Flying Fish

Show me the money! Oh, wait…
by Nicole Carlozo -- December 6th, 2012

December rolled into town last weekend and with it came the pressing need to buy, buy, buy. Money is essential around the holiday season, whether you’re decorating your home, buying gifts, or donating to charities. Everything that we need carries costs.

The same can be said in the Coastal Environmental Field. The only difference is that Santa isn’t granting environmental wishes and fiscal needs aren’t restricted to one month per year.

I recently attended a Coastal Communities Exchange Workshop through the MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Annapolis, MD. At this workshop, DNR employees met with communities to talk about county-level coastal projects that were funded by state grants. The workshop served as an exchange of information, lessons learned, and project progress.

The day-long discussion got me thinking about money. With storms like Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc, and sea level rise on everyone’s minds, I’ve realized how much work our coastal communities have ahead of them to prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. And in these tough financial times with limited resources, how will the work be accomplished?

Unfortunately, money woes aren’t occurring solely at the local level. As the UN Climate talks convene this week, participants from developing and developed countries are discussing the financial needs and commitments that go hand-in-hand with emission reductions and global climate change.

Developed countries (i.e. the European Union, United States, Japan) have made fiscal commitments, essentially accepting responsibility for previous emissions. Concern still exists, however, over developing countries like China that are expected to produce the majority of emissions in the near future. In short, we are in a perpetual state of disagreement about…you guessed it. Money.

Regardless of the financial situation, our coastal communities will be impacted in the coming years. Here are just a few Chesapeake-centered climate facts to mull over in your spare time.

    • Maryland has experienced about one foot of relative sea level rise over the past century.
    • Maryland is expecting a 2.7 to 3.4 foot rise in seal level by 2100, depending on global emissions.
    • Chesapeake Bay water temperatures have been increasing about 0.4°F per decade.
    • Maryland may see a rise in air temperature from 4°F  to  9°F by the end of the century.
    • Maryland is planning for habitat shifts and changes to species ranges as coastal inundation and saltwater intrusion cause wetland migration and diebacks.
    • A change in timing and intensity of extreme storm events and rainfall is expected, with an increase in precipitation in the winter and spring. Precipitation may increase up to 10% by 2100, while more drought events are expected in the summer months.

What lies ahead is uncertain. Fortunately, funding does exist at the local level to help local communities adapt and address climate change. I hope that progress can be made at the global level to reduce emissions as our communities brace for changing coastlines.

©2016 Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
how to contact us > | login to the site > | site disclaimers >

footer nav stuff