10 things I learned from "The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration" by Jake Bittle
1. Weather disasters are becoming more common and people in the US are frequently displaced
2. The Florida keys are going to be destroyed by the ocean in a few decades
They are temporary on a geological time scale
3. Flood protection programs run by the government are biased toward the wealthy
The programs need to be justified by the amount of property value that they protect. It is easier to get approval to protect oceanfront mansions than poor neighborhoods inland that get flooded.
4. In a wildfire the fire consumes the oxygen in the air. When it encounters a house it ignites the oxygen inside and they burn from the inside out
@randomroger probably knew this already.
5. Government decisions in California have caused the state wide housing shortage
Locking tax rates meant that vacant land would not get built: there are no incentives to develop land. Allowing residents to sue to block development meant NIMBY people could block new apartments.
6. California fires spiked prices of housing and rent. Insurance payments enabled some people to pay inflated rents.
Frequently after a disaster rent prices in the area will spike due to a shortage of available housing and an increased ability for people to pay due to insurance settlements and/or government relief programs.
7. After disasters, housing prices will frequently spike
This was counterintuitive to me at first. But if there is a disaster and hundreds or thousands of residences are suddenly destroyed the remaining properties become more valuable. Also, insurance payments for houses that were destroyed get rolled into new homes in the area, shrinking the inventory of available housing and raising the prices that people can pay at the same time.
8. There are efforts by the government and insurance companies to get people to move out of flood prone areas
It is cheaper, in the long run, to pay a lot for people to relocate out of a dangerous area once than to have to pay over and over again as disaster strikes. However, it is difficult to get people to move.
9. Some developers in Texas managed to add fill dirt to raise a neighborhood “above the flood plain” so they could get approval to build. The neighborhood got flooded anyway
10. One time disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes get insurance payouts: longer term problems like droughts don’t
Droughts are severely affecting the western part of the United States. People in Arizona and Nevada have been taking water from the Colorado River for years. The drought also affects the Colorado River's sources, so that has a negative compounding effect. Some Arizona farmers used to be able to get water essentially under a government-controlled contract but are no longer allowed to get the same quantities and have to let their crops go.