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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thedailywhat:

Damn Nature U Scary of the Day: Eerie sounds emanate from a frozen lake in the Ukrainian city of Odessa.

The uploader of the video claims the sounds are the result of shifting ice scraping against the rocks below, but I get the distinct feeling he’s using logic and reason to cover up something that doesn’t exist.

[h/t: @alex_ogle.]

"In Portland, you can put a bird on something and just call it art." www.putabirdonit.com 

Bravo Tumblr! This is an awesome new feature. I loath all these sketchy spammers. BUT, what happens when I accidentally “block” someone? How do I reverse that??

HISTORICAL MILESTONES:

  • Rhode Island issued a Request for Proposals in 2008 for the development of offshore wind facilities to supply 15 percent or more of the state’s electricity needs.  
  • BOEMRE established an intergovernmental renewable energy task force with Rhode Island in November 2009 to facilitate coordination among affected federal agencies and state, local and tribal governments.
  • Rhode Island and Massachusetts developed a partnership that resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Governors of both states in July 2010. …Sets a framework for the two states to collaborate on issues concerning offshore wind development in the AMI.
  • The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council approved its two-year ocean SAMP effort in October 2010. On July 22, 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) approved the incorporation of the ocean SAMP into the state’s federally approved coastal management program. 
  • There have been three joint meetings with both the BOEMRE Rhode Island and BOEMRE Massachusetts Renewable Energy Task Forces to develop shared understandings among their intergovernmental stakeholders. 
  • BOEMRE has participated in nine public information sessions hosted by the states in Rhode Island and Massachusetts since February 2011. 
  • BOEMRE has initiated government-to-government consultations with three federally-recognized tribes in Rhode Island and Massachusetts on wind energy development on the OCS. 
  • BOEMRE has discussed the leasing process with interested and affected stakeholders including the Rhode Island and Massachusetts fishing industries. Rhode Island formed a Fishery Advisory Board, which includes both Rhode Island and Massachusetts fishermen. 
  • Massachusetts established a Fisheries Working Group on Offshore Renewable Energy and a Habitat Working Group on Offshore Renewable Energy to enable the fishing industry to inform the federal leasing process about commercial fishing interests.

Story of the day. Man repossesses McMansion by squatting and filing a $16 form with the city. Since the home was in foreclosure, and the bank went belly-up, no-one technically owned the home. So, this guy found out about it, squatted, and is a happy homeowner for 16 bucks - and it was all done legally. 

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia welcomed the nation’s first home-born Galapagos tortoise on March 19, 2011.

Now, at more than a month old, the hatchling is a mere three inches long and weighs just three ounces.

Galapagos tortoises are known for their massive size. Males can grow up to six feet long from head to tail and weigh more than 500 pounds. It takes between 20 and 25 years for the species to reach full size and sexual maturity. Adult tortoises have been known to live more than 150 years, according to the San Diego Zoo.

latimes:

A secret oasis for the world’s most endangered turtles, the Turtle Conservancy, tucked in the foothills of Ventura County, cares for species ravaged by habitat loss, wildfires, hunting and black markets. Its latest project: breeding the rare ploughshare tortoise.

Photo: Eric Goode and his team hope to mate two ploughshare tortoises, one of the rarest species in the world. Fewer than 300 remain in the wilds of Madagascar, and previous efforts to breed them in captivity have gone awry. View more photos at the gallery. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Andrew Revkin, environmental writer at the NYTimes, tweeted about me! I wrote a piece for GOOD.is on Obama’s Executive Order 13514, which establishes a sustainability program in the federal government. The order includes a requirement that all federal agencies establish a climate adaptation plan. Once those plans are up and running, they’re reported to the President. Really cool stuff.

Read about it, here.

This is BRILLIANT! I F’N LOVE NYC!

transportation:

Clever plays to connect the slow food movement (in the act/resolve sense of the word) with fast food movement (in the physical activity sense) have been done, but how about this fresh feat? With invitation-only and pop-up eateries literally popping up all over the place, it couldn’t have been long before somebody decided to serve an exclusive meal on public transit. Those somebodies are Michael Cirino, Daniel Castano, and Andrew Rosenberg of New York supper club a razor, a shiny knife. Along with a large crew of 60 people that includes Jonny Cigar (Winetology), Mike Lee (Studiofeast), and Linda Lou (A Cheeky Chef), the hosts treated 12 guests to a 6 course lunch that took 5 months to plan. Though each guest was asked to front $100 for the epicurean adventure they didn’t know too many details about, the charge was refunded to them. The lucky individuals were in for a surprise as they embarked on the New York City Subway L Train during an off-peak period from 8th Avenue to Canarsie, with a culinary delight presented to them every three stations. Food was prepared and plated in apartments near the route, on station platforms, and in the train car. Even “The Great Gatsby” was read in all of this controlled chaos. Photos and details of the event can also be found here. According to  sgoralnick, the lunch featured the following 6-course menu:

6th Avenue: Hamchi Crudo, Bone Marrow, Trout Roe, Laproaig, Sweet Lime
3rd Avenue: Foie en Brioche, Port Wine, Raisin,
Lorimer Street: Ramp Soup, Black Garlic, Cippolini, Morel, Thyme
Morgan Avenue: Petit Filet Mignon, Pomme Puree, Asparagus
Bushwick Avenue: Pepper Jam, St. Andre Cheese
Sutter Avenue: Chocolate & Gold Leaf Panna Cotta, Raspberry Coulis

Unsuprisngly, transit officials were not too thrilled by this stunt, even though it was well-executed and probably well cleaned up after, so don’t expect this to happen on your local commute any time soon.

News Bits:

Aboard the L Train, Luncheon is Served [NY Times]

Lunch Time On The L Train [Brooklyn Ink]

In this highly watched climate change case, Connecticut sues American Electric Power Co., for contributing to climate change. There are three causes of action: 1. Can there be caps on GHG emissions? 2. Shouldn’t the federal government be handling this (eg, does the case raise a “political question”?)? 3. Is AmElPo causing a “public nuisance”?

Connecticut is joined with several other states and some environmental groups. American Electric is joined by several states and utilities, and is represented in part by the Obama administration.

I suspect SCOTUS will angrily throw this case out, and use very strong language to boot based on Mass v EPA and the political question. In other words, the EPA is the Federal body that should be making the regulatory decisions on GHGs, not the courts. And even if it’s not up to the EPA, it’s up to the Federal Government - case dismissed. However, if it survives these first two questions, it comes down to the law of nuisance, which is really interesting. Nuisance law is quite old. It’s the reason you cannot raise chickens, plant a small farm, make loud noises, or paint your house blingy-pink, etc., without special permissions.

Connecticut (with other states and enviro groups) believes that American Electric’s burning of coal is a nuisance. And Connecticut believes that since the EPA hasn’t acted on regulating GHGs, it’s up to the states to take matters into their own hands. The problem is causality. It’s true that Connecticut is dealing with the effects of climate change (sea level rise, heat strokes, etc). But can it be proven that American Electric caused these problems?

It gets complicated, but bottom line is that this case is huge. It’s taken about 10 years for it to reach SCOTUS. 

Three things to note:

  1. The Obama administration is representing American Electric.
  2. Sotomayor has recused herself because she ruled on the appeals before she was appointed to SCOTUS. In other words, Connecticut is down an ally.
  3. Environmental groups supporting Connecticut could ruin chances for future “public nuisance" cases. Ct v Am El is basically a Hail Mary.

I predict a 5-3 against Connecticut, and in favor of Obama and American Electric (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy - Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan). Arguments start tomorrow (Tuesday, 10am), in the Supreme Court.

For more on the case, go to one of my favorite websites, SCOTUS blog.

Whoa, Al Jazeera FTW! They decide to cover the American fast food industry.


