Blandit sit amet veroeros
These Daily Updates for this month represent just one month in over a decade of connecting the dots on our area's environmental situation.
Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL STORY ABOUT THE ROCHESTER, NY AREA FROM A CREDIBLE SOURCE? SEND IT TO ME! Looking for something specific. Use Control + F and search for it on this page.
These daily updates pertain to what is going on in our environment in Rochester & around the world. Although I do not see RochesterEnvironment.com, or Global Environmental Resources, as environmental activist sites, I do view them as active. They are active conduits for all the environmental news, services, links, and an on-going discovery for the potential role that I believe the Internet will play in environmentalism. Your local news media is not doing its job in informing the public on the breath and depth of our environmental problems, so you are going to have to get on the Internet.
11/29/2015 - Yesterday’s Rochester March for Global Climate Action! was an amazing event with 400 folks showing our support for an ambitious deal that will avert the worst impacts of climate change Hundreds March To Support United Nation’s 2015 Climate Change Conference ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- All across the world, people are holding rallies and marches to support the United Nation’s 2015 Climate Change Conference beginning on Monday in Paris. On Sunday, Rochester was no exception. Hundreds marched through the downtown chanting and holding signs such as “Less Talk, More Action” and “Planet Over Profit.” The whole objective of the conference is to create a binding and universal agreement on climate with all the nations in the world. “We’re part of a huge thing that’s happening all over the globe to send the message to the people in Paris that the people in the world really want them to come to agreements that will reduce carbon emissions and actually allow us to survive,” march organizing team member Wendy Low said. (November 29, 2015) Time Warner Cable News [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/28/2015 - “The Rochester area is a hotbed of opposition” on Lake Ontario water level disputes because our local media hasn’t informed the public how this issue relates to Climate Change—nor much on Climate Change at all for that matter. Instead of having a discussion about how restoring our lake level will help the whole Great Lakes region by re-establishing needed wetlands for wildlife and buffers against extreme weather surges, the concerns of a relatively small part of the population (shoreline property owners and boaters) gets a disproportional attention from the media that thrives on controversy. At this point in time, when we know the Northeast is being hammered by 71% more heavy rainfall events since 1956, we should be making sure that our top priority is that our ecosystems are as robust and resilient as they can be. Erosion and flooding will occur more often and with more force during Climate Change. Compensation for those whose interests are compromised by adjusting the lake level to a more resilient level can be worked out; but there will not be enough money around to compensate everyone if this precious Great Lakes ecosystem fails because we got our priorities mixed up. If our local media continually informed the public about Climate Change and its local effects, understanding the big picture (we are now living on a warmer planet) would be foremost in the public’s mind. Lake Ontario water level deliberations nearly done A decision may be nearing on the proposed plan to change the way Lake Ontario’s water levels are regulated, and both proponents and opponents are continuing efforts to influence the outcome. A new regulatory plan meant to address environmental degradation along the Lake Ontario shoreline was adopted in mid-2014 by the U.S.-Canada International Joint Commission that oversees Great Lakes issues. The IJC action capped 15 long years of study and debate about updating the regulatory plan, which was created a half-century ago. Many environmentalists hailed the proposed regimen, which would allow some additional variation in the lake level to help revive shoreline wetlands. But shoreline property owners and others oppose the new plan, fearing it would worsen shoreline erosion and flooding. The Rochester area is a hotbed of opposition. (November 27, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes in our area]
11/28/2015 - I know, humanity is aghast at the prospect of “strict, binding goals to tackle climate change” but anything else is nothing. Decades ago it might have been useful for non-binding pledges and lots of promises to address Climate Change. Now, because we have dithered so long, we are up against a wall. If Paris results in a weak treaty, we will only be able to adapt separately and eventually fail altogether. At 1C we are halfway to hell and hell (2C) will be reached in a couple of decades if COP21 Paris fails to deliver strict, binding goals. Germany's Merkel urges strict, binding goals to tackle climate change Germany's chancellor gave a qualified welcome on Saturday to China's pledge to tackle rising temperatures ahead of a global climate conference but she called for more ambitious goals to cut greenhouse emissions. In her weekly internet podcast on Saturday, Angela Merkel also underscored the long-term importance of coal-fired power for Germany, a country that remains one of the globe's biggest economies and exporters. (November 28, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/28/2015 - Rochester, NY seeks to go Solar Power big time. City seeks 2-megawatt solar farm at former landfill City officials want to make a deal with a Buffalo-based solar company to build a two-megawatt solar farm on a former landfill. The city has been exploring the idea since earlier this year for a portion of what used to be the Emerson Street landfill, which closed in 1972. The city has been using slag excavated during construction of a marina at the Port of Rochester to create a pad for solar panels at the landfill. (November 27, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]
11/28/2015 - Have you been trying to figure out how, after so much information from so many scientists and so many examples of extreme weather, your friends still don’t get Climate Change? Maybe, they’ve been misled. Exxon Made Deep Cuts in Climate Research Budget in the 1980s The cuts ushered in a five-year hiatus in peer-reviewed publication by its scientists and the era when the company first embraced disinformation. Internal Exxon Corporation budget documents from the 1980s show that the oil giant sharply curtailed its ambitious program of innovative climate research in those years, chopping well over half from its annual budget for internal investigations into how carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels would affect the planet. Facing a budget crunch and sensing that any government efforts to clamp down on carbon pollution were a long way off, Exxon terminated two especially innovative experiments. One involved oceanic observations during voyages of the Esso Atlantic, a supertanker. The other proposed to test vintage French wines for tell-tale traces of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels or other sources. (November 25, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/28/2015 - You can participate virtually in the #COP21 Paris Climate Summit. Check out this information hub: http://bit.ly/COP21_Info “Navigate all the essential information to participate in person or virtually at Paris COP 21”
11/26/2015 - It’s time to change energy options when one of the world’s largest insurers pulls its assets out of the fossil fuel fire. You can do the same here in Rochester: Wednesday, 12/2 Divestment is the opposite of investment. It means getting rid of stocks, bonds, or investment funds that are unethical or morally ambiguous. The purpose of divestment is to stigmatize the fossil fuel industry and free up money for reinvestment in “green” businesses. Examples of past divestment campaigns that succeeded in prompting social change include those waged against the tobacco industry and companies doing business in Darfur and apartheid-era South Africa. What: At this divestment seminar, Bob Bechtold (President of HARBEC) and Joseph A Cappello (CMFC, CTFA Wealth Manager, LPL registered Representative ESL Investment Services) will share their experience with divestment to help you divest your assets quickly, easily, and effectively. When: Wednesday, December 2, 7:00 p.m. Where: The Harley School, 1981 Clover Street (Sponsored by 350.org – Rochester) Europe’s largest insurer Allianz to pull funds from coal German company holding €2 trillion worth in assets said it will shift an estimated €4 billion into clean energy Allianz will withdraw investment from coal companies over the next six months, a top executive told German state broadcaster ZDF on Monday. The Munich-based insurer, which manages €2 trillion worth of assets, is divesting from mining firms and utilities that get more than 30% of revenues or power from coal. Chief investment officer Andreas Gruber said it would double investment in wind power to €4 billion over the next few years. (November 24, 2015) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/26/2015 - Deregulating 500 chemicals because the chemicals that have not been tested for their impact on public health is insane. It’s insane because it’s insane to put the burden of proof of a manmade chemical discharged into our drinking water and ecosystems on the victims. It would be like saying a new type of automatic weapon doesn’t fall under gun regulations because no one was killed with it yet. The burden of proof is to assume that no manmade chemicals should be allowing into our waters unless they can prove that they are absolutely safe in our ecosystems. Not only that, but why would just ‘environmentalists’ be upset about this proposed deregulation? Why wouldn’t every single person who must drink our waters and need our Great Lakes ecosystem be concerned about this threat to our environment, which is to say our life support system? Why does the press continually express environmental concerns through environmentalists? Why aren’t the media themselves and the public outraged by these threats? When are we going to stop seeing environmental problems as the problems of just environmentalists? Environmentalists cannot save our life support system and stop Climate Change, but they can help raise awareness that everyone, meaning everyone, must get engage on our environment especially now. Michigan plan to deregulate chemicals upsets environmentalists The debate about environmental injustice has grown more serious in Michigan after the Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) recently proposed deregulating 500 chemicals. These possible changes to the air regulations concern the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) a lot. According to MEC, the department is going to propose a rule change requested by industry to deregulate 500 chemicals that have been subject to oversight in the past. The DEQ said the change is because the chemicals that have not been tested for their impact on public health. (November 25, 2015) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]
11/26/2015 - Come and meet two new groups in Rochester changing the face of Climate Change action and messaging: Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC) and Mothers Out Front. Date: Tuesday, December 8 Time: 7 - 9 pm Place: Henrietta United Church of Christ, 1400 Lehigh Station Rd, Henrietta Open to the public - all are invited! Two climate groups, Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC) and Mothers Out Front, will be the focus of the meeting. Members of both groups will be present to talk about their organizations and how others can get involved. Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC) was formed as an outcome of the Sept. 21, 2014 People's Climate March in New York City. After sending about 100 people from Rochester to the March with the support of 30+ organizations, it was apparent that Rochester citizens were ready to keep the climate change action momentum going, so RPCC was formed. RPCC currently has 57 local member organizations, and is growing all the time. RPCC's mission is all about climate change and local action: education on the issue, building a strong voice to get legislators to lead a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, encouraging local leaders to take steps to prepare us for climate change effects and improving climate change coverage by local media. RPCC is currently helping to coordinate the Rochester March for Global Climate Actionon Nov. 29, and is bringing the Twelve Days of Climate: Paris Talks, We Act (Nov. 30-Dec 11, coincident with the Paris talks) to Rochester.
11/26/2015 - The COP21 Paris Climate Summit is occurring when a significant increase in extreme weather is happening. Don’t wait for more proof for Climate Change before we act. UN report: Weather disasters occurred almost daily over last decade Weather-related disasters have occurred almost daily in the last ten years, and nearly twice as frequently as two decades ago, a new UN report said on Monday, one week ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris. The report, issued by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNIDSR), found there were an average of 335 weather-related disasters annually between 2005 and August this year, up 14% from 1995 – 2004 and almost twice as many as in the years from 1985 to 1994. The report drew on a database of weather events which defines an event as a disaster if 10 or more people are killed, 100 or more are affected, a state of emergency is declared, or if there is a call for international assistance. (November 25, 2015) tctctctck [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/26/2015 - If you can’t go to Paris for the COP21 or the Rochester March for Global Climate Action!, then go here online for the home page for the COP21, where you can FOLLOW the conference day after day.
