environment

Oregon Signs On To Sell Only Emission-Free Vehicles By 2050

Dec 14, 2015

Oregon — along with a group of five countries and seven states — used the Paris climate change conference to set lofty new emission goals.

The International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance announced the goal of having all new cars sold within its jurisdiction be emission-free by 2050.

That jurisdiction includes Oregon and seven other states, as well as Quebec, Canada; Germany; the Netherlands; Norway and the United Kingdom.

Dave Nordberg, with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, called it an aspirational goal, but not outside the realm of possibility.

Officials with the Oregon Department of Forestry knew Applebee Aviation had lost its pesticide license before they let the company spray weed killer over 800 acres of state and private land.

This failure to stop a pesticide sprayer after suspending its license is the latest example of Oregon’s inability to prevent problematic forest pesticide applications. The state agencies that regulate the practice have been under increased scrutiny from media, environmentalists and lawmakers over the past two years after a string of complaints about exposure from aerial pesticide spraying.

It has taken five years, but low-copper and copper-free brakes are now available in Washington. That’s because of a 2010 law designed to phase out the use of copper and other toxics in brake pads.

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.

Making school buildings strong enough to withstand a major earthquake is one of the highest priorities for emergency planners on the West Coast. Washington state is taking small steps to identify the most vulnerable schools, while Oregon is actually spending to fix things.

Northern spotted owl numbers are declining across the Northwest, and the primary reason is the spread of the barred owl, according to a new analysis published Wednesday.

Federal scientists have been keeping tabs on spotted owls for more than 20 years now.

“We have a lot of data that suggests that they’re in real trouble,” said study co-author Eric Forsman, a retired U.S. Forest Service biologist.

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).

Opponents of a liquefied natural gas pipeline on the Oregon coast are enlisting oyster farmers in an attempt to block the project. A group of activists gathered Tuesday before a meeting of the State Land Board in Salem.

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.

Washington and Oregon geologists are warning residents of a higher risk for landslides than usual this week. Several storms moving through the region have quickly drenched steep slopes.

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. 

In America, our food options are remarkably unaffected by the changing seasons. We just keep eating salad greens and tomatoes without regard to the onset of winter.

In most of the country, there's little chance that the greens we eat in the late fall and winter are locally grown.

But if there were greenhouses nearby, they could be. And in a small but growing number of places, local greenhouses are there.

Take Lower Makefield Township, Pa., right across the Delaware River from Trenton, N.J.

L123 is seen on Saturday in Haro Strait. Capt. Mark Malleson of Prince of Whales Whale Watching took the photo for the Center for Whale Research under Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada license #2013-04 SARA-272 “3” and NMFS Permit #15569.
Courtesy Mark Malleson/Pacific Whale Watch Association

Welcome, L123: You're the newest baby born to the endangered orcas in the Salish Sea.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association released photos of you and your mother, L103, also known as Lapis, swimming in Haro Strait on Saturday.

So far, the international climate meeting in Paris has primarily been about words, as diplomats wrestle with the precise language of a treaty. But some surprising climate science was unveiled this week, too — a new measurement of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere that suggests the world's production of the globe-warming gas has taken a small dip.

For the first time since it instituted a warning system in 2013, Beijing has issued a "red alert" over dangerous levels of air pollution.

The state news agency Xinhua reported that the city's air is thick with smog and the skyline is obscured by the haze.

The agency reports:

"This is the first time the capital has issued the red alert, which will last from 7:00 a.m. Tuesday to 12:00 p.m. Thursday.

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