Climate Change Developments

By Chris Prelitz ALASKA ADVENTURES Last summer, Theresa and I van-toured thru the Yukon and Alaska. One highlight was flying above the Arctic Circle to the village of Unuvik, Ak., and attending an annual gathering of the 5 indigenous tribes of the area. Besides sampling seal and moose meat, we met and heard stories from some of the first U.S. climate refugees. The entire historic village of Kivalina, Alaska has to relocated inland, due to the permafrost melting. Homes are basically sinking into the sea.  More than 97 percent of climate scientists agree a climate crisis is happening, the planet is warming, and humans are causing it. We also know that if we continue on a business-as-usual path, the risk of catastrophic consequences is very high.  We’ve had 17 of hottest years Since 2000 (We only missed 1 year.) We have more and larger fires in California. Storms & Typhoons are larger. Animals are moving away from Equator: Maine Lobster are no longer in Chesapeake Bay, Maine. They’ve moved north for cooler waters. Global warming is now affecting the United States more than ever, and the risks of future disasters — from flooding along the coasts to crop failures in the Midwest — could pose a profound threat to Americans’ well-being.”  “The potential need for millions of people and billions of dollars of coastal infrastructure to be relocated in the future creates challenging legal, financial, and equity issues that have not yet been addressed.”  That’s the gist of Volume Two of the latest National Climate Assessment, a 1,656-page report produced by 13 federal agencies, and issued by the Trump administration last Friday. The report says, If we act now to swiftly transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy, there’s a chance we could limit warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If we do nothing, and continue on the path we’re on, temperature could rise over 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit by early next century.  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR LAGUNA? Laguna is a jewel of a city, one of the rare coastal communities that is surrounded by a Dedicated Bluebelt and Preserved Greenbelt – recognized nationally as an historic American Landscape with our historic records preserved in the Library of Congress. Knowing what we know about our climate crisis, what can we do locally, here in luscious Laguna Beach to mitigate our own carbon footprint? Sure, each of us can be more efficient:  bike more, fly less, and that all helps – a little. We just bought a used Tesla Model S  and charge it with our solar system. That’s better environmentally and economically. So, yes, these are all good steps. But, where can we make the largest impacts? And, how do we mitigate future carbon-intense projects? California passed a State initiative to transition to 100% renewables by 2045. What’s Laguna’s plan to get there? Could Laguna create a community solar or wind farm? Absolutely! Could the City fleet transition to more electric vehicles and save $$ at the same time – Absolutely!  Calif.’s AQMD (Air Quality Management District) has mandated that each City lower their carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels. A great goal! How do we get there? What do we need to change?  BUILDINGS POLLUTE MORE THAN BUICKS   Buildings in the US emit more Co2 than ALL of our cars and trucks combined. What does this mean for developers desiring to renovate or demolish some historic downtown Laguna buildings. How will these large hotel developments impact Laguna Beach?  Will these projects help or hinder our ability to lower our energy use to 1990 levels? Developers need to be accountable for Laguna’s ability to lower our carbon and energy footprint. Developers need to know what Laguna Beach needs now, is environmentally sensitive, low-carbon developments. (Bottom line, it’s almost always better environmentally to reuse and restore a structure than raze it and build new – even if the new building is more efficient; because of the huge amount of embodied energy in new construction. Embodied energy is the total energy used to manufacture and deliver a product. Concrete and steel are both high embodied energy materials. Thankfully, some conscious architects and designers are advocates for Low Carbon Architecture. These are projects designed to minimize the embodied energy impact of the construction and lower the lifetime energy use of the building.) SMART RISK MANAGEMENT MEANS TAKING ACTION: People are usually very conservative when it comes to risk management.  Most of us buy fire insurance for our homes, even though the risk of a house fire is less than 1%. There’s very high uncertainty whether I’ll ever be in a car accident, but it would be foolish of me not to have auto insurance. There is arguably no more important object than our global life sustaining climate.  We rely on it for food, water and survivability.  From every perspective – scientific, risk management, economic, etc. – there is no reason not to immeditately take serious action to mitigate climate change, and failing to do so would be exceptionally foolish. We’re already feeling the effects of climate change. And that’s why we need to act quickly to cut the carbon pollution that’s causing the problem — and could make it worse. The longer we wait to transition to clean energy, the worse this problem will get for our children and future generations. Could our City Council follow the lead of San Francisco and N.Y. by requiring that all new developments meet minimum efficiency and carbon impact levels? I certainly hope so.  The challenge I see locally is that we need to get most everyone rowing in the same direction – towards a lower carbon future. Transition Laguna Beach will do it’s utmost to keep this issue in front of City Council and lead the transition to a lower carbon future for Laguna Beach. Let’s work together to assure that Laguna Beach is a leader alongside other coastal communities to preserve this jewel of a City for generations to come. You Can Help I know ‘Climate Crisis’ is a buzz kill at holiday gatherings with friends and family.  So, let Transition Laguna Beach be your Climate advocate.  Your tax deductable donation will go towards helping to lower Laguna’s Carbon footprint for generations to come: And, if you want to know more about Climate Change and have answers for your climate denying friends or family members: The basics of climate change in plain language: Climate Crisis 101 Responding to common questions: Reality Drop Examining common myths about climate change: Skeptical Science Common arguments against the reality of man-made climate change: The 12 Questions Every Climate Activist Hears And What To Say

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *