Climate Adaptation

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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The 90-plus population is expected to more than quadruple between 2010 and 2050

On the one hand, Obamacare just got a boost. On the other, the U.S. tax base is about to implode (bad news for growth-economists). There are so many implications from this, like the suburbs will empty even further and the need for nursing homes will increase exponentially. There won’t be much new land development, which I suppose is good news for environmentalists.

Living to age 90 is a worthy goal Americans are increasingly meeting. The number of people age 90 and older almost tripled from 720,000 people in 1980 to 1.9 million in 2010, according to a new Census Bureau report. And the 90-plus population is expected to more than quadruple between 2010 and 2050. Here’s a look at what life is like in the United States after age 90.

More women. Between 2006 and 2008, about three-quarters (74 percent) of the 90-and-older population were women. In 2006, life expectancy at age 65 was 19.7 years for women and 17 years for men. Women also experienced more rapid improvements in life expectancy than men between 1929 and 2006. Over the past eight decades, older women have added almost seven years to their life expectancy, or a 54 percent extension, compared with 5.3 years for men, a 45 percent extension. Among the age 90-and-older population, there are just 35 men for every 100 women. After age 95, there is approximately one man for every four women.

Married men and single women. Most women who make it to age 90 (84 percent) are widows. Only 6.3 percent of women in this age group are married. On the other hand, 43 percent of 90-something men are married and about half are widowers. “Women tend to marry older men. Traditionally, there is a four- to five-year age difference,” says Wan He, a Census Bureau demographer and co-author of the report. “When they get to age 90-plus, older men are very difficult to find.”

Living alone. Just over a third (37 percent) of people in their 90s live alone. About the same number of people (37 percent) live in a household with family members or unrelated individuals.

Read the rest at USNews

Report: NAACP's "Coal Blooded" ranks the environmental justice performance of the nation’s 378 coal fired power plants.

Embarrassing report on how coal power plants pollute more in black and poor communities than in white, middle-class areas. The Fourcorners Power Plant in New Mexico, for example, is located in one of the poorest communities in the United States - the average income is just over $6,000 per year. Over 66% that live near the plant are Native Americans. And nearly 20% of the people that live near the plant have a various forms of lung disease.

This report exposes environmental injustices in the U.S. Not only are these polluting plants allowed, politicians defend them from being regulated by fighting for pollution loop-holes, light penalties, and weak permitting.

The NAACP’s powerful report is well worth your time.

Bangladesh believes it’s found a way to hold the industrialised world accountable for damages caused by climate change.

They are hoping the UN General Assembly will support a motion to take countries who fail to reduce their emissions.”

Everyone should read Al Jazeera every day.

Obama Administration Strengthens Environmental Justice Efforts

"Federal agencies today (February) released environmental justice strategies, implementation plans and progress reports, outlining steps they will take to protect communities facing serious health and environmental risks, particularly low-income, minority and tribal populations.

Led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the agency heads say these strategies will integrate environmental justice into federal decision making and transportation, labor, health services and housing programs.

"Working together we have been able to make environmental justice a focus not just for EPA, but for agencies across the administration," said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. "Each of our federal partners plays a unique role in serving the American people, and each has a unique opportunity to ensure that our communities get the health and environmental protections they deserve."…

Federal agencies have reviewed their portfolios to assess how their programs, policies, and activities may have disproportionately adverse health and environmental effects.

Through this review, they have identified strategies, programs and initiatives, to reduce environmental or health hazards, ensure access to beneficial programs, and increase community participation in agency decision-making.

    • The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration is finalizing an environmental justice circular to help grantees determine whether there are any minority or low-income populations that may be adversely affected by a transit project or decision. The Federal Highway Administration is working with the National Highway Institute to revamp their course on environmental justice and Title VI.
    • The U.S. Department of Labor is translating educational materials and hazard alerts into Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese to ensure that minority workers have access to information they need to avoid environmental hazards on the job.
    • The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pueblo Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, provides four tribal governments the opportunity to run pollution monitoring programs and provide technical input on National Nuclear Security Administration decisions.
    • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is helping to provide green jobs and workforce development opportunities for veterans in minority and low-income communities.
    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with communities to use Health Impact Assessments, to help proactively address the potential impacts a policy or project might have on minority and low income populations. For example, in Baltimore, Maryland work is under way to evaluate the human health impact of a vacant property redevelopment program.

Read the rest at Environmental News Service

Report: Mississippi River second-most toxic in U.S.

"In category after category, the Mississippi finishes in the top three for dangerous contaminants discharged into it and coming out of it. The Mississippi is number two nationwide for total toxic discharges,

  • with 12,339,749 pounds of dangerous material in 2010, the last year with data available;
  • it finishes top two again for total number of cancer-causing discharges (180,339 pounds);
  • it slips to the three slot for total number of toxicants discharged that are linked to developmental issues (74,021 pounds);
  • and the Mississippi jumps back into second position for total number of toxicants discharged that are linked with reproductive issues (70,656 pounds).”

Read the rest, including a link to the report, at RFT.

expose-the-light:

The blue planet’s toxic new colours

1. Tissue slurry — Ontario, Canada This man-made lake in Terrace Bay, Ontario, Canada, is more than 500 metres long. It’s an aeration pond, part of the waste-treatment system at a factory that produces pulp for Kimberly-Clark tissues. “The treated water is returned to its source — often a river,” says Fair. Each yellow cone is an “agitator” that aerates and churns the liquid, assisting its breakdown. According to Worldwatch Institute figures, if recycled paper was used instead, 64 per cent less energy would be needed.and churns the liquid, assisting its breakdown. According to Worldwatch Institute figures, if recycled paper was used instead, 64 per cent less energy would be needed.

2. Fertiliser — Louisiana, US This emerald-tinted lake near Geismar, Louisiana, includes gypsum, uranium and radium. These chemicals result from manufacturing phosphorous fertiliser and are dumped into this impoundment to solidify. The world’s supplies of phosphates are dwindling and most are located in the US, China and Morocco. Unlike oil, however, there is no known renewable alternative for making fertiliser. “You think the resource crisis is in oil?” says Fair. “Think again.”

3. Spilled oil — Gulf of Mexico, US Fair captured this shot over the BP Deepwater Horizon spill at the Macondo well in June 2010, when 750m litres of oil leaked into the Gulf. “The stuff that was coming out of that well was all different colours,” says Fair. “We think of crude oil as being black — it’s all kinds of different colours and consistencies.” The bright red is the crude on the surface, reflecting light. The less viscous oil below the surface is purple-brown.

4. Liquid sulphur — Alberta, Canada At Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, a blood-red vein of liquid sulphur is pumped on to a bed of solidified yellow sulphur. The element is one of the major by-products of tar-sand upgrading and there is now an abundance of stocks globally. With prices low, producer Syncrude isn’t selling — it’s storing it in giant pyramids. Liquid sulphur, at around 200°C (its melting point is 115°C), is pumped into fenced-off compounds and left to harden.

5. Aluminium sludge — Louisiana, US This slurry pit is where the solid and liquid by-products of aluminium manufacture are separated. The process involves refining bauxite ore, which produces alumina. The waste includes bauxite impurities, heavy metals and sodium hydroxide (one of the chemicals used during processing). Fair estimates that the red-brown sludge has a pH of about 13, “meaning if you touch it, it burns the skin off”.

6. Fertiliser slurry — Louisiana, US This wintry-looking scene is a mix of lead, ammonia, mercury and ethanol — by-products of phosphate fertiliser production. “It’s a giant lake of waste,” says Fair, who shot the image 80km west of New Orleans in 2005. Owned by Mosaic Fertilizers, the plant, called Uncle Sam, has violated the US Clean Water Act nine times. The slurry pit is less than 3km from the banks of the Mississippi.

(via rossexton)

Ecuador court rejects $18 billion Chevron oil pollution arbitration ruling

(Reuters) - A court in Ecuador has rejected an order by arbitrators that an $18 billion pollution ruling against Chevron should be frozen, but the judges referred an appeal by the U.S. oil company to the country’s Supreme Court.

