Despite Sea Level Rise, Ft. Lauderdale’s Home Market Booms, as Governor Rick Scott Plays Nero

Defying logic and prudence, Fort Lauderdale keeps building, even as sea level rises. But no one seems to care:

As reported by Katherine Bagley, insideclimatenews.org:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—Along the canals that slice through downtown Fort Lauderdale, dozens of freshly razed lots sit ready for construction, many nestled next to historic riverfront mansions and yachts bobbing dockside. Cranes and half-built high-rises tower overhead. Everywhere, there are signs that this mid-size city of 170,000 is thinking big.

Mayor Jack Seiler says the goal is to turn Fort Lauderdale into “the city you never want to leave.” The population is expected to grow by a third, more than 50,000 people, in the next 15 years. Nearly 5,500 apartments and condos are, or will soon be, under construction and developers are seeking to build another 2,400 units in the next few years. The city processed 26,000 building permits with a construction value of $1.8 billion last year alone.

But as the coastal city’s skyline climbs upward, Fort Lauderdale—nicknamed the Venice of America for its 165 miles of canals—is slowly becoming an edifice of risk as climate change lays siege to its shores.

Already, water regularly creeps over sea walls, lapping against foundations every few weeks. When the earth, moon and sun align to drive waters as much as 18 inches above normal, the resulting King Tides inundate whole streets and neighborhoods. The city is racing to put climate resiliency measures in place, but they face a nearly impossible foe.fort lauderdale drainage

Mayor Seiler and his city typify the imminent risks much of South Florida faces from global warming.

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate,” a coalition of 15 South Florida municipal leaders wrote to Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush last month, urging the state’s two then-Republican presidential candidates to pledge firm steps against global warming.

“Sea levels off the coast of South Florida rose about eight inches in the twentieth century. As a result, we have seen more tidal flooding, more severe storm surges, and more saltwater intrusion into aquifers,” they wrote. “By 2050, mean sea level around Florida is expected to rise about a foot, a shift which could wipe out as much as $4 billion in taxable real estate in the four-county region of Southeast Florida. At three feet of sea level rise, the loss could total $31 billion, with large sections of the Everglades, the Florida Keys and the Miami metropolitan region under water.”

More on this story from insideclimatenews.

Featured Photo by lightninglandon

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