Environment

The Two-Way
7:15 am
Mon March 31, 2014

U.N. Report Raises Climate Change Warning, Points To Opportunities

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report.
ipcc.ch

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:07 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Geoff Brumfiel on the U.N. panel's report

"The effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans," and the world is mostly "ill-prepared" for the risks that the sweeping changes present, a new report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes.

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NPR Story
5:05 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Researchers Detail How Climate Change Will Alter Our Lives

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 7:55 am

A United Nations panel has released a report from scientists who are getting a much better understanding of the effects of climate change.

The Salt
5:09 am
Sun March 30, 2014

No-Kill Caviar Aims To Keep The Treat And Save The Sturgeon

This Vivace "no-kill" caviar was harvested from a Siberian sturgeon via a massage-based technique. The fish didn't die. But did the taste survive?
Alastair Bland for NPR

Caviar was once the food of kings and czars — and for a sturgeon, it meant death.

But a new technique of massaging the ripe eggs from a female sturgeon — without killing or even cutting the fish open— could make caviar more abundant, more affordable, and more accessible to all.

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Environment
5:02 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Review Of West Virginia Water Finds More Work To Be Done

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 6:59 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

A group of independent researchers has found that the chemical crude MCHM is still present in some West Virginia homes. That's the coal-cleaning chemical that spilled into the Elk River back in January out of a storage tank operated by the company Freedom Industries. The spill contaminated drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. The research group was formed by West Virginia's governor after public pressure.

Dave Mistich of West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports on the research group's latest findings.

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The Two-Way
5:41 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

In U.S., Mudslides Common, But Usually Few Deaths

Workers use heavy equipment to clear trees and other debris, near Darrington, Wash., on Thursday.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 3:31 am

Washington state, with its many steep slopes, streams and rivers and some of the heaviest annual rainfall in the country, is a mudslide waiting to happen. Add in soil erosion from logging, as was reportedly the case near the community of Oso before last week's tragedy, and the probability of such an event increases.

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Environment
7:09 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

WIR 03/28/2014

Checking in with Dave and Jenny Miles

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The Salt
12:39 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Can The Meat Industry Help Protect Wildlife? Some Say Yes

Fox Ranch, outside Yuma County, Colo., is a 14,000-acre nature preserve and working cattle ranch owned by The Nature Conservancy. The ranch is an experiment in planned grazing, which aims to improve soil health and help ranchers' bottom lines.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 3:15 pm

Last week we reported on a new campaign from the Center for Biological Diversity that hopes to persuade Americans to cut back on their meat consumption. Their pitch? Eat less meat and you will help save wildlife.

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The Two-Way
5:39 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Massive Nor'easter Rakes New England

A NOAA satellite image of the storm off the coast of New England.
NOAA

New England is getting a hard glancing blow from a huge winter storm that has generated hurricane-force winds and such adjectives as "mind-blowing" and "monster" from normally mild-mannered meteorologists.

One look at weather satellite images of North America is all it takes to understand: This is a huge, classic nor'easter. WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue says the storm's "integrated kinetic energy" is four times that of superstorm Sandy.

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Environment
5:31 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Brings 'Bad Juju' And Pain 25 Years Later

Scott Pegau, a scientist at the Prince William Sound Science Center, studies the effects of spilled oil on the environment in Cordova, Alaska.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:54 pm

At Ross Mullins' home in Cordova, Alaska, you have to slam the front door extra hard to make it close. The former commercial fisherman lives in a small wood-frame house that's in need of repair. Some of the windows are cracked and he leaves the water faucets dripping to protect uninsulated pipes from the harsh Alaskan winter.

When the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground and started leaking oil 25 years ago, the disaster drastically changed the fishing industry in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Mullins has never recovered from that blow.

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Around the Nation
4:56 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Washington State's 'Slide Hill' Has A History Of Landslides

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 8:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's now five days into the search for survivors of the massive landslide in Oso in Washington's Snohomish County. National Guard Troops are combing the area with emergency extraction teams. The unofficial death toll so far is now 24, and authorities are promising more clarity tomorrow on the list of missing people. Some 176 persons are unaccounted for but the real number is thought to be lower than that.

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Environment
5:04 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Toxic Chemical Dioxane Detected In More Water Supplies

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 7:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Earlier this year, a chemical spill in West Virginia forced officials to put a ban on drinking water that affected some 300,000 people. This also highlighted an unsettling truth: While officials test our drinking supply, they're only targeting a few chemicals. Many contaminants go undetected.

Here's NPR's Elizabeth Shogren.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Toxic chemicals can make it into tap water for years without experts knowing it. That's because of a basic fact about how treatment plants test their water.

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The Salt
3:21 am
Wed March 26, 2014

What A Long, Strange Trip: Salmon Are Trucking To The Pacific Ocean

Pacific Or Bust: Fingerling Chinook salmon are dumped into a holding pen as they are transferred from a truck into the Sacramento River Tuesday in Rio Vista, Calif. From here, they'll be towed downstream for a bit, then make their own way out to the Pacific Ocean.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

In California, severe drought has imperiled millions of juvenile salmon who now face waters too dry to let them make their usual spawning trip to the ocean. So state and federal officials have embarked on a drastic plan to save them – by letting them hitch a ride on tanker trucks.

Over the next two and a half months, some 30 million Chinook salmon will be trucked from five hatcheries in the state's Central Valley to waters where they can make their way to the ocean.

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The Salt
4:42 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

In Ranchers Vs. Weeds, Climate Change Gives Weeds An Edge

A tall, rubbery weed with golden flowers Dalmatian toadflax is encroaching on grasslands in 32 U.S. states.
pverdonk/Flickr

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 7:28 pm

Most climate models paint a bleak picture of the Great Plains a century from now as a hot region besieged by heavy rainstorms and flooding.

And new studies suggest that climate change may bring farmers another headache: more invasive plants.

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News
4:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

After Oil Spill, Ships Start Moving — But Cleanup Has Just Begun

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 7:28 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Vessels are moving once again in the Houston ship channel. The waterway was closed after a barge crash over the weekend spilled thousands of gallons of oil. The Coast Guard now says the channel on the Gulf of Mexico had been cleared enough to allow barge traffic to enter and exit. Still, the cleanup of one of the world's busiest waterways, which is also a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife, continues.

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Shots - Health News
3:07 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Pollution From Home Stoves Kills Millions Of People Worldwide

Many people like these Tibetans in Qinghai, China, rely on indoor stoves for heating and cooking. That causes serious health problems.
Courtesy of One Earth Designs

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 4:35 pm

Air pollution has become the world's largest environmental risk, killing an estimated 7 million people in 2012, the World Health Organization says.

That means about 1 out of every 8 deaths in the world each year is due to air pollution. And half of those deaths are caused by household stoves, according to the WHO report published Tuesday.

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The Salt
12:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Food Giants Want 'Sustainable' Beef. But What Does That Mean?

Customers order food from a McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Ill. The company has promised to start buying "verified sustainable beef" in 2016.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 3:07 pm

McDonald's made a big green splash a few months ago by announcing that it will start buying "verified sustainable" beef in 2016.

A chorus of voices responded, "What's 'verified sustainable' beef?"

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The Salt
4:24 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Carp(e) Diem: Kentucky Sends Invasive Fish To China

Commercial fisherman Ronnie Hopkins (left) and his assistant, Armondo, catch Asian carp on Lake Barkley, Ky.
Paul Rister AP

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 9:47 pm

The invasive Asian carp has now been found in 12 states and in the Great Lakes watershed, gobbling up native fish, jumping aggressively into boats and reproducing like crazy. Researchers have tried various ways to slow the spread of the fish as it prowls other waterways.

And, so far, efforts to introduce the big, bony fish to American diners haven't caught on. So now a processing plant in Kentucky is trying the latest method of Asian carp disposal: sending them to China.

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Energy
4:24 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

A Dubious Birthday For The Exxon Valdez

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 2:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Here's a bit of what we learned when we woke up that morning, 25 years ago today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

JEAN COCHRAN: A Coast Guard spokesman in Juneau, Alaska says an oil tanker has run aground in an ice field 20 miles off Valdez. That's the terminus of...

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Environment
4:24 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

The Hearts Of Fish Still Bear Scars Of Oil Spilled Years Ago

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 6:46 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The spill in the Houston Ship Channel is another assault on one of the world's richest fishing grounds. The channel drains into the Gulf of Mexico and new research out today shows the Gulf's marine life is very vulnerable to the effects of oil. Much of what scientists have learned comes from studying the underwater leak of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig back in 2010. Here's NPR's Elizabeth Shogren.

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News
4:24 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Oil Spill Disrupts A Waterway Thick With Barges And Birds

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 6:46 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel.

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Around the Nation
5:07 am
Mon March 24, 2014

25 Years After Spill, Alaska Town Struggles Back From 'Dead Zone'

Orca Inlet, Cordova's fishing harbor, on a blustery day this month. Commercial fishing is the small Alaskan town's primary industry.
Marisa Peñaloza NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 12:25 pm

On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the pristine water. At the time, it was the single biggest spill in U.S. history. In a series of stories, NPR is examining the lasting social and economic impacts of the disaster, as well as the policy, regulation and scientific research that came out of it.

It's a blustery, snowy March day when Michelle Hahn O'Leary offers a tour of Cordova, Alaska, situated on the eastern shore of Prince William Sound.

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Environment
7:41 am
Sun March 23, 2014

The Lingering Legacy Of The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 11:37 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Here in this country, a barge carrying nearly a million gallons of oil has collided with a ship in Galveston Bay, Texas. Cleanup crews are on the scene, but there's no word yet on the extent of the damage.

