"Immediate Action Is Needed"
A report by California's Interagency Climate Action Team released this week shows that sea levels can be expected to rise 55 inches by the end of the century, impacting hundreds of thousands of residents along the coast, as well as billions of dollars' worth of infrastructure and construction. The worst areas would be San Mateo and Orange Counties, where over 100,000 people would be affected. The report isn't necessarily looking at how to combat climate change; it's looking at how to deal with its obvious reality.
The group floated several radical proposals: limit coastal development in areas at risk from sea rise; consider phased abandonment of certain areas; halt federally subsidized insurance for property likely to be inundated; and require coastal structures to be built to adapt to climate change.
"Immediate action is needed," said Linda Adams, secretary for environmental protection. "It will cost significantly less to combat climate change than it will to maintain a business-as-usual approach."
We're talking about flood zones in residential neighborhoods in Venice and Marina del Rey. We're talking about the SFO and Oakland airports being covered with water. Same for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. It's truly terrifying. And with this being a global problem where the worst scenarios are increasingly being realized, California is little more than a bystander to this calamity, able to plan against the worst disasters and reduce development in the most affected areas, but unable to truly combat the problem without the rest of the world joining in. We will get the worst of this, to the point that livability becomes a question.
The full report, The Impacts of Sea-Level Rise on
the California Coast, can be viewed here. They've also prepared detailed maps showing the changes that would result from a 55-inch rise in sea levels.