Hawaii promoting protection from rising sea levels

Lawmakers in the US state of Hawaii are pushing for measures to defend the state’s shorelines, including the iconic Waikiki Beach, from rising sea levels caused by global warming.

Surveys by the state show that sea levels could rise by up to 90 centimeters by the end of the century, which would inundate its beaches. The surveys also indicate that warmer oceans will lead to more hurricanes and flooding caused by storm surges.

The state estimates that such consequences will affect about 20,000 residents, as well as tourism, the state’s leading industry.

The findings have prompted lawmakers to draw up a bill to defend Hawaii from such potential threats.

The bill approved by the state legislature calls for raising ground levels and installing drainage facilities along a 20-kilometer stretch of shoreline on the island of Oahu, where Waikiki Beach is located.

It also calls for introducing a carbon pricing system that charges companies and households for their emissions as a way to promote measures against global warming.

Implementing such measures is expected to be expensive. But Chris Lee, a Democratic member of Hawaii’s House of Representatives and the bill’s chief author, says the cost of doing nothing would be far greater.

Measures to protect coastal areas are also an issue in Japan. The National Institute for Environmental Studies says about 60 percent of the country’s beaches could disappear due to rising sea levels.