Monday, February 4, 2013

When Government Gets It

Round and round she goes ...
A while back in a post Groundhog Day & The Climate of Fear we compared the similarity of rebuilding on land that was prone to flood again and again to the Groundhog Day movie, noting that such a policy was doomed to eventually fail.

People who do that have to relive the same damages, misery, danger, and loss of money over and over again, until they get killed or go broke.

On the bright side of things, we noted that entire towns had relocated in the face of that reality and had improved in various ways by so doing (Advance To The High Ground).

In New Climate Catastrophe Policy: Triage - 9 we noticed how intense the denial in the federal government is, and how not one presidential candidate during the election debates mentioned or debated climate catastrophe.

This government "Duh - What Now?" policy is beginning to be supplanted by adult, human conversation about rational responses to what we have done to ourselves:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing to spend as much as $400 million to purchase homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, have them demolished and then preserve the flood-prone land permanently, as undeveloped coastline.

The purchase program, which still requires approval from federal officials, would be among the most ambitious ever undertaken, not only in scale but also in how Mr. Cuomo would be using the money to begin reshaping coastal land use. Residents living in flood plains with homes that were significantly damaged would be offered the pre-storm value of their houses to relocate; those in even more vulnerable areas would be offered a bonus to sell; and in a small number of highly flood-prone areas, the state would double the bonus if an entire block of homeowners agreed to leave.

 The land would never be built on again. Some properties could be turned into dunes, wetlands or other natural buffers that would help protect coastal communities from ferocious storms; other parcels could be combined and turned into public parkland.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which swept through the region on Oct. 29, Mr. Cuomo has adamantly maintained that New York needs to reconsider the way it develops its coast.
(Cuomo Seeking Home Buyouts in Flood Zones). Imagine that, a fully sane observation of reality with a perfectly sane reaction that over the long haul will be shown to have been a government service (the "old way" of doing things?) -- practical and sane all at the same time!

The struggle may not be all about whether or not to do it, the real difficult question may more likely be about how far back the no-build zone should extend.

I say that because the pabulum that some climate scientists have been pressured into spreading (e.g. "Oh, the ocean will only rise an inch a century") will have to be dealt with in the context of dramatically contrasting projections:
Box also provided a large-scale perspective on how much sea level rise humanity has already probably set in motion from the burning of fossil fuels. The answer is staggering: 69 feet, including water from both Greenland and Antarctica, as well as other glaciers based on land from around the world.
Scientists like Box aren't sure precisely when, or how fast, all that water will flow into the seas. They only know that in past periods of Earth's history, levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases and sea levels have followed one another closely, allowing an inference about where sea level is headed as it, in effect, catches up with the greenhouse gases we've unleashed. To be sure, the process will play out over vast time periods—but it has already begun, and sea level is starting to show a curve upward that looks a lot like … well, the semi-notorious "hockey stick."
(69 Feet of Sea Level Rise, Mother Jones, emphasis added). The sea level rise where Hurricane Superstorm Sandy made landfall had already risen over a foot.

So, as Governor Cuomo advocates, it is time to begin to address this problem that affects coastal areas where half of the population in the U.S. make their home.

Did I mention who should pay the lion's share of the damages?

1 comment:

  1. Methane increase in the Arctic is not a good sign: Link