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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Posts tagged "engineering"

Leaders failed (and continue to fail) to address well known and documented hurricane and flood risks to New Orleans.

Pretty cool engineering project in New Orleans. The journalist explains how adding sod to the top of levees will increase the capacity of the berms to retain water. (though, I though levees were generally covered in grass, so it’s a bit confusing.) Anyway, this is a good and simple example of an adaptation.

Announced in June, Obama’s $1 Billion resilience and infrastructure grant program is now live. Eligible organizations can only apply (instructions at bottom). Minimum grant award is $1 million, maximum is $500 Million(!). I consult on grant applications, so if you’re a municipality or an eligible organization, contact me to chat.

The entire city of Florence, Italy is the same size as this highway interchange in Atlanta, Georgia. Via

Asker majam Asks:
What are your thoughts on this project? solar-roadways on IndieGoGo site? (no links allowed...) I find it quite inspiring!
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi Majam,

Nice to hear from you again. I’ve seen the Solar Roadways project on several enviro-sites and it seems the media is eating it up. They even picked up an endorsement from Republican Senator Mike Crappo (R-ID), which I found most surprising:

Keep in mind, Solar Roadways started in 2009 with a $100k grant from the Dept. of Energy. Solar Roadways already had their day in the media spotlight back in 2010. The now-closed blog Infrastructurist panned the idea as "dubious" and "batshit crazy" based on a few thumbnail calculations using basic transportation engineering standards required to build roads. 

Solar roads are and enviro-media darling, that’s for sure. My take is that there might be a few test roads built, but overall the idea is impossible at this point. It would cost tens of trillions of dollars to build at tax-payer expense. Dozens of policies, thousands of laws, and countless transportation and engineering standards would have to be rewritten (and pass congress). All 50 states would have to voluntarily change their transportation regulations. Not to mention the public objections, lobbyists, and litigation that would add decades of delays.

For those inspired by new technologies like solar roads, you have to answer the basic policy questions: What are the procedures to change transportation laws? How would you get congressional support? What does it take to change one rule (never mind hundreds of rules for solar roads) at your state’s DOT? Inspiration often times has to respond to, and outlast, very serious objections…

Best,

Michael

A rare energy post…

How Bill Nye became the Science Guy.

Links to the rest of the cities, here. What’s surprised me most was Oakland, California(!) made the final cut. Also, Bill Clinton and Olosegun Obasanjo were on the panel. Bizarre stuff.

Video. Via NBC.

America, model for the world? This coal plant leaks and dumps waste into the Yellowstone River. Only about 30% of coal burned in a power plant produces electricity - the remaining 70% of the energy is literally wasted…

If you can stomach it, here’s a picture of an ExxonMobil oil refinery, also on the Yellowstone. This is how your electricity works…

Corette coal-fired power plant on the Yellowstone River in Montana. This facility is discharging toxic water pollution into the Yellowstone using a permit that should have expired several years ago. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Do you think a Bachelor in environmental engineering is a useful degree to combat climate change?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi Anon,

Well, EE is a sweet degree - very focused and lots of job opportunities. As far as “combating climate change” goes, I don’t want to fool you or provide a false sense of hope. I think the best thing for you to do is realize and accept that emissions are not going down. Every source that monitors emissions agrees, for example see here and here.

You may (or may not!) want to watch this talk by Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Center for Climate Research.

Maybe introspect and evaluate why it is you believe you can ‘combat’ climate change. I don’t have the answers you’re looking for - after all, I’m not even into emissions or energy, nor do I ‘combat’ climate change in any of my work. I’m an adaptation specialist. I tell governments where to build stuff, which is out of harms way.

Good luck!

m

Via

Keurig single-cup brewing machines produce ten times more solid waste than a single-cup serving made in a drip machine would.
John Sylvan, co-founder of Keurig single-cup coffee machines. Via Waste: The Dark Side of the New Coffee Craze.