KGOU

climate change

Thirty miles off the shore of Port Douglas, Australia, tourists jump into the water of the outer reef. On their dive, they see giant clams, sea turtles and a rainbow of tropical fish, all swimming above brightly colored coral.

On a boat, marine biologist Lorna Howlett quizzes the tourists in the sunshine. "How many people out there saw a coral highlighter-yellow?" she asks, eliciting a show of hands. "What about highlighter-blue? Yeah? Anyone see some hot pinks?"

Wild horses and cattle graze on the marshy banks of southern Spain's mighty Guadalquivir River.

From the mouth of this river, Christopher Columbus set off for the New World.

But since then, the river has gotten more salty. As fresh water is extracted for agriculture, drought — made more frequent by climate change — means less rainfall replaces it. Tides send salt water farther upriver.

Inside a cement building straddling part of the river, pumps suck 800 gallons out of the Guadalquivir per second — diverting it to irrigation canals.

President Trump announces his decision for the United States to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday, June 1, 2017.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

The United States will withdraw from the international climate agreement known as the Paris accord, President Trump announced on Thursday. He said the U.S. will negotiate either re-entering the Paris agreement or a new deal that would put American workers first. NPR journalists fact-checked and added context to his remarks, including comments about the economy and U.S. energy sector.

Somali refugees wait outside a UNHCR processing center at a refugee camp outside Dadaab, eastern Kenya, on Aug. 5, 2011. Climate change contributed to low rain levels in East Africa in 2011, making global warming one of the causes of Somalia's famine.
Jerome Delay / AP

 

Interactions between humans and the environment is a two-way street. Human actions change the environment, and changes to the environment affect human behavior.

David Lopez-Carr, a geographer a the University of California-Santa Barbara, calls it “human environment dynamics.” He studies how climate change impacts food security, crop production and human health, particularly infant mortality.

 

“Babies and infants are the hardest hit when there is when there are food shortages,” Lopez-Carr told KGOU’s World Views.

A dad and his daughter on the final stretch of the March for Science at the Oklahoma capitol on April 22, 2017.
Joe Wertz / State Impact Oklahoma

Oklahomans joined thousands of people in more than 600 cities on Saturday in a march for scientific freedom organized to send a message to state and national lawmakers.

World Views: November 4, 2016

Nov 4, 2016

University of Oklahoma Vice President for Weather and Climate Programs, College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences Dean, and National Weather Center director Berrien Moore talks with Suzette Grillot about his involvement with last year’s Paris Climate Conference, and some of the domestic politics surrounding climate change.

But first, Joshua Landis provides an update on the Middle East, including the latest on the fight against ISIS in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Participants attend a panel entitled "Science on a Sphere Presentation"at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Dec. 8, 2015.
Michel Euler / AP

Between Nov. 30 and Dec. 12, 2015, 19,385 national delegates from across the world met in Paris for COP21 to discuss rising emissions, green energy, and the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A power plant
Wladimir Labeikovsky / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

No matter where you land on the climate change discussion, humans have become a geophysical force that impacts everything from local ecosystems to the atmosphere itself.

“Humans are having, for a single species, pretty much unprecedented effect on their entire biosphere, such that it could possibly be recorded permanently in the geological record,” University of Oklahoma anthropologist Noah Theriault argues. “If an extraterrestrial species came down and studied our planet sometime in the distant future, they would be able to tell there was some big change right around what we would consider to be the geological present.”

But what do you call that?

Climate change threatens coastal communities across the world, such as the Gunayala islands off the northeast coast of Panama.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

In Paris last week world leaders reached a groundbreaking climate deal to significantly limit carbon emissions in the coming years, with a goal of limiting the world’s rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Rebecca Cruise talks with University of Oklahoma sociocultural anthropologist Noah Theriault about the Paris climate agreement, and its effect on some of the small island countries of Southeast Asia.

Then, we'll hear Joshua Landis' conversation with Nazila Fathi, a journalist and author who grew up in Iran, and was nine years old when the Islamic Revolution changed her entire life. She left Iran 20 years later, and then returned to cover the 2009 election protests as a correspondent for The New York Times.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

President Obama and delegates from nearly 200 nations are gathering in Paris to hammer out an agreement to rein in global climate change

World leaders are acknowledging their countries’ contributions to climate change, and are making commitments to improve the environment. But there’s an army of Republicans pushing against Obama’s Paris plan, and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma is one of its generals. 

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt shakes hands at the state Capitol after the annual State of the State address.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday officially published its controversial Clean Power Plan — meant to reduce carbon emissions from power plants — and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is already taking the first step toward challenging it in court.

Pope Francis during a 2014 visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
European Parliament / Flickr

In a 184-page encyclical assigning moral responsibility to the fight against climate change, Pope Francis in June urged the world to phase out its addiction to fossil fuels.

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.

Pages