Kurtis Alexander, THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
During the first week of January 1995, a powerful storm lashed Northern California, pushing the Russian River over its banks for seven straight days and damaging more than 4,000 properties, what scientists now say is the costliest atmospheric river the West has seen.
A first-ever economic analysis of atmospheric rivers, released Wednesday as another series of these potent weather systems emerged over the Pacific, finds that such events have caused an average of $1.1 billion of flood damage annually over 40 years. The hardest-hit place, across 11 Western states with losses, was Sonoma County.
The 1995 atmospheric river alone resulted in $3.7 billion of damage, according to the study, from a storm that had mudslides covering roads, winds toppling trees and swollen creeks inundating homes. The event, which made landfall in Southern California and moved north, contributed to the total $5.2 billion of losses that Sonoma County has sustained from atmospheric rivers during the study period — 1978 through 2017.
The authors of the report, with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, warned that atmospheric rivers will intensify as oceans warm with climate change and that the losses will only grow. They called for more study of these systems so they can be better anticipated and their effects blunted.
Read more at https://www.sfchronicle.com/environment/article/Big-atmospheric-rivers-do-a-lot-of-damage-14881960.php
Will Carruthers, THE BOHEMIAN
After several years of droughts, floods and fires, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a nonbinding resolution in September acknowledging the role of climate change in the events and highlighting the need for increased local action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
However, local activists and a climate-science expert at Sonoma State University say the county’s emergency resolution, similar to resolutions passed by a handful of other local jurisdictions, does not sufficiently meet the challenge of climate change.
In the past several months, local groups joined an international movement pushing for governments at all levels to treat climate change as a current threat to society rather than as an issue that can be ameliorated by reducing emissions over the next several decades.
On Sept. 17, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution “endorsing the declaration of a climate emergency and immediate emergency mobilization to restore a safe climate.” Petaluma and Windsor passed similar declarations. Sebastopol and Santa Rosa are expected to consider similar resolutions soon.
Read more at https://www.bohemian.com/northbay/planet-plan/Content?oid=9316811
Emily Holbrook, ENERGY MANAGER TODAY
The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced today that greenhouse gas emissions rose 1.4% in 2017, marking the first rise in three years.
As the IEA points out, emissions have reached a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes (Gt), a resumption of growth after three years of global emissions remaining flat. The increase in CO2emissions, however, was not universal. While most major economies saw a rise, some others experienced declines, including the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan. The biggest decline came from the United States, mainly because of higher deployment of renewables.
The report states, improvements in global energy efficiency slowed down in 2017. The rate of decline in global energy intensity, defined as the energy consumed per unit of economic output, slowed to only 1.6% in 2017, much lower than the 2.0% improvement seen in 2016.
The growth in global energy demand was concentrated in Asia, with China and India together representing more than 40% of the increase. Energy demand in all advanced economies contributed more than 20% of global energy demand growth, although their share in total energy use continued to fall. Notable growth was also registered in Southeast Asia (which accounted for 8% of global energy demand growth) and Africa (6%), although per capita energy use in these regions still remains well below the global average.
Read more at https://www.energymanagertoday.com/greenhouse-gas-emissions-rise-for-the-first-time-in-3-years-0175767/
Bill Laurence, US NEWS
As President Donald Trump mulls over whether to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, it is hard to imagine that he’s listening to the experts. US climate researchers are being so stifled, ignored or blackballed that France has now offered sanctuary to these misunderstood souls.
One might prefer to think of Trump as an outlier in an otherwise environmentally sane world. But alarmingly, there’s just too much evidence to the contrary.
A recent analysis, led by Guillaume Chapron of Sweden’s Agricultural University, reveals a rising tide of assaults on environmental safeguards worldwide. If nothing else, it illustrates the sheer range and creativity of tactics used by those who seek to profit at the expense of nature.
The assaults on environmental protections are so diverse that Chapron and his colleagues had to devise a new “taxonomy” to categorize them all. They have even set up a public database to track these efforts, giving us a laundry list of environmental rollbacks from around the world.
Read more at https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-05-30/around-the-world-environmental-laws-are-under-attack-in-all-sorts-of-ways