Environmental impact bonds can help make coastal communities safer, sooner. Here’s how.

Last year’s hurricane season was the most destructive disaster season in U.S. history, causing $265 billion in damage and forcing more than one million Americans from their homes. As climate change causes weather to get more extreme, coastal communities across the country are struggling to find cost-effective solutions to enhance their resiliency to storms and develop new ways to finance that work. Photo Credit: Karen A. Westphal, Audubon Louisiana How can we help make coastal communities more resilient more quickly? How can we engage the private sector in coastal resiliency efforts and generate a financial return for investors? Together with my EDF colleagues and partners, I set out to explore how one innovative financing mechanism – environmental impact bonds – might help. How do you fund restoration for a disappearing coast? Coastal resiliency challenges are especially problematic along the Gulf Coast. In Louisiana, an area of land the size of a football field turns into open water every 100 minutes. Since the 1930s, the state has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of land and will lose another 4,000 square miles over the next 50 years if nothing is done. As the land disappears, so does the storm surge protection […]

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