Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area


Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

Follow FrankRrrr on Twitter

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 .

Bookmark and Share

SEARCH: Use search engine below to find anything posted since 1998.


Daily Updates: Tuesday, May 31, 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:

  • 5/31/2016 - Not to mention, I’m still coming across a lot of old TV’s and Computers curbside as I walk Rochester. Curbing e-waste, with the intention of landfilling it, is illegal in New York State. This law was in the work for five years and it’s been in play for several years now and still folks are tossing e-waste to the curb. Be nice if could at least solve this issue in Rochester.  Investigation tracks e-waste from U.S. to unregulated scrapyards in Hong Kong High above the Pacific Ocean in a plane headed for Hong Kong, most of the passengers are fast asleep. But not Jim Puckett. His eyes are fixed on the glowing screen of his laptop. Little orange markers dot a satellite image. He squints at the pixelated terrain trying to make out telltale signs. He’s searching for America’s electronic waste. “People have the right to know where their stuff goes,” he says. (May 30, 2016) Investigative Post [more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 5/31/2016 - If you want to keep the Great Lakes free of Invasive Species, eliminating EPA oversight of ballast water discharges is crazy. The public should really consider whether they want a huge loophole made in the Clean Water Act that a great big ship full of invasive species can float through. We cannot assume that we will always have fresh clean water from the Great Lakes if we don’t remain ever vigilant of the compromised to the largest fresh water system in the world. Stefanik working to remove defense bill provision that eliminates EPA oversight of ballast water discharges Non-defense-related legislation tucked away in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, would remove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in regulating ballast water discharge from cargo vessels. Dubbed the “Vessel Incidental Discharge Act,” the bill directs the U.S. Coast Guard to establish new standards for ship discharge of ballast water, which is water carried in vessel ballast tanks to improve stability and discharged at port when cargo is loaded or unloaded. Under VIDA, ballast water discharges would be exempt from Clean Water Act permits that are renewed every five years, which allows for re-evaluation, water level monitoring and improvements to treatment technology. Additionally, vessels operating in the Great Lakes or other “geographically limited areas,” according to the bill, would be exempt from ballast water treatment requirements. (May 27, 2016) Watertown Daily Times

  • 5/31/2015 - Just finished “Drinking Water: A History” by James Salzman. Considering the important of getting a drink of water each day, this is a must read. And while I don’t agree with all the point in this book (I don’t think Salzman did justice to the Great Lakes water diversion issue as he didn’t touch upon the Great Lakes being mostly a closed hydraulic system, where large amounts of water taken from the Great Lakes basin could have a profound effect on our weather and ecosystems), I do agree that humanity should closely examine all our options when it comes to water—something we cannot even go a day without.  Drinking Water: A History by James Salzman "When we turn on the tap or twist open a tall, cold plastic bottle, we might not give a second thought to where our drinking water comes from. But how it gets from the ground to the glass is far more complex than we might think. With concerns over pollution and new technologies like fracking, is it safe to drink tap water? Should we feel guilty buying bottled… " Barnes & Noble.

  • 5/31/2016 - Excellent lecture by Naomi Klein on how Climate Change will change the social order. Video: Let Them Drown The Violence of Othering in a Warming World | "Naomi Klein examines how Said's ideas of racial hierarchy, including Orientalism, have been the silent partners to climate change since the earliest days of the steam engine, continuing to present day decisions to let entire nations drown and others warm to lethal levels. The lecture looks at how Said’s bold universalist vision might form the basis for a response to climate change grounded in radical inclusion, belonging and restorative justice." (May 4, 2016) London Review of Books  [More on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/31/2016 - Comedian John Oliver nails the important of the media getting science correct—including Climate Change science. We must understand the science that so many historical great figures have given us through lifetime struggles with facts and truth amidst so much prejudice and fallacy. Science is the result humanity’s efforts to know the truth and should not be forsaken in the hour where we need it the most. Climate Change is difficult but with science it is understandable. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | Ep. 70 Clip: Scientific Studies 

  • 5/30/2016 - Like it or not addressing Climate Change is going to involve Overpopulation and our planet’s carrying capacity. Sorry, this is just an unpleasant reminder… Human Population Growth Challenges Global Carrying Capacity. The major premise of sustainable growth is that there must be a balance among population growth, economic growth, and the carrying capacity of planet. Carrying capacity is a biological concept. It is the limit to the population size of a given species the environment can sustain without damage to the environment. There is, for example, a limit to the size of a herd of elephants that the Serengeti Plains in Africa can support without the herd damaging the ecosystem. Carrying capacity for a species can, and often does, change over time. It can increase or decrease due to changing climate. If annual rainfall increases over time this may increase the food supply for some animals. It may decrease the food supply for others. (May 27, 2016) Planet Earth Weekly

  • 5/30/2016 - Many folks refuse to see Climate Change but nobody ignores the weather. Even meteorologists are finally seeing Climate Change in the weather. Meteorologists are seeing global warming's effect on the weather Weather is becoming more extreme, and meteorologists are taking notice Whatever happened to normal weather? Earth has always experienced epic storms, debilitating drought, and biblical floods. But lately it seems the treadmill of disruptive weather has been set to fast-forward. God’s grandiose Symphony of the Seasons, the natural ebb and flow of the atmosphere, is playing out of tune, sounding more like a talent-free second grade orchestra, with shrill horns, violins screeching off-key, cymbal crashes coming in at the wrong time. Something has changed. (May 27, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/30/2016 - The Paris Agreement honeymoon, the euphoria after Paris, was really a great media silence after this shotgun marriage fraught with hope and despair produced a tenuous ceremony in the face of grave doubts. Paris must work to bring down the planet’s temperature and do so fairly and only a few ever thought it would be easy. Corporate media hasn’t been waiting for the devils in the details to be worked out, they’ve already have forgotten Climate Change and are busy on new attention grabbers. 'Honeymoon over', rules for U.N. climate pact may take two years A first United Nations meeting on implementing a 2015 global agreement to combat climate change showed it could take two years to work out a detailed rule book for a sweeping shift from fossil fuels, delegates said. The May 16-26 talks marked a return to technical work and the end of a "honeymoon period" since the Paris Agreement was worked out by almost 200 nations in December to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit rising temperatures. "My bet is 2018, everything will be done (in) a maximum two years," Laurence Tubiana, France's climate ambassador, told Reuters when asked how long it would take to negotiate a set of rules. Several other delegates gave similar estimates. (May 26, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]    

  • 5/28/2016 - When I spoke in Rochester about the state’s "clean energy standard", where I emphasized addressing Climate Change, our meeting too was clogged with nuclear (Ginna, in this place) proponents. I spoke about the need to address the issues of NIMBY’s fighting large scale wind farms which are critical in reaching NYS energy standards. (You can read my article: “Ground rules for deciding on large-scale wind farm placement” Aging nuclear power plants are obviously using these state meetings around the state to save their industry—which is understandable given the role the power plants affording their community with good paying jobs. But the issue of clean energy standards is a bigger issue than local jobs—which renewable energy options can provide. The problem of the public funding these outdate nuclear power plants is a major problem that is not being addressed at these meetings. Also, how safe are these nuclear power plants that are being asked to serve beyond their intended working life? Nor is the argument from the nuclear proponents that without nuclear power, NYS cannot reach it goals. NYS can reach it clean energy goals by eliminating old nuclear power plants and they can do this by educating the public about the importance of large wind farms providing the bulk of our future energy needs. When locals fight wind farms in their region, which will mean we will have to continue paying for unprofitable old nuclear power plants. Also, consider this new report: “Nuclear Near Misses: A Decade of Accident Precursors at U.S. Nuclear Plants”  It’s too bad that our local media even when they do cover issues related to Climate Change and energy end up only pandering to folks losing their jobs instead of the issue at hand: Clean Energy Standards as we move into Climate Change. Our media needs to change. Energy use in time of Climate Change is the major issue of our time and we need a media that’s up to the job. State energy plan that would support nuclear plants gets warm welcome in Oswego During nearly two hours of testimony in Oswego City Hall Tuesday, community leaders and Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant employees begged staff from New York's Public Service Commission to support the proposed "clean energy standard" underGov. Andrew Cuomo's goal to generate half of the state's energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2030. That plan includes subsidies for financially stressed nuclear plants, which is why most of the audience at the hearing spoke in favor of the effort. Some who testified said that Cuomo's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could not be achieved without nuclear plants, which don't emit carbon dioxide. (May 26, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 5/28/2016 - Rochester NY is getting moving on bike sharing with bike rental project in downtown. Think #bike is #transportation  Bike rentals come to downtown Getting out on the trails or just exploring downtown got a little easier this week with a new "bike hire" station at the Radisson Rochester Riverside. The Spinway station based at the hotel might just be the beginning. City Hall is preparing a broader request for proposals, due out in about a month, seeking an operator on a larger, citywide bike-share program similar to the Reddy system set to launch in Buffalo this summer. If all goes well, a pilot program could launch this fall, with the first phase of the city program ready to go in spring 2017, said Erik Frisch, transportation specialist for the city. (May 27, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/28/2016 - At least one major media finally gets it on Climate Change. Check this out from Chicago Tribune Editorial Board. (Maybe Rochester Democrat and Chronicle will be next?) Of course, Climate Change is a whole lot more than water scarcity and “The Arctic Ocean melting like an ice cube under a July sun? Island paradises swallowed up by rising seas? Beefier hurricanes crashing into coastlines with greater frequency?” for that matter. Climate Change is the mother of all problems and we need our local media to continually report and investigate the local consequences of it and how our local governments are helping their citizens to address it. Editorial:  In a word, why climate change matters: Water Think climate change and what comes to mind? The Arctic Ocean melting like an ice cube under a July sun? Island paradises swallowed up by rising seas? Beefier hurricanes crashing into coastlines with greater frequency? There's a ring of truth to all of the above, and it should make all of us think and act greener. Now, the World Bank has come out with a report that sums up one of the gravest of climate change consequences with just one word: water. As in, not enough of it. (May 26, 2016) Chicago Tribune [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/28/2016 - Uh oh, leading the world on oil and gas production for 4 straight years doesn’t make US leader on Climate Change. In fact it make it looks as if all our efforts at renewable energy look pretty paltry. With Climate Change the only thing that will really matter is bringing down greenhouse gas emissions—not talk or just good intentions. U.S. Leads Globe in Oil Production for Third Year The U.S. led the world last year in producing both oil and gas, federal government estimates published Monday show, even as the country committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. was the globe’s leading producer of crude oil for the third year in a row in 2015. Government estimates show that crude oil production has continued to grow across the country, from nearly 8 million barrels of oil per day in 2008 to about 15 million in 2015. The U.S. produced about 14 million barrels per day in 2014. (May 23, 2016) Climate Central [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/27/2016 - Of course, this media report about how warm the Great Lakes are this year doesn’t mention Climate Change—as mainstream media rarely covers the local consequences of Climate Change. (Lake Ontario - 51.0° (6.7°F warmer)) Though to be fair, this article is just about the difference in temperatures of the Great Lakes from last year to this year. Last year was a cold winter, this year was a warmer winter. (Which probably does have something to do with Climate Change…) But this is part of the problem of the media on Climate Change: they so narrowly focus their attention on certain items about our environment that the long-term and inevitable consequences of Climate Change are easily avoided. If nothing else, this article should remind us of how sensitive the entire Great Lakes are to temperature changes. Temperature changes affect fish, weather, the proliferation of invasive species, and a likely increase of the toxic blue-green algae. Our media need to expand their horizons so that the public will be adequately informed about Climate Change. All Great Lakes warmer than last year, 2 are much warmer All of the Great Lakes currently have average surface water temperatures warmer than this time last year. Two of those Great Lakes are significantly warmer than last year. The image above shows a comparison of the current surface water temperatures on the left, and last year at this time on the right. On average, many areas are three to six degrees warmer than last year. (May 25, 2016) MLive [more on Great lakes in our area]  

  • 5/27/2016 - Interesting that a Great Lakes media can do an article about “the future for Great Lakes salmon” and not mention Climate Change. Maybe the writers of the salmon article should have read the National Wildlife Federation’s Report: Swimming Upstream.” Here’s a quote: “The introduction of non-native species and diseases creates additional stress. Climate change will interact with these various stressors, in many cases creating even more challenging conditions for fish. Invasive Species Invasive species are a leading factor in freshwater fish extinctions and endangerments, damage our natural ecosystems, and are costly to manage.62 In the Great Lakes region alone, aquatic invasive species cost local people, businesses, utilities, and communities at least O Flickr/andresmusta 4. Climate change will pose further challenges for management and control strategies by altering the way invasive species interact and spread” Mainstream media needs to get up to par on Climate Change. What's the future for Great Lakes salmon? But after a spectacular five-decade arc, Lake Michigan’s salmon fishery appears to be in decline. Anglers are catching fewer fish, and the ones they’re getting are nowhere near the 30-pounders longtime fishermen recall from decades past. Some fear the collapse will be as hard as the one that hit Lake Huron a dozen years ago, forcing some charter operators to move to Lake Michigan or forcing many others to go out of business. Overall, sport fishing in the Great Lakes is a $4 billion-a-year industry. (May 26, 2016) WZZM [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/27/2016 - With Climate Change you are more likely to hear the term “Climate Refugees” more often—whether you like or not, whether it fits into your political ideology or not, or whether you’ve planned for massive social upsets or not. The First Official Climate Refugees in the U.S. Race Against Time A Native American tribe struggles to hold on to their culture in a Louisiana bayou while their land slips into the Gulf of Mexico. (May 25, 2016) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/27/2016 - However we view the importance of individual wildlife species ultimately it is the ecosystems they sustain that will matter in Climate Change. Helping wildlife to endure, that is to adapt, to the extreme changes coming with Climate Change may force us to revisit how we view wildlife in the future. Some species may already be doomed, some may be critical to preserving critical ecosystems and keeping them vibrant, some species that evolved in frigid temperatures may not be able to endure the heat, while some invasive species will tolerate the heat just fine. What are we doing about Wildlife as Climate Change outpaces their ability to adapt and our need to have our ecosystems intact? With Endangered Species Act Under Attack, Obama Manages to Score 99 Wildlife Wins As part of a final-year push to tackle major environmental challenges, the Obama Administration appears to be doubling down on its efforts to slow and reverse the declines in American wildlife populations. Though the United States has enacted and implemented some of the world’s most effective wildlife conservation laws, one in five animal and plant species in the United States — nearly 1,300 total species — is at risk of extinction. Through a recently-released Council on Environmental Quality white paper, the Obama Administration calls attention to the challenges facing U.S. wildlife and identifies 99 milestones in wildlife conservation that it has achieved over the past seven years. (May 25, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/27/2016 - The insurance industry is very concerned (which is to say you should be concerned) about Climate Change because they can only fund so many disasters. Building in places that are going to be continually assailed by extreme weather and expecting the insurance industry to rebuild is unsustainable. US insurance aid props up climate-risk homes Major insurer calls for an end to government subsidies that encourage expensive house-building schemes in areas of the US at high risk of floods and storms. Lloyd’s, one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, says the US government must stop providing insurance subsidies to homeowners building on flood plains and in coastal areas exposed to mounting risks related to climate change. According to a report in London’s Financial Times, Lloyd’s says the US government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which subsidises insurance cover for householders in regions vulnerable to floods and storms, encourages irresponsible house building. Lloyd’s also says the NFIP subsidy regime is financially unsustainable. Because of claims related to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and superstorm Sandy in 2012, the NFIP has now run up debts of more than $24 billion. (May 24, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - Let’s face it, mainstream media mostly sucks on reporting on Climate Change making folks stupid. Fix this with Climate Feedback @ClimateFdbk

  • 5/26/2016 - Seems like most folks like the idea of Wind Power until it comes home to them. Then, they tend to ask what they gain or lose from the industry. I thought we wanted to increase renewable energy by 100%. We cannot do that if every time it comes to placing wind farms and help the world adapt to Climate Change people get selfish. Like it or not, the placing of wind farms is where we demonstrate our commitment to really keeping fossil fuels in the ground and shifting to renewable energy. How North Country communities can make big wind work for them Across the North Country, wind energy has forced communities to ask tough questions about what they stand to gain or lose from the industry. Most recently, the town of Clayton, in the Thousand Islands, has barred all wind development for six months. The move came after developers showed renewed interest in building the Horse Creek Wind Farm. Clayton's moratorium gives town leaders time to consider ways to protect their interests. (May 26, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - Yes, boys and girls, we have rattlesnakes in NYS; Yes, they are integral to our environment; No, we don’t have a clue how they’ll adapt to Climate Change.  Wildlife, even rattlesnakes who don’t get a lot of attention (except when they rattle, then they get plenty), are part of how our environment developed. We ought to cherish them by making sure they survive by focusing on their issues as our climate gets warmer. Yes, we do have rattlesnake in the Rochester region Rattlesnakes — like tornadoes, wildfires and cockroaches — are in the category of “things you know exist in Western New York but you hope you never experience.” But an avid hiker at Letchworth State Park knew the creatures make homes in the rocky crags and crevices of “the Grand Canyon of the East,” and he came face-to-face with one of them on a park road this week. (May 25, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - ACTION: "Call Congress and ask them to take action on climate! Monday June 20th Congress needs to hear from citizens that we want them to take action on climate change. On June 21st, hundreds of citizens from across the nation will be meeting with members of Congress in DC to push for a revenue-neutral carbon fee.  Visit this website to log your call (and get the phone numbers and a prompt on what to say):  Call your legislators on Monday June 20th to amplify our voices and help move Congress a step closer to legislation that addresses climate change. Time and again we hear from members of Congress that they don't hear enough from their constituents that climate change matters to them. Calling your Senators and Representative is the first step in building a relationship with your congressional offices and creating the political will needed to solve global warming. "

  • 5/26/2016 - Sneaky new bill would allow more shippers to dump more ballast water, the practice that brought us the Zebra Mussel? Really? We cannot find a way to treat ballast water in ships so that it’s not too burdensome to shippers and not bring in crazy effective Invasive Species like the Zebra Mussel? Really? We are condemned to bring in Invasive Species that will screw up the greatest fresh water system in the world? Is this the best our economic system can come up with: If environmental regulations are too burdensome some industries, then screw our life support system? This is humanity at its best? House measure supports shippers on water dumping TRAVERSE CITY — A plan gaining support in Congress and backed by the cargo shipping industry would establish a nationwide policy for dumping ballast water into U.S. waterways that environmental groups say would open the door to more invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels, which have wreaked economic havoc from the Great Lakes to the West Coast. The proposal was tucked into a $602 billion defense bill that the House passed last week, the latest twist in a longstanding struggle over how to handle water that ships carry in huge tanks during overseas voyages. Ballast provides stability in rough seas but harbors fish, plants and even viruses, which find new homes when vessels discharge the water in distant ports. Some multiply rapidly, out-compete native species for food and spread disease (May 24, 2016) Detroit Free Press [more on Great Lakes and Zebra Mussels and  Water Quality in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - Much like the invisible and potent greenhouse gas methane itself the new rule for curbing methane at reconstructed and modified oil and gas sources could have a profound effect—though it would be more profound if this new rule included all gas sources. Just saying…. Obama administration announces historic new regulations for methane emissions from oil and gas The Obama administration on Thursday announced a set of much-anticipated — and first ever — steps to regulate oil and gas industry emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas second only to carbon dioxide in its role in the climate debate. The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a new rule that will target emissions from new or modified oil and gas wells — and prevent 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by the year 2025, the agency said. And while this would not apply to the vast numbers of existing rigs, well pads and auxiliary equipment that have driven a historic boom in domestic oil and gas production, the agency also signaled that it plans to regulate these as well. It issued a new request for more information from industry to help study how to contain emissions from these sources. (May 12, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - Unlike many who think Climate Change can be put off, ignored, or denied, insurance companies don’t have that luxury. Fossil Fuel Investments Growing Riskier for Insurers, Report Warns With nearly $500 billion invested, a new analysis recommends insurance companies take a harder look at the consequences of climate change and a lower-carbon future. The 40 largest insurance companies in the United States have $237 billion invested in electric and gas utilities, $221 billion tied to oil and gas companies and nearly $2 billion locked into coal, a new report reveals. With nearly a half-trillion dollars in bonds, equity and other holdings tied to the fossil fuel industry, an analysis published Tuesday by the sustainability group Ceres says insurers should be evaluating their investment exposure to climate change risks. Insurers "cannot afford to overlook this," warned Cynthia McHale, director of the insurance program at Ceres. (May 24, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/25/2016 - Neat video and slideshow of the Albany Break Free rally on May 14th from our friends over at Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo: Video & Slideshow: Albany Rally to Break Free from Fossil Fuels

  • 5/25/2016 - Interesting that it’s only May and we’re getting air quality health advisories already. If we continue burning fossil fuels and the heat goes up, it is likely we’ll get air quality advisories even sooner than May—which means those in July and August will be a doozy. Climate Change is going to dramatically affect our public health. Air Quality Health Advisory Issued for New York State Ozone Advisory in Effect for Long Island, New York City Metro and Western New York New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos and State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D., J.D. today issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for the Long Island, New York City Metro and Western New York regions of New York State for Wednesday, May 25, 2016. The pollutant of concern is: Ozone The advisory will be in effect: 11 a.m. through 11 p.m. DEC and DOH issue Air Quality Health Advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100. The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale, with a higher AQI value indicating a greater health concern. (May 24, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 5/25/2016 - Are you sure nuclear power is the way we should power our future when there’s no room for error—when to err is human…. 10 Near Misses at U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Considered Precursors to a Meltdown Following the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Greenpeace USA released a new report Tuesday on the 166 near misses at U.S. nuclear power plants over the past decade. Of the incidents identified in Nuclear Near Misses: A Decade of Accident Precursors at U.S. Nuclear Plants, 10 are considered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to be important precursors to a meltdown. (May 24, 2016) EcoWatch [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/24/2016 - NYS residents can help our environment by not giving the EAB a free ride all over the place. DEC Announces Sixth Annual Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week Residents Urged to Become Aware of Emerald Ash Borer and Report Infestations to DEC The Sixth Annual Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week is now underway, running from May 22 - May 28, 2016, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. In observance of EAB Awareness Week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation urging all New Yorkers to exercise environmental stewardship to protect trees from infestation that can be devastating to landscapes, habitats and forest product industries. State residents and visitors are encouraged to learn as much as possible about the emerald ash borer, how to prevent its spread and the destruction it causes to trees. "EAB Awareness week is an opportunity to inform the public about the various means through which this invasive beetle is commonly spread and encourages them to join the fight against them by reporting any signs of infestation they witness," Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "With the beginning of camping season in full swing it is important to remind travelers to New York State to use only local firewood. The spread of these insects, and other forest pests, has been dramatically increased through human transport." (May 23, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 5/24/2016 - ACTION: Bus to Albany from Rochester June 1st to demand %100 Clean Renewable Energy for NYS. Get on board. A New York powered by 100% Clean Renewable Energy is a more just New York. JOIN US on JUNE 1st as we DEMAND Albany builds a better New York with safe, healthy communities for all! #NYRenews The time is NOW to demand good jobs, healthier communitites, and frontline justice through 100% clean and renewable energy for New York. Join #NYRenews in Albany June 1st and together let’s tell Legislators in Albany that they were elected to represent ALL New Yorkers and that ALL New Yorkers deserve protection from the impacts of climate change. In the meantime, SIGN + SHARE to tell our elected officials to support #NYRenews. Climate change is already devastating our communitites, don't let inaction in Albany continue the destruction: Check here. Text NY to 97779 for more updates Organizer Contact: Brittny Baxter 716-381-1438 Bbaxter@workingfamilies.org  Reserve your ticket HERE:  Boarding Information Rochester: 6: 00 am in Pittsford Park and Ride at St John Fishers College in East Rochester, NY. Syracuse: 8:00 am boarding in the Park and Ride just off of exit 34A.

  • 5/24/2016 - Because the railroading of Dangerous Crude Oil has increased dramatically through our communities, monies for emergency training is critical. But our money? Isn’t this corporate welfare when the public has to pay for emergency training for shipping dangerous crude oil (Bomb Trains) on their rails? This corporate welfare of Bomb Trains is a reminder to those who say our government cannot do anything right and everything should be privatized that the truth is that our government has to babysit these dangerous energy options all through their dangerous infrastructures. Shouldn’t we shift quickly to renewable energy—wind and solar—where the public doesn’t have to insure and fund training for the kind of energy that will warm the planet and explode at any moment? NYS To Help Pay For Training For Oil Fires New York State is making a new investment in helping first responders train for oil fires. The state will use $500,000 in federal funds to purchase a "live fire" training prop to help fire fighters and other emergency personnel learn how to respond to crude oil fires. It is part of a broader effort to prepare for possible accidents involving oil shipping by rail or boat. The money will go to the New York State Academy of Fire Science, which trains more than 6,000 first responders each year. (May 22, 2016) WXXI News [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area] 

  • 5/24/2016 - Been thinking it’s time to go solar? Google’s Project Sunroof looks at your roof, tells you how much sun it gets, and even how much you’ll save on electricity. Incredible. Check it out. And it’s free. Google’s Project Sunroof Expands to 42 States and Millions More Rooftops With the recent expansion of Project Sunroof, tens of millions of potential solar customers from across the U.S. can now Google their own rooftops to find out if their home is suitable for solar panels. Google launched Project Sunroof last August in three cities -- San Francisco, Fresno and Boston. In January, the program expanded to 20 U.S. metropolitan markets in the most active solar states in the U.S., including California, Massachusetts, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Connecticut, Colorado and North Carolina. (May 20, 2016) GreenTeckMedia [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 5/21/2016 - To say that the sturgeon in the Genesee River was plentiful back in the day is a major understatement. I would like to think that a healthy sturgeon population reinstalled into the Genesee River would be an indicator of a healthy river, but I wonder how an ancient, cold-water species like the sturgeon is going to deal with the warming waters of Climate Change. This all begs the question: What are we doing to help our Wildlife in NYS adapt to Climate Change? Four-foot sturgeon found in Genesee River A 47-inch, 26 pound sturgeon was found in the Genesee River, reports United States Geological Survey research ecologist Dawn Dittman. Dittman has led efforts to reintroduce thousands of baby sturgeon into the Genesee River.  Her recent nettings and observations show that they are growing up. In the 20th century, pollution, over-fishing and habitat loss nearly drove sturgeon into extinction. The USGS, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Seneca Park Zoo have made efforts to rebuild the population, placing more than 5,000 sturgeon into the river since 2003. (May 20, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Genesee River and Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/21/2016 - Considering that the Great Lakes is the largest freshwater system in the world we here in Rochester have a responsibility to protect it—from ourselves.  Consider this important statement from local EPA rep: “Everything you put in the ground will eventually wind up in the Great Lakes.” Judith A. Enck, an EPA regional administrator. Watersheds ahead: Officials hope new road signs make environmental sense Taking care of the Great Lakes means more than watching out for lake water and shorelines. What happens on the onion fields in Elba, cornfields in Eden, the Erie Canal in Lockport and even the Youngmann Highway in Amherst impacts the health of lakes Erie and Ontario. What residents spray on their lawns from Ripley to Rochester also matters. So signs are being installed marking designated Great Lakes watersheds. “It’s an opportunity to remind people that we all have a responsibility to protect watersheds,” said Judith A. Enck, an EPA regional administrator. “Everything you put in the ground will eventually wind up in the Great Lakes.” (May 20, 2016) Buffalo News [more on Water Quality

