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Rhode Island Senator Tours New River To Get Look At Rising Seas

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – There was an unusual walking tour in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday night -- a tour of sea level rise.

Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse walked along the New River with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and other officials to get a firsthand look at sea level rise and its impacts, including stronger and more potent weather events.

"Climate change loads the dice for worse and more weather catastrophes," Whitehouse said.

Seiler said he's grateful Whitehouse wanted to visit South Florida to learn about how rising oceans are affecting and will affect this area.

CLICK HERE to watch Carey Codd's report

The senator even saw water coming up through a storm drain during seasonal high tides, known as King Tides. Seiler also hopes federal officials are prepared to do their part to deal with a potential of three to seven inches of sea level rise by 2030, according to scientists.

"This is an environmental issue but it's an economic issue," Seiler said. "And the US government needs to recognize that just like the local government has recognized that."

Seiler said that means stronger and more expensive infrastructure to prepare and building codes that adapt to a changing environment.

"We all are going to need to prepare for that," Whitehouse said. "We need to have the resources available to invest in that infrastructure, build those protections and make sure that we can keep living life the way we want to."

CBS4 has learned that Whitehouse has toured areas up and down the East Coast to see how climate change is affecting states outside his home state of Rhode Island. He said he believes there is one critical thing that politicians can do to limit the effects of climate change.

"Get a proper price on carbon and try to reduce the carbon pollution before it overwhelms Fort Lauderdale, beats too hard against Rhode Island's shores and creates all the other damage that's coming at us," he said.



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