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lightbulb.jpgCredit to Rebecca James in the Syracuse Post-Standard:

You can build a better light bulb – one that uses less electricity and saves money – but how do you get people to use it?

Environmentalists from Cornell University, Ithaca and the nearby town of Caroline are betting that if you deliver a free compact fluorescent bulb to each person’s door, tucked into a reusable fabric bag, people will see the light.

On April 19, a team of more than 100 volunteers on bikes, on foot and in cars plan to deliver the bulbs to all 1,400 households in the town of Caroline, a sprawling, rural community in Tompkins County.

<!– if (parseFloat(navigator.appVersion) == 0) { document.write(”); } –>”We’re trying to show how a small, rural town can take matters into our own hands and say: This is up to us. Our international leaders and national leaders are not moving fast enough to protect our future,” said Dominic Frongillo, a Caroline town board member.

A Cornell junior from Pompey, Shawn Lindabury, wrote a grant that helped fund the project, which is aimed at increasing awareness about how people can live greener lives.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of the benefits of these bulbs,” Lindabury said. “We’re saying, hey, you can save $55 over the course of the lifetime of the light bulb and help reduce energy use in Caroline.”

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Credit to Wendy Wang in the Cornell Daily Sun:

In 2000, when former U.S. Vice President Al Gore was running for our nation’s highest office, his position on global warming would not have garnered him a Nobel Peace Prize — he was virtually silent on the issue. In 2008, this trend continues, as current presidential candidates rarely bring up science and technology policy problems. This lack of action prompted the beginning of ScienceDebate2008, a movement to invite the presidential candidates to debate on science and technology-related issues.

To correct the problem, President Skorton, along with other university presidents, science organizations, members of Congress, technology companies like Intel and 17,000 individual supporters, signed a petition to show support for the debate.

Although the presidential candidates have yet to respond to the debate’s invitation, the event is set for April 18 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

The debate comes amidst news of President Bush’s recent budget proposal for 2009. While increasing some funding for areas like the U.S. Department of Defense’s research and development, the proposal continued to cut funding for many critical departments that deal with science-related issues, like NASA’s science portfolio. Moreover, even though some departments like National Institutes of Health experienced no change in their budget, their budgets actually decreases when adjusted for inflation.

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Credit to Tim Ashmore in The Ithaca Journal:

ITHACA — Six Tompkins County institutions and agencies have banded together to create New York’s first “green” consortium to help negotiate pricing for environmentally friendly products. Cornell, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca, the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce and Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services make up the Finger Lakes Environmentally Preferred Procurement Consortium.

“Ithaca is often touted as one of the ‘greenest’ cities in the country,” said Jean McPheeters, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said. “The formation of this consortium demonstrates the commitment of our area business community to work together with our educational partners to advance regional sustainability.”

County Finance Director David Squires said there was a common interest within the county to invest more in environmentally friendly products, and the Tompkins County Division of Solid Waste took the lead and quickly found that Cornell University and Ithaca College had a similar focus.

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Credit to Krisy Gashler in the Ithaca Journal (also see Cornell Daily Sun):

ITHACA — Common Council voted Wednesday to support a federal carbon tax, to build a new dock at Stewart Park, to revise the city’s comprehensive plan and to exempt a proposed Lakeview Mental Health residence from property taxes for 16 years. Council passed a resolution urging state and federal officials to pursue a federal carbon tax rather than emissions trading to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The resolution passed 9-0, with Alderwoman Nancy Schuler, D-4th, abstaining.Schuler said some clauses of the resolution were “really just too emphatic because we really don’t know.”

“I certainly support the concept but I had trouble with the 25 ‘whereases’ as a statement,” she said.

Sylvester Johnson, who is a member of the Climate Change Action Group of Central New York and largely wrote the resolution passed by Council, urged individuals who favor a carbon tax to visit his Web site: federalcarbontax.org.

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coral.jpgCredit to Susan Lang from the Cornell Chronicle:

If world leaders do not immediately engage in a race against time to save the Earth’s coral reefs, these vital ecosystems will not survive the global warming and acidification predicted for later this century. That is the conclusion of a group of marine scientists from around the world in a major new study published in the journal Science on Dec. 13.

“It’s vital that the public understands that the lack of sustainability in the world’s carbon emissions is causing the rapid loss of coral reefs, the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystem,” said Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and head of the Coral Disease Research Team, which is part of the international Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) group that wrote the new study.

The rise of carbon dioxide emissions and the resultant climate warming from the burning of fossil fuels are making oceans warmer and more acidic, said co-author Harvell, which is triggering widespread coral disease and stifling coral growth toward “a tipping point for functional collapse.”

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Credited to Tim Ashmore from the Ithaca JournalITHACA — After two days of discussion and planning, Carlos Rymer and a group of Cornell students created a coalition of students from throughout the state that hope to push New York into becoming a leader on climate change.

The Student Sustainability Coalition drew students from the University of Rochester, Skidmore College, Clarkson University, the University at Buffalo and others to Cornell to meet and develop a coalition that will focus on pressuring lawmakers in Albany to pass legislation that restricts state carbon emissions.

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Rymer is part of the Sierra Student Coalition — a group focused on national climate change — and used resources from the group to reach out to like-minded students in New York. Roughly 70 students showed up.

“Lots of people were surprised we organized a coalition in two days that feels really cohesive,” Rymer said.The Student Sustainability Coalition’s short-term goal is to lobby in favor of legislation currently in the state Assembly and Senate that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Lowering carbon emissions so drastically would bring emissions to levels comparable to 1990.

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From the Ithaca Journal:

More than 100 students from nearly a dozen colleges and universities around New York state, along with community residents, are registered for a summit in Ithaca this weekend to plan statewide action on global warming. The New York Climate Summit will also train youth and community residents to go back to home campuses and communities and campaign to get clean energy policies, according to organizers. Hosted by the student group KyotoNOW! at Cornell University, part of the Sierra Student Coalition, the summit will also involve several regional organizations, including Sustainable Tompkins, the Climate Change Action Group of Central NY and Energy Independent Caroline.

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