A lot of people are either ignoring global warming and rising sea levels or they are being a sounding board for the cause. Set science aside for a minute, and you get to focus on the data behind how global warming is going to affect the coastal real estate in the United States.
How Rising Sea Levels Will Drown Our Coastal Real Estate [Infographic At Bottom]
By 2045, global warming is projected to raise sea levels by 2 ft. Just an inch increase in sea level moves the ocean 100 inches inland. This 2 ft increase in sea levels equates to 2,400 inches (200 ft) of water moving inland. Coastal real estate, water treatments, plant and animal life, and major coastal economies can be destroyed by the rising sea levels.
Insurance Companies Will Go Bankrupt
Coastal Real Estate that has the potential to be affected by this rise in sea levels is valued at $117.4 Billion. What happens to our economy when there’s $117.4B dollars worth of real estate that gets damaged and may not be able to be replaced if the water levels are sitting too high?
Insurance companies will go bankrupt trying to pay out premiums to coastal homeowners.
If your insurance company goes bankrupt without a bailout from the government, then that means that you are not going to get money to repair or replace your home.
Most times, small insurance companies will get bought out by larger national insurance companies. Your safest option would be to go with a large national insurance company that has a better chance of getting bailed out if you’re in a coastal area that’s going to be subject to flooding.
In 2017, the National Flood Insurance Program had to pay out more than $8B in flood insurance to homeowners. At the end of 2017, Trump wrote a bill that provided $16B in debt relief for NFIP.
The NFIP can only have $30B in debt from the National Treasury at any given time, so a massive payout on floods will either bankrupt NFIP or it will increase our national debt as we print money off and waive the debts for these companies. There’s a potential for $117B in damages, but the maximum amount NFIP can borrow is $30B…
Drowning Home Values In Coastal Real Estate
Owning a beach house is pretty awesome, but it’s also pretty expensive to purchase a house close to the beach – for now at least. As the risk of living in coastal real estate continues to rise with the sea levels, the values of these homes will begin to decline as people will start moving out of them.
When the trend of homes flooding consistently begins to occur, insurance companies will catch on and begin to raise the cost of owning a flood insurance policy, making home ownership of coastal real estate even more expensive and driving people away.
As demand decreases over time, the values of these homes will dip accordingly.
What happens when you buy a beach house for $800,000 and in ten years it’s only worth $425,000 because flood insurance is so outrageous and surges from rising waters make living there more dangerous?
Banking On Tourism
In coastal beach areas, Skift says a 2 ft rise in sea level would result in loss or damage to 21 airports, flooding of land around ports, and at least 149 multimillion dollar resorts being damaged or lost from coastal erosion.
If you only consider Virginia Beach, in 2016 tourism brought in 15.2 million visitors with the average spending per person visiting was $1,955. This pans out to $29.7B dollars in revenue solely from beach tourism and only in one city, in a single year.
Obviously, tourism along the coast is a massive industry, supporting numerous major cities and hubs. If the sea levels rise too high and the waters flood the resorts and real estate and erode the beaches then tourism will cease to support local massive economies.
Taking away $29B in annual revenue from a city will cause job losses, bankruptcies, foreclosures, relocations, higher taxes, etc.
Water Treatment Centers Wasted
According to Weather.com, “a 3-foot rise, 8.4 million would lose wastewater treatment services. At 6 feet, the number jumps to 27.8 million.
During Hurricane Harvey, some 40 wastewater treatment centers in the Houston area were shut down, while 10 billion gallons of sewage were dumped into New York City’s East River, Hudson River and New York Harbor during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.”
California is the most vulnerable state in minimal sea-level rise scenarios, followed by New York, New Jersey and Virginia. More than half a million residents in each of these states could lose access to wastewater services with 1 ft of sea level rise, while a 2 ft sea level rise would mean a combined 5.4 million people in these four states might not be able to flush the toilet.
Elsewhere, like Florida, Maryland and Massachusetts, the numbers of people potentially exposed to a loss of service increase dramatically for larger rises in sea level.
If you can’t flush your toilet or you don’t have access to wastewater services, that makes your home uninhabitable.
Endangering Animals With Sea Levels
Sea level rise is predicted to significantly impact the coastal environment in the coming century. Check out a more expansive list of marine problems that are caused by climate changes.
Rising sea levels will cause flooding in lowlands; increase the saline content of ground water; and increase erosion of land. It will also intensify storms which are related to warmer ocean water.
This will affect animal species thriving in the coastal ecosystem, which will have to migrate. Rising sea levels are endangering animals by altering their habitats.
According to the IPCC, rising sea level will have a number of impacts in the coastal environment, including wetland and coastal flooding, erosion, salinization of soil and aquifers and the loss of fish, birds and a wide variety of other animal’s habitats.