Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New York City gets wake-up call on global climate change

Tabloid Tells Truth About Climate Change and How It Will Affect City, World

Contact: The Yes Men , 347-254-7054, 646-220-4137
Fake New York Post: http://www.nypost-se.com/
Video News Release: http://www.nypost-se.com/video
City report on climate change: http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/pdf/2009/NPCC_CRI.pdf
Wake-up call: http://www.tcktcktck.org/wakeup

Early this morning, nearly a million New Yorkers were stunned by the appearance of
a "special edition" New York Post blaring headlines that their city could face
deadly heat waves, extreme flooding, and other lethal effects of global warming
within the next few decades. The most alarming thing about it: the news came from
an official City report.

Distributed by over 2000 volunteers throughout New York City, the paper has been
created by The Yes Men and a coalition of activists as a wake-up call to action on
climate change. It appears one day before a UN summit where Secretary-General Ban
Ki-Moon will push 100 world leaders to make serious commitments to reduce carbon
emissions in the lead-up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December. Ban has
said that the world has "less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in
greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people
and the planet," adding that Copenhagen is a "once-in-a-generation opportunity."

Although the 32-page New York Post is a fake, everything in it is 100% true, with
all facts carefully checked by a team of editors and climate change experts.

"This could be, and should be, a real New York Post," said Andy Bichlbaum of the
Yes Men. "Climate change is the biggest threat civilization has ever faced, and it
should be in the headlines of every paper, every day until we solve the problem."

The fake Post's cover story ("We're Screwed") reports the frightening conclusions
of a blue-ribbon panel of scientists commissioned by the mayor's office to
determine the potential effects of climate change on the City. That report was
released in February of this year, but received very little press at the time.
Other lead articles describe the Pentagon's alarmed response to global warming
("Clear & Present Disaster"), the U.S. government's sadly minuscule response to
the crisis ("Congress Cops Out on Climate"), China's alternative energy program
("Chinaƕs Green Leap Forward Overtakes U.S."), and how if the US doesn't quickly
pass a strong climate bill, the crucial Copenhagen climate talks this December
could be a "Flopenhagen."

The paper includes original investigative reporting as well. One article ("Carbon
counter counts New Yorkers as fools") reveals that Deutsche Bank - which erected a
seven-story "carbon counter" in central Manhattan - not only invests heavily in
coal-mining companies worldwide, but has recently entered the business of coal
trading itself.

The paper has the world's gloomiest weather page, covering the next 70 years
rather than just 7 days. The "Around the World" section describes the
disproportionate effects of climate change on poorer parts of the world, including
extreme droughts, floods, famines, water shortages, mass migrations and conflicts.
Developing countries will bear the brunt of climate change effects even though
they have done very little to cause the problem.

But the paper isn't all doom and gloom. An article called "New York Fights Back"
notes that the carbon emissions of Big Apple residents are only one third the
national average, and that the city is building 1800 miles of bike paths, planting
one million trees, and replacing its fleet of police cars with hybrids. There's
also a page of black-humor cartoons (in one, Charlie Brown finds Snoopy drowned),
a gossip section that takes no prisoners, and a number of truly cheerful ads - for
sex ("Awesome. No carbon emissions."), tote bags, bicycles, and tap water
("Literally comes right out of your faucet!").

Another ad promotes civil disobedience, encouraging readers to visit
http://BeyondTalk.net and pledge to risk arrest in a planned global action
November 30, just before the conference in Copenhagen.

"We need strong action on climate change," said David Solnit of Mobilization for
Climate Justice West, one of the partners in BeyondTalk.net. "But history shows
that leaders act only when people take to the streets to demand it. That's what
needs to happen now."

This paper is one of 2500 initiatives taking place in more than 130 countries as a
response to the "Global Wake-up Call" on climate change. For more information,
visit www.tcktcktck.org/wakeup

Dick Bennett

Saturday, September 19, 2009

OMNI Climate-breakdown book forum a success at 6 p.m. today at Nightbird bookstore on Dickson Street

Please click on image to go to Flickr and use tools to ENLARGE view from OMNI forum on global climate change on September 18, 2009.

For more recent photos, please visit:

Friday, September 18, 2009

CCTF Agenda, September 20th, 2009

Meeting commences @ 1:30 PM.

• Welcome! (5 min.)
• What have we accomplished, and what will we accomplish? The list! (10 min.)
• Discuss 1sky official partnership (Ryan Denham) (10 min.)
• Idea pitch: alternative to cap-and-trade, establishing a new “middle ground” (David Orr) (10 min.)
• Future projects (20 min.)
o Repeat climate-concern book forum (NWACC, Greenland, West Fork, beyond! Maybe)
o 2nd hands-on action committee, extension of CCTF? (Jon Gibbs)
• Actions that grow from this?
o CCTF purchase billboard? (Dick) Suggestions:
• “Is this trip really necessary? Stop CO2!”
• “350 PPM”
• Your idea?
o Others?
• Personal actions (5 min.)
o Visit www.350.org/Sept21 and join the global call to action! Or Age of Stupid viewing. Would anyone like to organize a viewing party or call bank?
o More?
• Closing (5 min.)

