Katrina: Economics of Prevention
As the gulf coast braces for a second storm and a new article in Science Magazine, via ClimateArk.org shows clear links between global warming and the intensity of tropical storms, its clear that we need to take a longer term perspective on these storms. We can’t afford a $200B bill every time one of these hits.
But is that really the case? Of the $200B in damage, a huge portion was caused by the flooding that rocked the city in the days after the hurricane. The costs the fix the levees are a powerful demonstration of prevention economics:
|Project||Status||Cost||ROI if successful|
|2004-5 Levee Maintenance||Funding Cut, Projects not completed in several parishes||$35 M||571,429%|
|Thorough Re-Work of Levees||Never Implemented||$2.5B||8000%|
|Gulf Coast 2050 (Thorough Wetlands Restoration)||Under Investigation||$14 B||1429%|
Any business person would blush at those ROIs. Compare even the most outlandishly over-run levee project with todays situation: a budget of $400K for each of the 500,000 displaced victims of Katrina.
Global warming exhibits the same dynamic on a much more massive scale. The only question is whether the world be a little smarter with how we deploy our resources.