Wood vs fossil fuels bad for climate warming???

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woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,406
SE PA
I feel lucky you deign to post on this forum!

I'm just a townie from New England who likes to burn wood and be warm. I have learned so much here.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,263
Downeast Maine
We have a considerable number of biomass power plants in the area. All of them burn waste residues from forestry operations. Here in lies a crucial difference, these residues exist anyway as a by-product of lumber, OSB and pulp making processes. Instead of burning them or landfilling these residues it makes sense to create another product in the form of electricity, the leftover heat from electricity generation is then used in one case for the lumber kilns, another for steam in the pulping process, and another to heat the OSB presses and chip dryers.

Cutting trees specifically for energy is a foolish endeavor. I believe most of us here don't even cut healthy green trees for firewood, I know I cut already dead trees, or ones that have to come down for another reason, or birch that is cut and left for us firewood collectors by the loggers as the local mills can't process birch.

I don't think there is a logical comparison between fossil fuels and wood burning in these cases, cutting dead standing trees opens up the canopy and allows the next generation to grow faster, removing carbon from the atmosphere sooner. It also really depends on the areas trees are cut from, in some areas we have very sandy soils where no organic matter seems to last more than a few years, it rots quickly and is gone. We have other areas of Muskeg (peat bogs) where dozens of feet of organic matter can accumulate, where carbon from a fallen tree would be stored for hundreds but likely many thousands of years. For firewood collection it is much easier to collect from sandy soils, which doesn't store carbon as readily anyway, traversing the Muskeg areas is quite difficult. The exception being to loggers in winter while the muskeg is frozen, and even in these cases the roots are still left behind for their carbon to be stored long term.

I rarely cut a living tree down, but it goes on the mill if I do. Elsewise we get plenty of firewood cleaning up dead and dying trees. Large dead trees are great on the mill if I get them before they rot. Why won't the local mill take birch logs? I've been curious about milling a few myself.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,202
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
I rarely cut a living tree down, but it goes on the mill if I do. Elsewise we get plenty of firewood cleaning up dead and dying trees. Large dead trees are great on the mill if I get them before they rot. Why won't the local mill take birch logs? I've been curious about milling a few myself.

We don't have a whole lot of Birch around here, at least any that reaches a reasonable size, a 12" diameter Birch is very large for this area. Even if it does reach that size its often rotten on the inside, with staining that doesn't produce marketable wood.

We have 2 sawmills, both are setup for softwood, spruce and pine. Our pulp mill is also setup for softwood, it uses the chips from the 2 sawmills as well as from other mills within a 5 hour radius. We also have an OSB mill that uses poplar, mostly trembling aspen and some balsam poplar as feedstock, they can take some birch but have to limit its quantity.

All logging here is done on public (crown) lands. Both sawmills and the OSB mill have certain areas they have logging rights to (forest tenures), the pulp mill doesn't own any of these so buys chips/pulp logs from the others. Usually if one company cuts a species of timber another mill can use they arrange to have it shipped to that mill for use. In the case of Birch the softwood mills try to leave it standing, as its of no use to them and the OSB mill really doesn't want it either, in the event of it having to be cut it is usually just piled up so firewood gatherers can come get. Its not much waste, in a reasonable sized cutblock with a high fraction of birch there might be 10-20 cords of birch logs left behind. There is starting to become a market for the birch firewood here, as such some logging companies are hauling the birch out to split and sell as firewood, great for reducing waste, no so great for people like me that enjoy free easy firewood.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,263
Downeast Maine
We don't have a whole lot of Birch around here, at least any that reaches a reasonable size, a 12" diameter Birch is very large for this area. Even if it does reach that size its often rotten on the inside, with staining that doesn't produce marketable wood.

We have 2 sawmills, both are setup for softwood, spruce and pine. Our pulp mill is also setup for softwood, it uses the chips from the 2 sawmills as well as from other mills within a 5 hour radius. We also have an OSB mill that uses poplar, mostly trembling aspen and some balsam poplar as feedstock, they can take some birch but have to limit its quantity.

