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Senator Bernie Sanders Comments on Sea Level Rise

Here are some comments on Sea Level Rise from Senator Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont at the U.S. Senate March 10, 2014 all night debtate on Climate Change.


"Rising sea levels, another great concern and impact of climate change, also lead to more destructive storm surges. According to NOAA, Hurricane Sandy's storm surge exceeded 14 feet in places, which was a record for New York City.

The National Academy of Sciences estimated every 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit increase in global average surface temperature could be a twofold to sevenfold increase in the risk of extreme storm surge events similar to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

When some people tell us: Well, gee, we cannot afford to address the problems of climate change, I would suggest we cannot afford not to address this crisis, if only for the kinds of money we are going to have to be spending repairing the damage of hurricanes like Sandy, and maybe hurricanes that are even worse.

We heard during a recent Senate environment committee hearing that the State of Florida has already seen 5 to 8 inches of sea level rise in the past 50 years, with no end in sight. In the Florida Keys we expect that nearly 90 percent of Monroe County would be completely inundated at high tide, with just 3 feet of sea level rise, and New Orleans can expect to see an ocean level increase of well over 4 feet by the end of the century.

In other words, what we are looking at here, in Florida, Miami, Louisiana, New Orleans, Massachusetts, Boston, New York City, what we are looking at is seas rising, which actually threatens the very existence of parts of those cities. Experts are predicting that cities such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York, and New Orleans will face a growing threat of partial submersion within just a few decades as sea levels and storm surge levels continue to climb.

What will it mean if the seas continue to rise and extreme weather events--severe drought, wildfires, storms, flooding--become much more common? One of the most important consequences will be massive human dislocation all over the world."

To see the CSpan videos of the Senate debate, click here.

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