Inaugural people’s assembly invites 80 Washingtonians to discuss climate pollution

An interesting experiment in public discourse starts tonight to bring together a truly random group of Washingtonians to discuss Climate Change and what can be done to bridge the gap between beliefs to find a solution that might be acceptable to all. It’s being supported by some of our legislature. Can this work? As one of the people involved told me, “It’s an experiment being done with a rigorous framework.” Could it fail? Yes. Is it worth doing ? You bet. You can watch the assembly tonight (1/12/21) at 6PM at this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q1_0VI71Aw\

The WA Climate Assembly will focus on answering the following question:

How can Washington State equitably design and implement climate mitigation strategies while strengthening communities disproportionately impacted by climate change across the State?

People’s Voice on Climate is the initiator and sponsor of the Washington Climate Assembly, the nation’s first climate assembly. Supported by five key State House Committee chairs, this event will gather “our state in miniature” to deliberate and ultimately answer this question: How can Washington State equitably design and implement climate mitigation strategies while strengthening communities disproportionately impacted by climate change across the State?

The Assembly itself is conducted by an independent team hired by a diverse panel of Washingtonians. People’s Voice On Climate will publicize this event and promote the Assembly’s recommendations in the Legislature and elsewhere.\\

A People’s (or Citizens’) Assembly is a democratic process that seeks to answer a question or solve a problem facing a community in a way that fairly represents the interests of people from all walks of life.

An Assembly can center around any topic; a Climate Assembly is one that centers around the problem of climate pollution.

Assemblies have been used worldwide to help shape the work of governments.  At the WA Climate Assembly, members will learn about the issue of climate pollution, take time to discuss the issue and potential solutions with one another, and then make recommendations about what should happen legislatively.​

The Assembly is an exciting event in which 80 Washington residents will come together remotely in Winter 2021 to learn about, discuss, deliberate, and recommend climate change solutions for consideration by the State Legislature. Participants will be chosen through a lottery so as to accurately represent the state in terms of demographics such as age, race/ethnicity, geographic distribution, and views on climate change. 

Assembly Meeting Schedule

Inaugural Meeting  •  Watch Live on Youtube

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday, January 12
 

Learning Session 1: 

Introduction to climate change and climate mitigation

10:00am – 1:00pm

Saturday, January 16

Learning Session 2: 

Social issues & climate mitigation

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday, January 19

Learning Session 3: 

Environment & climate mitigation

10:00am – 1:00pm

Saturday, January 23

Learning Session 4: 

Economic issues & climate mitigation

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday, January 26

Learning Session 5: 

Technology issues & climate mitigation

10:00am – 1:00pm

Saturday, January 30

Learning Session 6: 

Political issues & climate mitigation

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday, February 2

Learning Session 7: 

Climate action and just transitions / Bringing it all together

10:00am – 1:00pm

Saturday, February 6

How Trump tried, but largely failed, to derail America’s top climate report – NY Times

More fallout of the destructive force of Hurricane Trump. In this instance, scientists managed to hold off his flunkies from essentially gutting the report. As he leaves we can only look forward to rebuilding this nation’s science credibility world wide. Why is this important? Because the output of this report guides decision making for years to come.

North Pacific fishing crews on edge about what they’ll find this month, after a tough 2020 of small fish and COVID-19 – Seattle Times

This is a very good roundup of what happened to the Pollack fishing last year in the Bering Sea, and what the fishermen and scientists are doing to try and predict this year. Short story: Global warming is appearing to significantly affect the stocks of one of the basic fish we North Pacific fishing crews on edge about what they’ll find this month, after a tough 2020 of small fish and COVID-19eat in large quantities.

Though the weather often is rough, these winter harvests typically offer prime fishing as the pollock come together in the southern Bering Sea before spawning. But the disappointing fishing in the last half of 2020 has put Ganley on edge about what he and his four crew members will find when they drop their nets.


https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/skinny-small-fish-and-covid-19-made-2020-a-difficult-year-for-north-pacific-pollock-fleet/

Climate Action for Christmas? Omnibus bill includes biggest policy shift in years.

