A lost decade for climate. We can’t afford a repeat

The 2010s were a lost decade for climate. We can’t afford a repeat, scientists warn.

Australian firefighters battle the Gospers Mountain Fire on Dec. 21. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP Images/AP)
Australian firefighters battle the Gospers Mountain Fire on Dec. 21. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP Images/AP)

By Sarah Kaplan Jan. 1, 2020 at 3:45 p.m. EST. The Washington Post: Science

At the start of the previous decade, Kallan Benson was 5 years old, her favorite story was “The Secret Garden,” and Earth was in the midst of its warmest year on record. Benson had heard about climate change (her mother is an environmental scientist), but she didn’t know world leaders had just signed an agreement calling it “one of the greatest challenges of our time.” She cared about Earth, but she trusted adults to protect it.

She doesn’t feel that way anymore.

By the final year of the decade, the planet had surpassed its 2010 temperature record five times. Hurricanes devastated New Jersey and Puerto Rico, and floods damaged the Midwest and Bangladesh. Southern Africa was gripped by a deadly drought. Australia and the Amazon are ablaze. Global emissions are expected to hit an all-time high this year, and humanity is on track to cross the threshold for tolerable warming within a generation.AD

The 2010s were a “decade of disappointment,” said Benson, now 15 and a national coordinator for the youth climate organization Fridays for Future. If the world is to stave off further disasters, the next decade must be one of unprecedented climate action, she said.

“This decade that we’re going into now will be the most important of our lives,” Benson said. “We’re kind of running out of options. And we’re running out of time.”

Students gather at John Marshall Park, blocks from the U.S. Capitol, to protest climate change on Sept. 20.  (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)
Students gather at John Marshall Park, blocks from the U.S. Capitol, to protest climate change on Sept. 20. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

Ten years ago, the United Nations released its first “emissions gap” report detailing the disparity between commitments made by nations to reduce greenhouse gases and what is needed to meet global temperature targets. It estimated that countries should be curbing emissions about 3 percent per year.

But that hasn’t happened, said Surabi Menon, vice president for global intelligence at the ClimateWorks Foundation and a steering committee member for the U.N.’s emissions gap reports.AD

“We’ve left ourselves with a very narrow window to take the kind of action that needs to be taken,” she said.

The 2015 Paris climate accord — the first-ever global agreement to limit warming to “well below 2 degrees Celsius” — was important, Menon said. But the promises made at that meeting fell short. According to the latest emissions gap report, temperatures can be expected to rise 3.2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by the end of the century, unless the world’s top emitters increase their Paris commitments.

Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world

Right now, most aren’t on track to meet even their most modest targets. The world is already about 1 degree Celsius warmer than it was before humans started burning fossil fuels. Global annual emissions have increased 4 percent since the Paris agreement was signed. And the average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — a number that ultimately determines our fate, in the words of Phil DeCola, who chairs the science team for a World Meteorological Organization greenhouse gas initiative — is the highest in human history.

Meanwhile, improved scientific models found that even 2 degrees of warming — once thought to be a reasonable target — could be practically intolerable in parts of the world. To get on track to achieve a less disastrous 1.5-degree temperature rise, a landmark U.N. report found that nations must nearly halve emissions by 2030.

Youths pull out an ox stuck in muddy waters in the drying Mabwematema dam in Zimbabwe on Dec. 25.  (Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images)
Youths pull out an ox stuck in muddy waters in the drying Mabwematema dam in Zimbabwe on Dec. 25. (Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations’ 1.5-degree analysis provoked widespread alarm after it was published in 2018. Politicians referred to the report at rallies; teenagers quoted it during school walkouts.AD

“If we don’t do something by then,” 14-year-old climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor said in February, referring to 2030, “it will be the end of my world.”

But climate scientists caution against treating 2030 as a deadline and 1.5 degrees as a threshold for extinction.

“Climate change is not a cliff. It’s not a pass-fail course,” Georgia Tech researcher Kim Cobb said. “If we meet the 1.5 target, there may still be tons of ugly surprises. And if we don’t meet it, it’s not that everybody’s going to die.”

According to Cobb, the report is better understood as a road map for navigating the perilous path to sustainability.

