Okay. So we’ve shown you how to model anticipated sea level rise and locate within this swirling seaspray what our San Antonio utility folks are calling the best location for new nuclear power plants: the South Texas Nuclear Project outside Bay City.
Now, seems we have to factor in all hell breaking loose in the transportation sector, thanks to a variety of Gulfside ills brought on by climate change. So, even if CPS is invested in the only high patch of sand on the Coast, the service lines to and from will get dicier.
On March 12 the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) released the assessment report Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase 1. This report, 400+ pages long, is a major study of the implications of climate change for Gulf Coast transportation—including roads and highways, transit services, oil and gas pipelines, freight handling ports, transcontinental railroad networks, waterway systems, and airports. Transportation systems and infrastructure are likely to be adversely impacted by climate change, including warmer temperatures and heat waves, changes in precipitation patterns (extreme precipitation events, flooding), sea level rise, increased storm intensity, and damage associated with storm surge. The study talks about how climate change considerations need to be incorporated in transportation planning and investment decisions.
Three hours later DOT issued a pro forma, uninformative, and misleading press release on a different Web site, 3 links away from the report itself. There appears to be no other rollout activity in connection with this major climate change risk assessment-preparedness study. The press release lists only one contact, a press official who is a former Republican congressional staffer. It does not list as contacts any of the lead authors of the report—the individuals with the real expertise to discuss its contents.
The press release leads with: “The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a study on the potential impacts of climate changes and land subsidence, the natural sinking of an area’s land mass, on transportation infrastructure in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.” This is misleading and entirely inadequate. The report is not about land subsidence, it is fundamentally about the adverse consequences of climate disruption. Of the climate change impacts in the study, the DOT release specifically mentions only rising relative sea levels and fails to mention other impacts, most notably the impacts of stronger hurricanes. As the report authors say in Chapter 6:
Climate change appears to worsen the region’s vulnerability to hurricanes, as warming seas give rise to more energetic storms. The literature indicates that the intensity of major storms may increase 5 to 20 percent. This indicates that Category 3 storms and higher may return more frequently to the central Gulf Coast and thus cause more disruptions of transportation services. The impacts of such storms need to be examined in greater detail; storms may cause even greater damage under future conditions not considered here. If the barrier islands and shorelines continue to be lost at historical rates and as relative sea level rises, the destructive potential of tropical storms is likely to increase.
A NY Times report details why the Third Coast matters for those who don’t naturally intuit such things, like federal and state transportation planners, apparently.
Despite the region’s long history of catastrophic storm damage, most recently in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, transportation planners there have not looked “far enough into the future to adequately plan for impacts on transportation systems resulting from the natural environment and climate change,” the multiagency report on the Gulf Coast says.
Action is particularly important, the report says, because the region is home to roughly two-thirds of United States oil import facilities, handles about 40 percent of the nation’s waterborne freight by tonnage and “sits at the center of transcontinental trucking and rail routes.”
These facilities are so important and so vulnerable “that transportation decision makers should begin immediately to assess them in the development of transportation investment strategies,” it says.
This is old news for you environewsconsumers. Allow me to make up for those delayed seconds with VITAL NEW TRANSFORMATIVE BREAKTHROUGH THINGY!
I confess. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Magical, musical tECHNOLOGY ALREADY EXISTS TO RID THE WORLD OF HURRICANES FOREVER!!! AND IT IS A 300 MEGATON UNDERWATER ESCALATOR YOU CAN RIDE AND SING ‘WE ARE THE WORLD’ WITH.
According to technology founder Jozef Solc’s website: “Hurricane energy is to prevent its own growth. This technology initiates action against hurricanes in early stages of their development, using their own power against the further growth of a hurricane.”
Hold on. Here goes nothin’…