Each of us can make a positive difference stepping up & doing our best / Becoming Planet Citizens
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Revision as of 21:33, 21 September 2020
- Geo-Facts to Keep in Mind
- Today, in 2020, about ten percent of the world's population, some 770 million people, live on land less than five metres above the high tide line.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Coastal city prepares and begins to pay for sea-level rise flooding
Coastal cities and towns get a glimpse of the future
E&E News (@EENewsUpdates) Tweeted: Conservationists are raising concerns that the federal government's flood maps fail to account for climate change and increased flooding, and as a result allow developers to build in flood-prone areas without understanding the risk.
- Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council releases a “Project Phoenix”
- Project Phoenix 2.0: The Recovery
- A Hurricane Simulation for Tampa Bay Small Businesses & Emergency Management Agencies
- What if a Category 5 hurricane struck the Tampa Bay region? How would the events unfold, and what would the region look like in the aftermath of the storm? #ExtremeWeather #ClimateChange
- Project Phoenix 2.0: The Recovery is a facilitated training exercise that examines critical issues and capabilities of Tampa Bay area small businesses and emergency management agencies during disaster recovery. A series of videos supplement the exercise; illustrating a simulated Category 5 hurricane hitting Tampa Bay paralleled with lessons learned and words of advice from small business owners impacted by Hurricane Michael with its severe damage in Florida in 2018.
New Florida Law Addresses Sea-level and Climate Change
Via PBS-WJCT news reports
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that would require state-financed coastal developments to account for sea level rise and storm surge.
“This bill really is the first transformative piece of legislation on climate the legislature has ever passed,” said Miami Democratic Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, who introduced SB 178. “It says climate change is real, it’s here, and we have to plan for it when we’re spending state taxpayer dollars.”
The bill requires any public entity initiating a coastal project, whether a state agency or local government, to hire an engineer to complete a sea level impaction projection, or SLIP, study, according to guidance from the Department of Environmental Protection.
“That's, I think, a cost that all of us are willing to bear to make sure that we're not wasting billions of dollars over the next couple of decades on new construction and on improvements to publicly funded projects that could have been done more wisely,” said Rodriguez.
The results of all SLIP studies will be posted on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
Next steps and required public or government actions are not indicated in the new law.
Christopher Flavelle / Bloomberg News / Tracking Climate & Environment
The Nightmare Scenario for Florida’s Coastal Homeowners
NASA Eyes on the Earth
Thanks to altimetry missions, beginning with the U.S.-French TOPEX / Poseidon mission launched in 1992 and continuing through the present with the Jason series, we now have a nearly three-decade-long record of sea level change.
NASA earth science: "The satellites tell us it's happening. But we want to know why—what's causing it?" said Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "Generally speaking, it's global warming. But in a specific sense, how much is it the melting of polar ice sheets as opposed to glaciers? And how much is it ocean warming and thermal expansion?" he said, referring to how water expands as it warms. "Most importantly, what's going to happen in the future?"
NASA scientist goes on a seaside vacation
Florida, 'Sunshine State', Do You Feel Lucky?
Corporate Investors McKinsey Report, or Handed-off Real-Estate Brochure, Florida's at Serious Actuarial Risk
Actuarial science... data collection, measurement, estimating, forecasting, and valuation tools
- Actuarial science... assessing overall risk from catastrophic events...
Legacy: Years of Climate Change Denial by former Florida Governor & current US Senator Rick Scott
As Time Goes By
From Bell Science Hour & Frank Capra
Produced & Distributed in 1958
We are heating the atmosphere, disruption is coming
Glass-bottom boats touring over Miami?
Exponential Coastal Flooding Coming
The accelerating pace of sea level rise means that by the end of the century floods currently considered once in a lifetime, or once every 50 years or so, will become a daily high tide occurrence for more than 90% of the coastal locations assessed by researchers from the US government, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Hawaii.
Within 30 years from now, these now-rare flooding events will become annual occurrences for more than 70% of the locations along the US coast according to the research published in Scientific Reports. This scenario threatens huge, multibillion-dollar damages and, potentially, the viability of some coastal communities.
Planning to Retreat from the Coasts
Then there are those who say 'what does the USGS know?' And then there are those who say 'so what's the USGS?'
"Miami Beach Fights a Tide of Angry Residents"
Via Wall Street Journal
Is Florida up for the Challenge?
“The idea that what’s land and what’s ocean, that the boundary line is going to move, is a really tough, disturbing concept,” says John Englander, a Boca Raton-based oceanographer, climate consultant and author. "The good news is, we have time to begin adapting."
A Case Study, Red Hook, NYC: Adapting to Climate Change, Flooding and Mold
GreenPolicy360: Good Science, Smart Planning
GreenPolicy 'Living Coastline, Living Shoreline' Campaign
Prepare for the Future Now
Cornelia Dean Brings Us a Story of American's Beaches & Failed Attempts to Fight Off Rising Tides ....
California’s New Plan to Deal w/ Climate Change & Sea-level Rise
Clearwater, Florida: Forward-planning for regional resiliency
Coastal communities facing severe impacts of climate change: Discussing, debating, deciding... politics in a time of climate change and climate impacts
• The highest rate of sea level rise was recorded along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline.
“Acceleration can be a game changer in terms of impacts and planning, so we really need to pay heed to these patterns,” says John Boon, emeritus professor and founder of Virginia Marine Institute’s project to chart sea level rise.
The US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported an acceleration in sea level rise, warning that if greenhouse gas emissions are not constrained there may be a worst-case scenario of as much as a 8.2 ft increase by 2100, compared with 2000 levels.
Florida, 'Ground Zero of the Climate Crisis'
Florida legislation House Bill 913... would create a needed Florida Climate and Resiliency Research Program
Across the state, coastal erosion and the loss of beaches present a harrowing future for economic staples like our ports, our tourism and real estate industries.
To date, unfortunately, we have operated in the dark about what these scenarios will collectively mean for our state’s budget – and you, the taxpayer. We already know some of these costs will be huge.
One study from the Center for Climate Integrity estimates that Florida will have to spend more than $75 billion on seawalls to protect infrastructure, property, and lives against sea-level rise – more than any other state in the nation. With more than 1,200 miles of coastline in Florida, we cannot turn a blind eye to such looming expenses.
Florida sits at ground zero of the climate crisis, and we now have to grapple with the consequences. Regardless of what path we choose, it is going to take all of us working together to navigate these complex challenges in the years and decades ahead.
But first we need to understand what is at stake for Florida, and how much it will cost. That’s why we hope our colleagues in the legislature will lend their support to HB913 and the creation of the Florida Climate and Resiliency Research Program.
Editorial Opinion / The Invading Sea
By Florida State Representative Ben Diamond (representing District 68 in St. Petersburg, FL) and Holly Raschein (representing District 120 in Monroe County and parts of Miami-Dade).
“The Invading Sea” features opinions of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.
Bank of the Ozarks OZK 'Miami formula' (via the Miami Herald):
"You’re in a market where — look, 900 people a day are moving to Florida and about 45% are coming to the Miami MSA..."
"So you’ve got 400 people a day moving into the market...They’re leaving New York and Connecticut, some for tax reasons, others for the lifestyle, or cost of living."
"We’re in a rising tide market where everything looks good..."
OZK’s CEO/Chairman George Gleason says it’s a simple formula.
"We’re selling a value equation. It’s not dependent on us taking a credit risk or offering low price. We get paid well for what we do."
Now come other points of view...
Florida coastal homes could lose 15% of value by 2030 due to sea rise and could lose up to 35 percent of value by 2050, according to new reports
- Banking & Insurance Special Report: A Deluge of Risk and a Looming Crisis
As 2019 and Florida's 'hurricane season' draws to a close
The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council turns to the future and disaster preparedness -- "26 feet of water: What the worst-case hurricane scenario looks like for Tampa Bay" (Via Vox)
Flooded Future: Assessing the Implications of New Elevation Data for Coastal Communities
According to new research conducted by Climate Central, by 2050, sea level rise could push the high-tide line above the homes of 150 million people living on coastlines today. Rising sea levels could also push chronic floods higher than land currently home to 300 million people--that number could reach 480 million by 2100. These totals are significantly larger than previous estimates and have wide-ranging and profound implications for economic and political stability. Importantly, the greatest impact will be felt in Asia, where six nations--China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand--are home to 75 percent of the 300 million people who will be living in chronic flood zones.
These findings are based on CoastalDEM, a new digital elevation model that uses machine learning methods to correct for systematic errors in the principal elevation dataset previously used for international assessment of coastal flood risks, NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.
On November 20 the Wilson Center Global Risk and Resilience Center presents the study's findings and their implications for future humanitarian assistance, economic prosperity, adaptation and resilience initiatives, and global security.
The Terrestrial Home of GreenPolicy360 in Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
Venice, Italy faces the future
Via Forbes / November 18, 2019
Will Investors And Insurers Sink Or Save Florida?
