Climate Adaptation

The Global Convergence of Disaster Law and Climate Law

Two very distinct areas of international law are finding more and more in common.

International climate negotiations may seem to have little to do with the work of such international relief organizations as the Red Cross. On the national level, EPA and FEMA are two very different agencies that historically have had little connection.  The same has been true at the international level.  But disaster and climate authorities are …

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 “Whole of Government” Climate Policy

We need the help of far-flung parts of the federal government to deal with climate.

President Biden will have to rely on administrative action to do much or all of the heavy lifting in climate policy. It’s clear that EPA has a central role to play in climate policy, but EPA does not stand alone. Other agencies also have important roles to play. Fortunately, the Biden transition team seems to …

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We’re Going to Need a Much Bigger FEMA

FEMA is built to handle one disaster at a time. That’s not going to work in the future.

“When troubles come, they comes not as single spies but as battalions.” That wisdom goes back to Shakespeare. Yet our disaster response system is keyed to handling single disasters, not clusters of major disasters.  That needs to change. This week is a good illustration.  We have fires in California that may set records.  We have …

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Hot Spots

Climate change isn’t uniform. Some parts of the U.S. are seeing conditions that won’t hit elsewhere for decades.

Friday’s Washington Post had a fascinating article about climate change hotspots within the United States.  The largest one was on the Western Slope of the Rockies, which has already seen 2 °C of warming.  The story is a reminder that the impacts of climate change will be global and yet also very much local. Before …

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The Whipsaw Effect

Get ready for a rough ride, with sudden weather reversals and climate shifts.

Steady predictable changes in climate and weather would be easier to adapt to.  Instead, we may well see some very sudden shifts, both in terms of short-term weather and longer-term climate regimes.

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A Tearful Trump Rues Climate Denial

Greta Thurnberg Given Free Mar-a-Lago Lifetime Membership

Tears ran down his face as Trump paused in the middle of an unscheduled coronavirus briefing late last night. He turned to reporters saying, “Climate change. It’s a disaster. Who knew? It’s a real disaster. I alone can fix this!” Stunned White House aides attributed the comments to a telephone conversation that evening between Trump …

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Lessons of the Little Ice Age

What can we learn from the climate disruptions of the previous millennium?

The Little Ice Age wasn’t actually an ice age, but it was a period of markedly colder temperatures that began in the 1200s and lasted into the mid-1800s, with the 1600s a particular low point. It was a time when London winter fairs were regularly held on the middle of a frozen Thames river, glaciers …

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Valentine’s Day and Climate Change

Global warming will change much of our everyday lives. Even Feb. 14.

How is climate change connected with Valentine’s Day?  In many ways, as it turns out. That’s an indication of the myriad ways in which climate is entangled with our lives.  Whether it’s roses and chocolate, or courtship, nothing will remain quite the same as global temperatures go up and up. What about climate change and …

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Congress Mandates Pentagon Climate Action

The GOP’s climate denial doesn’t extend to DOD.

Everyone says climate laws can never pass Congress.  But there’s a major exception. Each year since Trump took office, Congress has passed climate legislation as part of Defense Department spending. Trump has signed all of those laws.  In 2017, there was a congressional finding that climate change is a threat to national security.  In 2018, …

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A Continent on Fire Ignores Climate Change

Conditions in Australia keep getting worse. The government offers platitudes.

Australia is remarkably exposed to climate change and remarkably unwilling to do much about it. Conditions keep getting worse. Yet climate policy in Australia has been treading water or backpedalling for years, as I discussed in an earlier post. Let’s start with the temperature.  The Guardian reports that in the year up to July 2019, …

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