With this week being the week that world leaders met in New York for the United Nations Climate Summit 2014, our “what we are reading” update naturally focuses on climate issues.
First, researchers here in Seattle published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that concludes the ~0.5 to 1 degree Celsius warming trend observed on the West Coast over the last century can be mostly attributed to changes in atmospheric circulation (a PDF of the entire article is available here). The study received immediate media attention, including this article by Craig Welch, and this follow-up editorial by the Seattle Times. I’d expect this study to be the subject of significant dialogue for a while.
Second, as the debate over whether Washington should adopt cap-and-trade or some other form of carbon price (such as a tax) heats up, I found this article from the Economist comparing various carbon reduction efforts interesting.
Third, locally, I’d be remiss to not mention the writings of Yoram Bauman over at Sightline. I had the chance to listen to Yoram’s pitch for a carbon tax recently, and I can tell you that he is highly entertaining, as well as engaging and persuasive.
Fourth, on a geeky science note (and following up on my past posts on remote sensing), I found this false color image that NASA recently took of the King Fire particularly fascinating. I’ve been following this fire closely because my parents live about ten miles away from the northern end, and am glad to report that the rain California received over the past few days has helped significantly with the fire.
Finally, the Daily Journal of Commerce published its annual “Environmental Outlook” this week. This is really well-done. It is worth reading, particularly Cindy Easterson of Landau Associates’ article on the challenge high total dissolved solids in groundwater (which are naturally occurring) poses for industries that are reusing wastewater to irrigate crops. Cindy does a nice job of outlining scientific, regulatory, and economic issues around a highly technical topic with significant economic implications. Also worth reading is Nathan Hardebeck’s (SoundEarth Strategies) article on the how the new Industrial Stormwater General Permit may impact businesses along the Duwamish, along with Grant Jansen’s quick piece on how his firm designed modules that help protect restored wetlands from erosion, and Matt Wheaton’s (Terracon Consultants) perspective on whether it is time to jump on redevelopment of urban contaminated properties.