climate change

Electric vehicles, within reason, benefit US

Climate plans are the order of the day in the presidential primary campaign because carbon pollution is a global threat of unique proportions. But it’s worth asking whether candidates’ plans are based in the reality of the climate, the economy and the election. All three dimensions must come together for any climate plan to achieve its goals – and this is especially true when the…


Dr. Bronner’s path to 100% renewable power

Soap, bees, teachers, farmers, community “There is an urgent need to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, dramatically reduce wasted energy, and significantly shift our power supplies from oil, coal, and natural gas to wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources.” – Bill McKibben, Environmentalist “I’m convinced that if every home had solar panels on the roof, we could create all the energy we…


California is living America’s dystopian future

The Golden State is on fire, which means that an idea of American utopia is on fire, too. Utopias are the good places of our imagination, while dystopias are the places where everything goes terribly wrong, where evil triumphs and nature destroys her own. Frequently utopias and dystopias are the same place, because perfection may not be possible without someone suffering. Ursula LeGuin writes about…


Many people can’t afford wildfire insurance

California’s relatively quiet 2019 fire season ended in October, with serious wildfires in both Northern and Southern California. There are many things Californians can do to prepare for these blazes, but one option – taking out wildfire insurance – is out of reach for many of them. For example, after massive fires in 2018, an estimated 350,000 Californians could no longer get property and casualty…


Treating wildfires as a public health issue

Deadly fires across California over the past several years have shown how wildfire has become a serious public health and safety issue. Health effects from fires close to or in populated areas range from smoke exposure to drinking water contaminated by chemicals like benzene to limited options for the medically vulnerable. These kinds of threats are becoming major, statewide concerns. Many people still think of…


Climate Action Plans: A Tale of Two Cities

A funeral was held last month at the site of Iceland’s Okjökull glacier. A century ago it covered nearly six square miles, measuring 164 ft. deep. Today, it’s less than one square mile, 49 feet thick. The shrinking sheet of ice can no longer be called a glacier. A tombstone plaque was placed at the site. A Letter to the Future  This monument is to…


UCSD study links climate change to wildfires

A new study by researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and colleagues combs through the many factors that can promote wildfire, and concludes that in many, though not all, cases, warming climate is the decisive driver. The study, led by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, finds in particular that the huge summer forest fires that have raked Northern…


UCSD Report: El Nino costs state big bucks

Considering it’s been long known that El Niño conditions often bring about flooding precipitation to California, a ripe field for study would be a thorough study of the damage wreaked. And who knows catastrophic damages better than insurers? Their specialized knowledge prompted a pair of San Diego researchers to compare 40 years of insurance data against climate and water data to quantify the effect of…


Kids are the grownups in climate crisis room

The next U.S. presidential election is being transformed because children everywhere, watching in disbelief as grownups fail to address the climate crisis, are launching their own climate movements. In contrast to the 2016 election – where exactly zero questions about global warming were posed during the general election debates – the lineup of presidential candidates are already being pressured to do something about the climate…


As climate change erodes US coastlines, an invasive plant could become an ally

Many invasive species are found along U.S. coasts, including fishes, crabs, mollusks and marsh grasses. Since the general opinion is that invasives are harmful, land managers and communities spend a lot of time and resources attempting to remove them. Often this happens before much is known about their actual effects, either good or bad. The common reed Phragmites australis is a tall perennial grass with…