Worst-case planning never hurt anybody, and certainly not federal water projects that cost millions of dollars and could be easily undone by climate change and rising sea levels. A new policy now requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to plan for future climate change when designing plans for flood control or other projects.
That could involve building water projects with extra-high levees to hold back future sea-level rise, for example, or allowing the current design to incorporate additional modifications to keep up with climate changes. Existing projects will now also undergo scrutiny by Army Corps engineers.
The policy stems directly from the planning failures and lack of foresight leading up to the Hurricane Katrina disaster that swamped New Orleans, according to Greenwire. Now the Army Corps must follow three minimum guidelines: estimate the effect of historic sea level rise, asses the impact from faster rising seas projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and consider a worst case scenario based on criticism that the IPCC has actually underestimated how quickly glaciers are disintegrating.
This may come as a bit of a "well duh" move, but it's definitely a right step. We floated plenty of suggestions in the past as to how coastal cities such as New Orleans could become more hurricane-proof, and the Army Corps has already begun construction on a $14-billion project to fortify the Big Easy against future storm threats.
When can we start re engineering the climate +1 vote for a new set of inland seas to help regulate temperature.
I just got done reading "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. While Crichton expresses the "anti" view quite well, I wasn't entirely converted to his POV - I still suspect that our planet's current warming trend will continue for a while. Even though we can't yet predict how fast it will heat up, the exact rate of sea level rising, storm frequency, etc., as long as the trend continues, planning for those effects seems like a good idea.
For instance, given the colossal failure of the levees around New Orleans, I doubt that the majority of people will be too upset if the new ones are a little stronger and a little taller - and perhaps somewhat more expensive - than they absolutely need to be.
IMHO, better safe than sorry.
I am a but skeptical here. Depending on the details, this could easily paralyze the corps. Do they have some kind of stabnard to go by, or is there just a general statement to allow for climate change.
Unless a standard can be established, where do you stop? As far as I know there is no consensus on the details of climate change. (and to some extent, if there will be such a thing). Depending on the model that is used, costs won't be up 'a little', they could be up A LOT. And, if there is no mandated guideline, there will be a tendency to be cautious.
Not saying that this isn't a reasonable concept, just there needs to be some specific requirements or it could be a mess.
Worst-case planning never hurt anybody, and certainly not federal water projects that cost millions of dollars and could be easily undone by climate change and rising sea levels.
Yes, those projects could be undone by "climate change and rising sea levels" if "climate change" (formally known as Global warming, but they had to change it because we're no longer warming) existed. You people have been filling my inbox begging me to comeback and read your articles and you give me this? I told you I would resume reading your articles and resubscribe to your magazine when you present both sides of the issue and fire Stuart Fox. There is no true evidence showing Global warming exists, it is just propaganda. It is just to make money. Give me something worthwhile to read or leave me alone.
hey serious the names changed to climate change for a reason.....the climate is changing doesn't take much to realise this, is it for the better or worse, matter's where yeah live, and how you live......the sea is rising, the continents are sinking,.....and before yeah say it yes this might all be naturally occuring, but that's not going to stop it from destroying the planet for the supportation of human life......(that being the whole problem, we can't continue to increase in population or even stay at these levels if this trend continue's)
This troubles me. Now we have to spend more money on planning and developement rather than build a project. And wait there is more. If the climate "changes" midway through project we may well have to replan the entire thing. I don't know about the rest of you but this will delay every single Corp of Army Enginers projects. That means the Damn or road they may be working on now to be completed next year will take a little more time.
No one who is doing anything to preserve New Orleans is preparing for global warming.
If you really wanted to prepare it, you would buldoze it, and move it inland, or landfill it up to a level where it isn't below see level.
The problem isn't sea-storms - they will always hit and damage costal areas, it is building below sea level where when the sea receeds, the water doesn't.
If you really wanted to fix the issue, you wouldn't address symptoms, but would instead address problems. Massive solar desalination plants for agriculture in the sahara region, for example, would do much for putting carbon into agriculture and suffering peoplegroups.
"The policy stems directly from the planning failures and lack of foresight leading up to the Hurricane Katrina disaster that swamped New Orleans, according to Greenwire."
That's interesting, since what happened in New Orleans in 2005 had exactly ZERO to do with climate change.
"Now we have to spend more money on planning and developement rather than build a project."
I'm reminded of the de-motivator for government: "If you think we've got problems, wait til you see our solutions!"
It's all about perpetuating government waste while scaring the public into agreeing with the stupidity.
Exactly. Why would you build a city in a river delta 15 feet below both the river and the adjoining sea? It makes no sense at all.
Thanks all for the comments. I've talked with scientists who marvel at how people are willing to build houses on the coast of Long Island, let alone build New Orleans. But they also recognize that there's other factors involved when people choose where to live. So I'm not really going to get into the "why build" issue.
Still, it's pretty reasonable to assume that if you're going to build in a risky area, whether it's on top of an earthquake zone or in Tornado Alley, you should take precautions. The Dutch have lived under threat of flooding for years, but they adapted by ensuring that their levees and seawall defenses are more than adequate -- even New York City has recently looked to the Netherlands for inspiration on how to deal with rising sea levels.
