climate change | KUER 90.1

climate change

Climate change has been called the new normal. But residents in some parts of the Southwest say after living through the last two years, there’s nothing normal about it. 

Communities in the Four Corners -- where the borders of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet -- have been bouncing between desperately dry and record-breaking moisture since the winter of 2017, forcing people dependent on the reliability and predictability of water to adapt.

Photo of William Happer, who resigned Friday from his position as director of emerging technologies for the National Security Council.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

A prominent climate change denier resigned from the White House Friday after he was blocked from establishing a committee questioning the findings of the most recent national climate assessment. 

Photo of burn scar.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

A 2017 “flash drought” on the northern Great Plains led to massive wildfires, millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue and $2.6 billion in agricultural losses, according to a new federal report released Thursday.

Photo of  Interior Secretary David Bernhardt being questioned by U.S. House Democrats about his agency’s responsibility to combat climate change Wednesday during an appropriations subcommittee hearing.
C-Span

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday it wasn’t his job to combat climate change.

His comments came days after the United Nations released a damning report on the effects of global warming and mass extinction on humanity.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

With Earth Day less than a week away, a new analysis looking at increasing temperatures since the environmental holiday was created in 1970 shows that temperatures in Utah have risen more dramatically than the global rate.

Soil erosion in the West is getting worse. And that’s creating more dust – which isn’t good for ecosystems, human health or the economy.

Screenshot photo of Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski
Screenshot: / U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski on Tuesday joined other state and local leaders in sharing tips on combating climate change with Congress.

Photo of two students at a State Capitol climate action protest
Judy Fahys / KUER News


Around 500 Utah students on Friday took part in a worldwide strike to spur action on climate change.

Photo of solar panels on the rooftop of the Vivint Smart Home Arena
Judy Fahys / KUER News

A state lawmaker is proposing a carbon tax to stimulate a shift away from fossil fuels.

 

But it's uncertain whether the Republican-controlled State Legislature will advance the bill with just nine days before the Utah’s 2019 legislative General Session ends.

Photo of refinery.
Brian Albers / KUER

The Trump administration is assembling a panel to take a second look at recent federal climate change reports.

A new study includes an interactive map that shows how your home will be affected by climate change in the next 50 years. No surprise —Idaho and the Mountain West will get hotter.

 


The ski industry is one of the most important contributors to the economy in the Mountain West. And it's dealing with some pretty big changes right now. Probably the biggest one is climate. Winters are getting shorter and mountain resorts are having to adapt. 

Photo of burnt trees.
Pole Creek Fire

The Trump administration released the fourth and latest version of the National Climate Assessment on Friday. The congressionally mandated quadrennial report zeroes in on hazards nationally and region-by-region. For the Southwest, the assessment predicts more extreme wildfires and less reliable water supplies.

Photo of protestors outside of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Three dozen Utahns joined activists nationwide in rallying behind a landmark climate lawsuit even though the U.S. Supreme Court has put the case on hold.

In the Mountain West, we love our rivers, our mountains, our forests, deserts and wildlife. They’re part of our economies, our lifestyles and our identity. But that very connection makes us vulnerable to a growing mental health problem -- climate anxiety.

Photo of low reservoir.
iStock.com / tupungato

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state-wide drought emergency this week. It’s one of two states in our region that were especially hard-hit this year.

 

Calling it a matter of national security, the Trump administration wants to export coal to Asia through military bases along the West Coast. Companies are currently blocked from using ports in California and Washington State.

Inciweb/Bald Mountain-Pole Creek Fire

A new report from the United Nations says mankind must act fast to slow global warming, a message that is particularly urgent in Utah and throughout a scorched Mountain West that saw a devastating fire season and patches of severe drought.

In recent years, President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax.

“I think it’s a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money,” he said on Fox News in 2015.

But a recent report by the U.S. Department of Transportation predicts global temperature will rise seven degrees by 2100. That’s catastrophic.

Courtesy Brian McInerney


Hurricane Florence battering the Southeast, a typhoon killing dozens in the Philippines, a California blaze taking a Utah firefighter's life - the weather's been surprising all summer. 

Warmer temperatures across the region from climate change are making insect pests hungrier. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Science.

Utah Fire Info

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox acknowledged Wednesday that climate change is playing a role Utah's devastating  fires this season, including a fast-moving blaze in drought-stricken Sanpete County.

jamesteohart/iStockphoto

The Trump administration’s move this week to to scale back an Obama-era goal to boost fuel efficiency standards for automobiles is drawing criticism from environmental groups as being costly to consumers.

Bill Barron sits in his office.
Judy Fahys / KUER News

Updated at 2:30 p.m. MST 7/19/18

 

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a resolution Thursday that condemns carbon taxes as detrimental to the U.S. economy.

Four U.S. Senators are objecting to a program that teaches TV weathercasters about the science of climate change. As the Mountain West region deals with record high temperatures, that’s left meteorologists here figuring out how to report on the science of the weather.   

The effects of climate change are already being felt at the headwaters of the West’s most important river system, according to a study released earlier this year.

The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization compiled the latest science on climate change in the Colorado River headwaters in a report titled Climate Change in the Headwater: Water and Snow Impacts (PDF), presented to the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments in February.

The National Park Service has released a report on how sea level rise could impact its sites. The publication was delayed by about a year, and as we’ve reported, there were concerns over possible censorship in earlier drafts.

Maria Caffrey worked for years with the National Park Service researching and writing the report, only to wait for months for its actual release.

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.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for an investigation into the National Park Service, pointing to a report they say follows a "pattern" of censoring scientists who study climate change. So I checked in with the scientist who wrote the latest report and is now worried about her future.

The dry and arid climate of the Western U.S. is marching eastward, thanks to climate change.

That’s the conclusion of a set of studies from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute. 


Pages