US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that rising seas could devastate coastal cities if nations do not aggressively adopt renewable energy to reverse the damage fossil fuels are inflicting on the environment.
If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, he said, the total rise of the sea could reach five or six feet by the year 2100.
“Much of lower Manhattan could be flooded by the end of this very century, during the life span of babies born today,” Kerry said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York.
Kerry said the pace of change in the energy business needs to accelerate, and suggested support for more rigorous rules about accounting for the costs of using fossil fuels.
When considering the price of adopting solar and wind, Kerry said business and political leaders need to look beyond simple cost comparisons with oil and natural gas.
Rather, they should also include the toll of rebuilding from floods, hospital bills for asthma sufferers and the millions of deaths linked to air pollution.