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Expand chart
Adapted from Sweet et al. 2017 and EPA 2017; Note: “Adaptation” refers to property elevation, beach nourishment, and shoreline armoring; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

One of the most dire, and expensive, scenarios of climate change damage in the Fourth National Climate Assessment — the report the Trump administration released on Black Friday — is the rising sea levels that are already causing problems in coastal cities from New Orleans to Boston.

Why it matters: The report says the U.S. will have to ratchet up actions to adapt to global warming-related impacts at the same time that cuts to greenhouse gases are made. But since the climate is a complex system that's tough to turn around on a dime, a certain amount of warming and sea level rise is baked into the next few decades.

“We’re gonna have to adapt no matter what."
— Michael Oppenheimer, geosciences professor at Princeton University

These charts, which were adapted from the assessment, show possible trajectories that global average sea level rise may follow. The outcome would depend on several factors, including greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, as well as the response of the world's ice sheets and glaciers to increasing temperatures.

  • Notably, the climate assessment includes some of the latest guidance showing that parts of Antarctica are far less stable than previously thought. That's why its sea level rise projections are higher than prior reports from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The backstory: The bottom part of the figure shows how sea level rise could affect the U.S. economy by damaging valuable real estate and infrastructure in coastal communities.

  • Specifically, the chart shows cumulative damages (in 2015 dollars) to coastal property in 17 multi-county coastal areas — including the Miami and New York City areas under different emissions and adaptation scenarios.

Details: According to the report, cumulative damages under the high emissions scenario could run as high as $3.6 trillion through 2100 if there are no actions taken to protect coastal infrastructure and property from rising seas. By contrast, the cost could be reduced to $820 billion under the same scenario if those measures are implemented.

Under a lower emissions scenario, the costs without adaptation would amount to $892 billion, which could be cut to $800 billion with adaptation.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

McCarthy jokes about hitting Pelosi with gavel if he becomes Speaker, in new audio

Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can be heard saying "it would be hard not to hit" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker's gavel if Republicans retake the House in 2022 and he becomes speaker, according to new audio posted to Twitter by a Main Street Nashville reporter.

Driving the news: McCarthy made the comments during a fundraising event in Tennessee, as he was handed an oversized gavel by members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, reports CNN.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for drone strike on oil tanker

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, now believe Iran was likely responsible for last week's drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.

Why it matters: The United States and Britain now join Israel in accusing Tehran of being behind the July 29 attack off the coast of Oman. Iran has denied involvement.

10 hours ago - Sports

Suni Lee wins bronze medal in uneven bars

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won her 3rd Olympic medal on Sunday, taking home bronze in the individual uneven bars event.

Driving the news: Also on Sunday, U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner won the silver medal in the vault on Sunday after stepping in for Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to prioritize her mental health and well-being.