Saturday, December 3, 2016

Vicki Hellenas- December 2, 2016 -I’m hopeful Trump’s flip-flopping favors climate change

I’m hopeful Trump’s flip-flopping favors climate change

With indications that the new administration plans to dismantle the Paris climate agreement, an accord that was 20 years in the making, many of us are hoping the president-elect will come to understand that backing off from this agreement is not in the best interest of our country for many reasons, including those of economic and political persuasion. 

Our country would not only slip in leadership stature in the eyes of the world; we would also be letting down our next generation. For once, I’m hoping that with Trump’s evident ambivalence and flip-flopping, the climate change coin lands “heads up.” Because turning tails on this issue is not an option.

Vicki Hellenas
December 2, 2016

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ruth Afifi - November 2, 2016 - Louie J. Campos will address climate change

Louie J. Campos will address climate change

In “A crystal clear choice on climate change” (Oct. 13), a Bee editorial says Hillary Clinton is the obvious choice for anyone who cares about climate change. The editorial points out that the issue has been ignored “by far too many Republicans in Congress, and now by their nominee for president.” 
Yet, The Bee has endorsed Devin Nunes to represent the 22nd Congressional District. Unlike eight of his Republican colleagues, who have joined the House Climate Solutions Caucus, Nunes is unlikely to support policies to fight climate change.
For example, he has voted to prevent the military from preparing for climate change. Also, he has written that a carbon tax or carbon fee-and-dividend (proposed by what he calls environmental extremists) will damage the economy.
Instead, Nunes advocates “massive investment” in the development of all energy sources, “including oil, gas, coal and nuclear power plants.” With its emphasis on fossil fuels, this sounds just like the America First Energy Plan promoted by Donald Trump a few months ago. 
A climate voter in the 22nd district will find a better candidate in Louie J. Campos,Democrat who is committed to addressing climate change.

Ruth Afifi

Twyla Smith - November 1, 2016 - Debates ignored world’s biggest crisis

Debates ignored world’s biggest crisis

We’re facing the world’s biggest crisis, and it wasn’t even brought up during the presidential debates. It’s just unreal that not one moderator decided to ask why it is that 2014 was history’s hottest year ever recorded, until it was broken by 2015, of course. Any bets on how long that record will stand?
Talk about same old, same old! Let’s just continue doing nothing and see how many more heat records we can break, how many hurricanes, droughts and forest fires we can bring on, how many species we can wipe out, glaciers we can melt, how many island nations and coastlines have to drown before we realize we are in serious trouble here?

In fact, one of our presidential candidates actually refuses to accept what global scientists, our own defense department and even the major oil companies are all saying about climate change.
Get real, folks. You can start by tuning in to National Geographic Channel’s new documentary series, “Years of Living Dangerously,” which airs Wednesday at 10 p.m.

Twyla Smith, Madera
  November 1, 2016

Read more here:

Bruce Ratcliffe - October 22, 2016 - Trump’s faulty climate ideas

Trump’s faulty climate ideas

Whenever I hear a a statement of “fact” from Donald Trump, I scratch my head and wonder how he thinks he can get away with saying such a thing. But there’s always the benefit of doubt. Maybe there is a grain of truth in his pronouncement.

Kudos to Bee editors Bill McEwen and Gail Marshall for serving up such a huge platter of climate-denying nonsense The Donald has delivered as to remove all doubt.

Bruce Ratcliffe, Fresno
October 22, 2016


Read more here:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Devin Carroll - October 16, 2016 - Congress needs to take action on climate change

Congress needs to take action on climate change

Congress is resisting acting on climate change.

Our military sees security threats, from flooding of coastal bases to increasing warfare and unrest caused by changing regional climates. They have plans to deal with climate threats and make bases and equipment as carbon-free as possible. But Congress is not helping.

Top NASA scientists use satellite data and fine-tuned models to predict a precarious future. Congress has undermined this work. I am not a scientist” is their excuse to ignore science.

Insurance companies are alarmed by financial risks. Residents of low-lying coastal areas such as south Florida already have a hard time finding insurance. This is why three Republican representatives from Florida are among 14 cosponsors of a resolution which recognizes the reality of human-caused climate change and calls for action.

Why only 14? Every district faces big risks. In Fresno’s neighborhood, increased drought and baking hot summers will challenge farmers and endanger outdoor workers.

American inventors develop new technology. Businesses invest in conservation and green energy. Economists want to help them with a price on carbon, such as cap and trade, or better, a carbon fee and dividend.

Please, Congress. Take action that tells the world, “We are in the game.”

Read more here:

Read more here:
Devin Carroll, Fresno
October 16, 2016

Vicki Hellenas - October 14, 2016 - What will it take to change our lives to address climate change?

What will it take to change our lives to address climate change?

Read more here:
Recent retirement has offered some unexpected benefits. There is time to really pay attention to important things that were previously in or out of my awareness with the flick of a radio switch on a long commute.

Climate change and our impact on it as a species had been a frequent topic on the stations I listened to. Interesting, alarming, but not something I felt I had much pressing engagement with because my energy and attention were too diverted. I was busy making a living and justifying a daily commute that had me on the road for over 40 hours a month.

Time spent in the car gave plenty of opportunity to resent the gray haze that hides the Sierra on most days, the parched trees and oleanders along Highway 99, and the visual impact of water restrictions. Now I find myself realizing that my busy lifestyle obscured insight and promoted denial of my contribution to the general mess we call air pollution and drought.

Today, I’m wondering, “what and where is our internal barometer of how uncomfortable it has to get for us before we are willing to make changes in the way we go about our lives?”

Read more here:

Vicki Hellenas, Fresno
 October 14, 2016

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Don Gaede - October 6, 2016 - Humans must act now on climate change

Humans must act now on climate change

The Earth is now warmer than it has been for 120,000 years, according to a new Stanford University study (story Sept. 28).
No surprise. We are seeing record heat and fires plague our West coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the last 16 months have been the hottest streak our planet has seen since record keeping began 137 years ago.
Whether you believe God intentionally created Earth for us humans, or this planet came about via a wonderful accident, we live in a unique place, a unique, beautiful and vulnerable place. Christian environmentalist Peter Illyn writes, “For all its epic scale, the God-drawn balance of climate is remarkable fragile.”
Katharine Hayhoe✔ is a Christian climate scientist, and author of the book “A Climate for Change.” The natural greenhouse effect, she states, has kept Earth at an ideal temperature for untold ages. But this effect is now being altered, “enhanced” by human activity. CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels is adding an extra “blanket” around our world, making it uncomfortably warm.
We humans have a choice, and we must act now. Let’s not squander this unique and beautiful gift, endowed to us by our creator.

Read more here:

Don Gaede, Fresno
October 6, 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Radley Reep - September 30, 2016 - Students: To stop global warming, think local

Students: To stop global warming, think local

My thanks to Rachel Mrkaich, a high school student in Clovis, for her thoughtful letter of Sept. 23 imploring politicians and businesses to act quickly to curb global warming.

I’d like to offer the perspective of a long-time teacher and activist. Business is “private” enterprise. Go public. Focus on government, on local government primarily, where anyone of any age has the right and the opportunity to participate.

High school students are well versed in U.S. government; unfortunately, they’re much less familiar with local government, which is where the bulk of the decisions are made. They’re able to describe in detail the U.S. Constitution but can say little about their local “constitutions,” the city, county and regional plans that affect every aspect of their lives, everything from employment opportunities to livable communities to environmental protection and, yes, even global warming.

Were high school students to routinely converse with Valley residents knowledgeable in the form and practice of local government, our San Joaquin Valley would change dramatically for the better.

I’ve had the pleasure to teach high school students. They’re inquisitive, inventive and tenacious when it comes to problem solving.

Stop global warming? Maybe not. Fix the problem at home? Why not!

Read more here:
Radley Reep, Clovis
September 30, 2016

Connie Young - September 28, 2016- Trump led birthers off a cliff; climate change is next

Trump led birthers off a cliff; climate change is next 

Given that Donald Trump has finally admitted he was wrong about President Obama’s birth certificate, can we trust his judgment about climate change? You may recall that he called it “a hoax.”

Considering the difficulty he had figuring out a basic legal document, what are the chances that he’ll be able to understand and make good decisions about something as complex as global warming?

In the case of the birth certificate, the only thing lost because of Mr. Trump’s poor judgment was his credibility. With climate change, the losses will be people and places we love.

Connie Young, Fresno
 September 28, 2016

Read more here:


Rachel Mrkaich - September 22, 2016 - Hold polluting businesses accountable

Hold polluting businesses accountable

 When is enough, enough? If the combination of the drought, the massive death of the trees in the Sierra Nevada, wildfires, and the rising temperatures aren’t enough, what is? Will it take a three-foot increase in ocean levels, the rate of extinction increasing precipitously, or a five-degree temperature increase to motivate people to finally do something about global warming?

There comes a point when the damages done are so great that we cannot fully restore what once was. As a high school student who cannot hold politicians and businesses accountable, I ask that you – those who can – take action. 

My generation is growing up in a world plagued by the consequences and apathy of the generation preceding it. I fear that if our current trends aren’t reversed now, we’ll never be able to end the cycle of climate change. 

The businesses that contribute most to climate change could easily afford researching and implementing newer, greener energy sources, but they don’t. They prioritize profit over sustainability. To ensure a healthy world for our children and grandchildren, we must act now. Hold polluters accountable and promote a carbon fee and dividend.

Rachel Mrkaich, Clovis
 September 22, 2016

Read more here:
September 22, 2016

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Matt Armstrong - September 15, 2016 - We ignore climate change at our peril

We ignore climate change at our peril

As I headed up toward the Goose Fire to help with protection and repair efforts, I found myself thinking about the sharp increase in forest fires in recent years, the climate-related factors that are lengthening and worsening California’s fire seasons, and how much this all costs.

When pundits talk of the allegedly high costs of avoiding climate change, they never seem to mention the costs of not preventing it. 

There are the costs associated with fighting fires, repairing infrastructure, sheltering people made homeless, and hours lost to other work because people such as my colleagues and me (not dedicated to work on disasters, but instead have other jobs) are having to monitor climate-impacted disasters like fires and floods. 

More importantly, the human cost – in homes lost, lives disrupted, and stress endured by those who have to respond – is never considered. Yet, these are all costs that must be counted.

I will continue to monitor the fires, to wait for my other work to be disrupted so that I can respond, and to count the costs that others refuse to because that has become a part of my job. It has to be someone’s.

Matt Armstrong, Fresno

Read more here:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ruth Afifi - August 2016 unpublished - Senate Bill 32

The California Assembly recently approved Senate Bill 32, which extends until 2030 the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 signed by Governor Schwarzenegger. SB 32 will continue to support "climate smart" agriculture as well as energy efficiency, renewables, and other ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
Without extension of this law, the future for such programs as the Healthy Soils Initiative, the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program, and the Dairy Methane Program was in doubt-- all important programs for farmers in Fresno County and the Central Valley.
Another historic piece of climate legislation, Assembly Joint Resolution 43, was recently passed by our California legislature.  It asks Congress to place a fee on carbon fuels and return the money to U.S. households.  Similar policies in British Columbia and elsewhere have shown that a “revenue-neutral” program encourages individuals and businesses to adopt cleaner energy use. 

Regrettably, neither of my Republican representatives in the California Senate or Assembly voted for either bill.  I look forward to the day when climate change legislation can again be a bipartisan achievement.

Ruth Afifi
August 2016

Don Gaede - August 19, 2016 - Make them pay: Oil, coal companies turn air into a toilet bowl.

Make them pay: Oil, coal companies turn air into a toilet bowl 

Russell Harland (letter Aug. 12) says he doesn’t like taxing energy. “Taxing anything to support something else is subsidization.”

I agree. Any form of energy subsidy should be phased out. But right now, according to the International Monetary Fund, the worldwide oil industry is being subsidized to the tune of almost $3 trillion per year.
Much of this subsidy is due to the fact that these rich oil producers don’t have to pay a red cent for all the damages their products are causing. Instead, these damages are being paid by all of us poor schmucks, in the form of polluted air, overheated climate and flooding coasts.

It’s a matter of fairness. Oil and coal companies shouldn’t be able to use the air we breathe as a toilet bowl for their emissions. Put a fee on carbon, and give that money back to us, where it belongs. That money could be in the form of a monthly check, and or as a tax credit.

Level the playing field for clean energy versus dirty energy. Then clean energy – hydro, solar, wind – will have a fair chance to win.

Don Gaede, Fresno
August 19, 2016

Read more here:


Read more here:

Connie Young - August 17, 2016 - Swearengin, California lead on climate change

Swearengin, California lead on climate change

I appreciate Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s thoughtful stand on climate change. Citing the harmful impact that it’s having on California cities, she is supporting Senate Bill 32, which by 2030 would limit California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent less than 1980’s total emissions.

This month, our state senators will have an opportunity to follow our mayor’s courageous bipartisanship when they vote on Assembly Joint Resolution 43. This resolution calls on Congress to pass revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend legislation. Such a plan would help achieve many of the goals mentioned by Mayor Swearengin, including “clean transportation, and energy independence projects.” It also would “align the state’s growth toward industries that are creating jobs faster than any other sectors of the economy.” 

California has been leading the world on climate change policy for years. Now it’s time for our members of Congress to work together to solve this serious problem. 

If you’re concerned about climate change, please ask your state senator to vote for AJR 43. The clock is ticking in more ways than one!

Connie Young, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Fresno
August 17, 2016

Read more here:

Bruce Ratcliff - August 3, 2016 - By either name, it’s bad news

By either name, it’s bad news 

The scientists had it right all along. The world is warming. For half a century, consensus among climatologists has been that rising levels of heat-trapping CO2 would result in rising temperatures.
They came up with an apt analogy for this: greenhouse effect: Your car is way hotter than the outside air when you park it at Fashion Fair in July at noon and come back a couple hours later. So simple. Global warming.

Then Frank Luntz, a Republican political strategist and global warming skeptic, used focus group results to determine that the term “climate change” is less frightening than “global warming.” Makes the future seem nicer – business almost as usual.

Well, as a July 29 Bee article indicates, that future is not-so-nice: “Four outdoor events in Fresno and Clovis are the first casualties of the triple-digit heat wave and dirty air that residents will bear through the weekend. The cancellations [due to the Soberanes fire, which is big and only getting bigger] echo the basic message of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Hanford: Don’t go outside unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Time to get serious about global whatchamacallit.

Bruce Ratcliffe, Fresno
August 3, 2016

Read more here:


Loren Alving - July 29, 2016 - Congress should pass carbon fee

Congress should pass carbon fee

California continues to lead the nation in dealing with climate change.

Ten years ago, California passed the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which commits the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

California’s economy has been strong despite implementation of cap-and-trade. Realizing, however, that California cannot do this alone and that the federal government needs a way to make good on its promises in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon emissions, the Legislature has gone even further.

On June 30, 2016, the Assembly passed resolution AJR 43, which calls upon Congress to pass revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend legislation.

This national legislation will benefit the Central Valley; up to 70 percent of households stand to gain up to $625 per year. While our most vulnerable residents benefit the most, any negative impact on high-income households will be negligible.

Clean air and economic advantage; no wonder the Legislature is calling upon Congress to pass this legislation. As resolution AJR 43 heads to the California Senate, contact your state senator to speak up for our Valley.

Loren Alving, Fresno
July 29, 2016

Read more here:


Twyla Smith - July 13, 2016 - Conservatives: Consider British Columbia’s excellent energy policy

Conservatives: Consider British Columbia’s excellent energy policy 

I couldn’t agree more with Russell Harland (letter June 30) when he says the last thing we need is the government choosing winners and losers when it comes to our energy policy.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s proposal is market-based and revenue neutral, since all the fees collected are returned to U.S. households. In this way, consumers are protected from rising energy costs, and they decide how the revenue is spent, keeping the government out of the process. Plus our plan doesn’t require any subsidies or additional regulations.

Mr. Harland mentions Canada is attempting to tax carbon with the revenue going to the government – a terrible mistake! Please consider the case of British Columbia instead. It enacted a plan very similar to ours in 2008. So far it has cut reliance on fossil fuels by 15 percent while its economy out-performed the rest of Canada.

George Shultz, economist and former secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, helped craft our plan and serves on our advisory board. Interestingly, Exxon Mobil actually supports a carbon pricing plan like ours as well. I urge Mr. Harland to find out more. Perhaps then he will join us in our effort – we need more conservative voices like his!

Twyla Smith, Madera
July 13, 2016

Read more here:

Bob Turner - July 6, 2016 - Proposed carbon tax and free markets

Proposed carbon tax and free markets

Russell Harland (letter June 30) claims some of us don’t understand basic economics. The proposed carbon tax is not a government subsidy for alternative energy. It is a disincentive to companies polluting the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. And make no mistake about it, carbon dioxide is a pollutant.

When a company is discovered to have unsafe working conditions, it isn’t allowed to just pay a tax and continue subjecting its employees to unsafe conditions. It has to pay to make its workplace safe.
When a company produces an unsafe product, it can’t get away with just paying a tax while continuing to sell its product to consumers. It has to recall the product and fix it. When a company spews toxic waste into a river, it can’t just pay a tax and continue business as usual. It has to clean up its act.

If a company can’t afford to stay in business from those added costs then it doesn’t deserve to survive in a free market competing against companies that can. Carbon polluters are getting a break with the carbon tax. They have another option. They can pay to scrub the carbon from their waste. It’s just the cost of doing business.

Bob Turner, Clovis
July 6, 2016

Read more here:


Connie Young - June 18, 2016 - Call Congress about global warming

Call Congress about global warming 

Next week, over 900 members of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), including three Fresnans, will meet in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to take bipartisan action on climate change.

If you’re concerned about global warming, you can help this effort by calling your members of Congress on June 20, before 1:30 p.m. PST. Let them know that you want them to work together to stop climate change and, if you agree, support revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend legislation.
Congressional phone numbers are provided on CCL’s call-in page or at CCL’s website: You can also call the Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121.

