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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Climate change poses a direct threat to the infrastructure of America that we need to stay competitive in this 21st-century economy. That means that we should see this as an opportunity to do what we should be doing anyway, and that’s modernizing our infrastructure, modernizing our roads, modernizing our bridges, power grids, our transit systems, and making sure that they’re more resilient. That’s going to be good for commerce and it’s obviously going to be good for communities.
–– President Obama, delivering remarks at the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience Meeting, July 16, 2014

Incredible freak hail storm in Novosibirsk, Russia. It gets worse every second.

Asker cazalis Asks:
First. You ASK is spelled AKS. Might want to check it. Two, what did you think of Al Gore's article in Rolling Stone about the turning point for new hope (star wars pun?) on climate.
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hey cazalis,

Thanks for following me all this time. The article is here.

Everyone makes mistakes. I think Gore is trying to be helpful and hopeful. He’s trying to support and celebrate, I believe, recent policy changes to limit emissions from power plants, federal procurement, vehicle MPGs, etc. He also points to several disruptive changes to economies around the world, such as Germany’s aggressive investments in solar and renewables.

Several left-leaning commentators think Gore’s piece was equivalent to the word of God - dozens of high-profile blogs fell over themselves after they read his article (see blatherings at DailyKos, Grist, ecowatch).

From my point of view - which reflects the scientific consensus - Gore is spouting nonsense. The IPCC aggregates climate science from every perspective. Their recent report made it clear that even with maximum policy changes, the earth is on track for up to 4.8c degrees of warming. The policy changes mentioned by Gore do nothing to lower global emissions:

[T]he IPCC assesses a large number of scenarios from different experts. For its third report into greenhouse gas emissions, the IPCC assessed 1200 different pathways, created by different modelling teams around the world….

As a result of its own modelling and the different scenarios it assessed, the IPCC concludes that avoiding the two degrees rise means reducing global emissions by at least two fifths by 2050, and tripling or quadrupling the share of energy the world gets from low-carbon energy by the same date. It probably also means using new, untested technologies to reduce the level of carbon in the atmosphere… Via

I think it’s dangerous to say there is “hope” to reduce emissions based on a few tweaks to the American economy. Every indicator (even conservative economists) shows that emissions are going to rise for decades.

Cheers,

Michael

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I was just wondering if you had any advice on how to combat the "but in the 70s everybody was worried about global cooling, the world just goes through phases" argument when talking to someone about the current state of the environment? No matter what I say to certain people this seems to come up and I'm not sure my responses are sufficient.
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi anon,

Thanks for your question. I’d send you here, but I take issue with your approach. The burden of proof is always on the person making a claim. If I may, I advise applying the Socratic Method and have a nice discussion (Note: Always apply the Socratic Method with their consent, don’t trick them!).

It is not your responsibility to “convince” them of their err, instead it is *their* responsibility to convince you of their claims. If I say the sky is red, it is my responsibility to show that the sky is indeed red  - it is not your responsibility to disprove it. If you both agree to discuss the matter, proceed without getting emotionally panty-bunched. Hell, you could hold a long dialog that could take days, or even months.

If you are an environmentalist, you have to learn this humble, very effective, and quite easy to apply communication skill. It will serve you well through life.

Once they agree to discuss the issue, define the terms and stay hyper-focused on those things. Every once in a while paraphrase and recap the discussion  - this helps clarify definitions, and it ensures that the other person feels comfortable that you are listening. So, if I’m talking about the sky being red, I’m not able to start talking about my opinion of Obama. Stay on point.

In this case, you’re discussing cycles. So, have them define it. What is a cycle? Is there evidence for cycles? Why do they believe in the science of cycles, but reject that cycles can be changed by human forcings? In other words, can natural cycles be disturbed by heavy influxes of CO2? Why or why not? Where is their evidence? Remember, they are making the claim; you are trying to learn from them. Are they choosing some scientific evidence while rejecting other scientific evidence? How is this possible? By which methodologies are they able to accept the science of cycles, yet reject the science that shows how cycles are influenced? After all, they have to point to science as their evidence for cycles. Interesting, right?

Know that you will experience breakdowns and failures while having these dialogs. That’s OK! Take a breather. Shake hands. Come back to the discussion later. It’s part of the process of learning. Try not to allow emotions to enter the discussion. Don’t get heated. Passion is a good thing, but getting angry and walking away all frustrated is a problem. Face these dips head on!

So, apply the Socratic Method when someone makes a claim. Just have fun with it. No need to be rivals.

Good luck,

Michael

Everyone knows the climate is changing throughout the world. As the climate changes so do mankind’s living conditions - and Germany is no exception. Germany has based it’s adaptation plan on the recommendations of the UNFCCC’s IPCC 2007 report. It is implemented at the local, regional, and national levels. While it’s been slow to implement the programs, Germany’s plan serves as a model for other western states. For example, some of the bigger engineering and urban planning projects are required to take an approach that considers climate impacts over 100 years. 

See German Strategy for Adapting to Climate Change(PDF)

The researchers surveying employees in the environmental sector in Boston and Philadelphia. If this is you, give them a hand if you can…

Journalists with the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) ordered to reflect consensus/majority view of the scientific community. This means climate deniers and other non-qualified persons will not be given airtime.

Often, science content is presented as an issue having “two-sides.” This works when science is unclear (such as the benefits/risks of drinking coffee, or when journalists present the latest super-diet food craze). But, when the majority of scientists agree on a matter, such as climate change (97%), the BBC will no longer present “the other side” on equal grounds.

Good read on how data and climate models impact traditional weather forecasting.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture developing a Climate Super Chicken to withstand higher temperatures. Via Bloomberg

Research study summary, USDA Adapting animal production to climate change.

Dangerous derecho, a powerful type of rain storm, knocked out power for hundreds of thousands in the mid-west. Storm is over Chicago now. The Vane reports hundreds of thousands lost power, but I cannot confirm this.

About the snakes- they're garter snakes, and it's all for reproduction! In that horde there is one female, and the males are trying to find her. It's completely normal and happens wherever you can find these guys. That person stepping around the snakes stepped on at least three and gave them very painful deaths though. ):
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi !

Regarding this slithery video, you’re right! It is reproduction but it’s also for hibernation and body heat efficiency. The garter snake is my home state, Massachusetts, “State Reptile”! They also converge in large numbers in New England to den in the winter, just not the thousands like in Canada. So weird and awesome!

Cheers!

Michael

PS, Check out this article on how climate change will impact American rattle snake’s habitat. Basically, it seems rattlers are too slow to adapt to rapid climate changes and may be wiped out in some areas because it has no suitable habitat to migrate to…  image

The ranges of species will have to change dramatically as a result of climate change between now and 2100 because the climate will change more than 100 times faster than the rate at which species can adapt, according to a newly published study by Indiana University researchers.

The study, which focuses on North American rattlesnakes, finds that the rate of future change in suitable habitat will be two to three orders of magnitude greater than the average change over the past 300 millennia, a time that included three major glacial cycles and significant variation in climate and temperature.

"We find that, over the next 90 years, at best these species’ ranges will change more than 100 times faster than they have during the past 320,000 years," said Michelle Lawing, lead author of the paper and a doctoral candidate in geological sciences and biology at IU Bloomington. "This rate of change is unlike anything these species have experienced, probably since their formation."

Via www.WhiteHouse.gov