April Newsletter

El Cerrito Democratic Club

Newsletter – April 2019


  1. Upcoming Meeting Preview for April 23, 2019
    1. Agenda – Janet Abelson
    2. Program – Margaret Kavanaugh-Lynch
  2. Membership Renewals – Greg Lyman
  3. Recap of March 26, 2019 Membership Meeting – Glen Nethercut
  4. US Fourth National Climate Assessment – Article – Hari Lamba
  5. Environmental Sub-Committee & What We Can Do to Mitigate Climate Change – Bob MacDonald



April 23, 2019

Upcoming regular Membership Meeting will be held on April 23, 2019 at the Presbyterian Church at 545 Ashbury Ave, El Cerrito 94530. Meeting will start at 6:30 pm


Agenda submitted by Janet Abelson

6:00 Doors Open:  Pizza available ($5)

6:30  Call to Order        

6:35  Minutes

6:40 Treasurer’s Report

6:45 Report from Club Representative to Central Committee

6:55 Membership and the pre-endorsement process and vote in September

7:10 4th of July

7:15 Announcements

7:25 Foreign Policy Resolutions from Wellstone Club with a request to endorse – May 1 deadline

  1. Peaceful Resolution of the Crisis in Venezuela
  2. Support of Nuclear Arms Control
  3. Repeal of the AUMF (Military Force Authorization)
  4. Audit the Pentagon


7:40 Resolutions proposed by Climate Committee or others if any

7:45 Program

April 23 Program from Margaret and: “Labor Union Presentation and discussion of development projects in El Cerrito (15 minutes) (this portion of meeting will be conducted by Program VP Margaret Kavanaugh-Lynch with assistance from Champagne Brown as council members will likely need to leave the room as topics may be considered by the El Cerrito Council.)”

8:29 Good of the Order

8:30 Adjourn



Annual Membership Renewal – Must Renew Before June 1st

Thank you to everyone who has renewed their membership.  ECDC membership runs from January 1st to December 31stof each calendar year.  2018 members can renew any time before June 1st, and must be renewed to participate in any club votes.  After June 1st, members from 2018 are treated like new members, and must wait the minimum waiting time to participate in Club endorsement votes. Membership is $20 for one person at an address, $30 for two at the same address, and $5 for students. Please add an additional $12 if you request a hardcopy newsletter delivered to your mailing address.  If you do not remember if you have renewed for 2019, please email membership.ecdc@gmail.com.  Renew 1) online at www.ecdclub.org, 2) mailing a check (made out to ECDC) to ECDC, P.O. Box 192, El Cerrito, CA 94530, or 3) brining your payment to the January 22, 2019 meeting.  If you mail in your dues payment, please provide us with your name(s), address, email and phone.  


Recap El Cerrito Democratic Club March 26, 2019 Meeting

Summary of the Fourth US National Climate Assessment

Hari Lamba

The  following is a summary of the 4th US National Climate Assessment (NCA) Summary that is required by law from the US Government. In all of the twelve (12) areas covered in their Summary, in each there has been a deterioration in conditions and the risks are increasing, and while some actions have been taken in each, they are not anywhere near what is needed.


The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is legally required to look at the issue of Climate Change, and every four years publish its finding in a National Climate Assessment (NCA), which is an interagency ongoing effort of the United States Government. The first NCA report was released in 2000. Between 2002 and 2009 they published several Synthesis and Assessment Products (SAPs), a second report in 2010, and a third report in 2014.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) Report was published in two volumes, the first in October 2017 (477 pages), and the second in November 2018 (1,524 pages). The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was the lead agency for this assessment in which a total of 13 US Federal Government agencies were involved, about 1,000 people were involved, and about 300 scientists, about half of whom were from outside the government. So, the fourth National Climate Assessment is a very thorough scientific assessment of the best scientific minds of the United States. Here is a summary of their findings from the November 2018 Report, some of which have been paraphrased to make them easier to understand. Some examples have been added.

Communities across the country are already experiencing the impacts of climate change with more frequent and intense extreme weather and climate related events, and changes in average climate conditions, which are affecting and are expected to continue to damage infrastructure, ecosystems, and their social situations. This is placing increasing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life and the rate of economic growth. Without significant reductions in global emissions and adaptation, extreme events will cause substantial losses to American infrastructure, labor productivity, reduction of the efficiency of power generation, and occurrences abroad will affect trade, and all of these will overall act to reduce economic growth. There can be interconnected impacts in that the effects of extreme weather and climate-related events on one system can results in failures and impacts on other systems, such as water resources, food production and distribution, energy, transportation, public health, international trade and national security. Added: It is reported in 2018 that 53 of 79 US military bases have been affected adversely by climate change.

Actions to reduce risks by mitigation and adaptation can help. Transformations in the energy production with increased use of renewables and displacement of coal by natural gas have helped to reduce the rate of growth in green-house gas emissions. Local investments may improve air quality and provide economies through investments in infrastructure. Some benefits such as restoring ecosystems may be difficult to quantify in terms of their effect on carbon absorption. Climate change is affecting the quality and quantity of Water available for use and is increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation and natural areas. Changes in temperatures are causing changes in rain patterns that are increasing the severity of droughts, and causing heavy downpours, increasing heavy floods, reducing snow packs, and causing a decline in water quality. Groundwater is depleting in the southwest and southern great plains, the Caribbean, Hawaii and US Pacific Islands are suffering increasingly from drought, flooding, and salt water contamination due to sea level rise. Powerplants that rely on a good supply of cooling water will be adversely affected, and water supply and drainage infrastructure, designed for past conditions, may not be adequate for the future.

Health: Extreme events are affecting air quality, and increasing the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food quality and water are threatening the health of Americans. Climate change is affecting people through the spreading and increase in disease carrying insects and pests, exposing more people to ticks that transmit Lyme disease and to mosquitos that transmit viruses such as Zika, West Nile and Dengue. Added: Late in 2018, the Camp Fire in Northern California that wiped out the town of Paradise gave out so much smoke that it badly affected the air quality for more than a week in vast areas, including the San Francisco area. This smoke not only contained air particles from the burning of wood, but also toxic chemicals from the burning of many house building materials.

Indigenous peoples (native Americans), the original dwellers of America are being increasingly affected by Climate Change as it threatens their livelihoods, economies, heath and cultural identities. The adverse effect on water, land, coastal areas, other natural resources, infrastructure and other services are disrupting and are expected to increasingly disrupt their activities, including agriculture, forestry, fishing, recreation and tourism. These impacts are making them consider or actively pursue relocating their communities or other adaptation strategies. Some are considering adaptation based on their traditional knowledge and values and some are pursuing renewable energy on tribal lands.

The degradation of American ecosystems, and those on the continent, are having an adverse impact on the benefits and services these ecosystems provide. Coral reef, sea ice, coastal, water, mountain, glacier and forest ecosystems are already experiencing degradation. The benefits these provide in terms of clean air and water, protection from coastal flooding, wood and fiber from forests, crop pollination, hunting and fishing and tourism and more are suffering from this. Wildfires are devastating all of the western states of America, with direct destruction of whole communities, followed by air and water pollution, flood that follow with higher than normal rains, and then mudslides from the denuded hillsides. Some wildfire reduction strategies, creation of safe havens for species, control of invasive species and flood control measures are underway, but are nowhere near what is needed. Also, coral reefs and sea ice ecosystems can only be saved by mitigation or global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Agriculture is being hammered by rising temperatures, extreme heat, wildfires on rangelands and heavier than normal downpours. These are affecting and will increasingly affect livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality and lead to degradation of the lives of rural and small town folks throughout the country. While the Northern Great Plains may see some benefits of expanded or alternative crop productivity, overall, the yields from major crops are expected to decline due to higher temperatures or less water availability when needed, soil erosion, and disease and pest outbreaks. These changes will have adverse impacts on agricultural prices and products worldwide and on the home markets. Adaptation strategies may involve changing crops, using different inputs, adopting new technologies, and adjusting management strategies. Added: Adaptations may involve shifts to organic and natural farming and a shift away from the poisonous and destructive “green revolution” type agriculture that is carbon, fertilizer, pesticide, herbicide and diesel fuel dependent.

America’s infrastructure has been aging and deteriorating because of poor investments. However, climate change will further stress the infrastructure, by heavy rains, flooding, wildfires, mudslides and other extreme events, leading to adverse impacts on the economy, national security, essential services and health. Climate Change will adversely affect energy and transportation systems, threatening fuel shortages, and power outages. High tide and coastal storms are disrupting the trillion dollar coastal property and transport infrastructure, with cascading effects on the rest of the economy. In Alaska, rising temperatures and erosion are causing damage to rural areas, and buildings and coastal infrastructure, the repairs of which are costly. Roads, bridges, pipelines, levees and power lines, all are expected to be adversely affected. Flooding from heavy rains and coastal storms are wreaking havoc to infrastructure all along the Atlantic coast and especially in the Northeast. Forward looking design of infrastructures, revised building codes and standards, and operational measures that prepare the infrastructure better for storms should help, but the effort does not meet what is needed. Added: Strengthening electrical infrastructure so that it does not contribute to wildfires and which better withstands wildfires when they occur is a big need in California and the western states.

Oceans & Coasts: Many coastal areas will be submerged or adversely affected by rising sea levels and increasing storm surges. The coastal areas are being threatened by rising water temperatures, ocean acidification (carbon dioxide dissolved in water gives carbonic acid), retreating arctic sea ice, sea level rise, high tide flooding, higher storm surges and extremely have rain events. Communities in Hawaii, the US affiliated Pacific Islands, the US Caribbean and the gulf coast are finding their ocean and marine species at risk, decreasing the productivity of some fisheries, and damaging livelihoods of those that rely on the marine ecosystems. Even if emissions reductions occur, the ocean system appears to be locked in to a certain level of sea level rise. Actions that plan for more frequent and more severe coastal storms, shoreline protection, restoration of ecosystems, would help decrease the losses. Added: The coastal areas, mainly of the Gulf of Mexico, and all along the Atlantic coast are being severely damaged by hurricanes of increasing severity, while those areas and the heartland is being increasingly damaged by tornadoes of increasing severity. Increasingly, each the number of tornadoes in each cell have been increasing (for a given weather event).

Tourism & Recreation: Climate change is damaging and poses increasing risks to natural areas that support outdoor recreation, tourist economies and the resulting quality of life they provide. These adversely affect tourism and recreation in coral reef, winter (snow), and inland water areas. Wildfires discourage recreation in forest areas, and smoke from them adversely affect air quality in surrounding regions. Added: For the first time in 2018, the famous Yosemite National Park was closed because of nearby forest fires. Some fish, birds, and mammals are expected to shift where they live with implications for hunting, fishing and other wild-life activities. Some advance management of streams based on their temperatures may help fish conservation.




Environmental Sub-Committee

& What We Can Do to Mitigate Climate Change You may have heard about the recent reports (5th  IPCC Assessment Report and 4th US National Climate Assessment) in which it is pointed out that progress in reducing CO2 emissions is inadequate to prevent global warming to an extent that serious consequences face us in the coming decades.  Indeed, we are already seeing consequences of the effect of global warming in storms, wildfires, migration and extinction of wildlife, acidification of the oceans, melting of glaciers and ice sheets and sea level rise. 

Mitigation of these developments needs to move faster–considerably faster–and although there are mechanisms for doing so, many are not recognized by some of our residents.  The ECDC Environmental Action Committee is embarking on a program to bring to more residents information on what we all can do to be more energy efficient.  An important part of this project is to emphasize that many options for doing so will save money in the long term or qualify for rebates or tax deductions. 

Although locally, we cannot make much of a dent in carbon emissions, we can be an example to other cities and towns of what progress can be made when we simply get going and take steps. We are putting together a flyer which describes three classes of programs: increasing residential energy efficiency, installation of solar panels and electric cars.  Over their lifetime, these have the potential of saving residents 10’s of thousands of dollars.  As an example, If you install solar panels that produce $90 worth of electricity per month, after 20 years you will have saved $11,000 net of the installation cost!  This includes a 30% tax rebate on installation costs!

The ECDC is an organization that is engaged in a variety of public-serving activities and would welcome new members or help in future in distributing our information flyers. The newly formed Environmental Subcommittee of the ECDC is beginning a campaign to help residents fight climate change by adapting one of the EDDC’s most important activities–distributing election endorsements–to distributing information on actions residents can take to reduce CO2 emissions.  This activity will be spread over a longer time than electioneering so that all El Cerrito residents can be contacted.  They will learn about government rebates for and money-saving ways of increasing the energy efficiency of their residences, switching from fossil fuels to electricity and upgrading to electric vehicles if possible.

This project can eventually involve a variety of important activities like setting up a web page, a possible Climate Series of events, and it is hoped that it will attract new ECDC members as well as energize current members.  Every El Cerritan and people of surrounding communities must do whatever he or she can to save our environment now and for future generations.  Please contact Hari Lamba (hlamba101@gmail.com) or Janet Abelson (abeljanet@aol.com) or Bob MacDonald (macd@northwestern.edu) for more information.


Update of Activities

The first meeting of the Environmental Subcommittee was held on March 7, 2019 at Janet Abelson’s house, and was attended by Bob, Janet and Hari. The minutes of the meeting will be published by Hari. The next meeting of the Subcommittee will be on April 11, 2019 at 7 Pomona Ave, El Cerrito, from 7-9 pm.


Related News:

A Resolution proposed by Betty Brown on the bill (now HR 763) was approved by ECDC. This resolution urges congress to pass the bill that would add taxes on fossil fuels based on the green-house gases each would emit per unit of heat, with the funds to be rebated back to all citizens.

Hari had talked about significant actions that we can take to solve the climate crisis in a recent interview. Hari’s interview by Paul on February 26, on the Climate Crisis and the National Political Crisis have been posted on the ECDC website. The Q&A portion at the end can be viewed by clicking on the following:



The full initial part of the interview has been posted on YouTube, and may be watched by clicking on the following link: