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    Zoom Meeting 10am May 5th

    Hi folks,

    We plan a zoom call for our 10am May 5th climate change meeting.  You do not need to download any software to participate. Zoom has been responsive to recent criticism of “zoom bombing” and is becoming a standard for communication. We plan to use all their security features.

    If you have not zoomed before and would like a practice session send me an email with your preferred time and I’ll set it up. This would be a short session to chat and get used to the platform. Just a couple of weeks ago I was learning this myself.

    For May 5th the main discussion will be on a new modelling tool called En-ROADS that anyone can use to try out various policies to keep the global temperature rise to less than 1.5 Celsius. Do you think we should cut coal use? Plant trees? Tax carbon? You can see how these choices and many more affect energy use and climate. En-ROADS was developed at MIT and released to the public early this year. You can find it here: En-ROADS  If you have time try it out before the meeting. If you have lots of time look at some of the training videos, especially #1 and #2. You can find them here  En-ROADS training videos  You don’t need to have the model up and running for the zoom meeting – you can watch my version.

    On another topic, you might be interested to watch the controversial video from Michael Moore “Planet of the Humans” It is free and you can find it here  Planet of the Humans It raises many topics worth discussion, maybe we should talk about it at the June meeting.

    Email me for instructions to access the May 5th zoom meeting.

    Thanks to Ranae for setting up the zoom using her professional membership. This avoids limits on time and participants that come with free memberships.


    Be well. Wash your hands.


    NO Climate change meeting April 7th 2020

    Hi folks

    There will be no meeting of the climate change group in April 7th, or on May 5th. Beyond that we will have to see. Let us resume as soon as it is safe. This virus will pass although it will take a while. Climate change will still be with us. We understand better now how fragile our infrastructure is and how quickly things can change.

    Our guest for April 7th CC and TG was to be Brenna Doheny from HPHC (Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate) to talk about the public health aspects of climate change. Thanks Brenna for planning to come, we hope we can eventually get you scheduled again. Thanks also to VCC for offering to host us for both months.

    In the news recently note that the feds are rolling back Obama’s mileage standards for cars and pickups, and that the EPA is relaxing enforcement of rules on pollution. Presumably to help industry – but hurting climate. With so much shut down, emissions will be down this year. But efforts to address climate change are also on hold as we deal with the current emergency.

    As you spend time at home here are some interesting links.

    A new modelling and teaching tool has been released by Climate Interactive and MIT called En-ROADS. It is free, has training tutorials and is amazingly sophisticated. It is user friendly and has easy to run scenarios you might find interesting. This blurb comes from their website: “En-ROADS is a transparent, freely-available policy simulation model that provides policymakers, educators, businesses, the media, and the public with the ability to explore, for themselves, the likely consequences of energy, economic growth, land use, and other policies and uncertainties, with the goal of improving their understanding.”

    Ranae refers us to a proposal to help us escape the “triple threat” of virus, climate change and inequality. This is posted on which was established by Evan Williams (who co-founded twitter) as a site for articles longer than 280 characters. Maybe you want to sign it!

    This article in the LA Times asks what a coronavirus-like response to the climate crisis would look like:

    Richard found this piece of good news about bacteria that consume methane released from permafrost:

    Does the group want to try to meet by skype or zoom? Email me if you are interested.

    Be well. Wash your hands.


    Climate meeting Mar 3rd 10am VCC Fireside Room

    Hi folks

    Our next Climate Change meeting will be March 3rd at 10am at the Fireside Room at VCC. To find the Fireside Room, go to the cafeteria and walk through the back of the cafeteria to the stairs or elevator. Walk or ride to the top which is the 3rd floor. The Fireside Room is along the corridor. It has spectacular views, a fireplace, AV setups, tables we can arrange, all the amenities.  We are inviting VCC students to join us. There will be some of the best cookies you have ever tasted! FYI Tuesday Group that day will be Kris Hallberg “The Economic Impact of Twin Metals: The Harvard Study”.

    We are meeting at VCC because March 3rd is voting day “Super Tuesday” It is Minnesota’s first presidential primary. The Senior Center will be busy as it is a polling place.  Meg Heiman and Bill Tefft are our hosts, thank you. Meg is teaching Comp 2, her students have chosen Climate Change as the topic for their writing this semester. We will resume our regular climate meetings at the Senior Center in April.

    At this meeting we plan a general discussion of climate change. Bring your questions and ideas. What aspect of the problem worries you? We can include the big topics like energy, food, population, immigration, and climate justice issues. If the “Green New Deal” gets passed will it solve our problems?

    We can also try to cover some local affects like changes in species of trees, animals and bugs. We may also be facing droughts, floods and wildfires. There will be public health impacts too. Should we try to mitigate, adapt, or both? What actions can we take either personally or as a community?

