Jeffrey Peterson has more than 40 years of experience in environmental policy both on the Hill and at EPA. He recently wrote a book entitled “A New Coast” about the need for policies to respond to devastating storms and rising seas. ODP: What motivated you to write about coastal adaptation after your long career in […]Continue Reading 777 words
One of the major ways that this year’s UN Climate meeting is greatly different from previous ones is its recognition of oceans as a major part of the climate problems (with support from the findings of the IPCC’s recent Oceans and Cryosphere report) and also its solutions. Chile’s Foreign Minister, Teodoro Ribera Neumann explained today that Chile elevated ocean issues because they are integral to both climate change and to his country.
Why This Matters: The UN climate meetings in the past had failed to take oceans into account when looking at how to address climate change and that, frankly, was a major oversight.Continue Reading 623 words
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, is being consumed by wildfires, with the city of Sydney at risk for the first time, and the government has declared a state of emergency in the region for the next week. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., a massive arctic front has shifted south, bringing bone-chilling cold and snow to the middle of the country today, with more than 67 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and hundreds of cold temperature records could be broken.
Why This Matters: This is more than just uncomfortable weather — it is dangerous. This type of “catastrophic” wildfire risk has never happened before in New South Wales — and the public is being warned not to be dismissive — with officials explaining that these conditions mean that lives are at risk. The same is true for bitter cold here — with snow from the Dakotas to New England over the course of the week, and it is not even mid-November.Continue Reading 515 words
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The Extinction Rebellion launched another high profile protest, this time floating down the River Thames in London a “model” of a suburban home that is literally partially under water as a way to raise awareness about rising sea levels that will leave many homes under water. The group said that, “[w]e are watching, in real-time, as […]Continue Reading 158 words
A new study in the Journal of Ocean & Coastal Management concludes that decisions regarding which adaptation projects to put in place are not being made on the basis of what is most efficient and effective in the long run and that the poorest citizens are bearing the brunt of these mistakes, Bloomberg reports.
Why This Matters: Beach replenishment is preferable over hardening coastlines to protect them from the climate impacts we are already experiencing, but sometimes buyouts will be more cost-effective than repeatedly replenishing. Doing adaptation the right way may be more expensive and may require difficult choices about how to be fair, and not simply undertake projects that disproportionately benefit the wealthy landowners and increase the vulnerability of poor and historically marginalized communities.Continue Reading 443 words
New research using satellite positioning more accurately determines the elevation of numerous coastal cities — and as a result, previous estimates of the impacts of sea-level rise were far too optimistic and 150 million people are living in areas that will be below the high-tide line by 2050. This assessment of the impacts on coastal cities is based on today’s population numbers, not counting future population growth or land lost to subsidence or coastal erosion so the actual numbers of people who will be displaced by sea-level rise globally will likely be even higher.
Why This Matters: Too optimistic may be an understatement. We must begin to adapt right now. And physical barriers to sea-level rise can only go so far, particularly when they are based on “overly optimistic” estimates of how much and where the impacts of rising seas will be greatest.
Continue Reading 416 words
By David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia
This past week, world leaders gathered in Norway to focus on the health of our oceans at a critical time. For island nations such as the Federated States of Micronesia, threatened as never before by climate change, seriousness of purpose isn’t elective, it’s existential.
For me and for the country I am privileged to lead, the climate crisis is not abstract. It is not tomorrow’s far away challenge. We are just 1% dry land. Fly to Norway over the western Pacific and dotted below in the blue ocean are the more than 600 islands and islets that make up the Federated States of Micronesia.
For us, there is no climate and resilience plan without sustainable oceans at its heart.Continue Reading 633 words
The Our Ocean Conference concluded in Norway with 370 separate pledges for action to conserve the ocean made by governments, NGOs and private corporations, with a value of $63 billion, ABC News reported. Climate change commitments received the lion share of the funding at $51 billion, and the private sector providing nearly 80% of the funds. Concurrently, a Youth Leadership Summit convened 100 young ocean activists from around the globe for a “boot camp” on ocean conservation innovative ideas.
Why This Matters: The Our Ocean conference is a different type of global meeting — not based on a legal framework or executive agreement, and not limited to governments or as full participants — which seems to be one of the keys to its success. The Conference also benefits from the exuberance of the youth meeting held in parallel. It seems to be working — Palau has signed on to host the next year’s conference and Panama will host the year after that.Continue Reading 607 words
A new stadium is a major economic boon and a huge financial commitment for the cities and sports teams that build them — and as a result, increasingly climate change impacts on these facilities are being taken into account in the building process. The Washington Post reported last week that if sea levels were to rise 5 or 6 feet, numerous arenas and sports facilities in the United States would likely experience flooding including “TD Garden in Boston, Citi Field in New York, MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Petco Park in San Diego, Del Mar Racetrack in California, and Oracle Park in San Francisco” with huge economic consequences.
Why This Matters: Because stadiums and arenas are so expensive and so iconic — think Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium — the builders have to confront today the question of climate impacts such as sea-level rise and extreme heat projected well into the future.Continue Reading 485 words
The Florida Panhandle contains hundreds of archeological sites that reveal the lives and culture of the earliest Americans who used stone tools and hunted to subsist and represent a time period of over 2,000 years of occupation, but many of them are at grave risk due to sea-level rise due to climate change.
Why This Matters: Native American sacred sites in the West are better known, but these sites are also important and not contained on federal land where they can be preserved and protected. Once they are submerged, they will be gone for good.Continue Reading 465 words
By Scott Nuzum Over the summer, I returned to my hometown of Venice, Florida for the first time in five years. As I prepared for my trip, I was excited by the prospect of revisiting old haunts, reconnecting with old friends, and reminiscing about my childhood spent exploring the area’s coastal waters. But I also […]Continue Reading 916 words
After the environmental group American Rivers named the Hudson River the second-most endangered in the U.S., Yale Environment 360 took a look at why and found that the plans to protect the New York metro area from storms like Superstorm Sandy may be expensive and counterproductive, providing little protection from storm surge and at the […]Continue Reading 567 words