Adding to the tidal wave of mounting evidence, a report published Wednesday shows that 3.7 million Americans in coastal states are at risk of increased flooding in the next century if sea levels rise one foot, as climate scientists predict.
Coastal flooding at levels that were once rare could happen every few years by mid-century. This finding is similar to those issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that link extreme weather to global warming. These science-based agencies predict extreme events will increase in frequency and intensity. Due in part to these warnings and last year’s extreme weather events that caused more than $14 billion in damages, the number of Americans who believe in global warming is at its highest level since 2009.
The new study lists California as the third most at-risk state. Already feeling the effects of climate change, the state is using proven and innovative policies to protect its population and economy. In January, it will launch what many consider to be the single most effective weapon in the climate change fight: a cap-and-trade program that puts a price on carbon by instituting a firm limit on climate pollution.
The risks to California are now more clear than ever. By acting aggressively to fight global warming, California is serving as a model that other states and this country can follow.