Time to start buying up North Dakota real estate.
March 2, 2018 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration Climate change is going to remap our world, changing not just how we live but where we live. As scientist Peter Gleick, co-founder of the Pacific Institute, puts it, "There is a shocking, unreported, fundamental change coming to the habitability of many parts of the planet, including the U.S.A."

In the not-so-distant future, places like Phoenix and Tucson will become so hot that just walking across the street will be a life-threatening event. Parts of the upper Middle West will become a permanent dust bowl. South Florida and low-lying sections of the Gulf Coast will be underwater. Some people may try to stick around and fight it out with Mother Nature, but most will not. "People will do what they have done for thousands of years," says Vivek Shandas, a professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University. "They will migrate to better climates."

Related: An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security.
posted by mecran01 (42 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
And the wealthy, who can afford to adapt, will benefit, while the poor, who will likely be left behind, will suffer. "If we continue on the current path," Hsiang says, "our analysis suggests that climate change may result in the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the country's history."
And finally we see the GOP's endgame.
posted by Mayor West at 11:15 AM on March 2 [24 favorites]


Report date: Oct 2003

That’s sobering.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:16 AM on March 2 [18 favorites]


An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security.

I'm trying to make it the new Rickroll...

And I note that DoD report doesn't exactly support the idea of the Pacific Northwest becoming a new paradise...
posted by Naberius at 11:19 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


A few years ago, a friend got panicky over climate change and asked, "what can we do to make people notice? What will it take to get people to make changes?"

And I said, "there will be no large-scale changes in anything in the US until thousands, maybe millions, die in third-world countries."

Because we have enough money to ignore the vague and distant "climate change" and pay a bit more for wheat, a bit more for beef, a bit more for water, a bit more for out-of-season fruit - and then stop having some kinds of out-of-season fruit, and mostly switch from beef to chicken because the cost is too high, and mutter about the cost of bread and eat fewer sandwiches, until we're long past "what should we do mitigate this" and well into "is there a way to make sure the human species survives this?"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:23 AM on March 2 [9 favorites]


Tangent regarding your headline: the time to buy North Dakota real estate was before Bakken Formation became a big thing. They're in a crazy boom right now.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:38 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


From the Altantic Life Timeline in the next post down:

By the time you turn 66 (2030), humanity's water requirements will exceed its supplies by 40 percent.

In May 2012, Stewart M. Patrick wrote about the Intelligence Community's report on global water scarcity, and the plan to combat it.


That's a lot of thirsty people looking for water, or a place that still has water.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:50 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


By the time you turn 66 (2030), humanity's water requirements will exceed its supplies by 40 percent.

That's ridiculous. When water requirements exceed supplies by .05%, the population quickly reduces itself to match the available amount of water. Like, within days.

Unless by "requirements," they mean not only "required to live," but "required to keep rich white people at the comfort level to which they have become accustomed," in which case the claim is much more plausible.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:57 AM on March 2 [18 favorites]


I’m starting to wonder whether I want to know more about climate change or not. I enjoy learning and science, but learning more about this situation makes me sad and improves nothing.

Being up on the subject seemed to have some kind of purpose a few years ago, but now it just feels like tilting at windmills. Why ruminate on doom? Why attempt to be persuasive? The deciding part of the world has decided to ride this one out, come Hell or high water.

So — at least from an emotional management point of view — climate change is starting to feel like none of my business.

Is that feeling grace? I’m not sure that it is. Can there be a dark grace? A goth grace?

I know that’s terrible, right? A privilege to disengage, because my house isn’t underwater or on fire? I support environmental initiatives on all the levels, personal to international, but between you, me and Jor-El significant mitigation seems out of reach.

If anyone cares to change my mind it’s changeable. I think I’m suffering from climate disruption exhaustion. I overcared for years, and now I’m kind of fuzzing out on wanting to think about it and being sad over the horrifying human consequences ongoing and to come.

Shit. When’s the next Marvel movie coming out?
posted by Construction Concern at 12:04 PM on March 2 [31 favorites]


Construction Concern: Climate change is a global problem. No individual, even the ridiculously rich, can solve it on their own.

The best you can do is work at an individual scale. Try to get yourself to carbon neutrality. Try to raise your children to be compassionate and to have the skills necessary to survive in a disrupted world. Try to organize at a local level for environmental protections and renewable energy investment. Try to shame friends and family members who have the privilege of not caring.

