Escalating Costs of Climate Adaptation: Who Is Responsible?

flooded town rescue teamsThe Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), a project of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, has published a study highlighting the costs of climate change in the United States. The resulting report emphasizes the responsibilities of industrial polluters that continuously contribute to the climate crisis. Specifically, CCI “supports litigation and advocacy to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for their fair share of the escalating costs of adapting to climate change.”

According to the study, the United States faces more than $400 billion in costs over the next 20 years. Significantly, only a portion of these costs stems from insufficient coastal defenses, whereas the overall cost of climate adaptation will likely exceed most forecasts. Given the reliance on taxpayers’ support for these improvements (not accounting for disaster recovery), many coastal communities are under a significant financial threat.

In order to address this issue, the authors urge the American public to seek accountability of the companies who knowingly manufacture products that irrevocably and radically alter the global climate.

Failing to hold polluters to this basic responsibility would be to knowingly bankrupt hundreds of communities, standing idly by as they are slowly and inexorably swallowed up by the sea.

By providing the first ever prognosis of costs associated with defending the coastal communities in a near future, CCI along with an engineering team from Resilient Analytics offer a clear picture of the burden that many communities face.

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