FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The CLEO Institute
THE CLEO INSTITUTE RESPONDS TO FLORIDA LEADERSHIP ROLLING OUT A LEGISLATIVE AGENDA TO ADDRESS SEA LEVEL RISE AND FLOODING
It is a good first step to see the Florida Legislature roll out their agenda to combat flooding and sea-level rise in the state. Because flooding and sea-level rise are a direct result of our changing warming climate, it is vital to acknowledge the root of the problem, so we do not exacerbate the problem. Florida’s economic pillars – tourism, agriculture, ports, and real estate – and our quality of life depend on the long-term sustainability of its coastal resources.
Eighty percent of Floridians live or work in one of the state’s 35 coastal counties. In 2050, it is estimated that the inundation of 3-foot sea-level rise could cost Hillsborough and Pinellas counties over $300 and 900 million dollars respectively for losses in the real estate market alone. With that being said, we must focus our solutions on the people, and not the property value of these continued impacts.
If our policymakers are not proposing solutions – such as the expansion of solar energy and storage – to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions driving rising sea levels and other extreme weather events, then climate adaptation will continue to be reactionary and not proactive.
It is estimated that for every $1 invested in building resilient communities and infrastructure, $6 are saved in future costs, including economic disruptions, property damage, public health crises, and deaths caused by extreme weather disasters. Investing in a future-ready society not only saves lives and avoids property damage and the devastating impact that extreme weather on families in communities, it also creates jobs. In fact, Florida led the nation in solar job growth in 2019. We live in the Sunshine State and have enormous potential for continued job growth if we expand solar with the support of local and state policy initiatives.
“Our elected leaders have a responsibility to act with urgency to both adapt to climate impacts and rising seas underway but also to propose comprehensive and immediate investments across all economic sectors to avoid the worst implications. Florida has an opportunity to amplify sustainable and equitable solutions to reduce our vulnerabilities, invest in resilient infrastructure, and stimulate an economy for all”. – Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Executive Director – CLEO Institute
The demand in Florida is high for future-ready community development and infrastructure projects that will reduce extreme weather and flooding damages, lower local air pollution, cut energy bills for households and businesses, and improve economic mobility. Florida policymakers must lead the way to mobilize the investments needed to support resilient and clean energy systems, transportation options, flood protections, and other neighborhood improvements.
The climate crisis is an existential threat to all, and the state of Florida will continue to feel its impacts much more severely. Our leaders must take the necessary steps to not only address these impacts but more importantly, acknowledge the root cause of this problem because the cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of reducing pollution.