Climate Change: The Latest Inconvenient Truth

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The good news: If you’re willing to take a chance and want to speculate in oceanfront real estate, now may be the time to buy up property – in Kentucky.

Over the weekend, The Miami Herald reported that denying climate change makes it no less real: “A conference on climate change sponsored by Florida Atlantic University made it clear that ignoring the threat has done nothing to slow it down — particularly in South Florida, which has more people and property at risk by rising sea levels than any place in the country…”

“Under current projections, the Atlantic Ocean would swallow much of the Florida Keys in 100 years. Miami-Dade, in turn, would eventually replace them as a chain of islands on the highest parts of the coastal limestone ridge, bordered by the ocean on one side and an Everglades turned into a salt water bay on the other…

Overall, according to a ‘Surging Seas’ report produced earlier this year by Climate Central, Florida easily ranks as the most vulnerable state to sea-level rise, with some 2.4 million people, 1.3 million homes and 107 cities at risk from a four-foot rise, according to the report. Louisiana, by comparison, has 65 cities below the four-foot mark.”

Waves crash against the cliffs of Big Sur, Calif. A new report says erosion could cause coastal cliffs to retreat more than 100 feet by 2100. (AP Photo/Anja Schlein, FILE)

Waves crash against the cliffs of Big Sur, Calif. A new report says erosion could cause coastal cliffs to retreat more than 100 feet by 2100. (AP Photo/Anja Schlein, FILE)

Likewise, on the other side of the country, according to The Los Angeles Times, “Sea levels along the California coast are expected to rise up to 1 foot in 20 years, 2 feet by 2050 and as much as 5 1/2 feet by the end of the century, climbing slightly more than the global average and increasing the risk of flooding and storm damage, a new study says…”

“’Sea level rise isn’t a political question, it’s a scientific reality,’ said Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the committee that produced the report…

“The projections are largely in line with other recent scientific estimates but substantially higher than the 2007 figures by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change because they factor in a greater contribution from melting ice.”

Effects may be experienced sooner rather than later. The Herald’s Curtis Morgan wrote, “Though it might take a century or more to flood people out, scientists warned that potential impacts will come long before in the form of increasing damage from hurricane storm surge and flooding, rising insurance rates and shrinking freshwater supplies as sea water taints coastal wells.” The Los Angeles Times’ Tony Barboza noted that California’s state government will use the new findings to prepare for erosion and flooding “that is expected to threaten homes, businesses, roads, airports and other structures located within a few feet of the high-tide line…”

“Coastal California could see serious damage from storms within a few decades, especially in low-lying areas of Southern California and the Bay Area. San Francisco International Airport, for instance, could flood if the sea rises a little more than a foot, a mark expected to be reached in the next few decades. Erosion could cause coastal cliffs to retreat more than 100 feet by 2100, according to the report.”

On the other hand, Salon’s Alex Pareene observes, if Washington, D.C., and other world capitals slip beneath the waves, a lot of our political problems would be solved. “Washington being washed away into the ocean is, of course, a result that would please both liberal critics of conservative judicial activism and conservative critics of federal overreach,” he writes, “but obviously the rising sea levels will likely drown Baltimore (and Norfolk, Va.) well before they affect Washington…”

“With the global average temperature already .8 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, it is exceedingly unlikely that humanity will manage to keep the planet from warming by less than 2 degrees, which most scientists predict would be fairly disastrous for many people, even if Antonin Scalia writes a very strongly worded dissent to their models.”

Anyone for beach volleyball on the Supreme Court steps?

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  • Anonymous

    “…Florida easily ranks as the most vulnerable state to sea-level rise,
    with some 2.4 million people, 1.3 million homes and 107 cities at risk…”
    Likely, by then, to be on par with the number of people displaced by foreclosures, another man-made disaster.
    And I thought most of Florida was already under water.

  • Robert Montgomery

    The question is: “Is Global Warming anthropogenic?”  The answer is, “NO”.  Does CO2 cause global warming?  No.  So plan for weather changes, subtle climactic changes, and even some geological changes. But don’t point you finger at smokestacks, automobiles or oil fields.  Do what you can to mitigate the changes and that is all you can do.

  • Tom Davis

    I’m sorry to see Mr. Montgomery take the positions he does, for the evidence is quite clear that humans ARE responsible for the current global warming and that the key culprit is human use of fossil fuels that produce CO2. As for “mitigating the changes,” on a global with temperature increases as large as 9 – 11 Degrees F, land loss, crop loss and overall environmental degradation will be extraordinarily difficult to “mitigate.”

  • Jeremy Croke

    Hello Robert. Please cite your scholarly sources. I’ve been spending the better part of a week researching solutions to anthropogenic warming. From the IPCC ”
    most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” 

  • Davideros

     If Robert persists in clinging to this foolishness, the least he can do is read this:

    “Promoting pro-environmental action in climate change deniers:”

  • Pat McLaughlin

    Sorry, Robert. The science on the effects of CO2 was well established back in the late 19th century. It’s what makes Venus’ surface temperature so incredibly, hellishly hot. And the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere has been irrefutably connected to the periods of widespread glaciation and deglaciation. It’s what nature has done that’s moved the planetary thermostat up and down. And now… we’ve been playing with it for a century or so, tweaking it up… up… up and up, hard. And the furnace has kicked on….

    So the question’s are only–are we going to keep it cranked up, or do our best to turn it back down… and what are the consequences of what we’ve done?

  • Blbry2

    It is almost frightening to see the changes that will happen! I have a Mother on LI n a brother in S Fla who may b affected by this! 

    A thought twd the Atlantic coast, an area that includes most of the East coast!  Our ocean bottom extends out about 50m @ 200′ below sea level nr NYC! 
    N then there is ‘The Wall’ n what is referred to as “The Canyon’ where the shelf  drops precipitously!!  The wall has been studied n is in a state of nr collapse!
    If this wall collapses, it’ll create a tsunami that will devastate  a great area on the Atlantic coastline, w/lil warning to any of those who might b affected!

    I have read that 75% of our population live between Richmond n Boston! Hard to imagine the magnitude of devastation we could have w/lil prep or warning!

    Keep up the gd work!  Diseminating truth is a gift!


  • Patricia L Riley Nelson-Lindgr

    This is a very informative article and discussion, however, Global Warming is a Global problem.  We in the USA could be looking at how our actions, consumption of resources are contributing to the Global demise. We humans have exceeded the capacity of the planet when it comes to food, water and clean air.  Every continent is being adversely affected now by global climate change.

  • Anonymous

    And Robert saying “No” doesn’t make it so!

  • John Chase

    I ask the deniers what they propose to hedge their bet, just in case they are wrong?

  • Rfmajor

    I have a nphew who is a fan of economical clean energy even tho he believes the notion
    of human caused global warming is a hoax.

  • Rfmajor

    I try my appeal on the basi of the damage dirty energy is already doing now.  If we had been able to get that point across, the progress of climate change would be greatly diminished.

  • Cynthia s

    I believe the “ignorance” of those who poo-poo the reality of climate change is not ignorance at all but money based greed, ie. political figures protecting corporations with polluting products.  I mean, does anyone really believe in “clean coal”?  The polluting industries and their stockholders don’t seem to give a damn as long as they become billionaires.

  • Cynthiaks

    Let’s hope he continues to act on clean energy  and not on his beliefs!

  • Pmod618

     hurry and sell your mansions in south florida!

  • Alexkochanowski

    there is nothing to be gained by denying the reality that our actions have consequences and in this simple and obvious case denial benefits only your fragile and delusional hope to continue in that denial.  What satisfaction is derived from knowing that certain ways of life are destructive and antithetical to life?  Survival…perhaps hope…Maybe something as simple as honesty and integrity.  Yours is a wall of self-aggrandizing ignorance that will only understand when it’s already under water. 

  • J Leonard

    Governor Jindal – you’re state is #2. Any ideas?

  • katm

    How come I can’t share this particular article on facebook? No matter which way I try to share it, it keeps coming up as some generic post to the home page -that’s not what I want!