There's the guy who's been to Venice "multiple times" who's explaining why it would be better if it sank. Another one had a conversation at a "dinner party about vacation homes" and how are a bad investment. The other: "Venice is Atlantis of the 21th century", and finally "they shouldn't have built Venice on 118 islands in the first place".
Venice is a real city, home to thousands of people that are currently struggling with the damage that all of this caused. Their businesses are threatened. An entire city and region is on its knees. It is a site of undescribable historical and artistic beauty, a treasure that belongs to all mankind.
Seriously, some of you might have been too deep into your ARR and TSLA and lost the ability to empathize.
Maybe this news doesn't belong on HN at all.
Those islands protected Venice from roaming armies looking to sack something and its separation from the mainland and reliance on a trading network also eventually led to it becoming a maritime trading power.
Even if they had somehow been able to foresee that the city would slowly be sinking a thousand or more years in the future, they still would have chosen the protection and eventual trade wealth that the location of Venice brought. They wouldn't have lived to see the sinking of the city anyway.
It makes me sad that such a city is slowly dying and I hope to visit before it is too late.
When I went there I was at first enchanted by it, but as I did what I normally and go looking the social differences I didn't find it for a while - it is all shops, restaurants and hotels. So I kept walking. It was only one I was well out of the older parts, and well away from the tourists did I see the sorts of things I visit foreign places to experience. Things like a coffin being lifted down from a house window using a motorised ladder, a grocer in a largish boat overflowing with produce, stopping every so often to let the local women on.
I have no idea how these real places are fairing, but I suspect much better because the walls of the canals were higher.
As for the tourist trap that is the heart of Venice - this will just add to it's reputation. Parts of St Marks are under water every day. Walking through a church, a very well maintained and elegant church at that, and sitting on a pew wait the salt water lapping an inch or so below your bum is a novel experience. I heartily recommend it to everyone.
But once crass the commercialism of the place begins to grate take a walk to the real Venice, where the locals are born, marry and die. It's gritty, real and nowhere near as pretty, but I remember my walk through there far better than I remember Venice itself. I do hope the people who live there are OK.
Sorry but no. The entirety of my mother's family still lives there, in the "city" city. A lot of people still live and work in the inner Venezia. There are some commuters especially from Mestre, but that is what you expect with any medium sized center with satellite smaller towns around.
Also "Venice" is quite misleading because aside the usual tourist destinations, the city has quite a large horizontal development inland. You contraddict yourself stating first that Venice is only a tourist trap with no locals and then stating that you saw local women buy groceries, and inviting people to visit the "real" Venice, which of course you saw, which of course has a resident population.
Your vacation-long experience might not necessarily reflect the truth.
> It was only one I was well out of the older parts, and well away from the tourists did I see the sorts of things I visit foreign places to experience.
Fascinating, you walked out of historical Venice (famously surrounded by lagoon) that has been mostly the same for centuries? Must have been a wet walk...
>I have no idea how these real places are fairing, but I suspect much better because the walls of the canals were higher.
Fascinating, you were carrying around an altimeter and doing measurements on the height of the water. Was it high tide? Spring tide? Do you even know what a spring tide is?
>It's gritty, real and nowhere near as pretty, but I remember my walk through there far better than I remember Venice itself.
So really, you walked out of St Marks and ended up in "real" Venice? It's the most famous city surrounded by water on Earth, did you think you were going to come on HN and make up lame bullshit?
Even if your unfounded assumption that "the only people who sleep there are tourists" was true, you don't let a symbol of western civilization sink. Do we let the Colosseum fall? Does someone live in there? What was your reaction when Notre-Dame was burning? Should we care at all about preserving memory? Are these just stones?
While I must admit that is hard to see beyond fake Carnevale masks and other trinkets, I am afraid that in your trip you failed to perceive the greatness of the place you were visiting.
Not everything needs to be done in the name of individual profit.
As a side note, using the term "golden toilet" for New Orleans, or Venice, or pretty much any other City in a difficult situation, doesn't certainly convey empathy as my initial comment wanted to point out.
So to each his own I guess.
