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Global Warming and the American Economy

A Regional Assessment of Climate Change Impacts

Edited by Robert Mendelsohn

The impact of climate change on seven regions of the United States is studied in this new and accessible collection. The study examines how the different regions of the United States may be affected by climate change. In particular, the study explores whether warming would be beneficial to the northern (colder) regions but harmful to the economies of the southern (warmer) regions.
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Chapter 6: Coastal structures: Dynamic economic modeling

James E. Neumann and Nicholas D. Livesay


James E. Neumann and Nicholas D. Livesay INTRODUCTION For at least the last two decades there has been concern over the potential for changes in climate to cause an increase in sea level (Hoffman et al. 1983, Warrick and Oerlemans 1990). Global warming increases thermal expansion and the melting of polar ice caps, resulting in sea level rise. Increases in sea level can present problems to individuals living in coastal and low-lying areas, and can damage structures and beachfront property along the coast. Consequently, sea level rise is likely to impose economic costs on the United States, including the cost of protecting coastal structures and the shoreline as well as the lost value associated with abandoning structures and property. This chapter builds on previous work that has established the magnitude of these costs on a national level (Yohe et al. 1999) to develop regional estimates of the impacts of climate change. We generate economic impact estimates for five coastal regions, consistent with the regional designations established in Chapter 1. We examine four sea level rise scenarios: three examined in Yohe et al. (1999) (33, 67 and 100 cm by 2100) and a fourth that more closely approximates the expected rate of eustatic sea level rise (50 cm by 2100) established by the IPCC (Houghton et al. 1996). The estimates presented here were generated using the national sea level rise impact estimation approach developed in Yohe et al. (1999). This model has three significant advantages over previous work on coastal...

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