There is a lot of misinformation out there about how much sea level will rise due to global warming. The current best information (from 2018) comes from the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest report in chapter 9, Sea Level Rise. Page 278 of the report concludes that in the worst case (business as usual, no reductions in growth of emissions before 2030), the sea level will rise by 30 cm (12″) by 2050, and 41 cm (16″) by the end of the century.
So what impact will a 1 foot increase in sea level have, assuming that we don’t change our ways? You can see for yourself on the Surging Seas Risk Zone Map. In metropolitan Vancouver, the most affected areas are the airport and the city of Richmond. Richmond already has an extensive system of dykes, and they investing in upgrading them (see Richmond’s $300 million dyke plan forges ahead). According to the YVR 2037 Master Plan, the airport authority “are currently implementing a multi-year program to raise our dyke levels to 4.7 metres geodetic—a new height standard—and we are partners in the regional lower Fraser River flood management strategy.”
While the IPCC could be wrong (Vancouver’s Coastal Adaptation Plan pessimistically plans for increases of 50 cm (20″) by 2050 and 100 cm (40″) by 2100), and low lying islands areas in the third world which cannot afford to build dykes may well be inundated, to call this a global climate crisis is irresponsible. We’re likely to do better than the worst case scenario. This means Vancouver’s pessimistic (2.5 times worse than the IPCC’s worst case) plans are likely more than we need.