Tuesday, January 30, 2018

California and Climate Crisis: The End?

Luke Butler, The End XXIII
Exhibited as part of Way Bay show at
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).

A week ago, I was enjoying a beautiful drive through California's Central Valley, en route from Berkeley to Los Angeles. I had just dropped a family member at SFO, and so I had had a rare taste of Bay Area rush hour traffic in two directions. It reminded me of how overwhelming US car culture is.
I thought about the pessimism of a friend of mine -- an environmental engineer -- and I also thought about having heard a local pastor describe a pending building project as a "hundred year decision."

"Where are we headed -- really?" I wondered. "What would it mean to take a realistic 100-year perspective on what's likely to happen with the climate crisis?"

I spent a large part of that long drive thinking about it.

It occurred to me that there is analysis that one can learn from -- I had recently read about FEMA revising the flood plain projections for the New York City area, for instance -- and I promised myself that when I got home from my LA trip, I would look up some studies.

If I needed another nudge in that direction, I saw this the next day:

[T]he world’s diplomatic meanderings — from the ineffectual call in Toronto for a reduction in emissions to the summit meeting in Paris, where each country was allowed simply to pledge whatever it could to the global effort — suggest that the diplomats, policymakers and environmentalists trying to slow climate change still cannot cope with its unforgiving math. They are, instead, trying to ignore it. And that will definitely not work.

("Fighting Climate Change? We’re Not Even Landing a Punch" by Eduardo Porter in The New York Times, January 23, 2018.)

So I've begun to do my homework.

Here are two starting points -- in-depth analyses of the situation we face in California:

Rising Seas in California: An Update on Sea-Level Rise Science

California's Flood Future (November 2013): Recommendations for Managing the State's Flood Risk

(Full supporting documents relating to the latter document can be accessed via the document library on the California Department of Water Resources website.)

I encourage everyone to study them, and take seriously their "unforgiving math."

To be continued . . . . 

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