On April 15, Dr. Harold Wanless– chair of the UM Geology Department– will talk about global warming, sea level rise, and the future of Miami at the annual meeting of the Friends of the Everglades. The event is at 1:30PM at Pinecrest Gardens (the former Parrot Jungle) on Red Road in South Miami. If you own real estate, you might want to listen to what Dr. Wanless has to say.
According to an AP press report, the 6800 weather records were set in the U.S. in the month of March. The report, “Mumbai, Miami on list of big weather disasters” begs a number of questions in Miami. Instead of setting policies to prevent more development in wetlands outside the UDB; why aren’t Miami-Dade county commissioners establishing policies to protect taxpayers from spending money down an open drain? That is essentially what it means to build flood protection infrastructure where sea level rise can’t be stopped.
The AP story centers on a new study by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That’s the panel dismissed by GOP leaders like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott. The report urges all nations to “act now”.
“There is a very high likelihood that there will be at least a further 3 – 5 feet of sea level rise during this century,” begins the 2008 report by the Miami-Dade County Climate Change Advisory Task Force. (I served as an appointee of Mayor Carlos Alvarez at the time.) Four years ago, volunteers spent thousands of man-hours assembling the report whose key recommendations related to land use planning were rejected by the county commission.
There are other questions raised by the Mumbai to Miami threats. Perhaps you have noticed the extensive roadway repairs to Venetian Isles and Miami Beach. How many roads will we have to repair before we stop repairing roads worn down by salt water intrusion and flooding? And what about beach erosion. When will taxpayers pull the plug on beach renourishment?
Putting sand on beaches to be washed away soaks up millions of taxpayer dollars a year in Florida. North Miami Beach is putting $15 million in new sand. Broward County is assessing plans to “widen beaches“. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed a $20 million bond issue in January for a Panhandle beach renourishment project. In the AP report:
We are a rich nation, but at some point spending money to hold back the sea will make us not so rich. “Already U.S. insured losses from weather disasters have soared from an average of about $3 billion a year in the 1980s to about $20 billion a year in the last decade, even after adjusting for inflation, said Mark Way, director of sustainability at insurance giant Swiss Re.”
There are other questions. If you have a 30 year mortgage and sea level rise is expected to severely impact Miami during that time, what next? What were the recommendations regarding land use policies in the Miami-Dade Climate Change Advisory Task Force that never saw the light of day, because of influence from the builders, speculators, and Great Destroyers?
“The County must plan for, mitigate, and adapt to climate change even though uncertainty remains in determining which impacts may occur first and the type and severity of the changes,” the county advisory task force said in 2008. The task force recommended advanced LIDAR imagery to “allow identification of which areas will become flooded in association with different sea levels.” So where is that imagery and how has it been used in county land use planning?