If you have "no place to go," come here!

So, did LeBron James leave for Cleveland because he knows Miami's going to be underwater faster than Marco Rubio can say "denial"?

Who knows? But underwater Miami will certainly be, including a lot of Florida real estate people are still selling, unless we can build dikes like the Dutch. First, just to get this out of the way, Rubio is an idiot:

"[RUBIO:] I do not believe that human activity is causing these [which?] dramatic [how?] changes to our climate the way these [which?] scientists are portraying [how?] it [what?]. I do not believe that the laws [which?] that they [who?] propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy. [Oh.]"

And that's why Phillip Stoddard, Mayor of South Miami, calls him an idiot:

"Rubio is an idiot," says Stoddard. "He says he is not a scientist so he doesn't have a view about climate change and sea-level rise and so won't do anything about it. Yet Florida's other senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, is holding field hearings where scientists can tell people what the data means. Unfortunately, not enough people follow his example. And all the time, the waters are rising."

How much?

"The thing about Miami is that when it goes, it will all be gone," says Stoddard. "I used to work at Cornell University and every morning, when I went to work, I climbed more elevation than exists in the entire state of Florida. Our living-room floor here in south Miami is at an elevation of 10 feet above sea level at present. There are significant parts of south Florida that are less than six feet above sea level and which are now under serious threat of inundation."

Nor will south Florida have to wait that long for the devastation to come. Long before the seas have risen a further three or four feet, there will be irreversible breakdowns in society, he says. "Another foot of sea-level rise will be enough to bring salt water into our fresh water supplies and our sewage system. Those services will be lost when that happens," says Stoddard.

"You won't be able to flush away your sewage and taps will no longer provide homes with fresh water. Then you will find you will no longer be able to get flood insurance for your home. Land and property values will plummet and people will start to leave. Places like South Miami will no longer be able to raise enough taxes to run our neighbourhoods. Where will we find the money to fund police to protect us or fire services to tackle house fires? Will there even be enough water pressure for their fire hoses? It takes us into all sorts of post-apocalyptic scenarios. And that is only with a one-foot sea-level rise. It makes one thing clear though: mayhem is coming."

Now, it's a fair argument to say that if the Dutch build dikes, we can. But first, you've got to take the first step, and admit there's a problem:

The problem stems from the top, [Ben Kirtman of the University of Miami] said, from the absolute insistence of influential climate change deniers that global warming is not happening. "When statesmen like Rubio say things like that, they make it very, very hard for anything to get done on a local level – for instance for Miami to raise the millions it needs to build new sewers and canals. If local people have been told by their leaders that global warming is not happening, they will simply assume you are wasting their money by building defences against it.

Maybe Rubio, et al., want to privatize the dikes, or something. Who knows?

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albrt's picture
Submitted by albrt on

Dikes won't work in Miami due to the porous limestone underneath and the Everglades behind.

So denial makes even more sense in Miami than most places. Especially if you are selling real estate, which is basically the entire economy of South Florida.

The good news is humans will probably be extinct before Miami is completely underwater. So at least we got that goin' for us, which is nice.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...time Florida is flooding. That in and of itself is relatively minor event (the flooding of Florida) in the big picture. Gaia will be the deciding factor on the extinction of humans. I do think there will be a significant die off of humans over the next century and beyond; especially if we fail to act on our contributions to climate change. And given the stupid is strong, I see that as more likely than not...

Submitted by lambert on

... that's enough to create big problems, no?

What frightens me is what I'm coming to see as a paradigmatic failure: The failure to build a new tunnel under the Hudson when we know the failure the existing tunnel is only a matter of time. And for a paltry $6 billion.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...would have/did invalidated the article. Even without the comments I find it rather incredible that it treats this (and even says it) as a linear occurrence, it's not. All available science in fact states it's an accelerating dynamic. I pay a lot of attention to this and in fact no body has yet been able to predict the future. Yes, paying attention to today can give indicators/probabilities for tomorrow, but I know of no responsible climate scientist who would speak of tomorrow with certainty.

metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

It's a moot point for some storm surges. If you get a Katrina, or a Katrina plus 7 inches, you've still got a problem.

I suppose there may be a sweet spot where, if you could trim 7 inches, you'd avoid X $millions or $billions. You could save $$, and apply them to fixes when you get a storm surge whose effects you mostly couldn't mitigate.

China, India and the 3rd world are driving CO2 increases, so any mitigation effort that ignores those 2 ton elephants in the rooms is an exercize in futility and denial. CO2 is a "well mixed" gas.

Submitted by lambert on

Of course, our own elites are the one's (so far) with the rockets to the safest gated community in the world, Mars. So thats alright, then.