150 Million to face flood risk by 2070|
By Simon Challis
Tue Dec 4, 2007 5:03am EST
LONDON (Reuters) - As many as 150 million people in the world's big coastal
cities are likely to be at risk from flooding by the 2070s, more than three
times as many as now, according to a report released on Tuesday.
Climate change, population growth and urban development will mean the number
at risk will rise from the current 40 million while total property and
infrastructure exposure is forecast to rise to $35 trillion -- 9 percent of
projected global GDP.
The report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development,
put together by disaster modeling firm Risk Management Solutions and leading
scientists, is the first part of the largest ever study on urban coastal flood
The report analyzed the vulnerability now and in the future of 130 port
cities to a major flood, on a scale likely to occur once in 100 years.
Miami in Florida will remain the city with the highest value of property and
infrastructure assets exposed to coastal flooding caused by storm surge and
damage from high winds, the report said.
The city has exposed assets of $400 billion today. Those are projected to
rise in value to over $3.5 trillion by 2070.
But with rapid economic development in Asia, Guangzhou in China will be the
second most exposed city in terms of assets in 2070, followed by New York,
Kolkata, Shanghai, Mumbai, Tianjin, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok, the report
GROWTH AND GROWING RISK
Population growth and urban development in coastal cities will increase the
exposure, exacerbated by the effects of climate change and subsidence, the
Scientists believe global warming will cause sea levels to rise and bring
more frequent and severe storms and other natural disasters.
"This report raises crucial policy considerations, and highlights the urgency
for climate change mitigation and risk-informed adaptation strategies at a city
level," said Jan Corfee-Morlot, the OECD's senior policy advisor on climate
Policies to mitigate climate change will bring "precious time" for exposed
cities to implement strategies to adapt to and protect themselves from the
higher risk of flooding, said Corfee-Morlot.
Projects to protect cities from flooding, such as the Thames Barrier built to
protect central London from a major flood, typically take up to 30 years, said
Policymakers from around the world are meeting this week in Bali to try to
hammer out a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol to cut man-made emissions
of carbon dioxide that are believed to lead to global warming.
Insurers, who end up paying a large part of the bill from any damage caused
by climate change, should encourage policyholders to adopt methods to adapt to
effects of global warming, the report said.
(Editing by Matthew Tostevin)
Original article: Reuters
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