Ocean levels have been rising and falling for billions of years. During the Ice Age, ocean levels were so low that “Native” Americans got to America by walking from Russia to Alaska. Ocean levels have been rising for the past 10,000 years as giant ice sheets which once covered most of New Jersey melted. Cleopatra’s palace in Egypt has been under water for centuries. Here in New Jersey, beaches in towns like Ocean City, Strathmere, Sea Isle City, and Cape May Point have been shrinking. Beaches in towns like Wildwood have been growing. Beaches in Margate and most of Atlantic City have stayed the same.
People today build houses and hotels as close to the ocean and bay as they can because they enjoy the view and like being close to where they can swim or use their boats. Properties closest to the the ocean and back bays (and most threatened by storms and floods) are far more valuable than “safe” properties on higher ground further inland.
It is true that if ocean levels rise, people with expensive homes by the water would suffer financial loss. They would have to move their beach or bayfront homes to higher ground. Or they would have to rebuild further inland.
However, it is also true that people with ocean or bayfront homes would also suffer financial loss if sea levels fell! These homes would lost most of their value if they were far from the water. Owners would have to move their homes closer to the water or rebuild to enjoy what they had before.
It is foolish to spend money to try to stop oceans from rising and falling. It is much smarter and less expensve to adjust to those changes my moving or rebuilding. Humans have adapted to changing sea levels for thousands of years.
It is important to remember that seal levels change for many reasons other than climate change. Rising and falling land masses also cause sea levels to change. Islands in Chesapeake Bay are flooded because the land is sinking–not because the water is rising.
Finally, if expensive properties near the bay and ocean are usually owned by wealthier people who choose to live or vacation close to the water, why those with less wealth be taxed to try to preserve the value of those properties?
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Seth Grossman, Executive Director