Founded by environmental refugee expert, Wade M. Norris, P.R.A.E.R. is a non-profit entity that develops futuristic strategies and solutions to assist islanders in island nations who are displaced (or at risk of being displaced) by rising sea levels and climate change.
While the jury still be out on public opinion on Climate Change, in the Risk and Insurance industry, the verdict is coming in quickly.
It began in 2010 when State Farm said it would no longer write or renew insurance policies on North Carolina's barrier islands a.k.a the Outer Banks.
Now as of May 2014, the Insurance companies have gone another step. Farmer's Insurance of Illinois is suing Chicago's municipalities for flood losses the insurance company said could have been mitigated if the Municipalities had listened to warnings about increased floods from Climate Change and Global Warming.
In nine class-action lawsuits, Illinois Farmers Insurance Co. wants dozens of Chicago-area municipalities to reimburse them for claims they paid to flooded homeowners after a 2-day downpour last year.
Illinois Farmers says local officials know that climate change is causing heavier rainfall, yet they aren't protecting homeowners. They should have drained tunnels and retention basins before the storm, they say. In the lawsuit, they point to Chicago's Climate Action Plan as evidence that the city is aware of the dangers.
"Farmers is asking to be reimbursed for the claims it paid to homeowners who sometimes saw geysers of sewage ruin basement walls, floors and furniture. The company says it also paid policyholders for lost income, the cost of evacuations and other damages related to declining property values. But some analysts say that Farmers likely has a bigger prize in mind," reports ClimateWire.
The damage was completely preventable, says Farmers, and is filing the case to make sure it doesn't happen again. At the very least, they could have put out sandbags before the storm hit.
Its parent company, Zurich Insurance Group, could be setting a precedent on how insurance companies will - or won't - pay for claims related to climate change.
If these Class Action lawsuits by the Insurance companies are successful it would mean that Governmental officials who deny Climate Change and fail to respond through forward looking legislation and preparation will cost their citizens and tax payers they represent the ability to get adequate insurance coverage in times of Natural disaster.
It seems the free market, in the form of basic insurance, is moving ahead on Climate Change even before our government.
full story here
From Huffington Post
Rocky Point, a small neighborhood on the famed north shore of Oahu, is scrambling as yards, decks and even jacuzzis are being pulled out to sea.
"The deck that was out front of the house fell off Thursday night," homeowner Greg Quinn told KITV, "and it began undermining the foundation of the house."
The excessive erosion is unprecedented for many shoreline property owners. While past winter swells didn't cause problems, last week's waves claimed backyards overnight.
The nearby neighborhood of Sunset Beach saw similar erosion earlier this year, as did the famous Waikiki beach. A recent University of Hawaii study forecasted that more of the state's homes may be at risk, with the state on pace to lose up to 100 feet of beach in the coming decades.
(Crossposted at Huffington Post)
This November, against all odds, the town of Longmont, Colorado, passed the first Fracking ban in Colorado. This ballot initiative was necessary because when the city council passed a ban in the summer, 'Democratic' Governor Hickenlooper threatened to sue the city to overturn it. Hickenlooper has sided with the Oil and Gas industry on every occasion, even cutting a commercial for the Industry which stated there were 'no instances of contamination' from Fracking.
Then, the Governor signed an Executive Order creating an Industry friendly task force that takes away the rights of local communities to regulate fracking.
Undeterred, the people of Longmont turned to the Ballot Box and put the question to the Longmont voters. Against enormous political pressure, the people of Longmont won, and now the industry-funded Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) is suing the city over the voter-approved ban.
This is ground zero because this fight pits establishment politicians, even Democrats, aligned with the Oil and Gas industry, against the people who live in the communities who are endangered by fracking. If the Colorado Oil and Gas Industry wins their lawsuit it will most like be appealed to Federal court or even to the Supreme Court. How will our President side on this issue?
In support of the citizens of Longmont and to inform and encourage other communities in Colorado, the grassroots group Be the Change held a rally and performance
event in Boulder on December 2nd. Environmental Activists rallied in Colorado in solidarity with the City of Longmont.
Present was Bill McKibben of 350.org, Josh Fox of 'Gasland', Wes Wilson - Wes Wilson, former environmental engineer with the EPA, Phil Doe of Be the Change (CO), and
Michael Belmont of the Longmont activists who helped pass the ballot measure.
There were activist groups like Mothers for Sustainability and the Sierra Club.
Musical performances included Josh Fox, Laura Goldhammer, Earth Guardians, Elephant Revival, Pressure Point and Kunundrum.
Listen to the speakers and the bands lead the charge for support for the citizens of Longmont, and everyone opposed to fracking in this video here, with quotes from the speakers below.
Josh Fox of Gasland
The speakers are during the first hour, and the music starts with Josh Fox on Banjo at 1:12 into the video.
Bill McKibben of 350.org
(7 minute mark)
It was really good to see that pledge of resistance going around, and with a few thousand names on that (pledge) it will be harder for the powers that be to ignore what's going on.
We watched 1200 people arrested in Washing last year. It was enough at least to temporarily slow down this big Tar Sands pipeline - the Keystone pipeline....
All these fights are coming together in great ways. And I am so grateful to you all for the work you are doing.
I entered this fracking fray because of a deep concern that the American Democratic process is being sold to the highest bidder. But the Giant doesn't always win. In spite of a bullying Governor, a trillion dollar industry who threw half a million dollars at us, and 7 former mayors of Longmont who opposed our efforts, the ordinary people of Longmont prevailed.
On November 6, 2012, in Longmont, Colorado,against all odds and in the face of oppressive state laws, 60% of the voters from virtually all political persuasions reclaimed their constitutional right to health, safety and wellness by prohibiting the dangerous industrial operations of Fracking and the disposal of its toxic waste in our city limits.
Lisa McKenzie of the Colorado School of Public Health showed in her studies that if your live within 1/2 mile of a gas well, you were more likely to have cancer and other illness....
So the science is now in. We know that fracking wells poisons people nearby.We can't allow this to continue.
I don't think Obama wins this state without Boulder. I don't think (Governor) Hickenlooper doesn't win this state without the people like you going to bat for him. And if he is coming out there and saying to you 'Well were going to sue you for defending your health.' (boos) I mean this is an outrageous position for a Governor to be taking. For citizens to be democratically organized and standing up for your rights and saying 'We don't want the Fossil Fuel Industry, the chemical contamination and the lies of the 19th century... and 20th century in our future. We are going to defend our sanctity of our health, defend the character of our homes, defend the character of our towns... and then the Governor takes sides against the citizenship and sues them!?! (BOOS) I mean this to me seems to be an untenable political position if you are loud enough....
Our fate in New York is also tied to what you guys decide to do...
We need you badly... California, which has an enormous shale, the Monterrey Shale which stretches from East of San Francisco to East of Los Angeles and over the entire Central Valley - the Agricultural Breadbasket and almond bakset and artichoke basket of the United States, is in direct conflict for water, land and territory with the Oil and Gas industry and that's coming...
If we can find a way to make Colorado a base of support, I think we are going to be able to help all of those fights.
Other Notable Quotes:
Sonia Skakich Skrima - founder of What the Frack?!
I tell people that this is not just the Oil and Gas industry Fracturing for Natural Gas. They are Fracturing our water, they are Fracturing our representative democracy, they are Fracturing our health, all for profits.
Colorado is moving in the direction of the so called 'New Energy Economy'. Many elected officials, state agencies and state environmental leaders... public universities are collaborating with the Oil and Gas industry to develop Colorado's Natural gas reserves, thereby committing Colorado to decades of Hydraulic Fracturing. In 2010 under the leadership of Governor Ritter, and with the support of several state level environmental organizations, the state legislature passed the Orwellian and erroneously named Clean Air, Clean Jobs act making Colorado the first state in the nation to pass a fuel switching bill. It requires Public Utilities to transition some of their units to Natural Gas and requires it must be produced here in Colorado, effectively mandating Hydraulic Fracturing in Colorado.
The musicians were concerned and outspoken as well.
The Earth Guardian's singer Mr. Martinez - who gives me a lot of hope from the younger generation:
I went to Washington, D.C. and filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado and against our country for not protecting our atmosphere, and our air, and our water. (it's filed) on behalf of the Our Children's Trust campaign that says all the water, the air and the Earth is to be protected for future generations to come... We are filing in all 50 states to reduce our carbon emissions....and we actually won in Texas in New Mexico, so they are lowering their carbon emissions every year and are now planting trees...
It is not our right but our duty to peacefully protest any and all actions that contradict the interest of We The People. We see a huge injustice today in the political arena where politicians are ruled by banking and special interests groups that is becoming a concern for the future generations of this Country and our World.
Like many, I did not know what Fracking was or just how bad it is. But I do know I like a good beer. For those of you outside Colorado, the areas they are talking about Fracking - Longmont, Boulder, Fort Collins, they supply the water to some of the best breweries in the state, if not the country. There's New Belgium (Fat Tire), Left Hand, Oskar Blues (Dale's Pale Ale), Avery... Think how that would hurt those businesses if the water they used was ruined by fracking.
Other shout outs went out at the event to Sam Schabacher of Food and Water Watch for organizing various actions across the state, Shane Davis of Poudre Canyon Sierra Club, the Unity Center of Boulder for hosting and all of their excellent crew in charge of lighting, sound and stage management.
Thanks to Tommy Golec for editing and sound for this video.
Most of all, thanks to the people of Boulder county and Longmont for standing up to the Oil and Gas Industry and our Governor.
By the way, if you are so inclined, please contact Governor Hickenlooper's office on this subject at (303) 866-2471.
More video of the EPA hearing and Fracking protest last fall:
Governor Hickenlooper says there have been no instances of contamination from Fracking....let him drink this water...
The first national relocation plan is being developed on the atoll island nation of Kiribati.
From the Huffington Post:
Kiribati President Anote Tong told The Associated Press on Friday that his Cabinet this week endorsed a plan to buy nearly 6,000 acres on Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. He said the fertile land, being sold by a church group for about $9.6 million, could be insurance for Kiribati's entire population of 103,000, though he hopes it will never be necessary for everyone to leave.
"We would hope not to put everyone on one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it," Tong said. "It wouldn't be for me, personally, but would apply more to a younger generation. For them, moving won't be a matter of choice. It's basically going to be a matter of survival."
Kiribati, which straddles the equator near the international date line, has found itself at the leading edge of the debate on climate change because many of its atolls rise just a few feet above sea level.....
Tong has been considering other unusual options to combat climate change, including shoring up some Kiribati islands with sea walls and even building a floating island. He said this week that the latter option would likely prove too expensive, but that he hopes reinforcing some islands will ensure that Kiribati continues to exist in some form even in a worst-case scenario.
"We're trying to secure the future of our people," he said. "The international community needs to be addressing this problem more."
President Tong has been one of the more forward thinking and acting leaders on this subject along with Mohammed Nasheed.
This issue calls into question what will happen to the national identity of the people of Kiribati - their culture, myths and belief systems about how they came to live on this atoll are all under threat from actions that they themselves had little to do.
Even this option is not a perfect solution, as Fiji itself will be vulnerable to sea level rise in the coming decades as well.
An issue the industrialized countries will soon have to face.
Last year in Denver,Colorado, there was snow on the ground through the end of April and warm temperatures were not really felt until mid May.
Since the end of February this year, Colorado has only had 2 days that I can count where there were wintry conditions, and that was with lows of 30 degrees at night. What I can remember though, are March temperatures in the mid 80s occurring on four to six different dates, mirroring average temperatures for mid June.
Trees have already blossomed, and there are grasshoppers, bees, butterflies and lots of pollen in the air - something we should not see until late May or early June.
The Washington Post has reported that these first three months of 2012 have shattered records, especially in March.
In March, at least 7,775 weather stations across the nation broke daily high temperature records and another 7,517 broke records for night-time heat. Combined, that's more high temperature records broken in one month than ever before.
More from the Washington Post:
The winter that just ended, which in some places was called the year without winter, was the fourth warmest on record. Since last April, it's been the hottest 12-month stretch on record, Crouch said.
But the month where the warmth turned especially weird was March.
Normally, March averages 42.5 degrees across the country. This year, the average was 51.1, which is closer to the average for April. Only one other time -- in January 2006 -- was the country as a whole that much hotter than normal for an entire month.
The "icebox of America," International Falls, Minn., saw temperatures in the 70s for five days in March, and there were only three days of below zero temperatures all month.
"When you look at what's happened in March this year, it's beyond unbelievable," said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver.
NOAA climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi compared the increase in weather extremes to baseball players on steroids: You can't say an individual homer is because of steroids, but they are hit more often and the long-held records for home runs fall.
They seem to be falling far more often because of global warming, said NASA top climate scientist James Hansen. In a paper he submitted to the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and posted on a physics research archive, Hansen shows that heat extremes aren't just increasing but happening far more often than scientists thought. What used to be a 1-in-400 hot temperature record is now a 1 in 10 occurrence, essentially 40 times more likely, said Hansen.
And the reports of extreme winter warmth has gotten noticed by lots of people.
Ice leaves Beech Hill Pond earliest that 80-year-old can recall
OTIS, Maine -- Since 1947, Edwin "Sonny" Colburn has been keeping track of when the water in Hancock County's Beech Hill Pond goes to ice, and back again.
Never, he says, has he seen a winter like this.
"There were years when we were driving vehicles on the ice on Thanksgiving, and we were ice skating and ice boating the first part of April," he said Tuesday. "This year, the lake wasn't frozen over until the morning of January 21st, and the ice went out the 21st of March, the earliest I've ever seen it go."
"We've had a good day," Obama said. "It's warm every place. It gets you a little nervous about what's happening to global temperatures. But when it's 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March it gets you thinking..."
"Something's wrong," Oprah interjected.
"Yeah," Obama said. "On other hand we really have enjoyed the nice weather."
The article also notes:
Instead of temperatures in the mid-40s, the historical average, Chicago is in a record-breaking streak of 80-degree weather. This "extreme and unprecedented" heat wave began last Wednesday and may continue through this Wednesday. "Before the heat wave, there had only been 10 March days on record that reached 80 degrees, and on average Chicago would see one 80 degree day in March every 14 years," the Daily Herald reports.
While it is true that I'd rather go for a hike than shovel snow, there is a downside to the early spring and summer temperatures - from CNN:
The warm temperatures also contributed to conditions that were favorable for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. There were 223 preliminary tornado reports during March, a month that averages 80 tornadoes, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. The majority of these tornadoes occurred during a severe weather outbreak across the Ohio River Valley and Southeast in early March. The outbreak caused 40 deaths and total losses of $1.5 billion, making it the first billion-dollar disaster of 2012.
It is my belief that our fellow Americans are much more likely to be persuaded by what they can see with their own eyes - trees blooming in the winter - much more than statistical data, which as we have seen before can be made to look less than reliable - even when it's revealed to be a smear campaign against legitimate science.
So what I want to know is what you have seen where you live.
What odd weather have you seen?
And more importantly, what are your friends and family saying about this weather?
...(this is) about one of our real allies on this planet, the president of the Maldive Islands, Mohammed Nasheed. He's arguably the Mandela of the Indian Ocean--he spent six years in jail before forcing an election that overthrew the country's longstanding autocrat. But this morning some kind of sketchy military coup returned the old order to power. Many of Nasheed's colleagues have fled; he's under some kind of house arrest.
This is not just a blow to democracy--it's a huge blow to the climate movement. Nasheed is the epitome of the kind of leadership we need to see the world around. He's engaged in practical work--the Maldives was, until this morning, on track to become the world's first carbon-neutral nation by 2020. And he's been a great political leader--you may recall that he trained his whole cabinet to scuba dive so they could hold an underwater cabinet meeting against their dying coral reef in 2009, in conjunction with 350.org's first huge global day of action.
This Muslim leader is a great great man. We need to come to his defense. Here's a quick petition page we've set up at 350.org, to let the Maldivian military know the world is watching. I'll never forget watching Nasheed speak to a huge rally at Copenhagen--it was the high point of that hopeless week. As you can tell, I'm a little frantic.
You can help at this page
a quick diary on a clear violation of the First Amendment. Josh Fox who made the documentary "Gasland" was ordered arrested by House Republicans for attempting to film and report on a hearing concerning fracking in natural gas drilling.
From Huffpo's Zach Carter:
In a stunning break with First Amendment policy on Capitol Hill, House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on a controversial natural gas procurement practice. Republicans also denied the entrance of a credentialed ABC News news team that was attempting to film the event....
Approximately 16 officers entered the hearing room and handcuffed Fox amid audible discussions of "disorderly conduct" charges, according to Democratic sources present at the arrest.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Gasland:
Here is some more on the 2005 'Haliburton' loophole that allowed Fracking to start and the impact on residents in Colorado.
lastly, it appears that Josh Fox and his crew will not be able to return to the hearing.
The meeting of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment had been taking place in room 2318 of the Rayburn building. Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, is currently seeking to secure a procedural maneuver that would allow the detained film crew to re-enter the hearing, which is open to the public. Miller's motion is not expected to succeed.
This is particularly upsetting, because this hearing is about revealing the secret ingredients in fracking fluids. President Obama made the statement that he wanted Oil and Gas companies to reveal these ingredients in the State of the Union, but it appears House Republicans are not ready to give up that golden goose.
I am starting to agree with Thom Hartmann on the reason for the delay to reveal these ingredients, by the Republicans and the Oil and Gas industry - not only are they dangerous to us, but these industries are used to having to pay huge sums of money to properly dispose of by-products from refineries - and this is a convenient way to get rid of these by products - just inject them 3000 feet underground which also happens to be where our aquifers are.
