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Business leaders make billion-dollar case to address climate change across the Tampa Bay area

A recent report details the economic consequences the Bay area faces if it does not adapt to climate change.

TAMPA – A new report from business leaders across the Tampa Bay area highlighted the effect frequent flooding and sea-level rise will have on the area's economy.

The report, titled Making the Economic Case for Resilience in Tampa Bay, was put together by the Tampa Bay Partnership. In short, the study discovered the economic challenges the region will inevitably face if cities do not invest in adaptation or resilience.

If no action is taken by 2070, researchers say, tidal inundation from sea level rise could cost properties to lose $16.9 billion in market value and result in $238 million in annual losses in tourism and property tax revenues. That's not taking into account losses brought on by storm events.

The alternative, the study says, is investing roughly $13.4 billion in climate adaptation projects over the next quarter-century. According to researchers, not only will this protect communities through 2070, but it will also create a $2.27 benefit for every $1 spent on adaptation.

"This report shows that we need to continue building strong and resilient infrastructure, which in return creates safe and healthy neighborhoods," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in a statement, in part.

However, the report says money spent on adaption must be socially equitable. According to researchers, vulnerable populations and disadvantaged communities are often seen as frontline communities — where the impacts of climate change will often be felt first and hardest. The report recommends that any investment into resilience that's made does not negatively impact other communities.

Other recommendations in the report include:

  • Mitigate flood risk through land use and infrastructure planning
  • Increase awareness of climate risk to inform real estate decisions
  • Providing support to small businesses
  • Take local actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions