Exam Blog

I will post answers to your questions here, as well as any information relevant to the exam.


For the first question, I just wanted to know if you meant to cover the key provisions between the Standard Flood Insurance Policy Forms, Dwelling Policy Form, and General Property Policy Form when you refer to the “usual homeowners policy” and the “causality insurance policy?” I’m just a little confused about what that is referring to. Thank you!

For the flood policy, use the one we discussed in class: National Flood Insurance Program Dwelling Form Standard Flood Insurance Policy F-122 / October 2015 for the flood insurance. While we did not use a specific standard form the private homeowners property and casualty insurance, we went over the nature of these policies in our class discussion of the insurance cases and in our discussion of the FEMA form.

 


> 1. May we include maps, pictures, charts, and/or diagrams in our final?
> 2. If so, is there a limit regarding the number that can be included?

Yes, you may use illustrations. There is no specific limit, but use common sense – a hundred pages of illustrations would be excessive and detract from the content of you exam. Scale anything you use so that it can be successfully printed on an 8.5×11 sheet. Make sure your illustrations do illustrate your points.

April 27

Class Evaluations

Complete these before class or during the first 10 minutes of class.

News

One of the most worrisome predictions about climate change may be coming true

Pruitt requests comments on rule to limit the use of scientific research by the EPA

Lempert, Robert J., Giacomo Marangoni, Klaus Keller, and Jessica Duke, Is Climate Restoration an Appropriate Climate Policy Goal?. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2018. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2442.html

Since the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, society has organized efforts to limit the magnitude of climate change around the concept of stabilization — that is, accepting some climate change but holding it within acceptable bounds. This report offers an initial exploration of the concept of climate restoration — that is, approaches that seek to return atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to preindustrial levels within one to two generations. Using a simple integrated assessment model, the analysis examines climate restoration through the lens of risk management under conditions of deep uncertainty, exploring the technology, economic, and policy conditions under which it might be possible to achieve various climate restoration goals and the conditions under which society might be better off with (rather than without) a climate restoration goal. This report also explores near-term actions that might help manage the risks of climate restoration.

Assignment

Finish materials from last class. Review the restoration plan and the future of Louisiana.

Navigation Issues: Big River Coalition: Comments on Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Permit Application (2017)

Big River Coalition

Pictorial Account and Landscape Evolution of the Crevasses near Fort St. Philip, Louisiana  (Rotated Maps – Port St. Phillip crevasse study)

 

April 24

News

Climate gentrification: from theory to empiricism in Miami-Dade County, Florida

St. Bernard Par. Gov’t v. United States, 887 F.3d 1354 (Fed. Cir. 2018)

DCC dismisses MRGO takings claim.

Assignment

Finish materials from last class.

Diversion Basics – Notes for the Expert Panel, 10 AM, Tuesday, 28 October 2014, Baton Rouge by R. Eugene Turner

An excellent overview of the science behind river diversions and why they do not build land. The starting point for learning about diversions.

The Coastal Master Plan WWW site

Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast – 2017- Final

Read the Executive Summary

West Bay Diversion

Pictorial Account and Landscape Evolution of the Crevasses near Fort St. Philip, Louisiana 

 

April 19

News

Heat, sea-level rise threaten Virginians’ health

Louisiana Senate panel questions ‘sinking’ billions in coastal restoration

The Baird Team Solution for the Delta

I remembered this one incorrectly. They do divert the river flow, but on the west side, not the east. We will discuss why this scheme, with the multiple diversions, is problematic. I think it was  the recently retired head of the Corps who talked about rechanneling the river, i.e., cutting a new channel to the Gulf north of the existing mouth. We will talk about these issues next week.

Assignment

This is one of the defining (recent) extreme weather disasters in the US. It is also a local story, telling us much about the failure of state and local government, as well as problems in the legal system that will loom large in future disasters.

What was the role of state and local authorities?

Should Katrina have been a surprise? – Washing Away – Definitely take a look at these stories. (The titles of the articles do not display correctly, but if you click on their they open.)

The Mythical Hurricane Response Plan – If this had be followed, there would have been a lot fewer deaths.

The Hurricane Pam Exercise, in which Louisiana promised FEMA that it was ready for a major hurricane.