New research shows that some 150 million people across the globe are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by 2050.
That far-off date, huge number and uncertain location are probably too abstract and distant to matter to most, but here's another way to look at it: You, friends or loved ones might already be living too close to the rising high-tide line in Florida. What’s more, the fate of Florida’s citizens, homes, towns, businesses and overall economy depend on decisions being made right now on 30-year mortgages and bonds that will be critically impaired by that 2050 high-tide line.
Once investors and insurers decide that the value of too many 30-year mortgages face an unacceptable level of risk (including yours?), many mortgages will go underwater or even be thrown into default. Even worse for the rest of Florida, financing for new long-term mortgages, utility debt offerings, and municipal bonds for schools, roads, bridges, sewers, etc., will dry up. That in turn will deflate real estate values overall and crush the backbone of the Florida economy—and send Florida into a deep and costly tailspin....
It could happen next month, next year or a few more years out; but — on our present course — it is sure to happen much sooner than 2050....
In some ways, Florida is the canary in our climate change coal mine. Climate changes are hitting it sooner and harder because its geography and economy make it especially vulnerable..
Florida’s geographic vulnerability is starkly illustrated by the water problems in Miami. Miami, like most of Florida, is built on porous limestone bedrock near sea level. And the sea is rising. That raising sea is already pushing saltwater and toxic chemicals into the fresh water supply, disabling septic tanks, damaging sewer systems and overwhelming flood control systems. Such fragility makes Miami and the rest of Florida even more vulnerable to extreme storms, flooding and heat. (Sad aside: Florida’s porous bedrock precludes using Netherlands-inspired sea walls to keep the ocean out — the salty water will simply seep through the limestone and sewers.)
Here’s how the hazards of a wetter, hotter, saltier and more volatile climate threaten Florida’s real estate, and why investors and insurers are key...
If real estate is Florida’s growth engine, financing is the fuel and insurance is the lubricant. 30-year mortgages and long-term municipal bonds fuel home purchases and infrastructure projects, such as schools, roads and sewer systems. Insurance lubricates the system by managing risk to the underlying assets and guaranteeing that bond holders will get paid. Thus, real estate values in 30 years and the impact of that value on new development, property tax revenue, etc., are here-and-now questions for investors and insurers actively buying and underwriting 30-year debt today....
Insurance is Florida’s Achilles Heel, however. Investors will continue to invest in 30-year Florida debt as only long as insurers continue to insure those investments.
A worst-case scenario was bracingly laid out by Spencer Glendon at the recent Sohn Investment Conference and in related interviews, such as here / More and more assets have a terminal value of zero....
They are utterly dependent on real estate. When real estate even slows in Florida, the economy will go to hell. When will this happen? It can happen tomorrow. As soon as people stop lending for 30 years. As soon as Moody’s starts asking about municipal bond financing. [Florida] could be in big trouble quickly. — Spencer Glendon
(M)any in the insurance industry, including giants like Munich Re, Aon, Allstate and the members of the Climate Wise alliance, are issuing warnings about climate-change related losses and rising insurance prices. Munich Re has warned about the societal unrest as insurance becomes unaffordable....
Low-lying Coastal Areas -- Near-, Mid-, or Long-term Investment?
Climate deniers think coastal property is a better long-term investment than climate believers do, so they’re willing to pay more for it today. Smart decision?
(CBS) Ending Home Mortgages 'As We Know Them', a Result of Climate Change
Climate change could punch a hole through the financial system by making 30-year home mortgages — the lifeblood of the American housing market — effectively unobtainable in entire regions across parts of the U.S.
That's what the future could look like without policy to address climate change, according to the latest research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The bank is considering these and other risks on Friday in an unprecedented conference on the economics of climate change.
For the financial sector, adapting to climate change isn't just an issue of improving their market share. "It is a function of where there will be a market at all," wrote Jesse Keenan, a scholar who studies climate adaptation, in the Fed's introduction.
The housing market doesn't yet factor in the risk of climate change, which is already affecting many areas of the U.S., including flood-prone coastal communities, agricultural regions and parts of the country vulnerable to wildfires...
Yet for now, no mortgage lender, portfolio manager or buyer of mortgages takes into account climate-induced floods, except to determine if a house sits in a 100-year floodplain at the time the mortgage is issued, said Michael Berman, a former official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and former chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Once lenders and housing investors do start pricing in such risks, "There may be a threat to the availability of the 30-year mortgage in various vulnerable and highly exposed areas," Berman wrote in a recent Fed report. He predicts lenders could "blue-line" entire regions where flood risks are high...
The result: Entire neighborhoods would empty out, leaving cities unable to shore up their crumbling roads and bridges just as severe weather events become more extreme and more frequent. Home values would fall, potentially depleting the budgets of counties and states.
As it is today, "the market is short-sighted"
(CNN) Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are at risk of losing their homes as entire cities sink under rising seas over the next three decades, according to researchers.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, put nearly three times as many people in coastal areas at risk from flooding than previously thought, and are the result of new advances in elevation modeling technology.
Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows
USA: Florida Republicans: "a lost decade"
Check out @ret_ward’s Tweet:
Florida GOP leaders finally utter ‘sea level rise,’ lament ‘lost decade’. A Florida Senate Republican leader holds a discussion on sea level rise and concludes ‘we lost a decade.’ For years party leaders wouldn’t even say the words ‘sea level rise’ or ‘climate change.’ (Via Times-Herald/Florida Climate Reporting Network)
Climate Resilience Financing
When we talk costs of borrowing, we're talking numbers and 'running the numbers'. There's no denying the market availabilty of loans and loan rates, what the ratings services say, the actuarials say, the mortgage costs say and what the borrowing costs are...
The business community, the lenders are looking carefully at risks and the highest at risk states in the US, like the low-lying coastlines of Florida, are on the Moody's map. Standard & Poor's watching. Municipal bonds are moving to reflect the risk.
“We are about a year away from climate change beginning to affect the muni market — a little,” Matt Fabian, a partner at Municipal Market Analytics says. “Changes on the investor side are going to happen first, [credit] ratings will come second, and issuer behavior will be a distant third...”
Last year, Moody’s surveyed the 50 largest U.S. cities; 28 responded. Among them, they had 240 climate resilience projects, totaling $47 billion. Some 60% of the projects were to combat flooding.
Florida’s Miami-Dade County has been praised by analysts for its infrastructure investments focused on climate preparedness. Ed Marquez, the county’s deputy mayor, said future financing is a “concern,” but officials are trying to address that with capital plans focused on dealing with the changing climate.
“This is a many-year process as we fix our infrastructure, as we add new infrastructure, as new science comes on board,” he said. “Miami is still growing. People are still coming. Investors are buying our bonds. We’re telling them what the odds are, but it’s odds that they’re willing to play.”
Statewide, Florida remains in good shape creditwise, despite the challenges many of its communities are facing. Ben Watkins, the state’s director of bond finance, said that’s likely to continue, even amid hurricanes and rising sea levels. Even the most devastating hurricane seasons have ended up being a “blip on the radar” in terms of Florida’s credit health, he said. But concern remains for smaller governments within the state.
“People are dying to come to Florida and coming to Florida to die,” he said. “Until that changes, we’ll have the economic engines to be able to access credit.”
Cities with climate change risks should follow Florida’s lead and borrow now for local projects, said Fabian, the analytics researcher.
“As investors get smarter about climate change risk, it will become more expensive for governments with the largest need to borrow,” Fabian said. “Their costs to borrow could certainly be higher. Acting earlier is almost always cheaper.”
Miami Climate Alliance Takes Action
Miami-Dade is the first county in the country to track the cost of climate impacts.
While $16 billion is earmarked for resiliency efforts in the five-year capital plan and $600 million for “resilience projects” in the annual operating budget, county leaders have yet to have an honest discussion about how government plans to address the effects of the warming climate in the decades ahead...
America’s Great Climate Exodus Is Starting in the Florida Keys
Mass migration begins as coastal homes are bulldozed in the state facing the biggest threat from climate-driven inundation
Not a 'Round-trip Migration'
'Brace yourselves' for Sea-Level Rise
'Superstorms' and Sea-Level Rise
Thursday, the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis invited experts to Capitol Hill to provide business perspectives on climate change costs.
Committee Chairwoman Kathy Castor, D-Fla., mentioned insurance companies paid out $100 billion in 2017 for losses related to climate impacts.
“This is important because for years, big businesses ignored the climate crisis,” Castor said. “Some even actively promoted climate denial. Some still do. But increasingly — with the help of experts who measure growing economic risks, with the help of scientists, and shareholder activists — businesses not only recognize the growing economic harm of the climate crisis, but they recognize that we can solve it and create new opportunities, industries and jobs in doing so.
“Recognizing the risks, investors are getting out of fossil fuels. They’re looking at opportunities to create the next wave of clean energy and clean transportation technology. They’re building the clean energy economy because that must be the future.”
Ranking Member Garret Graves, R-La., agreed.
“This is a key issue that we must aggressively address,” Graves said. “Let’s be clear — the status quo, what we have done historically for decades is absolutely inappropriate. It doesn’t properly prioritize, it is not the process that responds to the urgency that we’re facing. As you well know, we can reduce, as we’ve had witness after witness testify before this committee, we could cut all emissions from the United States today, every bit of emissions, and we’re going to continue to see changes in our weather. We’re going to continue to see seas rise.”
Environmental Working Group: “The spectacle of the president straining to document a positive environmental record should be seen for what it is – utter fantasy."
Experts watching the speech said many of the president’s claims were not based in fact. Those achievements that were real, they said, were the result of actions taken by his predecessors. And they noted the one conspicuous omission from the whole discussion: any mention of climate change, the overarching environmental threat that Mr. Trump has mocked in the past.
GreenPolicy360: As the US Democratic Party presidential candidates gather in Miami in our terrestrial home state of Florida, GreenPolicy asked earlier about the 2016 debates... During all the pres debates, a climate change question was asked of the candidates, what, once?
Tonight the Dems start the presidential campaign debate. Climate question is now central, even as the current US president denies (and derides) the national/global security challenges and climate crisis, the big picture, existential questions and the impacts at the national/state and local levels.
In Miami, the scene of tonight and tomorrow's debate, the consequences of sea level rise are VERY real already. Florida is on the frontlines of climate change and for many years GreenPolicy360 has been calling out a warning and delivering the hard science, evidence and facts.
Democratic Party Presidential Candidates Debate in Miami
Via the NY Times / No question is of more critical importance to Florida’s future, or to the Democrats’ chance to take the state in next year’s presidential election. It is so important that some activists had hoped that climate change would be the sole focus when 20 Democrats take the debate stage for the first time in this campaign on Wednesday and Thursday in downtown Miami.
Climate change is now among the top three 2020 election issues cited by Florida Democrats, according to a new statewide survey. Some 71 percent of Florida voters, including 85 percent of Democrats, support government action to address climate change, according to the survey by Climate Nexus in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, which polled 1,558 registered Florida voters online this month...
Via CNN / All of Miami Beach is low-lying, but parts are just a foot or two above sea level, making it prone to flooding during storms and extreme high tides, according to Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales. Add the estimated 9 inches that sea levels have risen in the region in the past 100 years, and you have a recipe for costly flooding.
Then there is the problem of the very ground on which Miami Beach and much of South Florida sits. Made from the remnants of ancient coral reefs, the porous limestone beneath the region is not unlike Swiss cheese, with natural underground "pipes" that allow water to bubble up to the surface...
Prep Now for Storm Surge, Flooding, Sea-level Rise
GreenPolicy360 initiates "Living Coastline, Living Shoreline Resilience" campaign
Over the years, we have encouraged many ideas that have proven over time to provide effective solutions and "green best practices". In Florida for example, the terrestrial home base of GreenPolicy360, we have focused on the work of Jack E. Davis, author of the Pulitzer prize-winning book, The Gulf, and his sage advice:
"The 'living shoreline' is the best defense against sea-level rise."
-- Jack E. Davis, author of "The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea
Design principals of #resilience
GreenPolicy360 and green best practices, case studies and models, we're about making a positive difference. Sea-level rise is a threatening challenge and we are beginning to prepare NOW.
The recent visit to Florida by Dutch engineering ambassador, Henk Ovink, provides many solutions to Florida with its highly vulnerable coastal geography and porous limestone geology. Perhaps a "Think like the Dutch" motto, given the country's centuries of below sea-level experience, should be a beginning of a statewide education campaign. Although some politicians continue attempting to deny the reality, Florida is on the frontlines of global climate change and the cost of denial is, in a harsh reality, unacceptable.
California is a global leader in environmental initiatives, with many front-of-market solutions that are models designed for forward-looking communities. In alignment with GreenPolicy360's "Living Coastline, Living Shoreline Resilience" campaign, the San Francisco Bay areas living levee is a case study in smart planning.
Green Infrastructure for Rising Sea Levels - The Oro Loma Project
It’s time we “start to think of our natural systems as this incredibly valuable technology,” according to Letitia Grenier, a conservation biologist who directs the Resilient Landscapes Program at the nonprofit San Francisco Estuary Institute. She says vegetation can be a better flood barrier than hard infrastructure.
Natural infrastructure, effective, resilient, smart...
Florida could face $76 billion in climate change costs by 2040, report says
"It is not just seawalls that should or are being considered as part of an effective sea level rise strategy"
At What Point Managed Retreat? Resilience Building in the Coastal Zone
Preparing now for profound change and the coming storm is more than smart planning -- preparing now is critical to protecting and preserving life as we know it.
What happens in the North doesn't stay in the North
What happens in the South doesn't stay in the South
Tampa Bay, identified in a series of scientific studies as one of the most vulnerable regions exposed to sea-level rise and extreme weather/hurricane disasters
Florida on the front lines of risk (as the insurance industry increasingly warns) and having weathered eight years of a governor who literally denied 'climate change' as a real-world threat to Florida's citizens, communities, businesses and future, now attempts to re-think its environmental-economic security horizon
Florida hires first-ever chief science officer -- https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-ne-florida-science-officer-20190401-story.html
Florida hires first-ever chief resilience officer -- https://floridapolitics.com/archives/295872-ron-desantis-tackling-climate-change-with-chief-resilience-officer
May 22 / Thank you Florida activists (thinking of Susan Glickman of CleanEnergy Florida) and forward-looking office holders (thinking of Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long) for bringing one of the most knowledgeable experts on water/floods/planning and engineering, Henk Ovink, to meet with Florida's new chief science officer and chief resilience officer, and to share data and talk climate change crisis and real-world risks with local Floridians. For centuries the Dutch have been on the front lines of water management as much of their country is below sea level (remembering the story of the kid with the finger in the dike.) Key learnings and best practices need to be shared, with eye-opening and mind-opening facts and warnings. Henk is on the road to knock on doors and issue wake up calls, the time for denial is over, it's time to get up and get going -- “We must wake up the ignorant, the unconscious, wake them up, knock them on their heads, we need them all!”
The Tampa Bay Times features Henk Ovink's presentation on May 22nd as the global 'ambassador-envoy', a whirlwind of energy in motion, as Henk rushes from Florida's state capitol to Miami and many meetings and information rich briefings with local political figures. A knowledge-based sharing platform is next up. The take away? It's time for citizen action...
May 22 / Global envoy Henk Ovink talks of a climate future in Clearwater, Florida. A half-filled conference room at the Carillon Hilton reveals lack of public awareness.
- Attention Louisiana climate deniers: Insurers say climate change now biggest risk
History is full of moments when communities facing an existential challenge have two fates.
They are saved by courageous leaders who ignore personal risks to show the way. Or they become examples of disastrous, life-ending choices.
Climate change has clearly placed Louisiana at one of those crisis points. But, so far, we have chosen that second course and are barreling toward disaster just a few decades away...
The Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel, a group of climate scientists that formed in 2014, presented its findings to a Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council committee Monday (May 13). They found that the region is likely to face between 1.9 and 8.5 feet of sea level rise by the year 2100...
CityLab:What about the elephant in the room: climate change and sea-level rise? We hear about it all the time, yet developers keep building and people keep moving to Miami.
Alejandro Portes: Last year, I took a trip along I-95 and counted about 40 building cranes, all around Biscayne Bay right by the water. This is a consequence of the growth machine of real estate capital that refuses to believe that anything serious is going to happen. The general conviction among developers is that someone will come up with a solution because it would be impossible for a city of this size to disappear.
The fact of the matter is that the ocean is rising. That's undeniable, that's a done deal. And, the process is surprisingly fast paced: the anticipations of things that were supposed to happen in 2050 are now expected to become reality by 2025.
Two things that have happened recently: The city of Miami passed a $400 million-dollar “Miami Forever” bond to find ways to defend the city against flooding and sea level rise. They’ve also brought in experts from the Netherlands, the best-known example of how to cope with sea level rise and how to live near water. And those experts pronounced Miami a very dangerous place because it is difficult to build seawalls when your subsoil is limestone. The expected timeline of serious things to happen in this area is 50 to 100 years.
With more than half the country at or below sea level, the Dutch are experts on water management...
Oceanographer Travels to England to Lecture at Font of Science
Via MIT / Climate Apocalypse
The bad news is that our slow-motion ecological catastrophe demands new ways of thinking. The good news? We’ve faced the end of the world before.
Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor route, which carries 12 million people each year between Boston and Washington, faces “continual inundation.” Flooding, rising seas, and storm surge threaten to erode the track bed and knock out the signals that direct train traffic. The poles that provide electricity for trains are at risk of collapse, even as power substations succumb to floodwaters. “If one of the segments of track shuts down, it will shut down this segment of the NEC,” warned members of Amtrak’s planning staff. “There is not an alternate route that can be used as a detour.”
Miami Beach, An Uncertain Future / NPR
"We’ve built nearly two thirds of the world’s biggest cities within just a meter or so of sea level, which today is rising at nearly twice the rate of only 25 years ago." -- Katharine Hayhoe, Professor, Texas Tech
- How many feet above sea level is your home?
- New governor DeSantis touts his forward-looking vision on water, the environment, and future planning. Florida is one of a minority of states in the country that has not established any renewable energy goals.
New chair of the US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis urges Florida Gov to act on climate
- After years of inaction and climate risks denial, former Governor Scott moves to Washington DC. Florida votes for a change...
- • https://www.floridaphoenix.com/blog/u-s-rep-kathy-castor-hopes-to-push-gov-desantis-on-climate-change/
Ides of March, Foreshadowing Tides to Come
Tampa Bay's 'bulls-eye' exposure, time for resiliency planning
Alexis Muellner – Editor, Tampa Bay Business Journal / January 2019 / Late last year, 22 local governments joined to form the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition. It is an initiative of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council which envisions municipalities working together to develop the region’s first Regional Resiliency Plan...
Can't humans see the writing on the wall? Real estate in Florida: Given the forecasts, why are people still building new condominiums?
People tend to respond to immediate threats and financial consequences – and Florida’s coastal real estate may be on the cusp of delivering that harsh wake-up call.
After Eight Years of Climate Change Denial and Blocking of Environmental Policies, Florida Welcomes a New Governor and New Policies
C40 Cities around the World -- Time to Prepare
Summary of C40 Sea-level Rise Report
- By 2050, over 570 low-lying coastal cities will face projected sea level rise by at least 0.5 meters.
- This puts over 800 million people at risk from the impacts of rising seas and storm surges.
- The global economic costs to cities, from rising seas and flooding, could amount to $1 trillion by mid-century.
- Local factors mean that cities will experience sea level rise at different paces. Cities on the east coast of the United States, along with major cities in Asia, are particularly vulnerable.
- Sea level rise and flooding can impact essential services such as energy, transport, and health. When Hurricane Sandy struck New York in 2012, coastal floods impacted an estimated 90,000 buildings, 2 million people lost power, which caused extensive damage and disrupted commercial activity to a cost of over $19 billion.
- Resilience strategies, strengthened coastal protection, upgrades to existing buildings and infrastructure, relocation from the most at-risk areas as well as community engagement and preparedness can help cities adapt to sea level rise and coastal flooding.
Via Grist / The melting of the Thwaites glacier could lead to as much as 10 feet of sea level rise over the next century or so. If we’re unlucky, much of that could happen the lifetimes of people alive today, flooding every coastal city on Earth and potentially grinding civilization to a halt.
IceBridge / Operation IceBridge - https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/icebridge/index.html --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_IceBridge
“Understanding the details of how the ocean melts away this glacier is essential to project its impact on sea level rise in the coming decades,” scientists said in a JPL/NASA statement... "Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the detail.”
Florida, one of the lowest lying and most vulnerable states in the United States, begins to seriously look at sea-level rise.
Southeast Florida, Advancing Resilience Solutions Through Regional Action
And in Australia...
And in the United States... climate skeptics and deniers continue attempting to block disaster preparation as local governments form resiliency coalitions to prepare and protect their communities
"We need to stop making the old mistakes in local development that expose homes and businesses to risks that only become apparent when disaster strikes."
To paraphrase the old saying, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure."
What is the expanding bull's eye effect? “Targets” of geophysical hazards — i.e., humans and their possessions — are enlarging as populations grow and spread... it is how the population and built environment are distributed across the landscape that defines how the fundamental components of risk and vulnerability are realized in a disaster... the upward trend in disasters is predicated on increasing exposure and vulnerability of populations.
"We now have a new tool — long-term satellite altimeter measurements — that we can use to help stakeholders who need information for specific locations," Nerem, a fellow of CU's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and a professor of aerospace engineering, said in a statement.
The scientists turned to two sets of climate model runs, known as "large ensembles," to probe the role of climate change, one created by using the NCAR-based Community Earth System Model and one created using the Earth System Model at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration...
Four years ago, federal officials published a report that labeled the Tampa Bay area as one area in Florida particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. The report, the Third National Climate Assessment, also warned of increases in harmful algae blooms off Florida's coast, worsening seasonal allergies for people already made miserable by springtime pollen and heavier rainstorms and flooding in low-lying areas.
On Friday (Nov.23) federal officials released their Fourth National Climate Assessment, which over the course of 1,000 pages looks at how climate change is already disrupting life in the United States — with more hurricanes, wildfires, heat waves and other disasters — and what communities are doing to deal with it.
The report — produced by 300 scientists, many from 13 federal departments and agencies, and overseen by the U.S. Global Change Research Program — warns that humans must take action now “to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.”
Rising sea levels, particularly in Florida, mean greater damage from storm surges during hurricanes such as Hurricanes Michael and Irma. An insurance industry group has ranked the Tampa Bay region as the most vulnerable metropolitan area in the United States to storm surge, with $175 billion in potential losses.
Florida's long history of building along the coastline puts much of its property at risk. While the report does not refer to Tampa Bay's vulnerability, it does point out that "Florida alone is estimated to have a 1-in-20 chance of having more than $346 billion (in 2011 dollars) in property value ... below average sea level by 2100."
Rising sea levels can damage roads, homes, sewers and the power grid. For instance, the report notes that under one sea-level-rise scenario, the number of major power plant substations in Florida that would be exposed to flooding from a Category 3 storm "could more than double by 2050 and triple by 2070."
More at Climate News
Lessons from Venice
Venice is one of the first major cities to go to war against a sea swelled by climate change. Its strategy is a model for dozens of cities around the world...
- Tampa/St. Petersburg metropolitan area ... the most vulnerable in the country to hurricane storm surge
Last year, the Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater metro area’s economy ranked second in the state and 24th in the nation, with an output of $148.6 billion, according to an annual report for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. But the Tampa Bay area could lose $175 billion as a result of storm surge flooding from a major hurricane, according to Boston-based firm Karen Clark and Co. In 2015, the firm ranked the Tampa/St. Petersburg metropolitan area as the most vulnerable in the country to hurricane storm surge. That same year, the Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel estimated that sea levels in Tampa Bay could rise nearly two feet by 2100.
As bad as you think climate change might be in the coming decades
- Reality could be far worse...
September 2018 / August 2018
"The drive on A1A from Fort Lauderdale to Miami is so thick with development that one is fortunate to catch an occasional glimpse of the ocean between the condos."
Miami Will Be Underwater Soon. Its Drinking Water Could Go First
- Via Bloomberg Businessweek / August 30, 2018
Check out this online tool to see how sea-level rise will impact your flood risk.
In 2015, local scientists predicted that sea levels in Tampa Bay will rise between six inches and more than two feet by the middle of the century. The City of Tampa was also ranked by a firm that creates models for the insurance industry as the most vulnerable metropolitan area in the United States to storm surge, with $175 billion in potential losses.
Two years later, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council studied the economic impacts of sea level rise using Geographic Information Systems, property records and employment data. They found that year-round flooding could have as much as a $162 billion impact on the regional economy.
It’s plain to see that it’s time for action. As sea levels rise, we can expect to see greater storm surge, more intense rain events and an increase in hurricane intensity.
... an effort is under way in our region to bring local governments together to develop a Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition.
The NFIP, the National Flood Insurance Program, is in crisis
The program is $20 billion in the red even after debt forgiveness from Congress, which vows to fix these problems—some other time. The program has been renewed 41 times since 1998, 38 times with no changes, and six times in the past year. Congress once passed reforms to rationalize premiums that aren’t priced properly but quickly repealed them.
End the US National Flood Insurance Program? Extend it? Reform it? Move it to real-world, risk-based rates?
- and/or accelerate sea-level, flood mitigation efforts now, limit risky coastal construction, and act to restore natural floodplains (a "living coast, living shoreline" as Jack Davis, author of The Gulf explains)...
- or ... begin to planning now based on risk analysis of the future along the sea/ocean/bays, coasts, waterfronts, riversides, wetlands and lowlands ...
- and, to be real about actuarial risks, as insurance companies are prepare actuarial projections of costs to be incurred and insurance rates rise, how about looking in the eyes of climate change deniers, politicians, political contributors with self-serving agendas who set aside costs to the public, the commons, the general welfare -- and call out the deniers for the damage their points of view are accruing, day by day, month by month, year by year ...
Rising Seas by Elizabeth Rush: 'Florida is about to be ... transformed in the coming years'
"Take the six million people who live in south Florida today and divide them into two groups: those who live less than six and a half feet above the current high tide line, and everybody else."
“Sea level rise is not some distant problem in a distant place. As Elizabeth Rush shows, it’s affecting real people right now. Rising is a compelling piece of reporting, by turns bleak and beautiful.” ― Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction
“A smart, lyrical testament to change and uncertainty. Elizabeth Rush listens to both the vulnerability and resiliency of communities facing the shifting shorelines of extreme weather. These are the stories we need to hear in order to survive and live more consciously with a sharp-edged determination to face our future with empathy and resolve. Rising illustrates how climate change is a relentless truth and real people in real places know it by name, storm by flood by fire.” ― Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Hour of Land
The Thwaites Glacier is often considered one of the most important when it comes to changes in sea level, but it has been little studied.
Via Tampa Bay Times
One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest risk within the Sunshine State.
According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, nearly 40 percent of the state’s property tax base is expected to be "highly exposed" to such flooding within the next 30 years.
By 2045, nearly 64,000 residential properties in the state — worth about $26 billion— are at risk for constant flooding. By 2100, about 1 million properties — worth $351 billion — will be at risk. ("You better hope I’m wrong about flood insurance" -- John Romano / Tampa Bay Times: ) "Once market risk perceptions catch up with reality, the potential drop in Florida’s coastal property values could have reverberations throughout the economy — affecting banks, insurers, investors, and developers — potentially triggering regional housing market crises."
Coastal Risk Consultants, which raised $2 million to develop software to evaluate individual parcels for flooding, is on the cusp of profitability, said President Albert Slap.
“I just think as a practical matter, this is something people should do,” said homebuyer Kevin Kennedy, who ordered four reports from Coastal Risk Consulting on Palm Beach County properties along the Intracoastal and on the ocean. “The results discouraged me from purchasing two of them.”
New Buildings in New York City Rise in Flood Zones
2018 ... July / June / May
"The 'living shoreline' is the best defense against sea-level rise."
-- Jack E. Davis, author of "The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea
Three newspapers confront one challenge:
MIAMI HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD
May 04, 2018
No graver threat faces the future of South Florida than the accelerating pace of sea-level rise. In the past century, the sea has risen 9 inches in Key West. In the past 23 years, it’s risen 3 inches. By 2060, it’s predicted to rise another 2 feet, with no sign of slowing down.
Think about that. Water levels could easily be 2 feet higher in 40 years. And scientists say that’s a conservative estimate. Because of melting ice sheets and how oceans circulate, there’s a chance South Florida’s sea level could be 3 feet higher by 2060 and as much as 8 feet by 2100, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It’s not just a matter of how much land we’re going to lose, though the barrier islands and low-lying communities will be largely uninhabitable once the ocean rises by 3 feet. It’s a matter of what can be saved. And elsewhere, how we’re going to manage the retreat...
Miami / Miami Beach, a Race Against Time
Via Fortune / Wall Street Journal / Real Estate - Climate Change
Rising Sea Levels Reshape Miami’s Housing Market
Properties on the coast now trade at discounts as flood waters and ‘king tides’ damp enthusiasm for oceanfront living.
New research shows that real estate properties in areas affected by extreme weather and sea level rise are losing value relative to less exposed properties. The effects are already substantial, but they may point to a looming collapse as climate change makes coastal communities untenable.
Work by Harvard researchers published last week and highlighted by the Wall Street Journal finds that, after accounting for an array of other factors, home prices have appreciated more slowly in lower-lying areas of Miami-Dade County, particularly Miami Beach. A broader study using data from Zillow, still under peer review, found that properties exposed to rising sea levels sell at a 7% discount to comparable properties not subject to climate-related risk.
As many as 13% of Americans are still convinced climate change isn’t happening at all, and 30% are confident that humans play no role in it. But real estate prices now seem to confirm the chestnut attributed to author Philip K. Dick: “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
- Along the southeastern coast of the U.S., researchers have zeroed in on three factors that have made this shoreline a regional hot spot of sea-level rise. They include a slowing Gulf Stream, shifts in a major North Atlantic weather pattern, and the effects of El Niño climate cycles.
- “These coastal areas are more vulnerable than they realize to short-term rapid acceleration of sea-level rise,” says Andrea Dutton, a University of Florida geologist who studies the history of sea-level fluctuations. “If they’re hanging their hat on sea level rise projections looking at the potential over decades, they need to refocus and think about the potential for short-term variability in that rate.”
- The ground under the cities of South Florida is largely porous limestone, which means water will eventually rise up through it.
- “Our underlying geology is like Swiss cheese...”
- -- Mayor Philip Levine, running for Florida Governor
Scientists continue to study the questions that need to be asked
When projecting future sea levels, scientists have traditionally relied upon physical models and expert assessments to project the polar ice sheets’ response to various emission scenarios. These approaches, however, haven’t taken into account some physical processes that can quickly increase ice sheet discharge, such as the collapse of terminal ice cliffs and the breakup of floating ice shelves caused by a process known as hydrofracturing.
Now Robert Kopp et al. have integrated both of these processes into a probability-based modeling framework to explore how they could affect future projections of global and local sea level changes. The results indicate that these mechanisms could significantly raise sea level forecasts for high-emission scenarios, including nearly doubling the median projections of 21st century global mean sea level rise by 2100.
February / January 2018
Risk Finder & Map
Projections, analysis, comparisons, and downloadable data and local reports
Coastal flood and sea level threats to people, property and infrastructure
For cities, counties, states, ZIP zones...
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Protecting America's 'Borders'
Via Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists / by Dawn Stover / January 2018
The US-Mexican border is 1,954 miles long. America’s “general” coastline is far longer: 12,479 miles. Measuring the shoreline using smaller-scale charts, and including features such as bays and offshore islands, brings the total to more than 88,000 miles, not including the Great Lakes. The shoreline of Florida alone is more than four times the length of the US-Mexican border.
Coastal counties are home to nearly 40 percent of the US population. With the exception of Alaska, these counties are five times as densely populated as the rest of the nation. “If the nation’s coastal counties were an individual country, it would rank third in the world in gross domestic product, surpassed only by the United States and China,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management.
Coastal areas are also the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change: rising sea level, shoreline erosion, flooding, contaminated drinking water, ocean acidification, harmful algal blooms, coral bleaching, and more. “By 2050, up to $106 billion worth of coastal property will likely be below sea level” if we continue with business as usual, says NOAA. “There is a 1-in-20 chance—twice as likely as an American developing melanoma—that by the end of this century, more than $1 trillion worth of coastal property will be below mean sea level or at risk of it during high tide.”
- A Strategic Solution. Taxes. Yes, Taxes and Sea-Level Rise in Florida -- Get Ready, Taxes Are Just the Beginning
Attorney Richard Jacobs of St. Petersburg, Florida explains: “All the studies show that 80 percent of Floridians live in a coastal community. Once those communities can no longer support those people and start to have problems, the revenue stream has got to reduce, and that’s just the time you need more revenues to keep up with the maintenance of your coastal communities.” But political powers that be in Florida are in denial of climate change and certainly don't want to talk, or plan, for coming tides of change...
- St. Petersburg College / Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions: Sea-Level Rise, What's Our Next Move?
Among the starkest markers of sea level rise are what scientists describe as ghost forests, coastal thickets left in waste by creeping salt water... bellwethers of accelerating sea level rise...
South Florida local governments, mindful that the region’s boomtown economy might damn well drown if the ocean rises (as climate scientists suggest) 10 inches over the next 15 years, have formed a regional compact to fight climate change.
Floridians have the most to lose if climate change can’t be stanched...
Climate Central catalogued the 25 American cities with the largest number of residents threatened by sea level rise and climate change.
New York, of course, has the largest population situated in threatened areas — 245,000. But Florida cities, most of them in South Florida, utterly dominated the list.
- Vulnerability reduction is a real-time opportunity. -- Andy Revkin
Dear Florida Governor Rick Scott: Speaking of the business of politics and planning ahead...
Let's take time to look carefully at "How extreme weather risk is creating a real estate insurance disaster"
... (A)s Harvey’s full significance comes into focus over the next weeks and months, flood insurance, one of the pillars of local rebuilding efforts, will be in the spotlight. Early estimates suggest the losses may hit $10 billion to $20 billion, making it one of the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.
By September 30, Congress must reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a crucial government program that helps pay for and provide policies for millions of properties in at-risk areas across the country. The impact of Harvey on the NFIP is yet unknown, but is clearly expected to be sizable; in Harris County, Texas, the flood program holds more than 240,000 policies, representing more than $60 billion in coverage, according to AIR Worldwide.
In other words, just as the nation begins to figure out how to pay for one of the costliest natural disasters in its history, the insurance program that functions as a backstop for hundreds of thousands of affected properties will be up for debate and renewal.
