Climate Change and California

The LA Times has an article on recommendations made by the state’s Climate Action Team to prepare the state for the consequences of global warming. Among the suggestions are limiting coastal development, phased abandonment of certain coastal areas, and relocating state infrastructure inland. Orange County and the San Francisco Bay area are particularly hard it. Notably, both the Oakland and San Francisco Airports will be under water.

Sea levels along California have risen nearly 8 inches in the past century, although this varies with coastal dynamics. According to the Pacific Institute report, 260,000 Californians already live in flood zones, but are assumed to be protected by existing structures, such as levees and sea walls.

A 1.4-meter sea level rise would increase the population at risk to 480,000. Currently, 1,900 miles of roads and highways are at risk of flooding, which would grow to 3,500 miles under the sea level rise projections.

orange-county-sea-levels1

Impact of Rising Sea Levels on Orange County

Rising sea levels are, of course, only one of the consequences of global warming. Some others include increased frequency of wild fires, drought, and inconsistent or nonexistent water supply from glacial/snow melt. Mitigating all of these will cost considerable money which is why I’ve suggested using mileage taxes for infrastructure and retasking gas taxes to climate change mitigation.

Impact of Rising Sea Levels on the Bay Area

Impact of Rising Sea Levels on the Bay Area

The full report can be found here, while a map of the impacted coastal areas is here. The images in this post are screen shots of the impact on Orange County and the Bay Area taken from the map.

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