Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Updates: Friday, November 28, 2014

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

  • 11/28/2014 - What’s more important, getting a good deal on Black Friday or good deal at the COP 20 in Lima? Might be a good time to get our priorities straight.  The COP 20/CMP 10 Lima Climate Change Conference - December 2014—could be the biggest deal in our lives. But most folks probably still think getting a good deal and buying a whole lot of crap they don’t need on a loony shopping thought up by godsknowswho is not only better than getting a great deal at a pivotal climate conference, they’re media probably has even informed them of the Lima conference coming up in a few days that could very well change the course of history—or end it. What’s At Stake in Lima Climate Talks It’s nearly time for a reboot on global climate action. The Kyoto Protocol of 2008 through 2012 succeeded in introducing the world to the concept of coordinated climate action. Aside from creating a weak European carbon market, however, it did little to actually ratchet greenhouse gas levels. Nations that met their obligations under the protocol did so with the help of economic downturns. The U.S. never ratified the pact. Canada eventually withdrew, avoiding repercussions for the climate-changing carbon billowing from its tar sands mines and processing facilities. An extension to the protocol will govern just one out of every sevencarbon dioxide molecules produced by humanity during the next five years. Seventeen years after that protocol was negotiated in Japan, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is preparing to take its second shot. Global climate pact 2.0, which will look nothing like its beta, is now little more than a year away. (November 27, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 11/28/2014 - I suspect that carbon capture should be part of the global climate change agreement in Lima, but not in the sense that it’s bullshit.  I remember carbon sequestration, back in the day, was heralded as the Holy Grail of Climate Change solutions, so much so that we didn’t (six years ago) need to worry our pretty little heads any more. We’d just suck the extra carbon out of the air with CCS/CCUS (carbon capture utilization and storage) and go about our business as usual.  The trouble with that was that much of our carbon goes into our oceans—so just sucking it out of our air won’t matter on a level that will matter.  Not to mention, the technology to actually capture lots of Carbon Dioxide turned out to be far more complicated that the first blush of hubris exclaimed. That kind of technology is not going to happen on a large scale in the near future. Now, the carbon capture grail has turned to the realization that trees and soil have already been doing a lot of our carbon capturing and so we should just keep our forests and soil intact. Trouble is we don’t really mean ‘our’ soil and trees.  We mean developing countries’ soil and trees, whereby we can keep mucking with ours and preventing developing countries from mucking up theirs.  That’s why the developing nations are so pissed off at the idea of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and formed NO REDD. A real, non-bullshit, attempt at carbon capture would be to actually use agricultural practices and forestry programs that keep large swaths of our environment’s ability to nationally capture carbon in the ground—for a long, long time.  But getting to this idea is going to be a long row to hoe if we continue to think other nations should do our carbon capture, while we go on with business as usual, and continue to believe that a techno carbon capture fix is just around the corner.  56 countries seek carbon capture incentives in next climate deal Fiscal incentives for carbon capture should be part of the global climate change agreement that replaces the Kyoto Protocol, 56 countries belonging to the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said in a statement on Tuesday. The recommendation by the UNECE member states puts the issue formally on the table for a meeting of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015, which aims to agree a legally binding treaty to replace Kyoto. Delegates from almost 200 nations will meet in Peru next month to work on the accord, amid new scientific warnings about risks of floods, heatwaves, ocean acidification and rising seas. (November 25, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/28/2014 - From an environmental point of view, from your life support system’s point of view, plastic bags are the bad guys. The Green Hand: What’s the Big Deal About Plastic Bags? It seems we have always used thin plastic bags. Right? What else would you use to bring groceries home, line your waste basket, or take out the garbage? Well to some of us single-use plastic bags are pretty new. They have only been used in retail stores since the late 1970s. It may be a surprise to some that we have only been using plastic for the last 40 years or so. Plastic is such a handy, easy product to use that it is hard to think of it as the bad guy. It does have beneficial uses in industry for machine parts, for example, and in our lives as electronic components, toys, and more. But we are living in a time of awareness, a time to be mindful of misusing the planet’s natural resources and a time of noticing that we have interfered with the balance of nature. The first caution in using plastic is that it is made from petroleum products, a non-renewable resource. (November 3, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 11/28/2014 - Excellent encapsulation of COP 20/CMP 10 Lima Climate Change Conference - December 2014 . I wish I could affect this breezy style that informs about this critical juncture in climate negotiations—without sounding apocalyptic. Let’s hope that the recent mid-term elections and fading public interest in Climate Change doesn’t portend the last chapter in the climate history book. Preparing for COP20 On December 1st, the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) will commence in Lima, Peru to continue attempts to draft a global treaty on climate change. It has been 25 years since the international community called for action on greenhouse gases, 26 since climate scientist James Hansen testified to U.S. congressional committees about global warming. When the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, treaty negotiators borrowed language from the Montreal Protocol (an agreement that addressed chemicals destroying the ozone layer): that member states would "act in the interests of human safety even in the face of scientific uncertainty." In the time since then, the scientific uncertainty about climate change and its causes has been greatly diminished. Thousands of technical peer-reviewed papers are published each year, and in the most recent report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, experts expressed high confidence level (over 95%) that climate change is indeed human-caused. A number of factors and events from the past year will make COP20 not only important, but also interesting. (November 24, 2014) The World Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/27/2014 - Center of Rochester, NY (High Falls) on its way to become major eco-center of the state, by Friends of the GardenAerial Long-term effort to recover industrialize center of Rochester, is moving towards providing an environmentally healthy core to our city—for learning, for living, for businesses, and proving that we can recover loss ecologies from our industrialized past. Garden Aerial Breaks Ground Garden Aerial is taking part in an effort to help beautify High Falls. We talk with Lisa Baron about the project's recent groundbreaking. (November 21, 2014) FOX Rochester News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 11/27/2014 - Lecture “mitigating climate change by pulling existing GHGs from the atmosphere” Monday, December 1, 2014 – 6:00 to 7:30 PM Unitarian Universalist Church ( 2nd Floor Alliance Rm.), 695 Elmwood Ave. at West Ferry, Buffalo, NY ; Free and open to the public All invited – Niagara Sierra Club Climate and Clean Energy Writers Group monthly session The presenter will be Dave Majewski of  Premium Services, Inc. His topic will be mitigating climate change by pulling existing GHGs from the atmosphere. Concepts explored will include soil restoration, carbon storage, agroforestry, photosynthesis, root biomass/fungi, farming practices, reduction in synthetics, removing the “moron principle’ (more-on = more-on = more-on…!) and habitat conservation and restoration. Go here to see a current article about David’s work. As climate activists, the more facts and information we have fresh at our disposal, the more effective we can be.

  • 11/27/2014 - I know, for many folks in Rochester it’s snowing so it means global warming isn’t happening, but seriously folks, worldwide heatwaves endanger the elderly. Out of all the complicated scenarios that occur when our atmosphere and water trap more heat into our climate system is that our weather gets thrown out of whack, like more frequent and extreme lake-effect snow. But there is an obvious scenario that occurs—more frequent heatwaves put a lot of heat stress on the elderly.  Ageing population will compound deadly effects of heatwaves caused by climate change A combination of global warming and population growth means more people will be exposed to extreme weather systems, with an ageing population particularly at risk from heatwaves, says Royal Society The double whammy of global warming and a growing, ageing population will mean peoples’ exposure to deadly heatwaves will multiply tenfold this century, according to a new report from the Royal Society. The researchers from the UK’s science academy warn the world is not prepared for the extreme weather which is already being exacerbated by climate changetoday. The world’s population is expected to swell from 7bn today to a peak of 10bn by mid-century, and the new analysis examines for the first time how this boom will affect the number of people hit by extreme weather, if the relentless rise in carbon emissions is not reversed. (November 26, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 11/27/2014 - Today’s lesson boys and girls, What are Bomb Trains and where can you find them? Ans. They transport your dangerous fossil fuel energy in outdated tank car models. As to where they are…. It’s a secret.  We so should have gone renewable energy (wind and solar) instead of saddling ourselves to a fuel that will make our life support system unsustainable. Gov’t Data Sharpens Focus on Crude-Oil Train Routes A ProPublica analysis of federal government data adds new details to what’s known about the routes taken by trains carrying crude oil. Local governments are often unaware of the potential dangers they face. The oil boom underway in North Dakota has delivered jobs to local economies and helped bring the United States to the brink of being a net energy exporter for the first time in generations. But moving that oil to the few refineries with the capacity to process it is presenting a new danger to towns and cities nationwide — a danger many appear only dimly aware of and are ill-equipped to handle. Much of North Dakota's oil is being transported by rail, rather than through pipelines, which are the safest way to move crude. Tank carloads of crude are up 50 percent this year from last. Using rail networks has saved the oil and gas industry the time and capital it takes to build new pipelines, but the trade-off is greater risk: Researchers estimates that trains are three and a half times as likely as pipelines to suffer safety lapses. Indeed, since 2012, when petroleum crude oil first began moving by rail in large quantities, there have been eight major accidents involving trains carrying crude in North America. In the worst of these incidents, in July, 2013, a train derailed at Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and exploded, killing 47 and burning down a quarter of the town. Six months later, another crude-bearing train derailed and exploded in Casselton, North Dakota, prompting the evacuation of most of the town's 2,300 residents. (November 25, 2014) ProPublica [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/26/2014 - Thinking that Ginna nuclear reactor (one of the oldest in the country) shouldn’t be threatening a shutdown unless they get a bailout is a bad idea? Maybe there’s a job for you: Alliance for a Green Economy Seeks Rochester-area Energy Democracy Organizer --from Alliance for a Green Economy

  • 11/26/2014 - Before Governor Cuomo pushes the button to lift the Fracking moratorium, have we learned anything about Fracking elsewhere?  We should have never let our energy options in a time of Climate Change be hijacked by the Fracking issue here in New York State.  Imagine if we had gone %100 on renewable energy six years ago (when the Fracking controversy hit NYS) instead of setting the table for Fracking with Bomb trains and gas storage near the shores of Seneca Lake.  Look, we don’t want Governor Cuomo to get in a freaking debate about Climate Change; we want him to lead on Climate Change as he promised. And that he has not done: “Cuomo, he who said he would lead on Climate Change, isn’t Where Oil and Politics Mix After an unusual land deal, a giant spill and a tanker-train explosion, anxiety began to ripple across the North Dakota prairie. TiOGA, N.D. — In late June, as black and gold balloons bobbed above black and gold tables with oil-rig centerpieces, the theme song from “Dallas” warmed up the crowd for the “One Million Barrels, One Million Thanks” celebration. The mood was giddy. Halliburton served barbecued crawfish from Louisiana. A commemorative firearms dealer hawked a “one-million barrel” shotgun emblazoned with the slogan “Oil Can!” Mrs. North Dakota, in banner and crown, posed for pictures. The Texas Flying Legends performed an airshow backlit by a leaping flare of burning gas. And Gov. Jack Dalrymple was the featured guest. Traveling through the “economically struggling” nation, Mr. Dalrymple told the crowd, he encountered many people who asked, “Jack, what the heck are you doing out there in North Dakota?” to create the fastest-growing economy, lowest unemployment rate and (according to one survey) happiest population. (November 23, 2014) New York Times [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/26/2014 - So if NYS lifts the moratorium on Fracking, our DEC will be ready to inspect, regulate, and monitor—right? Or just like North Dakota?  The underside of the Fracking boom is like the underside of an iceberg—it’s the majority of the problem, not just an aspect of the problem. The Downside of the Boom North Dakota took on the oversight of a multibillion-dollar oil industry with a regulatory system built on trust, warnings and second chances. WiLLISTON, N.D. — In early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family land in Billings County, N.D. There had been an accident at the Skurupey 1-9H oil well. “Oh, my gosh, the gold is blowing,” she said he told her. “Bakken gold.” It was the 11th blowout since 2006 at a North Dakota well operated by Continental Resources, the most prolific producer in the booming Bakken oil patch. Spewing some 173,250 gallons of potential pollutants, the eruption, undisclosed at the time, was serious enough to bring the Oklahoma-based company’s chairman and chief executive, Harold G. Hamm, to the remote scene. It was not the first or most catastrophic blowout visited by Mr. Hamm, a sharecropper’s son who became the wealthiest oilman in America and energy adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign. Two years earlier, a towering derrick in Golden Valley County had erupted into flames and toppled, leaving three workers badly burned. “I was a human torch,” said the driller, Andrew J. Rohr. (November 22, 2014) New York Times [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/26/2014 - Greentopia I FILM is now open for submissions of non-fiction features, shorts, and children’s films *The deadline to submit is December 22, 2014.  In its fourth year, innovative documentary film festival, Greentopia | FILM, brings inspiring and award-winning non-fiction films and events to Rochester area moviegoers. Spanning five days, from Tuesday through Saturday, March 17 – 21, 2015, Greentopia | FILM has become known for its lively cross-pollination of art, ideas, community engagement and fun. Greentopia I FILM "Greentopia | FILM believes in our community and in showcasing the positive changes, projects and people that are often not covered in more mainstream news and media channels. Through the incredible generosity of local film makers, Greentopia | FILM has been able to produce 3 short documentaries a year for the past 2 years. In 2014, we received funding from NYSCA (New York State Council on the Arts) to actually commission the films, offering a $1,000 stipend and festival film passes to each of the 3 selected film makers. All Community Supported Films (CSFs) tell a story of something happening in the Greater Rochester area that embraces the concept of sustainability or community building in some way. We look for positive success stories – no docs trying to expose some injustice. Here are examples of films produced over the past two festivals. " Greentopia

  • 11/26/2014 - Question: How many arrests does it take for the public to stop the storage of dangerous gas near Seneca Lake? Ans. More than 73. Many are putting their bodies on the line to save our region’s water, environment, and wine industry. Crestwood arrest total now up to 73 READING — There have now been 73 people arrested for trespassing in connection with the four-week-old protest at Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility. On Friday, 12 people were arrested, including Mariah Plumlee of Covert. On Thursday, nine were arrested. Margie Rogers of Elmira was arrested Thursday for a second time. She was previously among the “Seneca Lake 12” who were arrested in March 2013 for blocking Crestwood’s gate. She returned and was arrested as part of the current “We Are Seneca Lake” movement (November 23, 2014) Finger Lakes Times [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/26/2014 - COP 20 in Lima is not only setting the table for real action on Climate Change in COP 21 in Paris, it’s making us all hungry for a real meal.  400,000 of us marched around in New York City for the People’s Climate March because we demanded action on Climate Change for our leaders.  How is that action going? Watch Lima. Let’s make sure 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris doesn’t turn into another dud like Copenhagen.   | CAN Annual Policy Document: "Lima: Raising the Curtain on Paris" History was created when more than 400,000 people from all walks of life took to the streets of New York City in September to tell the world, ‘More Climate Action, Now’.  COP 20 in Lima must be the turning point for political will from governments to reflect these ambitious calls by people from across the world. At COP 17, Governments agreed to the Durban platform for enhanced action.  Negotiations under the Durban platform will culminate in 2015 at COP 21 in Paris, where Parties are to agree to the next stage of a global climate agreement. COP 20 in Lima holds the key to this next stage as it is set to define the parameters of this 2015 global agreement.  The Lima COP, guided by the strong momentum for greater climate action and the recent IPCC scientific assessment, needs to steer political will to deliver decisions on the shape, composition and ambition of the 2015 agreement. As Lima will set the foundations for the outcomes in Paris, Climate Action Network presents its views on issues that need to be addressed at COP 20 in order to set the right foundation for the 2015 agreement. (November 17, 2014) Climate Action Network International [more on Climate Change for our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - Can there really be a Thanksgiving if our Finger Lakes are being threatened by dangerous fossil fuel storage and heroes sit in jail to stop that? Are we prostrate with “Climate Helplessness” as Sandra Steingraber  suggests, – which includes a  “corroboration and appeasement of both the mainstream environmental community and the federal government toward the oil and gas industry”? Have we entered an age where we just sit like deer in the headlights as our leaders, our media, our environmental groups, and our government, infantilizes us with senseless silence as the fossil fuel industry drills roughshod over our future? This raises interesting questions about ourselves as we comport ourselves during this historic trial by fire of Climate Change.  The Crappy Mom Manifesto: Letter to Fellow Mothers from the Chemung County Jail Last month extreme fossil fuel extraction and I were both recipients of an accusatory outburst by my 13-year-old. “I hate fracking!” he said, half yelling, half sobbing. “Fracking turns you into a crappy mom!” And he is right. Because of my ongoing efforts to halt both fracking and fracking’s metastasizing infrastructure from invading New York State, I have not chaperoned a school trip in three years. I missed Elijah’s opening-night star turn in Romeo and Juliet. I did not attend the high school girls’ cross country state championship, in which his sister competed. In fact, I missed all the races of the whole season, and, as such, am the only parent of a varsity runner who can make that claim. I know that because my 16-year-old periodically reminds me of my exceptionalism on this front. (November 24, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Seneca Lake and Water Quality in our area] 

  • 11/25/2014 - Report on World Bank report on dangerous ‘New Climate Normal’ for development mention’s Buffalo’s snowstorm. Even though our region gets on the world stage for a possible extreme weather event connected to Climate Change, we don’t talk about it here. World Bank: ‘New climate normal’ poses risk to development  As Sao Paolo runs out of water in Brazil’s worst drought in 80 yearsSomalia faces famine, Buffalo digs itself out of record snow drifts, and Sydney swelters through more bat-killing heat waves; the World Bank is warning that the world is headed for a “new climate normal” that will have dire impacts on the developing world. In its latest Turn Down the Heat report, the bank warns that the world now locked on a path towards a 1.5C rise in average temperatures. And, while limiting warming below 1.5C is still feasible if immediate action is taken, every decade lost makes the challenge to do so increasingly great. Heat waves and other weather extremes that have occurred every few hundred years will occur more frequently, creating a world of increased risks and instability, warns the report. Increases above 1.5C mean more rapidly melting glaciers in central Asia and shifts in the timing of water flows, which will lead to less water resources in summer months and high risks of torrential floods. (November 24, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - When you know that governments are spending $88 billion every year supporting fossil fuel exploration, then screwing alternative fuels is craven. No way should the Environmental Protection Agency roll back a renewable fuel standard. White House threatens to put brakes on alternative fuels As biotech masterminds and venture capitalists scramble to hatch a new generation of environmentally friendly fuels that can help power the average gasoline-burning car, they are confronting an unexpected obstacle: the White House. Yielding to pressure from oil companies, car manufacturers and even driving enthusiasts, the Obama administration is threatening to put the brakes on one of the federal government's most ambitious efforts to ease the nation's addiction to fossil fuels. The proposed rollback of the 7-year-old green energy mandate known as the renewable fuel standard is alarming investors in the innovation economy and putting the administration at odds with longtime allies on the left. (November 24, 2014) Los Angeles Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - One of the consequences of Climate Change in our area is that poison ivy will get more poisonous to us. There’s more…. Likely Changes. | Plan to rid land of invasives hits snag in Town of Canandaigua  The Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association is seeking to remove the invasive vegetation and restore the land to its natural condition, before it was used as farmland and abandoned in the early 1970s. The $4,800 project, funds for which were raised by the organization, would rid about four acres of land of poison ivy, European buckthorn and other invasives and plant and seed natural trees and plants in their stead. (November 25, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - If you don’t like a wind turbine, just take it down. If you don’t like the old nuclear plant, suck it up. Some think nuclear power is the answer to our energy woes in a time of Climate Change—it’s just the 10 years and 10 billion dollars building it and the forever getting rid of it that presents the problems. Renewable energy goes up quickly, provides lots of jobs, doesn’t warm your planet, doesn’t get in the news every time there’s a ‘problem’, and when parts wear out you just take them away and recycle them. With nuclear power, no matter how far beyond their due date, you are required to live with them.  Seems like we’ll do anything to avoid the best solutions to all our energy needs—wind and solar and geothermal, and wave and better batteries and energy conservation, energy efficiency and micro grids. We demand of our politicians lower costs, and more energy, and we don’t care what it does to the planet and if any politicians don’t give us this we will vote them out. Gonna be hard to find impossible solutions in a time of Climate Change. NYC decries plan for Ginna plant What does New York City — the state and nation's most populous city — care about an aging upstate power plant in a county just a fraction of its size some 300 miles away on the shore of Lake Ontario? The answer lies in a little-noticed, highly technical document filed in August with the state Public Service Commission. Within its 13 pages, a branch of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office weighed in against a request from the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County to force an electric utility — Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. — to negotiate a payment plan to keep the plant running and the Rochester-area power grid reliable. The filing also points to the Cayuga Power Plant in Lansing, Tompkins County, and another in Chautauqua County, citing similar circumstances. Essentially, the city asks: If Ginna gets approval for a survival package that will likely be paid for by RG&E ratepayers, what's keeping other power plants from holding other utilities and their customers hostage? (November 23, 2014) Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - Climate Change may well mean worse lake-effect storms—until things really warm up. What Warming Means for Lake Effect Snow The plight of Buffalo, socked in under feet upon feet of snow, has entranced the country. Social media lit up with mind-boggling pictures of the snow-buried landscape, from hundreds of cars trapped on the highway to doorways blocked by walls of snow. While Buffalonians are no strangers to large amounts of snow that the lake effect (so called because the lake provides the moisture that fuels the snow) can bring, but even this was a little much for them. “This is definitely one of the strongest lake bands that we’ve experienced,” Judy Levan, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Buffalo, said. “It’s definitely in the top five.” And it’s something Buffalo could face more often in a warming world. Rising global temperatures are also warming the Great Lakes and keeping them ice-free longer during the cold season. (November 1, 2014) [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 11/25/2014 - Excellent article on the Merrill's Law and importance of clarifying the present "safe distance" law with a more exact 3-foot law. It is amazing how quickly those don’t believe distracted driving is an important issue and/or hold an outright craven disregard for the safety of others will change their attitudes when a police officer informs them they have violated the law—or worse, have struck someone with their vehicle and maimed them. Active transportation (walking and bicycling) is a crucial part of our transportation system and it will increase.  If careless vehicle operators don’t voluntarily share the road with those not encased in a steel jacket with lots of gadgets, more laws protecting the safety of all of us will come. More education and constant reminders by the city and county (as public service announcements) would go far in moving our increasingly diverse transportation system forward. A 'safe' distance? Cyclist law unenforced Between 2011 and 2013, an average of 29 Merrill's Law tickets were written statewide each year, according to state Department of Motor Vehicles figures. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office has recorded just one citation under the law, in May 2011, spokesman Cpl. John Helfer said. Town or village police agencies have written just three other citations under Merrill's Law since 2010, not including any handed out by city and state police, Helfer said. This year through mid-September, the DMV has recorded a total of 22 Merrill's Law tickets statewide. Monroe County has seen a number of cyclists struck on local roads recently, including a woman who was run down by driver on Clifford Avenue in July and a man killed on Paul Road in Chili in August. (November 24, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 11/24/2014 - 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is coming up in a year. Find out why this is important to you. You will be hearing a lot about the Paris 2015 climate conference and it will be a benchmark in your life and for our environment. Whether we, humanity, take this climate talk seriously is up to us.  Climate change is not just about science – it’s about the future we want to create Next December, 196 nations will meet in Paris to agree a course of action to respond to climate change. They will do so under the auspices of the UN framework convention on climate change. This is an international treaty negotiated at the Earth summit in Rio in 1992 with the objective to “stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system”. The discussions in Paris in 2015 will be informed by the latest climate science. In our play 2071, which recently completed its inaugural run at the Royal Court theatre in London, directed by Katie Mitchell, we explore the science, its implications and the options before us. A key aim is to leave the audience better placed to participate in the public discourse, in which we all need to play a part. Climate change is a controversial subject that can raise strong emotions. We are all susceptible to being less open-minded and rational about it than we may appreciate. The climate system is very complex, yet its discussion is often oversimplified. There are gaps in our knowledge, and many scientific uncertainties, some of which are fundamentally unknowable. This makes it extremely difficult to predict precisely what the future holds and to determine exactly what actions, if any, to take. In addition there are economic considerations, political implications and ethical questions that further complicate the way forward. (November 22, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/23/2014 - This Thanksgiving give thanks to the natural wonder that is Seneca Lake and those who sit in jail as a stance to protect it from fossil fuel invaders. Learn about this local environmental issue and help: WE ARE SENECA LAKE | Steingraber, Boland and Micklem Sentenced to 15 Days in Jail for Protesting Methane Gas Storage Renowned author, biologist and advocate Sandra Steingraber, PhD, U.S. Air Force veteran Colleen Boland (retired) and avid environmentalist Roland Micklem headed to the Chemung County jail Wednesday evening after pleading guilty and refusing to pay a fine in New York’s Reading Town Court. Judge Raymond Barry issued the maximum jail sentence of 15 days. Steingraber, Boland and Micklem were arrested for blockading the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake. They are part of the “We Are Seneca Lake” campaign working to stop the major expansion project at Crestwood’s methane gas storage facility where plans are underway to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west side of Seneca Lake. Micklem, who will not have to serve his full sentence, was released yesterday afternoon for health reasons. “I’m a die-hard environmentalist and I think that if we do not protect our environment, we are all history. A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do,” said the 86-year-old. (November 21, 2014) EcoWatch  [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/22/2014 - One thing for sure, if former Brighton Supervisor Sandra Frankel becomes Monroe County Executive: No more Climate Change denial. With Sandy Frankel in office we can properly plan for our future. Climate Change means we have to plan. In the Monroe County, including the Rochester region, we can barely speak about the worldwide crisis of Climate Change, let alone begin a major effort in our region to educate the public and begin properly planning for the changes that will come (and are happening now) to our region. Sandy Frankel has spoken out many times publically on our critical need to address Climate Change and even backed our local efforts to get Rochesterians to the recent People’s Climate March in NYC to demonstrate our need for our leaders to act. Sandy Frankel is a proven leader and her leadership in our county would be a major step forward in planning for our future. I am so not political, as the present scene is dreadful, but I must speak out for what would be a demonstrable change in the climate of our region. With someone leading on Climate Change in our county we would see a major shift in public attitudes on the crisis of our age, changes in the media and their willingness to connect the dots of local extreme weather with warming predictions, and changes in business who’d get a clear message that really being green means a sustainable future.  If you are looking for good news on the Climate Change crisis, Sandy Frankel as Monroe County Executive could be that news. Let the debates begin. Frankel weighing second county exec bid (November 20, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper

  • 11/22/2014 - Why does our military give a rat’s ass about our addiction to fossil fuels? Watch ‘The BurdenCheck this out by Producer/ Director, The Burden : “I am very excited to announce the release of the official trailer for The Burden.  You can watch it here: www.theburdenfilm.com, and please feel free to forward it far and wide.  In advance of our public release and official premiere (stay tuned), we've already received an overwhelming response at private screenings at venues like West Point, the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol and elsewhere.  These screenings are helping spread the word and raise the funds we need to continue promoting the film and its strategic advocacy campaign.  As you are one of The Burden's most ardent supporters, I wanted to make sure you saw our latest press release as we begin our media outreach.  Please take a look below to see what we are up to, and thank you again for your dedication to helping end our fossil fuel dependence as soon as possible.” http://www.theburdenfilm.com 

  • 11/22/2014 - Today’s lessen boys and girls, In what way are earthquakes and Climate Change alike? Ans. Both REQUIRE planning and action to protect the public. Politicians must often balance the problem of reassuring the public in the face of danger or misleading them and lulling them into a false security. With both earthquake warnings and Climate Change predictions there presents to the decision makers the quandary of calling a false alarm, where there occurs much unnecessary disruption to the public, or not calling alarm resulting in catastrophic damage and loss of life. Unlike the subtle warnings of earthquakes rumbling away for weeks, Climate Change can no longer be viewed as a far-off threat where we can wait and see. Climate Change is happening and continues to get worse. Those leaders that lean towards the message given by the deniers and money from those who benefit from business as usual, instead of listening to the vast majority of scientists who say our climate is warming quickly and we must act—will be held accountable. L'Aquila earthquake scientists freed but political lessons remain It has been five years since an earthquake hit the Italian city of L’Aquila leaving 309 people dead. In the aftermath one public official and six earthquake scientists were charged with multiple counts of manslaughter. Each defendant was sentenced to six years in jail. It is commonly believed the scientists were condemned for failing to predict the earthquake but, in truth, the case was about communicating risks to a vulnerable population. The defendants were accused by the prosecution of giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information”. (11/21/2014), Dr. Lawrence Torcello, The Conversation [ more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/22/2014 - Like slowly boiling frogs, we have become so accustomed to the new normal of higher temperatures we don’t see the threat.  We don’t see this constant march of warmer months in our local news, so when your living in a place like Rochester or Buffalo and you’re getting nailed by lake-effect snow (though more extreme) you tend not to think it’s getting steadily warmer worldwide.  This denial of the worldwide view and the lack of extreme weather connection with Climate Change is incredibly irresponsible of our media. Something has to give and it will not be the physics of Climate Change. October: maintaining the warming trend for 2014 September broke global temperature records and October was pretty close behind, recent data from NASA and the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) confirm. According the the JMA, October was the hottest month on record with a 0.6°F above the 1981-2010 average. This was preceded by the hottest September, August, June and March-May. NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which uses a different baseline of 1950-1980, recorded October global temperature as 1.4°F above the average. According to NASA data, although October did not break monthly temperature records, it tied with 2005 as the warmest October since 1880. (November 20, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/22/2014 - Of course, one way to keep our children safe from crude-oil trains is to go renewable energy (wind and solar).  Increasingly, it’s hard to imagine, except for business as usual, why we put our children, our water, and our climate in such danger when we have other options for energy.  Even if we didn’t have other options, should our stance be that we will have our way of a fossil-fueled life or none at all? The Climate Change crisis is teaching us one thing if nothing else: We are paying a high price indeed for an energy system dependent on burning, digging, and transporting fossil fuels.  Oil and schools don't mix, enviro groups say About 350 New York state schools, including at least 63 in Monroe County, lie within a mile of railroad tracks used by trains carrying volatile crude oil, a coalition of environmental and other advocacy groups said Thursday. The groups urged state and federal official to bolster emergency planning at those educational facilities and to require crude-oil trains to travel more slowly near schools. "We are deeply concerned about the growing number of crude oil rail cars passing through the Hudson Valley and across New York State every day," said Claire Barnett, executive director of the Albany-based Health Schools Network. "A catastrophic event, should it happen near an occupied school, could devastate a community for a generation or more." (November 20, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 11/21/2014 - This is code for Climate Change: "No matter how you cut it, this event will end up in the top five for the Lake Erie area …" But, of course, our local public media cannot say this because it’s too controversial, which is to say when it is no longer controversial to connect the dots with extreme weather (warmer lake water, no ice, more snow) and Climate Change, we will have squandered a lot more time when we could have been preparing.  How I ‘cut it’ is that it’s possible that our present snow storm is connected to Climate Change and I’m not the only one. Cold snap caused by climate change-weakened jet stream, scientists suggest  and These Photos of Lake Effect Snow Are Crazy | Buffalo Area Needs To Dig Out; Then Prepare For Possible Flooding Roofs began to creak and collapse and homeowners struggled to clear waist-high drifts atop their houses Thursday as another storm brought the Buffalo area's three-day snowfall total to an epic 7 feet or more. Gov. Andrew Cuomo begged drivers "pretty, pretty please" to stay off slippery, car-clogged roads in western New York while crews tried to dig out. Some areas got close to 3 feet of new snow by Thursday afternoon. (November 21, 2014) WXXI

  • 11/21/2014 - All those who think building a massive gas storage facility that would threaten our Finger Lakes waters a shitty idea, please raise your hand.  Finally, a local Rochester, NY media is giving us a sense of the gravity and importance of the threat to our local environment because of the goings on at Seneca Lake shores.  Go to We Are Seneca lake  and Gas Free Seneca to find out more and how to help.  This crisis is not just about them, it’s about US. Opposition builds to gas storage facility on Seneca Lake shore As protests continue over construction of a gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake, people across the entire Finger Lakes region opposed to the project are getting involved. As protests continue over construction of a gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake, people across the entire Finger Lakes region opposed to the project are getting involved. “The Finger Lakes is all of us,” said Rosemary Hooper, a Naples resident who has joined others from Ontario County in participating in the campaign to stop the building of the gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake in Schuyler County. Texas-based Crestwood Midstream's proposal is to use old abandoned salt caverns along the lake to store millions of barrels of liquid petroleum gas and billions of cubic feet of natural gas. Those opposed include organizations, individuals, businesses and municipalities. The Ontario County Board of Supervisors, Yates County Legislature, Seneca County Board of Supervisors and Geneva City Council are among those that have passed motions opposing the proposed storage facility. (November 19, 2014) Gates-Chili Post [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/21/2014 - How is New York State staking up on its Climate Change Adaptation Plans with other states? Check that out: State and Local Adaptation Plans States and communities around the country have begun to prepare for the climate changes that are already underway.  This planning process typically results in a document called an adaptation plan.   Below is a map that highlights the status of state adaptation efforts. Click on a state to view a summary of its progress to date and to access its full profile page. State profile pages include a detailed breakdown of each state's adaptation work and links to local adaptation plans and resources. Please move the map to view Alaska and Hawaii. Georgetown Climate Center

  • 11/21/2014 - Do you have something to say about our environment? Have you figured out the video function on your cell phone? Enter Rochester’s FFFF.  The Fast Forward Film Festival, what a unique and fund chance for you, or your group, to message concerns about our environment that are not being addressed by local media. FFFF “The Fast Forward Film Festival (FFFF) invites emerging and established filmmakers from the greater Rochester area to submit to the inaugural Fast Forward Film Festival. As an incubator for innovative thinking and artistic expression, FFFF encourages films that tap into the local experience and compel audiences to engage with the community and raise environmental awareness.”

