Climate Change

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The massive hurricanes Harvey and Irma have people talking about how much, if at all, climate change adds to such storms’ destructiveness.

In a blog post authored by Paul Driessen, the conservative Heartland Institute disputes that global warming is worsening the weather or that it’s human-caused. And, Driessen writes, fossil fuels “bring rescue boats.”

NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology / Flickr - CC

For some, a belief in God and adherence to fact-based scientific research are mutually exclusive. That's not the case for Katherine Hayhoe, who's had remarkable success convincing evangelical Christians that climate change is caused largely by human activity. It could be because she's a conservative Christian herself.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With ice caps shrinking and global temperatures on the rise, animals who live in the Arctic Circle are at increasing risk. Today, we speak with two scientists from Polar Bears International who spent their summer in and around the Arctic studying the namesake animal of that organization. With less ice on which to hunt, will the iconic northern predator adapt in time to avoid extinction?

A new study found that staple crops like corn and wheat, which provide a large proportion of the world’s calories and U.S. farmers’ output, will likely see negative impacts from rising global temperatures.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced that the U.S. will be withdrawing from the Paris accord — the historic global agreement reached by 195 countries in 2015 to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the rise in average global temperatures.

The Agriculture Department established climate research centers in 2014 to translate science into real-world ideas for farmers and ranchers adapting to a hotter climate.
File: Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ranchers, with their livelihoods intimately tied to weather and the environment, may not be able to depend on research conducted by the government to help them adapt to climate change if the Trump Administration follows through on campaign promises to shift federal resources away from studying the climate.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

The tragic death of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, and the visit of his teammates at his funeral in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, drew attention to the Caribbean nation. How did one small country come to have such an outsized connection to U.S. baseball?

Plus, you might believe in the apocalypse, but are you preparing for it? We hear from a few who are -- "preppers" with vastly different world views.

Guests:

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

About a thousand people rallied in Kansas City on Saturday, calling for action to protect the environment. The People’s Climate March was one of hundreds across the country and overseas timed to coincide with the 100-day mark of President Donald Trump's administration.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A short march from 27th and Grand to Washington Square Park kicked off Kansas City's "March for Science" Saturday morning. One of hundreds around the world, the event was intended "to voice the critical role that science plays in each of our lives."

End-of-the-world scenarios have always been a popular fiction trope. Now, there's one scenario that doesn't seem so fictional, at least not anymore: climate change. Our Bibliofiles join us to talk about climate-fiction, or "cli-fi," and recommend their favorites in the genre.

Guests:

A Colorado farm field
File: Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The agriculture sector needs to ramp up its response to climate change, especially in the Midwest, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  

Researchers at the University of Maryland used climate projections and historical trends in agricultural productivity to predict how changes in temperature and rainfall will impact food production.

NIAID / www.flickr.com/photos/niaid/15138207362

A new report from the nonprofit Trust For America’s Health says Kansas meets six of 10 measures related to public health threats while Missouri meets five.

The “Ready or Not” report says Kansas and Nebraska are among 17 states, along with the District of Columbia, that meet six indicators. Missouri was among four states that meet only five.

Download the Trust for America's Health Report: Ready or Not

Paul Downey / Flickr - CC

Climate change is a global phenomenon, and when we think about climate change we tend to think about the greater global implications. Like how will increasing ocean temperatures affect glaciers and coastal communities? But how will climate change impact our local communities? How will Kansas City change? 

David Nichols / Flickr -- CC

We've heard about how climate change will affect the coasts (glaciers melting, New York City underwater and more). But what will happen in the Midwest? A look at what's at stake here, from our water supply to flooding to the Ozark forests.

Guests:

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Republican legislators who control energy-related House and Senate committees want to halt work on a plan to comply with federal climate change regulations now that the U.S. Supreme Court has put a temporary stay on the requirements.

But some of their colleagues say it would be prudent to keep preparing the plan in case the court ultimately rules against the state. And environmentalists say the state should move to reduce carbon emissions regardless of federal law.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Around 100 activists didn't let cold rain dissuade them from marching through the Country Club Plaza Sunday to voice their support for more strict environmental regulations before the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris.

