another great short film by our friend Clarence Eckerson. He already blew my mind with his recent film on Groningen in the Netherlands, and now he's doing it again with one of the best videos on Amsterdam's past and present bike culture that I've ever seen (and the others were probably made by Clarence too, so that says something). Amsterdam is widely considered to be one of the very best cities for cyclists in the world. That didn't happen by accident, and seeing images from a few decades ago when the city was choked with cars really brings the point home. The locals took some very specific steps to get to where they are today, something that many other cities around the world could learn from. But enough from me. You have to check out this video. It provides some of the best images of what it's like to actually live in a city where biking is not a sub-culture. (October 23, 2013) Treehugger
11/10/2013 - Western New York State does not have to be Landfill Hell Pretty good article about the landfill issue in our region; though, it reads as if we are in a hole that we cannot climb out of. This statement is patently not true: “…landfilling as the option of last resort.” There are many ‘resorts’ we can reach before we get to a waste system that dumps everything into a great big hole and leachates out toxic stuff that local wastewater treatment plants cannot handle. (Read: “Lake Country or Trash Country?” (November 1, 2013) We are landfill Mecca because somehow someone decided to make Western NY’s tipping fees (the charge to dump into a landfill) really cheap, so it’s cheaper and easier to dump everything into a hole instead of recycling, reusing, and creating waste in the first place. Instant waste, like paper coffee cups, should be stopped altogether and folks should use their own reusable cups. Recycling, if properly reported on in our region so we could monitor its use and abuse (some institutions say they are recycling but are not), would increase greatly if we had accurate figures on how many recycle. If we made event recycling mandatory (as they do in San Jose) the public would get used to sorting their waste at events so recyclers, food composters, and re-users could get that stuff out of our landfills and back to use as resources. There are a zillion more things we can do with trash than dump it into a hole. Landfills as a waste option are a dangerous delusion that we can fuel our existence and wasteful ways and not destroy our environment. You cannot produce billions of throwaway plastic bags, un-recyclable Styrofoam, toxic chemical, burn large quantities of this stuff and expect to have a healthy environment. Some studies say that as much as 80% of the methane from landfills goes up into the atmosphere to warm the planet—read “Stop Trashing the Climate” The problem of trash is an environmental behavior issue. Endless consumerism doesn’t really work, as it is making our environment unsustainable. Hope ya’ll see “Trashed” http://www.trashedfilm.com/ that was shown at Greentopia this year (which Steve moderated an excellent discussion afterwards). These landfills and incinerators polluting our air all about us are not ‘hidden industries’. They are only hidden if you want to believe that trash is good and your media doesn’t get to the truth on the harm our trash does to our environment—your life support system. Become aware of everything you buy and think about where it’s going to go when you’re done with it. Help recycling, composting, and reuse companies become healthy, not landfills. Watchdog: Rochester region king of the hill in trash A frantically busy construction site, overrun by trucks and bulldozers, rests improbably atop a hill in Riga, the lightly populated town at the far southwestern corner of Monroe County. Even more improbably, there are more places just like this, strung out in a line that roughly parallels the state Thruway. They are modern landfills, and they constitute one of the Rochester-Finger Lakes region's hidden industries. More: County finds way to leverage waste system Half of all the trash that's buried in the Empire State goes into four huge landfills within a half-hour's drive of Rochester. Last year, approximately 185,000 loaded tractor-trailers rumbled along expressways and two-lane roads to those four landfills in Monroe, Ontario and Seneca counties. Some of it comes from as far away as the Hudson Valley, the Bronx, Massachusetts and the Canadian province of Ontario — consuming vast quantities of fuel and spewing tons of pollutants as it travels. Burying trash — mostly other people's trash — is big business. Those four landfills, all owned or operated by large for-profit waste companies, bring in $150 million to $200 million in revenue, according to Democrat and Chronicle calculations. And the business is ever-growing. (November 10, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area]
