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New Orleans: On Point Live! American Coastline — The View From Louisiana

We take On Point to New Orleans to look at the state of America’s battered coastlines.

Host Tom Ashbrook joins Jarvis Deberry, Denise Reed and Tommy Michot on the stage of Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans for On Point Live! on Thursday, Jan. 24. (Janet  Watson / WWNO)

Host Tom Ashbrook joins Jarvis Deberry, Denise Reed and Tommy Michot on the stage of Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans for On Point Live! on Thursday, Jan. 24. (Janet Wilson / WWNO)

In Louisiana, they understand how nature and the not-so-natural can hit the coast.  Hurricane Katrina.  The BP oil spill.  Sea level rise and coastal erosion across the Louisiana waterfront.  When Katrina hit, it looked like Louisiana’s problem.  When Superstorm Sandy hit the most populated coastline in America we saw it as everybody’s problem.  Here in New Orleans, they’re just a little ahead of the rest of the country in thinking it through. This hour On Point:  we’re with a live audience in New Orleans thinking about the great American coastline, and how it will change.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Denise Reed, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of New Orleans. Chief scientist at the Water Institute of the Gulf.

Tommy Michot, research scientist at the Institute for Coastal Ecology and Engineer at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Jarvis Deberry, award-winning columnist for the Times-Picayune. (@jarvisdeberry)

From Tom’s Reading List

New Orleans Lens: More massive tar mats from BP oil spill discovered on Louisiana beaches — “According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in the past few weeks this one spot has yielded 1.5 million pounds of ‘oily material’ – a designation that includes oil products as well as associated shell, sand and water. And that’s in addition to 1.79 million pounds already collected from Fourchon, by far the largest share of the 8.9 million pounds recovered from all Louisiana beaches in the past two years.”

Times-Picayune: Louisiana’s top coastal official may explore lawsuit to block levee board suit against energy companies — “To illustrate the damage caused by the energy industry, Jones used historical aerial photographs of wetlands surrounding the Delacroix community in St. Bernard Parish. He said the photos showed how the dredging of canals to access oil exploration and development wells by Devon Energy and Murphy Oil took place in wetlands that later turned largely to open water.”

USA Today: Climate change could spawn more frequent El Ninos – “Some of the worst El Niños, the infamous climate patterns that shake up weather around the world, could double in frequency in upcoming decades due to global warming, says a new study out Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. During an El Niño, water temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean tend to be warmer-than-average for an extended period of time – typically at least three to five months. This warm water brings about significant changes in global weather patterns.

Video From On Point Live!

Jazz From The Stage Of Le Petit Theatre In New Orleans

Our thanks to trumpeter Edward Anderson, vocalist Eileina Dennis and guitarist Josh Starkman for their lovely music during our On Point Live! event in New Orleans.

Take A Look Behind The Scenes Of #OnPointNOLA On Our Blog

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Fiscally_Responsible

    The federal government really needs to jack up the federal flood insurance rates for people who are foolish enough to build along the coast, or in New Orleans case, build below sea level coupled with bayous and the Gulf to the south, a river in the middle, and a large lake on the north side. This program needs to be self funding, perhaps even make some money to help with the deficit and the thousands of other government “do good” programs that lose money by the bushel basket full.

    • George Potts

      They are. Have you heard or seen the new FEMA maps?

      I live 1/2 mile from the ocean, but I am 90 feet high.

      I joke that I own oceanfront property, but only so much.

      #rememberdoggerland

      Maybe we could use the flood insurance increases to capture carbon?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Better yet, we just have to stop emitting fossil fuel carbon.

        • George Potts

          How do you propose doing that?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Switch over to renewable energy. Stop factory farming. Stop making disposable plastic stuff. This is the easier stuff.

            Dealing with climate change into the future will be much harder.

  • George Potts

    The floods are coming. I have already built my ark.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard
    • George Potts

      Global warming is proven science.

      Oops, the world is cooling.