You can only do a little to combat this problem, but if you do the little you can, it's not your fault.
posted by ragtag at 12:10 PM on March 2 [6 favorites]


Previously (lots of people commenting about moving because of climate change)

I also feel totally hopeless about this. I'm glad the article mentioned gentrification, because it's happening everywhere, and it's only going to get that much worse as more people migrate. Cities like Asheville are already becoming prohibitively expensive, but there's fewer jobs in the less expensive cities.

What will happen to local economies as migration picks up? I want to hope that some cities will gain more jobs as more people move there, but it seems like the first wave of migrants is going to be all the rich yuppies who can afford to move, and all the jobs will benefit them. What will be left for the working-class people?
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:20 PM on March 2


Surely, if our leaders’ policies (or lack thereof) negatively affect enough people they will rise up as one and demand action.

:(
posted by sjswitzer at 12:21 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo ... many scenarios show them staying stable and warm-temperate. In any case, it will take a lot warming to dry up the Great Lakes. The the now chuckle-worthy North Shore of the US could start lookin' mighty attractive, mighty soon.
posted by Modest House at 12:22 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


The deciding part of the world has decided to ride this one out, come Hell or high water.

Why choose? It will be both.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:29 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo ... many scenarios show them staying stable and warm-temperate. In any case, it will take a lot warming to dry up the Great Lakes. The now chuckle-worthy North Shore of the US could start lookin' mighty attractive, mighty soon.

Yep, Chicago, too. Not only do the Great Lakes provide tons of fresh water, but they act as temperature moderators, giving off heat when the air gets colder and cooling when the air gets warmer. There's also no worry about rising sea levels.

Fun fact. Did you know that the Great Lakes provide over 4,500 miles of shoreline in the United States? That's twice as much as the Atlantic shoreline and four times as much as the Pacific shoreline.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:31 PM on March 2 [9 favorites]


I was at a party and asked a friend, who has a PhD in climatology, how fucked we are and she said something like 'we are not fucked. As always, it's the poor people of the world who will suffer.'
posted by signal at 12:33 PM on March 2 [13 favorites]


That chart is so silly. The 'winners' and 'losers' will gain 200k and lose 500k respectively by 2080? For context Houston (the city, not the metro) has gained almost 500k in population in the past 20 years. The metro has gained close to 2 million people.

New Orleans (one of the losers) only has a metro population of 391k, centered with dominating metros like Tulsa Oklahoma and Omaha Nebraska, and only has a metro population of 1.2 million. The people already left.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:39 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


My larger point being that the migrations listed are not particularly dramatic, and such moves can happen over much shorter periods of time.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:41 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


The people already left.

Are those towns now complete ghost towns? No -- there are still thousands of people in these cities, and when there's a mass exodus, it's the poor who get left behind. Renters may be a bit more mobile in terms of not being tied to housing that is decreasing in value as sea levels rise and extreme weather events become the norm, but if they're tied to a local job, or have limited or no funds to get up and move, they're still stuck.

And then there are people who own homes - get out now while the market hasn't completely tanked, if you can. Otherwise, your property capital could shrink to the point of being useless.

Of course, the government could do something amazing 1) pin market values soon, and then 2) buy "endangered properties" at that "fixed market value" (to avoid a rush of speculators who buy properties to cash in on a government buy-out), turning those lands back into vibrant wetlands that can buffer inland properties from incoming hurricane storm surges.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:50 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Related: there is a current "wtf is this weather: UK / Europe / North Pole edition" thread over here.
posted by Wordshore at 12:53 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


I note that DoD report doesn't exactly support the idea of the Pacific Northwest becoming a new paradise...

"Paradise" may be relative. I have a suspicion that the region's population will grow like crazy, at least for a while.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:58 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


"Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo ... many scenarios show them staying stable and warm-temperate. In any case, it will take a lot warming to dry up the Great Lakes. The the now chuckle-worthy North Shore of the US could start lookin' mighty attractive, mighty soon."

Gregg Easterbrook (:-/) wrote a cover story for the Atlantic a few years ago about this:
My hometown of Buffalo, New York, for example, is today so déclassé that some of its stately Beaux-Arts homes, built during the Gilded Age and overlooking a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, sell for about the price of one-bedroom condos in Boston or San Francisco. If a warming world makes the area less cold and snowy, Buffalo might become one of the country’s desirable addresses.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:59 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


I'm just glad the Rock-n-roll Hall of Fame will be safe for posterity.

