"Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’"

Guest post by David Middleton

From The New York Times

Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’


ISLE DE JEAN CHARLES, La. — Each morning at 3:30, when Joann Bourg leaves the mildewed and rusted house that her parents built on her grandfather’s property, she worries that the bridge connecting this spit of waterlogged land to Louisiana’s terra firma will again be flooded and she will miss another day’s work.

Ms. Bourg, a custodian at a sporting goods store on the mainland, lives with her two sisters, 82-year-old mother, son and niece on land where her ancestors, members of the Native American tribes of southeastern Louisiana, have lived for generations. That earth is now dying, drowning in salt and sinking into the sea, and she is ready to leave.

With a first-of-its-kind “climate resilience” grant to resettle the island’s native residents, Washington is ready to help.

“Yes, this is our grandpa’s land,” Ms. Bourg said. “But it’s going under one way or another.”

In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems.

One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees.

“We’re going to lose all our heritage, all our culture,” lamented Chief Albert Naquin of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, the tribe to which most Isle de Jean Charles residents belong. “It’s all going to be history.”



My first question is:  How in the Hell did Chief Albert Naquin’s ancestors cope with the Holocene transgression without welfare payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development?

Now, I know that the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw didn’t migrate north from what is now the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico during the Holocene transgression (Andrew Jackson put them on Isle de Jean Charles); but I do know that a lot of paleo-Indians did take that trip.  There are numerous archaeological sites in the Gulf, where paleo-Indian settlements existed.  When locating wells, platforms and other useful infrastructure on the shelf, we actually have to avoid anything that looks like submerged Pleistocene stream channels because the paleo-Indians might have left a few arrowheads along the banks of those paleo-rivers.  I guess during the next glacial maximum, future archaeologists will hike out there and recover these priceless “archaeological resources.”

Note to nitpickers: Some of the above was intentionally sarcastic.

Getting back to the subject, how is it that the Amerindians of the Pleistocene were able to adapt to somewhat more severe climate change without government assistance?

The Prehistory of the Texas Coastal Zone: 10,000 Years of Changing Environment and Culture

The story of prehistoric human culture on the Texas coast is about how hunting and gathering (non-farming) populations adapted to the opportunities and constraints of their shoreline and nearby prairie environments using limited technology bolstered by first-hand knowledge about the location and seasonal availability of important subsistence resources.


Dominant Environmental Factors

The coastline as we see it today is, from a geologic perspective, a very recent phenomenon that dates back only about 3,000 years. In fact, prior to around 8,000 B.C., the area of the modern shoreline was high and dry, with the Gulf coast far to the east of its present position. This is because, in earlier millennia, global sea level was as much as 100 meters (over 300 feet) lower, with much of the world’s water supply “locked” in vast continental ice sheets and montane glaciers that were far more extensive than those of modern times. This era, the Pleistocene (or, in common parlance, the “Ice Age”) had markedly lower global temperatures than those of historical times. The final cold phase of the Pleistocene was around 20,000 years ago, after which rising global temperatures caused the continental ice sheets and mountain glaciers to begin a gradual melting process, with the result that sea level began to rise rapidly over the next 10,000 years.

As sea level rose, shorelines around the world moved progressively father[sic] inland. By 8,000 B.C. the sea had inundated major river valleys along the Texas coast. The flooding of the valleys of major streams, such as the Trinity, Lavaca, Guadalupe, Aransas, and Nueces Rivers created the earliest forms of our modern coastal bays (respectively, Galveston, Matagorda, San Antonio, Copano, and Corpus Christi Bays). The same presumably occurred at the mouths of the Brazos and Rio Grande Rivers, but the heavy sediment loads (clay, silt and sand) carried by these major rivers have since filled in whatever early bays were created by sea level rise.

After this time, sea level continued to rise until relatively recently, but at a slower rate. Many geologists have suggested that rising sea level was not gradual or continuous, but rather that it was intermittent, with periods of rise interrupted by intervals of stable sea level. By around 3,000 years ago (1,000 B.C.), sea level had reached its modern position and has since then been basically stable (though probably with some minor fluctuations). With sea level at a still stand, ongoing wave action and longshore drift deposited sand and shell hash parallel to the mainland, forming the modern chain of barrier islands (Padre, Mustang, San Jose, and Matagorda Islands along the middle and lower Texas coast and Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula along the upper Texas coast). For additional diagrams charting these environmental changes, see Changing Sea Level and the Evolution of the Modern Coastal Environment.

Archeological research on the upper and middle portions of the Texas coast has shown that prehistoric human occupation of the shoreline varied markedly in its intensity over that last 10,000 years, the geologic epoch known as the Holocene. Based on the information we have now, the first period of occupation by early people was between ca. 8,200 and 6,800 years ago, after which occupation was relatively sparse. Then there was a major period of shoreline occupation between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago. This was again broken by a one-thousand-year hiatus, during which evidence for occupation is very limited. Starting around 3,000 years ago, or ca. 1,000 B.C., there is again abundant evidence for major occupation, during which time fishing became an increasingly important part of the subsistence economy of the human inhabitants.

