TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan held annual exercises on Friday to prepare for disasters but this year it was not just the danger of earthquakes and tsunamis that was on the minds of many people - the threat of North Korean missiles also loomed large. Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries and it carries out disaster drills every year on Sept. 1, the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 that killed at least 100,000 people and devastated Tokyo. Military helicopters clattered over Tokyo as authorities practised for a 7.3 magnitude quake directly under the capital. "In order to save even one additional life, we will promote preventive measures to tackle various types of disasters and a well-balanced disaster prevention plan based on self-help, public assistance and cooperation," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after taking part in a drill. Towns in north Japan took the opportunity to remind residents what to do, not only when Mother Nature strikes but when … [Read more...] about Japanese towns hold drills for natural disasters, and missiles too
Natural disasters and climate change
Leadership for an upright NYPD Hendersonville, N.C.: When my grandfather was appointed New York City police commissioner by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia back in 1934, he had a mandate to clean up the NYPD. Over the next few years, Commissioner Lewis J. Valentine disciplined, fined, transferred or fired more than 300 cops. Valentine had risen through the ranks of Internal Affairs. He knew where the dirt and corruption were, and he and LaGuardia and later Gov. Thomas Dewey went to war against crooked cops, the mob and street thugs. He was dubbed “Honest Cop” by the New York City press, and together the leadership of New York cleansed much of what was wrong or simply inadequate with the NYPD. In the process, high-level officers were not overlooked. Commissioner Bratton is no rookie. He deserves the help and support of city leaders. He knows what and where the problems are, but he cannot repair things by himself. See to your own houses, rank and file. John Valentine … [Read more...] about Readers sound off on NYPD, Section 8 and climate change
Climate change isn't just worrisome for the Earth. It could also be a problem for your health, according to a new 20-year study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers from the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked at 56 medical journal articles about climate change's impact on health, plus air temperature information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. They found that numerous cities in the U.S. will have many more days of high-heat temperatures by 2050. Urban areas like New York City can expect those days to triple. And the health implications of those extreme temperatures are scary: worsening of respiratory disorders, heart conditions, infectious diseases, reduced food availability and mental health disorders such as depression and PTSD that result after natural disasters. Reducing climate change could thus possibly reduce our nation's health problems. In a related … [Read more...] about Effects of climate change could worsen public health: study
The Captain’s costly farewell Yonkers: I have been a Yankee fan all of my life. My mother took me to my first game at age 5, and I saw Joe DiMaggio play. Since then I have seen all of the Yankee greats — Berra, Mantle, Munson, Ford, you name them. Now, going to the Stadium is like mortgaging your home. I have been to Baltimore several times when the Yankees were playing the Orioles, most recently for Derek Jeter’s last game there. The cost of gas both ways, parking , snacks at the stadium, two tickets and dinner afterward was cheaper than one ticket at Yankee Stadium. And if you look around during the game, you saw almost as many Yankee fans as Baltimore fans. The prices of tickets for Jeter’s last game at the stadium were absolutely ridiculous. What about the youth, who adore Jeter and were totally priced out of seeing the game live? Let’s see what the Yankees will do when they can’t fill the stadium, especially with an almost-new team playing. … [Read more...] about Readers sound off on Derek Jeter, terrorism and climate change
Michael Bloomberg's stint on the unemployment line was short-lived. The billionaire three-term former mayor has been tapped to be UN special envoy for cities and climate change, Reuters reported Thursday. The official announcement of Bloomberg’s new job could come as soon as Friday, according to the wire service. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon — who is trying to move climate change back to the front burner and eyes a more significant role for the UN in addressing the issue — is expected to officially tap Bloomberg for the job. Bloomberg made combating climate change a focus of his 12-year tenure as he led the city and pressed for national climate change legislation. The former mayor has been deeply involved in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Bloomberg announced last month — his last month in office — that the city’s greenhouse emissions have fallen by 19% since 2005, … [Read more...] about Michael Bloomberg tapped as UN special envoy for cities and climate change
With unknown numbers of people dead, missing or displaced, writing about a potential link between a national tragedy like Hurricane Harvey and man-made climate change is an understandably touchy subject. "If you think appropriate time to do so is while floodwaters are continuing to rise, then that opportunism reflects your personal values," tweeted WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue. "What we need right now is an informed, reasoned, intellectual debate on climate change and extreme events."Another meteorologist, Marshall Shepherd of the University of Georgia, also said he had concerns. "I am uncomfortable discussing as a human tragedy unfolds, but when the dust settles, the conversation needs to happen — and a recent National Academies report on attribution is a good place to start. Attribution studies on Harvey will happen."Climate change remains a polarizing issue in our already divided country. And whenever a huge weather event like Harvey occurs, a debate … [Read more...] about Hurricane Harvey and climate change: Is there a connection?
