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IT'S ALREADY TOO LATE: Sea level rise dooms American cities even if emissions stop

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A newly published paper claims that the U.S. will face catastrophic sea -level rise which will inundate at least 316 cities unless immediate, dramatic cuts are made to greenhouse gas emissions.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One cannot open a scientific journal without encountering another article predicting the Cassandra cry of global warming. The latest warning hits close to home as scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predict that at least 316 American cities will be inundated if sea levels rise as a result of global warming.

The scientists predict that if global warming continues at its current pace, by the year 2100, at least 316 American cities and an additional 1,100 world cities will be submerged.

The paper's author, Benjamin Strauss, also explained that even if greenhouse gas emissions stopped immediately, a threat would still persist because it can take centuries, even millennial, for these gasses to leave the atmosphere.

All that needs to happen now is to see the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps, which are already losing volume. Although satellite imagery suggests ice in Antarctica is expanding, the cap is growing much thinner, as ancient ice melts into the ocean. Not all of it is refreezing either.

Anecdotal reports suggest sea levels are rising around the world.

Despite calls by climate scientists to being attention to this issue, there remains fierce public debate over what to do with regards to climate change. Strauss suggests that immediate and dramatic changes must occur now.

Reality however, is that isn't going to happen. There remains enough doubt sown in both public and scientific minds to slow any change in that regard. There are no major policy shifts anticipated in the United States or in other countries for that matter.

Moreover, as the rest of the world industrializes, bringing factories and cars online, emissions continue to pour into the atmosphere even as the United States cleans its air.

According to Strauss, we're looking at billions of dollars in losses.

Strauss also admits there are uncertainties in his predictions because there is no allowance for changes in coastal populations and advancements in engineering. It has already been demonstrated that the Earth's climate is so complex that it is very difficult to model anything accurately over the long-term.

Nonetheless, most scientists will agree that the planet is warming and that humans will need to develop adaptive strategies to cope with the planet of tomorrow, which is expected to be warmer and wetter, no matter why.

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