Climate plan action: the beat goes on (13)

(13th in a series on Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.” (Kurt Vonnegut)

Last time, last week when Gadfly posted on this topic, he said:

If journalists keep the heat on . . .

If the new Congress  . . .

If the new presidential candidates . . .

Well, the beat certainly goes on. Check out the following from this week’s note file.

Those of you more attuned to the nuts and bolts of these happenings than Gadfly is are invited to comment.

Our own Peg Church, “Sen. Casey should support Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act,” Morning Call, January 5, 2019.

Because Pennsylvania has an unequal burden, it makes great sense for Casey to strongly advocate for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, introduced Dec. 19 in the Senate. The House version was introduced several weeks ago, and both have bipartisan support and are expected to be reintroduced in 2019. . . . Start the New Year right, Sen. Casey, and sponsor the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Bipartisan support can make our planet great again.

Pelosi gets standing ovation over climate change.

Announcing a new Congressional committee: “We must also face the existential crisis of our time . . . natural disasters of epic proportion.”

A commitment to fast, bold action on climate is becoming a threshold issue for Democrats running for president.

A marginal candidate for president, for sure, but will help raise the issue to national consciousness.

Robinson Meyer, “Democrats Establish a New House ‘Climate Crisis’ Committee.” Atlantic, December 28, 2018.

It’s official: When Democrats take control of the House of Representatives next month, they will form a special new committee to examine climate change. . . .[Pelosi] announced that the new committee will be named the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. It will be led by Kathy Castor, a seven-term representative from Tampa Bay.

Robinson Meyer, “The Democratic Party Wants to Make Climate Policy Exciting.” Atlantic, December 5, 2018.

On Monday, speaking at a town hall led by Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez framed her chosen climate policy—the Green New Deal—through the lens of gallant American exceptionalism. “This is going to be the New Deal, the Great Society, the moon shot, the civil-rights movement of our generation,” she said. The Green New Deal aspires to cut U.S. carbon emissions fast enough to reach the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious climate goal: preventing the world from warming no more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

It’s Sunday, January 6, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Sustainable Future film this Friday at LEPOCO (12)

(12th in a series on Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan)

From LEPOCO, pass it on! Note that Gadfly follower Kathy Fox is discussion leader.


We hope you can join us for the Popcorn & Politics Film, “Tomorrow: Take Concrete Steps to a Sustainable Future,” this Friday, January 4, at 7 pm, at the LEPOCO Peace Center.  Peace, Nancy Tate

Friday,  January 4, 2019   7 pm

Popcorn and Politics – First Friday Film

“Tomorrow: Take Concrete Steps to a Sustainable Future”

LEPOCO Peace Center, 313 W. 4th St., south Bethlehem

Unlike other films which focus on the cause of global imbalances and their negative consequences, “Tomorrow” has the distinction of not giving in to catastrophism.  Optimistically, it identifies initiatives that have proven themselves in ten countries around the world:

concrete examples of solutions to environmental and social challenges, be it agriculture, energy, economy, education, governance.

Directed by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent.  120 minutes.  2015.

Discussion led by Kathy Fox.

Please bring a snack or beverage to share.

Call 610-691-8730 for more information.

It’s Thursday, January 3, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Climate change: science, yes; politics, no (11)

(11th in a series on Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan)

Are we feeling some momentum building?

“Meet the Press” devoted its full Sunday show yesterday to climate change.

If you missed it, watch “The Climate Crisis” here.

One of the tag lines:

“The science is settled, the politics is not.”

If journalist keep the heat on . . .

If the new Congress  . . .

If the new presidential candidates . . .

But, in the meantime, as CM Reynolds and others have said, let’s do what we can in our own backyards.

It’s Monday, December 31, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Business as usual means the news will get worse (10)

(10th in a series about Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan)

Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.


Yes, I think it is noticeable that more voices are joining the call for climate action.

Unfortunately, there are also many comments deriding the advocates of climate action—and the national government is showing no leadership. The Democratic leadership is a big part of the problem, refusing to make a strong push for the “Green New Deal” that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been pushing. (In fact the Dem. leadership is actively undermining it.)

At the state legislature, there is almost no discussion of or planning for climate action. Pathetic.

Locally, Easton has a good start on developing a CAP, but it seems to be stalled at the moment. In Bethlehem, there is talk about developing a CAP, but little or no public discussion of methods to be used or possible goals. Allentown has been talking about it, but I don’t know what’s happening with that.

It seems so painfully obvious, but if we don’t stop “business as usual” and make some dramatic changes, the news will continue to get worse.


Climate change in the local news (9)

(9th in a series about Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan)

Is it just Gadfly, or does it seem that there’s truly been a noticeable uptick in the buzz about climate change in our local papers lately? Perhaps a result of that big scientific study.

My clipping file overfloweth.

Gadfly has cited and linked the LTEs by Kathy Fox and Martha Christine lately, people known to him by hanging out at the Environmental Advisory Council.

But here’s a bunch more:

Ron Pizarie, “Don’t expect Mother Nature to protect us from climate change.” Morning Call, December 20, 2018.

When deniers opine that white, frozen, reflective surfaces in the Arctic and northern regions can simply melt away and flow into the oceans with no drastic complications for humanity, they sound like the biblical people jeering Noah.

Gary Abramowicz, “Stunning Apollo 8 earth photo shows our ‘fragile home’.” Morning Call, December 20, 2018.

Fifty years ago this Christmas Eve, three incredible Apollo 8 astronauts flew to the moon. They spent about 20 hours circling the moon, photographing landing areas. But their most stunning photo was the Earth rise from the moon. It showed a planet without borders. That photo also showed that blue dot in the cosmos is our fragile home, and if we do not take care of it, it will not take care of us.So far we humans have failed. My assessment is we will leave a climate in crisis for our children to fix.

Rachel Rosenfeld, “Gov. Wolf gives environment a holiday present.” Morning Call, December 20, 2018.

Just when the news on global warming couldn’t get much worse, we have Gov. Wolf to thank for a holiday gift in the form of proposed new regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas development and infrastructure. No lump of coal from the governor — instead, a breath of fresh air and stark counterpoint to the Scrooge in the White House, who continues to dismantle much-needed environmental regulations.

Terry Weida, “Give Earth a Christmas gift by recycling.” Morning Call, December 20, 2018.

We make far too much trash. Give the Earth a gift. Recycle.

Joe Baylog, “New EPA Clean Water Rule weakens protections.” Morning Call, December 20, 2018.

In 2015, the EPA released the Clean Water Rule clarification. Recently, that clarification was dismantled and a proposed a new rule that significantly diminishes these protections was submitted. . . . please join me in standing up for our right to clean water and tell this administration to maintain 2015 protections for headwater streams and wetlands.

Sam Layding, “It’s time for a ‘Green New Deal’.” Morning Call, December 7, 2018.

However, some members of our government (including our president) are still in disbelief that our planet is in danger. Instead of pushing to reduce carbon emissions, many of them continue to support big business over all else. How do you think that history is going to judge our leaders who stand by while Mother Nature continues to cry for help? It is imperative, now more than ever, that we continue to call our representatives and senators and ask for their help in making our planet great again.

Jessie E. Snyder, “Public must show support for climate change bill in Congress.” Morning Call, December 9, 2018.

Problem: Wildfires, droughts, asthma, floods, diseases, extinctions, famine. These are effects of rising temperatures. They are and will continue to occur. Our poor children and grandchildren will suffer because of worldwide inaction.

Trevor Watlington, “What we eat does affect climate change.” Morning Call, December 14, 2018.

Unfortunately, we have a rather large issue of climate change approaching us, and if we don’t act things can get dangerous. One of the simplest and easiest things we can do to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions is to stop eating beef or to cut down on the amount of beef we eat.

 Karen Poshefko, “We must address climate change crisis for next generations.” Morning Call, December 17, 2018.

Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.” These insightful words by the Lakota chief, Sitting Bull, remind us that we all bear the responsibility for the welfare of future generations. Regardless of our cultural heritage, religious beliefs or political leanings, it is common sense to care for the well-being of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

It’s Saturday, December 22, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

not a plan to get a plan yet (8)

(8th in a series about Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan)

Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.


I’d like to add a couple of minor points to this discussion.

It’s important to remember that the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement signed in 2006 included 12 points to guide implementation, many of which apply to the community as a whole; the final point is to “Help educate the public, schools, other jurisdictions, professional associations, business and industry about reducing global warming pollution.”

In the fall of 2006, an intern from Lehigh University developed a detailed set of recommendations to make substantial progress in each of the 12 points in the CPA. Very little was done with these, although Mayor Callahan did, from time to time, mention the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions [GHG].

Judging by the recent “update” (see post #5) , I don’t think it’s accurate to say we “have a plan to get a plan.” What we have is the idea of doing a plan + some valuable steps towards a CAP — I haven’t seen anything resembling a plan for how it will get done. This, of course, would have to be public!

The idea that part of the recycling director’s time will go to this is good, although it raises 2 questions: (1) does the new recycling director have strong qualifications in areas of sustainability? and (2) wouldn’t it be more important to set up an office of sustainability than to have a recycling director at all?

And the idea that most of this will be done “in-house” is a pretty clear indication of priority.  Budgeting funds for an outside consultant is a start to develop the actual plan, but the fact that it’s only $30K — out of $78-million — is another indication of the low priority attached.

Notes for Implementing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in Bethlehem

The above-linked PDF contains the implementation points developed in 2006, with a couple of edits to reflect parts that no longer apply + new notes [blue] that would apply today; otherwise it is the same as what was done in 2006


the city should educate employees about idling vehicles (7)

(7th in a series about Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan)

Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.

Thanks, Kathy (see post # 6 in this series). An analysis of the costs of higher vehicle prices and fuel use should help the city understand the importance of this, especially the impacts on emissions. (Right now, the energy mix in the grid has so much coal power that the actual total GHG emissions should also be analyzed; fortunately, the coal percentage is slowly declining.)

I think infrastructure is something where government has a primary responsibility. Where PPL is going to make money by selling more electricity, smart management would be pushing for this now as a way to encourage that new market. If they’re smart, many of the charging stations could include solar collectors to generate at least some of the energy at the point of sale.

As we have pointed out for years, one step the city could take immediately to show it is serious about reducing emissions is to educate all employees how wasteful it is to have vehicles idling. All too often, workers, including police, leave their vehicles idling while working or while sitting in their vehicles. Idling for more than 60 seconds wastes fuel and boosts GHG emissions; in cars, the breakeven is about 10 seconds. The city’s failure to take action on this suggests that they don’t really consider climate action all that important.