The Rising Tide

Sea level rise is real.

William and Mary’s Virginia Institute for Marine Science is starting a program of reports for 32 locations along the US coastline from Maine to Alaska. The reports will be updated in January of each year.

I met a gentleman on a recent flight to Atlanta. He’s raising his home in a lowlying section of Virginia Beach six feet off the ground to protect it from storm surge.  Arguably, his neighbors are going to have to do the same. As we’ve seen with the failure of sea walls in Massachusetts, in a fight with Mother Nature, she wins.

Why do these reports matter? Developers see profits in building homes as close to water as possible. (After all, they’re going to sell and leave, not live there.) Buyers often don’t think about the future — although the cost of flood insurance is an emerging deterrent to purchase. In most areas, especially in the South, local government does little or nothing to prevent absurd construction. Buyer beware.

In the past, homeowners have counted on government assistance to bail them out. That led to the hypocritical paradox of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas: he held up funding for NJ residents after Hurricane Sandy, and then demanded immediate action for Texas residents when Houston got hit. Apparently, Conservatives will support “Big Government” when they get the money.


  1. Virginia Institute of Marine Science. “First-annual sea-level report cards: Interactive graphs project sea-level changes to 2050 for 32 US localities.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2018. <>.

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