Based on some of the geological estimates of the pattern of sea level rise during the Holocene Epoch, it appears that the three major periods of human occupation and resource extraction along the bayshores corresponded with times of relatively stable sea level. This makes good sense from an ecological perspective, since when sea level was at a still stand, ongoing sedimentation of bay bottoms (as rivers dropped their sediment loads into the bays) created extensive shoreline shallows that supported extensive salt marshes and grass flats. Also, the shallow water had high rates of photosynthesis that, combined with the high plant biomass from the marshes and grass flats, produced the organic nutrients needed to sustain high aquatic biomass and a rich food chain comprised of salt-tolerant plant communities, crustaceans, mollusks and fish. These environments offered prehistoric hunting and gathering peoples a secure subsistence base, which resulted in their establishing camps along bayshores from which they could procure a rich harvest of shellfish and fish. Such encampments are in evidence today as the many archeological shell middens that dot the shores of the bays and lagoons of the Texas coast.

In contrast, when sea level was rising more or less rapidly (between 6800-6,000 B.P. and 4,000-3,000 B.P.), the extensive shoreline shallows became more deeply submerged, thus reducing photosynthesis and depressing overall biotic productivity, with the result that the bayshores became far less attractive to prehistoric people. Thus we see a marked reduction in archeological evidence for these periods along the bay shorelines.



“Estuary evolution sequence on the Gulf Coast during the Holocene period.  Changes in sea level over time altered shoreline structure and Native subsistence patterns. Graphic by Robert A. Ricklis and Michael D. Blum.” http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/coast/prehistory/images/prehistory-estuary-evolution-RR.html

Clearly, America’s first actual climate refugees weren’t welfare migrants, dependent on government assistance.

A Little Geology

While Isle de Jean Charles isn’t a barrier island, it has been disappearing since the 1930’s for pretty much the same reason as Louisiana’s barrier islands…

As the land disappears, an Indian tribe plans to abandon its ancestral Louisiana home

For at least 170 years, Isle de Jean Charles — a narrow ridge of land lying between Bayou Terrebonne and Bayou Pointe-aux-Chene in southeastern Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish — has been home to members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha tribe, native people related to the Choctaw and part of a larger confederation of Muskogees.



But the tribe’s history is about to take a dramatic turn due to climate change.

Land loss has long been a problem facing Louisiana, which has seen 1,900 square miles of land vanish since the 1930s and which continues to lose as many as 40 square miles each year to the Gulf of Mexico. With every bit of land swallowed by the sea the loss rate speeds up, since the coastal wetlands and barrier islands act as storm buffers. If action is not taken to slow the current loss rate, the Louisiana shoreline is expected to move inland as much as 33 miles by the year 2040.

Factors behind Louisiana’s escalating loss of coastal land include natural subsidence as well as the construction of flood-protection levees, which block the natural deposition of land-building sediment. Meanwhile, the dredging of access canals by the state’s offshore oil industry lets in salt water that in turn kills marsh vegetation, further worsening erosion. At the same time, man-made global warming is increasing sea levels through thermal expansion of water and melting continental ice sheets.


Institute for Southern Studies

Setting aside the obligatory reference to sea level rise for a moment, let’s look at the geology…

Louisiana Barrier Islands: A Vanishing Resource

USGS Fact Sheet

“The barrier islands of Louisiana are eroding at an extreme rate. In places up to 100 feet of shoreline are disappearing every year. Though it has long been assumed that this erosion was due to the area’s rapid rate of relative sea level rise, recent studies by the U.S. Geological Survey show that other coastal processes, such as the longshore redistribution of sediments, are responsible for this erosion.”

– Dr. Jeffrey H. List, U.S. Geological Survey

The environmental consequences of coastal erosion in Louisiana may be severe.

Louisiana’s barrier islands are eroding so quickly that according to some estimates they will disappear by the end of this century. Although there is little human habitation on these islands, their erosion may have a severe impact on the environment landward of the barriers. As the islands disintegrate, the vast system of sheltered wetlands along Louisiana’s delta plain are exposed to increasingly open Gulf conditions. Through the processes of increasing wave attack, salinity intrusion, storm surge, tidal range, and sediment transport, removal of the barrier islands may significantly accelerate deterioration of wetlands that have already experienced the greatest areal losses in the U.S. Because these wetlands are nurseries for many species of fish and shellfish, the loss of the barrier islands and the accelerated loss of the protected wetlands may have a profound impact in the billion dollar per year fishing industry supported by Louisiana’s fragile coastal environment.


U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) studies collect information critical for improved predictions of long-term erosion rates.

The USGS, in cooperation with Louisiana State University, documented the long-term historical record of bathymetric and shoreline change along the Louisiana coast. For example, historical data over the past 100 years indicate that the shoreline at Bayou Lafourche has eroded back about 3 kilometers. The pattern of long-term, large-scale bathymetric change is key information in determining the processes of barrier island evolution and in formulating predictions of future changes. USGS scientists have assembled bathymetric surveys from data from the 1880’s, the 1930’s, and the late 1980’s, and are in the process of assembling a similar survey in 1993 following the passage of Hurricane Andrew. This base of information will be used to evaluate the contribution of catastrophic events to the long-term evolution of this coastal area.

