Monday, August 1, 2016

The Power And The Glory

The power is nature's, and the glory is the human capacity for noble, courageous action, as you will see. Two bad that in the collective human psyche, we can't have more of the latter and less of a thirst for the former.


  1. Rain storms are becoming heavier by a significant degree. Urban infrastructure was designed for a different, earlier climate and is quickly overwhelmed. We would rather throw money into "disaster relief" than invest in the new infrastructure needed for these new conditions. Why? Because disaster relief is a short-term response and it's vastly cheaper than re-engineering our urban spaces. Unfortunately disaster relief funding is based on "once in a century" catastrophes. When those 100-year events begin to come along every ten years or five, disaster relief programmes quickly become unaffordable.

    Toronto was eager to redevelop its floodways after the deluge of 2005. A couple of months later Calgary was hit even harder. Today's atmosphere holds 7% more water vapour than we had during the Holocene. I found a report at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that warns it will increase by 7% for every additional degree Celsius of warming. The voluntary promises of emissions cuts from last year's climate summit in Paris would produce 3.5C of warming. In other words the severe flash flooding events we're now experiencing are going to get far worse with each passing year. We need to be engineering our infrastructure for the demands of a significantly warmer and more demanding environment commensurate with a 3.5C scenario. Instead we're allowing ourselves to be overtaken by events, steadily falling ever further behind.

    Word to the wise - go for the high ground. I did.

    1. In a followup story on the Maryland Ellicott City flooding, Mound, we learn that the damage to the town will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to repair, and it will likely take several years, a clear demonstration of your your point about the folly of concentrating only on damage relief. But as long as we have gutless politicians who place their reelection hopes over real leadership, I doubt there will be much change.