Good news being reported by NPR. This blog will check into the details and come back with a more comprehensive overview later.

“The massive spending package just passed by Congress includes the most significant climate legislation in more than a decade, along with significant changes in energy policy. It was easy to miss, nestled among pandemic relief payments, the annual spending bill, new Smithsonian museums and protection from surprise medical billing. But pull out the energy provisions alone, and the bill is remarkable: It includes $35 billion in funding for basic research, extensions of tax credits for renewable energy companies, and a long-delayed mandate to reduce the use of a particularly damaging greenhouse gas. The fact that Congress managed to pass climate legislation at all is noteworthy in and of itself. For years, thanks to gridlock and an administration actively hostile to climate action, legislators have struggled to set new climate policy, even on measures that enjoy widespread bipartisan support. Camila Domonoske & Jeff Brady report. (NPR)”


Climate Action For Christmas? Omnibus Bill Includes Biggest Policy Shift In Years

What 13,000 wildfires teach us about Washington forests – Crosscut

A deep dive into data from the Department of Natural Resources reveals some scary trends and surprising findings.

Crosscut took a deep dive into these 13,452 fire records to highlight some numbers that help put this year into context and tell the broader story of our state’s fires. 

https://crosscut.com/environment/2020/11/what-13000-wildfires-teach-us-about-washington-forests

U.S. Leaving Paris Agreement – ABC

Yes, the largest polluter of greenhouse gases is walking away from offering any global leadership as many of it’s citizens are turned into climate refugees in California, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and more. Beyond the fact that the U.S. is continuing to help doom all of the planet to a nightmarish future, the first people most hurt from from the 2016 Presidential election is that they are more likely to be Republicans that voted for Trump. (that statement based on reviewing New York Times data maps of the districts voting records vs where the fires covered). Still, people in these same areas voted again for Trump and their own worse outcomes. The good news? Economics drive behavior as much as anything. Solar power is getting cheaper and more widespread. Devices become more power efficient. Insurance companies are forcing people to make better decisions about their future homes and many more communities are working on creating better building standards and zoning restrictions. It won’t be enough to stop the tide, but it could help mitigate the pain. If Biden can win, at least we will go back to a President that can do something rather than nothing. Congress will still be deadlocked, but some small progress will be reinstated. Cross your fingers. The future is watching.


The U.S. is set to officially withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement on Wednesday, three years after President Donald Trump announced his intent to remove the country from participating in the global forum to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The historic accord seeks to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, the value that climate scientists have determined will have disastrous consequences if exceeded. Trump has assailed the agreement as economically detrimental and claimed it could cost the country 2.5 million jobs by 2025. He also said it gave other major emitters, such as China, a free pass. Julia Jacobo reports. (ABC)

The US is leaving the Paris Agreement: How that will affect the global mission to affect climate change r

Trump to strip protections from Tongass National Forest, one of the biggest intact temperate rainforests Seattle Times

And so it continues, the rolling back of environmental protection in some of our most critical remaining habitat. Vote Democratic and for Biden to end this madness.

President Donald Trump will open up more than half of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and other forms of development, according to a notice posted Wednesday, stripping protections that had safeguarded one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests for nearly two decades.

Logging in Alaska costs U.S. taxpayers millions each year, because of a long-standing federal mandate that companies profit from any timber sale. This means the Forest Service often covers harvesters’ costs, including road building. According to a Taxpayer for Common Sense analysis of the Forest Service’s accounts, the Tongass timber program has lost roughly $1.7 billion over the last 40 years.

Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation/trump-to-strip-protections-from-tongass-national-forest-among-worlds-biggest-intact-temperate-rainforests/

Canada Lynx disappearing from Washington State – WSU Research

While not directly linked to the North Olympic Peninsula, this is more bad news for species facing a warming climate. I post this to offset the anti-science based notion that the species will simply ‘follow the food north’. That doesn’t appear to be what is happening.

