Ninety-five percent of scientists now agree that global warming is a scientific fact -- and , as one particularly terrifying Rolling Stone article explained in June, "South Florida is uniquely screwed, in part because about 75 percent of the 5.5 million people in South Florida live along the coast." We're looking at anything from three to 16 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century, depending on which scientists you trust.
Forget reinforcing beaches with sand -- there is so little sand available for renourishment that experts are looking at creating fake sand out of glass. Our peninsula can't be fenced in with dikes like Copenhagen -- its size makes that impractical. In Miami, experts are taking about raising all the roads and building an elevated city (though they're not sure what to do with the Turkey Point nuclear facility). The Rolling Stone author predicted that costs of insuring and reinforcing everything would drive people away before anything, and the city was doomed.
And in Broward?
Yesterday, mayors from cities throughout the county met for a Broward Mayors' Roundtable on Climate Change.
Well, at least they met.
According to a press release put out after the meeting, Broward County mayor Kristin Jacobs hosted. "No one ever talked about climate change or sea level rise, before Mayor Kristin Jacobs was elected to the Broward Commission," noted Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.
From the press release:
City mayors noted environmental projects in their cities ranging from wind turbines to building natural compressed gas plants. The consensus: the need for collaboration, funding and public education.
"We need to talk about coordination and communication. We have a $3 million federal grant for storm water improvements. What wasn't communicated was planning for sea level rise fifty years from now. If we don't, we'll be building every twenty to thirty years," said Oakland Park Mayor John Adornato III.
"We're building a new walkable community from east to west Commercial Boulevard. Businesses have joined us. We'll have wide sidewalks, trellises, and trees," said Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Mayor Roseanne Minnet who talked about the economic benefits of a community appealing to residents and attractive to tourists.
A number of mayors agreed that educating the public about conservation investments was a challenge.
"Plantation imposed a storm water management fee of thirty dollars per year," said Plantation Mayor Diane Veltri Bendekovic. "We needed the money to maintain and sustain our flood water management." Not all residents were in favor.
Mayors of coastal cities noted the impact of sea level rise on beaches and the need for shoreline protection. "We're putting efforts into moving water out," said Hollywood Mayor Richard Blattner.
Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper noted that her city was spending $15 million on energy improvements that included use of water management, conservation, wastewater uses and a locale for a planned compressed natural gas plant.
Well, if trellises on Commercial Boulevard don't save us, perhaps someone at the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit, set for November 7-8 in Fort Lauderdale, has some better ideas. Even they are predicting a one- to two-foot sea level rise by 2060, a 3- to 6.5 foot rise by 2100.
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