Ryan McDonald

Muratsuchi back in class for town hall

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Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi hosted an Earth Day town hall at Hermosa Valley School on Saturday. Panelists addressed the latest science on rising sea levels, and how they could affect Hermosa and the rest of the California coast. Speakers included: Craig Cadwallader, head of the Surfrider Foundation’s South Bay chapter; Ian Fenty, a scientist in the sea level and ice group at the Jet Propulsion Library and the California Institute of Technology; Damon Nagami, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Mary Small, chief deputy executive officer of the California Coastal Conservancy.

The most recent models indicate that, under a scenario in which sea levels rise between one and two meters, 60 percent of California’s beaches could be lost. Panelists stressed that the magnitude of the problem meant that the state needed to address emissions that contribute to global warming and rising sea levels, but that at least some rise was inevitable, and residents needed to be prepared. Cadwallader noted that Hermosa addresses sea level rise in its recently updated general plan, but predicted that many residents are likely unprepared for what could happen when rising sea levels meet intense winter storms, which climate change may also make more likely to occur. He recalled living on The Strand during the El Niño winter of 1982-83, when storm surge washed over the sand and into his front door.

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“When you see the ocean coming across the beach, and you’re stepping in it in your kitchen, it’s a shocking experience,” he said.

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