WunderBlog Archive » Dr. Ricky Rood's Climate Change Blog

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2014 June

North Carolina's Friendly Mountain Breezes, Sandy Beaches and Sea-Level Rise

The areas I have talked about here, the North Carolina and Virginia coasts, are areas where I have spent time. Much of my childhood was building and rebuilding home-contrived ways to protect our cabin on the Neuse River in North Carolina. One lesson you learn in this little world is that if you don’t have a plan up and down the shore, what you do is vulnerable to what your neighbors don’t do. They are vulnerable to what you do. One can’t adapt to 39 inches of sea-level rise alone. The scope of planning required, neighbors, cities, counties and states is daunting. Decisions will not be uniform. And to add to the challenge, if we plan for 30, 50 or 100 years, all of those plans have to anticipate that sea level will still be rising. Thinking of that meter of salty water in places I have lived and worked makes it crystal clear that we need to work for the best future rather than preservation of the past.

RickyRood, • 5:08 AM GMT on June 30, 2014

Policy and Regulations: North Carolina and Sea Level

I want to step back 50 years. Fifty years ago, I imagine that most planners would assume that sea level would remain the same in the next century as in the previous century. That is our climate would be the same; this sameness is called stationarity. In some arcane way, the extension of 20th century into the 21st century does recognize that the climate is changing. The use of the 20th century trends, 8 inches, assumes that how fast the climate is changing remains the same. That is, the trend is stationary. On the other hand, what if the legislature required that planning exercises use a two-meter sea-level rise? In that case, many would protest that climate-change projections were too strongly influencing policy decisions. The use of a 2-meter rise in planning would embrace the notion that the trend is accelerating.

RickyRood, • 4:25 PM GMT on June 23, 2014

Coal, Electricity, Fracking, Carbon Dioxide and the EPA

The clean power regulations to be managed by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are an important, credible and possible step. To me, while I can calmly describe what seems like the process we use to develop environmental policy, the progress we make is piecemeal and frustrating. We have marched through this process of environmental damage, regulation and policy time and time again. In fact, that’s how the Clean Air Act came to be. It’s only through a broad interpretation of the Clean Air Act that we have found a litigious way forward. This is not a substitute for climate-change policy, which must, ultimately, be integrated into energy systems, land-use policy and behavior.

RickyRood, • 7:30 PM GMT on June 12, 2014