Preparing For A Catastrophe: The Hurricane Pam Exercise Hearing Before The Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress, Second Session, January 24, 2006.

The Cases

Court dismisses Industrial Canal cases for failure of FTCA notice – In re Breaches, No. 06-2268 – 2008 WL 4449970 (E.D.La. 2008)

Read [34] – [46] This notice problem cuts across all the cases.

 In re Katrina Canal Breaches Consol. Lit., 533 F.Supp.2d 615 (E.D.La. 2008)

Read p. 26-35. This is the analysis of the application of the FCA that will carry through the case. In this opinion, it is applied to flood walls on the 17th Street Canal.

In re Katrina Canal Breaches Consolidated Litigation, 647 F.Supp.2d 644 (E.D.La. Nov 18, 2009) Final opinion and appendix.

Use these slides as you skim the opinion to find the core issues: In re Katrina Canal Breaches Consolidated Litigation, 647 F.Supp.2d 644

 In re Katrina Levee Breaches, 5th Cir, Round II

The very rare situation where the 3 judge panel overrules itself, rather than the case going on to en banc review. Read [51] to the end. Before getting to the DFE, the court slightly modified the lower court’s interpretation of Sec. 702, but still focuses only on the MRGO and not the waters or the levees.

April 17

News

Mass Supreme Court dismisses Exxon’s challenge to the MA Attorney General’s investigation into the climate change issues.

Massachusetts Civil Investigative Demand to Exxon – 2016

This the subpoena that is at issue in the Mass case.

Costliest U.S. tropical cyclones tables updated (2018)

Cars threaten climate goals in blue states

Assignment

Hurricane Betsy

Remembering Betsy: WVUE-TV 09/1990 

Watch this outside of class – pay special attention to the levee comments at about 12:30 and the ending comments at 27.

LBJ and Russel Long right after Hurricane Betsy: https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/educational-resources/lbj-and-senator-russell-long-on-hurricane-betsy

The Betsy cases against the Corps

Graci v. United States, 456 F.2d 20 (5th Cir. 1971)

The Hurricane Betsy case. How does the court get past Flood Control Act immunity? What is the Louisiana law it uses for the liability phase of the FTCA analysis? What is remanded?

Graci v. U.S., 435 F.Supp. 189 (E.D.La. 1977)

What did the court decide on remand and how might this be relevant to the Hurricane Katrina Cases?

The Supreme Court finally rules on the FCA

Central Green Co. v. United States, 531 U.S. 425 (2001)

The key Supreme Court case on Flood Control Act immunity for dual use projects. Think about how this modifies Graci.

Slides – Graci and Central Green

Resources

David Roth, Louisiana Hurricane History (2010).

Scan this to get a sense of how frequently hurricanes hit Louisiana. It is not surprise that Louisiana law does not treat hurricanes as acts of God that will excuse legal obligations.

MRGO

Albert E Cowdrey, Land’s End, a History of the New Orleans District US Army Corps of Engineers, and Its Lifelong Battle With the Lower Mississippi and Other Rivers Wending Their Way To the Sea. US Army Corps of Engineers. (1977) (large file)

LM Alperin, History of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. US Army Corps of Engineers, Study NWS-83-9 (1983)

These both contain historical information on MRGO and where it fit into the larger navigation system.

Charles L Bretschneider & J Ian Collins, Storm Surge Effects of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet: Study A (National Engineering Science Company) (1966)

Showing that the MRGO did not increase flooding with Hurricane Betsy

Mississippi Delta Subsidence in Action – Fort Proctor

April 12

News

Houston adopts serious restrictions on floodplain development.

Even the proponents of LA coastal restoration are beginning to admit that there are problems.

A huge water current might be weaker because of warming

Assignment

We are going to do some serious case reading. Prior to the passage of the Federal Tort Claims Act in 1946, you could only sue the federal government for takings and for contract claims. You could not sue for torts. The first two cases deal with the construction of the then new FTCA. Be sure to read the dissent as well in Dalehite – many contemporary scholars still think the dissent was right. Allen homes in on what it means to do something terrible on purpose and what that means for liability.

Federal Tort Claims Act

§ 2674 – Liability of United States
§ 2680 – Exceptions
§ 2672 – Administrative adjustment of claims

Dalehite v. U.S., 346 U.S. 15, 73 S.Ct. 956, 97 L.Ed. 1427 (1953) – history of the FTCA. Read paragraphs 28-34.

