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, May 29, 2015

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

  • 8/29/2015 - Our region is blessed with one of the largest fresh water systems in the world, but the Great Lakes is in trouble. Plastics pollution (one of the many issues with our Great Lakes) is not simply microbeads from cosmetics. If our region is to thrive during Climate Change with a lot of fresh water, which will be problematic for much of the world, we need to prioritize cleaning up and preserving our region’s most valuable resource. Plastics blamed for many Great Lakes woes About 80 percent of human-made debris found in the Great Lakes is plastic, ranging from tiny micro-beads found in cosmetics and clothing fibers to bottles and plastic wrap, scientists said Thursday during a meeting of Great Lakes scientists being held at the University of Vermont. While the big pieces can be ugly, the smaller pieces can attract dangerous chemicals, such as pesticides or herbicides, which can then be eaten by plankton, mussels, fish or birds, the scientists said. "The concern is ... these plastics act as a means to move ... toxic compounds into the food web and into us," said Sherri Mason, a chemist who led a Thursday session on micro-plastics at the 58th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research. (May 28, 2015) Daily Messenger [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 5/29/2015 - Though this incident wasn’t a Bomb Train, Rochester needs to wake up on threat caused by crude oil being railroaded through our community. Read more about this looming threat and the need for preparation and to shut down this dangerous transporting of explosive materials through our communities—from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, to Albany. “Running Bomb Trains through Rochester, NY 8 cars on freight train derail near Syracuse Authorities say eight cars on a 100-car freight train have derailed in a rural village in central New York. Authorities say eight cars on a 100-car freight train have derailed in a rural village in central New York. The Cortland County Department of Emergency Response and Communications says the derailment happened around 7 a.m. Thursday in Marathon, 40 miles south of Syracuse. Two of the cars are lying on their sides. (May 28, 2015) Daily Messenger [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/29/2015 - It’s simple: No ocean, no life. Check out new documentary “Revolution” @film_REVOLUTION Watch trailer here. “In this highly anticipated follow up to the hit Sharkwater, film-maker Rob Stewart brings us on an adventure 3.5 billion years in the making – from the evolution of life to the revolution underway to save us. Filmed over four years in 15 countries, Revolution captures some of the most remarkable wildlife spectacles ever recorded, and gives audiences a firsthand look into the biggest battle ever fought.” This films should be shown in Rochester. Let’s make that happen.

  • 5/29/2015 - Did President Obama answer your question on Climate Change yet? Here’s my favorite: “How can you claim to be addressing climate while letting Shell drill in the Arctic? “ #AskPotus: President Obama answered climate change questions on Twitter President Barack Obama participated in an online Q&A session regarding climate change today. Mr Obama is National Hurricane Center in Miami using his new Twitter account @POTUS to conduct his yearly briefing on the steps that the federal government is taking to prepare for extreme weather. (May 28, 2015) The Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/29/2015 - More extreme downpours, more flooding; it’s already here: not necessary more rain events, more water when pours when it does rain. “40 of the lower 48 states have seen an overall increase in heavy downpours since 1950.” Are we ready? Agriculture? Transportation system? Public health? Insurance? Water quality compromised from stormwater runoffs? Are we ready? Only your authorities and leaders know for sure. Across U.S., Heaviest Downpours On The Rise Record-breaking rain across Texas and Oklahoma this week caused widespread flooding, the likes of which the region has rarely, if ever, seen. For seven locations there, May 2015 has seen the most rain of any month ever recorded, with five days to go and the rain still coming. While rainfall in the region is consistent with the emerging El Niño, the unprecedented amounts suggest a possible climate change signal, where a warming atmosphere becomes more saturated with water vapor and capable of previously unimagined downpours. Several people have been killed and hundreds have been rescued from their homes. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already declared disaster areas in 37 counties. These torrential downpours follow weeks of unusually rainy weather across the Southern Plains. And they stack up to a broader trend in the region, and across the U.S., toward more heavy precipitation. (May 27, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/28/2015 - Of course, if we hadn’t treated “every stream, ditch and puddle” as our toxic toilets we wouldn’t need these regulations. The problem with our way of life, if an environmental feature doesn’t have an immediate financial benefit it gets trashed with our waste, which then becomes conduits for our waste into our rivers and lakes. Not to mention toxic stews that nobody is checking for diseases and contamination of our soil and underground water. The invisible hand, the market place, has excluded the health of our environment for a very long time, and now regulations are required because our environment is not an externality, it is our life support system.  It’s is unrealistic to expect that regulations required to hold back the onslaught from our way of life not to be burdensome. I suspect that regulations will become more and more burdensome to those practices that are not sustainable—and hopefully this will help us move towards practices that don’t need to be regulated because they are in tune with our environment. Regulations are a sign that humanity is alarmed at the threats to our life support system—not conspiracies by power-hungry liberals to put their noses into everyone’s business. Feds stamp hotly debated water rules Farm Bureau and lawmakers for Ontario, Wayne and Yates counties are among those opposed to the new regulations New federal rules aimed at protecting drinking water nationwide got the green light Wednesday. The rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are designed to clarify which smaller waterways fall under federal protection. According to the EPA, Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 left 60 percent of nation's streams and millions of acres of wetlands without clear federal protection. While many environmental groups cheered the rules, other entitites — including the New York Farm Bureau — criticized the move over concerns that every stream, ditch and puddle on private land could now be subject to federal oversight. (May 27, 2015) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 5/28/2015 - Which is to say, a corporation is not a person but a mindless program that only considers immediate profits to their shareholders regardless. With corporations we have created monsters that are indifferent to science, popular will, and now life itself. Corporation are not simply a metaphor for those sci-fi horror films where the robots we create turn against us—they are the robots we have created that have turned against us. This situation needs to be fixed. Time passes. Chevron and Exxon Mobil reject climate warnings US oil majors face down shareholder proposals to appoint climate expert to board and scrap high carbon projects (May 28, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/28/2015 - This is awkward, getting countries around the world to agree to the 2C goal in Paris will be very hard, but 2C is TOO HIGH! Please consider reality and agreeing to a much more realistic threshold for greenhouse gas emissions. A matter of degrees: why 2C warming is officially unsafe The goal of international climate negotiations is “to avoid dangerous atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases”. In 2010, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change formally recognised the “long term goal” of the convention was to hold the increase in global average warming to below 2C above pre-industrial levels. Is 2C therefore the safe limit above which climate change becomes “dangerous”? A UN expert dialogue of more than 70 scientists, experts, and climate negotiators recently released a final report concluding that 2C is “inadequate” as a safe limit. The report will feed into a review of the 2C limit, including discussions on a tougher 1.5C warming limit in the new climate agreement expected in Paris in December. So, what does the evidence say? (May 26, 2015) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/28/2015 - The large death count and infrastructure damage in India remind us (again) that heat waves present humanity with a major challenge. Whether or not the intensity of this heat wave in India is found out to be directly related to Climate Change or not, the tragedy in India should give us a glimpse of what happens to society and even our roads when heat waves, which are predicted with Climate Change, become the new normal. Climate Change means planning and much can be done to prepare for heat waves. Indians Urged to Stay Indoors as Sweltering Heat Kills More Than 1,300 Large swaths of India were baking again on Wednesday under intense heat that has killed more than 1,300 people and left the government scrambling to warn an often unheeding population about the dangers of stepping outside in the blazing midday sun. Temperatures surpassed 116 degrees in some places in recent days, and were higher than normal even in coastal districts that are typically cooled by easterly winds. Most of the deaths were reported in southern India, in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, with more than 1,000 people killed in Andhra Pradesh alone since May 18, said Pusuli Rani, an official with the state’s Disaster Management Department. May is typically one of the hottest months of the year in India, with the heat building before the onset of the cooling monsoon season. Yet every year the heat seems to catch residents and the government by surprise. (May 27, 2015) New York Times {more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/27/2015 - E-Waste Limbo in Rochester. The church scraped the notion of Limbo a while ago, but not our E-waste laws. So here is a photo of a TV thrown to the curb near my house in Rochester. According to New York State law, as of January 1st it is illegal for homeowners to curb their old TV for which they would get a fine. (See “New E-Waste Ban Prohibits You From Tossing That Old Computer to the Curb” or “New NY law requires electronic recycling” or “Electronics recycling law to go into effect January 1” , or” Don't throw away that flatscreen: Electronics recycling law to take effect Jan. 1”, or “No electronics in trash Jan. 1.”) You get the picture, this was big news back in January.  But here’s the problem—or problems--with actually fining those who put their TV’s out to the curb and thus reducing the problem of these toxics materials getting strewn around our neighborhood by scrappers who come before the weekly City picks up and smash those that old TVs for valuable metals—making these old electronics useless for recycling and continuing their toxic path to our landfills.  The law has no teeth, meaning the DEC who made the law has no agents who would go around to each community and fine those who curb their TVs. So, it would be the community’s job to fine these folks. But the communities cannot do that because their codes do not include fining folks for doing that. I am waiting for a DEC enforcement response as to how our City code can include fining those who curb their E-Waste but that was months ago. Limbo. But, it’s more complicated than that. Because the City has decided to go around and pick up TVs and take them to the recycling centers so the haulers wouldn’t get fines at the earlier stages of this NYS E-waste law (these E-waste laws were five years in the making with another stage kicked in each January), it wouldn’t actually be illegal for homeowners to curb their old TVs because (and you got to love this) the City picks up these TVs for recycling the homeowner cannot be fined for throwing out an old TV with the intention of landfilling it because it isn’t being landfilled. Some communities have services that do pick up E-waste regularly by independent recyclers (not Rochester) and so the law’s language was shaped for this option. So, technically you cannot get fined for curbing your old TV because it’s being recycled—even though the problem with scrappers coming and making recycling impossible is a reality as it always has been.  To compound this issue all the more is that our media and our authorities are very squeamish about enforcing this law because it is most likely that enforcing it would put an unfair burden on the poor who are more likely to curb their old E-waste because they perceive the proper disposal of E-waste as too expensive. (It’s not really, there are a lot of options.) Which is all to say that this part of our E-waste law that fines folks for curbing their TV that was five years coming is now in Limbo—a mythical place where ‘problems’ come to rest without a solution because the creators couldn’t figure out a convenient way for the laws to work.  There can and is much that can be done about this situation, remove this law from Limbo, but it is unlikely given how inconvenient it is to everyone. Much of our environmental regulations and issues languish in Limbo because they are so far down on our priority list—until, of course, they rear up and bite our heads off.

  • 5/27/2015 - I know, most folks (and certainly the free market fundamentalists) hate regulations, but the Invisible Hand won’t make clean energy (wind and solar) happen on a time and scale that will matter without a strong resolve from a fair minded head. Without some serious guidance, the invisible hand will only double-down on fossil fuels. WHO calls for clean energy to tackle air pollution UN health body adopts “landmark resolution” to tackle toxic particles from sources like coal plants and diesel engines The UN health body is calling for energy efficiency and clean energy to tackle air pollution in a “landmark resolution” agreed this week. Some 3.7 million people die each year from exposure to outdoor air pollution and 4.3 million from indoor pollution, the World Health Organization estimates. Coal power stations and diesel vehicles are major sources of harmful fumes, as well as being significant drivers of climate change. (May 27, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Air Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/27/2015 - Negotiations between nations are important to avoid “the point at which climate change may become unacceptably dangerous”.  However difficult these negotiation are between nations, if the result isn’t keeping greenhouse gases to a sustainable level all the negotiations in the world won’t matter. U.S., Mexico, Canada to Collaborate on Climate Adaptation Upgrading power grids, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change are on the agenda for a new international working group composed of the three national energy ministers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford, and Mexico Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquín-Coldwell will collaborate on six different climate adaptation and energy issues. Those include building low-carbon electric power grids and other energy technology, developing new ways to capture carbon and store it, creating climate change resiliency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector. (May 26, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/26/2015 - Wind Power just fixed all the things folks have been carping about. How about nuclear, coal, oil, and gas doing the same? This wind turbine has no blades — and that’s why it’s better What do you get if you take the blades off a wind turbine? A better wind turbine. That sounds like a joke, but that’s actually more or less the model of a new wind turbine prototype. Instead of blades that turn in the breeze, the turbine is just a hollow straw that sticks up 40 feet from the ground and vibrates like a guitar string when the wind thrums by. The Spanish engineers who founded Vortex Bladeless in 2010 said they were inspired by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster (maybe not the best pitch for clean energy to a disaster-wary public, but I’ll leave that to their marketing department). Here’s how it actually works, from Wired: (May 20, 2015) Grist [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 5/26/2015 - What could be more compelling than the inevitability of a Bomb Train exploding in your community? Find out more about this looming threat from this comprehensive webpage put together by R-Cause. Infrastructure: TRANSPORTING FOSSIL FUELS BY RAIL. You might also read my essay from my newsletter last week: “Running Bomb Trains through Rochester, NY” Don’t sit this one out.

  • 5/26/2015 - Whose planet? Well…, it looks like it’s the Expendable for the richest of the richest. Sorry, humanity and all other life. Our individual actions, even though we number in the billions and wish very much to address Climate Change, are unlikely to counteract the actions of the very rich oil barons, who seem to have acquired much more wealth and power that would have seemed possible on a rational and just planet. Oil company bosses' bonuses linked to $1tn spending on extracting fossil fuels ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Total and BP pour funding into projects to unlock oil reserves – despite scientists warning they will lead to climate change disaster Bosses at the world’s big five oil companies have been showered with bonus payouts linked to a $1tn (£650bn) crescendo of spending on fossil fuel exploration and extraction over nine years, according to Guardian analysis of company reports. The unprecedented push to bring untapped reserves into production, and to exploit new and undiscovered fields, involves some of the most complex feats of engineering ever attempted. It also reflects how confident Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, Total and BP are that demand will remain high for decades to come. (May 25, 2015) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/26/2015 - The invisible hand’s indifference to wetlands and streams, treating them as waste conduits, highlights the need for regulations. Not only should smaller waters that run into larger waters be protected, but small waters that don’t run anywhere. All water that collects, collects life. Even ditches, taken as a whole, are a part of our environment and should not continue to be litter collection sites that spawn diseases. Industry and agriculture should have never used our waters for their drains, they have overreached their use of our commons. EPA pushes to solidify federal power to protect streams, wetlands EPA tries to clear doubts on Clean Water Act powers to protect wetlands and streams that run into larger bodies of water The Obama administration is expected to soon announce a new rule reaffirming the federal government’s powers to protect the nation’s waters from pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency said Friday. “The EPA is planning on finalizing the Clean Water Rule in the spring,” agency spokesman Robert Daguillard told Al Jazeera. It follows two Supreme Court rulings in the 2000s that cast doubt over federal authority as set out by the 1972 Clean Water Act and led to confusion over the regulation of smaller streams and wetlands that flow into larger bodies of water. (May 22, 2015) Aljazeera America [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 5/26/2015 - The so called ‘Copenhagen Syndrome’ is an expression of a fatal flaw in humanity’s ability to grow sustainably. Paris must not fail. Fabius hopes Paris climate talks can reverse Copenhagen failure A breakthrough international accord to curb global warming is within reach but major hurdles still loom including resistance to a legally binding accord, France's foreign minister said in an interview with Reuters. Senior officials from almost 200 nations will meet from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris to try to rise above the collapse of the last global climate-change conference in Copenhagen in 2009 and nail down an elusive final agreement. They hope to build on various national plans for limits on rising world greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020. (May 26, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/25/2015 - Rochester too could vastly decrease GHG emissions cheaply if bicycling were baked into its climate action plan. For the public to get onboard with this inexpensive component for locally addressing Climate Change, there would need to be a dramatic increase in public education on the connection between Climate Change and transportation, more education about safety to encourage more bicyclists to bike in our streets to their short distance (under six miles) destinations. This could be done via free and continual Public Service Announcements (PSA) reminding folks to share the road. Also, a great increase in bike racks so bike can be secured at every destination, and leadership by our leaders that not only do we want Rochester to be a Bike Friendly Community, we want to demonstrate that bicycling is a major way our region can address Climate Change. 19 cities report documented reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions  More than 200 cities around the world have pledged to cut, or even eliminate, their greenhouse-gas emissions. But how many of them have turned the corner by actually demonstrating real, quantifiable reductions? UN-Habitat has now developed a list of cities worldwide reporting that they’ve done just that — they’ve actually reduced their absolute tonnage of emissions compared with a previous base year. A new analysis by the agency’s Robert Kehew and Faderr Johm finds that 19 cities can make that claim and prove it with publicly available information. (May 21, 20150 Citiscope [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/25/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: How can President Obama address Climate Change if he won’t stand up to fossil fuel industry? Ans: It’s impossible. Saying that addressing Climate Change is a clear and present danger and then allowing oil drilling to go on in the Arctic, where an oil spill will ravage the warming Arctic and the oil drilled from that region will warm up the planet to the danger point, cannot (in the science sense) work. Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial THE Obama administration’s decision to give Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic shows why we may never win the fight against climate change. Even in this most extreme circumstance, no one seems able to stand up to the power of the fossil fuel industry. No one ever says no. By “extreme” I don’t just mean that Shell will be drilling for oil in places where there’s no hope of cleaning up the inevitable spills (remember the ineptness of BP in the balmy, accessible Gulf of Mexico, and now transpose it 40 degrees of latitude north, into some of the harshest seas on the planet). No, what’s most extreme here is the irresponsibility of Shell, now abetted by the White House. A quarter century ago, scientists warned that if we kept burning fossil fuel at current rates we’d melt the Arctic. The fossil fuel industry (and most everyone else in power) ignored those warnings, and what do you know: The Arctic is melting, to the extent that people now are planning to race yachts through the Northwest Passage, which until very recently required an icebreaker to navigate. (May 12, 2015) New York Times

  • 5/25/2015 - Important film and talk this week: Community Saves Urban Farmland - film and discussion, May 28, 7 pm Community Saves Urban Farmland!  See the film, Thursday, May 28 at 7 pm at the Little Theatre (240 East Ave) with short panel and discussion - Elizabeth Henderson, Peacework Organic CSA, Lisa Barker, Seed Folks, and Josiah Krause, Take Back the Land Rochester. Occupy the Farm Film tells the story of 200 urban farmers who walk onto a publicly-owned research farm and plant 2 acres of crops in order to save the land from becoming a real-estate development. The Village Voice calls this tale of outlaw farmers, "Riveting from the start."  - hosted by Genesee Valley Organic Community Supported Agriculture (GVOCSA), Rochester NY See their short description video)

  • 5/25/2015 - President Obama could seriously alleviate Climate Change stress by not allowing drilling for oil in the Arctic. Restarting drilling for oil in the Arctic will produce an inevitable oil spill that will be impossible to clean up in one of the most pristine, fragile environments in the world. Whatever legacy President Obama might achieve by acknowledging and bringing to the bully pulpit the clear and present danger of Climate Change, this legacy will be dramatically reduced when there is a major oil spill in the Arctic on his watch. Obama Recasts Climate Change as a Peril With Far-Reaching Effects  President Obama used a commencement address on Wednesday at the Coast Guard Academy to cast his push for urgent action to combat climate change as a national security imperative, saying that the warming of the planet poses an “immediate risk” to the United States. The speech was part of an effort by Mr. Obama to make a multipronged case for his ambitious climate-change agenda, which he has identified as a top priority for the remainder of his time in office and as a central element of his legacy. Instead of promoting his plan strictly in environmental terms, he has pitched it as beneficial for the economy, necessary to protect public health and vital to the nation’s security. (May 20, 2015), New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/23/2015 - Actually, I cannot think of a place that wouldn’t be the worst possible place for an oil spill. Why don’t we stop with fossil fuel altogether, for clearly we cannot use this form of energy safely? One has to wonder at what point (see: “List of pipeline accidents in the United States in the 21st century”) will oil spills become so intolerable that we’ll move quickly to renewable energy. So many folks think that we have to have fossil fuels, that we can eventually stop oil spills from happening, or that oil spills are just one of those things we have to put up with in order to grow, but don’t give a moment of thought to Climate Change and the destruction of vital ecosystems we need to survive. For example, in the recent article “Thirty Million Gallons under the Sea”, a report about the continued damage from the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf in Harper’s Magazine, we find out that a large area of the ocean bottom has smothered critical biological components that help produce oxygen and there’s no recovery in sight. We are bound and determined to continue business as usual no matter how much evidence there is to convince us that this behavior will crash our planet’s environment. Time passes. This Aging Oil Pipeline Is In Great Lakes' 'Worst Possible Place' For A Spill Environmental activists say Michigan’s tourism slogan -- “Pure Michigan” -- may no longer be accurate unless the state takes stronger action to prevent a 62-year-old oil pipeline from rupturing in a sensitive waterway. The pipeline, called Line 5, is owned by the Canadian energy company Enbridge, carrying nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas liquids every day. It passes between the state’s upper and lower peninsulas, along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. East of the pipeline is the iconic Mackinac Bridge, depicted on many of the state’s license plates, and Mackinac Island, an historic, no-cars resort area. A coalition of local businesses, municipalities, Native American tribes and environmental and conservation advocates -- the “Oil and Water Don’t Mix” coalition -- are concerned that the straits’ strong currents and corrosion-causing forces could cause the pipeline to rupture, creating a catastrophic oil spill that would spread into the Great Lakes, which contain a fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. (May 20, 2015) The Huffington Post [more on Energy and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 5/23/2015 - If “Extreme heat kills more people in the United States than any other weather-related event”, why move to a hot state in Climate Change? It’s interesting to read recently that the populations of northern cities, like Rochester, are dropping presumably to regions that are warmer and close to the water. Which is crazy because the hot states are going to be dangerously hot, soon out of water, and shoreline properties are going to disappear because of sea level rise. More likely is that cities like Rochester will start increasing from Climate Change refugees who will be trying to avoid the heat, to always have fresh water, and to farm our un-Fracked soil.  Rochester should bake climate refugees into their climate action plans. Study Finds Sun Belt Population Growth and Warming Climate Could Quadruple Exposure to Extreme Heat A valuable study published this week in Nature Climate Change projects that exposure to extreme heat in the United States is likely to rise enormously by mid century, driven equally by demographic shifts boosting Sun Belt populations and projected changes in heat waves in a warming climate. Seth Borenstein at the Associated Press has written a nice summary of the research, undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and the City University of New York. (May 18, 2015) Dot Earth, NYT [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/23/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: How many oil pipeline breaks have there been the US in the 21st century? Ans: A lot, really a lot. For the complete list go here: “List of pipeline accidents in the United States in the 21st century” For those who continually say that fossil fuels are safe and even if they are not we must stay addicted to them because we cannot do without them, really ought to think about the number of accidents (including the rising number of Bomb Train ‘accidents’ from moving crude oil over our decrepit rails) that are occurring in just the US alone. Not to mention fossil fuels are driving up the greenhouse gas emissions to where our way of life (and maybe all life) is not sustainable. I’m thinking that business as usual or just waiting until things get better is not going to work. Time passes. Pipeline Operator: Possibly Months To Determine Cause Of Calif. Spill It could be months before investigators can determine what caused a pipeline leak that has fouled a stretch of coast in Southern California, the company that operates the oil conduit says. Since the leak was discovered earlier this week, more than 9,000 gallons of oil have been raked, skimmed or vacuumed from a 9-mile stretch of California shoreline near Santa Barbara, officials say. "We have not even uncovered the pipe yet," said Patrick Hodgins, senior director of safety for Texas-based Plains All American, according to The Associated Press. (May 22, 2015) NPR [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/23/2015 - With Climate Change, if you are a topical bird and you can’t or won’t move to avoid danger, the danger will come to you. As Andes Warm, Deciphering  The Future for Tropical Birds Scientists have theorized that tropical birds in mountainous regions will move uphill as the climate warms. But new research in the Peruvian Andes suggests that the birds will stay put and face a new threat — predator snakes that will climb into their territory to escape the heat. (May 12, 2014) Yale Environment 360 [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/22/2015 - So the reason why our transportation system is falling apart is because so many folks are driving alternative fuel and electric vehicles and paying no taxes. Really? If this is so, then a lot of folks have gone to a lot of trouble and money to conceal their vehicle from looking as if they are gas guzzlers. Our transportation system is falling apart and we haven’t even started addressing the fixes needed to get ready for more extreme weather (more heat, more floods, and more shoreline highways threatened by sea level rise). But instead of fixing this problem, we’re going to blame the lack of funds on too many vehicles that don’t have to pay a gas tax? Really? How can anyone say such an amazingly loony, fossil fuel addicted thing? Cost of fixing bridges: Could a gas tax hike be in the near future? (May 22, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/22/2015 - I don’t tend to get political, but who becomes MC Executive is absolutely critical for addressing Climate Change. Frankel will lead. Much of the climate silence and lack of action in the Monroe County and Rochester region is due to a failure of leadership. The public isn’t talking about the worldwide crisis of Climate Change because our local leaders aren’t doing anything but trying to lead by secretly making their buildings more energy efficient and trying to make Rochester a Bicycle Friendly City without explaining to the public why this approach is a major way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our transportation sector. Without leadership on Climate Change the media doesn’t connect the dots between growing public health issues and fortifying our water, waste, telecommunications, and transportation infrastructures for more extreme weather—including more intense heat waves which will affect the poor in our region disproportionally—even though the poor did not cause the warming. Frankel has demonstrated her concern about Climate Change and is most ready to take leadership on this worldwide crisis locally. Climate Change is not a special interest issue; it is the mother of all issues of which all our other concerns—taxes, infrastructures, poverty, schooling, fairness—are a part of.  Let this political race in Monroe County be about Climate Change (so the public will understand the comprehensiveness and the enormity of this issue) and let Frankel win. Sandy Frankel Officially Kicks Off Campaign for MC Executive Former Brighton Town Supervisor Sandy Frankel began her launch party with a few words in honor of the approaching Memorial Day. "The men and women who protect our freedoms, our liberties, our democratic way of life, we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude." This is not Frankel's first launch. After her failed campaign in 2011 against Maggie Brooks, Frankel is confident she knows what it takes to win the electorate this time around. (May 21, 2015) WXXI News

