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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RIP Rick Piltz — George W. Bush White House Climate Science Whistleblower.

From 1995-2005, he held senior positions in the Coordination Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

In the spring of 2005, Rick resigned from his position to protest the Bush Administration’s political interference with climate change communication. His whistleblower documentation of politically motivated White House editing and censorship of climate science program reports intended for the public and Congress received front-page coverage in the New York Times and was widely reported in the media. 

Rick testified before both the House of Representatives and the Senate at hearings on political interference with federal climate scientists.

Basically, the Bush II administration was caught editing scientific reports from the EPA. Piltz informed the public, and a scandal broke out.

It should also be noted that George Bush Sr created the world’s first federal level climate change research office in 1990 with the Global Change Research Act of 1990. His son, George Bush Jr., tried to shut it down. See also.

Note, this includes DOI’s Adaptation Plan, at bottom!

Now, we are facing another rise in sea level of 1 to 4 feet. A rise of just 16 inches would be enough to endanger roads, highways and airports in San Francisco and Oakland. It could contaminate crucial groundwater in Los Angeles. Heat is already the leading cause of weather-related deaths, and the expected temperature increase will mean longer and hotter heat waves, like the one that killed 164 Californians during a blistering week in 2006.

That’s the bad news contained in the National Climate Assessment. The good news is we can do something to prevent these dire outcomes.

The report should be a wake-up call for leaders in Washington to overcome gridlock and start working on solutions. For models of how to proceed, they need only look to California and other states and cities that have begun to move forward in a bipartisan way.

The first step for policymakers — and for ordinary citizens too — is to understand the situation we face, which means carefully reading the National Climate Assessment. It may not be as gripping to look at or have the provocative appeal of a raging wildfire or another act of God, but the knowledge in this report is crucial to understanding how to change, to adapt, to prevent and to prepare for future disasters.

It’s our duty to pay attention.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s LATimes Op-Ed on the Obama administration’s forthcoming report on climate change called the National Climate Assessment (NCA).

If you can believe it way back in 1990(!), President George HW Bush signed America’s first climate change law called the Global Change Research Act. The act ordered the Federal Government to study the impacts and issues of climate change in America.

There are several elements of the act, but most important is that every four years, the government is supposed to issue a climate change report called the National Climate Assessment. You can read previous NCA reports, here.

The next NCA is due to be published within the next few months.

"Federal agencies today (February) released environmental justice strategies, implementation plans and progress reports, outlining steps they will take to protect communities facing serious health and environmental risks, particularly low-income, minority and tribal populations.

Led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the agency heads say these strategies will integrate environmental justice into federal decision making and transportation, labor, health services and housing programs.

"Working together we have been able to make environmental justice a focus not just for EPA, but for agencies across the administration," said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. "Each of our federal partners plays a unique role in serving the American people, and each has a unique opportunity to ensure that our communities get the health and environmental protections they deserve."…

Federal agencies have reviewed their portfolios to assess how their programs, policies, and activities may have disproportionately adverse health and environmental effects.

Through this review, they have identified strategies, programs and initiatives, to reduce environmental or health hazards, ensure access to beneficial programs, and increase community participation in agency decision-making.

    • The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration is finalizing an environmental justice circular to help grantees determine whether there are any minority or low-income populations that may be adversely affected by a transit project or decision. The Federal Highway Administration is working with the National Highway Institute to revamp their course on environmental justice and Title VI.
    • The U.S. Department of Labor is translating educational materials and hazard alerts into Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese to ensure that minority workers have access to information they need to avoid environmental hazards on the job.
    • The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pueblo Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, provides four tribal governments the opportunity to run pollution monitoring programs and provide technical input on National Nuclear Security Administration decisions.
    • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is helping to provide green jobs and workforce development opportunities for veterans in minority and low-income communities.
    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with communities to use Health Impact Assessments, to help proactively address the potential impacts a policy or project might have on minority and low income populations. For example, in Baltimore, Maryland work is under way to evaluate the human health impact of a vacant property redevelopment program.

Read the rest at Environmental News Service

Some highlights from our climate conference, GreenGov2011, which we ran with the White House. In 2009, Obama signed EO 13514, which told the Federal Government to go green and GreenGov showcased the results. Hung out with climate expert Heidi Cullen (who was on Colbert recently) and the handsome and ocean/environmental tv star Philippe Cousteau Jr., among other climetey people. I also met Kevin Johnson, former NBA star and now Mayor of Sacramento. He surprised all of us with an inspiring talk on urban planning and sustainability. Retired Marine and author of the then anonymous (as “Mr. Y”) and controversial “National Security Narrative”, Mark Mykleby, was just phenomenal on national security and climate change. He got a standing ovation. Wish I took more pics, but since it was my event, I had to shake hands with guests and work with my fantastic, incredibly hardworking staff…

Hi all,

As you probably know, I’m helping organize Obama’s climate change conference, to be held this weekend. If you’re in the DC area, we’re in need of a few volunteers. It’s competitive, and screening is tough. You have to be polished. If you make it in, you’ll make incredible connections. Here’s the application: GreenGov Volunteers Application.

Good luck!

mike 

Hi all, we’ve finally put out a call for speakers: 2011 GreenGov Symposium Oct. 30-Nov 2 Washington, DC. This is Obama’s sustainability conference, and I’m helping organize it. It’s sort of a big deal. Note, the deadlines will be extended. Abstracts can be individual or propose a panel. 

This is a super high-profile event. It will be attended by Cabinet officials, legislators, top NGOs, non-profits, leaders in the private sector, and possibly the big dog himself. 

Call for Abstracts! ACCO and CEQ are looking for speakers with subject matter expertise on sustainability efforts in Federal government operations, including clean energy, waste, water, supply chain, green buildings, sustainable communities, fleet management and vehicle technologies, climate risk and resilience, defense and national security, and education and training.

GreenGov Symposium attendees are offered an unparalleled value proposition, including relevant educational offerings, focused research, and measurable results. Please keep these goals in mind while developing your speaker proposal. You may propose a lecture or panel discussion for a session.


 Click the link to apply, or contact me with questions. 

Now you all can see what I do in real life. This is one of my projects:

Call for abstracts to the White House’s 2011 GreenGov Symposium, co-presented by ACCO and CEQ. This is a superior opportunity to meet with cabinet, legislators, and industry.

Click here to submit your proposal, or contact me for details. I also have sponsorship and exhibition space available. Thank you, Michael Cote

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"On June 2nd, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a draft National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate to help Federal agencies assure adequate water supplies, safeguard water quality, and protect public health and property. It also outlines ways in which Federal agencies can support state, local and tribal governments in their water resources planning by improving access to quality data and information and best practices. The draft Action Plan will be available for public comment until July 15th. Comments can be submitted online here. The CEQ Press Release can be found here.”  
The draft Action Plan identifies specific actions Federal agencies should take, including: 

  • Establish a planning process to adapt water resources management to a changing climate that includes better coordinating Federal agencies and maintaining strong engagement with state, local and tribal governments, stakeholders and the public.
  • Improve the quality of water resources and climate change information available to decision-makers.
  • Expand the use of water efficiency practices and technologies.
  • Develop a toolbox of the most effective freshwater conservation practices to help state and local officials and facility managers identify and adopt these practices.
  • Develop a pilot climate change vulnerability index for a major category of water facilities, such as drinking water systems, to help facility managers prioritize their adaptation responses. 
  • Develop a “one stop” internet portal for up-to-date data and information on water resources and climate change.