SIR ROBERT WATSON: What the climate theory would suggest is we will see more and more extreme weather events, more heavy precipitation events, and more floods. And we’re seeing it. More droughts, and we’re seeing them. More extreme weather events such as hurricanes, where they’ll be more intense. DR. GEORGE DEODATIS: With Hurricane Sandy, the effects of a major hurricane became very, very clear in New York City and the surrounding areas. If the exact same hurricane occurs 50 years from now with, let’s say, 2 feet of sea level rise, the effects are going to be much, much worse. SIR ROBERT WATSON: Can I say Sandy was due to global warming? No. Is it the sort of event that I would expect to become more frequent in the future? Yes. [MUSIC PLAYING] SIR ROBERT WATSON: Hurricane Sandy, which was only a tropical storm when it hit New York, that clearly was a wake-up call that one of the most important areas, economic areas, of the USA, one of the most populated areas, was quite vulnerable to a single storm. DR.
GEORGE DEODATIS: And it is possible to make New York City relatively flood-proof, not completely flood-proof, but relatively flood-proof. New York City was unprepared for Sandy. SIR ROBERT WATSON: How can they deal with it? Well, New York is likely to build some seawall defenses. MONICA AMBROSINI: We are in Venice. We are in one of the most important inlet that connect the lagoon and the sea. We are now at the Lido inlet, the nearest to the city of Venice. SHANE SMITH: There’s a lot of construction going on. There’s an island being built other there. What’s happening? MONICA AMBROSINI: The MOSE is a system that will protect Venice and its lagoon from high tides. SHANE SMITH: Right. So this is what it will look like? MONICA AMBROSINI: Yes, we have dredged the trench. And we have put this concrete. And next year, we have to install these steel gates. The steel pontoons, they’re always full of water when there is a high tide. Before a dangerous level, we will put air inside them so they go up.
They stay in this position, between 42 and 46 degrees. They float. They move. This is not a unique barrier. Because they have to move. They have to stop the tide. But it’s an elastic defense. SHANE SMITH: And then when they stop it, they go down. MONICA AMBROSINI: Yes. SHANE SMITH: So the barriers are here? MONICA AMBROSINI: Yes. SHANE SMITH: So when you don’t have the gates, the water just comes in. MONICA AMBROSINI: Yes, and flood Venice. Many people now from foreign countries look at Venice, the Venice solution, because this is a long-term solution. SHANE SMITH: So once the MOSE system is in in 2016, it should last 100 years. MONICA AMBROSINI: Yes, yes, absolutely. [MUSIC PLAYING] DR. GEORGE DEODATIS: Every dollar spent today for preventive measures against natural catastrophes reduces losses in the future by $4. Can you imagine a better investment of public funds than this? SIR ROBERT WATSON: Winston Churchill once made a comment about Americans. And that is, when there’s a problem, they will try every possible solution until at the very end, they’ll do what obviously will work, the obvious thing to do. The world might be in the same case.
In other words, at the moment they all acknowledge the issue of climate change, they all acknowledge we have to do something to limit human-induced climate change. The only question is, how quickly will the world wake up to the fact we have to do things differently? .