  • 5/21/2016 - I wonder: How long do we use as an excuse not to address Climate Change when we hear, “It's impossible for scientists to say global warming caused this specific …” but … ???? The fire in Canada looks a lot like climate change -- and that should scare you The fire, which has burned at least 325 square miles, forcing the evacuation of some 88,000 people, is so hot and so intense that's it's formed its own weather. The thundercloud produced by the blaze actually is creating its own lightning, and consequently spreading the fire's rage, setting more trees alight. True, there have been fires in Canada's boreal forest for ages. But scientists and researchers say this fire looks a whole lot like climate change. And that should be alarming for all of us. (May 7, 2016) CNN News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/21/2016 - Besides acidification is hypoxia (lack of Oxygen) also on the rise in our oceans because of Climate Change? We are in new territory. Suffocating the Ocean Oxygen-depleted oceans have preceded many mass extinctions in Earth’s past, including the worst one of all 252 million years ago. Are hypoxic dead zones from California to Namibia a harbinger of the next extinction? It was crabbers who first reported something amiss. In 2002, they began pulling in traps full of corpses. (Crabs should be alive when you catch them.) And they mentioned something else: Little octopuses had followed their crab lines to the surface, as if fleeing inhospitable conditions below. Then heaps of dead crustaceans began washing ashore along a stretch of Oregon’s coast. When scientists sent a robotic submersible offshore, they discovered mile upon mile of dead crustaceans, the water brown and murky with detritus. The killer was low oxygen, or hypoxia. Nearly all animals require oxygen to live, and, that year, dissolved oxygen had fallen so low off Oregon’s coast that whatever mobile creatures could had fled, while more-sessile life had simply suffocated. (May 9, 2016) Pacific Standard

  • 5/20/2016 - As we degrade our soil with pesticides, pollution, development and bad agricultural practices we might remember the crow’s role in cleaning up our environment. Crows eat carrion and carrion eaters are vital. Returning carrion to our life support system is still something we cannot do. Remembering this might help us be more tolerant of crows. Bye Bye Birdy: harassing the crows that harass Watertown The Historical Society isn’t alone. Businesses and organizations throughout downtown Watertown have crow complaints, citing damage to buildings, bad smells and a big mess. That’s where the city’s crow management program comes in. (May 20, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/20/2016 - Some of the basic processes of our life support system are still unknown. Especially on a warming planet that’s very concerning. All in the NAAMES of ocean ecosystems and climate Let’s face it — relationships can be complicated. And the relationship between the ocean and the atmosphere is no exception. NAAMES, or the North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study, is a five-year NASA-funded study that aims to define that relationship better. NAAMES is the first NASA Earth Venture-Suborbital mission focused on studying the coupled ocean ecosystem and atmosphere using ships and aircraft simultaneously. Plankton ecosystems of the global ocean profoundly affect climate and life on Earth. NASA's ocean color satellite record tells us that these invaluable ecosystems are highly responsive to climate variability, with changes in ocean plankton production impacting food (e.g., fish), uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the ocean, and ocean emission of climate-regulating aerosols. (May 17, 2016) NASA [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/20/2016 - If the Paris Agreement is going to work, it had better do so quickly. Earth's thermostat is still going up dramatically. It is in this way that Climate Change is quite simple, when we overheat we’re going to cook. What we have done thus far to bring temperatures down has not worked. Just doing something is not enough. Far From Turning a Corner, Global CO2 Emissions Still Accelerating The latest greenhouse gas inventory from NOAA shows CO2 and methane 'going completely in the wrong direction.' The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not just rising, it's accelerating, and another potent greenhouse gas, methane showed a big spike last year, according to the latest annual greenhouse gas indexreleased by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. CO2 emissions totaled between 35 and 40 billion tons in 2015, according to several agencies. Some of that is absorbed by forests and oceans, but those natural systems are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new CO2. As a result, the inventory shows, the average global concentration increased to 399 parts per million in 2015, a record jump of almost 3 ppm from the year before. (May 19, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/19/2016 - It’s more than bikes. "R Community Bikes" is about folks getting from here to there and volunteers helping them do that. Volunteers at "R Community Bikes" help thousands every year Spring is busiest time of year for volunteer-based group The volunteers at "R Community Bikes" know they are helping people in Rochester go places.   Shop Manager Steven Sparer and his small army of volunteers fix and build bikes and put them in the hands of those in need.   "Flat tires, shifting problems, brake problems are pretty much the standard fare," says Sparer.     "R Community Bikes"  began 15 years ago.   Director, Dan Lill wanted to give back to the community and bikes were about the furthest thing from his mind.     Lill says, "we started serving lunch at a soup kitchen actually, had nothing to do with bicycles.  But a gentleman came in and asked if we could fix a flat tire." (May 15, 2015) RochesterFirst.com [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/19/2016 - Consider completing Rochester, NY’s Climate Change Action Plan survey. This plan will affect how our local government addresses Climate Change. Your input into this process is vital. Critical to addressing Climate Change are our local community governments because they set the rules, enforce the rules, maintain our infrastructures, educate the public on issues vital to our way of life, and prepare the public for clear and present dangers. The City has been working on shoring up its own clean energy and transportation in the first phase of addressing Climate Change and now it’s moving to the second phase. Many local groups have been a part of the process to complete the second phase of the City’s Climate Action Plan where much is being planned to address the local consequences of Climate Change and engage the public on this issue. Climate Change is affecting our lives now and it will increasingly affect our children’s lives. Please take a moment and fill out this survey on the Climate Action Plan to demonstrate to the city that you want this worldwide crisis addressed here in Rochester. This is what democracy looks like. CLIMATE ACTION PLAN "We want to hear from you!  Take our community-wide Climate Action Plan survey. What is a Climate Action Plan? Climate Action Plans (CAP) are comprehensive roadmaps that outline the community-wide efforts that will be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CAPs build upon the information gathered by greenhouse gas inventories and generally focus on those activities that can achieve the relatively greatest emission reductions in the most cost-effective manner.  CAPs typically focus on quantifying existing and projected community-wide greenhouse gas emissions; establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets; identifying and analyzing future greenhouse gas emissions; identifying specific measures that will achieve the emissions targets; and establishing a mechanism to monitor the plan's progress. " City of Rochester, NY

  • 5/19/2016 - I listen to the podcast of Climate One @climateone regularly and find that is one of the most insightful and useful ways to learn about Climate Change. This week’s program on how public health will be affected by Climate Change is an excellent example of how aspects of Climate Change are discussed by experts who, more often than not, have to solve these consequences of Climate Change in their day jobs. THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF ONE DEGREE Global warming is hitting closer to home than we think, from a neighborhood child gasping with asthma to a parent collapsing from heatstroke. These realities led U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to assert in April that climate change presents the most complex threat to public health in U.S. history. (April 17, 2016) Climate One [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 5/18/2016 - Considering how close Rochester, NY is to the Great Lakes you’d think our local media would be more interested in this radioactive waste storage issue. Plan to store nuclear waste near Great Lakes proves radioactive KINCARDINE, Ontario — If there was an off-key moment during the otherwise flawlessly executed trip to the U.S. Capitol this spring by the new Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, it might have come when he was cornered by Rep. Debbie Dingell. “We never want to see nuclear waste in the Great Lakes,” the freshman Democrat from Michigan sternly told Trudeau during a visit to the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Trudeau knew what Dingell was talking about. A few weeks earlier, his administration delayed an expected final ruling on whether Ontario Power Generation (OPG) could blast an area twice as big as the White House in a hole as deep as four Washington Monuments and then dump and seal inside 50 years’ worth of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste amassed by the province’s three nuclear power plants. (May 16, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/18/2016 - Pedantically, some folks remind us that everything around us is made up of chemicals and so we should just get over our fear of them. But not all manmade chemicals are equal, especially most pesticides and other toxic chemicals we cook up. Many chemicals are unsafe even when use as directed. Unsafe at any Dose? Diagnosing Chemical Safety Failures, from DDT to BPA Piecemeal, and at long last, chemical manufacturers have begun removing the endocrine-disrupting plastic bisphenol-A (BPA) from products they sell. Sunoco no longer sells BPA for products that might be used by children under three. France has a national banon BPA food packaging. The EU has banned BPA from baby bottles. These bans and associated product withdrawals are the result of epic scientific research and some intensive environmental campaigning. But in truth these restrictions are not victories for human health. Nor are they even losses for the chemical industry. For one thing, the chemical industry now profits from selling premium-priced BPA-free products. These are usually made with the chemical substitute BPS, which current research suggests is even more of a health hazard than BPA. But since BPS is far less studied, it will likely take many years to build a sufficient case for a new ban. (May 16, 2016) Independent Science News [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 5/18/2016 - In order to sustain our reliance on pollinators for agricultural and natural ecological systems we need to commit to protecting the pollinators. Local Commitments to a Global Pollinator According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, approximately 80 percent of all flowering plant species are specialized for pollination by animals, mostly insects, and they affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production, increasing the output of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide. This global significance raises concern for our reliance on pollinators, such as honey bees, for food production, the global economy, and our livelihood. (May 16, 2016) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Food and Plants in our area]

  • 5/18/2016 - In the last ten years Climate Change has changed (“CO2 levels have increased 5.5 percent,”) and so have we. We have the capacity to change; physics, not so muchAN INCONVENIENT TRUTH THEN AND NOW: WHAT’S CHANGED FOR OUR CLIMATE SINCE 2006? Here’s what’s changed for our planet since An Inconvenient Truth sparked a global movement against climate change a decade ago. If you saw An Inconvenient Truth featuring former Vice President Al Gore back in 2006, chances are you left the theater a little stunned and asking a whole lot of questions. Questions like, “What can we do?” “What can I do?” If so, you weren’t the only one. Fortunately. This month marks the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking film that prompted millions to start asking questions about climate change and doing something about it, helping shape the modern climate movement we know today. And in the decade since, a lot has changed as a result. Climate science has made major advances, helping us better understand the challenge we face. Renewable energy, such as solar and wind, is cheaper than fossil fuel-based electricity in many parts of the world. Electric cars are even becoming mainstream (well, for some). (May 11, 2016) The Climate Reality Project [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/18/2016 - Burning biomass is not a renewable energy option because it affects the long-term stability of carbon in the soil. Our soil needs to be replenished by the dying going back to that from whence it came. When we burn the biomass instead of putting it back into the ground we are robbing soil of its resources and ourselves of a major carbon sink to address Climate Change. Soil Carbon Unstable After Clear-Cutting We’ve all heard that clear-cutting forests has many adverse effects on the environment. But humans have been cutting down forests for agriculture and to harvest wood for millennia. So what’s the big deal? There are now more humans on Earth than ever before, so demand for wood and food is unprecedented. And for the past few years, people have been clear-cutting forests for biofuel. Clear-cutting is chopping down all the trees in an area, as opposed to selective logging, which is removing only the mature trees. A new study has found another downside to clear-cutting: It makes carbon compounds in the soil more loosely bound to mineral surfaces and therefore more likely to escape into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, which further contributes to global warming. (May 17, 2016) GotScience.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/17/2016 - If we want to reduce GHGs and address Climate Change we must increase bicycling and to do that we need the 3’ rule to make it safe. “3-foot amendment: tell the Assembly you want this law” 3 FEET WILL HELP SAVE LIVES In 2013, Dorine Peregrim was struck from behind while riding her bike in Upstate New York. Despite the wide shoulder on which she was riding, and the multiple witnesses who were all able to clearly see Dorine before the crash, the driver still passed Dorine too close, hitting her, and violently throwing her from her bike. (February 18, 2016) New York Bicycling Coalition [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/17/2016 - The Break Free movement has signaled a change in the public’s attitude so that it’s on the level and speed that will make a difference. This could be a game changer as we move towards dangerous rises in global warming and disrupting business as usual. 'Break Free' fossil fuel protests deemed 'largest ever' global disobedience Coalition of environmental groups call for oil, coal and gas to be kept in the ground during mass protests around the world over the past two weeks Thousands of people have taken part in what organizers have called the largest ever global civil disobedience against fossil fuels, with dozens of activists arrested during protests that shut down coalmines, rail infrastructure and a port. The protests, held over the past two weeks in countries including the US, UK, Australia, South Africa and Indonesia, saw activists call for oil, coal and gas to be kept in the ground. A coalition of environment groups, which called the actions “Break Free”, are pushing for a complete shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. “This is the hottest year we’ve ever measured, and so it is remarkably comforting to see people rising up at every point of the compass to insist on change,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of climate group 350.org. (May 16, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/17/2016 - El Niño conditions may make it even hotter than usual for a while and a La Niña event may make it cooler for a while, but the overall trajectory is hotter and hotter. Unless we dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Earth just recorded its warmest April on record, and it wasn't even close April was the warmest such month on record for the globe, and yet again, we saw a near-record large margin compared to average, according to NASA data released Saturday.  The record all but assures that 2016 will set another milestone for the warmest calendar year in NASA's database, regardless of whether the rest of this year sees comparatively cooler global temperatures. During each of the past seven months, global average surface temperatures have exceeded the 20th century average by more than 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. (Mary 15, 2016) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/13/2016 - Do we really want to bet our future on outdated nuclear power plants? NRC officials finally admit: Indian Point is not safe as they told us Yesterday, we learned that Entergy and staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had not done a proper estimate of the damage that an accident at Indian Point would create. The NRC threw out its assessment of the costs of such a catastrophic event at the troubled nuclear plant. With this reversal, the NRC admits that their analysis was misleading, used erroneous data and was in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. It also means that another analysis needs to be conducted. This decision is a victory for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had argued that NRC staff systematically undercounted the cost and impact of a serious nuclear incident. It is also a victory for the 20 million people within a 50-mile radius of the plant, who are continuously placed at risk by this aging, unreliable plant. (May 5, 2016) Riverkeeper [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/13/2016 - Fracking for natural gas in New York State using propane rather than water to get around the Frack ban is a craven disregard for our life support system. What’s the point of having scientists if we are going to ignore all their warnings about increasing greenhouse gas emissions in a time of human-driven Climate Change? State asks for more information on potentially allowable fracking plan The state Department of Environmental Conservation is requesting more information about a proposal to frack for natural gas in the Southern Tier using propane and sand rather than water. The energy industry and environmentalists agree the proposal has the potential to bypass the ban on fracking that Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered in December 2014. The ban applied to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which uses large volumes of water mixed with sand and chemicals to create fractures in rock that release gas. Under the proposal by Tioga Partners LLC for test wells on a hay and corn farm in Tioga County, the fracking would be done using liquefied petroleum gas and sand instead of water to split the rock. The gelled propane would be recaptured as a gas when it rises back to the surface (May 13, 2016) Politico New York [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 5/13/2016 - Reminder of what we are up against. Observable changes in New York because of Climate Change. From NYS DEC. What you have to get your head around is that profound changes are already occurring in our life support system, changes in the biological system that begot us. These observable changes are a harbinger of what is to come: “Annual average temperatures have been rising in New York for a century; Winter snow cover is decreasing and spring comes (on average) a week or so earlier than it did a few decades ago; in many areas of New York, blooming dates have advanced by as much as 8 days; The ranges of birds that traditionally breed in New York have moved northward by as much as 40 miles in the past two decades; Average nighttime temperatures have risen faster than daytime temperatures and are measurably higher than they were in 1970; Summer heat waves are more intense, with heat-related illness and death projected to increase; Intense precipitation events (heavy downpours) are occurring more often; Sea levels along New York's ocean coast are approximately a foot higher than in 1900; and Vector-borne infections and diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, are becoming more widespread throughout New York.” Impacts of Climate Change in New York from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation  

  • 5/12/2016 - As Climate Change becomes more dire more folks will become more urgent in demanding action from their leaders. If we don’t #KeepItInTheGround and #breakfree2016 we will be in deep dodo. Rancor, protests greet top energy official Amid shouts, FERC chairman driven from stage at Desmond conference Climate protesters drove the head of federal energy policy from the stage Wednesday during a conference of power plant owners. Near the end of a speech to the Independent Power Producers of New York, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Norman Bay was interrupted and confronted by about a half-dozen protesters at theDesmond Hotel and Conference Center. (May 11, 2016) Albany Times Union [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/12/2016 - After watching the film “Bikes vs. Cars” I gained a greater sense of how unsustainable our car culture is. One of the moments of clarity during the documentary is when a transit planner said that congestion (waiting for three hours each day for traffic to move in our major urban areas) is going to be an opportunity for dialogue. Whereas cars, and the corporations pushing them (and public transit off the cliff), have completely dominated our environment, the specter of ruining our own lives by being imprisoned in our vehicles for more and more of our lives will finally get folks to consider alternative ways to get around—like bikes, walking, and public transportation. If you missed this important documentary at the Little Theatre for the beginning of Bike Week in Rochester, find other ways to watch this film and increase bicycling in Rochester.

  • 5/12/2016 - Hope for addressing Climate Change mitigation depends on actually bringing down greenhouse gases—just good intentions won’t do. Global 2040 Forecast Sees Only Slight Fall in Fossil Fuels Despite the urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions as climate change bears down on the globe, fossil fuel use is not likely to change much in the coming decades. Though renewable energy will grow quickly though 2040, gasoline and diesel will still move most of the world’s vehicles, and coal will still be the largest single source of carbon emissions. Those are the conclusions of a forecast released by the federal government on Wednesday for how the world will use energy and what its carbon dioxide emissions will be over the next 25 years. (May 11, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/12/2016 - This local program on whether we in Rochester should ban the plastic bag was an excellent public discourse on the subject. Though downplayed by many as a small problem, you just have to watch documentaries like ‘Bag It, Is Your Life Too Plastic” to get a real sense of the plastic bag problem. A fee on the use of plastic bags, or a ban, would go far in demonstrating to the public the importance of decreasing the environmental burden brought on by cheap plastic bags. Plastic bags aren’t just everywhere, they are everywhere they shouldn’t be like blocking our storm water drains, in our oceans mistaken as food, filing niches in our environment that should be filled with life, and breaking down their toxic ingredients in a our soil and water. Like many environmental issues they seem small until you get the world-wide view and remember that this has to be solved along with Climate Change—it’s not either or. Should we ban plastic bags? Attorney Jennie Romer has been working on this issue across the country, taking her efforts to New York City most recently. NYC just passed a five-cent fee on plastic bags. In Rochester, the Youth Climate Leaders have decided to focus on enacting local bans. We explore the impact of bans and fees on plastic bags. Our guests: Jennie Romer, attorney and sustainability consultant Terry Smith, head of the Harley School's Lower School Tierra Cherelin, sixth grader at Genesee Community Charter School and member of the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders steering committee. Benny Smith, student in the Brighton School District and member of the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders steering committee Jason Wadsworth, sustainability manager for Wegmans (May 11, 2016) Connections [more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 5/11/2016 - Looking for help in planting trees: "CALL TO ACTION – 100 Volunteers Needed Protect Oatka Creek’s Water Quality – Tree Planting Event   WHAT:   Trees for Tribs Planting Event on Oatka Creek - Plant 1100 trees and 400 shrubs!!   WHERE:  Oatka Creek’s Riparian Corridor in Monroe County’s Oatka Park – North shore of Oatka Creek roughly parallel to State Route 383 (Scottsville- Mumford Road).   WHEN:  Saturday May 21, 2016 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM (or later if you can stay and planting still needs to be done)   PURPOSE:  Supplement tree canopy in the riparian corridor of Oatka Creek with various tree and shrub species to replace the dying or dead ash trees that have historically been the dominant tree species and that now are infested with the Emerald Ash Borer, a non-native invasive species.   This event is being coordinated by the Oatka Creek Watershed Committee, in partnership with the Monroe County Department of Parks & Recreation, the Seth Green Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Saratoga Nursery’s Trees for Tribs Program and the Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District, the regional coordinator for the Genesee River Basin Trees for Tribs Program (see program information.   If you can help or have questions, please contact Peter Lent lent@frontiernet.net (Chair, Oatka Creek Watershed Committee). Ask a friend to come with you and pass this notice on to others. See map . "

  • 5/11/2016 - A bill prohibiting communities from enacting bans on plastic bags used by retailers will limit our ability to protect our environmental resources. These kind of bills to protect the private interests of businesses at the cost of our life support system are a very dangerous form of delusion—where our priorities are backwards and unsustainable.  As Climate Change becomes more dire and our accumulated environmental degradation gets worse, we are going to see these strange wars between a free market ideology and the health of our environment increase. Of course, we have long fought over these two opposing interests (or perceived interests, because no one in their right mind would sabotage their own life support system) but things are coming to a head with Climate Change. Because we are bumping up against physical and biological limits with our environmental issues and the specter of Climate Change, we no longer have the luxury of treating our life support system as an externality for our economies. Humanity needs to be on the same environmental page. Plastic bags fuel tug of war between state, locals  Even though the state Senate is poised to pass a bill Tuesday prohibiting communities from enacting bans on plastic bags used by retailers, Washtenaw County is forging ahead with a proposal to limit the ubiquitous plastic and paper bags from the streets, trails and trees of the county. A Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners committee approved a resolution last week that would impose a $.10-cent fee on most plastic and paper bags used by retailers to package goods for customers. Exceptions would made for low-income residents and for plastic bags used to wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, newspapers, laundry or dry cleaning, pet waste bags, or bags used to prevent spills from prepared foods such as soups or salads. (May 9, 2016) Detroit Free Press [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 5/11/2016 - Speaking of e-waste, far too many folks are curbing their old electronics, which is illegal in NYS.  On The Trail Of America's Dangerous, Dead Electronics High above the Pacific Ocean in a plane headed for Hong Kong, most of the passengers are fast asleep. But not Jim Puckett. His eyes are fixed on the glowing screen of his laptop. Little orange markers dot a satellite image. He squints at the pixelated terrain trying to make out telltale signs. He’s searching for America’s electronic waste. “People have the right to know where their stuff goes,” he says. Dead electronics make up the world’s fastest-growing source of waste. The United States produces more e-waste than any country in the world. Electronics contain toxic materials like lead and mercury, which can harm the environment and people. Americans send about 50,000 dump trucks worth of electronics to recyclers each year. (May 9, 2016) OPB [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 5/10/2016 - If you’re not feeling a sense of great urgency about Climate Change, maybe this animation will help prioritize your concerns. This Animation Lets You Watch Global Warming Heat Up Over 166 Years When it comes to climate change, it’s often difficult to convey an appropriate sense of urgency. After all, this is a problem that been building for decades, and will take decades of coordinated effort to solve. Still, something especially troubling is happening at a planetary scale this year. The first three months of 2016 have been so ridiculously warm that our planet is already a shoo-in to record the warmest calendar year since records began. El Niño is a big factor in why this global step-change is happening right now, but it’s not the whole story. Most of the current warming, at least when compared to pre-Industrial Revolution levels, is the direct result of greenhouse gas emissions. (March 9, 2016) Slate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/10/2016 - Of course, Earth’s environment being what it is—finite—we’re going to have to #KeepItInTheGround or we’re all going to roast. Plans for coal-fired power in Asia are 'disaster for planet' warns World Bank Experts have offered stark warnings that proposed power plants in India, China, Vietnam and Indonesia would blow Paris climate deal if they move ahead Plans to build more coal-fired power plants in Asia would be a “disaster for the planet” and overwhelm the deal forged at Paris to fight climate change, the president of the World Bank said on Thursday. In an unusually stark warning, the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, noted that countries in south and south-east Asia were on track to build hundreds more coal-fired power plants in the next 20 years – despite promises made at Paris to cut greenhouse gas emissions and pivot to a clean energy future. (May 5, 2016) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/10/2016 - Dull as ‘infrastructures’ sounds our transportation, water, telecommunications, and waste infrastructures are the bloodlines that make modern life possible. We neglect them at our peril. We ignore them when addressing Climate Change at risk of a unsustainable future. We should assess the need for various infrastructures, like unnecessary roads, in the light of the challenges ahead brought on by not preparing properly for Climate Change. It will be challenge enough to maintain critical infrastructures as the consequences of Climate Change become more dire, without wasting precious time and public monies trying to maintaining unessential’s. Will limited resources decommission some roads, bridges? Orleans County officials, with help from planners at the Genesee Transportation Council, will kick off a $55,000 study in coming weeks with the aim of determining a new best use for that especially ill-maintained section of the parkway. That could mean fixing the four-lane concrete parkway or perhaps closing down the two northernmost lanes (the westbound side) and recapturing that land for recreational uses, which could include snowmobile or bicycle trails or scenic overlooks and picnic spots. Their move underscores a growing problem: The high cost of repairing aged infrastructure is forcing a hard look at whether or not we actually need all we've got, and whether we'd be better off decommissioning roads and bridges that get little use, relatively speaking, so we can better use the money we do have. (May 9, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/09/2016 - Learn more about BIKE WEEK IN ROCHESTER 2016 and how to stay safe on a bike and why bicycling is important. Attend an event, see a film, and learn what Rochester is doing to increase bicycling. BIKE WEEK IN ROCHESTER 2016  Bike Week 2016  May is National Bike Month! Hop on your bike, enjoy the smell of fresh air and lilacs, and experience the freedom of exploring our community on two wheels. The City of Rochester will help to launch the 2016 summer biking season with Rochester Bike Week, May 13-22. Rochester, NY 

  • 5/09/2016 - Buffalo plans to triple its bicycling with its new Bicycle Master Plan. Both Rochester and Buffalo can increase bicycle safety with more public education—and yeah, connecting the dots with lowering greenhouse gases and Climate Change. Wouldn’t the public be more accommodating of bicycles in our streets if they knew that active transportation (walking and bicycling) could have a dramatic effect on lowering greenhouse gases and helping our communities address Climate Change? Buffalo unveils new master plan for bicycles Mayor wants city more pedal-friendly Move over, motorists. A new bicycle master plan recommends 300 miles of bike lanes throughout Buffalo – more than triple the amount that the city has now – to provide a safer, more connected network that encourages more bicycling. The plan, released by Mayor Byron W. Brown in partnership with Gobike Buffalo, provides a blueprint for the significant expansion, along with cost estimates and recommendations on where to fill in the gaps on the grid to grow Buffalo into a top-notch bicycling community. “As part of our focus on improving the quality of life in the City of Buffalo and making the city a more attractive place to live and work, we think the investments that we plan to make to build out bicycle facilities will help us continue to grow the city,” said Brown. (May 8, 2016) Buffalo News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/09/2016 - “NOAA reported May 6 that the January through April 2016 contiguous U.S. average temperature was 43.1°F – 4.0°F above average.” And New York is “Much above average.” Western U.S. Snowpack Melting At Record Speed The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service issued its final "west-wide forecast" of the season this week. It shows that snowpack, from Washington to Wyoming, is melting so quickly, flooding is a possibility in some areas.  "Most areas saw major decreases in snowpack during April and are now below normal," according to the NRCS May 2016 Western Snowpack and Water Supply Conditions report. "The notable exceptions to this that still have above normal snowpack include the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado and western Wyoming, while the central Sierra in California remains near normal. Elsewhere, snow is generally well below normal or completely melted out." (May 7, 2016) Capitol Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/07/2016 - Wonderful coverage of the Rochester’s Earth Day event: Earth Eve Climate March Forward by Rochester’s premier independent media. Many mainstream media were called to cover this historical Earth Day event, but they did not come…  Why have they forsaken us? 2016 is a pivotal year for protecting Mother Earth with the Paris Agreement and the public needs to be engaged and the press needs to engage them. Mothers Out Front March for Earth Day About 80 people gathered in Washington Square park on April 21, the day before Earth Day, to raise awareness of Climate Change.  The event was organized by Mothers Out Front. Some were wearing hats topped with windmills.  Non-polluting wind energy is one of the "renewable" options to replace fossil fuels which add carbon to the atmosphere. A proposal to build an off shore wind farm on lake Ontario is facing political opposition.  The problem, as many stated, is a system which puts profit for a few over people.  The march continued around the block with a stop and some songs in front of the Rundell library, and ended back at the park a half hour later. (April 24, 2016)  Indymedia Rochester, NY [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/07/2016 - Climate Change: hope and strive for the best; plan for the worst. Despite Paris Agreement, it would be hubristic to think we’ve avoided the danger zone. Governments Should Study Worst-Case Warming: U.N. A United Nations panel of scientists seeking ways for nations to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius should not dissuade governments from concentrating on bleaker scenarios of higher temperatures as well, its former chief said. Nations should be considering the potential impact of temperature rises of as much as 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit), said Robert Watson, former head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (May 7, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/22/2016 - This Saturday @ Seneca Park Zoo City of Rochester will unveil the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) to the public. “While the city, its consultant team and local experts have been working behinds the scenes for months gathering information to build the CAP, Saturday at the Zoo presents the first opportunity for public input. Residents and leaders from the environmental community should bring their ideas to the table during the Zoo's event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.” Here’s why CAPs are important: “Why Climate Action Plans (CAP) are so important for every community” | Speak up on sustainability More than 100 countries are expected to sign the Paris climate agreement during a ceremony at the United Nations on Friday. And as pundits and politicians debate the merits of the pact, the City of Rochester will be quietly going about its business of reducing its carbon footprint. . Through this weekend, special programs, events and community clean up projectsare planned across the Greater Rochester area in observance of Earth Day, the annual day to stop and think about our planet and the environment. At one local event, Earth Day at the Zoo, representatives from the city's Office of Energy and Sustainability will be on hand to discuss the city's Climate Action Plan, which is currently being developed. (April 21, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/21/2016 - Victorian scientists, artists, novelists, politicians (and monarchies), and the public missed early signs of Climate Change. But we have no excuse. #Sign4Climate #ParisAgreement Address #ClimateChange. Victorians experienced early climate change but missed the signs She would not have been amused. The omens were there that the world was starting to warm as early as Queen Victoria’s reign – but Victorian scientists seem to have missed them. Retreating glaciers and early melting of ice on lakes were all beginning to appear shortly after the industrial revolution. “The signs were there for this period, mainly in Europe and North America,” says Victor Venema of the University of Bonn, Germany. Venema re-examined temperature and meteorological data recorded between 1850 and 1920 in Europe’s industrialised heartland and North America. Previous estimates of the average global temperatures for that time period suggested there was no warming – or that if there was any it was negligible, Venema says. Indeed, the UK’s Met Office uses 1850-1900 as a baseline for pre-industrial temperatures when measuring global warming. (April 20, 2016) New Scientist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/20/2016 - #keepitintheground for #ClimateChange will also keep it out of our lungs. More than half US population lives amid dangerous air pollution, report warns American Lung Association’s ‘state of the air’ report finds 166 million Americans are living in unhealthy ozone or particle pollution with serious health risks More than half of the US population lives amid potentially dangerous air pollution, with national efforts to improve air quality at risk of being reversed, a new report has warned. A total of 166 million Americans live in areas that have unhealthy levels of of either ozone or particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association, raising their risk of lung cancer, asthma attacks, heart disease, reproductive problems and other ailments. The association’s 17th annual “state of the air” report found that there has been a gradual improvement in air quality in recent years but warned progress has been too slow and could even be reversed by efforts in Congress to water down the Clean Air Act. (April 20, 2016) The Guardian [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 4/20/2016 - ACTION: Act on giving bicyclists a 3-ft break from vehicles, making biking safer, and reducing greenhouse gases. 3 FT PASSING LAW Thanks to the strong leadership of Board President Jim Reed and Board Member Emeritus Ivan Vamos, who himself was hit by a car, and support from Transportation Alternatives, the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC) has launched an all-out campaign this legislative session in Albany to amend the vague and impossible to enforce 2010 Safe Passing law. At the very least, we think there should be a 3 feet passing standard, which is now the law in 26 other states across the country. Email your legislators now by sending an email through this very easy-to-use form. [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 4/20/2016 - If you know the cause of Climate Change, you can affect the effects. Climate denial is counterproductive. Study: humans have caused all the global warming since 1950 Global warming attribution studies consistently find humans are responsible for all global warming over the past six decades. A new study published in Climate Dynamics has found that humans are responsible for virtually all of the observed global warming since the mid-20thcentury. It’s not a novel result – in fact, most global warming attribution studies have arrived at the same general result – but this study uses a new approach. (April 19, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2016 - One of the gaping holes in the Paris Agreement is the effect and benefits of proper Agriculture on Climate Change. Rochester’s Earth Week attempts to fill that hole. Check out all the events Rochester’s Earth week here and for more complete coverage of this amazing press conference go here: City of Rochester kicks off 2016 Earth Week This year focuses on the relationship between food and climate change City kicks off 2016 Earth Week The City of Rochester kicked off "Earth Week" on Monday. This year's Earth Week focuses on the relationship between food and climate change. On Earth Day this Friday, April 22, over 100 countries will sign the global climate agreement negotiated in Paris at the end of last year. This year's Earth Week discussion topics include how agriculture affects healthy soil and greenhouse gas emissions, and alternative strategies for dealing with the climate crisis. (April 18, 2016) RochesterFirst.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2016 - Look, at the end of the day if we aren’t tracking emissions accurately our efforts to address Climate Change won’t mean shit to a tree. A major focus should be placed on accurate measurements of greenhouse gas emissions and where they are coming from so we can actually monitor and address them. Anything else is delusional. There should be objective worldwide ways to measure emissions and I would think that satellites measuring all the greenhouse gases around the world should be a worldwide joint project. Here’s What Happens When Companies Track Emissions Ten years ago, as part of a sustainability initiative, Walmart decided to take a look at its greenhouse gas emissions. The retail giant not only tallied up the carbon footprint of its trucking fleet and supersize stores, it also set out to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the countless products offered on its shelves. With the help of the Environmental Defense Fund, the company calculated that these goods accounted for the vast majority of its emissions — between 90 and 95 percent, says Jenny Ahlen, a supply chain expert at EDF who works with Walmart. (April 16, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2016 - An early start date on the Paris Agreement is still a treaty that should have been initiated decades ago. It’s important that Paris Agreement get signed and all of us get going ASAP but in no way are we jumping the gun by getting done now what should have been done a long time ago. US and China lead push to bring Paris climate deal into force early Early start date would add momentum for deeper emissions cuts and lock a future US president into the deal for four years The US and China are leading a push to bring the Paris climate accord into force much faster than even the most optimistic projections – aided by a typographical glitch in the text of the agreement. More than 150 governments, including 40 heads of state, are expected at a symbolic signing ceremony for the agreement at the United Nations on 22 April, which is Earth Day. It’s the largest one-day signing of any international agreement, according to the UN. (April 18, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/19/2014 - Complete video of press conference in ‪#‎RochesterNY‬ includes City’s announcement of Climate Action Plan and ‪#‎EarthWeek‬ events. Watch this remarkable event where local groups join their city in a commitment to address Climate Change. The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC), comprised of over 70 groups—labor unions, environmental groups, faith groups, businesses, and many more--joined the City of Rochester to open Earth Week festivities. Earth Week highlights many events going on in Rochester, including the Earth Eve Climate March Forward on Thursday. Mentioned in the press conference is the City of Rochester’s Climate Action Plan, which will soon be presented to the public for their participation. (More coming on this at the Seneca Park Zoo Earth Day events on Saturday, April 23rd.) We hope all who see this video of this press conference will share it in all their social media contacts. We hope all in Monroe County will get engaged on addressing Climate Change and to do that we need you to Become The Media! Please "like" and share with all your social media so we can highlight all the events in Earth Week: Demonstrate your support for addressing Climate Change in the Rochester region by attending the Earth Eve Climate March Forward at Washington Square Park on Thursday, April 21st at 5PM 

  • 4/16/2016 - Will 2016 be even hotter than 2015? Only your grandchildren will know for sure. Endless rises in temperature are still avoidable but the window of opportunity is closing quickly. Don’t put a climate denier into high office, do shift to renewable energy, do press your press to properly inform the public of what is going on, and be engaged is this worldwide crisis. New Milestone: Earth Sees 11 Record Hot Months in a Row The past 11 months have been the hottest such months in 135 years of recordkeeping, a streak that has itself set a record and puts in clear terms just how much the planet has warmed due to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. New global temperature data released on Friday by NASA put March at 2.3°F (1.28°C) above the 1951-1980 average for the month, making it the warmest March on record. It beat out the previous warmest March, from 2010, by 0.65°F (0.36°C) — a handy margin. It also marked the 11th month in a row to set such a record, beating out the previous such streak of 10 months set back in 1944. March also marked six straight months with temperatures that were more than 1°C above average, a notable mark given the stated goal of international climate talks to keep warming in the 21st century below 2°C (with some talk of even aiming for 1.5°C). (April 15, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/16/2016 - Imagine that instead of today’s 403.19ppm of CO2 where our CO2 count would be if the fossil fuel industry had shifted to renewables back in the 1960’s. It literally takes one’s breathe away to think of how different our world would be if our fossil fuel energy corporations had acted responsibly and worked with the public and governments to shift to energy options that wouldn’t put us where we are today: more than halfway to hell, where we’ve passed 1C and are moving to the agreed limit of 1.5. CO2's Role in Global Warming Has Been on the Oil Industry's Radar Since the 1960s Historical records reveal early industry concern with air pollutants, including smog and CO2, and unwanted regulation. The oil industry's leading pollution-control consultants advised the American Petroleum Institute in 1968 that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels deserved as much concern as the smog and soot that had commanded attention for decades. Carbon dioxide was "the only air pollutant which has been proven to be of global importance to man's environment on the basis of a long period of scientific investigation," two scientists from the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) told the API. This paperalong with scores of other publications, shows that the risks of climate change were being discussed in the inner circles of the oil industry earlier than previously documented. The records, unearthed from archives by a Washington, D.C. environmental law organization, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), reveal that the carbon dioxide question—an obscure corner of research for much of the 20th century—had been closely studied since the 1950s by some oil company researchers (April 13, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/15/2016 - One of the unknown knowns of Climate Change is the amount of methane leaks from our existing natural gas infrastructures. I know, this is boring stuff. We still use natural gas to heat our home and light up most of our stoves. But we must remember that the pipelines bringing us this gas (which, we are trying to get off and move to a non-fossil fuel way of heating and cooking) are old and they are probably leaking. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. In order to actually bring down greenhouse gas emissions we actually have to bring all of them down. And to do this we need to make sure our natural gas pipe are not leaking and if they are to stop them leaking until we can get off this addiction. With New Tools, A Focus  On Urban Methane Leaks Until recently, little was known about the extent of methane leaking from urban gas distribution pipes and its impact on global warming. But recent advances in detecting this potent greenhouse gas are pushing U.S. states to begin addressing this long-neglected problem. Battered by storms and weakened with age, the natural gas distribution pipes of urban New Jersey have long been in need of repair. And for a long time, the state’s largest utility, Public Service and Enterprise Group (PSE&G), has wanted to replace them. The problem is that pipelines cost upwards of $1.3 million per mile, and the utility owns 4,330 miles of them. Replacing it all would cost at least $6 billion, not to mention decades of work. (April 4, 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/15/2016 - At first scientists thought their models were broke, but no Greenland’s ice is really melting that quickly. Greenland sees early ice sheet melt Ice-sheet melt is one of the more visible and key signs of man-made global warming from the burning of fossil fuels. Greenland's massive ice sheet has experienced such an early and extensive melt that scientists this week thought their models were broken when they saw the data. Summer-like warm temperatures and rain resulted in about 12 percent of the ice sheet surface area - 1.7 million square kilometres - showing signs of melting ice on Monday, scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) said. "We had to check that our models were still working properly," climate scientist Peter Langen told DMI's Polar Portal website. Such a melt is normal for late May, but not mid-April. (April 15, 2016) Al Jazeera [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/14/2016 - Yes, boys and girls, hauling oil can be fun and rewarding as long as you don’t die from exposure to deadly gases. Of course, like everything else, there are many trade-offs for continuing with a fossil-fuel infrastructure, like warming our planet, and threatening our future, and so forth and so on. I hope you have learned something day about this very important subject. Thank you. Goodbye. WATCH: Oil workers exposed to deadly gases Working in the oil patch can be dangerous. Some of those dangers aren't visible to the naked eye. When workers open oil tanks to gauge levels, they can be surrounded by deadly gases. At least nine people in Colorado, Texas and North Dakota have died from exposure to these gases. Inside Energy's Emily Guerin reports from North Dakota on how oil haulers have been dealing with this hazard. (April 13, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/14/2016 - Fast Forward Film Festival #FFFF short films by Rochesterians on our environment coming soon. Environmental perspectives at the Fast Forward Film Festival The Little Theatre and George Eastman House will host the second annual Fast Forward Film Festival on April 21 & 23. The festival showcases environmental perspectives with short films made by local filmmakers. Andy stern, executive director, Fast Forward Film Festival, and filmmakers Ben Doran and Jack Aman join us on Good Day Rochester. Film Screenings The Little Theatre April 21, 7:00 p.m. (April 13, 2016) FOX Rochester

