Monday, June 22, 2009

Climate effects will displace 78% of Galveston County, Texas

Environmental Protection Online: Galveston-area sea level rise over the next 100 years due to climate change could displace more than 100,000 households and create more than $12 billion in infrastructure losses, according to a report commissioned by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and British Consulate-General Houston, "The Socio-Economic Impact of Sea Level Rise in the Galveston Bay Region."

"The study's conservative estimates of sea level rise show that 78 percent of current households will be displaced in Galveston County alone," said Amy Hardberger, attorney for EDF. "Galveston residents and their community are already experiencing the effects of climate change and will be even more impacted in the future."

Galveston, Harris, and Chambers counties were the focus of the study, which used an economic model to assess the impact of both conservative and aggressive sea level rise estimates over the next 100 years on households, buildings, industrial and hazardous material sites, and water treatments plants. It includes a scenario with a Hurricane Ike-level storm.

"Climate change is happening," said David Yoskowitz, co-author of the report and Endowed Research Professor for Socio-Economics at the Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. "It is not a hypothetical, it is a fact. Sea level rise is occurring in Galveston Bay as well as around the Gulf of Mexico, this is another fact.

…Under aggressive sea level rise estimates, about 93 percent of Galveston County's households would be displaced, which is about 1.3 percent of all Texas households and equivalent to the entire city of Corpus Christi. Under both scenarios looking at all three counties, at least 23 public facilities and industrial sites will be impacted, begging many questions about how government agencies will work to move or protect these sites….

Searching the wreckage in Galveston, Texas, after the 1900 hurricane

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