  • 11/21/2014 - Has Climate Change caused this cold spell with extreme snowfall in our region?  People, rightly so, are starting to ask.  My view is that if it is even remotely possible that we have upset our weather by Climate Change on level where we get the jitters every time extreme weather hits, we ought to start planning and adapting to Climate Change.  While the deniers continual to say that these extreme weather events fall within the normal range, or cold spell means Global Warming is not happening, climate experts are filling in our gaps of knowledge between extreme events and Climate Change. Waiting until we have exact proof that this or that storm was caused by Climate Change is a gamble—because in the meantime we haven’t been preparing on a worldwide level. The ‘wait and see’ stance that our local media are taking on these extreme events is a gamble that Climate Change is not the cause—which means we are squandering more and more time doing nothing to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change.  Cold snap caused by climate change-weakened jet stream, scientists suggest Experts say ocean warming-induced supertyphoon a factor in changed direction of cold blast hitting the US Arctic conditions in eastern United States this week may have been the result of climate change-induced stressors on the jet stream that regulates weather over the northern hemisphere, according to meteorologists. Residents in a large swath of the country's east have been met with sub-freezing temperatures over the past week. And overnight Wednesday, more than 5 feet of snow descended on parts of western New York state. Media have referred to the strange weather pattern as the Polar Vortex and the Arctic Blast.  Ironically, though, it was warmer-than-usual temperatures that likely sent the cold weather southwards. Climate change-induced ocean warming in the Pacific turned Typhoon Nuri into a “supertyphoon” that punched the jet stream off its course, bringing the North Pole's weather down over the eastern U.S., according to experts. (November 20, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/21/2014 - The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is not a giveaway; it is “a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world, in order to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.” It is in the best interest for the developing nations to create a fund where developing nations can develop without developing in the dirty energy way we did—because our life support system cannot handle that. U.N. Green Fund gets $9.3 billion in pledges at Berlin conference Donor nations pledged up to $9.3 billion on Thursday to a U.N. fund to help developing countries tackle climate change, but environmental campaigners said the funds fell short of what they want. The U.N. Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a major part of a plan agreed in 2009 whereby rich countries agreed to give $100 billion a year from both public and private sources from 2020 to help developing nations reduce carbon emissions and adapt to a changing global climate. The United Nations has set an informal target of $10 billion in initial contributions for the GCF this year, a goal that Germany - host of Thursday's conference - said was now within sight. Developing countries are pushing for $15 billion. (November 20, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/20/2014 - After dismal mid-term elections on Climate Change can GOP lead on Climate Change? Remember: They’re no scientist.  Watch Colberts' The Republicans' Inspiring Climate Change Message  

  • 11/20/2014 - If Congress doesn’t include Climate Change in talks on algae contamination of Lake Erie drinking water they’re missing the elephant in the lake. Read EPA's 2-page fact sheet "Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms " | Congress holds hearing on algae contamination of Lake Erie drinking water WASHINGTON, D. C. - A Lake Erie algae outbreak this summer that rendered Toledo area tap water undrinkable spurred a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Wednesday to examine what's being done to address problems. Subcommittee members including Bowling Green Republican Rep. Bob Latta called on the federal, state and local governments to work together to better understand the science, and human effects of algae contamination. "There is no single smoking gun that leads to algae-based toxin in drinking water," said Illinois Republican Rep. John Shimkus, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. "There are still plenty of things we don't know about this subject." (November 19, 2014) Cleveland.com [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 11/20/2014 - Shopping for kid’s Christmas presents? Don’t buy them toxic toys, find our more… Empire State Consumer Project 2014 Children’s Products Safety Report MEDIA ALERT:   CONSUMER GROUP STILL FINDS HIGH LEVELS OF TOXICS IN CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS     Pittsford, New York - Empire State Consumer Project (ESCP) announces its 43rd Annual Toy and Children's Products Report in a news conference Tuesday, November 18 at 10:00 AM in Room 101 of the Pittsford Recreation Department, 35 Lincoln Avenue, Pittsford.     ESCP's annual report highlights unsafe children's products, product designs and toxic product ingredients. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in the three year period from 2008 through 2010, there were 333 deaths of children under 5 from nursery products, or an average of 111 annually. For calendar year 2012, there were 11 reports of toy-related deaths and 265,000 toy-related injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments. ESCP of Rochester is one of the country's leading consumer advocacy groups. In 2013, the group's 2010 testing of apple juices for arsenic led the FDA to set arsenic limits on apple juice of 10 ppm.   For more information on Empire State Consumer Project's 43rd Annual Toy and Children's Products Report (attached), contact Judy Braiman at 585-383-1317. (November 2014) Empire State Consumer Project, Inc.  [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 11/20/2014 - Rachel Maddow nails the absurdity of vote on Keystone XL. Watch, only 6.15 minutes. What On Earth Were They Thinking? Rachel Maddow On The Democratic Party

  • 11/20/2014 - ACTION: New York State needs a clear and enforceable climate action plan so we can prepare our state for damage to our public health, our water, waste, transportation, telecommunications infrastructures and agriculture.  This cannot be done ad hoc, or just with grants, or just using the market forces.  Properly planning for something as pervasive as Climate Change needs top-down direction from our leaders.  Urge Governor Cuomo to Develop a Climate Action Plan "Governor Cuomo,  The world is changing. New York communities have been caught devastated by the growing climate crisis, suffering through hurricanes and other extreme weather events. World leaders, assembled by the United Nations for a summit on the climate crisis, have recognized the need to act now to protect communities worldwide from the ravages of climate change, and to create an economy that works for the people and the planet.  Governor, you’ve already made a commitment to an 80 percent reduction in carbon pollution by 2050. We applaud you for this. We ask that you articulate your plan for getting us there. It is time for you to take the bold step to pull our state out of the dirty energy ways of the past and to move us forward with energy sources that are clean, healthy and beneficial for all New Yorkers.  We, the undersigned are asking your administration to seize the moment by creating a climate action plan for New York. We believe that without such a plan, piecemeal efforts to offset or mitigate the hazards of climate change will too little and too late. New York should be a clean energy leader, and a leader in cutting climate-altering pollution. We are calling on you to prepare a plan to fight climate change, keep our communities safe, and move New York away from the dirty fossil fuels of the past.  Sincerely, " from Environmental Advocates of New York

  • 11/20/2014 - Take action Tell EPA to put “strongest limits ever proposed to end the worst climate change polluter: dirty coal plants”: ACTION: SUPPORT A STRONG CARBON RULE  (You have about 10 days left to comment on the nation’s Clean Power Plan, as presented by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year. Nov 30th) The fossil fuel industry is rising up against the strongest limits ever proposed to end the worst climate change polluter: dirty coal plants. But the industry doesn’t have the public’s support. We do. Dirty power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution that is driving climate change. Right now, these plants are dumping as much carbon as they want into the atmosphere, and we and our children are stuck with the costs. It's time to adopt commonsense limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Tell the EPA you support these limits on carbon pollution and to make them as strong as possible. The polluters and their allies will be doing everything they can to stop it. So let’s give this everything we can." From Earth Justice  Read more: Nonrenewable Power Strikes Hardest At “The Least Of Us”  from CleanTechnica 

  • 11/20/2014 - Climate Change’s evil sibling—ocean acidification—needs to be monitored, adapted to, and mitigated also. Discovering a baseline is critical. 40 Years of Scratching Reveals Ocean Acidification Data As carbon dioxide levels increase due largely to human emissions, the world’s oceans are becoming highly corrosive to a number of organisms that call it home. But the rate of acidification and related changes are anything but uniform. That’s why a new study aims to set a baseline for nearly every patch of saltwater from sea to acidifying sea so that future acidification and its impacts can be better monitored. Taro Takahashi, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who authored the new study in Marine Chemistry, said it has been a decades-long process to compile enough data about ocean acidification to effectively set a benchmark. Think of the ocean as a giant scratch ticket and the ships and research stations in Bermuda, Hawaii, Iceland and elsewhere as a coin used to slowly scratch away at the surface, revealing just how much the ticket is worth. It took 40 years of scratching but now there’s finally enough data in Takahashi’s eyes to set an accurate baseline. (November 18, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/19/2014 - Proud moment on #noKXL when I saw NYS Senators Schumer and Gillibrand vote NO! on political theater pipeline bill last night. Our state senators can do much more to help NYS adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. Schumer, Gillibrand help defeat Keystone XL pipeline in U.S. Senate WASHINGTON, D.C. -- New York's two U.S. senators Tuesday night helped defeat a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast, striking a blow against a member of their own party. U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., were among 41 senators who voted against the bill, which needed 60 votes for passage. The bill fell one vote short of passage, 59-41. The bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., had the support of all 45 Republican senators. But Landrieu could not convince enough Democrats to cross over and support the legislation. Schumer said he voted against the bill because the pipeline's oil will be shipped overseas, instead of staying in the United States. (November 18, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/19/2014 - The G20 givth and the G20 taketh away. They pledge to phase out dirty fossil fuels, then give $88B to explore for more. What’s wrong with this freaking picture? G20 governments propping up fossil fuel exploration The G20 pledged to phase out 'inefficient' fossil fuel subsidies in 2009, yet new research finds that governments are spending $88 billion every year supporting exploration – more than double what the oil and gas companies are investing. READ THE FULL REPORT The fossil fuel bailout: G20 subsidies for oil, gas and coal exploration Publication - November 2014 (November 2014) Overseas Development Institute (ODI)  [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/19/2014 - ACTION: President Obama, please stop 'game over' dirty tars sands fossil fuel so we can get going on adapting to and mitigating Climate Change. Everyone, please sign this petition. Sign the petition to President Obama

  • 11/19/2014 - ACTION: Please sign Environmental Action's petition to UnFrack Obama's Clean Power Plan:  A few months ago, President Obama and the EPA proposed the nation's first-ever rules to limit global warming pollution from power plants. It's a great idea, but we've discovered a hidden flaw in the rules that could spell disaster: The rules currently favor fracked gas over renewables.  If these rules aren't fixed, they could encourage dozens of power plants to switch to gas, shackling Americans to toxic fracking for decades to come. We only have until December 1st to file official public comments telling the EPA to fix the rules.

  • 11/19/2014 - Keystone XL pipeline vote was political theater, President Obama should step up and reject this dirty tar sands pipeline once and for all. Keystone XL Bill Defeated in the Senate In response to a vote in the United States Senate on the Keystone XL pipeline, 350.org Executive Director May Boeve issued the following statement: “Once again, Congress tried to play games with our future–and failed. Since Keystone XL has always been President Obama’s decision, this vote was never anything more than an empty gesture of political theater. (November 18, 2014) 350.org [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/19/2014 - Climate Change: weather patterns like lake-effect snow will get more disruptive—warmer water, less ice, more snow. These Photos of Lake Effect Snow Are Crazy Lake effect snow is the result of that cold, dry air moving over warmer water and picking up the moisture and heat, then dumping it as snow on the nearest downwind shoreline. In this case, that’s western New York. As the overall climate warms, lake effect snow has been increasing around the Great Lakes, because of less ice capping off the water. (November 18, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2014 - The road to 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris will be fraught with humanity’s inertia. Learn more (first Hand) how U.S. Climate Diplomacy will work: Attend online: Entering the Homestretch: U.S. Climate Diplomacy on the Road to Paris November 24, 2014, 12:00pm ET - 1:00pm ET Register Here. --from Center for American Progress

  • 11/18/2014 - Turning Philadelphia and maybe Albany into fossil fuel hubs, is this what we really want? Or are we just too preoccupied to push for renewable energy that won’t threaten our life support system?  There are many ways where “The World Can Transition to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy Starting Today” http://thesolutionsproject.org/ Is it just easier and less inconvenient to let the fossil fuel industry, who are mad about making money regardless, preempt our moral responsibility to keep our environment healthy for generations to come? Could Philadelphia be the next Houston? The oil industry hopes so Public and private stakeholders are pushing to further capitalize on the Marcellus Shale fracking boom Philadelphia’s City Council will hold hearings this month to explore opportunities to help establish the city as an energy hub — a boon for an increasingly influential coalition of public and private players who want to transform it into the Houston of the Northeast. “Philly has the best ports, the best workforce, the best transportation and roads, great educational institutions and two very healthy refineries,” said Michael Krancer, a former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, now a lawyer working with some of the energy companies involved in pushing for the city to become an energy center. “To put it mildly, eastern Pennsylvania is where the opportunity is to valorize our shale industry,” he said. Krancer and others want to make Philadelphia a hub for processing and distributing the massive amounts of energy flowing through the state, thanks to the Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing boom. (November 15, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Fracking and Energy in our area]

  • 11/18/2014 - Meet some of the most prominent climate sceptics (and deniers) who will fight our every attempt to address Climate Change.  Not only do we have a dysfunctional media, an uninformed public, and physics, we have powerful folks who have nothing better to do with their lives than keep their anti-science ideology alive—even though it will put us all in great danger. Meet the Republicans in Congress who don't believe climate change is real On Tuesday, the Senate will vote to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. With Republicans now in control of both chambers in Congress, here’s a round-up of some of the most prominent climate sceptics (and deniers) in the GOP It’s much easier to list Republicans in Congress who think climate change is real than it is to list Republicans who don’t, because there are so few members of the former group. Earlier this year, Politifact went looking for congressional Republicans who had not expressed scepticism about climate change and came up with a list of eight (out of 278). But with the GOP taking over the Senate next year – and with the Senate set to vote on approving the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday – the question again arises of what, exactly, prominent Republicans think about the evidence that humans are changing the climate. (November 17, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2014 - “History knocked on your door—did you answer?” Climate Change Is a People’s Shock What if, instead of accepting a future of climate catastrophe and private profits, we decide to change everything? Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, by Naomi Klein (Simon & Schuster). Click here for information about the book and Naomi’s September/October 2014 tour dates. The Nation will be livestreaming her sold-out US book launch on September 18 at 6 pm EST; you can watch that here. About a year ago, I was having dinner with some newfound friends in Athens. I had an interview scheduled for the next morning with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s official opposition party and one of the few sources of hope in a Europe ravaged by austerity. I asked the group for ideas about what questions I should put to the young politician. Someone suggested: “History knocked on your door—did you answer?” (October 6,) The Nation / Naomi Klein [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/18/2014 - 10 more arrested to protect Seneca Lake waters (35 arrested thus far) and a large rally is planned for the arraignment of the 16 arrested in earlier actions for Nov. 19th.  10 Arrested as ‘We Are Seneca Lake’ Protests Continue Ten people were arrested today for blockading the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake. This protest marks the fourth week of the “We Are Seneca Lake” campaign to stop the major expansion project at the methane gas storage facility where plans are underway to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west side of Seneca Lake. Thirty-five people have been arrested so far during this campaign, including Dwain Wilder who just finished serving eight days in jail after refusing to pay his fine. Today’s protest included a number of participants of the Great March for Climate Action who recently finished a 3,000-mile walk from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. The marchers arrived in DC on Nov. 1 and then spent a week blockading the entrances of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission—the federal agency that approved the Crestwood expansion project—where more than 100 people were arrested during the Beyond Extreme Energy protests. (November 17, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/17/2014 - Incredible news about G20 meeting hijacked by Climate Change and Green Fund, but nothing in Rochester news.  Or in the Sunday news programs for that matter, except some pissing and moaning that President Obama seems to have forgotten that the GOP was just given a mandate to ignore Climate Change after the mid-term elections.  Mainstream media, what incredible nonsense. Rochester media has really got to change from a position of climate denial to properly informing the public of what is going on now—Climate Change. You must let your media know this climate denial thing is unacceptable. G20 pledges lift Green Climate Fund towards $10 billion U.N. goal A promise by Japan on Sunday to give up to $1.5 billion to a U.N. fund to help poor nations cope with global warming puts the fund within sight of a $10 billion goal and brightens prospects for a U.N. climate pact next year. Japan's pledge, at the G20 meeting of world leaders in Australia, raises the total promised to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to $7.5 billion, including up to $3 billion by U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday. The Seoul-based GCF Secretariat in a statement hailed the pledges as a turning point before a first donors' conference in Berlin on Thursday. The United Nations has set an informal target of raising $10 billion this year. (November 16, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/17/2014 - For those who think the People’s Climate March didn’t make a difference, let them watch the proceedings of the G20.  The public, the pubic around the world that is, is getting impatient with Climate Change denial and the self-interest of the fossil fuel industry.  Changes in the public’s attitudes on Climate Change are afoot. Pressure mounts on G20 governments to drop fossil fuels  As world leaders meet in Australia for the G20 meeting, analysts, youth and religious leaders are all urging the heads of government of the biggest economies of the world to turn their back on fossil fuels, by ending their financial support for dirty energy. With this year’s G20 hailed as a finance and economics forum, there is no better platform for rich nations to put their money where their mouth is on climate change. Ahead of the meeting faith leaders added their voice to the mounting calls for G20 leaders to make good on their promises to eliminate “perverse” handouts to oil and gas companies, which are driving climate change and risking health and prosperity of untold millions of people globally. A new report released this week shows that G20 countries are spending a combined USD$88 billion a year subsidising exploration efforts for more oil, coal, and gas reserves despite pledging to get rid of “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” in 2009. (November 14, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/17/2014 - If you get your news in Rochester, you’ll have to look far away to find the biggest environmental story at your footstep.  Your neighbors are willing to put themselves in harm’s way and to be jailed to protect our wine country, our water, and the character of Seneca Lake. Be nice if some of our local media could inform our public about this issue and what the consequences of storing lots of liquid natural gas (I mean really a lot) in salt mines meant for say, salt, not extracted, explosive, fossil fuels that warm up the planet when burned. Upstate New Yorkers fear gas caves could blow wine, tourism industries Activists fight expansion of energy storage facility they say poses safety, environmental and economic threat In Watkins Glenn — an idyllic part of upstate New York best known for its Finger Lakes, fall foliage and wine — activists worry it could soon be known for something less appealing: industrial disaster. Protesters in the area are engaging in civil disobedience to stop the expansion of a gas storage facility that stores fracked gas from Pennsylvania in old mined-out salt caves, claiming it presents a safety risk to local residents, an environmental danger to the Finger Lakes region and an economic threat to the area’s wine and tourism industries. “We do not want the crown jewel of the Finger Lakes and the font of the wine industry turned into a massive gas station for the fracking industry,” said Sandra Steingraber, a prominent anti-hydraulic-fracturing activist and environmental studies professor at Ithaca College who was one of about a dozen protesters who have been arrested several times during continued protests, most recently on Nov. 3, for blocking the entrance to the storage facility. In Watkins Glenn — an idyllic part of upstate New York best known for its Finger Lakes, fall foliage and wine — activists worry it could soon be known for something less appealing: industrial disaster. Protesters in the area are engaging in civil disobedience to stop the expansion of a gas storage facility that stores fracked gas from Pennsylvania in old mined-out salt caves, claiming it presents a safety risk to local residents, an environmental danger to the Finger Lakes region and an economic threat to the area’s wine and tourism industries. “We do not want the crown jewel of the Finger Lakes and the font of the wine industry turned into a massive gas station for the fracking industry,” said Sandra Steingraber, a prominent anti-hydraulic-fracturing activist and environmental studies professor at Ithaca College who was one of about a dozen protesters who have been arrested several times during continued protests, most recently on Nov. 3, for blocking the entrance to the storage facility. (November 16, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/17/2014 - “All these extraction and dispersal activities [Earth’s crust] are unsustainable,” which is to say, unmaintainable, unsupportable, unbearable, unjustifiable, unworkable, indefensible, unviable, and unecological. SCD Concepts: Extraction and Dispersal- What’s In the Crust Should Probably Stay In the Crust Most of the time, our thinking about the environment and ecology of the Finger Lakes takes into account only half the picture – the half we see on the surface.  We look around and see sky, lakes, streams, forests, fields, and communities. Photos, maps, GIS data, and our daily observations almost always depict only what we see.  But there is another part of our Finger Lakes environment we tend to overlook. Below our fields, lakes, and forests is the unseen world below: the crust of the earth.  We do not see it or live in it, but we often extract useful things from it. And doing so may pose a slow-moving sustainability problem we need to turn around. In the Finger Lakes, we extract groundwater from wells where there is no suitable surface water, lake or stream, to draw water from for human use. We extract rock salt from deep mines, much of which goes to soften the well water or melt the winter snow and ice that hampers travel. We take natural gas from irreplaceable deposits in geologic formations to use as an energy source. Rock and gravel from quarry pits becomes asphalt of our roads and concrete of our buildings and sidewalks. (November 3, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 11/15/2014 - What’s the point of our creating environmental rules and regulations if our authorities don’t’ know about them? Help out, be pro-active on protecting your life support system by calling in environmental violations. New state hotline announced for reporting polluters, poachers The public will be able to instantly report poachers and polluters using a new toll-free hotline that will help to ensure strict enforcement of environmental laws that protect the State's natural resources, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced Thursday. The public will be able to instantly report poachers and polluters using a new toll-free hotline that will help to ensure strict enforcement of environmental laws that protect the State’s natural resources, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced Thursday. The toll-free hotline number is 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267). The hotline will be staffed 24/7 and connect callers to a DEC police dispatcher.  (November 13, 2014) Irondequoit Post [more on Action in our area]

  • 11/15/2014 - Looks like we are going to have to address the worldwide crisis of Climate Change with an arm tied behind our backs. A major supply of our energy to combat Climate Change will be spent (squandered) fighting the lunatics in our government who are dead set on holding to their climate denial ideology—no matter how many freaking times they’ve been proven wrong.  Senate Republicans Vow To Dismantle Carbon Emissions Rules Just days after the midterm elections, Republicans are picking the big targets at which to aim their new majorities, and the federal effort to cut carbon emissions is one of them. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled regulations cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new and existing power plants, respectively. President Obama has laid out a plan to honor the United States’ international commitment to reduce its GHG emissions 17 percent below their 2005 levels by 2020, and those two regulations form the core of that effort. They also appear to be near the top of the list of things the Republicans’ wish to dismantle, once they come into Congress in January with a newly-solidified grip on the House of Representatives and a new majority in the Senate. (November 9, 2014) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/15/2014 - Beautiful Solutions: Addressing Climate Change doesn’t have to be as dreary as the fossil fuels makes it out, we can change.  There are solutions (admittedly, not good for the fossil fuel industry) and some of the solution can come from you. Check out Beautiful Solutions “The Beautiful Solutions Gallery and Lab is an interactive space for sharing the stories, solutions and big ideas needed to build new institutional power and point the way toward a just, resilient, and democratic future. Developed by Beautiful Solutions in partnership with This Changes Everything, this is an open-ended project that will continue to evolve based on the ideas you submit to the Lab, and the ongoing contributions of the thinkers and practitioners on the forefront of building alternatives.”

  • 11/15/2014 - Ok, I’ll admit, I wasn’t very impressed with NYS new website—until I typed “Climate Change” into their search engine. Then voila!  However, it would be nice if our state put up its Climate Change information front and center in their new website to inform New Yorkers of the importance of Climate Change, its Climate Smart Communities program to help all NYS communicates adapt to Climate Change, what the state is doing, and the latest Climate Study: Climate Action Plan Interim Report—which is a very comprehensive study about the consequences of Climate Change in our state and what the state is planning. These are all critical information for New Yorkers and you shouldn’t have to be hunting all over their new web to find out the most important information the state, your state, has to offer.

  • 11/15/2014 - One of the reasons the mid-elections went so bad for our environment, is that media coverage blinded many folks to the priority of Climate Change.  That our leading public communications outlet would gut their climate reporting team is unacceptable. Climate Chang is about planning and we cannot plan if the public is not informed of the all the implications and consequences of this disaster. So, please sign the petition and get your public radio to do their job on informing you of this complex crisis. Sign the petition: Stop NPR from gutting its climate coverage National Public Radio just made the baffling decision to drastically reduce its staff dedicated to covering climate change and the environment, leaving just one part-time reporter on the beat. It’s unacceptable for one of America’s major sources of journalism in the public interest to essentially abandon it’s coverage of climate and the environment by reducing the staff covering it from four full-time journalists to one part-time reporter. Tell NPR: One part-time reporter is not enough. Reverse the decision to slash your team of reporters covering climate change and the environment. NPR pays attention to its critics, and is sensitive to criticism that it is failing to meet its duty to inform the public on the most pressing issues of the day. Add your name to the CREDO petition to show NPR that Americans want more coverage of climate change and other environmental issues, not less. (November 12, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/14/2014 - Support cleaning up the Genesee River. CEI has entered the Genesee RiverWatch into the Ready to Roc video contest. You can support our efforts and help us win by going to this page and voting for our video.  Learn more about the Genesee RiverWatch here.

  • 11/14/2014 - As we fight for our lives and future to address Climate Change, remember the folks we are fighting have a lot of our money to fight with. With an industry solely bent on their survival and not necessarily ours, it’s going to be hard to reduce greenhouse gases when the very industry we are trying to curb is getting zillions of dollars of tax subsidies from us.  As for the character of our fight to address Climate Change: “I am he as you are he as you are me And we are all together” Which is to say WE ought to take those tax gifts away from the very industry warming up the planet. Rich countries subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by $88bn a year US, UK, Australia giving tax breaks to explore new reserves despite climate advice that fossil fuels should be left buried Rich countries are subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn (£55.4bn) a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn. Most of the support was in the form of tax breaks for exploration in deep offshore fields. The public money went to major multinationals as well as smaller ones who specialise in exploratory work, according to British thinktank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Washington-based analysts Oil Change International. (November 10, 2014) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/14/2014 - On Ginna nuclear power plant in Rochester, NY AGREE say’s “Ginna, Looking for a Handout”  “In June, 2014, nuclear company Exelon announced that its Ginna nuclear reactor in Wayne County is losing millions of dollars and will close unless the Public Service Commission forces ratepayers to pay more money to keep the plant open. If Exelon gets its way, Rochester-area ratepayers would be on the hook to help Ginna become profitable again by digging into their own pockets! Sound outrageous? We think so, too, and we are organizing to keep Ginna from getting this bailout. The Public Service Commission needs to hear from you. Submit a comment here:  --from Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) State board orders RG&E, Ginna plant talks The fate of aging upstate power plants was the focus of discussion Thursday in the state's capital, with a Rochester-area nuclear facility moving closer to a reprieve and an Ithaca-area coal plant the subject of protest. State regulators on Thursday ordered Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. to begin negotiating a plan that would keep the R.E.Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County up and running, but an eventual agreement would likely mean higher costs for ratepayers. Later in the day, a few dozen protesters from Tompkins County crowded a Capitol staircase, calling on the commission and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to oppose a proposed plan to switch the coal-burning Cayuga Power Plant in Lansing over to cheaper natural gas. (November 13, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/13/2014 - If you are even remotely interested in the future of life on this planet, this is a must read. The Big Climate Deal: What It Is, and What It Isn’t (November 12, 2014) 350.org

  • 11/13/2014 - Yeah, NYT editorial is saying what anti-frackers have been saying, “some environmentalists say there has been very little public input." The public already knows Fracking is bad for our environment, bad for our communities’ sovereign rights, bad for public health, and bad for energy development—as drilling for more fossil fuels in the bedrock of our state would undermine efforts to increase renewable energy during a time of Climate Change. Here’s the clincher: “"The governor will make enemies no matter what direction he moves in, but before moving at all he should insist on a comprehensive and credible analysis."” A secret DOH "review" is simply not a "comprehensive and credible analysis."  Round Two for Gov. Cuomo The decision on whether to authorize hydraulic fracturing for extracting natural gas along the state’s southern tier has been on hold pending a State Health Department study of the effects on the environment and human health. The study is due by the end of the year, and some environmentalists say there has been very little public input. The governor will make enemies no matter what direction he moves in, but before moving at all he should insist on a comprehensive and credible analysis. (November 9, 2014) New York Times (editorial) [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/13/2014 - Meet one of the heroes, retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Collen Boland, fighting to keep Seneca Lake waters free from contamination. Considering signing a petition or donating to help this cause to reject Inergy Midstream‘s (now Crestwood) proposal to store Liquefied Petroleum Gas and expand natural gas storage at facilities on the shore of Seneca Lake in Reading, NY. More at Gas Free Seneca Even folks in the Rochester area should care about the health of our Finger Lakes. Airman-turned-activist arrested for 'civil disobedience' Retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Collen Boland will mark Veteran's Day with a vigil outside Schuyler County Jail in New York tonight. That's where a fellow veteran is serving a 15-day sentence for refusing to pay a fine for trespassing — and where she too may end up following a court appearance scheduled for next week. Boland and Dwain Wilder, a former sailor, were among 10 protesters arrested Oct. 27 for blocking the entrance of an energy company that four days earlier got the green light to expand an existing natural gas storage facility near the largest of New York's pristine Finger Lakes. (November 12, 2014) AirForceTimes [more on Seneca Lake and Energy in our area]

  • 11/13/2014 - Want to know about Lead Poisoning in Rochester? You have to go to Buffalo’s Investigative Post.  All sounds very nice in lowering lead poisoning in our children, but ya gotta ask: Why did we put lead in our paint and our gasoline for so long, when we knew the dangers of lead? I know, we should be happy that the numbers of lead poisoning cases are doing down, and we are, but there’s a lesson to be learned here, that the burden of proof for dangerous chemicals we put into our products is placed on the victims. Until folks drop or are permanently damaged by injecting lead into them, we assume Corporations would never put anything in their products that would do our children or environment any harm—and we are continually proven wrong. Rochester leads on lead while Buffalo dallies Rochester used to have a lead problem at least as bad as Buffalo’s. But officials there got serious a decade ago and developed a program that’s considered a national model that some think Buffalo should emulate. Ralph Spezio, principal of an inner-city elementary school, was Rochester’s catalyst for change. Fifteen years ago he overheard two nurses talking about a pupil’s high blood lead level. “Then the other one said, ‘They are all lead poisoned,’” Spezio said. He was alarmed and wanted to know more. He signed a confidentiality agreement with the Monroe County Health Department and obtained lead test results for his youngest pupils. (November 17, 2014) Investigative Post [more on Lead Poisoning in our area] 

  • 11/13/2014 - Pretty funny hearing climate critics downplaying Obama’s deal with China, when it’s what GOP has demanded on any agreement. It’s frustrating, especially after the People Climate March, to know that the people want to see our leaders act on Climate Change, but most of the energy to fight Climate Change will get consumed by fighting those who would keep us fueled by fossil fuels regardless.  Bad as things might have been, it’s going to be so much worse trying to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change with the small but powerful deniers as monkeys on our back. Obama Reaches Climate Deal with China — and GOPCongress May Not Be Able to Stop It The United States and China, the world’s two largest polluters, have agreed on new target limits for greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. Announcing the deal in China with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Obama said the United States will set a goal of reducing carbon emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a doubling of current reduction efforts. China has also made its first-ever commitment to stop emissions from growing by 2030. We are joined by Jake Schmidt, director of the International Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. (November 12, 2014) Democracy Now! [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/13/2014 - When the cat’s away, the mice will play. When Obama is forging a deal with China, as GOP insisted must happen, the GOP tries to ram Keystone down the US.  I suspect as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris gets nearer, it’s going to get very whacky in Congress. The more we try to make a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world, the more those with lots of money to make from fossil fuels will double-down their efforts to stop measures to lower greenhouse gases.  We are living in very interesting times. Keystone pipeline approval bills advance in Congress Legislation to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline began racing through the U.S. Congress on Wednesday as Democrats and Republicans appeared to be coming together in a challenge of President Barack Obama'soversight of the project. In a series of rapid developments that unfolded just hours after Congress returned from a seven-week recess, there were indications the measure could pass and be sent to Obama sometime next week. Republicans, victorious in the Nov. 4 congressional elections in which they campaigned heavily on the need for Keystone, have been pushing for approval of the project amid objections from some Democrats. (November 13, 2014) Reuters [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/12/2014 - As the LPG storage crisis near Seneca Lake shores continues, we must ask ourselves if NYS is setting the table for Fracking?  The lure of lots of money (I mean a lot) is making a lot of people stupid about threats we are putting on our local fresh water and putting more fossil fuels into our atmosphere and warming things up even more.  While we are on the subject of natural gas, we ought to find out how much methane is already escaping into our atmosphere from existing gas pipelines, just as they did in Boston “Thousands of gas leaks in Boston area, study finds| DEC issues conditions for Seneca Lake LPG storage The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued draft permit conditions for the Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC's proposed liquid propane gas storage facility that would use existing underground salt caverns. The release of the draft permit conditions is not an indication that DEC will approve the permit, according to the DEC. It is the next step leading to an issues conference Feb. 12 at the Holiday Inn Express in Horseheads. Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC has proposed to construct and operate a new facility for the storage and distribution of propane and butane on a portion of a 576-acre site located west of Seneca Lake in the Schuyler County Town of Reading. (November 11, 2014) StarGazette [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/12/2014 - Just watched incredible documentary on our relationship to Water WATERMARK: By Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky  Maybe Rochester can get a local showing of this film. "Watermark is a feature documentary from multiple-award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, marking their second collaboration after Manufactured Landscapes in 2006. The film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. We see massive floating abalone farms off China’s Fujian coast and the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world – the Xiluodu, six times the size of the Hoover. We visit the barren desert delta where the mighty Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean, and the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka.We witness how humans are drawn to water, from the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, where thirty million people gather for a sacred bath in the Ganges at the same time. We speak with scientists who drill ice cores two kilometers deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet, and explore the sublime pristine watershed of Northern British Columbia. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. In Watermark, the viewer is immersed in a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted- until it’s gone."