      Climate change is proven science.

      Oops, the sea level has not been rising.

      It is against the law to disagree with carbon taxes or carbon capture.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Look at the facts, and look at the maps.

        • George Potts

          What if it is caused by sun cycles and not increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            The sun certainly is an important part, but the only explanation is humans burning fossil fuel. Physics and chemistry can’t be altered.

            You should look at the science. And ignore the sock puppets.

        • Labropotes

          Neil, the EPA has some pending suit against VT due to persistent excessive phosphorus and nitrogen runoff into Lake Champlain. Vermont is arguing that the excessive contamination comes from excess rain due to manmade climate change eroding river banks, so VT shouldn’t have to reduce its pollution. Even the most environmentally puritanical state is unwilling to sacrifice convenience and price to preservation. Sad, but I expect no change.

      • longfeather

        You can disagree, but the US Navy will ignore you and yours because they have a mission to accomplish. without consulting you or Pat Robertson. They had to keep secret the fact that they were forced to raise the piers in Norfolk over five feet so that maintenance could access utilities under pier to service the fleet.. Bush and ilk forced them to keep it secret, ….but it leaked.(several years after it was fait accompli )

  • Labropotes

    If you wanted to put the 2010 gulf oil spill into perspective, you need to add half a cubic centimeter of crude oil to an olympic size swimming pool

    210 million gallons of crude are said to have leaked. The National Research Council in 2009 estimated that natural seeps of crude oil into the gulf total 25 to 60 million gallons annually, so the gulf and its biota are not strangers to crude oil.

    The relentless castigation of BP is little more than evidence of an American pathology.

    • George Potts

      If you don’t work in government, technology, or entertainment, you are not enlightened.

      • Labropotes

        I didn’t junk you. I’m enjoying your comments.

  • George Potts

    Will New Orleans sue me for driving a Hummer?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      What each of us does affects everybody else.

      • George Potts

        I think that I will take my hummer out for a drive to return a 5 cent can to be recycled.

  • George Potts

    Do more than 100 people listen to this show? Good thing you don’t have to rely on advertisers.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Do you contribute?

      • George Potts

        I pay taxes. I’d like to stop contributing to Democratic Party Radio.

    • longfeather

      Hope you are getting minimum wage for being ‘on point’ for deniers during this program. Are your children vaccinated or are they also a danger to themselves and others. I worry about them, honestly.

  • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

    At the end of the last ice age, the sea level rose 420 feet. The sea will drop when the next ice age starts. We live at a time between ice ages. Due to many reasons earth’s climate does not remain constant, never has.

  • George Potts

    What is the correct climate?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      The climate had stabilized for ~650,000 years between ~170-270ppm of carbon dioxide. That was the only “normal” climate that humans ever lived in.

      We are now at 400ppm and climbing quickly.

      • George Potts

        That isn’t climate, that is CO2 levels.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          The climate we lived in had those levels of carbon dioxide, and *any* significant change is important. We need a certain range in the level of carbon dioxide that results in a stable climate. We humans have changed the level of carbon dioxide; and we are facing the results of that.

  • George Potts

    During the last ice age, was the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere higher or lower than today?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Different causes then, but the principles are the same. Why do you ask?

      • George Potts

        Because if the levels of CO2 were lower, then the end of the ice age was not caused by man.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          The causes then were different than the causes now.

          • George Potts

            ?Results” meaning global temperatures have not changed in the last 20 years.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Show us the data.

        • BigAl1825

          See the link in my comment above. The end of the ice age was part of the natural oscillation of climate brought about by Milankovitch cycles. We were returning to an ice age before the doubling of CO2.

          There is no stasis in climate. However, at least for the last million years, or so, the transitions have been extremely gradual, slow enough that the biosphere could largely adapt to the gradual changes. The rate of change we’re experiencing now is unprecedented, most closely resembling the PETM, a geologically unprecedented event that occurred 55 million years ago.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petm

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Yes, we know that climate change in the past was not caused by humans – but that doesn’t negate the fact that this time around, we are causing climate change.

