Monday, August 12, 2013

NJ Town Seeks To Elevate Itself 11 Feet To Fight Sea Level Rise

The bill for climate change is coming due and already is billions of dollars just in the Garden State.

Highlands is a small, New Jersey shore town that was inundated by Sandy and where property is now worth a total of $500 million.  That is if it can remain above water and dry.

But Sandy drove home the perils of warming, rising seas to the residents of Highlands and now Mayor Nolan is supporting a massive project to raise the entire town by 11 feet at the cost of $200 million.

In the mind of the Mayor, the math is simple.  Spend $200 million to protect $500 million.

Each year the property taxes in Highlands total about $15 million so the entire $200 million bill is beyond the ability of those in town to pay, and so, Highlands seeks to convince the Corps of Engineers to help pay for the elevation project.

The bill for climate change is coming due across America.  In Highlands, the questions become, is it worth spending $200 million to raise the city 11 feet to protect $500 million of private property?  If so, who will pay it? Property owners or taxpayers or both?

Then there is the really depressing question: will 11 feet elevation protect Highlands?  If global carbon concentrations are stabilized below catastrophic levels, 11 feet would be enough. But current emission levels and the rate of annual increase that is taking place would push atmospheric carbon concentration levels to points where seas will rise more than 11 feet.

The bill for climate change is coming due and it is massively expensive already! For economic reasons alone, we must act!

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