Moving the problem down the beach

Sandbags on beach after Hurricane Sandy, in 2012

Sandbags on beach after Hurricane Sandy, in 2012

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

’“Climate change poses risks to real estate that homebuyers may not be able to predict. As sea level rises, coastal properties, for example, may be subject to increased flooding and intensifying storm surges. First-time homebuyers often lack the expertise to evaluate these new risks, and thus tend to underestimate them and overpay for increasingly exposed properties.’’

— Matthew E. Kahn, professor of economics and business and the director of the 21st Century Cities Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, and Amine Ouazad, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Economics at HEC Montreal, in a Bloomberg column. To read it, please hit this link:


The Cape Cod Times reports that for mysterious reasons, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has overruled the National Park Service and the Town of Wellfleet’s Conservation Commission and is allowing a 241-foot rock revetment to be built to protect (for a while….) a McMansion owned by James Hoeland (of Newtown, Pa., and Vero Beach, Fla.) from sliding into the sea from its current position on top of a rapidly eroding bluff. (Remember that Cape Cod is but a giant glacial moraine, which is washing away at ever faster rates because of sea-level rise linked to global warming caused by our burning fossil fuel. 

The property is within the Cape Cod National Seashore. 

The revetment will worsen erosion down the beach. And one huge storm may make it far less effective than Mr. Hoeland hopes. As coastal flooding and erosion worsen, especially along sand, gravel and boulder heaps such as on the Cape, we’ll see more demands from rich summer property owners that such rock structures be built but they won't be effective for long and will hurt the property of neighbors.

To read the story, please hit this link.