What is Climate Change and Why Should We Care?

The answer is found in a report that was released on April 13 by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report is a warning to all the world governments that we, as a collective body of nations, are not doing enough to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are pumped into our atmosphere. If we don’t reduce greenhouse gases and keep the global mean temperature (no higher than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above the pre-industrial level) at a relative standstill for the next 15 years, there may be hope in averting environmental catastrophe in the coming decades. The report admits that world leaders are doing something, but we have to do a lot more than something to save everything.

Climate change is essentially the significant and irreversible changes of average weather patterns on Earth. For example, instead of rain, there are floods. Instead of an average dose of rain, there are droughts resulting in a withered crops and lower-than-usual water reservoirs. Instead of moderate sea levels, there are higher sea levels as a byproduct of melting ice caps in the Arctic. In many respects, the mechanisms powering climate change are natural, including solar radiation, variations in the Earth’s orbit, and continental drifts. But humans have done a lot of damage.

So, where’s the media on this? Most of the basic and extended cable news stations have focused on the latest conspiracies surrounding the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, or the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia or a bunch of teenagers sending bomb threats to airlines on Twitter because they think it’s absolutely hilarious. But when all of these stories reach an end of their lifespan, chances are that climate change won’t be covered. The report, which arguably supplies the most definitive data on climate change, will likely receive little to no coverage. This is not unfounded speculation.

In their 1995 and 2001 Assessment Reports, the IPCC determined that the media in the United States portrayed climate change as being a source of controversy more than a large groundswell of consensus among climate scientists.  The IPCC has tracked mass media reporting in the United States for nearly 20 years. The panel would ultimately realize that the media treated climate change with casual indifference or severe pessimism that winds up being dismissed by skeptics as exaggerating the problem.

It’s true. It’s hard to accept the dire consequences alone without presenting the solution. Without a solution, what we get is a lecture — and lectures don’t have guaranteed longevity in the news cycle. As time goes by, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are getting cheaper and more accessible to residents. Using these environmentally friendly solutions on a large scale would reduce the global dependency on fossil fuels, but we have a long way to go before solar panels can be found on every home.  Axiom Capital’s alternative energy analyst Gordon Johnson reviewed the latest cost data furnished by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and determined that solar power is still expensive. The costs are getting better, wrote Johnson.

If the media were to educate people of climate change while showcasing the pros and cons for using alternative energy sources — such as geothermal, hydroelectric and wind energy — it’s possible that we can keep the conversation going.

From that conversation, we need to put words into action. Inaction is not a solution. If we cannot stabilize our global mean temperature, we will experience more hot and dry conditions, which often spurs devastating wildfires; increases in people suffering from heat-related illnesses like heat stoke; extinction of wildlife, which would radically disrupt our ecosystem and the predatory chain; the loss of glaciers will contribute to dramatic sea level rises over the course of the century. With the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, we cannot deny who is largely responsible for the acceleration of our environmental deterioration. We, the human race, are at fault –and why should future generations carry such an unfathomable burden?

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Why They’re Called the “Los Osos Nuts”

It appears that some Los Osos residents cannot get enough of me.

To make a long story short, on this site, I’ve been critical of two Los Osos residents who are known pundits. These two pundits have been vocal with regard to the wastewater project, which is underway and everyone knows it. Naturally, they didn’t like what I’ve written. Likewise, I’m not a fan of theirs. No love lost. Punditry didn’t make the sewer any better, especially with the misinformation and disinformation coming from the warring camps. But the reason I’m writing about them now is because they think I’m talking to them.

It’s the most amazing thing, but it’s also eerie when you know the full story. Continue reading

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To McDonalds or Not to McDonalds

The SLO County Board of Supervisors approved a McDonalds in Los Osos, but the outcome was not based on land use policy — and that’s a problem. Continue reading

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Out With It

Once in a while, there’s always someone who doesn’t agree with my opinions or reporting. That’s perfectly normal. I’ve criticized quite a few people, so I expect some pushing back. As a writer, I always want to get the details right so when someone tells me that I’m wrong, I’m interested. Words can cut, especially words that aren’t accurately attributed to the people being scrutinized. Being someone who is sometimes on the receiving end of the scrutiny, I know how important it is to get the story straight. But there are some people who are generally uncooperative. They’re the kind of people that squawk loudly about how slighted they were, but when you ask them to supply corrections, they offer nothing.

Take Los Osos sewer pundit Lynette Tornatzky for instance.

There’s no question that I’ve written about her several times. I didn’t write about her because she supported a sewer that I previously expressed concerns about. I wrote about her because she often ventured past simple disagreement to haunt and repeatedly berate people who had a different viewpoint than her and her husband, which I consider unacceptable behavior. In my opinion, she continues to cross the line of decency by bullying people who she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with regarding the Los Osos sewer project. The sewer is coming. Get over it.

I wrote about her recently because her husband applied for a seat vacated on the Los Osos Community Services District. It was relevant, and the op-ed wasn’t entirely about him. Referring to my previous article as a “hit piece” that contained “non-provable, inaccurate statements,” Tornatzky wrote on the Facebook page, CalCoastFraud that she “could make a list [of all the inaccuracies],” but she rather “ask any readers here to read what is written by Aaron for yourselves in the link above.”

But she didn’t want readers “to go back and see the other 16 articles written on me or my husband as that was prior to Aaron turning over a new leaf.” In other words: Don’t bother clicking on the link embedded in the comment she was offended by. You never know. Maybe the proof, that she claims I don’t have, is available in the link provided.

Instead of documenting anything that she said she could make a list for, she linked to an article she wrote on her blog in November 2012 that rebutted — or at least tried to rebut — one of my articles. I can’t help but shake my head.

Tornatzky has written to me several times over the past five years. She’s accused me of lying about articles I’ve written about the Los Osos sewer and articles that mention her. I asked publicly and privately for her to document what I got wrong. She never followed through. Not once. The conversation has always died after I asked for more clarity, and neither of us had any desire to resuscitate the matter. Then I would hear from her again some time later, and again, and again. Same result, different day. Each time I attempted to have a dialogue with her, which she’s preferred to have in a public place — which is fine with me — she never wanted to indulge in a conversation on specifically what details were false and why the details were false. She would simply disappear, having been satisfied with laying out her accusations of me having integrity issues.

Recently, Tornatzky took exception to the comment I wrote in my last article that the she and her husband “were complicit in creating many of those rifts through cyber-harassment and stalking of residents who were outspoken in their opposition to the current wastewater project.”

That particular statement she isolated in her recent comments included a link to several articles with citations to comments she’s penned under her own name; comments that justify what I wrote. It’s a little hard to deny something that you’ve written — something that you’ve admittedly written and put on the Internet for everyone to see. Trust me. In many cases when people are defending themselves from articles that are critical of them, there’s a lack of self-accountability — and they don’t like someone else pointing out their flaws. They just don’t like being caught or they don’t like the conclusion that’s been issued.

But writers make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we get information wrong, but it’s up to the reader to reach out to us with corrections or a notice of retraction. That’s the nature of the business. Show your documentation. Be thorough. Tell me what’s wrong, why it’s wrong, and the remedy you’re looking for. Let’s have that discussion. But if you don’t want to have that discussion, the onus is on you to assume responsibility for what you were criticized for, and move on.

Put up or move on, Mrs. Tornatzky.

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Leadership Needed in Los Osos

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“I don’t need to prove myself to these directors. I am better qualified than all who are currently seated.”

This is one of many examples of inept leadership in Los Osos. Continue reading

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It’s Not Just Crazy. It’s Morro Bay Crazy

Here’s this story coming out of Morro Bay that is extremely unusual. The story goes something like this: local business owners are stepping forward with allegations that the City is preventing them from competing with businesses owned by City Council members. I’m quite familiar with these allegations because the two sources behind them – Jim Davis and Rick Holliday — reached out to me to look into them. Ultimately, nothing came to fruition because these individuals dropped out of contact and gave me information that was unsubstantiated hearsay. The communication took place while I attended some of their events at what Davis called “The Speak-Easy,” located in the Sun Bulletin building in Morro Bay.

Continue reading

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The Insanity of CalCoastNews

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This is a screenshot taken from the Facebook page “Team Adam Hill Watch,” which was created by the Knights Templar. Remember those guys? You know, the guys that just so happen to exclusively share CalCoastNews coverage and uploaded a video that was produced and shared by the son of the site’s co-founder? They’re back, and they’ve expanded their guerilla, quasi-anonymous social media marketing campaign. Suffice to say, it’s quite disturbing. Continue reading

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Get Ready for SLO County Stupid Bowl XLVIII

Let’s skip the formalities. Today is Super Bowl Sunday. The Denver Broncos faced off against the Seattle Seahawks. The best offense in the league will be playing against the best defensive team. 80,000 football fans attended the concussion festival at New Jersey’s Met Life Stadium, and millions of people at home tuned in to witness sports history in the making. But it was the Seahawks that took home the Vince Lombardi trophy after a stunning 43-8 win against a team that many believed would keep the score close and competitive.

But there are some in San Luis Obispo County who are more interested in other things, namely District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson and District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill. Yet somehow, the Super Bowl managed to find its way into the right-wing obsession with County Board of Supervisors meetings. Continue reading

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More About Nothing

UPDATE: Air Pollution Control District Director Larry Allen’s letter demanding retraction was just published on CalCoastNews along with Forbes columnist Steve Hayward’s rebuttal.

Ever since District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill wrote a letter to the editor for The New Times, there’s been a fixation on the supervisor that’s truly amazing. It started as a satirical letter that colorfully identified those who are susceptible to conspiracy theory thinking, and it snowballed into an op-ed column featured in Forbes Magazine. Look at the big picture and ask yourself, “Does this really matter?” Continue reading

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Why I Didn’t Cover Agenda 21 and ICLEI

For about four months or so, I was working on an article about certain conspiracy-riddled subjects that outspoken conservatives and libertarians in San Luis Obispo County have been talking about. They’ve gone before the County Board of Supervisors and repeatedly lampooned the Democrats serving on the board for enacting policies in accordance to Agenda 21, a voluntary non-binding agreement by the United Nations that supports environmentally sustainable development.

The very same outspoken conservatives and libertarians have linked Agenda 21 to an agreement that Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill signed at the Central Coast Resilient Communities Symposium in Santa Barbara. The supervisors reportedly signed the Resilient Communities for America agreement on June 21 last year. Both appear as signatories on their website. It’s not like they’re hiding it. It’s not a big secret.

So what’s the big deal? Continue reading

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