• Better – and Broader – Contingency Plans

    Life, they say, is uncertain. This is why governments and businesses make contingency plans that detail what to do in a disaster and how to handle the unexpected. But some events can be catastrophic across a region, and that calls for a more comprehensive approach.

  • Sea-Level Rise Could Trigger Migration from Coastal Areas to Inland Cities in U.S.

    When Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast in 2017, displaced residents flocked inland, trying to rebuild their lives in the disaster’s aftermath. Within decades, the same thing could happen at a much larger scale due to rising sea levels, says a new study. The researchers say that climate change-driven sea-level rise could trigger mass migration of Americans to inland cities.

  • 2019: Economic Losses from Natural Disasters Top $232 billion in 2019

    A new report from Aon shows that 409 natural catastrophe events of 2019 resulted in economic losses of $232 billion. Of that total, private sector and government-sponsored insurance programs covered $71 billion. The costliest individual peril was inland flooding, which caused economic losses globally of $82 billion, followed by tropical cyclone, at $68 billion.

  • Climate Change Means the U.S. Must Start Building Big Things Again

    There used to be a time when the United States was adept at planning and building big projects – the highway system, putting a man on the moon, and more. Not anymore, James Temple writes. He notes that nearly every giant infrastructure project in the United States suffers from massive delays and cost overruns, and this is when they are not shut down altogether before completion. “The U.S. has become terrible at building big things, and negligent in even maintaining our existing infrastructure,” he writes, adding: “That all bodes terribly for our ability to grapple with the coming dangers of climate change, because it is fundamentally an infrastructure problem.”

  • Flooding Damage to Levees Is Cumulative—and Often Invisible

    Recent research finds that repeated flooding events have a cumulative effect on the structural integrity of earthen levees, suggesting that the increase in extreme weather events associated with climate change could pose significant challenges for the nation’s aging levee system.

  • From Bush Fires to Terrorism: How Communities Become Resilient

    The world has watched in sympathy as Australia has come to terms with the ravages of the worst bush fires on record. Communities have been devastated by this crisis, but many have shown incredible resilience in banding together to support one another through the harrowing experience. Challenges to communities come in many guises – social, political, economic, climatic, technological and cultural. Our study looked at ways of building community resilience in response to extreme events.

  • Before We Rush to Rebuild after Fires, We Need to Think about Where and How

    Public support for rebuilding in the same disaster affected places is often high. But as fire-fighting agencies are aware, our bushfires are increasing in size, intensity and duration, and a warming climate will continue to worsen these factors. We need to start being more strategic about where we rebuild homes and facilities lost to fire, and how.

  • The Prospects of Climate Engineering

    Climate engineering may offer a last-ditch technological solution to catastrophic climate change, but who makes the decisions on which solutions to implement, and who the beneficiaries will be? Once we start fiddling with the Earth’s fundamental processes, where will it end?

  • Tropical Cyclones Causing Billions in Losses Dominate 2019 Natural Catastrophe Picture

    Natural catastrophes cause overall losses of $150 billion, with insured losses of about $52 billion. Severe typhoons in Japan cause the year’s biggest losses. Hurricane Dorian, the strongest hurricane of the year, devastates the Bahamas, but the U.S. mainland was largely spared. Humanitarian tragedy caused by cyclones in Mozambique, with more than 1,000 deaths.  – Better protection is urgently needed

  • Climate Change will Take Increasingly Heavier Toll on People’s Welfare, Security: Experts

    The World Economic Forum has just issued its annual Global Risk Report, based on input from more than 750 global experts and decision-makers, who were asked to rank their biggest concerns in terms of likelihood and impact on the welfare and security of people around the world. For the first time in the survey’s 10-year outlook, the top five global risks in terms of likelihood are all related to the environment: intensification of extreme weather events; failure of climate mitigation and adaptation; increasing human-induced damage to the environment; ecosystem collapse; growing vulnerability of more people to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and geomagnetic storms.

  • On A Hotter Planet, We Are All Australians

    Warm the human body by 7 degrees Fahrenheit and death ensues. David Spratt writes that on the Paris Agreement emissions trajectory, the entire world is heading for around 7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming once system feedbacks are included. The Lancet wrote: “Without immediate and efficient climate action, catastrophic bushfires will become a common disaster and might destroy the future of Australia and possibly of humanity.” Spratt says: “On a hotter planet, we are all Australians, one way or another. And the fire season is far from over.”

  • Earthquake Forecast for Puerto Rico: Dozens More Large Aftershocks Are Likely

    The physics of earthquakes are astoundingly complex, but our abilities to forecast future earthquakes during a strong sequence of events in real time is improving. Forecasting earthquakes is not a strict prediction – it’s more like a weather forecast, in which scientists estimate the likelihood of future earthquake activity based on quakes that have already occurred, using established statistical laws that govern earthquake behavior.

  • The Heat Human Activity Has Added to World’s Oceans in the Past 25 Years Is Equivalent to 3.6 Billion Hiroshima-Size Bombs

    The Hiroshima atom-bomb exploded with an energy of about 63,000,000,000,000 Joules. The amount of heat mankind has put in the world’s oceans in the past 25 years equals to 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom-bomb explosions. A new analysis shows the world’s oceans were the warmest in 2019 than any other time in recorded human history, especially between the surface and a depth of 2,000 meters. The new studyalso concludes that the past ten years have been the warmest on record for global ocean temperatures, with the past five years holding the highest record.

  • 2019: 2nd Wettest Year on Record for U.S.; $14 Billion Climate Disasters

    It was another year of record-making weather and climate for the U.S. in 2019, which was the second wettest behind 1973. Fourteen billion-dollar disasters that struck the U.S. last year included Hurricane Dorian, historic flooding and severe storms.

  • The Lessons from Australia’s Fires

    You might think that Australia is particularly vulnerable to forest fires. But that would be a mistake. Many other countries share the same conditions that have set Australia ablaze, physically and politically, including similar terrain and a leadership that has yet to wake up fully to the new reality that climate change is creating.