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America’s Great Climate Exodus Is Starting in the Florida Keys (bloomberg.com)
161 points by woofyman 25 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 206 comments

Presumably I'll get downvoted for this but here it goes.. I know that news sites like to link anything they can to climate change in the global human-caused sense because it might create more clicks but how is this a "climate exodus" in that sense? It's more a case of people having built homes in a very flat, easily flooded place that has always been really, really shitty for living due to the dangers of extremely bad hurricane damage (something that has been the case since Europeans settled the region). Way too tenuous for a title like that, but it fits the more hysterical narratives of climate change so in it goes. Note, i'm not doubting or denying the very real global dangers of human-caused climate change, but we should be careful in ascribing just anything to them. Some regions of the world have always been unsafe for human habitation due to persistently unfriendly weather, that we have colonized them with our technology doesn't mean that something has fundamentally changed about their climate whenever things go wrong and nature reasserts itself.

It's being linked to climate change because small, low-lying islands are seeing serious losses of land mass. From the article:

Fifteen years after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana is trying to relocate the Native American settlement of about 100 people on the Isle de Jean Charles, a narrow island that lost 98% of its land over the past six decades to climate change.

My best understanding is that this is, in fact, a new phenomenon related to global warming, the defrosting of permafrost, etc.

Some regions of the world have always been unsafe for human habitation due to persistently unfriendly weather

There is no place without some kind of disaster. I've looked. It's a case of pick your poison.

Hurricanes in the Southeast. Tornadoes in the Plains States. Earthquakes and the ever-so-lovely Fire Season on the West Coast.


But much of Florida is not far above sea level and some of the issues they are seeing can legitimately be linked to climate change. That's not just hand-wringing in this case.

This is especially true for low-lying islands, which are seeing new problems around the world. It isn't the norm for islands to simply disappear to rising sea levels.

> But much of Florida is not far above sea level and some of the issues they are seeing can legitimately be linked to climate change.

Yes. And also on very porous limestone and coral. So ocean and groundwater levels are linked. Seawalls won't help, and even building on stilts, the groundwater goes saline.

There was a recent article about finding a decades old car and skeleton in a pond in a Florida gated community. Zooming out on Google maps, you can see how they transformed huge areas of ~swamp. They used the classic islet and pond approach. But I bet that all those ponds are tied to sea level.

Yes, but some places are far worse than others. Down here in Atlanta we get some pretty bad thunder storms (and accompanying low lying land floods), and rare but not unheard of hail. We're pretty far from any real faults, though we have gotten tiny tremors from east Tennessee and north/south Georgia before, they're at most 4-5, with everything in Georgia around a 3. We're far enough away from, and high enough above the ocean for sea level rise to not impact us. Tornados are exceedingly rare. We hardly ever get any real hurricane weather, usually just some rain from the outer reaches of it as it hits the coasts.

I'd choose this over my former South Louisiana digs any day. We had to evacuate for hurricanes multiple times when I was a kid there. For hurricane Andrew we were driving north in the pouring rain and wind so high nobody could close the car doors except my dad. I've never been even close to that scared of weather in Georgia.

I think that falls under personal preference.

I was born and raised in Georgia. I'm abundantly familiar with what goes on there, weather-wise.

Near daily thunderstorms in the summer.

Electrical storms that can kill electronics, appliances or even people.

If it snows at all, businesses shut down, schools shut down, car wrecks go up, etc.

If it gets too cold, they sometimes shut down schools and businesses.

When I was eight years old and we had something like a foot of snow, roofs were collapsing, they were sending a van around to pick up nurses so the hospitals would be staffed and my sister and father walked like five miles in the snow to get to a store to get supplies we needed because no municipality in the state has any equipment for doing snow clearance and all the roads were closed.

Snow is not some kind of natural disaster in places that routinely get snow. But it is a real and serious problem in Georgia simply because it happens so rarely that it doesn't make any real sense to acquire snow plows and the like. They would rust and rot in place and be unusable on the rare occasion that it does snow enough to see an accumulation on the ground. Most of the time, you wait a day or so, things warm up, it melts, schools and businesses re-open.

But, meanwhile, people die in car wrecks.


Atlanta sometimes has serious flooding.



Yeah I hear you. I've been here for over 25 years. But we're getting less and less snow generally, but yeah pretty much any of it and things have to shut down because we don't have the infrastructure to deal with it. Better to just shut things down for a day or 3 a year instead of spending millions of dollars on the infrastructure to handle it.

I mentioned the flooding. The one major place that is often flooded is the connector near midtown where at the bottom of the 2 hills. There are certainly some flash floods on some streets especially when drains get clogged.

But you're right, there are issues here. I had a laptop zapped through a phone line > modem > ethernet > laptop from a lightning strike. I'd still take them over a straight up coast city's issues.

Sounds like Chicago is about as close to safe as it gets anywhere on earth.

You are joking, of course. A safe place would not have subzero temperatures during cold season. The world is full of much safer places where there are no weather extremes, earthquakes, or other natural disasters. Of course, you must also consider manmade disasters like overreaching government, civil unrest, and if there are oil reserves you risk invasion by other countries to liberate the population.

> A safe place would not have subzero temperatures during cold season

Given the long human history of surviving subzero temperatures, why do you say that?

"The world is full of much safer places where there are no weather extremes, earthquakes, or other natural disasters."

Examples please? I may want to move to one of these places.

As long as the power grid stays live. I’d hate to live that far north without a wood stove for backup.

What’s the poison in the Great Lakes region?

I visited South Carolina for a wedding and we had a house on the ocean. Every house was on stilts. I asked locals and they said that it was so the houses survived storm season. One also said that they still get obliterated every 20 years or so but you just budget that in.

20 year rebuilds turning into 1 year rebuilds is what I think first world "climate exodus" looks like.

Yes, they know the location is pretty bad. But the numbers had worked for that ocean side Vista. They won't anymore.

Homes on stilts are designed to survive major storm. Cat 1 and 2 hurricanes. What is a 1 year rebuild? Are you saying a major hurricane will make landfall everywhere, every year? Because that's what you are implying.

I wouldn't fixate on the numbers. The point of the anecdote is that because climate change means more storms more often, the cut-off point for habitability gets shifted.

I posted this elsewhere, but:


> For the 21st century, some models project no change or a small reduction in the frequency of hurricanes, while others show an increase in frequency. More recent work shows a trade-off between intensity and frequency – that as warmer oceans bolster hurricane intensity, fewer storms actually form. For the continental United States in the Atlantic Basin, models project a 45-87 percent increase in the frequency of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes despite a possible decrease in the total frequency of all storms.

Which isn't exactly a great thing, but yeah, it's always more complicated.

It hasn't been established that climate change means more storms more often though.

No, but if the regular storms become larger and more destructive, that still affects habitability.


And the point about more storms hasn't been established yet - which doesn't mean that it won't be established in the future.

Given the likelihood of larger storms and the possibility of more frequent storms, living in a storm-prone area becomes a much less appealing idea.

The UK has a similar problem. Some properties have been flooded multiple times in the last couple of decades. They're now uninsurable, which is not far off from being uninhabitable.

Even if they stay dry for years at a time, it only takes a couple of very expensive renovations to reduce their value towards zero.

It might go from 20 years to 19 years. Or even less. Construction technology will easily outpace changes in storm frequency.

The obvious connection to the climate crisis is that global warming is causing ice to melt and thus sea levels to rise. Rising seas are catastrophic for buildings and infrastructure in low-lying coastal areas, which because of its geography Florida has more of than anywhere else in the US.

The world is on the way to becoming uninhabitable for modern human civilization, and we're the cause. It happens that the majority of humanity lives in coastal areas that will be put underwater by the amount of sea level rise that's going to happen by the end of this century at current rates of warming. The current retreats from the most vulnerable areas in Florida are just a tiny, tiny taste to come of the massive climate refugeeism that is on the horizon.

It's not hysteria, this is what is going to happen unless we make massive changes.

I looked it up, and current sea level rise is around 3mm/year, which adds up to a foot per century.

More than I thought, but hardly a non outrunnable flood.


Did you ignore the rest of the link you posted by mistake?

> Higher sea levels mean that deadly and destructive storm surges push farther inland than they once did, which also means more frequent nuisance flooding. Disruptive and expensive, nuisance flooding is estimated to be from 300 percent to 900 percent more frequent within U.S. coastal communities than it was just 50 years ago.

The mean sea level rising isn't out-runnable, but the storm events can be.

And also:

> Sea level rise at specific locations may be more or less than the global average due to local factors such as land subsidence from natural processes and withdrawal of groundwater and fossil fuels, changes in regional ocean currents, and whether the land is still rebounding from the compressive weight of Ice Age glaciers.

Again, all from your own link.

> Did you ignore the rest of the link you posted by mistake?

No I intentionally read all of it. But you knew that :)

> The mean sea level rising isn't out-runnable, but the storm events can be.

Some low lying areas should probably be abandoned. My point is just that it happens very slowly, and can be planned for.

I also suspect some of that increase is because of bigger populations living near the coast.

> Sea level rise at specific locations may be more or less than the global average

This is true regardless of climate change. Some land rises, other sink.

That page also mentions that the rate is accelerating, so the trend isn't linear. What may be a foot per century in a linear trend might be significantly more in an exponential trend.

There are non-linear feedback cycles at play here, plus our emissions of greenhouse-causing gases are still increasing as well. The sea level rise is currently on track to continue increasing every year, with a total of a lot greater than a foot by end of century.

> It's more a case of people having built homes in a very flat, easily flooded place that has always been really, really shitty for living due to the dangers of extremely bad hurricane damage (something that has been the case since Europeans settled the region).

I don't know how to say this politically but this is something that took me back when the call-to-arms came about for the Bahamas recently given the latest hurricane.

Isn't it kind of a broken system? Every hurricane season, the Bahamas stands to get absolutely hammered. It's devastating, but... almost on a schedule?

See my post below, Bahamas is no different, most of those houses that where destroyed where built pre-codes. I have a lot of family in the Bahamas, there houses are all on stilts and cat 5 rated. All of their houses survived.

Hurricanes are nothing new, we have endured them all of our lives, they are not getting worse or more frequent.

My family has been in Florida and the Bahamas for 14 generations along the way it just became second nature to instruct the next generation on what to look for in a house that will survive the storm. My original family homestead is still standing and was built in the 1700's, it has seen many storms some worse that Irma and Dorean.

according to the charts you linked to Hurricanes and Major Hurricanes (the only ones a person really needs to worry about) look pretty steady to me.

It is well know that storm seasons peak and trough, on a roughly 10 year cycle. I remember the old timers telling me that long before meteorology could predict the weekly weather with any form of accuracy. We peaked in 2005 and hit bottom in 13 we are close to a peak again. I got hit by 4 hurricanes in 2005, it was a freak anomaly and I assume I will never see that again in my lifetime.

Take named storms out of the equation, we literally drive around in those things. The north gets worse storms when they get their noreasters. They are of little to no concern other than they have the possibility to develop.

> it was a freak anomaly and I assume I will never see that again in my lifetime.

Why do you believe this? The earth's climate is indisputably changing. This means that different patterns will be established than what was normal in the past. There are good reasons to believe that increasing ocean temperatures and higher ocean levels are likely to increase hurricane frequency, intensity, and destructiveness. Although the data we have so far isn't yet conclusive that this is happening currently, it's definitely suggestive and certainly consistent with said reasoning. Why do you think you know better?

Because, I have for the past 44 years been in a hurricanes path on a pretty regular interval. It has not changes with the exception of a single year where I got hit by 4 of them. After that for the past 14 years it has returned to that interval where about once ever 8 years I either get winged or direct hit by a hurricane. Unfortunately the last one was a major hurricane. It's been 2 years so in about 6 I will get winged or hit again. It's like clockwork and has not changed and until it does I will accept that about every 8 years I have to deal with a storm.

You realize you are suffering from the human "ability" to make patterns from things that aren't with this theory, right?

Yep and I have also learned to not trust everyone that says the sky is falling and attribute every malty to some big bogey man. Let me remind you of the CRU corruption and various other scandals that have taken place in the quest for Cap and Trade. Real pollution is a far greater danger than AGW, I am not against the research into AGW and am not claiming that it does not exist what I am saying that has been proven with absolute certainly is that their are individuals using it as a scare tactic for financial gain, while there are far more immediate issues that we need to be concerned with, the ocean being the front and center issue, the poisoning of it is going to get us far before AGW does. As well I certainly contest that it has a hill of beans to do with Hurricanes or their severity. As the (as recorded by severity) worst seasons seen where almost 100 years ago.

> Let me remind you of the CRU corruption and various other scandals that have taken place in the quest for Cap and Trade.

I'm not familiar with this particular "scandal" (whatever it may or may not be), but you are aware that fossil fuel corporations have been heavily funding climate denial for decades, no? Whether or not some people on one side or the other have engaged in dubious behavior is not the ultimate arbiter of truth.

It's clear from your other posts that you have a vested personal interest in believing that you are safe from hurricanes and global warming. That's fine. I don't expect you'll change your position, for better or for worse. But surely you can at least acknowledge that changing ocean temperature may have some effect on hurricanes? If you deny that, how do explain how hurricanes work? Are they not intrinsically dependent on temperature differentials between water and air?

To be clear I am not a AGW denier, I agree just like there where vested interest in denying the link between cancer and tobacco there are industry interests in AGW not being a thing. That being said, fear mongering and predictions being made on unfounded research because we want them to be true actually plays right into those interests hands, hence the reference to the CRU.

Here is a good paper, which states the facts without trying to attribute every disaster to AGW. You will note that they quickly distance themselves from any predictions being used by their study. Which is the right thing to do because we know, that the data does not lead to any other conclusion:


Some quick excerpts, but you should read the article, it is the most logical stance one can take on climate change and it's relationship to hurricanes:

>>Storm size responses to anthropogenic warming are uncertain.

>>There is less confidence in future projections of the global number of Category 4 and 5 storms, since most modeling studies project a decrease (or little change) in the global frequency of all tropical cyclones combined.

>>but these observed changes have not yet been confidently linked to anthropogenic climate change. Human activities may have already caused other changes in tropical cyclone activity that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of these changes compared to estimated natural variability, or due to observational limitations.

>>We find that, after adjusting for such an estimated number of missing storms, there remains just a small nominally positive upward trend in tropical storm occurrence from 1878-2006. Statistical tests indicate that this trend is not significantly distinguishable from zero

>> the reported numbers of hurricanes were sufficiently high during the 1860s-1880s that again there is no significant positive trend in numbers beginning from that era

>>In short, the historical Atlantic hurricane frequency record does not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming-induced long-term increase.

>>In summary, neither our model projections for the 21st century nor our analyses of trends in Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm activity support the notion that greenhouse gas-induced warming leads to large increases in either tropical storm or overall hurricane numbers in the Atlantic.

Point being, we don't know, and it will be a long time before we do know. So claiming the sky is falling only leads to people rejecting the real science, because it gets blurred with agenda and advocacy. Which brings it full circle, as to why I replied to this article. Which was to let HN know that people are not leaving the keys in some mass climate exodus as the article implies. They are leaving because of some very real economic issues local to the keys. The article is false on it's face and a reporter could have spent a day in the keys, to find that out, but they did not want to. They already had a title for the article, now they just need to make the facts fit. As a person that has dedicated my life to the sciences, I find advocacy hidden behind science to be detestable. This climate change fear mongering is what is turning peoples ears off to real environmental issues. It's causing more damage than good as when the predictions don't manifest, you have lost them for good. The CRU got the EPA gutted and now we are seeing many hard won environmental battles, based on good science reversed due to the fact that their very support is being eroded with lies. The very people you are talking about that have a vested interest in denial, where quick to capitalize on the fact that more people where no longer listening, by going back and fighting old lost battles with new troops.

Everyone in this discussion is vulnerable to that, including me. It’s better to just disagree based on cited weather data.

You've only lived through nearly 1.5 climatic periods: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate#Definition

The plural of anecdote isn't data.

And I was not alive in the 1930's (absolutely the worst decade for major storms). But I know that things have not changes and they are certainly not more sever than the 1930's storms or for that matter the 1700's storms referenced in my families diaries.


Those where the two generations that saw the most sever storms. I am sorry but it's going to take a lot more data that the fact that the Keys got hit by a Cat 4 and the Bahamas got hit by a CAT 5 right near the peak of a cycle to convince me that this is somehow irregular when I have seen it every 8-9-10 years of my life on interval. Especially when I absolutely know there is science behind the 9 year cycle and have lived thru it. The article does a disservice because I live in the Keys and I absolutely know for a fact that the exodus is due to affordable housing. I talk to locals every day that are leaving, not a single one has mentioned the storm as a reason other than the fact that affordable housing has gotten even more expensive. The article is false on it's face no if and's or buts about it.

> But I know that things have not changes and they are certainly not more sever than the 1930's storms or for that matter the 1700's storms referenced in my families diaries.


> Both observed datasets show significant increases in tropical cyclone intensification rates in the Atlantic basin that are highly unusual compared to model-based estimates of internal climate variations. Our results suggest a detectable increase of Atlantic intensification rates with a positive contribution from anthropogenic forcing and reveal a need for more reliable data before detecting a robust trend at the global scale

I'm not sure if you're expecting "Day After Tomorrow" sized storms or what, but the actual data points to changes in hurricane behaviour due to the warming climate.

Sorry just getting back to this thread:

>>Here, we utilize two observational datasets to calculate 24-hour wind speed changes over the period 1982–2009

Paper was published in 2019 from what I can tell by references, 2007-2008 was the peak of the 9 year cycle. Why was the calmer cycle of 2010 thru 2015 excluded? They go one to reference publication from the 70's but exclude any data set from that time. It's a nice sliver of time to include, Mitch, Isabel, Ivan Hugo, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Andrew, Dean ending with Felix in 07. We then enter the quite period of no major storms until 2016 with Mathew, so almost a decade of contrary data that was not included.

