H2O 2012 conference theme: "please send money"

From Stanford University , this press release with a “who the heck cares?” question as a title. We have far bigger problems in California to worry about. It is another one of these “might result” weasel word press releases in the guise of “please send money”, see my bolding. The digs where they are holding this conference of course show no sign of being worried about money. At least Gleick didn’t attend.

Is California preparing for climate change?

Results from new climate adaptation survey

A majority of California’s coastal planners and resource managers now view the threats from climate change as sufficiently likely that practical steps on the ground need to be taken to protect against growing threats, according to results from a new survey published by Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions (COS) and the California Sea Grant.

Survey respondents acknowledge the need to prepare for changes along the coast that might result from rising sea levels and other impacts, such as more floods, loss of beach access, coastal erosion and potential damage to transportation infrastructure, including highways, roads and ports.

The new survey – an update on a similar one conducted six years ago – shows a strong uptick in California coastal professionals’ attention to preparing and planning for climate change. Results reveal that managers are ready and willing to develop adaptation strategies, despite tighter belts in most local and state agencies in recent years. But lack of money to prepare and implement plans, insufficient staff and lack of technical know-how are significant challenges.

“Communities are willing to adapt to the reality of climate change, but they are struggling. This is a story that needs to be told when billions of dollars in assets are at risk,” said Susanne Moser, Director of Susanne Moser Research & Consulting in Santa Cruz and a Research Associate of COS. She worked with colleagues at University of Southern California Sea Grant, California Sea Grant and the University of California, Berkeley, and an unprecedented collaborative of 12 other coastal organizations in California to systematically probe coastal professionals’ knowledge and attitudes toward global warming, their level of preparedness for the future, and the challenges they face in taking action.

The survey shows that 40 percent of coastal professionals who are responsible for protecting natural resources, property and human safety have begun trying to understand the risks they face, and another 40 percent are actively planning for climate change impacts, such as sea level rise, coastal flooding and erosion. Yet, only about 10 percent are actually doing things on the ground that may reduce the full brunt of climate change.

“The big take-away from the survey is that coastal managers are knowledgeable and understand the importance of preparing for climate change,” said USC Sea Grant Associate Director Phyllis Grifman, a co-author of the survey report, Rising to the Challenge: Results of the 2011 California Coastal Adaptation Needs Assessment. “And they are doing what they can even before there is a mandate to develop adaptation plans. They know it is important, and they are concerned, both personally and at work, but they need help.”

Most of the nearly 600 coastal professionals who responded to the survey describe a work environment that is already consumed by other pressing issues and constrained by limited fiscal and staff resources. More than 70 percent also indicate that they believe the severity of their leading management challenges, such as protecting water quality and wetland habitats, will further intensify in the next five years, creating yet higher hurdles in meeting the state’s call to prepare and plan for rising sea levels.

The survey also allowed coastal managers to identify the information, training needs and tools that would make their work more effective. According to Juliette Finzi Hart, Regional Research and Planning Specialist at USC Sea Grant and lead author of the survey report, “The organizations that worked together on this survey have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to help California coastal managers meet the challenge of climate change. Information alone won’t solve the problem, but we can help build coastal professionals’ capacity to make our coasts a safer place to live and work.”

Today at the Headwaters to Oceans (H2O) Conference in San Diego, Grifman will moderate a discussion of the survey results at a session on climate adaptation and coastal management. Panelists include Hart and co-authors Monique Myers of California Sea Grant, and Julia Ekstrom, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley.

In a second panel today, co-author Adina Abeles of COS will moderate a session of several survey partners addressing what California coastal managers need, in terms of information, training and tools, to deal with sea level rise and other climate change impacts, and how these organizations are helping to provide this technical assistance.

The current survey revealed a strong increase in adaptation activity compared to the very low level observed at the time of the first coastal adaptation survey conducted in 2005/2006. That survey – conducted by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, including Moser – found that among the local governments in coastal areas that were surveyed, only two counties at that time had begun considering climate change in their planning efforts, and another six cities and four counties were in the process. Five years later a marked shift is evident: today 93 percent of all survey respondents (including representatives from local, regional, state and federal entities) say they are in the process of understanding their climate change risks, assessing their adaptation options, or implementing a strategy.

