Franklin

The geography of risk : epic storms, rising seas, and the cost of America's coasts / Gilbert M. Gaul.

Author/Creator:
Gaul, Gilbert M. author.
Publication:
New York : Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019.
Format/Description:
Book
286 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Edition:
First edition.
Status/Location:
Loading...

Get It

Details

Subjects:
Hurricanes -- Economic aspects -- United States.
Hurricane damage -- United States.
Coastal zone management -- United States.
Coastal settlements -- United States.
Coast changes -- United States.
Sea level -- United States.
Shore protection -- United States.
Coast changes.
Coastal settlements.
Coastal zone management.
Hurricane damage.
Hurricanes -- Economic aspects.
Sea level.
Shore protection.
United States.
Summary:
The costliest hurricanes in U.S. history have all occurred in the past two decades--but who bears the financial brunt of these monster storms? It is no accident that five of the most destructive hurricanes in the last hundred years have made landfall since 2005: Katrina ($161 billion), Ike ($40 billion), Sandy ($71 billion), Harvey ($125 billion), and Maria ($90 billion). And with more property than ever in harm's way, the seas rising, and the planet and its oceans warming dangerously, it won't be long before we see a $250 billion storm. Why? Because Americans have built $3 trillion worth of property in some of the riskiest places on earth: barrier islands and coastal floodplains prone to hurricanes and epic floods. And they have been encouraged to do so by what Gilbert M. Gaul reveals in The Geography of Risk to be a confounding array of federal subsidies, tax breaks, low-interest loans, disaster recovery grants, and government flood insurance programs that shift risk at the beach from private investors to public taxpayers, radically distorting common notions of risk and responsibility. Consider: In 1955, taxpayers covered just 5 percent of the cost of rebuilding after hurricanes. They now pay for 70 percent--sometimes more. These federal incentives, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gaul argues, have resulted in one of the worst planning failures in American history, with the cost to taxpayers now reaching unsustainable levels. In prose that is at once deeply informed, clear, and entertaining, Gaul explores the history of the modern coast and how, over time, federal taxpayers far from the shoreline have become responsible for a shocking collection of coastal amenities and infrastructure: new roads, bridges, utilities, and streetlights; tennis courts, marinas, and gazebos; food, cars--even paying billions to widen the beaches of hedge fund owners. The Geography of Risk will forever change the way you think about the coasts, from the clash between economic interests and nature to the heated politics of regulators and developers. -- Dust jacket flap.
It is no accident that five of the most destructive hurricanes in the last hundred years have made landfall since 2005: Americans have built $3 trillion worth of property in some of the riskiest places on earth: barrier islands and coastal floodplains prone to hurricanes and epic floods. And they have been encouraged to do so by what Gaul reveals to be a confounding array of federal subsidies, tax breaks, low-interest loans, disaster recovery grants, and government flood insurance programs that shift risk at the beach from private investors to public taxpayers. -- adapted from jacket
Contents:
Introduction: The Old Man and the Sea
Part I: Building the modern coast
Troubled waters
1. The deal of the century
2. Blue-collar houses
3. Manufacturing dirt
4. Five-high : the Ash Wednesday storm of 1962
Part II: The political economy of water
5. The Bantam mayor
6. A brief shining moment
7. The revolt at St. Francis
8. Tipping point
Part III: Disaster capitalism : catastrophies, subsidies, and bailouts
Acts of God and man
9. Federalizing disasters
10. A flood of trouble
11. The secret history of sand
12. The unluckiest island in America
Part IV: The coming storm : fat tails, rising water, and the nature of risk
13. Building a better hurricane
14. A finger in the dike
15. Drowning fast and slow
16. The problem with the bays
Epilogue: The future is now.
Notes:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 256-271) and index.
ISBN:
9780374160807
0374160805
OCLC:
1082542432
Publisher Number:
99981996251