Liam Moriarty

Environment Reporter

Liam Moriarty started with KPLU in 1996 as our freelance correspondent in the San Juan Islands. He’s been our full-time Environment Reporter since November, 2006. In between, Liam was News Director at Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Oregon for three years and reported for a variety of radio, print and web news sources in the Northwest. He's covered a wide range of environment issues, from timber, salmon and orcas to oil spills, land use and global warming. Liam is an avid sea kayaker, cyclist and martial artist.

Liam's most memorable KPLU radio moment: "Recording a musician swapping songs with killer whales from a boat in the middle of Johnstone Strait in British Columbia."

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AP

West Coast fishermen are faced with a new way of deciding who gets to catch how much of what kinds of fish. Federal fisheries managers -- and many fishermen -- say it’ll be good for business and for fish stocks. But others fear the impact on small fishing communities.

How has it been done up till now?

AP file photo

The US Coast Guard has released its 192-page report on the sinking of the fishing trawler Alaska Ranger in March of 2008. The 189-foot fish processing vessel took on water and sank about 130 miles west of Dutch Harbor, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Forty seven people were on board: all but five were rescued.

Near as could be determined, the Alaska Ranger sank when a leak around the rudder flooded into the engine room and other compartments, causing the boat to sink in about two hours.

The report, by the Coast Guard's marine board of investigations, found fault all around.

AP

It was time to put up or shut up. Delegates to the United Nations climate conference in Cancun knew if they came out of the talks empty-handed, the whole effort to reach a global warming treaty could collapse. The agreement that emerged over the past weekend made just enough progress to keep the talks alive for another year.

AP/Lou Dematteis-SpectralQ

The focus of attention at the U.N. climate summit in Cancun, Mexico is global warming caused by too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But there’s another impact of high carbon levels that poses a whole different set of problems: it makes the ocean more acidic.

AP

A pair of college students from Seattle are among the members of the American Youth Delegation at the U.N. climate summit in Cancun, Mexico. They’re allowed to attend some of the negotiations, but the young people say they have a moral right to have a greater say.

When I met with Ian Siadak and Lauren Ressler, they came across as smart, articulate and well-informed. They’re also a little ticked off.

Liam Moriarty / KPLU News

Nearly 200 countries are represented at the U.N. climate summit this week in Cancun, Mexico. There are also caucuses speaking up for the interests of women, indigenous people, and others whose voices often haven’t been heard. Today I spent some time today with another under-represented group; young people.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Paula Wissel/KPLU

Bitterly cold temperatures are expected to give way to rain and highs near 40 degrees Thanksgiving Day. In Seattle, the city’s severe-weather shelters have been offering the homeless a warm place to spend the night. But what happens when it thaws? 

Liam Moriarty/KPLU / KPLU News

The recent icy winds and frigid temperatures have been making life uncomfortable for pretty much everybody. But for folks without a place to call home, the cold snap can make an already-difficult life miserable.

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.

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.

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.

Sheila Malcolmson
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.

Liam Moriarty / KPLU

For most of his career, Edmonds artist Michael Reagan drew life-like portraits of the rich and famous; movie stars, sports figures, six presidents, the Pope. But several years ago, he started drawing pictures of American soldiers killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and offering them free to the families.

The artist - who's also a Vietnam vet -- feels this gift to the loved ones left behind is a kind of healing, not only for the families, but for himself.

We tend to think of homelessness as an urban problem. But during the recent overnight count of the homeless in the Seattle area, there was a nearly 70 percent increase from last year in suburban south King County.

KPLU's Liam Moriarty spent that night prowling the greenbelts, highway overpasses and parking lots of Federal Way with two homeless men and their minister.

Andrew Reding / Flickr

In some ways, the Puget Sound's orca whales  are very familiar. We've even given them individual names.  But there's still a lot we don't know, like where the whales go and what they eat.

Now that they're listed as endangered, those have become important questions. KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty accompanied a research crew trying to get answers.

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