Within the span of a 30-year mortgage, more than $100 billion worth of American homes is expected to be at risk of chronic flooding. As the climate warms and oceans rise, narrow strips of sand like the one Allen is standing on, will be submerged, leaving coastal communities — affluent and not — with the torturous question of how to adjust. Build seawalls? Dump sand? For how long and at what cost?
One problem with chronic flooding is that these properties will just be abandoned instead of dismantled. The resulting ocean pollution will be massive. There will be unintended consequences.