Tuesday, August 20, 2013

OECD study warns of nine-fold increase in losses from flooding of major coastal cities

Frank McDonald in the Irish Times: Vulnerable coastal cities could suffer a nine-fold increase in losses from flooding over the next 40 years due to a combination of climate change, rapid population increases, economic growth and land subsidence, according to a new report.

The report, commissioned by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD), estimates that average global flood losses of €4.5 billion a year in 2005 could rise to €39 billion by 2050 with projected socio-economic change alone.

Future Flood Losses in Major Coastal Cities, published in Nature Climate Change, examines 136 of the world’s largest coastal cities as part of an ongoing OECD project to explore the policy implications of flood risks due to climate change and economic development.

The cities most at risk, as measured by annual average losses due to floods, include Miami, New York, New Orleans, Boston and Tampa-St Petersburg in the US, Guangzhou and Shenzen in China, Mumbai in India, Nagoya and Osaka-Kobe in Japan and Vancouver in Canada.

Due to their high wealth and low protection, three American cities – Miami, New York and New Orleans – account for 31 per cent of the losses across all 136 cities. Adding Guangzhou, the four top cities account for 43 per cent of global losses (as of 2005).

However, if measured in terms of annual losses as a proportion of a city’s wealth, the most vulnerable would be Guangzhou, Guayaquil in Ecuador, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam and Abidjan, capital of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Dublin was not included....

The Chelsea Piers in New York City, shot by Marcel René Kalt alias Groovio, Wikimedia Commons,  under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

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