Wednesday, February 12, 2014

No time to lose, making progress on hardening South Florida against sea level rise … by gimleteye

500 year drought in California. Snowless Sierras. 100 year storms in Great Britain.

Still think it is hogwash? Spend a few minutes with the data overlay on google maps, offered by the University of East Anglia.

The University of East Anglia is the academic institution where the right wing planted its anti-global warming flag in November 2009, alleging scientific misconduct that sought to discredit the massive agreement by the international science community, through the IPCC, that global warming is a real and present threat.

Despite evidence to the contrary, the conservative media machinery sowed confusion and uncertainty that has been extraordinarily difficult to penetrate. The objective data through physical measurements ought to take care of that, but then again, the right-wing is never confused by fact or science because it pays attention to neither.
In an interesting bit of geotagging, the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit has placed its global temperature data on Google Maps. The data set, called CRUTEM4, tracks how the temperatures at the Earth's surface have changed over the last century or so (ocean data is handled by a different project and is not included here). By adding geographic data, it's possible to get a sense of how different regions are responding to our changing climate and where we still lack solid data.
Like a creaking battle ship, the media elite in Miami have gradually turned toward the realities of sea level rise. Parts of Miami Beach under water at regular high tides and sections of US 1 in Fort Lauderdale washed into the sea. The Miami Herald now accepts global warming as a fact (many years after the facts were clear). WPBT, the Miami affiliate of PBS, took forever to swing around, too. But here we are: all in the same ship. Where it is headed?

The devil is always in the details, and Miami environmentalists have seized on the multi-billion -- that's right BILLION -- consent agreement to upgrade the county's wastewater infrastructure after elected officials (many, still representing their districts from the dais) promoted growth that failed to pay its own way.

Environmentalists have complained to federal court that the EPA/ Miami-Dade settlement agreement fails to address in any specific way -- with funding matched to need -- the known impacts of sea level rise. Judge Frederico Moreno apparently observed from the bench earlier this week that it is ironic the Obama White House is elevating the visibility of climate change and its costs while failing to instruct its own EPA to reach down and require that taxpayer dollars match the needs.

And so Miami-Dade remains the place in the United States where -- despite acknowledgement of climate change and its costs -- county government refuses to accept the massive 20 and 30 year costs in its planning and investment horizons. (The same is true, of course, in the matter of FPL's plans for two new nuclear reactors at sea level. The plants will be elevated -- with limerick excavated from Everglades wetlands -- but the entire rate base of the giant utility will be severely affected by sea level rise within their service lifetimes.)

Just wait and watch when that happens: all those climate change deniers will fade into the crowd, disavowing any responsibility.

No one will remember them or the damage they caused by stoking the flames of climate change fear. Still US Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, refuses to meet with climate change scientists. Rubio is marginalizing himself with voters on a host of major subjects. Climate change looms larger with each passing extreme weather event.

And, congratulations to Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper and to Caroline Lewis, founder of the CLEO Institute in Miami who has emerged as a highly effective teacher and rational voice for action. (For background on Ms. Lewis and her victories as an educator, read our archive under Fairchild Tropical Garden. EOM readers do pay attention to the nasty underlying politics that block daylight on environmental issues.)


Anonymous said...

If you're so convinced that Miami's going underwater, then move and start an Eye On Denver blog.

US1 in Ft. Lauderdale washed into the it's you who's making up their own facts.

Cato II said...

It boggles my mind that people can ignore the fact that we are burning the carbon that took tens of millions of years to lock away in the Earth's crust and releasing it into the atmosphere in a matter of decades. I guess there are some that cling to the belief that Jesus won't let harm come to them regardless of how they harm the environment. As the oceans continue to rise, they're going to have to cling to something else. Perhaps some passing driftwood?