Anthony Corso | Stratford Court
Cities often find themselves hopelessly confronting issues in absence of recognizable solutions. The issue is frequently of such magnitude that immediate action is called for. An unprecedented number of scientists and elected officials nominate “global warming” as a formidable global issue- one that must be immediately addressed.
World-wide emissions of greenhouses gases are building up in the atmosphere with a disastrous impact upon the climate, environment and local inhabitants.
The San Diego Foundation climate study, “A Regional Wake-Up Call “assesses climatic change in San Diego County, including Del Mar. If current trends were to continue, to a projected 2050, the following disturbing description would characterize the San Diego Region- contributing to a sense of hopelessness:
1. San Diego’s Climate will be hotter and drier. Average annual temperatures will rise between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit, with higher increases in the summer. Heat waves will increase in frequency, magnitude, and duration.
2. Sea level will be 12- 18 inches higher. Rising sea levels will have a major impact on the San Diego region’s environment and economy. Beaches will shrink and some will disappear completely. Fragile sea cliffs will collapse. More high waves and rough surf will increase the potential for significant damage.
3. We will face a severe water shortage. San Diego is a major urban area built by importing water from hundreds of miles away into what is essentially a desert environment. Our major sources of water from far-off rivers could shrink by 20%; extended and more frequent droughts will diminish local water supplies.
4. Wildfires will be more frequent and intense. We have one of the worst wildfire conditions in the country and the situation will worsen with climate change. Warmer weather will make the fire season longer and more intense.
5. Public health will be at risk, especially among our elderly and children. Increased heat, air pollution, wildfires, and infectious diseases will cause illness and death in San Diego County, especially among the elderly, children and the chronically ill.
6. Native plant and animal specials will be lost forever. Some plants and animals will migrate to new habitats and others will become extinct. There will be increased loss of trees and forests from wildfires, drought, and insect attack. Entire ecosystems will be challenged.
7. We will not be able to meet our energy needs. Warmer weather and a growing population will translate into big challenges for the San Diego Regions’ energy supply by 2050. The main impact will be higher demand for electricity as a result of the greater need for summer cooling, especially in the inland areas.
If there is a sense of hope in the proceeding scenario of climatic change, it is perhaps contained in another Foundation document, “Climate Action Planning Progress in the San Diego Region.” The report is a manuscript acknowledging the efforts and commitment of groups in the public and private sectors to create programs and plans pledged to reducing greenhouse gas. Forthcoming issues of the Sandpiper will explore their responses, particularly communities such as Chula Vista (see above) which have led the way in terms of the inventiveness of their actions, and Del Mar whose Sustainability Board has only recently given it priority of attention.