Nav: Home

Cost of not adapting to climate change would be at least five times higher

September 14, 2017

Coastal cities deal with the constant fear that sea levels should continue to rise in the years ahead due to climate change. In the case of Santos, home of Latin American's biggest harbor, a study supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) estimated that, by 2100, sea level might be 45 cm higher and not only will storm surges be more frequent, but they will reach peaks that might surpass current peak levels in 20 cm.

Co-supported by the Belmont Forum - a global initiative that also design adaptive strategies in the coastal locations of Selsey (United Kingdom city) and Broward (a county in Florida, US) - the study titled Project Metropolis defined minimum costs so that Santos may adapt itself for what's ahead: approximately R$ 300 million worth of urban infrastructure renovations in Ponta da Praia area and also in its Northwest region. On the other hand, failure to adapt to climate change would cost at least R$1.5 billion

"However, the cost could be underestimated at R$1.5 billion because the model only considers physical buildings and other structures, and the calculations are based on their imputed or taxable values. If we included losses in other areas, such as health and education, for example, the value would easily reach R$3 billion," said José Marengo, coordinator of Project Metropolis (http://bv.fapesp.br/en/auxilios/81993/).

Luiz Eduardo Oliveira e Cruz de Aragão, an investigator at Brazil's National Space Research Institute (Inpe) and also a member of the project, sheds light on the broad impact of climate change on the health sector. Risk analysis and the investigation of adaptive strategies, according to Aragão, identified a connection between El Niño and the rising number of dengue cases in the summers of 2010 and 2015 - in these years, the expenditure on patient hospitalizations and treatments in Santos rose by at least R$720,000.

"We estimated some of the impacts on health, but if all diseases linked to rising temperatures and flooding are factored in, we can see the real impact of this problem in the area of health," said the researcher.

Future scenario points to the increase of floods

Sea levels in Santos have risen at different rates since the 1940s. "Based on time series, we identified two possible scenarios for the city. One is more realistic, with sea levels rising by 0.36 cm per year. The other is the worst-case scenario, with sea levels rising by 0.45 cm per year. The conclusion was that sea levels could rise between 18 cm and 23 cm by 2050, and between 36 cm-45 cm by 2100," said Celia Regina de Gouveia Souza, a researcher at the Geologic Institute (IG) of the Sao Paulo State a member of the project team.

The model also considers the occurrence of extreme events, such as meteorological tides and storm surges, which are increasingly frequent because of climate change and result in rapid rises in sea level.

According to Gouveia Souza, who maintains a database of the occurrences of extreme events harking back to the late twenties (1928-2016) in the whole Santos city area (the so-called Baixada Santista region), the frequency of storm surges has increased significantly, as has the number of consecutive years with storm surges, since the late 1990s.

"The Santos tide gauge data tables show that the peak rise during one of these extreme events in the 2000s was 146 cm," she said. "According to our projections, it could reach 160 cm in 2050 and 166 cm in 2100. This means that the city will be even more vulnerable to coastal floods and erosion, which will migrate toward Bairro do Embaré (Canal 4 surroundings)."

Having produced the coastal flooding scenarios for 2050 and 2100 and having calculated the potential damages to buildings, the researchers shared their findings with the population of Santos and the local government to discuss appropriate adaptive measures.

"Options for adaptation were brought up at these town hall meetings," Marengo said. "One option is fortification using revetments, seawalls, and structural enhancements. In other cases, it's possible to opt for beach replenishment. Another strategy we see as necessary for Santos is mangrove rehabilitation, which can be classified as an ecosystem-based adaptation."

"The measures chosen by the public were quite adequate. We hope the project will continue under the aegis of the local authorities with ongoing popular participation. If so, the worst-case scenario is much less likely to materialize," said Luci Hidalgo Nunes, a researcher at UNICAMP and a project team member.

The city of Santos was chosen by the Project Metropolis team not just for its economic importance but also because its tidal, rainfall, temperature and storm surge data time series are the best among Brazil's coastal cities.

"Although scientists and decision makers must discuss adaptations, it has to be public policy. It must come from the government," Marengo said. "It's an action that cannot stop and obviously there must be an investment. Santos has achieved a high level of awareness, with a broad dialogue involving the public, decision makers, and academia. The construction projects must be implemented. The worst thing that could happen would be if it all stayed on the drawing-board."
-end-
Project Metropolis produced four years of studies and gathered scientists from the Natural Disaster Surveillance & Early Warning Center (CEMADEN), IG, the University of São Paulo (USP) and the University of Campinas (UNICAMP). The group developed three lines of research: estimating economic losses and adaptive capacities; extreme weather modeling; and health impacts. Their scenarios considered projections for 2050 and 2100.

About São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is a public institution with the mission of supporting scientific research in all fields of knowledge by awarding scholarships, fellowships, and grants to investigators linked with higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. FAPESP is aware that the very best research can only be done by working with the best researchers internationally. Therefore, it has established partnerships with funding agencies, higher education, private companies, and research organizations in other countries known for the quality of their research and has been encouraging scientists funded by its grants to further develop their international collaboration. For more information: http://www.fapesp.br/en.

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by Joseph Romm (Author)

Climate change will have a bigger impact on humanity than the Internet has had. The last decade's spate of superstorms, wildfires, heat waves, and droughts has accelerated the public discourse on this topic and lent credence to climatologist Lonnie Thomson's 2010 statement that climate change "represents a clear and present danger to civilization." In June 2015, the Pope declared that action on climate change is a moral issue.

This book offers the most up-to-date examination of climate change's foundational science, its implications for our future, and the core clean energy solutions.... View Details


This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
by Naomi Klein (Author)

The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.

In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.

In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and... View Details


Climate Change: The Facts
by J.Abbot (Author), J.S. Armstrong (Author), A.Bolt (Author), R.Carter (Author), R.Darwall (Author), J.Delingpole (Author), C.Essex (Author), S.Franks (Author), K.Green (Author), D.Laframboise (Author), N.Lawson (Author), B.Lewin (Author), R.Lindzen (Author), J.Marohasy (Author), R.McKitrick (Author), P.Michaels (Author), A.Moran (Author), J.Nova (Author), G.Paltridge (Author), I.Plimer (Author), W.Soon (Author), M.Steyn (Author), A.Watts (Author), Alan Moran (Editor)

Tirelessly promoted by princes, presidents, actors and activists, "climate change" has become a dominant theme of global politics. But what's really going on as the "pause" in global warming prepares to enter its third decade? In this new anthology, leading scientists and commentators from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia consider the climate from every angle - the science, the policy and the politics. View Details


A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About The Science, The Consequences, and The Solutions
by Jeffrey Bennett (Author)

Winner:
2017 NSTA, Outstanding Science Trade Books
2017 Children's Book Council, Best STEM Books
Nautilus Book Award, Silver, Ecology and Environment

Is human-induced global warming a real threat to our future? Most people will express an opinion on this question, but relatively few can back their opinions with solid evidence. Many times we’ve even heard pundits say “I am not a scientist” to avoid the issue altogether. But the truth is, the basic science is not that difficult. Using a question and answer format, this book will help readers achieve three major... View Details


Climate Change: The Facts 2017
by Jennifer Marohasy (Editor)

Climate Change: The Facts 2017 contains 22 essays by internationally-renowned experts and commentators, including Dr Bjorn Lomborg, Dr Matt Ridley, Professor Peter Ridd, Dr Willie Soon, Dr Ian Plimer, Dr Roy Spencer, and literary giant Clive James. The volume is edited by Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. Fourteen of the contributors currently hold or have held positions at a university or a scientific research organisation.

Dr Jennifer Marohasy said, "Climate Change: The Facts 2017 presents the case for climate change policies... View Details


Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet
by Michael Bloomberg (Author), Carl Pope (Author)

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former head of the Sierra Club Carl Pope comes a manifesto on how the benefits of taking action on climate change are concrete, immediate, and immense. They explore climate change solutions that will make the world healthier and more prosperous, aiming to begin a new type of conversation on the issue that will spur bolder action by cities, businesses, and citizens―and even, someday, by Washington.

"Climate of Hope is an inspiring must read." ―Former Vice President Al Gore,... View Details


Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health
by Jay Lemery (Author), Paul Auerbach (Author)

Many of us have concerns about the effects of climate change on Earth, but we often overlook the essential issue of human health. This book addresses that oversight and enlightens readers about the most important aspect of one of the greatest challenges of our time.

The global environment is under massive stress from centuries of human industrialization. The projections regarding climate change for the next century and beyond are grim. The impact this will have on human health is tremendous, and we are only just now discovering what the long-term outcomes may be.

By... View Details


The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change
by Robert Henson (Author)

Everybody can be a thinking person when it comes to climate change, and this book is a perfect roadmap.  Start a web search for “climate change” and the first three suggestions are “facts,” “news,” and “hoax.” The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change is rooted in the first, up to date on the second, and anything but the last. Produced by one of the most venerable atmospheric science organizations, it is a must-read for anyone looking for the full story on climate change.

Using global research and written with nonscientists in mind, the Guide breaks... View Details


Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Mark Maslin (Author)

Climate change is still, arguably, the most critical and controversial issue facing the world in the twenty-first century. Previously published as Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction, the new edition has been renamed Climate Change: A Very Short introduction, to reflect the important change in the terminology of the last decade.

In the third edition, Mark Maslin includes crucial updates from the last few years, including the results of the 2013 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, the effects of ocean acidification, and the impact of changes to global population and... View Details


The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert (Author)

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes

Over the last half-billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Simple Solutions
Sometimes, the best solutions to complex problems are simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy. This hour, TED speakers describe the innovation and hard work that goes into achieving simplicity. Guests include designer Mileha Soneji, chef Sam Kass, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel, public health advocate Myriam Sidibe, and engineer Amos Winter.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#448 Pavlov (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning about the life and work of a groundbreaking physiologist whose work on learning and instinct is familiar worldwide, and almost universally misunderstood. We'll spend the hour with Daniel Todes, Ph.D, Professor of History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, discussing his book "Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science."