People's Climate March Set for Sunday in New York City

Categories: Climate Crisis

The People's Climate March, scheduled to take place in Manhattan on Sunday, could be the biggest demonstration calling attention to climate change to date. At least, that's what activists like Bill McKibben, who urged supporters to converge on New York this coming weekend in a lengthy Rolling Stone piece published this summer, are hoping.

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Bloomberg Unleashes Plan to Guide City Into Climate-Changing Future

Categories: Climate Crisis

Rendering of a proposed levee at South Beach included in the mayor's presentation.
On Tuesday, the Bloomberg administration released its long-awaited resiliency plan to shape up a city that will see a quarter of its land become floodplain in the next 40 years.

The city had a comparatively early start on climate planning--in 2007, it came out with PlaNYC, a set of recommendations to deal with population growth and climate change over the following 23 years. But as climate projections became increasingly severe, the city's badly outdated, 100-year-old flood maps largely stayed the same. And then Sandy hit, wrecking the city in an unprecedented natural disaster.

The next New York City mayor will adopt an ongoing crisis. The New York City Panel on Climate Change estimates that sea levels will rise two-and-a-half feet by midcentury, along with increasing frequency of Frankenstein storms like Sandy--which is estimated to cost the city as much as $90 billion by 2050. Here's a quick set of highlights out of the new game plan, along with how they'll change our built environment over the next several decades.

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The Mayor's "Carbon Challenge" Picks Up Ten Major Corporations

Thankfully, companies are much nicer with Bloomberg when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions than they are with banning soda.

In 2007, the Mayor announced the "Carbon Challenge;" an initiative from PlaNYC - the city's sustainability program - that dares any organization in New York to lower its carbon emissions by 30 percent over the next decade. In the last six years, almost every university, hospital and municipal building in the city has hopped on the pro-Earth bandwagon. And, yesterday, Bloomberg added ten more (recognizable) names to the list.

You might've heard of these guys. American International Group, BlackRock, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Google, JetBlue Airways, JPMorgan Chase, PVH and Bloomberg's little company, Bloomberg LP? All together, these conglomerates take up 17 million square feet of residency in New York. "Their leadership on this issue is not only going to move our city toward a more sustainable future; we also hope it will inspire others to follow suit," the Mayor commented.

Let's give credit where credit is due: that's a ton of ozone we're saving here.


After Sandy, Bill McKibben's "Do The Math" Campaign Targets Fossil Fuel Companies

Categories: Climate Crisis

Bill McKibben touring his Do The Math campaign in New York Friday.
"Do The Math," the new campaign from climate change activist Bill McKibben and his organization, was conceived well before Hurricane Sandy wrought widespread destruction on New York City and the surrounding area. The first date in McKibbens national tour was weeks before Sandy made landfall.

But Sandy was clearly at the forefront of McKibben's appeal to the New Yorkers who filled the Hammerstein Ballroom Friday to hear him lay out the latest battle plan in his fight against climate change.

"Y'all should not have had to go through what you had to go through with Sandy," McKibben told the crowd at the outset, claiming that if only the world had listened to him when he began talking about climate change more than 20 years ago, the devastation of the hurricane might have been averted.

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Q and A: Michael Lemonick On Global Weirdness, Climate Change, And How To Talk About Science

Michael Lemonick
Michael Lemonick
Michael Lemonick is a former senior science writer at Time Magazine, the senior staff writer at Climate Central, and the lead author of Global Weirdness, a new book that attempts to lay out, in simple terms, what scientists do and don't know about climate change. We spoke with him this week about climate change and his approach to science journalism.

Why did you write Global Weirdness?

Thomas Friedman wrote this column bemoaning the harsh rhetoric back and forth about climate change -- all the conflicting information people were sending out and how confusing it all was. He said that the world's greatest climate experts should sit down in a room and write a 50-page book that explains what we know and how we know it in language a sixth-grader could understand.

At Climate Central, we were interested, because the idea was very much in keeping our mission, which is to steer clear of rhetoric and hype and be faithful to the science and just talk about what climate science is telling us and be honest about what we don't know and admit uncertainties where they exist.

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2010 Was the Hottest, Wettest Year on Record

[Insert joke here.] No, but seriously. 2010 ties with 2005 as "the hottest year in the historical record," while also taking home the glory of being the wettest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual teleconference. How can it be both hot and wet? It might be that warm air can hold more water, or it might be something else, say the scientists, but either way, temperature and precipitation were above average. Also, this is definitely a "trend": It's the "34th consecutive year with temperatures above the 20th century average." [via NPR]

Katie Couric's Weather Report: All Wet (When It Comes to Climate Change)

On Monday night, Katie Couric swung from CBS's coverage of the oil spill to the Tennessee floods by saying she was moving "from a man-made disaster to a natural one." That's one big and unproven assumption. How does Couric know that the worst Tennessee flooding in history has nothing to do with man-induced climate change?

Couric was just succumbing to the presumption of virtually all weather reporting in America, which has never adapted to the overwhelming scientific consensus about warming and the extreme weather events that go with it, starting with every form of aggravated precipitation.

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Empire State Building Goes Dark Tonight as New York Observes Earth Hour

The Empire State Building will be shutting off its lights tonight for an hour at 8:30 in observation of Global Earth Hour 2010. Earth Hour is an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, which asks "individuals, schools, organizations, businesses and governments" to turn off or dim their lights for an hour tonight in support of action on climate change. Last year, 4,000 cities in 87 countries went dark, including 318 US cities. The WWF estimates that 80 million Americans participated. This year, New York State has signed on, and so has Brooklyn. Oddly, given our mayor's well-known green tendencies, the city doesn't appear to be directly involved.

Other local landmarks taking part: the Citigroup Center, the Coca-Cola Billboard in Times Square, the Chrysler Building, the New York Life building, the Time Warner Center, The New York Public Library, 7 World Trade Center and the other Silverstein Properties buildings, The Helmsley Building and other Monday Properties buildings, the Grand Hyatt New York, and 39 Broadway theaters.

Bill de Blasio to Landlords: You'll Be in Hot Water if Your Tenants Aren't

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is warning that he wants to more than double the fines for New York City landlords who don't heat their buildings for more than five days in a row.

In 2008, there were 230,000 lack-of-heating complaints logged by the city, and tenants commonly take such dangerous measures as leave their gas stoves on all night.

Of course, there are the exceptions, like the scattered artists and hipsters who purposely leave their heat off for the whole winter — for aesthetic reasons or just because it's, like, really, really cool.

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President Obama's To Do List: Everything

Fresh from giving the Dead-To-Me-Fredo treatment to Governor Paterson (the Daily News's headline today may as well have said "Piss Off, You!") and anointing Andrew Cuomo the new golden child of Democratic politics in New York, President Obama has nothing less on his plate today than changing the entire world.

The Times printed his schedule this morning, and there's hardly a minute to take a breath. He's already wrapped up a global climate change conference in which he drew sharp contrasts between his illustrious predecessor and himself by, well, giving a crap about the situation. He's also pushing to get emerging economic powerhouses India and China on board in an urgent push to fight climate change. Tall order, to say the least.

That's followed by a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas -- separately then together. Then lunch with African heads of state and a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

It all wraps up with the Global Initiative hosted by Bill Clinton -- who's now joined the president in suggesting that Governor Paterson "do the right thing" -- and dinner at the United Nations.

If they're going to shut down traffic all across town, isn't it good to at least know that it's probably worth the aggravation.