In the next 20 years spending on seawalls to protect communities could cost as much as the initial investment in the interstate highway system. Total spending to defend against rising ocean levels could run to $416 billion in the next 20 years, according to a report from the Center for Climate Integrity.
Coming as it does just days after the Trump administration gutted the Obama administration’s regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, the report raises a number of rather “interesting” questions.
Like where the money might come from. Climate polluters are arguing in their draft of legislation for a $40 a ton tax on carbon emissions that they should pay nothing. Their proposed legislation would include immunity from lawsuits and payments for past carbon pollution. Taxpayers, especially taxpayers in smaller communities, won’t be able to afford the total bill. Some communities, the report calculated, would have to spend $1 million per resident on protection from rising ocean levels. It’s quite likely that in those communities the choice would be between a “protection” bill they can’t pay and abandoning their communities.
The report breaks down costs by state with Florida facing the highest costs, $76 billion by 2040. Louisiana comes in second at $38 billion and North Carolina third at $35 billion. For individual cities, Jacksonville, New York City, and Virginia Beach look to face the biggest bills at: $3.5 billion, $2 billion and $1.7 billion, respectively.
Investors who own shares of Jubak Picks member Vulcan Materials (VMC) might note that the areas forecast to require the most spending correspond fairly well with the footprint of the company’s faculties to produce construction aggregates. Shares of Vulcan Materials are up 19.48% since I added them to this portfolio on February 25, 2019.