London and Shanghai are two great cities both facing the imminent threat that weather could bring to their economies. Due to global warming and a lack of sufficient foresight, these cities could be facing economic disaster.
London Flooding Raises Flags
The recent flooding in central London has raised many questions as to its long-term viability as Great Britain’s financial center. Due to its geographic location and climate change, London is at high risk for flooding which would lead to severe economic repercussions.
Shanghai’s Sea Level a Concern
Similarly, Shanghai is also struggling with severe climate changes. A rising sea level, erosion of the coast and typhoons are some of the natural disasters that this city faces.
London’s Thames Barrier is the Only Barricade Between London and Disaster
The Thames Barrier was erected as a result of the 1953 flood which killed 300 people. The Barrier is a movable wall, lowered during heavy rainfalls to prevent flooding. Besides human life, it protects a quarter of Great Britain’s GDP, that Canary Wharf and London produces.
Can Shanghai’s Sea Wall Protect it Despite Climate Change?
A sea wall protects the City of Shanghai. However, climate change has brought about a significant increase of typhoons in the area.
London and Shanghai Both Under-Insured
The financial centers of London and Shanghai do not have sufficient insurance coverage, and that is the crux of the problem. The fact that they are both on coastlines increases their risks in both magnitude and number for environmental disasters such as flooding and storm surges. The high-risk locations do not reflect in the insurance costs and therefore there is no sense of urgency to improve defenses or move the financial center itself.
With the ever-changing and unpredictable weather patterns, London and Shanghai need to develop policies and implement strategies that will protect the heart of these economies.