climate change | KUOW News and Information

climate change

Screenshot from appropriations.house.gov

Both Democrats and Republicans pushed back against cuts proposed for the U.S. Department of Energy when Energy Secretary Rick Perry came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Washington state Republicans criticized Trump administration proposals to lop one-fourth off efforts to clean up radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and sell off much of the Northwest’s high-voltage power grid.

Northwest leaders are moving ahead with climate change discussions abandoned by the federal government. The U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord this month.

Bill Radke talks with Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, about climate change and what he perceives to be exaggeration on the environmental left.

Mass says he believes the environmental left is trying to boost social justice by connecting it to global warming and that some things happening today are normal, natural events that have no connection to man-made climate change.

He also says there is a chance for a bipartisan approach to address climate change, but there must be a greater focus on reasoned debate. 

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Bill Radke talks to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about why he sponsored a resolution saying Seattle will uphold the Paris Climate Agreement and how city leaders can get the city to reduce its carbon footprint. 

SEIU organizer Patience Malaba leads a protest while Amazon shareholders enter the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Seattle in May.
KUOW Photo / John Ryan

Big companies often tout the good they’re doing for the planet. Reducing energy use, buying green energy, things like that. But they often reveal much less about the harm they do.

Like Amazon. With its data centers, warehouses and delivery trucks, the computing and retail giant has grown into one of the nation’s biggest users of energy.


Bill Radke talks with Ashley Ahearn, host of KUOW's terrestrial podcast, about about one of the more personal decisions we make around climate change: whether or not to bring children into the world.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
WH.gov

While President Trump was announcing that the United States would exit the Paris climate agreement in a ceremony at the White House, Environmental Protection Agency staff were being told to prepare for jobs to evaporate at the agency.

KUOW PHOTO/BOND HUBERMAN

Two men are killed on a Portland light rail train by a passenger on a racist, xenophobic rant.

WH.gov

President Trump invoked the needs of American businesses and energy users when he announced Thursday that he was pulling the country out of the Paris climate accords.


The United States is stepping away from the Paris Climate Agreement, but the consequences of climate change will be more difficult to leave behind. Take ocean acidification, a major emerging threat to West Coast fisheries.

Researchers at Oregon State University have recorded some of the highest levels of ocean acidification in the world – and they exist right off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Facebook Photo/Governor Jay Inslee

Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington state will continue to honor the goals of the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump's decision to withdraw from the international agreement to reduce global carbon emissions.

When asked what he'd like to say to Trump, Inslee replied: "Your resignation letter would be gratefully accepted by an optimistic and innovative nation."

President Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. will leave the Paris climate deal.

Here are five things that could be affected by the decision.

1. The coal industry

Even coal companies had lobbied the Trump administration to stay in the agreement.

Farmland near Ritzville, Washington.
Flickr Photo/John Westrock (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/GwCkwW

Ten years ago, University of Washington professor David Montgomery published his influential book “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations.” One year later, he received a MacArthur Genius fellowship, and continued his research in geomorphology: “the branch of geology that is concerned with the structure, origin, and development of the topographical features of the earth's surface.”

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee before a meeting Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Seattle. The two were to discuss trade, regional economic development, and climate.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Seattle Wednesday, protesters rallied on the steps of the Canadian consulate downtown.

The Native and environmental activists were protesting pipelines Trudeau approved in November, including the Trans Mountain pipeline that would multiply oil tanker traffic through British Columbia and Washington waters up to sevenfold.

Georgia Tech

To the list of global problems the world’s oceans are facing, you can add another: They’re losing oxygen.

The Pacific Ocean off the U.S. West Coast, from central California to Alaska, is one of the hardest-hit areas.


'Direct action' trainer Ximena Velazquez-Arenas runs past some of the people she's training. Tap on this photo to see more images from the training.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Environmentalists concerned that lobbying and polite marches have failed to weaken America’s reliance on fossil fuels have started turning to more confrontational approaches.


Most creepy, crawly bugs are pretty much harmless when it comes to infectious diseases.

But there are two classes of little critters that cause big — and we're talking big — problems: ticks and mosquitoes.

To learn how climate change could alter the course of tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, we talked to two scientists who have devoted a major chunk of their careers to answering that question.

Let's start with the bloodsuckers that can stay on your skin for days.

President Trump promises coal workers their jobs will come back as he signs an executive order to scale back federal energy regulations.
EPA.gov

No one said the word “climate” on stage this week when President Trump signed an executive order aimed at scuttling the Clean Power Plan.

Dee Boersma snorkeling with penguin.
Dee Boersma/Courtesy of iGalapagos.org

Bill Radke talks to Dee Boersma, a University of Washington biology professor, about her new research on the feeding behavior of fledgling Galapagos penguins.  

When it comes to facing the reality of climate change, the Republican Party, now led by the Trump Administration, has been slipping ever farther from its roots as a champion of American science.

Last week brought further evidence of this disconnect — but it also held out a glimmer of hope that the party's turn away from the U.S. effort in science is not universal.

Mardie Rhodes of Sammamish was one of the people at the rally in Issaquah on Thursday.
KUOW photo/David Hyde

Protesters gathered outside Congressman Dave Reichert's office in Issaquah on Thursday, upset that he hasn’t scheduled face time with the public during the first Congressional recess since Donald Trump was elected president.

Polar bears aren't the only beloved Arctic animal threatened by climate change. Scientists believe reindeer are at risk as a warming world makes their main winter food source disappear.

But reindeer on one Alaskan island are surprising researchers.

And that surprise doesn't just come from the fact that the reindeer are hard to spot.

On St. Paul Island, Lauren Divine of the EcoSystem Conservation Office was not having luck seeing a herd of 400 reindeer, even on this treeless island with tundra as far as the eye can see.

You may think the existence of climate change is settled. But at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia Tuesday, a climate denier was given a prominent platform.

Eye-rolling and harrumphing ensued.

Bill Radke speaks with Joe Casola about the impact a warming region could have on Seattle. Casola is deputy director of the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Some Democrats in Congress say President Donald Trump's administration has broken the law in its handling of the Environmental Protection Agency.


KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Two Washington state Republicans have been chosen by President Donald Trump to help overhaul, if not gut, the Environmental Protection Agency.

Former state Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver and state Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale have joined the EPA as part of a 10-person "beachhead" transition team.


C-SPAN

Efforts to rein in planet-warming pollution in Washington state could be hindered by federal officials once Donald Trump becomes president.

Last year, global warming reached record high temperatures — and if that news feels like déjà vu, you're not going crazy.

The planet has now had three consecutive years of record-breaking heat.

The perfect day for an outdoor wedding or a baseball game? That’s a “mild day,” says Sarah Kapnick, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I like to call mild weather days the ‘Goldilocks days,’” she says. “They’re not too hot. They’re not too cold. They’re just right.”

Kapnick is one of the co-authors of a study published Wednesday that has good news for picnickers and hikers in the Pacific Northwest: As climate change advances, we’ll have more mild weather.

The tiny village of Newtok near Alaska's western coast has been sliding into the Ninglick River for years. As temperatures increase — faster there than in the rest of the U.S. — the frozen permafrost underneath Newtok is thawing. About 70 feet of land a year erode away, putting the village's colorful buildings, some on stilts, ever closer to the water's edge.

Pages