Wildfire season is getting longer and more intense, and both scientific and forestry experts foresee hotter and drier conditions that would significantly exacerbate the situation.State and local officials have in the last decade updated efforts to keep people and property safe from out-of-control conflagrations. This includes everything from updated building codes, requirements on defensible space around homes and various forest management techniques.However, many fear these tactics won’t be enough to keep pace with the worst consequences of powerful blazes, which have ripped through the state’s forests with growing frequency and size over the last few decades.A continued trend of backcountry development and aggressive fire suppression to keep those properties safe has led to densely packed forests in close proximity to many communities.At the same time, California’s recent five-year drought — by many measures the worst in thousands of years, according to some … [Read more...] about Are wildfires worsening due to development, climate change and controversial forest management?
How to help climate change
As the planet heats up, where will the wild things go? A new entrancing map from The Nature Conservancy tries to predict exactly that. "Migrations in Motion" models the next great diaspora, projected by University of Washington researchers for nearly 3,000 species of animals. These mammals, birds and amphibians are just some of the creatures that will find themselves needing to relocate as rising temperatures force them from their homes. In addition to where they're going, the scientists are asking: How will they get there? The animals won't face your average roadblocks: Our complex system of highways, homes, and human development stand in the way - but maps like this one help researchers formulate a plan of action. "Conservationists can't predict where every species needs to move and where every barrier is that might stand in their way," writes Brad McRae, a senior landscape ecologist at The Nature Conservancy. "But we can look at it in a simpler way: how … [Read more...] about This mesmerizing map predicts where animals will run to survive climate change
In the 1950s and 60s, America's natural resources were in bad shape. Communities were so polluted that clouds of smog lingered over cities like Los Angeles. Rivers and lakes were filled with chemicals. In my hometown of Boston, the harbor was among the nation's most polluted waterways. We were on a dangerous path. But on April 22, 1970, after years of mounting concern and hard work, the first-ever Earth Day took place, and a new commitment to action took hold. Thanks in no small part to campaigns begun that day, our air, water and land are in far better shape now than 45 years ago — even as our population and economy have steadily grown. There is a lesson in that experience, because America is once again on a dangerous path — along with the rest of the world. Climate change, if unchecked, is an urgent threat to health, food supplies, biodiversity and livelihoods across the globe. The solution to climate change is staring us in the face. It's energy policy. If we … [Read more...] about John Kerry: On Earth Day, time running out for climate change
There is still time to blunt the most dangerous effects of climate change, experts say.But that time is running out.To get a better understanding of the challenge the world faces, the Courier-Journal spoke with several climate experts. One of them was Scott Denning, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, who has dozens of peer-reviewed climate-related publications under his belt. It comes down to making a calculation after answering a basic question: How much climate change can we tolerate?The simple answer is a temperature rise of about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To do that, carbon dioxide concentrations will likely need to stay below 450 parts per million — and we may be within about 20 years of hitting that mark, according to Denning.Policymakers representing more than 190 nations in a 2015 agreement in Paris settled on that amount of change. We’ve already seen a 1.4 degree Fahrenheit, or a 0.8 … [Read more...] about There’s still hope to offset climate change impact, but it will be costly and formidable
Individual actions may not put much of a dent in reducing the pollution blamed for global warming. But added up, they can start to make a difference, and they can make people feel better about sparing emissions and saving money."What we found is what we do in our daily lives matters the most," said Brenda Ekwurzel, a senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists and co-author of that group's guide, "Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living."Start by focusing on conserving power at home and at work, and with transportation, she advised.The guide starts off with a sobering outlook: "Global warming presents one of the most enormous challenges humanity has ever faced. It threatens to affect nearly every aspect of our lives — our health, the availability of freshwater, the future of many coastal communities, our food supply, and even government stability as nations around the world begin to confront the … [Read more...] about Every little bit helps to offset climate change
Predictions for a planet affected by climate change can sound like they're ripped from a doomsday novel: stronger hurricanes, intense heat waves, rising sea levels and the disappearance of ice in the Arctic.And scientists have seen some of those changes already taking place, according to NASA.Climate change — as well as other environmental issues like deforestation and wildlife extinction — have the potential to be scary for children. The implications of climate change can contribute to stress, depression and anxiety for everyone, but especially for kids, according to a study released this year by the American Psychological Association, Climate for Health and EcoAmerica.So how can parents approach these topics with their children? Here's what experts had to say.Encourage actionWhen talking with your kids about climate change, communicating “the sense that you can do something to improve a scary situation" is key, said Lisa Hoyos, director … [Read more...] about Climate change predictions can be scary for kids. What can you say?
