Rising sea levels threaten $100B of US coastline

Global Business

Rising sea levels threaten $100B of US coastline

California’s not short of coastline.The waves lapping at the shore may sound romantic right now, in 2017. But give it a few decades and it could be disastrous over there, inland.

CGTN’s Phil Lavelle has more.

Rising sea levels threaten $100B of US coastline

Rising sea levels threaten $100B of US coastline

California's not short of coastline.The waves lapping at the shore may sound romantic right now, in 2017. But give it a few decades and it could be disastrous over there, inland. CGTN's Phil Lavelle has more.

After years of drought, the heavy rain came to California this winter. And with ocean levels rising, experts are worried about what happens next. They’ve been monitoring the sea levels here for years. Science says the prognosis isn’t good.

“Right now, we have problems of flooding, storm surges to El Nino, to high tides, waves and, of course, events like Sandy and Katrina,” Aquarium of the Pacific’s Jerry Schubel said. “And the frequency and intensity of events will increase with climate change and they will be superimposed upon a higher standard of sea levels, so they have more destructive power.”

Home prices at the water level are cheaper and are likely to become more so, albeit for some decades to come. Experts say about 13 million people along U.S. coasts could be forced to move to higher ground by the end of the century.

And the issue here is not just homes, it’s also the other things that keep cities going such as refineries, bringing gas to U.S. cars or huge airports built near the coast. Relocating, ocean-proofing and rebuilding major infrastructure will be costly.

A study at the end of the last decade put $100 billion dollars worth of property at risk, much of it near San Francisco Bay. Potential for a major earthquake or tsunami only serves to increase the pressure.