Will Charlotte Continue to Weaken Storm Water Controls?

For months now the Charlotte environmental and sustainability community, including Catawba RiverkeeperCharlotte Public Tree Fund, Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group, and Sustain Charlotte, have reached out to the Charlotte City Council and City Stormwater Staff and urged them NOT TO WEAKEN our stormwater protection. The Post-Construction Stormwater Ordinance (PCO) is a key regulation to stop stormwater runoff, protect our stream banks and trees, and help to reduce reduce pollution following into our streams, rivers, and lakes.

Take a moment and click below to read WHAT and WHY we asking City Council NOT TO WEAKEN our stormwater protection.

On Monday, September 22, Charlotte City Council has planned a Public Hearing that will, for the most part, determine the future water quality of our area lakes, streams and rivers. More information on the hearing to follow. Check back often.

See also: Charlotte Stormwater Pollution – Harming Our Lakes, Streams and Rivers

September 4 Joint Letter

PCO Letter Sept 4 2014 PCO Joint Comments Sept 4 2014

June 16 Joint Letter

PCCO Joint Letter June 16 2014PCO Joint Letter June 16 2014

New Charlotte Alliance and Website – Transportation Choices Alliance (TCA)

TCA Website

Today Sustain Charlotte launched www.MoveCharlotteSmarter.org to help educate, engage, and unite Charlotte area residents on local transportation issues. The site represents the official educational and engagement platform for the Transportation Choices Alliance (TCA), and we are proud to be a Founding Member of this alliance!
The mission of the TCA is to increase transportation choices, and their use, throughout the Charlotte region to improve traffic, air quality, public health, mobility, and the economy. More transportation choices means more safe and convenient opportunities to take a bus, catch a train, ride a bike, or walk.
We invite you to join us in showing support for more transportation choices by visiting the new website, subscribing to the alliance email list, become a member, and following the TCA on Facebook and Twitter!
Over 25 organizations have joined as Founding Members, including:

Alta Planning + Design, Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, AARP North Carolina, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, Biddleville Smallwood Community Organization, BikeWalk NC, Carolina Thread Trail, Catawba Lands Conservancy, Catawba Riverkeeper, Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance, Charlotte Public Tree Fund, Charlotte Spokes People, Clean Air Carolina, Crisis Assistance Ministry, CROWN Charlotte Chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, Historic Washington Heights Community Organization, NC Central Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club, Queen City Forward, SAFE – North Meck, Safe Routes to School Partnership, Surfrider Foundation Charlotte Chapter, Trips for Kids, UNC Charlotte IDEAS Center, and UNC Charlotte Parking and Transportation Services.

Why We Need to Demand Clean Power

Together Let’s Demand Clean Power: People’s Climate March

Why? Because the Time for Action Has Come!!

NASA: Hottest August Globally Since Records Began In 1880

Hottest August on Record

NASA data shows 2014 year to date (January through August) is the fourth hottest on record. All the hotter years were either El Niño years or had an El Niño preceding them — there is a few-month delay between the peak El Niño temperature and peak global temperature.

Because of global warming, all global temperature records will be broken (again and again and again and …). If there is an El Niño, this should happen even sooner.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/15/3567464/nasa-hottest-august/

 

World Meteorological Organization: Ocean Acidification and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hit Record Levels

The details of growing GHG levels are in the annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, published by the WMO—the United Nations specialist agency that plays a leading role in international efforts to monitor and protect the environment.

They show that between 1990 and 2013 there was a 34 percent increase in radiative forcing—the warming effect on our climate—because of long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide.

In 2013, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 142 percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution started, in about 1750. Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide had risen by 253 percent and 121 percent respectively.

The observations from WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch network showed that CO2 levels increased more from 2012 to 2013 than during any other year since 1984. Scientists think this may be related to reduced CO2 absorption by the Earth’s biosphere, as well as by the steady increase in emissions.

“If global warming is not a strong enough reason to cut CO2 emissions, ocean acidification should be, since its effects are already being felt and will increase for many decades to come.”

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 396.0 parts per million (ppm) in 2013. At the current rate of increase, the global annual average concentration is set to cross the symbolic 400 ppm threshold within the next two years.

More potent

Methane, in the short term, is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2—34 times more potent over a century, but 84 times more over 20 years.

Atmospheric methane reached a new high of about 1,824 parts per billion (ppb) in 2013, because of increased emissions from human sources. Since 2007, it has started increasing again, after a temporary period of levelling-off.

