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.


about.me - FAQs - Follow - Face - Ask - Donations - Climate Book Store


Obama Administration Outlines New Strategy to Manage Wildfires in 2014

Strategy includes using climate science to help predict and prevent fires.

"As climate change spurs extended droughts and longer fire seasons, this collaborative wildfire blueprint will help us restore forests and rangelands to make communities less vulnerable to catastrophic fire," said Acting Chair Boots. "With President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Administration is committed to promoting smart policies and partnerships like this strategy that support states, communities, businesses, farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders who are working to protect themselves from more frequent or intense fires, droughts and floods, and other impacts of climate change."

The Strategy includes both national strategic planning and regionally-specific assessment and risk analysis to address such factors as climate change, increasing community sprawl, and pests and disease affecting forest health across landscapes, regardless of ownership. Approaches include:

  • Adopting preventive measures, such as fuels thinning and controlled burns;
  • Promoting effective municipal, county and state building and zoning codes and ordinances;
  • Ensuring that watersheds, transportation and utility corridors are part of future management plans; and
  • Determining how organizations can best work together to reduce and manage human-caused ignitions.

The comprehensive principles and processes highlighted in the strategy have already been implemented successfully in some areas of the country, such as the Blue Mountains near Flagstaff, Arizona and the Greater Okefenokee Association of Landowners in Georgia. The Strategy will encourage knowledge sharing between communities and expand best practices to other projects and locations across the country.

transportationnation:

How Christmas Island protects red crabs during their annual migration: overpasses, underpasses, and a lot of people raking them off the roads.

Not clever infrastructure that deals with a nuisance, it’s a community support system for unique natural resource. This is how towns and national governments can work together to live with nature.

Climate Study: Rising Seas Could Wipe Out Many Cultural Landmarks

Back at UMass-Amherst, my advisers asked me to create a sea-level rise vulnerability assessment of lighthouses along the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts. The idea was to create a method to integrate adaptation techniques into cultural heritage protection policies in New England. Pretty interesting concept. Especially since so much history and so many landmarks are located along coastlines. Instead, I did a study of the first tax-payer funded adaptation plan in the world in a tiny city in Denmark.

“ If we really want to prevent future crises, it’s not going to be a matter of shutting down every time there’s a scary weather forecast, but investing in longer-term solutions to our sprawl. ”

—    

How Atlanta Survived Icepocalypse II
We’re not a national joke anymore. But our city’s still a sprawling mess.
| Politico, 2/14/2014 (via atlurbanist)

Easier said than done. Georgians and southerners love their sprawl, and are deeply averse to urban planning investments that involve participation. Developers know this, and prey on southern states for its cheap land and purchasable politicians. Voters, therefore, need to force their politicians to decouple their relationships with big land developers and engage the public.

Connecting the Dots: Adaptation + Mitigation Synergies
Which land should governments protect from floods: urban and coastal cities, or agricultural farmlands?

Interesting argument against governments protecting urban zones over food-production zones. Coastal communities and inland cities are protected from floods and erosion by highly complex infrastructure mechanisms, such as dams, levees, and piping. Agricultural lands do not enjoy the same levels of infrastructural capacity. But, should they? Should farms have an equal amount of protection as cities do?

Highway to the Arctic Ocean, built on melting permafrost, slices through dozens of streams, ponds, and lakes. Why? In anticipation of the Arctic north thawing from climate change giving the Canadian government an edge on extracting natural resources.

Expose’ of this new highway boondoggle at The Globe and Mail.

Natural Defenses Can Best Protect Coasts Says Study

Authors in the Nature special feature on coastal threats argue that rather than restore costly sea walls and other engineered coastal defenses, it might be more efficient to restore tidal marshes, coastal wetlands, barrier islands and other natural ecosystems that have traditionally served as buffer zones for coastal-dwelling communities.

Via Climate Central

33 Resilient Cities Announced by The Rockefeller Foundation : The Rockefeller Foundation

Links to the rest of the cities, here. What’s surprised me most was Oakland, California(!) made the final cut. Also, Bill Clinton and Olosegun Obasanjo were on the panel. Bizarre stuff.

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.
Agenda
This 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 EST 

1:00-1:15Lara 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. HoverterSenior 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.
Excellent adaptation webinar from EcoAdapt and CAKEX.
There’s no such thing as a natural disaster

Good read of the day. Skip to the first four paragraphs though.

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.”

Telling.

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