Florida is known for its beaches, sunshine and palm trees. But in communities that are responding to climate change, palm lovers are being forced to face an inconvenient truth. Palms, which really aren't trees at all, don't do well in capturing carbon or in providing shade in overheated urban areas. But communities are finding that replacing palms with shade trees can be a touchy issue.
In Miami Beach, palms make up nearly 60% of the urban tree canopy. The city recently adopted a plan to reduce that percentage to 25% over the next 30 years.
"That's where I started raising the alarm so to speak, as to what could potentially be the phase out of palm trees," Commissioner Steven Meiner says.
Meiner voted for the plan and says he's all in favor of adding more shade trees. But he's working to protect the city's palms.