Aftermath of Climate Change: National Landmarks at Risk
by Olatomiwa Bifarin* (Advanced Biofuels USA) With the impact of climate change becoming evident by the day, many of the United States iconic landmarks are at risk as never before. On the 20th of May, 2014, The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) held a briefing on Capitol Hill, where they highlighted risks climate change poses to landmark historic sites in the United States and some likely solutions to the problem.
While some people still continue to wonder how global warming leads to drought, flooding, rise in sea level and other unpalatable effects. Here is an explanation in ‘plain’ science: with the global average rate of warming currently at 0.70F, the vicissitude in temperature makes an accretion in extreme heat more likely and because warmer air can hold more water vapor, it then becomes logical for us to experience more precipitation. Also, hotter conditions might lead to drought in some regions and also increased risk of wild fire.
Sea level rise, coastal erosion, and increased flooding have continued to threaten the archaeological sites, historic buildings and cultural landscapes. One of the impacts, apart from the obvious loss of cultural identity, is the disadvantage to tourism and local economies. For Instance, Hurricane Sandy alone caused an estimated $77 million in damages to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island among others.
To abate this dilemma, cultural resource managers have begun to amalgamate resiliency and adaptation measures with their planning process.
Additionally, in response to a question asked about how the adaptation and resiliency programs will be funded, Adam Markham, Director of Climate Impacts, Union of Concerned Scientist stated an obvious way to do this: carbon pricing. This will not only help to fund the programs, it will also be a pragmatic means to actuate awareness about the impact of carbon emissions beyond propitious levels.
Not just theory: climate change has gone beyond ‘permutations’ and ‘combinations’ of statistics, the impacts are now massive and irrefutable. This statement echoes the assertions at the EESI and UCS briefing. Therefore, it is imperative to begin now to prepare threatened landmarks to face worsening climate as well as minimize the risks by reducing the carbon emissions that cause climate change. Download Union of Concerned Scientists study
Materials (including the powerpoints) will be posted at www.eesi.org/briefings/view/052014landmarks
*Olatomiwa Bifarin is studying for his Masters degree in Biotechnology at The Catholic University of America. As an intern at Advanced Biofuels USA, he represents the organization and reports on events in Washington, DC, and nearby areas.