Click link above to hear our interview, which originally aired on East County Magazine's Radio Show on KNSJ in December
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?
"Climate change science has not changed in the way Councilwoman Alessio would like us to believe. Let's stick to credible sources on science, not talking points from the climate change denier's briefing book." -- Kathleen Connell, PhD, sustainabiltiy expert and former NASA astrobiology science founder
By Miriam Raftery
Upated May 1 to add comments from Mike Bullock and data from a climate change paper he authored.
April 30, 2015 (La Mesa) – At La Mesa’s City Council hearing Tuesday, Council heard a report detailing the city’s progress on reducing its carbon footprint in order to reduce climate change.
March 26, 2015 (Santee) – Randy Voepel, Santee’s Mayor for the past 15 years, has thrown his hat in the ring to run for the 71st State Assembly seat that Brian Jones is vacating due to term limits, SD Rostra reports. He’ll be running against Michael Harrison, who works for Congressman Duncan Hunter and previously worked for Hunter’s father when he served in Congress.
Petition asks media to deny air time to those who intentionally mislead public on climate change
By Miriam Raftery
March 14, 2015 (San Diego) – Two news stories this week reveal just how desperate some climate change deniers are to censor the public from hearing scientific facts—and how far credible scientists are now willing to go to save the planet and debunk phony “experts.”
December 29, 2014 (San Diego)—Pope Francis, who has voiced concerns over climate change impacts, is set to issue an edict calling on 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide to take action on climate change—and a San Diego scientist may have played a role in influencing the Pope to take action.
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the House Science, Space Technology Committee, calls the Obama administration's 2014 National Climate Assessment--which squarely pins the blame for global warming on human industrial activity--"a political document intended to frighten Americans into believing that any abnormal weather we experience is the direct result of CO2 emissions."
E - The Environmental Magazine
Dear EarthTalk: Are there still outspoken global warming deniers in Congress or the mainstream media? If so, what do they say when presented with scientific facts and anecdotal evidence pointing to an increasingly warming atmosphere? -- Ben Charles, Cary, NC
December 20, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - Given the preponderance of data showing rising temperatures around the globe in recent decades—along with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events—it’s hard to believe there are still any climate change deniers. But a recent survey by the non-profit Center for American Progress found that some 58 percent of Republicans in the U.S. Congress still “refuse to accept climate change.” Meanwhile, still others acknowledge the existence of global warming but cling to the scientifically debunked notion that the cause is natural forces, not greenhouse gas pollution by humans.
December 7, 2014 (San Diego)—By a 20 to 1 vote, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has voted to appeal a ruling on its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan to the California Supreme Court. Oceanside Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery cast the lone vote against filing the appeal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
August 5, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--When it comes to climate change, the facts are in, according to a new video titled "It Only Takes Three Minutes to See Why We Must Act on Climate Change." The release comes as much of the west, including northern California, is once again being ravaged by firestorms.
Watch as President Obama's Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren explains--in less than three minutes--how climate change is making America's wildfires more dangerous and why the President's top science advisor believes we must act now.
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.