The $100 Billion Hurricane

Think a $100 billion hurricane can’t happen; think again. It already has. The Hurricane of 1821 has been analyzed by the re-insurance company Swiss Re. A re-insurance company insures insurance companies. They took at closer look at available information from the 1821 storm and determined that if it were to hit today, it would cause $100 billion in losses. Full report here, which they have just called, The Big One. 

Mind you folks, this is not  some meteorological fantasy; mother nature has already dished this one up for real. The reasons it would cause $100 billion in losses now are a combination of:

  • Much increased population since 1821
  • Much more development along the coast since 1821
  • Higher sea levels, approx 2 feet higher

Get the short version from a WNYC radio report here by Ilya Marritz.

Oh and when we were on the Swiss Re website, we noticed they have a whole tab devoted to Re Thinking.  Guess what most of that is about? Just sayin!

Part Two of Reuters Sea Level Rise Series

Mick Huckabee feels “blessed” to have a $3 million, 11,000 square foot beachfront vacation home in Florida. We think he is blessed to have federally subsidized flood insurance and a Florida DEP that basically looks the other way and approves every application to build houses where beaches and protective dunes really should be. That is just one of the stories in part 2 of Reuters’ series on Sea Level Rise.

Part 2 is as good as the first.  http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/waters-edge-the-crisis-of-rising-sea-levels/#article-2-against-the-tide  This is reporting at its best folks. I urge you to read the in-depth piece by Deborah J. Nelson, Ryan McNeill and Duff Wilson. 

Reuters Report on Sea Level Rise

Wallops Island, Virginia is a NASA base. The people who work there are rocket scientists, literally. But instead of moving the barrier island facility to a place it will be safe from sea level rise, they have spent $100 million on new buildings and $43 million on dredged sand to protect the island, half of which has washed away.

You have to give it to the reporters…who do excellent in-depth reporting.  This Reuters Report on Sea Level Rise is as informing as it is through. The Wallops Island tale is just one of many.  http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/waters-edge-the-crisis-of-rising-sea-levels/#article-1-insidious-invasion.  By Ryan McNeill, Deborah J. Nelson and Duff Wilson It is part of a series so look for posts on the other parts coming out soon.

Wallops_Island_-_Overview

NJ Rules Propose More Development in Coastal Zone

Please take a good look at the picture above.  The state of NJ just guaranteed that we will all go through that living hell again.

I guess the state didn’t get the message we posted yesterday about the Rutgers Climate Adaptation Alliance’s new reports on the impacts of climate change.  It seems like they learned nothing from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy either.

Because today was the final public hearing on a 1000-page overhaul of the state’s development rules in the coastal zone and guess what?  They call for more development in these areas while also making it easier to get these development permits.  Kirk Moore of the Asbury Park Press nails it here. 

Climate Impacts in NJ, Local Expert Reports

The Rutgers Climate Institute has done great things to help us Re-Think the Coast.  Most recently their “working briefs” as the NJ Climate Adaptation Alliance on climate impacts in NJ found here. The reports are available for download at that site, most are not too long, and they are full of good advice for the NJ Coast. Their working brief on Coastal Communities includes information on what other East Coast States are doing to deal with climate change and sea level rise.

There is much more on their website here http://climatechange.rutgers.edu/

Business as Usual is Risky Business

A new report called Risky Business is saying the US economy faces graves threats from global warming.  This report was not written by academics or environmental leaders, but by some serious capitalists like Henry Paulson and Michael Bloomberg, ably assisted by folks with extensive policy experience including George Schultz and Olympia Snowe.

They call climate change nature’s “interest-only” loan, which is the type of loan where you pay less now but pay much more later with higher risk and higher interest rates.  The report does not get into the solutions to climate change, it just examines the risks in terms of dollars and concludes that $507 billion worth of coastal property will be underwater by 2100 with a chance of another $730 billion inundated at high tide.  Forbes review by Mike Scott here