Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Huffington Post has predicted a dystopian Mad Max / Hunger Games future, if we don’t mend our wicked ways – because they think nobody will be able to cope with rising seas. History says they are wrong – even if the sea does rise, flooding problems have been defeated many times, including in America.
With Global Warming the World Will Be a Much Poorer Place
Sky Garden Cities, The Dome, AquaCities: these fanciful names are attached to renderings of cities that will optimistically tower above threatening seas.
Getting to the business of climate adaptation should be on everyone’s mind. Recently German climate scientists estimated that sea levels are rising faster than the most conservative estimates. The bright fact: climate change is an uncontrolled experiment we triggered on the planetary systems on which our species depend for survival.
When sea level rise ramps up, who is going to pay for all the claims? Insurance companies? No. Taxpayers? Definitely not. In Florida, one federally funded taxpayer agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers, is working day and night, up and down the coastline, with bulldozers, tractors, and sand from the Bahamas and Mexico to reinforce tourist-friendly beaches against sea level rise. How long will Americans fund beach protection once sea level rise infiltrates trillions of dollars of urban infrastructure in coastal cities?
Dr. Harold Wanless, chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami and respected spokesperson on sea level rise, says taxpayers should be funding, now, for a rainy day when property owners will have to abandon coastal real estate in a mass migration from the coastlines. At least in the U.S., there is no indication that such common sense measures will materialize any time soon: nearly every member of the Republican controlled US Senate voted last week against acknowledging global warming is caused by humans.
I am beginning to believe that science fiction movie scenarios of the future are not so far off: some amalgam of Hunger Games, Sector 9, and Mad Max but with low-rent production values. As for gorgeous, highly-engineered futuristic cities deploying costly technologies to elevate taxpayers above rising seas? Methinks, not so much.
As WUWT reported in “Raising Chicago – how the City of Chicago defeated flooding in the 1850s”, the ancestors of today’s Americans, with 1850s technology, jacked up the entire city of Chicago to lift it out of the mud, including one building which weighed 27,000 tons.
Chicago wasn’t the only American city saved from the floods. At least one other city, the City of Seattle, the street level was raised by an entire floor to defeat flooding (h/t Harrowsceptic & commieBob).
Why does Huff Post think what Americans did in the 1800s could not be done today? Perhaps the HuffPost vision is of a future of feeble intermittent renewables and medieval deprivation. My vision is a little different.
From the first short powered flight in 1903, Americans reached the moon in 1969. Progress hasn’t stopped since that achievement – marvels like modern smart phones, which were impossible even a few years ago, are now ubiquitous. So my vision of the future contains artificial intelligence, nuclear power, vast industrial robots and an almost unimaginable capacity for engineering our world.
Of course, different regions of the world rise and fall. The HuffPost dystopia could become our reality, at least in the West, if we let it. Russia, Asia, even Africa, are ready and eager to pick up and carry the torch of progress, if we fall, if we listen to the voices of despair – if we talk ourselves into retreating, from the marvels and opportunities our ingenuity has created.