The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com
“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”
*Note: Henceforth ‘environment’ means ‘our life support system.’
[11/06/2016 – 11/13/2016]
Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change in a way that sustains all life while striving to do so equitably is the defining issue of our time. How we comport ourselves during this historic trial by fire will reveal our true nature. Frank J. Regan
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Opening Salvo: “Climate Change activism after the 2016 US elections”
Many are feeling pretty hopeless after the US just installed a climate denier for President together with a political majority in both the House and Senate opposed to addressing Climate Change. Let’s face it, now the United States is a great concern to a world that just made the Paris Agreement official.
Donald Trump Could Put Climate Change on Course for ‘Danger Zone’ For a look at how sharply policy in Washington will change under the administration of Donald J. Trump, look no further than the environment. Mr. Trump has called human-caused climate change a “hoax.” He has vowed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form.” And in an early salvo against one of President Obama’s signature issues, Mr. Trump has named Myron Ebell of the business-backed Competitive Enterprise Institute to head his E.P.A. transition team. Mr. Ebell has asserted that whatever warming caused by greenhouse gas pollution is modest and could be beneficial. A 2007 Vanity Fair profile of Mr. Ebell called him an “oil industry mouthpiece.” (November 10, 2016, New York Times)
Climate scientists are very concerned too, which is to say we should all be very concerned. Which is also to say, their voice should have been the most important voice we listened to as we voted in this historic election. Theirs was the voice of a reality that must be addressed above all others. (Or there won’t be other issues.)
Donald Trump presidency a ‘disaster for the planet’, warn climate scientists Leading scientists say the climate denier’s victory could mean ‘game over for the climate’ and any hope of warding off dangerous global warming The ripples from a new American president are far-reaching, but never before has the arrival of a White House administration placed the livability of Earth at stake. Beyond his bluster and crude taunts, Donald Trump’s climate denialism could prove to be the lasting imprint of his unexpected presidency. “A Trump presidency might be game over for the climate,” said Michael Mann, a prominent climate researcher. “It might make it impossible to stabilize planetary warming below dangerous levels.” (November 11, 2016 The Guardian)
But enough of us didn’t listen to these voices; we as a nation listened to other voices.
For whatever reason the majority of the electoral votes went to a climate denier, we will pay a dear price. If it was frustration, hate, or a profound despair that things couldn’t get any worse that brought Trump to power, it is now more likely that things will get worse. We probably should have addressed, or at least listened to, the concerns of those who staged this political upset before this national calamity occurred. As Russell Brand suggests in his rant, Trump. Right. Okay, the world’s gone nuts: Russell Brand The Trews, it might now be the time to figure out how to talk to those to who believe (or have been lead to believe) that our political system has not served them.
Before many of us launch a crusade against the results of the past election, it might serve us well to find out what actually happened. It certainly would have served us better if, after the attack on 9/11, we had paused and tried to figure out why we were attacked before we ourselves launched an attack on a country that didn’t even attack us—throwing the Mideast into a horrific turmoil that will seems likely to last forever. Not everyone who voted for Trump voted against women, against common decency, against minorities, against gun regulations, or what they perceived would be our nation’s response to addressing Climate Change. What caused so many to vote for a person distinctly unqualified be President of the United States?
While we ponder the question above, we must still deal with Climate Change. Just because it was kept from the presidential elections by our media and resulted in this state of denial by the most powerful country in the world, physics still reigns. Climate Change cannot be voted out of existence.
Like the many consequences of Climate Change we are now experiencing—more extreme weather, more wildfires, glaciers melting, and sea levels rising—the election of Trump and his fellow deniers presents innumerable challenges to what is already a complicated myriad of environmental problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NASA, NOAA, and many more scientific agencies that monitor climate changes and educate the public about our environment are going to be burdened with directions from those who do not accept what the world’s climate scientists have told us: That our environment is warming quickly because of our way of life and we need to change immediately.
Though many of the specific repercussions of our dependence on fossil fuel energy were unknown a couple of decades ago, climate scientists quickly learned that our climate was very sensitive, indeed. Land, air, and water around the world has reacted instantly (though unevenly) to more heat. We did anticipate some possible outcomes. Many of us knew there were going to be a lot of challenges. Scientists, environmentalists, and many more anticipated social strife when heat was turned up on our planet. For example, many of us knew that humanity itself would be part of the trials ahead.
Some people are galvanized by a great catastrophe and lead thousands towards solutions. But others think differently. They prioritized their own concerns, maniacally working towards how they think the world should be and how they can profit from the turmoil. Efforts to warn the public about the dangers of acid rain, cigarette smoke, second-hand smoke, holes in the ozone, and DDT have been fought and foiled for years. (See: Merchants of Doubt.) Humanity’s history is littered with actions based on wrong-headed notions, no matter how much evidence there was at the time to the contrary.
Those choosing to address Climate Change decades ago knew the job was dangerous when they took it. They knew there would be push-back against trying to solve this crisis—it’s part of human nature. A Trump win is but an atrocious manifestation of this human inclination for short term gain at the cost of future sustainability. Although these folks who are going to do everything in their power to increase fossil fuel use, thwart environmental regulations, and stop the worldwide attempt to make the Paris Agreement work have names, they are but part of this human condition. We are an adolescent species, hoping to mature. This is to say, the road ahead that we knew would be bumpy has now gotten very bumpy. Not only are the physical challenges going to get more difficult because we have allowed so much GHG’s to build up, the human reaction against the major changes needed to solve the warming crisis has metastasized into a powerful and irrational force against our efforts. It is a force that has to be overcome in some ways like all the other obstacles in front of us for a bright future.
