Thursday, September 3, 2009

Coastal home owners face huge losses from rising sea

Reuters: There's a sign in the heart of Florida's Everglades wetlands that sums up the threat of rising sea levels. Located many miles from any coast, it reads "Rock Reef Pass -- Elevation 3 feet." Coastal authorities in Florida routinely replenish beaches by dredging sand from offshore or importing it from the Carribbean.

…In New York City, with more than 8 million people, a sea level rise of 1.5 feet by 2050 and a category 3 hurricane could wash away seaside restaurants and centuries-old homes perched along Rockaway Beach and near the famed Coney Island boardwalk. Southern Brooklyn and Queens, Wall Street in lower Manhattan, and eastern Staten Island could also end up underwater.

In California, nearly $100 billion worth of coastal property and infrastructure are at risk of severe flooding from rising sea levels, warns the Pacific Institute, an environmental think-tank. Likely flood casualties include the San Francisco and Oakland international airports, 3,500 miles (5,630 km) of roads and 280 miles (450 km) of railways, 140 schools, 30 power plants and 29 wastewater treatment plants, said the Institute.

In Sydney, a city of four million people, its coastal sewage and stormwater systems work on gravity and rising sea levels and storm surges threat to overload the ageing infrastructure.

…"I do not believe that a commercial (insurance) product, on present analysis, is viable," says Karl Sullivan, general manager, policy risk and disaster planning directorate, Insurance Council of Australia. Risk averse insurance firms, with their passion for actuarial tables and probabilities, are as much in the dark as everyone else when it comes to the unknown consequences of climate change....

Hurricane Rita evacuees leave Galveston, Texas, 2005, shot by FEMA

1 comment:

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