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Skipped Showers, Paper Plates: An Arizona Suburb’s Water Is Cut Off

For hundreds of Arizona homeowners, the American dream has become a climate-driven nightmare. A fierce competition for water amidst decades of drought has left residents of upscale Rio Verde without running taps. What is your half-million-dollar home really worth when your toilets are flushed with rainwater and you’re eating off paper plates?

“Is it just a campground now?” one resident asked The New York Times. The answer might be yes. As one of her first acts, new Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs unsealed a report concluding Phoenix’s fast-growing West Valley is well short of the 100-year supply of water required by law — a revelation throwing tens of thousands of planned homes into doubt.

“It’s a cautionary tale for home buyers,” Arizona State University’s Sarah Porter told the Times. “We can’t just protect every single person who buys a parcel and builds a home. There isn’t enough money or water.”

Clearly, the calculus for home builders and buyers alike has changed. Proper due diligence not only requires developable land or proximity to schools, but also secure supplies of fresh water and related climate adaptation measures. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how our tools can help home builders — and soon, home buyers — incorporate these factors into future planning.

#climaterisks #megadrought #climateadaptation #extremeheat #watermanagement

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Fed Banks Stress Test for Physical Transitional Risks

The Federal Reserve’s mandate for America’s largest financial institutions to submit their plans for addressing climate risks now has a deadline: July 31. Six banks — Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo — are required by then to disclose how climate disasters such as floods, droughts, heatwaves, and other extreme weather will impact portfolios.

Banks have always stress-tested their assets to determine how financial shocks might ripple through their holdings. The Fed’s new “pilot climate scenario analysis exercise” takes this a step further with a specific climate wargaming exercise set in the northeastern United States, and a more general analysis of how the unfolding energy transition to renewables might leave their balance sheets full of stranded assets such as coal mines or natural gas plants.

These disclosures address both sides of the risk coin: “physical risks” — climate risks tied directly to property, assets, and people — and “transition risks” arising from increasingly rapid decarbonization and the sunsetting of formerly lucrative fossil fuel infrastructure. The latter sends the signal that despite Chairman Jerome Powell’s insistence that “We are not, and will not be, a ‘climate policymaker,’” the Fed is serious about parsing the implications of 2021’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.  

“This requirement is notable for several reasons, most specifically through the inclusion of transition risk,” says Michael Ferrari, chief scientific officer and chief commercial officer of Climate Alpha. “Addressing climate-related risks requires both mitigation and adaptation. With transition risks in the conversation, we can start to have serious discussions about the adaptation measures,” he adds.

Also notable is the Fed’s decision to model physical risks in a specific region prone to sea-level rise, hurricanes, and other disasters. Understanding how a singular event — such as a Category 5 hurricane landfall in lower Manhattan — might unfold in terms of immediate damage to infrastructure and real estate, followed by longer-term outward migration and declines in both economic growth and tax revenues, requires new tools combining both climate- and socio-economic variables.

“Modelling scenarios through 2050 is necessary, and mitigation measures need to increase, but these do not go far enough,” says Ferrari. “As we watch the frequency and severity of climate disruptions mount in real time, investors and regulators need new and better tools to understand consequences. This is why the adaptation requirement, which is so important, is starting to get the attention it deserves.”

As the first company of its kind to employ machine-learning techniques to combine hundreds of socioeconomic, demographic and market indicators with multiple climate scenarios, Climate Alpha stands alone in offering both the Fed and America’s biggest banks sufficiently complex forecasts of our climate-driven future.

“Climate Alpha is uniquely positioned to not only help large institutions, but all lenders, investors, risk managers, and property owners and buyers prepare for – and sensibly deploy capital under – the backdrop of future climate driven volatility,” Ferrari adds.

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Climate Data Startups Take Science Off Campus and Into Boardrooms

Bloomberg Green’s Eric Roston names Climate Alpha a startup to watch in Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual Year Ahead issue. “As climate science has moved out of the lab, private companies and nonprofits offering insights to decision-makers have proliferated, and demand for useful information will only grow in 2023,” he writes, noting roughly $375 million in VC and PE investment flowed into the sector during the first three quarters of 2022 alone. (Climate Alpha closed its own $4 million seed round in Q4.) 

“Climate science is in an awkward teenage phase,” says Kelly Hereid, director of catastrophe R&D at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. “The next step is thinking not just about how the climate is going to change, but how that’s going to affect society.”

Exactly. As the only company of its kind combining migration and socio-economic variables with climate models, we’re uniquely positioned to help our customers understand the second- and third-order effects of a changing climate — starting with pockets of resilient geographies that were previously overlooked. Visit www.climatealpha.com to learn more about how our tools are already informing decision-makers in finance, real estate, insurance and government on what lies ahead in 2023 — and beyond.

#climatetech #climaterisks #climatescience #climateadaptation

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Resilient Cities Run on Climate Alpha

City and county public officials have a historic opportunity to invest in climate adaptation efforts ranging from planting trees to water conservation efforts to relocating vulnerable facilities. But where should they start?

Climate Alpha can help. Our Resilience Index™ offers a comprehensive dashboard of climate risk, vulnerability, and readiness scores for all 40,000+ US zip codes and 3,000 counties. We’re proud to announce special offers for city managers eager to assess risks, map hazards, and design adaptation strategies. Simply create a Climate Alpha account to receive complimentary headline scores, along with heavily discounted access to underlying datasets and indicator explanations.

Armed with these, officials might also leverage the Resilience Index to:

  1. Strategically allocate resilience grants from the federal government
  2. Reform urban and rural land-use policies
  3. Identify relocation sites for public and private facilities
  4. Conduct scenario-based exercises to prepare for extreme disruptions

Visit www.climatealpha.ai/cities to learn more about our special pricing for cities, or visit one of our partners. Mastercard City Possible members receive an exclusive discount code located under the Climate Alpha app in the Insights Marketplace, while Statebook customers will find Resilience Index™ scores integrated into their dashboards.

Together, we’re empowering cities to better understand the risks they face and how to optimally address them. A climate crisis is a terrible thing to waste.    

#climateadaptation #InflationReductionAct #resilience #landuse #managedretreat

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Which “Zoomtowns” are Tomorrow’s Boomtowns?

Which cities possess the right combination of resilience, quality of life, plentiful housing, and accessibility to a major metro (and points beyond)?

Using Climate Alpha’s proprietary Resilience Index™ scores and forecasting tools, we’ve identified five communities across the U.S. poised to reap the long-term benefits of a remote future, ranging from cities such as Portland, Oregon and Colorado Springs to greener pastures in Michigan, Virginia, and Kentucky.

 

 

 

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El Niño Is Coming—and the World Isn’t Prepared

After the hottest year on a record — a year in which heat waves scorched Europe and rivers evaporated; a year in which once again shattered the record for insurable losses due to natural catastrophes — what if the worst is still to come?

That’s because we’ve had it easy the last few years, with cool Pacific waters (“La Niña”) moderating global temperature rise by a crucial few tenths of a degree. But with ocean currents set to flip back to the better-known El Niño, we could see heat records shattered once again, argues Bill McGuire, author of “Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide.”

The result? Renewed droughts, falling crop yields, and higher food prices — which in turn fuel political unrest. Falling lake- and river levels in the American West threaten the hydro-electric dams California’s grid depends on. And warmer waters mean bigger hurricanes.

How these developments play out remains to be seen. But we can start to strategize now. Climate Alpha’s patent-pending scenario forecaster offers clients the ability to stress-test regions and real estate portfolios under conditions worse than even the most extreme effects modeled by the IPCC.

Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how our AI-driven suite of tools is uniquely prepared to map the complexity of a climate-stressed future — and the opportunities others may miss.

#lanina #elnino #extremeheat #climaterisks #climateadaptation

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The First Microgrid Communities in California

KB Home has launched America’s first all-electric, solar-powered micro-grid neighborhoods at its master-planned community in California’s Inland Empire.

Designed in partnership with the US Department of Energy, SunPower, the University of California at Irvine, Southern California Edison, Schneider Electric, and Kia, each home boasts EV charger-ready wiring and batteries connected to a local smart grid.

It’s a win-win for all involved, as residents benefit from a potential 40% reduction in energy use while worrying less about more frequent blackouts. And for homebuilders like KB Home, the combination of rising interest rates, single-family rentals, and zero-energy ready home standards has made it easier than ever to build new, more resilient housing at scale. The only question is where.

And that’s where Climate Alpha comes in. For developers and homebuilders, our suite of analytics can not only identify the optimal regions for homes powered by renewables, but also calculate the risk-adjusted valuations out to 2040 that will help justify these investments in the present.

Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how our tools will help found the resilient communities of tomorrow.

#realestate #climateadaptation #microgrids #ZERH #SFR #MPC

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Amid drought, Arizona contemplates a fraught idea: Piping in water from Mexico

Start the new year right with a jawdropping dispatch from our #climateadaptation future:

An Israeli-led group of private investors has made an unsolicited offer to build the world’s largest desalination plant on the Gulf of California to supply south- and central Arizona with 1 million acre-feet of water — an amount roughly equal to what the regions drew from the parched Colorado River last year.

The catch? Transporting the water would require 200-mile pipelines across an international border, through a U.S. national monument (and international biosphere reserve), and disrupt the salinity of one of the world’s most diverse aquatic ecosystems.

The other catch? The group — which is backed in part by Goldman Sachs — wants a pledge from the state of Arizona to buy the water at an unspecified price, which could run to billions of dollars per year. Despite this uncertainty, the state’s Water Infrastructure Finance Authority unanimously voted in December to approve a non-binding resolution to continue studying the proposal, which would be financed entirely with private money.

The lesson? No matter how severe the heat and drought gripping the southwest United States, climate science isn’t destiny. Novel combinations of technology, finance, private investment, and public infrastructure will emerge in response to the pressures facing the region — some more effective than others.

That’s where Climate Alpha comes in. While others focus purely on climate risks, our Resilience Index™ incorporates infrastructure, public spending, and other socio-economic factors for every Zip code in the country — underscoring the uneven geography of the future.

Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about the index, our patent-pending scenario forecaster, and other tools for exploring how, say, the sudden appearance of the world’s largest desalination plant might alter your real estate’s future.

 #climaterisks #extremeheat #heatwaves #megadrought 

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When Housing Is for Locals Only, the Whole Country Suffers

“Exclusionary zoning harms the entire nation,” the editors of Bloomberg write. “It relegates the excluded to places with little opportunity and unhealthy living conditions. It aggravates global warming by redirecting population to car-dependent exurbs and relatively energy-intensive locales in the South and Midwest. It makes house prices and rents in desirable locations unaffordable for the typical family — which, in turn, stunts economic growth by preventing people from living where their talents can best be applied.”

These are excellent points, to which we would add another: it prevents new housing from being built America’s most climate resilient regions. Densifying existing cities is not enough — they can’t absorb all of the millions of new units necessary, when water supplies and other stresses are taken into account.

Which destinations have the right combination of affordability, sustainability, and amenities for tomorrow’s generations, and how do we begin clearing the ground for them now?

Climate Alpha’s suite of tools — starting with our Resilience Index™ scores for every U.S. county and our Climate Price™ risk-adjusted real valuations — help investors target the pockets of opportunity where it’s right to build. And where they have the right to build. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more how our tools can help you navigate the intersection of economics, climate, and policy.

#nimbyism #yimby #zoning #resilience #affordability

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What Extreme Weather Events Are Doing to Global Insurance Markets

As reinsurers such as Lloyd’s of London and Swiss Re reprice the risk of climate catastrophes following another year of record-breaking year of insurable losses, what role will insurance and reinsurance play in real estate and site selection going forward?

Appearing on Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast, Artemis.bm owner and Reinsurance News found Steve Evans mused about the potential impacts of government-mandated climate risk exposure. 

“If you start to disclose that kind of thing and your shareholders are seeing these potential big negative numbers on your balance sheet — even if they don’t manifest it’s still something that really any sensible business owner should be taking steps to protect against. So, there’s also potentially going to be more demand [for insurance] that comes out of climate legislation as well.”

Growing demand at a time of soaring prices is guaranteed to help redraw the map of which regions, Zip codes, and buildings are considered trustworthy assets. Don’t wait for the insurance markets to do it for you — visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn how our Climate Price™ analytics produces risk-adjusted forecasts down to individual assets. Every place has a climate price — what’s yours? 

#climaterisk #insurance #reinsurance

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Americans Are Moving Into Danger Zones

Americans “are flocking to fire,” declares a new study documenting their decades-long migration to areas increasingly prone to extreme heat and wildfires. The attraction of these areas is well understood, but perhaps ignorance of the risks is also to blame?

“They’re attracted by maybe a beautiful forested mountain landscape and lower housing costs somewhere in the wildland-urban interface,” the paper’s lead author, University of Vermont environmental scientist Mahalia Clark, told Wired. “But they’re just totally unaware that wildfire is something they should even think about. That’s not really something that the realtor is going to tell them about, or that’s going to be on the real estate listing.”

But as Climate Alpha and others have found, when Americans are presented with data demonstrating the risks, they will take action. Before turning to disincentives and even managed retreat, as the study’s authors suggest, we need better tools for illuminating climate risks and affordable housing in more resilient regions. That’s why Climate Alpha has developed our risk-adjusted valuations for real estate — including residential property out to 2040 — and is working with customers such as Lennar to identify the fastest-growing markets of tomorrow. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we transform risks into opportunities.

#climaterisk #wildfires #extremeheat #climateprice #wildlandurbaninterface

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Catastrophe Reinsurance Set to Soar After Year of Extreme Weather

Natural catastrophes caused an estimated $115 billion in 2022, according to the Swiss Re Institute, with $50-$65 billion of that from #HurricaneIan alone. That’s nearly 50% above the 10-year average of $81 billion, and part of a steady 5-7% rise in insurable losses each year acording to the Financial Times.

That means a lot of pain for reinsurers like Swiss Re, which cover the risk for the insurers themselves. And that, in turn, means the cost of property catastrophe insurance is set to go up next — way up. British investment bank Peel Hunt estimates the cost may rise 30% in 2023, while Lloyd’s of London parent Beazly believes it could soar as much as 50%. As a result, the market for reinsurance is grinding to a halt as reinsurers and brokers tussle in repricing risk, with Aon’s top reinsurance executive warning of “friction and uncertainty.”

Clearly, this is no longer business as usual. As the soaring cost of reinsurance ripples through property markets, real estate in Florida and elsewhere will be repriced in tandem, while more resilient regions will look increasingly attractive in turn.

Our tools help reinsurers and investors alike understand the new realities of resilient geographies and arrive at the “Climate Price.” Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we can help you in the year ahead.

#climaterisk #creditrisk #reinsurance #riskmanagement #climateadaptation #catrisk

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Population Growth Is Making Hurricanes More Expensive

Why has the number of hurricanes causing $1 billion or more in damage more than doubled since the 1980s? And why has the total cost in damages risen eleven times?! The New York Times’ Ian Prasad Philbrick and Ashley Wu explore the “expanding bull’s-eye effect” — the tendency of population growth to make climate disasters costlier over time.

Coined by Villanova’s Steven Stader, the expanding bull’s-eye effect not only describes how urban sprawl makes regions more vulnerable to a mega-storm like #HurricaneIan, but also how development lessens the natural resilience of coastlines by transforming wetlands into impermeable asphalt.

The authors offer three potential solutions: mitigating greenhouse gas emissions; strengthening building codes; and encouraging migration away from high-risk areas. “But relocation is a tough sell,” they write. “Americans have flocked to Florida’s picturesque coast, despite its risks.”

They may not have that far to move. In our analysis of post-Ian Florida real estate trends, the Zip codes and counties poised to grow fastest in the next two decades are those farther from the coast. Read our analysis of how and why the smart money will escape the bull’s-eye.

#bullseyeeffect #climateadaptation #climaterisks #hurricanes

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After Ian, Where Should Fort Myers Grow?

Even as insurers continue tallying their losses from September’s Hurricane Ian — Swiss Re’s latest estimate is $50-$65 billion, second only to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as the most destructive storm of all-time — residents and elected officials in southwest Florida have already begun debating how best to build back better. But they haven’t addressed the question of where to rebuild.

To answer that, we harnessed Climate Alpha’s Resilience Index™ to calculate a risk, vulnerability, and readiness score for every county in south Florida, then used our patent-pending Scenario Forecaster to project both the baseline and climate-adjusted Climate Price™ down to the zip code level. The results underscore how unevenly the effects of climate change are likely to be felt. Even in a state as vulnerable as Florida, some places are more vulnerable than others.

Image generated by Climate Alpha Resilience Index™

For example, Lee County — home to Fort Myers and Cape Coral, which lay directly in Ian’s path — is among the climate-riskiest in the state, second only to Miami-Dade. The three counties least at risk, owing in part to their higher elevation and being inland, are the less built-out Hardee, DeSoto, and Glades — implying the state still has plenty of room for safe(r) development.

The picture changes somewhat when the metric in question is vulnerability, which takes socio-economic and political factors into account alongside climate models. Lee County — along with Sarasota and Hillsborough (home to Tampa) — remain among the lowest scorers, but less so compared to south Florida’s Atlantic coast. DeSoto and Glade counties remain among the highest scorers, but are joined this time by Okeechobee, which lies on its namesake lake’s northern shore.

Image generated by Climate Alpha Resilience Index™

A more radical shift occurs when we start to calculate readiness — the ability to mitigate and adapt to climate disasters — rather than risk or vulnerability. Although no south Florida county scores highly in the scheme of things, Sarasota and Charlotte County (north of Fort Myers) leap to the top alongside Hardee, underscoring local resources and preparations to address their inherent vulnerability.  

Image generated by Climate Alpha Climate Price™

Taken together, what does this mean? From a real estate appreciation perspective, the prognosis for greater Fort Myers in a south Florida context is… not great. The safest zip codes from a depreciation standpoint lie immediately to the north, in Sarasota and Bradenton, underscoring the financial resources and political will available to invest in future adaptation efforts and disaster recovery. If this seems obvious, perhaps it should be — both path dependency and inequality will play roles in deciding which places are protected.