All logging here is done on public (crown) lands. Both sawmills and the OSB mill have certain areas they have logging rights to (forest tenures), the pulp mill doesn't own any of these so buys chips/pulp logs from the others. Usually if one company cuts a species of timber another mill can use they arrange to have it shipped to that mill for use. In the case of Birch the softwood mills try to leave it standing, as its of no use to them and the OSB mill really doesn't want it either, in the event of it having to be cut it is usually just piled up so firewood gatherers can come get. Its not much waste, in a reasonable sized cutblock with a high fraction of birch there might be 10-20 cords of birch logs left behind. There is starting to become a market for the birch firewood here, as such some logging companies are hauling the birch out to split and sell as firewood, great for reducing waste, no so great for people like me that enjoy free easy firewood.

Our part of Maine is not so different from where you are and there are a ton of birch forests and now I know why. I personally love it as firewood, but you can't give it away here due to large quantities of maple available. Our property unfortunately has little in the way of birch or maple, but we do have a lot of really nice spruce and fir trees that produce excellent boards. I try to keep it under one cord an acre for these really nice 16-24" trees. Anything over that I leave in place since it's too big for my mill and I can't bring myself to cut one down. So far I haven't felled a single living deciduous tree.

I don't think there are any operational mills left in our county, but there is a biomass chip plant just outside of town that is always on the verge of being operational.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,202
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Our part of Maine is not so different from where you are and there are a ton of birch forests and now I know why. I personally love it as firewood, but you can't give it away here due to large quantities of maple available. Our property unfortunately has little in the way of birch or maple, but we do have a lot of really nice spruce and fir trees that produce excellent boards. I try to keep it under one cord an acre for these really nice 16-24" trees. Anything over that I leave in place since it's too big for my mill and I can't bring myself to cut one down. So far I haven't felled a single living deciduous tree.

I don't think there are any operational mills left in our county, but there is a biomass chip plant just outside of town that is always on the verge of being operational.

Our climate is generally a bit colder. We don't have any maple around here. My brother lives in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, if your weather is similar it's definitely milder than we get.

It's part of the reason our forestry industry does well, the long harsh winters and long hot days in the summer produce long wood fibers in softwoods. Our kraft process pulp mill produces very strong and sought after pulp with long fibers. At one point a significant portion of its production was bought to produce to produce Bounty Paper Towels, our pulp is the reason for it's strength. But they need a lot of trees to operate, the mill uses 2000 tons of chips per day to make 1000 tons of pulp.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,929
Long Island NY
I took a look at the preprint. Happer is a retired physics prof down the road at Princeton, a member of the NAS and a JASON (an elite post-war science advisory panel). I feel qualified to review the paper because I have a physics PhD, I was offered a job in that dept (which I declined), taught Optics at CalTech (yes, I'm Sheldon), have several older colleagues in the NAS who ask me to review their papers (a PITA) and did my undergrad research for a (different) JASON, who was a lovable, if cranky old bastage. I've never met Happer (maybe he saw my job talk, LOL), but I'm getting a vibe about how he thinks about things.

Everything in the paper looks appropriately done. The authors are looking at a 'one-dimensional' model of the earths atmosphere, with different altitudes exchanging energy with each other radiatively, and those layers of gas then warm up or cool off and expand or contract to reach thermal equilibrium. When the gases expand, this raises their altitude, and allows them to radiate heat more easily. This model is then repeated at different latitudes, and the results averaged.

While setting up such a model is non-trivial, it looks like a couple months work for a graduate student, tops.

