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:
Strategically allocate resilience grants from the federal government
Reform urban and rural land-use policies
Identify relocation sites for public and private facilities
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.