It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
Today on the show, 50 years on from Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and music from the front lines of Brazil. But first, in a major policy address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama will outline his administration's plan to curb our historic levels of carbon emissions. A video released yesterday outlined some of what to expect.
The sun, the Earth and the moon will align this weekend to leave a supermoon shining on a king tide.
But it’s all a little less spectacular than it sounds. At least, now it is. A few years down the road -- if the climate change people are right -- the king tide may be something to dread. But, right now, it’s just an incremental enhancement of an ordinary event.
Current climate change and sea level rise models indicate a very grim -- and water-logged -- future for South Florida and Miami in particular. But new imagery from researcher/artist Nickolay Lamm paints an almost hypnotic picture of these proposed realties for American cities like Miami, Boston, Washington D.C., and New York.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made significant waves Tuesday when he announced a comprehensive $19.5 billion plan to gird the city against the threat of sea level rise.
The long-term plans include a series of levees and storm barriers to protect against waters that are expected to rise anywhere from 20 inches to more than six feet in the next century.
The national flap about Bloomberg's proactive stance on coping with impending coastal inundation has led to a sort of "OK, that's what they're doing. What about the rest of you?" sentiment among the media.
Even before last year's coastal calamity caused by superstorm Sandy, Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs was trying to get everyone's attention about sea-level rise and it's impact on South Florida.
She's one of the founding members of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, a multi-county effort to help local governments plan ahead. Jacobs is a longtime county commissioner serving a second one-year term as mayor, a largely ceremonial role.
Humans aren't the only species facing an uncertain future in South Florida should current sea level rise predictions prove accurate. Migratory and resident shore birds also would feel the pinch of encroaching salt water, beach erosion, and shore line and habitat loss.
When examining current land modeling and other scientific data, in addition to physical evidence, "It becomes clear what a substantial threat sea level rise will be," said Julie Wraithmell, director of Wildlife Conservation, Florida, for the National Audubon Society.
If sea level rise continues unabated, sections of South Florida -- and Miami in particular -- will be under water in a matter of decades. But a new study suggests that swift reductions in "short-lived climate pollutants" and carbon dioxide levels could help to slow the rise.
When the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was approved in 2000, it was a historic move to "restore, protect and preserve" water resources in central and south Florida. The 30-year framework was designed with the ultimate goal of restoring historic water-flows to a "dying ecosystem." Project leaders and scientists are now focused on incorporating climate change adaptation into the plans and acknowledging that the Everglades will likely never look the way it once did.
State officials, local dignitaries, and conservationalists gathered last Tuesday to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the Tamiami Trail bridge project. The plan took more than two decades to achieve and is part of a larger effort to restore fresh water flow to the Everglades.
The recent spate of sinkhole activity in Southwest Florida -- including a fatal sinkhole in Tampa earlier this month -- has shed light on the state's geologic anomaly. But how do sinkholes impact state economic factors like property insurance and home sales?
Miami-Dade County is grappling with how to repair and replace parts of its aging sewage system, under pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Water and Sewer Department has drawn up a $1.5 billion plan.
However, the clean-water advocacy group Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper says the plan doesn’t take into account the potential for sea level rise at its three coastal treatment plants on Virginia Key and in North Miami and South Miami-Dade.
Florida -- and Miami in particular -- should prepare for habitat destruction, loss of cropland, increased salt-water intrusion, worsening coastal flooding, and a host of related disasters if climate change and sea level rise patterns continue, according to findings in a federal "draft climate report."