Battered by recent disasters, hurricanes, and floods, the NFIP is currently $24.6 billion in debt to the U.S. Treasury. That means Harvey may well push the flood program up against its borrowing limit of $30 billion and require further action from Congress to reform the program.
If it’s allowed to lapse, according to a spokesperson from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which oversees the NFIP, it won’t be allowed to sell or renew flood insurance policies, pay existing claims, or start any mapping or management activities to create accurate assessments of risk.
At a time of increased political polarization — especially around the question of climate change and its relationship to the kind of inclement weather events that trigger billion-dollar payments from the NFIP — a chance to reconsider how we develop, build, and plan our communities — and make them more resilient — may be lost to more immediate financial and political needs.
From 2011 to 2015, the sea level along the southeastern American coastline rose six times faster than the long-term rate of global increase.
In an AGU research paper published online this week, University of Florida researchers calculated that from 2011 to 2015, the sea level along the American coastline south of Cape Hatteras rose six times faster than the long-term rate of global increase.
The short tide gauge records revealed that sea level in southeast Florida, for example, rose at a rate of 3-4 mm/yr from 1996 to 2010. This observed rate was between the global mean sea level rise/SLR and 33% faster, and increased 6-fold to greater than >20 mm/yr between 2011 and 2015. A similar acceleration in sea level appeared in all tide gauge records we analyzed south of Cape Hatteras.
Unprepared for the Rising Sea
Adm. Paul Zukunft, U.S. Coast Guard commandant: National Public Radio Interview
In a major study release in July, the Union of Concerned Scientists found that, in the absence of preventative measures, Americans can expect the following:
• Within 20 years, by 2035, nearly 170 coastal US communities — roughly twice as many as today — will reach or exceed the threshold for chronic inundation, given moderate sea level rise. Seventy percent of these will be in Louisiana and Maryland, where land subsidence is contributing to rapid rates of sea level rise. More than half of these 170 communities are currently home to socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods.
• Within 45 years, by 2060, more than 270 coastal US communities — including many that seldom or never experience tidal flooding today — will be chronically inundated, given moderate sea level rise.
• By the end of the century, given moderate sea level rise, nearly 490 communities—including 40 percent of all East and Gulf Coast oceanfront communities — will be chronically inundated.
• Given more rapid sea level rise, nearly 670 coastal US communities will face chronic inundation by the end of the century. This number includes nearly 60 percent of East and Gulf Coast oceanfront communities as well as a small but growing number of West Coast communities.
• Given that same rapid rate of sea level rise, more than 50 heavily populated areas—including Oakland, California; Miami and St. Petersburg, Florida; and four of the five boroughs of New York City—will face chronic inundation by the end of the century.
• By 2100, given this same rapid rate of sea level rise, chronic flooding will engulf at least half the total land area of nearly 40 percent of affected communities, including Cambridge, Massachusetts; Alameda, California; and Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
• Many communities that never reach the 10 percent threshold of chronic inundation this century are nevertheless expected to see chronic flooding of important areas.
• There is still time to prevent such widespread chronic inundation. Curtailing future warming and, thereby, the acceleration of sea level rise could benefit communities in each coastal region. By reducing global warming emissions, we may slow the pace of sea level rise, which could spare hundreds of communities chronic inundation.
• For hundreds of other communities, chronic inundation is avoidable only through significant adaptation measures, including coastal retreat.
Measures to accommodate or keep water out of communities may forestall the inundation projected by this analysis, but often at great cost and for a limited time. Hundreds of communities along the coasts, from Maine to Washington State will be forced to make difficult choices about whether and how much to invest in flooded areas versus when to retreat from them. Many such communities are home to low income residents who have few of the resources they would need in order to move or to adapt.
Large-scale reductions in global warming emissions, similar to those planned under the international climate deal known as the Paris Agreement, may slow the rate at which sea level rise is accelerating and save many communities from chronic inundation. For hundreds of other cities and towns, however, increased flooding is inevitable, and adaptation is now essential.
By making sound decisions soon, communities can prepare for chronic inundation in the time they have and avoid serious losses — not only of homes, schools, businesses, and other infrastructure, but also of regional history, sense of place, local culture, and people’s ways of life.
Today, high tide flooding is shifting from a nuisance to a costly, disruptive problem in locations like Miami Beach, pictured here in 2015. Though the flooding has not reached our threshold of chronic inundation, major investments are underway in Miami Beach to address it nonetheless. Around the US coast, as this flooding approaches chronic levels — regularly preventing people from leaving their houses without wading through saltwater, driving their cars without incurring saltwater damage, getting safely to and from school, work, appointments and errands — people will be forced to ask how long they can live with it.
June / May 2017
- Currently, the US federal flood insurance program (NFIP) takes in about $3.5 billion in revenue each year, and covers about $1 trillion in risk.
- Both political parties say they support more voluntary buyouts of homes that repeatedly flood. Under that approach, the federal government uses money that comes in through flood insurance policies to purchase high-risk homes, then demolishes them. Expanding those buyouts could shrink neighborhoods along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, in such places as New Jersey, Virginia, Florida and Louisiana.
- More on Direct/Indirect Costs:
- Case Studies: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/banking/romano-either-fix-flood-insurance-system-or-be-prepared-for-disaster/2290280
Via Josh Kurtz / E&E News
Migration Inland as Real Estate Speculation Shifts
Florida's Barrier Island Blues
"Oh, Miami Beach is going under, the sea level is coming up," Harewood said. "So now the rich people have to find a place to live. My property is 15 feet above sea level, theirs is what? Three under?
One of the great ironies of historic housing patterns in Miami is that for decades under Jim Crow, laws and zoning restricted black people to parts of the urban core, an older part of the community that sits on relatively higher ground along a limestone ridge that runs like a topographic stripe down the eastern coast of South Florida. Now, many of those neighborhoods, formerly redlined by lenders and in some places bound in by a literal color wall, have an amenity not yet in the real estate listings: They're on higher ground and are less likely to flood as seas rise...
No one can turn a blind eye to the projections everyone uses in South Florida: 2 feet of sea-level rise by 2060.
"Everybody I know that is a small owner of real estate that isn't within the billionaire class — average middle-class, upper-middle-class Miamians who have real estate on the beach — is in the process of selling their properties and moving to the mainland... Basically where the coral ridge is, just north of downtown and south of downtown, that's where anecdotally the most amount of speculative investment has been going in because historically that's been the highest ground."
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A "Nightmare Scenario" for Florida
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- January 2017
Not far from Mar-a-Lago, the U.S. president elect's Florida estate, the tides are rising higher in Miami.
- Via the Miami Herald, here's an octopus in a parking garage as a sign of things to come from rising South Florida seas.
On the Election of a New U.S. President
Florida, Sea-Level Rise Reality
The Florida peninsula, with much of it close to sea level, and underlying karst/limestone landscape, sea-level rise will deliver salt-water intrusion into the aquifer.
As evidenced with coastal "Ghost Forests", salt water movement into fresh water coastal zones and then inland into groundwater will be disruptive and act to foreshadow devastating environmental results.
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A steady increase in sea levels is pushing saltwater into U.S. wetlands, killing trees from Florida to as far north as New Jersey. But with sea level projected to rise by as much as six feet this century, the destruction of coastal forests is expected to become a worsening problem worldwide.
On a recent afternoon, University of Florida watershed ecologist David Kaplan and Ph.D. candidate Katie Glodzik hiked through the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve, on the Big Bend coast of northwestern Florida. Not long ago, red cedar, live oaks, and cabbage palms grew in profusion on the raised “hammock island” forests set amid the preserve’s wetlands. But as the researchers walked through thigh-high marsh grass, the barren trunks of dead cedars were silhouetted against passing clouds. Dead snag cabbage palms stood like toothpicks snapped at the top. Other trees and shrubs, such as wax myrtle, had long been replaced by more salt-tolerant black needlerush marsh grass.
Saltwater, flowing into this swampy, freshwater-dependent ecosystem as a result of rising sea levels, is turning these stands of hardwoods into “ghost forests” of dead and dying trees.
More on Ghost Forests:
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Rising seas image courtesy of Isaac Cordel
"What's Your Elevation Above Sea Level?", he asked nonchalantly
Coastal areas around the globe are losing ground to the sea — and faster than ever. In the past quarter-century alone, the ocean has risen an average of almost 3 inches. With nearly half the world’s population living within 93 miles of a coast, and much of the globe’s commerce concentrated there, sea level rise looms as one of the greatest of all climate change effects...
More Miami, Under and Over, the Sea's Bubbling Up
- This story was originally published in Spanish at CityLab Latino.
The water rose quickly. At noon on a brilliantly sunny day here, several blocks from the beach, a lake of salt water suddenly appeared in the street, filtered up from the porous limestone that resides underneath the whole county of Miami-Dade....
