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1 Mich-again  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 7:49:30am

Instead of changing course, I predict the GOP will double down on their current strategy to just deny that anything out of the ordinary is happening, but if the climate really is changing, then it's only because God wanted it to change.

2 nines09  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 8:41:05am

I doubt the GOP will do anything even remotely resembling reality. They are now reduced to a cult. A very bad cult. You would think sanity was a vice to be avoided by this brand of stupidity and avarice. Just the overwhelming lack of conscience exhibited by the inaction on the Sandy "Super Storm" relief should be enough for any rational person to see how fucked up they really are. They would burn a house down and stand in front of it with an empty can of gasoline with a burned hand and a Bic lighter in the other hand in front of cameras and say they don't know anything. They just get lower and lower. I'm ashamed I ever voted Republican.

3 EiMitch  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 8:45:11am

By the time the GOP change their tune on climate change, if ever, it'll be too late. Whatever we do, we can't count on them to give-in. Instead, we must push for change where we can, at the state level.

Yeah, I know that means it'll be mostly blue states taking it for the team. But we don't have time for fairness. We'll just have to demand reparations from denialists later, when their kind are no longer in power.

4 Skip Intro  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 8:52:13am

re: #1 Mich-again

Instead of changing course, I predict the GOP will double down on their current strategy to just deny that anything out of the ordinary is happening, but if the climate really is changing, then it's only because God wanted it to change.

Don't forget the part where God is doing this to "us" because we're so darn evil. The GOP will just ignore that this is happening in the rest of the world, too, because that just makes it harder to blame everything on those damn lieburals.

5 lostlakehiker  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 12:10:03pm

re: #3 EiMitch

By the time the GOP change their tune on climate change, if ever, it'll be too late. Whatever we do, we can't count on them to give-in. Instead, we must push for change where we can, at the state level.

Yeah, I know that means it'll be mostly blue states taking it for the team. But we don't have time for fairness. We'll just have to demand reparations from denialists later, when their kind are no longer in power.

One place a Blue State could take one for the team, right now, would be New York. It is madness to rebuild in the lowest-lying, most vulnerable areas. Flood "insurance" should not be available from the federal govt at below-market costs to persons living in regions that are very likely to be flooded. This is not to say the feds should welsh on existing policies, merely that they should not write a new one for the same plot of land/marsh/sandbar/tidal-flat/estuary.

Galveston should not have been rebuilt either, for that matter.

Republicans are going to come around because the insurance industry is going to lobby them to come around. Flood insurance has already mostly become a federal gig, because the feds offer rates that bear no relation to the likely losses. Crop insurance, ditto.

If the same thing happens to other property insurance, the private sector will be entirely crowded out. Fires, floods, and wind damage figure to occur far more often than historical records would suggest.

As likely losses skyrocket, insurers will have to raise their rates dramatically or face eventual ruin. Current regulations don't allow for that. The business-friendly, reality-based answer to the predicament is to allow estimates of future losses to take into account projections from the climate scientists, rather than just historical experience.

But to accommodate their lobbyists, the Republicans will have to grant the underlying premise of climate change.

6 EiMitch  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 3:06:24pm

re: #5 lostlakehiker

One place a Blue State could take one for the team, right now, would be New York. It is madness to rebuild in the lowest-lying, most vulnerable areas. Flood "insurance" should not be available from the federal govt at below-market costs to persons living in regions that are very likely to be flooded. This is not to say the feds should welsh on existing policies, merely that they should not write a new one for the same plot of land/marsh/sandbar/tidal-flat/estuary.

First of all, this is pretty much the same rant that was made against rebuilding New Orleans. But relocating that many people is highly implausible. You'd have to essentially build a brand new city from scratch, on top of the logistical nightmare of transporting that many people and their remaining worldly possessions. And thats assuming they're all able and willing to move in the first place.

Second, when I said "take one for the team," I meant paying for trying to combat climate change by greening up the grid. As in fewer hydrocarbon burning power plants and more wind/solar/misc.

Third and final...

Flood insurance has already mostly become a federal gig, because the feds offer rates that bear no relation to the likely losses. Crop insurance, ditto.

...snip...

As likely losses skyrocket, insurers will have to raise their rates dramatically or face eventual ruin. Current regulations don't allow for that. The business-friendly, reality-based answer to the predicament is to allow estimates of future losses to take into account projections from the climate scientists, rather than just historical experience.

