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Climate change

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.

Central Sierra Historical Society

In recent years, the forests of the Central Sierra have changed dramatically. Drought, bark beetles and climate change have helped to kill millions of trees across the region, and years of fire suppression have also contributed to an unhealthy ecosystem in many areas. Now the Central Sierra Historical Society Museum at Shaver Lake has launched a new website and museum dedicated to the changing forest. We talked with retired forester John R.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

The winter of 2016 to 2017 was extreme. Not only did it put an end to an extended drought in most of California, it delivered far more rain than average, and even set some rainfall records.

The state experienced a different kind of extreme in 1862, when the state was pounded by storm after storm over a short period of time, which caused what some called megafloods—the likes of which we haven’t seen since.

Kern County Department of Public Health

New data from the California Department of Public Health show that cases of valley fever are on the rise across the state. The airborne fungal disease is also the subject of a new public awareness campaign in Kern County, featuring sheriff Donny Youngblood.

Ezra Romero / Valley Public Radio

California’s historic drought may be over, but scientists are still hard at work assessing its impact on the ecosystem. Perhaps nowhere is that work more interesting, or important, than with the Sierra’s Giant Sequoias. These ancient trees have weathered drought, fires and floods for millennia. But how did they fare in this most recent dry spell, and what can their health tell us about other problems in the forest?

Homeowners Near Yosemite Are Struggling To Stay Insured

Oct 17, 2017
Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

With fires burning across California devastating entire communities, homeowners are beginning to file claims with their insurance companies. But in the mountains of eastern Madera County, many homeowners say they’re losing their insurance during a time when they could need it most.

Frank Ealand lives in an area near Coarsegold in the foothills of eastern Madera County that insurance companies call a fire prone zone. He says in the past three years his homes have gone without insurance after being dropped by companies three times.

Wildfires have always been a part of the Central California landscape. But in recent years blazes like the Detwiler Fire (2017) and the Erskine Fire (2016) have been different. In each case, veteran firefighters who have been on wildland blazes for decades say they saw the fires demonstrating "extreme" behavior like they haven't seen before. They burned hotter, faster, and didn't die down at night as fires typically do. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

It’s not usually easy to get the state of California to quickly adjust how it spends money in places like the Central Valley, especially after the Governor Jerry Brown himself comes to town for a major bill signing.

But that’s exactly what a group of activists in Southwest Fresno were able to do, convincing the state to make their part of town eligible for $70 million in cap-and-trade funding.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein used a visit to the Central Valley Thursday to criticize President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess caught up with the senator at a farm in western Fresno County.

Standing beside a freshly irrigated olive orchard, Feinstein warned that leaving the international climate change initiative could make the Central Valley un-farmable.

Flickr User TVZ Design

Recent data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate that carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere have risen close to 40 percent since before the industrial revolution. The effects of this rise on climate, sea levels and human societies are still being modeled, but one long-standing mystery for scientists has been how plants respond to rising CO2 levels, and how their ability to store the greenhouse gas feeds back into the carbon cycle.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The valley’s fruit and nut trees need cold temperatures in the winter in order to go to sleep and wake up healthy in the spring. New research suggests that in as little as 30 years, it may be too warm in the valley to grow these trees due to climate change. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports that the agriculture industry is taking the issue very seriously.

Ezra David Romero

Scientists and researchers from across California are gathering in Three Rivers this week to discuss the effects of climate change in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. FM89's Ezra David Romero reports.

Climate change is a big deal in the Sierra Nevada. Think dying pine trees and dwindling numbers of species like the yellow-legged frog.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

A few weeks ago we told you about concerns within the dairy industry following the state’s most recent climate legislation. The new laws require livestock producers to cut methane emissions from manure by almost half before the year 2030. It seems a tall task, but a kind of facility that’s popular in Europe could help the California dairy industry meet those goals—if only it were easier to build here. FM89’s Kerry Klein brings us to Tulare County with more.

Community Water Center

When we talk about water in the San Joaquin Valley, it’s often to highlight water problems, like dry wells, contaminated drinking water or, more recently, toxic algae in lakes and reservoirs. But the news isn’t all bad: local advocate Susana De Anda recently received an award from the White House for her work bringing clean water to San Joaquin Valley communities.

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