Congressional leaders express concern over rising sea levels

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville University hosted congressional leaders on Thursday to examine climate change and how it will impact Florida sea levels.

Congresswoman Corrine Brown and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse took a tour of JU's Floating classroom on the St. Johns River, which is used for marine research.

Congress members expressed concern about about rising sea levels in Florida, where three-fourths of its population calls the coastline home.

Also on Thursday, U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Whitehouse sounded the alarm on the impact of climate change.

Nelson has already held hearings in South Florida on sea level changes -- eight inches in the past fifty years.

Carbon emissions, he said, are heating up the ocean creating expansion and thus higher sea levels. Nelson said a two-foot increase on the coastline by the middle of the century very likely.

Nelson and Whitehouse say Florida has the most to lost since most of population lives along the coast. Both men say what's happening is measurable and predictable.

"By end of century it could be as much as three feet sea level rise unless we get ahead of it. With a two or three feet sea level rise, most of Florida's 75 percent of its population will be under water," Nelson said.

"The science is beyond debate and truly the ocean doesn't lie. The measurement are not complicated, seal level rise you measure with equivalent of yard stick," Whitehouse said.


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