NEW ORLEANS -- Within the next two decades, scientists believe that metro areas around New Orleans may have to be relocated because of rising sea levels.

One of the biggest factors: global warming from greenhouse gasses.

"Three feet of sea level rise and Miami is Venice. New Orleans is gone," said Bob Dean with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Dean’s statement coincides with a recent study released by the National Academy of Sciences. The study said New Orleans could see nearly 14.5 inches of sea level rise by 2040, and 6.5 feet by 2100. Areas outside of the protective levee system and coastal Louisiana would likely see the first wave of change.

"That's a pretty daunting number," Kara Lankford, interim Director of the Ocean Conservancy Coastal Restoration program said. "On the bright side of things, we have the capabilities to know that this is coming and to have warning signals sent out to us so we know we need to start preparing."

THE LENS: Study says New Orleans will see one of the highest levels of sea level rise in the world

Lankford said these numbers mean the wetlands, salt marshes and coastline would move further inland meaning whole metro areas could be gone.

"We can make smart development choices. We can begin to purchase coastal properties so we can protect those sensitive environmental areas that we know need area to expand," Lankford said.

Coastal-Erosion-Generic.jpg
Coastal-Erosion-Generic.jpg

However, in light of the presidential election, he said the ocean conservancy is nervous.

President-elect Donald Trump has made it known what he thinks about climate change and made it clearer with his choice to lead the EPA transition team, climate change skeptic, Myron Ebell.

"We believe that the so-called global warming consensus was not based on science but was a political consensus," Bell said.

Lankford said that statement bothers scientists.

"That's disturbing, and I guess we have hope that Trump is going to have some really smart advisors and folks tell him how important this is and hopefully coastal communities will reach out to him as well,” Lankford said.