Professors at Columbia University pressed lawmakers to take advantage of widespread public interest in global warming after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy before a lifeless economy and the “fiscal cliff” dominate the American political discussion again.
At a panel discussion Monday night, experts said they want to see lawmakers push bold infrastructure projects aimed at preparing American communities for extreme weather and rising sea levels.
Many of the infrastructure investments that the scientists suggested would cost tens of billions of dollars. Although the professors didn’t present a comprehensive plan, they all agreed that a combination of mammoth infrastructure projects would be essential for preparing the United States’ coastal communities for rising sea levels.
Some of their suggestions include new building codes, moving power lines below ground, wetland restoration, flood barriers, sea gates and the possible relocation of some coastal communities. The Earth Institute’s Jeffery Sachs, who introduced the event, also suggested a carbon tax – but that option is widely regarded as a political impossibly because Congress is so divided.