Floridian Scientists, Officials Call on Presidential Candidates to Debate Sea-Level Rise Threatening 40% of U.S. Population;


 Today more than a hundred scientists and government officials in Florida called on  the Presidential candidates to address the danger of sea level rise at the third and final presidential debate in Boca Raton on October 22.  Sea levels have already risen by nearly 8 inches on Florida’s coasts and could cost the state  billions to repair and reinforce drainage, water supply systems, roads and other infrastructure to cope with the rising water. At current rates, sea level rise will  increase  by  50%  by  2060,  a  conservative  estimate  according  to  the  U.S.  Army  Corps  of Engineers.


florida “Because Florida is so densely populated, it is estimated 40 percent of the population and housing units at risk from sea level rise in the nation are here, in the state of Florida,” according to the letter.


“Florida is ground zero for sea level rise and many other damaging climate impacts, including hurricanes  and  devastating  storm  surges,”  said  Durwood  Zaelke,  President  of  the  Institute  for Governance and Sustainable Development. “The human and economic impacts of climate change are already being felt today and politicians can no longer afford to ignore climate change.  We need fast action to limit the current impacts and prevent even worse impacts in the future.”


“Taking  fast  action  to  reduce  short-lived  climate  pollutants  (SLCPs)  such  asflorida  black  carbon, tropospheric ozone,  methane, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) has the potential to cut the rate of global warming in half over the next thirty to forty years,” said Zaelke, “and significantly slow the rate of sea-level rise.”   He added, “Cutting SLCPs can  also reduce the rate of warming in the vulnerable Arctic by even more – up to two-thirds.”  This is critical because warming in the Arctic has the potential to set off dangerous feedback loops that cause warming to accelerate in the region, triggering further melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which scientists predict could contribute to up to a 6 foot rise in sea level by the end of the century.


The Obama Administration launched the Climate & Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants earlier this year.  The Coalition is undertaking fast-action mitigation projects to reduce SLCPs.   It now has 19  partners  from developing and developed countries, along with the World  Bank,  UNEP,  and  the  European  Commission.    IGSD  represents  NGOs  on  the  Steering Committee.     Zaelke stated, “Success with these fast-action mitigation projects will help slow sea- level rise and other climate impacts, if the Coalition can quickly reach sufficient scale.”









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  • Posted on Oct. 12, 2012. Listed in:

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