Elephants continue to be slaughtered for their magnificent tusks, which are highly modified incisor teeth and of much greater utility to elephants than as carved-ivory status symbols displayed on a chess board. But the more serious threat is loss of habitat, and run-ins with people over access to land and water. Elephant biologists argue that the more we understand the elephant mind-set, the greater the odds of keeping elephants alive.
Embarking on an 800-mile walk across the state of Florida, Nicholas Vazquez is a 23-year-old climate activist using unconventional tactics to raise awareness for climate change.
A recent study showed that there were probably many record-shattering days to come. Scientists project that if warming were to continue at a relatively rapid pace, record-breaking heat waves would be up to 21 times more likely toward the end of the 21st century compared with the past 30 years.
“Extinction risk, which we’ve used to measure conservation progress for decades, is a very absolute thing."
The move appears at odds with the royal family’s public commitment to tackling the climate crisis, with Prince William recently joining his father, Charles, in campaigning to cut emissions and protect the planet.
The researchers, part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, said in an article published in the journal BioScience on Wednesday that governments had consistently failed to address “the overexploitation of the Earth”, which they described as the root cause of the crisis.
Nicholas Vazquez is bringing his 800-mile journey to Gainesville Tuesday to Florida’s protest climate change in Florida.The 23-year-old climate pilgrim is a member of Extinction Rebellion America began his walk in Miami on April 22. From there he’s traveled on foot to cities across Florida like West Palm Beach, Tampa, and Orlando as an act of political rebellion. His goal is to catch the attention of Governor Ron DeSantis and have him issue an executive order declaring a climate emergency for the state of Florida.
Hundreds of thousands of young salmon are dying in Northern California’s Klamath River as low water levels brought about by drought allow a parasite to thrive, devastating a Native American tribe whose diet and traditions are tied to the fish. And wildlife officials said the Sacramento River is facing a “near-complete loss” of young Chinook salmon due to abnormally warm water.
However, there were a few bright spots in the study, including fossil fuel subsidies reaching a record low and fossil fuel divestment reaching a record high.
As the drought worsens across the West and ushers in an early fire season, cattle ranchers are among those feeling the pain. Their hay yields are down, leading some to make the hard decision to sell off animals. To avoid the high cost of feed, many ranchers grow hay to nourish their herds through the winter when snow blankets the grass they normally graze. “Everybody is gonna be selling their cows, so it’s probably smarter now to do it while the price is up before the market gets flooded,” said Buzz Bates, a rancher from Moab, Utah who was selling 209 cow-calf pairs, or about 30% of his herd.
...they spotted something bubbling up to the river’s surface. Ms. Joseph steered her oil-blackened canoe closer. Far below her snaked a pipe. The American oil giant Chevron laid that pipe 46 years before, according to many neighbors of Ms. Joseph who were there at the time, and now, they said, it was leaking.
A massive ‘heat dome’ of excessive heat will settle across the heart of the contiguous US from Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast, bringing elevated temperatures to the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, the northern reaches of the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific northwest and California.
For decades, it has been shrinking, exposing a powdery arsenic-, selenium- and DDT-laced shoreline that wafts into the atmosphere. Near the sea, hospitalization rates for children with asthma are double the state average, and one in five kids have the condition. "Unaccountable" (USA, 11 min) Directed by Stacey Stone. Executive Producer Diane Mellen found a recent article about three-eyed fish and two-headed turtles in the New River which flows from the U.S. Mexico border into the Salton Sea. Runoff sewage is causing DNA mutations in the animals. As filmmakers, we found it alarming that the California Department of Parks and Recreation is advising parents it is permissible to swim and fish in the Salton Sea. We wanted to make a documentary with vivid imagery, as no words can encompass the sadness of the area.
FirstEnergy funneled $60 million through Householder's tax-exempt organization, Generation Now, created just for this purpose. Householder took $500,000 of that for personal use, the Justice Department alleges. The company also admits to funneling money to additional dark money groups. In return for the money, Householder and others allegedly worked to pass a bill which contained a $1 billion ratepayer-funded rescue package for FirstEnergy power plants. It would have added a new fee to every electricity bill in Ohio. House Bill 6 passed in July 2019.
The biggest carbon emitter remains China, where totals are still rising, and the US, whose emissions are falling but historically (and per capita) far exceed China’s. Together they are responsible for 40% of global emissions, so without them nothing decisive is achievable.
