One Million People Will Be Displaced in Miami Due to Climate Gentrification

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Miami is facing an unprecedented threat: climate gentrification. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters reveals that more than half of Miami’s 2.6 million residents may experience climate gentrification, driven by the increasing risks posed by sea-level rise. If sea levels rise by 40 inches, as predicted by some models, the consequences could be dire for Miami-Dade County.

The study, led by Nadia Seeteram, a researcher at the Columbia Climate School, paints a troubling picture of Miami’s future. It suggests that rising sea levels will force many coastal residents to move inland, exerting significant upward pressure on housing costs. This, in turn, could displace up to 56 percent of households in Miami-Dade County.

The key to understanding this phenomenon is the alignment of markets with the perceived higher flood risk in lower-lying areas. It just so happens that these areas are often the ones undergoing gentrification and are home to historically marginalized communities. The result is a collision of economic forces and climate change, with the most vulnerable residents caught in the crossfire.

Noteworthy is the fact that in Miami-Dade, several minority neighborhoods with lower income levels are situated at higher elevations than the affluent beachfront areas. For instance, Little Haiti, a neighborhood that stands at 10 feet above sea level, is home to nearly half of its residents living below the poverty line. It has witnessed a recent surge in development and property values, raising concerns about displacement within the community.

The implications of climate gentrification are not confined to Florida. A 2017 study estimated that sea-level rise could displace as many as 13 million people in the United States by 2100. New York City, another coastal metropolis, is expected to face severe flooding risks, with up to 2.2 million residents at high risk by the end of the century, according to the nonprofit Rebuild By Design. The effects of Climate change are a reality that extends beyond Miami, echoing in coastal cities across the nation and worldwide.

The study is in line with projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In 2022, NOAA warned that large parts of U.S. coastal cities could be submerged under 42 to 84 inches of sea-level rise by the end of the century if global warming leads to a 2-degree Celsius increase above preindustrial levels. These projections are daunting and underscore the urgency of addressing the issue.

With 40 inches of sea-level rise, the study predicts that roughly 19 percent of Miami-Dade County residents will remain “stable.” Approximately 7 percent will be “migrating,” choosing to move to avoid the impacts of rising seas. Shockingly, almost 19 percent will be “trapped” in their inundated homes, unable to relocate. The remaining 56 percent will be “displaced” due to rising housing costs.

With an 80-inch (2-meter) sea-level rise, the study foresees an even grimmer scenario: nearly half of the population will be “trapped,” while 25 percent will be “displaced.” Only 8 percent will remain “stable,” and 18 percent will be “migrating.”

Miami’s struggle with climate gentrification serves as a stark warning of the challenges that coastal cities face in a rapidly changing world. It underscores the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to mitigate the impact of sea-level rise, protect vulnerable communities, and create a sustainable future.

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Wake Up Climate Change Is Real by Tiny Rescue: Climate Collection
Wake Up Climate change Is Real by Tiny Rescue: Climate Collection

Wake Up Climate Change Is Real by Tiny Rescue: Climate Collection

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