Climate change repercussions have been mostly talked about within the frame of cultural implications and a common man, hardly, conceives a possibility of a fiscal debacle which may be triggered due to ongoing and spiralling climate crisis. Thanks to the unfettered increase in the global emission of greenhouse gases, the sea level, all across the globe, has been rising in the current century. With the voices of environmentalists and climatologists getting louder day by day, against the growing threat, stakeholders –whether common men or gigantic corporates– have started to question whether their financial investments in the real estate sector would hold the same value in the future or is it at risk of diminishing value.
Environmental reports are being published warning the house owners and investors to stay aware of their investments in the coastal towns. While a condo tower overlooking an ocean may conjure up images of luxury, comfort and richness, ignoring the obvious rising sea-levels would be foolish. Scientists have been saying that the climate change crisis, once estimated to not touch us in our lifetime, could come a lot earlier than we think; it’s more rapid and we are approaching it soon. Some consequences of climate change are expected to appear within the next thirty years. Imagine a scenario when these coastal properties face severe flooding and damages, back to back, and home-owners, investors find their prices sinking like a rock in the sea. There would be defaults on loans, huge ones and, an obvious and logical fiscal chaos would ensue.
The question is whether government or real estate developers would promote awareness of the looming threat over coastal real estate properties? Wouldn’t doing so would create a toll on the existing real estate prices? Wouldn’t it trigger a state of panic among the buyers, the financial institutions and the real estate developers? The answer is clear, and it’s not good news. The market, though, doesn’t seem to be prepared to tackle such challenges, which are not far away, and it has been grossly disregarding the effects of climate change on the entire real estate sector. While the awareness of the threat has increased over the years, stakeholders remain slow in acting towards the hedging of their investments, mostly because of the belief that climate crisis is just a political agenda or some fantasy, which may never materialise, at least, in their lifetime.
For a layman, it would not be easy to comprehend when and how the climate change would affect his finances, however, it is the government of a nation and authorities at the helm who need to do their bit to dispel the prevalent confusion and allay the fears of those who are aware of the risks but are helpless. Accurate flood maps of the vulnerable coastal areas need to be made accessible to the public so they may make a judicious decision as far as the investment of their savings is concerned. There has also been a suggestion of raising sea walls along the coastal lines to safeguard the properties from the flooding but the experts disagree with the idea as it would be prohibitively expensive and not much effective. While such concerns may sound like the voice of an alarmist, it is a fact that communities which have been better prepared for the future calamities have been found to survive and thrive, in the past; and now it’s time for us to be better prepared.