What does all the new development being planned for the Coast — beach restoration, the new Biloxi pier and interpretive center, new CSX crossings, the Gulfport aquarium, the endless, pointless port expansion — have in common?
None of it considers the near-certainty that, as the planet heats up rapidly, sea levels will rise 6 feet in this century.
That nobody in authority seems to know this betokens a breathtaking ignorance. Coast mayors, the governor and our congressional delegation all think the climate they’ve always known will persist, despite the world scientific establishment screaming about climate disruptions and sea-level rise like their lab coats are on fire.
If you want to see why they’re screaming, watch for news about the increasing rate of ice-shelf disintegration in Antarctica, both West Antarctica — which has long been unstable — and East Antarctica, which scientists now say in being melted from below by a warming, expanding ocean.
These ice shelves act like “bathtub plugs,” but instead of keeping water in a tub, they keep glaciers on the continent of Antarctica from melting and calving into the ocean, raising sea levels worldwide.
All over the world — including in Miami and St Augustine, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina — seaside communities are fortifying against flooding; changing elevation requirements for new buildings; and designing ways to surrender land to the sea without harming businesses or compromising infrastructure.
Coast leaders need to get their collective heads out of the sand, beach restoration or not. We live on the same warming, rising ocean as Florida and South Carolina.