As California endures an increasingly brutal second year of drought, state water regulators are considering an emergency order that would bar thousands of Central Valley farmers from using stream and river water to irrigate their crops. On Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board released a draft “emergency curtailment” order for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. The measure, which was first reported by the Sacramento Bee, would bar some water rights holders from diverting surface water for agricultural and other purposes. The proposed regulation underscores just how dire matters have become as drought squeezes the American West.“It says that this drought is really severe,” said Erik Ekdahl, deputy director of the state water board’s Division of Water Rights. The water board will consider the order’s approval on Aug. 3. If approved, it would go into effect about two weeks later at the earliest, Ekdahl added.
Unprecedented temperatures baked the region three weeks ago, part of a procession of heatwaves that have hit the parched US west, from Montana to southern California, over the past month. A “heat dome” that settled over the area saw Seattle reach 108F (42.2C), smashing the previous record by 3F (1.7C), while Portland, Oregon, soared to its own record of 116F (46.7C). Some inland areas managed to get up to 118F (47.8C). “There are a lot of people moving up from California with the idea there’s a lot of natural amenities and a lot of cheap space but all of these factors are changing,” said Jesse Keenan, an expert in climate adaptation at Tulane University. “It’s becoming less affordable and is increasingly burdened by forest fires, terrible smoke, flash floods and these heatwaves that suddenly make things a matter of life or death.”
“Once in place, climate-informed consumer choices could accelerate the decarbonization of air travel,” the researchers write, “as airlines see a payoff in offering more low-emitting options.”
The RSPB says there is “no clear scientific evidence” that cats are causing bird populations to decline, but there is a perception among some British bird-lovers that cats are a menace and should be kept indoors. “I do feel that cats are an easy target,” says Bradshaw. “Skyscrapers kill more birds than cats do. But you don’t see people standing outside the factories where glass is made, saying: ‘You’re bird-killers.’”
This is the second year in a row that smoke from huge wildfires in the US west has traveled 2,000 miles east, with the western states baked by ongoing drought and soaring temperatures fueled by human-caused climate change.
“There have been total losses of a lot of baby birds this year. You see these ospreys and eagles sitting on top of the trees in their nests and those young, they just can’t take the heat. Year after year of that and you lose your birds.
I had wanted, let us be clear. This proposal, if passed, will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s. It will also put the US in a global leadership position as we combat climate change. Further, and importantly, this legislation will create millions of good-paying jobs as we address the long-neglected needs of working families and the planet.
PG&E’s announcement came days after a preliminary report to state regulators said that its equipment might have caused the Dixie Fire, one of the state’s largest blazes, which has burned at least 85,000 acres. The fire is spreading in Butte County, where the utility’s equipment caused a fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people in 2018. “We need you to know that we are working night and day to solve this incredible problem,” said Patricia K. Poppe, chief executive of PG&E Corporation, the utility’s parent. This year the company is putting 70 miles of lines underground, so increasing the work to 1,000 miles a year would be a leap. “That’s the moonshot,” Ms. Poppe said on a call with reporters. “It should be a shocking number because it’s a big goal.”
The backlash to PG&E's potential liability for the Dixie Fire prompted the company's recently hired CEO, Patricia "Patti" Poppe, to unveil the plan for underground lines several months earlier than she said she planned. Previous PG&E regimes have staunchly resisted plans to bury long stretches of power lines because of the massive expense involved.
The researchers found the levels of lead increased to 50 times above the normal average at a site near the Camp fire in the city of Chico in the hours following the fire, while concentrations of zinc dramatically increased in Modesto, 150 miles away.
The urgency with which his company and a few others are moving to start scraping the seabed for these materials alarms oceanographers and advocates, who warn they are literally in uncharted waters. Much is unknown about life on the deep sea floor, and vacuuming swaths of it clean threatens to have unintended and far-reaching consequences. The drama playing out in the deep sea is just one act in a fast unfolding, ethically challenging and economically complex debate that stretches around the world, from the cobalt mines of Congo to the corridors of the Biden White House to fragile desert habitats throughout the West where vast deposits of lithium lay beneath the ground.
Catastrophic floods in Germany last week killed over 140 people, hundreds died after a heat wave blanketed the Pacific Northwest earlier this month, and the Bootleg wildfire currently burning in Oregon is so large it is creating its own dramatic weather patterns.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the real estate market in their 1,750-person city boomed as remote workers flocked in from the West Coast and second homeowners staked weekend ranches. But those newcomers need water — water that is vanishing as a megadrought dries up reservoirs and rivers across the West. So this spring, Oakley, about an hour’s drive east of Salt Lake City, imposed a construction moratorium on new homes that would connect to the town’s water system. It is one of the first towns in the United States to purposely stall growth for want of water in a new era of megadroughts. But it could be a harbinger of things to come in a hotter, drier West.“These towns are canaries in the coal mine,” said Paul D. Brooks, a professor of hydrology at the University of Utah. “They can’t count to go to the tap and turn on the water. Climate change is coming home to roost right now, and it’s hitting us hard.”
When more than a billion intertidal sea creatures (including mussels, anemones, and sea stars) recently broiled to death in the Pacific Northwest, it got limited attention from the media. At the same time, there’s been almost no national coverage of the millions of dead marine animals, including dolphins and sea turtles, that continue to wash ashore in St. Petersburg, Florida, due to recurrent red tides linked to pollution and warming waters. Our most realistic hope now is to work to achieve “triage”—a state where we might be able to save what we can while we can. If we can ensure that Biden’s modest climate initiatives are passed into law, we might be in a position to begin the major work of the next century: intelligent tinkering to promote ecosystem restoration.
By all accounts, the climate crisis is already here. Deadly heat domes across the Pacific Northwest, a petroleum pipeline leak in the middle of the ocean that set the Gulf of Mexico on fire, and the devastating collapse of a Florida condominium in the past few weeks alone have proven that the world is changing in response to how we have changed it. No one should be surprised by this. For decades, scientists have been ringing the alarm bell about anthropogenic climate change.“The scientific community has done a really good job, projecting when we would get to like 1.2 degrees Celsius, which is about where we are now,” Kalmus said. “The community hasn’t done as good of a job projecting how bad climate impacts would be 1.2 degrees Celsius.”
The satellite images are stark, and their ramifications run deep, experts said — from dead lawns and fallow fields to ecological peril and worsening wildfires. Some said they probably represent a new normal for a Golden State gone brown.The lake’s water level probably will keep dwindling, said John Yarbrough, the Department of Water Resources’ assistant deputy director of the State Water Project.Yarbrough said California typically receives the majority of its annual precipitation between early December and the end of March, so the situation is unlikely to improve for several months, if not longer.“This lack of stored water as a result of the West-wide drought has multiple cascading impacts,” he said, “including dramatically less water for our farms and communities, more stress on our electricity grid and increased wildfire risk.”
Billions of dollars have been spent over the last four decades to save Snake River salmon by restoring streams, relocating sea lions and other predators, building hatcheries and helping fish get past dams. But those efforts increasingly look futile. As heat waves become more common and river temperatures rise, few fish complete the treacherous journey from the Pacific Ocean through eight dams to their spawning grounds in southern Idaho — a 900-mile trip up the Columbia and Snake rivers and their tributaries.
In Napa Valley, the lush heartland of America’s high-end wine industry, climate change is spelling calamity. Not outwardly: On the main road running through the small town of St. Helena, tourists still stream into wineries with exquisitely appointed tasting rooms. But drive off the main road, and the vineyards that made this valley famous — where the mix of soil, temperature patterns and rainfall used to be just right — are now surrounded by burned-out landscapes, dwindling water supplies and increasingly nervous winemakers, bracing for things to get worse.
“When you start up a company or group, you are quite alone,” says Fernando. “So if you have a community around you that can offer help – HR, finance, tools – that is incredibly helpful. And then, once that group gets on their feet, they can then start to help other startup entrepreneurs wanting to open new avenues in order to help fight climate change.”
Devastation from floods spreads in Germany and elsewhere, with hundreds missing.
Red tides do happen in the area, but this year’s incident is so serious that it is causing some experts to wonder if a pollution accident at a former fertilizer plant called Piney Point could be a reason it is so bad.
Around the West, young birds of prey have been jumping out of their nests before they can fly to escape historic heat, landing helpless on the ground and in some cases sustaining injuries so serious they are euthanized. With more scorching temperatures coming for the northwestern United States and Canada starting this weekend, experts worry extreme weather fueled by climate change is set to take a growing toll on wildlife.The creatures picked up by humans and delivered to rehabilitation centers are just “the tip of the iceberg,” said Bob Sallinger, director of conservation at Portland Audubon. He said the long-term effects are hard to predict but sees the recent spate of bird intakes as “data points” in a vast, still-unfolding and alarming story.
The Bootleg Fire has already destroyed 21 homes and could merge with another blaze that also grew explosively amid blustery conditions.
