Top 20 Cities with Billions at Risk from Climate Change

By Eric Roston - 2012-07-06T03:32:54Z

Photograph by Karen Kasmauski/National Geographic Stock

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#19 Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.

<strong>2005 assets at risk:</strong> $84.6 billion
<strong>2070 est. assets at risk</strong>: $581.7 billion
<strong>2005 population at risk:</strong> 407,000
<strong>2070 est. population at risk: </strong>794,000

A <a href="">600-mile "hotspot"</a> along the U.S. Atlantic coast, from Boston to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, is experiencing sea-level rise at a rate three to four times greater than the global average, according to a study last month in the journal, <em>Nature Climate Change</em>.

Risks to Virginia Beach and the southeast Atlantic coast are detailed in the 2009 government report <a href=""><em>Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States</em></a>: "The intensity of Atlantic hurricanes is likely to increase during this century with higher peak wind speeds, rainfall intensity, and storm surge height and strength. Even with no increase in hurricane intensity, coastal inundation and shoreline retreat would increase as sea-level rise accelerates, which is one of the most certain and most costly consequences of a warming climate."

Virginia Beach is just 25 miles from North Carolina, where legislators in June banned state agencies from making any coastal plans or laws based on established scientific sea-level rise measurement until the state's own study is completed in three or four years.

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