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, February 24, 2018

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

* My comments are in Bold text:

  • 2/24/2018 - Want to go to a place that’s really hot and humid and gets really heavy rainfall? Stay right where you are and keep doing what you’re doing. Business as usual means our children will be inheriting a very different place from the one we grew up on. Time passes. Rain and heat extremes set to grow Millions of people in Asia and Europe can expect fiercer heat extremes, even if the world makes promised emissions cuts. LONDON, 23 February, 2018 – The big heat is on the way: over 50% of Europe, and across more than a quarter of east Asia, the probability of record-breaking heat extremes will increase fivefold. Over more than 35% of North America, Europe and East Asia, the chance of record-breaking rainfall will increase by more than threefold. And this will happen even if the world’s nations honour the commitments they have already made to contain global warming by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. That would result in an average rise in global temperatures of between 2°C and 3°C by 2100. If the 195 nations that signed a climate accord in Paris in 2015actually honour their collective vow to contain planetary average warming to about 1.5°C above historic averages, there will still be record-breaking temperatures and more intense extremes of wet and dry – but over a smaller proportion of the globe, according to a new study. (February 23, 2018) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/24/2018 - Birds, who have very small brains compared to our own, are saying that even we winged creatures have enough sense to adapt to Climate Change? Be nice if we humans listened to our wildlife friends. Time passes. What Are the Birds Telling Us About Climate Change? Reading the signs from our friends up in the sky A conversation alfresco with a passionate birder is likely to be interrupted by the birds nearby. Jane Tillman, a master naturalist and one such birder, will often break mid-sentence, mid-phrase, even mid-word, at the sight or sound of a bird. When this happens, she may abruptly lean back, hand shoved into her back pocket to brace herself, as she points her hat brim to the sky and scans for what she has just heard or sighted. I met Tillman early one cold morning in mid-December for the Austin Christmas Bird Count. She was our group leader and that much was evident upon arriving at our meeting point – the H-E-B parking lot on East William Cannon. It was 7am, and we were there to count the grackles. You know the grackles; they dot telephone wires around town and their large flocks sometimes perform arabesques across the sky. You might mistake them for crows, but they are not. Counting the grackles is kind of a joke to the birders, but not completely. Just before sunrise, the inky birds are relatively still around the parking lot. Our group estimated how many per wire, performed some quick multiplication, added in others in the sky and just beyond the lot, always aware of our group's boundaries, to account for about 3,500 grackles. This total went into our official tally. (February 23, 2018) The Austin Chronicle [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/24/2018 - As someone who has lead teams cleaning up Lake Ontario shores near Rochester, NY, I know our Canadian friends are not the only ones littering cigarette butts and plastic fragment on our shores. We need to work together to clean up the Great Lakes. 'Tiny trash' a big problem for Canada's shorelines Over 330,000 pieces of tiny plastic and foam were collected along shorelines last year Small pieces of plastic and foam topped a list of types of litter found along Canada's shorelines last year, beating out the previous year's winner — cigarette butts. That's because this is the first year The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, a conservation effort between the non-profit group Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund of Canada, have counted the pieces of what the groups call "tiny trash." (February 23, 2018) CBC News [more on Reycling, Great Lakes, Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/24/2018 - By 2050 it is projected that most people will live in urban areas and we’ll have over 9 billion folks to feed. Some, not all, of our food needs can be addressed right in our urban areas. On this year’s Earth Day in Rochester, NY the theme will be “Our Land Roc”, which is about how using our urban land can be sustainability developed in a warmer climate. Urban farms would look nice in open spaces—and there are many benefits to using open space this way. Big Data Suggests Big Potential for Urban Farming A global analysis finds that urban agriculture could yield up to 10 percent of many food crops, plus a host of positive side benefits. Gotham Greens’ boxed lettuces have been popping up on the shelves of high-end grocers in New York and the Upper Midwest since 2009, and with names like “Windy City Crunch,” “Queens Crisp,” and “Blooming Brooklyn Iceberg,” it’s clear the company is selling a story as much as it is selling salad. Grown in hydroponic greenhouses on the rooftops of buildings in New York and Chicago, the greens are shipped to nearby stores and restaurants within hours of being harvested. That means a fresher product, less spoilage, and lower transportation emissions than a similar rural operation might have—plus, for the customer, the warm feeling of participating in a local food web. (February 15, 2018) City Lab [more on Food in our area]

  • 2/24/2018 - At the EPA: What actually happens when you put the fox in charge of the henhouse? “We have a full-on captive agency right now that is obedient not to the public, but to the fossil fuel polluters.” Sad! Making America Toxic Again Scott Pruitt’s job is to protect the environment. Unfortunately, God has other plans for him. About a month after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Scott Pruitt arrived at the Environmental Protection Agency for his first full day of work. The new administrator had weathered a contentious confirmation battle, with bitter debate over his long-standing ties to the industries he was now responsible for regulating—not to mention the 14 lawsuits he had filed against the agency as Oklahoma’s attorney general. But as he stepped into the EPA’s stately Rachel Carson Green Room, Pruitt wore the satisfied grin of a man in charge. He took the stage with Catherine McCabe, the acting head of the agency. In the front rows sat some members of the EPA’s “beachhead team,” a group of mostly men whom Trump had installed to begin the process of dismantling the department of the Obama years. Among them were some familiar faces, such as David Schnare, a former career EPA official and prominent climate-science skeptic. A conspicuous number of security staffers circulated among the crowd. (March/April 2018) Mother Jones [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/23/2018 - Cleaning up a major Brownfield in Rochester, NY is about neighborhoods, environment, justice, the Genesee River, public health, and (believe it or not) Climate Change, where more heavy rainfall can leach toxins into localities. Brownfields, sites of abandoned industrial waste, need to be cleaned up and to the highest levels. Neighborhoods need to feel safe and be healthy. PLEX Residents Demand Voice in Redevelopment of an Old Oil Refinery The Genesee River is getting a lot of attention lately. Part of transforming downtown includes a multi-million dollar project to renovate downtown parks and open spaces along the river. However, just blocks from the proposed redevelopment lies a site residents says officials aren’t handling as well. The site in question? It’s located just off of Exchange street, towards the end of Flint. It’s an old oil refinery that operated in the PLEX (Plymouth-Exchange) area from 1866 to 1935. It was first owned by Vacuum Oil then Exxon but was left abandoned almost a century ago. It’s a battle that’s been brewing for years, residents say, as Exchange St becomes an extended corridor to downtown. Corn Hill has been heavily redeveloped and there is new retail and restaurants along the riverfront. The neighborhood is surrounded by change; on the other side, along Genesee Street, the University of Rochester is heavily investing in student housing. And that’s likely what will go up the old refinery spot to residents’ dismay. They say they want a hardware store or grocery store instead. (February 19, 2018) Open Mic [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 2/23/2018 - Been missing your Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when it was the fruit of all our efforts to protect our environment since 1970, but is now being run into the freaking ground and putting us in danger by those set out to protect the polluters? Catch up on what you’ve been missing. Sad! EPA THEN AND NOW play stop mute 00:00 51:52 It was in 1970, under President Nixon, that the Environmental Protection Agency was founded. While the Agency enjoyed tremendous bipartisan support for decades, the last nine years have seen a decline in support from congressional Republicans. Recently, former EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, explained that she is not worried about protections being rolled back—she thinks they will withstand the assault—but rather about the budget cuts. Portions of this program were recorded at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco. (January 2018) Climate One [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/23/2018 - Check out this talk by one of our local environmental reporters on the critical issue of flooding on Lake Ontario shorelines. Flooding has occurred often on the lake’s shores, but things may be changing. “One thing is different this time around: This year’s flooding is the first since the concept of coastal resilience has come to the fore. The concept holds that floods and other natural disasters are unavoidable, and may well be more frequent and destructive in the future, so it is wise to rebuild accordingly. Coastal resilience is driven by science that shows climate change is bringing more severe weather and extreme rainfalls.” (LAKE ONTARIO FLOODING: WHAT ABOUT NEXT TIME? (January 5, 2018  Rochester Democrat and Chronicle) Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 12:12pm-12:52pm @ Central Library, Kate Gleason Auditorium, 115 South Ave. Rochester, NY | Topic: Paying for Flood Damage On the Lake Presenter: Gannett reporter Steve Orr.  Last year, hurricane damage to residences and businesses was regularly addressed by US Federal Aid. But lawmakers are still seeking federal funds for those along the shores of Lake Ontario, after months of flooding caused damage in 2017. Those without flood insurance were not covered by FEMA. Learn more about this critical issue facing many in our community.

  • 2/23/2018 - The rise of plastics pollution in our environment continues to rise. Added to our traditional forms of waste and environmental abuse, plastics are now harming our waters around the world. We need to recognize this pollution problem and find solutions on a scale and time frame that will matter—just like Climate Change. And do so justly. Plastic particles threaten to swamp the planet Plastic particles are now present in every litre of water in the oceans and could be a threat to life as great as climate change. LONDON, 22 February, 2018 – A ubiquitous tide of plastic particles has now swept throughout the world’s oceans. The human rights activist Bianca Jagger described to a conference here how a substance that was invented only in 1907 and seemed to have almost magical properties, because it was practically indestructible, is now threatening an environmental catastrophe. The danger to marine life highlighted recently by David Attenborough in his Blue Planet TV series was only part of the problem, she said. Because fish ingest the micro-plastics and we eat the fish, then the plastics are in our own bodies too, with as yet unknown health effects. Plastics, derived from fossil fuels (8% of all oil production is used to make plastics), is with climate change a serious threat to the future of the planet, Jagger said. (February 22, 2018) Climate News Network [more on Recycling and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/22/2018 - If moderate rain and melting snow means more raw sewage in local waterways now, what then of Climate Change that will bring much more heavy rainfall? Our current infrastructure cannot even handle our current climate—which, by the way, has seen an increase in heavy rainfall by 71% since 1958. Communities around the Great Lakes basin need to get their sewage infrastructures ready for more heavy rainfall that’s coming with Climate Change. Moderate rain, melting snow means more raw sewage in local waterways BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Tens of millions of gallons of partially and untreated sewage is now making its way to Lake Erie. As News4 covered in a special report earlier this month, sewage overflows are part of the landscape in municipalities throughout the country — and Western New York is no different. New York state law requires wastewater treatment plants to report to the Department of Environmental Conservation each time there’s an overflow. Western New York is among the highest in the state for such reports. But officials and environmental advocates said that’s not necessarily because this region pollutes more than any other. Rather, it’s because local treatment plants adhere to the state law’s reporting requirement. (February 20, 2018) WIVB [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 2/22/2018 - When thinking about possible Climate Change tipping points (and we should be thinking about them), we should gain more certainty. To do this we need more scientific equipment, more scientists, and more research funding. Dismissing climate science and not funding our collective need to monitor our climate makes it more likely we’ll pass critical thresholds, or tipping points, without even know them. A tipping point is when you steadily put pressure on a trigger and at some point a bullet explodes out of the gun. After that, there’s no getting that bullet back into that gun. Time passes. Are we reaching our climate change tipping points? Imagine cutting down a tree. Initially, you chop and chop … but not much seems to change. Then suddenly, one stroke of the hatchet frees the trunk from its base and the once distant leaves come crashing down. It’s an apt metaphor for one of the most alarming aspects of climate change – the existence of “tipping elements.” These elements are components of the climate that may pass a critical threshold, or “tipping point,” after which a tiny change can completely alter the state of the system. Moving past tipping points may incite catastrophes ranging from widespread drought to overwhelming sea level rise. Which elements’ critical thresholds should we worry about passing thanks to human-induced climate change? (November 8, 2018) World Economic Forum [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/22/2018 - Climate Change is still divisive throughout American politics. However, beyond the rhetoric, opinions, and misrepresentations, it is warming. The Arctic is changing rapidly due to our using fossil fuels for energy. And it’s never going to be the same again. Time passes. Arctic temperatures soar 45 degrees above normal, flooded by extremely mild air on all sides While the Eastern United States simmers in some of its warmest February weather ever recorded, the Arctic is also stewing in temperatures more than 45 degrees above normal. This latest huge temperature spike in the Arctic is another striking indicator of its rapidly transforming climate. On Monday and Tuesday, the northernmost weather station in the world, Cape Morris Jesup at the northern tip of Greenland, experienced more than 24 hours of temperatures above freezing according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. “How weird is that?” tweeted Robert Rohde, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley. “Well it’s Arctic winter. The sun set in October and won’t be seen again until March. Perpetual night, but still above freezing.” This thaw occurred as a pulse of extremely mild air shot through the Greenland Sea. Warm air is spilling into the Arctic from all sides. On the opposite end of North America, abnormally mild air also poured over northern Alaska on Tuesday, where the temperature in Utqiaġvik, previously known as Barrow, soared to a record high of 31 degrees (minus-1 Celsius), 40 degrees (22 Celsius) above normal. (February 21, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/22/2018 - It was pretty warm in here Rochester, NY and along the east coast Tuesday and Wednesday. Was this February warming out of the ordinary? Why assume? Check in with the experts. East Coast Shatters Temperature Records, Offering Preview to a Warming World Summer-like temps in February, extreme rainfall, a snow drought. This is happening more often—and in line with what scientists warn to expect with climate change. There are records—like Wednesday being the earliest 80-degree day in Washington, D.C., history—and then there are the eye-popping effects of those records, like seeing people wearing T-shirts on the streets of Portland, Maine, in February. However you measure it, Feb. 20-21, 2018, were days for the books—days when the records fell as quickly as the thermometer rose, days that gave a glimpse into the wacky weather that the new era of climate change brings. (February 21, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/21/2018 - Toronto in Ontario Province, Canada, just north of Rochester, NY on Lake Ontario, talks about how Climate Change fundamentally changes how they plan for the future. What about us? If we don’t understand Climate Change, we’re going to be planning for the past. Time passes. There will be floods — and Ontario’s not ready for them How can we prepare for worst-case-scenario storms when climate change means we can’t accurately predict what the worst-case scenario is? The audience at the Provincial Flood Forecasting and Warning Workshop sat silently as the rug was pulled out from under them.  Municipal and provincial staff — many of them forecasters and emergency managers — were gathered at a Brampton conference centre to hear Gord Miller, Ontario’s former environmental commissioner, talk about climate change. What he had to say challenged many of the established practices and assumptions that had guided their careers. His point was this: climate change has altered the fundamentals of the weather system. All of our old predictions — which were used to build thousands of kilometres of road, drainage pipe, and sewers — are inadequate. The changes to the weather system are so profound that old models and methods can’t accurately predict what’s going to happen; new models predict catastrophes so great that preparing for them could lead to bankruptcy. “I don’t think here in Canada we understand what’s coming,” said Miller during the talk. “We have no predictability any more. One has to look from the perspective that all culverts are undersized. All sewers are undersized.” (February 20, 2018) TVO [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/21/2018 - While we bemoan the wholesale clumsiness of the Trump administration, we might find hope in their ‘sloppy’ attempts to gut our environmental protections. It took a long time for our communities, activists, and political courage to get many of our environmental protections in place, which provides us with an attempt to have level playing field from which to live sustainably. Hopefully, these protections have been secured so they aren’t so easily destroyed by this anti-science administration. 'Sloppy and careless': courts call out Trump blitzkrieg on environmental rules A cascade of courtroom standoffs are beginning to slow, and even reverse, the EPA rollbacks thanks to the administration’s ‘disregard for the law’ In its first year in office, the Trump administration introduced a solitary new environmental rule aimed at protecting the public from pollution. It was aimed not at sooty power plants or emissions-intensive trucks, but dentists. Every year, dentists fill Americans’ tooth cavities with an amalgam that includes mercury. About 5 tons of mercury, a dangerous toxin that can taint the brain and the nervous system, are washed away from dental offices down drains each year. In Trump’s first day in the White House, the administration told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw an Obama-era plan that would require dentists to prevent this mercury from getting into waterways. But in June, the rule was unexpectedly enacted. This apparent change of heart followed legal action filed by green groups, part of a cascade of courtroom standoffs that are starting to slow and even reverse the Trump administration’s blitzkrieg of environmental regulations. (February 20, 2018) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/21/2018 - Not all leaders think Climate Change is a hoax. Not all leaders are indifferent to the plight of others around the world due to this worldwide crisis. Not all leaders are failing to plan for a warmer world. “None of Us are Safe until We Meet the Challenge Posed by Climate Change” – COP President’s Speech for 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President Frank Bainimarama’s remarks for the opening of the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers. Bula vinaka and a very good evening to you all. This is a proud day for Fiji as we host the first gathering of Commonwealth education ministers to be held in our country. And wherever you come from in the world from the 53 nations that make up the Commonwealth family, I warmly welcome you on behalf of the Fijian people. It is our pleasure to have you in Fiji and I hope you enjoy our world famous hospitality. It also happens to be a sad day, a day of somber reflection for the Fijian people as we commemorate the second anniversary of Tropical Cyclone Winston, which slammed into our nation with terrible force on 20 February 2016. Winston was the biggest storm ever to make landfall in the southern hemisphere, packing record winds at its peak of more than 300 kilometres an hour. 44 of our loved ones were killed in the affected areas; many thousands of Fijians lost their homes; public infrastructure, including many schools, was damaged or destroyed; and when it was over, the overall cost amounted to one third of our GDP. (February 20, 2018) COP 23 Figi UN Climate Conference [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/21/2018 - If you are a leader in charge of a community ravaged by extreme weather with more on the horizon, you don’t have the luxury of not planning for Climate Change. We’ll all be on the frontlines of Climate Change someday, but some are already. Learn from them about preparations (adaption). WEATHERING THE STORM: MAYORS OF HOUSTON, MIAMI AND COLUMBIA 2017 brought a raft of extreme weather disasters costing the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars in damages, including hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. And those are just the ones with names – other areas of the country were hit by floods, fires and drought. How do we fight back? The mayors of three cities on the frontline of climate change – Houston, Miami, and Columbia, South Carolina - discuss what their cities are doing to recover, rebuild and prepare for the next mega storm. (February 7, 2018) Climate One [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/20/2018 - How badly will our Finger Lakes get hit by Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) this year? Are we prepared? Are warmer lake waters due to Climate Change accelerating and amplifying this problem? Finger Lakes state lawmakers urge governor to add three lakes to priority list GENEVA — The unofficial deadline for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to amend his 2018-19 proposed state budget came and went Friday. The list of amendments did not include the addition of Seneca, Canandaigua and Keuka lakes to a “priority list” of 12 state lakes that would share $65 million in state funding to combat Harmful Algae Blooms in the those lake waters. An appeal to add the three lakes was made in recent weeks by state senators Pam Helming, R-54 of Canandaigua, and Tom O’Mara, R-58 of Big Flats, and Assemblymen Brian Kolb, R-131 of Canandaigua, and Phil Palmesano, R-132 of Corning. (February 19, 2018) Finger Lakes Times [more on Water Quality and Finger Lakes in our area]

