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

Recent Tweets @climatecote
Posts tagged "cities"

smartercities:

A revolutionary new traffic system without traffic lights

Double traffic circle.

trendd:

Pretty impressive numbers.

"Citi Bike, the country’s largest bike sharing program, is funded by a $41 million sponsorship from global bank Citi. For more about the program, you can visit its website.”

(via Mayor Bloomberg Releases CitiBike’s One Month Report Card [Infographic] - PSFK)

Wow. In one month! I use the bike share in DC. Was skeptical at first, because daily bike riding in Massachusetts was pretty dangerous. Drivers would swear, swerve, and even throw soda cups at you. Not in DC. The bike lanes certainly help! But drivers and cyclists just co-exist. Fingers crossed for NYC! 

U.S. infrastructure is an aging, decrepit mess. Heat waves, storms, and wider temperature swings are adding to the problem - a very, very expensive one that puts millions at risk. 

Note that just today, we cut $2.1 billion from the Dept. of Energy’s energy infrastructure investment programs.  

Climate Change Will Cause More Energy Breakdowns, U.S. Warns

The nation’s entire energy system is vulnerable to increasingly severe and costly weather events driven by climate change, according to a report from the Department of Energy to be published on Thursday.

The blackouts and other energy disruptions of Hurricane Sandy were just a foretaste, the report says. Every corner of the country’s energy infrastructure — oil wells, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants — will be stressed in coming years by more intense storms, rising seas, higher temperatures and more frequent droughts.

The effects are already being felt, the report says. Power plants are shutting down or reducing output because of a shortage of cooling water. Barges carrying coal and oil are being delayed by low water levels in major waterways. Floods and storm surges are inundating ports, refineries, pipelines and rail yards. Powerful windstorms and raging wildfires are felling transformers and transmission lines.

“We don’t have a robust energy system, and the costs are significant,” said Jonathan Pershing, the deputy assistant secretary of energy for climate change policy and technology, who oversaw production of the report. “The cost today is measured in the billions. Over the coming decades, it will be in the trillions. You can’t just put your head in the sand anymore.”

The study notes that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous United States, and last July was the hottest month in the United States since record keeping began in 1895.

The high temperatures were accompanied by record-setting drought, which parched much of the Southwest and greatly reduced water available for cooling fossil fuel plants and producing hydroelectric power. A study found that roughly 60 percent of operating coal plants are in areas with potential water shortages driven by climate change.

Rising heat in the West will drive a steep increase in demand for air conditioning, which has already forced blackouts and brownouts in some places. The Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory found that air conditioning demand in the West will require 34 gigawatts of new electricity generating capacity by 2050, equivalent to the construction of 100 power plants. The cost to consumers will exceed $40 billion, the lab said.

Mr. Pershing, who joined the Department of Energy this year after serving for several years as the State Department’s deputy special envoy for climate change, said much of the climate disruption was already baked into the system from 150 years of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He said that the nation must continue efforts to reduce climate-altering emissions, but that the impact of those efforts would not be felt for years. In the meantime, Mr. Pershing said, cities, states and the federal government must take steps to adapt and improve their resiliency in the face of more wicked weather.

President Obama referred to these vulnerabilities in his speech on climate change at Georgetown University on June 25. He said Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the Northeast in October, had provided a wake-up call, if one was needed after the run of climate-related disasters in recent years.

inothernews:

Floodwaters rage through the city of Beichuan, in China’s Sichuan province, on Tuesday, July 9.  Floods caused by the worst rains in decades have left at least 52 people dead in the western part of the country.  (Photos: AFP-Getty via NBC News)

Published free by the National Institutes for Health (NIH)

Ultimately we sought to elucidate how social inequalities shape disparities in heat risk–related land cover (HRRLC) characteristics.

Toward this goal, we used racial residential segregation as a proxy for the degree to which a metropolitan area is characterized by historical and contemporary racial inequality and discrimination. Political and socioeconomic forces have led to systemic racial and ethnic segregation, with important implications for community health.

Therefore, segregation is crucial to understanding social drivers of environmental health disparities and, more directly, the potentially disproportionate health burdens of climate change on communities of color.

The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project is working in 14 Pacific Island countries to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience to the adverse effects of climate change. Go to 3:00 to skip the long intro on water shortages. The video does go over the PACC, shows maps, and various architectural design and adaptation projects. 

Stockholm Environment Institute’s beautiful interactive Annual Report 2012

SEI is a solid source of environmental governance theory and solutions, including theories behind and application of adaptation. I’ve applied to various adaptation research positions at SEI over the years, but am consistently out-brained. Their staff are among the best researchers on the planet. Their annual report is different - beautiful and easy to read interactive. Well worth your time. 

SEI is an independent international research institute. We have been engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for more than a quarter of a century.

The institute was formally established in 1989 by the Swedish Government, and since then we have established a reputation for rigorous and objective scientific analysis in the field of environment and development.

Managing environmental systems: Growing populations, rapid urbanization and increased consumption put unprecedented pressure on land, water and air resources. Our research addresses how to manage these resources to enhance food security for our planet’s six billion people, to reduce the health impacts of air pollution and poor sanitation, and to protect ecosystem services through sound management of land and water resources.

Reducing climate risk: The goal of this theme is to contribute to a safer climate for all. We help design, develop and implement effective and fair strategies for adaptation and mitigation in developing and developed countries, taking into account the broader challenges and policy objectives of sustainable human development.

Transforming governance: Sustainable development is essentially about giving people the opportunity to build resilience by providing them with more options in their lives and livelihoods. We advance new insights into good governance for sustainable development in the face of social and ecological change.

Rethinking development: The global economy has brought prosperity to many in the world, but it has also depleted natural resources and vital ecosystem services. Our research shows the benefits of a low carbon future and describes how we can get there. We set out alternatives for sustainable futures, from the planetary scale down to local, on-the-ground solutions.

shortformblog:

Fortunately, the driver is OK: In what might be the scariest-looking photo we’ll post all day, this car in Toledo, Ohio was sucked in by a sinkhole. (The car was moving at the time.) The sinkhole, created by a water main break, briefly trapped the driver, though she was said to be (understandably) shaken. Yikes. (photo via Associated Press)

Aging infrastructure. Ohio.

And, there’s a video… 

The bigger the earthquake, the louder it rings. And the magnitude 9.0 quake that struck just off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 was very big, indeed.

Scientific instruments like seismometers are sensitive enough to pick up seismic waves from distant earthquakes, even on their second or third trip around the planet. (Satellites have even detected the accompanying atmospheric waves.) It doesn’t always take super-precise measurements to know something is happening, however. A groundwater monitoring well in Virginia made the passage of seismic waves from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake quite clear in the form of a rapid two foot rise in water level.

While the tsunami that accompanied the earthquake in Japan was devastating, waves of a very different sort were spawned far away—in the fjords of Norway. A number of witnesses noticed the strange waves, occurring as they did on a calm morning when the fjord waters were otherwise smooth. As some managed to capture on video

If I read the PR correctly, they’re funding dirt embankments. This will, they claim, protect people from sea level rise and typhoons. Label me skeptical…  

Video and map

The scariest airport on earth serves Mount Everest in Nepal. Click through for more

urbanination:

Pearl City, Kuwait in 2002 and 2009. 

Here’s the wiki.