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climate change

 A fashion faux pas could be the worst consequence if you wear the wrong color for the season. But a new scientific paper finds much higher stakes when it comes to mismatched coat colors in the animal world.

Warm ocean temps could be starving Alaskan seabirds

Jan 14, 2016
c
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 Is Warming Up Faster Than Global Pace

Dec 16, 2015
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 parties attending the COP21 climate meetings outside Paris voted to adopt an agreement Saturday that covers both developed and developing countries. Their respective governments, of 195 nations and the European Union, 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)/http://bit.ly/1XLbJNR

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.

A coal-fired power plant in Wyoming. Burning coal is the world’s leading source of carbon pollution and it has a direct impact on global climate change and the future of the world’s oceans.
MICHAEL WERNER

A voter initiative that would put a tax on carbon emissions has gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot in 2016.

With leaders and activists from all over the world in Paris this week talking big-picture solutions for climate change, we wanted to talk about the little picture. The things we, as individuals, can do to help slow climate change.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Tony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, about the choices and changes people can make in their daily lives to have an impact on climate, and how much those changes really matter.

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, speaks at the United Nations COP 21 climate change conference on Nov. 30, 2015.
Flickr Photo/BC Gov Photos (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1OGXl7a

Bill Radke speaks with Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about Canada's role in the climate talks in Paris.

Seattle and Puget Sound.
Flickr Photo/Shannon Kringen (CC BY SA 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1SvhrSN

Bill Radke speaks with Jessica Finn Coven, director of Seattle's Office of Sustainability and Environment, about rising sea levels in Seattle and her trip to the climate talks in Paris this week. 

Activists deliver a petition asking the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to divest from fossil fuels.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

While the world's richest man was meeting with world leaders in Paris at the global climate summit, climate activists marched on his foundation's Seattle headquarters Monday.

"I actually think we're going to solve this thing."

That's what President Obama said in a news conference just before he left a United Nations summit on climate change.

"Climate change is a massive problem," Obama said. "It is a generational problem. It's a problem that by definition is just about the hardest thing for a political system to absorb, because the effects are gradual, they're diffused. And yet despite all that ... I'm optimistic. I think we're going to solve it."

Local Leaders Head To Paris For Climate Summit

Nov 30, 2015
Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Facebook Photo/Governor Jay Inslee

Bill Radke talks to KUOW environment reporter Ashley Ahearn about what Washington Governor Jay Inslee and other local leaders are doing in Paris for the UN climate summit.

The United States and 19 other countries on Monday promised to work toward doubling their spending over five years to support "clean energy" research.

At the same time, 28 private investors, including Microsoft's Bill Gates, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon's Jeff Bezos, pledged their own money to help build private businesses based on that public research.

Leaders from around the world are converging on Paris for the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference. The two-week event is designed to allow countries the chance to come to an agreement on stifling climate change.

Below are 10 questions and answers that should better prepare you for the conference and what to expect during and after its completion.

Click the audio link at the top of this page to listen to "Heating Up," NPR's special on climate change, hosted by Ari Shapiro. Share it, download it, take it with you.

Turning ice into fire. Iceland goes for drama.

Nov 27, 2015
Ari Daniel

The first thing you need to know is that Iceland is changing.

Icelander Sveinbjörn Steinþôrsson, a muscular guy in his 40s, grew up hiking on glaciers here. And he says he’s actually seen the changes.

"First trips to the glacier, I was, like, 14, 15 years old," Steinþôrsson says. "It was easy to find a spot on a glacier to see only white. You could not see the mountain in the north. And you thought you were alone in the world."

But now, when Steinþôrsson goes to those same places and looks out, he sees mountains and bare land poking through.

Seafloor Samples Reveal Ghosts Of Blobs Past

Nov 26, 2015

A huge mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean is causing problems off the coast of Oregon and Washington. The so-called “blob” is being blamed for toxic algae blooms, which have caused marine mammal deaths and crabbing closures.

New evidence shows this isn’t the first time the blob has appeared off the Northwest coast.

Courtesy Washington Environmental Council

Microsoft is investing in 520 acres of forest land next to Mount Rainier National Park – but not to turn it into another corporate campus.

The software giant is trying to offset its carbon emissions by buying carbon credits.

The Wildfire Conundrum: The Climate Effect

Nov 19, 2015

Editor’s Note: The Wildfire Conundrum is a collaboration between the journalism nonprofit InvestigateWest and Jefferson Publ

Strip-mining spoil piles in background in Colstrip, Montana, June 1973.
Flickr Photo/U.S. National Archives (Public Domain)/http://bit.ly/1MAbdwV

David Hyde speaks with Montana Public Radio news director Eric Whitney about how a coal town in Colstrip, Montana could be shuttered by climate change.

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