Friday, January 13, 2012

Some Specifics About Florida's Adaptation to Climate Change

From this webpage, I found this document discussing sea level rise (SLR) in Florida.  As far as I can tell, the piece never discusses the geography of what this SLR will mean for different Florida areas or how many people currently live in the affected areas or whether there are any strategies that these individuals and their government  officials can take to protect themselves and their property.  With climate change models predicting increased risk of SLR, will insurance firms start to charge higher rates in the at risk zones?  Will they price discriminate and offer insurance policy discounts for those who build their homes and structures in ways that are more flood resistant?  The funny thing about the paper that I reference above is that it doesn't mention humans.

In contrast, I like this report much more.  It provides a detailed account of the risks that the City of Punta Gorda faces and what its citizens can do to reduce their climate change exposure.

If you read the paper, you will see the educational component such as this;

"Figure 7:  The Adaptation Game board helped participants recommend locations where possible adaptations should take place."   See, adaptation can be fun!

Armed with these "early warning" maps,  self interested people will take actions to cope with these expected threats.  Such adaptation isn't costless but when we see a punch coming our way, we can take steps to duck the punch.  We have many strategies at our disposal to deal with such challenges and necessity will nudge us to discover more.  This is the "small ball" of adaptive learning.  With so many people seeking solutions, I am highly optimistic that we will discover good ones. If all of these efforts fail, then yes --- parts of the coast of Florida will have to be evacuated.  The losers will be those who own that land but we are a mobile people who can move to higher ground and rebuild there.

Since the publication of my September 2010 book Climatopolis, I haven't heard too many smart rebuttals that make me question the book's core optimistic logic.  I'm a fan of the collective wisdom of crowds and decentralized free markets.

1 comment :

Matt Young said...

OK, some crowd wisdom.
Does you model consider the small probability of a breakthrough?
Suppose I live near the coast, and the water is up a half foot. But at the same time scientists are predicting an eminent breakthrough in sucking CO2 in large quantities and making methanol and carbon storage.
Should I build a two foot wall and bet on the scientists, or just sell out now?