Today the Chesapeake Climate Action Network released a report — Safe Coast Virginia — that details the climate change threats facing coastal Virginia and outlines ten bold but practical solutions for addressing them.
Coastal Hampton Roads is already ground zero for climate change impacts in Virginia. By the year 2100, sea levels are projected to rise by as much as seven feet or more, substantially higher than average global projections. That places much of Tidewater Virginia second only to New Orleans and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast as the largest U.S. population center at greatest risk of flooding and largely disappearing. But Hampton Roads also has an opportunity to be a ground zero for solutions.
Safe Coast Virginia lays out 10 important solutions that are within the reach of Virginia’s citizens and policymakers right now. These solutions can make Virginia a leader in reducing (“mitigating”) the actual source of climate change and sea level rise: greenhouse gas emissions. These solutions could easily make Virginia a global market leader in the growing clean technology sector. These solutions include realistic and necessary approaches to adapt and protect Virginia’s coastal communities from the rising tides and extreme weather impacts that can no longer be mitigated.
Top among the report’s policy proposals is a win-win solution that’s new to the policy discussion in Virginia: participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This cooperative effort among nine eastern states from Maine to Maryland reduces greenhouse gas emissions through a cap on carbon emissions. By participating in this regional program, Virginia could reduce planet-heating emissions while raising hundreds of millions of dollars in dedicated funding for coastal adaptation. Indeed, the report finds that Virginia could raise up to $200 million annually by 2020.
Read the Safe Coast Virginia report here. Then stay tuned for ways you can help make these solutions a reality for Virginia.