New Research Initiative:  The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative Economic Vulnerability Study

San Diego residents have spectacular natural resources and beauty that surrounds them. The Port of San Diego is ranked among America's top 30 U.S. container ship ports, bringing in nearly 3,000,000 metric tons of cargo per year.  Tourism, trade, and travel are major economic drivers for the area, however, the region is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative was founded in 2012 with a mission to prepare for climate change events like increased flooding and sea level rise.  The Center for the Blue Economy will partner with the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative to create an Economic Vulnerability Study for the region.  The partnership came about under the leadership of Ms. Laura Engeman, Manager at the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative and graduate of Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Using sea level rise and storm scenarios that are estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Coastal Storms Modeling Systems (COSMOS), the Center for the Blue Economy will estimate the economic impacts of flooding for three COSMOS scenarios for two time periods: 2015 and 2050.   The scenarios analyzed will focus on: a) reductions in employment, output, and income that directly and indirectly result from a single major flooding event, and b)  an assessment of how the economy may evolve over time given repetitive flooding.  

This approach to assessing the possible effects of sea level rise represents two important innovations in understanding climate change.  Most studies to date have focused on possible flood damages to individual properties.  The Center for the Blue Economy approach looks at the entire regional economy.  Other studies compare today’s economy with sea level rise risks decades in the future.  The San Diego project will combine forecasts of the regional economy with the estimates of future flood risks.

The 31 coastal states generate 83.7% of 15 trillion dollar U.S. national Gross Domestic Product (GDP)*.   In the absence of federal leadership to prepare our coastal states and counties for the impacts of sea level rise, increased storm severity and increased flooding events, it falls to state and local governments to plan, prepare and protect citizens and resources. 

The Center for the Blue Economy is pleased to be working with the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative to prepare this timely Economic Vulnerability Study for the San Diego region.  The study begins in March 2017, with a final report due by November 2017.


*Source:  The CBE's National Ocean Economics Program report "The State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal Economies-2016 Update."

Photo credit:  Pixabay public domain photos, shows San Diego downtown, photographer Binh Du.

Learn More:  Other Climate Change Adaptation Initiatives from the Center for the Blue Economy

“Economic Impacts of Climate Adaptation Strategies for Southern Monterey Bay”

“Measurements of Risk and Uncertainty”

"Climate Adaptation:  A planning guide for New England states, an example for all states"

The Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics:  Volume 3, Issue 2—The Economics of Coastal Climate Change Adaptation

“Methods of Incorporating Ecosystem Service Values in Disaster Finance Instruments”

Coastal Marketplace: Innovative Research for Market-Based Coastal Development

New Economics of Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Forum