"'We don’t like being the poster child for climate change,' said the Rev. Jennifer Slade [of the Unitarian Church of Norfolk].... 'I don’t know many churches that have to put the tide chart on their Web site' so people know whether they can get to church."Norfolk sits on the east coast sea-level hotspot, where land subsidence of 0.12 inches a year (3.0 mm/yr) is adding to the global rise of the ocean. The mayor is, for now, avoiding the hard questions:
Put it all together, as VIMS (Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences) scientists did when they were asked by the General Assembly to study recurrent flooding in tidewater Virginia, and models suggest tides ranging from 1 1/2 feet to 7 1/2 feet higher by 2100.Yes, some parts of the city will have to be moved. Or just abandoned.
Five and a half feet represents “business as usual,” a vision of the future without “significant efforts by the world’s nations to curb greenhouse gases,” the report said. “Recent trends in Virginia sea levels suggest we are on [this] curve.”
Larry Atkinson, an oceanographer who is co-director of the Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative at Old Dominion University, said when the mayor was asked about the report, he waved away the question. “He says, ‘I can’t think about five feet. What do you want me to do, move the whole city?’ ”
In some places, adaptation is going to get ugly, and people are starting to get that.