Estimated Running Time (ERT), 70 minutes, ending @ ~2:40 PM.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

League of Women voters sponsoring discussion of Arkansas' electric future on September 23, 2009

Concerned about a proposed SWEPCO rate increase and developing energy efficiency?
A panel of experts will discuss the electrical power dilemma facing
Arkansas and ratepayers during a public information program
moderated by Hoyt Purvis, University of Arkansas Journalism Department.
Wed., Sept. 23, 2009, from 6:00 to 8:00 at the Fayetteville Public Library
This is also a special LWVWC membership invitation event. Come early, 5:30 to 6:00, for refreshments and visit the membership table before the program for more information.
Arkansas finds itself with a need to expand electrical production at the same time it has overcapacity. A controversial coal-fired generating plant, choice of what fuels should be used in the future, an urgency to upgrade transmission, serious environmental concerns and ratepayer costs combine for a perfect “electrical” storm. Learning what Arkansas is facing and what that means to ratepayers is the focus for this League of Women Voters of Washington County’s public program.
Panel Participants:
Sandra Byrd, VP, Strategic Affairs, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and former chair of the Arkansas Public Service Commission
Nicholas Brown, President and CEO of Southwest Power Pool, Inc.
Ken Smith, Executive Director of Audubon Arkansas, an organization involved in the lawsuit over the J.W.Turk, Jr. coal-fired plant
Eddie Moore, an attorney working with Audubon on electric efficiency and ratepayers issues and representing the Arkansas Public Policy Panel on energy issues during the 2009 legislative session

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fall color fades in western United States as aspen trees die

Fall colors fade in U.S. west as aspen trees die

By Laura Zuckerman
52 mins ago

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – The American West is losing its autumn colors as global warming begins to bite and there is far more at stake than iconic scenery.
Aspen, the white-barked trees with golden leaves that gave their name to the famed Colorado ski resort, have been dying off across the Rocky Mountain states. The die-off is puzzling but some foresters point to climate change.
This disaster coincides with beetle outbreaks that have laid waste to millions of acres of pine and spruce forest in the American and Canadian west. They too have been linked to warmer winters since extremely cold temperatures are needed to kill the insects.
Recent droughts and other factors linked to global warming are seen as likely causes for "sudden aspen decline," or SAD, so named because it can strike a forest so quickly.
"Assuming climate predictions are true, it probably is a sign of things to come," said Jim Worrall, forest pathologist with the U.S. Forest Service.
Dwindling aspen would spell trouble for mountain towns like Aspen, Colorado, where tourists flock each autumn to see their spade-shaped leaves turn from green to gold before skiers arrive for the winter.
Failing aspen forests also hurt sawmills and threaten large animals such as elk seeking food with consequences for hunting and other outdoor industries.
The effects have yet to hit home in a city that trades on its scenic beauty, but officials are braced for the worst.
"A large die-off could be devastating," said Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland.
Colorado acreage ravaged by SAD quadrupled from 2006 to 2008 to more than 850 square miles (2,200 square km). The syndrome has also struck in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, where researchers suggest a warmer, dryer West may all but eliminate aspen from the Rocky Mountains by the end of the century.
Stands afflicted by SAD lose leaves, are assaulted by insects and frequently fail to reproduce.
Delta Timber Co. in southwest Colorado, where SAD is at its height, depends almost entirely on aspen to produce paneling for walls and ceilings.
"We're struggling right now with the same thing all sawmills are facing because of the housing crunch," said owner Eric Sorenson. "Now with the trees dying, it's going to create more challenges."
Dale Bartos, aspen ecologist with the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Logan, Utah, is cautious about using climate-based forecasts to predict an end to aspen.
"I see aspen moving up and down the hillsides with climate change," he said. "As it dries out, we may see aspen on the lower end move up the hill. I don't think the answer is cut and dried."
Others foresee a grim outlook for a tree whose image has long been associated with the outdoors appeal of the West.
"What we think will happen is that aspen will disappear in some areas and there will not be anything we can do about it," said SAD expert Wayne Shepperd of Colorado State University.
A study by scientists with the federal Rocky Mountain Research Station in Moscow, Idaho presented just such a scenario. It predicted the near total disappearance of aspen in the Rocky Mountain region by 2090.
The research, to be published in Forest Ecology and Management, links ailing aspen to global climate change and concludes that up to 41 percent of Western forests would be unable to support aspen by 2030. That figure would rise to 75 percent by 2060 and as much as 94 percent in 2090.
Study co-author Gerald Rehfeldt said a combination of less rain and snow, the timing of precipitation and warmer summers would outstrip the tree's ability to colonize new areas.
Future forests may show an increase in evergreen seedlings as they encroach on areas once occupied by aspen. But aspen in other areas may also replace dying spruce and pine.
"Things are happening pretty quickly and that's what's scary," said Forest Service plant pathologist John Guyon.
(Editing by Alan Elsner and Peter Henderson)