Seafloor change along the Louisiana barrier island coast from the 1930’s to the 1980’s shows historical patterns of seafloor erosion and accretion. This information, collected as part of the USGS’s Louisiana Barrier Island Erosion Study, was instrumental in altering our understanding of the factors responsible for rapid shoreline retreat in the area.

Recent USGS work indicates that rapid relative sea-level rise is not the primary cause of erosion of the barrier islands.

Until this USGS study was undertaken, environmental managers thought that the principal cause of barrier island erosion was rising sea level. Now, we know that both the longshore movement of sediment and the general absence of sand-sized sediment is the principal cause of the islands’ instability. The sediments underlying coastal Louisiana are made up mostly of silts and muds which do not contribute to the building of beaches, dunes, and spits—geomorphic features associated with healthy barrier islands. In addition, long-shore currents redistribute the available sand from headland areas to embayments, depriving shorelines of much needed sand.



“Recent USGS work indicates that rapid relative sea-level rise is not the primary cause of erosion of the barrier islands.”

All of the news reports about “Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’” exclusively blame AGW and rapid sea level rise for the plight of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw people of  Isle de Jean Charles, despite the fact that the real causes of their dilemma are Andrew Jackson and geology.  Sea level rise in the vicinity of Isle de Jean Charles has been rather unspectacular…

The seasonal variation in sea level dwarfs the barely discernible long term trend. http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/interactive-sea-level-time-series-wizard?dlat=29&dlon=270&fit=n&smooth=g&days=60


So, let’s hope America’s first geology refugees find a nice, new home, free from geological and geophysical hazards… Maybe the $48 million in welfare can be issued in new $20 bills


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May 4, 2016 7:31 am

Everyone has their political baggage to carry around with them like dead weight and misinformation. In Chinese universities its the required courses in Mao thought and military theory, in the U.S. and Europe its the climate scare media pulsing in your head all day every day. In North Korea, well, you know the drill.

Ed Bo
May 4, 2016 7:32 am

It’s been well understood for a long time that the biggest issue by far in the loss of Louisiana coastal wetlands is the channelling of the Mississippi River. Now that it now longer has a chance to deposit sediment over its delta area, it cannot make up for the gradual compaction of the sediment that was laid down before this channelization.
If people want an accessible description of this problem, I strongly recommend John McPhee’s “The Control of Nature”.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Ed Bo
May 4, 2016 7:39 am

Oh yes. The flood control measures taken on the Missisippi definitely changed the distribution of flood spread silt, which led to erosion in the delta.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 4, 2016 10:16 am

Not just flood control but an effort to keep the river on it’s current course because that’s were we built docks, ports, etc. Without human intervention the river would have changed to a course that bypasses both Baton Rouge and New Orleans by many miles. Keeping the course of the river fixed means that new silt is not laid down to form new barrier islands to replace the erosion of the older islands.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 4, 2016 11:55 am

To add to the confusion; the Atchafalaya basin is used for flood control when needed.
A) As Thomas points out, the Atchafalaya Old River Control Structure, prevents the Mississippi river currents from cutting a new channel south into the Atchafalaya River.
B) When Mississippi river floods seriously begin to threaten flooding New Orleans, the Old River Control Structure diverts overflow into the Atchafalaya basin. The basin is large and absorbs a lot of flood level water.
a) Mississippi River flood levels built all of the Mississippi delta land from New Orleans to where the Mississippi River exits into the Gulf. During major floods, silt deposit built the marsh, swamps, islands and bayous.
b) Construction of the Atchafalaya basin Old River Control Structure, plus greatly higher dikes along the Mississippi River channeled the Mississippi River water and silt directly into the Gulf of Mexico.
b) Diversion of flood waters into the Atchafalaya basin deposits silt in the basin; which also makes it a great place for New Orleans to mine the Atchafalaya basin for sand. Silt that would have maintained land structure through the Mississippi delta or built new land structures along the Atchafalaya River.
This is a known problem and many band aids have been applied over the last 30-40 years.
Climate Change!? Phooey! More like, pork barrel legislation to buy votes.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 4, 2016 11:57 am

Furthermore, development along the entire Mississippi Drainage Basin has decreased sediment from even getting close to Louisiana by trapping it in lakes and behind locks. The sediment that would have been prograding or maintaining the Mississippi Delta is trapped up stream as far away as the Rocky Mountains and Minnesota.
“Prior to major river engineering, the estimated average
annual sediment yield of the Mississippi River Basin was
approximately 400 million metric tons. The construction of
large main-channel reservoirs on the Missouri and Arkansas
Rivers, sedimentation in dike fields, and protection of channel
banks by revetments throughout the basin, have reduced the
overall sediment yield of the MRB by more than 60 percent.”
240,000,000,000 tonnes of sediment trapped upstream every year, that’s a lot of potential delta.

Jenn Runion
Reply to  Ed Bo
May 4, 2016 8:39 am

“It’s been well understood for a long time that the biggest issue by far in the loss of Louisiana coastal wetlands is the channelling of the Mississippi River.”
and documented. Sadly the article doesn’t even MENTION the Mississippi River. Cherry picking again–where is the big picture?

