News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Massachusetts will seek federal disaster aid for record 2015 snow-AP

3/24/15, "AP NewsBreak: Massachusetts seeks disaster aid for snow," AP, Bob Salsberg


"Massachusetts will seek a federal disaster declaration for the record-setting snowstorms that wreaked havoc on the state and piled up what state officials estimate to be $400 million in snow removal costs and other damage, Gov. Charlie Baker's administration said Tuesday.

Baker planned to send a letter to President Barack Obama by the end of the week asking for the disaster declaration for 10 counties, an area encompassing about 250 cities and towns, a spokesman told The Associated Press. The letter would be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the final decision on the request to be made by the president.

In what the administration acknowledges is an unusual request, the state is asking the federal government to treat the several weeks of storms that began in late January as a single disaster, compounded by frigid temperatures that prevented any immediate melting.

As of March 15, Boston had received 108.6 inches of snow, topping a seasonal record of 107.9 inches that was set in 1995-96. Nearly 65 inches fell in February alone, shattering the previous one-month record of 43.3 inches in January 2005.

Tim Buckley, Baker's communications director, said that based on information gathered by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the storm resulted in an estimated $350 million in unanticipated snow removal expenses and caused $50 million in other damage.

If the disaster declaration is approved, the state would hope to get 75 percent reimbursement, though there is no guarantee the federal government would agree to the full amount the state will seek.

"The unprecedented monthlong weather pattern that brought record snow, crippling vital systems across the Commonwealth requires an unprecedented response and the administration is hopeful that together with the congressional delegation, Massachusetts will receive the appropriate support from Washington," Buckley said in a statement.

"Roughly 250 cities and towns' budgets were busted by the 30 day long weather incident and federal assistance will go a long way to recovering from the record-setting severe weather," he added.

The snow clogged streets, forcing many communities to cancel schools for days at a time. Baker activated the National Guard and appealed for equipment and personnel from other states to help remove the snow.

Roofs collapsed throughout the region under the weight of the snow. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Boston area's transit system, experienced massive delays and at times was forced to shut down completely.

Baker, a Republican, worked closely with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other members of the state's all-Democratic congressional delegation in formulating the request, Buckley said.

Massachusetts' four westernmost counties, Hampshire, Hamden, Berkshire and Franklin counties, were less severely affected by the storms and would not be covered by the governor's disaster request."

Top image caption: "File-In this Feb. 23, 2015 file photo, a car remains buried in snow along a residential street in South Boston. Boston's miserable winter is now also its snowiest season going back to 1872. The official measurement of 108.6 inches at Logan International Airport Sunday night topped a season record of 107.9 inches set in 1995-96. The final 2.9 inches came in a snowstorm that was relatively tame after a record-setting monthly snowfall of 64.9 inches in February. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)" 

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Boston, Mass. snowfall, 1902-2005:



















Above chart, p. 3

"SNOWFALL ANOMALIES IN RECENT DECADES – DRIVEN IN PART BY MULTIDECADAL OCEAN CYCLES," by Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, Fellow of the AMS 

pg. 3: "Despite the IPCC claim in their 4th Assessment that cities with winter average temperatures near 32F are seeing less snowfall and more rainfall, this is not the case in the eastern United States. Boston has an average winter temperature of 32F. Boston since 1992/93 had had 5 years that rank top 12 snowiest winters in over 130 years of record, including numbers 1, 3, 5, 7 and 12th. If you do a running mean of average snowfall over dozen years, the period from 1993/94 through 2004/05 for Boston, the average is the highest in the entire record dating back to the 1880s." 
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Boston Globe is aboard the gravy train saying excess CO2 that only exists in China means Americans are bad and must pay:

2/4/15,  "How global warming can worsen snowfalls," Boston Globe, by Carolyn Y. Johnson

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Added: The $2 billion a day CO2 scare industry cash machine was embedded in the US Executive branch in 1990.

