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daily 08/04/2013

    • Jan Nijman, the former director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Miami, called 20th-century Miami “a citadel of fantastical consumption
    • Conventional sea walls and barriers are not effective here,” says Robert Daoust, an ecologist at ARCADIS, a Dutch firm that specializes in engineering solutions to rising seas. “Protecting the city, if it is possible, will require innovative solutions.”
    • Those solutions are not likely to be forthcoming from the political realm. The statehouse in Tallahassee is a monument to climate-change denial.
    • Since taking office in 2011, Scott has targeted environmental protections of every sort and slashed the budget of the South Florida Water Management District, the agency in charge of managing water supply in the region, as well as restoration of the Everglades
    • The view is, ‘Well, if it gets real bad, the federal government will bail us out.’ It is beyond denial; it is flat-out delusional.”
    • I mentioned sea-level rise, and I was treated to a 15-minute lecture on Genesis by one of the commissioners. He said, ‘God destroyed the Earth with water the first time, and he promised he wouldn’t do it again. So all of you who are pushing fears about sea-level rise, go back and read the Bible.
    • That worked pretty well for a time. The gates were engineered so that, when they were closed, the fresh water was about a foot and a half higher than the salt water. This freshwater “head” (as engineers called it) helped keep pressure in the aquifer and kept the salt water at bay.
    • Here, you can see the problem,” Obey says, pointing to the saltwater side of the gate. “The water is only 10 inches lower on this side than on the canal. When this structure was built in 1960, it was a foot and a half. We are reaching equilibrium.”
    • This is what global warming looks like,” he explained. “If you live in South Florida and you’re not building a boat, you’re not facing reality
    • To address this, the city of Miami Beach hired CDM Smith, a Massachusetts-based engineering firm, to come up with a $200 million stormwater plan that, in theory, will keep the city dry for the next 20 years
    • I trust we will find a solution. I have been to Amsterdam. I have seen what the Dutch have done. If they can figure it out, so can we.”
    • “It’s like the Dutch East India Company all over again
    • New Orleans looks a lot like the Netherlands – it is below sea level, with a big dike around it,” says Piet Dircke, program director for water management at ARCADIS in the Netherlands. “If you don’t pump it out, the city drowns. It’s a big bathtub. We know how to do that.
    • The city of Miami Beach has about 60 miles of sea walls on the island. “The vast majority of them are on private property,” says Saltrick. How do you force people to raise them higher – do you pass a law requiring everyone whose property includes a sea wall to spend tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade them?
    • When you raise the road even a few inches, what happens to the water?” Saltrick asks rhetorically. “It runs off the road into the buildings and homes alongside it. So you have to raise those, as well
    • The only way to motivate people who are in denial about climate change is for the leaders to instill confidence that we’ll all still be here in 2100 and that critical infrastructure – like water, roads and sewers – will be here, too,” says Albert Slap, a lawyer who represe
    • seas. “It is impossible to imagine a stupider place to build a nuclear plant than Turkey Point,” says Philip Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami and an outspoken critic of the plant.
    • According to Peter W. Harlem, a research geologist at Florida International University, the plant itself only weathered a surge of about three feet – hardly a testament to the storm-readiness of the plant.
    • The Nuclear Regulatory Committee, which oversees the safety of nukes in America, demands that operators take into account past natural hazards such as storms and earthquakes, “but they are silent about future hazards like sea-level rise and increasing storm surges,
    • It’s partly denial and ignorance, and partly a feeling that they can beat the odds,” says Tony Cho, the president of Metro1 Properties Inc., a large real-estate firm in Miami.
    • To remedy the situation, the state began offering its own low-cost insurance under the name Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, which has become the largest insurer in the state.
    • The problem is, Florida is now on the hook for billions of dollars. “A single big storm could bankrupt the state,” says Eli Lehrer, an insurance expert and president of the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.
    • The financial catastrophe could play out like this: As insurance rates climb, fewer are unable to afford homes. Housing prices fall, which slows development, which decreases the tax base, which makes cities and towns even less able to afford the infrastructure upgrades necessary to adapt to rising seas. The spiral continues downward. Beaches deteriorate, hotels sit empty, restaurants close. Because
    • city of Miami may well have time to transform itself into a modern Venice.
    • The potential for chaos is self-evident as Miami becomes a place people flee from rather than flock toward
    • The unpleasant truth is that it will be all too easy for the rest of the nation to just let South Florida go
    • I have a solution for that,” says former speaker Gustafson. “We need to all march up to the capital in Tallahassee and burn the fucker down. That’s the only way we’re gonna save South Florida.”)
    • “We inhabit cities, and then when something happens, we move on. The same thing will happen with Miami.
  • “Feed me Seymour. Feed me all night long!” Enjoying “Little Shop of Horrors” The Musical at Zilker Hillside Theater.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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