Debate Magazine

Global Warming and Coastlines

Posted on the 15 May 2014 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

The Daily Mail has a number of scaremongering photographs of artists impressions of what a global warming sea level rise would do to various parts of the world. Miami's Ocean Drive, Venice Beach in LA. All with buildings underwater.
As Superman the Movie explained (and one of those rare movies that can teach you something useful about economics) and Mark has shown with some data, people like living near the coast and pay more for being near the coast. Salisbury is a lot cheaper to buy a house than near the beach at Bournemouth.
And as Superman explained, while you destroy a lot of land in the process (and in Lex Luthor's case, millions of lives) you also raise all the land values that now become coastal, or near coastal. So, the people with Venice Beach apartments might find themselves losing their land values, the people in Inglewood will be a bit richer.
Assuming we had 12ft rises in water levels (which even with global warming predictions would take centuries), very little of any real value would be lost. We'd lose a few buildings, but that's a fraction of the value of beachfront property.

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