climate change

Environment
5:01 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Bill McKibben of 350.org to Lead Climate Change Rally in Seattle

Steve Liptay Photo

This Saturday, environmental activist and author Bill McKibben will lead a rally against fossil fuel exports and the Keystone XL pipeline in Seattle. 

Known as one of the first voices to warn of the dangers of global warming, McKibben is on tour with his new book, Oil and Honey. He is also the founder of an international organization called 350.org, which he created to fight climate change. 

McKibben says 350 is "the most important number in the world, but nobody knew it until 2008, when Jim Hansen and his team at NASA published a paper saying we now know enough about carbon to know how much in the atmosphere is too much." 

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climate change
4:27 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Cantwell Grills NOAA Nominee on Ocean Acidification Funding

Cantwell says Washington's $270 million shellfish industry is at risk without adequate funding for monitoring of ocean acidification.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Ocean health is at stake as Congress decides whether to confirm the next head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The nominee faced tough questions from Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, about funding for research of and adaptation to ocean acidification.

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Northwest coal
5:02 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Hearings Begin in Environmental Review of Longview Coal Terminal

A coal train along the Columbia River, near Vancouver, WA
Erin Hennessey photo KPLU News

Scoping hearings begin tomorrow on a proposed coal export terminal in Longview, near the Columbia River.  It’s one of two Washington terminals that would ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to Asia.

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climate change
5:01 am
Thu August 29, 2013

White House Council Chair to Visit Area, Discuss Climate Change

Skagit River Valley

A special guest will tour sites in the Skagit River Valley today. Nancy Sutley, the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality will be in Mount Vernon to discuss the impacts of climate change on communities in Washington state.

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climate change
9:01 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Scientists Look For Climate Change Clues in Wildfire Soot

You may know that on a hot, sunny day, it’s better to be sitting in a white car than a black one. White reflects sunlight, while black absorbs more of it.

The same concept applies to researchers trying to figure out what effect wildfires have on climate change. And part of the answer is whether the smoke particles are dark or reflective.

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climate change
3:05 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Sea Level Rise Map Shows 30 Wash. Towns Inundated

Update: The original version of this story incorrectly summarized this study as showing populations to be displaced by 2100 if current trends continue. Author Ben Strauss sent the following correction: "by 2100, we would most likely be *locked in* to such an outcome in a more distant future, time unspecified, but essentially inevitable." We have updated the story accordingly. 

The warming climate is causing sea levels to rise as oceans expand, and, combined with more frequent storms, the effects could be devastating.

A new map shows more than 1,400 towns in the U.S., 30 in Washington state, where half the population will be displaced  if current trends continue through the end of this century.

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Environment
11:22 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Obama's climate speech renews call for utilities to divest from coal

Eastern Montana's Colstrip Power Project is the single largest power-generating facility PSE owns. Coal comprises about 35% of PSE's energy portfolio.
Puget Sound Energy

“It’s the change we have been waiting for.” That’s the response from the Sierra Club to President Obama’s speech on climate change. A major part of his action plan is new limits on carbon emissions from power plants.

The local chapter of the club says even though no new policies will take effect for several years, utilities need to start adjusting now.

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Coal Exports
3:52 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Army Corps: No environmental study for Northwest coal terminals

In this photo taken Oct. 23, 2012, train tracks run through a wooded area near the site of a proposed coal exporting terminal Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Ferndale, Wash., near Bellingham, Wash.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dealt a big blow to environmental groups fighting proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest.

During testimony before Congress, an official with the agency said the Corps is not planning a broad environmental study on the impact of coal exports, meaning the proposed terminals' effects on climate change won’t be considered during the review process.

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State Legislature
2:47 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Republicans declare victory on Inslee's climate bill

In the coming months, Washington state will embark on a study of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The research is one provision of a measure Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Tuesday. It’s a key legislative win for the Democrat. So why are Republicans declaring victory?

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Environment
6:07 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Governors' letter reignites NW coal exports debate

The debate over proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest is heating up again after the governors of Washington and Oregon sent a letter to the White house on the issue.

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Environment
8:05 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Gov. Inslee's climate change bill passes, controversy continues

A bill put forward by Gov. Jay Inslee directing the state to figure out how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has passed both houses of the Legislature.

The passage is a big step forward for the environmental lobby and the governor, who has championed clean energy. But there is still a lot of pushback in Olympia.

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Environment
10:18 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Climate change pushing water system upgrades

Snowpack in the crest of the Cascade Mountains provides storage for Seattle's Cedar River watershed. Lowering snow levels are expected because of global warming, putting the supply at risk.
Credit Courtsey Seattle Public Utilities

Global climate change is a reality that few people now deny. 2012 was the warmest year on record. So what about Seattle’s water supply? 

Managers say they need to speed up about $30-million of investment in a backup plan.

About two thirds of Seattle’s water comes from one of the most pristine sources in the nation. The Cedar River Watershed lies in more than 90,000 acres of protected land southeast of the city, near North Bend.

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Science
9:04 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Bird, Plane, Bacteria? Microbes Thrive In Storm Clouds

The eye of Hurricane Earl in the Atlantic Ocean, seen from a NASA research aircraft on Aug. 30, 2010. This flight through the eyewall caught Earl just as it was intensifying from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane. Researchers collected air samples on this flight from about 30,000 feet over both land and sea and close to 100 different species of bacteria.
Jane Peterson NASA

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 5:36 am

Microbes are known to be able to thrive in extreme environments, from inside fiery volcanoes to down on the bottom of the ocean. Now scientists have found a surprising number of them living in storm clouds tens of thousands of feet above the Earth. And those airborne microbes could play a role in global climate.

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Rising Sea Levels
6:23 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Seattle planners predict bigger flood zones due to climate change

Department Manager Paul Fleming and Meteorologist James Rufo-Hill, of Seattle Public Utility's Climate and Sustainability Group, created the new map showing areas that are at risk for flooding during high tides and storms.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

It’s data that’s been collected and analyzed for several years now.

But predictions on how high tides and extreme storm events might combine to cause flooding in Seattle are seeming less and less like science fiction.

The City has unveiled a new map, showing huge areas that are much more likely to end up waterlogged during storms. And it says the estimates are no longer considered extreme. 

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Environment
8:34 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Climate change report shows major impacts for Northwest

Huge areas of Seattle's Port could be inundated when higher tides combine with more extreme storm surges, accdording to the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change
Bjørn Giesenbauer photo Flickr

Imagine a future in which major areas of Seattle’s waterfront are flooded because of rising tides.

Businesses that front on Elliot Bay, including the famous Edgewater Hotel, or parks such as Myrtle Edwards or Golden Gardens, would have to adjust to storm surges more than six feet higher than we’re used to.

According to a new federal report on climate change, that future is just a few decades away. 

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