  • 2/20/2018 - We go into Climate Change with the environment we have. If our post-industrial communities of the Northeast don’t clean up our remaining Brownfields (usually in minority neighborhoods), we shall be less prepared to adapt and more guilty of Environmental Injustice. Heavy rainfall, which has increased by 71% since 1958 in our region, has increased the likelihood that toxins will spill from Brownfields with more flooding. Time passes. Waste dumps a burden for minority neighborhoods Would you want an industrial waste dump near your house? Probably not. But across the country, environmental hazards like waste dumps tend to be located near minority communities. Marion Motley Playfields is a park on Cleveland’s east side. Named for a local pro football star, it has grassy fields, baseball diamonds and hills. But those fields hide a troubling history. Before the park was created, parts of the property were used as a storage yard for a brick and tile plant, and a stream became an industrial sewer. (January 17, 2018) WBFO Buffalo's NPR News Station [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 2/20/2018 - Update on the Paris Agreement: Are we addressing Climate Change on a scale and time frame that matter? There’s movement, but is there enough? Time passes. ‘It’s not fast enough. It’s not big enough. There’s not enough action.’ Barely two years ago, after weeks of intense bargaining in Paris, leaders from 195 countries announced a global agreement that once had seemed impossible. For the first time, the nations of the world would band together to reduce humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels in an effort to hold off the most devastating effects of climate change. “History will remember this day,” the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, said amid a backdrop of diplomats cheering and hugging. Two years later, the euphoria of Paris is colliding with the reality of the present. (February 19, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/19/2018 - Besides unruly scientists and disobedient governmental agencies (like herding cats) not staying on message in Trump administration’s anti-science agenda, there’s REALITY constantly nipping at climate deniers’ little toes. Be nice if we had some help with addressing Climate Change from our present government, but until then we’ll just have to work around this obstruction. Hope we have time. A Spy’s Guide to Climate Change The Trump administration is seeking to withdraw the United States from the international accord reached in Paris in 2015 to fight climate change. It is trying to rescind regulations on the issue. It has even scrubbed mentions of global warming from government websites. Yet its attempt to suppress the facts has not entirely succeeded, with federal agencies continuing to issue warnings, including in a major climate report published last year. The latest climate alarm came this week in a Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Here is what the document, issued by Daniel R. Coats, the director of national intelligence, said about climate change and other environmental problems, with my annotations: (February 15, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/19/2018 - After many years of public ‘discourse’, New York State officially banned Fracking on June 29, 2015, in part because of the potential threat to our drinking water and now belatedly it appears our concerns were correct. We were lucky. Other states who went ahead and Fracked because of the doubt casts on the science by government and industry, not so much. Industrial Strength: How the U.S. Government Hid Fracking's Risks to Drinking Water A pivotal EPA study provided the rationale for exemptions that helped unleash the fracking boom. The science was suppressed to protect industry interests. This story was co-published with WHYY and West Virginia Public Broadcasting. A version was published in The Dallas Morning News. Audio story by Susan Phillips of WHYY.  Most mornings, when his 7-year-old son Ryan gets up for school at 6:55, Bryan Latkanich is still awake from the night before, looking online for another home in some part of Pennsylvania with good schools and good water. Six years ago, Latkanich signed on to let an energy company tap natural gas beneath his property by pumping water, sand and chemicals into rock formations, a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Soon after, Latkanich's well water got a metallic taste, he developed stomach problems, and his son one day emerged from a bath covered in bleeding sores. More recently, Ryan became incontinent. Testing by state regulators and a researcher at nearby Duquesne University showed the well water had deteriorated since gas extraction started but no proof of the cause. The state recently began another round of testing. Latkanich is a single parent. He's jobless and blind in his right eye from brain surgery. "I worry about my son getting sick, about my getting sick and what would happen to him if I did," he said. "I'm doing this all alone. And I keep asking myself, 'How do we get out?'" (November 16, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/17/2018 - We need wildlife to keep our ecosystems healthy, but most wildlife cannot adapt quickly enough to Climate Change. We need to include wildlife into our Climate Change action plans. To Survive, These Animals Must Lose Their Camouflage How can the snowshoe hare and Arctic fox thrive in a climate-changed world, where there’s less snow to blend in with? On December 4, 1920, a 14-year-old boy saw something extraordinary while walking in the central Wisconsin woods. Snowshoe hares, all of them with vibrant white fur, “were hopping about on fallen leaves that had no snow covering,” he wrote. “The month was unusually mild, with practically no snow until the middle of the period.” It was like a vision: The animals almost glowed against the sullen, early-winter soil. The sight so stuck with him that he described it in a scientific paper 13 years later. By that time, Wallace Byron Grange had demonstrated an intelligence, a precociousness, and a flair for prose style that matched his middle name. At 22, he had been appointed Wisconsin’s first-ever game commissioner; now, at 27, he was a publishing zoologist as well. He was particularly fascinated by snowshoe hares—and their mysterious annual change of costume. (February 15, 2018) The Atlantic [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/17/2018 - Our media needs to include the possibility that Climate Change is amplifying and accelerating harmful algae blooms (HABs) in our lakes if we are going to solve this threat to our water sources. Discounting or refusing to include Climate Change in reporting and finding local solutions to the dramatic rise in HABs in our local waters is delusional—and make it less likely we will stop or reduce HABs. Climate change may affect algal blooms: IJC Climate change is expected to influence the rate of phosphorus entering Lake Erie, causing the faster development of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and longer recovery timeframes, said a report released this week by the International Joint Commission. “Years of high precipitation and warmer water temperatures can result in larger discharges of phosphorus from agricultural lands …,” a release from the agency said. Excess phosphorus, the IJC said, comes commercial fertilizer and manure applications in the western basin of Lake Erie, which takes in everything from Point Pelee in Ontario and Huron, Ohio, on the south shore, west to the Detroit River.  That phosphorus can create eutrophic conditions and the nuisance and harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the lake, which can kill off aquatic life and harm humans as well. Eutrophic conditions are when a body of water, such as Lake Erie, is rich in nutrients, like phosphorus, that supports a dense growth of algae and other organisms, the decay of which depletes the shallow waters of oxygen in summer, which in turn can kill off anything in those waters. (February 15, 2018) Welland Tribune [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/17/2018 - However inconvenient, If we are not prepared (and we aren’t now) to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter, it will matter to our grandchildren who will be wondering why we failed them. 97% of climate scientist and most American believe addressing Climate Change is urgent but … Scientists Just Issued a Grim New Warning on Climate Change: 'We Are Not Prepared' New research shows that countries around the world are falling short of greenhouse gas goals in the Paris climate deal, and the consequences will likely be unprecedented extreme weather. Published in the journal Science Advances this week, the study found that the likelihood of extreme heat, dryness and precipitation will increase across as much of 90% of North America, Europe and East Asia if countries do not accelerate their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “We are not prepared for today’s climate, let alone for another degree of global warming,” says study author Noah Diffenbaugh, a Stanford University professor of earth system science. (February 15, 2018) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/17/2018 - Two points in the ‘Reimagine RTS Update’ that caught my eye was that 11, 744 responded to RTS’s survey and the top 3 priorities for updating our local bus service were “Frequent service; Faster, more direct trips; 30 minutes or less wait time”. Such a large number of responders to the survey highlight the importance locals place on transit and the recognition that getting our transit service up to speed means it’s more likely more folks will use public transit as a transportation option. Reimagine RTS Update “This week marked an important step for Reimagine RTS: the release of the project’s proposed guiding principles and goals. These are important because they are based on the feedback gathered during the first phase of Reimagine RTS and they will be the foundation of the redesigned system. Here’s a recap of what we did and what we learned during phase one: Phase 1: Highlights 11,744 surveys, 19 Community outreach events, 11 employee meetings & events Top 3 Priorities: Frequent service; Faster, more direct trips; 30 minutes or less wait time Based on this, our consultant, Transportation Management & Design, Inc. (TMD), identified five guiding principles and related goals. The guiding principles are the themes of the new system and the goals define what we want to accomplish.”

  • 2/17/2018 - Without downplaying the role of fossil fuel transportation in air pollution and emitting greenhouse gas emissions (this sector is very large), we need to acknowledge that many of the product we use (“personal-care products, paints, indoor cleaners and other chemical-containing agents”) are polluting our air. We tend not to think of the ocean of air above us as a critical natural resource but rather a vast air dump for much of our waste. We should think of this as we use many of the products we use each day. The quality of our air is going to become more critical as we go further into Climate Change. In a surprising study, scientists say everyday chemicals now rival cars as a source of air pollution In a major study released Thursday, a team of government and university scientists say that the nature of air pollution is changing dramatically as cars become cleaner — leaving personal-care products, paints, indoor cleaners and other chemical-containing agents as an increasingly dominant source of key emissions. “Over time, the transportation sector has been getting cleaner when it comes to emissions of air pollutants,” said Brian McDonald, lead author of the study in Science, who works for the University of Colorado at Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “And as those emissions come down, the sources of air pollution are becoming more diverse.” (February 15, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 2/17/2018 - Critical for increasing renewable energy options (wind and solar) for electricity is removing “barriers to batteries and other storage resources in U.S. power markets.” In a particular area at particular times, the wind may not blow, and the sun may not shine but energy storage can fill the gaps. We need to free up our old grid of old regulations for the new grid. U.S. regulator moves to clear market barriers for energy storage technology In a boost for electric storage technology, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday approved a new rule to remove barriers to batteries and other storage resources in U.S. power markets. The FERC order will “enhance competition and promote greater efficiency in the nation’s electric wholesale markets, and will help support the resilience of the bulk power system,” the commission said in a statement. The commission found in November 2016 that existing market rules that governed traditional electric generation resources created barriers to entry for electric storage technologies. Thursday’s decision changes the rules to “properly recognize the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources.” (February 15, 2018) Reuters [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/16/2018 - NYS’s Drug 'Take-Back' Program has a lot of potential to remove pharmaceutical waste from our local waters. There are two drop-off locations in Monroe County. DEC Announces 172 Pharmacies, Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities Participating in 2nd Round of State's Pilot Drug 'Take-Back' Program State's Pharmaceutical Take-Back Pilot Program Will Improve Water Quality, Protect Public Health and Reduce Safety Risks 74 Facilities Enrolled in 1st Round of Drug Take-Back Program in 2017 Retail Pharmacies, Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities Encouraged to Apply During the Open Enrollment Period New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the second group of participants in the State's $2 million Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program. Participants include 172 retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities across the state. (February 15, 2018) Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/16/2018 - Considering the dramatic rise in harmful algae blooms or (HABs) in our local lakes, it would be worth our time to attend one of the state summits on Regional Harmful Algal Bloom Summits. In the Rochester region: Monday, March 26 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. R. Thomas Flynn Campus Center, SUNY Monroe Community College, the Forum, 1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, New York 14623, Free parking in campus lots N and M” Governor Cuomo Announces Regional Harmful Algal Bloom Summits Four Summits in Mid-Hudson, Central NY, Western NY and North Country to Allow Residents to Hear from Local, State and National Harmful Algal Blooms Experts Governor Announces Creation of Expert Panel and Local Steering Committees to Develop Action Plans Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the dates and locations of four summits supporting the state's comprehensive effort to protect vulnerable lakes and waterbodies in Upstate New York from harmful algal blooms. The four regional summits are part of the $65 million four-point initiativeunveiled in the Governor's 2018 State of the State to aggressively combat harmful algal blooms in Upstate New York. The increasing frequency and duration of harmful algal blooms threaten drinking water quality and the recreational use of lakes essential to upstate tourism. The first of the summits will be held on Tuesday, February 27, in New Paltz, New York. "Protecting water quality is a top priority and New York is committed to addressing growing threats like harmful algal blooms," Governor Cuomo said. "These summits are bringing experts from across the country and New York leaders together with local authorities to develop new and innovative strategies to safeguard our water for future generations." As part of his 2018 State of the State announcements, the Governor directed the state's Water Quality Rapid Response Team, co-chaired by Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in partnership with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, to convene four regional Harmful Algal Blooms summits. The summits will bring together national and state experts, including scientists from Kansas, Ohio, Tennessee and Vermont, as well as SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Cornell University, the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, and local stakeholders. (February 14, 2018) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/16/2018 - Because the transportation sector is responsible for a lot of our greenhouse gas emissions, ideas like providing free transit are coming to the table. While we love our cars, we pay a great cost for this mode of travel. Could Free Transit Lure Germans From Their Cars? Germany is considering free public transit in its cities in order to curb car use, as it hurries to meet the European Union's requirements for air quality. That proposal is put forth in a letter to from the German government to the EU's Environment Commissioner. The free transit plan is part of a range of measures suggested in the letter, including low emission zones, incentives for electric cars, and technically retrofitting existing vehicles, Reuters reports. "We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars," the letter says, according to Agence France Presse. "Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany." (February 14, 2018) NPR [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 2/16/2018 - If we are going to get a handle on our greenhouse gas emissions, we’re going to need a more robust and objective way of monitoring. Relying on reporting from fossil fuel industries seems fraught with fraud. Far More Methane Leaking at Oil, Gas Sites in Pennsylvania than Reported An EDF comparison of company-reported data and research measurements finds as much as 5 times more methane, a climate-warming greenhouse gas, is leaking. Leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from oil and gas sites in Pennsylvania could be five times greater than industry reports to state regulators, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund. Drawing from peer-reviewed research based on measurements collected downwind of oil and gas sites, along with government data, the EDF analysis estimates that the state's oil and gas wells and infrastructure leak more than 520,000 tons of methane annually, largely due to faulty equipment. "This wasted gas causes the same near-term climate pollution as 11 coal-fired power plants and results in nearly $68 million worth of wasted energy resources," the group said in its report, released Thursday. (February 16, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 2/15/2018 - We share the Great Lakes with Canada. So, when their media also connects Climate Change and Lake Erie’s algae blooms with nutrient loads (probably ours) we should listen—even if we have a climate denier running our government. Both governments are responsible for the health of the Great Lakes—They’re not just ours. Lake Erie faces deadly decline without immediate cleanup action, study says Unless immediate government actions are taken the fate of Lake Erie is in danger, says the International Joint Commission. Large parts of Lake Erie were regarded as dead waterway in the late 1970s until drastic measures helped nurse one of the Great Lakes back to health. Now again, if “bold actions” are not immediately taken to address excess phosphorus from fertilizer and manure runoffs on both sides of the border, the lake will return to being in grave danger, said a report released Tuesday by the International Joint Commission. “Back in the 1970s and 1980s there was a major effort to clean up the nutrients that was largely successful,” said Matthew Child of the joint commission, who co-authored the 89-page report that focuses on the shallowest portion of Lake Erie. “We need to address this issue with new policies and actions because so much of the west basin (of Lake Erie) is agricultural. We were successful before and we can be successful again.” (February 13, 2018) Windsor Star [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/15/2018 - You go into Climate Change with the environment you have and that’s why “Great Lakes restoration must go on”. Our largest fresh water system in the world has problems and they need to be fixed before this system has further damage due to a quick warming. Time passes. Our view: Great Lakes restoration must go on A year ago, the Trump administration proposed entirely eliminating funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but lawmakers stood firm and refused to let it happen. Well, it's time to stand up again. The proposed 2019 federal budget would cut Great Lakes funding from $300 million to $30 million — a 90-percent reduction in programming to clean up targeted areas; prevent and control invasive species; reduce nutrient runoff; and restore wildlife habitats. Environmental Protection Agency money for Lake Champlain and other waterways across the country would be eliminated, with a plan to have the EPA "encourage state, tribal and local entities to continue making progress." (February 14, 2018) auduburnpub.com [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 2/15/2018 - Putting a climate denier into high office seems to have unintended consequences—more Climate Change media attention than ever. Not necessarily better coverage, but more. With public pushback, this could work out. In other words, if the public became more engaged and asked for clarification by the Trump administration and their media on Climate Change related issues, maybe we’d get a point where more people understood the science and the urgency behind this crisis. And act. Time passes. Trump’s climate denial backfires, drives more media coverage of the issue How the president is getting more people to think and talk about climate change. All press is good press — except when it isn’t. For those who are happy about President Trump’s attacks on climate science and policy, this will come as bad news. By shining a spotlight on the issue, Trump drove media coverage of climate change last year. New analysis from Media Matters for America finds that, following a year of lagging coverage of climate change, 2017 saw network news programs scramble to report on Trump’s full-scale assault on federal climate policy. The spike in coverage coincided with an increase in concern about climate change — Americans are now more worried than ever about the carbon crisis. What’s more, the heightened awareness comes in spite of the fact that broadcasters fell short in several key areas. “Even though corporate broadcast news coverage of climate change increased between 2016 and 2017, the quality of coverage remained poor across the board, primarily because the networks centered their climate coverage around Donald Trump while largely neglecting other important climate stories,” said Lisa Hymas, director of climate and energy programs at Media Matters for America. (February 13, 2018) Think Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/15/2018 - Sea level rise is accelerating around the world and our coastline cities should be planning big time for Climate Change—and everyone else too. Time passes. Miami could be underwater in your kid’s lifetime as sea level rise accelerates Sea-level rise is accelerating around the world, thanks to ongoing melting of ice sheets in both Antarctica and Greenland, a new study suggests. At the current rate of melting, the world's seas will be at least 2 feet higher by the end of the century compared to today, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Such a rise could leave portions of the world’s coastal cities underwater. It would also increase high tides and worsen storm surges. (February 13, 2018) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/15/2018 - When you cannot get insurance because Climate Change has made it “risky to underwrite new policies in some places…” who do you blame? Insurance companies? The government? Science? Yourself? Time passes. AXA Insurance Chief Warns of ‘Uninsurable Basements’ from New York to Mumbai Private property below ground in New York and Mumbai may not be insurable in the next decade if climate change advances, the head of one of Europe’s largest insurers said. “If you go much further to 2020, 2030, we can clearly say that at a scenario between 3 and 4 degrees, it’s not insurable anymore,” Thomas Buberl, chief executive officer of AXA SA, said on a panel at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “Your basement shop in New York, your basement shop in Mumbai will at this point not be insurable anymore.” (January 26, 2018) Insurance Journal [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/15/2018 - “The U.S. intelligence community is at odds with the White House about threats America faces from climate change.” Why? The answer will amaze you. U.S. Intelligence Agencies Break With Trump Over Climate Threats Threat assessment references work of global climate scientists Report warns extinctions will ‘jeopardize vital ecosystems’ The U.S. intelligence community is at odds with the White House about threats America faces from climate change. The nation’s intelligence agencies are warning, in the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, of global instability if climate change continues unabated, according to a report submitted for a hearing Tuesday before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “The impacts of the long-term trends toward a warming climate, more air pollution, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity are likely to fuel economic and social discontent -- and possibly upheaval -- through 2018,” the report states. (February 13, 2018) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/14/2018 - Trump Administration’s final plan to address Climate Change: “Whatever President Obama was for, we’re against it!” Years of arduous planning and rigorous research have gone into Trump’s plan to deal with this worldwide crisis. People and nations around the world are amazed—not in a good way. Time passes. Trump Administration Targets Obama-Era Effort to Limit Methane The Trump administration on Monday moved to repeal one of the last unchallenged climate-change regulations rushed into place in the waning days of the Obama presidency — a rule restricting the release of planet-warming methane into the atmosphere. The rule, which applied to companies drilling for energy on federal land, has been the subject of intense court battles and delay efforts, as well as one surprise vote last year in which Senate Republicans temporarily saved it from being torpedoed. Methane, which is about 25 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, accounts for 9 percent of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions; about a third of that is estimated to come from oil and gas operations. Under the rule, oil and gas companies would have been required to capture leaked methane, update their equipment and write new plans for minimizing waste when drilling on government property. (February 12, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/14/2018 - In Rochester, NY we often say if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute. In reality, for the last 10,000 years we’ve had a relatively stable climate that allowed us to thrive. No more. We must prepare and adapt to a world we are warming quickly. Time passes. Study confirms carbon pollution has ended the era of stable climate We have rapidly warmed past the warmest periods of the last 11,000 years. Recent temperatures experienced across Europe and North America are unprecedented in the past 11,000 years, a new study in the journal Nature finds. Significantly, the new study found that the average temperature of the last decade (between 2007 and 2016) exceeded the warmest centuries of the last 11,000 years by more than 0.5°F — which is much larger than century-scale changes have been over the pre-industrial era. This research confirms findings from 2013 that human-caused carbon pollution has ended the stable climate that enabled the development of modern civilization, global agriculture, and a world that could sustain a vast population (see top chart). (February 1, 2018) Think Priogress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/14/2018 - Tired of being lied to about Climate Change? Check out this amazing series of lectures by climate scientists on why 97% of experts agree that Climate Change is real and is human caused.  UQx Denial101x Making Sense of Climate Science Denial Climate change is real, so why the controversy and debate? Learn to make sense of the science and to respond to climate change denial in Denial101x, a MOOC from UQx and edX. Denial101x isn’t just a climate MOOC; it’s a MOOC about how people think about climate change.

