Coastal Preservation, Updates, Climate Change
November 20 2017

Climate Change Roundup

by Stefanie Sekich-Quinn

Paris Agreement and COP 23

A few weeks ago, world leaders gathered in Bonn Germany at the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference to discuss combating climate change and the Paris Agreement. You may remember in June President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement.  At the conference in Bonn, Syria signed the Paris agreement, making the United States the only country in the world not supporting the Agreement.  While the Trump administration has ostracized the U.S. from the rest of the world, it hasn’t stopped the momentum of Paris Agreement supporters who are partaking in the #ImStillIn movement.  Surfrider is a proud member of this movement and we were thrilled to see organizers deliver over one million signatures at the conference in Bonn stressing that Americans from all 50 states support the Paris Agreement.  If you haven’t already, please sign the pledge to support the agreement.  And be sure you watch this video of protestors putting a cleaver twist on the song “God Bless the U.S.A.” during a speech by the Director for the U.S. Energy Association.

Not Polar Opposite

Recently scientists discovered that both the Arctic and Antarctic have experienced abnormal and quite alarming sea ice melt. According to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center, arctic sea ice appears to have reached its yearly lowest extent for 2017—smashing previous satellite records taken in late fall.  Meanwhile on the opposite end of the globe, a hole the size of Maine opened in Antarctica ice. As discussed in this national geographic article, these types of sea ice holes (called polynyas) are not entirely rare, however, this polynya is the largest hole observed in Antarctica since the 1970s. This hole presents a dangerous feedback loop where water is continuously exposed to air making it is difficult for new ice to form. 


The Costs of Climate Change and Unpreparedness

A new study released to examine “lessons learned” from Superstorm Sandy concluded that important lessons have indeed not soaked in (no pun).  The report, published by several esteemed universities, concluded that no U.S. city is prepared for catastrophic climate change impacts such as increased storms, flooding, and sea level rise—which they predict will grow worse. The study postulates storms that occurred once ‘every 500 years’ could occur once every five years between 2030 and 2045.  As one of the report authors said, "This is kind of a warning. How are we going to protect our coastal infrastructure?" And speaking of protecting infrastructure, another bipartisan study commission by two Senators (republican Susan Collins and democrat Maria Cantwell) concluded that taxpayers will be spending billions of dollars on climate change related ‘extreme weather’ events in the future.  The report noted that within the past decade the U.S. government has spent estimated $350 billion responding to extreme weather and fire events, which are exacerbated by climate change. "We cannot ignore the impact of climate change," Collins said in a statement. "This nonpartisan GAO report contains astonishing numbers about the consequences of climate change for our economy and for the federal budget in particular."

Trump Administration Watch

In our last Climate Change Roundup blog, we wrote about Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality nominee. Ms. Hartnett, and how she believes "global warming" is a type of "paganism" for "secular elites" and how carbon dioxide is a not a pollutant, but is "the gas of life on this planet."  Well, we wish this video was part of the “funny” section of our blog (don’t worry, the funny section is still included below), but we couldn’t help sharing this mashup of the Ms. Hartnett trying to answer questions during a Senate confirmation hearing.   

Rounding out the Funny 

Now, you can enjoy your funny!