Posts tagged infrastructure.
(33 cities chosen from) more than 1,000 registrations and nearly 400 formal applications from cities around the world. Each city was asked to present a clear and compelling description of how they are approaching and planning for resilience to decrease vulnerabilities, and after careful review of the applications, a panel of esteemed judges, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Olosegun Obasanjo, recommended the first set of 33 cities for the 100 Resilient Cities Network.
It wasn’t easy to choose only 33 – we had so many passionate, vibrant entries. Among the winners: One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world wrote of the city’s history withstanding shocks for the past eight millennia. One African city wrote of a resilience plan as harmonizing climate change adaptation, biodiversity, planning and management and water security. And a city in South America finds itself dealing with landslides and forest fires, all while sitting in the shadow of a volcano.
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Creating and Expanding Funding Streams for Adaptation Planning and Implementation
Cities and communities are confronted with planning and implementing climate adaptation with very few resources available to help pay for the help they need. Adaptation funding is competing against already limited funding for schools, police, and libraries from scarce local resources. So, while adaptation is a responsible long-term investment for communities, it is usually very difficult to secure adequate funding for planning and implementation. During this webinar we will explore ways to use existing mandates for implementing adaptation, give an example of how adaptation is moving forward in the City of Cleveland, and provide a forum for discussion on challenges and creative ways to move adaptation forward.This webinar is the first of the National Adaptation Webinar Series and is sponsored by EcoAdapt and Georgetown Law Center and hosted by CAKEx.org.AgendaThis webinar will focus on identifying existing adaptation funding streams and using existing resources and mandates to implement adaptation.Webinar will take place from 1:00-2:00 PM EST1:00-1:15Lara Hansen. Ph.D.Chief Scientist and Executive Director, EcoAdapt, will discuss "The State of Adaptation in the United States". Download the presentation.1:15-1:30Sara P. Hoverter, Senior Fellow (health & climate) and Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Center, will discuss federal opportunities and challenges to supporting state and local adaptation. Download the presentation.1:30-1:45 Jenita McGowan, Chief of Sustainability, City of Cleveland will discuss the Cleveland Climate Action Plan and the challenges and plans for implementation. Download the presentation.1:45-2:00 Open discussion and questions for panel members.
Huffington Post (yes, HuffPo) published an excellent article on how U.S. cities are not even closely prepared for hurricanes, sea-level rise, or strong storms.
They point out that these vulnerabilities are our own doing. NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg admits to assisting businesses and people build in harms way.
Bloomberg has in general been skeptical about actually limiting development on the water. “People like to live in low-lying areas, on the beach; it’s attractive,” he told a reporter after Sandy. “People pay more, generally, to be closer to the water, even though you could argue they should pay less because it’s more dangerous. But people are willing to run the risk.”
The city’s progress on adapting to storm surge risk has so far consisted mainly of smaller steps, like working with private and public players to harden the electrical grid and seal off the subway system against the threat of flooding.
In other words, city officials are too scared, too weak, or just too ignorant to warn citizens that their lives, investments, or families are at high risk from obliteration. This is not an exaggeration. Even local officials shrug their shoulders when it comes to developing along risky ocean fronts:
Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, argued that development along the Jersey Shore has been ongoing for decades, even before there was a coastal permitting program. He said it is not the state’s role to dictate how redevelopment should occur.
“People who live along the shore always live with a risk, and they know that. That’s understood,” he said. “We at the state are not going to tell these towns you can or cannot rebuild, but we will work with them to make sure that whatever comes back will be done in as smart or protective a fashion as possible.”
What’s worse is that these cities and towns claim they are “vital” pieces of the U.S. economy. Yet, they’re not willing (or capable) to pay for clean up and rebuilding after a storm hits - that’s forced upon the American tax payer…
A rare, great read at HuffPo: Hurricane Sandy Damage Amplified By Breakneck Development Of Coast
1) The Philippines has become increasingly vulnerable to typhoons for lots of reasons — and climate change is only one angle here.
Thanks to basic geography, the Philippines has long been one of the most storm-ravaged places on Earth, with about 8 to 9 typhoons making landfall each year, on average. The warm waters surrounding the island nation help fuel strong tropical cyclones, and there are few natural barriers to slow the storms down or break them up. …
2) Typhoons aren’t the only natural disaster the Philippines has to worry about. … But the precise risks are often difficult to pinpoint — and that makes preparation even harder. Many climate models still have trouble making predictions at a very fine-grained, regional level. And typhoons are especially difficult to forecast: While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change thinks it’s “likely” that tropical cyclones will get stronger as the oceans warm, it’s less clear how the frequency of storms will change in the years ahead (they may even become less frequent).
3) Adaptation can help, but it’s not always enough. Many countries have managed to reduce their exposure to natural disasters over the years by implementing detailed adaptation plans. If climate change does increase the risk of natural disasters in the years ahead, then those plans will become increasingly important. …
Bangladesh, for instance, has steadily reduced the number of deaths from tropical cyclones since the 1970s through early-warning systems, shelters and evacuation plans, and building coastal embankments.
4) Where will the money come from for adaptation? There are two key questions that always come up at international climate talks like the one now going on in Warsaw. First, how will the world cut its carbon emissions to slow global warming? And second, where will the money come from to help poorer states prepare for its effects? The second question is likely to get more attention in the wake of Haiyan. …
"We have received no climate finance to adapt or to prepare ourselves for typhoons and other extreme weather we are now experiencing," Saño told the Guardian. “It cannot be a way of life that we end up running always from storms.”
President Obama issues new Executive Order on Climate Change: "Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change" ›
President Obama issues new Executive Order, “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change." The new EO, issued November 1st, directs the agencies to
1) Federal infrastructure spending will have to take climate into account. Agencies are supposed to examine their policies and find ways to help states prepare for the effects of climate change.
So, for example, federal disaster-relief programs that help coastal communities rebuild after a storm or flood will have to take into account the possibility that the next storm or flood could be even worse. Likewise, roads and bridges built with federal money will have to be planned with changing climate conditions — such as future sea-level rise — in mind.
2) Water- and land- management will get revamped. Agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior will have to review their land- and water-management policies to take shifting conditions into account.
For example, agencies will have to ”evaluate how to better promote natural storm barriers such as dunes and wetlands” and figure out “how to protect the carbon sequestration benefits of forests and lands to help reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” (The EPA has already released its plans to this effect.)
3) The federal government will try to provide better data on what climate impacts are actually coming. As part of the executive order, federal agencies are supposed to offer better information “that state, local, and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions.” - WaPo
It’s an integrative approach, folding climate science and data into decision making at the federal level. Each agency was directed to create an adaptation policy back in 2011. Now the agencies have to implement their plans and use the National Climate Assessment and other findings from peer-reviewed climate scientists. This new EO builds upon several(!) orders by the President, including Executive Order 13514, which I wrote about here.
The southern leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is nearly complete, as opponents have lost their last legal battle against it…
A train hauling crude oil caught fire in Canada sparking debate about reliability.
Rail safety has become a central issue in Canada since the July disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a runaway train carrying crude oil exploded in the center of the lakeside town, killing 47 people.
But in contrast to Lac-Megantic, where the explosions razed dozens of buildings in the center of town, pictures from near Gainford showed Saturday’s fire was burning alongside a road in open country, with fields and forests on either side.
Still, Gainford residents were asked to leave their homes because of the risk of another explosion, and Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said the evacuation would continue for as long as needed – up to 72 hours. The main east-west highway traversing central Alberta was also closed.
In other words - pipelines really are the safer bet… Via Al Jazeera America
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declared a ban on all marine construction permits in the state of Florida.
The government shutdown is in day nine, and tonight we’re learning dozens of local marine contraction workers are being affected.
Video. Via NBC.
The international community spent $13.5 billion on reducing the risk of disasters in the past two decades, just 40 cents for every $100 of aid, and a tiny amount compared with the $862 billion in disaster losses suffered by developing countries, according to a new study.
The report from the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) said funding for disaster risk reduction (DRR) has been concentrated in a small number of middle-income countries, such as China and Indonesia, with many high-risk nations - especially poor, drought-prone states in sub-Saharan Africa - receiving negligible financing.
The top ten countries received nearly $8 billion between them, and the remaining 144 just $5.6 billion combined. The inequity of disaster risk reduction spending is clear when broken down on a per capita basis. Ecuador, the second-highest recipient per capita, got 19 times more than Afghanistan, 100 times more than Costa Rica and 600 times more than Democratic Republic of Congo , for example.
Almost no one in America has heard of the Alaskan village of Kivalina. It clings to a narrow spit of sand on the edge of the Bering Sea, far too small to feature on maps of Alaska, never mind the United States.
Which is perhaps just as well, because within a decade Kivalina is likely to be under water. Gone, forever. Remembered - if at all - as the birthplace of America’s first climate change refugees.
Four hundred indigenous Inuit people currently live in Kivalina’s collection of single-storey cabins. Their livelihoods depend on hunting and fishing.
The sea has sustained them for countless generations but in the last two decades the dramatic retreat of the Arctic ice has left them desperately vulnerable to coastal erosion. No longer does thick ice protect their shoreline from the destructive power of autumn and winter storms. Kivalina’s spit of sand has been dramatically narrowed.
I have a few posts on Kivalina. The villagers tried - and lost - several times to sue oil companies and the federal government.
Two weeks after word leaked to the American-Statesman about LCRA’s proposal to lower Lake Austin to help fight drought, lakeside residents are organizing to fight it. More.
Change is hard.
This overpass helps bears cross a highway in Canada.
Bear hair study in Banff proves animal highway crossings work
For three years, researchers from Montana State University spent their summers collecting bear hair. The samples, collected on both sides of the 50 mile stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway that cuts through Banff National Park, prove what the researchers had suspected: wildlife underpasses and bridges were helping enough bears move back and forth across the highway to keep the populations healthy.
The Trans-Canada Highway stretches nearly 5,000 miles acrowss the country, rolling through each of the nation’s 10 provinces and connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The 100 miles that pass through Banff National Park is a blip in the entire stretch of highway, but a potentially deadly obstacle for the wildlife that live in the park. Demand for a bigger, faster road system prompted a widening of the highway in the 1990s. During construction, engineers lined the highway with fencing and built underpasses and bridges for animals to cross, with the theory they would reduce collisions and provide animals safe passage. However, the decision was controversial as there was little data to backup the hunch.
The World Meteorological Organization branded 2001-2010 as “a decade of climate extremes”. Over that decade, the yearly average number of severe storms with ‘names’ was 25 percent more than the average of 1981-2010. This surely indicates a severe decade ahead of us.
The United Nations’ Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) 2013 adds further to our worry. It estimates that at least 50 percent of the direct financial losses are from smaller disasters taking place at the country level and is not counted in the global calculations.
If our post-2015 efforts need to “put sustainable development at the core,” despite worrying pasts and uncertain futures, we must address climate change and disaster resilience. To do so, among other things, we need creative funding systems with practical actions at the country and global levels.
The least-developed, climate vulnerable countries are often seen waiting for money to come to help them. Bangladesh is a different picture, however. Between July 2009 and June 2013, its government has put about $315 million of its own money to the ‘Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund’. Until April 2013, more than 200 projects have been supported from this Trust Fund to implement the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP, 2009) to prepare the country against the impacts of climate change.