Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care.  For all Daily Updates going back to 1998, go to Update Archives.

* Please read this carefully, it's not the usual Yada Yada

Rochester, NY with its new bridgeLocal Media Doing their Job on Our Environment?

Coming up with a policy or an evaluation on the state of one's environment is impossible without data.  This truism is so obvious that it need not be expressed if it were not a fact that so many engage in both without enough information to support either.   

The government at the local, state, and federal levels does not have enough money (for whatever reasons) to pay for all the independent, objective and thorough studies needed to fully understand all an area’s flora and fauna and their interrelations, their ecology.  Neither do universities; neither do environmental organizations--though all cover various pieces of the puzzle that is our complex environment.   

There's one group left who can and should help the public evaluate the state of our environment - the media.  Besides making a profit, the media's job historically and manifestly is to inform the public on all critical matters, which, I submit, includes the state of our environment.  We need a healthy environment to survive and to do so we need a timely and complete picture of it.  We, the public, need information to be able to form evaluations and policies on our environment, so we can anticipate dangers, decide on solutions, and choose responsible leaders. Without a media with trained environmental reporters, a vital ingredient in the equation of a sustainable environment goes missing. Scientists cannot see all that occurs in the environment despite their expertise. 

The government won't notice danger signals, except those they are predisposed to see.  Environmentalists would have little to evaluate the health of our environment and the roles of those responsible.  And the public, without a media fully tuned to the environment, will think everything is going fine until a disaster indicates a tipping point and the aftermath splashes across the headlines.     

This is all to say that in recent years it is becoming increasingly obvious that because of financial and other extraneous considerations, our local media is experiencing a dearth of trained dedicated environmental reporters.  Only these professionals, who have the time and training to gather all the information from all the participants in our environment, can fill this critical role in our society.  Without them, what we get is a disparate snapshot of events going on in our environment that may or may not spell disaster.  A dedicated environmental reporter in each of our print and visual media would have the necessary, continual contacts to provide us with the depth and perspective that environmental stories need.  If our local media were doing their job, we could be anticipating environmental problems, instead of trying to catch up to long-standing realities .

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Daily Updates: Friday, December 09, 2016

These are the daily recordings of what I believe are important indicators of our Rochester-area environment --since 1998. For all Daily Updates, go to Update Archives

* My comments are in Bold text:

  • 12/09/2016  - Rather than viewing this new plan to regulate water levels in Lake Ontario as a win or a loss, it would be more helpful as viewing it as a wise movement towards addressing Climate Change. The Great Lakes (which, of course, includes Lake Ontario) is going to be profoundly affected by Climate Change, eventually losing a lot of water because of evaporation. In the meantime, we should be prioritizing the needs of the public at large (not just shoreline property owners, who could be compensated in some way or another) to address Climate Change by adopting plans like this so that our natural environment—wetlands and shorelines—can help buffer the local consequences of a changing environment. Controversial plan for Lake Ontario approved A bi-national agency has adopted a controversial new plan to regulate water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River: 16 years after it started developing it. And one federal representative is already vowing to fight it.  The International Joint Commission announced this afternoon that it approved Plan 2014, albeit an amended version.  The plan first needed approval from the executive branches of the US and Canadian governments, which it recently received. It lays out criteria for determining how much water passes through Moses-Saunders Dam, which bridges Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York, between the lake and the river. The plan allows for more variation in Lake Ontario water levels, which scientists as well as environmental, conservation, and sportsmen's groups say is crucial to restore degraded shoreline ecosystems and habitat. Coastal wetlands in particular will benefit, since the current plan, which was adopted in 1958, led to artificially high water levels. The high levels exacerbated erosion and encouraged the overgrowth of cattails in wetlands. (December 8, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on the Great Lakes in our area]

  • 12/09/2016 - The Washington Post article on the relationship between Climate Change and diseases is spot on. Our media needs to do much more to spread the message from scientists that Climate Change is going to have a profound effect on public health—especially in the spreading of diseases. Our local public health officials also need to do much more in helping the public to understand how Climate Change and our public health our related. Too much of the public’s view of Climate Change is based on opinion and not on science. Our recent election results prove this point. Science just gave us more proof that destroying the environment can spread diseases to humans In a new study, scientists have demonstrated — yet again — the alarming effects of environmental change on the spread of infectious disease. It’s the latest link in a long chain of research suggesting that deforestation and other land-use changes can be major drivers of everything from malaria to the Zika virus, which the World Health Organization recently noted is a public health threat that’s “here to stay.” Many previous studies have focused on how changes to the environment can create landscapes that are more suitable for disease-carrying organisms, like mosquitoes, or bring them into closer contact with humans. For instance, research suggests that deforestation in Malaysia has brought human communities closer to forest-dwelling macaques — and now, people in these communities are starting to come down with a form of malaria usually found only in monkeys. And another study found that dams in South Africa, which can create standing water for mosquitoes to breed in, have caused a spike in malaria rates. (December 8, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 12/09/2016 - Important event coming up which needs co-sponsors: Inaugurating Hope event - Jan 20 “These times compel us to unleash a powerful, positive grassroots movement of hope right where we live.  On the evening of Inauguration Day, January 20, all of those who want to create positive change in our community and our world are invited to gather from 7 to 9 PM at the First Unitarian Church at 220 Winton Rd. South. It is our plan to explore ways to embody contagious hope wherever we are.  When we inspire, energize, support, and empower each other, we can create the world that needs to emerge, from the ground up.  We hope that you are able to respond positively to this proposal.  Please send back the form below to Sue Staropoli either by mail before December 16.  Make checks out to "Sue Staropoli", with "Inaugurating Hope" on the memo line.  Contact Sue Staropoli suestar1@rochester.rr.com or 585-734-2816 for more information).” Click here for the co-sponsor form.

  • 12/09/2016 - From our friends in Australia, this is an important message about the Paris Agreement: “Pull your weight, the world will be watching.” Yes, the recently ratified Paris Agreement by almost 200 nations doesn’t have the force of law, but it does have tattletale rights. Peer pressure among nations could have a lot of clout in bringing down our planet’s temperature. The Paris Agreement explained You have no doubt been hearing a lot about the Paris Agreement and know that it pertains to climate change, but are too embarrassed at this stage to ask for an simple explanation of what it's all about. That's where we come in. Here's an simple explanation of what it's all about. First, you need to know what came before the Paris Agreement. (December 9, 2016) ABC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/08/2016 - Even meteorologists are now getting pissed about misrepresenting Climate Change. Great freaking video on getting weather science right. Note to Breitbart: Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans Global warming is not expected to end anytime soon, despite what Breitbart.com wrote in an article published last week. Though we would prefer to focus on our usual coverage of weather and climate science, in this case we felt it important to add our two cents — especially because a video clip from weather.com (La Niña in Pacific Affects Weather in New England) was prominently featured at the top of the Breitbart article. Breitbart had the legal right to use this clip as part of a content-sharing agreement with another company, but there should be no assumption that The Weather Company endorses the article associated with it. (December 6, 2016) The Weather Channel [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/08/2016 - Even if you love your car and would never, ever, get out of it to ride a bike instead, others will and that will help you offset your carbon emissions, make your community more attractive and safe to life in, and provide a transportation mode more economically feasible for those who cannot afford a car. Respect bicyclists, respect pedestrians, be predictable, follow the laws (which are the same for bicyclists and car drivers), and make Rochester an even better Bicycle Friendly Community so that the City’s Climate Action Plan is more likely to result in a sustainable future. Oh, and read this great article mindful of all the efforts that have gone into making Rochester more livable via its transportation system:  Rochester builds on bike successes  Imagine taking a relaxed, pleasant bike ride on one of Rochester's moderately busy streets — coexisting peacefully with cars and enjoying the scenery. But then the lane just ends at an intersection or in a spot where the roadway narrows. Suddenly, you're forced into the street. "To the casual observer, you're riding along and you have accommodation, and then it stops, and it's hard to understand why that happens," says Glenn Cerosaletti of Brighton, who bikes roughly 2,000 miles a year, much of it in the City of Rochester. He's also on the board of the Rochester Cycling Alliance advocacy group. Fragmented bike lanes are a problem in the city, especially for inexperienced or casual cyclists. (December 7, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area] 

  • 12/08/2016 - Trump decides to put a very hungry fox in charge of the henhouse and we hens are very nervous. There’s a profound conflict between foxes and hens whose world outlook is fundamentally different. So much so that any chance of living together in harmony is vanishingly small. Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Climate Change Denialist, to Lead E.P.A. President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the Environmental Protection Agency, signaling Mr. Trump’s determination to dismantle President Obama’s efforts to counter climate change — and much of the E.P.A. itself. Mr. Pruitt, a Republican, has been a key architect of the legal battle against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies, actions that fit with the president-elect’s comments during the campaign. Mr. Trump has criticized the established science of human-caused global warming as ahoax, vowed to “cancel” the Paris accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate change, and attacked Mr. Obama’s signature global warming policy, the Clean Power Plan, as a “war on coal.” Mr. Pruitt has been in lock step with those views. (December 7, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/08/2016 - As Climate Change worsens the 'protection gap' widens. Insurance companies will be overwhelmed by payouts from increasing weather-related disasters caused by Climate Change forcing them to keep raising insurance premiums or dropping customers altogether. It’s not hopeless if the world begins adapting quickly to the storm ahead.     "Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, warns in the new report that: “Over time, the adverse effects of climate change could threaten economic resilience and financial stability [and] insurers are currently at the forefront.”" Climate change threatens ability of insurers to manage risk Extreme weather is driving up uninsured losses and insurers must use investments to fund global warming resilience, says study The ability of the global insurance industry to manage society’s risks is being threatened by climate change, according to a new report. The report finds that more frequent extreme weather events are driving up uninsured losses and making some assets uninsurable. The analysis, by a coalition of the world’s biggest insurers, concluded that the “protection gap” – the difference between the costs of natural disasters and the amount insured – has quadrupled to $100bn (£79bn) a year since the 1980s. (December 7, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/07/2016 - Besides a quickly melting Arctic, the Amazon rainforest (another major ecosystem and feature of our planet) is both changing and being changed by Climate Change. Both the Arctic and Amazon rainforests have important feedback effects on our climate and both host invaluable biota within their boundaries. If both these features of our planet fail it will be more than sad; it will be like the two front tires on your car falling away as you are barreling down the highway. Destruction of the Amazon is speeding up — just when the planet can least afford it Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, or INPE, released new data on the ongoing deforestation of the country’s portion of the Amazon rainforest this week, based on satellite measurements. And the news is very bad. From August of 2015 through July of this year, the enormous forest lost nearly 8,000 square kilometers of area to clear cutting, representing a 29 percent increase over a year earlier (when 6,207 square kilometers were lost). That’s an area considerably larger than the state of Delaware. This means that since 2012, when deforestation hit a historic low after many years at high rates, it is now bouncing back again — and doing so at a time when researchers say protecting tropical forests, and allowing them to regrow, is one of the most effective short-term ways of fighting climate change. (December 2, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/07/2016 - I guess some may be comforted by the word “may” in this sentence “… a swiftly warming Arctic may have profound effects on global weather.” I see no comfort in the possibility, actually the probability, that one of the planet’s major ecosystems and features of our climate is soon to be wacked. As innocuous as a ‘wobbling jet stream’ may sound to some, this phenomenon could be the difference between mild winters here or major winters. Or winters we’ve never experienced before. Upsetting a giant, like our planet’s climate, is not likely to be good. An Unusually Warm Arctic Year:  Sign of Future Climate Turmoil? This year will almost certainly go down as the warmest on record in the Arctic, with autumn temperatures soaring 36 degrees F above normal. In a Yale e360 interview, climatologist Jennifer Francis explains why a swiftly warming Arctic may have profound effects on global weather. (December 5, 2016) Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 12/06/2016 - It’s interesting to note that the landscape just before Trump’s ascendency for addressing Climate Change by reducing fossil fuel infrastructures projects is hopeful. What comes after is not ‘anyone’s guess.’ What comes after depends on the stance of ideologies for the fossil fuel industry and the commitment of those behind science and a sustainable future. What is horrible is that battling for our future at this time is like fighting over the steering wheel on the Lusitania. We may wrestle away the steering from those intent on colliding with the iceberg. But, as it is with large ocean-going ships, a change in direction must occur long before avoiding the actual disaster. Time passes. It's Not Just Dakota Access. Many Other Fossil Fuel Projects Delayed or Canceled, Too A combination of market forces and strong public opposition has led to a wave of infrastructure projects being shelved altogether or delayed. Additional canceled projects have been added to the list of shelved fossil fuel infrastructure plans. These include Shell Puget Sound Refinery's expansion and Targa's oil terminal. The Oregon LNG project and pipeline, which had been rejected by local authorities, have also been canceled. The Dakota Access pipeline, which has been in flux, is currently delayed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, pending a review of possible new routes and a more thorough environmental impact review. (December 5, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 12/06/2016 - I suspect that it will be popular to chip away at climate science at every ill-perceived opportunity in the next several years in the media. If the public truly wishes to have a sustainable future and be informed accurately about Climate Change, they are going to have to focus on credible science sources and move away from politics as their facts base. Because of the recent elections we are going to have to revisit every climate denying misstatement scientists already have corrected. And while the truth will win, we will ultimately lose because the seed of doubt about the veracity of science continues to be sown during at time with massive action is needed most. News Report on Global Temperatures Is Wrong, Scientists Say Scientists on Friday debunked a widely circulated news media report suggesting that recent record-high global temperatures were unrelated to climate change. The report, which first appeared in The Mail on Sunday and was summarized in Breitbart News, the right-wing opinion and news site, cited incomplete data and drew incorrect conclusions, the scientists said. Federal and international agencies have said that 2016 will likely be the hottest year on record, eclipsing the record set last year. In its report, The Mail on Sunday cited a recent decline in temperatures over land since the weather phenomenon known as El Niño ended this year, and said that El Niño, and not climate change, was responsible for the record heat. (December 2, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2016 - Despite the rise of renewable energy in New York State the life-threatening tentacles of dangerous fossil-fuel infrastructures still grows. Find out about some of these projects and how to shut them down. Fighting the Flow of Crude: New Opportunities in New York Over the past four years, the Sierra Club, along with our partners, has been fighting the mass transportation of crude oil through New York State via railcars, oil barges, tar-sands delivery infrastructure and pipelines. While the fight has largely centered on the Port of Albany, where North Dakota Bakken crude is transferred from railcars to river barges — the impact of this dangerous oil transport has been felt in almost every major city in upstate NY and along some of the state’s most important waterways. What has made this campaign especially difficult is the primacy that the petroleum industry and railroads have enjoyed over state and local laws, stymying public efforts to protect our communities from derailments, spills and catastrophic explosions — like the explosion and firestorm in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that killed forty-seven people and leveled an entire downtown area. [Sierra Atlantic Newsletter Volume 44, Fall 2016 Sierra Atlantic ]

