Thursday, March 08, 2012

FEMA Throws In the Towel? Not Quite Yet.

"We cannot afford to continue to respond to disasters and suffer impacts — particularly looking at large-scale catastrophic disasters — under the current program.  It will fail."

That little ray of sunshine comes from Craig Fugate, head of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA.   What Craig was trying to get across is that FEMA is skint.   It still owes $18-billion in flood relief payments from 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit.

Mr. Fugate is scrambling for answers and one of them is the introduction of disaster-based building codes, houses built to withstand hurricanes, floods, droughts or whatever is en route to your neighbourhood.  Such housing won't be built for typical weather conditions from the past but for what's to come.

When designing buildings, engineers use something called a “typical meteorological year,” which is derived from past climate conditions, he explains. “When they do that, they’re baking yesterday’s weather into your building today and hoping that it will perform tomorrow.”
Given climate change projections over the coming decades, that could be a recipe for disaster. For example, many of today’s green buildings rely on low nighttime temperatures to cool them down after hot days. But “heat storms,” which are on the rise in places like California and Texas, keep temperatures high all night and don’t allow that natural nocturnal cooling. Building inhabitants will have to find new cooling strategies, or stew in their own juices.

So the Green Building Council, an organization that has until now focused almost entirely on reducing our contributions to climate change, has turned its attention to the inevitable impacts of those contributions we’ve already made.

The authors of the new report, called Green Building and Climate Resilience [PDF], went region-by-region to identify the risks associated with a changing climate. The list looks like the 10 Plagues, minus the rivers turning to blood. (Whoops! There goes that one.) A partial accounting includes more extreme heat events, shorter winters, more frequent droughts, rising sea levels, higher-intensity hurricanes and storm surges, heavier downpours, declining air quality, a rise in coastal erosion, insect infestations, and more severe wildfire seasons.

If there’s good news here, it’s that a lot of the things we’re doing to green our buildings today will also make them more resilient in the long run. The researchers call these “no regrets” measures, and they include everything from heavily insulated walls and ceilings to reflective and green roofs.

Do you see what's happening here?   The "debate" about global warming is being overtaken by events, weather events, bad weather events.  Even in affluent nations like the US and  Britain, homeowners are discovering they're going to have to begin fending for themselves because the tab for the global warming hoax isn't going to be picked up by insurers or governments much longer.

Take a look at the linked climate impacts report and then ask yourself why your government isn't getting this sort of information out to the Canadian public.


Beijing York said...

We saw this coming. All talks about preventing climate change went out the window and were replaced with adapting to climate change.

Because the one thing that's not going to change is our being at the alter of market forces.

The Mound of Sound said...

Unfortunately, adaptation without effective remediation is like loading all one's possessions into a cart with just one wheel. Adaptation only gets costlier, less affordable, as climate change worsens. It can very quickly exceed the cost of early-stage emissions reductions and introduction of alternative energy options. Yet, within those staggering costs are great profits to be reaped by those positioned to exploit them. Disaster capitalism indeed.