Imperial Beach coastline
Imperial Beach coastline. (Photo credit: Dstana / Wikipedia).

Just north of the Mexico border, the small coastal city of Imperial Beach, California, is already experiencing the effects of sea-level rise.

Dedina: “We’re getting king tides, high tides, the most extreme tides of the year, which are doing things we’ve never seen before, in an area that we never worried about for coastal flooding.”

Mayor Serge Dedina says that by the end of the century, up to a third of the city could face chronic flooding. This threat could cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars.

Dedina: “Moving schools, moving sewer lines, moving our roads, and adapting our roads to more flooding … So all the physical infrastructure is going to have to be adapted or moved out of harm’s way when sea-level rise is even worse.”

Dedina wants the companies most responsible for global warming to help pay for these costs. So last year, Imperial Beach and two California counties filed state lawsuits against more than three dozen fossil fuel companies. It’s a legal process that could take years, but Dedina is resolute.

Dedina: “We’re a blue-collar beach town and we’re not going to take this lying down. We think that those who cause climate change should pay up, and we should go to court and make that happen.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.