Prepare Now for Altered Coastlines

A disturbing new report on sea-level rise projections for California warns that the state must start planning now for the anticipated flooding of its coastline, which could wipe out over $100 billion worth of built infrastructure.
April 19, 2009, 7am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"[The new] Pacific Institute analysis on sea-rise... [m]ashing together data on exponential polar melts, rising seas and coastal development [has concluded that] 'Sea-level rise will change the character of the California coast,' Pacific Institute Senior Research Associate and study co-author Heather Cooley, told AlterNet. 'My sense is that there are areas we will protect and areas we will abandon. We need to begin the process now.'

[Looking at the report's maps you can see that a] greater civic devastation comes sharply into focus once you notice all the schools, ports, hospitals, treatment facilities and Environmental Protection Agency-regulated sites, police and fire stations and much more that will no longer be part of the land, but a permanent resident of the ocean floor. And that's not counting the various commercial developments, finished and otherwise, or the money that went into planning and building them, that will be lost forever.

[The report] floated several recommendations to attack the problem head-on, including obvious remedies like limitations on coastal development and abandonment of at-risk areas, as well as more complicated ones like stopping federally subsidized insurance for regions likely to be drowned."

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Published on Friday, April 17, 2009 in AlterNet
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