WXXI AM News

Climate Change

Last week, there was a meeting at the White House between the president's top economic adviser and a group of prominent Republicans proposing a carbon tax. The group, which includes three former Cabinet secretaries, calls itself the Climate Leadership Council. The members say that with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress, it's time for the party to get serious about climate change. They say their idea for a carbon tax is a way to return all revenue raised to the taxpayer. They think it's a pro-market solution to climate change. We discuss the idea with our guests:

What might we expect regarding environmental and climate issues under the Trump administration? We discuss the President-elect's appointments for Secretary of State and head of the EPA, their views on climate science, and more. Our guests:

  • Lawrence Torcello, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at RIT
  • Karen Berger, lecturer in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has priorities for the Finger Lakes region. We discuss the organization's regional conservation agenda.  Our guests:

  • Andrew Zepp, executive director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust
  • Lisa Cleckner, director of the Finger Lakes Institute
  • Marti Macinski, board member for the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and owner of Standing Stone Vineyards

The City of Rochester's draft Climate Action Plan is now available for public comment. We dive into the plan and what it covers, including energy use and supply, transportation, waste and materials management, clean water, and land use.

How does it all weave together? We put the draft plan under the microscope. Our guests:

  • Anne Spaulding, energy and environmental sustainability manager for the City of Rochester
  • Susan Hopkins, project planner for Bergmann Associates and member of the consultant group that drafted the CAP
  • Scott Oliver, deputy for energy programs at Pathstone
  • Rachel Walsh, EcoDistrict coordinator for Greentopia
  • Abby McHugh-Grifa, member of Rochester People’s Climate Coalition and co-leader of Citizens' Climate Lobby of Rochester

The presidential debates included exactly zero questions about climate change. So if the debate panelists won't ask about climate change, we will.

Our panel examines the kinds of questions they would like to have seen addressed -- it's a bipartisan look at the questions that could impact all of us. Our guests:

  • Vas Petrenko, paleo-climatologist with the University of Rochester
  • Karen Berger, lecturer in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester
  • Andrew Light, former senior State Department climate change official who worked on the creation of the historic 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and professor of philosophy and public policy at George Mason University
  • Thomas Drennen, professor of economics and environmental studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Our Monthly Science Roundtable takes a look at why conservatives tend not to accept the science behind climate change.

Our guest is perfectly suited to explain: Bob Inglis is a conservative Republican who served in Congress. He admits that when climate science become more prominent, he dismissed it because Al Gore had touted it. He didn't study it. "It was based on ignorance for me," Inglis explains. "All I knew is that if Al Gore was for it, I was against it."

But Inglis listened to his children, who pleaded with him to check out the facts. When he came out in favor of policy that would mitigate climate change, his own party attacked him, and he lost his next primary.

Today, Inglis works on the kind of policy that is market-based. He believes he has the kind of message that can break through to skeptical conservatives. He explains how to crack the code. Our guest:

  • Bob Inglis, former Congressman and executive director of RepublicEn

We discuss carbon fee and dividend: what it is, how it works, who supports it, and the impact it would have on climate change and the economy. Our guests: 

Our monthly Science Roundtable focuses on carbon capture and storage as it relates to climate change. What would carbon capture mean to the fossil fuel industry? Is the technology available and scaleable? How does it work? Our guests will explain:

  • Bill Jones, professor of chemistry at the University of Rochester, and associate editor for the Journal of the American Chemical Society
  • Richard Eisenberg, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Rochester, and editor-in-chief for Inorganic Chemistry

New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said his position on climate change is "evolving." The Republican representative recently signed onto a resolution that acknowledges a human role in causing climate change related to erratic and damaging weather patterns. That's a reversal from his 2014 campaign when he said it was unclear if human activities had any influence.

What is it that climate can't change? That’s the subject of a new documentary produced by the filmmaker of Gasland. We talk to Josh Fox about his film, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change, and what it is deep within us that climate change can’t destroy. The film will be screened at The Little Theatre on Saturday as part of the One Take Documentary series. Our guests:

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