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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: climate change

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December 19, 2013 at 6:12 AM

Why UW, Seattle U. should divest from fossil-fuel companies

(Illustration by William Brown / Op Art)

(Illustration by William Brown / Op Art)

Editor’s note: Nicole Gaddie, a Seattle University student, is interning with The Seattle Times opinion section this fall.

A new movement is building traction among colleges across the nation: withdrawing endowment investments from major fossil-fuel companies.

Historically this is not new territory. In the 1980s college students demanded divestment from companies that supported the apartheid regime of South Africa. In the 1990s college endowments divested from Big Tobacco.

Students should once again make a statement, this time by seeking a solution to climate change.

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0 Comments | Topics: climate change, students, uw

December 4, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Climate change and cannibalism on the famed Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage has captured my imagination since my Pacific Northwest childhood as a final frontier for marine expedition, ambition and, well, cannibalism. That last part loomed large in my recollection of school lessons, so as the famed passage across the north coast of North America began opening in the past two centuries, I’ve been jarred back to images of the ultimate adventure gone wrong.

More news today: the National Academies of Science has a new report about the potential effects of climate change, including projections about the mid-century prospects for more routine sailing of the Northwest Passage. Overall, it’s a sobering report on the “tipping points” for abrupt impacts on societies, as The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin reports.

Green indicates new maritime access by mid-century. / THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE

Green indicates new maritime access by mid-century. / THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE

The 900-mile Northwest Passage, which skitters among the Canadian archipelago and above the Arctic circle, is one of the winners in the global lottery of climate change. The report suggests that the 900-mile passage will be navigable in midsummer by “moderately ice-strengthened ships” by around 2050, opening up a much shorter shipping route. Here is an excerpt:

The shipping distance between Shanghai and Rotterdam, for example, is approximately ~19,600 and ~25,600 km, respectively via the Suez or Panama canals, but only ~15,800 over the northern coast of Russia (the Northern Sea route) or ~17,600 km through the Canadian archipelago (the Northwest Passage).

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0 Comments | Topics: climate change, maria cantwell