Coral Gables, Florida Mayor James Cason, swayed by modeling showing his city partially underwater in just a few decades, says he spends as much time thinking about climate change as he does trash collection and other typical municipal functions.

“You know, I’d read some articles here and there,” the Republican mayor recalls, “but I didn’t realize how impactful [sea level rise] would be on the city that I’m now the leader of.”

Coral Gables, where Cason has held office for six years, is a seaside town not far from Miami. He had officials map the entire city’s elevation and identified priority at-risk places such as school, hospitals and evacuation routes.

“History is not going to look kindly on us as elected leaders for not taking a leadership position,” Cason said though he admitted his constituents don’t necessarily share his concern.

“I want to be able to say, ‘we told you about this,'” Cason said.