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James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—conclude that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years. Courtesy of Slate.com. Link to Hansen’s Report

Impact of Sea Level Rise

What does that mean to the San Diego Metropolitan area? To put it most vividly, Interstate 5 will be under water in at least 8 places south of Camp Pendleton and the jets landing at Lindbergh Field will need pontoons.

San Diego Map of Sea Level Rise Impact

The blue areas of San Diego will be under water with a 10 foot sea rise.

San Diego is hardly the most threatened city in California. At least 300,000 people will be underwater in the corridor from Stockton to Sacramento. The Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach face a much larger challenge than our city.

If San Diego does nothing, we will lose over a trillion dollars in real estate, recreational area and, most importantly, maritime industry including our Navy Harbor. Is there a solution?

Solution to Catastrophic Sea Rise

I propose that we go Dutch. Twenty-six percent of Holland is below sea level. I propose that the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) immediately begin plans to construct a 20 foot tall sea wall and levee system from Puente La Playa in Tijuana, Mexico to Point Loma. A separate stucture would be built to preserve Mission Bay. This would require that the Tijuana River be rerouted to the bottom of San Diego Bay.

Preserving commerce in the bay would require that a locking system be built at Point Loma to allow sea traffic in and out of the bay. The ecology of the bay would be preserved by allowing sea water to flow into the bay at the mouth of the Tijuana River but it would have to be pumped out at Point Loma. It might also be necessary to temporarily separate the flow of the Tijuana River into the bay in case of sewage contamination and that would require marine structures to be built.

Will there be challenges? The minimum cost for this project will be $50 Billion in today’s dollars. Wait a few years and the price will double or quadruple. The environmental impact and the engineering challenges will be significant. The Not-in-my-backyard crowd will stack this up in the courts for years.

My response to those concerns comes from the words of God to Noah as spoken by a recently disgraced comedian from his comedy routine of the sixties, “How long can you tread water?”

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