climate change

Cheuk-man Kong / Flikr

Amazon.com has been thriving, despite the economic downturn. Shares in the company are now worth more than five times a much as they were five years ago, thanks in part to innovations such as its electronic book reader, the Kindle, or its move into data storage of all kinds of things "in the cloud."

But it's just these futuristic lines of business that have some shareholders worried. 

One of the world's best-known thinkers about global climate change is Australian writer Tim Flannery. He's not only a best-selling author, he's also his country's first Chief Commissioner for Climate Change.

His latest book, Here on Earth: a Natural History of the Planet, paints a hopeful picture of the future of human life on earth. He recently gave a talk in Seattle, where he said his message of optimism seemed to have trouble getting through to his audience.

KPLU's Bellamy Pailthorp caught up with him for an interview.

Washington State University photo

A new industry is emerging in the Pacific Northwest – for development, production and distribution of aviation biofuels.

A consortium called Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest has just spent ten months producing an exhaustive study.  They've identified the four-state region of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana as a serious contender in the race to produce environmentally friendly jet fuels.

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Bill Gates was the keynote speaker for Seattle-based Climate Solutions‘ annual fund-raising breakfast today.

The gist of Gates’ message: The best way to fight climate change is to create forms of energy production that significantly reduce carbon emissions and are cheap enough to be of value to poor people worldwide.

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The owner of the largest coal-fired power plant in the Northwest has agreed to phase out coal-burning by the end of 2025.

Washington’s governor and environmental groups announced an agreement with TransAlta Corporation Saturday. Within hours, the Washington State Senate passed a bill to turn the deal into law.

Kay Schultz / DOE Flickr feed

Shorelines around Washington are experiencing extreme high tides through the end of the month. Known as “king tides,” they’re a natural wintertime phenomenon in the Northwest. But they may also provide a glimpse into our future.

Google Maps

A remarkable piece of scientific detective work has constructed a 6,000 year climate history of the Pacific Northwest. The record reveals a pattern of drought cycles and wet cycles.

Researchers drilled into the sediments at the bottom of Castor Lake near Omak, Washington. It's a telltale lake because with no river running out of it rainfall and evaporation rule there.

Tom Banse / N3

Previously undisclosed documents are raising questions about whether the Australian company trying to build a new coal export facility in Longview has tried to snooker local officials.

According to an article in the New York Times, documents show officials at Millennium Bulk Terminals “tried to limit what state officials knew about its long-term goals during the early permitting process last year.”

Josh Landis / National Science Foundation

If an iceberg cracks in Antarctica and no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound? Now we know the answer is, in fact, yes.

A University of Washington oceanographer has released a recording of the breakup of one of the largest icebergs ever observed in Antarctica.

Johanna Ofner, Climate Policy Group

The Washington Department of Ecology is asking for your photos of high tides through the month of February. Extreme high tides, known as king tides, occur once or twice a year when the gravitational pull of the sun and moon reinforce each other. 

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:

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