“With More Storms and Rising Seas, Which U.S. Cities Should Be Saved First?” reads the headline on Christopher Flavelle’s New York Times story.
The story broaches the possibility that global warming will be so extreme and flood conditions from rising seas so dire that the U.S. will have to wrestle with the question: “If there’s not enough money to protect every coastal community from the effects of human-caused global warming, how should we decide which ones to save first?”
It quotes a researcher from Western Carolina University saying a group of technical experts should decide which coastal communities the federal government will protect in a process modeled on the method used to close military bases – the experts make a list, and Congress votes up or down on the list to remove politics from the process.
The question has arisen “after three years of brutal flooding and hurricanes in the United States,” and after a “growing consensus around policymakers and scientists” has emerged “that coastal areas will require significant spending to ride out future storms and rising sea levels – not in decades, but now and in the very near future,” Flavelle wrote.
Then, to drive the fear higher, he added, “There is also a growing realization that some communities, even sizable ones, will be left behind.”
The Times based its story on a study from the Center for Climate Integrity, a far-left environmental advocacy group. It quotes the center’s executive director as saying, “This is the next wave of climate denial – denying the costs that we’re all facing” and it says the “new research offers a way to look at the enormity of the cost as policy makes consider how to choose winners and losers in the race to adapt to climate change.”
But it neglects to inform readers that sea levels are now predicted to rise only about 5.6 inches by 2100, which is less than they rose in the previous century.
It neglects to inform them sea ice extent in the Arctic is higher now than in 2010 or even 2018, nor that frequency of intense hurricanes has been trending downward for 50 years and continues to do so.
It lists the cities that will need to spend the most to add sea walls – in real terms and in costs per resident – and all are either on the Gulf Coast or East Coast, but it does not mention that in cities there, muddy land along the water’s edge is sinking under the weight of civilization, which exacerbates sea level trends.
It also does not explain why cities on the West Coast may claim to be threatened by global warming when it comes to suing ExxonMobil for allegedly not revealing the dangers it knew its products held for the rest of the world, but when it comes to attracting bond buyers, they downplay the threat.
For instance, the city of Oakland said in paperwork for a lawsuit against ExxonMobil that “Global warming has caused and continues to cause accelerated sea level rise in San Francisco Bay and the adjacent ocean with sever and potentially catastrophic consequences for Oakland” and that, by 2050, 100-year floods will be occurring every 2.3 years and, by 2100, once a week.
But in a statement to investors, it wrote:
“The City is unable to predict when seismic events, fires or other natural events, such as sea rise or other impacts of climate change, or flooding from a major storm, could occur, when they may occur, and, if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the City or the local economy.”
Totally sure 100-year floods will be a weekly occurrence in 2100; totally unsure if global warming-related problems such as sea level rise will occur at all.
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Author: Brian McNicoll