Electric cars are about to get their biggest boost ever

The largest and fastest-growing car market in the world is going to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars. China has announced plans to join the rapidly expanding list of countries with plans to phase out fossil fuel-burning cars, a list that includes the UK, France, Norway, and India. “These measures will promote profound changes in the environment and give...

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Why flowering meadows are better than lawns

Groomed, grassy fields can be good for certain uses, like sports or picnics. But for broader “ecosystem services” — things like plant pollination, disease control, soil quality and climate regulation — look to meadows. Meadows are more than just unmowed lawns, though. They are rich, diverse ecosystems, bustling with a wide range of wildlife. And as a new...

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After its dams came down, a river is reborn

The Elwha River starts at Dodwell-Rixon Pass, a high crack in Washington’s Olympic Mountains. There, a hiker who crossed would find the Elwha Snowfinger, formed by heavy winter storms and the avalanches that pour off the surrounding mountainsides. Wedged into a steep-walled gully, it forms the upper reaches of the Elwha basin. If the hiker followed this snow down,...

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Interior Secretary Zinke fiddles on climate while America’s national parks burn

September 2017 is quickly becoming one of the most devastating months in history for America’s national parks and forests. From Montana to Oregon to California, national treasures in Glacier National Park, the Columbia River Gorge, and Yosemite National Park have been destroyed or threatened by wildfires. While any single season or event cannot be attributed to climate...

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Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape

You can find evidence of a changing climate everywhere on Earth. But nowhere are the changes more dramatic than in the Arctic. Our world’s northern polar region is warming twice as fast as the global average. And the consequences are easy to spot. On average, Arctic sea ice extent is shrinking every summer. The Greenland ice sheet is becoming unstable. But perhaps most...

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Down with the Glen Canyon Dam?

In 1963, Glen Canyon was pronounced dead. Glen Canyon Dam had submerged its fabled grottoes, Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and slickrock chutes beneath the stagnant water of Lake Powell, and forever altered the ecology of the Grand Canyon just downstream. For wilderness lovers, the 710-foot-tall concrete wall stuck out of the Colorado River like a middle finger — an...

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7 reasons to be alarmed by record-setting levels of CO2

There was a 2009 analysis in Science that found when CO2 levels were sustained in the 400 to 500 ppm range some 15 to 20 million years ago, it was 5°F to 10°F warmer globally, and seas were also 75 to 120 feet higher. Despite the best efforts of the Trump administration to ignore or contradict scientific reality, carbon dioxide levels continue to soar far outside the...

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Yosemite fires shut Glacier Point Road, road to park entrance and popular hiking trails

Should you be traveling to Yosemite National Park for the Labor Day weekend, be prepared for smoky conditions and trail and road closures. Separate fires have shut Glacier Point Road, California Highway 41 leading from Oakhurst to the southern entrance into the park, a campground and popular hiking trails. Yosemite’s website warns visitors about smoke conditions in...

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Report: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Staff Not Negligent In Battling Deadly Chimney Tops 2 Fire

The deadly fire fed by kindling-dry forests and whipped out of control by hurricane-force winds at Great Smoky Mountains National Park “overwhelmed” the park staff’s ability to fight it, according to an independent review of the blaze that killed 14 in neighboring communities in November, 2016. Extreme drought conditions and heavy ground fuels –...

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Park Service group to feds: ‘Pendulum is swinging too far to the side of development’

Retired National Park Service employees spoke about the impacts of oil and gas development on some national parks—particularly from adjacent lands overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, expressing concern over the “alarming” number of...

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CO2 is changing the jet stream in ways that will create more Harveys

Climate science predicted a weaker jet stream, and Harvey stalled because of a weakened jet stream. A 2012 study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded global warming was driving changes in extreme weather in North America. “Our research reveals a change in the summer Arctic wind pattern over the past six years,” lead author James...

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As Finland celebrates a century since independence, a new national park is giving the country something to shout about

The Finnish are not ones to brag about their culture. Reserved and stoical, with an appreciation of dry humor, they prefer to keep things discreet. This year, however, the country will break away from its default shy-and-retiring position as it celebrates 100 years since Finnish independence, marking the occasion when the country claimed sovereignty from Russia, during...

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Your 1 Million Acres: The Future of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest Belongs to You

Your property includes cascading waterfalls, ancient forests, and the highest mountains in the East. You can go anywhere you like on your property. You can hike hundreds of miles of trails and paddle, fish, and swim in its pristine streams. You share ownership equally with every other American, and you pay your staff—the U.S. Forest Service—to manage the property. They...

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Protecting mountain gold: Balsam uses dye to thwart ginseng poachers

Brian McMahan and Johnny Nicholson can both remember boyhood days spent in the mountains, hunting the elusive ginseng plant. Coveted for its myriad medicinal uses, ginseng root harvest is an Appalachian tradition stretching back through generations. McMahan and Nicholson were both taught to dig it in such a way that its numbers would stay strong for generations more —...

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Interior Secretary Zinke outlines future of National Park Service while visiting BRP

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke came to the mountains of Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina on August 25, 2017 to celebrate the 101st birthday of the National Park Service and also lay out the department’s future. Zinke said the country’s national parks are facing an $11.5 billion maintenance backlog that he wants to close in five years. This comes on the...

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Here’s a better vision for the US-Mexico border: Make the Rio Grande grand again

The United States and Mexico have shared their current international border for nearly 170 years. Today they cooperate at multiple levels on issues that affect the border region, although you would not know it from the divisive rhetoric that we hear in both countries. President Trump’s focus on building a border wall threatens to undermine many bi-national initiatives,...

