The U.S. Global Change Research Program is hosting a town hall this week to inform communities about the draft National Climate Assessment (NCA) report, along with local and regional efforts to respond to the impacts of climate change. The Southeast Regional Town Hall is part of the roll out of the NCA and will take place in Tampa, Florida, on February 19, 2013.

Florida faces extensive threats from climate change. According to the draft NCA, the challenges include:

  • Florida is home to roughly $500 billion of the more than $1 trillion of property and structures in the country at risk of inundation from a sea-level rise of 2 feet (above the current sea level).

  • Tourism attractions in Florida, like the Everglades and Florida Keys, are threatened by climate change impacts from sea-level rise and are estimated to lose $9 billion by 2025 and $40 billion in revenue by 2050.

  • Salt water intrusion into freshwater supplies will be accelerated by sea-level rise, making the porous aquifers in Florida particularly vulnerable. Already, officials in Hallandale Beach, FL have been forced to abandon 6 of their 8 drinking water wells.

  • Cumulative costs of responding to sea-level rise and flooding events to the national economy could reach $325 billion by 2100, with Florida incurring $130 billion of the total (or 40% of the aggregate national cost.)

Following is a statement by Christina DeConcini, Director of Legislative Affairs, World Resources Institute:

“With its flat landscape and porous foundation, Florida is one of the most vulnerable places to sea-level rise in the world. The draft National Climate Assessment report adds to a growing body of scientific evidence that climate change is occurring and is already causing adverse impacts. The report underscores that the climate crisis will continue to build unless action is taken by the U.S. government to address climate change. State and national officials should be doing more to reduce the greenhouse gases that cause climate change and plan how to respond to its impacts. Doing so will benefit people and the economy in Florida and across the nation.”

Find out more about sea-level rise impacts on Florida in WRI’s fact sheet.