Year 3, Month 7, Day 4: Stop Me Before I Strike Again!

California’s gonna get a soaker sometime soon (SF Chronicle):

Global sea-level rise, induced by the warming climate, will hit California’s coastline harder than the other West Coast states over the coming decades and on through the end of the century, according to a new report from the National Research Council.

Oceans around the world are rising, but seas around California will rise even higher – by more than 3 feet before 2100, the report says. Tide gauges and satellites show that the rate of sea-level rise has increased steadily since 1900, and with each passing decade, storm surges and high waves will put low-lying regions like the Bay Area at heightened risk of dangerous flooding.

The forecasts come from the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which appointed the 12-member committee to investigate earlier estimates of sea-level rise and factor in all new available evidence. The result was a 260-page report issued Friday.

The report was commissioned primarily by California’s Department of Water Resources, along with state agencies from Oregon and Washington in order to aid their planning efforts.

Another job-killing bureaucracy to kill! Sent June 23:

The next few decades are going to be ones of drastic transition for many Americans. Insulated by our wealth and elaborate consumer lifestyle, we have lost sight of the fact that ultimately our lives entirely depend on our increasingly tenuous control of water.

Now, as rising oceans transform our coastlines, inland states anticipate water shortages. Even as our vulnerable aquifers are overused by an expanding population, climate change makes weather more unpredictable and droughts more extreme. It doesn’t take Nostradamus to see that this future isn’t going to be kind to us, despite the glib pronouncements of denialists in politics and the media.

In a sensible world, the National Research Council’s report on global sea-level rise would be a wake-up call for all of us, everywhere. Since our world is anything but sensible, what are the odds that the next Republican “jobs” bill will also eliminate funding for the NRC?

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 5, Day 24: Just Put It On The Pile, OK?

USA Today notes a new report from the National Research Council makes the point that we need to act soon on climate change — and if we don’t, we’ll really be sorry about it:

A report released Thursday by a National Research Council committee cites “the pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare to adapt to its impacts.”

Since the effects of greenhouse gases can take decades to come about, and then persist for hundreds or even thousands of years, waiting for impacts to occur before taking action will likely be too late for meaningful mitigation, according to the report.

Beginning emissions reductions soon will also lower the pressure to make steeper and costlier cuts later. “It is our judgment that the most effective strategy is to begin ramping down emissions as soon as possible,” said committee chair Albert Carnesale of UCLA.

A perfect hook for a letter about how stupid our Congress is. Sent May 13:

Sigh. That just-released report on climate change — the one that says the longer we wait to reduce greenhouse emissions, the worse things will get — you know the one? In a world where reason, factuality and expertise actually played a role in American politics, such a study would have a seismic effect on our Congress. Legislators would move to incorporate its recommendations into law, providing companies with governmental incentives to shrink CO2 footprints, providing states with funding to develop programs of their own, honoring individuals who developed new strategies for environmentally conscious energy usage. Why, if we lived in such a world, the NRC report could make an enormous difference in all our lives!

Unfortunately, in the world we actually inhabit, logic and factuality are political anathema — and the NRC study will likely join other similar studies in the Congressional dustbin. And the Earth gets hotter and hotter.

Warren Senders