• In the world of finance, consideration of climate change is now mainstream

    As climate changes become impossible to dismiss, how does the mainstream investor community respond? Are financial decisions taking full account of risks and opportunities related to climate change, or is the topic still virtually ignored in financial decision-making?    

  • Blitz spirit needed to meet challenges like climate change: Dr. Hugh Hunt

    Today’s engineers will need the kind of drive and determination shown by the great wartime innovators such as Sir Barnes Wallis and Sir Frank Whittle if they are to respond effectively to challenges such as climate change, Dr. Hugh Hunt told the Royal Academy of Engineering on Tuesday. Hunt compared today’s challenge of adapting to future climate change with the imperative to develop new technologies to tip the balance of military capability in favor of the Allies during the Second World War.

  • Update issued for southeast Florida regional sea level rise projections

    The four-county Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (Compact) has prepared an update to the regional sea level rise projections used for important planning purposes. Overall, the update includes minor changes to the short-term curves, but a more significant increase in the mid-and long-term projections. The 2015 update estimates sea level rise of 6 to 10 inches by 2030, or 3 to 5 inches above average sea level in 2015. Predictions for the mid-term are between 11 and 22 inches of additional sea level rise by 2060, and longer-term between 28 and 57 inches by 2100.

  • New York proposes new sea-level rise projection regulations

    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced last week that to better prepare New York State coastal communities and business owners for extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy three years ago, DEC is proposing new state sea-level rise projections which will help state agencies and project planners develop more resilient structures. “The sea-level rise projections DEC is proposing today reflect the best science available,” said DEC acting commissioner. “Sea level projections will help state agencies, developers, planners and engineers to reduce risks posed by rising seas and coastal storms over the next several decades.”

  • California releases plan for preparing the state for extreme effects of climate change

    In response to a directive from California governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., the California Natural Resources Agency has been seeking public comment on a draft plan for how California will prepare for and adapt to the catastrophic effects of climate change, including extended droughts and wildfires, rising sea levels and increasingly extreme weather. The draft plan — Safeguarding California: Implementation Action Plans — identifies the state’s vulnerabilities to climate change and details steps that need to be taken across ten sectors including water, transportation, agriculture, biodiversity and habitat, emergency management, and energy.

  • Wildfires may double erosion across a quarter of western U.S. watersheds by 2050

    Wildfires, which are on the rise throughout the west as a result of prolonged drought and climate change, can alter soil properties and make it more vulnerable to erosion. A new study shows that the increase in wildfires may double soil erosion in some western United States by 2050, and all that dirt ends up in streams, clogging creeks and degrading water quality.

  • West Coast lawmakers ask Obama for $16.1 million to complete earthquake early warning system

    Last Wednesday thirty-six Members of Congress from western states urged President Barack Obama and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to increase the funding level for earthquake hazards programs in their 2017 budget request — more specifically, to provide $16.1 million dollars in funding for an on-shore Earthquake Early Warning System (EEW) being developed by scientists in Southern California and along the West Coast. The lawmakers say that such an early warning system would be helpful in providing residents and first responders with advance notice that could help save lives, avoid injuries, and avert major infrastructure damage by slowing trains to prevent derailment, stopping elevators, pausing surgeries, and taking other actions in the event of a major earthquake.

  • Bikini islanders petition to relocate to U.S. as rising seas threaten to swallow their island

    About 1,000 Bikini islanders have petitioned to be relocated to the United States as rising seas threaten to swallow their adopted home. Several hundred islanders were moved from their homes on the Bikini Atoll in 1946 when the United States decided to use it for nuclear weapons tests. In 1948 the islanders were settled on a nearby island in the Marshall chain called Kili. In the last decade, however, climate change and sea level rise have made life on Kili dangerous, as the island has been steadily losing the struggling against huge tides and increasingly ferocious storms.

  • Climate change heightening the risk of conflict and war

    Thirty of Australia’s leading minds from defense, academia, policy think tanks, and other government agencies have joined together for discussions over two days last week for Australia’s first climate security summit. The summit participants agreed that increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns, and more frequent and severe extreme weather events are heightening the risk of conflict and increasing the displacement of people. The summit organizers quote Brigadier-General Wendell Christopher King (Ret.), the Chief Academic Officer at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, who said: “[Climate change] is like getting embroiled in a war that lasts 100 years — there is no exit-strategy.”

  • FEMA paid $250 million in duplicate benefits after Hurricane Sandy: DHS IG

    The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) says it used “innovative data matching tools” to determine that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) paid approximately $250 million in disaster assistance to more than 29,000 Hurricane Sandy applicants who may have received duplicate benefits from their private insurers.

  • Extreme weather events in Chesapeake Bay offer clues for future

    For the millions of people who live in its expansive coastal areas, Chesapeake Bay provides an important source of income and recreational enjoyment. To protect the ecosystem and the livelihood of area residents, it is important to assess how climate variability and change will affect Chesapeake Bay’s shallow water ecosystems and water quality.

  • Analyzing bedrock could help builders, planners identify safe building zones

    Research could give builders and urban planners more detailed information about how susceptible areas are to landslides and earthquakes. The researchers focused on bedrock, just beneath the soil and roots and the Earth’s surface. Bedrock is the layer at the bottom of what geologists refer to as the “critical zone” because its cracks and fractures provide pathways for air and water, which break down rock and form the soil that is an essential ingredient for all living organisms.

  • Measuring performance of earthquake hazard maps

    Earthquake hazard maps use assumptions about where, when, and how big future earthquakes will be to predict the level of shaking. The results are used in designing earthquake-resistant buildings. “Sometimes the maps do well, and sometimes they do poorly. In particular, the shaking and thus damage in some recent large earthquakes was much larger than expected,” says one researcher. Part of the problem is that seismologists have not developed ways to describe how well these maps perform.

  • Safe! Halloween asteroid to miss Earth

    Halloween, according to some, is a time to be afraid, but no one need fear asteroid 2015 TB145, an object some 400 m across that will pass safely by at around 17:00 GMT (18:00 CET) on 31 October. The asteroid will safely miss Earth by just 480 000 km, which is further away from Earth than the Moon, but which is a close pass on a cosmic scale. The flyby highlights the need to watch for space rocks: Estimates give around 5,000 near Earth objects (NEOs) of this size, of which a significant fraction has not yet been discovered.

  • Syria’s civil war, Europe’s refugee crisis the result of spikes in food prices: Experts

    The disintegration of Syria and Europe’s refugee crisis are only the latest tragic consequences of two spikes in food prices in 2007-08 and 2010-11 that triggered waves of global unrest, including the Arab Spring. Researchers have traced these spikes and spiraling crises to their root causes: deregulated commodity markets, financial speculation, and a misguided U.S. corn-to-ethanol fuel policy which removes nearly five billion bushels of corn from markets each year.