THE BLOG
05/09/2013 06:48 pm ET Updated Jul 09, 2013

Geographical/Political Irony

It is ironical that the region of the country most vulnerable to economic loss from climate change-related extreme weather is the Southeast. One says ironical because most federal politicians from that area remain skeptical of any global warming threat, and have a voting record to prove it.

The reasons for the region's extraordinary vulnerability are in plain sight. Enormous population density has emerged along much of the 29,000 mile coastline between Texas and Virginia with no signs of relenting. This coastline in general is comprised of low-lying land exposed to the full fury of any hurricane that comes barreling in from the sea. According to projections, the region can anticipate damages from 25 to 50 billion dollars in the next 30 years if significant action is not taken to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of global warming.

Already, there are 70 million people residing in the region, which includes some major coastal cities (e.g. Miami, New Orleans, Jacksonville) dangerously exposed to the elements, should they become unruly.

Despite the forecast that the region will experience more intense hurricanes and storm surges due to climate change, most federal lawmakers from the area seem unmoved. Even the fact that over the past 20 years, the region has been the site of more than half of the nation's most costly weather-related disasters ($87.7 billion worth) has not set off sufficient alarm bells. The population along the coast continues to increase rapidly, while the winters are getting warmer and the sea level is rising. Continuing to ignore nature's warning signs would seem a prescription for ultimate calamity.

Republican ideological correctness has been preaching that global warming is at worst a hoax and at best grossly exaggerated. Accordingly, more than 75 percent of the members of the GOP-dominated congressional delegations from the Southeast have studiously voted to defund and roll back any legislative initiatives to cope with climate change. It would even be a higher percentage if it weren't for the stray democrat or two who managed to get elected south of the Mason Dixon line.

This failure to connect the dots is leading the area towards reduced insurance availability, increased insurance costs, widespread heat stress, and if refusal to recognize reality persists, severe environmental degradation. Looming is a classic case of "the chickens coming home to roost".

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