Items by Jonathan Thompson

Unprecedented fire, wind and snowmelt in the Southwest
Unprecedented fire, wind and snowmelt in the Southwest
This may not be the driest winter, the worst fire season or even the warmest spring on record, but taken together the conditions truly are superlative.
What the Ukraine war means for Western lands
What the Ukraine war means for Western lands
War hawks and climate hawks alike are calling for energy independence.
Russia’s war reverberates in the West
Russia’s war reverberates in the West
Putin’s military moves — and the globe’s response to them — have unexpected consequences for the region.
Biden’s broken promise on climate?
Biden’s broken promise on climate?
The administration resumes oil and gas leasing — and fixes a dysfunctional system in the process.
Powell’s looming power problem
Powell’s looming power problem
Drought and demand threaten a critical component of the Western grid.
How the Earth stores records of the past
How the Earth stores records of the past
When human data doesn’t go back far enough, researchers turn to natural archives.
The digital world’s real-world impact on the environment
The digital world’s real-world impact on the environment
From data center warehouses to cryptocurrency, technology is another energy hog.
The Supreme Court is set to weigh in on the Clean Water Act’s reach
The Supreme Court is set to weigh in on the Clean Water Act’s reach
The high court is taking up an Idaho case that could obliterate federal protection for much of the West’s waters.
Electric vehicles drive up demand for ‘green metals’
Electric vehicles drive up demand for ‘green metals’
The need for energy-transition metals breathes life into new mines in the West.
Biden’s ‘herky-jerky’ first year on Western issues
Biden’s ‘herky-jerky’ first year on Western issues
The new president sacrificed bold executive action to try to win over Congress.
2021’s climate was one of contrasts, contradictions and extremes
Paul Larmer’s 40-year ride with HCN
Paul Larmer’s 40-year ride with HCN
The one-time intern turned publisher, and now senior development officer, retires to a mic and his camera.
Income inequality proliferates across the West
Income inequality proliferates across the West
How history, tax policies and gentrification play into wealth inequity.
The Westiest programs in Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
The Westiest programs in Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
The act is the New Deal redux, with a splash of ecosystem restoration.
Why reducing methane emissions matters
Why reducing methane emissions matters
What you can’t see can hurt.
Fuel for the electrical fire
Fuel for the electrical fire
Utility equipment sparks blazes, but climate change stokes them.
More national parks won’t solve overcrowding
More national parks won’t solve overcrowding
Increase park funding instead.
The incredible shrinking Colorado River
The incredible shrinking Colorado River
Climate change and rising demand are sucking the life out of the Southwest’s water supply.
How yellowcake shaped the West
How yellowcake shaped the West
The ghosts of the uranium boom continue to haunt the land, water and people.
Climate change wreaks havoc on the electricity grid
Climate change wreaks havoc on the electricity grid
Heat and drought combined are especially harmful to the power system.
Crowds swarm the public lands
Crowds swarm the public lands
Land managers and gateway communities struggle to keep up.
Why I changed my mind about Bears Ears
Why I changed my mind about Bears Ears
The benefits of a national monument in San Juan County outweigh the costs.
Cannabis has a carbon problem
Cannabis has a carbon problem
The burgeoning marijuana industry gobbles up electricity.
Solving the West’s housing crisis
Solving the West’s housing crisis
We need to care for the priced-out average worker or something is bound to break.
Americans go on a gun-buying frenzy
Americans go on a gun-buying frenzy
Gun-related violence soars along with sales.
Mass shootings are a product of America’s violent culture
Mass shootings are a product of America’s violent culture
The bloodthirsty legacies of settler-colonialism and Western expansion endure today.
Border barrier boondoggle
Border barrier boondoggle
Trump’s promised inexpensive, impregnable wall was anything but.
This year’s deadly avalanche season
This year’s deadly avalanche season
Low snowfall has led to catastrophic conditions around the West.
Put unemployed miners and drillers back to work in restoration
Put unemployed miners and drillers back to work in restoration
There’s economic development in reclaiming coal mines and plugging idled wells.
Coal’s big breakdown
Coal’s big breakdown
A half-century ago, the ‘Big Buildup’ transformed the West; now, it’s all coming to an end.
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