Allen v. U.S., 816 F.2d 1417 (10th Cir. 1987), Certiorari Denied by Allen v. U.S., 484 U.S. 1004 (1988)

National Mfg. Co. v. United States. Great Western Paint Mfg. Corp., 210 F.2d 263 (8th Cir. 1954)

Does immunity under the Flood Control Act of 1928 survive the FTCA? The FCA is critical to understanding the potential liability of the federal government for flood control projects.

Slides – Introduction to Suing the Government

Resources

Texas City Disaster

Form 95

April 10

News

Are We Prepared for the Next Mega Eruption?

Royal Dutch Shell Climate Report (1988)

Skim this – it is an excellent primer on climate change as of 1988.

Assignment

National Flood Insurance Materials

Carry over flood materials from last class.

Just published – Oliver EJ Wing et al., Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States, 13 Environmental Research Letters 034023 (2018)

Just read the abstract for class.

National Flood Insurance Program – Dwelling Form – Standard Flood Insurance Policy – F-122 / October 2015 – this is the actual residential flood insurance policy (Standard Flood Insurance Policy Forms – Current)

Materials for discussion: Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program – this is the official FAQ on the policies and the program – par. 42, et seq. (2011 is the current version) (Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program – edited for discussion)

Murky Waters: Increasing Transparency and Accountability in the National Flood Insurance Program – add for reference in class.

Read these and figure out what is covered, what is excluded, and what the zones mean.

Why is grandfathering a problem with sea level rise?

Restrictions on suing the National Flood Insurance Program

Gibson v. American Bankers Insurance Co., 289 F.3d 943 (6th Cir. 2002)

DeCosta v. Allstate Ins. Co., 730 F.3d 76, 77 (1st Cir. 2013)

April 5

News

2017 and Later Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards

See page 74867 for the incentives Mr. Barro brought up at the end of class.

How U.S. Fuel Economy Standards Compare With the Rest of the World’s

Mississippi Citizen’s Politics

Exxon – 2018 Energy and Carbon Summary – for shareholders.

Demand could drop 20% by 2040.

Exxon 2018 Outlook for Energy – business report.

It is more likely that demand will increase by 20%.

Assignment

More breaking news – Mid-term Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Model Year 2022-2025 Light-duty Vehicles

Search for climate and for carbon.

42 U.S. Code § 7543 – State standards – The California Exemption

This is the proposed rule that will be published in the FR to modify the emissions standards. Read this to see how the EPA builds the case for the court that justifies these changes from Obama’s findings in January 2017. Look at the statute to see EPA’s potential attack on the waiver. We will discuss it in class.

Resources

Digital flood maps – look up your house or apartment and other places you are familiar with. See how the flood zones work.

Paper Flood Maps – FEMA Flood Map Portal

Sample pre-digital Flood Maps: Baton RougeNew OrleansVenice (these need to magnified to see the detail)

Flood Map Zones

 New Orleans’s New Flood Maps: An Outline for Disaster

April 3

News

More on Pruitt’s war on science

Trump to roll back landmark climate rules on cars

Assignment

Breaking news – Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Healey, S.D.N.Y., 1:17-cv-2301, 3/29/18

The NYDC dismisses Exxon’s lawsuit against the Attorneys General of New York and Massachusetts. This case includes some of the claims that were also brought in the discovery proceeding against the city attorneys in the California climate change cases. We will look at this to explore Exxon’s strategy and to access where the state actions might go now that this case has been dismissed. We will also talk about the chance that this will be overturned on appeal.

Younger Abstention – for background in reading the case.

Louisiana Insurance Law

Before we get into the details of the National Flood Insurance Program, we are going to look at basic Louisiana insurance law for home owners insurance coverage of flooding events.

Sher v. Lafayette Ins. Co., 988 So.2d 186 (La. 2008)

Legal standards for construction of insurance policies. [39] (you only need to read through [72])

Barbara Landry v. Louisiana Citizens Property Ins. Co., 983 So.2d 66 (La. 2008)

This looks at the Louisiana Valued Policy Law and how it affects claims when there is a total loss. [65]

Resources (if we have enough time this class)

Digital flood maps – look up your house or apartment and other places you are familiar with. See how the flood zones work.

