The Real Wall Street Bailout: Sea Levels Rise

  • Published on November 20th, 2008

[social_buttons]A mere four centuries after the Dutch founded a little settlement in a far off land they named Nieuw Amsterdam; New York City could really use their expertize in dealing with sea levels. Even by the end of this century.

According to new research, by 2100, the area in lower Manhattan near the wall that kept the original settlement safe from invasion will need to be protected, with dykes. Or something.

Wall Street was named for that ancient protective wall.

Architecture 2030 has published a study showing that beginning with just over three feet of sea level rise, the impact on the US coastline would be calamitous, having the potential to destabilize many highly populated areas of this country.  Last week the Governor of California  issued an executive order to mitigate sea level impact saying: “We have to adapt the way we work and plan in order to manage the impacts and challenges that California and our entire planet face from climate change.” Two and a half trillion dollars worth of coastal property here is at risk.

The study challenges the notion that has been advanced by the media that only poor nations far from us will be impacted by climate change. So people here are complacent about the need to confront global warming.

But they shouldn’t be. Even three feet of sea-level rise – which is on the low side of most IPPC reports – will displace not just residents in other lands, but that actually includes most of our own coastal residents, as illustrated in these Architecture 2030 interactive maps of effects right on our coastline.

“Starting in East Boston and moving down along the East Coast, around Florida and over to the Gulf of Mexico, then up along the West Coast and ending with the city of Honolulu, Hawaii, a picture of inundation, population displacement and catastrophic property loss develops.

With a business-as-usual approach, where fossil-fuel consumption and GHG emissions continue to increase, we will likely see a warming of 2 °C to 3 °C this century with a planetary energy imbalance sufficient to melt enough ice to raise sea level by several meters.

Once the process of ice sheet disintegration begins, the impact on the US is unremitting, and at each additional increment, additional cities and towns will be adversely affected.”

If you think that bailing out Wall Street now is expensive, you can imagine what its going to cost us to really bail out Wall Street.

Maybe we should just give Nieuw Amsterdam back to the Dutch with their expertize in building dykes?

Via: SolveClimate
Art: Courtesy of Peter Kleiner

About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.


  • Some light reading on the issue of sea level rises:

    Response of the global ocean to Greenland and Antarctic ice melting by D. Stammer et al.

    Which shows that the US might have a worse time than anywhere else in the first few decades after large amounts of Greenland land based ice melted.

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