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Abstract: This case focuses on the politics and economics of local adaptation to the threat of climate change impacts. Specifically it focuses on whether a jurisdiction--Miami-Dade County--should amend a draft consent decree to fix and upgrade the county's sewerage system by including investments in adaptation to climate change. The County has three sewerage treatment plants, all of which are built on the coast and thus vulnerable to possible sea level rise, particularly in an era of more intense storms. The case provides a basis to assess three key issues: 1. How certain are the possible impacts of sea level rise over the next thirty years?; 2. What are the political and economic challenges of allocating present financial revenues for benefits in the future that could be significant, but are uncertain?; and 3. If such investments are approved, who should pay for them?
Learning Objective: This case focuses on issues surrounding local adaptation to climate change impacts. It can be used in either an energy course that has a multi-class segment of climate, a course on infrastructure, a course on local government, or in a course that focuses exclusively on climate change.
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Henry Lee, Natalie Unterstell, Shauna Theel, and Pinar De Neve