Field Notes from the Superstorm Sandy Catastrophe


By: Elizabeth Burleson

8th January 2013

 

I.  Introduction

Climate justice has many synergistic and sometimes competing dimensions.  Superstorm Sandy struck a strategically important city in a strategically important country within days of a strategically important election.[1]  Irrespective of the degree to which climate change contributes to any given weather event, climate change has an aggregate effect of increasing the need for effective disaster response.  This essay argues that prioritizing human rights and environment in the context of energy, climate, and water decision making offers a best practice model for climate mitigation and adaptive resilience.

While the world’s attention has focused on Sandy’s $60 billion impact in the United States,[2] it is important to recognize that the multidimensional fallout of increasingly destructive climate disruptions is devastating for front-line communities around the world as well.  Energy and water infrastructure disruptions impact human security.  For such countries as Haiti, compounded disaster responses need to be carefully coordinated between public sector and civil society with each new catastrophe.[3]  Lack of food security is a driver of conflict.[4]  The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index has generally been above the disruption threshold since July, due to the drought in the U.S. and the resulting loss of grain exports.[5]  Finally, climate change is likely to cause wet regions of the world to become wetter and dry regions to become dryer.[6]  Given the compounding nature of conflict drivers, it is important that innovative, effective governance outpace disasters.  This is proving to be a profound challenge for even the most well-resourced and coordinated region of the United States in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

II.   Not Running Fast or Far Enough

In New York, loss of power has been particularly disturbing for individuals living in public housing projects where darkness increases insecurity.  For the roughly 400,000 public housing dwellers along the waterfront, acute need came in the form of gas and batteries running out, elderly people “marooned on upper floors . . . open hydrants became vital water supplies, drawing residents on foot and skateboards to fill buckets and bottles, which were then hauled up darkened stairways for use as drinking water, for baths, and for flushing festering toilets.”[7]  There may not be waves crashing over the Statue of Liberty, but what she stands for is in jeopardy without coordinated action to lower greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change.

Cooperative federalism among Governor Christie of New Jersey, Governor Cuomo of New York, and the Pentagon has coordinated efforts to rapidly increase fuel access to post-Sandy impacted regions.[8]  This has occurred both with unprecedented speed and worrisome time lag as temperatures drop and people depend on generators for heat.  Police officers were posted at gas stations throughout the tri-state area in an effort to encourage civility.[9]  While fuel barges had greater access to New York ports and Governor Cuomo offered New Yorkers ten gallons of free gas from federal fuel trucks, emergency officials reserved the fuel for disaster response.  Triage of this kind is part of emergency decision making, yet communication within layers of government and civil society should be enhanced to avert civil unrest.

Some people gambled on waiting in three mile long gas lines.  A classmate of mine from law school-now a judge-called from such a line where he had been waiting for hours with no idea whether there was any gas to be had.  I explained what I had read in the New York Times about reserving gas for emergency responders.  After helplessly hanging up, I wondered why the simple technology of bullhorns-so prevalent throughout developing world communities at election time-had not been employed to communicate fuel access updates.  On Saturday Nov. 3, the Defense Department altered its approach and focused on providing National Guard troops, generators, and 24 million gallons of fuel directly to gas stations in New York and New Jersey.[10]  It also waved restrictions on foreign-flagged ship fuel deliveries.[11]

The post-Sandy focus on climate stands in stark contrast to the recent silence on climate change, which has stemmed from a belief that dialogue on economic recovery should take precedence.  To date, the Obama administration has focused on such climate sub-themes as national security, public health, and clean, diversified energy.[12]  Access to information and public participation in disaster response and adaptation remain embryonic.  Superstorm Sandy received its greatest coverage by the major media entities only when North Carolina decided not to use updated sea level rise information leading up to the storm, preferring out-of-date estimates.[13]

