President Trump may think climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, but rising sea levels will pose a threat to his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago. Founder of the International Sea Level Institute and author John Englander lives just 30 minutes away from Trump’s “Winter White House” ,joined “To the Point” to talk about climate change and rising sea levels.
Mar-a-Lago sits about 14 feet above sea level, but the west side of the estate, next to the inter coastal waterway lies at a lower elevation and will indeed be vulnerable to rising sea levels. Melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica as well as the thermal expansion of seawater are the cause of the rise in our oceans but there’s also an increased threat from King Tides, storms and coastal flooding.
Rising sea levels are a major problem for America’s coastal cities and a day before President Trump took office, NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] warned that sea levels could rise 8 ft. on average globally by 2100. A new report released last week posited that sea levels in California could rise as much as 10 ft. by the end of the century. No matter what, “when the water comes up towards your house, your property value will diminish,” said Englander.
Englander said we the need to slow the warming and prevent it from reaching a catastrophic rate, but that there’s no environmental policy that can take the heat out of the ocean. He also said we need to get off carbon “as quickly as possible” and that instituting a carbon tax would be the best way to do that.
The term “greenhouse effect” was coined in 1917 by Alexander Graham Bell, who is best remembered for inventing the telephone. Before that, in 1859, John Tindal discovered that
C02 traps heat. According to Englander, the physics are incredibly simple; and this “nonsensical, ignorant or propaganda tactic of saying we are not too sure whether CO2 traps heat is just rubbish!”
So why are so many Americans reluctant to respond to this problem? Americans “have trouble dealing with slow emergencies,” said Englander. Sea level rise is something we have “trouble seeing and taking seriously.”
The Emotional States of America is To the Point’s ongoing series looking at the fate of science and critical thinking in an increasingly irrational age.
(Photo: Tidal flooding during the “king tides” in Brickell, Miami, October 17, 2016
Photo by B137)