A report by the Center of Climate Integrity (CCI), says a sea-level rise would mean the US would have to invest upward of $416bn in the next 20 years to extend protection to people who might be affected. This spending would be to construct seawalls along the coast. The amount would be comparable to the initial investment in the interstate highway system. The authorities must realize the magnitude of the problem if the people living in coastal areas are not willing to relocate. Richard Wiles, executive director of CCI says - “I don’t think anybody’s thought about the magnitude of this one small portion of overall adaptation cost.”

The Guardian reports that sea-level rise is inevitable because of global warming and all concerned must take prompt action.

Richard Wiles reminds us that incurring an expenditure of nearly half a trillion over the next two decades will strain the resources to the limit. The CCI report reveals Florida would be on top of the list with an expenditure of nearly $76bn by 2040. Staten Island in New York has drawn up plans. They would go in for a long enough seawall with a budget estimate of $615m, of which the federal government will contribute $400m.

Far-reaching implications of global warming

It is true that the planet is heating up due to factors like loss of the green cover and CO2 emissions.

There may be many other reasons for Global warming but there is no dispute about the fact that the land-based ice is melting. This is leading to sea-level rise, which is already seven or eight inches since 1900. The worry is that three inches of that is since 1993. If unchecked, it could rise to three feet or higher by 2100 according to a report by the United States.

The Guardian adds that CCI conducted a study of thousands of miles of coastline. Their objective was to assess roads that might go under water due to sea-level rise.

Information of this nature would help the authorities to assess the requirements and formulate suitable strategies. Incidentally, those who occupy ocean front homes would be most vulnerable. Building seawalls is an option but a better one is to stop global warming by banning fossil fuels and promoting Renewable Energy.

New York’s seawall

Curbed points out that Superstorm Sandy struck New York City seven years back. Since then, the city had to repair damage to its infrastructure. Staten Island suffered badly and most of the destroyed homes still sit empty. The death toll in Sandy was 43. The city realized that there must be a system in place to address climate change and authorities decided to build a seawall.

It would stretch for five miles and rise to a height of 20 feet above current sea level. Frequency of storms like Sandy are on the rise because of global warming and the problem aggravates when people flock to major cities vulnerable to rising sea levels. Hence, some sort of protection like a seawall is required.