Our California house was built in 1948 and until this Spring it had the original fossil fuel gas powered gravity floor furnace as the only heat for the 3 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, dining room and bathrooms.
It was smelly and so noisy it sounded like there were men with hammers banging on metal to produce the heat. It was so old that its thermostat was only “off” and “on” with no automatic settings or smartness possible. It was so inefficient that it had to heat the entire house to reach the kitchen with any warmth. And every year the climate killing fossil fuel gas just got more and more expensive.
But now we’ve got electric heat pump heat from each of our 4 different zones and it’s like night and day. First of all it’s practically silent. Secondly the heat comes on in minutes with the touch of a remote button, exactly where we want it, without heating up places we don’t.
The wall unit also uses louvers to direct the heat to the specific spaces in the zone we’re looking to make comfortable. The thermostat will turn the unit off and on as needed and the built in sensor will turn the unit off when there’s no one in the room anymore.
I wish we had installed this system years ago, but I’m looking forward to having a much more comfortable house for the next 20+ years on those morning and nights when it’s in the 40s and 50s here at the beach
The headlines from last week’s Science Advances research study were more bad news for city folks. Their new data projects heat-related deaths for 15 cities across the US under the different levels of future warming. Major cities, such as New York City and Los Angeles, it said, could see hundreds or thousands more deaths in extreme heat unless drastic cuts in emissions happen in time.The New York Times coverage added:
“The people that are at risk in cities are the very young, the very ill, and, generally, the poor,” Dr. Wehner said. “It’s people who don’t have access to air-conditioning.”That does not always mean older people in cities. Dr. Wehner noted, for example, that in the central parts of California, those most at risk are Hispanic men in their 50s. They tend to be farm laborers, and farm fields and construction sites offer little respite from hot weather.
Today, it’s only the 10th of June but already extreme heat in Southern California and the same in Northern California are causing more than just our usual extreme fire dangers, they’re also endangering many more lives than you probably realize. Especially in places that don’t have air-conditioning because they never needed it before.
Count India and Pakistan among them, as Think Progress reports:
“Other parts of the world are also experiencing extreme climate impacts. India and neighboring Pakistan are currently in the midst of a severe and deadly heat wave, with temperatures topping 120 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas. At one point last week, five of the hottest 15 places globally were in India or Pakistan; almost all of India was under a heat advisory last Wednesday.
Even as far north as Finland, extreme heat like has never been seen before is currently setting new records:
Despite 100 degree temperature just 15 miles inland, so far, here at the beach, we haven’t yet had to turn on our new multi-zone ductless mini-split system. As regular readers and viewers know we put it in preemptively because we know how quickly the climate crisis is bringing the heat – and because we’re fortunate enough to be able to afford it.
“We found that by 2050, many US cities may resemble hotter, more southern parts of the country today. We’ve mapped a few of the most striking transitions here:”
“As the climate crisis accelerates, it’s worth asking what to expect if we aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions now, and what would happen if we do nothing. As part of our Weather 2050 project, we used the latter scenario to look at what could happen to temperature and precipitation in US cities by the middle of the century.”
You don’t have to be a map expert to quickly and easily see that climate change means city climate addresses will be moving south when it comes to their temperature and rainfall patterns. Just as Climate Change Of Address is doing, you might need to take a road trip to see what your new climate will be like. Some folks will need to travel hundreds of miles away to experience what climate change could mean for your your current location,
And this information is especially important if you’re thinking of relocating for climate reasons. You’ll want to know what address the climate is moving to where you’re headed. For example, 20 years from now, in 2050, Cleveland, Ohio, will experience average summer highs hotter by 5.4°F. The average winter low will rise by 5.3°F. That means Cleveland will have the climate of a St. Louis suburb more than 500 miles away. So if you’re not looking for St. Louis style weather you might want to reconsider.
Here’s what’s ahead for the SouthEast:
Vox takes an even deeper dive on their Weather 2050 site. Plug in your own city and see what climate change of address you’ll be experiencing.
My first impulse was, “This is the perfect time to sell this place and move.” It was the summer of 2018 and the Hollywood Riviera home we bought in 1993 for $360,000 was now worth four times that much in the typical irrational Southern California real estate market.
And I knew that this was when the smart money made their move – long before everyone else figured out that paradise at the beach was destined to be over and that you wouldn’t want to be just 25 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles as the climate collapses.
This was the sweet spot before other folks grokked that you’d want to be above the 40th line of latitude when the climate shit hit the fan in LA – and everywhere else that far south on the map.
This was the time that places just a half mile from the ocean were the safe escape from the heat of any location a mile inland where the sun burned away the May-June gloom that kept us cool along the coast under a blanket of late night and morning low cloudiness, known as the California Eddy condition, back when you could count on things like the Jet Stream.
This was the moment when prices for places you’d want to move to in Oregon, Washington State and around Vancouver British Columbia would still be within reach, might still be open to a climate refugee before they realized you were one and closed their borders to same.
With housing so scarce at the coast in LA County and rental prices so astronomical it made sense to rent our house out for a few years, maybe longer. The hotter inland Los Angeles got the more well off people would be willing to spend to be close to the water.
But where exactly to go?
And that’s when the idea for Climate Change Of Address was born. I would go Huell Howser-like, not in quest of “California Gold,” But in search of our great escape from the hell and high water headed our way in L.A., the escape so many would be thinking about.
I decided to embark on a great adventure: visiting towns and communities, big and small and exploring all the possibilities for our next great place. I’d visit the people, check out their culture, what they loved about where they lived, what great places they had to eat, to play, to be part of.
I’d evaluate their climate impacts risks and look for resilient places that wouldn’t suffer from an increase in temperatures which had enough local sources of food, water, healthcare, renewable energy, good local governments and local services.
Especially important would be whether a place was open to having me and perhaps others move there and become an accepted member of the community. I knew from experience not every place was.
It was the perfect plan until I shared it with Debra, my wife, and partner-in-crime for the past 39 years.
“Are you kidding me?” she asked with a look that said, “You better be.”
“I don’t want to move. I love it here. All my friends are here and the life I love is here. It took me all these years to get my gardens thriving. Why would I want to uproot everything now, years before it will get horrible here? You don’t know how long it will take before we’d be forced to go.”
As I explained about being ahead of the curve and preemptive and controlling our own destiny it was immediately apparent that none of those things were going to be winning arguments. But I tried anyway.
“We need to make a climate change of address move from here before the climate address of the Hollywood Riviera changes into a different one then we moved here for.”
“No,” she calmly said. “We need to prepare THIS address for the new climate headed our way.”
And suddenly I knew that Climate Change Of Address now had two distinct missions.
Climate Change of Address is my personal climate story.
After a decade of climate action work in Southern California and with all evidence now confirming the global warming shitstorm is hitting the fan faster and more furiously than each previous estimate, my gut tells me it’s time to get the hell out of paradise before it burns up, dries out, washes away, and chokes us all with pollution levels off the charts.
I like to give my friends this bit of advice/warning:
“The next ten years are the best ten years.”
And by that I mean with the climate continuing on a path to a very bad place in the very near future – you should use that knowledge as motivation to not put anything off. Not anything.
I say, see the places you’ve always wanted to visit. Do the bucket list things you’ve always wanted to do. Be with the people now who you really want to be with. You’ll never regret it.
And I walk the walk. When I turned 60 in September of 2017 I walked away from all my work and volunteer commitments and declared a #YearOfJoe sabbatical which I enjoyed for a healthy and happy 17 months.
Since I moved to Southern California in 1976 I have been lucky enough to mostly live at the beach.
My first apartment was in Santa Monica, a single, which I shared with two roommates.
Over the years I’ve lived in Seal Beach (where I got married in 1981), Long Beach (where we bought our first house in 1990) and for the past 26 years, Redondo Beach.
As a result, I’ve never lived in a place that needed or had air conditioning. A good fan to move the ocean-cooled breezes in circulation through the open doors and windows in summer was all we ever needed.
When the temps were in the 90s inland a few miles it was always in the 70s at the coast. The few days the thermometer hit 100 in Downtown LA, it might get in the 80s here.
But as global temperatures have hit new highs year after year after year over the last decade, so too did the number of days we needed the fan. Then in what quickly became a Fan Arms Race, we needed two fans, then the following year four fans, then five in failed attempt at a Cold War.
Last year the heat and humidity – a weather condition never seen at the coast before – were so stifling and uncomfortable that we needed to up our fan game to warehouse size level fans.
So big and powerful were they that they vibrated the wood floor like a small trembler and loudly drowned out all attempts at conversations, music or television.
It doesn’t take Nosterdamus to see what’s coming this summer or summers moving forward. No, all it takes are the climate forecasts that tell us our days of reliable, cool and comfortable beach weather are gone.
We can no longer count on the trade winds that used to blow like clockwork. The air temperature and ocean temperatures are rising and headed to 90-100 degree temperatures and sea level rise realities short of a radical shift that ends the use of fossil fuels.
Even if the fossil fuel era ended today the amount of warming is already baked-in, since the carbon emissions we put out today have a 20-40 year lag before they show up in our atmosphere.
So, no matter where you live now that hasn’t need AC before, you’re going to need it now.