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By 2050, sea level will have risen two feet from now, with forecasts of seven-foot swells during major storms and up to 14-feet surges during category 3 hurricanes. By 2100, sea levels are projected to rise as much as six feet. This means big changes for cities and their economies — both in areas that have already been affected by climate change, and for those that are vulnerable to future storms and flooding.
Years after the 2008 catastrophic flooding in Cedar Rapids, the damage is clocking in at over $7 billion. Total damage from Hurricane Katrina is estimated at $148 billion. And along the iconic Jersey Shore, an annual $28 billion in economic activity is jeopardized by sea level rise and storm surge.
Recovery efforts in these areas are coming to fruition. But do we have to wait for a natural disaster in order to act and make change? We shouldn’t. Where the cost-benefit of planning and acting proactively is 4:1, a strong economic case for proactivity can be made.
How do we make that happen?