  • 4/14/2016 - Climate Change is subtle only if you’re not paying attention. Birds are paying attention. So should we. Did you notice fewer birds flew south this winter? Study blames climate change Climate change is starting to change the behavior of birds around the world, including some species here in the United States, according to a study conducted by an international team of researchers. Warmer temperatures in some northern states are providing more ideal conditions for certain types of northern birds, so more of them seem to be staying up north instead of flying south for the winter, the researchers found.    Among their key findings, the researchers found the population of American robins has decreased in some southern states, like Louisiana and Mississippi, and has expanded in northern states, including North Dakota and South Dakota, where temperatures have been warming up during recent decades.  (April 13, 2016) NJ.com [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/14/2016 - "1.5 to stay alive." UN climate science body green-lights 1.5C report Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change accepts call for report on tough aspirational global warming threshold agreed in Paris The UN’s climate science body will produce a special report by 2018 on the impacts of 1.5C global warming and emissions cuts needed to stay within that threshold. That was agreed by government representatives at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Nairobi this week. They were responding to a call in the Paris Agreement for a review of evidence around the tough aspirational limit on temperature rise. “1.5 to stay alive” was a rallying cry for campaigners, warning that even low levels of warming could see small island states swallowed by rising seas. (April 14, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2016 - Great article in Rochester City News @roccitynews on the evolution of #EarthDay & how #RochesterNY fits in. ‪#‎EarthDayRocs Lots happening during Earth Week 2016 | The evolution of Earth Day  Climate change is a central theme of Earth Day 2016, which is on April 22. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to New York City for a public signing of the Paris climate agreement. And many Rochester-area Earth Week events are connected to climate change, including the Rochester Sierra Club chapter's forum on sustainable agriculture, Mothers Out Front's climate march, and the Rochester People's Climate Coalition's talk on connecting with conservatives on the issue. The first Earth Day took place in 1970 in a country facing serious air and water pollution. The event was so popular that it helped convince a previously reluctant Congress to pass new anti-pollution laws. Earth Day 1970 marked a tipping point, and over the next 46 years it helped bring environmental issues into the mainstream. Children now learn about recycling in school, and most adults know better than to dump household wastes and motor oil down storm drains. (April 13, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2015 - Of course, the whole point of President Obama’s quick action on Paris Agreement is to head off climate deniers at the pass. If the US is crazy enough to put a climate denier into the top political position, this would put not only the US but the world in jeopardy. It should be very hard indeed for a future climate denier president to pull out of the Paris Agreement. Climate Change is a real as gravity and we don’t want to be crushed by a leader with an insane ideology. Obama’s rapid move to join the Paris climate agreement could tie up the next president In late March, when the United States and China jointly declared that they’d be moving to immediately sign and then join the Paris climate agreement “as early as possible this year,” it was seen as the latest show of joint leadership by the two largest emitters. But there’s another possible implication that went largely unnoticed. If the nations of the world, led by its two biggest contributors to climate change, jump through all the hoops needed to bring this agreement into force before President Obama leaves office, the next U.S. president could have a difficult time — or at least, a long wait — if he or she wanted to get out of it. (April 11, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2016 - What could possibly go wrong piping millions of gallons of oil through the Great Lakes? Michigan lawmaker wants moratorium on Great Lakes pipelines An upcoming state senate bill would curb new oil pipelines in the Great Lakes. Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says he'll introduce legislation this week that would block new pipelines from running through Great Lakes waters. The bill would also require existing lines to undergo a third-party safety review – including Enbridge's Line 5 beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Jones says his bill would shut down the 63-year-old line, and others, if the safety review deemed it unsafe. (April 11, 2016) Michigan Radio [more on Great lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/13/2016 - Extreme weather due to Climate Change is getting closer to home. Check out Environment New York’s interactive map. Updated interactive map shows impact of extreme weather events on New York New York, NY–One hundred percent of New Yorkers live in counties affected recently by weather-related disasters according to an interactive, online map released today that crunches data from the federal government. Scientists say global warming is already exacerbating some extreme weather events and their impacts. “From massive floods to severe storms, like Hurricane Sandy, dangerous weather is already hitting close to home,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “And without action to stop climate change, scientists say these extremes—and their impact on New Yorkers—will only get worse.” Environment New York researchers, who created the online map, Hitting Close to Home, found that since September 2010, New York experienced 11 weather- disasters, including severe storms, tornadoes, floods, tropical storms, snow and ice storms, and droughts. (April 7, 2016) Environment New York [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2016 - Climate Change is causing heavier rainfalls which are overwhelming our combined sewer systems around Great Lakes. This little piece of information should be top priority to those communities the live in the Great Lakes basin. If our region is not planning to change this situation, we are going to be quickly overwhelmed by the consequences of Climate Change in our region. Our media and our governments, who run our waste water infrastructures around the Great Lakes should be readying the public for this crisis and preparing. Time passes. Rainfall fuels raw sewage dumpings into Thames April showers bring, well, you may not want to know. Heavy rainfall this spring is fuelling more human sewage pollution of the Thames River from London, a problem linked to the explosive growth in recent years of life-killing toxic algae in Lake Erie, into which the Thames ultimately flows. In the first three months of 2016, figures reported by the city on its website show London dumped 59,473 cubic metres of raw sewage into the river from its waste water treatment plants and 91,171 cubic metres of partially treated waste. That sewage — from so-called “bypasses,” when heavy rains overwhelm the system — was enough to fill about 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools. (April 10, 2016) IFPress [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area] 

  • 4/12/2016 - This is the part you have to get your head around: Considering the state of our transportation infrastructure, “Over the last six years the amount of crude oil being transported by rail has increased approximately 5,000 percent…” I’m thinking that the DOT is not doing all it can to prevent Bomb Trains and that an online safety manual just isn’t going to fix this problem.  The most important thing the DOT could do to prevent serious damage from a 5,000 % increase in dangerous crude is to stop it altogether and get the public to adopt renewable energy because there ain’t no way to make this kind of increase in the trafficking of fossil-fuels safe. PHMSA, FRA Lay Tracks for Proactive Rail Incident Preparedness Over the last six years the amount of crude oil being transported by rail has increased approximately 5,000 percent—more than ever before in our nation’s history. This significant increase has affected communities along rail lines in many ways: from increased traffic at grade crossings to concerns about leaks, spills, potential derailments or other incidents.  The Department is doing all we can to ensure that all involved – community members, included- are prepared in the event of an accident. We work especially closely with local law enforcement, emergency responders and hazardous materials professionals to share information and support their efforts to prepare for and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials.  Most recently, we released the Transportation Rail Incident Preparedness and Response (TRIPR) training resource. Developed in conjunction with other public safety agencies, TRIPR leverages the expertise of rail carriers and industry subject matter experts to better prepare first responders to safely manage large-scale incidents involving unit trains transporting flammable liquids. This off-the-shelf training is available online and can be used anywhere throughout the country. (April 4, 2016) Transportation.gov [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 4/12/2016 - Study: Even if we reduce our GHGs, over half of world’s population will experience very hot summers by the next 20 years.  This is why the adaptation component of Climate Change is so important: it’s going to get hot and inconvenient regardless of how much we do to mitigate Climate Change. At least for a while, because we’ve baked so much heat into our air and water.  If we plan to adapt properly and if we seriously bring down GHGs, then we might come out of it OK. If.  Historically hottest summers projected to be the norm for more than half of the world's population within 20 years We project that within the next two decades, half of the world's population will regularly (every second summer on average) experience regional summer mean temperatures that exceed those of the historically hottest summer, even under the moderate RCP4.5 emissions pathway. This frequency threshold for hot temperatures over land, which have adverse effects on human health, society and economy, might be broached in little more than a decade under the RCP8.5 emissions pathway. These hot summer frequency projections are based on adjusted RCP4.5 and 8.5 temperature projections, where the adjustments are performed with scaling factors determined by regularized optimal fingerprinting analyzes that compare historical model simulations with observations over the period 1950–2012. (April 7, 2016) IOPScience [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2016 - The Climate Change question for the day: Can we suck enough CO2 out of the air to matter and if so how? The time when we could save the plant by just doing little things here and there is over. Now we all gotta to pitch in and we have to develop technology to make up for what we didn’t do back in the day. Time passes. In-depth: Experts assess the feasibility of ‘negative emissions’ To limit climate change to “well below 2C”, as nations agreed to do in Paris last December, modelling shows it is likely that removing carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere later on this century will be necessary. Scientists have imagined a range of “negative emissions” technologies, or NETs, that could do just that, as explained by Carbon Brief yesterday. But are any of them realistic in practice? Carbon Brief reached out to a number of scientists, policy experts and campaigners who have studied both the necessity and feasibility of negative emissions. (April 12, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2016 - The public trust doctrine is valid. We must give children a future. (I thought that was baked into our genes.) I thought the whole point of producing children was to carry on our existence, human existence. What would be the point of going through the trouble of having kids and not giving them a future? If we are going to ignore the existential crisis of Climate Change, wouldn’t it make more sense to just ‘eat, drink, and be merry’? Federal Court Rules On Climate Change In Favor Of Today's Children In the first lawsuit to involve a planet, Judge Thomas Coffin of the United States Federal District Court in Eugene, Oregon, ruled on Friday in favor of twenty-one plaintiffs, ages 8 to 19, on behalf of future generations of Americans in a landmark constitutional climate change case brought against the Federal Government and the Fossil FOSL +0.68% Fuel Industry. The lawsuit alleges that the Federal Government is violating the Plaintiffs’ constitutional and public trust rights by promoting the use of fossil fuels. The Complaint explains that, for over fifty years, the United States Government and the Fossil Fuel Industry have known that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels causes global warming and dangerous climate change, and that continuing to burn fossil fuels destabilizes the climate system. (April 10, 2016) Forbes [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2016 - Great to be on George Payne’s Rochester Free Radio program “The Broken Spear Vision”. George and I had a chance to discuss some Rochester area environmental issues in relation to Climate Change, Earth Week, and Climate Change. Listen inThe Broken Spear Vision 33 by Rochester Free Radio Published April 2, 2016 Usage Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Topics climate changemainstream media Frank Regan, coordinator of RochesterEnvironment.com joins George to talk about climate change.  What is the mainstream media missing?  What's being done in Rochester?

  • 4/11/2016 - So, again, it’s not that climate change hasn’t occurred before, it’s that this Climate Change is occurring very fast and we are in it. On another subject, I’ve been reading a biography of William Lloyd Garrison, the “great prominent American abolitionist, journalist, suffragist, and social reformer”. What strikes me about Garrison is that Abolitionism, abolishing slavery, was around a long time before the 1830’s when Garrison’s work was flourishing. What made Garrison different is that he spoke about abolishing slavery NOW! Until Garrison, folks, even Southerners, were talking about the evils of slavery and something would be done about it eventually. But Garrison put this foot down and said NOW! At some point soon, I suspect, humanity is going to recognize that compelling reports as the one that follows demands that we stop Climate Change Now! Time passes. Mass extinctions and climate change: why the speed of rising greenhouse gases matters We now know that greenhouse gases are rising faster than at any time since the demise of dinosaurs, and possibly even earlier. According to research published in Nature Geoscience this week, carbon dioxide (CO₂) is being added to the atmosphere at least ten times faster than during a major warming event about 50 million years ago. We have emitted almost 600 billion tonnes of carbon since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and atmospheric CO₂ concentrations are now increasing at a rate of 3 parts per million (ppm) per year. With increasing CO₂ levels, temperatures and ocean acidification also rise, and it is an open question how ecosystems are going to cope under such rapid change. (March 23, 2016) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area)  

  • 4/11/2016 - Learn even more about the Climate Change soil mix at #RochesterNY #‎EarthWeek EarthWeek2016 | Treating Soil A Little Differently Could Help It Store A Huge Amount Of Carbon Climate change is a massive problem with the potential to completely reshape the world, both literally (with rising sea levels and melting glaciers) and figuratively (with the way we grow food, or the way that we handle allergies). And while the consequences caused by climate change could be huge, the solutions — transitioning to a completely fossil fuel-free economy, or geoengineering — can often seem equally daunting. But what if something as simple as the dirt under your feet could help mitigate some of the worst of climate change? The Earth’s soils contain a lot of carbon, and helping to manage and restore them could be a key way to help tackle climate change, according to a recent study in Nature. (April 7, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2016 - NYS DEC’s WAVE program for citizen scientists monitoring local water quality in our streams is great way to care for our environment. NYS Looking For Volunteers To Assess Stream And River Quality New York State is recruiting volunteers to help with stream and river evaluations this summer. The Department of Environmental Conservation samples streams and rivers across the state to create an inventory of stream water quality. The agency relies on volunteers to help flag sites that have potential water quality concerns. (April 11, 2016) WXXI News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/11/2016 - Ice is melting so quickly because of Climate Change that Earth is wobbling differently. Nothing to worry about. It’s just interesting. Sit back relax. It’s like riding down the highway and feeling a clunk in the back of the car and the car starts weaving just a tiny bit. Nothing to worry about. Tell the kids to turn their TV’s back on and watch the pretty towns go by. La-de-da…  NASA: Global warming now changing how Earth wobbles Scientists say massive melting of polar ice has affected the distribution of the planet's weight. Global warming is shifting the way the Earth wobbles on its polar axis, a new NASA study says, highlighting what one expert said is the "large" impact humans have on the planet. According to the study published on Friday in the journal Science Advances, melting ice sheets - especially in Greenland - are changing the distribution of weight on Earth. As a result, both the North Pole and the wobble, which is called polar motion, have changed course. "The recent shift from the 20th-century direction is very dramatic," said Surendra Adhikari, lead author at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. While scientists said the shift is harmless, it is meaningful (April 8, 2016) Aljazeera [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2016 - So pathetic that nations must race to lock in Paris Agreement before US elects a climate denier and puts humanity in jeopardy. What’s wrong with this picture? Nations seek rapid ratification of Paris climate deal, four-year lock Many nations are pushing for swift ratification of a Paris agreement to slow climate change and lock it in place for four years before a change in the White House next year that might bring a weakening of Washington's long-term commitment. More than 130 nations with 60 leaders including French President Francois Hollande are due to sign December's pact at a U.N. ceremony in New York on April 22, the most ever for a U.N. agreement on an opening day, the United Nations said. Both China and the United States, the world's top emitters accounting together for 38 percent of emissions, have promised to sign then. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to attend. (April 10, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/09/2014 - If a single Loon dies of a tropical disease because of Climate Change, can you feel it? Wildlife are an integral part (which is to say, they are one) of our environment, which is to say our life support system, so I suspect our wildlife dying from a tropical disease is an unknown unknown about the consequences of Climate Change in our Northeast region. We know that our public health is going to be dramatically affected by Climate Change via tropical diseases because our climate is warming, but how many knew our wildlife was going to be so threatened? What are we doing to do about this? Time passes. Why one loon’s death is stirring fears of tropical disease, climate change A New England loon has died from avian malaria, according to researchers who believe this to be the first known case of a loon dying of the tropical disease. The loon was found floating last summer on Lake Umbagog, a 7-mile-long lake straddling the New Hampshire and Maine border, and was quickly brought to scientists for examination. In less than a week, the avian malaria was detected, surprising wildlife biologists and stirring conversations about climate change and its future impact on wildlife. (April 8, 2016) Bangor Daily News [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]  

  • 4/09/2016 - From Dr. James Hansen, Good news: lawsuit to protect future generations from carbon pollution of our atmosphere cannot be stopped by fossil fuel industry. Bad news: there’s homework. Home work, more reading: UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON KELSEY CASCADE ROSE JULIANA; et al., Case 6:15-cv-01517-TC | Historic Victory in Court 8 April 2016 James Hansen The United States District Court in Oregon, in a ruling that may reverberate in history, denied the request of the United States and its co-defendant intervenors (American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Fuels and Petrochemical Association) to dismiss our case (see prior Communications of 9 March 2016and 12 August 2015). Your homework assignment for the weekend is to read Judge Coffin’s ruling, which includes the rationale for his decision. It will warm your heart and may restore some faith in our government.  Judge Coffin’s ruling is attached. (April 8, 2016) Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions | Earth Institute Columbia University [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/09/2016 - Major Rochester, NY press conference on April 18th at Rochester City Hall to kick off Earth Week 2016 to highlight the Paris Agreement signing, many local Earth Week events, and Earth Eve Climate March Forward | City of Rochester Joins Local Climate Coalition to Launch Earth Week 2016   Rochester’s ‘Earth Week 2016: A Menu of Climate Actions to Suit Every Taste’ focuses on the relationship between Food and Climate Change, an important ingredient left out of the Paris Agreement.     Monday, April 18, 2016, 10AM @ Rochester City Hall, 30 Church St, Rochester, NY 14614   The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) is excited to welcome its newest member, the City of Rochester’s Department of Environmental Services!  Together, representatives from the City and other RPCC member organizations will hold a press conference on Monday, April 18, to kick off RPCC’s celebration of Earth Week 2016. Speakers will include a City of Rochester official (yet to be determined) and RPCC spokesperson Linda Isaacson Fedele.     This year’s lineup of Earth Week events highlights the relationship between our food choices and climate change.  From April 16 to April 22, RPCC’s member organizations will offer “daily specials” to showcase a range of climate action opportunities-- something for every taste.  Some will focus directly on how agriculture affects healthy soil and greenhouse gas emissions, while others will address alternative strategies for dealing with the climate crisis.   Mindful of the important Paris Agreement that global officials will sign on Earth Day, April 22, 2016, Rochester seeks to draw attention to this special occasion and to the omission of any provision to reduce agriculture’s impact on climate change from the final agreement.  RPCC’s calendar of Earth Week events provides participants with a variety of opportunities to get involved in climate change solutions --- food-related, energy-related, and many more.   We invite you to join us in celebrating and protecting our planet during Earth Week 2016!  Visit Earth Week 2016 to see our complete calendar and event listings. April 8, 2016) Rochester People's Climate Coalition [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/09/2016 - A lot of Climate Change was caused by humanity’s ignorance about the GHGs and fossil fuels connection but not all of it. Some knew. Think Tank With Fossil-Fuel Ties Subpoenaed in AG's Climate Inquiry The subpoena of the Competitive Enterprise Institute by the Virgin Islands AG represents a widening of the investigations into Exxon and other companies. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank and one of the fossil fuel industry's most steadfast allies, disclosed on Thursday that the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands is demanding to see records of the group's donors and activities involving climate policy. The subpoena represents a broadening of a multifaceted legal inquiry into whether fossil fuel companies broke any laws as they sought for decades to undermine the scientific consensus and head off forceful action to address the climate crisis. (April 8, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - How concerned should folks in the Rochester, NY area be about urban gardening and Lead Poisoning? Important read. Kids face higher lead exposure playing in urban gardens Cornell and New York state scientists estimate that some gardeners who toil in urban gardens and children who play in them could be exposed to lead levels that exceed U.S Food and Drug Administration thresholds. Their new research, which also offers mitigation strategies, was published in the journal Environmental Geochemistry and Health. Researchers from the New York State Department of Health and Cornell University examined 564 soil samples and 159 vegetable specimens from approximately 60 community gardens in New York City to determine the probabilities of adults and children being exposed to lead. (April 7, 2016) Cornell Chronicle [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - Before you can deal with Invasive Species you have to know where they are. Check out iMapInvasives and the Mobile version. FL-PRISM Update: Using iMapInvasives As A Tool For Mapping Invasive Species Across The Landscape Invasive species have become a familiar, albeit complicated, challenge to managing our natural resources. We need to be strategic when deciding where to focus our efforts, whether for control projects or for finding new infestations early. These types of decisions necessitate good data and a way to quickly share new information. The New York Natural Heritage Program manages the state invasive species database, iMapInvasives, and provides a way for agencies, organizations, and concerned citizens to view known distributions of species and report new locations. (April 7, 2016) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - The power of clouds cooling Climate Change is proving ethereal. Quickly disrupting a complex system suggests no easy solutions. Rather than hope and pray various aspects of our environment will rise to safe us, we should be shifting dramatically in our behavior to make sure they do. Climate Models May Overstate Clouds’ Cooling Power, Research Says The computer models that predict climate change may be overestimating the cooling power of clouds, new research suggests. If the findings are borne out by further research, it suggests that making progress against global warming will be even harder. The new paper, in the journal Science, focuses on what are known as mixed-phase clouds, which are found around the world and contain both cooled water and ice crystals. The balance of water and ice in clouds affects the impact that carbon dioxide levels have on atmospheric temperatures, a factor known as equilibrium climate sensitivity. A higher sensitivity would mean that carbon dioxide levels would cause more warming than previously thought. (April 7, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - Uh–oh fossil fuel industry, it’s not nice to try and fool the laws of physics. It’s gonna be hard to address Climate Change when powerful bad actors are only really interested in their own self-interests. Weekly wrap: Oil majors accused of undermining climate laws Oil majors claim to be committed to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, but a study out this week says they spent $115 million trying to nix new climate laws. That’s the finding from London-based NGO Influence Map, which names Exxon-Mobil, Shell and the American Petroleum Institute lobby group as main offenders. The revelations come at a time when top fossil fuel companies are being pushed by shareholders and top regulators to disclose the risks climate change poses to their business plans. April 8, 2016) Climate Home [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2016 - Remember when your mother said, “Finish everything on your plate”? It wasn’t just about you. #Climate Change and Food waste don’t mix. Reducing food waste would mitigate climate change, study shows Scientists estimate up to 14% of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better Reducing food waste around the world would help curb emissions of planet-warming gases, lessening some of the impacts of climate change such as more extreme weather and rising seas, scientists said on Thursday. Up to 14% of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better, according to a new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “Agriculture is a major driver of climate change, accounting for more than 20% of overall global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010,” said co-author Prajal Pradhan. (April 7, 2016) The Guardian [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/07/2016 - Brighton Town Supervisor, William Moehle, talks about advancing Solar Power in Brighton, NY ROCSPOT solar assemblies seek to increase Brighton solar energy use A few years ago, I had the pleasure of taking a Danube River cruise. As we sailed down the river through Germany, in the midst of the beautiful scenery, I couldn’t help but notice the ubiquitous solar panels on homes, businesses and even farm buildings. Germany leads the world in per capita solar photovoltaic energy production. Solar energy generates as much as 7 percent of electricity produced in Germany and over 30 percent of electricity in Germany is renewable, in each case far more than we produce here in the U.S. Even though much of Germany receives less sun than Rochester, governmental policies have greatly increased the use of solar energy in Germany. (April 7, 2016) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 4/07/2016 - Trying to figure this out… So, we are helping wildlife to adapt to Climate Change by killing (harvesting) them in larger numbers. Hmmm…. What role do bears play in our modern environment? How will bears adapt to a warmer New York State? What are we doing to educate the public on wildlife and Climate Change? How many bears did we kill this year? This we DO know: “New York bear hunters took 1,715 black bears during the 2015 hunting seasons…,” According to the agency in our state responsible for managing our Wildlife, which means I guess making sure there are enough of them to ‘take’ or ‘harvest,’ we know that we are killing bears in larger numbers, so the bear populations must be healthy. Is this the question we should be asking about Wildlife and Climate Change: How many bears will we be able to kill in 2050 or say 2100? If we are able to kill them in massive numbers as time goes on, we will have done our job, right? Still, that sounds like a very odd way to manage our wildlife as our environment changes rapidly from Climate Change. What’s wrong with this picture? DEC Announces 2015 Bear Harvest Results Second Largest Bear Harvest on Record for 2015 New York bear hunters took 1,715 black bears during the 2015 hunting seasons, the second largest bear harvest on record in New York, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Only the 2003 harvest (1,863) surpassed the 2015 year's take. "Our bear population is flourishing in New York State, providing increased opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers alike to enjoy these important species" DEC Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "DEC's science based management strategies are working to increase the bear population and allow for expanded hunting opportunities." (April 6, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation  (more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 4/07/2016 - It ain’t over until we keep it all in the ground. Because the world’s total GHG emissions are what matters, we have to stop it all. We have to do our part in our part of the world but the results still have to add up to a worldwide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Hundreds of coal plants are still being planned worldwide — enough to cook the planet I've written before about the global coal renaissance — the single biggest energy and climate story of the past 15 years. Since 2000, countries like China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam have been building coal-fired power plants at a torrid pace: The coal boom has had undeniable benefits, helping poor countries climb out of poverty. But it also has serious downsides: Carbon dioxide emissions accelerated in the 2000s, and if coal continues to be the world's leading source of electricity, we'll cook the planet. So the biggest, most important climate question for the next 15 years is: How long will this global coal boom last? Or, put another way, when will the rise of clean energy finally stop coal's growth for good? One invaluable data source here is an annual report from three environmental groups: CoalSwarm, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace. Each year, the authors document all the new coal plants that have been announced, permitted, or are currently being built around the world. (April 5, 2016) VOX [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/06/2016 - How can we shift focus from NIMBY and bird issues to Climate Change on placement of large scale wind farms? It’s not that local concerns and birds are not important but when large scale wind farms, which are a major component of our renewable energy goals, are thwarted where do we get that critical clean energy? I have suggested some guidelines on how to switch our traditional concerns about large scale wind farms in the context of a rapidly warming world.  “Ground rules for deciding on large-scale wind farm placement| Area wind farm listed as bad for birds The huge Lighthouse Wind project near the Lake Ontario shoreline in Orleans and Niagara counties has been named one of the nation's 10 worst wind farms for birds — and it doesn't even exist yet. The declaration comes from the American Bird Conservancy, which asserts that Lighthouse Wind's giant turbines would be smack in the middle of an important migratory pathway. "Vast numbers of songbirds and raptors concentrate within six miles of the shoreline during spring and fall of each year," the group said in a blog announcing its choices. The rest of the list includes five existing wind farms and four other proposed facilities, none of them in New York state. The conservancy is not a big fan of anything that can harm birds, including wind turbines, habitat loss, pesticides and, of course, house cats. The developer of the Lighthouse Wind project, Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy, said the 10-worst list was for the birds. (March 25, 2016) 520 An Environmental Blog

