Climate bankruptcy – The New York Times

Fair Bluff is a small North Carolina town in an idyllic location, amid cornfields and tobacco fields and along the verdant Lumber River. But the setting for Fair Bluff can doom the city as well.

Like much of eastern North Carolina, it sits on a coastal plain, increasingly vulnerable to flooding due to increased extreme rainfall and severe hurricanes brought on by climate change.

Almost five years ago, Hurricane Matthew flooded downtown Fair Bluff with four feet of water, warping roads and destroying buildings. Hurricane Florence caused further flooding three years ago.

This summer, my colleague Christopher Flavelle went to Fair Bluff to see how he was recovering, and the answer is: not well. The high school, grocery store and other businesses never reopened after Matthew. The storefronts of downtown stores are empty, with garbage strewn about. The only local factory also closed. The population of around 1,000 has halved. Al Leonard, a city official, said the city may soon wipe out the police department – as well as its job.

“What started as a physical crisis has turned into an existential crisis,” writes Christopher.

Fair Bluff offers a disturbing glimpse into the future. The increasing frequency of extreme weather has left countless cities, across the United States and around the world, vulnerable to both physical devastation and economic insolvency.

In California, wildfires have destroyed much of several cities, including Greenville and Paradise. In Florida, a 2018 hurricane destroyed more than 80% of homes in Mexico Beach. In Colorado, Boulder County sued Exxon Mobil and another oil company over a devastating fire in 2010, saying they should “use their vast profits to pay their fair share of what it will cost a community to deal with the problem created by the companies “. And in Louisiana, North Carolina and other states, flood-prone cities like Fair Bluff are withering away.

“Their gradual collapse means more than the simple loss of identity, history and community,” says Christopher. “The damage can haunt those who leave, as they often cannot sell their old home for a price that allows them to buy something comparable in a safer place.

Many cities are trying to start over, often with the help of government money. Fair Bluff is one of them, with city officials hoping to rebuild the city center in an area less prone to flooding and attract new business. Still, some residents naturally decided to leave, also with the help of government money. Reconstruction is not only expensive; it is also often about investing in a place at obvious risk of future destruction.

As reporter Alexandra Tempus recently wrote for Times Opinion:

We are now at the dawn of the great era of America’s climatic migration. For now, it’s piecemeal, and the moves are often temporary. … But permanent resettlement, by individuals and possibly entire communities, is becoming more and more inevitable.

Some of the destruction caused by climate change is now inevitable. The Earth has already warmed too much and will continue to warm up in the years to come due to greenhouse gases. But there is still a very wide range of outcomes, from unpleasant though often manageable to really awful.

The House and Senate are developing legislation to slow climate change, in part by subsidizing the use of clean energy and penalizing the use of dirty energy. To pass, the bill will need almost unanimous Democratic support; Republicans in Congress have signaled that they are likely to oppose it universally. Climate experts believe the bill could have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the electricity sector.

For some places, however, it may already be too late to avoid a bad outcome. One of them is Seven Springs, North Carolina, a town about 100 miles northeast of Fair Bluff that Christopher also visited this summer. After each major flood in recent years, more people have left and the tax base has shrunk further. Today, the city’s population is reduced to around 55 inhabitants.

Stephen Potter, the mayor, hopes to replace some of the lost property tax by turning an empty lot into an overflow parking lot for some of the RVs that visit a nearby state park. “I really don’t want to be the mayor presiding over the death of Seven Springs,” Potter said.

For more photos of Seven Springs and Fair Bluff – as well as reports from Princeville, NC, America’s first city chartered by freed slaves, which is also under threat – click here.

  • The Supreme Court ruled not to block a Texas law banning most abortions after six weeks, less than a day after it went into effect.

  • The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the three Liberal members of the court in disagreement.

  • The law prohibits virtually all abortions without exception for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape, making it the most restrictive in the country.

  • It also allows individuals to sue anyone who “helps and encourages” an abortion, including drivers who take a patient to a clinic.

Vaccination mandates strengthen civil liberties rather than undermine them, ACLU says David Cole and Daniel Mach Argue.

Advances in LGBTQ rights. Best home entertainment. The reasons Elizabeth nolan brown lists 40 improvements in American life over the past 20 years.

Designers cover refrigerators with custom wood that blends into kitchen cabinets. They resemble “the imaginary dragons of childhood fantasy in that they are both invisible and huge,” writes Caity Weaver in The Times.

Cabinets also become refrigerators. Often located in kitchen islands, the small built-in drawers store wine, drinks and fresh produce. “They like to drink a lot of drinks,” said Shannon Wollack, founder of an interior design company whose clients include many people in the entertainment industry. “A lot of them are drinks.”

Wealthy people want to hide their appliances, the designers said, because kitchens are rooms for casual gatherings. As a result, they furnish them like living rooms, with expensive art and lighting. “The kitchens were hidden away,” Wollack said, adding, “It was like the workspace. And now kitchens are more of a lifestyle. Sanam Yar, a morning writer

Prepare this simple recipe: A Holy Grail, roast chicken in one pan.

The superhero film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” features “a protagonist who cannot compete with the most fascinating characters around him,” wrote Maya Phillips in a review.

“Intellectuals in their twenties discussing their upset feelings for one another is a mostly pothole road,” writes John Williams in a review of Sally Rooney’s new novel. “Rooney avoids almost all of them. “

Anne G. Cash

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