What now? This isn’t a time for despair, this is a time to assess our strengths and double-down on them.
Many who are trying to get their heads around this catastrophe are thinking that now the focus for addressing Climate Change must come from all our other tools in our toolbox, everything except our federal government. It must come from individuals, leaders, businesses, communities, environmental groups, local government, state, and other nations besides our own.
Other countries are going to do what they can with a blind, deaf, and dumb elephant in the room:
Turnbull signals Australia won’t follow Trump’s lead on Paris climate agreement Prime minister confirms Australia will ratify agreement despite opposition from One Nation and conservative Coalition MPs Malcolm Turnbull has signalled Australia will not seek to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement even if the US president-elect, Donald Trump, follows through on his threat to cancel the emissions reductions commitments made by Barack Obama last December. Turnbull on Thursday confirmed Australia had ratified the Paris agreement despite domestic opposition from the One Nation party, a critical Senate bloc for the government, and persistent climate change scepticism roiling within Coalition ranks. After Trump’s victory, and ahead of Turnbull’s confirmation of the government’s intentions with ratification on Thursday morning, the chairman of the government’s backbench committee on the environment and energy, the Liberal MP Craig Kelly (November 9, 2016) The Guardian
Or, how about this scenario? A major power like China takes advantage of the US’s climate paralysis and becomes the world leader on addressing Climate Change, leaving US in the dust:
Trump win opens way for China to take climate leadership role Beijing is poised to cash in on the goodwill it could earn by taking on leadership in dealing with what for many other governments is one of the most urgent issues on their agenda. “Proactively taking action against climate change will improve China’s international image and allow it to occupy the moral high ground,” Zou Ji, deputy director of the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and a senior Chinese climate talks negotiator, told Reuters. (November 11, 2016 Reuters)
Not even Trump can tell China what to do.
If it is so that for now and for the time being much of the effort to address Climate Change in our country will come from the states, New York State may (as it did with stopping Fracking) show the nation a way through the coming anti-science miasma.
Trump win means little for NY climate programs President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to roll back federal environmental regulations will likely have little effect on New York’s efforts to combat climate change, according to the state’s top energy official. Richard Kauffman, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s chairman of energy and finance, touted New York’s various clean-energy programs Thursday while noting they predate the federal Clean Power Plan, an emissions-reductions program Trump has vowed to scale back. Should Trump curb environmental regulations at the federal level, New York’s programs — including the Clean Energy Standard, which subsidizes renewable and nuclear energy — would remain in place. (November 10, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
But let us not get too cocky. In order to address Climate Change, we have to adapt to the changes, and we have to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions on a scale and time frame that will avoid the worst consequences of this crisis.
One can say that “President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to roll back federal environmental regulations will likely have little effect on New York’s efforts to combat climate change”, yet, it is delusional. First and foremost, Climate Change cannot be compartmentalized when it comes to being affected. When the temperature goes up on our planet, everything will be affected as there are no safe zones that won’t experience this planetary phenomenon. Some places will be affected differently and more quickly than others, for a while, but like cooking a great big pot of soup, eventually the whole pot will get hot if you leave the flame on long enough.
So if the federal government is dragging its feet or thwarting progress by doubling down on fossil fuel infrastructure (take the Dakota Access Pipeline for example), New York as all regions will eventually be affected and threatened by planetary tipping points. Holding back funds for infrastructure repair and development that is resilient enough to withstand the extreme weather that comes with Climate Change is going to affect New York. The energy aspect of Climate Change, though critical, has little to do with adaption, which will require a federal response at times, and is only a part the mitigation part of this crisis.
However committed we are individually or at the state and local level on addressing Climate Change, there’s no denying our job has been made exponentially more difficult by this election. It’s pretty late in the day for our country to have made such a colossal error in judgement. Our prospects are grim if we don’t find a way to encourage this new administration to do the right thing. In this effort we should leave no stone unturned, no vote unchecked, no bill un-scrutinized, no bad media report unchallenged, no rally for climate action and justice unattended, no chance for despair to creep into our soul. Climate denial is batshit crazy at any level.
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I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens. The ability of this newsletter to inform and get the public focused on our local environment is dependent on reaching a lot of folks. If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up. We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news. One way to do that is to join this Google+ Group. “Become The Media” BTW: This newsletter looks and works great on your tablet device.
The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region–supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose. How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms–in enough time to save ourselves?
“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” — Carl Sagan
My companion book to RochesterEnvironment.com written in 2005 still holds true. Now, “We Don’t Get It!” is an E-Book on Amazon.com and Kindle Amazon.com: We Don’t Get It! eBook: Frank Regan: Books
NewsLinks – Environmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]
- You’ll Never Believe Where Your Old Computer Could End Up After You Hand It In for Recycling
- Does Cleveland’s proposed Lake Erie wind farm pose a danger to migrating birds and bats? Naturalists, developers disagree
- Alaska Continues to Bake Through October
- Trump’s climate plan ‘catastrophic’: France’s Royal
- Donald Trump’s US election win stuns scientists
- Turnbull signals Australia won’t follow Trump’s lead on Paris climate agreement
- Rawlings credits students for driving climate action
- Trump win will not derail global climate effort, activists vow
- Getting to zero energy costs
- Trump win means little for NY climate programs
- New wind, old fights
- Managing climate risk in Trump’s America
- US election: Climate scientists react to Donald Trump’s victory
- Last five years were hottest on record, more signs heat is man-made: WMO
- There’s no way around it: Donald Trump is going to be a disaster for the planet
- Why President Donald Trump is an even bigger disaster than you thought
- LIVE: UN climate talks reaction as Trump wins US presidency
- Connections: The City Of Rochester’s Climate Action Plan
- Why scientists are so worried about sea-level rise in the second half of this century
- Will warm Great Lakes mean less ice this winter?
