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Latest Climate Change Advice: Decide What To Leave To The Sea

What parts of low-lying South Florida do you think we could do without?

Scientists say climate change has advanced to the point that we now have a better chance of adapting to it then preventing it. But adaptation may also mean deciding which areas to allow the rising sea to reclaim. Rick Stone has more.
The latest sign that climate change with its rising sea levels has turned a corner is New York City's building plan. After a disastrous swamping by Hurricane Sandy last year, it's budgeting nearly $20 billion on levees and barriers to protect against the rising sea level.

Scientists quoted by National Geographic this week say that shows the time to prevent climate change has run out, and the era of expensive proterctive measures fixes has begun.

At Florida Atlantic University, Len Berry, an environmental studies professor who leads the region's climate change task force, says that will bring painful choices, like deciding which parts of South Florida to abandon to the rising sea.

"I'm not gonna put my finger on a map and say, 'these areas', we’re talking about areas within two feet of high tide where we cannot afford or do not want to afford to put barriers in", Berry said. "We ought to be identifying those more precisely and giving people involved incentives to adjust."

Berry said, in Florida, sea walls and levees may be less effective anyway because they would be built on top of porous limestone, and the water could easily pass under them. But the climate change takeaway, he says, is the time to stop it has passed. Wow we must learn to live with it.