Image generated by Climate Alpha Scenario Forecaster™

Zooming into the Fort Myers area, our Climate Price™ analysis platform first highlights zip codes projected to appreciate faster under a current “business-as-usual” scenario out to 2030. Darker shades indicate faster growth, in which case 33917 and 33905 — encompassing North Fort Myers and Buckingham — are projected to gain and retain value more than low-lying coastal areas such as Cape Coral.

Image generated by Climate Alpha Climate Price™

This dichotomy is shown in even starker relief when our Scenario Forecaster swaps business-as-usual for one with more severe climate impacts. Once again, 33917 and 33905 are projected to out-perform formerly desirable coastline locations, now joined by 33913, containing Southwest Florida International Airport and mostly undeveloped land.

The takeaway is this: If southwest Floridians want to build back better following the most destructive hurricane ever to hit the state, they (and investors) would be smarter to rebuild ever-so-slightly inland to mitigate the worst effects of storm surge and sea-level rise while retaining access to their coastal lifestyle. That’s where the smart money is headed, anyway. 

To learn more about Climate Alpha, check out https://climatealpha.ai/products/

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How to Build a Better Future

#COP27 won’t save the world, Climate Alpha’s founder and CEO Dr. Parag Khanna writes for Semafor, and neither will any of its successors: “Every minute spent at such summits is therefore a distraction from the only two tangible activities that demonstrate genuine commitment to a better future: Moving people to resilient geographies or shifting technologies to people in need.”

The host of #COP28 — the United Arab Emirates — at least offers a glimpse of what such a future might look like:  “A melting pot in a melting geography, a mix of sea walls and air conditioning, the UAE is perhaps the foremost template for how more habitable regions will need to reprogram themselves into an archipelago of centers for our future civilization.”

This was the inspiration for Climate Alpha — creating the tools we’ll need to map humanity’s future. Click through to read more of Parag’s vision for tomorrow.

 #climateadaptation #climatemigration #resilientcommunities

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Internet Outages Could Spread as Temperatures Rise. Here’s What Big Tech Is Doing

The Metaverse will offer no respite from climate change — not when soaring temperatures are causing Google and Oracle data centers to crash in the UK and Twitter briefly shut down its servers in the American West this summer for similar reasons. Climate is already forcing technology giants to rethink the geography of computing, CNET’s David Lumb reports:

“When selecting a site for their data centers, companies like Microsoft and Amazon prioritize access to low-cost energy, which they’ve historically found in places like Silicon Valley, northern Virginia and Dallas/Fort Worth, though Atlanta and Phoenix have been growing. They also look for internet infrastructure from telecoms AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink, along with fiber providers like Charter and Comcast, to keep data flowing. They assess the risk of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters, too.”

Drought has become another major factor, given the need for large quantities of local water for cooling. “One-fifth of the data centers in the country get their water from moderately to highly stressed regions supplying water in the dry western US, per an April report from Virginia Tech,” Lumb writes. “US cities are already getting nervous.”

As climate change becomes an increasingly important driver in the site selection process — even for the infrastructure powering the Metaverse — Climate Alpha offers tools for locating new geographies that balance resilience with proximity to customers. (Because every microsecond of latency counts.) Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about our Resilience Scores, risk-adjusted real estate valuations, and scenario forecasters and how they can help build the Internet of tomorrow.

#extremeheat #heatwaves #climateadaptation #megadrought #climaterisks

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Can Cities Adapt to an Era of Extreme Heat?

As the northern hemisphere turns to winter, summer in the south half of the globe means another potentially devastating season of fires, drought, and extreme heat in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Australia, and beyond. Cities feel the latter most acutely, as urban heat island effects raise temperatures higher than their hinterlands and retain it in concrete and asphalt at night.

In response, seven cities around the world — including Melbourne and Santiago de Chile — have named “chief heat officers” to advise mayors and other elected officials on  public education, heat mitigation, and urban redesigns. With support from the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilience Center — whose director Kathy Baughman-McLeod sits on Climate Alpha’s board — these heat officers are rethinking how urban governance should function in a future of climate change.

There’s always bureaucracy and red tape that makes things slower,” Athens mayor Kostas Bakoyannis told The Financial Times. “Also, the fact that we’re living with the legacy of the economic crisis . . . We’re trying to move as quickly as we can.”

Climate Alpha offers tools for public officials and private investors alike helping to steer investments in climate resilience and understanding heat-induced migration. Our Resilience Scores identify local strengths and weaknesses, while our Climate Price™ analytics platform forecasts migration patterns to account for future shifts to cooler climes. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we can help you prepare for a warming world.

#extremeheat #heatwaves #climateadaptation #megadrought

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Retirees Are Moving to more Climate Resilient Regions

More Americans are taking climate change into account when choosing their retirement destinations, Susan B. Garland reports in The New York Times. “Armed with climate studies, many retirees are looking for communities that are less likely to experience extreme weather events, such as wildfires, drought and flooding.”


Armed with free data sources such as Climate.gov, ClimateCheck, and Risk Factor, they are calculating risks, budgeting for personal resilience, and paying close attention to local adaptation efforts (such as Asheville, North Carolina’s efforts to reduce wildfire risks). “Do you really want to rebuild at 80?” one person asks?


But there are limits to what one person or family can do. With more than 60 million seniors by 2030, America faces a pressing need for new retirement communities and housing. Given this clear signal, property developers need a head start on building tomorrow’s resilient destinations.

Climate Alpha’s analytics suite — including proprietary resilience scores for every county in the country as measured by risk, vulnerability, and readiness — offers developers and investors industrial-strength tools for getting a jump on savvy seniors (and the competition). Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn about using our AlphaFinder™ to spot high-opportunity locations, and much more.

#boomers #silvertsunami #retirement #boomtowns

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Here today. Gone tomorrow. Back someday because of climate change.

“As the Sun Belt suffers from increasing vulnerability, the question is can New England benefit from that?” asks Climate Alpha’s Greg Lindsay in The Boston Globe, framing a story exploring whether the region’s climate resilience might spark a reversal of the region’s migration patterns.

Not so fast, say the other experts quoted. A much bigger factor than climate is the region’s dramatic shortfall of affordable housing — a problem made worse by the NIMBYism of local residents. What good does it do New England to be a climate haven if no one can move there? But that’s all the reason to start planning — and building — for tomorrow’s arrivals now, says Climate Alpha founder Dr. Parag Khanna.

“You don’t want this kind of reckless climate gentrification overrunning places where you get crowding out and pricing ordinary people out of the market,” Khanna said. “If you just think with a rigorous scientific lens, you should be thinking about the places that would be more resilient [and] pre-designing in the sense of sustainable technology and enlarging the capacity of those geographies to absorb greater populations.”

At Climate Alpha, we build tools for planners, developers, and investors to start preparing for the future now. Whether its our Resilience Scores for 40,000 ZIP codes, our risk-adjusted valuations for real estate every year through 2040, or our patent-pending scenario forecaster, we offer our customers the scientific lens they need to separate hype from opportunities. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more.

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Farmland Values Hit Record Highs, Pricing Out Farmers

The price of U.S. farmland has soared 12.4% over the last two years, thanks to a perfect storm — a derecho in this case — of inflation in both commodity crops and housing, coupled with generous government subsidies propping up farm activities. The result has been a windfall for investors (who own 40% of U.S. farmland) and a squeeze on small farmers unable to acquire land — or do so only at the steep price of debt.

The New York Times’ Linda Qiu notes that farmland has became a highly desirable hedge against volatility for pension funds, private equity, and even Bill Gates — now the largest private owner of farmland in the country.

But as climate change alters both weather and demographic patterns across the United States, the value of that land is certain to change due to crop yields, housing starts, water availability, and much more.

Climate Alpha’s Climate Price™analytics suite offers risk-adjusted valuations for every year out to 2040, along with our patent-pending scenario forecaster for evaluating valuations under multiple climate conditions.

Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn how our tools can help you unearth new opportunities in a rapidly changing world.

#realestate #farmland #cropland #pastureland #billgates

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Adam Tooze & the Global Housing Downturn

Formerly white-hot American housing markets such as Austin, Seattle, and Cape Floral, Florida are now facing the steepest declines — bad situations made worse by recent climate disasters, including wildfire smoke and Hurricane Ian. But the real crisis is unfolding overseas, where property markets in China, Sweden, Canada, and others are grinding to a halt. Tooze spells it out:

“In the global economy there are three really large asset classes: the equities issued by corporations ($109 trillion); the debt securities issued by corporations and governments ($123 trillion); and real estate, which is dominated by residential real estate, valued worldwide at $258 trillion. Commercial real estate ($32.6 trillion) and agricultural land add another $68 trillion. If economic news were reported more sensibly, indices of global real estate would figure every day alongside the S&P500 and the Nasdaq. The surge in global house prices in 2019-2021 added tens of trillions to measured global wealth. If that unwinds it will deliver a huge recessionary shock.”

This is the moment Climate Alpha was made for. As the polycrisis scrambles once-reliable economic formulas and triggers a worldwide flight to quality in the world’s overwhelmingly largest asset class, our tools literally tell investors where to go as opposed to when to sell. 

