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The Miami Herald reports that the state of Florida is considering a change to the building codes for coastal properties that could be affected by rising sea levels. The code was changed three years ago requiring a foot of elevation but some are now calling for another 12 inches. “If we’re going to build a resilient Florida, the hurricanes aren’t going away. Climate change isn’t going to stop,” said Craig Fugate, Florida’s former director of emergency management and FEMA head under Barack Obama. “We cannot keep building the way we always have and except a different outcome in future disasters.”

Florida’s long and winding coastline is packed with people, with more arriving by the day. That makes the state more vulnerable to sea level rise and increasingly powerful hurricanes than any other.

But as of 2019, Florida’s massive, nationally-renowned statewide building code still doesn’t have much to say about how to build with climate change in mind. That could change this year, as a new Florida International University study commissioned by the Florida Building Commission makes its way through the building code bureaucracy. One of its first recommendations: bring all new construction along the flood-prone coast up another foot.

“The building code doesn’t currently take sea level rise into account,” said Tiffany Troxler, associate director of science for the FIU Sea Rise Solutions Center and co-author of the report. “One recommendation was simply to try to account for that uncertainty that we cannot currently account for, including sea level rise, to add one foot to the elevations that are already recommended.”

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