The New York Times on Climate Adaptation

+ Matthew Kahn

There are three very good articles in The New York Times focused on climate change adaptation. First, there is an article on how to use solar power as a backup electricity provision technology when power lines fall down.

…there are ways to tap solar energy when the grid goes down, whether by adding batteries to a home system or using the kinds of independent solar generators that have been cropping up in areas hard-hit by the storm.

Second, the Arts section discusses several ideas related to flood barriers.

At this point there’s no logic, politics and sentiment aside, to FEMA simply rebuilding single-family homes on barrier islands like the Rockaways, where they shouldn’t have been built in the first place, and like bowling pins will tumble again after the next hurricane strikes.

Finally, the Science section discusses engineering solutions using balloons to protect the under ground subways from future flooding.

The idea is a simple one: rather than retrofitting tunnels with metal floodgates or other expensive structures, the project aims to use a relatively cheap inflatable plug to hold back floodwaters.

I see endogenous innovation and experimentation taking place. This is the “small ball” of climate change adaptation.  This is the “micro foundation” for how our cities will continue to thrive in our hotter future.

Cross-posted with modifications from Environmental and Urban Economics.

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