Sun Bears, Clean Energy Transition and Forests of the Future

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator

No. 134, May 28, 2020

Hello Revelator readers,

How will climate change affect trees? Research has already found forest mortality is on the rise, but that's not the only change afoot. Here's why the forests of the future may look different from today's.

The climate crisis is also changing how we get our energy — but not quickly enough. If we want a shot at a livable future, we'll need to add clean energy eight times faster than we are now, says policy expert Leah Stokes. We talked to her about how to speed up the clean energy transition.

Sun bears — the world's smallest bears — already face big threats from poaching, traditional medicine and the illegal pet trade. Now the COVID-19 pandemic could make things worse.

The pandemic is also taking its toll on scientific field work. Two scientists explain how critical research has been upended or curtailed, and what the long-term effects may be.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Here are five more stories we're watching this week.  

1. A federal judge struck down 440 oil and gas leases on public lands in Montana and Wyoming for their failure to protect sage grouse habitat.

2. In the next 50 years, rising seas are projected to completely overcome Louisiana's coastal wetlands in the Mississippi Delta, threatening the region's economy and New Orleans' best defense against storms.

3. Fishing communities and environmentalists are reeling after an executive order from President Trump initiated a process to open federal waters to industrial fish farms.

4. Last week's dam failures in Michigan are a reminder of the 2,300 U.S. dams that are in poor condition and threatening lives — and why the problem will become more acute with climate change.

5. Some sea turtle populations are slowly climbing in locations across the world — a success attributed to conservation programs, fisheries management and new laws.

In case you missed it:

A coalition of states is asking a federal judge to stop the implementation of a Trump administration law that rolls back clean-water regulations. Here's what the law would mean for people and wildlife.

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts and readers around the world. We want to hear from you, so please drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

We'll take a look at how a shortage of conservation officers is putting wildlife at risk. There's also some good news for a rare tree in India, but bad news in Australia, as an invasive fungus is decimating native plants.

Look for our latest links in next Thursday's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live.

As always, thank you for reading — and stay safe.

Tara Lohan

Tara Lohan
Deputy Editor, The Revelator


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Photo of trees by Noya Fields Family/Flickr

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