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The FRIGHTENING REALITY of sea level rise for United States' coastal cities: Where will they be in 30 years?

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The sea level will continue to rise at an alarming rate by 2065

In 30 to 40 years, the sea level is likely to be between six and 15 inches higher than it was in 1986. Flooding along the United States coasts will become more common and some coastal cities may even be left permanently submerged in water.


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With the startling reality of the rising sea level finally sinking in, making preparations and safety plans for floods and coastal disasters is becoming more important across the United States.

"Even if the world virtually stopped burning fossil fuels, and rapidly switched over to non-polluting forms of energy, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) new synthesis assessment of climate science warns that" the sea level will still significantly rise, states Climate Central.

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"I would say that nobody is truly ready for projected levels of future rise," said Laura Tam, a climate adaptation expert at the San Francisco-based urban planning group SPUR, to Climate Central. "But cities are light-years more aware of the threats and challenges of sea level rise than they were just five years ago. You're seeing many of the densely populated, coastal urban areas taking on major community-wide planning efforts to understand vulnerability and address risks."

San Francisco has adopted guidelines to help assess the risk of floods when planning infrastructure spending. This is a part of California's online database that features adaptation programs to allow other coastal planners to learn and take from other plans up and down the state.

After the East Coast's Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Rebuild by Design is spending $1 billion of federal funds to house new ideas for rebuilding the lasting damage along the coastlines. New York City created a $19.5 billion climate resiliency plan and New Jersey has begun buying up the flood-prone properties and converting them to "public open space."

Frustrated by the government of Florida's aloofness to the rising sea level, South Miami wants to carve out a 51st state, where the "sea-level rise is regarded with a sense of urgency."

However, the preparation plans seem to happen sporadically and only after the shock of a disaster. With only the lowest estimates of sea-level rise presented to the people, many continue to move to the coast.

"The statistics make clear that people keep moving to the coast, indeed, that people keep moving to Miami, even as the flooding there becomes more regular," Bill McKibben, a writer on climate change, told Climate Central. "I think people imagine that this problem will happen slowly, but it's already well underway."

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According to Tam, "the high frequency of such storm-whipped disasters on coastal cities, where populations continue to swell, are changing the climate change conversation nationally. We have so many more people living in cities now, you're multiplying the impacts."

People are planning for the continued sea level rise, but they are relying on low projections stuck in the short term. "Politically, I think a lot of people are purposefully not using the high-range scenarios, because they're so catastrophic," said Jessica Grannis, the adaptation program manager at Georgetown Climate Center to Climate Central.


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