Wind rally to protest removal of industrial turbines

Participants at an earlier rally at the industrial turbine site in Milford.

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On Tuesday, Oct. 29th, the first industrial wind turbine component is set to come down in South Marysburgh. Supporters are seek participants for one last rally to “shame” the Ontario government’s decision to cancel the project.

“Cranes are being delivered and assembled and workers are arriving from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to do the dirty work,” said Jen Ackerman, County resident and landowner with a turbine on her property. “Not one of them, or WPD or any land owners, or wind supporters feel good about this. It should not be happening.”

In a final last effort to draw attention to the cancellation of the White Pines Canada project, Ackerman is hosting a gathering at 1279 Royal Road, Milford beginning at 9 a.m. “for a peaceful demonstration, shaming the Ford government for making such a poor, backwards decision.”

“As many media ,groups, journalists, supporters of wind, and all concerned citizens are encouraged to come. Signs, blue wind shirts and matching hats are available, or be creative, and bring your own. A big crowd would be fantastic.
So lets all get together to shame this Ford “wrecking ball” government. Who knows what could happen. There is always hope for change.”

The first phase of work involves cranes lowering the towers to the ground from October to the end of January 2020. The second phase of decommissioning is planned to begin in April 2020 for the removal and remediation of infrastructure.

wpd Canada had indicated it would seek to recoup $100 million it put into the project, but it is still not clear how much the provincial government agreed to pay. The legislation requires wpd to cover the cost of decomissioning and restoring the land. The law also bars the company from suing the government.

The German wind company’s initial plan was for 29 turbines but following years of legal battles, led by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, over protection of species at risk and heritage preservation, the project was reduced to nine.

Only four of the 100-metre tall turbines were erected, but were not put into service before the legislation.

Because the renewable energy approval has been revoked, the ministry made a new regulation under the Environmental Protection Act and an associated technical closure document, to govern the closure of the facility.

The facility consists of the nine turbine areas and one transformer substation, associated ancillary equipment, systems and technologies including on-site access roads, underground cabling, distribution or transmission lines and storage areas. SOURCE

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Pro-turbine rally set for Tuesday

Greta Thunberg declines $67,000 environmental award, criticizes Nordic posturing

‘The Nordic countries have a great reputation when it comes to climate and environmental issues. There is no lack of bragging about this’


Greta Thunberg, renowned for her work inspiring a global movement for climate change, declined an environmental award by the Nordic Council. GRETA THUNBERG/INSTAGRAM

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg refused to accept a Swedish environmental award, saying that the Nordic countries do not suffer from “a lack of bragging” about their reputation despite doing “basically” nothing.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Thunberg wrote that she had received the Nordic Council 2019 environmental award of 500,000 kronor — which roughly translates to a little more than $67,000.

“I want to thank the Nordic Council for this award. It is a huge honour,” she wrote. “But the climate movement does not need any more awards.”

Thunberg went on to call out the Nordic countries for “basically do(ing) nothing” despite having the “possibility to do the most.”

“The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues. There is no lack of bragging about this. There is no lack of beautiful words,” she continued. “But when it comes to our actual emissions and our ecological footprints per capita … it’s a whole other story.”

She cited the Johan Sverdup oil field in the North Sea as an example of how Nordic Countries flout the warnings of climate change. “The gap between what the science says …. (and) the politics that run the Nordic countries is gigantic. And there are still no signs whatsoever of the changes required.”

Thunberg was also not present at the Stockholm ceremony held by the Nordic Council —  which encourages co-operation between parliaments in countries including Denmark, Finland and Sweden — due to travelling in California for the Youth Climate Strike in Los Angeles. Two fellow climate activists, Sofia and Isabella Axelsson spoke in her place at the ceremony on Tuesday and read a statement from the Thunberg, saying “what we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research.”

According to their website, the organization had nominated Thunberg “for breathing new life into the debate surrounding the environment and climate at a critical moment in world history,” citing her efforts to inspire global action through FridaysForFuture, a movement she started in August 2018.

The council confirmed she did not accept the award in a news release.

