Pulitzer winning climate news

Katherine Bagley

Katherine Bagley is a reporter for InsideClimate News who covers the intersection of environmental science, politics and policy, with an emphasis on climate change. She is co-author of the InsideClimate News book "Bloomberg's Hidden Legacy: Climate Change and the Future of New York City," published in November 2013 and winner of the Deadline Club's Award for Reporting by Independent Digital Media. Her writing has also been included in the anthology Best American Science and Nature Writing. 

She previously worked as a freelance journalist and editor, contributing print and multimedia work to Popular Science, Audubon, OnEarth and The Scientist, among other publications.

You can reach her by email at katherine.bagley@insideclimatenews.org.

 

Articles

Will UN Climate Panel's Credibility Suffer From the Resignation of Its Chief?

Attacks on the IPCC over allegations of sexual misconduct come in the same week as scandal erupts over contrarian scientist Willie Soon.

Feb 25, 2015

In a week when the Willie Soon scandal broke and revealed the fossil fuel industry's footprint on contrarian climate research, embattled denialists went back on the offensive.

Critics are again trying to discredit the leading international scientific body on climate change after the organization's leader resigned over allegations he sexually harassed female coworkers at his research institute in India.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stepped down Tuesday, eight months before his planned departure. In his resignation letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Pachauri wrote that “the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma."

Critics of the IPCC seized on his comment to paint the scientific body as biased. The panel is "led by an environmentalist on a mission...for whom protecting the planet is a religious calling,” wrote Donna Laframboise, a vocal climate denier, on her website, NoFrakkingConsensus. Marc Morano of Climate Depot asserted that the allegations of sexual harassment are the latest sign the IPCC was being led by a "political and ethical cancer."

6 More Feet of Sea Level Rise Possible This Century, NYC Climate Panel Warns

New hyperlocal projections also see temperatures rising as much 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit and 76 days when mercury tops 90 degrees.

Feb 18, 2015

New York City could experience 6 more feet of sea level rise by 2100 as a result of human-driven climate change, which could frequently plunge more than 90 square miles of the five boroughs under water, according to a Feb. 17 report by a group of New York-based scientists.

Temperatures in the city could increase by as much as 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit by the 2080s, with the number of days above 90 degrees jumping from 18 today to 76 by that decade, the scientists found. Storms as intense as Hurricane Sandy, which caused more than $50 billion in damage to the city in 2012, could hit the region more often as ocean waters continue to warm. The authors wrote that they couldn't project how winter storms may change.

The report, part of a biennial series, again "demonstrates how severely climate change will affect New York," said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a climate scientist at Columbia University and NASA. She is co-chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, which issued the report. "There will be higher temperatures, more heat waves and heavy precipitation."

This year's study is the first to provide projections to 2100. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg convened the panel Rosenzweig helps lead in 2008 to help set New York's sustainability and climate action agenda. It became an official part of city government in 2012 and is required to update climate projections about every two years. The group is made up of scientists from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Columbia University, Hunter College, Princeton University and other academic institutions.

Droughts Will Hammer U.S. West as 21st Century Unfolds

Human-caused global warming will create conditions more severe than any in past 1,000 years, new research shows.

Feb 12, 2015

As harsh as the current long-running California drought has been, conditions in the American West will substantially worsen in coming years, according to new research.

Later this century, the American Southwest and Central Plains are likely to experience catastrophic drought worse than any in the last millennium, according to research published today by scientists from NASA, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Cornell University. The hotter and dryer conditions will be "driven primarily" by human-caused climate change and could be so severe that communities will struggle to adapt, the study finds.

Eugene Wahl, a paleoclimatologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Co., called the results "stunning."

National Academy: Geoengineering No Substitute for Carbon Cuts

The idea of geoengineering to reverse climate change has been around since the 1960s. The two-volume NAS report says cutting GHGs is the only solution.

