Report: Global Warming, Sea Level Rise Could Impact California Coastline

San Francisco Golden Gate (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)
Joel Pollak / Breitbart News

A new state-commissioned report on the effect of global warming (a.k.a. “climate change”) on sea levels have concluded that the impacts on the California coastline could be disproportionate, with local sea levels rising 1.25 feet for every one-foot increase caused by melting ice in West Antarctica.

There is a 67% probability that the mean rise in the San Francisco Bay could fall in a range between one and 2.4 feet if action is taken to slow climate change, and 1.6-3.4 feet if none is taken, the report says.

The San Francisco Chronicle uses the term “catastrophic” to describe that rise, although that term is not used by the report itself. Indeed, the only time the report uses that word in association with any prediction is to conclude that the loss of ice in Greenland will likely not prove catastrophic. The report’s overall focus is on Antarctica, which the study suggests could affect California most directly, as melting Antarctic ice becomes the biggest driver of sea level rise.

While the report urges urgent policy changes, it also concludes that such changes may have a limited effect, regardless: “Aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” it says, “may substantially reduce but do not eliminate the risk
to California of extreme sea-level rise from Antarctic ice loss.” Given the probability of sea level rises, “preparedness efforts, adaptation actions and hazard mitigation undertaken today” can help prevent damage along the coastline.

California government officials have occasionally overhyped the threat to coastal areas. In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown predicted ominously that rising sea levels could force Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to be moved (a step that many locals might welcome in any case). He was forced to correct that statement after it was pointed out that LAX is at least 108 feet above sea level, and therefore safe from rising seas even under the most extreme scenario.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.