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'The time to act is now' for coastal land owners experiencing climate change: Scientist

Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman spoke with Katharine Hayhoe The Nature Conservancy Chief Scientist & Christian Braneon NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Columbia University Climate School about climate change, the impact on coastal real estate, and affordable housing.

Video Transcript

RICK NEWMAN: Let me ask you about wealthy people who own coastal real estate. I mean, rich people have a lot of homes on the beach that are directly threatened by rising seas. And, you know, when a problem shows up in the backyards of wealthy people who pay the lobbyists, who get Congress to write the laws the way they do, suddenly, things might start to change.

I mean, based on what you guys know about where this is heading, are we going to see that type of development in coastal areas, where wealthy people are looking around like, hey, the water's coming up on my front porch. I guess we ought to do something about this. Katharine, what do you think about that?

KATHARINE HAYHOE: Well, we're already starting to see that. So the oil and gas industry in the Gulf Coast has asked for federal relief from climate impacts. We already see in Florida, for example, Zillow did a study where they found that coastal properties were starting to drop by 7%, the cost of those coastal properties, relative to their inland neighbors.

So we are already seeing this, but it's as if we are a frog in water that is heating up slowly. If we just wait until everybody catches on, it's going to be too late. And that's why the time to act is now. And that's why we scientists are sounding the alarm as constantly and continuously and creatively as we can.

CHRISTIAN BRANEON: Yeah, I think Katharine is absolutely right. And, you know, what really concerns me is that some of those low income folks don't have the option of easily retreating from the coast or changing where they live, right? So I think we need to be a little bit preemptive.

And before everyone catches on, think about encouraging developments inland, encouraging development with meaningfully affordable housing, not affordable housing that's based on some algorithm, but affordable housing that means that folks that are low income can actually afford it. And if we do incentivize development that's upland, that's away from the coast, and make sure that there's affordable housing, we can actually create equity in our society by simultaneously improving climate resilience for everyone.