Paper Flood Maps – FEMA Flood Map Portal

Sample pre-digital Flood Maps: Baton RougeNew OrleansVenice (these need to magnified to see the detail)

Flood Map Zones

 New Orleans’s New Flood Maps: An Outline for Disaster

March 29

News

Is river water causing toxic green algae on Lake Pontchartrain?

Assignment

Material from Bob Jacobson, our speaker, to review:

Debunking the Seven Big Myths of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration

Modernizing Post-NFIP, Climate-Change Flood Risk Management

Hurricane Surge Hazard Primer

Introduction to Flood Risk

Our speaker’s Environmental, Coastal, & Flood Hydrology www site.

Preliminary Report for the 2016 Flood in the Amite Basin

 

March 27

News

Congress Ignores Trump’s Priorities for Science Funding

Assignment

We will continue our study of the delta and flooding.  Read this article about Leeville:

Buried at sea: As cemeteries on Louisiana’s coast wash away, so does history

Resources

Mississippi Delta Cycle Slides – Part 1

The 2016 Louisiana Flood: A Failure of Risk Perception. 

 

March 22

News

Exxon will not dispute climate science in court’s climate tutorial

Motion to dismiss in San Francisco climate case

This does not raise new issues, but is a good review of the theories for why common law claims should not be allowed.

Assignment

We are going to talk about the delta hydrology, geology, and paleoclimatology.

No specific reading assignment, but check back for resource materials to review.

Mississippi Delta Cycle Slides – Part 1

March 20

News

The struggle to control the Mississippi River

Assignment

Breaking news! The remand order in the other California cases is out, and it granted remand, in conflict with the San Francisco cases. Read the (short) San Mateo Remand Order for class.

The intersection of the population debate and the climate change skepticism

One of the roots of the climate change skepticism is the backlash from projections made in the late 1960s and early 1970s that overpopulation would lead to widespread famine and a shortage of natural resources by the 1990s. The primary document was The Population Bomb. Read Chapter 1 from the Population Bomb for class. The second was The Limits of Growth. This is a more technical report from a group of MIT scientists. It did not make the same specific predictions as The Population Bomb, but it did find that over consumption, combined with increasing population, was an acute threat that would eventually lead to critical resource shortages.

National Security and Climate Change

A key issue in climate and national security is the legal status of climate refugees:

Asylum & the Rights of Refugees

Economic Migrants

How are the rights of refugees under the International Refugee Convention different from those of economic migrants? (Economic migrants have no rights.)

Implications for US National Security of Anticipated Climate Change (2016)

Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission

 

March 15

News

Science goes to court. Does skepticism equal ‘perjury’?

Assignment

Paris Climate Agreement – background information

The Paris Agreement Summary

Concentrate on these two and the slides – Slides: Overview of the Paris Agreement

Resources

Paris Climate Agreement – Official Text

Kyoto Protocol

March 13

News

Bonnet Carré Spillway Opens for 12th Time Since 1931 to Protect New Orleans

The Dark Warning of an Early Spring https://nyti.ms/2tJ80Of

The E.P.A. Chief Wanted a Climate Science Debate. Trump’s Chief of Staff Stopped Him. https://nyti.ms/2GbRNDE

Assignment

(From last class, so you should have read them)

Correction – Oakland and San Francisco climate cases removed to federal court and held there.

Sorry about that.

Exxon sues activists and local officials for for pre-litigation discovery.

Read both of these carefully. Does the Juliana ruling mean all climate litigation will end up in federal court? Exxon is making serious charges and some of them are right on point – can you claim you are washing away for damages and that you are fine for your bond prospectus? What might this mean for coastal Louisiana?

New case

Conservation Law Foundation, Inc. v. Shell Oil Products US (2016)

This is a long case which is very important from the Louisiana perspective. It is a series of claims against Shell for not preparing an industrial facility for climate change driven flooding. It is based on RCRA and the CWA. You need to figure out what is going on. Work backwards from the claims section, starting on page 60.

March 8

News

Arctic has warmest winter on record: ‘Never seen anything like this’

Appeals Court Rejects Trump Administration Request to Kill Juliana – USA v. USDC-ORE, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco)

Assignment

We are going to look at the rest of Juliana.

Oakland and San Francisco climate cases removed to federal court and held there.