  • 2/14/2018 - Can you help someone whose mind has been infected by climate denial? Yes, but it takes time, a lot of TLC, and there’s hope that it might hold. (But do we have time to change minds one-by-one, day by day, in order to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter?) Time passes.  Sea Level Rise Is Accelerating: 4 Inches Per Decade (or More) by 2100 Satellite data confirm what computer models have warned for years: Oceans are rising faster as the planet warms, and coastal communities face increasing flood risk. The rate of sea level rise is accelerating so fast that some coastal communities could confront an additional 4 inches per decade by the end of the century—a growing concern now confirmed by thorough measurements from space. At that rapid pace of change, vulnerable communities might not be able to keep up. Storm surges will increase erosion and damage homes, businesses and transportation infrastructure in some areas. In other places, seawater will intrude on freshwater aquifers. In South Asia and the islands, people will lose the land where they live and farm. And the changes will arrive much faster than they do today. Scientists have been warning about this speed-up for many years based on computer climate simulations. A new study released Monday confirms the modeled trend with a detailed analysis of satellite observations spanning a quarter of a century. (February 12, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/14/2018 - Climate scientists said the waters will rise with Climate Change; the waters are rising; the water will rise more. We remain divisive about a matter whose science is not in dispute. Time passes. Sea Level Rise Is Accelerating: 4 Inches Per Decade (or More) by 2100 Satellite data confirm what computer models have warned for years: Oceans are rising faster as the planet warms, and coastal communities face increasing flood risk. The rate of sea level rise is accelerating so fast that some coastal communities could confront an additional 4 inches per decade by the end of the century—a growing concern now confirmed by thorough measurements from space. At that rapid pace of change, vulnerable communities might not be able to keep up. Storm surges will increase erosion and damage homes, businesses and transportation infrastructure in some areas. In other places, seawater will intrude on freshwater aquifers. In South Asia and the islands, people will lose the land where they live and farm. And the changes will arrive much faster than they do today. Scientists have been warning about this speed-up for many years based on computer climate simulations. A new study released Monday confirms the modeled trend with a detailed analysis of satellite observations spanning a quarter of a century. (February 12, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/13/2018 - The draft UN report: The bad news is that missing the 1.5C global warming limit will be bad. The good news we might not miss that limit if we get our act together. Time passes. 11 takeaways from the draft UN report on a 1.5C global warming limit UN draft report says missing 1.5C warming target will multiply hunger, migration and conflict, but staying under will require unprecedented global cooperation Under the Paris Agreement, governments worldwide agreed to hold global warming “well below 2C” and to aim for 1.5C. The inclusion of that second, tougher, goal was a victory for small island states and other countries on the front line of climate change. It was an acknowledgement of fears that higher temperature rise posed an unacceptable threat to their futures. But the vast bulk of research and analysis prior to 2015 centred on the 2C threshold, a more established international target. What would it take to bend the curve to 1.5C? Enter the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The climate science body agreed to produce a special report on 1.5C, summarising all the available evidence. (February 13, 20180 Climate Home News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/13/2018 - Going to be hard (if not impossible) to get wind power established on a scale and time frame that will matter if these projects are continually resisted and stopped. If not wind power, What? Town of Yates leaders fighting to keep wind turbines out An Orleans County town is still fighting to keep wind turbines out of their community. Leaders in the Town of Yates have amended a law to more strongly oppose turbines. Apex Clean Energy wants to install as many as 71 industrial wind turbines along the Lake Ontario shoreline in Orleans and Niagara counties for their “Lighthouse Wind” project. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says turbines shouldn’t go up within three miles of the shoreline because they could threaten the habitat of birds. The town is also worried about decreasing property values and the effect it could have on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. (February 12, 2018) WIVB [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 2/13/2018 - Rochester’s public bus transit system would get far more use, which would help lower greenhouse gases emissions, if passengers had shorter waits at the bus stops. Transportation, which accounts for much of our greenhouse gas emissions, needs to shift to a viable public transit system (which would require less vehicles) that is more useful for people with jobs and tight time schedules. Glad to see ReImagine RTS Phase II includes: “After several public meetings and events, RTS said it found the top priorities for its riders are having faster and more direct service, shorter wait times, and more frequent service.” RTS launches Phase 2 of public transit overhaul Phase Two of a long-term project to overhaul and redesign the public transit system in Monroe County is now underway. ReImagine RTS is aimed at making the bus and other public transportation systems easier to use throughout the Rochester region. The campaign was announced last September. After several public meetings and events, RTS said it found the top priorities for its riders are having faster and more direct service, shorter wait times, and more frequent service. (February 9, 2018) FOX Rochester [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 2/13/2018 - Climate Change can quickly undo many of the long, hard-won adaptations wildlife have accomplished to survive in a specific climate, where a very quickly warming climate is changing too fast for some to adapt. “…warmer temperatures equals spoiled food equals Gray Jay nests failing en masse.” Spoiler Alert: Can Gray Jays Survive Warmer Weather? Scientist Ryan Norris was puzzled. Just moments ago, two doting Gray Jays were bouncing about the nearby spruce trees like Labrador retrievers happy to see their owner. When he wrapped a couple of cotton balls around one of the spruce tips, his rotund chums had quickly seized upon the offering. Cotton comes in handy for birds when they’re in need of insulation material for nest construction. But Norris was playing a trick. He was using the cotton balls as a lure, and a tracking mechanism. By watching where the Gray Jays go together after they grab the cotton, he can follow them back to their nest secreted away in the black spruce backwoods. He’s been doing this for the past seven years while studying Gray Jays here in Canada’s Algonquin Provincial Park, 200 miles north of Toronto. And here he had the perfect setup: a mated male and female both eager to grab the cotton and get back to nest building. (January 8, 2018) The Cornel Lab of Onithology (More on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/12/2018 - Building and trying to maintain our transportation infrastructure without factoring in Climate Change would be like constructing a house without a roof. It would be OK for a while until … Our infrastructures—including water, waste, telecommunications, and more—are now our civilization’s arteries and veins. We cannot survive as seven million peoples without them. These infrastructures must be made robust and resilient enough to handle more extreme weather and include modern updates that accommodate many more modes of travel that ultimately brings our greenhouse gas emissions down. Trump’s Infrastructure Plan May Ignore Climate Change. It Could Be Costly. WASHINGTON — President Trump is expected to unveil on Monday a plan that would fulfill one of his signature campaign promises: a $1.5 trillion, once-in-a-generation proposal to rebuild, restore and modernize the nation’s aging infrastructure. “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all across our land,” Mr. Trump said in his State of the Union address. But while the proposal represents one of the administration’s main legislative ambitions, it could directly clash with one of its defining regulatory principles, which is to question the risk from global warming and roll back regulations addressing climate change. The Trump infrastructure blueprint is almost certain to call for expensive new roads, bridges, airports and other projects in areas that are increasingly vulnerable to rising waters and other threats from a warming planet. Engineers and researchers say that construction plans should consider these design constraints at the outset. Their concern is that a plan led by a White House that has both discounted climate science and weakened climate change regulations could mean that costly projects may be vulnerable to damage or, in a worst-case scenario, quickly rendered obsolete by the changing environment. (February 10, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2018 - As we go further into Climate Change, former rust-belt communities (Rochester, NY also) need to revitalize themselves by protecting the Great Lakes from water privatization. Water, as you know, is key to our survival and we are its stewards. Commentary:  Rust Belt no more: Chicago should be capital of the Water Belt The Rust Belt: The words evoke decaying factories, segregated cities and swing states with harsh winters. Places where jobs have dried up, population has dwindled and deep legacies of industrial pollution may be left to fester by an Environmental Protection Agency uninterested in the protection of anything. We’ve got the place all wrong. We should focus on what actually causes things to rust — water. The Great Lakes — Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior — hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh water and the key to survival in the era of climate change. With crippling drought and overwhelming floods occurring in so many corners of America combined with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s mounting attack on wetlands, streams and other small bodies of water, there is a need to transform our much-maligned Rust Belt into a Water Belt, a freshwater oasis for the world. As the region’s biggest city, with shuttered factories that could hum again and a skilled workforce ready to spring into action, Chicago can lead the way. (February 8, 2018) Chicago Tribune [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2018 - A huge (behemoth) trash incinerator in a rural town between two major Finger Lakes is a bad idea for businesses (especially wine businesses), bad for the residents (who don’t need the pollution and truck-trash-hauling traffic), and bad our Finger Lakes environment. Seneca Lake businesses urge Cuomo to reject incinerator ROMULUS — A group of 378 businesses surrounding Seneca Lake have sent Gov. Andrew Cuomo a letter, urging him to “do all in your power” to stop the waste-to-energy incinerator proposed for the town of Romulus. The businesses — which are members of Seneca Lake Guardian, a Waterkeeper Alliance affiliate — told Cuomo they are voicing their “vehement opposition to this dangerous proposal.” Circular EnerG LLC of Rochester is proposing a $365 million trash incinerator for a 48-acre parcel on the former Seneca Army Depot between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. It would be the largest incinerator in the state, burning up to 2,640 tons of trash a day, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to produce steam to run turbines that would produce electricity. (February 8, 2018) Finger Lakes Times [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 2/09/2018 - Perhaps, with a little help from humanity, wildlife can adapt to the world we’re changing and maybe we can learn from those animals how to adapt to Climate Change. Just a thought. How America’s Only Native Stork Saved Itself From Extinction Perhaps humankind would be wise to take a cue from the humble wood stork This very resourceful stork managed to save itself—with a little help from human hands—by migrating north in search of greener pastures; in other words, better, safer wetlands. “Wood storks are phenomenal in their ability to find food,” explains wildlife biologist Chuck Hayes of Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex, a network of wildlife sanctuaries spanning from near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to Wolf Island, near Darien, Georgia. “They routinely fly 50 miles a day to forage. In the mid-1990s, there was a pond off a reservoir in Georgia where I was working, and for the entire year, we’d never see a single stork. But if we drew the pond down, mimicking a shallow wetlands, the very next day a hundred storks would be wading through, feeding on fish.” (February 5, 2018) SIERRA The national magazine of the Sierra Club [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 2/09/2018 - Imagine, if like Buffalo and Erie County, Rochester and Monroe County heralded the need to address Climate Change in their major media and climate actions at a county level. Much is happening in Rochester to address Climate Change. But we do not have our efforts coordinated at the county level, which would include ALL communities within Monroe County, and our most read media doesn’t articulate a county-wide vision of climate responsibility on this warming crisis like this: Editorial: Erie County is leading necessary effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions With the federal government’s refusal to accept the facts of climate change, it has become the responsibility of states and lower governments to assume the role of leadership, both in seeking to avoid worst consequences of a warming planet and also preparing for potentially catastrophic events such as befell Texas and California last year. Erie County, it is pleasing to note, is in the forefront of that effort. As other governments around the country have pledged to do, Erie County committed to the goals of the 2016 Paris climate agreement, which the Trump administration rejected. On Thursday, less than a year after signing an executive order, County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz announced that the goals had been met, and more than a decade ahead of time. Human-driven climate change is real. (January 28, 2018) The Buffalo News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2018 - Of course, given the uncertainties in climate science models, which make it hard to predict specific consequences with a high degree of confidence and politically agreed ‘guardrails’, we could cross a global warming red line any time now. Warming up something so large and complex as an entire planet is going to make the uncertainties about consequences—extreme weather, droughts, public health outbreaks—more unpredictable. When talking about our planet’s climate unpredictability and uncertainty are not good. Time passes. We could cross a global warming red line by 2022 Within the next five years, global average surface temperatures may temporarily breach a key guardrail set out by the Paris Climate Agreement, according to a new report from the U.K. Met Office.  The report warns that global average temperatures are "likely" to exceed 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial temperatures within the next five years. The past three years, which have been among the warmest on record for the planet, have exceeded that mark, the Met Office said. (January 31, 2018) Mashable More on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2017 - The inconvenient truth about climate adaptation is that we’re going to have to do it and it will require action on a government level. I know, this is climate deniers’ greatest fear but their thwarting our efforts to address Climate Change is more likely to make their fears come true. Time passes. Climate adaptation vital to limit damage so far The risk of flooding to millions more people in Asia, Europe and North America will rise, demanding climate adaptation for a warmer world. The probable changes as the world heats are so great that climate adaptation to cope with the inevitable is now essential, scientists are warning. Forest damage, drought and floods, for example, will all worsen, and tidal ranges are already changing. More than half of all the natural vegetation of California is at risk as temperatures rise. Even were the US and other nations to honour the promises made in the Paris Agreement of 2015, one fourth of California’s natural wilderness would be under stress from global warming, a new study shows. And on top of temperature rise, California is increasingly at risk from severe drought, says a different study. US government scientists believe they have established a link between the retreat of Arctic sea ice and a decline in rainfall in the Golden State. (February 5, 2018) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/08/2018 - Perhaps Pruitt of the EPA should ask the people of Venus how runaway warming worked out for them. What’s loonier is when climate deniers cannot fight the science anymore they give in and try to frame rapid planetary warming as a good thing. Ya gotta laugh. EPA’s Scott Pruitt asks whether global warming ‘necessarily is a bad thing’ As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt has repeatedly questioned the scientific consensus that rising levels of carbon dioxide from human-fueled activity are warming the planet. He’s now taking a different tack: Even if climate change is occurring, as the vast majority of scientists say it is, a warmer atmosphere might not be so awful for humans, according to Pruitt. “We know humans have most flourished during times of what, warming trends,” Pruitt said Tuesday during an interview on KSNV, an NBC affiliate in Las Vegas. “So I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing. Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100, in the year 2018? That’s fairly arrogant for us to think that we know exactly what it should be in 2100.” (February 7, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/08/2018 - But stripping ‘Climate Change’ from school guidelines begs the question: How would this help children grow up and function in the real world, a world that is rapidly warming. Will math and physics be next on the chopping block? Idaho Stripped Climate Change From School Guidelines. Now, It’s a Battle. The political fight over global warming has extended to science education in recent years as several states have attempted to weaken or block new teaching standards that included information about climate science. But only in Idaho has the state legislature stripped all mentions of human-caused climate change from statewide science guidelines while leaving the rest of the standards intact. Now teachers, parents and students are pushing back, hoping to convince the Republican-controlled Idaho Legislature to approve revised standards, which science proponents say are watered down but would still represent a victory for climate-change education in the state. The Idaho House education committee could vote as soon as Wednesday on whether to allow the revised language into the state’s curriculum. (February 6, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/08/2018 - All things being equal, which of course they never are in a warming world caused by humanity, mammals may be more likely to adapt better to Climate Change than reptiles. This is useful information once we realize that humanity has an obligation to help all animals (and humans, of course) to adapt to the quick warming we have caused by our burning of fossil fuels for energy. We can help animals adapt to Climate Change by removing or bridging barriers that keep them from moving cooler places. Time passes. Will the Tortoise or the Hare Win the Race Against Climate Change? The story of the tortoise and the hare teaches us that slow and steady wins the race. But when it comes to adapting to changing environmental conditions, Aesop (the ancient Greek storyteller credited with the fable) isn’t quite on the money. A study released this week shows that mammals and birds are faster to adapt and better equipped to deal with changes in temperatures than reptiles and amphibians. “Roughly speaking, birds and mammals have a rate of adaption 2-3 times higher than ectotherms [reptiles and amphibians],”explained Jonathan Rolland, a research fellow at Canada’s University of British Columbia and lead author of the study. “In geological timescales, endotherms [birds and mammals] are much faster in adapting to changing temperatures than ectotherms.” (January 31, 2018) Project Earth [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/07/2018 - Perhaps the reason behind “Trump’s State Department misses climate report deadline” is that Trump was too busy tweeting about the joys of climate denial. Think of all the things he can do more of if Climate Change is a hoax  Golf. Defending himself. Trump’s State Department misses climate report deadline WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has missed a deadline to submit a report to the United Nations on climate change action. The State Department had until January 1 to submit the report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Trump administration has committed to staying in that treaty despite moving to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The State Department says it still plans to submit the report, but won’t say when, nor why it missed the deadline. (February 6, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/07/2018 - Being one of the most water-rich regions in the world, why should a Great Lakes community like Rochester, NY care about Cape Town’s water problems? If it is even possible that Cape Town’s water crisis is “perhaps exacerbated by climate change”, it means we should care and note the kinds of water issues Climate Change can suddenly bring to the forefront. On another level, what if we in the Great Lakes region are asked to share some of our water (which are about 20% of the world’s available fresh water) when large communities are immediately threatened by the lack of water? Check this out: “Cape Town Water Crisis and What Shortages Could Mean for the Great Lakes” (February 5, 2018) WDET Why Cape Town Is Running Out of Water, and Who’s Next The South African city plans to shut off the taps to 4 million people. But it's just one of many cities around the world facing a future with too little water. By late spring, four million people in the city of Cape Town—one of Africa's most affluent metropolises—may have to stand in line surrounded by armed guards to collect rations of the region's most precious commodity: drinking water. Population growth and a record drought, perhaps exacerbated by climate change, is sparking one of the world's most dramatic urban water crises, as South African leaders warn that residents are increasingly likely to face "Day Zero." That's the day, now projected for mid-April, when the city says it will be forced to shut off taps to homes and businesses because reservoirs have gotten perilously low—a possibility officials now consider almost inevitable. (February 2, 2018) National Geographic [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/07/2018 - As global warming kicks in more, we know some permafrost is already melting around the edges, breaking up roads, and making building buildings shaky. But there are a lot of unknowns about permafrost melting: how fast will it thaw? Will the growth stirred by warmed soil present a possible sink for carbon and if so how much? It enough methane gets unleashed, will there be a ‘methane bomb’ effect, a big rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Will there be ancient viruses unleashed that we have no protection from, and mercury, which “although naturally occurring, is damaging to humans and wildlife, especially in certain forms.” We should be funding more scientists to learn more about permafrost thawing before any more does. With permafrost thawing and Climate Change coming, we need to know more so we can plan properly. Time passes. The Arctic is full of toxic mercury, and climate change is going to release it We already knew that thawing Arctic permafrost would release powerful greenhouse gases. On Monday, scientists revealed it could also release massive amounts of mercury — a potent neurotoxin and serious threat to human health. Permafrost, the Arctic’s frozen soil, acts as a massive ice trap that keeps carbon stuck in the ground and out of the atmosphere — where, if released as carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas would drive global warming. But as humans warm the climate, they risk thawing that permafrost and releasing that carbon, with microbial organisms becoming more active and breaking down the ancient plant life that had previously been preserved in the frozen earth. That would further worsen global warming, further thawing the Arctic — and so on. That cycle would be scary enough, but U.S. government scientists on Monday revealed that the permafrost also contains large volumes of mercury, a toxic element humans have already been pumping into the air by burning coal. (February 5, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/07/2018 - Responses to Climate Change are still spread a long spectrum. From believing it to be a hoax, to dismissal, to those who are thinking of not having children because of it, humanity needs to get on the same page with climate science. Time passes. No Children Because of Climate Change? Some People Are Considering It Add this to the list of decisions affected by climate change: Should I have children? It is not an easy time for people to feel hopeful, with the effects of globalwarming no longer theoretical, projections becoming more dire and governmental action lagging. And while few, if any, studies have examined how large a role climate change plays in people’s childbearing decisions, it loomed large in interviews with more than a dozen people ages 18 to 43. A 32-year-old who always thought she would have children can no longer justify it to herself. A Mormon has bucked the expectations of her religion by resolving to adopt rather than give birth. An Ohio woman had her first child after an unplanned pregnancy — and then had a second because she did not want her daughter to face an environmental collapse alone. Among them, there is a sense of being saddled with painful ethical questions that previous generations did not have to confront. Some worry about the quality of life children born today will have as shorelines floodwildfires rage and extreme weather becomes more common. Others are acutely aware that having a child is one of the costliest actions they can take environmentally. (February 5, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/06/2018 - Rochester’s cold winter, Arctic warming, jet stream changing, Climate Change, and why it all matters. Despite cold snaps and snowballs, our climate is warming. Polar Vortex: How the Jet Stream and Climate Change Bring on Cold Snaps It might seem counterintuitive, but global warming plays a role in blasts of bitter cold weather. The reason: It influences the jet stream. Here’s how. The jet stream—a powerful river of wind high in the atmosphere—shapes the Northern Hemisphere's weather, including bitter cold snaps. Because it plays a key role in weather extremes, climate scientists are striving to understand its changing dynamics. Here's a closer look at what the jet stream is, what's influencing its wobbly behavior and why it matters. (February 2, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/06/2018 - I’m sorry, we are not going to solve the crisis on the Asian Carp invasion of the Great Lakes by making them a favorite dish at restaurants. If we could have eaten our way out of this problem, we would have long ago done it. Louisiana chef cooks up solution to invasive Asian carp (February 3, 2018) WWL [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 2/06/2018 - Of course, fossil fuel use should start dropping immediately if we really want a chance to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter. Humanity has their regulations, nature (physics) has hers. Humanity is capable of compromising, nature isn’t. BTW: With all their money and research, why didn’t fossil fuel industry switch to renewable long ago? Imagine what things would be like today if we had followed climate science decades ago? Time passes. Exxon sees global oil demand plunging by 2040 under climate regulations HOUSTON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp said on Friday that it expects global oil demand to drop sharply by 2040 if regulations aimed at limiting the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate are fully implemented. Under this scenario, Exxon projected world oil consumption will drop 0.4 percent annually to 2040 to about 78 million barrels per day (bpd). That is about 25 percent below current levels, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration puts at 98 million bpd. The findings were contained in a report produced after Exxon’s shareholders supported a climate-impact resolution last year and Exxon’s board approved a plan to analyze the effects. Exxon’s climate-impact report comes roughly three years after almost 200 nations met in Paris to set a goal of limiting the rise in the world’s average surface temperatures. President Donald Trump has since pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, and it was unclear whether Paris accord policies would be fully implemented around the world. (February 2, 2018) Reuters [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/06/2018 - Of course, trying to kill the messengers of Climate Change won’t accomplish anything but leaving us unprepared—because it’s physics. I agree that local reporting of Climate Change is critical for the public to ‘see’ their climate changing. At Climate Feedback, scientists encourage better science reporting. But who is listening? THE EARTH IS 15 YEARS AWAY from a “mini ice age” “that will cause bitterly cold winters during which rivers such as the Thames freeze over.” That was the claim that kicked offan article in The Telegraph in July 2015. That assertion doubtless had many climate scientists rolling their eyes. But rather than just ranting on Twitter or screaming into a throw pillow, this time they had an outlet they could use to set the record straight. Emmanuel Vincent, a climate scientist, had launched ClimateFeedback.org, a site where climate scientists rate the scientific credibility of climate change reporting. (February 1, 2018) Columbia Journalism Review [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/06/2018 - Besides their day job, climate scientists are taking greater strides to communicate Climate Change clearly and engagingly to the media and the public.  It’s up to us to listen carefully. Communicating the science is a much-needed step for UN climate panel The IPCC is taking guidance on how to communicate its crucial findings beyond speciality scientific and policy circles The remit of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is one of the more complicated jigsaw puzzles in the world. Since 1988, it has overseen thousands of scientists pulling together tens of thousands of academic papers on atmospheric physics, meteorology, geography, marine science, economics, land-use and much more. A multi-layered process of expert assessment takes place every six or seven years where a set of carefully worded statements is approved by representatives of 120 of the world’s governments, specifying what we know about the defining challenge of the 21st century: climate change. It is an incredible, perhaps unprecedented undertaking – but until recently, it has been woefully underserved on the crucial issue of communicating its findings beyond specialist scientific and policy circles. And partly as a result of this, the organisation has historically been saddled with a reputation for being dry, bureaucratic and secretive. (January 30, 2018) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/05/2018 -   Communicating environmental issues is key to our understanding of our life support system. One way we do that communicating in Rochester now is with the Fast Forward Film Festival. Got film? Submit by Feb. 26th. ACTION: Fast Forward Film Festival Submission Deadline The Fast Forward Film Festival encourages films from Rochester, NY residents that tap into the local experience and compel audiences to engage with the community and raise environmental awareness. Embracing the short film format, Fast Forward challenges filmmakers to utilize the power of visual storytelling to convey the urgency of our environmental problems. Shorts are a liberating form that allow for greater experimentation and give voice to both aspiring and veteran filmmakers. By focusing creativity into films under five minutes in length, Fast Forward films become an important communication tool to inspire change, connect people and build an environmentally concerned community.  The deadline for submissions this year is Monday, February 26, 2018. Direct questions via an email to the FFFF.    

