January 15, 2021 (Mt. Helix) -- Global warming and climate change are affecting growing seasons. ECM editor Miriam Raftery was surprised to find ripe blackberries in mid-January in her backyard on Mt. Helix in unincorporated La Mesa. Blackberries normally ripe in midsummer and go dormant in winter, but this vine never lost its leaves.
Several readers have shared that they were startled by mid-winter harvests of peppers and tomatoes this month.
October 8, 2020 (San Bernardino) -- Latino faith leaders are reaching out to members of Congress urging action on climate change, which is worsening the fires that are choking their neighborhoods with smoke.
September 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- Cleveland National Forest Foundation (“CNFF”) and Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (“CERF”) filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court on September 4, 2020 challenging San Diego County’s plan for addressing the climate and environmental impacts of vehicle travel as required by Senate Bill 743 (“SB 743”).
Instead of adopting a plan to reduce vehicle trips caused by new development, the County chose to exempt the vast majority of potential new developments under the County’s General Plan from even examining, much less addressing, driving-related impacts, the suit contends.
“San Diego County keeps doubling down on sprawling, car-centered development and thumbing its nose at the law. We need a paradigm shift that unites alternative transportation and affordable housing, not the same-old-same-old backcountry sprawl, ecological destruction, and endless, dangerous commutes,” said Duncan McFetridge, Director of CNFF.
July 15, 2019 (El Cajon) -- In a unanimous vote, the El Cajon City Council voted to approve a climate change policy developed in conjunction with community outreach sessions earlier this year. But some critics contend the plan does not go far enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
January 6, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – Two vital sites run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that scientists rely upon for up-to-date climate change data have gone dark, apparently due to the government shutdown caused by the impasse between President Donald Trump and Congress over a federal budget.
November 25, 2018 (San Diego) - In a move environmentalists and journalists denounced as a blatant effort to bury facts that conflict with the president's denialism and pro-fossil fuel agenda, the Trump administration used the Friday after Thanksgiving to quietly release Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), which warned "Earth's climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization" and concluded that "greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the only factors that can account" for planet-threatening warming.
May 18, 2018 (Salt Lake City) – Students mobilizing on gun violence issues have captured headlines nationwide. But another student-led effort has yielded tangible results: in Utah, one of the most conservative stations in the U.S., a coalition of students persuaded the Utah Legislature to adopt a resolution declaring climate change real and committing to strive for solutions.
August 14, 2017 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego Thursday released a draft Climate Action Plan for a 45-day public comment period scheduled to end Sept. 25.
The draft plan is designed to cut greenhouse gases in the County’s unincorporated communities as well as those related to County government operations. It seeks to meet state requirements with actions that balance environmental, economic and community interests, while taking into account the County’s largely rural character.
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.
To hear the full interview, originally aired on February 20, 2017 on KNSJ, click the audio link , and scroll down for highlights.
March 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.
Interview with Walter Oechel, PhD, climate change expert
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.
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.
Interview with climate scientist Jeffrey Severinghaus
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.”