I know it’s sick and all to applaud the inevitable disappearance of an entire American city, I know. But it’s Miami. It’s Florida. It’s hard to get too upset. It’s the Dolphins, the Marlins, South Beach. Would we miss it? Jeff Goodell in Rolling Stone tells the story:
The reason climate change dooms Miami is a combination of sea level rise, the inevitability of ever more severe storms and storm surges — and its fateful, fatal geology and topology, which puts “more than $416 billion in assets at risk to storm-related flooding and sea-level rise”:
With just three feet of sea-level rise, more than a third of southern Florida will vanish; at six feet, more than half will be gone; if the seas rise 12 feet, South Florida will be little more than an isolated archipelago surrounded by abandoned buildings and crumbling overpasses. And the waters won’t just come in from the east – because the region is so flat, rising seas will come in nearly as fast from the west too, through the Everglades.
Add to that the sink hole problem – ever notice how many sink holes happen in Southern Florida? The geology is a Swiss cheese of lime stone. Water flows in and around it freely leaving the ground soft.
You would never know it from looking at Miami today. Rivers of money are flowing in from Latin America, Europe and beyond, new upscale shopping malls are opening, and the skyline is crowded with construction cranes. But the unavoidable truth is that sea levels are rising and Miami is on its way to becoming an American Atlantis.
Now New York City is also in danger of sea level rise, as we saw with Sandy. But NY is on top of it while Miami is fiddling while the planet burns.
“South Florida doesn’t have the power of New York,” says Daniel Kreeger, the South Florida-based executive director of the Association of Climate Change Officers. “We don’t have any major cultural institutions, we don’t have Wall Street, we don’t have any great universities. The unpleasant truth is that it will be all too easy for the rest of the nation to just let South Florida go.”
Honestly, would we miss it?