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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Posts tagged "sea level rise"

Climate change is among the factors Defense Department officials consider in protect national security around the globe, a senior DOD official recently told a Senate panel.

Daniel Y. Chiu, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee May 21.

Chiu said while DOD plans for contingencies and unexpected developments to protect the nation’s security, climate change can create sea-level rise, storm surge, shifting climate zones and more severe weather conditions that can affect operations. And while some of those conditions have affected military installations, he said, such changes can also have a negative impact on other DOD concerns.

We are also seeing the potential for decreased capacity of DOD properties to support training, as well as implications for supply chains, equipment, vehicles and weapon systems that the department buys,” he explained.

Even while infrastructures are being adapted to climate change threats, DOD also is conducting a baseline study to determine which infrastructure elements are most vulnerable to extreme weather events and sea-level increases, he said, adding that the study is due for completion late this year.

Climate change effects potentially could alter, limit or constrain environments where troops operate, Chiu said, using sea-level increases as an example of an impact on amphibious operations.

Chiu states the US Dept. of Defense’s infrastructure is underprepared and vulnerable to climate impacts. Calls for more adaptation measures.

Interesting coverage of the first people to be moved from their homes at a large scale due to climate change.

via Climate Central

Not a great article on this interesting topic. Anyone find better coverage?

He’ll be deported.

Announced in June, Obama’s $1 Billion resilience and infrastructure grant program is now live. Eligible organizations can only apply (instructions at bottom). Minimum grant award is $1 million, maximum is $500 Million(!). I consult on grant applications, so if you’re a municipality or an eligible organization, contact me to chat.

Among the report’s recommendations:

  • The federal government should fund state and local actions to prepare for climate change — rather than primarily reacting to extreme weather events that cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year.  (Sandy alone cost the federal government $60 billion.)  Currently, only a fraction of federal dollars are spent helping communities proactively prepare for escalating climate change impacts. Federal agencies should also ensure that communities recovering from extreme weather events with disaster relief funds are able to build back stronger to withstand future impacts.
  • Federal agencies should require that all major federal investments in new infrastructure account for and be built to withstand future impacts from climate change.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency should incorporate climate change projections on the floodplain maps that govern federal flood insurance rates.  These updates are needed to provide communities with accurate, risk-based information for making land-use decisions and to ensure the long-term solvency of the National Flood Insurance Program. (As of March 2014, the program was more than $24 billion in debt.)
  • The Army Corps and other federal agencies should align funding streams and support nature-based projects that both restore coastal wetlands and provide flood control benefits (like living shorelines).  Federal agencies and the White House Office of Management and Budget should also appropriately value the benefits of taking preventative action to respond to climate change and the value of natural ecosystems when calculating the costs and benefits of flood control projects.
The recommendations are based on extensive work in communities affected by sea-level rise, storms, and heat waves. These recommendations were further developed over the course of three workshops convened by the Georgetown Climate Center in late 2013 and early 2014. Participants included senior federal, state and local officials, along with experts from the non-governmental and academic communities. The workshops were held in coordination with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and relevant federal agencies.

Via Georgetown Climate Center

Meet Professor Austin Becker, Assistant Professor of Coastal Planning Policy and Design at University of Rhode Island. He focuses on coastal adaptation and resilient sea ports. He’s also a good friend of mine.

Sound argument for climate adaptation in the Op-ed section of the Miami Herald.

Via The Guardian

The flood frequency table is eye opening:

Baltimore, Md. 922% increase in floods over average
Atlantic City, N.J. 682%
Philadelphia, Pa. 650%
Sandy Hook, N.J. 626%

The governor is a prominent climate change denier. His home is located on a beach, just one foot above sea level. Erosion, higher waves, sea level rise, flooding, and storms threaten the property.

Gov. Scott’s beachfront home vulnerable to changing climate

The day after the Third National Climate Change Assessment report came out, the New York Times said Scott would not respond to its questions about what Florida is doing about sea level rise. When a Palm Beach television station asked him about it, Scott said the state’s emergency management division would handle any flooding problems — period.

Three years ago, Scott made his position plainer. “I’ve not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change,” he said in a 2011 interview.

Scott has a vested interest in how Florida fares amid the rising seas. He owns a $9.2 million mansion in Naples that sits right on the beach, a foot above sea level and about 200 feet from the water.

"He’s definitely in one of the most vulnerable positions," said Jim Beever of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council. Despite Scott’s denial, Beever said, the sea is creeping up on him already. Along that stretch of the Collier County coastline, he said, it has been rising at the rate of about 8 to 9 inches over the past century.

Because Florida is so flat, even a few inches of increase means water pushes a long way inland. For instance, 60 miles north of Naples, the mangroves lining the shores of Charlotte Harbor have retreated the length of a football field from where they were 50 years ago.

The rising sea will lead to greater beach erosion and other problems, but what poses the most immediate threat to Scott’s home is not the slow creep of higher waves. It’s the increasing reach of the storm surge that accompanies tropical storms and hurricanes.

I’m sure some will disagree with me, but I think this is great news. For decades, U.S. taxpayers have been subsidizing insurance for private homes and businesses that have been built in dangerous, flood-prone areas. Thousands of buildings are built (and rebuilt) in coastal areas that flood and storm with incredible reliability - and taxpayers foot the bill to rebuild these buildings in the same exact, vulnerable areas.

A Florida coastal home bought in August 2012 that pays a yearly premium of $500 will rise to $4,500.

It’s unfair, dangerous, and wasteful. This insurance, called the National Flood Insurance Program, has been a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.

Even the U.S. government admits the program is terrible: see the GAO’s raw assessment of the program, here. Now, the program is being significantly scaled back. Unfortunately, this will affect several thousand people who own property in dangerous areas. The price of flood insurance will go up substantially, and many people will have to move.

Video: Decline of very old ice in the Arctic, 1987-2013.