Yes, Hurricane Katrina would have flooded New Orleans regardless of global warming, and I'm not aware of responsible scientists claiming that it directly caused the Katrina disaster (if any do claim that, shame on them). A much bigger factor behind storm damages comes from increasingly dense concentrations of people living on the coasts.
But the lesson from Katrina was that you prepare for the realistic worst case scenarios involving storm surges and sea levels. The Army Corps clearly does not want to have a Katrina repeat, and so it's wisely choosing to recognize the likely sea levels in the near and distant future. Whatever your view on the human contributions to climate change, ignoring the reality of rising sea levels won't help.
P.S. I specifically mentioned "global warming" and "climate change" as references to different things.
As a resident of Louisiana, I remember that week in August 2005, when a bunch of propaganda in the Gulf of Mexico helped power up one of the most powerful storms ever to strike our state. Yeah, our local weather forecasters and the folks at NOAA must have been in the employ of the vast AGW conspiracy, mentioning that the waters of the Gulf were unusually warm compared to previous years. And when Katrina, pumped up by the heat from the Gulf of Mexico, slammed New Orleans and the Missippi Gulf Coast with unexpected severity, the levees collapsed from all the propaganda. I also remember after the storm knocked out electricity fanning my then-pregnant wife with whatever I could find in my house, trying to keep a heat index of over 100 degrees from causing our kid to pop out two months ahead of schedule. And to top it all off, within two weeks, all that propaganda in the Gulf fueled another huge storm that struck within 300 miles of Katrina (most people forget Rita, which hit the less populated western part of Louisiana). Sorry if I find these assurances that Global Warming is a myth created by Al Gore and a vague conspiracy of leftists a bit shallow, but having lived through one of the first major disasters likely influenced by global warming, and possessing enough knowledge of the science involved, I give the claims of the "skeptics" about as much weight as any theory of a flat earth. The levees of New Orleans were meant to protect the city from a weak category 3 storm, and were probably not as well built as they should have been, but Katrina was fueled into a mega storm by Gulf water that had been warmed beyond the averages of previous years, to the extent that it could provide energy for another major storm following closely behind Katrina. Hopefully, the Corps will consider the effects of an increasingly hot Gulf of Mexico and other effects of climate change in their future projects. Lives do depend on it.
You fail to recall the storm that hit Galveston in 1900 which killed 8,000 people. It hit with a storm surge of 15ft, despite its occurrence at low tide. Winds were 110 mph, making it a Cat 4 storm at landfall, just like Katrina. Was that global warming too?
What is the temperature(avg) this year compared with others? (I'll give you a hint, it is in the top five coolest since records began.)
I'm surprised that Gore doesn't have a copyright on the "flat earthers" quote. How about you quit watching 60 minutes and look at the actual data.
Don't slow him down with facts, he is on a roll. Next thing you know he'll be telling us how the CIA killed Kennedy.
LOL... yeah, can't take that 60 minutes to seriously (oops, made a play on words). They're obviously part of that vast left-wing conspiracy to hurt the profits of Exxon shareholders.
I'm afraid the comment about Galveston would have a little more potency, exept that I don't remember the 1900 storm being followed within 2 weeks by an only slightly weaker category 3 storm. Similar to the pattern last year, when Gustav struck the central part of this state, and Ike followed up by hitting ... yep, Galveston, and flooding coastal Louisiana with a tidal surge that did millions in damage. In the past, we had devastating hurricanes along the Gulf Coast once every decade or two. Now, with warmer Gulf temperatures, when the prevailing winds don't abort these monsters, we seem to be getting more of the bigger storms (the total number of storms hasn't changed much, but the number that reach above Category 2 does seem to be on the rise). I could maybe conclude that has something to do with warmer Gulf of Mexico waters, just like melting glaciers and polar ice caps could be an effect of warmer temperatures, but then again, such a leap of logic must be the result of a conspiracy-prone paranoid mind.
The playground bully tactics of the anti-AGW crowd are amusing, but still don't hide the fact that in reality, you still are a minority in the scientifically literate community. Ganging up on a single poster, personally insulting a particular contributing writer to the web page, or slinging ad hominem attacks with reckless abandon don't make your position any more credible than it is, which currently isn't very much.
If there is such a strong correlation between CO2 induced warming and hurricanes, why haven't there been more this year while we have record levels of CO2 in the atmosphere? In fact, this years has been one of the least active seasons on record.
I'm implying that statements about a causal link between CO2 and hurricanes are not supported by reality. I'm relatively confident that I could look back through the hurricane record and find some category 4 and 5 storms which were followed within two weeks by another powerful storm, say around the times of Alicia, Camille or Andrew.
In fact, post 2000, hurricane frequency is down and severity is flat. Oddly, it was the 1990's that saw an increase in the number of tropical storms relative to the average (source: Ryan N. Maue, Florida State Univ). The last two years are record lows for tropical storm frequency while being record highs for the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. So to infer that CO2 induced warming is causing more hurricanes doesn't seem to be supported by the evidence.
As for any perceived bullying, I'm sorry you feel that way. You can imagine then how skeptics feel when they're called "crackpots" or "deniers" when they reasonably point out flaws in AGW theory, especially with the support of the media, the president and the congress. Amongst the larger public, polls now indicate that the theory is losing public support. Only time will tell who's right, but as you know, I'm betting that there's very little to worry about with regard to global warming.