Sea-Level Hypocrisy, Boston Edition

by Greg Pollowitz

It’s funny how global warming produces so many “chilling” headlines. Here’s the latest from Think Progress:

Chilling Map Shows Boston With A 7.5-Foot Coastal Flood

Flooding from sea level rise is threatening to wash away many of Boston’s historical buildings and archaeological sites, according to WGBH News.

In 2012, the city was spared when Hurricane Sandy turned west and slammed into New York instead. But the close call sparked a May conference of experts and stakeholders to consider what would have happened if Sandy had hit Boston. What they discovered was that historic sites like Faneuil Hall and the Blackstone Block of colonial streets — which sit within the city’s 100-year tidal flood zone — would already have been flooded three times since Sandy if storms had hit during high tide instead of low. A May report by the Union of Concerned Scientists noted both sites as some of the most at-risk in the entire country thanks to increased flooding from climate change and sea level rise.

But if this flooding is such a concern, why is Boston proposing two new 600-foot towers to be built in this flood zone? Via the Boston Globe:

Standing before a jam-packed meeting room Wednesday, developer Donald J. Chiofaro lifted the veil on his plan for one of the city’s largest development sites, showing a pair of angular skyscrapers that would redefine the downtown waterfront.

The towers — one clad in glass, the other in terra cotta — would rise to 600 feet along Atlantic Avenue and infuse modern architecture into a corner of the city dominated by structures built many decades ago.

“It’s not often the city finds itself with the opportunity for a transformative moment,” Chiorfaro said. “But that moment is now before us.”

If you’re to believe Think Progress then, the map they link to shows a 7.5-foot flood would put the area around Atlantic Avenue under water:

If global warming is really a threat, then Boston should never let this project get off the ground. Until Boston acts to restrict development, I suggest Think Progress take a chill pill and dial-down their “chilling” reporting on global warming.