Coastal Preservation, Updates, Climate Change
December 18 2017

Climate Change Roundup

by Stefanie Sekich-Quinn

Florida Taxpayers Footing the Climate Change Bill

As we have mentioned in past blogs, Florida is experiencing ‘sunny day flooding’—a phenomenon connected to increasing sea level rise. Climate change is particularly impacting Florida and unfortunately that means Florida taxpayers will soon be footing a major bill to deal with future climate change. A recent article in the Miami Herald pointed out that continually ignoring impacts of climate change will cost the state a pretty penny.  This quote perfectly summarizes the financial perils of ignoring climate change impacts. “Leaving the growing risk of rising seas unaddressed is going to hurt municipal and government credit scores, says the bond rating agency Moody’s in a new report. That means that cities or states now ignoring the issue could face higher interest rates when they borrow money down the road.”  

Trump Administration Watch—the Whistleblower addition

Joel Clement is our hero.  This whistleblower is not having the Department of Interior’s attempts to silence him—in fact he filed an official whistleblower complaint. Clement was in charge of leading the Department of Interior’s climate change work—where he was at the forefront of trying to relocate Alaskan tribal communities away from rising seas. His work over the years was greatly respected until Secretary Zinke came on the scene and starting “moving around” employees.  Zinke took Clement out of his role working on climate change and moved him to the Office of Natural Resource Revenue where he was trained to collect oil and gas payments.  “I’m a scientist and policy expert. I have no skills in auditing and accounting,” he said in his whistleblower disclosure. Clement eventually resigned from the Department of Interior and before he let the door hit him on the way out, he wrote this amazing resignation letter. It’s a shame Clement was forced out of his job, but it is so important that he stood up to censorship.  

Slip Sliding Away

NBC recently produced an in-depth special about an island in Maryland that is literally disappearing and causing major problems for local residents.  For starters, scientists estimate that waters surrounding the region have risen a foot in the past century. Increased water levels are greatly impacting crabbing and fishing practices. A local crabber was interviewed for the story and said, “About 45 boats compete for crabs these days, there used to be hundreds.” Obviously rising water levels are impacting homes and many residents are either trying to sell their properties or allowing them to go into foreclosure.  Salt water intrusion is killing many coastal forests on the island which residents now call “ghost forests.”  NBC did a remarkable job on documenting the challenges facing this community and provided several visual tools to better understand how rising seas are engulfing this community.

Alaska Tribes Under Water

As mentioned above and in previous blogs, local tribal communities are rapidly losing coastal land. Extensive coastal erosion is not only impacting tribal homes and communities, but it is threatening their way of life. Vice recently reported about a tribe in the village of Newtok Alaska that was founded in the 1950s.  Since its inception, the village of has lost nearly a mile of shoreline. Scientists say that permafrost under the village is melting which is causing the water to eat away at land. The Army Corps of Engineers predicts that several buildings along the shoreline could fall into water within the year, saying: “At the moment, there’s just 40 feet of land standing between the first house and disaster.”  Check out the article and the fascinating video Vice put together. 

Rounding out the FUNNY

Take the time to watch this episode about flooding on the John Oliver show.  Mr. Oliver finds a way to make climate change and flooding, funny. Well done indeed.