A majority of Americans believe man-made climate change is real. However, one of the millions on the other side of the discussion is the one person who can do something about it. Judging by his policies, President Donald Trump doesn’t want to do anything about global warming. Considering his prized Mar-a-Lago resort is in the climate change danger zone, he should care.
One study shows climate change and risings seas will have huge impacts on these 15 cities by 2050. We’re sorting the U.S. cities most affected by climate change by population, finishing with the city where the most people are at risk.
15. Miami Gardens, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 113,058
- 2050 at-risk population: 72,000
The NFL’s Miami Dolphins recently upgraded their stadium in Miami Gardens, adding a roof and living room furniture. It won’t make any difference in 2050 when the city will regularly be inundated by storm surges and rising seas. Going to games will be a lot tougher when water gets in the way.
Next: Let’s head up the road.
14. Hollywood, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 151,998
- 2050 at-risk population: 76,000
We’ll give you an early spoiler alert here: We’re going to spend a lot of time in Florida, but we’ll leave the state a couple of times, including for No. 1 on the list. Half the current population of Hollywood would be impacted by 5 feet of sea level rise as most of the city would be underwater, according to a searchable map put together by Climate Central.
Next: Another Florida stadium washes away.
13. Sunrise, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 93,734
- 2050 at-risk population: 79,000
Sunrise sits on the edge of the Everglades. Most of it would be safe from rising seas caused by climate change, but the city would be pockmarked by pools of standing water. The BB&T Center, home of hockey’s Florida Panthers, would be one of the Sunrise spots isolated by water.
Next: Rising seas will make you say goodbye to this city.
12. Pompano Beach, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 109,393
- 2050 at-risk population: 80,000
There are a ton of silly and serious reasons Florida is the most hated state in America. Climate change is a big reason why no one should live there. If you decide to make the move, however, you need to avoid Pompano Beach. Climate change has the potential to erase basically the whole city from the map.
Next: Let’s take a break from touring the Sunshine State.
11. Charleston, S.C.
- Estimated current population: 134,385
- 2050 at-risk population: 83,000
South Carolina’s most populous city might not stay that way for long. If humans continue consuming energy as we have been, and the Earth continues warming as it has been, then Charleston will be mostly underwater by 2050. That’s how it might be one of the U.S. cities most affected by climate change.
Next: Heading down the coast.
10. Miami Beach, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 91,917
- 2050 at-risk population: 87,000
Miami Beach one of the best beaches in the U.S., but it won’t be for long. It’s not at the top of the list, but this is one of the U.S. cities most affected by climate change. If global warming keeps going the way it has been, nearly the entire city will be submerged. That includes one of America’s luxury shopping malls just north of Miami Beach.
Next: Island hopping in an inland city.
9. Davie, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 101,871
- 2050 at-risk population: 90,000
Davie sits near the edge of the Everglades, west of Fort Lauderdale, but its proximity to the ocean won’t save it from rising seas. According to Climate Central, the eastern part of Davie will be almost entirely underwater with a 5-foot sea level rise. The rest of the city will be a patchwork of islands.
Next: Say goodbye to a big portion of this city.
8. St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 260,999
- 2050 at-risk population: 91,000
Despite sitting on a peninsula on the west side of Tampa Bay, much of St. Petersburg would be safe from a 5-foot sea level rise. However, the east side of the city stands to be washed away by rising seas.
Next: An area we should know well by now.
7. Miramar, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 138,449
- 2050 at-risk population: 100,000
We’re back near Florida’s east coast again. Miramar is right next door to Miami Gardens, Hialeah, Hollywood, Davie, and Sunrise, Florida cities we’ve already visited. Like its neighbors, a majority of Miramar’s population is at risk from rising seas and climate change.
Next: We see a very wet future for the residents of this city.
6. Coral Springs, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 130,059
- 2050 at-risk population: 119,000
Levees near Coral Springs hold back the Everglades and double as nature path trailheads. Rising waters due to climate change aren’t likely to drown the town, but the population will have to adapt to living in a very wet environment.
Next: Waterfront property will be more prevalent by 2050.
5. Pembroke Pines, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 168,587
- 2050 at-risk population: 120,000
There’s one reason why Pembroke Pines won’t look so good after rising seas move in. Lakes in the middle of housing developments on the west side of the city are pretty now, but flooding is likely to displace at least 100,000 people by 2050.
Next: Your Florida vacation will take a lot more planning.
4. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 178,752
- 2050 at-risk population: 127,000
Fort Lauderdale’s pending submersion won’t make your Florida vacation any easier. We’ve been to this area already when we visited Hollywood and Pompano Beach, but they don’t have an international airport. Fort Lauderdale does, and it’s only about 1 mile from the ocean. Sure, it’s one of the most hated airports, but it will be even more hated when it’s underwater and putting a crimp in your south Florida vacation plans.
Next: A city that has a lot at risk.
- Estimated current population: 453,579
- 2050 at-risk population: 154,000
Besides Miami’s famous nightlife and vacation destination status, it stands to lose plenty thanks to rising season. A 2016 study by the National Wildlife Foundation unearthed some staggering numbers:
- Miami-Dade County will need 20 million cubic yards of sand over 50 years to protect eroding beaches.
- That’s enough sand to cover 10,000 football fields in 1 foot of sand.
- Miami-Dade has $14.7 billion worth of beachfront property in the path of rising seas.
The long and short of it? Get to Miami now before it washes away.
Next: Miami’s neighbor sees 86% of the population at risk.
2. Hialeah, Fla.
- Estimated current population: 236,387
- 2050 at-risk population: 204,000
Hialeah is a little northwest of Miami, but being further inland won’t spare it from climate change. Just 5 feet of rising seas could displace 204,000 residents by 2050. That number is roughly 86% of the current population.
Next: Leaving the south to find the U.S. city most affected by climate change.
1. New York City
- Estimated current population: 8.53 million
- 2050 at-risk population: 426,000
Here we are, No. 1 on the list of U.S. cities most affected by climate change. We’ve been in Florida for much of this list, but it shouldn’t be surprising to see New York make the cut. Its huge population is one reason, but it’s not the only reason.
LaGuardia Airport would be totally unusable if seas rise 5 feet. Granted, it’s one of the ugliest airports around, but New York would be totally transformed (for the worse) if it’s knocked out of service. Coney Island and other beaches in Brooklyn and Queens would be totally gone, too.
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