Saturday, March 5, 2016

Robert Merrill - 3-3-2016 - Pay attention to rising sea level

Pay attention to rising sea level

March 3, 2016

The “Report: Sea level rise is most in 28 centuries,” Feb. 23 article should be placed on every U.S. congressperson’s desk, especially “climate change deniers.” The climate change-caused increase in rate of sea-level rise is significant and important.
Sea-level rise in this century and beyond will impact our national economic well being as the bulk of international commerce depends on seaports. Naval and Coast Guard installations are similarly located. Imagine the costs of moving these many facilities, including their landward transportation connections, as the sea level rises. At the same time we consider these costs, recall Congress’ reluctance to budget sufficiently for replacing deteriorating bridges and highways. Why do our politicians, including Republican Party presidential candidates, fail to address these issues?
Finally, consider cities and towns built on low-lying islands and coastal plains less than a foot or two above current sea level. What will be the costs to protect them, or should they be abandoned? What about coastal-plain agriculture and our food supply?
The longer we postpone addressing climate change, the greater the economic costs and societal disruptions. Goodbye, Miami, and more.

Robert Merrill, emeritus professor of geology, Fresno


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