Can We Stop Sea Level Rise?

The view from aerial tour of Hurricane Sandy damage of New Jersey’s barrier beaches, Nov. 18, 2012.
(Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

In the short term, no. Because people have been burning fossil fuels since the industrial revolution, CO2 is already in our atmosphere. These gases can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years before being removed by natural processes. The warming influence of CO2s will go into the next century. Unfortunately we can’t halt the sea level rise that will occur in the next 50-100 years. However we can reduce our carbon emissions to help future generations. The choices we make today will determine how rapidly sea level rise accelerates, as well as whether communities are sufficiently prepared to adapt.