11/09/2013 - Suggestion: We quadruple our efforts to clean up Brownfields and stop using Pesticides before Climate Change kicks in hard. We need a robust environment to take on Climate Change, not manmade chemicals running amuck. Climate Change May Magnify Toxic Chemical Dangers A draft summary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest report on the impacts of global warming leaked into the blogosphere last Friday. The draft highlights concerns ranging from melting sea ice to diminishing crop yields to health dangers from hunger and heat waves. What it does not address, however, is the added possibility that climate change couldmagnify the havoc wrought by long-lasting and pervasive toxic chemicals. Two of the greatest threats to global health, some scientists say, could be closely connected. "We just barely missed the deadline for the IPCC," said Michael Hooper, a research biologist at U.S. Geological Survey's Columbia Environmental Research Center in Missouri. (November 8, 2013) The Huffington Post
11/09/2013 - If Warsaw Climate Change Conference 11-22 Nov. 2013 decides to sidestep “thorny issues,” Game Over! Warsaw climate talks expected to deliver loss and damage mechanism – Developing countries and climate experts are calling for U.N. climate talks, which begin in Warsaw on Monday, to set up an international mechanism to deal with losses and damage linked to climate change, which a new report says are already harming vulnerable people. The question of whether to establish a new global body was controversial at last year’s negotiations in Doha, with richer nations fearing it could be used to make them pay compensation for the consequences of their planet-warming emissions to poorer countries suffering the worst impacts of more extreme weather and rising seas. After fierce last-minute wrangling, it was agreed the upcoming 2013 climate conference in Poland would “establish…institutional arrangements, such as an international mechanism…to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change”. (November 7, 2013) (Thomson Reuters Foundation) [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/09/2013 - Someone you know might be standing up to protect your environment that is being devoured by ruthless power and greed. The Arctic 30 is trying to protect your survival system. My partner is one of the Arctic 30 Nina Gold's partner, Frank Hewetson, is one of 28 Greenpeace protesters being held in a Russian prison. What is that like for her and their children? Nina Gold cannot remember how many times her partner has been arrested. There was a memorable occasion in Washington, just after the birth of their first child, when it looked like he might have to serve a six-month sentence, another time in Brazil and another in Norway, in Greenland, in Japan … She stops counting and concludes: "He's been arrested a lot of times in a lot of countries … It's terrible for your car insurance." A dry, understated sense of humour helps when the father of your children is imprisoned in a Russian jail, awaiting his fate. Nina's partner isFrank Hewetson, a logistics coordinator for Greenpeace and one of the28 Greenpeace activists (and two journalists) who staged a protest against Russia's first off-shore oil rig in Arctic waters in September. The Russian authorities responded with unexpected severity and they were all rounded up at gunpoint by masked security agents and taken to a Murmansk prison. For the last five weeks he has been locked up in a cell with two chain-smoking Russian prisoners, waiting to find out if he is going to be tried on piracy and criminal hooliganism charges (November 8, 2013) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/08/2013 - The window for acting adequately to reduce the catastrophic consequences of Climate Change is quickly closing. Carbon emissions must be cut ‘significantly’ by 2020, says UN report Failure will mean greater costs and risks and pathway to limiting temperature rise to under 2C will close fast The chances of keeping the global temperature increase below 2C will “swiftly diminish” unless the world takes immediate action to escalate cuts in carbon emissions, the United Nations has warned. The UN Environment Program said that even if nations meet their current emissions reduction pledges, carbon emissions in 2020 will be eight to 12 gigatonnes above the level required to avoid a costly nosedive in greenhouse gas output. The Emissions Gap Report 2013, which was compiled by 44 scientific groups in 17 countries, warns that if the greenhouse “gap” isn’t “closed or significantly narrowed” by 2020, the pathway to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C will be closed. At UN talks in 2010, the international community agreed to limit the rise in average global temperatures to 2C by 2100, based on pre-industrial levels. (November 5, 2013) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/08/2013 - If we don’t change our farming ways with Climate Change upon us we’ll resort to using an insane amount of pesticides. This is why we must plan. As crop indicators, weeds spread in warmer world Weeds, those unwanted, unloved and annoying invasive plants that farmers and gardeners hate amid their plantings, are expanding to northern latitudes, thanks to rising temperatures. “Weeds are the wild relatives of many of our crops,” says Antonio DiTommaso, a weed ecologist and Cornell associate professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. “Weeds will be the harbingers of global warming. They’ll tell us what kind of species of crops will likely survive in a changing climate.” Impending climate change will bring different crops to different regions, he says. Many weeds already have expanded their latitudinal ranges – or will do so – based on climatic pressures, he says. For example, johnsongrass and velvetleaf have migrated from more southern U.S. climes through Pennsylvania and New York. (November 7, 2013) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Plants and Pesticides and Climate Change in our area]