Last year during Hurricane Irene, we realized that we were among the voluntary evacuation residents who would receive mandatory evacuation calls from the police.  Given our status as within a “slosh zone,” we received mandatory evacuation reverse 911 calls the afternoon before Sandy hit and again on the night of the storm as winds were gusting up to eighty miles.  Given a mother with memory loss and a father who spent much of last fall in the hospital and whose only two trips out of the area in the past fifteen years prompted week long stays in intensive care, no amount of coaxing on my part managed to convince my elders to budge.[14]  Fearful that the National Guard was going to come knocking door-to-door and evict us to a shelter where I would be hard pressed to field both of my parents and where my father would not be able to maintain his careful balance of medicine and diet, I stayed up combing the internet for news into the wee hours of the stormy night.

Reality trumped fiction in strangeness.  We joined much of the world watching live news footage bounce back and forth from the ocean sweeping into Atlantic City, New Jersey, to the blizzard in West Virginia, to wetsuit clad surfers in two-story high waves in the Great Lakes.[15]  Maritime passage for grain and coal ground to a halt.[16]  We watched the footage of a New York City transformer explode and highways, subways, and downtown neighborhoods flood with seawater.  We watched first responders rescue police by boat and the World Trade Center construction site serving as a collection basin for excess water.  By two in the morning, over three million people were already out of power from North Carolina to Maine.

Fires burned out of control-something that one could partially follow on the local paper’s tweets.  Our street was listed as among the fire locations but there was little recourse but to go to bed at two in the morning wearing clothing that could possibly suit the several days to come if forced to leave quickly.[17]  The Police Department, Hospital, and much of the region lost power due to trees falling on power lines.  Ambulances were trapped by some of the fallen trees and downed wires that made much of town impassable.  Jumping back and forth from email, cell phone, local and national media, I pieced together what was unfolding and passed it on in a message as brief as I could muster to people that might be reading on phones with little power.  I emailed what I had learned to others with an observation that the steady climate drumbeat to change policy might grow a little louder post-Sandy.  As Broadway’s lights dimmed, this drumbeat rose.

By the next day our neighborhood passed collective news by word of mouth as more people learned of what was happening around town and beyond.  None of my riparian neighbors had chosen to leave in the middle of the storm either, as our houses are roughly 100 feet above the “slosh zone,” and the river below our respective properties has a sizable dam before flowing into Long Island Sound.  We had all had the same reaction to the third tornado warning in six weeks, but were duly shaken by the record low-pressure system that slammed into the east coast.

Thanks to a well-positioned but aging satellite network, the storm itself was communicated to the public (those who still had power and television reception) in real time.  This was effective in part due to its decentralized nodal agency structure that could field multiple disasters unfolding from Southern Appalachia to the Great Lakes to the New York Islands.  The U.S. Department of Energy tracked loss of oil refinery capacity and fielded power restoration, while experts at the U.S. Geological Survey evaluated information flowing in from a network of 150 Atlantic storm surge sensors, and the Environmental Protection Agency worked with all layers of governance to monitor contaminated water.[18]

In lower Manhattan, residents waited over an hour to charge phones using the CNN satellite truck on Eighth Avenue, only to find that reception was highly problematic.  Marc Santora observed, “what people really hungered for was information.  Few seemed to know that the blackout could last for days.”[19]  I sent out another email asking people to spread the word that fuel had been released from the federal reserves and was on its way to the region.  Listening to inexplicable sirens screech across town, I tried to learn what was happening locally to no avail as the local radio station went down in the storm and other sources of media focused elsewhere or on other dimensions of disaster relief.  Before losing access to the news, the local media sites showed vivid depictions of the ocean reaching the middle of town.  Reverse 911 calls several times a day urged all but those needing to relocate to shelters for heat to remain off the streets.  One such call explained that fires caused by candles and generators were the cause of the sirens and urged everyone to go to shelters rather than rely on candles and fires for heat and light.

Once the wind ceased howling, the sirens, presence of emergency vehicles on our road, and absence of all other traffic was our initial exposure to the storm.  I tenuously set out to teach an evening energy law class on Halloween and returned to work the following morning.[20]  The emergency response has been multifaceted and surprisingly effective given how unwieldy the task.  Police at gas stations (trying to manage lines snaking for blocks) and tree mangled houses that looked like surreal modern art instillation were among the sobering personal observations from Superstorm Sandy.  In the next several days I preserved gas given the growing lines at every service station as people from New York moved north looking for basics.[21]  With them came utility trucks from as far away as Boston, South Carolina, and Indiana.  In areas where trees falling across power lines caused more devastation than flooding, a dilemma of a different sort became open for discussion and collective solution generation.  Trees do not fall on buried power lines, but it is expensive to transition to underground lines-currently only eighteen percent of United States has buried electrical lines.[22]  What climate response measures make sense in this case?

III. Collective Climate Solution Generation and Implementation

While the media excels at emergency coverage, it has also begun to broaden the conversation to a range of energy, climate, and water implications-a development that will hopefully sustain momentum.  While technical and boring to many citizens, water and energy infrastructure are two of the most crucial areas of public interest.  Greater discussion of where vulnerabilities in water and energy access are likely to be exacerbated by climate instability is an important first step towards coordinating climate mitigation and adaptation.

Tidal marsh loss has resulted from both sea level rise and ongoing development.  Funding the creation of an archipelago of islands and reefs, fingered with inlets, to protect coastal communities is no small task.[23]  Solutions need to be mindful of local conditions.  Sharing information, insights, and resources can turn best practices into broad adaptation measures.  For instance, the New York Times has highlighted ways to restore oyster reefs to recreate some of the surge protection that were once provided by islands off of parts of Brooklyn that succumbed to dredging.[24]

Since the 1980’s, I have been involved in information gathering and analysis of Long Island Sound wetlands.  We have mapped habitat loss factors and have done population studies on key wetlands indicator species.  My research has combined environmental economics, field ecology, marine biology, oceanography, and law.  Teaching wetlands litigation in water law and property law courses, I have been facilitating discussions on the complex mix of protecting the public interest and private property rights.  Informed, inclusive decision making can help enhance ecosystem service recognition.  New York City needs to do more than raise subway entrances.  Protecting wetlands is also needed.  Ecosystem services have not been sufficiently appreciated to retain intact coastal wetlands, leading such organizations as the Nature Conservancy to raise awareness that for roughly every dollar spent on natural infrastructure preventive measures, five dollars can be saved in disaster response.[25]

Climate coordination-for example, bringing down greenhouse gases and increasing flood protection measures-is not simple, but it is crucial to human and environmental integrity.  Elizabeth Kolbert argues that “in a year of record-breaking temperatures across the U.S., record drought conditions in the country’s corn belt, and now a record storm affecting the nation’s most populous cities, neither candidate found the issue to be worthy of discussion.”[26]  Governance efforts to adequately resource and coordinate substantive mitigation implementation, as well as accurately assess risk should be based upon best available science and equitable economic discounting rate analysis.  Instead, the federal government has used a baseline of twenty-one dollars per ton of carbon to monetize “the social costs of the seven-plus billion tons of carbon generated by American power plants, vehicles and factories each year.”[27]  Picking a discount rate involves a value judgment rather than sheer mathematical skill.  Modeling how much carbon reduction is worth to the United States today to prevent future damage may simplify an array of governmental decision-making processes, but simply settling on twenty-one dollars as the per ton of carbon price has resulted in climate mitigation and adaptation inaction by design.  This shortsighted focus on present needs has costly ramifications in lost mitigation and adaptation coordination.  While the federal discount of three percent put the cost of one ton of carbon at twenty one dollars, these estimates have been criticized for relying on discount rates that are considered too high, and a two percent discount rate would result in a one ton carbon cost of between fifty-five and two hundred and sixty-six dollars.[28]

To my mind, it is problematic to assume that people will have more money in the future and thus be less affected by climate impacts.  Spending money to restore coastal wetlands may mean that that money cannot be invested in the stock market and generate higher future returns, but a lower discount rate more accurately reflects the likelihood that climate change will disrupt future economic growth.[29]  It also accounts for uneven growth-where those harmed by climate change are also likely to be those less likely to benefit from future economic growth.  A lower discount rate also reflects the substantial public health impacts of not transitioning to greater renewable and efficiency measures that lower greenhouse gases.  Ultimately, calculating the social cost of carbon in particular, and greenhouse gasses generally, involves making numerous assumptions that can raise or lower the perceived costs and benefits of climate mitigation and adaptation.  In other words, “[t]he governmental working group used a very empirically based discount rate, which seems very concrete, but over the long term runs into an ethical brick wall,” finance Professor Frank Partnoy explains.  “We should stop pretending this is a science and admit it is an art and talk about this in terms of ethics and fairness, not what we can observe in the markets.”[30]  Given global greenhouse gas emissions, the international community is likely to suffer six degrees Celsius of warming with catastrophic ramifications. Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and other recent storms, floods, fires, and droughts have not led to political or even media tipping points toward responsible energy, climate, and water communication, creativity, and solution coordination.

IV. The Way Forward:  Built on Shared Understandings

From weather satellites to solar cookers, innovation requires governance, substantive insights, and implementation.  Aldo Leopold’s thinking like a mountain might lead to the equanimity necessary to be a skillful participant in increasing climate mitigation and adaptation.[31]  When the mountain is being washed away into the sea perhaps the pace of deliberation should match the pace of the need for a meaningful response to loss of life and land.  Being grounded is relative and often profoundly personal.  Gandhi began with salt for good reason.  It was illegal to produce salt in a subsistence manner and yet culturally at the core of freedom.  It grounded a human rights movement-Thoreau’s efforts to live deliberately and share his legal philosophy with others profoundly impacted Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and in turn the evolution of humanity.  In 1994, I wrote the following from Chiapas, Mexico:

 

Life has a way of burying inspiration with experience.  It is hard to retain who you are and what you want for yourself and the world. Grinding engines, clouds of exhaust, snide comments, and silent stares sustain a tension that drains the soul.  You can see it in the eyes of a person (of any age) crumpled on a street corner.  It’s a contagious hollowness that is as disturbing as the soldier’s gun.

 

My mind has been juggling all these thoughts for several weeks now, trying to come to terms with the dependency that peace has on a whole range of factors out of my control.

 

Almost two decades later, I find myself seeking insight on how to combine human rights theory and environmental practice using international tools crafted for armed conflict and ill-equipped to address climate change.  I am partial to the dynamic power of networks and find meaning in inspiring students to be backlit from inside as they venture out into the world and collaborate among nation states, regional groups, tribes, provinces, local governments, and civil society through webs of governance.

Sustainability can become more than the sum of its parts by transcending its literal meaning and becoming the synergistic trampoline for ethical, economic, and environmental resilience and coherence.  From sustainability of forests and fish stocks, to sustainability of future generations, to a call for fusion of ethical, economic, and environmental understandings-complex systems are increasingly challenging humanity to adapt both language and governance.  It makes little sense to speak of literal sustainable extraction of ancient water from aquifers or of fossil fuels.  Yet, the diplomacy that emerged from Rio in 1992 sought to bind a mindfulness of ecological carrying capacity with equitable utilization of resources to alleviate poverty.  While environmental and development communities find sustainable development lacking, time is running out on simply renaming policy approaches, i.e., trying to fit the climate challenge into an energy dialogue, without genuine follow-through in the form of environmental and human security.  We have the capacity to embrace sustainability as an overarching framework for coordinated ethical, economic, and environmental decision making.  It is not the only means by which to proceed but represents one plausible response to increasingly disconnected fields that impact one another.  A sensible first step down this coherence path is to recognize that good governance is crucial to achieving sustainability and climate cooperation.

