Locked in Climate Impacts: Political Implications

A report from the University of Exeter concluded: “Some climate change impacts already locked in, but the worst can still be avoided.” The report finds that sea level rise and coastal inundation cannot be reversed at this point. Many coastal areas are already lost.

But it is still possible to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, even with current circumstances in the world political arena. If the worst is avoided, what to do about those places already seen as lost. We know some sea intrusion can be combatted as the Dutch have persuasively shown. It is impossible though to save all areas faced with coastal inundation.

On what basis should we judge an area is worthy or deemed worth saving from sea level rise? Certainly, the richer countries will be able to do more. High population centers will want to be protected. Important resources or industrial centers may also serve critical roles that cannot be replaced. And then what of the areas that might be set aside to preserve natural environments? They will probably be the first to go.

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