Climate change

Gov. Newsom signed a $15 billion climate change package Thursday, the largest investment of its kind in the state’s history. He signed the bill in Three Rivers, near the site of the KNP Complex fire that continues to threaten the giant sequoias.  

 

“You've got trees that quite literally date back over 3300 years ago. You can't rebuild a giant sequoia,” he said.

 

He emphasized the devastating effects of climate change when he referred to the strategies firefighters are using to protect the giants.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

Pete Oliver likes to say that his small green Army jeep is older than he is, and he’s 76. But it still runs well after a few starts, and he uses it to drive around his small farm west of downtown Fresno. On this day, he takes the jeep out to where his watermelons are fading in the heat. 

“See that little light area in the middle of the melons there,” he says pointing to white spots on the leaves that have been baked by the sun.

 

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

California's Central Valley expects record temperatures this weekend, reaching dangerous levels in places like Fresno. Valley Public Radio's Soreath Hok reports that people are looking for ways to defend against the heat.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news now - California's Central Valley is home to some of the state's most fertile land, and now the heat wave has farmers worried about whether their crops there will survive. On Sunday, temperatures climbed to 114 degrees. Valley Public Radio's Alice Daniel reports.

Study Shows Central CA Wildfire Wiped Out Up To 10,000 Giant Sequoias

Jun 3, 2021
USFS Inciweb

We’re still learning the devastation caused by last year’s wildfire season in California. The National Park Service just completed a study that estimates ten to 14 percent of our state’s mature giant Sequoias were destroyed in a single wildfire.

The trees were wiped out by the Castle Fire, which burned 273 square miles of tall timber in Sequoia National Park which sits on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and is named after the tree, a redwood, They can grow to 200 feet tall, and live for more than 2-thousand years. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

After hearing more than 100 public comments, the Kern County Planning Commission voted Friday to pass the recommendation for a proposed oil and gas ordinance that would allow the permitting of up to 40,000 new oil and gas wells over the next 20 years.

 

Representatives from the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the League of United Latin American Citizens spoke in favor of the ordinance citing jobs for Latinx community members as a top reason. 

 

But the majority of the comments voiced concern over the new ordinance. 

 

 

On this week's Valley Edition:  Why a state program that provides free COVID-19 hotel rooms to farmworkers is going largely unutilized.  

Plus Pulitzer Prize winning journalist John Branch tells us how wildfires and climate change are endangering California’s most iconic trees.

And a cornerstone of the Armenian community, Hye Quality Bakery, has closed its doors.

John Branch

Joshua trees, redwoods and giant sequoias are some of California’s most iconic trees, and all three have been deeply impacted by climate change and wildfires. John Branch, a Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times journalist, recently explored this issue in an article titled “They’re among the world’s oldest living things. The climate crisis is killing them.”  Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Branch about his reporting and what the future holds for these beloved trees.

UC Merced

The San Joaquin Valley is accustomed to dealing with drought, but when those conditions last for decades, scientists call it a megadrought. According to a study recently published in the journal Science, the Southwest is currently experiencing a nearly two-decade megadrought that is fueled in part by global warming and is among the worst in human history. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with John Abatzoglou, a co-author of the study and climatologist who will join the faculty at UC Merced this summer.

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: We talk with the Fresno Police Department about the mass shooting last Sunday that left four dead and six wounded at a party in Southeast Fresno. We also visit a Hmong mini-mall and bring you a postcard of remembrances from people who knew the victims.

And we talk to kids about a father who was apprehended by Immigrant and Customs Enforcement while driving his two teenagers to school. He was then sent to a detention facility.

Anthony Ambrose, Save the Redwoods League

With the recent purchase of the Alder Creek property in the Southern Sierra Nevada, 99 percent of giant sequoias are under protective ownership. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe. A combination of climate change and fire suppression has resulted in an alarming loss of these majestic trees. FM89’s Kathleen Schock discusses the future of giant sequoias with Mike Theune, Fire Information Officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, Rob York, Adjunct Professor of Forestry at UC Berkeley, Dr.

Victoria Reeder, Save the Redwoods League

A Bay Area conservation group has signed a deal to purchase the world’s largest privately owned giant sequoia forest in the Southern Sierra Nevada. FM89's News Director Alice Daniel spoke with Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League.

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

When we talk about climate change and greenhouse gases in California, it’s tough to ignore the dairy industry: State data estimate dairies to be responsible for about 3 percent of the state’s annual greenhouse gas emissions – mostly due to burping cows and fermenting manure. Although the industry has already made some reductions to its emissions, a recent state law requires the industry to reduce its methane footprint even further over the next decade.

Morgan Gorris / University of California, Irvine

The fungal disease valley fever is endemic to arid regions of the western United States, but new research suggests the areas where it’s found could rise along with global temperatures.

Coutesy Andrea De Zubiria

 Maybe you’ve heard about the case Juliana v. United States in which 21 young people are suing the federal government for not protecting their right to a safe and livable climate. Well, young people all over are taking a stand against climate change. Just last week, three Valley teenagers were in Washington, D.C. with the grassroots organization Citizens Climate Lobby.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Monday was Earth Day, and to commemorate, Fresno City College hosted a talk about how climate change is increasing our risk of wildfire—as well as some new climate change-related legislation making its way through the U.S. Congress. 

Listen to the audio for an interview with one of the speakers, Jerry Hinkle, an economist based in Northern California and a board member of the non-profit Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

National Weather Service / Cal Fire

Last month the Carr Fire near Redding exploded overnight in what some people have called a "fire-nado" - with extreme rotating winds that toppled high tension power lines and wrapped metal posts around trees. It was the most extreme case of extreme fire behavior people have seen in California in recent times. But with a record-setting stretch of triple digit temperatures, skies filled with smoke, and fires creating their own weather, 2018 has proven to be anything but normal.

Flickr user Anna Irene (Creative Commons)

Mono Lake is one of the jewels of the Eastern Sierra. Its saline waters have created a unique ecosystem, providing habitat for everything from brine shrimp to migratory birds. But for years Mono Lake has had a problem – water diversions made by the City of Los Angeles. They reduced the level of the lake, harming both the ecosystem and creating massive dust clouds. In the mid-1990’s a deal was reached that both the LA Department of Water and Power and conservationists hoped would save the lake, and increase water levels by reducing the diversions.

Ezra David Romero

This year a handful of farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have new crop. But it's not something you'll find at your weekend farmer's market. Instead it's carbon. A new program funded by the state's cap-and-trade initative aims to help farmers add cover crops to their fields, with the idea that more carbon will be stored in the soil in the form of organic matter. It's part of the state's effort to fight climate change.

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