Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Academics pouring climate doom on Florida real estate prices.
Leading In A World On Fire: Putting Climate Change First
If today’s capitalism assumes a stable climate, what will it mean when that goes away? Suddenly falsified hidden assumptions are one of the most common causes of crisis. How bad will this one get and what will that mean for leaders? To find out, I spoke with Spencer and Rebecca Henderson, one of only 25 University Professors at Harvard (Harvard’s highest honor) and the author of Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire.
What will climate change do to the economy? Spencer said, “when I look at estimates that Florida will lose two or three or five or 10% of GDP, I laugh, and not happily…No individual in Florida should own their own home as a meaningful form of their own personal savings, because that wealth will go away.” Florida is a low and flat peninsula made of porous limestone. This makes its coasts incredibly vulnerable to flooding. This will, sooner or later, make new home buyers reluctant to take on a 30-year commitment when the insurance companies they depend can leave at any time. Banks, similarly, will be unwilling to make 30-year loans in Florida – making it different than everywhere else in the United States. The consequence will be the collapse of real estate prices in a state whose tax base is primarily driven by property taxes and whose economy depends on a constant inflow of people who purchase property.
The current rate of sea level rise does not pose a threat to Florida or anywhere else. But what if I’m wrong? What if alarmist predictions come to pass, and there is a sudden surge in sea level?
Academics like Spencer never seem to consider human ingenuity and problem solving.
The $2.8 Billion Plan To Protect Keys From Flooding Now Includes Raising Homes, Floodproofing — But No Buyouts
WLRN 91.3 FM | By Nancy Klingener
Published May 5, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
Adapting to climate change in the Florida Keys is going to carry big costs. Monroe County has already estimated the bill for raising county roads at $1.8 billion.
But help may be on the way from the federal government for other aspects of that adaptation: elevating homes and floodproofing businesses and infrastructure like hospitals, utilities and fire stations.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ latest recommended plan is meant to help the Keys cope with the increased flooding caused by climate change.
That plan, now estimated at almost $3 billion, includes shoring up six segments of the Overseas Highway and elevating nearly 4,700 homes. That is fewer than in an earlier draft — and the latest recommendation includes no buyouts.
If raising thousands of buildings to increase flood resilience seems radical, its actually a very old solution. People have been raising buildings for centuries. Much of Chicago was raised several yards in the 1850s, to improve flood resilience. Seattle, which also had flood problems, had a different approach. Instead of raising buildings, they raised the street level, but left the buildings alone, giving everyone a new basement, also giving Seattle an impressive network of underground passages.
And of course there are many other solutions. Italy’s Venice, instead of abandoning their beautiful city to the sea, they just kept building upwards, creating a unique water city serviced by a network of canals. Or the Netherlands, which has been holding back the sea for centuries with a network of dykes.
We might lose the occasional shifting sand barrier island, but nobody will abandon large chunks of valuable land they care about to rising seas. Whenever flooding becomes intolerable, for whatever reason, the land will simply be filled and built up until it is flood proof.
via Watts Up With That?
December 24, 2021 at 12:39PM