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FAYETTEVILLE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18: Members of the New York Urban Search and Rescue Task Force One help evacuate people from their homes on September 18, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Cape Fear river has reached its crest due to rains caused by Hurricane Florence which inundated the area with rain that caused concern for large scale flooding in the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Rebuilding after Hurricane Michael could cost upwards of $4.5 billion. That’s nothing: Hurricane Florence is estimated to cost $50 billion. Hurricane Harvey cost $125 billion. In 2017, 16 separate weather events in the U.S., three of which were the costliest storms on record, cost a cumulative $306.2 billion. Who pays? We all do, in the form of tax dollars and higher insurance premiums. As climate change accelerates and sea levels rise, those costs will only continue to break records and weigh upon society.

Some people are questioning the sense of pouring billions into rebuilding efforts in zones that will be targeted again, or that are predicted to be underwater entirely as climate change advances. The Union of Concerned Scientists calculates that 300,000 coastal homes are located in areas that will experience chronic flooding or be underwater in the next 25 years.

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