Year 3, Month 7, Day 7: History Is A Bunk Bed

More on rising East coast seas, from the Andover (MA) Eagle-Tribune:

If you think there are flooding problems in the region now, just wait — it’s going to get a whole lot worse, according to a study released Sunday by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists have found that our coastline is part of a unique, 600-mile-long “hot spot” along the Atlantic Coast where sea levels are rising at a significantly faster rate than the world as a whole — three to four times faster. The hot spot stretches down the Atlantic Coast from north of Boston to North Carolina.

“Flooding right now is an annoyance, but it will be more of an annoyance and bad enough that you’ll think twice about parking your car in the driveway if there’s a storm coming and it’s the spring tide,” said Peter Howd, a co-author on the study and a contracted oceanographer with the U.S. Geological Survey.

This letter was inspired by the comments (q.v.). Sent June 26:

When human society pays attention to time spans larger than an individual lifetime, that’s called “civilization.”

For a quick and dirty education in the problems inherent in short-term thinking, watch climate-change denialists’ reactions to the U.S. Geological Survey’s study showing drastic sea-level rises along the East coast. While a few may stubbornly cling to their repeatedly-debunked conspiracy theories (Al Gore’s gonna confiscate your SUV!), the majority will loudly assert that since the problems are predicted to happen over the next hundred years, it’s pointless to worry about them.

Climate change is a significant threat already, and it’s projected to get a lot worse within our lifetimes. Those who use cheap faux-populist rhetoric against the dedicated work of climate scientists undermine the civility essential to public discourse; those who would bequeath our posterity a ruined and inhospitable planet are choosing to opt out of the multi-millennium project of human civilization.

Warren Senders

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