  • 2/05/2018 - Maybe if climate experts talked Climate Change nice to Trump, he’d understand the science and the crisis. It might happen because the last three record-breaking hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—didn’t seem to have opened his eyes. Troubled by Trump's Climate Denial, Scientists Aim to Set the Record Straight The president's lack of understanding of climate science has led top science groups, including the UN's climate panel, to offer their expertise in simpler ways. Even for the adamantly apolitical American Meteorological Society, President Donald Trump's fumbling disputations of climate change in a recent television interview were too much. So, on its collegiate, old-school letterhead, the society's executive director, Keith Seitter, wrote the president a polite but pointed message last week. "There is a wealth of comprehensive and accurate information on climate change available to you and your staff within government agencies, as well as from experts in academic institutions and other organizations," Seitter nudged, adding that the society "stands ready" to provide expertise to Trump and his cabinet. (February 5, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 2/05/2018 - What if some countries move forward quickly with renewable energy and some turn backwards with more fossil fuels? Might be a stalemate, I guess, if physics didn’t govern Climate Change. More greenhouse gas emissions and we continue to warm. Renewables Overtake Coal in Supplying European Electricity UN Climate Change News, 31 January - A new analysis by Sandbag and Agora Energiewende shows that the European Union generated more electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass than coal in 2017, with renewables accounting for over 30% of Europe’s electricity for the first time. Wind, solar and biomass generation surpassing coal is “incredible progress”, says the report, not least because coal power generation was more than twice that of wind, solar and biomass just five years ago. The study titled "European Power Sector in 2017" suggests that Germany and the United Kingdom are leading the onward march of renewable technologies as both have contributed to 56% of the growth in renewables in the past three years (2014-2017). (January 31, 2018) United Nations Climate Change [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area] 

  • 2/05/2018 - Negative emissions technologies (NETs) may not work on a scale or time frame that will actually address Climate Change. We’re going to have to buckle down and do the hard work of shifting to a clean energy paradigm. Climate Change Won’t Be Solved by Removing Excess CO2 from Atmosphere Negative emissions technologies (NETs) – new technologies that aim to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere – have “limited realistic potential” in meeting the Paris Agreement targets, according to a new report published yesterday by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council, a body that brings together 29 European national science academies. The academies call for climate change mitigation efforts to be strengthened instead of relying on these (future) technologies. (February 2, 2018) European Academies Science Advisory Council [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/03/2018 - How will Trump’s solar tariff affect Solar Power in Rochester, NY and elsewhere in the USA? “Some say this is an early victory under the tariff, but critics say the move will harm the solar industry in the U.S.” Connections: How will the solar tariff impact the future of solar in the U.S.? On January 23, the Trump administration imposed a 30 percent tariff on solar cells and modules made abroad. President Trumps says the move will increase U.S. manufacturing of solar equipment and create jobs. Since the tariff was imposed, one Chinese solar company has announced it will build a plant in Florida. While plans for the plant were in the works prior to the Trump administration's announcement, the company said it "continues to closely monitor treatment of imports of solar cells and modules under the U.S. trade laws." Some say this is an early victory under the tariff, but critics say the move will harm the solar industry in the U.S. According to research conducted by Greentech Media, the tariff could result in an 11 percent decrease of installations over the next four years, and lead to tens of thousands of job losses. (Februrary 2, 2018) WXXI Connections [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 2/03/2018 - Will the USA pay a price for pulling out the Paris Accord, meant to address Climate Change, and leave the heavy lifting to the rest of the world—even though we caused much of the warming? Sound fair? EU: ‘Difficult to imagine’ trade deals with countries not in Paris Agreement European Commission backs French call for the Paris deal to be a prerequisite for access to the world’s second largest economy The European Commission (EC) has backed French calls to make trade deals with the world’s second biggest economy contingent on membership of the Paris climate agreement. French foreign affairs minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told his own parliament on Thursday that if the US thought it could leave the Paris deal and still strike a trade deal with Europe: “The US knows what to expect.” He called on the EU to make a new trade policy: “No Paris Agreement, no trade agreement”. On Friday, a commission trade spokesperson told Climate Home News that all EU trade deals contained a chapter on sustainability: “Since the deal we concluded last year with Japan, this chapter contains an explicit reference to the ratification and actual implementation of the Paris climate deal. (February 2, 2018) Climate Home News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/03/2018 - In what way is a huge trash incinerator a renewable energy source? Instead of reusing, recycling, and compositing you continually burn used products and food forever? Is trash-to-energy renewable or putting our resources on a one-way road to destruction? Appeal filed over Romulus official's ruling that incinerator is renewable energy facility ROMULUS — Alan Kiehle has filed an appeal of the determination by town Zoning Enforcement Officer Adam Schrader that the proposed waste incinerator is a renewable energy production facility. Kiehle of 5915 East Lake Road filed the appeal Thursday with the town Zoning Board of Appeals. It notes that Schrader’s interpretation is unreasonable and exceeds his authority and claims that Schrader is only supposed to enforce the zoning code, not provide interpretations of the code. Schrader made his determination at the request of the developers of the proposed $365 million incinerator, Circular EnerG of Rochester. Kiehle said the incinerator is not eligible for a special-use permit for renewable energy production from the town because the state does not consider energy from a waste-to-energy facility as renewable. (Feburary 3, 2018) Finger Lakes Times [more on Energy and Recycling in our area]

  • 2/02/2018 - Imagine if all NYS communities, like Rochester and now Ithaca, were Certified Climate Smart Community. We’d have a very robust way of addressing Climate Change throughout our state. Find out more about the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Certification Program and if you live in NYS and your community is not one of them, help (Take Action) get them signed up. City of Ithaca Achieves Designation as New York's 17th Certified Climate Smart Community Yesterday New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recognized the city of Ithaca as New York’s 17th local government to be designated a Certified Climate Smart Community. (Click here for the full press release.) Launched in 2014, the Climate Smart Communities Certification Program recognizes local governments that have taken action to reduce emissions and protect their communities from a changing climate. At an event at a state-funded new electric vehicle charging station at the Cayuga Street Parking Garage in Ithaca, DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Kenneth Lynch and Regional Director Matthew Marko congratulated Svante Myrick, mayor of the City of Ithaca, and presented him with street signs highlighting the city’s achievement of certification. (February 1, 2018) Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/02/2018 - Why don’t climate deniers like climate satellites? Delving more deeply and accurately into how our climate is warming threatens their mythology. More: Scientific consensus: Earth's climate is warming “Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree*: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.” GeoCarb: A new view of carbon over the Americas From NASA A new NASA Earth science mission in the early stages of design may achieve a transformational advance in our understanding of the global carbon cycle by mapping concentrations of key carbon gases from a new vantage point: geostationary orbit. Satellites in geostationary orbit travel at the same speed as Earth's rotation, allowing them to remain over the same place on Earth's surface at all times. The Geostationary Carbon Observatory (GeoCarb), targeted for launch in the early 2020s, will build on the success of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission by placing a similar instrument on a commercial SES-Government Solutions communications satellite flying in geostationary orbit. Its longitude will allow "wall-to-wall" observations over the Americas between 50 degrees North and South latitude — from the southern tip of Hudson Bay to the southern tip of South America. Perched 22,236 miles (35,800 kilometers) above the Americas, GeoCarb will collect 10 million daily observations of the concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and solar-induced fluorescence (SIF) at a spatial resolution of about 3 to 6 miles (5 to 10 kilometers). (January 11, 2018) NASA Global Climate Change [more on Climiate Change in our area] 

  • 2/02/2018 - In a world that is quickly warming because of our use of fossil fuels, using a 72% cut to clean energy research as a starting point for negotiations is as crazy as trying to achieve world peace by threatening a nuclear war if everyone doesn’t march to your tune. A wiser negotiating tactic for continuing fossil fuels would be to help fossil fuel workers a way to transition to renewable energy jobs, and only use our remaining budget for fossil fuels for those things (forging metals for our infrastructures and vehicles, etc.) that we still haven’t figured out how to do with renewable energy. But we may not have much time left to avoid the worst consequences of warming our climate more with the burning of fossil fuels. Time passes. White House seeks 72 percent cut to clean energy research, underscoring administration’s preference for fossil fuels The Trump administration is poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts to the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019, according to draft budget documentsobtained by The Washington Post. Many of the sharp cuts would probably be restored by Congress, but President Trump’s budget, due out in February, will mark a starting point for negotiations and offer a statement of intent and policy priorities. The document underscores the administration’s continued focus on the exploitation of fossil fuel resources — or, as Trump put it in his State of the Union address,“beautiful clean coal” — over newer renewable technologies seen as a central solution to the problem of climate change. (February 1, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/02/2018 - Although it’s cold and wintery today, the trend in Rochester, NY and other places is that spring is coming earlier. That does not bode well for agriculture and wildlife expecting their arrival and food to sync. Groundhog Day: Spring Coming Earlier Since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting each February 2 whether or not an early spring was ahead. Legend states that when Phil does not see his shadow, an early spring is on the way. Otherwise, there will be six more weeks of winter.  Phil saw his shadow last year, and he has only failed to see his shadow 18 times. This week, we examine the trend in the temperature during the six-week period that follows Groundhog Day — in most places, that period is getting warmer. (January 31, 2018) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/01/2018 - Take ACTION: Rochester needs your input on TRANSIT SUPPORTIVE CORRIDORS STUDY.  Please take this survey: TransitCorridorsRoc.metroquest.com (it will go on until mid-March) As part of its Comprehensive Plan, Rochester 2034, the City is studying which major streets have the best potential for “transit supportive development.” Also, the City is conducting public outreach to get input the morning of Sat Feb 10 from 9am-noon at the public market (see flyer).Learn more about ROCHESTER MOBILITY ENHANCEMENT

  • 2/01/2018 - Another component of Climate Justice, besides recompense for those countries and individuals who will be impacted the most but contributing the least to warming, should be those communities emitting the most greenhouse gases doing much more to compensate for that. Climate denial seems to include an open disregard for addressing Climate Change and just letting the rest take care of them. Sound fair? U.S. cities most menaced by climate change are least energy-efficient NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Miami and other U.S. cities most at risk from disasters exacerbated by global warming are also among those whose high energy consumption is fuelling temperature rise, data from clean-energy company Arcadia Power showed on Tuesday. The coastal city of Miami, battered last year by Hurricane Irma, was the least energy-efficient in a sample of 15 cities, with its monthly energy consumption 25 percent above the national average, the data showed. Such cities are “shooting themselves in the foot” because their immoderate energy consumption emits avoidable greenhouse gases that are heating up the planet and causing climate change, said a statement from Arcadia. The Florida city averaged energy consumption per household of 1,125 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month, far exceeding the 2016 national average of 897 kWh. Miami’s above-normal usage could be due to the hot and humid city’s heavy reliance on air-conditioning, which is energy-intensive, said Arcadia spokeswoman Natalie Rizk. Burning fossil fuels, including to generate electricity, is one of the lead causes of climate change which scientists agree will make freak weather such as Irma more powerful. (January 30, 2018) Reuters [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 2/01/2018 - Some of our assumptions about how trees will respond to extreme heat are being challenged. Because we took so long to recognize Climate Change and slow to begin to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, a certain amount of warming will happen regardless. We need to know how all aspects of our environment are going to react to rapid heating. This study—“Climate experiment shows trees release water but stop absorbing carbon in extreme heat”—is alarming. Time passes. Australian trees 'sweat' to survive extreme heatwaves, researchers reveal Climate experiment shows trees release water but stop absorbing carbon in extreme heat Australian researchers growing trees in climate change conditions have found the leaves “sweat” to survive extreme heatwaves. The year-long experiment showed that trees continue to release water through their leaves as an evaporative cooling system during periods of extreme heat, despite the carbon-fixing process of photosynthesis grinding to a halt. Previously, scientists believed that photosynthesis and transpiration – the process of releasing water – were linked, meaning one would not occur without the other. Prof Mark Tjoelker from the University of Western Sydney’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment is one of the authors of the study, which was published in Global Change Biology this month. Tjoelker said the findings had significant implications for climate change because they showed that trees stopped capturing carbon during extreme heatwaves, which are predicted to become more frequent and severe in the future. (January 31, 2018) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Plants in our area]

  • 1/31/2018 - Trump’s State of the Union: How a climate denier leader addresses Climate Change. Willful deceit. Cherry picking the facts (“floods and fires and storms”) and coming to the wrong conclusions. Sad! State of the Union: Trump Glorifies Coal, Shuts Eyes to Climate Risks Trump talked of the year's climate disasters—without saying 'climate change'—and while repeating his usual promotion of the fossil fuels that drive global warming. It was a distinct irony to hear President Donald Trump open his State of the Union address by reciting the litany of climate calamities that the nation survived in 2017. "We endured floods and fires and storms," he said, as he recognized the bravery of public servants who had saved dozens of people trapped in a hurricane and a wildfire. But he said not a word about the manmade global warming that makes those risks more dangerous year after year. And his only discussion of energy policies made no nod to the clean energy transformation that scientists prescribe to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the risks. "We have ended the war on American energy," Trump declared, "and we have ended the war on beautiful clean coal. We are now very proudly an exporter of energy to the world." (January 31, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/30/2018 - One of the components of our Transportation system’s effect on Climate Change is the pavement. There’s a lot of pavement out there and unless you fly (and even then, you mostly need to land and take off on something solid) almost every form of our transportation involves millions of miles of a fossil-fuel produced, impermeable layer over our environment that presents a great barrier for wildlife’s attempt to adapt. Our species, with over 7 billion now, could not survive without our transportation infrastructure, but how can we make it less of a problem in addressing Climate Change. THE BEGUILING SCIENCE OF MAKING PLANET-SAVING PAVEMENT WHEN IT COMES to beating back climate change, the big ideas get the most buzz. But among talk of banning gas-burning cars, making tech companies run server farms on renewable energy, and geo-engineering the planet into a state of salvation, the people researching pavement have a message: Don't overlook that boring stuff beneath your wheels and your feet. After all, pavement—and the asphalt, concrete, and steel that live inside it—is everywhere. If you look up and out a window right now and don’t see any, I'll pay you a dollar. (I won’t.) And with the federal government reportedly inchingreally, inching—toward a trillion dollar injection into American infrastructure, now may be the perfect time to make the gray stuff just a shade greener. Past efforts to combat the carbon footprint of pavement have shown an annoying tendency to backfire. A pavement composed of all-recycled materials sounds great, until you consider that it requires more truck-driving construction workers to maintain it, and might need to be replaced in a couple of years instead of a handful. You can alter the makeup of pavement to retain less heat and reduce air conditioning use—but you can also go too far and trigger higher heating costs. (January 27, 2018) Wired [more on Climate Change and Transportation in our area]