  • 11/12/2014 - ‘Green Drinks’ for November is coming up: Center for Environmental Initiatives  Join us for November Green Drinks on Thursday, November 20 from 4-6 pm at RED Rochester LLC's Kings Landing Waste Water Treatment Plant, 480 Maplewood Dr., Rochester 14615. Tour the facility and learn about RED Rochester's initiatives. Tour starts promptly at 4.

  • 11/12/2014 - Let’s face it Rochester, NY we do not have watchdog journalism like Buffalo’s Investigate Post. Watch this on Lead Poisoning.  What if Rochester journalism included investigating our sewer system, our addressing Climate Change, transportation, recycling and landfill, and more environmental issues with the doggedness of the Investigative Post?  Buffalo is ‘ground zero’ for lead poisoning Young children in Erie County, mostly from Buffalo’s inner city, are testing positive for lead poisoning at more than triple the state average. As a result, hundreds of children enter Buffalo schools every year dealing with the impacts of lead poisoning, which can include lowered IQ and behavioral problems. The chief source of the problem is lead-based paint chips and dust in Buffalo’s old housing stock. “Buffalo is ground zero in the entire country for lead poisoning,” said David Hahn-Baker, a local environmental activist who has studied the lead problem for three decades. Yet City Hall treats lead poisoning as someone else’s problem to resolve. (November 11, 2014) Investigative Post [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]   

  • 11/12/2014 - Brighton Color Green’s program--during one week in spring and one week in fall—to reduce greenhouse gases emissions via transportation results are in: Curb Your Car Week Fall 2014 Results "The Fall 2014 Curb Your Car Week event took place the week of October 5–11, 2014. During that week, 60 residents from Brighton and Rochester registered their pledge to walk, bike, carpool, or ride the bus for at least a day as an alternative to drive their car." Brighton Color Green

  • 11/12/2014 - Could the “Omega Block,” an anomalous atmospheric setup at the cutting edge of climate change research be causing our cold spell, that some are calling: “Super Frigid Terrifying Polar Express Storm Vortex Snowpocalypse." Tighten your seatbelts, our climate is going to get whacky. Meet the “Omega Block,” Your Wintry Companion for (At Least) the Next Two Weeks North America’s weather is a complete mess right now. And it’s not about to change anytime soon. Thanks to a boost by the impressive extratropical remnants of Typhoon Nuri, which over the weekend likely became the Bering Sea’s most intense storm on record, the atmosphere has entered an extreme pattern. The highly elongated jet stream, whose circuitous route right now bends from Siberia down toward Hawaii back to the Arctic north of Alaska and then straight south toward the Midwest and East Coast, is morphing into an “Omega Block,” named after the Greek letter of a similar shape. (November 10, 2014) Slate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/12/2014 - How do trade agreements—NAFTA, TPP, and TTIP—affect our ability to address Climate Change? Why the climate movement cannot ignore trade In September, I joined more than 400,000 community members on the front lines of climate disruption— environmentalists, workers, students, parents, and others—to demand action on climate and to claim our collective rights to clean water, air, and land. As someone who has spent many years in the halls of Congress and United Nations climate conventions calling for strong climate action, this diverse and in-the-streets action was a beautiful, incredible feat that signals a tipping point in the climate movement that policymakers will not be able to ignore. But there is another tipping point that will affect the success of the climate movement: free trade. The health of our planet depends on our ability to make big changes in our economy. These changes include moving beyond fossil fuels and building local green economies. However, our current model of free trade, which is written into agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and free trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), threatens nearly every aspect of this much-needed economic transition. And yet, the U.S. is currently negotiating massive new free trade pacts, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 Pacific Rim nations and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union (October 27, 2014) Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - Big three-part series on dangers posed by lead paint contamination in Buffalo. Wondering if Lead Poisoning is even on Rochester’s radar.  Buffalo’s big lead poisoning problem Investigative Post, in the first of a three-part series, examines the danger posed by lead paint contamination in Buffalo. Buffalo children aged five and under test positive for lead poisoning at more than three times the state average. Erie County’s rate is the worst of the 11 counties that test 10,000 or more children a year. “Buffalo is ground zero in the entire country for lead poisoning,” said David Hahn-Baker, an environmental activist in Buffalo. (November 10, 2014) Investigative Post [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - Over 400 ocean ‘dead zones’ where Climate Change comes into play further increases our need to act on this worldwide crisis. So many of our eco-zones—land, oceans, and air—are under threat of many issues—pollution, development, etc.—and then Climate Change, the threat multiplier. Larger ‘dead zones,’ oxygen-depleted water, likely because of climate change Three years ago, the Chesapeake Bay was hit by an unusually large “dead zone,” a stretch of oxygen-depleted water that killed fish from the Baltimore Harbor to the mid-channel of the Potomac River and beyond, about a third of the bay. Another giant dead zone returned last summer, smaller than the first but big enough to rank as the estuary’s eighth largest since state natural resources officials in Virginia and Maryland started recording them in the 1990s. In a future of climate change, those behemoths might not seem so unusual, according to a new report by the Smithsonian. As the global temperatures warm, they will create conditions such as rain, wind and sea-level rise that will cause dead zones throughout the world to intensify and grow, the report says. (November 10, 2014) The Washington Post [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - If all of us starting pollinating all the plants that needed pollinating by all the bees, we might accomplish the work of one bee. With Climate Change, pesticides, our disruptive transportation infrastructure, and Collapse Colony Syndrome killing off our bees, we might just have to take on bee work just so we can eat.  Climate Change Disrupts Bee’s Pollination of Flowers Sexual deceit, pressed flowers and Victorian bee collectors are combined in new scientific research which demonstrates for the first time that climate change threatens flower pollination, which underpins much of the world’s food production. The work used museum records stretching back to 1848 to show that the early spider orchid and the miner bee on which it depends for reproduction have become increasingly out of sync as spring temperatures rise due to global warming. (November 8, 2014) Climate Central [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - A very inconvenient report about our transportation infrastructure and Climate Change from the US Forest Service.  This report (see below) is inconvenient because the underlying question--Are transportation networks hindering the ability of wildlife to successfully respond to climate change?—is absurd. It’s absurd because of course animals and plants (not to mention soil) cannot ‘move’ to adapt to Climate Change because of our ubiquitous roads, and highways, and parking lots.  It’s also absurd because even if we are able to conduct these studies, which will reveal the obvious, there is no way we will dig up roads to replace natural habitats.  The burden of proof for these studies, however irrational, are going to be placed on the researchers, on the folks who say that building more roads and even maintaining our existing transportation infrastructure is not only bad for our environment, but will make it almost impossible for animals and plants to adapt.  Nothing will stop engineers from building more roads and the public wanting more roads even if we find that this attitude will lead us to environmental perdition.  If we really, really cared about adapting to Climate Change, we’d get the public to know that this report exists and that it’s going to address some very troubling questions about our build environment. Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change realistically will not only involve greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, but more fundamentally the barriers to a healthy environment that our transportation system presents.  At the very least, we should begin thinking of way to help developing countries move away from creating a transportation system like ours—and that will be very difficult. Toward understanding the ecological impact of transportation corridors  Transportation corridors (notably roads) affect wildlife habitat, populations, and entire ecosystems. Considerable effort has been expended to quantify direct effects of roads on wildlife populations and ecological communities and processes. Much less effort has been expended toward quantifying indirect effects. In this report, we provide a comprehensive review of road/transportation corridor ecology; in particular, how this new field of ecology has advanced worldwide. Further, we discuss how research thus far has shaped our understanding and views of the ecological implications of transportation infrastructures, and, in turn, how this has led to the current guidance, policies, and management options. We learned that the impacts of transportation infrastructures are a global issue, with the potential to affect a wide variety of taxonomically diverse species and ecosystems. (2011) U.S. Forest Service [more on Transportation and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - Listen to this archived version of today’s (11/10/2014) WXXI program on the effect of recent elections on Climate Change. Three local experts examine the possible repercussions of our efforts to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change after the recent dismal election turnout.  Have we shot ourselves in the foot, as it were? Have we crippled our ability to adapt to Climate Change locally and possibly hampered our efforts to lead on Climate Change at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris?  Encourage WXXI and more local media to engage the public on Climate Change, the crisis of our generation. Connections: Recent Elections and Climate Change What do the election results mean for those who had hoped for more aggressive public policy relating to climate change? To say the least, advocates are disappointed. What's next? We discuss with our panel: Lawrence Torcello, RIT Ethics professor  Dr. Susan Spencer, solar scientist Abigail McHugh-GrifaThe Rochester People's Climate Coalition [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/11/2014 - Great encapsulation of the fight to save Seneca Lake waters from liquid gas storage near the shores of our largest Finger Lakes. Standing by Those Who Stand in the Way of Fracking Infrastructure It all began taking shape back in March of 2013, when Sandra Steingraber – the noted biologist, author, educator and advisor ofAmericans Against Fracking – and 11 other courageous individuals were arrested for blockading the entrance to a natural gas compressor station on the banks of Seneca Lake, in the environmentally sensitive Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. These so-called “Seneca Lake 12” were simply doing what countless other Americans have done over generations when they knew their health and safety were threatened, when their elected leaders weren’t there to help, and when they had no other choice: they stood up for their neighbors, their families and themselves, and were hauled off to jail. Sandra spent 10 days behind bars after defiantly refusing to pay a fine. (November 10, 2014) Food and Water Watch  [more on Seneca Lake]

  • 11/10/2014 - Important News: Why hasn’t NYS upheld the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act? Are we swimming in raw sewage?  “New Yorkers have a right to know when potentially harmful untreated sewage is discharged into waterways in their communities,” Cuomo said in August 2012. But the state Department of Environmental Conservation is not following the law. Seventeen months after the legislation was enacted, New Yorkers still do not “know if they are swimming, boating or fishing in raw sewage,” Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said in a prepared statement. WHAT'S IN THE WATER? STATE AGENCY'S FAILURE TO FOLLOW SEWAGE POLLUTION LAW PROVOKES QUESTIONS Each year the aging sewer infrastructure in New York’s cities, towns and villages dumps billions of gallons of raw sewage mixed with dirty stormwater into local waterways. These overflows close beaches, kill fish and wildlife, and sicken scores of people each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “No one swims in their toilet,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo. “We don’t want to swim in waterways that are contaminated.” In an attempt to provide immediate notification to New York residents about this public health threat, two years ago Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act into law. (October 30, 2014) City and State [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 11/10/2014 - If you haven’t read Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything,’ you haven’t read an important book being compared with “Silent Spring” Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ “Every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable.” Thus spoke President Kennedy in a 1961 address to the United Nations. The threat he warned of was not climate chaos — barely a blip on anybody’s radar at the time — but the hydrogen bomb. The nuclear threat had a volatile urgency and visual clarity that the sprawling, hydra-headed menace of today’s climate calamity cannot match. How can we rouse citizens and governments to act for concerted change? Will it take, as Naomi Klein insists, nothing less than a Marshall Plan for Earth? “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” is a book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable. Klein’s fans will recognize her method from her prior books, “No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies” (1999) and “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” (2007), which, with her latest, form an antiglobalization trilogy. Her strategy is to take a scourge — brand-­driven hyperconsumption, corporate exploitation of disaster-struck communities, or “the fiction of perpetual growth on a finite planet” — trace its origins, then chart a course of liberation. In each book she arrives at some semihopeful place, where activists are reaffirming embattled civic values." (November 6, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/10/2014 - What if we’ve been waiting to address Climate Change until it gets really bad and find out it got really bad long ago? The problem with trying to address Climate Change is that not only is our climate changing quickly so is our ability to measure it.  We should assume, as the Precautionary Principle demands, because there are still a lot of unknowns (like, are we measuring the temperature rises accurately?) we should act immediately and on a large scale to address Climate Change—assuming we could very well be underestimating the problem. Ironically, the Precautionary Principle where “the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action” means that we should take action to address Climate Change because the business-as-usual trajectory is where the burden of proof falls. Prove that continually warming the planet by burning fossil fuels won’t warm and harm the planet. Climate Change action would be to take action to adapt and mitigate a situation (massive human development using fossil fuels) where the Precautionary Principle was ignored. New study questions the accuracy of satellite atmospheric temperature estimates A new study finds that satellites may be underestimating the warming of the lower atmosphere Over the past decades, scientists have made many measurements across the globe to characterize how fast the Earth is warming. It may seem trivial, but taking the Earth’s temperature is not very straightforward. You could use temperature thermometers at weather stations that are spread across the globe. Measurements can be taken daily and information sent to central repositories where some average is determined.  A downside of thermometers is that they do not cover the entire planet – large polar regions, oceans, and areas in the developing world have no or very few measurements. Another problem is that they may change over time. Perhaps the thermometers are replaced or moved, or perhaps the landscape around the thermometers changes which could impact the reading. And of course, measurements of the ocean regions are a whole other story. (November 7, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 11/10/2014 - I don’t think that capping Earth’s temperature rise at 2C will avert disaster; but I’ve never heard we could reach 5C by mid-century. This must be a typo: “Scientists have said that at the current levels of emissions, the world is on track for as much as a 5 C rise by the middle of this century.” In all the articles and studies I have read (really a lot) I have never heard that 5C could be achieved by the middle of this century. If this scenario is even remotely true, it’s already game over. I’d like to see some supporting evidence for this mid-century 5C level, but the author gives none. Be nice to nail this figure down. As much as I think the public and the media are delusional about downplaying the consequences and lack of urgency on Climate Change, I think anyone who says that we could possibly reach 5C by mid-century should bring a lot of expert references to bear before making such a dramatic statement. I have read many times that 5C could be possibly be reached by 2100 if we continue business as usual, but never by mid-century. 5C, as most scientists would agree, would be probably beyond even our ability to adapt by 2100, but by 2050—just about impossible.  Capping warming at 2 C not enough to avert disaster, climate experts warn Former UN climate chief says 'no such thing as safe rise'; scientists fear tipping point will be met Scientists, environmentalists and world leaders alike have generally agreed that capping Earth’s temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius would prevent the worst effects of climate change — a cut-off touted again in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But many experts in the field, including former IPCC leaders, have said that even if global warming is kept to that limit, such a rise could nevertheless devastate the environment and endanger humanity — the very effects that the latest study warns will happen if the 2 C ceiling is breached. (November 8, 2014) Aljazeera American [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/08/2014 - Wouldn’t it be far more likely that there would be detrimental health effects from living next to a noisy highway than near a wind turbine? And yet we do not require continual public health impact studies for the folks who live near the zillions highways that surround us.  Could it be that we’ll do anything to avoid having renewable energy sources because that might threaten the fossil fuel industry? So we do studies on wind turbine noise, when clearly we rarely do studies on a more likely suspect for public health effects and noise.  No definitive link between wind turbines and poor health, says Health Canada study There is no connection between exposure to the wind turbine noise and health effects, says a new comprehensive Health Canada study. Living near towering wind turbines can be extremely annoying but there is no connection between exposure to the wind turbine noise and health effects, says a new comprehensive Health Canada study. Noise from wind turbines did not have any measurable effect on illness and chronic disease, stress and quality of sleep, the study found. But the louder the noise from the turbines, the more people got annoyed by different aspects — from the noise to the aircraft warning lights atop the turbines to the way they caused shadows to flicker. But Health Canada said the study on its own cannot provide definitive answers and more research may be needed. It also pointed out that annoyance isn’t trivial — those who were annoyed were more likely to report other health issues. (November 8, 2014) The Star [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 11/08/2014 - I don’t suppose at this eleventh hour that New York State just ban Fracking altogether because extreme extraction for more fossil fuels during Climate Change is nuts. I know, the present zeitgeist is that it’s insane to talk about renewable energy sources (wind and solar) because everyone, including the zillions of dollars and tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry being poured into this discussion about energy really, really wants to drill baby drill--regardless. The media has so filled the airwaves about more fossil fuels and so ignored the worldwide crisis of Climate Change that it seems crazy to do the right thing and get our energy in such a way that it doesn’t threaten our water, our soil, our air, and warm the planet up.  Science and reason and facts are no longer a part of the energy issue in New York State; they have been hijacked by this mad rush for more fossil fuels. Election Over, Will Cuomo Decide on Fracking? Now that elections are over, supporters and opponents of hydro fracking are wondering what will be Governor Andrew Cuomo’s next move on the long stalled gas drilling process in New York State. New York has had a defacto moratorium on fracking for several years. Most recently Governor Cuomo has said he’s awaiting results of an over two years long health review being conducted by his administration. During a debate in October, Cuomo said the review would finally be completed by the end of the calendar year. (November 7, 2014) WXXI News {more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/07/2014 - One of the things we absolutely have to do to address Climate Change is make sure our critical utilities are ready for more frequent disruptions. For all the doubt and dismissing of Climate Change in our region, our public officials must see to it that we are prepared for Climate Change and that we are prepared for the collateral damage due to Climate Change.  Our public officials do not have the luxury of doubting Climate Change—no matter how loony their political parties. More media attention, resulting in more public awareness, of what our public servants like A.G. Schneiderman, are doing to help folks after Hurricane Sandy ( a horrific storm probably resulting from Climate Change) damage and fortifying our critical utilities would bet to make it crystal clear to the public that Climate Change is real, that it is happening, and it must be planned for—especially by your government because only our government can set the playing field for addressing Climate Change and only our government (no matter how many donors and volunteers help out after a disaster) will always be the insurers and help of last resort. A.G. Schneiderman: Two Years After Sandy, We Must Remain Committed To Making New York Stronger Than Ever NEW YORK – Two years ago, on October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the Eastern seaboard with unprecedented strength and impact. Over 150 Americans lost their lives, including 53 in New York State, and millions were displaced.  The region suffered massive property damage – estimated at approximately $65 billion – to homes, buildings and infrastructure. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued the following statement on this solemn anniversary: “Two years ago today, Sandy slammed into our shores, wreaking havoc on our infrastructure and our communities. In the wake of this tragedy, people throughout the state, across the country and around the world came together to help however they could. Some helped neighbors to clean up, while others volunteered or donated to a charitable organization. Together, New Yorkers once again demonstrated tremendous resilience and our commitment build our state back even stronger than before. (October 29, 2014) NYS Attorney General Schneiderman [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2014 - What you have to ask yourself is what US politics has to do with the physics of Climate Change? Time passes. Chevron spent $72 per voter to defeat these green candidates — and failed At the headquarters for the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) Tuesday night, a man in a superhero mask made to look like the Chevron logo was capering around, handing play money to people and saying, “Vote for me!” It might have been a depressing piece of political theater, but given how the election turned out, it wasn’t. By the end of the night, it was clear that the RPA’s entire slate of candidates had won by a landslide — despite Chevron’s funneling at least $3 million into defeating them (about $72 for each registered voter in the city). RPA city council candidates Eduardo Martinez, Jovanka Beckles, and outgoing mayor Gayle McLaughlin all won, and RPA-endorsed candidate and city council member Tom Butt became the city’s new mayor. Butt’s election will free up a city council seat, which the RPA will try to fill with one of their own. If that happens, the group will have the four votes that will give them a majority on the council. (November 5, 2014) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/07/2014 - How will the results of the US mid-term elections affect the relentless physics of Climate Change? Zip. Even installing Inhofe as chair of Senate environment committee, the denier-in-chief, will only affect our ability to address this worldwide crisis, but it won’t affect what happens when we fail to stop putting more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.  More GHG into the atmosphere, more disruption to our climate. We cannot politics ourselves out of Climate Change. We either plan successfully or we don’t. GOP Election Rout Delivers Blow to U.S. Leadership Role on Climate Change Deck in Congress is stacked in favor of fossil fuels, throwing Obama’s climate agenda in doubt during his lame-duck years. The role of the United States in confronting the global climate crisis has been cast into serious doubt after an election that stacked the deck in Congress in favor of fossil fuel industries. Republicans seized firm control, and added several new senators who deny that climate change is a problem. A solid majority of voters who spoke to exit pollsters said they regarded climate change as a significant matter, but most were on the Democratic side. By a huge margin, Republican voters said the opposite. And in state after hotly contested state, they elected their own to the Senate. (November 5, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 11/07/2014 - Does Rochester, NY really need another media, one that highlights what you have to say about issues important to you? YES! It freaking does. Move away from mainstream corporate media and become the media with Rochester Free Radio. Read “What is ‘local’ news on a warming planet?Get RFR On The Air Goal:  $15,000.00 Total:  $1643.00 To get Rochester Free Radio on the air and have your voice heard, we need your help to get our start-up costs covered.  $15,000 is our goal and with your support, we can make it.  Watch our video below then check out the amazing, one-of-a-kind swag we have for you.  Rochester Free Radio

  • 11/07/2014 - I’m thinking that if the EAB has acquired a taste for lilac’s it will be welcomed even less than it already is in Rochester, NY. Is the emerald ash borer (EAB) ‘thinking’ of branching out to new victims, like forsythia and lilac, unless we wage war with dangerous expensive chemical? Just when you think you’re getting your head around the invasive species issue and what problems plan for, some of them change their diets.  Not to mention Climate Change is going to change invasive species too. Borers branch out from ash trees Bad news in the bug department: The emerald ash borer, a tiny, glitter-green insect from China expected to kill virtually all ash trees in the eastern U.S. - unless they are treated with expensive chemicals - may have a new target. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that the borer had attacked the white fringe tree, which is in the same family as not only the ash, but forsythia and lilac. Experts don't know quite what to make of the find yet, other than that it is worrisome (November 6, 2014) McClatchy DC [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 11/06/2014 - In spite of US election results, the science of Climate Change and the up-coming Paris Climate conference are still on. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, whose “objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world” may be the last window of opportunity of mitigating Climate Change, bringing down GHG’s before the worldwide agreed on 2C above pre-industrial levels. Rochesterians and the world at large should be paying attention to this. IPCC Synthesis Report Highlights Science Strength  A distillation of the major findings of the fifth assessment report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been published today (Sunday 2 November 2014). Known as The Synthesis Report, the document pulls together all the various strands of the different AR5 documents published by the IPCC over the last year or so. The launch was accompanied by a major press conference in Copenhagen. At the press conference, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a global response to climate change: “We need everyone, even individual citizens, to take action,” he said. IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri told the press conference that “Business as usual is certainly not an option” and urged leaders to look at the science. (November 2, 2014)ReportingClimateScience.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/06/2014 - Notes from our friends over at Pachamama Alliance Group in Rochester:  “Discover the hope, connections and creative potential in these troubling times.  Awakening the Dreamer-Changing the Dream Symposium: an experience to inspire action toward the more sustainable, just and fulfilling world our hearts know is possible. Upcoming free events in our area:  Dec. 7, 2014, The Sufi Center,  494 East Avenue; Sinai Temple, Jan. 11, 2015 For info and registration see: http://www.uptous.org/ | For more information about hosting a symposium in the Rochester area, contact Sue Staropoli, suestar1@rochester.rr.com , 586-4007 or www.suestar.com

  • 11/06/2014 - I didn’t know that “GAS PRODUCTION BRINE APPROVED FOR USE ON MONROE AND NEIGHBORING COUNTY ROADS” Did you? GAS PRODUCTION BRINE APPROVED  FOR USE ON MONROE AND NEIGHBORING  COUNTY ROADS  ABOUT BRINE: 1/14/14: Democrat and Chronicle: Road Salt Recipes "Like Playing Mad Scientist" (no mention of fracking brine):  IN MONROE, GENESEE, WYOMING AND ORLEANS COUNTIES: Gas production brine (highly saline and potentially toxic and radioactive fluids) from conventional natural gas wells in Genesee and Wyoming Counties has been approved for use as a de-icing agent on certain Monroe, Wyoming, Genesee and Orleans Counties roads. Brine stored in East Rochester was used in the winter of 2011-2012, though not in 2012-2013, according to the BUD (Beneficial Use Determination) annual reports. R-Cause

  • 11/06/2014 - Of course, the soaring costs of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline does not include the environmental damage—as that externality isn’t figured in the books. TransCanada to Expand Pipelines, Even as Keystone Costs Soar Company Plans Billions in Spending to Meet Surging Growth in Distribution Needs CALGARY--- TransCanada Corp. said Tuesday it will spend up to 2.7 billion Canadian dollars ($2.38 billion) to expand its largest gas pipeline system in Western Canada to meet surging growth in shale gas supplies and will spend another C$475 million to expand a gas pipeline project in southern Ontario. (November 4, 2014) Wall Street Journal [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/06/2014 - Of course, you shouldn’t use Solar Power just because it’s cheaper, you should get it because it’s not a fossil fuel burning, GHG’s emitting, planet warmer. While You Were Getting Worked Up Over Oil Prices, This Just Happened to Solar Every time fossil fuels get cheaper, people lose interest in solar deployment. That may be about to change. After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states -- in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week. That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year. Even if the tax credit drops to 10 percent, solar will soon reach price parity with conventional electricity in well over half the nation: 36 states. Gone are the days when solar panels were an exotic plaything of Earth-loving rich people. Solar is becoming mainstream, and prices will continue to drop as the technology improves and financing becomes more affordable, according to the report. (October 29, 2014) Bloomberg News [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 11/06/2014 - Powerful statements on saving Seneca Lake made at “We Are Seneca Lake Pre-Arraignment Press Conference” last evening. One of the many highlights was Sandra Steingraber reading an amazing statement by the gas company that said “Our business involved many hazards and risks some of which might not be fully covered by insurance.” We Are Seneca Lake Pre-Arraignment Press Conference Published on Nov 5, 2014 Town of Reading Court, November 5, 2014. Lee McCaslin starts off with hoop drum and song. 1:48 Sandra Steingraber 7:33 Ret. Airforce Major Coleen Bolland 11:52 Jeannie and Patrick Judson [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 11/05/2014 - Americans, who ‘get’ Climate Change, will act only when they get hit with the consequences, like those who didn’t cause warming.  In short, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the moral arguments to address Climate Change (that not to do so will screw the developing nations first) are not working, nor obviously is the science of Climate Change.  Only when it is our ox that is being gored will we act, but by then of course, we will have lost the window of opportunity to keep GHG’s below 2C, and it will be too late. After the window closes and we haven't acted, we will try to adapt to more flooding, more droughts, more food disruption, more ecological collapse, the collapse of our water, waste, transportation and telecommunications infrastructures and more stress to our already inadequate public health system, and the failure of our insurance companies to pay for damages, and then we, like the many creatures and plants that will have fallen, we will follow. Belief in climate change doesn't always lead to action Americans are undergoing a significant shift in thinking about climate change, but rising public awareness of a warming climate has not translated into action, according to new survey research. In the recent 2014 Empire State Poll, 82 percent of New Yorkers say they believe climate change is happening. Downstate New Yorkers are even more convinced – 86 percent say climate change is real. However, less than 1 percent of the 800 New York state residents polled think climate change is the most important issue facing the state, and less than 20 percent would be willing to take political action. (November 4, 2014) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/05/2014 - What is being done to revive our local natural areas, our parks? Revival of Natural Areas Near You: State Parks’ Projects and Internship Opportunities New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) has always supported the enhancement, reconstruction and preservation of our state’s natural areas. In the upcoming years, Hobart and William Smith Colleges will see some particularly grand examples of these efforts in the state parks and historic sites closest to them. Students and faculty will also have the unique and exciting opportunity to assist NYS Parks with these projects through the Friends of Recreation, Conservation, & Environmental Stewardship (FORCES) program. (November 3, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Parks in our area]

  • 11/05/2014 - Just published and lots of local events and environmental information: Penfield Green Initative Nov 2014 e-newsletter "Penfield Green Initiative Vision Statement: The Penfield Green Initiative began in D12c 2007.  We are Penfield residents who want to promote positive environmental action & provide a forum for the general public to be involved supporting a "green Penfield." We encourage people to attend any of the following events or meetings. E-mail us with your comments & permission to publish them in the next monthly newsletter.  Please let us know of any other Environmental Issues or events. We'd enjoy hearing from you. "

