Climate Change

Cornell is getting ready to host its annual Business, Enology and Viticulture Symposium. We have a conversation about the state of winemaking in a region that is dealing with everything from climate change to tightening resources.

What is the future of winemaking for the region? Our guests weigh in:

  • Anna Katharine Mansfield, associate professor of enology for Cornell AgriTech at the NY State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva
  • Hans Walter-Peterson, team leader and viticulture extension specialist with the Finger Lakes Grape Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Dave Wiemann, vineyard manager at Sheldrake Point Winery in Ovid, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake
  • Kelby Russell, head winemaker for Red Newt Cellars

The Doomsday Clock has just moved forward; we are now two minutes to midnight. Scientists created the clock in the 1940s as a way or demonstrating how close they think we are to the possible extinction of the mankind. Their predictions are based on threats of nuclear war, climate change, and more.

So why are we the closest to midnight since 1953? Our experts share their insight. Our guests:

  • Tom Weber, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester
  • Wes Renfro, chair of the Department of Political Science and Legal Studies at St. John Fisher College

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:

When you think about the effects of climate change, perhaps your mind goes to drastic weather events, air pollution, or rising sea levels, but what about threats to human health and nutrition?

Research shows that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are decreasing the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. This research isn't new. In fact, a small, but growing group of scientists has been stressing how CO2 can significantly impact plant growth and nutrition since the 1990s, but no one seemed to be listening. That’s all changing as more evidence becomes available.

We dive into some of the research, and discuss how climate change can affect our food supply and our health, both in the short and long term. Our guests:

  • Jane Andrews, nutrition and labeling manager for Wegmans Food Markets
  • Dr. Ted Barnett, M.D., founder and medical director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine; founder and board chair of the Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute; and co-coordinator of the Rochester Area Vegan Society
  • Sue Hughes-Smith, member of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition
  • Walter Nelson, horticulture program leader at Cornell Cooperative Extension 
  • Bob King, certified crop advisor with the American Society of Agronomy, and senior agriculture specialist in the Agriculture and Life Sciences Institute at Monroe Community College
  • Ruth Blackwell, owner of Mud Creek Farm

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.


Wegmans is experimenting with new, heartier produce, and new ways of growing it, on over 200 acres of organic farmland and orchards, and they plan to pass that knowledge on to local farmers.

On the top of a hill, on a plot overlooking Canandaigua Lake, Wegmans Organic Farm and Orchard is growing 1800 cherry tomato plants. Some varieties are more popular than others.

Nate August, the farm's manager, pulls at a golf-ball sized Sakura tomato. He says customers haven't been wild about these bigger varieties. Turn out, people like tinier tomatoes.

freeimages.com/Flavio Takemoto

The organization representing more than 600 public school boards across the state says how science is taught in the classroom will influence how a generation of students think about climate change.

Starting this fall, new standards for teaching science go into effect in New York.  They put a much more specific emphasis on the role of human activity in global warming.

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear an interview with Dave Albert, spokesman for the New York State School Boards Association.