The group, organized by environmental advocacy groups 350KC and the KC Climate Coalition, wove through the Plaza chanting, "Turn on clean energy, turn off fossil fuels." They were part of the Global Climate March, which encompassed more than 2,000 events in 175 countries over the weekend.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Climate change is real and must be addressed head-on to prevent future food shortages. That’s the message Cargill Executive Director Greg Page delivered Monday night to an audience at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A Kansas committee formed to vet a federally mandated plan to cut carbon emissions met for the first time Thursday in a hearing dominated by criticism of the plan.

Rep. Dennis Hedke, chairman of the Clean Power Plan Implementation Study Committee, blasted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for putting forth the rule, which is intended to prevent climate change.

“They have overstepped so many bounds it’s just almost unconscionable,” Hedke said.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Gov. Sam Brownback criticized the approach of the federal government in fighting climate change Thursday as he signed a bill asserting state authority over new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency power plant rules.

House Bill 2233 stipulates that the state will form a plan to comply with the new federal regulations but places several administrative hurdles in the way of that plan.

A recent report finds climate change is threatening dozens of birds that call Missouri home.

The National Audubon Society says more than half of the 588 North American bird species studied over the course of seven years are at risk. About 50 species common to Missouri are identified in the report as being threatened.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The tree and shrub population in the Kansas City metropolitan area saves residents nearly $14 million a year, according to a new study.

The United States Department of Agriculture's Northern Research Station (NRS) examined plant life in nine counties in the Kansas City metro area.

The NRS found that by blocking winds in the winter, shading buildings in the summer, and providing natural evaporative cooling all throughout the year, trees and shrubs significantly cut down residential energy costs.

Cindy Taylor

The nine-banded armadillo has been naturally expanding its habitat north from Central America since 1849. They're common in the southeastern part of the country, but throughout the century they’ve started to move further north and east.

Sightings in Missouri started about 40 years ago. They use to be rare, but now they’re a lot more common.

“Hundreds, we’ve had hundreds so far this year it’s safe to say," says James Dixon, a wildlife damage biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Rising numbers and rising frustration

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first-ever rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The proposal sparked immediate debate over the impact, especially in states such as Missouri that depend heavily on coal.

The new regulations would reduce carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide by 2030, compared to 2005 emissions levels.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The White House’s new climate change report predicts threats to agriculture, including severe weather, more pests and greater demands for water and energy.

The third National Climate Assessment is a summary of the current science about the nation’s climate and how it’s changing written by a panel of expert scientists.

The U.S Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday it plans to set up seven new research hubs across the country to help farmers adapt to climate change.

In the past few years, farmers across the Midwest have grappled with epic drought, mega-blizzards and crippling heat.

“The combination of all those factors convinces me that the climate is changing and it will have its impact,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Covering Climate Change As Heat Turns Up

Nov 13, 2013
virtualwayfarer/Flickr-CC

When you write about climate change, you have to be able to take the heat from all sides— those who deny what scientists are saying and those who think you’re giving too many concessions to that group. 

On Up to Date, we speak with a New York Times reporter about his coverage of the environment.

Guest:

  • Justin Gillis, New York Times reporter

Fossil Facebook: Digitization of Fossils Going Public

Jun 26, 2012
Una Farrell

If some people are worried about pictures from freshman year surfacing on the internet, imagine this: a 290 million year old organism gets put on a publicly accessible database, from its specific location all the way to a picture from its deathbed.

Coming soon to your newsfeed:  Fossil Facebook.

Most Americans believe that global warming has played a role in a series of unusual weather events during the past year.

A poll released today by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 72 percent of Americas believe global warming played a role in the very warm winter the United States just experienced.

A worker at Dixon Ridge Walnuts in Lodi, Calif., prunes a tree.
Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

No matter your personal opinion on the subject, talk of climate usually conjures up images of warming, floods and rising sea levels.  Those are the ecological changes predicted from coast to coast.

The Great Immensity: The Fine Art Of Edutrainment

Feb 29, 2012
Don Ipock / KC Rep

Can any topic make a good song – even climate change? On this leap day edition of Central Standard, meet the cast from a musical mystery about the environment showing now at the Kansas City Repertory Theater.

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