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In response to Jonah Goldberg’s recent column, climate change is certainly a crisis, and whether it truly qualifies as an existential one is hardly the most pressing immediate concern.

In its report, “Catastrophe Modelling and Climate Change,” Lloyd’s of London states that the eight inches of sea level rise off the tip of Manhattan increased Superstorm Sandy’s surge losses by 30%, and that “further increases in sea level in this region may non-linearly increase the loss potential from similar storms.”

This statement is profoundly disquieting when one considers that the Fourth National Climate Assessment projects oceans to rise by 1 to 4 feet by the end of this century and that “a rise by as much as 8 feet cannot be ruled out.” Twenty-five Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities are already experiencing accelerating rates of daily tidal flooding, and sea level rise is expected to be above the global average in these regions.

It’s also important to look beyond our borders. Sea level rise is caused by the warming of the oceans and the melting of land ice. Rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers feed rivers that sustain 1.65 billion people, many of whom live in India, Pakistan and China, which are nuclear powers.

Urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions and funding adaptation should be top priorities for every politician who is concerned about world hunger, national security and global stability.

Terry Hansen

Hales Corners

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