Rescuers were rushing Friday to help people trapped in their homes in the town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne. Regional authorities said several people had died after their houses collapsed due to subsidence, and aerial pictures showed what appeared to be a massive sinkhole.“We managed to get 50 people out of their houses last night,” said Frank Rock, the head of the county administration. “We know of 15 people who still need to be rescued.” Speaking to German broadcaster n-tv, Rock said that authorities had no precise number yet for how many had died. “One has to assume that under the circumstances some people didn’t manage to escape,” he said. Authorities said late Thursday that about 1,300 people in Germany were still listed missing, but cautioned that the high figure could be due to duplication of data and difficulties reaching people because of disrupted roads and phone connections.
Rather than merely build levees or weatherize homes, communities will purposefully move away from places threatened by floods, droughts, fires or high temperatures.This strategy is known as managed retreat. It is often considered an extreme option to be pursued only when no other alternatives remain. People don’t want to move from their homes, especially when environmental conditions, even if worsening, have not yet made life unlivable. Managed Retreat (United States, 18 min). Directed by Nathan Kensinger. By the end of this century, New York City is expected to have up to 9.5 feet of sea level rise, radically reshaping its 520 miles of coastline, and impacting more than 100 coastal neighborhoods. This film follows the demolition of the first communities to undergo a 'managed retreat' from Staten Island waterfront. Faced with rising sea levels, three New York City neighborhoods are purchased by the government, to be demolished and permanently returned to nature. Over the course of a year, seasons change, homes are destroyed, and wild animals begin to return. http://nathankensinger.com/managed-retreat/
We speak with leading climate scientist Michael Mann about the catastrophic impact of the climate crisis around the world. He says he and other scientists predicted the extreme weather events now wreaking havoc. “We said that if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels and elevating the levels of carbon pollution in the atmosphere and we continue to warm up the planet, we will see unprecedented heat waves and wildfires and floods and droughts and superstorms,” says Mann.
Last year, Mr. Xi made two signature commitments on climate. China’s emissions of carbon dioxide would peak before 2030, he vowed. It would also achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, he said, meaning the amount of carbon dioxide gas China releases into the atmosphere would be offset through methods like planting forests. Mr. Xi’s pledges, if realized, could make a significant difference to the world’s efforts to fight climate change.
It’s clear that despite all the warnings, many people still think of lasting global warming as passing weather and any noteworthy consequences as a kind of hyperreal entertainment.“Guns have metamorphosed into cameras in this earnest comedy, the ecology safari, because nature has ceased to be what it always had been—what people needed protection from,” Susan Sontag observed back in the 1970s. “Now nature—tamed, endangered, mortal—needs to be protected from people. When we are afraid, we shoot. But when we are nostalgic, we take pictures.”
All around California, the development of open space to produce renewable energy has put climate and biodiversity goals at odds. To meet the state’s 2045 goal of 100 percent renewable energy will require between 1.6 and 3.1 million acres of wind and solar, according to projections from The Nature Conservancy, and much of that land, like the North Livermore Valley, has wildlife living on it. The debate has become acrimonious, framed as a choice between stopping the extinction of the desert tortoise or the extreme heat killing people in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to limiting development and saving ratepayers money, Del Chiaro says, distributed solar is safer since those high-voltage transmission lines that stretch across California’s dry landscape all-too-frequently spark wildfires, as well as more reliable because local energy generation “is just inherently more reliable and resilient.”
A chemical leak closed Gainesville's City Hall Thursday and forced the cancellation of this afternoon’s City Commission meeting. Rossana Passaniti, a city spokeswoman, wrote in an email that two chemicals being used in roof work at City Hall entered the building through the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system."Out of an abundance of caution, Gainesville Fire Rescue evacuated the building until air quality issues can be resolved," she wrote.The city's website this afternoon stated that the meetings were continued today "due to air quality issues at City Hall."
The $3.5 trillion budget blueprint Democrats agreed to this week includes a key part of President Biden's climate plan: a national "clean energy standard." It's aimed toward zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 2035.
“We know what the issue is, we know what the health effects are, we know how to deal with it,” he added. “It really comes down to political will."
Maine has enacted a groundbreaking law that will ban the use of toxic PFAS compounds in all products by 2030, except in instances deemed “currently unavoidable”.
The Commission’s executive vice president, Frans Timmermans, who is in charge of the environment and Europe’s “Green Deal,” admits the difficulty of the challenge. “We’re going to ask a lot of our citizens,” he said. “We’re also going to ask a lot of our industries, but we do it for good cause. We do it to give humanity a fighting chance.”
As of Tuesday, nearly 918,000 acres were burned by 67 large fires across the Western United States, drawing more than 14,000 firefighters and support personnel, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
The fires erupted as the West was in the grip of the second bout of dangerously high temperatures in just a few weeks. A climate change-fueled megadrought also is contributing to conditions that make fires even more dangerous, scientists say.
But just as we humans have littered the Earth with our rubbish and the seas with our runoff, we've also poisoned the planet with our ruckus. And while noise is often treated more as a fist-shaking nuisance than a global health risk, it turns it isn't just annoying, it's actually killing us. "When we look at the healthiest ecosystems that exist today on our planet, we're finding they're also the quietest places," Hempton said. "They are the places taking carbon out of the environment, producing oxygen for us to breathe and where endangered species aren't endangered." When Hempton says that by saving quiet, you wind up saving everything else, this is exactly what he means – healthy soundscapes sustain healthy environments, and if we were to start treating noise as the soundtrack of climate change and noise pollution as pollution, it would have resounding effects on every living thing, including ourselves.
The River Fire burning in the Sierra Nevada foothills north of Fresno is pumping out a plume of smoke that’s visible from satellites in orbit around the Earth – and creating concerns over the effects of residents breathing in the gunk.
...more pollutants seep into the water as it travels further into the city, and Loblolly Park is a perfect example. Oil from cars, discarded trash, and animal waste from the roads, businesses, and apartments surrounding the park are swept up in the surface runoff. The runoff flows into the creek and contaminates the water.
Firefighters battling the many wildfires in the region say the air is so dry that much of the water dropped by aircraft to quell the flames evaporates before it reaches the ground. It comes just weeks after another dangerous heatwave hit North America, in which hundreds of sudden deaths were recorded, many of them suspected of being heat-related.
Montana’s Republican governor has made it clear his state won’t be bothered to help in the fight against climate change. But he still wants federal assistance to deal with the climate impacts at Montana’s door. Last week, Gov. Greg Gianforte withdrew Montana from a bipartisan coalition of more than two dozen states committed to upholding the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which include net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Brooke Stroyke, a spokesperson for Gianforte, told Montana Public Radio that the governor believes innovation, not government regulation, is the solution to climate change.Two days later, Gianforte called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare a drought emergency across his state, which would make emergency funds available to farmers who have suffered losses.
June saw a series of destructive blazes that swept through rural counties at the northern edge of the state, fueled by a historic Pacific Northwest heat wave. But July is already shaping up to be worse. One thing everyone agrees on is that climate change is a factor that cannot be ignored. “The exceptional fire weather this year and in recent years does not represent random bad luck,” said Jacob Bendix, a Syracuse University professor who specializes in pyrogeography, or the study of wildfire distribution. “It is among the results of our adding carbon to the atmosphere — results that were predictable, and indeed that have been predicted for decades.”
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that 841 manatee deaths were recorded between Jan. 1 and July 2, breaking the previous record of 830 that died in 2013 because of an outbreak of toxic red tide.
It’s an unprecedented siege that has upended life in the remote desert communities and vast tract developments that overlook Joshua trees and scrub. Authorities say the boom has led to forced labor, violence, water theft and the destruction of fragile desert habitat and wildlife. The presence of desert pot farms appears to have become even more entrenched since last year, when record lightning fires burned through the heart of Northern California’s pot-growing region, destroying farms and tainting surviving plants with wildfire smoke.
California denied 21 oil drilling permits this week in the latest move toward ending fracking in a state that makes millions from the petroleum industry but is seeing widespread drought and more dangerous fire seasons linked to climate change. State Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk sent letters Thursday to Aera Energy denying permits to drill using hydraulic fracturing in two Kern County oil fields to “protect “public health and safety and environmental quality, including (the) reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions."
Increasingly, even Germans who eat meat are purchasing vegan products as concerns over how livestock is kept are encouraging people to turn away from animal products, said Ulrich Hamm, a professor of agricultural sciences at Kassel University, who has studied trends in food consumption for decades.
The new law, along with a financial incentive given to homeowners to replace thirsty grass with more hardy desert plants and rocks, is an acknowledgment that climate change won’t easily allow the imposition of a verdant green oasis upon a bone-dry desert basin.
Many of the world’s plastic containers and bottles are contaminated with toxic PFAS, and new data suggests that it’s probably leaching into food, drinks, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, cleaning products and other items at potentially high levels. Less than a month ago they were going to feed us the stuff… tr
Garner’s research has estimated that New York City could be hit by severe floods that reach more than 2.25m (7ft), enough to inundate the first story of a building, every five years within the next decade if planet-heating gases are not radically reduced.
