Bring On The Engineers! Pre-Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts

Hoesung Lee, the new head of the IPCC, isn’t wasting time writing tawdry romance novels as did his predecessor. He yesterday called for a shift in focus for the IPCC, saying that they should focus more on solutions.

As he told the Guardian, “We have been doing a fantastic job in identifying the problem of climate change. At the same time we have been somewhat slow in identifying the solutions aspects,” Lee told the Guardian. “I believe the next cycle of the IPCC should be more focused on opportunities and solutions.”

I think everyone on his side of the fence is tired of talking about the problem. Given the quality of data available to quantify the existence and scope of the problem that’s no surprise.

One way of side-stepping around the legitimate concerns of those unconvinced by prior emissions of climate ‘information’ is to focus on things that need doing anyway.

Cities from New Orleans to Manila need to build robust defences against storms. Cities from Tokyo to New York need to address subsidence. Beaches from England to California have suffered serious erosion. Forests from Canada to Indonesia are dealing with wildfires. Populations from Thailand to Pakistan are increasing so fast that they are moving into areas threatened by serious flooding.


Bring on the engineers! Let’s start fixing areas threatened by today’s climate and build in a prudent safety margin for threats that may arise from sober assessments of future climate change. If those safety margins are added on to existing projects it won’t hurt so much–it won’t cost so much.

From sea walls and harbor protection to forest management practices and combating incursions into rain forests, from river management to aquifer depletion, these tasks need to be undertaken with or without climate change.

Action taken on these existing problems would provide real world protection for threatened populations and show evidence that making a better world can also include provision for an uncertain future.

Acting in such a manner would forestall criticisms from skeptics that we are building protection against a problem they don’t see coming. We need to do these things anyhow. And it wouldn’t necessarily take the focus away from where the alarmists believe it should be–on mitigation. We need to do these things anyhow.

Someone tell me I’m missing something important, because I don’t see why we aren’t moving on this now.

Maybe Hoesung Lee has something…



6 responses to “Bring On The Engineers! Pre-Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts

  1. This is the bit you missed.
    and build in a prudent safety margin for threats that may arise from sober assessments of future climate change

    How much grander, what is urgent and what is not can all be twisted to justify any expense by alarmist analysis.

    Still there s a lot of handouts and government kudos riding on this policy, expect a lot of support however overblown and wasteful many of these projects will be

  2. I wonder if a movement built on a doomsday myth and pseudo-science, which the climate obsessed movement is built on, can actually do good?
    So far AGW has been the universal solvent of responsibility and accountability, dissolving blame earned by government leaders world wide for neglecting the basic infrastructure issues you mention. Not one thing you listed would be a problem if governments were focused on their basic jobs.

  3. I think you are missing a small detail. If the IPCC is to get involved in suggesting solutions then they need to fire everybody and start hiring from scratch. That organization and everybody involved were initially tasked to find out about anthropogenic climate impact. As such, it’s woefully unprepared to do much about the problem.

    Having worked in a large corporate environment I had the opportunity to see how departments or subsidiaries tried to morph on the fly to do something they were quite unprepared to carry out. One of my last consulting jobs involved consulting for a small R&D team with a huge budget, most of which was wasted because they lacked the skills for the work they had been asked to do.

    One could write an 800 page book describing what needs to be done to carry out this particular task. But anybody who has been exposed to very large projects with very very large budgets would immediately get rid of the IPCC, including the new chairman. Staffing is critical in something like this.

  4. I dont really know why I’m asking this here rather than doing my own research but since you mention aquifers I’ll give it a go.

    Is it possible to artificially force the rate that aquifers can be replenished. Honestly I’m not even sure what an aquifer is but clearly we have engineered ways to use them as sources of water, can we engineer ways to pump water back into them when conditions allow?

    • Yes. An aquifer is a water filled porous rock layer. If the acquifer is connected to the surface it can serve as a conduit. Thus it’s not unusual to see water spring from the rocks in some settings. This water is replenished by rain.

      Large fossil aquifers that have been depleted can be recharged creating a water reservoir from which water is drawn and pumped into the aquifer using water injection wells. I guess a single well could be designed to inject from 1000 to 10,000 cubic meters per day.

  5. Off topic: read this analysis oil production and price trends. Focus on the international oil company production and investment graph.

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