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: Saturday, August 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 - If you love your ash trees, the worst yet to come is Climate Change. Check out this graph from The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)) on the distribution of New York’s forests between 2070 and 2100. There will be almost no ash trees (or elm or cottonwood for that matter) because of Climate Chang in our region. [See graph] Also, in a recent study by Agricultural and Forest Meteorology An International Journal, “Effects of climate on emerald ash borer mortality and the potential for ash survival in North America” the emerald ash borer (EAB) is spreading more quickly because of Climate Chang in our region, “We found that between 1945 and 2012, while some Canadian locations experienced temperatures potentially cold enough to kill all EAB, very few locations in the United States experienced such temperatures”.  With ash trees and many other species in our region, we should probably focus on saving the species we can and learning how to adapt to the loss of those species we cannot save. We should be planning for Climate Change and connecting the dots between the consequences of Climate Change in our region in our media. Learn more about the impacts of Climate Change on our US forests by the EPA “Forests For ash trees, the worst is yet to come Amid summer’s lush greenery, groves of leafless trees are casting a wintertime pall over parts of Chili, Henrietta and Wheatland. That barren look is largely limited to those towns at present — but experts warn it will spread throughout Monroe County in the coming years as more and more clusters of trees infested by invasive ash borers begin to die. “Hopefully when people see the impact in those areas, that will give them an idea of what’s coming,” said Mark Gooding, a forester for the Department of Environmental Conservation in Avon, Livingston County. (August 29, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Plants in our area]

  • 8/29/2015 - Not sure how Sen. Kirk’s Great Lakes Clean Water Bill, S.1586 works, but the fact that billions of gallons of raw sewage are dumped into Great Lakes each year must stop. “An estimated 24 billion gallons of combined untreated sewage and storm water are dumped into the Great Lakes each year. This sewage contributes to hundreds of beach closure, threatens the source of drinking water for more than 30 million Americans, and endangers the environmental wellbeing of the Great Lakes ecosystem.” Coordinated Climate Change action efforts by states and provinces around the Great Lakes are probably the only way we can retrofit outdated waste systems. The Northeast is experiences more heavy rainfall events that our overwhelming our present waste systems and this will get worse. Trying to solve this Water Quality issue around the Great Lakes with ad hoc only local efforts are unlikely to solve this systemic problem with a changing climate and outdated approaches. Kirk's Great Lakes Clean Water Bill, S.1586, Introduced by Bipartisan, Bicameral Illinois Lawmakers Dold, Quigley, Lipinski Sponsor House Bill; 24 Billion Gallons of Raw Sewage, Storm Water Dumped Into Lakes every year U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), along with U.S. Representatives Robert Dold (R-Ill.-10), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.-5) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.-03) introduced the Great Lakes Water Protection Act (GLWPA), which would set a 2035 deadline to end sewage dumping in the Great Lakes, provide clean water for the next generation, and minimize the economic impact beach closures have on local communities every year. An estimated 24 billion gallons of combined untreated sewage and storm water are dumped into the Great Lakes each year. This sewage contributes to hundreds of beach closure, threatens the source of drinking water for more than 30 million Americans, and endangers the environmental wellbeing of the Great Lakes ecosystem. (July 17, 2015) U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/28/2015 - ACTION: Our home environments can be healthy. Help get the word out. This from Elizabeth McDade, Program Manager Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning c/o Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency 1150 University Ave. Rochester, NY 14609 (585) 224-3125 www.letsmakeleadhistory.org "The newly revised Healthy Homes Guides have arrived and I need YOUR help to get this cubical emptied by Labor Day. HELP! If you need some resource guide books or can help distribute Healthy Homes, Healthy Families POSTERS, please contact Elizabeth McDade elizabethmcdade@flhsa.org  (585) 224-3125 Also, feel free to share this link to the Resource Guide book

  • 8/28/2015 - "Genesee RiverWatch is helping to get the word out about High Falls Pedestrian Access: The City of Rochester's public informational meeting for the High Falls Pedestrian Access Improvement Study has been set for Tuesday, September 1, 2015, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM at the LaLuna Banquet Facility at 60 Brown's Race in the High Falls District.   The meeting will be an "open house" format with several stations that display project information and bridge design ideas.  Project consultants, LaBella Engineers and Trowbridge/Wolf/Michaels Landscape Architects, will be on hand along with city staff to answer questions and to solicit public input on the four options being considered for a new pedestrian bridge over the falls as well as other important pedestrian access issues into and through the High Falls District.  Details are posted at the City of Rochester web site."

  • 8/28/2015 - Hurricane Katrina demonstrates that a lack of leadership on Climate Change results in major loss of life, poor and inadequate planning, and the complete collapse of our all infrastructures at the moment of greatest stress. So when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal attempts to hush Obama on connecting Climate Change and Hurricane Katrina, Jindal demonstrates the worse possible lesson from the Hurricane Katrina disaster—that we don’t learn from our misstates, that rather than change to address the worldwide crisis of Climate Change some ideologues will double down on their denial and make the possibility of another Hurricane Katrina much worse.  We need leaders on Climate Change who will prepared the public for a warming world, not climate deniers who are willing to sacrifice the future of their constituents for a view of the world that scientists have proven does not exist. Climate Change is not a “divisive political agenda of liberal environmental activism”; it is reality, where leaders who believe in science are crucial. Jindal Writes Letter To Obama Telling Him Not To Talk About Climate During Katrina Anniversary Visit President Obama is heading to New Orleans Thursday to mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. But there’s one subject Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hopes the president won’t broach in his remarks to city residents: climate change. Jindal, who’s also running for president on the Republican ticket, sent a letter to Obama Wednesday urging the president not to mention climate change during his trip to Louisiana. (August 27, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/27/2015 - Craving for upstate to succeed from New York “Claiming a litany of lost liberty and economic opportunity” is pathetic. The official ban on Fracking in New York State was ruled for reasons of public health, which is to say a preponderance of evidence indicated that allowing Fracking in our state would be a threat to our public health and more. The whole point of having a government is to protect and preserve the rights of everyone under that government—based on the most objective, scientific, and reasonable arguments a democracy can muster. If every time a small group of people who believe they have an absolute right to do what they want with their property decide to break with their government, there would be an infinitely large group of nations of chaos. We are now in a time of global warming, where a critical Paris Summit in a few months will decide whether we as a people can keep greenhouse gases to a safe limit. New York State has stepped up to the plate to reduce greenhouse gases by banning Fracking and increasing renewable energy. Shouldn’t the rights of the majority to have a future prevail over the desires of those who want it all—regardless of the threat more fossil fuels will do have our life support system? It would be nice if the D&C would publish articles on the historic climate summit coming up soon in Paris and how New York’s and Rochester’s role plays out in all that; instead of continually pandering to the fossil fuel industry that won’t give up until they get it all.  Upstate secessionists make their case BINGHAMTON – Claiming a litany of lost liberty and economic opportunity, advocates of upstate secession called Wednesday for a permanent separation of upstate from downstate. The groups assembled for a news conference in downtown Binghamton had a list of grievances they said can be traced to a growing political and cultural divide whose only cure is a divorce from New York City. Those grievances include the state ban on hydraulic fracturing and the passage of the NY SAFE Act. (August 27, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 8/27/2015 - “Our oil addiction wreaks havoc on the climate.” And, on our finances and our investments. What wrong with this picture? Oil means turmoil as world’s markets nosedive | Oil prices have hit their lowest point in over six years, leaving global stock markets crashing and traders in a panic. Fears over China’s economic slowdown, combined with continued pumping for oil despite dropping demand, have caused the volatile commodity’s price to plunge yet again (August 25, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/27/2015 - Will cheap gas undermine our desire to take responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases just before COP21 Paris Summit? Just when a drug addict decides to quit, their drug seller drops the price. Local news heralds the drop in gasoline prices in Rochester and never connects the dots between fossil fuel use and Climate Change. Does the market define our morality? What if we decided to make gasoline account for its true cost? What if we stopped subsidizing the oil companies for billions of dollars each year? Time passes. The cheapest oil ever still won't slow down the clean energy revolution Fair enough. Renewable energy use grew an average of 5% per year during the period from 2001 to 2014, with major growth seen in wind and solar in particular, the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, reported. Renewable energy accounted for nearly 10% of the energy Americans used in 2014 — the highest usage since the 1930s, when many people still burned wood for heat. Yet, just as clean alternatives to fossil fuels pick up speed, they confront a powerful old nemesis: oil, now cheaper than ever. Petroleum prices have plummeted since late summer 2014, declining by more than 60% to a record low below $40 per barrel on Monday, before recovering slightly. (August 26, 2015) Mashable [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/26/2015 - This is code for there is a connection between Climate Change and harmful algal blooms: “The U.S Environmental Protection Agency says a rising number of harmful algal blooms are happening in the United States and worldwide.” Read EPA paper: “Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms “The growing number of harmful algal blooms are another consequence of Climate Change in our region. We must plan for the new normal. Blue-green algae: An unwelcome bloom on Seneca Lake The first confirmed blue-green algae bloom on the lake is getting worse, according to an expert Seneca Lake, the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes, has its first official case of blue-green algae. Confirmation last week of the noxious substance raises a red flag, say local watershed protection experts. According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, algae blooms most frequently occur in nutrient-rich waters, particularly during hot, calm weather. “The appearance of a bloom confirms that the condition of Seneca Lake is deteriorating,” stated Mary Anne Kowalski, president of Seneca Lake Pure Waters Inc. “It is a warning that the problem of nutrients in the lake must be addressed,” Kowalski warned on the organization’s website. (August 26, 2015) Daily Messenger [more on Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 8/26/2015 - When sewage pours into beaches because waste systems are down or overwhelmed is where public officials will be held accountable for adapting to Climate Change in our region. This recent sewage scenario along Honolulu's Waikiki Beach demonstrates that when we haven’t prepared our infrastructures for extreme weather our public officials will be the ones to answer to the public. So when we vote for candidates during up-coming elections, we should we asking ourselves, do they understand the more heavy rainfall events are one of the most dramatic consequence of Climate Change in our region? And will they be preparing the public and our infrastructures for these challenges? Or, will we just want an apology when our trust in them proves unwarranted because they ignored Climate Change? Sewage spill closes Honolulu's Waikiki Beach through Wednesday Public health officials warned beachgoers to stay out of the water along Honolulu's famed Waikiki Beach at least through Wednesday after a 500,000-gallon sewage spill triggered by heavy rain sent wastewater streaming over the tourist spot. The beachfront was closed to the public due to risk of infection after brown, fetid water spewed over the white-sand stretch of shore following a downpour that dumped 4 inches of rain in Honolulu between Sunday night and Monday morning. (August 26, 2015) Reuters [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/25/2015 - If Rochester doesn’t create a major event for Sept. 24th world-wide climate rally, when the Pope talks to Congress, consider Buffalo. The world needs to rise up and let our leaders know that Paris climate treaty must not fail. Rochester should be a part of that, but if we cannot muster the will, let’s us shuffle off to Buffalo. Rise Up for Climate Justice! Rally at Niagara Square on September 24 GETTING TO PARIS AND A SANE CLIMATE AGREEMENT Mobilizing Western New York for Climate and Economic Justice  (September – December 2015)  Rise Up for Climate Justice JOIN US  Rally at Niagara Square on September 24 at 4:00pm  The day Pope Francis speaks to the U.S. Congress Vigil/Fast during Paris Talks, Nov. 30 – Dec 11, 2015  As President Obama said, “Climate Change is not a problem for another generation.”  It's our crisis and we must take action. Unless we act, we will be the generation that failed  all future children of the Earth. WE CALL ON THE PRESIDENT AND LEADERS OF ALL NATIONS TO SIGN AND ENFORCE A UNIVERSAL, LEGALLY-BINDING AGREEMENT  TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUPPORT A JUST ENERGY TRANSITION Before the end of 2015, the people of the world will know if our leaders will take action on the most critical issue of human civilization – climate change. The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris will determine the future for life on   Planet Earth, our common home.  As people of the earth and as citizens of the United States,  We demand CLIMATE JUSTICE. We will make our voices heard in Washington. "A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." -- Pope Francis We gather together, as different segments of our society, for a common, sane, just and compassionate form of human life on earth. For more information and opportunities to participate/volunteer as organizations or individuals,  visit the Sierra Club website: www.NiagaraSierraClub.com 

  • 8/25/2015 - Fighting recent wildfires highlight why it’s critical that we connect these conflagrations and Climate Change. If we continue to see extreme weather and the rage of wildfires going on as only ‘extreme’ events and not linked to Climate Change, we will run out of money and opportunities to adapt to them. We will put more firefighter’s lives on the line fighting fires to save homes that probably shouldn’t be rebuilt in a region that is going to continue to warm and burn again. The myopia stance, where we acknowledge extreme events that we must address, but refuse to see the big picture of a global warming, is like trying to put out a fire in your cellar when your whole neighborhood is burning. When firefighters speak out on climate change, we ought to listen up Freak wild fires are becoming the new normal as global weather patterns have changed dramatically but we still not have accepted that Climate change is worsening the fires that ravage many parts of America each year. Grime-streaked firefighters battling one of the 167 active wildfires currently scorching portions of the US west will tell you as much. What they have encountered on the firelines in the past few years is evidence that everything has changed as a result of global warming. In mid-August, the day after a quick-moving fire first exploded southwest of Boise, Idaho, the blaze more than doubled in size to nearly 79,000 acres in one four hour stretch. Along the way, it sparked a “firenado” that rained hot ash and dirt on firefighters. (August 24, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/24/2014 - Where are we getting our electric power in New York State? Are we warming up the planet when we turn on the light, or not? "Coal: New York 2 percent; Natural Gas: New York 38 percent; Nuclear: New York 32 percent; Hydro: New York 19 percent; Wind: New York 4 percent; Oil: New York 3 percent;" Solar: New York ? (figures from “Where does your power come from? Great Lakes Echo

  • 8/24/2015 - In the upcoming federal election, Canada will either be a positive force for addressing Climate Change or a negative one. Time passes. Canada’s carbon moment has arrived As Canadians prepare to vote in an upcoming federal election, it’s time to reassess the country’s economic prospects, once touted as the strong suit of Stephen Harper’s government. For almost a decade, Canadians have been told massive expansion of Alberta’s oil sands would be the engine of economic growth as the country rode a wave of soaring oil prices during the government’s early years. Some question the wisdom of building an economy on the foundation of a single resource. And the Prime Minister’s strategy of making Canada an oil-based energy superpower has led instead to a made-in-Canada recession, with a dramatic implosion in capital spending in the country’s oil patch. (August 18, 2015) The Globe and Mail [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/24/2015 - Building an Economy for Climate Stability: Candidate Forum 2015.  It is critical that those running for public office within Monroe County address what they will do to help our region adapt to Climate Change. Our local leaders are those who frame our region’s response to the consequences of Climate Change in our area. Be there at the forum, ask the candidates how they will lead on Climate Change? Building an Economy for Climate Stability: Candidate Forum 2015 | Click here to register! Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) and League of Women Voters are excited to bring climate change into the conversation at area elections, as we cosponsor a Candidate Forum on green jobs and a sustainable economy. Building an Economy for Climate Stability: Candidate Forum 2015 will be an opportunity for those running for public office within Monroe County to present their vision on a greening economy.   Watch this page for updates as we confirm the Monroe County candidates in attendance. This event, moderated by Dr. Susan Spencer, President and Founder of ROCSPOT, presents a unique opportunity for voters to learn how their candidates’ platform relates to climate change solutions.  The event is free and open to the public. Wednesday, September 16 7:00-9:00 PM The Harley School, 1981 Clover Street --from Rochester People's Climate Coalition.

  • 8/24/2015 - Now Available, the June 2015 Rochester Sierra Club Newsletter. Check it out. Lots of local environmental info. --from the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club.

  • 8/24/2015 - A world where our forests are collapsing is not only a less beautiful world, it’s a world that no longer works. Forests are the lungs of our ecosystem and there are no artificial planet-sized lungs. The forests of the world are in serious trouble, scientists report The planet’s forests are vital to us all. For one thing, without them, global warming would be a lot worse. Forests pull vast amounts of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. They also foster untold biodiversity and deliver large human benefits — close to one out of six people on Earth “directly depends on forests” for food and other services, according to a recent report by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations. If recent research is to believed, trees even improve people’s mental health and well being. But the world’s forests are in serious trouble, according to a suite of papersout in this week’s issue of the journal Science. The research systematically examines how forests are being damaged by the combined impacts of a changing climate and more human incursions. (August 20, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/24/2015 - Will the Rochester region be one of those sacrifice zones where failure to anticipate potential problems with transporting highly flammable crude oil along aging railways results in deadly and d...?  Watch this four-minute video:  Risk on the Rails "America's rail network made new oil production possible, but government and industry alike missed potential problems and failed to fix them before a series of catastrophic derailments, including one that killed 47 people."  McClatchy DC

  • 8/24/2015 - How can keeping the movement of Bomb Trains secret from the public possibly help address the critical safety issues? How can this dangerous movement of volatile crude oil shipments through our communities be worth the likelihood of a great catastrophe, in which our emergency personnel can be quickly overwhelmed?  Maryland judge orders release of oil train reports A Maryland judge rejected two rail carriers’ arguments that oil train reports should be withheld from the public, ordering them released to McClatchy and other news organizations that sought them. The ruling isn’t the first time railroads have lost their bid to keep the oil train reports secret, but it is the first court decision recognizing the public’s right to see them. The U.S. Department of Transportation began requiring in May 2014 that railroads inform states of large shipments of crude oil after a series of derailments with spills, fires, explosions and evacuations. Since February, six more major oil train derailments have occurred in North America. (August 17, 2015) McClatchy DC [more on Energy in our area]  

  • 8/22/2015 - There are those who view every announcement of indicators that Climate Change is happenings as merely the rantings of alarmists. Despite all the research from scientist from all over the world, research that is challenged and reviewed by scientists all over the world, that proves there has been a dramatic increase in warming since the mid-1800’s, those who cannot and will not let go of their climate denial persist. They persist because Climate Change denial and Climate Silence (where those who understand the science and appreciate the consequences don’t speak up) is still fashionable in our country. (Climate denial isn’t so fashionable around the rest of the world.) This article (see below) about the very fast Climate Change changes happening to the boreal forests (one of the largest ecosystems on Earth) comes from Canada, where “because of restrictions placed on public servants during the federal election” is the result of courageous scientists still struggling to inform the public about what is happening and why planning for Climate Change is so important. If we are still so steeped in denial that we won’t recognize clear signals that the worldwide crisis is upon us, what do we tell our grandchildren when they ask why we refused to see the evidence of Climate Change and not do anything about? Evidence of Climate Change is pouring in from all over the world and the public must choose soon what they are going to believe: evidence of Climate Change, or the scorn from those who haven’t done their homework and continue to sew the dangerous delusion of doubt that will keep the rest of us from acting? Time passes. Boreal forest being driven to tipping point by climate change, study finds 'The changes could be very dramatic and very fast,' says one author of the study Climate change is forcing the boreal forest that covers much of northern Canada to a tipping point, concludes a newly published study. "The changes could be very dramatic and very fast," said Dmitry Schepaschenko of Austria's Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Schepaschenko was one of three authors who collaborated on a detailed review of current research on the boreal forest. Their conclusions were released Thursday in a special edition of the journal Science. (August 21, 2015) CBC News [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/22/2015 - Climate Change is going to affect everything, even those intermittent streams which are an integral part of our wetlands. USGS Intermittent Streams Study Finds Correlation Between Climate, Flow Regime Of all the factors that influence a watershed’s health, intermittent streams might be the easiest to forget. After all, they do come and go without much warning — but it’s important to keep in mind that these ephemeral waterways do play important roles in regulating watershed hydrology, from supporting ecosystems to recharging aquifers. A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed the effects of climate variability on intermittent streams, finding that streamflow regimes in these waterways closely reflects historical climate patterns. The results of the study are published online in River Research and Applications. (August 21, 2015) Environmental Monitor [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/22/2015 - The Arctic didn’t just up and shrink. We shrinked it and there will be dramatic changes to our weather and climate because of this. We should be planning from the local to the world level. Yes, Mr. President, We Remade Our Atlas to Reflect Shrinking Ice While discussing his new plan to combat global warming, the President referenced one of the most striking shifts in the history of National Geographic maps. Unveiling his most aggressive plan yet to combat climate change, President Obama on Monday referenced recent dramatic changes that National Geographic made to its atlas because of melting sea ice. "Shrinking ice caps forced National Geographic to make the biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart," Obama said during a speech at the White House. (Watch a video of his speech.) (August 3, 2015) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/21/2015 - Considering that tax payers subsidies the fossil fuel industry with billions of dollars each year, a solar tax energy tax credit for an energy option that won’t jeopardize our future is small potatoes. As a matter of fact, the fossil fuel industry, which makes more money since money was invented, doesn’t need our money too. The solar power industry needs incentives to help create local jobs and put us on a sustainable energy path. Schumer calls for solar energy tax credit rule changes As work continues on the site of the future SolarCity manufacturing center in Buffalo, Senator Charles Schumer is pushing for changes in a solar tax energy tax credit that supporters say will promote more solar power use and secure the jobs expected to come to the giant Riverbend facility. Currently, businesses looking to install solar energy at their facilities can receive a 30 percent tax credit but it does not come until completion of the project. Schumer wants to change the current rules so that companies can enjoy the credit as soon as they begin spending on the project. (August 20, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Solar Power in our area] 

  • 8/21/2015 - New challenges to our water quality highlights why an ad hoc approach to Climate Change won’t work. This issue of “tiny synthetic micro-fibers into waterways, where they can soak up toxins and get eaten by fish”, which comes after discovering mircobeads in our water that our water treatment plants cannot filter out, has a lot to do with our assumption that we understand our water quality problems and we understand what we need to do about Climate Change. We don’t really. We don’t really have a handle on the enormous consequences of Climate Change because we have assumed we know the present challenges of myriad components of our life support system (like water quality) are. If we are continually discovering new pollutants in our water, it means we haven’t really examined what are the results of dumping so many manmade substances into our water. If we are serious about addressing water quality issues and other environmental issues that are all going to come together as Climate Change worsens, we are going to have to change our attitude about pollution. We are going to have to assume that unless a product, any product, is proven not to be harmful to our environment, it must be assumed to be harmful. Not the other way around. I suspect we are going to find that many of the products we have dumped into our waters have been doing long-term damage, but we long ago created a stance that a product is safe unless it has been proven to do harm—and this blinds us to reality. The Invisible Nightmare in Your Fleece Washing a single polyester jacket can send 1,900 tiny synthetic micro-fibers into waterways, where they can soak up toxins and get eaten by fish. So what is the outdoor industry doing about it? What’s so bad about a few plastic threads? In 2011, British ecologist Mark Anthony Browne published a study describing the discovery of micron-scale synthetic fibers, mostly polyester and acrylic, in sediments along beaches the world over, with the highest concentrations appearing near wastewater-disposal sites. That strongly suggested that the micro-fibers came from apparel, a hunch he checked by filtering 1,900 fibers found in the waste-water from washing a single fleece jacket. A similar study at VU University Amsterdam in 2012 estimated that laundry wastewater is sending around two billion synthetic microfibers per second into Europe’s waters. (July 30, 2015) Outside [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/21/2015 - This article gets at the heart of Climate Change at the local level. Along with increasing instances of raw sewage overflowing into our rivers and lakes (10 million gallons into the Genesee River on June 2nd), this dramatic increase of heavy rainfall in our region due to Climate Change is but one of the consequences of this worldwide crisis we cannot avoid. No matter how much we deny Climate Change or dismiss the plight of others because of it, when disasters strike us we have to act. This is the part of Climate Change that many don’t understand, thinking perhaps that this crisis is just something we have to deal with like anything else. However, if we don’t plan for all the consequences of Climate Change, we and our ability to react to these disasters (to public health, to our infrastructures, to our insurance rates, and much more) will be quickly overwhelmed. Our leader must not just react to Climate Change; they must plan and educate the public so we as a community are ready for the worst. Town's rained out and tapped out On June 15, 3.3 inches of rain fell within 40 minutes in the Ontario County town of Richmond. The "gully washer," as Supervisor Ralph Angelo calls it, busted out 22 culverts along town roads, with East Lake Road taking the worst hit. If that sounds familiar, there's good reason. On one July day last year, downpours dumped 6 inches of rain on Richmond in three hours, and a section of East Lake Road was entirely washed out. The town subsequently spent $400,000 to repair the damages; the bill equaled the entire town highway budget. (August 12, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper

  • 8/20/2015 - We are not asking you to believe in Climate Change; we are asking that you pay attention to the scientific facts. TEN CLEAR INDICATORS OUR CLIMATE IS CHANGING How do we know our climate is changing permanently, rather than just going through a normal period of flux? Let’s look at 10 major changes scientists have seen in our climate system to help set the record straight. Few global trends have been as controversial as climate change and the Earth’s warming. The Earth has gone through many shifts in cooling and warming driven by natural factors like the sun’s energy or variations in its orbit, but the trend scientists have seen over the past 50 years is unmistakable. Let’s take a closer look: globally, average surface temperatures increased 1.1—1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6—0.9 degrees Celsius) between 1906 and 2005. However, it’s the rate of temperature change that’s especially troubling to scientists; temperatures have risen nearly twice as fast in the last 50 years alone. (August 18, 2015) The Climate Reality Project [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/20/2015 - Climate Change, do the math: 2795 (gigatons) of fossil fuels that we know about is a lot bigger than the 565 (gigatons) budget. We cannot burn the fossil fuels in reserves and expect to have a future. Terrifying math: How Carbon Tracker changed the climate debate (August 18, 20150 Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/19/2015 - The warmer we make our oceans the nastier will be our weather. There are many indicators that we are driving Climate Change. Time passes.  Global warming is reversing 1,800 years of natural ocean cooling, study finds Man-made global warming has triggered a reversal of the natural ocean cooling that has occurred over the past 1,800 years, a study has found. Ocean temperatures have fallen significantly over the past two millennia due to the cooling influence of successive volcanic eruptions on the surface temperatures of the Earth, scientists said. However, over the past 200 years this cooling of the oceans has gone into reverse as warmer surface temperatures due to man-made global warming has caused the seas to heat up 20 times faster than they were cooling, the researchers found. (August 17, 20150 The Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/19/2015 - How can poor countries make Climate Change mitigation pledges if they don’t know how much climate compensation they’ll get from the rich countries? Meaning how can the poor countries commit to ambitious goals if they are left to use up all their own natural resources and money just to survive as they deal with the worst of Climate Change consequences? And how can poor countries set how much they’ll need from the rich countries. If they think if they set the cost too high, the rich nations will balk. If they set the price too low, the poor countries will never be able to ask for more, even as Climate Change will cost them more and more. During Climate Change negotiations for the COP21 Paris Treaty, the poor countries are at a great disadvantage. If our sense of morality doesn’t kick in soon, the poor countries will pay first for our sins against Nature—then us. Climate bill racks up as poor nations submit Paris pledges  Magnitude of poor countries’ billion-dollar green investment need emerges through climate pledges submitted to the UN It was always going to cost. Now, with their submissions to the UN, developing nations are putting a price tag on climate action. For the seven mainly-African countries that have hinged their plans on climate cash so far, it nears US$300 billion over 15 years. Dozens more are expected to add claims before an October deadline for contributions to a UN-backed global warming agreement in December. Climate finance, which flows from rich governments and private capital, helps countries adapt to the onset of extreme weather and funds carbon-cutting projects.(August 19, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/18/2015 - Thrilled that Sen. Schumer has lottery to be his guest at Pope Francis’s address to a joint meeting of Congress on, scheduled for Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C. This is a great way to publicize this historic event where Pope Francis confronts the most powerful political body in the world—which doesn’t want to hear about Climate Change, let alone the moral connection to the worldwide crisis. But you don’t have to win the lottery to hear the Pope’s message, you can read the encyclical free: ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME | Schumer hosts lottery to see Pope New York Sen. Charles Schumer is holding an online lottery for one New Yorker to be his guest at Pope Francis’s planned address to a joint meeting of Congress, scheduled for Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C. The senator said Monday that his office would also give away 100 pairs of tickets to the Papal Audience on the West Lawn of the Capitol that is scheduled to follow the pope’s address. (August 17, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 8/18/2015 - While scientist debate how quickly Climate Change will overtake us, the rest of us should get moving. We are not bystanders on Climate Change; we are passengers on a sinking ship and we should be making sure that our leaders are acting on this crisis no matter how fast the waters are rising. What live peer review looks like when the fate of the planet is at stake This story has been updated. Last month, a scientific paper appeared that kicked off what is, by any stretch, the most interesting climate science debate of the year. In the paper, former NASA climate expert James Hansen, who is widely credited with putting the climate issue itself on the map, collaborated with 16 other researchers to outline a pretty dire climate scenario. Their vast paper contemplated alarming new climate feedback loops involving the Southern Ocean, which could lead to rapid Antarctic ice sheet destabilization and dramatic sea level rise, potentially in this century. (August 17, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/18/2015 - Will Rochester continue to try and sit out Climate Change? Event PeoplesClimate.org coming up, will Rochester be there? “Join us in a national day of action around the United States on October 14, 2015.” About five hundred folks from the Rochester region made their way to the People’s Climate March in New York City last September to get our leaders to take action on Climate Change. On the day before Earth Day this year, over 800 folks came to see Dr. Hansen speak on how quickly Climate Change is happening. Now, before the historic climate summit in Paris this Nov/Dec, with local attention to this worldwide crisis almost completely quiet, will Rochester step up to the plate and make our voices heard in October—that our leaders, including our local leaders take action on Climate Change? Find out about PeoplesClimate.org. Plan to join, get your organization to lead a march, something. Create an action; Join an action. October 14, 2015. From a March to a Movement: Mobilizing More Than Greens for Climate Action In September 2014, something monumental happened. Around the world, people took to the streets. In New York City alone, 400,000 people of faith, communities of color and indigenous communities, labor unions, youth groups and other organizations marched to demand action on climate. But that public outpouring of support was only the beginning. In the months since, we've been quietly but concertedly building on the success of the People's Climate March. Now we're taking the organizing muscle that brought half a million people around the globe to the streets and ramping up the ongoing efforts to involve local communities while doubling down on the effort to bring in even more of the groups who don't traditionally work on environmental issues. The People's Climate Movement is organizing to mobilize people from all walks of life for a National Day of Action on October 14. By going to PeoplesClimate.org, you can sign up to lead an event in your community like a rally or march, or see how you can join an event already planned in your community. And because Congress will be in their home districts that week, it's a perfect time to meet with your elected officials. (August 17, 2015) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/18/2015 - Time is running out to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter. Where are our priorities? Understanding Climate Change is understanding that the mother of all problems means we much make hard choices on a global scale. Pope Francis is doing an amazing job messaging the priority of addressing Climate Change to a people who do not want to hear this very compelling message. Time passes. Papal Encyclical On Climate Change Puts Coal Country Catholics In Tough Spot Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment is getting a thorough reading in Wyoming, which is the country's top coal-producing state. The letter presents a moral framework for approaching issues such as global climate change, but it's a difficult subject for Catholics in coal country. (August 17, 2015) NPR [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/18/2015 - Another dismal clock is now ticking... Shell allowed to drill in Arctic Ocean off Alaska Federal agency approves Arctic offshore drilling after Shell provides capping stack in case of well blowout The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell the final permit it needs to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's northwest coast, for the first time in more than two decades, after the oil giant brought in a required piece of equipment to stop a possible well blowout. The agency previously granted Shell only conditional approval for drilling in the Chukchi Sea because key equipment, a capping stack, was stuck on a vessel that needed repair in Portland, Oregon. (August 17, 2015) Aljazeera America [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/17/2015 - It’s hard to get Rochester folks interested in Climate Change when the warmest July ever misses us—so we don’t talk about what’s happening worldwide. It’s like being on the end of the Titanic that didn’t hit the iceberg and continuing to play shuffleboard. Time passes. Hottest July On Record Keeps 2015 On Track To Crush 2014 For Hottest Year NASA reports this was the hottest July on record. So we are now in “bet the mortgage” territory that 2015 will be the hottest year in NASA’s 125-year temperature record. In fact, 2015 is likely to crush the previous record — 2014 — probably by a wide margin, especially since one of the strongest El Niños in 50 years is adding to the strong underlying global warming trend. Climate expert Dr. John Abraham updated this NASA chart to show how the first seven months of 2015 compares to the annual temperatures of previous years (August 14, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/15/2015 - Climate Change: It’s personal. Speak up. Great talk by Mike Hoffmann of Cornell University. In this ten-minute video, Dr. Hoffmann talks about a striking fact about Climate Change that I came across taking a college course on Climate Change in the Great Lakes region. There has been a 71% increase of heavy rainfall in the Northeast since 1958. Many folks in our region probably think Climate Change has avoided us because our last two winter have been cold and this summer has been mild. But the consequences of Climate Change are going to disrupt our climate via weather each day differently in different regions—until, of course, everyplace just gets too hot. You should check the graph (Figure 2.18: Observed Change in Very Heavy Precipitation) http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/our-changing-climate/heavy-downpours-increasing to understand this dramatic effect of Climate Change in our region—where heavy rainfall events are much higher in our region than any other place in the US. Other places have more hot weather, droughts, and wildfires, but in our region right now Climate Change is showing up in very heavy rainfall events—not necessarily more of these events, but more rain during rainfall events. What this means is that flash flooding is and will get worse. Our combined sewer systems (stormwater and sewage in the same pipes) (which are the most numerous sewer systems around the Great Lakes) will spill more raw sewage more often into the water we drink and bathe in. Heavy rainfall events are consequences we must adapt to and they are a clear sign that our region has not avoided Climate Change. Watch this short video by Dr. Hoffmann to get a sense of what Climate Change means in our region and why we must act. Climate change -- it’s time to raise our voices | Mike Hoffmann | TEDxChemungRiver This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Stymied about what to do about climate change? Mike Hoffmann of Cornell University, encourages us to become aware, accept the reality, and then act by raising our voices to address this grand challenge facing our generation…and those that follow. Mike Hoffman holds a leadership position in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. His role focuses on sustainability, in particular responding to the threat of climate change. Mike also leads a Northeastern U.S. and Eastern Canada climate change initiative, and established an Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture that helps food growers adapt to changing conditions. His passionate messages about climate change include its impacts on the world around us and its meaning to future generations. He hopes his involvement in TEDxChemungRiver will help spread the word about climate change and how to address this challenge now facing humanity. Mike grew up on a small (one cow) dairy farm in Wisconsin where one of his best friends was a crow. (December 14, 2015) TEDx Talks  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/15/2015 - ACTION: Oppose LPG and Methane massive storage along Seneca Lake. Action compiled from our friends at R-CAUSE: "CALL TO ACTION:  PLEASE call your elected representatives today, 8/15, and Monday, 8/17, to register opposition to LPG and methane storage along Seneca Lake. Tell them that gas storage is incompatible with our expanding vineyards, agriculture, and tourism industries. Heavy industrialization in the Finger Lakes will threaten our regional economy that is so dependent on vineyards, agriculture  and tourism which in turn are dependent on clean air and water. We need everyone to make these calls!!   • Contact Governor Cuomo @ 1-518-474-8390 or https://www.governor.ny.gov/contact • Type in your address to find your assembly person’s contact info: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ • Type in your address to find your state senator’s contact info: http://www.nysenate.gov/senators • Contact the acting DEC Commissioner, Marc Gerstman @ 518-402-8545 or http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/407.html • Click here for Monroe County Legislators: http://www2.monroecounty.gov/legislature-legislators.php

  • 8/14/2015 - Yes D&C editorial board, Rochester has much to be proud of. Rochester was a leader in the women's suffrage movement and, as home to Fredrick Douglas’s newspaper the “North Star”, pivotal in the Abolitionists movement to end slavery. These issues were some of the most important issues of the nineteenth century. But in this century, Rochester has fallen asleep on Climate Change—the most important issue of our age. We should not only be helping the world bring down greenhouse gas emissions so that Climate Change doesn’t get worse, we should be making in clear to the public how our region must adapt to the quickly changing climate that will affect public health, infrastructure damages, and energy use. As I write, the race for Monroe County Executive elections is going on. This is one of the most, if not the most, important job in our region. The county executive sets the tone and direction for crucial issues that affect our region—transportation, public health, the climate for businesses, poverty, and much more. This is to say that because Climate Change will profoundly affect all these issues we cannot let another election race go on in this region without debating how our region will address Climate Change. The media, especially the major newspaper, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, are integral to connecting the dots between the public, our elections, and Climate Change. As the world attempts to address Climate Change at the COP21 Paris Climate Summit in November, we in Monroe County should be focused on how we will address this issue here. The editors of all our media in the Rochester region should be examining their role on the mother of all problems as it relates to our region. The Guardian, one of the most influential newspapers in the world, has taken a very responsible position on Climate Change. Will the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle continue business as usual, or adapt to a changing world? Rochester's role in U.S. history Rochesterians have a knack for knocking their city. The weather, the state of downtown, the weather, a supposed dearth of entertainment options — did we mention the weather? — the complaints are common and, at times, incessant. (August 13, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 8/14/2015 - So, are we saying that once we bake nuclear power into our energy system, we commit ourselves to an endless, oppressive relationship where the public can be continually gouged to keep an aging energy option alive or we won’t be able to handle peak loads, and (because its nuclear power) puts us in continual danger because with there is no room for error? Why would we ever want more nuclear power, when we can get energy from the sun and wind that is safe, affordable, and (did I say) safe? Rochester’s relationship to Ginna should be a lesson on why nuclear power is not good option for clean energy in a time of Climate Change. With wind turbines, for example, if you find out you really, really, don’t like them, you can dismantle them and take them away. (Same with solar panels, if they get on your nerves.) But with nuclear power, once you sign on, you’re no longer in charge—as if you’ve joined a very dangerous group that will never allow you to leave. Temporary rate hike OK'd for RG&E electric customers State regulators have approved a temporary 1.9 percent surcharge for residential customers of RG&E in connection with a proposal to prop up the financially ailing Ginna nuclear power plant. The surcharge, which would amount to $1.79 a month for the average RG&E residential customer, will go into effect in September. It will remain in place until a slightly more permanent Ginna surcharge arrangement is approved, something that may happen in the coming months. In the event regulators don't approve that arrangement, consumers will get the money back. (August 13, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/14/2015 - Because the Rochester, NY region has lots of poison ivy, a more potent poison ivy due to Climate Change is a public health issue.  How’s the planning going on for that? Potent Poison Ivy More than 100 plant species can cause skin irritation, but among the most well known is poison ivy. With our greenhouse gas emissions climbing and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 building, we expect poison ivy to thrive. A 2007 study by Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, supports this concept. His study exposed poison ivy plants to four different concentrations of CO2 (300, 400, 500, and 600 ppm). The lowest two levels correspond to observations from the 1950s and the present. The highest two levels mirror projections for the years 2050 and 2090 from the 2007 AR4 IPCC report. In this analysis, we updated those projection dates based on the 2013 AR5 IPCC report, which are reflected in the graphic and animation. (June 24, 2015) Climate Central [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/14/2015 - Doublethink is when you hold two contrary beliefs at the same time. Saving the Arctic and allowing drilling for oil which will destroy it is an example of doublethink. To address Climate Change we must have policies that make sense. Climate alarm bells are ringing, says Arctic-bound Obama  President to use Alaska meeting for global climate deal talks; critics say he can lead by stopping Shell drilling for oil  US president Barack Obama will make a visit to the Arctic at the end of August; the centrepiece of a renewed diplomacy drive on climate change. Senior officials from China, Russia, India and the EU are scheduled to attend the State Department conference on Arctic leadership, named GLACIER. In a video message, Obama said he would use the meeting in Alaska on 30-31 August to highlight the impact global warming is already having on some US communities. (August 14, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/13/2014 - Because sport events are so popular in the Rochester region, when they ‘Go Green’ it matters. Check out this Rochester Rhino program “GO GREEN! RECYCEL and REUSE Night” this Saturday and stop by the RochesterEnvironment.com booth and say, ‘Hello”.

  • 8/13/2014 - ACTION: New York needs to transition to renewable energy (like Wind Power) now:  "New York has been slow out of the gate when it comes to opportunities like offshore wind. We can change that. Few states have the potential to be a national and global clean energy and climate leader like New York.  And right now, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) is accepting public comments on how to structure a new Large Scale Renewable Energy Program – and Environmental Advocates is urging the PSC to act on three critical fronts: Establish enforcement mechanisms to hold the state and utilities accountable for supplying 50 percent of our energy from clean renewables by 2030. Make the state’s Large Scale Renewables Program statewide (currently Long Island is excluded from the Renewable Portfolio Standard). Add offshore wind power to New York’s energy mix.  You can urge them to prioritize these initiatives, too!     Despite our state being home to some of the most attractive and productive wind farm locations in the nation, this plentiful source of renewable energy remains completely untapped. With Rhode Island constructing the nation’s first offshore wind farm, and Europe utilizing this same renewable energy source on a large scale, New York can step up and become a global clean energy leader.     Governor Cuomo has made a commitment to ensure 50 percent of our energy comes from clean, renewable sources by 2030. That means dramatically reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and building a clean, green energy economy with offshore wind and other sources of renewable energy.    Take Action Today! " (from Environmental Advocates of New York)

  • 8/13/2015 - This might be an epitaph for humanity, when we soon tank our life support system: “… somehow we are missing this basic physical law.” Humans have already used up 2015's supply of Earth's resources – analysis Earth ‘overshoot day’ – the day each year when our demands on the planet outstrip its ability to regenerate – comes six days earlier than 2014, with world’s population currently consuming the equivalent of 1.6 planets a year Humans have exhausted a year’s supply of natural resources in less than eight months, according to an analysis of the demands the world’s population are placing on the planet. The Earth’s “overshoot day” for 2015, the point at which humanity goes into ecological debt, will occur on Thursday six days earlier than last year, based on an estimate by the Global Footprint Network (GFN). (August 12, 2014) The Guardian

  • 8/12/2015 - Focusing on the health benefits of reducing the pollution from burning fossil fuels is a critical part of shifting to clean energy for our future. Certainly, banning Fracking in New York State finally got adopted because of the threats to our public health this form of drilling.  But I wonder, how much of the Climate Change crisis is hidden when we only focus on the direct health issues of dirty energy at the price of not communicating a more complete rendering of this worldwide crisis.  President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is being pushed at this time not only to relieve the public health threats of asthma, but principally to come to the table at the COP21 Paris Treaty to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions for a livable planet. Granted, it is more likely that the Clean Power Plan will succeed politically if the public health component is heralded and the wider Climate Change implications avoided in the media. But in doing so, the media is continually missing the opportunity to educate the public about the wholesale threat Climate Change poses to our life support system and everything else. EPA says Clean Power Plan Will Protect Public Health The non-profit research organization Resources for the Future estimates reductions in carbon could save 35 hundred lives in the country each year by 2020. Another organization, the Clean Air Task Force estimates particle pollution from power plants claims over 40 lives a year in the Rochester area. (August 11, 2015) WXXI News [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/12/2015 - ACTION: “JOIN THE GLOBAL CLIMATE MARCH Last year our community helped create the biggest climate mobilisation in history at the People’s Climate March. Now, on November 29th -- hours before leaders arrive at the Paris climate summit -- it’s time to go even bigger! Click to say "I’m in" for this year’s People’s Climate March” -- and Avaaz will get in touch by phone or email with updates on how to get involved in your city! –from “Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.”

  • 8/12/2015 - Coal industry’s pushback to Obama’s new Clean Power Plan is pathetic and craven: “"Sadly, this rhetoric is nothing more than a red herring designed to hide the fact that carbon rule will not do anything to improve climate change but will result in higher electricity bills that few can afford.  With higher energy bills come tough choices about whether to keep the lights on or take needed medications, this is the true health risks associated with the administration’s regulations.”” So if we stop burning coal, families will be paying so much for energy that they won’t be able to afford medicine for their kids? Really? Does the coal industry have no shame for marching out such a pathetic argument? Health groups praise Obama plan on coal, saying it will save lives Health organizations on Monday praised President Obama's plan to reduce in carbon pollution from power plants. The new Clean Power Plan — certain to be challenged in the courts and in the Republican Congress — will require power plants to reduce carbon emissions by 32% from 2005 levels between now and 2030. According to the White House, the coal plan will reduce premature deaths related to power plant emissions by nearly 90% in 2030, preventing 3,600 premature deaths, 90,000 asthma attacks in children and 300,000 fewer missed school and work days.  Almost one in five kids now suffer from asthma, said Harold Wimmer, national president and CEO of the American Lung Association. (August 3, 2015) USA Today [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/11/2015 - “The waste water treatment center in Clyde was overwhelmed by the rain…” but ”There is no sewer leak or sanitary sewer leak…” A lot of sewage (350,000 gallons?) got bypassed into “… dry wells and dry beds …” and so this sewage didn’t go into the Clyde River. They dodged a bullet this time. But, heavy rainfall has increased in the Northeast 71% since 1958, which is one of the major consequences of Climate Change in our area. Isn’t it more likely that these wastewater treatment plants and systems will be overwhelmed with more heavy rainfall because more heavy rainfall is going to occur? Do we hold our breath at each storm, or do we plan to keep our water quality intact by developing a comprehensive climate action plan that investigates whether all our region’s water waste systems can endure frequent heavy rainfall? If we choose not to do a comprehensive approach to this overflow/sewage problem as it relates to Climate Change, we will at least have to do something at every local waste treatment plant to make sure raw sewage doesn’t enter our water systems after such a probable event occurs. The public will demand it. But the problem with this ad hoc approach, swatting every fly, is that if you are downstream (as Rochester, for example) is downstream to the entire Great Lakes system ((all the Great Lakes’ waters flow through the St. Lawrence River and out to the Atlantic Ocean)) any community upstream from you who releases sewage because its waste water systems are overwhelmed --it becomes your water quality problem too. No sewer leak in Clyde The DEC issued an alert around 10:30 p.m. Monday, saying that 350,000 gallons of sewage could leak into the Clyde River due to heavy rains and flooding. The DEC said that the heavy rains caused the alert to be issued. According to Clyde's Mayor Gerald Fremouw, no sewage leaked into the river. (August 11, 2015) WHAM Rochester [more on Water Quality in our area] 

  • 8/11/2015 - Although U.S. politics has been largely dysfunctional on the science, adaptation to, and mitigation of Climate Change, things are going to change. Our politics, wildly funded with climate denial funds as they are, cannot compete with reality. How the next president could expand Obama's climate policies — or dismantle them This month, President Obama basically ensured that climate change will be one of the major issues at stake in the 2016 election. Whether candidates choose to talk about it or not, whoever gets elected president next year will have enormous influence over US climate and energy policy. The reason is simple. Back in 2007, the Supreme Court gave the Environmental Protection Agency unprecedented authority to regulate US greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. In the years since, Obama has used that power to enact sweeping new climate rules. That includes stricter fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. It also includes the Clean Power Plan, an ambitious EPA rule to cut CO2 emissions from the nation's power plants, which was finalized in August. (August 7, 2015) Vox [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/11/2015 - The August edition of “Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute” is out. Great local environmental reporting.

  • 8/10/2015 - "This Changes Everything" documentary coming soon. Let's hope it comes to Rochester. You can see a sneak preview of the documentary-in-progress here: This Changes Everything – Naomi Klein | Guardian Docs "Published on Mar 6, 2015 Naomi Klein didn't think climate change was her issue but when she realised the close link between environmental destruction and inequality, everything changed.  Subscribe to The Guardian ► http://is.gd/subscribeguardian In Naomi's home country, the Canadian government granted virtual free rein to companies seeking oil in Alberta's tar sands, creating a boom town in Fort McMurray. Like large numbers of activists across the world, the indigenous population in Alberta protested the environmental damage. How can we connect the dots among movements around the world to tackle climate change and inequality at the same time?  "

  • 8/10/2015 - I suspect there are a whole lot of other Climate Change consequences that geoengineering won’t fix besides ocean acidification. Like loss of biodiversity, the Sixth Great Extinction, the loss of critical ecosystems and many other environmental catastrophes that are already occurring because we have waited too long to act and allowed too much greenhouse gas to build up.  Thinking that in a short time a few techno fixes to a system that took four billion years to develop such complexity and interrelationships as our planet’s environment is hubris indeed. Not to mention, we’re going to have to adapt to all the changes already coming because of the heat baked into our water and air. Geoengineering will probably be a part of our toolbox for surviving, but it’s no magic bullet—and in most cases we have no idea what ramifications geoengineering will have that we didn’t anticipate. Geoengineering Will Not Save Ocean Life from Acidification, Research Says Without reducing emissions, carbon removal schemes will not undo the damage climate change is doing to the oceans by increasing their acidity. Waiting to tackle ocean acidification caused by climate change through yet-to-be developed geoengineering schemes will be too little too late to prevent mass extinction of ocean life, a new study concludes. (August 5, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/08/2015 - Regardless of your politics, Climate Change is happening and our leaders should mitigate it, but they have to adapt to it. Coming elections that don’t include addressing Climate Change are elections for another planet, for this planet is warming up quickly which will reorder all political priorities. The reality of global warming: We’re all frogs in a pot of slowly boiling water In 2009, global leaders agreed to try not to let the world warm more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. This is sometimes seen as a rule of thumb for keeping on the right side of climate change, within “safe” territory. But that’s not at all how scientists meant it, Professor Camille Parmesan, an expert in biodiversity at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom said. Climate risks don’t begin at 2C, she said; it’s more like where they go from high to intolerably high. The planet has already warmed by about 0.8C (1.7 Fahrenheit) since the late-19th century. Some of the world’s most iconic places are also the most vulnerable, and they are already feeling the effects. (August 7, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/08/2015 - ACTION: COP21 Paris Talks must not fail: Check out National and Global Climate Actions leading up to Paris Talks – and be a part of one. National and Global Climate Actions leading up to Paris Talks The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) will be held in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11, 2015. The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and global agreement on climate from all the nations of the world.  In anticipation of the Paris Conference and in the face of environmental impacts fueled by continuously rising global temperatures, people across nations and around the world are mobilizing and calling on government leaders to take bold action to reduce global warming pollution in order to stabilize the climate. NATIONAL & GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTIONS: Important Dates - Events - Organizers August 29 -  Commemoration of 10 years since Hurricane Katrina - PCM September 24 - People’s Rally for Climate Justice - MAC  October 14 - National Day of Action - PCM November 29 - Global Climate March - AVAAZ December 4 - Pathway to Paris: Concert & Speakers - Pathway2Paris and 350.org (August 3, 2015) Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/07/2015 - One thing is for sure, the Clean Power Plan is much more flexible than the climate denier ideologues who oppose it. As the window of opportunity to address Climate Change quickly closes before we are locked into catastrophic climate changes, the deniers in power put a tremendous burden on the rest of us in what already is a tremendous problems to solve. If everyone doesn’t get on board with the science of Climate Change we are going to be goners. Carbon emission rules more flexible than critics claim: EPA regional administrator States have until 2030 to get their carbon emissions down to 32 percent below 2005 levels, under guidelines laid out in the Clean Power Plan announced by President Obama earlier this week. The regulations have drawn cheers from environmentalists but there’s also plenty of criticism. But Northeast Regional Director, Judith Enck, says the rules aren’t as draconian as opponents claim. (August 7, 2015) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/07/2015 - As Climate Change increases the likelihood of toxic algae in our Finger Lakes and Great Lakes we will have to address the public health issues involved. 8 things to know about toxic algae before jumping into Lake Erie The toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie's western basin, that  forecasters predict could balloon into the second-largest on record, isn't expected to reach the Cleveland area. But during the summer months, many people from Northeast Ohio swim, fish, boat, and play at vacation spots on the Lake Erie islands and along the coastline where the algae bloom is concentrated. (August 6, 2015) Cleveland.com [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/07/2015 - US races to made COP21 Paris Treaty a success with a concrete block (called the GOP) tied to our ankle. US politics has devolved to a state where the fossil fuel industry can promote its anti-climate change ideology by thwarting the United States’ ability to curb manmade greenhouse gas emissions—and so risk the success of the COP21, and our ability to address this worldwide crisis. Because we have waited so long to address Climate Change, things get worse day by day. And one of the reasons we have waited so long to act is that a major political party in the U.S. has put its and (because of its ability to jam-up our efforts) our future in the hands of the fossil fuel industry. It must be obvious to all that we cannot fossil-fuel our way out of Climate Change. What impact will Obama climate plan have on Paris summit?  Targets set by the US for cutting CO2 emissions send a signal to the rest of the world and raise hopes for Paris accord  President Obama’s determination to reduce US power plant emissions by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030 sends a message to world leaders that the UN climate talks in Paris could – just – succeed. Past talks have foundered on a range of political excuses, but now that the world’s two largest polluters, China and the US, have committed to far-reaching changes in their energy production to keep the world below the dangerous threshold of a 2C temperature increase, the door is open for all the rest to follow. The stumbling block to US action so far has been the refusal of die-hard members of the Republican Party to accept that climate change is happening, and the well-funded fossil fuel lobby’s legal and political campaign to block any legislation. (August 7, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 8/07/2015 - In New York State, could renewable energy make nukes passé? Renewables May Soon Be Ready to Replace Nuclear Power in New York NEW YORK – New York state could soon be generating enough renewable energy to replace the nuclear power produced at the 40-year-old Indian Point Energy Center in Westchester County. This week, Governor Cuomo celebrated the "topping off" of construction of Solar City, a factory in Buffalo expected to make enough solar panels each year to produce 1,000 megawatts of power. Tim Judson, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, says Solar City could be a "game-changer." "This factory in Buffalo is going to produce enough solar panels to equal half of Indian Point every year, which is the largest solar factory, probably in the world, at this point," he says. (August 6, 2015) Public News Service [more on Solar Power and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/07/2015 - Rather, because the world is nearing irreversible and catastrophic global warming, the Clean Air Act regulations will do serious harm to West Virginia Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the rest of the states, the rest of the world and the U.S. economy, if NOT allowed to proceed. Actually, how we respond to the Climate Change will not be hammered out in the courts, it will be decided on the level of our actions to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of this worldwide crisis. All the denier states will achieve by fighting these regulations tooth and nail is that the rest of the union will have to drag them along—kicking and screaming if need be. To address Climate Change we’re going to have to save everyone, even the deadbeat deniers. 16 States Think The EPA’s Emissions Rule Isn’t Legal And They Shouldn’t Have To Comply The Clean Power Plan hasn’t been out a week yet, and 16 states have already formally requestedthat the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delay the rule. The states, led by West Virginia, filed a letter with the department Wednesday asking for an “administrative stay” of the rule that requires all states to cut carbon emissions from stationary power plants. The finalized EPA rule calls for state-submitted plans by September 2018 (with an extension) and reductions beginning by 2022. The rule gave states two extra years to submit their plans and to begin cutting emissions, over initially proposed timelines. If implemented on schedule, the rule will result in a 30 percent decrease in carbon emissions from the electricity sector, which currently accounts for roughly a third of emissions in the United States. (August 6, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/06/2015 - How does a nation go from really smart on Climate Change to really, really stupid? You know, money and self-interest. Human existence is going to come to an end if we don’t get our Climate Change priorities straight.  Australia was ready to act on climate 25 years ago, so what happened next? New book investigates how corporate interests and ideologues worked to make Australia doubt what it knew about climate change and its risks There’s something about climate change that almost everyone in Australia has either forgotten or never knew in the first place. In 1990 Bob Hawke announced his government wanted the country to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2005. For a fleeting moment, it seemed the Australian public, politicians and the media were in agreement with the science. But a new book investigates how the industries that stood to lose the most worked to undermine the science and entirely reshape the story being told to the public. “We have been propagandised,” says the author, Maria Taylor. (August 5, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/06/2015 - And remember “warm water temperature” is code for Climate Change as we address algal blooms in Lake Erie. Just ask the EPA: “Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms| Stunning NASA photos spotlight algal blooms in Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair Algae growth in Lake Erie could rival record-breaking 2011 bloom, scientists predict Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair are once again glowing neon green in NASA's latest satellite images, amid forecasts that this year's algal bloom would be one of the most severe in recent years. Swirls of green can be seen spreading across Lake St. Clair and western Lake Erie in two photos, captured by the Landsat 8 satellite on July 28.  (August 4, 2015) CBC News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/06/2015 - Rather than focus on endorsements and the horse race of the Monroe County Executive race, Climate Change should rule. As the world nears a 1C rise in greenhouse gases since pre-industrial days, and nears the 2C limit (this may be reached by 2045) adopted by the COP21 Paris Treaty coming up in December, Monroe County should get engaged in this worldwide crisis. One of the candidates for Executive should be leading her party on how the executive office will lead on addressing and mitigating and educating our region on dealing with Climate Change at the local level. Protecting our public health, our infrastructures, and complying with state and national Climate Change action plans for this region should be a major topic of this up-coming election. Our media should be pressing the candidates on how they understand Climate Change to be affecting this region and how the candidates will respond to protect the local public and connect with state and national efforts to address this issue. The last mayoral election passed last fall with nary a world about the worldwide crisis of Climate Change and so the Rochester region remains in a silo of climate denial. It must no longer be fashionable to have a major election for our public leaders without a robust discussion about the most important issue we face. Warren May Not Endorse Frankel Rochester's mayor is refusing to endorse a fellow Democrat in the race for county executive. Lovely Warren also left the door open to endorse the Republican candidate. (August 4, 2015) RochesterHomePage.net [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/06/2015 - Ecosystems work together like the organs in our body to keep us alive. As Climate Change affects all ecosystems we are in trouble. It’s not time to despair, to give up, to dismiss, or to ignore Climate Change. It’s time to act and plan—as any smart species would do as danger threatens. Our local leaders should be leading on this mother of all problems and our media should be monitoring our leaders’ progress on planning, education, and adapting our local infrastructure on Climate Change. This is not even remotely happening in the Monroe County, Rochester, NY region. Time passes. Climate change imperils an entire UK ecosystem In the upland peat bogs of Britain, global warming is killing insects and jeopardising the rare birds that depend on them. The UK may still be fairly well sheltered from the impacts of climate change, but British scientists now say the increasingly warm trend is threatening an entire eco-system. They have found that several rare upland bird species are at risk, together with other ecosystem functions, because of the effects of climate change on the UK’s blanket bogs −  the peat bogs found mainly in the wetter western and northern uplands of Britain. (August 3, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/06/2015 - Climate Change is affecting all aspects of human existence, including the psychosocial threats on mental health. This is a good short video from the City of Toronto on how the consequences of Climate Change can affect those most vulnerable to the destructive changes of a warming planet. The Mental Health Impacts of Climate Change This film explores the growing link between global environmental change, psychological and mental health challenges. Grounded in his research in the "think and do" tank, MaRS Discovery District-Brandon Hey examines the current state of institutional framings and responses to emerging (climate-induced) psychosocial threats in the city of Toronto, Canada. (Published on Jul 30, 2015 ) Art Science

  • 8/05/2015 - Wild turkeys, part of our wildlife/ecosysystem thing will be affected by Climate Change (as most wildlife in our region will). ‘Weather’ in this quote, is code for future weather, which is code for Climate Change: “Weather, predation and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival and poult survival.” It’s still not fashionable for our environmental authority in NYS to mention Wildlife and Climate Change when messaging to the public, but I suspect that will change as the obvious become more obvious. DEC Seeks Participants For Summer Turkey Survey New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today encouraged New Yorkers to participate in a survey for wild turkeys throughout the month of August. Citizen science efforts provide wildlife managers with invaluable data and give the public the opportunity to partner with DEC to help monitor New York's wildlife resources. Participants can record observations of turkeys while exploring the forests and fields around their home or driving through the state's beautiful landscapes this summer. Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival and poult survival. This index allows us to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential. (August 4, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [More on Wildlife in our area]

  • 8/05/2015 - Check out the August newsletter of the Penfield Green Initiative. Lots of local green news, events, and info.

  • 8/05/2015 - The NYSDEC investigation of the Genesee River to assess the effects of historic releases from Kodak’s operations at the Eastman Business Park located in Rochester, Monroe County begins. Our hope is that the public’s and the media’s attention will be focused on this historic investigation. It matters because it’s does us no good to be delusional about the present state of our environmental health before we address Climate Change now and in the future. Investigation of Lower Genesee River Begins   In early August, NYSDEC will start an investigation of the Genesee River to assess the effects of historic releases from Kodak’s operations at the Eastman Business Park located in Rochester, Monroe County. The objective is to determine the nature and extent of contamination and if contaminants continue to enter the lower reach of the Genesee River. It is also designed to determine if remedial action is warranted and, if so, to identify and evaluate cleanup options.   This link opens a fact sheet that provides details about the upcoming investigation: http://www.dec.ny.gov/data/der/factsheet/lowergeninv.pdf   This work is funded through an environmental trust created during settlement of Kodak’s bankruptcy. DEC is administering the environmental trust and will be directing the investigation of the lower Genesee River, focusing on the section from the Lower Falls to Lake Ontario.   Additional information, including the investigation work plan and investigation schedule, is available on the NYSDEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/97804.html . (August 4, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [More on Brownfields in our area] 

  • 8/05/2015 - Keeping soil healthy and using healthy soil to help capture all that excess carbon is a major component of our addressing Climate Change. Soil freaking matters. Watch his four-minute video and act. The Soil Story "Our mission at Kiss The Ground is to inspire and advocate for the restoration of soil worldwide. Our work is helping farmers and communities build back healthy soil through policy and consumer awareness. Our main programs include media campaigns, like The Soil Story, network building and policy, and gardening/farming experiences. "

  • 8/05/2015 - ACTION: DEMAND THAT WORLD LEADERS SIGN A STRONG AGREEMENT AT THE PARIS CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS IN DECEMBER! TAKE CLIMATE ACTION NOW (from the Climate Reality Project)

  • 8/05/2015 - Will the next Saudi Arabia be the melting Arctic? At long last, have we left no sense of decency? Not only does a quickly melting Arctic prove Climate Change, it proves we have no capacity within ourselves to halt our behavior that has melted a critical component of our global temperature regulations and threatened a major planetary ecosystem. The Arctic is not a far off place that doesn’t affect our existence any more than your liver is too distant from your heart to matter. Russia Stakes New Claim to Expanse in the Arctic | Russia formally staked a claim on Tuesday to a vast area of the Arctic Ocean, including the North Pole. If the United Nations committee that arbitrates sea boundaries accepts Russia’s claim, the waters will be subject to Moscow’s oversight on economic matters, including fishing and oil and gas drilling, though Russia will not have full sovereignty. Under a 1982 United Nations convention, the Law of the Sea, a nation may claim an exclusive economic zone over the continental shelf abutting its shores. If the shelf extends far out to sea, so can the boundaries of the zone. The claim Russia lodged on Tuesday contends that the shelf extends far north of the Eurasian land mass, out under the planet’s northern ice cap. (August 4, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/04/2015 - Great double articles on Recycling and donating your old stuff in the Rochester, NY region from the D&C. Mostly, most folks just want their old stuff gone when they want new stuff. Which is to say, most folks think landfills (great big plastic-lined holes in the ground where we chuck tons of valuable resources to rot and leach into our ground and water and atmosphere) are neat because it appears as if our spent stuff magically disappears. But our junk doesn’t magically disappear. Instead of becoming valuable resources, when things are thrown in a landfill they become a problem—and it make take generations to figure out how this stuff has affected our environment. There are many ways we can donate, reuse, and recycle products when we no longer need them. This D&C article highlights how to donate correctly—instead of magically thinking charities are places you can throw away everything and give you that warm fuzzy feeling.  Actually, if you don’t donate correctly, your efforts are a burden. There is much information in these D&C articles about where to take care of a lot of other stuff you are done with. One of the most valuable is EcoPark (and be sure to find out what to do with various items by going to their EcoPark Locator at the right-side of the top page). Not enough of Monroe County residents use EcoPark—I’ve heard 1% and that’s pathetic consider what a valuable environmental service this is for our region provided by your government. However, there isn’t a place where ALL the stuff we consume can be dumped. (Though we used to think so back in the day and we are still paying the cost for old Brownfields and dump sites’ contamination.) With the rise of many regulations (like NYS E-waste law) and many businesses that are now able to make money on recycling and reusing, we are getting closer to the day when recycling will actually be easy and good for our environment. There are two great steps that can speed up this day. Folks should take responsibility for their stuff when they are done with their stuff (admittedly this is still not easy-peasy at this time) but worth the effort and you will be justified in feeling warm and fuzzy afterwards. And businesses should only make stuff that can be easily be recycled so we all can live sustainably—cradle-to-cradle design. | Bryant: Stop giving charities your junk, Part II Toward the beginning of garage sale season, I wrote a column titled "Stop giving charities your junk." It asked people not to saddle local nonprofits with their unsellable items, like moldy, broken hot tub covers, bottles of old prescription medicine or clothes with holes and stains. After the column was published, I got some emails with useful questions and recommendations regarding such things. (August 3, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 8/04/2015 - I certainly hope the EPA did make the Clean Power Plan difficult for the fossil fuel lawyers and politicians more difficult to unravel. But we should never underestimate the rapacity of those in power to keep it—even though to do so would severely challenge our ability to survive. Undoubtedly, there will be no end of attempts to fight the EPA with charges of ‘overreaching’ and hurting the fossil-fuel power plants. But without some legal action from our environmental regulatory agency, there will be not be enough market-driven action to move renewable energy to the front in a time frame and scale that will matter. If the market place could have solved Climate Change, if would have done so long ago—instead of accelerating it. Did the EPA Bulletproof the Clean Power Plan? By making the Obama administration's landmark climate rules more workable and more stringent, Gina McCarthy may have strengthened their legal footing. Gina McCarthy, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has learned two lessons from her long career in the regulatory martial arts: adversity can be a source of strength, but a sure way to hurt yourself is to build strength without flexibility. As the jiu-jitsu artist behind the Obama administration's groundbreaking new rules to control carbon pollution from fossil-fuel power plants being unveiled Monday, McCarthy was determined to emerge from more than two years of legal and technical infighting with final rules that are both stronger and more flexible than the initial proposals. (August 3, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/03/2015 - Be interesting to see the “legislative and political backlash as dozens of states, major corporations and industry groups prepare to file lawsuits challenging…” Obama’s final climate change regulations.  This isn’t a just a crazy political backlash between one party against another. This is an attempt for the fossil fuel forces to fight for their survival at the cost of ours. This battle that will be watched around the world because the forces within our country to block all attempts for the US to come to grips with our energy use in a time of Climate Change are the very forces that are blocking humanity’s attempts to have a sustainable future. I know, Americans will hear nothing but good politicians vs. bad--President Obama vs. those against his measures for Climate Change regulations. But it’s not that simple. President Obama took a long time to start fighting for our climate and he is still allowing drilling in the Arctic. Our focus should be on protecting and preserving our climate during Climate Change, not by viewing this existential problem through the view of politics, our economy, or even our social norms. We are in new territory, but we do know what is causing the problem—accelerated, manmade greenhouse gas emissions. We need to view Climate Change as the mother of all problems and search for solutions that don’t already bake in the very forces (our way of life, corporate power, our present economy, our wacky political system) that caused this crisis. Obama to Unveil Tougher Environmental Plan With His Legacy in Mind (August 2, 2015) New York Times

  • 8/03/2015 - Maybe there’s hope, not all states and corporations are going to fight EPA’s attempt to have sustainable energy. 365 Companies and Investors Announce Support for EPA’s Clean Power Plan Send letters to 29 Governors Urging “Timely” Adoption of State Implementation Plans In an unprecedented show of business support for tackling climate change, 365 companies and investors sent letters today to more than two-dozen governors across the United States voicing their support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for existing power plants and encouraging the state’s “timely finalization” of state implementation plans to meet the new standards. The letter, organized by sustainability advocacy group Ceres, comes just days before the expected finalization of the rule aimed at reducing U.S. power plant carbon pollution by 30 percent by (2030. July 31, 2015) Ceres [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/03/2015 - Not everyone thinks Climate Change is a far-off crisis that can be put on the backburner, your kids for example. We didn’t promise our kids a rose garden, but we did promise them a future. And they want it. These teens are suing Oregon to force action on climate change Frustrated by the slow pace of progress on climate change policy, an Oregon-based environmental group is using a novel legal strategy called "atmospheric trust litigation" to try to force governments to take action. And the movement is being led those who have a high stake in the welfare of future generations -- students. (April 18, 2015) PBS News Hour [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/03/2014 - Greenpeace activists preventing an oil ship from going under Portland Bridge and slowing down Shell’s attempt to drill in the Arctic is a powerful story about Planet caring. Drilling in the Arctic for more freaking fossil fuels is unacceptable, where there’s a 75% chance of an oil spill. Would you fly on a plane that had a 75% of crashing? Tell President Obama: Reject Arctic drilling! | Police Remove Greenpeace Activists from Portland Bridge After They Forced Shell Ship Back to Port In Portland, Oregon, law enforcement officers have removed Greenpeace activists who spent 40 hours suspended from the St. Johns Bridge in order to block an icebreaking ship commissioned by oil giant Shell from leaving for the Arctic. Hundreds of activists have been gathering on the bridge and in kayaks since Tuesday night in efforts to stop Shell’s plans to drill in the remote Chukchi Sea. Early Thursday morning, the suspended Greenpeace activists successfully forced Shell’s ship to turn back to port in a showdown that grabbed international headlines. Joining us to discuss the action is Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA. (July 31, 2015) Democracy Now! [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/01/2015 - But one of the problems with digging in the past to see the future of Climate Change is that our manmade Climate Change is unprecedented.  Of course, we must ferret out information from past climate changes to get an idea of what’s to come, but the information we gather is likely to be of only limited use. We are in new territory. There has never been 7 billion people with their infrastructures to protect. Climate Change is being caused by a single species (us) that has never occurred before—which is to say we can solve this manmade Climate Change if we get our act together. Historically we have used the lessons and information we gained from the past to give us hope when things seem bleak. But there is little in the past that will help us adapt to a future that is quickly warming beyond our control, and part of the problem is that it is a warming that is occurring too slowly for the public appreciate the dangers we must plan for. Digging deep into the past to see the future of climate change When did Australia’s climate become so dry? When did tropical reefs around Australia develop? And what will happen to Australia’s climate and reefs in the future? The answer to these questions can be found by digging into the distant past. That means digging deep into the Earth’s crust, and you don’t always need to be on dry land to do that. (July 30, 2015) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/01/2015 - Pernicious pests that cause disease and discomfort are moving towards our region because of Climate Change. What are the plans? For some time we have known that with a warmer climate our region will experience more mosquitoes that will carry more diseases like West Nile Virus, more ticks that will carry Lyme disease, cause poison ivy to be more poisonous, and allow more invasive species like red fire ants to disrupt our region. But we rarely see our local media or our public officials (who will have to deal with this) connect the dots between Climate Change and these growing threats to our region. The public should start pressing their leaders and the media to prioritize these issues so that we can deal with this issues before they overwhelm us. The arrival of the ash borer, which can survive longer further north because of Climate Change, and is now decimating our ash trees, is a case where all we can do now is slow down the loss of our ash trees. It’s too late to prevent our ash trees from being overwhelmed by the ash borer. Many folks still think all this bad news about Climate Change is being focused on by folks like me just to depress them. Quite the contrary, the connecting the dots with Climate Change and its consequences is about preparing the public in a time frame that will matter—not when it’s too late. What Warming Means for 4 of Summer’s Worst Pests Summer may mean it’s time for outdoor fun in the sun, but it’s also prime time for a number of pests. All that extra time outdoors can bring everything from poison ivy rashes to exposure to Lyme disease from tick bites. And of course there’s that ubiquitous summer menace, the mosquito. With the rising temperatures brought about by global warming, the risks posed by these pernicious pests could also be increasing. A warmer climate can mean expanded habitats for many pest species, as well as increases in their numbers. Here’s what research suggests will happen with four key summertime pests as the world warms: (July 30, 2015) Climate Central [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/01/2015 - Making it so “two qualified railroad workers must set the handbrakes” as the solution to Bomb Trains is “absurdly little and inexplicably late”. US sets new brake rule for oil trains, two years after Lac-Megantic Over two years after a runaway freight train derailed, exploded and destroyed much of the small town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47, the Obama administration has issued new rules governing breaking procedures for tanker cars carrying volatile cargo. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said Wednesday that two qualified railroad workers must set the handbrakes and check other safety equipment on cars carrying dangerous liquids, like crude oil or ethanol, when trains over 20-cars long are left unattended. (July 30, 2015) Aljazeera [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/01/2015 - As Climate Change challenges more ecosystems than we can deal with we may have to pick and choose which ecosystem to focus on saving. Our ideas of sustainability will have to change to accommodate a quickly warming planet, which means we will have to make critical regions resilient instead of thinking every region can be made so. Resilience: A New Conservation  Strategy for a Warming World As climate change puts ecosystems and species at risk, conservationists are turning to a new approach: preserving those landscapes that are most likely to endure as the world warms The San Francisco Bay was once one of the richest estuaries in North America. Almost completely enclosed and protected from the open ocean, and with more than 200 freshwater creeks feeding into it, it was a fertile refuge for young salmon, halibut, sturgeon, anchovy, and smelt. It was lined with some 200,000 acres of tidal marsh, and the connected Sacramento Delta doubled that, creating a region so rich and productive it was known as the Everglades of the West. (July13, 2015) Yale Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/31/2015 - Is the local reintroduction the Lake Sturgeon missing the Climate Change connection? Getting the sturgeon to thrive in the Genesee River and Great Lakes may, in the short term, be an indicator of clean water. But in the long term, do sturgeons really have a chance? Are we asking this question locally because it certainly doesn’t come up in local reporting? Check this out from the National Wildlife Federation:   “Climate change is expected to further threaten this fish as rising water temperatures greatly decrease the quality and quantity of spawning and nursery habitats. Climatic variability could also disrupt the timing of sturgeon reproduction and length of optimal fish growth periods as environmental cues shift and warming waters affect stream ecological processes and ecosystem health. Lake sturgeon are also vulnerable to changes in water levels and increased runoff associated with extreme weather and climate change.” National Wildlife Federation. Go Green: Lake Sturgeon They are just a year and a half old but some lake sturgeon may be the solution to a problem dating back half a century.   "The real reason we're doing this is to now show that the Genesee River is healthier than ever as it relates to sturgeon survival, sturgeon growth," said Dr. Jeff Wyatt.  "They're an incredible bio-indicator of a healthy environment."   About fifty years ago, sturgeon all but disappeared from the Genesee River for many reasons including habitat loss, overfishing, and pollution.   "Humans were part of the problem with their disappearance, swimmingly close to extinction, and now we are the solution. (July 30, 2015) RochesterHomePage

  • 7/31/2015 - It’s the end of July 2015; do you know where your country is on pledges to the UN to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions? Paris 2015: Tracking country climate pledges 31 March marked the loose deadline for countries to submit their pledges to the UN on how far they intend to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. These promises, known as "intended nationally determined contributions", or INDCs, will determine the success of the deal that the UN hopes to sign off in Paris in December this year. While only five countries plus the EU made the deadline, more than a hundred others are expected to filter in throughout the coming eight months. Carbon Brief is tracking the pledges made by each country. We'll update this post as each INDC comes in. To find out exactly what an INDC is and why it matters, read our  INDC explainer. (July 29, 2015) The Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/31/2015 - In the U.S. it appears, our minds are made up on Climate Change; don’t bother us with facts. We are so in trouble on addressing Climate Change when more information only leads to more entrenchment on climate denial. Education increases belief in climate change — everywhere except in the U.S. In China, people are more likely to understand the risks of climate change if they live in the city instead of the countryside. Almost everyone in Japan knows about climate change. In Egypt, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and India, more than 65 percent of people do. In Burundi, Benin, and Liberia, almost nobody has heard of it. All of this is according to a study published this week in Nature Climate Change. In the study, a group of researchers took a close look at data collected in 2007 and 2008 by the Gallup World Poll. Research on public perceptions of climate change is a new field, and until this point has been dominated by studies in Australia, the United States, and Europe. One standout finding is that, on this topic at least, there’s strong evidence to back American exceptionalism. (July 29, 2015) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/31/2015 - “Global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future” which is why we cannot vote a climate denier into office. Planning for ‘threat-multipliers’ requires that your leader understand that Climate Change is happening. Defense Department to Congress: Global warming is a 'present security threat' For the first time, the U.S. Department of Defense has detailed what it views as its greatest challenges related to climate change. In a report to Congress, the Defense Department said that global warming poses a "present security threat, not strictly a long-term risk." The report, delivered to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday and publicly released Wednesday, further stated the Defense Department is "already observing the impacts of climate change in shocks and stressors to vulnerable nations and communities," including in the United States, the Arctic, Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. (July 30, 2015) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/31/2015 - Spring coming earlier would be fine except many animals and plants aren’t ready—and they won’t be for centuries. With evolution, if you’re timing is off that’s a death sentence if you don’t have some quick way to adapt. Before the Time of Global Warming, Data Shows Spring Sprung Later Records of the flowering of plants, the arrival of migrating birds, and the onset of frog mating calls show spring is arriving as much as 14 days sooner. If actions do indeed speak louder than words, plants and animals are telling us in no uncertain terms that human-caused climate change is changing their lives—with potentially dire consequences for the ecosystem. (July 29, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/30/2015 - One of the things that has puzzled me for some time is the attitude of the public on infrastructure repair and Climate Change. In other words, even though adapting our infrastructures—water, waste water, natural gas, transportation, and telecommunications—is already baked into our state and national climate adaptation plans, at the local level we cannot even keep up with normal repairs to these systems. We are still in ‘swat-every-fly’ mode, which is to say we discover problems with our aged infrastructure and desperately search for ways to fund them, because the public doesn’t want to hear about getting their taxes raised to take care of these very old and outdated systems, which is to say that any politician who threatens to raise taxes to do this will not get elected. My point: We cannot even take care of our existing infrastructure, let alone adapt them under the threat of Climate Change—which could quickly overwhelm all of them at once with extreme weather, flooding, heat waves, etc.  I know, infrastructure talk is dull potatoes—until you lose your electricity, your phones, your roads, your gas supplies, and your ability to drink clean water.  We are so not addressing Climate Change at the local level where it really matters. Understanding this issue is critical in understanding why we cannot put climate deniers into public office—they will refuse to see the overarching problem of Climate Change and continue to sway every fly—until we are overwhelmed. Syracuse gets $10 million to help with infrastructure repairs The city of Syracuse hopes to use a $10 million infusion from a New York State Assembly fund for infrastructure as a springboard to even more cash to help repair the crumbling waterlines and sewer pipes that dog the city.   Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner admits the word “infrastructure” has become a rallying cry for her administration. With a record number of water main breaks last year, and 251 already this year, the city is swimming in repairs. So she’s happy to get this $10 million, and wants to stretch it as far as possible. She says that means looking into the possibility of loans, as well as spending smartly and using technology to coordinate information about water main breaks, road problems and the like. (July 24, 2015) Innovation Trail

  • 7/30/2015 - This call not to panic, this is not an invasion (of Asian Carp into Great Lakes) is not comforting. “…federal official cautioned this is not an invasion. “No one should panic. I’m not panicking”.  When the invasive species, the Asian Carp, does get entrenched into our Great Lakes ecosystem (as the Zebra Mussel and others) most certainly have, will we be pleased with our reactions to the warnings that this species might dramatically transform the largest fresh water system in the world? Could we have done more, given that we were given a heads up for many years—as the Asian Carp was making its way up the Mississippi River? 2 Asian carp found in ponds near Toronto waterfront Conservation officers catch two male grass carp, seen as a serious threat to the Great Lakes, in Tommy Thompson Park. The hunt’s on for more. Asian carp, reviled as the vanquishers of native aquatic species and seen posing a huge ecological threat, have somehow found their way into Lake Ontario. Two male fish, both fertile, were discovered this week in contained ponds at Tommy Thompson Park near Toronto’s waterfront. One fish, over a metre long and weighing almost 40 pounds, was found Monday. The second one, a bit smaller, was caught Tuesday. However, a federal official cautioned this is not an invasion. (July 28, 2015) The Star [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 7/30/2014 - Important newsletter that includes events on addressing Climate Change locally from our friends over at Pachamama Rochester August Newsletter

  • 7/29/2015 - Are Bomb Trains sufficiently insured to cover losses when they explode in our communities? Doesn’t look good. “One of the concerns of a crude oil train derailment is the risk of the oil catching on fire, especially in a highly populated area, Mr. Millar said. “Most citizens have no idea of the risk imposed on them or that railroads do not carry the amount of insurance necessary to cover a catastrophe in a highly populated area,” he said.” Oil train insurance minimums in question A little more than two years have passed since an unattended runaway train from the now-bankrupt Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Co. derailed and crashed, spilling oil that caught fire in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and killing 47 people. Within the past two years over a dozen trains transporting crude oil have derailed in North America. And while there are still no U.S. regulations regarding minimum insurance coverages for these trains, Canada's government in July approved the Safe and Accountable Rail Act, which consists of a new liability and compensation program requiring the rail industry and crude oil shippers pay for minimum levels of insurance ranging from $25 million to $1 billion. (July 28, 2015) Business Insurance [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/29/2015 - Global Warming is halfway to hell. However, if 1.5C is a more realistic figure than 2C we are ¾ on our way to hell. Of course, thinking we can add any more greenhouse gases to our atmosphere than we already have since pre-industrial times may be extreme hubris and we’ve long ago entered the gates of hell. Global warming halfway to UN’s 2C limit – New Scientist  All but one of the main surface temperature monitors has recorded a 1C rise since pre-industrial times, analysis shows  Countries have agreed to try and limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels. Beyond that threshold, scientists project escalating sea level rise and ever more intense and volatile weather. We might have already reached the halfway mark, according to analysis commissioned by the New Scientist. Four out of the five major surface temperature records are set to pass the 1C point this year, researchers found, measured from the 1850-1899 average. (July 30, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/29/2015 - From our friends over at the Fast Forward Film Festival: "As you know, this festival is about Rochester’s environmental voice and our first year was this past April. We had great success and the community reaction was very positive! We are now planning this second year, to take place Earth Week in April of 2016, and have made some changes to improve the festival.   One of those changes is the call for films earlier than last year. This year, we are OPENING for film submissions beginning AUGUST 10, 2015 - FEBRUARY 8, 2016. Films can be uploaded via our website at fastforwardroc.org. They are to to be 5 min. short films. More information can be found on the website. "

  • 7/29/2015 - An oil spill in the Arctic is going to be horrific and maybe uncleanupable. A Bad Call on Shell The Obama administration inched a little closer to disaster yesterday when it issued almost-but-not-quite final approval to Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer. Because Shell's capping stack (a critical piece of emergency response equipment) is currently on its way to Portland, Oregon, aboard a damaged icebreaker that requires repairs, the oil company is allowed to drill only part way into the seafloor -- stopping short of where the oil is. If and when the capping stack gets to the proposed drilling site, Shell could then reapply for permission to resume drilling the rest of the way. Last week, I wrote about why letting Shell into the Arctic makes no sense. It's a case of taking huge risks to get something we don't need. In fact, not only do we not need that oil and gas -- we can't even afford to use it if we want to meet the urgent imperative to limit climate disruption.  (July 23, 2015) Sierra Club

