Go South, Old Man, Go South

Haha! I got a chuckle out of this chart published in Investors Business Daily, a notorious “climate denier” publication. With climate-change warriors hyping the disastrous economic impact of climate change on the human economy, you’d think people would be moving north. But it turns out they’re moving south…. toward warmer climes! Writes IBD:

More than 2.5 million people moved into hurricane-prone states like Florida, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Texas from 2010 to 2017. Florida alone had a net in-migration of more than 1 million. (Only Louisiana lost population over those years.) That’s despite constant alarms about how climate change will make hurricanes more frequent and intense.

Of course, as even IBD concedes, the Northeastern and Midwestern states also happen to be states with higher taxes and regulations, while Southern states, the biggest population gainers, tend to have lower taxes and fewer regulations. So the move south may be driven by economics more than a love of warmer temperatures.

Moreover, there are reasons to worry about CO2 rise and climate change other than the impact on human economies, such as the impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs, devastation to wildlife habitats on the land, and stress on endangered species as habitats migrate north faster than than the species can. But the human species spent most of its existence evolving in Africa with its warmer climes and is more at home in warm weather than cold. Economic studies of the cost of climate change tend to look only at costs, not benefits. Thus, they overlook the quality-of-life gain from living in warmer climes — as affluent retirees, who are free to live anywhere,  prove by the hundreds of thousands every year.

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22 responses to “Go South, Old Man, Go South”

  1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Plus, we get get grapes and fine wines in Labrador. What’s not to like? Then we’ll all be heading there as well, life’s a beach. Indeed global warming could save us from the next ice age. Good odds there too.

  2. John Harvie Avatar
    John Harvie

    Larry, give it up. No way it’s going to impact any of us living now. Come on down … the water’s fine! AOBTW, it’s 47 degrees F in Palm Beach County right now.

  3. I was reading a scientific article (which unfortunately I need to find again) bascially saying some areas like Virginia/mid Atlantic are sinking 10-12-inches per 100 years due to glacier period land deformation, and then another 6-8 inches sea level rise. So if somebody thinks water is rising in Norfolk, it most certainly is indeed. They said that, correcting for the sinking of the land mass in certain regions, then the rate of sea level rise is constant over the East Coast. The sinking of the land mass is expected to continue indefinitely. Sure, we should assume continued if not increased sea level rise.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      General true in concept, except that description omits heavy affect of erosion. Look at series of old maps from 1600s to today, and you will find shrinking and expansion, and shrinking and expansion again of peninsulas out into bay and back into shoreline, then becoming islands, and then later reattaching to shoreline before breaking off again. Much of this was caused by lack of good erosion control, combined with submerging land and rising waters that eventually submerged islands, whose eroded lands could have been recaptured downstream if properly managed. James Island near mouth of Choptank River is good example. These are complicated mechanics of workings of land, winds, and water, and air.

      1. djrippert Avatar

        Points well taken with one exception. I believe James Island is near the mouth of the Little Choptank rather than the Choptank. If so, the Arny Corps of Engineers has plans to rebuild the island in much the same way it is rebuilding Poplar Island to the north.

      2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        My father, an island specialist, particularly as too close in offshore currents, told me in the 1960s that he thought the island(s) could be saved at relatively small cost by capturing soil laden wash coming down from Poplar and Jefferson’s islands, and Tilghman Island’s western shore. He suspected that wash to be primary cause of James island’s dramatic and rapid contraction and expansion back and forth from Taylor’s Island since at least the 1600s.

        James island was his favorite outdoor spot from the late 50’s into 70s. A 1960’s painting of it hung in his study.

        Re its location at mouth of Little Choptank River, you’re right of course. From where I hung out at Bar Neck at Tilghman’s end, I recall an open water view with the Little Choptank River proper hidden from view. And the open water gun club blinds we used on north end, looking north.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Sloppy Joes’s – great damn Bar, wet or dry!!!!!!!!

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    outer banks


    ” The National Flood Insurance Program: Drowning in Debt and Due for Phase-out”

    The reality on the ground is that coastal areas of the US are being severely damaged by even lesser hurricanes because of the storm surge.

