The Pilkeys make excellent points in their July 10 Point of View “Dangerous delays and delusions” on sea-level rise and how the ostrich-like response of the legislature is not helpful.
However, this is more than just a coastal issue because rising sea levels could have serious consequences far upstream. In addition to direct impacts on coastal properties, higher sea levels also will change the hydraulics of the state’s rivers that drain to the ocean.
Tidal rivers will also rise, which will increase the time required for heavy rains upstream to drain off, possibly reproducing the conditions that gave rise to the devastating flooding that occurred during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. High tides and storm surge would further magnify the effects.
Although no one can predict exactly what the future will bring, and extreme events will, no doubt, continue to surprise us, when we are confronted by a verifiable threat with ample time for consideration and action, pretending it doesn’t exist places the burden of dealing with it squarely on the shoulders of future generations – a rather callow response to say the least.
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Richard G. Little