Maybe estimates of sea level increases are low; maybe climate change damage will be greater than expected

June 20, 2009

Eternal Hope at Daily Kos wonders what happens if the conservative estimates of sea level rise — the ones you usually see cited in the press — turn out to be way too conservative.  What happens if sea levels rise about double what some are estimating now?

If the severity and frequency of storms does not increase much, we may be able to accommodate the changes over time (though remember, some say we can do it easily).

How willing are the skeptics and denialists to tell cities and insurance actuaries that the fears of ocean-level increases are piffles?

Speaking of insurance:  Texas has been hammered over the past 20 years by unseasonal and much more-severe-than-usual thunderstorms, ice storms, straightline winds, tornadoes and hurricanes.  Home insurance rates skyrocketed.  State regulators argue with insurance companies about whether rate increases are justified.  Insurance companies cite claims for problems that did not exist earlier, and which may be blamed on climate change.  (How much excess mold will occur due to warming?)

Sometimes the arguments erupt into lawsuits and regulatory action.  One such argument drags on now, with up to a $1 billion in overcharges at stake.  How much of the fight from the insurance companies comes from their fears of the effects of global warming?

Heads up on student loans

June 20, 2009

Short note from Di Mortui Sunt:

Got student loans?  Did you know that the Federal government is changing the rules on the direct loans they give to students?  The two big changes are debt forgiveness, for those who meet certain guidelines, and new income based repayment plans.  If you’re about to get loans, you might want to wait til after July 10, when the new rules go into effect as the interest rate will be dropping and the size of the Pell Grant will increase.  Overview here and the official site here.

Official information from the U.S. Department of Education here.  You may want to check with the financial aid office at your college, too.  Gather ye lots of information while the gathering is good.

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