THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The $100 Trillion Tsunami

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Because of global warming, ocean levels are expected to increase by 16 inches over the next 40 years, causing flooding and endangering facilities throughout the state." Does this mean I will have to spend my golden years on a houseboat floating off the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica anchored to a submerged traffic light?

As the polar ice caps continue to melt, it apparently won't be just the polar bears who are threatened. The City of the Angels could become a shallow inland sea over time and estimates are that it could mean at least $100 billion in damages. Is that in 2010 dollars, or 2050? The way things are going it's likely to be closer to $100 trillion!

The report also predicts that by 2100 the surf will be up by 55 inches, which means our great-grandchildren will have to evolve gills. We have to look at this as a giant, but very, very slow wave. A tsunami a long time coming. It could make overly cautious surfers happy but we land-lubbers better start coming up with some ways to stick our finger in the dike. First, we need a dike. Either that or a hell of a lot of sandbags. It could be less expensive to move the Mojave Desert west.

All kidding aside, or overboard, as the case may be: What are we going to do? A study, of course. The Rand Corporation is going to do a study of sea level rising. Well, that makes me feel much better. That means we can wait to become hysterical for at least another three or four years while scientists stick rulers into the waves to determine the level of panic.

Meanwhile, a whole bunch of people are going to have a great time spending tons of tax money visiting the naughty city of Amsterdam to determine how the Little Dutch Boy became an urban myth and a paint company logo. While it's true that Holland has managed to hold back the sea for several centuries with its astounding system of levees and locks, the Netherlands is about as big as Newport Beach and I wouldn't count on being able to walk on water in those wooden shoes.

It's all about perception. I think we need to re-calibrate our levels of expectation. Let's make this an opportunity instead of a tragedy. Personally, I'm thinking about going into the wetsuit business.