FLORIDA SEN. NELSON CALLS SEA-LEVEL RISE, CLIMATE CHANGE 'COMPELLING STORY,' ANNOUNCES HEARING

MiamiPhotoChristinaMendenhallBloomberg

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) told Bloomberg BNA he plans to hold a field hearing April 22 in Miami Beach with members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

It is not clear whether the hearing will be a full committee or subcommittee hearing. Nelson chairs the Subcommittee on Science and Space.

“South Florida is the area that is most threatened by sea level rise in the continental U.S.,” Nelson told Bloomberg BNA.

Nelson said the hearing also will examine how local governments in the area are adjusting to the impacts of both climate change and sea level rise and how shifts in the climate are affecting budgetary decisions in local communities.

A day earlier, during the Senate's all-night session on climate change, Nelson took to the floor to call South Florida “ground zero for sea level rise.”

“What is threatened the most in the continental United States is the Miami area,” Nelson said March 10. “We have a compelling story to tell.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has identified South Florida as one of the vulnerable regions in the world to property damage as a result of sea level rise.

A city official told Bloomberg BNA in December 2012 that Miami modified building codes to require new buildings to be more resilient to hurricanes and has increased its number of stormwater pumps from four to 11 over the past 10 years .

South Florida ‘Highly Vulnerable.'

Projections for sea level rise in South Florida are 1.5 feet to 2.3 feet by mid-century and three feet to five feet by 2100, leaving the region “highly vulnerable to the effects of global sea level rise,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Infrastructure in highly-developed areas that are at risk include power plants, power generating facilities, airports, solid waste disposal sites, schools, prisons and hospitals,” according to the 2011 NRDC fact sheet.

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