Schubel Talks about sea level

Jerry Schubel, president and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific, discusses post-glacial sea level rise during a city-sponsored event Jan. 14 at the Golden Sails Hotel.

It has become established scientific fact that the world’s sea level continues to rise — in fact it’s been rising for the last 18,000 years.

So, the city of Long Beach is gathering input from residents to create a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) because expanding seas resulting from warmer water and melting ice caps and glaciers are projected to affect Long Beach residents in low-lying areas.

A state law passed in 2013, AB 691, requires coastal communities and ports to produce a sea-level rise adaptation plan to the State Lands Commission.

The city has already convened two events, the most recent on Jan. 14 at the Golden Sails Hotel. It will conduct another open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, 5870 Atlantic Ave., to discuss possible plans of action and answer questions. City leaders anticipate finalizing the CAAP this fall.

The event at the Golden Sails included a series of presentations and a panel featuring Long Beach City Planner Alison Spindler; Dr. Jerry Schubel, president and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific; and Jeff Jeannette of Jeannette Architects. What they had to say wasn’t good news.

Schubel, a marine scientist, had a no-nonsense message for the crowd of about 300:

“You should think about moving,” he said to those who live in the Naples Islands, Belmont Shore and Peninsula areas.

“The sea level rise is happening and there is nothing we can do," he said. "Residents can continue living on Naples and the Peninsula for several decades as long as you’re willing to experience occasional flooding. But if I were you, sell your property to your least favorite relative.”

Jeannette advised residents to shore up their homes by raising structures above the sea level, which is 10 feet in this area. He also suggested bolting homes to the foundation and investing in other new technologies.

“The water will win,” Jeannette said. “We will be flooded.”

Not everyone is prepared to accept the warnings to move to higher ground.

“I’m looking forward to hear what the city has in mind,” said Randy Peck, who lives on the Peninsula. “As long as I’ve lived here, the water has never come up past the wall on the bay side. There may need to be infrastructure improvements but I don’t really see it as a problem. I’m not losing any sleep over it.”

Schubel said there are no single solutions to the problem because people have been polluting the atmosphere for more than 200 years, causing the global warming that in turn has caused the sea level rise.

“I think the best thing that we can do is not wait,” he said. “The worst thing we can do is just sit and stay idle.”

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