Hurricane Ida Fueled by Climate Change

On Sunday, August 29th, Hurricane Ida made landfall in South Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane. Not only was Ida one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States in documented history, Ida was the strongest storm to hit Louisiana since the 1850s and made landfall on the 16th anniversary of the infamous Hurricane Katrina. In merely 24 hours, Hurricane Ida strengthened from a category 1 hurricane to a category 4, which only added to the devastation as so many had so little time to prepare.

How did Hurricane Ida intensify so rapidly and to such an extent right before making landfall? Climate change.

“In about 24 hours, [Hurricane Ida] jumped from a Category 1 to a Category 4 storm as it moved over abnormally hot water in the Gulf of Mexico. The ocean was the temperature of bathwater — about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a few degrees hotter than average, according to measurements by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The extra heat acted as fuel for the storm. Heat is energy, and hurricanes with more energy have faster wind speeds and larger storm surges. As the Earth heats up, rapidly intensifying major hurricanes such as Ida are more likely to occur, scientists say.”

“Abnormally hot water also increases flood risk from hurricanes. Hurricanes suck up moisture as they form over the water and then dump that moisture as rain. The hotter the water — and the hotter the air — the more water vapor gets sucked up.”

The Gulf Coast is no stranger to intense hurricanes that develop quickly. But this is different; over the past few years, we have experienced storms like Harvey, Michael, and Laura, all of which gained strength at increasingly accelerated rates before making landfall. Now, we add Hurricane Ida to this growing list. These hurricanes are extremely dangerous, giving people less time to prepare and evacuate. As the effects of climate change continue to worsen, these storms will become more intense and more frequent according to the latest IPCC report. So, what does that mean for Louisianans? It means that we can expect more hurricanes like Hurricane Ida, Harvey, Michael, and Laura, and likely, hurricanes even stronger than those. It means that this is our new climate reality.

For a link to the full article: http://www.npr.org/2021/08/30/1032442544/how-climate-change-is-fueling-hurricanes-like-ida

-Olivia Graham, Editor-in-chief

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Article repost: “With Biden’s Boost, 2 Obama Veterans Are ‘Ready to Run’ Climate Efforts”

To follow up the most recent post is another repost, more specifically about Biden’s choice for national climate advisor.

Last week, President-elect Joe Biden named Gina McCarthy as his national climate advisor. She will work as a domestic counterpart to John Kerry, who Biden appointed to the new position of international climate envoy. McCarthy formerly served as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Barrack Obama, and currently serves as chief executive of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Kerry formerly served as a U.S. Senator and as Secretary of State, and is known for his role in and his signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is interesting and exciting to see how things will go moving forward, both domestically and internationally.

“McCarthy’s job, as head of a newly formed White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, will be to drive policies to address climate change beyond the usual departments’ work on it, and to coordinate planning across government agencies.”

For a link to the article click here: https://www.npr.org/2020/12/18/947739004/2-former-obama-officials-are-crucial-to-bidens-sweeping-climate-plans

– Austin Lanier, Editor-in-chief

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Repost: “President-elect Biden Announces Key Members of His Climate Team”

On December 17, President-elect Joe Biden announced his appointments for his climate team, including: Congresswoman Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior; Governor Jennifer Granholm as Secretary of Energy; Michael Regan as EPA Administrator; Brenda Mallory as Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality; Administrator Gina McCarthy as National Climate Advisor; and Ali Zaidi as Deputy National Climate Advisor. The appointments may have a major impact on the way the country approaches climate change, both domestically and internationally. This marks a striking change from what we saw from a country led by a President (President Trump) known for denying modern climate change science, with an EPA Administrator (Andrew Wheeler) who formerly served as a coal industry lobbyist, lobbying against the Obama Administration’s environmental regulations.

The press release located on the Biden-Harris Transition website provides brief statements from both President-elect Biden and Vice president-elect Kamala Harris, as well as descriptions of each of the appointees and links to photos of each.

For a link to the press release, click here: https://buildbackbetter.gov/press-releases/president-elect-biden-announces-key-members-of-his-climate-team/

– Austin Lanier, Editor-in-chief

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$1.2 Billion Available for Louisiana Watershed Initiative

By: Austin Lanier

On September 17, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) signed the grant agreement with the state of Louisiana, establishing the line of credit for the $1.2 billion allocation of CDBG-MIT funds to the state. Governor John Bel Edwards stated that, “this agreement marks a major milestone in our mission to create a more resilient Louisiana.” The signing of the agreement allows the state to begin spending the mitigation funds in accordance with the Master Action Plan for the Utilization of CDBG-MIT Funds, which was made by the Office of Community Development (OCD) in compliance with HUD federal guidelines set out in their earlier Federal Register Notice, and approved by HUD on February 20, 2020.

The deadline for full applications for Round 1 funding have been extended to January 22, 2021. The state is currently accepting such applications, and funding will be awarded this winter following the deadline. The list of eligible pre-application projects is available to view on the Louisiana Watershed Initiative (LWI) website. Round 1 is one of the three rounds of project funding under Program Area No. 1 (the first of four program areas), which is allocated $570,666,243 (47%) of the grant funds for local and regional watershed projects and programs. Round 1 provides an initial allocation of $100 million for implementing ready, low-risk programs and projects that consider flood risks through a watershed-based approach, incentivizing units of local government to organize as regional coalitions.[1]

A link to the press release announcing the signing of the grant agreement can be found here.

[1] Master Action Plan for the Utilization of CDBG-MIT Funds, Office of Comm. Development, pg. 56-57 (La. 2019).

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Earth Day

Following the celebration of Earth Day 2020, I found it appropriate to give the link to the earthday.org website which provides the origins and history of Earth Day, as well as news, stories, and even music.

Live every day like it is Earth Day!

-Austin Lanier, Editor-in-Chief

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