The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported Monday. Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling.
In recent years, a variety of Republican policymakers have identified rising sea levels as one of those things people just aren't supposed to talk about.
In 2012, for example, GOP officials in North Carolina tried to prohibit a state-appointed science panel from relying on the scientific evidence related to sea levels. Around the same time, Republican state lawmakers in Virginia commissioned a study on climate change and the state's Eastern shore, but "sea level rise" was to be omitted. The GOP sponsor of the study pointed to "sea level rise" as an example of "liberal code words."
But the funny thing about reality is just how little it cares about the far-right's ideological agenda. The New York Times reported yesterday:
The Times piece noted related research that "confirmed previous forecasts that if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100. Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many coastal cities."
That would very likely include cities like Miami, Florida -- where Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, a climate denier who believes we must do nothing about the crisis, lives.
Indeed, about a month ago, 15 Florida mayors sent a letter to Rubio, asking -- practically begging -- for a meeting with the senator to discuss the effects of global warming on their communities.
At an event in New Hampshire, just a couple of days before the GOP primary, the senator said he would meet with the mayors at some point, though he quickly added, "But I can tell you right now I'm not going to destroy our economy. The climate's never been the same -- it's always changed."
History will not be kind.