Why are people getting getting 30-year mortgages in Miami when we know their city may resemble Atlantis by then?

When we look at the projections of sea level rises in the next century due to climate change, we see much of South Florida underwater. While it’s certainly not time to panic, isn’t anyone in that area concerned? Are they doing any long-term planning? Would you sign a 50-year mortgage on a condo located 5 feet above sea level?



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    Not everyone has seen these statistics, and not everyone takes climate change seriously.  Some people think we will come up with a miracle fix by then, and others still don’t believe it’s happening again. It’s not terribly difficult to understand why; the media has been unusually quiet on the subject lately.

    Plus, the human brain is bad at coming to terms with negative consequences that are going to happen in the distant future, even when those things are quite grave indeed.  Check out this very interesting article about it. 

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      I learned alot from opendemocracy (your citation). I’m writing a book set some 30 years hence re how we dealt with todays issues. Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will (exerpt from http://www.commonground.ca/iss/233/cg233_olson.shtml
      right in line with your rely. Thnks for broadening my thinking.

      The Italian political philosopher Antonio Gramsci once said he was “a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” They may seem to be in opposition, but they are complementary modes for navigating a complicated world. One represents the spirit of action and the other, the willingness to look into the abyss

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    Perhaps because climate change is a uniquely long-sighted issue, with the more devastating of its effects – such as rising sea levels – not predicted to manifest for another century (based on conservative estimates).  There is international scientific consensus that climate change is occurring, and that it is anthropogenic (caused by humans). But the timeline of this change is much harder to set down with certainty, which perhaps makes it harder to formulate definitive plans.

    Florida as a state is however making contingency plans, including the  formulation by the Governor of an Action Team on Energy and Climate Change. This team is tasked with investigating the implications of climate change on Florida’s “environment, economy and society”; one of the concrete goals of this team is to reduce Florida’s greenhouse gas emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.

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    Many Floridians do not see rising sea levels as a threat for a variety of reasons. Engineers generally believe that they can hold back the sea at this point in time. And many people do not realize the damage that rising sea levels are already doing because paying for the damage these sea levels cause is an easy process. Flood insurance is easy to obtain, and there is no limit to the number of times a home can be reconstructed in a given area. Also, restrictions on constructing homes near sea level in Florida pale when compared to other states, and few steps are being taken to change the rapid rate of coastal development.

    At least the city of Miami has set up a climate change task force which provides recommendations to its city council. One of the first things this task force did was to recommend that topographic maps be made of the Miami area to show which areas were more suceptible to rising sea levels, and these maps were subsequently made. 

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