Northeast
via Cape May County Herald

NJ - 'NJ Has One of the Worst Sea-level Rises in the World'

Speakers Stress Importance of Resilience During Virtual Event

PETERSBURG – Two environmental speakers depicted a sobering picture, in an Aug. 28 Zoom briefing, on climate change, organized by the Sustainable Green Team of Cape May County.

David Rosenblatt, chief resilience officer, state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), referenced other states’ plans to adapt to climate change and create resilience.

“New Orleans’ plan is very much engineering-focused, while Miami’s is keeping its climate networks intact. New Jersey’s plan, and it’s important to note our time horizon is into 2100, is aligned with Rhode Island, as addressing similar issues,” explained Rosenblatt.

According to science-based statistics, researched by Rutgers University and cited by Rosenblatt, sea levels will rise to an estimated maximum of 2.9 feet by 2050; 3.1 feet by 2070; and 5.1 feet in 2100.

“The cost to address these changing levels is not feasible considering the limitations on resources, including budget and engineering costs, and so we will be focusing on educating New Jersey’s citizens about the importance of adapting.

“Do we need to move to safer areas? Consider not trying to protect certain coastal areas? These are the types of issues that need to be addressed, which then unleash so many other associated issues,” said Rosenblatt.

Studies from Rutgers predict that 93% of brackish marsh will be lost at the end of the horizon timeline of 2100, while summer heat and rain frequency will increase, and state nesting birds and crops will be negatively impacted by these changes.

Warm habitats, per Rosenblatt’s presentation, will breed more insects, which can lead to greater eruptions of potential viruses affecting human populations.

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