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View Diary: The retreat away from the US coastline is beginning (243 comments)

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  •  Even longer term thinking is necessary (10+ / 0-)

    Although there has been talk lately about building giant sea walls and gates to protect New York City from rising seas, that effort is based on a faulty premise: That sea levels will only rise 5, 10 or even 20 feet in coming centures. And that future storms will not be far stronger than Hurricane Sandy. Given the fact that there are no serious efforts underway to stop burning fossil fuel, temperatures and sea levels are likely to keep rising far past the already disastrous levels predicted for this century. In fact, there is probably enough carbon already in the atmosphere that warming would continue even  if we, by some chance,  actually stopped all carbon emissions.

    The coasts, and places like  lower Manhattan, will have to be abandoned but if that can take place within a context of planned development on higher pieces of ground, much of the greatness of New York can be saved. Unlike Florida and Louisiana, there is plenty of higher ground nearby where a new city can rise.

    But all this depends on switching away from fossil fuel before a complete collapse makes it impossible to even produce solar or wind power machinery. Without a high technology, that simply can't happen. Fossil fuel will be needed to produce the metals and complex components needed for alternative systems and if we keep burning it freely, we wont have enough left for when we really need it to survive. (I am not speaking opf simple windmills but of systemslarge enough to sustain a modern civilization with a population as large as we now have)

    For far too long, we have chosen to ignore any long term consequences of the fossil fuel econbomy. Now, rational leaders like Cuomo see the need to think about the coming decades but that is not enough. We need to think in terms of centuries and that will not be easy.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:58:31 AM PST

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