“Our decisions over the next 10 years will affect the magnitude of climate change for centuries to come,” she said. “I don’t think it can get more sobering than that.”

A man walks among debris at the Mudd neighborhood, devastated after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, on Sept. 6.  (Marco Bello/Reuters)
A man walks among debris at the Mudd neighborhood, devastated after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, on Sept. 6. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

The first and most important step will be reducing fossil fuel consumption, experts say. According to the latest emissions gap analysis, the past 10 years of inaction have more than doubled the rate at which emissions must fall; to meet the 1.5-degree goal, emissions must be cut by 7.6 percent each year.AD

Such action would require “unprecedented” transformation of society the report acknowledged.

But many of the solutions needed — both economic and technological — already exist. The report called on the global community to replace coal power with renewable energy, decarbonize transportation and manufacturing, and help developing nations build green infrastructure to meet their growing power needs.

Ending subsidies for fossil fuels could reduce global emissions 10 percent by 2030, the U.N. has found. And eliminating “short-lived” greenhouse gases — including methane, black carbon and fluorinated gases, which linger in the atmosphere less than carbon dioxide but trap more heat — over the next 20 years could help Earth avoid between 0.3 and 0.8 degrees of warming by 2050, research suggests.

How a 7th-grader’s strike against climate change exploded into a movement

Menon draws hope from progress that has been made on the ground in the past decade, even as global leaders fell short. Global renewable energy capacity has quadrupled since 2010, largely because of improved technology and falling costs, she noted. People increasingly see climate change as a threat; a Washington Post poll this year found that 76 percent of American adults view the issue as a “major problem” or a “crisis.” This year’s global climate strikes, led by teenagers such as Benson and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, were among the largest environmental protests in history.

“We know what we have to do,” Menon said. “And we know there are pathways, there are policies, and there are people willing to do it.”

A reforestation assistant measures a newly planted tree in a field damaged during illegal gold mining in Madre de Dios, Peru, on March 29. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)
A reforestation assistant measures a newly planted tree in a field damaged during illegal gold mining in Madre de Dios, Peru, on March 29. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

The rate at which greenhouse gases are removed from the atmosphere must also increase, said Tufts University climate scientist William Moomaw, a contributor to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Natural systems currently absorb more than half the carbon people produce, and a 2018 study found that conservation, restoration and improved land management practices could reduce the United States’ net emissions by as much as 21 percent. But cutting down forests, dredging wetlands and polluting the coasts reduce that capacity.AD

“If we don’t actually reverse the rise of carbon dioxide, so that we are lowering the concentrations in the atmosphere, it’s just going to go on getting worse and worse,” Moomaw said.

In the bleak report released this August, the United Nations forecast the consequences of inaction on land. Warming beyond 1.5 degrees will lead to high risk of drought, wildfires, destructive hurricanes and outbreaks of agricultural pests, scientists said. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could lower the nutritional quality of crops and raise grain prices. Millions will be at risk of losing their homes, livelihoods and lives to natural disasters, and countries will be destabilized by mass migrations.

Many parts of the world are already experiencing this extreme change; a Washington Post analysis this year found roughly 10 percent of the globe has surpassed 2 degrees of warming since the preindustrial era.AD

Quiz: How much do you know about climate change?

“The stakes are high. The climate impacts are severe. And people almost everywhere in the world are experiencing that and waking up,” Menon said. “That gives me hope.”

It’s when she considers the political decisions needed to fight warming that she feels pessimistic.

At the recent COP 25 climate talks in Madrid, the world’s leading emitters, including the United States and China, failed to increase their commitments to cut emissions. Officials deferred until next year the task of establishing a global carbon trading system.

“It felt like betrayal,” said Benson, the 15-year-old activist, who lives in Annapolis. “But for me, it means that I have to keep doing what I’m doing. Keep soldiering on.”

On a chilly Friday in December, shivering through her weekly climate strike at the Capitol, the teenager tried to imagine what the next 10 years might look like. But the normal life milestones — dates and dances, college, a job — were hard to picture. Until the global climate outlook changes, Benson can’t envision doing anything but activism.AD

It all depends on what happens to the planet. And that depends on what people decide to do.

Finally, Benson sighed. “I really can’t predict the future,” she said. “There’s so many ways this decade could go.”

Correction: An initial version of this article misstated Phil DeCola’s title. He is science team chair for the Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System, an initiative of the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Atmosphere Watch program.

Wind Turbines Are Not Killing Fields for Birds

Sep 3, 2019, from STATISTA

President Trump continues his years’ long dispute with wind turbines, claiming that wind turbines diminish home property values, cause cancer, and “kill all the birds.”

Wind turbines have not been found to diminish home values of nearby properties or cause cancer. According to numbers aggregated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, cats are a bigger scrooge to the overall bird community than wind turbines. The most recent estimate places the number of bird deaths at the paws of cats at 2.4 billion. Collisions from wind turbines on land killed a small fraction of birds in comparison to the damage that cats and glass buildings cause to the general bird population. Land wind turbines were responsible for over 200,000 bird deaths while collisions from building glass are estimated to be responsible for nearly 600 million bird deaths. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not provide estimates for deaths resulting from offshore wind turbines.

As the wind power industry grows and expands, the renewable’s relationship to its environment is coming under more intense scrutiny. While the relationship between wind turbines and different types of bird populations, particularly apex birds, is understudied, there is some evidence that turbines can hurt those populations. Hawaii, home to many endangered species, has taken extra steps to protect species that could be vulnerable to wind energy. The state requires all potential wind projects on both private and public land to have permits and conservation plans for the bird and bat population. Hawaii also documents animal mortality data from independent, third-party experts, with some wind farms subjected to steep fines for killing any federally protected birds.

As wind turbines become more common, reforms in this spirit could help alleviate some of the drawbacks of the new energy source.

Infographic: Wind Turbines Are Not Killing Fields for Birds | Statista

Get with the Program

LTE published in the East Hampton Star:

Negotiation
East Hampton
December 23, 2019

To the Editor:

Initially, Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott claimed that it supported the South Fork Wind Farm but did not want the cable buried under Beach Lane. Interesting, Wainscott made no objection earlier in the year to East Hampton Town and Suffolk County burying nine miles of water pipe in Wainscott roadways (including Beach Lane) when the water quality of Wainscott’s aquifer was called into question.

Next, C.P.W. argued that the cable should come ashore at Hither Hills. The plan was to bury it under Montauk Highway from Hither Hills through Amagansett and East Hampton Village and then up Route 114 to the Cove Hollow Road substation. This would be very disruptive to homes, businesses, and traffic along this 11-mile route. This would take two off-seasons to complete. When asked why this was preferable, Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott had no answer. F.Y.I., Beach Lane has six year-round residences.

Now, C.P.W. is opposed to the wind farm because the price negotiated with LIPA is too high. The agreement between Deepwater/Orsted and LIPA (which was approved by the New York State Public Service Commission) was the result of a public bid, which Deepwater/Orsted won because it provided electricity at the lowest cost. Now, four-plus years later, new wind farm bids are coming in even lower. Such prices will benefit South Fork residents since PSEG prices are based on a mix of all the prices it pays for the electricity it delivers. Lower prices for power from the newer wind farms will lower PSEG costs, and thus bills to consumers will go down.

Recently, C.P.W. claimed, without any supporting details, that within five years there would be more efficient and affordable ways to solve the power needs on the East End. Ninety-nine percent of scientists agree climate change is a current crisis. We need immediate action to address South Fork power needs, air pollution, health risks, sea level rise, as well as the existential crisis of climate change.

Finally, C.P.W. complains that Orsted is breaking its promise to explore the Hither Hills route in the Public Service Commission settlement negotiations, which are ongoing. Significant time was spent on the Hither Hills route during those negotiations, and on Jan. 8, at the request of C.P.W., an additional settlement negotiation will be held to allow C.P.W. to present its alternative route.

Orsted has gone out of its way to cooperate with C.P.W. The only deception has been on the part of C.P.W., which has little credibility. Clearly, C.P.W. is just a small, moneyed Nimby group who wants electricity for Wainscott without any involvement or inconvenience on their part.

It’s time for C.P.W. to get with the program and support the wind farm, which will provide electricity to 70,000 South Fork homes, including the 700 or so in Wainscott.

JERRY MULLIGAN

Questions Regarding Costs for the SFWF

Question:  how would the decreasing cost of Wind Power in general affect the SFWF (South Fork Wind Farm) project and the resulting per cost/kw to LI ratepayers?

Answer: It does not affect the cost of the SFWF as the cost is agreed upon for 20 years in the contract between LIPA and Orsted. But the average cost of offshore wind power in the LIPA portfolio is likely to continue to drop as newer and much larger projects are procured and the U.S. offshore wind industry grows. LIPA has said that they plan to buy another 90 MW and then some 800+ MW in the future as part of the NYSERDA solicitations for 2400 MW (see the LIPA fact sheet on this blog: page 3 top right graphic).

Question: Isn’t that an argument for waiting and getting our energy from the larger future projects on Long Island, west of the South Fork, that will be cheaper?

Answer: it’s important to remember that the rate impact is spread across all LIPA ratepayers, so while the cost of the SFWF may be higher, this will be shared with all LIPA customers, and we will benefit from the lower cost of future projects together with all LIPA customers. See LIPA fact sheet.

All of LIPA’s power supply and transmission cost (and almost all distribution costs) are spread over LIPA’s 1.1 million customers. That is all over Long Island. So we all benefit from future projects having lower prices.

It is also important to remember that as a result of spreading costs over a large number of customers the average residential ratepayer impact is minimal. As per LIPA’s fact sheet:”The South Fork Project Portfolio, which includes New York’s first offshore wind farm, two utility-scale battery storage systems, and new energy efficiency programs will cost an average residential customer on Long Island between $1.39 and $1.57 per month.”

In addition, we benefit from lower price risk. In comparison with LIPA’s conventional power supply which includes contract provisions requiring payment of all future fuel cost (of unknown amounts), renewable power supply has no fuel cost and does therefore not expose ratepayers to the risk of fossil fuel price uncertainty for the typical 20 year term of the contract.

Lastly, regarding LIPA’s anticipated South Fork transmission upgrades: 
With it’s 2015 South Fork RFP selection, LIPA used a “combination of transmission, demand reduction, storage, and offshore wind projects and meets the reliability needs of the South Fork at least through 2030”. In other words, had LIPA not selected the SFWF along with energy storage and demand reduction programs (called South Fork Peak Savers) the need for transmission upgrades would be greater and needed sooner.

Below is LIPA’s anticipated schedule (which is subject to change). The anticipated cost (in 2015 dollars) is $513 million.
Source: South Fork RFP LIPA Board of Trustees REV Committee Briefing, September 21, 2016, page 13: https://www.lipower.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2017-01-South-Fork-Board-Material.pdf

LIPA’s anticipated schedule


(With input from Gordian Raacke)

This is just the Beginning of Climate Change

Corn crops affected by Texas drought, 2013 | Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Letter to the Editor in the East Hampton Star
East Hampton
December 2, 2019

Dear David,

At check-out in Brent’s Store in Amagansett, a wizened fisherman blamed state regulators for the fact that the tags he’s allocated now allow him to catch barely enough fish for his own family table. And as a New York Times headline announced, “The Scallops Are All Dead.”

While we look for local influences, we ignore at our peril the fact that it is a global problem.

This week, to pick one from a thousand stories, The Washington Post profiled Tombwa, Angola, where in the 1990s there were 20 fish factories processing tons of fish coming from the sea. Now there is one factory left. The fish species recently thriving there have collapsed in the overheated water. Trawlers ranging from distant ports are gobbling up what remains.

Ten years ago Bill McKibben wrote, “Climate Change is about whether you eat or don’t eat.” Deniers called it alarmism.

This year, as temperatures in Bordeaux reached 106 degrees, the vineyards were parched and wine production was down 13 percent. Corn production suffered the same fate.

In the American Midwest unprecedented rain bombs flooded the fields and destroyed billions of dollars’ worth of crops. Last year (or was it the year before?) multi-year drought destroyed countless acres of nut orchards that had been prosperous for generations in California. A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate report predicts a 2 to 6 percent decline in worldwide crop yields per decade going forward, at the same time as population swells.

Sidewalk experts, including the entire Republican Party, still scoff at the science. “These scientists can’t make up their minds. One day it’s drought, the next day it’s flood! Which is it, they don’t know what they’re talking about. They can’t predict the weather next week, and they claim to predict it 20 years from now. Gimme a break!”

More people now understand that we should have listened to James Hansen when he was informing the American Congress 30 years ago about climate disruption. Imagine how far we could have come in 30 years toward slowing the onset. Still we dither instead of taking personal responsibility for the problem.

Drive down any street lined with parked cars and note that most of them are SUVs. Their growth in popularity has canceled out the benefits we might have gained in the incipient move to electric vehicles. We burn as much gas now as we did before electrification because mammoth SUVs use more gas than the smaller cars we used to drive, not to mention the sky parade of private jets roaring in and out of our airport. So much for self-regulation in the face of global catastrophe.

Demagogues and religious zealots around the world can turn men without hope into terrorists. This is just the beginning. The World Bank projects 143 million climate-displaced migrants by 2050, and stresses that this is a lower bound estimate, with the numbers certain to go much higher, perhaps sooner, assuredly later.

As we approach the 2020 elections, no matter how you have voted in the past, if you care about fish, or food in general for the children you love, remember that we have two parties in this country with radically different attitudes about climate change. Forget about the personal foibles of candidates that the media love to dwell on.

Remember that one party makes its living serving the interests of the fossil fuel industry. The other party is finally listening to scientists and young people who will inherit this planet, and committing to meaningful action. Climate change is no longer about 2100, Bangladesh, or polar bears. It has come to this: not just in the long run, but for millions alive today in America, including the fisherman at Brent’s, nothing else matters.

DON MATHESON

Good News from Vineyard Wind in Rhode Island

RI official applauds wind farm layout announcement

RI official applauds wind farm layout announcement: Says Vineyard Wind agreeing to plan it rejected nearly 2 years ago. By Bruce Mohl – Nov 20, 2019

THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council applauded Vineyard Wind and four other companies for agreeing to a common layout for their New England offshore wind farms, but he said the configuration the firms are proposing is exactly what his agency pressed Vineyard Wind to adopt nearly two years ago.

Grover Fugate said the decision by the wind farm developers to go with a standard east-west orientation with each turbine one nautical mile apart settles a lot of concerns about how fishing, navigation, and search and rescue operations can coexist with the developing offshore wind industry. “I think it takes a lot of the issues off the table,” he said.

Getting issues off the table was a big priority for all the companies, as the industry is temporarily stalled while the Coast Guard and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management are trying to decide how Vineyard Wind’s first-in-the-nation proposal will mesh with other projects coming along in the development pipeline. While some fishing interests are still grumbling about this week’s turbine layout proposal, Fugate’s personal endorsement is a strong signal the initiative is likely to pass muster with both fishermen and federal regulators.

Still, Fugate can’t help but chuckle how Vineyard Wind came around to the council’s point of view. “The alignment that they’re doing is what we were trying to get Vineyard Wind to do two years ago,” Fugate said. At the time, Vineyard Wind had proposed 84 turbines arranged on a northwest-southeast orientation, with the turbines nearly nine-tenths of a nautical mile apart. The council, representing fishing interests, pressed for an east-west orientation with one nautical mile between the turbines. Vineyard Wind resisted, insisting it was on a tight schedule to take advantage of a federal tax credit and it had already spent $25 million taking core samples from the ocean floor at each of its proposed turbine locations.

“They said it would have killed the project if we delayed it,” he said.

In February, the council and its Fishermen’s Advisory Board grumbled about Vineyard Wind’s proposed layout but nevertheless gave their blessing after the company agreed to make $4.2 million in payments to commercial fishermen over 30 years and create a $12.5 million trust to cover additional costs. If the council and its advisory board had voted against the Vineyard Wind project and ended up being overruled on appeal, they could have ended up with nothing.

Now the council may get the wind farm layout it wanted plus the settlement money it negotiated earlier. (“Our lawyers are looking at it,” Fugate said.)

