Streams

 

 

Climate Change

The Leonard Lopate Show

Giant Crabs in Chesapeake Bay

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Washington Post environmental reporter Darryl Fears explains that climate change is creating supersized crabs in Chesapeake Bay that are wreaking havoc on other species.

Comments [3]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Al Gore on The Future

Friday, February 22, 2013

Al Gore, former vice president and author of The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, talks to Brian Lehrer about the new balance of global power and environmental drivers in the future.

Comments [25]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Last weekend, thousands of protesters marched on Washington in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. Bill McKibben, environmentalist and founder of 350.org, talks to Brian Lehrer about the protest.

The Brian Lehrer Show

Climate Change March

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bill McKibben, environmentalist, resident scholar at Middlebury College and founder of 350.org, discusses the weekend protest against the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington.

Comments [51]

The Takeaway

Will Obama Go for Climate Change Legislation Alone?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

President Obama addressed climate change in his State of the Union address last night, but legislation to combat the problem has gotten so little traction in Congress, environmental activists wonder how the Obama Administration can achieve his goals when it comes to the environment.

Comments [2]

The Leonard Lopate Show

California's Cap and Trade

Thursday, January 31, 2013

On January 1, California launched its cap and trade program, and it  was recently upheld in a court ruling. Time magazine Senior Editor Bryan Walsh discusses the program and why the country's most populous state is tackling climate change.

Comments [1]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Al Gore Looks Toward the Future

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Former Vice President Al Gore tells Leonard Lopate what will drive global change in the decades to come.

Comments [26]

Transportation Nation

In Second Inaugural Address, President Obama Says Building Infrastructure, Combating Climate Change Part of "Obligation"

Monday, January 21, 2013

In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama wove in specific policy recommendations for building roads and combating climate change into a speech urging Americans to join in collective action for a better future.

"We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity," President Obama said.  "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms."

"The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult," the President added.  But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."

The president also declared road-building a collective responsibility.

"For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people."

Read More

Comments [1]

Radiolab

Krulwich Wonders: Miss Piggy's Version Of Global Warming: What About Me?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

NPR

Here's a new way to think about global warming. An interactive map plots how temperatures have changed in any region on the planet since the early 1950s.

Read More

Comment

WNYC News

Cuomo Panel Says 'Maybe' to Massive Hurricane Barrier

Friday, January 11, 2013

An expert panel's preliminary report does not make New York’s solution to climate change look easy.

Comment

The Leonard Lopate Show

Please Explain: The Year in Science 2012

Friday, January 11, 2013

Corey S. Powell, Editor at Large of Discover magazine, talks about the biggest stories in science last year—including the new Mars rover; the discovery of the Higgs boson; the Human Microbiome Project; climate change, storms, and melting polar ice; private space flight; self-driving cars; the comeback of measles, mumps, and whooping cough; and more!

Comments [11]

Transportation Nation

Christie on NJ Transit Storm Decisions: "Not A Hanging Offense"

Thursday, January 03, 2013

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

NJ Governor Christie is offering a full-throated defense of NJ Transit chief James Weinstein's decision to store rail trains in yards that flooded during Sandy -- a misstep that cost the agency $100 million.

"Well, you know, if they knew for sure it was going to flood, believe me, [executive director] Jim Weinstein would have moved the trains," Christie said, in response to a reporter's questions. "This is a guy with decades of experience in government, with extraordinary competence, who made the best decision he could make at the time. Sometimes, people make wrong decisions. It happens. It's not a hanging offense."

Speaking Tuesday at a press conference, the governor reserved most of his ire for House Republican leadership, which failed to vote on a $60 billion Sandy aid package. But when questioned about his support of Weinstein, Christie said:

A transcript follows.

Reporter: in light of the report last week that NJ Transit had been warned months ahead of time that  rail yards in Kearny would likely flood in the event of a storm like Sandy, do you still support the leadership?

Christie's full response:

"I absolutely support the leadership -- and I don't believe that that's what the report said. I mean, I think you've gilded that report up pretty well in the lead up to your question. I don't think that's what the report said. I think these guys made the best judgement they could under the circumstances. And all of you are geniuses after. Once you see that the Kearny yards flooded, you could say 'well, geez, they should have moved the trains.’ Well, you know, if they knew for sure it was going to flood, believe me, [executive director] Jim Weinstein would have moved the trains. This is a guy with decades of experience in government, with extraordinary competence, who made the best decision he could make at the time. Sometimes, people make wrong decisions. It happens. It's not a hanging offense."

The head of NJ Transit, Jim Weinstein, told a state panel last month the agency relied on past experience -- and the understanding that it had up to 20 more years to prepare for climate change -- when it came where to store its rolling stock during the storm.

Read More

Comment

The Brian Lehrer Show

Good News on Climate Change

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

William Hewitt, environmental activist and the author of A Newer World: Politics, Money, Technology, and What's Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis, looks for reasons to be optimistic about climate change fixes.

Comments [7]

WNYC News

Predicting When the Next Sandy Will Hit

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Maps detailing actual and expected flooding show that Sandy’s storm surge exceeded many of the 100-year flood zones, seeping into places previously considered safe. Are the flood maps wrong or was Sandy a truly exceptional storm?

Comment

The Brian Lehrer Show

Starting Over

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New York Times columnist David Brooks talks about the latest news from the Beltway, and his picks for best essays of 2012. Plus: what the longshoremen’s strike threat means in the context of recent labor disputes; environmental activist William Hewitt on optimism on the climate change front; and Joe Nocera of The New York Times reflects on business and economic news as we kick off 2013.

Transportation Nation

Critics: Christie Deep-Sixed Climate Change Prep

Friday, December 07, 2012

Christie on December 7 photo: NJ Governor's Office

"I know there are some folks at Rutgers who are looking at whether climate caused all this, but I certainly haven't been briefed in the last year, year-and-a-half on this," Christie told WNYC's Bob Hennelly last month.

But the question may be more than academic.

The state's transit agency that answers to Christie, New Jersey Transit, acknowledged this week it lost $100 million in trains and equipment. Some critics are linking NJ Transit's decision to store trains in low lying rail yards during the storm to its lack of a climate change preparation plan. The agency said, before the flood, it had figured that there was an "80 to 90 percent chance" there wouldn't be flooding.

That turned out to be a losing gamble, and one, critics say, that reflects a pattern in Christie's term in office.

In his first year, Christie closed the Office of Climate Change and Energy which had been created and given top-level priority under Jon Corzine.

It was run by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Its mission was to ready the state  to handle more severe storms, heat and rising sea levels.

“So none of this work is getting done,” said Bill Wolfe, a 30-year-veteran of DEP and now a harsh critic.

“And if you want to get something done, the DEP has all the tools to get something done and they’ve chosen not to use those tools for political reasons, reflecting the Governor’s priorities and Governor’s policy,” Wolfe said. “And they just don’t want to own up to that.”

Robert Martin, Commissioner for the Department of Environmental Protection, defended the Christie Administration’s efforts. The DEP hasn’t been weakened, he said, it’s been streamlined to cut red tape and wasteful spending.

Thrift is an issue Christie is comfortable talking about. Climate science isn't. As Sandy was bearing down on the region , WNYC’s Bob Hennelly asked Christie if the Governor was discussing the increasing severity of storms with climate change scientists.

“No, that’s over my head.,” Christie replied.

That’s been Christie’s approach to questions about climate change. Once he said he was "skeptical." When he was pressed about the increasing severity of storms, he maintained he’s a lawyer, not a scientist.

“But that’s what we have an academic community to do is to think about those bigger issues and if those experts have an answer for me, my door is always open to listen to them,” Christie said.

Several of the people who lost their jobs when the Office of Climate Change was cut now work in academia -- at Rutgers University.

The Bergen Record earlier this month dug up a video of David Gillespie, director of Energy and Sustainability Programs for NJ Transit, specifically saying the agency decided not to develop a climate adaptation plan.

 “The mitigation plan that we have for movable assets -- our  rolling stock --  is we move it out of harm’s way when something’s coming,” Gillespie said. “Generally we have enough time to do that, so we didn’t spend a lot of money on that.”

Gillespie said there’s  no need to make changes in the next five to 20 years, and that the agency has 50 years to adapt to climate change.   That's despite a federal study distributed to all the nation's transit agencies that warned them to protect their assets by readying for worsening storms.   And despite the lessons of Irene, where New York's transit system suffered the worst transit damage in modern history.

New Jersey was well prepared for Sandy,  said Martin, the DEP chief. “While unfortunately some lives were lost, by and large we protected the state, we protected thousands of lives and lots of homes and lots of property overall and again we’ve done a great job with that and the Governor provided great leadership overall."

