Environmental officials and scientists warn that Puerto Rico is dangerously vulnerable to the effects of global climate change and are urging it to prepare by better regulating coastal development, and perhaps even by building artificial reefs, the Associated Press reports.
Storm-caused floods and erosion in the U.S. Caribbean territory are expected to grow worse as seas rise, perhaps by 22 inches (57 centimeters) by 2060.
The island’s natural resources secretary is Carmen Guerrero. She notes that nearly all of Puerto Rico’s essential infrastructure is located on the coast, including the main international airport and its thermoelectric plants. A rainstorm in July forced temporary closure of the airport and claimed cars and houses in the San Juan area.
She appeared Friday at a conference on climate change sponsored by the government and independent environmental groups.
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