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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Message in a bottle found 54 years later in Arctic

“To Whom it May Concern: This and a similar cairn 21.3 feet to the west were set on July 10, 1959. The distance from this cairn to the glacier edge about four feet from the rock floor is 168.3 feet.

"Anyone venturing this way is requested to remeasure this distance and send the information to: Paul T. Walker, Department of Geology, The Ohio State University, Columbus 10, Ohio, USA and Mr. Albert P. Crary, Air Force Cambridge Research Center, 11 Leon St., Boston 15, Mass. USA. Thank you very much.”

Note to future scientists to measure the distance of a glacier to determine if was advancing or retreating. We all know the answer, but by how many feet?
LATimes: On letters from climate-change deniers

On why the LATimes avoids publishing op-eds by climate deniers. Well done, LATimes.

Ambivalent coverage of climate change’s ‘new normal’

Hang up the harpoons, Japan

Four good reasons it should stop ‘scientific’ whaling. Here.

Climate change may be speeding coast redwood, giant sequoia growth

Something isn’t right about this story. The researchers are quoted as saying they don’t really know the source of the sequoia’s growth spurts.

latimes:

A new study suggests record warming is in store for us: By observing several indirect temperature indicators, researchers looking at weather patterns since the end of the last Ice Age are predicting that average surface temperatures will be at their highest point in human experience by the end of this century. 

Photo: John McConnico / Associated Press

latimes:

Polar bears remain a threatened species

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided to keep polar bears protected by broad federal measures Friday,

The court rejected the argument that the 25,000 remaining polar bears, most of which live in relatively stable populations, were perfectly fine without “threatened species” status. But many scientists worry that the effects of climate change on the Arctic climate could prove dangerous for the remaining bears.

And it looks like polar bears may remain on that list for the foreseeable future, according to Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity.

“So for practical purposes, the listing of the polar bear is final, and really no longer under any serious threat from these challenges.”

Read more about the court’s decision here, via Nation Now.

Photos: Jeon Heon-Kyun, Koen Van Weel / EPA, Sven Hoppe / Associated Press

2012 was the hottest year on record for the Lower 48 states.

latimes:

In its annual report, State of the Climate, NOAA reported that the average annual temperature was 55.3 degrees — 3.3 degrees greater than the average temperature for the 20th century.

It’s an easy to read report, and well worth checking out. Also, follow the LATimes tumblr for some solid journalism.

Illegal pot farmers destroying public forests, polluting rivers with dangerous pesticides. The farmers are poisoning wildlife, rare trees, and drinking water supplies throughout northern California. 

The marijuana boom that came with the sudden rise of medical cannabis in California has wreaked havoc on the fragile habitats of the North Coast and other parts of California. With little or no oversight, farmers have illegally mowed down timber, graded mountaintops flat for sprawling greenhouses, dispersed poisons and pesticides, drained streams and polluted watersheds.

Because marijuana is unregulated in California and illegal under federal law, most growers still operate in the shadows, and scientists have little hard data on their collective effect. But they are getting ever more ugly snapshots.

Click for solid reporting by the LA Times.

Win? Shell calls off Arctic drilling until 2013, which Obama approved

Shell Alaska said Monday it has abandoned its efforts to drill into hydrocarbon deposits in the offshore Arctic after the latest in a series of glitches on the company’s troubled oil containment barge resulted in damage to the high-tech dome designed to contain oil in the event of an underwater spill.

Company officials said they will continue to drill “top holes” off the Alaskan coast through the end of this season’s drilling window, but will not attempt to reach any oil deposits this year — a serious but not fatal setback for the company, which has spent six years attempting to explore its outer continental shelf leases off the coast of Alaska.

"This critical program … could be an important national resource for the next several decades, and we are committed to doing it safely and responsibly," Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. "We’re not going to rush things for the sake of a few days this season."

The latest setback involves the oil containment barge, the Arctic Challenger, which has been delayed in Bellingham, Wash., undergoing a trouble-plagued retrofit overseen by Superior Marine Technical Services, a Shell contractor.

The vessel has been unable for weeks to win U.S. Coast Guard certification, following problems with some onboard safety systems, along with trouble fixing good stowage for the ship’s anchor chocks and the boom designed to flare gas in the event of a spill. Coast Guard officials documented four minor illegal fluid discharges from the vessel while it was moored in Bellingham.

Federal authorities have not allowed Shell to plumb into hydrocarbon deposits until the barge is on site in the Arctic, but the multimillion-dollar upgrade has been delayed with one problem after another while attempting to win certification from the Coast Guard.

LA Times

Drought expands to 50.3% of US counties. Before you buy into the climate hype in the media, there’s a very strong El Niño.

Via LATimes

I officially hate OWS. I’ve ranted about ‘them’ many times, but no longer. They’ve lost me 100%. I now support law enforcement action to end this crap. ‘They’ will never be taken seriously now. They refuse to make a cohesive argument. Refuse to work with lawmakers. Refuse to dialog about their flaws. Refuse to tack towards solutions. Refuse to self-reflect.

If OWSers really want to be effective, then OWS needs to train people on: how to go to city council meetings; how to read and change local budgets; submit legislation (what, you didn’t know that you could draft a bill and submit it to your representatives??); run for office; comment on regulations and laws in process.., E.g., train people on how to actually partake in the process of making and changing law. That’s what democracy looks like, not this garbage above.

The photos coming out of Seattle’s May Day rallies are pretty unreal.

Photo: Protesters smash shop windows during May Day protests in Seattle. Credit: Joshua Trujillo / Seattlepi.com

Via the excellent LATimes

(via latimes)

latimes:

Saving desert tortoises is a costly hurdle for solar projects: BrightSource Energy has spent $56 million so far to protect the endangered creatures in Ivanpah Valley, but calamities have befallen the effort.

Above, an older male desert tortoise being monitored by biologists with a locator device watches from the safety of his temporary housing under some desert foliage outside the gates of the BrightSource Ivanpah Solar construction site in area deemed safe and away from construction. 

We’ve had some other stories about how solar energy projects are affecting the native flora and fauna. They’re worth a read.

Photo credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

More goods from the LA Times

L.A. Times: Congress' 10 biggest enemies of the Earth

Dear L.A. Times, Hope it’s OK I post in full… m

Republicans launched an unprecedented frontal assault against environmental protections and regulations this year, prompting Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to call his chamber "the most anti-environment House in history." Here are the 10 most powerful and outspoken opponents of clean air, clean water, conservation and climate action.

10. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Thought to be the biggest lifetime recipient of oil-industry contributions in the Senate, Cornyn has rewarded Exxon-Mobil’s largesse by supporting the industry’s position on pretty much every energy or environmental issue that has ever appeared before him. That’s why he, like everyone on this list, has a “0” on the League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard for pro-environment votes.

9. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. A tireless advocate for opening Alaska’s pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, Young was involved in one of the more entertaining name-calling spats in Congress this year when he got into a tiff over the refuge with author and professor Doug Brinkley. You can be the judge of who won by watching the video replay.

8. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista. There may have been a time when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee lived up to its name, investigating and bringing to light incidents of government waste, fraud and abuse. But I can’t remember back that far. In recent decades it has served as a tool for the majority party in the House to bash and embarrass the presidential administration, at least during times such as now when the House isn’t controlled by the president’s party. Issa, the committee’s current chairman, has turned such political gamesmanship into an art form, and has been particularly keen to attack environmental regulators and policymakers. In so doing he has turned up precious little waste or fraud, but provided plenty of political theater for those who want to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency or end subsidies for clean energy.

7. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio. Latta has the distinction of sponsoring the most far-reaching and destructive amendment to the most egregious anti-environment bill passed by the House this year. The TRAIN Act, approved by the House in September but not expected to get through the Senate, is a breathtaking (literally) gift to polluters that creates a committee to study the costs but ignore the benefits of environmental regulation, while also blocking EPA efforts to crack down on deadly emissions from power plants. Latta’s contribution is an amendment that undermines a cornerstone of the Clean Air Act, requiring the EPA to take industry costs into account when setting health-based standards. This would allow corporate polluters to overrule scientists and strikes at the heart of the polluter-pays principle that has guided environmental policy for 40 years.

6. Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky. Another architect of the TRAIN wreck, Whitfield offered an amendment that would block the EPA from regulating mercury and other toxics from power plants, and from coming up with a rule on smog and soot that crosses state lines. Together, these two regulations would save an estimated 51,000 lives per year. But what are a few thousand lives when utility profits are at stake?

5. Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla. One of the most outspoken climate-change deniers in the Senate (he’s renowned for calling global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”), Inhofe is also one of the most influential Republicans in the country when it comes to environmental policy. As ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, he uses his position to push for expanded oil drilling and reduce environmental regulation. Inhofe sometimes even finds himself to the right of the polluter-packed U.S. Chamber of Commerce; this summer he placed a hold on President Obama’s nominee John Bryson as Commerce secretary, even though Bryson had the blessing of the Chamber, because Inhofe felt Bryson was too pro-environment.

4. Rep. Michael Simpson, R-Idaho. Simpson has stepped to the front lines of his party’s war on Mother Nature by adding dozens of anti-environment riders to must-pass budget legislation. Among other things, Simpson aims to let mountaintop coal-mining operations continue to pollute streams, prevent the EPA from regulating coal-ash disposal, and exempt pesticide sprayers from complying with the Clean Water Act.

3. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The enforcer of Republican Party discipline, Senate Minority Leader McConnell is among the key architects of his party’s stance on environmental issues. In 2009, when Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was among the few Republicans willing to discuss a bipartisan climate bill with Democrats, it was McConnell who reportedly convinced him to back away. This spring he led a failed effort to block the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions and overrule its finding that climate change threatens public health — tantamount to a statement that politicians know more about the dangers of climate change than scientists.

2. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. The House Majority Leader released a memo in late August listing the top 10 “job-destroying regulations” his party would battle in the remainder of the congressional session. Seven were environmental rules opposed by the fossil fuel industry, including restrictions on emissions from industrial boilers and cement plants, and proposed rulemaking on smog, farm soot and greenhouse gases. None of these rules really threaten jobs, but failing to approve them would certainly threaten lives.

1. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton is the gatekeeper for many of the disastrous anti-environment bills that have been approved or proposed in the House this year. Ironically, he was once known among his state’s conservatives as “Red Fred” because of a somewhat pro-environment voting record, but a recent electoral challenge from his right changed all that. Because of his powerful position and newfound disdain for green regulation, he represents one of the biggest threats to planet Earth on planet Earth.

Source: LATimes