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Home » D.C. consultant, retired admiral says coastal infrastructure a key to adapting to climate change

D.C. consultant, retired admiral says coastal infrastructure a key to adapting to climate change

D.C. consultant, retired admiral says coastal infrastructure a key to adapting to climate change

A retired U.S. Navy admiral and climate change consultant said that while sea level rise and stronger hurricanes are on the horizon, science, education and innovation will be able to help people adapt to a new world.

Retired Rear Admiral Jonathan White spoke in front of the Path to Positive Southwest Florida group Wednesday, saying that not everything related to climate change will be bad.

"In D.C. you hear about 'everything is on the brink' and 'we’re falling apart,'" said White, president and CEO of Consortium for Ocean Leadership. "It’s an area of great concern but I don’t think it’s all gloom and doom."

He said weather is changing, natural disasters are becoming more common and that the consequences are lost lives and billions in damages.

"The high-cost events are hurricanes," White said. "The fires, the floods, the droughts. We track those and we need to understand that and plan for that as well. Over the last 20 to 40 years things have been changing in terms of lives lost and costs."

Sea levels are rising at the same time that overall temperatures are climbing.

"We’ve seen the planet warming, and we've measured in Hawaii for a long time now the overall concentration of carbon dioxide," he said. "And you see it going up at about the same rate (as overall temperatures and sea level rise)."

More than 140 people registered for the online presentation, and one of the viewers asked what various arms of the military are doing to prepare for a changing climate.

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