The old adage that a rising tide lifts all boats doesn’t hold water in the era of climate change.
Sea levels rose almost twice as high between 1993 and 2010 as in the previous century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which predicts an increase of 0.93 meters by 2100. However, a study published in May 2019 projects the actual sea level rise could exceed 2 meters by 2100.
Either projection puts millions of people in jeopardy and raises the specter of social and economic tumult.
That impact on economic activity could be seismic. The U.K.’s National Oceanographic Centre predicts the global cost of rising sea levels will be $14 trillion a year by 2100. That’s largely due to vulnerable infrastructure, including energy plants, water treatment facilities, underground communications cables and transportation networks, including ports and railways. Flooding of roads on the East Coast of the U.S. already causes 100 million vehicle hours of delay each year, which a University of New Hampshire study forecasts could jump to 3.4 billion hours by 2100.
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