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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House conservatives stop science bill, fearing liberal climate agenda

House leaders abruptly pulled a bill yesterday that sought to honor top scientists after conservative groups expressed concern that President Obama might politicize the position to advance his agenda on climate change

The measure, H.R. 1891, would allow a president to name three scientists as unpaid laureates to inspire school-age Americans to pursue degrees in science and engineering. The bill, introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Science Committee, was scheduled for an easy vote yesterday on the suspension calendar, typically meant for noncontroversial legislation.

That was before conservative advocates noticed it.

Great read.

Lawyers v drillers

Looks like a fun lawsuit to watch.

“ Climate change is a plot by liberals to create global government to control our lives. ”

—    Senior member of the House Science Committee, Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

The Joys of Fracking. TEDxFARGO (not a joke, this is a TEDx talk pumping fracking)

Obama to take sweeping action on climate

Another goofy article covering Obama’s to-be-announced climate change. In addition to regulating emissions, he’ll push a few adaptation (e.g., disaster preparedness) plans. One is called “Climate Adaptation Hubs,” which will serve to help the agriculture industry during drought and floods.

To me, the Climate Adaptation Hubs sound like mini-FEMAs for special interest groups looking for easy access to disaster money. Will there be Hubs for communities damaged by floods, storms, and sea-level rise, too??

Managing climate change risks | ExxonMobil

Every major oil and gas company (even Iran’s NIOC) acknowledges climate change. Here’s ExxonMobil’s climate page (use google to find others).

Rising greenhouse gas emissions pose significant risks to society and ecosystems.

Remember this during your next nice chat with a denier. 

A zoom in of Marcos Island, Florida, an upscale community on the Gulf Coast side of the state. The city is was built on marshy barrier islands and is susceptible to beach erosion and sea level rise. It’s surrounded by protected conservation land, marine protected coast land, and was, until today, restricted from rapid development and expansion. The Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, is set to reverse the trend by signing a slate of bills that would allow aggressive development in this and other protected areas around the Everglades. Over 20 environmental regulations and decades of environmental and land conservation battles are about to be destroyed at the stroke of a pen. But, if you’re a real estate developer, it sure is a pretty place to bulldoze…

Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind, April 2013

New survey from the Center for Climate Change Communication: Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind.

 Some highlights:

  • About six in ten Americans (58%) say “global warming is affecting weather in the United States.”

  • Many Americans believe global warming made recent extreme weather and climatic events “more severe,” specifically: 2012 as the warmest year on record in the United States (50%); the ongoing drought in the Midwest and the Great Plains (49%); Superstorm Sandy (46%); and Superstorm Nemo (42%).
  • About two out of three Americans say weather in the U.S. has been worse over the past several years, up 12 percentage points since Spring 2012. By contrast, fewer Americans say weather has been getting better over the past several years - only one in ten (11%), down 16 points compared to a year ago.

  • Overall, 85 percent of Americans report that they experienced one or more types of extreme weather in the past year, most often citing extreme high winds (60%) or an extreme heat wave (51%).
  • Of those Americans who experienced extreme weather events in the past year, many say they were significantly harmed. Moreover, the number who have been harmed appears to be growing (up 5 percentage points since Fall 2012 and 4 points since Spring 2012).

  • Over half of Americans (54%) believe it is “very” or “somewhat likely” that extreme weather will cause a natural disaster in their community in the coming year.
  • Americans who experienced an extreme weather event are most likely to have communicated about it person-to-person - either in person (89%) or on the phone (84%). 
The report includes an Executive Summary and a breakdown of results by region and can be downloaded here.

‘Tsunami’ of anti-environment GOP budget amendments draws swift rebuke

Shopping list of corporate giveaways, most skirt pollution regulations - even elimination of disclosing environmental harms. One anti-science measure was snuck in by Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. His amendment would defund (in part) the United States’s world renowned scientific research institute called the NSF (National Science Foundation, widely known as the NSF).

The NSF supports science in universities around the US and is a beacon/model for science around the world - from cancer research to climate change. It is speculated that Coburn has failed over the years to get his pet anti-science bill passed through regular procedural votes, so he’s attaching it to an emergency budget bill which will keep government running only temporarily.

None of the amendments promote economic stability or aim to create jobs.

(M)any of 110 amendments offered by Republicans to the Democratic-authored legislation would amount to giveaways to major industry groups. The amendments, unveiled Thursday, are expected to see floor action by Friday evening.

“Giant corporations are hoping to sneak provisions into the rushed Senate budget bill to undermine the core regulatory protections on which Americans rely to make our country stronger, better, safer, cleaner, healthier and more fair and just,” said Robert Weissman, who serves as co-chair of the coalition and president of Public Citizen.

“The American people aren’t so easily tricked, and they demand Senators vote down these corporate-gift amendments,” he added.
Modern Farmer: Wyoming state congress passes "ag-gag" law, set to become fourth state with anti-whistleblower laws for agriculture

modfarm:

image

Wyoming’s House of Representatives is the latest legislative body pass a “ag-gag” law, a new breed of legislation which makes it illegal to record video or photograph inside factory livestock farms. From Food Safety News:

In her bill, [Republican Sue Wallis] makes it a crime to “knowingly or intentionally” record images or sounds of an agricultural operation with concealed devices without the consent of the owner. Six months in jail and a $750 fine are provided as penalty. But anyone reporting animal abuse to local police within 48 hours is immune from civil liability.

If the bill passes in Wyoming’s state senate, it would become the fourth state to pass anti-whitsleblower laws. Iowa, Utah, and Missouri all passed similar bills last year, though Wyoming would be the only state to mandate jail time for those (including employees) who film in slaughterhouses. 

New Hampshire, Indiana, Nebraska and Arkansas are all also considering their own versions of ag-gag laws. Last year saw 10 states attempting to pass similar piece of legislation, with many backing down after public outcry or worries about the constitutionality of the proposed bills.

Ag-gag laws have sprung up in response to the increasing number of videos taken in large-scale slaughterhouses showing a dizzying number of abuses. In Wyoming’s case, a video taken at a Wheatland, WY hog farm showed workers beating sows and tossing piglets. A later investigation turned up a number of abuses. From the Casper Star-Tribune:

A subsequent investigation by the Wyoming Livestock Board uncovered numerous harrowing incidents.

Among them:

— Workers cut off the testicles of piglets and fed them to their sow.

— A woman worker who weighed more than 200 pounds sat on a sow that couldn’t walk because of a broken leg and was screaming in agony.

— Workers throwing piglets as if they were balls.

— Keeping pigs in crates so small, the animals were nearly immobilized and helpless.

— A sow with a prolapsed uterus that was left to die slowly after a worker botched an attempt to pull her piglets from her uterus

The hog farm is now under new management, and nine employees were charged with animal abuse.

When not working as a state legislator, Wallis heads up Unified Equine, LLC,  a company that is seeking to build horse slaughterhouse in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Wyoming. Wallis has attempted to pass numerous bits of favorable legislation for large-scale animal production plants, winning her a fun nickname: “Slaughterhouse” Sue.

(Image: Thomas Bjørkan/CC 2.0)

Republicans in Washington State pass historic climate change bill

Surprise of the year so far. It’ll be interesting to see how enviros will react if/when the national GOP moves towards similar legislation. 

Inslee climate change bill passes state Senate

OLYMPIA — The Republican-controlled state Senate on Wednesday passed legislation aimed at developing ways to reduce state greenhouse-gas emissions, and meet targets set by the Legislature in 2008.

Senate Bill 5802 passed by a vote of 37 to 12. The legislation, requested by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, creates a work group that’s supposed to come up with recommendations by the end of the year.

A similar bill was introduced in the House, but Democratic leaders are expected to work with the version that passed the Senate.

Inslee and his staff actively lobbied for the bill and the governor testified at committee hearings in the House and Senate. The measure that passed the Senate removed language talking about problems associated with climate change.

“I really want to take the religion out of carbon and I want to take a good hard look at how we can most effectively meet those goals” set in 2008, said Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, speaking in favor of the bill. Ericksen is chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.

Via Seattle Times

The Anti-Science Left. A wonderful set of interviews on how the left denies science. (Warning: Chris Moody is as smug as ever, but the rest of the video is great.). They discuss Mark Lynas’s switch from anti-GMO to supporting GMOs by looking at the reams of scientific data. The great science writer Michael Shermer discusses evolution and climate change, and makes the case that despite all the doom in the news, humans and the environment are much better now than ever in history. Great conversation.