11/08/2013 - Question for the Day: Have we done all we can to prevent the invasive species Asian Carp from Great Lakes, or just made some noise to that effect? Great Lakes Senators Urge Quick Action on Carp All 16 U.S. senators from Great Lakes states sent a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, urging quick action to stop the movement of Asian carp. The senators want fast action to stop the invasive fish from swimming up the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal into the lakes. The letter was sent one day after news broke that Asian carp DNA had been detected for the first time in Lake Michigan waters off Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/190gUiW) reported. Under orders from Congress, the Army Corps has been studying the problem of invasive carp making their way to the world's largest freshwater system for several years. The Corps is scheduled to release a plan to block the fish in January. (November 7, 2013) ABC News [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]
11/08/2013 - Stay updated on the plight of the Arctic 30, those who brought the message to the Russians that drilling in the pristine Arctic environment as it melts from Climate Change is a really, really bad idea for survival on this planet. LIVE - Latest Updates from the Arctic Sunrise activists UPDATED: From peaceful action to dramatic seizure: a timeline of events since the Arctic Sunrise took action September 18 (CET).
11/08/2013) - Guess all that talk and studies about how bad burning tar sands is on Climate Change hasn’t slowed it down at bit. The Climate Impact Of Canada’s Tar Sands Is Growing Canada’s tar sands are emitting more greenhouse gases per barrel now than they did five years ago, according to a new environmental report card. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers found per barrel greenhouse gas emissions for tar sands and other unconventional oil sources — like oil shale — have grown by 21 percent, and total emissions have grown from 90 million metric tons in 2008 to 109 million metric tons in 2012. The increase is the result of a growth in the production of tar sands and other sources of unconventional oil and is in spite of industry attempts to reduce the energy it consumes to produce tar sands, a fuel that’s among the most energy-intensive on Earth. (November 7, 2013) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
11/08/2013 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is “Hibernation’: How many NYS animals actually hibernate in the winter? Next, how many will continue to hibernate with Climate Change? Field Notes: Brrr! Let’s Hibernate! ‘Tis the season to be thinking about hibernating! In parts of the state, snow is flying and wild animals are in the midst of either heading south, or preparing to tough out the cold. There are some misconceptions about hibernation, and who actually does it. I’m going to share what I’ve learned in my wildlife courses both at Finger Lakes Community College, and SUNY Cobleskill. There are always different schools of thought out there concerning definitions of hibernation, and if you have learned something different, I encourage you to leave a comment! I think a little bit of background information is necessary first. Wild animals have four basic adaptations for winter survival: 1) Migrate, 2) Hibernate, 3) Resist, 4) Tolerate. (November 1, 2013) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Wildlife in our area]
11/08/2013 - In the never-ending attempt to raise Climate Change into human awareness, something different: Music video goes viral. New Music Video Raises Awareness on Climate Change Five prominent environmental groups have joined together with Canadian musician Gaiaisi to release a music video and raise awareness on one of the most critical issues facing the human race—climate change. With extreme weather events becoming the new normal, global temperatures reaching record highs and a continued streak of climate science denial, the music video is an effort to break through public apathy and pessimism to galvanize action on climate change. The video is a dramatic global tour showing everything from the devastation caused by wildfires and deforestation, to the huge footprint of industrial agriculture and impacts of our fossil-fueled economy. The video captures the struggles of activists from all continents fighting for action on the climate crisis and highlights solutions, including sustainable transportation, permaculture and renewable energy. (November 7, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/07/2013 - I know, you’re either too freaked out or too busy for Climate Change, but this 10 minute video might shake you up. Last Hours "The film “Last Hours” describes a science-based climate scenario where a tipping point to runaway climate change is triggered by massive releases of frozen methane. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, has already started to percolate into the open seas and atmosphere from methane hydrate deposits beneath melting arctic ice, from the warming northern-hemisphere tundra, and from worldwide continental-shelf undersea methane pools. Burning fossil fuels release carbon that, principally through greenhouse effect, heat the atmosphere and the seas. This is happening most rapidly at the polar extremes, and this heating has already begun the process of releasing methane. If we do not begin to significantly curtail the use of carbon-based fossil fuels, this freed methane threatens to radically accelerate the speed of global warming, potentially producing a disaster beyond the ability of the human species to adapt "
