Tag Archives: rising sea

Water’s Edge: The Crisis of Rising Sea Levels

“Rising sea levels are not just a future threat: They are already here, a documented fact,” says a team of researchers in a recently published volume of reporting by Reuters.

The investigation, titled Water’s Edge: The Crisis of Rising Sea Levels, provides a cogent look at the erosion issues facing our coastline, the fiscal disaster that is unfolding through efforts to protect coastal property, and the perverse actions of local and federal governments in continuing to encourage beachfront development.

“Higher water levels compound the effects of storms and regular flooding, hastening erosion… yet the law has done little to discourage growth in harm’s way,” says the investigative team.

“Despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, Reuters finds that government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living.”

Much of that help comes from federal government in the form of financial incentives, while local governments help by authorizing engineering projects that create massive costs to taxpayers and the environment—all the while, providing a false sense of security to those who live along the coast.
Click here to read the entire article.

Beach Nourishment is Only a Band-Aid–Not a Solution

The following editorial originally ran in The Southampton Press, Western edition, Page A10 of Thursday, July 10, 2014. 

“Within the next 15 years, higher sea levels combined with storm surge will likely increase the average annual cost of coastal storms along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico by $2 billion to $3.5 billion. Adding in potential changes in hurricane activity, the likely increase in average annual losses grows to up to $7.3 billion, bringing the total annual price tag for hurricanes and other coastal storms to $35 billion.”

These projections come from a new report commissioned by the Risky Business Project, co-chaired by Henry Paulson, Michael Bloomberg and others.

According to the executive summary of the report, The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States: “if we continue on our current path, by 2050 between $66 billion and $106 billion worth of existing coastal property will likely be below sea level nationwide.” The Northeast and Southeast regions are likely to experience the lion’s share.

As project co-chair and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson reasons, “to plan for climate change, we must plan for volatility and disruption.”

Currently, the Village of Quogue has no such plan. Instead, we have been historically reactive to coastal events and rely on an outdated coastal management framework that, aside from a few amendments, has largely gone untouched since the late 1990s. Our current generic environmental impact statement—a document upon which many erosion control and development permitting decisions are based—was written nearly 20 years ago. Continue reading Beach Nourishment is Only a Band-Aid–Not a Solution

Report: Gulf and Atlantic Coasts Not Prepared for Sea-Level Rise

This July 23rd, National Geographic ran an article (click here) summarizing a new report commissioned by the US Army Corps of Engineers and published by the National Research Council. The research is focused on coastal preparedness for climate-induced sea level rise.

In it, the report’s authors note that, “in the past, most risk reduction projects have focused on fortification, with few efforts to limit redevelopment in high-risk areas and steer development toward safer, lower-risk areas.”

As chairman of the committee that wrote the report, UNC Chapel Hill professor of marine sciences, Richard Luettich, noted that there continues to be “a misalignment of risk, reward, resources, and responsibility.” The result has been “inefficiencies and inappropriate incentives that ultimately increase coastal risk.”

A primary source of increased risk comes via developers, who build in hazardous areas because they have the ability to pass the risk on to homeowners and government. The report’s authors also note that state and local officials often “look the other way” because they benefit from the expanded tax base—an argument that could very well apply to leadership in Southampton Town.

As we continue to evaluate the most responsible and sustainable approaches for managing our East End coastline, CCQ would like to call attention to the way in which the proposed dredging project in Quogue would perpetuate the increased risk taking in our region—and how it would compound the costs to us all.

Please join us on August 10th in Quogue Village Hall at 3pm, as we continue our due diligence. The presentation, “Navigating Troubled Waters: Science and Coastal Management”, will be delivered by journalist, author and thought leader Cornelia Dean, and moderated by Dr. Rob Young, Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines.