WXXI AM News

climate

We talk to Rochester Youth Climate Leaders about their recent Earth Day Summit. The students join us to share what they learned, what they hope to achieve with local environmental efforts, and their climate priorities.

In studio:

  • Linden Burack, 8th grade student at School of the Arts and Rochester Youth Climate Leader
  • Benny Smith, 11th grade student at Brighton High School and Rochester Youth Climate Leader
  • Hridesh Singh, 10th grade student at Brighton High School and Rochester Youth Climate Leader
  • Terry Smith, head of the Harley School’s Lower School
  • Cassidy Putney, co-founder and director of sustainability and communications for Impact Earth
  • Evan Zachary, director of Flower City Pickers

On January 23, the Trump administration imposed a 30 percent tariff on solar cells and modules made abroad. President Trumps says the move will increase U.S. manufacturing of solar equipment and create jobs. Since the tariff was imposed, one Chinese solar company has announced it will build a plant in Florida. While plans for the plant were in the works prior to the Trump administration's announcement, the company said it "continues to closely monitor treatment of imports of solar cells and modules under the U.S. trade laws."

Some say this is an early victory under the tariff, but critics say the move will harm the solar industry in the U.S. According to research conducted by Greentech Media, the tariff could result in an 11 percent decrease of installations over the next four years, and lead to tens of thousands of job losses.

Our guests weigh in on the issue and answer your questions about solar. In studio:

One year into the Trump presidency, climate activists are taking their efforts to the statewide level. So what are their priorities for New York State in 2018? Here’s one idea: In New York, activists and advocates say that many of the vital technologies – the ones that would update and improve our outdated energy grid – can not be deployed at a meaningful scale. How can we change that? Our guest:

A fresh look at LED lighting challenges ideas as to whether it’s better for the environment. A recent piece published by Gizmodo argues that the benefits of LED lighting – energy efficiency and reduced costs – could lead to more lighting overall. It’s called the rebound effect, and there’s disagreement over the impact it may have. Some scientists say that concerns about the rebound effect are overblown. They argue that more efficient technology reduces threats to the environment; so, even if the world is getting brighter, it’s become brighter using less energy.

We break down the facts, and look at common household items and their impact on climate. Our guests:

What can we do on a daily basis to help mitigate the effects of climate change? That's the focus of the upcoming New York Climate Solutions Summit.

We discuss a number of solutions and how to implement them, including using electric vehicles, clean energy, and more. Our guests:

Sustainability is a word we hear often in the news and as we discuss subjects like climate change, but if you were asked to define sustainability, what exactly would you say? 

The authors of a new book argue that most people understand how important sustainability is, but few can define it. Randall Curren is a professor at the University of Rochester, and he's one of the co-authors of a book called Living Well Now and in the Future: Why Sustainability Matters. The book explains the obstacles that prevent us from being more sustainable, and offers some ideas for how to create opportunities to live better together now and ensure other generations live well in the future.

We talk about fossil fuel use, transportation, meat consumption, climate change, public policy, and more with author Randall Curren.

Rochester City Council endorsed the city’s Climate Action Plan in May. The plan’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2010 levels by 2030.

We discussed the draft plan in November when the document was available for public comment. Now that the plan has been approved, members of local climate action groups say their input was not taken into full consideration. They want more information about how the plan will be enacted: How will programs be funded? Will the plan create jobs? Will it impact the city’s poverty issues?

Last month, Mayor Lovely Warren  joined the Mayors National Climate Change Agenda, which has pledged to strengthen local efforts to protect the environment. We discuss how the Climate Action Plan fits in with this goal and if proposed efforts will have enough of an impact on combating climate change. Our guests:

Steve Curwood is the host and executive producer of Living on Earth. His pilot of the show aired in the 1990, and now, 27 years later, he says the majority of the climate issues that he addressed on that first program -- the state of the oceans, energy choices, environmental justice -- have become more significant problems. Curwood says the only issue that has improved is the public understanding of climate change. 

This hour, Curwood joins us for a conversation about social equity, climate resilience, and green development in Rochester. Our guests:

The March for Science happened this past weekend in Washington, and around the world. Scientists from all manner of fields declared their desire to do their work without politicization. Of course, critics said the entire idea was political. But the Trump administration has been openly hostile to several basic, scientific ideas. So where does that leave science in the United States? Our guests:

  • David Williams, professor of optics and biomedical engineering, and dean for research in arts, sciences and engineering at the University of Rochester
  • Matthew Hoffman, associate professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences at RIT
  • Jason Szymanski, assistant professor of chemistry and geosciences at Monroe Community College
  • Adam Rich, associate professor of biology at the College at Brockport
  • Stephanie Gallant, chair of the organizing committee for the Rochester March for Science

The trouble with running the earth is that we don't get to do it twice.

In his new book, Earth in Human Hands, astrobiologist David Grinspoon lays out the scientific evidence for the human impact on our planet... as well as an idea for what we can do to protect it going forward. It's a book layered with data, humor, storytelling, and a scientifically informed set of ideas about what comes next. Grinspoon is not a doomsayer, even though he presents all kinds of troubling possibilities. He views this moment in time as a great possibility. 

We discuss his book and how he sees the future of Earth.

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