A massive monitoring study led by Washington State University researchers has found lynx on only about 20% of its potential habitat in the state. The study, published recently in the Journal of Wildlife Management, covered more than 4,300 square miles (7,300 km) in northeastern Washington with camera traps but detected lynx in only 29 out of 175 monitored areas.

Canada lynx disappearing from Washington state

 

DNR proposes new tax for protecting Washington from looming wildfire crisis

While some politicians at the national level continue to say that climate change is a hoax, and that there is no cost to doing business as usual, our west coast natural resources managers are well aware of the rising costs to protect us from the increase in wildfires around our states. DNR head Hilary Franz has just proposed a new tax to help properly fund her department, which has been suffering from a lack of appropriate funds coming from the Trump Administration.  This is the new normal under the Trump Administration, starve the States with a lack of Federal funding, and force you and I to fund saving our neighbors. To be clear, that is a losing battle. Spreading the costs across all our States, is a cheaper way to do this.

New insurance surcharge to fight wildfires to be proposed by Washington’s lands commissioner

Determined to create reliable funding to prevent and fight Washington wildfires, the state commissioner of public lands and some Democratic lawmakers are about to make a new push for revenue.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/new-insurance-surcharge-to-fight-wildfires-to-be-proposed-by-washingtons-lands-commissioner/

 

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/about/legislative

 

‘The smell will knock you off your feet’: mass mussel die-offs baffle scientists | Environment | The Guardian

The Chehalis River is one of the locations mentioned in this article.

Mussels, the backbone of the river ecosystem because they control silt levels and filter water, are facing a mysterious affliction
— Read on www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/14/the-smell-will-knock-you-off-your-feet-mass-mussel-die-offs-baffle-scientists

This Is Not a Drill: 700+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Fights Climate Crisis with Direct Action -Democracy Now

Finally, we are seeing the kind of demonstrations demanding action that have been building for the last few years. The US and Canada have been lagging behind other parts of the world in demanding climate action from our leaders. Now, with Extinction Rebellion, we see a real force for getting the kind of “Act Up” urgency into the mainstream  (the people who launched the AIDS crisis demonstrations that galvanized others to demand action).  I’ve not heard of a Extinction Rebellion group here locally. If you know of them, have them contact me. I’d like to do a discussion session with them.

More than 700 people have been arrested in civil disobedience actions as the group Extinction Rebellion kicked off two weeks of protests in 60 cities worldwide, demanding urgent government action on the climate crisis. Its members have superglued themselves to government buildings, occupied public landmarks, shut down roads and taken to the streets to sound the alarm about the impending catastrophe of global warming. Extinction Rebellion, a nonpolitical movement, launched last year in the U.K. and rose to prominence in April, when it disrupted traffic in Central London for 11 days. For more about the significance of the coordinated global protests, we speak with Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook.

Mr. Rogers and teaching kids about climate change

While this blog publishes a lot of articles that can be  quite depressing when placed in context, I feel a need to make sure that we here on the Peninsula get the big picture. You the reader can edit them out yourself. However, there is  discussion I’ve heard about being positive, especially for younger audiences, tailoring the message. That is a good idea. Greta Thurnberg is championing waking up the teens. But as she said, she suffered from depression when coming to grips with it. No one in her family or school apparently understood how to communicate the message to her.

This article in Grist, below, and also the recent documentary film about Fred Rogers (not the Tom Hanks movie) are worth considering.

My goal, when talking to anyone about climate change, is to establish rapport that

  • It is here and happening now, not something coming in the future. Younger audiences can be told how we are the beginning of weather changes that they will continue to see as they grow up. And that they can do things, to help make the changes go better.
  • Focus on what people can do. Children like being included. Pick up trash on the beach, don’t throw bags in the water, etc. Small things build their ability to understand larger things later.
  • Ask adults what they think they can do that could make a difference. Fly less? Drive less? Become more politically active?

