By Jeff McMahon
It could cost more than $120 billion to protect New York City from rising seas and storm surges expected by the end of this century, according to a Rutgers University expert on climate change effects on sea level.
But the risk to New York is even higher: almost $170 billion in property losses alone.
Bob Kopp, associate director of the Rutgers Energy Institute, offered what he called this “rough guesstimate” of costs at the University of Chicago last week in response to queries by Chicago economics professor Michael Greenstone, former chief economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.
“You know we’re going to spend every single dollar to protect Manhattan,” Greenstone said.
Kopp outlined the risks before he priced the solution.
“In New York City itself you’ve got about $170 billion worth of property (at risk), which is why Michael says we’ll spend anything to protect it,” he said. “You’ve got about a million people, about a third of whom are high social vulnerability. You’ve got about 400,000 homes, a whole bunch of EMS stations, fire stations and hospitals. So this is what’s threatened.”
In fact, according to Climate Central, $168 million worth of New York City property is at risk of flooding from a nine-foot rise in sea level, 930,000 people live in those areas in 400,000 housing units, alongside 65 fire and EMS stations and 28 hospitals.
But inundation is not the only threat…
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