Climate change makes every house in Delaware a 'beach home'
February 27, 2013By Rob Tornoe
Here is Rob Tornoe's commentary.
Sen. James Imhoff (R-OK) is noted for suggesting that climate change is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. He's also the ranking minority members on the Senate's Environment and Public Works committee.
Wonder why nothing ever gets done about climate change?
I would invite Imhoff and all his neanderthal colleagues down to Delaware, where up to 11 percent of the state could be swept away by flooding next century due to rising sea levels. It might be hard for Imhoff and his fellow deniers to convince residents who lost their home that the damage is all in their mind.
Yes, climate change is real. There is no serious scientific debate about it. None. Out of 13,950 peer-reviewed climate change articles studies between 1991 and 2012, a grand total of 23 reject global warming. That's 0.16 percent, or to say it another way, 99.84 percent of scientists agree that climate change is real.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, what does that mean for Delaware? Unfortunately, due to geologic factors specific to our state, our state is literally sinking. Sea levels in Delaware are rising twice as quickly as the global average, making everyone in the state a coastal resident. I always wanted to own a beach home, but on our current trajectory, my townhouse in Bear will soon qualify.
Areas like South Wilmington, with it's low-lying homes, are expected to be permanently flooded by 2100 if no action is taken. Judging our track record, their is not to much to get hopeful about.
So what can we do? As the Cape Gazette suggests, we can get back to our Dutch roots and aggressive protect our coastal resources and farmland with a far more extensive system of dikes, levees and dune construction. But that takes money and probably higher taxes, and in our fiscal situation where selling the Port of Wilmington is a good idea, their probably isn't much political will to spend our way out of a problem that's at least a generation away.
Delaware's Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee has some suggestions, but they're almost as bleak as the problem. Our choices are to either run away (they refer to it as a statewide retreat plan), educate the public about climate change (being fought hard by outfits like the Positive Growth Alliance and the Homebuilders Association of Delaware) or press harder for our politicians to consider climate change in future projects.
Great. In the meantime, I'm investing in scuba gear and a new pair of flippers.