  • 12/06/2016 - Have recent studies confirmed “…the first detection of a biological impact from climate change on the Great Lakes ecosystem… ’’? Only some more studies will know for sure? If true, this means there’s already a change at the very base of the food web. Climate Change is complicated and its effect will be comprehensive. It’s been predicted by climate studies that the Great Lakes, the largest fresh water system in the world, will be affected but we still know how it will play out. Studies like this one show how critical it is for the public to push for more funding for scientists so they can monitor the effects of Climate Change on our environment. We know Climate Change is happening, we know we are causing this Climate Change, but we don’t know all the implications. This lack of knowledge is not a good thing. Algae growth is first documented biological impact of warmer Lake Superior Scientists have known for years that Lake Superior and other Great Lakes have warmed rapidly in recent decades and now, for the first time, they have documented the first physical impacts of that warming — an explosion of a tiny algae called cyclotella. That’s the finding of a new study published Friday in the journal Limnology and Oceanography. “This is the first detection of a biological impact from climate change on the Great Lakes ecosystem,’’ said Euan Reavie, paleolimnology specialist for UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute, one of nine scientists from six states and provinces who collaborated on the project. (December 5, 2016) Duluth News Tribune [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2016 - Although local officials predict a drop on Rochester’s population, I say otherwise. I see a dramatic increase in our city’s population due to Climate Change refugees. Rochester offers an oasis of sorts for Climate Change because the consequences of warming won’t be so dramatic as they will be in other regions; we have lots of old manufacturing infrastructures, like the Erie Canal, plenty of fresh water (that won’t be Fracked); we have plenty of farming regions to grow more food, and much more to offer a refuges from a world in crisis. If we plan properly and stoke down the inclination towards xenophobia towards others who are different from us, Rochester can be a beacon of hope. Climate Change Will Stir ‘Unimaginable’ Refugee Crisis | Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale,” according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the “new normal”. The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency. Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required. (December 4, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/06/2016 - Media should be clarifying future risks from Climate Change so we can prepare properly. But it is the job of the media to “alleviate some fears of widespread severe flooding in the future”? For one, a single study cannot provide a proper case of what is to be expected from Climate Change—especially one that might lull the public into thinking that Climate Change won’t be so bad. There are so many variables associated with Climate Change, including how people will react to climate disturbance, ecosystem changes, and many more unknown unknowns, that the only rational response to this worldwide crisis is hope for the best but expect the worst. That is, plan as urgently and energetically as possible to a worldwide phenomenon that is fraught will insufficient information in the sense that we are only beginning to understand the implications of what it means to warm an entire planet very quickly.  There will be studies on Climate Change coming to public awareness daily and the job of the media shouldn’t be trying to bake in false hope each time a single study leans towards dismissing the urgency of this crisis. Climate change will drive stronger, smaller storms in US The effects of climate change will likely cause smaller but stronger storms in the United States, according to a new framework for modeling storm behavior developed at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. Though storm intensity is expected to increase over today's levels, the predicted reduction in storm size may alleviate some fears of widespread severe flooding in the future. The new approach, published today in Journal of Climate, uses new statistical methods to identify and track storm features in both observational weather data and new high-resolution climate modeling simulations. When applied to one simulation of the future effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, the framework helped clarify a common discrepancy in model forecasts of precipitation changes. (December 5, 2016) PHYS.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/05/2016 - While it’s important to know how hot individual cities like Rochester get with Climate Change so we can plan and adapt responsibly, let’s not forget that Climate Change is not just about US. Climate Change is a worldwide phenomenon affecting us all. We lose both morally and physically when we allow others to succumb to the heat—for it will eventually be upon us all if we don’t act together. How Much Warmer Was Your City in 2015? Scientists declared that 2015 was Earth’s hottest year on record. In a database of 3,116 cities provided by AccuWeather, about 90 percent of them were warmer than normal. Enter your city in the field below to see how much warmer it was last year. (February 19, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/05/2016 - What can Rochester, NY learn about the US DOT’s Smart City Challenge to move our transportation system into the future? Sure, a city needs a lot of money to move ahead quickly with new transportation technologies and maybe Columbus is showing the way in that direction. We also can do much without a lot of money—building active transportation (walking and bicycling) infrastructure and education, and education, and education—to make our transportation more just, more convenient, more useful to everyone in Rochester—not just those lusting for autonomous vehicles. Smart City Challenge "About The Challenge The USDOT has pledged up to $40 million (funding subject to future appropriations) to one city to help it define what it means to be a “Smart City “and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network."

  • 12/05/2016 - We need feedback in the form of scientific instruments (satellites) and scientists to interpret them so we can see and make informed plans about adapting to Climate Change.  We need good and accurate feedback, not bad, crazy feedback. 5 Fascinating Google Earth Time-Lapse Videos Show 32 Years of Climate Change | Google Earth has added four years of new data along with high-resolution satellite imagery to its time-lapse feature, which is available to anyone who wants to see how the planet has changed since 1984. You'll see glaciers receding, cities growing and lakes shrinking. Satellite data now ranges from 1984 to 2016 and includes more than 5 million satellite images from the past 32 years by five different satellites. Most of the images come from Landsat 8. Launched by NASA in 2013, it orbits 438 miles above the Earth, imaging the entire planet every 16 days. Additional images come from Sentinel-2, launched in 2015 by the European Space Agency to provide environmental monitoring. (December 4, 2016) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2016 - Been feeling bewildered and confused and anxious about Trump’s anti addressing Climate Change win? Check this episode of Warm Regards. Climate anxiety in the Trump era It’s been a long week and a half. We’re still processing everything that’s happening, just like all of you. We might never understand it, but it’s clear the consequences for the climate are immediate and have already begun. This week’s episode will be a little bit different. We’ve recorded three separate interviews with leaders on the environment, and asked them what they’re doing in response to the election results. We’ve also asked them what we can do. (Warm Regards)

  • 12/03/2016 - As the US loses its way on addressing Climate Change, how will the world respond? Germany makes climate change G20 priority Agenda for Hamburg summit submitted by chancellor Angela Merkel to cabinet calls for global push on climate and development goals Securing the world against the challenges posed by climate change will be one of the central pillars of its G20 presidency1, the German government has said. On Wednesday it released its first policy guide to the Hamburg summit, which is scheduled for July 2017. That statement listed global warming among only a few headline issues it wants discussed. “One main concern is to make progress on realising the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change,” reads a line in the G20 agenda, which chancellor Angela Merkel presented to her cabinet. (December 1, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2016 - Our infrastructures are our now our species life’s blood as we have come to depend on these services to keep our communities alive. Just imagine how Climate Change has and will continue to affect just some of our infrastructures--electric grid, bridges, pipelines, railroads, airports, ports and inland waterways—and how not maintaining them and not making them more robust for the consequences of Climate Change—more heat, more flooding, and more drought--will affect our lives and ability to survive. If we have more people (9 billion by 2050 and up to 12 billion by 2100) and they move to urban areas (most of humanity ((66%)) will live in urban areas by 2050), then we must gear up all our infrastructure (of which the ones that I mentioned above are but a sample) to withstand Climate Change. Maintaining and adapting our infrastructures are role of our government and cannot be replaced by the private sector or the free market. I know, this is just the argument that is present political heresy and is even more unlikely to attract people to address Climate Change—until their infrastructures break down. Time passes.  Six maps that show the anatomy of America’s vast infrastructure President-elect Donald Trump's plan to invest about $550 billion in new infrastructure projects across the country was a central theme in his campaign. “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it,” Trump said. Details are still murky, but it appears that the plan will rely on tax credits to spur private investment. The maps you are about to see show the massive scope of America’s infrastructure using data from OpenStreetMap and various government sources. They provide a glimpse into where that half-trillion dollars may be invested. (December 1, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/03/2016 - The health of our soils are critical during Climate Change for growing food and trees and also for holding carbon dioxide as a sink. But it’s appearing that more warming in the atmosphere stimulates soil to release more carbon. Instead of soils holding and sequestering more greenhouse gases they would be adding another positive feedback loop of warming. “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive ...” ourselves that we could put off addressing Climate Change for so long. Scientists have long feared this ‘feedback’ to the climate system. Now they say it’s happening At a time when a huge pulse of uncertainty has been injected into the global project to stop the planet’s warming, scientists have just raised the stakes even further. In a massive new study published Wednesday in the influential journal Nature, no less than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global warming considerably worse over the coming decades. That feedback involves the planet’s soils, which are a massive repository of carbon due to the plants and roots that have grown and died in them, in many cases over vast time periods (plants pull in carbon from the air through photosynthesis and use it to fuel their growth). It has long been feared that as warming increases, the microorganisms living in these soils would respond by very naturally upping their rate of respiration, a process that in turn releases carbon dioxide or methane, leading greenhouse gases. (November 30, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2016 - From all apparent signs it looks like we are entering the climate danger zone very quickly. It’s looking less likely that we’ll be able to adapt to the consequences of Climate Change and it looks less likely that we’ll bring down the temperatures. The danger zone, where we lose the ability to address Climate Change, looms. Time passes. What You Should Know About Trump’s Cabinet & Climate As President-elect Donald Trump continues to round out his cabinet and White House staff, his policies and priorities are coming more into focus. All indications so far point to a bleak future for addressing climate change, or even recognizing it as one of the world’s largest challenges. A number of his cabinet nominees, political appointees and closest advisors are outright climate deniers while others have funded the denial of climate change or are lukewarm on accepting the science. (November 30, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/02/2016 - We can’t have our cake and eat it too. The US can’t lead on Climate Change while funding fossil fuel projects all over the world. Obama's dirty secret: the fossil fuel projects the US littered around the world Through the Export-Import Bank, the Obama administration has spent nearly $34bn on dirty energy plants in countries from India to Australia to South Africa Seemingly little connects a community in India plagued by toxic water, a looming air pollution crisis in South Africa and a new fracking boom that is pockmarking Australia. And yet there is a common thread: American taxpayer money. Through the US Export-Import Bank, Barack Obama’s administration has spent nearly $34bn supporting 70 fossil fuel projects around the world, work by Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project and the Guardian has revealed. (December 1, 2016) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - We shouldn’t have to fix our failing infrastructure as an “olive branch to the incoming Republican president”. We should retrofit our infrastructures so that they are robust and resilient enough to sustain the consequences (more flooding and extreme weather) of Climate Change, not to mention redesigning our infrastructures so that they are more just to those challenged by transportation and other infrastructure issues. Our infrastructures—our roads, bridges, waste, water, telecommunications, and energy—are now critical to our human existence—especially since urban populations are growing. By 2050 most people will be living in urban settings. Living in urban areas needs to be sustainable so as humanity is congregating its footprints on our environment it can do so environmentally responsibly. Schumer eyes infrastructure money under Trump A proposal by President-elect Donald Trump to invest $1 trillion in the nation's infrastructure would be good news for aging New York roads and bridges, Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday. Trump talked during the campaign about a $1 trillion investment, and Schumer said he was hopeful New York would be a prime beneficiary of spending by the home-state president. “I’m looking at ways we can work together in a bipartisan way to improve our country, starting with the failing infrastructure,” Schumer, the new Senate minority leader, said in a conference call with reporters. (November 30, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - Activists fighting fossil fuel infrastructures around the world are not ‘those’ people just fighting ‘their’ issues. They are taking responsibility for our future. The world as it just made the Paris Agreement official has decided that the only way we can have a viable future is to stop digging for more fossil fuels, stop transporting this toxic stuff through sensitive ecosystems, and stop burning it. So arguments by the fossil fuel industry that they have taken great care and with due diligence to make sure that their operations are safe and good—are nonsense.  The public should encourage their media not to characterize fossil fuel development any more as ‘us-vs-them’ reports. Our media should report on developments in our warming world as if our media too were part of this world, not mere objective observers who don’t have a stake in a sustainable future. Canada pipeline opponents ready to take on Kinder Morgan, Ottawa If Canada approves Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the company's four-year campaign for the project will be far from over. Next up is a battle against hardening opposition amongst some communities along its planned route. The C$6.8 billion ($5.04 billion) project is a big step toward opening up Asian markets to supply from Canada's massive oil sands. Kinder Morgan plans to build a pipeline parallel to an existing line and nearly triple capacity on the artery to 890,000 barrels per day. Without the expansion, Canadian oil sands producers may find it too costly to ship crude by rail, missing out on billions of dollars of export revenue. (November 29, 2016) Reuters [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - Every town, city, state, and nation should be taking stock of how Climate Change is affecting their communities and then acting. Our media and our governments have not been as thorough as they should be in connecting the dots with Climate Change, its consequences, and your community. How climate change is shaping Michigan In the United States, the effects of climate change vary by state. In California, for example, climate change is believed to be exacerbating the region’s current drought. But in Michigan, the trend is for the weather to become both warmer and wetter. That’s according to Jeffrey A. Andresen, a professor of geography at Michigan State University, who also serves as a state climatologist. “There are parts of the U.S. that have warmed significantly more than here,” he says. “There are even some parts of the U.S. where it’s a little bit cooler on average than it’s been in the past. But by and large, in most of the country — and most of the world — areas have warmed, especially over the last several decades.” (November 30, 2016) Detroit Metro Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - News, action, events, courses and much more about our environment in a time of warming from our friends over at THE PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER December 2016 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.”

  • 12/01/2016 - The first rule in planning is don’t wait until you see damage before you act. That’s why flight Attendants instruct the passengers on how to operate the safety features of the jet before, not after, a crash. Our leader are supposed to be leading our efforts to plan for a sustainable future, not following the disasters when it’s too late. Study finds coastal officials eschew climate planning until they see damage When is the best time to start planning for an emergency? Is it better to get a head start, or wait until a problem manifests? A recent study finds that local officials in coastal North Carolina are unlikely to plan for the effects of climate change until they perceive a threat to their specific communities. "If public officials are supposed to be planning for the future, waiting until a threat is apparent really limits the amount of lead time that public agencies have to prepare," says Brian Bulla, lead author of a paper on the study. "We found that many public officials need to see damage before they're willing to act," says Bulla, an assistant professor at Appalachian State University who did the study while a Ph.D. student at NC State. (November 30, 2016) PHYS.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 12/01/2016 - The people on the front lines of Climate Change are not in denial and they are standing up for action. At some point soon many if not most will be on the front lines of the consequences of Climate Change but by that time it may be too late. Time passes. David Attenborough on climate change: 'The world will be transformed' – video An extract from Liberatum’s documentary In this Climate, in which a range of cultural and environmental figures including Noam Chomsky, David Attenborough and Mark Ruffalo respond to the threat of climate change and to the deniers. The full-length film is scheduled for release before the World Economic Forum in January 2017 (November 29, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - It’s important to keep abreast of the news unfolding as scientists learn more and more about the unknowns about Climate Change. Besides keeping our eyes on the temperature rises, we need to know how species vital to our ecosystems are able to adapt to so swiftly a warming. Some folks imagine, I guess, that because the world has endured climate changes before that things will just work themselves out, but this Climate Change is occurring much faster than before and it’s our environment now, the one we thrived on—not the dinosaurs’ environment. We cannot just assume that species will just adapt and we need not bother our pretty little heads. We need to know everything about Climate Change because it’ll be the dickens to adapt to it. How Warming Is Threatening The Genetic Diversity of Species Research on stoneflies in Glacier National Park indicates that global warming is reducing the genetic diversity of some species, compromising their ability to evolve as conditions change. These findings have major implications for how biodiversity will be affected by climate change. (November 28, 2016) Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - Sadly, Governor Cuomo vetoed the Geothermal “ …bill that would have provided a tax credit of 25 percent, up to $5,000, for homeowners and business that install geothermal energy systems.” (See article below) Heating homes and businesses, which constitutes a large percentage of our greenhouse gases and energy bills, is important and we shouldn’t give up on a tax credit so vital for the industry to exist. Geothermal says, “1.If you'd like to express your disappointment to the Governor at 518-474-8390, that would be appropriate.  It is important for elected officials to hear about it when they disappoint us. 2. Please save the dates of April 19th and 20th for NY-GEO 2017 - Helping NY meet its greenhouse gas goal - 40% by 2030 - NY-GEO's annual conference in Albany NY.  This industry WILL RISE to cut the use of fossil fuels for heating.  We invite you to stand with us in the process.” Cuomo vetoes more than 70 bills, signs roughly 60 Among the vetoed bills was a provision that would have established tax credits for music and video game production in a similar vein to the state’s film tax credit program. Also vetoed was legislation that would have allowed charities to offer raffle ticket sales online and another bill that would have provided a tax credit of 25 percent, up to $5,000, for homeowners and business that install geothermal energy systems. (November 29, 2016) Albany Times Union [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - If the scientific and economic imperatives don’t convince the US to stay committed to the Paris Agreement, maybe the moral ones will.  It took a long time to get to Paris and it would only take a short while to unravel our best worldwide efforts to address this worldwide crisis. If the US allows our best efforts to address Climate Change (a condition we are largely responsible for) to fail, it would be more than a shame. It would be immoral. Pope Francis has no patience for threats to abandon the Paris climate agreement Looking at you, President-elect Donald Trump. On Monday, Pope Francis urged world leaders to remain steadfast in their commitment to fighting climate change, requesting that they continue to implement international environmental agreements as quickly as possible. During a speech addressing a group of international scientists, including theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, the pope warned against turning away from climate pacts for political reasons — a thinly veiled reference to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has promised to withdraw the United States from the historic U.N. Paris climate agreement. (November 30, 2016) Think Progress/Climate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - The Paris Agreement needs major US involvement for the deal to be effective at the most critical time in our history.   Paris climate deal needs US, warns White House Report by outgoing Obama administration hints at damage Donald Trump could do if he backs out of international efforts The world “will not achieve its climate goals” without an active US administration leading on greenhouse gas cuts, the White House has warned. In a report published on 16 November, US president Barack Obama’s climate team argue the country’s leadership is vital to “galvanize the international community”. “Indeed, the United States has been a key driving force behind the strong recent momentum toward global action on climate change, including rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement,” they write. (November 29, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/30/2016 - Even some communities in the United State see Climate Change as an immediate and direct threat to their existence—not just distant small island nations in the Pacific Ocean. A Wrenching Choice for Alaska Towns in the Path of Climate Change With its proximity to the Arctic, Alaska is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the United States and the state is heading for the warmest year on record. The government has identified at least 31 Alaskan towns and cities at imminent risk of destruction, with Shaktoolik ranking among the top four. Some villages, climate change experts predict, will be uninhabitable by 2050, their residents joining a flow of climate refugees around the globe, in Bolivia, China, Niger and other countries. New York Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/29/2016 - NASA’s work on Climate Change is “politically correct environmental monitoring” in the sense that being alive is a popular idea. It’s not just popular to do environmental monitoring or being alive, it’s well… being alive! Pulling out NASA’s ability to monitor our environment can be scrapped by those politically powerful tenants (for there are still limits how long they can stay in power) who think Climate Change is a hoax but this will not stop Climate Change—just seriously thwart our ability to do so. TRUMP’S PLAN TO DEFUND NASA’S CLIMATE RESEARCH IS ... YIKES CLIMATE CHANGE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT POLITICS Today, The Guardian reported that President-Elect Donald Trump plans to defund NASA’s Earth Science Division to cut down on what a campaign advisor referred to as “politically correct environmental monitoring”. NASA may instead focus on a Cold War-era throwback space race to explore the cosmos, leaving climate research to other agencies. But NASA’s unique position as a space agency means that it has a view of Earth that other agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are rarely afforded. Indeed, NOAA and NASA often partner on climate-monitoring projects like the recently launched GOES-R satellite or the DSCOVR climate observatory, which watches for space weather that can knock out electrical grids (among many other things). (November 23, 2016) Popular Science [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/29/2016 - In the years to come it may be necessary to “making a strong moral appeal to public opinion” (See NYT article below) in order to address Climate Change on a scale and speed that will matter. The window for take this kind of action is quickly closing as warned by our climate scientists. All over, including locally, efforts are already being prepared to make a moral appeal to public opinion in a concerted and effective way. Check this out: The REAL Political Revolution Comes to Rochester - Please distribute widely!  "Are you frustrated by the current state of American politics?  Angry?  Scared?  Feeling powerless?  Well, prepare for a bold alternative to complaining to your friends over drinks or speeding up the QEW towards Toronto.    Soon you'll have an opportunity to channel your emotional energy towards major political reform. On Saturday December 10, 2016, Democracy Spring, an organization embracing the non-violent methods of MLK and Gandhi, will offer a one-day training session for those motivated to join the democracy revolution.  The immediate organizational goal is to achieve enactment of this suite of democracy enhancing legislation. DEMOCRACY SPRING TRAINING, DECEMBER 10, 2016, 9 AM - 6:30 PM, FIRST UNIVERSALIST CHURCH OF ROCHESTER, 150 SOUTH CLINTON AVE., ROCHESTER, NY 14604. | Excited?  Hopeful?  Please register online here.  Now. The training will be free of charge. Those who can are asked to make a small donation to help defray the facility charge and cost of refreshments (lunch will be served). One-Day Training Agenda: 8:00 am Trainer Setup, 9:00 am Registration, 9:25 am Welcome, Facing the Problem, Break, Story-sharing & Resonating, The Theory of Change, 1:00 pm Lunch, Our Strategy, Democracy Spring Principles, Decision Point, Break, Act, Recruit, Train Cycle, Action Planning, Break, Nonviolent Discipline, Building Local Teams, 6:30 pm Closing. Post training we will come together as a group to get to know each other better and begin to build the mutual trust necessary to successfully employ tactics that will likely result in some of us being arrested.  Please do not be discouraged if your current responsibilities do not allow you to be arrested.  There will be roles for everyone who feels the urgency to act.  Register now.” The Art of the Protest Protests can change policies, however — and often have. In other countries and throughout American history, ordinary citizens banding together have triumphed over governments, even when a single party holds sweeping control. Many of those protests used resources that the opposition to President-elect Trump enjoys today. They can learn from how those victories were won. (November 21, 2016) New York Times

  • 11/29/2016 - One of the great problems with making Climate Change political is that addressing this crisis can change with every election. Things get done, things get undone, things get added, and things get taken away, like a house getting remodeled every time it gets sold. Except in this house, our planet and its 3-billion-year-old biology, when you remolded you may very well make the place uninhabitable. If we don’t use climate science as our priority when we change leaders, if will probably be a disaster that the next leader cannot fix. How Much of Obama's Climate Agenda  Can Trump Undo With the Stroke of a Pen? President Obama relied on executive orders to issue climate rules because of an uncooperative Congress, but now those orders are vulnerable. President Barack Obama issued 263 executive orders during his eight years in office, at least 35 of them dealing with climate change, energy or the environment. When President-elect Donald Trump takes office, revoking some of those executive orders could be among his first acts, because it can be done without Congress, by the simple stroke of a pen. "On the first day of my term of office, my administration will immediately pursue" canceling "every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama," Trump said in his 100-day action plan.   Trump has made it clear that among his top priorities is the unfettered development of America's oil, gas and coal. He pledged to revive the coal industry, although its decline is largely due to market forces, to lift restrictions and moratoriums on energy production, and to rescind regulations that stand in the way of this future. This clearly has put rules like the Clean Power Plan and methane regulations on the chopping block, but beyond that his agenda is still unclear. (November 23, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/28/2016 - Has Arctic warming reached a tipping point? If not, should we wait until the effects of the warming at the Arctic are irreversible? And do nothing? If Arctic warming is already irreversible, do we just try to make the best of it (like creating shipping lanes through it and Drill Baby Drill) or do we find out the full implications of what changing a major ecosystem on our planet portends. Time passes. Overheated Arctic sign of climate change 'vicious circle' Freakishly high temperatures in the Arctic driven by heat-packed oceans and northward winds have been reinforced by a "vicious circle" of climate change, scientists said Thursday. Air above the Polar ice cap has been 9-12 degrees Celsius (16.2 to 21.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above average during the last four weeks, according the data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), which tracks hourly changes in Arctic weather. And during several days last week, temperatures above the North Pole were a balmy zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), a full 20C (36F) above the levels typical for mid-November, said Martin Stendel, a DMI climate researcher based in Copenhagen. "This is by far the highest recorded" in the era of satellite data, starting in 1979, he told AFP. (November 24, 2016) PHYS.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/28/2016 - The bigger question is, If we’ve know about Climate Change for 200 years why did we wait so long to address it? Next question, Why are we now trying to un-know and undo everything we’ve learned about this crisis? Katharine Hayhoe: Here's How Long We've Known About Climate Change One of the biggest myths about climate science—a myth that has been deliberately fostered, for decades—is that we just don't know that much, yet. The field is still in its infancy, people argue and a lot more is needed before coming to consensus. After all, aren't scientists always changing their minds? Just a few decades ago, they were predicting an ice age, not global warming! Even for those of us on board with the scientific consensus that climate is changing and humans are responsible, might be hard pressed to pick a year when climate science really began. Surely before 1990, when the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment was published? Maybe in 1988, when Jim Hansen testified to Congress? Or in 1981, when he published his first paper on the greenhouse effect of trace gases? (November 25, 2016) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/28/2016 - Activist shareholders are trying to influence companies to address Climate Change and environmental concerns before attitudes are likely to shift away from corporate environmental responsibility. How do activists shore up environmental safety measures before Trump? Time passes. More company climate votes ahead, as Trump may loosen energy rules Activist shareholders plan a record number of resolutions focused on climate change at U.S. company annual meetings in 2017, even as President-elect Donald Trump looks set to loosen environmental regulations. Based on filings so far, U.S. companies are on track to face roughly 200 resolutions on climate matters at their shareholder meetings next year, according to Rob Berridge, who follows the subject for Ceres, a sustainability advocacy group. (November 25, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/26/2016 - ACTION: Help Riverkeeper Defeat a Proposal for Increased Crude Transport & Storage on the Hudson River | This from Riverkeeper "I'd like to share this powerful 7-minute film produced by acclaimed filmmaker Jon Bowermaster and ask you for help in elevating this campaign to a national audience.   The maritime industry has requested the Coast Guard establish a significant increase in anchorage grounds on the Hudson River to facilitate an expected increase in transport and storage of crude oil on the Hudson River transloaded from oil trains at Albany and possibly other Hudson River facilities.   The Coast Guard has moved forward with considering the proposal with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The comment period on the ANPRM ends on December 6th and we are advocating to (1) stop the proposal from moving forward to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking but if we can't succeed there, (2) require the Coast Guard to conduct a comprehensive environmental impact statement. You can learn more by watching the video or by visiting here.   Assistance from national, regional and local groups sending an e-blast and sharing on social media would give a major boost to our efforts, as this is another major proposal to facilitate the movement of Bakken and tar sands to refineries and for international export. Below I’ve included a sample comment letter your members could submit. "

  • 11/26/2016 - From the vantage of Climate Change, I found this prediction of Rochester’s wintry weather curious. I don’t doubt the accuracy of all the factors that lead up to the conclusion that this winter for us in Rochester will be colder and have more snow than last year but not have as much cold or as much snow as the year before. But I’m fascinated that this long weather segment on the factors that will influence this winter’s weather is entirely missing Climate Change. Our local weathermen are still trying to work in a bubble. (Even though the World Meteorological Organization says this “The global climate 2011-2015: heat records and high impact weather”.) Trying to predict of local weather now seems like a concerted effort to focus on the shifting baseline paradigm, where you only ‘see’ the facts and figures pertaining to your objective (reporting on the weather) and fail to see the bigger picture based on a longer time frame. The shifting baseline paradigm shows up when for centuries your ancestors chopped down trees on your island and continue to do so when there are now almost no trees to chop down. The baseline from which to predict weather has shifted. That is, human-caused Climate Change has put the factors that contribute to our local weather in a different context. El Nino and jet streams and polar vortex and ocean currents and the snow in Eastern Europe that weathermen still use as predictors of weather are now influenced by Climate Change. The rapid melting of the Arctic is having huge affect on our weather and our local meteorologists should be informing the public of this, instead of pretending Climate Change doesn’t exist. The problem with the shifting baseline paradigm is that it works right up to the point that it doesn’t. Climate Change is going to be a major disruptor of our weather and we are not going to be coming around eventually to a historical pattern we recognize. Our local meteorologist have an important impact on how the public views our weather and climate and they ought to get with the program. What to Expect for the 2016-17 Winter Season TWC NEWS VIDEO: Get a full preview of what Mother Nature has in store for the winter season in the Rochester area. Our meteorologists will look back at last winter, show you what the global patterns are and what their local predictions are for the 2016-17 winter. (November 24, 2016) Time Warner Cable News Rochester [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/26/2016 - Important article from the NYT on Climate Change and our US Eastern seacoast properties and insurance. For one, a major real estate market collapse, causing colossal damage to our economy, is likely to occur if we don’t own up to the consequences of sea level rise on our coasts and plan properly before everyone goes broke trying to sustain an unsustainable way of life. I suspect at some point the general public is going to balk at folks rebuilding in flood prone areas because the financial costs—not to mention the environmental and human—will be too great. Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate Homeowners are slowly growing wary of buying property in the areas most at risk, setting up a potential economic time bomb in an industry that is struggling to adapt. Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water’s edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps? Rising sea levels are changing the way people think about waterfront real estate. Though demand remains strong and developers continue to build near the water in many coastal cities, homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. A warming planet has already forced a number of industries — coal, oil, agriculture and utilities among them — to account for potential future costs of a changed climate. The real estate industry, particularly along the vulnerable coastlines, is slowly awakening to the need to factor in the risks of catastrophic damage from climate change, including that wrought by rising seas and storm-driven flooding. (November 24, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/26/2016 - To understand how Nature works without human disturbance we should try and preserve as many pristine places left. This point about the Adirondack Park itself is amazing: "It is globally significant," added Sheehan. "The Adirondack Park essentially protects the largest intact temperate deciduous forest left on Earth." NY Urged to Designate New Wilderness Area A coalition of conservation organizations on Monday called on New York State's Adirondack Park Agency to designate the Boreas Ponds area of the park as motor-free wilderness. Sitting well within the boundaries of the park, the tract of land was acquired by the Park Agency this year.  According to John Sheehan, communications director for the nonprofit Adirondack Council, the Boreas Ponds area is one of the most fragile and pristine parcels of land to enter state ownership in a generation. And designating two-thirds of it a wilderness area would keep it that way. "A road leading to the edge of these ponds would be the beginning of the end for their viability," he said. "Essentially, the ecological integrity of the place would be compromised by that." (November 15, 2016) Public News Service [more on Parks in our area]

  • 11/25/2016 - I don’t think this is the question we should be asking about our forest in a time of Climate Change: “Can science help the American chestnut make a comeback?” I think we should be asking: What kinds of trees should we be focusing on as our climate warms? How would the American chestnut fare in a warmer New York climate even if it could be reestablished? In this study by the US Dept. of Agriculture there are three emission scenarios that try and predict what kind of trees will thrive in a low, medium, or high greenhouse gas emission scenario. Check out the graph on the top of page 18: “Figure 7. —Current and projected suitable habitat for major forest types in New England under low and high emissions scenarios. See Figure 5 for details of the scenarios. Under the low emissions scenario, the conditions will favor maplebirch-beech forests, while under the high emissions scenario suggest that conditions they will favor oak-hickory forests. Adapted from Iverson et al. 2007.” Changing Climate, Changing Forests: The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada Before we try and reestablish historical species with genetic modification (which is another kettle of fish), shouldn’t we try and gage what is the most likely emissions scenario and whether the species we are trying to save could survive them? Can science help the American chestnut make a comeback? Genetically modified food is something that’s discussed a lot. But scientists in Syracuse are trying to take that technology one step further, and create the first genetically modified wild forest tree. And with that, rest hopes that the American chestnut tree could make a comeback with a scientific nudge. Chestnut trees once dominated swaths of the Eastern seaboard. That was more than a century ago, before an Asian fungus decimated a population known for delivering chestnuts to holiday revelers, and wood that doesn’t rot to builders. The fungus is now endemic throughout the Eastern U.S. (November 24, 2016) WXXI News [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/25/2016 - Although this program aired before the last presidential election, it’s really a great encapsulation of how the climate movement must move forward. It is refreshing to listen to experts talk about Climate Change communication with no pulled punches. At this point in time, before Trump actually takes office, we don’t know what will happen, but we do know what has occurred in the climate movement and climate science thus far. This hour program with Bill McKibben is a great opportunity to take stock of where we are on addressing Climate Change. MCKIBBEN AND TAMMINEN: DISRUPTIVE CLIMATE AND POLITICS Climate change seems to have taken a backseat in this year’s presidential campaign. What’s ahead for the climate movement in the next administration? Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org Terry Tamminen, CEO, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation This program was recorded in front of a live audience at the Commonwealth Club of California on October 21, 2016. (October 21, 2016) Climate One

  • 11/25/2016 - One of the problems facing Climate Change adaptation is flood insurance. More extreme weather in the form of flooding is going to require massive dollars for people to put their lives back together again after major flooding. But insurance companies and even our government can run out of funds to pay for damages and rebuilding. Also, floodplains, where insurance companies believe floods will occur and thus flood insurance will be available, are quickly changing. Your property may have moved in or out of a floodplain increasing your changes of a flood and decreasing your chance to get flood insurance. There are many ways people are going to feel the dramatic effects of Climate Change and more frequent (warm air holds more moisture) flooding is one of them. Is your insurance company and our government ready for Climate Change and protecting your interests? Caught Without Flood Insurance In A Changing Climate With the worst storms strengthening due to climate change, towns like Lumberton, North Carolina, face the kind of flooding that hits the unsuspecting. It turns out the federal government wasn’t expecting a flood in the Frenches’ neighborhood, either. But such floods might be the new normal in places unaccustomed to inundation, a watery welcome to an era of rising seas and warmer oceans spurred by climate change. And some observers fear the new Trump administration will halt the small steps that the federal government had taken to protect people living where floods now threaten. (November 22, 2016) BuzzFeed [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/25/2016 - But on the other hand, we shouldn’t have to defend science every time our US agencies need money to monitor our environment. Threats to our US science budgets seem very crazy when you free yourself from politics. We have altered our environment a lot in the past, including warming the planet, and now we want to blind ourselves and cripple our ability to monitor our effects on our life support system, including our ability to address the consequences. A Trump Budget Could Decimate Climate Funding The world is waiting to hear what President-elect Donald Trump has in mind for governing the U.S. Among the biggest questions is what will happen to the budget for climate and energy-related activities. Though they’re a relatively small piece of a federal budget that is in excess of $1 trillion, how the administration deals with climate and energy will go a long ways toward determining the future of the planet. (November 23, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/25/2016 - The Arctic is warming and therefore changing quickly. Within a short time, humanity has altered a major Earth feature and how it works. Scientists don’t know all the implications of a rapidly warming Arctic on this planet, but it’s not likely to be a favorable change in a biological/chemical/physical system that took billions of years to develop. Like the Sorcerer's Apprentice we have mucked with something far beyond our knowledge and our capabilities of putting it right. Global Warming Alters Arctic Food Chain, Scientists Say, With Unforeseeable Results The Arctic Ocean may seem remote and forbidding, but to birds, whales and other animals, it’s a top-notch dining destination. “It’s a great place to get food in the summertime, so animals are flying or swimming thousands of miles to get there,” said Kevin R. Arrigo, a biological oceanographer at Stanford University. But the menu is changing. Confirming earlier research, scientists reported Wednesday that global warming is altering the ecology of the Arctic Ocean on a huge scale. (November 22, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - How more terrible will the clashes get as the fossil fuel industry and protesters fight harder over an infrastructure heedless of justice and a sustainable future? Protester’s Arm Nearly ‘Blown Off’ in Explosion at Dakota Access Pipeline Site Protesters say police threw a concussion grenade at the woman, which police deny A New York woman who was among several hundred people protesting the Dakota Access pipelinein North Dakota early Monday had her left arm nearly “blown off” during an explosion at the protest site, her father said. (November 22, 2016) Time