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Added: "From the 2009 Old Farmer's Almanac," by Joseph D'Aleo 

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New FEMA guidelines for governors don't go into effect until March 2016:

3/23/15, "FEMA targets climate change skeptic governors, could withhold funding," Washington Times, Dave Boyer

"The Obama administration has issued new guidelines that could make it harder for governors who deny climate change to obtain federal disaster-preparedness funds.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s new rules could put some Republican governors in a bind. The rules say that states’ risk assessments must include “consideration of changing environmental or climate conditions that may affect and influence the long-term vulnerability from hazards in the state.”

The policy, which goes into effect in March 2016, doesn’t affect federal money for relief after a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster. But states seeking disaster preparedness money from Washington will be required to assess how climate change threatens their communities, a requirement that wasn’t included in FEMA’s 2008 guidelines.

FEMA said it recognizes there exists inherent uncertainty about future conditions, and will work with states to identify tools and approaches that enable decision-making to reduce risks and increase resilience from a changing climate.”

“An understanding of vulnerabilities will assist with prioritizing mitigation actions and policies that reduce risk from future events,” the agency said.

Among the GOP governors who could face a difficult decision are Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Pat McCrory of North Carolina and Greg Abbott of Texas."

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11/16/1990, U.S. Global Change Research Act of 1990 

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3/6/15, "Causes and consequences of the climate science boom," William Butos and Thomas McQuade


"1. The Government’s Role in Climate Science Funding...[is] embedded in scores of agencies and programs scattered throughout the Executive Branch of the US government. While such agency activities related to climate science have received funding for many years as components of their mission statements, the pursuit of an integrated national agenda to study climate change and implement policy initiatives took a critical step with passage of the Global Change Research Act of 1990. This Act established institutional structures operating out of the White House to develop and oversee the implementation of a National Global Change Research Plan and created the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) to coordinate the climate change research activities of Executive Departments and agencies.[33] As of 2014, the coordination of climate change-related activities resides largely in the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, which houses several separate offices, including the offices of Environment and Energy, Polar Sciences, Ocean Sciences, Clean Energy and Materials R&D, Climate Adaptation and Ecosystems, National Climate Assessment, and others. The Office of the President also maintains the National Science and Technology Council, which oversees the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability and its Subcommittee on Climate Change Research. The Subcommittee is charged with the responsibility of planning and coordinating with the interagency USGCRP. Also, the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy is housed within the President’s Domestic Policy Council. While Congress authorizes Executive branch budgets, the priorities these departments and agencies follow are set by the White House. As expressed in various agency and Executive Branch strategic plans, these efforts have been recently organized around four components comprising (1) climate change research and education, (2) emissions reduction through “clean” energy technologies and investments, (3) adaptation to climate change, and (4) international climate change leadership.[36]....By any of these measures, the scale of climate science R&D has increased substantially since 2001. Perhaps, though, the largest funding increases have occurred in developing new technologies and tax subsidies. As can be seen from Table 1, federal dollars to develop and implement “clean energy technologies” have increased from $1.7 billion in 2001 to $5.8 billion in 2013, while energy tax subsidies have increased from zero in 2001 and 2002 to $13 billion in 2013, with the largest increases happening since 2010. The impact on scientific research of government funding is not just a matter of the amounts but also of the concentration of research monies that arises from the focus a single source can bring to bear on particular kinds of scientific research. Government is that single source and has Big Player effects because it has access to a deep pool of taxpayer (and, indeed, borrowed and created) funds combined with regulatory and enforcement powers which necessarily place it on a different footing from other players and institutions. Notwithstanding the interplay of rival interests within the government and the separation of powers among the different branches, there is an important sense in which government’s inherent need to act produces a particular set of decisions that fall within a relatively narrow corridor of ends to which it can concentrate substantial resources.

2. By any standards, what we have documented here is a massive funding drive, highlighting the patterns of climate science R&D as funded and directed only by the Executive Branch and the various agencies that fall within its purview.[40] To put its magnitude into some context, the $9.3 billion funding requested for climate science R&D in 2013 is about one-third of the total amount appropriated for all 27 National Institutes of Health in the same year,[41] yet it is more than enough to sustain a science boom. Its directional characteristic, concentrated as it has been on R&D premised on the controversial issue of the actual sensitivity of climate to human-caused emissions, has gone hand in hand with the IPCC’s expressions of increasing confidence in the AGW hypothesis and increasingly shrill claims of impending disaster.

