Saturday, January 25, 2014

Frigid winter masks Climate Change in Rochester

 

CCReportsProbably the last thing worrying most folks in Rochester is Climate Change. This winter has been dangerously cold and threatens to worsen. But the big picture, which is hard to see in our region unless you’re an expert on climate and our environment, is that our region is warming up, just like the rest of the world. As a matter of fact:

Long-term global warming trend sustained in 2013NASA scientists say 2013 tied with 2009 and 2006 for the seventh warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. With the exception of 1998, the 10 warmest years in the 134-year record have all occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the warmest years on record. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, which analyzes global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis, released an updated report Tuesday on temperatures around the globe in 2013. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience temperatures warmer than those measured several decades ago. (January 21, 2014) NASA Global Climate Change

So, while we’re braving this really cold winter, let’s see what the experts are saying about Climate Change affecting our region NOW. From the over 50 climate studies I’ve sifted through, Climate Change in our region expresses itself in myriad ways. What jumps out at me from the information are not dramatic droughts, floods, or heat waves—as is happening in Australia right now. What jumps out at me from the data below is the breath of changes going on below our public’s ability to perceive them. Without the aid of climate and environmental experts and a responsible media, we are blind to this world crisis.

What’s most chilling of all is that none of these presently observed indicators of Climate Change for our region is decreasing; nor are we doing anything on the level that would make them do so:

Annual temperatures increase: “Annual temperatures have been rising throughout the state since the start of the 20th century. State average temperatures have increased by approximately 0.6ºF per decade since 1970, with winter warming exceeding 1.1ºF per decade.” (Page 16, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2011))

Increase in intensive precipitation events: “Intense precipitation events (heavy downpours) have increased in recent decades.” (Page 16, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2011))

Bird population shifts: “Analysis of four decades of Christmas Bird Count observations reveal that birds seen in North America during the first weeks of winter have moved dramatically northward—toward colder latitudes—over the past four decades.” (Page 3, Birds and Climate Change Ecological Disruption in Motion, Audubon, February 2009)

Annual temperatures, reduced snowpack, earlier ice break up, and more: “Northeast: Since 1970, the annual average temperature in the Northeast has increased by 2°F, with winter temperatures rising twice this much.4 Warming has resulted in many other climate-related changes, including: More frequent days with temperatures above 90°F; A longer growing season; Increased heavy precipitation; Less winter precipitation falling as snow and more as rain; Reduced snowpack; Earlier breakup of winter ice on lakes and rivers; Earlier spring snowmelt resulting in earlier peak river flows; Rising sea surface temperatures and sea level” (Page 107, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States | The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)  2009)

Increase in lake effect snowfall: “There is also evidence of an increase in lake-effect snowfall along and near the southern and eastern shores of the Great Lakes since 1950.” (Page 38, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States | The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)  2009)

Increase plant frost damage: “A seemingly paradoxical impact of warming is that it appears to be increasing the risk of plant frost damage. Mild winters and warm, early springs, which are beginning to occur more frequently as climate warms, induce premature plant development and blooming, resulting in exposure of vulnerable young plants and plant tissues to subsequent late-season frosts.” (Page 73-74, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States | The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)  2009)

Plant growth and decomposition affected: “Ecosystem processes, such as those that control growth and decomposition, have been affected by climate change.” (Page 79, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States | The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)  2009)

Species shifting locations: “Large-scale shifts have occurred in the ranges of species and the timing of the seasons and animal migration, and are very likely to continue.” (Page 80, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States | The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)  2009)

