Natural disasters like Hurricane Irma and Harvey are part of the US Hurricane seasons and the rising sea is a constant reminder that such natural disasters would be a common phenomenon in the future. As the temperature rises, the risks of floods and hurricanes increase around the globe costing the nations live, and resources leaving many people homeless. For instance, in the US, various hurricanes in 2017 caused billions of dollars and engaged regional and local governments in the policy-making to change their policies regarding climate change. The rise in temperature is due to increased levels of carbon emissions that contribute to rising in temperature, which ultimately leads to the melting of ice, raising the sea levels. However, the federal government does not consider the carbon consumption a cause of rising sea levels ignoring the alarming situation. Trump administration has not paid much attention to the risks that climate change poses to the US (Swope). Although there is uncertainty regarding the immediate risks from rising sea levels, it must not be ignored because of the uncertainty as evidence has shown that the glaciers are melting at greater levels with an increase in temperature. Moreover, it takes hundreds of lives every year with an increased cost of rehabilitation. Therefore, the government must restrict the use of fuels and carbon emissions to mitigate the risks.
Rising sea levels is due to the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere partly because of the human activities such as burning fossil fuels. The temperature of earth increases when the gases are released causing thermal expansion, which leads to increase in the temperature of the earth. The increased temperature of the earth then melts the ice sheets adding to the water volume, which raises the water levels. According to research, the mean sea level has risen 7 to 8 inches since 1990 and 3 inches out of the 7-8 have risen since 1993. Therefore, it is one of the immediate concerns of the scientist as the elevated sea levels is a threat to the millions of people living in the coastal areas around the US. These people are at risk of floods, Hurricanes and high tides especially in cities such as New York City, Boston, and Florida. The estimate states around 2 million homes in different states of US would be under water by 2100 if the water level rise to 6 feet and Floria and New Jersey would be at high risks. Moreover, the floods and Hurricane costs the US billions of dollars in rehabilitation and reliefs, in 2017 alone the US spent $265 billion due to the Hurricane and floods (Swope).
However, the current federal government does not consider rising sea levels a concern. Although Obama had signed an executive order in 2015 making it compulsory for the federal agencies to take into account climate change while building infrastructure, Trump has undone it. Trump administration does not believe in the climate change due to which it has rolled back the Obama policies regarding climate change and rising sea levels. Trump has undone the limitations that Obama had put on the coal-fired power plants opening federal lands for the fossil fuel production. Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement, which as to limit the greenhouse gas emissions (Swope; Park).
Regardless, the local and regional governments are preparing to reduce the risks from rising sea levels. For example, Florida has formed the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change compact, including Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach, to limit the greenhouse gas emission and responding to the effects of climate change. One of the top issues this compact is handling is the rise of sea levels (Swope). It also tries to gain the support of politicians so that they can influence the policymaking in the long run. Similarly, in Massachusetts, the local government has signed two executive orders to create a climate change strategy, to identify the vulnerabilities, and to address the vulnerabilities. Similar strategies have been incorporated in the government plans in California. The local government appears to understand the necessity of policy change in order to respond to the climate change and related problems but then why the Trump Administration is unable to respond to the problem accordingly (Swope).
There might be many reasons for Trump administration to ignore the warnings of climate change. One reason could be that the sea level has risen since the beginning and it is not a new phenomenon to feel alarmed. The opponents of climate change do not recognize human activities as a problem for rising in the sea levels because the evidence shows that sea levels have risen throughout the history. Therefore, it is a false alarm. However, scientists and environmentalist have not denied the fact that sea levels have risen since the beginning but they argue human activities have increased the intensity of the rise in the sea levels. The sea levels are rising greatly since 1993 escalating the risks of floods and hurricanes (Swope; Park).
The second reason to ignore the alarms of the rise in sea levels is that it restricts burning fuels and carbon emissions. As most of the production around the world contribute to carbon emission and burns the natural fuels, as they are easily accessible, it is harmful to the capitalism to restrict carbon emission as well as the use of fuel. Restricting carbon emissions affects the productions of the goods, which ultimately influences the businesses negatively. Moreover, the companies focus on selling their goods more than the environment, which is why it is difficult for businessperson like president Trump and his allies to opt for environmentally friendly policies.
Additionally, climate change friendly policies restrict coastal development (Urry). The opponents of the climate change push for coastal development to accommodate more people. However, a well thought environmental policy would not allow coastal development with the current rate of sea level rise. As the sea levels are rising, the people living in the coastal region are at risk of being homeless anytime due to hurricanes and floods, current developmental policies do not account for the risks from the rise in water levels and climate change. In addition, it costs billions of dollars to build protective walls and barriers to minimize the risks in such areas. Consequently, the environment-friendly policies cost the business people billions due to which they are reluctant to support policies related to climate change focusing on rising in sea levels.
