Rising Seas Will Cost at Least $400 Billion in the U.S.
Protecting roads, railways, and other public infrastructure from rising seas is going to be expensive. A recent report from the Center for Climate Integrity and Resilient Analytics is the first to tally the costs—an estimated $400 billion over the next 20 years. “Protecting America from climate change will be the most all-encompassing transformation of civil society ever undertaken,” the report authors say, calling the task “an unprecedented reinvention of the world we live in.”
The report focuses on construction of seawalls and relies on conservative estimates. For example, it looks only at storm surge from one-year storms, because these are nearly guaranteed to happen annually, rather than at 100-year or 500-year storms. It projects only modest sea-level-rise, assuming some reductions in carbon emissions. “This conservative approach is by design and is intended to shine a light on near-term costs and choices that cannot be avoided,” the report notes.
The expense per capita in many communities will be enormous, contends the report, exceeding $1 million in many areas (the highest estimated cost per capita is $7,155,000 in Junction City, Washington). The authors recommend holding fossil fuel companies accountable for at least some of these expenses.
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Center for Climate Integrity
Published December 2, 2019 Permalink