  • 1/30/2018 - We go into Climate Change with the environment we have. We must clean up past pollution—rives used for waste and Brownfields—so our environment can help us adapt to the changes coming. Two of New York State's sickest rivers flow through our backyard The federal government spent more than $50 million this decade removing lead, mercury, PCBs and other poisons from the depths and shoreline of the Buffalo River. Then, Jill Jedlicka and volunteers from Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper tore invasive plants from the banks of the river and planted native trees and shrubs in their place. They built a nesting area for turtles, hidden habitat for bass and perch and a pollinator garden for bees. Despite all that work, the Buffalo River remains one of the unhealthiest rivers in New York State. (January 29, 2018) The Buffalo News [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 1/30/2018 - To get renewable energy on a scale and time frame that will matter, Wind Power must succeed. Wind projects get shot down continually. Even in NYS big wind has tried to start and eventually failed because of so much local protest. Hopefully, NYS can get this large offshore project going. Governor Cuomo Releases First-in-The-Nation Offshore Wind Master Plan to Guide New York's Development of Renewable Energy First Announced in 2018 State of the State - Master Plan Will Implement the Procurement of at Least 800 Megawatts of Offshore Wind Over Next Two Years Plan Will Help Achieve 2.4 Gigawatt Offshore Wind Target by 2030, Supporting Governor's Mandate of 50 Percent Electricity From Renewables by 2030 Estimates Thousands of New Jobs Will Be Created in New York's Emerging Offshore Wind Industry, Backed By More Than 20 Scientific Studies and Industry Analyses GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 1/29/2018 - According to Rochester, NY’s Climate Action Plan on road transportation accounts for 24% of our greenhouse gas emissions. Getting our 40-year old transit system up to snuff is critical. Upstate transit leaders to Cuomo: We need improvements too Rochester's transit system “is not really useful for a lot of the citizens out here,'' said Jason Partyka, of Reconnect Rochester, a public transit customer advocacy group. He said Rochester's current transit system is 40 years old and is based on outdated bus routes. Much has changed since the 1970s, when Eastman Kodak, Xerox and Bausch and Lomb employed tens of thousands. Most of those jobs are gone, and the city's population has fallen while the suburbs have grown. “The system has to be redesigned to meet the needs of employers, seniors and millennials,” said William Carpenter, chief executive officer of Rochester's Regional Transit Service and president of the New York State Public Transit Association. “We have a lot more demands than we used to have, but the funding isn't much different than we used to have.” (January 29, 2018) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 1/29/2018 - Was the extreme rainfall of Hurricane Harvey an anomaly, or the new normal of Climate Change? How would you plan? Hurricane Center: Harvey’s ‘overwhelming’ rains were likely nation’s most extreme ever Hurricane Harvey unleashed a tropical deluge probably unsurpassed in U.S. history, the National Hurricane Center says. In an in-depth meteorological review of the storm released Thursday, the center said it was unable to identify any past storm that had unloaded so much rain over such a large area. “[T]he areal extent of heavy rainfall is truly overwhelming, literally and figuratively,” the report said about the storm, whose catastrophic flooding engulfed Southeast Texas in August’s final week last year, killing 68 people. Such extreme rain amounts  — which only have a 1 in 1,000 chance of happening in a given year — covered an enormous area, an accompanying geographic analysis showed. (January 25, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/27/2018 - Building one of the largest trash incinerators in the USA in Romulus, in wine and Finger Lakes country, is a really bad way to get jobs, protect our environment, protect public health and our waters and agriculture—not to mention it sends the wrong message about recycling, reusing, and renewable energy. {Find out about opposition to the trash incinerator: Read my article “Don’t sacrifice Romulus, NY for trash incineration”} Ontario County: No-go for trash incinerator The Board of Supervisors opposes a plan to build a waste-to-energy plant at the former Seneca Army Depot. CANANDAIGUA — Count Ontario County among those opposed to a proposed trash incinerator proposed for a portion of the former Seneca Army Depot site in Romulus. The Board of Supervisors on Thursday night voted to oppose Circular EnerG LLC’s plan to build the waste-to-energy plant for a number of reasons, chief among them the potential impacts on the county’s tourism and agriculture industries. Several supervisors, chief among them Geneva Supervisors Dominick Vedora and Lou Guard, decided that the board needed to take a stance, said Canadice Supervisor Kris Singer, who is chairwoman of the board’s planning and environmental quality committee. The project can have “potentially disastrous impacts on a lot of things that are valuable to this county,” Singer said Thursday night. (January 26, 2018) Daily Messenger [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/27/2018 - Remember when our EPA’s top priority was to protect the US public and our environment against polluting industries—and not the other way around? Those were the days. Sad! U.S. EPA reverses policy on 'major sources' of pollution WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it was withdrawing a provision of the Clean Air Act that requires a major source of pollution like a power plant to always be treated as a major source, even if it makes changes to reduce emissions. The decision to withdraw the “once-in always-in” policy is part of President Donald Trump’s effort to roll back federal regulations and was sought by utilities, the petroleum industry and others. Sources of air pollution previously classified as “major sources” may be reclassified as “area” sources when the facility limits its emissions below “major source” thresholds, the EPA said. Area sources are subject to less strict pollution control standards than major sources. (January 25, 2018) Reuters [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 1/27/2018 - Regardless of where you stand on the state’s Erie Canal clear-cutting debacle, you’ve got to admit it really was “the worst communicated project there was”. Of course, if the state thought no one would notice so many trees clear cut along the Erie Canal and people’s homes, I guess you could say they didn’t need to communicate this project well. But, that’s absurd. Andreatta: After Erie Canal clear-cutting, Brockport comes to terms with a new view The only way to grasp the devastation left by the state’s clear-cutting operation along the Erie Canal in Brockport is to walk the barren embankments behind the homes lining the waterway. Tangles of limbs crunch underfoot amid stumps, so many stumps, jutting from the earth like forgotten gravestones. Backyards, once concealed from passers-by on the canal towpath by forests, are open books. While residents of canal towns east of Rochester who protested the clear-cutting of trees along the water are claiming victory following the state’s recent announcement to take “a more tailored approach” to removing trees in their neck of the woods, canal dwellers to the west, where the clear-cutting came and went, are coming to terms with their new view. On Quarry Street in Brockport, where a handful of houses back onto the canal, residents now keep the blinds on their windows facing the canal closed day and night. (January 26, 2018) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 1/27/2018 - I’ll admit that it’s hard to keep focused on addressing Climate Change with the imminent threat of nuclear war. But remember: we may avoid nuclear war (if humanity gets some responsible leaders) but we won’t avoid the consequences of a quickly warming planet if we don’t act. We must stop the threat of nuclear war and address Climate Change at the same time. Both are existential top priorities—and they are probably not entirely separate threats given the ‘social unrest’ component of Climate Change. Time passes. Doomsday Clock Is Set at 2 Minutes to Midnight, Closest Since 1950s The Doomsday Clock, a potent symbol of scientific concerns about humanity’s possible annihilation, was advanced by 30 seconds on Thursday, to 2 minutes to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientistsannounced in Washington. The last time the clock was moved so close to midnight was in 1953, during the Cold War. “In 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change, making the world security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago — and as dangerous as it has been since World War II,” the bulletin’s science and security board, which oversees the clock, said in a statement. (January 25, 2018) New York Times

  • 1/27/2018 - Much at #Davos2018 was about Climate Change and world concern about addressing this crisis. Only a little about @realDonaldTrump ‏and not in a good way. 5 things we learned about the environment at Davos 2018 From the pace of climate action to saving our oceans, world leaders had plenty to say about the environment during the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos. Here's a quick recap of some (but by no means all) of the key moments from this week's sessions. (January 26, 2018) World Economic Forum [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/27/2018 - However innocuous our use of plastics seems to us, using our environment as a trash can when we’re done with plastics has grave consequences. It’s difficult to imagine just how much damage spent plastics do to our life support system. I know, many think we have bigger problems than plastic trash (and even Climate Change) but that based on humanity’s long history of treating our environment as an externality, as trash bin, a magical place for resources. In our pursuit of growth, we have not been mindful of the need to have a healthy environment. In our effort to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter, we are going to have to address problems of pollution also because we go into Climate Change with the environment we have. A third of coral reefs 'entangled with plastic' Plastic is one of the biggest threats to the future of coral reefs after ocean warming, say scientists. More than 11 billion items of plastic were found on a third of coral reefs surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region. This figure is predicted to increase to more than 15 billion by 2025. Plastic raises by 20-fold the risk of disease outbreaks on coral reefs, according to research. Plastic bags, bottles and rice sacks were among the items found. "Plastic is one of the biggest threats in the ocean at the moment, I would say, apart from climate change," said Dr Joleah Lamb of Cornell University in Ithaca, US. (January 20, 2018) BBC News [more on Recycling in our area]  

  • 1/27/2018 - Including Rochester, NY’s Genesee River “U.S. scientists found neonicotinoid insecticides in about three-quarters of samples from 10 major Great Lakes tributaries.” Seems like this stuff persists in our environment longer than claimed. Which is concerning as “The study is the first to examine the insecticides—gaining notoriety in recent years as a prime suspect in bee die-offs— in the world's largest freshwater system and suggests Great Lakes' fish, birds and entire ecosystems might be at risk.” Controversial insecticides pervasive in Great Lakes tributaries A variety of neonicotinoids—harmful to aquatic organisms—are reported in major Great Lakes streams U.S. scientists found neonicotinoid insecticides in about three-quarters of samples from 10 major Great Lakes tributaries. The study is the first to examine the insecticides—gaining notoriety in recent years as a prime suspect in bee die-offs— in the world's largest freshwater system and suggests Great Lakes' fish, birds and entire ecosystems might be at risk. "This study is one of many that shows we know very little about the repercussive effects of pesticides once released into the environment," said Ruth Kerzee, executive director of the Midwest Pesticide Action Center, who was not involved in the study. "We are told these compounds break down rapidly when exposed to sunlight and, yet, this study shows persistence in the environment long after applications." The study comes as draft legislation is circulating in Congress that would remove requirements that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department and the National Marine Service over pesticides' impact on threatened and endangered species. (January 26, 2018) Environmental Health News [more on Pesticides and Water Quality in our area]

  • 1/26/2018 - While our attention is too often stolen away by Trump’s White House antics, we must be mindful of the environmental protections being stripped away, probably jeopardizing our lives and livelihoods. Some may believe that federal regulations were simply put in place to keep industry from being healthy, but when the consequences of those regulations being removed make us unhealthy the public will not be so complacent about the decades of rules put into place to keep the free market from destroying our environment and our health. The biggest federal regulations that have disappeared under Trump President Trump's rollback of dozens of regulations throughout the federal government is a major part of his first-year legacy. Hundreds of others set to take effect have been frozen or withdrawn. Hari Sreenivasan talks with Eric Lipton of The New York Times about some of the biggest changes when it comes to energy and the environment, financial regulation and the Internet. (January 24, 2018) PBS News Hour [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/26/2018 - Last year Rochester, NY passed its long-awaited Climate Action Plan and now this plan moves to the next level, a climate adaptation plan. Each community will be affected by Climate Change a little differently because of where they, what their infrastructure is (and what state it’s in), what areas still need to be cleaned up (Brownfields), and a whole lot more. So, while most community’s adaptation plans will have common threads running through them, each adaptation plan will have to be tailored exactly to a community’s strengths and vulnerabilities. We in Rochester are already experiencing real changes and there are many likely changes to come. In order to plan so that our communities are not overwhelmed by what’s coming, we need to plan. In life you don’t usually adapt because you want to: you adapt because you have to. Every community will have to adapt to Climate Change. Best that they plan for the inevitable and we are glad that Rochester is acting responsibly. Preparing for the inevitable: City looks at climate change  Climate change is such an all-encompassing problem that there's no escaping it. Sure, people, corporations, and governments across the world should be doing everything they can to attack the fundamental problem: the human-generated carbon emissions that are causing Earth to warm at an accelerated rate. But as a planet, we took too long to act. And even now, many countries are dragging their feet and pretending that if they just ignore the problem it'll go away. Climate change is already here. Average temperatures are rising, and so are the oceans. Polar ice cover is shrinking, permafrost is thawing, and intense storms – rain, snow, hurricanes, wind – are getting stronger and more frequent. Communities everywhere have realized that they need to prepare for the inevitable, the City of Rochester included. That's why officials here are preparing a pair of plans to identify in what ways the city is vulnerable to climate change and how it can adapt to the shifts that are already happening and the ones that are coming. The city previously completed a Climate Action Plan, which lays out strategies to reduce its greenhouse gas contributions.(January 24, 2018) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/25/2018 - We know that Climate Change is causing permafrost to melt and it’s already wreaking havoc on roads and buildings that there thought to have been built on solid ground. But what about suddenly releasing a lot (really a lot) of CO2 and methane—and ancient bacteria? What happens when ancient soil thaws? We need more scientists. Time passes. Is There A Ticking Time Bomb Under The Arctic? In the 1960s, the Army dug the tunnel so it could study this unique surface, which covers about a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere. In some places, the frozen soil extends downward more than 1,000 feet, or about the height of the Empire State Building. Technically, permafrost is frozen soil. But it's helpful to think of it in terms of chocolate cake. Typically, cake is soft, moist and spongy. Now if you take that cake, dip it into water and freeze it, the cake becomes hard or stiff. That's exactly what happens to soil when you freeze it: Moist, soft soil turns hard and stiff. That's permafrost. For the first time in centuries, the Arctic permafrost is beginning to change — rapidly. It's warming up. Some places are softening like a stick of butter left out on the kitchen counter. (January 24, 2018) National Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/25/2018 - Of course, the problem at these World Economic Forums is that Mother Nature doesn’t understand Climate Change rhetoric. Mother Nature only understands our actions. Time passes. Davos 2018: climate change rhetoric and reality The movers and shakers at the World Economic Forum warn climate change is a major threat to prosperity, but what are they doing about it? Climate change is a hot topic in the snows of Davos this year. The world leaders, business tycoons and celebrities jetting in to the annual World Economic Forum (Wef) have identified the biggest threats to prosperity as environmental. A global risk survey places extreme weather events, natural disasters and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation in the alarm zone for both likelihood and impact. So you can expect the topic to come up in speeches and panel sessions. India’s Narendra Modi is the headliner, to be followed by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. All have something to boast about when it comes to climate protection. All have weaknesses they would rather you didn’t mention. Then comes Donald Trump, who rejects the whole climate agenda, but may not have as much power as he thinks to reverse it. This article will be updated throughout the week, to put their soundbites in context. (January 23, 2018) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/25/2018 - Let’s face it, in America the most likely reason for climate denial is not because we don’t believe in climate science. It’s politics and the horror that we might be asked to adjust our economy to our environment that breeds such fear and trembling. We need to fix an economy that treats our life support system as an externality. But rather than be inconvenienced, we’d rather take down our future and other life on this planet along with it. We are not wrestling with the facts behind Climate Change because we doubt them, we are arguing about the moral implications of warming our world that we don’t want to face. Time passes. ‘We have to change capitalism’ to beat climate change, says Blackrock vice-chair Top brass at the world’s largest asset manager says the rules governing investments are evolving to factor in environmental risks Capitalism must change to avert climate change, according to the vice-chair of the world’s largest asset manager, Blackrock. Two weeks ago, Blackrock boss Larry Fink shook the corporate world with a letter demanding social responsibility in return for the support of his company, which manages around $6 trillion in assets. On Wednesday, at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, vice-chair Philipp Hildebrand expanded on that theme. Fiduciary duty – asset managers’ legal responsibility to make clients the best return on their money – is often deployed as a reason not to consider how investments might impact the climate. But that concept was “evolving”, said Hildebrand. (January 24, 2018) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/25/2018 - In Rochester, NY and other regions, our extremely cold nights in January are not as extremely cold as they used to be and aren’t likely to be in the future. This matters: Proof that Climate Change is happening here and it’s going to wreak havoc “for farming, recreation, economy, and the environment.” The Future of Extreme Cold in a Warming World For much of the U.S. east of the Rockies, middle to late January tends to be the coldest time of the year. Even though extreme cold can still happen in winter, as was seen earlier this year in much of the country, the frequency and intensity of extreme cold is declining as the world warms from the increase in greenhouse gases. Digging deeper, this week’s analysis examines the coldest night each year in cities across the country, and in most cases, the trend in that coldest night is warmer. With no change in the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, warming of the lowest temperature of the year will continue. According to the 2017 U.S. Climate Science Special Report, that coldest reading each year will rise several degrees in parts of the U.S. by the middle of this century. The warming will be most prevalent in the Upper Midwest, across the Great Lakes, and in the Northeast, where up to 10°F of warming is projected. While the decrease in cold may sound good on a cold winter day, that warming comes with consequences for farming, recreation, economy, and the environment. Fruit trees, which need to become dormant over the winter to bloom in the spring, may produce smaller yields. Winter-based activities in colder climates, like skiing and snowmobiling will become less prevalent, and the tourist economies that support them may struggle. More disease-carrying insects, like ticks and mosquitoes will survive through a milder winter. (January 24, 2018) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/24/2018 - In Rochester, NY and other communities, creating more urban parks and forests and maintaining them are a must in local adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change. Urban forests add to cities’ health and wealth Planting more urban forests is a simple way not only to improve the health of a city’s people, but to make them wealthier too. Climate scientists who calculated the value of urban forests to the world’s great cities have now worked out how town planners can almost double their money. Just plant 20% more trees. More than half the world now lives in cities, and one person in 10 lives in a megacity: one that is home to at least 10 million people. The trees that shade the parks and gardens and line the urban streets – London planes, limes, magnolias, pines and so on – are known to add to property valuesand to make living conditions better for millions who must endure the increasing heat extremes of the urban world. Last year researchers put a value on the contributions of the urban forest: $500 million to the average megacity, they calculated, in pollution absorbed, temperatures lowered and moisture taken up. (January 22, 2018) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change and Plants and Parks in our area]

  • 1/24/2018 - Of course, when scientists say things like Climate Change was the ‘culprit’ in events like glacier collapses they mean climate attribution is getting better at connecting the dots between specific events and Climate Change. We are the culprits, as it is we who are causing Climate Change, this climate change. Time passes. Bigger, Faster Avalanches, Triggered by Climate Change A deadly 2016 glacier collapse in Tibet surpassed scientists’ expectations — until it happened again. They worry it’s only the beginning. When 247 million cubic feet of snow and ice collapsed off a glacier in the dry, mountainous region of western Tibet in 2016, the roiling mass took with it nine human lives and hundreds of animals, spreading more than five miles in three minutes at speeds of up to 186 miles per hour. The event surprised scientists, who had seen a collapse that big and that fast only once before. And then it happened again, three months later, on a neighboring glacier, though without fatalities. Glaciologists hadn’t quite believed that glaciers could behave this way, and suddenly they had witnessed two similar collapses in a year. An analysis of the events, published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, found that climate change was the culprit in both collapses. The study suggests that in addition to the known risks posed by a warming climate, such as sea level rise, we may also be in line for some cataclysmic surprises. (January 23, 2018) New York Timies [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/24/2018 - Will taking governments to court for not addressing Climate Change work? The jury is out, but Mother Nature is the real judge. Will taking governments to court for not addressing Climate Change work? The jury is out, but Mother Nature is the real judge--and she is quite immune to opinions and our legal systems. I know, it flies in the face of climate denialist’s beliefs to think governments should address Climate Change. But who else can? Just denying the facts won’t work. Time passes. Four climate change lawsuits to watch in 2018 Did you know it's possible to take legal action to fight global warming? Ever more citizens are doing just that. Here are four landmark climate change lawsuits with significant decisions pending in 2018. Citizens around the world are taking climate action to the courtroom by suing their own governmentsand some of the world's biggest oil and energy companies over failing to protect against the risks and consequences of climate change. According to a survey by the United Nations Environment Program and Columbia Law School, climate change lawsuits are on the increase — with nearly 900 cases in 24 countries as of March last year — and courts will play a greater role to in the fight against global warming over the year to come. Here are four high-profile climate lawsuits to watch in 2018 — each is likely to make waves by setting a possible legal precedent in pressuring governments and companies to take responsibility over climate change. (January 9, 2018) Deutsche Welle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/24/2018 - Climate Change also contributes to the decline in some bird species. We know birds are shifting populations due to wintering ranges, which are changing because of Climate Change. 222 Bird Species Worldwide Now Critically Endangered According to the latest IUCN Red List update, 13 percent of the world’s bird species are now threatened. What do the southern red-breasted plover, ultramarine lorikeet and Rimatara reed warbler have in common? Here’s the unfortunate answer: They’re just a few of the bird species newly listed as critically endangered in the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The update, released last month by BirdLife International, cites climate change and overfishing as causes of the population declines of many species, particularly seabirds. All told 222 bird species worldwide are now considered critically endangered, putting them one step above extinction. In fact, some of those species may already be gone: 21 species haven’t been seen in years and are actually listed as “critically endangered, possibly extinct.” (January 22, 2018) The Revelator [more on Wlildlife in our area] 

  • 1/23/2018 - It’s going to be impossible to get renewable energy installed on any scale and time frame that will matter if it is continually fought and defeated at every turn. So many optimistic reports about renewable energy helping us to address Climate Change forget Wind Power opposition. Time passes. Wind company backs out of Parishville The international energy company that's been planning to build a large wind farm in St. Lawrence County has decided to cut the town of Parishville out of its plans. (January 23, 2018) North Cuntry Public Radio [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 1/23/2018 - Is your country trying to keep you stupid on Climate Change? Find out by checking the Climate Censorship Tracker. Be aware of what’s being done to sow doubt by your government on the crisis of our age. New Climate Censorship Tracker Comes Online The project has so far assembled 96 entries of federal restrictions or prohibitions on climate science since November 2016 Columbia University and the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund today launched an online tracker of the Trump administration's crackdown on climate science. The project, called the Silencing Science Tracker, has so far assembled 96 entries of federal restrictions or prohibitions on climate science since November 2016. The database is built from media reports, and it's searchable by agency, date and type of action. More than half the entries are listed as censorship, either from government restriction or researchers who are self-censoring. Other instances include targeted personnel changes, budget cuts and other federal actions aimed at minimizing or hindering climate research. The project also links to resources for whistleblowers and legal help. Plans are underway to expand the project to states. (January 19, 2018) Scientific American [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/23/2018 - Climate denial is still happening despite 97% of climate scientists saying Climate Change is happening and is doing so because of humanity’s use of fossil fuels. Humanity needs a reality check. Check out “UQx Denial101x Making Sense of Climate Science Denial” Time passes.

