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November 2nd, 2012 Archives
By Juliet Eilperin, Published: November 1
As the Northeast struggles with the aftermath of the massive storm Sandy, many experts say the government for years has underestimated how much of the nation is prone to flooding, given the increasing likelihood of extreme weather because of climate change and the prospect of future sea level rise.
These experts, who include not only environmentalists but also community planners, insurers and fiscal conservatives, have pressed agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency to rethink the way the government evaluates the risk of floods. Such a change could affect where and how infrastructure is built and make it harder to develop vulnerable areas.
FEMA, which is updating flood insurance maps from the 1980s, is setting up a “technical mapping advisory council” that will study how the agency might take future climate change into account. At this point, it still bases its analysis on historical data.
But Sandy’s devastating punch might bolster the case for change, given how it exposed many areas’ vulnerabilities to storm surge and sea level rise.Share This Post
October 31, 2012
It is small comfort to sodden and stranded New Yorkers that Hurricane Sandy’s flooding of the city’s infrastructure, from power lines to subways to low-lying communities, was predicted in grimly precise detail by scientists in the latest state and city climate studies. Deeper and more frequent flooding from Rockaway to Lower Manhattan and the city’s transit tunnels has been a repeated warning that largely went unnoticed by the public and most politicians.
But now, with the floods from Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene last year on his watch, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pointedly stressing what he considers the inevitability of more such disasters. “Climate change is reality,” the governor said Wednesday, estimating Sandy’s economic damage up to $6 billion. “Given the frequency of these extreme weather situations that we’ve had — and I believe that it’s an increasing frequency — for us to sit here today and say this is a once-in-a-generation and it’s not going to happen again, I think would be shortsighted.” Mr. Cuomo admits that he does not have all the answers nor enough government money for all the proposed solutions. And we can all hope that he is wrong in his forecast. But the urgency of his warning is rooted in a basic fact of nature underpinning the government studies: New York’s coastal waters, which rose an inch per decade in the last century, are heading toward rates of 6 inches per decade as the oceans warm and expand. That would be a disastrous rise of 2 feet across the next 40 years, for anyone planning ahead. And there aren’t many in government planning ahead as the postrecession political debate grinds along the question of how to slash government improvements, not expand them.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/opinion/worrying-beyond-hurricane-sandy.htmlShare This Post
Published: Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 12A
The death and devastation on the East Coast should be another wake-up call for Californians on how vulnerable our coast is to storm surges and high waves.
One study, released in March by the nonprofit Climate Central, estimated that more than 374,000 people and 160,000 homes in California – as far inland as Stockton – are in danger because they are less than 4 feet above sea level. Eventually, seawater could inundate the Delta, potentially jeopardizing the water supply for 25 million people.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/02/4956016/sandys-wrath-shows-threat-to-california.htmlShare This Post
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF October 31, 2012
President Obama and Mitt Romney seemed determined not to discuss climate change in this campaign. So thanks to Hurricane Sandy for forcing the issue: Isn’t it time to talk not only about weather, but also about climate?
It’s true, of course, that no single storm or drought can be attributed to climate change. Atlantic hurricanes in the Northeast go way back, as the catastrophic “snow hurricane” of 1804 attests. But many scientists believe that rising carbon emissions could make extreme weather — like Sandy — more likely.
“You can’t say any one single event is reflective of climate change,” William Solecki, the co-chairman of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, told me. “But it’s illustrative of the conditions and events and scenarios that we expect with climate change.”
In that sense, whatever its causes, Sandy offers a window into the way ahead.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York says he told President Obama the other day that it seems “we have a 100-year flood every two years now.” Indeed, The Times has reported that three of the 10 biggest floods in Lower Manhattan since 1900 have occurred in the last three years.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/opinion/kristof-will-climate-get-some-respect-now.html?hp&_r=0Share This Post
By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ November 1, 2012
In a surprise announcement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Thursday that Hurricane Sandy had reshaped his thinking about the presidential campaign and that as a result, he was endorsing President Obama.
Mr. Bloomberg, a political independent in his third term leading New York City, has been sharply critical of Mr. Obama, a Democrat, and Mitt Romney, the president’s Republican rival, saying that both men had failed to candidly confront the problems afflicting the nation. But he said he had decided over the past several days that Mr. Obama was the better candidate to tackle the global climate change that he believes might have contributed to the violent storm, which took the lives of at least 38 New Yorkers and caused billions of dollars in damage.
“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of next Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” Mr. Bloomberg wrote in an editorial for Bloomberg View.
“Our climate is changing,” he wrote. “And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it may be — given the devastation it is wreaking — should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/nyregion/bloomberg-endorses-obama-saying-hurricane-sandy-affected-decision.html?ref=politicsShare This Post
By Philip Bump
On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) made a weird comment about climate change:
Is this — a storm like this that is so strong and so unusual — a global warming incident? I think what is clear is the climate is changing, nobody knows if it is a [cyclical] or secular thing. I think each of these storms we have to learn to see if we can do some things better the next time.
Bloomberg has long been a leader on climate change, including helping to found C40, a group that focuses on how a shifting climate will affect cities. In light of that, questioning the cause seemed out of character.
Last night, he returned to form — and explained his somewhat nuanced position more fully.
e been very strange weather patterns, very severe storms where they normally have not occurred. That much is recorded. You can look at the film.
Whether or not it is part of a long-term climate change or just a random collection of events, only time will tell. The argument that we’re damaging our planet is simply — Let’s assume that we decide we’re not damaging our planet and later on find out that we were.
It literally could be too late! And I think if you go and you talk to farmers who have lost all their crops because there have been droughts or places where you’ve had tornadoes or hurricanes or the families of those who were lost here, they would say: Hey — there’s something going on.Share This Post
WASHINGTON — President Obama toured the storm-tossed boardwalks of New Jersey’s ravaged coastline on Wednesday, in a vivid display of big-government muscle and bipartisan harmony that confronted Mitt Romney with a vexing challenge just as he returned to the campaign trail in Florida.
The scene of Mr. Obama greeting his onetime political antagonist Gov. Chris Christie in Atlantic City was a striking departure from what has become an increasingly bitter campaign, marked by sharp divisions between Mr. Romney’s more limited view of the federal role and Mr. Obama’s more expansive vision. The president placed a hand on Mr. Christie’s back and guided him to Marine One, where the two men shared a grim flight over shattered sea walls, burning houses and a submerged roller coaster.
Speaking to storm victims at a community center in the hard-hit town of Brigantine, Mr. Obama said, “We are going to be here for the long haul.” Mr. Christie thanked the president for his visit, saying, “It’s really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that’s going on here in New Jersey.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/us/politics/obama-tours-storm-ravaged-new-jersey-with-gov-chris-christie.html?ref=politicsShare This Post
Posted: 10/31/2012 10:03 am
Former executive director and chairman, Sierra Club
A veteran leader in the environmental movement, Carl Pope is the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club. Mr. Pope is co-author -- along with Paul Rauber -- of Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress, which the New York Review of Books called "a splendidly fierce book."
Two weeks ago David Brooks wrote an op-ed fable entitled "A Sad Green story" in which he argued that after a golden spring in 2003 Democrats -- notably Al Gore -- had poisoned the bi-partisan opportunity for action on climate change, and that a saga of "overreach, misjudgments and disappointment" had unraveled the hopes of that moment. The piece has been widely, savagely excoriated for blame-shifting -- those who selfishly resisted action on climate are pardoned, while those who struggled to overcome this resistance are found wanting.
But there is a deeper problem than Brooks' treatment of 2003-2012. As a conservative Republican who deplores the takeover of his party and his movement by hostility to knowledge and addiction to "heresy trials", an overwrought hyper-individualism and its suspicion of ideas, Brooks is unforgivably reluctant to trace the connections between the degradation of the Republican party he deplores and fossil fuel resistance to action on climate.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-pope/climate-change-republicans_b_2026169.htmlShare This Post
By Philip Bump
The scale and destruction of Hurricane Sandy has made the issue of climate change impossible to ignore. It’s as if the media and politicians are at last free to discuss something they have been keeping secret — which is basically the case.
Ruby Cramer at BuzzFeed has done a good job assessing this new openness.
“Folks, second year in a row the New York metro area has been [hit] by this stuff,” said [Chuck] Todd, NBC News’s Chief White House Correspondent and host of “The Daily Rundown” on MSNBC. “Let’s not bury our heads in the sand when it comes to something has changed in the Atlantic. The climate has changed. It’s called climate change, folks.”
Earlier in the show — in a panel discussion with analysts Perry Bacon and Anita Dunn — Todd wondered whether Sandy could bring climate change back into the conversation. “I don’t think it does. It’s very late politically,” Bacon responded, adding that “we as a press have not covered this huge issue in the way we should have.”Share This Post
Special to The Bee
Published Friday, Nov. 02, 2012
Elizabeth M. Bailey is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business and executive director of the Energy Institute at Haas. Frank Wolak is the Holbrook Working Professor of Commodity Price Studies in the Department of Economics and director of the program on energy and sustainable development at Stanford University. Bailey and Wolak are members of the California Air Resource Board's emissions market assessment committee.
It is election season and no one is talking seriously about cap-and-trade programs for greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Congress has not touched this issue since the Waxman-Markey national cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases was killed in 2010.
President Barack Obama is pointing fingers at Republicans for originating the idea way back in the 1990s. And Mitt Romney now says he is opposed to it. Only the state of California is bucking this trend.
In a couple of weeks, California will hold its first auction for greenhouse gas allowances under the Global Warming Solutions Act, better known in California as AB 32. The goal of AB 32 is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels by 2020. A potpourri of measures is being used to meet this goal, and one is a cap-and-trade program.
California has long been a leader in the design of environmental policies. It has the most stringent standards for gasoline in the United States, aggressive energy efficiency standards, and starting in January, will be the first state to require electricity suppliers, oil refineries, transportation fuel suppliers and other large consumers of fossil fuels to reduce their total greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/02/4956023/cap-and-trade-should-look-to.htmlShare This Post
David Keohane | Nov 01 16:09
Awkward. One of the newish regulatory probes afflicting Barclays has brought us another batch of inter-trader communications they clearly never thought would see the light of day.
This particular investigation, which could see Barc landed with a record $470m fine over alleged US energy market manipulation, circles around four traders on the bank’s West Coast power desk who allegedly thought it wise to exchange messages explaining how they would “crap on” certain prices in one market to profit in another.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is charging that the bank and its traders bought and sold electricity in enough volume to move exchange prices up or down to benefit parallel swap positions.
According to FERC, Barclays engaged in this activity for 655 product days for 35 monthly products and caused losses to market participants estimated at $139.3m. And made $34.9m.
But here’s the fun stuff from the FERC doc (our emphasis):
To read the entire article go to: http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2012/11/01/1242301/barclays-faces-huge-fine-and-charges-of-rudeness/Share This Post
If superstorms like Sandy are increasingly destructive, they will make several green energy initiatives look practical in ways that have nothing to do with climate change.
By Laurent Belsie, Staff writer / November 1, 2012
“After Sandy, Bill Clinton rails against Romney on global warming,” CBS headlined. (With only five days to go, does it matter?)
The more interesting question is whether hurricane Sandy will bolster the case for “green” energy initiatives in the long term.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2012/1101/Did-hurricane-Sandy-bolster-the-case-for-green-energyShare This Post
Sober discussion needed in wake of extreme storms
Phil Carson | Oct 31, 2012
It's déjà vu all over again.Share This Post
Ken Silverstein | Oct 31, 2012
Roughly a third of the nation’s nuclear plants got hugged by Hurricane Sandy and according to the Nuclear Regulator Commission, they performed as expected. That should not surprise anyone as those facilities have been constructed here to withstand such an onslaught.Share This Post
By Steven Mufson, Published: October 30
Three nuclear power reactors were shut down because of electricity issues during Hurricane Sandy, while a fourth plant, Oyster Creek in New Jersey, remains in “alert” mode because of high water levels in its water intake structure, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday.
All three reactors shut down safely, the NRC said, but the incidents are likely to come under close scrutiny given the series of electrical problems that led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex disaster in Japan in 2011.
“Sandy should be a wake-up call for the NRC and the industry to accelerate efforts launched after Fukushima to strengthen protection against natural disasters so that they will be better prepared to cope with the unexpected,” Edwin Lyman, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in an e-mail.
The three reactors to experience trips, or shutdowns, during the storm this week were Nine Mile Point 1 in Scriba, N.Y., Indian Point 3 in Buchanan, N.Y.; and Salem Unit 1 in Hancocks Bridge, N.J., the NRC said.Share This Post