New Sea Level Rise Report Looks At Local Economic Consequences

New Sea Level Rise Report Looks At Local Economic Consequences

The Union of Concerned Scientists is out with a new report: Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate.

The highly detailed and interactive report warns that:

…sea level rise, driven primarily by climate change and even absent heavy rains or storms, puts more than 300,000 of today’s homes and commercial properties in the contiguous United States at risk of chronic, disruptive flooding within the next 30 years.

The report defines “chronic, disruptive flooding” as being a property being flooded at least 26 times a year from “high tides rising higher, and reaching farther inland, as sea levels rise.”

Go to the interactive map by zip code and see how your favorite coastal community is predicted to be doing by 2045.  For the entire South Carolina coast, here is what the report says that we can look forward to:

By 2045, 16,614 of today’s homes are at risk of becoming chronically inundated in South Carolina. Today those homes are worth a collective $8,692,319,653, house an estimated 23,825 people, and contribute $70,976,807 to the local property tax base.

The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce has been warning of the risks of rising seas for years. In 2013 we launched our SC Businesses Acting on Rising Seas (SCBARS) project to raise public and local government awareness about the need to prepare for sea level rise through resiliency measures and to reduce carbon pollution which is driving climate change and rising seas.

In December of 2014 we worked with Beaufort, SC, Mayor Billy Keyserling to form a sea level rise task force made up of concerned citizens, small businesses, elected officials, and municipal staff. The task force used interactive maps showing different levels of sea level rise to anticipate areas of inundation for the City of Beaufort and Town of Port Royal. Our report and recommendations for resiliency to adapt to a three-foot rise in sea level was released in May of 2017.

Such an effort is exactly what this Union of Concerned Scientists report encourages for coastal communities while ending with this poignant conclusion about climate change:

Whether we react to this threat by implementing science-based, coordinated, and  equitable solutions—or walk, eyes open, toward a crisis—is up to us right now.