Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday fulfilled a promise by signing a measure that will phase out single-use plastic bags from checkout stands at California supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores and pharmacies.
An estimated 63 trillion gallons of groundwater have been lost in the ongoing drought in the western United States, a study finds. The loss has caused the Earth to lift up, on average, about 0.16 inches over the last 18 months.
Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
People getting gas in Berkeley might soon be seeing these warning labels as they fill up at the pump, informing them that California has concluded that CO2 emissions contribute to global warming. The idea was modeled on warnings on cigarette packaging.
Photo courtesy of 350 Bay Area.
The California Fish and Game Commission has voted to extend endangered species protections in the state to gray wolves.
No wolves are currently known to be in the state — the wolf in the photo above, called OR7, was the most recent wolf documented here, and he was the first one since the 1920s — but biologists say their return is inevitable.
Speaking of OR7, who has returned to his home state of Oregon: Wildlife officials there have spotted two pups they believe to be his offspring.
Photo: OR7 in Oregon. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Air pollution is linked to 1 in 8 deaths worldwide, according to a new report from the World Health Organization.
Photo: Heavily polluted air seen in the northern Chinese city of Harbin in October 2013. Credit: Associated Press
Happy International Polar Bear Day!
Science reporter Deborah Netburn talked to the chief scientist for Polar Bears International, the conservation group that founded International Polar Bear Day, about ways people can help polar bears. Number one on the group’s list: turn your thermostat down a few degrees.
Video: A polar bear cub experiences snow for the first time. Credit: Toronto Zoo
California’s calamitous drought drags on
It’s dry in California - historically dry. Water is in short supply, the air is noticeably without moisture, farms are parched and just look at the photo above of the state’s dwindling snow cover. It pretty much speaks for itself.
Meanwhile, various interests are turning to the political realm to try and ensure they get theirs when it comes to H2O.
And the drought has been particularly harsh on agriculture:
Ranchers have begun liquidating herds. Growers are considering tearing out thirsty tree crops such as nut orchards and citrus groves. And tens of thousands of additional acres of prime California soil could go unplanted if farmers don’t get enough water to irrigate them.
Read more on the drought’s effect on California here.
Photos: David McNew / Getty Images, Frederic J. Brown / Associated Press, NOAA, Randall Benton / Los Angeles Times
The dusty decimation of California’s drought
California’s longstanding drought has escalated in recent months, with 62.7% of the state now in what the Department of Agriculture deems “extreme” conditions.
But in few places is it as easily visualized as in the area surrounding the vanishing Cachuma Lake, which has become one of the most prominent victims of the lack of rain.
In years past, the spot where Bozarth was standing was under 30, 40, even 50 feet of water. It wasn’t all that long ago that Cachuma “spilled” — filled to the brim, to the point where millions of gallons of clean, fresh water was released through the dam’s gates and cast into the sea, a display of surplus that is laughable today.
That was only three years ago. Now, said Tom Fayram, Santa Barbara County’s deputy public works director, “it’s just empty.”
Photos: Brian van der Brug, Lorena Iñiguez Elebee / Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles: Say goodbye to plastic bags
Starting with the new year, plastic bags will be banned from major grocery markets, with smaller stores to be forced to give up the bags starting in July. So L.A. residents be warned: Tomorrow is your last chance to have your groceries bagged in plastic in compliance with the law.
Unless, of course, your grocer of choice just decides to hand you a plastic bag anyway.
Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
Green energy could crash the national power grid
Not because of any sort of explosive danger, but because the U.S. power grid is built for the previous century’s sources of energy. The antiquated grid, already a persistent cause for concern for officials, simply may not be prepared for large-scale adoption of alternative sources of power:
Green energy is the least predictable kind. Nobody can say for certain when the wind will blow or the sun will shine. A field of solar panels might be cranking out huge amounts of energy one minute and a tiny amount the next if a thick cloud arrives. In many cases, renewable resources exist where transmission lines don’t.
Photo: Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Wow: Typhoon Haiyan overlaid on a map of the United States
Some perspective on the "national calamity" that has struck the Philippines, with a death of at least 10,000 people expected by officials. You can donate to help the victims of the catastrophic storm via the Red Cross here.
CORRECTION: Before this is shared any further, the New Republic’s Nate Cohn has corrected the Red Cross’ image, with some help from Bran Dougherty-Johnson. In the center are the Philippines, with Typhoon Haiyan in the lower right.
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