climate change

Environment
3:44 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Pacific Coast Action Plan On Climate And Energy Ambitious, But Lacking Legal Value

Steve Scher talks with David Roberts, energy and politics writer for Grist, about the ambitious new climate change agreement brokered by Washington Governor Jay Inslee along with the governors of California and Oregon and the Premier of British Columbia. However, the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy has no legal value, leading critics to question its significance.

Environment
11:09 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Under Plan, Inslee Agrees To Higher Clean Fuel Standards For Washington

California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia will will announce a plan Monday to align carbon reduction efforts. Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee has long been a champion for clean energy.
EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

UPDATE: 10/29/2013, 12 p.m. PT: 

The leaders of three West Coast states – including Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee – and the premier of British Columbia agreed on Monday in San Francisco to adopt and maintain low carbon fuel standards. Under the plan, Washington and Oregon commit to mirroring California and British Columbia’s existing clean fuel standards. 

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Environment
8:02 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Climate Change May Worsen Green Lake's Algae Blooms

Marisa Burghdoff of Snohomish County tests an algae bloom at Lake Ketchum in the county's northwestern corner.
Washington State Department of Ecology Photo

If you’re a Green Lake regular, you may have noticed the public health alerts on placards around the lake, warning you not to tread where neon green algae blooms have blossomed.

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Pensions
11:55 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Mayors Argue To Cut Fossil Fuel Stock, But Skeptic Urges Softer Approach

A historic gas pump in Issaquah, Wash. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants his city to divest from fossil energy companies.
John Ryan

Investment advisors from across the country met on Friday in Seattle in hopes of cutting fossil fuels from the stock portfolios they manage.

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Rising Seas
4:33 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

The Melting Of Greenland

Boat near Ilulissat, Greenland.
Gretel Ehrlich Photo

Rising tides signal an inarguable remaking of our physical world that is already underway and gaining momentum.

The US is especially vulnerable. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has listed the 20 most threatened coastal cities in the world, which include Miami, New York, New Orleans.

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Elections 2013
5:39 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Kitsap Senate Race Brings In $2M, Breaks State Record

Republican Jan Angel and Democrat Nathan Schlicher are vying for a state senate seat in a race that has brought in a record $2.1 million.
Credit Photo courtesy of Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher

A California billionaire has pumped $400,000 into the race for a single seat in the Washington state senate. Out-of-state businesses and political groups have poured tens of thousands into the election as well.

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Food Porn
5:32 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

This Inventor Zaps Mosquitoes And Pours Wine In Blenders

A photo from Nathan Myhrvold's "Modernist Cuisine" is an example of what he calls "food porn."
Courtesy of Nathan Myhrvold and the Cooking Lab Photography Team.

Nathan Myhrvold was the former chief technology officer at Microsoft when he took a leave to attend culinary school in France.

Now the CEO of Intellectual Ventures, a Bellevue company that buys and licenses patents, Myhrvold has taken food to a new level: photographing lentils under a microscope, shooting gelatin and eggs and blending wine, which he says takes the edge off a young wine.

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Climate Change
9:29 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Hotter Summers Mean More Health Risks In Urban Heat Islands

HelenRuth Stephens has asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She says hot weather drains her energy and makes it hard to breathe.
Cassandra Profita Earthfix

PORTLAND – On hot summer days, 74-year-old HelenRuth Stephens doesn't dare leave her apartment. Not to get the mail or take out the trash.

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Shellfish Poisoning
7:50 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Algal Blooms Becoming More Toxic With Warming Waters

The Williford family is all smiles today. But they weren't so happy when Jessica (far right) was the first person in the US with a documented case of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning. Climate change could make such illnesses more common.
Katie Campbell Earthfix

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — A photograph displayed in Jacki and John Williford’s home commemorates a camping trip that would go down in family history.

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Climate Change Health Risks
9:25 am
Mon September 30, 2013

How Farmworkers Experience A Warming Climate

For 20 years, Victor Gonzalez has traveled the Pacific Coast picking cherries, pears, and apples. He said he came close to passing out once from the heat. Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to health problems from heat.
Courtney Flatt Earthfix

HOOD RIVER, Ore. — For 20 years, Victor Gonzales has traveled the West picking crops. In the Northwest that means pears, cherries and apples.

Right now, he’s working at a Hood River pear orchard. In the summer, temperatures here can reach 100 degrees. Gonzalez remembers one day when he’d been working really hard, sweating more than normal.

Gonzales felt like he was going to pass out. He was shaky and very sleepy, he says through a translator. Instead of sleeping, he went to the farmworker housing unit and drank a lot of water and rested until he recovered.

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Climate Change
9:53 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Washington’s Top Firms Silent On Climate Risks Despite SEC Rule

The SEC requires publicly traded companies to disclose their financial risks to investors.
Wikimedia Commons

If you own stocks or have money in a retirement plan, your money may be more at risk than you’re being told.

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Environment
3:33 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

The Danger Of Rising Carbon Dioxide In The World's Oceans

Fabricius records data from instruments placed alongside corals in the CO2 vents off Dobu Island.
Credit The Seattle Times Photo/Steve Ringman

Rising levels of carbon dioxide are corroding the world's seas. It’s called ocean acidification, and it’s already threatening Northwest oyster beds.

Scientists think the impact of ocean acidification is happening much more rapidly than previously thought.

The Seattle Times has published a major print and online series on its impacts called "Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn" by reporter Craig Welch and photographer Steve Ringman. Craig Welch talks with Ross Reynolds.

Science
6:55 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Forecasting The Changing Ocean Conditions

Flickr Photo/Wizetux

We take for granted the fact that we can predict long-term weather forecasts. Now scientists at the University of Washington are working on ways to forecast the changing conditions of the ocean. They hope these forecasts can help them better understand how those conditions affect Northwest fisheries. 

Samantha Siedlecki is a research scientist at the University of Washington Joint Institute of the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean; she helped develop the forecasting tools and explains the way they work.

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Environment Research
10:07 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Scientists Look For Climate Change Clues In Wildfire Soot

Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 4:10 pm

You may know that on a hot, sunny day it’s better to be sitting in a white car than a black one. White reflects sunlight, while black absorbs more of it.

The same concept applies to researchers trying to figure out what effect wildfires have on climate change. And part of the answer is whether the smoke particles are dark or reflective.

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Researching Amphibians
11:01 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Tracking An Alpine Frog That Chuckles And Beeps For Climate Change Research

The Cascades frog is only found in the alpine wetlands of the Pacific Northwest, though its range used to extend down to Northern California and up to British Columbia. Scientists are concerned its range will continue to shrink with climate change.
EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Maureen Ryan scales rocky trails at 5,000 feet elevation as nimbly as the mountain goats that wandered through camp earlier this morning.

The researcher of amphibians leads her team of scientists down off a ridge line in the Seven Lakes Basin of Olympic National Park to her “lab,” you might call it. It’s a series of pothole wetlands cupped in the folds of these green, snow-studded mountains: a perfect habitat for Cascades frogs (Rana cascadae).

Ryan, a researcher with the University of Washington, is an expert on alpine amphibians. She’s also part of a group of scientists from around the region, coordinated by the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative at the USGS, who are trying to understand and project how the warming climate will affect these frogs’ ability to feed, mate, and ultimately, survive.

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