Climate change is leading to rising sea levels around the world, and coastal cities in Florida are especially at risk. But, how much is sea level rise and flooding costing our state? Watch our video below to learn more.
When we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas to power our cars, homes, and businesses, we emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Regular carbon dioxide that we breathe out and plants absorb is a natural part of our planet’s functioning. But, the carbon dioxide we emit from burning fossil fuels, called rampant CO2, can cause problems because there is too much of it and it’s out of control.
This is because as carbon dioxide is released into our atmosphere, it acts as a heat-trapping blanket around Earth. And rampant carbon dioxide is thickening this blanket, warming our atmosphere and oceans at rates not seen before in history.
As our oceans warm, the water expands. This, combined with melting ice from the North and South poles are leading to rising sea levels and flooding around our coastal cities. To learn more about the causes of sea level rise, visit: https://sealevelrise.org/causes/
In Florida, and around the U.S., flooding and sea level rise is getting expensive. These floods are putting our roads, drinking water and sewage systems at risk. U.S. coastal cities like Miami are spending billions annually on protective solutions like raising roads and buildings and building seawalls.
According to Climate Central, Florida currently has 3.5 million people at risk of coastal flooding. By 2050, an additional 1.1 million people are projected to be at risk due to sea level rise.
Climate Central also estimates that by the year 2050, floods will cost coastal cities in the U.S. $60 billion a year. This cost is exacerbated by decreasing home sales in areas prone to sea-level rise. The property values of these homes are also on the decline.
Some of the regions in Florida with the greatest risk of sea level rise induced flooding are Miami, Tampa Bay and the Florida Keys.
Sea levels are expected to keep rising in Florida, but what can we do to prevent the problem from getting worse? Luckily, since we know sea level rise is caused by climate change, and we know the root of climate change is our burning of fossil fuels, we can take practical steps as a community to preserve our coastal cities for future generations.
And solutions are already taking place in Florida because we are problem solvers. For example, community solar electricity co-ops are growing around the state, making a bold statement to large utility companies: Floridians want renewable energy options.
In fact, Florida is set to have the largest capacity for solar energy in the Southeast by 2021. We are seeing similar examples of this switch to renewable energy all over the country.
But, in the meantime, sea levels are still expected to rise and we need to be prepared. Flood preparation is necessary to ensure the safety of your property and most importantly your life.
How to prepare:
- Check your flood risk on FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.
- Prepare a flood escape plan.
- Stay informed about upcoming floods and make sure you are connected to your county’s flood alert system.
Ultimately, decreasing our use of fossil fuels will help curb the impacts of climate change, like rising sea levels.
One way you can get involved is to simply talk about climate change to your friends and neighbors. Let them know that the solution is quite straightforward—we just need to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions.
The more community members understand the problems and practical solutions, the better positioned we will be to deal with the problem.
But it requires a community effort.