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January 6th, 2010

Climate Change and USACE

The weather here in Washington, DC is down-right cold, and we only recently saw the record snowfall of a few weeks ago melt enough that we could reasonably get around.  But what we’ve been experiencing is nothing compared to, say, Minnesota or Wisconsin. There was a news report the other day that said the low temperature in one part of Minnesota was so low (-37), that it would have to heat up 69 degrees just to not be below freezing. That’s just crazy cold. In other parts of the world, though, glaciers are melting at a record pace and drought still has people in California under water conservation orders.

 Needless to say, all this extreme weather poses an opportunity to talk about what we are doing at USACE with regard to climate change, in our role as the nation’s environmental engineers.  Gen. Casey, Army Chief of Staff, has said that we are in what he calls “an era of persistent conflict.” Part of that is because of climate change and how it can be a game-changer, creating “haves and “have-nots” around the world. 

I am a member of a United Nations committee called the “High-level Panel on Water and Disasters.”  Last year I presented our report in Istanbul, Turkey.  It was a phenomenal conference.  We came to the conclusion that we need to do much better planning – on a worldwide scale.  We have to ask ourselves – what will our response be? What might the early warnings be?  What would be the evacuation plans?  What would be those measures that an individual can take? What about local and state governments? Federal?  And I’m not just talking about the U.S. – we all need to be asking these questions, all around the world. 

Know that we are planning for all these contingencies, and more than that – we are putting the full capabilities of our Engineer Research and Development Center to work.  We are currently involved in several water studies about conservation and reuse, and we are always working on sustainable practices and technologies. In fact, at Fort Irwin in California, we are currently working on the Department of Defense’s largest solar energy project.

We also collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to write “Climate Change and Water Resources Management:  A Federal Perspective,” released last February, that assessed approaches to climate variability and change in water resources management, on which future agency policies, methods, and processes will be based.  And this past summer, we issued a new policy, “Incorporating Sea-Level Change Considerations in Civil Works Programs,” that instructs our project managers to be prepared to implement flexible planning and engineering adaptations that account for a range of possible changes.
 
The bottom line is – we are planning and preparing for – and doing everything we can to prevent – issues related to climate change.  It’s a very real concern that could have very real consequences all over the world, and we’re on it.

Posted by inEnvironment/Sustainability, Research and Development , , ,

  1. Michael Crowe
    | #1

    You’ve got the religion! You couldn’t prove that “global warming” is real, so now you call it “climate change.” Guess what: the climate has always been changing, that’s why its called WEATHER! Duh! You can’t prove there is global warming any more than you can prove the existence of God. Climate is your religion. You’ve got to have “faith” to believe in this garbage. Get a clue: “global warming” and “climate change” is a hoax. You are the gullible one who bought the hoax. How sad that the Army has signed on to a hoax. Get a clue!

  2. David Carr
    | #2

    I’m not as beligerant as the above blogger and this is the first time I have ever blogged. My old Air Quality professor once said, “Be careful what you think you know because what you think you know may not be so.” I wish we would not get on the Climate Change ride. Meaning, if we (i.e. USACE) get dollars called Climate Change then I wish we would say we can’t do it. However, if we get dollars for sustainability in a desert climate (California, as mentioned in the article) or an extremely cold climate (e.g. Minnesota) then I am all for it. In order to be more informed I have watched the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”. I am almost finished with a very interesting book that offers a more accurate and scientific assessment of what is happening to our climate. I have decided to read it so I can convey to my students both sides of the issue. It is called, “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 years”. It is written by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery. They are notable scientists and well respected in the scientific community. They expose some of the realities of politics and greed stemming from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I challenge you to research both sides of the argument and to keep searching for the truth. I’ll finish this blog like I started. Again, be careful what you think you know because what you think you know may not be so. It has served me well over the course of 18, or so, years.

  3. Rich
    | #3

    Yes, climate change has always happened. This article says, “This time we’ll be ready for it.” The whole article is about dealing with climate change not “preventing” it. Yes, they used the word “prevent” but look: “The bottom line is – we are planning and preparing for – and doing everything we can to prevent – issues related to climate change.” It’s the issues arising from climate change they’re trying to prevent.

    It never hurts to read what’s actually written.

  4. Nick
    | #4

    @Michael Crowe
    Wow. Take away reference to climate change in the blog, and you still have incredibly beneficial initiatives addressing water scarcity, degradation of economically and ecologically valuable habitats, and, oh yeah, energy dependence. Take the anger down a level or ten, and be proud that our leaders are being innovative.

  5. David Rushton
    | #5

    Hey Michael – climate and weather are different. It sounds to me like you have religion. I could not agree more with David “Be careful what you think you know” I believe that global warming is a major problem – that we should be taking very seriously. Not because I have studied the issue first hand – but because the scientific research done by others seems to support that position. If you have research that you can point me to that contradicts that notion – I am happy to consider all sides. There are certainly some questions that need to be answered about the political nature of the IPCC, and also about Climategate. These questions do not invalidate the thousands of studies that are on going – and are telling us we have a problem. It is like saying -‘the scientists who falsify data in medical experiments to promote their own drugs, invalidate all medical research – it is just lazy thinking. We also have a problem with our population increase, and also our energy situation. Let’s all stop with the religious craziness – and leave it to the data. Let me give you one example – the early models (10 years ago) for global warming – predicted the melting of the world’s glaciers, and also the arctic and antarctic ice sheets. Recent data definitely supports that this is happening – in fact faster than the models predicts. Can you point me to research that contradicts this research? I can point you to dozens of studies across the globe that support it. So to call it a ‘hoax’ seems pretty religious to me.

  6. Michael Crowe
    | #6

    David, thanks for asking. The climate change, global warming hysteria is a hoax:

    Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn’t been verified
    By DAVID ROSE
    Last updated at 12:54 AM on 24th January 2010
    Comments (36)

    “The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

    Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

    In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.

    ‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’

    Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furore over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation.”

    David, I repeat, the climate change, global warming hysteria is a hoax.
    If you dare, read more proof:

  7. Michael Crowe
    | #7

    For Release: January 25, 2009

    Statement of National Center for Public Policy Research President Amy Ridenour on What the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Must Do in the Wake of Unfolding Scandals

    Washington, D.C.: Statement of National Center for Public Policy Research president Amy Ridenour on what the IPCC must do in wake of unfolding scandals:

    In the wake of admissions the IPCC knew all along it was putting bogus science in its 2007 Assessment Report, that the false prediction was included specifically for its “impact on policymakers and politicians,” and that this allegedly was covered up as long as it was because the IPCC chairman was raising money for his personal pursuits based on the prediction, the IPCC must immediately take three steps to restore its credibility. If it does not, the Obama Administration should use its influence to have it shut down.

    To restore its credibility, the IPCC should:

    1) Return its half of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and replace its current leadership;

    2) Adopt and enforce a strict conflict-of-interest policy;

    3) Adopt an uncompromising transparency policy, which includes the release of all data, all emails, all meeting minutes, all drafts and all other documentation related to the development of assessment reports and all other policy pronouncements, in the past and from this date forward.

    Step one would signal to the world that the IPCC is serious about reform.

    Step two would reduce, though not eliminate, the temptation faced by IPCC personnel to tailor conclusions to moneymaking, career or fundraising opportunities for themselves or affiliated businesses or institutions.

    Step three would be a constant reminder to IPCC personnel that their work genuinely will be peer-reviewed, in a universal sense, which is as it should be given the gravity of the IPCC’s work.

    Politicians relying upon IPCC recommendations are considering policies that would limit the access of billions of people to low-cost energy in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is a grave step that should be undertaken only if the alternative is worse. As many have considered the IPCC to be the institution that can answer that question, given the gravity of these circumstances, no level of transparency and ethics can be too high.

    Global warming believers and “skeptics” do not often agree, but this is a subject upon which we should be able to reach a true consensus. No one benefits when the IPCC knowingly publishes bogus science.

  8. Michael Crowe
    | #8

    David, thanks for asking. Is it possible the dozens of studies you cite are based on a fraud? Consider:

    Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn’t been verified
    By DAVID ROSE
    Last updated at 12:54 AM on 24th January 2010

    The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

    Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

    In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.

    ‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’

    Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furore over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html#ixzz0dg1UMy2a

  9. Evan
    | #9

    Here’s a useful metaphor for those seeking to understand climate change – a bathtub.

    The arguments about Al Gore and the IPCC are distractions. The core science is sound. Let’s start working to reduce our emissions and adapt to the change that is already coming given emissions to date. Cheers to the USACE for engaging on this issue in a thoughtful manner.

  10. Paul
    | #10

    The first question is whether or not we are experiencing global warming and climate change. The glaciers are melting. I have seen them myself in Alaska and Iceland. The photographic evidence and the testimony of observers is irrefutable. So, global warming and climate change is a reality. Even the Bush Adminstration finally admitted this after fighting it for so long.

    The next question is whether or not mankind adds to global warming and climate change. Years ago, when I lived in London, it was observed that London is a “heat bubble.” What this means is that the temperature in London is a few degrees warmer than the area around it. Sno falling near London will accumulate when it will not accumulate within London itself. So, on a small scale, we know that mankind can affect weather in certain areas. Just as great battles in history involving the discharge and burning of gunpowder led to rain. So, it is not inconceivable that globally, mankind’s aggregate activities can change global weather and even climate.

    That mankind contributes to global warming and global climate change is being studied still, but the science supports that hypothesis. Now the science is focused more on the degree to which mankind contributes to global warming and global climate change.

    This is not “religion” — it is science in the laboratory of the world. It is insane to WANT mankind to make the world warmer given the likely consequences of such warming. No one wants man to make the world warmer. This is not a “global conspiracy” against America or any other country. What we know of the consequences of glbal warming are that it may well lead to food shortages, flooding of low inhabited areas (Florida, for example) and massive population displacement, pressures on resources, governments and food production. No one WANTS that. Understanding that and being prepared to address that are important.

    Galileo was nearly murdered for his scientific observations, which observations demanded no response from mankind. So it is no surprise that the scientists who study the phenomena which demand a response from mankind are not popular. But the irrational conspiracy reaction is very disturbing in its implications for mankind’s chances of formulating an effective, globally-coordinated response. Unlike the threat of destruction from a meteor or asteroid, this threat demands an effective, globally-coordinated response. THAT RESPONSE, rather than the threat itself, is what is so alarming to some.

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