South Florida is taking more steps to protect against climate change and the rising seas that already are spilling over into neighborhoods.
This month, Broward County ordered that new flood maps be drawn using predictions of higher waters, the latest in a series of steps taken from Palm Beach County to the Keys.
Fort Lauderdale raised the required height of sea walls and the elevation of home sites; Delray Beach added valves to keep salt water out of the city drainage system; Broward County put a financing program in place for homeowners who want to tap solar energy.
That doesn’t mean Florida is all ready and set for the ill effects of rising global temperatures. A nationally recognized advocacy group that rated states on preparedness gave Florida a C- .
The causes of climate change and debate about how far government should go to prepare for it continue to be a political flash point nationally. But at Florida’s southern end, densely populated and with billions in real estate at stake, preparing for it has become commonplace.
“It’s mainstream planning these days,’’ Palm Beach County Commissioner Steve Abrams said. “It [also] took a while for people to understand that cigarettes are bad for you or to put on your seat belt.’’
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says sea level has been rising over the past century, and the rate is increasing.
According to the Southeast Florida Regional Compact Climate Action Plan, updated in October 2015, sea level will rise 6 to 10 inches by 2030, 14 to 26 inches by 2060 and 31 to 61 inches by 2100.
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