“The prize was presented by Swedish environmental activist Noura Berrouba to Isabelle Axelsson and Sophia Axelsson of Fridays For Future, representing Greta at the awards ceremony which was broadcast live from the Stockhold Concert on Tuesday evening. Together they passed on Greta’s message, which included the statement that the environment doesn’t need any more prizes,” the news release said.

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I have received the Nordic Council’s environmental award 2019. I have decided to decline this prize. Here’s why: “I am currently traveling through California and therefore not able to be present with you today. I want to thank the Nordic Council for this award. It is a huge honour. But the climate movement does not need any more awards. What we need is for our politicians and the people in power start to listen to the current, best available science. The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues. There is no lack of bragging about this. There is no lack of beautiful words. But when it comes to our actual emissions and our ecological footprints per capita – if we include our consumption, our imports as well as aviation and shipping – then it’s a whole other story. In Sweden we live as if we had about 4 planets according to WWF and Global Footprint Network. And roughly the same goes for the entire Nordic region. In Norway for instance, the government recently gave a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas. The newly opened oil and natural gas-field, ”Johan Sverdrup” is expected to produce oil and natural gas for 50 years; oil and gas that would generate global CO2 emissions of 1,3 billion tonnes. The gap between what the science says is needed to limit the increase of global temperature rise to below 1,5 or even 2 degrees – and politics that run the Nordic countries is gigantic. And there are still no signs whatsoever of the changes required. The Paris Agreement, which all of the Nordic countries have signed, is based on the aspect of equity, which means that richer countries must lead the way. We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most. And yet our countries still basically do nothing. So until you start to act in accordance with what the science says is needed to limit the global temperature rise below 1,5 degrees or even 2 degrees celsius, I – and Fridays For Future in Sweden – choose not to accept the Nordic Councils environmental award nor the prize money of 500 000 Swedish kronor. Best wishes Greta Thunberg”

A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg) on

SOURCE

 

Protests as White Pine decommission efforts commenced Tuesday


A GREEN GOODBYE- Wind Energy proponent Jen Ackerman speaks to the media at the entrance to a wpd White Pines wind turbine site on Royal Rd. Tuesday. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

The long and contentious issue of the wpd White Pines wind energy project in Prince Edward County looks to be reaching its final chapter.

But not before local green energy proponents and supporters of the project hosted one more protest, decrying both the provincial and municipal government and those opposed to wind energy for their roles in stopping commercial wind energy in Prince Edward County before a single kilowatt was generated.

On Tuesday as heavy trucks and tractor trailers made their way to a turbine site off Royal Rd. and work on the decommissioning of several of the wpd turbines measuring almost 500’ high commenced, about 50 supporters gathered at the access road for Turbine 9 to voice their disgust at the Ford government for their ominous legislation upon taking control of the Ontario Legislature that essentially negated the Feed-in- Tarrif (FIT) contract between wpd and crown.

It’s expected the cost of negating the contract will be $100 million, money that will come out of the pockets of the Ontario taxpayer.

Turbine 9 Site owner Jen Ackerman was one of the lead organizers of Tuesday’s protest and she told the media that wind energy advocates have tried to explain the value of this form of green energy in the fight against climate change but those impassioned words have fallen on deaf ears in the halls of power in the province.

“We feel we have done everything possible (to draw attention to the value of wind energy) and you can’t fix stupid and you can’t fix the government,” Ackerman stated. 

The wind energy proponent mentioned wind energy supported had gathered a petition with 19,000 names supporting wind energy that was presented to the Ontario government to indifference and that Bay of Quinte MPP Todd  Smith was invited to the protest Tuesday to reassure those in attendance that there was no Climate emergency happening.”

As the trucks rolled off Royal Rd. and down the access lane to reclaim turbines and blades and take them to unknown destinations, Ackerman said she was looking at this dreaded day with mixed emotions.


Don Ross of the County Sustainability Group speaks to protesters as a tractor trailer rumbles along Royal Rd. as part of the turbine decommissioning efforts. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

“I’ve gained a huge group of friends and supporters and wee are moving forward to do advocate in the future,” Ackerman said. “When this all started, I didn’t realize how many people supported green energy. If there’s something positive, I’ve made some fantastic friend and connected with a lot of people and I feel inspired for the future.”

