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.


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Setbacks Aside, Climate Change Is Finding Its Way Into the World's Classrooms

To the surprise of absolutely no one, America’s schools are last in climate science and environmental education.

FREE CLIMATE CHANGE SEMINARS FOR JOURNALISTS IN WASHINGTON, DC APRIL 23 - 25
April 23rd seminar, designed for political and business reporters, to focus on political, economic, and security issues related to climate change
 
Journalists are invited to register for either of two Climate Change Seminars for Journalists to be held in Washington, DC.  The free seminars are organized by the University of Rhode Island’s Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
 
Where: Woodrow Wilson Center
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C.
When:
April 23, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
This one-day seminar is designed for political and business reporters, with a focus on the political, economic, and security policy issues related to climate change. Speakers will discuss regional examples from the Chesapeake Bay as well as national and international news hooks.
April 24-25, 2014
This two-day seminar is open to all journalists who desire to improve their coverage of climate change. The program is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the ways that climate change will affect - and is already affecting - marine and coastal ecosystems and communities. As with the April 23rd seminar, speakers will discuss regional examples as well as national and international news hooks.
 
 
How to Register:
Journalists may choose to register for individual seminar sessions or for an entire seminar.  Space is limited, and individuals are discouraged from registering for both seminars. Participants must register for the free seminars via the Metcalf Institute website by April 16, 2014. A limited number of registrants who must travel a significant distance to attend the seminar will be eligible to receive a reimbursement for travel or lodging by request on the registration form. Those requesting free lodging will be required to attend a full seminar.
 
USAID's Climate-Resilient Development Framework

This is the core document from my USAID contract. Took us three years to write this! We’ve implemented the framework in over 30 countries on dozens of projects. The USAID Global Climate Change office will hold a webinar today at 4pm. Space is limited, but I’ll post the stream this Friday.

USAID’s Climate-Resilient Development Framework (2014) offers a simple yet robust five-stage approach to help decision-makers and development practitioners at all levels systematically assess climate-related risks and prioritize actions that promote climate-resilient development.

Developed by USAID’s Global Climate Change Office, this “development-first” approach helps decision-makers and practitioners integrate climate considerations directly into development activities across multiple sectors, keeping the focus on achieving development goals despite a changing climate. 

Working with USAID missions, governments, and other stakeholders, the framework has been used in Barbados, Jamaica, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines, St. Lucia, Tanzania, and West Africa.

Nestlé chairman warns against playing God over climate change

Good read, not for everyone though, since it’s from a multi-gabllionaire’s perspective.

I am embarrassed I hadn’t heard about The Weather Channel’s climate documentary series, “Tipping Points.”

A tipping point, in climatology, is when a major change occurs to a major environmental system due to climate change, such as a shift in ocean currents or atmospheric circulation. These systems “tip” over from one stable state to another stable state, thus creating an entirely new situation. This new situation is irreversible. Sort of like spilling a glass of wine, you can’t put the wine back in the glass. Climate activists (whom I often disagree with) colloquially call this new state “the new normal.”

The show, Tipping Points, is hosted by Bernice Notenboom, an interesting journalist who combines science writing and adventure travel. She’s pretty good on camera, but most of the show seems to focus on showing 1) a climate change problem as it occurs in the real world (such as drought in the Amazon rainforest) and 2) a series of scientific experiments that aim identify the moment of a tipping point and then figure out how to manage the new system.

Tipping Points: Breaching Climate Stability

Hosted by Climate Journalist and adventurer Bernice Notenboom, Tipping Points embraces commentary from leading climate scientists surveying the complexity of the major tipping points effecting our current climate and their impact on changing weather patterns around the globe.

Adventurous and informative, Tipping Points explores the interconnectedness of all the elements that make up our climate system that influence global and local weather patterns. The Earth is in a delicate equilibrium; once one factor reaches its respective tipping point the other factors will also breach stability. As the atmosphere heats up and the chemical makeup of the atmosphere shifts there will be repercussions felt on a global scale. These elements are what Bernice and her team of climate authorities are going to explore is some of the most remote locations on the planet.

From the canopies of The Amazon to the ice sheets of Siberia, these climate specialists will chase answers to behavioral patterns of tipping elements in the climate system affecting our weather systems. View, here.

Remember this from last week? It’s supposed to be a sunrise projected due to high levels of pollution in China. Well, we’ve been duped. It’s an advertisement that plays year round, regardless time of day or pollution levels. From TechInAsia:

No, Beijing residents are NOT watching fake sunrises on giant TVs because of pollution

Over the weekend, a story that originated on the smut-ridden UK-based Daily Mail went viral among major media outlets across the world. TimeCBS, and the Huffington Post were among the dozens of online news media who published stories about Beijing residents flocking to giant TV screens to see fake sunrises during heavy pollution last week. Most of these stories were accompanied by the same photo of a massive TV screen in Tiananmen Square with a sunrise appearing on it.

In truth, that sunrise was on the screen for less than 10 seconds at a time, as it was part of an ad for tourism in China’s Shandong province. The ad plays every day throughout the day all year round no matter how bad the pollution is. … Look closely, and you can even see the Shandong tourism logo in the bottom right corner.

Showtime climate change series travels globe

Ugg…

"Why I want to kill rare black rhino" - by Corey Knowlton

Winner of black rhino hunting auction states his $350,000 will help save the species. I note this is common practice outside the U.S., and animal reserves and refuges depend on trophy hunting as a major source of funding. The fees hunters pay goes towards breeding, land use/habitat protection, and education programs.

NatGeo summed-up this (very old) practice well

According to a recent study, in the 23 African countries that allow sport hunting, 18,500 tourists pay over $200 million (U.S.) a year to hunt lions, leopards, elephants, warthogs, water buffalo, impala, and rhinos.

Private hunting operations in these countries control more than 540,000 square miles (1.4 million square kilometers) of land, the study also found. That’s 22 percent more land than is protected by national parks.

As demand for land increases with swelling human populations, some conservationists are arguing that they can garner more effective results by working with hunters and taking a hand in regulating the industry.

Sport hunting can be sustainable if carefully managed, said Peter Lindsey, a conservation biologist with the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, who led the recent study.

"Trophy hunting is of key importance to conservation in Africa by creating [financial] incentives to promote and retain wildlife as a land use over vast areas," he said.

The more interesting angle, from my point of view, is why conservation efforts to save the black rhino (and many other species) has failed so miserably. In other words, despite the many millions funneled from traditional conservation groups, why is the black rhino still rare? Overall, untold billions have been spent towards conservation efforts and yet dozens of species fall down, extinct, every month. So, for me, I’d like to see a shift in conservation management towards better and more effective practices. This would begin with a bold admission that efforts to date have failed. 

"To Hell With You" - a West Virginian's Raw Response to Water Crisis Goes Viral

Must read viral response by a prominent West Virginian to the recent chemical spill that poisoned the Elk River. Visceral as the essay is, one must still ask: What changes can we make and how? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, msg me here.

To hell with you. 

To hell with every greedhead operator who flocked here throughout history because you wanted what we had, but wanted us to go underground and get it for you.  To hell with you for offering above-average wages in a place filled with workers who’d never had a decent shot at employment or education, and then treating the people you found here like just another material resource—suitable for exploiting and using up, and discarding when they’d outlived their usefulness.  To hell with you for rigging the game so that those wages were paid in currency that was worthless everywhere but at the company store, so that all you did was let the workers hold it for a while, before they went into debt they couldn’t get out of.

To hell with you all for continuing, as coal became chemical, to exploit the lax, poorly-enforced safety regulations here, so that you could do your business in the cheapest manner possible by shortcutting the health and quality of life not only of your workers, but of everybody who lives here.  To hell with every operator who ever referred to West Virginians as “our neighbors.” 

To hell with every single screwjob elected official and politico under whose watch it all went on, who helped write those lax regulations and then turned away when even those weren’t followed.  To hell with you all, who were supposed to be stewards of the public interest, and who sold us out for money, for political power.  To hell with every one of you who decided that making life convenient for business meant making life dangerous for us.  To hell with you for making us the eggs you had to break in order to make breakfast.

To hell with everyone who ever asked me how I could stand to live in a place like this, so dirty and unhealthy and uneducated.  To hell with everyone who ever asked me why people don’t just leave, don’t just quit (and go to one of the other thousand jobs I suppose you imagine are widely available here), like it never occurred to us, like if only we dumb hilljacks would listen as you explained the safety hazards, we’d all suddenly recognize something that hadn’t been on our radar until now. 

To hell with the superior attitude one so often encounters in these conversations, and usually from people who have no idea about the complexity and the long history at work in it.  To hell with the person I met during my PhD work who, within ten seconds of finding out I was from West Virginia, congratulated me on being able to read.  (Stranger, wherever you are today, please know this: Standing in that room full of people, three feet away from you while you smiled at your joke, I very nearly lost control over every civil checkpoint in my body.  And though civility was plainly not your native tongue, I did what we have done for generations where I come from, when faced with rude stupidity: I tamped down my first response, and I managed to restrain myself from behaving in a way that would have required a deep cleaning and medical sterilization of the carpet.  I did not do any of the things I wanted to.  But stranger, please know how badly I wanted to do them.)

And, as long as I’m roundhouse damning everyone, and since my own relatives worked in the coal mines and I can therefore play the Family Card, the one that trumps everything around here: To hell with all of my fellow West Virginians who bought so deeply into the idea of avoidable personal risk and constant sacrifice as an honorable condition under which to live, that they turned that condition into a culture of perverted, twisted pride and self-righteousness, to be celebrated and defended against outsiders.  To hell with that insular, xenophobic pathology.  To hell with everyone whose only take-away from every story about every explosion, every leak, every mine collapse, is some vague and idiotic vanity in the continued endurance of West Virginians under adverse, sometimes killing circumstances.  To hell with everyone everywhere who ever mistook suffering for honor, and who ever taught that to their kids.  There’s nothing honorable about suffering.  Nothing.

To hell with you.  This is the one moment in my adult life when I have wished I could still believe in Hell as an actual, physical reality, so that I could imagine you in it.

FML of the day: You can pay to promote your own FB posts to your own FB friends on FB now. Seriously. Click “Promote” on one of your posts. See also.

99.999% of new peer-reviewed articles agree humans causing climate change (up from 99.998%. See here.).

Science and Global Warming

by James Lawrence Powell

I have brought my previous study (see here and here) up-to-date by reviewing peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals over the period from Nov. 12, 2012 through December 31, 2013. I found 2,258 articles, written by a total of 9,136 authors. (Download the chart above here.) Only one article, by a single author in the Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences, rejected man-made global warming. I discuss that article here.

My previous study, of the peer-reviewed literature from 1991 through Nov. 12, 2012, found 13,950 articles on “global warming” or “global climate change.” Of those, I judged that only 24 explicitly rejected the theory of man-made global warming. The methodology and details for the original and the new study are described here.

Anyone can repeat as much of the new study as they wish—all of it if they like. Download an Excel database of the 2,258 articles here. It includes the title, document number, and Web of Science accession number. Scan the titles to identify articles that might reject man-made global warming. Then use the DOI or WoS accession number to find and read the abstracts of those articles, and where necessary, the entire article. If you find any candidates that I missed using the search criteria described here, please email me here.