Both Democratic candidates for U.S. president supported alternate energy sources as a solution to halt sea level rise Wednesday. They did not suggest government action such as sea walls or dikes.
That was at a debate organized by the Washington Post and Univision in the U.S. State of Florida.
Debate moderator Karen Tumulty asked both Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont about sea level rise. The issue is critical in low-lying Florida, and Ms. Tumulty said that a group of local mayors had submitted the question.
In a letter posted online, Cindy Lerner, mayor of the Village of Pinecrest, said she was writing on behalf of 21 Florida mayors. They sent a similar letter to Republican candidates.
The mayors said:
“We, the 21 undersigned mayors from throughout Florida, are concerned about sea level rise and climate change and the severe impacts it is having on our communities. We are equally concerned that so little attention has been paid to these issues in the presidential debates. It would be unconscionable for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed in the upcoming debate . . . .”
Like the U.S., officials have put the country’s full weight behind countering greenhouse gases to mitigate sea level rise. The topic is controversial, but the sea is rising regardless of political position.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says that the oceans have risen 200 millimeters, about 8 inches from 1870 to 2000. More accurate measurements by spacecraft show that the oceans have risen 76.13 millimeters since 1993. That’s about three inches.
Another NASA report said that the dry area of the state of Florida was twice as large at the glacial maximum 26,000 years ago.
“As the glaciers began to melt, sea level rose worldwide, resulting in nearly a 10 percent reduction of the Earth’s entire landmass,” said J. M. Adovasio and C. Andrew Hemmings of Mercyhurst University, authors of the 2012 NASA report that
addressed underwater archaeological excavations off the Florida coast.
There is no indication that sea level rise is stopping.
Mrs. Clinton and Sanders were critical of Republican candidates and said the Republicans doubt the effects of global warming. Both political parties have primary elections in the state Tuesday.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is one of the candidates, and he is on record saying that the sea will keep rising regardless of what the United States and other countries do, according to the mayors.
The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional has estimated that half of the peninsula that contains Puntarenas Centro will be under water by 2100. The institute report also predicts loss of land to the ocean all along the Pacific coast as far south as Golfito. Many areas have problems now when the seas are high.
The Costa Rica government’s response to sea level rise has been to set a goal to make the country carbon neutral by 2021, just five years from now. Carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas that increases the temperature of the earth.