Mustafa Sari, a professor at the Maritime Faculty of Bandirma Onyedi Eylul University, blamed three triggers for causing the phytoplankton to secrete an excess of the slimy substance beginning this fall: the surface temperature of the Sea of Marmara, which has been steadily warming over two decades and is 2.5 degrees Celsius higher than the 40-year average; excess phosphorus and nitrogen from pollution; and the natural stability of the Marmara, which is an inland sea.
… the heat softened power lines, causing them to droop and increasing the risk of fire or outages. That heat wasn’t simply one of the random weather events that can happen in any given place in any given year. It was, instead, almost certainly a function of global warming.
The combination of extraordinary heat and drought that hit the Western United States and Canada over the past two weeks has killed hundreds of millions of marine animals and continues to threaten untold species in freshwater, according to a preliminary estimate and interviews with scientists.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking Californians to voluntarily cut back on water consumption by 15% compared with last year as drought conditions worsen and temperatures continue to rise across the western United States. The governor on Thursday also expanded his regional drought state of emergency to apply to 50 California counties, or roughly 42% of the state’s population. If achieved, a voluntary 15% water reduction statewide would save roughly 850,000 acre-feet of water, which is enough to supply 1.7 million households for a year, according to the governor’s office.
...ends heavily on cruise ship money that funds research, salaries and in-park development. While only two ships are allowed in the park each day, there’s no limit on their size. Some would call this “industry capture”, wherein a regulatory authority becomes beholden to an industry it’s supposed to regulate.
Infrastructure has been destroyed. What has not been melted, incinerated or damaged beyond repair has been compromised to the point of being unsafe.
A massive population of grasshoppers is proliferating in the sweltering American west, where a deep drought has made for ideal conditions for grasshopper eggs to hatch and survive into adulthood. “They’re kind of a neat bug, kind of like a pack, but when they go through a field, they will just completely wipe out everything that’s there,” said Tylor Lorenz, a sixth generation rancher near Oregon’s border with California. “The damage that they do when they come into crops is just absolutely horrific.”
The OC Streetcar system, a $423-million project slated for completion in 2023, will comprise only six light-rail vehicles and will cover a bit more than four miles, linking the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center to strip-mall-lined streets near Little Saigon. In short, the trains will offer transit options without entering most of the county’s suburban enclaves. Yet the project does indicate a change in attitude that comes at a time when the county is under pressure to embrace denser development to address California’s shortage of housing.“You can’t widen freeways forever,” said Miguel Pulido, a former Orange County Transportation Authority board member and former mayor of Santa Ana. “It’s not only the monetary cost, but at the end of the day, what do you want society to look like?”
The International Energy Agency reports that over the next 30 years, air conditioning may be one of the top drivers of electricity demand. “Without action to address energy efficiency, energy demand for space cooling will more than triple by 2050 — consuming as much electricity as all of China and India today,” the agency reports.That makes the need for high-efficiency cooling extremely vital. Not to mention more widespread use of renewable energy and, of course, drastically curbing climate emissions.
A new study found that converting agricultural land to forest would boost summer rains by 7.6% on average.The researchers also found that adding trees changed rainfall patterns far downwind of the new forests.
He said the scientific study of animal cognition, consciousness and sentience has galloped forward in recent years and that abilities once thought unique to humans have also been discovered in nonhuman animals, including tool use, language, sense of time and the future, deception, empathy and altruism.The bill now being debated is unprecedented in scope because it seeks to protect wildlife as well as domesticated and companion animals such as cows and chickens, dogs and cats.
At a time when climate change is making heat waves more frequent and more severe, trees are stationary superheroes. Research shows that heat already kills more people in the United States than hurricanes, tornadoes and other weather-events, perhaps contributing to 12,000 deaths per year.
While that could threaten the natural beauty of the park, it also means an ecosystem three times the size of Rhode Island, stretching 22m acres across Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, faces a threat that no national park can protect against: temperature.
Few, however, could have predicted the imprint their work would have on history in efforts to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for our climate emergency.
The remains of 176 turtles, 20 dolphins and four whales have washed ashore since, a court has heard. Experts fear the ship, which carried tonnes of oil in its tanks, will remain an environmental hazard for decades.
We are learning more about how to avoid overheating. A 2019 study by University of Sydney researcher Ollie Jay found that electric fans cooled body temperatures and reduced cardiovascular strain in hot, humid weather. But, in dry heat, fans actually increase body temperature, meaning access to air conditioning is crucial. But the best assurance against dying of extreme heat is likely averting the rise of global temperatures. Last year tied 2016 for the hottest ever recorded worldwide. Despite a brief drop in planet-heating emissions as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered factories and idled cars, we’re on track to see global temperatures increase this century by roughly 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial averages.
