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TALK WITH AN EXPERT: Melissa Capria, Climate Action Coordinator, San Fran. Dept. of Environment
9 years ago
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This discussion with guest expert Melissa Capria will start on Thursday, July 6th.  Feel free to post questions, but keep in mind that answers may not start arriving until after 9 or 10 a.m. PCT.  In the meantime, please learn about Melissa and the organization whe works with, the San Francisco Department of Environment.

thanks!
Justin & Care2

Melissa Capria, Climate Action Coordinator, San Francisco Department of Environment

Melissa joined the Department of Environment’s Energy Division as the Climate Action Coordinator in September 2005. In 2002 the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) established an aggressive greenhouse gas reduction target of 20% below 1990 levels by 2012. In 2004 CCSF released the San Francisco Climate Action Plan. The Plan identifies emission reduction strategies that will help CCSF reach the GHG reduction target. As Climate Action Coordinator, Melissa is responsible for tracking the City’s progress in its climate protection work and coordinating activities to achieve significant reductions.

Prior to joining the Department Capria worked for five years at ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability on ICLEI’s flagship campaign Cities for Climate Protection (CCP). As Senior Program Officer at ICLEI’s US office in Oakland, CA, she managed a wide variety of projects including working with the Cities of Chicago and New York to measure GHG emissions and reductions; the recruitment of dozens of new CCP participants; the hiring, training and supervision of teams of graduate interns placed directly with local governments; and representation of the US Office of ICLEI at national and international forums.  As part of ICLEI’s technical assistance team, Melissa provided software training, technical assistance and policy assistance to the local governments participating in the CCP around the United States.

Melissa has also worked for the Sierra Club and Greenpeace. She has a B.A. in Political Science from the State University of New York at Oneonta, and a Master’s in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

9 years ago
Melissa, what's your view on the role of a green tax shift in regulating emissions? Can it alone solve our problems?
9 years ago
20% reduction, that's a good start! Keep up the good work and know that you have supporters!
48 Hours Left - Chance to Triple Your Donation Fight Global Warming
9 years ago
An email I received this morning from Environmental Defense

From :     Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense <TakeAction@environmentaldefense.org>
Reply-To :     notice-reply-8wbginzl535x7m@actionnetwork.org
Sent :     Thursday, July 6, 2006 8:48 AM
Subject :     48 Hours Left - Last Chance to Triple Your Donation
    
*************************************
Just 48 hours left to triple your support for our Fight Global
Warming campaign.

If you donate before midnight tomorrow night, every $1 you
donate will be matched with an additional $2 gift!

Donate now: http://actionnetwork.org/ct/y7avsB11imIc/.
*************************************

Dear Patricia,

You have 48 hours left to donate to our summer match campaign
and help us reach our $150,000 goal to meet our ambitious
agenda to fight global warming.

Longtime friend and trustee Robert W. Wilson has offered to
match your online donation 2-for-1. That means every $1 you
give will translate into $3 to our Fight Global Warming
campaign.

Donate now and your donation will be matched 2-for-1:
http://actionnetwork.org/ct/hdavsB11imI4/.

Your donation will help us keep pressure on Congress to cut
America's global warming pollution.

Momentum is building on Capitol Hill, including new support for
a bill that would limit global warming pollution from America's
power plants. This is an important step, but we must keep the
pressure on Congress to cut all sources of global warming
pollution.

Outside the Beltway, our "Make the Switch" campaign is helping
individuals make a difference by encouraging households to
switch old-style incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient
compact fluorescent bulbs.

We already have 100,000 bulbs pledged, which translates to
preventing more than 100 million pounds of global warming
pollution. That's the equivalent of taking 6,200 Cadillac
Escalades off the road for a year!

Our goal is to swap out 1 million bulbs this year, reducing our
nation's global warming pollution by 1.3 billion pounds. But we
need your help to get the word out to every American.

And, for the next 48 hours, our longtime friend Robert W. Wilson
will give $2 for every $1 you donate online:
http://actionnetwork.org/ct/n1avsB11imIv/.

Hurricane Katrina gave us a terrible glimpse of what the future
will hold if we do not take action now to cut global warming
pollution: warmer oceans, stronger storms, devastating flooding
and more.

And we are seeing what may be other early indicators of global
warming: a killer heat wave in 2003 led to more than 30,000
deaths in Europe ... millions of acres of Canadian and Alaskan
forests are being decimated by insects that are thriving thanks
to warmer winters ... bleaching of coral reefs in the Caribbean
has reached record levels ... and the drowned bodies of polar
bears have been found along the coast of Alaska.

With your help, we are making progress, but we need to keep up
the pressure for global warming action. This is a historic
effort - a race against time to avert the worst of global
warming's devastation.

And, for the next 48 hours, every $1 you give will be worth
$3: http://actionnetwork.org/ct/npavsB11imIg/.

