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Airport battles, Climate

The Planet Strikes Back: Rising sea levels could flood San Francisco Airport

Aviation is responsible for 4.9% of climate change, making it one of the most climate-destructive industries on the planet. So there’s particular irony in the fact that climate change threatens to aviation industry’s own infrastructure.

A new report from the National Research Council shows that if current trends continue, sea levels along the California coastline could rise as much as 30 centimeters in the next 20 years. Acording to analysis by the Bay Citizen:

“Airports, stadiums and housing developments in the Bay Area were built just a few feet over the highest tides on landfill, which means San Francisco International Airport could flood within decades.”

And it’s not just the airport at risk. The Bay Citizen continues:

“Some residents already have been forced to leave their homes in the town of Pacifica, south of San Francisco, due to the erosion of sediment from cliffs. Bluffs and cliffs are retreating in Santa Cruz and San Diego counties, too. Housing developments constructed on sand dunes are threatened and already have been damaged…The council finds that sea-level rise and storms already have caused ‘significant coastal retreat,’ and its projections for sea levels near California are higher than what the scientists anticipate will occur globally.

Who will pay if San Francisco International Airport is at risk of flooding? Will it be be the aviation industry itself, which caused the problem and put both itself and citizens at risk—or will taxpayers be forced to pay for the aviation industry’s willful destruction of our climate?

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About Anirvan Chatterjee

Anirvan Chatterjee is a bibliophile, technologist, and climate activist from Berkeley, California.

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