Our Climate Price™ analysis suite generates risk-adjusted valuations of real estate portfolios out to 2040 under multiple scenarios, including the effects of rapid interest rate hikes and faster-than-expected climate change impacts.

Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we can help you start preparing for what comes after the crash — or if there isn’t one.

#realestate #housing #climaterisks #creditrisks #housingbubble

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New report paints dire picture of America’s future as climate crisis accelerates

A draft of the next National Climate Assessment was published last week in anticipation of President Biden’s appearance at #COP27. Although the final report won’t be published until late next year, the 1,695 draft released for public comment notes “the things Americans value most are at risk” — starting with their homes. Summarizing the draft’s key takeaways, CNN contributor John D. Sutter paints a dire picture in a recent article of what’s to come, including:

• The U.S. is warming faster than the global average. Underscoring the need to invest in climate adaptation now rather than cling to dreams of total mitigation.

• Climate disasters are getting worse. “In the 1980s, the country experienced on average one (inflation-adjusted) billion-dollar [extreme weather] event every four months,” the draft report states. “Now, there is one every three weeks, on average.”

• It hits the most vulnerable the hardest, as frontline communities face the brunt of climate disasters due to decades of discrimination and displacement. They urgently deserve investment in adaptation.

• It’s playing a role in migration and economic woes. “Millions of people,” the report states, will be displaced by floods, fires, and rising seas. Those are numbers not seen in the United State since the Dust Bowl.

Taken together, these and other factors point to the clear and present need to invest in climate adaptation — and migration — using both public funds and private capital. At Climate Alpha, we’re building the tools investors, planners, and strategists need to identify and build the resilient communities of tomorrow.

Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how our Climate Price™ analysis suite can help.

#climateadaptation #climatemigration #realestate #climaterisks 

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Borders are holding the world’s eight billion people back

Climate Alpha’s founder and CEO Dr. Parag Khanna offers a scorching take in this weekend’s Financial Times: Climate change demands nothing less than the end of #sovereignty; the enshrinement of #mobility as “the cardinal human right of the 21st century;” and the rebalancing of human civilization amongst an “archipelgo” of habitable regions.

The alternative is far worse, he writes: “A neo-medieval world of warring fortresses, fending off at the gates those who both need and could offer help. Whether the human population peaks at 10 billion or collapses suddenly to only 5 billion or 6 billion may well depend on the path we choose now. Either way, for the inhabitants of the future, mobility will be destiny.”

At Climate Alpha, we’re building the tools necessary to galvanize public officials, mobilize private capital, and inspire individuals to build the world we need. Starting with the United States and #Canada, we’ve created a Resilience Index™ evaluating local strengths and weaknesses, an Alpha Finder™ for identifying geographies of opportunity, and our patent-pending climate scenario forecaster able to stress-test regions against the accelerating effects of climate change.

Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we can help you, your organization, and your society thrive in a future with more than a billion people on the move.

#immigration #climatemigration #climateresilience

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Why Florida keeps rebuilding after storms

Evidence suggests they will quickly forget the catastrophic damages of Ian in favor of focusing on the costs imposed by stronger building codes.

The Miami Herald’s Alex Morris captures this dilemma by exploring the aftermath of 2018’s #HurricaneMichael, which destroyed 93% of Mexico Beach, Florida. 

“Watching a community that learned the hard way and made the right decisions, and then watching them backpedal because their memory became so short, it was just really hard to watch,” floodplain management consultant Del Schwalls told Morris.

“There’s a lot of decisions we made 20 years ago, on Fort Myers Beach that resulted in somebody dying in Ian, that resulted in somebody losing everything in Ian,” he added. “What are the decisions we make today that will save someone’s life 20 years from now?”

At Climate Alpha, our goal is to provide our customers — whether public- or private sector — with the tools necessary to make those life-or-death decisions.

By combining our Resilience Index™ scores for every county in American with our patent-pending scenario forecaster, clients are empowered to explore how and where to best spend their adaptation resources. 

As COP 27 and the elections remind us, the choices we make today will shape the world for decades. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we can help.

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Finding safe haven in the climate change future: The Southeast

Yahoo News’ David Knowles explores the best and worst places to live in the American Southeast — “one of the most-threatened regions of the country” due to climate change. Drawing on data provided by the Rhodium Group, the site unsurprisingly ranks Louisiana coastal counties among the most vulnerable, and the mountainous southwest corner of Virginia as the most resilient.

The fact a mainstream news organization is framing the issue this way is to testament to how quickly the once-verboten conversation around climate migration is changing. “With Hurricane Ian, I think we’ve seen a conversation at a much more acute pitch and much more rapidly moving in the direction of ‘Do not rebuild here. Do not come back here. We should not be putting taxpayer money into this.’ And those families should not be putting their entire net worth into that place again,” Climate Alpha’s CEO Parag Khanna told Knowles. “The accelerating frequency of these disasters is contributing to that change in mood which is reinforcing what policymakers know they must do.”

At Climate Alpha, we’re building tools to identify climate risks and opportunities that go far beyond top ten lists. Our Resilience Index™ calculates comprehensive risk scores for every county in the country, while our Alpha Finder™ scours 40,000 ZIP codes for the highest-performing communities and properties. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how our tools can help you identify where the world is heading — and get there first.

#climaterisks #climateadaptation #climatemigration #realestate #flooding

LINK: https://news.yahoo.com/finding-safe-haven-in-the-climate-change-future-the-southeast-090054441.html

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9 in 10 Large Companies Have Assets Located in the Path of Climate Hazards

Nine in ten of the world’s largest companies have at least one asset exposed to climate risk, according to S&P, and more than one-third of those companies should expect that asset’s value to drop by 20 percent or more. But where are those assets? And over what time frame? Esri covered new data from S&P Global Sustainable1.

The geospatial information experts at Esri recommend combining spatial analytics with #GeoAI to understand the intersection of climate risks and business operations. “What are the revenue impacts of closing a store that’s vulnerable to wildfires?” Esri’s Alexander Martonik asks. “How will customer spending change if we move a distribution center out of a region with worsening hurricanes?”

These are the right questions, but answering them will not only require climate and business data, but also a fine-grained understanding of adaptation efforts — how will local public- and private actors move to mitigate those risks? That’s where Climate Alpha comes in, bringing its unique tools to bear in helping customers refine their geospatial analysis to account for human intervention. Visit Climate Alpha’s Product Suite to learn more about how our SaaS offerings can help refine and enrich geospatial forecasts of the future.

#realestate #climateadaptation #climaterisks #riskmanagement

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Hurricane Ian is proof: The US needs a national disaster safety board

The Hill discusses how five years after #HurricaneMaria devastated Puerto Rico and destroyed much of the island’s grid, #HurricaneFiona struck, leaving thousands without power. Was this disaster avoidable? Yes, say the founders of Disaster Researchers for Justice, calling on the U.S. Senate to authorize the creation of the National Disaster Safety Board — a new federal agency tasked with learning from climate disasters and recommending policies to ensure they don’t happen again.

“The proposed NDSB,” the founders write in an op-ed for The Hill, “offers the chance to leverage decades worth of data, human capital, and technology to inform its investigative work. In a time when our national risk is increasing due to decades of bad development decisions, centuries of discriminatory policy, and climate change the need to transform how we address disaster is more urgent than ever.”

Whether it be a new federal agency or more local institutions, mounting climate disasters underscore the necessity for governments to stop reacting and start proactively planning for the future. To that end, Climate Alpha has partnered with Mastercard’s City Possible to offer its suite of tools — including county-level resilience scores and its scenario forecaster — at a discount to public sector customers. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we can help you learn from past disasters and avoid the next one.

#climateadaptation #resilientcommunities #climaterisks 

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Amid historic drought, California approves $140 mln desalination plant – Reuters

We took a look at Reuters’ recent article on desalination efforts in California. The original article can be accessed here.

First, it was approved only five months after a much larger privately-owned plant was rejected, pointing toward a near-term future of smaller, more local water infrastructure — rather than drawing on rapidly-depleting sources such as the Colorado River. “It’s more nimble. The future is going to be all about modular solutions,” Berkeley’s Newsha Ajami told Reuters.

Second, it underscores how climate change is not a one-way street — cities and states have the capacity to adapt to a changing climate… if they choose to. Climate Alpha’s models account for human adaptation as well as climate projections to identify the regions and communities taking the future into their own hands. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we can help identify the places ready for tomorrow.

#climateadaptation #megadrought #watersecurity #climaterisks #infrastructure

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Climate Alpha’s founder and CEO Dr. Parag Khanna Khanna recently joined The Weather Channel

Climate Alpha’s founder and CEO Dr. Parag Khanna Khanna recently joined The Weather Channel to discuss #climatechange, #adaptation, and #migration. Where will Americans want to live in 2030 and beyond? How should regions prepare in the coming decades? And which places will successfully adapt to the next normal, and which will be left behind?

“A climate model alone might say, “We can’t live there anymore, but the truth is that we are very adaptable,” Parag said. “We have the technology and the resources to make these places livable. But people are generally going to move to more stable areas.”

