Local real estate markets are starting to notice the danger of sea level rise from global warming. And you start to think that in Massachusetts we’re sitting on a pretty large asset bubble.
““It’s been a challenge along the Quincy waterfront,” said McGue, who owns Granite Group Realtors in Quincy. “People got flooded and are fighting with the insurance company, and they want to sell the house. What happened here in March certainly underscores what a 100-year flood map is all about. Quincy Shore Drive was closed — I’ve never seen it closed since the Blizzard of ’78.”
A recent analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge science and environmental advocacy group, pinpoints several Massachusetts coastal areas that now flood 26 times or more annually—not only due to storms, but as a result of higher tides reaching farther inland. They include parts of Marshfield, Scituate, Cohasset, Quincy, Revere, Lynn, Winthrop, and large swaths from Ipswich to Salisbury. In Boston, parts of South Boston, East Boston, the Seaport, the North End, downtown, and Charlestown are in the scientists’ frequent-flood zone.
UoCS is a great organization. They made a map of chronic flooding scenarios under “moderate sea level rise”. You will notice that the vulnerable areas by the year 2100 will make much of the Greater Boston region unrecognizable.
There’s much talk about a “carbon bubble” — assets in the ground “owned” by fossil fuel companies that will be stranded in a future economy. (Citi puts that valuation at $100 trillion — this figure gives you an idea of why those companies fight so hard to keep doing what they’ve always done.) But less discussed is the asset bubble of real estate, of everything else that’s affected by global warming — which is, after all, everything. Lest we imagine that asset markets are effective at pricing in large-scale risk … we have some recent history to suggest otherwise.
We’re on the bubble.