In other words, rates should go further up. But here is a "reality-based" question: can everyone so adversely affected by climate change afford that?

Hell no! Not even close.

Whether you meant to or not, you just made a huge argument against "business-friendly" insurance. Unless you plan to relocate practically entire cities full of people, your proposal is just not going to happen. Oh, wait a minute...

7 watching you tiny alien kittens are  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 3:33:24pm

re: #5 lostlakehiker

Flood insurance has already mostly become a federal gig, because the feds offer rates that bear no relation to the likely losses.

Home flood insurance is completely Federal, there are no private companies offering flood coverage to the typical homeowner in the United States. Private companies only sell and service policies thru the National Flood Insurance Program, they have no liability for any claims.

This is because the only people who buy flood insurance are those most at risk of specific flooding events or who are required to obtain it to get mortgage financing because they live in a flood zone. A private company cannot make a profit because of this "adverse selection" where only a small number of people, all of whom are extremely likely to file a catastrophic damage claim, purchase the insurance.

This is why the NFIP was created in the first place, because private insurers had already mostly dropped flood damage coverage entirely. You could only get flood damage insurance through a handful of specialty insurers like Lloyd's at highly inflated premiums.

A few private companies still sell "Natural Catastrophe" policies for high value homes that exceed the coverage limits of the Federal insurance, but the cost is very prohibitive.

8 lostlakehiker  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 4:39:49pm

re: #6 EiMitch

First of all, this is pretty much the same rant that was made against rebuilding New Orleans. But relocating that many people is highly implausible. You'd have to essentially build a brand new city from scratch, on top of the logistical nightmare of transporting that many people and their remaining worldly possessions. And thats assuming they're all able and willing to move in the first place.

Second, when I said "take one for the team," I meant paying for trying to combat climate change by greening up the grid. As in fewer hydrocarbon burning power plants and more wind/solar/misc.

Third and final...

In other words, rates should go further up. But here is a "reality-based" question: can everyone so adversely affected by climate change afford that?

Hell no! Not even close.

Whether you meant to or not, you just made a huge argument against "business-friendly" insurance. Unless you plan to relocate practically entire cities full of people, your proposal is just not going to happen. Oh, wait a minute...

Rates should go up for land that has already been flooded once and figures to be flooded again. And again and again and again. This will prompt people who have already been flooded out to NOT rebuild, but to take the money they get from their insurance settlement and build elsewhere, on higher ground.

I DO plan to relocate practically entire cities full of people. This is for the simple reason that rising waters will force it, sooner or later. Better that the relocation be piecemeal, with each successive slice of flooding victims taking their insurance money and rebuilding elsewhere.

Note that the lowest-lying sectors of New Orleans are not being rebuilt. This is for the best. Why put people into death traps?

The federal government has taken over the flood insurance market. Flood insurance has become flood subsidies---that's the word for "selling" people something at a price that does not reflect the risk. Some of these subsidies go to small fish, but a lot of them go to rich people with second homes right on the beach. These, most particularly, should not get further flood "insurance" for anything they rebuild on beachfront property.

Farmers should not get crop insurance for planting crops that are very likely to fail, when they do fail. Do we subsidize planting corn in Death Valley? No. It would be absurd. As the climate shifts, we're going to have to encourage farmers to limit their risk, not by planting what they know won't grow and cashing their insurance checks, but by planting, say, sorghum, in place of corn. Sorghum is more heat tolerant and more drought tolerant.

The U.S. cannot do all that much about climate change by building a major quantity of wind/solar infrastructure at today's state of the art. The same amount of money, spent in the same period of time, would be better spent by spending today's portion on constructing more efficient buildings that need less heating or artificial lighting, by installing LED lighting, and so forth, and then spending tomorrow's portion on constructing better, more efficient, cheaper wind and solar infrastructure at tomorrow's state of the art. We should continue to spend something on today's wind/solar, because only by hitting the snags will we learn how to cope with them. But the time is not yet ripe to build out, to scale, very large systems.

