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United Nations warns that rising sea levels threaten Statue of Liberty

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Junk Science 02In April, the 6th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival screened a documentary filmed by Josh Fox titled from How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change. The film included a clip where Pacific Islanders from nations including the Marshall Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands set out in hand-carved canoes to blockade one of the world’s largest coal ports in Junk Science 04 ANewcastle, Australia chanting, “We are not drowning, we are fighting.” In April, the world learned that five tiny islands in the Soloman Archipelago have disappeared amid rising seas and erosion. And now UNESCO warns that projected sea level rise threatens Venice, Italy, the Sydney Opera House, the Galapagos Islands, Stonehenge, Easter Island and the Statue of Liberty..

“100% of the assets at Liberty National Monument are at ‘high exposure’ risk from sea-level rise due to the extremely low elevation of the island and its vulnerability to storms,” the UN warned in its World Heritage and Tourism report. “The assets at risk on Liberty and Ellis Islands, including the Statue of Liberty Junk Science 03are valued at more than $1.5 billion, but the intangible cost of future damage to this international symbol of freedom and democracy is incalculable.”

In 2011 alone, Liberty and Ellis Islands saw 3.7 million visitors, supported 2,200 jobs, and drew in $174 million in revenue, the report notes. These sites suffered $77 million in damage during Hurricane Sandy, including the cost of relocating Junk Science 10more than a million artifacts from Ellis Island to a climate-controlled facility in Maryland. “Repairs to Liberty Island included the replacement of an 84-meter dock; 53,000 new paving blocks to rebuild the walkways; over 600 meters of granite edging; and more than 130 meters of railings,” notes Miranda Katz, writing for Gothamist.

The report underscores the Paris Agreement on Junk Science 15climate change, which set a goal of limiting global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius. “Globally, we need to better understand, monitor, and address climate change threats to World Heritage sites,” said Mechtild Rössler, the director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre. “As the Junk Science 14report’s findings underscore, achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to a level well below 2 degrees Celsius is vitally important to protecting our World Heritage for current and future generations.”

However, a number of scientists argue that the goal isn’t enough, and that unless we more drastically reduce our emissions, the West Junk Science 06Antarctic ice sheet will melt within the next few decades, eventually plunging New York City, Miami, New Orleans, London, Hong Kong, and Sydney under water.

How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change agrees. In the documentary, filmmaker Josh Fox acknowledges Junk Science 11that it is already too late to stave off many of the worst effects resulting from the greenhouse gases that are produced when fossil fuels like coal and oil are burned. He points out that new research that factors in the collapsing Antarctic ice sheet suggests that the sea levels will rise by more than six feet by the year 2100 even if emissions are cut by the amounts specified in the Paris agreement. This conclusion is buttressed by the fact that in Junk Science 07Greenland, the huge Zachariae Isstrom glacier has begun to break up, starting a rapid retreat that could continue to raise sea levels for decades to come.

But while places like New York, Sydney, Hong Kong and Venice may merely be destinations on your travel wish list, if sea level rise projections are Junk Science 08correct, Marco, Sanibel, Matlacha, Pine Island, Fort Myers Beach and even the downtown Fort Myers River District will be inundated long before the year 2100.

“Fort Myers is one of the most endangered Junk Science 09populations in the world and yet I don’t know that it is the hub of climate activism,” filmmaker Josh Fox told the Fort Myers Film Festival audience in April that had gathered to watch the documentary. That notwithstanding, there are no federal, state or local protocols or initiatives to plan for anticipated sea level rise in Lee, Collier or Charlotte counties.

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