Each summer as temperatures soar and Washington’s forests and grasses dry out, the state’s wildfire experts hold their breath, hoping that a devastating megafire won’t tear through valuable timber or grazing lands, scorch beloved wilderness or destroy lives and property.

Washington and the rest of the West have battled ever-growing record fire seasons over the past decade. In 2020, more than 700,000 acres burned across Washington state and nearly 200 structures were destroyed — one of the worst fire seasons on record.

Washington can expect many more seasons like this.

More

One of the confounding problems in the climate change discussion is the positive feedback loops by which our actions cause trends that themselves accentuate the warming.  Entitled Climate Emergency Feedback Loops, this series of short videos, from Northern Light Productions, provides and excellent introduction to several of these feedback loops.  We strongly recommend them.

 

 

Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News, January 14th 2021

It’s a tough time for the nation’s oil and gas industry. Last year was among its least profitable in memory, and companies are bracing themselves for a new president focused on climate change, a Congress controlled by Democrats who increasingly shun their financial support and a world beginning to look past fossil fuels towards a cleaner energy future in which they will become smaller players, if not obsolete.

That was the unspoken backdrop for a speech Wednesday by Mike Sommers, head of the American Petroleum Institute, who said that his industry was confident about its future and prepared to fight back against policies that President-elect Joe Biden had promised as a candidate, including a halt to new drilling on public lands and the elimination of billions of dollars in industry tax breaks.

More

 

Erik Neumann, Feb 5th 2021, OPB

A coalition of environmental groups sent a letter to Oregon’s congressional delegation this week urging them to stop proposed post-fire logging on federal lands that burned during the 2020 wildfire season.

The letter was signed by 38 conservation groups including the Native Fish Society, Sierra Club and Oregon Wild.

More

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Executive Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government

January 27, 2021

Biden-Harris Administration Commits on Climate Change – Creating Jobs, Building Infrastructure, and Delivering Environmental Justice

Today, President Biden will take executive action to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad while creating good-paying union jobs and equitable clean energy future, building modern and sustainable infrastructure, restoring scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking across the federal government, and re-establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

More

Guest Column by Ray Seidler and Alan Journet in Medford Mail Tribune /  Ashland Daily Tidings, January 24 2021

Note that ‘ACO’ in the penultimate paragraph should be ‘ACI.’

Residents of Bear Creek Valley living through the disastrous fires last September know the threat that global warming poses. Rural Oregonians know we are on the front lines — none more so than we Southern Oregonians.

We know the temperature is rising and rainfall is declining during summer, and that snowpack is declining during winter. We know these trends are drying soils and vegetation through summer and thereby increasing fire risk because we have suffered from, and constantly live with, that risk. Climate changes impact what grows in our forests, what and how we grow our food, and where and how we recreate. With three devastating hurricanes, extreme wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought, the United States tallied a record high bill in 2020 for weather-related disasters of $306 billion.

More

Abbreviated version appearing in the Bend Bulletin:

Oregonians living through last September’s fires know the threat global warming poses; we are on the frontlines. We know temperature is rising and rainfall is declining during summer, while snowpack is declining during winter. We know our soils and vegetation are drying through summer and increasing fire risk because we constantly live with that risk. Climate changes impact what grows in our forests, what and how we grow our food, and how we recreate. The cost of weather-related disasters in the United States in 2020 including three devastating hurricanes, extreme wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought, reached $306 billion.  We also understand that increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations resulting from our behavior will make unchecked global warming worse.

More

 

Lorrie Kaplan Ashalnd Daily Tidings, January 15, 2021

Switching from fossil fuels to electric transportation is starting to reap tangible rewards for Ashland, thanks to the city’s participation in the Oregon Clean Fuels Program managed by Stu Green, city of Ashland climate and energy analyst.

Launched in 2016, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Fuels Program is designed to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation — the largest regulated contributor to greenhouse gases in Oregon.

More

Tony Schick OPB, Rob David The Oregonian,  December 31st 2020

On a damp night in November 2019, dozens of residents packed into the local firehouse in Corbett, Oregon, a town about 30 miles outside of Portland. Water manager Jeff Busto told the crowd that logging had devastated a creek that provided part of the town’s drinking water supply.

A timber company had clear-cut thousands of trees along the creek, leaving only a thin strip standing between the town’s drinking water and recently flattened land strewned [sic] with debris. A single row of trees was left on either side to protect it from mud, herbicides and summer sun. After many of those trees were bowled over by wind, the creek flow dropped so low that the town could no longer get water.

More

Dirk VanderHart  OPB Dec 29 2020

A judge previously tossed an effort to kill a plan that would steeply reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Opponents of a statewide policy aimed at steeply decreasing Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades faced a legal setback in November, when a Marion County judge ruled they didn’t have standing to sue.

Now, they’re hoping for a chance to retool their attack.

Earlier this month, a list of plaintiffs that includes many of the state’s largest trade groups — among them Oregon Business & Industry, Oregon Manufacturing and Commerce, the Oregon Trucking Association and the Oregon Farm Bureau Federation — asked for permission to amend a lawsuit first filed in late July.

More

 

 

August 3rd 2020 Nancy Hamilton, Bob Keefe and Anne Kelly, Oregon Business

In time of COVID-19, we must create a more resilient economy – Gov. Brown’s bold climate plan will help us build back better.


The twin public health and economic crises wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic are unlike anything we have seen in modern history. With new cases rising, they are not going away any time soon, and come as an even bigger crisis bears down upon us: the climate crisis.

As we navigate the tenuous waters of economic recovery, it is critical that Oregon keeps an eye to building back better through investments in programs that create lasting jobs and a stronger, more sustainable economy. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Kate Brown and her Executive Order No. 20-04, Oregon is already moving in the right direction.

More