Sunday, May 25, 2014

Some like it hot

Steve Landsburg notices something odd;
So the Obama administration has released a climate forecast, according to which Miami could be under water by the end of the century. Apparently we’re supposed to be very concerned about that.
....of the 5.5 million people now living in South Florida, approximately zero will be alive a hundred years from now, and those that are will presumably have had the sense to move inland well before the water reaches their breastbones.
And what about all the buildings and the other infrastructure? That will also mostly all be gone in a hundred years, with or without the rising sea. How many buildings these days are built to last a century? We already know that Miami’s beachfront hotels are going to deteriorate and then be rebuilt over the course of the century. The only question is where.
What Landsburg doesn't say (or doesn't know) is that Miami was specifically founded--by John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil partner, Henry Flagler--because it was a warm place to live. Florida had little but swamps until Flagler began to use his railroading skills (honed rationalizing the transportation of oil) to develop the state, as an alternative to spending winters in places like New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

The city of Miami didn't exist until Flagler founded it in 1896, specifically because the area had escaped the frosts that destroyed north Florida's citrus crops in earlier years.

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