In an interview with CNN, U.S. Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, offered a reason as to why there was a partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, while they discussed President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan. Climate change.
The CNN host started her question by mentioning “extraordinary” weather events in Florida before asking, “Do you think that climate, could have played a role in this building’s collapse?”
“Obviously, we don’t know fully, but we do know that the seas are rising,” Granholm responded.
“I mean, we know that we’re losing inches and inches of beaches, not just in Florida but all around. You know, Lake Michigan, where I’m from, you know, we’ve seen the loss of beaches because the waters are rising, so, you know, this is a phenomenon that will continue, whether we’ll have to wait to see what the analysis is for this building,” she continued.
Granholm wasted no time to lobby Biden’s infrastructure package.
She said, “But the issue about resiliency and making sure we adapt to this change in climate, that means levees need to be built, sea walls need to be built, that means infrastructure needs to be built.”
Granholm added, “We need to make sure that we invest enough in clearing out the forests, so we don’t have these weather events. We need to invest in hardening our transmission lines, maybe burying wires so that we can protect areas that are tinderbox dry. There’s so much investment we need to do to protect ourselves from climate change but also address it and mitigate it, and hopefully, these infrastructure bills, when taken together, will make a huge step and allow America to lead again.”
The New York Post reported an inspection done by an engineer in 2018 which found “major structural damage” throughout the complex. This includes under the pool deck, as well as the concrete columns and beams in the garage.
A coastal ecologist and geoscientist from the Florida International University, Professor Stephen Leatherman, told reporters from Agence France-Presse in an interview that he doesn’t believe climate change led to the building’s collapse as there isn’t any evidence.
“I doubt that that was an issue here,” said Leatherman. “Big thing they worry about here are hurricanes, beach erosion, flooding, all those issues. But the collapse of a building is new. We haven’t ever seen this before, particularly a high-rise building.”
The Post wrote, “Rather, a lack of reinforcement in the doomed structure’s construction, or perhaps water damage that eventually compromised its foundations, are more likely culprits, Leatherman told the news outlet.”
According to Fox News, there are still 149 people unaccounted for and 12 deaths as a result of the collapse.