There are several 'problem' assumptions with the model:

1. The model assumes that the atmosphere is 'well-mixed'. In practice, human created CO2 is mostly at lower altitudes, and will take decades or centuries to reach the mesosphere. Only the lowest layer (the troposphere) is relatively well mixed, bc it undergoes unstable convection, creating clouds and weather and precipitation. Above the tropopause, the stratosphere and mesosphere are stable, and have very little vertical mixing. This is NOT a quibble, since a lot of the 'saturation' effect they discuss is due to radiative heating and swelling, not of the lower atmosphere, but of the atmosphere on the edge of space. At best this means is that the model is a model for AGW at some far future date (centuries in the future?) where the emitted gases have made it way up there. Does something similar happen when the gases are lower? Happer doesn't compute that or tell us, but since energy flow in the troposphere is mostly non-radiative, it seems unlikely.

2. The model assumes the atmosphere is completely transparent...that is, there are NO clouds. This is not bc it is a good assumption, it is bc there is no easy way to include the effects of cloud formation, evaporation and opacity in the model Happer has formulated. Google seems to think that satellites say that cloud cover of the earth is 67% on a global average, vs Happer's 0% assumption. Clouds would block a lot of the IR that is assumed to be transmitted to the mesosphere, swelling it. I did not see any effort to account for this anywhere, like multiplying the radiative transfer by 0.33 somewhere as a fudge, etc.

These two points make the model hopelessly 'not serious'. That is, this is the sort of model that a scientist would've made in the 1960s (and which could be run on 1960s computers), and which might've been publishable back then. This is of course, Happer's heydey. The actual science of global warming is MUCH more complex than the radiative and ideal gas law physics in this 2020 preprint. It also includes a LOT of cloud physics and optics, and convective transport. Similar 'one-dimensional' models like the preprint, but with some cloud physics included, were the standard 'climate model' popular back in the 1980s. One of my classmates worked on one (he ended up stealing and marrying my prettiest girlfriend), now he is a grey-beard working on climate models at NOAA (and has two very beautiful and smart children).

Those were the 1980s models (more sophisticated than Happer's) which predicted about 2X as much global warming as current models. Improvements in computers (and modeling of cloud physics) have enabled climate models to become higher resolution and three dimensional, and the magnitude of the predicted effect, and I posted originally, has dropped by a bit less than half.

So yeah, bottom line, the preprint is 'not serious' because it literally leaves out all the HARD parts of climate models. It only includes the radiative transfer parts, which have been know since the 1800s. But it does those PERFECTLY.

If I were reviewing the paper, I would also flag several 'fishy' things they did.

3. The comparison to satellite data is qualitative. I couldn't see what they wanted me to see.
4. They describe the magnitude of the saturated global warming effect in very ambiguous ways. They say it is 'four orders of magnitude smaller than the linear term'. This is meaningless. Everyone knows that the forcing is sub-linear in additional CO2. If they are saying that the effect of a new CO2 molecule is 0.0001 relative to the FIRST CO2 molecule added to the atmosphere, that is a ridiculous comparison, and IMO intentionally misleading. They also talk about the change in forcing from doubling CO2 being a 'few percent' of the total. So ambiguous. What does that mean? The default I posted above says doubling CO2 changes the temp 1°C out of 35°C of total greenhouse effect. That is 3%. Is Happer saying he agrees with other climate models? Or does he mean doubling from current levels (quadrupling historical levels) and thus is saying quadrupling CO2 would only give another 1°C warming? Its unintelligible. Why?
5. Their model seems to predict that the saturation effect would be stronger over the poles, and that AGW would be weaker there. Maybe I misread it, but this is contrary to all other (modern) models, which show (along with satellite data) much stronger warming over the poles. He seems to throw this out there without discussing it. This seems fishy....since it is contra actual well-known data that would undermine confidence in his model.

Taken together 1-5 make him look like a crank with an agenda, tbh. Wake me up when the paper gets published in a peer-reviewed journal, rather than posted on a free database (with no peer review) and promulgated on 'wattsupwiththat'.

Now that's an analysis of the preprint that I can agree with - as a physics PhD as well.
 
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semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,078
SW Virginia
Wake me up when the paper gets published in a peer-reviewed journal, rather than posted on a free database (with no peer review) and promulgated on 'wattsupwiththat'.
I'd add that even acceptance in a peer-reviewed journal does not necessarily indicate that the paper is 100% correct in its methods and findings. IMO, publishing means that it's good enough science to share with others while encouraging further scrutiny and ultimately enhancing the respective body of knowledge.

I get your point though.
 
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Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
567
NW Wisconsin
Burn wood and stay warm. Trees love co2. The climate has changed drastically many times. How many ice ages have we had???
Yeah, I think we're safe. Stop clearing out the trees in the rainforests and monoculture farms and you will be able to absorb the co2 that has been released. Politics have been claiming "the end is near"for way too long to live on that fragile branch any more.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,263
Downeast Maine
Well, to be fair, things have changed many times over the history of the world. However, if you want to compare apples to apples, the climate has changed more in the time humans have been alive than any other time in history. The world might not be ending for you, but it is ending for the billions of people that live in costal communities worldwide. Imagine if every year you watched the static water line inch closer to your family's home. Then, one year, a big wave just comes through and levels your entire community. Wouldn't be imagining anything since you would be dead. Just because climate change hasn't had a big impact in the US doesn't mean it isn't a problem.
 
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Dec 14, 2020
173
Lisburn, PA
At a rate of 0.8 inches of rise per decade, I think coastal residents will figure out how to mitigate and/or relocate before they need hip waders.

Of course the governments will be there to help.
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
870
Central Ohio

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,263
Downeast Maine
At a rate of 0.8 inches of rise per decade, I think coastal residents will figure out how to mitigate and/or relocate before they need hip waders.

Of course the governments will be there to help.
.8" doesn't sound like much, but every single year it becomes a serious issue very fast. The water will fill in low areas in valleys and deltas on coastlines. Miami is already flooding, as are other areas of FL. Several islands in the Pacific are being lost to the rising sea. There are over a billion human beings threatened by rising sea level right now. I linked a real published peer reviewed paper, some of it is available for free.

 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,263
Downeast Maine
Monsoons displaced millions of people in Bangladesh and other areas of SE Asia just last year!
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,406
SE PA
PAMM should send that link to the folks in Miami beach that are getting salt water flooding during King Tides. And I am sure they have plenty of time to simply sell their properties at a fair market rate to a new person, and move inland. No problemo.
 
Dec 14, 2020
173
Lisburn, PA
Regarding Miami and King Tides

 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,263
Downeast Maine
You post the same source every time, it presents a pretty one sided argument. Try reading some peer reviewed and published articles. Usually scholarly literature is written by more than one scientist and that body of work is then reviewed by more scientists. I don't think the millions of people displaced by record high waters in Bangladesh would agree with the bodies of work you have shown. Businesses all over the world are shifting gears to try and prevent more sea level rise. Lenders stopped giving loans for almost all new coal and oil operations, and all before Biden was elected. The Trump administration deregulated a large region of north Alaska for oil drilling, but nobody went to drill. Even with the Trump administration trying to relax fuel efficiency and auto emissions standards GM still went all in for non fossil fuel powered vehicles.

I'm just not sure how the data can be interpreted any other way.
 
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Dec 14, 2020
173
Lisburn, PA
You post the same source every time, it presents a pretty one sided argument. Try reading some peer reviewed and published articles. Usually scholarly literature is written by more than one scientist and that body of work is then reviewed by more scientists. I don't think the millions of people displaced by record high waters in Bangladesh would agree with the bodies of work you have shown. Businesses all over the world are shifting gears to try and prevent more sea level rise. Lenders stopped giving loans for almost all new coal and oil operations, and all before Biden was elected. The Trump administration deregulated a large region of north Alaska for oil drilling, but nobody went to drill. Even with the Trump administration trying to relax fuel efficiency and auto emissions standards GM still went all in for non fossil fuel powered vehicles.

I'm just not sure how the data can be interpreted any other way.
Well maybe if you read the article you would see the source is "peer reviewed and published articles"
For instance
Professor Paul Kench, formerly of the University of Auckland, now at Simon Fraser University in Canada, and Professor Gerd Masselink from the University of Plymouth were co-researchers in the study, published by the Geological Society of America in Geology.

Read more: https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/sea-level-rise-may-not-spell-the-end-for-low-lying-pacific-atolls

Or
Read more: https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gs...ponse-of-reef-islands?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Or in the Miami article, it's an essay that explains how the flooding is due to building below high tide
Kip Hansen has some credentials. Google him or you can email him
Author’s Comment Policy:

I’ll be happy to answer your questions and give more references if anyone wants them.

My biggest fear for Miami Beach and many other similar areas along America’s eastern seaboard is a repeat of the 1900 Galveston, Texas disaster.

I have never lived in Miami Beach, but have lived in Cocoa Beach, Florida, which suffers similar problems, which had a near miss with Hurricane Matthew. We have friends there (on the Banana River side) who lost their entire riverside front yard in Matthew. Their home is 2 feet above Mean High Tide.

There is a new-ish activist movement pushing King Tides which I will write about once I have a clear idea of who is paying for it.

You may contact me by email at my first name at the domain i4 decimal net if you wish.

This essay is not about climate change (under any name) – please restrict your comments to the issues discussed. If your comment is specifically addressed to me, please indicate so by using Kip as the first word — like “Kip, please explain why you say…”

Or
Sea Level Rise
https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2680/new-study-finds-sea-level-rise-accelerating.
One of my sisters is a Rocket Scientist at Goddard, Does that count for anything?

  1. NOAA Tides and Currents, Station 8518750 The Battery, New Yorkhttps://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=8518750
  2. Church, J.A. & White, N.J. Surv Geophys (2011) 32: 585. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-011-9119-1
  3. Church and White data update, 2013. CSIRO http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/GMSL_SG_2011_up.html
  4. Decadal Trends in Sea Level Patterns: 1993–2004 Wunsch et. al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. (2007) DOI: 10.1175/2007JCLI1840.1 http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/Wunschetal_jclimate_2007_published.pdf
  5. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/11/sea-level-rise-slr-satellite-altimetry-fit-for-purpose/
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,929
Long Island NY
Can I suggest to talk to insurance companies? More money-driven capitalist businesses do not exist. They have no agenda, don't even care about any agenda. They care about the facts, the averages.

And the far, FAR majority (if not all) are changing the pricing of their policies because of changing flood risk, fire risk, etc etc.

And all will see - in their bottom line - that things are changing.

This is no proof that it's human caused (non-cherry picked data and papers already show that " beyond any reasonable doubt", i.e. a standard that allows us in this country to kill people by the state...), but those that have their business depend on the climate, will all tell you their payouts are indicating that the climate is changing, and that it behooves us to take measures to avoid further damages.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,202
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
I think insurance rates are a very valid point. Our insurance rates locally have increased greatly due to large scale natural disasters not seen in previous decades. It's pretty hard to not argue something is changing if you follow these. In the past 10 years in the province of Alberta we've had 2 large forest fires moves through towns or cities and destroy large areas of these populated areas (Fort McMurray 2016 and Slave Lake 2011, the house I lived in as a child burnt in the Slave Lake fire). We had 2 significant flooding events (High River 2013, Fort McMurray 2020). Numerous hailstorm events (Calgary alone had an event costing $1.2 billion in June 2020).

This isn't normal and it's getting worse. In both cases of wildfires moving into cities, both were caused by extremely dry spring weather making the forests a tinderbox. Ironically in both cases flooding occurred about a month later from extreme prolonged downpours in June, also not normal weather.

I hate to use extreme weather as an indication of climate change, because weather events can often be extreme outliers in otherwise average data, but of the 10 costliest disasters in Canada, 6 have been here in Alberta, and 5 of those 6 have been in the last 10 years.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,929
Long Island NY
I think insurance rates are a very valid point. Our insurance rates locally have increased greatly due to large scale natural disasters not seen in previous decades. It's pretty hard to not argue something is changing if you follow these. In the past 10 years in the province of Alberta we've had 2 large forest fires moves through towns or cities and destroy large areas of these populated areas (Fort McMurray 2016 and Slave Lake 2011, the house I lived in as a child burnt in the Slave Lake fire). We had 2 significant flooding events (High River 2013, Fort McMurray 2020). Numerous hailstorm events (Calgary alone had an event costing $1.2 billion in June 2020).

This isn't normal and it's getting worse. In both cases of wildfires moving into cities, both were caused by extremely dry spring weather making the forests a tinderbox. Ironically in both cases flooding occurred about a month later from extreme prolonged downpours in June, also not normal weather.

I hate to use extreme weather as an indication of climate change, because weather events can often be extreme outliers in otherwise average data, but of the 10 costliest disasters in Canada, 6 have been here in Alberta, and 5 of those 6 have been in the last 10 years.

The point is that insurance companies are about averages. So weather ("instances") is not the point, but the average "extreme event rate" is. And that rate is going up - and to keep their bottomline, they'll have to work this into their pricing.
 
Dec 14, 2020
173
Lisburn, PA
Can I suggest to talk to insurance companies? More money-driven capitalist businesses do not exist. They have no agenda, don't even care about any agenda. They care about the facts, the averages.

And the far, FAR majority (if not all) are changing the pricing of their policies because of changing flood risk, fire risk, etc etc.

And all will see - in their bottom line - that things are changing.

This is no proof that it's human caused (non-cherry picked data and papers already show that " beyond any reasonable doubt", i.e. a standard that allows us in this country to kill people by the state...), but those that have their business depend on the climate, will all tell you their payouts are indicating that the climate is changing, and that it behooves us to take measures to avoid further damages.
Found this on npr


"Everybody wants to know: 'Tell me the answer. You know, over the next five years, how many hurricanes will we have, what will they look like, how will much they cost. And when will the occur?' We don't do that," Keogh says.

The only thing we can do, insurers say, is build our buildings safer, and better prepare for what will eventually come.
 
Dec 14, 2020
173
Lisburn, PA
I think insurance rates are a very valid point. Our insurance rates locally have increased greatly due to large scale natural disasters not seen in previous decades. It's pretty hard to not argue something is changing if you follow these. In the past 10 years in the province of Alberta we've had 2 large forest fires moves through towns or cities and destroy large areas of these populated areas (Fort McMurray 2016 and Slave Lake 2011, the house I lived in as a child burnt in the Slave Lake fire). We had 2 significant flooding events (High River 2013, Fort McMurray 2020). Numerous hailstorm events (Calgary alone had an event costing $1.2 billion in June 2020).

This isn't normal and it's getting worse. In both cases of wildfires moving into cities, both were caused by extremely dry spring weather making the forests a tinderbox. Ironically in both cases flooding occurred about a month later from extreme prolonged downpours in June, also not normal weather.

I hate to use extreme weather as an indication of climate change, because weather events can often be extreme outliers in otherwise average data, but of the 10 costliest disasters in Canada, 6 have been here in Alberta, and 5 of those 6 have been in the last 10 years.
I found this on flood events.


Highlights


Trends in major-floods from 1204 sites in North America and Europe are assessed.

Trends based on counting exceedances of flood thresholds for groups of gauges.

The number of significant trends was about the number expected due to chance alone.

Changes in the frequency of major floods are dominated by multidecadal variability.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
567
NW Wisconsin
People have been building and rebuilding on coasts for thousands of years. They know it is risky and pay the price every year when storms come through. Who in their right mind builds a house below sea level??? Why should everyone be harassed because some of the population is throwing a fit about losing the home they built in a precarious position? If you buy/build a home on a coast or in a low area, why should you be able to even get insurance on it? Isn't that the definition of stupidity? Can I get insurance on a house if it's on or next to a volcano?