Remembering Our Last Superstorm & Preventing the Next One
INFOGRAPHIC OF THE DAY I
HURRICANE SANDY, ONE YEAR LATER Source: Entrepreneur, October 29, 2013.
After 365 days, Hurricane Sandy may have receded from the collective consciousness, but look here and here and here to see why, for people who lived along the path of the hurricane, their lives, as they knew them, are over forever. Interested in ‘just the facts’ about the storm? Read this. For those interested in a bird’s eye view of the storm’s evolution, review this. For an estimation of the relief doled out by the federal government, consult FEMA’s Hurricane Sandy Homepage and the White House Blog. Alternatively, to gauge the personal cost of Sandy’s destruction, consider its affect on a single neighborhood. Then, read how Hurricane Sandy affected the public’s physical and emotional health.
Experts agree an effective way to reduce the danger from future superstorms is to reverse the trend of living along the coast. 123 million Americans live in coastal counties and about 3.7 million Americans live within just a few feet of the sea at high tide. One possible solution being bandied around is buying out homes located in flood zones. Discover how 218-acres restored to nature may have minimized Hurricane Sandy’s destruction in Cape May, N.J.
The meteorological oddity that became Hurricane Sandy is unraveled here. The probable link between Hurricane Sandy and climate change is argued here and here. NOAA discloses there were 25 extreme weather events in 2011 and 2012 that caused a total of $188 billion in economic losses. This new report outlines the rising costs to American taxpayers for federal programs that provide flood insurance, crop insurance, wildfire protection and disaster relief. This report co-authored by Next Gen’s Kate Gordon explains why ignoring the relationship between climate change and extreme weather is no longer an affordable option.
California signed The Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, an agreement with Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The pact seeks to enhance cooperation through a range of activities. Nonbinding, under its provisions, all four governments agree to price carbon pollution; boost the use of lower-carbon gasoline; and, set goals for reducing greenhouse gases. The agreement also sets new targets for electric vehicles – aiming for 10% of all new cars and trucks in the region to be emission-free by 2016.
Although the agreement falls short of creating a regional carbon market, the alliance affects 53 million people. As the fifth largest economy in the world, with an annual GDP of $28 trillion, the coalition’s economic heft is enormous. Here’s an explanation why this effort is more than a feel-good publicity stunt and how, if the coalition deploys its power effectively, it can wield far-reaching geopolitical influence beyond the Pacific Northwest.
Following the signing ceremony, Governor Jerry Brown was questioned on whether he supported fracking and confirmed his support – noting that SB 4, a law he recently signed, is an in-depth scientific study of fracking’s environmental effects. The Governor believes the state will deliver a completed EIS on fracking in 18 months. Still, the Merc wants to know if it’s possible to simultaneously support fracking and reduce climate change? Fracking may be slowly gaining traction in California, but the WSJ reports data, from more than 700 counties in 11 major natural-gas producing states, reveals 15.3 million Americans have a natural gas well within one mile of their home. Fracking is in ‘everyone’s backyard.’
Changes to AB 32 related to carbon offsets are drawing heated opposition from environmental groups. They claim more free allowances for industry; adjustments to market rules; and, the ability to buy carbon offsets from coalmines undermines the environmental integrity of the law. Peter Miller of the NRDC expresses his displeasure with the revisions in this op-ed.
45 of the world’s top oil, gas, coal and electric power companies received a letter – requesting an assessment of the financial risks that climate change poses to their business plans – signed by 70 global investors. The letter is part of a campaign waged by CERES to have the financial industry recognize carbon as an asset risk. The list of the signatories is found here. The list of the recipients is found here. The "unburnable carbon" thesis – forming the foundation of CERES’s campaign is explained by Fortune. The likelihood of the campaign’s success is discussed here. Grist believes the fossil fuel divestment movement has legs and digs up this article from the National Review to strengthen its case. Finally, water shortages are becoming a critical issue in the Golden State. However, according to a new study, the scarcity of water could hasten the growth of wind and solar in generating California’s electricity. Read this to learn and understand why.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“I don’t think it’s too much to say that on the West Coast, we intend to design the future, not to wreck it.” California Governor Jerry Brown after signing an agreement with Oregon, Washington and British Columbia to put a price on emissions and adopt fuel standards.
“I think we ought to give science a chance before deciding on a ban on fracking.” Governor Jerry Brown after a ceremony with the governors of Oregon and Washington to sign an agreement to put a price on emissions and adopt fuel standards.
“When nearly three-quarters of voting Harvard undergraduates elect to treat the companies that power our economy as pariahs, it’s time to take notice.” Stanley Kurtz in National Review.
“Auto manufacturers, lawmakers, and citizens need to work together so that we can enjoy cleaner vehicles across the United States.” David Reichmuth, senior engineer with the Clean Vehicles program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“We have a fiduciary duty to ensure that companies we invest in are fully addressing the risks that climate change poses.” Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive of CalPERS, one of the managers of 70 pension funds worth more than $3 trillion, who in a letter asked 45 of the world's top oil, gas, coal and utility companies to explain how the possibility of climate-change regulations might affect their investors and business.
"At the end of the day he is going to say no but there will be some more twists and turns before we get there." Carol Browner, former White House energy and climate czar predicting President Obama will say no to building the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.
REPORT. Inaction on Climate Change: The Cost To Taxpayers Ceres. October 2013
REPORT. Climate Change: An Unfunded Mandate. CAP by Fran Sussman, Cathleen Kelly and Kate Gordon. October 28, 2013.
Governor Brown and Fracking
AB 32 and Carbon Offsets
REPORT Impact of Future Climate Variability on ERCOT Thermoelectric Power Generation ARGONNE National Laboratory
INFOGRAPHIC OF THE DAY II
COMING UP SHORT Source: The Fresno Bee. October 27, 2013.
GRAPH OF THE DAY
U.S. NATURAL CATASTROPHES 1980-2012-UNINSURED COSTS EQUAL INSURED COSTS , BOTH RISE U.S. $BILLIONS Source: MunichRe NATCAT Service, Printed in EcoNews, October 28, 2013.