Film and forum in Savannah to discuss potential coastal impact of climate change

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - For years, environmental advocates have been sounding the alarm about man-made climate change, very often to skeptical ears.

How climate change might impact the future of Georgia's coast will the topic of discussion at a film and forum Friday night in Savannah.

They say effects of global warming are already being seen and that if drastic action isn't taken soon to prepare and to slow the rising sea levels— that it could have a devastating effect here on our coast.

It doesn't take a storm to flood the road to Tybee Island—just a high tide.  And if sea levels continue to rise to predicted levels in coming decades, this road and a lot more of our coast could be under much deeper water more often.

"Climate change is not only a major threat to our coast, but to all coasts worldwide," said David Kyler.

Kyler, of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, says there is mounting evidence that climate change is happening and faster than first feared.

Scientists have tracked rising sea levels for well over a century, which are now going up more than double what they were 25 years ago. Over an inch a decade. That may not sound like much, but The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says nuisance flooding like this is estimated to be 300 to 900 percent more frequent in coastal communities than just 50 years ago and that a warmer planet means more severe storms.

Kyler believes the only way to combat climate change is to cut carbon emissions.

"It's very laudable that the United States and many other countries have signed on to the Paris climate agreements, but we continue to subsidize to the tune of $50 billion a year the oil and gas industry—which only gives incentives for using and artificially suppressing the price of those fuels which has impeded the conversion to clean energy," Kyler said.

President-elect Donald Trump may impede those efforts even further. Trump has vowed to cancel the Paris climate agreement in which nearly 200 countries have agreed to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide - and also revive the coal industry - all at a time when environmentalists say there is no more time to waste.

"It's just going to get much worse and adaptation will be extremely costly and essentially ineffectual over long periods of time," said Kyler.

The Center for a Sustainable Coast will be presenting the film "Climate Change and the Future of Coastal Georgia" Thursday night from 5-7 p.m. at the Coastal Center on Fahm Street.

It will be followed by a forum and they are encouraging everyone, whether you very concerned about climate change or not convinced about it, to come out and take part.

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