Nitrous oxide’s atmospheric concentration in 2013 was about 325.9 ppb. Its impact on climate, over a century, is 298 times greater than equal emissions of CO2. It also plays an important role in the destruction of the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet solar radiation.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/09/09/ocean-acidification-greenhouse-emissions/

5 Terrifying Facts From the Leaked UN Climate Report

Ice Island

This “Synthesis Report,” to be released in November following a UN conference in Copenhagen, is still subject to revision. It is intended to summarize three previous UN climate publications and to “provide an integrated view” to the world’s governments of the risks they face from runaway carbon pollution, along with possible policy solutions.

Here are five particularly grim—depressing, distressing, upsetting, worrying, unpleasant—takeaways from the report.

1. Our efforts to combat climate change have been grossly inadequate.
The report says that anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas emissions continued to increase from 1970 to 2010, at a pace that ramped up especially quickly between 2000 and 2010. That’s despite some regional action that has sought to limit emissions, including carbon-pricing schemes in Europe. We haven’t done enough, the United Nations says, and we’re already seeing the effects of inaction. “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history,” the report says. “The climate changes that have already occurred have had widespread and consequential impacts on human and natural systems.”

2. Keeping global warming below the internationally agreed upon 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (above preindustrial levels) is going to be very hard.
To keep warming below this limit, our emissions need to be slashed dramatically. But at current rates, we’ll pump enough greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to sail past that critical level within the next 20 to 30 years, according to the report. We need to emit half as much greenhouse gas for the remainder of this century as we’ve already emitted over the past 250 years. Put simply, that’s going to be difficult—especially when you consider the fact that global emissions are growing, not declining, every year. The report says that to keep temperature increases to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, deep emissions cuts of between 40 and 70 percent are needed between 2010 and 2050, with emissions “falling towards zero or below” by 2100.

3. We’ll probably see nearly ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean before mid-century.
The report says that in every warming scenario it the scientists considered, we should expect to see year-round reductions in Arctic sea ice. By 2050, that will likely result in strings of years in which there is the near absence of sea ice in the summer, following a well-established trend. And then there’s Greenland, where glaciers have been retreating since the 1960s—increasingly so after 1993—because of man-made global warming. The report says we may already be facing a situation in which Greenland’s ice sheet will vanish over the next millennium, contributing up to 23 feet of sea level rise.

4. Dangerous sea level rise will very likely impact 70 percent of the world’s coastlines by the end of the century.
The report finds that by 2100, the devastating effects of sea level rise—including flooding, infrastructure damage, and coastal erosion—will impact the vast majority of the world’s coastlines. That’s not good: Half the world’s population lives within 37 miles of the sea, and three-quarters of all large cities are located on the coast, according to the United Nations. The sea has already risen significantly: From 1901 to 2010, global mean sea level rose by 0.62 feet.

5. Even if we act now, there’s a real risk of “abrupt and irreversible” changes.
The carbon released by burning fossil fuels will stay in the atmosphere and the seas for centuries to come, the report says, even if we completely stop emitting CO2 as soon as possible. That means it’s virtually certain that global mean sea level rise will continue for many centuries beyond 2100. Without strategies to reduce emissions, the world will see 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit of warming above preindustrial temperatures by the end of the century, condemning us to “substantial species extinction, global and regional food insecurity, [and] consequential constraints on common human activities.”

What’s more, the report indicates that without action, the effects of climate change could be irreversible: “Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

Grim, indeed.

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/08/un-ipcc-climate-change-synthesis-report

 

EPA Takes Real Steps Toward Curbing Smog Pollution – Now We Need Your Voice

Jasmine Smog

EPA Takes Real Steps Toward Curbing Smog Pollution – Now We Need Your Voice

September 11, 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency recently found that we’ve been doing it wrong for years; our air is not as clean or as safe as we once supposed. The agency’s smog pollution policy assessment, released in late August, found that current “safe” levels of smog pollution are actually not strong enough to protect our communities, our kids, or the air we breathe.

Doris Toles could tell you that.The Baltimore resident struggles with serious respiratory issues which are only made worse by the poor air quality in the city.

“I had my first asthma attack when I was two. I’m now living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),” says Doris. “A person gets COPD like I have after years of asthma attacks permanently weaken the lungs, and there is no cure.”

Doctors told Doris that her asthma is triggered by pollution in the air where she lives. “I have to be very careful and keep my inhaler close at hand on days when smog levels are high.”

