Dozens of US cities may face chronic flooding over the next few decades if global warming is not mitigated, a new study has found.
This study by the Union of Concerned Scientists said efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement could lessen the impact. US President Donald Trump has promised to withdrawal from accord.
“In hundreds of coastal American cities and towns, decades before sea-level rise permanently puts land underwater, chronic, disruptive high tide flooding arrives and makes it impossible to carry on business as usual in impacted areas,” co-author and senior climate analyst for UCS, Erika Spanger-Seigfried said.
“Between 165 and 180 chronically inundated communities in just the next 15 to 20 years; between 270 and 360 in roughly 40 years, depending on the pace of sea level rise; and 490 by end of century with a moderate sea level rise scenario,” Spanger-Siegfried said.
Ninety communities are considered “inundated today,” mostly in Louisiana and Maryland, where seas are rising and the land is sinking, the study said.
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“This study highlights something it’s really important for people to understand. Sea level rise means sharp growth in coastal flooding. In fact, most coastal floods today are already driven by human-caused sea level rise,” Benjamin Strauss, vice president for Sea Level and Climate Impacts at Climate Central said in reaction to the report.
“Most coastal floods today are already tipped over the balance by sea level rise. This important research shows that things could get much worse, and soon, for lots of people,” he added.
In June, Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, alarming the science community and causing widespread condemnation around the world.
The accord, which entered into force on November 4, 2016, seeks to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
However, Trump has taken a hard stance on climate change; at times calling it a hoax by China. He vowed during the election campaign to “cancel” the Paris agreement within 100 days of becoming president on January 20 in order to bolster US oil and coal giant, which bankrolled his campaign.