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Sea-Level Rise Report: Bad News for South Florida

A climate change conference in Southeast Florida this week delivers bad news for communities on the coast in South Florida and in the Florida Keys. Some of those communities won't be saved as the receipts for climate change come in.
December 7, 2019, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"The sea rise curves unveiled Wednesday at the Southeast Florida Climate Leadership Summit in Key West tack on about three to five extra inches by 2060, and that number only gets bigger in the future," reports Alex Harris for the Miami Herald.

"The region went from expecting between 14 and 26 inches of sea level rise by 2060 — commonly shortened to two feet by 2060 by local leaders — to predicting 17 to 31 inches of sea rise," according to Harris.

While Harris characterizes that news as not "catastrophically different than previous years," the focus of this article is on South Florida.

In an article by Christopher Flavelle and Patricia Mazzei for the New York Times, the news for communities in the Florida Keys is less diplomatic. Sea level rise is an existential threat, according to a report focusing on Sugarloaf Key, a small island 15 miles up Highway 1 from Key West, and released at the same event this week.

To keep those three miles of road dry year-round in 2025 would require raising it by 1.3 feet, at a cost of $75 million, or $25 million per mile. Keeping the road dry in 2045 would mean elevating it 2.2 feet, at a cost of $128 million. To protect against expected flooding levels in 2060, the cost would jump to $181 million.

And all that to protect about two dozen homes.

The larger, ethical questions raised by the report are debated in the article, and it's clear that decisions about who's property, and where, gets saved, will need to be made sooner than anyone anticipated.

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 in Miami Herald
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