Experts Say Coastal Georgia Is at Risk Due to Climate Change
With iconic cities like Savannah, it’s clear that coastal Georgia has weathered its fair share of history, but thanks to climate change, coastal Georgia’s entire economic future could be in jeopardy according to climate scientists who have spent decades analyzing data that dates as far back as 1850.
Climate Change and Coastal Georgia
According to the most recent “States at Risk” data, Georgia is becoming increasingly susceptible to droughts, wildfire, extreme heat, inland flooding, and, of course, coastal flooding. Roughly 100,000 people in coastal Georgia are already at risk due to flooding — a figure that could rise by 38% over the next 30 years (or one mortgage term).
Stronger, more frequent storms are largely to blame with the data showing that 88% of floods from 2005-2014 can be attributed to human activity. However, more worryingly, the frequency and intensity of hurricanes is on the rise too — a trend that’s also consistent with most climate models.
Real Estate and Climate Change
Contrary to what you might be thinking, housing prices actually increase after hurricanes and other natural disasters. The storm dramatically reduces the amount of livable housing while the number of homes going onto the market drops, yet demand persists.
Hurricane Michael, which hit Panama City Beach in 2018, destroyed 60,000 dwellings. This impact also forces many to move away, and a declining population incurs its own economic consequences. As always, opportunity remains, but the real estate game definitely becomes more competitive after a natural disaster.
Long term, however, recurring damage to property and infrastructure could negatively impact real estate markets — especially if homes become uninsurable. In fact, inadequate infrastructure is listed as the primary concern in the “Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate” by CRE.
What’s Being Done to Fight Climate Change in Georgia
Mitigating the effects of climate change is a worldwide effort, including here in Georgia. Just this year, the city of Savannah committed to transitioning to 100% safe, clean, renewable energy by 2035, with fingers crossed that other cities follow suit. If you want to help, there are many simple things you can do, including keeping the climate change conversation going while stressing the economic impact. For more information on key talking points and the latest research, check out the Georgia Climate Project.
“[The climate change crisis] is broader and larger than any city, municipality, or governmental body. This is all hands on deck. Everyone from every corner of society has to be involved,” Nick Deffley, director of Savannah’s Office of Sustainability, told Savannah Now.
We have to admit, it’s far more difficult to sell a home that’s underwater, so we hope that Savannah’s commitment to change inspires other cities, both in the Peach State and across the world, to do the same.
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