Climate change could result in the financial toll of flooding rising by more than a quarter in the United States by 2050 – and disadvantaged communities will bear the biggest brunt, according to new research.
Using data from Fathom’s flood models and by analysing nation-wide property asset data and detailed flood projections, this research forecasts an increase in average annual flood losses by 26.4% from US$32 billion currently to US$40.6 billion in less than 30 years.
Key headlines from this paper include:
- 26% increase in flood damages in 30yrs due to climate change alone. *this is not adjusted for inflation
- This is a problem that can only be solved by adaptation, not mitigation.
- Changes in where & how an increasing number of people will be living by 2050 dwarf the impact of climate change.
- The majority of climate change flood risk is historical flood risk. Our failure to drive that down means we’re already on borrowed time to adapt to the increases.
- Poorer, whiter communities shoulder the burden of present-day flood risk.
- African-American communities will bear the brunt of climate change-driven risk increases.
“Typical risk models rely on historical data which doesn’t capture projected climate change or offer sufficient detail. Fathom’s sophisticated techniques using state-of-the-science flood models give a much more accurate picture of future flooding and how populations will be affected.
“The mapping clearly indicates Black communities will be disproportionately affected in a warming world, in addition to the poorer White communities which predominantly bear the historical risk. Both of these findings are of significant concern. The research is a call to action for adaptation and mitigation work to be stepped up to reduce the devastating financial impact flooding wreaks on people’s lives.