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Erika Spanger-Siegfried

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About the author: Erika Spanger-Siegfried is a senior analyst in the Climate & Energy program at UCS. She currently manages UCS’s coastal and Mountain West climate impacts projects, designed to shed light through new research and outreach on ongoing local impacts, current efforts to cope, and the urgency of high-level action. Erika formerly managed the Energy-Water Initiative (EW3) and, prior to that, the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment, a research effort to explore climate change, impacts, and solutions in the northeastern United States. She holds a master’s degree in energy and environmental analysis from Boston University. See Erika's full bio.

Ready or Not: Hurricane Season in a Warming World

Here on the East Coast, the arrival of hurricane season means something very different in 2013 than ever before. It reminds us: catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy are possible. It warns us: if you’re on the coast, you could face grave risk. And it asks: are you ready? Read More

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Seaside Retreat: Redefining Coastal Communities as the Ocean Rises

We get it now: Sea level is rising and the wrong storm can decimate our coastal communities. Now what? Read More

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What Hurricane Sandy Means (to Me)

Superstorm Sandy is over and we on the dazed East Coast are left to clean up. The waters are receding and, for those of us not directly hit, the memories will fade as the weeks go by. But in this window when we’re still discovering the incredible extent of its damage and our justified fears are fresh, I want to capture a few of the things Sandy offered up that I think are worth learning from this storm. Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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If You Can’t Take the Heat: How Summer 2012 Strained U.S. Power Plants

The summer of 2012 officially ended last week, but not before showing the United States the many ways it’s vulnerable to heat and drought, and ill-prepared for our warming future. Not least among these, we saw how our power sector strained under the kind of searing summer conditions our mid-century selves may find commonplace. Our electricity system, it turns out, wasn’t built for summers like 2012, and it showed. Read More

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2012 U.S. Drought and Heat Expose Electricity Supply Risks

We all need water. So when supplies dry up in the scorching heat of a summer like this one, we all — households, cities, farmers, industry, wildlife — can feel the strain. Among water users, power plants are some of those most dependent on a reliable supply. And when they can’t get enough, the plants and their customers can get caught in the squeeze. Read More

Categories: Energy, Uncategorized  

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Beach Daze: With Rising Seas, Sand Now Bad Place to Hide Head

 This past weekend, while I watched my kids frolic in the surf out of one eye, I was scrutinizing the beachfront housing stock with the other – like an insurance adjustor, contemplating storm surge, flooding, and other flavors of catastrophe. Could be I just don’t know how to have a good time. Or could be that I’m freshly returned from the Florida Sea-Level Rise Summit where scientists say things like “friends, the sky is not falling, but the seas truly are rising.” Read More

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Spring 2012: Not Your Grandmother’s Flower Garden

“Intoxicating” is a word that comes to mind in springtime to describe scents wafting on the air – lilac, lily-of-the-valley, honeysuckle. “Intoxicated” comes to mind this spring, as many flowering plants crowd the party far too early, having tossed back record warmth in March and been on a tear ever since. Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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Maple-Syrup Setback, Breakfast-Table Blowback

Climate change reveals what it’s up to mainly through our weather, but sometimes it waltzes right indoors and sits down at the table, as it did this week when I learned of new threats to the maple-syrup foundation of my young son’s diet. Read More

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Joyful Dread: A Climate-Wary Gardener in a Very Weird Spring

We’re deep into spring – never mind the calendar – and it’s a weird one. At the close of March, my lawn is 4th of July green, some trees are blooming, most shrubs have leafed out, and my kids have already played in the sprinkler. It’s enough to make anybody happy! But if you think about climate change, as I think most everyone around here has in recent weeks, it’s enough to give you the creeps. And if you’re a gardener, like me, it’s enough to set your teeth chattering. Because gardening, for all its year-to-year variation, is about working within familiar seasonal rhythms. And I confess I’ve lost the beat. Read More

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