Scientists and climatologists are saying that it would impact natural resources directly, making some parts of the world virtually uninhabitable. This, inevitably, would result in mass movement of human tide.
Norwegian minister of foreign affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre affirmed that back in 2011 at the Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement:
“Human displacement due to climate change is happening now. There is no need to debate it.”
The realisation, somehow, has not hit authorities in Pakistan, who remain in a state of denial. This, despite the reality of having witnessed a movement (albeit a slow one) of people from rural to urban centres, due in part to climate-related events which have been taking place over the last several decades.
Good read on displacement of people due to environmental impacts.
The savage heat waves that struck Australia in 2013 were almost certainly a direct consequence of the human release of greenhouse gases, researchers said Monday. It is perhaps the most definitive statement climate scientists have made that ties a specific weather event to global warming.
Five groups of researchers, using distinct methods, analyzed the heat that baked Australia for much of last year and continued into 2014, shutting down the Australian Open tennis tournament at one point in January. All five came to the conclusion that last year’s heat waves could not have been as severe without the long-term climatic warming caused by human activity.
“When we look at the heat across the whole of Australia and the whole 12 months of 2013, we can say that this was virtually impossible without climate change,” said David Karoly, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne who led one research team.
One of the most direct and definitive statements from climate scientists to date. More here.
“Is anybody listening? That’s the question,” said Gerald Galloway, a University of Maryland engineering research professor and one of the authors of the report. “The question is why aren’t more people listening to what’s been said about flood risk in report after report after report.”
The new report recommends a unified national vision and organizational framework for floodplain management that includes federal, state and local governments, the business community, non-profit organizations, and the public as partners.
"There’s a need to make this a not-Washington-only effort," Galloway said.
Leaders failed (and continue to fail) to address well known and documented hurricane and flood risks to New Orleans.
E.g., the case for removing old dams to restore ecosystems.
At over 100 sites throughout the Connecticut River basin, the largest river system in New England, we characterized species composition, valley and channel morphology, and hydrologic regime to define conditions promoting distinct floodplain forest assemblages. Species assemblages were dominated by floodplain-associated trees on surfaces experiencing flood durations between 4.5 and 91 days/year, which were generally well below the stage of the two-year recurrence interval flood, a widely-used benchmark for floodplain restoration. These tree species rarely occurred on surfaces that flooded less than 1 day/year. By contrast abundance of most woody invasive species decreased with flooding.
Such flood-prone surfaces were jointly determined by characteristics of the hydrograph (high discharges of long duration) and topography (low gradient and reduced valley constraint), resulting in increased availability of floodplain habitat with increasing watershed area and/or decreasing stream gradient. Downstream mainstem reaches provided the most floodplain habitat, largely associated with low-energy features such as back swamps and point bars, and were dominated by silver maple (Acer saccharinum). However, we were able to identify a number of suitable sites in the upper part of the basin and in large tributaries, often associated with in-channel islands and bars and frequently dominated by sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and flood disturbance-dependent species.
Our results imply that restoring flows by modifying dam operations to benefit floodplain forests on existing surfaces need not conflict with flood protection in some regional settings.
The Army Corps of Engineers is moving to purchase grass sod to plant atop earthen levees in the New Orleans area to "armor" them from erosion if they are overtopped by hurricane storm surges, according to an agency notice to prospective sod sellers.
Pretty cool engineering project in New Orleans. The journalist explains how adding sod to the top of levees will increase the capacity of the berms to retain water. (though, I though levees were generally covered in grass, so it’s a bit confusing.) Anyway, this is a good and simple example of an adaptation.
Not sure if you have already been asked this, what did you study to get the career you have today?
Yes, been asked a ton, but I don’t mind.
I have masters degrees in environmental law and city planning. The focus of my research was/is how land-use laws were able (or, rather, unable) to accommodate climate science. So, naturally, I’m interested in how climate will affect infrastructure, economies, demographics, ecosystems, etc.
For example, I’m quite interested how can coastal communities deal with a rising sea. Especially cities like New York City or Lagos, which have thousands of buildings, roads, ports, and pipelines literally built inches from the ocean.