Another reason to push vigorous R&D into wind and solar is that China is using almost twice as much coal currently as the U.S., and is pulling away. The only ways I can see that we can convince them to switch to wind/solar would be (1) build wind/solar tech that undercuts coal on cost, or (2) in the fullness of time, things getting so bad that that we can prove to China that the fraction of the world damage from global warming that China bears is greater than the entirety of their own benefit from using coal instead of more expensive wind/solar. Continued in next post.

9 lostlakehiker  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 4:43:39pm

Insurance for fire and wind and rain damage ought to be priced to reflect the new realities of risk. This will impact everybody everywhere. But the risk itself is the reason that it impacts people. It is just flat impossible for insurance companies to offer policies at old rates, take in meager premiums, pay out whopping losses, and break even. And if the government steps in to offer everybody insurance at the good old rates, that will have to mean higher taxes.

Better to have a system that encourages mitigation efforts. There are ways to build homes so they are less likely to be damaged or destroyed in a storm. This will save lives as well as property. Insurance rates can incorporate these homebuilding features and thus transmit to those who need the information, the info they need in ways that will induce them to act on it.

10 Interesting Times  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 5:03:04pm

re: #1 Mich-again

Instead of changing course, I predict the GOP will double down on their current strategy to just deny that anything out of the ordinary is happening

Exactly. In fact, they're already doubling down, not only by denying climate change itself, but cutting funding for the life-saving weather satellites that observe it and even denying disaster relief to people suffering the consequences.

The GOP has become malignantly stupid and evil. I just hope enough voters wake up to the fact in time.

11 watching you tiny alien kittens are  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 5:38:58pm

re: #8 lostlakehiker

The federal government has taken over the flood insurance market. Flood insurance has become flood subsidies---that's the word for "selling" people something at a price that does not reflect the risk. Some of these subsidies go to small fish, but a lot of them go to rich people with second homes right on the beach. These, most particularly, should not get further flood "insurance" for anything they rebuild on beachfront property.

Firstly the NFIP is supposed to be self-supporting, it borrows money from the treasury when it has a large numbers of claims to pay at once, like Katrina, or now with Sandy but it has to pay that money back. NFIP rates will be raised again to enable and accelerate this repayment because of Sandy, just like they were after Katrina. It cannot be considered a subsidy because it is being paid for almost 100% by those who receive coverage from the program.

Secondly at least some of these people will not be allowed to rebuild, this is because FEMA is updating their floodplain management maps of the effected areas and designating more Special Flood Hazard Areas. Many of those that are allowed to rebuild will have to do substantial flood mitigation such as raising the height of their property, building on raised pilings, etc.

Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between local communities and the federal government which states that if a community will adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risks to new construction in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), the federal government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses. The SFHAs and other risk premium zones applicable to each participating community are depicted on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The Mitigation Division within the Federal Emergency Management Agency manages the NFIP and oversees the floodplain management and mapping components of the Program...

...The program was first amended by the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, which made the purchase of flood insurance mandatory for the protection of property within SFHAs. In 1982, the Act was amended by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA). The CBRA enacted a set of maps depicting the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) in which federal flood insurance is unavailable for new or significantly improved structures. The National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 codified the Community Rating System (an incentive program that encourages communities to exceed the minimal federal requirements for development within floodplains) within the NFIP. The program was further amended by the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004, with the goal of reducing "losses to properties for which repetitive flood insurance claim payments have been made."

Your claim that this is taxpayer subsidy to those living in coastal areas simply is not true, at least not yet. If the program gets hit with further major losses in the immediate future Congress may have to decide to forgive the program some of it's debt rather than see rates become unaffordable. But so far that is not the case.

12 EiMitch  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 5:58:01pm

re: #8 lostlakehiker

Rates should go up for land that has already been flooded once and figures to be flooded again. And again and again and again. This will prompt people who have already been flooded out to NOT rebuild, but to take the money they get from their insurance settlement and build elsewhere, on higher ground.

So to follow that logic consistently, people should stop living near water because of flood risk, stop living in the midwestern US because of tornado risk, stop living near forests because of wildfire risk, stop living in the southwest because of drought risk, stop living on the west coast because of earthquake risk...

re: #9 lostlakehiker

Insurance for fire and wind and rain damage ought to be priced to reflect the new realities of risk. This will impact everybody everywhere. But the risk itself is the reason that it impacts people.

Wait! You already considered that, and think its a good thing?!

Earth to lostlakehiker: Most people can't afford to move on command, even with insurance payouts! Its easy to talk about building new places with more efficient technologies. But the who the hell can afford it? I can tell you who can't: the majority!

Some of these subsidies go to small fish, but a lot of them go to rich people with second homes right on the beach.

The areas which suffered the most damage in NY & NJ were not wealthy, fyi. For all your complaints about "subsidies," what you're proposing would for all intents and purposes be a regressive tax. Meaning that it impacts lower-income people disproportionately hard.

Farmers should not get crop insurance for planting crops that are very likely to fail, when they do fail. Do we subsidize planting corn in Death Valley? No. It would be absurd. As the climate shifts, we're going to have to encourage farmers to limit their risk, not by planting what they know won't grow and cashing their insurance checks, but by planting, say, sorghum, in place of corn. Sorghum is more heat tolerant and more drought tolerant.

Telling farmers "plant something else" is a far cry from telling them "get the f*** outta here!" Analogy fail.

The U.S. cannot do all that much about climate change by building a major quantity of wind/solar infrastructure at today's state of the art.

On the contrary, today's state of the art would be alot more effective simply by adding efficient, large-scale energy storage, aka mega-batteries. And those are just around the corner.

Frankly, this is a far more practical and cost effective solution than mass-exodi. (yeah, I pluralized exodus)

Oh, and if people were to relocate en mass, that would sharply drive up property values, pricing many more people out of moving. That, and adding to sprawl would cause more environmental damage, potentially making the "mitigated" problems worse.

Have I finally made it clear why forcing practically entire cities of people to move is absoludicrous? Or why using free-market mechanisms to "nudge" people into moving is nothing but social darwinism?

13 watching you tiny alien kittens are  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 6:30:00pm

re: #9 lostlakehiker

Insurance for fire and wind and rain damage ought to be priced to reflect the new realities of risk.

They are, insurance companies present their actuarial tables to their state insurance board when claims or the risk of claims have increased and are then granted rate increases. Florida has already seen its rates skyrocket based solely on the projections of increased Hurricane activity. In any case the National Flood Insurance Program does not cover any of those types of damage.

This will impact everybody everywhere. But the risk itself is the reason that it impacts people. It is just flat impossible for insurance companies to offer policies at old rates, take in meager premiums, pay out whopping losses, and break even.

Florida had to create the state owned "Citizens" insurance program, not because of low rates, but because of economic reality. Even with hugely increased premiums being allowed many private companies ceased offering homeowners/property coverage in the coastal regions of the state after Andrew. The density of high value construction in vulnerable coastal areas simply made the potential total claim values too high for them to accept the risk anymore, at any price.

And if the government steps in to offer everybody insurance at the good old rates, that will have to mean higher taxes.

Citizens in Florida is not cheap, not at all, because just like the NFIP it is not subsidized but has to pay for itself. I don't know where you got this idea that government is subsidizing insurance because it simply is not true. What we end up paying for is all the aid and grants to people and businesses who don't have flood insurance or have inadequate business property/inventory/equipment insurance. Those are the people who we are really subsidizing, look up those numbers some time.

14 Obdicut  Sat, Jan 5, 2013 6:45:03pm

re: #8 lostlakehiker

Yes, we'll just all build shit in that magical place on earth that's unaffected by severe weather and will remain so as the climate changes.

Flood insurance has been a governmental baliwick for a long time because it doesn't make any sense as a private market-- though we stupidly semi-privatize it and allow corporations to rake off profits-- any more than health insurance makes sense as a private market.

15 lostlakehiker  Sun, Jan 6, 2013 11:50:05pm

re: #12 EiMitch

So to follow that logic consistently, people should (stuff I didn't say) ...

re: #9 lostlakehiker

Wait! You already considered that, and think its a good thing?!

Earth to lostlakehiker: Most people can't afford to move on command, even with insurance payouts! Its easy to talk about building new places with more efficient technologies. But the who the hell can afford it? I can tell you who can't: the majority!

The areas which suffered the most damage in NY & NJ were not wealthy, fyi. For all your complaints about "subsidies," what you're proposing would for all intents and purposes be a regressive tax. Meaning that it impacts lower-income people disproportionately hard.

Telling farmers "plant something else" is a far cry from telling them "get the f*** outta here!" Analogy fail.

