Saturday, June 27, 2015

Climate Change Could Cause More Than $40 Billion in Damage to National Parks

(Credit: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Click to Enlarge.
A report released this week by the National Park Service (NPS) found that sea level rise — a phenomenon caused by climate change — could cause more than $40 billion in damage to America’s national parks.

The report, released in time for the two-year anniversary of the announcement of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, examines the effects of a sea level rise on 40 coastal national parks across the United States.  The NPS study examined “assets” in each national park, defined as historic sites, infrastructure, museum collections, and other cultural resources, finding that over 39 percent of the 10,000 assets were categorized as “high-exposure” to sea-level rise caused by climate change.

In total, it found, damages to high-exposure assets would cost taxpayers more than $40 billion.

“Climate change is visible at national parks across the country, but this report underscores the economic importance of cutting carbon pollution and making public lands more resilient to its dangerous impacts,” said Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a press release on Tuesday.  Jewell also expressed hope that the NPS research could be used to “help protect some of America’s most iconic places.”

According to the study, low-lying coastal parks in the NPS’s Southeast Region will face the greatest risk for damage.  Cost estimates of rebuilding infrastructure and assets at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a prominent national park in North Carolina, stand at $1.2 billion.  In addition to the Southeast regions, high exposure sites include the Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate, and the Redwoods.

Though the rise in sea level will vary based on location, in general scientists project that a one meter rise will occur over the next 100 to 150 years.

Read more at Climate Change Could Cause More Than $40 Billion in Damage to National Parks

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