While Florida should do its best to avoid global warming, it should also prepare for it by discouraging new building along coasts that could be under water one day, a coalition of environmental groups said Wednesday.
"We need to be particularly thoughtful about determining where we're going to build our homes and businesses, and what actions we're going to take when these structures are threatened by rising seas," said David Godfrey, executive director of the Caribbean Conservation Corp., one of the members of the Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition.
The group is calling on state and local government to minimize beach front development in light of the possibility that today's beaches could be in tomorrow's ocean.
The state could target its program for buying environmentally sensitive property toward buying more beach front land, Godfrey said. It could also offer tax incentives for developers to shun beaches for more inland areas.
The state's leading home builder group disagrees that development along the beaches should be reconsidered.
Noting that 80 percent of the state's population lives within 20 miles of the coast - and wants to live close to the beach - Florida Home Builders Association spokeswoman Edie Ousley said the group wouldn't support a wholesale shift of development away from the oceans. That would only create sprawl, she said.