Fugate said the biggest advantage of the layout proposed by the five wind farm developers is its simplicity, allowing the east-west lanes to be used for fishing and the north-south lanes for navigation. He said the east-west lanes can alternate between fixed-gear fishing (lobster) and mobile-gear fishing (squid). Fugate said the layout would appear to satisfy most fishermen, but he acknowledged some still want additional two-mile navigation lanes cutting through the wind farm areas.

A big questionmark now is whether Vineyard Wind can build its wind farm even if it passes federal muster. Fugate said the company told the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council nearly two years ago that the project would go belly up if it was delayed. In mid-July, the company said the project would be at risk if it wasn’t approved by federal regulators in six weeks. In early August, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management put the wind farm on hold indefinitely, but Vineyard Wind insisted the “project remains viable and continues to move ahead.” The joint announcement on wind farm layout earlier this week suggests Vineyard Wind continues to believe the project is viable, even though its original timetable has been blown up.

A spokesman for Vineyard Wind declined to comment on the record. In a letter to the Coast Guard released on Tuesday, the five companies — Vineyard Wind, Eversource Energy, Mayflower Wind, Orsted North America, and Equinor Wind — laid out why the standard configuration serves all interests best. “The New England leaseholders are proude to be working together to present a collaborative solution that we believe accommodates all ocean users in the region,” they said.

Kemp’s Ridley Turtle

On my daily beach walk I came across this dead animal (about 1 week ago, on the Lion Head beach close to the entrance to Hog Creek, in Springs, East Hampton):

Based on the pictures I took, it’s now been identified as Kemp’s Ridley Turtle. This is a critically endangered species. In fact it is the most endangered sea turtle species!

Obviously we would all like to know why this rare animal showed up on our beach, and what might have caused its death.

Adult turtles which reach sexual maturity at the age of 7-15 years, measure about 27″ in length. This specimen measured about approx. 15″ and was therefore a juvenile.

Kemp’s Ridley can be found along the Atlantic coast as far north as New Jersey. Mature adults migrate back to their nesting beach in Mexico every year: female Kemp’s Ridley turtles come together all at once in what is known as an arribada, which means “arrival” in Spanish. Nearly 95 percent of Kemp’s Ridley nesting worldwide occurs in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Nesting is usually between May and July, and females will lay up to three clutches of 100 eggs that must incubate for 50-60 days.

Hatchlings spend up to 10 years in the open ocean as juveniles. Kemp’s Ridley turtles occupy “neritic” zones, which contain muddy or sandy bottoms where their preferred prey is plentiful. Even in the ocean, the Kemp’s Ridley turtles rarely swim in waters deeper than about 160 feet.

Kemp’s Ridley turtles face many threats to their survival including incidental capture in fishing gear, or bycatch, egg collection by predators and climate change.

What was the cause of death for our turtle? Kemp’s Ridley turtles do not tolerate cold water below 8 degrees Celsius. East Hampton waters are currently about 10 degrees Celsius. So it seems that the turtle was too far north for its comfort zone. Note that it’s left front flipper seems to be missing or seriously mangled. This suggests that the turtle may have been injured, perhaps by fishing trawlers. Incidental take by shrimp trawlers in the gulf of Mexico is a recognized hazard for this species.

Finally, there is the possibility that ocean acidification from climate change has altered the food chain for this species as noted by OCEANA. Kemp’s Ridley turtle feeds on mollusks, crustaceans, jellyfish, fish, algae, seaweed, and sea urchins. But juveniles (such as our specimen) feed on crabs[13] and on bay scallops.

It’s interesting that bay scallops in the Peconic bay have recently suffered a die-off discussed elsewhere on this blog and possibly related to ocean acidification.

Bottom line: you don’t have to look far to witness a species in trouble!

Interesting website where you can find data on any species: f.ex. Kemp’s Ridley turtle

I note that this species likes waters with high salinity (over 30 PSU), see above. The following map shows that our waters around Long Island have much lower average salinity (less than 25 PSU). Thus both the low temperature and the low salinity represent a hostile environment for Kemp’s Ridley Turtles.