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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It’s a war between invasive species. Stinging Asian needle ants overtaking invasive Argentinian ants in the U.S.

But, what really caught my eye was the last paragraph of the story:

Spicer-Rice works on a citizen-science project called School of Ants where people send in ants collected in their backyards to North Carolina State University for identification. Today, “Asian needle ants are the most common ants found,” she said. “Five years ago, nobody even knew what an Asian needle ant was.”

What an interesting project - people send their backyard ants to a university for study. Kids would LOVE to do that! Check out the project: School of Ants.

North Carolina Bill Aims to Send Signal on Future Shale Development

North Carolina politician Buck Newton is bent on submitting to oil and gas companies. Local media has soured on the Republican, yet NC residents remain silent. The bill (in part) exempts oil and gas frackers from regular permitting procedures, such as avoiding pollution monitoring. Faster drill permits means faster fracking development for the state. (I also note that Duke Energy, which contributed to Buck Newton’s campaign, is lobbying to raise electricity rates. In other words, drillers want free money from two sources - free gas from drilling, and free money from residents’ electric bills. Clever.).

North Carolina hopes recent legislation introduced into its general assembly will send a “very clear signal” to oil and gas companies that the state wants shale gas exploration in the state, a state representative told Rigzone in an interview Monday.

State Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton, the sponsor of Senate Bill (SB) 76, the Domestic Energy Jobs Act, told Rigzone that, while the ban on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has been lifted, the state hopes to provide certainty to the energy industry by fixing a specific date in which permits for shale gas drilling can be pulled.

Newton, who represents Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties in eastern North Carolina, introduced the bill last week. SB 76, which would authorize the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources to issue permits for oil and gas exploration and production, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, on or after March 1, 2015.

North Carolina officials hope to send a signal in two ways – one, that the legislature is very serious about pursuing shale exploration, and two, that the state is working “with all deliberate and purposeful speed” to get itself ready to issue permits.

Early indicators show North Carolina to have shale gas reserves that may be on the order of the Fayetteville play in Arkansas, with approximately 1.4 million surface acres with shale deposits of an average thickness of 200 feet. North Carolina has three basins with shale potential. The Deep River Basin, the one that is most talked about, has wet gas reserves.

Via Rigzone

Whoa. My friend in North Carolina says her tulips are already growing. It’s January 11th, and these are showing nearly two months early. Anyone else seeing an early spring?

I think I heard a snippet on the radio about an American state passing legislation stating that water-level estimates could only use historical data extrapolated linearly. Have you heard of this? Can scientific prediction models be legislated? Thanks for the time (and the blog in general)

A question by memeengine

Hey meme engine,

Thanks for following me! Your heard right. North Carolina banned city planners on the coast from using climate science to plan for sea-level rise.

The bill forces planners to use “historic trends” from 100 years ago. This trend shows levels rising only 8 inches over the next 50 or so years. Already, the NC coast erodes on average 2 to 8 feet every year(!), and American taxpayers pay to restore those beaches to the tune of millions. All to protect shoddily built beach homes.

Why did they ban climate change science? A recent report showed that sea-levels will rise by about 30 or so inches over the next 50 or so years, and city planners ought to take measures to protect people’s property, public sewer systems, roads, and wildlife. Here’s a bitchy article from one of the scientists who wrote the report.

Republican politicians disagreed with the report, so they banned planners from using any climate science.

Again, why? Because the public did not show up to the hearings… Frankly, Americans don’t participate in government. We barely get get off the couch to vote (voting ranges an embarrassing 20-55%). We’re fantastic at whining and signing the latest vogue petition, but get us into city hall or read drafts of a bill? Pshaw. Ain’t gonna happen.

I digress. I wrote a few posts about the law from several different angles to show what the bill does, how tax payers pay for their bad planning, and how NC restores it’s beaches. Check them out. Also, if you can find it in your country, try to find the Stephen Colbert piece called “Sink or Swim.”

Cheers!

Michael

Shoot the Messenger: North Carolina’s Costly Mistake on Sea Level Rise

"The North Carolina Senate has approved legislation that would prohibit the state from considering projected sea level increases in its coastal management strategy. But a scientist involved in the debate argues that ignoring these projections will wind up costing North Carolina — and the rest of the U.S. — far more.

by Rob Young

The state Senate in North Carolina voted overwhelmingly last week to pass a bill on sea level rise that has been widely reported in the national media.  This bill prevents all state and local agencies from developing regulations or planning documents that consider the possibility of a significant increase in the rate of sea level rise in the future.  In other words, when looking for guidance on how to protect the coastal economy and environment over the next century, the state’s planners may only look backward to historical data, not forward to expected changes in the Earth’s climate dynamics.

This bill has been widely ridiculed in many news outlets and science blogs, culminating with a biting satire of the proposal by Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report. Personally, the whole thing just makes me sad.

I serve on the science panel that advises the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission (CRC).  Two years ago, the CRC solicited a report from the panel that would summarize the state of the science regarding sea-level rise and recommend the expected increase that planners should consider when looking down the road to 2100.  Our report included a detailed review of the published literature.  It was externally peer-reviewed by out-of-state scientists.  It contained no alarmist rhetoric or nightmare scenarios.  The final recommendation was for the state to plan for 39 inches of sea level rise.  This number corresponds well with expert reports produced in other states.”

Well worth your time, via Yale360.

North Carolina outer beaches erode on average 2 feet per year. Some beaches erode at 8 feet every year. It’s worse when there are storms. This interactive map shows the most vulnerable beaches.

But, that’s not why I posted this chart.

The federal government pays North Carolina to restore these beaches. Beach restoration is an interesting and controversial process. A special boat is launched just off shore. In a process called dredging, the boat scrapes sand from the ocean floor. It then dumps and pumps the sand along the beach. I’ll post a video so you can see it. Some local taxes are used to pay for this, but the majority comes from American tax payers.

This type of beach nourishment is expected to go forever, or at least for as long as people choose to live in the areas. Thus, federal assistance is a sort of perpetual insurance for North Carolinians. In sum, North Carolina’s new law that bans local cities from using climate science are forced to depend on federal assistance to forever take care of their self-mad mess.

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Beach erosion partially due to sea-level rise in North Carolina. Officials are criticized for building and re-building projects in questionable places, costing tax payers millions with no accountability. This bridge, part of highway 12, was built to withstand up to a category 4 hurricane (that’s pretty strong!). But, the sand beneath the highway will wash away in a lesser storm.

Highway 12: Built on Shifting Sands NYTimes.

GOP lawmakers in North Carolina attempt to outlaw sea-level rise. Not. Kidding.

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! Please enjoy this video of the Possum Drop in North Carolina.

Fauna: The New Year’s Eve Possum Drop

If you’re too jaded for New York’s Times Square festivities on New Year’s Eve, head to Brasstown, North Carolina, for their annual Possum Drop. Clay Logan, the owner of Clay’s Corner shop and gas station, created the event in 1990 to celebrate the town’s status as the self-described “possum capital of the world.” Stretch Ledford’s short documentary investigates.

Via The Atlantic Video

Over the weekend hurricane Irene wrecked havoc across the east coast of the United States and Canada. Below, a graphical look at the damage and death. Click the image for a larger version or click here for the PDF.