  • 11/24/2016 - Now that Rochester, NY is finishing up its Climate Action Plan it would have been nice to see our mayor, along with many other mayors, send a letter to president-elect Trump  to “take bold action within our cities to tackle the climate crisis head-on.” Cities can do a lot to help their local communities adapt to Climate Change—more flooding, more droughts, more challenges to our infrastructures, more issues with public health—but without federal guidance and support the effect of cities on mitigating and addressing this worldwide crisis will be limited. 37 #ClimateMayors are urging Trump to be the leader we need at the federal level on Climate Change because we are at a very critical moment where we can avoid the worst consequences. In order to address Climate Change at this late date, we have to have leadership and support at the federal level however much folks thinks it is unlikely to change Trump’s mind. There might be time for our mayor to sign on to this letter: Open Letter to President-elect Donald Trump on Climate Action Dear President-elect Trump, As Mayors, we have taken it upon ourselves to take bold action within our cities to tackle the climate crisis head-on. We write today to ask for your partnership in our work to clean our air, strengthen our economy, and ensure that our children inherit a nation healthier and better prepared for the future than it is today. We lead 37 small and large American cities, comprising nearly 31 million Americans in both blue and red states. We have joined together in the U.S. Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda (MNCAA), or the #ClimateMayors, in addressing the greatest challenge of our time, climate change. Each of our cities is committing to ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, set climate action, regularly report on our progress, share lessons and hold each other accountable. Around the globe, cities are working together through organizations like C40 as well. (November 22, 2016) Climate Mayors [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - Yes, we’ve been hearing about “increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events with dangerous and costly impacts” but not from our meteorologists. Imagine how better informed the public would have been on Climate Change if the ever-present meteorologists talking every day and night on TV and radio had connected weather and climate years ago. Our media and our meteorologists are a crucial part of Climate Change messaging for the public. Without these crucial links in our information systems the US public would have voted in an administration wholly dysfunctional on Climate Change at the most important moment, perhaps the last chance to avoid catastrophic damage due to Climate Change. Whoops! The global climate 2011-2015: heat records and high impact weather Extreme weather increasingly linked to global warming The World Meteorological Organization has published a detailed analysis of the global climate 2011-2015 – the hottest five-year period on record  - and the increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events with dangerous and costly impacts. The record temperatures were accompanied by rising sea levels and declines in Arctic sea-ice extent, continental glaciers and northern hemisphere snow cover. (November 8, 2016) World Meteorological Organization [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - This article captures the importance of Rochester’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) at a critical time. Although the City’s Climate Action Plan has been a long time coming, it’s arriving when the Trump presidency threatens to bully us and the rest of the world with the Denier-In Chief’s anti-sustainable machinations. The Trump threat to pull the United States out of the recently adopted Paris Agreement not only puts everyone’s future at risk, it threatens our country’s credibility and legacy of leadership on world issues. The City’s CAP is no substitute for the Paris Agreement, but it is a demonstration that communities like Rochester appreciate the urgency and importance of addressing Climate Change locally. Further, a local CAP provides a blueprint for adapting to Climate Change, as adapting to the extreme weather, heat, and flooding that will increase in our region is an absolute necessity—regardless of what side of the political isle you are on the science of Climate Change. (I know, this sounds strange because science should not have degenerated into politics.) Also, worked into the City’s CAP and many other community’s climate action plans are the needs of businesses. Businesses need a healthy environment to operate in. Which is to say, predictability: clean water, clean air, and uniform regulations. A template like the City’s CAP also provides the local media with a realistic framework from which to report and put into context the consequences we are already experiencing from this worldwide crisis. Many of those communities already challenged by job shortages, transportation issues, public health concerns, food availability, and security issues will find the CAP a very useful vehicle to leverage their apprehensions about a sustainable future. You can find out more about participating in the CAP here and providing comment to the draft by contacting Anne Spaulding in the City’s Office of Energy and Sustainability at (585) 428-7474, or emailing her anne.spaulding@cityofrochester.gov | Rochester plans local action on climate  This year has been one long string of bad news for the climate. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels passed an undesirable threshold, arctic sea ice melted at record levels, average global temperature records were repeatedly beaten, and a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef's coral died during a massive bleaching event. This is what manmade climate change looks like, and across the world, communities and countries are asking how they can fight it. The City of Rochester's answer is its recently released Climate Action Plan. The document sets a goal of reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and provides a blueprint to get there. Officials are taking comment on the plan right now, and expect it'll go to City Council for a vote within the next few months. (November 23, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - The loss of NASA’s space monitoring of Earth’s ecosystems would be blinding ourselves just when we need it the most. Turning NASA’s ‘eyes’ away from our life support system and towards deep space would be like stopping eating and drinking for a year so you could save up enough money for a trip overseas. Theoretically you could do it, but you’d be too dead to enjoy the trip. Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’ Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding as the president-elect seeks to shift focus away from home in favor of deep space exploration Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said. Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century. (November 23, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/24/2016 - It’s 2016, the planet is warming, do you know what your children are learning about Climate Change in their classrooms? NPR has produced this great article, filled with lots of important links on teaching Climate Change, in a time when the climate deniers are about to take the helm in the US. Are you worried? Are your children’s teachers teaching Climate Change correctly, or at all? Will the changed political climate in the US make your children’s teachers less likely to teach Climate Change accurately? There are reasons why we voted in a climate denier into the highest office at a very critical moment in our history, could part of the answer be a lack of science education in our schools? What Does A Trump Presidency Mean For Climate-Change Education? On Nov. 8, the World Meteorological Organization published a press releasesummarizing the findings from a report on global climate from 2011-2015. The report identified the last five years as the hottest on record, with 2015 marking the first year with global temperatures more than 1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial era. Arctic sea ice declined, sea levels rose and many extreme weather events occurred — events that were "made more likely as a result of human-induced (anthropogenic) climate change." The same day the press release was published, Donald Trump was elected as the next president of the United States. (November 21, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 11/23/2016 - Vegetation has responded to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but it gets complicated. For one, CO2 is only one of the components plants need: NASA says: “Plants also need water, sunlight, and nutrients, especially nitrogen. If a plant doesn’t have one of these things, it won’t grow regardless of how abundant the other necessities are. There is a limit to how much carbon plants can take out of the atmosphere, and that limit varies from region to region. So far, it appears that carbon dioxide fertilization increases plant growth until the plant reaches a limit in the amount of water or nitrogen available.” Effects of Changing the Carbon Cycle (NASA) And too much carbon can be bad from some important (to us) crops: “Sample crops, grasslands, and forests all seemed to lose some ability to absorb nutrients when exposed to rising CO2 levels in large-scale field experiments held in eight countries across four continents.” Climate Change: Plants Choke on too Much Carbon (2015, Nature World News) For those thinking that a rise in CO2 will be a positive thing haven’t considered all the complications of a warming planet. Even a rise in CO2 for plants is not necessarily favorable. Plants’ carbon hunger won’t halt warming The greenhouse effect has prompted plants to consume more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere − but not enough to prevent global warming. The green economy has begun to respond to a greenhouse world, with new research suggesting that the vegetable kingdom has stepped up its appetite for carbon dioxide as emissions continue to grow. The outcome is that although carbon dioxide proportions in the atmosphere have soared in less than two centuries, from 280 parts per million to 400 ppm now everywhere on the planet, the rate of increase has appeared to slow. Unfortunately, the bad news from the researchers is that this increased appetite for carbon is nowhere near enough to halt human-induced climate change. According to a study in Nature Communications, the rate at which CO2increased in the atmosphere between 2002 and 2014 was contained at 1.9ppm per year. And researchers put this down to growing stimulus in the photosynthesis industry. (November 18, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/23/2016 - The US dropping the Paris Agreement is not popular with scientists, environmentalist, or Americans. So why do it? Why would we do something so decidedly against our own self-interest? Trump wants to dump the Paris climate deal, but 71 percent of Americans support it, survey finds Since the election of Donald Trump as president, climate change has rushed to the front of the news because of Trump’s pledges to wipe away major U.S. attempts to address it. Of particular concern to scientists and environmentalists around the world is Trump’s vow to “cancel” U.S. participation in the Paris climate agreement, negotiated by nearly 200 countries late last year and the foundation for a global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, country by country. However, a new survey released by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Monday suggests that if Trump were to withdraw from the agreement, that may not be popular in the United States. The survey of 2,061 Americans, conducted in June, finds that 71 percent support the Paris deal, including 57 percent of Republicans — – a notable finding on a topic that, at least so far, does not seem to have received much polling attention. (November 21, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/22/2016 - Near-record November storm in Rochester, NY proves Climate Change is a hoax. Just kidding. I’m just poking a little fun at our local media’s inability to characterize our crazy winters in the light of Climate Change. Climate Change doesn’t mean, of course, that there would be less and less snow each year until it’s gone altogether. Quite the opposite for a while. The melting of the Arctic (which is dramatic this year) is having a profound effect on our winter, lake-effect snow patterns, not to mention that warmer lake waters reduce lake ice which increases the changes of major lake-effect snowfalls. It would be nice if our local media would start characterizing our extreme weather events in the context that they are now happening—in time of warming where there will be more climate disruption. The public might not vote so crazily if our media connected the dots between our extreme weather and Climate Change. The rest of the world gets Climate Change, while the US is still living in the past. Near-record November storm buries Rochester (November 22, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle {more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/22/2016 - Articles about microbeads vs. microfibers pollution in our Great Lake basin are curious indeed. It’s odd to characterize that microfibers are a ‘new’ threat when they constitute 71% per cent of the microplastics collected in “plastic pollution in 29 tributaries of the Great Lakes”. This high percentage of microplastics hints that microfibers were the culprit all along, not just microbeads. It’s just that the media and our lawmakers find it easier to find and set laws against microbeads than microfibers. This matters because microfibers, which are teeny-weeny plastics, come from a variety of manmade products, including cigarette butts, probably litter in the form of plastic bags, and a lot of other items than fleece in your laundry. I agree that this is the problem “microfibers are not as easily excreted as other plastic fragments. Each fiber that makes its way into the environment is a poison pill that can absorb chemicals and make its way into a fish.” But our media should not be focused on this incredibly sticky problem with a solution as easy as changing our laundry habits. Our media has this tendency to frame environmental issues as ‘new’ and ‘easy’ to solve once you read their article. Not so. Microfibers in our freshwater system has probably been a threat for a long time; it going to be very hard to solve because it’s coming from a large variety of sources, and it’s going to be expensive. Somehow we are going to have to filter our waste water better and filter our drinking water more thoroughly. A relatively few people who are willing to change their laundry habits will not address the microfiber problem at all and a warm and fuzzy article to this effect does not help. Microfibers emerging as new environmental threat as Canada moves toward banning microbeads The Canadian government released proposed regulations on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, to ban the sale of microbeads in toiletries by July, 2018. Natural health products and non-prescription drugs containing microbeads are to be banned a year later in July, 2019. The move comes just five months after microbeads were labelled toxic based on growing evidence that they were contributing to microplastic pollution (fragments less than 5mm in size) in our waterbodies. But now it seems a different type of microplastic is becoming a growing threat. U.S. researchers recently examined plastic pollution in 29 tributaries of the Great Lakes and found that 98 per cent of plastics collected were microplastics. Seventy-one per cent of these were microfibers. (November 13, 2016) The National Post [more on Water Quality and Recycling in our area]

  • 11/22/2016 - However our media and politics might try to disconnect science and the science of Climate Change, science is one. We must respect the role of science as we continue to warm the planet and learn how to turn the temperature down. We cannot accomplish that with magical thinking. In post-election media, colorful thread develops on science—mainly climate science Is Donald Trump “the first anti-science president we have ever had”? Within three days, Nature had posted an editorial and five news stories on Trump-era science. In the coverage generally, fears of climate catastrophe proliferated. Within a week, an Atlantic headline had proclaimed the “prospect of a new Dark Age.” From Time to Mother Jones, from Huffington Post India to Vox, and from the Independent to Truthdig and beyond, headlines trumpeted the word disaster—including twice at the Guardian, once on 11 November and again two days later. Within the science-related trickle that wasn’t about climate, a post-election BBC headline asked, “What does Trump win mean for US science?” The article conjectured that the president-elect might misunderstand the need for pure research. He might also hamper or even hobble immigration necessary for benefiting from first-rate talent. The article reminded readers that Trump once called the National Institutes of Health “terrible.” It also reported that Trump seems enthusiastic about NASA. Concerning that enthusiasm, Space News surmised that Trump’s policy would likely focus on human spaceflight and on technology development and commercialization, with diminished attention to Earth science. (November 18, 2016) Physics Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/22/2016 - Both the Arctic and Antarctic are being dramatically affected by Climate Change, which is to say our planet’s air conditioners are starting to shut down. Global Warming Melts Polar Ice To Record Lows As Temperatures Rise Under Climate Change Effects They are quite literally poles apart but both the North Pole and the South Pole have something unfortunate in common at the moment: They are both seeing the lowest levels of sea ice since modern record-keeping began. News about the Arctic sea ice being at its lowest level ever for this time of the year — it hits its minimum in September and starts to build up again in October as the six-monthlong polar winter sets in — came a few days ago. Temperatures near North Pole are said to be 36 degrees higher than normal for this time of the year, and the sea ice level — which has fallen by about half since records began in 1979 — is lesser than its previous low of 2012. (November 21, 2016) IBTimes.com [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/22/2016 - There are a lot of good reasons why the US should not leave the Paris Agreement, including that doing so would probably make the US a pariah in the world. And if the US doesn’t lead on Climate Change, the world has a less chance of being sustainable. The Problem With Abandoning the Paris Agreement Bill O’Reilly and Barack Obama agree: President-elect Trump shouldn’t walk away from the first international climate treaty. If the Trump administration withdraws the United States from the Paris Agreement, the country would face a massive global diplomatic backlash and permanently cede worldwide leadership on climate and renewable-energy issues to China, experts warn. Withdrawing from the treaty “would be a huge mistake, even forgetting about climate change,” said Todd Stern, the former U.S. special envoy on climate change. He added that it would have “radiating bad impacts with respect to U.S. standing” on all other international issues. (November 18, 2016) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/21/2016 - While it’s true that businesses will respond to a marketplace that encourages renewable energy, businesses still need predictable regulations that are fair and sustainable. Only governments can do this and only our governments can keep our infrastructures from being overwhelmed by extreme weather and the other consequences of Climate Change. Businesses cannot fill in the gap left open by a disengaged government. Hundreds Of US companies urge climate action Hours after world leaders recommitted themselves to the Paris Climate Agreement at the opening of the high-level segment of the United Nations Climate Conference here, Jonathan Pershing emerged from his temporary office at the US pavilion to a gaggle of businessmen and NGO representatives. As lead US negotiator and then as US Special Envoy for Climate Change, he’d been a driving force in the creation of the agreement, and now he faced the prospect of seeing the president-elect pulling his country out of it. But he wasn’t here to discuss the negotiating process. He was here to discuss Business Diplomacy — a new term for a sense that had been percolating here all week: namely, that to fix the climate mess, we must reform the private sector, and that requires private-sector leadership. (November 18, 2016) GreenBiz [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/21/2016 - While we’ll miss the New York Times environmental blog Dot Earth, run by Andrew Revkin, this expanded coverage by the NYT for Climate Change is welcome. And maybe you can be the editor of this new direction: The New York Times is looking for a climate change editor. This from Revkin: “My ProPublica Move: From Blogging and Teaching Back to Deep Digging on Climate”

  • 11/19/2016 - An important event from our friends over at Rochester Pachamama Alliance, the Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Church and the Rochester Peoples Climate Coalition: Save the date to help Inaugurate Hope in Rochester! We can no longer wait for Washington to be our source of hope.  These times compel us to unleash a powerful, positive grassroots movement of hope together right where we live.  On the evening of Inauguration Day, January 20, all of those who want to create positive change in our community and our world are being invited to come together to explore ways to embody contagious hope wherever we work, live, volunteer, and interact.  When we come together to inspire, energize, support, and empower each other, we can create the world that needs to emerge, from the ground up.  Details of time and location will be available soon.  This event is being co-sponsored by the Rochester Pachamama Alliance, the Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Church and the Rochester Peoples Climate Coalition.  We invite other organizations to join us in co-sponsoring and spreading the word about this “Inaugurating Hope” event! (Contact Sue Staropoli suestar1@rochester.rr.com or 585-734-2816 to co-sponsor or for more information).

  • 11/19/2016 - Since Trump won, Climate activists need to rethink strategy. I understand this sentiment ““The climate movement needs to connect with other conversations like the ones on trade, on gender, on economic rights, because we realize that people are disenfranchised for a reason.”” But I’m not so sure that trying to fit the urgency of Climate Change solely into other concerns are the way to go. Though it is important to focus on the “linkages of clean air, drinkable water and healthy ecosystems with an increasingly hotter world”, it is also important to prioritize how the physics of Climate Change will affect not only the present but the future. We can try and must get folks to understand that their concerns are linked to Climate Change but for the sake of our future addressing and mitigating Climate Change must come first—no matter where the public puts Climate Change in their list of concerns. The planet is burning up and if that doesn’t get addressed quickly all people’s other concerns won’t matter. I oftentimes think that climate messaging is thought of as an advertisement for a great product that everyone should buy because it has something for everyone. Climate Change is a clear and present threat to our existence and the public should understand the full implications of this—it’s not like a product they might buy into or a list of issues they might chip into to. Trump won: It’s time for climate NGOs to stop preaching to the choir The latest elections showed climate change is not a priority for the American public. NGOs in Marrakech say it’s time to reconnect with the grassroots For all the organisers’ plans, this year’s climate talks won’t be remembered as the “implementation COP”. Few will recall that it was meant to be “all about Africa”. Instead, Marrakech 2016 will be associated with the name of a man who said that climate change is a Chinese hoax. Donald Trump hijacked the climate world overnight, causing havoc among negotiators, observers and scientists who now fear the rise of mainstream denialism and that aid will soon run dry. (November 11, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2016 - So, if 196 nations and 97% of climate scientists say we should address Climate Change, why wouldn’t we do that? Why would we go against the science and the world about the urgency of addressing Climate Change? 196 countries to Trump: UN must tackle climate change Nations stand as one in Marrakech to reaffirm their commitment to the fight against climate change in the face of populism and division in America The governments of the world have issued a repudiation of the voices of doubt by reaffirming their commitment to defeat climate change. At a UN climate conference in Marrakech, ministers and negotiators from almost 200 countries stood as one to applaud a document  that reaffirmed the world’s commitment to climate progress in the face of the shock election result in the US. “We call for the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority,” said the Marrakech Action Proclamation, read by Morocco’s foreign minister and conference president Salaheddine Mezouar. (November 17, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/18/2016 - That wildlife diseases are proliferating around the globe and that Climate Change is one of the possible contributing factors is alarming. Wildlife are essential for our ecosystems (like the Great Lakes region) and if Climate Change is already affecting our Wildlife we should be planning accordingly. We have known through climate studies that wildlife will be affected by Climate Change with warmer weather and more extreme weather (flooding and heat) but probably another one of the ways that make Climate Change a challenge for wildlife is through more diseases.  Sick wildlife increase in Great Lakes Wildlife disease has been increasing globally for decades. Recently, the Great Lakes region has witnessed its own proliferation: avian botulism, chronic wasting disease, white-nose syndrome and others. Another contributing factor to the rise in avian botulism is low water and a warming climate, Owen said. The keys are for more people to understand climate change and other human impacts on wildlife disease and that they do what they can to limit them, Owen said. (November 16, 2016) Traverse City Record-Eagle [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2016 - Considering that Transportation accounts for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions, planning for our future transportation options is important. Find out about this December 2nd “The Future of Transportation Technology: A Community Symposium”, sign up, and help shape our sustainable future.

  • 11/18/2016 - Something to remember as Climate Change causes more coastal flooding in the US and threatens major cities: The federal government plays a major role in protecting these communities and rescuing them after the floods. Kinda hard to do that if the federal government doesn’t see a causal relationship between the more frequent sea level rise flooding and Climate Change. If the federal government doesn’t plan properly (understand the role of Climate Change) for this potential catastrophic damage, it will quickly go broke trying to keep pace with the expenses. Supermoon Floods Warn of Crisis Facing Trump, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is preparing to lead America during a perilous period for the 130 million residents of its coastal counties. High tides linked to the full moon since the weekend caused minor flooding from Florida to New England, underscoring the need for improved coastal infrastructure at a time of faster rising seas. (November 17, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2016 - It sounds odd to the ear to hear that the US has found three specific ways to “deeply decarbonize" our economy by 2050 to keep our part of the Paris Agreement, but this remains a wishful climate plan. A wishful (or magical) plan would be one that  encourages more fossil fuel infrastructures and drilling for more oil off-shore, will keep greenhouse gas emission down and result in a sustainable future. (“… I have a feeling we not in Kansas anymore” The Wizard of Oz)  White House Releases Wishful Climate Change Plan Before Trump Takes Office At COP 22, U.S. climate envoys lay out a vision to 'deeply decarbonize' the economy by 2050, just as a Trump presidency threatens to reverse climate progress. MARRAKECH, Morocco—The White House released an optimistic but somewhat wishful strategy for long-term climate action on Wednesday, outlining options envisioned by the lame-duck Obama administration to reduce the nation's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Speaking at the global climate talks, Brian Deese, the senior adviser to President Barack Obama, hedged what the mid-century report is—and is not. "It's a long-term vision," said Deese. "It's not a policy prescription. It's not a set of specific recommendations or a blueprint for any future administration." It is also not meant to replace the country's existing climate pledge under the Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels. (November 17, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/17/2016 - So yeah, burning down forests to save them does sound counterintuitive. Deciding to rehabilitate our forest by taking down large old trees and burning up invasive species at a time when our experts are telling us that we must keep our carbon in the ground seems really, really counterintuitive and counterproductive. In a changing climate, we don’t know if our endemic species will even survive the warming. Shouldn’t our priorities towards forests in a time of Climate Change be to keep as many trees and plants in the ground as much as possible? And try to anticipate how our forest ecosystems with fare as our climate changes dramatically instead of trying to preserve endangered species that might not survive Climate Change anyways. Climate Change does not appear in this article nor the report. Interesting. Clearing the path for new forests Foresters throughout the Great Lakes region are destroying mighty oaks and other trees to regrow hardwood forests. That may seem counterproductive, but forestry officials say oaks need special attention to maintain a diverse and healthy forest system. That means cutting down decades-old trees and clearing shrubs to encourage new oaks to grow. The efforts include projects in every Great Lakes state. (November 16, 2016) Great Lakes Echo [more on Plants in our area]

  • 11/17/2016 - Gonna be hard to convince the public of the urgency of addressing Climate Change if the fox runs the henhouse media. Disinformation about Climate Change is rife—from the producers of fossil fuels, though mainstream media, all the way now to government—and there is no accountability. Part of environmentalist’s job now should be providing some kind of effective strategy to counteract this climate of denial and disinformation about the crisis of our age. There are many online resources, like the Union of Concerned Scientists (and even locally like RochesterEnvironment.com), but most of the public don’t even know they exist. This needs to change. Time passes. The Climate Accountability Scorecard: Ranking Major Fossil Fuel Companies on Climate Deception, Disclosure, and Action (2016) An in-depth analysis of eight leading fossil fuel companies finds that none of them has made a clean break from disinformation on climate science and policy.  Union of Concerned Scientists [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/16/2016 - So this is pretty funny, the feds need more information before they build DAPL project. Really? Read #Paris Agreement #NoDAPL #KeepItInTheGround #ClimateChange Army Wants Further Study Of Dakota Access Pipeline Route The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday that it needs more information before it can decide whether to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built along its planned route. In a joint statement by the U.S. Army and Department of the Interior, the Corps announced it had finished a review of the route, and concluded that more study was needed before it could grant the pipeline company the easement it needs to cross under a section of the Missouri River. (November 14, 2016) NPR [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 11/16/2016 - Even if Climate Change didn’t ‘cause’ toxic algae in Russia’s Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world, it probably accelerated and amplified the effects of pollution making toxic algae more likely, which is probably what is happening in our Great Lakes and Finger Lakes. Vast and Pristine, Russia’s Lake Baikal Is Invaded by Toxic Algae Some government officials and academics insist that the problems are caused by climate change, not pollution; others blame mud volcanoes, or even say that Lake Baikal’s eutrophication is a lie made up by scientists to gain funding. Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has yet to formally acknowledge that the lake’s health is in question at all. “One of the tragedies of Baikal is that top-level, senior scientists who are themselves never on a field expedition mistakenly believe that the lake can never be eutrophied because it is too huge, too pure and full of too much water,” Dr. Timoshkin said. “It’s an easy idea to have, but it’s wrong.” (November 14, 2016) New York Times [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/16/2016 - This statement about Climate Change’s effect on so many ecosystems is ominous, indeed. Have we waited too long to act on a scale and time frame that will matter? “The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere, with no ecosystem on Earth being spared. It is no longer sensible to consider climate change as a concern only for the future.” – Climate News Network Warming wreaks havoc with ecosystems As climate change negotiations continue in Marrakech, scientists warn that global warming is affecting four-fifths of ecological processes vital to ecosystems. Climate change has already begun to alter the world’s ecosystems – at sea, in rivers and lakes, and in the forests and meadows on land, according to an international team of scientists. They have identified 94 vital ecological processes that support healthy ecosystems, and have found that more than 80 per cent of them are already affected by global warming. With the UN climate change conference taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, the scientists report in Science journal that although global temperatures have risen on average by just 1°C in a century, the living world has begun to respond. (November 13, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2016 - Some thoughts on environmental action in a world trumped by Trump by Bill McKibben. Donald Trump Is a Disaster for the Earth on Every Single Level Bill McKibben on what environmentalists should do now. We reached out to author and activist Bill McKibben, who co-founded the environmental advocacy group 350.org, to ask about what all this means for the fate of the planet. In short: He's worried that the new administration will make it even harder to deal with the "physics" of climate change—the indisputable scientific fact that no matter what our next president tweets, emissions are quickly adding up. (November 11, 2016) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2016 - One of the things we tend to forget about Climate Change is that it’s not just about US. Millions will suffer if we don’t act. Untold millions in the future. Millions in lands that didn’t cause Climate Change but will reap the consequences first and worst. Time passes. Africa forgotten amid global climate battle between rich countries As negotiations enter the second week, countries from the continent feel neglected despite this year’s big promises African countries are set to leave this year’s UN climate talks empty handed, according to observers from the continent. Adaptation finance is not keeping pace with the needs of countries increasingly exposed to droughts, floods and sea level rise. Work to address loss and damage faced by the world’s poorest still lags behind. “I think that this COP was branded ‘the African summit’ just to make Africans feel good, but nothing is being done to salvage the interests of the continent,” said Nnimmo Bassey, former chair of Friends of The Earth International. (November 14, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2016 - Environmentalists who didn’t vote in US elections, what were they thinking? As we try to figure out how the US elections went so wrong, when so many either didn’t vote or did not vote in their best interests, one of the things we might have missed is that many folks who are concerned about Climate Change and our environment just did not vote? Why? Who were they? What were they thinking? Millions who know about the science behind Climate Change and the importance of keeping our environment healthy means communicating Climate Change with facts and evidence isn’t enough. There’s probably more about this pass election we missed. Why would humanity veer off in the wrong direction at just the most critical moment? How do we talk to ourselves about important stuff? Like addressing Climate Change so we can survive and thrive? Environmentalists Don't Vote. This Man Will Change That With Big Data Although most Americans list environmental issues as a top priority, most voters do not. That is about to change, and it could change everything. When you sit next to "The Voting Guru" Nathaniel Stinnett, you feel an excitement and energy pouring off him that's usually only encountered among Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs who've just closed their first round of funding. In some ways, this makes sense, because like that crowd, Stinnett is on the verge of changing the world. In his case that means changing the make-up of the electorate so that environmental issues become a top political priority. Before anyone panics, be assured that what Stinnett is doing is brilliant, creative, and 100% legal. His non-partisan nonprofit is called the Environmental Voter Project, and it's the first organization of its kind. (November 8, 2016) INC.

  • 11/15/2016 - Will Trump reshape US policy on Climate Change? Don’t worry your pretty little heads, we’re hearing. Just when you want Trump to finally shut up, he goes mum on the most important issue in the world. You gotta laugh. The Agonizing Wait For Trump to Speak on Climate Policy Scientists, analysts, activists and world leaders on Monday were anxiously waiting to learn how President-elect Donald Trump plans to reshape climate policy following a campaign in which he dismissed the global warming crisis — with America’s own climate negotiators being left in the dark. Trump publicly warned of the dangers of climate change before running for president; then he angrily dismissed climate change as a “hoax” on the campaign trail. His presidency threatens to end American leadership on climate at the United Nations at a pivotal moment for the planet. (November 14, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2016 - Major investigative news story about lead poisoning in Geneva, NY by Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. It’s about a lead poisoning warning delayed. “But state and city officials never warned residents and the decision to clean it up was deferred 16 more years, a Democrat and Chronicle investigation has found. Children dug for worms and played in the dirt, and adults planted gardens for more than a generation; oblivious to the small but real risk posed by that tainted soil.” Lead tainting Geneva's soil kept hidden for 30 years Thirty years ago, New York state officials first uncovered evidence that toxic metals from an old foundry in this historic Finger Lakes city had contaminated an adjoining neighborhood. A state environmental health expert concluded then that people were at risk of lead poisoning and neighbors should be warned. "Young children (those prone to placing fingers, other objects or dirt in their mouths) are of particular concern," the expert, Dr. John Hawley, wrote in an internal memorandum in June 1987. (November 14, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 11/14/2016 - Trying to change Trump’s mind on Climate Change will be like trying to teach a pig to talk. You can’t do it and it irritates the pig. Maybe Trump’s dismissal of Climate Change was just campaign rhetoric; if not, we are all in deep trouble. The window through which we can avert the worst consequences of Climate Change is slamming shut. Environmentalists launch 'emergency' campaign to persuade Trump climate change is real amid fears of 'planetary disaster' US President-elect is 'not only mad and bad but he’s also dangerous', UK politician says One of the biggest ever environmental campaigns has been launched by a group of the world's most eminent scientists and environmentalists in an 'emergency' effort to convince the President-elect, Donald Trump, that global warming is real before he becomes US President in January. Mr Trump, who described climate science as a “hoax” perpetrated by China, has already appointed a prominent climate change denier, Myron Ebell, to a key environmental post and promised that he will rip up the landmark Paris Agreement climate deal when he enters the White House. Climate sceptics in Australia crowed that the Paris Agreement was "cactus" – meaning finished – following his election this week. (November 11, 2016) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/14/2016 - The world waits to see if the new Trump presidency will actually try and undo the US’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile we act. U.S. to push ahead on climate pact before Trump takes over: Kerry U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the Obama administration would do everything it could to implement a global agreement to combat climate change before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. Kerry made the comments during a visit to New Zealand just before setting off to Marrakesh, Morocco to take part in climate talks between 200 nations. Donald Trump, who calls global warming a hoax and has promised to quit the Paris Agreement, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to a source on Trump's transition team. (November 13, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/12/2016 - Recycling is important and it’s important that we know that our recyclables are being recycled properly. In a finite world with an exquisitely sensitive environment we cannot just be satisfied that the things we throw away disappear so we can get more. You’ll Never Believe Where Your Old Computer Could End Up After You Hand It In for Recycling Suburban Hong Kong appears to have become the new favorite dumping site for exported U.S. electronic waste, watchdog finds Roughly 20 km away from Hong Kong’s slick, densely packed urban center lies the New Territories — a suburban mishmash of rugged hills and scruffy villages, soaring new housing developments and vacant lots. This is where over half of the territory’s 7.2 million people live. It could also be the resting place for your old PC or printer. Up to 20% of all U.S. electronic waste may be ending up in Hong Kong. Not in some scrapyard in the developing world, picked over by haggard children and wheezing laborers, but in the backyard of one of the world’s most sophisticated financial capitals. That, at least, is the claim of a new investigation, which says the movement of these items is violating international treaties restricting cross-border transfer of hazardous electronic materials. (November 11, 2016) Time [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 11/12/2016 - Climate Change will warm some regions (like the Arctic and Alaska) more quickly than others. Alaska Continues to Bake Through October Temperatures in the Lower 48 have been way above normal again this year, but they’ve had nothing on Alaska. Heat records there continued to pile up through October as the notoriously chilly state heads towards its hottest year on record. Through October, the year-to-date temperature in Alaska was 36.3°F, an astounding 6.7°F above average. This exceeds the previous record for the same period — set in 1926 — by 2.5°F. (November 10, 2016) WXshift [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/12/2016 - In other news, at COP 22 Marrakesh nations are trying to make the Paris Agreement work and deliver humanity a future. "In Marrakesh, many nations have reaffirmed backing for the Paris Agreement's goals of shifting to wind, solar and other cleaner energies." Trump's climate plan 'catastrophic': France's Royal Donald Trump's plan to drop out of world cooperation on slowing climate change would be "absolutely catastrophic" and weaken the United States, France's environment minister said on Friday. But Segolene Royal, defending a 2015 Paris climate agreement she helped construct, told Reuters she believed the U.S. president-elect might switch track once he takes office. Trump has called global warming a hoax, wants to cancel the Paris Agreement and halt all U.S. funding of U.N. global warming programs. "If such decisions are taken it would be absolutely catastrophic," said Royal, a Socialist. (November 11, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2016 -  Our friends in Australia will ratify the Paris Agreement highlighting the way for nations to object to climate deniers. We should all now be doubling our efforts to address Climate Change. Turnbull signals Australia won't follow Trump's lead on Paris climate agreement Prime minister confirms Australia will ratify agreement despite opposition from One Nation and conservative Coalition MPs Malcolm Turnbull has signalled Australia will not seek to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement even if the US president-elect, Donald Trump, follows through on his threat to cancel the emissions reductions commitments made by Barack Obama last December. Turnbull on Thursday confirmed Australia had ratified the Paris agreement despite domestic opposition from the One Nation party, a critical Senate bloc for the government, and persistent climate change scepticism roiling within Coalition ranks. After Trump’s victory, and ahead of Turnbull’s confirmation of the government’s intentions with ratification on Thursday morning, the chairman of the government’s backbench committee on the environment and energy, the Liberal MP Craig Kelly  (November 9, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2016 - Besides being my favorite quote of the day, this quote highlights what climate scientists have been saying for a long time—it’s physics stupid! ““It’s clear Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world... but even he does not have the power to bend and change the laws of physics,” said Alden Meyer, policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.” (Imagine what would be our reality today if our media and our politicians had prioritized science instead of bullshit.) Decades of poor media coverage and fossil-fuel monies poured into our political system have brought us to this horrible state—where politically nonsense has trumped sense. But the climate clock is ticking and a quickly warming planet has physical consequences that will have to be addressed regardless. Time passes. Trump win will not derail global climate effort, activists vow Grim-faced activists at U.N. climate negotiations in Morocco pledged on Wednesday that the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president would not derail global action to curb climate change and deal with its worsening consequences. “It’s clear Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world... but even he does not have the power to bend and change the laws of physics,” said Alden Meyer, policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists. As climate change exacerbates extreme weather and other problems including sea-level rise, Trump will have an obligation to protect U.S. citizens, activists say, and could miss key opportunities to create the millions of new jobs he has promised, if the country backs off renewable energy expansion. (November 9, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2016 - If it is so that now and for the time being much of the effort to address Climate Change will come from the states, New York State may (as it did with stopping Fracking) show the nation a way through the coming anti-science miasma.  We should also remember that the rest of the world did not vote in a climate denier and many of these nations are going to be on the front lines of Climate Change. This isn’t so much hope, as a realization that the efforts by individuals, groups, states, and nations to address Climate Change won’t be undone by some bad players who have taken a stance against science and planning for what climate science portends. Trump win means little for NY climate programs President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to roll back federal environmental regulations will likely have little effect on New York's efforts to combat climate change, according to the state's top energy official. Richard Kauffman, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's chairman of energy and finance, touted New York's various clean-energy programs Thursday while noting they predate the federal Clean Power Plan, an emissions-reductions program Trump has vowed to scale back. Should Trump curb environmental regulations at the federal level, New York's programs — including the Clean Energy Standard, which subsidizes renewable and nuclear energy — would remain in place. (November 10, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/10/2016 - ACTION: Last night’s Open House gathering at the City Hall Atrium for the public to learn about the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was well attended. Many folks posted their suggestions and observations about the CAP, which will help fine-tune this document for passage at the end of the year. There is still time to review the CAP draft and comment on how the City intends to address Climate Change locally. This is a chance for individuals and groups to see how Climate Change will impact their lives. Providing feedback is also opportunity for everyone to help shape their future by addressing their concerns—housing, water, energy, public health, transportation, and much more—while prioritizing the challenge of our age.   Go to the City’s CLIMATE ACTION PLAN website, download the “the draft community-wide Climate Action Plan”, then send your comments to the draft plan to Anne Spaulding at anne.spaulding@cityofrochester.gov .  

  • 11/10/2016 - Regardless of Trump’s Climate Change doubts, we will have to address the consequence of this quick warming that will affect every aspect of our lives. Trumps will come and go but Climate Change will go on relentlessly unless we stop it. It’s physics. And whether the new administration likes it or not they will have to help the public adapt to this crisis. Time passes.   Managing climate risk in Trump’s America On Tuesday, it appears, a slim plurality of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States. However, thanks to the Electoral College sway of Florida and the Rust Belt, the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, is now the president-elect of the United States. The new president will take office at a singular time in the history of our planet. The year 2016 is the first in well over a million in which the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere did not fall below 400 parts per million. Physics that has been known since the nineteenth century tells us that these high levels of carbon dioxide should make the planet warmer; and, indeed, this year will almost certainly be the warmest on record, with a global average temperature gearing up to be about 2.2°F (1.2°C) warmer than the late nineteenth century average. And, over the past quarter century, global average sea level has risen at a rate of about 1.2 inches per decade – more than twice as fast as the average twentieth century rate. These are all well-established scientific facts. (November 9, 2016) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/10/2016 - I think it’s fair to say climate scientists are very worried about a Trump presidency. The public must now embrace science like never before. Time passes. US election: Climate scientists react to Donald Trump’s victory In what’s widely being described as the most shocking upset in US election history, Donald J Trump has beaten Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. As one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, any change at the top of US politics warrants a consideration of what it might mean for the country’s climate and energy priorities. But given Trump’s comments on the campaign trail, the US’s recent reputation under Barack Obama as a nation serious about tackling climate change now looks to be in peril. (November 9, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/09/2016 - Trump wins US Presidency, with GOP House and Senate Majority. But this is the news: ""We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement." Last five years were hottest on record, more signs heat is man-made: WMO The past five years were the hottest on record with mounting evidence that heat waves, floods and rising sea levels are stoked by man-made climate change, the United Nations weather agency said on Tuesday. Some freak weather events would have happened naturally but the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said greenhouse gas emissions had raised the risks of extreme events, sometimes by a factor of 10 or more. "We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. (November 8, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/09/2016 - The Trump win is a major benchmark in human history—not in a good way. At just the point in history when the window of opportunity to avoid the worst consequences of Climate Change, humanity has taken a huge leap backwards in addressing Climate Change. A mindset completely at odds with science. Time passes. There’s no way around it: Donald Trump is going to be a disaster for the planet This is happening. Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States. And there’s no way around it: What he’s planning to do looks like an absolute disaster for the planet (and the people on it). Specifically, all the fragile but important progress the world has made on global warming over the past eight years is now in danger of being blown to hell. Trump has been crystal clear about his environmental plans. The mainstream media never wanted to bring it up, never wanted to ask about it in debates, never wanted to turn their addled attention away from Hillary Clinton’s email servers to discuss what a Trump presidency might mean for climate change. But all the indications were there: (November 9, 2016) VOX [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/09/2016 - Trump “has threatened to 'cancel' the Paris Agreement”. Can and will he attempt to do it? Why President Donald Trump is an even bigger disaster than you thought World's most influential climate champion elects man who does not believe in the science behind man-made climate change, and has threatened to 'cancel' the Paris Agreement Climate experts who have been nervously watching the US election from the UN summit in Marrakech will now go into crisis mode at the news that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. Many attendees stayed up through the night to find out whether a man who has previously described “the concept of global warming” as being     “created by and for the Chinese” will be named the most powerful leader in the world. The Morocco summit has seen representatives from around the world gather to discuss how last year’s groundbreaking Paris Agreement will be implemented in practice. (November 9, 2016) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/09/2016 - How is the Trump presidency, with a majority of GOP in the Senate and House, going to affect addressing Climate Change? One thing is for sure, they won’t make physics go away. But this new turn of events will profound affect humanity’s ability to have a sustainable environment. We had better tighten our seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. LIVE: UN climate talks reaction as Trump wins US presidency -Climate sceptic wins White House in shock result -Republicans take control of both houses in Congress -US dollar and Mexican peso sink in trading chaos -COP22 summit on hold as envoys ponder implications -Billionaire promised to nix Paris climate deal -UN says ‘no plan B‘ for Trump victory On the surface, the UN talks in Marrakech appear to be progressing as normal, with meetings on ensuring the Paris Agreement becomes operational taking place around this huge complex. But beneath the surface there is a huge amount of uncertainty. US envoys are understandably reluctant to talk; one usually accessible EU negotiator also brushes off questions. The truth is no-one really knows what happens next or what the long term impacts of a Trump presidency will have on the Paris climate agreement. The last time a Republican hostile to the carbon cutting agenda took office was in 2000: the next year George W Bush pulled the country out of the Kyoto Protocol. (November 9, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/08/2016 - New Study: If we continue business as usual, sea levels will rise incredibly faster than we thought. Time passes. Why scientists are so worried about sea-level rise in the second half of this century Even as negotiators meet in Marrakech, Morocco to take the next steps to avert dangerous human-caused climate change — and, even as the U.S. decides whether or not to elect a president who is skeptical it is happening — a new study has highlighted the sharp stakes involved, particularly when it comes to the ongoing rise in global sea level and the dramatic but uneven way in which it could affect the world’s coastlines. The goal of the Paris climate agreement is to hold the planet’s temperature rise to “well below” a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase above what it was in pre-industrial times. We’ve already seen about a 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase since then. But the new research just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that if we stay on a current, high-emissions pathway and do not achieve the cuts that the Paris agreement seeks to institutionalize, then we could hit 2 degrees Celsius by 2040 or so (November 2, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/08/2016 - I know, we want to know if Great Lakes warmer water this year will result in less ice, “… increased storm activity and significant lake effect snow accumulation”. Could happen. The more important question though is whether warmer Great Lakes water EVERY winter will result in less ice, lower lake levels, more lake effect snow, and a whole lot more that are predicted in climate studies for our region.  With weather, it’s going be difficult to predict each year for a while how the warming and the melting of ice in the Arctic affects our winters. It’s like to be disruptive—as changes are coming quickly. With climate, the trend is going to be towards warmer Great Lakes waters and that is going to affect weather, wildlife, fish, plants, forests, agriculture, public health, shipping, water for hydroelectric and nuclear power plants—which need a certain level of cold water for cooling. Our media must gain a broader perspective of what Climate Change is going to do to our Great Lakes basin region—keeping their eyes on the weather and including Climate Change so we can plan properly. Will warm Great Lakes mean less ice this winter? The Great Lakes are much warmer than usual, and that will be a factor in limiting ice formation this winter, the National Weather Service says in its "freeze-up outlook." Large portions of the Great Lakes froze in 2014 CREDIT NASA How warm is it? Here's a sampling of water tempertaures at harbors around the region. Buffalo: 60, normal 54 Cleveland: 62, normal 56 Chicago: 60, normal 53 Duluth: 52, normal 44 (November 7, 2016) WBFO Buffalo's NPR News Station [more on the Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/08/2016 - Local Rochester NY media article mentions that Climate Change “… might have to do with an increase in ticks in our area.” That’s a step forward for local news, especially given that this year is “the worst year yet for ticks”. Public health will be dramatically affected by Climate Change because, like with ticks, warmer-climate diseases like West Nile Virus, malaria, and Lyme disease are driven by insects which will be able to make a stronger hold in a warmer New York. Our local media should do more to connect the dots between public health and the local consequences of Climate Change so we can all plan properly for our future. Local veterinarian: worst year yet for ticks Entomologists said climate change and deer migration might have to do with an increase in ticks in our area. (November 7, 2016) WHAM Rochester [more on Lyme Disease and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2016 - Great citizen reporter article on the #NoDAPL rally in support of #StandWithStandingRock in Rochester, NY. Including Representative Louise Slaughter’s complete speech at the rally. Compare this coverage with local mainstream press coverage of this event. You’ll see why Talker of the Town needs to be a part of our local media mix. Iakaonne´tha ne oneka Iakaonne´tha ne oneka (A rough translation of “Water is Life” offered by members of the Seneca tribe.) Yesterday at the Liberty Pole, several hundred Rochesterians gathered at the Liberty Pole to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The oil pipeline would stretch 1,200 miles underground through the Missouri River, carrying a half million barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois daily. Part of the river is the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in central North and South Dakota. (November 6, 2016) Talker of the Town [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2016 - From the stratosphere to our oceans, the science behind Climate Change clear and ominous. Whatever your attitude is towards Climate Change, the science should be your priority because humanity needs to see what is actually happening to our planet. Much about Climate Change includes our values—preserving Nature, Climate Justice, Freedom, and much more—but we are no longer living in a world where we have all the time in the world to work out our principles and values. The temperatures will steadily rise unless we get our energy use under control. If we fail to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter, our inclination to keep our values intact as humanity struggles for life will get more unlikely. Stratosphere shrinks as record breaking temperatures continue because of climate change Those warning of climate change impacts have been likened to Chicken Littles, scuttling around, warning the sky is falling. That worry, it turns out, is based on fact too. Cooling in the stratosphere is causing it to shrink, lowering that layer by "a number of kilometres", NASA noted recently. Our burning of fossil fuels and emissions of other greenhouse gases mean more of the earth's heat that would have been radiated back to space – warming the stratosphere on the way – is being trapped at lower levels of the atmosphere. (November 6, 2016) Sydney Morning Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2016 - We need to de-politicize Climate Change in the US. Why Republicans Still Reject the Science of Global Warming Only one major political party in the world denies climate change, and it's in charge of the most important political body in the world For decades, climate-change deniers got away with dismissing the growing body of science as speculation and guesswork, hysterical or politicized warnings of a disastrous future. Now, their church is crumbling. Every month of this year set a new record for the hottest monthly average global temperature in history. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years ever recorded have occurred in the 21st century. The facts are at our doorstep in the form of drought-fueled wildfires ravaging Southern California; rising sea levels in New York, Norfolk, Virginia, and Miami Beach; melting glaciers in Alaska; bleached coral reefs in the Virgin Islands. We've reached the point where the planet's warming – and the extreme weather it causes – is outpacing the very models scientists use to predict the future. (November 3, 2016) RollingStone [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/05/2016 - Apples are Big in the Finger Lakes region and Climate Change is presenting a challenge for this important crop. “Apples have several unique characteristics that affect their responses to climate change. Apple trees are particularly sensitive to small deviations in temperature. If unusually warm temperatures hit in February, these blossoms will be blooming in March and not April, and freezing becomes a seriously detrimental possibility. A single cold snap can ruin the harvest.” Food and Field Notes: Comparing Apples to Apples on Climate Change It’s hard to believe, but October is upon us, conjuring up the usual fall nostalgia – crisp air, flaming foliage, flannels… and apple-picking. Autumn is simply not complete without a day trip to the orchard, borderline-gluttonous apple cider drinking, the occasional apple pie. Amidst these apple-related festivities, World Food Day was October 16th. An annual day of action against global hunger, this year’s theme is climate change. This article is about the connection between apples and climate change. Just a word of warning – the following content may damper the above-mentioned apple nostalgia that we all know and love, but I think it’s important to understand the challenges facing apple crops and orchards as we enjoy them this year. (October 27, 2016) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/05/2016 - Important recycling information from ColorBrightonGreen: “Finding Places to Recycle Alkaline Batteries is Becoming More Difficult: Please buy rechargeable batteries and chargers. While single use batteries, including alkaline or zinc batteries may be disposed of in the regular trash, ColorBrightonGreen has been working hard to find ways to get them recycled. Recently, the places that we have found to take them for recycling have been closing their doors to alkaline battery recycling. We are still making efforts to find places to take them, but we recognize that we may not ultimately be successful. Meanwhile, using rechargeable batteries is a much better alternative. We are asking that you make the investment in buying battery chargers and rechargeable batteries. This would be a great gift for yourselves, your friends and family members, and our environment. For further information on greening your battery choices, please visit our website.”

  • 11/05/2016 - NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite is able to tease out recent human CO2 emissions from the total amount of background concentrations. Giving ourselves critical feedback about our greenhouse gas emissions is critical to our ability to control them. New, space-based view of human-made carbon dioxide Scientists have produced the first global maps of human emissions of carbon dioxide ever made solely from satellite observations of the greenhouse gas. The maps, based on data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite and generated with a new data-processing technique, agree well with inventories of known carbon dioxide emissions. No satellite before OCO-2 was capable of measuring carbon dioxide in fine enough detail to allow researchers to create maps of human emissions from the satellite data alone. Instead, earlier maps also incorporated estimates from economic data and modeling results. (November 1, 2016) NASA Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2016 - To be truthful, we don’t know what the #ParisEffect will have on #ClimateChange any more than our doctor informing us we will die unless we stop smoking. The #ParisAgreement is document with legal force; it is an admission by the nations of the world that its doctors have agreed that we have a very serious health condition and we have the means to solve it. That’s it. We either listen to our climate scientists, our doctors as it were, or we ignore them. About 100,000 years ago something almost miraculous evolved in the human species allowing us language, making us different from all other species in the world. Now we know we are causing the destruction of the entire planet by overwhelming all its ecosystems by emitting too much heat-trapping gases. Language acquisition came to us; addressing Climate Change will have to come from us. Time passes. The Paris Effect: How the Paris Agreement is Driving Climate Action Today, the Paris Agreement has entered into force. Less than a year after the landmark climate pact was adopted at the COP21 negotiations, the world has already seen a significant shift towards stronger climate action. The adoption of the Paris Agreement delivered a signal to governments, businesses and the global public: All parties, from national governments to small businesses, must do their part to minimize the risks and impacts of climate change. (December 4, 2016) Climate Nexus [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2016 - The Paris Agreement on Climate Change Is Official. Now we act on a scale and in a time frame that will matter. Or… The Paris Agreement on Climate Change Is Official. Now What? When the landmark Paris Agreement to address climate change officially goes into effect on Friday, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe will be floodlit green to celebrate the occasion. Now comes the hard work: figuring out the details. Top energy policy makers and corporate leaders caution that it will be challenging to meet even the deal’s modest goals to reduce planet-warming emissions of greenhouse gases. Many companies have not even figured out yet how much greenhouse gas they emit, much less made plans to curb these emissions. Rapid technological advances in areas like electric cars are not enough to stop the world’s long climb in oil consumption, let alone reverse it. (November 3, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2016 - We can now add deoxygenation of our oceans to the litany of Climate Change consequences. This isn’t just adding insult to misery, it’s describing the further consequences of our quickly warming our environment. Warmer waters hold less oxygen making natural occurrences of hypoxia worse. The ocean is losing its breath – and climate change is making it worse Global climate change produces many effects – warming air energizes the atmosphere and intensifies storms; warmer water expands and raises sea level; storage of more carbon dioxide in the oceans is acidifying large realms. Now it is becoming clear that another, profound result of human activities is underway: lower oxygen levels in our oceans. The world’s oceans, coastal seas, estuaries, and many rivers and lakes are experiencing declines in dissolved oxygen. Long known as an issue associated with sewage discharges and fertilizer runoff, the problem now is exacerbated by climate change, often independent of nutrient loads, and is global in scale. (October 31, 2016) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2016 - Even if we keep our commitments to the Paris Agreement we fall short of seriously warming the planet. But the odds are that we aren’t even going to keep our commitments. For example, however adamant President Obama is about making the Paris Agreement hold, he himself is not stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline, he’s thinking of rerouting it. You cannot keep to the Paris Agreement and allow major fossil fuel infrastructure development to proceed. World on track for 3C of warming under current global climate pledges, warns UN Current climate commitments are insufficient to reduce emissions by the amounts needed to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, says Unep report The commitments made by governments on climate change will lead to dangerous levels of global warming because they are incommensurate with the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report. The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) said that pledges put forward to cut emissions would see temperatures rise by 3C above pre-industrial levels, far above the the 2C of the Paris climate agreement, which comes into force on Friday. At least a quarter must be cut from emissions by the end of the next decade, compared with current trends, the UN said. (November 3, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/03/2016 - Those countries that did not cause Climate Change and are bending under the weight of it felt compelled to help solve it by making the Paris Agreement work but they may have committed to the impossible. Perhaps their devotion to addressing Climate Change will shame us polluting countries into giving the promised monies to the Green Climate Fund so that developing nations can cope with the warming and also put our proportional share into addressing this problem. Time passes. Africa’s “buyer’s remorse” over Paris climate deal Some African governments are regretting the ambition of emissions targets submitted towards the Paris Agreement, say advisers When Chad announced in September 2015 it aimed to slash its greenhouse gas emissions 71% by 2030, the country was hailed as a climate leader. The government of the arid, oil producing state – long ravaged by warfare – even offered to slash carbon pollution 18% from business-as-usual in the event it received no external funding or support. The generous gesture was seen by many observers as proof of a new age of African climate ambition, one of the 190 pledges that underpinned the historic Paris Agreement. Ten months on, the country’s climate envoy tells Climate Home that Chad was pressured into this ambitious contribution and it will not be able to deliver. (November 3, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/03/2016 - Just when you think you’ve accounted for all mankind’s greenhouse gas emission, up comes the gases from Wastewater treatment plants. As an “estimated 3 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally” that’s a big oversight. I suspect we’ll find more greenhouse gas (GHG) emission sources as time goes on but we need to get a handle on these sources as soon as possible. At the end of the day, it’s what GHG emissions that make it to our atmosphere and warm up the planet that matter. We have to account for them all or our accounting is delusional—just as if you were budgeting for you household expenses and didn’t account for maintenance or pets or vacations. I should think an eye in the sky, a worldwide satellite system, to access all our GHG emissions, a top down approach, would be more accurate than a bottom-up approach. If we had a system of monitoring in the sky, we wouldn’t have to depend on independent monitoring or trying to figure out all the GHG emission sources because we’d ‘see’ the emission rising into the atmosphere from their sources. I know, this sounds very sneaky and an invasion of privacy but like a family budget this accounting of GHG emissions has to be comprehensive and accurate or its delusional. Sewage Plants Overlooked Source of CO2 Wastewater treatment plants may be responsible for emitting up to 23 percent more greenhouse gas than previously thought because of fossil fuels in detergent-laden water from residential showers, household washing machines and industrial sites, new research shows. Treatment plants emit greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide when they purify drain water containing detergents and personal care products derived from petroleum. International tallies of greenhouse gas emissions are underestimating the plants’ effect on the climate, however, because they do not account for carbon dioxide emissions when that water is processed, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. (November 2, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/02/2016 - Dramatic NASA animation of Arctic ice shrinkage is spellbinding when you realize that we are causing this and we have pulled the plug on one of our planet’s refrigerators. One shouldn’t look at this short animation dispassionately because it’s like watching an accident we caused.  Older Arctic Sea Ice Disappearing  Arctic sea ice has not only been shrinking in surface area in recent years, it’s becoming younger and thinner as well. In this animation, where the ice cover almost looks gelatinous as it pulses through the seasons, cryospheric scientist Dr. Walt Meier of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center describes how the sea ice has undergone fundamental changes during the era of satellite measurements. (Published on Oct 28, 2016) NASA Goddard

  • 11/02/2016 - In other words, depending on something as indefinite as clouds to keep us cool during Climate Change is delusional. Clouds can both reflect sunlight away and trap warm below—that’s when they’re around. Herding clouds to predict how various regions will respond to Climate Change is more challenging than trying to herd cats because at least cats are attracted to food. Clouds don’t eat. Just saying…  Clouds dampened warming since 1980s, study shows A new study helps unravel one of the biggest uncertainties for scientists making climate change projections – how clouds will be affected as the Earth’s warms up. Clouds can have both a warming and cooling effect on the Earth. They insulate the Earth’s surface like a blanket, while simultaneously cooling it by reflecting away energy from the sun. Overall, scientists expect that changes to clouds will amplify human-caused warming in the long-term. But a new study, published in Nature Geoscience, shows that they can have an important short-term cooling impact. (October 31, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/01/2016 - Let’s get real, on both side of the Great Lakes we want complete transparency around sewage bypasses. This will be critical public information as more extreme precipitation events occur with Climate Change in our Great Lakes basin, overwhelming many sewer systems. This is one of the most immediate dangers of Climate Change in our region and our governments and media need to keep the public continually informed so we can make informed choices. We do need to worry our pretty little heads about this issue. Environment watchdog wants transparency around Lake Ontario sewage A new report from Ontario's environmental commissioner takes the city to task for not reporting sewage bypasses in real time. Ontario’s environmental watchdog says a lack of transparency around sewage bypasses in Toronto means beachgoers could be unwittingly swimming in a “toxic stew” of feces, gasoline and other pollution. Extreme rain can overwhelm the city’s water treatment plants, causing thousands of cubic metres of sewage and stormwater runoff – which can contain contaminants ranging from gasoline to pet feces – to flow into local waterways. Sewage bypasses occur about two or three times a month in Toronto, but the public is only notified a few days later – if at all. (October 27, 2016) Toronto Metro News [more on Water Quality and the Great lakes in our area]

  • 11/o1/2016 - I know, few things piss off Americans who believe in Exceptionalism than other nations giving us advice but this moment before our elections we ought to. Let science be our priority at this point in human history, not politics. In rare move, China criticizes Trump plan to exit climate change pact China on Tuesday rejected a plan by U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to back out of a global climate change pact, saying a wise political leader should make policy in line with global trends, a rare comment on a foreign election. The world is moving towards balancing environmental protection and economic growth, China's top climate change negotiator told reporters, in response to a query on how China would work with a Trump administration on climate change. . . "If they resist this trend, I don't think they'll win the support of their people, and their country's economic and social progress will also be affected," Xie Zhenhua said. (November 1, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/01/2016 - Before the Flood - Full Movie by National Geographic is available free online. As vehicle for messaging Climate Change at this point in time, it is superb. I suspect there will be a time in the very near future if we don’t heed the warnings of important attempts like ‘Before the Flood’ in Climate Change messaging the word ‘hope’ will no longer be used. About halfway through this film there is a poignant moment when Leonardo DiCaprio interviews an Indian leader about how the world is watching how lackluster the US and other first world nations are addressing Climate Change and how we lecture them about burning fossil fuels. There are more people in India without electricity than the population of the US.

  • 11/01/2016 - Some of the unknown unknowns about Climate Change are that we don’t when, and where, and what tipping points will occur. Lord Stern says, “And we do not know how many tipping points might lie between today’s climate and a world that is 2°C warmer than pre-industrial level.” Lord Stern: we need negative emissions to avoid 2C warming Speaking at the Royal Society, top climate economist reflects on challenges and opportunities a decade after his seminal review into implications of a warming world I am going to speak about five issues. First, I will outline the risks, the required action and the global agenda. Next, I will speak about the urgency and scale of action required. Third, I will describe the 21st century growth story, and how to deliver on the global agenda. Then I will turn to the importance of building sustainable infrastructure. And finally I will look forward to the next ten years and the prospects for the future. Let us begin by considering where we may be headed on our current pathway in terms of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and global average temperatures. (October 28, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]