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Exxon Dared Critics to Prove It Misled the Public. These Researchers Just Called the Company’s Bluff.

Two years ago, Inside Climate News and Los Angeles Times investigations found that while Exxon Mobil internally acknowledged that climate change is man-made and serious, it publicly manufactured doubt about the science. Exxon has been trying unsuccessfully to smother this slow-burning PR crisis ever since, arguing the findings were “deliberately cherry picked...

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Court rejects pipeline project on climate concerns

An appeals court on August 22, 2017 rejected the federal government’s approval of a natural gas pipeline project in the southeastern U.S., citing concerns about its impact on climate change. In a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) did not properly analyze the climate impact from...

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Tony Tooke Is New Forest Service Chief

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tony Tooke will serve as the new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Tooke has worked for the Forest Service since age 18 and currently is the Regional Forester for the Southern Region. He is responsible for 3,100 employees, an annual budget exceeding $400 million, 14 national forests, and two managed areas, which...

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Trump plan could open Giant Sequoia monument to logging

For the largest living things standing on the planet, California’s giant sequoias have an unassuming, almost gentle aura to them. The recognizable cinnamon-colored bark is soft and fibrous. Its cones are modest. When cut down, the trees tend to shatter and won’t produce reliably sturdy timber. These majestic plants have a lineage stretching back to the Jurassic period,...

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Innovative new campaign wants to offset Trump’s climate policies by planting billions of trees

Resistance to the Trump administration’s rollback of U.S. climate policy is literally taking root across the globe, driven by climate-savvy campaigners in New Zealand and hundreds of thousands of trees. Dubbed “Trump Forest,” the project aims to plant enough trees — 110 billion, to be exact — to offset the carbon emissions created by the Trump administration’s climate...

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National parks are already setting attendance records. Now come the eclipse chasers.

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will blaze through 20 national parks and nine national trails in its path of totality across the United States, which begins in Oregon and ends in South Carolina. And those who were lucky enough to book campsites and hotels in time will be heading into these parks to experience it in gorgeous natural splendor. While the parks in...

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Military bases’ contamination will affect water for generations

Once a fighter jet training base critical to the Cold War, little remains of the former George Air Force Base but rows of dilapidated houses, a dismantled military hospital and dangerous chemicals from pesticides, jet fuels and other hazardous wastes that have poisoned the water for decades. “Now when I see the base today, areas of it look like a war zone,” said Frank...

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Weathering the violence of climate change

With India experiencing its worst drought in 140 years, Indian farmers have taken to the streets. At a protest in Madhya Pradesh this summer, police opened fire on farmers demanding debt relief and better crop prices. In Tamil Nadu, angry growers have held similar protests, and lit candles in remembrance of those killed. And at one rally in New Delhi, farmers carried...

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Forest Rangers tackle the conundrum of protecting loved-to-death wilderness

Were you to hike nearly nine miles into a wilderness area, paralleling a creek through alpine meadows and woods, you might expect to find solitude. But that’s not the case at Conundrum Hot Springs, an extremely popular area of natural pools at an elevation of over 11,000 feet with views of surrounding peaks in White River National Forest, Colorado. Dozens — and on busy...

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Collecting Climate Change Data in the Field

Since 1957, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) has been at the forefront of preserving our national parks and forests, with the knowledge that these natural “lungs” act as a critical cooling and cleaning mechanism for our planet, pulling carbon dioxide from the air while releasing oxygen. But in recent years, SCA has expanded beyond preservation work, partnering...

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Friends of the Smokies Turns 25 with $2.5 Million Emergency Radio Upgrade in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In celebration of the organization’s 25th anniversary next year, Friends of the Smokies is delighted to announce a milestone capital campaign to fund a critical radio system upgrade in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). The total cost of the radio system upgrade is $2.5 million. “Our target for this campaign is to raise $1.25 million by this time next year,...

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Living with Lynx in Scotland

Many generations have passed since the shy, beautiful, and charismatic lynx roamed the wild forests of Scotland. Today, the possibility of reintroducing this native predator is a tantalizing prospect for some but for others, represents an unwelcome imposition. Until just a few years ago, the lynx or lugh, as it was known in Scottish Gaelic, was virtually unknown as a...

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Scott Pruitt is dismantling EPA in secret for the same reason the GOP health care bill was secret

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has a propensity to operate in secret. The approach of serving industry under cover of secrecy is not idiosyncratic to Pruitt, nor is it distinctively Trumpian. Rather, it is the standard approach of today’s GOP, as reflected in such recent initiatives as the failed health care bill. It is, in fact, the only approach possible to advance an...

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Fleeing to the Mountains

In contrast to many advanced countries, the United States has a vast and spectacular publicly owned wilderness, mostly free and available to all. In an age of inequality, the affluent have gated neighborhoods, private schools, backup generators and greater influence on elected officials. But our most awe-inspiring wild places have remained largely a public good to be...

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National Parks Are Great Classrooms

This summer, millions of visitors will descend on America’s National Parks. National Parks attract visitors of all ages from countries across the globe, but many of this summer’s visitors will be children and their families on summer vacation. And that’s a valuable learning opportunity for both those children and their families. America’s 59...

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New Science Education Program Brings Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Classrooms

Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont have been selected to participate in a new science education program, Citizen Science 2.0 in National Parks. Made possible thanks to a $1 million Veverka Family Foundation donation to the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, this new program...

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