A hot topic: trees in our cities

Forest Park Tree Tour with Fred Nilsen
Portland's Forest Park (Laura Sloan)

City trees are a hot topic today, in more ways than one.

“We can cool down temperatures in cities over the period of a decade or two by aggressively planting trees,” said Georgia Tech professor Brian Stone on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” today. His recently published book is “Around the World, Cities Plan for Extreme Weather.”

In addition, Congressman Earl Blumenauer sent this message to his constituents today:

“This summer has been disastrous for millions of Americans, as unpredictable and severe weather has caused enormous loss of life and property. Climatologists are slow to put 100% of the blame for these events on climate change, but those of us with open eyes and a few decades under our belts can see the changes going on around us:

“Almost twice as many heat records in the US have been broken this year as last year and the past 12 months were the hottest on record. So far this year, wildfires have burned more than 2.2 million acres across the country.

“The heat wave that smothered much of the country in early July caused at least three dozen deaths.

“Floods, tropical storms, and fires have caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage this year and forced tens of thousands of people out of their homes.

“Congress can help prevent climate change which is why I strongly believe in capping or putting a price on carbon, increasing vehicle fuel efficiency, conserving energy in buildings, investing in public transportation, biking, and walking, and expanding alternative forms of energy that do not emit greenhouse gases. …

“Permanent climate change is not a foregone conclusion. We have the tools to combat it if we truly commit to putting shared interests above our politics, but Congress needs to act soon to prevent more summers like this.”