How do we calibrate efforts to build a sustainability arc that can enhance human and environmental integrity?  High-level forums for inclusive, meaningful dialog that bring states and non-state actors together to propose solutions can enhance network creation and expansion into new public-private, local-regional-international, and a myriad of interdisciplinary patterns of cooperation.  Complex adaptive systems and good governance principles can inform decision making that results in the rule of law enhancing predictable, efficient, and fair outcomes.[32]  The rule of law depends upon accessible, independent, and efficient decision making.  None of these processes are rapid or inexpensive, as the post-Sandy disaster response has shown.  Yet, they can be rightly called investments and folded into respected economic climate-energy-water recommendations when decision makers use sensibly long-term time horizons for efficiency analysis and recognize the value of equity, ecosystems, and other important yet not easily measured public and private goods.  Sharing best practices from human rights and environmental law may be able to provide a synergistic catalyst for ethics, economic, and environmental coherence.

International human rights law offers a robust justice framework with which to address climate change.  Applying human rights thresholds (including access to information, participation, and access to justice) to climate change may be able to catalyze sustainability cooperation.  Decisions informed by an understanding of climate justice can bring together dialogue from development, human rights, environment, trade, and business communities.  Energy, food, and climate security can be discussed as the interwoven crisis that threatens humanity rather than unrelated dilemmas.[33]  What appear to be fragmented trade, environment, and human rights regimes can alternatively be seen as sustainability framework building blocks.

With a background in economics, human rights, and environmental law, my work has involved participating in the drafting process for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Agenda 21.  More recently I have been a member of United Nations intergovernmental organization and non-governmental organization delegations to the climate negotiations.  It is my understanding that substantive life cycle analysis and procedural capacity building remain open issues.  Bringing together a wide range of perspectives in a catalytic manner can share insights that resonate.  A collage of narratives from ecology, ethics, economics, and environmental law may be able to galvanize collective action-with or without a single shared sustainability or climate vision.

Individuals have gained subject status at international law, and civil society voices are not only being heard, but responded to.  The quiet desperation of humanity that Thoreau spoke of has become a powerful force potentially capable of incentivizing climate coordination.  Irrespective of the rhetoric with which we converse, we need to figure out how to come together as a global community that feels its collective loss enough to cooperate (both quickly and effectively) to achieve a sustainability arc that enhances ethical, economic, and environmental cooperation.

 


 

[1].Clearwater explains that “as a form of environmental justice, climate justice involves the fair treatment of all people and freedom from discrimination with the creation of policies and projects that address climate change and the systems that create climate change and perpetuate discrimination.”  Climate Justice, Clearwater, http://www.clearwater.org/ea/climate-justice/ (last visited Jan. 7, 2013).

[2].The 1,000-mile-wide hurricane Sandy presented a logistical nightmare.  The sheer size of Sandy is notable for the time needed to rally disaster response given the distance that relief supplies had to traverse and the scale of the area simultaneously in need of emergency assistance.  Evan Lehmann, Obama Seeks $60B for Storm Recovery, Including Future Climate Risks, Climatewire, Dec. 10, 2012,  http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/rss/2012/12/10/5.

[3].Jonathan Watts, Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy Leaves Haiti Facing New Disaster, The Guardian, Nov. 2, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/02/aftermath-hurricane-sandy-haiti-disaster (“After the deputy mayor came to hear their problems, an irate crowd came away yelling:  ‘We’re hungry!'”).

[4].Id.

[5].Maria Godoy, Can Riots Be Predicted?  Experts Watch Food Prices, npr (Oct. 2, 2012, 10:02 AM), http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/09/20/161501075/high-food-prices-forcast-more-global-riots-ahead-researchers-say?ft=1&f=1001 (noting that riots become more likely when the U.N. FAO Food Price Index rises above 210).  Reports also indicate that the FAO Food Price Index rose 1.4 percent in September, 2012.  See FAO Food Price Index, Food & Agric. Org. of the United Nations, http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/foodpricesindex/en/ (relevant monthly figures are indicated in the FAO food price index table).

[6].Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Technical Paper on Climate Change and Water 32 (2008), available at http://www.ipcc.ch/meetings/session28/doc13.pdf.

[7].Cara Buckley & Michael Wilson, In New York’s Public Housing, Fear Creeps In With the Dark, N.Y. Times, Nov. 2, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/03/nyregion/in-public-housing-after-hurricane-sandy-fear-misery-and-heroism.html.

[8].Elizabeth A. Harris, A Slow Return to Normal Skips the Gas Station, N.Y. Times, Nov. 3, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/nyregion/gas-rationing-is-new-burden-after-hurricane-sandy.html?_r=0.

[9].Storm Sandy: Anger as Fuel Shortages Hamper Recovery, BBC News (Nov. 2, 2012 11:51 AM), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20177276#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa (“Fights broke out at petrol stations in New York and New Jersey, and power suppliers warned some areas might not have electricity until . . . November [11].”).

[10].Harris, supra note 8.

[11].Eric Lipton & Clifford Krauss, Military to Deliver Fuel to Storm-Ravaged Region, N.Y. Times, Nov. 2, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/03/business/military-to-deliver-fuel-to-storm-region.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.

[12].Suzanne Goldenberg, Revealed: The Day Obama Chose a Strategy of Silence on Climate Change, Guardian, Nov. 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/01/obama-strategy-silence-climate-change (“[T]hose reasons-although compelling-went far enough in justifying the need for sweeping transformation needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.  ‘Over time it became in effect an absence of conversation about climate change as a threat, and I think in the end that proved to be unwise because it is the one reason all these storylines matter.'”).

[13].Leigh Phillips, North Carolina Sea Level Rises Despite State Senators, Sci. Am. Oct. 16, 2012, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=north-carolina-sea-level-rises-desipte-senators (“Less than two weeks after the state’s senate passed a bill banning state agencies from reporting that sea-level rise is accelerating, research has shown that the coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts is experiencing the fastest sea-level rise in the world.”).

[14].Sandy’s Terrible Toll Among Elderly Who Didn’t Evacuate, Guardian, Nov. 3, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/04/sandy-toll-elderly-evacuate (“Some chose to stay put, some were too infirm to escape, others were overlooked as neighbours [sic] assumed they had fled . . . Others died fleeing the storm . . . Most drowned alone in bedrooms, living rooms and basements that flooded.”).

[15].Phil Taylor, Coastal Parks, Refuges and Seashores Take a Beating, Greenwire, Oct. 31, 2012, http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/rss/2012/10/31/10 (“Most tunnels into and out of New York City are flooded . . . Flooding is possible over the next week from rising water levels in rivers and streams.”); see also Eugene Mulero & Julia Pyper, As States Scramble to Adapt, DOT Pledges $13M in First of Many Likely Cash Infusions, Greenwire, Oct. 31, 2012, http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/rss/2012/10/31/11 (“In New York City, the new Second Avenue subway line is being built to [one hundred]-year floodplain standards, which could help mitigate damage in the future. According to the Multihazard Mitigation Council, every [one dollar] spent on hazard mitigation can save society [four dollars] in the future.”); Sandy Will Test FEMA on Fraud; Program Faces Cuts Under Either Obama or Romney, Greenwire, Oct. 31, 2012, http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/rss/2012/10/31/15 (discussing the importance of funding federal disaster relief programs).

[16].Sandy’s Violent Waves Stop Cargo Shipping in Midwest, Greenwire, Oct. 31, 2012, http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/rss/2012/10/31/14.

[17].When reminded by University of Oregon Law Professor John Bonine as to the hour, I reluctantly signed off of email and went to bed.

[18].Emily Yehle & John McArdle, Government Forecasters, Scientists Ramp Up Efforts in Face of Storm, Greenwire, Oct. 31, 2012, http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/rss/2012/10/31/9.

[19].Marc Santora, South of 25th Street, No Lights and Lots of Dead Cellphones,

N.Y. Times, Oct. 30, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/nyregion/in-lower-manhattan-still-feeling-the-effects-of-the-storm.html (“By mutual agreement, the people there had somehow decided that when someone filled up to [fifty] percent, it was time to unplug and let the next person go.”).

[20].Jennifer Levitz & Joseph De Avila, Conn.’s Storm Fatigue, Wall St. J., Oct. 31, 2012, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204712904578091222748896236.html (“Driving along the heavily wooded roads, it is hard to go more than a couple of miles without encountering road closings, which force ad hoc detours that lead to yet another detour.”).

[21].Storm Halts Production, Shipments Manuel Quinones, Greenwire, Oct. 31, 2012, http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/rss/2012/10/31/13 (“East Coast coal production and shipments ground to a halt this week as Hurricane Sandy shuttered ports, swamped railroads and buried Appalachian coal fields in heavy, wet snow.”).

[22].Bryan Walsh, Outsmarting the Surge, Time Mag., Nov. 12, 2012, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2128304,00.html.

[23].Tim Lister, Experts Warn of Superstorm Era to Come, CNN, Oct. 31, 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/31/us/sandy-climate-change/index.html.

[24].Alan Feuer, Protecting the City, Before Next Time, N.Y. Times, Nov. 3, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/nyregion/protecting-new-york-city-before-next-time.html (Discussing urban wetlands / tidal marshes to absorb waves.)

[25].Lister, supra note 23 (noting that a sea barrier in Venice cost seven billion dollars); see also N. R. Kleinfield, After Getting Back to Normal, Big Job Is Facing New Reality, N.Y. Times, Nov. 3, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/nyregion/after-getting-back-to-normal-the-big-job-is-to-face-a-new-reality.html?ref=nyregion&_r=0&pagewanted=all (noting that one solution might be to build hurricane barriers like those of Stamford, CT); Mulero & Pyper, supra note 15 (“A 2009 study by Stony Brook University’s Storm Surge Research Group, for instance, estimated that building a barrier network to protect New York City and the surrounding area from storm surges would cost at least $10 billion.”).

[26].Elizabeth Kolbert, Watching Sandy, Ignoring Climate Change, New Yorker, Oct. 29, 2012, http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/10/watching-hurricane-sandy-ignoring-climate-change.html; see also Elizabeth Kolbert, The Climate of Man-III, New Yorker, May 9, 2005, at 52, available at http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=2005-05-09#folio=052.

[27].Joanna Foster, The Social Cost of Carbon: How to Do the Math?, N.Y. Times (Sept. 18, 2012, 4:51 PM) http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/the-social-cost-of-carbon-how-to-do-the-math/.

[28].Laurie T. Johnson & Chris Hope, The Social Cost of Carbon in U.S.: Regulatory Impact Analyses: An Introduction and Critique 2 J. Envtl. Stud. & Sci. 1, 10 (2012), available http://www.ourenergypolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/fulltext.pdf; see also Foster, supra note 27.

[29].The rate at which individuals discount future costs and benefits is known as the discount rate.  Jonathan Gruber, Public Finance and Public Policy 207-08 (2005).

[30].Foster, supra note 27.

[31].See generally Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like a Mountain, in America’s Wild Read, 129, 132 (spec. ed. 1987),

at available at http://library.fws.gov/wildread/thinking-like-a-mountain.pdf (“I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades.  So also with cows.  The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the range.  He has not learned to think like a mountain.  Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.”).

[32].Elements of good governance include accountability, transparency, participation, consensus building, responsiveness, effectiveness, efficiency, and equity.

[33].Often, water access is energy dependent and energy production is water dependent.  Climate instability impacts both energy and water access while energy use and energy intensive water use exacerbate the release of greenhouse gasses.