These will cost US$1 trillion a year with billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure at risk. But this is not just a problem for 30 years’ time. This is a problem of today.
The scale, urgency and economic impacts of this ocean risk calls for a transformative global response. We need to invest in nature – our planet’s most cost-effective innovator and engineer, that has been developing adaptive solutions to defend coastlines, build resilience to change and capture and sequester carbon for millennia.
Ecosystems like reefs, mangroves, and wetlands play a critical role in protecting coasts and sustaining local communities and economies. A healthy reef, for example, can reduce incoming wave energy from a storm by up to 97%, while mangrove forests sequester five to ten times more carbon than terrestrial forests, and provide more than US$80billion per year in avoided losses from coastal flooding.