CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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Gas prices expected to rise, quickly.

voa60news:

Today’s VOA60 USA:

Gas prices grow at steady rate and could surge in coming weeks.

President of world’s largest breast cancer charity steps down after political

An Alaska Airline flight faces electrical problems mid-air and is forced to make an emergency landing.

Massive colony of Africanized bees stings Texas worker more than 300 times after he accidentally disturbed them.

The Los Angeles City Council votes several regulations and penalties on unsafe skateboarding.

Eleven of the fastest texters in America face off hoping to be crowned the U.S. National Texting Champion.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) checked out dried-out farms from drought conditions in Colorado July 22nd, 2012. A drought was officially declared for 63% of the US. And just hours ago Obama signing-off on $30 million new handouts to private companies in financial assistance to drought stricken farmers.

Photos via USDA flikr photostream

Drought expands to 50.3% of US counties. Before you buy into the climate hype in the media, there’s a very strong El Niño.

Via LATimes

Food and fuel prices too high? Blame Obama. His senate voted down farmer/drought relief bill then go on 5-week vacation. This time you can blame the Obama administration for not getting their shit together.

The rival parties fail to pass even a scaled-down stopgap measure before the August recess.

Even as the drought worsened in the Midwest and Great Plains, Congress proved unable to provide relief for farmers and ranchers before leaving for a month of campaigning.

The House on Thursday approved a scaled-down $383-million package primarily to help ranchers whose livestock losses and feed costs are mounting as arid conditions make land unusable for grazing. But the Senate declined to consider the bill before recessing, preferring a broader bipartisan measure that it passed overwhelmingly last month.

The vote in the House was 223 to 197, with 35 mostly farm-state Democrats joining Republicans in support. Most Democrats held out for the broader bill.

"This House should not go home while literally hanging our ranchers out to dry without a safety net to get through this drought," said freshman Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), who is from a ranching family.

Democrats, who control the Senate, prefer the broader farm bill, which would provide more robust drought relief to other agricultural sectors. Democrats also object to the GOP’s plan to offset the costs by cutting conservation funds.

"It’s deeply troubling that the House would leave farmers and small businesses in the lurch," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. "House leadership is doing what Congress always does — kicking the can down the road instead of coming together to solve problems."

The National Drought Mitigation Center said Thursday that arid conditions continued to intensify in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new aid for farmers and ranchers earlier this week. More than half the nation’s counties have federal disaster designations, largely because of drought.

"It’s hard to believe that it’s getting worse, but it is, even with some rain in the region," said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Impacts from drought are, sorry, the Obama administration’s fault. Higher food prices were predictable by the USDA via (in the least) the CPI and the weather markets. As a result, food and fuel prices will go up this fall, possibly dampening the economy. Ironically, conservatives can’t jump on this massive failure because doing so would admit that the government plays a role in controlling markets. What a CF.

Heads up! China just surpassed the United States as the world’s leading manufacture. But as Dateline/au shows, empty cities dot the landscape. Thousands of ancient homes are being scraped of the landscape and millions of people are being quietly relocated to make room for, essentially, empty skycrapers.

The famously disastrous Mall of China is profiled. So is one new city, which was expected to hold 12,000,000 people. In fact, it’s estimated that the vacancy rate in China far exceeds any other country’s, at any other time. A low-ball 64 million new apartments are estimated to be empty, with essentially no one interested or able to afford to buy one. Still, despite the media’s portrayal of a dire economic bubble, I think the situation is temporary and China will fill those homes, regardless of cost.

(via dasgoose-deactivated20110922)

theatlantic:

Why China’s Ghost Towns Matter For the World Economy

It’s no surprise that the global recovery is facing a new round of setbacks, as the IMF reported in a new report issued today. But after high food prices, slow growth, and heavy debt, there’s another potential force emerging that could block the global recovery. 

This one starts with metal. Too much, as it’s turning out. China’s property market is showing signs of rusting. Home buys in major cities are slowing down. Construction outside the megatrapolises has infamously produced dozens of “ghost” towns that are actually more like stillborn cities, because they were designed for residents that never materialized

The People’s Bank of China has raised interest rates four times in the last two years and raised bank deposit requirements 11 times since January 2010, reports Caixin, a Chinese business magazine. This will slow down investment and make it more difficult for the country’s emerging middle class to move out to these theoretical cities. Few analysts are anticipating a full-scale meltdown of the Chinese housing market. But even a moderate dip reverberates.

Read more at The Atlantic

Wrong! The Atlantic gets Chinese growth wrong. The author barely whispers of a connection to the global economy to these handful of empty cities, and to thread interest rates and CPI together based on one IMF report - without question - is just poor reporting. For example, it’s disingenuous to say that the People’s Bank of China raised interest rates four times in the past year without providing context. In 2008, the rate was 5.58%. It’s currently at 6.31%. Big f’n whoop, Atlantic.

How quickly the Atlantic forgets that China just implemented it’s 11th five-year plan, which focuses on slowing growth. So of course they raised interest rates - they announced it months ago, and have been planning it for years.

As for housing bubbles, the Chinese do not have a history of mortgaging property - it’s brand new concept to 100s of millions of people. For the Chinese that do know, they’ve overpriced certain markets vis a vis speculation. But, to say that these regional effects are suddenly impacting global markets belies the fact that the markets were sans such ‘influence’ less then a decade ago! 

Why so much deference to the IMF?? Is the Atlantic a PR firm?? Do some reporting, or at least use google. The rural Chinese aren’t moving to these cities because there isn’t the infrastructure to bring people in. Rural residents barely know these new cities exist. Nor do they have incentive to move to them compared to existing cities, which are thousands of years old, are proven centers of economic stability, and are highly likely to contain family, friends, and other contacts - not to mention well developed routes to get there. New highways to these new cities are just that - new, nothing more. Why expect the poor to instantly be able to purchase a home, or even be interested in it? Certainly not just because they were built. So, yeah, of course they’re empty. The Atlantic can do better than regurgitate reports by the IMF. 

As for high food prices, China’s CPI is relatively and historically pretty low. It’s especially low considering such explosive growth. Does the Atlantic have a better idea as to where it should be considering this type of growth? Yes, it should be way higher, and way more out of control. But it’s not. It’s pretty darn stable. And the Chinese are aggressively regulating and tamping down prices (not to mention purchasing irrigable land in Africa). Further, China is extremely lucky that CPI hasn’t completely exploded due to several several extreme natural disasters impacting the agricultural sector. 

Agreed, China’s empty new cities are a problem. But they’re not a global problem. They’re a regional problem with respect the provinces and to report it as such is not cool. (And don’t get me started on regional corruption!). The Atlantic should stop exciting its readers with fluff pieces like this.