Sunday, March 15, 2009

California panel urges 'immediate action' to protect against rising sea levels

Global warming is projected to cause ocean levels to rise up to 55 inches this century. Report urges considering abandonment of some coastal areas and halting insurance subsidies in flood-prone areas. 55 inches is over 4 feet.

California's interagency Climate Action Team has issued the first of 40 reports on impacts and adaptation, outlining what the state's residents must do to deal with the floods, erosion and other effects expected from rising sea levels. Hundreds of thousands of people and critical infrastructure and property would be at risk if ocean levels rose 55 inches by the end of the century.

For example .. in the San Francisco Bay Area most of the major highways circling the area are along the bayshore. Both San Francisco and Oakland's airports are on land created by filling in part of the bay. A major seaport in Oakland would be at risk, as would oil terminals for a couple oil refineries. Several housing developments are along the shore, such as Foster City.

"Immediate action is needed," said Linda Adams, secretary for environmental protection. "It will cost significantly less to combat climate change than it will to maintain a business-as-usual approach."

Sea-Level Rise Maps are available showing the effects of rising sea levels.

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