    • BigAl1825

      The cyclical Ice Ages are caused by the orbital forcing of Milankovitch Cycles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

      This the natural oscillation of climate that our planet has been undergoing for the last few millions of years where we reached an equilibrium in our atmosphere that allowed minor oscillations in the way the earth moves around the sun to vary climate. It’s these natural oscillations and their discovery that led scientists to believe we were on a trajectory toward another ice age. And we were, before we altered the atmosphere by doubling greenhouse gases.

      As Neil said, there are different causes at play.

    • jefe68

      Seems to me someone left a large part of their brain in some ice age permafrost.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    The rules get changed because the climate is changing.

  • hennorama

    For some reason, I have a hankering for beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde, followed later by a po-boy or muffaletta at Central Grocery.

    Gotta get back to NOLA soon.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      I’ve never been – my loss. Maybe someday?

      • BigAl1825

        Definitely your loss. Come soon, heck, come now. You never know how long it will be around, but it’s great right now.

        • hennorama

          BigAl1825 — count me in.

          I’ll wait until after Mardi Gras, but definitely will be back this year.

      • hennorama

        Neil Blanchard — I’ve been several times, including a long post-Katrina stint as a volunteer. The Cafe Du Monde and the Central Grocery are classics, but one can get amazing food, music, drink, etc. just about anywhere.

        I’ve been able to satisfy my cravings a bit by bingeing on the very fine HBO series ‘Treme,’ buying French Market and Cafe Du Monde coffee online, and visiting a local Cajun/Creole restaurant.

        New Orleans has some of the best and worst aspects of being an international port city, with traits of both Paris and Marseilles intermingled with various other unique cultural influences.

        It’s an amazing place, and definitely worth a visit anytime.

      • HonestDebate1

        New Orleans has a charm, the dixieland music is great as is the food. It’s also one of the seediest places you’ll ever find.

  • George Potts

    “Climate Science” is a bucket full of junk science.

    1 billion years ago, there were no animals. The earth was hotter than today. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 6,000 ppm. Now it is 400 ppm. 2,000 years ago, the concentration of CO2 was 280 ppm.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide.png

    This picture is confusing. Time goes from today to the past. It shows CO2 levels over the last 500 million years. It doesn’t show temperature or sea levels.

    We have an indication that the average temperature of the earth has gone up 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit. We believe that if CO2 does not go back to 28 ppm, we cannot predict what will happen. There could be a massive melting of ice around the world, raising sea levels from 1 foot to 80 feet to 2,000 feet.

    Every effort should be made to reduce the concentration of carbon to 28 ppm.

    How?

    1. Reduce the use of fossil fuels (no more cars, planes, or electric power plants using coal).

    2. Tax gasoline so that it is $50/gallon.

    3. Trade carbon credits so that Obama’s cronies make trillions.

    How many millions of $$ have we wasted on these idiots?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Where do you find this stuff?

      • George Potts

        What do you disagree with?

        The junk science or the solutions?

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Do you really think that you know better than those people who have done the science?

          One doesn’t “believe” or “not believe” in science. Do you “believe” in gravity? Do you have to understand everything about DNA to “believe” in evolution? Do you “believe” in plate tectonics or do you just accept that this is the main cause of volcanoes and earthquakes?

          • George Potts

            There is no science. It is just a bunch of ivory tower idiots who don’t like industry.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Yeah, that’s it … not.

            Think a little harder. Science has made many, many important contributions to all parts of our society, including industry.

          • George Potts

            So, we agree. Global warming is a hoax.

          • George Potts

            If global warming were not a hoax, would Al Gore fly in private jets?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            No, you are a magical thinker, and I accept science.

          • George Potts

            Climate science is crap.

          • BigAl1825

            Potts, you are an ignoramus, plain and simple. The “ivory tower idiots” are the ones who instruct the geoscientists that work in industry. The science and the principles are the same. Most major oil companies accept that climate change is occurring, and they hire climate modelers as geoscientists ALL THE TIME. The principles of science and understanding the earth are basically the same, whether you study climate, or whether you work to acquire natural resources.

            You haven’t a clue. And I would know, because I’ve been both one of your “ivory tower idiots” working on problems like this, and I have worked in industry.

          • Chris Carlin

            What an unscientific argument!

            Encouraging people to take things on faith and to just trust authorities is anathema to science. It is anti-scientific to make such a statement.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            You have inverted what I am saying. Science is not a matter of faith or belief.

          • Chris Carlin

            Exactly.

            And that’s why it’s not science when one starts telling us to have faith in such and such an authority. That’s why it’s ANTI-scientific to encourage someone to have faith in an “expert”

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Do you have to know how gravity works or “believe” in it to be affected by it? Do you understand how DNA works before you accept evolution? If you don’t accept the science of plate tectonics, does that mean earthquakes won’t affect you – or that they won’t happen?

            Rejecting the scientific conclusions out of hand is foolhardy. I’m not taking anything on faith – but I know that anthropogenic climate change is our best understanding of reality.

            Magical thinking of climate deniers doesn’t change the reality we face, of our own doing.

          • Chris Carlin

            And now you’re putting words in my mouth.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Now you’re ducking the question …

          • Chris Carlin

            Oh, your questions seemed pointless so I assumed they were rhetorical. But I’m happy to answer.

            Yes: our understanding of things is separate from our experiencing of them.

            But so what? Whoever said otherwise? You’re absolutely maiming that strawman you’re beating on, as far as I can tell.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Look, science is our best understanding of reality. If *you* choose* to ignore what science tells us about the climate, then that is your problem.

            Climate science tells us something that is uncomfortable and upsetting. But that doesn’t mean that it is wrong, and ignoring it certainly won’t make it go away.

            Anthropogenic climate change is here and now and all too real.

          • Chris Carlin

            “Uncomfortable” and “upsetting” are not words of science.

            When you begin to use such words it shows that you’ve left science and objectivity behind and are now talking about values. Your own, personal, subjective values.

            We’d thank you not to force your person values upon us all.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            You are being willfully ignorant. The science of climate change is settled on the basic big picture. And that is that what we humans are doing is largely causing global warming.

            And the effect of global warming are quite bad and will be a huge challenge to all humans. And this is upsetting to anyone with a bit of sense.

          • Chris Carlin

            Willfully ignorant? For pointing out that your feelings of discomfort and being upset are not scientific?

            Science does not make values judgement. For you to claim it does is to be anti-scientific.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Chris, are you denying that climate science is largely correct, that we humans are causing most of the current changes in the climate, by burning fossil fuels?

          • Chris Carlin

            Nope.

            But as a scientist, I’m certainly not going to claim something is true or false based on “Oh! Oh! That guy over there proclaimed it to be true!”

            Such faith-based argument is the opposite of science.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            I am not taking anything on “faith”. I am however accepting what scientists are saying about the climate.

          • Chris Carlin

            …….. that’s faith, dude.

            That is what that word means.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            So, have you seen the structure of an atom with your own eyes? Have you in fact measured the speed of light, or the mass and charge of an electron? How does gravity work, or the strong force? Why does water expand when it freezes?

            Science is a body of knowledge, and any scientist – you too, since you claim to be a scientist – have to accept the scientific knowledge that others have established.

            That’s how science works, dude.

          • Chris Carlin

            Actually, I’m a physicist and I have done most of those things!

            In any case, we all believe many things through faith. But we shouldn’t pretend we believe them through science.

            I believe the Roman empire existed, that man went to the moon, that Ethopians exist today. None of those things have I learned through any scientific process, but I have faith that they’re true.

            But none of those things are scientific beliefs of mine. None of them were things I’ve tested using science.

            Be careful what beliefs of yours you put the scientific seal on. You stand a good chance of fooling yourself when you do.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            I have done some of those things, too. Have you studied geology? How about limnology? Or, studied the behavior of ants? Do you understand the digestive processes of tube worms that live near black smokers? How do some frogs live through being frozen solid? Have you heard of rogue planets?

            You might think you know what faith is, but I don’t think you do. Faith is believing that God exists, or that an intelligent designer had to have designed bacterial flagella.

            Accepting other scientists results; knowing that they are being verified both by people working in the same field and by overlapping fields. All science has to “fit” together and the Laws of Nature apply.

            Unless you are calling science a religion.

          • Chris Carlin

            Faith is more than just belief in God or other religious things. “Full faith and credit” doesn’t involve any god after all.

            Faith is generally trusting something without certainty. Scientists, being human, lie and make mistakes. When you trust a scientists (of which I am one) you’re trusting in a human, not science, trusting him that he’s both correct and honest.

            That is faith. That’s not science.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            You claim to be a scientist, and yet you don’t seem to know the difference between a testable question and one you can never test scientifically.

            Faith is not scientifically testable. Like Santa Claus, or the Tooth Fairy. Your “full faith and credit” argument is just specious.

            Science is testable – anybody can try to duplicate the test. Science is definitely not faith – it is testable knowledge.

          • 1Brett1

            “I’m certainly not going to claim something is true or false based on “Oh! Oh! That guy over there proclaimed it to be true.”

            Yet you’ve used exactly those methods to believe in Roman history, Ethiopia, that we landed on the moon, etc. At least this was part of your circular argument further up the thread.

            Do you have to completely test all scientific ideas that have come before you before you believe them? If you are a physicist, your work habits must be quite unproductive.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are really missing the entire drift of Mr. Carlin’s point. Don’t try to figure it out, it’s above your pay grade.

          • 1Brett1

            Mr. Carlin doesn’t really have a point, other than to be a kind of contrarian, or to argue some abstraction about faith, science and objectivity…but, you seem to indicate he does have a point and you understand it, so what is his point?

            He argues faith, yet it isn’t faith that proves ancient Roman civilization existed, for example, but thousands of years of archeological and historical findings. Yet, he takes it on faith based on the findings of others. He claims–in the comment I replied to–that he isn’t going to take things on faith, which is a circular logic. He, one would assume, hasn’t gone out, ignored the findings of a long history that conclude through a lot of documentation that the Roman Empire existed, but HAS indeed taken it on faith that it did exist.

            Not unlike your logic, Mr. Carlin goes around and around in circles. I am more apt to forgive him, though, than I am your logic as it appears he is quite young with little real world experience.

            In his comments throughout his profile, he contradicts himself over and over, builds straw men, and turns pertinent, germane discourse into some sort of sophomoric abstraction. He says he applauds diversity of thought, as well, yet only seems to agree with conservative ideas while condemning liberal ideas, not unlike you.

            There’s nothing scientific/logical about Mr. Carlin’s points, unless one enjoys a pastiche of banal half-assertions that are nothing more than junkyard philosophy from a kid. It stands to reason that you would agree with him.

          • HonestDebate1

            I warned you not to try, your head is going to explode. I’ll give you a hint you wrote: “He claims–in the comment I replied to–that he isn’t going to take things on faith, which is a circular logic.”

            He made so such claim but that’s the way you do. Read his comments and he makes clear what he means. He doesn’t need me to defend his remarks and I really don’t care that you need me to explain them to you. Figure it out.

          • 1Brett1

            I figured you’d have a non-answer full of puffery. Your as full of BS as he is.

          • HonestDebate1

            Hilarious! Really dude, quit while you’re behind.

          • HonestDebate1

            But the science tells us the previous science was great exaggerated. That should be good news but you seem even more upset by it.

          • 1Brett1

            Here’s a quote of yours: “I believe the Roman empire existed, that man went to the moon, that Ethopians exist today. None of those things have I learned through any scientific process, but I have faith that they are true.”

            Why should you have “faith” that they are true? You say you are a scientist who only trusts the objectivity of science, yet you go on faith all of these other things without investigating them for yourself?

          • 1Brett1

            Here’s a quote of yours: “I believe the Roman empire existed, that man went to the moon, that Ethopians exist today. None of those things have I learned through any scientific process, but I have faith that they’re true.”

            You have faith that others did the scientific/objective work for you and you believe such work to be legitimate.

            Frankly, you are just playing a sophomoric game of being a devil’s advocate, which is anything but mature, having reason, or showing any real useful logic.

          • Chris Carlin

            Not at all.

            That’s the difference between my claiming that it’s based on science that I believe there was a moon landing. It’s not based on science. If I were to tell you you have to believe in the moon landing because it’s science, that would be wrong.

            It’s based on faith that I believe in the moon landing, but that’s just as it’s based on faith that you believe in the charge of the electron or climate change.

            Once you admit to yourself that this is based on faith, not science, you’re closer to appreciating your own level of certainty and you can approach the world with a more open mind.

      • nj_v2

        Please, DNFTT.

    • BigAl1825

      “This picture is confusing.” = I don’t know what I’m looking at, but I’m going to criticize it, anyway.

      The picture is comparing various models and measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentration in the past. It’s not that complicated. However, the complexity and background that goes into each of the methods and models is massive, representing the combined research and understanding of generations of researchers.

    • andic_epipedon

      I’m not sure what your point is. You say there were no animals when the CO2 was 6,000 ppm. We all qualify as animals when it comes to a need for oxygen. Are you ready to die?

    • jefe68

      “1 billion years ago, there were no animals. The earth was hotter than today”…

      Really? You win the Peter Griffin award for an inane comment.

      Actually what you are describing is part of the Proterozoic Eon and in particular the Mesoproterozoic Era which saw the development of multicellular organisms. Hence, life I dare say animal life forms.

  • Pia Vastatrix

    Saying we’ve had a lot of money coming in from the oil industry is true, but that money pales next to the money we’ve lost through decades of wetlands erosion due to the oil canals, as well as the devastation of fisheries by oil spills.

    • Chris Carlin

      Show your math.

  • George Potts

    How do you stop global warming? I mean climate change?

    What are the policies that should be implemented?

    If everyone were to drive a Prius, would that stop global warming?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      We humans have to stop burning fossil fuels, and we have to stop factory farming and deforestation.

      So, all of us driving Prii is not enough.

  • George Potts

    Complaining about climate change makes all of you unsuccessful NPR sycophants living your vegan eating, two buck chuck swilling, splurging on birkenstocks living feel good about your lives that have minimal carbon footprint because you can’t afford airplane tickets, golf club memberships, and nice cars.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      There, there now. Let it all come out … you’ll feel better in the morning.

    • James

      seriously I don’t know who you are but your really annoying,,go away

      • George Potts

        You don’t like it when people disagree with you.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          I would be worried if you DID agree with me.

          • George Potts

            If I agreed with you, what would could be done to reduce carbon levels to 300 ppm?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            We humans can only stop putting more fossil fuel carbon dioxide into the air – and wait for another 10-20 Million years for the weathering process to wash the carbon into the sediments at the bottom of the ocean.

            This is an incredibly helpful video on this:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGFAWzjO378

            Humans have changed the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ~10,000X faster than volcanoes.

          • George Potts

            How many trillions would have to be spent?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        He keeps reeling out the rope … Insulting strangers is such a winning strategy.

    • longfeather

      And”Jim and Tammy” Governor & 1st Lady of Virginia, could? And Eric Cantor can afford these things, as he works for the same people you do. You get the minimum and he gets the maximum. Don’t you think that is unfair when you are doing all the work?

      • George Potts

        Eric Cantor does play golf, drive nice cars, and flies wherever he wants. He gets more if you allow expensive, wasteful carbon control schemes.

