According to a new study in the journal Nature, titled “Demographics and risk of isolation due to sea level rise in the United States,”This study concluded that Blacks and Hispanics are more likely than Whites to suffer the consequences of coastal flooding.
The conclusions of this research are based primarily on sea level rise (SLR). The authors say the effects are “inundation” and lack of “access to critical services.” Loss of access to transportation will also become a major problem. Much of their data came from the OpenStreetMap (OSM) road network and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). One yardstick used in this study is sea level rise (SLR) between 1 foot and 10 feet.
A map of the US, which is part of the study, shows a high risk of SLR in the Seattle area, parts of northern and southern California, New Orleans, and much of the East Coast from Maine to North Carolina.
The conclusion of this study was “We examine the uneven burden of risk of isolation, demonstrating that historically marginalized populations such as Black and Hispanic populations are predicted to face a disproportionately greater risk of isolation, even at intermediate levels of SLR.” A solution suggested by the researchers is urgent improvement of transportation access to geographical areas at greatest risk.
The construction necessary to improve this transportation system will cost billions of dollars. There is no evidence that the federal government will fund this. An alternative is for many “at risk” people to move.
Minorities in America who face climate change challenges share another problem with disadvantaged populations around the world. They cannot afford to move or are blocked by geopolitical problems. However, remaining in their at-risk communities produces a clear and existential risk.