National Journal: The Art of Making Do

December 9, 2015

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South Flor­ida: A for­ay in­to (gasp!) bi­par­tis­an­ship

It’s called “sunny-day flood­ing”—when the sea­wa­ter comes gurg­ling out of the sew­ers and fills the streets, with nary a storm cloud in the sky. It’s one of the most dra­mat­ic im­pacts of cli­mate change on South Flor­ida and the sort of mu­ni­cip­al mess that has promp­ted a co­ali­tion of loc­al politi­cians to look past par­tis­an polit­ics and forge an al­li­ance to ad­apt to the chan­ging weath­er pat­terns. The South­east Flor­ida Re­gion­al Cli­mate Change Com­pact was signed in 2009 by the top ex­ec­ut­ives in four coastal counties, three Demo­crats and a Re­pub­lic­an. It has las­ted as an agree­ment between Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Mon­roe counties, in­volving loc­al may­ors and of­fi­cials from both polit­ic­al parties. “When the tide is over­top­ping the sea­wall and filling your swim­ming pool with salt­water, you don’t really care what party the per­son is that an­swers the phone,” says Kristin Jac­obs, a Demo­crat­ic le­gis­lat­or in Flor­ida who was in­stru­ment­al in form­ing the com­pact. “You want your gov­ern­ment to do something about it.”