Climate Change Could Crush Coastal Cities

August 3, 2016

Earlier this year, scientists estimated that if carbon emissions continue unabated, sea levels could rise six feet by the year 2100. If that’s the case, cities along the coast will have to act fast.

Zillow Porchlight reports that if the U.S. were to experience a six-foot sea level rise today, 1.87 million homes in the United States valued at $882 billion would be flooded. Florida, with 934,411 homes worth $413 million, would bear the brunt of the damage.

Cities are preparing for the rising tides in different ways (even if carbon emissions are cut down, sea levels may rise two feet over the next 80 years). Manhattan, built on a strong foundation of granite bedrock, is working on a barrier system known as “the Big U.” Miami Beach, Fla., is spending $500 million on installing pumps and raising roads and sea walls.

South Florida, however, has a porous bedrock, so building barriers on spongy foundation won’t do any good. If the sea levels rise too high, people on the coast will have to migrate inward, which will create a whole new set of problems.

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