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Jenn Runion
May 4, 2016 9:51 am

Absolutely right. The Army Corps of Engineers, which keeps the Mississippi River flowing in the same channel so that river navigation can continue through New Orleans, is therefore responsible for the bayou’s “climate refugees.” This is good news. CO2 is NOT responsible. We can keep burning fossil fuels.

P Walker
Reply to  Ed Bo
May 4, 2016 11:05 am

+1. Everyone should read it.

May 4, 2016 7:49 am

Never let a “crises” go to waste…
From: https://lacoast.gov/new/Data/Reports/ITS/Land.pdf
“Unlike most states, Louisiana contains a vast area of deltaic coastal wetlands, 29% of which have been lost to the Gulf of Mexico over the past century. As seen inland, Louisiana’s coastal wetlands have also been lost primarily because of human factors. In the early 20th century, a contiguous network of levees was constructed on the Mississippi River, effectively halting deposition of the alluvial sediment and nutrients that once sustained Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.
Additionally, thousands of miles of canals dug for navigation and commerce have greatly accelerated the rate of erosion and saltwater intrusion. Combined with natural processes such as subsidence (marsh sinking), these factors have resulted in a net loss of 1,500 square miles of coastal Louisiana over the past century. Geologists predict that by the year 2050, an additional 700 square miles of coastal Louisiana could be converted to open water.”
They even have a graphic of stacks of cash, for the word challenged, on page 5 where they discuss how to get rich off this natural problem.

Richard G
Reply to  Infamy
May 4, 2016 1:20 pm

So Louisiana has lost 1500 sq. mi. of land over the previous 100 years and they predict an additional loss of 700 sq. mi. over the next 50 years. So like sea level, no acceleration in the trend has been seen nor expected. Same as it ever was.

Reply to  Richard G
May 4, 2016 1:23 pm


george e. smith
Reply to  Infamy
May 4, 2016 3:03 pm

So 1500 square miles of new ocean waters to go fishing.
I’d say that’s a fair trade. Fishing is more funner than wading in mud.

Reply to  george e. smith
May 5, 2016 6:51 am

Exactly. The Missouri River used to be called the Muddy Mo’. But 5 dams cleared up the water nicely. The Corps said the dame would last for 600 years.Then they would be silted in. Very optimistic. The silt that would have gone to the delta is now building up in the reservoirs. And clean water is now flowing into the Mississippi at St. Louis. But the walleye fishing is great!!!
Gotta run. My boat and some minnows are calling!

Reply to  george e. smith
May 5, 2016 2:10 pm

“the dame would last for 600 ”
Now that’s what I call a well preserved woman.

May 4, 2016 7:51 am

There’s that missing article, right there! 🙂

May 4, 2016 7:54 am

Better get on the Trump Train.
Only one ever that can get elected who says the Climate Change deal is a total fraud.
If not history will pass you by.
Be a part of a winning team.

Adam Gallon
Reply to  apachewhoknows
May 4, 2016 9:01 am

He’ll change his tune when the finance boys take him to one side & note how many tax dollars will be lost if he acts on his thoughts.

Reply to  apachewhoknows
May 4, 2016 10:42 am

Never! I think climate change is overdone but surely if another candidate running against him agreed he would mock them and change his position.

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 10:56 am

Unfounded speculation. Can you cite where another candidate running against him… &etc?
There is plenty of speculation about what he could/might/will/may do. Instead, let’s stick with the facts.
At this point, since he’s the only man left standing, it’s T vs H.
Take your pick. The status quo. Or someone new.

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 11:58 am

“Take your pick. The status quo. Or someone new”
Yes… but does the someone new have to be a chauvinistic, racist, megalomaniac with no experience to speak of in the political world (except convincing the sheeple who worship his ability to make money to vote for him)?

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 12:16 pm

What’s this “racist” nonsense? Trump is well-known for his concern for having black managers and so forth. This is just another noisome meme from the Disinformation Machine.

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 12:54 pm

Actually when you said “take your pick” did you forget the r after the p

Reply to  Simon
May 4, 2016 1:01 pm

My prick is better than yours.

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 12:56 pm

The woman who has gotten rich from being a politician, or the man who has made a career of using politicians to get rich.
What a choice.

Reply to  MarkW
May 4, 2016 1:05 pm

That’s not fair. Trump has built more than 120 giant skyscrapers, and the last one came in more than two years ahead of schedule — something almost unheard of in big construction projects, which are infested with petty politicians and lawyers, all with an interest in delaying things for their own personal benefit. It also came in under budget.
What has any other candidate ever accomplished — other than getting more votes than their last opponent?

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 12:57 pm

rw, don’t you know that according to the left, anyone who opposes unlimited illegal immigration is a racist.

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 1:28 pm

“My prick is better than yours.” Haha that’s very good. And…. sadly it’s not the first time I’ve heard that.

Reply to  Simon
May 4, 2016 1:33 pm

Sadly you will probably keep hearing it, so long as you keep going into the sauna…

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 2:11 pm

That he owns a company that built skyscrapers is not evidence that he has not used politicians to get rich.
You pretty much have to be in bed with politicians these days to get any big project finished.

