Growing Returns

Selected tag(s): resilience

Five reasons why mandatory flood disclosure in Florida would be a big win for realtors

By: Rachel Rhode, Manager, Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds and Eve Cooke, Fellow, Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds

Buying a home is often one of the biggest financial decisions individuals and families will ever make. More than one-third of Florida properties are at risk of severe flooding in the next 30 years, and despite these risks, Florida does not require flood-related disclosures to prospective homebuyers. Across the U.S., 32 states have enacted flood disclosure laws, requiring a seller to share a property’s flood risks or past flood damages during real estate transactions. Florida residents deserve transparency through flood disclosure, and realtors would benefit by keeping up with this growing industry standard.   

Knowing one’s risk is essential in ensuring effective preparedness and response. The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates just one inch of flooding in a typical 2,500 sq. ft., one-story home can cause more than $25,000 in damages. It is widely misunderstood by more than one-third of homeowners that flood damage is typically not included in standard homeowners or rental insurance policies. 

Legislators and realtors are stepping up to address this gap in Florida’s flood policies. In the 2024 Florida Legislative Session, there has been bipartisan support for a new policy on flood disclosure. The Florida Realtor Association is amongst the stakeholders supporting this initiative. 

Knowledge is power.  Below are the top five reasons why mandatory flood disclosures are a win for realtors and residents. 

Credit: Chase Guttman

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Sharing innovative solutions to build climate resilience in Cuban coastal communities

The sun beats hot past colonial facades and newly minted hotels in Old Havana, onto the children playing soccer across Paseo del Prado. High tides splash over the tidal wall and the taxi driver notes, over the noise of the street, that dark storm clouds line the horizon and are threatening heavy rains. Like other coastal and island regions, communities in Cuba are experiencing the disproportionate effects of climate change.   

Since 2016, Environmental Defense Fund, the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation for Nature and Humankind and the Caribbean Agroecology Institute have partnered with local communities and organizations from Cuba as a part of the Research Initiative for the Sustainable Development of Cuba (RISDoC). RISDoC is a coalition of academics, civil society associations and representatives from international agencies who have come together to exchange innovative strategies and share lessons learned to prepare for climate impacts and spur sustainable economic growth. In addition to bringing together a range of Cuban community members, government officials and researchers, RISDoC connects experts from other regions with Cuba. This includes partners in Puerto Rico and Louisiana, regions that are experiencing more frequent and severe storms due to climate change and are working to build resilience.  

Thanks to this important initiative, RISDoC participants are building a more resilient future in Cuba. Check out a few of their key priorities: 

Photo credit: Noel López

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Climate-driven floods could displace millions of Americans. Local buyout programs could help them relocate.

By Kelly Varian, Master of Public Affairs Student at UC Berkeley

Flooding is the most frequent and costly natural disaster in the United States, causing over $30 billion in damage annually, with disproportionate effects on low-income communities. With climate change exacerbating flood risk and population growth continuing in high-risk areas, over 40 million Americans living along rivers and inland floodplains, along with 13 million more on the coasts, could see their homes inundated with water by the end of the century. 

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New report: Investing in Arizona’s water future

This blog is co-authored by Rachel O’Connor, Manager, Climate Resilient Water Systems.

As Arizona’s water crisis worsens due to extreme drought and overuse, more attention than ever is being directed toward addressing this critical issue. At the federal level, an influx of funding has become available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. And at the state level, the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) has just begun accepting proposals for its first allocation of $200M for water conservation projects

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Prioritizing communities and nature in the nation’s largest Army Corps project in New York-New Jersey Harbor

A plan for the largest transformation of New York City’s and northern New Jersey’s waterfront since the Robert Moses era has been proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). It’s called the New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Study and it was introduced to the public to address flooding and storms like Hurricane Sandy. At stake is the future of more than 84 miles of waterfront and waterways in the metropolitan region and an area that supports 16 million people.  

New York City

New York and New Jersey residents must determine if this $52 billion dollar plan aligns with the future they want. Addressing flood risks is a step in the right direction, but as it stands today, the current proposal does not reflect the priorities of many communities and environmental organizations. With the impacts of climate change already in motion, we simply cannot afford to get this wrong.  Read More »

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Five recommendations for integrating equity into benefit-cost analysis for flood risk management

When making any decision, we often find ourselves weighing the pros and cons of an action – the benefits versus the cost. The official practice, referred to as “benefit-cost analysis,” is not only used by individuals and businesses, but also by the federal government when determining funding for a program or initiative. In simple terms, when the benefits exceed the cost of an investment, federal funding may be made available.

flooding

But oftentimes benefit-cost analysis doesn’t look at the full picture, neglecting to consider who benefits from an investment and who bears the brunt of its cost. This is true when examining the nation’s flood risk management strategy. Historically, the annual loss from flood damage disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color, leaving those with fewer resources less protected.

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A new way of partnering with the Corps leads to innovative wetland mitigation solutions and increased flood resilience.

Today marks the release of the Record of Decision (ROD) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on a restoration project known as the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp (or Maurepas Diversion) that will serve as mitigation for the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain hurricane risk reduction levee project (WSLP). Read More »

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My perspectives on how we can inspire the next generation of Black climate leaders.

By Arianna Mackey, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Summer 2022 Intern

I became aware of my community’s lack of environmental awareness at a very young age. Growing up in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, my family and I visited the Nauticus museum often. One afternoon, after spending time in the flooding exhibit, I explained to my mom that due to increased flooding, Virginia Beach would be inhabitable in the future, with standing water reaching the front door following a storm. She brushed me off by saying it was an “over-exaggeration” and our community was fine. That encounter piqued my interest in environmentalism. Read More »

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4 ways North Carolina’s Legislature can build lasting flood resilience

As North Carolina continues to recover from a string of flooding and storm disasters, legislative leaders have recognized the opportunity for the state to not just recover from recent storms but to rebuild better before the next disaster.

This week, Environmental Defense Fund released a white paper [PDF] recommending four specific policy actions that would better protect residents and businesses from more severe flooding, create jobs and increase climate resilience.   

These four policies will also help the state better compete for federal funding, build capacity within communities and equitably align solutions for those who are disproportionately impacted by disasters.   Read More »

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Farmers and environmentalists team up to push Congress to act on climate

Agricultural and environmental advocates have joined forces to push Congress to act on climate change. The new Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance developed more than 40 joint policy recommendations for making farms, ranches and forests more climate resilient, harnessing the power of natural climate solutions.

Environmental Defense Fund, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and National Farmers Union co-chair the alliance, and membership has expanded to include FMI-The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy. Read More »

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