Sea Level Risk Essay

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Good morning Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for your attention on this important topic. I am Madison Myones, Mayor of New Orleans, making an assessment of sea level risk in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, where 85 percent of the residents support funding additional research into renewable energy sources (Marlon & Howe, 2017). I speak on behalf of the citizens of Orleans Parish where our unique culture and vibrant heritage are under constant threat due to the impending risk of climate change and potential sea level rise that could engulf our entire county. Already we are seeing more coastal loss in Louisiana than anywhere else in the country; I fear that if sea level rise continues to go unchecked, our county will not …show more content…

Irrespective of its cause, the impacts of climate change include more frequent and severe weather, higher death rates, dirtier air, higher wildlife extinction rates, and higher sea levels (IPCC, 2014). Although each of these impact areas are significant and worthy of further discussion, it is the ramifications of sea level rise that brought me to discuss climate action today. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, almost 40% of the population lives in high population-dense coastal areas. Around the world, eight of the world’s ten largest cities are situated near a coast, with about 250 million people living by a coast line less than 5 feet above sea level. It is projected that all of these people will be directly affected in some way by seawater rising in the future (Siegert, 2017). For the county of Orleans Parish, the rapid loss of coastal land is not a future scenario, but a current reality. Due to our unique geography, Louisiana loses about 16 square miles a year; the rapid erosion of Louisiana’s cost is only expected to accelerate over time. (Wernick, 2014). As the earth's global temperature rises, the ocean is expected to encroach upon population-dense coastal areas because of melting permafrost and the thermal expansion of the water. When water in rivers cannot flow into the

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