  • 4/06/2016 - Both shipping and airplane industries must pull their weight on Climate Change as they are a very heavy factor in warming. France, Morocco urge shipping to make ‘fair share’ of carbon cuts Six countries are calling on the International Maritime Organization to pull its weight in efforts to tackle climate change Pressure is mounting on the UN shipping body to develop a greenhouse gas emissions strategy for the sector. Six countries are urging the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to contribute its “fair share” to global efforts to tackle climate change. France, Germany and Morocco have lent their weight to a proposal to be considered at the London-based body’s environment committee meeting from 18-22 April. (May 5, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/06/2016 - This report on the impacts of Climate Change on human health in the US reveals a major threat that all communities must address. This report was produced by U.S. Global Change Research Program, which is to say your government whose job it is to preserve and protect the American people.  Consider at least skimming this report to get an idea of the threats we should be preparing for right now. Also, consider how insane it would be to put a climate denier into office who isn’t preparing our public health structure for this crisis. White House: Climate Change Poses Urgent Health Risk Climate change is a major threat to human health, with extreme heat likely to kill 27,000 Americans annually by 2100, according to a report released Monday by the White House. The report, by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, outlines numerous ways global warming could devastate public health in the U.S. this century. Global warming will lead to heat waves so extreme that in the hottest times of the year, it will be “physiologically impossible” for people who work outdoors to do their jobs, John Holdren, a science advisor to the Obama administration, said during a news conference about the report. (April 4, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change  and Environmental Health in our area] 

  • 4/05/2016 - Here’s the financial skinny on Climate Change: Taking action on Climate Change will be expensive but not doing so will be really, really expensive, perhaps overwhelmingly so. Even if you don’t care about our life support system, our kids having a future, or the moral depravity of climate denial, you probably do care about your financial assets. And if humanity doesn’t address Climate Change you can kiss those assets goodbye. Climate change will wipe $2.5tn off global financial assets: study Losses could soar to $24tn and wreck the global economy in worst case scenario, first economic modelling estimate suggests Climate change could cut the value of the world’s financial assets by $2.5tn (£1.7tn), according to the first estimate from economic modelling. In the worst case scenarios, often used by regulators to check the financial health of companies and economies, the losses could soar to $24tn, or 17% of the world’s assets, and wreck the global economy. The research also showed the financial sense in taking action to keep climate change under the 2C danger limit agreed by the world’s nations. In this scenario, the value of financial assets would fall by $315bn less, even when the costs of cutting emissions are included. (April 4, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/05/2016 - Transitioning to renewable energy won’t be easy for traditional energy employees but it can be made easier and less traumatic. Many groups who are trying to get New York State to transition from a fossil fuel energy source are baking re-educating, transitional funds, equal pay and many more positive features into the change. When you think of how creative destruction occurred in the past, when one kind of industry failed and move to another creating mass unemployment and misery, this new approach is a great leap forward in a humanitarian strategy for refitting ourselves to the future. Tonawanda sees some state tax help with closing of Huntley Many people agree that it is time to end coal-burning power plants in order to reduce pollution, but that also carries a stiff financial burden for some local taxpayers. Coal plants pay millions of dollars in taxes. So a $30 million fund included in the state budget to help communities hit hard by the closure of power plants is welcome news in the Town of Tonawanda, where the closing of the Huntley plant on River Road will mean the loss of $6 million in local tax revenues. The town and the Kenmore-Tonawanda school district along with citizen groups lobbied for a year for the fund. (April 1, 2016) The Buffalo News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/05/2016 - As a kid my favorite animal was the wolverine because they were incredible tough and persistent but they’re not tougher than Climate Change. We should not have to use the Endangered Species Act to save wildlife from Climate Change; we should address Climate Change under a comprehensive Climate Action Plan that keeps our ecosystems healthy, which would include saving creatures like the wolverine. Judge orders U.S. to address climate threat to wolverines A federal judge on Monday rejected a decision by U.S. wildlife managers to deny wolverines Endangered Species Act protection, ruling the government erred in discounting the threat posed by climate change to the weasel-like predator of the Northern Rockies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013 proposed an endangered species listing for the estimated 300 wolverines believed to still inhabit the Lower 48 states, most of them in the snowy peaks of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The Interior Department agency said then that human-caused global warming was lessening mountain snows needed by wolverines for building dens and storing food (April 4, 2016) Reuters [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/04/2016 - Potentially affecting soil microbes is one of those unknown unknowns of Climate Change we must know and prevent. If our soil is rendered null and void during Climate Change, we are history. For those dismissing or denying Climate Change they must ask themselves if they are in any way preventing humanity from discovering this potential threat from Climate Change. If so, all the king’s ideology and all the king’s political power will not prevent the collapse of a major planetary ecosystem. Time passes. Is Climate Change Putting  World's Microbiomes at Risk? Researchers are only beginning to understand the complexities of the microbes in the earth’s soil and the role they play in fostering healthy ecosystems. Now, climate change is threatening to disrupt these microbes and the key functions they provide. In 1994, scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory moved soil from moist, high-altitude sites to warmer and drier places lower in altitude, and vice versa. In 2011, they returned to the sites and looked again at the soil microbes and found that they had done little to adapt functionally to their new home. That's a bad sign, experts say, for a world convulsed by a changing climate. (March 28. 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Plants in our area]

  • 4/04/2016 - Some of the grave environmental threats on our life support system come from Climate Change in the form of the looming destruction of our major ecosystems.  Coral reefs are the Amazon forests of the oceans, where life accumulates in great abundance. This Is What Climate Change Has Done To The Great Barrier Reef Researchers say the widespread coral bleaching across the vast ecosystem is the worst on record. A new aerial survey of the Great Barrier Reef shows the vast extent of a “severe” bleaching event that’s caused widespread coral death over the past several weeks. The National Coral Bleaching Taskforce study found 95 percent of individual reefs in the most pristine section of the ecosystem showed severe bleaching. The research covered 520 reefs across more than 600 miles of coastline and found just four that didn’t show signs of damage. Coral becomes “bleached” when the usually kaleidoscopic reefs are harmed bywarmer oceans or other environmental factors. The colorful algae that feed coral polyps leave the structures during times of stress, leading to the ghostly white appearance. (March 29, 2016) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/02/2016 - Actually four words would better describe the high water for Lake Ontario: Moisture and warmth and Climate Change. Probably much of the moisture and warmth can be explained by the warming of the Arctic, which influences our lack of ice this year on the Great Lakes and we already know heavy rainfall is caused by Climate Change. Rather than focus on the effect of high water on shoreline properties our media would do well for all the public to focus on Climate Change as it relates to the Great Lakes so we can find a comprehensive solution—instead of ignoring the Climate Change ingredient altogether when the consequences of this crisis show up at our door. High lake level worries some Water watchers are casting a wary eye toward Lake Ontario, where the level is nearly a foot above normal and two feet higher than a year ago. "It's getting to be the spring period and that's when we get the storms out of the northeast that push the lake another foot higher," said Dan Barletta, a Greece dentist who lives along the shore on Edgemere Drive. "And then we get the storm surge and waves on top of it." Waves  like the 20-foot breakers a week or so ago that were crashing into the foundation of Cheryl and Bob Stevens' home on Shore Acres Drive in Parma, throwing sand and stones against their living room windows. "It was unbelievable," said Cheryl Stevens. "We haven't had waves breaking against the house since back in 2012." (April 1, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 4/02/2016 - Take Action on Clean Energy, from Mother's Out Front Sign the petition to move the Clean Power Plan forward! "You know that climate change is real, and we need to take action. According to the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the most recent decade was the Nation’s and the world’s hottest on record, and human activities – like burning fossil fuels – are the primary cause of these changes. As mothers, this kind of change is an immediate concern. Regardless of where you live, climate change is shifting weather patterns and increasing the frequency of extreme weather events. As mothers we’ll do anything to protect the health of our children. That’s why we need to be concerned about – and do something about -- climate change. Wildfires and burning fossil fuels threaten air quality, increasing pollution and rates of asthma, especially among children. Heavy rainfall and severe flooding threaten water quality as well. Fortunately, the National Climate Assessment is hopeful and so are we. We can avoid the worst consequences of a changing climate with immediate public policy that promotes energy production from clean and renewable sources. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency published a Clean Power Plan requiring states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. Yet it’s up to state officials to create policies to implement the plan. Those that promote clean energy the most will have the biggest benefit. Today, please sign our petition to let your state officials know that you support the fastest and most just transition to 100% clean energy. Together we can ensure a clean energy future and a livable climate for all children. Thanks for taking action,  Ellen van Bever Communications Team Lead Mothers Out Front Mothers Out Front "

  • 4/02/2016 - Like pointing to an awful accident, it’s hard not to sound alarmist about Arctic and Antarctica ice melt. One of the very strange aspects of Climate Change is that many have taken an attitude of dismissal or denial about this worldwide crisis even though the dramatic evidence is in their face day after day. Trying to get others to get engaged and deal with our generation’s epoch crisis is weird when you point to things like massive ice melt at our poles, scenes our species has never witnessed, and most just don’t even pay attention. It might be helpful if the general public were daily informed, like those paying attention, of the warming of our planet and its consequences but our major media, especially our local media, are very reluctant to do so. So what you get is a relatively small proportion of the public very alarmed and engage and most of the public indifferent. Which is quite odd because Climate Change is going to affect everyone—even climate deniers. But, at least in the near-term, the poor and those without adequate health plans, transportation, and adequate housing will suffer the most. Time passes. These Ice Cap Images Show the Arctic’s Rapid Change This has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for ice around the world. First came news that Arctic sea ice set a record low extent this winter (topping the old record set last year). Then came news that the West Antarctic ice sheet is facing the threat of runaway melt. Now, NASA Earth Observatory has decided to remind us that even small, less notable chunks of ice are under siege by rising temperatures, too. (March 31, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/02/2016 - Quick approval of the Paris Agreement is likely with China and the US on board. Quick actions after approval would be even better. US, China to approve Paris climate deal in 2016 Major economies represent two-fifths of global emissions edging climate treaty nearer to taking effect China and the United States, the world’s two leading carbon polluters, said on Thursday they planned to formally1 join the Paris climate agreement in 2016. In a joint statement, the major powers agreed to sign a historic carbon-cutting deal at a UN ceremony in April, and take “respective domestic steps” to approve it as “early as possible this year.” (March 31, 2016) Climate Home

  • 4/02/2016 - I suspect more than just our coastline cities being flooding by Climate Change has been underestimated. Many have underestimated the mother of all problems, so much so as to consider voting for a climate denier for public office—even high office. When our grandchildren ask why we didn’t respond to the calls to address Climate Change we can say we ‘underestimated’ the problem. US faces floods of climate refugees New research warns that more than 13 million American citizens could be at risk of being forced to move away from vulnerable coastal zones because of sea level rise. By the century’s end, millions of US citizens could become climate refugees. A study of US counties vulnerable to sea level risewarns that if the coasts are not protected, the movement of people could match the scale of the 20th-century “Great Migration” of African-Americans from the south to the northern states. Altogether, the new research concludes, more than 13 million people could be affected by a sea level rise of 1.8 metres. This is the high end of climate science projections for sea level rise, but even at the low end a rise of 0.9 metres will put more than 4 million people at risk. And another study of vulnerability worldwide suggests that, everywhere, the chance of being affected by sea level rise has been underestimated. What matters in such calculations are the concentrations of population in the coastal zones. (March 23, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/01/2016 - Fighting for smoker’s rights in our NYS Parks, Good Grief. Really, there’s groups for smokers' rights? Enough already.  Maybe we’d even consider smoking in our public parks if smokers picked up their butts, which are the major components of park trash. If you’ve been part of a park’s clean-up in your community, you know how many freaking cigarette butts there are in our parks. However libertarian you feel about our public parks, there are a lot of activities we don’t allow in our parks, like exploding bombs, and starting fires willy-nilly. Top Court Upholds Smoking Restrictions In NYS Parks ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  New York State's highest court has upheld smoking restrictions in state parks, including an outright ban at seven smaller parks in New York City.  The Court of Appeals unanimously rejected arguments from a smokers' rights group that parks officials exceeded their authority and smoking limits should be left to state lawmakers. (April 1, 2016) WXXI News [more on Parks in our area]

  • 4/01/2016 - From our friends over at Pachamama Rochester Community "April is a month full of opportunities in the Rochester area to become informed and engaged with others in action – celebrating Earth Day/Week/Month!" The Pachamama Alliance   April 2016 Newsletter

  • 4/01/2016 - Great Lakes diversion--drawing water out of the Great Lakes basin—should be on our radar. This case in Wisconsin is small but as Climate Change creates more droughts in the Southwest and West, it will loom large. Folks in need of fresh water will be looking to the largest fresh water system in the world and the Great Lakes basin is sensitive to water withdrawals, potentially changing levels and even our weather. Critique opposes U.S. community’s request to draw water from Great Lakes watershed Ontario says a precedent-setting plan that could see a small Wisconsin city draw water from Lake Michigan has some “key deficiencies” that should disqualify the proposal. The province has now weighed in with a nine-page critique of the proposed Waukesha diversion and has joined hundreds of other opponents saying the ban on drawing water out of the Great Lakes basin should stand. Waukesha, near Milwaukee, is asking permission from a bi-national group to draw as much as 38 million litres a day from Lake Michigan because its own aquifers are contaminated with radium. (March 30, 2016) LFPress.com [more on Great Lakes in our area]