To be sure, some startups and notable tech executives, like Peter Thiel associate Keith Rabois, have already settled in South Florida, and there are clear attractions to working outside in the new work-from-home era. Miami now features startup incubators, investment funds, and even a few highly valued companies—although some of them, like the once hyped Magic Leap, have wasted billions without producing much at all. Never missing an opportunity to insert himself into a news story, Elon Musk has also talked about building underground transport tunnels—a ridiculous possibility for a flood-prone city but one that was, of course, taken seriously by Musk’s peers and Suarez, who discussed the possible project with Musk by phone.
Climate change is the unacknowledged complication in the campaign to transform Miami into a tech hub. (It went unmentioned in Nellie Bowles’s recent tour through techie Miami in the Times.) With typical irrational exuberance, the companies and tech leaders settling there seem to be either ignorant of the problem or so cosseted by money that it’s barely a concern: They’ll simply pull up stakes and move on when the rising tides start sloshing onto their pool decks. The rich know that climate change is a proletariat problem.
Miami is “the most vulnerable major coastal city in the world,” according to a scientific report published last year. Suarez claims to be committed to fighting global warming. He speaks of climate resiliency and improving infrastructure, and he has engaged with leaders in South Florida and around the world on the issue. It’s strange, then, that he has rolled out the red carpet for an industry that apparently has little strategy to deal with climate change beyond aspiring toward carbon neutrality.
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