California at risk from tropical disease and rising sea levels
Over the next century, what kind of impact will climate change have on California’s coastlines?
Though coastal properties are prized for their views, they are ultimately a temporary luxury. In the long run, the closer to the beachfront a building is, the more susceptible it is to erosion, storms and sea air. Add rising sea levels into the equation and you’ve got prime real estate that risks being damaged sooner and more severely than previously anticipated.
Economists at San Francisco State University in California predict rising sea levels due to climate change will have disastrous impacts on tourism, recreation and wildlife along the state’s coast.
From the LA Times:
Venice Beach could lose up to $440 million in tourism and tax revenue if the Pacific Ocean rises 55 inches by 2100 as scientists predict, according the study commissioned by the California Department of Boating and Waterways.
Another worrying impact on California’s environment – of globalization, if not yet climate change – is the arrival of Asian Tiger mosquitoes. It is not known how the smaller, yet more aggressive mosquitoes arrived in California, but they have already caused problems in the US states of Texas, Florida and Hawaii as well as the cities Memphis, New Orleans and Washington DC.
The insect, Aedes albopictus, is native to Southeast Asia and can transmit viruses the common mosquito cannot, such as yellow fever, chikungunya and the sometimes-fatal dengue fever. They also can spread parasites that cause heartworm in cats and dogs.
And it’s not just in the US. Asian Tiger mosquitoes have also been discovered in Germany and Italy. Meanwhile in the UK, an increase of reports of bug bites and warmer, wetter weather is causing some experts to be concerned.
With climate change, we have to accept that our climate may become more suitable for insects that would not have survived here previously, and they might bring problems we haven’t had to deal with in the past.
–Richard Moseley, technical manager with the British Pest Control Association (BPCA)
On the other hand, Dr James Logan, lecturer in medical entomology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, believes the risks in the UK are small due to a lack of concrete evidence for any increase in mosquito numbers and a firm belief in the ability of the UK’s health system to deal with any possible outbreak of tropical disease.
Read more on that story in the Yorkshire Post.
And will proposed cuts to a cash-strapped National Health Service (NHS) have any effect on that ability to deal with a potential tropical disease outbreak?