11/07/2013 - And fish that evolved in the frigid waters of the Great Lakes don’t really like Climate Change at all. “As part of our series on how climate change is affecting the Great Lakes, Reutter spoke to us about how Lake Erie is especially vulnerable to temperature variations. It is the southernmost, and the shallowest of the five Great Lakes.” 'Lake Erie has 2% of the water in the Great Lakes, but 50% of the fish' The stat comes from Jeff Reutter, Director of Ohio State University's Stone Laboratory. He says the converse is true for Lake Superior. It holds 50% of the water, but just 2% of the fish. It's a rough estimate, he says, but it gives you a good understanding of how each of the five Great Lakes have unique characteristics, which present unique challenges in managing these lakes. As part of our series on how climate change is affecting the Great Lakes, Reutter spoke to us about how Lake Erie is especially vulnerable to temperature variations. It is the southernmost, and the shallowest of the five Great Lakes. (November 5, 2013) Michigan Radio [more on Great Lakes in our area]
11/07/2013 - Citizens and authorities crowdsourcing information about our environment is critical, ‘cause the local media sucks at it. Great Lakes Commission launches restoration database You can now track progress on restoring the Great Lakes at a new database provided by the Great Lakes Commission. It focuses on conservation plans implemented by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative over the past three years, and includes several projects in each of the eight Great Lakes states. The initiative, which is managed by the Environmental Protection Agency, has received more than $220 million since 2010 for wildlife restoration. It has led to hundreds of different environmental endeavors ranging from turtle protection research in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to a dam removal in eastern New York. The database contains fact sheets on all work from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. They list a project summary, sponsoring agency, grant amount and precise location of the efforts to preserve the Great Lakes watershed. (November 4, 2013) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes in our area]
11/07/2013 - Want to do something about Climate Change in the Rochester, NY region? "Group Start Meeting, November 18 - 7 pm, 1600 East Avenue Apartments (Parking and entrance in back) |The purposes of Citizens Climate Lobby are 1) to create the political will for a sustainable climate and 2) to empower individuals to have breakthroughs in exercising their personal and political power. Purpose of the Group Start Meeting is to experience the profound difference people can make by empowering and inspiring their Members of Congress and the media. During this session, people learn how to create political will. The purpose is also to form a Citizens Climate Lobby of at least five like-minded people who are eager to lobby their elected officials and the media on Climate Legislation. How does CCL Work? CCL uses a mix of group empowerment and support which includes monthly national conference calls with a guest speaker. CCL trains volunteers to speak powerfully to their elected officials, the media and their local communities in order to inspire members of Congress to be leaders and spokespersons for a sustainable climate. CCL volunteers meet with their members of Congress, launch letter-writing campaigns, write letters to the editor, Op/Ed pieces, and generate editorials to promote a sustainable climate. To attend contact: Tim McGowan email : email@example.com"
11/07/2013 - Russia posed a security threat to the fragile, pristine Arctic environment; so when informed of that they imprisoned the messengers. Dutch ask sea tribunal to order Russia to release Greenpeace 'Arctic 30' Netherlands raises case of detained activists and journalists with International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea The Netherlands asked an international court on Wednesday to order Russia to release 30 people detained during a Greenpeace protest against oil drilling in the Arctic at a tribunal Moscow refused to attend. Dutch government representative Liesbeth Lijnzaad said Russia had "violated the human rights" of the activists who tried to climb onto Russia's first offshore Arctic oil rig in September, detaining them for seven weeks "without grounds". Russia has said it does not recognise the case, accusing the activists and their ship, the Dutch-registered Arctic Sunrise, of posing a security threat. Prosecutors charged the 