Since this problem affects national security and global stability, tell Congress that it’s their job to address it.

Connie Young, Fresno
June 18, 2016

Read more here:


Ruth Afifi - May 5, 2016 unpublished. Americans want Congress to address climate change.

Polls show that most Americans want Congress to address climate change. However, in the Official Voter Information Guide for the June 7 primary, climate change is mentioned by only two of the 21 candidates for Senator. Kamala Harris says she will "lead the fight against climate change," while a previously unknown candidate says "federal legislators are doing nothing to protect us from the threat of climate change," and he will not "sacrifice our actual climate to our political climate."

Meanwhile, a NASA website ( reports these facts:
Atmospheric carbon dioxide is at 403.28 ppm.
Global temperature has risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880.
Arctic sea ice area at the September minimum is trending downwards at 13.4% per decade.
Antarctic land ice is melting at an average rate of 134,000,000,000 metric tons/year.
Greenland ice is melting at an average rate of 287,000,000,000 metric tons/year.
Sea level is rising at an average rate of 3.4 mm/year.

NASA is speaking loud and clear. Why aren't the candidates listening?
Ruth Afifi
May 5, 2016

Bruce Ratcliff - June 4, 2016 - There is ‘no Planet B’

There is ‘no Planet B’ 

A recent San Jose Mercury News headline warns: “California Drought: San Joaquin Valley sinking as farmers race to tap aquifer.” In this race to the bottom, the prize will be a moribund agricultural system that presently provides a quarter of our nation’s food.

But don’t despair, there is a Plan B. Our Valley aquifer is like a savings bank. The future looks bright as long as withdrawals don’t exceed deposits. Unfortunately, farmers have been making water withdrawals twice as fast as nature makes deposits.

But we’re not overdrafting just water. The Bee’s May 29 lead story warns we’re “IN TROUBLE.” The economy isn’t growing fast enough. Americans are “shopping for needs, not wants.” Trouble? No, a wake-up call: We’ve got just one world, and its limited resources can no longer support our demands for more, more, more.

Nature is trying to teach us an essential lesson for humanity’s long-term survival: You can’t keep growing forever. If we are wise, we’ll make it through this painful transition – from get all you want to take only what you need – and emerge having learned how to live sustainably in a world fast approaching nonnegotiable limits.

We have no choice. There is no Planet B.

Bruce Ratcliffe, Fresno
June 4, 2016

Read more here:


Twyla Smith - May 2016 unpublished - Mike Beitiks

ISIS. Immigration reform.  The NSA.  Gun control.  The end of the two-party system as we know it.  What do all of these terrifying issues for the 2016 election have in common?  None of them matter because every forecast on climate change predicts severe consequences without dramatic measures.  And yet, federal legislators do essentially nothing.”

These are the words of Mike Beitiks, candidate for US Senate.  Out of twenty plus candidates vying to represent California, only Mr. Beitiks (a virtual unknown) and Kamala Harris even mention the most urgent problem we face.    

While we’re side-tracked on silly issues like who uses which restrooms, researchers at Texas A&M University say every hour of everyday 4.1 million tons of carbon dioxide are being put into the atmosphere, while 3.7 million barrels of oil, 932,000 tons of coal, and 395 million cubic meters of natural gas are removed from the earth.

We are already experiencing the effects: stronger storms, more droughts, fires and floods, rising seas, wildlife at risk, heat related illnesses and disease—they all have a cost, partly paid in human lives. 

Sound alarmist?  Well, somebody besides Mr. Beitiks had better start getting alarmed—and getting our politicians alarmed too.

Twyla Smith
May 2016

Pete Moe - May 2016 unpublished - Great Barrier Reef

The front page of the Fresno Bee this Memorial Day stated, " Great Barrier Reef hit by coral death". A shocking 35% of the corals have died. The Bee also reported that here in California, tree mortality due to bark beetle infestation is now estimated at 60 million trees. The extinction of vast swaths of species in the sea and on the land is truly frightening. What is a root cause of all these apocalyptic symptoms? Man-made climate change. 

So as the foundations of our earth's health rapidly decay, why are my Republican leaders still pretending we don't have this problem? My main tool for action is my vote. I'm looking for conservative candidates at all levels who still believe in science. I'm looking for conservative candidates who are willing to protect me, my family and community from the threat of climate change. 

In Congress there is a minority group of Republicans who want to deal with climate change. They embrace conservative, market-based answers, such as those proposed by Citizens' Climate Lobby. If local Republicans can't field such candidates, my vote will go to candidates from other parties who have the backbone to face the facts.

