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APPELLATE COURT CONFIRMS SANDAG'S TRANSPORTATION PLAN FAILS TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2014 (San Diego)—California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal has confirmed that the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) broke state law with a long-range transportation plan for our region that failed to take steps to reduce greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change.

READER’S EDITORIAL: TRAILBLAZING EFFORT NEEDED ON SAN DIEGO CLIMATE ACTION PLANS

 

 

 

Photo from San Diego's Changing Climate: A Regional Wake-Up Call

By Jeffrey Meyer, Poway, SanDiego350 volunteer

November 13, 2014 (San Diego)--With the recent release of a new United Nations report on the global impact of climate change, we are given still another chilling warning that we are facing catastrophe unless we accelerate efforts to confront this crisis. The release of this report comes on the heels of a court decision rejecting the San Diego County climate action plan and the ongoing development of this state-mandated plan by the City of San Diego.  It raises the stakes for everyone and compels us to reach higher and dig deeper for community solutions to this crisis. 

EARTHTALK(R): CLIMATE CHANGE

 

EarthTalk®

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that global warming is causing our crops to be less nutritious?

                                                                                                            -- William Persson, Glendale, OH

November 9, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - It is difficult to say whether or not the climate change we are now experiencing is negatively impacting the nutritional quality of our food, researchers warn that it may be only a matter of time. “Humanity is conducting a global experiment by rapidly altering the environmental conditions on the only habitable planet we know,” reports Samuel Myers, a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

COURT RULES COUNTY’S CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN IS NOT ADEQUATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2014 (San Diego)—The County’s climate action plan lacks teeth to assure that greenhouse gas emission goals will be met,  California’s 4th District Court of Appeal has ruled. The Appellate Court upheld a San Diego County judge’s ruling in a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club argued that the county’s reliance on voluntary measures and lack of clear deadlines were not enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the targeted amounts by 2020. The Court also noted that the County rejected mitigation proposed by the Sierra Club without  valid reasons.

ROCKEFELLER'S FUND TO PULL MONEY OUT OF FOSSIL FUELS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 23, 2014 (New York)--On the heels of the world’s largest march to halt climate change, support has come from an unlikely source.  Billionaire John D. Rockefeller made his fortune in oil, otherwise known as black gold. His Standard Oil Company was so big that the Supreme Court ordered it broken up into several smaller companies including such giants as Chevron, Exxon and Mobil.

EARTHTALK(R): DOES ETHANOL IN THE GAS TANK FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE?

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I thought that putting ethanol in our gas tanks was going help fight climate change, but lately I’ve heard reports to the contrary. Can you enlighten?       -- Bill B., Hershey, PA

Ethanol and similar “biofuels” made from corn and other crops seem like a good idea given their potential for reducing our carbon outputs as well as our reliance on fossil fuels. But recent research has shown that the federal government’s push to up production of corn-derived ethanol as a gasoline additive since 2007 has actually expanded our national carbon footprint and contributed to a range of other problems.

PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MARCH SEPT. 21 AIMS TO BE LARGEST CLIMATE MARCH IN HISTORY

 

East County News Service

September 9, 2014 (San Diego) – “You are invited to a pivotal moment in the history of our planet. In New York and in major cities around the world, people will be uniting on September 21 to call on world leaders meeting at the United Nations Climate Summit to act NOW on climate change,” says Diane Lesher, an organizer with a local coalition hosting a People’ Climate March San Diego to support the New York and global events and to focus on solutions to climate change that can be implemented locally.  Lesher adds, “Together we will call for a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficiency, and a just and sustainable economy.”

WILDFIRES WORSENING DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE: NEW WHITE HOUSE VIDEO

BORREGO SPRINGS, RUNNING OUT OF WATER, HOSTS PUBILC OUTREACH MEETING JUNE 12

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2014 (Borrego Springs)—For decades, Borrego Springs has been draining down its aquifer at an increasingly rapid pace.  If action is not taken soon, a new report warns, the community could face dire consequences.

The Borrego Water Coalition invites the public to a public outreach meeting on Thursday, June 12 from 4:30 to 7 p.m at the Borrego High School Library, 2281 Diegueno Road in Borrego Springs.

HARDENING OF ELECTRICAL POLES IN SANTA YSABEL, RAMONA AREAS

 

By Nadin Abbott

May 29, 2014 (San Diego) One of the effects of Climate Change is that San Diego County is expected to have more wild land fires. They already pose a challenge for San Diego Gas and Electric, since wooden poles can burn down, which can delay power restoration in the backcountry.

HOT TOPIC: U.S. MAYORS REPORT ON PROGRESS TO CUT EMISSIONS THROUGH ENERGY SAVINGS & TECHNOLOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jessica Richmond

“A majority of cities (53%) – 149 of the 282 cities – have committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the result of a mayoral pledge and/or formal city council action.”

Solar and conservation measures ranked highly by mayors, wind turbines ranked least promising

April 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently  have focused efforts on creating a plan to increase energy efficiency, while reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and carbon emissions. The nonpartisan organization consists of mayors from 1,398 cit­ies with populations of 30,000 or more.

Under the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, signers have pledged to try and limit their cities carbon emissions, reduce GHG emissions, along with pushing local state and federal actors to “do their part” in order to help reduce environmental air pollution.  Now a new report reveals data on actions pursued in cities across America to reach these goals.

READER'S EDITORIAL: SAN DIEGANS CLOSELY WATCHING KEYSTONE PERMIT PROCESS

 

By Jeffrey Meyer

April 15, 2014 (San Diego County) - The Keystone pipeline proposal has hit a Nebraska stop sign, but it has deeper problems than right-of-way issues across the United States.  After all, the controversial proposal for transporting Alberta’s tar sands across America was never just about the pipeline.  Just ask the thousand students who rallied in front of the White House recently, who were willing to be arrested to make their point.

EARTHTALK(R): EARTH DAY 2014

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

April 5, 2014 (San Diego)--Dear EarthTalk: What’s going on with Earth Day this year and how can I get involved? -- Christine B., Boston, MA

This coming April 22 will mark the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day, and the focus this year will be green cities. “As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever,” reports Earth Day Network, the Seattle-based non-profit that helps coordinate Earth Day celebrations and serves as a clearinghouse for related information and resources. The group hopes to galvanize the support of more than a billion people across 192 countries this Earth Day for increasing the sustainability and reducing the carbon footprints of urban areas everywhere.

EARTHTALK®: CLIMATE CHANGE IS KILLING WHITEBARK PINE TREES ACROSS WEST

E - The Environmental Magazine

Photo by Frank D. Lospalluto/Flickr: Clark's Nuthatch on whitebark pine

Dear EarthTalk: How is it that climate change is responsible for killing whitebark pine trees and thus impacting mountain ecosystems?   -- Dale Livingstone, Salem, OR

January 24, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Whitebark pine trees are a “keystone” species in high-altitude ecosystems across the American West, meaning they play an important role in maintaining the natural structure of many of our most iconic mountain regions. Wildlife from grizzly bears to songbirds are dependent on whitebark pine seeds for nourishment, while forest stands of the trees stabilize and shade the snowpack in winter, which helps reducing avalanches and helps extend snowmelt flows into the dry summer months.

EARTHTALK®: A FIERCE GREEN FIRE

 

September 19, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: What is the new documentary film A Fierce Green Fire about and what does the title refer to?                                                                           

-- Gloria Howard, Washington, DC

A Fierce Green Fire is a new film documenting the rise of the modern environmental movement from the 1960s through the present day. It premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and will be playing at select theaters across the country beginning in September 2013. Educators, environmental groups and grassroots activists also will be showing the film at small and large events from coast to coast over the course of the fall. Written and directed by Mark Kitchell, Academy Award-nominated director of Berkeley in the Sixties, A Fierce Green Fire (the film) is based on the 1993 book of the same name by environmental journalist Philip Shabecoff.

ACTIVIST MEETING: CLIMATE CHANGE AND XL KEYSTONE PIPELINE SEPT. 16

 

September 14, 2013 (San Diego) – Activist San Diego is holding a general meeting on September 16, beginning at 7 p.m., at Joyce Beers Center, 3900 Vermont St., San Diego.  The meeting will address climate change and the XL Keystone Pipeline.

CONGRESSMAN DARRELL ISSA TO RECEIVE CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER AWARD

 

August 15, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Members of the national, California, and San Diego Leagues of Conservation Voters will deliver a climate change denier award to Rep. Darrell Issa in recognition of his extreme anti-science views, which put him at odds with 97 percent of scientists and a majority of the American people. The event is part of a “Day of Action” held nationally in coordination with Organizing for Action to hold climate change deniers accountable.