This is the opinion of the federal court blocking removal of these cases back to the state courts.

San Mateo County Full Complaint

These are still in state court. Read all of this, but read carefully from page 78 to the end – the causes of action and the demand. Think about whether these cases should be preempted by EPA regulation. Also think about causation problems. This case is the template for the other CA cases and is a good overview of the legal claims meant to beat preemption.

Exxon sues activists and local officials for for pre-litigation discovery.

We are not going to get to this one until next class, but you might start reading it as time allows. This is Exxon’s counterattack on the California cases. Notice that this is filed in Texas, which provides for court ordered discovery before litigation is filed. This as intended to preserve fleeting evidence, such as dying declarations of folks whose estate would later file tort claims.

 

March 6

News

The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Department of Defense Installations on Atolls in the Pacific Ocean

Storms pummel Bering Sea islands after ‘crazy’ ice melt-off

Assignment

Util. Air Regulatory Grp. v. E.P.A., 134 S. Ct. 2427, 189 L. Ed. 2d 372 (2014) – Court limits the expansion of GHG regs under NAAQS. official version from the court – 12-1146_4g18

UARG Study Guide

This case raises the issue of whether the CAA can really be used to regulate GHGs.  It gets into the guts of the CAA and is difficult to sort out. I have annotated the case to help you think about it and to facilitate our class discussion.

I am adding a second case, the children’s crusade case to this assignment. I am hoping we can get started on this case on Tuesday, and the weekend will give you time to ready both cases. We will read the public trust materials for Tuesday, starting at [92].

Juliana v. United States, No. 6:15-CV-01517-TC, 2016 WL 6661146 (D. Or. Nov. 10, 2016) – Children have standing under public trust doctrine to bring climate action.

Juliana – Oregon Children – Dist Court Order – Study Guide

March 1

News

Ancient carbon is coming from Arctic soil. It might be fine, but it might be terrible.

Assignment

Annotated: Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, 74 FR 66496 Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We are going to look at the Endangerment Finding in more detail. I have highlighted the key parts so you can look at the highlights.

Clean Power Plan Final Rule, 80 FR 64662 (October 23, 2015)

Look at it to get a feel for the length and complexity. We are not going to read it.

Slides – Clean Power Plan Summary

The Clean Power Plan summary sheets – these are short explanations of the provisions of the Clean Power Plan. These are mostly very short and we are going to work through them.

February 27

News

Left to Louisiana’s Tides, a Village Fights for Time

The latest New York Times story about LA coastal woes.

Trump ‘knocked it out of the park’ on Paris — Pruitt

Assignment

We are going to read the two key cases that were filed before the preemption ruling in American Power. We want to read these to see what path is left for future lawsuits, which we will read after we have looked at the Endangerment Finding and UARG (tailoring rule case).

Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., 839 F. Supp. 2d 849 (S.D. Miss. 2012) aff’d, 718 F.3d 460 (5th Cir. 2013) –  read the case and the recusal story.

Native Vill. of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., 696 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2012)

Background on Alaskan Villages

Location

A Wrenching Choice for Alaska Towns in the Path of Climate Change

Alaskan Village, Citing Climate Change, Seeks Disaster Relief In Order To Relocate

The Village That Will Be Swept Away

Resources

The Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases, 74 FR 18886 (April 24, 2009)

February 22

News

Matthias Mengel et al., Committed sea-level rise under the Paris Agreement and the legacy of delayed mitigation action, 9 Nature Communications 601 (2018), http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-02985-8

Interesting analysis. It assumed a simple linear increase in sea level rise based on temperature, excluding any factors that would increase the rate such as breaking down of the Greenland ice sheet. With this assumption, it evaluates the continued sea level rise if we rapidly got to zero GHG emissions. (Both are unrealistic assumptions, but they were looking for limiting cases.)

IF CLIMATE CHANGE WRECKS YOUR CITY, CAN IT SUE EXXON?

Assignment

American Eletric Power Company, Inc. v. Connecticut, 131 S.Ct. 2527, 180 L.Ed.2d 435 (2011) – Study Guide

This case will take on special significance if the EPA loses the ability to regulate GHGs.

February 20

News

The Trump Budget cuts most climate research across the federal government. The infrastructure proposal will effectively eliminate NEPA and ESA review.

