climate change

Enjoying cooler and cleaner air in Birmingham could come down to planting more urban trees.

That’s according to a new study from the Nature Conservancy. The organization released a study last week analyzing nearly 250 of the world’s largest cities. They studied the impact trees have on mitigating heat and air pollution within the cities. The report finds planting more trees in cities like Birmingham could reduce temperatures by up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit in summer months. Additional trees could also cut down on air pollution from sources like car exhaust and power plants.


 Alabama is updating its science standards to require that students understand evolution and learn about climate change.

Educators say the new rules don't require that students in the Bible Belt state believe in evolution or accept the idea that climate is changing globally.

However, students will be required to understand the theory of evolution starting next year. Teachers will address climate change, which wasn't a focus in the state's previous, decade-old standards.

The state school board approved the new standards unanimously late last week.

A federal judge says he will rule by Friday on a female prisoner's request for an abortion.

U.S. District Abdul Kallon made the comment after hearing arguments yesterday in a lawsuit filed by the woman.

The unnamed prisoner filed suit against Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton seeking a court order that would let her leave jail to travel to Huntsville for the procedure.

A.G. Gaston
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

A new report provides the specific economic impacts of decades of climate change both in Alabama and throughout the United States.

In Alabama, the largest issue is expected to be increased temperature. By 2040, the report estimates that the state will see up to 33 additional days per year above 95 degrees. That would result in a nearly 9% drop in crop yields, a 7.5% jump in energy demand, and nearly 500 additional deaths per year.

Matthew Wood, University of Alabama

A University of Alabama student is heading to Lima, Peru next month for a United Nations conference on climate change.  Catherine King is a chemical engineering major with a focus on green chemistry.  She’s one of 8 students across the country the American Chemical Society selected to attend the conference.  King says the issue of climate change has become too politicized.

University of Alabama officials say a senior chemical engineering and chemistry student has been chosen to participate in a conference on climate change being hosted by the United Nations.

University officials said in a statement that Catherine King of Huntsville is one of eight students the American Chemical Society selected to attend the UN's conference in Lima, Peru. The event is expected to include representatives from more than 190 countries.

An expert on dinosaur fossils will speak at the University of Alabama Thursday night.  It’s part of a lecture series on evolution called ALLELE.  Emory professor Anthony Martin will talk about what dinosaur fossils can teach us about evolution.  He studies what are called trace fossils.

Jim Paris (

A new study finds that climate change is threatening more than half the bird species in the United States.  The National Audubon Society studied 588 bird species, including in Alabama. Of those, 314 could be forced to relocate as their habitats shift.  Scot Duncan is an Associate Professor of Biology at Birmingham-Southern College. 

Scot Duncan: “We’re looking at a tremendous loss of birds, and some species entirely, leaving our neighborhoods and the places that we like to spend time.”

Alabama's attorney general is scheduled to testify to a Senate subcommittee in Washington in opposition to environmental regulations affecting coal-fired power plants.

A spokesman for Attorney General Luther Strange says he was invited by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to testify Wednesday at a meeting of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety. The subcommittee is focusing on climate change. Sessions is a member of the subcommittee.

Lester Lefkowitz/Getty Images

The question of how to reduce the pollution that causes global warming is now a hot topic since new carbon limits were announced by the EPA earlier this month.  Those proposed rules aim to reduce national carbon emissions from existing power plants 30 percent by the year 2030.  In Alabama, the goal is 27 percent.  The boom in natural gas could help, as could investments in renewable energy like wind and solar.  Another method is what’s called “carbon capture.”  Dr.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says he may take legal action to challenge the Obama administration's latest ruling on power plant emissions.

Strange says restrictions on emissions will cost Alabama jobs and increase heating and cooling costs. reports that Strange says 16,000 coal-related jobs in Alabama could be affected.

National Climate Assessment

This week saw the release of yet another in a long string of increasingly dire reports on climate change.  The federal government’s third National Climate Assessment is perhaps most notable for documenting the impact climate change is having in the U.S. RIGHT NOW as opposed to in the future.  More severe weather, extreme drought, and torrential rainfall like that seen along the Gulf Coast last week are becoming measurably more common.