Worry over climate change is making its way up the political food chain, and the state where the issue is climbing fastest is Florida.
Of the 25 U.S. cities most vulnerable to rising seas, 22 are located in the political swing state. Miami, where sunny-day flooding has become routine, ranks number two globally in terms of expected economic losses due to climate-related flooding. With each hurricane season, Florida seems to have ever more near misses like the recent Hurricane Dorian that are clearly fatal bullets dodged. As 2017’s Hurricane Irma and 2018’s Hurricane Michael attest, the state isn’t always so fortunate.
It’s more than a little ironic, then, that the Sunshine State is one of a minority of U.S. states without a renewable portfolio standard that would require it to get a certain minimum amount of its energy from carbon-free renewable sources like wind. Florida ranks eighth among states in solar energy potential, yet generates just 1% of its electricity from the sun.
Mass migration begins as coastal homes are bulldozed in the state facing the biggest threat from climate-driven inundation.
Lori Rittel is stuck in her Florida Keys home, living in the wreckage left by Hurricane Irma two years ago, unable to rebuild or repair. Now her best hope for escape is to sell the little white bungalow to the government to knock down.
Her bedroom is still a no-go zone so she sleeps in the living room with her cat and three dogs. She just installed a sink in the bathroom, which is missing a wall, so she can wash her dishes inside the house now. Weather reports make her nervous. “I just want to sell this piece of junk and get the hell out,” she said. “I don’t want to start over. But this will happen again.”
The Great Climate Retreat is beginning with tiny steps, like taxpayer buyouts for homeowners in flood-prone areas from Staten Island, New York, to Houston and New Orleans — and now Rittel’s Marathon Key. Florida, the state with the most people and real estate at risk, is just starting to buy homes, wrecked or not, and bulldoze them to clear a path for swelling seas before whole neighborhoods get wiped off the map.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – David Burt helped two of the protagonists of Michael Lewis’ book The Big Short bet against the U.S. mortgage market in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. Now he’s betting against the market again, but this time, the risk is not from underwater subprime mortgages, it’s from homes sinking under water.
As he did then, Burt has given up his full-time job to make that bet. He left his role as a portfolio manager at the $1 trillion Wellington Management last year to start an investment firm, DeltaTerra Capital, which aims to help clients manage climate risk, and, where possible, take advantage of ways the market has not yet priced in that risk. His first investment strategy is targeting residential mortgage-backed securities, or RMBS, with exposure to climate hot spots like Texas and Florida.
In doing so, Burt is joining the ranks of a small number of investors who have become worried that climate risk is underpriced in these securities, which are pools of home loans sold to investors.
“The market’s failure to integrate climate science with investment analysis has created a mispricing phenomenon that is possibly larger than the mortgage credit bubble of the mid-2000s,” Burt wrote in a presentation to prospective clients.
A new United Nations report states that rising sea levels could render as many as 60 million toilets inoperable in the United States alone, as traditional septic systems are threatened by increased groundwater.
About 1 in 5 American households rely on septic systems to handle their toilet waste, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. These systems work by draining flushed toilets into an underground tank, where bacteria breaks it down into water and solid sludge. That water moves through an outflow tube into a drainage field.
However, as sea levels rise, those drainage fields are becoming saturated, preventing them from absorbing liquid from septic tanks. In addition, erosion removes the necessary soft earth to filter out pollutants, resulting in public health hazards and groundwater contamination.
News Talk Florida