  • 11/05/2014 - Of course in Rochester, NY and in many developed places the urgency behind the new IPCC study’s warming will not be heard: “We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2ºC of warming closes.” This ‘window’ that closes is our ability to still keep catastrophic warming from overtaking our future. Of course, even when the ‘window’ closes we will be able to (and will be compelled) to adapt to the consequences of Climate Change, but only for so long.  It is amazing that this message that the window of opportunity is closing, the most dramatic warning humanity has even been given by its experts, is going to be ignored.  When this window is passed and our children wonder why they are condemned to live on a planet whose life support system is scheduled to fail, hope (as we have known it) will be no more. IPCC warns time is running out to tackle climate change In the most comprehensive, authoritative and scrutinised assessment of climate change ever produced, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has offered its starkest warning yet about the challenges facing humanity. Not only does the IPCC show that climate change is real and that its impacts are happening faster than ever, but for the first time it lays out the true extent of human influence on the climate system. While previous estimates say human activity – primarily the burning of fossil fuels – is responsible for more than half of all warming, the latest report shows we are actually responsible for all warming since 1951. (November 3, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/05/2014 - The price we are going to pay because others desire to develop as we developed is going to be high indeed on a finite planet. Our commons—air, water, land, ocean—are proven not to be limitless.  670,000 smog-related deaths a year: the cost of China's reliance on coal Smog killed 670,000 people in 2012, says mainland study on pollution Smog caused by coal consumption killed an estimated 670,000 people in China in 2012, according to a study by researchers that tries to put a price tag on the environmental and social costs of the heavy reliance on the fuel. Damage to the environment and health added up to 260 yuan (HK$330) for each tonne produced and used in 2012, said Teng Fei , an associate professor at Tsinghua University. The 260 yuan is made up of two parts: the health cost and the environmental damage caused by mining and transporting coal. (November 5, 2014) South China Morning Post [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - Pretty please, don’t nuke the Great Lakes. Can we please get the energy we need from wind and not threaten the largest fresh water system in the world with nuclear waste? Blue Water communities oppose nuclear waste site As Canadian officials inch closer to a decision on an underground nuclear waste facility near Lake Huron, opposition in the Mitten is gaining strength. At least 76 communities in Michigan have formally opposed the proposed facility for low- and intermediate-level waste. The Ontario Power Generation facility would house about 7 million cubic feet of waste and be located about 2,200 feet below ground — about 0.6 miles from the shore of Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario. More than 30 of the communities opposed to the waste facility are in St. Clair and Sanilac counties. In September, the Canadian Joint Review Panel — a group established by the federal Ministry of Environment and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission — had a nine-day public hearing to discuss OPG's plans for the deep geologic repository. (October 31, 2014) The Times Herald [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - Toxic algae: connecting the dots with Great Lakes, Water Quality, Invasive Species and Climate Change.  This is our future, where Climate Change is the mother of all problems. We should be planning accordingly. But in Rochester, NY local news it’s not even on our radar. Invasive species compound toxic algae risk Conventional wisdom says western Lake Erie’s toxic algae is supported by commercial farm runoff, animal manure, sewage spills, faulty septic tanks, and other major sources of nutrients responsible for putting much of the excessive phosphorus and nitrogen in the water. But that’s not the whole story. As Great Lakes scientists probe deeper into the weeds on this issue, they find such contributing factors as invasive species and climate change also foster algal growth. Invasive species and climate change don’t cause algal blooms, but they worsen them. (November 3, 2014) The Toledo Blade [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, Invasive Species and Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - No more rubbing stamping, FERC, including a methane gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake that allows methane storage in unstable salt caverns. Breaking: 25 Arrested Shutting Down FERC Office in DC Nearly 100 people from across the country participated in a nonviolent direct action protest this morning shutting down the office of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, DC. Today’s action was led by some of the Great March for Climate Action marchers who arrived at the nation’s capital on Nov. 1 after a 3,000-mile cross country walk from Los Angeles, California to Washington, DC. Police say 25 people were arrested this morning. “We walked 3,000 miles across the country and heard firsthand from families and communities the hardships they are facing due to extreme energy extraction,” said Faith Meckley, one of the climate marchers who lives in New York state. Meckley said she’s participating in these actions because FERC rubber stamped a methane gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake that allows methane storage in unstable salt caverns that threatens her community. (November 3, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Energy in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - New IPCC graphs show how WE—not cows, not the sun, not sinister liberals, not Mother Nature, not your worst enemy—are changing the world’s climate.  IPCC report: six graphs that show how we're changing the world's climate We look at the data that underpins the forthcoming IPCC climate science report detailing humanity’s influence on the climate, global impacts and solutions On Sunday the world’s top climate scientists are expected to reiterate their warning that humanity’s influence on the climate is unequivocal, with wide-ranging impacts across the planet, from rising seas to melting ice. The UN’s climate science panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is currently meeting in Copenhagen to thrash out the final wording of its so-called ‘synthesis’ report, the most comprehensive account of the state on climate science in seven years. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is a megamix of three major reports that have already been published over the course of the last 13 months – one on the physical science of climate changeone on its impacts on ecosystems, our food supply and how we adapt, and one on the solutions, i.e. cutting emissions from our power plants, factories, cars and farms. (October 31, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/04/2014 - It is you we fear the most, the specter of lifting the moratorium on Fracking in New York State, the most fearsome of the Spirits. We can see into the future and we dread that what has happened to other communities will happen to us. But this future, a future of Fracking, does not have to be for New York State. Communities find little success in resisting fracking infrastructure Locals say their health concerns over wells and waste pits are ignored by oil and gas companies and state authorities Amy Nassif thought petitioning her Pennsylvania school board to vote against drilling near her two children’s school would be enough — but even without the board’s approval, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved the permits. “I was completely shocked at the total disregard for the safety of the community,” she said. “They have active-shooter drills at the school, they have drug free zones, but we can’t protect our kids from this.” In March the Pennsylvania-based company Rex Energy proposed drilling for natural gas under the Mars Area School District’s campus, where about 3,200 elementary, middle and high school students from four surrounding municipalities attend classes each weekday. (November 4, 20140 Aljazeera America [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/03/2014 - This is a little disturbing for the Rochester area, in Lake Ontario benthic “… algae blooms deteriorate…, get ripped off the lake bottom and get pushed up and deposited on shore, typically where beaches are.” Maybe, because it’s showing up more and more, Climate Change has something to do with harmful algae outbreaks outbreaking all over the Great Lakes—at least the EPA thinks so. “Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms”  | Lake Erie isn’t only lake with algae headaches; Lake Ontario also on the hook While news coverage of algal blooms has focused heavily on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario also faces similar problems, experts say. Lyman Welch, the water quality director of the Alliance for the Great Lakes in Chicago, called algae and blooms “a real threat to our entire Great Lakes region, not just Lake Erie.” Last summer’s toxic phytoplankton — also known as blue-green — blooms made headlines internationally when a drinking water ban was imposed on Toledo, Ohio. Lake Erie is the most susceptible of the Great Lakes to blooms due its shallow waters and the extensive agriculture-related industry along its shores. The growth in algal blooms directly relates to increased pollution from phosphorous used in farm fertilizers, according to scientists. (November 3, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 11/03/2014 - Wonder if Major new United Nations report on Climate just released yesterday, though not reported on locally, will affect voters in Rochester on Election Day. I’m thinking we here in Rochester are still stuck in the past, a world where Climate Change is but a hazy, amorphous, incorporeal, insubstantial sort of issue that may be of some interest to those with nothing better to do with their lives than worry about alien encounters and others such nebulous and ridiculous concerns. The media matters. Think of petitioning NPR for gutting its climate reporting team. Sign here | IPCC Report: Fossil Fuels Should Be ‘Phased Out by 2100′ Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the world body for assessing the science related to climate change—released the final component of its Fifth Assessment Report, the Synthesis Report in Copenhagen, Denmark. The IPPC report states that “Human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed on all continents. If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” The report details how “options are available to adapt to climate change and implementing stringent mitigations activities can ensure that the impacts of climate change remain within a manageable range, creating a brighter and more sustainable future.” (November 2, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/03/2014 - Purely from a speculative point of view, one has to wonder at what point self-preservation on Climate Change outweighs greed.  As the science becomes more clear that Climate Change is an existential threat, meaning no afterlife (folks carrying on, as it were, after we’re gone) is increasingly likely, the more the fossil fuel industry and those who think only the energy in the form that got us into this Climate Change mess is the form we should continue on: extreme extraction for more greenhouse gas emitting fuels. Humans, ya got laugh. IPCC Sounds Fresh Alarm as Fossil Fuel Interests Tighten Grip on Congress The contrast between the increasingly partisan American political divide and the increasingly solid international scientific consensus couldn't be starker. The leading international network of climate scientists is urging a rapid shift away from fossil fuels, just as allies of coal, oil and natural gas industries in the United States appear poised to tighten their grip on Congress—where opposition to cleaner energy is already entrenched. That outcome of Tuesday's midterm election would spell trouble for advocates of a strong international climate accord. Treaty negotiations are supposed to pick up in the next few months and culminate in Paris just over a year from now. (November 3, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 11/03/2014 - Science has spoken on Climate Change. People are prevaricating. Time passes. There was nothing we could do. Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC The unrestricted use of fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a UN-backed expert panel says. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the world's electricity can - and must - be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050. If not, the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" damage. The UN said inaction would cost "much more" than taking the necessary action. The IPCC's Synthesis Report was published on Sunday in Copenhagen, after a week of intense debate between scientists and government officials. (November 2, 2014) BBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/03/2014 - Major new United Nations report on Climate Change confirms what we already know: poor are getting screwed, followed increasingly by everyone. Here we are shortly before the mid-term elections and everyone is predicting a new pile of Climate Change deniers will be installed into office. We are so going to cook. U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming COPENHAGEN — The gathering risks of climate change are so profound that they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report. Despite growing efforts in many countries to tackle the problem, the global situation is becoming more acute as developing countries join the West in burning huge amounts of fossil fuels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said here on Sunday. Failure to reduce emissions, the group of scientists and other experts found, could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year. (November 2, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/02/2014 - McKibben, on today’s IPCC’s release of their new synthesis report. He’s feeling the frustration of messaging Climate Change: “to describe the effects of climate change – which for scientists, conservative by nature, falls just short of announcing that climate change will produce a zombie apocalypse plus random beheadings plus Ebola.” The IPCC is stern on climate change – but it still underestimates the situation | Bill McKibben At this point, the scientists who run the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change must feel like it’s time to trade their satellites, their carefully calibrated thermometers and spectrometers, their finely tuned computer models – all of them for a thesaurus. Surely, somewhere, there must be words that will prompt the world’s leaders to act. This week, with the release of their new synthesis report, they are trying the words “severe, widespread, and irreversible” to describe the effects of climate change – which for scientists, conservative by nature, falls just short of announcing that climate change will produce a zombie apocalypse plus random beheadings plus Ebola. It’s hard to imagine how they will up the language in time for the next big global confab in Paris. (November 03, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - Expensive nasty tactics to win against one particular environmentalist will have no effect at all: Mother Nature.  Our life support system will either crash or it won’t depending on our actions. Warring over our environmental regulations amongst ourselves is like rearranging the furniture on the Titanic by clobbering each other over the head with them.  We have so fallen out of step with our life support system. Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: ‘Win Ugly or Lose Pretty’ Richard Berman Energy Industry Talk Secretly Taped WASHINGTON — If the oil and gas industry wants to prevent its opponents from slowing its efforts to drill in more places, it must be prepared to employ tactics like digging up embarrassing tidbits about environmentalists and liberal celebrities, a veteran Washington political consultant told a room full of industry executives in a speech that was secretly recorded. The blunt advice from the consultant, Richard Berman, the founder and chief executive of the Washington-based Berman & Company consulting firm, came as Mr. Berman solicited up to $3 million from oil and gas industry executives to finance an advertising and public relations campaign called Big Green Radicals. The company executives, Mr. Berman said in his speech, must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups. And major corporations secretly financing such a campaign should not worry about offending the general public because “you can either win ugly or lose pretty,” he said. (October 30, 2014) New York Times

  • 11/01/2014 - Why, again, does Cuomo need to do a specific study on the public health of Fracking for NY when there are so many other studies completed?  Maybe Cuomo’s thinking that Fracking in New York would be like Fracking on Mars so we cannot use studies that link Fracking and public health issues from other planets. Toxic Chemicals, Carcinogens Skyrocket Near Fracking Sites The spikes almost certainly will lead to a cancer increase in surrounding areas, a study author says. Oil and gas wells across the country are spewing “dangerous" cancer-causing chemicals into the air, according to a new study that further corroborates reports of health problems around hydraulic fracturing sites. “This is a significant public health risk,” says Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-State University of New York and lead author of the study, which was published Thursday in the journal Environmental Health. “Cancer has a long latency, so you’re not seeing an elevation in cancer in these communities. But five, 10, 15 years from now, elevation in cancer is almost certain to happen.” Eight poisonous chemicals were found near wells and fracking sites in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming at levels that far exceeded recommended federal limits. Benzene, a carcinogen, was the most common, as was formaldehyde, which also has been linked to cancer. Hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs and can affect the brain and upper-respiratory system, also was found. (October 30, 2014) US News and World Report (more on Fracking in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - Here is the Rochester November Newsletter  of the Pachamama Alliance   It is full of information and opportunities.

  • 11/01/2014 - The commercial sale of public water, one of the ‘commons’ we cannot do without, is recklessly wasted on the fossil fuel industry. And when you think of invasive species, toxic contamination, plastics, pharmaceuticals in our drinking water, and Climate Change changing the distribution of water distribution (floods and droughts) of replenishing our water, our water ain’t what is used to be.  We should be thinking long and hard about how we use our water as Climate Change and past pollution has changed what many think as a limitless natural resource. New York State Allows Water Grab Withdrawal Permits, Bulk Water Sales Approved Without Environmental Reviews PAINTED POST, N.Y. — Barely a football field away from John Marvin’s modest house, 42 black railcars full of water sit waiting for the signal to begin rolling south to supply fracking drill pads across the Pennsylvania border. When the water train lurches and clanks through the village — often at pre-dawn hours — it sounds ear-splitting whistles at each street crossing. “How is everybody supposed to sleep at night?” asked Marvin, who tends his stroke-slowed wife in the family living room. “And what happens if they deplete our water supply? Do we go to water rationing?” Painted Post siphons water from a shallow, rain-dependent aquifer it shares with several neighboring communities, including the town of Corning. In 2012 the village signed a five-year deal reportedly worth up to $20 million with a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell to sell up to 1 million gallons a day used to frack Shell’s natural gas wells in Pennsylvania. The village has called the sale a routine disposal of “surplus property.”  Marvin is the unlikely linchpin in one of a pair of lawsuits that seek to compel the state to enforce its tough environmental law amid a statewide scramble for water rights. Corporations and municipalities are now trying to lock in rights to withdraw water and in some cases sell water to the highest bidder, and they do not want environmental reviews to slow them down. So far, the state is complying. (October 29, 2014) DCBureau [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - That is to say, the reason that amphibians are crashing around the world is because we’re dragging their deadly enemies to them. Our way of life, zooming all over the world for whatever reason, is having a devastating effect on the extinction of species, as Elizabeth Kolbert write in her excellent book: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History  | Newly found fungus is threat to salamanders worldwide A pathogenic fungus that infects salamanders and newts has jumped out of Southeast Asia through human export of amphibians and has wiped out local populations of European fire salamanders, according to a new study published Oct. 31 in the journal Science. Researchers investigating a crash in fire salamander numbers in the Netherlands last year discovered the previously unknown fungus,Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, which causes skin lesions in amphibians. (October 30, 2014) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - Not to mention the spread of aquatic invasive species will be greatly affected by Climate Change because of warmer water that invasives just love. NY plan to stop spread of aquatic invasive species New York environmental officials are accepting public comments on their plan to check the spread of aquatic invasive species. The draft plan is an update from 1993 and includes actions designed to prevent, detect, and respond to non-native species that can harm the ecology of New York's lakes and waterways. Among other things, the state proposes a public awareness campaign and expanding the boat launch steward program. (October 30, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 11/01/2014 - Study: if you want more fish, study Climate Change more. The state of the Great Lakes, wildlife, fish, Water Quality, invasive species, and lake levels should all be viewed through the lens of Climate Change. Climate Change should be our first concern, as everything else will be affected by it. Great Lakes fishery managers need insight on climate change impacts Great Lakes fishery managers worry that their operations may be harmed by invasive species, habitat loss and climate change in the long run, according to a new study. The study focuses on their need for information about climate change. Kate Mulvaney, a research participant in the Environmental Protection Agency-funded Oakridge Institute for Science and Education program, said a team of researchers “from a bunch of disciplines,” fisheries ecology, social sciences, climatology and engineering, worked in this project. Mulvaney is the lead author of the article published in the latest issue of Journal of Great Lakes Research The study was conducted by researchers from the Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and the University of Colorado-Boulder Institute for Environmental Sciences with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  (October 30, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Climate Change, Great Lakes, Wildlife, and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 10/31/2014 - Watch, listen, and read amazing coverage of human blockade of methane gas storage facility gates near Seneca Lake, a Finger Lakes, a water source, a tourist attraction, an ecosystem, and a whole lot of other thing put in jeopardy by another volatile fossil fuel. Better yet, join in the protest and protect our life support system. 10 Arrested as Human Blockade Continues Protesting Methane Gas Storage Facility Ten people were arrested today blockading the two gates at Crestwood. Seven were arrested at the north gate, blockading a truck, and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. Three were arrested at the south gate and charged with trespassing. All have been released and have a Nov. 5 court date. After blockading the gates of Texas-based Crestwood methane gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake for two days last week, including a rally with more than 200 people, the human blockade continues. For the second morning in a row this week, the “We Are Seneca Lake” protesters are blocking the Crestwood gate with protesters expanding the blockade to include a second driveway. With last Friday marking the day that the construction project on this huge gas storage facility wasauthorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin, community members, after pursuing every other avenue to stop this project, are participating in ongoing nonviolent civil disobedience as a last resort. “We are not going away,” said renowned biologist and author Sandra Steingraber, PhD. “The campaign against dangerous gas storage in abandoned salt caverns near our beloved lake will continue with political pressure on our elected officials—who should be protecting our drinking water, our health and our wine, and tourism-based economy—and nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.” (October 9, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Finger Lakes and Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 10/31/2014 - As NYS transports more volatile crude oil across our state and Albany grows as a fossil fuel hub, local, state, and federal teams got to figure out what can go wrong and could go wrong at the worst possible moment.  Of course, we here in New York State could decide not to transport dangerous fossil fuel on a system not designed for ‘bomb trains’ and instead transport wind turbines and solar panels.  We wouldn’t need disaster experts sitting in a war room trying to figure out how to keep New Yorkers safe and with energy and not blow ourselves up at the same time.  Just saying…  DEC Participates in Annual Response Preparedness Exercise at Global Partners Albany Terminal Staff from Local, State And Federal Response Teams Also Represented Department of Environmental Conservation staff participated today, with staff from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, Albany County Health Dept., Albany County Local Emergency Planning Committee, City of Albany Fire dept. and Port of Albany, in table top exercises hosted by Global Partners LLP. Table top exercises are discussion-based sessions where team members meet in a classroom setting, and through in-depth discussion of different scenarios, examine their roles and responses during an oil spill emergency. The goal of these exercises is to identify and implement actions that will improve response and preparedness efforts in an emergency. This is the latest in a series of actions the state has taken to safeguard New York's residents, communities, waterways and lands from potential serious incidents involving the increased shipment of volatile crude oil by rail or vessel in the state. (October 30, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Energy in our area]

  • 10/31/2014 - What we are hearing: World renowned climate scientist and activist and author, Dr. Hansen has agreed to speak the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s Earth Day forum for 2015. More details to come as I learn more. 

  • 10/31/2014 - When traditionally migrating birds opt-out of migrating because of warmer winters, is that a tipping point on Climate Change, or just an alarm? Even if you don’t care about birds, or geese, or wildlife in general and think them a nuisance, radically changing bird patterns have got to be a wake-up call on Climate disturbance—not in a good way.  Good for the gander? As Alaska warms, a goose forgoes a 3,300-mile migration The vast marshes on the southwestern tip of the Alaskan peninsula must look like a buffet to a seagrass-loving goose like the Pacific black brant. Right now virtually the entire population  – about 160,000 birds – is gathered in the sheltered and remote wetlands within the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, feasting on the most extensive beds of eelgrass on Earth. In the past, the Izembek was just a stopover in the brant's autumn journey down North America's western coastline. After a short stay to fatten up, the sated sea geese would lift off together and head south on a 3,300-mile, nonstop migration to Mexico's Baja California. But nature doesn't follow that predictable course anymore. Scientists have documented that increasing numbers of black brant are skipping that far southern migration and staying in Alaska instead. Fewer than 3,000 wintered in Alaska before 1977. In recent years, however, more than 40,000 have remained north, with as many as 50,000 staying there last year, during the most ice-free winter that Izembek had seen in more than a decade. "The temperatures now in winter are much warmer," said David Ward, a researcher at U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center, who conducted the research along with scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "In years past you'd often have ice that would build up in these lagoons, and the eelgrass would be unavailable for the winter period." "But now that's changing." (October 30, 2014) Environmental Health News [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/31/2014 - Considering that NYS has lost almost half of its historic wetlands and even restored wetland can help us adapt to Climate Change…  Shouldn’t we be protecting our remaining wetland and restoring our wetlands, the kidneys of our environment (not to mention a whole lot more eco-services), on a massive scale? Study finds restoring wetlands can lessen soil sinkage, greenhouse gas emissions Restoring wetlands can help reduce or reverse soil subsidence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to research in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by Dartmouth College researchers and their colleagues.  The study, which is one of the first to continually measure the fluctuations of both carbon and methane as they cycle through wetlands, appears in the journal by Global Change Biology Worldwide, agricultural drainage of organic soils has resulted in vast soil subsidence and contributed to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. The California Delta was drained more than a century ago for agriculture and human settlement and has since experienced subsidence rates that are among the highest in the world. It is recognized that drained agriculture in the Delta is unsustainable in the long-term. To help reverse subsidence and capture carbon, there is interest in restoring drained agricultural land-use types to flooded conditions, but flooding may increase methane emissions. Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities, but pound for pound, methane's impact on climate change is more than 20 times greater than carbon dioxide. (October 30, 2014) PHYS.org [more on Wetlands and Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/30/2014 - This sucks, we march 700,000 strong for People’s Climate March around the world to act on Climate Change but they couldn’t hear us in Bonn.  It was interesting listening to Secretary of State, John Kerry, on the excellent climate documentary “Years of Living Dangerously” where Kerry said that in order for countries to stop insane practices like drilling for more fossil fuel in the Arctic the people need to demonstrate on a level that their political servants cannot avoid. (Or something to that effect.)  Which is to say, the public must make it clear that not acting on Climate Change is unacceptable if they are to give our leaders the clout they need in tackling this issue. Which is to say, we should not just sit around and hope the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris does not fail. We must demonstrate that failure at Paris is totally unacceptable.  Governments at Bonn climate talks apparently lose memo on people’s support for climate action Bonn, Germany  - Saturday, October 25, 2014: Growing momentum for climate action has not been transferred from the streets of New York, where last month 400,000 people marched together, to the halls of the UN climate negotiations this week, according to Climate Action Network’s members.    Christian Aid’s Mohamed Adow said: “The scientists have spoken - the climate is changing, it’s caused by us, and we have the solutions. Economists have confirmed the transition to a low carbon economy has multiple benefits.”  “The people have taken to the streets in unprecedented numbers to  support accelerated climate action, but governments in Bonn have not taken these cues,” Adow said.  Governments - who gathered for the final session before the major talks of the year in Lima get under way on December 1 - missed an opportunity to shift gears in negotiations towards the global Paris agreement on climate change due at the end of next year. (October 25, 2014) Climate Action Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/30/2014 - Of course, local Rochester media does not connect the dots of invasive species outbreaks in NYS with Climate Change.  And when they don’t do this (even though the NYT and the NYS DEC do so) it allows the public to think that out of freaking nowhere we are getting nailed by these very destructive pests.  But it isn’t out of nowhere, the pest have been predicted in climate studies because our warmer winters are permitting more outbreaks, because invasive species that used to be killed off by colder winters are now surviving longer here in the North. This is to say because our local media does not connect the dots, we have not planned to stop and irradiate these invasive species properly.  Instead of addressing Climate Change, stopping the movement of these species early, we wait until these invasive species attack then scramble impotently and dump tons of pesticides, which get into our environment even more.  This policy by local media to not connect the dots on Climate Change and the spread of invasive species is great for the pesticide businesses—not so much for our life support system. Tree pests found at both ends of NY  New infestations by two devastating forest pests have been detected at opposite ends of New York state, endangering pines in Long Island and hemlocks in a rugged canyon south of Buffalo. A Cornell Cooperative Extension scientist discovered a tree infested by hemlock woolly adelgid this fall in Deer Lick Conservation Area in Cattaraugus County. It was the first appearance in western New York of the insect that has devastated hemlocks in the Hudson Valley and Catskills. The state Department of Environmental Conservation said Wednesday it plans to treat the infested trees and 600 surrounding trees with two systemic pesticides. The goal is to prevent the insect from spreading further into the Zoar Valley, a scenic region of towering shale cliffs and old-growth hemlock-hardwood forest featuring some of the largest trees in the Northeast. (October 30, 2014) Webster Post [more on Invasive Species and Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/30/2014 - Climate Change probably permits the spread of invasive pine beetles (“Warming winter temperatures don’t cause the outbreaks, but they permit it.”).  If the first sightings of Southern Pine Beetle in New York State portends anything like the devastation of the Mountain Pine Beetle has wrought in the West, we are in for rough ride indeed.  The spread of these very devastating invasive species highlights the necessity to address Climate Change sooner than later. Trying to stop the pine beetles once we’ve warmed up our winters, is going to be just about impossible. Better to have acted on Climate Change earlier. The spread of dangerous invasive species will continue further if we don’t get temperatures, greenhouse gas emissions, down.  Long Island Confronts Destructive Southern Pine Beetles It happens all over the South, and started in New Jersey more than a decade ago: the needles fading from green to yellow to red until the tree dies. It is the work of southern pine beetles, which invade the bark, lay eggs that hatch into larvae and hijack the tree’s circulatory system, stealing its nutrients. The beetles made their first appearance in New York in late September, when they were found on Long Island, evidence of their unceasing northward march and a result, scientists say, of increasingly balmy winters. No one yet knows the extent of the invasion on Long Island, but according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the beetles have been found in three spots in Suffolk County: the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley, the Connetquot River State Park in Oakdale and Henry’s Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest in Hampton Bays. (October 28, 2014) New York Times  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/30/2014 - Will the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) be sufficient to uphold our health and environmental legislations, or gut our climate actions? In other words, if we are able to pull ourselves together and adopt environmental regulations and adaptations practices to address Climate Change here in the US, will they be undermined by TPP? Is anyone paying attention to the possibility that we might be acting on Climate Change on the one hand and getting those actions taken away by cross-border agreements on the other? Why support the TPP when it will let foreign corporations take our democracies to court? If a corporation’s profits or operations will be restricted by a country’s laws or the decisions of its courts, under the TPP it will be able to sue To conclude recent negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Australia’s trade minister, Andrew Robb, had a few things to say about investor state dispute settlements (ISDS). Namely that “a lot of the statements that have certainly been made in Australia [about ISDS clauses] amount to deliberate scaremongering”. ISDS clauses enable foreign corporations to sue a host country for laws or policies, or even court decisions, they find inconvenient and objectionable. This has the effect of giving foreign investors more rights than local investors; more influence than local citizens. This was why the former Labor government did not conclude the bilateral trade agreement with Korea (Kafta) – it contained an ISDS clause. Our concerns were far from scaremongering, but the Coalition government didn’t share them, and signed the agreement back in April. The TPP also contains ISDS clauses that have been extensively criticised. Robb expects it to be concluded by the end of the year. (October 29, 2014) The Guardian

  • 10/30/2014 - Hurricane Sandy: What are we learning about Climate Change and ourselves?  Two Years On: Sandy Inspires Storm of Climate Research The two years that have passed since Hurricane Sandy crashed into the New Jersey shoreline have not been enough time for scientists and researchers to make much headway on the hows and whys of the Northeast’s epic storm. But that’s not because they aren’t trying. In fact, Sandy has spurred an unprecedented amount of research, attempting to tackle the questions about what role climate change might have played in producing or worsening the storm, how global warming might influence similar storms in the future, and why the storm caused so much damage — $19 billion in the New York City area alone. “It’ll be one of the most studied storms,” said Gary Lackmann, an atmospheric scientist at North Carolina State University who has looked into the role warming might have played in guiding Sandy’s track and intensity. (October 29, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/29/2014 - Just getting you ready for what will be purportedly a major fork in the road for humanity.  We either get our act together on Climate Change or we don’t. "The final installment of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due for launch on 2 November" Special Alert: IPCC Synthesis Report The final instalment of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due for launch on 2 November in Copenhagen, Denmark – after  a week of government negotiations to agree a Summary for Policymakers (SPM). Following the reports of three Working Groups over the past year – covering the physical science of climate change (Working Group 1), vulnerability to climate impacts and adaptation (Working Group 2), and mitigation strategies to tackle climate change (Working Group 3) – the final element of the AR5 series will be a “Synthesis Report”, combining and contrasting the work of the three Working Groups into one report. It marks the culmination of a 5-year-effort by 830 authors, 1200 other contributors and 3700 expert reviewers drawing on more than 30,000 pieces of research and 143,000 expert comments to produce an unprecedented body of evidence. (October 24, 2014) The Tree [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/29/2014 - In our society the burden of proof on toxicity of a product is on the shopper, so get advance knowledge before shopping for toys for your kids.   In other places (Europe) the burden of proof is on the manufactures that a product will do no harm before it gets sold, but until we adopt such sensible measures, we over here in the USA must do our homework before we get stuff for the kids, or anyone else for that matter.  Get a Head Start on Your Holiday Toy Shopping!  Choosing safer, environmentally friendly toys    Monday, November 10, 2014 1:00 pm- 2:00 pm  at the Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Avenue Rochester, NY 14607   Join us for a free workshop where you will learn what to avoid and look for when purchasing all kinds of toys, including those made from wood and plastic, arts and crafts supplies, and stuffed animals.   Attendees will leave knowing how to navigate toy labels and information to choose eco-healthy toys.   Learn how to:  Choose safer, environmentally friendly toys for children  Identify sources for toy testing & product recalls  Purchase used toys safely  Find eco-healthy toys at popular toy stores Registration is FREE! The first 50 people to register will be entered in a raffle to win a gift basket full of eco-healthy products for mothers and children!*   Register here: p2itoyworkshop.eventbrite.com    PLUS!! Each attendee will receive a free full size 10oz bottle of Yes to Baby Carrots Shampoo and Body Wash!   Contact NYSP2I at nysp2i@rit.edu or 475-2512 with questions *Winner must be present at workshop to claim gift basket

  • 10/29/2014 - Cleaning up the Genesee River. Check out this video "Restoring Our River" 12 minutes. This film debuted at our [Center of Environmental Initiatives] 40th Annual Community Salute on September 30th and is viewable here in it's entirety. Learn more about the Genesee River Watch "The Rochester Embayment of Lake Ontario is a federally designated Area of Concern because of a range of concerns including pollution, contaminated sediments, fish consumption advisories and impairment of beneficial use such as beach closings. Many area tributaries to Lake Ontario and the Genesee River do not meet state water quality standards. The beaches of Lake Ontario are closed typically for 30 to 50% of the bathing season because of high bacteria levels and contamination with algae. Development of our lakeshore assets, including the Port of Rochester, is dependent upon a sustained improvement in the near-shore water quality. "Center of Environmental Initiatives]

  • 10/29/2014 - Petition to get more Climate Change reporters on NPR! It’s more than an outrage that our public radio has decided that less coverage of the world crisis, Climate Change, instead of more is the right way to keep its viewers, which is to say its supporters, informed.  One of the leading reasons why Americans are so daft on Climate Change is because our mainstream media has opted to confuse rather than inform on this very complex issue—the mother of all issues.  To learn that our public supported radio has decided reduce Climate Change reporters is more than disappointing, more disappointing than when corporate-backed media decides to gut its Climate Change reporting staff. We cannot let this stand. On the News With Thom Hartmann: NPR's Climate Coverage Has Declined Over the Years, and More In today's On the News segment: NPR is supposed to be our national public radio, but it's barely covering climate issues that are in the public's interest; the World Trade Organization says you don't need to know where your meat comes from; more than 24,000 Texans want climate denial removed from their children's textbooks; and more. (October 28, 2014) Truthout [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/29/2014 - More thoughts on the People’s Climate March and what it meant, personally and the numbers. Climate change: It's all about the numbers Ultimately, it's all about the numbers. A demonstration can have inspiring speeches, gorgeous floats, and stirring bands, but to be successful, it has to attract many people. So I made it my mission to get the people I knew to come to the People's Climate March in New York City on September 21. I tried my best to get the numbers up. Climate change is about the numbers, too: specifically the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, measured in parts per million (ppm). What is a safe ratio for a livable Earth? 350 ppm is an acceptable number, but it’s already 400 ppm. A big march could spread climate change awareness, prove to politicians that people care about the issue, and possibly lead to appropriate action. I kept posting on Facebook and Twitter. I e-mailed about 100 people with a personal plea. I knew that hearing about a specific plan can help people act, so I asked local acquaintances to join me in the first car on the 10:26 to Grand Central. I certainly hoped to recruit my best pals, but of six good friends, two were away, and the other four were mobility-impaired, with aching hip, keep, ankle, and foot. (Times like this remind me that my friends and I are well past first youth.) (Fall 2014) Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/28/2014 - This is pretty funny, the guy running against Cuomo on Fracking can’t visit a Fracking site because drillers don’t want reporters. We will so loose our sovereignty if we lift the moratorium on Fracking in New York State. Those Fracking people will want it all.   Astorino postpones trip to fracking site  The Republican candidate for governor in New York is putting off a visit to a Pennsylvania drilling site designed to highlight the benefits of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. A spokeswoman for Rob Astorino says the drilling operator didn't want reporters to be included and that the visit will be postponed until after Election Day. (October 28, 2014) WHAM [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/28/2014 - Rochester, NY region gets major bucks to address Climate Change by increasing walking and bicycling, but it’s hush, hush.  In the Rochester and Monroe County region you can talk about active transportation (walking and bicycling) as long as you talk about public safety, health benefits, tourism, and boosting economic development, but even though our local climate studies and the EPA mentions that 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, it is very unfashionable (quite impolite) to suggest there is a link between increasing active transportation and addressing Climate Change. I think the reasoning is, if you even suggest that increasing active transportation is addressing Climate Change the media and the local government will be seen as climate hawks, or being controversial, or something dreadfully unpopular. We are so not able to talk about Climate Change in this region. Area gets funding for bike, pedestrian paths Communities across New York state are getting some of the nearly $70 million in federal funds being awarded for dozens of bicycle and pedestrian path projects. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the funds from the Federal Highway Administration will go toward 68 projects that will promote walking and biking and boost tourism and economic development from Long Island to the Canadian border. (October 28, 20140 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 10/28/2014 - Of course, our top priority is not whether fishermen can eat the fish they catch; it’s about Great Lakes Water Quality. If the fish in the Great Lakes are freaking filled with toxic contaminants (“PCBs, pesticides, mercury, lead and cadmium,”) then we don’t just have a fishing problem, we have a major water quality problem—which, of course, we know we already have with Great Lakes water-regardless of this single study. Michigan, New York, Minnesota test fisheater’s blood for contaminants Health authorities in New York, Michigan and Minnesota are waiting for the results of tests for elevated levels of chemicals and metals in people who eat lots of Great Lakes fish. Blood and urine from volunteers were tested for PCBs, pesticides, mercury, lead and cadmium, according to the New York Department of Community Health. Each state focused on a community. Michigan tested anglers along the Detroit River and Saginaw Bay. Minnesota tested the Ojibwe tribe near Lake Superior. New York tested licensed anglers and Burmese refugees and immigrants along the Buffalo River, Niagara River, Eighteenmile Creek and the Rochester Embayment on Lake Ontario, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which facilitated the project. (October 27, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Wildlife and Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 10/28/2014 - Let me see… humm… la-de-da, type my zip code, and presto, yep looks like some bomb trains coming my way. Do we really have to have an energy system that puts our lives, our environment, our future in such jeopardy? Really? Bomb trains, trains cars not properly fortified to carry high explosive crude oil, are better than a wind turbine out in the fields or a solar panel on your roof? 25 Million Live in Oil Train Blast Zone: New Online Mapping Tool Shows Threat to Homes, Schools, and Cities Today the citizens group ForestEthics launched www.Blast-Zone.org, a website that allows users to see the routes of trains carrying millions of gallons of crude oil and assess the threat of accidents to specific locations. The group estimates that more than 25 million Americans live in the potential oil train blast zone. For the first time ForestEthics has brought Google mapping capabilities together with railroad industry data on oil train routes across the US and Canada. The tool uses US Department of Transportation guidance for emergency response, identifying the one mile evacuation zone in the case of an oil train fire or a half mile in the case of a spill. The group used census data to estimate the number of Americans living in the one mile blast zone, but the map also shows schools, sports stadiums, town halls, and landmarks across the country within the danger zone. (July 7, 2014) Forest Ethics [more on Energy in our area]

