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Coastal Flooding is Climate Change

September 5, 2016
Plain English Version
A lion swims in its exhibit following flooding at Zoo Miami caused by days of heavy rain in South Florida. Photo by Ron Magill, Zoo Goodwill Ambassador/Communications Director

A lion swims in its exhibit following flooding at Zoo Miami caused by days of heavy rain in South Florida. Photo by Ron Magill, Zoo Goodwill Ambassador/Communications Director

This is Labor Day in the United States. It is a day to honor the American worker.

Today’s Labor Day sees a storm raging off the East Coast of the nation. Scientists are saying the storm is not a sign of things to come. Rather, it is a sign of things already here. Climate change is real. It is causing sea levels to rise. It is leading to flooding on both coasts and along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

The scientists are more certain than ever. The ocean is warming. It is creating “sunny day floods.” These are floods that happen when the tide is high, and there is a brisk wind.

These floods are often just a foot or two deep. But they can stop traffic and swamp basements. They make it hard for storm water to drain. They can happen even when there is no rain.

Low-lying areas of the nation, such as Miami, are taking steps. They are building sea walls and enlarging their drainage systems. They plan to raise roads to higher levels along the coast.

Many believe that the work of the nation in the future will be about climate change. The problem is real, here and now. The big question is how fast is it taking place. Not all the nation will be underwater. Only certain parts of it.

For some reason, climate change is a partisan issue. Republicans dispute that it is happening. They currently control the Congress. That means that the government will not spend funds to deal with climate change. It also means that programs to find ways to reduce climate change will go unfunded.

President Obama is in China. The Chinese and American governments agree about the danger of climate change. They have agreed to reduce carbon emissions.  Carbon is a big reason for global warming.

No matter who is president, climate change is occurring.  What does matter is whether the U.S. will begin to prepare for the changes.

Source: The New York Times September 3, 2016

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