A new scientific report on global warming released this week, the National Climate Assessment, named Miami as one of the cities most vulnerable to severe damage as a result of rising sea levels.
Most of the Texas coast is also in the “eye” of climate change, with rising sea levels threatening most of the developed resort areas.
“The theme of the report is that climate change is not a future thing, it’s a ‘happening-now’ thing,” said Leonard Berry, a contributing author of the new report and director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University.
Sea levels have risen eight inches since 1870, according to the new report, which projects a further rise of one to four feet by the end of the century.
The national climate report found that although rapidly melting Arctic ice is threatening the entire American coastline.
Governments estimate that the damages could rise to trillions of dollars.
Scientists say that the scale of emission reductions necessary to prevent the most dangerous effects of global warming can only come as a result of national and international policies to cut carbon pollution.
In particular, climate experts say, national policies to tax or regulate carbon pollution are required by the world’s top emitters, chiefly the United States and China. Such efforts have to date met a wave of political opposition in Congress — bills aimed at putting a price on carbon pollution have repeatedly failed. President Obama plans to use his executive authority to issue a regulation that would cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, but Republicans, who call the rule a “War on Coal,” want to overturn it.
“With sea level rise, you’ve got to get to core of the problem,” Mr. Nelson said at the hearing. “You have to lessen the amount of CO2. It’s politically treacherous and costly. But at the end of the day, something like that is going to have to get passed. Otherwise the planet is going to continue to heat up.”