“The survey results are timed perfectly with ongoing state efforts to update the 2012 California Climate Adaptation Strategy,” said Abe Doherty, a project specialist at the Ocean Protection Council, one of the 15 organizations that collaborated on the survey. Others include the California Coastal Commission, NOAA Coastal Services Center and Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System.

“It is important to get feedback on what coastal managers are using for information and what they need for technical assistance and training,” said Doherty, who is currently drafting the ocean and coastal resources portion of the climate adaptation strategy. “The barriers are mostly fiscal for communities. We know we have limited funds, so what is the best approach for moving forward? We have to craft strategies and focus staff time strategically. The survey results help us prioritize staff time and resources.”


The USC Sea Grant and California Sea Grant programs are part of a national network of 32 programs of marine research, outreach and education activities and part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce. Sea Grant is dedicated to helping citizens use scientific information to support a vibrant economy and ensure ecological sustainability.

The Center for Ocean Solutions is a collaboration among Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment and Hopkins Marine Station, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Across these institutions, COS draws from about 80 scholars, researchers and educators who work on coastal and ocean ecosystems in the natural, physical and social sciences. COS also works with experienced conservation practitioners and policy experts. Located at Stanford and in Monterey, California, COS is uniquely positioned to leverage expertise and develop practical solutions to the most urgent and important ocean conservation problems.


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Maybe they need to hire some imagineers away from Disney. They are top-notch and turning make-believe into a performance.

cui bono

Erm…there may be a *fault* in their priorities for potential Californian emergencies…

Well, since there is no actual “climate change”, then it doesn’t really matter whether they do anything to “prepare” for it at all. Since any money spent on such a wild goose chase is money wasted, this is one of those instances where the employees who are making the Best use of their budgets are those who are just kicking back, goofing off, and having a good time.


wwws: you meant no AGW?

Gail Combs

I wonder who gets to buy up all that condemned water front property on the cheap??? – FOLLOW the MONEY


Sustainable. Isn’t that the buzz word these days? Something isn’t sustainable if it uses up resource that are in short supply.
How about money? Isn’t that a resource in short supply? So, if your policy needs money to work, how is that any different than a policy that needs fossil fuel or any other scarce resource?
for example:
California’s highway system isn’t sustainable. It needs oil to make the blacktop. To make the roads sustainable they need to be replaced by dirt roads. No shortage of dirt.
California’s buildings are not sustainable. The concrete used to make buildings uses vast amounts of energy and releases vast amounts of CO2 as the limestone is converted by heat to cement. The only buildings that are sustainable are those made of adobe (mud) because again there is lots of dirt.
The problem for California and the UN policy of sustainable development is that NO DEVELOPMENT IS SUSTAINABLE. To be truly sustainable people need to go back to living off the land. Hunting and gathering from raw materials at hand.
Burning dung for our fires, living in mud huts, and when times are tough eating dirt to supplement our rations. No shortage of dirt. Pretty much everything else is scarce.


Spend the money & prepare any way you want for this non-event, just don’t ask for any funding from any other state (ie. the federal government) for your inevitable decline into bankruptcy.

Brian H

Typical. Polysyllabic preparation for phantasms. All cost, zero benefit.

Kim Moore

That article is so filled with buzz words and hokey phrases it makes my stomach heave and esophagus operate in reverse.
Unimportant people getting paid to do unimportant things.


In the next iceage the sealevel will drop up to about aprox 130 meters the next 100.000 years.
And California is a quake disaster zone so why bother?

Werner Brozek

Is California preparing for climate change?
Perhaps California is preparing but Canada certainly is NOT. Nor should it. In yesterday’s Edmonton Journal, the following appeared:
“Times a-changin’, but Tories aren’t
Federal action on climate change has never been so stalled
By Thomas Pedersen, Edmonton Journal”
For the rest of the article, see

I would have loved the survey to have asked the coastal planners their estimate for how much sea level rise has been experienced in their planning area over the past 10 years.
Me thinks a we would have had a Lake Woebegone moment where everyone sea level rise was “above average.”
H2O conference, huh? How much was related to salt water, and how much to fresh water? Were there any talks about dam and/or aquaduct construction? Even dams for pumped storage hydroelectric generation?

Steve R

So these people actually believe that sea level rise will be of such magnitude that it requires public policy changes today?


Peter Gleick could not make it? Perhaps the former Ethics Task Force Chair for the AGU is busy, making some back room deals to become President Obama’s new Water Czar.


“Condo-culture elites worry about beach front erosion of their property in California.”

Susan P

A major effect of sea level rise would be that the ridiculously wealthy would have to move, and I would live closer than 20 miles from the beach. Bring on the climate change! Oh, and there would be a lot more of those “wetlands” that they are always trying to save. I am sure I will manage to adapt like my ancestors did for thousands of years.

Mike Smith

I am absolutely not a climate alarmist.
However, I do believe that extreme weather is a reality. Readers may recall that some extreme weather severely disrupted high-tech industry in Thailand last year. This impact included closing down a huge chunk of the worlds disk drive manufacturing capacity. Overall, many thousands of factories were shut down.
When this came to the attention of the powers that be in CA, there was a horrible realization that similar vulnerabilities existed here. A lot of the recent development in the Sillycon Valley area has taken place on reclaimed land that is uncomfortably close to sea level. Companies like Cisco are clearly concerned.
One would have thought these organizations would have the smarts to consider and evaluate the risks prior to building. It seems not. At least, Thailand has caused them to take a second look and that has sparked a serious case of the jitters.
It seems there may be real (and previously underestimated) flood risks in some important industrially developed locations in CA.
Of course, our warmist friends know a potential bandwagon when they see one and with the help of a complicit media this issue/story is now being framed in terms of “climate change”.
However, if you eradicate any hockey stick climate projections and models and just look at the risks of extreme weather, it seems there may be a real issue. An investment in flood prevention/mitigation might be prudent and even essential.
Unfortunately, much of the discussion and all of the media coverage will be hijacked by the warmists and this will likely lead to a lot more bad decisions.

Andrew says: May 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm
“wwws: you meant no AGW?”
— — —
Don’t be too quick to dismiss doubts about climate change.


WUWT says, “We have far bigger problems in California to worry about.”
Yes that state has problems of truly astronomical proportions. For example, California is home to over 500 state agencies.
Perhaps you could manage to get by with one tenth that amount.


What certainties are they protecting their communities from, and who’s got the job of protecting the areas between the communities? How will they know when they are protected? What will be the recurring maintenance costs for those areas between the communities and who will pay them? What will be the compensation for those people needing it, and what are the restoration plans should this scheme not be needed?

Interstellar Bill

To California’s sea-level worry-wart bureaucrats, from a resident:
Step 1. Read the last 100 years of California sea-levels: flat.
Step 2. Read the last decade of same: flat.
Step 3. Read the latest Science article, admitting there’s no glacial-melt acceleration in Greenland.
Step 4. Worry about something else, such as how to stop driving the productive out of your state by the droves.


Just reduce the dihydrogen monoxide concentration along coastal areas. 🙂

Gunga Din

Water, water everywhere and nary a dime to reap!

“[a survey] shows a strong uptick in California coastal professionals’ attention to preparing and planning for climate change. ”
What the hell does that mean? That they asked a bunch of leading questions? I have a hard time imagining (outside of a Disneyesque Cauliflowernia fantasy) a herd of ‘coastal professionals’ fussing and fretting about how to deal with ‘sea level’ change on a coastline dotted with abandoned beaches….due to uplift. A “strong uptick” is probably because of the leading questions. What do these people really do? Grub for money, plain and simple.

Brian H

Werner Brozek says:
May 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm
Is California preparing for climate change?
Perhaps California is preparing but Canada certainly is NOT. Nor should it. In yesterday’s Edmonton Journal, the following appeared:
“Times a-changin’, but Tories aren’t
Federal action on climate change has never been so stalled
By Thomas Pedersen, Edmonton Journal”
For the rest of the article, see

Note the author’s association:
Thomas Pedersen is executive director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, B.C.’s leading climate-change policy research institute.
He sees his livelihood washing away …

“The survey results are timed perfectly with ongoing state efforts to update the 2012 California Climate Adaptation Strategy,” said Abe Doherty, a project specialist at the Ocean Protection Council…
Funny how that worked out, huh?

Gary Pate

Oh great, the kooks are visiting my town. Wonder how much booze we taxpayers will be paying for on this junket. If these brain stems bothered to just west of the conference they would see a virtually endless supply of water…


This, in a nutshell, is party-line science in service of the Green Party and its useful idiots. They pretend there is only one version of scientific truth and that they are in possession of it.
The idea that these people understand climate change, it’s causes and it’s outcomes is preposterous on its face.
And they wonder why the rest of the country thinks everyone in California has lost their minds.

Owen in Ga

Hmm, planning for worst case when data suggests – no case. This is the problem in California, throwing public money they don’t have at problems that don’t exists or that they themselves create in their own fertile imaginations. They must all work in Hollywood.


As the last Holocene had a sea level high of 20 to 30 feet higher than today ,its a bit of a no brainer that sea levels could rise again .What goes around comes around.

Neil Jordan

To throw some more fat on the fire, California raided, and is still raiding, its 9/11 relief fund paid for by license plate fees:
“Moreover, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has been advertising the plates as helping the children of Sept. 11 victims, even though the state stopped funding the scholarship program seven years ago. The specialty plate fund continues to take in $1.5 million a year.”

I’ve lived on the Northern California coast in the same area off and on for over sixty years. In all that time there has been no discernible change in sea level. And yet the “experts” forecast five to six feet by 2100 (some estimate by 2050). That means the rate of rise will have to increase by 10 times to meet the 2100 goal, and the increase at that high rate has to start right now. Such a rate of increase would rival the most rapid increases of the early Holocene at the end of the Ice Age, when it was much warmer and there was a lot more ice to melt. If the increased rate is delayed, as all indications are that it will, an incredible acceleration of ice melting will be required to meet the goal of six feet. And that incredible rate acceleration will have to be more than trebled to meet the goals of Al Gore and James Hansen.
Time’s a wasting! Let the melting begin!

Owen in Ga

I haven’t lived in California since ’75, but I seem to remember most of the state climbing quickly away from the Pacific, with just a little coastal flat in the South part of the state but still rising pretty quickly away. Do they really fear sea level rise that much? Am I remembering the geography wrong? (Of course the property in that little coastal flat could be worth billions.)


“Please send money” – sheesh, they could at least come up with something original rather than steal their lines from Heartland

Graeme No.3

I have just come across an estimate that London is sinking at 7.5 mm per year.
While the SE of the UK is sinking, this seems a little high. I point to Traitor’s Gate, the waterside entrance to the Tower of London, built in 1275-6. The above rate would mean the water level is now 18 foot higher than when it was built. Can anyone close-by confirm this?
As it still appears to be (mostly) above water, it must mean either that the builders made a very high entrance, or the above rate is exaggerated.
With the reported rates of ocean rise, I can only hope that Plymouth Rock has not yet been submerged.

Fredrick Lightfoot

California ? ha,ha,ha,

Owners of California coastal real estate should worry rather more about tsunamis. There is plenty of evidence that the Boxing Day tsunami wasn’t unusual on the scale of a few centuries.


Graeme No.3;
With the reported rates of ocean rise, I can only hope that Plymouth Rock has not yet been submerged.>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Haven’t you heard? The Plymouth brand name was retired as part of the Chrysler restructuring. Toyota bought the naming rights at auction. It is now the Corolla Rock.

