Top Reports: New Jersey Is More Vulnerable than Most States to Climate Change

One scientific report says it’s up to us whether we respond to this threat ‘by implementing science-based, coordinated, and equitable solutions — or walk, eyes open, toward a crisis’

top report 2018
In this series, we’re highlighting important reports of relevance to the state’s problems and future for you to read while we at NJ Spotlight are on our annual winter break.

As a coastal state with an extensive shoreline, few places are more vulnerable to climate change than New Jersey.

The state is a hot spot for sea-level rise, with waters along New Jersey’s coast rising faster than the global average due to a warming planet and a sinking land base. By some scientific estimates, sea levels will rise 10 inches by 2030 — doubling the chance of losses due to extreme flooding — and up to 1.5 feet by 2050.

That spells bad news for hundreds of thousands of homes and structures across the nation, but more so for Florida and New Jersey, according to a study released this past summer by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The study pointed out that in the next three decades, tidal flooding will shrink property-tax bases and threaten homes and businesses with chronic flooding.

The risks posed by sea-level rise and climate change, likely to lead to an increase in extreme storm events such as superstorm Sandy, often are not reflected in current market values for real estate in coastal communities, the report noted.

By the end of the century, the total number of residential properties at risk in the Garden State will jump to 251,000, second in the nation behind only Florida. Commercial properties in New Jersey will fare even worse, according to the study, with even more of those structures at risk than anywhere else in the nation.

Follow this link for the Union of Concerned Scientists study.

Follow this link for more Top Reports: Winter 2018.