Nick Morgan, Medford Mail Tribune, September 16, 2018

As locals reel from a wildfire season that’s already consumed more than double the average number of acres burned over the past decade, leaving behind still-lingering smoke in its wake, local business leaders say they’re learning to adapt while state officials place new ideas on the table.

Diversifying the local economy beyond tourism was an idea floated by two economic experts Saturday during a Smoke and Fire Summit held Saturday in Ashland.

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Jason Clark, Medford Mail Tribune, September 4, 2018

Western states need to implement restoration forestry practices on a large scale and fast. Restoration forestry backed by adequate public investment will pay back dividends in a four-pronged benefit package: 1) increased wildfire resilience, 2) habitat values and other ecosystem services, 3) economic invigoration, and 4) long-term carbon storage. The primary obstacles to a future of healthy, fire-resilient forests are political will and adequate investment.

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John Darling Medford Mail Tribune, September 5 2018

Calling this summer’s wildfire and smoke “emotionally and financially devastating,” state Rep. Pam Marsh is organizing a three-hour cram-course — the Smoke and Fire Summit — to hear and help shape strategies for forest management, health impacts, economic remedies and climate change.

The summit features 15 local and statewide speakers from government agencies, universities, nonprofits and forestry, tourism and business interests, including legislator Marsh, who serves on the House Energy and Environment and Economic Development and Trade committees.

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Nick Morgan, Mail Tribune, August 30, 2018

A meeting intended to discuss proposed looser limits to controlled burns during the off-season became a lightning rod of catharsis for Southern Oregonians who’d far exceeded their smoke limit for the summer.

A crowd of upwards of 70 locals turned out to the Smullin Health Education Center Wednesday evening to voice frustration on a variety of forest management policies that have led to two months of choking wildfire smoke in Southern Oregon, surprising officials with the Oregon departments of Forestry and Environmental Quality advocating for proposed changes to proscribed burn regulations in the off-season.

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Olivia Rosane, Ecowatch August 30, 2018

After President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement to limit global warming to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels, more than 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses and universities pledged to make greenhouse gas emissions reductions that would nevertheless move the U.S. towards meeting its original Paris goals.

Now, a study released by Data-Driven Yale Wednesday has found that local and regional commitments are important, but are not enough to compensate for lack of action at the national level.

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The climate movement’s biggest failure has been its inability to successfully make the case that natural gas is not a clean replacement for other fossil fuels. So as natural gas has boomed, U.S. emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, have increased dramatically. 

Bill McKibben, Yale Environment 360, March 13, 2018

Last week, the New Orleans City Council — all Democrats — voted 6-1 to approve a big new gas-fired power plant. Sometime in the coming weeks, in Orange County in upstate New York, another vast new gas power plant is expected to go on line — as soon as it’s hooked up to a new pipeline, one of literally dozens planned across the country. Local opponents — environmentalists, community activists — are fighting hard, but somewhere, almost every day, a new piece of natural gas infrastructure goes up.

When I think about my greatest failing as a communicator — and one of the greatest failings of the climate movement — it’s not that global warming still continues. Stopping it cold was always too high an order: The fossil fuel industry is so rich and powerful, and hydrocarbons so central to our economy, that this battle was always going to be uphill. At best we can limit the damage, and in that we’ve made at least some progress.

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Sacramento Bee Editorial, August 16 2018

Now nearly everyone, it seems, is in favor of more “forest management” to reduce fuel for California’s record wildfires.

But there is a big difference between clearing overgrown brush and thinning dead trees, and neither is the same as clear-cutting acres of pristine forest. Those distinctions matter a lot as state and federal officials scramble to prevent more wildfires from charring huge swaths of the state.

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A cluster of new technologies aim to fulfill humanity’s ancient desire to influence the weather. But is it a good idea?

Olivia Solon, The Guardian, August 26, 2018

Farmers in Mexico have accused Volkswagen of ruining their crops by installing “hail cannons”, which fire shockwaves into the atmosphere in an effort to prevent hail storms from damaging the cars rolling off the production line.

The devices are being blamed for causing a drought during months when farmers near the German carmaker’s plant in Puebla expected plenty of rain.

While some may be convinced of the hail cannon’s power, scientific research has cast doubt on these observations. But effective or not, the technology represents humanity’s latest attempt to control the weather – rain dancing 2.0 – and has raised concerns about the lack of regulation and the assumption that there is a quick fix for complex meteorological phenomena.

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Part I of  a Two-Parter by Nathaniel Rich in The New York Times Magazine, August 1, 2018

Editor’s Note

This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Complementing the text is a series of aerial photographs and videos, all shot over the past year by George Steinmetz. With support from the Pulitzer Center, this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe. It will come as a revelation to many readers — an agonizing revelation — to understand how thoroughly they grasped the problem and how close they came to solving it. Jake Silverstein

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Chris Mooney, Washington Post, August 14, 2018,  Medford Mail Tribune, August 15, 2018

The next five years will be ‘anomalously warm,’ scientists predict

Humans are already making the planet warmer. Now Earth could help speed the process up.

The past four years have been the four warmest ever recorded — and now, according to a new scientific forecast, the next five will also probably be “anomalously warm,” even beyond what the steady increase in global warming would produce on its own.

That could include another record warmest year, even warmer than the current record year of 2016. It could also include an increased risk of heat extremes and a major heat event somewhere in the Earth’s oceans, of the sort that has triggered recent die-offs of coral reefs across the tropics.

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