Above, Katy Tur makes a surprising expression of shock. (at about 1:55)

It seems she suddenly recognized the long-skewed priorities of the mainstream media, herself included,  in treating climate change as one issue among many, – a priority only for, in Candy Crowley’s memorable formulation,  “the climate people”.

Washington Post:

The main exhibit hall at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds here has become the home of last resort for 68 people who fled the fires that swept through a broad swath of forest and hill towns nearby.

And some days, an ambulance shows up. A team of paramedics, wearing protective masks and disposable yellow plastic aprons, wheeled a sick man out of the exhibit hall Monday on a stretcher, another victim of the bitter repercussions of mass displacement that the Camp Fire has created.

The outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea has carried on for days.

“On average, about one a day goes to the hospital,” said Bob Christensen, 77, smoking a cigarette outside the exhibit hall and watching a cleanup crew with mops and buckets begin wiping down the metal door handles with a powerful chemical disinfectant.

Ethia Carter, who arrived with the Red Cross from South Florida, is on her second day running the facility after her predecessor got sick.

“We have four in isolation,” she said, indicating an infirmary set up behind blue curtains on one side of the yawning hall, stacked with bottles of fresh water and other supplies.

The most devastating fire in California history began in the Sierra foothills in the morning hours of Nov. 8, prompting a hectic evacuation that has left at least 52,000 people in hotels, relatives’ homes, parking lots and makeshift shelters such as this one in Yuba City.

More than 10 days later, those temporary accommodations are being overwhelmed by overcrowding and disease. As heavy rain moves into the area for the first time since the fire began, those living in tents face the threat of flooding, too.

Read the rest of this entry »


Forests Need more than Raking

November 19, 2018

Nature can help soak up carbon, as long as we keep it swept up and raked, apparently.


There is no arguing that trees are magnificent and deserving of all the compliments. In the wake of the major United Nations climate report, many scientists have pointed out the urgency of preserving forests, nature’s finest carbon dioxide sinks. Yet forests aren’t the only answer — we need all ecosystems on deck. And according to a new study, changing land management to increase carbon storage could offset a whopping 21 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The study, published on Wednesday in Science Advances, found that natural solutions to global warming could offset the amount of pollution equivalent to what’s released from every car and truck on the road in the nation. Along with forests, coastal ecosystems, grasslands, and farmland all have the potential to sop up a significant portion of the world’s greenhouse gases. The study, which involved 38 researchers, looked at 21 different natural measures that could prove essential in the unfolding climate catastrophe.

“The overall magnitude of the potential was really surprising to me,” said Joseph Fargione, the principal author on the study and The Nature Conservatory’s director of science for North America. “There are a lot of things people may not realize have the potential to store carbon and contribute to solving climate change.”

Fargione noted that natural solutions don’t just trap carbon but come with co-benefits to human health and the ecosystem. For example, rotating cover crops (plants grown in the off-season to protect the soil), can store half a ton of CO2 per every acre. On top of that, cover crops can build soil health, hold onto nutrients, and reduce nutrient and sediment pollutions.

Reforestation topped the list of the biggest carbon sinks, with an absorption potential equivalent to taking 65 million passenger cars off the road. Forest and fire management, such as biomass thinning and prescribed burns, go hand-in-hand with reforestation efforts. Given that trees are such excellent carbon sinks, they also run the risk of releasing all that carbon when burned in catastrophic wildfires, like the ones currently raging across California. Fargione said that restoring the natural fire regime could prevent major carbon loss and, more importantly, “save homes, save lives, and improve air quality.”

Among the 21 solutions, the study highlighted ten that could account for 90 percent of the mitigation potential. These included shifts in agricultural practices, such as improved nutrient management on farms, the use of biochar (a carbon-rich soil amendment) and cultivating crops between rows of trees (known as alley cropping). Also on the list: restoring the nearly one-third of U.S. marshes subject to freshwater inundation, which would reduce methane emissions, as well as preserve the natural carbon sinks found in grasslands and forests. Urban sprawl is the largest driver of forest loss in the United States, so better zoning and land management could also significantly prevent deforestation (while also making cities more livable). Read the rest of this entry »

He’s not really good at this.

Calls “Paradise” California “Pleasure”. Twice.

Jerry Brown’s face, above, speaks for all of us.