  • 5/22/2015 - ACTION: Do this! DEMAND WORLD LEADERS SIGN A STRONG AGREEMENT AT THE PARIS CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS IN DECEMBER. TAKE CLIMATE ACTION NOW Climate change threatens our lives and livelihoods. As the world’s leaders prepare to gather for the UN climate negotiations in Paris this December, now is the moment for the world to speak as one: A strong emissions reductions agreement is the key to our collective prosperity, and well-being for all. --from The Climate Reality Project

  • 5/22/2015 - This proposal to dim NYC’s lights to cut energy costs, help migratory birds and relieve light pollution could make a difference, unlike the state’s proposal to just dim their official buildings around the state—which would have demonstrated the state’s commitment to conserving energy, but not much else. Proposal to dim New York’s city lights at night to save energy  New York’s famous city lights may be lowered at night if a new bill introduced by a council member is passed. The proposal from Donovan Richards Jr., would see office high-rises should turn off their lights at night as a way to cut energy costs, help migratory birds and relieve light pollution. (May 21, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/22/2015 - The recent oil pipeline ruptured in Santa Barbara County in Central California was very bad; an oil spill in the Arctic will be criminal. Accidents are what happen when you don’t plan. Continuing to drill and rail and pipe fossil fuels and then burn them that raises global greenhouse gas concentrations is no accident, they are deliberate acts of ecocide. WILL THIS SPILL CHANGE ANYTHING?  As of yesterday evening, officials claimed that an estimated 21,000 gallons had spilled into the ocean in an oil slick that was four miles wide. Unfortunately, as of this morning, the slick had spread to at least nine miles wide, as the winds and tides did what they do. And now, a new estimate says that up to 105,000 gallons of oil might have been spilled. Refugio State Beach has been closed indefinitely. The area is a sensitive and important place for all kinds of species, including migratory whales and rare seabirds—and wildlife has already been affected. Though there is no estimate of how much wildlife has been impacted so far, things don’t look good. (May 20, 2015) GreenPeace [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/22/2015 - Those expecting benefits from Climate Change fail to realize that with an increase in CO2 comes a lot of other detriments. Climate Change brings with it extreme weather and drought and social disruption and the bottle-necking of centuries of environmental abuse. I suspect the only good that will come of Climate Change is the opportunity of humanity to mature into fair-minded stewards of their planet. We have a long time to grow in a short amount of time. Findings cast doubt on plant benefits from rising CO2 Increasing aridity - driven in part by rising temps - makes Yellowstone grasslands less productive despite carbon dioxide's fertilizing benefits.  More than 40 years' of evidence from a mountain meadow shows that increasing carbon dioxide levels don't help plants. In fact, the opposite is true: Grassland productivity today in one Montana meadow is half of what it was in 1969, when AM ruled the airwaves and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were 327 parts per million, 20 percent lower than today's. Researchers concluded that increasing aridity in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem countered any gains plants might have enjoyed from the increased carbon dioxide. (May 22, 2015) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change and Food in our area]

  • 5/21/2015 - Breaking: Feds bless storing massive gas in salt mines near the shores of Seneca Lake even though locals hate it. It’s like a great big slap in the face to hear the Feds dismiss local citizens and business groups (think tourism and wine growers) concerns that this massive increase in fossil fuel infrastructure in the Finger Lakes regions (one of the most environmentally sensitive region anywhere) is now going to be threatened. Not to mention a massive buildup in the fossil fuel infrastructure during a time of Climate Change, when we absolutely need to get off our addiction to fossil fuels. It’s especially galling to read this Fed decision right after the oil spill on the shores of California yesterday, an event which is continually promised to the public that it would never happen. Even though Climate Change looms, we are continually having fossil fuels shoved down our throats. Hundreds of folks are willing to get arrested over this Seneca Lake gas storage issue and I doubt the Fed’s ruling will quell that. Seneca Lake gas storage foes rebuffed by regulators A proposal to store gas in salt mines near the shores of Seneca Lake received an emphatic blessing from federal regulators Wednesday who dismissed claims that it’s an accident waiting to happen. In an “Order Denying Rehearing” issued Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission notified Gas Free Seneca that the commission has done due diligence in granting a permit for the project, and it would not be revisiting the issue. The decision, while not unexpected, was a blow to opponents of expansion of the fossil fuel industry in the popular Finger Lakes tourism destination. (May 20, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 5/21/2015 - Two important meetings on local environmental and health issues: Environmental Health Sciences Research Day Celebrating 50 Years of Environmental Health Sciences Research at The University of Rochester Please note the upcoming speaker (June 11) and our Research Day (Sept 24).  Both are open to the public – please come and invite your colleagues!*Save the Dates * Wednesday, September 23, 2015 (7pm), Science Café Series, Featuring a University of Rochester, Environmental Health Science Center Faculty Speaker, Barnes & Noble (Pittsford) AND Thursday, September 24, 2015 (9am-4:30pm), Seminars, panel discussions, and a poster session, Flaum Atrium/ Class of ’62 Read more here.

  • 5/21/2015 - The faith community in Rochester, which has embodied most of the worker bees on environmental issues and Climate Change in our area, has demonstrated their commitment to a healthy and just environmental future. The role of Pope Francis on leading on Climate Change is a game changer on climate silence. Added to those alarmed and committed to addressing Climate Change should include atheists—though strictly speaking we are not religious. While it is oftentimes difficult for atheists to speak as one (as getting them to do so is like herding cats), I do think that ‘none of the above’, free thinkers, atheists (whatever one call us) constitute a large part of our public and our voices should be heard on the moral issues of Climate Change. Because there’s nowhere else to go, atheists tend to care a lot about Climate Change, knowing that all of our past, present, and futures are inexorably bound up in our ability to keep our environment, our life support system, thriving. Faith and environmentalism: common goals  A devout Catholic, Gerry Gacioch says that humans are supposed to be stewards of the Earth. Climate change, he says, is a sign that humanity is abusing what God has given it. The remainder of 2015 is crucial for acting on climate change, he says. For one, world leaders will gather in Paris at the end of the year to negotiate a new climate treaty. The pact would replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which was intended to drive down global carbon emissions — but hasn't. (The protocol was never ratified by the US Congress, either.) (May 20, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/21/2015 - Breaking the climate silence in Rochester, NY, actually talking about Climate Change and community involvement. Check out this interesting (but rare) discussion where the public gets to ask what the Rochester region actually doing about this worldwide crisis. (Unless you haven’t noticed, it’s meager.) Climate silence, where you know about Climate Change, but aren’t inclined to talk about it at all or in any meaningful way, has been a staple in Rochester. But this discussion, one you can listen to online (or as a podcast) and then respond in the comment section, is a dialogue about what our city and the public can and should be doing on addressing this issue. Lots of folks are talking about ad hoc things folks are doing but few are asking if these actions are on a level and speed that will matter. Are our efforts being coordinated with state and federal and ultimately worldwide efforts? While other communities like Portland, Oregon have been working on climate actions plans for two decades, Rochester has been sleeping. Does this mean that now that Rochester is coming up with a climate action plan we should only expect baby steps? Or, should Rochester be trying to catchup as quickly as possible to what other cities are doing to address this worldwide crisis? Don’t be silent, speak up. Be critical. Read climate studies. Get involved. Make some noise. Connections: Climate Change NASA says the last remaining section of a huge Antarctic ice shelf will be gone by 2020 -- faster than scientists initially expected. The shelf is known as Larsen B, and it's existed for 10,000 years. We'll take a look at the data and talk about how this event fits into the broader context of climate change with our panel: Eric Hittinger, RIT professor of public policy with a focus on energy policy Enid Cardinal, senior sustainability advisor for RIT Abigail McHugh-Grifa, Rochester People's Climate Coalition Susan Spencer, ROCSPOT (May 20, 2015) Connections

  • 5/21/2015 - Whatever your position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we ‘the people’ should at least know what’s in it. We don’t want to keep hearing that our environmental protections are being upheld by the TPP and don’t worry your pretty little heads, we want to read the agreement and even the fine script. Just as if we were adults. Let the Public Read the Completed Parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Basic facts about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are under public dispute. Fast track must not be approved until this is cleared up. We the People deserve to know what is being voted on with fast track. (May 19, 2015) Bill Moyers and Company

  • 5/21/2015 - Note: New web address for: Rochester Peoples Climate Coalition The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) was formed in September 2014 to mobilize our community to attend the People’s Climate March in New York City.  Within a few weeks, 30+ member organizations joined the coalition, including businesses, churches, political offices, environmental groups, and other nonprofits.  The RPCC continues to grow, collaborate, and build political power.  For a full list of member organizations and information on how to join, see here.

  • 5/21/2015 - The new California oil spill highlights the new normal: no matter how dire Climate Change we won’t change. The only way to stop oil spills is to shift to renewable energy, but we have a zillion excuses why we won’t do that so… get your plastic bag and start picking up the oily stuff. Wildlife, pristine beaches focus of 'aggressive' oil spill cleanup Oil pipeline company officials said Wednesday that as many as 105,000 gallons of crude oil may have spilled from a ruptured pipeline on the California coast. The 24-inch pipeline ruptured along the Santa Barbara coast, leaking the oil near Refugio State Beach, a protected state park, just before Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer tourist season. Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline based the estimate -- what it called a worst-case scenario -- on the typical flow rate of oil and the elevation of the pipeline, said Rick McMichael, the company's director of pipeline operations. (May 20, 2015) CNN [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 5/20/2015 - The idea of allowing an air quality permit (a waiver) to permit the warming up of crude oil (which makes it volatile, i.e., explosive) so that thick oil can be removed from Bomb Trains coming through our neighborhoods then placed on barges in Albany (which will allow it to become a major fossil fuel hub) and sent down the Hudson River is so incredibly reckless and dangerous in a time of Climate Change and when we have an incredible NYS transportation infrastructure challenges as to be quite insane. Concerns Over Crude Oil Facility Near The Hudson River New York state regulators are expected to decide soon on a permit for a facility at the Port of Albany that critics say would make the port a hub for heavy Canadian tar sands crude oil.  Global Partners, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, needs the air quality permit to install boilers that would warm rail tanker cars to facilitate offloading of dense crude to storage tanks or Hudson River barges. (May 20, 2015) WXXI News [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 5/20/2015 - Considering that travel loads of liquid fuels has increased dramatically and our roads, highways, rails and bridges are getting worse, it’s only a matter of time until this transportation system breaks down. It’s really tough to talk about Climate Change and Transportation when we don’t want to talk about Climate Change or connect the dots between transportation and Climate Change (27% of our GHGs come from the transportation sector) or even about the proper maintenance of our existing transportation infrastructure. (Not to mention the rising issue of exploding crude oil trains (or Bomb Trains)). We have a problem. Report: Rural bridges in NY among worst in U.S. A new report finds rural bridges in New York State are the 15th worst in the country. This comes from TRIP, a national transportation research group. (May 20, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/20/2015 - Oil spill bullshit over the truth. Remember the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? Think the gulf is all cleaned up and ready for more drilling? Think again. Looks like in order to find out the truth about the results of the BP Gulf Oil Spill five years ago one must take a sub about a mile down to a moonscape-like barren ocean floor and see for oneself. 80% of fossil fuels must stay in the ground in order to survive Climate Change, NOT drill for more in a place that has been destroyed by the largest oil spill in US history. 30 Million Gallons Under the Sea: Five Years After BP Disaster, New Drilling OK’d by Spill Site We turn now from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico, where drilling has resumed near the site of the BP-operated offshore oil rig that exploded five years ago in the worst industrial environmental disaster in U.S. history. On Wednesday, Harper’s Magazine revealed a Louisiana-based oil company purchased the area from BP and is now drilling into the Macondo reservoir. The report also looks at the ongoing impact of the 2010 spill. We speak to reporter Antonia Juhasz, who spent two weeks on a ship in the Gulf of Mexico as part of a scientific research mission exploring the impacts of the BP Gulf oil spill. She participated in a dive in the Alvin submarine nearly a mile below the ocean surface, getting closer to the site of the blowout than anyone had ever been. (May 14, 2015) Democracy Now! [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/20/2015 - Fossil fuels more important for governments than public health. What’s wrong with this picture? Coal, oil, gas subsidies higher than public health spending Around 1.6 million premature deaths would be prevented annually if the world's governments stopped subsidising fossil fuels, a study by four researchers from the International Monetary Fund found. The most relative gains could be made in eastern Europe and Turkey, where 60 percent of the people who die as a result of air pollution are estimated could be saved. The IMF study, published Monday (18 May), calculated the “true costs” of the widespread practice of giving tax benefits and other subsidies to companies in the fossil fuel industry (coal, oil, gas). It was a “shocking” figure, the authors themselves said: $5.3 trillion, or about €4.7 trillion. (May 19, 2015) euobserver

  • 5/20/2015 - Our New York politicians need to take their climate action plan off the shelf and put it on their plate.  Hello, we have a climate action plan for New York called Climate Action Plan Interim Report and our leaders need to dust it off and freaking read it and then begin acting so our state will be prepared. This climate plan, began in the Governor Patterson days, has been around awhile and provides comprehensive evidence that Climate Change is affecting our state and the plan explains what needs to be done. So there’s no excuse for this critical document languishing away in obscurity when it needs to be acted on.  Be nice if our local media brought this up once in a while, maybe things get dull on the sports field—which they seem inordinately obsessed with. Time passes. New York Senators Call Out Their Colleagues For Denying Climate Change New York state senators who question the science of human-caused climate change got a public reprimanding from their colleagues during a town hall meeting on Tuesday to discuss how residents have been impacted by the phenomenon. Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat who has been outspoken about the need to act on climate change, called out two powerful Senate Republicans who deny climate science. Both Syracuse-based Sen. John DeFrancisco and newly-elected Senate majority leader John Flanagan have cast doubt on the existence of global warming based on the fact that New York had a lot of snow in 2014. (May 19, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/19/2015 - Giant gas storage project at Seneca Lake Sucks! All the blood and vitality out of the Finger Lakes like a disease-causing mosquito. The mosquito, as it were, would continue to thrive as it host collapses from the fossil-fuel-infrastructure disease it would inflict on our Finger Lakes region—and ultimately add more GHGs to the crisis of Climate Change. Be afraid, be very afraid. (OK, maybe this tortured use of Hollywoodism is a bit much, but without some theatrics it’s hard to get the media and folks to notice the danger of environmental abuse creeping up on them.) Gas storage project: all the risks, none of the rewards The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation recently filed a brief as part of an issues conference proceeding to determine if permits should be granted to expand gas storage in crumbling salt caverns along the shores of Seneca Lake. The DEC said that the region has a long history of gas storage without major incident and that opponents have not produced adequate evidence to support their claims that the project should not be permitted. Seneca Lake is the source of drinking water for 100,000 people, including the cities of Geneva and Watkins Glen. Many studies have been done and information exists that says Seneca Lake is already the saltiest of the Finger Lakes, that a fault line runs right through the proposed storage caverns, and that the shale inter-bedded in those caverns have already produced a massive cavern collapse in the past. (May 18, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 5/19/2015 - There would be HOPE if 5.3 Trillion dollars went into renewables instead of fossil fuels. Otherwise hope is baseless. Fossil fuel subsidies to hit $5.3 trillion in 2015, says IMF study  Governments could cut 20% of carbon emissions at a stroke if they stopped subsidising oil, gas and coal Subsidies for fossil fuels that cause climate change have soared since 2013, a new study from the International Monetary Fund has revealed. Oil, gas and coal costs will be subsidised to the tune of US$5.3 trillion a year in 2015. The last time the IMF ran the data it calculated they were worth $1.9 trillion. Economists say the latest figures are more accurate as they represent the “true” cost of energy, which includes the environmental, health and climate impacts of burning fossil fuels. (May 19, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC)

  • 5/19/2015 - Perhaps this video can help challenge the pervasiveness of Climate Change silence crippling Rochester, NY. There’s a reason why our media, our government, and our public are not talking about and acting actively on the worldwide crisis of Climate Change on a level and speed that will matter. Whatever the reason for climate silence, more of it will mean will we will entirely unprepared for the consequences. Challenge the pervasiveness of Climate Change silence. Burying this disaster under a shroud of silence and feel-good journalism that (if mentioned at all locally) downplays the inevitable effects of this crisis will make this disaster much worse—maybe impossible to adapt to. I was talking to a very well educated person who allowed Climate Change to be mentioned for a few moments and this person said that their region wasn’t experiencing hardly any warming. Even if this was true, which it is not, this admission means the signs of warming—a heat trapping process on a global level that is inevitable—are clear to this person. But still, the desire to follow though the implications of a process that is built into our future and becoming more dire was not in this person’s comfort zone. It was time for climate silence. We changed the subject. But the heat goes on. 'We have to challenge the pervasive silence on climate change' - video Leading climate change activist George Marshall and Guardian journalist George Monbiot talk about how our decision-making processes are driven by cues, signals and bias, why this is a problem for the climate change movement and how we can encourage a sense of collective purpose about the issue.  (May 19, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/19/2015 - The Heat, which seems to have brushed by the Northeast and our surface air temperatures, has not disappeared. The Heat is making its way through our Earth systems (93% going into our oceans for a while) and it will find its way through every section of our environment. Not because Heat is evil; the Heat is the energy that we have been capturing with our greenhouse gas emissions and once it has made its through all the cold caverns of our planet and warmed them up, it will begin warming up everything else as it struggles to leave the cage we have unwittingly created. We should be prepared for the monster we have trapped in our planet and find a way to let it out harmlessly out into space. Heat is Piling Up in the Depths of the Indian Ocean The world’s oceans are playing a game of hot potato with the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists have zeroed in on the tropical Pacific as a major player in taking up that heat. But while it might have held that heat for a bit, new research shows that the Pacific has passed the potato to the Indian Ocean, which has seen an unprecedented rise in heat content over the past decade. The new work builds on a series of papers that have tracked the causes for what’s been dubbed the global warming slowdown, a period over the past 15 years that has seen surface temperatures rise slower than they did the previous decade. Shifts in Pacific tradewinds have helped sequester heat from the surface to the top 2,300 feet of the ocean. But unlike Vegas, what happens in the Pacific doesn’t stay in the Pacific. (May 18, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/19/2015 - Another one of the great unknowns about our way of life is what happens to the pharmaceuticals once they leave our bodies. Many folks probably assume that after we use a drug that drug has been used up, gone, and neutralized. Not really. In many cases our bodies barely break down the drugs we ingest. Some of our pharmaceuticals are affecting fish. Some are doing godknowswhat as they radiate out into our environment after having been supercharged by our waste treatment plants. There are a lot of unknowns and probably a lot of unknown unknowns about how our way of life affects our environment, which is to say our life support system. Because we have broken Nature (seriously disrupted many vital ecosystem with our pollution, loss of biodiversity, and Climate Change) we cannot assume that Nature will heal itself and make the world right again for us. Nature is merely a mindless biological algorithm—garbage in garbage out. We now have to be engaged and mindful of every facet of our environment for a healthy future. Bacteria making meds in wastewater outflows. Wastewater treatment plants not only struggle removing pharmaceuticals, it seems some drugs actually increase after treatment. When researchers tested wastewater before and after treatment at a Milwaukee-area treatment plant, they found that two drugs — the anti-epileptic carbamazepine and antibiotic ofloxacin — came out at higher concentrations than they went in. The study suggests the microbes that clean our water may also piece some pharmaceuticals back together. (May 13, 2015) Environmental Health News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 5/18/2015 - “… a bill that would slash at least three hundred million dollars from NASA’s earth-science budget” is suicidal. Wake Up! The G.O.P.’s War on Science Gets Worse (May 6, 2015) The New Yorker [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/18/2015 - One of the things we learned about the oil trains passing through Rochester is that we are going to need evacuation plans here in Rochester and elsewhere. Mothers Out Front and People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE) hosted an informative meeting Sunday on the dangers of Bomb Trains (railroad’s term not ours) that included a litany of explosive oil train derailments that have already caused much damage and some loss of life. When these trains detonate (they truly detonate because in order to get this thick oil into trains the oil is pressurized with volatile gases and so it doesn’t take much to set them off) they create a spectacular ball of flame that resists emergency crews attempts to rescue folks and uncouple other trains from creating even larger explosions. And because of railroads are riddled with old rails and deteriorating bridges that are not equipped to hold these heavy loads, they are more prone to derailments. This is all to say that these trains carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota through Buffalo and Rochester and Syracuse to Albany are a clear and present danger to our communities. When these trains detonate our communities are going to have to be able to evacuate immediately because not only can these explosions keep going on when you have lots of these trains hitched together, the toxic air from the explosions is not fit to breathe. Even if the proposed regulations for more robust train cars and more safety were implemented (which probably won’t do any good because some past derailments already had these retrofits) folks anywhere nearby these train routes are going to have to evacuate during a ‘mishap.’ What are those plans to quickly remove a lot of folks in our community when these explosions occur? And, why aren’t we focusing on renewable energy instead of Bomb Trains after New York finally rid itself of Fracking in a time of Climate Change? Learn more about this whole issue at PAUSE and take ACTION. Mothers talk about oil train dangers At least 24 oil trains have been involved in major fires or derailments over the past decade in the U.S. and Canada. It’s a topic of concern for the group Mothers Out Front. They met on Sunday in Brighton to discuss the issue of how oil is transported. In Monroe County, dozens of trains carrying crude oil pass through our communities. Recently, federal regulators set new guidelines for the railroad industry, but some environmental groups say the new rules don’t go far enough. (May 18, 2015) WHAM [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/18/2015 - Certainly there are other ways to bring money and jobs to Alaska than drilling and potentially destroying the warming Arctic. Seattle flotilla protests Shell's Arctic drilling plans Hundreds of activists in kayaks and small boats fanned out on a Seattle bay on Saturday to protest plans by Royal Dutch Shell to resume oil exploration in the Arctic and keep two of its drilling rigs stored in the city's port. Environmental groups have vowed to disrupt the Anglo-Dutch oil company's efforts to use the Seattle as a home base as it outfits the rigs to return to the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, saying drilling in the remote Arctic waters could lead to an ecological catastrophe. Demonstrators have planned days of protests, both on land and in Elliott Bay, home to the Port of Seattle, where the first of the two rigs docked on Thursday. Kayakers on Saturday paddled around the rig yelling "Shell No." Others unfurled a large banner that read "Climate Justice." (May 16, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/16/2015 - Walkable neighborhoods in Rochester—it would be a good idea. Much needs to be done to respect pedestrians. Without that respect walking the sidewalks in Rochester can be inconvenient and dangerous. Being able to walk safely around Rochester (or any other community for that matter) is not just about real estate. Walking is critical for getting to jobs and addressing Climate Change—where folks walk short distances instead of jumping into their gas guzzlers because it’s more convenient and safe. We already have a situation where we bus school children, even though the school may not be far away, because it’s safer than allowing them to walk. That’s tragic. I’ll admit with much of this article’s portrayal of our neighborhoods, including places nearby worth waking to and great trails all around to walk to, is spot on. From my house, I can walk to most of the places I need to go. But there’s more to this story. Our sidewalks are almost impassible in winter because they are too icy and clogged from snow-plowing, which does not respect pedestrians. Also, many drivers do not look for pedestrians before they back out of their driveway, or when they are turning right on red (without stopping). Our traffic lights do not favor pedestrians, being so wildly out of sync with traffic and pushing the ‘walk’ button, that most folks ignore the traffic lights and work out their own system for crossing the streets.  Walking is a fundamental transportation mode; if you have to drive across the street to get to the other side safely, there’s something dramatically wrong. Finally, much of the driving we do is for short distances—less than six miles. If we walked those distances instead of drove, we would be healthier, more folks would want to retire to Rochester, and we’d have a very inexpensive way to seriously address Climate Change—as transportation accounts for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions.  Walkable neighborhoods are in demand  One of the biggest trends to emerge in real estate in the past decade is the popularity of walkable neighborhood. People who want to lead a more active lifestyle are shunning McMansions on large lots in favor of communities with sidewalks within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Nationally and locally, these neighborhoods are hot. Within the city of Rochester, areas such as South Wedge and North Winton Village are seeing a boon in demand when it comes to housing. In the suburbs, villages such as Fairport and Pittsford on the east side and Spencerport and Scottsville on the west side are being sought after by home buyers for their lifestyle amenities. (May 16, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/16/2015 - “Lethal Seas” from PBS NOVA. Your oceans are dying, in part, because of Climate Change. Watch online. Lethal Seas A unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea shows what the future may hold as oceans acidify. Aired May 13, 2015 on PBS PBS Program Description A deadly recipe is brewing that threatens the survival of countless creatures throughout Earth’s oceans. For years, we’ve known that the oceans absorb about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. But with high carbon emissions worldwide, this silent killer is entering our seas at a staggering rate, raising the ocean’s acidity. It’s eating away at the skeletons and shells of marine creatures that are the foundation of the web of life. NOVA follows the scientists making breakthrough discoveries and seeking solutions. Visit a unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea that offers a glimpse of what the seas could be like a half-century from now. Can our experts crack the code of a rapidly changing ocean before it’s too late? (May 13, 2015) PBS NOVA

  • 5/16/2015 - Incredible first installment of The Guardian’s ‘global ‘carbon bombs’, 14 giant proposed fossil fuel projects that will fry our planet more. "Keep it in the Ground" – the Guardian’s climate campaign First, let me introduce our first story on global "carbon bombs". These are 14 giant proposed fossil fuel projects around the world. The numbers are staggering. If they go ahead, these projects will lead to the emission of 6.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2020. That is as much as the entire US emits annually. View the interactive In the first, our Australia environment specialist Oliver Milman visits the Galilee basin in Queensland. The plans here are truly colossal. Developers hope to establish a series of mines to exploit a deposit of 247,000 sq km (95,400 sq miles) of coal: a land mass the size of Britain. If the complex is fully developed, CO2 emissions from the burned coal would top 700m tonnes a year. That would mean a CO2 output just behind Germany. There are also concerns that the project will also impact the Great Barrier Reef because of the risks posed by increased shipping to export the coal. We have established that the Australian government has engaged in a frantic diplomatic push to avoid the Great Barrier Reef being listed as "in danger" by the UN. Preventing the Galilee basin coal mines and other projects from going ahead is the front line of efforts to Keep it in the Ground and prevent dangerous climate change." The Guardian 

  • 5/16/2015 - The next time you hear someone say that renewable energy cannot stand up on its own and must be subsidized by the state for it to prosper and provide for our energy needs, remember this article about how much freaking money the fossil fuels gets and has gotten for years and years—from ‘we the people’. US taxpayers subsidising world's biggest fossil fuel companies Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum got subsidises granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, Guardian investigation reveals The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change. A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. (May 12, 2015) The Guardian [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/16/2015 - Canada joins other nations on the road to Paris to reduce GHG emissions. COP21 must work; there’s no Plan B. Humanity will either make an agreement in December to bring down our greenhouse gas emissions to a sustainable level, or they won’t. There is no other mechanism that will address Climate Change on a time frame and level that will matter than a worldwide agreement—which includes fairness, regulations, and helping the developing nations that did not cause this crisis. Canada Sets Goal to Cut Emissions by 2030 Canada is planning to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels over the next 15 years, following the European Union and the U.S. in setting an emissions reduction target ahead of the Paris international climate negotiations in December. The Canadian target, announced Friday, is weaker than the EU’s goal to slash emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels over the next 15 years. The U.S. target, formalized in March, aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The Obama administration also plans to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels over the next 15 years. (May 15, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/16/2015 - New York State’s ban on Fracking proves that when you take a good long look at Fracking, you’ll drop it. Of course, it would have been better if Cuomo had dropped Fracking seven years ago and instead focused on leading on Climate Change by restructuring our energy options with renewable energy in the first place. A lot of time was lost in New York because its energy options were hijacked by the Fracking issue. We hope Cuomo doesn’t take another six long years to drop putting dangerous crude oil on our rails (Bomb Trains) and running them through our communities to foster another fossil fuel infrastructure during Climate Change. Dangerous levels of greenhouse gases are building up in our atmosphere and oceans because of our energy use. We should stop all forms of fossil fuels which caused this crisis. No Fracking; No Bomb Trains; No coal, No massive gas storage in our Finger Lakes region. Yes to wind; Yes to solar; Yes to geothermal; Yes to great energy efficiency; Yes to energy conservation; Yes to better battery storage; Yes to micro grids; and Yes to Smart Grids. Why Did NY Ban Fracking? The Official Report Is Now Public The massive study finds that health, safety and environmental uncertainties regarding fracking's dangers have 'grown worse over time.' New York issued itslong-awaited environmental assessment of frackingWednesday detailing a wide range of health and climate concerns that underpinned Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision last December to impose a statewide ban on the practice. (May 15, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 5/15/2015 - Today’s questions boys and girls: How do you make an aging nuclear plant near one of most populous regions of the world more dangerous? Ans: Build a high-pressure gas line next to it. Doing the Unthinkable: Giant Gas Pipeline to Flank a New York Nuclear Power Plant A very large gas pipeline will soon skirt the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), an aging nuclear power plant that stands in the town of Cortlandt in Westchester County, New York, 30 miles north of Manhattan. The federal agencies that have permitted the project have bowed to two corporations - the pipeline's owner, Spectra Energy, and Entergy, which bought the Indian Point complex in 2001 from its former owner. A hazards assessment by a former employee of one of the plant's prior owners, replete with errors, was the basis for the go-ahead. A dearth of mainstream press coverage leaves ignorant the population that stands to be most impacted by a nuclear catastrophe, which experts say could be triggered by a potential pipeline rupture. I urge Truthout's audience to read an earlier article by Alison Rose Levy, which includes details I haven't space to recap here. (April 15, 2015) Truthout [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/15/2015 - “People need to see what’s happening at Seneca Lake, and also understand that this isn’t isolated, it is happening everywhere,” Josh Fox Exclusive: Anti-Fracking Filmmaker Josh Fox Arrested In Finger Lakes Protest The creator of the award-winning film ‘Gasland’ was just arrested at a protest in rural New York. Here’s the mini-documentary he made on the eve of his arrest. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, who wrote and directed the acclaimed fracking film Gasland, was arrested this afternoon while engaging in a human barricade at a natural-gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes. “People need to see what’s happening at Seneca Lake, and also understand that this isn’t isolated, it is happening everywhere,” Fox told The Daily Beast before the protest. “We need to educate people that our dependency on fossil fuels has got to change, and it has to change now.” Working through the night prior to his arrest, Fox put together a new short documentary, exclusively premiered below, on what he says are the facts behind the situation in Seneca Lake. (May 15, 2015) The Daily Beast [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 5/15/2015 - ACTION: Submit letters to the Democrat and Chronicle Editors about oil trains passing thru Rochester and gas storage in the Seneca Lake salt mines concerns: Editorial submissions

  • 5/15/2015 - ACTION: Sign the petition to Get Exploding Oil Trains Off the Tracks: http://explosive-crude-by-rail.org/

  • 5/14/2015 - Bomb trains carrying volatile crude oil on unsafe rails and cars fly in the face of all logic, safety, and Climate Change. Continuing to build a fossil fuel infrastructure to drill, transport, and burn more fossil fuels in a time when fossil fuels are warming the planet past the danger point is bad enough, but transporting this dangerous fossil fuel through our communities on a transportation infrastructure not designed for this treacherous stuff  is well …, how shall I say it: INSANE! Environmental Groups File Challenge to Oil Transport Rules Seven environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday challenging safety rules issued this month for trains carrying oil, arguing that the regulations are too weak to protect the public. The groups, including the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, said the rules, issued on May 1, would allow the industry to continue to use “unsafe tank cars” for up to 10 years. They also said the rules failed to set adequate speed limits for oil trains. “We’re suing the administration because these rules won’t protect the 25 million Americans living in the oil train blast zone,” said Todd Paglia, executive director of ForestEthics, one of the groups filing the lawsuit. (May 14, 2015) Reuters and New York Times [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/14/2015 - It’s just hard to set up a Fracking infrastructure when the public is dead set against it and want clean energy.  New York and Portland are two examples of standing up against Fracking. Portland mayor pulls support for fracked gas terminal amid protests Charlie Hales cancels city council meeting with Canada’s Pembina amid overwhelming opposition to building $500m facility to ship propane gas Portland’s mayor has all but killed off a plan to build a $500m terminal to ship fracked gas from Canada in the face of overwhelming popular opposition and fears about damage to the city’s progressive image. The mayor, Charlie Hales, has cancelled a council hearing scheduled for next month to hear a planning application by a Canadian company, Pembina, to build one of the largest industrial facilities in Portland to deliver propane gas, mostly to Asia. (May 13, 2015) The Guardian [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 5/14/2015 - The nitrogen problem: With Too Much of a Good Thing, Europe Tackles Excess Nitrogen In Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and other countries, European governments are beginning to push farmers, industry, and municipalities to cut back on fertilizers and other sources of nitrogen that are causing serious environmental harm. (April 14, 2015) Yale environment 360 [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 5/14/2015 - Wonderfully thorough report on why attention to Rochester’s water matters even though we have a lot.  I’m anticipating the DEC’s results of a report on the state of the lower Genesee River’s water and soil qualities mentioned in this article. The river that runs through Rochester has had quite a long bout with pollution as it was “… rated 32nd among the most polluted rivers and lakes in the country… and “… 29th in discharges of chemicals that persist in the environment …” (from “Report: Genesee, Seneca rivers rank among most polluted” May 23, 2012, Rochester Business Journal http://www.rbj.net/article.asp?aID=190740 ) As we move further into Climate Change, where our waters will quickly warm, the state of our water will become more critical--not just for drinking and recreation. Our rivers and lakes must achieve a sustainable ecology, which is to say, as valuable components of our life support system. We’ve treated our waters so badly for so long, we have forgotten that rivers and wetlands and lakes have a life of their own. This ‘life’ includes fish, plants, wildlife, birds, worms, and all those tiny, innumerable creatures that make these ecosystems work. We cannot put our horrible treatment of our water behind us, until we make it thrive and flourish again. Kudos for all the local groups trying to make that happen. Who's worrying about the water?  Much of California is coping with a severe, multi-year drought. The state's water supplies and reservoirs are depleted, urban residents are now required to limit their water use, and many farms in the state are losing their crops. By comparison, the Rochester region is hydrologically gifted. Lake Ontario provides people, farms, and businesses with massive quantities of water for drinking, irrigation, food production, manufacturing, and more. The lake supports a commercial shipping industry and is a valuable asset for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming. The Genesee River, which cuts northbound through the area before emptying into the lake, bolsters agriculture and industry. And it, too, has vast recreational potential. (May 13, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Water Quality and Genesee River in our area]  

  • 5/14/2015 - Whether COP21 Paris Conference is "enabling and facilitating" rather than a "punitive-type" agreement is not as important as achieving sustainable GHG levels. Everyone wants fairness and growth and convenience baked into this last chance for humanity to bring down our greenhouse gases, but at the end of the day we must turn down the temperature or else. We must get our priorities straight at COP21.  Time passes. New climate deal seen aiding GDP, lacking sanctions: U.N. chief A U.N. deal to combat global warming due in December will seek to lift world economic growth and be based more on encouragement than threats of punishment for non-compliance, the U.N.'s climate chief said on Wednesday. Christiana Figueres, laying out her recipe for a deal meant to be agreed by almost 200 nations at a summit in Paris, said it would be part of a long haul to limit climate change and not an "overnight miraculous silver bullet". The looser formula is a sharp shift from the U.N.'s 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which originally bound about 40 rich nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions and foresaw sanctions that were never imposed even when Japan, Russia and Canada dropped out. (May 13, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/14/2015 - Oil by rail is not only risky but an insane way to get more energy during Climate Change. We need to let go of the tiger’s tail and focus on a renewable, clean energy infrastructure that isn’t so dangerous that it will cost us our future.  Dangerously close – Oil by rail risks (part one)  (and Part 2) Ali Velshi investigates the speeding Amtrak train, which crashed just yards from tankers used to carry explosive cargo The Amtrak derailment in North Philadelphia just highlights the real safety concerns that too many critics out there have about America's rail infrastructure. According to the Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania's bridges are ranked worst in the country in terms of structural integrity - with 23% of them considered deficient. Many of those bridges have rails that carry oil trains. US railways now transport nearly ten percent of America's crude oil output, or around 800,000 barrels per day; that's a 1700 percent increase in just the last four years. And all that extra traffic just increases the likelihood of rail accidents. (May 13, 20150 Aljazeera America [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/13/2014 - The relentless litany of scientific facts about how Climate Change is getting worse each day is not to overwhelm the public. The goal is not to obsess on a tragedy; the goal is to share with the public the kind of unprecedented problem Climate Change presents humanity. Events like the rising seas from ice shelf collapses in Antarctica are not lurid tales to sensationalize the news; these facts are to help the public monitor and understand the swift and monumental reshaping of our environment (our life support system) that our way of life has caused. Rising sea levels, more wildfires, more drought, etc., are the consequences of Climate Change that have to be addressed. The goal in the continual incoming news about Climate Change is not to pulverize the public with fear, but to shift their attention from the frivolous and towards prioritizing their values and actions. Time passes. Antarctic Larsen-C ice shelf at risk of collapse, study warns In the past 20 years, warming temperatures have caused two ice shelves in Antarctica to collapse into the ocean. New research points to a third shelf, more than twice the size of Wales, which has thinned so much that it could now also face collapse. The loss of the shelf would allow glaciers to flow more quickly into the ocean, pushing sea levels beyond current projections for this century, the researchers say. (May 13, 2015) The Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]    

  • 5/13/2015 - Even if you don’t know or care what an American pika is, its, and many other creatures, demise by Climate Change matters to your life support system. It’s odd that North American and European wildlife loss predicted by Climate Change will be the least—even though these regions caused the most Climate Change. Maybe we have a responsibility to lessen the loss of species from countries that didn’t cause Climate Change? Wildlife, first and foremost, is not merely a part of our life support system, they are integral to our life support system. Climate Change Could Wipe Out 16 Percent of World's Species New research predicts widespread extinctions if global warming continues unabated. If countries' greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, one in every six species on the planet could go extinct. That is the finding of new research published this week in the journalScience. Climate change is a big factor in what has been tagged"The Sixth Extinction,"potentially the worst die-off in Earth's history since the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago. Ecologists warn it could threaten our economy, food security and human health. (April 39, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/12/2015 - Bicycle boulevards will look great on Rochester—safer bicycling, lowering GHGs, and even increase nearby property values. When these boulevards are connected to a comprehensive climate action plan in Rochester, they’ll be a valuable component in addressing Climate Change. Rochester to get first bicycle boulevard The city is poised to start work this summer on its first bicycle boulevard — a series of connected streets that run parallel to major roads and are modified to offer cyclists an alternative to competing with busy car and truck traffic. The boulevard would arc along back streets from Highland Avenue, east of Cobbs Hill Park, northwest to eventually meet Monroe Avenue. It also would intersect with South Winton and Culver roads and connect to a planned bicycle boulevard in neighboring Brighton, leading to Twelve Corners. The city would label the route with signs and street markings for cyclists. To discourage drivers from speeding or using part of the route as a cut-through, sections of Harvard Street also would get "speed cushions" — essentially, speed bumps with gaps that allow people on bikes to pass through unimpeded. (May 11, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/12/2015 - Climate Change includes unknown unknowns. Besides adapting fairly to warming on a scale and time frame that matters, there are unknown unknowns. Besides all the consequences of Climate Change (flooding, drought, public health, food scarcity, and infrastructure issues) and all the things we know we need to do to mitigate (bring down GHG emissions) and adaptation issues (switch to clean energy, stop drilling for more frigging fossil fuels and burning them for energy), there are the unknown unknowns—changes to our environment (our life support system) that we haven’t even discovered yet. (Or even thought of yet.) Turning up the heat quickly on a planet that has had a stable climate for at least 10,000 years is going to make changes that we haven’t even considered—which means notions like we can burn so much more fossil fuels before we get into trouble are making an incorrect assumption. We don’t know many of the changes that are going to occur to our life support system and thus we won’t know how to respond to them, or even plan for them properly. We don’t know how some fundamental environmental services (breathable air, clean water, decomposing dead material, fixing nitrogen, etc.) are going to be affected in conjunction with Climate Change by our massive development (cities, transportation, agricultural changes) and vice versa. This article is an example of the effort by scientists to find out all the implications of warming our planet, and I suspect some of the changes that are coming we won’t discover until we’ve heated our climate even more. We are in new territory. We should be dramatically increasing our efforts to address Climate Change. Rising CO2 levels are changing how fast forests cycle water The leaves of trees process massive amounts of water – worldwide, four times the volume of Lake Superior moves from the soil and is turned into water vapor by plants every year. With rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, scientists have been studying how this process, known as transpiration, may be changing. In a paper published in Nature Climate Change, we found that plants and how they transpire have indeed been responding to higher levels of carbon dioxide. Using dynamic ecosystem models, we also gained insight into how these changes affect different leaf types and forests overall. (May 12, 2015) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 5/12/2015 - If we drill for oil in the Arctic, which has melted because of Climate Change, there will be oil spills to compound the tragedy. US decision to open Arctic to Shell drilling sparks green fury  Groups warns US government approval of oil firm’s resumed exploration in risky polar waters spells environmental disaster  The Obama administration approved Royal Dutch Shell’s plan to restart drilling off the coast of Alaska on Monday, three years after it was forced to halt operations following a series of safety failures including an oil rig fire. The Anglo-Dutch company wants to begin drilling up to six wells in water about 40 meters deep from this summer on the condition authorities in Washington and Alaska grant it permits. Green groups criticised the move and warned of potential spills in fragile Arctic conditions, with insufficient means to respond to leaks. (May 12, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/11/2015 - Nary a mention of Lyme Disease and Climate Change on our public broadcasting. Not only should the media be connecting the dots, but our public health information should include Climate Change indicators for our region like Lyme disease.  The NYS Public Health Department connects the dots: Health Impacts from Weather and Climate Shouldn’t our public broadcasting system (‘we the people’) be connecting the dots on public health and Climate Change so we can plan properly? Onset of warmer weather brings risk of Lyme disease, but ticks may be harder to detect (May 11, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Lyme Disease in our area]

  • 5/11/2015 - And remember, Lyme Disease is a Climate Change indicator. As our region warms there will be more cases of Lyme Disease. We should bake Lyme disease and other public health issues into our local climate action plans so we aren’t overwhelmed when all these public health issues arrive at once. Lyme disease warning We're standing up for your safety when it comes to Lyme disease. It's a concern as the weather gets nicer and you spend more time outdoors. Health officials say deer ticks that carry the disease are growing in population and this month is peak activity for them. (May 11, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Lyme Disease in our area] 

  • 5/11/2015 - The Florida Climate Change action plan is to do nothing so the federal government cleans up and pays the insurance bills. Except if all the states and cities fail to develop a climate action plan, the federal government won’t be able to handle all these expensive consequences and take care of Florida or any other state for that matter. We cannot deny our way out of Climate Change. We have to plan and to do that we must put responsible leaders into public office. Sea rise threatens Florida coast, but no statewide plan America's oldest city is slowly drowning. St. Augustine's centuries-old Spanish fortress sits feet from the encroaching Atlantic, whose waters already flood the city's narrow streets about 10 times a year — a problem worsening as sea levels rise. The city relies on tourism, but visitors might someday have to wear waders at high tide. (May 10, 2015) Miami Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/11/2015 - The public should not be concerned about a transformer blowing up at Indian Point nuclear power plant. Happens all the time. Nuclear power plants, the public must understand are very safe, until they are not. The public has to see nuclear power like this: Using nuclear power plants to get more clean energy during Climate Change is like having a tiger protect your property from intruders—the tiger will certainly take care of the intruders, but the tiger might mistake you for an intruder. Transformer fire shuts down part of Indian Point power plant A transformer failed Saturday at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in suburban New York, causing a fire that forced an automatic shutdown of a reactor. The fire was quickly extinguished and the reactor was deemed safe and stable, said a spokesman for owner Entergy Corp. The transformer at Indian Point 3 takes energy created by the plant and changes the voltage for the grid supplying power to the state. (May 9, 2015) AP The Big Story [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/11/2015 - Which is to say, transporting large amounts of dangerous crude oil by train is inherently unsafe and we ought to give up on it. Track where oil train derailed was inspected day before fiery accident, FRA says Railroad tracks where an oil train derailed Wednesday in central North Dakota had been inspected by BNSF Railway a day earlier and by the Federal Railroad Administration about three months before the fiery derailment, an FRA spokesman said Friday. “Neither of those inspections noted any defects or violations,” Kevin Thompson said. BNSF says federal regulations require four inspections per week on that section of track, but the company typically inspects it every day. (May 8, 2015) Grand Forks Herald [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/11/2015 - Of course, oil spills in the Arctic are only inevitable if we are stupid enough to drill there. Climate Change consequences include many things—warming glaciers, droughts, wildfires, extreme weather—that are inevitable, even if we stop more greenhouse gas emissions right now because of the heat already built up in the system. But drilling for oil in the Arctic and having to endure an impossible mess to clean up in a very fragile ecosystem is not inevitable. We can decided not to do something so stupid in the first place. The Many Unknowns of Inevitable Arctic Oil Spills With drilling and shipping comes risk, and no one knows how to clean up the mess when it's cold, dark and icy. Scientists from around the world have spent decades trying to answer the question: What happens when oil spills in ice? As global temperatures climb and the Arctic sea ice melts, shipping in the Arctic is on the rise and oil and gas companies are eyeing further development of the vast resources of the North. (May 8, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/09/2015 - Imagine a world that is warming due to burning fossil fuels and a legal structure that protects gas industries from all scrutiny. The answer to address this problem is very easy. Ditch fossil fuels so they cannot warm the planet further and protect themselves by using our legal system against us. With renewable energy—wind, solar, geothermal, batter backups, energy efficiency, conserving energy—we don’t have to keep any of the information secret from anyone. Who would want to blow up a solar panel? Protecting the gas and oil industries via our national security system is incredibly damaging to our US Constitution and all our rights. It would be like giving corporations all the rights we give individuals in our free society. (Whoops, we already did that.) Oil, gas pipeline info would become secret under bill It's a matter of national security, says state Rep. Kurt Heise: Keeping information about oil and gas pipelines, high-powered electrical lines and other critical energy infrastructure out of potential terrorists' hands. But critics say Heise's House Bill 4540, introduced Tuesday, protects something else: oil and gas corporations, like Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge, from public disclosures about safety and other records. The Plymouth Republican's bill would exempt from disclosure under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act information about existing and proposed energy infrastructure that "could be useful to a person in planning an attack" on it. It's similar to federal critical infrastructure disclosure exemption rules enacted by Congress and President George W. Bush in the 2002 Homeland Security Act in the months after 9/11. (May 8, 2015) Detroit Free Press [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/09/2015 - Climate Change is about planning. The window for planning is almost closed and so too the chance to act in a way that will matter. The Next Decade Will Decide What the World Looks Like for Thousands of Decades to Come The next 10 years will be decisive when it comes to the planet's future -- what we do (or don't) will play out over geologic time. It could, if we set our minds to it, be the decade when the planet's use of fossil fuels peaks and then rapidly declines. We've built a movement that, for the moment, is starting to tie down the fossil fuel industry: from the tarsands of Alberta to the (as yet unbuilt) giant new mines of Australia's Galilee Basin, the big players in coal, gas, and oil are bothered and even bewildered by a new strain of activist. They're losing on the image front: when the Rockefeller family, the Church of England, and Prince Charles have begun divesting their fossil fuel stocks, you know the tide has turned. (May 7, 2015) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/09/2015 - 2C or not 2C: The hot question” is a series of articles by tcktcktck about the agreed upon limit, 2C (or 3.6F) of warming above pre-industrial averages, by the nations attending the COP21 Paris Climate Conference in December. 2C has been agreed upon by nations, but more and more scientists believe that that limit is way too hot. (Including climate scientist Dr. Hansen who just visited Rochester during Earth Week.) The question we should all be asking ourselves is what to do about this? As I understand the problem: Should we try and change the COP21, where it has already been just about impossible to bring all nations to agree on any kind of climate limits—and threaten the whole climate talk a process? Should we ditch COP21 and all attempts for top-down climate agreements? (Which many would like, including climate denialists, because then they can continue business as usual.)? Or, should we make an agreement at Paris and then (while we have the counties already on board with an agreement) shape the agreement so that the goals can be adjusted as more science comes in. This is a major conundrum as we near the historic climate talk in Paris this December and it would be nice if the local Rochester media brought it to the public’s attention. Never has such a major issue been ignored by so many media.

