Climate Change Is Already Amplifying the Affordable Housing Crisis
Jared Brey
Next City
August 20, 2019

The Center for American Progress released a report this month called A Perfect Storm: Extreme Weather as an Affordable Housing Crisis Multiplier to build the case for federal action on climate change and affordable housing to support cities and states in responding more quickly and holistically to extreme weather events. The report says, “Solutions that offer only temporary relief in the wake of disasters and/or are directed to wealthier households and homeowners will perpetuate the loss of affordable housing stock that, when damaged, is often demolished rather than rebuilt. Moreover, they will increase displacement, housing poverty, and homelessness.” The report highlights how natural disasters have not only destroyed homes, but they have also outsized mental and physical health impacts on people already experiencing homelessness.

Read the full piece here and read the report here.

What's Your Climate Change Story? The City of Miami Wants to Know
Nadege Green
August 16, 2019

As a part of its “Climate Ready Miami” strategy, Miami’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability is hosting meetings for neighbors to discuss climate change and the role of the local government in responding to the community’s needs. City staff will capture input from these meetings to inform a multiyear plan to address flooding and rising temperatures. There are meetings planned through the end of September.

Read the full piece here.

Yard Signs Showcase Miami's Vulnerability to Sea-level Rise
Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media
Yale Climate Connections
August 13, 2019

Artist Xavier Cortada wanted to get people talking about sea level rise where he lives, Miami, Florida, so he started painting yard signs for people in his neighborhood that display each property’s elevation in feet, with the numbers partially submerged in water. Xavier also started a group called the Underwater Homeowners Association, where participating homeowners meet monthly to discuss sea level rise and adaptation strategies.

Read the full piece here and listen to the accompanying audio.
Xavier Cortada serves on the Climigration Network Leadership.

Rising Sea Levels Leave CA Coastal Cities with Hard Choices
Larry Buhl
City Watch
August 12, 2019

The California Coastal Commission (CCC) is urging coastal communities to revisit their Local Coastal Programs to take comprehensive adaptive approaches to protect properties, tourism, and public access to beaches. Roughly 40 of California’s 70 coastal communities are in the process of planning for sea level rise, but the term “managed retreat” remains “like kryptonite to many communities.” CCC coastal program manager, Madeline Cavalieri, says, “There are really only two options, either we have planned managed retreat or unplanned managed retreat.” Adrienne Alvord, Western States Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists states, “The state and federal taxpayers should not be on the hook for bad decisions made when there was good information that was not acted upon.”

Read the full piece here.

Life on Thin Ice
Dan McDougall
The Guardian
August 12, 2019

The new Greenlandic Perspectives Survey by the University of Copenhagen, the Kraks Fond Institute for Urban Economic Research, and the University of Greenland analyzes the psychological impact that the climate crisis is having in Greenland as its ice melts. For the islanders grieving their dissolving world, the crisis is personal, dangerous, and raises important mental health dynamics at the heart of the climate crisis. Community health worker Astrid Olson highlights, “People who are socio-economically disadvantaged, like many people here in Greenland, are also more likely to endure mental health challenges.”

Read the full piece here.

Jacksonville’s Sea Level Rise Task Force Wants to Guard Against ‘Climate Gentrification’
Brendan Rivers
August 12, 2019

Jacksonville’s Adaptation Action Area (AAA) Working Group voted in favor of several recommendations to submit to City Council before disbanding later this month, including efforts to try to prevent and manage climate gentrification and to explore managed retreat as an adaptation strategy. AAA’s recommendations will be compiled as a report and presented to the City Council at a public meeting on August 26. Those policies that received City Council approval will be included in Jacksonville’s 2030 comprehensive plan.

Read the full piece here.

Florida Wants to Buy Irma-flooded Homes. Is it the Start of a Retreat from Sea Rise?
Alex Harris
Miami Herald
August 9, 2019

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity will be managing a statewide program to buy out vulnerable properties, funded by over $1 billion from HUD and $75 million set aside by the state. Monroe County in the Florida Keys is pursuing this program actively, and $10 million of the funding pot is earmarked specifically for the Keys. The threat of rising seas in Florida is expected to increase the demand for managed retreat through government buyouts. “This is retreat. This is not only an acknowledgment, it’s putting some real money in it,” said South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard. The Florida Sea Grant views the buyouts as a short-term strategy, highlighting that smarter development is needed in the long-term.

Read the full piece here.

Deadly Cliffside Collapse Underscores California’s Climate-Fueled Crisis
Susie Cagle
The Guardian
August 7, 2019

Roughly 75% of California’s coastlines are actively eroding, and the speed of erosion and degradation is being affected by climate change. Sea level rise is predicted to accelerate cliff retreat, and California could lose two-thirds of its beaches by 2100. Coastal residential development and sea walls can accelerate erosion as well. One potential adaptation strategy is “managed retreat,” defined here as the unbuilding of communities threatened by erosion and flooding along the coast using buyouts and eminent domain. Several California coastal towns are pushing back against the consideration of managed retreat as an adaptation strategy, including the town of Del Mar.

Read the full piece here.

What the Seas Will Swallow
Text by Daniel Grossman & Photos by Alex MacLean
Hakai Magazine
August 6, 2019

Alex MacLean’s aerial images of the US East Coast, from Maine to Florida, convey just how much infrastructure perches in the coastal danger zone. A recent study found that, in the next 15 years, sea level rise will put roughly 4,100 miles of communications lines that were never meant to be underwater for long periods of time at risk of damaging floods. Another study published last year found that an increase in sea level rise of three feet would result in 162 wastewater treatment plants that serve 10 million people becoming inoperable. Included with the article, one of Alex MacLean's photos depicts the Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station. Built alongside a marsh on the coast of New Hampshire, it is considered one of the four reactors most at risk of flooding in the United States.

Read the full piece and view the photo series here.

Along came Hurricane Harvey: A look at the recovery of the Lake Houston area 2 years later
Kelly Schafler
Community Impact Newspaper
August 6, 2019

Hurricane Harvey hit the Kingwood area in August 2017, and, two years later, community members are still dealing with the effects of the storm.  Community Impact Newsletter completed a three-part series investigating the lasting impacts and issues around funding for future prevention projects and home buyouts, the recovery of the area’s retail sector, and the communities mental and physical health in the Lake Houston and Kingwood areas.

Read all three pieces (with infographics) here.

When It Comes to Wildfire Solutions, Relocating Communities Is a Tough Sell
Craig Miller
August 5, 2019

KQED interviewed Lisa Dale, a social scientist at Columbia University’s Sustainable Development Program, to investigate whether people should be discussing managed retreat as a defense against the increasingly catastrophic wildfires in California. Lisa raises issues about the challenging dynamic of trying to relocate people in the wildland-urban interface to the city and the important role of local government and insurance companies in mitigating future risk and disincentivizing people from moving to and living in high fire-risk areas.

Listen to the interview and read excerpts here.

As Sea Levels Rise, One Delaware Bay Community is Vanishing
Avalon Zappo
The Press of Atlantic City
August 3, 2019

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has purchased 26 properties on Money Island for more than $2.7 million through the Blue Acres buyout program, and only a few holdouts remain on the island, either unwilling or financially unable to leave. The township’s tax base has been hurt by the relocations, and the small, year-round fishing community has largely left. The Mayor and others have drawn up a redevelopment plan for the township that includes a proposed university/education research center and an upgraded aquaculture and commercial docking facility for the $40 million oyster industry and environmental tourists.

Read the full piece here. The upcoming bookThe Drowning of Money Island: A Forgotten Community’s Fight Against the Rising Seas Forever Changing Coastal America will be released in October 2019.

Coastal Cities Wrestling With ‘Managed Retreat’ Ramifications of Rising Sea Levels
Alison St. John
August 1, 2019

The California Coastal Commission (CCC) has encouraged cities to include “managed retreat” in Local Coastal Plans to prepare for sea level rise, but cities have pushed back on this mandate, citing high costs, unclear liabilities, and the increasing polarization of the term “managed retreat.” The CCC’s Coastal Planning Manager Madeline Cavalieri said, “The commission continues to recommend that local jurisdiction first understand their vulnerability to sea level rise and then look at a range of adaptation strategies — from protection to retreat — and then identify policy options that work best for them.”

Read the full piece and watch the accompanying video here.

Homes Are Being Built the Fastest in Many Flood-Prone Areas, Study Finds
Christopher Flavell
The New York Times
July 31, 2019

Climate Central, a New Jersey research group, released a new study that revealed that, in a third of all coastal states, flood-prone areas have experienced the highest rates of home construction since 2010. The study examined the 10-year flood risk zone (the area with a 10% change of flooding in any given year), estimated the zone’s size in 2050, and then tallied up homes built there since 2010. Findings revealed that, in eight states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Mississippi, and South Carolina – the percentage increase in homes built in the flood zone exceeded the rate of increase in the rest of the state.

Read the full piece here and read the study here.

California Wildfire Insurance is in Crisis. And the Real Estate Market is Suffering
Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow
The Sacramento Bee
July 29, 2019

Home insurers in California are raising rates, abandoning long-standing customers, and refusing to write new policies in fire-prone areas, prompting home owners to cancel new home purchases and look elsewhere. Many homeowners are forced to purchase from unregulated “surplus” carriers or California’s FAIR Plan, a bare-bones, last resort, policy, and these plans can cost up to three times more than coverage from a traditional carrier. Economic recovery in fire-prone counties, especially rural counties, has fallen behind the rest of the state, and these are the areas being hit hardest by the increasing insurance rates. It has also become more difficult to sell homes as insurance rates soar.

Read the full piece and watch the accompanying video here.

A Coastal Town Pummeled by Climate Change Prepares for the Future
Barbara Barrett
July 26, 2019

Dare County, North Carolina, is comprised of a strand of narrow barrier islands can serve as a lesson for how local officials sold climate change adaptation efforts to a mostly conservative county, overcoming national political sentiment around climate change and numerous state and federal obstacles to effective long-term planning. For example, the town of Nags Head developed a long-term plan that incorporated the views of homebuilders, environmental activists, property owners, and business owners, placing emphasis on septic and stormwater projects in addition to separately funded beach renourishment. However, researchers and local and state officials acknowledge that resilience projects will only go so far, and the communities in Dare County will hit a tipping point when they will need to consider managed retreat.

Read the full piece here.

Illinois program’s home buyout requests up dramatically after record flood year
Gabriel Neely-Streit
The Southern Illinoisan
July 26, 2019

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), which administers the state’s buyout program, has received notices of intent on roughly 375 houses and 14 businesses across the state, amounting to an estimate $48,053,000 in value. IDNR’s buyout program is funded by legislative appropriation and has $13 million available for buyouts this year, but properties that are not selected for the state’s buyout program can still seek a federal buyout from FEMA.

Read the full piece here.

Protecting Scituate’s Coast the Subject of Public Forum
Ruth Thompson
Wicked Local
July 25, 2019

The Scituate Coastal Advisory Commission is holding a public forum to elicit public and business community feedback on the key actions that have taken place in recent years to improve coastal resilience in Scituate, MA, and the relevant recommendations that have been made in previous studies and plans. More than 45% of Scituate’s land is coastline, and there are an estimated 2,000 houses on the coastline, or in flood zones, as well as numerous businesses. Some of the projects the town is involved in concerning foreshore protection include a Downtown Harbor Sustainability and Resiliency Master Plan, a Peggotty Beach Managed Retreat Feasibility Study, storm tide pathways, FEMA storm claims, and an Oceanside Drive seawall.

Read the full piece here.

Florida’s Monroe County Approves $10 Million for Home Buyouts
Theresa Pinto
Miami Beach Times
July 25, 2019

On July 22nd, the Monroe County Commission approved a measure to participate in Rebuild Florida’s state-funded disaster recovery program, which has allocated $10 million to the County for voluntary home buyouts. The city of Marathon had already joined the buyout program under Rebuild Florida, with a call for applications sent on July 19. The median home value in Marathon is $488,000, which could limit the buyout to only twenty homes out of the 533 possible applicants.

Read the full piece here.

Moody’s Buys Climate Data Firm, Signaling New Scrutiny of Climate Risks
Christopher Flavelle
The New York Times
July 24, 2019

Moody’s Corporation, a credit rating agency, bought a majority share in Four Twenty Seven, a California-based company that measures a range of climate hazards and tracks their input on 2,000 companies and 196 countries. This purchase continues a new trend of rating agencies trying to better account for the effects of climate change on the ability of governments to pay back the money they borrow by issuing bonds. Investors have pushed rating agencies to better incorporate climate risks, with the frequency of an investors citing the importance of climate change considerations for the municipal bond market tripling between 2018 and 2019. For cities facing severe climate threats, the challenge remains: “How do you deal with an issuer [of a bond] that is doing everything you would think they should be doing, but nonetheless has a long-term risk profile such that the die may be cast?”

Read the full piece here.

‘There is no coming back from disappearing coastlines’
Climate Justice Resilience Fund
Climate Home News
July 23, 2019

Alaska Native communities working on the frontline of ‘usteq,’ a Yup’ik word for land collapse caused by erosion compounded by ice and permafrost thawing, are striving for recognition and emergency relief. Roughly 12 Alaska Native communities participate in regular teleconferences to discuss cost-effective ways to help deal with usteq, and villages have been documenting this damage to help make the case for government support with their adaptation and relocation. There is no governing framework to help communities decide to relocate, and usteq is not recognized as a hazard in the key national disaster response policy (the Stafford Act). The Alaska Institute for Justice (AJI), led by Robin Bronen, has been helping communities monitor the impact of usteq and facilitating tribal engagement with state and federal agencies. Thus far, AJI has succeeded in getting usteq recognized in Alaska’s hazard mitigation plan and by FEMA. “There is no coming back from disappearing coastlines,” said Bronen, who added that millions of people worldwide who live on coastlines will soon have to deal with their lands disappearing.

Read the full piece here. Robin Bronen serves in the Climigration Network Leadership.

This Is What America Could Look Like When Our Coasts Are Under Water
Shayla Love
July 23, 2019

Managed retreat is often viewed as an option of last resort. Climate change is expected to exacerbate existing socioeconomic inequalities; however, some believe that, if planned and executed correctly and equitably, managed retreat could be a tool to “reckon with social and racial inequalities” and improve quality of life. A.R. Siders, an environmental fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment, commented on the problems with aiming to combat climate change solely with infrastructure: “So everywhere we build a wall and choose to protect one place, we're putting another place at risk.” "You could end up with these walled city-states and then everyone else is just left to fend for themselves," said Liz Koslov, an assistant professor at the UCLA Department of Urban Planning and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Koslov highlighted the need to include communities in retreat conversations, and Siders stressed that we need to be transformative, not resilient. A national seashore is one transformative proposition put forth by Siders and Rosetta Elkin, a landscape architect at Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Read the full piece here. A.R. Siders and Liz Koslov both serve in the Climigration Network Leadership.

Local and State Officials Clash on 'Managed Retreat'
Anne C. Mulkern
E&E News
July 15, 2019

Coastal city and county officials said that managed retreat is becoming politically explosive in California at a planning workshop with the California Coastal Commission, an agency that wants local leaders to explore retreat as an adaptation option. A draft guidance document created by the Commission with language cities can use in their adaptation plans received strong pushback from real estate groups and homeowners in response to detailed language on managed retreat. The Commission views its mandate as preserving public access to beaches, and Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh raised that local officials need to help make managed retreat more “politically viable,” saying, “it’s incumbent on all of us together to change the narrative.”

Read the full piece here.

Flood Buyout Costs Rise As Storms Intensify, Seas Surge
David A. Lieb
Associated Press
July 15, 2019

Federal and local governments have spent more than $5 billion on tens of thousands of buyouts of vulnerable properties across the US over the past three decades. Buyouts have been getting more expensive as climate impacts intensify. Moreover, buyouts remain voluntary while homeowners can renew taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance policies indefinitely. US Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees FEMA, says, “Then the question is: Are we just going to keep selling them [vulnerable property owners] insurance and building in the same place?” DeFazio wants to implement a buyout process that would give homeowners a break on their flood insurance premiums if they agree in advance to a buyout in certain flooding scenarios.

Read the full piece here.

New York’s Invisible Climate Migrants
Sophie Kasakove
The New Republic
July 11, 2019

Managed retreat looks different in cities like New York that face more sporadic climate impacts than places like Louisiana or Alaska. For people in these cities, “It’s not a planned retreat,” said David Abramson, director of New York University’s research program on population impact and resilience. “It’s an economic retreat.” Many residents who remained in the Jamaica Bay watershed after Hurricane Sandy still ended up forced from their homes, with bureaucratic holdups in state and federal disaster assistance, increased flood insurance rates, and foreclosure rates twice those in similar neighborhoods. Foreclosure rates soared higher still in areas where a majority of the residents were nonwhite. The retreat of working-class homeowners has contributed to gentrification, as investors and developers bought up the area. “The climate retreat from New York will look a lot like getting priced out.”

Read the full piece here.

‘We Cannot Save Everything’: A Historic Neighborhood Confronts Rising Seas
Cornelia Dean
The New York Times
July 8, 2019

Adaptation measures that are used in normal contexts, such as hardening shorelines or relocation, are of limited utility in historic neighborhoods, as they alter the historic elements and feel of the neighborhood. New strategies are being developed by architects, planners, and engineers to adapt to climate impacts like increased flood water, such as installing flood vents to allow water to flow through threatened structures or approaches to help make homes buoyant. “Whatever the solutions they choose to make or not make, there are going to be huge financial repercussions.”

Read the full piece here.

The California Coast Is Disappearing Under The Rising Sea. Our Choices Are Grim
Rosanna Xia
LA Times
July 7, 2019

California is struggling with accepting the idea of managed retreat as a workable solution in the face of climate change impacts, with some calling the idea of retreat “un-American.” Case studies in Pacifica, San Francisco, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, and Gleason Beach all demonstrate the complexity of putting managed retreat on the table as an adaptation strategy. For example, in Pacifica, managed retreat was proposed by officials worried that their city could become an example of an unplanned, forced retreat, but opposed residents have united in a property rights campaign to defeat the proposal. Managed retreat has become a divisive issue throughout the city and at city council meetings. Responding to pressure from the opposition, city officials have rewritten the plan to extend key seawalls and replace the words “managed retreat” with references to environmental triggers for “adaptation strategies” in the coming decades. This long-form article also analyzes the costs and applicability of seawalls and includes an interactive game called “Can you save this town from the rising sea?”

Read the full piece here and play the interactive game here.

As Floods Keep Coming, Cities Pay Residents to Move
John Schwartz
New York Times
July 6, 2019

Nashville, TN, employs a voluntary buyout program that uses a combination of federal, state, and local funds to offer market value for homes. Due to federal and state funding, the city only spends $12,500 for each $100,000 used in buyouts and has been able to purchase 400 homes and vacant lots. Disaster mitigation experts consider Nashville’s program a model for other municipalities struggling with similar climate change impacts, highlighting that the US “spends far more on helping people rebuild after disasters than preventing problems.” For example, only 20 percent of the money that FEMA distributes in disaster grants is earmarked for pre-disaster efforts, and sometimes the buyout process takes longer than the reimbursement process to rebuild. Relocations are proving to be cost-effective around the country, and FEMA has estimated that the buyout program in Beatrice, NE, prevented $13 million in damage in 2015 alone.

Read the full piece here.

Relocation Of Erosion-Threatened Alaska Village Progresses To ‘Sprint’ Pace This Summer
Ned Rozell
Anchorage Daily News
June 29, 2019

Residents of Newtok, Alaska, are finishing construction on 13 new houses, a community center, roads, and a power station in Mertarvik, 12 miles away from their village. The plan is to equip Mertarvik to house 100 to 150 residents this year, and the community is hoping to finish the community center quickly so it can serve as a school this fall. Relocation of Alaskan villages to evade climate impacts is more commonplace than in other parts of the country, but this managed retreat stands out because Newtok, founded in 1958, was a more modernized village that voted to move more than 20 years ago and had the opportunity to make and follow a plan. Funding sources for Newtok’s relocation have been many and varied since choosing a new village site in 1994.

Read the full piece here.

Charleston Failed To Properly Identify Flood Damages, Leaving Homes And Buyers Unprotected
Chloe Johnson and Stephen Hobbs
The Post and Courier
June 29, 2019

A key component of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the responsibility of cities to identify severely damaged properties after flooding events to prevent federal funds from being directed towards repetitive loss properties. Under the NFIP, “substantially damaged” homes have to align with modern building codes when they are fixed or need to be removed, and it falls on local officials to independently track when homes require those improvements and inform owners. According to a Post and Courier analysis, Charleston, South Carolina, failed to accurately identify all the damage in the region from flooding in recent years and failed to communicate necessary NFIP notifications to property owners. State officials have raised similar concerns, and the SC Department of Natural Resources and FEMA are currently auditing the city’s handling of past floods.

Read the full piece here.

‘Climate apartheid’ To Push 120 Million Into Poverty by 2030, UN says
Ivana Kottasová
June 27, 2019

A new report published by the UN estimates that more than 120 million people could become impoverished within the next decade due to climate change, as the world’s poorest people will be forced to “choose between starvation and migration” as climate change impacts increase. The divergence between the effects of climate change across the socioeconomic spectrum is already apparent; the report cites the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, where low-income people were left without power and healthcare for days. Research has projected that the poorest counties in the US will experience the most economic damage from natural disasters, and livelihoods of the world’s poorest are most vulnerable to climate change disasters.

Read the full piece here.

