But even a couple of metres spells disaster for most coastal cities, and the 600mm projected rise over the next 80 years increasingly looks to be unduly optimistic.
We've reached the melting point and we need to get ready for the consequences.
When ice melts to water, it absorbs a fair amount of energy without changing temperature, is my recollection of high school physics.
This is true if there are no seasons, but of course more ice will form in the winter. But it's still worth thinking about over the long run. You don't need 30 degrees celsius to melt ice - 1 degree will do. It will just be slower.
It's true that it doesn't take a significant change in temperature to melt ice, but temperature is not "what it takes" - it takes heat.
A lot of people have incentive to find solutions to maintain the shoreline in some usable manner, or some facsimile thereof. Insurance companies are finding it super hard to figure out what the premiums should be for insuring this problem, and if they can't figure it out easily, how can buyers/sellers, especially in the short-term compared to long-term?
> A recent Harvard University study tracked the property values of more than 100,000 single-family homes across Miami going back to the early 1970s. It showed that values of homes along Miami's coastline have been dropping, while those at higher elevations are increasing.
You've got to get the timing right too, a property 4 meters above sea level might only be beach front for a decade before another meter of rise swallows it, to invest you'd have to assume someone would buy it at that point. There would likely be enough buildings and trees visible in the water to remind any potential buyer of their short sightedness.
Not all waterside property is equal either. There won't be time for a beach to form on your waterfront, so it wont command the sort of values that many do today. Nearby structures out in the water would make for a poor boating and fishing experience and probably give a pretty gloomy ocean view.
There is more than enough uncertainty to make it a poor investment, even if the science was 100% certain.
It will take 1000 years of melting to meet the Hollywood style sea level rise.
They're obviously unsightly, but I wouldn't be surprised if other developed countries eventually adopted the same solution to sea level rise. Humanity is pretty good at building walls around itself; it's not so good at enduring a bit of inconvenience right now to prevent disaster later.
In many places the ground itself is quite porous (not sure on the statistics of how many major cities), so barriers like that can't work unless you build them down to the bedrock.
The harbor will also have to remain outside of the wall. In the event of a tsunami, any boat left in the harbor will be toast. It's a cost that the city is willing to bear in order to protect the majority of its residents from an existential threat.
If what you're worried about is sea level rise, not a tsunami, then the harbor is not a problem at all. You just build the harbor higher so it stays above the new sea level. The massive concrete backside of the harbor could even form a section of the wall.
These houses will have to be rebuilt anyway by the time the sea level rises enough to be a problem and the retirees who currently occupy them have passed away. I suppose the next generation will simply build a few feet higher. Meanwhile, the government keeps pouring new sand onto beaches to make up for erosion. Waterfront properties in Florida do get flooded from time to time, but most people are content to blame more immediate causes such as poor drainage systems.
We as a species are remarkably good at pretending that nothing is happening -- this quarter, this year, during my term in office, or within my lifetime.
> “I take issue with using ‘tipping point’ to describe the accelerating mass loss Greenland is experiencing,”
> Dr. Trusel agreed that talk of tipping points could discount the humans’ ability to mitigate global warming. because “it makes it appear as if we have passed, or soon will pass, the point of no return.” She said she saw reasons for hope.
And it becomes clear that the 'reasons for hope' are vague & wild misty-eyed theoretical dreams, against all of the prevailing trends and evidence, of global political change. Even scientists must believe in miracles, it seems.
Setting a deadline provides no wins for enacting meaningful change.
We've had this 'serious issue' to deal with for 40 years or more. It is still technically feasible to do something, but the window of political possibility has clearly passed.
I am... hopelessly optimistic... but with that said I feel like climate change awareness has really increased since the last presidential election. My terrible optimism is fueling my hope that it'll play a more central role in our next round of policy pushing.
It was a long time ago. What I remember the most was being in awe of the existence of this place where ice and snow existed in such enormous quantities, that it felt like a wilderness that stretched on forever.
One of the side effects of getting older is that the world seems smaller. Particularly growing up in the past couple of decades, during the Information Age.
But the idea that these vast, frozen parts of the planet may someday disappear — in my lifetime no less — that’s a hard one to process.
I not trying to be sarcastic, just thinking about it.
Edit: But, I suppose my original comment was more about a sentimentalism of the planet the way I imagined it as a child.
Also, about 63% of the earth's landmass ( 70% if we ignore antarctica ) is located in the northern hemisphere. Much of that is siberia, alaska and canada. If you are looking to buy land, it'll be far smarter to buy in these areas or the frigid upper midwest. These areas are going to be habitable and farmable far before greenland will ever be.
If I was Russia I'd be doing everything I could to undermine climate change prevention. They have a lot to gain. On top of an increase in farmland, they'll also get access to currently inaccessible oil and gas. As a bonus their enemies will reap the negative impacts of climate change.
Honestly? You would? You want to see vast amounts of suffering for your own gain?
> They have a lot to gain.
Well possibly if they want to live as survivalists. Perhaps some Russians do, but I've only known a couple of Muscovites who would barely know a potato from a turnip. The international order (such as it is) isn't remotely in the ballpark of being resilient enough to survive the convulsions climate change is going to cause.