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 2:45 pm

Sauna? No, I’m a pool man. Rely on the magnification.

george e. smith
Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 3:06 pm

‘oodat other candidate running against Trump. All rest under the bus.
‘illary next under the bus.
Gud !

Reply to  hornblower
May 4, 2016 7:57 pm

You could be right (although you’re asking people to prove a negative). But either way, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s what successful people do. And if it was so easy, the country would be infested with billionaires.
Once again: every last one of the current crop of candidates, except Donald Trump, is the cause of the problems we face. They are all part of the same government.
Republicans could have stopped them. But they caved, and went right along, didn’t they? And the Dems have been totally taken over by left-wing extremists. Haven’t they?
Yes, they have. There are no John F. Kennedy Democrats in the Administration. They would have been run out for being too ‘right wing’. Heck, JFK was more conservative than current Republican officeholders.
So at this point I’m totally willing to let someone new try to fix things; to make our country great again. There’s no real downside.
One thing is for certain: any other candidate (Hillary is really the only other one now) will do, at most, some very minor tweaks — and we will continue down our path to hell in a handbasket.
That alternative is too crappy to contemplate.

Reply to  hornblower
May 5, 2016 2:12 pm

DB, I’m more interested in what a candidate says before running for office vs while running for office.
For years Trump has been an advocate of big govt. He even says that his hyper liberal sister would be a good supreme court nominee.
Trump may not be as bad as most of the establishment Republicans and many Democrats, but the difference is too small to matter. Especially at this late date.

Reply to  apachewhoknows
May 4, 2016 2:54 pm

Trump is going to turn the whole world upside down when it comes to CAGW. The skeptics are going to be favored, and the Alarmists are going to be on the defensive.
It Trump is elected expect to see some really bizarre behavior from those on the Left and in the Alarmist camp. Even more bizarre than now.
The True Believers are going to have a really hard time dealing with a Trump presidency, because they think CAGW is a matter of life and death, and Trump will be dismissing their concerns. They may get a little overwrought about the situation.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  TA
May 4, 2016 3:19 pm

I’m expecting a bit more than overwrought, particularly with Soros paying the tab …

May 4, 2016 7:54 am

I suppose they could just haul all of that mud back up north where it belongs…..

Reply to  Latitude
May 4, 2016 12:01 pm

They could, but it would be cheaper to move the swamp people inland to new swamp lands to build on.

george e. smith
Reply to  RWturner
May 4, 2016 3:12 pm

Teach them how to fish. More funner, ang gud food too ! and cheap.

May 4, 2016 7:55 am

It is a well known fact (at least to me) that “climate scientists” and their followers have never studied history, have no interest in studying history, and could care less about history. To them, historical facts are of no consequence to their theories. Hence their overuse of the word “unprecedented” when describing some weather event.

May 4, 2016 8:02 am

Let’s see, $48 million divided by 25 families equals about $1.92 million per family. I could probably be moved for less than a million dollars. I wonder what costs so much.
Obama should probably advertise for some volunteer Climate Change Refugees.
I would volunteer to be moved for a million bucks, and I’ll bet a lot of other people would volunteer, too.
It’s a win-win situation: Obama gets to claim Climate Change is real, people like me get to make some easy money, and the American taxpayers get a little break on the price.

Richard G
Reply to  TA
May 4, 2016 1:33 pm

Well, after the $48 million works it’s way through the various agencies and politicians, the actual families will be lucky to see $1.92. Unless they are purchasing land and building homes, I can’t why they would need more than $1 million for moving expenses for the 25 families.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  TA
May 4, 2016 6:22 pm

Hell! I’d move TO that island for way less than that!

Tom in Texas
May 4, 2016 8:08 am

When I was originally reading about this today, there were many things that stood out. for a little more background. http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/09/tribal_chief_on_isle_de_jean_c.html

May 4, 2016 8:09 am

Harnessing the Mississippi River with levies and river control structures to prevent annual flooding keeps it from its natural meandering course, and dumps all of that silt, sand and mud into deep water in the Gulf. No good deed goes unpunished. That is a much higher cause of coastal erosion than AGW, natural sea level rise, or well canals. Let’s say it’s 97% of the problem, just to grab a number……….

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  JKAZ
May 4, 2016 9:20 am

They stopped river flooding, but they got Gulf flooding. I guess you have to pick one….

george e. smith
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
May 4, 2016 3:14 pm

1500 square miles more fishing water.

May 4, 2016 8:10 am

Sorry, Ed Bo. You beat me too it.

Tom in Texas
May 4, 2016 8:29 am

Good look at Hwy 82 after Katrina. http://nerdsontheroad.com/history/3-years-ago-on-the-road-louisiana-gulf-coast-hwy-82/
Recently a few of our cooking group decided to head out from Galveston County, via Bolivar ferry, down to the coast and across the Sabine to Hwy 82 for a coastal trip to Abbeville, LA. Headed out and still could see a little damage, but much improved since the Nerds above went by. The Cemetery’s will be the cleanest You will ever see. Once you past Holly Beach, you can quickly see the beach erosion. No more the 50-60 feet from the road now. By the way we were headed to Dupuys for the best oysters. Most oysters in Galveston area now go to Japan. http://www.dupuys.com/

george e. smith
Reply to  Tom in Texas
May 4, 2016 3:20 pm

Oysters are a total waste of time and rocks. Well oysters are ok to feed the sergeant majors when you pop the lids off the oysters. The fish dart in there so quick. Only takes two lid pops, and then the sergeant majors are waiting by the next oyster on the rock for you to pop the lid off.
I’m mussel man (green shell) PEI mussels not even gud fish bait.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  Tom in Texas
May 4, 2016 3:23 pm

Fats !! thanks for that, but now I’m hungry and way the hell off in VT

May 4, 2016 8:33 am

And here I thought the delta region down there had been subsiding for tens of millions of years, and that what was once dry ground is now solid rock 30,000 feet down!
Do ye suppose they’ve forgotten that bit of geologic fact?

John Harmsworth
Reply to  ClimateOtter
May 4, 2016 6:39 pm

Canada is rising, the U.S. is subsiding. That’s what I learned in school. It was 50 years ago, hotter than today and Louisiana ( and Florida) was a sinking swamp!

Tom in Texas
May 4, 2016 8:45 am

Last year I decided to help out my garden by hand drilling a water well. 3″ post driver and 2″ galvanized pipe. The clay seemed to stay with me until I hit 16′-0″ deep. about 2 feet of sand, then it seemed to go well until I stop at 23 feet. Great, clean water. The issue is the Clay. At one time I reckon this was the river delta. Sea level would have been a lot higher in the past. What out lasts kings and brings great mountains down, “TIME”

Bruce Cobb
May 4, 2016 8:46 am

Looks like a bribe to me: “Pssst ….hey you, poor people, – wanna be the first “climate refugees”? We’ll make it worth your while.”

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 4, 2016 9:53 am

The Dems have been working on the Indians for some time now.
It’s sadly ironic that Andrew Jackson was a Democrat and the woman named to replace him on the $20, Harriet Tubman, was a Republican. I bet less than 0.001% of Indians (and blacks) know this.

May 4, 2016 8:54 am

to be sure there is no shortage of human misery on this planet but blaming that on fossil fuel emissions requires empirical evidence and therein lies the problem with AGW.
the empirical evidence for the attribution of rising atmospheric CO2 since the Industrial Revolution to fossil fuel emissions is a correlation between cumulative emissions and cumulative changes in atmospheric CO2; and the empirical evidence for the attribution of warming to fossil fuel emissions is a correlation between cumulative emissions and cumulative warming. thus, empirical evidence of AGW rests entirely on correlations between cumulative values.
the problem is that correlations between cumulative values are spurious.please see

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  chaamjamal
May 4, 2016 10:06 am

chaamjamal May 4, 2016 at 8:54 am
“to be sure there is no shortage of human misery on this planet”
I know that is not your main point but there is a tendency to look for misery over and above the fact that more people are living longer and better lives. Maybe you know these but take a look at the videos here:

May 4, 2016 9:07 am

Yes, I wonder what academia has to say about indigenous Americans and the Holocene Transgression.
Let’s do a quick Google search for “Academia Native Americans Trangression”.
Great – lots of hits. They clearly have loads to say on the topic.
Here’s a typical sample:
“They have indeed experienced some of the most rapid environmental changes, but rather than emphasize their vulnerabilities, we argue their expertise is narrowly understood in formulating knowledge; the research on climate change has a limited understanding of what it might mean to be inter- or trans-disciplinary because research is formulated exclusively through the assumptions of Enlightenment thought, without sufficiently engaging non-Western subjectivities”.
Yeah, because we wouldn’t want to place an emphasis on “Enlightenment thought”.
Unfortunately the alternative to “enlightenment thought” is usually the license to dispense with logic, reason and any vague interest in “reality”. Especially since “objective reality”, we are informed, does not exist.
(P.S. I was quite aware that none of this material would mention the Holocene trangression. But I’ve learned a lot about the “trangressive” use of the word “trangression”, which is somehow usually linked to the essential academic discipline named “Queer Theory”. Apparently Native Americans and Queer Theory are of interest to the very same academics. I assume that their studies include reference to the song, YMCA. Which, of course, is a disturbing example of “appropriation”.)
More similar bullshit, here, there and everywhere, all over the internet and in all Academic establishments in Europe and America. (Trigger Warning: The following material may cause anxiety to minorities who are still in possession of their faculties of reason a.k.a. sensible people):

John Robertson
May 4, 2016 9:08 am

History, a fable for the little folk, non binding on our intellectual superiors.
So the plains farmers driven off of their land by the dirty thirties are not climate refugees.?
Time for their Californian descendants to launch a class action against ma Nature and the federal government.

South River Independent
May 4, 2016 9:10 am

The biggest threat to culture is uncontrolled illegal immigration.

george e. smith
Reply to  South River Independent
May 4, 2016 3:25 pm

I think illegal invasion is very well managed; at least in California. I think that’s all that “Welcome Wagon ” does these days.

May 4, 2016 9:14 am

You know that “losing 1500 square miles of coastline” here creates 1500 square miles of coastline over there. It will take some time. Has anyone else noticed how moving these Indian villages is crazy expensive. The numbers for that barrier island in Alaska that is being lost to erosion are similar.