Pete Moe
May 2016 - unpublished

Twyla Smith - May 2016 unpublished - Ask Devin Nunes to re-examine his statements.

Rep. Devin Nunes must surely be aware of climate change and its consequences.  Here is a list of the governmental departments currently involved in seeking solutions for this most pressing problem: State, Defense, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Justice.  NASA and NOAA have also produced such voluminous documentation of global weather disruption, it is impossible to put into a short paragraph.  Instead, I direct readers to their websites.
97% of climate scientists are convinced, based on the evidence, that human-caused global warming is happening.  Congressman Nunes surely knows this, but for his own political purposes chooses to blow a smoke screen over the issue, claiming all these “global warming alarmists” are in it for the money.
You know who’s really in it for the money?  Major fossil fuel companies and trade groups shell out nearly $115 million a year to oppose efforts to reduce carbon emissions, according to a new report from the British research organization Influence Map.
The study’s authors consider this estimate to be on the low side. In comparison, they report supporters of climate change legislation spend an estimated $5 million annually.
I invite Rep. Nunes to re-examine his statements regarding climate change.
Twyla Smith
May 2016 - unpublished

Matthew Armstrong - May 4, 2016 - We knew bark beetles were coming

We knew bark beetles were coming

In Marc Benjamin’s April 25 piece on the bark beetles in the Sierra Nevada, he quotes tree faller Richard Brechbuehl as stating that nobody could have predicted this catastrophic tree die-off.

This is not true. Scientists working for NASA, NOAA and universities throughout the world have long predicted the warmer winters, increasingly erratic weather (including drought), and changing conditions for wildlife (including insects such as the bark beetle) as a result of increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. Alan Carroll, of the University of British Columbia, specifically predicted the bark beetles spreading across North America and doing the damage that we are seeing in the Sierra National Forest.

This catastrophe was predicted but we chose to ignore the warnings. Now that the severe results of climate change are staring us in the face, perhaps we will do the responsible thing and reign in greenhouse gas emissions to prevent even worse consequences. If we don’t, then I predict that we will see many more people falsely claiming that nobody could have predicted what has long been predicted.

Read more here:
 Matt Armstrong, Fresno
May 4, 2016

Loren Alving - April 20, 2016 - Valley doctors recognize climate change

Valley doctors recognize climate change

Earth Day is Friday. It has grown from grassroots origins in U.S. communities in 1970 to an international event celebrated by an estimated one billion people in 192 countries, but the urgency for action on the environment and climate has increased.

Our Valley healthcare providers recognize this urgency and the intricate link between health and the environment.

The Fresno-Madera Medical Society Board of Governors recently approved a climate-change resolution. Authored by Dr. Don Gaede, the resolution recognizes climate change’s likely adverse effect on our Valley’s air quality and its threat to the health and well-being of our citizens. The society supports efforts to educate the public, the medical community and our legislators in the hope that they will take action to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change
Drs. J. Joseph Vempilly and Daya Upadhyay, the University of California San Francisco-Fresno Medical Education Program, and Community Medical Centers are doing just that. They have scheduled an Air Pollution and Climate Change Symposium for Saturday.

Medical professionals are sounding the alarm on this critical issue. Earth Day is about our health as well as our planet’s health.

Loren Alving, M.D., Fresno
 April 20, 2016

Read more here:


Charles Franklin - March 2016 unpublished - Carbon Fee and Dividend

One of the greatest thing invented was the printing press. Close behind was landing a man on the Moon. Medicine had major breakthroughs; the discovery of penicillin, vaccines and organ transplants. Harnessing electricity, using blast furnaces to make steal and the oil industry were benefits to mankind. We paid little attention to the yellow clouds hanging over cities.

Environmentalists, doctors and scientists started to sound alarms. The govemment took measures to reduce the amount of CO2 floating into the atmosphere. Cap and Trade was introduced as a way to reduce toxins emissions. Auto manufactures were required to make more fuel-efficient gasoline engines. Recycling was and is a success because it makes sense and is easy. 

Citizen’s Climate Lobby is working to get Carbon Fee/Dividends introduced.

* A fee is placed on fossil fuels at the source; well, mine, port of entry. The fee starts at $l5 per ton of CO2 emissions and increases each year by $10.

*All the money collected is retumed to American households. About 2/3 of all households would break even or receive more in their dividend checks than they would pay in higher prices due to the fee.

*A border tariff adjustment on goods imported or exported to countries without a equivalent price on carbon. This would discourage businesses to relocate and encourage other nations to adopt an equivalent price on carbon.

*A predictable increasing carbon price will send a clear market signal which will prompt entrepreneurs and investors in the new clean-energy economy.

Charles Franklin
March 2016

Twyla Smith - March 2016 unpublished - Climate Solutions Caucus

"Don’t care about climate change?  You soon will, because like it or not, it must be dealt with.  And if we don’t start caring, the EPA and other agencies will continue to put regulations in place, effectively deciding winners and losers.
But there’s good news--two south Florida congressmen, Carlos Curbelo-R and Ted Deutch-D recently created the Climate Solutions Caucus to propose clean energy legislation.  They want to keep it bipartisan, with an even number of Rs and Ds.  You see, they’ve found something in common—they both represent people witnessing climate change in its starkest terms: Their communities are slipping into the sea at a disturbing rate.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby proposes an additional fee be placed on carbon at its source, with all collected monies returned to the American people.  This would result in the free market achieving reductions in emissions while also stimulating the economy.  Canada has just announced its resolve to find a national climate solution—with carbon fee and dividend at the forefront of their thinking.

As Republican Curbelo says, “ignoring climate change is as irresponsible as ignoring our national debt—and the longer we delay acting the more painful the solution will be.”

Twyla Smith
Submitted March, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pete Moe - 3-9-2016 - GOP ignores climate change at our peril

GOP ignores climate change at our peril

March 9, 2016
The most recent Republican presidential debate was entertaining, yet highly unpresidential. I want my elected officials to be serious about serious issues. One of the most serious issues ignored by these candidates was climate change and how to address it.
“Mideast drought worst in 900 years” was the story in The Bee on March 4.
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies concluded that the years from 1998 to 2012 were drier than any other period, and that the drought was likely caused by humans.
Earlier this year, The Bee reported that in the years 2012-2014, the drought in California was the most severe we have experienced in at least 1,200 years. That report was written by researchers at Massachusetts’ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. On Feb. 23, The Bee reported that “Sea levels on Earth are rising several times faster than they have in the past 2,800 years and are accelerating because of man-made global warming.”
It is time for our elected leaders to remember the value of science, quit denying the human impact on global warming, and get back to compromising on political answers to address these climate issues.
Pete Moe, Clovis
Read more here:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Matt Armstrong - 3-7-2016 - Climate-change believers include GOP

Climate-change believers include GOP

With the news that the governor is open to putting a price on greenhouse gas pollution, I hope that we are not looking forward to the usual political and media claims that efforts to fight climate change belong solely to the political left.
Citizens Climate lobby includes former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, and Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Schulz. Both of these icons of conservative politics recognize the need to act in the interest of the United States in fighting climate change.
They are not alone – GOP Rep. Chris Gibson of New York has introduced House Resolution 424 specifically calling on Republicans to act on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and even Newt Gingrich has said, at an event sponsored by Politico, that “anyone who underestimates the impact of humans on the planet is just kidding themselves.”
This has been turned into a political issue by special interests who have pumped money into the system. This shouldn’t be, and it needn’t be. If these conservative figures can face the facts and urge action, then certainly conservative citizens can do the same.

Matt Armstrong, Fresno

Read more here:

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Robert Merrill - 3-3-2016 - Pay attention to rising sea level

Pay attention to rising sea level

March 3, 2016

The “Report: Sea level rise is most in 28 centuries,” Feb. 23 article should be placed on every U.S. congressperson’s desk, especially “climate change deniers.” The climate change-caused increase in rate of sea-level rise is significant and important.
Sea-level rise in this century and beyond will impact our national economic well being as the bulk of international commerce depends on seaports. Naval and Coast Guard installations are similarly located. Imagine the costs of moving these many facilities, including their landward transportation connections, as the sea level rises. At the same time we consider these costs, recall Congress’ reluctance to budget sufficiently for replacing deteriorating bridges and highways. Why do our politicians, including Republican Party presidential candidates, fail to address these issues?
Finally, consider cities and towns built on low-lying islands and coastal plains less than a foot or two above current sea level. What will be the costs to protect them, or should they be abandoned? What about coastal-plain agriculture and our food supply?
The longer we postpone addressing climate change, the greater the economic costs and societal disruptions. Goodbye, Miami, and more.

Robert Merrill, emeritus professor of geology, Fresno


Read more here:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Charles Franklin - 2-23-2016 - Carbon tax is the way to go.

