LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A climate-centered nonprofit has shown in models how around 50 cities around the world can potentially change or even disappear as a result of climate change.
“Their ability to exist in the future depends on the actions we take,” said Benjamin Strauss, CEO of Climate Central.
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Strauss’ nonprofit Climate Central did the research and created startling images of landmarks around the world, including a few parts of Southern California like Long Beach and Huntington Beach that were affected by rising sea levels.
The Santa Monica pier is a landmark seen from both the earth and the sky above, but these models show that it can all disappear and in 100 years may look completely different.
The model shows the Santa Monica Boardwalk underwater, projects that climate scientists said could come true in the next few centuries if temperatures and sea levels rise without human intervention.
“It’s really sad to think that one day it could disappear under the rising sea,” Strauss said.
The projections range from 1 to 4 degrees warming, with the worst-case scenarios showing the sea rising by more than 20 feet.
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In photos of Long Beach, high tide pushes all the way into the 405 Freeway, and much of Huntington is also underwater.
“Actually, neighborhoods from the Golden West all the way to Los Altos would all be well below sea level, could be almost 10 feet,” Strauss said.
Although images like these may be thousands of years inside our future, scientists said climate change is already wreaking havoc along our coastline.
“It simply came to our notice then. This is happening right now, ”said John Dorsey, a professor at Loyola Marymount.
Dorsey examines rising sea levels and points out that we are losing our beaches and the tourists they bring can drain our local economy. He also said we would lose infrastructure, e.g. Water pipes, sewers and highways.
“IF we get this coastal erosion that can erode and start destroying that kind of infrastructure, we’ll pay billions of dollars to try to move it inland,” Dorsey said.
Climate scientists say some of this could be avoided if we take big steps to reduce emissions in the next decade.
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On Thursday, it was announced that President Biden will travel to Europe for the UN’s annual climate conference in a few weeks.
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