LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A climate-focused nonprofit has shown in models how some 50 cities around the world could potentially change or even disappear due to climate change.
“Their ability to exist in the future depends on the actions we take,” said Benjamin Strauss, CEO of Climate Central.
Strauss’ nonprofit, Climate Central, did the research and created startling images of landmarks around the world, including parts of Southern California like Long Beach and Huntington Beach hit by the sea level rise.
The Santa Monica Pier is a landmark seen from both the ground and the sky, but these models show that it could all be gone and, in 100 years, could look very different.
The model shows the Santa Monica Boardwalk underwater, which climate scientists project could come true in the next few centuries if temperatures and sea levels rise without human intervention.
“It’s really sad to think that it could one day disappear under the rising sea,” Strauss said.
Projections range from 1 to 4 degrees of warming, with worst-case scenarios showing seas rising over 20 feet.
In the Long Beach photos, high tides are pushing up to the 405 freeway, and much of Huntington is also under water.
“Really, the neighborhoods from Golden West down to Los Altos would all be well below sea level, could be almost 10 feet,” Strauss said.
While images like these could be thousands of years in our future, scientists say climate change is already wreaking havoc along our coastline.
“It’s not something that’s happening in the future. It’s happening right now,” said Loyola Marymount professor John Dorsey.
Dorsey studies sea level rise and points out that the loss of our beaches and the tourists they bring could deplete our local economy. He also said we would lose infrastructure, like water lines, sewer lines and highways.
“If we get this coastal erosion that could erode and start destroying this kind of infrastructure, we’ll be paying billions of dollars to try and move that inland,” Dorsey said.
Climate scientists say some of this could be avoided if we take major steps to reduce emissions over the next decade.
On Thursday, it was announced that President Biden would travel to Europe for the annual United Nations climate change conference in just weeks.