Displacement Caused by Climate Change

An estimated 13 million Americans will be displaced by rising sea levels by the end of the 21st Century. How might we mitigate displacement caused by climate change? Also, how might we help communities better adapt to living in areas impacted by sea level rise?

I totally second this. I think this should be one of the challenges we need to think about and incentivize solutions for.

I wonder, @lancemcneill, whether we should also include mention of the potential benefits that climate change might have on people’s life, and how we can use them for the betterment of people’s lives. I know it sounds crazy, but if the sea level will indeed rise, won’t it mean for example that some new cities will become port cities? Or that some areas will be able to obtain food from the sea?

I know it sounds a little crazy, but this seems to be an aspect of climate change that no one is talking about. Not just how “might we adapt” to the changes, but “how can we actively make the changes work for us”.

There’s a Dutch architectural company that builds houses on water:

Nice! I see they’re even explicitly doing that with climate change in mind.

Definitely, and thank you for responding! I think adaptation is a broad enough term that it can include ways to maintain a quality of life and remain in areas affected by sea level rise.

True that, although I would love to think how we can actually make lemonade out of those lemons, instead of just diluting them until they can be swallowed.

The global problem I see is changing climates. In particular, large areas of the earth will be too dry to support much life unless–we solve the problems of fresh water. If we can move water around the planet in beneficial ways, it will create needed space for habitation. Hmm, maybe we can repurpose pipelines no longer needed for petroleum transport.

Here in the Netherlands, there are proposals to repurpose natural gas pipelines to green hydrogen.

The emerging challenge (for all nations, especially Northern ones) of Climate refugees is a critically important one. I foresee a not-so-far-off future of permanent and semi-permanent (mobile) climate refugee populations (‘mobile pops’) who, like so many non-human animal species, will be forced to move North (and perhaps also to higher altitudes). Indeed, we are already seeing this at our (U.S.) Southern border. This is a worthy topic for a potential future XPrize.

However, the ‘make-lemonade-from-lemons’ argument/perspective has some flaws. (which can be revealed by taking a holistic or systems view of the climate and global ocean ecosystem).

Concurrent with sea level rise are a number of additional crises: the emergence of anoxic ‘dead zones’, ocean acidification (which may favor some species and harm others), micro-plastic pollution, declining phytoplankton size (impacting food/nutrient intake for larger species), the collapse of entire (commercial) fish populations, species extinctions, altered ocean current circulation (N. Atlantic, Antarctic circumpolar current, etc.), loss of sea ice cover (esp. in the Arctic Circle), marine species migrations (e.g., Pacific to Atlantic), along with the general accumulation of human waster (in many forms) that will surely have growing negative impacts.

As just one example (relevant to Roey’s comment): an increase in the number of people (city populations) utilizing and/or depending (in part) on marine food sources will only place greater pressure on fish stocks, accelerating their collapse. As a preventative (and recovery strategy), regulatory measures to restrict or ban commercial fishing of certain species will need to be in place, and consumers will need to consume/purchase other species (that may not be native to their region). So, new ‘port cities’ engaging in fishing activity will be rather ‘late to the table’ and will only increase the need for regulatory control. Aquaculture may be useful here, but this will need to be scaled up massively and will also depend on availability of either fresh water (e.g. talipia) or sufficiently healthy marine water. Aquaculture also breeds parasitic life forms (like fish lice) and other diseases.

So, while I do not reject the idea of ‘benefiting from sea level rise’ out of hand, I do assert that this will not be a simple transition/achievement, may possibly make things worse, and will create any number of new challenges.

@Mehta, you may also have a perspective on this topic.

It sounds like the Marine Farming discussion is a good follow-up to that!

The lack of fresh water is a contrived problem! Overhead, the clouds contain 11 times more water than the runoff of all the rivers of the planet, and this water can be obtained at a ridiculous price of the order of a cent per m3 using the AirHES technology practically anywhere on the planet.