New Jersey lawmakers held a hearing in the shore community of Lavallette to examine the potential impact of climate change.
Professor Anthony Broccoli of the Rutgers Climate Institute says, depending on future carbon dioxide emissions that warm the ocean and melt ice sheets, sea level along the Jersey Shore is expected to rise 17 inches by 2050 and up to 41 inches by 2100. And studies indicate tropical storms intensity is likely to increase.
"The impact of future storms in the form of coastal flooding are likely to be more frequent and more severe as rising sea levels raise the baseline for coastal flooding events."
David Kutner with New Jersey Future says communities aren't prepared to deal with more frequent flooding.
He says we can't keep rebuilding in flood zones if we want resilient communities with sustainable tax bases.
"In Toms River the valuation of land and buildings in the one percent flood zone, that's the hundred year flood zone, is worth a staggering $4.7 billion encompassing one third of their entire land area. What happens to their tax base when those properties are under water?"
John Weber with the Surfrider Foundation says seawalls are not the way to prevent that oceanfront flooding and believes the state should not them on ocean beaches.
“A seawall can be really effective at protecting private property but the beach in front of it tends to disappear. It’s simple physics. The energy an incoming waves has nowhere to go, it hits a hard structure, it bounces back and it takes sand with it, and that beach disappears.”
Environmental advocates are urging the state to rejoin the Greenhouse Gas Initiative, step up development of renewable energy sources, and encourage the use of electric cars to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.