Coast and Climate Change Project
(This is an excellent, detailed report of the present and potential impacts of climate change on health in Alaska.)
Over the past century, the air and water temperatures in Alaska have warmed considerably faster than in the rest of the United States. Because Alaska is the only Arctic state in the Nation, Alaskans are likely to face some climate change challenges that will be different than those encountered in other states. For example, permafrost currently underlies 80% of Alaska and provides a stable foundation for the physical infrastructure of many Alaska communities. As has already been seen in numerous villages, the groundcover that overlies permafrost is vulnerable to sinking or caving if the permafrost thaws, resulting in costly damage to physical infrastructure. The reliance on subsistence resources is another contrast to many other states. Many Alaskans depend upon subsistence harvests of fish and wildlife resources for food and to support their way of life. Some Alaskans report that the changing environment has already impacted their traditional practices.Read More →
(For a detailed presentation of the legal theories, see: SMOKE AND FUMES The Legal and Evidentiary Basis for Holding Big Oil Accountable for the Climate Crisis (2017)
(Redwood City, CA, San Rafael, CA, and Martinez, CA) – Faced with mounting costs to respond
to threats to their communities from rising sea levels, Marin and San Mateo Counties, along
with the City of Imperial Beach, today filed complaints in California Superior Court to hold
accountable 37 oil, gas, and coal companies for the ongoing harm they knew their fossil fuel
products would cause by significantly increasing carbon dioxide pollution and contributing
to global warming and sea level rise. The complaint states:
GAO – DOD Needs to Better Incorporate Adaptation into Planning and Collaboration at Overseas Installations
The expected impacts of weather effects associated with climate change pose operational and budgetary risks to overseas infrastructure according to the Department of Defense (DOD), but DOD does not consistently track the impacts’ estimated costs. Operational risks (including interruptions to training, testing, and missions) and budgetary risks (including costs of repairing damages) are linked to these impacts. However, installations inconsistently track these costs because there is no requirement for such tracking. Without a requirement to systematically track such costs, DOD will not have the information it needs to integrate climate-related impact resource considerations into future budgets.
Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades
Despite relatively cool summer temperatures, observations in 2017 continue to indicate that the Arctic environmental system has reached a ‘new normal’, characterized by long-term losses in the extent and thickness of the sea ice cover, the extent and duration of the winter snow cover and the mass of ice in the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic glaciers, and warming sea surface and permafrost temperatures.
A tangle of politics and problems may force yet another delay in long-sought updates to the broke, beleaguered U.S. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Congress has the unenviable task of putting NFIP back in the black without raising rates too quickly on folks who can’t afford to leave vulnerable coastal homes. And the weather isn’t helping.
The NFIP was due for reauthorization in September, after several years of challenge in the wake of the enormously costly Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Then came Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria this year—which complicated matters further by adding another $10-plus billion to the program’s $25-billion debt.
Congress passed a temporary extension of the NFIP that runs out in early December. There’s now a good chance that another extension will be needed, perhaps into 2018. The 21st Century Flood Reform Act, a House bill that appeared this week to be nearing a vote, instead found itself bottled up in committee. Several other draft bills in the House and Senate this year have failed to gain traction.
Highlights of the U.S. Global Change Research Program
Climate Science Special Report
The climate of the United States is strongly connected to the changing global climate. The statements below highlight past, current, and projected climate changes for the United States and the globe. Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization. The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe. These trends are expected to continue over climate timescales.
This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.Read More →
MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
Since its entry into force in 1994, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been at the centre of international efforts to address global warming and the rising risks it represents to people and economies across the globe. The adoption and early entry into force of the Paris Agreement was a monumental achievement that has put every nation on Earth on a clear pathway and with a clear destination for delivering a safer and more secure future.Read More →
By Kmusser – Own work, Elevation data from SRTM, hydrologic data from the National Hydrography Dataset, urban areas from Vector Map, all other features from the National Atlas., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12520461
EPA – Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action. United States Environmental Protection Agency – 2015
About this Report
This report summarizes and communicates the results of EPA’s ongoing Climate Change Impacts and Risk Analysis (CIRA) project. The goal of this work is to estimate to what degree climate change impacts and damages to multiple U.S. sectors (e.g., human health, infrastructure, and water resources) may be avoided or reduced in a future with significant global action to reduce GHG emissions, compared to a future in which current emissions continue to grow. Importantly, only a small portion of the impacts of climate change are estimated, and therefore this report captures just some of the total benefits of reducing GHGs.Read More →