News, Analysis and Opinion for the Informed Boulder Resident
Saturday December 10th 2016

Support the Blue Line

Subscribe to the Blue Line

That's what she said

city council transportation energy municipalization xcel housing april fools urban planning bicycles climate action density election 2011 boulder county open space affordable housing agriculture renewables CU local food election 2013 jefferson parkway youth climate change pedestrian development election 2015 preservation Rocky Flats BVSD immigration recreation mountain bikes GMOs transit farming boards and commissions decarbonization plan boulder urban design fracking fires wildlife colorado politics architecture smart regs downtown new era colorado journalism plutonium homeless transit village radioactive waste commuting natural gas ghgs parking rental height limits planning board april fools 2015 historic preservation energy efficiency coal diversity Neighborhoods historic district students walkability North Boulder gardens education land use arts population growth growth election 2010 solar bus University Hill taxes water supply election 2012 water quality RTD library zoning nutrition groundwater bike lane safety affairs of the heart april fools 2016 organic electric utility mayor planning reserve election zero waste politics county commissioners longmont hogan-pancost hazardous waste ballot obama golden right-sizing transportation master plan flood electric vehicle Mapleton solar panels climate smart loan recycling comprehensive plan sprawl PV colorado legislature bears diagonal plaza blue line wetlands epa conservation easement pesticide food congestion street design drought election 2016 boulder junction inequality road diet bus rapid transit renewable energy ken wilson automobile children community cycles daily camera ecocycle Newlands campaign finance sam weaver league of women voters PUC community david miller climate change deniers wind power boulder bob bellemare boulder creek bsec contamination modernism john tayer crime lisa morzel suzanne jones kevin hotaling tim plass Whittier mlk EV green points BVCP technology Orchard Grove arizona civil rights west tsa flood mitigation marijuana public spaces

From Threat to Adaptation: Is the dialogue on Climate Change shifting?


By

“The World Revs its Heat Engine”
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Collection

“Should I stay or should I go now?

If I go there will be trouble

And if I stay it will be double . . . ”

The Clash 1982

The question in this song was at the center of a University of Colorado’s Population Center and the National Center for Atmospheric Research workshop earlier this year that brought together leading researchers on the topics of migration, urbanization and climate change.

The intersection of these topics is significant to how we consider the effects of Global Environmental Change (GEC). GEC encompasses climate change, the growth of mega-cities, land degradation, increasing global population and the over-consumption of natural resources.

It was notable that the word adaptation was used frequently by many of the academics in reference to the effects of GEC on the planet’s population systems.

It raises a few questions:

Have we given up on fighting climate change?

Are we passed the tipping point?

What do we do now?

James Hansen noted in a recent New York Times article that “President Obama speaks of a ‘planet in peril,’ but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course.”

He has provided leadership, though not with the intent of changing the world’s course rather in adapting to what lies ahead. In 2009, the President established the Interagency Climate Adaptation Task Force. The task force has key areas it is examining: building resilience in local communities, safeguarding critical natural resources such as freshwater, and providing accessible climate information and tools to help decision-makers manage climate risks. They have released a progress report with a vision of “a resilient, healthy, and prosperous Nation in a changing climate.”

The World Bank is looking at the economics of adaptation and commissioned a global study whose report provides information on global, country, and sector-level adaptations to climate change to help policymakers.

The United Nations has established a framework convention where they claim “Successful adaptation not only depends on governments but also on the active and sustained engagement of stakeholders including national, regional, multilateral and international organizations, the public and private sectors, civil society and other relevant stakeholders.” On this matter all of us are stakeholders.

Even Lloyd’s of London has gotten in on the act with their Adapt or Bust report. In it they state that “Insurers must also take advantage of scientific advances to factor forecasts for the season ahead into their planning, instead of relying only on long-term trends.” More striking, among their conclusions is that “The insurance industry must now seize the opportunity to make a difference, not just to the future of our own industry, but to the
future of society.”

California has a Climate Adaptation Strategy and is developing an Adaptation Policy Guide and already has a web based tool called Cal-Adapt to help planning officials identify potential climate change risks in their area. You can find these here.

Colorado has the Colorado Climate Preparedness Project whose focus is on agriculture, electricity, forests/wildlife/ecosystems, tourism/recreation, and water. The issues are, hopefully in alphabetical order and not in order of priority.

Here in Boulder, as a result of the 2010 Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP) update section 4.02 on Climate Adaptation Planning was added. It states that “The city and county will cooperatively develop and implement a climate change adaptation plan to identify current vulnerabilities and determine strategies to protect the community against the potential negative impacts associated with climate change.”

These are all good things. Now, however, it seems as though adaptation could become a distracting higher priority. We are already past the tipping point and feeling what a two degrees Celsius change feels like. But lowering our emissions to curb the effects of climate change cannot take a back seat. You need only imagine what a four degree rise might mean. What we need to do now is adapt to and fight climate change all at once. Our collective plate just got fuller.

Rate this article: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...

What do you think? Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.