Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone contributing editor, has a warning for south Florida residents: “Miami, as we know it today, is not going to exist.”
That’s because the ocean is rising, and it will be hard to keep the water out. Some Miami neighborhoods already flood during high tides.
And yet, “the building here is going on at a record rate … high-rises all along the beach. Basically, nothing has changed,” Goodell says in this month’s “This Is Not Cool” video by independent videographer Peter Sinclair.
Describing how extensive parts of South Florida are “built on a big porous sponge,” he says levees cannot mitigate the problem. “It’s just a big flat limestone pancake.”
“The ice did not get the memo to stop melting in the year 2100,” adds Retired Admiral David Titley, the former chief naval oceanographer now teaching at Penn State. He cautions of sea-level problems ahead even if global temperatures are somehow capped at the 2°C threshold sought under the December 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Goodell says the “resort culture” of the area means those problems often are overlooked and “are not part of the culture here … It’s a place where you go to get away from problems, to have fun on the beach.”
Goodell points to ongoing ambitious new housing and other development activities in the face of continually rising sea level: “It’s the Miami sea-level rise story in a nutshell,” he says. “Nothing is changing.”