A sad day for the first amendment and for those of us who don't want to see any more of this:
Concerned citizens gathered outside an EPA hearing in Denver to demand a change in the EPA's 'Haliburton' loophole.
Testifying with them, was
former EPA official Wes Wilson who filed a Whistleblower lawsuit against the EPA.
Mr. Wilson was there specifically to testify about the EPA allowing Oil and Gas companies to inject toxic chemicals into the ground for the purpose of Hydraulic Fracturing, without disclosing those chemicals for public review as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. This is known as the 'Haliburton loophole' passed in 2005.
Wes Wilson, who was featured in Josh Fox's 'Gasland', had a lot of community groups with him including What the Frack and Food and Watch as well as families - many of whom have suffered directly from fracking fluid contamination on their land.
Dozens of communities from around the United States, from Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Pennsylvania are complaining that they are near these (fracking) activities and they are getting ill.
We have no rigorous investigation of how these air pollutants are harming people...
In many states landowners have sold leases to Oil and Gas companies to frack, only to find out later that their water has been contaminated.
What's worse than that?
Well, Colorado is a 'mineral rights' state, which means landowners do not own the mineral rights under their land. So to add insult to injury, they don't even get offered compensation from the Oil companies when they set up and extract oil and gas under their property. And many times, the Oil companies are drilling without the community even getting a public hearing.
And families have begun to notice increasing and unusual sicknesses among occurring near the gas well sites. Exposure just to the air near the open pits causes eye problems, headaches, and bloody noses, and that's not even considering the effects of drinking contaminated water.
One resident summed what was happening to families in Colorado.
Basically it boils down to our government has given the right of Imminent Domain to corporations for their private gain.
I don't own mineral rights where I am...
they can just come in and take what they want...
This is the reason we had a revolution during Colonial times, its the same thing!'
And this is not just about remote rural communities -
(Mary Ladou of SouthPark Coalition)
The oil and gas companies want to drill up to 300 wells and we are at 10,000 feet, and the water that flows through there is the water that supplies the Front Range.
This could be coming soon to the Front Range - including cities of Colorado Springs, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Denver...
Keep going strong Occupy - you are our best hope...
by Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
It was seen as one of the most distressing effects of climate change ever recorded: polar bears dying of exhaustion after being stranded between melting patches of Arctic sea ice.
But now the government scientist who first warned of the threat to polar bears in a warming Arctic has been suspended and his work put under official investigation for possible scientific misconduct.
Charles Monnett, a wildlife biologist, oversaw much of the scientific work for the government agency that has been examining drilling in the Arctic. He managed about $50m (£30.5m) in research projects.
Some question why Monnett, employed by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, has been suspended at this moment. The Obama administration has been accused of hounding the scientist so it can open up the fragile region to drilling by Shell and other big oil companies.
"You have to wonder: this is the guy in charge of all the science in the Arctic and he is being suspended just now as an arm of the interior department is getting ready to make its decision on offshore drilling in the Arctic seas," said Jeff Ruch, president of the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. "This is a cautionary tale with a deeply chilling message for any federal scientist who dares to publish groundbreaking research on conditions in the Arctic."
The group filed an official complaint on Monnett's behalf on Thursday, accusing the government of persecuting the (PDF) scientist and interfering with his work. It seeks his reinstatement and a public apology.
Monnett was on a research flight tracking bowhead whales, in 2004, when he and his colleagues spotted four dead polar bears floating in the water after a storm. The scientists concluded the bears, though typically strong swimmers, had grown exhausted and drowned due to the long distances between patches of solid sea ice. It was the first time scientists had drawn a link between melting Arctic sea ice and a threat to the bears' survival.
Two years later, Monnett and a colleague published an article in the science journal Polar Biology, writing: "Drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice and/or longer open water periods continues."
The paper quickly heightened public concern for the polar bear. Al Gore, citing the paper, used polar bear footage in his film Inconvenient Truth. Campaigners focused on the bears to push George Bush to act on climate change, and in 2008, the government designated the animal a threatened species.
It was the first animal to be classed as a victim of climate change.
In 2010 the Obama administration began an investigation into his work. The scientist was suspended with pay on 18 July. He is said to be under a gagging order and forbidden from communicating with his colleagues. The employee group's complaint alleges that the investigation is a thinly veiled attempt to disrupt scientific work on the Arctic.
Oil firms, which want to drill in the pristine environment of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, have been complaining of delays caused by environmental reviews. This month Obama issued an order to speed up Arctic drilling permits.
Read more at: The Guardian UK