Streamflow changes: “Historical data for rivers in the Northeast show changes in the amount and timing of flows. Over the last 100 years, average annual streamflow increased at 22 of 27 sites on rivers in New England (Hodgkins and Dudley 2005). In addition, peak flows came earlier. Streamflow data from 11 rural rivers show that high spring flow (as measured by the date on which half of the water discharged from January through May has passed the gage) is occurring 1 to 2 weeks earlier now than in the 1930s (Hodgkins et al. 2003). Average March flows have increased and average May flows have decreased, lowering the May peak and making flows more uniform during the snowmelt season. These changes are consistent with the impact of reductions in the snowpack and warmer late winter temperatures. Hartley and Dingman (1993) reached similar conclusions. They found that maximum river flows in watersheds across the region occurred approximately 5.4 days earlier for each 1.8 °F (1 °C) increase in average annual temperatures. Peak river flows on most of the streams analyzed also increased over the past 75 years. “(Page 11, Changing Climate, Changing Forests: The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada, U.S. Forest Service, July 2012)

Amphibians responding to Climate Change: “All amphibians in the Northeast require moist habitats, and so all are potentially sensitive to the changes in temperature and precipitation associated with climate change. One study suggests that amphibians are already responding, with some species calling 10 to 13 days earlier than they were at the beginning of the 20th century (Gibbs and Breisch 2001).” (Page 31, Changing Climate, Changing Forests: The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada, U.S. Forest Service, July 2012)

Invasive species thriving: “The northerly spread and ultimate range of the adelgid will likely be controlled by the severity, duration, and timing of minimum winter temperatures. Currently, the adelgid is restricted to areas where minimum winter temperatures stay above -20 °F (-29 °C). In a study of 36 sites across the Northeast, adelgid mortality was positively correlated with latitude and minimum temperatures recorded per site. Its cold hardiness also depends on time of year; the insects lose their ability to tolerate cold as the winter progresses (Skinner et al. 2003). Thus not only the severity but the timing of cold events is critical. If warming occurs as predicted, milder winters may remove the current limits to the adelgid’s range, and increased survival and fecundity may result in larger populations.” (Page 21, Changing Climate, Changing Forests: The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada, U.S. Forest Service, July 2012)

Wildlife affected by Climate Change: “Wildlife in northeastern forests is already being affected by climate change. 147 Species dependent on mountaintops and their predominantly coniferous habitats will be particularly at risk, due to limited opportunity to move upward in elevation.” (Page 32, Wildlife in a Warming World Confronting the Climate Crisis |  (National Wildlife Federation 2013)

Declining Lake-Ice cover: “Declining Lake-Ice Cover: Climate change has already driven a huge decrease in winter ice cover throughout the Great Lakes from the period of 1973 to 2010.128 Ice cover across the Great Lakes has declined by an average of 71 percent. Lake St. Clair ice cover has declined the least at 37 percent, while Lake Ontario has declined the most at 88 percent. Declining ice cover could benefit the shipping industry, but would leave coastal wetlands and shorelines more vulnerable to erosion.” (Page 29, Wildlife in a Warming World Confronting the Climate Crisis |  (National Wildlife Federation 2013).

Increase in heat-related illnesses: “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified a number of health effects associated with climate change, including an increase in heat-related illnesses and deaths from more frequent heat waves, a rise in asthma and other respiratory illnesses due to increased air pollution, higher rates of food- and water-related diseases, and an increase in the direct and indirect impacts of extreme weather events, like hurricanes.” (Page 6, Climate Change 101: Understanding and Responding to Global Climate Change published by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.  January 2011)

Increase in incidents of ground-level ozone: “Research has shown that ground-level ozone formation is affected by weather and climate. Many studies have focused on the relationship between temperature and ozone concentrations (Wolff and Lioy, 1978; Atwater, 1984; Kuntasal and Chang, 1987; Wackter and Bayly, 1988; Wakim, 1989). For example, the large increase in ozone concentrations at ground level in 1988 in the United States and in parts of southern Canada can be attributed, in part, to meteorological conditions; 1988 was the third-hottest summer in the past 100 years. In general, the aforementioned studies suggest a nonlinear relationship between temperature and ozone concentrations at ground level: Below temperatures of 22-26C (70-80F), there is no relationship between ozone concentrations and temperature; above 32C (90F), there is a strong positive relationship.” ( The Regional Impacts of Climate Change 8.3.9.2. Air Quality and Ground-Level Ozone, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Livestock affected more by heat stress: “Heat stress already causes an estimated $2.4 billion in annual losses to U.S. livestock industries. Within the Northeast, despite the region’s historically moderate summers, losses have been estimated at $50.8 million per year for Pennsylvania, $24.9 million for New York, and $5.4 million for Vermont—the vast majority of which occurred in the dairy industry.9 Rising summer heat threatens to increase these losses.(Page 69, Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast from Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (2007))