Seriously, though... do we really have to see this turned into another "no one could have predicted" shtick? It's not unreported. That this is coming has been very clear for, I don't know... a decade? It's just ignored by mainstream journalists and unheeded by most politicians and the masses.
posted by mondo dentro at 1:19 PM on March 2


I want a map that shows, based on a high-quality analysis, not just sealevel height or something, the best places to live now in preparation for the next X years of climate change.
posted by rebent at 1:22 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


the time to buy North Dakota real estate was before Bakken Formation became a big thing. They're in a crazy boom right now.

Only in the area around Williston. The state is huge. Home values in Bismarck/Mandan, which is the most populated area, are low and have been stagnant. The boom in Williston is probably temporary while housing supply increases. There certainly isn't a shortage of buildable space.


Time to start buying up North Dakota real estate.


As investment advice, this is pretty bad. Maybe that's not how it was meant, but that is how it's phrased. Even if real estate values double in 20 years because of climate change, which is extremely unlikely, that's a 3.5% annualized ROI.

The GDP increases attributable to climate change that are shown in the FPP article's map are totally unimpressive. 10% by 2080? Really, who even cares. Changes in technology and political climate could easily offset all of this.
posted by andrewpcone at 1:22 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Well, I said this before and I will say it now. You are a nincompoop if you stick to your coastal location. The point is not the ROI, but whether you will live (with fresh water supply nearby) or whether you will not live. How do you express that in ROI?
posted by Laotic at 1:35 PM on March 2


I am sitting thirty-some odd miles from the gaseous pit that is Williston ND. The boom cooled off about three years ago but housing prices are taking their time coming down. There are lots of empty apartments and a few motels have gone belly up. If oil spikes up to $70-80 per barrel, it will be a boom that requires far less labor because the tech has changed and the pipelines have been laid.

The eastern part of the state is still quite cheap, especially the small towns. Fargo, with its own Microsoft campus, is buzzing but it ain't Silicon Valley by any means. I bet you could pick up a decent house or even a hobby farm for a price that would make some weep with envy.

But here's your caveat. The state is run by craven old white men who fear progress, marijuana (MM was passed by initiative in 2016 - we won't see a dispensary open until 2019), and brown people. If you are from an oil company they will elbow each other for the opportunity to lick your boots clean. We could use some progressives to throw these charlatans out but it would take a few hundred thousand to turn the tide.

Now I know some good ol' boys from the South who claim they'll take our winters over summer in Texas or Arkansas. But this is the weather warning on my PC right now: ...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING...WHAT...HEAVY SNOW POSSIBLE. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 7 TO 14 INCHES POSSIBLE. * WHERE...ALL OF WESTERN AND MOST OF CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA. * WHEN...FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO IMPOSSIBLE. WINDS GUSTING AS HIGH AS 40 MPH COULD RESULT IN NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW, SLEET OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
posted by Ber at 1:41 PM on March 2 [11 favorites]


Well, I said this before and I will say it now. You are a nincompoop if you stick to your coastal location.

Topography isn't so simple. If we're talking strictly sea level rise, some coastal locations are far better than others. Someone 50 miles inland in Louisiana or Florida is going to have a harder time than someone a quarter mile inland on much of the west coast.

All of Bangladesh is screwed, most of Los Angeles is fine.
posted by tclark at 2:07 PM on March 2 [8 favorites]


I work in an office above the stores in the South parallel of Quincy Market in Fanueil Hall in Boston.

The ocean literally lapped in my doorstep today. This is relevant to my interests.
posted by ocschwar at 2:14 PM on March 2 [6 favorites]


Climate scientist Kate Marvel says she feels grief rather than having any optimism, and We Need Courage, Not Hope, to Face Climate Change...
posted by PhineasGage at 3:04 PM on March 2 [9 favorites]


So — at least from an emotional management point of view — climate change is starting to feel like none of my business.

Is that feeling grace? I'm not sure that it is. Can there be a dark grace? A goth grace?


I haven't looked at this for a while now, but The Dark Mountain Project may be of interest.
posted by maupuia at 3:18 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Some of these comments are thinking pretty short term. The oceans have risen 400+ feet since the last ice age. Worst case, they still have (one number I've seen) on the order of 120 feet of rise left to go.

Work that into your calculations and very few coastal locations in the world are tenable. Those that survive the rush inward, that is. After that, things will get pretty damned quiet for a long, long time.

Nature doesn't play around.
posted by Twang at 3:21 PM on March 2


What will happen to local economies as migration picks up?

Genocide on an unimaginable scale.

