Preparing for our climate future requires building better now

We can't keep building back better from climate crises. We need to build right the first time.

Climate change.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released a new report this week predicting a sea level rise of roughly one foot within the next 30 years. The consequences for coastal communities could be quite severe: Damaging floods would be 10 times as common as they are today, and would reach much further inland. The rising waters won't stop there. Just based on emissions to date, the report predicts sea levels rising at least another foot by the century's end; if emissions aren't curbed, that number could be as much as five feet higher.

Decarbonizing is essential to preventing the latter scenario. But even a rise of a foot or two more would put major coastal cities in danger. Over the next couple of decades, therefore, we're going to need to invest huge sums of money simply to preserve what we have. The bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed last year was only a small downpayment on what is going to be required.

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