Ask Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of the U.S. military’s sprawling Pacific Command, what his most serious threat is, and you might be surprised. There’s a long list of possibilities, after all: North Korean nukes, rising Chinese military power and aggressive cyberespionage, multiple territorial disputes between major powers and persistent insurgencies from the Philippines to Thailand, not to mention protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable shipping choke points. Add all of that up, though, and there’s something even more dangerous to keep even the most seasoned military officer up at night: the looming disaster of climate change.
July 15, 2013
Whether you’re rollerblading along Venice Beach, downing a prawn or 12 at San Francisco’s Pier 33, or shagging foul balls at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, the West Coast of the United States offers up thousands of miles of coastline and hundreds of iconic locales to match. More importantly, 39 percent of America’s population, some 123 million people, call America’s coastline home, a number that’s expected to rise 20 million by 2020, according to NOAA.
But the West Coast we all know and love may be under as much as 25 feet of water in the years to come. National Geographic reports that Global Mean Sea Levels have risen 4 to 8 inches over the past century, and more alarmingly, the rate at which the sea-level rises has doubled over the past 20 years.