It’s shocking to realize that, by the end of the century, seas swollen by climate change could swallow over 60,000 Maryland homes (“Rising sea levels threaten $19 billion in real estate across Maryland, study says," Oct. 28). But more worrisome is the fact that estimates of sea-level rise are themselves rising.
Zillow’s analysis calculated real-estate losses under 6 feet of sea-level rise. Five years ago, this represented the “extreme” scenario for sea-level rise. However, polar ice sheets are deteriorating so rapidly that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had to revise its predictions, and now the “extreme” scenario is 8 feet. This worsening forecast tells us something: We need to step up our climate game — and fast.The plan to strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a positive step in that direction, but RGGI only reduces carbon emissions within the electricity sector. Maryland and other RGGI states could complement this strategy with a fee on carbon pollution in other sectors, such as transportation and heating.
Returning the bulk of this revenue to households will protect lower-income families from higher fossil-fuel prices as we incentivize the switch to clean energy. These carbon dividends will help keep our heads above water — as we act to keep our houses above water.
Leila Z. Hadj-Chikh, Baltimore
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