The best solution to save the rising seas in the United States may require a monumental move to build around 50,000 miles of walls and barriers.
In a new report from the Center for Climate Integrity, researchers outline the prospects for a continued rise in sea level across the country, using advanced modeling and data to project the countless effects on coastal communities.
The results provide an image that is both nasty and abstract at the same time.
To save the riskiest communities – towns, villages, villages and hamlets – the US would have to spend $ 416 billion to build around 50,000 miles of seaworthy walls and barriers over the next 20 years.
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Sea level rise threatens to swallow some of the largest cities in the US and to stop this, researchers say it could require one of the largest projects in human history. File photo
In other words, researchers say that protecting coastal cities would be one of the largest infrastructure projects in human history, topping the costs of building the entire Interstate Highway system in today's dollars.
For some smaller communities, that cost would be around $ 1 million per person, leading the researchers to a rather bleak prognosis.
& # 39; As just one example of the magnitude and severity of this problem, in 19 small, mostly non-incorporated communities, the cost of sea defenses to protect property and infrastructure against a moderate amount of sea level rise by 2040 is more than $ 1,000 .000 per person & # 39 ;, it is said. the report.
& # 39; It seems reasonable to say that these communities will not be defended, although those decisions are all made locally. & # 39;
In terms of most high-risk countries, the study appears to be a mirror of a recent projection of the most endangered American cities, putting Florida at the top of the list with an estimated cost of $ 76 billion to protect state waterfront citizens.
To make matters worse, researchers use a conservative estimate of the expected temperature rise to arrive at their conclusions, estimating that the world will achieve its goals of limiting the increase to 2.4 degrees Celsius.
Sea defenses are expensive and cannot meet expectations, but there are few alternatives to prevent sea level rise in the short term
The world is nowhere near reaching that benchmark, according to reports from last year.
Although building structural barriers can be the most direct and effective solution to prevent sea level from rising, engineers and climatologists have pointed out that it is not particularly good.
The construction of sea defenses would not only entail financial costs, but it would be disrupt natural environments and could even accelerate the erosion of the coastline by changing the wave frequency, according to a report from Gizmodo.
A more radical consequence of the structural moderation of the sea rise could, however, be psychological. As reported by Gizmodo, the walls can only offer a false sense of security.
& # 39; It's dangerous that you see a lot with adaptation, to think that we can manipulate ourselves by holding back the oceans, & # 39; told Andrea Dutton, researcher at the University of Florida on the sea level rise.
Regardless, researchers say that the walls are still the easiest available way to stop a massive disruption caused by the sea, and to pay the bill for what would otherwise be an insurmountable effort have become one of the biggest accustomed to climate change: the fossil fuel industry.
According to them, funds could be suspended by taxing the oil and gas industry for their role in ensuring consumption and continued use of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
& # 39; In the current situation, oil and gas companies and other climate pollutants who knew that their products caused climate change at least 50 years ago do not pay any of these costs & # 39 ;, says the report.
& # 39; … there is no escaping the conclusion that companies that irrevocably and radically change and promote the products of which they knew they were changing the global climate must pay their fair share to help the world with it to go. & # 39;
WHAT DOES VERY LEVEL RISK MEAN FOR COASTAL CITIES?
Global sea levels can go up to 10 feet (3 meters) when the Thwaites glacier collapses in West Antarctica.
Sea level rises threaten cities from Shanghai to London, to low-lying parts of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire countries, such as the Maldives.
In the UK, for example, a rise of 6.7 ft (2 meters) or more could result in areas such as Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of East London and the Thames estuary threatening to collapse.
The collapse of the glacier, which could begin for decades, could also submerge large cities such as New York and Sydney.
Parts of New Orleans, Houston and Miami in the southern US would also be hit particularly hard.
A 2014 study viewed by the union of involved scientists looked at 52 sea level indicators in communities in the US.
Flood floods in many Eastern and Gulf Coast locations have been shown to increase dramatically, based on a conservative estimate of predicted sea level rises based on current data.
The results showed that most of these communities will experience a sharp increase in the number and severity of tidal floods in the coming decades.
By 2030, more than half of the 52 communities surveyed are expected to experience on average at least 24 tidal floods per year in exposed areas, assuming moderate sea level projections. Twenty of these communities could see a tripling or more in flood-flooded events.
The Atlantic coast is expected to experience some of the largest increases in the frequency of flooding. Places such as Annapolis, Maryland and Washington DC can expect more than 150 tidal waves per year, and at different locations in New Jersey 80 floods or more can occur.
In the UK, an increase of two meters (6.5 ft) by 2040 would almost completely submerge large parts of Kent, according to the results of an article published in November 2016 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Areas on the south coast such as Portsmouth, as well as Cambridge and Peterborough would also be hit hard.
Cities and villages around the mouth of the Humber such as Hull, Scunthorpe and Grimsby would also experience intense flooding.
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