Don Ross of the County Sustainability Group offered words to the assembled protestors before they visited a pair of turbine sites later on Tuesday.

Ross and his wife Heather have lived in Milford for 40 years and said they have supported renewable energy projects for 20 years and believed strongly in local wind energy projects that would’ve produced the first clean wind energy for the Ontario power grid.

“Our wind resources here are the best in the province. Instead of being known as a 21st Century leader in wind energy for Ontario, we will be known forever as the first place in the world to tear down a wind farm. This shame will never go away and will remain long after these magnificent turbines are gone,” Ross said.

Ross said Prince Edward County’s new motto should be come to “Where the status quo thrives and where hope for change comes to die” and that those opposing the wpd project will be firmly entrenched on the wrong side of history.

If not for a vindictive provincial government, Ross surmised  the supporters might have gathered such as the scene Tuesday to celebrate the first kilowatts being produced and fed into the Ontario power grid. 

“Instead, we are now witness to its destruction at huge environmental and financial cost,” Ross added.

On the other side of the issue, the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) said in a statement they were welcoming the recent preparation for the dismantling of the wind turbines of the wpd but “Some concerns remain.”


(Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

“The community opposed this project for many years,” APPEC spokesperson Orville Walsh said. “A vote conducted locally had over 90% against the project. The reasons for the opposition included concerns about the negative impact on human health, the natural environment, the cultural environment, and doubts concerning the value of wind energy.”

APPEC Believes that preventing the operation of the turbines will eliminate the harm to human health, as well as harm to local and migratory birds and bats and their dismantling and removal will also mitigate the negative impacts on the cultural environment.

“The cancellation of the project and repurposing of the turbines will save the electricity ratepayers of Ontario significantly in the coming years and extensive solar renewable energy facilities exist within Prince Edward County. There are five large (10MW each) ground-mounted solar sites and numerous smaller ground and rooftop installations,” their statement added.

APPEC added one major area of concern remains as the decommission takes place and that is the lasting impact of the project infrastructure on a threatened species, the Blanding’s turtle.

The group explained two separate Environmental Review Tribunals, one for this project and another for a nearby wind energy project, dealt directly with this issue. These tribunals found that the roads built or upgraded for the projects would cause serious and irreversible harm to the local Blanding’s turtle population. This harm is created not just from increased road mortality but also increased predation and poaching.”

Orville said APPEC was “Urging wpd to do all they can do to protect this threatened species by removing the acknowledged threats and restoring the area to its original condition.”

Workers at the site indicated that each turbine might take up to 10 days to dismantle completely but those time frames were based, ironically,  on wind.

As the westerly gusts picked up Tuesday morning, the unnamed worker said not much work can be accomplished “On days like today.” SOURCE

Sadness for green energy supporters as dismantling begins on turbine project


Cranes with workers from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland get started on the dismantling of one of the completed turbines involved in the WPD White Pines wind project Tuesday morning in Milford. PHOTO: BROCK ORMOND/INQUINTE.CA

Supporters of the WPD White Pines wind turbine project are trying to keep a positive mindset despite the start of decomissioning Tuesday morning on Royal Road in Milford.

Around 50 people held a peaceful demonstration in front of one of the nine turbines erected in South Marysburgh and Athol wards in Prince Edward County as cranes rolled in to start the dismantling of four-completed and five-partially-completed turbines.

Local resident and green energy supporter Jen Ackerman said while the group assembled was a little smaller than she’d hoped, they were still strong in getting across an important message “loud and clear” of being mindful of children’s future.

Ackerman, who has a 14-year old son, said the planet is there to inherit for younger people, children and teens in particular, and the provincial government’s choice to order the deconstruction of these turbines worries her as a mother.

“(My son) is going to be basically carrying this load. It’s not his fault and he’s the one who’s going to suffer,” she said.

“I think that’s totally selfish of adults that are supposed to be responsible for their constituents and what’s best for them, that they would do this to kids like him. They’re basically putting the nail in the coffin for the planet.”

