July 15, 2017 (San Diego) – California’s Supreme Court has ruled 6 to 1 in favor of the San Diego Association of Governments, finding that an environmental impact study for the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan is legal and complied with state law on climate change concerns. The ruling overturned only the greenhouse gas study challenge, but upheld a decision by an appellate court that ruled against SANDAG on other issues.
June 3, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - In announcing that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a global accord aimed at addressing climate change, President Donald Trump made more than a few false and misleading claims:
Trump said the U.S. would be exposed to “massive legal liability if we stay in” the Paris Agreement. But there is no liability mechanism in the Paris Agreement. International environmental law experts tell us that pulling out of the agreement won’t reduce U.S. exposure to liability claims and, in fact, may increase it.
Trump called China and India the “world’s leading polluters,” referring to carbon emissions. That’s not accurate. China and the U.S. were the top emitters per kiloton in 2015.
The president also falsely said “nobody even knows where the money [in the Green Climate Fund] is going to.” The fund’s website outlines all of the projects that have been funded.
Trump said the agreement would cost “close to $3 trillion in lost GDP.” That’s one estimate from a report for a business-funded group that found a much smaller impact under a different scenario. Yet another analysis said the impact of meeting the emissions targets would be “modest.”
Trump again took credit for job gains, saying the economy has added more than a million private sector jobs since his election. That’s true, but only 493,000 of them were added since he took office.
Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
June 1, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - California Gov. Jerry Brown vowed Thursday the state would continue its fight against climate change despite President Trump’s “misguided and insane” decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement.
April 2, 2017 (San Diego) – Walter Oechel, PhD, is an internationally recognized expert for his pioneering research on ecosystems and global climate change. Oechel is Director of the Global Change Research Group at San Diego State University, where he is also a distinguished professor of biology.
In a recent interview on KNSJ, East County Magazine spoke with Professor Oechel about his pioneering work, which revealed that the Arctic tundra is now releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, instead of storing CO2, a major greenhouse gas. Click the audio link to hear our interview, originally aired on KNSJ, and scroll down for highlights.
Photo: Dr. Ramanthan makes his presentation. Photo by Greg Withee
March 16, 2017 (San Diego) - On Monday, March 13, 2017, at the First United Methodist Church in Mission Valley, a panel composed of a climate scientist and representatives of the Jewish, Catholic, and Islamic faiths discussed climate change, each from their perspectives.
Roger Coppock, AKA Mr. Climate T-shirt, a climate change writer for East County Magazine, below the tells the story of his transformation into a global warming activist.
March 13, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- Mr. Climate T-shirt, the greenhouse gas activist, was born more than a decade ago, when his son, Will Rogers Coppock, came to him with some data he had graphed for his entry into the San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. "My graph has the jiggles," he complained.
March 5, 2017 (San Diego) -- On the evening of March 1, the organization Stay Cool 4 Grandkids hosted speakers who presented on two climate change topics. Representatives from Kids 4 Planet Earth spoke about their goal to have school children send one million letters to President Trump by Earth Day, telling him how important it is to them that he address climate change. Please help their request to go viral by sharing this goal on Facebook and other social media outlets.
The local affiliate of The Climate Mobilization, led by Derek and Nancy Cassady, held a rally Tuesday evening, February 21, 2017 at the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building on Front Street in downtown San Diego. An energetic crowd gathered at 6:00 p.m.to protest the Trump administration’s national climate policy and to promote The Climate Mobilization’s solution to the climate crisis. The group’s primary mission is to induce the federal government to adopt a World War II-style mobilization to bring the nation to zero greenhouse gas emissions within a decade. This effort, they state, will revitalize American jobs and boost the economy.
February 22, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - On February 21, 2017, an audience of approximately 75 attended the Security & Climate Change: Issues and Perspectives conference, held in the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park. Organized and funded by The Center for Climate and Security (with the support of The San Diego Foundation and Skoll Global Threats Fund). The program focused on the threat climate change imposes on world stability, the burden it puts on the US military, and what they, as well as our local and state governments, are doing to plan for the consequences. The conference was followed by a screening of a new documentary entitled "The Age of Consequences."
“In stark terms, hundreds of millions of people will die - and countless species become extinct - because of eight more years of US inaction.” – Jeffrey Severinghaus, PhD
January 22, 2017 (San Diego) – One of the world’s top climate scientists is speaking out to denounce President Donald Trump’s energy plan and warn of its dire consequences for humanity. Jeffrey Severinghaus, PhD from Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego actually measures the ice cores in Antaractica and Greenland.
