Ignore Climate Change Scientists at your Peril

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NorthReport
Ignore Climate Change Scientists at your Peril

Houston was warned it was a 'sitting duck' for major flood

Years of building and expanding on flood plains and wetlands contributed to disaster

 

Interstate highway 45 is submerged from the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

Interstate highway 45 is submerged from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. (Richard Carson/Reuters)

When presented with sweeping evidence in 2016 that Houston was a "sitting duck" for the next big hurricane, the former head of the Harris County Flood Control District dismissed the report, saying scientists "have an agenda" and that "their agenda to protect the environment overrides common sense."

Now, 50 are feared dead, more than 44,000 homes are destroyed or heavily damaged, and about 325,000 residents have sought federal emergency aid as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

 

The scientist who raised the alarm a year ago watched the waters rise and eventually force him out of his own flooded house.

"It's an emotional issue, because all of our warnings from our research projects have come to fruition," said Sam Brody, a marine scientist at Texas A&M University. He has studied flooding for 15 years and is one of the authors of Rising Waters: Causes and consequences of flooding in the United States. 

Battle between concrete and water

Brody's research found that decades of unchecked development in and around Houston had left the water with nowhere to go.

STORM-HARVEY/

Houses are seen submerged in flood waters in northwest Houston. (Adrees Latif/Reuters )

Houston was founded on a swamp in the 1830s. The city is built low and flat along coastal bayous, and has always struggled with flooding.

But there was a natural buffer that kept the worst at bay: Prairie grasslands, which absorbed water in almost supernatural quantities. The problem is Houston has spent decades paving over those grasslands and building strip malls.

Houston is the fourth-largest city in the U.S. and home to NASA and the Johnson Space Center  This is the city that put a man on the moon, but many now describe it as a concrete island floating on top of a swamp.

City officials built a series of concrete culverts they said would divert the water.

"A lot of officials think you can engineer your way out of that problem and fight concrete with concrete," said Kiah Collier, a reporter with The Texas Tribune. She was one of the reporters behind the Peabody Award-winning series Hell and High Water, which warned that water would win the fight against concrete.

Harvey

Tattered flags fly over a pile of water-soaked items as people clean up in a flood- ravaged neighborhood in Houston. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

 

Reporting this week from a neighbourhood devastated by flood waters, Collier told CBC Radio's Day 6 that officials never took the report seriously.

"They were either flippant or frustrated," said Collier.

Now, she's watching as the predictions she reported on come true. Collier can't help but think back to the apathy of city officials who were warned this was coming, but did nothing.

"Seeing the human side of it, the human impact is really emotionally jarring," she said.

The economic impact will be jarring for the entire country. By some estimates, this disaster will cost $190 billion. That would make it the costliest disaster in U.S. history, surpassing the costs of both hurricanes Katrina and Sandy ($123 billion and $60 billion, respectively).

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/houston-flood-concrete-planning-1.4271740

NorthReport

Harvey coverage borderline 'rescue porn,' with little to no mention of cause or prevention

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2017/09/harvey-coverage-borderline-rescue-po...

Policywonk

NorthReport wrote:

Harvey coverage borderline 'rescue porn,' with little to no mention of cause or prevention

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2017/09/harvey-coverage-borderline-rescue-po...

Found these on the CNN website. There has also been some on their TV coverage. Agree that there is far too much disaster/rescue porn, and too little discussion of the impact of climate change on the severity of Harvey and other storms, especially on rainfall.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/31/opinions/climate-change-harvey-lynas-opini...

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/29/opinions/hurricane-harvey-abbott-needs-to-...

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/31/politics/bernie-sanders-climate-change-har...

Meanwhile, in south Asia:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/30/mumbai-paralysed-by-floods...

NorthReport

So why bother helping Texas stupidity as this American stupidity is being spread around the world and will have an impact here in Canada as well?

GREG ABBOTT IS A CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER

https://www.ofa.us/climate-change-deniers/greg-abbott-texas/

NorthReport

This is the real tragedy of Texas!

For Scott Pruitt’s EPA, Climate-Change Denial Is Mission Critical

The EPA chief is very wrong about Harvey.

https://www.thenation.com/article/for-scott-pruitts-epa-climate-change-d...

NorthReport

Trump’s climate change denial will be tested by Houston’s devastation

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/trump-climate-change-deni...

NorthReport

World's largest general science organisation slams Trump's lack of 'scientific thinking'

‘Science and scientists have not been at the table for most of the policy discussions’

ttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/donald-trump-administration-science-s...

NorthReport

Los Angeles hit by largest wildfire in its history, prompting hundreds of evacuations

Temperatures in the area hit 38 degrees Celsius (100F)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/los-angeles-wildfire-ca...

NorthReport
NorthReport
NorthReport
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NorthReport

Populationwise our cities are maxed out.
We no longer have the luxury of growing our cities and we will have to force people and businesses to move to less populated areas.
And we need to begin this process not later but immediately, if we are serious about mitigating some of the damage from global warming

http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/daphne-bramham-natural-catast...

NorthReport

Gov. Jerry Brown declares state of emergency in Los Angeles County as fire continues to rage in Verdugo Mountains

The governor’s declaration will ensure that state and federal assistance will be provided as quickly as possible. It came at the urging of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said the fire is the largest in the city’s history in terms of sheer acreage.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-wildfire-los-angeles-20170903-s...

NorthReport

 

Largest fire in Los Angeles history forces hundreds to evacuate

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/09/02/erratic-wi...

NorthReport

Hamstrung by hubris

 

How bravado keeps the U.S. locked in a cycle of devastating mistakes

http://ipolitics.ca/2017/09/02/hamstrung-by-hubris/

NorthReport

Time to leave the dinosaurs where they belong: extinct

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mckenna-conservatives-otoole-environment...

NorthReport

Hurricane Harvey: A money-in-politics wake up call

http://ipolitics.ca/2017/09/01/hurricane-harvey-a-money-in-politics-wake...

NorthReport

Always remember stupid people can kill you, just like the BC Morons who throw cigarette butts out their car windows 

Engineers warned of flooding risk to Houston area in 1996 report

The report was filed away without action, then last week Harvey struck. The conceptual plan envisioned a conduit consisting of eight channels to carry water out of the reservoirs and safely past developed areas downstream.

 

In the report obtained by the Dallas Morning News, engineers proposed a $400 million solution that involved building a massive underground conduit that would more quickly carry water out of the reservoirs and into the Houston Ship Channel.

In the report obtained by the Dallas Morning News, engineers proposed a $400 million solution that involved building a massive underground conduit that would more quickly carry water out of the reservoirs and into the Houston Ship Channel.  (BRIAN MELLEY / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)  

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/09/05/engineers-warned-of-floodi...

NorthReport

Dealing with climate change means transforming society

We have to understand that climate change is not a separate issue from most aspects of everyday life

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/09/05/dealing-with-clima...

NorthReport

What's your emergency plan or do you think your government will save you? Ha! Ha! Ha!

Hurricane Harvey shows that if disaster strikes, we’ll be stuck: Hume

A disaster like Hurricane Harvey can leave residents with a choice: to be stuck in their homes or stuck in their vehicles.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/09/04/hurricane-harvey-shows-that-...

NorthReport

Irma, Harvey reveal ‘massive national security risks’

  • Irma, Harvey reveal America's lack of preparation for extreme weather events.
  • The widespread destruction in Houston shows that the changing climate is a direct threat to our citizens' security right here at home.
  • While military leaders and other planners know that storm extremes are increasingly likely as the climate warms, we have not yet taken the steps we need to prepare ourselves for these events.
  • Here's what the U.S. needs to do to protect citizens from the growing threats.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/05/irma-harvey-reveal-massive-national-secu...

NorthReport

David Suzuki: Nature offers solutions to water woes and flood risks

https://www.straight.com/news/960201/david-suzuki-nature-offers-solution...

Rev Pesky

From the David Suzuki article, posted above:

Compare Houston to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which sit below sea level. Regulation and planning have helped the Dutch cities lower flood risk and save money.

Pardon me for saying, David, but when's the last time Amsterdam or Rotterdam had a Category 4 or 5 hurricane rip through town. I suspect if Amsterdam had to contend with 275 km/h winds, and a 10 meter storm surge, the defenses they have in place wouldn't cut it.

 

NorthReport

The Desperate Fight to Save the Right Whale from Dying Off

‘We’ve just got to figure out a way to help them survive.’

https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/09/06/Saving-Right-Whale/

NDPP

Trump's  'Chinese Hoax' Wreaking Global Havoc

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/06/trumps-chinese-hoax-wreaking-glo...

