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Miami’s Freedom Tower under water by 2060? Unlikely, scientist says

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Could the Freedom Tower in Miami, where U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday announced his bid for president, be underwater by 2060?

Before Rubio announced on Monday that he was running for president in 2016, NextGen Climate suggested the building could be underwater by 2060. The political action committee said Florida is on the front line of climate change and called on the Republican senator from Miami to take a stronger stance on climate change.

“Florida’s rising sea levels jeopardize the state’s communities, homes and drinking water— and threaten $3.5 trillion of assets in Rubio’s hometown of Miami alone,” NextGen Climate said. “Even the Freedom Tower, the site of Rubio’s campaign launch, could be underwater by 2060.”

Not likely, said Harold Wanless, a University of Miami professor and an outspoken scientist on climate change issues.

Wanless is among the professors who last year met with Gov. Rick Scott in Tallahassee to press him to acknowledge the science behind climate change and take action.

On Monday, Wanless, chair of UM’s Department of Geological Sciences, said there could be a three-foot sea-level rise by 2065.

“Although the Freedom Tower appears to be surrounded by land that is 6-7 feet above sea level, beginning a few blocks north it appears that there is land ~ +3 feet along U.S. (Highway 1),” Wanless wrote in an email to

But he later added that the three-foot rise “will pretty much do in” Miami Beach.

There was no immediate response from NextGen Climate on Monday. Last week, the political action committee said it would target the likely presidential campaigns of Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush as well as targeting Florida as a swing state in the election.

Last year, NextGen Climate founder Tom Steyer spent nearly $20 million raising climate as an issue against Scott’s re-election campaign.

Bruce Ritchie (@bruceritchie) covers environment, energy and growth management in Tallahassee. 

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