February Climate Science News Roundup

With climate change now our daily reality, climate scientists are working hard to understand its effects. And as climate denial and misinformation seems to crop up everywhere these days, it’s more important than ever that we keep tabs of current climate science so we can be effective, informed activists.

With that in mind, each month we’ll be bringing you a curated roundup of the some of the most important current studies on climate-related science, from studies on our changing ocean to news about climate’s effects on key industries.


January was 3rd warmest on record for the globe

Global data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information show that January 2017 was the third-warmest on record since scientists began to track global land and ocean temperatures in 1880. January 2016 was the warmest on record, with 2007 in second place. The dataset also shows record-low sea ice extent at the poles: the average Arctic sea ice extent was 8.6 percent below the 1981-2010 average, while the average Antarctic sea ice extent was 22.8 percent below that average. See all articles →

January Climate Science News Roundup

With climate change now our daily reality, climate scientists are working hard to understand its effects. And as climate denial and misinformation seems to crop up everywhere these days, it’s more important than ever that we keep tabs of current climate science so we can be effective, informed activists.

With that in mind, each month we’ll be bringing you a curated roundup of the some of the most important current studies on climate-related science, from studies on our changing ocean to news about climate’s effects on key industries.

2016 marks three consecutive years of record warmth for the globe

Data from new reports from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information show that the 2016 globally-averaged surface temperature was the highest since recordkeeping began in 1880. Since the start of the 21st century, the annual global temperature record has been broken five times (2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016). The globally averaged sea surface temperature was also the highest on record, at 1.35 degree F above average. The average Arctic sea ice extent for 2016 was the smallest annual average since recordkeeping began in 1979, while the average Antarctic sea ice extent for the year was the second smallest annual average. See all articles →

Climate Camping at Mt. Hood National Forest

00000Climate Change is now a global problem. Day by day the impact of Climate Change is becoming more visible and very acute to life and livelihood.

As part of Bark’s 2016 Summer Base Camp, 350PDX was invited to help organize a focus on climate change and the effects of deforestation from Sept 2 – 4th. During the weekend, over 80 people participated from different organizations and places to make it successful. The primary goal of Base Camp, which consisted of two 2 week camps was to bring people together to gather on-the-ground information about the area threatened by the Forest Service’s Hunter Timber Sale project. The camping included a variety of free workshops and activities each evening at camp, from live improv theatre to climate action training! This camp out was a significant way of encouraging more people to get involved to advocate for the protection this amazing forest. Read more

Guest Editorial: Climate Denial and the Oregonian

On May 26th the Oregonian published an editorial criticizing the Portland Public Schools for passing a resolution on climate change and the school curriculum. The editorial uses the term critical thinking three times and claims that the PPS are failing to teach it.

Part of critical thinking is learning to recognize sincere and legitimate discussion and understand the difference between that and efforts at fear-mongering, self-aggrandizement and manipulation. This editorial is so clearly the latter that the only thing the editorial actually says is something about the political posture of the Oregonian editorial staff.

The editorial states “After the applause died, the board, Esparza Brown included, turned right around and indicated that some viewpoints — those that challenge the thinking of climate-change activists — may not be tolerable after all.”

We are talking about science here, not viewpoints, beliefs, personal opinions or the thinking of activists (who don’t all agree with each other anyway). What the PPS did is to decide to update their curriculum to reflect the current state of climate science.

Already in 2010, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) declared anthropogenic (human caused) climate change to be a settled fact.

For the Portland Public Schools to be following the lead of a prestigious and conservative organization like the NAS is not the slightest bit controversial. And the NOAA, NASA, MIT, British MET and every other major institution worldwide that studies the climate has the same conclusion and has for some years now. The science is settled. Read more

A Misleading Beauty: Why Portland’s Air and Water Aren’t As Clean As We Thought

Willamette River (image from Ecopol Project

Willamette River (image from Ecopol Project)

I stand on the shores of the Willamette River, on sandy rocks that were underwater during the winter rains. The Scouler’s willows are full again. The salmonberries have deep pink flowers. The air smells like cottonwood pollen, a scent so inextricably tied to the river that I can’t smell one without thinking of the other.

I’ve known the river nearly all my life. When I was a child we played on its banks, sitting in the sun, climbing on the rock cliffs. One winter a thin sheet of ice formed on it, and we marveled at its fragility, how, in the pale light before sunset, spider web cracks already glistened along its edges. We dared only to tap the ice with our fingertips and ran, laughing, into the snow.   Read more

Expulsions

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 9.27.49 PMPhotos emerged this past week of the worst coral bleaching event in the history of the Great Barrier Reef. Coral bleaching happens when water is too warm or acidic. Corals under these conditions will expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. One of the largest living structures in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is made of these corals. How do we grieve for the dying of this life? Can expulsions in nature help us notice expulsions in our own city? Some people, such as esteemed scholar Saskia Sassen, argue that we must begin connecting the dots between disparate forms of expulsion if we hope to understand issues like climate change or displacement in the modern world.

Read more

New Film On Jordan Cove Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Released

The largest greenhouse gas emitting plant in Oregon, if built, would be the Jordan Cove energy project. A new film, 36 Inches, has been put together about it. Click here to check it out

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3 TED Talks to Feed Your Thoughts

How about a coffee with a climate change expert? Over the course of the next week, I invite you to three coffee-dates with a president, an entrepreneur, and a scientist. Each specialist will provide you with information and questions to spark your thoughts around climate change and sustainability.

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Changing Climate: Salmon are cooking, but not on the grill

BillBradburyAt a community gathering in Portland recently, Bill Bradbury, former Oregon Secretary of State, served up a big dish of reasons why we in the Northwest, and around the world, need to take note of what’s happening to our planet (including you, me, and the communities we live in) as a result of climate change. The presentation, held at Taborspace, was sponsored by 350PDX and Renew Oregon – two of a long list of local organization working on climate issues and solutions.

Prior to serving as Secretary of State for nine years, Bradbury worked in the Oregon Legislature for fourteen years. He is now one of two representatives from Oregon appointed to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Bradbury has been active in environmental protection throughout his career  – among other pursuits, directing a non-profit, For the Sake of the Salmon. He was one the first cohorts to receive Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leader‘s training in 2006. Since then he’s presented on climate change issues and solutions on more than 400 occasions.

I’m usually not fond of scare tactics around the topic of climate change, but Bradbury’s presentation delivered just the right amount of reality shock to wake us up and take note. For an hour I listened and learned with gripping suspense, but did not walk away hopeless. Read more

Standing Tall for the Redwoods

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Eastmoreland Redwoods

In the Eastmoreland neighborhood, just south of Reed College on Southeast Martin Street, three giant sequoias, each approximately 150 years old, had been slated for removal in June of this year. They stand on a property made of two lots that were bought for $650,000 by Vic Remmers of Everett Custom Homes. One of the lots had a home on it that they demolished due to it having been pushed over by tree roots. They had only paid the city $1,200 per tree, however, for permission to hack down the iconic giants that were at least 150 feet tall each and have a life span of 500-1000 years. The usual 35-day waiting period that allows the public to comment on such a project had been waived. Their plan was to build 2 huge new high-dollar homes on the land. These majestic trees were not intended to be re-used by the company for lumber or for anything at all, rather they were to be chopped up, pushed into a chipper, and dumped at the landfill. Read more