The implications of possible sea level rise yet again made the headlines, as an article published by Jeff Goodell in Rolling Stone last week revealed what would happen to Miami if the predictions of 12-feet rise come true.
As stated in the article, Miami is located in an area with somewhat unfortunate geology and topology. The landscape surrounding Miami is on average only 5 feet above sea level, while the underlying porous limestone allows easy movement of water causing severe rock erosion and building corrosion.
It is estimated that at 3 feet sea level rise, around a third of Florida will be under water, while at the predicted 12 feet, the whole of South Florida will turn into an isolated archipelago.
It is interesting to observe how while politicians debate over possible measures and strategies to cut down carbon emissions and mitigate global warming, scientists already note that even if all carbon pollution is eliminated right now, sea level will continue rising faster than predicted.
According to specialists, conventional flood barriers will not be effective. Scientists have already suggested that at a rise of 7 feet (2 meters) major infrastructure developments should be planned.
But the state government, however, does not seem to take any action in order to prevent a possible disaster. This is especially obvious since all initiatives that involve environmental protection have been rejected funding. The main reason behind this is that even the Governor Rick Scott says that he is not convinced that global warming is caused by human activity.
At the same time, countries that are about to face similar problems if sea level rises as predicted, are already taking action.
The government of the Netherlands, for example, is in no denial that there is a threat of sea level rise and climate change. The Dutch parliament is already reviewing various proposals for upgrades of flood protection. The plan is to upgrade the current North Sea flood protection to 1-in-100,000 years status.
Such a large commitment is part of the Netherlands’s “Living with Water/We are Here to Stay” campaign. The estimate of the cost of this upgrade equals 0.2% of the Netherlands yearly GDP to build and maintain.
In addition, the city of Rotterdam has a goal to become completely climate-proof by 2025. Alongside the hi-tech water management systems, the city is also exploiting “soft technology” such as water plazas, green roofs and multi-purpose storage facilities.
As part of the program, the city is also supporting a 50-hectare (120-acre) floating housing development, with a neighbourhood of environmentally friendly houseboats.
The city officials have the aim to develop suitable technologies that can be transferred to other cities around the world.