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 "environment"

Massive toxic spill in British Columbia pollutes streams and lakes. The Mount Polley Mine mines copper and gold. These mines require massive amounts of toxic acids to “eat” the rocks that contain the copper and gold. The waste is “contained” in a big retention pond (in this case a huge lake). The ponds just sit there with no plans for clean up. Humans are banned from the ponds. Governments say they are safe (despite that ponds fail on average of 30%).

Millions of tons of harmful metals, soils, and wastewater spilled into pristine habitat. Canada’s response? Whooppsy! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Above images: NASA and CBC.

An earthen dam at Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia breached on August 4, 2014, sending contaminated water surging into nearby lakes. Wastewater and metal-laden sand spilled from a retention basin and triggered a water-use ban in Likely, British Columbia, and other nearby towns. Local authorities had lifted the ban as of August 12.

On August 5, nearly all of the wastewater in the retention basin had drained, exposing the silty bottom. Hazeltine Creek, normally about 1 meter (3 feet) wide, swelled to a width of 150 meters (490 feet) as a result of the spill. In the aftermath of the flood, a layer of brown sediment coated forests and stream valleys affected by the spill. Notice how much forest immediately north of the retention basin was leveled. Debris, mainly downed trees, are visible floating on Quesnel Lake.

Video:

Several excellent Canadian, environmental, and political tumblrs are covering the spill: https://www.tumblr.com/search/mount+polley+mine.

Click above to register. It’s free and run by the awesome folks at CAKEX, who you need to know if you’re into climate adaptation.

My gut tells me these proposed measures are too little, too late.

dendroica:

Once-common marine birds disappearing from our coast

Bird surveys like this and others done by plane are tracking a significant ecological shift in our region — a major decline in once-abundant marine birds. From white-winged scoters and surf scoters to long-tailed ducks, murres, loons and some seagulls, the number of everyday marine birds here has plummeted dramatically in recent decades.

Scoters are down more than 75 percent from what they were in the late 1970s. Murres have dropped even more. Western grebes have mostly vanished, falling from several hundred thousand birds to about 20,000.

The reasons often vary — from climate change and shoreline development to marine pollution and the rebound of predators such as bald eagles.

But several new studies now also link many dwindling marine bird populations to what they eat — especially herring, anchovies, sand lance and surf smelt, the tiny swimmers often dubbed forage fish.

The relationship between marine birds and slick, fatty forage fish is complex. Some birds are here year-round while others pass through for just a few months. Some birds key in solely on silvery herring while others can just as easily eat flounder.

Some forage-fish species, such as herring, are a fraction of what they once were. But little information exists about the health of other species.

But an exhaustive new analysis of bird diets and population trends found that marine birds relying exclusively on fish like herring were up to 16 times more likely to be in trouble than birds that ate nonschooling bottom-dwellers like sculpin.

(via The Seattle Times)

pulitzercenter:

image

When it comes to the global environment, it is difficult to overstate Peru’s importance. Its Amazon jungles are deemed among the most biodiverse on earth in terms of tree, plant, animal and bird species. It also has the world’s fourth-largest store of tropical forests, behind only neighboring…

webofgoodnews:

This Pop-Up Solar Power Station Can Be Installed Instantly Anywhere In The World

At the push of a button, this shipping container instantly transforms into a pop-up solar power station: Hidden solar panels slide out of drawers on each side and immediately start generating energy wherever they’re needed, whether for disaster relief or in a remote village far off the grid.

—If that’s not good enough for you, then there’s also this:

The first model, released this month, includes onboard atmospheric water generators that pull water from the air. “We’re able to provide water without a water source,” says McGuire.

Read more

Interesting. I work in international development, and I can’t see who’d pay for these. Taxpayers? 

It seems the media loves them more than the markets. Diesel and gas generators are way waayyy cheaper. They’re produce more energy for more people in more places. They’re more accessible, easily repairable and replaceable, and are a more efficient response mechanism than a battery (solar panels charge a battery, then the battery is plugged into power station or some other distribution hub). In fact, many states already have long-term contracts with utilities to use the more reliable and time tested fossil fuel generator.

Utility power companies should consider using temporary power plants (coupled diesel or gas generators coupled, electric transformers with built-in power substation, fuel tanks and other power accessories) when no other possible alternative source of power generation, such as diesel-powered generators, is available to supplement the electricity shortfall during repairs and maintenance.

These plants can, for example, use a 100 MW rental power plant for six months to avoid power interruptions and continuously supply electricity to critical areas such as airports, data centers or hospitals… See here.

The fact that they’re dirty and pollutive does not trump their utility or world-wide acceptance.

I’d also point out that, as sexy as these units are, solar rental systems already exist. They’re used in the field by temporary construction crews, and possibly by disaster response teams (it’s unclear from their website), but their utility, availability, deployment times, maintenance and other costs are still unproven.

Finally, who is responsible for disposing the batteries?

(via fastcompany)

DeSmogBlog is quite biased, but the article is worth checking out. Obama is typically portrayed by lefty and enviro-media as an effective leader with respect to climate change actions. I have on a number of occasions posted on the administrations adaptation and resilience plans and actions.

But, what’s under the radar - what media is ignoring - is that Obama directed his administration to implement very aggressive oil and gas drilling plans formulated under Bush and the oil industry. For example, just last week, Obama opened up the Atlantic coast for offshore drilling.

The Obama administration is reopening the Eastern Seaboard to offshore oil and gas exploration, approving seismic surveys using sonic cannons that can pinpoint energy deposits deep beneath the ocean floor. Via AP

Thus, environmental blogs are missing one half of the story. Check it out…

nprontheroad:

Come along as we tour an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Nearly a quarter of the crude oil produced in the U.S. comes from the Gulf, according to the Energy Information Administration (http://www.eia.gov/special/gulf_of_mexico/). But while you can often drive by an on-shore drilling rig in Texas or North Dakota few of us ever have a chance to see a drilling operation in the Gulf.

Tomorrow Shell is offering NPR and its audience a rare, up-close look at its Olympus drilling rig and platform (pictured above). It’s located about 130 miles south of New Orleans in water that’s about a half-mile deep.

Shell uses helicopters to transport crews out into the Gulf—it’s about an hour ride there. The company requires that all passengers on the helicopter have HUET certification. HUET stands for Helicopter Underwater Egress Training. Essentially the class teaches you what to do if there’s a problem and the aircraft has to “ditch” into the water. Sounds exciting, huh? More on that later.

photo credit: Shell

Looks interesting. No link to NPR, so stay tuned?

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

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)

Trying out EXO cricket flour granola bars. Tastes great - like dates and nuts. A bit malty, slightly grainy (but just a little). They’re not to sweet, and seem like normal, very healthy granola bars. The claims on the card seem misleading with respect to how much beef is actually consumed -and will continue to be consumed- in the world. They’re made in Brooklyn, NY and are quite expensive; I picked up 12 bars from EXO’s website for I think 32 bucks.