No. But I'm not a nation state who wants to reclaim its former glory as a world super power. Hence, "if I was Russia". I didn't say "if I was myself"...
> Well possibly if they want to live as survivalists. Perhaps some Russians do, but I've only known a couple of Muscovites who would barely know a potato from a turnip. The international order (such as it is) isn't remotely in the ballpark of being resilient enough to survive the convulsions climate change is going to cause.
They wont live as survivalists if they have the worlds most productive farmland. Anyway I doubt climate change is going to render the world inhabitable to humans or decimate the global economy. We'll adapt we always do. There'll just be winners and losers. Most will lose and there will be hardships. The natural ecosystems will be fucked but in the end we'll still be here doing just fine.
Fair enough. Though in context you do seem to be promoting it as an investment strategy, which still seems a tad sociopathic to me.
> We'll adapt we always do.
If by 'we' you mean H Sapiens - true so far, but then again modern humans are very recent, so there's little history to go on.
If by 'we' you mean our specific civilisation - shakier ground. Many have ended. So can ours. Based on how small edge fluctuations have been shown to create huge perturbations (eg. the 2015 European crisis resultant on a tiny influx of refugees), it's clear our global civilisation's range of dynamic stability is very narrow. It's certainly unlikely to survive ecosystem collapses, the death of the oceans (already well advanced), and the breakdown of a stable climate. Multiple overlapping wars consequent on this chaos are the most likely proximate cause of the final global collapse.
I was just providing a potentially more lucrative investment than Greenland. That said I would by future farmland if i had the kind of money that could wait for 50 years for a return.
> If by 'we' you mean H Sapiens
I was referring to homo sapiens global civilization, not a specific civilization. This civilization has survived terrible wars in the past. I agree that its range of dynamic stability is very narrow for optimal performance. But disagree that falling outside that range triggers collapse. I think it is a much more adaptive and fault tolerant system than you believe it is. It may be damaged by easily but it fixes things relatively quickly.
By the way i didn't down vote you. I'm enjoying the banter. And I am very much in support of curbing emissions to prevent further warming.
While that's true, I don't think any past war is remotely comparable to a 7-12 billion-strong human population fighting to maintain unrealistic material consumption levels whilst ecosystems continue to collapse.
Only time will tell. The one thing we can be sure about re predictions on this scale is that our likelihood estimates are wrong.
> By the way i didn't down vote you
No worries - I actually wouldn't have noticed as I don't use the voting system on comments. The 'sociopathic' word might have merited it. Perhaps a bit sharp. Or maybe not - I think our 'civilisation' promotes much sociopathy as mainstream. Few of us can in practise be free of that.
to chime in:
Russia may want to heat up the world, but would that not result in having to defend their borders from a mass migration inland?
the sociopathic part might not the global warming, rather denying the refugees entrance to your country, forcing them to "drown"
I ponder: may COLD rank next to water, air, food, as precious global resources?
Probably not. It won't be completely ice free for at least a century and probably several, so you'll be dead by the time you see the results. After that the land will be bedrock and probably not much use to anyone. Even a poorly performing indexed fund would probably be a better investment.
At worst, she said she "takes issue with" with the "tipping point" phrase, which is not remotely the same as saying it's inaccurate and irresponsible.
Furthermore, her "issue with" it appears to be related to a political concern that the phrase will sap people's sense of agency. It's not entirely clear.
(As far as her reasons for thinking it's too soon to give in to despair is, all the reporter gives us is, "She said she saw reasons for hope." There is zero additional information provided as to what those reasons might be.)
Inaccurate because she said it’s claiming something that isn’t true.
And irresponsible because it will sap the political will to do something about it.
The scientist literally told her that the entire concept of a tipping point did not apply here. That gives a totally different sense of urgency to the title.
>it makes it appear as if we have passed...return
The scientist is concerned over the literal definition of a turning point.
There is no evidence that more emotion will help get the political support required to do anything. Using emotion just enable your opponent to more easily block out your message.
I do agree that we need to change approaches. We aren’t going to win by fighting the fossil fuel owners head on (they are too rich and powerful), but by buying them out. Let’s stop with efforts that effectively steal their assets (i.e. forcing them to keep the carbon in the ground) and start by buying the carbon off them at market rates and then leaving it in the ground.
No coincidence that both nations are big fossil fuel producers.
Scientists are politically leaning on the data to downplay what the science shows.
Things are bad, and getting worse fast (and faster each year than the year before).
What we have is an accelerating process that will soon pass beyond our ability to absorb, deflect, or survive. The words absolutely affect the thinking for how to deal with the problem. The words also affect the arguments one will have to overcome in order to act. (Not counting the head in the sand argument of "no it isn't".)
SMDH at myself, too, for giving in to the temptation to just blat out a quick frustration despite knowing this is exactly the kind of nerd-sniping that can get us commentariat more worked up than the actual issue.
Sorry for the noise, folks. I mean, the meta isn't total noise, but remember to spend focus on the actual climate change too, shall we?
I've tried to get the article by Jeff Colgan, but MIT Press won't let me. But I think that this is mainly toxic chemical waste. PCBs etc. Not nuclear waste, or at least not high-level waste.