National Journal: Adapting to Climate Change

November 30, 2015

View the full article in the National Journal. 

Once the wa­ters have sub­sided, the ex­per­i­ence sticks. Ask res­id­ents in Miami Beach. Dur­ing the past dec­ade, they’ve ex­per­i­enced an in­crease in sunny-day flood­ing, when sea­wa­ter surges up through storm sew­ers. Big­ger threats could lie ahead;a re­port by the South­east Flor­ida Re­gion­al Cli­mate Change Com­pact, a bi­par­tis­an co­ali­tion of four coastal counties in south­ern Flor­ida, found the sea could rise by as much as two feet by 2060, jeop­ard­iz­ing valu­able shoreline prop­erty.

“I think we are a great place to con­vert non­be­liev­ers in­to be­liev­ers on sea-level rise,” says Miami Beach May­or Philip Lev­ine, who is cur­rently over­see­ing the com­ple­tion of a $400 mil­lion pro­ject to ease flood­ing by rais­ing 30 per­cent of the city’s roads, in­stalling pumps, and re­plen­ish­ing dunes, among oth­er meas­ures. The may­or is a re­gistered Demo­crat but sees this as a non­par­tis­an is­sue. “When you look at that ocean, it’s not Re­pub­lic­an, it’s not Demo­crat—it just knows how to rise,” he says.