This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most serious and consequential environmental disasters in American history–the Santa Barbara offshore oil spill of 1969. On January 28, 1969, an offshore oil rig (Platform A) owned and operated by the Union Oil Company and operating in federally-controlled waters in the Santa Barbara Channel off […]
Wildfires are getting worse and worse. Here’s what we know about the situation.
I don’t normally do this, but given the terrible wildfires now hitting the state, I thought it was worth doing a reprise of some posts on the subject from earlier this summer. Of course, there’s more information in the original posts, if you want to click over to them. Spreading Like Wildfire In 2017, wildfires […]
How can we limit the spread of wildfires and save people and property?
Wildfires are already a serious problem, and climate change will only make the problem worse, as I’ve discussed in my two prior posts. Reducing carbon emissions can help keep the problem from growing, but we need to deal with the risks we’re already facing. That is going to require a portfolio of risk management strategies. We […]
Wildfires were bad enough already. Climate change is making them worse.
Fires have been unusually severe lately. According to one scientist, “’[I]n the late 20th and early 21st century, with these hot droughts, fires are ripping now with a severity and ferocity that’s unprecedented,’ says Tom Swetnam. . . . A fire in the Jemez Mountains Swetnam studies burned 40,000 acres in 12 hours, a ‘horizontal […]
They don’t get as much attention as floods or earthquakes, but wildfires are deadly serious.
This is the first of a three-part series about wildfires. Massive wildfires are a growing problem, posing risks to people and the environment. Considering that my house is located only a few miles from the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, which killed 25 people, destroyed 2800 homes, and caused $1.8 billion in damage, this is an […]
Climate change threatens the industry’s viability right when it is needed most. The new report from CDI and CLEE outlines key risks and opportunities for insurers, regulators, and residents.
Climate change presents a wide range of risks to California’s insurance industry, as Californians across the state contend with unprecedented wildfires, changing storm patterns, increased risks of flooding and sea level rise, and disruptions to business from agriculture to fisheries and beyond. Potential decarbonization of the economy and litigation based on climate-related damages further threaten […]
FEMA has a lot of work to do to get up to the mark on disaster response and risk mitigation.
We face a future of increasing peril from disasters. One reason is climate change; another is that more people live in coastal areas where risks are especially high.We’re currently seeing the results of climate change in the California fires, and we saw both factors at work in last year’s flooding in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. […]
Strolling west on Calle Loiza from the Ocean Park neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, you could miss the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria last September. Here in early May 2018, runners and walkers lap the track at Parque Barbosa while middle-aged men try to keep pace with younger guys on the sheltered basketball court. […]
California Regulators Can and Should Adopt Strong State Wetlands Protection Rules
For the past year, an overriding concern of many Californians has been whether and how state legislators and regulators can fill the environmental law and policy gap left by a Trump Administration that is in the process of reversing a host of Obama-era environmental rules and that has otherwise largely abandoned the field of environmental […]
We’re slowing improving disaster resilience. But there have been some notable setbacks.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. The same is true for disasters. We are slowly getting better at mitigating disaster risks. These improvements don’t generally take the form of dramatic breakthroughs. Rather they involve incremental progress on a number of fronts. For instance, homes that were constructed […]