Climate change involves natural and man-made changes to weather patterns that occur over millions of years or over decades.
In the past 150 years, human industrial activity has accelerated the rate of change in the climate due to the increase in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide). Scientific studies describing this climate change continue to be produced and its expected impacts continue to be assessed.
In California, the California Environmental Protection Agency has found temperatures have risen by about 1.5 degrees since 1895. Looking ahead, temperatures could rise by 2.7 degrees and its sea levels by 55 inches in the next 40 years, according to the California Energy Commission and the California Natural Resources Agency. These are among the ongoing issues the state faces as it grapples with climate change.
Already, California is confronting rising demand for water and diminishing supplies. At the same time, the state’s water infrastructure such as levees is increasingly aging and in disrepair—conditions expected to be made worse by climate change.
After more than a three-week delay, commercial crab fishermen will begin dropping their nets this Saturday in coastal waters from Bodega Head north to the Sonoma-Mendocino county line. The region was slated to open Nov. 15 but was postponed due to unsafe levels of toxic domoic acid found in crabs. Points south of the Sonoma County coastline opened on schedule last month.
George H.W. Bush was the first president to sign the U.S. onto a global climate deal, a modest effort recognizing the threat of climate change, and possibly the last to successfully take on a wholesale revision of the Clean Air Act.
Not a rapid growth in energy prices. Not unemployment. Not rising public debt. Business leaders in some of the world’s most water-stressed countries say that water availability and pollution are the biggest risks to their operations. … Business executives and investors are gaining the same awareness as national security experts, generals, and diplomats: that the lack of reliable, clean water, made worse by climate change, unsettles societies, politics, and economies.
The Senate environment panel’s top Democrat wants EPA acting chief Andrew Wheeler to explain the basis for his recent comments questioning a federal climate science report. … Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, rejected Wheeler’s claims about the report in a statement Dec. 4.
Climate change is bringing migrating whales closer to the shores of Northern California, and subsequently a record number of marine mammals have died or been injured because of fishing gear — especially California’s Dungeness crab pots.
While oil companies built seawalls and elevated their oil rigs to protect critical production infrastructure from the rising sea level, they concealed from the public the knowledge that burning fossil fuels could have catastrophic impacts on the biosphere. That’s what citizens and local governments across the United States are asserting in lawsuits against oil, gas, and coal companies.
Del Mar is a picturesque place that’s name means “of the sea,” in Spanish. That’s becoming increasingly true. Del Mar is one of countless coastal communities in California and across the U.S. that is seeing the impacts of climate change and preparing for worse to come.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the climate summit in Poland by issuing a dramatic appeal to world leaders Monday to take the threat of global warming seriously and to act boldly to avert a catastrophic rise in temperatures before the end of the century.
Butte County’s Camp Fire not only claimed a staggering amount of lives and property, it spewed out a whole lot of greenhouse gases – about as much as all of California’s cars and trucks produce in a week, according to new state estimates. This blast of emissions contributes negligibly to the planet’s overall warming, but taken together with other wildfires, big blazes like the Camp Fire are posing an increasing threat to the climate, scientists say.
Mark Dalski is an owner of Highview Creations, a company that designs and builds green roofs in New York City, and he knows a lot about climate change. That’s why he is working on his escape. Mr. Dalski, 33, lives in Greenwich, Conn., but he can envision a time when his home there might be besieged by extreme weather and rising sea levels.
Two weeks ago my [Noah Oppenheim] organization, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, became the first industry trade group of any kind to legally challenge Big Oil for its role in causing global climate change. … We filed our case the day before the Dungeness crab season opened in the Bay Area to highlight how the gross misuse of the public trust by these mega corporations has resulted in warming oceans, harmful algal blooms, and dangerous conditions for the West Coast fishing industry.
In a chapter dedicated to climate change effects in the southwest, climate scientists say “with very high confidence” that warm temperatures are reducing the water content of mountain snowpack and the flows of rivers and streams that depend on snowmelt. The chapter’s landing page features a photo of low water levels at the nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead outside Las Vegas, Nevada, a near perfect symbol of the region’s ongoing water challenges.
The ominous climate change report the Trump administration released on Thanksgiving weekend could provide legal ammunition for states such as California, which are suing or threatening to sue the federal government over weakened regulations on fossil-fuel industries, automobiles and other contributors to a warming climate.
Even if the nations of the world get their act together and slash fossil-fuel emissions rapidly, the United States will need to spend many billions of dollars to harden coastlines, rebuild sewer systems and overhaul farming practices to protect against floods, wildfires and heat waves that are already causing havoc nationwide. … Much of the nation’s infrastructure, including things like roads and sewers, was built with historical weather conditions in mind.
Governors have a wide range of priorities they want to tackle in the coming year, from tax reform to education. Yet it’s a topic that receives less attention on the campaign trail and in their speeches that could determine their success — natural disasters.
Bigger, more dangerous wildfires. Coastlines threatened by rising sea levels. Less water. More heat-related illnesses. These are some of the ways climate change is rapidly changing California and the West, with conditions only expected to worsen, according to a landmark federal report, the first of its kind under the Trump administration.
A milestone oil development project in Alaska’s Arctic waters is having to extend its construction timeline to accommodate the warming climate. The recently approved Liberty Project — poised to become the first oil production facility in federal Arctic waters — has altered its plans due to the shrinking sea ice season.
“Our problem is a society that is unintentionally, but actively, ignoring opportunities because of the cultural perception of wildfire,” said Jack Cohen, who is retired from the U.S. Forest Service where he worked for 40 years as a fire research scientist. That perception, he argues, is based on myth and fear and complicated by an ongoing narrative that attributes conflagrations like the Camp fire to such factors as climate change, overgrown forests and urban encroachment into rural areas.
