Sunday, December 13, 2009

Is There More Devastation From Global Warming Than Coastal Flooding?

What worries you most about climate change?
Sea level rise, because of the sheer amount of infrastructure at risk. One meter rise is enough to put New York City’s airports underwater.
From The Earth Institute blog, State of the Planet interview with Peter deMenocal, a marine geologist who studies sea-bottom sediments for clues to past climates.

If the most worrisome climate change problem for the US is that two New York airports will be underwater and low-lying coastal flooding will occur, then why do we need an international meeting in Copenhagen to reach agreements on greenhouse gases emissions and climate warming?

Yes losing two NY airports requires action, such as building a high-speed rail line to Newburgh Airport or building a new airport on higher ground. Are two airports a global warming crisis?

If coastal flooding is the biggest issue, and it will occur over time and not all at once like a hurricane Katrina, then there is sufficient time to deal with the problem without greenhouse gas controls, such as dikes as in Holland, or rebuilding as necessary in more interior locations.

The part of the global warming debate that I find lacking is the distinction between political and economic power shifting due to global warming and the likelihood of complete devastation of the human race. So far, most of the discussion and scientific debates seem to indicate that the problem with global warming is the shifting of political and economic power and not the destruction of the planet or its inhabitants.

As long as the public sees global warming as an economic and political power grab, its costs will seem excessive and unreasonable to the general US populace and it will not be supported by the majority of US inhabitants.

See my earlier post, "A Non-hysterical, Sensible View Of Climate Change."

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