Coastal Cities Will Pay Dearly for Climate Change

15 Mar

Rotterdam is one of the many coastal cities that will be severely impacted by climate change. Some cities will see major effects within just the next 13 years.

Rotterdam stands to lose more than any other coastal cities in the near term. Photo: Shutterstock

Climate change is, as far as the overwhelming majority of scientists and non-scientists alike, a process that is happening and which poses a significant threat to humanity, not to mention our neighbors among other species.

According to a study in Frontiers in Marine Science, climate change is going to have a huge cost for coastal cities in Europe. By 2030, annual economic losses in 19 major coastal cities in Europe could be as much as $1.2 billion a year, and as much as $40 billion a year by 2100.

Rotterdam is at the top of the potential loss list; it could be losing $240 million a year by 2030. In the longer term, Istanbul could be losing as much as $10 billion a year by 2100.

“We believe this information to be highly relevant for decision making as it helps provide a much precise, deeper understanding of the risk faced,” the researchers write in their paper.

2030 is only 13 years away, and if a company like Apple ran the risk of losing that much a year, even over a decade down the road, they’d be concerned. So too should governments and businesses in coastal cities be concerned. While the study focused on Europe, two thirds of the cities in the world with over 5 million people are coastal. Many of the major economic centers in the United States, regardless of size, are coastal as well.

The researchers behind the study are urging policy-makers to introduce risk assessment under uncertainty into their decision-making processes rather than relying on traditional models of climate change effect.

“In line with the level of risk in each coastal city and the risk aversion of decision-makers, adaptation measures will need to be implemented in the near future in order to avoid critical damage,” the researchers wrote. “These decisions should be taken into account the time needed to adapt.”

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