And You Thought Ending Flood Insurance Subsidies Would Be Difficult? Try Persuading a Politician to Support “Managed Coastal Retreat”

Earlier today, I posted about the political difficulties inherent in reforming flood insurance programs to avoid subsidizing those who choose to live in coastal areas subject to flooding.  When even Democratic legislators supportive of efforts to fight climate change oppose such reforms, you know you are in trouble.

Well, when it rains, it pours, as it were.  Just hours later comes news of the release of a report from the Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law on “Managed Coastal Retreat.”  The title pretty much tells it all.  The report discusses “rolling easements,” which expand to follow the rising tide, and recommends moving infrastructure and homes away from the shore.  It is thus not surprising that the report acknowledges that

The political obstacles to this strategy will be severe in many places.

To which I can only add that I advise my colleague Mike Gerrard to get to work on improving the messaging.  He’s got a tough enough sell on the merits.  I can see my friends in the development community breaking out in hives at some of these suggestions.  To use the word “Retreat” in the title to describe these difficult pills which must be swallowed is not just a little too in your face; it’s positively a death blow.  Retreat is un-American.

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