  • 7/29/2015 - But instead of undercutting the New York State Fracking ban and drilling for more fossil fuels (with propane forgodsakes) we could be providing jobs and in helping “economic development to the state's poorest region” with renewable energy that doesn’t warm the planet even more. Propane fracking proposal could sidestep state ban A proposal to use gelled propane instead of water in fracking has led to a rare bit of agreement between some environmental groups in New York and the natural gas industry: They agree it could be exempt from the state's current fracking ban. The state completed a fracking ban in late June, but proponents as well as opponents agree that the gelled propane proposal could expose loopholes in the state's prohibition. The state's final ban is on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which uses large volumes of water mixed with sand and chemicals to create fractures in rock that release gas. The gelled propane proposal, for test wells on a hay and corn farm in Tioga County in the Southern Tier, uses liquefied petroleum gas and sand instead of water to split the rock. The propane is recaptured as a gas when it rises back to the surface. (July 28, 2015) Capital New York [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/29/2015 - But in Rochester, NY the stars are not aligning ahead of 'most important environmental summit in history'. We still have our heads in the ground. Hard to believe that our local media is still not covering the most important story of this generation, not to mention they are not connecting the dots between local leadership and addressing the local consequences of Climate Change here—Lyme disease, and more heavy rainfall events, one of which on June 2nd put 10 million gallons of sewage into the Genesee River. See: “New for your phone: Sewage pollution alerts More than 10 million gallons of raw sewage and storm water gushed into the Genesee River early in the morning on June 2, the result of hours of rain that taxed Rochester's sewers. But there was no public announcement, and very few people knew the discharge had occurred. Next time, it might be different — because now, there's an instant-message system that can let people know their local waterway's been fouled. Aging or undersized sewer systems dump billions of gallons into the state's lakes, bays and creeks every year. (July 5, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle The 'stars are aligning' ahead of 'most important environmental summit in history', says UN climate change chief The most important environmental meeting in history is on course to decisively tackle climate change as an “unstoppable and irreversible” momentum builds to “green the planet”, the United Nations climate change chief has told The Independent. Christiana Figueres says she is confident that December’s UN summit in Paris – regarded as the most important so far – will deliver its ambitious target to agree on action drastic enough to limit global warming to 2C. Beyond this level, the consequences of climate change become increasingly devastating. (July 17, 2015) The Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/29/2015 - This connection between Climate Change, ticks, you, and Lyme disease (and many other infectious unpleasantries) is the new normal. This is just one of the consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels—making live easier and opportunistic for vector-driven diseases.  In the Rochester region our media never connects the dots between the rise in Lyme disease cases and Climate Change, but there you are. Tick populations booming due to climate change Ticks are spreading further north in the US and Canada with the potential to transmit diseases to dogs and humans, reports Earth Island Journal A few weeks ago, on a pleasantly cool day, this reporter and his dog, an Alaskan malamute named Bear, headed for a small set of trails in an area of woods not far from the New York-New Jersey border. With bicyclists plying their way on the shoulder of a nearby highway and the Hudson River rushing along beyond the wooded landscape, man and dog walked along the well-maintained trails, yielding to other visitors and trying to stay away from the tall grass. Memories of the day were somewhat dampened after returning home. Bear, whose deep malamute hair is a jungle of fluffiness, brought home an intrepid hitchhiker. Crawling in that furry maze, and thankfully not attached to his skin, was a tick, no doubt on the hunt for some dog blood — or human blood, for that matter. Another one was found crawling nearby. This episode plays out across the US and the rest of the world on a regular basis. (July 28, 2015) The Guardian [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/29/2015 - A major oil spill in the Arctic would wake up the world and its leaders to stop drilling. But should it have to come to that? Do we really have to carry our addiction to more fossil fuels to the brink of disaster and beyond the point of no return before we do the right thing? Greenpeace activists block Shell’s Arctic-bound vessel  Twenty-six Greenpeace activists have blocked Shell’s Arctic icebreaking vessel, the MSV Fennica, as it attempted to leave Portland, Oregon on its way to meet the company’s drilling fleet in the Arctic. The climbers have suspended themselves from a bridge, preventing the ship from passing underneath, and Greenpeace says they have enough supplies to last for several days. Each climber has displayed an individual banner, with slogans including ‘#ShellNo’, ‘Save the Arctic’ and ‘President Obama, Last Chance to Say #ShellNo’. According to the latest federal permit, the Fennica must be at Shell’s drill site before Shell can reapply for federal approval to drill deep enough for oil in the Chukchi Sea. Annie Leonard, the Executive Director of Greenpeace US, said: (July 29, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/28/2015 - 97.7% of United States citizens have at least heard of ‘Climate Change’. So, we cannot play stupid on this worldwide crisis. Global survey: Where in the world is most and least aware of climate change? Analysis of a global survey finds that more than a third of the world's adults have never heard of climate change. For some countries, such as South Africa, Bangladesh and Nigeria, this rises to more than two-thirds of the adult population. The study says that education is the "single strongest predictor" of public awareness of climate change. Improving basic education and public understanding of climate change are vital to garner support for climate action, the researchers add. (July 27, 2015) The Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/28/2015 - Something new for our officials to plan for in Climate Change: Compound Flooding. Rain, Storm Surge Combine to Put U.S. Coasts at Risk After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleanians thought they knew what areas were susceptible to flooding during a storm. So when Hurricane Isaac, a much weaker storm than Katrina, bore down on the city in 2012, those who live to the west of Lake Pontchartrain weren’t worried, as they had been spared the raging waters that inundated so much of the city during Katrina. But Isaac turned out to be the perfect storm for that area. The surge that Isaac pushed ahead of it raised lake levels by 6 to 9 feet, and they stayed elevated for an unusually long time. At the same time, the area around the lake saw 11 or more inches of rain from the storm. Because the lake levels were so high, there was nowhere for the rainwater to drain, and so water flooded the streets and houses to the west of the lake. (July 27, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/27/2015 - Humanity has known about Global Warming for some time now; when did we know it and what did we know? But more importantly, what will we do about it? Check out this short video: Climate Change: A Brief History of Global Warming "Published on Jul 21, 2015 July 21 -- Global warming turns 120 next year... sort of. Next year will be the 120th anniversary of the first time we figured out that human activity could be warming the planet. Since then, the science has gotten firmer and the politics have gotten murkier, but the outlook for the future remains uncertain. This is the history of manmade global warming in three minutes. (Video by: Alan Jeffries, Christian Capestany, Eric Roston) "

  • 7/25/2015 - I do not know what to do with nuclear waste, but I do know that burying it near the Great Lakes is insane. You gotta ask yourself: Why would anyone build something that produces a waste that cannot be disposed of? Documentary searches for hope in nuclear waste Hope isn’t a word most people associate with high-level radioactive nuclear waste. But an upcoming documentary on its storage in Ontario takes an optimistic perspective on a depressing subject. It’s called Nuclear Hope.  “Hope can have a very positive meaning – we hope for a better future, we hope for a better life, all of those things,” said the independent film’s co-director, Colin Scheyen. “Hope can also be misguided. Without the right knowledge behind it, hope can be very shortsighted. “Hope is a perfect word to use toward nuclear energy.”  Scheyen’s film explores the science and controversy surrounding the proposed deep underground storage of most of Canada’s high-level radioactive waste. That’s the extremely dangerous used fuel from a nuclear reactor – the most radioactive of nuclear waste. (July 24, 2015) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great lakes in our area]

  • 7/25/2015 - One of the problems with addressing Urban Sprawl is that Nature doesn’t have much clout in our present economic system. That is to say, when a community that is already over developed to the hilt, like Henrietta, leaving even a little 12.8 acre patch of wilderness can’t complete in paying taxes as a development project can. Somehow we need to adjust our tax system so that leaving the critical patches of wilderness, where Nature gets to do its thing (like providing invaluable ecosystem stuff) and educating our youth about the biological underpinnings of our existence, is as valuable to our present economic and tax structuring as the few remaining patches of untouched Nature are. Henrietta, as many other places, has areas that have already been developed and abandoned, so there is no need to tear up virgin land. Why can’t we create a system where it is more profitable for everyone to clean up and reuse existing developed areas (especially Brownfields) for more development before we even think of touching these micro parks like Beckwith Park? Why do neighborhoods have to prove the worth of Nature and fight for its survival because our present economic structure rewards more destruction and less reuse of compromised land? Micro parks like Beckwith Park within our communities provide innumerable benefits—wildlife corridors, cooling shade instead of the ‘heat island’ effect of asphalt, psychological benefits, water absorption instead of more runoff, and much much more—but that presently doesn’t fill the public coffers like another development project.  We need to change so that places like Beckwith Park are appreciated as the valuable components of our existence that they are. If you’ve fought against development projects like this in your neighborhood, you might want to help out these folks save this valuable land. Meet the Community, Join the Effort. Come to the brainstorming meetings! The next meeting is  Aug 7th at 7p.m. Please RSVP .  Children welcome.  Henrietta Neighbors Fighting Proposed Development In a sea of suburbs, Henrietta is not usually the place you think of when it comes to a tranquil spot to take in the sights and sounds of nature. But a little plot of land on the town's west side is one of those few places.  "There is all this industry and all this development and there is this little patch, this little 12.8 acre patch of wilderness," described Naomi Pless. A developer just bought the land from the catholic diocese and plans to build over a dozen homes.    Legally there is nothing the town of Henrietta can do to stop this development but neighbors want everyone to know how special the bit of land is. "Just because everybody is within their right doesn't mean it's the right thing to do," said Tobin Foryt who has lived next to the land for 17 years. Nearly every neighbor was told the land would remain untouched when they purchased their home. And upon hearing the news that an initial plan was in place to build they were disappointed. (July 23, 2015) RochesterHomePage [more on Urban Sprawl in our area] 

  • 7/25/2015 - Keeping back Climate Change from compromising our infrastructures is going to be expensive and problematic and unavoidable and unlikely to be solved by putting our dams, levees, coastal hurricane barriers, flood gates, and flood walls under private ownership. Which is to say the real consequences of Climate Change must be addressed by our public officials who must be planning for a warmer world or we will be overwhelmed by it. Which is to say, if we put any more climate deniers into office we are in deeper trouble than we already are. GAO Report Sees Climate Risks to Army Corps Projects Thousands of dams, levees, hurricane barriers and flood walls built across the country by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be at risk from extreme weather and sea level rise driven by climate change, but the Army Corps has only just begun to assess how vulnerable they are and suffers from a lack of funding, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report. The Army Corps may not be the most prominent of federal government agencies, but the dams, levees and other infrastructure it builds, critical to the lives of millions, can be seen everywhere across the United States, often keeping rising waters away from low-lying communities. (July 24, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/24/2015 - The public is key in helping to keep our waters clean by making sure runoff doesn’t contain contaminants. And because heavy rainfall has increased in the Northeast by 71% since 1958 because of Climate Change, there will be more runoff. So this issue is something tangible where our local public can make a difference in our water quality. Go Green: H2O Heroes You've probably seen the ads or the billboards maybe even visited the website or Facebook page but do you know how to help the water in Lake Ontario? "What we're trying to do is make homeowners aware of things they can do to help protect water quality," said  Paul Sawyko, Coordinator of the Water Education Collaborative. The Monroe County Stormwater Coalition uses Larry the H2O Hero to show people what they can do to help the lake like limiting fertilizer use and sweeping grass clippings back into the lawn, properly disposing of pet waste, and using commercial car washes so oils and detergents are kept out of streets and driveways. (July 23, 2015) RochesterHomePage [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/24/2015 - Just like we did with the People’s Climate March in September, the public needs to demonstrate to their leaders that our leaders must lead on Climate Change in Paris. Paris must not fail. COP21 Paris Climate Treaty in December may be humanity’s last chance to keep greenhouse gases to a sustainable level. My guess is that if Paris does fail and the countries of the world fail again to construct a meaningful treaty to bind all to a real solution to Climate Change, the world’s public will not go quiet away until the next climate conference. I suspect we’ll be in new territory where humanity will be aghast at itself for its inability to adapt to new conditions. Adaptability is a feature of our specie’s character that has made us the dominant species. Not only is human-caused rapid Climate Change new, but the very rapid realization by most of the world’s population that Climate Change is tangible and urgent is a startling new global zeitgeist that will change who we are. Like planning your future after you’ve found out you have cancer, your plans will be different. Will our inability to adapt to Climate Change, to change our attitudes about our way of living with our life support system, be our epitaph? Time passes. The week climate change diplomacy went into overdrive Hosts of this year’s summit in Paris aim to engage wide support for a deal before December deadline  An unprecedented climate diplomacy drive is now fully underway, spanning continents and forcing governments to focus on what a UN global warming pact will look like. Envoys face a brutal five months in the run-up to December’s UN summit in Paris, where a deal to avert dangerous levels of climate change is to be finalised. Many will spend the rest of 2015 shuttling between capitals, the vapour trails and additional greenhouse gas emissions of their flights a price paid to tackle this fiendish problem. (July 23, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC)  [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 7/24/2015 - Just because folks in the Rochester region are not focused on Climate Change doesn’t mean Climate Change isn’t getting worse. It’s physics. Global warming’s record-breaking trend continues Forget talk of a slowdown in global warming. Scientists say the climate is heading smartly in the opposite direction, with 2014 proving to be a record-breaking year. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the most respected sources of climate science, says that last year “the most essential indicators of Earth’s changing climate continued to reflect trends of a warming planet”. Some − including rising land and ocean temperatures, sea levels and greenhouse gases − reached record highs. The authoritative report by the NOAA’s Centre for Weather and Climate at the National Centres for Environmental Information (NCEI), published by the American Meterological Society, draws on contributions from 413 scientists in 58 countries to provide a detailed update on global climate indicators. “The variety of indicators shows us how our climate is changing, not just in temperature but from the depths of the oceans to the outer atmosphere,” says Thomas R. Karl, director of the NCEI. (July 22, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/23/2015 - These publishing awards are a dangerous delusion. The awards merely reflect the Democrat and Chronicle’s desire to pander to their reader’s desire for more sports, more sensationalism, and more happy news about everything looking rosy for Rochester which all help increase the likelihood of folks buying more newspapers. But the world in 2015 is a world that is warming and many of the consequences of that warming are occurring in our Rochester region—like the increase in heavy flooding. There has been precious little in this newspaper about the COP21 Paris Climate Treaty coming up in November which could decide whether we can ever bring down greenhouse gas emissions to a sustainable level. When a major publication like the D&C continually puts sports and development stories on the front page, instead of the worldwide crisis of Climate Change, the public and our leaders feel no pressure to address this crisis locally. The world is talking about Climate Change and what it means to our future, but not the United States, which as a leader in the Second Industrial Revolution caused much of this present crisis. The greenhouse gases that have unnaturally warmed our planet so quickly are ours.  Rochesterians are not talking about the most important issue of our age and the local media is one of the major reasons why. We elected a mayor last year and there was no public debate about how Climate Change in our region was to be address—and continual silence from the mayor’s office on Climate Change is the result. We are about to go into the race for Monroe County executive this fall and there is every indication that neither candidate will be pressed by the press on how they will lead on this crucial issue locally. So if the D&C only measures its ability to sell more newspapers by pandering to its readers, instead of stepping up to its responsibility to our region in a time of Climate Change, I’ll suspect they will continue to win awards for things that won’t matter much if we cannot adapt to a world 97% of scientist say is coming. The media, especially a major local media, like the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, needs to change and reevaluate its priorities in a time of Climate Change. D&C wins 6 New York News Publishers Association awards The Democrat and Chronicle Media Group won six first-place awards Wednesday night in the annual New York News Publishers Association contest. (July 23, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in  our area] 

  • 7/23/2015 - “rainstorm after rainstorm” is code for Climate Change in our region which has experienced a 71% increase in heavy rainfall since 1958. Check out “Heavy Downpours Increasing” from the nation’s latest National Climate Assessment report. If we really want to clean up our beaches and prevent them from the increasing likelihood of contamination from heavy rainfall, we are going to have to address this water quality issue through the lens of Climate Change. Which is to say our media and our local water authorities need to connect the dots between Climate Change and our beach closings so there will be more support from the public on the measures we need to take to accomplish this. Yes, there are many factors contributing to beach closing, but they are all made worse as our atmosphere warms and causes heavier rainfall events which will continually overwhelm our waste water infrastructures. After storms and dredging, Lake Ontario’s name is mud Complaints about Lake Ontario water quality have piled up this summer like waves on a stormy shore. People jaw about debris on the beach and tree branches in the water, but mostly about mud — discolored, chocolatey, muddy water. The latest episode this weekend, which left near-shore areas of the lake an unusual brownish green, prompted some to blame dredging in the Genesee River, which began in May and ended July 12. But officials say the dredging is only one factor. Fingers also are being pointed at the sky: Heavy rainstorms that hit the Rochester area over the last month and a half, especially to the city’s south, have washed huge amounts of soil and debris into creeks and rivers. That muddy, rubbish-laden water winds up in Lake Ontario. “In over 20 years, I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Sam Zucco, a fishing-boat captain who operates Dream Catcher Charters in Rochester. “It’s usually muddy. But I haven’t seen it that muddy.” (July 22, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/23/2015 - Pope’s message that local leaders, mayors (and county executives), play a crucial role in leading on Climate Change. Bold demonstrations by our local leaders to lead on Climate Change adaptations—like making renewable energy more prominent, connecting the dots between active transportation (walking and bicycling) and lower greenhouse gas emissions, and pushing our governor and President to do more to make the Paris Climate Treaty a success—would do much to convince the public that this clear and present danger needs to be addressed. Our local leaders should be speaking forthrightly to the press about how Rochester and Monroe County fit into the problem and solution to Climate Change. Time passes. At Vatican, Mayors Pledge Climate Change Fight VATICAN CITY — About 60 mayors from around the world gathered here on Tuesday and pledged to combat global warming and help the poor deal with its effects, at a conference swiftly organized by the Vatican barely a month after Pope Francis’ sweeping encyclical on the environment. The two-day conference, which also focused on fighting forms of modern slavery, was not the first time that the Vatican had organized a meeting on the issue. But it was the first time that it specifically invited local officials, hoping to mobilize grass-roots action and maintain pressure on world leaders for action ahead of a global summit meeting on climate changescheduled for December in Paris. In Tuesday’s declaration, the mayors pledged to urge world leaders to pass a “bold climate agreement that confines global warming to a limit safe for humanity, while protecting the poor and the vulnerable from ongoing climate change that gravely endangers their lives.” (July 21, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/23/2014 - ACTION: "Call on Governor Cuomo and The Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to take immediate action to protect the public and the environment from the dangers of crude-by-rail." Stop the Bomb Trains "As much as 7 billion gallons of crude oil could move by train through New York State annually under current and proposed permits as the nation’s “virtual pipeline” for crude oil expands. The Department of Transportation can take immediate action to reduce the risks of derailments, which have caused catastrophic spills of crude oil elsewhere in the United States and Canada, including the tragic loss last year of 47 lives and the destruction of a business district in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The volatility of Bakken crude oil combined with the inadequacy of the DOT-111 railcars used to transport much of this cargo has led rail workers to dub them "bomb trains." Spills of heavy crudes, such as those from Alberta, Canada, tar sands, would have particularly damaging impacts to water and the ecosystems they support – because heavy crude oils can sink, clean-up is next to impossible. " Riverkeeper

  • 7/23/2015 - It’s time for the key players to ante up for the Green Climate Fund or no one gets to play in a viable future.  People and countries in great desperation because they are at the front of extreme weather and forced to consume the last of their valuable natural resources because the countries who created the Climate Change crisis won’t help redistribute the wealth caused by an unfair grab of the ecological commons does not a sustainable situation make. The Green Climate Fund is not a gift or a handout. It is in the best interest of the developed nations to make sure the many developing nations do not destroy their part of our global environment trying to stay alive. No country will be sustainable if all countries aren’t sustainable because the planet is one ecosystem. Climate Treaty's Finances on Shaky Ground This primer explains why faith is beginning to wane in the Green Climate Fund, designed to heal divisions between rich and poor nations. Faith in the Green Climate Fund, the finance arm long believed to hold a key to achieving a global climate change accord in Paris in December, is beginning to wane. The Green Climate Fund is supposed to be the primary distributor of tens of billions of dollars in climate aid to help the world's poorest countries deal with climate change caused primarily by the actions of others. It was designed to help heal the deep divisions between rich and poor nations that have long dimmed hopes for a meaningful global warming solution. (July 20, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/21/2015 - “Excess rain” is code for Climate Change in our region which has experienced a 71% increase in heavy rainfall since 1958. Check out “Heavy Downpours Increasing” from the nation’s latest National Climate Assessment report. http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/our-changing-climate/heavy-downpours-increasing If we really want to clean up our beaches and prevent them from the increasing likelihood of contamination from heavy rainfall, we are going to have to address this water quality issue through the lens of Climate Change. Which is to say our media and our local water authorities need to connect the dots between Climate Change and our beach closings so there will be more support from the public on the measures we need to take to accomplish this. Yes, there are many factors contributing to beach closing, but they are all made worse as our atmosphere warms and causes heavier rainfall events which will continually overwhelm our waste water infrastructures. Community reacts to beach closures It was a hot, humid day Monday, but there was no relief for swimmers at two beaches along Lake Ontario. Ontario Beach Park and Durand Eastman Beach were both closed to swimmers Monday due to growing concerns of bacteria and a lack of clarity in the water. According to the Monroe County Health Department, Ontario Beach Park is usually open to swimmers two-thirds of the time during the season, and Durand Eastman's numbers are even higher. This year, both beaches have only been open about 50 percent of the time. (July 20, 2015) WHAM Rochester [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/21/2015 - Which is to say, if you care about bees (and all that they do for us) cool it on the pesticides. The best solution would be to treat our entire environment (our life support system) as a preserve and curb the use of pesticides altogether—a feat which many of our friends in the organic farming movement (Like NOFA ) know all about. Preserves provide havens for stressed bees The Genesee Land Trust’s acquisition of woods and fields in Pultneyville won’t just preserve opportunities for people to enjoy the picturesque property. It also will preserve safe havens for wild bees — a move that aids not only the valuable insects but the nearby apple orchards they help pollinate. A study of New York orchards has verified that application of pesticides on apple trees can and does harm wild bees. But the research, by scientists at Cornell University and several other institutions, also found that proximity to undeveloped land can lessen the damage. It is well-known that the insecticides applied to make apple trees can hurt or kill the European honeybees that are brought to orchards in the spring to pollinate the trees and give life to the fruit. (July 20, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 7/21/2015 - I know, Rochester NY is mild at the moment and the deniers are thriving, but Climate Change is making much of the world burn.  We in Rochester should show as much concern about the quick (very, very quick) warming of our planet as much of the rest of the world—even though it this particular moment we are not burning up. We should be planning and doing so publically for how for this worldwide crisis. Europe and Pacific Northwest face record heat For two weeks in late June and early July 2015, western Europe and the Pacific Northwest of North America endured record-setting heat and parched landscapes. Other parts of the world got a taste of the heat, too, as new temperature records were set on three continents. The map above shows daytime land surface temperature anomalies in Europe from June 30 to July 9, 2015. Temperatures for those ten days are compared to the 2001–2010 average for the same period. Shades of red depict areas where the land surface was hotter than the long-term average; areas in blue were below average. White pixels were normal, and gray pixels did not have enough data, most likely due to excessive cloud cover. (July 15, 2015) NASA - Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/21/2015 - Too little being done to reach 2C even when 2C is too high. “2C limit is inadequate.” Find out what pledges what countries have submitted before the COP21 Paris Treaty: INDCs as communicated by Parties The Marshall Islands just submitted their pledges and just before that, Japan. Hansen: 2C warming will raise sea level several metres  Scientists warn feedback effects will melt polar ice faster than thought, causing “highly dangerous” impacts this century UN climate talks aim to limit global warming to 2C, a level that will require significantly deeper greenhouse gas emissions cuts than currently planned. That goal was based on scientific evidence compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), showing higher temperature rise would bring catastrophic impacts. Yet even 2C warming could raise sea levels several metres this century, 17 experts led by former NASA chief climate scientist James Hansen have warned. (July 20, 2015) Responding To Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/20/2015 - Thought for today: When you turn on a light in your house do you know what implications this has on our life support system? Are the wires connected to that light switch connected to possible threats to our public health and our environment? Is that light switch switching on more greenhouse gas emissions that are warming up the planet? Switching on our lights is a moral action—and it doesn’t have to be bad. Consider getting your representatives to support a 100% renewable energy solution by 2030. |  A.G. Schneiderman Wins Fed Ruling On Indian Point, Impacting Relicensing Indian Point Cannot Ignore Severe Accident Measures & Licenses Cannot Be Renewed Before Review Of Upgrades Completed Any Decision Not To Upgrade Severe Accident Measures Must Be Explained In Full Latest Success In AG’s Work To Improve Nuclear Regulation & Enforcement NEW YORK – New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a significant federal ruling in ongoing efforts to improve Indian Point’s accident preparedness, and ensure the protection of public health and the environment of the surrounding region.  The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board issued a decision, agreeing with New York that Indian Point cannot be relicensed without completing the legally-required analyses of its severe accident mitigation measures. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) must require Indian Point’s owner, Entergy to either adopt cost-effective upgrades that would improve responses and control the impact of a severe accident, or provide a compelling reason why it will not do so. (July 15, 2015) New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/20/2015 - From a friend: Learn more about saving 12.8 acres of beautiful wild land and wildlife habitat in Henrietta: Save Beckwith Park "There is a group of neighbors working hard to save 12.8 acres of beautiful wild land and wildlife habitat. In view of the Pope's recent encyclical, we are mystified that the Catholic Diocese of Rochester is in the process of selling it for development. We were able to have a wetlands surveyor look at arial photos of the land and he identified two likely areas of wetland on the property. In addition there is a waterway that runs through the property that is marked on the DEC classified water bodies map. Trees present include quite a few cherry, many slippery elm maple, some maple, a few large oaks, many large ash and even walnut. It’s a wonderfully overgrown home to fox, deer, skunk, raccoon, bats, woodchucks, turkey, ducks and a host of other wildlife. One neighbor has even seen a bobcat there! We saw fox cubs once. They looked like little fur-balls rolling around playing like puppies while the mama fox stood nearby. There are thickets, meadows, and even a wild blackberry patch. A recent bird watch walk through the property found 41 species of birds which are listed here:  We are looking to get more public awareness of the situation and will appreciate any help you might be able to give! There is more information on our newly developed website: www.SaveBeckwithPark.org

