With the anniversary of superstorm Sandy just a month away and the
still-battered remains of homes visible on the beachfront, Gov. Chris
Christie ordered the state to start legal action against holdout
homeowners to get the dunes built.
on the way for oceanfront municipalities in their ongoing battle with
easement holdouts for the federally funded beach replenishment project.
Wednesday, Christie signed an executive order that, among other things,
directs the attorney general’s office to “coordinate legal action to
acquire the necessary easements to build dunes” and creates a flood risk
office to take steps toward acquiring property to build dunes along the
addition to the order, the protracted legal battle between a Harvey
Cedars couple and the borough over the rights to build a 22-foot dune on
their beachfront property has been settled for less than a cup of
coffee. The couple, Harvey and Phyllis Karan, will be compensated $1 in a
property rights dispute that lasted over three years, two storms and
one public rebuke by the governor. At one point, they had been awarded
$375,000 for losing their ocean view to new protective dunes.
we rebuild from superstorm Sandy, we need to make sure we are stronger,
more resilient and prepared for future storms, and dunes are a major
component of this process,” Christie said in a statement. “We can no
longer be held back from completing these critical projects by a small
number of owners who are selfishly concerned about their view while
putting large swaths of homes and businesses around them at risk.”
*I have no idea what the title has to do with this post other than anytime I see a story about Sandy and New Jersey I think of 4th of July, Asbury Park. One of my favorites.
Abstract: Economists are increasingly using weather data and climate model output in analyses of the economic impacts of climate change. This article introduces weather data sets and climate models that are frequently used, discusses the most common mistakes economists make in using these products, and identifies ways to avoid these pitfalls. We first provide an introduction to weather data, including a summary of the types of datasets available, and then discuss five common pitfalls that empirical researchers should be aware of when using historical weather data as explanatory variables in econometric applications. We then provide a brief overview of climate models and discuss two common and significant errors often made by economists when climate model output is used to simulate the future impacts of climate change on an economic outcome of interest.
From the inbox--AccuWeather.com has set the 2013 Over/Under on U.S. landfalls from Atlantic Basin Hurricanes at 3. OK, they don't call it an Over/Under, but aren't most things more fun if gambling is involved? No? Is that just me?
When you spend "other people's money", do you have the right incentives to rebuild in a smart way? ... What if New Jersey's residents knew that there would never be another FEMA $ for rebuilding their state's residential and commercial structures and any new structures that would be built post-Hurricane Sandy would have to withstand future natural disasters or the people of New Jersey would be on the hook for such damage? ...
Given the reliance on FEMA $, how will coastal areas such as Atlantic City be rebuilt? Will a higher quality capital stock that is more flood resilient be built? Will FEMA $ be used to rebuild in the same places using the same materials as before?
During a time of tragedy, we seek to make the victims whole but is an unintended consequence of such well meaning aid to create a "moral hazard" effect such that the next natural disaster causes equal pain? Could "tough love" (i.e no FEMA bailout) actually aid climate change adaptation efforts?
... Will liability laws need to be strengthened to hold home owners liable for their trees? How do we incentivize such owners to invest in costly precautions such as tree trimming? ... How do we use the legal code to encourage more ex-ante self precautions to reduce the damage caused by natural disasters?
How do natural disasters affect population migration patterns? ...
Economic damages inflicted by Hurricane Sandy could reach $50 billion, according to new estimates that are more than double a previous forecast. Some economists warned on Thursday that the storm could shave a half percentage point off the nation’s economic growth in the current quarter.
Losses from the storm could total $30 billion to $50 billion, according to Eqecat, which tracks hurricanes and analyzes the damage they cause. On Monday, before the storm hit the East Coast, the firm estimated $10 billion to $20 billion in total economic damages.
The flooding of New York’s subways and roadway tunnels and the extensive loss of business as a result of utility failures across the region were behind the sharp increase in the estimate, the firm said. ...
Eqecat predicted that New York would bear 34 percent of the total economic losses, with New Jersey suffering 30 percent, Pennsylvania 20 percent and other states 16 percent. That includes all estimated losses, whether covered by insurance or not. The estimates and the share that will be covered by insurers are far from certain at this point, as government officials, property owners and insurance adjusters struggle to assess the destruction. ...
Hurricane Sandy will rank high among disasters in terms of economic impact but will not be at the top of the list, said Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics. He estimated that the losses would be less than half of those suffered because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and from Hurricane Katrina.
Moody’s Analytics also put the impact in the $50 billion range, with about $12 billion in losses falling in the New York City metropolitan area.
About $20 billion of that total is from lost economic activity like meals not served in restaurants, canceled plane flights and bets not placed in casinos, Mr. Zandi estimated. The rest, about $30 billion, will be from property destruction, including damage to homes, cars and businesses, Mr. Zandi said.
*Dang, first rule of blogging: one cup of coffee before the first morning post.
Some environmentalists say New Jersey should consider not rebuilding everything lost to Superstorm Sandy.
U.S. Geological Survey scientist Jeffress Willliams says that rising sea levels and changing weather patterns make it likely that the coast will be hit by more frequent destructive storms.
He and other shoreline advocates say officials should consider restricting development to reduce the harm storms can do. They suggest relocating homes and businesses farther from the ocean, building more seawalls and keeping sand dunes high.
Gov. Chris Christie says the shore is too important not to rebuild. But he leaves the decision whether to build again to individual property owners.
OK, I'm about to step in it. One of the reasons the cost of coastal disaster mitigation is so high is the inefficiencies created today by perhaps efficient development patterns from years past. What I mean is that development patterns are at least currently efficient if they are based on the best and most current information about potential current and future contingencies. So let's suppose that the pre-Sandy Mid-Atlantic coast was efficiently developed over the past 300 years (a leap, I know, but go with me). Even if that were the case, doesn't a storm of historic proportions that rearranges many of the past development afford loclas the opportunity to develop newly efficient development patterns based on the supposedly better current knowledge of the potential and future contingencies (like erosion patterns and hurricane evacuations and yes, even climate change contingencies)?
And doesn't letting individuals decide whether to rebuild leave us with the same type of insurance market failure that we get when we continue to allow residents to rebuild in flood plains after flood events? The systemic risk overwhelms the insurance system during catastrophic events and it forces the government to once again become the insurer of last resort. I'm not opposed to individuals rebuilding. But the efficient decision will only be made if any insurance on the rebuild is priced at market rates (and not subsidized or backed by local, state or federal government).
*I don't really know what that means, but it seems like it might be appropriate. Besides, I just like the song.
"This blog aims to look at more of the microeconomic ideas that can be used toward environmental ends. Bringing to bear a large quantity of external sources and articles, this blog presents a clear vision of what economic environmentalism can be."
... the Environmental Economics blog ... is now the default homepage on my browser (but then again, I guess I am a wonk -- a word I learned on the E.E. blog). That is a very nice service to the profession. -- Anonymous
"... I try and read the blog everyday and have pointed it out to other faculty who have their students read it for class. It is truly one of the best things in the blogosphere." -- Anonymous