> There are good reasons to believe that increasing ocean temperatures and higher ocean levels are likely to increase hurricane frequency, intensity, and destructiveness.

Actually, from my reading, it's a lot more complicated than that - I can't quite recall the scientific reasons why, but it's something to do with temperature gradients in the atmosphere, or wind patterns (I vaguely recall, very happy to be corrected) . But basically, the frequency of hurricanes overall might decrease, but the frequency of severe hurricanes will probably increase.

> For the 21st century, some models project no change or a small reduction in the frequency of hurricanes, while others show an increase in frequency. More recent work shows a trade-off between intensity and frequency – that as warmer oceans bolster hurricane intensity, fewer storms actually form. For the continental United States in the Atlantic Basin, models project a 45-87 percent increase in the frequency of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes despite a possible decrease in the total frequency of all storms.


>My original family homestead is still standing and was built in the 1700's, it has seen many storms some worse that Irma and Dorean.

That is so epic dude. Can you tell me more about it? Where is it, what kind of place is it? How much is original?

Sure it is in Yankeetown on the gulf coast of Florida, Paramount shot Follow That Dream staring Elvis on our property. We have a plaque from paramount with pictures of Elvis and the rest of the cast thanking my family for the use of the homestead. These pictures have never been released to the public. In one of the pictures there is a blond boy standing on the porch and Elvis is sitting on the porch swing. That boy was a yet to be Famous Tom Petty. His uncle worked as one of the set crew.

My great grandfather was a hunting guide and met Elvis years before they shot the film one time when he took him and his friends hunting. Elvis and my great grandfather hit it off, and he would come and hunt every year. They became lifelong friends.

Anyways, my family where Corsican merchants, they where attacked in Tampa bay when the pirates laid siege to the city of Tampa. They lost their boat, and when you loose your boat in the new world unless you are rich, your pretty much a citizen of the new world.

Some of my family headed east to the fort in Saint Augustine and then settled down the east coast and eventually married into another old Florida family called the Summerlins also known as the Summerals and the Summerlands (hence the name of the island I live on). One of my distant (some kind of great great) uncles was the first child born after the purchase of Florida by the US, thus making him the first natural born US citizen from Florida. His name was Jacob Summerlin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Summerlin

He went on to be a cattle Barron and donate most of what is now downtown Orlando to the city or Orlando. Summerlin boulevard in Orlando is named after him.

Anyways, my relatives on the east coast went as far as south as Ft. Pierce until Henry Flaglar came and started building the railroad. Some of them joined it and worked it to Key West (my immediate family was not part of that first group, my dad was a treasure diver for Mel Fisher and that is how I ended up down here). That is how some of us spread down here. But most of the family that ended up in Ft. Pierce, took up commercial fishing and branched towards the Bahamas and started setting up camps in Bimini, Spanish Wells, and Andros. Some liked it over there and began to make it their base of operation and the family spread to the Bahamas.

It's pretty cool, I have a lot of family in Florida and the Bahamas when the reality is almost everyone that lives in Florida is not from Florida and it really gives you perspective, the old Florida was nothing like the Florida Man articles you read about Florida today.

Because I have a vested interest in this type of divulge of information, I have to say that this is one of the most fascinating HN comments I've ever read! I have a scrapbook of of unpublished Elvis Polaroids that was found hidden in a cut area of fabric in the trunk of a car! And theres palm trees present! I'm floored by your comment!

Elvis spent a lot of time in Florida and owned several homes in various regions of Florida. He has said that it was his adoptive home state and that he loved spending time here. The thing to remember is the Florida that he knew was nothing like the Florida of today, it was literally a frontier. I was fortunate to grow up on the tail end of that frontier era as the 80's saw a massive land boom in Florida and by the 90's much of the old Florida was gone. There are still vestiges of it in North Florida, in the Gulf Hammock and down here in the Keys but it's nothing like it used to be.

Was trying to find some online pictures of the homestead, this was the only one I could find, this would be the view from the front porch, although it is different today, the gate no longer exists and the peninsula out in the distance is shorter due to dredging:


Have not found any of the house yet, I will keep looking. I know there are some on Facebook posted by the family (they just had a family work weekend) but I don't do Facebook.

Sorry forgot to answer your other questions, the style of house is called a Florida cracker shack, that being said it predates traditional cracker architecture and has some pioneer log cabin architectural features. I guess you could say it was proto-cracker architecture as most of the cracker architecture was late 1700 early 1800's.


Most of it is original, the wood stove is still in the house but used as a fireplace and was replaced by a gas stove. My uncle added AC back in the 80's. The only addition that I know of, was the addition of a real bathroom back in the 60's before that there was a outhouse located about 20 yards behind the back door. It's claim to fame is that both Elvis and Woodrow Wilson had both sat on it, it is dilapidated but still stands and yes I did sit on it as a child just to say I did.

Dorian was the most powerful hurricane recorded in the history of the Bahamas, and the worst natural disaster in the country's history.

Last year, Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic "500-year" floods in Texas. Just this past week, remnants of tropical depression Imelda dropped unbelievable amounts of rain along the Texas Gulf Coast - more than 40 inches in some areas.

As these types of extremes become more frequent, you need to ask yourself if this stuff is just what is on the schedule, or if things are getting worse.

the 1935 Labor Day storm was the worst storm in recorded history to ever make landfall. The 1932 Storm that hit the Bahamas was far worse than Dorean. It was only eclipsed by the aforementioned labor day storm, the 1928 storm that hit Okeechobee and the 1932 storm that hit Cuba. 1932 an 1933 where the worst recorded 2 years for major hurricane landfalls. We have never seen a concurrence of 2 seasons like that in modern times.


I live in the Keys (Summerland Key), so I think I have some skin the the game here. These is not and climate change exodus happening there is a real economic issue in the keys with workforce affordability, the average rent in the keys sits very near the average rent for San Francisco. A decent home for rent will run you between $3500 to $4000 a month. Meanwhile the average non-skilled job pays about $10 an hour in the keys. This has been going on long before Irma hit us. Irma exacerbated the problem by destroying most of the ground level homes built before 1979 as well as Mobile homes and RV's. The exact homes that where the most affordable to the workforce. These people are leaving due to economics not because Irma was somehow a freak of climate change.

Article on work force housing issue and how Irma made it worse: https://therealdeal.com/miami/2019/07/21/many-residents-of-t...

I have lived in Florida for 44 years and have seen storms far nastier than Irma long before climate change was a thing. It's the nature of the beast here, and homes can and are being built to withstand these storms. They do a lot of damage, but they are not these cyclones of death that the media makes them out to be. At CAT 4 or 5 storm is a serious storm don't get me wrong. I took a lot of damage from Irma due to a roof hatch failing, but it was all water damage, structurally my house is fine. But it also sits 9 foot above sea level as far as ground and then 14 foot pier foundation above that. Storm surge here can be up to 15 ft. If you are not above that your house is going to flood in a serious storm. If you are above that, and your house is built to code, it is going to survive the storm. If you are ground level, anywhere on the islands other than by the cemetery in Key west, which IIRC is 15 to 20 ft above sea level, you are going to flood.

Take a look at the 1935 Labor day storm that hit us, look at the devastation, compare it to Irma and you will see that these storms come and go, The 1935 storm was the worst storm to have ever have made landfall.


It was horrific, my grandparents and great grandparents went thru it, all of them said they would never live to see another one like it, and they where correct.

I wish people would focus more on ocean pollution and preservation, I have seen the decline in ocean stock first hand in my life. Killing the ocean is what is going to kill us, and it has to do directly with what we are pumping into the water.

Edit: Forgot to note outside of commercial shellfish, fishing and fishing guide occupations there is no industry down here other than the service industry.

Another article that just popped up in the local news:


Climate change has been a thing for longer than 44 years.

So has acid rain an the Ozone layer depletion. None of them killed me even though everyone in those days used the same vague scare tactics at one point I literally had months to live in the 1970;s due to acid rain. Pesticides and fertilizer in the sea is going to, in at least my children's lifetime. I am literately watching the ocean die every day and it is due to what we are pumping into the ocean.

The Ozone layer was improved by both politicians and the general public working together to reduce harmful chemicals. It is actually one of the great success stories where people worked together. Even the most conservative leaders in the West at the time, such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Tatcher saw the threat and responded with action.

One could argue it was not so hard as fighting carbon emissions, because the general public had alternatives they could switch to without noticing much difference. It probably also helped that Margaret Tatcher actually was an educated chemist who could listen to the scientists

The depletion if the ozone layer was a real threat in my lifetime. It’s only through concerted global action that we were able to not only stop but reverse the depletion.

AGW is different in that even though the science agreed we still have politicians who are convinced it’s not a big deal.

just wanted to make sure that I noted that I was not implying that they where not, both acid rain and ozone depletion where real issues, they where also issues that where overblown in their day. My intent was to highlight that AGW is just as overblown and exploited as they where in their day. Attributing Hurricane cycles to AGW is nonsense. Anyone that has lived in a hurricane prone area for more than 2 decades knows we are heading into another active cycle.

I mean it's an absolutely known thing:



and it was well known by the old timers before anyone put any science behind it. And is pretty much tribal knowledge to anyone that is a long time Florida resident.

what's it like living down there? do you work in tech? remote? went jet skiing off Key Largo recently and really enjoyed the area...

Yes I am in tech (if you are looking for a job we have openings, you might find it unbelievable but it's really hard to get developers to relocate to the Keys), I work for an anti-trafficking organization. You name it, guns, drugs, child-sex we track and try to interdict it (if you saw the recent news article where the Cost Guard jumped onto a sub built by the narcos, we where involved in that interdiction). That being said, my passion is in the abolition of child sex trafficking. Unfortunately there is not a lot of government and NGO funds focused on this effort so it becomes an also ran for us. Child sex trafficking and abduction is rampant in the Caribbean (not the Keys).

As a personal plug, I apply to THORN every time they post on the who's hiring thread, but never seem to make it to an interview. I would love to focus on child trafficking and exploitation solely.

Currently one of the projects I am working on is blockchain tech as this is becoming a huge market for pedophiles. They are encoding child porn images into, block chain smart contracts and are being paid via crpto for access to these smart contracts full of graphic child exploitation imagery. Anyways, another quick shameless plug for me if anyone from THORN reads this you should hire me! I know how these people operate and I know how to develop solutions to track and stop them.

Back to the subject, I work with 10 other developers, other than a few guys that work remote we represent the development community for 150 miles around us. It is very remote and there really is no tech industry here, but I am OK with that. The trade-off is that I get to go spearfishing with my children, we get to snorkel and scuba the second largest barrier reef (Which is dyeing if I have not mentioned that), boats are like bikes around here and I have been in a fight with a 14 ft Tiger shark over who was going to get to eat my hog fish. It really is a paradise (except for the occasional Hurricane that is, that and the fact that we have no waves to surf). Work where you live, not live where you work is a mantra I live by.

The Caribbean is beautiful for scuba diving, especially the Bahamas, except when there is a Hurricane. Why not code or be a technician there. There are risks in every community and generally the members of society tend to eventually know who you are, if your there long enough. Anyways, that's my two cents or 1 XLM lol.

Humans used to settle near water when it made sense technologically and for their economy. The risks from flooding have always been strong, but back when those areas were settled the risk management made settling there a reasonable tradeoff. Nowadays when we no longer need to be reliant on settling near bodies of water, it probably makes more sense to move inland to lower-risk areas.

I saw worse in the Philippines several years ago. Bodies were piled like sardines after a category 5 typhoon. Its the nature of flat land to flood with bad storms

Why is the government buying these people out?

The homeowners weren't forced to purchase these properties, so it's not the government's responsibility to remediate the situation.

People keep demanding they spend money on disaster relief and flood insurance. At a certain point it's better (cheaper) to demolish the houses in places that keep getting hit.

Yes, it'd probably be better if the government let people face the damages for the most part. Unfortunately it's consistently portrayed as a huge failing if, say, a president fails to respond to a hurricane quickly or decisively enough. Partly because of the usual partisan nonsense, but also because the local governments want the aid.

FEMA lets you rebuild at most once. After that you are SOL.

There's more than one program paying for things. Flood insurance can pay out repeatedly, for example: https://www.wsj.com/articles/one-house-22-floods-repeated-cl...

Think about who owns waterfront property, yacht clubs, etc. and ask whether those rich people are likely to be well-represented in the legislatures. Government agencies do what the law makers tell them and it’s really hard to roll back decades spent ignoring the problem for short-term profit, especially when there’s a large and effective propaganda machine which will attack anyone who suggests policies which realistically accept the scale of the problem.

The woman profiled in this Bloomberg piece is 60, likely is not wealthy (her insurance settlement is a bit more than half of what remains on her mortgage, and she cannot afford to bring her house up to code due to the extent of the damages), and could possibly be homeless without a relo buyout. If it was me, I’d buy a new home in Florida (far above sea level!) with my settlement, and default on the shack she’s stuck with (Florida law is very strong when it comes to protecting debtors; as long as her new home is her primary residence, all of her equity would be protected from creditors, as well as her social security when she begins to collect). But that’s not a solution that works at scale.

As long as the properties are bulldozed and never allowed to be developed again, it’s reasonable policy.

Should people know better? Perfect information is hard. I’ve bugged Redfin several times to include these models in their property search interface with no reply. You need legislation to better assist real estate buyers to fully understand what they’re getting into.

> Should people know better? Perfect information is hard.

Ordinary people aren't the perfect agents we're propagandized them to be. People often are forced to gamble tomorrow to live through today. I've seen people make the gamble and lose badly and others manage to slip out from under it.

You're trying to agree, but I think you're instead stating a different and better point.

For someone to not do basic research into buying an entire house, because they weren't interested? That gets very little sympathy from me.

But if the real problem is that they were forced to gamble to live, then that gets sympathy from me.

And you improve these two situations in very different ways.

Of course. That’s why I said this is reasonable policy. Bailouts shouldn’t be a four letter word when done properly.

I'm agreeing with you. The state zones places that aren't suitable for housing. Banks loan developers money to build. And quasi-government agencies hold loans used to buy the houses. In these clusterfucks the owner is just one of many partially responsible parties.

I remember reading about a disaster in Washington State (I think). A geology professor been doing field trips to an hill side. To show his students an example of an unstable hillside. One year he shows up and there are now houses on it. Few years after that the whole thing comes down.

Another one. During the housing bubble in California they build a subdivision on farmland that was reserved as a flood plain. During heavy rainfall years it's expected to flood. Now there are houses on it.

Are the people that bought those houses responsible or are they more victims? Both?

As long as it was disclosed to the buyer then they take the risk with hopefully flood insurance. If it wasn’t disclosed then they may have recourse against the property developer and their agent.

This would actually be closer to the realities in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale up to Palm Beach (Mara Lago), than the Keys. Most of the people in the Keys are not heavily politically active and have moved here to fall of the face of the earth or where born here. A decent amount of waterfront property is still family owned and used in family businesses such as shrimp, lobster or stone crab operations.

Funny enough, waterfront property in the keys is rather affordable when compared to other areas of Florida.

That’s a good point to expand on: I wasn’t thinking that everyone on every inch of the coast is rich but rather that those interests align. It’s usually politically risky to pass something which only benefits rich people than something which covers the entire state, which just happens to include that high-value property. When a relief or insurance measure is coming up, they’re just going to make sure it has no or generous limits and make sure that it goes through.

Similarly, tourism related businesses might not be plutocrat-level wealth but they tend to be well-represented politically because they’re visible and employ a fair number of people.

That isn't why the government intercedes in stuff like this. It intercedes because if it says "Welp. Not My Problem." and these folks say "Fuck it. Not Mine Either." and just walk away from their properties, declare bankruptcy, whatever, and become basically refugees within their own country, you have worse problems.

My sister had a break-in at her home one year. She told me something like "Well, the benefits for Katrina survivors ran out last week. That's probably not coincidental."

If you have people who, through no fault of their own, cannot make their lives work and the entire rest of the world takes the attitude "Well, too bad, so fucking sad, chump. Not Our Problem." then people have a tendency to say "Welp. The system doesn't work for me, so why should I care about little details like you expecting me to respect your property rights? It's not like you care about my inability to eat through no damn fault of my own."

When stuff like that happens on a broad scale, it leads to serious problems. Entire industries/cities/regions can be negatively impacted if enough people walk away from their problems and just go elsewhere.

The more I read anecdotes like these, the more I think Andrew Yang's freedom dividend is the way to go.

If the government failed to hold corporations that emitted greenhouse gasses accountable for their externalities then I'd say that it becomes the government's responsibility.

What about the consumers who benefited from the greenhouse gas emissions?

Since corporations can pass changes in cost onto consumers by raising prices, if the government held corporations accountable for the costs of their externalities, then those costs would also be shared by the consumers.

"Consumers," "government," you both are saying are responsible and should pay.

That's us - you do realize?

I think that's only me in the sense that I am an employee, a consumer, and own stocks. Presumably if the government fined corporations for the damage they caused to the environment then I would be effected through those roles.

However, corporations are not me in the sense that I neither make the decisions nor receive the pay that corporate executives do.

* An oil company pumps oil out of the ground, and sells it to a petroleum company.

* The petroleum company refines that oil into gasoline.

* An auto company builds a truck that runs on gasoline

* A shipping company buys said truck, as well gasoline to power it.

* A store contracts that company to ship their goods.

When a consumer buys something from that store, and has a gasoline burning truck move the goods from the warehouse to their residence who was responsible for emitting those greenhouse gases?

This is discussed in a book called "The Geography of Risk"

"The chief beneficiaries of the land boom at the coast have been the beach towns and property owners who perversely shoulder little of the risk of building in harm’s way yet enjoy most of the wealth, the report added."


The biggest flood insurance beneficiary is the Houston TX area. "More flood insurance funds have been paid here than in any other National Flood Insurance Program-participating community."[1]

"After the 1940's, the Harris County area did not suffer what would be considered a widespread, regional flood, that is, until June 2001." Since then, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2016, and right now.

Houston way overbuilt in flood plains. That area has had floods for a century, but the impact was lower when the big losses were herds of cattle. They need higher flood insurance premiums to discourage building.

The Florida Keys, Greater Miami, New Orleans, and Houston are just too low-lying for today's hurricanes. New Orleans has everything going wrong - the Mississippi River, hurricane country, and sinking land.

[1] https://www.hcfcd.org/flooding-floodplains/harris-countys-fl...

Two trends which I am familiar with are the excess development of South Florida and Harris County.

Both driven because the county government is funded by taxes on property rather than commerce.

To achieve growth in the bureaucracy, taxes have increased as fast as possible, and additional property developed at a growing rate in order to increase its taxable value.

In Florida it's lots of building only slightly above sea level so there's risk from the beginning, in Texas as more of the watershed/flood plain is paved neighborhoods that were not at risk before have become underwater estates.

>They need higher flood insurance premiums to discourage building.

We already have that. Just results in more people becoming uninsurable. Regulation would probably be better, but county governments are incentivizing toward developers who can afford to work around this type of discouragement anyway, which is one of the cases where it pays more than regulation. Now that the damage has been done, the most pro-development Harris County Judge of all is no longer in power, but there's still residual momentum, and it's a little too late. You should have seen it this week.

Looks like some "Real Estate" systems have been selling you false estate since the beginning. After all you can not disprove that the purpose of county government is corruption.

I can only imagine what would happen if you got unscrupulous developers mixed up with government like this on a larger scale.

Two of these are not like the others - are the ports (I count Galveston and South Louisiana as part of their nearby bigger cities) just going to be allowed to vanish?

Depends on motivation and power structure I would think.

These are incredibly productive institutions and under normal operation can build enough resources to weather any storm, plus this kind of thing is what's mainly insured when a storm does hit.

In response to a gradual rise in sea level, they would be expected to adapt at a glacier's pace but anything is possible. For example the island of Galveston was largely raised 8 feet after the disaster of 1900 as the preferred approach to future mitigation, and that foresight turns out to be about as good as you can get so far when it comes to coping with unforseen sea level rise.

You just need to have foresight good enough to forsee the unforseen.

Eventually working in industrial environments like Galveston or Texas City will not be that much different than working offshore in the Gulf. Heck, some operators justify working offshore now because it's not much worse than working in a mainland oil field or refinery anyway.

Besides traditional businesses of Texas, in South Florida probably agriculture and real estate would suffer first, but I imagine tourism would hold out as long as it could and smuggling would not want to go anywhere either, with their multi-century tradition.


Because the government is interested in minimizing future economic losses from repeated flooding. It's not charity, it's rational planning.

It's not even that. It's votes and party donations.

I'm in NJ. A few years back we had hurricane / super-storm Sandy. Not only did the GOP gov at the time ( Chris Christie) find the money to rebuild. The state actually ran adverts with the tag line "Stronger than the storm." It made no sense to me.

The people living at the shore (as we call it in NJ) aren't in denial. They don't even see it.

If you think people were just bailed out you're crazy. I have a neighbor whose multi million dollar beach house was completely destroyed. He got little to no help for his property. Sure, the infra was probably all govt money, but aside from some minimal insurance he was his own insurer.

Um. I said nothing about that. My point was, the gov pushed to rebuild - because it's good for votes / donations. And they even put a spin on it. There was zero discussion about perhaps not rebuilding. There should have been. It was obvious there should have been.

While we're on the tangent of local vernacular:

at the beach

down the shore

The money is coming from disaster relief funds. The alternative is to pay to repair the home over and over

Government is buying her out because government is the cause of her problem.

Buried all the way at the bottom of the article is this little gem:

> Her insurance payout of about $100,000 would cover repairs to the 640-square-foot house. But the county requires that when more than 50% of a home is damaged, that it be completely rebuilt to meet modern storm-resiliency codes and — in her flood zone — on stilts. That would cost at least $200,000, money she doesn’t have.

So, effectively, she can rebuild her home in a way that would (presumptively) make her happy but government legislation forces her to spend double the money to rebuild it in way she probably isn't a fan of. Simple solution is to limit the ability of local building codes to force people to completely demolish/rebuild in situations like these. She had a non-elevated non-flood-proof home before, she should be able to keep her home the way she likes it at a cost she can afford, assuming the people financially invested (mortgage company, insurance company) agree, why shouldn't she be allowed?

Because it’s the right thing to do, costs a pittance in the grand scheme of things, and is the cheapest course of action compared to continuing to rebuild. The article begins with a woman who can’t afford to get out and just got running water for dishes for the first time in 2 years, these aren’t all people living high off the hog.

Rich people own beach property.

This is a government for the rich.

That explains why more than half of the US federal budget pays for low income social programs. Because it’s a govt for the rich.

Citation needed, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget does not agree with this statement.

I'm assuming you are conveniently forgetting that the 'Social security', 'Medicare' and 'Other spending' slices of mandatory spending go to rich and poor: these programs pay out their benefits to all people regardless of how wealthy they are.

Not to mention that social security and medicare funding comes directly out of every paycheck I get. It's dishonest to claim those payments are people leeching off the rich when a huge % of the beneficiaries literally paid for them.

Considering the taxes scale with income and a low income person would, in no way, cover the costs, Medicare and to an extent Social Security are a wealth transfer to the poor.

"Wealth" transfers to the poor to keep people alive and in good health and help lift them out of poverty are great policy. We need a lot more of those, because there are too many poor people, and they are suffering. The US is the richest country on earth, and this situation is plain wrong.

In this particular case, though, any transfers are more 'chump change' than 'wealth' from the rich: Social Security tax is only levied on the first $132,900 of earned income (2019). With the exception of the surtax, Medicare taxes are only due on earned income. Rich people don't make the bulk of their money from a paycheck, so it really isn't like the rich are contributing a lot of their wealth or even income to the Medicare and Social Security systems.

On top of that, the rich still get all the benefits of the same Medicare and Social Security programs. So what if they pay in a bit more over a lifetime than their nanny or the schoolteacher of their children? These are insurance programs, and that is how insurance works: everyone pays in, and everyone benefits, but not necessarily to the same extent.

I’m not arguing against the wealth transfers, simply stating that the OP comment that “the gov’t is for the rich” is wrong.

if you bought today - yes, you'd have to be rich. houses in coastal area weren't always this expensive.

Because why should the current homeowner happen to be the one caught with a total loss, rather than another one in the previous 30 years or the next 30 years?

If the government is making it policy not to be able to live on land you purchased, then it should compensate you.

(The exception being if everyone who bought property had always known there was an e.g. 80% chance of the government taking it without payment and thus bought their property at e.g. 20% of what would otherwise be the market value... but that doesn't seem to be the case.)

'By the end of the century, 13 million Americans will need to move just because of rising sea levels, at a cost of $1 million each, according to Florida State University demographer Mathew Haeur, who studies climate migration.'

I couldn't find any concrete evidence to validate this, it seems more of a prediction? Mr Hauer is a sociologist so this seems a bold claim https://coss.fsu.edu/sociology/mhauer

'his research has focused on how migration induced by sea level rise could reshape the U.S. population distribution'

You can, quite literally, find someone from a university in the social sciences who say anything that you want.

The practice of inserting quotes from random "experts" in news stories is one of the worst journalistic practices out there. It's fundamentally dishonest in very obvious ways, and forms the basis of many articles.

Including the landscape architecture professor in the article who said, "If we don’t, it won’t matter, because much of America will be underwater or on fire."

No hysteria at all there.

Major built up areas in Florida were swamps before they were raised by landfill from dredging.

Add more landfill.

> Mr Hauer is a sociologist so this seems a bold claim

He also has a PhD in geography from the University of Georgia.

The claims I’ve seen start at 8 million and rise from there. Doubt anyone knows till it’s over.

Claims and predictions are one thing but where are the facts?

What kind of evidence do you expect? Without time travel.

Anything. Vague pointers to 'read it online' don't really cut it

Many scientists build models to estimates the effects of sea level rise. You can read it online. Tl;dr, its not a big effect. The science has already been politicized. Carry on...

SLR (sea level rise) is a problem, but this article promotes a kind of alarmist version of SLR, in my admittedly inexpert opinion.

SLR has been going on for 20,000 years, and it may be accelerating in the last few decades due to global warming; however, if your property is threatened by a 3mm SLR per year you probably didn’t make a wise purchase in the first place. 2+mm SLR per year has been going on for at least 150 years. See [1].

[1] https://www.flseagrant.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/SLR-Fa...

People, en masse, rarely react to a problem till it hits them in the face. Florida does get flooded already - Sunny Day Floods, what a beautiful name. Meanwhile real estate prices keep ignoring the issue:


Yes, you are correct.

Of interest though is this study: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3073842 which indicates that prices are 7% than they would be otherwise.

Sensitive to exposure -- 22% discount for properties that will be encroached with 1ft sea level rise, 6% with 6ft encroachment -- and to knowledge eg less discount in regions with less belief in climate change, except for investors who don't seem to be influenced by such local beliefs, substantially greater discounting after 2014 IPCC report (dataset from 2006-2017). Recommended read!

The paper you cite is dated 2013 and says SLR has been 3mm/year since the 1990s. It mentions the possibilities of more dramatic rises by 2100 but doesn't go into much detail.

If we're talking about a meter of SLR in the next 80 years, thats 12.5mm/year.

I'd like to understand this better. Do you have a scientific citation for 12.5mm yr until 2100?

Here's the latest from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration[1]. It is a graph that shows with 95% confidence there has been a 2.42mm/year SLR for Key West from 1913 to 2018, the most recent information on their site for sea level trends.

When I look at the graph, it looks quite linear over that time period, that spans from before significant anthropomorphic CO2 to the current period of hockey-stick temperatures. I don't see the evidence for expecting 12.5mm/yr, but I'm not a climate scientist.

I'm ready to call BS on the Bloomberg article, but I'm open to hearing more information on this.

[1] https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station....

The paper you cited above calls 20, 39 and 59 inches of SLR by 2100 the low, intermediate and high scenarios. And 39 inches is close to a meter.

But since the paper is from 2013 I should have used 87 years. So 1000mm/87yrs = 11.5mm/yr, a little more optimistic than 12.5mm/yr.

I don’t think regular people can appreciate that level of increase though. It’s better to focus on exceptional examples that drive the harm home. If we want action on the issue that is.

This is the opposite of alarmist. A 3mm/year SLR is pretty much the best-case scenario. An alarmist but still possible scenario would be 3 meter SLR from the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

I don't think this article presents enough evidence that climate change, or climate in general, is affecting a person's desire to move to a new area. Florida has always had hurricanes, and it will continue to have hurricanes. Our response should not be to say the climate has changed so much its forcing us to leave, but rather what can we do to adapt to the new climate forces?

The issue isn't the hurricanes or the strength that is associated with them, it is the water content. In the past, hurricanes main threat was the wind. With wind, you can mitigate that with stronger building techniques and since the flooding was minimal, it was easy to recover from.

The new issue with these hurricanes is that they are bringing significantly more water with them because of global warming. The net result is you are seeing once in 1500 year floods happening every year.

It is very hard to recover from those. Especially if you find yourself doing it every year. At some point, you have to move.

The net loss is property and economic activity to name a couple.

>once in 1500 year floods happening every year.


The sea, obviously

Do you have a source on that? (I’m just curious to learn about it, I’m not denying that it’s not a terrible development. )

The deadliest part of a hurricane (really only major ones) is the surge, you survive that you are pretty much good.

> The net result is you are seeing once in 1500 year floods happening every year.

This is the same kind of cherry picking that denialists have been using for decades. Locally rare events appear frequent if you gather trials from enough localities. The fact is that there has been no increase in storm intensity or frequency over the last 100 years which correlates with greenhouse emissions. There was an increase starting in the 1980s [1] but this is simply not enough data for climate prediction, which normally changes on scales of hundreds of years at the quickest - even if you assume that we are expecting catastrophic temperature increase over the span of a century.

Its worrisome that proponent hysteria is driven by the same kind of fallacious reasoning as that of denialist.

1. https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/historical-atlantic-hurricane-and-...

I'm not referring to frequency but the water content in each storm. There are a lot of sources, but here is a preliminary data report that was put together by NOAA[1]. There is commentary by scientists at NOAA[2].

Overall this isn't rocket science. You have warmer temperatures over the ocean, which yields more water in the air to get caught up in passing hurricanes. The net result is more rainfall when it hits land. It is what it is.

[1] https://w2.weather.gov/climate/getclimate.php?date=&wfo=lix&...

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/climate/hurricane-tropica...

The abstract of the paper you linked begins with this sentence:

>There is no consensus on whether climate change has yet affected the statistics of tropical cyclones, owing to their large natural variability and the limited period of consistent observations.

Which is exactly what I was pointing out, and exactly what laymen have come to totally disregard in their rush to blame everything on climate change while believing that "this isn't rocket science." Just like denialists and snowy winters, only in reverse.

This is on the scale of rocket science - in fact in some ways it is more difficult than rocket science, because it is fundamentally an empirical and non-experimental science, and it takes decades, if not centuries, to collect enough evidence to refine/reject theory.

About 6 million Floridians will need to move inland by century’s end to avoid inundation, according to Hauer, the demographer, in a 2016 paper. By then, about 80% of the nearby Keys, the archipelago that includes the tourist mecca of Key West, will be underwater. About 3.5 million people would be flooded in South Florida’s Miami-Dade and Broward, the two counties with America’s biggest exposed populations.

The article then shows a chart predicting population displacement caused by a 1.8-meter sea level rise.

Is that the accepted consensus, that the sea level is rising ~6 feet?

It's not rising 6 feet permanently, but it does during storm surges. Hence the stilts. (which only partially solve the problem), your road network, water distribution network, electrical network etc still suffers)

Where are the insurance companies on all this? Shouldn't it become increasingly more expensive to insure a low-lying property? Are they not including climate risks in their modelling?

The private insurance companies have gotten out of the flood insurance game long ago, leaving the government-backed US flood insurance program as the only game in town. And it's got a lot of bad incentives.

A quick summary is in https://www.apnews.com/d6a3852a6dd34a8c90a5a1acc0d0afaf, but that's just scratching the surface.

A few weeks ago a 60 minutes segment compared flooding in The Netherlands vs the USA.

In The Netherlands if an area floods homes are not built there and measures are taken to control the water in those areas. In the US people get insurance and build in the same place using the same style.

New Jersey hired a man from The Netherlands to tell them how to break out of that process. This was due to the Sandy Hurricane that devastated the coast.

It boils down to if something keeps getting damaged stop doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

edit: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/storm-water-management-dutch-s...

Building codes have changed dramatically for hurricane prone and flood prone properties in the US. Homes are built on stilts/pillars and with roofs designed to withstand Cat5 winds. It’s night and day to how they were built even 20-30 years ago.

One of the largest insurers in Florida is Citizens Property Insurance. It's run by the state.

On top of that, Florida has a state-run fund (Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund) for times when the private/commercial reinsurance market is insufficient.

I briefly worked in the insurance industry in Canada. FWIW in my experience the industry is incredibly backwards. I wouldn't expect their prices to reflect anything meaningful about climate risk. Quite the opposite. I rather think that the industry is jumping on the climate change band wagon precisely because their analytics are so poor. (Don't get me wrong, climate change is happening. I just think industries are going to profit from it any way that they can. In this case, this is a cover-your-ass move because the industry hasn't invested in this analytical research. Labeling bad policies that should never have been written at a certain price as climate change is a convenient excuse.)

This is anecdotal, but the one I worked at had no weather/climate modelling and was only just beginning to leverage even the most basic analytics across the company. From what I heard from people in pricing was that their pricing was also a mess for property. They basically just gave up on selling insurance to anyone within 100 meters of water. They did account for elevation to some degree so that they wouldn't insure people in a flood plain, but much of the process was kludgy and ad hoc. The company is a reasonably big player and is (laughably) considered to be very technically advanced in the broader market. Even the biggest players are just moving out of manual data entry so I am not overly hopeful about the broader industry in this country.

On the other hand, Canada has a very sheltered insurance market and it desperately needs more competition. It's very protected though so I don't expect that to happen any time soon. If there was more competition, I would expect the analytics to be better and yield a more accurate picture of the real climate change costs based on the existing science.

A few years go, I heard that Florida was updating its flood maps from the 1970s. Having a number of family members living in Florida I checked out the updated maps only to find that they had only made relatively minor adjustments to the property elevation, but no adjustment to the flooding scenarios. The end result was that one property might be added to a flood zone but a neighboring property might have been removed from the flood zone. There was no accounting for climate change or even normal sea level rise in the 40+ years since the previous version of the maps.

While doing a gig for Nationwide years ago I got to see how difficult insurance is for coastal areas. Flood insurance has paid out way more claims than money they had in the tank long ago. Alternative capital investors rushed into this market the last few years causing enough competition that rates barely moved but now these rates are being adjusted on a risk basis which means things are about to get a whole lot more expensive. It’s simply a delay in the movement of the market but the damage has been done and there is no turning back now. So yes, you are correct.

From what I recall, high risk events are typically separated from policies and require the home owner to carry 'normal' insurance and they can optionally have the high-risk event policy.

You can buy a separate wind damage rider on your homeowners but if you want flood coverage it's a government run game.

As memorably recalled by U. Ruckus in the Boondocks episode “Invasion of the Katrinians”

They peaced out long ago on something they could be useful on and you actually have to buy flood insurance separately I believe. That’s how it was when I bought my last house.