Thirty years ago, this magazine published “The End of Nature,” a long article about what we then called the greenhouse effect. I [Bill McKibben] was in my twenties when I wrote it, and out on an intellectual limb: climate science was still young. But the data were persuasive, and freighted with sadness.
Forecasters say rain might arrive by Thanksgiving to clear away the smoke and mercifully reduce fire danger. But the optimism is tempered by a grim reality. … California has warmed roughly 3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1980 during the autumn months of September, October and November. Rainfall in those months has fallen by about one-third over the same time.
There wasn’t a flake of real snow anywhere in the Sierra, but that didn’t matter to Andy Melendes, who was first in line Friday for opening day at the Alpine Meadows ski resort. … Forecasters say the dry weather, which has increased the fire danger across California, is likely to end Wednesday, but the snowfall next week is not likely to make up for the lack of precipitation this fall.
In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.
When people think of potential solutions to global warming, they tend to visualize technologies like solar panels or electric cars. A new study published on Wednesday, however, found that better management of forests, grasslands and soils in the United States could offset as much as 21 percent of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Last year was California’s most destructive fire season. That is, until this year. And while climate change cannot be blamed for individual fires like those currently burning at both ends of the state, scientist Daniel Swain says climate change is a “threat multiplier,” creating conditions that will lead to more large, fast-moving and dangerous wildfires.
The day before commercial fishermen were due to bring the first of the season’s Dungeness crab to Bay Area docks, they made other news. On Wednesday, West Coast crab fishermen filed a lawsuit alleging that 30 fossil fuel companies are to blame for the past several years of delayed seasons and disastrous economic losses due to ocean warming.
Researchers with UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Princeton University recently walked back scientific findings published last month that showed oceans have been heating up dramatically faster than previously thought as a result of climate change.
President Trump took to Twitter to blame bad forest management. Gov. Jerry Brown pointed to climate change. Their arguments about the cause of disastrous wildfires roaring across the state have turned a California catastrophe into the latest political cudgel in the ongoing slugfest between Washington and Sacramento.
This is a wet place by California standards. It averages about 55 inches of rain a year, thanks to its prime location in the verdant foothills of the Sierra Nevada, which wrings rain out of Pacific storms. But when the Camp fire sparked last Thursday, Paradise was parched. … Across California, the lack of autumn rain is having dire consequences.
Thursday’s decision does not permanently block a federal permit for Keystone XL. It requires the administration to conduct a more complete review of potential adverse impacts related to climate change, cultural resources and endangered species. The court basically ordered a do-over.
A lawsuit by a group of young Americans, which asserts the U.S. government is harming them by having created a national energy system that causes climate change, is on hold again after a federal appeals court Thursday granted the Trump administration’s motion for a temporary stay. … The young plaintiffs also accuse the government of failing to protect natural resources as a “public trust” for future generations.
For the fourth time, the Trump administration is asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to order dismissal of a youth-led climate case that could go to trial in Eugene. Government attorneys filed an emergency motion with the appeals court late Monday.
A group of young people can sue the federal government over its climate change policies, the Supreme Court said Friday. Since it was first filed in 2015, the government has requested several times that Juliana v. United States be dismissed. … Leigh-Ann Draheim, whose son Levi, 11, is the youngest plaintiff, said the case was based in part on the public trust doctrine. “People have the right to running water, clean water” and clean air, Draheim told NPR.
The USDA’s internal watchdog will examine the agency’s plan to restructure its top independent research office and move it out of the District of Columbia, actions some lawmakers and staff fear could leave research on contentious issues like climate change and the social safety net vulnerable to political pressures.
The world’s oceans may be heating up faster than previously thought — meaning the planet could have even less time to avoid catastrophic global warming than predicted just weeks ago by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, ocean temperatures have been warming 60 percent more than outlined by the IPCC.
Just because El Niño may be lurking off in the tropical Pacific, does that really offer much of a clue about what kind of rainy season California can expect in Water Year 2019?
Will a river of storms pound the state, swelling streams and packing the mountains with deep layers of heavy snow much like the exceptionally wet 2017 Water Year (Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017)? Or will this winter sputter along like last winter, leaving California with a second dry year and the possibility of another potential drought? What can reliably be said about the prospects for Water Year 2019?
At Water Year 2019: Feast or Famine?, a one-day event on Dec. 5 in Irvine, water managers and anyone else interested in this topic will learn about what is and isn’t known about forecasting California’s winter precipitation weeks to months ahead, the skill of present forecasts and ongoing research to develop predictive ability.
A meticulous re-creation of a 3-decade-old study of birds on a mountainside in Peru has given scientists a rare chance to prove how the changing climate is pushing species out of the places they are best adapted to. Surveys of more than 400 species of birds in 1985 and then in 2017 have found that populations of almost all had declined, as many as eight had disappeared completely, and nearly all had moved to higher elevations in what scientists call “an escalator to extinction.”
Rallies are scheduled across the country on Monday in support of a youth-led climate case that’s on hold pending Supreme Court review. A trial in the case — known as Juliana v. U.S. — was scheduled to begin Oct. 29 in U.S. District Court in Eugene. But proceedings are temporarily suspended as the Supreme Court decides whether the case should move forward.
California officials unveiled a plan Thursday that calls for the state to begin taking concrete steps to deal with an ocean that’s getting more acidic. Ocean acidification is a growing problem that researchers say is only expected to get worse as climate changes impact local ocean waters.
With a deadline approaching for Arizona to finish a deal that would divvy up cutbacks in Colorado River water deliveries, the state’s cities, tribes and agricultural irrigation districts are entering what should be the final stretch of negotiations.
Scientists are becoming more adept at linking climate change to worsening storms, even in real time, but federal officials aren’t using that information to help prepare for natural disasters. The study of how global warming makes extreme weather more intense or more frequent—called attribution science—has evolved rapidly.
It was only a few years ago that a strident denier of climate change who mocked the idea of humans pushing temperatures higher represented the congressional district that stretches into what Floridians fondly call their Treasure Coast. No House candidate along the Treasure Coast talks that way now. Worries about increasingly toxic algae blooms have consumed residents this election season.
The lawsuit filed in 2015 argues that government officials have known for more than 50 years that carbon pollution from fossil fuels was causing climate change and that policies on oil and gas deprive the young people of life, liberty and property. They also say the government has failed to protect natural resources as a “public trust” for future generations.
The U.S. Supreme Court has suspended proceedings in a youth-led climate case scheduled to go to trial in Eugene beginning Oct. 29. The brief order issued Friday by Chief Justice John Roberts says only that discovery and trial in U.S. District Court in Eugene are on hold pending receipt of a response from the plaintiffs, who include 21 youths — six of whom are from Eugene.
In a city where it is difficult for middle-income families to find housing, and people shooting up drugs is a too-common sight on downtown streets, the fate of a largely hidden piece of infrastructure might seem like a low priority. Despite this, San Francisco voters are being asked to approve Proposition A, a bond on the Nov. 6 ballot that would generate $425 million to begin strengthening the 3-mile-long seawall along the city’s downtown edge.
The loud crack rang out from the fog above the Baishui No. 1 Glacier as a stone shard careened down the ice, flying past Chen Yanjun as he operated a GPS device. More projectiles were tumbling down the hulk of ice that scientists say is one of the world’s fastest melting glaciers. … “You’re talking about one of the world’s largest freshwater sources,” said Ashley Johnson, energy program manager at the National Bureau of Asian Research, an American think tank.
Insect populations in the tropics are facing a crisis as global warming drives up temperatures, causing a 98 percent decline in their numbers over the last four decades. Those are the findings of a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which suggests that climate change is disrupting the global ecosystem at an accelerating pace.
In a stark report that indicates previous assessments of potential climate change damages were too conservative, climate scientists outlined repercussions from two possible planetary futures, one considerably worse than the other. Severe economic and ecological shocks, including risks to health, food security, and water supplies, will happen sooner than expected if global temperatures continue to rise, according to a report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was released October 8.
Most visitors walking along the Embarcadero on San Francisco’s famed waterfront are familiar with the Ferry Building, the Giants ballpark, the Exploratorium and Fisherman’s Wharf. But few might realize that none of those attractions would be possible without a low-profile workhorse that holds everything together: the Embarcadero Seawall, an aging, 3-mile-long, rock-and-concrete structure that rebuffs pounding tides and enabled the city to rise atop the tidal mudflats of San Francisco Bay.
Remember when the eminent scientist Jor-El warned the council of Krypton that the planet would explode, and sooner rather than later? And they didn’t believe him, but it happened anyway? Pardon my [Jon Brooks] glib intro, but you have to reach into the world of comic books to describe the kind of global catastrophic negligence the recently released U.N. climate report has now put on the record.
The federal judge who in 2016 cleared a constitutional climate case for trial in Eugene has reiterated her position that the youth-led matter should be decided in court. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken on Monday issued a long-awaited decision that keeps intact the central claims of a lawsuit that asserts the federal government’s policies regarding the use of fossil fuels are contributing to global warming and violating the rights of 21 youth plaintiffs who first sued the government in 2015.
Higher temperatures, more intense droughts and more damaging wildfires and floods are just some of the climate change effects already being seen in the California desert — and residents of low-income, minority communities in the Coachella Valley are most likely to suffer the consequences of those environmental stresses. That was one of the takeaways from a series of presentations by scientific experts last week at UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus.
Despite what President Donald Trump says, scientists have long known that what’s warming the planet isn’t natural. It’s us. They even have the energy balance sheets accounting for changes in the climate to prove it. President Trump’s own White House put out a science report last year concluding that “the likely range of the human contribution to the global mean temperature increase over the period 1951-2010 is 1.1 to 1.4 F (0.6 to 0.8 C).”
If horrific hurricanes and a new, scarier-than-ever United Nations report don’t change attitudes on climate change, perhaps a new report on barley will. A small international team of scientists considered what the effect of climate change would be for this crop in the next 80 years, and they are raising an alarm they hope will pierce the din of political posturing.
In June and September of 2017, two heat waves killed at least 14 people in the Bay Area, and sent hundreds more to the hospital. San Francisco was caught off guard, says the city’s deputy director of public health, Naveena Bobba.
Samuel Western writes about the Mountain West. He said rural parts of the region are often reluctant to embrace climate change because it doesn’t come up that often in everyday conversation. “If you live in a more urban environment you are exposed to more ideas, but we tend to live fairly siloed in Wyoming,” said Western. “And a lot of people come here for that very reason.”
A state of emergency was declared for the bayfront community of Belvedere after investigation of a damaged seawall revealed the problem is larger than the city had realized. Consulting engineers told the city late last month it should act immediately to prevent the seawall along Beach Road — which protects the area from flooding — from shifting any further or collapsing into San Francisco Bay.
You won’t be seeing much of California’s gubernatorial candidates this fall — at least, you won’t be seeing much of them together. The only debate between Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox took place on KQED’s Forum radio program Monday. Prompted by host Scott Shafer, the two had a lengthy exchange about the state’s approach to climate change.