Cities are prepared for certain levels of disasters. There are sea walls and evacuation plans, flood pump stations and hurricane barriers. And buildings and infrastructure are generally built to high standards. But, cites are not prepared for higher oceans (why would they be?). Climate change changes the equations and calculations of managing disasters in cities. They’re forced to adapt, regardless of how many solar panels are slapped onto rooftops.
It’s a complicated issue. Greenhouse gasses trap in more heat in the atmosphere, causing a bunch of crazy environmental things to happen. So the obvious response is to stop pumping carbon into the air. That’s Al Gore’s primary message.
The problem with this is that storms and fires and diseases are increasing as a result from rising temperatures. Climate change is occurring regardless of mitigation. Thus, the impacts have to be dealt with. In fact, our troubles are only going to increase. I choose to be on the impacts side of this conundrum (eg, adaptation).
Announced in June, Obama’s $1 Billion resilience and infrastructure grant program is now live. Eligible organizations can only apply (instructions at bottom). Minimum grant award is $1 million, maximum is $500 Million(!). I consult on grant applications, so if you’re a municipality or an eligible organization, contact me to chat.
The administration is putting climate change front and center ahead of Obama’s speech at a United Nations summit next week, where world leaders will discuss action on the issue.
The White House is running a “full court press” on climate change ahead of the summit, and Donovan said the administration’s push is just beginning.
He said climate change has huge implications for the federal budget, and said OMB will have to take those costs into account in the years ahead.
"Climate denial scores … I mean that it scores in the budget — climate denial will cost us billions of dollars."
Donovan said he will bring the “analytical rigor” of OMB to “bear in ensuring the federal budget and the management of federal programs and resources are as ambitious and effective as they can be in tackling this defining challenge of our time.”
The Digital Coast Act authorizes the next phase in coastal mapping at NOAA by ensuring that coastal managers and developers will continue to have the data to make smart choices for economic development, shoreline management and coastal restoration.
The Act supports further development of the current project, including increasing access to uniform, up-to-date data, to help communities get the coastal data they need to respond to emergencies, plan for long-term coastal resilience, and manage their water resources.
Nice law shaped to restore parts of the Great Lakes in collaboration with local communities and NOAA.
Vote for me on Nat Geo for Bhutan: Mega Floods & Melting Ice
I’m Daniel Byers a filmmaker with SkyShipFilms. I’ve been selected as a finalist for Nat Geo’s “Expedition Granted” competition, with an expedition proposal to study dangerous glacial lakes in the Puna Tsang Chu valley, Bhutan. Please vote for my project. These glacial lakes are remote, unstudied except by satellite, and pose a real threat to Bhutan’s people, hydro plants, and only international airport.
The last round is a public vote, with the winner getting $50K to fund their expedition. You can vote once per day thru Sep 29th… would love to have your support in helping raise awareness and action for climate change! ~Daniel Byers
SOMERSET, Colo. — The sale of billions of tons of publicly owned coal highlights one of the greatest conundrums of the Obama’s environmental policy. While the Obama administration has ordered a 30 percent reduction of global warming gases, it is leasing land for mining of coal, which can be exported and burned elsewhere. It is the story of “contradictory energy policies undermining the larger goal of having a reduction of greenhouse gases in America,” said Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who normally is a staunch ally of the administration, but in this case one of its severest critics.
Obama may be the coal industry’s critical, if unlikely, ally. The administration has rejected calls to place a moratorium on leasing public land to mining firms — even though such leases account for 40 percent of coal mined in the United States. Nor is the administration much interested in blocking exports of coal from such leases to countries where it could be burned without antipollution controls. Or in significantly raising the price of the billions of tons of publicly owned coal now sold at what critics consider bargain rates.
I saw the movie "Cowspiracy" which claims that Animal Agriculture is the largest contributor to climate change -- it contributes 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions. I checked this after the movie and the UN FAO lists it at 11%, but a third party, "World Watch" recalculates it to 51 based on respiration and other factors. I judge the evidence overall to support the treatise that animal ag is unsustainable, but isn't respiration carbon neutral - feed plants store CO2 equal to what cows expel? -PH
First, I’m into adaptation - not carbon or emissions nuttery. I help governments reduce risks by changing environmental and development policies. Adaptation is the process of reducing impacts from climate change. It’s basically preventing natural disasters using climate science. Read a short summary here.