3. The recent pattern of federal climate science funding, moving toward emphasis on the development of technologies and their subsidization through the tax system, suggests that climate change funding has become more tightly connected to agencies like the Department of Energy, NASA, the Department of Commerce (NOAA), EPA, and cross-cutting projects and programs involving multiple agencies under integrating and coordinating agencies, like the USGCRP, lodged within the Executive branch. The allocations of budgets within these agencies are more directly determined and implemented by Administration priorities and policies. We note that the traditional role of NSF in supporting basic science based on a system of merit awards provided (despite some clear imperfections) certain advantages with regard to generating impartial science. In contrast, even a casual perusal of current agency documents, such as The National Science and Technology Council’s The National Global Change Research Plan 2012-2021, shows that those driving this movement make no pretense as to their premises and starting points.[39]

4. To be sure, the very opaqueness of these allocations and their actual use only provides for “ball park” estimates. However, we believe that the results presented in Table 3 come closer to a useful accounting than what previously has been provided. We have combined data from Leggett et al. (2013) and the AAAS Reports for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 (the only years for which the AAAS provides detailed budgetary data for climate science R&D and climate-related funding). This constrains Table 3 to including data only from 2010 through 2013. We have adjusted budgetary data and categorized it in light of discussion points 1-5 above. Note that the estimated aggregate expenditures for climate science and climate-related funding (excluding tax subsidies) from 2010-2013 in Table 3 are about twice that of the Leggett findings.

5.5 Funds administered by the Treasury Department in Table 2 are credit lines and loans channeled through the World Bank earmarked for international organizations to finance clean technologies and sustainable practices; consequently such funds would also more accurately be considered as climate-related sustainability and adaptation....

8. This summary and the detail in Table 1, however, do not capture the full scale of federal funding for climate science R&D. Two complications must be considered to capture a more accurate estimate. First, the entries in the first row of Table 1 for climate science only refer to monies administered by the Executive branch via the office of the USGCRP and does not include all climate-related R&D in the federal budget. For example, the entry in Table 1 for the USGCRP in 2011 is just under $2.5 billion; yet the actual budget expenditures for climate science-related R&D as calculated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) total about $16.1 billion.[38] In addition, since USGCRP funding is comprised of monies contributed from the authorized budgets of the 13 participating departments and agencies, a more accurate estimate of climate-related R&D requires deducting USGCRP funding from the aggregated budgets of those 13, most of which are included in Table 2.

9. Leggett et al. (2013) of the Congressional Research Service provides a recent account of climate change funding based on data provided by the White House Office of Management and Budget (see Table 1, below). Total expenditures for federal funded climate change programs from 2001-2013 were $110.9 billion in current dollars and $120.2 billion in 2012 dollars. “Total budgetary impact” includes various tax provisions and subsidies related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (which are treated as “tax expenditures”) and shows total climate change expenditures from 2001-2013 to be $145.3 billion in current dollars and $155.4 billion in 2012 dollars.[37]

10. The USGCRP operates as a confederacy of the research components of thirteen participating government agencies, each of which independently designates funds in accordance with the objectives of the USGCRP; these monies comprise the program budget of the USGCRP to fund agency cross-cutting climate science R&D.[34] The departments and agencies whose activities comprise the bulk of such funding include independent agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, US Agency for International Development, the quasi-official Smithsonian Institute, and Executive Departments that include Agriculture, Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology), Energy, Interior (the US Geological Survey and conservation initiatives), State, and Treasury.[35]

11. The past 15 years have seen a sustained program of funding, largely from government or quasi-government entities.[31] The funding efforts are spread across a bewildering array of sources and buried in a labyrinth of programs, agency initiatives, interagency activities, and Presidential Offices, but what they seem to have in common is an adherence to the assumption that human activity is primarily responsible for the warming observed in the latter part of the 20th century. Funding appears to be driving the science rather than the other way around. And the extent of this funding appears not to have been heretofore fully documented.[32]"...
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