The federal government is again asking a judge to suspend proceedings in a climate case scheduled to go to trial in Eugene on Oct. 29. Government attorneys on Friday filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Eugene requesting a stay pending Supreme Court review of the case, which is brought by 21 young people with the support of Eugene nonprofit group Our Children’s Trust.
One of the report’s contributors said predicted temperature increases will be greater in the semi-arid climate of the American West. Diana Liverman, a professor of geography and development at the University of Arizona, said this would lead to even more intense heat waves, droughts, fires and downpours than California is already experiencing.
The phrase “climate change” did not appear on the agenda of a recent three-day meeting of the Colorado Water Congress, but the topic was often front and center at the conference, as it increasingly is at water meetings around the state and the region. Amy Haas, the new executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, told the Water Congress audience of about 300 water managers, irrigators, engineers and lawyers that “hydrology is changing more rapidly than we once thought” and that “it is primarily due to climate change.”
In the exact spot where Hurricane Katrina demolished the Plaquemines Parish Detention Center, a new $105 million jail now hovers 19 feet above the marsh, perched atop towering concrete pillars. Described by a state official as the “Taj Mahal” of Louisiana corrections, it has so much space that one of every 27 parish residents could bunk there.
In the 728-page document, the U.N. organization detailed how Earth’s weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world’s leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming to just 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (a half degree Celsius) from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C). Among other things: — Half as many people would suffer from lack of water.
Ramping up wind power in America would also dial up the nation’s temperatures, a new study out of Harvard found. While wind energy is widely celebrated as environmentally friendly, the researchers concluded that a dramatic, all-out expansion in the number of turbines could warm the country even more than climate change from burning coal and other fossil fuels, because of the way the spinning blades disturb the layers of warm and cold air in the atmosphere.
Torrential rainfall lashed Japan in July. A cloudburst in August submerged entire villages in south India. In September, Hurricane Florence burst dams and lagoons, with coal ash and pig waste spilling into the waterways of North Carolina. On the other side of the planet, a typhoon walloped the Philippines and ravaged the country’s staple crop, rice.
In Incheon, South Korea, this week, representatives of over 130 countries and about 50 scientists have packed into a large conference center going over every line of an all-important report: What chance does the planet have of keeping climate change to a moderate, controllable level?
In an election year that has included alarming portents of global warming — record wildfires in the West, 500-year floods in the East, a president walking away from a global climate accord — the one place that climate change rarely appears at all is in the campaigns of candidates for the House and Senate.
He is among more than 80 farmers now engaged in a state-funded program aimed at increasing carbon concentrations in California’s soil. Part of the state’s overarching goal of curbing greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change, the California Healthy Soils Initiative took effect a year ago, when the state’s cap-and-trade program made $7.5 million available in small grants to farmers like Poncia. This year, the Healthy Soils Program, one component of the initiative, is receiving about $15 million.
As calendars turn from September to October, cooler weather may give many Californians the idea that the brutal fire season of 2018 is over. But nothing could be further from the truth, according to fire experts and state fire statistics. October is actually the most dangerous month historically for wildfire risk in the state.
Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous 7 degrees by the end of this century. A rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists.
The Atlantic’s warmer waters triggered the unusual number of major hurricanes last year, according to a new study that predicts the region could see a couple of extra whopper storms each year by the end of the century.
Loren Poncia’s idling pickup shudders in a powerful gust of afternoon wind in western Marin County. Inside the warm cab, he scans the sun-browned hills through his binoculars, counting his grazing cows. Poncia raises beef cattle. As he sees it, though, what he is really doing is raising soil. … He is among more than 80 farmers now engaged in a state-funded program aimed at increasing carbon concentrations in California’s soil.
Off the north coast of Scotland, Orkney’s soft green landscapes hold a trove of things from everyday life before history was written. More than 3,000 archaeological sites — among them standing stone circles, Norse halls and a Neolithic tomb graffitied by Vikings — have endured for millenniums, scattered across the roughly 70 islands that make up the Orkney archipelago.
There’s the punk rocker, the animal lover and the shy performer. A future educator, a taekwondo black belt and an outdoorsman also are part of the group. All six young people from Eugene are among 21 youth plaintiffs suing the federal government in an unprecedented, constitutional climate change lawsuit that seeks to overhaul the nation’s energy system.
The lush plains east of Yosemite National Park offer a window into a bygone California — a place where sage grouse welcome the arrival of spring with theatrical mating rituals and cattle graze on verdant pastures. For nearly a century, these lands have been made green thanks to annual flooding by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, helping maintain cattle forage and keeping alive a culture of ranching in southern Mono County.
America’s national parks are warming up and drying out faster than other U.S. landscapes, threatening iconic ecosystems from the Everglades in Florida to Joshua Tree in California to Denali in Alaska. That’s the conclusion of a new climate change study published Monday, the first to examine rainfall and temperatures in all 417 national parks sites.
Gavin Newsom and John Cox both drive zero-emission Teslas. That’s about where the common ground ends between California’s candidates for governor when it comes to the environment. … Cox opposes as a “boondoggle” [Gov. Jerry] Brown’s $17 billion proposal to move water from Northern California to Southern California through twin tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. … Newsom backs a one-tunnel option as more cost-effective.
In the years since 2013, when Utah forged the first office championing outdoor recreation, a deluge of states has followed. Last year, the number of states with an outdoor-recreation office or task force doubled to 11, and more are forming, building momentum for an industry that is flexing its burgeoning economic and political might. And the industry’s hopes for bolstering its legitimacy and muscle were pinned on California, home of the country’s largest economy and one of its most vibrant outdoor cultures.
As if this past summer of merciless heat waves, droughts and megafires were not warning enough, in the past several days the elements sounded another alarm about the state of a world made warmer by the burning of fossil fuels. It came in the form of a one-two punch of wind and rainfall from Hurricane Florence, which like Hurricane Harvey a year ago, has derived much of its wallop from unusually warm ocean waters and stalled weather systems linked to climate change.
The Colorado River watershed faces increasing challenges from chronic water shortage. And it appears increasingly likely this is a new permanent condition, not an episodic drought. … Jack Schmidt, a professor of watershed sciences at Utah State University, is about to start a large new research project to explore reservoir operations in the watershed.
[Mayor Jackie] Biskupski says Salt Lake feels the effects of climate change with low snowpack, drought conditions and wildfire smoke. She plans to join other mayors to sign the “Deadline 2020” pledge to reduce global emissions.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, whose term expires in January, has made renewable energy and climate change a centerpiece of his final term. This week, he co-hosts a global climate summit in San Francisco. On Friday, he discussed the issue in an interview with San Jose Mercury News resources and environment writer Paul Rogers.
During the first 18 months of the Trump administration, records show, nearly 1,600 workers left the EPA, while fewer than 400 were hired. The exodus has shrunk the agency’s workforce by 8 percent, to levels not seen since the Reagan administration.
California stands at the center of innovative efforts to develop carbon-capture and removal technologies. State officials have begun working them into their climate action plans. And this month, when Gov. Jerry Brown welcomes officials from around the world to a global climate conference in San Francisco, the question of how far world leaders should move toward embracing such ideas will be a major focus.
Warming temperatures are sapping the Colorado River, the water source for more than 40 million people in the southwest. A new study finds over the last 100 years the river’s flow has decreased by more than 15 percent. Colorado State University researcher Brad Udall co-authored the study with UCLA scientists Mu Xiao and Dennis Lettenmaier.
As California lawmakers struggled this week to address an apparent new normal of epic wildfires, there was an inescapable subtext: Climate change is going to be staggeringly expensive, and virtually every Californian is going to have to pay for it.
On his first official trip to the U.S. territories, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke could face stark climate change concerns. What he’ll heed is up to him. But with his geology degree from the University of Oregon and his beach-crawling background as a former Navy SEAL, Zinke, in theory, could bring the right kind of baggage on his upcoming trip.
Heat waves will grow more severe and persistent, shortening the lives of thousands of Californians. Wildfires will burn more of the state’s forests. The ocean will rise higher and faster, exposing California to billions in damage along the coast. These are some of the threats California will face from climate change in coming decades, according to a new statewide assessment released Monday by the California Natural Resources Agency.
Bad news for the West: Even after firefighters have already battled 101 large blazes this year, the remainder of wildfire season is expected to be hotter and drier than normal, virtually assuring there will be more destruction ahead, scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.
As temperatures rise in the U.S. West, so do the flames. The years with the most acres burned by wildfires have some of the hottest temperatures, an Associated Press analysis of fire and weather data found.
Trump administration officials unveiled a new plan Thursday to reduce the risk of forest fires, acknowledging “the urgent need to dramatically increase preventative forest treatment” that can keep fires from burning out of control. The plan, which emphasizes state and local collaboration, was short on details, however.
California suffered through its hottest July on record, while August has pushed sea-surface temperatures off the San Diego coast to all-time highs. Are these punishing summer heat waves the consequences of global warming or the result of familiar weather patterns?
Two top officials of the Trump administration, winding up a tour of fire-ravaged Redding, insisted Monday that removing dead trees and thinning forests, not addressing climate change, are the keys to dealing with California wildfires.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, touring neighborhoods devastated by the Carr Fire, stepped up the Trump administration’s push Sunday to remove more trees from national forests as a means of tamping down fire risks. “We need to manage our forests, we need to reduce the fuels,” Zinke said as he overlooked Whiskeytown Lake in the vicinity where the Carr Fire began July 23.
This summer of fire and swelter looks a lot like the futurethat scientists have been warning about in the era of climate change, and it’s revealing in real time how unprepared much of the world remains for life on a hotter planet. … For Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California Los Angeles, it vindicates the scientific community’s mathematical models.
Amy Haas recently became the first non-engineer and the first woman to serve as executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission in its 70-year history, putting her smack in the center of a host of daunting challenges facing the Upper Colorado River Basin.
Yet those challenges will be quite familiar to Haas, an attorney who for the past year has served as deputy director and general counsel of the commission. (She replaced longtime Executive Director Don Ostler). She has a long history of working within interstate Colorado River governance, including representing New Mexico as its Upper Colorado River commissioner and playing a central role in the negotiation of the recently signed U.S.-Mexico agreement known as Minute 323.
In 1908, biologist Joseph Grinnell began leading hundreds of research expeditions throughout California to collect animals as museum specimens and catalog the wildlife in the forests, mountains and deserts. The meticulous notes he and his colleague took over four decades captured scientific snapshots of the wildlife in the first half of the 20th century, including surveys of birds in many areas of the Mojave Desert.
Experts studying the blazes that have ravaged California in recent years have reached a troubling realization: There are several reasons fire seasons are getting worse, and we’re almost completely to blame for all of them.
The Karuk Tribe and UC Berkeley are launching a $1.2 million study to determine how to best protect native foods and resources in the face of a changing climate and a history of environmental degradation in the mid-Klamath River Basin.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the case, which was first brought by a group of 21 young people, can go forward. The result could be a historic climate change decision that will affect every American. The lawsuit dates to 2015, when the young plaintiffs (they now range in age from 10 to 21) first filed suit against the Obama administration.
