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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I get asked what I read all the time. I haven’t yet compiled a list of climate/environmental news or blog sites (too lazy, tbh!), though I have a FAQs, made a bookstore, and wrote some book recommendations,

I am subscribed to countless climate listservs, and I skim around 25 climate/environment news websites as part of my daily routine (this doesn’t include work or research, which easily bumps that up to hundreds).

One daily newsletter that I enjoy/viciously-hate is called “Clean Start.” It’s written by the folks at ThinkProgress. Here is a sample of today’s newsletter. Instructions for you to subscribe are at the bottom.

Clean Start From ThinkProgress: Busy Day on the Hill

Welcome to Clean Start from Climate Progress, the exclusive energy newsletter from a progressive perspective. Send feedback and suggestions to cleanstart@thinkprogress.org.

CLEAN START FROM CLIMATE PROGRESS By Ryan Koronowski

* Gina McCarthy Re-Do, Ernest Moniz Vote in the Senate, Keystone in the House *

Democrats of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will attempt yet again to advance the nomination of Gina McCarthy to run the EPA. Last week, not a single Republican bothered to show up for the vote despite the fact that she has answered more than 1,100 of the committee’s questions. Sen. Warren spoke on the Senate floor yesterday demanding a vote on McCarthy, reprimanding Republicans for blocking the business of government and the business of protecting people. Sen. Vitter confirmed late Wednesday that some Republicans will attend today’s vote. At 2 p.m. today, the Senate will likely vote to approve Ernest Moniz, who has been nominated to lead the Department of Energy. Also on the Hill, Republicans in the House will make the case during a subcommittee hearing that building Keystone would bring positive economic spillovers for small businesses and rural communities while the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will vote on H.R.3, a bill to approve Keystone. [The Hill]

* Survey Of Peer-Reviewed Papers Finds 97% Consensus On Human-Caused Global Warming *

A survey of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals has found 97.1% agreed that climate change is caused by human activity. Authors of the survey said the finding of near unanimity provided a powerful rebuttal to climate deniers who insist the science of climate change remains unsettled. The survey considered the work of some 29,000 scientists published in almost 12,000 academic papers. [Guardian, Reuters, ThinkProgress]

* Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers Says He Supports NC’s Clean Energy Standard *

Jim Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy, defended North Carolina’s renewable energy standard at the company’s annual shareholder meeting yesterday. A conservative activist (who has previously asked a question at Disney’s shareholder meeting about liberal bias) asked Rogers about higher energy costs. In response, Rogers said the law prevent utilities from spending too much, and RESs are widespread across the country. He said later he supports the law, which is facing continued threats from ALEC members in the state legislature to repeal it. Earlier this month, a state senate committee chair approved a bill to repeal the RES out of his committee without counting votes and despite loud opposition. [Charlotte Business Journal, ThinkProgress]

* QUICK LINKS *

— For more than 30 years, ocean fish and mammals have migrated away from warming equatorial waters and toward the poles, providing more evidence climate change has already had broad global consequences. [Washington Post]

— George Bush’s EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman said that GOP members of the EPW Committee “looked like sore losers” when they boycotted McCarthy’s vote hearing last week. [National Journal]

— The U.S. military’s programmatic efforts to rely less on fossil fuels are threatened by the sequester. [Medill]

— BP wants British Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene regarding the compensation of businesses affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. [BBC]

— The GAO finds that the federal government should help local communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. [The Hill]

— The 5th Circuit ruled against a lawsuit filed by Mississippi coastal residents arguing that fossil fuel emissions contributed to the strength of Hurricane Katrina. [Clarion Ledger]

— Organizing for Action called on supporters to press the Republican EPW members for boycotting McCarthy’s nomination hearing. [The Hill]

— Weather prediction is slated to improve significantly following upgrades to the two supercomputers the National Weather Service uses to forecast local, national, and global weather patterns. [Washington Post]

— Spoiled food could be used to power grocery stores’ using clean electricity. [LA Times]

* CALENDAR *

9:00 am: The Woodrow Wilson Center’s (WWC) Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) holds a discussion on a new ECSP report, “Backdraft: The Conflict Potential of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.”

9:30 am: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee votes on the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project.

10:00 am: The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs holds an oversight hearing entitled, “The 2008 Lacey Act Amendments.” Witnesses and more information will be listed here when available.

10:00 am: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a meeting to consider pending calendar business.

10:00 am: The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation holds an oversight hearing titled, “Invasive Species Management on Federal Lands.”

10:00 am: The Subcommittees on Energy and Power and Environment and the Economy hold a hearing tited “The Fiscal Year 2014 Environmental Protection Agency Budget.” Members will review the president’s FY2014 EPA Budget Request and discuss the agency’s agenda. EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe will be the only witness.

10:00 am: The Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade holds a hearing titled, “If You Build It: Keystone XL Pipeline and Small Business Job Growth.” A live webcast will be here: http://1.usa.gov/Nkrzjh.

10:30 am: The Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements holds a hearing, “Opportunities Lost: Constraints on Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands and Waters.” http://1.usa.gov/11qKMbp

12:00 pm: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the EPA.

12:30 pm: The U.S. Army, along with Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense, will unveil the DOD’s first grid-tied intelligent microgrid integrating renewable resources and energy storage at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Fort Bliss.

1:00 pm: Former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift, former Republican Congressman and Chair of the House Science Committee Sherwood Boehlert, and NRDC Clean Air Program Director John Walke will offer reactions to today’s Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy

2:00 pm: The Senate holds a vote on the nomination of Ernest Moniz to head the Energy Department.

5:00 pm: Sen. Lisa Murkowski holds on-the-record pen & pad session to discuss her trip to the Arctic Coucil in Sweden.

** Follow @ClimateProgress **

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laboratoryequipment:

Crowd-Sourcing Helps Map Global Emissions

Climate science researchers from Arizona State Univ. are launching a first-of-its-kind online “game” to better understand the sources of global warming gases. By engaging “citizen scientists,” the researchers hope to locate all the power plants around the world and quantify their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The game has officially begun and is housed on a website called “Ventus.” Ventus (the Latin word for wind) has a simple interface in which users enter basic information about the world’s power plants. By playing the game, people around the globe can help solve the climate change problem.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/videos/2013/05/crowd-sourcing-helps-map-global-emissions

Looks like a nice project.

This time, I worked with up and coming AccuWeather journalist Samantha-Rae Tuthill. She asked tough questions and dug deep for this piece. She was really great and I had a lot of fun. She also picked out some good zingers (I bet long-time readers will recognize my pessimism). Check it out if you can!

The study is here. You’ll need a script or student access.

ideatrotter:

New climate report has grim predictions

A new report says that much of the world’s plant and animal life could be decimated by the effects of climate change over the next century. Worldwide levels of carbon dioxide are the highest they’ve been in almost two million years.

Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Amazonia and Australia would lose the most species of plants and animals. And a major loss of plant species is projected in North Africa, Central Asia and South-eastern Europe.

Brutal.

poptech:

If you are wandering around Greenland’s ice sheet and you run into this crazy thing, it is NASA’s GROVER (government acronym for something Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research). It is solar powered and it crawls around Greenland on its own and uses ground-penetrating radar to look at ice. And it’s cool. 

NASA robot explores ice in Greenland. Video. Will explore for months at a time via remote. Possibly prototype to explore other planets.

By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life.

We are committed to ensuring that all inhabitants of this planet receive their daily bread, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink, as we are aware that, if we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us.
Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ climate change report

The Vatican’s Academy of Sciences published a report titled, “Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene." It has a special focus on climate change impacts on human’s main source of fresh drinking water supplies - mountain glaciers.

I found it interesting that the report begins with a defense of climate science and a response to common misconceptions. I think this is the first time I’ve seen this, and I’ve read thousands of climate reports over the years.

It also has three sharp, concise recommendations on how to help deal with the impacts - adaptation is one of them.

dendroica:

As predicted by chemistry, change in the Arctic Ocean is accelerating as temperatures warm faster than the global average, as the sea ice melts, as northern rivers run stronger and faster, delivering more fresh water farther into the northernmost ocean, and as we continue blasting an ever increasing quantity of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The Arctic Ocean Acidification Assessment, a new report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), presents these 10 key findings:

10 Key Findings From a Rapidly Acidifying Arctic Ocean | Mother Jones

Insurance industry is leaving home and business owners (and cities) in the dust by pulling out of high-storm areas.

An excellent resource to bookmark.

I’m very tempted to jump on a plane and go to this conference. It’s run by the UNISDR (United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction). It’s basically a conference where politicians, stakeholders, and leaders in DRR gather to discuss and share ideas. 

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is now the world’s foremost gathering of stakeholders committed to reducing disaster risk and building the resilience of communities and nations.
Key outcomes:    
  • A stronger and more sustainable ISDR movement world-wide that leads to increased responsibility for reinforcing resilience to disasters.
  • A dynamic and trend-setting forum for decision makers, partners, experts and practitioners to announce initiatives, launch products, share information, promote campaigns, and provide evidence around disaster risk reduction.
  • Directions and new alliances for the development and use of new tools and methodologies aimed at understanding and applying the economics and investment in disaster risk reduction.
  • A forum to discuss progress and consult over a post-Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA).
  • Events that follow-up and progress on the 2011 Global Platform (examples may include an update on disaster loss in schools and hospitals, accounting for disaster losses, the status of National Platforms, and progress of the Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction). 

Must see talk by Dr. Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He shows how most climate scientists are being disingenuous about the dangers of climate change. That their estimates are far too low due, in part, to the current trend of scientists working with the public (e.g., post-normal science).

The above climate talk is among my my top 10 favorites. It’s also a sobering reality check for the CO2/350 crowd.

thepenguinpress:

The psychology behind why we ignore the threat of global warming:

Ninety-eight percent of experts agree that the globe is warming, that humans are contributing to the effect, and that our failure to act now will contribute to death, disease, injury, heat waves, fires, storms, and floods

What is it about human psychology that makes meteor strikes and volcanoes so compelling, while global warming languishes as a political afterthought?

The answer has many strands, but I’ll focus on three, beginning with The Hollywood Test. According to The Hollywood Test, the content of our culture’s films reflects our most vivid fears. Over the past several decades, Hollywood producers have funded dozens of big-budget disaster films. In descending order of frequency, those films depicted alien invasions (approximately 100), epidemic and pandemic outbreaks, tsunamis and destructive waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, and meteor, asteroid and comet strikes. Absent from the list is a scintillating portrayal of global warming, though two films,The Day After Tomorrow and Lost City Raiders, described global warming as the catalyst for floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and a protracted Ice Age.

Al Gore’s important documentary film, An Inconvenient Truthis perhaps the only film that focuses squarely on global warming, and then it’s long on information, and short on Hollywood stars and scenes of graphic devastation.

And that sums up the first major problem with global warming: its precise consequences aren’t vivid enough. Humans are better at focusing on the moderate, specific, localized devastation of a major earthquake than on the great but murky devastation that global warming will bring in the middle part of the 21st century.

One of the best illustrations of this difficulty comes from research in a different domain: on our willingness to contribute to charitable causes. (Image of Hurricane Sandy via)