There are two main options in the context of sea level rise and coastal property: either it’s a short/medium-term threat and politicians are failing their people by not dealing with it now, or it’s not really a short/medium-term threat and that’s why nothing is being done and why the rich continue to buy ocean front mansions like Obama did on Martha’s Vineyard.
Science doesn’t support the idea of reducing emissions as a short-term or medium-term solution to any of climate change’s effects. This is called “committed warming” or “climate commitment.”
Astute observers may notice that politicians typically talk about climate change response without ever getting explicit on how they expect the response to benefit us, specifically. This is presumably due to the aforementioned science which says there’s no way to change things in the short/medium-term. Consider Kamala Harris’ recent remarks:
Climate change has become a climate crisis, and a threat has now become a reality
The devastation is real. The harm is real. The impact is real and we are witnessing it in real time.
The frequency has accelerated in a relatively short period of time. The science is clear. Extreme weather will only get worse, and the climate crisis will only accelerate.
[Biden and Harris] have a duty to act, not only after disaster strikes, but before disaster strikes, and that is why we are here today.
Notice she’s careful not to say something like “we can stop disaster striking by acting now.” Because science doesn’t support this. The “science is clear” that climate change is real, but is the “science clear” on exactly what to do about it???
I think the difference between mitigation and adaption strategies is a critical question, one I’m glad you’re asking even if you don’t realize that’s what you’re asking. The lack of pursuit of adaptation strategies could be one of the largest opportunity costs in human history. Cynical me would point out how it may be easier to make money off mitigation strategies that change consumer behavior like eating less meat (buy BeyondMeat stocks), moving to renewable energy and electric vehicles (solar, battery, and e-vehicle stocks), eating bugs (bug food stocks), and various efficiency standards than it is to make money off purely adaptation strategies like seawalls, desalination, stormwater infrastructure, and relocation.
Of course, politicians selling out their constituents’ future for short-term financial gain is a tale as old as time itself. So don’t be too surprised.