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When it comes to climate change, one thing is certain: our oceans are rising. And South Florida is expected to be among the first regions on Earth to experience the impact. In fact, some initial preparations are already underway. WLRN-Miami Herald News presents a series of stories about the effects of sea-level rise. The project is called “Elevation Zero: Rising Seas In South Florida." Click through the pages below to see our entire archive of Elevation Zero stories.

Mayors Want Presidential Candidates Quizzed About Climate Change

Washington Post

Two presidential debates are coming to Miami this week.

Republican candidates will debate at the University of Miami Thursday night. But first, Democrats will take the stage Wednesday night at the Kendall campus of Miami Dade College.

Twenty-one mayors – most of them from South Florida – sent a letter to the moderators for both debates. The mayors want the candidates to explain how they plan to deal with climate change and sea level rise.

“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,” Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner wrote. “It would be unconscionable for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed in the upcoming debate you will be hosting in the state. Thus, we are writing to ask that you ask the attached questions to the candidates.”

The questions include:

  • As president, what investments will you make to protect our coastal assets and economy from the growing impacts of sea level rise and climate change?
  • What are specific policies you would put in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help protect the future livelihoods of Americans like those in Miami from facing the worst of impacts from climate change?
  • The U.S, China, and India – the three largest emitters in the world – recently joined more than 180 other countries in pledges to significantly reduce future emissions… What policies would you put in place to ensure that America delivers on its commitment?

Washington Post political reporter Karen Tumulty will co-moderate the Democratic debate hosted by the Washington Post and Univision.
“I certainly think that letter was very important in making very, very clear to us what the stakes are - not only for the state of Florida, but the data there that Miami more than any other city in the world has so much to lose from rising seas," Tumulty says. "I mean basically the value of the assets that are threatened by this are greater than any other city in the world.”

Tumulty can’t divulge the specific questions that will be asked during the debate. But she says with the Univision connection, candidates will likely be quizzed about issues that are relevant to Latino voters and to South Florida.