“This is sad, and tragic,” Jeffrey Severinghaus, PhD, told East County Magazine after we sent him a copy of the energy plan posted at Whitehouse.gov by the Trump administration and informed him that climate change has been removed from the issues page at the White House website, along with all data on climate science previously posted there.
Severinghaus warns bluntly, “We as a species cannot afford four more years—or eight, of delay on climate action. The stakes are simply too high.”
January 17, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – In a confirmation hearing today before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Representative Ryan Zinke, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior testified, “I want to be clear about this: I am absolutely against the transfer or sale of public lands.”
December 19, 2016 (Sacramento) -- Scientists have voiced alarm that the Trump administration might discontinue scientific research into climate science or even destroy decades of data amassed by the government. But now, scientists and California’s Governor Jerry Brown are pledging a fight to assure that climate science facts don’t disappear into a black hole.
November 11, 2016 (Washington D.C.)—President-Elect Donald Trump has wasted no time in appointing environmental and health experts’ worst nightmares to key cabinet posts, though oil energy executives are praising the moves.
Energy lobbyist Mike McKenna has been named to head Trump’s Department of Energy transition team; his recent clients include Dow Chemical and the oil tycoon Koch brothers, Climate Wire and Scientific American report. Trump has also named infamous climate change denier Myron Ebell to lead the Environmental Protection Agency transition team. Ebell has said climate change is “nothing to worry about” in an interview with Vanity Fair.
October 3, 2016 (La Mesa) -- As the issue of climate change becomes more elevated, more cities are taking a harder look at their carbon footprints and mulling alternatives.
In California, at least two counties and a few smaller cities have already formed new entities that purchase a larger share of their energy from renewable sources and are doing it at cheaper rates than was previously provided by the investor owned utility.
May 23, 2016 (La Mesa) –Climate change has impacts on everything from water to transportation issues. La Mesa Conversations invites you to a discussion on The Future of Climate Change in La Mesa. The discussion will be moderated by San Diego Union-Tribune environmental reporter Joshua Emerson Smith.
Panelists will include Amber Albrecht, senior communications manager for SDG&E, Kerry Davis, vice president of sales and marketing for Terra Steward/Foshay Solar Energy, and Kayla Race, director of operations and programs for Climate Action Plan.
Click link above to hear our interview, which originally aired on the East County Magazine Radio Show on KNSJ 89.1 FM on December 14, 2015.
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Ice core sample, Creative Commons image from AntarcticGlaciers.org
February 27, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Jeffrey Severinghaus, PhD, is one of the world’s top climate scientists. A professor of geosciences at Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, he was recently appointed to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Severinghaus has pioneered research efforts measuring trapped gas bubbles in ice cores in Antarctica and Greenland to detect past ocean temperature changes – with astonishing results.
Asked about climate skeptics who claim climate change is merely cyclical, he quickly dispels the theory that recent warming is part of an age-old trend. That’s because molecules from burning fossil fuels are chemically different from carbon naturally seeping from the ocean floor. The differences are obvious, measurable, and provide clear evidence that man’s actions are rapidly accelerating climate change.
Photo: Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
“Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA’s vital work on this important issue affects every person on Earth. Today’s announcement not only underscores how critical NASA’s Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice - now is the time to act on climate.” – NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
January 26, 2016 (San Diego)--2015 was the warmest year worldwide since modern record-keeping began in 1880, according to a new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a separate analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Leak at So Cal Gas facility exposes nationwide problem of aging gas infrastructure at hundreds of sites
By Miriam Raftery
January 17, 2016 (Los Angeles)—The news sounds like the plot of a disaster thriller movie, but it’s real. The worst environmental disaster since the BP oil spill, a methane gas leak that began Oct. 23 at a storage well in Aliso Canyon in northern Los Angeles has pumped over 85,000 metric tons of methane into the air. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, each day of the leak spews as much climate pollutant into the air as 4.5 million to 9 million cars.
The leak at the site operated by Southern California Gas (a Sempra Energy company that also supplies San Diego’s gas) is endangering health and safety of residents as well as contaminating the environment and pumping a powerful climate pollutant into the atmosphere. But it may soon get a lot worse.
A Los Angeles Times investigation reveals that efforts to plug the leak has been halted—after a backwash from those efforts caused a crater 80 feet long, 30 feet wide and 25 feet deep, leaving the wellhead itself exposed and now at risk of a catastrophic blowout. Access to control valves are cut off, documents revealed. Should a massive explosion and fire occur with a 10-mile-long plume of methane over suburban neighobrhoods, the scenario would be horrifying.
