For low-income Americans, the number of homes at risk of flooding could triple by 2050, researchers say. Three Bay Area cities are among the top at-risk communities.
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Away from the headlines, there’s an important fight happening that is pitting real estate developers and utilities against efforts to make America’s new homes more climate friendly
The communities along the North Carolina coast are among the prettiest places in the state, but their seaside serenity comes with great risk. As climate change brings higher seas and churns up fiercer and more frequent storms, its impacts on the coastal real estate market and on housing practices are leaving some residents on shaky footing.
“Do I have 20 or 30 years before my property floods?” is a typical question I get at least once a week. The other day it was someone about a property in Ochlockee Bay, marked on the map, an hour’s drive south of Tallahassee in the Florida panhandle. Before that the request was about the Bahamas; prior to that, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Though I’ve written about this before, it’s worth revisiting and clarifying. Flooded streets, homes and businesses are becoming more and more common in coastal communities all over the world. Increasingly, people are realizing the reality of sea level rise (SLR) but have no sense of how soon and how high. In fact, the question is very complex. Let’s look at 4 issues that need to be considered to get the answer they seek.
Doris Brown’s walls used to be covered in photos of graduations and weddings, memorabilia not only of her life but of her eight siblings, who all grew up in her house in northeast Houston. She managed to save most of the pictures when Hurricane Harvey submerged the house in floodwaters in 2017. But the mold the storm left behind rotted the walls. She decided to keep the new walls bare.
Up and down the coastline, rising seas and climate change are transforming a fixture of American homeownership that dates back generations: the classic 30-year mortgage.
“Where catastrophe happens and physical climate really manifests itself, the public tab will end up carrying this,” said Ivan Frishberg, vice president for sustainability banking with Amalgamated Bank. “Everyone is exposed in this. I’ve had conversations with all of the big banks and we are kind of all aware of this.”
Fiercer weather and worsening wildfires drove more than 20 million people from their homes over the last decade ― a problem set to worsen unless leaders act swiftly to head off surging climate threats, anti-poverty charity Oxfam said on Monday.
By the end of this century, as many as 13 million people in the United States will see their homes affected by sea level rise. Millions more who live, work, or travel through coastal or riverine areas will be subjected to repeated flooding as severe weather events become more frequent and cause greater damage.
“The Green New Deal for Public Housing would transition the entire public housing stock of the United States, as swiftly and seamlessly as possible, into zero-carbon, highly energy-efficient developments that produce on-site renewable energy, expand workforce capacity and family self-sufficiency programs and focus on community development.”