Local Communities Exhausted by Consistent Flooding With Little Relief
Harriet Festing
Anthropocene Alliance
June 26, 2019

More than 30 local and regional leaders across 16 states are coming together to form the United Flooded States of America, an initiative of Higher Ground, the largest flood survivor network in the country. The initiative represents hundreds of thousands of people across rural and urban communities in the US who want action to stop development in wetlands and floodplains, reform flood insurance laws, and reduce human-caused greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Harriet Festing, head of Higher Ground, says, “I’ve been working with some of these community leaders for almost two years, helping them find the resources they need to rebuild. But every time we meet, the subject returns to how to stop future flooding, not just recover from past disasters. After this year’s record-breaking flooding in the Midwest, we agreed that the time to speak up is now.” Higher Ground and Anthropocene Alliance have received funding from the Kresge Foundation, the US Climate Action Network, and the Climigration Network.

Read the full press release here. Harriet Festing serves as an Agenda Setter for the Climigration Network.

After The Flash Flood: Fourmile, Beaverdale One Year After A Devastating Deluge
Kim Norvelle
Des Moines Register
June 26, 2019

One year after damaging flash floods in Fourmile Creek, Des Moines has bought out 78 homes citywide as part of a long-term, multi-stakeholder plan to buy out all remaining Fourmile Creek properties within the 100- and 500-year flood plain that are prone to repeated damage. Six agencies across Polk County and the cities of Des Moines and Pleasant Hill are working under a 2017 master plan to relocate people and property from the flood plain and convert it into a natural greenway over the next 25 years using buyouts (including pre-disaster buyout grants). Concurrently, Des Moines is improving storm sewers’ capacity to handle more frequent, intense storms.

Read the full piece here.

Climate Change Migration, Cultures, and Alaska’s Foreboding Ghost Village
Victoria Herrmann
The Arctic Institute
June 25, 2019

Victoria Herrmann, President and Managing Director of the Arctic Institute, writes that the US must learn from its long history of forced and voluntary migrations to better support and plan for migration of the United States' climate change-affected communities today. “Policymakers must heed the bellwethers of past displacements and allocate resources for the documentation, enablement, and physical housing of climate migrant’s cultural heritage at every step of the migration process.” Herrmann uses the story of the King Islanders to demonstrate the importance of including preservation of cultural heritage in climate change policies, investing in resources for loss and damage documentation, building community resilience through mediated dialogues, and financing durable dwellings for cultural heritage.

Read the full piece here. Victoria Herrmann serves as a Steering Committee member for the Climigration Network.

Considering ‘Managed Retreat’
Nathan Rott
June 23, 2019

Columbia University hosted a first-of-its-kind conference called “At What Point Managed Retreat” that addressed the question, “When does it make sense to retreat?” Dialogue at the conference explored the context-specific nature of making recommendations and plans for managed retreat and community adaptation. A.R. Siders, Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment, says, “What is the right answer in Louisiana is going to be different from the right answer in Alaska or Boston or New York or Miami or California…I find it a lot more useful to say, these are the questions you should consider while making the choice that's right for your context.” Big funding questions also remain, such as “Where does the money for buyouts come from?” and “Who should get bought out?”

Listen to the full piece here. A.R. Siders serves as an Agenda Setter for the Climigration Network.

Some Southwest Iowa Communities Start Process To Buy Out Flood-Damaged Homes
Katie Peikes
Iowa Public Radio
June 22, 2019

Officials in the city of Hamburg and Mills County have notified Iowa of their intent to apply for FEMA buyouts to demolish flood-damaged homes, the first step in an application process that could take six to 18 months. The buyout process itself is projected to take 18 months to three years to complete. Hamburg has more than 50 qualified properties, but it does not have the funds to cover 15% of each home purchase and is looking to the state for potential funding. Mills County is concerned about negatively impacting their tax base by buying out 58 properties and is also looking into a HUD Community Development Block Grant program, which would help the county demolish structures and then rebuild, as opposed to turning the land into green space as FEMA buyouts would.

Read the full piece here.

Mental Stress On Rise As Coastal Towns Confront Surging Climate Threats
Sebastien Malo
Thomas Reuters Foundation
June 21, 2019

The Alaska Institute for Justice works closely with 15 remote coastal Alaskan communities facing imminent climate-related threats. Robin Bronen, Executive Director, spoke to the grief communities endure from leaving these places at the Columbia University conference on managed retreat last week. Despite the trauma endured by communities in Alaska and elsewhere who are forced by climate impacts to leave their homes, Susanne Moser, a social science researcher at Stanford University, stresses that, “We have not turned adaptation into a trauma-informed field.” The mental health complications associated with climate change adaptation and relocation are not isolated to those experiencing the trauma but extend as well to those professionals planning for and dealing with worsening natural disasters.

Read the full piece here. This article includes insights from Climigration Network Steering Committee Members Kristin Marcell and Robin Bronen as well as Agenda Setter A.R. Siders.

How The Tiny Coastal Town of Nahant Is Grappling With Sea Level Rise
OutsideIn Radio
WCAI, Local NPR for the Cape, Coast & Islands
June 21, 2019

Nahant, Massachusetts, is one of many coastal towns facing the decision to accommodate, fortify, or relocate in the face of climate change impacts. Only two towns in Massachusetts have received more per capita in federal flood insurance claims than Nahant. Nearly 50 homes in the town are repetitive loss properties, which comprise roughly 1% of buildings covered by federal flood insurance but account for almost 40% of the claims, where insurance may essentially be repeatedly paying to rebuild homes from scratch. Relocating is another option for at-risk homes, but deciding when that once-occasional risk has risen to an unacceptable level is difficult for property owners. One tool the federal government has to influence where people are allowed to live is FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program; however, it could take another 10-15 years before national flood insurance rates accurately reflect the risks of living on the coast.

Listen to the full piece here.

Seawalls To Protect US Against Rising Oceans Could Cost $416bn By 2040
Emily Holden
The Guardian
June 20, 2019

A new study by the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) found it would cost $461 billion to build 50,000 miles of seawalls along the coastline in 22 states to protect infrastructure against climate change impacts. The aims of the authors were not to advocate for seawalls as a universal solution but to use a “basic, consistent measure” that could be applied across states to develop a cost estimate, with the knowledge that the projected billions only cover a fraction of necessary adaptation efforts if managed retreat is not the chosen path. Richard Wiles, executive director of CCI, says, “You’re looking at close to half a trillion spent over the next 20 years and no one has thought about that. So, the question is, who’s going to pay for that? Is it really going to be taxpayers?”

Read the full piece here.

With More Storms and Rising Seas Which US Cities Should Be Saved First?
Christopher Flavelle
The New York Times
June 19, 2019

According to a new study by the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), by 2040, providing basic storm surge protection via sea walls for all coastal cities would cost more than $400 billion, not inclusive of other measures and additional costs inherent in adaptation strategies. Many cities will be unable to meet the costs imposed by climate change without federal funding. How future federal disaster mitigation funding programs are designed could play a role in determining which cities have greater capacity to address climate change impacts, but there is lack of consensus on what the best federal funding approach should look like. For example, one possible formula would be to spend federal money based on where adaptation would most reduce the future cost of damages, but this approach would most likely mean the concentration of FEMA funds in a few states. Another option would be to distribute funds based on a city’s property value. One expert believes that Congress should convene a group of technical experts to decide which coastal communities receive federal assistance.

Read the full piece here.

For some Mississippi River cities, there are only 2 choices — adapt or move: The River’s Revenge
Tristan Baurick
June 17, 2019

Increasing flood risks have prompted many towns along the Mississippi River to decide how to live with flooding or how to relocate. For example, Davenport, Iowa, is the only major city along the Upper Mississippi without a flood wall, and the city is designed to live with flooding, relying on urban floodplains and green space along the river front. Across the Mississippi, Illinois has been recognized for its statewide managed retreat programs, with aggressive buyout and relocation programs as well as stringent floodplain development restrictions. The alternative to adapting or moving is building more imposing levees and flood walls, which some community leaders believe is harmful to their communities and those further downriver.

Read the full piece here.

Is It Time to Stop Building in Areas at High Risk for Fire?
Scott Shafer
June 14, 2019

Molly Peterson, science reporter from KQED News; Dan Efseaff, Paradise Recreation and Park District Manager; Pete Parkinson, former Director of the Sonoma County Planning Department, former President of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association; and Timothy Ingalsbee, Executive Director of the Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology address the question, “Is it time to stop building in areas at high risk for fire?” The guests explore the dynamics of managed retreat as a response to increased risk of wildfires through multiple lenses, including comparisons to flood risks, local planning across California, insurance risks, and split public opinions. The discussion also features questions from listeners.

Listen to the full conversation here.

Sinking Louisiana: Modeling for Change
Travis Lux
WWNO & Louisiana Public Broadcasting
June 14, 2019

WWNO and Louisiana Public Broadcasting are producing a series called “Sinking Louisiana” to delve deeper into questions raised by the release of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. This week, Bren Haase, Executive Director of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection Restoration Authority explains the decision-making process and data modeling behind disaster-risk reduction and climate change adaptation projects in Louisiana. Haase discusses Louisiana’s greater focus on non-structural techniques, such as voluntary buyout programs, and potential formats and funding for non-structural programs.

Listen or watch the full interview here.

Climate Crisis: Alaska Is Melting and It’s Likely to Accelerate Global Heating
Oliver Milman
The Guardian
June 14, 2019

Alaska just experienced its warmest spring on record, and due to human-driven climate breakdown, Alaska is heating up twice as quickly as the rest of the US. The accelerated warming is thawing permafrost, resulting in destabilized buildings and buckled roads; melting sea ice, exposing coastal communities to more storms and altering wildlife and plant patterns; and increasing risk of wildfires. As permafrost melts in the warmer temperatures, it releases large quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas the exacerbates global warming.

Read the full piece here.

Understanding the Human Side of Climate Change Relocation
Sarah M. Munoz
The Conversation
June 5, 2019

Residents of the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea were declared the world’s first climate refugees in 2005, and the islanders are still dealing with obstacles to climate change relocation fourteen years later. Unable to secure lasting support from the government, the Council of Elders created the NGO Tulele Peisa (“Sailing the waves of our own”) in 2007 to coordinate the climate relocation. Tulele Pesia released a 2009 plan to relocate 1,700 islanders for $5.3 million, but political, financial, and land ownership issues have severely limited the scope of the relocation thus far.

Read the full piece here. Watch Ursula Rakova, Executive Director of Tulele Peisa, speak below.

Ursula Rakova, leader of Tulele Peisa, speaks about the disruption of climate change and the Carteret Islands resettlement program.

The Climate 25 is a digital media and television experience featuring interviews with the world’s 25 most compelling voices on one of the most pressing issues of our time – the impact of climate disruption on human security.

Long Beach to unveil draft plan for dealing with dire flooding to be caused by sea-level rise
Martin Wisckol
Long Beach Press-Telegram
May 29, 2019

Long Beach is hosting ClimateFest on Saturday to unveil the city’s draft Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) while engaging the community and providing interactive activities on dealing with climate change. The city is also using the festival to get community input on proposed responses in an effort to engage the public and build consensus. Propositions for how to address sea level rise and associated climate change impacts include building sea walls and implementing a managed retreat process. At a previous CAAP workshop, marine scientist and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific, Jerry Schubel, said, “Retreat is going to be the strategy in the United States and in the world. We all look for silver bullets — simple solutions — and there are none. You can stand and fight, but only for so long.”

Read the full piece here.

Flood buyouts are getting more expensive as storms intensify
Associated Press
PBS News Hour
May 28, 2019

Residents across the country are waiting for offers from buyout programs to relocate out of flood-prone homes. Over the past thirty years, more than $5 billion dollars has been spent by federal and local governments to buy out tens of thousands of vulnerable properties, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from FEMA and HUD. Buyouts are also getting more expensive, with many of the most expensive occurring in the last decade after storms hit heavily populated coastal states, and record-breaking flooding in the Midwest this year has the potential to add substantially more buyouts to the queue. Most buyouts still occur as a reaction to disaster, but proactive federal funding has begun to grow, with a recent study finding that, for every $1 spent through federally funded grants to acquire or demolish flood-prone buildings, society as a whole saves $7 in avoided costs.

Read the full piece here.

Rethinking Disaster Recovery After A California Town Is Leveled By Wildfire
Kirk Siegler
May 28, 2019

Currently, approximately 7,200 Camp Fire survivor households rely directly on federal aid; FEMA has paid over $85 million in emergency aid for survivors, and an additional $370 million in loans have been distributed by the Small Business Administration. As climate change increases the severity of natural disasters, a shift to more proactive policies and funding is necessary to avoid the increasing costs associated with solely reactionary disaster management. Congress passed the Disaster Recovery Reform Act in the fall of 2018, setting aside about 6% of all FEMA disaster relief funding for pre-disaster mitigation programs. This money could allow states to start buying out private property in high-risk areas to convert to green space, which has never been done in high-fire-risk areas in the US.

Read the full piece here.

Residents of Welsh Village Set to Become UK's First Climate Refugees As Soon As 2042
Julia Conley
Common Dreams
May 27, 2019

Fairbourne, a Welsh coastal village with 850 residents, will meet June 26th to discuss a plan developed by the Gwynedd Council (local lawmaking body) to evacuate the town by 2054 due to the threats posed by rising sea levels. In 2013, the Council determined that defending Fairbourne from climate change impacts was not a feasible long-term strategy, and relocation is planned to begin as early as 2042. Currently, there is no expectation that residents will receive financial aid from the Welsh government when they are forced to leave, making them the UK’s first climate refugees. The topic of compensation is expected to be discussed further.

Read the full piece here.

Homeowners Fear Losing Property Over ‘Managed Retreat’ Policies To Address Sea Level Rise
Susie Steimle and Abigail Sterling
CBS SF Bay Area
May 23, 2019

The city of Pacifica put out a draft local coastal plan in fall of 2018 that included establishing a “managed retreat” program for “voluntary removal, modification, or relocation of development when necessary.” The California Coastal Commission wants every coastal city to create a managed retreat plan in what is defined as the “coastal zone.” The Coastal Commission stresses, “We can let external forces take control of California or we can take control of it to an extent ourselves.” However, property owners opposed to the state-mandated integration of managed retreat into coastal planning have been suing to stop the plans, arguing that it is unconstitutional.

Read the full piece here.

Rising sea levels could swamp major cities and displace almost 200 million people, scientists say
Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky and David Freeman
May 22, 2019

A new study finds that, if carbon emissions are not further limited, sea level rise could possibly exceed seven and a half feet by 2100, inundating close to 700,000 square miles of land and displacing up to 187 million people by the end of the century. The study was conducted using an interview technique called structured expert judgment, and 22 climate experts’ provided predictions on the impacts on sea level rise from a temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius and of 5 degrees. While the scenario where 7.5 foot increase in sea level rise occurs has only a 5 percent chance of occurring, the authors argue that adaptation planning should take worst-case scenarios into account.

Read the full piece here.

Louisiana Unveils Ambitious Plan to Help People Get Out of the Way of Climate Change
Christopher Flavelle and Mira Rojanasakul
May 15, 2019

Louisiana unveiled a blueprint for managing climate migration in the state, the first plan of its kind in the US. The plan looks at six parishes near the Mississippi River, categorizing areas as “high,” “moderate,” or “low” risk zones and outlining steps to help people move from higher risk areas to inland receiving communities while also readying receiving communities to host growing populations. Policies for higher-risk areas include a temporary buyout program, a “transition away from permanent residential development,” and stricter adaptation measures along the coast. Proposals for lower-risk, receiving communities include denser development, improved transportation infrastructure, and beautified downtown areas. The blueprint was developed with input from over 70 public meetings and support from a $40 million grant from the Obama administration.

Read the full piece with interactive graphics here.

Small Towns, Big Flood Waters
Kat Kerlin
UC Davis
May 15, 2019

UC Davis flood experts are visiting communities faced with moving to escape rising waters and flooding to explore how towns address these growing threats and retain their sense of community. Valmeyer, Illinois, was hit hard by the great Mississippi River flood of 1993, causing the town to relocate 2 miles away. The town’s mayor worked hard to secure funding, and while the town still feels the impact of the relocation, it has maintained its sense of community and experienced economic and population growth since the retreat. Another experience is that of Odanah, Wisconsin, an unincorporated community on the reservation of the Bad River Bank of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa (Ojibwe), where relocation funded by HUD was viewed as successful from a structural standpoint, with only a few structures left in the floodplain. However, from a cultural and community perspective, feelings on the relocation are mixed, and some view it as forced relocation that has caused major cultural disruptions.

Read the full piece here.

Heatwaves, floods and higher rents: ‘Climate gentrification’ could hit western and central Queens, study finds
Mark Hallum
QNS News
May 15, 2019

The Regional Plan Association (RPA) and Make the Road NY conducted a study, “Equitable Adaptation,” of residents in western and central Queens, NY, to anticipate possible displacement through worsening climate impacts like heat waves and flooding. 20 percent of residents in the studied communities do not have air conditioning and already combat mold, flooding, and transit-related stress. The report stresses that the climate impacts will impact lower income brackets more, especially those with a high concentration of older buildings. Rob Freudenberg from RPA highlights that one of the ways people are exploring the dynamics of climate gentrification is by asking the question, “As we make areas safe from flooding, will that then raise the property values or raise the rents and push people out, make it more desirable for people to live there?”

Read the full piece here and find the study here.

Lenders Scolded for Climate Ignorance in ‘Insane’ Florida Real Estate Deals
Danielle Moran, Katia Porzecanski, and Eric Roston
May 13, 2019

Climate change risks are still not being reflected in local municipal-bond and mortgage markets. BlackRock Inc. published a report in April 2019 finding that “a rising share of muni bond issuance over time will likely come from regions facing economic losses from rising average temperatures and related events.” Spencer Glendon, senior fellow at Woods Hole Institute and former partner and director of investment research at Wellington Management, addressed the magnitude of climate risk at an investment conference, saying, “No one should be lending for 30 years in most of Florida. During that time frame, insurance will disappear and terminal values will shrink…I hope this is clear. Civilization is built on climate stability. We are now accelerating into instability. Do your models reflect that?”

Read the full piece here.

Climate now biggest driver of migration, study finds
Inga Vesper
May 8, 2019

A new study by researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand analyzed migration data from 198 countries of origin to 16 OECD member states between 1980 and 2015 and found that climate change impacts, such as flooding and extreme temperatures, have become more important push factors in migration than economic inequality or conflict. As climate change impacts grow, the UN has said that it will not define climate migrants as refugees, so as not to dilute resources to refugees fleeing violent conflicts. A report in 2018 by the UNFCC, the UN’s climate change body, found that countries around the globe are largely failing to address climate migration accurately.

Read the full piece here.

Fiji’s Climate Change Refugees: Four Communities Have Already Had To Relocate—And More Are Set To Follow
Annah Piggott-McKellar, Karen Elizabeth McNamara, and Patrick D. Nunn
The Conversation
April 30, 2019 

Four Fijian villages have been forced to relocate due to climate change impacts, and Fiji has identified over 80 additional communities for potential future location. Researchers examined the experiences and outcomes for Vunidogoloa and Denimanu in the Northern Islands, two of the original four relocated villages. All of Vunidogoloa’s 153 residents relocated 1.5 kilometers inland away from chronic climate impacts like coastal flooding, salt-water intrusion, and shoreline erosion. Approximately half of Denimanu’s 175 residents relocated after Tropical Cyclone Evan, rebuilding homes roughly 500 meters away on a hill slope. The relocation processes have produced mixed feelings amongst residents, with concerns of rebuilding livelihoods, promoting sustainable solutions, and maintaining cultural connections to the land rising to the forefront of concerns.

Read the full piece here.

Indonesia Plans To Move Its Capital Out Of Jakarta, A City That's Sinking
Merrit Kennedy
April 29, 2019 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo decided to move the state’s capital out of Java, the main island, an option that has been discussed previously in the abstract but never acted upon. Jakarta is the world’s fastest-sinking city, with half of its mass below sea level, and 95% of North Jakarta is predicted to be underwater by 2050. The new location has not yet been determined, and the Indonesian planning minister is predicting that the implementation could take up to 10 years.

Read the full piece here.

A Lesson from New Jersey as Quebec Tries to Persuade People to Leave Flood Zones for Good
Jaela Bernstien
CBC News
April 25, 2019 

Quebec offered residents $100,000 for repairs per flood-damaged home and buyouts to property owners on flood plains for up to $200,000, a cap that has some shaking their heads. Comparisons have been drawn to the Blue Acres buyout program in New Jersey, which purchased houses at an amount based on their value before Hurricane Sandy hit. Since 2013, 735 homeowners have accepted Blue Acre buyouts, with the average value of most homes in the ballpark of $250,000. Stacy Hofmann at the office of Emergency Management for Woodbridge, NJ, advises that the local government should not put a cap on the buyout offer, arguing that the tradeoff to the financial burden is ultimately relocating families out of harm’s way.

Read the full piece and watch the accompanying video here.

Judge rules Virginia Beach council can factor in sea level rise when deciding on new developments
Peter Coutu
The Virginian Pilot
April 24, 2019 

The Virginia Beach City Council’s decision to deny a developer’s request to rezone land at-risk for major flooding in order to build new homes was held up in court. The judge’s ruling supports the Council’s prerogative to incorporate sea level rise and future flooding in zoning considerations even if those projections are not codified in city ordinances. The deputy city attorney argued, “The City Council has the responsibility to look to the future.”

Read the full piece here.

‘Water always wins’: The most expensive parts of Long Beach are most vulnerable to rising seas
Tim Grobaty
Long Beach Post
April 22, 2019

Kristina Dahl, a climate scientist of the the Union of Concerned Scientists, projects that chronic flooding caused by increasingly elevated tides reaching farther inland will be the largest risk in some Long Beach communities. The flood zone in the wealthiest areas of Long Beach has a median home value of $300,000 above other houses in Long Beach, and it is also projected to soon be underwater. Long Beach as a whole could lose up to 8% of its property tax base in the next three decades due to decreased value in coastal homes, and they are creating a report to guide action and adaptation on climate change beyond sea level rise. Managed retreat is viewed as an extraordinary measure, and Dahl highlighted that most managed retreat still happens in the weeks after a disaster with buyout programs.

Read the full piece here.

Want to Escape Global Warming? These Cities Promise Cool Relief
Kendra Pierre-Louis
The New York Times
April 15, 2019 

Some US cities, like Duluth, MN, and Buffalo, NY, are thinking forward about being a destination community for those moving away from climate impacts to spur growth and bring in more people. Climate projections predict that the Great Lakes region will be well-positioned to deal with climate impacts given that it is cooler to start, lessening the risk of wildfire, and it is mostly protected from the effects of sea-level rise.

Read the full piece here.

Unsafe to Stay, Unable to Go: Half a Million Face Flooding Risk in Government Homes
Sarah Mervosh
The New York Times
April 11, 2019 

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does not currently have a codified, universal policy against paying for housing in a designated flood zone, and 450,000 government-subsidized households are currently located in flood plains. There is tension between the need to provide housing for those who need it and the risk of housing families in properties vulnerable to flooding. In Houston, HUD is being sued by residents in the Arbor Court apartment complex arguing that their housing vouchers are trapping them in a dangerous area. Equity and environmental justice issues have also been raised, as low-income housing for families in flood zones can intersect with the government’s history of redlining and placing African-American families in undesirable areas.

Read the full piece here.


How Climate Change is Fueling the US Border Crisis
Jonathan Blitzer
The New Yorker
April 3, 2019 

In Guatemala’s western highlands, climate change has exacerbated factors contributing the poverty in this agrarian area, increasing migration to the US at a time when political tensions surrounding the US border have intensified. Even approaches by previous US administrations to account for root causes of regional mass migration have not adequately addressed the impacts of climate change. “Extreme poverty may be the primary reason people leave,” says Edwin Castellanos, a climate scientist at the Universidad del Valle. “But climate change is intensifying all the existing factors…What was supposed to be happening fifty years from now is our present reality.”

Read the full piece here.

Rising Seas Force ‘Underwater Homeowners’ to Mobilize
Jennifer Kaye
Associated Press
March 29, 2019

Artist Xavier Cortada started the “Underwater Homeowners Association” (UHOA) to help contextualize the threat of sea level rise and turn neighbors into climate-change advocates. Repurposed “for sale” signs in front yards display paintings of partially submerged numbers of feet above sea level each property is; the UHOA model is replicable for multiple communities online. While some are upset about the UHOA potentially negatively impacting property values, the hyperlocal advocacy encouraged by the group is already having an impact in the area, and the initial Pinecrest UHOA has met twice so far.

Read the full piece here and watch the accompanying video below.

How Will Retreating from The Sea Affect Our Health?
Jackson Holtz-Washington
March 26, 2019

A new study found there are disruptive health, sociocultural, and economic impacts on communities faced with managed retreat, including mental health, social networks, food security, water supply, sanitation, infectious diseases, injury, and health care access. Researchers analyzed existing literature to examine public health impacts in eight villages needing to relocate due to climate change in Alaska, Louisiana, Washington state, Panama, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. The study finds that health issues received minimal attention in case studies of managed retreat and that further research is needed to understand public health impacts and facilitate population resilience throughout the relocation process.

Read the full piece here.

Climate Change and Migration Project Launched to Protect, Empower Pacific Communities
Lee Yacoumis
IOM, UN Migration
March 26, 2019

Enhancing Protection and Empowerment of Migrants and Communities Affected by Climate Change and Disasters in the Pacific Region is a three-year research project launched by IOM and key partners to explore challenges associated with climate change and disaster-related migration, displacement, and planned relocation in Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu. The project received seed funding from the UN Trust for Human Security. The project’s main objectives are to “support a regional human security-based response to climate change and disaster-related migration, displacement and planned relocation, ensure that migrants and communities benefit from safe labour migration where appropriate, and contribute to the evidence-base of good practices in these areas.”

Read the full piece here.

Terrifying Map Shows All the Parts of America That Might Soon Flood
Eric Holthaus
March 22, 2019

On March 21, the National Weather Service released its annual spring flood outlook, predicting that, by the end of May, nearly two-thirds of the country could see flooding severe enough to cause damage. Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center, said, “This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities.” Flooding has already caused significant damage in 2019, and several states and tribal nations have declared a state of emergency.

Read the full piece here.

Not Trusting FEMA’s Flood Maps, More Storm-Ravaged Cities Set Tougher Rules
James Bruggers
Collateral: InsideClimate News & The Weather Channel
March 19, 2019

There is a growing national trend of cities not trusting that FEMA’s flood maps incorporate increasing risks from climate change, which are intended to determine which properties are likely to be inundated by flooding in different risk scenarios. At least 22 states and hundreds of communities have more stringent requirements in place for new construction in 100-year floodplains than the federal government. FEMA announced on March 18 that it would unveil a new risk-rating system to incorporate more risks into insurance cost calculations for each property, but FEMA still only requires homes in the 100-year floodplain to have flood insurance.

Read the full piece here.

New INC Report: Can It Happen Here? Improving the Prospect of Managed Retreat by US Cities
Pete Plastrik
Life After Carbon
March 18, 2019

A new research report by the Innovation Network for Communities provides new reasons to consider managed retreat as a viable climate resilience strategy to city government and civic leaders. The report highlights 3 main insights: “(1) Many cities will not be able to avoid retreat, but they can choose what kind of retreat to have; (2) There is an emerging roadmap for generating community acceptance of managed retreat as part of building a city’s climate resilience; (3) Until more cities seriously consider using managed retreat, it is unlikely that crucial support from state and federal governments will occur on other than a sporadic, special-case basis.”

Read the full piece and download the report here.

Record-breaking Flooding in Nebraska is Visible from Space
Eric Holthaus
March 18, 2019

Record-breaking floods visible from space resulted in over half of Nebraska’s 93 counties declared a disaster area. The flooding was caused by torrential rainfall brought on by a hurricane-strength storm system, which melted large amounts of the state’s snowpack and overwhelmed the infrastructure in place. This trend of major flooding is simultaneously playing out across parts of seven states in the upper Midwest.

Read the full piece here.

Sea Level Rise in Bay Area is Going to Be Much More Destructive Than We Think, Says USGS Study
Raquel Maria Dillon
March 13

Typical predictions of sea level rise have been projected based on the assumption that the ocean will remain calm as it rises. However, a new study for the US Geological Survey (USGS) determined that predicted damage in California from sea level rise will triple with the effects of tides, storms, and erosion considered.  Two-thirds of the newly estimated over $150 billion in property and infrastructure impacted and up to 600,000 coastal residents flooded by the turn of the century is predicted to occur in and around the San Francisco Bay.

Read the full piece here.

Federal Flood Insurance Premiums Could Rise in Flood-Prone Areas Under Trump Plan
Christopher Flavelle
Insurance Journal
March 12, 2019

The National Flood Insurance Program covers the majority of households with flood coverage; membership has declined 10 percent despite the growing flooding risk due to climate change. A new initiative, which FEMA calls Risk Rating 2.0, will incorporate private sector data to give a more thorough and comprehensible picture of flooding risk for each property. Insurance rates are likely to rise in areas with the highest flooding risk, which could depress home values – a step some experts highlight is necessary for climate adaptation.

Read the full piece here.

How Federal Disaster Money Favors The Rich
Rebecca Hersher and Robert Benincasa
March 5, 2019

NPR investigated federal government disaster spending nationally and found that “white Americans and those with more wealth often receive more federal dollars after a disaster than do minorities and those with less wealth.” As climate change increases the frequency and strength of natural disasters, the dynamics of federal spending have the potential to mirror and entrench existing inequalities in communities hit by disasters. Economic and racial inequities are most pronounced in the context of urban flooding, one of the most costly and ubiquitous disasters.

Read the full piece here.

Flood-prone Cities Like Houston May Need To Start Buying People Out, Study Says
E. A. Crunden
February 28, 2019

A new study by the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Texas A&M University, based on analysis of flood claims and flood loss estimation data resulting from Hurricane Harvey, posits that strategic, pre-emptive clustered buyouts are more effective and beneficial than ad-hoc buyout efforts after flooding has already occurred. Specifically, clustered buyouts were proven to be a cost-effective solution that created flood resilient areas capable of absorbing more rain. While the study’s results were focused on Harris County, Texas, TNC believes the study can help inform planning and increase resilience in other areas facing similar challenges.

Read the full piece here and view the study here.

Eroding Tuktoyaktuk: Every year homes in this northern hamlet are getting closer to the sea
Nick Faris
National Post
February 28, 2019

The Inuvialuit hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, located alongside Beaufort Sea in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is being subjected to erosion, sea level rise, powerful storms, and thawing permafrost, much like other coastal Arctic communities. While Tuktoyaktuk has not yet had to make the decision to relocate its entire community, as Newtok and Shishmaref did, four remaining homes in a particularly vulnerable neighborhood are being relocated further inland. This decision by homeowners to relocate comes after the first new road connecting Tuktoyaktuk to the rest of Canada was finished in November 2017, causing a large upswing in tourism.

Read the full piece here.

In Los Angeles, Climate-Change Gentrification Is Already Happening
Thor Benson
The Daily Beast
February 25, 2019

Communities moving as a result of climate impacts have the potential to alter the culture and socio-economic characteristics of receiving areas in a multitude of ways. Jesse Keenan, faculty member at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, began studying and creating a term for the phenomenon of climate gentrification by looking at the consequences of sea level rise in Miami, Florida; he is starting to see similar patterns emerge as a result of wildfires in California. Liz Koslov, assistant professor at UCLA, highlighted the complexity of the climate threat, noting that some people may try to escape one impact, such as extreme heat, and find themselves instead vulnerable to flooding.

Read the full piece here.

Climate Adaptation: As the Sea Rises, Communities Learn to Have Difficult Conversations About Retreat
Will Jason
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
February 24, 2019

The Climigration Network, with the support of the Consensus Building Institute, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy funded five community-led projects across the US to help communities find productive ways to talk about managed retreat and future planning, from theater to technical training to inter-community dialogues. Managed retreat is often accomplished through buyout programs administered by government entities, but it is critical to engage communities in the planning and decision-making that comes with retreat. Amy Cotter, director of urban programs for Lincoln Institute, says, “You can have the most well-designed buyout program in the world, but if you try to implement it top-down without a community’s enthusiastic participation, you are unlikely to succeed.”

Read the full piece here.

Study: Moving Ourselves Away From The Shoreline Is Hard But Doable
Nathan Eagle
Honolulu Civil Beat
February 22, 2019

A new report released by the State of Hawai’i explores the feasibility of managed retreat. The report outlines three main strategies to adapt to climate change and sea level rise - accommodation, managed retreat, and protection - and says that, “Presently, there is a realization that retreat is a necessary adaptation strategy in Hawaii along with accommodation and protection but the question remains how to implement retreat and under what circumstances.” The report calls for forming a statewide leadership committee to recommend the best way for Hawai’i to implement managed retreat.

Read the full piece here and read the report here.

Biggest Challenge of Relocating Swedish Town Kiruna Is “Moving The Minds Of Citizens”
Tom Ravenscroft
February 18, 2019

A state-owned iron ore mining company had been operating under Kiruna, Sweden, for almost 70 years, and, in 2004, due to the ground subsiding, Kiruna decided to relocate. The biggest hurdle planners and architects have encountered in this process is relocating the sense of community and history along with the town’s infrastructure and families. Given that the mining company has to cover the costs of relocating the town under Swedish law, it’s financial model is unique and unlikely to apply to coastal communities that will need to relocate. However, planners believe that that lessons learned around maintaining the community’s legacy could be applicable to other relocation processes.

Read the full piece here.

Homeowners Take Buyout In Riviera Neighborhood To Escape Flooding
Tyler Emery
February 15, 2019

Twelve homeowners in the Riviera neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky, have taken a buyout due to flooding. The buyouts were offered through the Metro Sewer District (MSD) using FEMA grants from 2016, 2017, and 2018. Five of the twelve bought out homes have been demolished thus far, with the properties then remaining a green space with no further structures built. MSD officials typically send out letters to qualifying homeowners in flood plain areas, but they have stressed that the process is slow moving.

Read the full piece here.

Clive’s Flood Buyout Program Could Total $11.3 Million Along Walnut Creek Floodplain
Kim Norvell
Des Moines Register
February 13, 2019

Clive, Iowa, introduced a voluntary buyout program in September 2018 to a severely flood-prone area, and about half of the eligible property owners have elected to participate. While 24 homes and business worth $11.3 million have requested buyouts, the city currently has budgeted $1.25 million for the program and is planning on purchasing 6 homes for the cost of $1.05 million. Properties are being prioritized for buyouts by the severity of damage and risk to life, and the city will purchase 3 additional homes in 2019 if they are awarded a FEMA grant.

Read the full piece and watch the accompanying video here.

The Feds Are Spending $48 Million To Move His Village. But He Doesn’t Want To Go.
Bill Weir and Rachel Clarke
February 12, 2019

Isle de Jean Charles was settled by Native Americans who had been forced from their lands, and it has seen 98% of its surface taken over by water since 1950. And while the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is making strides on its $48 million project to relocate families from Isle de Jean Charles inland, the residents are struggling with how to maintain their emotional, spiritual, and cultural roots. Louisiana officials are viewing this relocation as a “pioneer project” for other communities that will need to relocate due to climate change in the future.

Read the full piece and watch the accompanying video here.

Report: Communication Key to Solving Scituate’s Coastal Challenges
Ruth Thompson
Wicked Local: Scituate
February 2, 2019

Scituate, Massachusetts, participated in a Coastal Community Assessment conducted by Carri Hulet, senior mediator with the Consensus Building Institute, to learn more about what residents, businesses, and town officials think about risks and opportunities facing them as a coastal community. Alongside conversations of coastal adaptation and mitigation, managed retreat was brought up by multiple participants. Next steps are using recommendations from the assessment to craft a long-term, community vision for the Scituate coast.

Read the full piece here.

Climate Change and Mental Health: Clear Connection but Cloudy Action
Hanna Oosterveen
January 31, 2019
The McGill International Review

Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, a remote coastal Labrador Inuit community, has been forced to grapple with climate change disrupting their ability to live off of the land. A study assessing mental health impacts of climate change on the Rigolet community found that “being forced to find alternative lifestyles that are less reliant on the land has led to a loss of of ‘place-based solace’ and cultural identity.” The issue of climate-induced mental health challenges requires further research and tools to build up community cohesion and mindful adaptation strategies.

Read the full piece here.

We Have to Move Our Houses and Businesses Away From The Shoreline. But How?
Nathan Eagle
Honolulu Civil Beat
January 28, 2019

Hawai’i’s lawmakers face over 12 bills dealing with climate change this session, including measures discussing a carbon tax, integrating sea level rise into government planning and permitting processes, homebuyer disclosure if a property is in a sea level rise exposure area, and managed retreat. Senate Bill 644 would require the Hawai’i climate commission to designate areas in each county for either armoring or managed retreat. House Bill 461 would mandate a Sea Level Rise Relocation Program to coordinate mitigation measures, relocation, and site planning for public infrastructure and facilities.

Read the full piece here.

As Sea Levels Rise, Some Ask: “When is it time to retreat?”
Avalon Zoppo
Press of Atlantic City
January 18, 2019

In 2019, the US Army Corps of Engineers will be releasing a draft report of a decades-long study addressing flooding in New Jersey’s back bays and the cost of managed retreat from the coastline. Managed retreat is currently being employed by New Jersey through their Blue Acres home buyout program, but the program has not taken hold on the barrier islands for various reasons. Aside from homeowner reluctance to participate, officials on barrier islands do not see retreat as a viable economic option.

Read the full piece here.

Climigration Network Steering Committee and Agenda Setters Announced

The Climigration Network is committed to strengthening and connecting organizations and individuals who think about relocation due to climate change. Now, at the outset of 2019, the network is thrilled to introduce its new leadership: an 11-member Steering Committee and a 23-member group of advisors dubbed the Agenda Setters.

Read the full announcement here.

Des Moines Purchases 78 Flood-Damaged Homes for $10.5 Million
Austin Cannon
Des Moines Register
January 10, 2019

Des Moines, Iowa, purchased 78 homes, mostly in the Fourmile Creek area, damaged by flash flooding last summer. Only 20 of the 100 homeowners eligible for the buyout program refused to participate. The city used $10.5 million from stormwater utility fees, rather than waiting on state or federal money. Each property owner was offered 110 percent of the home’s 2018 assessed value, with the average payout being $136,111. The $10.5 million is less than the budgeted $14 million the city estimated it would cost to buy and clean all of the properties.

Read the full piece here.

Pinecrest Garden Hosts First “Underwater Housing Association” Meeting
Andrew Quintana
January 10, 2019

The Underwater Homeowner’s Association, comprised of residents who want to address sea level rise as a community, is the final product of environmental artist Xavier Cortada, who has been using art to engage the Pinecrest community on the subject of sea level rise for months. Meeting attendees came from all over Miami-Dade and from many different backgrounds, including politicians, scientists, fishermen, and students, to discuss their concerns about sea level rise. Attendees had properties that ranged from 18 feet to 2 feet above sea level.

Read the full piece here.

Retreating From Rising Sea, State Completes Purchase of Isle de Jean Charles Relocation Site
Tristan Baurick
January 9, 2019

The Louisiana Office of Community Development finalized the purchase of a 515-acre sugar farm 40 miles north of Isle de Jean Charles funded by a $48.3 million federal grant. The Isle de Jean Charles community is mostly Native American, with about 60 residents currently living on the island. Participation by current and former residents in the relocation program is voluntary, and the site may become open to other communities needing to relocate from the Louisiana coast in the future, as officials believe it could host 300 people.

Read the full piece here and watch the accompanying video below.

As Seas Continue To Rise, New Jersey Buys Residents Out Of Flood Zones
Ivette Feliciano and Zachary Green
PBS Newshour
January 5, 2019

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection started a program in 1995 called “Blue Acres” to buy out homeowners in flood zones at pre-storm value and rezoning the land to prevent future building. The open land has both conservation and flood absorption benefits. Blue Acres began as a $30 million voter-approved bond to buy 126 homes along the Passaic River. After Hurricane Sandy, the program received over $300 million in federal funds and bought 683 properties across the state. Blue Acres only does buyouts in areas where multiple homeowners agree to participate.

Read the full piece here and watch the PBS Newshour video below to see interviews with New Jersey residents, local politicians, and environmental experts.

Designing Boston: Can We Talk About Climate Migration?
Conversation hosted by the Boston Society of Architects Foundation
WGBH Designing Boston Series
October 23, 2018

CBI’s Ona Ferguson joined Armando Carbonell (FAICP), Darcy Schofield (MAPC), and Jeannette Dubinin (CPEX) to engage on the sensitive topic of climate migration/managed retreat. The main questions posed included: How do you even begin talking about uprooting entire communities? Who will pay for it? Who makes these decisions? Each panelist shares unique experiences from their work with climate migration.

Read the full description here and watch the WGBHForum video below.

Coastal Conservation League Surveying Who Would Take Buyouts For Flooded Homes
Abigail Darlington
The Post and Courier
December 29, 2018

The South Carolina Coastal Conservation League is conducting an anonymous online survey of Charleston County residents to determine lesser-known flooding spots and what types of solutions the residents would want to explore. The survey explores a possible new pre-approval approach to expedite the home buyout process, championed by the National Resources Defense Council and others looking to reform the federal government buyout process. As of mid-December, there were approximately 300 respondents.

Read the full piece here.

As Climate Change Hits Miami, Only The Rich Will Be Able To Protect Themselves
Mario Ariza
Huffington Post
December 19, 2018

Rising seas continue to plague Miami’s wealthier lower-lying areas, and prices are rising in higher-ground neighborhoods where developers are setting their sights, compounding a scarcity of affordable housing. In Miami, those higher-ground neighborhoods are largely comprised of working-class communities of color. An April 2018 study from Harvard University, authored by Jesse M. Keenan, Thomas Hill, and Anurag Gumbar, called this phenomenon “climate gentrification.” Miami’s City Commission recently voted on a resolution to study climate gentrification further.

Read the full piece here and watch the accompanying video below.

Planning for the Public Health Effects of Climate Migration
Maxine Burkett and Kevin Morris
NewSecurityBeat, Wilson Center
December 17, 2018

The link between climate change, migration, and health is strong, as recent research suggests a broader national concern regarding “climate augmentation” of disease as people migrate from the coasts to the nation’s interior. The authors highlight three main migration-related effects on health brought on by climate change: “(1) primary or direct effects such as injuries and death resulting from extreme weather events; (2) secondary or indirect effects from the increased geographical range of and populations exposed to new diseases; and (3) tertiary or delayed effects from disrupted health services for individuals in need.”

Read the full piece here.

2018 State of the Beach Report Card Released
Stefanie Sekich-Quinn
December 13, 2018

The Surfrider Foundation recently released their 2018 State of the Beach Report Card assessing 30 coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico on how current policies address climate change, shoreline erosion, and extreme weather. 23 of the 31 states and territories evaluated are doing a “barely adequate to poor” job addressing sea level rise, flooding, and coastal erosion. Surfrider advocates for greater funding of NOAA’s Coastal Management Program to help address these states’ shortcomings and plan for the chronic flooding associated with sea level rise and more extreme weather events.

Read the full piece here.

