The Oakland airport seems perfectly situated. Unlike many urban airports, which require an expensive taxi trip or hour-long train ride to reach the city where you thought you’d just arrived, downtown lies mere minutes away. Such convenience is possible because the runways sit on a former wetland at the edge of San Francisco Bay. But this prime location could prove costly.
We’re all intimately familiar with the basic global-warming scenario by now: greenhouse gases are warming the atmosphere, polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising — and coastal cities like Oakland could lose their shorelines. If global temperatures rise 4 degrees Fahrenheit by next century, a relatively conservative prediction, Oakland’s runways flood. And that’s just the start of the city’s potential problems: rising seas could cause billions of dollars in property damage, fill groundwater aquifers with salt water, and jeopardize wetland ecosystems.
City officials are not sitting idly by waiting to see if or when such things could happen. This spring, Oakland beca... Read more