Coastal Preservation, Updates, Climate Change
May 17 2017

Climate Change Roundup

by Stefanie Sekich-Quinn

The Tides They Are a-Changin’

For quite some time, scientists settled on the statistic that sea levels will increase 6 feet by 2100. However, in January, NOAA released a report indicating sea level rise (SLR) could increase up to 8 feet by 2100. As more SLR studies are being conducted, “worst-case” scenarios are also on the rise. For example, in Rhode Island, the Coastal Resource Management Council predicts a “worst-case” SLR scenario of 12 feet (it should be noted that SLR will not be the same across the board, in fact, the east coast is predicted to have higher SLR).  Senator Whitehouse produced this quick video illustrating Rhode Island could turn into an archipelago with 12 feet of SLR.  

In April, Climate Central, an organization dedicated to researching and reporting the impacts of climate change published a report demonstrating extreme SLR scenarios of 10-12 feet.  The term “worst-case” is defined by recent research hypothesizing that sections of the Antarctic ice sheet may collapse much faster than scientists had originally predicted. The term also takes into account continued, unabated emissions of Greenhouse gases. At the end of April, another state-commissioned report from California warns that if no immediate actions are taken to curb climate change, SLR in California could rise 30 to 40 times faster than the previous century. The report outlined impacts to key infrastructure (airports, roads, residential homes and water supply systems), and estimates enormous economic impacts.

Sticker Shock

Speaking of economics, SLR impacts to infrastructure could cripple local economies. An international study released in April, conducted by 90 scientists, including United States experts, concluded that Artic melting could cost the world economy trillions of dollars.

Bloomberg also recently published an article with in-depth analysis on how SLR could economically impact Florida and other parts of the U.S.  The article cited a report from Freddie Mac that warned SLR could “cause a housing crisis for coastal areas more severe than the Great Recession, one that could spread through banks, insurers and other industries. And, unlike the recession, there’s no hope of a bounce back in property values.” The article mentioned a frightening prediction from Zillow that “By the end of the century some 934,000 Florida properties, worth more than $400 billion, are at risk of being submerged.” Zillow had also previously estimated that by the end of the century, 2 million homes could be impacted by SLR.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WATCH

The world is collectively waiting for the Paris Agreement shoe to drop.  Trump originally said he would make a decision about maintaining the U.S.’s commitment to the agreement in early May.  The time frame shifted to the end of the month until after he meets with global leaders at the G7 Summit in Italy.  Help us pressure the Trump Administration to stay in the Agreement--sign our action alert.  We have already sent Trump over 2,000 letters urging him to support the Paris Agreement!  

In other news....as we reported a few weeks ago, the Trump Administration took down the climate change section of the EPA’s website to “reflect the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.” Ironically this move happened the night before the worldwide People’s Climate March.  Despite the disappointing actions by the Trump administration, the Climate March drew 300,000 people worldwide to demand climate action. Check out our Climate March write up here

Oh, and lest not forget, Trump signed an executive order to expand offshore oil drilling in U.S. waters. Offshore drilling can lead to potential oil spills, but most importantly, increased drilling leads to more fossil fuel consumption which exacerbates climate change.  Surfrider has launch a massive campaign to thwart this effort.                                                                               

Rounding Out the Funny

As promised, our goal is to showcase something funny in our monthly climate roundup blog.  We can’t get enough of Trevor Noah talking about climate change. Enjoy!   

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