Ackerman added she believes there will be no other choice for the future provincial government to go to renewable energy once there’s no more fossil fuels and nuclear energy left to burn, which means there’s hope still visible for green energy supporters.

Image result for ontario wind farm
Bruce Peninsula

“In other parts of Canada, they’re building wind farms. In other parts of Ontario, they’re building wind farms. I really do feel that one day, once we get rid of the politicians that we have now, of course there will be wind.”

Ackerman has one turbine on her property and an access road which leads to two more, which means she has a financial stake in the project.

However, she reiterated that her concerns are strictly environmental and that she and other supporters weren’t trying to shame people who are against green energy.

“We want to see green energy. be a contributor to the right solutions and see us go forward,” Ackerman explained.

Image result for blanding's turtle“People who are against it, they have their own reasons, but we can’t understand them. If you look around, there’s no Blanding’s Turtles here, there never has been and never will be and I’ve never seen birds fly over the turbines. All of the things that (the provincial government) has been saying and the things they’ve used against us has been proven untrue.”

Many groups joined the province in opposing the turbines, including the Prince Edward County municipal government, and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

Green energy supporter Bill White said he feels that the current government was “totally insensitive” to climate change and hopes that the next one will be more in tune to the growing issue.

“It’s accepted right across Canada, that everybody is getting on board with the seriousness of climate change. The change in the last year (among the population) has been tremendous.”

White adds that when the government and local objectors to the turbine project came together to cancel it last year, climate change was not part of the discussions, but now more information and awareness is coming out about it.

“If that effort started now, it would be a different result.”

The first phase of the project involves a crane arriving on-site and lowering the towers to the ground, and the county says the road users agreement it has with the company remains in effect.

The work is expected to continue for several weeks until the end of January.

The second phase of the decommissioning, which is expected to begin in April 2020, consists of removing and remediating infrastructure installed for the project.

The turbines can take about three years to be taken down, according to Ackerman and the cost of the deconstruction work is about $100 million.

When asked for a municipal point of view on the subject on Monday, Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson said council and the municipality can only go as far as ensuring that the County’s road use agreement with WPD remains in force.

Ferguson explained the County is taking steps to help make the environment better that doesn’t require wind turbines, including installing solar panels and re-establishing the Environmental Advisory Committee, in the midst of a climate emergency.

“We’re certainly cognizant of the things we have to do to minimize the impact on the environment municipally,” he said. “We’ve also been trying to minimize single-use plastics around Shire Hall. We’re very concious of it, but wind turbines are not going to be part of that equation, because of the impact they have on the environment and the natural habitat that they interfere with.”

To read past stories on the climate crisis and the White Pines project, click herehere and here.

SOURCE

Ferguson explained the County is taking steps to help make the environment better that doesn’t require wind turbines, including installing solar panels and re-establishing the Environmental Advisory Committee, in the midst of a climate emergency.

“We’re certainly cognizant of the things we have to do to minimize the impact on the environment municipally,” he said. “We’ve also been trying to minimize single-use plastics around Shire Hall. We’re very concious of it, but wind turbines are not going to be part of that equation, because of the impact they have on the environment and the natural habitat that they interfere with.”

To read past stories on the climate crisis and the White Pines project, click herehere and here.

Don Ross: Speech at the White Pines Decomissioning

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Don and Heather Ross have been advocating for green energy initiatives in Prince Edward County for over a decade. Photo by Cole Burston

My name is Don Ross and I’m here today with my wife Heather. We’re members of the County Sustainability Group since it was formed in 2005.

We’ve lived in Milford for nearly 40 years, working and raising our 3 children here and are grandparents to 4 grand kids. We’ve been supporters of renewable energy projects for 20 years, since the turn of the century when the County would have been the first place in Ontario to produce clean electricity from wind farms.

Our wind resource here is among the best in the province. Instead of being known as the 21st century leader in wind energy for Ontario, we will be known forever as the first place in the world to tear down a wind farm. This shame will never go away and will remain long after these magnificent turbines are gone.

