Florida is the most vulnerable state in the nation when it comes to climate change. Major southeast Florida coastal cities such as Fort Lauderdale (my home town) and Miami routinely flood during lunar high tides.
South Florida is extremely vulnerable because the land is flat and full of swamps and canals, high population density (where many of which reside in areas just 4 feet or lower above sea level), and pricey infrastructure. In fact, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is the world’s most threatened coastal city when it comes to sea level rise. We rely on a mostly gravity-fed system of canals to drain the marshes after heavy rains, but there's not much incline to let gravity do its work.
"The underlying rock is limestone, which allows groundwater to seep in," says Leonard Berry, director of Florida Atlantic University's Center for Environmental Studies, noting he's seen even swanky cars like Lamborghinis flooded. He says the porous bedrock makes it difficult to build a sea wall that will keep out saltwater intrusion, because such a barrier would have to go down at least 60 feet."
"Trillions of dollars of investments...are going to be vulnerable," Berry says, especially since the region is prone to hurricanes that can bring storm surges made worse by sea level rise.
Map of Fort Lauderdale, FL under a 4 foot sea level rise in 2030. Flooded areas in blue.
And what does our Governor, Rick Scott a true Tea Bagger, and our U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio a pretend Tea Bagger, have to say about Climate Change impacts in Florida?
If Rick Scott is re-elected, we can expect four more years of inaction on global warming Under Scott's guidance, the state legislature repealed Crist's Climate Protection Act and dissolved the Energy and Climate Commission. The Department of Environmental Protection ceased all climate change policy and programming. He killed mandates for renewable energy and initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Scott also appointed several well-known climate skeptics to key positions in state government, including to the Public Service Commission, which regulates electric, natural gas and other utilities.
Rick Scott said science does not support global warming. Asked if he believes in climate change, he said "No."
"I have not been convinced," he said. Asked what he needs to convince him, "Something more convincing than what I've read."
And Marco Rubio, what does he think? Well he believes what his tea bagging base wants him to believe (A flip flop for Marco as he was a climate change believer when he was in state government).
"I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it," "and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy."
"The fact is that these events that we're talking about are impacting us, because we built very expensive structures in Florida and other parts of the country near areas that are prone to hurricanes. We've had hurricanes in Florida forever. And the question is, what do we do about the fact that we have built expensive structures, real estate and population centers near those vulnerable areas?" he asked. "I have no problem with taking mitigation activity."
Hard to believe that Marco is lying when he said "I have no problem with taking mitigation activity." Well he does lie. The only government entities that are doing anything regarding mitigation is Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Rubio leads on nothing regarding mitigation and his inaction will cause devastating impacts to SE Florida' s infrastructure and it's population of millions.
If you can stomach it, here is an excerpt of an interview with Rubio by ABC's This Week.