Breezy Point, Six Months Later
MSNBC on Queens after the hurricame, The Atlantic on the true impact of coal, MarketWatch on our readiness for climate change, The Guardian on the U.K.'s climate change curriculum, The Associated Press on fracking's impact on climate change
MSNBC on Queens after the hurricane Ben Mayer reports from the secluded neighborhood of Breezy Point, situated on the Rockaway Peninsula of Queens, which suffered from extensive flooding and numerous fires that razed over 100 homes when Hurricane Sandy made landfall six months ago: "A gaping hole remains where 125 homes burned down. Driving along other roads, there is spot after spot where homes, badly damaged in wind and storm surge, have been leveled and only sand remains. ... Laura’s parents, who have been living in Manhattan, do not know when or if they can afford to rebuild. They estimate they have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Far greater is the loss of personal mementos, and the blow to a community that prides itself on not just being close, but familial."
The Atlantic on the true impact of fossil fuels Responding to Charles Mann's recent cover story for The Atlantic, Michael A. Levi argues against the idea that decreasing amounts of fossil fuels will delay or neutralize the threat of climate change. "A shortage of fossil fuels isn't going to save us from dangerous climate change," Levi says. "And plans that depend on one or another technological breakthrough are far too risky to bet our future on. We need to move forward with gas, using it to edge aside coal, even as we push ahead on a host of zero-carbon opportunities. That's the best way to maximize the odds that we'll ultimately be able to deal effectively with climate change."
MarketWatch on our readiness for climate change "Recently, the American Society of Civil Engineers released its latest Report Card for America's Infrastructure, a measure of the condition, capacity, and maintenance of the nation’s vital systems, accounting for their ability to meet future needs and ensure public safety and health," note Ed Maurer and Eugene Cordero. "How did we fare? D+. That composite grade includes things like our energy systems (D+), drinking water systems (D), waterways and levees (D-), roads (D), schools, (D), transit (D) and on and on. The brightest spot was a B- for how we deal with solid waste." They offer good news, though: "Rebuilding the systems that have served us for decades, but have outlived their useful lives, can create millions of jobs. The return on these investments outpaces the economic benefits we would see from other stimulus options."
The Guardian on the U.K.'s climate change curriculum Bob Ward criticizes the U.K.'s decision to omit references to climate change from the state's national curriculum: "The new national curriculum for geography omits any explicit reference to climate change, indicating only that pupils should be taught about 'weather and climate.' In contrast, current KS3 geography is expected to cover 'interactions between people and their environments, including causes and consequences of these interactions, and how to plan for and manage their future impact'. ... Given these radical changes, it was perhaps not surprising that learned societies and universities have objected to the cuts to climate change teaching and the removal of any reference to its societal impacts or ways of tackling it through mitigation and adaptation."
The Associated Press on fracking's impact on climate change As we detailed today, "The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production, in a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists: Does the recent boom in fracking help or hurt the fight against climate change?" The prognosis remains contentious: "The EPA said it made the changes based on expert reviews and new data from several sources, including a report funded by the oil and gas industry. But the estimates aren’t based on independent field tests of actual emissions, and some scientists said that’s a problem."