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sea level rise

Rising Tides in the United States

The impacts of coastal flooding and sea level rise are already being felt by coastal communities across the United States. Coastal shoreline counties are home to more than 123 million Americans and account for nearly half the U.S. GDP. Homes, property and critical infrastructure within these communities face a growing threat from coastal flooding as sea levels continue to rise.

While the climate change debate continues in some quarters in Washington, the impact of sea-level rise cut across political divides at the “Rising to the Challenge” conference in Norfolk, Virginia, earlier this week. Members of Congress and Virginia mayors from both political parties joined military and state and local officials to discuss the challenges sea level rise presents to the Hampton Roads area, as well as how to promote federal, state and local action.

“We cannot afford to do nothing, it is time to act,” Mayor Sessoms said, underscoring that the impacts of climate change are not a political issue, but a backyard issue threatening communities in Virginia.

Miami ranks as the most vulnerable city in the world to the risk of coastal flooding caused by sea level rise.

Despite Miami’s vulnerability to sea level rise, there is reason to be hopeful: Many of the city’s local leaders and community residents are emerging as innovators in local climate action.

As coastal communities across the United States continue to fall victim to drought, coastal flooding, and other impacts of extreme weather and climate change, leaders at the metropolitan and federal levels are beginning to take action. Yet, Congressional action is an essential but missing piece to comprehensively addressing climate change.

However, Florida's continuing sea-level rise vulnerability suggests Congress may shift its attention to climate impacts.

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