Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rising Sea Levels and Climate Change

Sea levels are rising in the Americas, and other places, and it's down to climate change (Painter, James, Ecuador, Mexico, and parts of the Caribbean are in the most danger, as well as New York City and southern Florida (ibid). There's a danger of the rise being between seven inches and a meter even if carbon emissions were lowered (ibid). That might not seem like much, but just think of the damage done when even one inch of water gets in your house during a flood, and think of that inch, plus many more, being flung over seawalls, as when Hurricane Ike hit last September. Yes, buildings are being rebuilt, but a permanent rise in the sea level will change the economy of these places permanently:
"'A rise of one metre will irreversibly change the geography of coastal areas in Latin America," Walter Vergara, the World Bank's lead engineer on climate change in the region, told the BBC. 'For example, a one-metre rise would flood an area in coastal Guyana where 70% of the population and 40% of agricultural land is located. That would imply a major reorganisation of the country's economy'" (ibid).
What's even scarier is that any change that happens is permanent:
"Mr Vergara is not alone in stressing that sea level rises are "climate committed", in the sense that because of existing and projected greenhouse gas emissions, they will continue long into the future.
'The level and direction of change will destabilise extensive coastal areas in Latin America. Once flooded, there is no way back,' he says" (ibid).
But what if there were no emissions to make the sea levels rise? What if economies could be helped instead of hurt? This is possible. For more information, please see

No comments: