A special committee of California lawmakers gathered Tuesday, for the first time in five years, to discuss sea level rise and what the state needs to do to better prepare coastal communities from devastating loss.
Flood projections keep getting worse, critical roads and infrastructure are mere feet from toppling into the sea, cities up and down the coast are paralyzed by the difficult choices ahead — the reality check was bleak as scientists and local leaders shared what they’re up against with the Assembly’s Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy.
The rising sea might feel like a slow-moving disaster, they said, but this is a social, economic and environmental catastrophe that the state cannot afford to ignore. By the end of this century, the sea could rise more than nine feet in California — possibly more if the great ice sheets collapse sooner than expected.
“We know the sea is rising. … This is not something that’s out there in the future, it’s happening now,” said Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas), who had requested to revive and chair this committee. “How do we preserve what’s wonderful about our coastline, but really face the realities of the next 100 years with sea level rise?
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