  • George Potts

    If increased CO2 levels lead to increased ocean levels, at what CO2 level will the ocean increase 5 feet?

  • BigAl1825

    New Orleans is NOT below sea level. PARTS of New Orleans are below sea level. My house is above sea level, and I’m in the heart of the city.

    It is a travesty that people who haven’t a clue are willing to open their mouths and spout off, ignorantly, about things they don’t know. Shame once prevented people from doing that; ignorance and idiocy seems to have prevailed.

  • George Potts

    How do you stop the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere? I think people like to complain about it. The only credible solutions I have heard are to reduce human activity by a factor of 10 or reduce human population to 2 billion people.

    Good luck accomplishing either one of those.

    • George Potts

      No one wants to or can reduce CO2.

      People like to complain about it because it makes them feel good that they are “better” than other people.

      The only way you can contribute to reducing CO2 is to let the soil capture the carbon in your body.

    • HonestDebate1

      The UN climate chief says the best bet is Communism and a 4% reduction in world GDP.

  • andic_epipedon

    How did the discussion get hijacked by George Potts into the global climate debate. We don’t need global climate change to prove that coastal marshes are important. We have been losing coastline for over forty years. It has caused tremendous damage, both in terms of economic and biological losses. We know what the causes are and we have several options as our disposal to deal with it. Many conservatives agree that coastline degradation is a problem that needs to be addressed. One of the guests mentioned Venice as an example of what can happen. Lets talk about New Orleans.

    • George Potts

      The statement that, “Of course, Katrina wouldn’t have happened without global warming” needs to be challenged. It is not true.

    • jefe68

      The question I have is where is the moderator?

  • Banzel

    Human structures have prevented the main channel of the Mississippi from hooking up with the Atchafalya River for decades. This has kept New Orleans a viable port city and has also kept a truncated flow of sediment into the delta as we have known it. Had nature been left to its course, wouldn’t the existing delta have been shrinking anyway, even if areas to the west might have started growing?

    • Chris Carlin

      Yes. Not to mention that geologically the entire costline is slowly sinking in a process that has nothing to do with human activity.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        That is plate tectonics – which is a much younger field of science that climate science. Some coastlines are sinking and this combined with rising ocean levels makes their problems worse.

        Look into what Norfolk Virginia is going through, right now. And look at what the US Navy has had to do to deal with this combination.

  • Hovey Smith

    Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:51 PM
    Thu, 1:51 PM
    Message starred
    Gulf Coast Restoration
    Dear Tom,
    The comments on today’s show paralleled my own thinking on the problems related to Gulf Coast restoration, but this discussion stopped short of what I think is the ultimate need. That is a permanent organization like the TVA whose only purpose is the management of the Louisiana with the objective of restoring what we can and rebuilding portions of the natural barriers with sediment from the Mississippi and added materials. I see this organization as having rapid response capabilities to act according to pre-approved plans. Not only would this be a study organization, but one with the necessary equipment and tools to do the work along with the manpower.
    A new thought was that these barriers could now be easily formed with glass bottles filled with sand with each school in the state serving as a collection point and each child asked to bring empty bottles from home filled with sand and plugged with waste paper napkins, tissue paper or paper toweling. This
    Billion Bottle Project would allow a heavy barrier of inert glass bottles to serve as an attractant for additional sediment as well as species like shellfish and vegetation. These heavy synthetic base barriers would be less expensive than imported stone, remove a waste product from landfills and even give small creatures homes inside the necks of these bottles once the paper was dislodged or removed. This would be a significant way that every citizen of Louisiana could personally have an interest in Delta restoration.

    FROM Hovey Smith TO 1 recipient
    Show Details
    FromHovey Smith
    Toonpointnpr@gmail.com

    Dear Tom,

    As a Professional Geologist (GA Registration 0622) who often bowfishes and hunts in the Louisiana Delta, I was very deeply impacted by the combined hits of hurricanes Katrina and Rita which were followed by the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Following these events I visited the Delta going to such places as Grand Isle and Jean Lafitte where I had a chance to sit down with local officials and talk about the impact of these events.

