Judge called the Govenor’s actions to change the law illegal. Excellent coverage by the AP.
President Obama’s new Executive Order, “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change,” and recent Climate Action Plan directs federal agencies to ask the Climate Question and provide policy support and technical assistance to help federal, state and local governments, and private companies answer both parts of the Question — mitigation and adaptation.
The nexus between adapting to a changing climate and reducing GHGs is rarely approached in an integrated fashion. Many climate adaptation measures have GHG mitigation benefits and vice versa, yet too often the synergies only receive cursory attention. CCAP sees great opportunities in focusing on that sweet spot in the center of the Venn diagram.
Interesting argument against governments protecting urban zones over food-production zones. Coastal communities and inland cities are protected from floods and erosion by highly complex infrastructure mechanisms, such as dams, levees, and piping. Agricultural lands do not enjoy the same levels of infrastructural capacity. But, should they? Should farms have an equal amount of protection as cities do?
Government accused of failing to address effects of climate change on coastal and rural areas
Severe flooding threatens to undermine the country’s food security, according to farmers and environmental groups, who today accuse the government of failing to address the effects of climate change on coastal and rural areas.
As gales swept southern and western parts of the UK, with already drenched counties bearing the brunt of the storms, it has emerged that parliament’s select committee on the environment warned in a report last year that “the current model for allocating flood defence funding is biased towards protecting property, which means that funding is largely allocated to urban areas. Defra’s [the Department of the Environment’s] failure to protect rural areas poses a long-term risk to the security of UK food production, as a high proportion of the most valuable agricultural land is at risk of flooding.”
"We need a response from government that recognises the importance for our long-term food security of safeguarding high-quality farmland," said Neil Sinden of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. "We need to view the countryside as more than a place for building, and value it for the food it provides." Via The Guardian
Authors in the Nature special feature on coastal threats argue that rather than restore costly sea walls and other engineered coastal defenses, it might be more efficient to restore tidal marshes, coastal wetlands, barrier islands and other natural ecosystems that have traditionally served as buffer zones for coastal-dwelling communities.
Two other scientists believe that natural buffers could keep pace with sea level rise and offer continuing protection.
“Tidal marsh plants are amazing ecosystem engineers that can raise themselves upward if they remain heathy, and especially if there is sediment in the water,” says Patrick Megonigal of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, one of the authors.
Via Climate Central
Called MAGIC (Multi-scale Adaptations to Global change In Coastlines), the project addresses a classical wicked problem: how to respond appropriately to risk and vulnerability in coastal zones.
With threats coming from the direction of the land and the sea and with many stakeholders with differing objectives feeling the pressure and wanting to push their agendas, conventional blueprint planning is insufficient to bring about transitions to sustainability in coastal areas.
Adaptations developed in such a blinkered manner frequently lead to perverse policies or poorly planned development with unforeseen consequences beyond the focal scale. Instead of reducing vulnerability they in fact increase it.
The project addresses four linked questions: 1) How do human perceptions of risk and adaptability, and capacity to adapt, influence the adaptive actions and strategies of decision makers? 2) How do such adaptations affect the vulnerability of external groups, places or ecosystem services? 3) Which feedbacks occur when people engage in dialogue, social learning and critical inquiry? And 4) How do perceptions change when decision makers are actively involved in, learn and reflect, in a process of situated social learning?
This project is looking for post-docs.
(33 cities chosen from) more than 1,000 registrations and nearly 400 formal applications from cities around the world. Each city was asked to present a clear and compelling description of how they are approaching and planning for resilience to decrease vulnerabilities, and after careful review of the applications, a panel of esteemed judges, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Olosegun Obasanjo, recommended the first set of 33 cities for the 100 Resilient Cities Network.
It wasn’t easy to choose only 33 – we had so many passionate, vibrant entries. Among the winners: One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world wrote of the city’s history withstanding shocks for the past eight millennia. One African city wrote of a resilience plan as harmonizing climate change adaptation, biodiversity, planning and management and water security. And a city in South America finds itself dealing with landslides and forest fires, all while sitting in the shadow of a volcano.
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Let me be blunt: there is no such thing as a “natural” disaster. Disasters are complex, multifaceted, frequent, and overwhelming. We have a hard time fully grasping the nuance and complexity of each disaster – particularly one that strikes halfway across the world – so we turn to calling it a “natural” event. The term natural disaster is, in essence, a heuristic that we fall back upon in order to interpret the event.
In their landmark work, At Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability, and Disasters, Wisner, Blaikie, Davis, and Cannon term the tendency to view disasters in this light as the “myth of naturalness.” As Comfort et al put it (PDF):
A disaster is widely perceived as an event that is beyond human control; the capricious hand of fate moves against unsuspecting communities creating massive destruction and prompting victims to call for divine support as well as earthly assistance.
Good read of the day. Skip to the first four paragraphs though.
Online mapping emerges as key tool for the UN and Red Cross in getting aid to areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
Hundreds of online map-makers around the world have pooled their talents to help relief agencies make critical decisions in the Typhoon Haiyan-stricken Philippines.
Thousands of social media images have been tagged, while citizen map-makers - dubbed “digital humanitarians” - have traced roads and rated typhoon damage for the UN and aid agencies.
Online mapping has become a key tool in Philippines relief efforts and disaster response drives around the world, with US space agency NASA issuing satellite maps showing typhoon damage in the Asia-Pacific region.
Volunteers shared more than 7,000 images on the MicroMappers Image Clicker, which were collated by the online crowdsourcing organisation the Standby Volunteer Task Force, the global humanitarian relief group GISCorps and the database organisation ESRI into online maps.
I am seriously considering stringing for Al Jazeera after my USAID adaptation contract is up. They are, by far in my opinion, leading the world in media, journalism, investigations, and “tone.”
1) The Philippines has become increasingly vulnerable to typhoons for lots of reasons — and climate change is only one angle here.
Thanks to basic geography, the Philippines has long been one of the most storm-ravaged places on Earth, with about 8 to 9 typhoons making landfall each year, on average. The warm waters surrounding the island nation help fuel strong tropical cyclones, and there are few natural barriers to slow the storms down or break them up. …
2) Typhoons aren’t the only natural disaster the Philippines has to worry about. … But the precise risks are often difficult to pinpoint — and that makes preparation even harder. Many climate models still have trouble making predictions at a very fine-grained, regional level. And typhoons are especially difficult to forecast: While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change thinks it’s “likely” that tropical cyclones will get stronger as the oceans warm, it’s less clear how the frequency of storms will change in the years ahead (they may even become less frequent).
3) Adaptation can help, but it’s not always enough. Many countries have managed to reduce their exposure to natural disasters over the years by implementing detailed adaptation plans. If climate change does increase the risk of natural disasters in the years ahead, then those plans will become increasingly important. …
Bangladesh, for instance, has steadily reduced the number of deaths from tropical cyclones since the 1970s through early-warning systems, shelters and evacuation plans, and building coastal embankments.
4) Where will the money come from for adaptation? There are two key questions that always come up at international climate talks like the one now going on in Warsaw. First, how will the world cut its carbon emissions to slow global warming? And second, where will the money come from to help poorer states prepare for its effects? The second question is likely to get more attention in the wake of Haiyan. …
"We have received no climate finance to adapt or to prepare ourselves for typhoons and other extreme weather we are now experiencing," Saño told the Guardian. “It cannot be a way of life that we end up running always from storms.”