- NEWS RELEASE – DRAFT CLIMATE ACTION PLAN AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC REVIEW ON CITY WEBSITE, OPEN HOUSE SET FOR WEDNESDAY, NOV. 9
- DEC asking for public’s help finding black bear dens
- Local veterinarian: worst year yet for ticks
- ‘Critical Moment’ as UN Climate Talks Resume
- Morocco officially elected COP22 President with the opening of the Marrakech Climate Conference
- Lake Erie’s blue-green monster
- Iakaonne´tha ne oneka
- Stratosphere shrinks as record breaking temperatures continue because of climate change
- Why Republicans Still Reject the Science of Global Warming
- Rochester protesters rally for ‘Standing Rock’ Sioux tribe
- Rochester protesters decry North Dakota pipeline
- Rochester protests Dakota Access Pipeline
Updates – Daily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments. Text in BOLD are my comments.]
- 11/12/2016 – Recycling is important and it’s important that we know that our recyclables are being recycled properly. In a finite world with an exquisitely sensitive environment we cannot just be satisfied that the things we throw away disappear so we can get more. You’ll Never Believe Where Your Old Computer Could End Up After You Hand It In for Recycling Suburban Hong Kong appears to have become the new favorite dumping site for exported U.S. electronic waste, watchdog finds Roughly 20 km away from Hong Kong’s slick, densely packed urban center lies the New Territories — a suburban mishmash of rugged hills and scruffy villages, soaring new housing developments and vacant lots. This is where over half of the territory’s 7.2 million people live. It could also be the resting place for your old PC or printer. Up to 20% of all U.S. electronic waste may be ending up in Hong Kong. Not in some scrapyard in the developing world, picked over by haggard children and wheezing laborers, but in the backyard of one of the world’s most sophisticated financial capitals. That, at least, is the claim of a new investigation, which says the movement of these items is violating international treaties restricting cross-border transfer of hazardous electronic materials. (November 11, 2016) Time [more on Recycling in our area]
- 11/12/2016 – Climate Change will warm some regions (like the Arctic and Alaska) more quickly than others. Alaska Continues to Bake Through October Temperatures in the Lower 48 have been way above normal again this year, but they’ve had nothing on Alaska. Heat records there continued to pile up through October as the notoriously chilly state heads towards its hottest year on record. Through October, the year-to-date temperature in Alaska was 36.3°F, an astounding 6.7°F above average. This exceeds the previous record for the same period — set in 1926 — by 2.5°F. (November 10, 2016) WXshift [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/12/2016 – In other news, at COP 22 Marrakesh nations are trying to make the Paris Agreement work and deliver humanity a future. “In Marrakesh, many nations have reaffirmed backing for the Paris Agreement’s goals of shifting to wind, solar and other cleaner energies.” Trump’s climate plan ‘catastrophic’: France’s Royal Donald Trump’s plan to drop out of world cooperation on slowing climate change would be “absolutely catastrophic” and weaken the United States, France’s environment minister said on Friday. But Segolene Royal, defending a 2015 Paris climate agreement she helped construct, told Reuters she believed the U.S. president-elect might switch track once he takes office. Trump has called global warming a hoax, wants to cancel the Paris Agreement and halt all U.S. funding of U.N. global warming programs. “If such decisions are taken it would be absolutely catastrophic,” said Royal, a Socialist. (November 11, 2016) Reuters [more onClimate Change in our area]
- 11/11/2016 – Our friends in Australia will ratify the Paris Agreement highlighting the way for nations to object to climate deniers. We should all now be doubling our efforts to address Climate Change. Turnbull signals Australia won’t follow Trump’s lead on Paris climate agreement Prime minister confirms Australia will ratify agreement despite opposition from One Nation and conservative Coalition MPs Malcolm Turnbull has signalled Australia will not seek to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement even if the US president-elect, Donald Trump, follows through on his threat to cancel the emissions reductions commitments made by Barack Obama last December. Turnbull on Thursday confirmed Australia had ratified the Paris agreement despite domestic opposition from the One Nation party, a critical Senate bloc for the government, and persistent climate change scepticism roiling within Coalition ranks. After Trump’s victory, and ahead of Turnbull’s confirmation of the government’s intentions with ratification on Thursday morning, the chairman of the government’s backbench committee on the environment and energy, the Liberal MP Craig Kelly (November 9, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/11/2016 – Besides being my favorite quote of the day, this quote highlights what climate scientists have been saying for a long time—it’s physics stupid! ““It’s clear Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world… but even he does not have the power to bend and change the laws of physics,” said Alden Meyer, policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.” (Imagine what would be our reality today if our media and our politicians had prioritized science instead of bullshit.) Decades of poor media coverage and fossil-fuel monies poured into our political system have brought us to this horrible state—where politically nonsense has trumped sense. But the climate clock is ticking and a quickly warming planet has physical consequences that will have to be addressed regardless. Time passes. Trump win will not derail global climate effort, activists vow Grim-faced activists at U.N. climate negotiations in Morocco pledged on Wednesday that the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president would not derail global action to curb climate change and deal with its worsening consequences. “It’s clear Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world… but even he does not have the power to bend and change the laws of physics,” said Alden Meyer, policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists. As climate change exacerbates extreme weather and other problems including sea-level rise, Trump will have an obligation to protect U.S. citizens, activists say, and could miss key opportunities to create the millions of new jobs he has promised, if the country backs off renewable energy expansion. (November 9, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/10/2016 – ACTION: Last night’s Open House gathering at the City Hall Atrium for the public to learn about the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was well attended. Many folks posted their suggestions and observations about the CAP, which will help fine-tune this document for passage at the end of the year. There is still time to review the CAP draft and comment on how the City intends to address Climate Change locally. This is a chance for individuals and groups to see how Climate Change will impact their lives. Providing feedback is also opportunity for everyone to help shape their future by addressing their concerns—housing, water, energy, public health, transportation, and much more—while prioritizing the challenge of our age. Go to the City’s CLIMATE ACTION PLAN website, download the “the draft community-wide Climate Action Plan”, then send your comments to the draft plan to Anne Spaulding at [email protected] .