 

roomthily:

a resource for geographical storytelling

YES!

roomthily:

watch the whole set on youtube

Quoted in full. Original here. Apologies to Nature for the full Ctrl c/v!

"INTO IGNORANCE

Vote to overturn an aspect of climate science marks a worrying trend in US Congress.

As Nature went to press, a committee of the US Congress was poised to pass legislation that would overturn a scientific finding on the dangers of global warming. The Republican-sponsored bill is intended to prevent the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions, which the agency declared a threat to public welfare in 2009. That assessment serves as the EPA’s legal basis for regulation, so repealing the ‘endangerment finding’ would eliminate its authority over greenhouse gases.

That this finding is scientifically sound had no bearing on the decision to push the legislation, and Republicans on the House of Representatives’ energy and commerce committee have made clear their disdain for climate science. At a subcommittee hearing on 14 March, anger and distrust were directed at scientists and respected scientific societies. Misinformation was presented as fact, truth was twisted and nobody showed any inclination to listen to scientists, let alone learn from them. It has been an embarrassing display, not just for the Republican Party but also for Congress and the US citizens it represents.

It is tempting to write all of this off as petty partisanship, a populist knee-jerk reaction to lost jobs and rising energy prices by a well-organized minority of Republican voters. After all, US polling data has consistently shown that, in general, the public accepts climate science. At a hearing last week, even Ed Whitfield (Republican, Kentucky), who chairs the subcommittee, seemed to distance himself from the rhetoric by focusing not on the science but on the economic effects of greenhouse-gas regulation. “One need not be a sceptic of global warming to be a sceptic of the EPA’s regulatory agenda,” said Whitfield.

“The US Congress has entered the intellectual wilderness.”

Perhaps, but the legislation is fundamentally anti-science, just as the rhetoric that supports it is grounded in wilful ignorance. One lawmaker last week described scientists as “elitist” and “arrogant” creatures who hide behind “discredited” institutions. Another propagated the myth that in the 1970s the scientific community warned of an imminent ice age. Melting ice caps on Mars served to counter evidence of anthropogenic warming on Earth, and Antarctica was falsely said to be gaining ice. Several scientists were on hand — at the behest of Democrats on the subcommittee — to answer questions and clear things up, but many lawmakers weren’t interested in answers, only in prejudice.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the US Congress has entered the intellectual wilderness, a sad state of affairs in a country that has led the world in many scientific arenas for so long. Global warming is a thorny problem, and disagreement about how to deal with it is understandable. It is not always clear how to interpret data or address legitimate questions. Nor is the scientific process, or any given scientist, perfect. But to deny that there is reason to be concerned, given the decades of work by countless scientists, is irresponsible.

That this legislation is unlikely to become law doesn’t make it any less dangerous. It is the attitude and ideas behind the bill that are troublesome, and they seem to be spreading. Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who chairs the full energy and commerce committee, once endorsed climate science, but last month said — after being pinned down by a determined journalist — that he is not convinced that greenhouse-gas emissions contribute to global warming. It was yet another blow to the shrinking minority of moderate centrists in both parties.

One can only assume that Congress will find its way at some point, pressured by voters who expect more from their public servants. In the meantime, as long as it can fend off this and other attacks on the EPA, President Barack Obama’s administration should push forward with its entirely reasonable regulatory programme for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions where it can, while looking for ways to work with Congress in other areas. Rising oil prices should increase interest in energy security, a co-benefit of the greenhouse-gas and fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles that were announced by the administration last year. The same advice applies to the rest of the world. Work with the United States where possible, but don’t wait for a sudden change of tenor in Washington DC.

One of the scientists testifying before Whitfield’s subcommittee was Christopher Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s global ecology department in Stanford, California. Field generously hoped that his testimony at last week’s hearing took place “in the spirit of a genuine dialogue that is in the best interests of the country”. Maybe one day that hope will be justified.”

Source, Nature