Thank you,
Fred Krupp, President
--------------------------------------------------
Hi Melissa, it sounds as if you are doing a great job!!!!!!!!!
9 years ago

Hi Melissa,

     Thank you for taking your time to talk to Care2.com.  It looks like you are going to be a great asset to CCSF.  Good luck in your endeavors to help take care of this situation.

what you can do personally to help solve the climate crisis
9 years ago
From "An Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore

For more information and electronic text please see:

www.climatecrisis.net

Here's what you can do personally to help solve the climate crisis.

You can calculate your "carbon footprint" at the website. How much greenhouse gas do you personally contribute to the climate crisis?

Ways to save energy at home:

1.  Choose energy efficient light like compact fluorescent bulbs.
2. Choose "Energy Star" appliances when purchasing new appliances.
3. Properly operate and maintain your appliances.
     (vacuum your refrigeration coils, turn off the drying element and run dishwasher only when full)
4.  Heat and cool your house efficiently, use a programmable thermostat.
5. Insulate your house.
6. Get a home energy audit.
7. Conserve hot water by turning your water heater down to 120 degrees.
8. Turn off all appliances when not in use.  Unplug computers, tv's, dvd's, phone and other battery chargers     when not in use to cut down on standby power waste.
9. Switch to green power renewable energy.  
    If this is not practical, you can purchase it directly from Puget Sound Energy, minimum $4 and up in     increments of $2.   http://www.pse.com/solutions/home_greenPower.aspx
or check your own energy supplier's website.

Around town
1. Get around on less by reducing the number of miles you drive.  Walk, Bike, Take the bus, Carpool.
2. When you do drive, refuel the car after sundown to cut down on leaked gas fumes,  especially in smog.
3. Make your next vehicle purchase a more efficient one.  Hybrids, Alternative fuels, fuel cell vehicles.
    See the DOE Green Vehicle Guide www.epa.gov/autoemissions or www.fueleconomy.gov

In general

1. Consume less, conserve more.
    Buy less, buy things that last,
    Buy more used merchandise at thrift shops
    pre-cycle - reduce waste before you buy - recycle,
    reuse (paper both sides), canvas bags for groceries, compost, carry a refillable bottle for water
    eat less meat
    buy local produce and goods (less emissions from transportation.)
    buy good with large post-consumer recycle content.
    Purchase offsets to neutralize your remaining emissions -  "carbon credits"
        www.ecobusinesslinks.com/carbon_offset_wind_credits_carbon_reduction.htm

2. Learn more about climate change and its effects
    Pass your information on to others
    Encourage businesses, schools and churches to reduce emissions
    Vote with your dollars by buying brands at places that are making efforts to reduce emissions.
    Consider the impacts of you financial investments.   www.socialinvest.org
    Take political action - make sure your government (local to national) is reducing emissions
    http://www.coolcities.com/
    Support an environmental group.

3. Check your local government for their recycling and waste reduction brochures.
    Teach your friends and neighbors the proper way to recycle and how to dispose of hazardous wastes.


The general coolcities link is http://www.coolcities.us/
9 years ago
The general coolcities link is http://www.coolcities.us/
Sorry the .com link is just for Michigan.
Green Tax Shift
9 years ago

Hi Freediver F.,

I think a green tax shift would be an extremely powerful tool in addressing climate change (as well as many other environmental problems) but I don't think there is any single solution. For example before we could achieve a broad shift in our nation's taxes (I'm talking US here), such that those laws are not at odds with environmental goals, enough people would have to be educated and convinced on why the shift is needed and this would be in the face of lots of money being thrown into campaigns to distort peoples understanding of it (as happened with Clinton's energy tax in 1993). So you also need to combine that with an effective education campaign (and I don't think thirty second sound bites would do it).

On the local level cities can excersize a certain amount of control over these things, and they are, for instance the congestion charge in downtown London, which has had a significant impact on emissions, but that in itself is not enough because you also have to provide an alternative to people, in the London example it is their superb transit system.

By the way- cool photo- what kind of fish is that? Have you noticed anything in terms of climate impacts through your freediving experiences?

Melissa

"Global dimming"
9 years ago
I've heard some rumors about this phenomenon but I don't actually know much about it or its implications for our policy choices. What I've heard is that pollutants in the atmosphere reflect some sunlight back out and that this may be masking some of the effects of GHGs--for example this report suggests that the halt in air traffic after 9/11 caused a pretty significant rise in temperatures.

First question: is there much talk about global dimming in the scientific & activist communities working on global warming? Is it something we need to be worried about? Finally, if a lot of clean sources of energy are reducing pollutants that might contribute to global dimming along with the GHGs, could they actually cause an increase in global temperatures if we're not careful?

Question for Melissa
9 years ago

Hello,

My question is, why can't neighborhood personal Tesla energy generators that utilize no resources but that produce enough power for 6 or 7 homes be distributed and put into place? I've seen them. They do not pollute, they are efficient and would solve a huge array of problems, including the problems of dead birds created by the wind generator farms in California and Texas and wherever else those are located. Bottom line is they would eventually put many of the power companies almost out of business while reducing the dependency on fossil fuels.

It's all about padding the pockets of the big corporations, I know, but if the Teslas were put into place quietly, one neighborhood at a time, slowly disconnecting homes from the grid, what could they do about it?