- 11/10/2016 – Regardless of Trump’s Climate Change doubts, we will have to address the consequence of this quick warming that will affect every aspect of our lives. Trumps will come and go but Climate Change will go on relentlessly unless we stop it. It’s physics. And whether the new administration likes it or not they will have to help the public adapt to this crisis. Time passes. Managing climate risk in Trump’s America On Tuesday, it appears, a slim plurality of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States. However, thanks to the Electoral College sway of Florida and the Rust Belt, the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, is now the president-elect of the United States. The new president will take office at a singular time in the history of our planet. The year 2016 is the first in well over a million in which the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere did not fall below 400 parts per million. Physics that has been known since the nineteenth century tells us that these high levels of carbon dioxide should make the planet warmer; and, indeed, this year will almost certainly be the warmest on record, with a global average temperature gearing up to be about 2.2°F (1.2°C) warmer than the late nineteenth century average. And, over the past quarter century, global average sea level has risen at a rate of about 1.2 inches per decade – more than twice as fast as the average twentieth century rate. These are all well-established scientific facts. (November 9, 2016) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/10/2016 – I think it’s fair to say climate scientists are very worried about a Trump presidency. The public must now embrace science like never before. Time passes. US election: Climate scientists react to Donald Trump’s victory In what’s widely being described as the most shocking upset in US election history, Donald J Trump has beaten Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. As one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, any change at the top of US politics warrants a consideration of what it might mean for the country’s climate and energy priorities. But given Trump’s comments on the campaign trail, the US’s recent reputation under Barack Obama as a nation serious about tackling climate change now looks to be in peril. (November 9, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/09/2016 – Trump wins US Presidency, with GOP House and Senate Majority. But this is the news: “”We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.” Last five years were hottest on record, more signs heat is man-made: WMO The past five years were the hottest on record with mounting evidence that heat waves, floods and rising sea levels are stoked by man-made climate change, the United Nations weather agency said on Tuesday. Some freak weather events would have happened naturally but the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said greenhouse gas emissions had raised the risks of extreme events, sometimes by a factor of 10 or more. “We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. (November 8, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/09/2016 – The Trump win is a major benchmark in human history—not in a good way. At just the point in history when the window of opportunity to avoid the worst consequences of Climate Change, humanity has taken a huge leap backwards in addressing Climate Change. A mindset completely at odds with science. Time passes. There’s no way around it: Donald Trump is going to be a disaster for the planet This is happening. Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States. And there’s no way around it: What he’s planning to do looks like an absolute disaster for the planet (and the people on it). Specifically, all the fragile but important progress the world has made on global warming over the past eight years is now in danger of being blown to hell. Trump has been crystal clear about his environmental plans. The mainstream media never wanted to bring it up, never wanted to ask about it in debates, never wanted to turn their addled attention away from Hillary Clinton’s email servers to discuss what a Trump presidency might mean for climate change. But all the indications were there: (November 9, 2016) VOX [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/09/2016 – Trump “has threatened to ‘cancel’ the Paris Agreement”. Can and will he attempt to do it? Why President Donald Trump is an even bigger disaster than you thought World’s most influential climate champion elects man who does not believe in the science behind man-made climate change, and has threatened to ‘cancel’ the Paris Agreement Climate experts who have been nervously watching the US election from the UN summit in Marrakech will now go into crisis mode at the news that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. Many attendees stayed up through the night to find out whether a man who has previously described “the concept of global warming” as being “created by and for the Chinese” will be named the most powerful leader in the world. The Morocco summit has seen representatives from around the world gather to discuss how last year’s groundbreaking Paris Agreement will be implemented in practice. (November 9, 2016) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/09/2016 – How is the Trump presidency, with a majority of GOP in the Senate and House, going to affect addressing Climate Change? One thing is for sure, they won’t make physics go away. But this new turn of events will profound affect humanity’s ability to have a sustainable environment. We had better tighten our seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. LIVE: UN climate talks reaction as Trump wins US presidency -Climate sceptic wins White House in shock result -Republicans take control of both houses in Congress -US dollar and Mexican peso sink in trading chaos -COP22 summit on hold as envoys ponder implications -Billionaire promised to nix Paris climate deal -UN says ‘no plan B‘ for Trump victory On the surface, the UN talks in Marrakech appear to be progressing as normal, with meetings on ensuring the Paris Agreement becomes operational taking place around this huge complex. But beneath the surface there is a huge amount of uncertainty. US envoys are understandably reluctant to talk; one usually accessible EU negotiator also brushes off questions. The truth is no-one really knows what happens next or what the long term impacts of a Trump presidency will have on the Paris climate agreement. The last time a Republican hostile to the carbon cutting agenda took office was in 2000: the next year George W Bush pulled the country out of the Kyoto Protocol. (November 9, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/08/2016 – New Study: If we continue business as usual, sea levels will rise incredibly faster than we thought. Time passes. Why scientists are so worried about sea-level rise in the second half of this century Even as negotiators meet in Marrakech, Morocco to take the next steps to avert dangerous human-caused climate change — and, even as the U.S. decides whether or not to elect a