Palm Beach County has allocated $200,000 of taxpayer money to hire a staffer to address global warming. County officials created the position despite a $15 million county budget deficit.
Think Globally, Pay Locally
The new global warming czar will direct the county’s efforts to reduce global temperature increases and adapt to any warming that may occur. County officials said they are particularly concerned about rapid sea level rise.
Although atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined since the year 2000. Since 2006, the United States has reduced carbon dioxide emissions more than any other nation or region of the world, the International Energy Agency reports.
Even though the United States is playing no role in the recent increase of global carbon dioxide emissions, Palm Beach County officials say county taxpayers should still pay up to try to reduce emissions.
“Can we actually change the course of events? We have a responsibility to try,” County Commission Chairwoman Shelley Vana told the May 21 Sun-Sentinel.
Sea Level Rise Not Accelerating
Global sea level rose approximately 8 inches during the 20th century, and the pace of sea level rise has not increased in this century. Palm Beach County and most other coastal communities have reported few if any difficulties adjusting to the minor 20th century sea level rise.
“Sea level is rising and will continue to rise due to [the earth] coming out of an ice age,” said James O’Brien, professor emeritus of meteorology and oceanography at Florida State University and founder of the Florida State University Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Predictions Studies.
“The average rate in the world is 8.5 inches in a hundred years, as measured by tide gauges at good stations and islands,” O’Brien explained. “Incidentally, this is the rate of rise across Florida due to 100 year records at Pensacola, Jacksonville, and Key West. There is no acceleration of sea level rise in the Florida data.”
James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.