Sample Paper on Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact

Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact

Introduction and Background

For the last few decades, the world has experienced multiple impacts of changing climates, such as rising sea levels, high temperatures, flooding, drought, loss of habitat, erosion and saltwater intrusion among others. The rising sea level has become one of the major concerns in Florida. It has been noted that sea levels have risen by nearly nine inches in the last one century. Scientists indicate that the annual rates of rise in sea level have been accelerating in recent years. Records show that the average annual sea level rise between 1992 and 2012 was more than 78% higher than between 1960 and 1991 (Bellard, et al. 365). If the current rise in sea level continues at this rate, it is estimated the seal level will have been raised with additional seven inches by 2030. The increase in sea level poses a great threat to countries bordering oceans since they are likely to experience flooding, loss of habitats, displacement, intrusion of fresh water bodies, and loss of infrastructures among others. The accelerating rate of rise in sea level has been attributed to effects of global warming. High temperatures in the globe lead to melting of ice and snow that add additional waters in oceans as well as the rise in temperature also cause expansion of water in the oceans (Callaghan, et al. 35).

Climate Changes in Florida

Florida being one of the states in United States of America with the biggest coastline is vulnerable to several impacts of climate changes (Callaghan, et al. 35). The state has more 1200 miles of coastline and has a maximum elevation of about 400 meters above sea level. More than 18 million people live less than 60 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (Karl, & Melillo 101). The southeast of Florida, which borders Atlantic Ocean, has many economic activities that include tourism and businesses and, therefore, many infrastructures have been developed in the area. Hence, the accelerating rise in sea levels will have a huge impact on the region. As a result of the impending danger in southeast Florida, there is a big effort by the government and private organization to reduce and control the impact of the rising sea levels. Miami, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach counties in the southeast florida are the most venerable to the effect of rising sea level have formed a corporation aiming at mitigating and adapting to impacts of climate changes. The cooperation named The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact gives an action plan on actions to be taken to reduce effects of changing climate (Callaghan, et al. 35)..

The paper discusses the effects of climate changes in southern Florida. It will also discuss the role of Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact in its effort to mitigate effects of changing climate in Southeast California. Basing the argument on various research conducted, the paper will outline a number of recommendations that can be adopted to conserve the environment and reduce the impact of climate changes.

The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact

This is a joint cooperation between Miami, Monroe, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. The cooperation was established in 2009 with the aim of reducing and adapting to the effects and consequences of changing climate. The corporation ensures counties work with federal and state environmental policies to mitigate challenges of climate changes and global warming.

Global Warming

This refers to an average increase in temperature on the earth’s surface. Global warming is usually caused by the concentration of greenhouse gasses such as carbon in the atmosphere. These gasses act as a blanket to the earth service and trap the hot air in the atmosphere which increases the temperature in the. Over the past century, the world has recorded an increase in global temperature (Cheung, et al. 238). Human activities are largely responsible for the increase in temperature in the world. Studies have noted that human activities have been releasing too much carbon and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere that causes global warming. Majority of these gases are released from burning fossil fuel such as coal to produce energy. Certain industrial practices also release a large amount of carbon in the atmosphere (Karl, & Melillo 103).

Effects of Global Warming In Southeast Florida

According to (Repetto 8), global warming has several effects on both the environment and human living in Southeast Florida. These effects include:

a)      High Increase in Temperature

Global warming cause increase in the average atmospheric temperature in the earth service It has been noted that the global temperature have increased with over 0.8 degrees Celsius for the last 100 years (Seneviratne, et al. 150). The rising temperatures in Southeast Florida are affecting human and animals as well as plants. People living in the coastal regions complain about high temperatures at night, which is affecting their living. Plants as well have been affected by the rising temperatures. It has been observed that the rising temperature is causing destruction on coral reefs (Bellard, et al. 365).

