I'd prefer our Fed tax $ go to helping folks relocate. I think it's foolish to spend money rebuilding on the coast or on islands when we know the oceans are rising by FEET not inches.

Even a resilient and low-carbon community cannot survive when its 15 ft. under sea water.

That said, going forward ALL our buildings should be sustainably built, even inland and highlands... because climate change is coming for everyone, whether we believe it or not.

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In perspective, and in support of Mr. Hartman's thesis, I built a climate controlled house in Alaska in the 1970s with Canadian double-wall designs to respond to winter temperatures of -25 degrees F- only to see the same temperature settle at +25 degrees F in the 1990s. In the 2020s I built an ICF house in the South with very thick concrete insulated walls using 146 yards of concrete; the house is all electric and has a GEO-Thermal heating and cooling system with three 200' wells circulating a fluid to capture latent heat in the ground. The house will withstand 200 mph winds and other standards meet Gulf design criteria for 2050. Back up power is enough for 6 months. However the local co-operative utility has all its lines above ground and is 100% dependent on TVA's mix of power, which is 60% renewable - but has less than 10% solar. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tva-ceo-interview-idUSKCN1RE2IV. However TVA has committed to produce over 700 MW of solar power for large customers and envision covering 180,000 cares with solar panels. https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/gm-partners-with-tva-supply-renewable-energy https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/gm-partners-with-tva-supply-renewable-energy. However, the grids in the South are all above ground and vulnerable to high winds and flash floods.

Mr. Hartman is correct-we need a massive redesign of building construction, an upgrade of the national electric grid and municipal codes for re-locating utilities underground. However, EU consumers are currently paying 3-400% more for their electricity and their industrial production system has crashed with the lack of massive amounts of natural gas from the Ukraine. Individual consumers in the EU and Scandinavia are paying monthly electric bills that are beyond reasonable. The energy design system needs to be affordable to be practical; this cannot be done without a mix of energy sources. Unless nuclear power sources are readily replaced by hydrogen power plants and each nation commits to a national affordability subsidy average people will never support a green transition.

Mr. Hartman Citation:

Babcock Ranch designed their homes with a low wind profile and the houses were set far enough above the streets that the streets themselves are designed to flood (and run off) leaving the homes high and dry. Power and internet lines are buried and using native plants as landscaping helped to catch and slow runoff to minimize flood damage.

Which is why Babcock Ranch homes came through Hurricane Ian largely intact and its solar-powered school and community center is now full of refugees from nearby towns.

While Babcock Ranch is an upscale community with homes in the half-million to million-dollar (and up) range, that’s because it’s larger homes on big lots, rather than the result of the community’s hurricane-proof design and super-resilient solar power system.

These resilience aspects should be a model for all of Florida — and the rest of the country that experiences floods, derechos, and hurricanes — starting right now. This isn’t rocket science and it’s about the same price as throwing up stick houses that’ll simply explode or get washed away in the next storm: when you add in the reduced cost and increased reliability of electricity and other essential services, it’s cheaper than typical construction over the life of the homes.

There are even innovative economic models already adopted by other countries we could use to rapidly propagate solar across the United States as part of an effort to harden our electric systems.

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This plan in Germany (I am hoping it went farther than just Frankfurt) is ingenious - and seems so replicable! Thom, could you PLEASE call President Biden and tell him and his staff this plan? For the entire US? I live in Denver and in early October I have my furnace on. I’m VERY concerned about this winter when NOAA is predicting a very cold and very snowy winter!

I will send this post to our Dem & advanced Gov Jared Polis!!!

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In college in the 1970's I was introduced to Ian L. McHarg's 1959 book 'Design With Nature' and his approach to land use planning. I naively believed that urban planners would be using this approach to their work. But once I actually started working on proejcts for state, county, and city governments and agencies I quickly learned that the developers called the shots. It takes very little money to own a county supervisor or city council member and they can and do override planning staff to take care of their campaign contributors or business partners.

In the past 50 years the amount spent on campaigns for city councils or county boards has increase more than 20-fold. The person who gets elected is the person with the most money to spend and it matters little where that money comes from or the strings that are attached.

I worked for 6 months in Santa Cruz California on a mapping of the land to provide planners with information of areas that were unsafe for buildings and likely to experience flooding or landslides. When the real estate community learned of my project they put pressure on the county to kill it. People died in the Love Creek slides that could have been avoided but for the corrupt officials involved.