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The Florida flooding stories continue, as the Republican party and political candidates continue political evasion...
“Donald Trump lives in a parallel universe where the facts established by the scientific community to him don’t exist,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Climate Change Communication program at Yale University.
“The fact is that climate change is here and now. It’s not some faraway, distant problem that we’re not going to see for a generation or two.”
Alarmed by the threat to Florida’s giant tourism industry, Miami business leaders have championed a public works overhaul.
“We know the stakes,” said Mark Rosenberg, chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. “At 5 feet over current levels, much of suburban Miami, including Miami Beach, is completely submerged.”
To Doug Yoder, deputy director of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, the debate over climate science ended long ago.
“There’s a point beyond which habitability, certainly at the scale and density that southeast Florida is currently developed to, would not be feasible,” he said. “Whether that point is 3 feet of sea-level rise, or 6 feet of sea-level rise, certainly at 10 feet of sea-level rise, there is a point of no return.
“The only way that point of no return could be avoided would be to effectively address greenhouse gas emissions.” And that, he said, “has to be managed at a global scale.”
Last fall, an exceptionally high tide flooded Miami Beach’s streets and forced tourists to slosh their way to their hotels. As global warming accelerates the rise of the sea level, the state of Florida and some local governments want to fight for their own survival, but Harold Wanless and Philip Stoddard are urging a reality check: Global warming, they say, will drown South Florida. It can’t be reversed.
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- Discover Magazine: "How many cities will our oceans swallow?"
- --*Giving 'Underwater Mortgages' New Meaning"
- To combat flooding, Miami Beach has launched a $400 million project that's begun installing as many as 80 pump stations throughout the city...
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U.S. Presidential Campaign
Trump v the World: Announces his Energy policy
- Republican presidential candidate -- Cancel the Paris agreement, More fossil fuels, Less Clean/Renewable Energy
- In a speech laying out his energy agenda for the United States, Trump promised to undo essentially every major policy developed in last decade intended to slow human-caused global warming.
- Trump tweet: This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. 'Environmentalists are the problem', acc to the Republican candidate for president
- Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice
- Attempt to Defund and Block Defense Dept. Studies and Work Related to Impacts of Climate Change
Experts Warn of 'Significant' Global Sea-Level Rise as the Antarctic Impacted by Global Warming
- The RealDeal: South Florida Real Estate News... Miami Beach property values may fall as sea levels rise: experts
... for the first time, researchers used a series of coupled models to produce a more realistic look at what will happen to Antarctica in the coming decades and centuries. There has been a lot of uncertainty about how quickly the ice shelves could collapse, and even a decade ago the IPCC was saying that there was too much uncertainty to forecast it reliably. Since then, the science has improved, and the news has gotten worse.
U.S. Presidential Campaign: Environmental Threats
- Environmental Scorecard: Cruz voted against every green bill,
- and opposed every pro-environment, anti-pollution piece of legislation
Trump declares he doesn't believe the science and believes climate change a hoax
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- Politico / March 14, 2016
- How Miami Beach Is Keeping the Florida Dream Alive — And Dry
- Beset by rising seas and indifferent legislators, the city is spending big to keep its economy above water
- There’s just no getting away from the rising sea...
Across the country, even the world, coastal cities are the front lines of climate-change planning, leap-frogging past the political debate to hatch immediate and often very expensive plans to fight the effects they are already living with. Miami Beach, all seven square miles of it, has placed itself at the leading edge of an existential fight facing the entirety of South Florida — 230 miles of coastline running from Key West to Palm Beach. Driven by global warming, the sea level here has risen 9 inches over the past century and is predicted to rise at an accelerating pace by as much as another 6½ feet by 2100. Even the most conservative scientists anticipate a rise of at least 2 feet by 2060...
Mayors of 21 cities in Florida called on the moderators of presidential debates in Miami to ask candidates how they would deal with rising sea levels caused by climate change, a concern of the state's coastal communities.
"It would be unconscionable for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed in the upcoming debate you will be hosting in the state," the mayors wrote in an letter to CNN, The Washington Post, Univision and the other media outlets hosting the Democratic and Republican debates on March 9 and March 10 in Miami.
Another in Series of NASA Earth Science Satellites Launched
Ocean Science: Studying Sea-Level Rise
Confirmation has arrived via the Fairbanks, Alaska tracking station that Jason-3’s solar arrays are, indeed, out. The twin Jason-3 solar arrays have been extended and the spacecraft is power positive, flying in its planned orbit of 66 degrees to the Earth’s equator : 3:21 pm EST
The Presidential campaign comes to the 'Sunshine State'
Sunshine state pol updates -- Some environmental Carl Hiaasen riffing on Florida's Gov Scott, and an e-bit of Clinton & Sanders from today's Miami Herald & TampaBay Times.
Clinton "mocked the Scott administration's directive to state employees not to use the words "climate change" and pledged to support renewable energy in Florida."
"Of Scott's order to state employees, she said: "I found this one hard to believe. I mean, you've just got to shake your head at that."
"When Republicans say they can't talk about climate change because they're not scientists, Clinston said, there's a cure for that: "Go talk to a scientist."
Sanders "also criticized Republicans for their obstinance on climate change, which he said is holding Florida back from becoming a leader in renewable energy."
"The state of Florida has an extraordinary natural resource: its called sunlight," Sanders said, "and this state should be a leader in the world in producing solar energy."
And from Florida, an Editorial re: political moves in the "Sunshine State"... misnaming a constitutional amendment that would, in effect, *prevent sunshine/solar energy* from competing w/ the fossil fuel industry. The issue is now before the Court. Ivan Penn formerly w/ the St Pete Times, now w/ the LA Times, wrote extensively about energy issues in Florida. What a long-running story it is. Today's Tampa Bay Times Editorial speaks of the latest chapter of public good v energy industry-lobbying power...
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- Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries
- Temperature-driven global sea-level
- MIAMI, FL — Mayors representing more than 920,000 South Florida residents released a letter sent to Senator Marco Rubio requesting a meeting to discuss the risks facing Florida communities due to climate change. The letter, sent to Rubio’s campaign offices last Thursday, highlights the economic toll of climate change in South Florida and asks the candidate to “acknowledge the reality and urgency of climate change and to address the crisis it presents our communities.”
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NASA: "What's up with sea-level rise?"
Data from NASA coming i/o from JPL US/Euro mission control
- http://www.nasa.gov/goddard/risingseas --- http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=11978 --- https://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/ --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/08/26/the-troubling-reasons-why-nasa-is-so-focused-on-studying-on-sea-level-rise/ --- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Surface_Topography_Mission
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Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Response
- United States -- Case Studies
Adaptation Action Planning
"Climate change could leave the Florida Keys and large parts of the south of the state underwater"
Environmental Protection Agency Goes After Emissions and the Koch's Gathering at the Monarch Bay on the Beach in Southern California Preps to Push Nearly a Billion Dollars into a Presidential Campaign and Opposition to Environmental Policies
Billionaires Charles and David Koch have helped to fuel conservative activism in Florida, by spending millions over the years to establish elaborate political operations in the state. As a result, Florida has become something of a testing ground for anti-government campaigning from the Kochs’ primary group, 'Americans for Prosperity'.
The New York Times last March noted that AFP used a special election for a House seat and “turned the Florida contest into its personal electoral laboratory to fine-tune get-out-the-vote tools and messaging for future elections as it pursues its overarching goal of convincing Americans that big government is bad government.” David Jolly, AFP’s candidate of choice, won that election. Like many of his Florida colleagues, Jolly said he doesn’t think “the impact that humans have had on our climate is so dramatic” that it warrants government action...
“If we look around the world and take into account sea level rise and the increase of water related disasters, among the places in the world that have the most assets and investments at risk, Miami is leading that list,” Henry Ovink tells New Times. “Miami will no longer be a land city, but a city in the sea.” Last year, a New York Times Magazine article about Ovink and Dutch water management efforts showed just how behind the U.S. is in its thinking around water.
At the University of Miami’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Brian McNoldy and other researchers have been accumulating sea-level data from Virginia Key (a small island just south of Miami Beach) since 1996. Over those 19 years, sea levels around the Miami coast have already gone up 3.7 inches. In a post, McNoldy highlights three big problems that follow from those numbers...
Head in Sand / Mar 2015
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Re: Florida topography: Karst topography is the geological name given to an area of limestone bedrock featuring caves, sinkholes, underground streams and natural springs (Florida has one of the highest concentrations of springs on Earth). In laymen terms, karst topography is anywhere the lower levels of the soil horizon has been dissolved by the physical or chemical weathering of the bedrock. These environments are comprised of carbonate rocks, such as dolomite and limestone, or having high amounts of evaporites, for example, salt and gypsum, as these materials tend to be highly soluble in water. Having these conditions within humid climate like Florida invites faster weathering. Another erosion accelerator is groundwater mixed with vegetation creates a weak acid that dissolves the limestone. (think baking soda mixing with vinegar) Over time, cracks become caves, and when caves collapse they form exposed openings known as karst windows.
