Report: Florida Keys underwater, Phoenix even hotter by 2100


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SALT LAKE CITY -- A vacation in the Florida Keys could be out of the question by the turn of the century, and Michigan may feel more like east Texas.

So says a new report by the National Resources Defense Council, which outlines the various effects that rising global temperatures and sea levels are likely to have on some key U.S. cities, including, of course, the Keys.

The results are grim in many places. New Orleans, for instance, could lose over 4,000 square miles of wetlands as a result of sea levels that could rise almost 5 feet, and increased creep of saltwater into estuaries and rivers is likely to disturb sea life and fisheries all around the coasts of the nation.


Miami is actually listed as the single most vulnerable city in the world in terms of assets exposed to rising sea levels, and the fourth in the world in terms of exposed populations.

Miami is actually listed as the single most vulnerable city in the world in terms of assets exposed to rising sea levels, and the fourth in the world in terms of exposed populations.

"We would be utter fools not to attempt to arrest this while we have a fighting chance," University of Miami scientist John Van Leer told NBC.

Van Leer said that exposed areas, which also include San Francisco and Los Angeles, need to not only prepare for rising sea levels, but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"We have to do both things," he said. "I mean, how will you live in a high rise condo when the feet of the high rise are in sea water?"

Some on the list are not even on coasts, like Phoenix, which is supposed to be threatened with even higher temperatures and less water than it already has.

The report culls together 75 studies relating to water issues in order to come to its results. It also lists preparations already underway in places like New Orleans, where infrastructure is being reinforced to be able to accommodate a "500-year" flood scenario, which is the highest level likely to be met or exceeded in five-century period.

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David Self Newlin

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