Building a Resilient Energy Gulf Coast: Executive Report

Building a Resilient Energy Gulf Coast represents the first comprehensive analysis of climate risks and adaptation economics along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Entergy Corp., America’s third-largest utility company, commissioned this study looking at the potential damage to residential and commercial properties, infrastructure and assets across key energy sectors.  According to the report, over the next 20 years, the Gulf Coast could face cumulative economic damages of some $350 billion.

The study follows the insurance industry's natural catastrophe model approach, which is directly applicable to future climate-sensitive risks. To quantify expected losses for different climate scenarios, three assessment types were used including: a hazard assessment considering hurricanes, subsidence and sea level rise; an economic assessment of the value at risk from climate change; and a vulnerability assessment showing the correlation between hurricane severity and asset loss.

The findings of the Gulf Coast study show that economic losses in the region could rise by 50 to 65 percent to an annual average of $23 billion by 2030. While half of this increase is driven entirely by asset growth and subsidence, climate change could exacerbate the risks. Also, under this scenario, critical loss years such as 2005 - when hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast - are more than twice as likely to occur in 2030 as today.

According to the study, a number of economically viable adaptation measures are available to avoid a large part of the damage. The report asserts that adaptation planning can address the increase in annual loss between today and 2030, and keep the level of risk at a constant across the region.

This study was supported and sponsored by America’s Energy Coast, America’s Wetlands Foundation, and the Entergy Corporation.

Publication Date: 2010

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