Environment

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A Canadian court sided unanimously with environmentalist and indigenous groups on Thursday in a decision that indefinitely halts the construction of the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.

The ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal reverses the Canadian government's approval of the troubled multibillion dollar project. The court said the government failed to "fulfill the duty to consult owed to Indigenous people."

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A warming world could eventually make some of our most familiar ecosystems — deciduous forests, grasslands, Arctic tundra — unrecognizable.

That's the conclusion of a team of more than 40 scientists who took a novel approach to predicting the effects of how human-caused global warming will alter ecosystems. They looked about 20,000 years back in time.

Puerto Rico, Presently

Aug 30, 2018

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico spoke to CNN Wednesday. It wasn't an anodyne media hit.

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz squarely blamed the Trump administration for thousands of deaths related to Hurricane María.

In Redding, Calif., where the Carr Fire burned more than 200,000 acres and destroyed more than a thousand homes, there's a feeling of desperation. Something has to be done to clear the dense stands of trees and thick brush in the mountains around town, or the next fire will be even worse.

"It's not just global warming," said Ryan Adcock, who grew up here. She was forced to evacuate her home for five days due to the Carr Fire and was taking advantage of a rare smoke free morning walking with her kids along a river front bike path.

On Mike Pink's potato farm at dawn, the sun is an angry red ball low in the sky.

This summer, wildfire smoke has blanketed much of the West for days and weeks. And that smoke has come between the sun and ripening crops.

Pink watches as his year's work tumbles onto a fast-moving belt and into a waiting semi truck. He's got most of his 1,600-acre potato fields yet to harvest on his 3,000-acre farm, spread over about 40 miles between Burbank and Basin City, Wash. And this thick smoke makes him nervous.

The illnesses started appearing in late March. Here and there, across the country, people were checking themselves in to hospitals, sick from toxic E. coli bacteria. At least 200 people got sick. Five of them died.

Shortly after the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the Paris accord, a global pact to combat climate change, French President Emmanuel Macron assumed the mantle of environmental crusader with a pointed rebuke of the Trump administration: "Make our planet great again," he declared just hours later.

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It has been a year now since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. There was widespread damage, including to several toxic waste sites that were flooded during that storm. NPR's Rebecca Hersher reports on one of the largest of them.

Researchers investigating the effects of air pollution conducted math and verbal tests over the course of multiple years on more than 25,000 people in 162 Chinese counties. They matched those results with pollution conditions at the time of each test, and found sobering results.

The Trump's administration's proposal to relax regulations on carbon emissions is welcome news in coal producing states like Wyoming, even as people in the industry acknowledge its impact would be limited.

Helping Clean Florida's 'Red Tide'

Aug 26, 2018

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More Americans die from the effects of heat than of any other form of severe weather, and this summer has seen one heat wave after another. Some places in the U.S. and elsewhere have recorded their highest temperatures ever. In fact, the average temperature around the planet over the past four years has been the highest ever recorded, and nine of the 10 hottest years were all in this century. (The other was 1998.)

Talkin' Birds: The Damage Of Plastics

Aug 25, 2018

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROCKIN' ROBIN")

BOBBY DAY: (Singing) Tweedilly, tweedilly, deet.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for "Talkin' Birds."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROCKIN' ROBIN")

DAY: (Singing) Tweedilly, tweedilly, deet. Tweedilly, dillidy, deet.

An audience gathers around the transparent 14-foot-long "culinary instrument" in a restaurant called Creator in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood.

A lengthy drought in Europe has exposed carved boulders, known as "hunger stones," that have been used for centuries to commemorate historic droughts — and warn of their consequences.

The Associated Press reports that hunger stones are newly visible in the Elbe River, which begins in the Czech Republic and flows through Germany.

"Over a dozen of the hunger stones, chosen to record low water levels, can now be seen in and near the northern Czech town of Decin near the German border," the AP writes.

A huge pack of floating ice along the northern Greenland coastline is breaking up and drifting apart into the Arctic Ocean — another consequence, scientists say, of global warming caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

"We've never seen anything this large in terms of an opening north of Greenland," says polar scientist Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which collaborates with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Scientists along Florida's Gulf Coast are working to battle an unusually intense red tide algae bloom, which has killed tons of wildlife, shut down businesses and kept tourists away from beaches this summer.

One of the largest supermarket companies in the U.S. has announced it is phasing out single-use plastic bags in an effort to reduce plastic waste.

The Kroger Co. says it plans to stop distributing single-use bags completely by 2025 across its chains.

Updated at 12:35 p.m. ET

Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a Category 4 storm as it moves closer to Hawaii, the National Weather Service said Wednesday.

The NWS says a hurricane warning is in effect for Maui and Hawaii, which is also known as the Big Island, while the islands of Kauai and Oahu, where Honolulu is located, are under a hurricane watch.

Maersk, the world's largest container line, is about to test the frigid waters of the Arctic in a trial of shorter shipping lanes that could become viable as warmer temperatures open up the Northern Sea Route.

On or around Sept. 1, Denmark-based Maersk plans to send its first container ship through the Arctic to explore whether the once inhospitable route could become feasible in the future. Many analysts see the test as a turning point for both the shipping industry and the Arctic.

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The Trump administration has moved to formally replace the Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that former President Barack Obama once lauded as the single-most important step America has ever taken to fight climate change.

The long-anticipated proposal, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would give individual states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Across California and the West, where dozens of large wildfires are burning, public health agencies are urging people to seal off their windows and doors, change filters in air conditioning units and in some places wear masks if they have to go outside for any extended period.

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On the High Plains in West Texas, hot winds blast through cotton fields as far as the eye can see.

In the middle of it all is a tiny vineyard.

Andis Applewhite is the owner. She's an artist whose family has worked this land for a century. They once planted crops more typical of the neighborhood, like cotton and wheat. Applewhite decided to try something different: She put in a couple of acres of cabernet franc grapes.

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