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Coastal Seawall Means Some Protection But High Cost

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Coastal Seawall Means Some Protection But High Cost

By: Adam M. Matheny

Recent Study Shows Seawall Costs for Coastal Communities to Hit $400 Billion by 2040

According to a recent study, as the climate continues to heat up, rising sea levels will require 22 states to build some form of seawall or barrier. This covers over 50,000 miles (80,000km) of coastline at a cost in the billions of dollars, which comes close to the cost of our interstate system.

This study, titled, ” High Tide Tax: The Price to Protect Coastal Communities from Rising Seas,” published by the Center for Climate Integrity in partnership with Resilient Analytics reports that of the 22 states, Florida is likely to suffer the most. Projected costs will be in excess of $70 billion, including 23 counties in which the costs are expected to exceed $1 billion each. This breaks down to $100,000 per person.

The First of Its Type

This new report is the first of its kind and ranks the estimated cost of sea-level rise adaptation by state, congressional district, county, and city. The figures were calculated using a moderate-case sea-level rise rather than the worst-case. It found that with the rise expected by 2040, and factor in annual storm surges anticipated, there are 132 counties in which costs may exceed $1 billion. Along with this there are 14 states where the cost of minimal protection will be in excess of $10 billion.

The news is worse for hundreds of small coastal and tidal communities. The report shows that the cost of such protection will far outweigh their ability to pay, leaving them few choices. For many abandonment and retreating further inland may seem like the only choices unless vast amounts of financial assistance should become available soon.

Climate Adaption

Richard Wiles, Executive Director of the Center for Climate Integrity, says that Our collective failure to come to grips with the massive costs of climate adaptation is the latest and most delusional form of climate denial.”

But these figures are calculated using a mid-range sea-level rise. We could face higher sea levels than used for the report, but unlikely to see lower. On top of this, many of these coastal communities will also spend more to protect from damaging excessively damaging storms. Paul Chinowsky, Ph.D., lead engineer on the project, had this to say, ” The cost estimates presented here are just a small portion of the total adaptation costs these local and state governments will be forced to finance.”

Oil and Gas Companies Aren't Paying Anything

Currently, according to the Center for Climate Integrity, gas and oil companies along with many other top polluters are paying anything to offset these costs. And has been said in courtrooms across the world, they still do not feel they should have to now or in the future.

Executive Director of the Center for Climate Integrity, Wiles went on to say, ” Failing to hold polluters to this basic responsibility would be to knowingly bankrupt hundreds of communities, standing idly by as they are slowly and inexorably swallowed up by the sea. The companies that made and promoted the products that they knew would irrevocably and radically alter the global climate, and then denied it, must pay their fair share to help communities adapt to it.”

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