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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.