Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Climate Change Putting Coastal Infrastructure at Risk

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An analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) highlights the growing flood risk to thousands of infrastructure facilities in coastal parts of the United States, reports Christina Andrews for WUWF.

According to the report’s authors, “nearly 1,100 basic facilities and infrastructure along the U.S. coastline would flood 12 times a year on average, or the equivalent of once a month, by 2050, assuming a medium rate of sea level rise.”

Report co-author Dr. Kristina Dahl says the analysis quantifies the impacts of climate change. “Things like wastewater treatment plants, schools, hospitals. So what we’ve done here is mapped out areas that will experience more frequent flooding due to sea level rise, and then mapped those out with respect to the infrastructure that’s along our coasts, we are able to pinpoint when and where that infrastructure will be affected by more frequent flooding.”

The authors hope the report will spark action to protect coastal infrastructure. “One of the reasons that we wanted to look at critical infrastructure is that it’s very long-lived and it takes a long time to plan and to build or to renovate,” said Dahl. “But the prospect of having that contamination not isolated and spreading out into our neighborhoods, we hope, alerts people to the real dangers that sea level rise presents. And we also know from this analysis that there is time to plan for this.”

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