Rising Sea Levels
Rising sea levels, as a consequence of climate change, pose a threat to millions of people worldwide. The East Coast is experiencing some of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the world. These rising seas have caused tidal flooding- coastal flooding that is influenced by tidal fluctuations rather than just precipitation or storm surges. Currently, repetitive tidal flooding is unfolding as one of the most visible signs of present-day climate change.
North Carolina Impact
North Carolina coastline residents are among the projected 4 to 13 million people exposed to chronic flooding by the year 2100. A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) revealed areas in the United States most at risk of becoming chronically inundated from high tides- flooding on average of 26 or more times a year. The Union of Concerned Scientists reports states that over 15,000 properties in North Carolina are at risk for serious flood damage by the year 2045, due to rising sea levels. This property damage would put approximately $4 billion of property value at risk.
This property damage would put approximately $4 billion of property value at risk.
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Follow the Money
The economic consequences for property value damage will affect communities differently. Communities already experiencing poverty levels above the national or state averages stand to lose more than those of their wealthier counterparts. Rachel Cleetus, an economist and policy director for the Climate and Energy Program at UCS states, “While wealthier homeowners may risk losing more of their net wealth, less-wealthy [homeowners] are in jeopardy of losing a greater percentage of what they own.” For the state of North Carolina, there’s more than just properties and property value at stake. For areas such as Wilmington, the Outer Banks, Brunswick Islands, and Pamlico Sounds tourism and revenue could also be affected due to decreasing popularity of vacation spots that are inundated with chronic floodings.
The Paris Agreement’s main goals are to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. Adherence to this agreement and limiting the loss of land-based ice can help avoid chronic flooding for approximately 87% of North Carolina’s at-risk homes by the end of the century. This would safeguard many homes, businesses, property values, and property tax revenue.
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