The Union of Concerned Scientists today sent a letter to President Obama and Governor Romney focusing on the issue of rising sea level, in anticipation of the last debate in this years Presidential contest. The debate takes place on October 22, 2012 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.
The full letter with all signatures is available. Below is the text of the letter. I am one of the signatories. The letter speaks for itself.
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney:
We look forward to your visit to Florida for the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in October.Florida is already feeling the effects of sea level rise and, increasingly, it jeopardizes the health, safety, and economic well-being of our communities. Our local tidal gauges show sea levels rose by about eight inches in the twentieth century.
1. This rise in sea level is now resulting in the flooding of city streets and parking areas at seasonal high tides, the abandonment of drinking water wells in coastal communities due to salt water intrusion, and the failure of flood control structures to operate during high tides. As citizens and scientists concerned about the impacts and costs of sea level rise on our nation, we urge you to address this issue when you will be in Boca Raton, Florida. Scientists project increased coastal and inland flooding and inundation, an increased likelihood of significant damage to key aspects of our urban infrastructure, and compromised drinking water sources in more and more communities. The porous limestone underlying much of Florida resembles Swiss cheese, making sea walls ineffective and the state particularly vulnerable to sea level rise by allowing subsurface water to penetrate far inland
2. Because Florida is so densely populated, it is estimated 40 percent of the population and housing
units at risk from sea level rise in the nation are here, in the state of Florida
3. Local communities and agencies are keenly aware of the impact of rising seas and are working
together to address preventive and adaptive action. These include the efforts of the Southeast
Florida Regional Climate Change Compact
4, city and regional plans on both coasts (such as the Punta Gorda Adaptation Plan
5, and interuniversity collaborations on major practical research needs.
Unfortunately, global sea level rise is a danger that must be considered by the next president of the United States. The issue threatens the future of Florida, the nation, and communities around the world. Providing effective solutions will challenge all levels of government. During your time in Florida we urge you to address several questions, which will be important to resolve while in office:
What will be the federal government's planning and policy priorities in order to reduce the
risks of future sea level rise?
What will be the polices for adaptive measures to respond to current and future impacts of
sea level rise?
How would you work with the rest of the world to address rising sea levels and other
effects of climate change?
Thank you for your attention to this issue, and we look forward to hearing how each of your
plans to address this critical challenge.