Let's make this work.

Thanks

Vic Reichmann

Doing our part
9 years ago
My cousin lives in SF and she rides her bike everywhere she goes.  She and the rest of my family believe we can make a difference in everything we do from recycling to Pub trans/car pooling and so on...and as a matter of fact my parents are buying a second Prius.  Sacramento's close enough to SF, besides my father drives to Vacaville M-F.
Hi and welcome
9 years ago
Did you know that the Stockholm system for innercity traffic reduction has become a great success with the people? I look forward to more world wide collaboration on the city-to-city level.

Which would you say are the greatest obstacles to a greener way of life in the cities?
What if the city would help out and make the conversion of existing cars to ethanol easier - in Sweden handy persons can do it themselves for less than 100 $. It is not illegal here, but it still needs a solid system of surveillance - to check the emissions and the safety of the conversion... I think an environmental friendly city could make that check free of charge!
Many cities would have much more room for trees (my own home town is full of bushes, which take a lot of space and feels unsafe in many surroundings) - have you any targets there: likeplanting ten trees for every citizen every year?
Do you see possibilities or obstacles here? (I do hope the former naturally !)
I wish you all the best in your very important job, it will have a global impact!

9 years ago

HELLO MY FELLLING ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING THE FACT IS THAT THE GORVERMENET IS THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN STOP THIS BECAUSE IT IS UP TO MAN MANNLY BUT IF MAN DOES NOT STOP IT GOD WILL THREW HIS PLANS FOR HE SAID IN HIS WORD THAT HE WILL DESTROY DOES THAT DESTROY THE EARTH SO LETS PRAY FOR HE WORKS THIS WAY ONLY OUR PLAYERS WILL WORK THERE IS NOTHING ELSE THAT WILL WORK FOR US THE GOVERMENT IS NOT GOING TO HELP UNLESS WE PRAY FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO CHANGE ITS WAYS SO LETS CONSIDERED PRAYING TO GOD AS THE WAY TO DEAL WITH THESE ESSHOES GOD BLESS GOOD DAY.

Global Dimming Question
9 years ago

Hi Lesley M,

Good question- global dimming is beyond the rumor stage and yes you do hear significant discussion around it by the scientific community that is working on climate change, not as much on it from the activist community but that may be due to the fact that most people don't fully understand the basics of climate change yet so they don't want to introduce a concept that can lead to greater confusion.

Before answering your main question I want to point you to a link on the website www.realclimate.org which gives some more detailed background on the topic and how climate models are incorporating these effects:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/global-dimming-and-climate-models/#more-292

I have found Realclimate to be a great source of information on current scientific developments in the climate change world, minus the politics of it.

As to your larger question of whether you need to be worried about it, if by that you mean - should we reconsider taking actions that cut down on those pollutants (aerosols) that cause global dimming then no, don't worry about it in that sense. Yes there may be some more immediate warming that we experience (like the studies around air traffic and 911 show), but  keep in mind that those aerosols are also a pollutant on there own and it would be a temporary band aid (too small for the wound) that also brings with it poor air quality in the traditional sense.

Melissa

9 years ago

I haven't been freediving long enough to notice any differences. I think that the natural cycles (daily, yearly etc) tend to overwhelm the changes from global warming. Every time I get in the water it is different.

It's a mulloway, aka jewfish, 22kg.

I hadn't heard about Clinton's energy tax before. Do you have any good links or references about it?

Prayer
9 years ago

I do agree that prayer is the answer but, maybe if you put it better and not in capitals it may get more peoples attention.  One only has to look at the book of Revelations to see that the climate change is definately in God's plan and is a sign that the end is coming.

It always makes me laugh that weather men think they can forecast the weather, but really they cannot because God changes the weather therefore it cannot be forecast.  If the forecast says cold God may want hot weather.  Men make mistakes, but God is perfect.

Yes I agree that prayer is an important element of the climate, but also that does not mean that man should not do his bit.  Yes a lot of the damage has been done, but we can still help towards making the world a better place.  Prayer does help, but also we need to make individual changes.

Bill and Linda Gates
9 years ago
I want to know how to ask Bill GATES if hes willing to donate a Billion $s in the name of Warren Buffet to put back a little to REPLENISH what they withdrew to make their BILLIONS FROM MOTHER NATURE and if they know what that it would make a GIGANTIC impact on the WHOLE WORLD ? Could he ?, shouldn't He ? Will he ?...
Bill and Linda Gates
9 years ago
I want to know how to ask Bill GATES if hes willing to donate a Billion $s in the name of Warren Buffet to put back a little to REPLENISH what they withdrew to make their BILLIONS FROM MOTHER NATURE and if they know what that it would make a GIGANTIC impact on the WHOLE WORLD ? Could he ?, shouldn't He ? Will he ?...
The Tesla Question
9 years ago

Hi Vic-

Two points I want to make in response to your posting. First on the Tesla machine, I don't know this technology, and I have some real doubts about whether such a machine is possible but if you know of one that's working and producing energy without fuel for several homes then figuring out how to get it into the mainstream is a worthwhile pursuit.