30 with piracy, but lessened the charge to hooliganism, which carries a maximum jail term of seven years. President Vladimir Putin has said they are not pirates but has faced growing criticism in the West over what is seen as Russia's heavy-handed treatment of the case. (November 6, 2013) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/06/2013 - How about this idea? You can transport Fracking wastewater via our waterways if you tell us everything that’s in that guck and what damage it will do if a spill occurs and who will pay for all the cleanups, all the investigations, all the court cases, and all the loss of our drinking water. Kill the Halliburton loophole. Then we can talk. Proposed policy may allow fracking wastewater to be moved on waterways The U.S. Coast Guard has released a proposed policy that would allow fracking wastewater to be transported on waterways around the country. The public has 30 days to weigh in on the issue, and one New York state group is strongly opposed to the plan. Fracking wastewater contains a mix of chemicals as well as some radioactive materials, and currently isn’t approved for transport on the nation’s rivers and lakes. Kate Hudson from Riverkeeper, a New York state clean water advocate group, says even though the policy is in its early stages, it raises some serious concerns. She says the sheer volume of waste that companies would be allowed to move on water is alarming, far outweighing the amount currently shipped in a single truck. (November 5, 2013) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]
11/06/2013 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is on Leachate: “Leachate is sucked from the bottom of the garbage pile and transported to municipal wastewater treatment plants (WTPs) for “treatment.” However, most WTPs are not designed to remove and neutralize the toxic chemicals in leachate; they are designed to break down and remove organic materials that get flushed down toilets.” Doesn’t sound like a very good situation, boys and girls, does it? Lake Country or Trash Country? Unbelievably, the Seneca River watershed is the dumping ground for 30% of New York’s landfilled solid waste1. This garbage is deposited into two mega-landfills: Seneca Meadows landfill (SMI) in Seneca Falls, the largest landfill in the state, which imports up to 6,000 tons per day; and, the Ontario County landfill (OCL) in Stanley, the fourth largest landfill in the state, which takes in up to 3,000 tons per day. That’s 9,000 tons of solid waste permanently deposited in the Seneca River watershed everyday. It’s not area residents who generate all this garbage. Only about 13% of the material entering the OCL in 2008 was local. About 70% came from other counties, and about 16% from other states and Canada. In excess of 98% of the solid waste taken in at the SMI comes from outside the region. One of the main reasons that you see so many 18-wheelers on our local roads is that more than 350 of them are transporting garbage into our region every day. This is more than our fair share of garbage. (November 1, 2013) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Recycling in our area]
11/06/2013 - Gonna be hard to deny yourself out of a world-wide food crisis caused by Climate Change. Food is well…, food. Climate Change Seen Posing Risk to Food Supplies Climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when the demand for food is expected to soar, scientists have found. In a departure from an earlier assessment, the scientists concluded that rising temperatures will have some beneficial effects on crops in some places, but that globally they will make it harder for crops to thrive — perhaps reducing production over all by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century, compared with what it would be without climate change. And, the scientists say, they are already seeing the harmful effects in some regions. (November 1, 2013) New York Times [more on Climate Change and Food in our area]
11/06/2013 - The EPA just (Oct. 2013) released “Plans for Adapting to a Changing Climate” for Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight tribal nations) and this is the prognosis for public health in our region as Climate Change gets worse: "Climate change is very likely to accentuate the disparities already evident in the American health care system. Many of the expected health effects are likely to fall disproportionately on the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the uninsured. The most important adaptation to ameliorate health effects from climate change is to support and maintain the United States’ public health infrastructure (USGCRP 2008). Urban areas are especially prone to increased morbidity and mortality due to heat waves and poor air quality that results from higher temperatures and dry conditions. In addition to air pollution and heat-related impacts on health, extreme weather events due to climate change will likely increase risk for injuries such as those from debris during storm events where high winds and fast moving flood waters are involved. In Region 2, recent severe storm events have also caused unexpectedly high incidences of drowning. Moreover, flood waters can expose people to harmful environmental contaminants, especially if the flooding affects people who live nearby industrial sites or facilities that store or contain hazardous materials. For coastal and waterfront communities, heavy storms can cause storm surges that overwhelm or damage wastewater and drinking water treatment systems with high water volumes or salt water. The result is that communities are inundated with sewage- and industrial waste-contaminated waters, the health impacts of which could be severe gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses. In PR and the USVI, potential adverse human health impacts are expected due to these previously discussed concerns, as well as increased incidence of vector-borne diseases and more frequent dust storms. " EPA Region 2 Climate Adaptation Plan 2013