READER'S EDITORIAL: CLIMATE CHANGE AND WORLD HUNGER

 

By Jeffrey Meyer

August 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – There is an unprecedented human drama unfolding in Africa that should stop every one of us in our tracks.  It is a vision into humanity's future, where we are heading and how we will exist throughout the remainder of this century.  This is about choices, by all of us and where those decisions will lead us.

EARTHTALK®: DROUGHT LESSONS FROM THE DUST BOWL



 

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss, E - The Environmental Magazine

June 17, 2013 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: Could it really be true that we are in the midst of the worst drought in the United States since the 1930s? -- Deborah Lynn, Needham, MA

Indeed we are embroiled in what many consider the worst drought in the U.S. since the “Dust Bowl” days of the 1930s that rendered some 50 million acres of farmland barely usable. Back then, drought conditions combined with poor soil management practices to force some 2.5 million Americans away from the Great Plains, only wreaking further havoc on an already devastated Great Depression economy. The lack of native prairie grasses or cover crops to keep the soil in place meant large swaths of formerly productive agricultural land turned to dust and blew away in so-called “black rollers.”

While we have learned a lot about maintaining soil quality since, drought conditions today are nevertheless taking a heavy toll on agricultural productivity, fresh water supplies and the economy—especially as the effects of global warming start to kick in more seriously.

DISPLACED BY DISATERS: 32.4 MILLION PEOPLE UPROOTED IN BOTH RICH AND POOR COUNTRIES

 

 

May 13, 2013  (Geneva) A new report released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reveals that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2012 by disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes.  While Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt, 1.3 million were displaced in rich countries, with the USA particularly affected.

Nearly all (98%) of displacement in 2012 was linked to climate- and weather-related events.

CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS TOP 400 PPM FOR FIRST TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY

 

Scripps Institution of Oceanography  in San Diego confirms findings May 9; world’s top scientists call for action

By Miriam Raftery

May 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- Measurements around the world confirm that the rise in carbon dioxide levels have surpassed 400 parts per million –the highest in our planet’s history.

Before the industrial revolution in the 1900s, when coal and oil began to be burned on a large scale, C02 levels were never higher than 280 ppm.

But in recent years, the levels have risen 100 times faster than after the last ice age—providing clear evidence that the rise is far beyond any cyclical changes ever seen before. In fact, leading scientists around the world warn, climate change may soon be irreversible unless drastic changes are made to reduce this level to 350 ppm or lower.

BLACK GOLD: THE RUSH IS ON--BUT AT WHAT PRICE TO COMMUNITIES AND OUR ENVIRONMENT?

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 21, 2013 (San Diego) – “Another scourge is beginning in California,” environmental activist Peg Mitchell told audience members at a forum on environmental justice issues hosted by Activist San Diego on April 15.  That “scourge”  is fracking – and in California, it’s all about extracting oil, not natural gas. 

To frack for oil requires millions of gallons of water –a precious commodity in Cailfornia.  It also means injecting toxic chemicals that corporations are not required to disclose due to the “Halliburton Law” pushed through by former Vice President Dick Cheney. 

The public doesn’t have a right to know where fracking is occurring or where its waste products will be dumped—even though fracking can cause earthquakes, disturb radioactive substances in the earth, reinject contaminated water into wells, and potentially pollute thousands of miles of coastline.

So why the push to frack for oil in California?

SIERRA CLUB WINS LAWSUIT ON COUNTY'S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN: JUDGE RULES “ENFORCEABLE MITIGATION MEASURES ARE NECESSARY NOW”

 

 

Exclusive to ECM: How decision could impact East County's transportation and energy production

By Miriam Raftery

April 20, 2013 (San Diego) – On the eve of Earth Day events, the Sierra Club has won a critical lawsuit challenging the County of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan (CAP).  On April 19, Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor issued his final ruling agreeing with the Sierra Club that the County’s Climate Action Plan “contains no enforcement mechanism for reducing GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions.”

The ruling could have significant consequences for East County, where numerous large wind and solar projects have been pushed through under the mantra of addressing climate change. 

On one hand, the decision could bolster arguments of some Supervisors who view large energy projects as the fastest or easiest way to meet goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

On the other hand, the ruling also forces the County to conduct an Environmental Impact Report - opening up the process for public comment. That could include discussion of how much fossil fuel it takes to manufacture, build and operate industrial-scale wind and solar projects--and whether there are better alternatives, such as solar on roofs and parking lots in urban areas.

EARTHTALK®: GLOBAL WARMING SOLUTIONS

April 14, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: What would you say are the most important steps we need to take as a nation to counter the impacts of climate change?

- Ned Parkinson, Chino, CA

Americans care more about the environment than ever before and the overwhelming majority of us acknowledges that climate change is real and human-induced. But still we continue to consume many more resources per capita than any other nation and refuse to take strong policy action to stave off global warming—even though we have the power to do so.

ENERGY EXPERT LECTURES AT EL CAP

 

By Walt Meyer

February 19, 2013 (Lakeside)--New careers as the wave of the future was a key theme in a guest lecture February 12 given by Chuck Brands at El Capitan High School.  Brands is a local sustainability and solar energy expert who is also vice-president of Heartland Coalition and director of its UnitedGREEN division.

Last fall, Brands coordinated a class at Southwestern College to teach a new technology that uses all relevant data to map a building so that owners and occupants can manage their energy consumption and plan to adapt the building for energy innovation. The students were team-taught this pioneering class by experts from across the country under a grant from SDG&E to the Heartland Coalition.

OVER 500 SAN DIEGANS JOIN NATIONWIDE PROTEST AGAINST KEYSTONE XL

 

Photos by Diane Lesher

February 17, 2013 (San Diego)--Mayor Bob Filner and over 500 San Diego protestors in Mission Bay Park joined similar rallies in cities across America Sunday in protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, beginning a massive effort to demand President Obama block it and call for leaders at all levels to take action to fight global warming.

Speaking at the San Diego rally, Mayor Bob Filner expressed his concerns about Keystone, climate change and what he wants to do in San Diego.

MAYOR MADRID’S AUDIT REPORT REFLECTS ON CITY’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CHALLENGES THAT LIE AHEAD

By Miriam Raftery

Jaunary 9, 2013 (La Mesa) – Mayor Art Madrid reflected on the past,  praised the city’s present accomplishments, and looked ahead to the future in his annual city audit report delivered on January 8 in the City’s Centennial year.

“I dare say that in many ways we are glad to see 2012 in our rear view mirror,” he said, citing budget cuts by the state among the city's biggest challenges in the past year. Fiscal challenges will continue, he predicted, as Congress embarks on the federal budget negotiations battle. “We may be seeing the last of the Community Development Block Grants, CDBG and Housing Assistance Programs, plus other vital safety net programs that assist certain members of our society.”

Mayor Madrid also named climate change and environmental concerns among the key challenges ahead, spoken in a week when the National CIimatic Office announced that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S.  “What is the role of local governments, including La Mesa, in addressing these problems? First choosing facts and science over politics, acknowledge that these issues exist, and define their impact on our city by evaluating the costs and consequences of doing nothing,” said Madrid.

2012 WAS HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR THE U.S. -- PLUS SECOND MOST EXTREME ON RECORD

By Miriam Raftery

January 8, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – If the weather seemed hotter last year than in the past, your memory is correct.

In its State of the Climate Report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center reveals today that 2012 averaged the hottest temperatures ever recorded for the lower 48 states in the U.S.  Nationwide, the average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit—a full 3.2 degrees higher than the 20th Century average and one degree hotter than the previous hottest year on record (1998).

It was also a historic year for extreme weather that included severe drought, larger wildfires, hurricanes and storms--the second worst year on record.

View report:   http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/   and  scroll down for highlights. 

EARTHTALK®: IS CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTING THE HEALTH OF RIVERS

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

January 7, 2013 (San Diego)--Dear EarthTalk: How is it that climate change is negatively affecting the health of rivers and, by extension, the quality and availability of fresh water?                  -- Robert Elman, St. Louis, MO

Global warming is no doubt going to cause many kinds of problems (and, indeed, already is), and rivers may well be some of the hardest hit geographical features, given the likelihood of increased droughts, floods and the associated spread of waterborne diseases.

READER'S EDITORIAL: CAN SAN DIEGO GROW AMERICA’S FINEST GREEN REGION OVER THE NEXT DECADE?

Moonshot for Green Job Creation Within Reach of New San Diego Leaders, Community

By Kathleen Connell

December 8, 2012 (San Diego)--As the post-election celebrations end and 2013 approaches, new leaders have been elected in San Diego in what many consider a historic moment in the region. At the same time, San Diegans, the nation, and the globe are struggling to come out of a recession so deep, it is often referred to as the second Great Depression. Meanwhile profound challenges - climate change and Hurricane Sandy - have swept through the East Coast and the consciousness of Americans as Sandy pushed the detritus of climate denial aside in its terrible force, damage and cost. 

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