While hurricanes or volcanic eruptions inflict an immediate blow, the Earth’s rising sea levels wreak disaster at a slower, more sinister pace
Driven by melting ice sheets and the expansion of warming sea water, rising sea levels are threatening both life and property on 13,000 miles of United States coastline. Now, a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists reveals which state is going to go under first.
About 12,000 of those homes belong to Miami residents. The new prediction is in line with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reportreleased in February, which predicted that, by 2070, Miami streets will flood every single day.
Florida’s imminent experience of climate change will be a glimpse into the future of the rest of the country. The findings indicate that “sea level rise, driven primarily by climate change and even absent heavy rain or storms, puts more than 300,000 of today’s homes and commercial properties in the contiguous United States at risk of chronic, disruptive flooding within the next 30 years.”
That’s a dangerous and expensive problem. The cumulative current value of the properties that will be at risk in 2045 is estimated at $136 billion — which is a new kind of housing crisis. Taxes, in turn, are predicted to rise as city’s attempt to hold back the effects of flooding. In its coverage of the report, the Miami Heraldpoints out that by 2030, Miami Beach homes could be paying $17 million in property taxes to face regular flooding — but by 2100, that could jump to more than $760 million.
But long before that happens, the report authors write, “millions of Americans living in coastal communities will face more frequent flooding, as the the tides inch higher and reach farther inland.” If coastal cities are to survive, they argue, municipal, county, and federal action needs to happen now.