Yet More on the Adaptation Front: Where You Stand Depends on Whether Your Property Is Underwater

A story in E&E Daily on October 30 highlighted the difficult choices – including political choices – that are going to have to be faced in the process of adapting to climate change.  The story noted that a number of Democratic members of Congress who have supported efforts to address climate change are now opposing efforts to reform the National Flood Insurance Program so that it does not encourage people to locate in areas subject to flooding.

E&E Daily quotes Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club trying to call out those Democrats without spiting his face, as it were:

I’ll try to say it nicely. There’s this balance between doing what’s right for sea-level rise and climate change and getting people out of harm’s way, and then dealing with angry constituents who want to rebuild in exactly the same place and the same way and want to get subsidized.

In other words, when good policy conflicts with good politics, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that good politics wins.

I’m with Tittle on this one.  E&E Daily quotes Senator Schumer as saying that

People who have spent a year struggling to rebuild their homes may lose them in a year or two because the flood insurance rates are so high. It is just not fair.

I’d ask the Senator why it is fair to allow these homeowners to pay less for flood insurance than the data say is warranted, given that someone’s got to pay, since the result is that the rest of the nation’s taxpayers are paying a subsidy to those homeowners.

I’d also say that what is sauce for the goose is certainly sauce for the gander.  If Democrats from coastal states oppose reforming flood insurance programs because they want to protect their constituents who own coastal homes, then why should we expect coal state politicians to support climate policies that disadvantage coal?

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