  • 1/23/2018 - If you’re a leader on the world stage and you’re concerned about the state of the world (and not just your agenda), Climate Change and extreme weather are on your radar. Otherwise, you’re out of it. Extreme Weather and Climate Change Among Top Risks Facing World - WEF Extreme weather events such as coastal storms and droughts, failure to reduce carbon emissions and build climate resilience, and natural disasters are among the top risks that pose a serious threat to global stability, according the latest Global Risks Report 2018 published by the World Economic Forum. The intensification of environmental and climate related risks comes on the heels of a year characterized by high-impact hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria – causing major destruction in the US and the Caribbean island states, extreme temperatures and the first rise in global CO2 emissions in four years. Speaking about the report, Alison Martin, Group Chief Risk Officer of Zurich Insurance Group, said: “Extreme weather events were ranked as a top global risk by likelihood and impact. Environmental risks, together with a growing vulnerability to other risks, are now seriously threatening the foundation of most of our commons. Unfortunately, we currently observe a too-little-too-late response by governments and organisations to key trends such as climate change. It’s not yet too late to share a more resilient tomorrow, but we need to act with a stronger sense of urgency in order to avoid potential system collapse.” (January 17, 2018) United Nations Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/23/2018 - What happens when you try and recover from record-breaking extreme weather events and don’t plan for Climate Change? Answer: Houston. Time passes. City in a Swamp: Houston’s Flood Problems Are Only Getting Worse A tour of flood-damaged neighborhoods still recovering from Hurricane Harvey reveals choices that left this booming city exposed to the risks of climate change. In a corner office in City Hall last July, Stephen Costello ticked off Houston's recent floods from memory: Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 dumped on the northeastern part of town. A storm in 2009 hit the west side. 2015 saw Memorial Day flooding swamp the northwest closer to downtown, while Halloween rains slammed the south side. The Tax Day floods of 2016, the worst since Allison, spread across the city; Memorial Day that year saw the county northwest of Houston underwater. Then came Hurricane Harvey, and everywhere turned to soup. It is Costello's job to make sure that whenever the waters arrive, the city is prepared. He is Houston's "flood czar," a position minted the day after those Tax Day floods to respond to more frequent and damaging storms. Yet Costello has no dedicated staff and no clear job description. A whiteboard attests to his "all the above approach." It's more a wish list, with initiatives from bayou renovation and wetland protection to citizen participation in simple storm-drain maintenance. "The unique thing about Houston," he said, "is we're never going to prevent flooding. All we can do is try to mitigate for it." (January 22, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/22/2018 - However inconvenient or politically divisive Climate Change may be for the Trump administration, plans must be made for a quickly warming planet. Think about it: Is American going to just still by and drown because Trump hates science? Time passes. EPA official: government must plan for climate change WASHINGTON (AP) — A top manager who supervises the Environmental Protection Agency program responsible for cleaning up the nation’s most contaminated properties and waterways told Congress on Thursday that the government needs to plan for the ongoing threat posed to Superfund sites from climate change. The testimony by EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator Barry Breen before a House oversight subcommittee conflicts with the agency’s policy positions under President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax. Breen’s boss, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, is an ardent fossil fuel promoter who questions the validity of mainstream climate science. During a hearing Thursday, Rep. Jerry McNerney, a California Democrat, asked Breen whether extreme weather events like hurricanes and wildfires could damage the highly toxic sites and cause contamination to spread. “We have to respond to climate change, that’s just part of our mission set,” replied Breen, a career official who leads EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. “So we need to design remedies that account for that. We don’t get to pick where Superfund sites are. We deal with the waste where it is.” (January 19, 2018) AP [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/22/2018 - The release of methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, is accelerated by our use of fossil fuel for energy. Shifting to renewable energy quickly is a must. There will be a great cost to humanity for procrastinating on this energy shift. Time passes. NASA Confirms Methane Spike Is Tied to Oil and Gas According to a recent study by NASA, the oil and gas industry is largely responsible for the global rise in emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. These emissions of methane (CH4), have increased by about 25 teragrams per year since 2006. A teragram is a unit of mass equal to one trillion grams. The findings underscore the need for the world to rapidly transition to renewable sources of energy, notably wind and solar power, in order to achieve the central goal of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which is to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius. (January 19, 2018) United Nations Climate Change [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/22/2018 - Added to public health issues over Climate Change—including more tropical diseases in the Northeast, heatwaves, water quality due to more flooding—is depression. “Climate change is a persistent global stressor,” Concern over climate change linked to depression, anxiety: study NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Depression and anxiety afflict Americans who are concerned with the fate of the environment, according to a study of the mental health effects of climate change. Most hard-hit are women and people with low incomes who worry about the planet’s long-term health, said the study published this week in the journal Global Environmental Change. Symptoms include restless nights, feelings of loneliness and lethargy. “Climate change is a persistent global stressor,” said Sabrina Helm, lead author of the paper and professor of family and consumer sciences at the University of Arizona. (January 18, 2018) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2018 - I know, even if you had the time and money, you probably wouldn’t want to brave the Antarctic cold to see how this continent is breaking because of Climate Change. Thankfully, Time went and took some great photos. Without the media helping us to see Climate Change, a planetary crisis, it’s hard to get a sense of how quickly our life support system is being impacted by trapping more greenhouse gases. I wonder what those in climate denial are seeing on their media. Hummm THE GREAT CRACK-UP It’s hard to wreck a continent you can barely get your hands on. Human beings typically do our worst environmental damage in the places we live and work—clear-cutting forests, strip-mining mountains. Antarctica, however, was more or less out of reach. No more. Climate change has become our species’ great destructive equalizer, leaving no part of the planet safe from the harm we do. In March 2017, the sea ice around both poles reached a record low for that time of year. In July, a 1 trillion–ton iceberg, roughly the size of Delaware, calved off of the Larsen C ice shelf in western Antarctica. The damage to the ice is being done not just from above, as the planet’s air warms, but from below, as its oceans do too. Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2018 - It will become more likely that our sewer systems will overflow as Climate Change brings on more heavy precipitation to our region—unless we update all our sewer systems. Sewers overflow across Central NY as snow melts, heavy rain falls Syracuse, N.Y. -- Sewers overflowed across Central New York today as water poured into pipes from melting snow and heavy rain. With several inches of snow melting away in record-high temperatures, and nearly 2 inches of rain falling in some areas, sewer systems couldn't handle the extra water. (January 12, 2018) Syracuse.com [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2018 - Excellent article on the importance of cleaning up this long-standing Brownfield in Rochester, NY. It’s urgent that the public make public comment by January 30th. Most of all, let’s get this Brownfield cleaned up to the highest standards, just as you would want if your neighborhood contained an industrial waste land. Groups press for thorough Vacuum Oil cleanup  For decades, the vacant Vacuum Oil refinery on Flint Street has been a drag on the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood. The hulking building with boarded-up entrances and broken-out windows sits on land that's seriously polluted with petroleum and other refining-related pollutants. DHD Ventures bought the property a few years ago and intends to redevelop it for residential and mixed use. That's given neighborhood residents some optimism that the property would finally get cleaned up. And they've hoped that the developer would pursue the highest level of cleanup spelled out under the state's brownfield program, where developers get tax credits for remediating and reusing polluted sites. (January 19, 2018) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 1/20/2018 - There are reasons why our military does not have the luxury of climate denial. For one, unlike Trump, our military must operate in the world of reality. The reality where Climate Change is “a major potential threat to national security.” TRUMP AND THE MILITARY ARE AT ODDS ON CLIMATE CHANGE While the Trump administration has largely rejected climate change as an issue, the Department of Defense and Congress have identified it as a major potential threat to national security. The United States government appears to be of two minds, with utterly opposing worldviews, on climate change policy. On one hand, the Trump administration has pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, proposed eliminating three vital new climate satellites, reneged on an Obama-era $2 billion commitment to the Green Climate Fund, and wants to slash funding to the Environmental Protection Agency's domestic climate programs and the Department of State's USAID climate programs around the globe. The president has also denounced global warming as a hoax and a Chinese plot. On the other hand, the Republican-dominated Congress has affirmed that climate change is a prominent national security threat and mandated that the Department of Defense (DOD) look closely at how climate change is going to affect key installations, while also addressing the need to boost the military's finances considerably to deal with global warming threats. When Trump's national security strategy—announced in January—erased climate change as a threat to U.S. security, that decision drew the ire of a bipartisan group of congressional legislators. As a result of this dichotomy, the DOD has emerged as an unlikely champion of climate action in the Trump government, with the Pentagon declaring emphaticallythat a rapidly warming world is bringing with it alarming security risks ranging from rising sea level (which threatens naval bases such as Norfolk, Virginia, the largest in the world), to the "mother of all risks"—unpredictable and worsening political instability around the globe brought by climate chaos. (January 18, 2018) Pacific Standard [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2018 - In other words, even though some regions like Rochester, NY are still experiencing cold spells in winter “temperatures over the planet as a whole continue the rapid warming trend we’ve seen over the last 40 years,”” Long-term warming trend continued in 2017: NASA, NOAA Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA. Continuing the planet's long-term warming trend, globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. That is second only to global temperatures in 2016. In a separate, independent analysis, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded that 2017 was the third-warmest year in their record. The minor difference in rankings is due to the different methods used by the two agencies to analyze global temperatures, although over the long-term the agencies’ records remain in strong agreement. Both analyses show that the five warmest years on record all have taken place since 2010. Because weather station locations and measurement practices change over time, there are uncertainties in the interpretation of specific year-to-year global mean temperature differences. Taking this into account, NASA estimates that 2017’s global mean change is accurate to within 0.1 degree Fahrenheit, with a 95 percent certainty level. “Despite colder than average temperatures in any one part of the world, temperatures over the planet as a whole continue the rapid warming trend we’ve seen over the last 40 years,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. (January 18, 2018) NASA Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/18/2018 - Wouldn’t warmer waters, more harmful algae outbreaks, and the fact that avian botulism outbreaks have become more common since the 1990s suggest a global warming connection? If so, it would be nice if article mentioned that. Research Associates Bird Deaths In Lake Michigan With Warmer Water, More Algae 3-Year UW, USGS Research Looks To Explain Botulism Outbreaks Causing Mass Bird Deaths New research suggests warmer water in Lake Michigan could mean more bird deaths along the shoreline. The study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and U.S. Geological Survey found warmer water could favor the growth of algae with toxins that are killing off birds. The three-year study which focused on northern Lake Michigan sought to explain botulism outbreaks that have been the cause of mass bird deaths since the 1960s. Botulism leads to paralysis in animals and often causes Lake Michigan's double-crested cormorants, ring-billed gulls and loons to drown. Scientists used satellite data to track water temperature and measure algae in Lake Michigan, relying heavily on volunteers to collect bird carcasses. The study was conducted from 2010-13, and the research was published last week. (January 16, 2018) Wisconsin Public Radio [more on Wildlife, Great Lakes, and Water Quality in our area] 

  • 1/17/2017 - USA TODAY Editorial Board gets it on the importance of Solar Power as real clean energy option and getting more US jobs—if we don’t put up a freaking tariff.  “Tariffs would also stifle a rising sector generating the cleanest of energies.” Solar tariffs would kill jobs, harm environment Any day now, President Trump is expected to decide whether to punish China with tariffs on cheap solar cells and panels it exports to America. For a president who raged against China during the presidential campaign, calling its mounting trade deficit with the United States "the greatest theft in the history of the world," it might be tempting to finally substitute action for rhetoric. But a decision to slap big import taxes on the Chinese-made solar parts would be a serious mistake, one likely to kill far more American jobs than it saves.  Artificially raising prices on imported solar cells and panels would hurt a burgeoning domestic solar industry that employs the kind of "forgotten" Americans whom Trump champions: small contractors who employ blue-collar workers earning a median of $26 an hour; one in 10 are veterans. (January 16, 2018) USA Today [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 1/17/2018 - One of the great things about living in Rochester, NY is that our sidewalks are plowed in the winter. (Seems odd that all Northern cities don’t do that.) Walking is a fundamental form of transportation (which is to say, a fundamental right) and sidewalk plowing is critical for many people (even those who drive and park) to get around. Much of my getting around involves walking and being able to do so even in winter is an important lifestyle component of my living in Rochester. Helping to keep the sidewalks in front of your property can make really increase the quality of life in Rochester. Could Syracuse remove snow from sidewalks like Rochester does? The Rochester program is funded by a frontage fee assessed on all city properties. Property owners pay 87.8 cents per foot of sidewalk for snow removal. For a property with 40 feet of sidewalk, then, the owner would pay $35.13 a year. Rochester property owners pay an additional 18 cents per foot for sidewalk repair. In Syracuse, sidewalk repair falls on the homeownerand is complaint-driven.  The annual cost of the program in Rochester varies with the severity of the weather. According to WHEC, Rochester's NBC affiliate, taxpayers spent $2.9 million on sidewalk snow removal this year. The Democrat and Chronicle reported that cost was $1.1 million in 2015. (January 16, 2017) Syracuse.com [more on Transportation in our area]  

  • 1/17/2018 - The Cornell Lab’s Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up February 16-19, 2018. Find out more and help with this incredible bird monitoring system. “Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.”

  • 1/17/2018 - I know, it’s hard for many folks to believe humanity could both warm our planet and challenge life in our oceans. But science, which humanity developed to enhance and focus our senses, tells us so. #ScienceMatters We should not let politics cloud our minds over the science of Climate Change. Time passes. Disappearing Oxygen in the Ocean Threatens Marine Life A new paper published in Science magazine shows that oxygen concentrations in ocean water are declining, not least as a result of climate change. This is in turn posing a serious threat to marine life and people dependent on the ocean. The study, compiled by a network of scientists initiated by the UN, also highlights the importance of reining in both climate change and nutrient pollution to halt the expansion of low-oxygen zones spreading around the globe.   “Oxygen in fundamental to life in the oceans,” said Denise Breitburg, lead author and marine ecologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. “The decline in ocean oxygen ranks among the most serious effects of human activities on the Earth’s environment.” The study notes that the oxygen content of the open ocean and coastal waters has been declining for at least the past 50 years, largely because of human activities that increased global temperatures and nutrients discharged to coastal waters. (January 9, 2018) United Nations Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/17/2018 - To “address the scourge of plastic bag waste in the state” a NYS task force considers 8 solutions. As with many environmental issues, voluntary efforts have been tried and failed but not taking any options is not really an option. Plastic bag waste has gone from a little nuisance to a big problem. New York's Plastic Bag Task Force Issues Report to Combat Bag Waste Report Sent to Governor Cuomo and NYS Legislature for Consideration Identifying Eight Possible Solutions to Address Blight of Plastic Bags Chair of New York's Plastic Bag Task Force, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos, issued the Task Force's comprehensive report outlining eight potential solutions to address the scourge of plastic bag waste in the state. The report was sent to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for consideration. "As states across the nation and world struggle with the environmental and financial costs of plastic bag waste, New York is developing a comprehensive solution. Under Governor Cuomo's direction, the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force has identified equitable, statewide solutions to address plastic bag waste and this report provides a menu of options to tackle this issue. I'm grateful to the Co-Chairs and Task Force members for their efforts and hard work to develop this report," said DEC Commissioner Seggos. Convened in March 2017, the Task Force was directed to study the growing issue of plastic bag waste and develop a comprehensive statewide plan to address the detrimental impact plastic bags have on the environment. The report is the result of a dedicated effort by Task Force members, including elected officials, advocates, and other key stakeholders. The report was informed by a roundtable discussion and comments DEC received from interested parties and an exhaustive review of actions taken elsewhere to address plastic bag waste. (January 13, 2018) Department of Environmental Conservation  [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/16/2018 - In places like Alaska, where temperatures are risings faster than the rest of the USA, we can see more dramatic public health effects of Climate Change. But Alaska should not be our guinea pig. We should all be preparing. Alaska releases first detailed report on negative health impacts of climate change On Monday, the state Division of Public Health released the first comprehensive report about the adverse health impacts climate change could have on Alaskans. The sweeping list of potential health implications include the introduction of new diseases; an increase in accidents; an increase in anxiety and depression; a worsening allergy season; and increasingly dangerous hunting and harvesting conditions limiting subsistence activity. State health officials say the 77-page report is meant to raise awareness of how climate change could impact public health in a state where, over the past century, the air and water temperatures have warmed faster than the rest of the country. (January 8, 2018) Achorage Daily News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/16/2018 - What is an ‘ocean heat wave’? What are the consequences of them? What’s the connection with Climate Change? Human Emissions Made Ocean Heat Wave 53 Times More Likely Three 2016 marine heat waves that killed whales, birds, corals, and shellfish from Australia to Alaska were many times more likely thanks to climate change. The consequences for Alaska were stark: dozens of whales died, as did thousands of common murres and tufted puffins, while sealife native to the tropics came up in nets pulled from sub-Arctic seas. But an unusual mass of warm water nicknamed "the blob," which appeared off Alaska and hung around through 2016, didn't occur in isolation. In northern Australia in 2016, high ocean heat bleached hundreds of miles of corals, killed mangroves, and destroyed giant clams. Off New Zealand, an ocean hot spell wiped out black abalone and brought an oyster-killing disease. Just as atmospheric shifts can bring droughts and nasty heat waves on land, shifts in weather or ocean circulation also can spark deadly marine heat waves, which can thoroughly scramble life at sea. But until recently scientists understood little about what role climate change might play in these extreme sea events. (January 16, 2018) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/15/2018 - Pretty funny, Rochester, NY media so agog that Weather Channel did 20,000th Live Shot weather event in our city they missed Climate Change connection. At the end of the article, Mike Seidel says, “"I will tell you just from experience that the weather has become more extreme," Seidel said. " ... If anybody says the weather is not getting extreme, I'll show my travel log."” Rochester's snowfall brings The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel for 20,000th live shot (Jannuary 13, 2018) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/15/2018 - Imagine heating cities with cold winters (like Rochester, NY) with ‘district heating’ but not fossil fuels. Some cities are doing just that. “A district heating scheme is a network of insulated pipes used to deliver heat, in the form of hot water or steam, from where it is generated to wherever it is to be used.” District heating warms cities without fossil fuels Many cities which endure cold winters are adapting district heating schemes to keep people warm without the use of fossil fuels. Heating homes and offices without adding to the dangers of climate change is a major challenge for many cities, but re-imagined district heating is now offering an answer. A district heating scheme is a network of insulated pipes used to deliver heat, in the form of hot water or steam, from where it is generated to wherever it is to be used. As a way of providing warmth for thousands of homes, typically in multi-storey apartment buildings, district heating has a long history in eastern Europe and Russia. But the hot water it distributes typically comes from power stations burning coal or gas, which means more greenhouse gas emissions. Tapping into other forms of producing hot water, from renewable energy, bio-gas or capturing waste heat from industrial production, supermarkets or IT systems, provides alternative sources of large scale heating without adding to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Sweden has pioneered the switch from fossil fuels to other ways of heating water. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency says  the country has gone from almost exclusively relying on fossil fuels to being 90% powered by renewable and recycled heat in 2017. (January 15, 2018) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/15/2018 - Great public service by Climate Central and others to help inform about specific extreme weather events and how they may be related to Climate Change. This is a valuable tool I hope the media uses to help the public understand that our world is warming and the need to act is urgent.World Weather Attribution (WWA) is an international effort to analyze and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events, such as storms, extreme rainfall, heat waves, cold spells, and droughts. Recognizing society’s interest in reducing the human, economic, and environmental costs of weather-related disasters, WWA delivers timely and scientifically reliable information on how extreme weather may be affected by climate change. WWA is a partnership of Climate Central, the University of Oxford Environmental Change Institute (Oxford ECI), the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), the University of Melbourne, and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (the Climate Centre). Climate Central also administers WWA. WWA was initiated in late 2014 after the scientific community concluded that the emerging science of extreme event attribution could be operationalized.”

  • 1/13/2018 - Be nice if local media (like Rochester, NY’s) put recent spate of cold snaps in the context of Climate Change instead of late shopping mall openings due to a heavy snow dump. We are experiencing weather extremes, which probably have a global warming connection. That should be discussed—as it is in other media—to familiarize the public with the changes already happening in a warming world. Time passes. In a fast-warming world, scientists say recent cold wave was exceptionally weird The record-crushing cold that rang in 2018 was like a blast from the past that will become increasingly rare. For much of the Eastern United States, the polar vortex unleashed the coldest start to a calendar year in recorded history. The punishing cold was exceptional for both its strength and duration, shattering scores of records and persisting two weeks after its invasion on Christmas Eve. (January 11, 2018) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/13/2018 - @realDonaldTrump must STOP RACISM and START working with the rest of the world to address Climate Change. Our media’s attention needs to be diverted from Trump’s outrages and focused on how quickly our planet is warming. The time to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter is running out. The likelihood of low emission scenarios, where we act quickly to bring down our greenhouse gas emissions and keep the warming within tolerable limits, is shifting to a world where only the highest emission scenarios will be played out. That may be intolerably hot. Time passes. Warming set to breach Paris accord's toughest limit by mid century: draft OSLO (Reuters) - Global warming is on track to breach the toughest limit set in the Paris climate agreement by the middle of this century unless governments make unprecedented economic shifts from fossil fuels, a draft U.N. report said. The draft, of a report due for publication in October, said governments will also have to start sucking carbon dioxide from the air to achieve the ambition of limiting temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times. “There is very high risk that ... global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” the U.N. panel of experts wrote, based on the current pace of warming and current national plans to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. (January 11. 2018) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area)

  • 1/13/2018 - It’s easy: Food Donation and Food Waste Recycling is GOOD. Incinerating and landfilling food not eaten is BAD. Food waste should be composted either by you or your community. Extra food should go to those organizations that can get this food to those in need. Burning food creates more greenhouse gases and warms the planet and deprives our soil of its ability to regenerate. Kudos to NYS DEC’s responsible plan: DEC Announces $3.5 Million in Grants Awarded in 2017 to Increase Donation of Wholesome Food and Divert Food Scraps from Landfills Food Donation and Food Waste Recycling Support Governor Cuomo's Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40 Percent by 2030 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that in 2017 DEC awarded $3.5 million to support the donation of wholesome food and municipal organics recycling projects across the state through the Environmental Protection Fund's Municipal Recycling and Climate Smart Communities grant programs. Directed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York is making significant investments to encourage donation of food and recycling of food waste, resulting in less waste directed to landfills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "Through Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York is becoming a national leader in pioneering a variety of investments and initiatives to encourage wholesome food donation and food waste recycling," said Commissioner Seggos. "Diverting food and food waste from landfills stands to benefit all New Yorkers by putting good, wholesome food to use at area food banks, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, and saving resources. New York State is making significant investments in the capability to donate food and municipal organics recycling infrastructure across the state, facilitating increased food donation to food banks, and providing funds for larger generators of food scraps to divert material from landfills." (January 12, 2018) Department of Environmental Conservation  (more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/13/2018 - Been getting down because there’s so much climate denial and global warming misinformation out there? Cheer up, learn the denial tricks and symptoms. Check out Skeptical Science, Getting Skeptical about global warming skepticism. Think about taking this free course—Making sense of climate science denial—it’s awesome informative and well designed. Help free the world of climate denial so humanity can act on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes.   

  • 1/13/2018 - Rather than the norm, these spates of cold snaps in places like Rochester, NY may become less likely. Overall, as we move further into Climate Change, our warms will be getting warmer and our colds not so cold. “In fact, the researchers calculated that a cold wave like this occurred about once every 17 years at the beginning of the 20th century, but now can be expected to occur just once out of every 250 years. In other words, there used to be a 5.8 percent chance of such a cold wave occurring in a given year, but now the odds are down to 0.4 percent.” As the world warms, it's making cold snaps like the recent one extremely rare The first week of January was the coldest such week on record in most locations in the Eastern United States. It was so frigid that week, and the week preceding it, that sea ice formed around Cape Cod and Chesapeake Bay, sharks froze to death on Massachusetts beaches, and alligators went into a resting state while entombed in ice.  One might think that a cold snap like this one all but disproves global warming, or at least refutes the more dire scenarios about winter all but disappearing as the globe responds to sharp increases in greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. However, the reality is far more complex, scientists say. In fact, it's getting harder to pull off a cold outbreak of the severity and longevity of the late December and early January Arctic blast, according to a new analysis published on Thursday. (January 12, 2018) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2018 - What if the developing countries are no longer willing to take the developed nations’ crap? Well, it can pile up and cause a lot of problems. Or, if developed nations could start living sustainably and helped developing nations do the same? Imagine humanity working together to find solutions to an economic system that treats our environment, our life support system, as a magical resource generator and a dump. Imagine existing so our way of living didn’t produce mountains of crap festering like a cancer on our planet. Time passes. Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling LONDON — Ever since China announced last year that it no longer wanted to be the “world’s garbage dump,” recycling about half of the globe’s plastics and paper products, Western nations have been puzzling over what to do when the ban went into effect, which it did on Jan. 1. The answer, to date, in Britain at least, is nothing. At least one waste disposal site in London is already seeing a buildup of plastic recyclables and has had to pay to have some of it removed. Similar backups have been reported in CanadaIrelandGermany and several other European nations, while tons of rubbish is piling up in port cities like Hong Kong. Steve Frank, of Pioneer Recycling in Oregon, owns two plants that collect and sort 220,000 tons of recyclable materials each year. A majority of it was until recently exported to China. “My inventory is out of control,” he said. (January 11, 2018) New York Times [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/12/2018 - Climate Change during the Trump administration years won’t be all bad. There’s hope in action and planning and divesting from fossil fuels and spreading the word about the importance of the science behind Climate Change. New Yorkers celebrate as NYC Mayor announces divestment from fossil fuels, files climate lawsuit #DivestNY victory reverberates around the world as New Yorkers vow to keep up the fight for bold climate action New York, NY — Today, following over five years of persistent campaigning from New Yorkers, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the City is moving forward with full fossil fuel divestment. The city’s five pension funds, a combined $191 billion, will divest $5 billion in securities from over 100 fossil fuel reserve owners. New York’s announcement brings the total number of global divestment commitments to 810 institutions representing more than $6 trillion in assets. “New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet. With its communities exceptionally vulnerable to a rising sea, the city is showing the spirit for which it’s famous: it’s not pretending that working with the fossil fuel companies will somehow save the day, but instead standing up to them, in the financial markets and in court,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. “Ever since Sandy, New Yorkers understand the risk, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable. Now, thanks to Mayor de Blasio and his team, the city is fighting back, and in ways that will actually matter.” In addition to this multi-billion-dollar hard-won divestment, Mayor de Blasio announced the City is launching a lawsuit against five major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips for climate damages. With New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman investigating ExxonMobil, and seven municipalities across California fighting similar damage lawsuits, this announcement adds significant momentum to the #ExxonKnew campaign to hold fossil fuel corporations accountable for the role in climate destruction. (January 10, 2018) 350.org [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/12/2018 - Before we even consider putting one of the largest train trash incinerators in the small rural community Romulus, NY, which lies between the largest Finger Lakes (Seneca and Cayuga), why don’t we consider alternatives? Like living sustainably, as the NYS DEC suggests. New Year, New You! Wasting Less in 2018 As we start the New Year, we welcome our New Year's resolutions ranging from eating healthier to saving money to learning a new skill or hobby. This year, why not make a resolution to support waste reduction? Reducing your waste doesn't have to be an all or nothing goal. Try just one or two of these simple ideas to make changes that can help you keep a waste reduction lifestyle. (January 11, 2018) Department of Environmental Conservation  (more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 1/12/2018 - What if in 2018 there is as much loss due to extreme weather in the US as last year. “In 2017, there were 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States.” Who going to pay? What if we cannot pay any more. Wouldn’t planning for a warming world reduce the cost and suffering of climate disruption? As our climate gets warmer there are more people with more to lose, which at some point will probably be prohibitively expensive. What then? Time passes. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is the Nation's Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather and climate events in their historical perspective. As part of its responsibility of monitoring and assessing the climate, NCEI tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. NCEI is frequently called upon to provide summaries of global and U.S. temperature and precipitation trends, extremes, and comparisons in their historical perspective. Found here are the weather and climate events that have had the greatest economic impact from 1980 to 2017. The U.S. has sustained 219 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2017). The total cost of these 219 events exceeds $1.5 trillion. This total now includes the initial cost estimates for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. 2017 in Context… In 2017, there were 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 1 freeze event, 8 severe storm events, 3 tropical cyclone events, and 1 wildfire event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 362 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted. The 1980–2017 annual average is 5.8 events (CPI-adjusted); the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2013–2017) is 11.6 events (CPI-adjusted). NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2018). 

  • 1/12/2018 - Oh, and there’s another reason why climate deniers don’t like believing in the science behind Climate Change—accountability. What if those who lied and misrepresented the science behind Climate Change and spewed a lot of the greenhouse gases that are now warming the planet were finally held responsible for the damage they caused? New York City Sues Oil Companies Over Climate Change, Says It Plans to Divest The lawsuit against Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell and ConocoPhillips is the latest from a coastal city seeking to hold fossil fuel producers accountable. New York City is suing five of the largest oil companies over the billions of dollars it spends protecting the city from the effects of climate change, and it plans to divest its pension funds' $5 billion in assets involving fossil fuel producers, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. As head of the nation's largest city, de Blasio is throwing significant weight behind a movement by local governments to directly target fossil fuel companies for the role their products play in fueling global warming. "They are the first ones responsible for this crisis, and they should not get away with it anymore," de Blasio said at a news conference held in a building that flooded when Hurricane Sandy hit the city in 2012. "It's time for them to start paying for the damage they've done." (January 11, 2018) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/11/2018 - Great climate science won’t disappear because of the Trump administration’s anti-science agenda, it may have to move out of the US, though, to achieve some stability. Sad! French president taps climate scientist to ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ The race to see who will lead the fight against climate change is heating up. After President Donald Trump announced in June his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a “Make Our Planet Great Again” program that would bring climate scientists to France and fund their research with $70 million in three- to five-year grants. On Dec. 11, Macron unveiled the first round of recipients. Among the initial 18 scientists selected – 13 of whom are American – is Louis Derry, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences in the College of Engineering and faculty fellow with Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. (January 9, 2018) Cornell Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/11/2018 - Despite Trump administration’s disdain for the Paris Accord, other nations are working furiously to make the Paris climate deal work. The US trying to pull out of the Paris Accord doesn’t mean the worldwide agreement is defunct. It means other nations must work harder. Time passes. Five big gaps in national climate plans – and how to close them The Paris climate deal is based on pledges from 165 countries, but there are major omissions that need addressing before the next round in 2020 The 165 national climate action plans submitted by countries to the UN climate negotiations are key to implementing the Paris Agreement. Known as (intended) nationally determined contributions (iNDCs) in UN jargon, these documents spell out the world’s collective promise to move towards a low-carbon future and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The headline numbers are clear: if all the promises are kept, global mean warming by 2100 will be reduced from a projected 3.6°C to 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels. (January 2, 2018) Climate Home News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/11/2018 - The Trump administration is scrubbing ‘Climate Change’ from its website, which sows doubt in the public about the science. Thankfully, this attempt to deceive the American public is not going unnoticed. The US public can go to other places to get their environmental information, but it’s not the same as your federal agencies working with the public trying to solve the same problem. A situation where our government is trying to push their anti-environmental agenda is not in the public good at all. How Much Has ‘Climate Change’ Been Scrubbed From Federal Websites? A Lot. Nearly a year into the Trump administration, mentions of climate change have been systematically removed, altered or played down on websites across the federal government, according to a report made public Wednesday. The findings of the report, by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, an international coalition of researchers and activist groups, are in keeping with the policies of a president who has proudly pursued an agenda of repealing environmental regulationsopening protected lands and waters to oil and gas drilling, withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accordshrinking the boundaries of federal monuments, and appointing top officials who have questioned or denied the established science of human-caused climate change. The authors of the study said that the removal of the words “climate change” from government websites, and a widespread effort to delete or bury information on climate change programs, would quite likely have a detrimental impact. (January 10, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/10/2018 - Whether you or Stable Genius doubt Climate Change can accelerate and amplify social unrest, some (like world militaries and world health organizations) don’t have that luxury. Climate Change findings predict major social unrest because a warming planet presents an “underlying condition” (heat, extreme weather, droughts) that will force desperate people into the streets. Climate Change May Have Helped Spark Iran’s Protests One of Iran's biggest economic challenges has been a cycle of extreme droughts that began in the 1990s The impacts of climate change are among the environmental challenges facing Iran that helped spark protests in dozens of cities across the Islamic republic. At least 20 people have died in the uprising, driven by the sudden collapse of financial institutions, low wages and mistrust of national leaders. Rising temperatures are seen by some experts as an underlying condition for the economic hardships that led to the unrest. A severe drought, mismanaged water resources and dust storms diminished Iran's economy in recent years, according to experts who study the region. While the protests are largely driven by resistance to the country's hardline conservative government, such environmental factors might have contributed to the largest protests inside Iran in years. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad understood that climate change and water mismanagement was ravaging family farms, and his government provided subsidies to families who struggled to put food on the table, said Amir Handjani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center. When the current president, Hassan Rouhani, signaled that he would reduce those benefits, enraged Iranians across the nation's arid countryside joined the wave of protests. (January 8, 2018) Scientific American [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/10/2018 - In order to protect a critical ecosystem like the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system in the world, we need to know how we have treated this system historically (not all that well) and how dealing with issues like invasive species plays a major role in finding solutions to make this ecosystem sustainable. This book “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Great Lakes reporter Dan Egan id an excellent read and provides great insight into a system of waters we thought we knew. Great Lakes Author Dan Egan talks about invasive species There’s an urgency to “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Great Lakes reporter Dan Egan that reminds us there is still time to protect the fresh lakes and streams in the Adirondark Park. The book chronicles years of pollution, invasive species, and efforts to repair damage that in some cases changed the makeup of the five Great Lakes. And while the Great Lakes face different sets of challenges, you will recognize many of the issues – and some of the invasive species – because we’ve talked about them here. We spoke with Dan Egan last month, in advance of his talk to the Lake Champlain Research Conference January 8. Egan speaks from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Grand Maple Ballroom in the Davis Center of the University of Vermont in Burlington. (January 8, 2018) Adirondack Explorer [More on the Great Lakes in our area]

  • 1/10/2018 - Despite the ‘analysis’ of the Stable Genius coal for energy doesn’t make sense anymore. Not morally, not for addressing Climate Change, and not financially. Our future, if we are to have one, must shift quickly to 100% renewables. If we were acting prudent on our energy transition, we would be helping coal workers train for renewable energy and only use for fossil fuels for operations (like forging steel) that still can’t be done with solar or wind. Whatever carbon budget we have (and, I suspect we’ve already blown through that), we must use it only for those things that cannot be done without it--yet. We must advance technology so we can live completely without burning fossil fuels. Time passes. It’s the same story under Trump as under Obama: Coal is losing out to natural gas Just a day after federal regulators nixed a major Trump administration proposal to shore up the struggling coal industry, the nation’s top energy forecaster predictedcontinuing, slow declines in U.S. coal production and in the burning of coal for electricity in 2018 and 2019, thanks to cheap natural gas and coal plant retirements. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s monthly short-term energy outlook, the first to include predictions for 2019, projected that coal production will decline from 773 million short tons last year to 759 million in 2018 and 741 million in 2019. The burning of coal for electricity — its chief use in the United States — also will decline steadily. (January 9, 2018) Washington Post [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/10/2018 - Thankfully, climate denialism has its limit. That limit is called reality. Climate Denial Pervades the Trump White House, But It's Hitting Some Limits The administration's culture of denialism and support for fossil fuels has pushed rollbacks of policies meant to protect public health, safety and the environment. Five years after Donald Trump's infamous "hoax" tweet, in which he called climate change a fiction developed by the Chinese, the president, again on Twitter, reacted to a recent cold snap by saying "we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming"—this, at the tail end of a year that was the United States' third warmest on record. Trump's musings have gone from fringe fantasy to official obfuscation, enshrining a denialism that runs through the core of his administration, from the top down. Yet signs are beginning to surface that suggest this refusal to accept even the basics of climate science may come up against some limits. (January 8, 2018) Inside Climate News [mdore on Cimate Change in our area]

  • 1/09/2018 - If you’re just hearing about the HUGE trash incinerator being proposed for Romulus, NY (between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake), check out this video of the Trash Incinerator Forum January 7, 2018. This from the Seneca Lake Guardian: “On Jan. 7, 2018 we hosted an independent expert on how the impacts of the proposed “Waste to Energy” train trash facility at the Seneca Army Depot in the Town of Romulus​ would affect the Finger Lakes region.” Trying to solve our waste problem by sacrificing one of New York’s most valuable farm and wine country (not to mention our Finger Lakes) by constructing one of the largest trash incinerators in our country isn’t a good idea at all. The more you learn about this incinerator project the more you learn how devastating it will be for the region and why we need to transform how we use products so that we don’t feel compelled to burn them when we are done with them and warm the planet more. The Romulus Trash Incinerator idea is scary dumb. Romulus board proposes moratorium on new solid waste facilities, including proposed incinerator The Romulus Town Board has voted to introduce a local law imposing a six-month moratorium on all projects requiring approval by the town Zoning Board of Appeals, including a proposed $365 million waste-to-energy incinerator on former Seneca Army Depot property. The law would prevent issuance of any building permits or certificates of occupancy for any project requiring ZBA approval. It also reserves the town’s right to direct the town building and code enforcement officer to revoke or rescind any building permit or certificate of occupancy issued in violation of the local law. In addition, Supervisor David Kaiser said he is considering the introduction of a one-year moratorium on any and all waste-to-energy facilities or landfill operations within the town “to ensure that the town’s zoning code effectively prohibits environmentally hazardous operations.” (January 5, 2017) Finger Lakes Times [more on Seneca Lake and Recycling in our area]

  • 1/09/2018 - Some of the reasons why many folks don’t want to believe in the science behind Climate Change are its ramifications—addressing this crisis will be very inconvenient. We can and should design plans that deal with the consequences of Climate Change in such a way that the most vulnerable don’t take the full punch. Climate Change is a planetary crisis and sooner or later everyone will have to take on the heat, the flooding, the extreme weather—and more. Time passes. In New York, Drawing Flood Maps Is a ‘Game of Inches’ As FEMA revises the maps to account for climate change, deciding who is in the flood zone will be a battle with millions of dollars at stake. With its 520 miles of coastline and thousands of acres of waterfront development, New York has more residents living in high-risk flood zones than any other city in the country. Hurricane Sandy, the devastating October 2012 storm, did $19 billion in damage to the city, and the pace of development along the water has only increased. Now, after a year in which hurricanes ravaged Houston and the Caribbean, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is substantially redrawing New York’s flood maps for the first time in three decades. It is a painstaking process that will affect tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people, determining how and where buildings can be constructed and the cost of flood insurance on everything from modest bungalows to luxury skyscrapers. New York will be the first major metropolis to be remapped taking into account the realities of climate change, like rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms. (January 9, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2018 - Instead of this bitter cold snap disproving Climate Change “It is an example of precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.” Dr. Michael Mann. A ‘PERFECT STORM’: EXTREME WINTER WEATHER, BITTER COLD, AND CLIMATE CHANGE World-renowned climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann explains why the bitter cold and snowy conditions gripping the US are “an example of precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.” The US East Coast is experiencing an “old-fashioned” winter, with plenty of cold weather and some heavy snowfall in certain places. Listening to climate contrarians like President Donald Trump, you might think this constitutes the death knell for concern over human-caused climate change. Yet, what we were witnessing play out is in fact very much consistent with our expectations of the response of weather dynamics to human-caused climate change. (January 4, 2017) Climate Reality Project [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2018 - Even if you only allow yourself to view reality through the marketplace, when continual record-breaking weather due to Climate Change (or not) increases insurance rates you’re going to have to wake up. Or go broke. Insurers to pay out record $135 billion for 2017 after hurricanes Insurers will have to pay claims of around $135 billion for 2017, the most ever, following a spate of hurricanes, earthquakes and fires in North America, according to a report published on Thursday. German reinsurer Munich Re (MUVGn.DE), in its annual natural catastrophe review, also said last year’s total losses, including those not insured, were $330 billion, the second-worst in history after 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc in Japan. SPONSORED Although individual events could not be linked directly to climate change, global warming is playing a role, Munich Re said. It expected more frequent extreme events in future. “We have a new normal,” said Ernst Rauch, head of Munich Re’s Corporate Climate Center, which monitors climate change risks. (January 4, 2018) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2018 - Opening most of our US coastlines for drilling for more fossil fuels during Climate Change is such a flagrant disregard for the public interest, our environment, and science that it suggests madness. Trump administration plans to allow oil and gas drilling off nearly all US coast Ryan Zinke unveils plan to offer leases in Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Environmental groups and some Republicans lead outcry The Trump administration has unveiled a plan that would open almost all US offshore territory to oil and gas drilling, including previously protected areas of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans. Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, said a new oil and gas leasing programme, which would run from 2019 to 2024, would make more than 90% of the outer continental shelf available for what would be the largest ever number of lease sales to fossil fuel companies. (January 4, 2018)The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2018 - Rochester People's Climate Coalition's (RPCC) press release on Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State Address as related to Climate Change. The RPCC is an inclusive, non-partisan network of organizations and individuals unified by our determination to identify and implement effective climate solutions in the city of Rochester, NY. RPCC’s Response to Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State Address Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his “State of the State” address yesterday, in which he outlined a progressive agenda that prioritized several issues related to climate change. Some highlights include ambitious programs to support wind and solar projects, initiatives to reduce emissions from high-polluting power plants (including a plan to close all coal plants in NYS by 2020), and plans to reconvene research programs cut by the federal government (most importantly, the Scientific Advisory Committee). These are excellent initiatives that place New York State in a leadership role in the effort to meet the challenges faced by a warming climate. However, given the scope of the challenges we face, the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition urges Governor Cuomo to adopt even bolder and more decisive action. The scientific and technological know-how to transition New York State to a clean energy economy with net zero emissions exists today. What we lack is the political will to quickly implement effective climate solutions and end our dependence on fossil fuels. (January 5, 2017) Rochester People's Climate Coalition [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 1/05/2018 - What happens when you vote in a climate denier leader? Does Climate Change go away? Ans: No. Climate heroes struggle on to inform the public of this crisis and take action. Climate scientists exiled by Trump form panel to continue work The Trump administration disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change last year but the scientists on the panel won't be deterred. They're taking their research elsewhere. Columbia University's Earth Institute has hired one of the committee's researchers, Richard Moss of the University of Maryland, who will reconvene most of the former panel members and produce the same report. The shadow panel, announced Thursday, is the latest example of how President Donald Trump's antipathy toward climate change research and policy is pushing scientists into internal exile. (January 4, 2018) Los Angelies Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/05/2018 - Monotonous as the (mostly) steady news about the warmest months may seem to those who don’t get global warming, copping a ‘tude about Climate Change won’t put our humpty-dumpty climate back together again. Climate action might slow it down, though. Time passes. November 2017 was the third warmest November on record November 2017 was the third warmest November in 137 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Last month was +0.87 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean November temperature from 1951-1980, an insignificant 0.03°C cooler than November 2016 (+0.90°C). The warmest month of November according to the analysis happened in 2015 (+1.03°C) due to a strong El Niño. The last three Novembers — 2015, 2016, and 2017 — are the three warmest in the entire modern record. (December 18, 2017) NASA Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/05/2018 - If we were a prudent species, it would be wise for us to consider the possibility that our present cold snap in the US Northeast has a Climate Change component until climate scientists have completely nailed down this relationship. Adequate preparation for a disaster must go with the preponderance of the evidence, that may not always complete before you act. Of course, those who tend toward climate denial and/or don’t favor explanations with ‘uncertainty’ still lingering aren’t going to think our planet is warming when it’s freaking cold outside now. Somehow, and thanks for the NYT to messaging Climate Change in their extreme weather stories, we’ve got to get humanity, that’s all of us, to accept climate science. Given the nature of understanding our complex climate system, uncertainty on many aspects of Climate Change is going to be with us until we adequately fund science. #ScienceMatters.  Why So Cold? Climate Change May Be Part of the Answer As bitter cold continues to grip much of North America and helps spawn the fierce storm along the East Coast, the question arises: What’s the influence of climate change? Some scientists studying the connection between climate change and cold spells, which occur when cold Arctic air dips south, say that they may be related. But the importance of the relationship is not fully clear yet. The Arctic is not as cold as it used to be — the region is warming faster than any other — and studies suggest that this warming is weakening the jet stream, which ordinarily acts like a giant lasso, corralling cold air around the pole. (January 3, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/04/2018 - RochesterNY and other cold places in the Northeast should use present cold snap as to learn about Climate Change and global warming from the experts, not the hey-it’s-cold-so-how-could-climate-change-be-true folks. #Science Matters. This is how science links cold weather and global warming The recent cold snap prompted President Donald Trump to take to Twitter to challenge scientific research that concludes the earth is getting warmer. In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017 But while it may be counterintuitive, Indiana's cold spell — with wind chills as low as -20 to -35 degrees — may be a result of rising global temperatures, according to climate scientists. (January 3, 2018) IndyStar [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/04/2018 - If the new Cobbs Hill Village plan goes ahead, one of our most popular parks and real low-cost senior housing will be changed—not in a good way. They don’t make parks anymore and they don’t keep senior living rates at this level anymore. The more you learn about this boondoggle, the more you learn how bad a project to cut up one of our major Rochester Parks and take away truly affordable living for seniors is. Cobbs Hill Village plan heads to a vote At its January 8 meeting, the City Planning Commission will consider one of the most controversial development proposals it's dealt with recently: Rochester Management's proposal to demolish the buildings at Cobbs Hill Village – a senior housing complex inside Cobbs Hill Park – and replace it with new, more modern buildings for seniors. Rochester Management says the development, which it has been trying to get under way for more than a year, would help address a serious shortage of affordable housing for people over 55. But a large group of opponents has been fighting it. (December 27, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Parks in our area]

  • 1/04/2018 - However, optimism on Climate Change must include addressing this crisis on a scale and within a time frame that will matter. The present trajectory towards 3 degrees centigrade by 2100 can only be viewed optimistically if we act to prevent this catastrophe in time. Much is changing in our collective behavior that gives us signs of hope, but much in our behavior doesn’t bode well at all. Any optimism we feel should not let complacency take hold. Those trying to frustrate our efforts to have a sustainable future are not going to be slowed by reason, science, nor our protests. In fact, they seem to thrive on our concerns. Humanity must change for optimism to flourish. Time passes.  Nine Reasons to Be Optimistic About Climate Change in 2018 Amid all the awful news are some points of light. There’s really no way around it: This was an awful year for climate change. And much—but not all—of that is due to Donald Trump. In his first year as president, Trump staffed his administration with climate deniers and fossil fuel allies, began the process of repealing the Clean Power Plan, pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement, and basically did everything possible to halt progress at a time when it desperately needs to be accelerated. As if that isn’t enough, a report in November showed that global emissions grew in 2017 after several years of modest decline, thanks in part to a bump in coal use in China. So yeah, it was a pretty terrible 12 months overall. But as bad as all these things are, they only tell part of a larger story. Buried in the avalanche of depressing news this year were legitimate reasons for hope. The nine trends and events listed below are not just excuses for wishful thinking: Any of these on their own is a major step forward for fixing climate change. And taken together, they show we might not be as screwed as the year’s headlines suggest. (December 28, 2018) Vice [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area] 

  • 1/04/2018 - A plan that attempts to “to shrink ocean monuments threatens vital ecosystems,” sounds like a plan with bad intent. Our priority as we go further into Climate Change must be to protect and keep healthy our critical ecosystems. Our life support system is composed of ecosystems, like organs of our body. And, like our bodies, our environment didn’t come with spare parts or backup organs. Trump plan to shrink ocean monuments threatens vital ecosystems, experts warn Ryan Zinke has recommended three major marine monuments be reduced to allow greater commercial fishing, prompting anguish from environmental groups The Trump administration’s plan to shrink four land-based national monuments has provoked howls of anguish from environmental groups, Native American tribes and some businesses, such as the outdoors company Patagonia. Accompanying changes to protected monuments in the oceans – vastly larger areas than their land-based counterparts – have received less attention, but could have major consequences for the livelihoods and ecosystems dependent upon the marine environment.(January 2, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/03/2018 - It’s profoundly disturbing that a bad meme like climate denial still infects the minds of so many whose only object is to sow doubt on the science of Climate Change and thwart a viable future for all of us. Much is being accomplished by many to alter our behavior, so we can address Climate Change, but those efforts are being undermined in insidious ways that must be brought to light. Our greatest battle in Climate Change seems to be ourselves. Time passes.  How Climate Change Deniers Rise to the Top in Google Searches Groups that reject established climate science can use the search engine’s advertising business to their advantage, gaming the system to find a mass platform for false or misleading claims. Type the words “climate change” into Google and you could get an unexpected result: advertisements that call global warming a hoax. “Scientists blast climate alarm,” said one that appeared at the top of the search results page during a recent search, pointing to a website, DefyCCC, that asserted: “Nothing has been studied better and found more harmless than anthropogenic CO2 release.” Another ad proclaimed: “The Global Warming Hoax — Why the Science Isn’t Settled,” linking to a video containing unsupported assertions, including that there is no correlation between rising levels of greenhouse gases and higher global temperatures. (December 29, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/03/2018 - Governor Cuomo's ambitious goals in 2018 State of the State: "Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Reduce Emissions Equitably From the Highest-Polluting, High Demand "Peaker" Power Plants | Issue Solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to Develop at Least 800 MW of Offshore Wind Projects and Foster Offshore Wind Industry and Workforce in New York State | $200 Million Investment to Meet Unprecedented Energy Storage Target of 1,500 Megawatts by 2025 In Order to Increase Transmission of Clean and Renewable Energy | Create the Zero Cost Solar for All Program for 10,000 Low-Income New Yorkers | Reconvene Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change Disbanded by the Federal Government |Governor Directs the Establishment of Energy Efficiency Target by Earth Day | Regulations to Close all Coal Plants to be Adopted" Governor Cuomo Unveils 20th Proposal of 2018 State of the State: New York's Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Reduce Emissions Equitably From the Highest-Polluting, High Demand "Peaker" Power Plants  Issue Solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to Develop at Least 800 MW of Offshore Wind Projects and Foster Offshore Wind Industry and Workforce in New York State $200 Million Investment to Meet Unprecedented Energy Storage Target of 1,500 Megawatts by 2025 In Order to Increase Transmission of Clean and Renewable Energy  Create the Zero Cost Solar for All Program for 10,000 Low-Income New Yorkers Reconvene Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change Disbanded by the Federal Government Governor Directs the Establishment of Energy Efficiency Target by Earth Day Regulations to Close all Coal Plants to be Adopted (January 2, 2017) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO [more on Wind Power, Energy, and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/02/2018 - Hard to believe that even though we now know how much our vehicles pollute the air we breathe and warm our planet, we still cannot come to a sustainable playing field (regulations) on emission reductions. It isn’t environmental regulations that are being “shoved down the throats” of car makers that’s the problem, it’s polluted air and a shaky future that’s being forced down OUR throats. Vehicles are now America's biggest CO2 source but EPA is tearing up regulations Transport overtook power generation for climate-warming emissions in 2017 but the Trump administration is reversing curbs on auto industry pollution Some of the most common avatars of climate change – hulking power stations and billowing smokestacks – may need a slight update. For the first time in more than 40 years, the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the US isn’t electricity production but transport – cars, trucks, planes, trains and shipping. Emissions data has placed transport as the new king of climate-warming pollution at a time when the Trump administration is reviewing or tearing up regulations that would set tougher emissions standards for car and truck companies. Republicans in Congress are also pushing new fuel economy rules they say will lower costs for American drivers but could also weaken emissions standards. Opponents of the administration fret this agenda will imperil public health and hinder the effort to address climate change. (January 1, 2018) The Guardian [more on Air Quality, Transportation, and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/02/2018 - Been looking for a climate scientist to talk to your group about Climate Change? Check out Climate Voices. “The Climate Voices network brings non-partisan conversations about the research findings of the majority of climate scientists to citizens across the United States and Puerto Rico. Scientists and other experts meet with neighbors and community organizations to initiate discussions about the local effects of a changing climate and possible ways to address impacts.”

  • 1/01/2018 - According to the EPA, transportation accounts for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions. So, how we get about matters to addressing Climate Change. Electric cars are increasing, but what about other electric vehicles?  New Wave Of Electric 2-Wheelers Hits U.S. City Streets As car companies make strides toward expanding the reach of electric cars in the U.S., the same is happening in the world of two wheels. Outside the U.S., motorcycles, mopeds and scooters are vital, affordable forms of transportation that alleviate congestion. They also run on fossil fuels, and many of the smaller motors are more polluting than regular cars. In the U.S., these smaller vehicles largely have been leisure devices. But as battery technology improves and cities get denser, some startups are seeking to produce cheaper and greener mopeds, scooters and motorized bikes. (December 29, 2017) Innovation Trail [more on Transportation in our area] 

  • 1/01/2018 - The reason why it’s so freaking cold out today in Rochester, NY may be due to Arctic melting because of global warming. Climate Change can disrupt our climate system in ways that don’t seem intuitive, which should be fuel for more science, not more denial. Time passes. Ice Loss and the Polar Vortex: How a Warming Arctic Fuels Cold Snaps The loss of sea ice may be weakening the polar vortex, allowing cold blasts to dip south from the Arctic, across North America, Europe and Russia, a new study says. When winter sets in, "polar vortex" becomes one of the most dreaded phrases in the Northern Hemisphere. It's enough to send shivers even before the first blast of bitter cold arrives. New research shows that some northern regions have been getting hit with these extreme cold spells more frequently over the past four decades, even as the planet as a whole has warmed. While it may seem counterintuitive, the scientists believe these bitter cold snaps are connected to the warming of the Arctic and the effects that that warming is having on the winds of the stratospheric polar vortex, high above the Earth's surface. Here's what scientists involved in the research think is happening: The evidence is clear that the Arctic has been warming faster than the rest of the planet. That warming is reducing the amount of Arctic sea ice, allowing more heat to escape from the ocean. The scientists think that the ocean energy that is being released is causing a weakening of the polar vortex winds over the Arctic, which normally keep cold air centered over the polar region. That weakening is then allowing cold polar air to slip southward more often. (September 28, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/01/2018 - We in the Great Lakes basin tend to take water and water quality for granted—though, considering the challenges, we shouldn’t. Fresh clean potable water, crucial to our life, is but a fraction of the water on Earth. We need to protect our water and the infrastructures we now must have to get that water in a time of quick planetary warming, where climate disruption (more floods and droughts) will be the norm. Water infrastructure challenges and opportunities Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council (WWC), describes how climate change is affecting the natural water cycle and points out the necessity for water infrastructure adaptation and finance.  With everybody talking about climate change in the hottest year on record, it is easy to get the impression that the sky is falling. And it is easy to forget that it is only rain that falls on our heads. This rain gives humanity the water we depend on: to drink, but also to grow food and produce energy, to stay clean and healthy, and much more. As climate change scientists predict, the gift of gentle rain will not be something we can depend on. The sky will not fall, but the rain might come down harder – or not at all. Understanding the problem of climate change requires an understanding of how water is distributed on the planet, and how it impacts all aspects of our lives. Only 2 per cent of the world’s water is fresh, not salty. Of that, less than 0.05 per cent is in the atmosphere at any given time as vapour, clouds, rain or snow. Yet this tiny portion is critical, as it drives the water cycle and brings fresh water to the world. The overall effect of climate change is an intensification of the water cycle, causing more extreme floods and droughts, and hampering many people’s resilience – mostly in the less developed countries. This global shift is affecting the distribution of water across the planet, threatening to fundamentally disrupt our water security. (November 30, 2017) Climate Action [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/01/2018 - Birds matter, of course, as fellow creatures with whom we share the world. But our way of living, including the way we are warming the planet, is challenging them greatly. Like all wildlife, birds indicate the health of our environment, our life support system. “But now human beings are changing the planet—its surface, its climate, its oceans—too quickly for birds to adapt to by evolving.” Why Birds Matter, and Are Worth Protecting They help the environment, but they also help our souls. In 2018 we’ll explore the wonder of birds, and why we can’t live without them.  (January 2018) National Geographic [more on Wildllife and Climate Change in our area]