  • 10/28/2014 - Just when you think you’ve gotten your head around Climate Change, you find out you haven’t. Now the ocean conveyor system could be screwed up. For those who think Climate Change isn’t a big deal or that we are too busy with Ebola or something else, they should try and get their heads around how much we still don’t know about the consequences of our climate changing so quickly. We’ve disrupted a very complex life support system that took a long time to develop. Study provides deeper understanding of climate change Study suggests that changes in the storage of heat in the deep ocean could be as important to climate change as other hypotheses Most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere. But in a new study published in Science, a group of Rutgers researchers have found that circulation of the ocean plays an equally important role in regulating the earth's climate. In their study, the researchers say the major cooling of Earth and continental ice build-up in the Northern Hemisphere 2.7 million years ago coincided with a shift in the circulation of the ocean — which pulls in heat and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic and moves them through the deep ocean from north to south until it's released in the Pacific. (October 26, 2014) MyCentralJersey.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/28/2014 - With a mediocre success at Bonn and “… the 2015 deadline fast approaching, governments meeting in Peru must be ready to get down to business” (See below)  The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris must not fail “… to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.” (Wikipedia)  Daily TCK: Long road ahead to Lima as climate talks wrap up in Bonn  The latest round of the UN climate talks wrapped up in Bonn, and our partners are labelling the session a missed opportunity for governments to shift gears in their negotiations to Paris. Governments will reconvene in five weeks for the year’s major climate summit – COP20 in Lima. This last week’s slow progress means many issues are outstanding, and negotiators gathering in Lima will have their work cut out for them in order to ensure the world remains on track to securing a new global climate agreement by the end of 2015. “We’re leaving Bonn with not much more clarity than when we arrived on how we will get the key decisions needed in Lima to confront the threat of climate change,” said Union of Concerned Scientists’ Alden Meyer. With a new co-chairs’ text on the table for pre-2020 ambition, steps were taken towards shaping the COP20 decision. However, a new text on the content of countries’ national pledges under the 2015 agreement – their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – is causing concern among many countries and our partners. They warn that the draft text on the table fails to represent the science and does not reflect the discussions that took place this week. Christian Aid’s Mohamed Adow stressed the text “is not a basis for negotiations.” (October 27, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/28/2014 - More people, more Climate Change, and more floods and more demands on sewage (and more) infrastructures means more planning and educating is needed.  Read my essay “Water, sewage, and Climate Change in the Rochester, NY region” (March 2012) And this from the EPA “Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO)”: “Combined sewer systems are sewers that are designed to collect rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipe.  Most of the time, combined sewer systems transport all of their wastewater to a sewage treatment plant, where it is treated and then discharged to a water body.  During periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt, however, the wastewater volume in a combined sewer system can exceed the capacity of the sewer system or treatment plant. For this reason, combined sewer systems are designed to overflow occasionally and discharge excess wastewater directly to nearby streams, rivers, or other water bodies. These overflows, called combined sewer overflows (CSOs), contain not only stormwater but also untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and debris.  They are a major water pollution concern for the approximately 772 cities in the U.S. that have combined sewer systems.” Climate change has thrown historic rain patterns out of whack. Sanitation departments throughout the Midwest are bracing to keep up with more frequent and intense runoff.  A Climate at Your Doorstep story. Back when Pabst Blue Ribbon was for working folks – not hipsters – the brewery was a Milwaukee icon, bustling along the western edge of the city's central business district.  Hitting hard times, Pabst left town a couple decades ago. But now the site infamous for cheap lager has permeable roads, abundant gardens and an underground tunnel to catch excess rainwater.  It has re-emerged a symbol of how Milwaukee is greening to keep pace with a changing climate.  The site's developer, Joseph J. Zilber, partnered with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, which is touting such changes to cope with more intense storms and flooding. Milwaukee is emblematic of how climate change is forcing the hand of sanitation departments in the Midwest. More frequent, intense storms threaten aging systems, making repairs, upgrades and innovative solutions more urgent. (October 28, 2014) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]

  • 10/27/2014 - Bumpy and strange weather ahead (including hail and abnormal high temps) are viewed in local news as ‘winter surges.’ I have never heard of ‘winter surges’ though I have lived in NYS for over 60 years.  So maybe what’s going on here is that rather than bring up the specter of Climate Change in our region, we’ll come up with new ways of saying anything but Climate Change, like ‘winter surges.’  Trying to figure out what climate studies call extreme coming weather and the local denier zeitgeist views as just bumpy weather or winter surges should be what we should be trying to figure out.  But our local news has settled on the stance that all extreme weather is only a part of a historical bumpy weather patterns we all known to have happened in the past and (oh by the way) don’t worry your pretty little heads. Which is to say our media is blinding us to the most critical issue of our day and whether we are properly preparing for it. Weather: Hail, record temps and maybe snow (October 26, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/27/2014 - Short reminder, while everyone is mesmerized by US media hysteria on Ebola and NPR guts climate team, the People’s Climate March rages on. Into the Streets (People’s Climate March + Flood Wall Street) Over 400,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan as a unified front against climate justice inaction. Diverse perspectives converge as a popular movement unfolds. (October 2014) Directed by Meerkat Media Collective meerkatmedia.org/ [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 10/27/2014 - My favorite Rochester-area park is the one where this is no trash, where the ecosystems contained have healthy wildlife and plants.  More and more as we move further into Climate Change those relatively few places that we set aside to be parks should be thriving ecosystems that are able to carry on critical life processes—as our highways and urban areas and Brownfields are not able to do so.  I know, everyone wants more tennis courts, more trails, more lawns, less mucky water, less trees, and they don’t want to be taxed for all this stuff either.  They want Nature to provide them with a great big playground with lots of picnic tables and lots of trash cans and no taxes even though those trash cans need to be emptied often.  Not to mention, our parks would be a great way to monitor consequences of Climate Change and prepare our parks for all that. Greece surveys residents about park system Which of Greece’s 18 parks is your favorite? Did you even know Greece has 18 parks? It does, and they range from a tiny pocket park on Lakeshore Road to the many-acre Basil Marella Park on English Road. And the last time the town solicited significant input from the community about those parks was more than 20 years ago. As part of a Parks Master Plan in development for 2015, an online survey is asking residents what they want from their parks system. It runs through Nov. 21. (October 26, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Parks in our area]

  • 10/27/2014 - Of course, one big way to help the public understand Climate Change is to get National Public Radio to reverse its decision to yank climate reporters. If our public media thinks Climate Change isn’t worth reporting on Climate Change (which is odd because Climate Change will change everything and maybe some for all of eternity) it’s going to make it more difficult to convince the public of the deep changes that have already occurred and plan for the stuff that is coming. Stanford Roundtable panelists discuss how to improve public understanding of climate change The Stanford 2014 Roundtable, "The Climate Conversation You Haven't Heard," convened a panel of climate scientists, innovators and political figures to discuss how to encourage citizens to help force the issues that are needed to help combat climate change. Recent polls have found that two-thirds of Americans believe that climate change is real and that human activity is the root cause of the current transformation of the planet. The problem is, climate change as a concept is difficult to grasp, and so many of these same Americans don't recognize it as an important or urgent situation to deal with. To help change that perspective, the Stanford2014 Roundtable, "The Climate Conversation You Haven't Heard," convened a panel of climate scientists, innovators and political figures Friday to discuss how to encourage citizens to help force the issues that are needed to help combat climate change. (October 27, 2014) Stanford News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/27/2014 - US on new UN report wants clarification on the word “irreversible” in the context of Climate Change.  This may help: “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall…” Irreversible is when you drag your feet so long on making critical decisions to prepare for extreme weather that when you do decide to act, it’s too freaking late.  U.N. climate change draft sees risks of irreversible damage Climate change may have "serious, pervasive and irreversible" impacts on human society and nature, according to a draft U.N. report due for approval this week that says governments still have time to avert the worst. Delegates from more than 100 governments and top scientists meet in Copenhagen on Oct 27-31 to edit the report, meant as the main guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to fight climate change at a summit in Paris in late 2015. They will publish the study on Nov. 2. European Union leaders on Friday agreed to cut emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, in a shift from fossil fuels towards renewable energies, and urged other major emitters led by China and the United States to follow. "The report will be a guide for us," Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who will host a U.N. meeting of environment ministers in Lima in late 2014 to lay the groundwork for the Paris summit, told Reuters. (October 26, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/27/2014 - Truly, new UN report on Climate Change report “may be impenetrable to the policymaker or public”in the US.  Attitude.  Because we still think we have the luxury of avoiding the moral and physical consequences of this worldwide crisis we find it more convenient to avoid the obvious and let the chip fall, as they may, around the world.  Climate Change Still Viewed With Skepticism in US Climate change is still viewed with a measure of skepticism in the US. This is despite perennial warnings by scientists around the globe, warning of dire consequences if serious action is not heeded. While much of the world now views climate change as being the result of human activity, many Americans still harbor lingering doubts. A newly released draft report by the United Nations is suggesting that climate change may have an enormous impact on the planet and human civilization. According to the report, the increase in greenhouse gas emission is “increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” However, the report stressed that action can and should still be taken. According to the report, every effort should be made by governments around the world while there is still time, as “a combination of adaptation and substantial, sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can limit climate change risks.” This UN report comes on the heels of a newly reached agreement among European Union members this past Friday, with plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030. (October 26, 2014) Guardian Liberty Voice [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 10/27/2014 - Time to take the ‘public’ out of National Public Radio and insert ‘Climate Change denier’. One more media source, our public media source, to keep us informed on the most important issue of our era relinquishes its most pressing responsibility. When there never has been more urgency to have objective media coverage (which is to say our eyes and ears) on the most important issue facing humanity, so we are our leaders, can plan properly, they go mum.  NPR Guts Its Environment And Climate Reporting Team, Becomes ‘Part Of The Problem’ NPR has gutted its staff dedicated to covering environmental and climate issues. Given the nation’s and world’s renewed focus on the threat posed by unrestricted carbon pollution, this baffling move is already receiving widespread criticism from scientists and media watchers. It is “a sad commentary on the current state of our media,” as one top climatologist told me. Katherine Bagley broke the story for InsideClimate News. She reports that earlier in 2014, NPR “had three full-time reporters and one editor dedicated” to cover environmental and climate issues within NPR’s science desk. Now, shockingly, “One remains — and he is covering it only part-time.” (October 24, 2014) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/25/2014 - Observations of local Climate Change changes from a regional climate expert. Warming effects are already afoot.  Journey to a Future Climate Exploring climate change in the Adirondacks By David W. Wolfe, PhD It's mid afternoon in late May, crazy hot for this time of year (upper 80s), and we are sloshing our way through Spring Pond Bog, the largest open bog in the Adirondacks. The weather has brought the black flies out in full force, loving the heat and humidity, and loving us even more. I'm with a colleague of mine from Cornell, plant ecologist Jonathan Comstock, and we are being led by the legendary Adirondack naturalist, Jerry Jenkins. Jerry knows this state park-from its soaring peaks to bog wilderness areas-probably better than anyone else alive, and he's taking us to see some of the areas that are most vulnerable to climate change. (October 2010) The Conservationist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/25/2014 - So what’s going on with our friends over at Friends of the GardenAerial and Greentopia –things are afoot. The Greentopian News from a Sustainable, Resilient Rochester October 2014 "We've now merged our Friends of the GardenAerial and Greentopia newsletters into THE GREENTOPIAN. We've also merged our email newsletter lists - so you will now receive just one, simple monthly newsletter! "

  • 10/25/2014 - Let’s say you personally don’t care about Climate Change, you still better hope your insurance company does.  For those whose only possible interest in Climate Change is how this worldwide crisis could affect them personally, they will care about Climate Change when something happens because of extreme weather and neither their insurance company nor their government can afford to put their world back together again.  It is the nature of the job for insurers to plan for the future and if Climate Change doesn’t factor prominently in that planning, you are on your own. First-of-its-Kind Report Ranks U.S. Insurance Companies on Climate Change Responses Climate Change Responses Only Nine of 330 Insurers Get High Grades; The Hartford, Prudential, Munich Re and Allianz Are Among Top Scorers Amid growing evidence that climate change is having wide-ranging global impacts that will worsen in the years ahead, a new report from Ceres ranks the nation's 330 largest insurance companies on what they are saying and doing to respond to escalating climate risks. The report found strong leadership among fewer than a dozen companies but generally poor responses among the vast majority. The report, Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey Report & Scorecard: 2014 Findings & Recommendations, ranks property & casualty, health and life & annuity insurers that represent about 87 percent of the total US insurance market. The companies were ranked on a half-dozen climate related indicators, including governance, risk management, investment strategies, greenhouse gas management and public engagement (such as their climate policy positions.) The report is based on company disclosures last year in response to a climate risk survey developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). (October 22, 2014) Ceres [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/25/2014 - Besides Florida wanting to split (literally) over Climate Change, trying to patrician ourselves doesn’t bode well for solving a worldwide crisis. Though this story dramatizes the differences between those governments who understand Climate Change and are feeling the most spectacular immediate effects and those who do not, there is no way that trying to distance ourselves from ourselves, as we have over other issues in the past (like slavery), will solve anything for a physical problem that knows no boundaries. South Florida Wants to Split State Over Climate Change, Become 51st State Now a similar proposal is being floated in Florida. And while some media has blown this up into another political food fight, given the historic rancor between its southern coastal cities and its more conservative north where the capital of Tallahassee is located, it actually has a more specific motivation. The mayor and city commission of South Miami recently passed a resolution calling for the separation of Florida into two states, North Florida and South Florida. The vote was 3-2. It’s full of “whereases” but here’s the key one: “whereas, climate change is a scientific reality resulting in global warming and rising sea level; and” (October 24, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 10/24/2014 - Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo, you (as a layman & not an expert) can read a zillion studies from beyond NY that prove Fracking is a public health risk. Extreme extraction of natural gas by Fracking is not new. New York State does not exist in a bubble. Lots of places are doing this crazy way of blasting through the bedrock for more fossil fuels in a time of Climate Change and there are studies about public health risks in those places.  Just Google “Fracking public health risks”. Even a layman can read. Cuomo Says Fracking Study Will Be Out by Year's End During Wednesday’s only gubernatorial debate, Governor Cuomo said that the long awaited health review on potential dangers of hydrofracking will be completed by the end of the year. Cuomo, answering a question on whether fracking, which is on hold in New York, will begin in the next four years if he’s re elected, says an over two year old health review  will be concluded by the end of the year, though not before Election Day. He says he’s told experts at his Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation to “give me a report”. (October 23, 2014) WXXI News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/24/2014 - I know, for most Rochesterians the People’s Climate March was last year’s bird’s nest. But Wow! It has changed a lot of attitudes on Climate Change.  Watch this great video and re-experience humanity speaking for the planet, or if you’ve just seen photos of the march—get inside the change. Inside the ginormous, huge-tastic climate march Hear the People's Climate March make history. They promised the biggest climate march in world history. But when the big morning arrived, the Weather app showed a thundercloud.  Hear what happened next—and feel the (renewable) energy of a giant, urgent movement hitting the streets together for the first time—as The Good Fight takes you inside the most ambitious grassroots mobilization of the year. (September 26, 2014) The Good Fight With Ben Wikler [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/24/2014 - If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If we ignore Asian Carp approach to Great Lakes, will they not come? If we doubt Climate Change, will it happen anyway?  If we choose not to keep our environment, our life support system, healthy, will it just go on keeping us healthy?  If we believe that it won’t hurt us if our house is on fire, will we get hurt? I could go on, but I think you get the drift. New Evidence of Mounting Asian Carp Invasion at Great Lakes  A new series of DNA analyses have revealed the possible beginnings of an invasion of Lake Michigan, with evidence of Asian carp showing up in a pair of Michigan tributaries. Earlier this month, a single sample of silver carp DNA was identified in over 200 samples taken from lower Kalamazoo River in Allegan County, Michigan. This worries officials, who have never seen the carp's DNA in these waters before. However, it remains unclear where the sample came from. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), genetic material could have simply entered Michigan waters through boatsfishing gear, or even bird droppings. However, if follow-up sampling finds more evidence, they may very much be looking at the beginnings of a long-feared invasion. (October 22, 2014) Nature World News [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 10/24/2014 - The Bonn climate talks are but one of the stops along the way to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris  At Bonn “Their main tasks were to deliver clarity of what countries’ climate action commitments should include, and clarity on how to ramp-up climate action before those commitment periods take effect (ie between now and 2020, or ‘pre-2020 ambition’).  So how’s all that going: Daily TCK: Day 4 at the climate talks in Bonn There are just two days of negotiations left, and much work remains. On Thursday afternoon, the talks’ two co-chairs took stock of how far the negotiations had moved since the start of this session, offering government negotiators a stern reality check. Their main tasks were to deliver clarity of what countries’ climate action commitments should include, and clarity on how to ramp-up climate action before those commitment periods take effect (ie between now and 2020, or ‘pre-2020 ambition’). But with time quickly running out, co-chair Artur Runge-Metzger acknowledged that the “ambition to finalise the two decisions is no longer possible in Bonn, they will have to be finalised in Lima;” when countries meet again at COP20 in December. He stressed that while “extensive exchanges” had taken place on many issues, countries had “not touched on many important things” and that co-operation must accelerate in the coming days. Much of the current frustration in Bonn focuses on delegates attempts to find common ground on the pledges they will submit as part of the 2015 global climate agreement – their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). After discussions yesterday were characterised by some as “demoralising”, divisions between countries remained strong throughout the morning. Frustrated, co-chair Kishan Kumarsingh called on delegates to “look yourselves in the eye; ask yourself if we are on track.” (October 24, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/24/2014 - If you haven’t read ClimAID and you live in New York State, you should. The study is our reality check on Climate Change and solutions.  Just to whet your appetite, check out this short article about the “Responding to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID)” study where you can get a sense of the most important study about how Climate Change will affect our region that is being used by our authorities and planners.  This would be a good question for political leaders in New York State: “Have you read the ClimAID”? For if they haven’t, how can they properly plan for our future.  ClimAid Recommendations for adopting to a changing climate This past March, I put some snowshoes in the trunk of my car and drove to Tupper Lake to give a talk at the Wild Center. My presentation was a public prelude to a meeting of the Adirondack Climate and Energy Action Planning group (ADKCAP), and interest in it was heightened by the abnormally early snowmelt that had rendered my snowshoes useless baggage. Snowshoes would normally be required for any trail excursion in Tupper Lake in March. In 2009, I joined a team of scientists commissioned by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to draft a report-called the ClimAID report-explaining our society's vulnerability to climate change, and detailing how we might adapt to it. My role was to help with the Ecosystems and Agriculture sections, overseen by Cornell University's David Wolfe. Following the publishing of the report in 2011, I and many members involved in that effort have traveled across New York and the region to educate the public. People everywhere want to know what to expect from climate change and what they can do about it. I've met with grade-school classes, college groups, church groups, and the Science Cabaret, an informal group of people who meet regularly in Ithaca to discuss current and sometimes controversial topics in science. (February 2013 Conservationist [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 10/24/2014 - What did last winter’s frigid temperatures teach us about Climate Change and how we will respond? A frigid winter, like we had last winter, not only did not prove that Climate Change is not happening it caused us to warm up climate more.  Just as when it gets colder we turn up the heat, when it gets hotter we will turn on the air conditioning.  So, when it gets cold we will warm up the planet more by burning fossil fuels and when it gets hot we’ll warm up the planet more by burning fossil fuels.  What’s wrong with this picture? Polar Vortex Spiked U.S. CO2 Emissions in 2013 Bitter cold and a chill wind inevitably mean the heat gets cranked up inside. And as the polar vortex parked itself over Canada and the northeastern U.S. to end 2013, that’s what people did. Largely as a result of trying to keep warm from that Arctic chill, carbon dioxide emitted from burning energy in the U.S. increased 2.5 percent in 2013 over the previous year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s annual CO2 emissions report, released Tuesday. Only three other years since 1990 have seen a greater annual increase in energy-related CO2 emissions — 1996, 2000 and 2010. The spike in emissions from burning energy last year had less to do with the U.S. reversing a trend in declining CO2 emissions than it did with 2012 being unusually warm — the warmest year on record in the U.S., in fact. (October 21, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/23/2014 - Fess up.  Are you using Monroe County’s EcoPark-- a “one-stop drop-off” to dispose of or recycle certain items”?  If not, why not?  So where have you been putting your e- waste, scrap metal, clothing (for donation), ink jet cartridges (to benefit charity), curbside recyclables, batteries, sneakers, tires, bulky plastics, flags to be destroyed), household hazardous waste and prescriptions (for proper disposal) and probably even more?  In Monroe County only an appallingly small percentage (I’ve heard that it’s only 1%) of folks actually use this county-run facility to take care of the kind of waste you cannot put in your trash or recycling bin. I’ve also heard that they are dropping hours for those employed at one of the best county-run facilities to keep hazardous waste out of our environment—our life support system.  It costs money and resources to keep the place lit and heated and it just isn't getting a lot of traffic. I don't know why the D&C has never covered it or why more people (politicians) aren't talking about it.  Please help to spread the word and let your friends know about EcoPark so they can use it.  Let your representatives know that it is important to you and that they should be proud of Rochester's leading environmental resource.  Once the hours get even more limited it will make it less likely that people will use it and before you know it we will be using one of the great facilities that we have here in town.

  • 10/23/2014 - Learn about Micro-grids and how they might work to lower our carbon footprint in New York State. Webinar: a Climate Smart Communities (NYS program to address Climate Change) for “innovative models for energy purchase and management” Thursday, November 13, 2014, 10:30 a.m. – Noon – Online. You can find out more about the state’s program from the Rochester Sierra Club’s 2014 Earth Day Forum  "Climate Smart Communities:  Let’s Get With the Program"  | Climate Smart Communities Webinar: Micro-grids and Community Choice Aggregation Thursday, November 13, 2014, 10:30 a.m. – Noon     What if communities could design energy policy according to their own priorities, providing local choice and local benefit….all without placing financial demands on municipalities or taxpayers? This is true today in many states where communities have designed strategies to save residents money on energy costs, while financing renewable generation, creating more reliable electricity grids, and earning residents’ money in demand management markets.   This second webinar in our two part community energy options series will introduce innovative models for energy purchase and management that are being explored nationally, internationally and, now, locally. Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), allows municipalities to pool the purchasing power of their residents and businesses, enabling alternative energy purchase as well as innovative financing mechanisms for efficiency and renewable supply. Micro-grids have the power to create unified and optimized grid assets from the disparate resources at the “edge of the grid.” In so doing, micro-grids provide superior information, control and value to grid operators and communities alike. (October 22, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) {more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 10/23/2014 - Putting a climate denier into office is like your insurance company only using historical data—both are dangerously delusional.  Because Climate Change is a problem of physics, energy from the sun being trapped more since the Industrial Revolution because of the rise in greenhouse gases faster than any time in the last 10,000 years, choosing a leader who cannot address this problem because of their stance against a problem of physics is insane. You cannot prepare your region with adequate planning if your leaders believe that what’s coming, won’t be coming.  Just like insurance companies that don’t factor in Climate Change, there won’t be enough money in the pot if they haven’t been getting ready for more destruction due to more frequent extreme weather.  Steyer Escalates Campaign to Keep Climate Deniers Out of Office On the heels of its Science Denier Week last week, NextGen Climate founder and funder Tom Steyer has put another $15 million into its coffers to help elect climate- and science-friendly candidates in the midterm elections. And that was merely his contribution in September. The billionaire is on track to fulfill his promise to put $50 million into this year’s elections, with $41 million donated so far this year. Other sources put in an additional $1.9 million. (October 21, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/23/2014 - But, but, if we lift the moratorium on Fracking in New York State the Fracking companies won’t create more and take advantage of more loopholes and put OUR water in danger, right? OK sure the Fracking companies got the Halliburton Loophole to get around the Safe Drinking Water Act but they won’t find other ways to get around the act and put our drinking water in danger, right? Not in New York.  If allowed into to our state, the Fracking companies would be good as gold (unless they came across real gold in our bedrock while they were drilling around down there  in which case presumably all environmental concerns about water or earthquakes or public health would be off the table.) Fracking companies use loophole to avoid permits for dangerous chemicals, report says Federal laws meant to protect drinking water require fracking companies to get a permit before using diesel fuel in the drilling process. That permit is important: Diesel contains chemicals that can cause cancer and damage nerve tissues. The permits regulate the length and depth of concrete and steel well casings that keep those chemicals from reaching groundwater. But a loophole in the law allows oil and gas companies to separately inject the same toxic chemicals without a permit, according to a report released by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Environmental Integrity Project. (October 23, 2014) The Columbus Dispatch [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/23/2014 - If your insurance company can no longer cover you because they didn’t factor in Climate Change, who ya gonna call? That’s right, your government--the insurers of last resort. But even your government can only replace a finite number of houses and property when extreme weather comes more frequently.  This latest study about silence on Climate Change from insurance companies is very troubling because insurance companies, in order to stay viable, must be looking carefully and accurately into the future.  If your insurance company is only relying on historical data, it’s like trying to drive backwards down the highway without a rearview mirror. U.S. Insurers Meet Climate Risk With 'Deeply Troubling' Silence 'Insurers show widespread indifference to climate risk, both in regard to their core business' and their investments, new report says. Even though insurers are in the business of protecting others from risk, a new report shows that most major United States players are turning a blind eye to a serious threat to their own bottom line—climate change. "It's shocking...most of the industry continues to be far behind where they need to be in terms of understanding and articulating [climate risk]," said study author Cynthia McHale, insurance program director at the Boston-based nonprofit Ceres. (October 23, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/22/2014 - Incredibly pithy and cogent argument on why we must limit warming to 2C. This quote from the article is especially spot on: “Despite having accessible public information about global warming for more than two decades, many countries continue emitting greenhouse gasses at record-breaking rates.” We need to understand the kind of problem Climate Change presents humanity because it ain’t just about changing your light bulbs. Limiting global warming to 2°C: the philosophy and the science Industrial civilization must become technologically, economically, politically, and morally sustainable to hold the earth’s temperature below 2°C (3.6°F) higher than its preindustrial average. The problem is not insurmountable. It is possible, then, that we’ll benefit in the long run from having to deal with human-caused global warming, by being forced to mature politically and ethically. As of yet, however, the world has largely failed to move beyond moral, political, and economic parochialism. Our continued failure will supplant the promise of sustainability with a legacy of collapse. (October 21, 2014) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/22/2014 - Better yet, remove Bakken crude from any trains going through New York State altogether. New York State Sends Letter To North Dakota Governor Dalrymple Supporting Proposed Regulations To Decrease Crude Oil Volatility Treating Crude Oil to Remove Volatile Gases Before Transit by Rail Will Protect New Yorkers and Communities Near Rail Lines Across the Country State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and state Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald today sent a letter to North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple in support of proposed North Dakota state regulation changes that would require oil producers to remove volatile gases from Bakken crude oil prior to shipping the crude oil across the country by rail, further protecting New Yorkers who live and work near rail lines. "In light of the devastating incidents in Quebec and North Dakota, there is no doubt that we need to make it safer to ship crude oil across the country and through New York State," DEC Commissioner Martens said. "One of the best ways to do this is to take action at the source, before the oil is shipped through our communities. North Dakota has proposed stronger precautions on this kind of rail shipments, that will benefit everyone who lives or works near a crude oil transport line - including New Yorkers. We urge North Dakota to act swiftly on these regulations to make communities safer and more protected from oil train accidents." (October 21, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • 10/22/2014 - Interesting, immediate health benefits from stricter standards on coal power plants a new study finds. Da, ya think? We certainly do have a penchant for studying the obvious. But I guess we won’t get pollution down unless we do these studies so we can prove to the folks making zillions from the fossil fuel industries that, yeah, burning fossil fuels actually does pollute the air (See China) and heats up the planet.  We’ve only been studying this freaking issue for decades. Anyway, we’d get a whole lot more air pollution down if we stopped burning fossil fuels for energy and you don’t need any studies to find this out.  We just need the political will and public education on how energy conservation, energy efficiency, battery improvements, micro grids, along with renewable energy can wean us off our addiction to fossil fuel energy.  Despite mainstream thinking to the contrary, we don’t have to threaten all life on this planet to turn on a light. Go renewables (wind and solar) and make it work. Study finds New York would benefit from proposed new coal standards New Yorkers could see health benefits from proposed standards for coal power plants, new research has found. A vast majority of New York’s energy production comes from nuclear, hydro and natural gas, but the state is downwind from states that do burn a lot of coal, like Ohio, so that means the soot blows this way. "So they influence our air quality. Even though we have relatively clean emissions, we receive a lot of air from this downwind areas," said Charles Driscoll, an environmental engineering professor at Syracuse University. (October 17, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Air Quality in our area]  

  • 10/22/2014 - It’s flu season and time to get your shot and time for me to march out my flu essay: “Getting your flu shot and why it matters” | Flu Season to Begin Soon County officials remind residents to get their flu shots, as the season fast approaches. Between 50-60% of residents are regularly vaccinated against the highly preventable illness. Mid- to late October is the time of year when flu begins to appear in the region. Although there hasn’t been a confirmed case of the disease this year, spokesperson for the Monroe County Department of Public Health, John Ricci said the flu is on its way. (October 21, 2014) WXXI News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 10/22/2014 - Take home message about loss of biodiversity: “These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems which sustain life on Earth.”  Besides our way of life and because of Climate Change we are experiencing a loss of biodiversity that equals the five other great extinction events.  More than tragic and the prospect of living on a lonely planet, we probably need most of those creatures to keep our life support system going.  We cannot create a key stone species to prop up a failing ecosystem if we kill off a species critical to the operation of a specific environment—a wetland, a forest, a stream. Half Earth’s Wildlife Gone, Governments Meet to Save the Rest Global wildlife populations have declined, on average, by 52 percent in the 40 year period since 1970, reports the global conservation nonprofit WWF. Habitat loss and degradation are the greatest threats to biodiversity, with exploitation of wildlife and climate change close behind. Released ahead of the ongoing 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP12) now taking place in Pyeongchang, the WWF’s Living Planet Report 2014 is based on the Living Planet Index, which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. (October 14, 2014) Environmental News Service (ENS) [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/22/2014 - Here’s the scary part: What if when we do decide to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and that doesn’t work? One of the assumptions we make is that when we do get our act together and realize that we must get our greenhouse gas levels down ‘stuff’ happens and things don’t work out as we planned.  We then realize we cannot turn the planet’s thermostat down instantly, that other factors come into to play (like a cold winter) and our thinking we can just tweak this or that is a lot more complicated than we thought. This is another reason why we should have started reducing greenhouse gas emissions long ago. Stopping warming much more difficult that stopping a car. U.S. Carbon Emissions Rise Despite Efforts to Combat Climate Change In a troubling sign, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released today show that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 2.5 percent in 2013, from 5,267 million metric tons in 2012 to 5,396 million metric tons in 2013. This increase comes after two years of declining emissions. Market trends on their own are clearly insufficient to achieve sustained, sharp reductions in heat-trapping emissions: we need strong policies that drive renewable energy and energy efficiency. (October 21, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/21/2014 - I like this quote about Rochester’s new transit center, let’s hope it turns out to be true: “Therese McMillan, acting administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration, noted that the new hub was designed to benefit residents who rely on the public transportation system while bolstering downtown’s economy.” Officials get peek at new transit center Rochester’s new Downtown Transit Center opened its automated doors to several federal, state and local officials Monday to celebrate the building’s completion, which has been under construction since late 2012. Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy said there was a “wow factor” when he entered the $50 million bus terminal on Mortimer Street for the first time. He used to catch the 10 Dewey bus into downtown in his youth, but from the glowing gate numbers and digital screens, he said it is clear that public transportation has moved forward. “This is a transformational project for downtown Rochester,” said Duffy. “I feel a deep connection to it, and I’m very proud of how far we’ve come.” Therese McMillan, acting administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration, noted that the new hub was designed to benefit residents who rely on the public transportation system while bolstering downtown’s economy. (October 20, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 10/21/2014 - One of the reasons why we marched (actually walked and waited) for the People’s Climate March in NY was to kickstart the UN Climate Summit 2014.  How did that work out? Top 5 Takeaways From the United Nations Climate Summit The historic United Nations Climate Summit provided the clearest signals yet of how world leaders and top business executives perceive the threat of global warming. There was a dizzying barrage of announcements that together add up to proof of life for the previously moribund U.N. climate treaty talks. Here are the top takeaways from the summit: 1. Extreme weather is spurring action. 2. We are awesome at opening and closing Climate Summit meetings. The in-between part still needs some work 3. So, about that Green Climate Fund... 4. Private companies and cities are in the lead now. 5. We might actually keep forests around for a bit longer. (September 24, 2014) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area}

  • 10/21/2014 - Don't forget folks, you cannot talk about long-range transportation plans without talking about adapting to and mitigating Climate Change, as transportation accounts for 27% of green house gas emissions. GENESEE TRANSPORTATION COUNCIL ANNOUNCES two public open houses for the LONG RANGE TRANSPORTATION PLAN FOR THE GENESEE-FINGER LAKES REGION 2040   The Genesee Transportation Council (GTC) is holding two open house-style public meetings to gather input that will guide the region’s long range strategic plan for transportation. The meetings will be held in Rochester City Council Chambers on Monday, October 27, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday, November 5, 2014 from noon to 2 p.m.   GTC staff members will be present to talk with residents, employers, and other stakeholders about their needs and any potential projects or services they feel should be considered. There will be separate stations set up for highways and bridges; public transportation; bicycling and walking; technology; and freight. Maps and markers will also be available for attendees so they can present their ideas geographically.   GTC has gotten great input from across the region through our tables at more than a dozen farmers’ markets and shopping malls. These open houses are another opportunity for people to let GTC know how the transportation system can be improved to make their lives better.   The Long Range Transportation Plan for the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region 2040 (LRTP 2040) will provide the strategic direction for more detailed planning and implementation of specific projects over the next 25 years. It is anticipated that the LRTP 2040 will be adopted by the GTC Board in June 2015.   For those needing special accommodation at the open houses (including a foreign language interpreter), please contact GTC at (585) 232-6240 at least 48 hours before the meeting. Persons who are hearing impaired should use the NYS Relay Service at (800) 662-1220 or 711. Oral and written comments will be accepted at the open houses. Written comments may also be submitted to: Genesee Transportation Council 50 W. Main Street, Suite 8112 Rochester, NY 14614-1227 ATTN: LRTP 2040 or via email to: LRTP@gtcmpo.org or via fax to: (585) 262-3106   GTC is encouraging those interested in transportation to take a brief survey and to provide ideas for projects on a Wikimap. Both of these can be accessed on the GTC website at:   http://www.gtcmpo.org/Docs/LRTP2040.htm   GTC will hold another series of customer engagement events in March and April 2015 to present draft recommendations to be considered for inclusion in the LRTP 2040. Comments, input, and feedback may be provided to GTC throughout the development of the LRTP 2040 and are not limited to when public meetings are being held. (October 20, 2014) - From email: Jody Binnix, AICP Assistant Program Manager Genesee Transportation Council 50 West Main Street, Suite 8112 Rochester, NY 14614-1227 [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 10/21/2014 - I know, this makes me sound like Bah Humbug, but grants, even when you get one, are a lousy way of cleaning up Brownfields. In the first place, if you use grants as a way of cleaning up industrial waste sites that some irresponsible corporation left for the public to clean up, it’s a crap shoot as to whether you’ll get the grant or not.  ‘Applicants’ have to jump through a Byzantine series of clerical hoops to be considered. And when they do get a grant, part of the grant money (as always) goes to administering the grants—not cleaning up the mess. Also, is the given amount of grant money enough to do the job? Instead of righting our environment, a fixed price is set and those with the lowest bid get to claim that they can clean up whoknowswhat with what limited funds.  Cleaning up Brownfields, which will unevenly affect low-income areas who will have to deal with more toxic runoff as Climate Change produces more frequent heavy rainfall in our region, should not be left to chance. Cleaning up Brownfields should be an immediate and comprehensive program that provides jobs to low-income communities so they can up the standards of their living and clean up their environment. Cleaning up Brownfields should not be left up to chance; they need to be cleaned up now.  EPA is Announcing - Funding Available for 2015 Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants EPA is Announcing New Request for Proposals: Funding Available for 2015 Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants! These brownfields grants may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum). Opportunities for funding are as follows: Brownfields Assessment Grants (each funded up to $200,000 over three years; Assessment Coalitions are funded up to $600,000 over three years) and Brownfields Cleanup Grants (each funded up to $200,000 over three years). Please note that applicants who received an Assessment grant from EPA in Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) are eligible to apply under this competition. If the applicant was a member of a coalition that was awarded a grant in FY14, that applicant is also eligible to apply under this assessment competition. The proposal submission deadline is December 19, 2014. Please visit EPA's Brownfields website for more information! (October 20, 2014)   The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Brownfields in our area] 

  • 10/21/2014 - Learn about ‘community-owned wind investment.’ Tonight in Rochester, NY. I’m on a learning curve here. This is what Wiki says: “Community wind projects are locally owned by farmers, investors, businesses, schools, utilities, or other public or private entities who utilize wind energy to support and reduce energy costs to the local community. The key feature is that local community members have a significant, direct financial stake in the project beyond land lease payments and tax revenue. Projects may be used for on-site power or to generate wholesale power for sale, usually on a commercial-scale greater than 100 kW” However it works, it beats the crap out of Fracking, trekking tar sands oil across our state on tanker cars not built for that, and burning any fossil fuel for energy.  To find out more check out this information session tonight: October 21, Rochester, NY:  Rochester Plaza Hotel & Conference Center, Corinthian Room,  5-6:30 pm by Black Oak Wind Farm “New York State’s First Community-Owned Wind Farm”. Here’s what they say: “The Mission of Black Oak Wind Farm LLC is to give New York residents the opportunity to own wind energy assets, providing clean energy to the grid and financial returns to our investors. Our Vision is to develop, own, and operate an 11.9 megawatt wind farm in western Tompkins County, New York. There will be seven GE 1.7 megawatt turbines, planned to start construction in late 2014.” If you cannot make tonight’s talk, there another in Rochester: November 4, Rochester NY:  Rochester Plaza Hotel & Conference Center, Corinthian Room,  7:30-9 pm

  • 10/21/2014 - Instead of focusing on becoming stewards of our environment, it looks like we’ve let the camel get its nose in the tent—and it’s a very long nose indeed. With the Boom in Oil and Gas,  Pipelines Proliferate in the U.S. The rise of U.S. oil and gas production has spurred a dramatic expansion of the nation's pipeline infrastructure. As the lines reach into new communities and affect more property owners, concerns over the environmental impacts are growing. The rise of new technologies like hydraulic fracturing has opened up vast new stores of both natural gas and oil in the United States, and that, in turn, is driving a boom in new pipeline infrastructure to move the fuels around. The pipelines are entering previously uncharted territories — from rural parts of the West to suburbs in the Northeast — often causing controversy among landowners, local governments, and clean-energy advocates.  (October 6, 2014) Yale Environment 360 [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/20/2014 - But the emerald ash borer (EAB), which is eating more of our ash trees, is probably doing so because the EAB is better able to weather our winters because of Climate Change. So, will ash tree seed collections restore a tree that will be prone to more invasive species because of warmer winters?  How long will we store the seeds? Millions of years until our climate returns to the time when the ash tree thrived and flourished?  Invasive Species Causes the Decline in Ash Tree Population  Ash trees in the northeast and Midwest are under assault from an invasive species. "The emerald ash borer is a non-native weevil from Asiatic countries that has come in to the U.S. and is boring into the outer bark of the ash trees. It’s causing the decline of the species. It’s likely that the ash (tree) becomes extinct as a result," said Clara Holmes, Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank. While efforts continue to slow the spread of the borer and researchers try to find an effective agent against it, ash tree seed collections are being organized to keep the ash tree in our future. (October 20, 2014) Time Warner News Rochester [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 10/20/2014 - What we know is that NYS is getting $197 million to help finance improvements to water projects. What we don’t know is whether this money is sufficient to protect our water quality as our region experiences more frequent extreme weather (flooding) as a result of Climate Change. How can the EPA talk about helping to improve New York State’s water quality without talking about Climate Change? In truth we cannot figure out whether this funding is enough, what the state is actually doing about these issues as they related to Climate Change: "This funding helps New York communities upgrade their drinking water and sewage treatment systems, improving the environment and protecting public health.” All these issues related to water and public health are going to be seriously challenged by Climate Change and we need to plan and the EPA, or New York State for that matter, says nary a word about the elephant in the room. EPA Provides New York State $197 Million for Water Infrastructure Projects The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $197 million to New York State to help finance improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment. The funds will be primarily used to upgrade sewage plants and drinking water systems throughout the state. This funding, which is awarded annually, is in addition to the $340 million NY recently received for Hurricane Sandy resiliency projects.  “Since 1989, the EPA has provided more than $5.7 billion for New York State water projects,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "This funding helps New York communities upgrade their drinking water and sewage treatment systems, improving the environment and protecting public health.” (October 17, 2014) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 10/20/2014 - If you don’t find the science of Climate Change compelling enough to address this issue, maybe the ‘moral imperative’ will get you to act. In the Rochester, NY area, there a lots of things you can do: ACTION. Holy See to UN: Dealing with climate change a "moral imperative" The Holy See has called climate change a “question of justice and a moral imperative” at a meeting of the United Nations on Sustainable Development. Speaking on Thursday, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, told the assembly the fact developing and poor nations remain particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change is unjust, given that the primary factors of climate change, like high consumption and high-quantity greenhouse gas emissions, characterize highly industrialized societies. (October 20, 2014) Vatican Radio [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 10/20/2014 - But what if your state regulators do a half-ass job reporting on key Fracking air toxics and omit measurements of most pollutants? How can you determine the people health risks of Fracking if you’re going to cherry pick the measurements so that only Fracking doesn’t get sick? If we lift the moratorium in New York State on Fracking, is this what we have to look forward to instead of clean renewable energy? State studies on shale-site air emissions incomplete, according to court documents Three widely cited state studies of air emissions at Marcellus Shale gas development sites in Pennsylvania omit measurements of key air toxics and calculate the health risks of just two of more than two dozen pollutants. State regulators and the shale gas drilling industry over the past four years have repeatedly used the regional studies to support their positions that air emissions from drilling, fracking wastewater impoundments and compressor stations don’t pose a public health risk. The revelations about the shortcomings of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s short-term air sampling reports are contained in sworn depositions by two DEP air program employees who worked on them. Those documents were filed in a Washington County Common Pleas Court civil case in which three families allege that air and water pollution from Range Resources’ Yeager drilling and 13.5-million gallon fracking wastewater impoundment in Washington County made them sick. (October 20, 2014) Powersouce Pittsburg Post Gazette [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/19/2014 - Important and articulate thoughts on the People’s Climate March from long-time local environmentalist Audrey Newcomb in her newsletter “Sifting & Winnowing”: 400,000 demand climate action at NYC People’s March At the Sept.21 People’s Climate March, NYU Professor Christian Parenti noted that the Pentagon correctly recognizes that climate change has led to violence in the Global South (which includes most nations of Africa, Central and Latin America, and most of Asia, including the Middle East). But during the Cold War, it was Colonialism that led to massive instability in the Global South, where neoliberal economic policies such as restructuring and austerity were superimposed by IMF and World Bank. Countries opting for progressive solutions such as regulation and socialism have faced military intervention by the US and Europe. The arming of rebels with cheap weapons left over from imperialist wars also fomented the violence. Climate change often looks more like civil war or banditry than bad weather in these countries because their populations are already vulnerable to the extreme effects of climate change. UN estimates that 150 armed conflicts that killed 20 million people, displaced 15 million, and wounded 60 million from 1945-1990.Today, alternating drought and flooding take a huge toll. Although the Pentagon recognizes the part climate change plays, its counterinsurgency policies have not and are not working. The War on Terror makes societies less and less able to deal with problems caused by extreme weather. (October 2014) Sifting & Winnowing [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/18/2014 - Let’s get real, cleaning up Frack water is not just about getting the salt out, there are undisclosed Fracking chemicals that this report doesn’t mention. Why not? Not only have Fracking chemicals been removed as hazardous water waste in the Safe Drinking Water Act from the Halliburton Loophole, it looks like our public media is also on the Fracking secrecy thing. Read this Why Wastewater From Fracking is Such a Threat –from Catskill Mountaineer. Turning frack water into profit proves a challenge The oil and gas industry produces a high volume of very dirty water and that water has to go somewhere, like down an injection well. A lot of businesses think they have the technology to actually clean it up. As the Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier reports, that's a bigger task than it might seem and some doubt whether cleaning up frack water will ever be a moneymaker. Inside a cavernous industrial building in Pittsburgh, Mike Broeker shows off what he hopes is the next big thing in cleaning up the fracking business: three satellite dishes.  “These are the most common satellite dishes in the world,” says Broeker, COO of Epiphany Solar Water Systems.   The dishes will use the sun's rays to clean up brine that comes out of a shale gas well in Pennsylvania. They are just one of many systems companies are experimenting with to clean up the very dirty water the oil and gas industry produces. The waste water goes by various names—flowback, produced water, or brine. (October 17, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/18/2014 - Study: Find out more about the present state of mercury in our water and in our fish from the U.S. Geological Survey | Mercury in the Nation’s Streams—Levels, Trends, and Implications Major Findings and Implications Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in fish to levels of concern for human health and the health of fish-eating wildlife. Mercury contamination of fish is the primary reason for issuing fish consumption advisories, which exist in every State in the Nation. Much of the mercury originates from combustion of coal and can travel long distances in the atmosphere before being deposited. This can result in mercury-contaminated fish in areas with no obvious source of mercury pollution. Three key factors determine the level of mercury contamination in fish—the amount of inorganic mercury available to an ecosystem, the conversion of inorganic mercury to methylmercury, and the bioaccumulation of methylmercury through the food web. Inorganic mercury originates from both natural sources (such as volcanoes, geologic deposits of mercury, geothermal springs, and volatilization from the ocean) and anthropogenic sources (such as coal combustion, mining, and use of mercury in products and industrial processes). Humans have doubled the amount of inorganic mercury in the global atmosphere since pre-industrial times, with substantially greater increases occurring at locations closer to major urban areas. (October 14, 2014) U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 10/18/2014 - Nice to see Paris getting ready for the Big One: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in December 2015, in Paris. Paris 2015, which the People’s Climate March, the UN Summit in NYC,  and the up-coming Lima Climate Change Conference - December 2014,have been moving towards must not fail.  We must achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Anything less is wishful thinking and doomed to failure. France Prepares to Lead the World in Low-Carbon Sustainablity This past weekend Région Ile-de-France hosted the first World Summit of Regions for Climate on October 10 and 11 in Paris at the Palais d’Iena. The Summit was organized in partnership with R20 Regions of Climate Action. Attendees included regional leaders, government officials, heads of large corporations, investors, associations, and the media. Chaired by Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California and Founding Chair of R20 Regions of Climate Action, this summit gathered some 500 regional and local governments from five continents to contribute to a new legally-binding international agreement to limit climate change. In collaboration with World Climate Ltd., the event mobilized regions, cities, businesses, investors and universities around a joint declaration calling for commitment to a series of concrete actions toward sustainability, including sustainable mobility, within the framework of the Road to Paris 2015. The event pushed forward the “positive agenda” of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in December 2015, in Paris. (October 13, 2014) Environmental News Service (ENS) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/18/2014 - Climate Change, it’s a lot more than carbon dioxide. Methane, a more potent greenhouse gas, is also harder to find. How scientists overlooked a 2,500-square-mile cloud of methane over the Southwest (+video) Scientists first noticed the largest methane hotspot in the US years ago, but the readings were so extreme they thought it might be instrument error. Emissions are 80 percent higher than previous Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Scientists have identified the largest hotspot of methane gas in the United States hovering over the Four Corners region of the Southwest, and the find could have big implications for how the country tracks its emissions in the future. Scientists first noticed the data years ago amid satellite measurements collected by the European Space Agency's Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument. The SCIAMACHY instrument collected atmospheric data over the US from 2002 to 2012. The bright red patch over the Four Corners persisted throughout the study period, but the readings were so extreme scientists still waited several more years before investigating the region in detail. "We didn't focus on it because we weren't sure if it was a true signal or an instrument error," said Christian Frankenberg from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a statement. (October 10, 2014) Christian Science Monitor [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 10/18/2014 - Don’t vote for candidate who plays dumb on Climate Change. Make the Mid-term elections Climate Change denier’s dances impossible. Candidates step up to their responsibilities on Climate Change or they don’t. I suspect many candidates do understand the science of Climate Change and what this means for leadership, but feel constrained by their part to play dumb. The Difficult Dance of the 2014 Climate Change Denier At the start of this year on this site, we urged the media and politicians to debate climate solutions, not the settled science of climate change. The good news is that, more than ever before, candidates are being forced to explain their positions on climate change and what they plan to do about it. In key Senate races around the country, candidates have gotten into heated exchanges about the role of the Environmental Protection Agency and its proposal to reduce the carbon pollution that is responsible for climate change. This heightened interest in climate change should come as no surprise as its impacts become more evident and more dangerous every year. (October 17, 2014) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/17/2014 - Monroe County and Rochester, NY get screwed out of DEC grant for urban forests. More urban forests are critical in addressing Climate Change. I know, our region didn’t get nailed by a major extreme weather event (except flooding) and the Emerald Ash Borer or the Asian Long Horned Beetle haven’t completely chomped down all our trees yet, but still trees (when you leave them in the ground) are one of the most effective ways to address Climate Change—as they protect soil, provide shade, they are a carbon sink, they promote the welfare of Wildlife, which in turn keep our ecosystems healthy, and about a zillion other reasons.  Planting trees, like good agricultural practices, are a tried and true way of geoengineering our planet for Climate Change.  Not as high-tech and sexy as a billion mirrors in our atmosphere to reflect the sunlight (as some nerdy, irresponsible loonies believe) but sound environmental kinda of help in a time of Climate Change.  So, yeah it would have been nice if our friends over at the DEC shunted some of our public monies to our region so we could put some more trees in would have been nice. But trying to solve Climate Change via grants makes addressing Climate Change an ad hoc and ultimately useless way of funding our life support system.  We’re going to need something more robust than a competitive grant system to get New York State ready for what’s coming with Climate Change. DEC Announces $280,000 in Urban Forestry Grants Awarded to Communities for Tree Planting And Other Urban Forestry Projects Total of More Than $1 Million Awarded in 2014 for Urban Forestry Projects in New York New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced the state awarded $280,000 in Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) grants for urban forestry projects to small and large communities across New York. The Urban Forestry grants are part of New York's ongoing initiatives to address climate change and environmental justice. The projects target local environmental needs and can truly benefit the community and the environment, including watershed protection. (October 16, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)   

  • 10/17/2014 - This Climate Change quiz by the EPA sounds really fun, but I’d rather my community leaders take it and reveal their results.  If our leaders at a local and national level cannot pass this quiz, I suspect we are in real trouble. Are you climate ready? from Environmental Protection Agency EPA

  • 10/17/2014 - The more we learn about Climate Change, the more we learn that denial is not an option—especially in our leaders.  What if you live on the coast (any coast) and your leader is a climate denier and refuses to orchestrate plans to fortify your community for higher sea levels. Get bigger boots? Boots in the water just doesn’t cover it. Sea level rise in last century ‘unprecedented,’ say researchers  The rise in sea levels seen in the last 150 years is unmatched by any period in the last 6,000 years, according to new research. The study, which researchers say is the most comprehensive of its kind, reconstructed 35,000 years of sea level fluctuations. It found that the 20cm sea level rise seen over the last century is 10 times what was observed on average over the past 6,000 years. This makes the past century extremely unusual. The scientists identified rising temperatures, which have caused polar ice melt and thermal expansion of the oceans as the primary cause of the sea level increase. “What we see in the tide gauges, we don’t see in the past record, so there’s something going on today that wasn’t going on before,” lead author Kurt Lambeck, a professor at the Australian National University told ABC. “I think that is clearly the impact of rising temperatures.” (October 15, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/17/2014 - Whether we can feed 2 more billion folks than thought and Climate Change worse, it’s not simply rhetorical for Rochester. Sure, we live in the lap of luxury with small farms and large all about us. Not to mention the food we air, train, ship, and truck from all over the world. But as Climate Change makes it more dire for folks around the world to produce enough food, our productive agricultural region and others may be where Climate Chang refuges come to live and eat and farm. Climate Change will make our world smaller as there will be more of us scurrying around for more when there will be less.  The best bet for sustainability in this new world is for our leaders to plan and not to install leaders who won’t plan for Climate Change. Can the world produce enough food for 2 bln more people? With the world population rising, demographers are grappling with one of the most pressing issues of the century - will there be enough food for an extra two to four billion people? Projections of global population growth vary widely with the United Nations last month forecasting numbers rising to 9.6 billion in 2050 and around 10.9 billion by the end of the century from 7.2 billion currently. That is about 1.5 billion more people than another estimate calculated by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), a Vienna-based research organisation, which predicts a world population peak of 9.4 billion in 2070. (Oct 15, 2014) Thomson Reuters Foundation [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/16/2014 - Connect the dots: Loss of biodiversity, more diseases, we have less biodiversity because of human development, and more Climate Change. Here’s the Climate Change/biodiversity connection: “It is now widely recognized that climate change and biodiversity are interconnected. Biodiversity is affected by climate change, with negative consequences for human well-being, but biodiversity, through the ecosystem services it supports, also makes an important contribution to both climate-change mitigation and adaptation. Consequently, conserving and sustainably managing biodiversity is critical to addressing climate change” Convention on Biodiversity | Study proves biodiversity buffers disease When a community is biodiverse with many different species, the risk of disease decreases, according to a new study that uses experiments to understand the mechanisms for this pattern, called the “dilution effect.” Researchers have debated for decades whether biodiversity itself buffers disease or whether the composition of species in a community is the true indicator of higher and lower rates of disease. (October 14, 2014) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 10/16/2014 - But, Mr. Harper what big oil tankers you have running through the St. Lawrence River! The better to piss off environmentalists, replied the wolf. Guess if they cannot pipe it, truck it, or rail it, the fossil fuel folks will get government to change the rules so they can send astronomical amounts of fossil fuels through our waterways.  We are so not addressing Climate Change and our energy needs in a sustainable way. Harper announces plans for Quebec’s St. Lawrence oil resources Harper said Ottawa and Quebec are well-positioned to table the legislative framework to implement an accord that was signed in 2011.  Ottawa estimates that the Gulf of St. Lawrence and surrounding areas have the potential for 39 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.5 billion barrels of oil. (October 14, 2014) Global News [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 10/16/2014 - But during Climate Change does Rochester’s new transit center make active and public transportation more accessible? Because Transportation accounts for 27% of GHGs, accommodating more pedestrians, bicyclists, and using public transportation more is a critical and inexpensive and viable way of addressing Climate Change in our region. Is there easy access for pedestrians to get off the streets and on to buses or trains?  Are there easy places for bicyclists to get to bicycle racks and make sure they are secured while folks then get on a train or bus—and are there enough bike racks? What other encouragements are a part of the design for this new transit center to reduce greenhouse gases for local transportation? Touring Rochester's shiny new transit center The automated doors that lead from the bus bay to the main concourse of the Downtown Transit Centerwhoosh open like we're on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, giving way to a 45-foot-high ceiling and walls lined with ribbons of multicolored lights. Each gate is marked by a glowing number and a digital screen that displays bus routes and departure times. For now, the cavernous building is all but empty. But in just a month and a half, its every feature will be on display and put to the test when the transit hub finally opens to the public. While workers are still putting final touches on the $50 million terminal, construction is now all but finished. Work began in late 2012. As the Nov. 28 opening nears, the project continues to move along on time and within budget, said Daniele Coll-Gonzalez, chief operating officer of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority. (October 15, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 10/16/2014 - One of the results of the historic People’s Climate March is that climate change denial may be a political liability henceforth. We cannot have leaders who don’t believe in the fundamental way our planet is now functioning. Mid-term elections: We must not put a climate denier into public office Our military understands that Climate Change is affecting their role now and they cannot be hampered by climate change denier ideologues who have backed themselves into an absurd position. It’s not our fault that Climate Change was put into the political arena, but we must remove it and get on with governing in the real world.  Our military cannot function in a magical world, where climate change deniers rule. The Department of Defense Must Plan for the National Security Implications of Climate Change The responsibility of the Department of Defense is the security of our country. That requires thinking ahead and planning for a wide range of contingencies. Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change.  (October 13, 2014) White House Blog | Will Climate Change Denial Become a Political Liability? U.S. Treaty Envoy Thinks So Todd Stern says that mounting public pressure could rapidly force GOP to address global warming, and urged people to demand action. Climate change denial will switch from being a litmus test for major Republican politicians to a liability in the near future. At least that's the hypothesis that Todd Stern, the United States envoy on climate change, shared with a packed auditorium at Yale Law School in New Haven on Tuesday. (October 15, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area)

  • 10/16/2014 - 3 reasons why Fracking not good for Climate Change: kills renewable energy, more energy use overall, fugitive methane adds to climate change. So, should we Frack New York State? NO!  A global natural gas boom alone won't slow climate change Comprehensive analysis shows that natural gas could displace both coal and low-emitting energy sources over the long term A new analysis of global energy use, economics and the climate shows that without new climate policies, expanding the current bounty of inexpensive natural gas alone would not slow the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions worldwide over the long term, according to a study appearing today in Nature Advanced Online Publication. Because natural gas emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, many people hoped the recent natural gas boom could help slow climate change — and according to government analyses, natural gas did contribute partially to a decline in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions between 2007 and 2012. But, in the long run, according to this study, a global abundance of inexpensive natural gas would compete with all energy sources — not just higher-emitting coal, but also lower-emitting nuclear and renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar. Inexpensive natural gas would also accelerate economic growth and expand overall energy use. (October 15, 2014) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory [more on Fracking and Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/15/2014 - How is Cuomo leading on the Fracking debate? “…Cuomo, meanwhile, is steering clear of the issue.” Ya gotta laugh. If Cuomo was leading on Climate Change, as he promised, he would put a ban on Fracking immediately and go full out on renewable energy—which he should have done long ago. We should be debating about energy use in New York State as Climate Change is happening, not how to help the worst choice—extreme extraction for more fossil fuels—Fracking get into our ground. Gubernatorial candidates and fracking Trips to Pennsylvania drilling sites are emerging as a political pilgrimage for candidates for governor in New York as politicians and voters wrestle with fracking. Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins opposes hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and last week toured drilling sites in Pennsylvania to highlight what he says are negative health and environmental impacts. Republican Rob Astorino supports fracking and plans to visit a fracking operation this month - to show what he says are the economic benefits. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, is steering clear of the issue.  (October 15, 2014) WHAM [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/15/2014 - This is what happens when your policy is that products must be proved to be harmful before they are banned. The legal assumption that all products are OK until proven guilty means we are just surprised and amazed when hitherto safe products have seriously damaged our life support system—because we didn’t test them for what would happen when thousands and thousands of folks flushed some products down the toilet—even when used as directed. We so have the wrong attitude about our environment. A product must be proved to be safe for us and our environment before they are used. Nothing else makes any sense. Microplastics found in sediment from the St. Lawrence, a worrisome first  McGill professor Anthony Ricciardi and his students search the St. Lawrence River to find and study the invasive species that live below the river’s surface. On one particular day, they were looking for Asian clams in the sediment of the river, but upon closer inspection they found another invader. “There were little round spheres that were clearly unnatural and synthetic and we had a suspicion given what we've heard about plastic pollution that these may be plastic microbeads,” Ricciardi explained. (October 13, 2014) TV News Montreal [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 10/15/2014 - Wonder how this powerful message from US Military that “we refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier”” will play in Peru? As the shaping of decisions for the Lima Climate Change Conference - December 2014 in Peru take shape, this message by the US Military should make it plain that we in the USA are serious about addressing Climate Change and that we are ready to take serious action—not just promises. The Department of Defense Must Plan for the National Security Implications of Climate Change The responsibility of the Department of Defense is the security of our country. That requires thinking ahead and planning for a wide range of contingencies. Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe. In our defense strategy, we refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today – from infectious disease to terrorism. We are already beginning to see some of these impacts. (October 13, 2014) White House Blog [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/15/2014 - This is awkward: Pentagon plans for Climate Change as a clear and present danger, but powerful deniers think it’s bullshit.  How can we prepared long-term for the worldwide crisis of Climate Change if the moment the deniers get into office Climate Change will no longer be a ‘legitimate threat’?  Climate Change denial has reached a new level of insanity and we the people are going to suffer because these deniers won’t let go of their madness. We will be unprepared because our leaders won’t be planning for a warmer world. The king of this madness will never back up from a position he has double-downed on.   “Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a prominent skeptic on climate change, said of the Pentagon report. “It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the president and his administration would focus on climate change when there are other, legitimate threats in the world.”” Is there no accounting for those who block the rest of us from protecting ourselves? Censure might send a signal that Climate Change denial, just as slavery, is off the table at the US Congress. Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change  The Pentagon on Monday released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises. The report lays out a road map to show how the military will adapt to rising sea levels, more violent storms and widespread droughts. The Defense Department will begin by integrating plans for climate change risks across all of its operations, from war games and strategic military planning situations to a rethinking of the movement of supplies. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking Monday at a meeting of defense ministers in Peru, highlighted the report’s findings and the global security threats of climate change. (October 13, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/15/2014 - Is Climate Change “a burgeoning social fact”? Did the People’s Climate March make it so? Don’t ask, make it so.  Stop sitting around wondering if demonstrating to your leaders to act on Climate Change will make a difference. Make it make a difference. Keep the pressure on.  The Climate Change Movement Is Not Wishful Thinking Anymore An expert on social movements looks back on the historic march. Less than two weeks have passed and yet it isn't too early to say it: the People's Climate March changed the social map—many maps, in fact, since hundreds of smaller marches took place in 162 countries. That march in New York City,spectacular as it may have been with its 400,000 participants, joyous as it was, moving as it was (slow-moving, actually, since it filled more than a mile's worth of wide avenues and countless side streets), was no simple spectacle for a day. It represented the upwelling of something that matters so much more: a genuine global climate movement. When I first heard the term "climate movement" a year ago, as a latecomer to this developing tale, I suspected the term was extravagant, a product of wishful thinking. I had, after all, seen a few movements in my time (and participated in several). I knew something of what they felt like and looked like—and this, I felt, wasn't it. (October 6, 2014) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/14/2014 - ACTION: What if in the Rochester, NY area we channeled this idea of the street librarian to educate locals on Climate Change.  So, we put together materials and get a neat bike (see photo) made so we casually ride around all the neighborhoods of Rochester and answer anyone’s questions about Climate Change in our area, hand out literature, engage the public at the very street level in a very low carbon emissions footprint way on this worldwide crisis. This wouldn’t be a charity project at all. This would be a crucial link in the Climate Change issue that is missing in the Rochester area—outreach.  If we hope to have a chance that the public will support the long-term actions we must make to upgrade and refit our infrastructure (transportation, telecommunications, water, etc.) we are going to need the public to understand an support these efforts year after year, elections after elections.  This outreach program would be inexpensive, effective, and probably a lot of freaking fun. Homeless Outreach in Volumes: Books by Bike for ‘Outside’ People in Oregon (October 9, 2014) New York Times

  • 10/14/2014 - One of the many great unknowns about modeling Climate Change is how cloud cover will affect Climate Change.  Here’s a chance to help NASA find out more about how clouds can be factored in when trying to predict climate in the future.  Learn more and join with NASA: Help NASA do #SkyScience In celebration of Earth Science Week, October 12 -18, NASA invites you to look up at the sky and help scientists who study Earth’s clouds by participating in #SkyScience. Clouds are an important part of Earth’s atmosphere, and NASA scientists are studying how they affect our weather and climate. Clouds cover about half of the planet at any one time, ranging from high, wispy cirrus to dark, rumbling thunderheads. By participating in #SkyScience you will help NASA learn more about the types of clouds where you live, work and play, and help all of us celebrate the beauty of Earth’s atmosphere, and the science behind it. NASA

  • 10/14/2014 - I know, in Rochester, NY we had the greatest summer ever, how could last 6 months worldwide been the hottest? Climate Change.  And our September was incredibly nice, really, really nice, so how could September have been the hottest September ever? Again Climate Change. Climate Change, a worldwide phenomenon that we in the (former) Industrialized Northeast (now referred to as the Rust Belt) mostly caused, is not at the moment reaping the most immediate and dramatic effects of Climate Change. So it must really stick in the developing nation’s throat when regions like ours are totally milquetoast in our efforts to mitigate and adapt to Climate Change. We have so many excuses why we here in the Rochester region are addressing Climate Change, but in many parts of the world they don’t have the luxury of denial and keeping quiet on this worldwide crisis that we are very much a part of the cause. NASA: Earth Just Experienced the Warmest Six-Month Stretch Ever Recorded Our planet is on a hot streak. Over the weekend, NASA announced that last month was the warmest September since global records have been kept. What’s more, the last six months were collectively the warmest middle half of the year in NASA’s records—dating back to 1880. The record-breaking burst of warmth was kicked off by an exceptionally warm April—the first month in at least 800,000 years that atmospheric carbon dioxide reached 400 parts per million. According to the National Climatic Data Center, which keeps a separate record of global temperatures, this April ranked as the warmest April on record. Followed by the warmest May on record. Followed by warmest June on record. (July wasn’t quite as hot—just the fourth-warmest July on record.) But August—again, you guessed it—was the warmest August on record. The NCDC will release its numbers for September later this month. (October 13, 2014) Future Tense [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/14/2014 - The jury is in. The people really, really, really don’t want their life support system Fracked—and that goes for New York State too. Global Frackdown sees thousands unite against dirty energy  In over 250 events across the world, thousands of anti-fracking activists from more than a dozen countries joined together this weekend to call for a ban on the dirty energy technology. Organised by Food & Water Watch, the day of action saw activists mobilise all forces in an effort to protect air, water, climate and communities from fracking. The a coalition of hundreds of groups worldwide who took part on the protest also sent a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to reject fracking as part of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. (October 13, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/13/2014 - A local climate expert said recently, “This is the first generation of farmers who cannot depend on historical data.” If you have in your mind that Climate Change means steady warming and no more hard winters, you’re not following the news. Overall worldwide temperatures are steadily rising but on a local level things can go awry because of local weather patterns, anomalies like the Polar Vortex, and other disruptive short-term extreme weather are occurring because the relatively stable climate of the Holocene, has now been disrupted. Planning for local farming and heating and snow plowing and is not going to be neat and clean, there is a lot climate experts don’t know about the short-term effects of a climate gone off the rails—and this lack of complete knowledge is not a good thing.  We should be finding out a lot more of how Climate Change will be affecting our region, so we can plan properly. This frantic effort to find enough firewood is occurring NOT because Climate Change isn’t happening; it’s occurring because Climate Change is happening. Firewood in short supply in Finger Lakes, statewide  Restocking the firewood supply is a challenge statewide and beyond, according to the Empire State Forest Products Association. “In some cases homeowners and retailers did not anticipate the long cold winter of 2013-14, used up their inventories and are now experiencing difficulties restocking inventories,” the association stated in an Oct. 7 fact sheet on its website, http://www.esfpa.org/. “The supply challenge last winter hit every sector of the wood products industry, from Michigan to Maine,” the association stated. The Northeast region faces supply challenges brought on the brutal weather conditions and lack of “boots on the ground,” according to a wood-fiber analyst in the February edition of The Northern Logger & Timber Processor, an industry publication. (October 13, 2014) The Daily Messenger [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/13/2014 - Relax, take a deep breath, close your eyes, clear your mind, and now imagine what New York would look like if Fracked.  New York State does not exist in a fourth dimensional bubble; it exists in the real world with other states and other countries who are presently Fracking. If other states are experiencing health issues and water issues and more greenhouse gases like methane escaping into their atmosphere, so would we. There so much evidence from around the world that Fracking is a wrong energy choice in a time of Climate Change that it’s amazing that local news and news from the NYS governor’s office that we must determine from only our state’s point of view whether Fracking would be good for us. Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel before we lift the moratorium on Fracking in NYS? Isn’t there enough evidence from everywhere else that Fracking is crazy? Fracking Sludge in Open Pits Goes Unmonitored as Health Worries Mount [Video] An EPA review of 27 states found that none required regular air monitoring of fracking and other waste materials that could emit benzene and toluene NORDHEIM, Texas – School Superintendent Kevin Wilson tugged at his oversized belt buckle and gestured toward a field less than a mile from Nordheim School, where 180 children attend kindergarten through 12th grade. A commercial waste facility that will receive millions of barrels of toxic sludge from oil and gas production for disposal in enormous open-air pits is taking shape there, and Wilson worries that the ever-present Texas wind will carry traces of dangerous chemicals, including benzene, to the school. (October 2, 2014) Scientific American [more on Fracking in our area]  

  • 10/13/2014 - Actually you don’t "…have to balance what you’re trying to achieve environmentally with what you’re trying to achieve in the economy.” In fact this assumption that we can only address environmental concerns through the lens of our present economy is an absurd stance, not a fact. A fact is that Climate Change is happening. Climate Change will get much worse if we don’t mitigate this warming and our way of life will become impossible if we don’t adapt.  And it will get much worse if we don’t plan. Whether or not our present economic system can stay intact as we must shift to a sustainable economy is not important. To continually assume that we must find a balance with our present economy and our environment is suicidal way of thinking. EPA readies major ozone rule change The Obama administration is preparing to unveil an air pollution rule shortly after the midterm elections that could be among the most costly and controversial in history. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking approval from the White House for a proposal to update the nation’s outdated ozone standards. The agency punted on the air pollution rules three years ago and missed another deadline last year. Environmental and public health advocates say stronger ozone standards can’t come soon enough. But business groups complain that tougher rules would be “unrealistic”. "You have to balance what you’re trying to achieve environmentally with what you’re trying to achieve in the economy,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). (October 12, 2014) The Hill [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 10/13/2014 - You’re going to have to plan for a bigger and strong handbasket because your world is going to hell in one. If you really understand Climate Change, you must (actually we should have long ago) adapt to and mitigate Climate Change for a sustainable environment, our life support system, that is. 25 Devastating Effects Of Climate Change NASA The world is getting warmer and that's already causing disasters that will devastate lives and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Those problems are only getting worse, as shown by recent reports from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) and the White House, among others. The greenhouse gas emissions that drive warming "now substantially exceed the highest concentrations recorded in ice cores during the past 800,000 years," the IPCC said. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which primarily come from the burning of fossil fuels, have risen 40% since preindustrial times. Last month, world leaders convened at the UN Climate Summit 2014 to discuss plans to reduce carbon emissions — though there were some notable absences. Most attendees recognized that failure to address these issues could spell terrible consequences for people all over the world. (October 11, 2014) Yahoo Finance [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/13/2014 - Was the reason oil & gas Waste became exempt from federal regulation because they were found to be magically nontoxic? Not really. How Oil & Gas Waste Became Exempt From Federal Regulation: A Timeline How Oil & Gas Waste Became Exempt From Federal Regulation: A Timeline Key event was in 1988, when the EPA decided to classify most oil and gas waste as 'non hazardous,' even though it contains dangerous chemicals. (October 6, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/11/2014 - Then again Mr. Cuomo, if your health experts did bring any bias towards our public health, Fracking NYS would clearly be unhealthy. Your decision on whether to lift the moratorium on Fracking should not be based on balancing the needs of the fossil fuel industry and our public health.  Your decision, as governor, should be based on your responsibility to preserve and protect public health as an absolute top priority. It’s not your job to protect the fossil fuel industry. Among the choices of how to provide energy safely and sustainably for New York State as Climate Change causes further challenges, Fracking should be far down the list, below wind, solar and a quick look around to all the news and studies from around the country and around the world on Fracking should make your decision clear.  Ban Fracking, go full throttle on renewable energy and lead on Climate Change.   Cuomo says conflicting studies make it hard to draw conclusion on fracking Governor Cuomo made some of his most extensive comments on the controversial topic of hydro fracking to date. For the past two years, ever since the Governor asked his health department to conduct a health review, Cuomo has had little to say about the review or even what was being studied.  He would only say that  the work was continuing. Cuomo now says it’s a challenge for his administration to hurry a decision, because there is new and often conflicting evidence emerging every day. (October 8, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/11/2014 - What is the road from the People’s Climate March to Paris 2015 and why it may be the most important journey of our lives? The Path to Paris Last weekend, nearly 400,000 people gathered in New York City for the People’s Climate March. Bearing signs and banners, a flood of ordinary citizens—from moms with strollers to students, business leaders, and clergy—paraded through the streets of Manhattan in a powerful show of support for bold action on climate change by our world leaders. The peaceful demonstration was the largest ever for climate, with more than 1,500 organizations, including PBI, taking part. Hundreds of events around the globe further boosted participation, showing that people from all walks of life want our leaders to take the actions needed to avoid locking in dangerous climate change—specifically, to limit warming to no more than 2° Celsius (3.6°F) relative to pre-industrial levels. (September 22, 2014) Polar Bears International [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/11/2014 - Who ya gonna vote for? Is your candidate for your environment (your life support system) or against it? Find out: Group ranks state legislators' environmental records Environmental Advocates of New York has released its annual scorecard for state legislators, and Democrats in the Rochester delegation outscored their Republican counterparts. Environmental Advocates bases the scores around legislation it has identified as priorities. Legislators get points for the "correct" vote, whether it's in favor of legislation the organization supports or against legislation it opposes. Legislators get more points for correct votes on higher-priority bills. Some of the legislation that EANY supported included a fracking moratorium, an act to boost solar power in New York, brownfield program reform, and a ban on plastic microbeads in consumer products. (October 9, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper

  • 10/11/2014 - Time for “The Living Planet Report” by the World Wildlife Fund.  How’s things going?  Well…, let’s talk.  “Globally, habitat loss and degradation, exploitation and climate change are the main threats facing the world’s biodiversity.”(Page 15) Living Planet Report 2014 Species and spaces, people and places  -  The Living Planet Report is the world's leading, science-based analysis on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity. Knowing we only have one planet, WWF believes that humanity can make better choices that translate into clear benefits for ecology, society and the economy today and in the long term. This latest edition of the Living Planet Report is not for the faint-hearted. One key point that jumps out is that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52 per cent since 1970.  Put another way, in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems which sustain life on Earth – and the barometer of what we are doing to our own planet, our only home. We ignore their decline at our peril. (October 2014) World Wildlife Fund [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/10/2014 - Halfway through Klein’s book “This Changes Everything” and already from folks I talk to there is a change a –coming… | Naomi Klein says climate activists need to get comfortable attacking capitalism Naomi Klein — “the most visible and influential figure on the American left,” as The New Yorker puts it — dropped by the Grist office to chat with David Roberts about her new book. They kicked things off by discussing its provocative title: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. (October 9, 2014) Grist {more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/10/2014 - Green Drinks coming up for October "Green Drinks October When: Thursday, October 16th, 6-7:30 Where: the Greenhouse Café at 2271 East Main Street Along with finding out about the greenhouse café and tasting some awesome kale smoothies, we will get up-close and personal with SeedFolk City Farm, In the City Off the Grid and Prosper Rochester. Together these dedicated folks are: • exploring urban agriculture, maximizing yields within a confined space • creating a living classroom to engage at risk youth in employment and education • using micro-climates, ground source thermo, passive solar and renewable energy • implementing a simple and replicable model integrated into communities throughout the City All phases of this project from planning, design, construction and implementation have been motivated by community need. Hope to see you there! Have questions or ideas for a future "Green Drinks?" Please contact: Kimie Romeo, Kimie.UGBN@gmail.com Green Drinks is a monthly networking event where people in the environmental field and the sustainably minded meet over drinks (alcoholic or non), in an informal setting to exchange ideas, find out who's doing what and spread the word on what you're doing, find employment leads and make new friends and contacts. "

  • 10/10/2014 - Has mainstream media not only buried 400,000 at People’s Climate March but also the Fracking connection to Climate Change? Instead of Fracking (an alleged bridge fuel) our way out of Climate Change are we actually accelerating the process with a drilling technique that releases more greenhouse gases, pound per pound, and making things much worse? Gas Drilling: The Media’s New Climate Denial Showcase When journalists cover fracking, they often fail to mention its contribution to global warming. What planet does Big Media think it’s living on? Over 300,000 people filled the streets of New York City in September as part of the worldwide People’s Climate March, a stirring call for action on global warming. But if you watched TV news that day, you may not have known it happened at all. The Sunday chat shows totally skipped this historic climate march. Instead, one program on the supposedly liberal MSNBC produced a sad segment about how voters are loyal to either Starbucks or Chick-fil-A. Who cares about a dynamic and broad-based social movement when you can reduce the country’s population to two corporate chains? Sensible people know there’s no more arguing about climate change: The planet is warming due to human activity. The only important question now is whether we plan to do anything about it. It will require, among other things, a massive shift away from burning oil, gas, and coal, as Naomi Klein argues in her brilliant new book, This Changes Everything. (October 9, 2014) Common Dreams [more on Fracking and Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/10/2014 - Has our focus on carbon dioxide as a climate change-driving greenhouse gas blinded us to the rise in methane emissions? Huge Methane Emissions ‘Hot Spot’ Found in U.S. The largest concentration of methane emissions seen in the U.S. over the past decade has been detected by satellite over the the most active coal-bed methane production area in the country — the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, according to a new study published Thursday. The hotspot, which predates the current hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, boom in the region, is over the San Juan Basin, where energy companies have been drilling and producing natural gas from methane deposits found in underground coal seams for many years. The natural gas is composed of more than 95 percent methane. (October 9, 2014) Climate Central

  • 10/10/2014 - Ironically, corporations may not care about their damage to our life support system, but they will care about liability. Those human constructs we call corporations may be so powerful as to be heedless of our environment, but these corporations can be brought under control under the human construct of our legal systems. Climate change may create legal liability for Canadian energy firms New report from B.C. think-tanks says elements are in place to allow for civil action Advances in climate change science could be creating a huge legal liability for major Canadian energy companies, especially from foreign judgments being enforced locally, a new study suggests. The study, released Thursday from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and West Coast Environmental Law, joins a growing body of research considering how the law might be used to recoup the costs of climate change from companies that contribute to it. "That gives us some assurance that we're onto something " said Michael Byers, co-author and professor of international law at the University of British Columbia. "It's one of many reports in many different countries which collectively indicate that this is an issue that should be of concern." Read the full report Although linking individual weather events directly to climate change remains dicey, researchers are increasingly able to estimate the costs that rising greenhouse gases impose. (October 9, 2014) CBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 10/09/2014 - It would be nice to think our 400,000 efforts at the People’s Climate March were not vain; that ‘all of the above’ doesn’t still rule. Promises and dissimulation won’t really solve a problem of physics, where GHG emissions, all of them including methane, are warming up the planet. Climate change, Obama, and methane President Obama’s carbon plan announced this summer finally moves the United States to take much needed steps toward reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, but unfortunately the plan largely ignores the low-hanging fruit to slow the rate of global warming: reducing emissions of methane, another type of carbon. The president’s focus on carbon dioxide is perhaps no surprise, given the environmental community’s decades-long emphasis on this as the most important greenhouse gas.  But rapid advancements in the scientific understanding of the role of methane as a driver of global warming strongly show the danger of tunnel vision on carbon dioxide. By once again failing to announce strong, decisive action to combat methane at the recent Climate Summit at the United Nations,  Obama missed a major opportunity to demonstrate global leadership on climate change. Neither an afterthought treatment of methane, nor an indirect, passive public-private partnership will be sufficient to address the potent greenhouse gas’ role as a major factor in global warming. (October 6, 2014) The Hill [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 10/09/2014 - The good news is that NYS ranks in the middle on GHG emission and near best on GHG per capita. Bad news: We’re not alone on the planet. What others do or don’t do on greenhouse gas emission really matters. One of the things that makes New York State look good on greenhouse gas (GHG) emission graphs is that (because of New York City) we have a lot of folks packed into a relatively small space—unlike Texas.  However, in the real world these graphs are only useful as feedback as long as they don’t give us the delusion that we’ve done our share in reducing GHGs. We are part of a group of developing nations that have more than used its share of the commons and because our geographical boundaries are only useful to ourselves. It is the worldwide rising of GHGs that should concern us. Even if we tightened our emissions belt considerably we’ll still be subject to the worldwide accumulation of greenhouse gases and we’ll warm up unless all of humanity dramatically brings down GHG emissions.  So before we get to smug about how we look on a graph, we should remember real life is not a graph, an arbitrary measuring tool for our behavior. If we don’t work together with all nations to bring down GHG emission, we’ll be screwed—no matter how good we look on a graph.  How Does Your State Rank on Greenhouse Gas Emissions? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a breakdown of who in the US contributes the most to global warming — by state, by sector and even by individual business. Two massive coal-fired power plants in the southeast came in first and second place for generating the most greenhouse gases in America, clearing the competition by more than five million metric tons of emissions per year. The Scherer Steam Generating Plant, 20 miles northeast of Macon, Georgia, was responsible for 22.3 million tons of emissions in 2013, and the James H. Miller, Jr. power plant, 20 miles northeast of Birmingham, Alabama, generated 21.9 million tons. Coming in as a distant third was the Navajo Generating Station, in northern Arizona, with roughly 16 million tons of emissions. Overall, power plants are responsible for about one third of all of the country’s emissions. (October 8, 2014) Moyers and Company [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 10/09/2014 - Back in the day (1970’s) I used to look up to Canada’s environmental attitude, now since they’ve gone denier, not so much. It a time, before the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris when the developed nations like Canada, USA, Australia, and Japan need to step up to the plate and make strong measures to address Climate Change, they are walking away from the table and smashing the their plates. (I know, I’m mixing my metaphors and that’s a bad thing, but not, when you think about it, as bad as denying Climate Change.) Scathing report details Canada’s environmental shortfalls Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is not doing enough to reduce carbon emissions, fight climate change and regulate oil and gas emissions, a series of audits from a federal watchdog have found. The audits, contained in a report published Tuesday, say Canada has no detailed plan to meet its emissions reduction targets, is on pace to fall well short of meeting them and has made no long-term commitment to environmental monitoring in the oil sands region, the fastest-growing source of emissions. (October 7, 2014) Globe and Mail

  • 10/09/2014 - It isn’t charity if you ran ahead, gobbled up all the food, and then gave the next person some money for food. Such an exchange would be not only moral and humanitarian; it should be required so the person you screwed doesn’t take your food away out of desperation. Developed countries have eaten up the commons—our air, our water quality, food in the oceans, trees, soil for growing—and now the developing countries want their share but the commons are spent. So that we all don’t starve, it doesn’t simply make moral sense (though it should) for developed countries like the US that have put most of the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to pledge money so developing nations can thrive. The pledge isn’t a handout, it’s money owed. These 10 Countries Have Pledged $2.3 Billion to Fight Climate Change. The US Isn’t One of Them. Poorer countries typically get the rough end of global warming: Not only are they more likely to feel the brunt of its impacts—like rising sea levels or increased extreme weather—they also don’t have enough money to face the problem. This split between the rich and poor has become a major source of frustration in the global fight against climate change. Put simply, some poorer countries say they are being asked to give up the rapid, fossil-fuel-powered development the rest of the world enjoyed while simultaneously being hit with the costs of a problem they didn’t create. During the UN climate summit in New York City recently, some world leaders took the opportunity to pledge support for the Green Climate Fund, an international effort to help poor countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. But many wealthy countries—most notably, the United States—haven’t contributed yet. Here’s a rundown of how the Green Climate Fund works, and where the major gaps in funding still exist. (October 8, 2014) Climate Desk [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/08/2014 - Sorry to interrupt. Your planet is still warming up, you are responsible and the consequences are wicked bad. Ok back to what you were doing. NOAA Report Links Climate Change to Heat Waves' Severityreport released Sept. 29 explores the causes of 2013 extreme weather and climate events around the world and ties human-caused climate change to the increased severity of heat waves that year in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, and China. Published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, the "Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 from a Climate Perspective" report looked at 16 extreme events on four continents. Three of the report's four lead editors are NOAA scientists. The report says the connection between human activity and U.S. events--California's severe drought and rainfall events and storms--is not as conclusive. However, it says there is evidence to suggest early autumn extreme snowfall events in western South Dakota are less likely to occur as a result of human-caused climate change. (October 2, 2014) Environmental Protection Online [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/08/2014 - Not to mention (Rochester makes greats pains not to) bike boulevards will look nice on Climate Change adaptation strategies.  Getting more folks out of their gas guzzlers so they can bike more safely through our city will reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA say 27% of our greenhouse gases come from transportation.  But in Rochester there seems to be a concerted effort to disconnect active transportation (walking and bicycling) from what is stated in all climate studies and even local transportation studies, that more active transportation is a real strategy for addressing Climate Change. Instead of the city educating the public on Climate Change, as is their responsibility (especially under the state’s Climate Smart Communities program, they seem terrified of doing so.  Why in Monroe County and in the City of Rochester is Climate Change so not being communicated to the public? Why are all Rochester’s Climate Change efforts being conducted behind closed doors, instead of in the public, where the public absolutely needs to know what their government is doing to adapt to Climate Change? Rochester's bike boulevard experiment  Some roads in the City of Rochester, due to their design or the amount of traffic they get, are just not accommodating to cyclists. Cyclists tend to avoid them, even though the routes often connect important destinations, such as neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and parks. To get around that problem, city planners have turned to bicycle boulevards. In simple terms, the boulevards are alternate routes that parallel a larger thoroughfare. They use secondary and neighborhood streets, so cyclists feel more at ease. City planners are testing two potential routes, which are currently identified with temporary signs and pavement markings. One route cuts through the 19th Ward, linking Genesee Park Boulevard to the intersection of Frost and Rugby avenues. (October 8, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]  

  • 10/08/2014 - The truth is the more the public learns about Climate Change and the dangers of Fracking, the less they like Fracking. As for the Fossil fuel industry, they just don’t like anything better than digging down so they can kick up more fossil fuels into our air and undermine renewable energy (wind and solar) that would give the public an energy source that wouldn’t threaten their future.  Most back drill ban Poll finds wide support for state moratorium on hydraulic fracturing Most New Yorkers support the state's ongoing moratorium on natural gas hydrofracking, with people worried about potential damage to air and water widely outnumbering those who see added jobs and taxes as an economic boost, according to a poll released Monday by a prominent environmental group. Support for the moratorium, which will remain in place unless and until the state completes its six-year review of a potential environmental plan that could allow hydrofracking, was favored by a 79 to 17 percent margin, according to the poll done for the Natural Resources Defense Council. (October 7, 2014) Times Union [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/08/2014 - Cuomo say it isn’t so, that your “staff wanted some of the environmental risks described in the original draft played down” on Fracking. Besides, considering Fracking in New York State is not simply a parochial bugaboo. Many states and countries are already Fracking and there are many studies and evidence to show that blasting sideways through our bedrock with unknown chemicals is fraught with danger to our water, our environment, and our public health. Report: Fracking study changed after intervention by NY State officials Emails obtained by FOIA request said to shed light on changes to initial draft of a politically sensitive report A 2013 federal water study was edited to play down the negative effects of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” following a flurry of email exchanges between the authors and New York state officials, according to a report published this week by local political news website Capital New York. The study, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), had examined naturally occurring methane in water wells across the gas-rich Southern Tier, a group of counties located on New York’s border with Pennsylvania. New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who commissioned the study in 2011, has long maintained that he would only approve fracking if science shows that it can be done safely. But some environmental experts are accusing the Cuomo administration of meddling with the study in order to blunt the impact of a number of politically inconvenient findings — a move that would enable him to move forward with controversial energy policies. (October 7, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 10/08/2014 - New study—Encroaching Tides—by UCS shows Climate Change must include planning. Not something you’d leave to a denier leader. If you vote into office someone who doesn’t believe in Climate Change it will be the dickens trying to stay above water and financial water. Flood insurance near water will be a doozy. New Study Finds Steep Increase in East Coast High-Tide Floods Flooding events may triple in 15 years, increase ten-fold in 30 years for most towns analyzed, science group finds Flooding during high tides—something that rarely occurred in the past—is now common in some places and is projected to grow to the point that sections of coastal cities may flood so often they would become unusable in the near future, according to a report the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released today, “Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S. East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years.” “Several decades ago, flooding at high tide was simply not a problem,” said Melanie Fitzpatrick, report co-author and climate scientist at UCS. “Today, when the tide is extra high, people find themselves splashing through downtown Miami, Norfolk and Annapolis on sunny days and dealing with flooded roads in Atlantic City, Savannah and  the coast of New Hampshire. In parts of New York City and elsewhere, homeowners are dealing with flooded basements, salt-poisoned yards and falling property values, not only because of catastrophic storms, but because tides, aided by sea level rise, now cause flooding where they live.” (October 8, 2014) Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/07/2014 - ACTION: Got thoughts on “Why Getting Rid of Bus Stops Can Improve Bus Service.” RTS seeking feedback on Bus Stop Optimization Study "As you may be aware, RTS has recently released the findings and draft recommendations from its Bus Stop Optimization Study. As part of this effort, RTS inventoried and analyzed of all of its current bus stops (~3,400) and is recommending to phase out approximately 25 percent of them by the end of 2015. I am attaching documents that provide some background on the project and recommendations, as well as a list of which stops are being recommended for elimination. You can read more on the project website and explore an interactive map that shows which stops are recommended for elimination and which will be preserved (Note: You will need to use Internet Explorer 10+ or Google Chrome to accurately view the map). RTS is requesting feedback on the study and accepting comments through next Friday, October 17th. You can use this online comment form to submit comments, email RTS’ Customer Service Department at Monroe@myRTS.com , or call them at 288-1700.  I am developing some comments from a health/health equity perspective. The focus will be to recommend that RTS preserve bus stops that are co-located with key health care providers (e.g., licensed public health care and behavioral health facilities) and health supporting venues/services (e.g., affordable housing, senior centers, grocery stores). I encourage you to share your thoughts as well and to share this email with anyone in your networks who rely the bus, serve folks who rely on the bus, or who are interested in making our bus system work better for our community. If you have any questions, please let me know." Elizabeth Murphy  Active Transportation Specialist Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency 1150 University Avenue Bldg 5 Rochester, NY 14607 www.flhsa.org www.healthikids.org 

  • 10/07/2014 - We are so blinded by our way of life that we don’t see the decline of Wildlife as a breakdown of our life support system. Wildlife did not just spring up in its marvelous manifestations to amaze and thrill some of us. They evolved over billions of years in lockstep with plants and soil and climate to create a system that keeps us alive.  A sprawling shopping mall cannot live on its own; it neither produces nor breaks down life to help produce more life. Wildlife and plants in our environment do; we should change our priorities. WWF: Climate change driving world’s wildlife populations into decline The world’s wildlife population have decreased by over 50% in just 40 years – according to a new report published by WWF, which shows climate change was a major factor, along with habitat loss and exploitation. The 2014 Living Planet Report, identified climate change as one of the nine ‘planetary boundaries’ that will have a huge impact on wildlife, and on humans too. Climate change, biodiversity loss and the nitrogen cycle have all been ‘overstepped’ and so are causing damage to the habitats and animal populations. Climate change is particularly dangerous to wildlife as it aggravates other components of biodiversity loss, such as habitat modification, over-exploitation, pollution, and the arrival of invasive species which alter eco-systems. (October 3, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 10/07/2014 - 'Climate at Your Doorstep' attempts Hair Mary pass around dysfunctional media to message Climate Change with scientists and public. No doubt about it, mainstream and local media are incapable of messaging the great threat to our sustainability—where they can’t even link local expressions of Climate Change as predicted by climate studies. Or include Climate Change in news stories about studies on diseases, agriculture, invasive species, and a whole lot more that the public needs to know. So, this new idea where scientists and the public work together sounds very interesting because something has to be done about the state of our media on Climate Change. Scientists to Explain 'Climate at Your Doorstep' at New Online Hub The effort is one of many recent climate communication projects to try to deepen public understanding of the climate crisis amid political inaction. While the climate community was fixed on global climate negotiations unfolding at the UN last week, one news organization was focused on educating people about the local damage that's already resulted from the world's inaction. On Sept. 22, the online newsroom The Daily Climate launched a Kickstarter to raise $25,628 for "Climate at Your Doorstep." The project aims to build an online community of scientists, journalists and members of the public to discuss how climate impacts are already affecting people around the country and the world. (September 30, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/07/2014 - I had to laugh. This article is nonsense on stilts. If the environmentalists stop the Keystone XL pipeline, then the craven governments and fossil fuel industries who demand that we get tar sands (which will warm the planet) are forced to take even more drastic and unsafe measures to extract and transport these dangerous and dirty and fossil fuels in more dangerous and dirty ways.  Because, according to them, it's tar sands or nothing, no renewable energy, noting but tar sands! Ya gotta laugh. It's like a murderer saying to a murder victim, "Look, now that you put on a bullet proof vest, I'm going to have to shoot you in the head."  Leave the freaking tar sands in the ground, reset our economy and our way of getting energy so they don't wreck our life support system.  This pathetic argument that the New York Post thought fit to print that environmentalist are causing disasters like the Lac-Meganati derailment and explosion is so incredibly pathetic and craven as to be evil. Keystone pipeline opponents causing environmental disaster Government isn’t doing enough, but another group shoulders at least part of the blame — environmentalists. Oil production booms, but new pipeline construction, such as Keystone XL, has been blocked by liberal activists. Five years ago, very little oil was transported on trains, but in 2013, 1 million barrels a day moved by rail in the US, and in 2014 some 1.5 million barrels of oil per day will do so. Estimates are those figures will double again by 2015. This is a bonanza to railroads, but to the rest of us this is Railway Russian Roulette. Already there have been three near misses. Four months after Quebec’s deaths, another derailment and explosion occurred outside an Alabama town without deaths. This was followed by a collision of two trains that resulted in an evacuation of more than 2,000 persons and a 400,000-gallon oil spill. A third derailment and explosion happened in Virginia forcing another evacuation. (October 5, 2014) New York Post

  • 10/07/2014 - It does appear that one of our commons, our air, the air we breathe, is recognized by the US Supreme Court as something of value. Rather than a mere toilet to  industrial externalities, our legal system is coming around to the fact that our natural resources, the things that keep our life support system operating, like air and water and soil and forests are worthy of safekeeping from the remorselessness of our present economic system. EPA Ozone-Pollution Standard Left Intact by High Court The U.S. Supreme Court left intact ozone-pollution standards crafted under former President George W. Bush, rejecting an appeal by a business group that said the rules were too stringent. The rebuff leaves intact a federal appeals court decision that said the Environmental Protection Agency had adequate scientific evidence to tighten the standards for ozone, an oxidant that is the principal component of smog. (October 6, 2014) Bloomberg News [more on Air Quality in our area] 

  • 10/06/2014 - Sure hope that NYS state grants for agricultural research include what we know about Climate Change and our local agriculture.  For example this from the Cornell Cooperative Extensions’ “NEW YORK’S CHANGING CLIMATE” fact sheet: “The agriculture sector is already feeling the effects of New York’s changing climate. Warmer temperatures and changing precipitation patterns present both economic challenges and opportunities for agriculture. For example, farmers are already experiencing increased insect, disease, and weed pressure, but have also had success planting new longer-season varieties of corn. Since the 1960s, the growing season has lengthened by nearly a week, as evidenced by observations of earlier spring bloom dates for lilacs, apples, and grapes at agricultural research stations across the state.” Read the whole fact sheet, it’s only 4 pages. State Provides Grants For Agricultural Research New York state is setting aside $1.4 million to study and promote a growing part of the state's agricultural economy: specialty crops like hops, wine grapes, sweet corn and onions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the grants which will go to university researchers studying crop diseases and pests and farming techniques and to groups promoting farm products. (October 5, 2014) WXXI News [more on Food in our area]

  • 10/06/2014 - While we’ve been busy the TPP has been chugging along perhaps undermining any Climate Change efforts we make.  Read Sierra Club factsheet: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: What it could mean for the Environment “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an expansive trade agreement being negotiated between countries in the Pacific Rim, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. Because the TPP is intended as a “docking agreement,” other Pacific Rim countries can join over time. The Pacific Rim is an area of great significance from an environmental perspective. It includes Australia’s Great Barrier Reef—the world's largest coral reef system, home to more than 11,000 species—and Peru’s Amazon Rainforest—one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth. But the natural environment and rich biodiversity of the Pacific Rim are threatened by, among other things, illegal and/or unsustainable commercial exploitation. The Asia-Pacific region accounts for about one third of all the threatened species in the world. The numbers of several species of oceanic sharks, including reef sharks, are declined rapidly. And illegal logging persists in a number of TPP countries, threatening not only natural forests, but the communities who live in and rely upon the forests. The TPP must serve to strengthen environmental protection and support the biodiversity in the Pacific Rim and not facilitate a race to the bottom in environmental deregulation.” Japan-U.S. accord still seen as key to TPP deal An agreement between Japan and the United States is still a key element before the envisioned Trans-Pacific Partnership can become a reality, according to informed sources. Ministers from 12 TPP negotiation member states, including Japan and the United States, will gather for three days in Sydney starting Oct. 25 in hopes of ironing out the massive free trade accord. Ahead of the meeting, Japan’s TPP minister, Akira Amari, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman met late last month to discuss the sticking points between their two nations, such as agriculture. But the talks ended in failure, dimming prospects for an early TPP deal among the 12 countries. (October 6, 2014) Japan Times

  • 10/06/2014 - Interesting, the steady drumbeat of increasing heat goes on while humanity dithers, worries about binding agreements, or ignores Climate Change altogether. The science on Climate Change is at odds with how humanity is reacting to the phenomenon we have never experienced before: as it gets more dire, including studies that continually prove previous assumptions about warming were too low, the more humanity focus on wars and sports and pets and whether or not President Obama should have held a coffee cup in his hand while waving to the troops… Humans, ya gotta laugh. Oceans Getting Hotter Than Anybody Realized The RV Kaharoa motored out of Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday, loaded with more than 100 scientific instruments, each eventually destined for a watery grave. Crewmembers will spend the next two months dropping the 50-pound devices, called Argo floats, into the seas between New Zealand and Mauritius, off the coast of Madagascar. There, the instruments will sink and drift, then measure temperature, salinity and pressure as they resurface to beam the data to a satellite. The battery-powered floats will repeat that process every 10 days — until they conk out, after four years or more, and become ocean junk. Under an international program begun in 2000, and that started producing useful global data in 2005, the world’swarming and acidifying seas have been invisibly filled with thousands of these bobbing instruments. They are gathering and transmitting data that’s providing scientists with the clearest-ever pictures of the hitherto-unfathomed extent of ocean warming. About 90 percent of global warming is ending up not on land, but in the oceans. (October 5, 2014) Climate Central

  • 10/06/2014 - Not to mention cats kill (3.7 billion) birds each year, far more than windows and wind turbines. Birds don’t care whether a cat is feral or stray; they’re just as deadly to them. Neutering best tactic in feral-cat control Bonnie Barbour is obsessed with cats. But even she didn't want to see Ontario County overrun with hundreds of feral felines that can be hostile to humans and tear apart garbage cans. There's only one approach that works to solve the problem, and Barbour and others use that strategy to foster healthy environments for both feral cats and their human neighbors. "There is no one anywhere in the world that can look around and not see feral cats everywhere," said Barbour, adding that feral cats are wild and have grown up with almost no human contact. "It's not local — it's a worldwide problem." (October 6, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 10/06/2014 - Learn about controlling invasive species effort in our region: Finger Lakes- Partnership For Regional Invasive Species Management (FL-PRISM) FL-PRISM Update: Going Far, Together One of my favorite African proverbs states: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. This summer has been a testament to working together. We have accomplished much across the region in a short period. Now, we can take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments and refocus our lens as we move into the strategic portion of the year for the FL-PRISM. Below is a recap of some of the summer’s top projects. Water chestnut invasion of Braddock Bay In 2013, while leading a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funded Coastal Wetlands Monitoring project for the College at Brockport, Brad Mudrzynski noticed the aquatic invader. Not a ton, but enough to cause concern among his colleagues and enough to warrant control efforts. Brad was able to get his team to pull the water chestnut during the short period of time when they were not sampling along the Lake Ontario coastline in New York and Canada. After consulting with the managing NYS DEC Biologist, the team picked every plant they encountered in 2013. When sampling took the crew back to Braddock Bay in 2014, they were stunned to find that the cove near the marina was besieged with water chestnut. (October 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Invasive Species  in our area]

  • 10/04/2014 - Actually Lake Sturgeon is native to Lake Ontario & Genesee River BEFORE these waters were polluted and warmed by Climate Change.  I know, I’m not an expert in these things, but wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to address Climate Change, bring down greenhouse gas concentrations, and clean up both Lake Ontario and the Genesee River from pharmaceuticals, manmade toxins, sewage, plastic bits, and a whole lot more THEN reintroduce the Lake Sturgeon? Sure, it would be expensive and unpopular, but in terms of our life support system, these measures would make a lot more sense than trying to force a species that thrived in Holocene waters into what we have now. Seems like the tactic of reintroducing the Lake Sturgeon to rule out the possibility that Climate Change and decades of pollution haven’t caused lake and river damage is delusional.  Agencies stock Genesee River with young sturgeon A group of county, state, and federal organizations released more than 1,000 lake sturgeon fingerlings into the Genesee River today.  The fish were hatched in June at the State Department of Environmental Conservation's Oneida fish hatchery. Early this afternoon, a DEC boat took them to Seth Green Island where they were released.  The sturgeon will spend the next 10 to 15 years in the Genesee River before they move on to Lake Ontario, said Dr. Jeff Wyatt, director of animal health and conservation for the Seneca Park Zoo. Mature lake sturgeon are generally three to five feet long, and between 10 and 80 pounds. However, some fish grow much larger. (October 3, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper {more on Wildlife and Genesee River in our area]   

  • 10/04/2014 - Showing of “Comfort Zone” a Rochester, NY based award-winning documentary on Climate Change October 14, at 7 pm. "On Tuesday, October 14, at 7 pm, all are invited to a free showing of the locally-produced film “Comfort Zone.” Location: Henrietta United Church of Christ, 1400 Lehigh Station Road, Henrietta; the facility is handicapped-accessible This film showing is hosted by the interfaith environmental group Living in Harmony.   If you have not yet seen this excellent production, plan now to attend.   COMFORT ZONE What kind of problem is climate change? A scientific problem? An engineering problem? A psychological problem? How do we even begin to think about it? Many films show the shocking impacts of climate change on faraway places and peoples, usually the people and countries who have the least leverage on solving the problem. COMFORT ZONE shows us what it means in our own backyards, here in Rochester. COMFORT ZONE is the consciousness-changing story of three local filmmakers confronting what climate change means for us – scientifically, economically and personally – as the problem challenges our very sense of who we are. Run time 67 minutes   Questions? Contact Elizabeth Pixley, convener of Living in Harmony, epixley@rochester.rr.com

  • 10/04/2014 - Penfield Green Initiative October 2014 e-newsletter Lots of exciting things happening in October - please attend some   Please forward to any family, friends or co-workers  -- PENFIELD GREEN INITIATIVE Planning Committee The voice for Penfield’s environmental assets!

  • 10/04/2014 - One of the most popular and effective Climate Change actions in Rochester, NY coming up: "Announcing Curb Your Car Week 2014 Fall Edition When? Sunday October 5 to Saturday October 11. What? Families throughout the greater Rochester area and beyond will pledge to leave their cars home for one or more trips during the week. Can you walk, bike, take the bus, carpool, telecommute, or combine trips? It can be to school, to work, to piano lessons, the grocery store, or anywhere you would otherwise normally drive your vehicle." from ColorBrightonGreen

  • 10/04/2014 - How will Rochester, NY fare in the White House’s “Climate Action Champions designation”? Near the top, near the bottom, nowhere? Recognizing American Communities as Climate Action Champions From more frequent and extreme storms to higher average temperatures and rising seas, Americans today are experiencing first-hand what climate change will mean for their communities and their children. Taking steps today to cut carbon pollution and build resilience is essential to avert far more severe climate impacts in the future. As a recent report from the Council of Economic Advisers warns, postponing action on climate change could increase costs to the American economy by hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Local communities are on the front lines of the climate challenge — and are among the most ambitious in searching for solutions. From deploying more clean energy and setting energy efficiency goals to building more green infrastructure and revising building codes, many cities, towns, and tribal communities have emerged as leaders in the fight against climate change.  Today, the Obama administration is launching the first round of the Climate Action Champions Competition, to recognize and support the path-breaking steps that local and tribal governments are already taking to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the impacts of climate change. This new competition, administered by the Department of Energy, will identify 10-15 communities across the country that have proven themselves to be climate leaders by pursuing ambitious climate action on both tracks — reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience. (October 1, 2014) The White House Blog [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/04/2014 - Will Rochester business folks ever accept Climate Change into their hearts? Yes, but kicking and screaming. Read the comments on this article. Whew! Majority backs divesting from fossil fuel More than half of RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll respondents support the decision by some foundations, endowments and pension funds to divest fossil fuel investments, and 63 percent say they are concerned about climate change. On the eve of the U.N. Climate Summit in New York City last week, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced its decision to divest from fossil fuels and focus more on clean energy technologies in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change. The fund, a nearly $900 million private foundation established in 1940 by members of the family whose wealth traces to John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil fortune, said it is committed to “reducing our exposure to coal and tar sands to less than 1 percent of the total portfolio by the end of 2014.” It also will develop a strategy to divest any remaining fossil fuel investments over the next few years. (October 3, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/04/2014 - The energy in Rochester on the People’s Climate March isn’t over: CLIMATE MARCH REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 8, 2014 FROM 7-8 PM   Church of the Assumption * 20 East Avenue, Fairport, NY 14450 | This event is free and all are welcome to share and learn. ___Did you attend a Climate March or related Event? ___Do you want to hear first-hand from those who did? ___Do you want to meet others who share your concern?   Please come prepared to share a 2-minute report including: ___Who am I? ___Why is Climate Change/Environment Action important? ___What am I doing to make a difference?

  • 10/04/2014 - This is the question we’d better ask and we’d better get it right: Is the window for mitigating Climate Change closing? The answer should be for an intelligent species should be this: if there’s even a hint that the window of opportunity for stabling sustainable greenhouse gas concentrations is closing, we should be focusing on that worldwide not waiting around some more to nail this down exactly. We have not demonstrated that we have any power to curb our addiction to fossil fuels that are warming the planet.  What if we cannot stop ourselves even if we wanted to? We don’t even know the answer to that question yet. Maybe it’s the question we fear to ask ourselves. New Reports Offer Clearest Picture Yet of Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions As the UN prepares to convene its climate summit, disturbing new numbers. Two days before the UN Climate Summit in New York, three new studies paint the clearest picture yet of rising greenhouse gas emissions and the dwindling opportunity for staving off the worst impacts—and also of at least one way that huge undertaking might be shared fairly among the nations of the world. (September 21, 2014) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 10/04/2014 - Trade deals are usually bad because they tend to carve up local environmental laws and regulations. But at least one aspect of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, may have a good effect on the US. “Under EU rules, chemicals must be proved to be safe before they are used. In the United States, chemicals must be shown to be harmful to be banned.” If the US adopted the EU’s rules on chemicals, imagine how many less Brownfields we would have. Actually, it’s insane to have a policy that says the chemicals must be shown to be harmful to be banned. People have to drop dead, streams must kill lots of fish, and other horrific stuff before a manmade chemical can be taken off the shelves. Who in their right mind would have made such a corporate-friendly, anti-environmental rule? Getting some EU sense into our chemical laws might not be such a bad thing. U.S. trade deal won't change rules on 'toxic' chemicals, EU says The European Union is seeking to contain a new complaint that a trade deal with the United States would undermine Europe's protection against dangerous chemicals, eager to avoid another front of resistance to the world's biggest trade accord. More than a year into negotiations, the European Commission, the EU executive, is engaged in a public relations battle to defend plans to deepen the transatlantic trading relationship and create a market of some 800 million people encompassing almost half the world's economy. In a letter seen by Reuters, the EU's trade chief will tell environmental activists on Friday that a free-trade pact between the top two trading blocs will not expose Europeans to harmful chemicals or force the EU to change its laws. Under EU rules, chemicals must be proved to be safe before they are used. In the United States, chemicals must be shown to be harmful to be banned. (October 3, 2014) Reuters [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 10/03/2014 - Cleaning up the Hudson River from GE pollution started in 2009, but we tend to forget the 25-year battle to bring GE to the table.  Dredging of Pollutants Begins in Hudson “Twenty-five years after the federal government declared a long stretch of the Hudson River to be a contaminated Superfund site, the cleanup of its chief remaining source of pollution began here Friday with a single scoop of mud extracted by a computer-guided dredge.” (May 15, 2009, New York Times) Be interesting if someone did an investigation of how long companies that polluted fought in the courts to renege on their responsibility before they owned up to them. If we wish to have even a clue as to the kind of environment we are going into Climate Change with, we need to know all about Brownfields—how many need to be cleaned up, old dump sites and what’s leaching into our streams, how various toxins interact with each other as they radiate out into our life support system, and a whole lot more.  Brownfields and their cleanups are an integral part of addressing Climate Change. And unless the press presses this issue, toxins from years past will be our compromised environment as the more frequent, heavier rainfalls inundate our region and spill toxins into our waters. EPA Announces Agreement with GE to Further Investigate Upper Hudson River Floodplain; Comprehensive Study to Cost About $20.5 Million The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that General Electric Company has agreed to conduct a comprehensive study of the contamination in the shoreline areas of the upper Hudson River. Cleanup of the Hudson River PCBs Superfund site has been ongoing since 2009 when river dredging began. Under the latest agreement with GE, the company will evaluate contamination in shoreline areas that are subject to flooding, called floodplains. The river and parts of the floodplain are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs are chemicals that persist in the environment and can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are potentially cancer-causing. For a period of 30 years, ending in the late 1970’s, PCBs were discharged from two GE capacitor manufacturing plants located in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, New York. Once PCBs entered the river they were deposited and mixed with the sediment at many locations on the river bottom and at some locations along the shoreline. Under the agreement announced today, GE will investigate the PCB contamination in a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River floodplain from Hudson Falls to Troy, New York and will develop cleanup options. The estimated value of this investigation work is $20.5 million. Under the agreement GE will also pay for EPA’s costs in overseeing the work and reimburse EPA for $3.5 million in floodplain-related past costs. (October 1, 2014) EPA News Releases from Region 2 [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 10/03/2014 - Quietly, buried under Fracking & nuclear power local news, Solar Power is growing (though not in Monroe County) to address Climate Change and energy options. You’d think that an energy option that could address a lot of our issues with our present energy options—derailments of dangerous crude oil, greenhouse gas emissions, public health, water issues, pollution, and a whole lot more—would garner more local press attention. But it doesn’t. Folks still think the sun doesn’t shine in our neck of the woods, but it does and it shines even less in Germany which has been experiencing a solar revolution: “Clean Break” Osha Gray Davidson Governor Cuomo Announces $94 Million Awarded for Solar Projects Across the State 142 Solar Projects at Businesses and Schools Will Increase New York’s Solar Capacity by 68 Percent Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced NY-Sun awards for large solar electric projects that will increase the solar capacity in New York State by more than 214 megawatts, a 68 percent increase over the amount of solar installed and in the pipeline at the end of 2013. The competitive awards further advance the scale-up of solar and move the State closer to a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. “Today we are making another long-term investment in our clean energy economy – with nearly $100 million in funding that will dramatically increase our capacity to generate and utilize solar energy across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is quickly becoming a national leader in renewable energy by building a competitive solar industry, and today’s award recipients are an example of how that progress continues to grow. As we recognize Climate Week, this is a significant step forward in our goal of creating a better place for New Yorkers to live and work, and I look forward to seeing these projects contribute to a cleaner environment.” (September 26, 2014) The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 10/03/2014 - I’m thinking it does matter that we fess up to causing Climate Change; if we don’t get at the cause the cure will be delusionary. It is a quirk of the human mind that if cause and effect includes blame, we get defensive and nowhere does it get more defensive and loony than in our politics. If you can find a political leader that states that this problem (slavery, pollution, Climate Change, whatever) is not your fault and everything you do is good, then that political leader will probably get elected, and reelected. Which is to say, the problem continues because cause and effect have been removed from the discussion. Climate Change is real, we caused it, and we’d better solve it no matter how inconvenient. Trying To Fight Climate Change Without Admitting We Are To Blame We’re all familiar with climate deniers — the politicians who proudly declare that 97 percent of climate scientists are wrong, and human carbon emissions aren’t driving up global temperatures to a potentially catastrophic degree. Opposing them are what Grist’s David Roberts termed “climate hawks” — people who think climate change is real, it’s extremely dangerous, and civilization’s use of fossil fuels is behind most of it. But in between, a strange twilight figure has risen for whom there is no term, but with whom climate activists will have to grapple if America is to do its part in keeping the world under 2°C of warming. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) probably represented this odd creature best back in August: “[Climate change is] a concern in terms of both its impact and the volatility it’s having on our weather patterns,” he said. But when reporters dug into whether humans are causing it, Snyder dodged: “I don’t get into how we got there because that tends to go off into a discussion that I don’t think has real value.” (October 2, 2014) Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/03/2014 - On the whole though, Climate Change, which is quickly altering our planet’s climate, is not a good thing—even if some get more fresh water. Because Climate Change will affect everything, it’s hard to find a silver lining, just as someone falling from a high building would be unlikely to appreciate his new vantage points. Climate Change Could Increase Global Fresh Water: MIT Water stress — the general scarcity of freshwater for people who need it — is considered by many scientists as one of the biggest challenges facing humanity and struggling ecosystems in a world increasingly affected by climate change. Studies differ on how much the world’s growing population will be affected by the growing difficulty of finding freshwater, but a new report by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that climate change could actually provide more water to people in some parts of the globe while reducing freshwater for other areas. (October 2, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/03/2014 - Why folks from Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) went to the People’s Climate March in New York City.  The Green Hand: HWS At The Climate March Of The Century Do you like numbers? 34 Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) students. 2 HWS staff. 2 buses. Over 500 total miles. 1 day. The largest climate march in history included not just environmentalists, but folks affected by hydraulic fracturing; Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and other natural disasters; tar sands; droughts; industrial pollution; etc. The diversity of marchers is a true testament that climate change is not just about the environment anymore, it goes beyond those that care about trees and polar bears to a global crisis that is affecting us all, here and now. An estimated 400,000 people, 1574 participating organizations, 50,000 college students from over 300 campuses (45 campuses in New York State), 630,000 social media posts, 5,200 articles written, more than 100 buses from 35 states, and 700 organizations participated in the People’s Climate March (PCM) in New York City on Sunday, September 21, 2014. (October 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/02/2014 - “…neighborhood have a long history of pollution…” is code for Brownfield sacrifice zones because well-off won’t tolerate toxic cesspools. Low income regions get most of the uncleaned up Brownfields around the world, which is a major tragedy because Climate Change will bring more public health issues as more frequent heavy downpours in our region will unleash toxins in Brownfields to those less likely to deal with them. Brownfields must be cleaned up now before Climate Change gets worse. Developer, city to study Vacuum Oil site contamination The properties around the old Vacuum Oil site in the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood have a long history of pollution. And though it's probably going to take a long time to clean them up, there is some progress to report in what's known as the Vacuum Oil Brownfield Opportunity Area.  The owner of 5 and 15 Flint Street — a  private development company called One Flint St. LLC — is preparing to resume an investigation into contamination at the properties, according to a notice sent out yesterday by the State Department of Environmental Conservation. (October 1, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 10/02/2014 - Environmental films are critical in educating the public on our life support system because the media is so bad at this. The trick is getting the general public to attend—those who live and vote and need to thrive in a healthy environment. New environmental film festival announced  Fast Forward Film Festival to show in April 2015 New locally-centered, environmental film festival scheduled for spring 2015 was announced Wednesday morning. The Fast Forward Film Festival will feature short films created by filmmakers from the Rochester and Finger Lakes region. The festival is an initiative of The Lost Bird Project, an organization that aims to highlight environmental issues through art and performance. A call for submissions from local filmmakers -- amateur to professional -- will begin Wednesday, October 8. Submissions are open to all ages, and the juried winners will be awarded cash prizes. Select films will be screened at The Little and Dryden Theatre on April 17 and 18, 2015. "Fast Forward Film Festival is an incubator for innovative thinking and artistic expression, and encourages films that tap into the local experience and compel audiences to engage with the community while raising environmental awareness," said Andrew Stern, the festival's executive director, and executive director of The Lost Bird Project. "Embracing the short-film format, the festival challenges filmmakers to utilize the power of visual storytelling to convey the urgency of environmental issues." (October 1, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 10/02/2014 - What we don’t know about soil could fill a planet, a planet that is warming faster than soil may be able to adapt to.  For example: How does will soil in our area act with cold winters and less snow cover and more days of freezing then thawing, back and forth? If we plan to have healthy soil and feed the world, we’d better find out.  Soil Doctors Hit Pay Dirt In Manhattan's Central Park Manhattan's Central Park is surrounded by one of the densest cities on the planet. It's green enough, yet hardly the first place most people would think of as biologically rich. But a team of scientists gt a big surprise when they recently started digging there. They were ten soil ecologists — aka dirt doctors. Kelly Ramirez from Colorado State University was among them. "We met on the steps of the natural history museum at 7 a.m. with our collection gear, coolers, and sun block," she recalls. (October 2, 2014) NPR [more on Plants in our area]

  • 10/02/2014 - Next stop after People’s Climate March and UN Summit in NYC is the UN Summit in Lima, Peru. Real commitments or promises, promises? All on the road to 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris where all those promises must turn into results and legally binding agreements. Lima talks should deliver first draft for 2015 climate deal, says Peru minister Amazon country wants UN summit to steer the course for a binding global committment on carbon emissions in Paris The meeting of nearly 200 governments in Peru later this year for a major UN climate change summit must produce the first draft of a global deal to cut emissions, the country's environment minister says. Speaking to the Guardian, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said he was aware that slow progress at the last round of talks in Warsaw, Poland, meant significant progress is needed in key areas including climate financing and how to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. The meeting in Lima in December is a staging point towards a crunch summit in Paris in 2015 when it is hoped world leaders will agree, for the first time, a global deal on cutting emissions that includes both rich and poor countries. (January 31, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/02/2014 - So, California bans the plastic bag because it’s damaging our life support system, but the bag manufacturers will fight the ban because it “… hurts the environment”? Really, a plastic bag ban would hurt the environment? Let me go back to the article and see if that what was said…. Yep, that what they said.  Guess I have to hit the books and find out what food group the plastic bag that was just invented in 1960 belongs to. Maybe something like “plasticbagus bagus” a new member of the jellyplastic fish family that roams the seas in search of underwater grocery stories.  Hummm…..  California enacts state ban on plastic bags Motivated by environmental concerns, Gov. Brown signs legislation making California the first state to bar plastic bags California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation imposing the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, driven to action by a buildup of litter and damage to aquatic ecosystems. A national coalition of plastic bag manufacturers immediately said it would seek a voter referendum to repeal the law, which is scheduled to take effect in July 2015. Under SB270, plastic bags will be phased out of large grocery stores starting next summer and convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016. The law allows grocers to charge a fee of at least 10 cents for using paper bags. (September 30, 2014) Aljazeera [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 10/01/2014 - There are many benefits to bicycle boulevards including addressing Climate Change, but you cannot say that in Rochester, NY. Bicycle boulevards and other street design options for slowing down traffic and making it safer for more active transportation (walking and bicycling) are low-cost ways of bringing down greenhouse gas emissions—27% which are caused by present vehicular transportation.  But in Rochester you can go on and on about the benefits of bicycle boulevards, just as long as you don’t include Climate Change adaptation because that is so unfashionable. Community Meetings Today to Discuss Bike Boulevards Plan  The City of Rochester wants to know what the public thinks about designated bicycle routes. There are plans to add more bike boulevards in various neighborhoods. A couple of community meetings are scheduled Wednesday at specific locations along the potential bike route. The city has been working on becoming a bike-friendly city the past couple of years, this latest plan includes adding more bike boulevards, or designated residential streets for cyclists, in the 19th Ward and the South Wedge. The city said it is focused on making Rochester's streets better for biking. To do that, the city wants to hear some feedback from not only cyclists who use bike boulevards, but also from residents where bike lanes currently are and where the city is planning to add more. (October 10, 2014) Time Warner News Rochester [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 10/01/2014 - Does the Rochester region so hate renewable energy (solar and wind) that is willing put up with Fracking and this from nuclear power plants? Are we really so dead set against having a viable energy system of micro grids and solar and wind and increased batter power that we’ll keep just digging in deeper for more fossil fuels and an impossibly dangerous and financially unwieldy form of energy as nuclear? Really, in a time of Climate Change we cannot do better and safer and more adaptive to a warmer climate? The nuclear option  The Ginna nuclear power plant is in serious trouble. Is it worth saving? The owner of the R.E. Ginna nuclear power plant says that the facility may close unless it gets a new contract for the sale of its electricity. And even that may only be enough to keep the aging nuclear plant going for a few more years, the owner says. Ginna's cloudy future is a matter of economics. Its majority owner, Constellation Nuclear Energy Group, says in a recent filing with the State Public Service Commission that the price it's getting for its electricity won't be enough to cover the plant's operating and investment costs. Prior to June, Rochester Gas and Electric was contractually obligated to purchase 90 percent of Ginna's output. But the 10-year agreement expired that month, and Ginna has since started selling its electricity into New York's competitive marketplace. Even under the RG&E contract — at times, the utility paid above market prices for power, at others it paid below market prices — the plant was running in the red. The commission's filing says that Ginna's losses have significantly exceeded $100 million over the last three years. (October 1, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area]

  • 10/01/2014 - Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but Rochester NY has a long way to go to be a walkable city. In Rochester active transportation (walking and bicycling) have been languishing behind a tepid program to increase bicycling with painted road symbols that few understand and a sidewalk/trafficlight situation that turns individual pedestrians into packman-like casualties. Both pedestrians and bicyclists in Rochester are the first to be sacrificed for construction projects, trash collection, parking, deliveries, lawn service and telecommunications equipment parking. "Watchdog: Making roads safe for the unprotected At least twice a day for the past decade, a pedestrian or bicyclist on Monroe County's roadways was hit by a car, usually seriously enough to warrant medical treatment. And, at least 92 people walking or biking were killed. With residents increasingly interested in living in areas where a car isn't required for every single errand, local communities are taking notice and seeking out ways to make public roadways safer, more walkable and better suited for bicyclists. RocDocs database: Pedestrian and bicycle accidents in Monroe County RocDocs database: Fatal accidents between 2003-12 While a recent national study of roadway safety didn't place the Rochester region near the top of its list of the 50 most dangerous metropolitan places for pedestrians, there is still plenty of room for safety improvement, a Democrat and Chronicleanalysis of state Department of Transportation data has found. That data includes information on all crashes involving pedestrians or bicyclists struck by motor vehicles from 2003 to 2012, the most recent year available. " (June 15, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle | Great Lakes cities found at the intersection of walkable and affordable We’ve always known that the Great Lakes are the center of the freshwater universe. But who would have thought that they are the intersection of affordability and walkability? A group that’s developed a method of scoring a community’s walkability recently listed neighborhoods in a dozen U.S. cities that are not only easy to get around, they’re affordable to live in. They produced the list with Walk Score data – which measures walkability – the Cost of Living Index and the average rents for every major city in the country. And guess what? Five of them are in cities on a Great Lake: Buffalo Rochester Chicago Milwaukee Cleveland (September 30, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 10/01/2014 - ACTION: Excellent chance to get Bicycle Boulevard projects moving along in Rochester Friday, Oct 10th (I.e. addressing Climate Change) Bicycle Boulevards draft network, pilot segments, "pop-up" public meetings, and input opportunity "update on the City of Rochester’s Bicycle Boulevards Master Plan.   The consultant team has identified a network of draft recommended bike boulevard routes (see attached maps) and the city has installed two 1-mile pilot segments using temporary signage, markings, and speed cushions for folks to ride and test and share feedback on. One of these routes is in the 19th Ward and the other is in the South Wedge (see attached maps).   This Wednesday, Oct 1 from 4-6pm, the city invites people to come out to ride the routes and provide feedback directly at two concurrent “pop-up” public input meetings. Project staff will be available to answer people’s questions and take input. The 19th Ward meeting will have a staff table in Aberdeen Square (corner of Woodbine & Aberdeen) and the South Wedge meeting will have a staff table in Genesee Gateway Park (Riverway Trail & corner of Averill).   The temporary bike boulevard installations are in place for two weeks, so you can also provide feedback using this online form until next Friday, Oct 10th.   You can find more information about the Rochester Bicycle Boulevards Master Plan at the project website and in the attached project brochure.   Please share with your networks and contacts who are interested in biking and/or just in making our neighborhood streets more safe, comfortable, healthy, and active. Elizabeth Murphy Active Transportation Specialist "

  • 10/01/2014 - We can’t have our cake and eat it too? We can’t have endless growth on a finite planet? Physics is so unfair to our economics. No, economic growth and climate stability do not go hand-in-hand Much has been made of last week’s report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, led by former Mexican President Felipe Calderón and famous climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern. The report’s conclusion that we can have our cake and eat it too — that is, that we can “create lasting economic growth while also tackling the immense risks of climate change” — quickly became a popular talking point for mainstream economists and politicians. But to think that it has anything to do with actually avoiding catastrophic climate havoc is to misinterpret the entire premise of this New Climate Economy (NCE) project. The study, called “Better Growth, Better Climate,” is mostly about economic growth. In the short summary that makes up the homepage of the report’s sleek-scrolling website, the word “growth” appears 62 times, five more than “climate.” (September 30, 2014) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/01/2014 - Unlike the venomous lionfish, most predators prey, and plants don’t have the ability to quickly adapt to new stomping grounds due to Climate Change. Warmer Atlantic widens invader’s hunting ground The exotic lionfish, already a long way from the reefs of its Indo-Pacific home, is heading further north up the US coast as global warming causes big changes to ocean habitats. The venomous lionfish is on the move. This invasive species has been observed in deeper waters off the North Carolina coast since the turn of the century, but new research suggests it may now be expanding its range into the shallower levels. Since the lionfish (Pterois volitans) is actually native to the Indo-Pacific region, it is already a long way from home. But what now gives it licence to hunt further north is warmer sea temperature. Global warming has already begun to make huge differences to ocean habitat. The bluefin tunais a temperate zone fish that has already been observed in Arctic waters off the coast of Greenland, and commercial species such as red mullet, a creature of the Mediterranean, has been seen in the North Sea and even in Norwegian waters. (September 28, 2014) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 10/01/2014 - The momentum on addressing Climate Change from 700,000 people around the world must accelerate until binding agreements in Paris 2015.  Anything less probably means the end of our ability to mitigate the worldwide rise in greenhouse gas and commit ourselves and our children to catastrophic change. Sure, after a failed Paris 2015 Climate Conference we’ll still be able to adapt to some of those changes and we’ll keep having to adapt until we can’t. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris must not fail. Momentum gathers around UN climate summit but more needed from world leaders A weekend of unprecedented public calls for climate action and a New York summit that saw one Head of State after another acknowledging the need to listen to the people and act, has put climate change back to the top of the political agenda. Almost 700,000 people around the world marched for climate action on Sunday. This record-breaking global mobilization shows that sectors all across society in all corners of the world are concerned about inaction on climate change and ready to accelerate a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources. In New York, a growing number of governments confirmed the need to end the fossil fuel era and craft a global climate agreement in Paris next year. (September 24, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 10/01/2014 - News of the People’s Climate March got headlines all over the world, except Rochester, NY, of course.  As a matter of fact when I mentioned that I went to the march, a local friend said, “How nice that must have been for you folks who believe in global warming.” (It’s like those of us in this special club had a great big party for ourselves.)  Local media has so much to make up for on messaging the crisis of our area.  People's Climate March Press Roundup  (September 30, 2014)  Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.