Survivors gather at Pearl Harbor for attack remembrance
By AUDREY McAVOY
Saturday, December 8
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — About 20 survivors gathered at Pearl Harbor on Friday to pay tribute to the thousands of men lost in the Japanese attack 77 years ago.
They joined dignitaries, active duty troops and members of the public in observing a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the time the bombing began on Dec. 7, 1941.
John Mathrusse was an 18-year-old seaman second class walking out of the chow hall on Ford Island to see a friend on the USS West Virginia when the bombing began.
“The guys were getting hurt, bombs and shells going off in the water. I helped the ones that couldn’t swim, who were too badly injured or whatever and helped them to shore,” said Mathrusse, now 95.
Mathrusse, who traveled to Hawaii for the event from Mountain View, California, remembers carrying injured people to the mess hall and setting them on mattresses grabbed from the barracks above.
Robert Fernandez, who was assigned to the USS Curtiss, recalls being petrified.
“I was kind of nervous too. I was scared. I was 17. I went to go see the world. What did I get into? A war,” he said.
The 94-year-old from Stockton, California returns for the annual remembrance each year because he’s now alone after his wife died four years ago.
Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said the nation can never forget the heavy price paid on that day. He cited 21 vessels damaged or sunk, 170 planes destroyed, more than 2,400 people dead, including servicemen and civilians.
“Despite these losses, it did not break the American spirit. In fact, it charged it,” he said in a keynote address.
The survivors are declining in number as they push well into their 90s, and are increasingly treated as celebrities. They say people ask for their autographs and request to take photos and selfies with them.
“I am given a lot of attention and honor. I shake hands continuously,” said Tom Berg, who lives in Port Townsend, Washington. Berg, who is 96, served on the USS Tennessee.
This year, no survivor from the USS Arizona attended the ceremony as none of the men were able to make the trip to Hawaii.
The Arizona sank after two bombs hit the ship, triggering tremendous explosions. The Arizona lost 1,177 sailors and Marines, the greatest number of casualties from any ship. Most remain entombed in the sunken hull of the battleship at the bottom of the harbor.
Dozens of those killed in the attack have been recently identified and reburied in cemeteries across the country after the military launched a new effort to analyze bones and DNA of hundreds long classified as “unknowns.”
In 2015, 388 sets of remains were exhumed from the USS Oklahoma and buried in a national cemetery in Honolulu. The Oklahoma had the second-highest number of dead after the Arizona at 429, though only 35 were identified in the immediate years after the attack.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has identified 168 sailors and Marines from the Oklahoma since the exhumations three years ago. It has said it expects to identify about 80 percent of the 388 by 2020.
Several families were scheduled to rebury their newly identified loved ones on Friday, including Navy Seaman 1st Class William Bruesewitz of Appleton, Wisconsin.
His remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
Pearl Harbor survivor and Navy veteran recalls 1941 attack
By CALEB JONES
Saturday, December 8
HONOLULU (AP) — Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long was alone on an anchored military seaplane in the middle of a bay across the island from Pearl Harbor when Japanese warplanes started striking Hawaii on December 7, 1941, watching from afar as the attack that killed and wounded thousands unfolded.
The Japanese planes reached his base on Kaneohe Bay soon after Pearl Harbor was hit, and the young sailor saw buildings and planes explode all around him.
When the gunfire finally reached him, setting the aircraft ablaze, he jumped into the water and swam through the flames to safety.
Now 97, Long marked the 77th anniversary from his home in Napa, California on Friday.
He shared some of his memories with The Associated Press:
DECADES OF ANNIVERSARIES
Long was fresh out of boot camp when he arrived in Hawaii in 1941.
“I got off that ship with my sea bag over my shoulder and we threw it on a truck and they carted me over to Kaneohe from Pearl Harbor where we had landed,” Long recalled.
It was a different experience when he was flown to Hawaii for the 75th anniversary in 2016.
“We came in on a first class United chartered jet . all the girls with the leis were there with the Hawaiian music,” he remembered. “We ended up not in a bunk in the barracks, but in a very nice ocean room.”
He attended a dinner where survivors were seated with dignitaries. At his table were Japan’s Honolulu-based consul general and his wife.
“He and his wife were there in full regalia,” Long said. He asked if they might be able to help him identify the pilot who attacked his plane.
“They did some searching I guess, or told somebody to do it, but within a month or so I got a message from them and the proof is not positive but they sent the information on three Japanese pilots. It was probably one of those three,” Long said.
Long no longer harbors ill will against Japan or its people.
“I don’t know when that feeling left me. But as you are probably well aware, we were taught to hate those people with all our hearts, and when you’re looking at one down a gun sight, you can’t really feel much love for anyone — that’s for darn sure,” he said.
“That has long since changed.”
Long has not always marked the anniversary like he does now.
“For about 50, 60 years or so, it was a day that rang a little bell to me, but I did not do much,” he said. “In the past 20 or so (years), I take part in some kind of activity that I’ll say is appropriate for the day.”
This year, Long was visiting school children before attending a Pearl Harbor ceremony atop Mount Diablo in Concord, California.
On Friday morning at about the time of the attack, Long spoke with the AP at his home as he prepared for the day: “I recall the day very, very distinctly,” he said, remembering “the day that started the war for our country that caused so, so much havoc. And I do recall the friends who never came back with, oh, much sadness.”
In his office are about 25 photos of old planes on the wall including one of the type of aircraft he was aboard that day. There is also a photo of a Japanese plane similar to the one he believes attacked him.
He keeps about a half dozen medals, including his Purple Heart. On his dresser is a photo of himself as a pilot in 1943. He also keeps one of his wife, who died 10 years ago.
His 1999 Volkswagen camper van has two magnetic signs — one with a photo of him and another reading “Remember Pearl Harbor.” A special license plate notes he is a Pearl Harbor survivor.
A ROUTINE WEEKEND
Long remembers that weekend of the attack as routine, “or so it started out,” he wrote in a 1992 essay that he provided to The Associated Press.
The 20-year-old from Minnesota enrolled in boot camp in March 1941, a “snotty nose kid, fresh off the farm.” That Sunday morning was his first day of operational duty with the squadron he had been assigned to about a month earlier.
He took a small boat toward the awaiting Catalina flying boat, cruising across the turquoise waters of windward Oahu with Hawaii’s 73-degree air splashing across his face.
“I recall it was a beautiful sunny day in Hawaii that morning,” Long said.
He began preparing for a solitary day of signal drills and regular maintenance checks. He settled into the pilot’s compartment to wait for contact from the beach signaling station to begin his drills.
A few minutes later, he heard the roar of airplanes overhead. In the distance, Long saw planes flying over hangars and buildings exploding. Another plane that was anchored nearby was hit and burst into flames.
Seconds later, a Japanese plane made a run toward his position. “The sequence of events during the next few minutes is not entirely clear,” he recalled.
Long jumped from the pilot’s seat and started looking for a life jacket, but bullets were immediately producing fountains of seawater inside the cabin. The fuel tanks in the wings were hit, and he was surrounded by flames.
He made a run for the rear exit. Gasoline was ablaze on the water, so he jumped into the bay and swam beneath the fire to get away from the sinking plane. He came to the surface and through the flames three times for air.
His military-issued high-top work shoes were bogging him down, so he dove underwater and removed them. Still far from shore, Long found a wooden channel marker and swam to it, ducking beneath the waves to hide every time a Japanese plane made a pass.
Once the Japanese were gone, Long spotted a boat that was searching for survivors and flagged them down.
Long burned his head, face and arms making his escape, but he considered himself in good health compared to the wounded and dead around him.
“Shipmates on the shore greeted me with comments like ‘we never expected to see you again,’” Long recalled. “I was told I looked pretty bad.”
“The attack was over, but much turmoil remained,” he wrote. “That’s it — the start of the first day of a long war.”
Follow Associated Press Hawaii correspondent Caleb Jones on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CalebAP
Associated Press photographer Eric Risberg contributed to this report from Napa, California.
Climate change resilience could save trillions in the long run – but finding billions now to pay for it is the hard part
December 6, 2018
David L Levy
Professor of Management, Director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness, University of Massachusetts Boston
Disclosure statement: David L Levy is affiliated with the Sustainable Solutions Lab at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, which has received funding from the Barr Foundation.
Partners: University of Massachusetts provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
The latest National Climate Assessment paints a grim future if U.S. cities and states don’t take serious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The bottom line is that the costs of climate change could reach 10 percent of the entire U.S. economy by the end of the century – or more than US$2 trillion a year – much of it in damage to infrastructure and private property from more intense storms and flooding.
Cities can greatly reduce the damage and costs through adaptation measures such as building seawalls and reinforcing infrastructure. The problem is such projects are expensive, and finding ways to fund the cost of protecting cities against future and uncertain threats is a major financial and political challenge – especially in places where taxpayers have not yet experienced a disaster.
I’ve been part of a team that has been evaluating options for protecting Boston, one of America’s most vulnerable coastal cities. Our analysis offers a few lessons for other cities as they begin planning for tomorrow’s climate.
Investing in adaptation
A team of scientists from 13 federal agencies contributed to the fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment, which recently laid out the stark threats Americans face from sea level rise, more frequent and intense storms, extreme precipitation, and droughts and wildfires.
For example, the report notes that coastal zone counties account for nearly half of the nation’s population and economic activity, and that cumulative damage to property in those areas could reach $3.5 trillion by 2060.
The good news is that investing in adaptation can be highly cost effective. The National Climate Assessment estimates that such measures could significantly reduce the cumulative damage to coastal property to about $800 billion instead of $3.5 trillion.
The report does not, however, examine the complex problems of implementing these adaptation solutions.
The adaptation devil is in the details
The Sustainable Solutions Lab at the University of Massachusetts Boston has been closely involved with its host city and local business and civic leaders in devising such climate adaptation strategies and figuring out how best to implement them, including a study I led on financing investments in climate resilience. Our work identified a series of hurdles that make financing such projects difficult.
One key problem is that while public authorities – and taxpayers – will ultimately bear the cost burden of coastal protection, the benefits mostly accrue to private property owners. Higher property taxes or new “resilience fees” will be on the table – and unlikely to be politically popular.
Another problem is that resilience investments primarily prevent or reduce future damages and costs but don’t create much new value, unlike other public investments such as toll roads and bridges. For example, an investment in a sea wall might prevent property prices for coastal homes from falling or insurance premiums from rising, but it won’t generate any new cash flows to defray the costs for the city or homeowner.
Beware the big fix
In a separate study, we examined the feasibility of building a four-mile barrier across Boston Harbor with massive gates that would close if major storms threatened to flood the city.
We estimated that the project would cost at least $12 billion and could take 30 years to plan, design, finance and build. Ultimately we concluded it was unlikely to be cost effective and urged city officials to abandon the idea.
One key problem is the uncertainty regarding the extent and pace of sea-level rise, which is forecast to reach anywhere from 2 to 8 feet by the end of the century. But we really don’t know. By the time the barrier would become operational mid-century, we might realize that we didn’t need it – or worse, that it is woefully inadequate.
As sea levels rise, the gates, which would be the largest of their kind in the world and take many hours to open or close, would need to be activated more frequently and could potentially fail. In addition, the cost of such a barrier would be difficult to finance in an era of growing federal deficits and would choke off capital required for other more urgent adaptation projects.
In other words, it’s risky to put all our adaptation eggs in one very expensive basket.
The incremental solution
Instead, our group recommends that Boston and other cities pursue more incremental shoreline protection projects focused on the most vulnerable areas.
Examples include constructing seawalls and berms, elevating some roads and parks and creating incentives for property owners to protect their buildings. The key attraction of such an approach is that capital can be targeted in highly cost-effective ways to the most vulnerable areas that need protection in the short term. It also allows for more flexible planning as the science improves and climate impacts come into sharper focus.
Boston is already considering some projects like this that would cost around $2 billion to $2.5 billion over a decade or two. Coming up with that much money is still a big challenge, but it’s far more cost effective than the harbor barrier.
Another benefit is that this neighborhood-level approach would facilitate more local economic development and community participation. While making these areas more resilient, such investments would also involve upgrades in housing, transportation and other infrastructure.
This would go a long way toward ensuring that the community and taxpayers are on board when the discussion turns to costs.
Fair and equitable
Adapting to climate change will be a mammoth challenge for cities and citizens across the country – and world. Finding ways to finance adaptation in a fair and equitable way will be paramount to success.
Miami, for example, last year issued a voter-approved $400 million bond to pay for about half its planned resilience projects. In August – exactly a year after their region was devastated by Hurricane Harvey – most voters in Harris County, Texas, approved a $2.5 billion bond to pay for flood protection. And just last month, citizens in San Francisco approved a $425 million bond to pay a quarter of the costs of fortifying a sea wall.
One problem with these projects is the heavy reliance on bonds. We found that it would be better to spread the costs of protecting cities and towns across multiple levels of government and private sources of capital, and utilize a range of funding mechanisms, including property taxes, carbon-based fees, and district-level charges.
The hope is that voters and cities will approve such projects before disaster strikes – not after.
Neil S. Grigg is a Friend of The Conversation, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University.
Thanks for informing us of this interesting financing study. I work on a similar problem: how to invest to prevent future water main breaks. Like your study, the focus is on preventing future failures. The mega-approach is to replace pipes on a widespread basis, but it’s too expensive and benefits are in the future without creating much new value now. We don’t know if future technologies will change the requirement, so we want to hold off to prevent wasting a lot of today’s money. Today’s people would pay, but future people will benefit (although the bonds can push some obligations to the future). The default solution is to identify critical pipes and fix things a little at a time, step-by-step. The pipes problem lacks the attribute of private benefits versus public payments that your problem exhibits.
We’ve been studying a glacier in Peru for 14 years – and it may reach the point of no return in the next 30
December 6, 2018
Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York
Mathias Vuille receives funding from the US National Science Foundation.
University at Albany, State University of New York provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
High mountain environments in South America, which in many locations encompass peaks that reach 21,000 feet (6,500 meters) or more in altitude, are home to some of the most spectacular glaciers on our planet. My research on one particular glacier shows how endangered these environments are.
In recent years my colleagues and I have been studying the fate of one site in the high Andes of Peru. We work in a location in southern Peru which hosts what used to be the world’s largest tropical ice cap, called Quelccaya. This ice cap covers an area the size of more than 9,000 football fields draping an entire high-elevation plateau in thick ice.
To better understand how climate change affects this site, my colleague Doug Hardy from the University of Massachusetts and myself installed an automated weather station on the summit at 19,000 feet (5,680 meters) in 2004.
Our climate analysis, together with remote sensing data analyzed by my former Peruvian Ph.D. student Christian Yarleque, clearly documents that the ice cap has been shrinking rapidly in recent decades. And in a recent study, we were able to show that we will lose this ice cap soon unless we dramatically reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions in the next 30 years.
Unfortunately Quelccaya is not a unique case, as climate change is rapidly transforming the high-mountain environments in the Andes from Venezuela in the north to Chile in the south. As our work in Peru shows, these changes will have profound effects locally, with potential repercussions far from the glacier sites.
Many demands on glacier water
As a climate scientist who specializes in understanding the influence of climate change on Andean glaciers, I have been witnessing this process for almost three decades, since I first starting working in the Andes in the early 1990s. Glaciers in many ways are ideal to study climate change because they allow people to visualize the changes in our environment. Changes in glacier extent, which can be seen in many locations around the world, can be interpreted as a direct response to changes in climate.
But these glaciers are not only of scientific interest to people like me, as they provide the fundamental basis for the livelihoods of people who live near these mountains. Glaciers essentially operate like giant water reservoirs and continually release water through melt. People living downstream use this for drinking water and sanitation, to irrigate their fields and to maintain large wetlands and pastures where their llamas and alpacas can graze.
The same water is also being used by hydropower companies to produce electricity, for mining purposes and for large-scale irrigation projects where crops are grown for export. Hence, there are many competing interests that rely on this glacier melt water and the pressure on this water resource is further exacerbated by a rapidly growing demand due to population growth and expanding economies. Indeed, in some locations in the Andes conflicts over water allocation and who controls, regulates and determines access to water have been simmering for quite some time, highlighting the need for adequate water governance.
With the rapid glacier retreat that we are currently witnessing, the ice that once guaranteed a steady base flow in rivers is starting to shrink to a size where it can no longer provide this environmental service in many locations. This is a problem especially during the dry season which can last up to six months in the Andes of southern Peru and Bolivia and when rainfall tends to be completely absent. During this time glacial melt water is often the only source of water for populations who live close to the glaciers.
Adapting to melting
Local inhabitants are well aware of the rapid changes taking place in their environment and they take note of the fact that glaciers are shrinking. However, they do not always view such changes in the context of global climate change, but may instead interpret them in a more spiritual and religious framework.
For many local inhabitants the mountains are sacred and seen as home to Gods and they may view changes in these mountain environments as a threat to their local livelihoods. In some instances, glacier retreat has also been blamed on foreigners, who climb mountains for touristic or scientific purposes.
For those of us who live in industrialized countries in the Northern Hemisphere, glacier retreat in the Andes may seem like a distant problem, but we do of course see similar changes in glacier size in the Alps, the Rocky Mountains and all other mountain ranges across the world. The melting ice all ends up in the global ocean, where it contributes to sea level rise. In addition, people losing their livelihoods in a distant part of the planet is not without global repercussions, as it will lead to an increased flow of migrants and environmental refugees.
Climate change is a slow-moving process but it carries a lot of built-in momentum, which makes it impossible to stop changes from occurring over short time frames. The world has already committed to some climate impacts that will occur in the future, regardless of our future greenhouse gas emissions because these gases stay in the atmosphere for decades or centuries. Adapting to climate change impacts is therefore fundamentally important.
In the Andes, such adaptation may take different forms but can include a number of water-saving techniques. This can include improving inefficient irrigation structures, which carry substantial water losses, switching to more resilient crops, and introducing more efficient water harvesting techniques. Other steps could be to seek alternative sources of water such as groundwater, build water treatment plants to improve water quality, or in some cases building dams and reservoirs. National and international efforts are underway to pursue some of these strategies.
Equally important, however, I believe is to make sure that local institutions are involved in adaptation planning from the outset in a participatory approach. By including local values, perceptions and traditions, the local acceptance and sustainability of such projects will be greatly improved.