May 4, 2016 9:30 am

Coral Davenport has been writing absolute lies about Greenland for quite a while, anything from her needs to be taken with a massive pinch of salt, preferably a sack.
She rants and raves during summer and says nothing during winter except to rehash the summer melt scare stories.
Now she is making up lies about Climate refugees, which she can to because the IPCC no longer distinguishes between natural and man made, conveniently.
Any refugees to date are refugees of natural change, but obviously the ignorant masses think all climate change is man made thanks to people like this stupid **** Davenport and her ilk

May 4, 2016 9:40 am

Besides, they dont need to move because of climate, they need to move because of water. That’s lost on that lying yoke. Davenport is so annoying, puerile award seeking emotional garbage journalism with no substance and only serves to mislead people with nice flashy pieces in the NYT and lots of flying that cost more than Climate Depot’s whole budget.

May 4, 2016 9:57 am

“My first question is: How in the Hell did Chief Albert Naquin’s ancestors cope with the Holocene transgression without welfare payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development?”
Well said.
Did anyone think the government would miss any chance to blame nonexistent CAGW and barely existent sea level rise for the moving of people living where it was not feasible to live forever in fthe first place? Come on, personal responsibility is dead. It’s all big industry’s fault and if we would just kill the golden goose of cheap energy and our thus destroy our economy, those islands would magically spring right back up and the refugees could go back home.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  Reality check
May 4, 2016 10:29 am

Yeah… That will happen, though, during the melt after the next Laurentide ice sheet has had its day. Just look at the map from space of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and the places where the river beds have silted and been scoured…

Reply to  David Middleton
May 4, 2016 1:06 pm

Our government officials also built a school on the sandbar of Kivalina, AK and forced the Iñupiat to resettle there under the threat of imprisonment.

Reply to  Colorado Wellington
May 4, 2016 1:20 pm

Note to nitpickers: I know the Iñupiat were camping there seasonally before their relocation.

May 4, 2016 9:59 am

The NY Times ran essentially the same story in 2006, but barely mentioned Global Warming. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/19/us/19road.html “This $887 million project of the Army Corps of Engineers, long-planned and still awaiting full Congressional authorization, is designed to stem the wetlands’ erosion in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes caused by natural subsidence, the rerouting of the Mississippi River and, some say, global warming. “

Michael J. Fitzgerald
May 4, 2016 10:01 am

“In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oölitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
– Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, (1883) Ch. 17

May 4, 2016 10:06 am

The climate imperialists are stepping up their game to spend other people’s money.

Stephen Skinner
May 4, 2016 10:09 am

first-of-its-kind “climate resilience” grant.
Really? So no chance of exploitation or corruption with this one then?

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
May 4, 2016 1:00 pm

Wouldn’t “resilience” imply staying there and putting up with the changes?
Moving away seems to be the opposite of resilience.

May 4, 2016 10:32 am

“In 1905, which was one of NASA’s coldest years on record – the entire city of Valdez, Alaska was relocated due to melting glaciers”

george e. smith
Reply to  englandrichard
May 4, 2016 3:30 pm

Well the entire city of Valdez was moved again in 1964 because of the earthquake, that destroyed the new 1905 city completely.

May 4, 2016 10:33 am

Do some back of the envelope calculations on the actual (real-non subsidized) cost of constructing Obama’s 25% “Renewable: energy. Include the needed upgrades and additional transmission linesand the equipment for the”Smart Grid” that is, the computers fraction cycle transfer breakers, controllers, sensors, etc. My estimates are well over $500 Trillion dollars. How much does that mean in subsidies to those at the government hog trough? How much will be added to the national debt? You will then realize why the State AGs are suing deniers.

Thomas Homer
May 4, 2016 11:28 am

Nomadic people are relocating? … within the same Country?
Refugees are people forced out of their country.

Thomas Homer
Reply to  Thomas Homer
May 4, 2016 11:35 am

When pursuing the noble effort of providing housing for people of need, can we as a Country at least stipulate that those receiving funds use housing above seal level? IOW – why are we subsidizing people to maintain homes below sea level in New Orleans?

Reply to  Thomas Homer
May 4, 2016 1:02 pm

Country? Heck, they may be relocating in the same county.
Note to nitpickers, I know that they have parishes not counties, in LA, but parishes just didn’t flow as well.

May 4, 2016 12:04 pm

These people simply aren’t as tough and innovative as their ancestors, captures here in this documentary.

May 4, 2016 12:33 pm

“Note to nitpickers: Some of the above was intentionally sarcastic.”
No, say it isn’t so. 🙂

James at 48
May 4, 2016 1:04 pm

That bird’s foot delta is not the most stable. Aren’t it’s outer reaches slumping into the abyss?

Gunga Din
May 4, 2016 1:44 pm

All change is bad unless it’s “Change That You Believe In”.