  • 5/08/2015 - Rochester, NY’s public transportation is going in the wrong direction. If we want a prayer of addressing Climate Change in our region, we are going to have to fix our transportation system so that MORE folks ride our busses not LESS. Remember: according to the EPA transportation accounts for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions, so getting more folks on bicycles and riding public transportation means less folks driving gas guzzlers. A via able transportation system that reduces GHGs has to happen and Rochester has some work to do on this. Bus drivers protest cancellation of RTS service for city schools Rochester bus drivers are angry and they want the top boss to pay with his job. "One of bill's motto's is driving forward-- right now, he's in reverse," says Dominick Zarcone, Vice President of ATU Local 282. "He's driving backward." RTS CEO Bill Carpenter's decision to stop busing Rochester City Schools students is his answer to youth violence, which has created chaos at the 50 million dollar transit center since it opened last fall. Carpenter says he made the decision to prioritize public safety.  But canceling the district contract will cost RTS 144 jobs and 106 buses in service, which is why hundreds turned out in front of transit headquarters to protest. Union president Jacques Chapman says the drivers and community members were not just marching for themselves, but also for the children who will be impacted by this decision. (May 7, 2015) Rochester Homepage.net [More on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/08/2015 - Sharing the road with bicycles in Rochester, NY ain’t difficult and here are some pointers. Remember more bicycles means less greenhouse gas emission and that means Rochester can play and important role in addressing Climate Change in this critical year. Do It: Markings help bicyclists, cars share road The outline of a bicycle with some type of arrow is stenciled on miles of Rochester roads, clearly visible to cyclists and motorists. It's not until you pedal over them that you really understand what they mean — at that moment and later when you're in a car driving past other cyclists. "We're all travelers together," said Scott Wagner, board member of the Rochester Cycling Club. "We want to be courteous to each other." It's one thing to bump into someone on a sidewalk and say, "Excuse me." It's a little late to apologize if that happens on the road. Bike lanes that are separated by a white line and marked with a bicycle, and shared-use lanes with a bicycle and "sharrow" chevron arrows try to prevent such collisions by alerting motorists to the presence of bicycles, and helping the bike rider to stay predictable and visible. (May 8, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/08/2014 - Lots of events with Bike Week in Rochester –from May 10-16. Everything you need to know is here: Bike Week 2015 May is National Bike Month! Hop on your bike, enjoy the smell of fresh air and lilacs, and experience the freedom of exploring our community on two wheels. The City of Rochester will help to launch the 2015 summer biking season with Rochester Bike Week, May 10-16.  City of Rochester

  • 5/08/2015 - Not to mention (because transportation accounts for 27% of our GHG emissions) biking instead of driving is a Climate Change adaptation—maybe one of the strongest adaptation strategies in our region.  Still you cannot find mention of “Climate Change’ in the City’s release. More folks would bike and so (because of their numbers and driver awareness) biking would be safer and this would result in less greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. But without educating the public on the connection between Climate Change and the need for an increase in bicycle safety, the public is going to remain ‘business as usual’, which is to say vehicular traffic  will continue to rule. Mayor Warren Proclaims Bike Week in Rochester 2015 Mayor Lovely Warren today proclaimed the week of May 10 through 16 as Bike Week in Rochester.  “Like the daffodils and tulips in our gardens, the sight of bikes on our roads is welcome sign of spring,” said Mayor Warren. “And we want even more bikes on our roads -- because bikes create access to opportunity. They’re good for the environment, they’re good for our bodies and they’re good for Rochester.”  The proclamation was delivered at R-Community Bikes, an all volunteer organization that collects and repairs used bikes and donates them to people in the community. R-Community Bikes has given away more than 20,000 bikes.  Bike Week will take place during National Bike Month and brings awareness to the ongoing implementation of the City’s Bicycle Master Plan. Rochester has been named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. (May 7, 2015) City of Rochester, NY [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/08/2015 - “7 inches of rain in 24 hours” is bad, but in New York has shown a 74% increase from 1958 to 2011 in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events.  This is why our infrastructures—water, waste, transportation, telecommunications, and transportation—must not only be maintained but adapted to handle these torrential downpours when they come. Presently we’re barely even maintaining these infrastructures let alone getting them ready for Climate Change. Warming Could Bring More Downpours Like OKC’s While tornadoes normally take center stage during severe weather season, for Oklahoma City on Wednesday, it was torrential rains and flash flooding that overshadowed the twisters. The city recorded more than 7 inches of rain in 24 hours, the third-highest single day rainfall total for any day since record-keeping began in 1891. The deluge caused major flooding that damaged roads and buildings and sent cars floating down streets turned into rivers. While people in the Great Plains are no strangers to heavy downpours — the largest 24-hour rainfall total was recorded not long ago in June 2010 — it’s something they, along with the rest of the nation, could expect more of as the world warms and the atmosphere sucks up more moisture. (May 7, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/07/2015 - I don’t think D&C means the “DEC staff defends Seneca gas storage”; they mean DEC defends their right to decide this issue. There’s quite a difference. If one reads the headline the way it is written one would think that it should be “read as indicative of what decision will be made on the permit.” The big issue, of course, is not how the D&C writes its headlines, but why both the D&C and the DEC are more interested in the interests of the fossil fuel industry than in our energy options in a time of Climate Change. News around the world notes an important benchmark in humanity’s history recently: New GLOBAL Record for CO2 Concentration 400ppm Red Line Crossed in March  (May 7, 2015) UN Climate Change Newsroom This is what the D&C and the DEC should be focusing on—the parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere. Remember for 10,000 years we thrived when our CO2 concentrations were at 280ppm. Now these figures are soaring above survival limits and our media and conservation authorizes are still bending over backwards to please the fossil fuel industries—even after another bomb train exploded yesterday, proving transporting fossil fuels by rail will never be safe. When will our media and conservation authorities get their priorities straight? DEC staff defends Seneca gas storage A plan to build a storage and distribution hub for liquid propane gas in the heart of Finger Lakes wine country received a recent vote of confidence from state environmental regulators, prompting a new outcry from opponents. A final decision on the project by an administrative law judge is due at the end of June. In a brief filed last month, the state Department of Environmental Conservation defended its decision to grant Houston-based Crestwood Midstream a preliminary permit to store propane in salt caverns on the south end of Seneca Lake. The agency also argues against holding further legal hearings on the matter. (May 6, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 5/07/2015 - Of course, the best way to stop these bomb trains from exploding is to stop them altogether. Find out about stopping them locally: Sunday, May 17th - 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm | Brighton Public Library, 2300 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, NY 14618 Bakken Oil Trains in New York: What You Need To Know | Ban The Bomb Trains | You are invited to this forum on crude oil by rail with Sandy Steubing from PAUSE - People at Ablany Untied for Safe Energy | Q & A plus discussion to follow. Have you wondered what is in those big black rail cars and why there are so many? Are you concerned about the environmental justice of those living near the rail tracks? Do you wonder about the effects of extreme energy extraction on Climate Change? | For more info contact Rochester.ny@mothersoutfront.org | Hosted by Mother Out Front, Food and WaterWatch, Buf Renewable Energy Task Force, WNY Peace Center, Inc. North Dakota town evacuated after oil train derails A tiny central North Dakota town has been evacuated after the derailment of an oil train. The incident displaced residents of Heimdal, sheriff's officials told local media. The accident involved a BNSF Railway train with 109 cars, five of which were burning. Six to seven cars derailed and the cause of the event is unknown, according to officials. (May 6, 2015) CNBC [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/07/2015 - Humanity has many, many problems, but soon, like a dying drug addict, we will have only one.  COP21 Paris Treaty in December to bring down GHGs worldwide must work or we’re going to cook—even more. This current benchmark, where our CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere are now continually above 400ppm, is another crucial benchmark Climate Change has passed. Yes, it’s an arbitrary figure, but it is another warning that Climate Change is a tyrannical problem like we’ve never had before. Remember for 100,000 years we thrived when our CO2 concentrations were at 280ppm. Climate Change is relentless—it only cares if greenhouse gases are coming down for us to survive. There are no excuses for not obeying a law of physics: you put more GHGs into the atmosphere, the place warms up. New GLOBAL Record for CO2 Concentration 400ppm Red Line Crossed in March Concentrations of heat trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a record global average in March, underscoring the crucial importance of reaching an effective universal climate change agreement in Paris at the end of the year. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), monthly global average concentrations of the gas surpassed 400 parts per million in March 2015 for the first time since the administration began tracking carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The current concentrations are unprecedented in millions of years. The US agency says that the rapid rise is mainly attributable to humans burning fossil fuels. Before the industrial revolution began in around 1850, the global concentration stood at 120 parts per million CO2. Half of the current rise occurred since 1980. (May 7, 2015) UN Climate Change Newsroom [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/7/2015 - What does business as usual look like? This is what business as usual looks like! 400ppm of CO2 and over from now on. If our desire to cook the planet and everyone on it was our goal, business as usual is working gangbusters. Humans. Ya gotta laugh. A Global Milestone: CO2 Passes 400 PPM Another month, another carbon dioxide record. This time the record extends beyond the rocky slopes of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, home to the most storied carbon dioxide record, and includes 39 other sites around the globe to paint a troubling picture of a greenhouse gas rise with no signs of slowing down. For the first time since record keeping began, carbon dioxide levels have surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) globally, according to newly published data for March. CO2 emissions are the main driver of climate change and have risen more than 120 ppm since pre-industrial times. The planet has warmed 1.6°F over that period as well. (May 6, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 5/06/2015 - Wouldn’t cow waste and food scrapes be better for our environment if they were composted instead of burned? Any way you slice it burning organic material puts more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. The revitalization of our soil using compost instead of phosphorus-ridden fertilizers that are ending up in our rivers and streams and as nitrous oxide—a very potent greenhouse gas—is a practice we should adopt during Climate Change. Is biogas really a good idea in a world that is getting warmer and will have billions of more mouths to feed? Ontario County farm is making the most of waste Lawnhurst Farms in Stanley is ramping up its methane digester with food scraps A state-of-the-art system that converts manure to electricity at Lawnhurst Farms in Stanley is getting top mileage out of its power plant with food scraps. The digester installed in 2013 at the dairy farm uses manure from its roughly 1,400 cows to generate electricity. Adding organic food waste — think scrap from a local yogurt plant and apple farm — now makes the process even sweeter. The farm has also used food scraps from Rochester-area Wegmans stores in the technology called anaerobic digestion to make electricity. (May 5, 2015) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Food and Energy in our area]

  • 5/06/2015 - Actually, not just Lake Michigan, but Earth itself is now a manmade ecosystem. We broke it, now we own it. Thinking that after we dump stuff, or walk away from urban blight, or any of our misbegotten projects, that Nature will just return to a pristine state is folly. We have so disrupted our planet’s ecosystem, highlighted by Climate Change, that only by a dramatic focusing of our efforts and monitoring our life support system will we be capable of an environment we can live in. That we have broken the 4-billion year old evolution of life on the planet since we started seriously disrupting it (probably with the advent of agriculture) is an acknowledgment we must all make if we are to keep our environment healthy for our survival. Even if humanity disappeared from the planet right now, there’s little reason to think our environment would recover—except for bacteria I suppose.  Attention to our environment should now be baked into who we are as a species, the way we think and especially the way we act. Everything we do affects our life support system now. Lake Michigan Unlikely To Ever Return to its Natural State, Scientists Say HYDE PARK — Some are cheering the potential demise of two invasive species in Lake Michigan, hoping the lake can now return to its natural state. But scientists say that is impossible. Lake Michigan has been almost exclusively a man-made ecosystem for nearly a century, according to the fisheries biologists charged with stewardship of the lake. (May 1, 2015) DNAinfo/Chicago [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 5/06/2015 - Please consider your candidate’s position on Climate Change and science before you fill in dot on the voting card. Few things are more reckless than cutting NASA’s earth science budget in a time of Climate Change. We need to know as much as possible about how our planet is responding to this rapid warming so we can plan properly. Cutting NASA’s earth science budget is short-sighted and a threat When I went to bed last night, I had no intention of writing this commentary. However, I literally could not sleep contemplating the reckless cuts to NASA’s earth sciences budget being proposed by some in the U.S. House of Representatives. Phil Plait at Slate and Capital Weather Gang recently documented the stark and primitive cuts being proposed for the NASA authorization bill. [Massive cuts proposed to NASA earth science budget draw protest] NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, one of the few people that has actually seen our home planet from the vantage point of space, issued a statement noting that proposed cuts, “gut our Earth science program and threatens to set back generations worth of progress in better understanding our changing climate, and our ability to prepare for and respond to earthquakes, droughts, and storm events…” This statement is measured and appropriate, but I am writing to amplify this statement. (May 1, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/05/2015 - The new documentary “Merchants of Doubt” chronicles the struggles of former Republican Congressman to educate GOP on Climate Change. Without getting political, our country has a serious problem when one of our major political parties has backed themselves into a ludicrous position on the most important crisis of our age. A leader who does not accept the science of Climate Change that humanity is warming the planet, is a leader is not fit to govern. We live on a rapidly warming planet and that has to be addressed by leaders who are taking charge of this issue—not slapping down their crew if they even mention “Climate Change”. The GOP is going to have to switch gears on Climate Change and maybe Bob Inglis, a six-term Republican Congressman from South Carolina, is the way to go. The GOP's Lonely Climate Warrior Bob Inglis, a six-term Republican Congressman from South Carolina, knew that addressing climate change wasn't going to be popular within his party, and his strong stance on global warming helped a Tea Party challenger beat him in a primary in 2010. But Representative Inglis’s efforts have won him the JFK Library Foundation’s Profiles in Courage Award. Bob Inglis discusses the award with host Steve Curwood and explains why the climate became his top priority and why more conservatives need to get on board. (May 1, 2015) Living on Earth [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/05/2015 - “Scary big” methane leaks, manmade or natural, are fundamental feedback we need to monitor Climate Change. We may and probably cannot solve Climate Change by simply throwing technology at it. But technology is critical in monitoring the effects of Climate Change so we can measure our progress in bringing down greenhouse gases. Probe takes aim at US methane plume mystery NASA and NOAA scientists identify and measure man-made and natural sources of emission hot spot in Southwest DURANGO, Colo. — Pilot and scientist Steve Conley slipped behind the controls of a nimble single-engine Mooney aircraft and took to the air over the Four Corners region of the U.S. West as part of a quest to find the sources of a mysterious methane hot spot detected over the area from space. Flying at about 2,000 feet, he banked hard left to circle the ventilation shaft of a coal mine as inlet tubes under the right wing of the aircraft sucked in air, which passed through equipment that detects and quantifies methane and provides results in real time. “That’s a huge spike right there. It’s scary big,” said Conley as the instruments registered more than four times the background level downwind of the vent shaft, about 25 miles southwest of Durango. “That means that this thing is blowing out stuff like crazy. (May 6, 2015) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/05/2015 - Imagine if we had as many websites connecting the dots between fossil fuel use and Climate Change as we do tracking gas prices? We are at a worldwide crisis because of our use of fossil fuels and all Rochester worries about is how expensive our gasoline prices are compared with other cities? Really? We are going to need Pope Francis to pound a little harder on the moral connections between fossil fuel use and morality, I guess. Gas prices rise again in Rochester area Gasoline prices in the Rochester area continue to rise and remain stubbornly above national averages, a weekly survey from GasBuddy.com shows. On Monday gas prices in Rochester were nearly 6 cents higher than a week ago at $2.70 a gallon. Nationally, drivers are paying $2.62 a gallon, GasBuddy reported. (May 4, 2015) Rochester Business Journal [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 5/05/2015 - Which brings us to this question: What is New York State doing to help our wildlife adapt to the Climate Change we caused? Many animals (and plants for that matter) are going to find it tough and maybe impossible to adapt to a warming that is occurring 10 times faster than any of these species has witness in the last 10,000 years. So, while our state, our conservation agency, is good at keeping our animals in stock so we can shoot and fish them, how is our government dealing with Wildlife and Climate Change? I’m not finding much at all on this part of local adaptations for Climate Change. For all our concern about pets and animals, what are we doing to prevent the extinction of endemic creatures we may need to have in place so our environment works so we can thrive? So, even if we don’t care about wildlife, we should at least care about our life support system—which, of course, our endemic plants and animals (and soil for that matter) are supporting. Time passes. Imperiled butterfly leads way for conservation of climate sensitive species Michigan has been the hotbed of the endangered Karner blue butterfly. It even donates their eggs to areas where they are especially rare. But now a changing climate threatens them, even in Michigan. State and federal agencies have put the blue bug at the forefront of adaptive management and conservation efforts across the Great Lakes. (May 1, 2015) Great lakes Echo [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/05/2015 - 2C too high, COP21 too important to ditch, we need to fix both by December and do so fairly. Paris 2015: Two degrees warming a 'prescription for disaster' says top climate scientist James Hansen The aim to limit global warming to two degrees of pre-industrial levels is "crazy" and "a prescription for disaster", according to a long-time NASA climate scientist. The paleo-climate record shows sea-levels were six to eight metres higher than current levels when global temperatures were less than two degrees warmer than they are now, Professor James Hansen, formerly head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and now at Columbia University in New York, said. "It's crazy to think that 2 degrees celsius is a safe limit," Professor Hansen told RN Breakfast on ABC Radio on Tuesday, adding that this would lock in several metres of sea-level rise by the middle of the century, (May 5, 2015 The Sydney Moring Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 5/05/2015 - More Bomb trains moving dangerous crude oil through our communities is such a bad idea it may kill itself. One more catastrophic explosion ought to bring this insane way of increasing a dangerous fossil fuel in a time of Climate Change to a close. Imagine what would happen if we put all the energy and money we are putting into increasing the fossil fuel infrastructure instead into renewable energy, conservation, energy efficiency, batter power, miro and smart grids, and a worldwide effort to bring down GHG emissions. The U.S. Is Getting Serious About Oil Train Explosions. Here’s How It Plans To Stop Them. Oil is a global commodity, traversing vast distances by pipeline, tanker, and recently in the United States by rail car. A resurgence in domestic crude oil production due to technological advances in drilling has led to a transportation bottleneck between landlocked oil fields and coastal refineries and ports, and that bottleneck has opened up the door for more oil shipment via rail. But increased shipment by rail has also led to an increase in accidents, and on Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation released long-awaited safety standards for train cars carrying oil and other flammable materials following a series of dangerous derailments. (May 4, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/04/2015 - One of the many conundrums of Climate Change since we have waited so long to act is that COP21 must happened and 2C is too high. We don’t have time to scratch the Paris treaty and try to hammer out a new treaty with more realistic goals. We don’t have the time to wait for the invisible hand to fix Climate Change, which caused this catastrophe in the first place. We must have a worldwide agreement that can accommodate new scientific information, one that can keep lowering GHSs as quickly as possible, and an agreement that can keep raising the bar for aid for the developing nations. However much humanity fails to act on a scale and time frame to address Climate Change adequately, the warming continues and the problems get worse. The world must come together to forge a climate deal that will bring down greenhouse gas emission and do so fairly, but the agreed upon limit of 2C should be lowered. Even at the current 1C, things have gotten too hot. Rethink 2C climate goal, urge world’s most vulnerable  Twenty nations menaced by rising sea levels and severe droughts attack “inadequate” temperature target  A score of developing nations reeling from an overheating planet have urged the UN’s climate change body to lower the ceiling by which the world can warm. Members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum meeting in the Philippines last Thursday called on a tightening of the temperature goal, currently agreed at 2C rise on pre-industrial levels. Beyond the 2C threshold, scientists warn of increasingly drastic effects including rising sea levels and increased risk of extreme weather. But studies show even a 1.5C rise will have significant impacts on some parts of the world.  (May 1, 2015) Responding to Climate Change )RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/04/2015 - Ms. Lovely Warren, Rochester, NY’s mayor, announces Climate Change action plan. We praise Mayor Warren for planning for this worldwide crisis. We encourage the mayor to be bold. Besides hiring firms to design and engineer adaptation strategies, we call on the mayor to engage the community in this effort to address Climate Change. We ask the mayor to invite many other groups to the table, including local community leaders, faith leaders, active transportation groups, university leaders, and environmental leaders—who, by the way, just brought in world renowned climate scientist Dr. Hansen to speak to our community about the science of the Climate Change crisis. There is much to be done to get Rochester ready for adaption to Climate Change and helping to be a part of this worldwide action. If the public is brought into these discussion, there is a far better chance that an informed and engaged public will support the mayor in most of her efforts to make Rochester climate ready. Getting Rochester public transportation and transportation system fixed so it can accommodate more pedestrians, more bicyclist, and folks on our buses, has a more likely chance to succeed if the public is made a partner in the solutions. Allowing environmental groups to use City storefronts to educate the public on Climate Change adaptation strategies would help the mayor inform a number of our folks our local media has not reached. Many of the problems Rochester is facing can be not only alleviated, but actually healed, by choreographing much of our efforts towards poverty, jobs, public health, clean water, transportation upgrades, clean air, energy efficiency, and clean energy through the lens of Climate Change. The public must see the City of Rochester addressing Climate Change and be an integral part of the solutions. On Climate Change, leadership is crucial. City eyes plan to curb climate change Rochester officials want a concrete plan for the city to have less of an impact on the planet's changing climate. Mayor Lovely Warren submitted legislation to City Council last week to tap a $100,000 state grant and $9,000 in city funds to hire architectural and engineering design firm Bergmann Associates develop a city-wide plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The finished climate action plan would set a target to reduce emissions in Rochester over time and lay out specific ways to meet that goal. (May 1, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/04/2015 - COP21 Paris Climate talks are coming up in December. We’re going to fry at present rate of adaptation. Time passes. Do we just watch? Do we write letters? Do we go to the streets in great numbers? Do we shrug our shoulders and bemoan the human race going down and taking everything else with it? Climate Change is a crisis like no other crisis and how we handled calamities in the past may be little guidance on how we address this calamity. One this is for sure, avoiding this issue because it’s too boring or overwhelming is suicide for our future. Current carbon pledges won't stop dangerous global warming, says Lord Stern Commitments already made by world governments to cut carbon emissions aren’t enough to keep global warming below the crucial 2C target – but a strong deal is still possible in Paris, says economist The commitments made by world governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next 15 years are not sufficient to stave off the worst effects of climate change, a new analysis by Lord Stern has found. The study by the author of an influential report on the economics of climate change found that countries’ pledges ahead of a crunch UN climate summit in Paris this December would not keep warming below 2C, the level that previous UN negotiations have agreed on. But Stern said he was still optimistic that a good deal could be reached in Paris. (May 4, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/04/2015 - Ok, let’s say you personally don’t care if the oceans rise because of Climate Change. Remember: your insurance company will. If, as our flooding predictions become more sophisticated, your region is predicted to get more sea level rise, or perhaps more consequentially for the Rochester, NY region, if your region will soon be designated as a new flood plain because of the heavier rains that will come in future (it’s already started) downpours, then your region may have a tough time getting flood insurance. And, like it or not, your government is going to be less likely to pick up the bill for more flooding when insurance companies can’t (or won’t) because increasingly insurance companies won’t be able to afford it. They won’t be able to afford to insure your house, nor as the flooding bills get higher, will the public tolerate the public funding of the re-building of houses wiped out by flooding in a place that is going to be continually flooded. Climate Change has about it a relatedness that won’t wait for humanity to put Climate Change off. We must plan now. We must demand that our local leaders plan now and we must hold them accountable for planning and informing us of what they are planning. This behavior by the public will also help our leaders as the public, as they understand the full implications of the consequences of Climate Change, will be more likely to support our leaders in their attempt to help all of us adapt to Climate Change. Climate Change is about planning. Surging Seas "Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges. A Climate Central analysis finds the odds of “century” or worse floods occurring by 2030 are on track to double or more, over widespread areas of the U.S. These increases threaten an enormous amount of damage. Across the country, nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide — a level lower than the century flood line for most locations analyzed. And compounding this risk, scientists expect roughly 2 to 7 more feet of sea level rise this century — a lot depending upon how much more heat-trapping pollution humanity puts into the sky. Climate Central

