The Stream, December 29: China Designs ‘Sponge Cities’ to Combat Flooding

The Global Rundown

A 25-year report on Caribbean waters finds that local environmental management can help keep coastlines healthy. China creates ‘sponge cities’ as a sustainable solution to long-term flood risks. The Government of Guyana issues a flood advisory in preparation for heavy and continuous rainfall. Hurricanes, heatwaves, and other natural disasters are part of a new normal, scientists say. A total of fifteen ‘billion-dollar’ weather events struck the United States in 2017.

“In the past, humans have taken the land away from the water; now we need to give the land back.” –Hui Li, a professor at Shangai’s Tongji University, in reference to China’s “sponge city” initiative. The initiative, which was launched in 2015, focuses on restoring wetlands and building green infrastructure such as rooftop plants and rain gardens. China hopes that these developments will be a sustainable way to combat long-term flooding risks in coastal cities. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

8 Number of U.S. states that experienced record warmth in the first 11 months of 2017. Climate scientists predict that heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes, and other natural disasters will be the ‘new normal.’ The Guardian

15 Number of weather events that took place in the United States in 2017 that cost $1 billion or more, causing economic losses of more than $210 billion. Bloomberg

Science, Studies, And Reports

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute recently released 25 years of data about the health of Caribbean coasts. Although some damage to the coastal ecosystems was detected, the study found that local regulations on pollution and runoff were keeping many parts of the coastline healthy. Scientists did not detect significant increases in water temperature, which was expected due to global warming. Science Daily

On The Radar

Guyana’s Civil Defense Commission website issued a flood advisory in preparation for heavy rainfall across the country. Residents have been warned to stay out of floodwaters, plan evacuation routes, and stockpile safe water. Relief Web