December 10, 2015--Close your eyes and picture your best memory with your family and friends. If you're like me, that memory is filled with the warmth and comfort of a familiar home. I hope that, unlike me, you are never asked to put a price on that home because of the effects of climate change.
Welcome to Shishmaref, Alaska, population: 650. We're a small Iñupiaq community where everyone knows each other. Shishmaref is a barrier island that has been eroding and flooding for the past 50 years -- even before disruption from climate change was widely recognized.
Over the past 35 years, we've lost 2,500 to 3,000 feet of land to coastal erosion. To put this in perspective: I was born in 1997, and since then, Shishmaref has lost about 100 feet. In the past 15 years, we had to move 13 houses -- including my dear grandma Edna’s house -- from one end of the island to the other because of this loss of land. Within the next two decades, the whole island will erode away completely.
“Tackling climate change is a shared mission for mankind.” – Chinese president Xi Jinping
“We are at the limits of suicide.” – Pope Francis
“Our nations share a sense of urgency about this challenge and a growing realization that it is within our power to do something about it.” – U.S. President Barack Obama
By Miriam Raftery
November 30, 2015 (Paris) –Around the world, an estimated million people took to the streets to call for action to save the planet as world leaders convene today in Paris for an international climate summit. But in Paris, where large public gatherings are banned due to a state of emergency declared after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks, thousands of Parisians instead brought their shoes, lining them up along the march route in a silent yet powerful expression.
French President Francois Hollande said he cannot separate the “fight with terrorism from the fight against global warming,” adding that leaders must face both challenges to leave children “a world freed of terror” as well as one “protected from catastrophes.”
November 9, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – A new study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society predicts that the number of extreme fire risk days in California will rise from 10 a year to 60 by the year 2100—a six-fold increase. The study was conducted by the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Utah State University scientists.
The scientists found that climate change is already underway and responsible for extreme fire conditions starting in the 1990s, which go beyond normal fluctuations in climate conditions. But there are things that can be done. Besides reducing greenhouse emissions to potentially slow or reverse climate change, investing in more brush clearing and firefighting capacity is critical.
August 24, 2015 (San Diego) – At the California Democratic Party’s e-board meeting last weekend in Burlingame, Chairman John Burton welcomed Tom Steyer, co-founder of NextGen Climate, who gave a riveting speech on the work of the California environmental movement driving change nationwide. “The world looks to California to see what the future will bring,” Steyer said at the Saturday luncheon. View video of speech.
August 19, 2015 (Sacramento)-- California leads the nation with its ambitious programs to combat climate change, from ramping up renewable energy to driving the development of cleaner cars and its cap-and-trade program. Now, an interactive online map is available to track where funds from these ground-breaking programs are being invested.
July 30, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - With Hillary Clinton leading the pack of Presidential hopefuls, America could increase its solar capacity by 700% by 2020. The latest CNN poll shows 44% of the voters respondents favourable to her. This is quite a lead over the two next most favoured candidates, Republicans Jeb Bush and Donald Trump (who both had 34%). Her Democratic challenger, Bernie Sanders, may be “moving up” but has a long way to go with only 24%. Clinton wants to see half a billion US solar panels on rooftops by the end of her first term.
Photo: Avaaz, 700,000 marchers for climate change action
June 28, 2015 (San Diego) – It’s been front-page news in Europe, but scarcely reported in the U.S. – though the news is of epic proportions.
On June 6th, at a meeting in a Bavarian resort, all seven of the G7 world leaders agreed to end all use of fossil fuels by the end of this century and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 to 70 percent by 2050, compared to 2010 emission levels. In another sweeping commitment, they agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, Reuters reports.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, dubbed the “climate chancellor”, led the successful efforts to gain the commitments from the G7 leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States, which was represented by President Barack Obama. Next up, the G7 leaders aim to create an agreement at the upcoming United Nations conference in Paris, where some 200 nations will work to set a new global agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
June 23, 2015 (Vatican City)—Pope Francis has issued a rare encyclical urging a global “revolution” to address climate change. An encyclical is one of the church’s most authoritative teaching documents traditionally addressed to the 1 billion Catholics worldwide. But this time, the Pope says his message is aimed at “every person living on this planet” to save our “common home.”
May 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Are the drought conditions spreading throughout the West Coast connected to climate transformation? States of emergency have been declared in California, Washington and parts of Oregon. Though British Columbia has not experienced this, a recent computer simulation predicted 80% of its glaciers could disappear over the next decade. This entire region responded by joining with eight other states, on three continents, in a pact to tackle Climate Change. Yet the development of fossil fuel continues, so what has the Under 2 MOU changed on the West Coast?