Rising Seas, Falling Villas
Luxury beachfront houses in Israel.
One unpleasant fact of climate change is that it is expected to harm the poorest countries first, as rising sea levels inundate low-lying cities. In Israel, however, the rich will apparently be among the first to experience the damage caused by the rising sea.
According to a lecture given by Professor Nurit Kliot of the University of Haifa on Sunday on the effects of global warming on Israel's geography, a sea level rise of a third to half a meter will cause numerous problems in the coastal areas where most of the country's population lives.
Beachfront lots, especially for private homes, are some of the most expensive places to live in Israel, with individual plots of land next to the ocean reaching prices of several million dollars. During recent decades, several new luxury neighborhoods were built on cliffs just above the beach (think Malibu), and in artificial marinas built as real estate schemes. Many of these cliffs are already eroding, as a result (ironically) of the construction of the marinas, which block the flow of sand along the beach.Kliot believes that, as the sea rises, many of Israel's coastal, upper-class neighborhoods will either be flooded or the ground beneath them will simply become unstable, causing these neighborhoods to empty out and their residents to flee to higher ground. Land appraiser Ron Virnik, however, argued that until concrete evidence of rising sea levels exists, coastal land prices in Israel will continue to rise and luxury housing will continue to be built by the sea.