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  1. Florida

Here’s how much Florida cities may have to spend to blunt the effects of climate change

For some Florida cities, it’s over $1 billion.
A cyclist and vehicles negotiate heavily flooded streets as rain falls in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Published Jun. 21

This week, a new report confirmed a claim we may have suspected but hoped wasn’t true: Florida will have to spend more than any other state to manage the effects of sea level rise.

In fact, by 2040, climate change may cost the state as much as $76 billion, according to a new report from Resilient Analytics and the Center for Climate Integrity.

In Tampa Bay, the effects are just as grim. Both Tampa and St. Petersburg ranked within the top 15 costliest U.S. cities for seawall construction. Tampa’s seawalls could cost as much as $938.4 million.

How will cities foot the exorbitant bill?

The center has a proposed solution: Ask oil and gas companies to pay for some of the costs. After all, says Center for Climate Integrity executive director, Richard Wiles, governments will simply not have the funds.

“The federal government is not going to have the money to pay for all of this,” Wiles said. “So if polluters aren’t part of the equation, then a lot of people and a lot of communities are going to get left behind unnecessarily.”

The report also calculates the cost per person to build protective seawalls. In towns with smaller populations, like North Key Largo and St. George Island, that cost came out to almost $1 million per person.

Wiley admits that residents will not be taking on those costs themselves, but the data point shows the gravity of the circumstances, he said.

“Those are the high risk places," he said. “There are a lot of smaller towns and real communities that require an enormous amount of defensive barriers to stay above sea level.”

So where do the top Florida cities stack up? We broke down their total costs and how that cost is spread over the area’s population.

1. Jacksonville

A surfer catches a large wave at the Poles, Saturday Oct. 27, 2012 in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Bob Mack)

Total cost for seawall construction: $3.5 billion

Cost per resident: $3,990

Total miles of seawall needed: 632

2. Marathon

Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon. (Kevin Spear/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Total cost: $1.5 billion

Cost per resident: $172,260

Total miles of seawall needed: 80

3. Tampa

Traffic crosses the hump on the eastbound Howard Frankland Bridge on the left side of the image. Times (2018)

Total cost: $938.4 million

Cost per resident: $2,549

Total miles of seawall needed: 64

4. North Key Largo

A kayaker paddles around the cloudy green-blue waters of Blackwater Sound in Key Largo. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Total cost: $826.4 million

Cost per capita: $819,004

Total miles of seawall needed: 55

5. Islamorada

The Rain Barrel Artisans Village in Islamorada is made of several shops that display and sell local artists' creations. Times (2007)

Total cost: $811.3 million

Cost per capita: $125,044

Total miles of seawall needed: 37

6. St. Petersburg

The view from an upper floor of a Parkshore Plaza, 300 Beach Drive NE condo in the direction of where the new 18 story Bliss condo tower will rise. Times (2014)

Total cost: $751.4 million

Cost per capita: $2,935

Total miles of seawall needed: 63

7. St. George Island

The east end of St. George Island is occupied by the 1,926-acre Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park. In 2011, its beaches were ranked number 6 in the nation by Dr. Beach. Photo from Florida State Parks

Total cost: $674.6 million

Cost per capita: $911,674

Total miles of seawall needed: 28

8. Apollo Beach

Times (2012)

Total cost: $456.6 million

Cost per capita: $25,467

Total miles of seawall needed: 35

9. Cape Coral

In 1958, Cape Coral, Fla., consisted of just four homes. Today, Cape Coral is the largest city on the Gulf coast south of St. Petersburg. (Shutterstock)

Total cost: $431.4 million

Cost per capita: $2,484

Total miles of seawall needed: 81

10. Coral Gables

Lightning is seen over Biscayne Bay in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Total cost: $429.8 million

Cost per capita: $8,442

Total miles of seawall needed: 29

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