Hawaii News: On the edge of change

LIHUE — Next-level hurricanes, intense heat waves, death for corals and habitat loss for rare species are all potentials for the next hundred years, as well infrastructure wipe-out from a 3.2-foot sea level rise, according to scientists. All that and more is included in the Hawaii-Pacific Islands chapter of the Fourth official U.S. National Climate Assessment, released Friday, in which authors say communities need to start making a plan.

On Kauai, that means looking at ways to shift coastal roadways and ports, fortify homes and businesses from stronger winds, mitigate the impacts of heavy flooding, and prepare emergency responders for heat waves.

And authors of the Assessment say now is the time to start action.

“Sea level rise is still in its slow phase, still in the early stages of threatening our coastal engineering, but globally it’s accelerating,” said Chip Fletcher, an expert on coastal infrastructure and sea level rise.

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