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From Paris to Buffalo, climate change on the minds of many

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

With the Paris Climate Summit underway, a local climate summit was held Tuesday night in the Buffalo Science Museum to talk about climate change and climate action in Western New York.

An array of local groups, government agencies, scientists and activists assembled to talk about the issues, especially as they look at the Solar City solar panel plant construction in South Buffalo.
"Renewables really offer us the opportunity to think about, 'How can we produce energy for ourselves with the least amount of consequences?,'" said Ryan McPherson of the Western New York Environmental Alliance.

"What we're seeing today is that as we move forward to a low carbon economy, we're actually at grid parity, meaning the same price point out there but much less of a cost for our community."

One group involved is Western New York Environmental Alliance. Advocacy Chair Lynda Schneekloth says people are free to not believe in climate change.

"Gravity doesn't care if you believe in it. And the climate change, which is going on, the global climate warming, doesn't care if you believe in it. But if you really care about human beings, if you care about future generations, it's important to get on board because it's going to take all of us to make this transition," Schneekloth said.

In an environmental movement often criticized for not including people of color, Jim Anderson says that's why he was there. The state vice president of Citizen Action says the environmental community has to reach out to attract people.

"Often, when it comes to communities of color, we like to say, 'Well, it's in your self-interest.' It may be. They still need a sugar cube like get them the paint on their houses, get them the resources they need to get the renewable stuff in their house. Don't make it so complicated, so hard. And, if you do that, then we can move as a whole Western New York community," said Andeson.

Sponsors of the meeting say there is a major transformation underway on energy issues, as people buy into conservation and alternative energy sources like solar panels.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.