Kudos to U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, for introducing HR-6752: the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act. Given our vulnerability to sea level rise, it is critical that we attract federal dollars to prepare for inevitable flooding, and those dollars will be cost-effective. A Pew Charitable Trust report shows that taxpayers save an average of $6 in disaster response and recovery for every $1 spent on disaster preparation.
But the ultimate cost will depend on how high the sea rises. The California Coastal Commission recently released an update to its Sea Level Policy Guidance report. It projects that “ by the year 2100, sea levels may rise by approximately 2.4 to 6.9 feet, with the potential for rapid ice loss to result in an extreme scenario of 10.2 feet.”
6.9 feet and more will be the result of business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, our members of Congress must go beyond HR-6752 and pass legislation reducing greenhouse gas emissions to levels that are 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Without such legislation, our capacity to adapt to sea level rise in the Bay Area will be unaffordable.