the business case for adaptation


Susan Askew
Susan Askew

the business case for adaptation:

panel recommends study to determine risks, benefits of resiliency efforts

The Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Sea Level Rise is recommending an economic analysis to value Miami Beach's resiliency efforts. The analysis would quantify the risk in dollar terms of doing nothing, the results of a hypothetical adaptation including the impact on insurance and mortgage rates, and the return on investment over a 30-year period.
Assistant City Manager and Chief Resiliency Officer Susanne Torriente told both the Sea Level Rise Panel and the Commission's Sustainability and Resiliency Committee this week that the analysis would provide “expert commentary on the different questions of what would be the impact on tax revenues, city debt, flood insurance, housing, mortgage cycles, the broader real estate questions” of doing nothing and with adaptation.
She also said the modeling will help inform the decision process on what types of resiliency efforts might be the best investments. “Right now we’re raising roads and installing pumps,” she said. “But maybe there’s something else we can consider in the future. This model will help us study that.”
Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez said, “When we do this risk modeling, when we figure out what we did in Sunset Harbour, we can say to ourselves ‘This was worth it or maybe we shouldn’t have done anything at all, we should have let it flood.’ I think we’re going to get some answers that are going to be scary but I think it’s going to be a realistic guide map of what we need to do moving forward.”
“We need to know where to raise [roads],” she said. “Look, we want to be optimistic and say that everything can be saved but we’re not going to know that until we get this really complicated risk management analysis. And it’s very scary. They might say to us, ‘You know what? In this area you’re going to have to allow flooding and put in mangroves' and it’s kind of frightening but it’s the responsible thing to do especially given the amount of money that we’re about to spend.”
The original proposal from Torriente and her team was to study Sunset Harbour as a commercial area that is almost complete and one residential street that has not yet been done. The Sustainability Committee recommended expanding the analysis to also include a multi-family residential area.
Commissioner Ricky Arriola agreed a business case is necessary. “I think it’s the responsible thing to do as we go out into the community and say we’re going to spend $400 million of your dollars,” he said. “We need to make a business case and it should be from an independent reputable firm.”
Torriente said, “From what I’ve gathered, this tool will help you as decision makers understand how to invest and how much over time, which, again, is that return on investment.”
The Sustainability and Resiliency Committee voted to send the recommendation on to the Commission.

economic growth and the environment


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
republican congressmen tie the two together to find solutions