In the coming century, Miami Beach may no longer exist. As Robin McKie writes in the Guardian, “By the time oceans have risen four feet…most of Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Virginia Key and all the area’s other pieces of prime real estate, will be bathtubs.”
Harold Wanless, a geology professor at the University of Miami, says that sea level has risen about 10 inches since the 19th century. This has led to regular floods along Alton Road, the main thoroughfare on the western side of the island. The city is also endangered by its own geology. Built on a dome of porous limestone, the foundations of Miami Beach become inundated with sea water that forces sewage to the surface and pollutes reservoirs of fresh water.
Today, $400 million is being invested in improving Alton Road’s sewers and drains. Another $1.5 billion is being invested in city-wide flood control. Climate activists see this as a band-aid on a much more dangerous problem. Southern Florida has a population of 2.4 million, all of whom are potential victims of the coast’s rising tides.
Which is not an opinion shared by the state’s top politicians. Former governor Jeb Bush, current governor Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio are all ardent climate deniers.
“I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate,” Rubio told ABC News. “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. And I do not believe that the laws they propose we pass will do anything about it.”
“Rubio is an idiot,” says Dr. Philip Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami. “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.”
The waters are rising, says Stoddard, and when salt water ruins the city’s fresh water and sewage system, “[l]and 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 neighborhoods.”
The Guardian notes that London, Amsterdam, New Orleans, the Maldives and Bangladesh all face the same danger from rising tides.