Two stories appeared in the Medford Mail Tribune bearing a July 29 dateline on the wildfires in Southern Oregon, yet nary a mention of global warming and its climate change consequences in either despite the fat that date of Spring snowmelt and growing season temperature are the major predictors of wildfire risk. An educable moment was lost as our media failed us again.

You think fires are bad now … by Damian Mann, Medford Mail Tribune, July 29th

If you think we’ve had a horrible run of fire years recently, turn back the clock to the 1930s and it would have rivaled the early 2000s.

“The 1930s had the highest number of fires,” said Bill Kuhn, ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service. “We’ve had the second-highest number this past decade.”

The size of fires has been steadily increasing over the past few decades, Kuhn said. In the 1930s, there were more reports of fires, though many weren’t large and the reporting wasn’t as accurate, he said.


Wildfires and fiery rhetoric during Wyden visit by Kaylee Tornay, July 29 2018

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden used his Sunday visit to Medford to thank firefighters for their efforts battling current blazes, asking what Congress can do to help, and expressing concerns about the remainder of fire season.

Southern Oregon regional managers from the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management briefed Wyden on firefighting efforts during a meeting in the Medford Interagency Office Sunday.


Climate Reality Project Commentary

Natural gas is a growing energy source – one many are putting a lot of faith in.

Proponents like to portray the fuel as a cuddlier cousin to coal and oil when it comes to climate because it generates less carbon dioxide when burned. But its CO2 emissions are only one piece of a far more nuanced puzzle.

Many of the arguments in support of natural gas are based on outdated or incorrect information – sometimes going so far as to border on wishful thinking. That’s why we’re setting the record straight on some of the most common myths about natural gas and our climate.


A Union of Concerned Scientists Assessment

Global warming emissions

Natural gas is a fossil fuel, though the global warming emissions from its combustion are much lower than those from coal or oil.

Natural gas emits 50 to 60 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) when combusted in a new, efficient natural gas power plant compared with emissions from a typical new coal plant [1]. Considering only tailpipe emissions, natural gas also emits 15 to 20 percent less heat-trapping gases than gasoline when burned in today’s typical vehicle [2].


Letter to Editor by Ken Deveney, Ashland Daily Tidings,  July 17, 2018,  Medford Mail Tribune July 21,

As the election season approaches, it’s time to start questioning candidates running for the state Legislature and county Board of Commissioners on how they will lead on addressing global warming and reducing our climate change consequences.


Olivia Rosanne, Ecowatch July 16 2018

Add another potential disaster to the climate change hazard list: iceberg caused tsunamis.

Residents of the community of Innaarsuit in Greenland were told to move to higher ground after a 100 meter (approximately 330 foot) iceberg floated perilously close to their shores, The Guardian reported Saturday.

“We fear the iceberg could calve [break apart] and send a flood towards the village,” Lina Davidsen of Greenland police, who have moved a search-and-rescue helicopter closer to the village, told The Guardian.


Rising CO2 levels could upset the delicate relationship between the butterflies and their parasites.

Marjorie Miller, July 11, 2018 – AP

Most people know that monarch butterflies can’t exist without milkweed. As caterpillars, the monarchs feed on milkweed plants exclusively, absorbing the milkweed’s poisons in order to ward off birds and other predators. On their epic migration across the North American continent, the butterflies also lay their eggs on these plants, relying on the noxious taste of the leaves to keep their brood safe from grazers while simultaneously providing a buffet for the next generation when it hatches.


Good News Network July 5, 2018

An exciting new report shows that Sweden has installed so much wind power, the country is now 12 years ahead of schedule for its renewable energy goals.

By the end of 2018, the Nordic nation will have installed over 3,861 wind turbines, with 7,506 megawatts of wind capacity being added through to December.

RELATEDThe City of London Will Be Powered By 100% Renewable Energy Starting in October


The gathering of the parade marchers

The SOCAN contingent is ready to depart

A delegation of some 30 SOCANistas marched in the parade and or staffed the booth in Lithia Plaza where we entertained 260 visitors and garnered 27 new email friends.

The parade them was the effect of ocean warming on coral where just a two degree F increase for four weeks can induce bleaching (when the colorful algal zooxanthellae are expelled) and longer may simply kill the coral.

Image from the movie “Chasing Coral” that depicts with stunning clarity what is happening to our corals globally because of global warming in our oceans.

Coral represent the canary (in the coalmine) off our coasts.  Just as canaries can warn miners about air quality problems  by dying, so coral warns us about the global warming impacts on our oceans.  Coral reefs are the nurseries to some 25% of all marine fish species, serve to tamp down the impacts of storm surge on coastal communities, offer a tremendous tourist economic boon, and are critical in te cultures of many coastal indigenous peoples.  So go the corals, maybe so go we, and idea reflected in our parade motto: “What lies below reveals what lies ahead.”

CNN Wires, posted May 24, 2018

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine sparred with Sen. Brian Schatz during his confirmation hearing last fall over whether human activity was a contributor to or the primary cause of climate change.

Now Schatz is praising Bridenstine for what the Hawaii Democrat described as “an act of common sense and courage” after the administrator said he now accepts that humans are primarily responsible for climate change.


The USCAN conference group photo. Spot Kathy and Alan [Hint: Kathy is wearing turquoise and Alan a yellow shirt – and back under the canopy].

Spokane, WA

One of the reasons that SOCAN is often referred to as Southern Oregon Climate Action Network rather than Now, is that USCAN is the United States Climate Action Network.  SOCAN has been an affiliate member of USCAN for several years.  Because the annual conference was scheduled for the west coast, Alan (Journet) volunteered to serve on the Steering Committee.

As a result, Alan and Kathy (Conway) attended the conference as voting SOCAN reperesentatives.  Alan organized and presented in one of the Thursday Break-out sessions (on Sticky Challenges for achieving the Paris agreement goals), and gave a brief five minute summary on the status of Oregon’s Clean Energy Jobs legislation during the opening reception.

An unreasonably serious Alan Journet with USCAN Executive Director Keya Chatterjee.

Alan’s presentation focused on the question: “Is the Carbon frame still working for us?”  The thesis he offered was that too many greenhouse gas programs across the country, and bills being proposed by legislators and activists only address carbon and don’t really address the full range of greenhouse gas emissions.  This point was illustrated with reference to the six bills proposed during the 2015 Oregon legislative session in which 4 specifically defined the goal as carbon from the combustion of fossil fuels.  The eastern U.S. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative also earned a mention as a culprit since this program not only is limited to utility emissions, but specifically targets only carbon dioxide.  RGGI thus has encouraged the switch by utilities from coal to natural gas with a commensurate increase in methane emissions.  Alan was asking if we should re-frame our target as climate pollution or, more specifically, greenhouse gas emissions.

The conference overall was very interesting.  Most notably, we were impressed by the huge diversity of participants, a fact that reflected the emphasis placed in USCAN on issues of social justice and the importance of developing solutions that address issues of inequity.  We were also impressed by the success USCAN has exhibited in engaging younger citizens.  We did not assess whether we were the oldest attendees, but did notice that retirees were not the dominant force.

One of the repeated themes through the conference was one of optimism, the sense that we can solve the climate problem.  We were reminded of the Obama clarion call to action: Sí, se puede!”