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The Fallout from Climate Change Could Mean a $300M+Annual Price Tag for California

Climate change is a reality, and one that has never been more evident to us than now – as we experience 80+ degree temperatures in November and hear daily about the melting of our polar ice caps.  Unfortunately, it also may carry a hefty price tag.

According to a new study released by Next Ten and the University of California at Berkeley, the aftermath of climate change could cost the State of California anywhere from $300M to $3.9B annually in damages.  Most of these damages are expected to result from wildfire and coastal damage to real estate.  Over half of California’s real estate assets, amounting to roughly $2.5T, are at risk.

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One ominous fact pointed out by this report is that five major California airports sit on or near a coastline, and are in danger of being submerged if climate change results in rising sea levels.  The San Diego and Santa Barbara airports as well as all three major Bay Area airports are affected.

The report goes on to say that this price tag could shrink if the state takes action NOW to proactively address change in energy utilization, carbon emissions, water conservation, and other key areas.  One lesson we can all learn from this is that it may be profitable in the short term to neglect taking care of mother Earth, but in the long term, profits gained this way become unsustainable and the price of our neglect grows exponentially.

It is time for California to wake up to the reality of climate change, and plan proactive, sustainable change as today transitions into the future.

[ Image Credit:  tree_trunks at Flickr under a Creative Commons license]

Written by Brenda Keener

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