New York, Miami and New Orleans to Flood

A study carried out recently by Nature Climate Change took a look at and analyzed past and present floods in the world and was able to predict the future floods that will take place concerning 136 cities. At the present time, the average global flood loss stands at $6 billion per year. That will increase in 2050 to an estimated $60 to $63 billion in the world.

This is primarily due to the fact the populations will increase in the coastal areas studies along with economic growth. Three major cities in the USA are going to be responsible for almost a third of the total cost of the average flood loss estimates that have been calculated by Nature Climate Change. Those cities are Miami, New York and New Orleans. The reason why? It’s simply because those three cities have largely inadequate flooding protection. Countries that have traditionally suffered from flooding in the past and have historically had to come to grips with the problem (such as Amsterdam or Rotterdam for instance) do not even rank on the list drawn up by Nature Climate Change.

Effects

There are some that will just pooh-pooh the story as yet another fantasizing white-lie by pro-green eco-warriors that have been blinded by the scaremongering. But it’s far from anything to do with purely and solely nature or climate change. This time it is the effect of man’s economic activity and over-population in those cities coupled with inadequate protection from flooding and rising sea-levels after 2050.

  • The study calculates that sea-levels will increase by 0.65 to 1.3 feet at that date.
  • This is due to the fact that the world’s ice cover is melting at a greater rate than at any time since records were first started.
  • The Arctic Sea ice shrank by 6% between 1978 and 1996.
  • Between the 1960s and 1996 the thickness was also cut from 3.1 meters to 1.8 meters.
  • That means a drop of roughly 40%.
  • The Arctic Greenland ice has thinned by 1 meter since 1993 each and every year.
  • The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (a satellite that measures fluctuations in the Earth’s gravity) has confirmed that ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are currently losing 300 billion tons of ice per year due to those fluctuations in gravity.
  • That has nothing to do with mere climate change.
  • Both areas make up 99.5% of the Earth’s ice.
  • This would increase sea levels by as much as 63 meters if they completely disappeared.
  • Average sea levels are on the increase by at least 2 millimeters per year at the present time.
  • However, some calculations have shown that there are increases as high as 3.2 millimeters, and state that the real rise in sea levels is 60% faster than anticipated today.

If flood defenses are not improved in major cities around the world, then calculations show that they had better start buying into factories churning out wellies and brollies or alternatively go into the fishing industry. Oh! Perhaps not a good idea! There won’t be any fish left, will there? By then, the Chinese will have emptied all of the oceans. If the Chinese ate fish as much as western people (which if you think about it, is relatively little in a week), then they would only need one year before they emptied the ocean of all of the fish that are there right now!

  • World consumption of fish has been on the up since the 1960s.
  • Back then world consumption stood at 9.9 kg per capita.
  • It’s nearing 20 kg per capita today.
  • Fish consumption has increased the most in China in the past three decades.
  • There are 107 million tons of fish available for consumption every year on average.
  • Africa consumes 7.6 million tons.
  • Asia (excluding China) consumes 36.9 million.
  • China consumes 33.6 million tons. Europe consumes 24.1 million.
  • The US and Canada consume 24.5 million tons.

After 2050, the cost of coastal flooding affecting those 136 cities around the world may be as high as $1 trillion in the worst-case scenario. There are absolutely no clear and effective decisions being taken to protect those cities from flooding in the future. Floods occur, cities get washed out and the country just wastes money rebuilding them.

  • Today 87 million people live along the coast in the USA.
  • That is an increase from the 47 million in 1960.
  • The study by Nature Climate Change has estimated that sea-level increases will account for just roughly $10 billion in losses.
  • But the rest will be due to population increases along the coastline.

Cost

According to a Professor of Coastal Engineering at the University of Southampton in the UK: “flood risk is rising in coastal cities globally due to a range of factors, including sea-level rise. Hence there is a pressing need to start planning how to manage flood risk now."

But, even with protection, this will be insufficient if the policymakers do not actually have plans in action to more adequately deal with the evacuation of people from cities and if they continue building infrastructure that will get washed away like match sticks.

  • Superstorm Sandy in October-November 2012 kept the New York Stock Exchange closed for two days.
  • Nearly 8 million businesses were without electricity.
  • Gas rationing took place in New York City.
  • Estimated costs stood at $36.8 billion for New Jersey.
  • $29.4 billion was the estimated cost of repairs there also.
  • New York City estimated its damage to be at $19 billion.
  • $15 billion was not covered by insurance.
  • New York State’s losses were estimated at $41.9 billion.

Perhaps some might suggest that the problem in the US concerning infrastructure stems from the fact that there are three entities that are responsible for different stages of the projects: local, state and federal agencies. If that were changed, then it may improve the defense projects. There is global investment in projects such as sea walls and levees that stands at $50 billion today.

Even with the protection systems, the cities of New York, Miami and New Orleans will flood. The protection systems coupled with the policies to evacuate people and warning systems will simply reduce the consequences of that. Consequences such as those felt after Superstorm Sandy will occur according to the report.

Without investment in large scale protection programs, those cities will suffer considerable financial losses.

 

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tothetick

Professional team of writers/analysts analyzing the financial markets.

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