~ A paragraph from ‘Into Ignorance’, an editorial published today in Nature, one of the world’s most respected science journals. The article comments on current Republican efforts to prevent the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009, the EPA determined that greenhouse gases “threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.”
Note, with Japan, Bahrain, and Libya on fire, Republicans held emergency meetings to defund NPR. Today, they’re banning abortion funding. Regardless of opinions on NPR and abortion, it is crystal clear this Congress is completely out of touch.
Japan’s climate adaptation planning is simple, (1) identify problems from climate change, (2) fix them.
1) Identify Problems:
Climate science is used to identify impacts from climate change. Change in the tightly packed country affects all aspects of Japanese lives, including:
Flood problems from climate change in Japan. Source: Wise Adaptation to Climate Change in Japan, here.
2) Fix them:
Japan’s plans to fix the above problems are straight forward: Incorporate adaptation to climate change into existing policy areas and related plans, including land-use plans, city planning, agricultural policies, nature conservation policies and local government environmental policies.
At a general level, early intervention is based on cooperation from politicians and policy integration into civic life. “Early intervention” is preventative, the USA by comparison, tends to punt on preventing predicted climate impacts and related disasters.
Integration of climate change into plans start with standard assessments. These are tools already used by policy makers and planners to assess vulnerabilities to natural disasters. Assess a neighborhood for flood potential, and engineer a solution. Pretty straight forward stuff, and they use the same tools but tweaked to include climate forecasting.
After assessments are made, they follow regular policy making procedures (eg, by committee and then vote). Next, plans are made and passed into law. Finally, the plans are carried out to address the vulnerabilities identified in the assessments: strengthen bridges prone to floods, start beach renourishment programs, plant trees to prevent landslides, build dikes etc, fiddle with new GMO rice strains, etc. All pretty mundane and straight forward stuff.
Challenge for Japan is integration of climate science into all plans. To date, most adaptation efforts have been project based, meaning that once a vulnerable bridge is identified, they re-engineer it and move on. New bridges have yet to incorporate climate adaptation into engineering schematics (earth quakes, however, are mandatory).
Basically (I’m trying to keep this simple, let me know how I can improve), for Japan, adapting to climate change is results oriented, and does not require changes to basic policy structures or massive influxes of tax revenues.
IETA’s Carbon Forum North America is less than a week away. Don’t miss your chance to joinone of the most distinguished groups of speakers ever assembled in the carbon market space on March 14-15 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Online registration closes this Saturday, register now. Carbon Forum North America’s five plenaries, eight breakouts, and six special keynote sessions feature more than 80 confirmed speakers, including:
View the full program
The New England Faculty Colloquium: Climate Change, Policy, and Energy Solutions presents, "An Urban Ocean Observatory: Marine Observing and Forecasting in New York/New Jersey Waters"Alan Blumberg, Director, Center for Maritime Systems, Stevens Institute of TechnologyWednesday, March 9, 2:30pm, 115 Engineering Lab II, UMass Amherst (Reception to follow)Join us via WEBINAR!!
ABA always hosts the highest quality speakers. April 7-8, Washington, D.C. Friday, April 8 Planning Chairs:
Sponsors: ALI-ABA and Environmental Law Institute
Also available as live webcast
Thursday, April 7
8:45 a.m. — Course overview
9:00 a.m. — Keynote address
9:30 a.m. — Mandatory and voluntary greenhouse gas reporting
11:00 a.m. — Emerging standards for stationary sources
1:45 p.m. — Regional, state and local regulation
3:30 p.m. — International negotiations and trade
9:00 a.m. — Keynote address
9:30 a.m. — Climate change litigation
11:15 a.m. — Ethical issues for the environmental practitioner
1:30 p.m. — Legislative and policy developments
2:30 p.m. — Energy issues — The future of fuels, renewables, and energy efficiency
4:00 p.m.— Adjournment
Michael B. Gerrard, Columbia Law School and Arnold & Porter
Scott E. Schang, Environmental Law Institute
Robert A. Wyman, Jr., Latham & Watkins
Further information and registration for in-person attendance or live video webcast:
ABA always hosts the highest quality speakers.
April 7-8, Washington, D.C.
Friday, April 8
A British panel on Wednesday exonerated the scientists caught up in the controversy known as Climategate of charges that they had manipulated their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming.