The spill comes as the country marks a grim milestone. Twenty-five years ago, Captain Joseph Hazelwood made this emergency call.

CAPTAIN JOSEPH HAZELWOOD: Yeah, it's the Valdez back, we've, should be on your radar there, we've fetched up hard aground.

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Environment
5:18 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

New Twist In Ecuadorians' Long Pollution Fight With Chevron

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 8:47 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

While Alaska studies the long-term effects of oil exposure on fish, in Ecuador, they're worried about the human population. Texaco, now owned by Chevron, was drilling in the town of Lago Agrio until 1992. The residents say the company left behind billions of gallons of toxic waste.

Reporter Adam Klasfeld has been following the case for Courthouse News and is reporting in Ecuador right now. He says the lingering effects of the oil are still obvious.

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Environment
5:18 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

The Change That Seeped From The Exxon Valdez Spill

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 8:47 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

Russian forces have now seized the airbase at Belbek, one of the last military installations in Crimea previously under Ukrainian control.

NPR's Gregory Warner is there and will have the latest on that in a little while. But first, a radio transmission from March 24, 1989 to the vessel traffic center in Valdez, Alaska, just after midnight.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO TRANSMISSION RECORDING)

CAPTAIN JOSEPH HAZELWOOD: We're leaking some oil.

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Science
2:03 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

Why The Exxon Valdez Spill Was A Eureka Moment For Science

An oiled murre passes the darkened shoreline near Prince William Sound, Alaska, less than a month after the March 1989 spill.
Erik Hill Anchorage Daily News/MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 11:36 am

On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the pristine water. At the time, it was the single biggest spill in U.S. history. In a series of stories, NPR is examining the lasting social and economic impacts of the disaster, as well as the policy, regulation and scientific research that came out of it.

Twenty-five years of research following the Exxon Valdez disaster has led to some startling conclusions about the persistent effects of spilled oil.

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It's All Politics
5:16 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Why Are We Hauling Pennsylvania Coal All The Way To Germany?

Several tons of anthracite coal fill a basement space in Pottsville, Pa.
Bradley C. Bower AP

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 11:25 am

There are budget earmarks from powerful congressmen, earmarks from not-so-powerful congressmen and, as it turns out for an old mining town in Pennsylvania's Appalachians, there's even an earmark from a long-dead congressman.

In the 1960s and 70s, powerful Democrat Daniel Flood worked to find a federal government buyer for the anthracite coal mined in his district. He succeeded: Some five decades later, the heat coming off the radiators at the U.S. military's installation at Kaiserslautern, Germany, is still generated by burning Pennsylvania anthracite.

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The Salt
1:43 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

How Your Love Of Burgers May Be Helping To Drive Wildlife Extinct

Rancher Denny Johnson looks over his cattle in Joseph, Ore., in 2011. Conservationists say ranchers raising beef cattle are responsible for the decline of some wildlife.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:57 pm

Many animal lovers have made peace with their decision to eat meat.

But the Center for Biological Diversity has a new campaign that hopes to convince them that a hamburger habit does wildlife a disservice.

"We need to see a drastic reduction in meat consumption to protect land, water and wildlife," Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director for the Center for Biological Diversity, tells The Salt.

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The Salt
10:38 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Why 500 Million U.S. Seafood Meals Get Dumped In The Sea

A marlin caught as bycatch by the California drift gillnet fishery. The conservation group Oceana called the fishery one of the "dirtiest" in the U.S. because of its high rate of discarded fish and other marine animals.
Courtesy of NOAA

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 3:04 pm

Seafood often travels huge distances over many days to reach the people who eat it. And it's often impossible to know where a fillet of fish or a few frozen shrimp came from — and, perhaps more importantly, just how they were caught.

Fortunately, activists are doing the homework for us, and what they're telling us could make your next fish dinner a little less tasty.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:23 am
Fri March 21, 2014

What's The Biggest Animal Gathering Ever? (Was Rod Stewart There?)

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 10:08 am

It's a small moment in a sprawling Shakespeare play. Most people miss it. A nobleman named Mortimer has been locked up by the king, who decrees: Don't anyone say "Mortimer" in my royal presence. That name is forbidden. But one of Mortimer's allies has a plan. He wants to give the king a little bird, a starling.

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It's All Politics
5:04 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

White House Launches Climate Change Data Website

People walk along Venice Beach in Los Angeles. A new climate-focused U.S. government website will provide data on sea level rise and coastal flooding.
Damian Dovarganes AP

The White House on Wednesday rolled out a new initiative designed to make climate data more accessible to researchers and industries trying to adapt to global warming.

The project includes the introduction of a climate-focused section of the federal government's open data platform at climate.data.gov; an innovation challenge to solicit ideas from the private sector to demonstrate coastal flooding; and collaboration with companies like Google and Ersi to provide technological support.

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