HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s iconic Waikiki Beach could soon be underwater as rising sea levels caused by climate change overtake its white sand beaches and bustling city streets. Predicting Honolulu will start experiencing frequent flooding within the next 15 to 20 years, state lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would spend millions for a coastline protection program aimed at defending the city from regular tidal inundations. The highest tides of recent years have sent seawater flowing across Waikiki Beach and onto roads and sidewalks lining its main thoroughfare, and interactive maps of the Hawaiian Islands show that many parts of the state are expected to be hit by extensive flooding, coastal erosion and loss of infrastructure in coming decades. That’s an alarming scenario for a state where beach tourism is the primary driver of the economy, leading some lawmakers to insist that planning for rising tides should start now. “The latest data on sea level rise is quite scary and it’s accelerating faster than we ever thought possible,” said state Rep. Chris Lee, a Democrat and lead author of a bill calling for the creation and implementation of the shoreline protection plan. The project would focus on urban Honolulu… Read full this story
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