While Decker concedes "projecting future sea-level rise is quite difficult," the compact projects a rise of 3 to 7 inches by 2030, and 9 to 24 inches by 2060.
With images of crumpled sidewalks on A1Astill fresh in their minds, some elected officials are paying more attention to climate change.
There is enough understanding of the problem among South Florida politicians to suggest the issue will move forward regionally but not at the state level, said Leonard Berry, director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter.
"The local level is where the rubber meets the road, where the problems become visible," he said. "Mayors and commissioners on a bipartisan basis recognize that they have problems that they need to deal with."
Miami-Dade County commissioners unanimously approved a 2013 legislative agenda to lobby federal and state elected officials to adopt policies in line with the regional climate action plan. Commissioner Sally Heyman sponsored the item at the Jan. 23 meeting. Her district includes the coastal cities from Miami Beach to Golden Beach. Commissioners plan to discuss adopting the compact's action plan to align Miami-Dade's sea-level rise adaptation and mitigation plans with the region Tuesday.
Climate change "is a real concern to me," Heyman said. "Storm Sandy and Hurricane Sandy was a real awakening. We didn't get hurt bad, but it really eroded our beaches in Miami-Dade."
The erosion is dangerous because beaches, especially those with dunes, protect coastal development and infrastructure from flooding.
Sandy, which built into a Category 2 hurricane, was the biggest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, with winds spanning 1,100 miles. The damage estimate stands at $65 billion, second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"About 80 percent of our state is coastal," Heyman said. "It really got our attention with what happened in New York."
The storm didn't land in South Florida but coincided with extreme high tides in late October. In November, mid-Atlantic storms again combined with extreme tides to cause a second round of flooding around Thanksgiving.