Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Coastal Flooding Already Here

Deniers of Climate Change like to argue that all the dire scientific predictions are just that, predictions that are not inevitalbe.  Unfortunately for 'Merica their head in their sand approach to the problem conveniently ignores the facts on the ground in the interest of profit.  The New York Times tells us that coast flooding is already a verifiable fact along the Atlantic seaboard.  In Norfolk, VA flood rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the roads so drivers can judge if they want to risk crossing the floods that inundate the roads several times a year.  Farther down the coast, Tybee Island, GA dissapears beneath the waves several times a year, cutting off the island residents from dry land.  Ft. Lauderdale, FL is sending millions retrofitting infrastructure to repair and protect it from saltwater.  Miami Beach is spending $400 million to elevate streets, seawalls and install pumps.

These fair weather floods are symptomatic of the predictions scientist have been issuing for the last decade or more:  global warming will increase sea levels to the point that a brisk wind will flood human development.  The flooding is not deep, a foot or two, but the regular incursions of saltwater is enough to damage homes, streets, sewers and lawns.  Louisiana is the latest example of higher water levels contributing to flooding caused by heavier precipitation, also predicted to be a symptom of global warming.  Local jurisdictions are already pleading for federal aid to combat the increased flooding, but incredibly Congress, under the domination of conservative deniers is thumbing its collective nose at hard-pressed officials.  A Repugnant from landlocked Colorado called the requests, including some from the military, "part of a radical climate change agenda". 

Speaking of radicals, how this legislator can issue such a deliberately obstinate statement boggles the rational mind.  Equally insane is the federal policy that subsidizes individuals who choose to build or rebuild next to the waterline.  Dauphin Island, AL is a case study of ridiculous federal largest.  Since 1979 a dozen storms have inundated the barrier island causing millions of dollars in damage.  Yet the federal government pays residents to rebuild in the same vulnerable location under the Stafford Act which pays for 75% or more to replace damaged infrastructure.  One geologist responded to the apparent disconnect by boasting, "We are Americans, damn it, we don't retreat"  US Person can think of some other descriptors, perhaps more cogent.  They are not flattering, but then it is a well-known allegation that he is rude and impertinent.

Perhaps this costly denial of reality will end if the Pentagon becomes impacted by a relentless natural enemy that disrespects ideological cant.  Naval bases are built close to the water for obvious reasons.  Several studies have concluded that Norfolk Naval Base, one of the largest in the world, is profoundly threatened by the rising Atlantic Ocean.  The Navy has started to install some flood control equipment, but its requests for more money to be spent on the problem has met fierce resistance in the Repugnant controlled House of Representatives.  Perhaps the flood waters from the Potomac River need to reach Capital Hill before the politicos come to their senses.  Washington DC was once a swamp, it can be again.