Feb 10, 2015

There's no quick fix for climate change and there won't be for decades to come. The world's only solution is to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions—and immediately.

That's the takeaway from a new two-volume report out Feb. 10 from the National Research Council, the working arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The report examines whether governments could fight global warming through geoengineering, also known as climate engineering or climate intervention. The strategy involves removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or modifying clouds or other Earth systems to reflect incoming sunlight to alter the world's climate artificially.  

"The top line message from the report is pretty clear: there's no climate engineering technology that would be a substitute for large-scale mitigation," said Simon Nicholson, co-director of American University's Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment who did not contribute to the report.

Partisan Zeal Is Hallmark of New Senate's Votes on Environment

League of Conservations Voters' scorecard underlines partisan divide that defines Capitol Hill on climate change and energy.

Feb 5, 2015

Thirty-seven Republican senators voted against protecting the environment 19 different times—every single opportunity they had—during last week's contentious vote to fast-track approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Across the aisle, 32 Democrats voted pro-environment 100 percent of the time.

That assessment was released Thursday by the political advocacy group the League of Conservation Voters, which tracked senators' votes on 18 different environment-, climate- and energy-related amendments attached to the Keystone XL bill, as well the Keystone bill itself. The report's results demonstrate the sharp partisan divide likely to rule Congress' climate-and-energy decisions for the next two years.

De Blasio Plans Affordable Housing in Areas Swamped by Hurricane Sandy

Groups say the plan must be carried out carefully to avoid putting more people in danger as water levels rise because of global warming.

Feb 4, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable-housing plan for New York City announced Tuesday calls for thousands of new residences to be built in low-lying neighborhoods hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Kids Caught in Crossfire of Climate Education Battle

New science standards require students be taught climate change as a scientific fact. They face resistance in several states from climate skeptics.

Jan 29, 2015

While President Barack Obama wants to protect young people from the catastrophic effects of global warming, school boards and lawmakers in some states are fighting to prevent students from learning the science of climate change.

In the most recent skirmish, parents and science educators in West Virginia blocked an attempt to weaken the teaching of climate change in elementary and secondary school classrooms. Responding to petitions and protests, the state Board of Education voted Jan. 14 to undo revisions to teaching guidelines that would have cast doubt on global warming and the reasons for it.

The West Virginia case is part of a long-running battle over the first set of national guidelines for science education to require that students be taught that climate change is a scientific fact and mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels. The guidelines, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, were developed by science-education groups and state school systems, led by the National Research Council. They have been adopted by 13 states and the District of Columbia, but face resistance in several states from climate skeptics on school boards and in legislatures.

"Climate is the major sticking point in the standards," said Lisa Hoyos, director and co-founder of the national activist group Climate Parents. "Even if a state has been involved in writing, they go home and the politics win out," she said. "Kids are caught in the crossfire."

Why Bigger Snowstorms Come With Global Warming

Amount of rain and snow falling in the heaviest precipitation events in the Northeast has jumped 71% in last half-century, consistent with climate change.

Jan 27, 2015

Winter storm Juno is expected to dump as much as 3 feet of snow across parts of New England early this week. Media outlets have already dubbed the storm "a massive blizzard of epic proportions." Schools closed their doors, grocery stores had their shelves stripped and governors announced travel bans along most of the storm's path.

But on social media, Juno is being pointed to as the latest evidence that global warming is not happening, or that it's even a hoax or scam—an assertion that scientists said couldn't be further from the truth.

"That claim is nonsensical," said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. "Yes, we have always had storms in the winter, but climate change is often the contributing factor that pushes these events over the edge to become record-breaking."

Here's why: As the oceans warm due to the burning of fossil fuels, the atmosphere above can hold more moisture, which in turn fuels the creation of the most intense precipitation events. The mid-Atlantic is currently 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. In the spring, summer and fall, that translates into more of the most intense rainstorms. In the winter, when that moisture-rich air hits cold temperatures on the continent, heavier snowfall results.

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