As humans argue whether or not the first law of thermodynamics applies to the burning of fossil fuels, our planet has experienced some of the hottest average temperatures in recorded history, resulting in the gradual rise of large bodies of water and atypical climate behavior.
Some areas of the world, such as the island nation of Kiribati, already have plans in place to buy large parcels of land in other countries in order to resettle residents. Much of the population of Kiribati has already migrated to the main island of Tarawam when the ocean claimed areas that were previously habitable.
Tuvalu, another island nation that will likely disappear, doesn’t mince words when it comes to rising water levels, considering the threat to be “of no difference to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us.”
A study by the World Bank and the OECD reveals the estimated minimum costs of rising oceans in some of the biggest coastal cities in the world. If these big cities don’t spend the next few decades preparing for potentially overwhelming floods, the associated costs could rise as high as $1 trillion per year.
10. Osaka – minimum: $120 million per year
Osaka is Japan’s third biggest city, with a population of more than 2.5 million acting as the economic engine of the Kansai region for hundreds of years. Osaka used to be called Naniwa back when emperors ruled Japan. Osaka was the nation’s first capital city at a time when Japan’s capital city shifted according to the location of the emperor.
According to calculations, Osaka will lose a minimum of $120 million per year due to rising water levels. However, out of the ten cities on this list, Osaka will need to spend the smallest proportion of their GDP dealing with floods, requiring only 0.03% to pay for the losses.
9. Shenzhen – minimum: $169 million per year
This major economic contributor to Chinese wealth started as a fishing village named Baoan County. China designated the area as a special economic zone in 1979, changing the name of the city to Shenzhen.
A new prosperity reigned after China built this city up as their first “special economic zone” project, taking advantage of its location close to Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta.
Shenzhen will experience minimum losses of about $169 million on an annual basis due to rising waters. In terms of percentage of GDP, Shenzhen ranks tenth out of all cities, requiring 0.38% of the city’s GDP to compensate for flooding.
8. Boston – minimum: $237 million per year
Currently dealing with record amounts of snow delivered through a series of unrelenting blizzards, Boston is intimately familiar with changing climate patterns that have the effect of making life miserable.
After setting a new record for the snowiest month by over 20 inches in February 2015, Bostonians can expect rising water levels to further impact their economy.
According to the calculations, Boston will have to have to spend about 0.13% of its GDP – about $237 million per year – to compensate for upcoming losses. Boston’s hazard plan lists old housing and parts of the city built on fill as significant challenges for dealing with disasters.
7. Tampa – $244 million per year
The City of Tampa, a sunny locale that’s on the west coast of Florida, can expect to deal with losses of $244 million annually as oceans continue to rise. This will necessitate a minimum of 0.26% of this city’s GDP to account for flooding activity.
With a population of over 350,000, Tampa is the 54th largest city in the United States and the third largest in the state of Florida, behind Miami and Jacksonville.
The population of Tampa has grown by more than 15% since 2000, drawn to the fantastic weather and growing base of attractions that include the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium.
6. Nagoya – $260 million per year
Situated at the northern tip of Ise Bay, which connects to the northern Pacific Ocean, Nagoya is the fourth largest city in Japan with more than 2 million residents calling this city home. This capital of the Aichi Prefecture is home to the headquarters of one of the most powerful car companies in the world – the Toyota Motor Corporation.
Nagoya was also leveled by allied bombing towards the end of WWII, losing many of its historical buildings
Already familiar with the effects of earthquakes and tsunamis, Nagoya has an extensive network of shelters to flee to when disaster strikes. Projected annual losses of $260 million per year comprise 0.26% of the city’s GDP.
5. Mumbai – $284 million per year
Located on the midwest portion of India, Mumbai’s coast is adjacent to the Arabian Sea. Mumbai is the capital city of Maharashtra state and features the second biggest population of any Indian city with more than 20 million residents, nearly doubling a 2001 census that declared Mumbai’s population to be about 12 million.
As of 2014, Mumbai is the sixth most populous city in the world, with projections of the city growing to be the fourth biggest with a population of 28 million by 2030.
The estimated costs of rising water levels worldwide will require Mumbai to compensate losses by spending 0.47% of its GDP, the seventh biggest investment of GDP on this list.
4. New Orleans – $507 million per year
The geography and climate of New Orleans already make this unique city susceptible to flooding and disaster. However, the combination of rising water levels and intense hurricanes results in a projected minimum loss of $507 million per year, requiring the second highest investment of GDP on this list – 1.21% of the city’s production – to deal with the damage.
A series of new storm surge barriers are being created to help protect the residents of New Orleans and Louisiana from a repeat of Hurricane Katrina. The Lake Borgne surge barrier, 26 feet tall and 1.8 miles long, is one of the newest constructions in what promises to be the one of largest series ofbarriers on the planet.
3. New York – $628 million per year
The biggest city in the United States – population over 8 million and growing – is also one of the epicenters of the world’s economic markets.
As a result, despite the impact of storms like Hurricane Sandy on the populace, only 0.08% of the city”s GDP is required to pay for the damages, second lowest on this list only to Osaka.
New York’s prosperity puts them in the position to invest early and often in improved infrastructure to reduce the impact of further storms and surges, especially considering the $50 billion price tag of Hurricane Sandy, which was the second most expensive storm in American history.
2. Miami – $672 million per year
A geologist from the Florida International University displayed a series of projections that showed the extent of the damage of rising seawater, outlining how a four-to-six foot rise in oceans will drown the entire waterfront while submerging the Florida Keys.
The impact would be felt around the world, if only for the four million passengers per year embarking on cruises from Miami – the busiest cruise ship port in the world.
Despite predictions that the city is completely doomed, the projections of this study suggest that Miami will only lose $627 million annually, requiring 0.3% of their GDP to cover the costs.
1. Guangzhou – $687 million per year
The biggest city in the Guangdong Province is Guangzhou, which has a population of over 11 million. It’s one of the economic engines of China, located on the Pearl River, allowing it to be a port that’s also close to both Macau and Hong Kong.
This city is projected to have to spend the largest portion of their GDP on damages out of all cities on in this study, requiring 1.32% of GDP diverted towards damage recovery.
Also called Canton, Guangzhou is the fourth biggest city in China and was one of the first to benefit from the opening up of government policy concerning international trade. The city has attracted millions to work in one of many manufacturing complexes that create plastic goods, electronics, clothes and other consumer goods for the world.
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