That said, the movie is clearly misleading and propagandist (thus the title). It’s not difficult to find the correct sources of information on sources of emissions, primarily of which is the IPCC’s Fifth climate assessment report on mitigation: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change.
Growing evidence of links between climate change, migration, and conflict raise plenty of reasons for concern and it’s time to start thinking about new answers to these multifaceted crisis scenarios, write Michael Werz and Laura Conley.
Thanks for the shout out. Really appreciate it. Wetlands are important areas that support jobs, animals, plants, water quality, and many other things like human health (yes!). Wetlands are managed by a mix of private property owners (such as farmers), non-profit groups (Ducks Unlimited), and state and federal government agencies.
… provide a multitude of ecological, economic and social benefits. They provide habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants. Wetlands are nurseries for many saltwater and freshwater fishes and shellfish of commercial and recreational importance. Wetlands are also important landscape features because they hold and slowly release flood water and snow melt, recharge groundwater, recycle nutrients, and provide recreation and wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of people. FWS.
The federal government should fund state and local actions to prepare for climate change — rather than primarily reacting to extreme weather events that cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year. (Sandy alone cost the federal government $60 billion.) Currently, only a fraction of federal dollars are spent helping communities proactively prepare for escalating climate change impacts. Federal agencies should also ensure that communities recovering from extreme weather events with disaster relief funds are able to build back stronger to withstand future impacts.
Federal agencies should require that all major federal investments in new infrastructure account for and be built to withstand future impacts from climate change.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency should incorporate climate change projections on the floodplain maps that govern federal flood insurance rates. These updates are needed to provide communities with accurate, risk-based information for making land-use decisions and to ensure the long-term solvency of the National Flood Insurance Program. (As of March 2014, the program was more than $24 billion in debt.)
The Army Corps and other federal agencies should align funding streams and support nature-based projects that both restore coastal wetlands and provide flood control benefits (like living shorelines). Federal agencies and the White House Office of Management and Budget should also appropriately value the benefits of taking preventative action to respond to climate change and the value of natural ecosystems when calculating the costs and benefits of flood control projects.
The recommendations are based on extensive work in communities affected by sea-level rise, storms, and heat waves. These recommendations were further developed over the course of three workshops convened by the Georgetown Climate Center in late 2013 and early 2014. Participants included senior federal, state and local officials, along with experts from the non-governmental and academic communities. The workshops were held in coordination with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and relevant federal agencies.
Regardless of its cause, sea-level rise is the inevitable, non-debatable consequence of the warming of the oceans and the melting of the planet’s ice sheets. It is a measurable, trackable and relentless reality.
Without innovative adaptive capital planning, it will threaten trillions of dollars of the region’s built environment, our future water supply, unique natural resources, agricultural soils and basic economy.
Sound argument for climate adaptation in the Op-ed section of the Miami Herald.
Morphological and phylogenetic analyses suggest that the ability to precipitate carbonates evolved several times in marine invertebrates in the past 600 million years. Over the past decade, there has been a profusion of genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analyses of calcifying representatives from three metazoan phyla: Cnidaria, Echinodermata, and Mollusca. Based on this information, we compared proteins intimately associated with precipitated calcium carbonate in these three phyla. Specifically, we used a cluster analysis and gene ontology approach to compare ~1500 proteins, from over 100 studies, extracted from calcium carbonates in stony corals, in bivalve and gastropod mollusks, and in adult and larval sea urchins to identify common motifs and differences. Our analysis suggests that there are few sequence similarities across all three phyla, supporting the independent evolution of biomineralization.
However, there are core sets of conserved motifs in all three phyla we examined. These motifs include acidic proteins that appear to be responsible for the nucleation reaction as well as inhibition; structural and adhesion proteins that determine spatial patterning; and signaling proteins that modify enzymatic activities. Based on this analysis and the fossil record, we propose that biomineralization is an extremely robust and highly controlled process in metazoans that can withstand extremes in pH predicted for the coming century, similar to their persistence through the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.
In 2012, when Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, thousands of residents were displaced from their homes. In wake of the panic and chaos, Airbnb, an online platform where people list and book accommodations around the world, saw an opportunity to leverage its existing services for neighbors to help neighbors.
During the disaster, 1,400 Airbnb hosts — who typically collect payment for accommodations — opened their homes and cooked meals for those left stranded.