From: David A Gabel, ENN
Published January 17, 2012 09:57 AM

South Florida Alliance Gears Up for Climate Change

Global action against climate change is often difficult and excruciatingly slow. For the United States, policies to combat a warming Earth are at a virtual standstill. That is why it comes down to local and regional alliances to work together to make a difference. In the US, there are few areas more vulnerable to climate change than southern Florida. It is an area that will be easily inundated with flooding should seas continue to rise and hurricanes continue to batter them. Now, four south Florida counties have teamed together to prepare their communities for the menace that is to come.


The four south Florida counties include Monroe, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach. They cover an area stretching from Key West north to Palm Beach. Last month, representatives from each met to discuss the bipartisan Climate Action Plan.

Their goal is audacious, working together across ideological lines to shore up the region's water supplies, transportation networks, buildings, and infrastructure. It is the necessity of it that makes it possible. These complex systems must be strengthened to stand up to the coming climate change.

The four counties are very different from each other, with much different demographics and terrain. For example, Monroe is largely rural, encompassing much of the Everglades. Miami-Dade on the other hand is metropolitan and densely urban. The two rural counties are conservative Republican. The two urban counties are liberal Democrat.

Together, they have formed the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact. According to Michael D. Lemonick, senior writer with the nonpartisan, Climate Central, the apparent cooperation is shocking. It is when the looming effects of climate change are fully realized, that political posturing starts to look silly.

Some of the ways, the region will be able to adapt to climate change include raising coastal railbeds. This can be accomplished in the name of highway improvement rather than climate adaptation. Pumps can be installed in the region's canals to handle overflow during high tide or torrential rains. Without the canals, the entire area would revert back to swamps, which is what it was originally.

Another largely important project may be the eventual construction of a ten-foot sea wall along the entire coast to protect from storm surges, rising sea levels, and erosion.

The south Florida alliance has received the blessing from Washington and Tallahassee. It shows that while larger governments fail to act, it does not mean people should not work together at a local level. In the end, that is what it always comes down to.

For more information on the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact:

Image credit: Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact

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