Friday, April 20, 2012

Puget Sound needs a plan for sea level rise

Political During an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) highlighted the impacts that climate change and rising sea levels will have on Washington state’s infrastructure, economy, and first-response capability and discussed the need for smart adaptation planning.

A recent study projected that the potential costs to Washington state from climate change impacts would reach nearly $10 billion per year by 2020 and $16 billion per year by 2040. In the Puget Sound region, the sea level is projected to rise by six inches by 2050 – 13 inches by the end of the century. And due to potential ice melt from Greenland and Antarctica, catastrophic increases of up to four feet for the Puget Sound are even possible by the end of the century.

...“We just can’t sustain this kind of level of sea level rise without a plan. We need a plan,” Cantwell said during today’s hearing. “We are seeing the impacts of climate change right now on ocean acidification levels and how it’s affecting the shellfish industry in the Pacific Northwest so we’re really seeing economic impacts. …We have so much property in Puget Sound. We have something like $27 billion dollars worth of structures that could be impacted on these kinds of rising sea level issues.”...

Burton, on Vachon Island in Washington, shot by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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