    During this period I developed a general plan for the long-term (200-year) restoration of the Gulf Coast because, as I saw it, the short-term programs were destined to have only short-term success in this very dynamic geologic environment. What I proposed at the Biloxi hearing of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force’s hearing in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 2011 was that a new organization be established that would work something like the TVA in that it would derive its own funds from oil extraction and transportation fees to oversee the continuous restoration of the Gulf. This would recognize the reality that any project completed this year may well be completely destroyed the next year by some catastrophic natural or man-made event. This will be a continuous battle that will never be really won, but with constant efforts we can make continuous progress and aid the natural restoration of the ecosystem.

    In any such program there will be winners and losers. You can not change one component of this complex system without adversely impacting someone’s interest even though the ultimate result will be to benefit all. The oysterman, for example, may have his beds flooded with fresh water and kill his oysters. He needs to be compensated with rights to another are where he can, with sufficient warning, relocate his culture beds. Property owners who have lost property to the federal government because it is now flooded should be given the rights to reclaim this property should they be able to restore the marsh in an ecologically sound manner.

    These types of long term plans need to be under the control of a central organization with input from all of the stakeholders who are impacted by these decisions. Compromises must be made and perhaps even modified as conditions change on the ground.

    At the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council hearing at Spanish Fort, Alabama, in 2013, I further developed this idea with the added concept that a portion of the BP oil spill restoration money be allocated to fund an annual prize that would be awarded to the team from area colleges who could design and write the best piece of draft legislation that would be submitted to congress to outline what this TVA-like organization should be, where it should be located, what powers it should have, how it would handle rapid emergency response situations in the Gulf , what the best funding mechanism would be, etc. As competition for this prize continued over the years, this crowd-writing of legislation by some of the brightest minds in the country could potentially yield a plan that would have positive impact on the long term survival and partial restoration of the Gulf Coast. This plan would be submitted to congress after the next catastrophic event would increase its chances of being passed.

    I attempted to do a Kickstarter project to fund my attendance at a national wetlands conference in Florida that followed the hearing. Although my paper was accepted for presentation, I could not raise the $2000 that I needed to go to the conference despite appeals to local governmental agencies in Louisiana, the U.S.G.S. as well as the public in general. My impression is that the public does not care about events in these coastal states, outside of immediate response to alleviate a present large scale tragic event. There appears to be no interest in undertaking a very long-term program that has a chance of actually having positive impacts. The crafting of workable, sound legislation to fund a long-lived organization that would have the mission of helping to restore the Gulf appears to me to offer the best prospect of long-term success. It may take a decade to get it passed, but we, the nation and the residents of the Gulf states need to get this done.

    Sincerely,

    Wm. Hovey Smith
    Professional Geologist (GA 0622)

  • BigAl1825

    Then as a geologist you should know that if not for the man-made levee system shuttling sediment off to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi Delta would naturally be replenished with sediment during flood events. Ultimately, it does want to undergo an avulsion and return to flowing toward the Atchafalaya, but that will not be allowed to happen since it would wipe out all of Southern Louisiana.

    Of course, the same thing basically wants to happen at every major river, so what you are suggesting is that we should abandon every major city near the delta of a major river because eventually Mother Nature will wipe it out.

    By that logic, we should abandon all of the Eastern United States, since eventually the Yellowstone megavolcano is going to bury us all in a blanket of hot ash. Actually, let’s abandon the planet, because eventually an extinction event-causing meteor or comet is going to come crashing down.

    The reality is, if you care to do research, that there are tons of plans in the works to replenish the sediment in the delta through controlled release and planned flood events. The reality is also that Katrina was largely a man-made disaster caused by a flood protection system that was highly flawed, and not built correctly. But just because it was not done right before, does not mean that it can never be done right.

    We don’t stop building bridges when one of them collapses – we build a better bridge.

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