Saturday, November 16, 2019
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BBC: “The Disappearing Island in the Chesapeake Bay”

Virginia's Tangier Island was first settled 325 years ago. But as the BBC reports, thanks to a combination of a Chesapeake Bay polluted by unchecked runoff, rising sea levels fueled by global warming, an eroding shoreline fueled by natural subsidence, Tangier Island is slowly disappearing into the Bay:

Learn in the National Wildlife Federation's 2008 report on the Chesapeake Bay & sea level rise.

New Report Highlights Climate Crisis’ Threat to Hampton Roads

A new report takes a closer look at which cities will be hurt by global warming-fueled sea level rise. As Brad Plumer reports, Virginia is in the climate crisis crosshairs:
Things don't look good for India. But the United States doesn't get off easy, either. If you look at exposed assets rather than total population, then Miami, New York-Newark, New Orleans and Virginia Beach all climb higher on the list, with $7 trillion in assets vulnerable to severe coastal flooding by 2070. [...]

Take Miami. A three-foot sea-level rise, experts have noted, would likely put all of Miami Beach underwater and turn downtown Miami into an island, channeled off from the rest of Florida. Yet the state isn't doing all that much to prepare for this eventuality. Instead, it's racing to subsidize new developments along the coasts, through state-run insurance and funding for coastal protection. By contrast, cities such as London and Amsterdam are taking more prudent steps to guard against future flooding - and, as the OECD report notes, are likely to cope with sea-level rise better.

That's not an isolated case. In general, the United States has been slow in preparing for rising sea levels. In many cases, we're actively making things worse, as Steve Nash laid out in this excellent article in the New Republic. This is one area in particular where climate-change denial can do a lot of damage - it's awfully hard to prepare for a problem that no one can agree even exists.

So we're not doing climate mitigation, like cutting carbon pollution. And as an event just last month at NASA's Langley Center in Hampton pointed out, we're not doing climate adaptation, either, like coastal restoration & limiting development in areas just above sea level. Basically, if you were consciously trying to leave the worst possible situation for the next generation, you'd be doing exactly what people like Gov. Bob McDonnell are doing now - deny the problem & delay solutions. And note the 2070 date - we're no longer talking about forecast impacts on some future generation, but real changes happening within the lifetimes of the children in your family right now. Amazing that the same people who profess such a concern with our budgetary national debt have no qualms about leaving our kids stuck with a multi-trillion-dollar climate liability.

Climate Change Deniers Damage National Security

The Pentagon is filled with people who ignore reality at our nation's peril. It is easy for a state Attorney General to manipulate the "conventional wisdom" of his constituency, insulated from responsibility for the potential outcomes. But climate change deniers do not "Support the Troops." And, they betray our nation.

Over the next three days, the three aspects of climate change outlined by Rear Admiral David Titley, USN, PhD will be discussed here. Admiral Titley is not only an accomplished Naval Officer, he is also a scientist with unchallengeable credentials and a member of a Task Force responsible for assessing the impact and threats associated with climate change. As he outlined succinctly when he addressed responding to skeptics, there are three major changes occurring that concern him most: opening of the Arctic Ocean, rising sea levels, and acidification of the oceans. This installment discusses the Arctic Ocean and Bering Strait, pretty darn near Wasilla:

The Arctic Ocean will have to be regarded as the world's largest estuary in the not too distant future. It may become a trade route, economically important, with ice free conditions for about a month each year beginning sometime around 2035 to 2040. By mid century it may be open two to three months a year. We are already seeing increased traffic and exploration. The Bering Strait may become as important as the Strait of Malacca and the Strait of Hormuz. Ignoring this aspect of climate change threatens our national survival.

Tomorrow: Rising sea levels.