May 4, 2016 2:06 pm

The worlds first global warming sea level rise etc. refugee tried to settle in NZ.
I agree with the court ruling that Mr. Ioane Teitiota and his wife were basically economic refugees.
This is not to say that life on Tarawa is exactly a picnic but the Teitiota’s desire to live in a more wealthy environment must be shared by a large part of the world’s population.
The US is OK too though.

george e. smith
Reply to  rogerthesurf
May 4, 2016 3:39 pm

Well Mr. Ioane Teitiota is also NOT Polynesian (maybe Micronesian). NZ is in Polynesia, not Micronesia. So we take care of our own first. He can go to the Marshall Islands.

Brian Jones
May 4, 2016 3:50 pm

Why are the other academic disciplines completely ignored by the climate crowd. History and geology usually make them look like imbeciles.

H. D. Hoese
May 4, 2016 8:26 pm

The Louisiana problem is perhaps the most intractable “environmental” one in the country and there will be some profound and interesting books written once the political air disappears. Old school geologists found that these deltas have a lifetime, having switched back and forth from almost into the state of Mississippi to the plateau the oyster place in Abbeville sits on. There have been many discussions on whether the Corps can hold it or not. They are good engineers, but they almost lost it into the Atchafalaya in 1973, a big hole in the Mississippi River migrating towards the structure. It was so turbulent that they had to rely on old style depth measurements.
I spent significant parts of three decades across there and agree with the old geologist who said …’walking in marshes would hardly be engaged in by one with good sense.’ Most of the so-called land loss is marsh conversion to open water, to a meter more or less below msl. Sadly, some is terra firma, well, sort of, where some have been very successful in surviving, but most of those with solutions would not last in the “fragile wetlands” overnight. I had a couple of resourceful students do it, feasting on racoon. It is their home, a people that greatly love it.
The weight of the delta pulls the adjacent coast down, the mud forming faults, even a miniature graben off the mouth, pushing up volcanic type mudlumps, alleged to be the only river mouth in the world where it occurs. It is a fascinating area, difficult to study, especially behind a computer screen, and simulations cover all sorts of subjects. A fairly recent complaint I heard was, ‘all they give me is models.’ One reason the Terrebone to Barataria area is disappearing since the 1930s is damming Bayou LaFourche at Donaldsville. They are trying many diversions off the river, another long, controversial subject.
And speaking of controversies, I have problems with the concept that the productivity will collapse. Chesapeake Bay, not the best comparison, is an unfilled valley, still very productive for several reasons. Some minds are closed, crisis outcomes abound.
Speaking of HWY 82, Tom in Texas (It was Rita, not Katrina) avoided the interesting road. Its equivalent in Texas from High Island to Sabine Pass is mostly gone, a formerly paved highway now absent from highway maps. I talked to someone who claimed to have made it last year, but I think they belong in the class of people who walk across Louisiana marshes. If this paper is right, residents have already had to move since sea level reached its more or less current height some 3000 years ago.
Morton, R.A., J. G. Paine and M. D. Blum. 2000. Responses of stable bay margin and barrier-island systems to holocene sea-level highstands, western Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology. 70(3):478-490.

May 5, 2016 7:38 am

Mr Middleton may be interested in the work of Chris McLindon on the geologic history of S. Louisiana. One of his two large Powerpoint files can be accessed via the link in this tweet: https://twitter.com/ChrisMcLindon/status/637218936304504832
I attempted a summary here: https://stevemaley.com/2015/11/12/louisiana-is-disappearing-but-not-for-the-reasons-you-have-been-told/
Short version: We have been told that South Louisiana has been disappearing at a rate of a football field every 15 minutes, or somesuch. Land loss has been rapid, and in places like Ile de St Jean Charles, catastrophic. Locally, apparent sea level rise has been on the order of 20 mm/yr vs a background 2 mm/yr in the Florida Panhandle. Much of the land loss has not been along the coast, but well inland.
The reason is not a coastal/barrier island phenomenon, but a system of down-to-the-coast growth faults (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growth_fault). These faults are well-documented and heavily explored for oil and gas accumulations. Many of them are active (moving current-day) and penetrate the surface. So 18 mm/yr of that movement is due to faults and crustal movement, a response to the massive sediment load of the Miss. River.
If nature had its way, the Miss. River & distributaries would flood annually. Sediment load & nutrients would enable marsh growth to offset fault movement. After the catastrophic flood of 1927, though, the Corps of Engineers leveed the Mississippi for flood control. Subsidence suddenly became noticable in the 1970’s when much of the former marsh achieved sea level.

Mike Bromley the Kurd
May 5, 2016 8:19 am

Not to mention that the area is right beside the birdsfoot delta distributary channel complex of the largest sediment-carrying fluvial system in North America, The Mississippi. A naturally-subsiding blob of gumbo. The climate change connection is, well, bollox. The same system is why Norlins is Sinking.

Mike Bromley the Kurd
May 5, 2016 8:22 am

Geologists are livid at the stupid displayed by the Climate Change lobby.

Johann Wundersamer
May 5, 2016 1:03 pm

My first question is: How in the Hell did Chief Albert Naquin’s ancestors cope with the Holocene transgression without welfare payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development?
In the 1950 settlement in Florida was enforced to drive the last native tribes from the everglades over the marches into the sea.
Until during the holocene their reservat was a whole continent called north america.
To your question.

May 8, 2016 6:14 am

How much “localized sea level rise” do you need before you can surf down the slope?

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