When smog is inhaled, the harm it does has been likened to getting a sunburn on your lungs. Thankfully, we’ve got a chance to put things right. This December, the EPA will propose new smog pollution protections that can get America’s air quality back on track.

 “Safe” smog pollution levels were first lowered in 2008 from 88 parts per billion (ppb) to 75 ppb, but it turns out those protections were not enough to ensure clean, safe air for children and vulnerable populations living near the sources of this pollution. New recommendations from scientists since the 2008 protections have found that we need to ratchet them down to 60 ppb, in order to guard against dangerous air. The recent smog pollution policy assessment echoed this sentiment, recommending that the levels be reduced to a range of 60 to 70 ppb.

While we applaud the EPA’s assessment for acknowledging the need to strengthen the current safeguards, it’s important to note that the devil is in the details, which is why we need your help. Thousands of lives hang in the balance between 60 ppb and 70 ppb, and are pushing hard for the EPA to propose 60 ppb protections in December.

At Sierra Club, we have strongly advocated for a 60 ppb standard for years because the science is clear that it will better protect families from smog pollution from power plants and tailpipe emissions. Smog pollution can trigger respiratory problems like asthma attacks and cardiovascular problems. Over time, continued exposure can even lead to premature death.

Doris has lost friends and family to severe asthma attacks. For her and many others, it’s a matter of life and death. “Cleaning up this pollution helps people like me stay alive,” she says.

A 60 ppb standard would safeguard families, especially young children and the elderly, from these health hazards and save roughly $100 billion in health care costs. The EPA also estimates that cutting back to safer levels of smog pollution (60 ppb) would prevent 12,000 premature deaths, 21,000 hospitalizations and the stop the loss of 2.5 million work and school days each year. In view of this, the smog pollution policy assessment is an important step toward holding polluters accountable and lifting this huge burden off our communities.

In the months ahead, we work to secure the strongest possible protections for those who need them most. Let EPA know you support strong standards here.

–Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign Director

Take 2 Actions: Money Out of Politics / Protect the Arctic From an Oil Spill

Why not take 2 actions to get Money Out of Politics and Protect the Arctic from an oil spill? Click below to speak out!

Take Action: Get Big Money Out of Politics

Take Action: Get Big Money Out of Politics

Our government should respond to the voice of the people, not a few super-rich donors. When big polluters and their unlimited SuperPAC money speaks, they drown out the voices of the people who suffer because of dirty air, contaminated water, and a warming, unstable climate. Right now a critical debate is happening in Washington to help restore our democracy and get big money out of politics. Environmental champion Senator Tom Udall introduced a bill that would give Congress and state legislatures the ability to regulate money in politics. Because of our grassroots pressure over past two months, the bill now has 50 cosponsors, but we need them all to vote yes this week.

Take Action
Tell your senators to vote for the Democracy for All Amendment.

Take Action: Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge From an Oil Spill

 

Take Action: Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge From an Oil Spill

The Obama administration has proposed opening oil and gas drilling in the Beaufort Sea — threatening half of America’s polar bear habitat and the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — home to millions of wild birds and animals. An oil spill in the Beaufort Sea could devastate the coastline of the refuge blanketing it with a thick layer of toxic sludge for decades!

Send the administration a message opposing gas and oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea before the September 12 comment deadline and protect the Arctic!

Take Action
Send the administration a message opposing gas and oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea before the September 12 comment deadline and protect the Arctic!

Get to the People’s Climate March Anyway That You Can!

Get to the People’s Climate March anyway that you can. 10 buses will be leaving N.C. for NYC! 10 BUSES!

Last reports indicate that seats are available for just 2 buses:

Charlotte Bus #3 with Action NChttp://www.actionnc.org/climate_march?utm_campaign=climate_march&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionnc. Contact Luis Rodriguez, luis@actionnc.org, for more info.

Raleigh/Durham Bus #4 with Greenway Transithttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/1W6YZN7yoiiDvBmhiwjNNjHwn394ajgXhesjlWsBkRqI/viewform?usp=send_form. Contact Marc Dreyfors, marc@greenwayrides.com, or Nicole Russ, nruss625@aol.com for more info.

Why not take the train? Amtrak trains (Sept. 16–24) offer a 10 percent discount fare: Ask for People’s Climate March Convention Fare Code X22T-908.

For updates, check back here or https://www.facebook.com/NCPeoplesClimateMarch

See you in NYC!