Community Resilience – Lessons from Katrina

This report was published in 2008. While there are problems with some of the assumptions, New Orleans is no better prepared today than in 2008 because none of the sociological factors have changed – denial is still the operative planning assumption.

————————————–

From Robert Kates:

Here is a summary of eight major findings on resilience from the history of New Orleans that will appear in a forthcoming article with Tom Wilbanks on adaptation and resilience and is based on our CARRI report (Colten, Kates, and Laska 2008).

Climate Change Threats to National Security

National Security and the Threat of Climate Change

In 2006 CNA convened a Military Advisory Board (MAB) of eleven retired three-star and four-star admirals and generals to assess the impact of global climate change on key matters of national security, and to lay the groundwork for mounting responses to the threats found.

In April 2007, CNA released the MAB’s landmark report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, that articulates the concept of climate change acting as a “threat multiplier” for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world and identifies key challenges that must be planned for now if they are to be met effectively in the future.

CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION DOD Can Improve Infrastructure Planning and Processes to Better Account for Potential Impacts, GAO-14-446 (June 2014) (Original link with flooding video)

What GAO Found
In its Fiscal Year 2012 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, the Department of Defense (DOD) identified climate change phenomena such as rising temperatures and sea levels as potentially impacting its infrastructure, and officials at sites GAO visited or contacted noted actual impacts they had observed. For example, according to DOD officials, the combination of thawing permafrost, decreasing sea ice, and rising sea levels on the Alaskan coast has increased coastal erosion at several Air Force radar early warning and communication installations. Impacts on DOD’s infrastructure from this erosion have included damaged roads, seawalls, and runways. In addition, officials on a Navy installation told GAO that sea level rise and resulting storm surge are the two largest threats to their waterfront infrastructure. For instance, they are concerned about possible storm surge during work on a submarine that will be cut in half while sitting in a dry dock. Officials explained that if salt water floods the submarine’s systems, it could result in severe damage.
DOD has begun to assess installations’ vulnerability to potential climate change impacts and directed its planners to incorporate consideration of climate change into certain installation planning efforts. Further, it is a DOD strategic goal to consider sustainability, including climate change adaptation, in its facility investment decisions. However, GAO identified some limitations with these efforts. Specifically:
• DOD has begun collecting data on historic and potential future vulnerabilities from coastal locations (installations and associated sites) and is developing regional sea-level rise scenarios for 704 coastal locations to be used following the collection of these data. However, it has not yet developed a plan or milestones for completing these tasks, including when it expects to finish data collection on a total of 7,591 locations worldwide. Without a plan, including interim milestones to gauge progress, DOD may not finish its assessments in a timely and complete manner.
• DOD guidance requires that both installation master planning and natural resources planning account for certain potential impacts of climate change, but the implementation of these requirements across the department varies. Installation planners said that they lack key definitions and updated guidance on construction and renovation going beyond current building codes to account for climate change. Without additional information, installation planners will be unlikely to consistently account for climate change impacts in their Master Plans and Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans.
• Installation officials rarely propose climate change adaptation projects because the services’ processes for approving and funding military construction projects do not include climate change adaptation in the criteria used to rank potential projects. As a result, installation planners may believe that climate change adaptation projects are unlikely to successfully compete with other military construction projects for funding. Without clarification of these processes, DOD may face challenges in meeting its strategic goals and the services may miss opportunities to make their facilities more resilient to the potential impacts of climate change.

 

Eaarth – A mini-review

Eaarth: Making Life on a Tough New Planet, Bill McKibben, Time Books (2010)

First, my prejudice in reading this book – I was looking for a book to introduce law students to global warming and to the idea of adaption, i.e., how we will need to change due to global warming, not just how we might try to avoid global warming.

Ocean Rise and Alaskan Native Villages

 

(GAO 2003 report) – Report to Congressional Requesters by the United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-04-142, December 2003. Congress directed GAO to study Alaska Native villages affected by flooding and erosion and to (1) determine the extent to which these villages are affected, (2) identify federal and state flooding and erosion programs, (3) determine the current status of efforts to respond to flooding and erosion in nine villages, and (4) identify alternatives that Congress may wish to consider when providing assistance for flooding and erosion. (PDF 5.25 MB)

 

A Deadly Coast

Southern Louisiana is the most endangered land in the United States. Some risk is due to man made factors, but much of the risk is secondary to long-term geologic and weather cycles that have periodically raised and then inundated the United States well into the Midwest. The core threat to people and culture in Southern Louisiana is building on land that was already headed for inundation before there was any human intervention. Man has hastened the process, and, with levees, denied its existence.

This Blog will consider the factors affecting coastal areas including global warming. While due attention will be paid to short term issues such as evacuations and disaster response, the primary objective is to explore how man can retreat from endangered coastal areas in a orderly fashion. If such a retreat can be envisioned and enabled, then lives, money, and cultures can be saved. If not, pursuing current strategies of denial and patronage-driven public works projects will only assure that all three are lost.

About the blog

Southern Louisiana is the most endangered land in the United States. Some risk is due to man made factors, but much of the risk is secondary to long-term geologic and weather cycles that have periodically raised and then inundated the United States well into the Midwest. The core threat to people and culture in Southern Louisiana is building on land that was already headed for inundation before there was any human intervention. Man has hastened the process, and, with levees, denied its existence.

This Blog will consider the factors affecting coastal areas including global warming. While due attention will be paid to short term issues such as evacuations and disaster response, the primary objective is to explore how man can retreat from endangered coastal areas in a orderly fashion. If such a retreat can be envisioned and enabled, then lives, money, and cultures can be saved. If not, pursuing current strategies of denial and patronage-driven public works projects will only assure that all three are lost.

Edward P. Richards, JD, MPH
Director, Program in Law, Science, and Public Health
Clarence W. Edwards Professor of Law
LSU Law School
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-1000
richards@lsu.edu
WWW – http://biotech.law.lsu.edu
Blog – /coast/
SSRN – http://ssrn.com/author=222637