The hot-button issue: Climate change


Talk about a hot-button issue. Climate change is one of the hottest.

My column last week, in which Miami developer Jorge Perez weighed in on how developers are or are not preparing for higher sea levels, prompted several responses from readers.

“Dear Mr. Bubil, Concerning your article about rising sea levels... pretty interesting advocacy piece tying development into a real estate column about sea levels. Questions:

How much have sea levels gone up in the past 50 years?

Who are the sources that document the dangerous rise in sea levels?

Why do the Miami Beach developers appear to be unconcerned? Has there been a major sea level rise in South Beach?

I am not in the same camp on global warming (now renamed climate change for good reason) as you are. Call me an agnostic.

I took the time to check a number of articles on Google on sea levels and it seemed to me that sea levels have risen only a few inches in the last 50-100 years. What is the reality in real numbers or is most of this is based on projections by computer models?”

— Joe Bachmann


In response, I referred him to a couple of websites, one maintained by NOAA and the other by the COP21 conference that was held in Paris earlier this month, that have graphs supporting the theory that the climate is changing, sea levels are rising and man is responsible.

I also said, “My brief column was not intended to be a comprehensive look at the issue of sea-level rise. Instead, it offered the view of a single, prominent developer in Miami ...

“It appears the atmosphere is getting warmer. Burning fossil fuels likely has contributed to this, but even if it has not, it just makes sense to develop technologies that allow humans to move away from polluting sources of energy.

“One can wager on whether sea levels will inundate Florida by 2100. By changing our fuel use, we are betting that climate change is manmade and sea levels will rise. By keeping the status quo, we would be betting that either the climate is not changing, or that it is but that man has nothing to do with it. Evaluate for yourself the consequences of losing either bet.”

Then I asked my Facebook readers if they believed that manmade climate change was real. This can be like walking into an oil refinery with a torch. The responses varied from yes to no to “we just don’t know” to “it doesn’t matter; the climate is changing and we have to deal with it.”

Even our reporter Josh Salman weighed in, sensibly observing, “There is too much on the line to just ignore climate change. If the theories are wrong and we improve the environment for no reason, I can live with that. If the theories are correct, and we do not act, we are in big trouble. Why take that gamble?”

You can read the responses, all civil, and offer your own, at

Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: December 27, 2015
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.