One of the consequences of global warming is rising sea levels. There is no rational debate about whether sea levels are rising – this change has been measured worldwide.
At the end of last week, the EPA issued a new report on the likely implications of sea level rise. The report goes into a good amount of detail, making it a useful resource if you’re truly interested in the subject, but not a thrilling read if you’re only casually tracking the issue.
The report confirms that “Rising water levels are already an important factor in submerging low-lying lands, eroding beaches, converting wetlands to open water, and exacerbating coastal flooding.” In comparing the social and environmental costs of trying to preserve current shorelines and managing a retreat to higher ground, the report concludes that attempting to preserve current shorelines will have a lower social and environmental cost in the short run, but will have a higher cost in the long term.