climate change

Warm ocean temps could be starving Alaskan seabirds

Jan 14, 2016
Nigel Roddis/Reuters 

An estimated 8,000 black and white seabirds, called murres, were found dead on a beach in Alaska earlier this month.

Their bodies were found floating in the surf and washed ashore in the Prince William Sound community of Whittier. Wildlife ecologist Dan Grear said this is the biggest die off of the common murre in Alaska this season, but not the first.  

"Carcasses started to be noticed this fall in Alaska, and as the winter has progressed into December and early January, observers ... have started to find thousands of dead murres on specific beaches,” Grear said.

Despite long odds, a subtropical system in the Atlantic was upgraded to hurricane status this morning by the National Hurricane Center.

Satellite images showed Hurricane Alex, a well-defined tropical storm, churning in the open Atlantic, closer to Africa but at about the latitude of Jacksonville, N.C.

"It's rather surprising and remarkable," Richard Pasch, senior hurricane specialist for the National Hurricane Center, tells our Newscast unit. "It's a pretty rare event."

More than two months after a natural gas storage well in Southern California began uncontrollably spewing methane gas, the governor of California has declared a state of emergency.

On the eve of opening day at Mount Hood Meadows, the ski resort sounded like a construction site.

A front-end loader scooped snow from the parking lot, its over-sized tire chains chinking as it crossed the pavement and emptied its load into a rubber-tracked dump truck. After a few more scoops, both machines rumbled toward a nearby chairlift to drop their haul.

In the ski industry, they call this "snow harvesting": Moving snow from the parking lots to the lower lifts and slopes so people can start skiing sooner.

Lake Washington and Mount Rainier from O.O. Denny Park in Kirkland.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

It’s not in your head. Seattle's Lake Washington is getting warmer and more comfortable to swim in every year. And it’s not the only lake experiencing a rapid rise in temperature.

The Centralia Big Hanaford plant is the only coal-fired plant in Washington state. It also has natural gas-fired units.
Flickr photo/Kid Clutch (CC BY 2.0) HTTP://BIT.LY/1SXOE9R

Microsoft and Starbucks have joined other global businesses in going beyond the Paris climate deal by pledging to use only climate-friendly electricity.

But other well-known names among Washington state’s biggest companies haven’t signed on.

In what supporters are calling a historic achievement, 196 nations attending the COP21 climate meetings outside Paris voted to adopt an agreement Saturday that covers both developed and developing countries. Their respective governments will now need to adopt the deal.

Andrew Biraj/Reuters

Some 26 million people are being displaced by natural disasters worldwide — roughly one person per second — three times the number of people displaced by war and violence. And most natural disasters are related to climatic conditions (although scientists can’t tie a specific climatic event, like a hurricane, directly to the changing climate).

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, one of the 'super-nationals,' with a solar installation in Paris.
Washington State Governor's Office

The Paris climate talks have shifted the spotlight to a group of international leaders dubbed “sub-nationals” -- but one of those leaders from the Pacific Northwest prefers a different title.

David Hyde talks to Rashad Morris, the energy, industry and technology program officer at the Bullitt Foundation, about how the environmental movement needs to rethink its strategy with the public. 

Climate change may be bad for people but it's good for bugs.

Germs of all kinds, as well as mosquitoes and other disease carriers, will live longer in warmer weather because cold kills them. They'll find more areas with the hot, humid conditions they need to thrive. Disease-carrying insects have already begun to move into new territory, climbing higher up the Andes in South America and reaching farther north into Canada and the U.S. to spread what were once considered tropical diseases like West Nile virus.

Oregonians Address Climate Change In Paris

Dec 5, 2015

Two prominent Oregonians were in France Friday for the United Nations conference on climate change.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales spoke at a panel entitled "Financing City Action."

Hales said action on climate change happens slowly on the national level, but can be much faster locally. He gave the example of Portland’s recent fossil fuel resolution, which opposed new fossil fuel infrastructure in the city.

For the developing countries at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris, it's more than a chance to talk. It's a chance to be heard — and their representatives are taking advantage of the world stage by airing their grievances and proposing potential fixes.

Sam Eaton

A report prepared for the UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction says when you add up the mounting losses from climate change, it’s small-scale, “everyday disasters” that are taking the biggest toll on the world’s poorest people.

World leaders at the COP 21 in Paris, France.
Flickr Photo/GovernmentZA (CC BY ND 2.0)/

Bill Radke speaks with David Roberts, energy and climate change writer for Vox, about the climate talks in Paris this week. He says while they are important, it's not really necessary to follow every story that comes out of the conference.