Article image

The severe cost of not acting on climate change

Research has found that many people who deny climate change are weary of how environmental regulations would negatively impact them financially, particularly in the oil and coal sectors. But a recent study has found that not addressing climate change as a major catalyst for severe weather will end up costing 5 times more. 

The study, titled Project Metropolis, examined Santos, a coastal city in Sao Paulo, and defined the minimum costs the city would have to factor in to prepare for rising sea levels due to climate change.

Project Metropolis estimated that Santos would have to pay around 300 million (Brazil Real Equals) in renovations to be better prepared for climate change. Conversely, not doing anything to adapt to warming temperatures could cost the city billions.

Researchers also note that there are other sectors besides real estate, like health and education, that would be greatly impacted by climate change

The team also examined a wide range of climate change research and predictions to get a more detailed understanding of the costs. The model looked at rising sea levels, tides, predicted rises in storm surges, extreme weather events, and coastal flooding.

There is no question that sea levels will rise, it’s simply a matter of how high.

“We identified two possible scenarios for the city. One is more realistic, with sea levels rising by 0.36 cm per year. The other is the worst-case scenario, with sea levels rising by 0.45 cm per year,” said Celia Regina de Gouveia Souza, a researcher at the Geologic Institute (IG) of the Sao Paulo State.

Once the researchers had an accurate estimation of rising sea levels and the costs of climate change, they presented their findings to the general public and local government. The people of Santos opted to implement changes to hinder the effects of climate change.

“The measures chosen by the public were quite adequate. We hope the project will continue under the aegis of the local authorities with ongoing popular participation. If so, the worst-case scenario is much less likely to materialize,” said Luci Hidalgo Nunes, a researcher at The University of Campinas

Project Metropolis is an innovative approach to affecting climate change. Not only does it create a dialogue among the public and policymakers, but the research inconclusively presents the costly ramifications that the city and people would face if no changes were adopted.

By Kay Vandette,, Staff Writer

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day