Shifting Climate And Sea Levels Have DE Leaders Demanding Change - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Shifting Climate And Sea Levels Have DE Leaders Demanding Change

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Global concerns over rising sea levels and warmer temperatures are nothing new in the public conversation.

But a new study foresees a troubling future for areas, including Delaware.

Twenty five percent of Delaware cities below sea water at high tide. It may sound improbable, but according to ClimateCentral.org, it could be a reality for the First State by the end of the century. This includes Rehoboth Beach and if global climate emissions keep increasing, average sea levels could rise upwards of 23 feet by that point.

"We think we know what's causing [sea level rising]," said Del. Speaker of the House Peter Schwartzkopf. "We think we know carbon pollution is a big part of it.  The biggest thing in President Obama's plan is ordering the EPA to establish the emissions of carbon in power plants."

In June, President Obama released his plan to fight climate change after close to 40 percent of states, Delaware included, had record-high temperatures.

"By mid-century, temperatures could increase," said Neelam Patel, the climate program lead at DNREC. "The average temperature could increase from anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit."

Janet Orlando, who lives in Lewes, says after Super storm Sandy last year, she was "quite nervous. I live in a manufactured home and we were quite nervous about the wind problems and the flooding.

"I have many friends and neighbors who are affected by the sea level rise problems here and we're all very concerned."

On Wednesday, Schwartzkopf (D), members from DNREC and supporters walked the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk to discuss their plans to lower carbon emissions and rising sea levels. The change officials say could lower the risk? Capping emissions for major corporations and bringing a wind turbine farm back on the table. A more than 200 wind turbine farm had been proposed six miles offshore since last decade.

Schwartzkopf says he thinks the wind farm will be resurrected, but says Congress needs to re-ignite talks in order to receive federal funding.

"I don't think they really care about sea level rise. It doesn't effect them, so I don't know that they care, but they need to be aware of it," said Schwartzkopf. "They represent our whole country and they need to do what's best for our whole country, not just what's best for their whole state."

Currently, DNREC is working on a "Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment," projecting future risks. They say it will determine the state's planning and strategy moving forward and expect to complete the assessment this year.

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