Flood zone maps are a century out of date and there is no mapping of areas with high rates of slippage or landslides and no legal obligation to disclose such risks to home buyers.

The devil is also in the details. A past hurricane destroyed an entire tract in Florida and only 8 homes survived. They had been built by Habitat for Humanity and the roof shingles were nailed by hand. The other homes had the shingles tacked down with nail guns and when they were blown away the intergrity of the roof was compromised. Small home builders who take pride in what they build is seldom to be found in this country.

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“Once a country is habituated to liars, it takes generations to bring the truth back.” - Gore Vidal, writer (3 Oct 1925-2012)

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It is time for new locations and new building materials---crazy IS doing the same thing over and over. Wood, drywall, and shingles are so yesterday!

Obsessed with Florida, someone I know sold in Alabama and now is waiting for the market to settle down before he buys in Florida. He knows what he's doing, having lived there and experienced 2 hurricanes and a tornado. A stick-built home will not be part of the plan, neither will living on the ocean. Minimally, it will be a cement block with stucco. He has explained the newer homes have the roof anchored to the foundation. I keep encouraging him to look into the 3D printed houses. We should be mass producing the machines that make them.

Cement houses poured by machine with some kind of mixture of solar panels, geothermal, a personal wind turbine, and battery back-up would be ideal. We can return to our own little "caves". Hell, in Europe they never left the real ones!

Seriously, "Babcock" is a great example and so is "Whisper Valley", a geothermal community outside Austin; there's a good CNBC article on it from 9/1/22. Electrify EVERYTHING and then quit paying for fuel to generate the electricity. Sane. Smart.

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I wonder how those “forever oil no matter what “ supporters of pollution are thinking, (if they ever bothered to look at this information?)

It’s more than time . How many deaths and how much destruction is tolerable to Big Oil?

How many homes must be destroyed ? How many peoples lives disrupted?

The chaos engendered by these ‘Natural Disasters’ that have been fueled by climate change are no longer natural .

They are enhanced by the dirty Petroleum coverup that exists because the wealthiest corporations cannot conceive of losing power and money.

Politically sheltered by GOP they are bolder than ever in refusing to consider to allow progress for our world.

Take Puerto Rico, these are Americans but granted no such grace as representation as voters.

Their faulty Grid destroyed by hurricane Maria, was slammed , again by Fiona.

No water, no power, who cares?

Not Republicans, who as a bloc vote against any progress for the poor, the middle class, or any entity that does not assist the filthy rich.

I think it’s time we stop accepting the direction of the minority party , who condemn us to obsolete, costly and dangerous remedies , destroying our country in the process.

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That solar power project is brilliant. People in Saskatchewan were going solar on their homes but our Conservative government cancelled the grant program and our Power utility refuses to by surplus power. Wind farms are the big thing as they cost mega bucks and attract large companies with big bucks.

Not sure of the timelines for the 15 foot sea level rise. The West Coast from LA to Alaska is due to disappear into the Pacific sometime between tomorrow and the not indefinite future. That should shake things up, so to speak and the Tsunami will be somewhat higher than 5 meters. Where ever we build is a roll of the dice. Mississippi River Valley being another good example. Or tornado alley. You can run but you can't hide as Joe Lewis said.

The idea of building hurricane proof houses good for a 50 year time line makes as much sense as anything

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Allen, I have a friend who lives in Saskatchewan and he complains about how horrible the right-wingers are in Western Canada. So sorry to hear that. Too bad your solar plan didn't work out. Oh, they'll wake up - when it's TOO LATE. We know.

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Your friend is right about Saskatchewan. The home of the Canadian medical system, a staunch socialist province from the 40s on with a few exceptions and we have changed to hard right wing Republican North. There is a lot of money and influence coming from somewhere, much of it from south of the line. Even Alberta which used to be very Conservative is poised to elect an NDP government in the next election. They still have their wild extremists but common sense seems to be prevailing. No such luck here. At least in Ukraine one is allowed to shoot the enemy.