11/06/2013 - Sounds like Snakehead, a Finger Lakes invasive species which can survive many days out of water, will fare well in Climate Change. WSP Species Spotlight: Fishzilla!!!! If you are obsessed with the show “River Monsters” or “Hooked” on the National Geographic channel like me, you might already be familiar with this month’s spotlight species- the Northern Snakehead! It’s one of the most interesting yet frightening invasive species in North America I have seen, and a top-level predator in the aquatic ecosystem. The Northern Snakehead, scientific name Channa argus, commonly known as “Fishzilla”, is historically native to parts of China, Russia, and Korea. If you have seen it, you would more than likely agree it looks like it could be straight from a horror movie! The first discovery of this species dates back to 1977, where it was found in Silverwood Lake, California. By 2002 it was discovered in a pond in Crofton, Maryland, and in 2004 it was found established in the Potomac River. It has since been found in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Arkansas and New York (Pasko & Eich). Follow this link to view the USGS Northern Snakehead Sightings Distribution map. We need your efforts in early detection and rapid response before/if it begins to swim (or crawl) in the Finger Lakes! (November 1, 2013) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Invasive Species in our area]
11/06/2013 - My fellow Americans, ask not what the fossil fuel industry can do for you, ask what you can do for those Greedy Lying Basturds. Big Oil, Big Profits, Big Tax Breaks Once again, it’s been a good quarter for Big Oil. The big five oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell—reported $23 billion in combined profits for their third quarter of 2013. That’s $175,000 per minute. Together, these five companies earn more in one minute than 95 percent of Americans earn in a year. These profits were slightly lower this third quarter compared to 2012, primarily due to lower (but not low) oil and gasoline prices. Gasoline averaged $3.63 per gallon in the first 10 months of 2013, slightly less than last year’s record of $3.68 per gallon. (November 5, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Energy in our area]
11/05/2013 - I know, Lake Huron is freaking far away from Rochester, NY so why care about nuclear waste there? Ans: Everything in the Great Lakes, including plastic microplastics eventually flow into Lake Ontario: it is the drain. Stabenow, Levin call on Kerry to help with nuclear waste dump on Lake Huron Resolutions opposing or questioning Ontario Power Generation’s proposed deep geologic repository for nuclear wastes have been passed by 15 townships, villages, cities and counties in Ontario, Ohio and Michigan, as well as the Michigan Senate, representing nearly 5 million residents. The resolutions have had little impact on OPG’s plans. For more than a month, a three-member Joint Review Panel has been hearing public comment on the environmental impact of the nuclear waste dump. The panel planned to close hearings on Oct. 30. (November 4, 2013) The Voice [more on Great Lakes in our area]
11/05/2013 - What a tangled web we have weaved when we first we treated our environment as an externality. Suits claim Love Canal still oozing 35 years later NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) — Thirty-five years after Love Canal's oozing toxic waste scared away a neighborhood and became a symbol of environmental catastrophe, history could be repeating itself. New residents, attracted by promises of cleaned-up land and affordable homes, say in lawsuits that they are being sickened by the same buried chemicals from the disaster in the Niagara Falls neighborhood in the 1970s. "We're stuck here. We want to get out," said 34-year-old Dan Reynolds, adding that he's been plagued by mysterious rashes and other ailments since he moved into the four-bedroom home purchased a decade ago for $39,900. (November 5, 2013) BeaumontEnterprize.com [more on Brownfields in our area]
11/05/2013 - Check out this blog on garbage, what we don’t see when we throw away stuff in our region. Stuff you local media doesn’t show you. Geography of Garbage: "This blog is a product of Geography of Garbage class (ENV 204), which I teach at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (www.hws.edu). The blog represents a collaborative effort among more than 30 students in the course in Spring 2011, and seeks to make visible (through photos and commentary) what we often prefer to be invisible: our garbage."
