flooding


North Carolina hog CAFO in Hurricane Florence floodwaters, September 18, 2018. Photo: Larry Baldwin, Crystal Coast Waterkeeper/Waterkeeper Alliance

In a Warming World, Carolina CAFOs Are a Disaster for Farmers, Animals, and Public Health

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I’ve joined millions who’ve watched with horror as the Carolinas have been inundated with floodwaters and worried about the various hazards those waters can contain. We’ve seen heavy metal-laden coal ash spills, a nuclear plant go on alert (thankfully without incident), and sewage treatment plants get swamped. But the biggest and most widely reported hazard associated with Florence appears to be the hog waste that is spilling from many of the state’s thousands of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), and which threatens lasting havoc on public health and the local economy.

And while the state’s pork industry was already under fire for its day-to-day impacts on the health and quality of life of nearby residents, Florence has laid bare the lie that millions of animals and their copious waste can be safely concentrated in flood-prone coastal areas like southeastern North Carolina. Read more >

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Photo: Ben Grantham/Flickr

Chronic Flooding and the Future of Miami

Nicole Hernández Hammer,

En español > 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently released a report analyzing the impacts of chronic tidal flooding on U.S. coastal properties in the lower 48 states. The number of homes and businesses, their value, along with the amount of tax base and most importantly, people at risk is startling. They found that by 2045, 311,000 homes, worth $117.5 billion dollars by today’s market values, could be at risk of chronic flooding driven by climate change. By 2100, 2.4 million homes, worth approximately $912 billion dollars, and 4.7 million people will be at risk. Nowhere more than Florida, that bears 40% of the risk, are these realities being felt now and will be more so in the future as sea levels continue to rise. Ultimately, the impacts of climate change driven chronic flooding leads to a greater potential crisis for low-income communities.

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Photo: Ben Grantham/Flickr
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Congress Must Extend and Reform the National Flood Insurance Program

, Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate & Energy

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is up for re-authorization by the end of July. As flood risks grow around the nation, it’s time for Congress to reform and update this vital 50-year old program to better protect people and property. Without appropriate action, a warming climate coupled with rapid development in floodplains will raise the human and economic toll of flood disasters while taxpayer dollars are squandered on risky, business-as-usual investments. Read more >

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Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina. Photo: NPS

If You Can’t Censor It, Bury It: DOI Tries to Make a Stark New Study on Rising Seas Invisible

, deputy director, Climate & Energy Program

A new National Park Service (NPS) report is unequivocal that human-caused climate change has significantly increased the rate of sea level rise that is putting coastal sites at risk. But the study is difficult to find on the web and the report’s lead author, Maria Caffrey of the University of Colorado, says she had to fight to keep many scientific statements about climate change in the final version. Read more >

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An image from the NOAA National Weather Service illustrates an omega block. You can see the high pressure in the central part of the image with the low pressure on either side. The jet stream line traces a shape similar to the Greek letter omega. Photo: Weather.gov

The “Omega Block” – Torrential Rains Linked to Extreme Jet Stream Pattern

, senior climate scientist

Amplified change in the Arctic is so strong I refer to is as the “Arctic tail that wags the global climate.” Read more >

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