Goldman Sachs: Now is the time to adapt to climate change

Even Goldman Sachs believes climate change is real. And they suggest

it may be prudent for some cities to start investing in adaptation now," Goldman said, adding that "urban adaptation could drive one of the largest infrastructure build-outs in history."

They warn of "significant risks," especially to the world's largest cities that are located at or near sea level, noting that 40% of the population lives near the coasts.

Given that recent hurricanes have caused unprecedented flooding along our coasts, even turning the city of Wilmington into an island, it is time NCGA finally admits that climate change and sea level rise are real and that we, as a state, need to take steps to protect our citizens, their homes and communities, and ameliorate possible damage to our vital coastal economies.

"Cities generate roughly 80% of global GDP and are home to more than half of the world's population today, a share that the United Nations projects will reach two-thirds by 2050,"

Goldman gave some fairly stark warnings about potential outcomes:

"More frequent, more intense and longer-lasting heatwaves" that affect human health, productivity, economic activity, and agriculture. "Higher surface temperatures could exacerbate the warming process by causing permafrost to melt, releasing further methane and CO2 into the atmosphere."

"Destructive weather events, including storms, winds, flooding and fires." It's not just New York, Tokyo, and Lagos; "other major low-lying coastal or already flood-prone cities include Shanghai, Dhaka, Mumbai and Karachi — each of which has a population of 15 million people or more."

"Changing disease patterns." The researchers said that "warmer temperatures could cause disease vectors to migrate from the tropics to regions where people have less immunity; this is true not only for viruses like malaria and dengue fever but also for water-borne and food-borne diseases."

"Shifting agricultural patterns" and food shortages. "Livestock could be affected by higher temperatures and reduced water supplies. Ocean acidification is likely to put stress on aquatic populations and affect current fishing patterns. Some of these changes are already underway. Some climate scientists, for example, estimate that coral reefs will be all but extinct over the course of the century due to ocean acidification."

Water. "Half of the world's population will live in water-stressed areas as soon as 2025," Goldman said, citing the World Health Organization. "Even in non-stressed areas, the quality of surface water could deteriorate as more rain and storms drive erosion and the release of toxins. These dynamics could affect everything from the availability of drinking water for people to a shortage of water for livestock and crops (with negative effects for the food supply) to decreases in hydroelectric power generation."

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