11/05/2013 - Dramatic images of the future, if we don’t cut greenhouse gas emissions. IF ALL THE ICE MELTED Explore the world’s new coastlines if sea level rises 216 feet. The maps here show the world as it is now, with only one difference: All the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea, raising it 216 feet and creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas. National Geographic
11/04/2013 - Interesting idea, fortifying our telecommunications infrastructure with concrete utility poles to battle more extreme weather due to Climate Change in our region, but I wouldn’t want to hit one with my car. What about putting lines underground? NYSEG Experiments With Concrete Utility Poles New York State Electric and Gas says it has been experimenting with its first concrete utility poles. The new poles were installed in the Town of Patterson in Putnam County and the Town of Bethel in Sullivan County earlier this morning. Officials say concrete poles have been used extensively in the southeast and in Ontario, Canada. They say with the sometimes harsh weather in New York State, they want to try the poles in this region since the poles do not require maintenance and have a strong record of withstanding wind, ice and heavy snow. (November 2, 2013) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/04/2013 - Important to get local environmental news and events from these newsletter, as mainstream media is not doing their job. Penfield Green Initiative November 2013 Newsletter - from PENFIELD GREEN INITIATIVE Planning Committee The voice for Penfield’s environmental assets!
11/04/2013 - Bees, which we need for local food production, are not just vanishing. We are vanishing them. What are we doing about that? As bees vanish, food supply is threatened Hamlin, N.Y. -- For Jim Doan, honeybees have provided so much more than honey. “I wouldn’t say they’re perfect, but they’re pretty darn close to it,” Doan said, standing beside seasoned wood pallets once used as the foundation for beehives. Doan’s father gave him his first hive of bees. The childhood hobby grew into a livelihood. “At one point, I was running 5,300 hives of bees here in Western New York,” Doan said. That success was not to last. (November 4, 2013) WHAM [more on Wildlife and Food in our area]
11/04/2013 - Ghosts of New York’s energy to come, is fighting over fresh water with the Fracking industries to be, like it is in Penn.? Marcellus Shale fracking wells use 5 million gallons of water apiece Forget about residents. Forget about fish. The streams and rivers of Pennsylvania and West Virginia are being heavily tapped to quench the growing thirst of the fracking industry. According to a new report, each of the thousands of fracking wells drilled to draw gas and oil out of the Marcellus Shale formation in those two states uses an average of 4.1 to 5.6 million gallons of fresh water. That’s more than the amount of water used by fracking wells in three other big shale formations around the country: (October 31, 2013) GRIST [more on Fracking in our area]
11/02/2013 - EPA, What if communities, like Rochester, NY aren’t even paying attention to the problem of adapting to Climate Change? EPA Releases Agency Plans for Adapting to a Changing Climate WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans for public review and comment. In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order on Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change announced today, the Implementation Plans provide detailed information about the actions EPA plans to take across the country to help communities adapt to a changing climate. “To meet our mission of protecting public health and the environment, EPA must help communities adapt to a changing climate,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These Implementation Plans offer a roadmap for agency work to meet that responsibility, while carrying out President Obama’s goal of preparing the country for climate-related challenges.” The impacts of a changing climate – including increased extreme weather, floods, and droughts – affect EPA’s work to protect clean air and water. The draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans recognize that EPA must integrate climate adaptation planning into its programs, policies, rules, and operations to ensure that the agency’s work continues to be effective even as the climate changes. (November 1, 2013) EPA News Releases from Headquarters [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/02/2013 - What continually amazes me is how much news and alarm there is about Climate Change around the world and how little of that is reflected in local Rochester, NY news.
11/02/2013 - Think: Trees and helping us adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. But you have to leave them in the ground. New York State Announces Arbor Day Poster Contest Entries Must be Received by December 17, 2013 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens invites fifth graders to showcase their artistic talents and help to increase public awareness about trees in New York by participating in the annual National Arbor Day Poster Contest. "Trees play a vital role in the lives of New Yorkers and are a vital part of our ecosystem," Commissioner Martens said. "Whether someone is tapping a maple tree in early spring or relaxing in the shade of a tree on a hot summer day, trees are integral to our quality of life. I encourage fifth graders to join in our celebration of trees by drawing, sketching or painting their favorite trees and showcasing why trees are important in our daily lives." (November 1, 2013) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
11/02/2013 - I was just thinking: If the GMO corporations say they can GMO us out of Climate Change, maybe they can GMO us. Insert altruism genes, so we’ll work together to adapt to Climate Change. I know, that would be unethical. But, GMO-ing our food isn’t, right? It’s OK to GMO pesticides into our seeds so they’re the only ones you can buy, and they trigger crop pests to adapt and become more resistant to pesticides. But guess what? GMO plants are the only ones around and you won’t even know because it’s OK not to label them as such. GMO corporations. Ya gotta laugh.
11/02/2013 - Why is everyone dumping their garbage on us here in Western New York?Read to find out. Warning: It’s not pretty. Lake Country or Trash Country? Unbelievably, the Seneca River watershed is the dumping ground for 30% of New York’s landfilled solid waste1. This garbage is deposited into two mega-landfills: Seneca Meadows landfill (SMI) in Seneca Falls, the largest landfill in the state, which imports up to 6,000 tons per day; and, the Ontario County landfill (OCL) in Stanley, the fourth largest landfill in the state, which takes in up to 3,000 tons per day. That’s 9,000 tons of solid waste permanently deposited in the Seneca River watershed everyday. It’s not area residents who generate all this garbage. Only about 13% of the material entering the OCL in 2008 was local. About 70% came from other counties, and about 16% from other states and Canada. In excess of 98% of the solid waste taken in at the SMI comes from outside the region. One of the main reasons that you see so many 18-wheelers on our local roads is that more than 350 of them are transporting garbage into our region every day. This is more than our fair share of garbage. (November 1, 2013) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Recycling in our area]
11/02/2013 - I guess “When Corporation Rule the World” is now. Maybe our future will be “Corporation vs. Physics” How the largest oil and gas company in the world put 30 people behind bars in Russia It took one call from the crew on Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya rig to have an armed squad of Russia’s special forces there within an hour. The very next day, Russian agents illegally boarded the Arctic Sunrise and arrested all 30 people on board. The group of 28 activists and two journalists are now being held in Russian jail on trumped-up hooliganism charges, for peaceful protest against drilling for oil in the Arctic. Complicit in their arrest is the most powerful company that most people have never heard of. So just who are Gazprom? Gazprom is the largest oil and gas company in the world. Around 10% of Russian state revenue comes from Gazprom, which is majority owned by the government. Their strong links to government are clear even in spite of the total lack of transparency that surrounds the internal mechanisms of Russian politics. (October 28, 2013) GreenPeace | The Witness [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/02/2013 - Climate Change: It’s official. “…to prepare the Nation for the impacts of climate change…” President Obama Executive Order -- Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change EXECUTIVE ORDER - - - - - - - PREPARING THE UNITED STATES FOR THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to prepare the Nation for the impacts of climate change by undertaking actions to enhance climate preparedness and resilience, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Policy. The impacts of climate change -- including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise -- are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation. These impacts are often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures. Managing these risks requires deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planning by the Federal Government, as well as by stakeholders, to facilitate Federal, State, local, tribal, private-sector, and nonprofit-sector efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources; and provide for the continuity of executive department and agency (agency) operations, services, and programs. (November 1, 2013) The White House Office of the Press Secretary [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/01/2013 - Dear Russia, the Arctic 30 that you just tossed into your frozen crowbar hotel for protesting Drilling in the pristine Arctic are not Russians and the world is watching. Please consider how you treat messengers about Climate Change. Activists Feel Powerful Wrath as Russia Guards Its Arctic Claims MOSCOW — Gizem Akhan, 24, was about to begin her final year studying the culinary arts at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. Tomasz Dziemianczuk, 36, took a vacation from his job as a cultural adviser at the University of Gdansk in Poland that has now unexpectedly turned into an unpaid leave of absence. Dmitri Litvinov, 51, is a veteran activist who as a child spent four years in Siberian exile after his father, Pavel, took part in the Red Square protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. “I didn’t expect my son to get in their clutch,” the elder Mr. Litvinov said in a telephone interview from Irvington, N.Y., where he settled to teach physics in nearby Tarrytown after being expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974. (October 30, 2013) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]