California spells out climate action

California has issued the first of 40 reports on global-warming impacts and adaptation, outlining what the most populous American state’s residents must do to deal with floods, erosion and other effects expected from rising sea levels, the Los Angeles Times reported. “Immediate action is needed,” said Linda Adams, California’s environmental protection secretary.


The state’s interagency Climate Action Team floated several radical proposals: limit coastal development in areas at risk from sea rise; consider phased abandonment of certain areas; halt federally subsidised insurance for property likely to be inundated; and require coastal structures to be built to adapt to climate change.

Few topics are likely to be more contentious than coastal development, the newspaper said. But along California’s 3,200-kilometre shoreline, the effects of sea-level rise would be acute. Residential neighbourhoods, airports and seaports could be inundated, while roads, schools, hospitals, sewage plants and power plants may have to be relocated. More than 330 hazardous waste sites also could be at risk from floods.

Further reports will examine climate effects on hospital admissions, mortality rates, pollution and animal and plant habitats. Experts in the Netherlands have been consulted on how to armour the coast with improved dykes and sea walls, but other experts say such measures will increase erosion.

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