A panel of experts on global warming convened by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation last week had a sobering forecast for those of us who live along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Their bottom-line message: expect a four-to-six-foot rise in the average sea level over the next century, perhaps over the next 50 years.

That would be a calamity. Scores of low-lying communities would be uninhabitable, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor waterfront would be awash, Annapolis would have water in the streets more often than not. The fragile islands in the Bay, especially Smith and Tangier Islands, would be flooded.

And, oh yes, expect a major hurricane to hit the Bay in the next 10 years. That’s a 70 per cent probability, according to the actuarial experts at Nationwide Insurance. Their response: the company has decided not to write any new homeowner policies on properties within 2,500-feet of coastal or tidal waters. Allstate recently announced a similar policy, delineated by waterfront zip codes. In other words, buy a property within half a mile of the waterfront and you’ll have to find insurance elsewhere, no doubt at inflated premiums.

Just one more barometer of the inescapable, inconvenient truth of global warming.

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