Climate Change to Sink South Florida; New Report Recommends Ways to Stay Afloat

The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact released a lengthy draft plan intended to make sure South Florida doesn't become some real-life mashup of Mad Max and WaterWorld when sea levels start to rise courtesy of climate change. 

The Compact -- a gang of county representatives from Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Monroe -- refrains from getting completely doomsday in its report while still making a strong argument that sea levels could rise by a foot between 2040 and 2070, and more so later down the road. 

Most impressive is the scope of recommendations made in the report. Some are innovative and others just leave readers wondering how far behind Florida is when it comes to things like public transportation. Here, a look at some of the more notable suggestions to stave off a perpetual high tide:

Idea 1: Increase the amenities and infrastructure available to transit passengers, such as shade, shelters, kiosks, and real-time boarding information

The only thing worse than waiting for a bus is waiting for a bus in grundel-sweat-inducing heat. Some shade and an idea of when the hulking people-mover will actually arrive could go a long way in getting people to leave their cars at home every once in a while.

Idea 2: Identify zoos, aquariums, herabriums and gardens that might be the repository for seed stock and captive breeding programs for those listed plants and animals under imminent threat of local expiration due to sea-level rise

If Norway can have the largest seed bank to help reboot vegetation in a post-apocalyptic world, South Florida can at least store a few at-risk plants and animals in local zoos to make sure they survive the wet and wild times.

Idea 3: Revise building codes and land development regulations to discourage new development or post-disaster redevelopment in vulnerable areas and require vulnerability reduction measures for new construction and redevelopment such as additional hardening for increased resiliency of buildings and infrastructure for new development and redevelopment, particularly for those areas within Adaptation Action Areas

Whenever there's a disaster that wipes out dozens of homes, there's always someone talking about how they'll rebuild in the exact same spot -- no matter how obvious it is that the same thing will happen again, and again, and again. This should help put a lid on those folks.

Idea 4: Deploy social media applications (apps) to facilitate use of transit including access to real-time information such as arrival times

How ass-backwards is public transit in this state? Everyone and their mom has a smartphone and Facebook account. This gives a good excuse beyond Farmville and Mafia Wars to repeatedly glance at your iPhone at the bus stop.

Idea 5: The Compact Counties should continue to urge Congress to provide for  Adaptation Action Areas designation in federal law to authorize funding in Interior and Environment and related agencies' appropriations bills.

Everyone else is mooching off the federal coffers, so why not push Washington to cough up a few bucks for these initiatives.

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Chris Sweeney