    Come and meet some VCC students. Share your hopes and concerns. Eat some cookies.

    There is one piece of sad news, our friend Helmut Buettner died earlier this month. We will miss his wit and wisdom. You can read an obituary here:

    Next month (April 7th) our climate change program and that day’s Tuesday Group will be on issues around climate and health. Brenna Doheny will represent the network “Healthcare Professionals for a Healthy Climate”. Let your neighbors know.

    Our flyer for the March 3rd VCC meeting is below.

    Hope to see you on Tuesday March 3rd, 10am VCC Fireside Room




    Flyer for March 3 meeting

    VCC flyer

    Climate Change Meeting Jan 7th 10 am Ely Senior Center

    Hi folks

    Our next Climate Change meeting will be January 7th at 10 am at the Ely Senior Center. Our visitor Randy Kolka from Grand Rapids is also speaking at Tuesday group. Randy will tell us about the projects underway at the USFS station near Grand Rapids. One of these experiments is named SPRUCE “Spruce and Peatland Responses under Changing Environments”. Randy is the lead scientist. You can see some images of this huge experiment here:

    I took this text from that same website

    Seeing the Future

    Researchers experiment with climate change in a northern peatland.   by Amanda Kueper

    “Welcome to a warmer future,” reads the sign above the door to the strange translucent cylinder towering in the middle of a Minnesota peat bog.

    Inside the 26-foot-high, open-roof chamber, dozens of high-tech instruments with names like dendrometer, phenology camera, and mini-rhizotron are collecting information on the plants, soil, water, and air within the 1,000-square-foot patch of damp bog. A warm breeze streams steadily from an air duct, and underground heaters radiate warmth into the soggy earth, keeping the chamber a toasty 16 degrees warmer than the surrounding forest peatland.

    “Things have bloomed in here four to six weeks earlier. The blueberries were ripe three weeks before” berries outside the chamber, says Stephen Sebestyen, a hydrologist for the U.S. Forest Service who’s giving visitors a tour. “I mean, look at this,” he says, gesturing toward a small bog rosemary plant with swelling buds, ready to flower. “They’re not doing that within the ambients”—by which he means unheated chambers—”or outside.”

    There are 10 chambers like this one nestled within the Marcell Experimental Forest, a 2,800-acre piece of the Chippewa National Forest north of Grand Rapids. They are part of a “whole ecosystem warming experiment” called SPRUCE—Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments.

    The goal of the SPRUCE project is to help understand how climate change will affect Minnesota’s vast stretches of northern forest peatlands—expansive wetlands that are home to millions of spruce and tamarack trees, dense carpets of moss, and a huge variety of birds and other wildlife.

    Randy has offered to host a tour of the site for those of us who are interested. I assume this would be in the spring or summer. Come talk with him and find out the details!


    Hope to see you on Tuesday



    Dec 3rd 2019 Meeting 10am Ely Senior Center

    Hi Folks


    Our next meeting will be Tuesday December 3rd 2019 at 10 am at the Ely Senior Center. The topic will be “recycling”. For your information Tuesday Group for that day is Tyler Fish “Crossing Greenland”.

    We now have a Climate Blog for our group. You can find it here:  You should find other items of interest at  Many thanks to Richard Watson who runs the site for setting this up and teaching me to use it. I will continue to send out monthly emails about a week before each meeting, but I’ll also put that info on the web site. Eventually maybe we can just be web based? Send me your thoughts on what would be useful to post. So far we have a book list, a climate change talk, and some history of our past meetings.

    What happens to the stuff we put in the recycle bins? What can we do about single use plastics? What is the big picture? Are there bright spots in other parts of the globe? China used to import recycled materials from us, but does so no more. Here is a summary:

    This reference is for the nerds who need graphs and numbers on the China story:

    This link compares recycling in the US to other countries

    But some good news, Minneapolis has a “bring your own bag” ordinance starting Jan 1st. After this date bring your own bag or pay 5c for a store bag (paper or plastic). Duluth is to follow in April 2020. How about Ely? Research shows that even a 5c charge has an effect

    Plastics are hard to reuse, but paper, glass and aluminum can be processed into new products many times. Here is what happens to paper:


    On another topic, the UN’s World Meteorological Office (WMO) has just released a report summarizing greenhouse gas data for 2018. This has made the regular news channels, it is not good news. Next year, 2020, is particularly important to assess the effectiveness of commitments made in Paris and to update them. There is a lot of work to do.


    Thank you, Happy Thanksgiving

    Barb Jones

    Ely Senior Center is at 27 S 1st Ave next to Ace Hardware

    Climate Change talk – Minnesota DFL Northern MN Issues Forum at VCC Oct 12th 2019

    Some Good Books

    Some books you may find interesting. Send me your favorites and I’ll add them in.  The reviews are picked from those presented on Amazon to give a hint of content and style.

