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  • Alexi Chacon

Climate-related Flooding Will Disproportionately Affect Black People Over the Next 30 Years

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

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Annual flood losses in the U.S. are expected to increase by 26.4% over the next 30 years due to climate change, rising to $40.6 billion dollars by 2050, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Bristol.

Some highlights:

According to the study, low-income communities that are predominantly white currently face the highest risk of financial damage from flooding. However, the researchers found that Black communities located on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts will face the highest risk of damage from flooding in the future.

More specifically, the researchers project that regions in the U.S. with predominantly Black populations will experience at least a 20% increase in flood risk over the next 30 years.

The researchers used flood projections and property data to make the predictions, saying the “sophisticated techniques” they used “give a much more accurate picture of future flooding and how populations will be affected.” Such methodology differs from prior studies, which often rely on historical data.

Why it matters:

The researchers say their findings show that Black people will be disproportionately affected by flooding in the future. They also suggest simple actions, like improving the infrastructure of buildings and choosing where to build more wisely, can reduce the impact.

According to study co-author Oliver Wing, it’s really not all that complicated. “In many ways the solutions here are conceptually simple: don’t build any more stuff in the way of floods.”

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