"Experts say more than a trillion gallons fell on Texas and Louisiana - enough to fill Lake Michigan..."

NorthReport

OFF Act Is a Climate Game Changer

 

Rep. Gabbard's OFF Act is a critical step towards that mobilization. It requires 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 (and 80 percent by 2027), places a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects, bans the export of oil and gas, and also moves our automobile and rail systems to 100 percent renewable energy. Additionally, it provides for a truly just transition for environmental justice communities and those working in the fossil fuel industry. The bill requires that people in impacted communities have a leading role in the development and implementation of clean energy plans and regulations, and establishes an equitable transition fund and workforce development center, paid for by closing an offshore tax loophole and repealing federal tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

Now we must mobilize to build support for this bill. Though the prospects of passing anything in Congress right now are grim, moving members of Congress to support the OFF Act and elevating its profile are important for three reasons:

1. Create Political Consensus for Rapid Transition to 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Six years ago, when Food & Water Watch followed the lead of our grassroots partners to become the first national organization to call for a ban on fracking, conventional wisdom dictated that fracked gas was an environmentally friendly "bridge fuel." There was lots of support for stronger regulations on fracking, but little serious talk about actually banning it. Yet hundreds of organizations and thousands of people all over the country organized around the issue and held their elected officials accountable.

New York and Maryland have since banned fracking. Rep. Mark Pocan introduced legislation to ban fracking on federal lands. Banning fracking became a top issue raised by Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential race, and a majority of Americans now support a ban. It took lots of hard work, but the political consensus has shifted. We must do the same thing with the urgent need to act on climate, by building support for the OFF Act.

2. Make OFF a Top Issue Now

Even though Congress is controlled by pro-fossil fuel ideologues, it is still critical that we work to get members to sponsor this bill now. If we organize to get large numbers of co-sponsors on the OFF Act, it will become a top issue that representatives will need to respond to. Even as it has just been introduced, the OFF Act already enjoys support from more than 100 organizations including a wide range of major national groups like National Nurses United, Progressive Democrats of America, Climate Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network and People's Action.

3. Make Space for State and Local Action

At the same time we are working to build support for the OFF Act, there are also campaigns across the country working to move cities, counties and states to 100 percent renewable energy now. Organizing around these local efforts can and should dovetail with efforts to pressure members of Congress to co-sponsor federal legislation. Passing local measures, or getting state and local elected officials to sign the OFF Pledge, will help build the political power needed to push Congress to support the federal legislation. Similarly, getting more co-sponsors on federal legislation to stop fossil fuel projects will open up more space for state and local action. These efforts work together.

Winning the fight to move off fossil fuels will not be easy, as the thousands of people who are working to stop pipelines, ban fracking and build renewable energy projects can tell you. But these are also fights that we can—and must—win if we are to protect people and the planet and avoid the very worst of climate chaos. The OFF Act is a critical first step in what must be a major national mobilization to restructure our energy system now.

Visit OFF Fossil Fuels to get involved in your community and join our grassroots team. Let's make this happen.

https://www.ecowatch.com/off-act-tulsi-gabbard-2479880368.html

NorthReport

OFF Act Is a Climate Game Changer

 

Rep. Gabbard's OFF Act is a critical step towards that mobilization. It requires 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 (and 80 percent by 2027), places a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects, bans the export of oil and gas, and also moves our automobile and rail systems to 100 percent renewable energy. Additionally, it provides for a truly just transition for environmental justice communities and those working in the fossil fuel industry. The bill requires that people in impacted communities have a leading role in the development and implementation of clean energy plans and regulations, and establishes an equitable transition fund and workforce development center, paid for by closing an offshore tax loophole and repealing federal tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

Now we must mobilize to build support for this bill. Though the prospects of passing anything in Congress right now are grim, moving members of Congress to support the OFF Act and elevating its profile are important for three reasons:

1. Create Political Consensus for Rapid Transition to 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Six years ago, when Food & Water Watch followed the lead of our grassroots partners to become the first national organization to call for a ban on fracking, conventional wisdom dictated that fracked gas was an environmentally friendly "bridge fuel." There was lots of support for stronger regulations on fracking, but little serious talk about actually banning it. Yet hundreds of organizations and thousands of people all over the country organized around the issue and held their elected officials accountable.

