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Environment & Energy

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(59,292 posts)
Tue Oct 17, 2023, 07:05 AM Oct 2023

Projection: 1 Million FL Properties Will Become Chronically Flooded,W. Losses Of $619 Billion [View all]

One million Florida properties are projected to become chronically flooded: properties that today fund nearly 30% of local revenues for more than half of the state’s municipalities, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Cornell and Florida State Universities. As sea level rise drowns those properties, the state can expect to lose a combined assessed value of $619 billion this century, the study’s authors write, and that figure’s likely a significant underestimation. The study’s statewide survey also revealed that for the most part, Florida’s local government planners and managers don’t realize how drastically climate change will impact them financially.


Right now, local revenues like property taxes are by far the largest share of funding Florida municipalities rely on for climate change adaptation efforts — especially coastal municipalities, according to the study. Coastal areas are Florida’s most at-risk, and by the year 2100, many of them could be underwater. Sea levels along U.S. coastlines are projected to rise 10 to 12 inches, on average, during the next 30 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Yet despite serious risks associated with living close to rising seas, Florida’s coastline remains highly attractive to homebuyers: keeping property values in those areas relatively high, and encouraging even more real estate development there. As more property tax revenues roll in, they boost local governments’ bottom line. Right now, Florida’s coastal areas generate $2.36 billion a year in property taxes for local governments; again, a low estimate, per the study.

But sea level rise is only predicted to get progressively worse, jeopardizing the future of not only those coastal communities, but the critical funding they supply for Florida’s local governments. "What’s going to happen is: we’re going to keep growing,” Butler said. “There’s going to be more people living in those at-risk coastal zones. There’s going to be more stress and strain on those existing budgets, unless we change the growth paradigm that we currently operate under. And there’s no hint that that’s currently on anybody’s mind.”



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