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Florida Experts To Obama And Romney: Sea Level Rise ‘Must Be Considered By The Next President Of The United States’

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"Florida Experts To Obama And Romney: Sea Level Rise ‘Must Be Considered By The Next President Of The United States’"

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by Katie Valentine

Sea level rise is threatening Florida’s coastlines and straining its economy, and Floridians want to know what the presidential candidates will do about it.

More than 120 Florida county officials and scientists sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney today urging them to address, while campaigning and debating in Florida, how they will deal with sea level rise. The letter asks candidates to answer three questions while in the state:

  • What will be the federal government’s planning and policy priorities in order to reduce the risks of future sea level rise?
  • What will be the polices for adaptive measures to respond to current and future impacts of sea level rise?
  • How would you work with the rest of the world to address rising sea levels and other effects of climate change?

It also outlines what could happen if sea level rise is not addressed in Florida:

As citizens and scientists concerned about the impacts and costs of sea level rise on our nation, we urge you to address this issue when you will be in Boca Raton, Florida.

Scientists project increased coastal and inland flooding and inundation, an increased likelihood of significant damage to key aspects of our urban infrastructure, and compromised drinking water sources in more and more communities. The porous limestone underlying much of Florida resembles Swiss cheese, making sea walls ineffective and the state particularly vulnerable to sea level rise by allowing subsurface water to penetrate far inland. Because Florida is so densely populated, it is estimated 40 percent of the population and housing units at risk from sea level rise in the nation are here, in the state of Florida.

Unfortunately, global sea level rise is a danger that must be considered by the next president of the United States. The issue threatens the future of Florida, the nation, and communities around the world. Providing effective solutions will challenge all levels of government.

For Florida, sea level rise isn’t a distant threat: it’s a real and pressing problem. The letter states that sea levels rose by about eight inches in the twentieth century, and that this rise has caused flooding, abandonment of drinking water wells due to saline intrusion, and flood control structure failures. In Miami Beach, city leaders are considering a $206 million update of its outdated drainage system in order to deal with prolonged flooding in some neighborhoods that has “become the norm after heavy storms.”

Mentioning sea level rise and other climate-related issues in Florida may not only be a win for Floridians, though. Data shows that if the candidates want to win votes in swing states, including Florida, they should talk about climate change. A Yale and George Mason study showed that 79 percent of voters in swing states want the U.S. to take some effort (small, medium or large) on global warming, and 69 percent of independent voters in swing states say the U.S. should make a medium or large-scale effort to reduce global warming.

Other swing states are experiencing the effects of climate change already as well: Colorado wildfires caused about $500 million in property damage this year and are still burning in some places. So far, both candidates have seemed reluctant to break the climate silence, but addressing climate change in these states could be a strategically important move, particularly for President Obama.

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10 Responses to Florida Experts To Obama And Romney: Sea Level Rise ‘Must Be Considered By The Next President Of The United States’

  1. Paul Magnus says:

    Climate Portals shared a link.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Climate-Portals/139434822741700

    Getting too late to sell up if you live in Florida…..

    Florida Experts To Obama And Romney: Sea Level Rise ‘Must Be Considered By The Next President Of The
    thinkprogress.org
    by Katie Valentine Sea level rise is threatening Florida’s coastlines and straining its economy, and Floridians want to know what the presidential candidates will do about it. More than 120 Florida county officials and scientists sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt …
    1

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Politicians’ blowing off global warming is not an oversight, or a mistaken political calculation. Our leaders are not. They answer to the money, which is entwined with fossil fuels directly or indirectly. Apparently even Democrats would rather lose an election than irritate their bosses.

    This is pathetic. Change will have to come from the people, like it always has.

  3. squidboy6 says:

    Romney replied that it was “Obama’s fault” and he had a plan to fix it, but he couldn’t say what it was at the time.

  4. The question must be posed:

    “What is the role of government to help people adapt to climate change.”

    Simple question.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      I thought that government was the expression of the democratic will of the people. Seems I was wrong, and it is the work of Satan. Thank Rand I’m enlightened now.

  5. fj says:

    Florida old f**rts club shows what it will be like when NYC streets go safe (and net zero).

    http://www.recumbent.tv/home/viewvideo/2006/catrike-rally-2012-fwd-trikes-recumbent-trikes.html

  6. Mbali Kubheka says:

    its sad that the people who run our countries take such serious issues so lightly or turn a blind eye because money or greed dictates their decision making. i beleive change will come from the people- baselevel communities and individual efforts. The people will be leading their government if any change will occur. its sad that climate change effects must first manifest themselves physically before and politician actually takes charge of the situation.

  7. Robin Ferruggia says:

    Scientists have known for years that Florida is going to end up under the ocean – permanently – because of global warming. With the way the worthless Congress has refused to do anything to slow down global warming, Florida remains at great risk. This risk is not lessened but increased by the GOP misrepresenting the facts to people. I agree whoever wins the election needs to address the risk of losing Florida and certainly deal with global warming. Even John McCain acknowledged it existed – and speaking of him I notice he is noticeably absent and not appearing to support the Tea Party radicals at all. But we know Romney won’t acknowledge the dangers of global warming, so there is no way Florida can be protected in such a scenario. If Florida has any chance of surviving the flood scientists know will destroy much of it, it is only going to be through the efforts of President Obama. Yes, he was too polite when Romney ran his con game at the debate (see http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/04/1139926/-Romney-Won-Using-a-Debate-Technique-Called-the-Gish-Gallop) but that is not a crime. In fact, I seriously question whether the media that has dragged its feet about admitting Biden won the VP debate is giving us accurate information about the polls. So is President Obama really that far behind in Florida? Probably not. The seniors are not going to give up Medicare and Social Security to nerds like Ryan and Romney because Obama was too polite in a debate. I think we’re getting a con job here.

  8. FrankD says:

    The article is about Florida, but I’m pretty sure the picture is that house (Serendipity?) in Rodanthe, NC. Since then, they’ve outlawed sea level rise in NC.

    Problem solved.
    :-)

    (But just to be sure, they moved the house a few years ago.)