climate change | KUNR

climate change

More than 200 of the world's leading climate scientists will begin meeting today to finalize a landmark report summarizing how Earth's climate has already changed, and what humans can expect for the rest of the century.

A close-up image of a health worker filling a vaccine dose into a syringe
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, July 9, 2021.

Many Mountain West Homes Lack Air Conditioning

Jun 18, 2021

Heat waves, like the one felt across the West this week, are expected to happen more frequently and to last longer because of climate change. But a lot of homes in the region don’t have air conditioning.

According to federal data, more than 20 percent of homes in the Mountain West do not use air conditioning.

David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, May 14, 2021.

President Biden is meeting with world leaders on Thursday to talk about climate change. The summit comes as he readies an aggressive greenhouse gas emissions pledge – a 50% reduction by 2030.

It's an ambitious goal with real consequences for the Mountain West.

An image of Lake Mead dried up.
James Marvin Phelps / CC BY-NC 2.0

The entire state of Nevada is under some level of drought. Wildfire season is already underway and the Sierra just experienced the second consecutive dry winter.

In honor of Earth Day, Nevada Climatologist Steph McAfee shares the state of Nevada’s climate and where things are headed in this interview with KUNR's Morning Edition Host Noah Glick.

Wide open spaces, like much of Wyoming, are known to be strongholds for pollinators like butterflies. They often contain critical habitat and food resources, far away from the disturbance of human civilization. But it turns out even those areas are under threat.

Last week, the Biden administration unveiled its budget plan for managing federal public lands, and it contains big funding increases that reflect the administration's priorities around conservation and climate change.

New research published in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that snow is melting earlier – often in the winter. That’s a bad sign for the Mountain West. 


A close up of a wheat plant in a field of crops.
Scott Butner / Flickr Creative Commons

Heat waves induced by climate change will threaten future agricultural crops at a faster rate than gradual global warming, according to a new study published in the Journal of the European Economic Association. Steve Miller, a UC Boulder assistant professor of environmental studies, was a lead researcher in the study.

Many oil, gas and coal-dependent communities around the Mountain West are concerned about the Biden administration's aggressive stance on climate change. But a recent survey of hundreds of economists around the world suggests that reducing emissions now will save us financially in the long run. 

Dry and cracked soil covering a large span of sparingly bushed landscape.
Famartin

Nevada had its driest year on record in 2020, according to the National Center for Environmental Information, and recent trends point to it continuing to get drier. Currently, all of Nevada is in drought, with over 72% of the state’s land experiencing “extreme drought conditions,” according to Drought.gov. Desert Research Institute Assistant Research Professor and Climatologist Dan McEvoy says our conditions in the summer months are dependent on the precipitation our area gets in the winter.

A butterfly sitting on a flower.
Jeffrey Glassberg / North American Butterfly Association

Yet another study is showing an alarming decline in butterflies across the warming American West.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has created its first committee to research the financial risks posed by climate change.


After this year's historic wildfires, California's oldest state park — Big Basin Redwoods — looks more like a logging village than an iconic hiking and camping mecca.

There's a near constant buzz of chainsaws. Rumblings from trucks and logging skidders fill the air as crews busily cut charred, fallen trees and chop down "hazard trees" rangers worry will topple on to the park's roadways.

An image of a big meadow with forests surrounding it.
Cody Reed

Researchers have found that it’s not just forests on the landscape that can help mitigate climate change. Meadows also provide an efficient way to keep carbon out of the atmosphere.

Solar panels in Nevada desert
andreiorlov / Adobe Stock

The U.S. is now officially out of the Paris climate accord

Climate policy is mixed around the Mountain West, but many states are seeing action and a transition to renewable energy regardless of federal leadership. 

Bulldozer helps with firing operation
Inciweb

Scientists say the size and intensity of wildfires that we’re seeing today is alarming because it’s what they were predicting would happen 30 years down the road – not right now. 

An ominous smoke cloud fills the sky in Wyoming
Greg Sanders / InciWeb

Drought, wildfire and record-breaking heat are all part of the current climate landscape in the Mountain West. 

It’s a triple whammy that’s expected to continue into the coming months. 

A U.S. map with drought monitor readings from October 6, 2020. The map displays extreme and exceptional drought throughout the west, with the most notable readings in Utah, Nevada and New Mexico.
Brian Fuchs / National Drought Mitigation Center

A few weeks ago, rancher Noah Brooks said what was troubling him most was the weather.

“The fact that it didn’t rain, June, July, August but maybe three times, that this community runs around cattle and feed and if we don’t get some rain, we’re in big big trouble, and I think that we’re drying out,” he said.

Brooks lives in Clark, Colorado. But the conditions he describes are persistent throughout the region.

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