When President Trump sent his first tweet about the current California wildfires, which have killed nine people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes, he chose the moment to zero in on water policy — leaving some scratching their heads.
A thin layer of smoke has stretched across Sacramento for the past week, coming from the deadly wildfires burning to the north and east. The smoke serves as a powerful reminder of a topic likely to dominate the work of lawmakers returning to the state Capitol this week.
Much of the heat that’s gripped California and hastened the spread of deadly wildfires recently is due to a strange but familiar shift in the jet stream — one that’s haunted the West with threatening fire conditions in the past and could cause more hot, dry spells in the future, especially with a changing climate.
As fire crews struggled to gain containment on more than a dozen wildfires raging across California on Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters that large, destructive fires would probably continue and cost the state billions of dollars over the next decade.
Editor’s Note This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Complementing the text is a series of aerial photographs and videos, all shot over the past year by George Steinmetz.
Rising temperatures that are contributing to wildfires and droughts are also changing the world’s soil so that it pumps out more carbon dioxide, a “feedback loop” that could aggravate climate change, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The northern Sacramento Valley was well on its way to recording the hottest July on record when the Carr fire swept into town Thursday. It was 113 degrees, and months of above-average temperatures had left the land bone-dry and ready to explode.
The U.S. Supreme Court expressed qualms Monday about the scope of a climate-change lawsuit by 21 young people against the government, but rejected the Trump administration’s request to block a trial of the unprecedented suit that accuses federal officials of endangering their futures by failing to act against global warming.
This summer has witnessed an explosion of algae problems in Western water bodies. Usually marked by a bright green mat of floating scum, the blooms are unsightly and unpleasant for water lovers. More concerning are potentially toxic cyanobacteria often produced by the algae, which can be deadly to pets and livestock and cause illnesses in people.
As flames from the Ferguson Fire burn closer to some of the world’s oldest and largest trees, firefighters are racing to protect ancient sequoias on Yosemite National Park’s western edge. About 25 Yosemite firefighters have surrounded Merced Grove — whose immense trees tower more than 200 feet tall and date back 1,000 years — with fire hoses.
Climate change is gradually warming Lake Tahoe, clouding its clarity and threatening its fabled “blueness,” scientists at UC Davis warned Thursday. In its annual “State of the Lake” report, the university’s Tahoe Environmental Research Center said surface water temperatures in July 2017 spiked to an average 68.4 degrees.
California’s top climate regulator will continue serving through 2020 under a plan set to be voted on Thursday. Mary Nichols, who has led the California Air Resources Board since 2007, would see her term expire at the end of 2020 if the board’s members confirm staff recommendations at the Thursday meeting.
A federal judge on Thursday tossed out a lawsuit filed by New York City that wanted to force oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips to pay for damages related to global warming. The decision comes a little more than three weeks after a federal judge in California dismissed suits filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.
Even trusting your local weather announcer is political these days. Take the battle in Congress over the renewal of a grant to help television meteorologists incorporate climate change into their weather reporting.
If the Ferguson Fire currently burning in Mariposa County spreads to Yosemite National Park, a tiny bug resembling a mouse dropping would share some of the blame. An epidemic of bark beetles is devastating billions of pine trees across the West in what has been described as the largest forest insect outbreak ever recorded.
Rising levels of carbon dioxide from car and factory exhaust — which scientists say is the primary cause of global warming — could contribute to the killing off of monarch butterflies by reducing the medicinal qualities of the plants they eat, a new study has found.
A colleague once observed, many years ago, that California has two seasons. Green and brown. We are in the latter, and death has visited my [Steve Lopez] neighborhood this summer. Half the ground cover in my frontyard has burned to a crunchy crisp. … The Los Angeles-area forecast offers no relief.
A century ago, the island town of Drawbridge held 90 homes, hotels and cabins, with hunting so bountiful that dead ducks served as currency at its gambling tables. Now — in a rare act of reverse colonization — civilization is ceding to the elements in this windswept marsh, located near Alviso at the southern end of San Francisco Bay. Rising tides flood a dozen or so surviving skeletal structures.
The dense network of cables that make up the Internet is likely to be inundated with saltwater as sea levels rise, a new analysis suggests, putting thousands of miles of critical infrastructure along U.S. coastlines underwater in the next 15 years. “It is actually the wires and the hardware that make the Internet run,” explains Ramakrishnan Durairajan, a computer scientist at the University of Oregon and an author of the research.
For years, there has been a movement in California to restore floodplains, by moving levees back from rivers and planting trees, shrubs and grasses in the low-lying land between. The goal has been to go back in time, to bring back some of the habitat for birds, animals and fish that existed before the state was developed.
Long before President Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court on Monday, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh had already made a name for himself as an influential conservative critic of sweeping environmental regulations.
From the normally mild summer climes of Ireland, Scotland and Canada to the scorching Middle East, numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past week. Large areas of heat pressure or heat domes scattered around the hemisphere led to the sweltering temperatures.
When dust storms began rising off the dry bed of Owens Lake, authorities in the Eastern Sierra blamed Los Angeles’ thirst. The city had, after all, drained the lake in the 1920s to serve its faucets. Now, as dust kicks up from Mono Lake, authorities in the Eastern Sierra are once again blaming that water-craving metropolis about 350 miles to the south. But this time, they’re also blaming climate change.
California lawmakers may make it easier for utilities to reduce liability for wildfire damage as the state braces for more severe blazes in the face of climate change. The changes would apply only to future fires, not the ones that swept across California’s wine country last year — the most devastating in state history.
Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality.
We headed into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state.
GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
The retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy next month is likely to reshape the high court to the detriment of the environment, legal experts say, potentially limiting progress on such issues as climate change and clean water, even in California, where leaders have long pursued an environmental agenda independent of Washington.
A federal judge earlier this week may have tossed out a lawsuit brought by officials for the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, seeking to hold oil companies such as Chevron, BP and ExxonMobil liable for any costs related to climate change, but the mayor of Imperial Beach says a similar lawsuit his town is taking part in will proceed.
From South Africa’s drought-stricken vineyards, to France’s noble chateaus, to sunny vineyards in Australia and California , growers and winemakers say they are seeing the effects of climate change as temperatures rise, with swings in weather patterns becoming more severe. So they are taking action, moving to cooler zones, planting varieties that do better in the heat, and shading their grapes with more leaf canopy.
It’s not just beaches and sand that are disappearing as the ocean pushes inland. Sea level rise is also eating away at California’s coastal cliffs. The question is by how much, as Californians have heavily developed and continue to build along the edge of the Pacific.
The Trump administration appears to be planning to shift the mission of one of the most important federal science agencies that works on climate change — away from climate change. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is part of the Department of Commerce, operates a constellation of earth-observing satellites.
The Trump administration has appointed Republican Mike Stoker for the position [Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 administrator]. … KQED Science recently spoke with him at his office in San Francisco. He said a top priority for him is to deal with sewage pollution at the US-Mexico border.
A U.S. judge who held a hearing about climate change that received widespread attention ruled Monday that Congress and the president were best suited to address the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming, throwing out lawsuits that sought to hold big oil companies liable for the Earth’s changing environment.
More than two years after the 2015-16 Dungeness and rock crab seasons in California was marred by toxic algae blooms, the federal government this week has allocated $25.8M in disaster funds to relieve fishermen and businesses affected by the closure. The Yurok Tribe was also allocated nearly $4M in disaster relief for its 2016 commercial salmon season, which was closed due to low numbers of returning spawners.
Since the early 1980s, climate change had warmed the Gulf of Maine’s cool waters to the ideal temperature for lobsters, which has helped grow Maine’s fishery fivefold to a half-billion-dollar industry, among the most valuable in the United States. But last year the state’s lobster landings dropped by 22 million pounds, to 111 million.
An executive order signed by President Trump late Tuesday eliminates an uncelebrated but far-reaching review process put in place eight years ago among state, tribal and federal agencies to better coordinate ocean policy in the wake of the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
As the level of carbon dioxide in the air continues to rise because of climate change, scientists are trying to pin down how the plants we eat are being impacted. Mounting evidence suggests that many key plants lose nutritional value at higher CO2 levels, and scientists are running experiments all over the world to try to tease out the effects.
David Inouye is an accidental climate scientist. More than 40 years ago, the University of Maryland biologist started studying when wildflowers, birds, bees and butterflies first appeared each spring on this mountain.
That oceanfront property in Stinson Beach you’ve dreamed about may not be so perfect after all. A report published Monday finds that nearly 4,400 homes in Marin County might not make it beyond a 30-year mortgage because of encroaching seawater.
Nowhere is the domino effect in Western water policy played out more than on the Colorado River, and specifically when it involves the Lower Basin states of California, Nevada and Arizona. We are seeing that play out now as the three states strive to forge a Drought Contingency Plan. Yet that plan can’t be finalized until Arizona finds a unifying voice between its major water players, an effort you can read more about in the latest in-depth article of Western Water.
Even then, there are some issues to resolve just within California.
New York City’s attempt to hold five of the world’s biggest oil companies responsible for damage from global warming didn’t seem to impress a judge during oral arguments Wednesday to determine if a lawsuit can proceed. … The January lawsuit came after similar litigation was filed by the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Cruz in California.
The U.S. record $18 billion wildfire season of 2017 was triggered by the coincidence of three primary factors that came into play or persisted longer than anticipated, according to a new study led by a researcher at the University of Colorado. Those “switches,” according to study leader Jennifer Balch, were ignition, aridity and fuel.
This small rectangle of wetland near the San Francisco Bay in San Lorenzo doesn’t look particularly visionary. Above ground, it’s an appealing – if unusually orderly – array of meadows, cattails and willows. But there’s far more here than meets the eye. This modest strip of land, just 38 by 150 feet, in the Oro Loma Sanitary District promises to help solve two of the Bay Area’s most pressing concerns: sea-level rise and nutrient pollution.
Record heat returned to the United States with a vengeance in May. May warmed to a record average 65.4 degrees in the Lower 48 states, breaking the high of 64.7 set in 1934, according to federal weather figures released Wednesday. May was 5.2 degrees above the 20th century’s average for the month.
Four statewide ballot propositions were passing in California on Tuesday, while an effort to control spending of funds collected through the state’s climate change program appeared headed toward a defeat.
Deputies with a Lake Tahoe patrol crew helped recover a malfunctioning robot deployed by UC Davis researchers to study climate change, Placer County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday on Facebook. And it’s a good thing they picked it up before someone else did, because the yellow-and-blue device bears a fairly strong resemblance to a torpedo.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board, in a rebuke to the Trump administration’s retreat on environmental protection, voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favor of a full board review of the agency’s most important actions to dismantle climate policy.
In an interview, Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged the hope felt by many climate activists because of efforts from states like his and by private companies. But he also said the world is only just beginning to feel the environmental harm inflicted by the Trump administration.
You can shove water back from the land, or let the land flood, but either way, San Francisco Bay is getting higher. Along more than 400 miles of bayfront, in at least forty communities that touch water, the once-sneaky problem of sea level rise is revealing itself as it accelerates.