And NJ Transit's James Weinstein told a Senate committee Thursday that the agency had no choice -- if moved elsewhere out of potential flood zones, the trains could have been damaged by falling trees, or stranded, as they were during Irene.  "Keeping the trains in the yards was the best decision, especially in light of what happened during Irene.”

Read More

Comments [3]

Transportation Nation

NJ Transit Chief: Our Trains, Equipment, Suffered $100 Million In Sandy Damage

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Bay Head Comet III's with debris (photo by NJ Transit via flickr)

New Jersey Transit lost $100 million in trains and equipment during storm Sandy, NJ Transit chief James Weinstein told a U.S. Senate panel Thursday.

The $100 million is part of a $400 million bill Sandy left for NJ Transit. The total includes damage to all 12 rail lines, which suffered flooding and some 630 downed trees.  This is the first public accounting of the  Sandy-related damage to NJ transit equipment.

The transit agency has been scrutinized in the wake of its decision to store trains during Sandy at two facilities that are in high-risk areas for flooding during hurricanes. By contrast, the New York MTA moved its trains out of Coney Island and Queens, two areas in New York's evacuation zone.

"Based on the information that we had in terms of the likelihood of flooding occurring at the Meadowlands complex, or at the Hoboken yard, that indicated there was a likelihood in the 80 to 90 percent range that no flooding would happen," Weinstein told the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, chaired by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

In 2011, as TN has reported, the Federal Transit Agency issued a study warning transit authorities that storm surge-related climate change would create risks for transit agencies, and exhorted local transit agencies to move their trains out of harm's way during storms.  The FTA said the risk of flooding would increase over the years.

But just months ago, NJ Transit specifically rejected a climate change adaptation plan, as the Bergen Record reported this week.  "At a symposium of state and federal transportation officials in March, NJ Transit executive David Gillespie said he had told climate-change consultants working for the agency to skip any analysis of potential impacts on train cars and engines," The Record wrote.

By contrast, the NY MTA had developed a climate change adaptation plan and appointed two officials to oversee the MTA's response to hurricanes.

Weinstein maintained NJ Transit had little choice. He said the agency has few options about where to store trains. "That combined with the history led us to conclude that [yards in the Meadowlands and Hoboken were] the appropriate place to put the equipment, based on the information we had at the time we had to make the decision."

In response to a question from Senator Lautenberg, Weinstein said "this was the best decision, especially in light of what happened during Irene." Weinstein said during that storm, NJ Transit stored equipment in Pennsylvania -- where it was stranded as a result of inland flooding and trees falling on the tracks. "That's another factor that informed our decisions," Weinstein said.

"Some of that equipment was new, up-to-date?" Lautenberg interjected.

"Yes, sir," Weinstein responded. "We had some new locomotives that hadn't been accepted yet. Water penetrated up to the axles where the bearings are."

Then Lautenberg tossed Weinstein a lifeline: "It didn't sound like there were other choices to be made," said the senior U.S. Senator from New Jersey -- who, like  Weinstein, is in a position of pleading for relief funds from the federal government in the middle of difficult negotiations over tax hikes and spending cuts to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff."

"If you lay a flood plain map over our rail map there are very few places that are not prone to flooding," Weinstein said.  "I had 630 trees come down. If that starts coming down on equipment, it damages equipment every bit as badly as flooding would."

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Bloomberg: In Reponse to Climate Change, NYC Needs Levees

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (photo: New York City Mayor's Office)

New York needs more coastline protections in the wake of climate change.  So says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Thursday, in a major address on rebuilding after storm Sandy delivered Thursday. Bloomberg was introduced by former Vice President Al Gore.

"Over the past month," Mayor Bloomberg said, "there has been a lot of discussion about sea walls. It would be nice if we could stop the tides from coming in, but King Canute couldn’t do it – and neither can we, especially if, as many scientists project, sea levels continue rising. However, there may be some coastline protections that we can build that will mitigate the impact of a storm surge – from berms and dunes, to jetties and levees."

We'll have more soon.  Meantime, you can find the full transcript of the remarks here.

Read More

Comment

WNYC News

Mayor: City Working on Storm, Climate Prep

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that New York City needs to work on upgrading building codes and evacuation-zone maps, hardening power and transportation networks, and making sure hospitals are better prepared for storms.

Comment

Schoolbook

Student Provides Personal Take on Climate Change

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A student leader from Long Island City High School spoke to an international audience at a climate change conference in the aftermath of Sandy.

Read More

Comment