An oil pipeline fire in the Gulf of Mexico was reportedly brought under control and extinguished after a hellish scene of massive flames erupting directly from roiling waters Friday. The blaze west of the Yucatan Peninsula broke out at an underwater pipeline that connects to a platform operated by Mexican state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) at its flagship Ku Maloob Zaap oil development in the southern gulf, Reuters reported.The national company attributed the blaze, which resembled molten lava on the water, to a gas leak in the 12-inch-diameter pipeline, apparently linked to an electrical storm, according to Reuters.“The turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap’s active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains,” stated an incident report shared by one of Reuters’ sources.The operation was reportedly pumping out 726,000 barrels a day of crude at the moment of the incident.
The pattern identified in the study is a positive feedback loop with negative implications. Increasing heat in the spring dries the soil, which, in turn, raises summer temperatures due to the lack of soil moisture, which helps cool the landscape when it evaporates. But Williams, part of a research team behind a paper last year showing that the man-made share of climate change can be blamed for about half of the historic Southwest drought, also thinks about how the extra warmth from the heat waves might promote enough convection to result in precipitation. He is also considering whether the hot, dry trend might lead to something as dramatic as a “sliding out of control, a tipping point.” “The ocean is giving the atmosphere more water molecules,” he said. “So for this region to have less—something profound is happening at the earth surface.”
The creek bed, altered by decades of agricultural use, had looked like a wildfire risk. It came back to life far faster than anticipated after the beavers began building dams that retained water longer. “It was insane, it was awesome,” said Lynnette Batt, the conservation director of the Placer Land Trust, which owns and maintains the Doty Ravine Preserve. “It went from dry grassland. .. to totally revegetated, trees popping up, willows, wetland plants of all types, different meandering stream channels across about 60 acres of floodplain,” she said.
The Exxon lobbyist compared the influence campaign to fishing, where the company tries to "kind of reel them in." "Because they're a captive audience. They know they need you and I need them," McCoy said. McCoy identified 11 US senators he says are "crucial" to Exxon, singling out Senator Joe Manchin, the moderate Democrat from West Virginia, as particularly important.
A recent report by the International Energy Agency found that, in order to keep average global temperatures from increasing 1.5 Celsius above preindustrial levels, the threshold beyond which scientists say the Earth faces irreversible damage, all nations would have to end the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. The Earth has already warmed an average of 1 degree Celsius since the late 1800s.
British Columbia, in western Canada, recorded 486 deaths over five days compared with an average of 165 in normal times.
It has already been a year of unprecedented weather events. Two record-breaking and deadly heat waves in the Western U.S.; record rainfall in Michigan, which overwhelmed Detroit’s aging storm water system; a record-breaking winter storm in Texas, which disabled the state’s power grid; the historic drought gripping nearly the entire western part of the country; and an unusually early start to so-called wildfire season in California — all of these events have been linked to climate change.
It’s been a year since Pacific Gas and Electric Company left Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That exit deal included a promised $13.5 billion settlement to pay victims of wildfires that were caused by the company’s equipment.The deal represented the culmination of a promise to fire survivors, PG&E interim CEO Bill Smith declared on July 1, 2020. “Today's announcement is significant for PG&E and for the many wildfire victims who are now one step closer to getting paid,” he said. “Compensating these victims fairly and quickly has been our primary goal throughout these proceedings, and I am glad to say that today we funded the Fire Victim Trust for their benefit.” But a year later, public records show that a special Fire Victim Trust created to distribute the settlement has been slow to pay out victims — and quick to wrack up big bills for lawyers and consultants.
Some cities across the American west are banning fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July weekend amid fears that pyrotechnics could spark catastrophic wildfires during a historic heatwave. Authorities warn that the combination of record-high temperatures, extreme drought conditions, and at-home fireworks creates a tinderbox-like situation that could quickly turn devastating. “As a fire scientist, I’m bracing myself for this fire season because of how dry and hot it is already,” Jennifer Balch, the director of Earth Lab at the University of Colorado, told the AP. “I think fireworks right now are a terrible idea.”
After a century of wielding extraordinary economic and political power, America’s petroleum giants face a reckoning for driving the greatest existential threat of our lifetimes.