Nonetheless, the rise in sea levels has several negative consequences for the countries. Firstly, it costs billions of money to rehabilitate and build the people who become homeless due to the floods or hurricanes (Urry). The tides and water can destroy the buildings and damage property and lands. One of such devastations was seen in the Netherlands in 1953 where 1836 people died and hundreds of buildings, properties and farmlands were destroyed. The massive floods changed the policies in the country and the politicians focused on prevention of damage through various policies (“The Netherlands Remembers the Devastating Floods of 1953”). The United States must not wait for such a disaster although it faces hurricanes and floods every year to respond to the preventive policies. Secondly, raises the number of immigrants and homelessness, which requires the government’s immediate attention costing human resources and material resources to the country. Most importantly, recognizing climate change and rising sea levels as a problem would help the United States in preparing for the disasters and saving lives. As thousands of people have died due to the floods and Hurricanes in the United States and around the world (Kimmelman and Haner). The examples of Hurricane Katrina, Erma and other deadly disasters that killed thousands of people should be considered.
Hence, the government of United States must take some steps to prevent the disaster or the causalities and damages from the disaster as the Netherland is doing. For the Netherlands, a country that is surrounded by water, the problem of rising sea levels are tangible. The Netherlands cannot ignore the problem and tries to find solutions “to give the river more places to flow” (Kimmelman and Haner). They have come up with under seawater reserves that store the water at times of emergency. The efforts by Netherland shows the urgency of dealing with the issue of the rising water levels and it is a way the US must follow because many of the cities in coastal areas might face consequences if the US government ignored the rising levels of the sea.
To conclude, US federal government and local government can work together to minimize the risks by restricting the developmental projects along the coastal areas and making them accountable to the rising sea levels (Swope). They can also make policies that focus on reducing carbon emission and fuels making the corporations and small companies accountable for their carbon footprint. It is necessary because the rising sea levels are serious threats to the human lives and property. They damage buildings and infrastructure, which cost billions of dollars to the US. Therefore, the people must be united to pressurize the government to make policies that are accountable to the issues of rising sea levels.
Kimmelman, Michael, and Josh Haner. “In the Waterlogged Netherlands, Climate Change Is Considered Neither a Hypothetical nor a Drag on the Economy. Instead, It’s an Opportunity.” New York Times, 15 June 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/15/world/europe/climate-change-rotterdam.html.
This article, “In the waterlogged Netherland…” by Kimmelman and Haner addresses the problem of raised water levels in Rotterdam. However, they have turned the problem into an opportunity for the population. The high tech engineers have focused on creating opportunities for the people as well as channeling the water underground so that it damages the society the least. The article shows the problem of raised water level is real but the causalities and damages can be minimized by acknowledging the issue and making policies to change it. It is relevant is relevant as the assignment is also about the rising levels of seas in the US. Therefore, the article was relevant and was freely available online to meet the assignment requirements. Secondly, the article is credible as it is taken from a credible news agency the New York Times and it meets the requirements of the assignments.
Park, Jonathan T. “Climate Change and Capitalism.” Consilience, no. 14, 2015, pp. 189–206.
The article discusses that the capitalism is the problem in the climate change as companies focus on consumption, and productions and the consumption are enhanced due to an advertisement to gain benefits for businesses. It is a relevant article as it highlights the restraining factors in policy-making to address the climate change. The article highlights the debate that the corporates and business people do not want to have environment-friendly policies, as it will negatively affect their companies. It is a journal article with proper referencing
Swope, Christopher. “Rising Seas: Are the Cities Prepared for Growing Threat?” CQ Researcher, vol. 28, no. 7, Feb. 2018, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2018021600&type=hitlist&num=2.
Christopher Swope’s article discusses the global climate change focusing on the United States. The article discusses problems, policies, and benefits of the climate change. It examines the current policies as well as the earlier policies in the US regarding climate change. It is relevant as it discusses the sea rising in details. It was published CQ Research and covers the requirements of current events in the United States. It is credible as it is a research paper citing various sources extensively throughout the paper.
“The Netherlands Remembers the Devastating Floods of 1953.” DutchNews.Nl, 1 Feb. 2018, http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2018/02/the-netherlands-remembers-the-devastating-floods-of-1953/.
The article from Dutch Newspaper is essential for the paper because it comes from the references of CQ research paper and provides evidence for the causalities caused by floods. It is relevant because it helped as an evidence from other places where rising water was a problem validating the claims from the US to push for new policymaking. Moreover, it is freely available online article given in the reference section, which meets the requirements of the assignment.
Urry, John. “Climate Change and Society.” Why the Social Sciences Matter, 2015, pp. 45–59, http://dlib.scu.ac.ir/bitstream/Ebook/32786/2/9781137269911.pdf#page=56.
The article defines climate change and its impacts on the society drawing on global warming. It identifies the problem with the science of climate change and discusses the politics of climate change. It highlights the problems and debates. It is relevant to the topic as the assignment is also about the climate change and its impact in the form of rising sea levels. It is a chapter from a book so it is credible to use for the assignment.