On the windmills and bird front- there has been some problems with wind machines being poorly located in migratory routes of birds, but that is not something that is happening currently and the technology has been modified to address this issue. One common thing that you hear to put that issue into perspective is that housecats kill more birds than windmills do. So lets give wind power a fair shake- it's going to be extremely important to our response to climate change.

Lastly, I like your closing, thats the right attitude, lets make this work.

Melissa

Stockholm, cities, biofuels and trees
9 years ago

Hi Doris,

I don't know about Stockholm's intercity traffic system, but its not surprising that there are succesfull measures being taking there. I'm sure you know this but others may not- Sweden (the entire country!) has committed to be oil free in the next 15 years, check out:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4694152.stm

I find that very inspiring. Also inspiring is the fact that a lot of cities have actually been working on climate change for more than ten years now, for some reason that work has gone somewhat under the radar but you are hearing more and more about it. Take a look at the website for ICLEI and the Cities for Climate Protection campaign if you want to get an idea of what has been happening on this front globally (I did work for ICLEI before coming to SF so apologies if this seems too much like a plug): www.iclei.org/ccp

Biggest obstacles for cities really depends on which city you are talking about, but I think this is the same reason that working with cities is so interesting, each one has its own unique characteristics that you need to consider to be succesfull. For instance if you are in a place without a lot of political support for working on the issue, than grassroots activism may be the most important thing upfront. If you are in a place like SF that has political support and people and businesses that are willing to take measures to address climate change than it becomes about using scarce resources wisely, cooperating, and establishing goals that push the limits but are still acheivable.

On trees and biofuels- SF does have a fledgling biodiesel effort- this year we have started a pilot project at one of the fire stations, and some of the impetus came more from concerns about indoor air quality with fire trucks idling in the stations rather than climate change- which is a good illustration of cobenefits to actions that help reduce ghg emissions. biodiesel is tricky though because depending on how its produced the lifecycle emissions associated with it can vary widely.

On trees the Mayor has committed to planting 25,000 new trees over the next five years and ultimatly we would like to increase our canopy coverage which is at an underwhelming 11.9% right now.

Melissa

Volcanic Eruptions vs. Automobile Polution
9 years ago

Hi Mellisa,

This may not be the proper forum to search for an answer to counter the following arguement, but maybe you can direct me to a source that might enlighten me.  In a recent exchange on the subject of global warming, I was presented with the following assertion as evidence that global warming suffers no significant perturbations due to man's activities:

All of the carbon emissions from all of the internal combustion engines that have ever existed do not equal the emission of one major volcanic erruption.  Thus, the man argued, keep on driving the SUVs and flying the jet planes because non of our energy consuming behaviors will be enough to affect global climate! 

It is statements like this that can lead to confusion and, I suppose, support policies that do not address energy conservation issues. 

Thanks,

Tom

John D and Melissa H
9 years ago

Melissa H's point on people doing our part is really key, and a growing number Religious leaders are starting to organize around climate change. I was at a press coference last week where a group of Religous leaders actually endorsed Californa legislation (AB32) to set a mandatory cap on GHGs. Take a look at Interfaith Power and Light's website if you are interested in gettng some help with engaging your faith community on climate change:

www.interfaithpowerandlight.org

9 years ago
Tom, a major volcanic eruption could plunge the world into darkness, wipe out most species, start a new ice age (overnight) etc. It's a bit of a moot point really. A large asteroid could do even more damage. The fact that a mega volcanoe is more destructive doesn't mean that anything less destructive is not destructive.
Volcanoes and the '93 energy tax
9 years ago

Hi Freediver - A cool site on presidents is americanpresidency.org - here is a link to an address on the Energy Tax that Clinton gave (their are quite a few so if you search the site for this topic you'll be in good shape):

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=46599

Tom H - On volcanoes, that claim is one that comes up now and again, although I don't think I have heard it put quite that way with one volcanic eruption equalling all the emissions from vehicles ever emitted. First point to make with this person is that volcanic eruptions lead to a slight cooling because the volcanic particles actually reflect sunlight (like the masking from the global dimming phenomena discussed earlier) and second these aerosols only stay in the atmosphere for a relatively short period unlike the major GHGs, CO2 for example which can stay in the atmosphere for up to 100 years. Here is a good article on the NASA site that talks about volcanos and the sun as drivers of climate change in the pre-industrial period that might be helpfull to you:

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/shindell_07/

Melissa

RE: VOLCANOS AND COOLING
9 years ago

Thanks, Mellisa,

I will arm myself with new-found knowledge, not a bad thing!!

Tom

Anonymous
Hi Melissa
9 years ago
Aside from making personal changes in my lifestyle. What can I do to address the less personal but more serious issues such as daily commutes witch are a serious problem in the Bay Area. Many people are driving over 2 hours a day to get to work and the problem is just as bad down south. Do you think 20% reduction of emissions is enough, shouldn't we aim higher? And then there are those who "JUST DONT BELIVE IN GLOBAL WARMING!"  It gets frustrating especially when I feel I'm doing all I can, I just want to do more politically, locally, globally. Are we doing enough, I'm not so sure.
Opposing viewpoints series : Global Warming
9 years ago
I ran across an earlier  (1997) version of this in the library. Many libraries have the series.