Click through to watch the entire clip. (Just don’t ask him to name his top three places in live in the future. It’s complicated.)

#realestate #housing #climaterisks #resilience #zoomtowns

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Climate Pledges Are Falling Short, and a Chaotic Future Looks More Like Reality

As world leaders finalize plans for November’s #COP27  climate conference in Egypt, a new United Nations report underscores the necessity of #adaptation as well as #mitigation. Without immediate (and unlikely) drastic action, global temperatures are expected to rise between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2100, well above the 1.5 C target of the #ParisAgreement. Each fraction of a degree means tens of millions more people will be exposed to climate disasters, and tens of billions of dollars will be needed to protect them.

But United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and his deputies have already warned of COP 27 being another missed opportunity to develop concrete plans for adaptation.

Developed countries have yet to offer details on their pledge to provide $100 billion for climate action in the Global South. Guterres told reporters earlier this month that adaptation and resilience must represent half of all climate finance, while Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed warned environment ministers this figure is “only a fraction of the $300 billion that will be needed annually by developing countries for adaptation by 2030.”

To read more on the topic, check out the original article from The New York Times.

At Climate Alpha, we’re building tools to help steer adaptation efforts to regions with the highest ROI. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we can help with site selection decisions for future homes, farmland, and renewable energy production. The best time to start the climate adaptation conversation was 30 years ago in Kyoto. The next best time is now.

#cop27 #parisagreement #climateadaptation #climatemigration #unitednations

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A Climate Crisis “Worse” Than the 1970’s?


“People have stupidly moved from New York to Miami and from San Francisco to Austin,” he continued. “But Florida’s going to be flooded and Texas is going to be too hot to survive there. So there’ll have to be a massive migration from south and the coastline towards the only part of the US that is going to survive climate change. It’s the Midwest into essentially Canada. So there’ll be trillions of dollars of real estate assets that are going to be damaged by essentially global climate change.”
 
Climate Alpha is proud to partner with Dr. Roubini’s firm Atlas Capital to create the first-of-its-kind Sustainable REIT Index™ offering risk-adjusted valuation for 200,000 REIT properties under multiple climate scenarios, ranking and clustering funds according to location, property type, and other metrics, with regular updates based on the latest market data
 
“Literally there are maps that show that half of the US in the next 20 years are going to be either underwater on the coastlines or too hot or droughts or wildfires, to be living in it,” Roubini told Odd Lots. At Climate Alpha, we’re making those maps. Visit Climate Alpha’s Products Page to learn more about how we can do the same for you.
 
#realestate #flooding #climateadaptation #climaterisks #creditrisk #drdoom #sustainablereits #climatemigration

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The Uninsurables: How Storms and Rising Seas are Making Coastlines Unliveable

The Guardian investigated the coastlines of Canada citing figures from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a trade body, these 800,000 homes concentrated in the Atlantic Provinces and other coastal areas represent 90% of the Canadian insurance industry’s financial liability. In response, the industry is pushing for a federal government-run insurance scheme similar to the United States’ own troubled National Flood Insurance Program.

“The private market, on its own, cannot handle the level of risk that’s escalating in the system without some sort of formal government backstop or direct participation,” the IBC’s Craig Stewart told The Guardian. Over the last 15 years, for instance, insurance claims from severe weather events have quadrupled, including September’s Hurricane Fiona.

Climate change poses a clear and present danger to a Canadian housing market already under severe stress due to rising interest rates, underscoring how simple rules of thumb — Canada is inherently safer than south Florida — are not just wrong, but also dangerous. At Climate Alpha, our models include variables such as the overall health and structure of housing and insurance markets to create more accurate forecasts of risk and opportunities in the decades ahead. Visit Climate Alpha’s Products Page to learn more about what our tools can do for U.S. customers — and soon, our Canadian ones.

#realestate #flooding #climateadaptation #climaterisks #creditrisk

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Why Ian May Push Florida Real Estate Out of Reach for All but the Super Rich

The New York Times discusses how Hurricane Ian’s record breaking cost will make it even harder for many to get insurance — Florida’s insurance market faces collapse as FEMA and reinsurers alike reprice the risks and race premiums accordingly. The result might be a housing market in which homeownership is the sole preserve of those with deep enough pockets to buy a house in cash and pay to rebuild at any price.

“Ian’s aftermath shows how climate change is increasingly eroding the financial underpinnings of modern American life,” writes The New York Times‘ Christopher Flavelle. “Without insurance, banks won’t issue a mortgage; without a mortgage, most prospective homeowners can’t buy a home. With fewer buyers, home prices fall, and new development can slow or even come to a stop.”

While Florida has held out against this vicious circle for decades, past results do not guarantee future performance. At Climate Alpha, our suite of tools help homebuilders, developments, asset managers, and reinsurers — not to mention homeowners themselves — understand these risks and steer them to neighboring opportunities. Visit Climate Alpha’s Product Page to learn more about how we can help you understand when — and where — the American Dream is at risk… and where it’s thriving.

#realestate #flooding #climateadaptation #climaterisks#creditrisk #sustainablefinance

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A “race for higher ground”: A new study shows how climate gentrification is displacing vulnerable communities

A “race for higher ground” has already begun around Tampa and in South Florida, as new arrivals and local businesses displace residents in lower-income areas less prone to flooding. Fast Company’s Adele Peters reports on a new paper by Tulane University‘s Jesse M. Keenan and Columbia University’s Marco Tedesco offering a “climate gentrification risk index.”

“I think we need to start planning today about land use decisions and movements in the future instead of just letting the market haphazardly create the situation we have,” Keenan says. “What we’ve learned here is that we need to be mindful of where these conflicts are arising today and tomorrow.”

Don’t wait. Our suite of tools — including our proprietary Resilience Index scores and scenario forecaster — can help governments identify gentrification hotspots now while steering investors and developers toward less obvious opportunities to adapt and build. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more about how we can help you win the race for higher ground — before it’s even run.

#climategentrification #climatemigration #higherground #climaterisks

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The U.S. is Running Short of Land for Housing

Improbably, America is running out of land. Developable land, that is.

“Land-use restrictions and a lack of public investment in roads, rail and other infrastructure have made it harder than ever for developers to find sites near big population centers to build homes,” writes Konrad Putzier in The Wall Street Journal. “As people keep moving to cities such as Austin, Phoenix and Tampa, they are pushing up the price of dirt and making the housing shortages in these fast-growing areas even worse.”

Vacant land prices in the Sun Belt have more than doubled in the last two years, even as Austin and Phoenix are becoming markedly hotter and Tampa lies squarely in the path of #HurricaneIan — potentially the worst storm to strike the city in a century.

Torn between the need for land in fast-growing regions and valuations that don’t take climate change into account, developers risk paying a premium today for discounted locations tomorrow. Fortunately, Climate Alpha combines climate, demographic, and economic data for a 360-degree view of the most desirable locations in 2040 and every year in between. Visit Climate Alpha’s Products Page to learn more before it’s gone.

#resilientcommunities #extremeheat #megadrought #climateadaptation #zoomtowns #climatemigration

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Billions in Climate Deal Funding – What it Means for U.S. Coastal Cities

The #inflationreductionact earmarks $2.6 billion for “#greeninfrastructure” — nature-based solutions for coastline- and habitat protection and restoration — which offers a markedly different approach to traditional engineering-based “gray infrastructure.” Advocates for this approach argue it is more cost-effective and sustainable than building levees or seawalls requiring continual maintenance. The New York Times reports on how hopeful communities look forward to programs that emphasize nature-based solutions

“You are seeing a lot more attention and acceptance of greener options,” Charles Lester, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Center at UC Santa Barbara told The New York Times‘ Stephanie Lai. “It’s a spectrum of ways of responding to shoreline change, and this funding is causing us to think more completely and more holistically about all the different pieces of these puzzles.”

This is only one example of how climate models aren’t destiny. The future is a policy choice — where and how we choose to invest in climate #resilience and #adaptation changes its possible trajectories. That’s why Climate Alpha incorporate #demographics#infrastructure, and other socio-economic variables in forecasting tomorrow’s resilient geographies. Visit Climate Alpha’s Product Suite to learn more about we’re incorporating human agency into our scenarios of the future.

#resilientcommunities #climaterisks #climateadaptation #sealevelrise

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The U.S. is Teetering on the Brink of Large Water Crisis

The #climatecrisis is more complex than any single model can capture. For instance, the #megadrought gripping the West for the last two decades has caused the Colorado River to wither, causing the U.S. government to demand neighboring states cut their water usage by as much as 40%. But it gets worse.

As the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS)‘s Jay Famiglietti illuminates in this interview with ProPublica‘s Abrahm Lustgarten, the peril to American agriculture is even greater than one might imagine, as farmers shift consumption from surface water to groundwater, accelerating aquifer depletion.

“I don’t want to be flippant,” Famiglietti says, “but people don’t understand the food-water nexus. Do we try to bring more water to the southern high plains, to Arizona, to California, because if the food system’s optimized, maybe that’s the cheapest thing to do? Or does agriculture move to where the water is? Does it migrate north and east?”