Backing away from attempts at censorship, the National Park Service today released a report charting the risks to national parks from sea level rise and storms. Drafts of the report obtained earlier this year by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting showed park service officials had deleted every mention of humans causing climate change. But the long-delayed report, published today without fanfare on the agency’s website, restored those references.
Eight years ago, Marin County created a new kind of public power agency in California — over the strenuous objections of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. … Community choice allows local governments to band together in something like a buyer’s club for electricity, purchasing in bulk from operators of power plants, wind farms, hydroelectric dams and solar facilities. Each community choice program’s governing board sets its own electricity rates.
Five of the world’s largest oil producers urged a federal judge Thursday to dismiss lawsuits by San Francisco and Oakland that seek to hold the companies liable for climate change, arguing that the issue is one for Congress, not the courts.
Fighting global warming is starting to sound like a lucrative investment. A new study out of Stanford University finds that keeping global warming a half-degree beneath the Paris climate agreement’s 2 degree Celsius target could potentially save more than $20 trillion globally.
We traveled deep into California’s water hub and traverse the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour made its way to San Francisco Bay, and included a ferry ride.
For years now, thousands of studies have linked rising sea levels to climate change. But one Republican congressman had an alternate explanation he floated this week during a meeting of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology with leading climate scientist Philip Duffy.
Marine life across North America will experience a substantial shift northward over the next few decades, according to a new comprehensive report that looks at how climate change will alter the habitats of 686 marine species.
Using measurements from Earth-observing satellites, NASA scientists have tracked changes in water supplies worldwide and they’ve found that in many places humans are dramatically altering the global water map. … Their findings in a new study reveal that of the 34 “hotspots” of water change in places from California to China, the trends in about two-thirds of those areas may be linked to climate change or human activities, such as excessive groundwater pumping in farming regions.
A new study from NASA reinforces the idea that droughts are getting worse and could become more frequent in the Western U.S. The culprit is human-caused climate change. Droughts aren’t just about precipitation, said NASA scientist and the study’s co-author Benjamin Cook.
This spring in California several orchards around Solano and nearby counties sported a new look: lush carpets of mixed grasses growing as tall as 3ft beneath the trees’ bare branches. By summer the scene will change as farmers grow and harvest their nut crops, but the work of the grasses will continue unseen. Cover cropping, an agricultural technique as old as dirt, is taking root in California.
Imagine the snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains as a giant reservoir providing water for 23 million people throughout California. During droughts, this snow reserve shrinks, affecting water availability in the state.
Warmer days — and nights. Rising sea levels. Less water available in summer. A report released Wednesday by state officials says climate change is affecting California’s ecosystem already in ways great and small.
Some 950 wildfires have burned more than 5,800 acres of California so far this year, and residents need to recognize that fire, as a result of a host of factors including climate change, is now a year-round threat, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said.
Bigger, more intense forest fires, longer droughts, warmer ocean temperatures and an ever shrinking snowpack in the Sierra Nevada are “unequivocal” evidence of the ruinous domino-effects that climate change is having on California, a new California Environmental Protection Agency report states.
Arizona’s largest water provider tried Tuesday to defuse a multi-state dispute over the Colorado River, saying it regretted the belligerent-sounding words it used to describe its management strategy for the critical, over-used waterway. … It also pledged to cooperate on drawing up a multi-state plan for possible shortages in the river, which appear more and more likely because of the drought and climate change.
Since the 1940s, the Hawaiian island of Kauai has endured two tsunamis and two hurricanes, but locals say they have never experienced anything like the thunderstorm that drenched the island this month. “The rain gauge in Hanalei broke at 28 inches within 24 hours,” said state Rep. Nadine Nakamura of the North Shore community.
State regulators are urging local elected officials to brace for retreat as scientists continue to predict sea levels will rise in coming decades and pummel beachfront communities from San Diego to Arcata.
A world-class snowboarder, former Navy SEAL Josh Jespersen served for four years in Afghanistan and Iraq. … Now he’s undertaking a different kind of expedition — urging mountain-state politicians to take seriously the threat of climate change, and working to vote them out of office if they don’t.
California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is vital to water supplies for 25 million people and 4 million acres of farmland. It is linked to the Pacific Ocean via San Francisco Bay, which makes this water supply uniquely vulnerable to sea level rise. Yet understanding sea level rise in the Delta is complicated.
A primary goal of Drawdown is to help people who feel overwhelmed by gloom-and-doom messages see that reversing global warming is bursting with possibility: walkable cities, afforestation, bamboo, high-rises built of wood, marine permaculture, multistrata agroforestry, clean cookstoves, plant-rich diet, assisting women smallholders, regenerative agriculture, supporting girls’ ongoing education, smart glass, in-stream hydro, on and on.
A wave of legal challenges that is washing over the oil and gas industry, demanding accountability for climate change, started as a ripple after revelations that ExxonMobil had long recognized the threat fossil fuels pose to the world.
The extreme weather swings experienced by Californians the past six years — a historic drought followed by drenching winter storms that caused $100 million in damage to San Jose and wrecked the spillway at Oroville Dam — will become the norm over coming generations, a new study has found.
President Trump has aimed to undo much of the Obama administration’s policy on energy and climate. … One could argue that any of the leading candidates in the 2016 Republican primary would have taken similar actions in the climate and energy space. What is needed now, we argue, is momentum toward bipartisan climate legislation in Congress that could outlast the back-and-forth on regulations.
Californians should expect more dramatic swings between dry and wet years as the climate warms, according to a new study that found it likely that the state will be hit by devastating, widespread flooding in coming decades.