Opposing Viewpoints
Global Warming

Published by Greenhaven Press

http://www.galegroup.com/

search for opposing viewpoints

in the results 126-150 of 334

Opposing Viewpoints Series

    *
      Global Warming (paperback edition)
    * Published by Greenhaven Press

Most scientists agree that temperatures near the surface of the Earth appear to be increasing, but there is controversy about what this warming might mean. This volume explores the controversy.

Is it a potentially catastrophic event caused by humans, or simply a natural and harmless fluctuation such as Earth has seen before? Should governments take steps, including those described by the Kyoto Protocols, to slow down Global Warming -- and would these steps be effective?

    * Published/Released: February 2006
    * ISBN: 0-7377-2936-8
    * DDC: 363.738
    * Product number: 198274
    * Shipping Weight: 1.00 lbs (0.45 kgs)

Price: US $23.70


many other topics are very interesting
Acting locally
9 years ago
Hi, Melissa!  I just wanted to ask what people can do locally in order to help make a difference in Global Warming.  I've signed petitions, emailed representatives and senators, I recycle all I can, we use as little electricity as possible, buy post-consumer recycled goods if available... what else can we do?

Thanks for being here to field everyone's questions!

Hazel


Day 2 of Chat with Melissa Capria, Climate Action Coordinator, San Fran. Dept. of Environment
9 years ago
Welcome back to the conversation about how to stop global warming!  Thanks again to Melissa Capria for donating her time to answer questions for the Care2 community. Thanks for all the great questions from Care2 members.

Today's discussion will continue to focus on this topic:  Cities, Climate Change and You.

As mentioned yesterday, Melissa is on the west coast and may not respond until after 9 a.m. PCT.  Feel free to post questions in the meantime, and if you want to receive alerts in your email when new posts are up in the discussion, you can "track this topic."

thanks,
Justin & Care2

 
Cures and preventative steps
9 years ago

So we have a cure for the present condition like planting trees, growing plants, seeding clouds to soak up CO2.  Any other cures, chemical reactions in the atmosphere, etc that scientists know about?

And we have prevention of further greenhouse gas emissions like going off of petrol cars and coal power plants.  Any further preventative steps society can take?

9 years ago
What are the influences from global warming and pollution on our health, and are there actions how to maintain the healthcare system when always more people will get sick of environmental influences?
Local things you can do and long commutes
9 years ago

Hi Zahra-

You put your finger on one of the toughest nuts to crack- our modern world has been structured around the idea that jumping in a car (frequently solo) to drive long distances on a regular basis is just a normal part of existence. In the Bay Area this is really tricky because many people that work in SF live outside of the City, often for economic reasons. So short of moving what can you do? First thing to explore is transit- train, bus, ferry - the Bay Area does have an extensive network and there are commuter benefits that the federal government provides which can allow you to pay for your transit with pre tax dollars (check with your employer to see if they offer this and if they don't then encourage them too, its saves them money on payroll taxes). Other options for cutting down impact of your commute include buying the most efficient vehicle that you can, carpooling, telecommuting and lastly if you can afford to you could offset your transportation emissions through programs like DriveNeutral or Terrapass.

The 20% target comes due in 2012, this is a first step (similar to the much maligned Kyoto which also comes due in 2012). The ecological imperative presented by climate change  is that we need to reduce our emission 70 or 80% below what they were in 1990 by mid century. We have 40 years - a lot can happen in that time.

Hazel - sounds like you are doing alot, one thing you didn't mention is buying local goods- all the transporting of goods around the planet has a huge emissions impact- take a few minutes when you are buying things to check where they are coming from. Another thing I would say is just talking to people (kids in particular) about climate change is important, a lot of people still don't realize what a serious problem this is and that there are some easy things they can do right away.

vegetarianism and GHGs
9 years ago

http://www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/whatyoucando/index4.html

recommends eating less meat as one of the actions people can take to reduce the amount of GHGs.

However,

http://www.earthsave.org/globalwarming.htm

- and -

http://www.earthsave.org/environment/foodchoices.htm

recommend eliminating meat comsumption entirely by adopting a vegetarian diet and lifestyle - stating that we can do more to reduce GHGs by eliminating meat consumption, than by any other action we can take.

I'm not saying we shouldn't do any of the other actions to reduce GHGs - we should be doing all of them - what I'm saying is, if adopting a meat-free lifestyle is so critical - then why is vegetarianism - as a valuable climate-saving, environment-saving action - so overlooked and underpromoted by many climate change and environmental organizations???

"The conclusion is simple: arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Simply by going vegetarian (or, strictly speaking, vegan) we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today.

Also, polls show that concern about global warming is widespread, and environmental activists often feel helpless to do anything about it. Unless they happen to be buying a car or major appliance, most people wanting to make a difference are given little to do aside from writing their legislators and turning off their lights. Reducing or eliminating meat consumption is something concerned citizens can do every day to help the planet.

Recommendations:
1) Organizations should consider making advocating vegetarianism a major part of their global warming campaigns. At a minimum, environmental advocates should mention vegetarianism in any information about actions individuals can take to address global warming. 2)Government policy should encourage vegetarian diets. Possible mechanisms include an environmental tax on meat similar to one already recommended on gasoline, a shift in farm subsidies to encourage plant agriculture over animal agriculture, or an increased emphasis on vegetarian foods in government-run programs like the school lunch program or food stamps." -- http://www.earthsave.org/globalwarming.htm

Thank you,

-- TML

cures, prevention and health
9 years ago

Hi Douglas and Marc,

Douglas I'd have to disagree that we have a cure for the present situation- there are actions that we can take to reduce the impacts of climate change but we are not going to be able to undue the damage we have bought for ourselves by planting trees (although that will help)- more importantly I want to caution against solutions that border on planetary engineering like seeding clouds or iron filings in the oceans- what we really need to do is to reduce our emissions down to a point sufficient to keep us from reaching a threshold that we can't return from (this is when you start getting to things like 20ft sea level rise and semi-permanent El Nino type conditions). But we will have to accept a certain amount of warming from what we have already put in the atmosphere.

Marc - there have been some really good studies of health impacts that Paul Epstein at the Boston Public Health Commision has done that will give you a sense of what cities are going to have to deal with on the health front due to climate change. Take a look at this one:

http://www.bphc.org/bphc/pdfs/indicators.pdf

Well folks - I think thats about it for me. Thanks so much for letting me hang out with you virtually for the past two days- its been great and your questions have given me a better understanding of the kinds of things that folks are concerned with. If anyone is interested in taking a closer look at SF's Climate Action Plan, its online at:

www.sfenvironment.com/aboutus/energy/cap.htm

Lastly, I leave you with this quote from Einstein: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

Regards,

Melissa

An Inconvenient Truth
9 years ago
Does the movie address the inconvenient allegation and possible truth that global warming is reallly caused by: 1) Increased activity by the sun 2) Hot air from members of the left wing and right wing of Control Freaks Unanimous, also known as "We, the People" poorgrandchildren.com
C02 and methane
9 years ago

According to mitworld's Charles Kolb http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/166/ up to one half of the current C02 excess output is being absorbed by the existing plantlife.  Based on this one sentence of information contained in the lecture, I would have to disagree with you that arborists and green thumbs cannot cure the existing problem as guided by the armies corps of engineers' plans, with other means used to prevent future problem.  I mean if they can build Hoovers dam, they can certainly use the same manpower to build adobe estate homes for all inhabitants, not to mention plant a few million trees or whatever the plan entails doing.  All it takes is a good plan and a large workforce of soldiers, unemployed, retirees and people with nothing better to do.  Pharoah coulda done it, just as today they can do it.  Only fear of kidney failure stands in the way.  Speaking of iron filings in the water, methane gas (20 times worse than C02 in causing global warming) is a byproduct of failing to chew food thoroughly.  Would you suggest that people be legally required to maintain a normal weight range in order to end wasteful excess food consumption, advising them to chew food thorougly to prevent global warming?

9 years ago
What is San Francisco, in particulara and the Bay Area in general doing about elimating high priced gas and adding Ethanol stations?  That could and would be a factor in preventing any more Global Warming.  Maybe even stop the Ozone hole from spreading.
Pale
9 years ago

Could one inoculate all commercial rice paddies with methanotropic bacteria which would act as a methane sink?  Could one feed commercial livestock a blenderized paste of raw plants and grains which is more easily digestible, possibly inoculating the feed with methanotropic bacteria, reducing the production of methane gas in the animals' intestines?

Could one compress ozone gas into cannisters and expel the gas at the ozone layer?

9 years ago

Also could landfills and coal mines be inoculated with methanotropic bacteria?  Also why not discontinue using landfills and instead recycle everything?  Throw everything they don't want to recycle into an active volcano?

The chat with Melissa is officially over--talk amongst yourselves!
9 years ago
Thanks to everyone who participated in this discussion, and thanks again to Melissa for her time and excellent responses.  Stay tuned for upcoming chats with guest experts, and be sure to check out the other discussion threads about global warming.

Justin & Care2
Hold power accountable..
9 years ago
.. including your own potential in the world.. Causality education: http://www.spiraldynamics.net
Blot out the sun
9 years ago
Orbit a craft about the sun which eclipses the earth to a tiny extent.  Thence spread out beyond the spacecraft a thin plastic or aluminum film which does not allow light to pass, thus eclipsing the earth.
Polar ice caps meling
9 years ago
HI

There is one thing that does not make sense to me regarding the thawing of polar ice . It has been asumed that as the polar ice melts the resulting water will add volume to our oceans and then the oceans will rise world wide and sink a lot of low land such as Florida. But here is what botheers me. This water is not comming from nowhere! It aleady exists in the form of ice. Ice is water after it has reached the below the freezing tempeture, and becomes a solid. water EXPANDS as it starts to freeze. You can see that yourself if you put a full bottle of juice that has not been openned, into the freexer. Then there is the small issue of DISPLACEMENT. The ice being water to begin with and just because it is frozen solid does not take away from the fact that it is still water. So the water is there already. Not to meantion it has expanded from freezing hence it must displace MORE ocean water in ice form then in the form of water. So the water that comes as a result of ice defrosting was not only there already but since water is denser than ice it will displace LESS of the oceans waters than would the ice. So I would be inclinned to beleive that the oceans waters would actually receed. There is realy no water being added by the thawing of the polar ice caps. But the water is CHANGING STATE. Changing from frozen water to liquid water. Non the less the water is already there and it will not produce NEW water. It takes more ice per cu/ft to produce liquid water per cu/ft.
Can anyone explain this anomoly?
Chris
9 years ago
This came up in another thread. If ice is floating in water, then the water level will not change as the ice melts. If the ice is sitting up on land then it will increase the water level. Most of the Greenland and antarctica ics is on land, plus all the glaciers.
Anonymous
Global Warming
9 years ago
I am new to this so I will come straight out and say that I agree with most of what I have read here.  Lots of good ideas and beliefs.  It's easy to see that there are many people who are trully concerned.  Of all the ideas I have heard yet, I am still locked onto the one idea that I feel can play the best roll in helping slow down global warming and maybe even reversing it.  That is converting from hydrocarbons to HYDROGEN FUEL!  We have the knowledge, skill's and manufacturing facilities already.  What I feel we need now is a commitment from industry to commence immediate production on all system in transportation and energy production.  Just think of all the new jobs that would be created, lower energy costs, lower cost on most produce and an eventual ellimination of imported RANSOM from foreign contrys.  Who needs it?
9 years ago
Hydrogen is just a means of getting energy into your car. It still needs to be produced somehow - often from oil or coal buring.
Clean Air
9 years ago
Clean Air 9:49 PM

Emily, Hi.  I'm a resident in Michigan, but recently moved from Southern Calfironia.

Could you tell me your position on ozone-generating air purifiers for the home?  There is a lot of conflicting information out there, but I don't know where someone like yourself would stand on the issue.

While I understand the benefits, I'm also concerned about any negative side effects.

Moreover, there doesn't seem to be any direct policy or position from the leadership bodies/relevant authorities in the matter - only the same back and forth nonsense that can occur in commerce. Additionally, some units get great hype while others are knocked.  Is that just more "politics", or is there really a great distinction between these devices?

Would you mind addressing this matter?

Thanks.

Ozone is bad
9 years ago
The only place ozone is beneficial is in the upper atmosphere, where it blocks UV rays from reaching the Earth. Breathing ozone is unhealthy, don't use those so-called purifiers.
Re: Clean Air
9 years ago

Becky,

Hey, sorry we don't have any experts right now to answer your questions but the Environmental Protection Agency is pretty reliable and they have a page about ozone generators (although it mostly focuses on the health aspect and not the environmental impact). Basically, according to the EPA, Spencer is right--they're a bad idea.

Anonymous
OZONE and Hydrogen
9 years ago
Although I am not an expert, I do agree that ozone is bad to breath, as is smog and other polutants.  The only safe and good place for ozone is in the upper atmosphere.  One of the biggest reasons we have polutants in the air we breath is because of burning hydrocarbons in the lowest layer of our atmosphere where we live and breath.  This process needs to be eliminated as soon as possible in order for nature to return to a healther place for all of us.  Hydrogen can be found in almost everything!  It is the most plentiful element in our universe.  I have said it before and I will say it again, extracting Hydrogen from water (not oil or coal) is the easiest and most economical means of solving polution and energy problems today! 
Storms still numerous but not being reported
9 years ago
I watch a good global warming weather site www.globalboiling.com pretty religiously and have noticed that like today there are many hurricanes occuring that are not being reported by the media.

For example right now there are three hurricanes/typoons in the Pacific which you can see right here link: <http://www.globalboiling.com> but just becuase they don't hit land in the USA people think the global warming thing was just a fluke last year.


In fact all during our "offseason" this winter the southern hemisphere continued to see an extrension of our "katrina" season having some of the worst hurricanes every in Australia as their water temperatures heated up. In actual fact the season WORLDWIDE never stopped and has continued to be incredibly strong and devasting in its stomr creation.

Isn't this season just as bad as last season but we have just been lucky that nothing has yet hit the USA coast?


Global Cooperation
9 years ago

Having just joined this topic and having briefly reviewed the contributions, I just wondered if anyone feels that the discussion has migrated towards practical actions that individuals can take as a result of everyone feeling powerless about the actions governments ought to be taking. Individual action is of course useful, but isn't it clear that without significant moves from governments, no amount of individual action is going to solve this problem?

It seems to me that many of our global problems - global warming included - all share a common barrier to their solution. This is that no government wants to move first to rein in their industries because that will only cause their economies to become "uncompetitive", meaning that jobs and investment will go elsewhere seeking countries offering less restrictive regimes. So the result is either that nothing happens or that some governments 'free-ride' by refusing to participate in international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. Either way, our problems only get worse!

Viewed in this way, our problem is not global warming as such, it's a lack of international cooperation. Furthermore, it's not just a problem of governments failing to cooperate, it's also that citizens such as you and me lack a means of compelling our governments to behave cooperatively.

If this resonates with anyone, you might care to visit the site of Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) which offers a solution to these problems: http://www.simpol.org. What some people are saying about Simpol:

"I thought your proposal was an elegant idea of how change could occur. It reflects the core ideas of how to create consensus around change. This is the biggest challenge that we have"

Ed Mayo.  Former Executive Director, New Economics Foundation

"It is a good idea. What we need is politicians who will give this issue a high priority."                        

Polly Toynbee   The Guardian

"Your idea for a simultaneous policy is excellent. … Lets hope that people start to listen to this important message."

Helena Norberg-Hodge   Member of the International Forum on Globalisation and Director of the International Society for Ecology & Culture

"It’s ambitious and provocative. Can it work? Certainly worth a serious try."                                                      

Noam Chomsky

"…the basic concept is excellent. … Let me know what develops!"

Jakob von Uexkull   Founder and Chairman - Right Livelihood Award Foundation and World Future Council

"The Simultaneous Policy is a creative proposal to accelerate progress toward a sustainable global economy. Many movements and grassroots globalists working for these goals can coalesce around such innovative initiatives"                    

Hazel Henderson   Author of 'Beyond Globalization: Shaping a Sustainable Global Economy'

steps we can take
9 years ago

First, thank you for addressing eating meat.  I still get mad remembering when Bill Clinton ate at a McDonald's and a reporter said "that made him a regular guy".  I continually write people about this issue.

I am writing about the obvious issue, it is so big we do not realize it.  Family planning eliminates everything.  CO2 emissions, global warming, running out of water, affordable land, is based on population.  The biggest cause of extinction is loss of animal habitat.

I have no children, and plan on having one and adopting a child from a poor nation.

Anonymous
Global Warming
8 years ago
    My statements of July 16th and 30th still stand strong in the beliefe that the world is addicted to oil.  So long as we continue to focus our attention on maintaining the status quo, the oil companys will continue to ignore the ever increasing problems our world is plunging into.  They will continue to drill for oil anywhere they can regardless of the consequences, and rake in "vulgar" high profits at the peoples expense! 

   We need to push alternative energy harder and I still hold to the thought that Hydrogen is the best way to go!  The Earth is 3/4 covered by oceans of water, an inexhaustable source.  We could never run out, ever!  We could use other alternative  energy sources to create the Hydrogen and further reduce the cost.  Wind generaters, solar cells, wave motion and thermal energy are great sources, but inconsistant.

    What is needed is the commitment of the people to demand a change.  Until that happens, neither our government or the private secters will respond honestly!  They will both continue to fleese the public, refuse to admit any wrong doings or state their inability to make changes.  It is up to us to push the issue!


Anonymous
:]
8 years ago

i think everyone that cares baout the envirmrnt should unite as one and start our own orginiztions to actually do somthin you know liek im willin to blow up bushs house .anyone here with me?

Anonymous
Re: [Addressing Global Warming] TALK WITH AN EXPERT: Melissa Capria, Climate Action Coordinator, San
8 years ago
I agree that we should unite to reverse global warming as governments and corporations seem to have no incentive to do so. I expect that even talking about blowing up his house will get you a visit from the SS. on 5/30/07 2:42 AM,
District cooling?
8 years ago

       The central business district of Stockholm has a district cooling system as well as the almost ubiquitous Scandinavian district heating. The system uses salt water heat pumps, and draws water from one of 2 inlets at different depths. The inlet is chosen according to the desired application - in winter, the deep water inlet is used as a heat source, while in summer, the surface water being warmer takes on this role, the deep water is then used for cooling, as it is nearer the desired temperature to achieve this aim. I believe that San Francisco has cool sea water temperatures year round, particularly at depth, and that a similar system might be applicable for summer cooling to replace the more conventional, and substantially less efficient air conditioning.

       On the global dimming question, I believe that some commentators have tried to deny man made global warming by pointing to a cooling trend at a time of rapid industrialisation starting at the time of the second world war, and persisting to the 1960's. My understanding is that this cooling was largely a phenomenon restricted to the industrial areas of the Northern Hemisphere, and areas subject to the pollution thereof. I suspect that sulphur emissions were counteracting global warming by causing the dimming described. One thing to bear in mind, is that sulphur is a relatively short term atmospheric pollutant, and that what is in the atmosphere soon washes out when sulphur is removed from fuel, or from the smoke caused by its burning. This differs from CO2, which would take a considerable time to return to pre-industrialised levels even if we stopped emitting it altogether today (apart from by respiration). I suspect that the true extent of the human induced forcing which is changing the climate is currently being masked by sulphur and particulate matter released by power stations, slash and burn agriculture, and other human activities.

          We must be prepared for several decades of warming even after CO2 levels stabilise in the atmosphere until the ocean warms up. Only then, will the Earth once again radiate as much energy to space as it absorbs from the sun.