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article imageThe cost of climate change: US seawalls to cost $416 billion

By Tim Sandle     Jun 20, 2019 in Environment
Rising seas are a product of climate change and to safeguard communities the U.S. will need to invest $416 billion over the course of the next 20 years in building viable constructs. More concerning, other costly measures will needed.
Defending against rising seas is set to total the initial investment in the interstate highway system, according to a report in The Guardian. The threat that parts of the U.S. faces in relation to rising sea levels is considerable. For example, if sea level rise upwards of 28 inches (70 centimeters) by 2050 then in the New York vicinity, Wall Street and Ellis Island could be swallowed up.
These measures are expensive. To take another example, if Miami-Dade was to construct a basic seawall defense system, the county would need to spend a whopping $3.2 billion for 267 miles of coastal barriers. Of all regions of the U.S., Florida faces the highest costs, $76 billion by 2040.
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina was the worst of the 2005 hurricane season, hitting New Orleans the hardest. Katrina was also one of the top five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history
Photo by au_tiger01
The alarming predictions, in relation to both potential sea level rises and the likely costs, come from the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI). . The report is titled [url= t=_blank]“High Tide Tax: The Price to Protect Coastal Communities from Rising Seas”.
According to CCI executive director Richard Wiles: "As a nation and as a global community, due to climate change, we are set to undertake the most dramatic economic and social transformation in human history. And yet no one has bothered to even estimate what the core components of climate adaptation will actually cost." These costs only apply to coastal cities with more than 25,000 residents; for smaller areas, these are out of the cost predictions. For hundreds of small coastal and tidal communities identified, the costs will most likely far outstrip the ability of these communities to pay.
The predictions are based on a model that estimates the cost of building sea walls all around the U.S. that could withstand the sea level rise expected by 2040. In fact, sea levels could easily rise more than the estimates used in the study. These predictions are run under relatively moderate carbon emissions scenarios, with support from the company Resilient Analytics.
Even those who do not elect to read the scientific consensus around climate change and its impact on sea levels (as reported by organizations like NASA), can take stock of the severe flooding and hurricanes that have impacted upon the U.S. and the fact that coastal areas will require significant spending to ride out future storms and rising sea levels.
More about seawall, seawalls, Climate change, Oceans
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