Fred Rogers was a master of communicating hard news to children. In fact, as the movie states, “He was radical”. His taking on issues of assassination, death, violence and divorce, were well thought out and researched in advance. I recommend this movie to anyone that teaches young children. If you never really gave Mr. Rogers any thought, this will be an eye opener.

Grist also just published the following article.

Life as an outdoor educator might seem like it’s all fun and games — romping around outside, playing games, looking at bugs — until it comes to talking to 9-year-olds about climate change.

“They want to talk about it, but it can be hard sometimes,” Ian Schooley said with a laugh. He spent four years teaching visiting fourth and fifth graders at the Pacific Science Center’s Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center about the wetland ecosystems just outside of Seattle. Wetlands are a unique habitat that filters water, sucks up carbon dioxide, and protects our coasts — but the triple threat of sea-level rise, pollution, and development is putting them at risk.

When teaching kids about climate change, don’t be a downer

Humans’ role in climate change, oil and gas industry lawyer says ‘that ship has sailed’ – Wa Post

The Washington Post got ahold of closed door comments by the a top Petroleum industry executive. This shows that the industry is well aware of their role in this climate emergency, and that they are not assuming the Trump agenda is lasting or helping them.

The burning of petroleum accounted for 45 percent of the United States’ energy-related carbon emissions last year, according to the Energy Information Administration, while natural-gas burning contributed 31 percent.

In a closed-door meeting of oil and gas executives this summer in Colorado Springs, industry lawyer Mark Barron offered a bold proposal: Energy companies must accept that fossil fuels are helping to drive climate change. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s real, or not real, or what the issues are,” said Barron, who heads the energy litigation arm of Baker Hostetler. “That ship has sailed from a political perspective.” Barron added that any American younger than 40 had grown up learning that climate change is “an existential crisis that we need to address.” The recording of the June 24 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), which was obtained by The Washington Post, highlights a growing schism between the Trump administration and key players in the fossil fuel industry. Even as Trump officials work to repeal federal restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, some oil and gas executives say they have no choice but to press forward with plans to address climate change. Juliet Ellperin reports. (Washington Post)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/when-it-comes-to-acknowledging-humans-role-in-climate-change-oil-and-gas-industry-lawyer-says-that-ship-has-sailed/2019/09/26/63c0d250-c9c2-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html

Fisheries disaster money after ‘Blob’ just now being disbursed as new marine heatwave looms – Seattle Times

It’s sad that it’s taken the federal government three years to get this money to the fishermen who needed it back then. Why can’t our federal government work faster?  Why don’t we demand it do so! Now, we face another marine heatwave. Can our commercial fisheries withstand another financial hit, with the Feds taking so long to come through?

The marine heatwave known as “The Blob” wreaked havoc on Northwest fisheries during 2015 and 2016, Ron Warren, fish policy director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told a Senate committee Wednesday. And before the federal government could even provide disaster relief for that event, another marine heatwave loomed, he said. The Blob stoked marine temperatures nearly 7 degrees higher than normal, according to his testimony. Fewer coho salmon returned. Those that did return were smaller. Fisheries had to be closed. Gov. Jay Inslee and representatives of several tribal governments in 2016 requested millions of dollars in federal fishing disaster funds to help offset the losses to fishing communities. Now, more than three years later, the fishing disaster money has only just arrived from the feds, Warren told senators. Evan Bush and Hal Bernton report. (Seattle Times)

Fisheries disaster money after ‘Blob’ just now being disbursed as new marine heatwave looms

How climate change threatens our health in the Pacific Northwest -Seattle Times

Ongoing coverage this week of the effects of the emerging Climate Emergency.

“I’m seeing things that I did not think would happen until 2050,” said Dr. Kristie Ebi, a professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. “Climate change is coming at us much faster, and the speed of change and how that’s going to affect extreme events is going to be very problematic.” Heat waves and floods are becoming more frequent and intense sooner than expected, she said.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/how-climate-change-threatens-our-health-in-the-pacific-northwest/?utm_source=referral&utm_medium=mobile-app&utm_campaign=ios

Climate change is already here. You have one last chance to stop it – Los Angeles Times

This week, all across the globe, news agencies are focusing on climate change.  This is late, but needed. The time has come to change the narrative and get everyone involved. We have just witnessed 70,000 Bahamians become climate refugees. Last year it was those in Northern California. And that’s just the big ones. This article talks about what the country and each of us individually need to think about. “Is that next plane flight really needed?”

