Researchers predict huge flood costs if no mitigation is undertaken

Published: July 30, 2018



The University of Waterloo has published a study that finds the cost of flooding in the maritime region of Canada could increase by 300% before the end of this century. Researchers warn this will happen unless changes are made to stop climate change.

Among the findings in the study was data showing what happened during recent riverine flooding in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The team at the University of Waterloo includes geographers, political scientists, and economists. They compiled flood data to come up with probability model based on climate change and the financial burden of floods for the re/insurance market.

“Until recently there hasn’t been a lot of work exploring what increased flooding will cost, and who will get stuck with the bill,” Canadian Coastal Resilience Forum (CCRF) coordinator and Waterloo Faculty of Environment Andrea Minano told EurekAlert! Science News.

“The increases in flood losses put into question the long-term insurability in the Halifax area, and highlight a broader problem facing many other areas in Canada if no actions are taken to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” Minano, who co-authored the report, added.

Researchers run two models with differing climate change scenarios and discovered the gap between worst and best-case scenarios is very wide. In fact, if no climate change mitigation is taken during this century there will be a 4 °C rise in global temperatures. For the Halifax area, this could mean $67 million in damage for every significant event.

If some mitigation is taken and the temperature increasing by 2°C, damages would be $10 million for the same event.

“The difference in cost between both climate scenarios shows just how exponentially worse things can get without action,” Minano warned.