president who is skeptical it is happening — a new study has highlighted the sharp stakes involved, particularly when it comes to the ongoing rise in global sea level and the dramatic but uneven way in which it could affect the world’s coastlines. The goal of the Paris climate agreement is to hold the planet’s temperature rise to “well below” a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase above what it was in pre-industrial times. We’ve already seen about a 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase since then. But the new research just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that if we stay on a current, high-emissions pathway and do not achieve the cuts that the Paris agreement seeks to institutionalize, then we could hit 2 degrees Celsius by 2040 or so (November 2, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/08/2016 – I know, we want to know if Great Lakes warmer water this year will result in less ice, “… increased storm activity and significant lake effect snow accumulation”. Could happen. The more important question though is whether warmer Great Lakes water EVERY winter will result in less ice, lower lake levels, more lake effect snow, and a whole lot more that are predicted in climate studies for our region. With weather, it’s going be difficult to predict each year for a while how the warming and the melting of ice in the Arctic affects our winters. It’s like to be disruptive—as changes are coming quickly. With climate, the trend is going to be towards warmer Great Lakes waters and that is going to affect weather, wildlife, fish, plants, forests, agriculture, public health, shipping, water for hydroelectric and nuclear power plants—which need a certain level of cold water for cooling. Our media must gain a broader perspective of what Climate Change is going to do to our Great Lakes basin region—keeping their eyes on the weather and including Climate Change so we can plan properly. Will warm Great Lakes mean less ice this winter? The Great Lakes are much warmer than usual, and that will be a factor in limiting ice formation this winter, the National Weather Service says in its “freeze-up outlook.” Large portions of the Great Lakes froze in 2014 CREDIT NASA How warm is it? Here’s a sampling of water tempertaures at harbors around the region. Buffalo: 60, normal 54 Cleveland: 62, normal 56 Chicago: 60, normal 53 Duluth: 52, normal 44 (November 7, 2016) WBFO Buffalo’s NPR News Station [more on the Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]
- 11/08/2016 – Local Rochester NY media article mentions that Climate Change “… might have to do with an increase in ticks in our area.” That’s a step forward for local news, especially given that this year is “the worst year yet for ticks”. Public health will be dramatically affected by Climate Change because, like with ticks, warmer-climate diseases like West Nile Virus, malaria, and Lyme disease are driven by insects which will be able to make a stronger hold in a warmer New York. Our local media should do more to connect the dots between public health and the local consequences of Climate Change so we can all plan properly for our future. Local veterinarian: worst year yet for ticks Entomologists said climate change and deer migration might have to do with an increase in ticks in our area. (November 7, 2016) WHAM Rochester [more on Lyme Disease andClimate Change in our area]
- 11/07/2016 – Great citizen reporter article on the #NoDAPL rally in support of #StandWithStandingRock in Rochester, NY. Including Representative Louise Slaughter’s complete speech at the rally. Compare this coverage with local mainstream press coverage of this event. You’ll see why Talker of the Town needs to be a part of our local media mix. Iakaonne´tha ne oneka Iakaonne´tha ne oneka (A rough translation of “Water is Life” offered by members of the Seneca tribe.) Yesterday at the Liberty Pole, several hundred Rochesterians gathered at the Liberty Pole to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The oil pipeline would stretch 1,200 miles underground through the Missouri River, carrying a half million barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois daily. Part of the river is the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in central North and South Dakota. (November 6, 2016) Talker of the Town [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
- 11/07/2016 – From the stratosphere to our oceans, the science behind Climate Change clear and ominous. Whatever your attitude is towards Climate Change, the science should be your priority because humanity needs to see what is actually happening to our planet. Much about Climate Change includes our values—preserving Nature, Climate Justice, Freedom, and much more—but we are no longer living in a world where we have all the time in the world to work out our principles and values. The temperatures will steadily rise unless we get our energy use under control. If we fail to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter, our inclination to keep our values intact as humanity struggles for life will get more unlikely. Stratosphere shrinks as record breaking temperatures continue because of climate change Those warning of climate change impacts have been likened to Chicken Littles, scuttling around, warning the sky is falling. That worry, it turns out, is based on fact too. Cooling in the stratosphere is causing it to shrink, lowering that layer by “a number of kilometres”, NASA noted recently. Our burning of fossil fuels and emissions of other greenhouse gases mean more of the earth’s heat that would have been radiated back to space – warming the stratosphere on the way – is being trapped at lower levels of the atmosphere. (November 6, 2016) Sydney Morning Herald[more on Climate Change in our area]
- 11/07/2016 – We need to de-politicize Climate Change in the US. Why Republicans Still Reject the Science of Global Warming Only one major political party in the world denies climate change, and it’s in charge of the most important political body in the world For decades, climate-change deniers got away with dismissing the growing body of science as speculation and guesswork, hysterical or politicized warnings of a disastrous future. Now, their church is crumbling. Every month of this year set a new record for the hottest monthly average global temperature in history. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years ever recorded have occurred in the 21st century. The facts are at our doorstep in the form of drought-fueled wildfires ravaging Southern California; rising sea levels in New York, Norfolk, Virginia, and Miami Beach; melting glaciers in Alaska; bleached coral reefs in the Virgin Islands. We’ve reached the point where the planet’s warming – and the extreme weather it causes – is outpacing the very models scientists use to predict the future. (November 3, 2016) RollingStone [more on Climate Change in our area]
Events – Rochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.] If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: [email protected] with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.
- November 15, 2016 • 11:45 AMHirst Lounge, Wilson Commons University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627
- Human Oil Spill November 15, 2016 • 11:45 AMHirst Lounge, Wilson CommonsUniversity of RochesterRochester, NY 14627 After the election results, we know that many of our communities are hurting and afraid. Donald Trump’s presidency will threaten many of the people and things we care about most – including Indigenous rights and the climate. Now more than ever, we need to stand together and show the strength of this movement. Together, we will fight with everything we’ve got to stop Trump’s dangerous and reckless agenda, but right now we have to keep the pressure on President Obama to do what’s right while he’s still in office and stop the Dakota Access pipeline.
- Wednesday, November 16, 7:00-9:00 PM, at the Gandhi Institute, 929 S. Plymouth Ave, Rochester, NY
- WATCH AND DISCUSS the film “Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives” with Vets for Peace Wednesday, November 16, 7:00-9:00 PM, at the Gandhi Institute, 929 S. Plymouth Ave. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 23, Rochester Co-Sponsors: Peace Action & Education Free and open to all. Come learn about the environmental effects of war and militarism. ABOUT THE FILM: Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives is a compelling documentary exploring the under-reported environmental impacts of war and preparations for war. The film confronts the immensely broad ecological and human ramifications of everything from technological development and natural resource exhaustion to weapons testing and modern warfare itself. Ecosystems around the world are in distress from forces of humanity’s own making: increasing population, unsustainable demands on natural resources, habitat and species loss, and climate change. One of the most destructive of human behaviors – war – is not commonly included as a contributor to the growing global environmental crisis. Yet, in all its stages, from the production of weapons through combat, military operations pollute land, air, and water, destroy entire ecosystems, and drain limited natural resources. Using archival material from the Civil War through more recent wars, along with expert testimony and eyewitness accounts, the film clearly presents the environmental and human cost of combat, and argues for public scrutiny of the ecological and human impact of war as essential to a more sustainable – and secure – world. (More at www.scarredlandsfilm.com.)
- Thursday, November 17th at 7PM – 8:30PM – First Unitarian, 220 Winton Rd S., Rochester, NY
- Monday, November 21st, 7:00 pm First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd S, Room 228
- Citizens’ Climate Lobby Chapter Meeting 7:00 pm First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd S, Room 228 Monthly strategy meeting for Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL)
- Mondays, November 28—December 12, 2016 12:00 – 02:30 PM | 259 Monroe Avenue Rochester, New York 14607
- Grappling with the Challenging Issues of our Times Mondays, November 28—December 12, 2016 12:00 – 02:30 PM 123 . Where on earth are we going? And what can we do about it? What kind of world are we creating? – and will it work for everyone? Our world is facing challenges beyond anything we’ve ever experienced in our history. We face environmental degradation and social injustice, with a cultural sense of emptiness and lack of purpose. Many are feeling hopeless and powerless to make changes, yet we all agree that we want to create a world that is environmentally sustainable, socially just, and fulfilling for all. This is a bold vision and it is up to us to help make it happen! How can we each become an agent of change to heal our world? This course will use inspiring multimedia, leading edge information, and dynamic group interactions to explore the current state of our lives on this planet from a new perspective and connect with a powerful global movement to reclaim our future. Instructors: Sue Staropoli and Tony Perri; $ 45.00; 3 Sessions; To register see www.oasisnet.org/Rochester (course #123)
- Tuesday, December 12th 5-8:30PM | Downtown United Presbyterian Church 121 N. Fitzhugh Street, Rochester NY
- The 17th Annual Celebration of UN International Human Rights Day | Water: RightorCommodity? Rochester’s Future Water & Around the Globe | Our featured panelists will speak to issues on the quality of water for our school children, the impact on poverty and living conditions and international programs teaching the building of sanitation systems in countries without the right to clean water. Potluck Dinner 5:30 to 6:30 Panel & Community Discussion 6:30 to 8:30 PM* *For more information call (585) 271-4796
- Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM – online
- Dec. 7 Webinar on Climate Change and Public Health for Climate Smart Communities CSC Webinar: Climate Change and Public Health – What Can Municipalities Do? Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Climate change has increased the frequency of extreme weather events. Extreme weather like heat waves and severe flooding have serious impacts on public health. Last year, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) released the Climate and Health Profile report which discussed health impacts like heat-related illnesses and deaths, allergies, respiratory distress, and water-borne diseases, among others. Attend this Climate Smart Communities (CSC) webinar on December 7th to hear speakers from DOH describe the prognosis for New York State and their research on heat vulnerability and cooling centers. Speakers will provide examples of what municipalities can do to help protect their communities from the health impacts of climate change. Please provide us with your name and community affiliation, either via email or telephone to the Office of Climate Change at [email protected] or 518-402-8448. In the event that we cancel or postpone this webinar, respondents will be notified
Action – Take Action – Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date.
- ACTION: Due Date: Dec 31, 2016
- Your postcard today is needed to save New York’s geothermal industry! Ask Governor Cuomo to sign the geothermal tax credit bill (Bill A9925) to keep NY’s geothermal jobs from disappearing. After December 31, 2016, the federal tax credit for geothermal heating and cooling installations will expire, and many of NY’s geothermal jobs could disappear. Without a tax credit, most homeowners considering geothermal installations would not make the investment in this renewable home heating and cooling technology. Without a NY tax credit to count on after the federal credit ends, the homebuilders who up to now have been installing geothermal systems as standard building procedure would go back to installing fossil fuel systems, and layoffs in the geothermal industry are already starting. With over 30% of NY’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from heating homes and buildings, we have to accelerate the transition to geothermal systems to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and meet NY’s climate goals.
- ACTION: Due Date: Short film submissions due by February 27th, 2017
- From our friends over @FastForwardRoc “The Fast Forward Film Festival Call for Entries is now OPEN! “Accepting submissions from novice and veteran filmmakers who live in the Greater Rochester region NOW through February 27th, 2017! If you already have your film ready, please submit. If you haven’t yet started filming, get your gear ready, and don’t miss out on making the most of Rochester’s beautiful summer weather!” Find out more here.
- ACTION: Due Date Now!
- stop the Cuomo tax.Governor Cuomo wants to increase our electric bills to bail out old, unprofitable nuclear power plants It will cost hard working New Yorkers nearly $8 billion dollars. Your money will go to plant owner Exelon, a Chicago-based Fortune 100 company with annual revenues over $34 billion. The Governor says it’s about preserving jobs and fighting climate change, but we know better. Energy efficiency and wind and solar cost less, lower your energy bills, create more jobs and give us cleaner air and healthier communities. ⇢ New Yorkers deserve better. Join us, and stop the Cuomo tax.
- ACTION: Due Date Now!
- Act on giving bicyclists a 3-ft break from vehicles, making biking safer, and reducing greenhouse gases. 3 FT PASSING LAW Thanks to the strong leadership of Board President Jim Reed and Board Member Emeritus Ivan Vamos, who himself was hit by a car, and support from Transportation Alternatives, the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC) has launched an all-out campaign this legislative session in Albany to amend the vague and impossible to enforce 2010 Safe Passing law. At the very least, we think there should be a 3 feet passing standard, which is now the law in 26 other states across the country. Email your legislators now by sending an email through this very easy-to-use form.
- ACTION: Due Date: Now!
- Save Seneca Lake and the Finger Lakes Region from LPG Gas Storage! New York has banned fracking, but related infrastructure for transporting and storage of fracked gas continues to threaten our communities. In the Finger Lakes region of New York, we are fighting plans to store dangerous, explosive liquefied petroleum gases (“LPG” – propane and butane) in abandoned salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake, near Watkins Glen, the heart of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. The facility poses unacceptable risks of catastrophic accidents, injuries, air pollution, and contamination of Seneca Lake, which is the largest body of freshwater within New York State and the drinking water source for 100,000 people. It would also undermine the economy of the entire Finger Lakes, which is built on the region’s beauty, tourism, and wineries. Transportation of the LPG via rail to the facility puts the 750,000 annual visitors in Watkins Glen State Park at risk.
- ACTION: Due Date: Now!
- Stop Explosive Oil Trains! Find out if you are in the blast zone and sign the petition. There is a fiftyfold increase in local transport of volatile crude oil trains (which are not and cannot be properly designed to carry this dangerous oil) through our region. Check to see if you are in the blast zone, and Take action and put a stop to this! From our friends over at Mothers Out Front! Really take a moment to find out about this clean and present danger in our community and take action here.
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- “Call on Governor Cuomo and The Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to take immediate action to protect the public and the environment from the dangers of crude-by-rail.” Stop the Bomb Trains “As much as 7 billion gallons of crude oil could move by train through New York State
- annually under current and proposed permits as the nation’s “virtual pipeline” for crude oil expands. The Department of Transportation can take immediate action to reduce the risks of derailments, which have caused catastrophic spills of crude oil elsewhere in the United States and Canada, including the tragic loss last year of 47 lives and the destruction of a business district in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The volatility of Bakken crude oil combined with the inadequacy of the DOT-111 railcars used to transport much of this cargo has led rail workers to dub them “bomb trains.” Spills of heavy crudes, such as those from Alberta, Canada, tar sands, would have particularly damaging impacts to water and the ecosystems they support – because heavy crude oils can sink, clean-up is next to impossible. “Riverkeeper
- ACTION: Due Date: Now!
- New York needs to transition to renewable energy (like Wind Power) now: “New York has been slow out of the gate when it comes to opportunities like offshore wind. We can change that. Few states have the potential to be a national and global clean energy and climate leader like New York. And right now, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) is accepting public comments on how to structure a new Large Scale Renewable Energy Program – and Environmental Advocates is urging the PSC to act on three critical fronts: Establish enforcement mechanisms to hold the state and utilities accountable for supplying 50 percent of our energy from clean renewables by 2030. Make the state’s Large Scale Renewables Program statewide (currently Long Island is excluded from the Renewable Portfolio Standard). Add offshore wind power to New York’s energy mix. You can urge them to prioritize these initiatives, too! Despite our state being home to some of the most attractive and productive wind farm locations in the nation, this plentiful source of renewable energy remains completely untapped. With Rhode Island constructing the nation’s first offshore wind farm, and Europe utilizing this same renewable energy source on a large scale, New York can step up and become a global clean energy leader. Governor Cuomo has made a commitment to ensure 50 percent of our energy comes from clean, renewable sources by 2030. That means dramatically reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and building a clean, green energy economy with offshore wind and other sources of renewable energy. Take Action Today! ” (from Environmental Advocates of New York)
- ACTION: Due Date, NOW!
- Fracking ain’t over in New York until it’s over: Take action: Call on the NYS Senate and Assembly to ACT NOW to pass the Hazardous Waste Loophole Bill! Read more:Time to Close New York’s Fracking Waste Loophole Despite the recent historic ban on high-volume fracking, New York still has a fracking waste problem. More than 510,000 tons and 23,000 barrels – and counting – of waste from oil and gas extraction operations in neighboring Pennsylvania have been shipped to New York landfills for disposal. Leachate from those landfills is then sent to nearby wastewater treatment facilities. And New York State continues to allow the use of certain kinds of waste from low-volume oil and gas extraction on our roads for de-icing and dust control. Fracking waste can contain a number of pollutants, such as chemicals, metals, excess salts, and carcinogens like benzene and naturally-occurring radioactive materials. Due to a loophole in state law, oil and gas industry waste is exempt from hazardous waste requirements, meaning that – no matter what it contains – fracking waste is not classified as hazardous. This “hazardous waste loophole” also means that fracking waste can be disposed of at facilities unequipped to handle it, and in ways that can put our health and environment at risk. (June 3, 2015) Riverkeeper [more on Fracking in our area]
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Submit letters to the Democrat and Chronicle Editors about oil trains passing thru Rochester and gas storage in the Seneca Lake salt mines concerns: Editorial submissions
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Sign the petition to Get Exploding Oil Trains Off the Tracks: http://explosive-crude-by-rail.org/
- ACTION: Due Date Now!
- Considering signing a petition or donating to help this cause to reject Inergy Midstream‘s (now Crestwood) proposal to store Liquefied Petroleum Gas and expand natural gas storage at facilities on the shore of Seneca Lake in Reading, NY. More at Gas Free Seneca Even folks in the Rochester area should care about the health of our Finger Lakes. Airman-turned-activist arrested for ‘civil disobedience’
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Pound for pound, getting community leaders to pledge to the state’s ‘Climate Smart Communities’ program is one of the most effective things people can do to address Climate Change. Take action! It’s all spelled out for you here: Take Action on ‘Climate Smart Communities’: New York State’s Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program supports municipalities as they identify, plan and carry out projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and prepare for the challenges climate change will bring. This program provides resources that enable localities to act on climate, without mandating which programs or policies they should adopt.
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Interested in the water quality of our rivers and streams and want to get trained to help monitor them? “Reminder — Volunteers for Stream and River Monitoring Wanted: DEC is looking for citizen scientist volunteers for stream and river monitoring as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project. Volunteers visit stream sites once between July and September to collect macroinvertebrates — insects and other small organisms — from the rocks and rubble on the stream bottom. In 2014, volunteers can participate by joining a local WAVE group led by a trained local coordinator, or by sampling independently. Volunteers working under a trained local coordinator do not need to attend a training session; however, volunteers who want to work independently must attend a training session. WAVE training sessions rotate around the state on a five-year schedule, targeting those basins that will be sampled by DEC’s Stream Biomonitoring Unit the following year. Three training sessions remain for 2014: June 14 in Esperance, June 21 in Wyoming and June 29 in New Hartford. ” (June 13, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Chance to volunteer and help largest wetland in Northeast. “Montezuma Audubon Center Seeks Volunteers Savannah, NY – September 20 – The Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC), located at 2295 State Route 89 in Savannah, is seeking volunteers to strengthen the current staff’s ability to fulfill Audubon’s mission in conservation. The MAC is dedicated toward providing opportunities for youth, families, and communities to connect to conservation and enhance the Montezuma Wetlands Complex as an Important Bird Area. We are looking for volunteers interested in routinely supporting day to day needs as an information desk receptionist, animal caretaker for our live reptiles and amphibians, and office supporter to help with clerical tasks. Please call Chris Lajewski at 315-365-3588 or e-mail [email protected] for more information or to sign up today! “
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Thinking it’s about time to do something on a big scale to combat Climate Change? Think about joining Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Here’s what Dr. James Hansen, head of Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA say’s “Most impressive is the work of Citizens Climate Lobby, a relatively new, fastgrowing, nonpartisan, nonprofit group with 60 chapters across the United States and Canada. If you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming an active member of this group.” The contact information for the local Rochester group:[email protected] We meet monthly, and people can contact us for more info on getting involved!
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Can you imagine what our world would look like if everyone used their smartphones to report environmental crimes? Healthier! Become an environmental crime stopper Polluting a stream and getting away with it? Violating the Clean Air Act without detection? Now, anyone with a smartphone can help bust abusers of the environment. New York State Crime Stoppers announced a new phone app that makes it very easy for people to instantly report environmental crimes to the appropriate agency. Cellfare created the app in collaboration with Crime Stoppers, Waterkeeper Alliance, state police and local law enforcement agencies across the state. (November 21, 2012)Investigative Post
Frank J. Regan – Please visit: http://RochesterEnvironment.com: Where you can get all the environmental news, events, documents, and services on the Internet for Rochester, New York. Also: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterEnvironment
RochesterEnvironment.com is the most complete, non-profit environmental site for any one city in the world. You can also subscribe to RochesterEnvironment.Com. Once a month, get RochesterEnvironment.com’s “RENewsletter in your mail” – http://rochesterenvironment.com/subscribe.htm. Or, join in discussion on Rochester environmental matters at Environmental Thoughts – Rochester, NY – http://rochesterenvironmentny.blogspot.com/
Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change in a way that sustains all life while striving to do so equitably is the defining issue of our time. How we comport ourselves during this historic trial by fire will reveal our true nature.
- “Call on Governor Cuomo and The Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to take immediate action to protect the public and the environment from the dangers of crude-by-rail.” Stop the Bomb Trains “As much as 7 billion gallons of crude oil could move by train through New York State