b)     Effect on Weather Conditions

Global warming also has an extreme effect on weather. In the last few decades, the world has observed changes in climate and weather patterns (Bellard, et al. 365). As in the most parts of the world, Southeast Florida is experiencing abnormal changes in their weather pattern. Some areas that had normal climate are experiencing severe droughts in recent years. Other areas are experiencing excess unpredictable rainfall than it used to be few years ago. Florida has also been experiencing heavy winds such as hurricanes that have severe impacts to the residents.

c)      Rise of Sea Levels

Global warming is also associated with the accelerating rate of rising sea levels. The high temperature in the atmosphere is causing ice the polar region to melt and the water flow to the water bodies. The melting ice increases the level of water in the ocean leading to increase in sea level (Seneviratne, et al. 150). The increase in sea levels has a major impact on coastline countries and island. It has been noted that rising seawater is occupying the land that is currently occupied by human, as well as land animals (Obeysekera, et al. 360). Those people and animals living on the coastline are forced to migrate to the interior land. The rising sea level has also destroyed infrastructures in the coastline such as buildings, road network, and bridges. Most of the buildings Southeast Florida have submerged in the water, and there is fear that more buildings will be affected as the rise in sea levels continues. The rising sea levels have also resulted in flooding of flat area in southeast Florida. Drainages that were previously used to drain excess water from the land to the sea have been blocked causing floods (Cheung, et al. 239).

d)     Disruption in Food Supplies

Global warming is also causing disruption in food supplies. Prolonged drought and floods in some part of the world has significant implications to food production. It has been noted that some areas in southeast Florida that were known for food production are experiencing severe droughts in the recent days making farming impossible. Some areas also receive exess flooding in some seasons that destroy farm produce (Repetto 10).

e)      Loss of Habitats

There is loss of habitats in some areas due to effects of global warming. The rising temperature in the atmosphere is affecting the habitats of animals. Scientist has noted that there is an increase in warm weather species and a shrink in the number of species that depend on cool environment. It is predicted that if the current situation continues some species will become extinct in the near future. In Southeast Florida, it has been noted that freshwater species are migrating as their habitat is being occupied by salt water species (Cheung, et al. 237).

f)       Interruption in Water Supplies

It has also been noted that global warming has an effect on drinking water supplies. The increasing water in the sea is finding their way back to the land through rivers and canals that were used to drain swampy areas. As a result, there is an intrusion of salty seawaters to freshwater bodies. Most people who live in the coastline depended on these freshwater bodies for water supply. Thus, when they become contaminated with seawater, they become unfit for human consumption leading to low supply of water (Bellard, et al. 371).

Recommended Measures to Mitigate the Impact the Climate Changes in Southeast Florida

Since the establishment of Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact in 2009, Southeast Florida has made a significant milestone in mitigating the impact of climate changes. The summit came into a consensus that Southeast Florida is very vulnerable to the current climate changes, and more than 6 million residents will be affected. Therefore, they decided to make a joint effort in controlling the climate change by drawing an action plan that will be followed by the four member counties in dealing with climate changes (Repetto 10). The action plan will use the existing legal structures, new policies, education programs, and prioritized investments to achieve its goals. The compact have advocated the following measures to reduce the effect of climate changes:

1)      Reduction in Greenhouse Emission

In the action plan of the compact, there is an advocacy to the four-member county to reduce the level of greenhouse emission. Greenhouse gasses have been cited as the major cause of global warming in the world. Scientist says that these gasses form a layer above the earth service, which acts as a blanket leading to high temperatures in the atmosphere. Thus, reducing the emission of these gasses can have a significant impact on reducing global warming. Gran house gasses especially carbon dioxide are usually emitted through burning of fossil fuel in manufacturing industries and transportation. The government is encouraging use of green energy such as solar, geothermal, and wind to reducing the level of carbon emission. The compact has advocated the government to enact laws and regulation that controls the level of carbon emitted into the atmosphere (Feliciano, & Prosperi 506).

2)      New Infrastructure Development Policies

The compact has helped the Florida state government in identifying the most vulnerable areas that are likely to be affected by the rising sea level. New legislations and policies have been passed to govern infrastructure development in the area in relation to the anticipated climate changes. Municipal council and county planning authorities are encouraged modify and develop new standards for transport infrastructure in areas vulnerable to climate changes. The transport development infrastructure should include supportive road materials that can tolerate harsh climates and flood management to drain flooded water from roadways. There are also new building standards that require all new buildings in the vulnerable areas to leave a specified length from the coastline (Feliciano, & Prosperi 507).

3)      Water Supply Management

The compact understand that the current rate of global warming has a significant effect on water supply in southeast Florida. The rising sea level is causing intrusion of seawater into fresh water bodies affecting water supply in the region. Extreme droughts and drier winter is also affecting water supply in the region (Bloetscher, & Romah 1507). Therefore, the compact is putting in place new water management systems and infrastructure that ensures the residents in the area have adequate water supply throughout the years. The government is advocating preservation of natural forests that are the main source of water supply. Water treatment infrastructure has also been put in place to treat contaminated water to make if fit for human consumption. Other infrastructures have also been developed such as drainage systems to reduce saltwater intrusion

4)      Education Programs

The counties in southeast Florida has embarked on community education programs that aim at educating people about the effects of current warming. The education programs aim at updating residents in potential risks that are likely to affect them and how they can be mitigated. Residents are being encouraged to reduce use f fossil fuel by adopting green energy such as solar and biogas. The residents are also educated on ways of preserving the environment through the adoption of good farming methods and preservation of natural forests (Bierbaum, et al. 365).

Conclusion

It is evident that Southeast Florida is the most vulnerable areas to the effect of climate changes. One of the major effects of the current climate changes that affect the region is increasing sea levels. It is estimated that the sea level is expected to rise by seven inches by 2030 (Callaghan, et al. 45). This is likely to have severe consequences for the Florida resident and the government. To mitigate the increasing risk of climate changes in the region, four counties have joined hand and formed Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. The compact have developed an action plan for reducing the increasing global warming that lead to increase in sea levels, as well as adaptation to the consequences of climate changes. The compact is working with federal, state and county governments to develop policies and legislations to deal with effects of the climate changes. Since its establishment, the compact has enacted various measures to combat the situation. These measures include policies on reduction of greenhouse gas emission, infrastructure development policies, water supply management plans and community education programs on impacts of climate changes and how to control them (Cheung, et al. 247).

Works Cited

Bellard, Céline, et al. “Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity.” Ecology letters 15.4 (2012): 365-377.

Bierbaum, Rosina, et al. “A comprehensive review of climate adaptation in the United States: more than before, but less than needed.” Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 18.3 (2013): 361-406.

Bloetscher, F., B. N. Heimlich, and T. Romah. “Counteracting the effects of sea level rise in Southeast Florida.” Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering 5.11 (2011): 1507-1525.

Callaghan, Terry V., et al. “A new climate era in the sub‐Arctic: Accelerating climate changes and multiple impacts.” Geophysical Research Letters 37.14 (2010).

Cheung, William WL, et al. “Projecting global marine biodiversity impacts under climate change scenarios.” Fish and Fisheries 10.3 (2009): 235-251.

Feliciano, Maribel, and David C. Prosperi. “Planning for low carbon cities: Reflection on the case of Broward County, Florida, USA.” Cities 28.6 (2011): 505-516.

Karl, Thomas R., and Jerry M. Melillo, eds. Global climate change impacts in the United States. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Obeysekera, Jayantha, et al. “Climate change and its implications for water resources management in south Florida.” Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment 25.4 (2011): 495-516.

Repetto, Robert. “Economic and environmental impacts of climate change in Florida.” Demos, New York (2012): 10.

Seneviratne, Sonia I., et al. “Changes in climate extremes and their impacts on the natural physical environment.” Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation (2012): 109-230.