“We cannot just turn up the AC,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wrote in an op-ed Tuesday in the Seattle Times. “We have to turn up our level of efforts fighting the underlying cause of our changing world — climate change.”
Two lobbyists for Exxon have been caught on tape admitting how the company manipulates politicians and the public. Among the damning admissions are that the company views its advocacy for a carbon tax as little more than “an advocacy tool” and that it once funded “shadow groups” to fight climate science. When it comes to oil and gas majors, getting a peek at the internal workings of a company past its PR-heavy facade is rare. But the new investigation conducted by Unearthed, the investigative arm of Greenpeace UK, provides a revealing peek behind the curtain of secrecy to show how Big Oil operates to game the system.
During the call, Keith McCoy, a senior director of federal relations for Exxon Mobil, described how the oil and gas giant targeted a number of influential United States senators in an effort to weaken climate action in President Biden’s flagship infrastructure plan. That plan now contains few of the ambitious ideas initially proposed by Mr. Biden to cut the burning of fossil fuels, the main driver of climate change.
The lobbyist described some Republican senators as “a captive audience” because they are reliant on industry backing.“The Republicans, we have the great relationship with the senators, where we have assets,” he said. McCoy said that meetings with senators might ostensibly be about a global issue, such as Russia or the Middle East, but the conversations are used to ensure backing on issues of concern to Exxon such as taxes and environmental legislation.“There are all these opportunities that you use, and to use the fishing analogy just to kind of reel them in,” he said.
Conservationists say one of the world's largest eagles has "nearly zero" chance of surviving Amazon deforestation. According to a new study, the bird is struggling to feed its young in parts of the rainforest that have been stripped of trees. About 17% of the Amazon has been destroyed over the past 50 years, and losses have recently been on the rise. The harpy eagle is the largest in the Americas, with huge talons for hunting monkeys and sloths in the treetops.
Nature is simply amazing, beautiful, immense. We’d be fools to think we understand what it’s all about. The best we can do is to tread lightly and try harder not to mess it up. -tr
For decades, one of the most striking and predictable patterns of human behavior in the western U.S. has been people accidentally starting fires on the Fourth of July. From 1992 to 2015, more than 7,000 wildfires started in the U.S. on July 4 – the most wildfires ignited on any day during the year. And most of these are near homes.The fingerprints of human-caused climate change are all over the current drought, the recent heat waves, and what could become another record-setting fire season. Research highlights how human-caused climate change increases the frequency and magnitude of extreme events, including drought, wildfire activityand even individual extreme fire seasons. Adapting to longer, more intense fire seasons will require reconsidering some traditions and activities. As you celebrate this Fourth of July, stay safe and help out the firefighters, your neighbors and yourself by preventing accidental wildfires.
The Tejon Ranch Company, the publicly-traded corporation that owns the land, wants to build 20,000 houses, as well as shopping centers, offices, gyms and restaurants along this frontier. The company first pitched the project, called Centennial, two decades ago as a solution to California’s housing crisis.The development has been controversial from the start, but as California braces for an extreme wildfire season ahead, debate over whether the project should go forward has taken on renewed urgency. Environmental groups are warning that in the age of western megafires, building along these windy, arid grasslands would put tens of thousands of people, as well as highly endangered plants and animals, in harm’s way.
I documented this pattern in my book Dumping in Dixie more than three decades ago, finding that “toxic-waste dumps, municipal landfills, garbage incinerators and similar noxious facilities” tended to be located in minority neighborhoods with little access to the levers of government power.
During prolonged droughts and extreme heat waves like the Western U.S. is experiencing, even native trees that are accustomed to the local climate can start to die. There is evidence of a transition from forests to shrublands or grasslands in parts of the Western U.S. Frequent burning in the same area can reinforce this transition. When drought or fire alone kills some of the trees, the forests often regenerate, but how long it will take for forests to recover to a pre-fire or pre-drought condition after a large-scale die-off or severe fire is unknown.
President Biden will meet Wednesday with Cabinet officials and leaders from Western states, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, as he faces what could be another devastating year of wildfires with drought conditions worsening and searing temperatures spreading.The situation has alarmed experts and public officials, who warn that this year’s fire season could outpace last year’s, which was the worst on record. Blazes have already ignited around California, where dry vegetation has left large swaths of the state primed to explode into flames, even as the federal government struggles to hire firefighters.“We’re at a point where we’re simply going to be overwhelmed year after year going forward given the current systems we have in place,” said Jim Whittington, an expert in wildland fire response. “We really need to look at the way we staff and work wildland fires, the way we fund them, and the way we take care of our people. We need a full reset.”