Carbon tax is the way to go

February 23, 2016

Survival of the fittest and natural selection was the way of the world until human beings came on the scene about two million years. We were able to adapt to our environment and we thrived.
We cared little of what we took from the Earth. We could do without passenger pigeons. We did not need all those buffalo. The verdict is in: People are more important than river smelt. And, once we learned how easy it was to pump oil out of the ground and all the ways it could be used, a tremor shook the world. 
For the last 100 years, we have not been good stewards of our natural resources. Now global warming is upon us. Cap and trade did not diminish toxic emissions; they were just moved around. 
Citizens Climate Lobby has offered a simple solution; carbon fee and dividend. Charge a fee that increases yearly for the extraction and importation of fossil fuels and the toxic emissions they produce. Then return the fees collected to American families to offset the rise in fuel prices. Entrepreneurs like Tesla will develop new clean energy sources. This plan can reduce toxic emissions within 10 years.
Charles Franklin, Clovis

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ruth Afifi - 2/18/2016 - $10 per barrel oil fee would be worth it

$10 per barrel oil fee would worth it 

February 18, 2016

The Obama administration recently proposed a “21st Century Clean Transportation System” funded by a $10 per barrel fee on oil phased in over five years. The fee would raise $32 billion annually for roads and bridges, public transit, rail, and clean vehicle research. Unfortunately, the House Majority Whip says the oil fee is an absurd proposal that will be dead on arrival.
The oil fee should not be dismissed so quickly. Thirty percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are related to transportation, and by reducing them the proposed system would fight global warming. Moreover, the history of a fossil fuel fee in British Columbia since 2008 shows that gasoline use has declined with no harm to the economy.
Of course, the oil industry will fight the Obama proposal just as fiercely as it has opposed climate change legislation in California. The Western States Petroleum Association, for example, recently disclosed spending $10,949,149.83 for “payments to influence” California legislators in 2015. One result was that a mandate to cut gasoline use in half by 2030 was removed from a major bill (SB 350). However, such a reduction could be achieved by a national clean transportation system if Congress would support it.

Ruth Afifi

Read more here:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Don Gaede - 2/17/2016 - Save Earth instead of arguing about it

Save Earth instead of arguing about it

February 17, 2016

It’s official: Global temperatures in 2015 were the hottest since record keeping began in 1880. This is based on independent data collected by NASA and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Institute.
More warming is in store for us because the oceans continue to warm up long after greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere. This phenomenon is called “thermal inertia.”
Unfortunately, political inertia is slowing action on this important issue. But there is hope that the tide is turning. A resolution addressing the threat of climate change was introduced into the House last year, and has been endorsed by 13 Republicans. Two weeks ago, the first bipartisan Climate Change Solutions caucus was formed in the House.
My first grandchild is due to arrive in April. What we do now will have a profound impact on the kind of world our children and grandchildren inherit.
Instead of arguing about it, it's time we started doing something about it.

Don Gaede 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Berenice Alvarez - 1/22/2016 - Marching not for one, but for all

Marching not for one, but for all
January 22, 2016
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
That message came across during the MLK march and “Mountain of Food” Collection honoring Dr. King at Fresno’s City Hall. Marchers expressed their aspirations through a sea of signs promoting justice, peace and equality. Although participants of the march came for different reasons, we all came with a dream. 
The same forces that cause persistent social injustices also cause continuous environmental degradation, from which we are only beginning to experience the harmful effects. 
These forces do not only target one. Thus, as a community we must rely on each other to stop these assaults against nature, not only for ourselves and our health, but for our world. Because Earth has provided plenty for us, it’s time to give back. From the burning of fossil fuels, to the overuse of resources, we need a change.
I believe I speak for Fresno’s youth: We are the inheritors of today’s affairs, so we must be the change. For this reason I march, voicing the dream of creating a more livable world. Not for one, but for all.

Berenice Alvarez
Edison High School

Giselle Vandrick - 1/14/2016 - It's our duty to save Mother Earth

It’s our duty to save Mother Earth 

January 14, 2016

 As the New Year has begun, many have made resolutions to create a year better than those before. Although we as humans can start this year with a clean slate, our world cannot.

The environmental harm we have caused our planet persists, and we are only beginning to experience the consequences. Rising sea levels and warmer temperatures are just the start.
I am 17 years old, so the damage we have done to Earth over the years are my generation’s burden to bear, even though we seem to have little control over the detrimental actions in which our elders engage.

The comfortable lifestyles that so many of us live contribute to the mess with which the future inhabitants must live and deal. I propose that we, as a community, make it our New Year’s resolution to start taking action to create a cleaner world.

From acts as small as taking shorter showers to bigger contributions such as joining environmental advocacy groups like the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, it is our responsibility to make the world safer for the youth and the generations to come.

Giselle Vandrick, 

Read more here: