Sunday, August 28, 2016

Annual Awards Dinner to Honor Local Environmental Leaders and Feature President of National Sierra Club - Open to Public

Special Event ~ Please join us!

2016 Sierra Club Niagara Group 

Annual Awards Dinner

Saturday, October 15, 2016, at 6 pm
Temple Beth Zion (auditorium), 805 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo [Map]

With Special Guest Speaker 

Aaron Mair, President, National Sierra Club

Aaron is from Schenectady, NY, and is an epidemiological-spatial analyst with the NewAaron Mair 2York State Department of Health. His background and experience includes more than three decades of environmental activism and over 25 years as a Sierra Club volunteer leader where he has worked diligently for environmental justice.
The program honors local Environmental Leaders in government and labor including Paul Dyster (Niagara Falls Mayor),  Thomas DeSantis (Senior Planner of Niagara Falls), Bob Baxter (Niagara Heritage Partnership), Todd Hobler (VP of 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers United East) and Debora Hayes (Area Director of the Communication Workers of America). 
We are offering a multi-course buffet dinner with cash bar. We have two ticket prices: $45 for those who can afford to support our fundraising efforts, and $25 for those who are students or on a fixed income. More dinner details here.
purchase tickets

Thursday, August 4, 2016

We Need to Stop Dangerous Global Warming

By David Kowalski

Excess greenhouse gas in the atmosphere caused by burning fossil fuels - coal, oil, or natural gas - is now resulting in dangerous global warming. Fifteen of the sixteen warmest years have occurred since the year 2000. 2014 set a new record and 2015 topped it. 2016 is on track for even more extreme warming, with January through June showing record-breaking global temperatures (NASA graph, below).
[Click image to enlarge

Burning fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas that traps heat and is raising Earth’s temperature. Human-caused CO2 levels in the atmosphere are now about 40% greater than the highest levels detected in Nature in the past 650,000 years (NASA graph with annotations by D.K., below).

[Click image to enlarge]

We are now in uncharted territory. Human activity, specifically the burning of fossil fuels, is generating more CO2 gas than Nature can absorb from the atmosphere.

The persistent accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere, which began with the Industrial Revolution, is raising the temperature of our planet. This is certainly cause for alarm, since rising global temperatures are impacting weather patterns, driving climate change and having dire consequences.

It’s Getting HOT in Here!
Nowhere is the fingerprint of climate change more evident than with extreme heat.

This year, summer got it's hottest start ever in three states: California, New Mexico and Arizona. Over 30 million people were under heat warnings or advisories.  Record-shattering temperatures of 109° occurred in Los Angeles and 122° in Palm Springs. Tragically, on June 20th, six people died outdoors in 118° heat in Arizona. Between 600 and 1,500 heat-related deaths occur in an average summer in the U.S.

Heat waves last for days and are deadly. Severe heat waves in Europe in 2003 and Russia in 2010 resulted in tens of thousands of deaths. In 2015, thousands died in heat waves that occurred in India and Pakistan. A Chicago heat wave with temperatures up to 104° killed nearly 750 people in 1995. A California heat wave with temperatures as high as 119° caused up to 450 deaths in 2006.

A combination of heat and humidity (the Heat Index) that makes it feel like it’s 105° or hotter is termed a ‘danger day’. Warming temperatures are about to push U.S. cities into a new mode where danger days happen regularly. By 2030, 84 cities with nearly one-third of the U.S. population are projected to deal with at least 20 danger days annually if carbon emissions continue unabated. In the South, Miami is projected to have 126 danger days by 2030.

Buffalo is projected to have fewer danger days (6) by 2030, but the number will increase to 15 by 2050 if carbon emissions continue unabated. By 2030, Buffalo is projected to have 38 ‘extreme caution’ days, when the heat index tops 90°. The latter days are the greatest threat to children and the elderly, who are more sensitive to the heat, and to those in residences without air conditioning.

Cutting carbon emissions worldwide is vital to reducing the risk of heat-related death and illness.

Drought, Flooding, Wildfires and Extreme Weather
Higher temperatures increase the amount of moisture that evaporates from land and water, and have contributed to drought in some areas. At the same time, increased water vapor in the atmosphere caused by the elevated warming has resulted in heavy downpours in other areas.

Extreme events linked to global warming and predicted earlier by climate scientists are in fact occurring now around the world and here at home: unprecedented drought in California, destructive downpours and historic flooding in Texas and West Virginia, more intense hurricanes like Sandy in New York, and raging wildfires in the Southwest U.S. and in Canada.

Drought, flooding and excess heat threaten human health and safety. Such events can also cause crop destruction, food insecurity and human conflicts, threatening our ability to sustain life on this planet.

Ocean Warming, Ice Melting, and Sea-level Rise
Oceans, which cover 70% of our planet, are absorbing 93% of the excess heat of global warming. Hot ocean waters are bleaching and killing coral reefs, disrupting ecosystems that harbor fish, an important food source. Continued warming of oceans will increase melting of polar ice sheets, cause extensive sea level rise and flood coastal cities, including New York City and Miami. This would be catastrophic -- displacing large populations, causing unrest and costing trillions of dollars. Low-lying island nations face the threat of being swallowed by rising seas.

What Can YOU Do?
There is no doubt that global warming and climate change are happening now. We all need to take action locally to help end human-caused global warming.

It is essential that we push our governments at national, state and local levels adopt measures to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. Bold energy policies with mandates and timelines are urgently needed to shift to clean, renewable energy, increase energy efficiency, and cut carbon emissions that cause global warming.

Let your elected officials know that ending global warming pollution by transitioning to clean, renewable energy also presents real opportunities. It will not only stabilize the climate and energy prices, but also lead to good-paying jobs, healthier communities and a more just society.

And don't forget to Vote! Vote for candidates who seek to protect People and the Planet.

Get more informed and involved with activists in the Sierra Club Niagara Group through monthly Executive Committee meetings, presentations/discussions at a Writers Group, and a Climate & Energy Committee meeting (Email:

Join one of the groups affiliated with the Climate Justice Coalition of Western New York, including faith groups, labor unions, social/economic justice groups, Working Families Party and others. For more information, Email

Request a presentation on Environmental Stewardship, Climate Change and Clean Energy Solutions for your group. Email

Sharp Contrast on Climate and Energy in Presidential Campaign

GOP and Democratic Platforms Highlight Stark Differences on Energy and Climate
While Republicans embrace fossil fuels, Democrats push for climate action. But do party platforms influence policy?

By Phil McKenna | Inside Climate News | Jul 26, 2016 

If there was any lingering confusion on how America's two major political parties differ over climate and energy policy, platforms released by the Republican and Democratic Parties during this month's national conventions made their often polar-opposite views exceedingly clear.

Republicans would dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency as it currently exists and abolish the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the Obama administration's plan to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

Democrats called for a price on carbon, implementation of the Clean Power Plan, which was stayed by the Supreme Court in February, as well as other regulatory measures to reduce greenhouse gases, and prioritization of renewable energy over natural gas.

While platforms are more outline of party beliefs than binding policy, they nonetheless offer a picture of the widening gulf between the increasingly conservative Republican Party and a Democratic Party that has adopted many of the progressive policies championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Read more at Inside Climate News

Climate Change Divide Bursts to Forefront in Presidential Campaign

By CORAL DAVENPORT | New York Times | AUG. 1, 2016

WASHINGTON — During the 2012 race for president, the issue of climate change was nearly invisible. President Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, almost never spoke about it, and it did not come up during their debates. There was far more talk of ramping up oil and gas production than cutting emissions.

But this year, as Hillary Clinton thrusts climate change to the heart of her campaign, the issue is taking on a prominence it has never before had in a presidential general election.

In speeches, Mrs. Clinton regularly highlights her plan to combat global warming, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, praised her at the Democratic National Convention last week for putting it at “the center” of her foreign policy. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her main rival in the primaries, spoke of the issue forcefully, saying that “this election is about climate change.” The party platform calls for a price — essentially a tax — on carbon pollution.

Mrs. Clinton’s opponent in the November election, Donald J. Trump, has gone further than any other Republican presidential nominee in opposing climate change policy. He often mocks the established science of human-caused climate change and dismisses it as a hoax. The Republican platform calls climate change policy “the triumph of extremism over common sense.”

The divide between the two parties over the issue is the widest it has been in the decades since it emerged as a public policy matter. That is all the more remarkable given that during the 2008 election, the Democratic and Republican positions on climate change were almost identical.

Read more at the New York Times

Picnic & Swim: A Day in the Country to Support Landowners along Proposed Gas Pipeline

  Climate Justice Coalition of WNY


Please Join Us for a Day in the Country to Learn about and Support Landowners along the Route of National Fuel’s Proposed Northern Access 2016 Pipeline

Join us at this beautiful historic farm along the route of the proposed pipeline SATURDAY, AUGUST 6 from 2:00-4:00 pm for an Old Fashioned Grange Style ( bring your own picnic) get-together in the country. Everyone is invited. Bring kids and come early to swim in the creek! Meet experts and ask questions about the National Fuel Northern Access Pipeline. Artists are encouraged to come and paint, musicians are encouraged to bring your music! The address is 12820 Benton Road, Sardinia, NY. ( right off Savage Road between Route 39 and the Cattaraugus Creek bridge )