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Is California going to make a managed climate retreat?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2022 | Commercial Real Estate |

The concept of a “managed retreat” is accepting that you can’t win, and all that’s left is to limit the damage. In a climate-change sense, this can mean moving away from high-risk, coastal areas or other climate change susceptible regions. However, many find this option objectionable, and any strategy linked to it may find stiff opposition.

Unfortunate wording or something more?

Many objections to a managed retreat in climate change revolve around how it sounds to those subjected to it. “Retreat” is an admission of defeat. And it does not matter if you are a homeowner or a property developer; defeat is something you want to avoid. However, the opposition isn’t only because of how it sounds. There is one unavoidable fact…

Retreat is costly

The dangers of unchecked climate change put almost everything property-related in jeopardy. It may become necessary soon to consider such options as:

  • Moving businesses
  • Moving residences
  • Rerouting roads
  • Rebuilding towns

In some parts of California, these options are nearly a reality.

These options, vital though they may be, will cost everyone a great deal of money. While there is a strong likelihood of government investment to mitigate some costs, everyone will face significant hurdles.

A retreat is not necessarily guaranteed.

There are still actions that people and businesses can take to mitigate the future where a retreat from the beautiful coastline is a necessity. In fact, mitigation efforts are the intention behind much of California’s building code.

Still, we do not yet know what tomorrow holds, and if there is a retreat, a well-positioned developer can find a significant opportunity.