    Falter McKibben 2019 “McKibben, a veteran environmental writer, is never hectoring or hyperbolic; here, he turns the possibility of human extinction (from climate change, artificial intelligence, etc.) into an absorbing analysis with a glimmer of hope.” The New York Times Book Review
    The Sixth Extinction Kolbert 2015 “Natural scientists posit that there have been five extinction events in the Earth’s history (think of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs), and Kolbert makes a compelling case that human activity is leading to the sixth.” ―Bill Gates
    Countdown Weisman 2014 Countdown converts globetrotting research into flowing journalism, highlighting a simple truth: there are, quite plainly, too many of us. A world that understands Weisman’s words will understand the pressing need for change.” — Bill Streever, author of Cold and Heat
    The Uninhabitable Earth Wallace-Wells 2019 The Uninhabitable Earth, which has become a best seller, taps into the underlying emotion of the day: fear. . . . I encourage people to read this book.”—Alan Weisman, The New York Review of Books
    Losing Earth Rich   2019 “An eloquent science history, and an urgent eleventh-hour call to save what can be saved.” ―Barbara Kiser, Nature
    The Vanishing Face of Gaia Lovelock 2010 An “unwilling Cassandra,” he is nevertheless an “an optimistic pessimist” and thinks we will survive the coming Hot Epoch, but predicts climate change will reduce our population from 9 billion to around one billion or less.”
    Earth in Human Hands Grinspoon 2016 Earth in Human Hands is a remarkable synthesis of natural history, planetary science, extinction histories, Earth’s climate and the human effect on the world…If we do it right, the 21st century won’t be the peak of human achievement, but rather our initial foray into a brilliant, uncertain but full-of-potential future.”―Forbes
    Story of Earth Hazen 2013 “With infectious enthusiasm for his subject, Hazen introduces readers to Earth’s defining moments . . . [and] argues that understanding the interplay between Earth’s geological and biological pasts can help us predict and prepare for the future of life on our planet.” —Saron Yitbarek, Discover
    Eating the Sun Morton 2009 “A rare delight….Oliver Morton writes so engagingly that [Eating the Sun] reads as a well-crafted biography of the earth on behalf of the plant kingdom.” (Prospect Magazine)
    Symbiotic Planet Margulis 1999 In Symbiotic Planet, renowned scientist Lynn Margulis shows that symbiosis, which simply means members of different species living in physical contact with each other, is crucial to the origins of evolutionary novelty.
    Rising Rush  2019 “Deeply felt . . . Rush captures nature with precise words that almost amount to poetry; the book is further enriched with illuminating detail from the lives of those people inhabiting today’s coasts.”New York Times
    Field Notes from a Catastrophe Kolbert 2015 “A perfect primer on global warming. It might be the most important book you read this year.” ―Cleveland Plain Dealer
    A Farewell to Ice Wadhams 2017 “Peter Wadhams brings huge expertise to his subject – and he is an excellent writer. He explains why the fate of Arctic ice is crucial for the world’s climate and clarifies the controversies and complexities that confront scientists and policymakers. A fascinating book.” – Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, President of the Royal Society 2005-10
    Brave New Arctic Serreze 2018 “Serreze provides an arresting account of the history of climate science, written by someone who saw it all unfold before his own eyes. If you thought you had heard it all, think again, and read this book.” (The Inquisitive Biologist)
    The Two Mile Time Machine Alley  2014 “A superlative account of a complex topic . . .It is refreshingly straightforward to read, often humorous, yet still deadly serious, complete with anecdotes and understandable explanations of complex processes.” (Choice)
    The Long Thaw Archer 2016 “This is the best book about carbon dioxide and climate change that I have read. David Archer knows what he is talking about.”―James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
    Power to Save the World Cravens 2007 Faced by the world’s oil shortages and curious about alternative energy sources, Gwyneth Cravens skeptically sets out to find the truth about nuclear energy. Her conclusion: it is a totally viable and practical solution to global warming.
    Smart Power Fox-Penner 2014 “If you’re serious about policies that place energy efficiency on a level playing field with new energy supplies, and energy policy generally, this book is essential reading.” (Art Rosenfeld, California Energy Commission)
    The Grid Bakke    2016 “Bakke describes the grid as far more than towers and wires . . . She leads readers through a history of the grid and a maze of financial, legal, regulatory, and environmental considerations with sprightly good humor . . . Finally, Bakke sketches a possible design of the ‘intelligent grid’ of the future . . . A lively analysis.” – Kirkus Reviews
    The Nuclear Environmentalist Gomez-Cardenas 2012  I like the author’s open and honest approach, his competence and his rigorous summaries of a global problem that concern us all. I would recommend reading it before voting for any topic related to the energy problem on our planet.” (Antonella Del Rosso, CERN Courier, March, 2013)
    Unintended Consequences Erickson  2019 free download
    Super Fuel Martin     2013 Makes the case that thorium, an abundant, safe element that cannot easily be turned into a weapon, should be fuelling our reactors instead of uranium.” ―New Scientist
    Seeing the Light Montgomery  2017 This is the first accessible book to discuss all aspects of nuclear power in the context of the new nuclear era to help combat climate change and lethal air pollution, for students, the general public, and anyone interested in the future of energy production and the future of humanity on Earth.
    Buying Time Makabe   2017 “Nuclear energy, with its relatively small footprint, has demonstrated its prowess as a source of power far cleaner and safer than all other forms of energy. I highly recommend Makabe’s clear, strong presentation of the choices that lie ahead in regard to energy resources for the growing world population.” (Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World)
    Death and Life of the Great Lakes Egan      2018 “A marvelous work of nonfiction, which tells the story of humanity’s interference with the natural workings of the world’s largest unfrozen freshwater system.” – Anne MooreCrain’s Chicago Business
    Carbon Capture Herzog    2018 This is a well written and accessible book about an important technology for the energy and industrial economies. Dr. Herzog gives practical examples and points out the important role carbon capture will play in our future.
    How Bad are Bananas – The Carbon Footprint of Everything Berners-Lee   2011 The book puts our decisions into perspective with entries for the big things (the World Cup, volcanic eruptions, the Iraq war) as well as the small (email, ironing, a glass of beer). And it covers the range from birth (the carbon footprint of having a child) to death (the carbon impact of cremation).
    Drawdown Hawken ed  2017 The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world
    Merchants of Doubt Oreskes   2011 “Anyone concerned about the state of democracy in America should read this book” ―Al Gore  “Merchants of Doubt should finally put to rest the question of whether the science of climate change is settled. It is, and we ignore this message at our peril” ―Elizabeth Kolbert
    Thank you Fossil Fuels and Good Night Meehan   2017 “This work is highly significant. This book stands out for its logical development and treatment of sources of energy, new technologies, a scan of individual country energy plans, and policy for an energy transition.” —David Chapman, Prof Emeritus Geophysics, University of Utah
    Green Earth  (This is a novel) Stanley-Robinson


