Articles Posted in Climate Change

Published on:

FEMA has issued new guidelines, effective as of March 2016, for evaluating State plans to reduce or eliminate risks from natural hazards. The new Guide establishes the new standards, now including climate change, that must be met by states in planning for reduction of the risks from natural disasters. Significantly, funding to the states can be impacted by the failure to meet these guidelines.

Referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, the Guide notes that “the challenge posed by climate change such as more intense storms, frequent heavy precipitation, heat waves, drought, extreme flooding and higher sea levels, could significantly alter the types and magnitudes of hazards impacting states in the future”.

The Guide also requires that states assess their current capabilities to address risk and indicate how those capabilities may be strengthened. The plans must establish hazard mitigation goals and how the states plan to meet those goals. These should include everything from land use regulations to utilities, transportation and emergency planning.

Published on:

On January 30,2015 the President issued an Executive Order fixing new standards for construction within a floodplain. The new Flood Risk Management Standard amends Executive Order 11988 of May 24, 1977.

The new standards impact projects where agencies ” guarantee, approve, regulate, or insure any financial transaction which is related to an area located in an area subject to the base flood”.

The old order established floodplains as areas with at a minimum of a one percent or greater annual chance of flooding. The new rule is broader and more stringent stating:

Published on:

The House of Representatives voted this week to bar the Department of Defense from using appropriations to explore or address the impacts of climate change. In an amendment to a defense appropriations bill the following was added:

“None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order.”

The bill will now be taken up by the Senate.

Published on:

On May 9, 2014, the Secretary of the Interior announced the release of the National Climate Change Viewer. The Cimate Change Viewer is interactive, permitting the user to see two scenarios for changes up through 2099.

The description of the Viewer notes:

“The USGS National Climate Change Viewer (NCCV) includes the historical and future climate projections from 30 of the downscaled models for two of the RCP emission scenarios, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. RCP4.5 is one of the possible emissions scenarios in which atmospheric GHG concentrations are stabilized so as not to exceed a radiative equivalent of 4.5 Wm-2 after 2100, about 650 ppm CO2 equivalent. RCP8.5 is the most aggressive emissions scenario in which GHGs continue to rise unchecked through the end of the century leading to an equivalent radiative forcing of 8.5 Wm-2, about 1370 ppm CO2 equivalent. To create a manageable number of permutations for the viewer, we averaged the climate and water balance data into four climatology periods: 1950-2005, 2025-2049, 2050-2074, and 2075-2099.”

Published on:

This week the EPA released for public comment its Draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans, one for each of its ten Regions and seven National Programs. The notice of availability for public comment explained that in order for the EPA to carry out its functions it must address adaptation to climate change.

” Until now, EPA has been able to assume that climate is relatively stable and future climate would mirror past climate. However, with climate changing at an increasingly rapid rate and outside the range to which society has adapted in the past, climate change is posing new challenges to EPA’s ability to fulfill its mission. The Agency’s draft Implementation Plans provide a road map for the Agency to address future changes in climate and to incorporate considerations of climate change into its mission-driven activities.”

For those interested in commenting the following information should be noted:

Published on:

On November 1, the President issued an Executive Order putting in place several policies to address preparedness for the impacts of Climate Change. The Executive Order states:

“The impacts of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation…. Managing these risks requires deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planning by the Federal Government, as well as by stakeholders, to facilitate Federal, State, local, tribal, private-sector, and nonprofit-sector efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources; and provide for the continuity of executive department and agency (agency) operations, services, and programs.”

The heart of the Order is the policy that: “[t]he Federal Government must build on recent progress and pursue new strategies to improve the Nation’s preparedness and resilience. In doing so, agencies should promote: (1) engaged and strong partnerships and information sharing at all levels of government; (2) risk-informed decisionmaking and the tools to facilitate it; (3) adaptive learning, in which experiences serve as opportunities to inform and adjust future actions; and (4) preparedness planning.”

Published on:

The city of Copenhagen has developed a comprehensive plan to address short and medium range impacts of Climate Change. From green roofs to streets that divert storm water the City has developed a comprehensive plan to address the impacts of global warming.

The plan lists some the key considerations in adaptation:

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS IN CLIMATE ADAPTATION MEASURES To achieve successful adaptation of the city to the climate of the future, it is important that we con- sider a number of key factors:

Published on:

The U. S. Department of Agriculture is establishing seven regional Hubs to assist farmers and forest owners with climate change adaptation and mitigation. According to the USDA site:

“These hubs are needed to maintain and strengthen agricultural production, natural resource management, and rural economic development under increasing climate variability.”

The USDA is in the process of selecting Hubs from among existing facilities. A fact sheet issued by the USDA states that the Hubs will provide “support to USDA agriculture and land management program delivery by providing tools and strategies for climate change response to help producers cope with challenges associated with drought, heat stress, excessive moisture, longer growing seasons, and changes in pest pressure. The Hubs will support applied research and develop partnerships.”

Published on:

The United States and China have agreed to work to “phase down” HFCs. In a press release the White House announced:

” …the United States and China agreed to work together and with other countries through multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs…Every country in the world is a party to the Protocol, and it has successfully phased out or is in the process of phasing out several key classes of chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and halons. The transitions out of CFCs and HCFCs provide major ozone layer protection benefits, but the unintended consequence is the rapid current and projected future growth of climate-damaging HFCs.”

-Steven M. Silverberg

Published on:

New York adopted a law in July that provides for local implementation of tax exemptions for improvements to property, in excess of ten thousand dollars, that obtain LEED(R) certification or meet a similar standard, based upon adoption of a local law implementing such a provision. To be eligible the construction must commence in or after January 2013 and the Statute provides for exemption, on a sliding scale, over ten years.

Chapter 188 of the Laws of 2012, which is the new section 470 of the New York Real Property Tax Law reads:

§ 470. Exemption for improvements to real property meeting certif-

Contact Information