climate change

Why Miami Can't Copy New York's Plan For Sea Level Rise

Jun 14, 2013
maxstrz / Flickr Creative Commons

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made significant waves Tuesday when he announced a comprehensive $19.5 billion plan to gird the city against the threat of sea level rise.

The long-term plans include a series of levees and storm barriers to protect against waters that are expected to rise anywhere from 20 inches to more than six feet in the next century. 

The national flap about Bloomberg's proactive stance on coping with impending coastal inundation has led to a sort of "OK, that's what they're doing. What about the rest of you?" sentiment among the media.

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Even before last year's coastal calamity caused by superstorm Sandy, Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs was trying to get everyone's attention about sea-level rise and it's impact on South Florida.

She's one of the founding members of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, a multi-county effort to help local governments plan ahead. Jacobs is a longtime county commissioner serving a second one-year term as mayor, a largely ceremonial role.

twitter.com/algore

Today is Earth Day. 

And here in low-lying, hurricane prone Florida, the day has special meaning.

Sea-level rise is no longer something so incremental that we don't notice.

It's real and visible, and planning for a future of rising oceans has become a top priority for local towns, cities and counties across the state.

For some perspective, WLRN turned to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who has become one of world's foremost thinkers on the consequences of global warming and climate change.

maxstrz / Flickr Creative Commons

If sea level rise continues unabated, sections of South Florida -- and Miami in particular -- will be under water in a matter of decades. But a new study suggests that swift reductions in "short-lived climate pollutants" and carbon dioxide levels could help to slow the rise.  

Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

When the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was approved in 2000, it was a historic move to "restore, protect and preserve" water resources in central and south Florida. The 30-year framework was designed with the ultimate goal of restoring historic water-flows to a "dying ecosystem." Project leaders and scientists are now focused on incorporating climate change adaptation into the plans and acknowledging that the Everglades will likely never look the way it once did. 

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State officials, local dignitaries, and conservationalists gathered last Tuesday to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the Tamiami Trail bridge project. The plan took more than two decades to achieve and is part of a larger effort to restore fresh water flow to the Everglades.

Climate Change Could Ruin Snorkeling And Fishing In Florida

Mar 11, 2013
NOAA / Flickr Creative Commons

The future of some of Florida's smallest and most seldom seen inhabitants is under threat from climate change, and that could spell big trouble further up the food chain, scientists say. South Florida's coral and algae populations are declining as ocean temperatures rise and there's an economic factor to consider, according to researchers who study the coastal underwater ecosystems. 

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More than two dozen states are expected to adopt new national science education standards that include teaching children as young as elementary school about the effects of climate change. Florida was not among the 26 states that helped to "provide leadership" during the development stage of the Next Generation Science Standards, and it is unclear if it is among the roughly 15 states "that have indicated they may accept them," according to Inside Climate News

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Anyone who has tried to tend a garden or walk the dog in the height of a South Florida summer understands the energy-zapping qualities of a heat and humidity combo. A recently released study reports that climate change will mean an increase in those sticky, sweaty days.

AMagill / Flickr Creative Commons

Getting a handle on property insurance rates is a top priority in the upcoming Florida Legislature 2013 regular session, but it's no easy task, according to popular consensus at Monday night's Town Hall session hosted by WLRN and the Miami Herald

"The legislature is in a terrible box," said Mary Ellen Klas, the capital bureau chief for the Miami Herald and a panelist at Monday's event. "This is one of the tough issues they have to grapple with."

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