Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Newest Climate Scare

I've managed to overlook this a few times in the last couple of weeks in the Chesapeake Bay newsfeed, but it keeps showing up. From PBS, Climate change imperils 60 percent of Superfund sites
At least 60% of U.S. Superfund sites are in areas vulnerable to flooding or other worsening disasters of climate change, and the Trump administration’s reluctance to directly acknowledge global warming is deterring efforts to safeguard them, a congressional watchdog agency says.

In a report being released Monday, the Government Accountability Office called on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to state directly that dealing with the rising risks of seas, storms or wildfires breaching Superfund sites under climate change is part of the agency’s mission.

The findings in the report, obtained by The Associated Press, emphasize the challenges for government agencies under President Donald Trump, who frequently mocks scientists’ urgent warnings on global heating. Wheeler’s highest-profile public remarks on the matter came in a March CBS interview, when he called global heating “an important change” but not one of the agency’s most pressing problems.

“Most of the threats from climate change are 50 to 75 years out,” Wheeler said then, rejecting conclusions by scientists that damage to climate from fossil fuel emissions already is making natural disasters fiercer and more frequent.

Largely avoiding the words “climate change,” the agency in a formal response rejected the GAO finding that the agency was making a mistake by not spelling out that hardening Superfund sites against a worsening climate was part and parcel of the EPA’s mission.
. . .
GAO investigators looked at 1,571 Superfund sites, contaminated locations that, according to the EPA website, exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open or otherwise improperly managed. That number does not include Superfund sites owned by the Defense Department and other federal agencies.

At least 945 of them are in areas that scientists have identified as at greater risk of floods, storm surge from major hurricanes, wildfires or sea-level rise of 3 feet (0.9 meters) or more, the GAO says.

Broken down, that includes 783 Superfund sites at greater risk of flooding under climate change, 234 Superfund sites at high or very high risk from wildfires and 187 sites vulnerable to storm surge from any Category 4 or 5 hurricane, the researchers said.
Of course, at this point at least, hurricane strength and frequency has not increased with the relatively mild warming (anthroprogenic or not) since the CO2 rise has begun, and shows a rather cyclical pattern:

The number of tornadoes is declining:

and as I keep pointing out, the rate of sea level rise has not changed detectably in over 100 years.

As for wild fires, rates, while currently rising (probably as a function of human population and not climate), are still very low compared to historical numbers in the United States:

Superfund sites are bad. But "Climate Change" is not making them worse. It's just alarmist BS.

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