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climate change

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Severe storms. Heat waves. Rising seas. New England is already seeing the impacts of climate change, and scientists project they will become more severe and deadly, shaping how we live and work in the northeastern U.S.

In a special ahead of Inauguration Day, the New England News Collaborative and America Amplified look at climate change in our region and how President-elect Joe Biden’s administration could affect future climate action. Biden has proposed the most ambitious climate platform of any incoming U.S. president in history.

Alex Liivet, Flickr Creative Commons / edited by Chion Wolf


There’s not a lot of great headlines in the news lately. Y’know, between a contentious election, rioting in the Capitol, a raging pandemic, and lots and lots of dangerous misinformation.

Robin Lubbock / WBUR

Transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to federal data. Those emissions have harmful impacts on health and the environment, and it's a problem we contribute to when we drive, fly, take public transportation or buy food that was carted across the country. 

The MIRA trash-to-energy plant in Hartford, which is now slated to shut down in 2022
Cloe Poisson / Connecticut Mirror

For years, Connecticut sent large portions of waste to the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) trash-to-energy plant in Hartford. This, in spite of protests by Hartford residents, who say pollution from the plant has caused health problems. Now, the plant will close in 2022.

Today, we talk with Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes about the state's garbage.

The commissioner has said the state is facing a “waste crisis” in coming years. So what’s the solution?

NOAA Permit #932-1905

The tension between protecting the environment and people’s livelihoods is on full display in the new documentary “Entangled,” a film that focuses on one of the world’s most endangered species – the North Atlantic right whale – and the lobster industry, which is the most valuable fishery in North America.

New Method To Save New England Salt Marshes Piloted In Mass.

Nov 19, 2020
Wenley Ferguson, director of habitat restoration for Save the Bay in Rhode Island, stands by the excavator on the Little Bay salt marsh in Fairhaven.
Eve Zuckoff / CapsandIslands.org

Wearing tall rubber boots, a scientist walked along an overgrown path to the Little Bay salt marsh in Fairhaven, on Cape Cod.

“I'm going to kind of weave us up through this back zone,” said Alice Besterman, the post-doctoral researcher with the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Sanofi Pasteur / Creative Commons

The Center on Climate Change and Health at the Yale School of Public Health has just released a report on climate change and health in Connecticut. It comes to some troubling conclusions and makes urgent calls to action. One of the authors of that report is Laura Bozzi, Ph.D. She outlined the report’s findings on Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

Beef cattle standing in a field
Carmen Baskauf / WNPR

Do you worry about how you’re everyday actions contribute to climate change? You may think about the carbon gas-burning cars are putting into the atmosphere, or coal-powered electricity in your houses.

But what about the food you eat?

This hour we talk about the role of the livestock industry on putting carbon into the atmosphere. Are our carnivorous habits contributing to the climate crisis?

Permafrost thaw on the Peel Plateau of Canada
Scott Zolkos / Woodwell Climate Research Center

As climate change continues to raise temperatures worldwide, the arctic is warming even faster than the rest of the world.

Today, we take a look at the unique arctic terrain that is under threat from climate change: the permafrost. This frozen landscape is defined by deep layers of soil that never get above freezing.

But now, that’s starting to change, and the permafrost is starting to thaw—with devastating affects for the communities living on top of it.

Firefighters are battling multiple wildfires in northern California that are threatening entire towns, while thousands are under evacuation orders, burning through homes and some of the state's prestigious wineries.

Speaking at a news conference Monday afternoon, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the fast moving Glass Fire in Napa County and the Zogg Fire in Shasta County, are top priorities. Both fires erupted Sunday and their cause is under investigation.

Hurricane: NASA Goddard - Flickr Creative Commons / Tornado: Justin1569 - Wikipedia / Wildfire: U.S. Dept of Agriculture - Wikipedia

I’ve had a recurring dream ever since I was a little kid: I’m playing in the front yard of the house I grew up in, and suddenly, the atmosphere around me changes. I feel an ominous breeze on my face. I look up, and barreling down the street, is a tornado headed straight for me. I turn to run… and the dream ends. 

I think my compulsion to run away from dangerous weather - in my dreams and in real life - is probably shared by a lot of people. But today? The folks you’re gonna meet go towards the danger to stop it, or to document it so we can understand it better.


Wildfires in the Western U.S. continue to blaze, with much of the activity centered in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

In Oregon and Washington, 28 large fires are burning across 1.5 million acres. But the Bureau of Land Management noted that growth has slowed for a number of the major fires. The large Beachie Creek Fire east of Salem, Ore., had recorded no new growth in the previous day.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced Monday the state is taking on one of the world’s biggest oil companies, suing ExxonMobil for allegedly lying to consumers about climate change. At a news conference in New Haven, Tong contended the company has known for the past 70 years that its products were contributing to climate change.

Marina Shamesh / PublicDomainPictures.net

On sweltering summer days, having a house or apartment with air conditioning is important not only for comfort, but also for safety.  The need to cool down will only grow as climate change makes our world  hotter.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

What do the 2020 Doomsday Clock - you know, the calculation that tells us which technologies and conditions may annihilate us all - and the 2020 presidential election have in common?

Your vote impacts the outcome.

Marina Shamesh / PublicDomainPictures.net

On sweltering summer days, having a house or apartment with air conditioning is important not only for comfort, but also for safety.  The need to cool down will only grow as climate change makes our world  hotter.

But air conditioning itself also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. This hour, we talk about how to make sure climate-friendly cooling options are available to everyone.

Here in Connecticut, not all residents can afford to run air conditioners in the heat of summer because of sky-high electricity costs. We talk about how energy efficient homes are important not only for our state’s carbon footprint, but also for racial and socioeconomic equity.

A Dangerous Mix: High Ozone Levels And Obesity

Jul 9, 2020
Melanie Carol Stengel

For the 29 percent of Connecticut adults who live with obesity, summer brings a difficult form of air pollution. Ground-level ozone is the colorless, odorless gas formed when auto exhaust reacts with sunlight at temperatures above 80 degrees. Ozone can be dangerous for people who have higher body mass indexes.

Robin Lubbock / WBUR

The pandemic has forced many people in New England into a dire economic situation. But there is at least one potential silver lining: the opportunity for climate action. It’s likely the federal government will approve stimulus money again to try to boost the economy, and many environmentalists propose we intentionally direct some of those funds toward “green” recovery. 

david siu / flickr creative commons

Nobody likes termites. They get into the wood in our homes and can lead to infuriating and expensive repairs. What's to like?

It turns out, there's a lot to like termites. Scientists study how they build their mounds for clues to solving some of the world's most pressing problems, like mitigating the effects of drought, building colonies on Mars, and creating biofuels.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Since the pandemic hit, carbon emissions have dropped globally. A study in “Nature Climate Change” found a 17 percent decrease in emissions by early April. In New England, data show that air pollution and energy consumption are down.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings.

But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

Consider this: From almost any vantage point (literally -- any vantage point in the universe), clouds are planet Earth's defining characteristic.

They're what changes, what moves. They're what's going on on our pale blue dot.

Wikipedia

Reality TV shows like the Discovery Channel's Doomsday Bunkers and National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers perpetuate a stereotype of "preppers" that omits the wide swath of people who engage in preparedness in a less extreme and more varied way.

Talk of nuclear war, climate apocalypse, pandemic, economic instability, and the decline of democracy has led more people to think about how to survive a catastrophic -- if not apocalyptic -- event.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

How often do you buy new clothing?

Stores like H&M and Forever 21 sell new styles at low prices, making it easy to constantly update your wardrobe. But, this hour: the environmental and social costs of "fast fashion". 

From unsafe garment factories to pollution in rivers, we hear about impacts of the fashion industry from journalist Jasmin Malik Chua.

Wood Thrush
Paul J. Fusco

Have you noticed fewer sparrows or warblers flitting about your backyard? Bird populations in North America have been declining for years, but in 2019, the data was particularly grim. Two-thirds of bird species are at risk of extinction due to climate change and urbanization, according to recent studies. What does that mean for Connecticut’s birds?

Rob Russell / Wikimedia Commons

Scientists estimate bush fires in Southeastern Australia have killed hundreds of millions of animals. This hour, we talk about the fires’ impact on biodiversity.

And we learn about how climate change is shaping wildfire patterns around the globe. Are severe natural disasters becoming the “new normal”?

kateausburn / Creative Commons

After years of debate, a solar array spread over more than 130 acres in Simsbury is operational and producing power. Representatives for the Tobacco Valley Solar Farm notified the state Siting Council in a letter Tuesday. 

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

When we think about animals that inhabit the cold New England ocean, sharks, seals, or lobsters may spring to mind. But there’s another critter lurking in the deep off our coast, and it’s one that may hold valuable secrets that could help its tropical cousins.

And you may not have even known that it’s actually an animal: coral. 

On "good" bad days, the shells lie open at the bottom of the river, shimmering in the refracted sunlight. Their insides, pearl white and picked clean of flesh, flicker against the dark riverbed like a beacon, alerting the world above to a problem below.

Phil Roeder / Creative Commons

Defense Secretary Mark Esper demanded the resignation of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Sunday. Esper said he had lost confidence in Spencer. Esper's action follows Spencer publicly disagreeing with President Trump over the military's decision to demote one of three war criminals the president pardoned against military advice. What are the consequences of presidential interference in the military code of justice?

Students Storm Field At Halftime Of Harvard-Yale Football Game To Protest Climate Change

Nov 24, 2019
Courtesy of Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard

Protesters wearing the colors of both Harvard and Yale staged a sit-in at midfield of Yale Bowl during halftime of the 136th edition of the annual football rivalry known as The Game. Most left after about an hour when they were escorted off by police; a handful who remained were told by police they were under arrest.

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