  • 5/04/2015 - If the Pope cannot sway GOP Catholics to ‘get’ the moral imperative of Climate Change, maybe the Pope + un-electing them will do the trick. Ok, let me get this straight: we have put very powerful people in our government who aren’t swayed by the science of climate, aren’t swayed by their moral leaders, aren’t swayed by the American public they serve, but they are swayed by “fossil fuel interests and party leaders”. What wrong with this picture? Pope Francis Unlikely to Sway Catholic Republicans on Climate Change Party doctrine will probably trump church doctrine in Congress, experts say, where more than a quarter of lawmakers are Catholics. As Pope Francis steps up his moral campaign for global action on climate change, Republican Roman Catholics in Congress are more likely to listen to fossil fuel interests and party leaders than their pontiff, religious and political researchers say, based on lawmakers' track records. (May 1, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/02/2015 - What Rochester can do with its bus shelter? Make them shelters again and create a viable public transportation system. Sell the freaking transit center and use the money to rebuild a viable public transportation system that will serve the public better, reduce wear and tear on our roads, and reduce greenhouse gases that cause Climate Change. Create more bus shelters with more public transportation options, including an easily read and dependable schedules so folks know they will get to work on time. Just got back from Portland, Oregon and they know transportation. You don’t build great big transit center that every bus rider has to go to whether they want to or not. You get more bikes on the road with clear street markings and a big campaign to inform drivers and bicyclist how to use this system safely. You fix up the sidewalks, treat pedestrians with respect and clear sidewalks during the winter so those without cars don’t have to be homebound for six months. You practice extreme curtesy everywhere.  You create bus routes so that you don’t have to go to the center of the city to go to the next street over. You prepare for Climate Change by reducing greenhouse gases from your transportation system by developing transportation options that adapt to the new reality, instead of this dysfunctional system we have here in Rochester that is maidenly going in the wrong direction. City of Rochester explores ways to redevelop former bus shelters The City of Rochester is looking for ways to develop former bus shelters downtown. With the transit center opening last November, five bus shelters on Main Street were discontinued. The city believes these former shelters could be used for a small business, a café or an information kiosk. Officials have teamed up with Reconnect Rochester to bring new ideas to these structures (May 1, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/02/2015 - I know, saying things like Climate Change could cause ‘irreversible collapse’ is sooo distasteful but it’s science stupid. As far as messaging Climate Change where you have to make it simple, hopeful, and you should frame it so that it provides a lot of neat jobs and pleasantly so that everything we did in the past to industrialize was really good (except that it has lead us to this tipping point of civilization collapse), this messaging strategy has a major flaw in it: this kind of mollycoddling doesn’t get folks off their ass to do anything on a level and time frame that will matter. Most of the things that have motivated me to change my behavior over my lifetime has been negative reinforcement, not positive. Climate Change is going to change everything and we ought to be reacting on par with this disaster. Planning properly, our governments actually doing what our climate studies say must be done to adapt, would be good, instead of being frozen with fear. But fear is a great motivator and if you don’t fear Climate Change, you just don’t get it. Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'? Natural and social scientists develop new model of how 'perfect storm' of crises could unravel global system A new study partly-sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common." (March 14, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/02/2015 - Looks like the dirtiest, climate warming, fossil fuel, tar sands is being proposed to be railed through the Adirondacks to Albany, then down the Hudson.  (See map.) Even though New York State has banned Fracking, we are still being assailed by the fossil fuels industries from all sides. Our media should be connecting the dots between our region’s efforts to address Climate Change and the continual onslaught of more fossil fuel infrastructure being developed in our state. You cannot put up a few solar panels while at the same time conducting a massive buildup of fossil fuels and think we can address Climate Change. Making some lame gestures to lower greenhouse gases while at the same time flooding our atmosphere with more greenhouse gases is like trying to lower greenhouse gases while at the same time flooding our atmosphere with more greenhouse gases. What’s wrong with this picture? The tar sands invasion that can be stopped Many across the United States are aware of the tar sands threat posed by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline but what many may not know is the U.S. faces a looming threat that is bigger than just this one pipeline. We call it a tar sands invasion. The plan would be to complete a network of pipelines (both new and expanded), supertankers and barges, and a fleet of explosive railway tank cars. What is at risk? San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, the Hudson River and other places we all call home. (April 28, 2015) NRDC Switchboard [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 5/02/2015 - GOP gutting NASA’s spending on Climate Change research is denialist’s gouging out our eyes during a battle. This is what happens when we put leaders who don’t, or won’t, or cannot, understand science—especially the science of Climate Change. How can we possibility address Climate Change if we can see how it’s changing our environment? Anti-Science GOP 'Eviscerates' NASA Spending on Climate Change Research NASA administrator says proposal 'guts' crucial  Earth science program and 'threatens to set back generations worth of progress in better understanding our changing climate' Reinforcing the GOP's reputation as anti-science, Republicans in the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Thursday voted to slash NASA spending on the branch that studies climate change issues.  According to news reports, the NASA authorization proposal, passed along party lines, would cut between $300-500 million in funding to NASA's Earth Sciences division, which researches the planet's natural systems and processes—including climate change, severe weather, and glaciers. The bill will now go to the full House for a vote. (May 1, 2015) Common Dreams [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/02/2015 - What was the state of our climate for March 2015? Check out global temperatures and precipitations for a glimpse at our new reality. Seeing scientific charts and figures from NOAA is believing. State of the Climate: Global Analysis - March 2015 "Maps and Time Series Temperature and Precipitation Maps March 2015 Temperature Anomalies Time Series March Year-to-Date" - from NOAA 

  • 5/01/2015 - Of course, two questions remain: Can ‘bomb trains’ ever be safe? Why are we increasing our fossil fuel infrastructure in Climate Change? As of today, our climate is 400.06ppm of CO2, their highest levels in 650,000 years so why aren’t we focusing in increasing renewable energy? Why are we instead ramping up our fossil fuel infrastructure to accommodate more and mare fossil fuels that will increase greenhouse gases? Why are we doing the same thing expecting different results? Time passes. New oil train safety standards to be released today Nearly two years after an oil train crash destroyed a small town in Quebec, United States and Canadian officials are slated to unveil new, safer rail tanker cars. The event will take place this morning in Washington, D.C. Since the Lac-Megantic disaster, communities across the United States and Canada awoke to the fact that volatile oil tanker cars that carry explosive crude oil and other chemicals, are rumbling through their towns and neighborhoods. Washington and Ottawa have faced growing pressure to improve safety standards and a lot of the criticism has focused on DOT-111a tanker cars used for crude shipments. The tanker cars were deemed unsafe in the 1990s. (May 1, 2015) North Country Public Radio [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/01/2015 - Of course, ultimately what matters about Climate Change and wildlife is whether wildlife critical to our ecology will survive. We should care about each individual member of each individual species. We should care that our way of life is killing many species on par with the other five major extinction events in our planet’s history. We should care that even more wildlife are perishing because of manmade Climate Change. But as we continue with business as usual and warm up the planet even more (today’s CO2 levels are 400ppm), we are mostly likely our going to consider our own survival first and this means we won’t have the luxury of saving every individual member of every individual species. We will have to prioritize our energy and resources to save those creatures that provide critical roles in the ecologies we need to survive. Keystone species will come first. And others that help with making our water and soil clean and viable. Of course, we still do not know all the roles that all the animals play that keep all the essential environmental services we need to keep our environment healthy. So, we probably should save all species, but we aren’t going to have the luxury of doing that because we’ll be too busy trying to save ourselves. It would be nice if our conservation authorities prioritized their mission to save our wildlife during Climate Change, instead of having enough of them to harvest (kill, fish), but they are not likely to unless you tell them to focus on helping our wildlife adapt to Climate Change.  Time passes. Climate change threatens one in six species with extinction, study finds The risk of Earth's species becoming extinct will accelerate as global temperatures rise, new research shows. After reviewing more than one hundred scientific papers, the study finds as many as 16% of plant and animal species on land and in the oceans would be under threat with four degrees of warming. Climate change could even overtake habitat loss and degradation as the main cause of extinctions, the lead author tells Carbon Brief. (April 30, 2015) The Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/01/2015 - Today is Friday, May 1st and our climate is 400.06ppm of CO2, their highest levels in 650,000 years. Have a nice day. NASA Global Climate Change | Vital Signs of the Planet

  • 4/30/2015 - Despite the ban on Fracking in NYS and the rise of renewables, we is still setting the table for more fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are warming the planet. In a time of Climate Change, where energy use is a moral and climate issue, why are we allowing the fossil fuel industry continue to ramp up for more fossil fuels that produce more greenhouse gas emissions? Not only is this fossil fuel trajectory becoming more economically unsound (as we cannot throw up all that fossil fuel in the ground into the air or we’ll have no future) it’s morally craven. Our leaders must lead on Climate Change so they don’t talk about addressing Climate Change, but continue to help fossil fuels industry to prosper. Anti-fracking activists now fight against oil infrastructure Hydraulic fracturing is currently not allowed in New York state. But a group of medical professionals, advocates and residents are warning that the industry still poses a grave risk to the empire state. It’s not fracking that’s causing worry. It’s the industry infrastructure that has a large footprint in the state, despite the fact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced late last year that fracking would not be permitted in New York. Energy companies are planning on building pipelines, power plants, regulating stations, storage facilities and compressor stations all over New York. (April 28, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Energy and Fracking in our area]

  • 4/30/2014 - By design few things are tougher than our car tires, so imagine how tough it is to recycle them. Dumping tires illegally in our environment is like trying to cram a pipe wrench into ground and expect to be able add it to your soil in the spring. In Monroe County recycle your tires free at EcoPark.  Because there are no soil microbes that do tires. Tired out  Guess how many illegally dumped tires the City of Rochester collects each year? Go on. Nope, higher. Higher. The city picks up between 80,000 and 120,000 individual tires annually. That's a minimum of 20,000 sets. "This is nothing new," says Norman Jones, commissioner of the city's Department of Environmental Services. "I've been dealing with waste management for over 25 years now, and this has been going on for that long. And we've taken all kinds of approaches to deal with it." Lighting and fencing usually work, Jones says, since the tire-dumpers tend to operate at night and in more isolated areas, where they're less likely to be caught (April 29, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 4/30/2015 - It’s that time of year to give your little gas-guzzler a rest (and our planet for that matter). Curb your Car Week for spring. Thanks to ColorBrightonGreen.org CURB YOUR CAR WEEK The Curb Your Car Week program encourages the use of cheaper, healthier, and more earth-friendly transportation alternatives. During one week in spring and one week in fall, ColorBrightonGreen.org asks residents from Brighton and around, who normally use an automobile for daily transportation, to consider walking, biking, car pooling, or riding the bus as alternatives. Follow our Curb Your Car Week Posts for announcements and results from past Curb Your Car Week editions. Spring 2015 Edition Starts: Sunday May 10 Ends: Saturday May 16 --more on ColorBrightonGreen.org

  • 4/30/2015 - May newsletter from our friends over at Pachamama Rochester May newsletter. “Ground yourself in Sacred Space (at the beginning) and then be enriched by the variety of information and links to support you as a game-changer in this critical time in history!  And of course please pass it on to others who might be interested. “In every community, there is work to be done.  In every nation, there are wounds to heal.  In every heart, there is the power to do it.”   - Marianne Williamson This comes with love and grounded optimism from the Pachamama Rochester team” Go to Pachamama Rochester Facebook page.

  • 4/30/2015 - This doesn’t sound like much until you realize how little crimes against are environment are viewed by our legal system. Note how little concern Climate Change gets in many states. When we bake concern for our environment (our life support system) into our laws and our economic system, we’ll get close to a sustainable existence. Hopefully, it will be in time. Greece incident helps lead to new legislation The New York State Senate today passed legislation that would make it a criminal offense for those who intentionally or recklessly damage the environment while committing another crime. The New York State Senate today passed legislation that would make it a criminal offense for those who intentionally or recklessly damage the environment while committing another crime. The bill (S834), sponsored by Senator Joseph Robach (R-C-I, Rochester), would help deter criminal activity and prevent environmental crimes. (April 29, 2015) Fairport-East Rochester Post  

  • 4/30/2015 - Love your Genesee River and want it clean? 2015 Genesee River Basin Summit - Register Soon! Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM SUNY Geneseo, College Union Ballroom Geneseo, NY Help us build on the success of last year’s first ever Genesee River Basin Summit by creating an annual Basin Report Card that will be used to: • Raise awareness of the Genesee and the condition of its waters • Provide a basis for conversation about what needs to be done to improve water quality in, and access to, the Genesee River • Establish visible targets for the work of stakeholders Give us all a way to measure progress on those targets Help attract more funding to execute critical projects Who Should Attend: County/town and city planners, Soil & Water Conservation District personnel, municipal officials, economic development officials, engineers, interested citizens, conservation groups. Register here. --from Genesee River Watch

  • 4/30/2014 - That positive feedback loop going on in the Arctic, accelerated even more by algae blooms, is not positive for us. We are turning one of the major refrigerators of the planet into one of the ovens and that probably has a lot to do with our wacky winters here in the Northeast. Climate Change is about planning. Time passes. Blooming Algae Could Accelerate Arctic Warming Blooms of algae in the Arctic Ocean could add a previously unsuspected warming feedback to the mix of factors driving temperatures in the north polar regions up faster than any other place on the planet, according to the authors of a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “By the end of the century, this could lead to 20 percent more warming in the Arctic than we would see otherwise,” said lead author Jong-Yeon Park, of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg Germany. (April 27, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/30/2015 - Air Quality matters. Air is a commons, one where industrial waste does not belong, any more than sewage belongs in our drinking water. Every Breath You Take: State of the Air 2015 Think about this: more than 4 in 10 people in the United States live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution. Now think about this: in the time it took to read that, you probably took 4-5 breaths. Makes you want to know what was in that air, doesn't it? We strongly believe that everyone has the right to breathe healthy air, and that begins with knowing the quality of your air. So for the past 16 years, the American Lung Association has undertaken the "State of the Air" report, which examines air pollution levels across the U.S. This year's report shows encouraging progress, evidence of the success of our long fight for cleaner, healthier air for all Americans. Paired with that progress, however, is evidence of troubling challenges. Both underscore the urgent need to continue to defend the Clean Air Act, which protects the air we all breathe. (April 29, 2015) American Lung Association [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 4/29/2015 - At some point most Americans have (or will be asking themselves), will the GOP fall on the sword of climate denial, like the Whigs did on slavery? This inevitably, this day of reckoning, will occur because we ‘the people’ have to look out for ourselves and we will be forced to ponder: Is someone who doesn’t believe in the science of climate fit to govern? How can we possibly adapt to and mitigate Climate Change if our leaders won’t address reality—a reality that includes many challenges to our ability to adapt? How long can our political system tolerate a great big myth of climate denial at the core of humanity’s identity—a species that has caused and must address Climate Change? The Democratic Party (and the Green Party, for that matter) have a great opportunity to benefit from the GOP’s shooting themselves in the foot over Climate Change and take charge on this mother of all problems. Leaders who leave us unprepared for Climate Change will be held accountable—it’s just the way things are. BTW: If you missed the historic visit last Earth Week by world renowned climate scientist Dr. Hansen and didn’t hear his talk on the growing threat of Climate Change, you can view the entire talk here. The war on Earth  It is simply baffling, yes? Never mind the testimony of respected scientists. Never mind all the evidence. As we celebrated another Earth Day last week, Republican presidential candidates were fighting - in some cases mocking - efforts to protect the planet. It's particularly baffling given the history of their political party. This is the party of passionate conservationist Theodore Roosevelt, whose leadership led to the creation of six national parks and four national monuments. And as President Obama noted in his Earth Day address, Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency. George H.W. Bush "was the first president, globally, to acknowledge the impacts of climate change and that we needed to do something about it." And yet the declared and presumed Republican candidates for president are not having it. (April 28, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/29/2015 - Actually, it’s not that difficult to understand… warm up the planet and shit happens. Ignoring this reality is maladaptive. Pretending that Climate Change isn’t affecting our lives and our future and going about business as usual is a sign of a species incapable of adapting. And you know what that means…. New Study Links Weather Extremes to Global Warming The moderate global warming that has already occurred as a result of human emissions has quadrupled the frequency of certain heat extremes since the Industrial Revolution, scientists reported Monday, and they warned that a failure to bring greenhouse gases under control could eventually lead to a 62-fold increase in such heat blasts. The planetary warming has had a more moderate effect on intense rainstorms, the scientists said, driving up their frequency by 22 percent since the 19th century. Yet such heavy rains could more than double later this century if emissions continue at a high level, they said. “People can argue that we had these kinds of extremes well before human influence on the climate — we had them centuries ago,” said Erich M. Fischer, lead author of a study published Monday by the journal Nature Climate Change. “And that’s correct. But the odds have changed, and we get more of them.” (April 27, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/29/2015 - All of humanity, regardless of their affiliations, must play a critical role in solving Climate Change. Catholics can play “decisive role” in solving climate challenge Burning coal, oil and gas will create “existential risk” for billions warn Vatican’s top science academies in historic call for action The world’s 1.2 billion Catholics should help mobilise public opinion and funding to help poor countries access green sources of energy. Two of the Vatican’s leading bodies, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, made the call during a climate conference in Rome on Tuesday, attended by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. (April 28, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/28/2015 - I know, this sounds like a complainer, but what percent of the buildings lit at night are NYS owned? A ‘Lights Out Initiative’ is probably a good idea, but how can shutting off a minuscule amount of lights with no regard to actual bird migration flight routes (because this program is for a state-owned buildings and so these building were not built with bird migration routes in mind) make any difference. Will this program stimulate a vast of amount of buildings in the bird’s migration flight routes do the same thing and actually make a difference? I know, we should be happy somebody is at least doing something, but what if the ‘something’ has absolutely no effect—except to make convenient motions that don’t ask anyone to do something that would actually matter? Gestures are not going to fix our environment, especially during Climate Change. These gestures may actually make things worse because then the environmentalists and the public are mollified into thinking we have actually done something—and so folks don’t do anything more.  New York State Lights Out Initiative ALBANY, N.Y. -- State buildings across New York are flipping their lights off to help local bird migration. Governor Cuomo announced the New York State Lights Out Initiative Monday. State-owned buildings will turn off all non-essential outdoor lighting to cut down on light pollution during peak migration hours.The Governor's office said up to 1 billion birds nationwide have died in collisions after they became disoriented by excessive lighting. (April 28, 2015) Time Warner News Rochester [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 4/28/2015 - How do you get more Americans to understand Climate Change more accurately? Keep it simple. Simple Messages Increase Understanding of the Climate Change Consensus We are pleased to announce a newly published article: Simple Messages Help Set the Record Straight about Scientific Agreement on Human-Caused Climate Change: The Results of Two Experiments. The article was written by Teresa A. Myers, Edward Maibach, Ellen Peters, and Anthony Leiserowitz in the journal PLoS ONE. Human-caused climate change is happening; nearly all climate scientists are convinced of this basic fact according to surveys of experts and reviews of the peer-reviewed literature. Yet, among the American public, there is widespread misunderstanding of this scientific consensus. In this paper, we report results from two experiments, conducted with national samples of American adults, that tested messages designed to convey the high level of agreement in the climate science community about human-caused climate change. (April 7, 2015) Yale Project on Climate Change Communication [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/28/2015 - We’ve heard of muzzling “Climate Change” in Florida and Wisconsin, but how about New York? How often do your public officials mention Climate Change?  How often do our political parties even mention this worldwide crisis amongst themselves that must be planned for by our leaders? Unless pressed to prove that they are addressing Climate Change, our leaders, even in New York, seem more likely to push this crisis under the rug—until, of course, massive heat waves and flooding, demonstrate that our public official will be held accountable if they haven’t planned for what is coming with Climate Change. In order to address Climate Change, we must make sure our leaders are leading on getting our public health and infrastructure updates ready for the changes. NYS Senator Stands Up for Climate Science in the Face of Ignorance Senator Brad Hoylman, ranking member of the NY State Conservation Committee, called out the Senate majority for ignoring the term 'climate change' in their Earth Day Resolution. Speaking in the senate chambers, he implored the legislative body that "we be mindful as public policy makers of the solemn responsibility to be good stewards of our planet." Holyman said “There is an oversight in the resolution, which I feel obligated to point out, that there is no mention of climate change. The two words 'climate change' do not appear in the resolution.” (April 25, 2015) Re- ENERGIZE Buffalo [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/28/2015 - If we are to have a prayer of addressing Climate Change we are really, really going to need our forests intact. Forests hold our soil and keep it healthy. Forest have already proven themselves as carbon sinks (as long as we keep them in the ground), which is to say Mother Nature is already billions of years ahead of us on geoengineering ways to capture and keep carbon in the ground. 11 of the World’s Most Threatened Forests WWF report identifies regions at risk for catastrophic deforestation by 2030 and what must be done to save them The Amazon, central Africa, the Mekong. These are home to some of the world’s most species-rich, culturally significant and stunningly beautiful forests. But large segments of these forests, and many others around , may not be there in 15 years if we don’t do more to save them. A new WWF report identifies the 11 regions of the world where most forest loss is expected to occur by 2030 if we do not change the way we address major forest threats, such as mining, agriculture, illegal logging and road construction. WWF believes that stopping deforestation now is much more strategic and cost-effective than dealing with the consequences of deforestation later. And we need to stop deforestation in all of the 11 hotspots, not just some of them, so that we avoid pushing deforestation out of one country and into another. (April 27, 2015) World Wildlife Fund [more on Plants in our area]

  • 4/28/2015 - ACTION: Should Rochester folks pay for a prolonged life of a very old nuclear power plant? There are much better ways to spend our money on Energy. Sign petition and come to one of the public meetings: "Critical Issue & News on Ginna Nuclear Plant! Public Service Commission hearings will be held Wednesday and Thursday nights next week @ 4 and 7 pm. The hearings will the best opportunity for voicing opposition to the stagering costs of the Ginna nuclear plant bailout. The hearings will be at City hall and at the Webster rec center. Speak Out! Attend an upcoming public hearing Town of Webster Wednesday, May 6, 2015 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Town of Webster Parks & Recreation Building 1350 Chiyoda Drive Webster, NY 14580   Rochester Thursday, May 7, 2015 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. City of Rochester, Council Chambers Rochester City Hall 30 Church Street Rochester, NY 14614 No Ginna Bailout (Comment Form And Info Page) 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. Use the form below to submit a comment Comments will be submitted to the New York Public Service Commission and and your comment will become part of the public record. We have provided sample text, which you can use or edit to your liking. --from AGREE New York, Alliance for a Green Economy

  • 4/27/2015 - Important local environmental events and more:  - Penfield Green Initiative May 2015 Newsletter The Voice for Penfield’s Environmental Assets   Environmental/Social Justice on a Grass Roots Level Check Facebook

