Gulf Coast Climate Risk: Adapt or Bust

Communities along the U.S. Gulf Coast could face $350 billion in economic damage by 2030 due to the impact of climate change, economic growth and land subsidence, according to a new study released last week by energy company Entergy Corp.

Wind and storm surge damage from hurricanes today already costs the Gulf Coast some $14 billion per year in annual losses, according to the study findings.

Severe climate change, along with economic growth and land subsidence could drive up expected annual losses by up to 65 percent to an average $23.4 billion by 2030.

These losses also represent a significant annual impact of 2-3 percent on the region’s GDP.

The study recommends a range of economically attractive adaptation initiatives that could prevent a large part of the expected increase in losses.

For example, by investing $50 billion in cost-effective measures over the next 20 years, such as improved building codes, beach nourishment and roof cover retrofits, Gulf Coast communities can avert about $135 billion in annual losses over the lifetime of the implemented measures.

The study on the economics of climate adaptation along the U.S. Gulf Coast considers assets across 77 coastal parishes and counties in four energy-producing states, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

The analysis was conducted to estimate the potential impact of natural hazards on key sectors of the region’s economy, notably the electric utility and oil and gas industries, and inform coastal communities on how to strengthen their resilience.

Swiss Re was a lead contributor to the research.

Check out I.I.I. information on Catastrophes: Insurance Issues and Climate Change: Insurance Issues.

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