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Three weeks ago, this space noted that Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell was about to become “one of the most powerful people in the world,” as leader of a U.S. Senate majority in opposition to a president of the other party.It remains to be seen just how powerful McConnell will be, but the most important question about him may be whether he will act not just in the interests of his party, state and country, but in the interests of the world — which needs to do something about climate change.That’s clear from the latest report by the multi-national Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, available at ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2, and a summary of climate-change facts by the World Meteorological Organization, at bit.ly/1uNS3yo. And in case you’re confusing weather with climate, and thinking this year’s early winter is evidence to the contrary, there is growing evidence (at bit.ly/1HuUdIz) that Arctic warming is making our weather … [Read more...] about McConnell and climate change: What will his legacy be?
President Trump is quickly losing support of his closest private sector advisers on the issue of climate change as more CEOs voice their disagreement with his decision to pull the United States from the landmark Paris accord.In USA TODAY’s queries to 18 business leaders who are members of the president’s business advisory council, only seven confirmed that they’re staying on as members of the group.Two CEOs, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger and Tesla CEO Elon Musk quit the council, citing their concerns that Trump’s withdrawal weakens global efforts to combat climate change and U.S. leadership on the issue. “As a matter of principle, I've resigned from the President's Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal,” Iger tweeted.Eight members declined to or didn’t immediately return requests for comment.Uber CEO Travis Kalanik left the council in February after Trump's temporary travel ban on people from certain countries in the Middle East … [Read more...] about Where CEOs stand on Trump and climate change pact
LOS ANGELES — Climate change doesn’t just affect habitats for wildlife. It’s also affecting cats and dogs.Fleas and ticks are getting smaller, but there are more of them, they eat more often, and they’re causing problems in what used to be the colder months.Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, but those mosquitoes — which used to be found only in certain regions — are now carrying the disease all over the United States.Increased temperatures have turned kitten season into a year-long event instead of a spring ritual. The weather is even disrupting hibernation for a California woman’s pet tortoises.NASA recently declared that 2015 was the hottest year on Earth in 136 years of record-keeping with an average temperature of 58.62 degrees.For pet-owners, those changes may mean rethinking preventive care such as giving dogs flea and tick repellent and heartworm pills.For example, now that heartworm has been found in every state, “I … [Read more...] about Pets and climate change: More fleas, more heartworm
SeaWorld is saving the whales Orlando, Fla.: In his column “What we owe the animals” (May 8), Charles Krauthammer noted that the “overriding mission of today’s zoos is conservancy,” and I could not agree more. But he inadvertently ignores the important contributions of aquariums and marine mammal parks such as SeaWorld to protecting and conserving the natural world. Much of the research SeaWorld and its partners conduct can only be done on animals in human care. For example, research being conducted today on our killer whales’ milk composition will help scientists understand the nutritional requirements for mothers and calves. Over the course of our more than 50-year history, we’ve rescued 25,000 animals, including more than 500 stranded and malnourished sea lions during the current crisis in California. Importantly, the animals in our parks receive world-class veterinary care and are not just healthy, they are thriving. For more … [Read more...] about Readers sound off on SeaWorld, Amtrak and climate change