Voluntary relocation, construction limits among the options to deal with rising water along Louisiana coast

 Assignment

Massachusetts v. E.P.A., 127 S.Ct. 1438 (2007)

Study Guide – Massachusetts v. E.P.A., 127 S.Ct. 1438 (2007)

Slides – Mass. v. EPA

Most of you have read Mass v. EPA at least once. We are going to pick it apart. I will also do a quick introduction to notice and comment rulemaking for those who have not had administrative law. This is the heart of all US climate law – to the extent that the US has any climate law left – so read carefully.

Resources

Slides – Introduction to Rulemaking

APA 553 – Notice and Comment Rulemaking

Reg Map for Informal Rulemaking – pdf

The Federal Register

LA Register

Electronic Notice and Comment

What does a rule look like?

Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States’’; Proposed Rule

Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States’’; Final Rule

 

February 13/15

No class. Mardi Gras Break on the 13th and I am presenting at a symposia in U of Arkansas on the 15th.

February 8

News

Today only!! Bargain pricing on Edward Abbey Bestsellers Bundle

Abbey was one of the philosophers of the environmental movement in the 1960s. He also wrote humorous eco-terrorism/civic action novels.

Settlement reached over clean coal fiasco in Mississippi

Clean Coal” Project in Mississippi Shuts Down

Renewables Aren’t Enough. Clean Coal Is The Future

Royal Dutch Shell Joining the Renewable Energy Bandwagon

Interview with Pruitt from EPA Feb 7, 2018.

The climate comments begin at 4:20. Listen to this, especially his characterization of the EPA authority to regulate GHGs, since our next topic is the EPA’s authority over GHGs.

EPA Chief Pruitt Refuses to Link CO2 and Global Warming

Well below 2 °C: Mitigation strategies for avoiding dangerous to catastrophic climate changes

Is there a 5% chance of catastrophic warming by 2050?

If the world builds every coal plant that’s planned, climate change goals are doomed, scientists say

Assignment

Continue with our discussion of the mechanisms of climate change. Read to page 113 in the Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Fifth Assessment Report.

We finish our general discussion of climate science this class, so read the materials and be prepared to ask your questions.

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Enhanced Graphics for Discussion – revised

February 6

News

Climate change or global warming?

Cape Town water crisis

Will Old River fail? – thanks to Mr. DuBos.

Great story about Old River

Assignment

Continue with our discussion of the mechanisms of climate change. Read pages 56-91 in the Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Fifth Assessment Report. Make sure you understand the total carbon budget, which was part of the clip from Newsroom. This is the effect on climate change of burning different amounts of fossil fuels in the future. Where do we end up if the oil companies get to extract and sell all their reserves? This is key to understanding the climate change lawsuits against oil companies – while they are asking for damages, they ultimately want to prevent oil companies from extracting and selling their reserves.

February 1

News

Running out of water in South Africa

The temperature in Siberia rose 100 degrees. The northern U.S. may pay a frigid price.

Assignment

We are going to continue with the material from last class.

January 30

Since we missed the first class, I am carrying over some materials from that class.

Climate in the News

CHANGING THE DIGITAL CLIMATE: How Climate Change Web Content is Being Censored Under the Trump Administration (2018)

Weather Channel Founder (and climate change denier) John Coleman Dies

The Extremes of the Climate Debate

We are all going to die – soon – from Season 3, Episode 3 of Newsroom:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM0uZ9mfOUI

Is this so crazy? See: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/11/climate-desk-fact-checks-aaron-sorkins-climate-science-newsroom

It is just a liberal plot:

http://climatechangedispatch.com/

It might be getting warmer, but who knows why?

http://www.drroyspencer.com/my-global-warming-skepticism-for-dummies/

A thoughtful skeptic:

https://judithcurry.com/

Evaluating science in the media

The Canadian House Hippo

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

This is the core source for climate information. We are going to look at its basics so we understand where the climate science we will discuss comes from.

IPCC Home

Assignment

What is the IPCC? – read

History of the IPCC – read

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Fifth Assessment Report – Read pp. 35-56

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Enhanced Graphics for Discussion

Resources

Why is there an atmosphere around our earth and not around other planets?

How did the earth’s atmosphere form?

What causes the seasons?

Milankovitch cycles – more detail

Solar Variability

What is the temperature on the Moon?

What is Ocean Acidification?

What are the main greenhouse gases?

 Water as a GHG

January 25

Climate News

Germany set to abandon 2020 climate target: reports

Three 2016 extremes ‘not … possible’ without human warming

Extreme Temperature Workout: The Gyrations of January 2018

Climate Change Is Forcing the Government to Relocate This Entire Louisiana Town

(tip of the hat to Mr. Bounds)

Sustaining Rebuilt Coastal Marshes

Assignment

NASA chief nominee grilled over climate change denial

Kahan, Dan M., Climate-Science Communication and the Measurement Problem (June 25, 2014). Advances in Pol. Psych., 36, 1-43 (2015). (SSRN-id2459057: Edited for presentation)

We are going to start our discussion of climate change by looking at the cultural cognition problem – what shapes people’s beliefs about scientific issues? Do the people you disagree with just not know the facts?

Read this article through page 37. This research explores the critical distinction between what a person knows and what a person believes, or put another way, what a person knows as opposed to who the person is. This has important implications for communicating information about controversial subjects such as climate change. It is also fundamental to trial practice: you have to persuade jurors to believe your story, not just know your story.

The article is well written, but can be heavy going. Pay attention to the graphs. Look carefully at the section that discusses why telling people that 97%  of scientists believe something is not a good way to get skeptics to change their minds.

There is a section on climate change beliefs in south Florida starting on page 33. I disagree with the author here on using this as an example of a community that has accepted climate change despite their political divisions. My question: are you really accepting climate change/sea level rise if the actions that you take in your plan cannot work if sea level rises? Read this piece from Rolling Stone about what Miami is doing as background:

Miami: How Rising Sea Levels Endanger South Florida

Do not worry about the details of sea level rise, just think about this in the context of whether Miami is really facing the risk in a realistic manner. We will look deeply into sea level rise, since it is already destroying South Louisiana because of the high rate of subsidence of the Mississippi.

January 23

News

NOAA: Earth Had Its Third Warmest Year on Record in 2017

Upper and Lower Bounds on Global Warming – an attempt to reduce uncertainty

This a new research paper that has been posted for public access and comment.

Assignment

Work on the materials from last Thursday, which are now assigned for the 25th. This is complicated reading, so put some time into it.

We will have our speaker, Tim Osborne, from NOAA today, weather and government shutdown willing.

January 18

Class is cancelled

 

 

January 16

Breaking News

Given that this is a climate class, I am watching the weather. I have cancelled our speaker, he will come another day because he is coming in from Lafayette. I am not cancelling class, but I am not passing the roll sheet since I know some of you are going to have difficulty getting in. If you do get in, we will likely end early, with an eye on the weather so we can all get home safely.

Class Information

All the assignments will be posted to this blog. Check before class for breaking news updates. I reserve the right to use class participation points.

We meet in 202.

Seating – this is a small class in a big room. Please sit toward the center on the first few rows.

Climate in the News

CHANGING THE DIGITAL CLIMATE: How Climate Change Web Content is Being Censored Under the Trump Administration (2018)

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview

The Extremes of the Climate Debate

We are all going to die – soon – from Season 3, Episode 3 of Newsroom:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM0uZ9mfOUI

Is this so crazy? See: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/11/climate-desk-fact-checks-aaron-sorkins-climate-science-newsroom

It is just a liberal plot:

http://climatechangedispatch.com/

It might be getting warmer, but who knows why?

http://www.drroyspencer.com/my-global-warming-skepticism-for-dummies/

A thoughtful skeptic:

https://judithcurry.com/

Evaluating science in the media

The Canadian House Hippo

The Impact of Global Warming on Louisiana

Sea level rise is the major global warming threat to coastal Louisiana and New Orleans. We are going to have a representative from NOAA in class to talk about the effects of relative sea level rise on coastal Louisiana.

Please review these articles before class:

Scientists say Louisiana’s latest projections for coastal flooding are grim, but realistic

With gloomier estimates, should coastal plan look further than 50 years?

As we will discuss later in the course, even these articles overstate the possibility of coastal restoration. For example, the best evidence is that river diversions will not build land at all:

Pictorial Account and Landscape Evolution of the Crevasses near Fort St. Philip, Louisiana