  • 4/27/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: Why does Solar Power work in Rochester? Ans: Because the sun shines here as it does everywhere else. Why solar energy works in Rochester Does solar energy really work here? Yes. Light from the sun is made up of tiny particles known as photons. When photons strike the silicon semiconductors in solar cells, they knock loose electrons from silicon atoms. These electrons, properly harnessed, form an electric current. Any amount of sunlight, even if filtered by clouds, includes photons that can generate some amount of electricity. "If you can see light, then there's energy there we can use," said Susan Spencer, a solar-cell scientist who heads ROCSPOT, a nonprofit working to foster solar energy in Rochester. (April 25, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 4/27/2015 - But there’s one thing we can all agree on: It’s hard for the press to keep quiet on Climate Change with Pope Francis on the job. Our media, still incapable (except The Guardian, of course), needs someone or something to breathe life into issues that for the press don’t immediate pander to the public’s carving for novelty. Climate Change is the issue of our times and our media cannot seem to keep their attention on it long enough to inform the public of Climate Change’s ramifications. In this regard, Pope Francis’s work on keeping the need to address Climate Change in the news is invaluable. Pope Francis forces the issue on climate change High-profile climate researchers, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and church officials will gather at the Vatican next week for a conference on climate change. It’s Pope Francis’s latest effort to raise the profile of the issue among churchgoers, and it’s sure to make some Catholics hot under the collar. Since taking the helm of the church in 2013, Pope Francis has stated repeatedly that Christians have a moral obligation to lower carbon emissions. He has spoken frankly about how global warming hits poor, marginalized communities hardest. And he’s announced his intentions to issue, as early as June, a teaching document known as an encyclical which is set to merge the science and theology of climate change. He’s done these things in spite of angry rhetoric from conservative-leaning Catholics. (April 24, 2015) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/27/2015 - For those who think Climate Change should only addressed from a bottom up, or market-based, solutions, they are forgetting that many of the actions needed can only be provided by governments—including military involvement in the conflicts caused by social instability that’s baked into Climate Change. There are many other roles—working with other countries, making laws, setting limits, and changing the economic playing field—that only governments can do. So the COP21 Paris talks must not fail. The window of opportunity is closing. Time Passes. Laurent Fabius: Our Climate Imperatives PARIS — Toward the end of this year, France will host the 21st United Nations climate conference. The aim? To reach a universal agreement that will limit the rise in average global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius, compared to the pre-industrial period, by the end of the century. There is real hope for success, but it is an enormous task. As the president of the conference, known as COP21, my role will be to facilitate an ambitious compromise between 195 states (196 parties when we include the European Union). In the negotiations, the differences among countries that are at distinct stages of development necessitate differences of approach. Yet strong common interests unite us. One example is the impact of climate change on our shared security. (April 24, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/27/2015 - Some say 2C is too high; some say 2C is too hard, but COP21 Paris talks are probably the Last Chance for humanity to bring down GHSs to safe levels. Many are ignoring the critical Paris talks, including our local media, and many are thinking that Paris will fail and we must not put too much faith in this conference or the whole structure of the world climate talks will fall apart, and many are thinking that 2C is too high and arbitrary a limit, which will have catastrophic consequences, and many think even trying to reach 2C will wreck our economies—but without the world coming together soon to address Climate Change soon, there is little chance that any scheme to fix this worldwide crisis will work at any level. The COP21 Paris talks should be in the news, including a worldwide dialogue about this critical conference. Climate change: Paris 'last chance' for action Scientists are calling on world leaders to sign up to an eight-point plan of action at landmark talks in Paris. The key element is the goal to limit global warming to below 2C by moving to zero carbon emissions by 2050. The UN meeting in December is "the last chance" to avert dangerous climate change, according to the Earth League. Scientific evidence shows this can be achieved, but only with bold action now, says an alliance of climate researchers from 17 institutions. (April 22, 2015) BBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/25/2015 - Garbage from NYS does have to go someplace but not in local landfills. That someplace is reduce, reuse, recycle, compost. Just because our region has low tipping fees, doesn’t mean we should become the Mecca for our state’s garbage. As a matter of fact, landfills should be eliminated by a change of attitude about waste. If the market-based approach to solving our environmental problems were working, we would not be throwing all this valuable stuff—minerals, resources, recyclables, stuff that can be reused for others—into a great big stinking hole that oftentimes leaches toxins into our ground and methane gas into our too warm atmosphere. Read: “Stop Trashing the Climate” and let’s get off our addiction to a kind of consumerism that require us to dig deeper holes in our ground to bury precious resources. Landfill and garbage dumps, what were we freaking thinking? Ontario County Landfill filling up  Ontario County - Every day thousands of tons of garbage are dumped at the Ontario County Landfill. Officials said at this rate, the landfill will reach capacity by next year. County officials are working on obtaining additional permits from the DEC to expand. The expansion calls for an additional 40 plus acres at the landfill. "The garbage has to go somewhere," said Casella Regional Engineer Jerry Leone. "This is a highly regulated facility. The landfill expansion will provide another 13 years of space." (April 24, 2014) WHAM [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 4/25/2015 - Much of the public’s needless confusion on the worldwide crisis of Climate Change is due to lack of clarity of terms. Philosophy holds for our leaders and the public a great promise in clarifying the terms used in science so that Climate Change can be expressed in a way that will help address this issue. So much time trying to get the public on board in engaging this crisis has been wasted because without a proper education on the language of science, is has been easy for those with their own agenda to sew doubt and confusion into the public’s mind. In order to understand the existential crisis we are in, we must be on the same page with science, understanding the terms, how science works, and what damage misinterpretations can lead to.   Removing the Rubbish: Consensus, Causation, and Denial The fact of anthropogenic global warming, for instance, bears existential and ethical implications that require our immediate attention [2], yet misconceptions must be clarified in order for informed public discourse to advance. In what follows I address three common confusions that are often encountered in public and political discourse regarding climate change. (April 24, 2015) Dr. Lawrence Torcello in Scientia Salon [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/25/2015 - This is pretty funny, good luck Heartland Institute on instructing Pope Francis on morality. This ‘think’ tank must be desperate indeed. Conservative thinktank seeks to change Pope Francis's mind on climate change Heartland Institute wants to lobby Vatican before pope delivers a moral call to climate action this summer A US activist group that has received funding from energy companies and the foundation controlled by conservative activist Charles Koch is trying to persuade the Vatican that “there is no global warming crisis” ahead of an environmental statement by Pope Francis this summer that is expected to call for strong action to combat climate change. The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based conservative thinktank that seeks to discredit established science on climate change, said it was sending a team of climate scientists to Rome “to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science”. (April 24, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/25/2015 - On the other hand, Mother Nature doesn’t think humanity’s way of evaluating her services means shit to a tree. If you think the only way we can measure the worth of our environment is through the lens of a market-based reality (which is not a reality at all but a manmade algorithm), we will never address Climate Change. Much that needs to be addressed to solve Climate Change cannot be fixed by assigning a price to it. We still cannot find a way to reduce GHG emissions through a financial scheme because we will need a worldwide agreement on that to make those market-base schemes work. We cannot find a way to quickly clean up the Brownfields we have created and so our governments must orchestrate that. We cannot maintain the long-term health of our soil because it’s more financially cheaper to throw tons of manmade fertilizers (which not only pollute our water, but are contributing nitrous oxide to warm up our atmosphere even more) to ‘make’ soil work. We are making a great big mistake thinking that evaluating the worth of our environment into monetary terms—it’s a very dangerous illusion. If there were a market-based solution for Climate Change, it would have already worked by now. It’s not, temperatures are rising beyond dangerous levels. The World’s Oceans Are Worth Trillions Of Dollars, Report Finds The oceans are worth at least $24 trillion in services such as fishing, tourism, shipping and carbon sequestration, but “urgent action” is needed if the world wants to maintain that ocean economy, according to a new report. The report, published this week by the World Wildlife Fund, states that if the oceans were a country, they would be the world’s seventh-largest economy in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And, according to the report, even those measurements of the oceans’ value are likely underestimates: the report didn’t take into account essential ocean services such as oxygen production, temperature stabilization, and cultural services in putting a value on the ocean. (April 23, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress

  • 4/25/2015 - Wildlife are excellent indicators of Climate Change, but their existence is also our environment. When they are in trouble, we are in trouble. History lessons highlight climate threat to birds Evidence from the Ice Ages helps show how vulnerable bird populations are to change driven by human-induced global warming. Climate change can seriously alter the numbers and the prospects for survival of the planet’s living things, according to researchers in Sweden and China. The scientists’ findings are the result of taking a long, cool look at the big picture – rather than the still-sketchy evidence from climate change now – of what happened to bird populations during the Ice Ages. (April 25, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]

  • 4/24/2015 - On April 14th at the Mauna Loa Observatory CO2 levels hit 404.67ppm. The window is closing. Time passes. 350ppm is safe; it was 280ppm in the mid-1800’s and ten thousand years before that. If you aren’t watching anything else about the Climate Change issue, you might want to watch this part per million of CO2 figure that continually rises because if this figure does not come down soon, nothing else will really matter. It is in this way Climate Change is the mother of all problems. A Fearful Glance at the Global Carbon Stores — Weekly CO2 Values Hit 404 Parts Per Million a Little Too Soon (Big jump in weekly CO2 averages during second week of April bring 2015 concentrations into the range of 404 parts per million a month earlier than expected. Image source: The Keeling Curve.) Over the past decade, annual rates of atmospheric CO2 increase have remained in a range of around 2.2 parts per million (ppm) each year. It’s a geologically blinding pace of increase driven by a human carbon emission on the order of around 11 billion tons each and every year. Primarily driven by fossil fuel burning, this massive dumping of carbon into the atmosphere is steadily filling up a number of the world’s key carbon stores. (April 14, 20150 RobertScribbler [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/24/2015 - Fracking in NYS isn’t over until it’s over: Let it be over—forever. And get moving on renewables now. DEC chief: Final fracking report is ‘literally at the printer’ New York is about to take its next step toward a ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing. A several-thousand-page document that will lay out the rationale for prohibiting fracking is “being printed as we speak,” state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said Wednesday. That report, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS, has been nearly seven years in the making and will pave the way for Martens to issue an order keeping large-scale fracking from moving forward at the current time. (April 22, 2015) Politics on the Hudson [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/24/2015 - Considering the prospect where the Arctic “changes from a carbon sink to a carbon source,” our leaders must MAKE Paris a success. This tipping point, where the CO2 fuse sets off the methane bomb, may well mean that very soon our ability to mitigate Climate Change at all will be impossible. All we are going to be able to do once the permafrost starts belching up a GHGs far more potent than CO2 is attempting to adapt to heat waves, biodiversity collapse, rising seas, and more—which will ultimately be intolerable. Time passes. Thawing Permafrost: the Arctic's Slow, Giant Carbon Release As the Arctic melts and organic matter decays, vast stores of carbon in the permafrost will be released triggering an unstoppable feedback system. Permafrost—a vast, frozen subsurface layer of soil—covers nearly a quarter of the land in the northern hemisphere. It contains centuries worth of carbon in the form of plants that have died since the last ice age but remained frozen rather than decomposing. Now scientists are learning that the "perma" part of its name may no longer be accurate. (April 23, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/24/2015 - Top emitters encourage the world not to expect a damn thing from Paris because that would be very inconvenient for them. However much the science of Climate Change demonstrates that even the 2C (levels of CO2 above pre-industrial averages) goal of Paris will invoke catastrophic damage to our environment, our social order, and our economies, it is our present economy that the top emitters seem to be only concerned about. The idea that no matter how real, how catastrophic Climate Change will be, we must not do anything to slow down our economy (which caused Climate Change in the first place) is an insane assumption. According to NASA today, our CO2 level is 400.06 ppm (which is way above the 280ppm during the mid-1800’s) and it is this data, not preserving the system that got us in this fix in the first place, that should be the top concern of our leaders as we move towards the COP21 Paris Treaty in December. We and our leaders must keep our eyes on the prize and the prize is lowering GHG emissions to a sustainable level—which is probably about 350ppm. Time passes. Don’t judge Paris on level of carbon cuts, say top emitters Lasting regime for climate action more important to global deal than upfront pledges, Major Economies Forum concludes  Leading economies don’t think the success of a Paris climate change summit should simply be measured on the level of greenhouse gas cuts it manages to deliver. Instead it should be assessed on whether it sets up a durable international regime which allows for regular and clear assessments of how countries are cutting carbon emissions. That’s one of the more interesting outcomes from the Major Economies Forum, a meeting held on 19-20 April involving the US, EU, China, India among other major carbon polluters. (April 24, 2015) Responding To Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/24/2015 - Because of their incredibly vast exposure to the public it’s nice that meteorologists are finally ‘getting’ Climate Change.  Much unnecessary and prolonged avoidance by this profession has probably caused millions of Americans to doubt the reality of Climate Change—because it has been the doubting and dismissive weather reporters who the public sees every night on TV, not climate scientists.  So, it’s nice that meteorologists have come around, but how about some accountability? How about these folks now bending over backwards messaging the importance and consequences of Climate Change so the public can connect the dots between what is happening to our climate and what our leaders are doing to plan for and alleviate the warming? Weathercasters See the Light on Climate Change A new survey shows 90 percent are now convinced the phenomenon is real. Many people grow attached to their favorite TV weather forecaster. He or she is, after all, an important person in viewers’ lives, providing impactful information on a daily basis. So it was disheartening to read a 2010 article in the Columbia Journalism Reviewthat revealed a startling disconnect between climate scientists and on-air meteorologists. A survey of 121 such broadcasters—who are, for many people, a primary source of information regarding the natural world—found that 29 percent did not believe climate change is really happening. But there's hope: A new national survey of 464 broadcast meteorologists suggests many minds have changed in the past five years. It reports more than 90 percent have concluded that climate change is real—and of that group, 90 percent believe human activity is at least partly responsible for this phenomenon. (April 22, 2015) Pacific Standard [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/24/2015 - On the US’s watch, will the rapidly warming Arctic get protected or simply become “ripe for exploitation”?  Climate concerns take top billing as the US pivots to the Arctic The world’s Arctic nations will gather in Iqaluit, Canada on Friday, where Canada will formally transfer chairmanship of the Arctic Council to the United States for a two-year term. As global warming drives the Arctic into a near unrecognizable state and melting sea ice sets the stage for showdowns over international shipping and access to oil and gas reserves, the United States is taking hold of the body’s gavel at a challenging and critical time. While the Arctic was viewed as an inhospitable wasteland just decades ago, climate change has reshaped perceptions of the world’s northernmost region as an area ripe for exploitation. (April 23, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/23/2015 - 800 folks in Rochester, NY listen to climate scientist Dr. Hansen speak on Climate Change. Young people must listen too. James Hansen's Earth Eve message: Get busy A vivid memory from the summer of 1988 is standing in the dusty yard in the afternoon, staring at the sky and trying to will a cloud to appear. It never worked. Like much of the nation, western New York was suffering through torrid, dry weather that summer. The drought was all anyone talked about. We wrote about it a lot. I interviewed some experts and did a long story about what was causing the dreadful drought. As are most such undertakings, the story was inconclusive. Some blamed El Nino, the cyclical warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean that the public was just then beginning to learn about. Others pointed to a factor that was unknown to most laymen, a thing called the greenhouse effect. (April 22, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/23/2015 - Actually, until the legal language of the ban on Fracking in NYS is nailed down, this forest drilling ban may not be ‘anticlimatic’. Read “Anti-fracking groups demand details of fracking ban” Now that we know more about state of Climate Change and the consequences of that (especially for those who attended the local talk by Dr. Hansen on Tuesday) more than just the anti-Fracking folks will be in a “tizzy” if NYS falls back to a fossil fuel infrastructure that will only make Climate Change worse.  We’ll be glad that at least this newly formed Hemlock-Canadice State Forest will be legally protected from Fracking. We encourage those reporters who did attend the Tuesday talk by Dr. Hansen to report on Dr. Hansen’s findings about Fracking and Climate Change as this world expert on climate would be enlightening—and perhaps put us all in a tizzy. No drilling in Hemlock forest, state plan concludes The first-ever management plan for the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest has been completed, though its most notable provision is now largely anticlimatic. The state forest, in Livingston and Ontario counties about 25 miles south of Rochester, surrounds the only two undeveloped Finger Lakes. Unspoiled Hemlock and Canadice have supplied drinking water to the city of Rochester for nearly 140 years. The state forest is 6,848 acres in size, a figure that includes an additional 164 acres of adjacent hardwood forest that are being added to the state holdings. (April 22, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/23/2014 - Of course, the heat doesn’t disappear just because it goes into the ocean any more that you disappear when playing peek-a-boo with your baby. The heat going into our oceans is warming up the oceans and dramatically affecting plants and animals and ocean currents and raising up the water levels and intensely affecting our weather patterns. Soon, perhaps this year when the ocean winds calm, some of that heat in the oceans will spew up into our atmosphere and, like a parent playing a game with their baby, suddenly appear from around the corner. Looking for Global Warming? Check the Ocean We tend to focus on land surface temperatures, because, well, that’s where we live. And human greenhouse gas emissions have ensured their steady rise since the start of the Industrial Revolution, punctuated by 2014 setting therecord for hottest year. But surface heat is but a fraction of the climate change equation. Only 7 percent of the heat being trapped by greenhouse gases is sticking around in the surface and atmosphere of the planet. The other 93 percent? That's ending up in the ocean, though some scientists expect some of that heat will eventually find its way back to the surface and trigger even more warming. (April 21, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/23/2015 - We know that Rochester, NY’s climate is getting warmer (despite today’s freeze); what we don’t know is what local officials are doing about it. What is our region’s government doing to plan for more heat, more public health issues due to warmer climate, and more damage to our infrastructure due to extreme weather and heat? Time passes. U.S. Warming Fast Since 1st Earth DaySome States Warming at Twice Global Rate It’s been 45 years since the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, and since that time, average temperatures have been rising across the U.S. This Climate Central interactive graphic shows a state-by-state analysis of those temperature trends. Average temperatures across most of the continental U.S. have been rising gradually for more than a century, at a rate of about 0.13°F per decade between 1910-2014. That trend parallels an overall increase in average global temperatures, which is largely the result of human greenhouse gas emissions. While global warming isn’t uniform, andsome regions are warming faster than others, since the 1970s, warming across the U.S. has accelerated, previously shown in our report The Heat is On. Since then, every state’s annual average temperature has risen accordingly. On average, temperatures in the contiguous 48 states have been warming at a rate of 0.45°F per decade since 1970. (April 22, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/23/2015 - Earth Day 2015: Maybe this is the moment we’ll wake up to the obvious that climate deniers are unfit to lead any government. Not only can’t Climate Change get edited out, Climate Change must be the lens from which all leaders make all their decisions. Time passes. Obama: Climate Change 'Can't Be Edited Out' President uses Earth Day remarks to call out Republican politicians and make climate denial a political liability. Standing in Everglades National Park Wednesday, President Barack Obama called out Republican politicians for their continued denial that climate change is happening, is man-made and will pose serious risks to millions of Americans in coming decades. Climate change "can't be edited out," Obama said. "It can no longer be omitted from the conversation, and action can no longer be delayed." The comment was in reference to Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott's decision to ban state employees from using global warming-related terms in official communications, according to published reports. (April 22, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/22/2015 - Solar Power in Rochester, NY is growing and becoming a Climate Change solution. More please. What is the New York Sun Initiative? It’s Earth Day today and that makes many people think about going green. Have you ever thought about getting solar panels for your home or business? There's a new program from Governor Cuomo's office called the New York Sun Initiative. (April 24, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 4/22/2015 - More communities support the idea that a massive increase in gas storage near Seneca Lake is insane. The last thing we need in our region during a time of Climate Change is a great big buildup of another fossil fuel infrastructure when we should be dramatically increasing renewable energy. Skaneateles joins movement against gas storage plan on Seneca Lake Gas Free Seneca announced Friday that the town of Skaneateles has become the 23rd municipality in the Finger Lakes region to formally oppose gas storage on Seneca Lake. Gas Free Seneca announced Friday that the town of Skaneateles has become the 23rd municipality in the Finger Lakes region to formally oppose gas storage on Seneca Lake. Skaneateles, in Onondaga County, joined others in passing resolution opposing the plan that includes Ontario and Yates counties, the town and city of Geneva and the city of Rochester. (April 20, 2015) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 4/22/2015 - If you are one of the few in Rochester, NY who missed climate scientist Dr. Hansen’s talk in Rochester, NY, here’s a peek. Word is that the entire talk on Climate Change will be made available online. I’ll try and get that posted as quickly as possible. At the end of the talk, Dr. Hansen was asked just how much of this present Climate Change crisis is human-caused. Dr. Hansen quipped (and I paraphrase) something like 102% because we would be in a cooling period if humanity wasn’t spewing GHG emissions into our atmosphere. Climate Change Expert Calling On Youth To Step Up To Global Problem Studies say the earth is heating up. For some that's not a big deal at all, but for others, our atmosphere is priority number one.  At their annual forum, Rochester's Sierra Club welcomed Dr. James Hansen, a bit of a rock star among climate change scientists. You can check out his Ted Talk here.  He's been battling congress since the 80's to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Now he's trying to reach out to a new generation of activists.  "There's a danger that in the lifetime of young people, we will have sea level rise of several meters, which would mean all coastal cities would be come dysfunctional," explained Dr. Hansen at the forum held at Monroe Community College.  (April 21, 2015) RochesterHomePage.net [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/22/2015 - Rain barrels, even in our water rich region, are critical in helping to stop water pollution and wastewater overflows. As Climate Change produces more extreme rainfall per rainfall event, the potential to quickly overwhelm our wastewater system (even though we have a great big backup tunnel to help store that overflow until it can be treated by the wastewater treatments plants, and dump raw sewage into our streams, rivers, and lakes) is getting higher as our region warms. Rain barrels can help keep too much rainwater from hitting impermeable surfaces (our roads and parking lots) at once and going into our storm water drains, flooding our streets and cellars, and spewing waste into our waters. So, get a rain barrel. Bryant: Want a free rain barrel? You should To celebrate Earth Day, I will give a free rain barrel to one lucky reader. I wanted to decorate one side of the barrel with a scene of children frolicking in Lake Ontario, splashing each other with clean water. Sturgeon and walleye would swim nearby, smiling about their good health. But I can't paint, so I ask the reader to imagine such a scene. The purpose of these barrels is to decrease the amount of pollution that is carried into our streams, rivers and lakes when it rains. (April 21, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/22/2015 - Realistically, the road to COP21 Paris has to be paved with good intentions and kept promises of lowered GHG emissions. Market-based solutions, which got us in this climate Change fix in the first place, won’t cover the myriad solutions that can only come from top-down governmental oversights: like cleaning up our waters, like preparing and educating the public for the changes coming; like many of the things including environmental regulations, military assistance, and disaster recovery that only governments can provide. The public doesn’t like more taxes or more governmental regulations, but when all else fails (as it has with an amoral market-based ethos) governments are the insurers, rescuers, regulators, keepers of the laws, and worldwide structure of the last resort. COP21 Paris must not fail because the public thinks there an easier, or more profitable way to change everything so that we put our way of life on a road to stability. The public must understand the importance of COP21 and back it to the fullest extent. There are many ideas about solutions about how to solve Climate Change but because Climate Change is the mother of all problems, if those solutions are not orchestrated from a worldwide agreement to get on the same page, these ‘solutions’ will languish in a mad chorus of merchants attempting to pander to the public’s most convenient preferences—until, of course, governments have to step in and somehow take charge. The political answer to addressing Climate Change is not to find a balance between those candidates who bow before the market place as the answer to everything—but to kick the bums out. Any candidate that doesn’t believe in the science of Climate Change is unfit for duty. United on the Road to Paris—and Beyond 2015 is shaping up to be the year when the world takes action on the global climate crisis. Business leaders, non-profit organizations, NGOs, national governments and citizens all over the world are mobilizing in the lead-up to December’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris (COP21), where we hope national leaders will sign a strong emissions reductions agreement. (April 21, 2015) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/21/2015 - Dr. Hansen spoke with editorial board of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Wonder if we’ll see more Climate Change reports. It would be great if all local Rochester, NY media editorial boards examined their local coverage of the worldwide crisis of Climate Change and began more investigative reporting—especially determining if our local leaders were doing their job and protecting the public from the consequences of Climate Change by proper planning. Our media should ask: What measure are our leaders taking and what effect is that having? Time passes. James Hansen: Carbon fee and dividend plan needed The best way to cut into the atmospheric release of greenhouses gases is to create a carbon fee that creates an incentive to switch to renewable energy and gives people the means to pay for it, famed climate scientist James Hansen said Monday. The fee would be imposed on carbon-based coal, oil, natural gas and gasoline, which would push up the price of energy and various consumer products. All proceeds of the fee would be returned to citizens in monthly "dividend" payments, providing money to cover higher prices and to switch to green energy sources and products that didn't depend on fossil fuels. (April 20, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/21/2015 - Our wastewater treatment plants across New York State are probably passing a lot more untreated pollution than toxic microbeads. There are many pollutants (including pharmaceuticals) that must be passing through our wastewater treatment plants because these plants were not designed for all the kinds of pollutants we put into our lake waters. We must update all our wastewater treatment plants to handle the quantity and variety of wastewater that is coming with Climate Change and more extreme (heavy rainfall events) weather. A.G. Schneiderman Issues Report Showing Microbead “Toxic-Sponges” Systematically Passing Through Treatment Plants Across New York State First-Of-Its-Kind Study Reveals Presence Of Microbeads In 74% Of Samples Taken From Wastewater Treatment Plants Across State Microbeads Entering Waters Across State From Lake Erie To Long Island Sound NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has released a first-of-its-kind report demonstrating that microbeads, tiny plastic abrasives that are added to many beauty and personal care products, are systematically passing through wastewater treatment plants across New York State and entering bodies of water. (April 20, 2015) NYS Attorney General [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/21/2015 - Excellent interview with Dr. James Hansen about Climate Change on “Connections” in Rochester, NY yesterday. Hear podcast. Connections: Climate Change With James Hansen James Hansen in our guest, and he's considered one of the most significant voices in the call for action on climate change. In fact, Hansen's testimonybefore a U.S. Senate committee in 1988 is considered to be a turning point, an event that pushed the public to viewing climate change as an immediate threat. He was the Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and is highly regarded for his research. Hansen is in Rochester for several events; he'll speak at the Little Theatre on Monday night, and then he'll address a SRO crowd Tuesday night as part of an eventput on by the local chapter of the Sierra Club. (April 20. 2015) Connections [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/21/2015 - There’s a new climate in this year’s COP21 Climate negotiations; Slackers will be outed. Australia’s climate plans probed by UN partners World’s biggest emitters call out inadequate pollution-cutting targets in questions submitted through the UN Australia has come under scrutiny for unambitious plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions. China, the US, Brazil and the EU have probed the country’s resolve to cut CO2 by 5% from 2000 levels by 2020 through its UN forum. That is just half the pace of US proposals, as almost 200 nations prepare to roll out pledges in the coming months towards a new global climate deal. And Climate Action Tracker estimates the country is on track for a rise of 12-18%, not even meeting its goal. Since prime minister Tony Abbott scrapped its main environment policy, a carbon tax, analysts say Australia will struggle to curb emissions. (April 20, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/20/2015 - We need to ensure Bomb Trains are safe and we need to know why there are so many frigging many of them recently. Here’s the question, though not as sexy as reporting about dangerous bomb trains, which should be addressed: “The amount of volatile crude oil being shipped by rail has gone up exponentially in the last few years.” Why is there so much more oil being shipped through New York State and what connecting is there is to increase in fossil fuel shipments and Climate Change? More Solar Power and more Wind Power should be contrasted with more fossil fuels in a time of Climate Change that is caused by our burning of fossil fuels for energy. New York State Exposed: Are railroads being held to the highest safety standards? There are a number of railroad tracks and trains in our area. So is enough being done to make sure those trains and the materials inside are safe? Maybe you've noticed them -- long trains carrying those oil tankers. They roll through town several times a day. Some of the crude oil being transported has proven to be volatile if a train derails. In our New York State Exposed report we’re asking if the railroads are being held to the highest safety standards. (April 20, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/20/2015 - Why is the Northeast so frigging cold in winter and the West so freaking hot? Climate Change; it’s complicated. Scientists Pore Over Warm West, Cold East Divide From blooming flowers to twittering birds, the signs of spring are popping up and the miseries of winter are becoming a distant memory for many. But not for some climate scientists. The curiosity of a growing group of researchers has been piqued by the tenacious temperature divide that has separated East from West over the past two winters as a wild zigzag of the jet stream has brought repeated bouts of Arctic air and snow to the East and kept the drought-plagued West baking under a record-breaking dome of heat. (April 15, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/18/2015 - But nary a word about whether “$20 million …for infrastructure improvement projects...” will include Climate Change adaptations. Even though some of the most important adaptations to Climate Change will be how we fix and upgrade our infrastructures for more extreme weather and heat, we don’t mention the critical link between these fixes and the worldwide crisis of Climate Change in Rochester. Even though this is detailed in local climate studies like the NYSERDA ClimAid report. This neglect in our media and government is all very odd because for all the talk about addressing Climate Change by groups, governments, and business, it is at the point of getting our infrastructure ready for what’s coming (beyond the usual maintenance) that addressing Climate Change matters the most in the short term. And yet we do not talk about this in Rochester. In Portland, Oregon where they have a Climate Action Plan, they talk about it a lot—as it’s critical. Why don’t we connect the dots with our infrastructure and Climate Change in Rochester? City to receive some $20M for capital improvements The city of Rochester will receive more than $20 million in capital improvement aid, funds that will be used for infrastructure improvement projects and other upgrades. The funding was announced Thursday by Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, and comes through the state Assembly’s capital funding allocation in the 2015-16 state budget. (April 16, 2015) Rochester Business Journal 

  • 4/18/2015 - If you cannot make it to hear Dr. Hansen speak at Rochester Earth Day forum, listen on radio or following podcast 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm on Monday, April 20th : WXXI (PBS) 1370 AM Connections with Evan Dawson Radio Show. Evan’s guest for an hour will be Dr. James Hansen. Call in with your questions. More on Earth Week 2015

  • 4/18/2015 - However little thought you may give to the melting of the Arctic, it’s going to have enormous ramifications on our lives. Our weather will change, what we eat will change, our oceans will rise, Climate Change will get worse—jeopardizing our future. Our leaders must lead on Climate Change. Our leaders must adapt our infrastructures for more extreme weather. Our media must reflect this new reality and help us evaluate our progress on addressing this crisis. Time passes. The Arctic is ‘unraveling’ due to climate change, and the consequences will be global We often hear that climate change is radically reshaping the Arctic, a place many of us have never visited. As a result, it can be pretty hard to feel directly affected by what’s happening up in a distant land of polar bears, ice floes and something odd called permafrost. A new booklet from the  National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council wants to change that. Synthesizing much past academy work on the Arctic region, the booklet– being released just before the United States assumes the chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council later this month — blazons this message: “What Happens in the Arctic Doesn’t Stay in the Arctic.” (April 16, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/18/2015 - Are your media reporting on the progress of humanity’s ability to curb GHGs at the COP21 Paris Conference? If not why not? How can we possibly plan our future if we don’t plan on having one? Climate Change is a crisis that needs to be acted on and we, the people, need to know if our leaders are actually going to do what it takes to bring down our greenhouse gas emissions. If our media isn’t keeping us informed on the crisis of our age and our ability to address it, why would we listen to them? The COP21 Paris Conference is coming up in December. How close are we to having a successful treaty on bringing down GHGs and funding the Green Climate Fund, whose purpose is “is to make a significant and ambitious contribution to the global efforts towards attaining the goals set by the international community to combat climate change.” Time passes. Climate deals make 2015 ‘biggest year since 1945’, says UN envoy  Need to update development goals and finalise global CO2 pact make 2015 most important in 70 years, says Mary Robinson  The year’s packed climate action agenda made it the most crucial since World World Two, Ban Ki-moon’s top emissary said on Thursday. Pending agreements over sustainable development goals, climate finance and the content of a pact to replace the Kyoto treaty meant 2015 was “the biggest year since 1945”, according to UN special climate envoy Mary Robinson. It’s the year greenhouse gas emissions must peak to stay within humanity’s maximum allowance to stop temperatures rising 2C above pre industrial levels. (April 17, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/18/2015 - I know, this is getting old: It’s getting warmer, no matter how much we try and put it out of our minds and treat Climate Change as a pariah. The relentless warming is a maddeningly consistent trajectory that moves on despite humanity’s inability to focus on the particulars. The particulars are the thing that will actually bring down our greenhouse gas emissions—anything else is fiction. 2015 Hottest Year to Date, Could Top 2014 Record By the reckoning of the three main agencies that track global temperature, 2015 has so far been the warmest year in more than a century. Coming immediately after the hottest year on record, the ranking serves as a reminder of how much the globe’s overall temperature has risen thanks to the ever-growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. With the year only a quarter through, it’s difficult to say definitively how 2015 as a whole will turn out. But with an El Niño event currently in place that could help keep temperatures at record or near-record levels for the remainder of the year, 2015 may be poised to eclipse 2014’s newly minted record, though climate scientists are cautious on such pronouncements. (April 17, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/18/2015 - Today we understand that our energy use includes a moral, environmental, and investment equation. The days when we can merely switch on a light and forget about where that energy came from and what effect that has on our existence are gone. Thinking we could power our lives without thinking about our lives and the lives of others was a dream world. Oil Majors Face New Pressure to Disclose Climate Risk to Investors Investors holding $2 trillion in assets ask regulators to require transparency a day after 98% of BP shareholders demand similar information. A $2 trillion group of investors will ask regulators on Friday to force oil and gas companies to provide more disclosures about climate-related risks to their businesses. (April 17, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/17/2015 - Rochester, NY’s leaders must demonstrate their commitment to addressing Climate Change by coming to Dr. Hansen’s talk this week. Our greatest hope in Rochester, NY is that our local leaders and the folks who will be most affected by Climate Change will meet with world renown climate scientist and activist Dr. Hansen during Earth Week. Remember: “Earth Week in Rochester is not just for environmentalists” What message would Rochester be sending if only the choir showed up, and no mayors or executives, or people who cannot attend because they are too busy at a job where they cannot make a living wage? If Rochester wants to be taken seriously as a community that understand and is willing to address Climate Change they must demonstrate that willingness. Dodging Earth Week by our leaders and officials and not informing those who will feel the worst of Climate Change consequences—heat waves, flooding, public health issues—to come to this public demonstration of concern would put Rochester on the map as a climate denier, as a community not preparing its citizens for the future.  Make sure your leaders come to Dr. Hansen’s talk and demonstrate their leadership on this worldwide crisis. Climate scientist James Hansen proving a big draw here When the local Sierra Club chapter first approached renowned climate scientist James Hansen about speaking to the group's annual forum in Rochester this Earth Week, he wasn't particularly enthused. While he often speaks publicly about the threat posed by global warming, Hansen told the Rochester group that appearances like the one they offered left him a bit cold. Talking to environmental groups, he said, was like "preaching to the choir," chapter chair Peter Debes recalled. Then Debes told Hansen that the Sierra Club chapterhad already decided to broaden their outreach and invite people from outside the environmental movement to the forum. (April 16, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/17/2015 - This report, where emissions of methane from the oil and gas sector rose to the top in 2013, wreaks havoc with the natural gas as bridge fuel stance. We should skip all forms of fossil fuel for energy and go straight to renewable energy even if this reality-strategy wreaks havoc with the fossil fuels’ portfolio. That’s if we want a sustainable future. Methane Leaks from Oil and Gas Wells Now Top Polluters The oil and gas industry surges past cows as top U.S. methane emitter In 2012, cows overtook the oil and gas industry as the largest methane emitters (EnergyWire, Feb. 25, 2014). Now, bovine emissions have fallen back to second place. In 2013, emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and the primary component of natural gas, from the oil and gas sector rose to the top spot. That's despite fewer wells being drilled that year, according to U.S. EPA's greenhouse gas inventory released yesterday. (April 16, 2015) Scientific America [more on Climate Change and Fracking in our area]

  • 4/17/2015 - As of April 10, 2015 the Green Climate Fund, where developed nations step up to the plate for developing nations, we’ve reached 1.6% of the goal. That’s pretty pathetic. The goal is to help make the COP21 Parris Climate Treaty in December of this year work by helping the developing nations keep their greenhouse gases down while trying to develop and sustain themselves under the onslaught of Climate Change consequences from the developed nations. Check here to see who’s been naughty or nice: Status of Pledges and Contributions made to the Green Climate Fund Status Date: 10 April 2015 A total of 33 governments made a pledge to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to date, including 8 representing developing countries. The objective is for all pledges to be converted into contribution agreements within one year from the time at which they are made. The combined pledges and contributions made to the Fund are indicated in the table below. GCF’s initial resource mobilization (IRM) period continues to be in progress, and the Fund accepts new pledges on an ongoing basis. (April 10, 2015) Green Climate Fund [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/17/2015 - Addressing Climate Change is about planning—adapting our infrastructures for more extreme weather—and economic planning. Are your investments based on sound predictions of the future, or delusional thinking that includes energy options that will attempt to continue to warm the world? Big U.S. investors push SEC for oil industry to detail risks of climate change Calpers, the largest American public pension fund, and nearly 60 other institutional investors will ask the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday to require oil and natural gas companies to publish detailed analysis of the risks posed by climate change to their business models. The letter, also signed several U.S. state treasurers, asks SEC Chair Mary Jo White to require oil producers to publish "meaningful, substantive carbon asset risk disclosures," much in the way they already disclose information on factors outside their control, such as commodity and currency price swings. Some oil companies provide general information already about how much they could lose if climate change worsens and regulation or cultural shifts reduce consumption. This letter seeks concrete details about how they reached those conclusions. (April 17, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/16/2015 - What if “Republicans, oil-funded think tanks and climate contrarian scientists” are right and addressing Climate Change is Unconstitutional? What if it’s against the law to stop Climate Change because it would hurt the fossil fuel industry and upset those making billions of dollars from heating up the planet? What if everyone who cared about our environment (our life support system) just went away and gave the deniers and those making a great big profit, free reign to do whatever they wanted? What if there were no attempts for a living wage, no liberals, no taxes, no environmental regulations, no scientists, nobody whatsoever thwarting the desires of those wanting it all, to have it all and totally ignore the laws of physics, biology, and ecology—not to mention their own humanity? What a wonderful world it would be for them—for about a week I suspect before for the shit hit the fan. Humans. Ya gotta laugh. Obama climate plan comes under fire in Capitol Hill hearing Republicans, oil-funded think tanks and climate contrarian scientists tell Congress US carbon cuts should be stopped  US carbon cutting plans were slammed as circumventing its Constitution and harming business today by a hawkish congressional panel. In a sign of the stiff opposition the White House will face in the lead up to a proposed UN global warming pact this December, critics lined up on Capitol Hill to brand its policies unworkable. (April 15, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/16/2015 - I think, first, Americans didn’t believe in Climate Change, now they believe it is hopeless—with no ‘trying’ stage in between. It took a long time to get Americans to believe what scientists were saying about Climate Change because the media wasn’t doing their job, because high-profile deniers were sowing doubt (as in “Merchants of Doubt”, and because our politics went wacky over this issue. Then, as the science became clearer and 97% of climate scientists confirmed that Climate Change is happening more American started to believe in this crisis—and then mostly (after thinking about it) have given up. They don’t want to hear about it because it is so mind-numbingly awful. But Climate Change is only mind-numbingly awful if we don’t make a real effort to address it. We need to have a stage in the Climate Change crisis where we make a worldwide effort to actually address this issue before we just give up and do nothing. We should do something first, then give up—which we and our kids won’t do because adapting to Climate Change is baked into our nature even if it’s hopeless. Just ask those early humans who perished before us. They did “not go gentle into that good night”. What Americans Think About Climate Change—It's Complicated Like most everything else: It ultimately comes down to what state and county you live in. We can say America as a whole believes certain things about climate change, but it's more accurate to say America believes many things about climate change, and those beliefs depend on where people live. There are significant differences between states in how people view the issues, and differences within states as well. The maps in the slideshow above were released by the Yale Project on Climate Communication, which together with the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication has conducted 12 national surveys of climate change attitudes going back to 2006. They're the first climate opinion maps at a county and congressional district level. (April 13, 2015) Fast CoExist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/16/2015 - An update: How’s that worldwide effort to reduce GHG’s on the road to COP21 Paris going? Looks like when we do the math, present promised reductions of CO2 emissions for COP21 Paris Climate Treaty puts us at 3–4°C warming by the end of this century.  Which is to say, we won’t bake ourselves as thoroughly and as quickly as if we did completely nothing to address Climate Change—but almost. Anything over 2°C is bad, and many climate scientists think even 2°C is delusional (we are already in dangerous territory), but at our present rate of commitment, we won’t end all life, just make it really, really miserable. If target confirmed, Japan would join Russia with an “inadequate” climate pledge, putting world on path to 3–4°C warming Press release, 15 April 2015 – Japan could be able to meet its (as yet unofficial) 2030 emissions reduction target of 20% below 2013 levels by 2030 without having to implement any new policies, the Climate Action Tracker said today. The target, released late last week to Japanese media, but not yet officially announced, would represent an emissions reduction of 11% below 1990 levels in 2030—far from the Japanese Government’s stated aim of moving to a low carbon economy. Under its new and comprehensive methodology for tracking the fairness of Government action on climate change, the CAT has assessed this draft as “inadequate”: if all countries adopted this level of ambition warming would likely exceed 3–4°C in the 21st century. (April 15,2015) Climate Action Tracker [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/16/2015 - Many of the solutions for addressing Climate Change come with issues like moral hazards for more energy, radiation, etc. Tress are perfect. Even clean energy isn’t perfect because it still continues endless growth and a growing man-made infrastructure that disrupts our environment. Nuclear power, though clean, is dangerous. But growing trees, maintaining our forests and the soils that maintain them, are one of the perfect solutions to Climate Change—as long as we keep them in the ground. Forests can soak up a third of carbon emissions Report commissioned by Prince Charles’s charity says protecting tropical forests could enable them to absorb billions of tonnes of the Earth’s emissions of carbon. Looking after the world’s tropical forests would be worthwhile in its own right, for the sake of their human and animal inhabitants and their wider effects on the natural world. But researchers say it would also have a significant bonus. Properly cared for, the forests could cancel out between a quarter and a third of the planet’s carbon emissions. (April 11, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/15/2015 - I commend Jeremy Moule and Rochester City Newspaper on this Dr. Hansen-coming-to-Rochester article and years of attending to the issue of Climate Change. No other media in the Rochester, New York region has tried to connect the local dots between Climate Change and this worldwide crisis. There is a great hope that promoting Dr. Hansen’s visit to Rochester on Earth Day will accelerate media attention and public concern on this worldwide crisis--and finally get Rochester’s attention. The Sierra Club’s website says this about Dr. Hansen’s talk “Pre-Registration Admissions are sold out, but there will be a some extra seats in the Theatre plus a small overflow room with live-streaming of the action in the Theatre.” But you can find out more about Rochester Earth Week 2015 and a talk by Dr. Hansen on WXXI’s “Connections” on this page of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition: ROCHESTER NY EARTH WEEK 2015. There are a lot of events coming with Earth Week 2015, please demonstrate that you care about Climate Change and bring a ‘non-environmentalist’ with you to one of the many programs. Victory over climate change  Former NASA scientist James Hansen has warned about global warming for decades. We still aren't listening. James Hansen sat in front of members of the US Senate and told them that the Earth is warming and that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are to blame. Back in 1988. Hansen was director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies at the time and had been studying global warming and the greenhouse effect since the 1970's. Scientists had already identified and warned of the link between global warming and carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. But Hansen delivered one of the first blunt, high-profile declarations. (April 15, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/15/2015 - Twitter is hardly the blame for Climate Change; that charge goes to human frailties. It would be great if our social media could alter our tendency to shout at each other from inside our silos, from behind bumper-stickers slogans, and help dispense the overwhelming evidence from science and personal experience that Climate Change is happening and so we need to plan. The answer is not to give up on social media, but to tweak it so that facts overrule loud misinformation. Use social media to accelerate the news and events and solutions to Climate Change and forget about trying to change the folks who have nothing better to do with their lives than thwart the rest of us from addressing the worldwide crisis of Climate Change.  “You cannot teach a pig to talk and it irritates the pig” can be said for arguing with a climate denier hell bent on a bug-eyed zealotry for nonsense. Twitter failing to bridge gap between climate activists and sceptics Opposing groups as far apart as ever says new research based on tweeting habits of those in climate change arena  The new age of twitter and social media has failed to break down barriers between climate activists and climate sceptics – in fact it may just have made matters worse. New research published in the journal Global Environmental Change shows both groups are ardent tweeters, but rarely follow what the others have to say. (April 14, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/15/2015 - Considering their impact on public attention, it’s critical that TV weathercasters are finally coming around on Climate Change. For the many, many folks who won’t believe climate scientists, or their teachers, or their friends, on Climate Change, they will listen to their weather reporters. And considering that weather rules our lives (no baseball game, or cookouts, if it’s storming, or no school if there’s a blizzard), it is amazing how many are focused on the weather channels but don’t seem to project that concern to the future weather—and changes in the present. Weather patterns (like heat waves, which kill more people over the long run than any other weather event by far) need to be anticipated before they come so they don’t kill so many people—like the 1995 heat have in Chicago that killed over 700 folks. I’m reading “Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago”, by Eric Klinenberg and if you think you know heat waves, you don’t know heat waves. Climate Change is coming with a lot of heat waves and we’d better figure out how to handle them. A couple of opened fire hydrants just won’t do the trick. Broadcast meteorologists increasingly convinced manmade climate change is happening TV weathercasters are more convinced than ever climate change is happening and that human activities are a major contributor suggest the results of a new report. More than 90 percent of 464 broadcast meteorologists who responded to a 2015 survey agree climate change is happening and, of those, 74 percent believe human activity is at least half responsible, states “A National Survey of Broadcast Meteorologists About Climate Change: Initial Findings”, from the George Mason University (GMU) Center for Climate Change Communication. These numbers represent about a 10 percent increase from survey results published by GMU in 2011 when 82 percent of respondents agreed global warming was happening and, of those, about 65 percent felt human activity was at least half to blame. (April 14, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/15/2015 - First, New York State bans Fracking and now we’re moving up on Smart Grids. Is our state going to be an energy leader during Climate Change?  There’s also this “Cuomo followed that with another announcement this week that the state will invest $160 million to help expand larger wind farms, fuel cells, biomass power plants, biogas and small hydropower projects across the state.” New York’s Smart Grid Research May Shape U.S. New York State learned a big lesson after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power to more than 8 million residents and did billions of dollars in economic damage to the New York City metropolitan region: The city and its utility infrastructureare highly vulnerable to climate change-influenced extreme weather and rising seas. With that lesson in mind, the state is aiming to get ahead on adapting to climate change by modernizing and integrating renewables into its power grid and making its infrastructure better able to withstand extreme weather. And, New York is likely to do that in a way that influences smart grid development in the rest of the country, experts say. (April 10, 2015) Climate Central [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/14/2015 - Steve Curwood, host of “Living On Earth”, has demonstrated for a long time what excellent environmental and Climate Change news coverage looks (sounds, as it’s radio) like. Sign up for the free ‘Living On Earth” podcast and stay informed about environmental issues and especially Climate Change. Living On Earth Host Says The Time To Act On Climate Change Is Now The host of a nationally broadcast show on the environment says society doesn't have a lot of time left to take strong action in dealing with climate change. Steve Curwood, who hosts the radio program Living on Earth, is speaking  Monday night  at 7:00 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  He says we are facing a climate emergency, and he believes we only have a decade or two to make the kinds of changes that are necessary. (April 13, 2014) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/14/2015 - The question is not whether Climate Change will bring the GOP down, it’s whether a climate denier is fit to govern. Increasingly, our political elections are going to revolve around addressing Climate Change because it is the mother of all problems. Even politicians getting big bucks by the fossil fuel industry will have quite a battle trying to convince the voting public that Climate Change isn’t important—when it is. Climate Censorship Gains Steam in Red States Following Florida's lead, Wisconsin becomes the latest state to squelch its employees' words, and work, on a topic Republicans are trying to avoid. While plenty of people found humor in the recent news that officials in Florida and Wisconsin are censoring state workers' ability to talk about, much less work on, climate change, other states are not necessarily laughing. In fact, several political and environmental experts told InsideClimate News they could use it as a model to imitate. (April 13, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/14/2015 - Keeping C02 concentrations 2C above preindustrial averages is the goal of COP21, but how close are we to 2C? Rationally, anything remotely close to 2C should be avoided at all costs, but it looks like humanity still wants to simply watch the temperature gauge and place bets. Two degrees of warming closer than you may think It's taken a hundred years of human-caused greenhouse emissions to push the global temperature up almost one degree Celsius (1C°), so another degree is still some time away. Right?  And there seems to have been a "pause" in warming over the last two decades, so getting to 2C° is going to take a good while, and we may have more time that we thought. Yes? Wrong on both counts.   The world could be 2C° warmer in as little as two decades, according to the leading US climate scientist and "hockey stick" author, Dr Michael E. Mann. Writing in Scientific American in March 2014 (with the maths explained here), Mann says that new calculations "indicate that if the world continues to burn fossil fuels at the current rate,global warming will rise to 2C° by 2036" and to avoid that threshold "nations will have to keep carbon dioxide levels below 405 parts per million", a level we have just about reached already.  Mann says the notion of a warming "pause" is false. (February 6, 2015) Climate Code Red [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2015 - Who cares what ALEC thinks about New York State’s economic outlook? NY banned Fracking and moves toward renewable energy. An organization that only sees fossil fuels as a way to the future is not a measure of our economic health in a time of Climate Change. Those states that begin preparing their infrastructures for more extreme weather and retrofit their energy to clean energy are going to be much better off than those who pound for more fossil fuel in a time of warming. ALEC, the fox in the henhouse, tell us that New York is bad. Good Grief. ALEC report ranks N.Y. worst for economic outlook The American Legislative Exchange Council has ranked New York as the worst state for its economic outlook. Rich States, Poor States ranked the 50 states in terms of their economic competitiveness. Utah ranked first on the list. (April 10, 2015) Rochester Business Journal [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2015 - Excellent interview with McKibben on Climate Change. Still, NPR should rehire its Climate Reporting Team. Check this out: “NPR Guts Its Environment And Climate Reporting Team, Becomes ‘Part Of The Problem’”.  To do something about that go here: “Sign the petition: Stop NPR from gutting its climate coverage.” Bill McKibben: lessening climate change "probably the biggest challenge and choice that human beings have ever had" Colder winters. Melting ice caps. Stronger storms. The climate is changing, but America still produces and consumes massive amounts of fossil fuels. Climate change activist and author Bill McKibben said it is not too late to do something about it. McKibben spoke at SUNY Canton in upstate New York, last week. He sat down with Sarah Harris to talk about how America is grappling with the warming planet. (April 13, 2015) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2015 - With Hillary out in front on Climate Change, it’s going to be tough for media, pundits, and challengers not to talk about it. In this great chat (An ‘Ask Me Anything’ Chat on Climate Science and Coverage) about Climate Change coverage recently with journalist Andrew Revkin of the NYT and major climate scientist Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, Oppenheimer mentioned that he thought the most dramatic change in the public discussion on Climate Change was President Obama making it a major part of this last two years as President. However much the media, the talking heads on all these crazy radio and TV programs, and even these candidates who don’t believe in Climate Change, want Climate Change to just go away, with Hillary Clinton putting this issue out in front of her agenda, the next presidential elections is going to be about Climate Change—no matter how much all those who have been trying to shut up out this crisis want it to go away. The Arctic melts, the rapid rise in CO2 concentration (as I write it is 399.5 ppm and that’s up from 280ppm in the mid 1800’s) continues unabated, and extreme weather increases, but this doesn’t seem to move the public, the media, or the pundits from talking about everything but Climate Change. But a major contender for the office of President of the U.S. is going to make keeping this issue under the rug impossible. Hillary Clinton to make climate ‘top of agenda’ for White House run  Presidential bid could be first in US history to make global warming key election issue, highlighting differences with Republicans Tacking climate change and investing in clean energy would be a priority for a Hillary Clinton presidency, according to the man running her bid to become the next US president. John Podesta, who recently quit his job as advisor to President Barack Obama, tweeted this would be “top of the agenda” for Clinton as she prepares her run for the White House. (April 13, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2015 - Even if glaciers are not even on your bucket list of things to visit, the rapid melting of these great land feature must alarm you. If you’re not alarmed at the rapid melting of glaciers around the world, you don’t get Climate Change. We have greatly disturbed the climate we thrived in for the last 10,000 years and the rapid melting of these glaciers is clear demonstration that what 97% of climate scientist have been saying about this crisis is true. Climate Change is about planning, not whether you care about glaciers. Still you ought to be able to appreciate the signs that Climate Change is happening. Canada’s glaciers to drastically shrink by 2100 The Canadian Rockies, one of the world’s most picturesque mountains, could be almost ice-free by 2100 new research has shown. The study, published in Nature Geoscience, shows that by 2050 there will be widespread ice loss across Western Canada’s glaciers, and then by the end of the century ice cover will have virtually disappeared. The scientists analysed three areas in Western Canada, the coast, the interior and the Rockies. Together the regions cover 26,700 sq km of mountains, with a ice volume of around 2,980 cubic km. That’s an area similar in size to the amount of ice in the Himalayas or the whole of South America. (April 10, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2015 - Today’s question boys & girls: How can you lead a nation if you don’t believe in science? Ans: magical thinking. It’s really, really hard to believe that anyone would even want to run for President of the United States while having to maintain day-after-day that Climate Change is a great big hoax, when the rest of the world and 97% of climate scientists believe otherwise. Even if you really, really believe that Climate Change isn’t true, it is. And our next president is going to have to lead on preparing the nation for the consequences of this warming (which are already occurring). How much fun can that be for someone who doesn’t even understand or can’t (because of political beliefs) the science behind this worldwide crisis?  Tom Steyer Is Taking On the Climate Deniers Running for President (April 7, 2015) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/13/2015 - At the end of the day, though, our policymakers should be leading on Climate Change not putting their finger to wind. Because Climate Change is science at the core, even if every man, woman, and child in the US didn’t believe in Climate Change our leaders should still lead on Climate Change by educating, planning, and preparing. Of course, studies on folk’s attitudes towards Climate Change in any given region can help our leaders understand the level of education and preparation necessary, but opinion data shouldn’t rule how a leader leads on this reality-based crisis. Climate Change Beliefs, Parsed on a Local Level, Paint a Valuable Portrait New study creates thin slices of data on people's attitudes toward climate, could be a boon for policymakers. A new statistical model grinds national poll data about climate change as finely as any pepper mill, and it can predict the public's climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy preferences right down to the level of each state, county and congressional district, its authors say. But the arrival of this Big Data tool may not produce many big surprises. (April 6, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/11/2015 - Honor these folks at the Fast Forward Film Festival in Rochester, NY on April 17 & 18 by viewing their environmental films. Fast Forward Film Festival announces top picks A dozen films were top picks out of 96 entries in this year’s Fast Forward Film Festival. (April 11, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 4/11/2015 - Earth Day is coming up soon. How will this critical anniversary be transformed in a warming world? Back to the streets? It seems strange that even though the moral, scientific and engineering issues have been solved by experts going into Climate Change that we still have to fight tooth and nail to address the obvious. Humans. Ya gotta laugh. Bill McKibben on Earth Day and the Power of Protest Earth Day is typically seen as an occasion to take action to help the environment, to ride your bike to work or pick up litter along rivers and streams. But environmental writer turned activist Bill McKibben tells host Steve Curwood we need to take to the streets together to solve the massive problem of climate change. (April 10, 2015) Living on Earth [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2015 - It’s absurd to argue that Pope Francis’s moral message on Climate Change is somehow counteracted by “the right of poorer countries to get out of poverty using fossil fuels”. First, more greenhouse gas emissions spewed into our atmosphere by poor countries (or any countries for that matter) will result in a catastrophic rise in warming. Secondly, poor countries can lift themselves out of poverty using the Green Climate Fund, a project (part of the COP21 deal) by developed countries to compensate the developing countries for using up the developing countries’ share of the atmospheric and oceanic commons. This argument that poor countries have the right to get out of poverty by using fossil fuels is a blatant shill for the fossil fuel industry. The Green Climate Fund is a mechanism to help the poor without using fossil fuels and places the burden of morality and costs on the developing nations. To ignore the moral imperative for the developed countries to adequately fund the Green Climate fund for clean energy to lift the poor out of poverty and instead and try to make a moral argument for using more fossil fuels is craven. The Power and Limits of Pope Francis’s Climate Change Campaign (April 10, 2015) DOT Earth | New York Times