New York and Maryland have since banned fracking. Rep. Mark Pocan introduced legislation to ban fracking on federal lands. Banning fracking became a top issue raised by Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential race, and a majority of Americans now support a ban. It took lots of hard work, but the political consensus has shifted. We must do the same thing with the urgent need to act on climate, by building support for the OFF Act.

2. Make OFF a Top Issue Now

Even though Congress is controlled by pro-fossil fuel ideologues, it is still critical that we work to get members to sponsor this bill now. If we organize to get large numbers of co-sponsors on the OFF Act, it will become a top issue that representatives will need to respond to. Even as it has just been introduced, the OFF Act already enjoys support from more than 100 organizations including a wide range of major national groups like National Nurses United, Progressive Democrats of America, Climate Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network and People's Action.

3. Make Space for State and Local Action

At the same time we are working to build support for the OFF Act, there are also campaigns across the country working to move cities, counties and states to 100 percent renewable energy now. Organizing around these local efforts can and should dovetail with efforts to pressure members of Congress to co-sponsor federal legislation. Passing local measures, or getting state and local elected officials to sign the OFF Pledge, will help build the political power needed to push Congress to support the federal legislation. Similarly, getting more co-sponsors on federal legislation to stop fossil fuel projects will open up more space for state and local action. These efforts work together.

Winning the fight to move off fossil fuels will not be easy, as the thousands of people who are working to stop pipelines, ban fracking and build renewable energy projects can tell you. But these are also fights that we can—and must—win if we are to protect people and the planet and avoid the very worst of climate chaos. The OFF Act is a critical first step in what must be a major national mobilization to restructure our energy system now.

Visit OFF Fossil Fuels to get involved in your community and join our grassroots team. Let's make this happen.

https://www.ecowatch.com/off-act-tulsi-gabbard-2479880368.html

NorthReport

The Lofoten Declaration: A New Bar for Climate Leadership

https://www.ecowatch.com/lofoten-declaration-climate-2482513921.html

NorthReport

EPA chief on Irma: The time to talk climate change isn't now

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/07/politics/scott-pruitt-hurricanes-climate-c...

Rev Pesky

From the 'OFF Act' article posted above:

Rep. Gabbard's OFF Act is a critical step towards that mobilization. It requires 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 (and 80 percent by 2027), places a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects, bans the export of oil and gas, and also moves our automobile and rail systems to 100 percent renewable energy.

There's nothing wrong with moving towards a lesser dependence on fossil fuels, but the idea that somehow we can transition to all renewables without  trememdous disruption in the economy is a fantasy.

​Currently, 65% of USA electrial generation is from fossil fuels. Given the nature of renewables (other than hydro or nuclear), there is no way to replace the 2.65 trillion kilowatt hours annually with wind, solar, tidal, etc., now or in the future.

What that means is much less generation at the same time as transportation (and other fossil fuel users) will be shifting away from fossil fuels toward electricity. How does anyone imagine they're going to square that circle?

I realize it's probably not popular, but people have to be prepared for reality. Proponents of the 'shift to renewables' have got to admit that cutting down the use of energy is a necessary part of the program

NDPP

As Hurricanes Slam the South, the Western US is Literally On Fire

http://theantimedia.org/hurricanes-south-western-us-fire/

NorthReport

Hi Rev,

Perhaps your priorities need a rework as we can't afford to continue to ignore global warming.  It has now become a bigger issue than the economy.

Can emissions shrink while the economy grows?

https://www.straight.com/news/963591/david-suzuki-can-emissions-shrink-w...

NorthReport

Knock, knock – It’s your climate

https://dogwoodbc.ca/knock-knock-climate/

NorthReport

How A Warm Winter Destroyed 85 Percent Of Georgia’s Peaches

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-a-warm-winter-destroyed-85-perc...

NorthReport

David Suzuki: CO2 and food: We can’t sacrifice quality for quantity

https://www.straight.com/news/969381/david-suzuki-co2-and-food-we-cant-s...

Aristotleded24

Rev Pesky wrote:

From the David Suzuki article, posted above:

Compare Houston to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which sit below sea level. Regulation and planning have helped the Dutch cities lower flood risk and save money.

Pardon me for saying, David, but when's the last time Amsterdam or Rotterdam had a Category 4 or 5 hurricane rip through town. I suspect if Amsterdam had to contend with 275 km/h winds, and a 10 meter storm surge, the defenses they have in place wouldn't cut it.

Given that Houston is located along a coast that regularly experiences hurricanes, they should have been much better prepared.

As for whether or not Amsterdam's defences would hold up against a Category 4 or 5 Hurricane? We may well find that out soon.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
As for whether or not Amsterdam's defences would hold up against a Category 4 or 5 Hurricane? We may well find that out soon.

Is there a tropical hurricane heading for Northern Europe??

Do you have a link??  Hurricane Klaus?  Hurricane Olga??

NorthReport

It has already been reported that Houston officials ignored the weather warnings from engineers

It is one thing to try and protect your communities from severe weather and possibly fail, but it is something completely different to ignore weather warning issues from experts. Those Houston officials should be charged

Aristotleded24

Mr. Magoo wrote:
Quote:
As for whether or not Amsterdam's defences would hold up against a Category 4 or 5 Hurricane? We may well find that out soon.

Is there a tropical hurricane heading for Northern Europe??

Give climate change a few more decades and that could very well start happening.

Rev Pesky

From NorthReport:

Hi Rev,

Perhaps your priorities need a rework as we can't afford to continue to ignore global warming.  It has now become a bigger issue than the economy.

 

My priorities? What priorities are those? I merely pointed out that no amount of 'alternative' electrical generation can replace the amount of electricity generated right now with fossil fuels. 

​In order to prepare for the loss of fossil fuel generated electricity, people have to be told that electrical consumption has to be reduced. If anyone thinks that can be kept hidden from people, too bad for them. We have an economic infrastructure that is built upon the availability of electicity on demand. What will be needed is an infrastructure that is designed to operate on electricity when available.

NorthReport

My Summer With the World in Flames

A family break on the Sunshine Coast became a smoke-covered reminder of the apocalyptic reality of climate change.

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/09/22/Summer-With-World-Flames/

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Give climate change a few more decades and that could very well start happening.

2037:  "Well, maybe it wasn't Houston's fault after all, 20 years ago", says Amsterdam mayor, while treading water.

NorthReport

Why Megafires Will Shape Your Future

Climate change, industrialization and forest mismanagement creating a perfect firestorm, warns new book.

https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2017/10/04/Megafires-Will-Shape-Future/

NorthReport

San Francisco’s Air Quality Matches Beijing’s

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-13/san-francisco-air-qua...

WWWTT

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

From the David Suzuki article, posted above:

Compare Houston to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which sit below sea level. Regulation and planning have helped the Dutch cities lower flood risk and save money.

Pardon me for saying, David, but when's the last time Amsterdam or Rotterdam had a Category 4 or 5 hurricane rip through town. I suspect if Amsterdam had to contend with 275 km/h winds, and a 10 meter storm surge, the defenses they have in place wouldn't cut it.

Given that Houston is located along a coast that regularly experiences hurricanes, they should have been much better prepared.

As for whether or not Amsterdam's defences would hold up against a Category 4 or 5 Hurricane? We may well find that out soon.

Sure souther US cities could be better prepared! But succesive US governmants are more concerned with phantom terrorist attacks, so the predictable devestation from heavy storms will continue.

As far as anywhere in northern Europe getting hit with a hurricane? I seriously doubt that would ever happen. Even a catergory 1 hurricane is highly unlikely. Strong storms and other active weather are certain, but not hurricanes.

WWWTT

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:
Quote:
As for whether or not Amsterdam's defences would hold up against a Category 4 or 5 Hurricane? We may well find that out soon.

Is there a tropical hurricane heading for Northern Europe??

Give climate change a few more decades and that could very well start happening.

Part of the reason (or a big part) hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones happen where and when has lots to due with the Earths rotation axis and seasons. Even if global temperatures rise, the Earths rotation and pitch will remain the same or within predictable paramaters. I believe there are exeptions, but nothing consistent.Image result for cyclones typhoons and hurricanes are impacted by global rotation and seasons

NorthReport

Trump's Love Affair with Coal

Why a president who struggles to stay on topic has a laser focus on one shrinking industry.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/15/trumps-love-affair-wit...

NorthReport

Hurricane Ophelia: Met Office warns of 'potential danger to life' as it raises weather warning level

Forecaster says 'pretty exceptional' tropical storm will bring 'hurricane-force' winds to UK

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hurricane-ophelia-latest-...

NorthReport

Firefighters beating back deadly wildfires, official says

With 40 confirmed dead and at least 5,700 homes and businesses destroyed, state forestry spokesman says more than half of the fires are now contained

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/15/california-wildfires-death...