Rising seas threaten South Florida’s drinking water

But the economy has yet to take a hit. A three-part series for Marketplace.


MiamiWanlessPart 1: How soaking-wet Florida could run out of water

Greater Miami is a place where the idea of not having enough water seems completely bananas. South Florida receives about 60 inches of rainfall a year, and keeping streets and homes from getting flooded is a huge job.

But rising sea levels change things in unexpected ways, and seawater threatens to turn the drinking water salty. In some places, the ocean has already made good on that threat. And the problem is going to get worse. Read more…

MiamiCondosPart 2: Condo-buyers in Miami aren’t homeowners. They’re traders.

Miami’s building boom has featured prominently in many stories about the threat the city faces from rising seas and a changing climate. Scientists warn that parts of greater Miami — including some of its crucial water infrastructure — will be below sea level within a few decades.

However, downtown Miami’s ongoing condo boom turns out to run on its own financial logic — far removed from rising seas. Read more…

Part 3:
Why markets don’t charge for miami’s climate risk

MiamiRiskTwenty-year government bonds and thirty-year mortgages are bumping into the horizons for serious damage to South Florida from rising seas. So far, those enormous risks haven’t sent home prices tumbling, or sent borrowing costs skyrocketing. The trillion-dollar question is: When and how will the market start charging for those risks?

Financially, the most important piece of information about rising seas clobbering Miami and South Florida is the one nobody knows: When, exactly? Read more…