Insurance policies aren't typically bought 100 years into the future. Often, rates change from year to year.

Also, a 100-year flood is a misnomer. It is a flood that has a 1% chance of happening in the current year. It does not attempt to assess what the probability of a flood will be in 50 or 100 years.

For some reason I just assumed that Miami Beach real estate was all luxury condos, so I was shocked to see how affordable some condos could actually be in 200-300k range. Not a luxury high rise, but a condo in the heart of Miami Beach nonetheless.

A little late if hurricanes are your benchmark for climate change.


What's sad is that most reporters know that climate change is measured in decade long trends. Small yearly increases in sea level, gradual increases in global temps and slow changes in atmospheric composition. But that doesn't get clicks.

Associating climate change with outlying catastrophic events is as short sighted as the environmental abuse that causes climate change.

For those who want something a little more current regarding warming and hurricanes:

"In terms of detection and attribution, much less is known about hurricane/tropical cyclone activity changes, compared to global temperature. In the northwest Pacific basin, there is emerging evidence for a detectable poleward shift in the latitude of maximum intensity of tropical cyclones, with a tentative link to anthropogenic warming. In the Atlantic, it is premature to conclude with high confidence that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on hurricane activity. A recent study finds that the observed increase in an Atlantic hurricane rapid intensification metric (1982-2009) is highly unusual compared to one climate model’s simulation of internal multidecadal climate variability, and is consistent in sign with that model’s expected long-term response to anthropogenic forcing. Reduced aerosol forcing since the 1970s probably contributed to the increased Atlantic hurricane activity since then, but the amount of contribution, relative to natural variability, remains uncertain. There is some evidence for a slowing of tropical cyclone propagation speeds over the continental U.S. over the past century, but these observed changes have not yet been confidently linked to anthropogenic climate change. Human activities may have already caused other changes in tropical cyclone activity that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of these changes compared to estimated natural variability, or due to observational limitations."


I am completely fine with it. We need to convince low information voters that climate change is a serious issue, and the opposition likes to point at snow storms and bring snowballs to congress as proof that climate change is a hoax.

Lie because the other side is lying. The bigger bolder lie wins. The truth is considered weak medicine. This is how we got here. It's a disaster.

Reminding folks that climate change will result in more frequent and extreme weather events after/during extreme weather events is not lying. If folks mis-interpret that to mean that the weather event in question was due to climate change, then that is their own fault.

> Reminding folks that climate change will result in more frequent and extreme weather events after/during extreme weather events is not lying.

1. That claim certainly isn't science, because it's neither reproducible nor falsifiable.

2. If it's not science, what is it?

I don't care if it fits your narrow definition of science. If a planet destroying meteor is hurtling towards earth, is that reproducible or falsifiable? Should we do nothing until you personally are convinced that it has been scientifically proven that it will destroy the planet.

If we convert our entire energy and transportation sectors to renewable energy and climate change turns out to be a hoax, we still get cleaner cities, cleaner air and a cleaner environment. That is a perfectly acceptable consolation prize considering the potential risks.

> I don't care if it fits your narrow definition of science.

1. That's not my definition of science--it's the definition of science.

2. If your argument is not based on science, what is it based on?

> If a planet destroying meteor is hurtling towards earth, is that reproducible or falsifiable?

That scenario would be a matter of Newtonian physics, which any astronomer could run the numbers for. Newtonian physics is indeed reproducible and falsifiable, as demonstrated by the many objects launched into the solar system, as well as the astronomical observations and predictions over the centuries.

It's disingenuous to compare climate change alarmist claims based on primitive, already-falsified computer models to simple, proven Newtonian physics.

> Should we do nothing until you personally are convinced that it has been scientifically proven that it will destroy the planet.

Should we do what you demand when you demand it because you personally are convinced that the planet is going to be destroyed? (N.B. Earth will certainly be destroyed, either when impacted by a large celestial body or when the sun expands. Earth would not be destroyed by a minor GATA increase.)

> If we convert our entire energy and transportation sectors to renewable energy and climate change turns out to be a hoax, we still get cleaner cities, cleaner air and a cleaner environment.

If it might be a hoax, shouldn't we consider why such a hoax would be perpetrated? Might there be ulterior motives? What would be the implications of those motives?

> That is a perfectly acceptable consolation prize considering the potential risks.

Your analysis presented here is completely one-sided. It does not mention any drawbacks or side-effects. It is not impartial, it is not fair, and it is not scientific. It is not a reasonable analysis to act upon, especially considering the risks, i.e. decimating the economies and lives of billions of people in poor and developing nations.

Nice one, demand that I provide irrefutable proof for my claims, while providing no evidence for your own. I should know better than to engage with climate trolls, but I have some time to kill, so here we go.

> 1. That's not my definition of science--it's the definition of science.

Definition of science: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science

> That scenario would be a matter of Newtonian physics, which any astronomer could run the numbers for.

Please provide citations and evidence for these extraordinary claims. And no, academic references don't count because they are obviously biased due to them trying to advanced their own careers. I will only accept citations from 2-bit think tanks funded by mega-corporations that have obvious financial interests at stake.

> Should we do what you demand when you demand it because you personally are convinced that the planet is going to be destroyed?


> i.e. decimating the economies and lives of billions of people in poor and developing nations.

Please use science to back up that claim. Until then, clean energy is the way forward. Its already cheaper[1], healthier[2], and creates more jobs[3] than fossil fuel.

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-09-19/solar-and... [2] https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/coal-and-other-fossil-fu... [3] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.nr0.htm

Two sides of the same coin, which deserve the same judgement.

“It’s snowing - climate change is a hoax”

“It’s 100F, - climate change proof”

People are smarter than you think, the CRU was fine with it too and it set environmental research back years if not decades. It's called political activism when scientist wade into policy and people smell it from a mile away.

You can thank the CRU and all the other alarmist for implementing exactly what you propose and it's is absolutely the reason the populous does not buy it. Never assume people are idiots, it is a fatal mistake.

At some point they will figure out that we're lying, and then they will elect another Trump.

They already know.

The question now is, when will "you" (i.e. not you personally) figure out that you're lying to yourself about your lying? Stephen Schneider advocated lying to the public in 1996:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

--Stephen Schneider in APS News, Aug/Sep 1996, p. 5.

How much longer will "you" keep lying?

> "By the end of the century, 13 million Americans will need to move just because of rising sea levels, at a cost of $1 million each"

13M feels low. Given the "of $1M each" then perhaps they means households. At an average of 4 heads per, 52M individuals feels closer.

That said, what goes into a $1M move? Does beachfront property average out that high?

Finally, is that $1M in current dollars, or adjusted for inflation estimates?

Lol. Down voted for simple and obvious math. God bless HN. Keep the hate coming. I love it.

Why do people buy beach front houses when they know they'll be under water in just a few years? Doesn't make sense to me.

Because science says sea level rise is 10ft at the worst case in 100 years? In other words, its alarmism and I don’t appreciate blaming (and compensating) everything because the big boogeyman, climate change.

House prices will fall long before that, so buying those houses doesn't seem like a bright economical move, to me.

I remember as a child going on vacation to the beaches in Virgina and the Carolinas and always seeing the remains of multiple beach front houses that had been destroyed by waves. The unpredictability of which houses were wiped out made quite an impression.

Because a mortgage is only for 30 years. Our whole economic system is incapable of planning beyond 30 years.

I have lived in Florida for all of my 47 years. It is clear that some land is unsuitable for development when taking a long term view. That does not stop the mortgages from being approved.

I've always wondered why banks would finance the deals and insurance companies would insure them.


The article does appear to be chasing a bias. “America’s Great Climate Exodus” is not a present reality, even if it is imagined as an eventuality to some.

> President Obama is one of those who must think the sea level won't rise dramatically for a while, given he recently bought property near the ocean.

This is a silly talking point. Obama, like other past presidents, is now fantastically wealthy to the point where a few million dollars in lost property decades from now isn't much to worry about.

He wouldn't be fazed by, say, a doubling in food costs, either. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be devastating for lots of Americans if their grocery bills doubled.

Barrack Obama just bought a multi-million dollar beachfront home. If any major public figure has the most accurate info about pending sea level rise, even classified level information that might not be released to the public, surely it's him.

He also has 'fuck you' money so he doesn't care. It's not like the 60 year old woman quoted in the article who might become homeless.

Is the home literally on the beach, if not it should be safe even if the water rises a bit.

This is an interesting fact related to the discussion, yet downvoted. Weird.

I think the reason is that what I said isn't compatible with the most catastrophized interpretation of climate change. Climate change is one of the few topics alongside topics like guns and abortion where nuance is generally not welcome. Look at the other responses. Does "he's rich so he's probably just burning millions of dollars" feel like the most reasonable explanation of his behavior? I don't think that fits what I know of Obama's temperament. Apparently, some people disagree.

It's mildly relevant, but it's implying that somebody with 40 million dollars would never buy something that would lose money over time. Which is ridiculous.

A house doesn't have to be investment!

Great news Mr Bloomberg, about time some of these bozos left the islands, maybe we can finally enjoy the place without being flooded by tourists. We used to have September to ourselves now not even that is quiet. The Florida Keys are being purchased by conglomerates and wealthy people like never before in history. Housing is blooming, and tourism is also. The exodus is happening, but that is New York City. They are all moving down to Miami and the Keys. You want to play alarmist? Then include Miami sir, because ALL OF FLORIDA will be affected by weather changes and patterns, like LA, like the coastal Carolinas in about 100 years or so. Until then I doubt Amazon would HQ in S FL if there was fear of submersion. Until the great flood will happen, get the heck out of our islands!

LOL I absolutely know you are from the islands! What key are you on. This September has been busy, if it had not been for Doreen threatening us, I don't thing it would have slowed down at all. All my favorite restaurants closed shop for the month though.

About time New Yorkers stopped their exodus to come and bug us in the keys.

Disclaimer. I have unwavering faith in climate change.

But I do wonder why are banks writing mortgages on houses in these kind of areas? Shouldn’t they be more worried about losing their investment over 30 years?

You mean the same banks who were underwriting NINA mortgages as fast as they could print them out back in 05-07? (That's "No Income, No Asset", for those of you who do not recall.)

As long as you've got a reasonable downpayment (or paid for some sort of default insurance), or you at least paid on the mortgage for a few years, the bank has little chance of losing their money. It's YOUR money at risk, not theirs.

If you default and your property value has dropped 20% due to rising seas - but you had a 20% downpayment - the bank will end up whole, only you will be wiped out.

In a well-constructed mortgage, the bank has essentially zero risk of loss.

"Banks" don't write mortgages, bankers do, and they worry about making their money now. They aren't on the hook for the long run.

Even banks aren't, they are going to package up the mortgages and sell them to someone else.

We know mortgage writers don't care about the long term viability of their loans, just look at the subprime mortgage crisis from last decade.

> I have unwavering faith in climate change.

That sounds like a religious statement, not a scientific one.

the problem is that they keep building using outdated technologies!!!!

why do they keep building these "paper" houses? average american house is too poorly constructed to handle these things. honestly its just a few sticks and plywood in between most of the time! what hurricane??? Government should force contractors to build using ICF technology, hurricane proof houses on high stilts in coastal areas and problem solved!!!

this is a crucial comment: "She dreams of resettling in Key West or Homestead, a safer spot on the Florida mainland.

“I’d like to take the money and run,” Rittel said. “But I’ll have to buy something on stilts. I’m not buying anything on the ground down here ever ever again.”"

The sea is rising more slowly today than any day in the foreseeable future.

Sea level rise is accelerating. This angle may spark some smart thoughts here.

"The Great Climate Exodus Is Starting In The Texas Gulf"


1891 July 6th 80mph from the south 1900 Sept 8th 145mph the great galveston hurricane kills 8,000 people with a 15ft storm surge even though it was low tide while hitting it traveled 6 to 10 miles inland from the ESE .The pressure at landfall was 27.55inches with winds of 110mph.Half of Galveston destroyed with 2,600 buildings destroyed & 10,000 people left homeless would have been much worse if not moving so quickly. It is said that a one inch steel hull of an ocean going freighter was pierced through with a piece of lumber.According to the hurricane research division winds were of Category 4 strength at landfall. Newspaper headline | max wind map | Monument | surge animation | Interview with Julie Lake summer of the storm 1909 july 21st a 10 ft strom surge with 110mph winds from the ESE 41 killed in texas. 1915 AUG 17th a cat 3 120mph kills 275 ,12' tides flooded Galveston 5' to 6' in the Business District. Winds at Galveston were 97 mph gusts to 130mph putting this in the cat 3/4 range.Press 940 mb,.Seawall prevented a repeat of the 1900 disaster.Causes 50 million in damage max wind field 1932 Aug 14th 145mph winds from the SE direct hit 1934 july 27th, a storm surge of 5.9ft with a cat 1,80mph that passes just east while moving south 1942 Aug 21st 80mph from the ESE 1943 July 27th a storm surge of 4 ft ,nineteen killed,86mph winds. 1945 Aug 27th 140mph from the south just west of here 1947 August 24th 80mph from the S.E 1949 oct 4th 130mph from the south 1957 June 27th 110mph(hurdat) Hurricane Audrey well east from the south. Newspaper article 1959 July 25th hurricane Debra hit with 85mph winds bar 29.07 14.42 inches of rain. NHC Wallet 1983 hurricane Alicia on aug 18th causes 2 bill damage as a cat 2/3 with 71 to 98mph winds in Galveston moving at a forward speed of 8mph. 21 killed 1.2 billion dollars in damage,a 10 to 12 ft storm surge at normal high tide.90% of Dwellings on Jamaica bch destroyed.Many highrise glass buildings sustained heavy damage. Pressure in Galveston was measured at 989mb 29.20 inches at 2:00AM. From NOAA GPST2 - GALVESTON PLEASURE PIER (PORTS) - TX 29.29 max gust 020/076kts Damage photo | #2 | max wind field | Dr Ted Fujita wind map | Newspaper headline | Newspaper headline #2 1989 Oct 15th Jerry 3 dead over 8 million in damage ,85mph winds.The latest a hurricane ever hit the upper Texas coast NHC Wallet 2001 June 5th T.S Allison hits with 60mph winds dumping extremely heavy rain especially inland in the Houston area. Over a 120 hr period houston recorded 36.99 inches of rain.Only 3 tropical systems have produced more rain in this area. T.S Amelia 46.00",T.S Claudette 45.00",unamed 1921 40.00". 41 deaths related to flooding & 5 billion in damage. Allison was finally retired in July of 2002 as the only T-storm to be retired. NHC Report 2008 Hurricane Ike hits Galveston on Sept 13th with 110mph winds causing extensive damage in entire area by 15 ft storm surge.From NOAA GALVESTON G GPST2 11.19 ft storm surge MAJOR 29.29 GALVESTON STATE PLEASURE PIER.A high gust for the Houston area was 92mph at Hobby airport.Gust at pleasure pier 86mph.Deaths reported in Texas at 22 with several missing. Hurricane Warning Show | Before & after aerial shot | Bolivar Peninsula just north | Ike model history | SAR Helicopter refueling over Galveston | Newspaper headline | Newspaper headline 2 days later | Neil Frank describing landfall video | Ike aftermath story video | surge animation | USGS surge info | Radar animation | NHC Final report 2017 Aug 29th tropical storm Harvey just offshore while moving north by 32 miles with 50mph winds. Galveston Scholes Field (KGLS) 22.87 inches of rain gust's to 59mph. Galveston Pier 2.7ft water inundation. Inland counties report upwards of 60inches of rain in some locations most rainfall ever for tropical system in U.S. NHC Final report

The article is paywalled.

outline.com and archive.org do not seem to work; Google's cache returns 404. Are there any other such sites that work?

I clear cookies on Chromium and see it. But Bloomberg is getting as annoying NYTimes (where I also clear cookies).

It is only paywalled if you let your browser run the javascript served from the site. Blocking all the JS with NoScript results in being able to read the article with no paywall.

In Chrome, you can also do per-site Javascript blocking. Blocking Javascript from [*.]bloomberg.com in preferences will let you read Bloomberg without problems.

They will get wise to this eventually and start loading their articles using javascript. Business Insider already loads their images with javascript.

Half-load + Firefox reader mode

Weird. I didn't run into that with Firefox.

I do turn off javascript for specific sites using Chrome. That does defeat some paywalls.

A counter-argument to climate alarmist statistics, shows use of selective presentation of statistics to portray specific conclusion on climate change:


Billions of birds dead, insect apocalypse, amphibian populations decimated, etc... But yeah people are just being alarmist, it's the end of the world and I feel fine.

The thing is just that people continually present opinions that require numbers in proper context to validate, but seemingly reject the concept that numbers in context are socially appropriate, at all.

We have enough context for the numbers.

Taken in context, the numbers paint a very expensive picture economically (trillions and trillions of dollars), as well as a grave tale of unnecessary suffering for many tens of millions of people, if not more.

Suffering is necessary; I don't subscribe to the belief that it's somehow due as the wages of original sin, but to suffer and die is the fate of every human being. Not tens of millions, but all of the billions that have ever existed; not one has ever escaped it.

And money is an abstraction. You could eliminate trillions and trillions just by hacking the systems that keep track of who has how much.

What I'm trying to say is not that the consequences of climate change aren't grave, but that without mentioning specific numbers and their relationship to other numbers that describe reality, and researching and choosing those in good faith, you are saying nothing.

Not all suffering is necessary. Much potential suffering that climate change may cause is understood and avoidable, if we take action.

If you want actual numbers and the relevant context, perhaps you could read the IPCC report.

Do they really require numbers though? Do you really need numbers in order to have an opinion that agrees with science. My opinion goes like this, the majority of scientists are saying X is a problem, it's very likely that it is a problem. So global warming is a problem. Mass extinction of insects, birds, amphibians, and mammals is a problem, etc.

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