climate change

A scene from 1967's "Son of Godzilla."
Toho / Sony Pictures

This year’s El Niño might be the strongest ever. The phenomenon — marked by unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America — means more precipitation could be on the way for Oklahoma. The state’s wheat farmers are hopeful, but know too much rain at the wrong time can be ruinous.

Mike Rosen runs a grain elevator near Kingfisher. He says Oklahoma’s wheat farmers can’t seem to catch a break.

The Grand River Dam Authority's coal-fired plant in Chouteau, Okla., which is impacted by the Regional Haze Rule.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Even before the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan was finalized, politicians in Oklahoma were already fighting it in the court of public opinion, and in real court, too. And Gov. Mary Fallin has vowed that Oklahoma will not submit a state compliance plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

By the end of June, This year, Matt Plenge’s Kahoka, Mo., farm has received close to four times its normal rainfall.
Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

Driving down a two-lane highway in rural Missouri, Matt Plenge squinted at a patch of gray clouds hanging low over his farm fields in the distance.

“Does it look hazy up there?” he asked. “We only had a 20 percent chance today. We shouldn't get any rain.”

Plenge, like most farmers, always keeps one eye on the weather. But this spring, it’s been his primary and constant concern.

“It seems like it rains for three or four days and after it rains, we get one day of sunshine,” Plenge said. “And then it rains again.”

The United States says climate change will be front and center on the agenda of the Arctic Council – the intergovernmental body made up of eight countries with territories in the region.

The U.S. is now chair of the council, which includes Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Founded in 1996, the council’s purpose is to promote cooperation in the region. They are not policymakers, but do advise governments on issues related to the Arctic.

One of Congress' most vocal skeptics of climate change is backing a measure saying it is real and not a hoax — but says it's arrogance to believe human beings are causing it.

In a surprise move, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined an effort Wednesday by Democrats to get the GOP on the record about climate science. The Republican-controlled Senate backed the non-binding measure 98-1 Wednesday. It reads, "Climate change is real and not a hoax."

Many Republicans deny the science or say they don't have the expertise to form an opinion. Inhofe said Wednesday he doesn't buy what most scientists accept — that the burning of fossil fuels from human activities is to blame.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) at an impromptu news conference during climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009.
Andrew Revkin / Flickr

The Republican wave that put the party back in full control of Congress also put Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe back in charge of the Senate committee that oversees the country’s environmental policies.

Senator Jim Inhofe / Facebook

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) says "talk is cheap" when it comes to the agreement on greenhouse gas emissions between the United States and China.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, three of the top six years for catastrophic insurance losses — topping $142 billion — have taken place since 2005, and scientists agree that climate change has played a major role.

Hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy come to mind, as do myriads of fires, droughts and floods. The costs are huge and businesses are not waiting for Congress to take action — they’re doing everything they can to become climate resistant, if not climate-proof.

Future temperature changes pose serious risks to the climate-sensitive agricultural and energy industries in Oklahoma and other Great Plains states, a new study on the business and economic effects of climate change concludes.

Oklahoma's average summer temperature range is expected to increase from 81.7-83.58°F to 87.0-93.51°F from 2020 to 2099, the report predicts.

U.S. Drought Monitor

A new report says drought conditions are improving in Oklahoma, though more than half of the state remains in extreme or exceptional drought.

New data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that 17 percent of Oklahoma is in exceptional drought — the most severe classification of drought. That's down from 21 percent a week ago.

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