The Rising Tide of Climate Change: What America's Flood Cities Can Teach Us about Energy Policy, and Why We Should Be Worried

By Fershee, Joshua P. | Environmental Law, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

The Rising Tide of Climate Change: What America's Flood Cities Can Teach Us about Energy Policy, and Why We Should Be Worried


Fershee, Joshua P., Environmental Law


I.   INTRODUCTION

II.  THE GRAND FORKS FLOOD OF 1997: WHEN SCIENCE BRED COMPLACENCY
     A. Grand Forks Under Water
     B. A City Exposed: Failure to Plan or Inability to Assess Risk?
        1. Flood Insurance, Who Needs Flood insurance?
        2. An Ounce of Prevention Can Cost Millions, Rebuilding Costs
           Billions
III. HURRICANE KATRINA: BLINDED BY THE BLIGHT?
     A. The Anticipated Surprise: New Orleans Under Water
     B. Breached Levees/Breached Promises
IV.  THE "FLOOD" WARNING OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND WHAT CAN BE LEARNED
     A. Being a Good Neighbor: If You Are Going to Be an Insurer, Act
        Like One
     B. The Direct Link: What Can Be Learned About Limiting Climate
        Change Losses from Rebuilding Grand Forks and New Orleans
        1. Lessons Learned: Rebuilding Grand Forks
        2. Lessons to Be Learned: Rebuilding New Orleans
     C. Communicating Risk: Uncertain Doesn't Mean Unlikely
     D. The Hurricane Highway and the Law of Unintended Consequences
V.   CONCLUSION: CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES ARE ABOUT MORE THAN CLIMATE
     CHANGE
     A. Shifting from Oil as the Primary Fuel Source
     B. Green Jobs = Jobs
     C. A Glimmer of Hope, a Greener Grid, a Safer Planet

I. INTRODUCTION

Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get. (1)

What part of "record flooding" did they not understand? (2)

Climate change is often considered the most compelling reason to seek cleaner energy supplies for electricity and transportation needs, yet it is almost always the most contentious rationale for seeking alternative energy sources. Despite the complex nature of climate change, and how to address its effects, the debate over climate change policy is often framed in very simple terms: You either believe or you don't.

This Article argues that the climate change debate is often improperly viewed as having a singular impact and focus, thus (to use an environmentally based analogy) missing the forest for the trees. From "greening the grid" to "freedom from foreign oil" to economic development, climate change policies are multifaceted and have multiple purposes. If the grid is to be greener (or the other myriad benefits flowing from climate change policies are to be achieved), there must be an understanding, first, of the risks posed by climate change, and second, of the successes and failures in other areas heavily impacted by environmental policies.

Although rather slow to catch on, most people in the United States finally appear to have adopted the near-consensus opinion of the scientific community that climate change is real. (3) Of course, contrary to the scientific community, (4) there are still significant questions among the general population whether climate change is caused by human activity. (5) Many of these questions are fueled by very public and very vociferous critics, such as United States Senator James Inhofe, who has referred to climate change as "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." (6)

For purposes of this Article, "climate change" refers to the warming of the Earth's atmosphere caused by the combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, which contain carbon. (7) This carbon is released during the combustion process as the greenhouse gas (GHG) carbon dioxide. (8) GHGs essentially trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to increased temperatures. (9) As concentrations of GHGs increase, the potential for increased temperatures (i.e., a warming climate) rises. (10) Most climate change research (and many of the proposed solutions) focuses on managing carbon dioxide output because carbon dioxide is the most prevalent GHG in the atmosphere and fossil fuel combustion is the leading human cause of carbon dioxide production. (11) As such, it is often assumed that the key to managing climate change is managing carbon dioxide emissions. (12)

Although climate change is understood, at least in concept, by most people, the concerns and risks of climate change are not widely accepted and understood by the vast majority of Americans. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Rising Tide of Climate Change: What America's Flood Cities Can Teach Us about Energy Policy, and Why We Should Be Worried
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.