It got cold out west last week. But that didn't stop it from being a jam-packed week for news related to the outdoors and the environment.
Hailed as a landmark deal, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to hard commitments with regards to greenhouse gas reduction. In a note of caution, the U.S. agreements require approval by a Republican-led Congress, however, many people are optimistic it will pass. Notably, China is receiving domestic pressure to reduce pollution and emissions, making it more engaged in broader climate talks.
A proposed 60,000 wilderness area surrounding Oregon's Painted Hills has received local Wheeler County support. Votes held by the city of Mitchell and Wheeler County Court both approved the wilderness designation. Although the official wilderness designation must be approved by the U.S. Congress, local support is a big help. According to local officials, the wilderness designation is seen to be in the best interest of the area and its residents.
The BLM has approved issuing permits for a wolf and coyote hunting derby in Idaho for three days in early January, and four environmentalist groups have sued in Idaho district court to block the hunt. The group conducting the derby is called Idaho for Wildlife. It issues prizes for hunters who bag the largest wolf or most coyotes during the derby. BLM expects few wildlife impacts from the derby, which gets about 150 participants. However, the groups suing, including Defenders of Wildlife, say the hunt is contrary to the goals of the federal governments wolf reintroduction programs.
According to a study conducted by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, rising temperatures will also lead to a marked increase in lightning strikes. Specifically, for each one degree Celsius rise in the earth's average temperature, lighting strikes will rise by 12 percent. The coincidence of rising temperatures and more lightning strikes will likely produce more wildfires.
Watch below to catch up on last week's episode of Oregon Field Guide by OPB. Stories include a segment on Portland's Queen Bee Project, working on breeding a stronger bee.