Sunday, October 21, 2018

Nov. 6, 2018 May Determine the Survival of Coastal Louisiana and Virginia

Virginia's Cedar Island that is disappearing.
Red depicts areas of Louisiana being lost to sea level rise.
A column in the New Orleans Times-Picayune dove tails with my earlier post about the declining or stagnating values of waterfront homes in Tidewater Virginia.  While focused on the Mississippi delta in Louisiana the same concerns apply to portions of the Atlantic coast of Virginia's Eastern Shore that are literally disappearing as well as the coastline all around the Chesapeake Bay.  After New Orleans, Norfolk is the second most threatened major US city at risk from rising sea levels.  As the column notes, elections do indeed have consequences and if a climate change denying Republican majority remains in Congress after the 2018 midterm elections, many property owners will see increasing threats to the property and rising flood insurance rates as the Trump/Pence regime continues to dismantle environmental regulations, allows increasingly polluted water and air, and does nothing to address climate change and the threat it poses to millions of Americans living in coastal regions. The thrust of the column is that it is utter crucial that individuals be elected to Congress who are living in objective reality and who not only recognize the threat but will push for legislation to address it.  One can readily substitute names like Scott Taylor, Rob Witman, David Brat and other Republican members of Virginia's Congressional delegation for those in the column because they all are supportive of the same climate change denying GOP agenda.  Here are column excerpts:
The truism that elections have consequences will never be more accurate than this Nov. 6 when residents living in the congressional districts of U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise, Clay Higgins and Garret Graves go to the polls.
This includes all or parts of Jefferson, St. Bernard, Orleans, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. James, Vermillion, St. Mary’s, Cameron and Calcasieu parishes. In other words, the entire sinking, crumbling, drowning Louisiana coastal zone.
A vote for any of these congressmen by anyone living in those parishes is a vote virtually guaranteeing your flood risk and insurance will be rapidly climbing, your home values will be dropping, local businesses will be relocating, new businesses will not be coming, the state’s ambitious coastal master plan will be dramatically scaled back – and your grandchildren will have to find someplace else to live.
Here’s why.
Last week the world’s authority on climate change issued a new report saying greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 40 percent in the next 10 years or the planet will be locked into some of the worst impacts of warming before the end of the century – and that includes a dramatic acceleration in sea level rise that will swamp our coast.
The state’s own map of this disaster (page 74 of the 2017 plan), shows most of everything below Interstate 10 from Lake Charles to Slidell under water by 2067 – about the time the next generation hopes to retire. And this happens even if the $92 billion coastal plan is funded and finished.
But Scalise, Graves and Higgins have consistently opposed climate regulations, and pledge to continue to do so.  In what amounts to a case of criminal arrogance, these politicians — none of whom has a science degree — are asking you to believe they know more about climate science than the experts.
Indeed, Scalise recently co-authored a House resolution pledging to oppose any form of carbon pricing — which even emission emitters like Exxon Mobil now support. Scalise said such regulations "would be detrimental to American families and businesses.”
He clearly wasn’t thinking about the American families and businesses in the parishes of his district, which includes all or parts of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Lafourche and Terrebonne. If you superimpose a map of Scalise’s 1st Congressional District over what Louisiana says will be left in that area without emissions, Scalise could be out of a job.
These are the parishes that are already witnessing forced migrations and plummeting real estate values, whose highways now flood not just during storms but on stiff southerly winds. These are the parishes desperately seeking funding for levees, floodwalls and elevated highways to help them cope with the disaster they know is already underway.
But Scalise, Graves and Higgins don’t want to vote for the only sure way the world knows to reduce those impacts. These politicians — heavily supported by emitters of these emissions — say it would cost some industries too much money and cost some people their jobs. But how many jobs will be left when the area is under water?
Perhaps Scalise, Higgins and Graves are just parroting the leader of their party, President Donald Trump — another politician without any science credits. He threw cold water on the report, saying he doubted the science because he believes some scientists have political agendas (unlike politicians like him.)
This is the president man who takes the word of murdering autocrats like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and China’s Xi Jinping — but calls into question the ethics of Louisiana’s coastal scientists.
So, yes, if you live on Louisiana’s coast and vote for any of these three on Nov. 6, you’re likely to have consequences — some very wet ones.

Ditto for Virginians living on the coast who vote for any Republicans on November 6, 2018. 

1 comment:

EdA said...

And, as you have repeatedly reported on for some years, the Defense Department, not known for being tree-huggers, has been shouting for years that if something is not done starting long ago, our major Naval establishment in the Norfolk/Newport News area will become largely useless.

But most of the Republicans in Congress will be dead by the time this happens, and there'll still be lots of cash to skim and scam, so why should they care?