Oh, sorry, I think I misread that, you're asking about migration internal to the US. Hard to say, but we'll figure out some way to muddle through, there will probably be plenty of new manufacturing jobs at the military drone factories.
posted by indubitable at 3:35 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Surely, if our leaders’ policies (or lack thereof) negatively affect enough people they will rise up as one and demand action.

:(


Regarding the US, I'm taking hope in the West Virginia wildcat strike, the recent protest action on gun control, the surprisingly robust antifascist movement. The younger generations are discovering they have political power. We are facing an era of severe disruptions that will require lots of political mobilization, but I don't think it's hopeless. But I do expect to see increasing conflict for international climate-caused migration, particularly in the Mediterranean. We're already seeing horrors there.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:51 PM on March 2 [5 favorites]


The younger generations are discovering they have political power.

Well, no, but they're discovering they have media access, which can bring political power. But don't mix them up: no amount of protests will get the EPA to actually enforce its existing laws, much less establish new ones that have some chance of protecting those kids' future.

I am hopeful about the recent waves of activism across several disparate arenas; at the same time, I'm worried that it's too late to cause the changes we need to survive.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:07 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Related: An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security

Is the current administration aware that this report can still be downloaded from a government webpage?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:44 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


I dunno, but I've now added the report and intro page to the Wayback Machine.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:06 PM on March 2 [10 favorites]


Canada needs to build a wall along its southern border... I bet Mexico would kick in some cash towards that.
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:41 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


I am hopeful about the recent waves of activism across several disparate arenas; at the same time, I'm worried that it's too late to cause the changes we need to survive.

It depends on what the changes are, right? I think by now it's pointless to hope the EPA will enforce regulations for the sake of stopping sea level rise; by all indications, we're 10 or 20 years too late for that. But we can still advocate for clean air and clean water, because people still need both. We can do what we can to aid human migration and minimize the human costs: that means practical stuff like making sure housing remains affordable (just look at how expensive Asheville has already gotten, for example). The great thing is that a lot of the stuff that will help the generation of climate migrants is already stuff that will help the global poor.

I mean, I don't want to be throwing up my hands too soon, but I can't help but wonder if we just need to move on to the next problems. It seems like we've missed our chance to stop climate change, and now is the time to prepare for the inevitable. That's not doomsaying, because I think we have the capacity to address this now. We just have to actually do what it takes this time.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:49 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo ... many scenarios show them staying stable and warm-temperate. In any case, it will take a lot warming to dry up the Great Lakes. The the now chuckle-worthy North Shore of the US could start lookin' mighty attractive, mighty soon.

and

Canada needs to build a wall along its southern border... I bet Mexico would kick in some cash towards that.

My bet is the northern shores of the Great Lakes. Thunder Bay, maybe? But definitely a parcel with lake access. Temperate climate climate and fresh water rights.
posted by hambone at 8:00 PM on March 2


I remember how much I was chastised by my parents when my wife and decided to buy an old house on a hill near downtown Seattle. So much money! Such an old house! This was right at the start of W’s war for oil the second Iraq war when they decided to not only buy a 40 foot RV to tow their SUV and travel this “great country of ours” but also bought a home on a super green golf course outside of Phoenix. We spoke only a little of the moral implications of their decision to explode their carbon footprint because of their denunciation of our patriotism and they continue to burn thousands of gallons of fossil fuels “enjoying their retirement.”

They voted Trump. Meanwhile, our house is almost paid off in a land that has abundant water, arable land, and clean electricity.

I certainly want to help the less fortunate who live in places where they cannot escape the effects of climate change, and in fact I do so through my work and Red Cross donations. My sister the public school teacher in California is welcome to move in to our guest room if it comes to that. My parents — they’re rich, had options, and could have acted as though they listened to the warnings, and chose the ideology and ignorance of party politics. They can fuck themselves along with the rest of the American Republican Fools.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:09 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


I’m sorry, I’m just angry about people that actively chose to ignore climate change now getting close to reaping what they sowed.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:12 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Some of us were born in these places, and can't easily leave without destroying our social safety nets and job networks that keep us above the poverty level. =(

I've already told Mr. Objects that when Baby Objects is old enough to start looking into college, I'm going to push hard to have her leave the US to attend school in Canada, London, Germany...just about anywhere else, find a nice local and settle down there. Put down roots in a place that's still actually meant to hold a large number of humans, and at least generally treats women as more than walking incubators.

I love my home, but it's not worth putting the next generation through what we can clearly see coming down the pipe.
posted by sharp pointy objects at 11:41 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


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