climate change

Dan Bammes

Some Utah agencies and politicians are applauding a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to put a hold on the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

State environmental regulators want input from Utahns about reducing the pollution blamed for climate change.

Utah’s joined 24 other states to fight the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan in court.

At the same time, state regulators have been drafting a state plan to comply with the new rules.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Climate scientists said this week that 2015 was the warmest year on record globally and the second warmest in the United States. And Utah was relatively toasty, too.

Data from the Utah Climate Center at Utah State University shows last year was the 3rd warmest in around 130 years of counting. At an average of 51.2 degrees Fahrenheit for the year, that’s 4.4 degrees warmer than average.

Screenshot / Utah Office of Energy Development

Utahns had a mixed response to the announcement Friday that the Interior Department’s launching an in-depth review of federal coal programs.

Whittney Evans / KUER News

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker was part of the U.S. delegation to the Paris climate talks earlier this month. He’s had a little time now to reflect on the discussions -- and the historic agreement to limit the pollution that’s speeding up global warming. KUER's Judy Fahys sat down with the mayor as he prepares to leave office to find out why he participated and what's at stake for Salt Lake City in dealing with climate change.

Judy Fahys/KUER

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s back in federal court this week. He’s being sentenced for organizing a protest ride into Recapture Canyon last year in a case that’s often compared with the prosecution of another person who challenged authority: climate-change activist Tim DeChristopher. 

Judy Fahys/KUER

Weather watchers at Salt Lake City’s National Weather Service office are telling Utahns what they might have already guessed: It’s been an exceptionally warm fall.

Becker Wraps up Climate Talks in Paris

Dec 9, 2015

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker wraps up his time in Paris talking about climate change on Wednesday.

Rick Bajornas / UN Photo

Utahns want their voices to be heard during the Paris climate talks. They include Mormons whose church has been silent about a problem they see as a moral issue.

Duc / Flickr Creative Commons

World leaders kicked off meetings in Paris Monday in the search for solutions to runaway climate change.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker will be participating in discussions among local leaders concerned about climate pollution. He’s been working on it with the White House for more than two years. Becker was part of a task force last year that developed a kind of climate-change toolkit for local communities.

nationalatlas.gov

In a last minute move, the Bureau of Land Management in Utah postponed its oil and gas lease auction scheduled for Tuesday morning. Environmentalists who had been planning a protest held a victory party instead.

Judy Fahys/KUER

 

Climate change activists urged the Natural History Museum of Utah on Tuesday to cut itself free of fossil fuel money.

Linh Do / Via Flickr Creative Commons

Critics of the Obama administration’s climate change policies gathered Tuesday in Washington, D.C., across the street from the White House. 

One of them was Tim DeChristopher, who says it's time to take a harder line.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah regulators have been preparing more than a year for the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations to cut greenhouse gases from power plants. But the state’s top attorney is demanding that EPA put those new controls on hold.

Dan Bammes

Supporters and critics of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan have only begun to size up what the new carbon-pollution controls might mean in Utah, and their first impressions differ.

Courtesy Berkshire Hathaway Energy

Rocky Mountain Power has committed to reduce emissions and use more clean energy. Its parent company Berkshire Hathaway Energy took part in an Obama Administration climate pledge signed by 13 major companies on Monday.

Courtesy photo

US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy used an appearance in Salt Lake City Friday to advocate for the Obama Administration’s proposed clean power plan.

Judy Fahys/KUER

State mining regulators heard arguments for and against the nation’s first oil sands mine, which is being built in eastern Utah.

Dozens of critics turned out to weigh in Tuesday on a proposal to expand the project.

Steve Schmidt / Western Rivers Flyfisher

The group Trout Unlimited says the nation’s trout are in trouble.

Development, invasive species and climate change are threats that have pushed the native trout to just one quarter of the places they used to thrive nationwide. TU’s president and CEO, Chris Wood, told reporters in a conference call Tuesday it’s not just a problem for people who like to fish.

Doc Searls / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government approved a big coal lease in central Utah Friday over the objections of environmental groups.

Judy Fahys/KUER

  Pope Francis lent his voice Thursday to the argument that climate change is a moral problem with the release of his long-awaited encyclical on the issue.

Several groups in Utah are embracing the message.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The fire community is breathing easier about the upcoming wildfire season for now.

Back in winter, fire officials worried that Utah might be headed into a long, harsh one. But rain gauges at the Salt Lake City airport registered more than double the normal rainfall for the month. Now the soil moisture is restored and green grass covers the range.

Per / Flickr Creative Commons

A new study zeroes in on those odd times when bird flocks bypass their usual winter habitats because of the climate.

Pine siskins are small songbirds that settle sometimes outside their normal winter hangouts.

Don Anderson / Flickr Creative Commons

Western ski towns including Park City are backing a proposal to reform the royalty system for coal mined on federal lands. The reason: Climate change is dragging down their economies, says a coalition called the Mountain Pact.

The group says Park City will lose $120 million dollars in lower output, 1,137 jobs and more than $20 million dollars in paychecks thanks to a shrinking snowpack and less tourism. The Utah ski town has joined ten other mountain communities that want to combat the problem through reforms to federal coal-leasing programs.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Scott Jones steers a snowmobile into the T.W. Daniel Experimental Forest deep in the mountains above Logan. He’s a soils physicist at Utah State University, and he’s studying how forests use and store water.

“Understanding the processes up here will help us anticipate what’s happening in the valleys and streams,” he says.

Jones and a colleague measure water the snowpack’s holding after Utah’s warmest and driest winter on record. Data like this can help water managers plan for the future.

KUED

Governor Gary Herbert says he’s still not sure people have a role in causing climate change.

A reporter asked Utah’s Republican governor on Thursday whether Utah’s lean snowpack and possible water shortages are the result of climate change.

USU and Yale University

Researchers at Utah State University and Yale University have mapped public opinion about global warming across the US. Their study published Monday in Nature Climate Change reveals the diversity of opinions at state and local levels.

Dmitri / Flickr Creative Commons

The end of December may have been bitterly cold, but last year was surprisingly warm overall in Utah, continuing a trend that began three years ago.

AFP-REUTERS-GETTYIMAGES&AP via Flickr

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker was in Washington D.C. today presenting the final recommendations of the White House Climate Change Task Force. 

Last November, Mayor Becker and 25 other State, Local and Tribal leaders from across the country were picked to join the task force.  Over the past year, Becker says the group compared notes on how the warming climate is impacting their respective communities.

Maj. D.J. Gibb / Utah Army National Guard

    

The UN climate change panel issued its latest status report this weekend. The group says the world must act swiftly to avert the risks in a rapidly warming planet. IN Utah, local efforts are already underway.

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