• August 19th, 2021

    Sometimes referred to as “the science monument,” Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was established 25 years ago to protect the objects of significant scientific value found in the area. Since President Trump illegally halved the monument in 2017, monument supporters including SUWA and Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners have been working hard to get it back. We speak with Sarah Bauman, Executive Director of Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners, about the effort to restore the monument, and why this area is so deserving of restored protection.

    Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Our interlude music, “Chuck’s Guitar,” is by Larry Pattis. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

    Listen on your favorite app!

    wildutah.info/Stitcher
    wildutah.info/Apple
    wildutah.info/Spotify

    Posted by
  • August 17th, 2021

    Last week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a devastating new scientific report detailing the dire consequences of the ongoing—and worsening—climate crisis. The United Nations Secretary General called the findings “a code red for humanity.” (Read the key takeaways from the report here.)

    The IPCC’s report is an urgent call to action and its conclusions are unequivocal: we have already pushed the climate crisis too far and now the only question that remains is how quickly we can act to keep things from getting worse.

    Immediately after taking office, President Biden took decisive action to reverse the prior administration’s reckless course on climate, quickly rejoining the Paris Agreement and subsequently committing to achieve a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This is an encouraging start, but much remains to be done.

    In order to reach its emissions goal, the Biden administration must immediately halt all new oil, gas, and coal leasing on federal public lands. SUWA has called on President Biden to take this crucial step to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis. According to the United States Geological Survey, producing and burning fossil fuels generates nearly one quarter of the nation’s total carbon dioxide emissions, as well as substantial amounts of methane―an even more potent greenhouse gas.

    Oil and gas development in southern Utah. Copyright Liz Thomas/SUWA

    Fortunately, the Biden administration is listening. The Interior Department has launched a sweeping—and long overdue—review of the federal oil and gas leasing program and will soon release its recommendations for fixing the broken leasing system.

    But Washington, DC isn’t a one-horse town; Congress also has to do its part. And that’s where you can help.

    Please ask your members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today!

    Passage of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act will grant permanent protection to Utah’s wildest public lands while shielding them from climate destabilizing fossil fuel leasing and development. According to a report released this year, these lands, if kept intact and protected from the threats of such development, can help mitigate the worst effects of climate change. In fact, it’s estimated that passage of the Red Rock bill would permanently keep in the ground greenhouse gas emissions equal to 5.7 percent of the carbon budget necessary to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. These same lands are estimated to currently sequester and store 247 million metric tons of organic carbon.

    Please contact your members of Congress today and ask them to take a decisive step toward protecting the climate by cosponsoring America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

    Thank you!

    Posted by
  • August 16th, 2021

    As reported by the New York Times, the IPCC report makes clear that “a hotter future . . . is now essentially locked in.” This hotter future, even if limited to 1.5ºC—the target threshold under the Paris Agreement—will have irreversible global impacts such as “[n]early 1 billion people worldwide could swelter in more frequent life-threatening heat waves. Hundreds of millions more would struggle for water because of severe droughts. Some animal and plant species alive today will be gone. Coral reefs, which sustain fisheries for large swaths of the globe, will suffer more frequent mass die-offs.”

    Here are a few of the key takeaways in the IPCC report:

    It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.

    • Each of the last four decades has been successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850.
    • Human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years.
    • Observed warming is driven by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities such as the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels including coal, natural gas and oil.

    Oil and gas development in southern Utah. Copyright Liz Thomas/SUWA

    The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years.

    • In 2019, atmospheric CO2 concentrations were higher than at any time in at least 2 million years, and concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide were higher than at any time in at least 800,000 years.
    • Global surface temperature has increased faster since 1970 than in any other 50-year period over at least the last 2000 years.

    Dust storm in southern Utah created by dry conditions and soil-disturbing human activities. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.

    • Projected changes in extremes are larger in frequency and intensity with every additional increment of global warming.
    • Many changes due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets and global sea level.
    • Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered. Global warming of 1.5ºC and 2ºC—the target thresholds we must meet to avoid the worst outcomes of a changing climate—will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.

    Please contact your members of Congress today and ask them to take a decisive step toward protecting the climate by cosponsoring America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

    Posted by
  • July 20th, 2021

    We examine how America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act defines the turf of Utah’s wilderness debate – literally on the ground, as well as politically – and how the bill sets the standard against which other legislative and administrative actions are measured.

    Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Our interlude music, “Chuck’s Guitar,” is by Larry Pattis. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

    Listen on your favorite app!

    wildutah.info/Stitcher
    wildutah.info/Apple
    wildutah.info/Spotify

    Posted by