“ Come to where the status quo thrives and hope for change comes to die. Firmly entrenched on the wrong side of history. —Don Ross”

Perhaps our new motto for Prince Edward County can be : “ Come to where the status quo thrives and hope for change comes to die. Firmly entrenched on the wrong side of history .” Where we used to feel proud of living in the County “ pre-gentrification “,  we now feel embarrassed . We find ourselves saying to people who ask where we live…..” Near Kingston and Belleville.”

At about this same time last year, were it not for the unchecked powers granted to a vindictive government by our outdated first past the post electoral system, we’d have been celebrating the commissioning of the first and only wind farm in PEC. Instead, we now will be witness to it’s destruction, at huge environmental and financial cost, while some local and provincial politicians, anti-wind lobbyists, lawyers, Nimby’s and media pat each other on the backs for a job well done.

Fear and Smear campaigns once again proven effective. FUD ( Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt ) works! In destroying this wind farm, hope is being destroyed with it.

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Our generation, the Boomers and Zoomers, have known since the 60’s what could happen when infinite growth continued on a finite planet. We are the problem and we are the solution. What will you tell your descendants that you did once you knew?

I’d like to finish by reading this letter to the editor in a local paper last week by one of our CSG members- Rod Holloway. It sums up well this situation we are facing. If Greta Thunberg were here today I feel she would agree and have much more to say to us all. We had better start listening to her.

 Letter to the Editor:

The dismantling of the White Pines wind turbines is sheer madness and it begins this month.

 The climate emergency has been ignored by the provincial government, the federal government and sadly, local government. Lip service is paid to the approaching climate catastrophe, while no credible measures are taken to halt the rush toward climate Armageddon.

The scientists have made it clear. We need drastic cuts to carbon emissions by 2030, or the planet becomes uninhabitable. Instead of cutting emissions, the federal government imposes a carbon tax while building an oil pipeline. The provincial government illegally removes cap and trade in Ontario, and the local council allows the destruction of wind turbines that would at least be a symbol of hope for saving the environment.

Scientists have warned us that the result of doing nothing will be the utter devastation of planet Earth. How selfish and short-sighted we and our leaders are.

I’m not overstating the case, the destruction of the turbines and all the rest is sheer suicide and may even be murder. The present generation may survive, but if we continue our wilful blindness to consequences of our actions, we doom future generations to extinction.

We should be building wind turbines, not tearing them down. The house is on fire, and instead of calling the fire department, we cut the water hoses, slash the tires on the emergency vehicles, rip the smoke detectors off the walls and pretend that everything is fine.

It’s not!
Rod Holloway-Picton

White Pines demolition mourned as Ford dismantles green energy in Ontario


One of the turbines of the White Pines Wind Farm is seen on Oct. 29, 2019. Photo courtesy of Bill White.

The crane has been on-site at the White Pines Wind Farm in picturesque Prince Edward County for more than a week now, and on Tuesday, local landowners and other supporters of the axed project decided it was time to say goodbye.

The first of nine turbines on the site was due to be dismantled and removed, marking the start of a decommissioning expected to take at least three years, so supporters of the project gathered to give speeches and commiserate its demise.

Locals watch as workers prepare a crane to dismantle a turbine at the White Pines Wind Farm on Oct. 29, 2019. Photo courtesy of Bill White 

Doug Ford’s provincial government started dismantling Ontario’s green-energy industry as soon as he came to power, cancelling 758 wind and solar projects including White Pines.

The partially built site outside Milford was singled out for decommissioning in a bill that ruled its owner-operators, a company called wpd Canada run by two German investors, could only reclaim costs sunk into the project over its 10-year life, an amount estimated around $100 million.

“Everyone else is building more green energy, and we’re tearing down the ones we’ve already built,” said Jen Ackerman, who owns farmland on which she agreed to locate one of the company’s turbines. “It’s insanity.”

“They’ve turned their backs on the local farmers like myself that say, ‘Hey, this turbine was the best crop I could ever grow,” she said.

The bill terminated the 2010 contract between the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and wpd which locked in a subsidized rate under a policy of the former Liberal government to boost renewable energy production.

Other locals argue that the project was ill-conceived and construction of the turbines rushed through despite environmental concerns. The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County says any major wind project in the region would be “detrimental to its unique historical, agricultural, cultural and rural character.”

(National Observer dug into the dispute over White Pines in a feature last year.)

A previous protest against the decommissioning of the White Pines Wind Farm. Photo courtesy of County Sustainability Group 

White Pines was originally proposed as a 60 MW facility with 29 turbines (later reduced to nine turbines and 18 MW after local opposition) and a substation on privately owned agricultural lands. The substation and nine turbines were in various stages of construction when the project was cancelled.

A missing bolt required for the dismantling work means it has now been postponed until next week, a slight reprieve that Ackerman holds out hope could turn into a late reversal on Ford’s part.

“Anything can be turned around,” she said. “Doug Ford turned around that deal with the CUPE teachers. He turned that around at 11 o’clock on a Sunday night and the teachers went to work on Monday morning.

“We don’t give up hope. There is always hope he’ll come to his senses.”


A previous protest against the decommissioning of the White Pines Wind Farm. Photo courtesy of County Sustainability Group

SOURCE

The Toxic Bubble of Technical Debt Threatening America

Climate change will soon expose a crippling problem embedded in the nation’s infrastructure. In fire-ravaged California, it already has.

The wind-driven Kincade Fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California.

The wind-driven Kincade Fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California. STEPHEN LAM / REUTERS

In Northern California, the fires have come again, sending hundreds of thousands fleeing by mandate. They’ve been aided by a historic wind event that a forecaster told me was “off the charts,” with offshore winds showing up as six standard deviations away from normal in National Weather Service models. On Sunday, the wind gusted to 100 miles an hour on a mountaintop near the Kincade Fire. It was like a dry hurricane, and the satellite images showed the fire pushing and expanding in response. The fire might keep growing for days more, maybe even a week.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company, better known as PG&E, has a well-documented history of neglecting the maintenance of its equipment, and as with last year’s deadly Camp Fire, early reports suggest that the company’s lines could have started the Kincade Fire too. Even so, hundreds of thousands of residents have had their power shut off to try to prevent fires from starting.

PG&E makes for an easy villain, or “a steaming pile of terrible management and debt.” The Wall Street Journal reported that the company paid out executives and shareholders while foregoing important systemic upgrades. (The Journal’s editorial board, however, blamed Sacramento’s policies of supporting solar installations, which could have pulled the focus away from grid maintenance.)

And sure, let accountability fall on PG&E, the California Public Utilities Commission, and whomever else. The problem is far, far deeper though, and it extends way beyond the local situation.
A kind of toxic debt is embedded in much of the infrastructure that America built during the 20th century. For decades, corporate executives, as well as city, county, state, and federal officials, not to mention voters, have decided against doing the routine maintenance and deeper upgrades to ensure that electrical systems, roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure can function properly under a range of conditions. Kicking the can down the road like this is often seen as the profit-maximizing or politically expedient option. But it’s really borrowing against the future, without putting that debt on the books. SOURCE
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Sea-level rise could flood hundreds of millions more than expected

Princeton researchers found that far more people are living closer to the ocean than previously believed.

Photograph of Rangapani Road, Asham Bosti, Bangladesh
MD EFTHAKHAR UI ALAM / UNSPLASH

By the end of this century, rising oceans will almost certainly flood the lands where tens of millions of people live as accelerating climate change warms the waters and melts ice sheets.

But precise estimates of the vulnerable populations depend on precise measurements of the planet’s topography, to understand just how close to sea level communities have settled.

A new study that seeks to correct for known errors in earlier elevation models finds that researchers might have been undercounting the number of people exposed to rising tides by hundreds of millions. That’s three to four times more people than previously projected, depending on the specific scenarios.

If these higher estimates prove correct, it will dramatically increase the damages and casualties from sea-level rise, swell the costs of adaption efforts like constructing higher seawalls, and escalate mass migration away from the coasts.

Many of the estimates to date have relied on essentially a three-dimensional map of the planet produced from a radar system that flew on board NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour in 2000. SOURCE