climate change

The Atlantic hurricane season starts next month — a time when coastal states have their disaster plans at the ready. Now, the federal government wants states to consider the potential effects of climate change in those blueprints.

States lay out strategies for reducing harm from a whole host of calamities that might strike, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or drought.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, gives states money to mitigate those risks — grants that might help pay for tornado safe rooms, or to elevate buildings in a flood zone, for instance.

President Obama used the backdrop of the Florida Everglades this Earth Day to highlight the dangers posed by a changing climate. He also took a swipe at Florida's Republican governor, who's been accused of discouraging state workers from discussing global warming.

"Climate change can no longer be denied," Obama said. "It can't be edited out. It can't be omitted from the conversation. And action can no longer be delayed."

It's March. It's freezing. And there's half a foot of snow on the ground. When is this winter going to end?

Nowadays, when there's a killer heat wave or serious drought somewhere, people wonder: Is this climate change at work? It's a question scientists have struggled with for years. And now there's a new field of research that's providing some answers. It's called "attribution science" — a set of principles that allow scientists to determine when it's a change in climate that's altering weather events ... and when it isn't.

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Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're going to find out now more about the Obama administration's climate plans from U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Secretary Moniz, welcome to the program.

U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY ERNEST MONIZ: Thank you very much, Audie.

VF Corp. is one of the biggest clothing companies you might not have heard of. But its brands include Lee and Wrangler jeans, Timberland shoes and The North Face, and it also makes uniforms for police and major league sports teams.

It's also a large purchaser of cotton. "We buy roughly 1 percent of the cotton available in the world," says Letitia Webster, VF's senior director of sustainability. Her job is to both reduce the company's greenhouse gas footprint and reduce its risks from climate change.

Last week, scientists warned that a massive chunk of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet will eventually drift into the sea and melt, raising sea levels at least 10 feet higher than previous predictions.

Even before the announcement, scientists at the nonprofit research organization Climate Central predicted that surging seas could put the homes of nearly 5 million Americans underwater by the end of this century.

For millions of Americans, the joy of spring and the return of grass, trees and flowers is overshadowed by one thing: allergies.

In much of the country, it’s been a brutally long, cold winter, which can make for a particularly bad allergy season. Most of the worst cities in the country for allergies are in the South.

Melissa Block speaks with Brian Stone, director of the Urban Climate Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology, about the public health effects of climate change.

We Americans are heavy consumers of meat, and we're increasingly reminded that eating less of it will shrink our carbon footprint. Growing the crops to feed all those animals releases lots of greenhouse gases.

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