What is climate change doing to Florida…and its taxpayers?

Florida’s beaches erode pitilessly, the unstoppable rise of sea level presenting a nightmare scenario for waterfront hotels, coastal developers and real-estate agents. Once upon a time you could get away with selling submerged land to faraway rubes, butt hose days were over. Now buyers wanted to visit the property first, and not by paddleboard. Likewise, high-end vacationers to the Sunshine State derived no tropical enchantment from the sigh of waves crashing through their hotel’s lobby.

Climate change created a boom for a hurricane-spawned industry known as “beach renourishment,” a process by which thousands of tons of sand are dredged from the sea shallows and dumped onshore to replace the acreage washed away by nature. The enterprise is as costly as it is futile, though for a few glorious month the shoreline appears authentic if not pristine. This fluffing of public beaches is funded by helpless taxpayers, while privately held oceanfront is often augmented at the expense of the property owners. Either way, beach-renourishment deals are fabulously profitable for the contractors because the job never expires–every grain of sand you dump gets washed away.

–From Carl Hiaasen’s novel Razor Girl (2016)

Here’s Hiaasen’s intro statement:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. However, true events in South Florida provided the lurid material for certain strands of this novel, beginning with the opening scene. The author also wishes he’d dreamed up the part about the giant Gambian pouched rats, but he didn’t. Those suckers are real.

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