WXXI AM News

Climate Change

Al Gore is back at the center of the climate conversation. Is that a good thing? Some progressives fear that Gore -- perhaps unintentionally -- turned the climate issue into a political debate. Pragmatically, they worry that he'll push more fence-sitters into the denial camp. But Gore's fans say that he has helped give the issue the urgency it requires. Our guests will discuss it:

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:

As a child, singer Bethany Yarrow was surrounded by a family of activists who loved folk music. That's because her father is Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary. As an adult, her musical tastes drifted to other genres, but eventually, she went back to her roots and was inspired by how folk music can convey important messages.

She and her partner, cellist Rufus Capadoccia, have performed and participated in demonstrations all over the world in support of causes like the environmental movement, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and more.

Yarrow is in town for a performance in the Finger Lakes, but first, she's our guest on Connections. We talk to her about her activism and music with meaning.

It has been almost two weeks since President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. What will it mean for our country?

Our guests weigh in on how the decision will affect the environment, the economy, diplomacy, and the future of alternative energy. In studio:

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 NYS Science Learning Standards go into effect in July. With that in mind, we're focusing on how climate change is taught in the classroom. While specific standards regarding climate change education don't come into effect until middle school, there is an expanding focus on climate itself, and weather, and ecosystems in earlier grades.

We explore the teaching, the training, and the consequences of kids not being climate literate. Our guests:

  • Lindsay Cray, executive director and co-founder of Earthworks Institute, and certified forest school instructor
  • Tiarra Worthington, earth science teacher at East High School, and mother of two
  • Chris Lajewski, director of the Montezuma Audubon Center
  • Cindy Culbert, homeschool educator, and mother of two

How is climate change impacting the wine industry? There's a growing view among casual observers that climate change is good for the Finger Lakes, bad for California. In reality, climate change is a problem for all wine growing regions. Yes, some wine regions might become too warm to produce high-quality wine grapes. But climate change is not simply about shifting temperature upward, and the complex changes could threaten livelihoods here in our region.

Our guests discuss the reality on the ground, and how the industry is trying to mitigate the effects.

In several billion years, the sun will run out of hydrogen at its core, and that will be game over for humans. So why are we so hung up on climate change? Well, in the event that you think it's worth protecting the planet for several billion more years, there are some things going on. Start with the recent policy changes and reversals from the Trump administration, from coal to clean energy to Paris. There are also a number of events going on this month.

Our panel discusses state and federal policy, recent developments, and the upcoming march, among other things. In studio:

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.

Last week, there was a meeting at the White House between the president's top economic adviser and a group of prominent Republicans proposing a carbon tax. The group, which includes three former Cabinet secretaries, calls itself the Climate Leadership Council. The members say that with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress, it's time for the party to get serious about climate change. They say their idea for a carbon tax is a way to return all revenue raised to the taxpayer. They think it's a pro-market solution to climate change. We discuss the idea with our guests:

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