Climate Adaptation

CLIMATE ADAPTATION

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


about.me - FAQs - Follow - Face - Ask - Donations - Climate Book Store


Robert Reich: A Back Door to the Public Option

But is Obama smart enough to make this deal, Reich? (Also, pay attention! It’s the Affordable Care Act, not “Accountable Care Act.”)

robertreich:

Any day now the Supreme Court will issue its opinion on the constitutionality of the Accountable Affordable Care Act, which even the White House now calls Obamacare.

Most high-court observers think it will strike down the individual mandate in the Act that requires almost everyone to buy health insurance, as violating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution — but will leave the rest of the new healthcare law intact.

But the individual mandate is so essential to spreading the risk and cost of health care over the whole population, including younger and healthier people, that some analysts believe a Court decision that nixes the mandate will effectively spell the end of the Act anyway.

Yet it could have exactly the opposite effect. If the Court strikes down the individual mandate, health insurance company lobbyists and executives will swarm Capitol Hill seeking to have the Act amended to remove the requirement that they insure people with pre-existing medical conditions.They’ll argue that without the mandate they can’t afford to cover pre-existing conditions.

But the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions has proven to be so popular with the public that Congress will be reluctant to scrap it.

This opens the way to a political bargain. Insurers might be let off the hook, for example, only if they support allowing every American, including those with pre-existing conditions, to choose Medicare, or something very much like Medicare. In effect, what was known during the debate over the bill as the “public option.”

So in striking down the least popular part of Obamacare - the individual mandate - the Court will inevitably bring into question one of its most popular parts - coverage of pre-existing conditions. And in so doing, open alternative ways to maintain that coverage - including ideas, like the public option, that were rejected in favor of the mandate.

The fact is, there’s enough the public likes about Obamacare that if the Court strikes down the individual mandate that won’t be the end. It will just be the end of the first round.

MIT: China's pollution costs $112B in annual health care

"China’s unprecedented growth is carrying a steadily steeper price tag as its air pollution hikes the nation’s health care costs, finds a new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Although China has made substantial progress in reducing its air pollution, MIT researchers say its economic impact has jumped from $22 billion in 1975 to $112 billion in 2005. The costs result from both lost labor and the increased need for health care because ozone and particulates in air can cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

"The results clearly indicate that ozone and particulate matter have substantially impacted the Chinese economy over the past 30 years," Noelle Selin, an assistant MIT professor of engineering systems and atmospheric chemistry, said in announcing the findings that appear in the February edition of the journal Global Environmental Change.

The study, by researchers at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, said pollution’s economic impact has grown, because population growth increased the number of people exposed to it and higher incomes raised the costs associated with lost productivity.”

Read the rest at USA Today

Free tour of U.S Army and DoD’s LEED certified hospital in DC

Green hospital replaces infamous Walter Reed. Architectural overview, here. Over the top, Michael Bay-esque, meta-corny video goodness, here. LEED Silver status buildings include rain gardens, cisterns, green roofs, probably robots.

Green Healthcare Facility Tour and Cocktail Reception

Fort Belvoir Army Medical Center
June 13, 2011
1:00 pm - 7:00 pm Co-presented by HDR Architecture, Inc.

Joining the groundswell of green buildings crossing the globe, the U.S. Army and U.S. Department of Defense will soon open the premier military community hospital in the country – and the world’s first hospital that successfully marries the Military Health System’s Evidence-based Design (EBD) principles with LEED® requirements. Currently under construction, the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, south of Washington, D.C., a 1.27-million-square-foot facility, features an inpatient medical center including 120 beds, outpatient clinical space, cafeteria, pharmacy and a number of other services.

The tour will explore the energy saving systems such as heat recovery chillers, water conservation technologies such as the rainwater and condensation collection system, and Evidence-based Design features such as interior and exterior gardens integrated into the project, and the Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI) analyses used as decision-making tool during the design process. The SROI analysis, which is an enhanced version of a life-cycle cost analysis that incorporates risk and provides triple bottom line results, revealed that the building will avoid 4,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year resulting from its energy and water efficient design. These results and more will be presented during the one-hour tour of the facility.

US Census has a world population clock. 7 BILLION.

HealthMap? What do you think?

This is HealthMap, a visual aggregator of health related illnesses in real time. On the one hand, it clearly shows where there are outbreaks of serious disease, like H1N1, Avian Influenza (e.g., bird flu), measles, HIV and others. For example, currently there are 11 million cases of Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease reported in two provinces in south-central China. It also lists chemical spills, and other accidents. (Primer with ppt slides, here).

On the other hand, what is the point? The map scrapes the web for reports of health problems. Yet, not everything gets reported - especially in closed governments like, well, China. And there’s plenty of mistaken diagnoses out there, especially in developing countries.

Will decision makers (like the U.S. Surgeon General) make decisions based on the information on this map?? Will travelers? Is the information reliable? How can we check? Finally, the public really isn’t interested in doing fact-checking. So, won’t this give the public a false sense of security?

So many questions. What do you think?

A Desire Named Streetcar: What the oldest operating transit system in the U.S. can teach us about planning for tomorrow.

Dear Governor Rick Scott:

citymaus:

This past January, the Federal Transit Administration signed an agreement with the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority for $45 million in federal economic stimulus funds to build a new, 1.5-mile streetcar line. It would link Canal Street with the Union Passenger Terminal, a 1954 structure that’s now home to the Amtrak and Greyhound stations.

Skeptical New Orleanians wondered why. Of course, connecting to a regional transportation center was a sensible thing. But the line passed block after block of bleak, asphalt-savanna surface parking that flanks partially filled office towers. Why not route the new streetcar through communities that already had a denser residential population?

The answer came pretty quickly. Routing the streetcar through an underused part of the city, it turned out, was like adding water to sea monkeys. The blocks came to life almost immediately.

“Once upon a time, traffic engineers told us how we should design a street,” Nordahl told me. So streets ended up being what one writer has referred to as “traffic sewers”—concrete sluices designed strictly for cars. That attitude has changed. “Now there’s this movement all across the country where we’re redesigning streets—they’re narrower, and travel is slower, but they’re very inviting and comfortable for pedestrians,” he said.

Source: architectmagazine, 02.03.11.