The world climate is in crisis, and it is all our own doing. And we must through concerted global action end our reliance on fossil fuels before time runs out.
— Read on www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-climate-change-crisis-global-warming-part-1-story.html

Most American teens are frightened by climate change, poll finds, and about 1 in 4 are taking action – Washington Post

In the 1960s and 70s we faced the very real thread of nuclear annihilation. Now we are back at a very real threat that is much harder to find ways forward. As a child, I was very afraid of being blown to bits. It caused many of my friends to not want to engage in the society, and to do drugs because, “what’s the use?” There are children suffering now with the facts being presented to us. And there are children, like Greta Thurnberg that are standing up and taking action. Let’s support our children when they ask about going out on strike this Friday. The answer should be, “do it, can I join you?”

….A solid majority of American teenagers are convinced that humans are changing the Earth’s climate and believe that it will cause harm to them personally and to other members of their generation, according to a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Roughly 1 in 4 have participated in a walkout, attended a rally or written to a public official to express their views on global warming — remarkable levels of activism for a group that has not yet reached voting age. Sarah Kaplan and
Emily Guskin report. (Washington Post)

Most American teens are frightened by climate change, poll finds, and about 1 in 4 are taking action

One hour with 16 Year Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg – Democracy Now!

One hour to hear from Greta in her own world. Get inspired.

https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2019/9/11

No flights, a four-day week and living off-grid: what climate scientists do at home to save the planet – The Guardian

I have talked to a number of people who wonder what they can do to help alleviate climate change, or prepare for it. Here’s a great article, with thoughts by a number of climate scientists on what they are doing. Can you cut down on the number of airplane flights a year? Switch diets? Maybe do just one of these.

 One of the best things you can do to address climate change is go down to a four-day working week. This would take some of the heat out of our ever-expanding economies, reduce our capacity and urge to consume, and create space to live a more balanced life.

I decided to retire from full time work a number of years ago, for many reasons, but one of them was to reduce  my carbon footprint. So far, it’s been a good, no, great choice. I only eat meat that has been small farm raised on grass and not grain, but there are numerous additional things I can do. A great idea for summer with your kids is to do a list of the various things that *could* be done to reduce your personal carbon footprint. i.e. is it really necessary to drive to a big box store to buy large bulk items? or paying a bit more to save the gas and pollution worth the trade off? How much do you actually save?

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jun/29/no-flights-four-day-week-climate-scientists-home-save-planet?utm_source=pocket-newtab

While you are there reading this, donate a dollar or two to the finest newspaper on the planet, The Guardian.

 

Low snowpack, hot spring lead to drought declaration for nearly half of Washington state – Bellingham Herald

While there is overcast and rain, we are not out of the danger of drought yet.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared drought Monday for nearly half of Washington watersheds, as the mountain snowpack that churns through hydropower dams, irrigates our state’s orchards and provides for fish continues to dwindle well below normal. Twenty days into May, “our statewide snowpack is the fourth-lowest it’s been over the past 30 years,” said Jeff Marti, the drought coordinator for the Washington Department of Ecology. Winter left many areas of the state with lower-than-normal snowpack. A hot, dry spring quickly zapped much of the snow that did accumulate. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Nooksack expected to be 25 percent below average. Here’s how the state is responding  A total of 24 Washington river watersheds — including the Nooksack, the Upper Skagit, and the Lower Skagit-Samish — were included in the order, which could spell trouble for farmers and residential users as well as the salmon that require a constant supply of cold, clear water through summer.  Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Low snowpack, hot spring lead to drought declaration for nearly half of Washington state 

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