The NCCR Climate invites scientists to the Climate Economics and Law Conference that will take place on 16 and 17 June 2011 in Bern, Switzerland. Key issues covered by the conference are:
Each topic includes two keynote plenary lectures and numerous parallel sessions.
The conference is open to all interested researchers. Contributions from a broad spectrum of climate economics and law research issues and from the two key topics, in particular, are welcome. Overall, the conference aims to foster cross-disciplinary links.
In my previous post, I touched upon a few reasons why I’m against geoengineering. I also expressed dismay at Oxford University’s call for a post-doc researcher geoengineering, which seems to show momentum is building for this type of tinkering. Governments - and this is my bottom line - are too politically immature to handle managing the earth’s weather.
We can’t even manage basic issues of flooding, as we’ve seen time and again, because it’s too politically sensitive. After all, which honest government is going to tell millions of people they have to move from risky floodplains? None that I can think of. Not putting homes and businesses in harms way is the most obvious(!) solution to avoid flooding. Yet, for reasons mainly political, we just cannot do that. The result is we get wasteful, expensive, and plain stupid rebuilds in the most dangerous places, Haiti, New Orleans, Indonesia, Brazil, Australia, San Fransisco, etc. If we cannot manage a relatively few homes, how are we going to manage all homes, for all species, for all centuries?
David W. Keith wrote a chapter titled, Engineering the Planet, in the book, Climate Change Science & Policy. In it, he lays out the pro-arguments for geoengineering. Take a look below at Keith’s argument for geoengineering. You buying it?
- Geoengineering is “intentional, large-scale manipulation of the environment.” Environmental change must be the goal rather than a side effect, and intent and effect of manipulation must be large in scale;
- Two primary geoengineering methods are adding aerosols to the atmosphere and construction of giant shields in space to scatter sunlight.
- While sulfur injection geoengineering would mimic impacts of other anthropogenic activities, e.g. coal combustion, a key distinction is that this intervention would be intentional, opening “a new chapter in humanity’s relationship with the Earth;”
- The Presidential Science Advisory Committee report submitted to President Johnson was the first major government policy document to draw attention to potential impact of carbon dioxide emissions on climate. But, it offered only one potential response, which was dispersing reflective particles in the atmosphere;
- Sulfur injection schemes would cost roughly a factor of ten less than mitigation options to address climate change. Such options could be in the reach of rich individuals or foundations;
- While some studies indicate that sulfur injection could adversely impact the ozone layer, the use of absorbing aerosols could offset some or all of these effects
- Space-based sunshields would have fewer and more predictable side effects than aerosol injection
- Just as safer cars may encourage more aggressive driving, geoengineering options could reduce incentive to cut emissions. However, geoengineering might be necessary if aggressive mitigation strategies prove to be insufficient, e.g. if climate’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide proves greater than projected or our mitigation measures still fail to prevent rapid deglaciation and substantial sea level rise. Geoengineering shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute for mitigation, because to do so would require an ever growing scale of technological compensation to offset growing carbon dioxide measures. Geoengineering could be used in conjunction with mitigation to reduce risks of climate change during the period of peak carbon dioxide concentrations;
- It’s misleading to argue that we shouldn’t pursue geoengineering options because of the impossibility of predicting systemic responses. Should concentrations of greenhouse gases rise to 600ppm, it’s unreasonable to argue that the risks of 600ppm along would be larger than the risks of 600ppm and deployment of a geoengineering scheme.
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
Spring 2011 Postgraduate Courses on
Building Resilience to Climate Change
28 February – 25 March 2011
DEADLINE: 21 January 2011
The United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP), Tokyo, invites applications for the new intensive 4-week postgraduate programme on “Building Resilience to Climate Change” developed under the framework of the University Network for Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research (UN-CECAR).
The new courses, conducted at UNU-ISP, cover a range of issues on sustainability and adaptation to climate and ecosystems change. Topics include:
From the good folks at fuckyeahcartography, identifying a continuing issue with political border disputes - where to place the lines? From a strong book on the history of maps, it covers everything from the need to delineate Egyptian property boundaries for agriculture, to Thomas Jefferson’s Public Land Survey System (the PLSS explains why America is mostly a grid).
MONMONIER, Mark. “No Dig, No Fly, No Go. How maps restrict and control”. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, 2010. p.3 (via graphicdesignrhetoric)