A year after the landmark decision against Chevron, a panel working for The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration told Ecuador last week to take all necessary measures to suspend enforcement of the award at home and abroad. But in a ruling made public on Monday, the court that has been considering the case in the remote Amazon jungle region of Sucumbios said Ecuador should not comply with that order.

"A simple arbitral award … cannot force judges to infringe the human rights of our citizens," said the court, adding that abiding by the panel’s order would be unconstitutional and would lead to the breach of international human rights conventions.

The court said it had accepted an appeal filed by Chevron, however, and referred it to the Supreme Court in the clearest sign yet that the litigation, which has already run nearly 20 years, could drag on for more years. The plaintiffs say The Hague panel’s ruling will not affect their plans to collect on the $18 billion award in other countries where Chevron has assets.

Read the rest at Reuters

The costs of growing populations. One of the toughest environmental arguments to make. Do you side with 23 million people who need electricity, or do you side with 20,000 indigenous people and a sliver of the Amazon rainforest and all its riches? Should they turn to nuclear power, and if so, how to pay for, monitor, and maintain it?

The proposed Belo Monte Dam in northern Brazil would be the third largest hydro-electric dam in the world in terms of electrical output. The dam would be 3.75 miles long and generate over 11,000 megawatts, which could power up to 23 million homes. Government officials say that the dam is an essential step in supplying energy to the nation’s growing population. However, the project is rife with environmental conflicts. The project requires the clearing of 588 acres of Amazon jungle, the displacement of over 20,000 indigenous people, flooding a 193 square mile area, and drying up a 62 mile stretch of the Xingu River.

More here.

See also Al Jazeera’s comprehensive article on the dam, here

Andrew Revkin, the master climate writer for the New Times, has a thought provoking take on the documentary “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”. The film is up for an Oscar and covers the dichotomous travails of an aggressive environmental activist group. The ELF takes the philosophy of environmentalism to its social extremes, damaging certain property in order to stop environmental harm. In response, society labeled the group domestic terrorists, and created a whole new realm of law enforcement, legal pitfalls, and convoluted definitions of ‘lawbreaker.’ I think the trailer speaks for itself. 

Revkin’s interview with the director Marshall Curry is well worth your time. 

BP to appeal federal fines for Gulf oil leaks. Claims the company "played no causal role in the accident.”

"BP to appeal oil spill violation notices

BP said Wednesday it plans to appeal a series of regulatory violation notices issued by the Interior Department stemming from last year’s massive oil spill, arguing the issues identified by federal regulators “played no causal role in the accident.”

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) sent BP, the owner of the Macondo well, five separate Incidents of Non-Compliance notices (INCs) Wednesday.

The notices, which are a first step in collecting penalties from the company, allege that BP failed to conduct an accurate pressure integrity test on the well and neglected to halt drilling operations at the well amid indications of problems.

BSEE issued an initial set of violation notices in October to BP, Deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean and Halliburton, which performed cement work on the well. The notices were based on a joint Interior Department-U.S. Coast Guard report that blamed the companies for the spill.

Wednesday’s notices were based on additional review of the evidence from the spill.

“The issues raised in today’s INCs regarding drilling margins and related integrity testing played no causal role in the accident,” BP said in a statement Wednesday. “BP intends to appeal these INCs, as well as those issued several weeks ago.”

BP has 60 days to appeal the most recent round of violation notices, after which time BSEE will weigh imposing civil penalties on the company.”

The Hill

Africa’s problem is too d*mn many people. Tutu is full of it.

When people in Africa can have 9 wives and 20 plus children, simply because it’s a status symbol. When their religions forbid birth control and encourage over population and expansion into arid regions. They are eating themselves and much of Africa’s wildlife out of existence and using all the trees to cook it. famines and droughts are inevitable. worry about that first Tutu

—    Sample comment to the National Post’s epic attack on both environmentalists and Bishop Tutu today. Click here for more.

The American Lung Association takes the gloves off in this new ad. They call out the EPA for not doing its job.