‘Retreat’ Is Not An Option As A California Beach Town Plans For Rising Seas
Nathan Rott
December 4, 2018

Aided by California Coastal Commission grants, Del Mar created a committee in 2015 to explore the city’s biggest vulnerabilities to sea level rise and increased flooding, and propose a plan. Three broad adaptation strategies were determined: protection, accommodation, or retreat. Realtors and homeowners reacted strongly to retreat being put forth as an adaption strategy, and Del Mar ended up passing a resolution banning future city councils from planning for retreat. However, Mayor Dwight Worden says, “If you pretend that you did a scientific study of risks and options in your community, but you didn't study retreat, your study has no credibility. It needs to be studied."

Read the full piece here.

Louisiana Program Offers to Buy Out Homeowners in Floodways
Associated Press
US News & World Report
December 4, 2018

The $1.3 billion Restore Louisiana program helping those affected by the 2016 floods is offering buyouts of up to $200,000 to homeowners in especially hazardous areas to transform the properties into open green space. The program is expected to cost $45 million to buy out homes in the floodway that sustained major or severe damage in the March or August 2016 floods and are in one of the 51 disaster-declared parishes. The program is also offering extra funds to allow homeowners to buy new homes in less risky areas, despite the possible depressed values of their floodway residences, and 450 homeowners meeting the requirements have been contacted.

Read the full piece here.

Tribal People Face Disproportionate Impact from Climate Change
Mark Trahant
Indian Country Today
November 26, 2018

The new climate report highlights that, while Indigenous environmental knowledge systems could help develop more comprehensive adaptation strategies, tribes are short on resources for adaptation, mitigation, and managed retreat. With many tribal communities in Alaska grappling with relocation, no federal plan exists to pay for tribes to relocate away from climate threats. “Finally, even if relocation is agreed on and logistically feasible, the challenges associated with maintaining community and cultural continuity often undermine the objective of the adaptation strategy, and models for mitigating the impacts of relocation on cultural institutions are rare and difficult to replicate,” the report reads.

Read the full piece here.

When The Seas Flood the Coasts, Expect The Biggest Gentrification Wave Ever
Erik Sherman
November 24, 2018

“The potential need for millions of people and billions of dollars of coastal infrastructure to be relocated in the future creates challenging legal, financial, and equity issues that have not yet been addressed,” reads the latest National Climate Assessment report. By 2100, an estimated 13.1 million people will migrate from the coasts, creating an environment potentially rife with gentrification on a large scale.

Read the full piece here.

Climate May Force Millions to Move and US Isn’t Ready, Report Says
Christopher Flavelle
November 23, 2018

Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, released on Friday, November 23, 2018, focuses much more on the prospect and consequences of large-scale migration compared to previous editions, asserting that, “In all but the very lowest sea level rise projections, retreat will become an unavoidable option in some areas of the US coastline.” The Assessment explores the complexity of the decision to retreat, saying, “Coastal communities have ties to their specific land and to each other…These ties can impede people’s ability and willingness to move away from impacted areas.”

Read the full piece here.

Rising seas give island nation a stark choice: relocate or elevate
Jon Letman
National Geographic
November 19, 2018

In the October 2018 IPCC report, small-island developing states are highlighted as being particularly vulnerable to global warming and sea level rise. The Marshall Islands are now facing the reality of planning for relocation or sinking resources into strategies to elevate their lands. Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and other leading voices are emphasizing the importance of including local and traditional leaders in these conversations. Both relocation and elevation would have profound impacts on Marshallese ancestral land ties.

Read the full piece here.

US Army Corps Collects Public Input on How to Help Miami-Dade Reduce Sea-Level Rise Risk, Flooding
Kate Stein
November 11, 2018

USACE is starting a $3 million, 3-year study to explore ways to reduce risk from sea-level rise and storms in Miami-Dade County.  The Corps wants to maximize local expertise to address unique challenges faced by South Florida that compound the effects of sea-level rise and climate change.  The effort kicked off with a meeting open for public comment that involved voting on potential adaptation strategies, including voluntary buyouts.

Read the full piece here.

R.I. received $280K from federal coastal resilience fund
Alex Kuffner
Providence Journal
November 9, 2018

The new National Coastal Resilience Fund, announced by NFWF and NOAA officials in Providence, is comprised of 35 project grants in 22 states and Puerto Rico, selected from 147 applicants. The fund includes donations from Shell Oil and TransRe, with money from the fund being matched by grant awardees for a total program value of over $67 million.  This pre-disaster money is coming after the US spent $306 billion last year; the National Institute of Building Sciences found that every $1 spent on pre-disaster resilience saves $6 in post-disaster recovery.

Read the full piece here.

Improving NC’s Floodplain Buyout Program
David Salvesen and Todd K. BenDor
Coastal Review Online
November 2, 2018

Many North Carolina homes flooded from Florence had been previously flooded from Matthew, and possibly even Hurricanes Fran and Floyd in the late 1990s.  Since the 1990s, 5,000 home buyouts have been funded by FEMA in NC, but these buyout programs remain voluntary and can have impacts on the local tax base and financial burden of local governments.  After Matthew hit, the authors led researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill in a study that identified potential strategies to improve floodplain buyouts in NC, including developing state-wide incentives.

Read the full piece here.

‘Living With Water’: Facing Climate Change, Cities Trade Sea Walls For Parks
Rebecca Beitsch
Huffington Post
November 2, 2018

Faced with at least 21 inches of sea-level rise by 2050, Boston has shifted its focus from building an $11 billion sea wall to adding 67 acres of parks and elevation along the water and restoring 122 tidal areas. While sea walls are still a tactic employed up and down the coasts, similar “soft solution” projects are also being planned in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area.  The article explores trade-offs to both sea walls and “soft solution” projects.

Read the full piece here.

Climigration Awardees Named
October 2018

The Climigration Network is pleased to announce that it has awarded $7,500 to the following organizations for Concept Development Support for Community-led Projects on Managed Retreat.

  • The Alaska Institute for Justice - Alaska Native communities working together to develop community-led relocation guidelines to protect their human rights.

  • The University of New Hampshire - Scientists, professional actors and facilitators using applied theater to help improve communication and understanding in communities facing managed retreat as a result of a changing climate.

  • The Lowlander Center (Louisiana) - A collaborative effort to design a dialogue between Bayou-Lowlands “sending communities” and inland-high ground “receiving communities.”

  • The Seabrook-Hamptons Estuary Alliance - First steps toward convening a community-wide conversation about managed retreat in the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire.

  • The Anthropocene Alliance (Texas, Florida, New York) - Resident leaders in four flood-prone, marginalized communities exploring ways to discuss managed retreat with their neighbors.

These organizations will use the award to catalyze the development of a project concept for community-led efforts that address the difficult topic of managed retreat. This award is one of many ways the Climigration Network is seeking to foster the development of locally-led projects that will help communities as they decide whether and when strategic, planned retreat is needed and how to plan for it.

About the Climigration Network

The Climigration Network is a community of practitioners driving innovation in conversations, policies, and practices, wherever  impacts from climate change are eroding the viability of staying in place. The Climigration Network was founded in 2016 by The Consensus Building Institute. The 2018 award program was made possible through a partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Six Years Later, an Innovative Sandy Program Yields Resilience (and Lots of Frustration)
Stephen Nessen
October 29, 2018

After Hurricane Sandy hit, New York’s Buyout and Acquisition program bought 108 properties on Staten Island, 229 in Nassau County, and 219 in Suffolk County. In the end, the State recovered over $83 million from selling the bought properties at auction to be invested back into resilience-building activities. On the other side of the transaction, homeowner response to the program remains varied, as people grapple with creating more resilient homes or relocating to a less vulnerable area.

Read the full piece here.

Rising Tides, Resilience and Relocation
May Wang
Harvard Political Review
October 25, 2018

Of the thirty-some Arctic coastal communities grappling with rising seas, Newtok, Shishmaref, Shaktoolik, and Kivalina are four indigenous communities along the Alaskan coast identified as especially “vulnerable [and] imperiled” by the Obama administration. While communities, such as Newtok, have explored managed retreat and relocation, avenues to adequate funding are hard to find. The article explores the politics of relocation as it intersects with indigenous rights in Arctic coastal communities.

Read the full piece here.

Government-funded buyouts after disasters are slow and inequitable – here’s how that could change
A. R. Siders
The Conversation
October 19, 2018

Home buyouts and retreat are an established process in US flood management, but as climate change and rising seas increase the threat of flooding, this process needs to become more effective.  The author conducted a review of eight of the largest US home buyout programs and identified areas to improve equity, effectiveness, and communication.

Read the full piece here.

As climate change batters US cities, some discuss ‘managed retreat’
Carey L. Biron
Thomas Reuters Foundation News
October 18, 2018

Faced with inevitable obstacles posed by climate change, some municipalities are responding to the challenge creatively.  Ellicott City, Maryland, has retreated from a section of its historic town particularly vulnerable to dangerous flooding; Mayor Shaver of St. Augustine, Florida, has begun the process of discussing managed retreat with major investors.  While federal funding and mapping efforts still leave something to be desired, towns like Hampton, Virginia, are taking steps to implement climate mitigation plans.

Read the full piece here.

Walsh calls for major investment to guard city against flooding
Tim Logan and Jon Chesto
The Boston Globe
October 17, 2018

Mayor Walsh rolled out a citywide plan to add 67 acres of public open space, build sea walls, and raise low-lying streets to help protect Boston’s 47 miles of coastline from damaging flooding. There is substantial overlap between this plan and the 2016 Climate Ready Boston plan, but funding remains an issue. 10 percent of the city’s annual capital budget has been pledged, and Walsh is pursuing a $10 million FEMA “pre-disaster mitigation grant” as well as investments from foundations and businesses.

Read the full piece here.

Climate change and the coming coastal real estate crash
Patrick Sisson
October 16, 2018

The Sand Palace, one of few surviving houses in the path of Hurricane Michael, stands as a reminder of the increasing expenses and risks that come with owning, developing, and selling waterfront property. Economists have warned that coastal real estate crash due to climate change “could surpass that of the bursting dot-com and real estate bubbles of 2000 and 2008.” The article expounds on how the efforts to assuage a collapse need to come from the real estate industry, the insurance industry, the federal government, and homeowners themselves.

Read the full piece here.

Can a California town move back from the sea?
Ruxandra Guidi
High Country News
October 15, 2018

Imperial Beach, California, is considering the idea of managed retreat, going against the trend of many California towns reluctant to explore the option. Imperial Beach’s climate action plan, funded in part by NOAA and the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, explored options for managed retreat and is now in the process of being updating with community input. Even with the increased openness to the idea of managed retreat, funding remains an issue, as Imperial Beach does not have the funds to retreat, nor to fully implement other preventative coastal adaptation measures.

Read the full piece here.

City of Conway looking to buy homes damaged from flooding
Patrick Lloyd
October 15, 2018

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Conway, South Carolina, voted to extend their existing contract with FEMA to continue the home buyout program initially put into place after Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016. Homes will be bought by Conway at 75 percent of their value prior to Hurricane Matthew, the homes will be demolished, and as a preventative measure, no future homes will be built on those properties.

