For Some US Cities, An Underwater Future Is All But Certain

A new paper claims that even if all global carbon emissions stopped tomorrow, it would take time for the world's temperature to normalize, by which time sea levels will have already risen over some coastal areas.

What's the Latest Development?


A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week claims that based on current greenhouse gas emission rates, by 2100 at least 1,700 coastal cities and towns in the US will be unable to avoid a future underwater. The paper doesn't provide an exact date as to when they will be submerged, but its author, Climate Central researcher Benjamin Strauss, says that even if all emissions stopped tomorrow, "Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens, Hoboken, New Jersey will be under sea level...We are locking in hundreds more [cities] as we continue to emit carbon into the atmosphere."

What's the Big Idea?

The "locked-in" concept takes into account the amount of time required for the world's climate to normalize after efforts to reduce emissions have been made. That time won't be enough to save many cities, according to the study. Florida is in special danger, with the point of no return predicted to occur within the next 30 to 50 years. At least one government agency is already taking action: The Pentagon is planning for a future in which they may have to relocate the country's largest naval base from its Norfolk, VA home.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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