Timing of seasons is off: “Timing of seasons: The blooming of certain flowers and the budding of leaves on trees are welcome harbingers of spring and important indicators of climate change. The firstbloom dates for lilacs, for example, have shifted four days earlier since the 1960s, and even greater shifts of six to eight days have been observed for grape vines and apple trees.” (Page 11, Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast from Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (2007))   

Northeast extreme weather increasing: “Although rarer than nor’easters, the Northeast is also occasionally affected by tropical storms and hurricanes that form in the Atlantic during the summer and fall. There is growing evidence that the intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes has already been increasing;75,76,77 debate continues over a definitive link between global warming and increased hurricane frequency.78,79,80,81,82 It is clear that observed ocean warming—a key condition for the formation and strengthening of hurricanes—cannot be explained by natural cycles alone. Recent studies suggest that increased hurricane intensity, as exemplified by the rising number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes, is driven at least in part by global warming.” (Page 31, Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast from Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (2007))

More extreme weather driving up liability claims: “CORPORATE LIABILITY: Legal developments related to climate change are driving up liability claims for many insurers in the United States. These cases range from recovering costs of relocating communities away from land inundated by rising seas12 to restitution for damages from extreme events intensified by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.13 search: observe, current, present, have been, appears to be start with climate (Page 10, CLIMATE RISK DISCLOSURE BY INSURERS: Evaluating Insurer Responses to the NAIC Climate Disclosure Survey |  A Ceres Report, September 2011

NYS coastal sea level rising: “Climate change also has impacts on marine resources and coastal regions. Currently, sea levels are rising an average of 0.86 to 1.5 inches per decade, as measured by tide gauges, with an average of 1.2 inches per decade since 1900. Before the Industrial Revolution, the rate of increase had been approximately 0.34 to 0.43 inches per decade, mostly as a result of land subsidence (NYCPCC 2010). For the Long Island and New York City shorelines, models predict a rise of 7-12 inches by 2050 and 19-29 inches by 2080.” (Page 10, EPA Region 2 Climate Adaptation Plan Region 2 Climate Change Workgroup USEPA Region 2 New York, NY 9/18/2013)

Climate Change causing plants to shift: “In an analysis of 866 peer-reviewed papers exploring the ecological consequences of climate change, nearly 60 percent of the 1598 species studied exhibited shifts in their distributions and/or phenologies over the 20-and 140-year time frame. Analyses of field based phenological responses have reported shifts as great as 5.1 days per decade, with an average of 2.3 days per decade across all species.” (Page 9, The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity | U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.3 May 2008 USDA Office of the Chief Economist United States Department of Agriculture)

Forest pests increasing: “Climate plays a major role in driving, or at least influencing, infestations of these important forest insect species in the United States (e.g., Holsten et al. 1999; Logan et al. 2003a; Car­roll et al. 2004; Tran et al. in press), and these recent large outbreaks are likely influenced by observed increases in temperature.” (Page 82, The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity | U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.3 May 2008 USDA Office of the Chief Economist United States Department of Agriculture)

BTW: What are the temperature and precipitation projections for Monroe County?  Hint: might want to enjoy this cold snap while you can.  

New USGS Website Has Climate Projections for Your County What does the future of climate look like where you live? For the first time, maps and summaries of temperature and precipitation projections for the 21st century are accessible at a county-by-county level, thanks to a website developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in collaboration with the College of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. The maps and summaries are based on a NASA dataset that covers the contiguous U.S. on an 800-meter grid. NASA created the dataset by downscaling 33 climate models used in the 5th Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report (IPCC AR5). (December 13, 2014) The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Because of Climate Change you’ll need another globe

 

CCArcticCapMaps change. It’s life. Communities build new roads (though, they almost never remove them) and every year you’re supposed to update your GPS software to reflect these changes. Our species’ marvelous capacity for industry produces a dazzling abundance of transformations across our landscape as new buildings, bridges, and new homes sprout like goose bumps on an early morning swimmer.

But globes don’t usually change. Granted, there was a big addition after 1492. Really big. If you still have a globe that doesn’t have North and South American on it; you’re probably holding on to a very valuable antique. Of course, these two continents were always there, we just didn’t know about them; though to be accurate those folks who were actually living on these continents for millennia were quite aware of them. But they didn’t make globes. We make globes and for the most part the only reason globes change is because we discover stuff—not because we annihilate stuff.

However, quietly, beneath the attention of mainstream media, our politics, and our economic concerns, the Arctic ominously melts. Soon you’ll have to buy another globe because your present one will be outdated.  Here’s a 27-second video from NASA illustrating what would be too time consuming and chilly to observe ourselves:

Arctic Sea Ice Minimum in 2013 is Sixth Lowest on Record After an unusually cold summer in the northernmost latitudes, Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its annual minimum summer extent for 2013 on Sept. 13, the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado in Boulder has reported. Analysis of satellite data by NSIDC and NASA showed that the sea ice extent shrunk to 1.97 million square miles (5.10 million square kilometers). This year's sea ice extent is substantially higher than last year's record low minimum. On Sept.16, 2012, Arctic sea ice reached its smallest extent ever recorded by satellites at 1.32 million square miles (3.41 million square kilometers). That is about half the size of the average minimum extent from 1981 to 2010. NASA

On the local level, Rochester’s visage too has changed due to Climate Change. But these changes are harder to spot than Arctic melt. If you were mapping local birds you’d see a dramatic shift. If you’re a farmer, you’d see that you can plant stuff earlier in the spring and harvest it later in the fall. If you were running a skiing business or making maple syrup, you’d notice. If you were shipping stuff across the Great Lakes and had to avoid ice, you’d notice a lot less ice. If you were insuring against floods, you might be concerned about the new flooding maps. If your media was on the job, you’d notice less snowfall, less snow cover, less snow pack, and more extreme weather in the form of flooding. Instead, you’ll have to go to a couple of studies to see all that: Climate Change Indicators in the United States (2012 EPA) and Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID).

If you only buzz about in your car, work all day inside, and attend to only our local news, you probably think Climate Change has bypassed us. But it hasn’t, and when the Arctic finally does disappear from our planet and then from our globes, you’ll see what those who have been saying otherwise for quite some time now is quite true.

All this change should get us moving on Climate Change, so we don’t let other changes occur that we cannot cope with. To stop Climate Change, we’ll have to first stop ourselves from causing Climate Change. On that front, things aren’t looking good. This dismal article on our relentless predation of the Arctic makes me think of maggots feeding on a frozen carcass until it thaws, suddenly releasing the full feeding-frenzy potential of our insatiable appetites.

Antarctica and the Arctic: A polar primer for the new great game Antarctica and the Arctic are the focus of global hunger for untapped resources – and global warming has helped drive the polar rush. (January 12, 2014) Christian Science Monitor

While standing in front of the painting Guernica that depicted the horrific injuries inflicted on the innocent victims in the Spanish Civil War in 1937, a German officer asked, “Who was responsible for this?” Pablo Picasso is alleged to have said, “You were.” We won’t have to ask ourselves who removed the whitish area at the top of the new globe.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Can’t be a little pregnant; nor can you believe in only a little Climate Change

 

CCLittleWarmYou’re either pregnant or you ain’t. You either believe in what 95% of the climate scientists report on Climate Change, or you’re picking the parts you like—like drilling in a warming Arctic or planting for a longer growing season—and avoiding the parts you don’t like—like rising seas. Picking out stuff you think your media outlet can handle and leaving out the rest of the Climate Change package is irresponsible and, pretty weird when you think about it.

This local news item, borrowed from AP, is a story about Climate Change and how us Northeastern folks have become so used to (boiling frog, or shifting baseline syndrome) warmer winters that, when we do get an occasional cold snap, we act like a bunch of weak-kneed wimps.

Scientists: Americans becoming weather wimps We've become weather wimps. As the world warms, the United States is getting fewer bitter cold spells like the one that gripped much of the nation this week. So when a deep freeze strikes, scientists say, it seems more unprecedented than it really is. (January 9, 2014) Daily Messenger

After getting over being called a wimp, what grabbed my attention from the above article was this: “As the world warms…” Our media has reported for so long and so consistently on Climate Change that now they’re admonishing us that we should be used to the consequences—one of which is when the Polar Vortex dips down and nails us with some frosty days less often than before. Really?!? We used to be hardy, but now, not so much?

Actually, I’m glad that our local mainstream media is at least forwarding Climate Change news from other media (though, it would be much better if they took their investigative reporters on a tour of what Climate Change is doing already in our part of the country) but they cannot just cherry-pick Climate Change news and think they’re keeping the public informed in the crisis of our age.

My niece, when she was an early teenager, stated quite emphatically that she didn’t believe in God, but that she did believe in the devil. I was amused. I said if you’d don’t believe in God, then you cannot believe in the devil. The devil is part of the package. The devil, as it goes, is a fallen angel. No god, no angel.

Anyway, once the media has finally decided to pass on an article or write about Climate Change themselves, they’ve got to tell the whole story. You don’t just have warmer winters and not all the other stuff that the media should be reporting. In the Rochester NY area (Northeast America), we can reasonably expect some or all of these consequences of Climate Change in our region within the next 50 years or so:

...higher temperatures and increased heat waves have the potential to increase fatigue of materials in the water, energy, transportation, and telecommunications sectors; affect drinking water supply; cause a greater frequency of summer heat stress on plants and animals; alter pest populations and habits; affect the distribution of key crops such as apples, grapes, cabbage, and potatoes; cause reductions in dairy milk production; increase energy demand; and lead to more heat-related deaths and declines in air quality. Projected higher average annual precipitation and frequency of heavy precipitation events could also potentially increase the risks of several problems, including flash floods in urban areas and hilly regions; higher pollutant levels in water supplies; inundation of wastewater treatment plants and other vulnerable development in floodplains; saturated coastal lands and wetland habitats; flooded key rail lines, roadways, and transportation hubs; and travel delays. Sea level rise will increase risk of storm surge-related flooding, enhance vulnerability of energy facilities located in coastal areas, and threaten transportation and telecommunications facilities. Across the varied geography of New York State, many individuals, households, communities, and firms are at risk of experiencing climate change impacts. Some will be especially vulnerable to specific impacts due to their location and lack of resources. [Page 3, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID)

Much of mainstream reporting surrounding the recent cold snap included many Polar Vortex descriptions, but little about how the strange behavior of that polar jet stream was likely related to Climate Change. And, of course, many a denier media saw fit to use the sudden cold as proof that warming was a hoax. (Ok, you gotta see this 9-minute Jon Stewart video on this cold snap and Climate Change: Jon Stewart Rips Fox on Global Warming.) Some don’t think there’s a connection with the recent cold spell and Climate Change at all. See the ever-vigilant Andrew Revkin’s coverage of this whole thing A Last Look at the Media and the Dreaded Polar Vortex over at the DotEarth.com. However, there is a connection between the recent cold snap and Climate Change that is undisputed by all the climate experts and it is this: The recent cold snap does not disprove Climate Change.

Look, it’s going to be hard to address and mitigate Climate Change if every time it gets cold we have to beat back the deniers. Does the White House really have to make a statement every time the denier’s understanding of Climate Change comes in conflict with their incredulity?

Global Warming Caused the Polar Vortex, White House Says in New Video The Obama administration is pushing back on skeptics who say the polar vortex proves climate change is a hoax. In a new video to be posted on the official White House website Wednesday, President Obama's science adviser, John Holdren, warns against buying into the idea that a cold snap disproves that the earth is getting warmer overall. "If you've been hearing that extreme cold spells, like the one we're having in the United States now, disproves global warming, don't believe it," he says in the video. (January 9, 2016) Inside Climate News

The media is coming up against a great problem of their own making and they’d better cut their losses--soon. They cannot avoid and deny Climate Change year after year and then every once in awhile sneak in an irresistible zinger like ‘as it warms’, revealing that they’ve accepted Climate Change all along. The media is supposed to be informing us of important stuff and I’d say the world crisis called Climate Change is one of them. If our local media wants to relinquish its responsibility as our informers, then they should move over and let a real news agency do that.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

NYS Fracking hiatus presents Rochester media with an opportunity

 

CCFrackRigGovernor Cuomo’s suggestion that a decision on “…hydraulic fracturing for natural gas might not come before November…” has annoyed a lot of folks. Some pro-Fracking people, furious that the six-year delay will be extended yet again, have decided to sue:

“A group of Southern Tier landowners are suing Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and the State of New York for five years of delays in making a decision on high volume hydraulic fracturing. The first of its kind lawsuit says the state is not following the law by repeatedly delaying its decision, and the losses suffered by landowners due to the moratorium violates their Fifth Amendment rights.”Landowners sue Gov. Cuomo for delays in fracking decision (11/ 13/ 2013, WBNG)

Rochester’s media, despite the almost-certain link between Climate Change and humanity’s use of fossil fuels for energy, continually frames our energy issue around their obsession with Fracking.

It is interesting that the media in Rochester and around the world keeps framing the Fracking issue incorrectly. The issue the media should be reporting on is how we can get energy to fuel our way of life as Climate Change continues to radically change our environment. Long before Fracking should have been considered as an energy option, all other renewable energy options, their infrastructures, energy conservation, and energy efficiency should have been given a chance. Instead, the media has allowed the fossil fuel industry to hijack our options during a time of warming. Consequently, from now until sometime in the fall there will continue to be a media focus on Fracking, reporting only when they can find some Fracking scraps to feed upon, instead of addressing Climate Change. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t have to be the cases that in discussions about Fracking, pro-frackers can get away with “I don't buy the "Climate change" rhetoric”. By default, when our local media finds itself incapable of properly reporting on the science and the accumulating evidence of Climate Change, the public dialogue on this world crisis leap-frogs over the main issue. Suddenly, we find ourselves only capable of talking about only one of the possible solutions. Talking about Fracking without talking about Climate Change is like talking about fishing without talking about water.

Essentially, the press has already given up on the public before the public has had a full chance to understand what the issue is. The media already assumes that the public doesn’t know or care about the grave implications of Climate Change and their way of life. They assume the public won’t act in their children’s best interests if given all the facts about Climate Change. They assume the only way forward the public will approve is to continue on the same trajectory that got us in this mess in the first place.

When our media doesn’t validate the projections of climate studies in our region by reporting on them, the public begins to believe that we here in New York need not concern ourselves with our energy needs and climate. And yet the whole issue of Climate Change is about our energy use—it’s what got us in this crisis in the first place. How we got our energy to fuel our way of life caused Climate Change, so how we use energy in the future becomes a moral decision that we should be making. But we are not making that moral decision about our future. We are throwing Fracking facts back and forth.

Until November, or whenever the governor makes his decision on Fracking, our local media should step back from their self- generated fracas and see the big picture, the one they’ve been avoiding for some time now. We could have a thorough examination of the moral and practical problems of how we should get energy without further increasing greenhouse gases. More jobs can be part of that discussion and, yes, there is a possibility that those jobs won’t be Fracking jobs. There’s also the possibility that those who got Fracking leases had been counting their chickens before they hatched. There is also the possibility that our generation will take up our responsibilities on energy use. But that is unlikely to occur if the media treats the public as only a blood-thirsty crowd at the fights.