11/26/2015 - Nice info-graphic on who's coming to COP21 Paris and what they bring to the table. Who's who at the Paris climate conference? See who all the important players are at the Paris climate conference ABC.net (Australia)
11/25/2015 - Of course if the COP21 Paris talks fail, 2015 won’t have been much of a breakthrough year for the environment. A failed COP21, where there are no binding agreements or sufficient funds to address developing nations’ issues with Climate Change, this year will result in a 2015 benchmark that was humanity’s last great hope of preventing the worst disasters of Climate Change. 2015 was a breakthrough year for the environment. Here's why. While data suggests that 2015 will likely go down as the hottest year on record, this has also been a year when we’ve made extraordinary environmental progress in five key areas. We have the numbers to prove it. (November 24, 2015) Environmental Defense Fund [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/25/2015 - With “12 Days of Climate” events in Rochester, NY, we hope to focus attention on the 12 days of the Paris Climate Summit. 12 Days of Climate bring awareness to global warming The tune is the same. Instead of drummers drumming, pipers piping, lords leaping, ladies dancing — you know where this is going — an environmentally conscious version calls for greener gifts, renewable energy, a plant-based diet and ultimately awareness about climate change. In an effort to show what you can do on a global and local level, the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition has created a little ditty called the Twelve Days of Climate to promote education and action. The song debuts Sunday at the Rochester March for Global Climate Action and is geared to the 21st Conference of the Parties, the 12-day United Nations climate conference that begins Monday in Paris. (November 24, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/25/2015 - Despite the holidays, the Rochester March for Global Climate Action! is expected to have a high turnout. Consider being a part of history and marching in downtown Rochester. We need thousands to march locally to show our support for an ambitious deal that will avert the worst impacts of climate change. Paris may be last, best chance to achieve carbon cuts All eyes are on Paris. The world reacted to the horrific attacks that killed 129 people and injured many more with shock, grief, anger, and fear. But many people also look at the City of Light with optimism; Paris refused to let the violence prevent it from hosting the crucial United Nations climate treaty talks that start on November 30. Long before the attacks, climate activist groups across the globe organized marches in dozens of cities for November 29, the day before the talks start. (French and UN officials have nixed the Paris march out of security concerns). The events are meant to show world leaders that the people they represent want them to commit to meaningful action on climate change. The Rochester People's Climate Coalition has organized a local march for 1 p.m. on November 29, starting at St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene Episcopal Church, 17 South Fitzhugh Street. (November 25, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/25/2015 - Updated press release for Rochester's Global Climate March "Local Organizations Unite to Launch The “Rochester March for Global Climate Action” During the 21st United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, Rochesterians will join forces to urge global action against growing climate problems. Sunday, November 29, 2015- A coalition of concerned nonprofit organizations, churches, and businesses will march through downtown, to coincide with rallies, marches and other actions world-wide. The march is geared to urge leaders at the 21st United Nations Conference on Climate Change to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Supporters are scheduled to meet at The Episcopal Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene (Two Saints), 17 Fitzhugh St S, Rochester, NY 14614 at 1 p.m. Bishop Prince Singh, Imam Mohammed Shafiq, Norman Jones, Commissioner of Environmental Services, and Mary Lupien of Mothers Out Front, will speak briefly before the march starts. Organizers will lead the march to several locations in downtown Rochester relevant to climate change. By around 2 p.m. the marchers will return to Two Saints for more fellowship and music by the Mt. Hope World Singers and the Dady Brothers. Information will be available on ways to remain involved and on upcoming programs. WHO: Rochesterians concerned about climate change WHAT: “March for Global Climate Action” WHEN: Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 1 p.m. WHERE: The Episcopal Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene, 17 Fitzhugh St. WHY: To urge action from leaders at the 21st United Nations Conference on Climate Change and to raise awareness throughout the Rochester community. more...
11/24/2015 - Of course the real answer why so many Americans are still skeptical about climate change is that we don’t want to grow up. Sure there’s lots of reasons to blame the deniers and the misleading fossil fuel industry, but at the end of the day we in the developed nations feel no urgency because addressing Climate Change would be inconvenient and we just don’t feel compelled to care about getting engaged. Even though the developed nations caused this worldwide crisis, we aren’t ready to take responsibility yet. We must grow up very quickly. Read: “20 Excuses US public uses to dismiss the urgency of Climate Change” | Why are so many Americans skeptical about climate change? A study offers a surprising answer. Climate change has long been a highly polarizing topic in the United States, with Americans lining up on opposite sides depending on their politics and worldview. Now a scientific study sheds new light on the role played by corporate money in creating that divide. The report, a systematic review of 20 years’ worth of data, highlights the connection between corporate funding and messages that raise doubts about the science of climate change and whether humans are responsible for the warming of the planet. The analysis suggests that corporations have used their wealth to amplify contrarian views and create an impression of greater scientific uncertainty than actually exists. “The contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust,” said Justin Farrell, a Yale University sociologist and author of the study, released on Monday in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. (November 23, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/24/2015 - Rochester, NY philosopher, Dr. Lawrence Torcello, helps make moral case for our leaders to address Climate Change at COO21 Paris Climate Summit. “More than 2,100 academics, and counting, from over 80 nations and a diversity of disciplines have endorsed a moral and political statement addressed to global leaders ahead of December’s UN climate conference in Paris.” For more background, read this from The Guardian, “More than 2,000 academics call on world heads to do more to limit global warming” | Making the moral case on climate change ahead of Paris summit Much of the general public is well aware of scientists' recommendations on climate change. In particular, climate scientists and other academics say society needs to keep global temperatures to no more than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. But now more academics are weighing in on climate change: philosophers, ethicists, and social scientists among others. More than 2,100 academics, and counting, from over 80 nations and a diversity of disciplines have endorsed a moral and political statementaddressed to global leaders ahead of December’s UN climate conference in Paris. (November 23, 2015) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/24/2015 - I don’t think “radiation hormesis”, where a little radiation helps cure cancer, pertains to nuclear power plants, where “oops’ is an option. Even if a little radiation leakage from a nuclear power plant may not hurt more surrounding populations within a short time span there are other considerations. First, remember that your dental hygienist stands behind the door when you get tooth X-rays because while you may only get your X-rays once in a while, your dental hygienist takes these X-ray photos every day. We know the radiation is accumulative—like skin cancer often results from a lifetime accumulation of exposure to the sun. Folks around nuclear power plants, if exposed to even a little more radiation exposure would be accumulating more radiation than those not near a nuclear power plant—all other natural radiation being equal. But then there are the nuclear power accidents, which can and have unleashed a lot of radiation at once. So a little radiation's good for you? Hmmm ... Standing conventional wisdom on its head, federal officials are seeking comment on suggested rules that would allow more exposure to low-level radiation among people living near nuclear power plants. The suggested rules are based on a scientific theory, known as radiation hormesis, which holds that low-level radiation is not harmful to human health and may in fact be beneficial. Hormesis is the term for the circumstance where a small amount of an otherwise harmful substance is good for you in small doses. Think of a square of dark chocolate after dinner versus a pound of it, or a glass of red wine at one sitting versus a case. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been soliciting public comment on the idea since June, and has extended the period for comments through Thursday. Through Monday, about 380 comments had been submitted. (November 17, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]
11/24/2015 - Churchill said “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” Looks like fossil fuel industry is taking same the script to the climate talks. Fox in the hen house: the polluters bankrolling the climate talks As corporate anti-climate behaviour comes under increasing scrutiny from law-enforcers, media and public, a new report highlights the conflict of interest between the Paris climate summit’s aims and the polluting actions of the companies bankrolling it. ‘Fueling the Fire – The corporate sponsors bankrolling COP21’ reveals how Engie, EDF, Suez Environnement and BNP Paribas together own more than 46 coal-fired power plants, and are investing in oil sands exploration in Canada and fracking for shale gas in the UK. They have paid over €30 billion ($31.8 bn) into the French coal industry alone, and are responsible for more than 200 megatonnes of CO2 emissions. The same fossil fuel corporation have also been involved in attempt to deny science and deceive the public about climate change – often hiding behind lobbying organisations to do so – and have interfered with the UNFCCC, according to the report (November 23, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/24/2015 - Compensating the developing nations for their loss of the commons so they can adapt and develop during Climate Change should be a no brainer. A COP21 Paris deal won’t be complete until the nations that took more than their fair share of the commons—clean water, clean air, contaminated free soil—compensate those who haven’t had a chance to develop and survive on a planet with rising seas and extreme weather. The $100 Billion Climate Question What’s a difference in opinion worth? When it comes to interpreting a climate pledge by richer countries to help poorer ones tackle the problem of climate change, about $60 billion last year. That’s the difference between the amount of money that developed countries provided to those in earlier stages of development in 2014 to help them deal with global warming — depending on how the figure is calculated. By one interpretation, $62 billion was provided last year. By another: $0. (November 23, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/23/2015 - Because Rochester’s backyard was threatened by Fracking we became a “hotbed of opposition to renewed high-volume fracking in New York.” Much of the credit for organizing an educational and activist position against Fracking in New York can be attributed to R-Cause, Rochesterians Concerned about Unsafe Shale-gas Extraction Finger Lakes fracking: An idea whose time has passed The chance remark came during a 2011 reporting trip to Pennsylvania to observe the impact of the natural-gas drilling boom. Vincent Matteo, a business leader in then-thriving Williamsport, was as big a booster of hydraulic fracturing as we encountered in Pennsylvania gas country. But toward the end of an interview, Matteo mentioned that he was a frequent visitor to New York's Finger Lakes region. He raised his eyebrows and said, almost sheepishly, that perhaps fracking might not be the best fit in the picturesque Finger Lakes. Matteo's remark resonated. Two months before photographer Shawn Dowd and I reported on Pennsylvania fracking, I'd written another story for the Democrat and Chronicle that documented the large number of upstate New York landholders who had already signed leases with oil and natural-gas companies in anticipation of a fracking boom here. (November 22, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]
11/23/2015 - Learn more about saving undeveloped land in Henrietta from being developed. Just about the last thing Henrietta needs is to chew up a wildlife area for more development. Sign a petition to Save Beckwith Park. "Save Beckwith Park Neighbors working together to save 12.8 acres of wild land in Henrietta, New York Since 1965, this scenic wildlife area has been a treasure for many families in Henrietta, New York. The Catholic Diocese of Rochester is in the process of selling this beautiful land to a developer, who intends to put single-family houses on the property. In a grassroots effort to save the land, neighbors and friends have banded together to stop the development of the land that makes our neighborhood our home. "Consider signing this petition to save undeveloped land in Henrietta, NY.
11/23/2015 - Question: Why do so many people not believe in the science behind Climate Change? Answer: Mother Nature’s laws are final, there are no excuses. Watch short video: "Why People Don't Believe In Climate Science "
11/21/2015 - What if it was against the law to rob our children of a future? Actually, I think it is… Groundbreaking Ruling: State Has Constitutional Obligation to ‘Stem the Tide of Global Warming’ Late last night, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis R. Hill issued a groundbreaking ruling in the unprecedented case of eight youth petitioners who requested that the Washington Department of Ecology write a carbon emissions rule that protects the atmosphere for their generation and those to come. In a landmark decision, Judge Hill declared “[the youths’] very survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming … before doing so becomes first too costly and then too late.” Highlighting inextricable relationships between navigable waters and the atmosphere, and finding that separating the two is “nonsensical,” the judge found the public trust doctrine mandates that the state act through its designated agency “to protect what it holds in trust.” The court confirmed what the Washington youth and youth across the nation have been arguing in courts of law, that “[t]he state has a constitutional obligation to protect the public’s interest in natural resources held in trust for the common benefit of the people.” (November 20, 2015) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/21/2015 - Of course, GOP candidates think 400ppm of CO2 just a lot of horseshit, but scientists think we’ve passed a critical benchmark. It will be interesting to get an assessment of the COP21 Paris Climate Summit after it is over. Regardless of what anybody else thinks—our economists, our politicians, our media, and our neighbors—it will be the consensus of what the climate scientist community thinks that will matter. We’ll either be able to tread water long enough to have a future, or we won’t. Time passes. What Passing a Key CO2 Mark Means to Climate Scientists This week is a big one for our world. Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels climbed above the 400 parts per million (ppm) at the Mauna Loa Observatory and it’s distinctly possible they won’t be back below that level again in our lifetimes. Humans have burned enough fossil fuels to drive atmospheric CO2 to levels that world hasn’t seen in at least 400,000 years. That’s driven up temperatures, melted ice and caused oceans to acidify. Some extreme weather events around the world have become more likely and stronger because of it, and some will likely only get worse as the planet continues to warm. (November 20, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/21/2015 - Because Rochester, NY is listed among U.S. Cities committed to the Compact of Mayors, can we expect local officials at Global Climate March in downtown Rochester on November 29th? At this critical moment in time, it would be great to see representatives of the City of Rochester march with us to show the world our support for an ambitious deal that will avert the worst impacts of Climate Change. A Major Milestone for President Obama’s Climate Agenda Summary: Over 100 cities have pledged to create bold climate action plans as President Obama & Secretary Kerry travel to Paris to negotiate an international climate agreement. In August, as part of an ambitious plan to expand renewable energy to households across America, President Obama called on all U.S. mayors to publicly commit to a local climate action plan. The President set a goal of at least 100 U.S. cities signing the Compact of Mayors prior to the Paris UN climate change meeting (“COP”). Today, that goal has not only been met, but surpassed. Why are U.S. cities so important to President Obama’s climate agenda? Cities are home to 70 percent of the world’s total energy related carbon emissions and 90 percent of the world’s largest cities rest on coastal or intercostal waterways – making cities increasingly vulnerable to negative economic, environmental and health impacts. (November 20, 2015) White House [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/21/2015 - The terrorists who killed so many people in Paris have also stolen our attention from Climate Change at a critical moment. We need to rally around the world to show our support for an ambitious deal that will avert the worst impacts of Climate Change. And one of the worst aspects of Climate Change is the social unrest caused by extreme conditions that unhinge societies and produce extremist groups hell bent on creating a hell for us all if they don’t get their way. How Climate Activists Plan To Mobilize In Paris Without Marches After days of uncertainty, the French government announced Wednesday that several side events previously planned for the U.N. climate talks in Paris — including two mass mobilizations meant to bookend the talks — would be cancelled. France remains under a state of emergency following a coordinated series of deadly attacks on November 13 that killed 129 and wounded more than 350. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to be in Paris for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will run from November 30 through December 11. Mass mobilizations were planned for November 29 and December 12 as a way of giving civil society both the first and last word on the climate negotiations, which many hope will produce a strong international agreement on climate action. (November 19, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/21/2015 - As the Paris deal gets closer, a historic benchmark for humanity’s ability to have a sustainable future, we find ourselves in an interesting place: Terrorism consumes the media, instead of the summit; the GOP fights to block any progress; and the fossil fuel industries are embroiled in a scandal where they allegedly mislead the public on what they knew about Climate Change. Many are downplaying the importance of the summit, where all the nations of the world agree to keep greenhouse gas emission below 2C (which many think it should be 1.5C), and where we are about to reach 1C. But one way or another, after Paris the world will be a different place. We will either be living on a planet that is hopeless mired in its own failings and doomed to adapting to a warmer and warmer planet until we cannot cope. Or, we’ll start the planetary change that will lead to a sustainable future on a level and scope equal to the problem. Time passes. Weekly wrap: 10 days to Paris COP21 kick-off With 10 days until UN climate talks kick off in Paris, the authorities are scrambling to respond to deadly attacks that shocked the world. More than 120 heads of state will open the summit, undeterred by the terrorist threat, say organisers. It is a different story for two demonstrations that were expected to attract 200,000 people. Officials banned the marches, saying they could not guarantee public safety outside the main venues. (November 20, 2015) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/20/2015 - A ban on microbeads would help Great Lakes’ ecosystem plus the ban (sewage and toxic) pollution, pharmaceuticals, and runoff phosphorus. Thinking that just banning microbeads will keep our Great Lakes ecosystem safe is delusional because there are so many issues not to mention the very invasive species Asian Carp and preventing massive water withdrawals (privatization) and much more that is coming with Climate Change. Keeping the largest fresh waters system is going to take a full court press—as it were. Bill to ban microbeads advances in Congress Bipartisan legislation to ban tiny plastic particles used in exfoliating personal hygiene products is moving forward in Congress with the cautious support of environmental advocates, who say the rinse-off plastics are polluting the Great Lakes. The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, (H.R. 1321) co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St Joseph, and Rep. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, passed the U.S. House of Representatives energy and commerce committee on Wednesday, Nov. 18 (November 19, 20150 MLive.come [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]
11/20/2015 - In the light of the “confounding task of trying to keep global warming below 2°C, or 3.6°F” at the COP21 Paris Climate Summit, trying for a more sensible goal of one that limits warming to less than 1.5°C, would be very ambitious, indeed, if not for survival itself being at risk. The implacable thing about Climate Change is that it rules—not us. For no matter how hard is to change our behavior so that we don’t warm up the planet if we don’ change and very soon on a massive scale, we will lose our future. Even those denied the science and fought against addressing Climate Change will be subject to the same laws of physics and biochemistry as everyone else. The Forgotten U.N. Climate Goal: 1.5°C While much of the attention on a historic Paris climate meeting in the coming weeks will focus on the confounding task of trying to keep global warming below 2°C, or 3.6°F, a battle over another goal — one that has been forgotten by many — will be playing out in the negotiating halls. Delegates representing island states and others whose homelands are most threatened by rising seas will be pushing for the formal adoption of a long-overlooked goal, one that limits warming to less than 1.5°C, or 2.7°F. Such a goal would be an ambitious one. Some negotiators and onlookers already seem to have given up hope of limiting warming to less than 2°C, much less 1.5°C. Fossil fuel burning, deforestation and other climate-changing hallmarks of industrialization have elevated temperatures 1°C since the 19th century, pushing tides up more than 8 inches. Pledges submitted by nations ahead of the meeting to take steps to slow climate change could yet allow warming to soar to 3°C or more. (November 19, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/20/2015 - Permafrost melt releases a lot of methane gas and methane gas is a lot more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. With massive permafrost melt all bets on a slow and gradual warming are off. Runaway global warming becomes a concern as permafrost melts Goose Lake is at the knife's edge of climate change. Half a century ago, this region, which is 250 miles from the Arctic Circle, used to contain mostly permafrost, or perennially frozen ground. Today, the ground has partially thawed and the region is predominantly wetland. The rapid changes have been catalyzed by climate change, which has warmed these environs by 4 degrees Fahrenheit in the past half-century. Scientists worry that, as permafrost thaws, a portion of the carbon stored in the northernmost ecosystems will be released to the atmosphere and trigger runaway global warming. The biggest threat at present is posed not by the frozen tundras of the Arctic, but by the soils of the boreal -- the southern reaches of the deep freeze in Canada, Alaska and other parts of the world -- like at Goose Lake, where the permafrost is thin and sporadic, the soil temperature close to melting point, and the land already disturbed by oil and gas exploration. (November 19, 2015) E&E Publishing, LLC [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/19/2015 - From the experts: How to have that Climate Change discussion that folks don’t want to have? Ans: There are no experts. It must be obvious, even to the field of Psychological Science, that most of the public not inclined to be motivated by facts and ethics do not want to hear about Climate Change—in fact, it annoys them. So what’s different about the issue of Climate Change that even the field of Psychological Science fails to appreciate is that whether folks like it or not humanity will have to adapt to Climate Change. You cannot ignore a flood or wildfire that consumes your home. Except that by the time those folks realize that this existential aspect of Climate Change it will be too late. If you tell folks that Climate Change is a great big complicated problem that will change everything, they get overwhelmed and give up. (How wonderful for them.) And if you tell the public that the problem is easy and won’t inconvenience them they don’t feel compelled to act on a scale that will matter. (If it’s so easy they’ll just let you do it.) In truth, there are no psychological experts who can study us out of this problem of Climate Change and get humanity to act responsibly. How do you get 7 billion people in a small room with a couch? The COP21 Paris Climate Summit is humanity’s best shot for a sustainable future—we have to quickly evolve. (BTW: a new strategy that climate change deniers are using in debates is their insistence on “in your own words.” Describe Climate Change in your own words and why it’s so important and what is the goal? This strategy is a major shift from “show me the facts” because the facts are overwhelmingly not on the side of the deniers. So, I’m guessing the deniers are thinking that if the deniers can dumb the discussion down enough, they can catch you in a childish ‘gotcha moment’. Ya gotta laugh. ) Improving Public Engagement With Climate Change Five “Best Practice” Insights From Psychological Science Despite being one of the most important societal challenges of the 21st century, public engagement with climate change currently remains low in the United States. Mounting evidence from across the behavioral sciences has found that most people regard climate change as a nonurgent and psychologically distant risk—spatially, temporally, and socially—which has led to deferred public decision making about mitigation and adaptation responses. In this article, we advance five simple but important “best practice” insights from psychological science that can help governments improve public policymaking about climate change. Particularly, instead of a future, distant, global, nonpersonal, and analytical risk that is often framed as an overt loss for society, we argue that policymakers should (a) emphasize climate change as a present, local, and personal risk; (b) facilitate more affective and experiential engagement; (c) leverage relevant social group