Palm Beach County’s already accustomed to the annual rite of preparing for hurricanes. Now, it’s coming to grips with a potentially more devastating problem — global warming.
In the battle against rising sea levels, the county’s coastal communities are turning their thoughts to a variety of possible defenses – from requiring stilts for shoreline homes, to elevating roads, raising seawalls and relocating water treatment plants.
Subscribers get total access to this story, and all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive content. Subscribe today, or try a 24-hour or 7-day digital pass.
Registered Post Subscriber — Sign me in.Sign In
Post Print Subscriber — I need to register my account for digital access.Access Digital
All Day Access — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24 hours
All Week Access — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7 days
All Access, All the Time — Print & DigitalView Offers
CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN
The Regional Climate Action Plan, with 110 recommendations, aims to encourage communities in Southeast Florida to gird for sea-level rise and climate change.
— Ocean levels have risen 7-8 inches over the past 50 years.
— Sea levels in South Florida are projected to rise 3 to 7 inches in rise by 2030 and to 2 feet by 2060.
— A rise of 1 foot could trigger $4 billion in property value losses from Palm Beach to Monroe counties. That estimate jumps to $41 billion with a 3-foot rise.
— Just a few inches of sea level rise will be enough to flood coastal cities and contaminate drinking water, according to a 2011 study by Florida Atlantic University. Flood-control systems could fail in projected sea level increases of 3 to 6 inches by 2030.
— Steer growth to areas away from flood zones.
— Move drinking water wells further inland to reduce the risk of saltwater contamination.
— Adopt building codes that take into account flooding and rising sea levels.
— Use improved materials and designs for roads and bridges.
— Encourage new commuter and transit options to reduce greenhouse emissions.
Source: Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact