Exactly how much depends on who you ask, but everyone seems to agree it will be enough to make a difference. The rise in sea level that is one of the worst effects of global warming threatens all coastlines, but San Diego is in some ways unique because so much of its economy depends on tourism which is driven by beaches and beachfront views. By some estimates the sea level will rise 1.5 feet by 2050, which is not enough to flood significant areas of the city, but it is enough to wipe away San Diego’s most loved and most prominent beaches. Others see the problem as much more drastic than that. An awareness group called SLAP (Sea Level Awareness Project), which was begun by some San Diego high school students, suggests that levels could rise as much as 240 feet worldwide, which would completely wipe out San Diego as well as many of the world’s other large cities. Personally that number sounds awfully high to me, but whatever the numerical rise will be, we already know that sea level rise caused by global warming is a huge problem. Regardless of whether San Diego’s beaches and waterfront restaurants will survive to see the 22nd century, many Pacific Island nations such as Kiribati and the Maldives will be totally wiped off the map of the world by rising sea levels in a much sooner time, probably before the first ripples start lapping at the doorsteps of San Diego’s beachfront homeowners.
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