I, for one, am not against assistance to those that are loosing their home, but that assistance needs to be the most efficient one. Remember, any efforts and resources being spent assisting this particular situation will be taken from some other issue yah needs them. At what point does one say it's not worth it?
Venice is a beautiful city full of art and culture, but at this point it's fall seems inevitable. It's sad, but it's the way of the world, things rise, flourish and eventually fall.
It's YOUR planet, why aren't YOU saving it?
As an earthling I've seen a lot of amazing nature everywhere on earth but a lot of it is left to wither. No one seem to be interested in taking care of it.
We are hopeless in long term thinking.
Unfortunately it's been under planning first and then construction for decades, mired by corruption scandals, delays, and billions of Euros in cost overruns. It's currently scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2021, having first been put out to tender in 1975.
1 - https://ss2.climatecentral.org/index.html#8/44.984/11.272
When I mentioned my reluctance to invest in beach front property everyone seemed confused -- I don't own a home yet but it makes me wonder, how much is climate change being considered as a factor for family real estate? I'm sure commercial developers are taking these things into account but are normal people?
But if the high tide and waves alone conspire then you might only have 6 feet of storm surge buffer. With an 18 inch sea level rise that's down to 4.5 feet.
Even without that erosion can do a lot of damage without expensive remediation.
How are they reacting?
> “The potential losses generated by NFIP have created substantial financial exposure for the federal government and U.S. taxpayers,” the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded in a February 2013 report to Congress. “While Congress and FEMA intended that NFIP be funded with premiums collected from policyholders and not with tax dollars, the program was, by design, not actuarially sound.”
> In 2012, in an attempt to provide some financial stability to the ailing NFIP, which was $20 billion in debt at the time, Congress required FEMA to phase out many of the subsidized policies in order to more accurately reflect cost and risk. Existing policyholders naturally balked at paying the higher premiums, however, and the backlash was strong enough that politicians quickly caved and rescinded the requirements, restoring the grandfathering of subsidized policies and capping premium increases.
tl;dr: Beachfront property owners don't want to pay for their own flood insurance, so you get to pay for it instead. In October 2017 the government wrote off $16 billion of that debt, and as of February 2018 it was still in debt to the tune of $20.5 billion.
Thanks to these subsidies, people will keep rebuilding in the same idiotic places knowing that it will flood again, which is fine because you're paying for the bulk of their insurance.
The NFIP insures millions of properties, like mine, that are nowhere near a beach.
It weirded me out but for a different reason: I couldn't avoid thinking about income inequality and dropping home ownership among younger generations in our country. Having a discussion about acquiring additional properties to seek rental income or to sit vacant for the majority of the year, and not factoring in that big issue, just didn't sit right with me. Not wanting to derail the mood or upset my neighbors, I just didn't actively participate. But I've been stewing on it for days since.
Back on the topic of waterfront real estate, there have been some really interesting articles linked on HN recently about Miami's situation - seemingly irrational activity happening in a city facing straight into the threat of rising ocean levels: https://popula.com/2019/04/02/heaven-or-high-water/
EDIT: I don't think I'm wrong actually. Take Pacifica, CA for instance. Local homeowners oppose managed retreat and will ask the government to perform coastline erosion control.
During a hurricane, you assume everything on the first floor to be a loss so usually people may have their pools, have granite/tile flooring and do not have carpet etc so that way after a flood/hurricane it's easy to clean/fix up.
Most houses I have lived in, and the houses my peers owned, were all one story houses. Those who lived in what insurances labels as "known flood zone" areas still had carpet, and the houses are decorated no differently than the houses I have seen in California when I lived there, as well as Michigan where I currently live.
We also were able to enroll in flood insurance without any issues. Granted, it's extra insurance on top of typical home owners insurance, but Allstate had no issues providing us with flood insurance for over two decades of living there.
Is this perhaps how the more wealthy people live, or is this maybe how a specific area lives? I have legitimately never heard of people purposely furnishing their first floor as if it were a basement. I have seen the trend of moving away from carpet, but that is a more general trend that I am observing here in MI, as well, so I am not entirely sure it is can be directly linked to home owners worrying about potential flooding.
I do agree though, I like to visit Florida here and there but I would never want to live there permanently.
An apartment building just south of SF was recently condemned and torn down because the cliff it sits on is slowly falling into the ocean.
Lots of emotional down-voting going on. I'm still right.
(Secondarily: language like "your aversion is more emotional than logical" is best avoided on HN too. I appreciate your intention to be respectful, but it's still a gratuitously personal comment. If you converted it to an actually respectful expression of the point, you wouldn't need to label it "respectfully".)
Firstly the rise is not the same everywhere - some places will have vastly higher sea levels. Secondly Venice didn’t suddenly get flooded by going from from 0cm too high to 1cm too high this year; the issue with climate change is not just the level but also the highs from more energetic, wetter storms etc.
When I was attempting to establish historical storm trends for the Florida Keys in the early 18th century (for an archaeological study), one colleague suggested I not use post-2004 data, because the warming of the oceans was skewing everything from mean wind directions to the number of hurricanes to the current patterns. The costs associated with beachfront property are also rising, due to the insurance industry's discomfort with the risks and the additional maintenance costs(3). Even the US's National Flood Insurance Program is increasing the charges of its subsidized coastal insurance products(4), because private industry deems many coastal properties uninsurable.
So, I gotta ask: On what data are you basing your opinions?
If the property is so vulnerable to rising sea levels or storm surge, it is going to be vulnerable with and without climate change. Climate change itself doesn't seem to change the calculus much.
In exactly the same manner expectations that the future value of real estate may be impacted by climate change should be reflected in the price today. Even if the house I buy today does not flood in 20 years (my lifetime), in 20 years I will have to sell to someone who will have an investment horizon of 40 years from today (my 20 years, plus their hypothetical 20 years). Since that person may demand a lower price from me in 20 years, I should factor that into the price I pay today, since it effects my returns.
As a real example, I factored in expected flood insurance pricing rises on some riverfront property I purchased recently in Australia. The insurance price increases are driven by industry and government modelling to reflect tropical storm intensity and frequency and an increased risk that storm surges overlap high tides. Sea level rises contribute to the risk, but not in a meaningful level.
The end result was that my total cost of ownership increased by single digit %. I reduced my bid price accordingly to meet my % return requirement from the investment.
To put it concretely - my future expectation of increased climate-driven risk reduced the value of the asset to me.
Your confidence is misplaced, and your condescension is irksome.
I wouldn't buy waterfront property in Florida, but mostly for the problems inherit with doing that today, not because of future climate change.
Eg Wall Street flooded during Sandy.
Thus it’s not a question of absolute levels, but rather safety factors and insurance premiums that are at issue.
PS: Though this is simplified as it’s both storm surge and high waves that cause problems, but that’s another story.
I just don't see that as making the difference in a decision to buy or not buy. I don't even see it making the list of things to weigh.
As the barrier islands essentially make up the only beach front property across half of North Carolina, that’s the only real option for vacation homes like this. That and fishing support a relatively small population, but the total investment on these islands adds into the billions.
In that context 2’ means far more than a 6% difference. Little there can withstand a cat 4+ hurricane even without the ocean, however slowly loosing inches is already making a difference.
What I would consider is what it would cost to raise the land by that 2ft. I think that's so little by comparison to what the land costs that you can practically discount the effect of climate change on your decision.
People hated on all of my comments in this entire thread, but at the end of the day I put my faith in the math and I think they're all wrong and I'm right.
Ocean front property is so expensive that if you do that and add the cost of raising your construction on stilts and/or raising the land to compensate, it barely makes a difference.
SF is mountainous. Some parts may go under but most of SF will remain dry.
But if the Embarcadero floods that's billions of dollars worth of damage right there. Same for China Basin / Mission Bay area around Mission Creek. That's got a baseball stadium, the major train depot for the city (CalTrain terminus), and a bunch of new multi-story condos and UC Mission Bay they just finished. It's going to suck if that area gets flooded, the sidewalks around the new condos are already cracking due to subsidence. ( https://www.sfgate.com/local/article/sidewalk-sinking-missio... )
It hasn't flooded because of the record tide. I thought for a moment this meant that the barrage had been completed but was today overwhelmed.
It's honestly not unreasonable to say "Oh hey the place you built a city is no longer cost sustainable" but there are multitudes of villages and towns in europe, the fact that we know about Venice today and don't know about Ormelle (a random village north of Venice) means there were some reasons for that particular location to prosper.
Lastly, we've got the hand we've been dealt and I think it's quite reasonable to try and preserve this historical city even knowing that is it in a vulnerable location, that isn't really a global decision but it is going to be influenced by how many people still find it worth the money to visit.
But now that the structures are considered historical and preserved, they're trying to maintain a particular snapshot of the city, with the exact same buildings. Which is a lot harder than maintaining the city overall.
If humans weren't polluting the atmosphere, the climate would still be changing. The only difference is time scale and possibly the temperature delta.
This is why building cities right up against the shoreline isn't a very good idea in the long term. And, no, you can have ports without building metropolises right next to the water. Someone's going to say that I'm a "climate denier" which is totally false because I believe in anthropogenic global warming.
With climate change, we're looking at drastic coastline changes over the next 100 years. 100 years is extremely short for cities - it probably takes about that to go from being a town to being a city, if you have excellent growth rates.
To move a city in 100 years is probably flat-out impossible, just for cost reasons alone. Most cities are hard-pressed to pay for maintenance of roads and essential services, and service their already crushing debt levels. City governments are not going to manage it, which means the citizens of the cities are going to shoulder the costs. We're going to see large-scale financial hardship in coastal cities going forward, and multiple cities going bankrupt and into decline.
Venice will likely have to take similarly-drastic measures, and they're a lot harder to take given that modern-day Venice is much bigger than 1850's-1860's Sacramento.
Scale matters a lot.
Another factor too: people tend to overestimate the value of their positive contributions and underestimate the damage of their negative ones. Probably by an order of magnitude in both directions, in which case many of us are adding a hundred times less value than we imagine, if we're adding value at all.
Frankly the problem with Venice is not where it's built or climate change. The problem is that Italy has become a country living by the day and entirely unable to discuss and plan and act seriously for the future (or the present, for that matter).
The MOSE project that should have saved Venice from the high tides has been discussed for almost thirty years before even starting the construction, which then proceeded at snail pace with stops and go, lack of funding, corruption, and political quarrels.
Nature has never been benign. There are countries that are organized and efficient and dominate it- see the Netherlands. There are others that spend time in squabbles and suffer from each flood, storm or earthquake- see Italy.
If it found itself under the Adriatic in 50 years, I imagine it would simply become an underwater Disneyland. The architecture might actually be better preserved for future generations; for example, had Venice sunk prior to the mid-80’s, there wouldn’t be a McDonald’s there (yup, there’s a McDonald’s in Venice.)
I guess it really depends on each person but not having cars really makes up for many other disadvantages.
Which makes you think how bad cars in the city are in general.
You don't really appreciate this until they are gone.
I lived there and I lived in many other cities like Paris, London, Munich, Krakow, Bangkok and Bali.
Venice is one of the most authentic cities of them all.
The language is alive and evolving.
It's a bit like the fight club, real locals recognize each others, while the tourists think it's just a Disneyland.
Charming restaurants, quirky bookshops, etc., that's not "authentic life." That's frivolity. Sharing frivolities with the locals doesn't give you any insight into their "authentic life." Tourism is always Disneyland. It's always fake. It's just different versions of Disneyland for people of different temperaments.
(It's funny you mention Bangkok. I was born in Bangkok. What exactly is less "authentic" about it than Venice? How can a city even be less "authentic" than another city?)
But then I saw a couple traces of authentic life. We ran into a local walking her dog, and my friend (who speaks fluent Italian) chatted her up. On one of the smaller canals I saw a road sign -- not seemingly aimed at tourists or even gondoliers, but at ordinary Venetians trying to get around.
All of a sudden, the whole city felt amazing.
Perhaps, if you're prioritizing access to hordes of tourists.
Some cultures seem more fit than others to deal with it.
Some are overwhelmed, others learn to manage.
Most of the locals live on the mainland, anyways. Venice itself is a living museum at best.
When I walk in Venice I constantly meet locals I know, going around their daily life.
It's hard to see this unless you are with some of them.
And even if you see it, it won't tell you anything unless you are part of it.
It's fascinating to see how two different "species" of animals coexist and barely interact on a meaningful level.
I'm not saying it's a good situation but it's not a living museum, people live, work, love and fight there.
We can't dismiss them because we don't see them.
You say there are other priorities that make Venice attractive -- like what? You still haven't made that clear. The nice parts of the city are completely given over to tourism, the hidden corners feel abandoned and listless.
- no cars. This alone raises the quality life by an amazing degree.
- 100% walkable.
- you meet people you know all the time. Feels like a village.
- international. Many interesting characters live there. A village but an international one.
- beautiful and decadent.
And of course there's also a long list of negatives such as expensive, uncomfortable, wet, touristy etc....
It’s called Cà D'Oro alla Vedova. We were shown it by a local, only realised McDonalds was near it after we finished eating.
Imagine, a place to eat in Venice that isn't a rip-off tourist trap restaurant. Free toilets as well!
Arguably its bad food. Anyways its mass produced food that has no attachment to the place where it is consumed (outside the USA). Food, like the appreciation of a city, has a cultural aspect that McDonald's lacks.
McDonal's for someone visiting Europe makes no sense at all. You've dropped a few thousand in airfare and hotels, now you're being cheap on the food?? (Here I make an exception for Europeans eating McDonalds. They live there, they know their culture and their food. Go ahead stuff your pie holes just for the purpose of filling your bellies).
"Disneyland is also great."
idem for Disneyland. It's a fake image of a medieval utopia that never existed even in fairy tales. It's purpose is to create value to the Disney brand by becoming, through sheer force of the ubiquity of the Disney company, a part of children's childhood replacing real experiences and the myths handed down through generations. You don't learn anything at Disneyland, you do not grow as a person at Disney because there is no substance to Disneyland.
At best you have "fun", whatever that means. More likely you're told you had fun, and you repeat that to yourself to avoid admitting you mostly just waited in line.
Venice as Disneyland is a place where hoards of bucketlisters checkoff yet another selfie at Piazza San Marco (or is Piazza Spagna? who remembers? who cares!?), not for the San Marco's sake, but to pretend they accomplished something merely by buying a cheap ticket and airbnb.
You made it to Venice! Big deal! How hard is that?
No. A person who wakes up 4:00am to make it to San Marco at dawn to see San Marco alone has accomplished something (albeit small). A person who goes to Venice and doesn't go to Piazza San Marco, but instead spends the whole time alleys long forgotten by the hoard has accomplished something.
McDonalds is better and cheaper than a lot of the overpriced, crappy food in Europe.
It's a fake image of a medieval utopia that never existed even in fairy tales.
That's quite a high horse you rode in on.
They’ve accomplished nothing the person who went to Disneyland didn’t accomplish. There is no value in doing something just because it’s different from what “the hoard” is doing. (Indeed, if you’re going one way while everyone else is going the other way, you’re probably the one who is lost.)
McDonald's outside of the USA is supplanting rich cultural histories.
Tourism, especially as practiced by those who eat at McDonald's while visiting a foreign country, is typically disastrous to the local way of life. Locals end up selling trinkets to people for afar with more money then sense. Eventually the city becomes affordable and unbearable for the locals and the city becomes a lifeless shell of what it once was. Insipid like Las Vegas.
It really doesn't need a source. If Venice takes too much water from an aquifer then subsidence is unavoidable. The city is sitting on top of a sponge, after all. This is true for any city that's not built on bedrock (which I believe includes half of Manhattan and Miami. NYC of course draws from the Hudson)
Anyway, as the paper states the subsidence exasperates rising sea levels.
If the claim is that it is the main problem, I think it does need a source, and by reading the abstract it doesn't seem like yours is one.
We will be fine and there are no worries in NL except from climate alarmists.
We are at sea. Rivers come from central Europe.
As I said, nobody worries except climate alarmist and poorly educated people.
Would the earth be static if there were no countries or corporations?
Even if I think of something like a Nozickian world as a starter, with exchangeable money as a transaction facility for transferring information, I immediately think we would see the roaming "tribes" as something akin to corporations.
The North Sea was inhatibed : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doggerland
I end up at https://skepticalscience.com/Past-150000-Years-of-Sea-Level-... ( that's right ) :
"During all episodes of major global ice loss, sea level rise has reached rates of at least 1.2 metres per century (equivalent to 12 mm per year). This is 4 times the current rate of sea level rise."
Not relying on one opinion, I view the XKCD of the sibbling : no sources.
Next hit on DDG : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Past_sea_level :
"Observational and modeling studies of mass loss from glaciers and ice caps indicate a contribution to a sea-level rise of 2 to 4 cm over the 20th century. "
Which is very low.
Would you care to back up your statement?
I'm having a hard time parsing that... Are you suggesting the XKCD graph lacks sources?
In reality though, tides vary significantly, in a periodic fashion, based on various cyclic factors. The Moon is not a fixed distance from the Earth, and the gravity of the Sun (and how it aligns with the Moon's gravity) plays a role as well. The level of "high tide" changes over the course of decades as those cycles overlap and diverge (like constructive and destructive wave interference).
I'm also not suggesting that climate change is the primary driver of the worsening flooding in Venice (geologic subsidence is major culprit there... the city is literally sinking). I was just pointing out that it's silly to claim that climate doesn't influence tides.
The insured doesn't mind paying for a (negative expected value) policy because the peace of mind is worth much more than the premium.
The insurer doesn't mind because they're making many bets across many flood plains.
The insurer is basically making money by charging a small premium to coordinate and ensure different people help each other out when they get unlucky.
As soon as flooding is guaranteed, there is no point of insurance since the premium is equal to the coverage provided.
No matter which approach to ameliorate the cost is taken, I think it's quite valid to be concerned that this cost won't be levied on those that have contributed to the damage.
I'd love it if everyone who was hit by a hurricane was given money to rebuild somewhere safer, but just once.
As an example, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast back in 2005, and it was a total disaster. Flooding, of course, was not covered by private insurance (it's been like this for a very long time), only wind, so there was a lot of arguing over whether insurance companies had to cover losses because the storm surge was actually caused by wind, and a lot of damage was solely caused by the hurricane-force Category 5 winds. I'm probably leaving some important details out...
Anyway, the aftermath was that private insurance companies in that area refused to insure wind damage to buildings. It just wasn't worth the risk. So the state (Mississippi) came up with something called the "wind pool" which was government-provided insurance for wind damage. The problem was, it was really expensive. So a lot of people never did rebuild, a lot of people left (or moved farther inland, where the insurance was cheaper), etc.
The bottom line is that enabling stupidity as far as building location only works long-term if it's being subsidized. If insurance reflects the true risk of building in a certain place, then it really limits that kind of activity.
Most of the initial premiums are based on 100 year flood plain maps based on recent years of rain (which may not have been typical), assume that rivers are static objects that do not change course, assume that coastal sand beaches are static and not dynamic.
By letting people stay in places that flood repeatedly and removing the risk for home owners/purchasers, the NFIP incentivizes building and rebuilding in areas that flood.
According to this article, there were 37000 homes at the time of writing that had flooded four times and gotten at least 5000 in coverage payout (I could be wrong but last time I checked that is the most I could get in earthquake insurance when I read the annual offer around 2000 from my homeowners insurance). The NFIP is underwriting pretty well off people's lifestyle of living on a beach/river front/bayou.
Reasonable insurance is expected cost * probability + enough margin for a small profit + cover bad bets.
The gap between a reasonable rate and the rate paid is a gift paid to homeowners with above average wealth and builders with below average sense.
Since builders can earn more building a home that will be flooded out in 7 years with a higher selling price by virtue of beings water front property but only if the government subsidizes insurance they are directly incentivized to do so.
"The six-bedroom house, which has an indoor swimming pool, sits along the San Jacinto River. It has flooded 22 times since 1979, making it one of the most flood-damaged properties in the country."