norms; (d) frame policy solutions in terms of what can be gained from immediate action; and (e) appeal to intrinsically valued long-term environmental goals and outcomes. With practical examples we illustrate how these key psychological principles can be applied to support societal engagement and climate change policymaking. SAGE Journals [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/19/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: If Climate Change is so easy to fix, why don’t we just do it? Ans: You know… U.S. senators vow to block climate aid, scrutinize Paris deal U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday said Congress would not approve the Obama administration's $500 million request for its first payment into a United Nations climate fund, a move they said would undermine the upcoming climate change summit in Paris. "This president is going to go (to Paris) with no money," said Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who chaired a hearing in the Senate environment panel on the international climate negotiations, which begin on Nov. 30. Capito and other Republican members of the committee said they will ensure any deal the U.S. strikes in Paris will face congressional scrutiny, and warned they will block President Barack Obama's 2016 budget request for the first tranche of the $3 billion pledged last year to the U.N. Green Climate Fund. "Without Senate approval (of a climate agreement), there will be no money," added Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, acknowledging that guarantees of climate aid to developing countries is "the linchpin" of the Paris climate conference. Administration officials have said the U.S. contribution to a global climate agreement would not require Senate approval. (November 18, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/19/2015 - Got a small business or not-for-profit organization and want to use energy better and cheaper in a time of Climate Change—for free? Check out NYSERDA’s “Energy Assessments through the Small Commercial Energy Efficiency Program” “Energy assessments can help small businesses and not-for-profit organizations make informed energy decisions and implement energy-efficiency strategies. Assessments help identify economically viable improvements that yield substantial annual energy savings. Eligibility This Energy Audit Program is available to small business and not-for-profit customers that have 10 full time employees or less and an average annual electric demand of less than 100 kW.” New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
11/19/2015 - Time to come together on addressing Climate Change. An Open Letter From a Scientist to Climate Change Skeptics An Open Letter From a Scientist to Cynical Friends, The climate is changing. It will not return to anything we grew up with, ever. If we fail to slow and eventually stop our emissions in the next 30 years it is more likely than not (greater than 50 percent chance) that the progress in our now global civilization will collapse into chaos, conflict and a few nuclei of the powerful fighting over the scraps. With nuclear capability, that fight may be very short. The Planet Experts aren’t doomsday preachers, cherry picking data to support an unreasonable paranoia. We are collectors of evidence that has led to the inescapable conclusion that fundamental planet systems are impacted by human enterprise. (November 18, 2015) Planet Experts [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/18/2015 - Been wondering why the parts per million of CO2 fluctuate each year? The trouble is that now because of Climate Change the downs are up, which is to say we probably won't dip below 400ppm of CO2 again--when CO2 levels were at 280ppm in the mid-1800's. So, even though our CO2 concentrations fluctuate each year, our CO2 (and other greenhouse gases ((GHG)) for that matter) are steadily rising, warming our planet more. When GHG concentrations get to 450ppm, which will be coming soon if we don’t bring them down, it may be game over. This is why the COP21 Paris Climate Summit must not fail. Video: NASA satellites show our ‘breathing’ planet in action "Earth’s plant life isn’t static, but ebbs and flows with the seasons. A new animation from NASA, the US space agency, shows a year in the life of plants on land and in the oceans. Watch the mesmerising colours changing month by month in the video below. On land, the green colour represents plants and forests. In the oceans, it’s tiny floating plants called phytoplankton. "(November 17, 2015) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/18/2015 - New York State gets an “A” rating for taking steps to address the risks of Climate Change. But, on a finite planet, what does that mean if the other states and countries get a very low rating? With Climate Change we have to bring every community up to snuff on addressing Climate Change. If for example, various cities and states and even countries do everything they can reduce greenhouse gases and prepare for the extremes of Climate Change, what will that mean if the COP21 Paris Climate Summit fails? Our air and water and ecosystems are all connected on this planet, so if we don’t make our way of life on this planet sustainable everyone will suffer. “Extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding and coastal flooding threaten different regions of the U.S. in different ways, but all are increasing. Regardless of what we do to slow the warming that fuels these changes, massive global forces have been set in motion that will perpetuate these trends for many decades.” States at Risk "AMERICA'S PREPAREDNESS REPORT CARD This report card explores the preparedness actions that each of the 50 states are taking in relation to their current and future changes in climate threats. "
11/17/2015 - Take a selfie while holding up our Rochester March for Global Climate Action flyer, then post on the Facebook event here and on your social media. We need thousands in the streets for this downtown Rochester march on November 29th
11/17/2015 - Of course, if fish are affected by pharmaceuticals in the Environment, so are we. Even if you don’t like to fish, you want fish healthy—because they are maintaining critical ecosystem that keep us alive. In the future fish are going to be severely challenged by this issue and Climate Change and many more threats to their existence, so we should be planning and acting to take care of our wildlife. Technical Announcement: Understanding how Pharmaceuticals in the Environment Affect Fish Results Show Impacts to both Juveniles and Adults Fish health may be affected by pharmaceuticals in treated wastewater released into streams and other water bodies, according to a recent laboratory and field study by the Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory at St. Cloud State University and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This research is published in a special edition of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry related to pharmaceuticals in the environment. This study looked for effects from nine individual pharmaceuticals, as well as varying mixtures of these chemicals, on both juvenile and adult fathead minnows. The selected pharmaceuticals and corresponding exposure levels for the laboratory experiments were guided by previous USGS research. ”Exploring the effects of multiple pharmaceuticals in mixtures at concentrations previous measured in the environment provided for immediate relevance of the study,” said St. Cloud State University scientist Heiko Schoenfuss, the lead author of the study. “The pharmaceuticals studied are highly prescribed and have been found in the environment in previous studies, including by our USGS co-authors.” (November 13, 2015) U.S. Geological Survey [more eon Wildlife in our area]
11/17/2015 - Heavy crude oil trains (Bomb Trains) are an immediate risk to our communities. We must not transport volatile crude oil on railcars made for corn syrup and an aging infrastructure in desperate need of repair. Study: Heavy oil trains risky for aging railroad bridges Oil tanker cars travel crumbling rail bridges, including five in New York state Five aging railroad bridges in New York — including a bridge over the Normans Kill in Albany County — are part of a nationwide study of aging bridges at risk from the pounding being given by massive oil trains. A network of volunteer observers examined 250 bridges in 15 states, including New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, finding that about half of bridges showed visible signs of rot and decay. That included "rotted, cracked, or crumbling foundations, and loose or broken beams. Waterkeepers were also present when crude oil trains passed and observed flexing, slumping and vibrations that crumbled concrete," according to a 32-page report issued Tuesday by Waterkeeper Alliance, ForestEthics, and Riverkeeper. (November 10, 2015) Albany Times Union [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]
11/17/2015 - If we can’t march for a successful COP21 Paris climate summit in Paris, we can march in Rochester, in Buffalo …, The upcoming Paris Climate Summit is, in a sense, a peace summit -- perhaps the most important peace summit that has ever been held. So march everywhere. To march in Rochester, NY go here to learn about the Rochester March for Global Climate Action! | Climate Activists Vow to Demonstrate During Paris Talks In the wake of terrorist attacks that rattled Paris, United Nations climate talks will proceed, and groups are pressing for protests to go on as well. Climate change talks will proceed as scheduled in Paris following terrorist attacks that killed 129 people and injured 350 last Friday. The fate of dozens of marches, civil disobedience actions, concerts and art events organized to coincide with the United Nations meeting at the end of this month, however, remain up in the air. Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the French radio station RTL that no foreign leaders had asked to postpone the UN talks, but that all peripheral events, such as rallies, would be canceled out of safety concerns. But after an emergency meeting held Monday evening, leaders of several activist groups vowed to keep pushing French officials to allow the demonstrations, while also encouraging people to join one of the many solidarity events happening across the globe. (November 16, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/16/2015 - Passing the Keystone XL pipeline might not have been the “express lane to climate disaster”, but it would have been a major highway towards dangerous warming. In a time where we’ve already hit 1C greenhouse gas emissions above preindustrial levels, and 1.5 or 2C is looming (the danger zone), adding more dirty fossil fuels to our energy mix is a bad idea. The jobs for the pipeline would have been temporary, but the environment disrupted by the pipeline would be a permanent threat. If you don’t believe in the science behind Climate Change (which is the same science behind gravity) then this fight over the pipeline can seem absurd. But focusing on a fossil fuel pipeline, or increasingly transporting crude oil by rail (very freaking dangerous), is the wrong focus for a sustainable energy infrastructure. The fossil fuel industry as we now know now has spent a lot of money deceiving people about the dangers of their industry on Climate Change—so we have to wonder how much of the arguments for projects like the Keystone pipeline have and still are fueled by the fossil fuel industry. COP21 Paris Climate Treaty is only weeks away and it may be the last chance to work out the framework to keep greenhouse gas emissions to a safe level. Has the fossil fuel industry kept you uninformed on the fate of our future for the prospect of their short gain? Will any science, any religious teachings, any millions of folks marching in the streets (See, Global Climate March) convince those who continually double down on the benefits of fossil fuel ever give up? Most disagree with Keystone rejection A majority of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll—57 percent—disagree with the Obama administration’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline after more than seven years of governmental review and political debate. Fifty-eight percent say the Keystone XL pipeline project is important to U.S. energy security and the American economy. This compares with 23 percent who say it’s not very important and 18 percent who say it’s not at all important. In a March 2014 Snap Poll, support for the pipeline project was significantly higher—78 percent of nearly 800 respondents wanted it approved. At that time, 59 percent said the pipeline project was very important to U.S. energy security and the American economy, compared with 37 percent now. (November 13, 2015) Rochester Business Journal [more on Energy in our area]
11/16/2015 - Imagine if every community stood up against the fossil fuel industry as Portland, Oregon has and addressed Climate Change. Stopping fossil fuels, which are warming our planet, and finding renewable energy jobs and tackling Climate Change head-on make Portland a model of how all communities should act. In order to address Climate Change all of our communities around the world are going to have to tackle Climate Change and quickly—or the efforts of one community won’t matter. Earth is finite and growing more so each day we don’t address Climate Change. Portland Bans New Oil, Coal, and Gas Projects The Pacific Northwest city is the first in the U.S. to reject new transportation and storage infrastructure for all fossil fuel exports. Clean energy advocates in the United States have added another win to their recent string of victories on Thursday, as Portland, Oregon became the first city in the U.S. to ban all new oil, coal, or natural gas export infrastructure. “We need to take more action to address climate disruption,” city Commissioner Amanda Fritz said about the decision. “We need to push for phasing out fossil fuels sooner rather than later. All responsible politicians and decision makers need to be taking similar steps.” ADVERTISEMENT It’s not the first time this year that Portland has been in the climate change limelight. Back in July, the world watched as activists succeeded in descending from one of the city’s many bridges to block—briefly—an icebreaker ship from leaving a local repair dock to join Shell Oil’s drilling fleet in the Arctic Ocean. (November 13, 2015) Take Part [more on Energy in our area]
