A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that is best known for its fight to end humanity’s acceleration of climate change, has found that as many as 30 American landmarks will be damaged or completely destroyed if climate change is left to continue at its current rate. Between now and the year 2100, water levels across the world’s oceans are set to increase by an average of three feet. In Jamestown, that number jumps to six feet, a number most believe spells the complete destruction of one of the United States’ most important historical landmarks. Other sites, most notably the Statue of Liberty National Monument on Liberty Island, NY, won’t disappear quite so quickly, but as increased erosion eats away at the park that forms its foundation, the stability and longevity of the lucrative attraction is being called into question.
Of Course, History isn’t the Only Thing at Risk
The United States’ historical sites and national treasures aren’t the only thing at risk as sea levels continue to climb. There are also people living along these coastal areas to consider and many other losses the country will have to deal with if no action is taken.
One of the biggest losses going forward could be one of America’s strongest economic sectors. The luxury homes market has grown by 35.7% year-over-year, thanks in no small part to the increase in demand for high-end waterfront properties. You can see the problem already. As erosion picks up steam, the definition of waterfront property is rapidly being rewritten. Homeowners looking for a luxury home aren’t going to want to invest in a piece of land, only to have it literally disappear as time goes forward.
Defenses Exist, but Implementation Remains a Challenge
This isn’t to say all of this is inevitable. If steps recommend by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were seriously considered and implemented, both on the state and federal levels, erosion could at least be slowed while other governmental entities take the necessary steps to help stem climate change altogether. Having said that, of course, political polarization and prevalent ideology isn’t going to allow us to take any common sense steps forward anytime soon.