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02 Apr 2009

Global Warming Threatens California Real Estate

global warming affects california real estate


Global warming has a lot to answer for - as it continues to melt glaciers and ice caps, sea levels are rising and homes are at risk of being submerged in years to come – according to experts who predict that up to £70.5 billion worth of property in California is at risk…


San Francisco will be one the cities most affected by the rising water, and San Mateo County, including Foster City and Redwood City, would be especially hard hit.

San Francisco and Oakland’s airports could also both be inundated, the work by the Oakland based Pacific Institute, an environmental think tank, has found.

But it’s not just property that stands to be affected. Sea levels at the Golden Gate have gone up eight inches in the past 100 years and with sea levels along the California shore expected to rise by between one and 1.4 metres before the year 2100, huge expanses of the stunning coastline, wetlands and bluffs would also be lost.

The report estimates it would cost £9.8 billion to build 1,100 miles of dikes, sea walls, and other structures to protect the California coast, plus £989 billion a year in maintenance.

But by putting defences in place along the coastline, beaches could be damaged and lost.

Heather Cooley, Co-Author of the report, said that the water level increase could be even higher than what has been predicted.

“The figures do not reflect the worst-case rise in sea levels that might occur. Like most climate models, the study excludes the potential effects of melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica because of uncertainty over how they will play out.

“Instead, the higher sea levels anticipated in the study are attributed mostly to thermal expansion - the phenomenon by which water increases in volume as it warms,” she added.

Of the properties in San Francisco Bay threatened, half are houses and apartments while a third are commercial buildings.

Over in Santa Barbara, an hour north of Los Angeles, a modern art project that hinted at rising seawater levels back in 2007 was rejected by spooked residents, who were concerned house prices may be adversely affected as a result.

Despite living in one of the cities least affected by the economic downturn thanks to its healthy supply of America’s superrich, Santa Barbara residents are spooked by the market freefall.

Bruce Caron, the activist behind the ‘Lightblueline Project,’ was planning to paint waves at intersections to show where global warming could push the sea level to, but opponents believed the project would sink property values on the wrong side of the line.

“If you are below the line, there is a stigma,” said Jerry Beaver, a local property developer who owns a warehouse and other property that would be swamped if, as Lightblueline predicts, the ocean rises by 23 feet in the future.

“Acquiring loans and insurance on potentially doomed lots would also be tougher,” he added.

Lightblueline –which would have spanned 68 streets - was scheduled for later this month, but has now been withdrawn. Caron was inspired by Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, which highlights the perils of climate change.

“The message is that this is where we don’t want the ocean to be in the year 2500, but in order to prevent this, we need to respond to climate change right now,” Caron said.

“When was the last time that a temporary public art project affected property values anywhere on the planet?”

News submitted by Dan Johnson, The Move Channel
Category: USA Property

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