Jackie Green, a bike store owner and property manager, has announced his intention to run for mayor to combat what he calls the challenge of the century: climate change."Climate chaos, as it is becoming, is not being addressed here in Louisville, at least not appropriately," Green told the Courier-Journal Saturday. "We as a city need to address climate change or the city is going to suffer needlessly." Green has run for mayor twice before: In 2014, he ran for the city's top office as a write-in candidate, and in 2010, he announced for mayor but dropped out of the race and endorsed current Mayor Greg Fischer.This time around, he says on his website, he'll "throw his support and endorsement" to a Democrat or Republican candidate ready to face the climate change challenge.And, should both parties fail to field a candidate he deems ready, he says he'll "take this campaign all the way to the November general election.""It is imperative we have a mayor who understands … [Read more...] about Jackie Green to run for mayor in 2018, campaign on fight against climate change
Carmel is taking on climate change.The City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday to measure citywide emissions and work toward reducing them.The Carmel Green Initiative and the Carmel Promise Project worked with city leaders to pass the resolution in what ultimately was a youth-led effort.Six students involved with the Carmel Promise Project, which is for ages 8-18 who want to fight climate change, spoke Monday in favor of the resolution. They pointed out 97 percent of climate scientists agree human activity is worsening climate change, a fact that also is noted on NASA's web page.Miranda Frausto, 17, a senior at Carmel High School, said now is the time to act. She realizes Carmel is only one community, but hopes others follow suit."We are kind of ignoring everything that is going on with climate change," she said, "and we as the youth who are going to be affected by this when we are older need to take action for our futures."Jodh Pullela, … [Read more...] about How Carmel plans to fight climate change
Republicans and Democrats this year are at odds about much more than guns and immigration. The two parties' 2016 national platforms severely clash over climate change.That gives voters a clear choice come November between a Republican Party that rejects mainstream climate science and a Democratic Party that embraces it.With polls showing growing concerns about climate change, some observers are wondering whether this will finally be the election global warming may matter in the outcome.As Chris Mooney of the Washington Post writes, we have "a situation that many environmentalists have long hoped for – one in which a sharp contrast on climate change between the two candidates means that it might not only come up prominently in an election, but moreover, actually make a difference."As Watchdog Earth reported in April, while just 47 percent of conservative Republicans think global warming is happening, that's up 19 percentage points over the past two years, according to a new … [Read more...] about Party platforms clash on climate change
As President Donald Trump dithers on the fate of the Paris climate deal, California and other western states are banding together to reduce carbon emissions and save hundreds of millions of dollars — and now a Canadian province will join them.British Columbia's main electric utility said Tuesday it will join the Energy Imbalance Market, a California-led program that makes it easier for utilities to trade electricity across state lines. The energy-sharing program has allowed solar and wind farms across the West to boost production, displacing planet-warming fossil fuels. The initiative has also saved western utility customers $174 million since 2014, according to the California Independent System Operator, which runs the imbalance market.Powerex Corp. — the energy marketing subsidiary of BC Hydro, Canada's third-largest utility — will officially join the imbalance market in April 2018, becoming the first … [Read more...] about California and Canada are teaming up to fight climate change — again