Having driven most of the coast of California, I can personally attest that most of it is a vertical rise out of the water. Commonly about 20 to 50 feet. The entire Coast Range of mountains is the result of geologic uplift that continues today. (During some major quake events, land can rise from inches to feet in any given area.)
There are places, like Long Beach, where there is a more shallow rise out of the ocean. Basically, at the harbor areas.
Those, though, are generally filling in with silt. Any “rise” in water level might make the ports more usable. Not much else. Per the “built on fill” and so vulnerable yarn: The San Jose Airport is at 131 foot elevation (roughly). It’s just across the freeway from The Port Of Alviso. Ships were built in that port during W.W.II and it was used for pleasure boats when I first moved here in the ’80s.
It is now closed to boats as it has become a mud flat. At one time I had a picture of the marina with the “docks” laying out with reeds well into the air all around them. Can’t find it at the moment.
So it has gone from Ship Harbor to Mud Flat in about 50 years.
Sea Level Rise is not the problem here…
The problem is that the State has no money. It has a giant debt and deficit (variously placed somewhere between $10 Billion and $40 Billion depending on how much the speaker likes to make things look good). There is no way at all that the deficit will be closed in the next decade. No way at all the debt will be reduced in my lifetime. No way at all the State can pay the bills and salaries of these folks (and their pensions have no chance at all. Fewer folks working and paying taxes each year with more folks on the dole and pensions. It’s a zero sum game. That means LESS in the future, not more.)
Sadly, this will be conveniently ignored until the State files for Bankruptcy. (Some of our cities and counties already have). We’re already asking for Federal Bailout Money.
California is the Greece of the USA…
So these folks can bleat all they want. There just isn’t any money. Not for teachers. Not for cops. Not for Governors Pensions. They are low on the list and getting lower every day.
The only proposed answer is that, since high taxes have driven businesses out of the State in droves, higher taxes… “Tax beatings to continue until Business Morale improves…”
I’d quip: “Will the last one to leave turn out the lights?” except that with our own Cap ‘N Tax and green energy mandates, we’re not going to have lights to turn out…


Werner Brozek says….perhaps California is preparing but Canada is certainly not.
The Canadian Federal Govt. is taking just about the right approach. The UK, USA, Europe, and Australia should take note.

cui bono

Gail Combs says (May 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm)
I wonder who gets to buy up all that condemned water front property on the cheap???
That would be Lex Luthor, wouldn’t it? 🙂


We must prepare for 20 feet of sea level rise! We must act now!

29 May 2012
“Paper finds Greenland unlikely to melt from climate change
A paper from a paleoclimatology workshop finds that the southern dome of Greenland did not melt away during the extreme natural climate change of the “Eemian interglacial (125,000 years ago), when annual mean temperatures over Greenland were [about] 5°C warmer than now for some millenia [thousands of years].” The author asks, “will [the southern dome of Greenland] melt away for the first time in 400,000 years?” and concludes, “Probably not.” The IPCC claims [non-existent] positive feedback from water vapor could lead to 3°C warming from doubled CO2 levels, but lessons from the geological past show that even if the globe warmed 2°C more to 5°C warmer than the present for thousands of years, neither the northern nor southern domes of Greenland would melt away. ”

Peter Miller

A classic case of pointless bureaucrats trying to puff up their own self- importance in trying to solve supposed, but non-existent problems.
When reading something as goofy as this, it is difficult to think Californians deserve anything other than the current exodus of industry and the steady slide into state bankruptcy.


Billions of dollars worth of assets at risk. Seel some of them and mitigate away.

perhaps they should ask Gore for help. He paid $8m for a beach side house there somewhere so he must have a cure for this modeled sea level rise and he makes lots of money trading carbon credits and giving stupid talks.

Bob in Castlemaine

Gail Combs says:
May 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm
I wonder who gets to buy up all that condemned water front property on the cheap???

Besides your obvious “Big Al” we have our own “climate change” hypocrites here down-under.
Alarmist-in-chief Tim “eight story sea level rise” Flannery has a waterfront property on the Hawkesbury River Estuary. His property – within a few meters of the water level.
Not to be outdone in the hypocrisy stakes, Federal Minister for “Climate Change” and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet has a beachfront property in Newcastle.


Survey summary: 40 percent are thinking about it; another 40 percent are thinking about thinking about it; and 10 percent are doing [something] about “it.”
The remaining 10 percent conduct loaded surveys and go to boondoggles at the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa on Mission Bay.
Par for the course with “climate science.”

michael hart

If climate was the primary determinant, then lots of southern Californians wouldn’t be living there in the first place. It’s too dry.


Graeme No.3 says: May 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm “….London is sinking at 7.5 mm per year.”
The [absolute] level [at] Osaka, the second largest city in Japan, sank at 100 mm per year (!) from mid-1950s to mid-60s, when post-war development took place rapidly, with many concrete structures being built:
As a result, the [apparent] sea level of Osaka rose (actually the land subsided) by as much as 2.6 m or 2600 mm (!) in about 100 years.


Oops….. “The sea level of Osaka …. sank” should read “Osaka …. sank”.
Seems I drank too much.
[Is that what you meant to edit? Robt]