  • 4/10/2015 - Just a little peek: 5-min video clips on your environmental messages April 17 & 18 at the Fast Forward Film Festival in Rochester, NY. Even though our local media has been shy about informing the public about our environment and Climate Change, you haven’t been. Check out some contenders for the FFFF prizes and be a part of this historic effort to get the public engaged on messaging the importance of our environment—our freaking life support system.

  • 4/10/2015 - ROCHESTER NY EARTH WEEK 2015 From FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2015 to Monday, April 27th a ‘week’ of environmental events in Rochester, NY.  Including, Fast Forward Film Festival, Pachamana’s Awakening the Dreamer-Changing the Dream Symposium, Climate Science 101, with Dr. Susan Spencer, Dr. Hansen on WXXI (PBS) Connections with Evan Dawson Radio Show, Science in Film Series Future Weather screening at the Little Theater, Dr. Hansen at Featured talk at Sierra Club Forum at MCC, RISK–Rochester Introducing Sustainability to Kids, Climate Activism 101, “Ask and Activist” panel discussion, An Interfaith Celebration of our Planet: Renewing Our Commitment to the Earth and its Inhabitants through Prayer and Song, Talking With Kids About Climate Change, and Citizens’ Climate Lobby Open Meeting. Much is going on this Earth Week; demonstrate that you care about our environment and addressing Climate Change.

  • 4/10/2015 - Although their leaders may fail to lead on Climate Change, eventually their people will rise up and insist that their leaders act. Climate Change is not a belief system; it is a clear and present danger to everyone in every country. The public cannot be held hostage to an ideology that fails to address this real worldwide crisis. Thousands set to join biggest climate march in Canadian history This Saturday (11 April), thousands will gather in Quebec City for what is anticipated to be the biggest climate march in Canadian history. Merely three days ahead of interprovincial meetings on climate and energy, this mass mobilization expects to draw crowds of all ages from across the country, including environmental groups, students, unions, First Nations, families, health advocates, public figures and grassroots organizers. (April 10, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 4/10/2015 - It is at the level of insurance costs that many who don’t believe in Climate Change will finally feel its effect. For some, Climate Change is only an environmental issue and for them environmental issues are not important to them, only the god almighty dollar. Some even say that if we address Climate Change we will wreck our economy and so we should keep to business as usual--regardless. Ya gotta laugh at this absurdity. Mother Nature doesn’t give a hoot about our man-made economy and when the glaciers melt the water will rise and when the water rises shoreline property owners will feel the pinch from their insurance companies. How Flood Insurance Could Drive Americans From Coasts As salty waters ride the fossil fueled escalator of sea level rise into American streets and homes, rising flood risks may force coastal neighborhoods — if not entire cities — to be abandoned in the decades ahead. “You can’t build a seawall along the entire Eastern Seaboard,” Jessica Grannis, a climate adaptation specialist at Georgetown Climate Center, said. The challenges of shoreline retreat loom large as the latest round of hiccupping reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program take effect this month. (April 7, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/10/2015 - Climate Change is going to dramatically affect public health issues so preparing the public for should take top priority. Ignoring this issue and not preparing will produce doom and gloom. For those who don’t like to think about Climate Change because it’s so gloomy, it is precisely because they don’t think about it and make sure that their leaders take action that will cause the doom and gloom. Climate Change is about planning. Video: Researcher warns of climate-driven public health impacts in TEDx talk. University of Michigan's Valerie Tran didn't mince words at a recent TEDx talk.  "Climate change is our generation's greatest threat to public health," she said bluntly in the talk given last month.  Tran, pursuing dual master's degrees at the university's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and School of Public Health, cites weather-driven changes to pollen and allergens, decreased water availability, increased natural disasters, extreme temperatures and changes in disease transmission as some of the most pressing issues. "Climate change is going to affect all of us. Everyone in here," she said to the room of 1,300. (April 9, 2015) The Daily Climate [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/09/2015 - Rochester, NY’s ‘Clean Sweep’ is coming up on May 2nd. This very successful City clean-up program is great time to demonstrate your love of Rochester. Clean Sweep - 2015 Help Rochester sparkle at Clean Sweep The City of Rochester is partnering with the Rochester Red Wings to host a one-day, all-city Clean Sweep, starting 8 a..m. Saturday, May 2 at Frontier Field (map). The first 4,000 volunteers participating in Clean Sweep will receive a free ticket to that day’s baseball game, which starts at 1:05 p.m. that afternoon. A light breakfast will be provided along with a food voucher at the game. Free parking will be available. Groups and individuals may register to volunteer for Clean Sweep using the online form below,  or by calling 311 (428-5990 if calling from outside of city limits).  Additional details of this year’s Clean Sweep will be announced at a later date. Rochester, NY.

  • 4/09/2015 - Educating safe bicycling and accommodating more bicyclists at our schools and work places means more folks will help reduce GHGs, critical to addressing Climate Change in our area. Not to mention if more students and teachers bike, instead of drive, it helps alleviate the critical shortage of parking spaces. This is a great program. Bike school  The University of Rochester has made serious efforts to encourage its staff, faculty, and students to bike. It offers access to bike cages and showers at the medical center, for example, and it's improving its reservation system for its campus bike-sharing program. The school's efforts earned it an honorable mention in the Bicycle Friendly University awards by the League of American Bicyclists last year. The designation recognizes that a campus is becoming more accommodating to cyclists, but still has work to do. On April 14 and 15, the New York Bicycling Coalition will hold bike- commuting workshops at UR to further encourage cycling among the campus community. The workshops are open to the public, too. (April 8, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 4/09/2015 - Constantly hearing “faster than expected” when attributed to the consequences of Climate Change is getting old. It’s getting old because it is a constant reminder that business as usual isn’t working and that our worst case Climate Change predictions by scientists are coming true. ‘Faster than expected’ (like our permafrost is melting faster than expected and releasing methane gas faster than expected) sounds alarmist, but it’s now it’s reporting as usual because ‘faster than expected’ is what happens when you do nothing to prevent Climate Change and the consequences keep getting worse.  Humans. Ya gotta laugh. Why This New Study On Arctic Permafrost Is So Scary Scientists might have to change their projected timelines for when Greenland’s permafrost will completely melt due to man-made climate change, now that new research from Denmark has shown it could be thawing faster than expected. Published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, the research shows that tiny microbes trapped in Greenland’s permafrost are becoming active as the climate warms and the permafrost begins to thaw. As those microbes become active, they are feeding on previously-frozen organic matter, producing heat, and threatening to thaw the permafrost even further. In other words, according to the research, permafrost thaw could be accelerating permafrost thaw to a “potentially critical” level. (April 8, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/09/2015 - Few political decisions are more craven and reckless than forcing a climate denial mandate. What we’ve learned from history is that when a political party continues to hold to an insane and evil ideology (as the Whigs did with the expansion of slavery), they stop being a political party. For Some Wisconsin State Workers, ‘Climate Change’ Isn’t Something You Can Talk About Discussing climate change is out of bounds for workers at a state agency in Wisconsin. So is any work related to climate change—even responding to e-mails about the topic. A vote on Tuesday by Wisconsin’s Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, a three-member panel overseeing an agency that benefits schools and communities in the state, enacted the staff ban on climate change. “It’s not a part of our sole mission, which is to make money for our beneficiaries,” said State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, a Republican who sits on the board. “That’s what I want our employees working on. That’s it. Managing our trust funds.”  (April 8, 2015) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/09/2015 - Going to be very tough to hammer out a deal at COP21 Paris Climate Treaty to keep from using all the fossil fuels available. Be much tougher to survive without a deal at Paris. One gets the sense in the new documentary “Merchants of Doubt” that many powerful folks will do everything, including deception, to cloud the science of climate so they can drill and then burn every last ounce of fossil fuel our planet contains. Which will make planet Earth uninhabitable for humanity. If We Dig Out All Our Fossil Fuels, Here’s How Hot We Can Expect It to Get World leaders are once again racing to avert disastrous levels of global warming through limits on greenhouse gas emissions. An agreement may be in reach, but because of the vast supplies of inexpensive fossil fuels, protecting the world from climate change requires the even more difficult task of disrupting today’s energy markets. The White House last month released a blueprint to reduce United States emissions by as much as 28 percent by 2025. The plan lays the groundwork for the formal international climate talks this December in Paris, where the goal is a treaty on emissions that will seek to limit the rise in global temperatures to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. Beyond 3.6 degrees, scientists say, the most catastrophic climate consequences will occur, possibly including the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. (April 8, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2015 - This is what Climate Change preparation looks like: updating our infrastructure. Are your leaders doing their job? If your leaders are not taking the very practical steps to update and get all our infrastructures—water, wastewater, transportation, telecommunications, etc.—prepared for more extreme weather, they are not doing their job. The media should be investigating this aspect of Climate Change and holding our leaders accountable, not avoiding the Climate Change crisis like they have been doing for a long, long time.  Public Works: Preparing Sewage Treatment Plants for Climate Change As Toronto anticipates worse storms and more flooding, Boston's Deer Island wastewater facility has planned for the worst. Boston’s massive sewage treatment plant was built to last, no matter how the Atlantic coast’s climate changes over the next 35 years. Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, on a spit of land in Boston Harbor, handles the effluent of up to 43 communities at a rate of 4.8 billion litres per day. Its sewage holding tanks were built 58 centimetres off the ground—a trifling-sounding adjustment, but just enough to keep the plant safe from projected changes in sea levels through 2050. Completed in 2000, Deer Island was one of the first wastewater facilities in the world to accommodate the predicted effects of climate change, including rising water levels and major storms. The plant also has widened sewage tunnels to increase capacity in case of extreme precipitation—which means there’s a smaller chance that the plant could get overwhelmed, which, in turn, would mean sewage (not only human excrement, but oily, polluted runoff from roads) bypassing treatment and going straight into the ocean. (April 7, 2015) Torontoist [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2015 - Are local TV weathercasters in Rochester, NY doing their job on Climate Change? It really matters. “Unlike climate scientists, TV meteorologists have unparalleled access to their communities…” Climate Matters "Research shows that meteorologists are trusted messengers on climate change. The majority understand that climate change is real and that the science of climate change needs to be communicated to the public.  Unlike climate scientists, TV meteorologists have unparalleled access to their communities. Through Climate Matters, Climate Central provides regularly produced content on the relationship between weather and climate. Our team of data analysts, meteorologists, climate experts, graphic artists and journalists create graphics, text, animations, videos and research to aid TV weathercasters in presenting science-rooted climate information in clear, concise and relevant ways. " Climate Central

  • 4/08/2015 - The US media, especially local Rochester, NY media, has done a poor job on framing Climate Change and it shows. It’s hard to believe just how disengaged the public is on the crisis of Climate Change even at this late date when the science is solid and the need to plan is critical. Do you know what our region is doing to prepare for Climate Change? Do you know if those preparations will have any impact? Wouldn’t it make sense for the media to frame Climate Change as an ailing condition where measures to alleviate that condition were assessed to see if these measures were actually solving the problem? If the government said it was addressing Climate Change, shouldn’t the media be checking to see what was being done and if these measure were having any effect? Media coverage of UN climate science reports: why it matters  Is climate change an uncertain science, ideological struggle or opportunity? The way it is framed affects public perception  The release of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should be key moments for policymaker and public engagement with climate change, with the media playing a major role in communicating IPCC findings. But how newsworthy really is the IPCC? And does it receive the sort of media coverage that is likely to increase non-expert engagement? We undertook a study which, for the first time, investigated multiple media (TV, newspapers, social media), multiple countries, and the effect of images, in the communication of the IPCC reports. (March 27, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2015 - Watched “Merchants of Doubt” in Portland. This documentary about the climate denial business must come to Rochester, NY. Featured prominently in this film is Dr. James Hansen, world renowned climate scientist and activist, and his efforts to convince Congress and the public of the need to pay attention to this issue. Dr. Hansen will be speaking in Rochester, NY during Earth Week. “Merchants of Doubt” is so important to watch because much of the public doubt on Climate Change has been sown by those with their own selfish agenda—at the cost of inaction on this critical issue. Climate Change is about planning for a warmer future and we cannot do that if the public is continually thrown into doubt about the critical need to do that.

  • 4/08/2015 - Can we believe that more Fracking studies, more fossil fuel studies, will prove that burning fossil fuels won’t warm the planet or harm our environment? If we are to believe such studies, they had better be done without influence from the fossil fuel industries. Fracking Study on Water Contamination Under Ethics Review Chesapeake Energy paid undisclosed fees to the lead author, whose study was based on water samples provided by the company. Drinking-water wells in Pennsylvania close to natural gas sites do not face a greater risk of methane contamination than those farther away, according to a new study published inEnvironmental Science & Technology (ES&T). But the study is now being called into question because of its methodology and some undisclosed ties to energy giant Chesapeake Energy. (April 6, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/01/2015 - Regardless of where you stand on GMO’s, who in their right mind wouldn’t want their food properly labeled? Right to know it's GMO? The debate heats up on whether the government should require labeling for genetically-engineered foods  Unless you eat all organic, chances are your diet includes a daily dose of genetically modified food. Common foods from potatoes to cheese, corn to rice, and soybeans to sugar are the result of genetic engineering or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Over concern that such foods — that are either grown to tolerate herbicides or to be toxic to certain pests — may be hazardous to health, consumers and advocates are pushing for GMO-food labeling. Legislation now sits now in Albany that would require GMO labeling, and supporters say they are hopeful it will make its way to a vote and pass. “Consumers want to know … and it is good business to let people know,” said Denis Lepel, of Lakestone Family Farm in Farmington. Denis and Trish Lepel own and operate their organic farm on County Road 28. (April 1, 2015) Fairport-East Rochester Post [more on Food in our area]

  • 4/01/2015 - Excitement grows in Rochester, NY as world renowned climate scientist & activist & author, Dr. Hansen speaks on Earth Day. Celebrated Climate Change Scientist to Address Rochester Sierra Club

  • 4/01/2015 - And now a word (see below) from world renowned climate scientist & activist & author, Dr. Hansen who will speak at Rochester, NY on Earth Week. Come to Rochester, NY and meet Dr. Hansen who will speak on “CLIMATE, ENERGY, AND INTERGENERATIONAL JUSTICE” Tuesday, April 21 6:30-8:30pm Where: The Theater (Building 4) at Monroe Community College, 1000 East Henrietta Road (Route 15A) Rochester, NY 14623. Find out more about ROCHESTER NY EARTH WEEK 2015 It’s all FREE, but please Register. Global Warming Hole "Sorry to have disappeared for two months. I was working on a paper. More on it later. For now I only want to let people living in the eastern two-thirds of North America know that global warming is really happening. In fact, 2015 should be the year that stifles discussion of a warming hiatus. A substantial developing El Nino will add to the global warming trend, and should make 2015 easily the warmest year in the instrumental record." Dr. James E. Hansen

  • 4/01/2015 - Obama administration steps up to the plate on Paris climate treaty even though most Americans don’t care and GOP cringes. It’s a strange world where science tells us the world is warming due to our way of life and we must address it but the US public still thinks this issue is dull potatoes (See: “Americans less likely to care a 'great deal' about environmental threats” and the other party, which happens to be leading Congress by the nose, is still holding up its nose on Climate Change.  Time Passes. United States sets official strategy for Paris climate talks The Obama administration on Tuesday published plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, part of a strategy to generate momentum for a global agreement later this year on combating climate change. The formal submission to the United Nations fleshes out domestic measures to be taken and the White House said the U.S. target "will roughly double the pace of carbon pollution reduction in the United States." The U.S. plan cited existing measures such as standards for vehicle fuel economy and improved appliance efficiency to help meet the target, and proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations to cut carbon emissions from power plants and methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. (March 31, 20150 Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/01/2015 - ACTION: Great project. Be a part of Climate Change history. Make COP21 Paris Climate Treaty more transparent. Join our Climate Tracker program on the Road to Paris Join the world’s biggest climate change writing movement for a chance to join the Adopt a Negotiator COP21 team in Paris this year Sign-up now for your chance to see your name in the biggest newspapers in the country; a chance to shape your future; and a chance to join our team in Paris in December! This is a huge year for climate action. Almost every country on earth is in the midst of preparing its national climate action plans before a new global climate treaty is revealed in Paris this December. (March 31, 2015) tcktckteck

  • 4/01/2015 - On the road to the COP21 Paris Climate Treaty all countries “have agreed to hold warming to below 2C. How’s that going? Climate Action Tracker | All countries "Governments have agreed to hold warming to below 2?C.  The focus of emission reduction proposals to be submitted in INDCs during 2015 is for governments to put forward their proposed contributions to a “fair sharing” of effort to move global emissions downward in the period 2020-2025-2030. The Climate Action Tracker rates INDCs, pledges and current policies against whether they are consistent with a countries fair share effort to holding warming to below 2°C. " from Climate Action Tracker [more on Climate Change in our area]