Sometimes we do not want to face the inevitable. We know bad days are coming, but close our minds to it. Like a child putting his or her head under the pillow hoping the ghost will go away.
Climate change has been discussed for years. Many concerned. Not many panicked.
The wake up call is bad news in one’s face. Stark reality.
Key Westers and lower key residents got it yesterday. Rising ocean levels are going to replace many roads and homes.
Can the problem be avoided? If not, who pays? Are government entities financially responsible? Or, do homeowners lose their homes and no one pays them for their loss?
A climate change conference was held yesterday in Key West. A meeting of the Southeast Regional Climate Leadership Conference.
I first read about the meeting last night in a New York Times article: Florida Keys Deliver A Hard Message: As Seas Rise, Some Places Can’t Be Saved. Then the report which appeared this morning on the front page of the Key West Citizen: Price of Protection High For Keys.
Opening comment in the first 2 paragraphs of the Times article began the eye opener: “As seas rise and flooding gets worse, not everyone can be saved…..And in some places, it does not even make sense to try.”
A key speaker at the meeting was Rhonda Haag, Monroe County Sustainability Director. She reported the results of a one year study to calculate how high its 300 miles of roads must be elevated to stay dry and at what cost.
Note the study was only as to roads. Not the houses and buildings on certain roads.
Haag said the county can’t do it all. She was talking “cost.” She said some places cannot be protected at a price taxpayers can be expected to pay. She further advised that the County may have to say “no,” that not all steps required would be “doable.”
The study results focused on Old State Road 4A in Sugarloaf. A single 3 mile stretch of road at the southernmost tip of Sugarloaf Key.
Two dozen houses located on the 3 mile stretch.
In order to keep the 3 mile of road dry year round, it would have to be raised. Raised 1.3 feet by 2025, total cost $75 million. Broken down, $25 million per mile. Raised by 2045 to an elevation of 2.2 feet, $128 million. Raised by 2060 to expected flooding levels, $181 million.
Not chicken feed. Big dollars. Taxpayer dollars. To provide access to 2 dozen homes.
Haag made it clear that elected officials will be faced with difficult calls to make. The County alone could not do it.
County Mayor Carruthers said, “We can’t protect every single house.”
One homeowner living on the 3 mile stretch said, “This is all I have. If that road goes under, I go under.”
Such the case for most homeowners. Their homes all they have. Their primary investment in life. Their retirement.
Enjoy your day?