Environment

Cancun Climate Conference
11:13 am
Wed December 8, 2010

Northwest glaciers melting: U.N. Report

Mount Rainier Liberty Cap (center skyline), Liberty Cap Glacier descending to ice cliff, Mowich Face (left of ice cliff), Russell Glacier (below, middle distance)
Walter Siegmund Wikimedia.org

Glaciers around the world are losing mass at varying rates, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Program. Glaciers in Patagonia are shrinking fastest, followed by Alaska, then the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

Glaciers in Asia - including the Hindi Kush in the Himalayas -- are losing ice more slowly.

Other key findings of the report include:

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Cancun Climate Conference
11:02 pm
Tue December 7, 2010

Using information technology against climate change

Technology companies from around the world are gathered as part of the U.N. climate summit in Cancun, Mexico this week. The tech wizards say they can be a powerful force for fighting climate change.

In Cancun today, dozens of companies from Intel to H-P to Microsoft signed onto a statement saying information and communications technology can go a long way toward the deep cuts in greenhouse gases that scientists say we need to make in order to avoid major climate disruption in the coming decades.

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Cancun Climate Conference
4:38 pm
Mon December 6, 2010

Could regions hold the key to climate action?

This Greenpeace activist performs in an underwater art museum in Cancun, Mexico, Sunday Dec. 5, 2010. Environmental activists took the water to draw attention to the risk faced by coastal areas under threat of global warming and rising seas.
Courtest Greenpeace.org

Delegates at the U.N. Climate Conference in Cancun Mexico are still haggling over the same sticking points that prevented an agreement a year ago in Copenhagen: who is going to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions how much by when, and who's going to pay for it all.

And with the U.S. unwilling to sign on to the sort of strict economy-wide carbon diet being pushed by Europe and others, right now the signs of progress are few.

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Cancun Climate Conference
9:16 am
Mon December 6, 2010

KPLU at the U.N. Climate Conference in Cancun

Riot police stand in formation outside the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Sunday Dec. 5, 2010.
AP

This week, delegates from nearly 200 countries are trying to wrap up their work at the successor to last year's climate conference in Copenhagen. And I'm one of about 2,000 journalists from around the world who are here to cover the event.

I've spent most of the morning weaving my way through checkpoints of armed Federales. The security here is squeaky-tight. which makes getting around between the widely spread-out conference venues a time-consuming challenge.

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Cancun climate conference
4:51 am
Mon December 6, 2010

West Coast states offer a different vision in Cancun

UNFCCC

A year ago, the United Nations’ climate conference in Copenhagen failed to produce an international agreement on limiting greenhouse gases. Now, delegates from around the world are meeting in Cancun, Mexico to try again. But with the collapse of federal climate legislation in the U.S., regional efforts – like those on the West Coast – are coming back to the forefront.


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Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
6:59 am
Thu December 2, 2010

McGinn wants tunnel-related downtown traffic study

Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct (part of Highway 99) is moving toward replacement by a deep-bore tunnel, something Mayor Mike McGinn and others oppose.
AP

The planned  tunnel to replace Seattle’s Alaskan Way viaduct will include tolls, and that will push traffic onto nearby streets and I-5, according to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.  So, he’s hiring a consultant to look at ways to handle extra traffic.  

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The Cascades
10:36 pm
Wed November 24, 2010

Wildlife sightings wanted from I-90 drivers

The I-90 Wildlife Watch website offers a way to report any wildlife you see while crossing the Cascades over Snoqualmie Pass. It's a multi-agency, multi-state effort that asks you keep your eyes open for animals along the road.
I-90WildlifeWatch.org

Wildlife researchers are asking holiday travelers to keep an eye out for something more than grandmother’s house. The request is specifically for people driving over the hills and through the woods on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass, the Northwest’s busiest mountain pass.

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Bonneville Sea Lions
7:50 am
Wed November 24, 2010

Bonneville sea lions get reprieve from 9th circuit

Several seal lions sit in two traps on the Columbia River near Bonneville Dam shortly before the doors are closed, trapping them for removal.
Don Ryan AP Photo

State and federal agencies can’t go on killing sea lions at Bonneville Dam, after an appeals’ court decision Tuesday.

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Winter Weather
5:02 pm
Mon November 22, 2010

Road departments, Metro use lessons learned from 2008

A Metro bus makes its way up 4th Avenue in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood during Monday's snowstorm, Nov. 22, 2010.
Liam Moriarty/KPLU

Nearly two years ago, heavy snow and ice from an unusual mid-December storm and cold snap left roads and sidewalks treacherous for a week or more. Road and transit agencies in Seattle say the hard lessons they learned during the big snowstorm of 2008 are showing up in their response to this snowfall.

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Saving Puget Sound
3:36 pm
Sun November 21, 2010

Cherry Point Reserve Ten Years in the Making

Cherry Point in Whatcom County. In view is a NOAA ocean observation system completed last year.
NOAA photo

There’s a stretch of shoreline north of Bellingham that hosts oil refineries and other heavy industry. It’s also a key feeding ground for salmon, shorebirds and killer whales. The new Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve – a decade in the making – is meant to thread the needle between protecting the environment and safeguarding family wage jobs.


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Radioactive Animals
8:06 am
Fri November 19, 2010

On the trail of a radioactive mouse

How do you catch a radioactive mouse?  Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers will use standard mousetraps. Radioactive droppings were found at Hanford recently. After nabbing a radioactive rabbit two weeks ago,  workers say catching the mice is no easy task.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
8:36 am
Thu November 18, 2010

Highly radioactive soil found near Columbia River

Hanford Nuclear Reservation officials say they don’t know how much radioactive contaminated soil they’re dealing with yet. What they do know is that newly discovered radioactive dirt exceeds lethal limits and is not far from the Columbia River and the city of Richland.


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The Health of the Ocean
12:24 pm
Wed November 17, 2010

Study: How we measure ocean health is wrong half the time

A load of salmon from Prince William Sound, Alaska, awaits delivery to a fish tender.
Suresh A. Sethi/U of Washington

The most widely-used way of measuring the health of ocean ecosystems is wrong as often as it's right.

And that can lead to thinking that fisheries are sustainable when they're really not.

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Coal Exports
7:40 am
Wed November 17, 2010

Coal export terminal plan draws fire

The coal export terminal would utilize the former Reynolds Aluminum smelter property in Longview, WA.
Tom Banse N3

Plans for a coal export terminal on the Columbia River at Longview are coming under fire from environmental groups. Many of them showed up at a Cowlitz County commission hearing  on Tuesday.


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Reflections on the Water
5:11 am
Wed November 17, 2010

Living on island time: Gabriola Islander Sheila Malcolmson

Sheila Malcolmson stands on the shoreline near her home on Gabriola Island, in the Gulf Islands east of Nanaimo.
Liam Moriarty KPLU

There are more than a thousand islands in the Salish Sea. Some of them are home to good-sized towns, others are inhabited only by wildlife. Either way, the island experience is one of the signatures of this region.


This week in our series “Reflections on the Water,” KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty takes a ferry to Gabriola Island, in British Columbia, population about 4,000. He talks with Sheila Malcolmson about the joys and challenges of island living.

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