Sea level rise
If trends persist, the world’s oceans are likely to rise at least one foot by 2050. Recent studies reveal that, due to global warming, tidal flooding along the East Coast and Gulf Coast will become a chronic problem within 15 years - with Washington D.C. leading the way. It is estimated that the average annual losses from flooding in the world’s biggest coastal cities could increase from today’s $6 billion to $1 trillion by 2050. However, if these cities prepare for sea level rise by installing pumps and constructing levees and movable barriers, flood damages are estimated to increase only $63 billion by that time. In addition to Washington, the American cities most at risk from sea level rise are New York, Miami and New Orleans. Even after installing flood defenses, it is estimated these cities will sustain about $2 billion in annual flood damages by 2050. Predictions of sea level rise for Boston and Tampa Bay are nearly as dire. Advocates say many shorelines are also threatened by forces such as sea level rise, more intense hurricanes, coastal subsidence from building massive structures on sedimentary soils, and the destruction of wetland areas. Some say that, rather than building seawalls and other engineered coastal defenses, natural defenses may offer the best protection from rising sea levels. They claim it might be more efficient to restore tidal marshes, coastal wetlands, barrier islands and other natural ecosystems that have traditionally served as buffer zones for coastal communities. They say “tidal marsh plants are amazing ecosystem engineers that can raise themselves upward if they remain healthy, especially if there is sediment in the water.” Some scientists claim these natural buffers could keep pace with rising sea levels and provide continuing protection.

Pending Legislation: None

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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