New York City Begins Its Climate Change Reckoning on the Lower East Side, the Hard Way – Inside Climate News

The new waterfront esplanade proposed for the Financial District in Lower Manhattan modeled during normal weather conditions and coastal storm conditions (from the Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan by the Mayor's Office of Climate Resiliency and NYCEDC via

The city redesigned much of a $1.5 billion floodwall project along the East River without any community input, shattering trust. Now, New York is pursuing similar climate resiliency projects in Manhattan that Mayor Eric Adams calls “complex, novel and unparalleled compared to any other American city.”

Next to the Brooklyn Bridge, on an unassuming red brick building, a preserved chalk line serves as a permanent reminder of the 14-foot waves from Hurricane Sandy that inundated Lower Manhattan in October 2012, closed Wall Street, blacked out power to a quarter of a million city residents and killed 44 New Yorkers. 

Less than a year later, in August 2013, the Obama administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development picked a well-known Danish architecture firm, the Bjarke Ingels Group—BIG for short—in a competition called Rebuild by Design. Bjarke Ingels was selected for its plan to protect a vast expanse of Manhattan from future flooding “as we prepare communities across the country for the impacts of a changing climate,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said at the time.

The following June, the department sent New York a $335 million check to build a 2.4-mile span of berms, floodwalls and water gates along the city’s Lower East Side as the first phase in the firm’s “BIG U” vision for a 10-mile, U-shaped water defense that would run from 57th Street on the West Side to the tip of Lower Manhattan, and then up to 42nd Street on the East Side. 

The first phase, now called the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, was described by city and federal officials in 2014 as a “nature as buffer” approach that would allow the beloved East River Park, built by Robert Moses in the 1930s, to flood during climate-amplified extreme weather events. Officials said that phase would cost $770 million and be finished in as little as four years.

None of that turned out to be true…

‘Extrapolations’ is the climate TV show we’re finally ready for – the Grist

Image from AppleTV's new climate TV show, Extrapolations, via Youtube.

Apple TV’s sprawling series depicts the “messy middle” of climate change.

If Hollywood has the power to shape our collective imagination for good, it has too often failed when it comes to compelling stories about climate. But that untapped power is part of what makes Extrapolations, the new Apple TV+ series being touted as the biggest-budget scripted TV show ever made about global warming, so intriguing. 

Despite its unflinching focus on the existential crisis of our times, Extrapolations resists the temptation to dwell exclusively on end-of-the-world narratives. The series manages to fold the requisite wildfires and epic storms into a more complex narrative of a society that hasn’t hasn’t evaded climate catastrophe but hasn’t ended, either.

“There has been so much storytelling done around the post-apocalyptic, denuded world,” said producer and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns. “But before we get to that end, there’s a lot of messy middle.”

With the help of an absurdly star-studded cast — Meryl Streep, Kit Harington, Daveed Diggs, Sienna Miller, Gemma Chan and Marion Cotillard are less than half of the big names involved — the eight-episode series sets out to imagine what life on our warming planet might look like in the very near future using interconnected vignettes that take place everywhere from Mumbai to Miami.

“[Screenwriters] have this role to play in helping us understand these watershed moments,” Burns said, “and obviously, climate change is the big existential crisis of our time.”

The Red Sea Could be a Climate Refuge for Coral Reefs – Inside Climate News

A flat fan at Elphinstone Reef, Red Sea, Egypt (by Derek Keats CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).

A large new marine protected area could help some of the world’s most heat-tolerant corals survive the century, if the pressures from resorts, industry and other development ease.

When Lina Challita dives along Egypt’s coast, she doesn’t just see a colorful array of corals and fish. She sees hope. Against the grim backdrop of climate models that project most coral reefs dying by the end of this century in overheating oceans, the northern end of the Red Sea may end up being one of the last places on Earth where those critical ocean ecosystems can survive, at least at least for a while, and perhaps longer if countries of the world manage to cap global warming and stabilize the climate.

The reefs in the northern Red Sea could show scientists how some other reefs might adapt to global warming, and perhaps even serve as a nursery for corals to restore reefs in other areas.

A recent proposal for a vast new marine protected area encompassing the Red Sea’s reefs could be a step toward ensuring their survival, and the possibility of spreading the hope growing there to other coral ecosystems.

“What is needed are proper integrated coastal zone management plans that are enforced,” Challita said last November, looking out over the coastal reef zone near Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where the most recent U.N. climate summit was held that month. “You have to take into consideration all stakeholders, from oil and gas to the shipping industry, to fishing, tourism and coastal development, and try to find the good middle between all of those, with the priority of protecting as many of these reefs as we can…”

Opinion: Facts Haven’t Spurred Us to Climate Action. Can Fiction? – Undark Magazine

Science-fiction art directed toward climate change, melting ice and re-emerging life forms (illustration by David S. Soriano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia).

SCIENTISTS MUST BE wondering what it will take to scare us straight. Watching flood waters submerge 80 percent of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina didn’t do it. Nor did videos shot by Australians in 2019 as they fled walls of flame, a hellish orange haze in all directions. Will the deaths of more than 6 million people in the Covid-19 pandemic …jolt the world into action? I wouldn’t count on it.

No debate anymore: Climate change makes extreme weather worse, federal scientists say – WUSF Public Media

Atmospheric River event in January 2017 (animation by NOAA/ESRL/PSD, Public Domain)

Scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) delivered a clear message: Climate change is — unequivocally — making extreme weather events worse.
South Florida has always been hot, rainy and vulnerable to hurricanes. So it’s understandable that some longtime residents remain skeptical that climate change is doing anything to make the region’s age-old problems any worse…

‘The Deluge’ is a climate nightmare — and it’s based on reality – Grist

Cover of the new novel "Deluge" by Stephen Markley (published January 10, 2023, courtesy Simon & Schuster).

Excerpt: Stephen Markley explains how he wrote a dystopia that feels a little too real.

It was the year 2028, and I was hiding with eco-terrorists in a cabin deep in the woods…Birds were dropping dead from the sky, and a dust storm raged around us, turning the sun crimson…I was relieved to wake up from this dream and shake my paranoia that the FBI was after me. That’s how immersive The Deluge is, an ambitious new novel by Stephen Markley…

Welcome to the era of weather whiplash – Vox

New Year's Eve Storm drenches Santa Cruz County, CA, creating flooding, slides, slip outs, downed trees and wire ©2023 Shmuel Thaler - Santa Cruz Sentinel.

California’s floods reveal a likely climate change symptom: Quick shifts between opposing weather conditions. In less than a week, the story about California’s weather shifted dramatically. Just before New Year’s Eve, the state was running out of water following two decades of severe drought. Then, it started to rain and rain..California was battered by a series of atmospheric rivers…