11/16/2015 - And you can learn how to divest from fossil fuels locally here: Wednesday, December 2, 7PM- 9PM, The Harley School 1981 Clover Street Rochester, NY 14618 YOUR FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT YOUR MOST POWERFUL WEAPON AGAINST CARBON, MADE EASY Come to the Harley School on Wednesday December 2, at 7PM and join us in learning from Bob Bechtold, President of HARBEC who traveled this path | Joseph A Cappello, CMFC, CTFAWealth Manager/LPL registered Representative ESL Investment Services [This program is part of the Rochester People's Climate Coalitions and 350.org "12 Days of Climate" local effort to highlight the critical COP21 Paris Climate Summit and get our leaders to act. Thomas Piketty calls for investors to divest from fossil fuels ahead of climate talks Economist says Paris summit offers a decisive moment in history for investors to move out of the dirty fuels that put the ‘public’s wellbeing at risk’ Thomas Piketty has called for investors to move their money out of fossil fuels ahead of landmark UN climate change talks. The French economist, along with ‘ecological economist’ Tim Jackson, authors of the respective bestselling books Capital in the Twenty-First Century and Prosperity Without Growth: economics for a finite planet, said that investors should divest from a sector with a business model “at odds with physical realities”. (November 14, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/16/2015 - Remember: ‘Intolerable’ changes coming due to Climate Change don’t simply mean ‘unpleasant’. The Struggle of Our Time: Human Nature vs. Mother Nature Climate change is ever more destructive. Why aren’t we heeding nature’s warnings? Lately, it seems, Mother Nature has been trying to get our attention. Its signals are increasingly loud, strident, and hard to miss. Some have been lethal. The year 2015 is poised to become the hottest on record. In October, Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded by meteorologists, produced winds that reached 200 miles per hour. Average temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing twice as fast as temperatures on the rest of the planet. This, in turn, contributes to the thawing of the ice-covered polar surface—ice cover that is shrinking by 9 percent every 10 years. Scientists expect polar thawing to raise sea levels to a point that will force the population of many highly urbanized coastal areas to move to higher ground. More relevant for Americans is the fact that the Totten Glacier in East Antarctica is melting as warm ocean water erodes it from underneath. Owing to the laws of gravity, this could elevate sea levels by at least 11 feet in the Northern Hemisphere; in the United States, sea levels could rise by 25 percent more than the global average. A recent study indicated that by the end of the century, some urban centers in the Persian Gulf will occasionally be afflicted with temperature and humidity levels “that are intolerable to humans”—a threat Southeast Asia also faces. In these studies, “intolerable” does not mean very unpleasant. It potentially means mortal danger to those who are exposed, even for a few hours, to these conditions. (November 12, 2015) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/16/2015 - ACTION: Just about the last thing Henrietta needs is to chew up a wildlife area for more development. Sign a petition to Save Beckwith Park. "Save Beckwith Park Neighbors working together to save 12.8 acres of wild land in Henrietta, New York Since 1965, this scenic wildlife area has been a treasure for many families in Henrietta, New York. The Catholic Diocese of Rochester is in the process of selling this beautiful land to a developer, who intends to put single-family houses on the property. In a grassroots effort to save the land, neighbors and friends have banded together to stop the development of the land that makes our neighborhood our home. "Consider signing this petition to save undeveloped land in Henrietta, NY. To find out more watch this short TV coverage on Channel 10.
11/16/2015 - Planning for a Climate Change future must include water needs for humanity, present and future, and other life. Historical water patterns, say snow melt, is going to change and a growing humanity with more water needs must be adjusted for because Climate Change is about planning. Global warming drains the water of life New research warns that rising temperatures are reducing the mountain snow on which billions of people in lowland areas depend for their water supply. Up to two billion people who depend on winter snow to deliver their summer water could see shortages by 2060 as upland and mountain snowpacks continue to dwindle. An estimated 300 million people could find, 45 years on, that they simplywon’t have enough water for all their needs, according to new research. Climate change driven by rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide – in turn, fed by human combustion of fossil fuels – may already be affecting global precipitation. Researchers have consistently found that much of the world’s drylands will increase as global average temperatures rise. But warmer temperatures increasingly also mean the water that once fell as snow, to be preserved until the summer, now falls as winter rain, and runs off directly. The snow that does fall is settling at ever higher altitudes and melting ever earlier. (November 13, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/14/2015 - I like to think of reports like the Environmental Advocates of New York’s ‘Environmental Scorecards’ as life support system checks. If your legislators aren’t protecting our life support systems and planning for a healthy environment as our planet warms, you’ve voted for the wrong leader. Anything else you value ain’t going matter if our environment is crashing. Environmental group ranks legislators Environmental Advocates of New York has released its annual scorecard of state Legislators, and this year all of Monroe County's Assembly and Senate members received lower scores than they did last year, except for two Republican Assembly members. The scorecard is based on a handful of environmental bills, identified by EANY as priorities. Among them: the Child Safe Products Act, a bill that would classify natural gas drilling waste as hazardous waste; a statewide microbead ban; a climate change bill; and a measure to clarify the state's definition of renewable fuels. Only one of the bills passed in the Senate and Assembly: a measure allowing local governments to buy streetlights from utilities, which enables the municipalities to replace them with more efficient ones. (November 13, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper
11/14/2015 - Pacific Standard’s yearlong “Catastrophic Consequences of Climate Change,” is a model of how media should change to a warming world. A major contributor to humanity’s doubt on climate science, beside fossil fuel industry’s lies, is the media. The media for too long has spread doubt into the science behind Climate Change and failed to connect the dots with local consequences of warming, which creates in the mind of the public that Climate Change is not happening in their area. This yearlong effort-- “Catastrophic Consequences of Climate Change” by the Pacific Standard is a refreshing change of focus on Climate Change that should be radiating throughout all our media. The Guardian has been leading on changing media content to reflect a new, warmer reality and many media have followed suit. But not enough. At the local level, especially in Rochester, NY, there is a tragic and irresponsible media coverage of the most important news of our era. The local public votes, consumes, works, and tries to address inequalities in our communities without the most important factor factored in their planning--the fact that Climate Change is and will continue to change everything. The public will be unprepared because our media, the public’s information system, has failed them. We have to adapt to Climate Change and we need a media focused on this necessity; the longer we wait for a responsible media the more difficult it will be to manage the consequences of more heat, more flooding, more social unrest, and much more. The Catastrophic Consequences of Climate Change A year-long special report that chronicles the cost of global warming in all hemispheres. Introducing Pacific Standard’s “Catastrophic Consequences of Climate Change,” an aggressive, year-long investigation into the devastating effects we can expect from anthropogenic global warming—and how scholars, activists, diplomats, and legislators can help stave off its most dire consequences. After laying the groundwork with our lively and comprehensive around-the-clock coverage at COP21 in Paris (November 29–December 12, 2015), we’re dedicating a portion of our site and our daily coverage to reportage and essays from journalists, academics, and policymakers as we identify the policies and personalities that will determine, for good or ill, all global efforts to legislate this existential threat. (November 13, 2015) Pacific Standard [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/14/2015 - The take home message from Montreal's raw sewage dump is that all communities should not pollute our waters. Instead of finger pointing, all communities around the Great Lakes and its tributaries (and all water sources for that matter) should look to their own contributions to point source and non-point source of pollution and work together to make sure the Great Lakes, the largest fresh water system in the world, remains clean and a viable ecosystem. Though this Montreal dump is more spectacular, raw sewage is continually leaking out of all our community’s sewage networks because our leaders have not been planning for Climate Change, which is to say properly planning for more heavy rainfall events in the Northeast which overwhelm our combined (stormwater and sewage) systems. Montreal's raw sewage dump makes international headlines Mayor Denis Coderre suggests American reporters 'take a look at some cities in the United States' Media outlets from around the world have turned their attention to Montreal's raw sewage controversy, with news crews descending on the city from south of the border. Mayor Denis Coderre addressed the coverage at a news conference Thursday, suggesting to American reporters it would be "appropriate to take a look at some cities in the United States before talking against Montreal." (November 12, 2015) CBC News [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]
11/13/2015 - As one Toronto resident put it dumping 8 billion litres of raw sewage into Lake Ontario is “Barbaric”. Not to mention unhealthy, detrimental to our Great Lake Ecosystem and systematic of more flooding that comes to our region because of Climate Change. You don’t really understand Climate Change in our Northeast region until you understand that heavy rainfall has increase 71% since 1956—which is to say our sewage systems will continually overflow raw sewage into our waters until we put leaders to office who will plan for Climate Change. This is our present and future if we don’t put the right leaders into office: “With nearly every major rainfall, Toronto’s infrastructure reaches capacity and the city’s wastewater treatment plants are often bypassed as a result.” Toronto sewage and storm water overflows regularly into Lake Ontario While the city of Montreal begins dumping eight billion litres of wastewater into the St. Lawrence River, officials in Toronto are planning to start advising the public about regular overflows into Lake Ontario. With nearly every major rainfall, Toronto’s infrastructure reaches capacity and the city’s wastewater treatment plants are often bypassed as a result. (November 15, 2015) Global News [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]
11/13/2015 - Important Nov. 17th program on Seneca Lake Gas Storage Issue: "Should we allow Texas-based Crestwood to construct a massive LPG and methane gas storage facility near Seneca Lake, in the center of Finger Lakes Wine Country, and source of drinking water for 100,000 people? See the VIDEOS WE ARE SENECA LAKE- A CALL TO ACTION FROM JOSH FOX AND SANDRA STEINGRABER And That's What the Children Say (The Ballad of Seneca Lake) Then get an update on the activities around Crestwood by activist Edgar Brown. Brown is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Canandaigua, a two-time Seneca Lake Defender, and a member of the coordinating council for We Are Seneca Lake. Tuesday Nov 17th 7:00 PM First Unitarian Church 220 S Winton Rd, Rochester, NY 14610 For information, call 585 473 0295 Lear more at WeAreSenecaLake. "
11/13/2015 - You can’t have your cake and eat it too. It’s physics. Can’t have “fossil fuel subsidies four times higher than renewables support” and expect a successful COP21 Paris Climate Summit. March in the #GlobalClimateMarch and get your leaders to get real. G20 fossil fuel subsidies four times higher than renewables support Despite their repeated pledges to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, G20 countries – which produce about three-quarters of global emissions collectively – are still pouring nearly four times more support into coal, oil and gas than renewable energy gets globally, a new report shows. The G20 countries hand out $452 billion per year to fossil fuel companies for production alone, with renewables receiving just $121 billion, says the report, entitled ‘Empty promises: G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production’, from the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International. This continue support stands in stark contrast to their pledge, and come despite clear analysis warning that three quarters of current fossil fuel reserves have to be left in the ground if the world is to limit the worst impacts of climate change. It also stands in stark contrast to the economic analysis that point towards declining returns in coal and new hard-to-reach oil and gas reserves (November 12, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/13/2015 - This is your future calling: Consider listening, calling in, and telling your friends and family about the Monday, November 23rd at NOON Connections (1370 AM) program on “Rochester March for Global Climate Action”. Rochester is hosting a major march in downtown Rochester on November 29th to galvanize our leaders to make the COP21 Paris Climate Treaty a legally binding treaty—and meet its other crucial goals. Our march in Rochester will begin the day before the Paris Treaty and it will be a part of a worldwide march to make our voices heard. Connections, with Evan Dawson, will have several local leaders talk about the importance of the Paris treaty and why Rochester needs to chime in. Please help us make this march a success—thousands in the streets—by calling in 1-844-295-TALK (8255), email, Facebook or Twitter. And contacting everyone in your social networks about this historical moment in our existence. Learn more here about the march locally here: RochesterPeoplesClimateCoalition.org
11/13/2015 No more half-assed climate talks. One of the main reasons for Global Climate March is to convince our leaders that COP21 Paris must be a binding legal treaty. In Rochester, find out about our “Rochester March for Global Climate Action” here. Paris climate talks not just hot air, France tells U.S. Any global climate change agreement reached in Paris next month will be legally binding and have a concrete impact, France's president and foreign minister said on Thursday, reacting to U.S. comments that questioned the status of the accord. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was quoted as telling Wednesday's Financial Times that December's agreement was "definitively not going to be a treaty". Kerry's remarks drew a stern response from French President Francois Hollande, who was attending a European Union-African summit on migrants in Malta. (November 12, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/12/2015 - The problem with Paris is the poor: The poor peoples of the poor nations know what’s at stake at Paris. Report shows the disproportionate effects of climate change on the global poor It’s not news that climate change disproportionately affects the poor — but a new report from the World Bank gives us a better idea of just how stacked the deck really is. The report is one of the first to connect climate and poverty at the level of the household. According to the Bank, a warming world will send an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty (living on $1.90 per day, according to the new standard) by 2030 — and nearly half of those people will live in India. It’s easy to imagine how climate change can exacerbate poverty — warmer temperatures can stimulate disease and less predictable weather patterns can harm crop yields, which in turn affect food security and income. The report predicts, for example, that food prices in Sub-Saharan Africa will jump by 12 percent by 2030 due to falling farm yields. (November 10, 2015) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/12/2015 - Humanity has to change in less than a month. A treaty like Paris has never been accomplished before, nor have things even gotten to this state where it has to. One of the reasons why the League of Nations never got off the ground (I know, there were a lot of reasons) was because the world leaders after WWI could not imagine the world coming together to discuss differences so that there wouldn’t be another world war. If humanity fails to have the imagination for a successful treaty at Paris, we may not have another chance like we did with the Untied Nation idea—which by the way cost us a million souls in WWII for the delay. UN climate talks and the Paris deal: A bluffer’s guide It’s a treaty like no other, that will transform the world economy – if 195 nations can agree at COP21, that is Representatives of nearly 200 governments will descend on Paris for the first two weeks of December, aiming to thrash out a deal to tackle climate change. They’re aiming high. A treaty at this scale has never been accomplished before, and the one under construction will affect the way the entire global economy operates. Modern society has been built on fossil fuels, but according to climate scientists that can’t last forever. The task of the UN’s 21st Conference of the Parties, known as COP21, will be to tread on virgin territory and get all countries to commit to slashing greenhouse gas emissions. (November 11, 2015) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/12/2015 - As Earth breathes in and out each year, concentrations of CO2 go up and down. With Climate Change the downs are now up. We are living on a warmer planet that we thrived on in the Holocene. If we want to continue to thrive we need to get back our comfort zone, or historical breathing pattern. As CO2 Passes 400 PPM, What Goes Up Might Not Come Down Reaching the symbolic 400 ppm threshold underscores governments' inaction and worsening global warming impacts. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere once again exceeded 400 parts per million Monday, but this time they may never fall back down, according to scientists. While not a tipping point that signals climate catastrophe, the 400 ppm mark is an important symbolic threshold in the fight against climate change. It represents a 43 percent jump in greenhouse gases since pre-industrial times and underscores governments' inaction and worsening global warming impacts. (November 11, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/12/2015 - The tendency for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer will have to stop for Paris to start. The rich nations have still yet to recognize that they cannot have a sustainable world if they don’t compensate the poor nations for the rich gutting the developing nations’ future. In order for the poor nations just to survive in a warmer world, they will have to eat themselves out of house and home to survive—which is to say they will have to destroy and consume what’s left of their natural resources, which is to say all of our natural resources, because we are a finite planet with limited resources and a world ecosystem that has already been severely compromised. The rich nations must ensure that the poor nations thrive—or no nations will thrive. Paris Pact May Hinge on ‘Loss and Damage’ Dispute If rich countries don’t agree to help poorer ones recover after storms amplified by global warming tear villages apart, or help communities prosper even as their homes sink into rising seas, climate negotiations in Paris risk being scuttled. A long list of disagreements is bedeviling diplomats as they prepare for a historic two-week session of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, beginning Nov. 30. A hoped-for Paris agreement could be history’s most far-reaching climate pact, with nations pledging to take a variety of steps under it to slow and adapt to climate change. Of those disagreements, experts say the two that have the greatest potential to derail negotiations relate to money. Both of the financial disputes divide wealthy countries, which relied on climate-changing fossil fuels to grow their economies, and nations in earlier stages of economic development, and that have little ability to cope with the impacts of climate change that are already underway. (November 11, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/11/2015 - Major report released on the increasing dangers of transporting crude oil by rail. Read “DEADLY CROSSING Neglected Bridges and Exploding Oil Trains” (November 2015) Prepared by Riverkeeper, ForestEthics , Waterkeeper Alliance There has been a dramatic increase in the transporting of volatile crude oil through our local communities (including Rochester) with a railroad system, railcars, emergency responses, insurance issues, and evacuation plans that are not prepared. Learn more about this issue: Dangerous Crude Oil Trains. | Half of surveyed oil train bridges are deteriorating, report says Waterkeeper Alliance surveyed 250 bridges used by trains carrying volatile crude oil; there are more than 100K in the US A survey of 250 oil train bridges across America found that almost half showed signs of considerable deterioration, including missing or crumbling concrete, partially washed-away footings, rotted pilings and badly corroded steel beams, according to a report released Tuesday (PDF). Determining whether the problems found by three environmental groups pose a threat to public safety is almost impossible, however, because the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) rarely inspects the nation’s estimated 100,000 rail bridges, including some built more than 100 years ago. Instead the agency leaves that responsibility to the railroads, which don’t make their inspection records public. (November 10, 2015) Aljazeera America [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]
11/11/2015 - Ok, maybe these five Asian Carp found in Ontario Lake weren’t born here, but that doesn’t mean we celebrate. I would think this should make us double-down on our effort to restrict this very invasive species from getting in our Lake Ontario waters. Asian carp caught in Lake Ontario weren't born locally CTV News has learned that Asian grass carp found in Lake Ontario during the summer were not born in the Great Lakes, suggesting the potentially invasive species is not breeding locally. Becky Cudmore of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lab in Burlington, Ont., said that oxygen levels and other chemical indicators in the ear bones of the fish captured near Toronto showed they are between 11 and 15 years old and were likely born at U.S. fish farms. (November 9, 2015) CTV News Toronto [more on Invasive Species in our area]
11/10/2015 - If we hope to have a prayer of addressing Climate Change in our Rochester region we have to up mass transit. Transportation accounts for 27% of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, so getting more folks on mass transit would help reduce our region’s contributions to Climate Change. Be nice if we had talked about this more (some candidates did) during our last elections. We have been working around the edges of addressing greenhouse gas emissions by quietly working on active transportation (walking and bicycling) and mass transportation and making small gains. Not to fund more mass transportation would be a step backwards. Rochester’s transportation issues play a major role on our region addressing Climate Change and we are not talking about this in any meaningful way with the public. Schumer, RTS: Critical Mass Transit Funding at Risk Senator Charles Schumer says he'll fight to restore funding cuts to mass transit systems like Rochester's, which is included in the House version of the transportation bill. He says the Senate version of the bill protects federal transit funding, while the House version cuts funding for Northeastern states, including New York. Schumer says eliminating the 5340 Program, or High Density States program, would cost New York state $94-million dollars, and the Rochester-Finger Lakes region 2.7-million dollars a year. (November 10, 2015) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]
11/10/2015 - Those who traditionally haven’t held much political power are learning how to get their voices heard in our political process. There will come a point when it is impossible for a political candidate to get elected until they prove their ability to understand and address Climate Change—and all that comes with it. That point is getting closer and closer. 1,000 Youth Take to the Streets Demanding Climate Justice One year out from the presidential election, nearly a thousand youth from across the country took to the streets of Washington, DC to demand that candidates and elected officials adopt an agenda that delivers racial, immigration and climate justice. College students and young people from across the country assembled early Monday morning in Franklin Square where they held a rally with speakers from immigration rights, social justice and climate movements. The speakers shared personal stories about the impacts of climate change, racial inequality and immigrant injustice in the daily lives of their families and communities. Activists are requesting to meet with every presidential candidate to hear how they plan to deliver a justice agenda for the youth generation. (November 9, 2015) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/10/2015 - Making it easier for students and faculty to bike to our local colleges is educational and good for the environment. Not to mention parking vehicles is way expensive for these institutions of higher learning. So as bicycling to class becomes more accommodating and safe, this put less pressure on providing parking for vehicles—which is a major college expense. According to the EPA, transportation accounts for 27% of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, so our local Rochester area colleges are spot on with bicycling. UR, Nazareth recognized for bike friendly efforts Nazareth College and the University of Rochester were recognized Monday with Bicycle Friendly University awards by the League of American Bicyclists. The schools are on the 2015 list of 49 new and renewed bicycle friendly universities from 31 states, bringing the total to 127 campuses in 42 states, and Washington, D.C, officials said. (November 9, 2015) Rochester Business Journal [more on Transportation in our area]
11/10/2015 - This month’s National Geographic magazine on Climate Change is awesome, ominous, and hopeful. Climate change is here. "Record heat, melting ice, and rising seas show how climate change is affecting us. But there’s new hope we can cool the planet. Here’s how." National Geographic
11/09/2015 - Because New York State is experiencing cooler than normal temperatures this year means Climate Change isn’t true, right? Not really. That would be like saying because there’s spot on a frying pan that isn’t as hot as the rest of the pan that cooler spot will never warm up. Not only is it immoral for the states that created much of the greenhouse gas emissions to feel no sense of urgency to address Climate Change because their region is not warming up at this particular moment, it is delusional. Global Warming is occurring at an uneven rate because of the dynamics of our water and air systems but the distribution of Climate Change consequences is not linear—things, in such a complex and dynamic system as ours, can turn on a dime. BTW: Although we aren’t getting the heat right now, our region has been experiencing a 71% increase in heavy precipitation events (floods, snowfall) since 1958. This is very significant consequence of Climate Change in our region that has vast implications to our infrastructures. 8 Western States Have Warmest Year So Far For eight western U.S. states, this has been the warmest year on record through October, according to new temperature data released Friday, and several of those states are likely to continue that record to year’s end. The Lower 48 as a whole is also trending hot, and could see the year end up among the 10 warmest in more than 120 years of records. “I think that it is more likely than not that we will see a Top 10 warm year for the contiguous United States,” Jake Crouch, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationclimate scientist, said in an email. (November 6, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/09/2015 - If you think you understand Climate Change but don’t feel a sense of urgency, you don’t understand Climate Change. Climate Change is a complicated issue because it involves climate, our climate history, physics, climate modeling, human psychology, politics, economics, emotions, faith, opinions, beliefs, biology, hydrology, and a whole lot more. The sudden shift to a warmer and warmer climate because of manmade greenhouse gas emissions is a phenomenon our species has never witnessed before and so trying to use the past to figure out how this disaster will unfold and how we will respond to it are not so helpful. All the disasters that we’ve heard that will or could happen because of Climate Change—seasons change, floods, droughts, heat waves, social upheaval—are but the highlights of a relentless existential change that we will have to continually adapt to—until we cannot. Whatever reason have for not feeling a sense of urgency about Climate Change is a bad reason. It’s like saying you know you house is slowly burning down and you don’t care. Latest Climate Polls: More Knowledge but Urgency Lags Leading up to international treaty talks, four new polls aim to take the world's temperature on climate change. As the final weeks tick down to international climate treaty talks in Paris, social scientists are releasing a bevy of new data demonstrating the breadth and diversity of support for action on global warming. Four new climate polls were released last week alone. They looked at global warming opinions in 40 countries, the impact of Pope Francis' recent climate campaign and Americans'—and in one case, specifically African-Americans'—views on climate change, the Clean Power Plan and global treaty talks. (November 9, 2015) InsideClimate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/07/2015 - NO! House Speaker Paul Ryan, Obama nixing Keystone XL pipeline is not “sickening.” It’s on course with addressing Climate Change. Take anti-acids and get well. Obama’s decision will produce permanent green jobs over non-local, temporary fossil fuel jobs. Ryan don’t be a patsy for an industry that lies to us about fossil fuel’s effect on Climate Change. Obama nixes Keystone XL pipeline President: Approving Keystone KL pipeline project would have undercut U.S. leadership on climate change Ending a seven-year political saga, President Barack Obama killed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, declaring it would have undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal at the center of his environmental legacy. Obama's decision marked an unambiguous victory for environmental activists who spent years denouncing the pipeline, lobbying the administration and even chaining themselves to tractors to make their point about the threat posed by dirty fossil fuels. It also places the president and fellow Democrats in direct confrontation with Republicans and energy advocates heading into the 2016 presidential election. The president, announcing his decision at the White House, said he agreed with a State Department conclusion that Keystone wouldn't advance U.S. national interests. He lamented that both political parties had "overinflated" Keystone into a proxy battle for climate change but glossed over his own role in allowing the controversy to drag out over several national elections. (November 6, 2015) Daily Messenger [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]
11/07/2015 - Yes, on Climate Change we have been lied to. But not by the climate scientists. Guess who? Exxon Mobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Lies by New York Attorney General The New York attorney general has begun an investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business. According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to Exxon Mobil, demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents. The investigation focuses on whetherstatements the company made to investors about climate risks as recently as this year were consistent with the company’s own long-running scientific research. (November 5, 2015) New York Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
11/7/2015 - Although there is still very little attention on Climate Change in Rochester, the rejection of the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and the NYS Attorney investigating EXXON for possible Climate Change lies are benchmarks marking the end of the Climate Change silence days. When Climate Change continually gets headlines around the world, even our local Rochester media is going to have to wake up from their slumber to a warming world. Citing Climate Change, Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline | President Obama announced on Friday that he had rejected the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ending a seven-year review that had become a symbol of the debate over his climate policies. STORIES FROM OUR ADVERTISERS Mr. Obama’s denial of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, which would have carried 800,000 barrels a day of carbon-heavy petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast, comes as he seeks to build an ambitious legacy on climate change. “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fightclimate change,” Mr. Obama said in remarks from the White House. “And, frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.” (November 6, 2015) New York Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
11/06/2015 - Been wondering why so many folks are uninformed on Climate Change and why so many aren’t concerned about it? Maybe it’s their media sources. The Illusion of Choice: Ninety Percent of American Media Controlled by Six Corporations The conglomerates are: General Electric, News Corp., Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. It is worth repeating again and again that the bulk of America’s mainline media is owned and controlled by a mere 6 corporations. This, of course, means that unless you’re already consciously avoiding these mainline media sources, then most of the news and entertainment that makes it onto your screen and into your mind comes from a small pool of corporate sources, all of which play important roles in delivering propaganda, social programming and perpetual crisis narratives to the public. The conglomerates are: General Electric, News Corp., Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. (August 28, 2015) Global Research
11/06/2015 - Has there been a conspiracy by the oil giants to deceive the public about the effects of Fossil Fuels on Climate Change? More Oil Companies Could Join Exxon Mobil as Focus of Climate Investigations The opening of an investigation of Exxon Mobil by the New York attorney general’s office into the company’s record on climate change may well spur legal inquiries into other oil companies, according to legal and climate experts, although successful prosecutions are far from assured. Many oil companies have funded lobbying efforts and research on climate change, so prosecutors would most likely be able to search through vast amounts of material. The industry has also resisted pressure for years from environmental groups to warn investors of the risks that stricter limits on carbon emissions could have on their businesses, although that appears to be changing. “Exxon Mobil is not alone,” said Stephen Zamora, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center. “This is not likely to be an isolated matter.” (November 6, 2015) New York Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
11/06/2015 - From the Sierra Club on the TPP: "TPP Text Analysis: The TPP Would Increase Risks to Our Air, Water, and Climate Based on our initial analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) text, the Sierra Club confirms that the TPP would not only fail to protect our environment, but would threaten our air, water, and climate. "
11/05/2015 - I mostly agree with Dr. Frank, respect his expertise on the science of Climate Change, and I love his ability to engage the public with a positive dialogue on Climate Change. But I fundamentally disagree with his position that we must keep traditional issues of pollution, population, loss of biodiversity, etc. separate from the discussion of Climate Change so we can talk to the conservatives. We didn’t know fossil fuels were warming the planet back in the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (s) but we did know that humanity was incurring incredible environmental damage on the planet. But since the time of Henry David Thoreau, George Perkins Marsh (“Man and Nature”), John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and through many agricultural and environmental collapses, we’ve long known that our way of life has wreaked havoc on the planet. We might not have known that we were ‘badass’ enough to alter the fundamental workings of our planet, but we have habitually acted in such a way that the burden of proof for environmental damage has been placed on the victims—not on the parties profiting from the damage. The result of humanity’s lousy attitude towards our life support system (as a magical source of resources and as our toilet) is that Climate Change is many times more dire than it would have been had we entered into this warming with a more robust and resilient environment. But we have to go into Climate Change with the environment we have (and to steal one more phrase from Donald Rumsfeld) there are now a lot of knowns and unknown unknowns we must learn about and adapt to for a sustainable environment—yes, sustainable to us. If the public feels guilty, fearful, and apprehensive about addressing Climate Change, there’s nothing for it. Just saying Climate Change is not our fault; we did it and we can undo it, won’t assuage the plight of billions of folks who did not cause this crisis, but will reap its consequences. Our hope is that Climate Change will “transform us into the next thing that humanity's going to become, which is a true planetary species.” But hope must be based on a realistic appraisal of the moral and biological complexities of this problem—not reshaping the argument so we can appease those who continue to stand in our way. Adam Frank and the project of civilization Climate change is fundamentally a matter of science. Decades of sophisticated research confirm that climate change is happening, that carbon emissions from human activity are the cause, and that cuts to global carbon emissions are necessary to limit future climate-related disruptions and disasters. But the science is often disconnected from public opinion. Facts are distorted or cherry-picked, and people on both sides of the discussion feel like they're under personal attack. The unproductive national conversation on climate change starts with how the issue is discussed by average people, the media, and governments. Adam Frank, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester and co-founder of NPR's 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog, discusses the dynamic in some of his recent posts. "Our inability to even get past 'yes, it's happening' stems from the stories we've been telling about how climate change happened as well as what [it] means about us and for us in terms of the human future," Frank wrote in a post titled Climate Change is not Our Fault. (November 4, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/05/2015 - On the other hand, because climate deniers have seriously lied about and inserted false doubt in the basic science of Climate Change, humanity’s challenges are much greater for a sustainable future. It is in our better nature to forgive and forget those who have set back our collective ability to address the worldwide crisis of Climate Change, but you have to be around to forgive and forget. 50 Years After Warning, No Debate in Paris on the Science Diplomats steeling themselves for a historic round of United Nations climate negotiations remain divided by a handful of stubborn disputes. Discord persists over financial and procedural issues, for example, and over how pollution from farming and deforestation should be addressed alongside energy generation. The fundamentals of climate science, however, are not among the issues being debated. The 50-year anniversary of the first detailed climate change warning issued to a U.S. president is Thursday, less than a month before a historic two-week climate negotiating session begins in Paris. The golden anniversary is coinciding with a rich embrace of climate science in global negotiations. (November 4, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/05/2015 - Even if you are not starving because Climate Change threatens food security, you will feel the pangs of other’s suffering. Maybe not in the form of guilt, but certainly in the form of higher food prices, society disruption, wars, and climate refugees. Our ability of produce food will be severely disrupted by Climate Change unless we plan now to avoid disasters. Climate change poses ‘major threat’ to food security, warns UN expert Climate change poses severe and distinct threats to food security, and could subject an additional 600 million people to malnutrition by 2080, a United Nations human rights expert warned today. “Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather, rising temperatures and sea levels, as well as floods and droughts have a significant impact on the right to food,” said Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, in a news release. “All these climate incidents will negatively impact on crops, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and on people’s livelihoods,” she added, warning that responding to the food demand through large-scale production oriented agricultural models is not the right solution. (November 3, 2015) UN News Centre [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]
11/04/2015 - ACTION: Make public comment on how our region adapts to Climate Change in these Future Lake Ontario Weather Extremes Workshops: Future Lake Ontario Weather Extremes Workshops November 10, 12; Public Input Sought New York Sea Grant is inviting public stakeholders in the Lake Ontario region of New York State to share their best thinking on what actions are needed through lake and watershed planning to prepare for possible future extreme climate conditions and population changes in the region at workshops on November 10, 6:30 p.m., in Watertown and November 12, 6:30 p.m., in Rochester. Specific areas for discussion at the workshops include potential actions related to water resource management, infrastructure, land use and zoning, governance, economic development related to agriculture, recreation and tourism, and ecosystem management. The workshops will consider potential recommendations to address both exceedingly wet and dry futures in the Lake Ontario region through stormwater management, riparian buffers, wetlands restoration, stream hydrology, job training, and energy considerations. (October 23, 2015) Oswego County Today
11/04/2014 - Rochester academic leads world academics to highlight the importance of addressing Climate Change. “This is the moral issue of our time and the greatest challenge humanity has yet faced,” Torcello said.” Our scientists say Climate Change is a serious threat and we must address it. Our moral and ethical leaders say Climate Change is a moral issue and must be addressed. The COP21 Paris Climate Summit needs more oomph to make it a real solution to this crisis. What are we waiting for? A major march (Global Climate March) in support of the Paris summit is going to occur downtown Rochester on Sunday, November 29th. The details are still being worked out. Stay tuned. Get engaged with the most important issue of our time. Academics to world leaders: stop global warming RIT professor helps get 1,500 academic endorsements on eve of UN Climate Conference More than 1,500 academics from around the world have signed an open letter asking world leaders and delegates to the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference in Paris to take vigorous action now in order to avoid a future of catastrophic global warming. The letter was initiated by Lawrence Torcello, an assistant professor of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, in conjunction with Australian philosopher Keith Horton, and other colleagues in Australia. “I am passionate about the topic. This is the moral issue of our time and the greatest challenge humanity has yet faced,” Torcello said. Signatories include climate scientist Michael E. Mann, environmentalist Bill McKibben, and philosophers Noam Chomsky and Peter Singer. (November 3, 2015) RIT University News [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/04/2015 - To get a sense of the danger these Bakken Oil Trains present to our community, check out: this short video [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8Q7d8c24T0 ] You don’t need to understand French to understand this short video taken during the “Catastrophe à Lac-Mégantic.” The facts of the disaster are quickly summed up in Wikipedia: “The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster occurred in the town of Lac-Mégantic, located in the Eastern Townships of the Canadian province of Quebec, at approximately 01:15 EDT, on July 6, 2013, when an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken formation crude oil rolled down a 1.2% grade hill from Nantes and derailed downtown, resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cars. Forty-two people were confirmed dead, with five more missing and presumed dead. More than 30 buildings in the town's centre, roughly half of the downtown area, were destroyed and all but three of the thirty-nine remaining downtown buildings are to be demolished due to petroleum contamination of the townsite. Initial newspaper reports described a 1-kilometre (0.62 mi) blast radius.” Lac-Mégantic rail disaster To stop these Bomb Trains, go here: | Environmentalist Moms Protest Bakken Oil Trains An environmental group is calling for an end to Bakken oil trains in Fairport. Mothers Out Front originated in Massachusetts, but they've gained momentum in the Rochester area, specifically because the region is a pass-through for these trains. Keri Kaminsky is a leader of the group. She says moms play a special role in environmental reform. "They're doing something just sheerly out of concern for their children, for everybody, for the future." (November 3, 2015) WXXI News [more on Energy in our area]
11/04/2015 - Our oceans have been sucking up a lot of our Global Warming via our greenhouse gas emissions and this presents a grave threat to one of the world’s great ecosystems. When you hear ‘great ecosystems’ you should think major organs (heart, lungs, kidneys) necessary for our survival. It is useful to dig down and discover the intricate changes that will occur in our oceans because of acidification, but because an ecosystem as vast and complicated as our oceans is largely undiscovered, there probably a vast amount of consequences we won’t know about this sudden acidification until we do—until it’s too late. Many who dismiss the threat of Climate Change haven’t a clue as to the repercussions of such a fast warming on the systems that keep us alive and thriving. Abrupt changes in food chains predicted as Southern Ocean acidifies fast: study The Southern Ocean is acidifying at such a rate because of rising carbon dioxide emissions that large regions may be inhospitable for key organisms in the food chain to survive as soon as 2030, new US research has found. Tiny pteropods, snail-like creatures that play an important role in the food web, will lose their ability to form shells as oceans absorb more of the CO2 from the atmosphere, a process already observed over short periods in areas close to the Antarctic coast. Ocean acidification is often dubbed the "evil twin" of climate change. As CO2 levels rise, more of it is absorbed by seawater, resulting in a lower pH level and reduced carbonate ion concentration. Marine organisms with skeletons and shells then struggle to develop and maintain their structures. (November 3, 2015) Sidney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]
11/03/2015 - On using water power to power us out of Climate Change, there are other issues around using hydropower as a renewable energy. Besides “the lack of information about the methane emissions from hydropower” dams have a profound effect on ecosystems. Check out: “Why we remove Dams” from American Rivers. Hydropower Will Undermine COP21 as ‘False Solution’ to Climate Change Over the past 15 years, the “methane problem” with hydropower has made minor blips in international news and has just begun to infiltrate the discussion of how it is wrong to use hydropower as a solution to fight climate change. The non-profit environmental group International Rivers has spearheaded much of the education and advocacy, and scientific journals as well as climate-related news sites likeClimate Central are also taking up the case. Hydropower has been called a “methane factory” and “methane bomb” that is just beginning to rear its ugly head as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that have so-far been unaccounted for in climate change discussions and analyses. (November 2, 2015) EcoWatch [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
11/03/2015 - ACTION: Take action: Ask President Obama to stop the KXL pipeline and don't cook the planet. Don't Let TransCanada Play For Time: "Breaking news: TransCanada has asked the US Government to suspend its application for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This is a desperate play by a company that knows it's on thin ice. By calling for a suspension, TransCanada is hoping to avoid the pre-election rejection by President Obama that many are predicting. They are playing for time, hoping that by leaving the project in limbo they can avoid losing outright -- and that maybe a year from now all those pesky activists will have gone away. Keystone XL fails the climate test that the President laid out. It's horrible for the climate, devastating for the land and people of Northern Alberta, terrible for the ranchers and farmers of the Midwest, and a lose-lose for the American people. President Obama: It's past time to get this done. Reject this request for a suspension, and reject the pipeline once and for all. "
11/03/2015 - For those of us who have bused to Washington to stop this crazy pipeline, this demonstrates that we can help turn the direction from bad energy towards good energy options for our future. BREAKING: TransCanada Asks State Department To Suspend Review Process For Keystone XL Pipeline Canadian oil company TransCanada has asked the State Department to suspend the review process for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The company announced Monday that it had sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, asking him to pause the permit application review process for the tar sands pipeline. “We are asking State to pause its review of Keystone XL based on the fact that we have applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval of its preferred route in the state,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “I note that when the status of the Nebraska pipeline route was challenged last year, the State Department found it appropriate to suspend its review until that dispute was resolved. We feel under the current circumstances a similar suspension would be appropriate.” (November 2, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress
11/02/2015 - The media and most of the public have the luxury of avoiding the issue of Climate Change adaptation—not our officials. Adaptation is where our communities will have to plan and get ready for more extreme weather (like sea level rise for shoreline communities) so they can become more resilient. Our officials, even if we vote in climate deniers, will have to address adaptation. Except the deniers won’t have been planning, leaving us to the consequences of Climate Change. DEC Proposes New Sea-Level Rise Projection Regulations Continues National Leadership in Efforts to Improve Coastal Resiliency To better prepare coastal communities and business owners for extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy three years ago, New York continues its national leadership by proposing new state sea-level rise projections that will help state agencies and project planners develop more resilient structures, Basil Seggos, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Public comments on the proposed regulation will be accepted following publication in the State Register through December 28. "The sea-level rise projections DEC is proposing today reflect the best science available and are critical to Governor Cuomo's vision of a more resilient New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated whole communities that are still rebuilding," Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "Sea level projections will help state agencies, developers, planners and engineers to reduce risks posed by rising seas and coastal storms over the next several decades." Governor Cuomo signed the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA) in September 2014. CRRA requires applicants for certain permit and funding programs to demonstrate consideration of future physical risks due to sea-level rise, flooding and storm surge. DEC is required by CRRA to adopt state sea-level rise projections. (October 30, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
11/02/2015 - The Pachamama Alliance November 2015 Newsletter "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.” PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER
11/02/2014 - Even the New York Times thinks the story about “Exxon Mobil Accused of Misleading Public on Climate Change Risks” worthy of mention. I wonder how many NYT editors had to argue amongst themselves about the newsworthiness of this story. Is it really news? Is this story likely to make its readers think the NYT believes in the science behind Climate Change? With this story hurt EXXON? Is this story political? Is it anti-business? Is it depressing? Exxon Mobil Accused of Misleading Public on Climate Change Risks More than 40 of the nation’s leading environmental and social justice groups demanded a federal investigation of Exxon Mobil on Friday, accusing the huge oil and gas company of deceiving the American public about the risks of climate change to protect its profits. STORIES FROM OUR ADVERTISERS In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the groups, citing recent news reports, suggested that Exxon Mobil might be guilty of the same kind of fraud that the tobacco companies were found to have perpetrated when they hid the risks of smoking. Those violations ultimately cost the companies tens of billions of dollars in penalties. The call for an investigation echoes demands made in recent days by three Democratic presidential candidates, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and by several Democrats in Congress. (October 30, 2015) New York Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]