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Call to Action for a Truly Sustainable Renewable Future
August 8, 2013 – 5:07 pm | No Comment

-Include high octane/high ethanol Regular Grade fuel in EPA Tier 3 regulations.
-Use a dedicated, self-reducing non-renewable carbon user fee to fund renewable energy R&D.
-Start an Apollo-type program to bring New Ideas to sustainable biofuel and …

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Special Report: How Engineers Are Preparing for Sea-Level Rise

Submitted by on August 11, 2017 – 11:53 amNo Comment

by Pam Radtke Russell (Engineering News Record)  From Seattle to Cape Cod, see what’s being done at 18 different locations  —  … In this special report, Engineering News-Record’s team of editors and reporters look at how Tangier and other coastal communities around the country are tackling problems, including erosion, subsidence and sea-level rise. Our reporting has found that many cities are still trying to get a handle on the complex, interrelated problems. But others, such as Miami Beach, have started aggressive, multimillion-dollar programs to raise roads and improve drainage.

We also found that engineers are rethinking their practice, coming up with innovative, adaptive designs that will prevent overbuilding in the short term until future forecasts—which now say the sea level could rise between 1 ft to 8.2 ft by 2100—become more precise.

“You are seeing water in places you have never seen it before,” says G. Wayne Clough, a civil engineer, president emeritus of the Georgia Institute of Technology and former secretary of the Smithsonian Institution who often speaks on climate change. “This is the time for people to sit down and think rationally about what we are going to do.”

At AECOM, this “menu of resiliency” includes civil engineering, landscape architecture and landscape design, as well as neighborhood-by-neighborhood outreach. AECOM’s Sawislak (Josh Sawislak, global director of resiliency for AECOM) asks, “How do we build with nature, understanding that we can’t always say, ‘This is always going to flood, so we are just going to abandon it?’ ”

After Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent two years looking at just such a systems approach to protect the North Atlantic coast. The study, released in January 2015, extols the benefits of natural systems, including living shorelines, beach restorations, wetlands and reefs.

“Given current and projected sea-level and climate-change trends, some of our built environment will become unsustainable for the human systems presently located there. Coastal communities face tough choices as they adapt local land-use patterns while striving to preserve community values and economic vitality,” according to the study.

The study helped set the stage for the Corps to use a systems approach in protecting the coast, but the Corps does not yet have a policy for using natural systems, nor a good way to quantify the benefits.

GE, for example, is building its new Boston waterfront headquarters 20 ft above sea level. But in case that’s not high enough, the company is putting all mechanical and safety systems on the roof.

Cities waiting for federal government to help will be left behind, says Greg Steele, chief of the water-resource division for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Norfolk District. “Communities that will have the greatest success are those that are working separate from federal [oversight], with zoning and building ordinances,” and seeking other funding sources, he says. The Corps can take on only a limited number of projects a year—and competition is fierce, Steele notes.

Future federal funding for coastal problems, which in the past has come from HUD and FEMA, is uncertain under the current administration. President Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate some climate-resilience programs that are helping coastal communities.   READ MORE

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