Climate models can’t answer that question. Climate Alpha can. Our scenario forecaster allows customers to explore the potential implications of these kinds of feedback loops. Visit www.climatealpha.ai to learn more.

#extremeheat #climaterisks #climateadaptation #watersecurity #climatemigration

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Cities Brace for This Season’s Colliding Climate Disasters

Bloomberg News Article on climate disasters has identified May to October as the “danger season” — when the US is most at risk of experiencing back-to-back climate disasters like heat waves, wildfires, drought and storms.

The real danger isn’t an isolated wildfire, heat wave or flood — but mounting, overlapping disasters that diminish the capacity to respond. For example, Bloomberg News CityLab’s Linda Poon notes that since May, 116 U.S. counties were under multiple alerts from the National Weather service, of which nearly three-quarters had concurrent heat + heat alerts, while 18 others faced flood + heat and another 15 counties had fire + flood.

While other tools can identify a region’s vulnerability to a single climate, our analysis platform at Climate Alpha is able to gauge resilience against multiple threats in light of multiple demographic and economic scenarios — helping make danger season a little less dangerous. Visit us at Climate Alpha’s Product Solutions to learn more.

#extremeheat #megadrought #hurricaneseason2022 #climaterisks #climateadaptation

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The “Zoom Revolution” enriched Jackson Hole. But What About Buffalo?

The Washington Post’s opinion article on Zoom towns contrasts the diverging fortunes of Jackson Hole, WY and Buffalo, NY in an era of “Zoomtowns” and remote work. While the former has seen an influx of workers trading urban life for majestic terrain (and soaring home prices), the aspiring “climate haven” on Lake Erie awaits its Renaissance.

But that could change, McArdle argues: “The Mountain West and the Sun Belt could probably do with less competition for scarce water, and the prosperous coastal cities would be better off with fewer people to house since they refuse to allow enough building to let supply meet demand.”

Any number of small cities have been touted as Zoomtowns. But which will offer the essential combination of affordability, job creation, and climate resilience? Don’t just speculate. We can tell you. Visit our Website at www.climatealpha.ai to learn more.

#zoomtowns #remotework #climatemigration #climateadaptation #realestate

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With Colorado “getting strange,” Michigan may be the place to be as climate changes

Southeast and West are at higher risk of disruptions due to changing weather patterns, futurist says

People who relocated during the pandemic favored areas at higher risk of disruption due to climate change, but they may come to regret those moves over the long term, futurist Greg Lindsay told a gathering of the Denver Metro Commercial Association of Realtors on Thursday morning.

“Americans are moving in the wrong direction,” Lindsay said of migration patterns during the pandemic, and even before. “Markets are underpricing climate risk.”

Wrong as in moving from cooler northern coastal areas and the upper Midwest to the Sunbelt. Wrong as in moving to Arizona and Nevada, popular states that suffer from ever-increasing temperatures and worsening drought. Wrong as in flocking in large numbers to coastal Florida and Miami, where rising water levels could submerge vast swaths of land in coming decades if powerful hurricanes don’t scrape them first.

Texas and Florida were the top inbound states for those relocating during the pandemic, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Speaking generally, the southeast and the western U.S., including Colorado, are much more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than other parts of the country, according to Climate Alpha, a startup where Lindsay is chief communications officer.

But climate impacts can be very specific. Climate Alpha uses artificial intelligence to determine a “climate resilience” score for more than 40,000 ZIP codes. It then applies those risk scores to determine future real estate values under different scenarios.

Custer County, for example, was a popular landing spot during the pandemic in Colorado. But it also has one of the highest drought risk scores in the country, Lindsay said.

A higher altitude shields Colorado from the extreme temperatures seen in states further south, but not from drought. The northern Front Range will likely struggle with water shortages that limit future growth as the region dries out, he said.

“Even in Colorado, things are getting strange,” Lindsay said. Strange as in the Marshall fire, where 100-mph-plus winds fanned flames in late December that quickly destroyed more than 1,000 homes deep in the populated suburbs of Boulder County, including homes of climate scientists working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Where should people who want to provide their children and grandchildren with a more secure future look to move?

Lindsay suggests that the great migration to the Sunbelt may reverse, replaced by a migration to the Great Lakes region. Buffalo, New York, could become the new “cool” place. Some investors are buying up land in Ohio and others are targeting purchases in Canada. Lindsay told the audience he relocated to Montreal.

The Great Lakes region has developed infrastructure, lower real estate prices and the potential to provide a strong return for those who get in early, he said. Bonus points if more manufacturing comes back to U.S. shores.

But there are a lot of other factors that go into the decision to move, such as quality of life and connectivity, or the ability to travel to other areas. Part of the problem is that people relocating often don’t have a good grasp of the climate risks involved in a new place. Redfin, the real estate brokerage, found that when people are provided with flood risk scores, they were much more likely to choose safer areas.

“We now have definitive evidence that the risks posed by climate change are affecting where Americans choose to live. Before Redfin’s experiment, that was just a hypothesis,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather in a news release earlier this month. “Equipping people with flood-risk information helps them make more informed decisions. Some will opt to move out of risky areas altogether, while others will stay put but invest in making their homes more resilient to disaster.”

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It’s Time to Invest in Climate Adaptation

Companies around the world are increasingly committing to climate change mitigation, pledging to reduce carbon emissions and water consumption across their operations and supply chains in an effort to slow the pace of global warming and better protect environmental ecosystems. However, while essential, these efforts merely prevent a worse future rather than addressing the inevitable consequences of the damage already baked in. Carbon offsets, for example, have yet to demonstrate meaningful impact on the atmosphere, and, at present, worldwide carbon sequestration efforts reportedly only remove 1% of annual global emissions.

We therefore believe that climate adaptation — helping people, animals, and plants to survive despite rising climate volatility — should be an equally urgent priority. According to a 2021 report from the Climate Policy Initiative, these types of initiatives receive only 7% of climate-related investment, allocated across a vast spectrum of needs such as flood and wildfire prevention, resilient agriculture, clean water supply, infrastructure modification, and population resettlement. They deserve far greater business investment, especially because they represent near-term opportunities at lower capital expenditures that offer faster paybacks. Indeed, according to this Bloomberg report, Bank of America analysts estimate that the climate adaptation market could be worth $2 trillion a year within the next five years.

Fundamentally, climate adaptation is about evolving organizational and institutional practices and infrastructures and technologies in places that most need them — which is everywhere that faces risks such as floods and rising sea levels, droughts, and heat waves. We advocate for solutions that are low cost, proven to be effective, and have immediate impact, such as early warning systems for extreme weather events, coastal barriers, water desalination and wastewater treatment, vertical farming and hydroponic agriculture, improved cooling and insulation systems, 3D printed and modular housing, and many other measures.

The insurance conglomerate SwissRe warns that a global temperature rise of 3.2°C by 2050 would wipe 18% from global GDP. But, as a pair of OECD studies point out, widespread climate adaptation measures can have a positive impact on growth, especially in G-20 economies.

When governments, capital market investors, commercial lenders, and businesses from multinational corporations to small enterprises work together toward climate resilience, as well as mitigation, the result will be a stronger world economy. Some are already stepping up to do so. For example, the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI), an umbrella organization of more than 120 companies and other stakeholders representing more than $20 trillion in assets, have launched pilot projects focused on reinforcing infrastructure to withstand anticipated climate effects. We see notable positive developments in other areas as well. Here, we’ll explore projects in water and agriculture and in construction and real estate.

Water and Agriculture

Water scarcity is already a short-term crisis and an even greater long-term challenge that even the most robust mitigation initiatives cannot immediately address. Water is the biggest and most important input for human life and global agriculture and is thus essential for our health, sustenance, and productivity, and yet many heavily populated geographies are already stricken by shortages.

Some of the most affordable water-related adaptation interventions involve rainwater harvesting and more efficient irrigation techniques. As countries invest in cloud seeding to spur rainfall, plant drought-resistant seeds, and deploy atmospheric water capture systems, conserving water for agriculture is an obvious complementary effort. London-based engineering consultancy Arup (which reports nearly $2 billion in annual revenue) has been ahead of the curve in carrying out flood control projects that increase natural water retention in Poland and flood alleviation schemes in England. Rainwater harvesting projects now represent a 5% and growing share of the portfolio of Kingspan, a leading Irish construction company whose low-energy insulation systems are featured in Bloomberg’s London headquarters and Singapore’s Changi airport. The city of Sydney, which has suffered consistent droughts with dams falling to record low capacity, has commissioned Kingspan to audit all 48 of the city’s rainwater management systems.

There are also signs of progress in developing countries. Israeli firm Netafim (a $1 billion revenue company) has installed irrigation systems across more than 100 villages in India, using soil and plant data to direct measured doses of water to optimize yield while bringing down water consumption and fertilizer usage by 40%. Olam, one of the world’s largest agri-business producers of rice, cotton, cocoa beans, and coffee that operates in 60 countries, is committing to reduce wastewater in the 30% of its upstream farms and plantations that are in water-stressed regions.

The economic benefits of water conservation include saving money on water purchases, storage, and maintenance, all of which accrue to corporations and villagers alike. Particularly in regions such as India, where only 10% of potential water-saving measures have been implemented, these kind of adaptation efforts deserve significantly greater investment and scaling.

Clean water generation is another essential and growing business opportunity. Existing desalination systems are often oil- or gas-powered and use a lot of energy. By contrast, Elemental Watermakers’ solar-powered reverse osmosis system uses the natural force of gravity to receive and clean pressurized seawater and is compact and mobile enough to be deployed in industrial sites and residential communities. One of its customers in Aruba has reduced water costs by 67% and carbon emissions by 180 tons per year. Another company, Terraformation, meanwhile operates what might be the largest full-scale, purely solar-powered water desalination plant on a 45-acre reforestation project site in Hawaii. However, similar ventures remain woefully underfunded despite their regenerative potential for ecosystems and local economies. Perhaps the most high-potential innovation would be nuclear-powered desalination, which would have enormous applications worldwide.

A steady and efficiently managed water supply would also support more environmentally friendly agriculture such as hydro- and aquaponic food production. China’s Sananbio, for example, operates large indoor farms in Beijing that can produce about six tons of leafy greens daily using only 5,000 square meters of space. Its plants absorb 60% of the water used, while the remaining 40% is recycled. Small and strategically vulnerable countries such as Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore have become leaders in this kind of food production, and it could greatly benefit many other water-stressed geographies.

Construction and Real Estate

Our built environment is a major driver of climate change and must also be a key front in adaptation. Because of their fixed location, real estate assets — valued at $200 trillion worldwide — are uniquely vulnerable to natural disasters and resource shortages. And many opportunities lie at the intersection of geography and technology. For example, from the Netherlands to Denmark and the Maldives to Singapore, developers and localities are planning or building floating cities that can rise with the tides and desalinate and recycle water for hydroponic agriculture.

Astro Teller, director of the Google X Lab, suggests that we might also one day need “movable cities” to cope with climate effects. As a first step, companies like ICON are creating 3D-printed houses. Its Vulcan construction system can deliver homes and structures up to 3,000 square ft that meet the requirements of the International Building Code (IBC) and are expected to last as long or longer than standard Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU), making them more resilient to extreme weather. They’re the first of their kind to be sold in the United States and the firm, currently valued at around $2 billion, is working with leading U.S. home-builder Lennar to construct a community of entirely 3D-printed homes in Austin. In both Mexico and the United States, ICON is also building entire communities of 3D-printed homes, barracks for those who serve, and a simulated Martian habitat for NASA.

Similarly, Boklok produces flat-pack homes designed and built by Skanska and sold at Ikea. The houses are primarily made of wood sustainably sourced from Scandinavia because of its relatively lower climate impact, and about 14,000 of them have been erected across Sweden, Finland, Norway, and the United Kingdom, generating $250 million in revenue for the adaptation-focused manufacturer.

According to UN Habitat, at least three billion people will require better housing by the end of this decade, which means that 96,000 new homes need to be built each day between now and then. Eventually, rather than building these habitats where people are, we will need to start moving certain populations to geographies less damaged by climate change, at lower risk of future effects, and with better resources and technology. Rising fire and flood insurance premiums, as well as chronic droughts and heatwaves, make this all but inevitable.

Our own Climate Alpha research suggests that investing early in climate-resilient geographies will generate more than 70% higher returns on real estate portfolios by 2030 alone. Property developers, asset managers, and insurers should take heed, accelerating the acquisition of land, construction of affordable housing, and adjustment of premiums to anticipate, encourage, and profit from climate-induced migrations. New technologies should help us to do this with speed. Consider the U.S.-based company Alquist, which can now print a three-bedroom home in just over 24 hours versus the typical four weeks that the volunteer-powered nonprofit Habitat for Humanity takes to construct one.

Addressing climate change requires both mitigation and adaptation, and we believe the latter represents an even better business opportunity. As we learned from Charles Darwin, those who adapt are the most likely to survive and thrive. Small investments result in significant preparation for an unpredictable future.

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Climate migration is here. The U.S. must invest accordingly.

At the same time, President Biden — home from COP26, the United Nations climate summit — claimed victory with the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which promises more than $1 trillion in funding for renewing transportation and utilities, and enhancing broadband Internet access.

But as weather events like that in the Pacific Northwest show, the president’s Build Back Better agenda is already deeply at risk from climate change. So it’s crucial, as the United States deploys tremendous new spending to rehabilitate infrastructure, that its leaders think much harder about where the funds are spent to avoid throwing good money after bad.

Six of the United States’s wealthiest cities — Boston, New York, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco — are heavily exposed to climate change. Frequent storms, rising sea levels, forest fires and droughts will plague these great cities more and more. Their budgets will be strained by the billions to be spent on adapting infrastructure and moving people farther inland. For now, they can afford to.

Other cities can’t. Climate models make clear, for instance, that New Orleans is going the way of Venice. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed thousands of miles of power lines and caused $161 billion in damage in Louisiana and Mississippi. Last year, Hurricane Laura brought Category 4 winds and destroyed nearly 2,000 transmission structures.

Residents need their electricity. But spending billions to reinforce or rebuild power lines isn’t a good investment when they’re sure to be destroyed again.

Not every place stricken by natural disaster should be abandoned. Where populations continue to grow, or where there is indigenous will and investment to rebuild, there is hope for recovery. That is not the case for places such as New Orleans, where populations are declining and no new job opportunities are emerging.

The country must realistically assess which geographies are becoming unlivable and which are well suited to larger population settlement. It should then offer incentives for migration toward the latter and away from the former — and direct infrastructure spending accordingly.

Climate models tell us that states such as South Dakota, Missouri and Pennsylvania are becoming more livable over time and ought to gain in population. It makes sense to spend more on roads and renewable energy in those states and others with a similarly stable climate outlook.

Cities such as Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte are already gaining climate migrants from elsewhere in the South. Millennials and Gen Z-ers have been snapping up houses in New Hampshire and Idaho, and fueling the buzzing tech scenes in Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. They’ve poured into so-called 18-hour cities such as Denver and Nashville that have lively after-work cultures in their downtowns.

A coalition of agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Army Corps of Engineers, is pushing an agenda of “large-scale migration or relocation.” The many distressed communities that qualify for the government’s Opportunity Zones, which are eligible for tax-free investment, should be filtered for climate resilience. This would create new jobs in places that need them.

Property developers should lure displaced Americans to gentrify the Rust Belt along the Great Lakes. The people of New Orleans should be given one-way tickets to Detroit, where they can contribute to the city’s nascent postindustrial revival.

A sensible plan to promote migration to climate oases could also ameliorate some of our bitter immigration and trade debates.

The country could import workers with the skills it needs and issue them “place-based” visas, directing them to areas with labor shortages. It could encourage the building of more eco-friendly, multifamily and multigenerational homes, which would hog less space than single-family plots. With more relatives under one roof, there would be greater freedom for working parents and less need for imported labor — which, granted, would mean a cultural shift for many Americans, though one whose appeal might have become clearer during the covid-19 pandemic.

Land not eaten up by sprawling cities and suburbs could be repurposed for agriculture and industry, as well as to fortify the country’s irrigation, energy and transportation networks to achieve greater self-sufficiency.

Mammals are wired with a fight-or-flight instinct, and the residents of devastated coastal areas should heed that instinct’s call to move to safer ground. It would be far wiser to encourage the next great migration than the next climate disaster. This is the way — and the where — to build back better.

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From Climate Change to Climate Alpha

This decade marks the beginning of climate change taking a permanent place in our headlines — and humanity taking seriously the need to adapt to it. While climate consciousness has risen over the past 20 years and more, concerted diplomatic and industry efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other damage to our vital ecosystems are phenomena of the past decade only. Climate mitigation now dominates the international agenda. Indeed, an overwhelming 95% of total climate-related spending is focused on reducing the carbon intensity of industry, greening supply chains, and other measures.

The onus to adapt to climate change is on us

Yet the blunt reality is that global warming and sea level rise continue apace, and even the most ambitious geo-engineering schemes will not return our climate to the familiar conditions of 1990, 1900, or 1800. Our environment is a complex system undergoing modification and lurching in new directions. It will not adapt to us — we must adapt to it.

That is why, as existentially vital as mitigation investments are, an equivalent emphasis is needed on climate adaptation. Adaptation measures include building coastal defenses and flood control measures, retrofitting buildings with more passive heating and cooling technologies, relocating critical infrastructure to less volatile geographies, and large-scale population resettlement. As I explain in my new book MOVE, the number of climate migrants may exceed one billion in the coming decades as the ‘climate niche’ of locations for optimal human habitation shifts.

Multiple factors at play when considering where to invest

Climate adaptation is made even more complicated by the fact that it is not the only variable shaping our future geography. Covid and the search for quality healthcare it provoked, remote work and the desire for a better work-life balance, economic shocks, supply chain vulnerabilities, and political risks such as domestic and international conflicts — all of these factors must also be weighed when considering where to invest in personal property and commercial real estate assets.

Given the illiquid nature of real estate, this USD 200 trillion markets is relatively unprepared to adapt to such rising complexity. Indeed, the Bank of International Settlements warns of “green swan” events, namely, unexpected environmental catastrophes linked to global warming, that would cause a financial crisis with worldwide consequences, and Canadian economist and former Bank of England governor Mark Carney fear that a “climate Minsky moment” — a sudden change in investor expectations about future climate policies and the resulting fire sale of affected assets — is coming that portends a significant reckoning for today’s assets. New regulations around both transitional and physical risk are raising compliance costs and forcing the industry to adjust. Recently, a bevy of climate risk related companies have made clear which geographies are most vulnerable and should not be held for too much longer, but this is insufficient for a constructive asset allocation strategy.

Climate Alpha identifies future ‘climate oases’

At FutureMap, we launched Climate Alpha to provide the marketplace of asset managers, insurance firms, real estate developers, and others — whether pension funds or family offices — with a data-driven approach to navigating property markets in light of the unpredictable future that lies ahead. Rather than merely telling you where to sell, Climate Alpha guides you on where to buy, based on geographies that are relatively less affected by — or even benefit from — climate change, as well as demographic, fiscal, and other key trends.

Climate Alpha thus identifies the ‘climate oases’ of the future — and luckily there are many, whether in North America, Europe, or Asia, the epicenters of the world economy and real estate markets. Fortunately, some of the more climate resilient states also offer investment migration programs, whereby investors can acquire and secure an alternative residence or second citizenship in a different jurisdiction in return for investing in a host country, including Canada, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA.

The ingredients in our AI-powered formula are hundreds of datasets covering all the variables that have historically shaped property prices, melded together with geolocated climate models. We calibrate future price forecasts according to the risk, vulnerability, and readiness characteristics of each location. Machine learning is essential for this task because of the large number of indicators and the relative nature of outcomes. For example, four cities in close proximity may have similar climate profiles, but the one with higher preparedness will gain population and thus appreciate in value at the expense of others.

Investors should use this data to consider which assets to dispose of, which geographies to increase exposure in, and what time horizon to invest for. Furthermore, they should look closely at the immigration policies, investment regulations, and other characteristics of potential destinations for themselves and for their capital. These strategies together are the playbook to generate higher real estate yield despite the many potential climate, political, and economic scenarios with which we must grapple.

Climate adaptation should not be a matter of emergency response

Our vision goes far deeper than returns, however. We believe that big data can enable a gradual and peaceful new map of human geography. We have the geospatial tools, technical foresight, financial instruments, and logistical capacity to empower the world population to be both more mobile and more sustainable at the same time. We therefore believe in a world order beyond today’s sovereignty. While the globe will always be divided among sovereign nations, our geography can be programmed to optimize resources, industry, and demographics. This is the kind of thinking the world needs if we wish not only to mitigate climate change, but to successfully adapt to it as well.

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Why the Great Lakes need to be the center of our climate strategy

Last month, President Biden issued an executive order directing government agencies to assess the risks climate change poses to federal assets, budgets, and investments. Presumably, this order also applies to the American Jobs Act, Biden’s $2.25 trillion plan to electrify transportation, build millions of energy-efficient homes, and upgrade to a more renewable and resilient power grid. Together with the proposed $1 trillion Green New Deal—which is aimed at creating new, green jobs and investments in frontline communities bearing the brunt of environmental injustice—they offer a blueprint for both cutting U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030 and doing so equitably.

But neither plan explicitly grapples with the politically thorny question of where to invest. Should the money follow the people, who have flocked for decades to the Sun Belt, where homes are cheap and jobs are plentiful but climate risks mount by the day? Or, following the logic of Biden’s own order, should funds be directed to more resilient regions where people might move someday? If it’s indeed the latter, let’s make the Great Lakes great again. Not only is the region projected to avoid the most egregious climate impacts, but it also possesses an abundance of affordable housing, room to grow, and a commitment to equity and sustainability. Funneling growth there would not only address the legacies of disinvestment but create new opportunities for those who will need to move by providing dedicated resources for climate migrants relocating from other parts of the country.

The decisions can no longer be put off until the future. New data from the EPA reveals temperatures are rising, precipitation patterns are changing, and abnormal weather is the new normal. The problem is that development is still booming in some of the areas of the country most at risk.

Extreme heat is the number-one weather-related killer, but many of the country’s fastest-growing cities—Miami, Phoenix, and Austin among them—are already hot, and getting hotter. But Phoenix still grew by an average of 200 people per day for the last decade, despite breaking its own heat-related records in repeated succession in 2020, including number of days over 110 degrees. To save lives during extreme weather, we need air-conditioning, and lots of it. But abnormal weather, which is becoming the new normal, puts tremendous strain on electrical systems, as seen during Texas’s deadly winter stormSummer blackouts may become even more common, and deadlier, as temperatures soar. The energy required to save lives during these events directly threatens emissions-reduction targets, and makes our planet even hotter.

Things aren’t much better along the coasts. Around the country, more than 300,000 homes (worth $117.5 billion) will be at risk of chronic inundation from rising sea levels by 2045. But despite the increasing availability of flood-risk data, homes are still being built two to three times faster in the riskiest areas of Florida, North Carolina, and New Jersey. The most vulnerable homes in California are appreciating the fastest.

The bipartisan Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act would require federally funded projects to incorporate climate projections into their design, so vulnerable municipalities may struggle to win increasingly competitive national competitions for resilience dollars or borrow money as their credit ratings fall. Coupled with rising flood insurance premiums and stringent building code updates, these market shifts could result in budget cuts and housing price drops that could create a positive feedback loop of decline. As far back as 2016, Freddie Mac’s chief economist warned that losses from flooding coupled with panic selling are “likely to be greater in total than those experienced in the housing crisis and the Great Recession.”

The federal government’s strategy for permanently mitigating flood losses happens primarily through post-disaster buyout programs, which suffer from inconsistencyinequityinefficiency, and a failure to address more systemic needs. That’s why, in 2020, the Government Accountability Office recommended Congress take action to develop an interagency climate migration pilot program “to enhance the nation’s resilience and reduce federal fiscal exposure.”

But climate migration—when people move due to experienced or expected climate impacts—is already taking place. An April survey by Redfin found nearly half of Americans planning to move this year factored natural disasters in their decision, bolstering a previous study indicating buyers will incorporate climate considerations when moving in the decade ahead. So where will people go?

This is where the Great Lakes and Green New Deal come in.

Some are already calling the Great Lakes the country’s climate refuge, thanks to mild weather and an abundance of natural resources, including an estimated 20% of the world’s surface freshwater resources. Buffalo has already proclaimed itself a “climate refuge city,” resettling hundreds of Puerto Rican families after 2017’s Hurricane Maria. These so-called receiving cities are the places where people will relocate to escape intolerable environmental hazards in their own communities.

Once the nation’s economic engines and manufacturing hubs, Great Lakes “legacy cities” such as Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo have suffered from decades of redlining, segregation, and political negligence. White flight and disinvestment led directly to years of contaminated water in Flint and similar crises. But these cities never abandoned their hopes for a renaissance, still possessing anchor institutions such as universities and hospitals, not to mention the capacity to house populations twice as large as today’s residents.

Forced to grapple with a shrinking tax base, they’ve also became leaders in sustainability. For example, Flint, Michigan; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Rochester, New York, are remediating contaminated land to create new amenities. In Ohio, AkronCincinnati, and Cleveland have focused their efforts on racial equity and resilience. Dayton, Toledo, and Detroit welcome refugees and immigrants to cope with population loss.

No place is immune to climate change, but these cities offer a solid foundation for investing in hard infrastructure and providing frontline communities with green jobs, affordable housing, and freedom from egregious climate risks.

What about people living along the coasts and in flood plains? Don’t they deserve green jobs, too? How do we ensure communities on the literal front lines—the ones who can’t move—aren’t left behind? And how can we ensure Great Lakes communities aren’t gentrified by wealthy climate migrants or barricaded by NIMBY homeowners already present?

The trick is to link the two: earmarking $500 billion for climate mitigation to frontline communities, as the Green New Deal for Cities would do, but also to make robust infrastructural investments in areas like the Great Lakes that are destined to be a refuge for people seeking relief from climate change. A robust federal climate migration pilot program must identify places where relocates will move to, including by leveraging other federal resources to cities and states that build resilient housing and economic opportunities in safe locations.

One tool legacy cities have wielded to preserve future affordability is land banks and land trusts, using public money to acquire and insulate properties against market appreciation. The American Jobs Act will reportedly include $318 billion to preserve or produce 2 million units of housing, including $45 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund established under President Obama to subsidize shelter for the poorest Americans.

Once again, it’s not only a question of how much, but where and for whom. The Biden administration should ensure those funds are steered toward land banks and land trusts in more resilient areas, using the EPA’s indicators as guides, and offer green jobs recipients in frontline communities priority access to affordable housing under these plans.

The federal government has the power to persuade with its dollars, by directing targeted investments to cities and regions where people could or even should move, with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to steer Americans to safety on higher ground. Funneling targeted infrastructure spending toward regions with fewer climate risks and providing dedicated resources to help climate-affected communities relocate can reap the benefits of mitigation and adaptation simultaneously. It can also ensure the longevity of these programs, providing a new legacy for the rest of the world to live up to.

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