Coastal cities say one thing in court suits, another in bond disclosure documents.
If you believe the rhetoric of mayors and city council members in coastal cities, their areas will be under water in only a few decades. But when they sell their own bonds, these dire predictions are nowhere to be found in required disclosure statements.
Buyers of coastal city bonds appear not to believe the predictions either. There is no statistically significant difference in long term bond rates between coastal cities and cities in the interior of the country.
A Government Accountability Institute report says:
For example, the City of Oakland, the City of San Francisco, and San Mateo County, in filing individual lawsuits against ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other major oil companies, made specified claims of damages to their cities due to the impacts of climate change… [Oakland] claimed the threats were so real that “by 2050, a ‘100-year flood’ in the Oakland vicinity is expected to occur… once every 2.3 years … and by 2100 … once per week.”
However, language used to disclose risks to investors in a 2017 bonds document states, “The City is unable to predict when seismic events, fires or other natural events, such as sea rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm, could occur, when they may occur, and, if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the City or the local economy.”
Two more examples of inconsistency:
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has repeatedly railed against the dangers of climate change, yet has presided over the permitting of multiple buildings that would flood if his own predictions about climate change were correct, while the City of Boston mentioned “climate change” just once in its disclosure statements.
Low-lying Miami and Miami Beach paid lip service to sea level rise, but did not let it get in the way of lucrative building in flood-prone areas, especially where the mayor owns property.