Climate Adaptation

In Harm’s Way

Millions of people are in the path of rising seas. The time for action is now.

The NY Times has run a series of articles in the past few days dealing with disaster issues.  Taken together, they highlight the urgency of government action to protect populations in harm’s way. One article dealt generally with the threat posed by sea level rise. Miami is something of a poster-child for these problems, given its …

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Sea Level Rises, Premiums Not So Much

Congress apparently just couldn’t resist restoring subsidies for coastal homeowners.

The President has now signed an important modification of the flood insurance program.  The changes are hard to understand, in part because the bill changed an earlier 2013 law that itself amended the basic statute.  So you have to work through the whole sequence to see what is going on. Before I go into more …

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Pine Beetles, Environmental Law, and Climate Change Adaptation

Inflexible laws may be the best response to climate change

Anyone who lives or has visited the Intermountain West over the past decade or so has noticed the devastating impact of a mountain pine beetle epidemic on the pine forests from Arizona and New Mexico all the way up to British Columbia and Alberta.  As a result of warmer winter weather because of climate change, …

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Climate Impacts: The Economist’s View

Climate change may damage economies more than previously thought.

The Economist has an important story about climate change impacts.  There are two big takeaways, one about growth in developing countries and one about economic repercussions  in developed countries like the U.S. It has long been known that climate change will impose costs on developing countries.  But there is  increasing reason to think that it …

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Going for Broke at the Climate Casino

The new Nordhaus book is good as far as it goes. But its analysis is muddled in crucial respects.

I finally had a chance to read Nordhaus’s new book, The Climate Casino, on a long flight.  There are some goods lessons in the book. The book makes the case for serious mitigation, even rhough Nordhaus takes a fairly optimistic view about adaptation. Nordhaus also tells us that “it would be relatively inexpensive to slow …

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Is Climate Change a Bulldozer or Bullet Train?

How fast will climate change happen? Maybe faster than we expect, according to the National Academy of Sciences.

We’re in the early stages of climate change — just how much depending in large part on whether we control our emissions.  But how quickly will this happen?  Is it a bulldozer we can dodge or a bullet train that’s too fast to avoid?  That makes a lot of difference in terms of our ability …

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What are California Legislators Thinking About Cap-and-Trade?

CA Senate Hearing at UCLA Focuses on Ways to Spend Auction Revenue

Today, UCLA’s Emmett Center and IOES hosted a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Climate Change and AB 32 Implementation with Senators Pavley, Correa, de Leon, deSaulnier, Lieu, and Assemblymember Bloom attending.  The hearing featured testimony on climate science, on AB 32 implementation, and on opportunities to invest revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions in ways that …

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Rethinking “Adaptation”

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy talking about the need to adapt to climate change, but I’ve also become increasingly uneasy about “adaptation” as a way to think about the situation.  One of the things I don’t like about the term “adaptation” is that it suggests that we actually can, at some expense, …

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Private Flood Protection

Private flood control is no substitute for government action.

Last week, the NY Times had a story about Verizon’s new flood barrier for its Wall Street building, which is a designated landmark. On one level, it’s a pretty cool project — a portable barrier designed to keep out the water during a hundred-year storm (plus  2-feet for storm surge plus an extra foot to …

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Executive Order calls for climate adaptation

Presidential directive holds potential to move federal adaptation efforts forward, but implementation will be the key.

Cross-posted at The Berkeley Blog. Today, President Obama issued an Executive Order intended “to prepare the Nation for the impacts of climate change by undertaking actions to enhance climate preparedness and resilience.” In some respects, this order simply continues ongoing efforts. Under this administration, the executive branch has already been doing a great deal of …

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