  • 7/20/2015 - Ok, there is a plan B if Paris climate summit ends in failure but it involves many years of tragic and frustrating attempts to adapt to a continually warming climate that will eventually fail. The window to mitigate Climate Change, to keep GHG emissions at a point where our way of life can be sustained, is quickly closing and that window is Paris. No plan B if Paris climate summit ends in failure, says EU climate chief Exclusive: Miguel Cañete urges world leaders to force their ministers to agree a deal There is “no plan B” if the Paris climate conference ends in failure, Europe’s climate chief has warned, urging world leaders to intervene to force their ministers to agree a landmark deal this December. In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Miguel Cañete, commissioner for climate action, said he was very concerned about the lack of negotiating time remaining before the conference. Cañete, who will lead the EU’s 28 member states in the talks, said that if governments did not reach agreement, there was “no plan B – nothing to follow. This is not just ongoing UN discussions. Paris is final.” (July 6, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/18/2015 - Please join in and make comment on this City article --Unsafe at any speed. Don't be silent on this immediate threat to our community and the larger issue of Climate Change. Make noise! As another Bomb Train derails in Montana yesterday (“Montana train derailment spilled 35,000 gallons of crude oil”), it can be added to these -- July, 2013 - Lac Megantic, Canada |November, 2013 - Aliceville, AL | December, 2013 - Casselton, ND | January, 2014 - New Brunswick, Canada | April 2014 - Lynchburg, VA | February 14, 2015 - Timmins, Ontario, Canada | February 16, 2015 - Mount Carbon, WVA | March 5, 2015 - Galena, IL |March 7, 2015 - Gogama, Ontario Canada | May 6, 2015 – and Heimdal, ND.  Please note that the thrust of “Unsafe at any speed?” is the clear and present danger of exploding Bomb Train in our communities for which there is not sufficient emergency measures or evacuation plans. The immediate answer to this problem is stopping transporting this dangerous crude oil through our communities that will never be safe. Pipelines are not an answer either. Go here to see the “List of pipeline accidents in the United States in the 21st century” There are hundreds and hundreds. Because climate denial is still so prevalent in our community there are those who dismiss the most important issue about increase use of fossil fuels in a time of warming. I hope the public will take the time to read Pope Francis’s encyclical, which is the most profound insights into the moral, scientific, economic, and social implications of the Climate Change disaster published recently: (It’s free, it’s in English, It’s very readable, and it’s profound.) The Bomb Train threat is the most immediate threat to our community’s safety and it must not be hijacked by those who cannot see beyond their fossil fuel addiction. The Paris Treaty is coming up in a few months and it will be one of the most historic human events ever to bring greenhouse gas levels to a sustainable level. It would be nice in Rochester if we could have a thoughtful discussion about the dangers of fossil fuels at all levels and bring our community into the world community’s discussion about a phenomenon that must be addressed. The climate deniers have lost. That is a fact. Because they won’t give in, they continue to hijack all local discussions about how we must adapt and mitigate this crisis of our age—even though all official climate studies for our region map these adaptation strategies out.  More folks need to speak up on addressing Climate Change locally and worldwide—and drown out the voices who continue thwart our efforts for a rational conversation on this crisis and viable future. Shame on those who won’t give up on their denial ideology that threatens all their friends, and neighbors, and children. Stop listening to climate deniers and start reading climate studies.

  • 7/17/2015 - “… although scientists say it’s well short of what is required to avert disaster” isn’ just a caveat, it’s a disaster.  So, at least from this article, it seems as though we are moving towards a COP21 Paris Treaty that will “make submitting national climate plans compulsory, but the greenhouse gas cuts countries propose are unlikely to be legally binding…” And the 2C goal is set too low because even a 2C world is too hot and we aren’t even going to be able to achieve 2C anyway under the accumulated pledges being made so far. But countries (well, the developed countries anyway) are getting excited because they are likely to make some kind of agreement, which might be a platform from which to make better agreements down the road. This is leading towards a pathetic Paris Treaty and we must ask ourselves (even in the light of the past twenty years of failed climate agreements) whether this is OK. Should we not kill the good in pursuit of the perfect? Or, should we heed climate scientists (over 97%) who say  we are on a trajectory that is leading us to dangerous tipping points and therefore nothing less than a treaty with a very aggressive approach that will actually keep temperatures down to a sustainable level will actually work in a world where physics (not politics) rule? To be at a point in human existence where we must ask ourselves these incredible questions is one thing. To sit back and be quiet while our fate and the fate of all living things on this planet is in jeopardy is quite another. Time passes. Top climate envoys confident Paris on course for success  Summary of negotiator meetings show broad strokes of global climate pact, though carbon cuts unlikely to be legally binding  Top climate envoys from the US, China, Brazil, Russia and 18 other countries have offered the clearest signal yet they feel a UN climate deal will be reached in Paris this year. A summary of their views has been released by the Washington DC based C2ES think tank, the consequence of eight informal discussions since March 2014 with senior negotiators. Former South Africa environment minister Valli Moosa, who helped coordinate discussions, said they had left him convinced failure in Paris would be “seizing defeat from the jaws of victory”. (July 16, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/17/2015 - Great as they are you blue bin cannot ‘eat’ everything. They ‘hate’ plastic wrap and Styrofoam makes them gag. We are not even close to the magical age when we can throw everything we’re done with into the blue bin and expect everything to be recycled properly. Recycling a lot of materials is still just about impossible. But some stuff (furniture) can be reused and some other stuff you shouldn’t buy in the first place. It shouldn’t be the case that recycling is characterized as a simple, no regrets operation that will encourage the public to believe that a throw-away way of life actually works. The trouble is that those leaders who present the public with the delusion that we can just buy stuff endlessly and then throw this stuff away in a blue bin or march their trash to the curb and everything will be green and wonderful will probably get these folks elected again and again. Reduce, Reuse, Remove The Cellophane: Recycling Demystified It's easy to think we're being virtuous when we fill up the blue recycling bin and put it on the curb. But it's clear we have embraced some magical thinking when it comes to what can be recycled. Morning Edition asked its social media followers to share what puzzles them the most about the recycling process. Then, NPR's Dianna Douglas visited a waste management plant in Elkridge, Md., to get the answers from Michael Taylor, director of recycling operations for the plant. (July 17, 2015) NPR [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 7/17/2015 - I know, the eastern U.S. gets a break from the heat recently, but Climate Change is getting worse nevertheless. Thinking that we are in a ‘sweet’ zone where we won’t be greatly affected by the consequences of Climate Change because we aren’t baking now is like thinking that because you’re in a caboose of a train running off a cliff you won’t follow. With Climate Change on Earth there are no ‘sweet’ zones, no places to jump off when the going gets rough. The idea of addressing Climate Change is to make sure it doesn’t get too rough. Science Confirms 2014 Was Hottest Yet Recorded, On Land And Sea For the past quarter-century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been gathering data from more than 400 scientists around the world on climate trends. The report on 2014 from these international researchers? On average, it was the hottest year ever — in the ocean, as well as on land. (July 17, 2015) NPR [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/16/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: What the difference between a consumer and a citizen? Ans: Climate Change. Are we a species that just buys stuff or are we engaged stewards of our planet so that when we leave, others will be able to enjoy their shot a life too? Are we going to let the fossil fuel industry rule our existence until the place warms up beyond our ability to cope? Or not? Time passes.

  • 7/16/2015 - If we don’t address Lake Erie’s toxic algae problem through the lens of Climate Change, one of our Great Lakes could become a ‘Giant Incubator’ for toxic scum. All media coverage of algae bloom in our Great Lakes and Finger Lakes should be connected with Climate Change so the public can understand what’s going on. Warmer water with more heavy rainfall will make fertilizer runoffs more likely. Heavier Rains Mean More Toxic Blooms for Lake Erie Come September, Lake Erie might face a toxic algae bloom that could rival the record-setting spread of scum that happened in 2011. And such blooms could become more common as the warming climate fuels more downpours that wash bloom-fueling fertilizers into the lake. The forecasts for a severe bloom this year, made in early July by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and regional partners, was based on the considerable rains that fell in June and washed a large load of the fertilizers into the lake’s watershed. While this particular event can’t be blamed on climate change, said NOAA scientist Tim Davis, it is what could happen more often without efforts to address fertilizer use, some of which are underway. These blooms can have major impacts on local tourism, fishing, wildlife and, in the case of last year’s bloom, can sometimes cause issues for city water supplies. (July 15, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/16/2015 - If COP21 Paris treaty is to work it must be binding. The best way to keep your horses in a pasture is NOT to remove the fences. Climate Change isn’t a koan, it’s a problem of science and morality and survival. We must not treat Congress’s unlikelihood of honoring its UN pledge as a preordained fact. The public can raise their voice by expressing outrage and letting the presidential candidates who are in climate denial know (which will get to the media) that they are not fit for office. Fossil fuels must be phased out whether the Republican majority in the Senate likes it or not. We are at a tipping point in history as to whether we can hold off the worst of Climate Change and the US Congress must not stand in our way for a viable future. Global Climate Treaty May Hinge on the Strength of Its Teeth Negotiators working toward the Paris talks debate whether strict requirements will endanger cooperation, particularly from the U.S. One of the most sensitive unresolved questions facing negotiators of a new global climate treaty is how binding it will be. If the treaty expected to be reached in Paris this year is without enforceable strict rules, some argue it will not be credible, while others say if nations are bound too rigidly, they won't agree to anything ambitious enough to matter. And the key to the whole conundrum is likely the United States (July 15, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/15/2015 - Finally, a thorough investigative report on Bomb Trains running through Rochester. This issue needs your immediate attention. The practice of putting highly volatile crude oil on train cars not built for them are (along with plans to drill for more oil in the warming Arctic) the signs of a lethal addiction. With Climate Change upon us, more dire reports every day from scientists, the public is often so overwhelmed that they don’t know what fire to put out first. For Rochesterians, the answer is now clear, for us at this moment, putting out an imminent Bomb Train disaster should take top priority. This very likely catastrophe of an exploding ‘unit train’ (see photos Google “Bomb Train crude oil photos”.) in our region should be galvanizing the public to act. Sign a petition to Governor Cuomo from PAUSE. And come to Brighton Farmer's Market (in the Brighton High School parking lot, 1150 S Winton Rd, Rochester, NY) this Sunday between 9am-1pm in massive numbers and sign a local petition. Don’t sit this one out. Unsafe at any speed? A fiery derailment of a CSX oil train in Mount Carbon, West Virginia, in February showed the destructive potential of these trains. Twenty-seven of the train's 109 oil cars went off the tracks — some catching fire or exploding. A nearby home was destroyed in the fire, which continued to burn for five days. The cause of the accident is still under investigation. The derailment occurred right next to the Kanawha River, and environmental crews had to work quickly to keep hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude from seeping into the water. A downstream drinking-water treatment plant was also shut down as a precaution. "This accident is another reminder of the need to improve the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail," said Christopher Hart, acting chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, in a news release. Mount Carbon was one of five fiery oil train derailments in the US and Canada between January and May. Though the high-profile accidents have not claimed any lives, they do have a lot of people — from environmental and community activists to emergency responders —concerned about what might happen if an oil train derails in their communities. (July 15, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/15/2015 - I know, this report on more damaging impacts from Climate Change is dreary but the answer is not to elect a climate denier. Every day there are more reports that connect serious environmental damage and more possible tipping points we won’t be able to walk away from. The answer to this crisis of manmade Climate Change is to elect leaders who will lead us through this crisis, not stick our heads in the ground and install a denier into public office.  Time passes. Human impact on the oceans is growing — and climate change is the biggest culprit The world’s oceans have suffered a lot at the hands of humans — ask any marine conservationist. Unsustainable fishing, pollution and the effects of climate change are just a few of the issues that worry scientists and environmentalists. While we have a good idea of which activities are causing harm to the ocean, scientists have been less clear on which ones are the most damaging and which regions of the ocean are getting the worst of it. Now, new research has allowed scientists to map the impacts of 19 different types of human activity that have harmed the ocean over a span of five years. The study was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. (July 14, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/15/2015 - As a member of RGGI (along with eight other states) and a ban on Fracking is New York on the road to 100% renewable energy? We’ve had our environmental issues (Love Canal, PCBs in the Hudson), but New York has been a leader in environmental reforms (think the establishment of the Adirondack Park). (Check out The Nature of New York: An Environmental History of the Empire State, by David Stradling)  So it’s not impossible to dream that we can make it all the way to be sustainable. Of course, no community, no state, no country can become sustainable unless all communities are on board. We all live on the same planet. But other places may be able to look at New York as a model for cleaning up their act. The Northeast’s Electricity Bills Have Dropped $460 Million Since They Started Paying For Carbon A regional cap-and-trade program has added $1.3 billion in economic activity to nine New England and Mid-Atlantic states since 2011, while decreasing their carbon emissions by 15 percent, according to independent analysis released Tuesday. In addition to stimulating the economy and reducing carbon, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has also reduced the cost of electricity for consumers, saving residential, businesses, and public users $460 million, the report from the Analysis Group found. These benefits mean that RGGI (pronounced “reggie”) could be a model for other states looking to reduce carbon emissions under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, set to be released next month. The Clean Power Plan requires states to lower carbon emissions from the electricity sector, but lets states choose how they reduce those emissions. (July 14, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2015 - Transportation options will change during Climate Change and with so many crashes we should re-think how we get around. When we do think about it, why are we so willing to put up with so many crashes and injuries just to get from one place to another? (I know, bad as it looks, it used to be much worse and there’s fewer ‘accidents’ and injuries than before because we’ve made our vehicles more safe, blah, blah, blah. Let’s get real: Our crash rates are intolerable.) Because transportation in the US accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions, we are going to have to adjust our transportation system anyways. Our transportation system must have a lighter footprint on our environment. With leadership on Climate Change, the public would be more willing to make our transportation system part of our adaptation and mitigation strategies for Climate Change and work with our local government to make getting around safer (more public service announcements (PSAs) on the media about sharing the road and slowing down), and drivers more accommodating to active transportation (walking and bicycling) which would dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions—and make us healthier.  We’ve gotten so used to a reality that vehicles rule our community and high crash rates are the norm, that we think this is normal. But it ain’t normal and it certainly is not sustainable. Transit group maps local traffic crashes A public transportation advocacy group has createdan interactive map of Monroe County traffic crashesthat led to injuries or deaths from 2010 to 2014. Reconnect Rochester released the tool to the public on Monday. Livadas Consulting worked with the transit group free of charge to map crash data provided by the state Department of Transportation. The public can explore the information based on criteria including the type of crash, locations and dates. Mike Governale, founder of Reconnect Rochester, said his group wants to raise awareness of traffic safety issues in greater Rochester and see what people make of the data. (July 13, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/14/2015 - If you don’t address our lakes’ s annual onslaught of toxic algae via Climate Change, you won’t solve it. Many of our persistent environmental problems are going to get much worse until we understand them in the context of Climate Change. Our leaders, those whom we vote into office, must understand the mother of all problems or they will be only addressing the symptoms—until they cannot anymore. There have been many articles over the years about the toxic algae problem in Lake Erie and some of our Finger Lakes, but rarely have our local media mentioned the influence of Climate Change on this issue—even though the EPA has made the connection clear (see EPA’s “ Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms “) Finally, this article begins to show how those trying to address toxic algae cannot do so without understanding the Climate Change link. LAKE ERIE Climate change muddies algae solutions Phosphorus reduction key, but is it enough?  GIBRALTAR ISLAND, Ohio — In 2013, leading Great Lakes scientists convinced a state task force that western Lake Erie’s annual onslaught of toxic algae could be reversed — in only a year or two — if the vast Maumee River watershed across northwest Ohio and into Michigan and Indiana could achieve an ambitious 40 percent reduction in phosphorus loading. Most of that load comes from agriculture, in the form of animal manure and commercial fertilizer that escapes fields after heavy rains. Now, just as that lofty goal is gaining traction from the region’s governors and premiers, U.S. and Canadian environmental regulators, and other key policy makers, scientists are seeing more evidence that climate change is the real wild card. (July 13, 2015) The Blade [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2015 - The wild wildfires in Canada and Alaska are Climate Change. “This year isn't a one-off because of El Niño, he says, but part of a larger trend driven by human-caused climate change.” Wildfires In Canada And Alaska Drive Thousands From Homes "Extreme." "Unprecedented." "Historic." Those are just a few of the words being used to describe the start of this year's fire season in North America. The wildfires are centered in the northwest of the continent, but their consequences are far-reaching. Thick smoke has blanketed parts of Wisconsin and North Dakota. It's triggered air alerts in Minnesota and Montana and muddied skies as far south as Tennessee and Colorado. And, of course, things are even worse at the source. (July 11, 2015) NPR [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2015 - I don’t know exactly what a legally binding UN climate deal look like, but I do know that a deal that isn’t binding will be ‘business as usual’, which is to say a complete disaster that we may never be able overcome. What could a legally binding UN climate deal look like? Countries agreed to target a ‘legally binding’ climate pact in 2011, but four years later it’s still not clear how it will work  A mooted UN climate pact could end up working like a credit ratings agency, say influential figures involved in crafting a Paris pact. Countries that default or break their pollution cutting promises will lose credibility and trust amongst their peers, which will impact them in other venues and on other issues. Rogue climate states (Canada) could miss out on benefits such as protection from trade sanctions, or “in club” transfer of low carbon technologies. (July 13, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2015 - That Climate Change is a national security risk is why we cannot install a climate denier as President. If a candidate for President doesn’t believe in the science of Climate Change how can he or she plan properly for the clear and present danger this crisis represents? Climate change risk should be assessed like national security risk – report  Climate change threatens international security and its risks should be assessed the same way as those of nuclear weapons proliferation and terrorism, according to a new study by experts from the UK, China, India and the US.     The risk of severe climate change impacts, such as extreme temperatures causing human fatalities, will continue to grow unless emissions are brought “close to zero”, it states. (July 13, 2015) tcktcktck

