Typically, the question of where people will relocate due to the climate crisis focuses on the poorest people in the world’s population. An often-cited example is Delhi, a city of 33 million people that will become at least partially uninhabitable due to severe air pollution, temperatures that are often above 100 degrees F, and huge cyclones that can have wind speeds of 125 miles per hour. Miami’s super-rich are also predicted to have severe weather-related problems, based on climate scientists’ current forecasts that Miami-Dade will be 60% underwater by 2060. Although the current older wealthy generation will no longer be alive in 2060, they will be replaced by a migration of wealthy people who want to live somewhere with warm weather and no state taxes.
The Miami CSA (Combined Statistical Area) runs as far north as Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach and south as far as Key West. Hurricanes have already swamped and severely damaged many areas along the CSA coast. By 2040, sea levels along the East Coast of Florida are projected to be 10 to 17 inches above where they were in 2000. Recent data show the sea level is rising more rapidly than expected. As Vox recently reported, “When a hurricane rolls in, a few inches of sea level rise can lead to several more feet of storm surge — and billions of dollars more in damages.”
The super-rich have unlimited options for relocation, while the poor, in most cases, have none. Many have several homes, often in the New York area, in towns in the Western Mountains where they can ski, and in Europe. They have private jets. And, if the world faces a major catastrophe, some of the wealthiest have built bunkers in New Zealand. They are sometimes known as “preppers,” who can afford to make elaborate plans if they need to flee disasters.
The wealthiest Miami residents, in short, can go almost anywhere they want when the Atlantic Ocean submerges most of the city.
Most of Miami’s residents should be on notice. The richest will not be taking anyone with them.