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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

We're Just Going to Try to Hold Back the Sea

Author: Reilly Capps/Friday, November 1, 2013/Categories: environment

By Reilly Capps 

The seas are rising and there are a few things we can do (besides live in the high country, which is what I do). 

1. Ignore the rising sea and hope everything works out -- the Homer Simpson strategy.

2. Retreat from the sea -- the doomsayer's strategy

3. Build higher sea walls -- the Dutch strategy. 

What is the future going to look like? As the beaches are eaten up by bigger storms and higher seas, and the land recedes, are people going to accept the march of water and move away? Or fight it? Who's stronger? Mother nature or us? Can't we kick this bitch's ass? 

The White House announced it is making adapting to climate change a priority. The Chinese -- whose decisions may matter most in the coming century -- may be leaning toward the third option. Rather than retreat, they are going to build up their defenses. 

It will cost less than 1 percent of GDP in certain areas, a recent study says, to build the sea walls high enough to hold back the sea.

Of course, there are a couple missing elements here. One, what about poorer countries, for whom building bigger sea walls will cost a much higher percentage of GDP? And what about carbon reduction? Is anybody talking about that anymore? Is it possible that discussion is over, and the greens lost? 

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