Climate Change and Politics

During the recent Presidential debate, Floridian Mayors demanded answers about rising sea levels. The candidates’ responses were passionate, but has climate change really received the attention it deserves?
Mar 18, 2016 7:30 AM ET

Presidential candidate hopeful Martin O’Malley made sure that climate change was front and center in every debate he participated in, hitting the audience with point after poignant point about the urgency of the issue. Since his departure from the race, the topic has been marginalized, relegated to a few comments here and there by Sanders and Clinton about clean energy and climate action, and ignored completely by Republican candidates (in fact, frontrunner Trump has disavowed climate change completely, calling it a hoax.) Recently, however, Florida Mayors brought the issue to the forefront, demanding answers from the Democratic candidates about how they would combat the rising sea levels that are threatening the State.

Miami, the location of the debate, is considered ground zero in the battle against rising sea levels, with daily high-water marks increasing almost an inch each year. The city, experiencing regular flooding that has caused widespread damage to homes, businesses, and communities, has already spent over a hundred million dollars on disaster recovery, and it has plans to spend twice that much on mitigation and resiliency.  Some say that those efforts are futile, and that sooner rather than later the city will be deluged. Already, insurance companies are taking a cold, hard look at issuing policies for luxury condos on Biscayne Bay and banks are rethinking mortgage policies.