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Wow. I will pass along your thoughts to my friend. Also he is very Ill with a terrible and cruel liver disease. But the GOVT won’t allow him to have a transplant, the only thing that would save this life. Say he’s too old. We make exceptions in the US for age. I was very close to 70 when I had a transplant at Cleveland Clinic in 2016. I had to change transplant centers but had help through regulatory agency, UNOS

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That is so sad. I did not know that. How old is too old? 70? Could be good for another 30 years

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Oct 4, 2022·edited Oct 4, 2022

The wider, fast-paced, constantly changing reality that exists outside the tiny bubble of a deluded and angry consciousness that has given rise to Trump and Trumpism goes forever unnoticed in the befuddled minds of reactionary Republicans yearning for some white-dominated, "Christian" utopia ordained by their false gods of selfishness, greed, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, religious bigotry, extreme hypocrisy, tried and true, by god, real fckng authoritarianism!, and utter disregard for the suffering of others as the predictable consequences of such moral turpitude and overt stupidity on such a grand scale -- the GOP platform from time immemorial in one sentence!

Whew! Ain't gonna fit on a bumper sticker.

Despite a blue wave forming -- almost literally at the last goddamn minute! -- Americans' notorious short attention span is still on full display only thirty lousy days before a historic, in every sense, midterm election -- perhaps the last chance where an American election actually might mean something, that reflects the will and wisdom of the majority of thinking, feeling individuals who desperately want and need their vote to count.

Nope. Still too long.

There's a lot of good ones out there that can tell the basic truth of American politics more succinctly without all the highbrow analysis. Perhaps the best one is still one of the oldest (or at least it should be):

"Vote for Democracy. Vote for a Democrat."

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I don’t think it’s ever been more important to vote for Democracy.

Thanks for your comment.

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Notwithstanding human-caused climate destruction, by far the most ominous, it's hard to prioritize all the other big issues screaming for attention all at once. Without functioning democracy, however, arguing for intelligent and effective solutions becomes a moot point.

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My reaction to the Babcock Ranch story was, (well, kind of unprintable!) the World needs to know about this!!!! Since I am not on Facebook nor Twitter nor whatever, I was not the one to spread the word. Happy to report that the story just (near 3 AM CA time) popped up on my Google News menu, from CNN: www.cnn.com/2022/10/02/us/solar-babcock-ranch-florida-hurricane-ian-climate/index.html Not that your wings don't spread wide, esteemed Hartmann....

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I was somewhat stunned by this info (when I posted it here yesterday) and it’s good to see this story filled out by Thom. I had to chuckle when he mentioned a favorite hotel a couple blocks from the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof because I have one that same distance from that train station too called the Manhattan Hotel - been going there beginning over 20 years ago!

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I normally agree with Thom, but this is an apples to oranges comparison. Babcock Ranch is at least 25 feet above sea level, so it got no storm surge, while much of Fort Meyers is below 10 feet above sea level, and directly on the water. Thus even if it had ground mounted solar panels, they would have been damaged or destroyed by the storm surge.

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Well, not really the apples to oranges thing. BUT back in the very early years of the 20th century, there were several big hurricanes that slammed into the east coast of Florida - Miami, Palm Beach - and THEN tens of thousands of people were killed. From that point on (1920s) people learned how and where to build houses. NOW, the very wealthy could still build their mansions VERY STURDY AND THICK right across from the ocean. Witness: Palm Beach mansions, Miami, maybe a few in between. There was no NOAA and no National Hurricane Center then either. But the rich could survive when the bad storms hit. AND afford to do repairs, even rebuild if necessary. Somewhere in the 1950s, post-war boom, people thought they were invincible. And started building a bit farther inland, not as sturdy, but solid, large homes (Coral Gables). And then much farther inland. Even crazies who built right on the beach (in St. Pete Beach) people built wooden houses (shacks) on stilts so the waves would go under the houses.

How do I know this? I grew up there, in St. Petersburg, lived much farther inland, but saw those stilt-leaning shacks on the beaches. BUT we had wealthy families (including Al Capone who lived on the very southern tip of St. Petersburg) could build the sturdy, thick mansions and live right on the water (mostly Tampa Bay). AND THEN the really creative developers moved in and built houses that were backed up to canals (and their boats were tied up there) and get allowances for bays and the Gulf and even the Atlantic to back up into those canals. Oh wow! We're living now, they all thought.

So many tricksters and grandiose realtors live and DEVELOP in Florida now - need to shove them all out. I left - soon as I could. Age 20. And good riddance.

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