Post’s Christie, Goodman tell WPTV’: ‘South Florida sea-level rise threat is real’

The Intracoastal Waterway between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach an hour after high tide. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

We’ve been beating the drum on the issue for weeks now: The message that there is no graver threat to the future of South Florida than the accelerating pace of sea-level rise. By 2060, the sea is predicted to rise another 2 feet, with no sign of slowing down.

RELATED: Editorial: Wake up, South Florida! Speak up on sea-level rise

The editorial boards of The Palm Beach Post, South Florida Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald — with reporting help from WLRN Public Media — have joined hands in an unprecedented collaboration this election year to raise awareness about the threat facing South Florida from sea-level rise. Our goal is to inform, engage, provoke and build momentum to address the slow-motion tidal wave coming our way.

The collaboration is called The Invading Sea.

To that end, we (Post Editorial writer Howard Goodman and me) went on WPTV-Channel 5‘s  “To the Point” to discuss the threat of sea level rise with host Michael Williams.

As we’ve said previously, most South Floridians get it. The Yale Climate Opinion Maps show 75 percent of us believe global warming is happening, even if we don’t all agree on the cause. We understand that when water gets hotter, it expands. And warmer waters are melting the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. If all of Greenland’s ice were to melt — and make no mistake, it’s melting at an increasing clip — scientists say ocean waters could rise 20 feet.

The problem is, too few of us are convinced sea-level rise will personally harm us in our lifetimes. We’ve got to change that mind-set because it already is. Lila Young, who has lived on the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach for 30 years, said she’s seen the king tides progressively getting higher and flooding her neighborhood more often.

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Palm Beach County is fortunate to have a slightly higher elevation, which means the risks aren’t quite so acute here as for our neighbors to the south. Still, the high-priced real estate on the barrier islands is equally vulnerable, along with the low-lying mainland along much of West Palm Beach’s Flagler Drive. As the sea level rises, the agricultural area south of Lake Okeechobee will drain more and more slowly after a major rainfall. And when significant hurricanes and floods hit farther south, we may see a sudden flood of people from Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Are we ready? Are we taking the threat of sea-level rise seriously enough?

Opinion Poll: Should President Trump pull US out of Paris climate accord?

In this November photo, Greenwood Drive at South Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach can still flooded 2 hours after high tide. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Are you paying attention Florida?

Today, President Donald Trump is expected to announce his decision on whether to exit from the historic 195-nation Paris agreement meant to address the issues presented by climate change.

Trump, though he repeatedly promised to do so during the presidential campaign, is reportedly under pressure from the major corporations and senior members of his own staff to remain in the pact.

As I’ve said previously, climate change as especially important to Florida due to the threat from rising sea levels up-and-down the east coast. Trump’s own South Florida properties, including Mar-a-Lago and Doral are said to be at risk.

We’d like to know what you think, so take our poll here:

The Post Editorial Board last addressed Florida’s issue with sea level rise in April, saying state and federal leaders must reverse themselves and see sea-level for the threat it is — today. Because it will only get worse for Florida:

A simple change in the phase of the moon.

That’s all it takes now to flood parts of Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach. That’s all it takes to flood homeowners’ yards in Delray Beach and Boca Raton. That’s all it takes to flood tourist-laden stretches of Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

You would think this would be enough to convince our state and federal officials that it’s time to take action to mitigate the threat of rising sea levels along Florida’s 1,200-mile coastline.

It should be enough. But thus far, the response has been … meh.

You can read the editorial in its entirety.

Climate experts say that Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and Resort in Palm Beach is at serious long-term risk from sea-level rise.