Florida climate scientists ask Trump for sit-down on global warming

As 2016 steams toward a close that will likely mark it as the hottest on record, and fish swim in South Florida streets during king tides, climate scientists from the Sunshine State are desperate to get President-elect Donald Trump’s attention.

A group of university professors wrote a letter to the Trump campaign two weeks before Election Day, noting Florida’s vulnerability to rising seas and appealing to his business acumen — the impacts of climate change are a direct threat to Florida’s tourism-based economy, they said.

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Trump’s own iconic Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach is threatened by encroaching waters. The current projection is for seas around South Florida to rise between 2.3 and 4.7 feet by 2100. If the worse-case scenario holds true, nearly half of Mar-a-Lago’s 20-acre site would be underwater in 84 years, with the brackish Intracoastal Waterway invading from the west.

Lake Trail north of Bradley Park ives up to its name as flooding at high tide caused water to top the seawall Tuesday, November 15, 2016. (Lannis Waters / Daily News)

Lake Trail north of Bradley Park ives up to its name as flooding at high tide caused water to top the seawall Tuesday, November 15, 2016. (Lannis Waters / Daily News)

The blush-colored mansion itself, built in 1927 by Marjorie Merriweather Post, doesn’t succumb until 6 feet of sea level rise occurs, according to a NOAA tool that visualizes sea-m-level rise.

“He’s a businessman and he makes money, and I think he can recognize the business impacts and opportunities here,” said David Hastings, a professor of marine science and chemistry at Eckerd College in Tampa Bay. “You don’t need a Ph.D. in climate change to understand its importance in Florida, where we are ground zero for impacts. The sea level is rising.”

Hastings is one of 25 university researchers and professors who signed a simple, one-page letter requesting a sit-down with the future president to discuss the damaging effects of global warming on Florida’s beaches, coral reefs, drinking water, aging infrastructure and coastal communities.

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Viewed from the air, the lakefront can be glimpsed on the far side of President-elect Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. Security experts say having waterfront on two sides of the 20-acre property poses special risks. Courtesy of RobertStevens.com

Viewed from the air, the lakefront can be glimpsed on the far side of President-elect Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. Security experts say having waterfront on two sides of the 20-acre property poses special risks. Mar-a-Lago is at risk of sea-level rise. Courtesy of RobertStevens.com

It’s a tactic that worked with Gov. Rick Scott in 2014. Hastings and four other top climate scientists from the University of Miami and Florida State University requested, and were granted, a meeting with Scott hoping to impress upon him that human-induced climate change is real and a business threat.

“Zika, disappearing beaches, and dangerous weather can frighten away tourists that keep Florida’s economy churning,” the scientists wrote to Trump on Oct. 26.

The tone of the letter is dire, because Trump — billionaire businessman, reality-TV show host, and successful presidential politician — has mostly dismissed man’s contribution to climate change and mocked global warming on Twitter.

To read more about the concerns of Florida’s climate scientists see the rest of the story here. 

Marine Way in Delray Beach, Nov. 25, 2015 during full moon high tide.

Marine Way in Delray Beach, Nov. 25, 2015 during full moon high tide.

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