    “Perhaps it’s no coincidence that one of our most visionary hard sci-fi writers is also a profoundly good nature writer—all the better to tell us what it is we have to lose.”—Los Angeles Times


    Topics of Past Meetings


    December          Recycling

    November          Solutions

    October              Sea level and Great Lakes Issues

    September         Presidential Candidates’ Climate Positions

    August                Climate Change in the Schools

    July                      CCL at Farmers’ Market

    June                    CCL at Farmers’ Market

    May                     CSA agriculture – Van from Northern Delicious

    April                    Global population problems

    March                 Solar Energy

    February            Climate politics, state and national

    January               4th National Climate Assessment


    December          Eric Enberg/Katya Gordon “Political and Financial Perspectives on CC”

    November          Nuclear Energy

    October              Recent global extreme weather events

    September         CCL at Farmers’ Market

    August                CCL at Farmers’ Market

    July                      CCL at Farmers’ Market

    June                    Transportation, CAFÉ standards

    May                     Cutting your C footprint.  Is burning wood really green?

    April                    Mitigation/Adaptation

    March                 Changes in the Arctic

    February            Greenwashing

    January               Putting a price on Carbon AND Leah Phifer


    December           Discussion of “Drawdown” ed Hawken

    November          Katya and Mark Gordon – Citizens’ Climate Lobby

    October              Allete Clean Energy – Eric Norberg

    September         Misc topics, Rebecca Otto

    August                Climate Generation – Kristen Poppleton

    July                      Climate Justice – Eric Kojala

    June                    The role of the Oceans

    May                     Wahams’ book “Farewell to Ice”

    April                    Lee Frelich UMinn   Our trees in a warming climate

    March                 James Hansen’s pub “Young People’s Burden”

    February            Sherpa Dorjee talking about Nepal

    January               Marshall Helmberger – Living off the Grid


    December           Home based solar – and Antarctica – Steve Piragis

    November          Some good items from the news.

    October              Consie and Roger Powell on their solar powered home

    September         More on Climate Change Leaders

    August                Climate Change Leaders

    July                      Water use and availability

    June                    COP 21 and climate justice

    May                     Minnesota’s energy generation

    April                    Germany’s Energy Transition

    March                 Wind, solar and nuclear energy

    February            Geoengineering

    January               Paris COP 21