    Hurricane Sandy cost 65 billion dollars.

    Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused between $150 billion and $200 billion in damage to Texas and Florida, comparable to the costs from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, a according to Moody’s Analytics

    these costs are going to fall on property owners and the banks holding the mortgages if Congress kills the subsidies for the national flood insurance program which they are now seriously considering.

    the bottom line is that it’s not the “warm” that matters – it’s what happens when the ocean comes ashore and who pays.

  5. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    Global sea level has risen about eight inches since 1880; while this affects all of the world’s coasts, the East and Gulf coasts of the United States have seen some of the fastest rates of sea level rise.
    Between 1992, when detailed satellite measurements started, and 2012, Antarctica lost about 76 billion tons of ice per year. But since 2012, that rate has tripled to about 219 billion tons of ice loss per year, the scientists found.
    Combine that ice loss with the expanding seawater caused by warming temperatures and the directional changes in sea currents, land subsidence and the East Coast ought to be at least planning ahead.

    Norfolk has made a stab at it in spite of the GA and led by the flooding issues that particularly affect the DOD, which has been addressing GHG sinec 2006.

    The Front Lines of Sea Level Rise
    As global temperatures increase, land-based ice melts into the oceans, and seawater expands as it absorbs more heat from the warming atmosphere.

    On a bright day last winter, several dozen executives, architects, military officers and government officials from around the country gathered in a glass room atop Norfolk’s main public library. It was the start of an initiative on coastal innovation, organized by a project of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a local nonprofit that the city of Norfolk created to fund technological solutions to coastal resilience.

    The conference was exactly the type of event city leaders had hoped to host: one that draws a national mix of private and public sector leaders to use Norfolk as a laboratory for adapting to rising seas.
    In 2016, Homewood led the publication of “Vision 2100,” a broad-strokes scoping document for how Norfolk could literally reshape itself into “the coastal community of the future.”

    The vision divides the city into four color-coded zones. Green and purple represent relatively safe areas where the city should focus future development and improve existing neighborhoods. The red zone—mostly downtown and the Naval base, and including Tidewater Gardens—are areas of dense development that need protection. The yellow zone represents the boldest move: areas where the city can’t afford to build expensive flood protection but must instead rely on some combination of adaptation and retreat.

    The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a $1.7 billion series of seawalls, storm surge barriers and other infrastructure to protect much of Norfolk from a 50-year storm with 1.5 feet of sea level rise. But the proposal would do little to address routine flooding from rising seas in some areas because the barriers would need to remain open except during major storms.

    Homewood characterized the proposal as a Band-Aid: “over $1 billion to buy us 20 years,” he said.

    When will the coastal issues become stae issues?

    1. Jane- you said “East and Gulf coasts of the United States have seen some of the fastest rates of sea level rise.”
      My understanding is our part of the East Coast is slowly sinking into the sea, not that sea level is rising any faster here.

      1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
        Jane Twitmyer

        Yes, the land is subsiding here, but the effect is to make the warming and therefore risng sea levels worse. The size of sea level rise is also impacted by the melting polar ice, but it’s all adds up to sea level rise.

        To quote the article about Norfolk, “Tidewater Gardens is among the most flood-prone areas in a city with one of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the country—half a foot since 1992, about twice the global average. Parts of the development were built in an old creek bed. When it rains or a storm pushes ocean tides higher than usual, water moves in like an old man settling into a well-worn chair.”

        So, sea level rise helps create the land subsidence.”

  6. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Back in the day when living in Cali we joked about beach front property in West Covina….but that was the earthquake that was (and is still) coming. We’ll see which one gets the ocean there first.

  7. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    Yeah well … the facts about sea level rise are incremental and very visibly increasing over time, while you could call that CA earthquake a black swan event …

  8. As a former Lousianan yes they looked at TX and FL as the places they really wanted to be due to no state tax. Sea level rise did not factor in, nor hurricanes which La. has anyways.

  9. LarrytheG Avatar

    Sea level rise is occurring around the world – but at what rate varies according to geographic factors.

    But places like New Jersey, Houston, North Carolina and yes Louisiana are seeing scope and scale flooding more than they have even seen in prior hurricanes.. not only hurricanes – but just mega rain events…

    Subways and Interstate highways that were designed to 500-year flood standards are being flooded now… to the tune of billions and billions of dollars.

    Private owners are going to be left on their own if the GOvt bails on flood insurance and if that happens Banks are not going to give mortgages and localities that depend on property tax revenue are going to have to make tough choices about what they can afford to continue to maintain in areas that are flooding more frequently.

    So , yes.. it’s getting warmer… and it has some good impacts – but there is no question about the increased frequency and severity of flooding – right now as the other impact from warming.

    The funny thing is that the climate “skeptics” still do not believe but they apparently do accept the reality of increased flooding but won’t attribute it to climate change…

    folks can believe what they want but when a property or road gets damaged – someone has to pay for it – and that’s more than what one wants to “believe”. It has real implications on what properties will be not re-built – and no longer generating tax revenues for infrastructure and services.

    These are not “predictions”- they are the reality right now in some places.

  10. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    When the government starts taxing landowners on or near the seashore for mitigation measures, I’ll believe its serious about ocean levels.

    Have you ever watched the Last Alaskans on TV? It’s a show about the families who have grandfathered cabin permits in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. They expire at the death of the permit holder’s last child, the family is gone. Congress closed the Refuge to further settlement in 1980. While not on all fours, why not pull back all government protections over time?

    1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      TMT ….“When the government starts taxing landowners on or near the seashore for mitigation measures, I’ll believe its serious about ocean levels.”

      Isn’t MIT, the Army Corp of Engineers, and “several dozen executives, architects, military officers and government officials” that gathered for the sea level rise conference in Norfolk, good enough for you to believe the coast is in trouble? … Further info from Norfolk …
      “Norfolk, Virginia—with 14 days of tidal flooding over the 12-month period—has tried to weave adaptation to rising seas into all of its planning and operations, rewriting the zoning code to require that new buildings are built higher up and are more resilient to flooding, for example, and publishing an innovative planning document that considers risks out to the end of the century. It’s also begun a range of infrastructure projects like building coastal wetlands to absorb flood waters and raising some streets,”

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        Jane – good for Norfolk. I am truly impressed by action in this area.

        We here in Fairfax County were watching the Planning Commission and BoS consider granting permission for a landowner to build in the floodplain of a stream connecting with the Potomac River. It was finally turned down but only after a massive level of resident outrage. I would not be surprised to see similar proposals going forward.

        My point is not to challenge whether there could be flooding from rising sea waters. Rather it is to challenge whether governments are going to restrict, including by grandfathering, new uses of coastal areas. Key uses of the coastal areas, such as Navy, docks, ferries, etc., need to be protected by dikes, etc. Other uses, such as housing, recreational infrastructure, hotels, office buildings, commercial structures, should be forewarned their land may be under water and given notice that the government will do nothing to protect their property absent the creation of new tax districts.

        It seems pretty unreasonable to me to put all of the costs for dealing with rising oceans on energy users. Much of the costs must be recovered from taxes and fees on landowners near bodies of water who are likely to get substantial support from government entities. And it’s crazy to allow new building or major remodeling in areas likely to be flooded.

        My skepticism stems from the strong rush to raise the price of energy while not standing up to landowners on or near floodable waters.

  11. LarrytheG Avatar

    What will happen is that the Feds will stop subsidizing flood insurance and when that happens, Banks will stop issuing mortgages for properties and when that happens the value of the properties will plummet because no one will be able to pay for them unless they pay in full for them instead of getting a mortgage.

    once that happens – the local government will no longer be able to tax the property as commercial or residential – but instead vacant , undevelopable land –

    that will change how the govt will provide services and infrastructure.

    this change happens slowly or quickly – depending on what the Feds do about subsidized flood insurance; there will be a lot of pressure to continue it but the costs will go up exponentially.

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