Read the full piece here.

Notre Dame releases climate vulnerability assessment of more than 270 US cities
Jessica Sieff
Notre Dame News
October 14, 2018

University of Notre Dame researches completed a two-year assessment of the current climate risks in over 270 US cities and created the Urban Adaptation Assessment (UAA), an open-source, free measurement and analysis tool.  The aim of the UAA is to help cities prioritize inclusive adaptation efforts for populations that are most vulnerable to climate change, as it provides projected cost and probability of climate-related hazards in 2040 alongside sub-city mapping.  Data for every city in the US and Puerto Rico with a population over 100,000 is visualized on their online platform.

Read the full piece here and view the UAA database here.

Over 5 years, Kingston makes some waterfront resiliency progress
Paul Kirby
Daily Freeman
October 13, 2018

The Kingston Tidal Waterfront Task Force, formed in 2013, developed 24 recommendations to improve waterfront resiliency in the short and long term.  Ahead of the upcoming “Waterfront Resilience Summit and High Water Festival” on October 19, the article breaks down Kingston’s progress in implementing the task force recommendations.  One indication of Kingston’s ongoing efforts and implementation successes is its Silver Certification from the state of New York for its Climate Smart Community efforts.

Read the full piece here.

One of California’s most famous surf towns is threatened by rising sea levels that could overtake beaches and million-dollar homes
Peter Kotecki
Business Insider
October 12, 2018

In addition to the threats of longer wildfire seasons and dangerous heatwaves faced by California communities, Santa Cruz is facing sea levels that are expected to rise 4 inches in the next 12 years.  Santa Cruz officials are utilizing a $360,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation to identify solutions to beach erosion, but if no solutions present themselves, there is the possibility of abandoning parts of Santa Cruz.

Read the full piece here.

Maryland Offers Climate Change Education for Leaders
Casey Leins
U.S. News & World Report
October 12, 2018

As sea level rise and flooding continue to threaten Maryland’s residents, businesses, and agriculture, the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) teamed up with the Association of Climate Change Officers to create the Maryland Climate Leadership Academy. Maryland DNR Secretary Mark Belton was interviewed to discuss the scope of the Academy and how it is designed to help decision-makers better address the impacts of climate change.

Read the full piece here.

Age of Migration 1: Time to face it
Alex Diaz Eco
The Resilience Journal
October 8, 2018

This first installment in TRJ’s two-part “Age of Migration” series explores climigration and managed-retreat through both granular and global perspectives. Interviewees Carri Hulet, Climigration Network Director; Professor Elizabeth Rush, author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore; and Mariam Traore Chazalnoël, environment and climate change specialist at the UN’s International Organization for Migration, offer specific examples and case studies from their work.

Read more here and watch the complete interview below, featuring Climigration Network Director Carri Hulet.

Climate Reports Warns Of Extreme Weather, Displacement of Millions Without Action
Christopher Joyce
October 8, 2018

The IPCC reports that the pledges made in Paris 2015 are not significant enough to prevent global warming from rising more than 1.5 °C, which would require unprecedented changes by countries around the globe.  And while the path to limiting global warming is not clear, the consequences of warming above 1.5 °C are evident and extreme.

Read the full piece here.

Why the Wilder Storms? It’s a ‘Loaded Dice’ Problem
Somini Sengupta
The New York Times
October 5, 2018

Global warming is creating more extreme, more frequent weather events, and the consequences far outlast the storms themselves.  An estimated 21 million people have been displaced by floods and storms annually in the past decade, thrice the number displaced by conflict.  From illness through economic downturn, displacement, and death, the consequences are wide-ranging and not easily avoided, even when the science is there.

Read the full piece here.

Virginia has a fund to help people prepare for sea level rise.  The only problem?  It has no money.
Peter Coutu
Virginia Pilot
October 5, 2018

Driven by FEMA’s grant backlog for properties repeatedly damaged by flooding, Virginia passed legislation in 2016 to create a loan program to help homeowners and businesses address the issues posed by sea level rise and compounded by land subsidence.  However, this legislation remains unfunded two years later. The Virginia Conservation Network is now calling for $50 million annually for the Virginia Shoreline Resiliency Fund.

Read the full piece here.

Exodus: Every Day You Become More Desperate
Anna-Catherine Brigida
The Weather Channel
October 4, 2018

This article explores the increasing difficulties faced by farmers in Central America’s Dry Corridor, as droughts become more frequent and extreme, food insecurity intensifies, and migration has risen.  This pattern seems to fall in line with the general consensus that adverse climate conditions and extreme weather drive people to migrate, especially coupled with the economic and political marginalization experienced by many Dry Corridor residents.

Read the full piece here.

From London to Shanghai, world’s sinking cities face devastating floods
Fiona Harvey
The Guardian
October 4, 2018

Ahead of the IPCC convening, a new report from Christian Aid warns that many global cities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to more extreme weather and flooding brought on by climate change.  Looking in depth at a 1.5 °C rise in eight major cities, the report argues that poor development choices are compounding vulnerabilities to climate change.

Read the full piece here.

In Poor Neighborhoods, Add Rising Seas to List of Housing Woes
Molly Peterson
October 3, 2018

In the Bay Area, rising sea level is compounding the issues of environmental contamination and housing scarcity for the economically vulnerable, many of whom are people of color.  There are calls for inclusivity and differing perspectives in how to address these community issues, with the recent Resilient By Design competition highlighting new strategies to adapt to sea level rise.

Read the full piece here.

Hurricane Florence damaged 11,000 more homes due to sea level rise
Kyla Mandel
September 25, 2018

According to new data analysis done by the First Street Foundation, 20 percent, or 11,000, of the homes damaged by Hurricane Florence are directly tied to rising sea levels since 1970.  As sea levels and the severity of storms rise, costs are also increasing, with Florence racking up billions in insured losses.  Coupled with climate change, housing development patterns in the Carolinas can be linked to the increased damages as well.

Read the full piece here.

‘We’re moving to higher ground’: America’s era of climate mass migration is here
Oliver Milman
The Guardian
September 24, 2018

Coastal states continue to face down increasing pressures due to climate change, including gradual sea level rise and dramatic weather events.  In the coming decades, hundreds of thousands of homes and millions of Americans will be threatened, but not all those who need to relocate will have the means.  This climate migration event is predicted to exceed the scale of the Great Migration; it has already begun in places such as Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana.

Read the full piece here.

Hurricane Florence’s floods caused severe property damage. Here’s a solution.
Miyuki Hino, Katharine J. Mach, and Christopher B. Field
September 19, 2018

Estimated damages from Hurricane Florence range from $17 to $22 billion; sea level rise is predicted to threaten 4 to 13 million US residents this century, with residents in coastal states such as the Carolinas already feeling the impact.  Managed retreat is one strategy in the arsenal to help mitigate the threats of climate change - a strategy the US has yet to implement comprehensively.

Read the full piece here.

Exodus: ‘I Still Feel Lost’
Marcus Stern
The Weather Channel
September 19, 2018

After tens of thousands Puerto Ricans were forced to flee their homes, the reverberations of Hurricane Maria are still felt in Puerto Rico through issues with power, water, communications, and more.  As this ordeal continues, the shortcomings in Puerto Rico’s resiliency to extreme weather events, the obstacles to FEMA’s responsiveness, and the growing potential for climate migration events in the future have been brought to light.  This article catalogues personal stories of exodus alongside coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

Read the full piece here.

Climate change: we need to start moving people away from some coastal areas, warns scientist
Luciana Esteves
The Conversation
September 13, 2018

Climate change mitigation efforts are fraught with trade-offs, and ongoing resiliency efforts are often limited in scope or unsuited for high-risk areas. In said high-risk areas, relocation presents as the safe climate-proof response. Associate Professor Esteves provides a brief analysis of relocation case studies and highlights the importance of engaging local communities from the outset and encouraging open and inclusive debate.

Read the full piece here.

North Carolina, Warned of Rising Seas, Chose to Favor Development
John Schwartz and Richard Fausset
The New York Times
September 12, 2018

As Hurricane Florence bears down on North Carolina, it is drawing national attention to a 2012 state law instructing state and local agencies charged with developing coastal policies to ignore scientific models showing accelerated sea level rise in the interest of protecting property values.  Prior to this law and the politicized nature of climate change legislation in the state, North Carolina had a legacy of progressive coastal management, and it remains a hub of some of the nation’s most advanced coastal science. 

Read the full piece here.

Many Major Airports Are Near Sea Level. A Disaster in Japan Shows What Can Go Wrong.
Hiroko Tabuchi
New York Times
September 7, 2018

25 of the world’s busiest airports are less than 10 meters above sea level, with 12 of these major hubs residing only 5 meters above sea level.  The aviation industry continues to be one of the largest contributors to climate change, and it is beginning to face the consequences, which can take the form of rising sea levels, extreme heat, increased turbulence, and severe weather events.  Many airports are putting defenses in place to mitigate the impacts of climate change, even as greenhouse gas emissions from international air travel are predicted to triple by 2050.

Read the full piece here.

Is It Too Late to Learn From Alaska’s Fight Against Climate Change?
Mary Robinson
Daily Beast
September 6, 2018

Alaskans are being forced to reckon with the consequences of climate change and continued fossil fuel emissions earlier than their neighbor states to the South due to their melting permafrost.  This year, 31 native communities across Alaska are being faced with the choice to remain in place and attempt to bolster their defenses against climate change or come up with the requisite resources to relocate their homes and lives to safer land.  While FEMA is pushing adaptation to climate change, the federal government has not yet provided plans or broad funding to aid in relocation of these communities.

Read the full excerpt from Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future, published by Bloomsbury Publishing, here.

Welcome to Virginia Beach, home of the East Coast’s fastest-rising sea level
Christina Ianzito
Washington Post
September 6, 2018

Virginia Beach, the most populous city in Virginia and longtime tourist destination, is grappling with the ever-present threat of flooding due to the fastest rate of sea-level rise on the East Coast. While some flood mitigation efforts have been put in place along the oceanfront, including an intensive sand replenishment program, sea wall, and pumping stations, it is not a complete defense and many inland locations remain vulnerable.  Like so many other coastal destinations, Virginia Beach is dealing with the conflicting priorities of implementing intensive adaptation measures and maintaining their $1.5 billion tourism industry.

Read the full piece here.

In The Absence of Federal Support, Florida ‘Future Fund’ Aims to empower Local Climate Adaptation
Kate Stein
September 5, 2018

Due to a lack of state or federal funding, the Center for American Progress and CLEO, a Miami-based non-profit, are collaborating to develop a plan for the Florida Future Fund to help address the hard consequences of climate change and rising sea level on Floridians.  The main focus of the plan are flood protection and infrastructure resiliency, with flexibility to address green energy, transportation system improvements, and tree planting. The plan, currently being shopped around to elected officials and candidates, would receive both public and private funding, with an intention to prioritize the most vulnerable communities.

Read the full piece here.