Human brains are not wired to spring into action in response to long-term and slow-moving threats such as rising seas. Even among climate concerns, it ranks pretty low. But the reality of permanent change along the shoreline is starting to slowly sink in. Recent studies indicate that vulnerability to changing tides is starting to be reflected in property markets around the country.
Cities are grappling now with how to build roads, airports and other infrastructure for a very uncertain future. San Francisco’s November ballot includes a $425 million bond measure that is a down payment on fortifying the seawall that prevents much of downtown from slipping into the Bay. How will the seawall project affect people living and working downtown? How will it impact property taxes citywide? How fast and how high will the tides rise? No one knows for sure but every new forecast tends to be faster and higher than scientists predicted just a few years ago.