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OECD Estimates Future Flood Costs In Coastal Cities

by afew Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 10:41:22 AM EST

From OECD:

Climate change combined with rapid population increases, economic growth and land subsidence could lead to a more than 9-fold increase in the global risk of floods in large port cities between now and 2050.

Future Flood Losses in Major Coastal Cities, (full paper attached above) published in Nature Climate Change, is part of an ongoing OECD project to explore the policy implications of flood risks due to climate change and economic development. This study builds on past OECD work which ranked global port cities on the basis of current and future exposure, where exposure is the maximum number of people or assets that could be affected by a flood.

The authors estimate present and future flood losses - or the global cost of flooding - in 136 of the world's largest coastal cities, taking into account existing coastal protections. Average global flood losses in 2005, estimated at about US$6 billion per year, could increase to US$52 billion by 2050 with projected socio-economic change alone.

The cities ranked most `at risk' today, as measured by annual average losses due to floods, span developed and developing countries: Guangzhou, Miami, New York, New Orleans, Mumbai, Nagoya, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Boston, Shenzen, Osaka-Kobe, and Vancouver. The countries at greatest risk from coastal city flooding include the United States and China. Due to their high wealth and low protection level, three American cities (Miami, New York City and New Orleans) are responsible for 31% of the losses across the 136 cities. Adding Guangzhou, the four top cities explain 43% of global losses as of 2005.

Total dollar cost is one way to assess risk. Another is to look at annual losses as a percentage of a city's wealth, a proxy for local vulnerability. Using this measure, Guangzhou, China; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam; Abidjan, Ivory Coast are among the most vulnerable. These cities are shown in map 1 of the paper.

To estimate the impact of future climate change the study assumes that mean sea level, including contributions from melting ice sheets, will rise 0.2-0.4 meters by 2050. In addition, about a quarter of the 136 cities are in deltas and exposed to local subsidence and local sea level change, especially where groundwater extraction accelerates natural processes.

An important finding of this study is that, because flood defences have been designed for past conditions, even a moderate rise in sea level would lead to soaring losses in the absence of adaptation. Inaction is not an option as it could lead to losses in excess of $US 1 trillion. Therefore, coastal cities will have to improve their flood management, including better defences, at a cost estimated around US$50 billion per year for the 136 cities.

Even with better protection, the magnitude of losses will increase, often by more than 50%, when a flood does occur. According to Dr. Stephane Hallegatte, lead author of the study, "There is a limit to what can be achieved with hard protection: populations and assets will remain vulnerable to defence failures or to exceptional events that exceed the protection design". To help cities deal with disasters when they do hit, policy makers should consider early warning systems, evacuation planning, more resilient infrastructure and financial support to rebuild economies.

The report also notes that large increases in port city flood risk may occur in locations that are not vulnerable today, catching citizens and governments off-guard. The five cities with the largest estimated increase in flood risk in 2050 are Alexandria, Egypt; Barranquilla, Colombia; Naples, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Map 2 shows the 20 cities where flood risks will increase most by 2050.

You can dl the paper here (pdf).

Yes, but if you think, as our elites seem to, that it's a hoax / isn't a large as people think / is some natural cycle of the weather which will revert / will all go away when their god stops testing the libruls, then these figures are merely sent to test their resolve. But have nothing to do with anything they actually have to deal with

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 04:44:02 PM EST
If I featured them, it's because they are actually coming from the OECD, which, as an authoritative "postwar institution" plugging free-trade international capitalism, is kinda the home side.

Since "our elites" can be said to fall into two categories, those who have skin in the game, and those who, to earn their living/satisfy their ego, act as frontmen for the former, anything that makes it harder for the frontmen to push specious narratives is welcome.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 01:58:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
can be perfectly observed as a problem, even for those ignoring the anthropogenic influence on the earth's climate. The rise of the waters is a phenomenon that has been ongoing for thousands of years.

Rapidly expanding establishments at the shoreline is just another example when relative short-term human actions bear great risks on the geological long-term scale.

In an environment where exposure to risks is more frequent, people will adapt to that risk. This explains why Amsterdam is mentioned in the study as a city with an extremely high exposure to flooding, but a really low estimate of estimated losses.

by Bjinse on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 06:29:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Naples mean the city or the suburbs? In the latter case, are they talking about the risk from the sea rising or the land sinking, if they have another sequence of bradyseisms?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 04:53:22 PM EST
The detailed data is not available in the paper. However, they speak of "urban agglomerations".

From their "Methods" section, it doesn't appear that they considered potential seismic events as a contributing factor.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 02:08:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the city of Miami is doomed to drown - Rolling Stone
By century's end, rising sea levels will turn the nation's urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin.

... And if sea-level rise happens slowly enough and Miami doesn't get hit with a hurricane and the drinking-water supply doesn't go bad and the real-estate market doesn't crash and the beaches aren't washed away, the city of Miami may well have time to transform itself into a modern Venice.

But more likely, the ocean will seep slowly into the city, higher and higher every year, until a big storm comes along and devastates the place and people begin to question the wisdom of living in a world that is slowly drowning. The potential for chaos is self-evident as Miami becomes a place people flee from rather than flock toward.

...One of the biggest uncertainties in Miami's future is how the rest of America will feel about rescuing the city. Nobody questioned the wisdom of spending $40 billion in tax dollars to rebuild after Katrina and another $60 billion to help rebuild after Sandy, but will they feel the same about Miami - land of millionaires and beach condos - when the time comes? Not that everyone doesn't love Miami. But at some point, Congress is going to balk at spending $50 billion to rebuild the city every time a tropical storm passes by.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 05:42:30 PM EST

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