Karst topography? Limestone-Carbonate Peninsula? Underground Connected Waterways? Mosaic Corporation Demonstrates a Case Study
What is the connection between the world's largest phosphate production industry, sea-level rise and Florida's underground waterways?
Phosphate has seeded Florida with the environmental equivalent of ticking time bombs
Where carbonate rocks are exposed at land surface, solution features create karst topography, characterized by little surface drainage as well as by sinkholes, blind valleys, sinking streams, and mogotes. Because water enters the carbonate rocks rapidly through sinkholes and other large openings, any contaminants in the water can rapidly enter and spread through the aquifers.
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Florida: Hear not, See not, Speak not:
Banned in Florida: Government Frowns on Use of the Term -- "Climate Change"
Rising seas. Solution?
- Ban the term 'climate change'...
In Florida, fossil fuel energy co's have their way in a pro-fossil fueled legis and w/ the gov. Today we read the energy co's are officially against renewables, incl solar in the "Sunshine State", claiming to the PSC that energy 'savings' are bad (for them) and then there's the 'if they can't grow, they'll die' argument (so pay more, use more, pollute more, greenhouse more, sea rise more, not to worry, bigger better, more better.) What's wrong w/ this picture?
A 2014 report released by the research and journalism group Climate Central found that 2,120 square miles of land lie less than 3 feet above the high tide line in Florida. That means 300,000 homes, or around $145 billion in property value, are at risk.... Climate Central found that $71 billion of Florida property sits on land less than two feet above the high tide line.
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Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study - City of Los Angeles
Over the next century, sea level rise in the Los Angeles (L.A.) region is expected to match global projections with an increase of 0.1 - 0.6 m (5 - 24 inches) from 2000 to 2050 and 0.4 - 1.7 m (17 - 66 inches) from 2000 to 2100. USC Report
Los Angeles critical coastal infrastructure at the Port of Los Angeles (Port) is approximately 10 ft above sea level. Under current conditions, some of this infrastructure is vulnerable to flooding during high tide events and severe storms. This flooding is expected to worsen as sea level rise contributes to increased total water levels. The Port is among the busiest in the world, contributing more than $63 billion to the State of California, and more than $260 billion to the U.S. economy. More than 40% of all imports arriving in the U.S. comes through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where it is loaded onto trucks and trains for overland shipping (Port of Los Angeles 2012)... 
California regional - http://climate.calcommons.org/article/regional-strategies-sea-level-rise-adaptation
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New York City
Startling Maps of How New York City Will Be Hit
- CityLab Maps
- With five more feet of ocean, everything from Canarsie to Coney Island would be submerged
- Not to Worry: It's in the Distant Future (Not)
Post Superstorm Sandy, estimated $29 Billion plan sets stage for future  Mayor's Plan to Protect NYC A Stronger, More Resilient New York  Superstorm barrier for New York - June 4, 2014 13 Mile Long Levee at tip of Manhattan
In a settlement that could have far-reaching implications nationwide, New York’s largest utility is now responsible for preparing for a future of extreme weather, including the impacts of climate change. June 5, 2014 
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Global and Regional Sea Level RiseScenarios forUS (pdf)
"Global sea-level rise (SLR) trends provide valuable evidence in preparing for future environmental change" explains a 2012 US NOAA report which goes on to say aside from this report, there is currently no coordinated, interagency effort in the US to identify agreed upon global mean SLR estimates for the purpose of coastal planning, policy, and management. -- Scenarios/NOAA/Nov 2012
Soon after this acknowledgment of a systemic lack of coordinated, interagency planning, a follow-on assessment is issued by "twelve contributing authors" from "ten different federal and academic science institutions." NOAA/Dec 2012
"A new sea level rise scenarios report has been released by NOAA's Climate Program Office in collaboration with twelve contributing authors from ten different federal and academic science institutions. The report, produced in response to a request from the U.S. National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee, provides a synthesis of the scientific literature on global sea level rise, and a set of four scenarios of future global sea level rise." Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment
- US Gov initiates global climate change inter-agency coordination/risk assessment -- Global Change News and Updates
"Climate Change, the Fate of Antarctica and Global Sea-level Rise"
New evidence suggesting a behemoth "sleeping giant" ice sheet is more sensitive to climate change than ever thought... the ice sheet, which forms most of Antarctica, would contribute an equivalent of around 50 metres of sea level rise - the vast majority of the total 58 metres that could come from the frozen continent.
The part of the ice sheet that rests on bedrock below sea level is most vulnerable and holds an equivalent of 19 metres of sea level rise.
In the face of climate change, which has brought warmer ocean water to the edges of Antarctica, the vast ice sheet has been long regarded by scientists to be much more stable when compared with the smaller, 25 million square kilometre West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which satellite measurements estimated was losing more than 150 cubic kilometres of ice each year.
But an Australian expedition that managed to reach the typically inaccessible Totten Glacier in East Antarctica in January revealed some of the first direct evidence that warmer waters were having a significant impact...
"In general, all of the evidence we have from the ice, from the atmosphere, and from the top to the bottom of oceans, is that the Southern Ocean is having an impact on Antarctica and an impact on our climate.
"The evidence is just becoming more and more clear that change is underway - and work by my colleagues all around the world is showing these changes are a result of human activity. It's not just a natural cycle we are seeing."
Dr Stephen Rintoul has led 12 expeditions to Antarctica and coordinated the major international Southern Ocean climate research programmes conducted over the past 25 years...
The new findings link in with what is another big part of Dr Rintoul's work - the role of oceans in climate change.
"One of the things that many people don't realise is that, in a sense, global warming is ocean warming - more than 93 per cent of the extra heat that's been stored by the planet over the last 50 years is found in the oceans.
"So that means if we want to understand how the climate is evolving and how the climate is changing, we need to be tracking and understanding what's happening in the oceans..."
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Rising Sea Level Threat: Glaciers 'Beyond the Point of No Return'
Glaciologist Eric Rignot of the UC-Irvine and NASA’s JPL and lead author of a West Antarctic study, stated that East Antarctica’s ice sheet remains a wildcard.
“The prevailing view among specialists has been that East Antarctica is stable, but we don’t really know,” Rignot stated. “Some of the signs we see in the satellite data right now are red flags that these glaciers might not be as stable as we once thought.”
Exactly how much rise will happen and when is uncertain, they say. “We’ve seen from the paleoclimate record that sea level rise of as much as 10 feet in a century or two is possible, if the ice sheets fall apart rapidly,” said Tom Wagner, the cryosphere program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’re seeing evidence that the ice sheets are waking up, but we need to understand them better before we can say we’re in a new era of rapid ice loss.”
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Resilient Strategies for responding to sea-level rise
Resilient Cities - Resilient Communities - Best Practices and Planning
Surge: Extreme Weather Events, Superstorms, Warming Seas and Coastal Resilience
Risks inherent in the forces of nature, essential demands of effective government preparation and response...
An eloquent, forceful plea to save America's rapidly eroding beaches and coastline, this revelatory and disturbing report from the science editor of the New York Times is reminiscent of Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring'
Castles built on sand are doomed, they say. But in our hunger for an ocean view from the living-room window, we keep building things we expect to last on beaches that never stay still. In Against the Tide, Cornelia Dean, science editor of The New York Times, outlines the global coastal management crisis and all the elaborate engineering methods developed to stave off erosion--revetments, sand-trapping devices, seawalls, groins and jetties, even artificial seaweed beds. In clear, journalistic style, she explains how all of these devices have failed to stop the inexorable march of the sea...
Blue to Green, Over and Under
From the motels and T-shirt shops of beachless Florida "beach towns" to Los Angeles County, most of whose beaches are artificial, the story Dean tells is the same. People build on unstable landforms, then attempt to avoid the inevitable consequences through quick technological fixes: concrete seawalls, artificial reefs, sand-trapping steel groins, jetties, underground "dewatering" systems of pipes and pumps, etc. These techno-fixes may prolong the life of coastal buildings, but they usually accelerate erosion and environmental degradation...
Florida (sea-level mapping)
Sea-rise near-, mid-, long-term projections
Henk Ovink, a Dutch water-management expert and global ambassador, is trying to persuade Americans to approach water the way the Dutch do.
He kept the Netherlands dry. Now he aims to defend Miami and the world from rising seas...
Henk speaks at the Bioneers conference
''Harvey, Irma, Maria... What's Coming Next?
Ask Henk Ovink: Pre-Prepare Now, understand the complexity, take action to become resilient and sustainable
MSNBC Interview with Mayor of South Miami / September 2015
Eyeballs on Sea-Level Rise
100 thousand+ views with tens of thousands more additional shares of GreenPolicy360 Sea-level rise pages: