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Study: Sea level rise could impact Wilmington in next few decades

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Rising temperatures worldwide could soon lead to rising tides in and around the Port City.

A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences says sea level is on the rise and unless we change the way we do things today there may not be a way to stop it.

If the computer models are correct, the Wilmington riverfront could by underwater as soon as 2030.

"The evidence is in our face," said Mike Giles of the NC Coastal Federeation. "What we're facing here in Wilmington is the loss of homes, business, tourism, infrastructure, and it's going to cost taxpayers money if we don't start planning ahead."

The National Academy of Sciences says prior carbon emissions have already locked in four feet of future sea level rise. Researchers say if global warming continues at its current rate through the year 2100, at least an additional 1,100 cities and towns, including Wilmington, will be mostly under water at high tide.

"From all of the scientific evidence all over the world, all of the data, lands that I have walked on in Alaska friends of mine say is no longer frozen the tundra is now quagmire," Giles said. "Our elected officials, their heads are going to be in the water instead of sand if we don't start planning ahead."

But one politician who wants your vote says the evidence presented was a bit shallow.

Republican David Rouzer is again running for Congress. As a state senator he sponsored a bill barring state agencies from using "worst-case scenario" projections of sea-level rise when drafting coastal development policies.

"You can't try to project the level the sea is going to rise or fall 100 years from now," Rouzer said. "You have scientists on both sides who don't agree. Let's put some common sense back into this equation. We need to base our public policy on what we do know, which is sound science, not hypothesis. The earth has warmed and cooled since the beginning of time."

The study based its findings off of four feet of sea level rise for each degree rise in global temperature.

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