Michael Smolens, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
California is so concerned over the future cost and availability of insurance it’s calling in the United Nations for help.
Recent reports detail how homeowner insurance policies in regions prone to wildfire are being canceled or becoming significantly more expensive.
Developments planned for high-risk fire zones are not only being challenged politically and legally over whether they diminish the quality of life for people living nearby but also over public safety and climate change concerns.
Eventually, homeowners in certain coastal areas are certain to have a similar, if more slow-moving, experience as sea-level rise increases flooding and erosion, making their dwellings a riskier bet for insurers. Some residents on unstable bluffs have for years faced insurance issues, in addition to the challenge of pursuing public or private efforts to shore up the cliffs.
Tens of thousands of beachfront homes across California face the risk of chronic flooding or worse, according to projections. It may be 50 to 100 years before it gets that bad, but property values are likely to be affected along with insurance.
This will extend beyond homeowners to businesses and, to varying degrees, governments.
At the root of the insurance challenge is climate change, which many experts say is exacerbating wildfires and flooding and making storms more destructive. Insurance companies, like governments, are increasingly stressed trying to grapple with that.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/opinion/9943760-181/smolens-climate-change-and-californias
Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County’s coastal cliffs, softened by rain and pounded by ocean waves, are receding by as much as a foot a year and will surrender an area the size of Sebastopol by the end of the century, experts say, as climate change prompts sea levels to continue rising.
The scenic cliffs, made of soft rock formed millions of years ago on the ocean floor, are no match for nature’s ceaseless forces. Related property loss in the county over that period could total as much as $700 million.
Statewide, eroding coastal cliffs threaten billions of dollars worth of homes, highways, railways, businesses, military bases, universities, power plants and parks, and the North Bay has already seen the destructive and deadly consequences of the diminishing coastline.
At Gleason Beach, 4 miles north of Bodega Bay on Highway 1, the rapidly eroding cliff irreparably damaged 10 blufftop homes that were demolished by the owners, the last one in November.
One other home was relocated, and two of the 10 remaining homes are uninhabitable or unstable.
“Gleason Beach is a bellwether of things to come,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose district covers the county’s entire coast. “It’s one of the fastest eroding places in California.”
Caltrans is currently planning a $26 million realignment of the coastal highway at Gleason Beach, moving nearly a mile of the roadway, and building a new 850-foot bridge, about 400 feet farther away from the restive ocean. Construction is expected to start in 2019.
Read more at: Sonoma County’s coastal cliffs no match for rising seas