Rising seas and changing temperatures have the potential to drastically shape how people in the US live — and where they live, according to scientists from across the US government.
Sea level changes "might reshape the US population distribution," says the report, entitled the National Climate Assessment. New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York "are anticipated to see large outflows of migrants, a pattern that would stress regional locations further inland," the authors write in the report, which was prepared by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.
"In all but the very lowest sea level rise projections, retreat will become an unavoidable option in some areas of the US coastline," the report warns.
"The potential need for millions of people and billions of dollars of coastal infrastructure to be relocated in the future creates challenging legal, financial and equity issued that have not yet been addressed," the scientists said.
Higher temperatures, increasing sea levels, and evolving extreme weather events "are expected to increasingly disrupt and damage critical infrastructure and property, labor productivity, and the vitality of our communities," the scientists said.
"Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property," the report continues. Ultimately, climate change will hit the pocketbooks of the US as well and "impede the rate of growth over this century," the report notes.