  • 7/14/2015 - Been wondering why so many folks who know about Climate Change aren’t talking about it or acting? Who know what lurks s in the heart of humanity? This is a conversation about why it’s so difficult to talk about Climate Change. Here’s a great quote: ““It’s the most serious, very complex problem,” Norgaard says about climate change.  “It’s threatening to our fossil fuel based economy, it’s threatening to our political systems…it’s threatening to our sense of the future, meaning, cultural norms, so many different things.”  And yet it appears we as a society have failed to develop any meaningful response, even among those who accept it as reality.” CLIMATE COGNITION (May 12, 2015) Climate One [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/13/2015 - At the world level nations are seeking a way price carbon for a sustainable world, in Rochester we bitch about gas prices. What’s wrong with this picture? Why doesn’t our local media enter into the worldwide dialogue about Climate Change and what can and should be done at the local level about reducing greenhouse gases, instead of pandering to the consumer’s desire for the lowest prices on carbon—despite the effect this will have in making Climate Change worse and the climate for clean energy options worse? Costco's arrival unlikely to drive down local gas prices (July 6, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 7/13/2015 - Ok, this is uncomfortable. BBG grills, that great American pastime, are as bad as a coal plant? What next? Is there nothing in our developed world way of life that is not either killing off most of the species or warming up the planet? Didn’t anyone plan this out? Weren’t there warnings that our way of life might tank the whole freaking planet? (There were, we just didn’t want to hear.) We need to think this ‘sustainability’ thing out. Where do we go from here? Do we just keep doing the things we like, like barbecuing, and just force ourselves to forget the consequences to our life support system, or do we learn to negotiate with each other to find a way of life that will thrive and flourish in a time of Climate Change? Time passes. America's BBQ Grills Create as Much Carbon as a Big Coal Plant As your neighbors fire up their barbecues this Independence Day, the most popular day in America to grill, they won't just send the scent of tri-tip or grilled corn over the fence in your direction—they'll also send smoke. As my colleague Kiera Butler wrote about here, even the "cleanest" gas grills emit pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every hour they're used. So how many emissions can we expect from dinner barbecues on the 4th? Roughly eighty percent of American households own barbecues or smokers,according to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association. Let's say all 92.5 million of them decide to grill on Saturday. A 2013 study by HPBA found that 61 percent of users opted for gas grills, 42 percent for charcoal, and 10 percent for electric (some respondents had multiple grills). If that reflected all households across the United States, and each household used its grill for an hour on the 4th of July, then we'd get a calculation like this: (56.425M gas grills*5.6 pounds of CO2) + (38.85M charcoal grills*11 pounds CO2) + (9.25M electric grills*15 pounds CO2 ) = 882 million pounds of CO2 That's roughly as many emissions as burning 2145 railcars of coal, or running one coal-fired power plant for a month. (July 2, 2015) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/13/2015 - I know, the prospect of addressing both Climate Change and poverty at COP21 Paris Summit scares the bejesus out of economists and the developed world. There are solutions to our world’s most terrible predicaments but the haves want more; they do not want to have to deal with the have nots. And so we bring our life support system to the brink…   Time passes. 'We can be the first generation that ends poverty' | Ban Ki-moon We need food instead of fine words at the development finance table in Addis Ababa, and leaders must pledge the resources to ensure an equal share for all An African proverb teaches that “fine words do not produce food”. That wise counsel is foremost in my mind as leaders gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for apivotal global financing conference to put the world on course to end poverty and protect the planet. This must be a year for global action. In September, the international community will adopt a new set of sustainable development goals for the next 15 years. In December, governments have committed to reach a first-of-its-kind universal and meaningful climate change agreement in Paris. But without resources, commitments will amount to little more than promises on paper. Building a sustainable world requires more than fine words, it needs finance. (July 10, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/13/2015 - It’s one thing to allow manmade-driven Climate Change to kill off some plant and animal species. Quite another to kill off entire ecosystems.  We will be lonelier if we make some plants and animal species go extinct, but we will extinct ourselves when we allow ecosystems to crash. Climate change compounding threats to Australia's ecosystems, studies find Changes in climate ‘the most pervasive threat’ to forests, wetlands and deserts, adding to harm caused by urban development, agriculture and invasive species Climate change is compounding existing threats to Australia’s forests, wetlands and deserts, with several key landscapes now at risk of total collapse, a landmark series of new studies have found. An assessment of 13 ecosystems across Australia, ranging from the wet tropics of far north Queensland to rare shrubland in Western Australia, found what researchers call a “worrying” climate change impact that adds to existing harm caused by urban development, agriculture and invasive species. (July 6, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/11/2015 - One of the great challenges for us during Climate Change is understanding that our backyards are our environment. We ought to act like it. Much can be done (voluntarily) to make our backyards be a continuation of our environment, our life support system, instead of places where our endemic wildlife cannot roam, or our endemic plants cannot thrive. Go Wild With Native Gardening Plant This Instead of That: Alternatives to Garden Bullies One of the challenges in gardening is avoiding the bullies. You know...those aggressive, oftentimes non-native, plants that take over, push out the little guys and sometimes escape to the woods next door, where they wreak havoc on native habitats. This slideshow highlights a few of those yard and garden bullies and suggests some well-mannered native alternatives. The next time you’re shopping for plants, consider a well-mannered native plant and help protect our native forests, wetlands and grasslands. The Nature Conservancy [more on Plants in our area]

  • 7/11/2015 - I suspect because we’ve done so little to address Climate Change that all worst emission scenarios in studies are now in play.  Climate studies, now aging quickly, presented officials and leaders and the public with several emission scenarios, where taking immediate action would have a light effect on our environment and lifestyles and a ‘business as usual’ or a worst case scenario would be a trajectory for future disasters from which we may not be able to adapt. It’s looking like we’ve blown past the first kinds of scenarios and now only the worst is at hand. Every day we drag our feet, means another day in hell for those in the future. Study: We’re Already In The ‘Worst Case Scenario’ For Sea Level Rise A major new analysis on the impact melting polar ice sheets could have on sea level rise has given rise to some worrisome conclusions. Researchers found that sea levels increased some 20 feet during three warming periods of 1.8 to 3.6°F (1 to 2°C) that took place at different interglacial periods over the past three million years. The study’s findings mean that the planet could be in for major sea level rise even if warming is kept to 2°C — a limit that the world is set to exceed without major action on climate change. Published in the journal Science, the review compiled more than 30 years of research from scientists around the world to show that changes in the planet’s climate and sea levels are closely linked. It found that even a small amount of warming can lead to significant sea level rise. (July 11, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/11/2015 - Start Filming! Call for Entries. August 10th through February, 2016 One month until Call for Entries! From our Friends at the Fast Forward Film Festival: "We had an amazing first year and now it's time to look toward 2016! We are looking for 5 minute short-films showcasing your environmental perspective. We have seen films from students, teams, seniors, and community members like you! No matter what your background in filming we encourage you to share your ideas and perspectives on the environment. Last year we were able to provide film-making resources though our Friends of the Festival and will have even more available to all of our participants for the 2016 Festival. We are creating more than a film festival. We are connecting people and resources to create a local community in Rochester that is attuned to the state of the environment and recognizes the urgency of our environmental problems."

  • 7/10/2015 - D&C editorial staff has a great point about Rochester’s wealth of water, but they should see it more holistically during warming. Rochester, like many of the rustbelt cities around the Great Lakes, is likely to gain in population as the consequences of Climate Chang kicks in because we have an abundance of fresh water, while much of the world is parched. Climate refugees. We also have a vast transportation infrastructure—highways and Great Lake shipping and canals—for transporting large volumes of goods (think wind turbines) that could spell a great resurgence in our local economy if we plan properly and keep our waters clean. ((The specter of Fracking now (almost) gone gives our water a fighting chance.)) The downside of all this water is that heavy rains have increased in our region dramatically (71% since 1958) and that means our stormwater and sewage treatment plants can be overwhelmed easier and dump raw sewage into our rivers and lakes—as it did when 10 million gallons went into the Genesee River on June 2nd (as reported in this newspaper “New for your phone: Sewage pollution alerts”). Much of our aging infrastructure needs to be updated quickly for more extreme weather, more flooding, more snow (or rain) in the winter. If the editorial staff could see our water resources more holistically, that is, how water figures in the worldwide crisis of Climate Change, they would be more inclined to see that our leaders and authorities prepare properly to protect this vital resource. Our region could gain tremendously by our local media watchdogging the efforts of our elected officials as our environment is faced many more Climate Change challenges ahead. Specifically, the media should be including addressing Climate Change during the most important race for Monroe County Executive. What will be done to protect our public health during more heat waves, more flooding, more power outages, and more changes in an environment that used to be stable for a very long time. We can only adapt to more heavy rainfalls and all the consequences of Climate Change locally if our leaders are prepared and the public prepared to back them. And the press needs to connect the dots if this positive effect is to happen. Rochester ought to gain from its rain It has been an unusually soggy summer so far in the Rochester area. While that is dampening spirits, ruining outdoor wedding plans and presenting a challenge for some local farmers, the rain could be used to help our region grow its very own money tree. We are all too familiar with the barriers to robust economic development and job creation in New York, particularly the state’s high taxes and excessive regulation. But every now and then, as we talk about our region’s business value propositions — all of the good stuff we’ve got going for us — somebody mentions the word “water.” (July 9, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 7/10/2015 - The good news is that our oceans have been gobbling up heat and slowed down global surface temperatures. The bad news is that this has come at a very dear price. NASA finds oceans slowed global temperature rise A new NASA study of ocean temperature measurements shows that in recent years, extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Researchers say this shifting pattern of ocean heat accounts for the slowdown in the global surface temperature trend observed during the past decade. Researchers Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis and Bill Patzert of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, found a specific layer of the Indian and Pacific oceans between 300 and 1,000 feet (100 and 300 meters) below the surface has been accumulating more heat than previously recognized. They also found the movement of warm water has affected surface temperatures. The results were published Thursday in the journal Science. (July 9, 2015) NASA/Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/10/2015 - Excellent discussion about what to expect at the COP21 Paris summit with Christiana Figueres and William K. Reilly THE ROAD TO PARIS: CHRISTIANA FIGUERES AND WILLIAM REILLY (June 16, 2015) Climate One [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/10/2015 - 2015 is a critical year for our planet. We will either act or we won't. Time passes. Scientists: 2015 is a critical year for "bold action" on climate change The window for limiting climate change to 2C at a feasible economic cost is rapidly closing, but science is the basis for finding the right solutions. That's the conclusion of the Our Common Future under Climate Change conference in Paris this week. Keeping global temperature rise to 2C or less will mean greenhouse gas emissions must be zero or even negative by the end of the 21st century, the conference's scientific committee says. That will require "bold action" starting now - delaying deep emissions cuts or not pursuing clean-energy technologies will only make solutions more difficult and more costly later down the line. "2015 is a critical year for progress," it warns. Carbon Brief has been at the conference all week. Here's our summary. (July 10, 2015) The Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/10/2015 - Even a 2C world, the best case scenario for COP21 Paris Climate Conference, may be hard to deal with. Instead of every country doing jockeying for greatest benefit by doing the less at Paris, it would seem prudent for every country to do as much as is humanly possible to lower its greenhouse gases for its and everyone’s best interest. Believing that we have a carbon budget, that we can still burn any more greenhouse gases and have a viable future is a dangerous illusion. How 2°C of Warming Could Reshape the U.S. If, as suggested by a comprehensive new review in the journal Science, 2°C of global warming would lock in at least 20 feet (6 meters) of eventual sea level rise, what would that warming mean for the future and heritage of the U.S.?  It would mean a map we don’t recognize: Louisiana would shed its boot, the Eastern seaboard would seriously retract, and the Bay Area would grow a second inland bay — as the nation would lose more than 48,000 square miles of land, home today to 23.4 million people. (July 9, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2015 - Ya gotta laugh. NYS bans fracking because of public health risks, so the new go-around method wants to use gelled propane instead of water for fracking and drill much deeper into the Utica Shale, instead of the shallower Marcellus Shale. It’s like telling your kid not to play with matches, so they go get a blow torch. Group Tries to Bypass NYS Fracking Ban By Using Gel Propane (July 9, 2015) WXXI News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/09/2015 - Instead of suing NYS over the Fracking ban, why not sue our government to address Climate Change like ‘Our Children’s Trust’ In other words, instead of suing our government over an individual’s desire to drill for more fossil fuel on their land (despite what fossil fuels are doing to Climate Change), why not sue our government representing everyone’s right to have a future? Local lawyer suing NY over frack ban A local lawyer has filed a lawsuit against New York state over a recent ban on hydraulic fracturing or fracking, the method of using water under high pressure to drill through rocks to find natural gas. When putting the ban in place, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said current safety measures weren't enough to keep our environment protected. (July 8, 2015) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Fracking in our area] 

  • 7/09/2015 - Good grief. Even though NYS has banned Fracking, everything will be tried to get at more fossil fuels here. Actually, in light of Climate Change, drilling and then burning more fossil fuels cannot be done safely. We shouldn’t be trying to build more fossil fuel infrastructure when we are past the safe limits of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. The COP21 Paris treaty for creating a binding agreement to limit greenhouse gases is coming up in December and still some folks want to drill, drill, drill. New York State has banned high-volume hydraulic fracturing, that is Fracking with water, but this new method uses liquefied petroleum gas. Really? Drilling with gas for more gas? Instead trying to get around the Fracking ban in New York State and creating fossil fuel infrastructures that will commit us to decades of more fossil fuels, we should be working full force for renewable energy in New York. See The Solutions Project. Fracking with propane eyed in Tioga County A proposal to frack for natural gas using gelled propane and sand was announced Wednesday morning at Barton Town Hall in Tioga County. Snyder Farm Group spokesman Kevin “Cub” Frisbie said an application was filed Tuesday with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The move comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration officially banned large-scale hydraulic fracturing on June 29. The state announcement ended a seven-year review process that drew hundreds of thousands of public comments and sharply divided the general public. “We are outside of the state’s ban,” Tioga Energy Partners, LLC legal counsel Adam Schultz said. “The state banned high-volume hydraulic fracturing, but that’s not what we’re doing.” (July 8, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/09/2015 - COP21 Paris treaty must not fail. Welcome to an extreme, warming world My hometown, Vancouver, is in a rainforest, so we celebrate sunny days. People I talk to are enjoying the recent warm, dry weather, but they invariably add, "This isn't normal" -- especially with all the smoke from nearby forest fires. With no mountain snowpack and almost no spring rain, rivers, creeks and reservoirs are at levels typically not seen until fall. Parks are brown. Blueberries, strawberries and other crops have arrived weeks earlier than usual. Wildfires are burning here and throughout Western Canada. Meanwhile, normally dry Kamloops has had record flooding, as has Toronto. Manitoba has been hit with several tornadoes and golf-ball-sized hail. (July 7, 20150 rabble.ca [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2015 - Because Climate Change is often hard to see this chart helps you visualize GHG emissions from each country. Our way of life, remote from the forests and rivers and wetlands, often blinds us to the workings of our life support system—allowing too many the illusions that we are not integrally connected to our ecosystems. Charts like these help us see our environment through the haze of modern life. All of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions in one awesome interactive pie chart A visual breakdown of emissions by country and industry. The United Nations' Paris climate talks are less than six months away, and have been widely described as our best chance for an international agreement to curb the effects of global climate change. In order to reach that goal, we need to know who and where are the biggest emitters. The World Resources Institute (WRI) has built an open-source database to provide individuals, companies and governments with reliable data about climate change, called the CAIT Climate Data Explorer. If you’ve ever wished you could visualize all global emissions at once, WRI has just the tool, built from CAIT data. This interactive infographic takes a look at the world’s biggest emitters by country, along with the top emissions sources within each country, based on just-released information from 2012. (July 8, 2015) Treehugger [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2015 - Why is banning single-use plastic bags becoming a trend? Voluntary responsible use of this dangerous product doesn’t work. Littered single-use plastic bags do a great amount of environmental damage as these unsightly signs of our throw-away lifestyle block drains, cover wildlife food, accumulate in our streams, rivers, and lakes. They are accumulating in the billions. Many folks (ok, most) don’t like regulations, but when our life support system is at stake society has to do something to prevent disaster. Hawaii Becomes First State in The Nation to Ban Plastic Bags In the past couple of years, cities and towns across the nation have started to ban plastic bags. Less than one percent of plastic bags are recycled, and it costs more to recycle a plastic bag that create a new one. That’s why Oahu, the most populated Hawaiian island, decided to join the other Hawaiian islands and officially ban plastic and other non-compostable bags from their stores. Beginning Wednesday, Hawaii will become the first state in the nation to ban plastic bags. (July 4, 2015) Magazine Good [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 7/07/2015 - RG&E A/C control program makes sense, as it could reduce load on grid during heat waves. Heat waves kill more folks over time than any other weather-related event. Heat waves will increase as Climate Change gets more dire. One of the main solutions for keeping people cool during heat waves is using an air conditioner. More folks will be using more ACs as heat waves occur more often. The problem is that ACs use a lot of energy and this means all at once during peak times, ACs use may overload our electric grid at the most crucial moment. This plan by RG&C (if used widely) could have a profound effect on stabilizing the grid when everyone is using their ACs. This is only a short-term resolution, though. The heavy use of ACs also means it will produce more greenhouse gas emissions and warm the planet more if the grid doesn’t become more green. Many folks in New York are working on just that, replacing fossil fuels to run our grid and more renewable (wind and solar) energy. Find out more at the Solutions Project | RG&E offering A/C control program Rochester, N.Y. - Some Rochester Gas & Electric customers have a new way to save on their electricity bills this summer. RG&E is providing the option to turn over the controls of your air conditioning units to them. Under the program, RG&E would be able to turn down your air conditioner(s) by remote control during times of peak demand for electricity. (July 6, 2015) WHAM Rochester [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 7/07/2015 - How’s our world leaders doing on stepping up to the plate to save the world? We marched 400,000 strong in NYC last September. (People’s Climate March, remember?) Was it a waste of time? Here are the figures for the United States: “US: 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2025”. Paris tracker: Who has pledged what for 2015 UN climate pact?  Major economies are expected to submit their contribution to a global climate deal by 1 October 2015 – keep track here (July 7, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/07/2015 - “Binding lifecycle reporting on virtually every product we buy” is not extreme, but throwing everything into a landfill is. Our instant trash (paper coffee cups) and throw-away life style has produced the most extreme form of behavior—expecting to buy as much stuff as we want and when we are done with it to then throw en masse into a great big plastic-lined hole in the ground. Future generations, when they are digging through our rubbish for resources, will shake their heads and say about us: “What were those people thinking?” Will the EU propose the most far-reaching reporting standards yet? The European parliament is set to call for binding lifecycle reporting on virtually every product we buy One of the European commission’s more controversial decisions under president Jean-Claude Juncker’s Better Regulation initiative was to scrap the European Union’s circular economy package last year.  MEPs and the outgoing environment commissioner Janez Potočnik protested vocally until the new first vice-president of the commission (and regulatory hawk) Frans Timmermans pledged to re-introduce a “more ambitious” circular economy package with a much broader economic scope than the previous one, which had focused mainly on recycling targets.  Four commissioners will be responsible for the new package: Timmermans himself, along with the environment, internal market and competitiveness commissioners. They have launched a public consultation and are expected to publish new legislative proposals by the end of the year. (July 2, 2015) The Guardian [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 7/06/2015 - 10 million gallons of raw sewage running into the Genesee River on June 2 is headline news, an indicator of Climate Change. That sewage discharge should have been the headline of this article, not a couple of sentences in. Of course, “There was no public announcement” because that would indicate that we are not ready in this area for the increase in heavy rainfall that occurred in June (71% increase in heavy rains since 1958). No region in the Great Lakes can be sustainable if all the cities around the world’s largest freshwater system aren’t preventing raw sewage leakage. So while Monroe County is doing a good job, there’s no reason to crow that “Nearly 2,700 discharges of sewage into New York rivers, lakes and bays were reported between May 2013 and early June of 2015. More than half of them were in Erie County, which has woefully inadequate sewers. About 25 of them have been in Monroe County.” On Wednesday, July 15 7PM, at Monroe Community College, Monroe B Warshof Conference Center,1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14623, the DEC Accepting Public Comment on Sewage Pollution Right to Know Regulations. But the ‘Right to Know Law’ is not the real issue. While it is important for individuals to know about sewage discharges, that is not nearly enough. The real issue is that the trajectory of more heavy rainfalls, which will not only overwhelm our wastewater systems occasionally and some others more often, must be addressed via an overarching Climate Change action plan—one that covers all the states around the Great Lakes. There are many aspects of the consequences of Climate Change already occurring in our region and they are going to have to be addressed by our public officials—because only they can regulate water safety rules and operate waste water systems. The public must understand that these overflows are an indication that Climate Change is occurring in our region and that adapting to Climate Change is the responsibility of our public office holders. We will be adapting, adjusting, to Climate Change for a long time despite how many don’t believe we should mitigate (stop) Climate Change, because our infrastructures will soon be overwhelmed. New for your phone: Sewage pollution alerts More than 10 million gallons of raw sewage and storm water gushed into the Genesee River early in the morning on June 2, the result of hours of rain that taxed Rochester's sewers. But there was no public announcement, and very few people knew the discharge had occurred. Next time, it might be different — because now, there's an instant-message system that can let people know their local waterway's been fouled. Aging or undersized sewer systems dump billions of gallons into the state's lakes, bays and creeks every year. (July 5, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/06/2015 - Well duh, if the Fracking companies won’t reveal their chemical goop, how can we determine environmental safety? With environmental concerns, what you don’t know will kill you. Relying on “Don’t worry your pretty little heads” is not the way to treat those concerned about environmental risks. Secrecy over fracking chemicals clouds environmental risks, advocates say Despite a report that links practice to contaminated drinking water, list of more than 1,076 chemicals used during fracking process remains unknown to public The fracking industry must be compelled to provide far more detailed information to regulators if the public is to be accurately informed of any risks to the environment, advocacy groups say. A report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month found that hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas can lead, and has led, to the contamination of drinking water. It was the first time the federal government had admitted such a link. The study, based on “data sources available to the agency”, found levels of any contamination to be small compared to the number of wells across the country, the EPA said. (July 5, 2015) The Guardian [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/06/2015 - Going 100% renewables is not just a good idea, it’s the law of physics, biology, and chemistry for our sustainability. When we consider our energy choices we must thing of the moral and global ecosystem sciences of our choices, which must be on a scale and time frame that will matter. TOP TEN TALKING POINTS ON GOING 100% RENEWABLE The global transition to 100% renewable energy is not an idea for someday, but actually already under way. Cities, regions, nations, businesses and institutions representing millions of people have already set, reached, or surpassed 100% renewable energy targets in at least the electricity sector, if not also for heating/cooling and transportation. Click here for more information. Numerous experts agree that the biggest hurdle to going 100% renewable is not technical or financial but political.Technologies to get us to 100% renewable energy exist and are getting cheaper and more sophisticated all the time. Building the political will in the face of entrenched interests is the largest challenge, and this is up to we the people. Click here and here for opinions from some of the world’s top experts. from Go 100% Renewable Energy

  • 7/06/2015 - Notes from an e-mail: "In this middle of this WCNY radio program, you will find both Roger Downs and Walter Hang on the DEC Final Frack Statement " June 30, 2015: Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Fracking ban, Business Council Regents Chancellor Dr. Merryl Tisch explains the new testing disclosure requirements and education reforms included in the final legislative agreement, which passed last week. The DEC released the final statement banning high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York. Anti-fracking advocates Roger Downs, the Conservation Director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, and Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, discuss the legal framework for the fracking ban. (June 30, 2015) WCNY [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/06/2015 - This connecting of the dots between the Seneca Lake gas storage expansion and Climate Change is critical—because all these fossil fuel infrastructures add up. “Some local residents might worry about noise, traffic, views, emergency preparedness or their drinking water. Their cause is shared nationally by environmentalists and "fractivists" concerned about global warming and the expansion of carbon infrastructure at the expense of alternatives.” Although soon the press must move from calling anyone who is concerned about our life support system an ‘enviornmentalists’ and just include everyone who wants our environment to work. Concern for our environment is not a special interest of a few, it is the absolute need of everyone. Seneca Lake gas storage: safety, environment concerns FEARS OVER EXPLOSION, INCREASED LAKE SALINITY, DANGER OF RAIL TRANSPORT OF PROPANE GAS The value of the $2.8 billion Finger Lake tourism industry can be expressed with numbers, but it is best understood with one look from the balcony of the Damiani winery on the east side of Seneca Lake. Owner Lou Damiani showed off the view — lake, sky, vineyards and forested hills — while talking about the explosive growth of the Finger Lakes wine industry, recognized as one of the "Best Wine Travel Destinations 2015" by Wine Enthusiast, an international magazine. "This Finger Lakes is no longer just a regional tourism draw," he said. "It's world class." Then Damiani pointed across the lake to a spot he feels will jeopardize it all — salt mines and a compressor station that fills them with pressurized gas. Crestwood Midstream Partners LP, part of a $7 billion Houston-based company, intends to make this salt mining and gas storage business a more prominent feature of the Finger Lakes economy. Capitalizing on the shale gas boom in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Crestwood is awaiting regulatory approval from New York State to build a regional hub to store methane and liquefied propane gas (LPG) at its site on the southwest end of the lake, just north of Watkins Glen. (July 5, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy and Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 7/06/2015 - Here's where we are on the road to COP21 Paris: "So far, 44 countries have sent the UN their offers of emissions cuts, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and that number is expected to double by the end of September, taking in 75-80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions." India's climate pledge 'critically important', says UN climate chief Christiana Figueres says Delhi’s promise of ambitious cuts and plans to help 400m energy poor will be vital to getting a binding deal in Paris A strong pledge to curb carbon emissions by India, the world’s third largest polluter, will be “critically important” to a meaningful deal at the crucial UN climate summit in Paris in December, the UN’s climate chief has said. India has so far resisted calls for an ambitious target, citing the millions in the country who do not have access to energy and the need to pull those people out of poverty. Instead, it has suggested that it may make two climate pledges: one that can be achieved with domestic resources, and another that would be possible with financial and technological aid from the developed world. Christiana Figueres said India’s pledge was vital. “It is one of the very large developing countries and it will be very important to see what their trajectory on energy is going to be and, in particular, how they are planning to provide energy to 400 million un-electrified people in india.” (July 3, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2015 - Here’s what we got to ask ourselves as Climate Change become more dire: Is it OK for government leaders to be climate deniers? Think about it. Republican Governors Signal Their Intent to Thwart Obama’s Climate Rules As President Obama prepares to complete sweeping regulations aimed at tackling climate change, at least five Republican governors, including two presidential hopefuls, say they may refuse to carry out the rules in their states. The resistance threatens to ignite a fierce clash between federal and state authorities, miring the climate rules in red tape for years. The fight could also undermine Mr. Obama’s efforts to urge other nations to enact similar plans this year as part of a major United Nations climate change accord. (July 2, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2015 - Because heat waves kill more folks than any other weather-related calamities, adapting to them is a critical Climate Change obligation by our health authorities. Regardless of where your government stands on Climate Change (actually all NYS-wide government climate documents agree that Climate Change is happening and they must take action, but not all political parties are on board) they will have to prepare the public adequately for more heat waves. The problem is that without proper planning much can go wrong if a particularly long and hot heat wave strikes. There’s much more to addressing this issue than opening up some fire hydrants and some buildings with air conditioners with folks who don’t have AC’s themselves. According to “Heat Wave: A SOCIAL AUTOPSY OF DISASTER IN CHICAGO” by ERIC KLINENBERG, 700 people died in the Chicago heat wave of 1995 because of city officials’ failure to understand and plan for the many factors involved—like not having enough first responders to get quick attention to those who could have been saved otherwise, by not communicating and checking up on folks who are isolated from social networks and hard to reach, by not readying hospitals for the amount of folks suddenly falling ill, and much more. Heat waves and addressing them properly as Climate Change worsens is one of the consequences that are an unavoidable issue governments will have to address—no matter how steeped they are in climate denial. They will be held accountable, as were the Chicago officials in the aftermath of the 1995 disaster. United Nations Issues First-Ever Guidelines on How to Survive a Heat Wave Soaring temperatures worldwide and a spate of deadly heat waves over the past decade has led the United Nations to issue its first-ever guidelines on dealing with risks posed by extreme and dangerous heat. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), both U.N. agencies, published the guidelines Wednesday, the same day the U.K. saw the hottest July day on record, with apeak temperature of 98.1 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 degrees Celsius) recorded at London’s Heathrow Airport. The guidelines recommend early-warning systems for heat waves aimed at reducing the health effects of hot weather, which can include dehydration, heatstroke and sunburn. (July 3, 2015) Newsweek [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2015 - Great phrase by Prince Charles: “… rewire the global economy to stop climate change”.  ‘Rewiring’ or adjusting or even replacing our global economy, however viewed as heresy by economists and politicians, must be achieved or this belief in an economic system that has caused the worldwide crisis of Climate Change will run us into the ground—as it forces us to drill more and more fossil fuels out of it. Prince Charles: rewire the global economy to stop climate change Heir to the throne calls for end to ‘business as usual’ approach that does nothing to avert catastrophic global warming – and praises Guardian’s climate campaign Prince Charles has said that “profound changes” to the global economic system are needed in order to avert environmental catastrophe, in an uncompromising speech delivered in front of an audience of senior business leaders and politicians. The heir to the throne – often criticised for his meddling in political affairs – argued that ending the taxpayer subsidies enjoyed by coal, oil and gas companiescould reduce the carbon emissions driving climate change by an estimated 13%. Although the prince’s passion for environmental causes is well known, the speech delivered on Thursday evening in St James’s Palace, London was particularly pointed in its criticism of companies that protected vested interests and came with a report that proposed raising taxes on them. (July 2, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/04/2015 - Our carbon budget (which itself is probably a dangerous delusion) will be blown by new coal-fired power plants. Actually, right around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when our greenhouse gases were about 280ppm of CO2 was probably the “amount of greenhouse gas that we can safely pour into the atmosphere”. But baked into our assumption that sustainable development must occur (which may well be another dangerous illusion, based on the assumption that our environment must balance its needs with our need to develop) are the political presumptions that we have the luxury to pour even more GHGs into our atmosphere—even though we are at 400.71ppm of CO2 and many scientists think 350ppm is a safe level. If we could remove our own desires for continual development from the notion of sustainability, the most reasonable assumption would be that we must dramatically bring down worldwide GHG concentrations immediately. We know that our environment has already dramatically changed (extreme weather and glaciers melting) with a 400ppm of CO2 and because this CO2 stays in our atmosphere a long time, we have many more changes to come—even if we could stop the release of all GHGs right now. But there is probably a lot we don’t know about how our environment has changed. We have warmed the planet far faster than it has warmed for millions of years and we are still struggling to find out all the implications. It’s absurd to think we have a carbon budget at all, except that our present economy and our political zeitgeist demand it. New coal plants 'most urgent' threat to the planet, warns OECD head Governments urged to rethink plans for new coal-fired power plants as study estimates they will release more than 500bn tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050 Governments must rethink plans for new coal-fired power plants around the world, as these are now the “most urgent” threat to the future of the planet, the head of the OECD has warned. In unusually strong terms for the organisation – best known as a club of the world’s richest countries – its secretary general Angel Gurria, told governments to think “twice, or three, or four times” before allowing new coal-fired plants to go ahead.  “They will still be emitting years from now,” he warned. As a result, many could turn into “stranded assets”, having to be mothballed decades before their economic lifetime had expired. “We are on a collision course with nature,” he warned. (July 3, 2015) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/03/2015 - New York State’s Fracking Ban is a beacon of hope for other places being terrorized by fossil fuel giants in a time of Climate Change. But banning Fracking is not enough. New York should also ban Bomb Trains (moving dangerous crude oil through our communities on rail) and stopping the incredible gas storage development at Seneca Lake. With the jackboot of Fracking removed from neck, we should be going full force to develop renewable energy by 2030 (see http://thesolutionsproject.org/) before the zealots of an old technology strangle us with more fossil fuel energy options that have warmed the planet. Fractivists say NY's ban is influencing moratorium decisions elsewhere New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced this week that he is leaving that position, just two days after he issued the final environmental impact statement banning hydrofracking in the state.  The final report on fracking is a signal for others to move on as well. Anti-fracking groups say they are using New York’s stance to help convince other states -- and even countries -- to also ban the gas drilling process. Julia Walsh, who’s led the group Frack Action through years of protests, hearing testimony, and other actions, helped deliver a thank you petition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo  the day the fracking ban was formalized. “Today is a great day to be a New Yorker,” Walsh said, when the statement was finalized on June 29. (July 2, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area] 

  • 7/03/2015 - This “Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling Program” by RG&E looks like a great way to recycle hard to recycle items like your old refrigerator. They’ll even come and get it so you won’t have to try and stick it in your car. Just saying…    [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 7/03/2015 - If COP21 Paris climate treat is a dud (non-binding) business-as-usual will probably render our oceans null and void. A climate treaty that only makes promises and pledges will only continue our ‘tragedy of the commons’ behavior towards our oceans, where every countries tries to maximize their misuse of this critical resource. Market forces and other kinds of magical thinking will not curb every nation’s desire to exploit the oceans until every fish and coral reef is gone and do nothing to protect our oceans from Climate Change. However distasteful to those who believe in unfettered economic freedom, only a binding treaty on Climate Change that monitors and holds each country accountable for their performance will a treaty in December actually matter on a scale and time frame to address something as vital as a sustainable existence. Oceans face massive and irreversible impacts without carbon cuts – study Business-as-usual carbon emissions would cause global warming that brings serious ocean acidification, death of corals and mangroves, scientists say Time is rapidly running out for the world’s oceans and the creatures that live in them as the Earth’s climate continues to warm, say scientists. Only “immediate and substantial” reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can hope to prevent “massive” impacts on marine ecosystems, warn the experts. Researchers compared the fate of the oceans under two scenarios, one a “business-as-usual” approach and the other involving drastic cuts in emissions. (July 3, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/02/2015 - It must finally dawn on Rochester that Bomb Trains are not viable after another major derailment and fire in Tennessee yesterday. We need to stop these Bomb Trains and we need evacuation plans at the very least, not to mention proper insurance to cover losses and better training for emergency crews. Read my article “Running Bomb Trains through Rochester, NY”  Also consider acting: Saturday, July 4, 9:30 AM, Fairport: Mothers Out Front is marching in Fairport's 4th of July 2015 Parade to protest the hundreds of explosive North Dakota Bakken Oil Trains that pass thru Fairport, Rochester and other communities on their way to Albany. Please join Mothers Out Front and spread the word. Bring signs! The parade line up starts at 9:30 AM on Hart St heading North. It continues to Maple St and ends on Whitney Rd. Please do not enter Maple St from Whitney Rd. There will be a lot of activity on the day of and it's best to take East Ave to Hart St. Learn more about Bomb Train in New York State from People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE) Train derailment: 5,000 evacuated Thursday morning in Tennessee Fire officials say about 5,000 people and several businesses are being evacuated in a 2-mile radius around a train derailment and fire in eastern Tennessee this morning. Reports say at least one CSX train car carrying a flammable and toxic gas derailed and caught fire late Wednesday night. (July 2, 2015) Daily Messenger

  • 7/02/2015 - Just had a free energy audit on my home. I had an ice dam the size and weight of a VW bug on my roof last winter and so needed to figure out how to stop all that. One of the issues, one I could have never figured out myself, was the tongue and groove joints installed by a previous owner in my attic were leaking heat like a sieve. Consider getting a free audit by experts and stop wasting fuel that goes out of your home and into the atmosphere, warming up the climate, and causing you energy bills to soar. Here’s how to get started: Free Home Energy Efficiency Workshops, Sponsored by NYSERDA for more info Contact Us: Office: (585) 442-2030 ext. 213 SaveEnergy@pathstone.org www.PathStoneEnergyInfo.org  For even more information, check out this brochure.

  • 7/02/2015 - Your chance to monitor local water quality during more heavy rains due to Climate Change, Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law. Heavy rains have increased in our region dramatically (71% since 1958) and that means our stormwater and sewage treatment plants can be overwhelmed easier and dump raw sewage into our rivers and lakes. Attend a DEC session locally (July 15, 7 p.m.: Monroe Community College, Monroe B, Rochester, NY) and let our environmental agency in NYS that you’d like to be informed if raw sewage is being dumped into our drinking water. This is a major way ordinary folks can hold their officials accountable for addressing Climate Change. Get Informed: Your Right  to Know About Water Pollution You have several upcoming chances to learn about the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law, so you can make informed comments on this important public health and environmental law by July 31. As our newly released “How’s the Water?” report shows, sewage discharges continue to make some areas of the Hudson River Estuary and its watershed unsafe for swimming, too frequently.  The Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law is one important tool in educating the public about known hazards, and building public support for two of Riverkeeper’s high priority actions: Closing the annual $800 million funding gap for wastewater statewide, and restoring staff and budgets for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC information session in our area July 15, 7 p.m.: Monroe Community College, Monroe B, Rochester, NY  (July 1, 2015) Riverkeeper [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/02/2015 - The July 2015 newsletter from our friends over at The Rochester Pachamama Team: The newsletter "As we celebrate July 4, may we remember that our real freedom comes when we are grounded in our connection with all life – and are part of creating a better world for all. " Check out their Facebook page.

  • 7/02/2015 - While it pours in record amounts in our Northeast, Europe is almost as hot as hell. Climate Change is upon us. For those sitting on the sidelines comforted that science still hasn’t made a direct link between a warming Arctic and a very wavy Jet Stream, how wonderful for them. How wonderful it must be to still live in the past where we had a stable climate for 10, 000 years, how wonderful the deniers can still scorn the concern of the rest of the world for being alarmed about Climate Change, how wonderful the fossil fuel industry can only focus on profits and block the attempts for renewable energy for the rest of us. Heatwave: hottest July day on record for Britain, Records broken in France, Red alert for Switzerland Currently in Europe a blocking high, called an Omega Block, is situated over Western Europe due to a large bend in the jetstream causing heatwave conditions in England, Spain, Portugal, France, etc, with conditions likely to continue for at least several days.  What causes the increased waviness in the jetstream? The reduced temperature differential between the Arctic and mid latitudes. These conditions are similar to the 2003 heatwave that killed 70,000 people. People are more alert now, but there is still a high health risk, and of course an elevated fire risk. I reported on how climate change is affecting extreme weather including more intense heatwaves in Arctic amplification, the Jet stream and Extreme weather in Northern Hemisphere in March 2013. A recent study published this year found that Seventy Five percent of heatwaves now attributed to climate change on a global level. Cities are also to get much hotter as heatwaves amplify the Urban Heat Island Effect. (July 2, 2015) Climate Citizen [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/02/2015 - Rochester hasn’t signed the Compact of Mayors or contributed figures to the carbonn Climate Registry, but still …, shouldn’t we be doing our part to make COP21 Paris climate treaty be a success? Cities like Rochester, NY shouldn’t be sitting on the sidelines while the most important treaty in humanity’s history is unfolding, a treaty that may put us on the road to sustainability or the other road. We have a Monroe County executive election coming up this year and we haven’t even brought Climate Change into the debate—let alone environmental issues. What will it take to wake Rochester up? 1,700 cities stress local action key to UN climate deal  Coalition representing 60 million inhabitants to deliver carbon-cutting pledges as mayors prodded globally to act  Holding half of the world’s population and releasing 70% of its greenhouse gases, cities are vital players in fighting climate change. Barcelona, Munich and Vienna are among 1,700 cities and municipalities to reaffirm commitments to cut carbon on Thursday, at a summit of mayors and local leaders in Lyon, France. The Climate Alliance, which binds its members from 25 countries to halve per capita emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels, will deliver the pledges at the close of the World Summit – Climate and Territories. Analysis: How can cities influence a global climate deal in Paris?  (July 2, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/01/2015 - Of course, our local media won’t connect the dots between rainfall in June and Climate Change. But maybe June’s rainfall isn’t so un-normal now. If you surf over to the National Climate Assessment (where your government reports on Climate Change, they say “Heavy Downpours Increasing Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades, with the largest increases in the Midwest and Northeast. Increases in extreme precipitation are projected for all U.S. regions.” Our region has experienced a 71% in heavy rainfall since 1958 (see Figure 2.17: ‘Observed Change in Very Heavy Precipitation’ and click on New York). Although our local media won’t even suggest that we have a new normal of heavy rainfall, they do explain the effects of a heavy rainfall month. There’s a lot of disruption and if science has got it right these disruptions are going to increase. We ought to be planning for more—not just hoping and believing that things will return to a pre-1958 normal.  (See: Both Cleveland and Akron-Canton are seeing one of the top ten wettest Junes on record so far.) |  Summer 2015 in NYS: Sink or swim? Many are glad to see a soggy June is a thing of the past, because it’s hurt business and morale, but is a dry July in the forecast? Precipitation totals for the month of June throughout the area well above normal, said meteorologist Dan Kelly, who is stationed out of the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Canandaigua measured 7.62 inches for the month, 4.12 inches above normal. Head east, same story. Geneva had 8.75 inches of rain, 5.08 inches above normal. Head north — you get the picture. Macedon, Wayne County, had 10.5 inches of rain in June, considerably more than the 3.26 inches normally measured — with one day unreported, Kelly said. To make matters worse, the June totals ended at 8 a.m. Tuesday, with more rain falling throughout the day. (July 1, 2015) Fairport-East Rochester Post

  • 7/01/2015 - Check for local events, links, and articles. From our friends at Penfield Green Initative the July 2015 E-newsletter

  • 7/01/2015 - Humans “caused shifts in world ecosystems” sounds so benign, like falling off a cliff disturbed some of your internal organs. Shift in ecosystems, like destroying wetlands which act as our life support systems’ kidneys, should be presented in appropriate language that reflects the catastrophe they truly represent. Ecosystems aren’t like theme parks where folks can go to experience either crocodiles or penguins; ecosystems are a complex life systems connected to other complex life systems that took billions of years become what they are and we are destroying them in only a moment. "Top predator" humans causing catastrophic ecosystem shifts - study Never before has a single species become the top predator on land and sea, and human dominance over the natural environment has caused shifts in world ecosystems unprecedented in the last 500 million years, researchers said on Tuesday. Human activity is leading to an international decline in the variety of plants and animals through extinction, as organisms not useful to human needs are killed off by ecosystem changes or over-exploitation, according to a new study. The biggest immediate losers will be large predators like tigers and lions while creatures domesticated by humans, including house cats, will thrive in the new world, said Jan Zalasiewicz, a professor of palaeobiology at the University of Leicester in central England, and co-author of the study. (June 30, 2015) Thomson Reuters Foundation