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Global climate gentrification pushes low-income people into unsafe areas

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The following text is excerpted from an article originally published in the Energy Mix. Read the full article.

The evolving role of climate risk in the global real estate market and insurance markets could gentrify low-risk areas while pushing less-privileged people to the regions hit hardest by climate impacts.

“There are examples all around the world, where different shifts of population are crowding out people when they move because of climate change, stress, or shock,” Tulane University associate professor of real estate James Keenan told CBC News.

Climate risk data is becoming more accessible to prospective buyers and is poised to become a determining factor for property purchases. U.S.-based website ClimateCheck offers “a free report on risks posed to any U.S. address from climate change,” writes CBC, and Canadian real estate services company Pillar 9 has provided flood mapping data to realtors since 2013.

This new pattern of climate gentrification could reshape low-risk areas as havens for the wealthy, while people with fewer resources are forced to live in unsafe environments. Research indicates that the regions hardest hit by climate change could include Canada’s Arctic, which is forecast to experience longer fire seasons, and coastal areas, which will likely see “severe flooding throughout the rest of the century,” CBC reports. 

To prevent these negative effects from triggering climate gentrification, citizens must demand “political courage” from government leaders to “mitigate the impact of climate change on housing and infrastructure and more policies like taxes on foreign buyers and empty homes,” said Andy Yan. 

“We just can’t afford to surrender,” he told CBC.

Read the full article.