Even the most conservative project puts sea level rise at 0.5 meter (1.6 feet) higher than current levels. The HRI Socio-Economics Group was asked by the Environmental Defense Fund, with support from the British Consulate General in Houston, to assess what the socio-economic impact might be for the Galveston Bay region of Texas. HRI Endowed Professors Dr. David Yoskowitz and Dr. Jim Gibeaut, along with HRI Student Ali McKenzie, combined existing projections of sea level rise and risk assessment software from FEMA to calculate the impact.
The results aren’t pretty. What they found was that Galveston-area sea level rise over the next 100 years due to climate change could displace more than 100,000 households in the three-county region (Chambers, Galveston, and Harris) and create more than $12 billion in infrastructure losses. The study’s conservative estimates of sea level rise show that 78% of current households will be displaced in Galveston County alone. At least 23 public waste facilities and industrial sites will be impacted, begging many questions about how government agencies will work to move or protect these sites.
Adding hurricanes to the mix, under the conservative estimate of sea level rise, an Ike-level storm would be estimated to cause an additional $1.7 billion in damage due to flooding for the three-county region surrounding Galveston Bay, given the economic conditions of today. Ouch.
(photo by Estaticist).