On the contrary, today's state of the art would be alot more effective simply by adding efficient, large-scale energy storage, aka mega-batteries. And those are just around the corner.

Frankly, this is a far more practical and cost effective solution than mass-exodi. (yeah, I pluralized exodus)

Oh, and if people were to relocate en mass, that would sharply drive up property values, pricing many more people out of moving. That, and adding to sprawl would cause more environmental damage, potentially making the "mitigated" problems worse.

Have I finally made it clear why forcing practically entire cities of people to move is absoludicrous? Or why using free-market mechanisms to "nudge" people into moving is nothing but social darwinism?

Rubbish. People who've been flooded out can use their money elsewhere and rebuild elsewhere. On higher ground. We've done it for rivers.

Look: we cannot prevent the degree of global warming that will bring on the rising sea levels I'm talking about. It's move sooner, taking your valuables with you, move later after being flooded out, move still later, after being flooded out twice and fruitlessly rebuilding once, or die.

As to moving to get away from the other hazards, no. I didn't say that. And you ought to read the post carefully enough to see that.

People who are at risk of having too-high AC bills should use white shingles the next time they re-roof. (Like I have, already.) People who are at particular risk of wind damage should, when they build, incorporate measures to reduce the likely damage. Insurance companies, through premiums, can signal which mitigation measures are likely to be cost effective. And if the house is already built, premiums can signal what retrofits will be cost effective.

People who are at risk of fires, as for instance along the Front Range, should take measures to "harden" their house. Slate shingles (I know, not white asphalt, first things first don't get burned down), no brush near the house, etc. Premiums can signal...

The technology of conservation and mitigation is not going to advance as fast over the next decade as the technology of wind/solar. Thus, given a trillion dollars to spend on climate concerns this decade, it would make more sense to front-load the money going to reducing demand for electricity and home heating and transportation, and to mitigation steps such as planting the right crops and AT LEAST not putting up new structures where they're likely to get hammered.

And back-load the part of it that will be dedicated to construction of wind/solar. Because, as you say, we DO NOT HAVE the batteries, or whatever it will be. Subsidize today, learn today, go massive tomorrow.

16 EiMitch  Mon, Jan 7, 2013 10:27:55am

re: #15 lostlakehiker

Rubbish. People who've been flooded out can use their money elsewhere and rebuild elsewhere. On higher ground. We've done it for rivers.

Again, we're talking cities. Think of them as huge, untrained and otherwise disorganized armies. How so? I and others (primarily ausador a.k.a. watching you tiny alien kittens are) have counted the ways, and you dismissed them all with the wave of a hand right before lecturing me about how I should read more carefully.

There are things about flood insurance, poverty, and those who live close to water that you apparently don't know. Yet, you just keep repeating your faith in market-forces while throwing in captain obvious stuff like "retrofit your home when you remodel" to make it look like you know what you're talking about. But you don't.

I have two more things to say before I walk away from this:

1 - I find it ironic that you're yakking about long-term planning, and yet...

And back-load the part of it that will be dedicated to construction of wind/solar. Because, as you say, we DO NOT HAVE the batteries, or whatever it will be. Subsidize today, learn today, go massive tomorrow.

...a year or two is too far ahead? Gimme a break. We can establish green energy today and alleviate alot of peak-energy demand. And when energy storage is ready, we can simply hook it up. Invest in the main bulk today, add the finishing touches tomorrow.

Nah, its (somehow) cheaper and simpler move entire cities.

2 - Since you've got a hard-on for "mitigation," consider this: Link

TL:DR?

Klaus Lackner, director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at Columbia University, has come up with a technique that he thinks could solve the problem. Lackner has designed an artificial tree that passively soaks up carbon dioxide from the air using “leaves” that are 1,000 times more efficient than true leaves that use photosynthesis.

...

Lackner calculates that his tree can remove one tonne of carbon dioxide a day. Ten million of these trees could remove 3.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – equivalent to about 10% of our global annual carbon dioxide emissions. "Our total emissions could be removed with 100 million trees," he says, "whereas we would need 1,000 times that in real trees to have the same effect."

Science is ahelluvalot closer to solving the problem than you give it credit.

...

Nah, lets just tell everyone to run for the hills. And I don't care if they can't. They can because I say so. /sarc


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