NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Entergy Corporation (NYSE : ETR ) and America's WETLAND Foundation today released a study that shows communities along the Gulf Coast could suffer more than $350 billion in economic losses over the next 20 years due to growing environmental risks.
"The study is a roadmap on how we can adapt to a world that we really don't want to be living in, but may not have a choice," said J. Wayne Leonard, chairman and chief executive officer of Entergy. "All the measures included in the report are meant to be a call to arms for policymakers."
The study, "Building a Resilient Energy Gulf Coast," commissioned by Entergy and America's WETLAND Foundation, found that the economic losses could increase up to 65 percent by year 2030 due to economic growth and subsidence, as well as the impacts of climate change. On average, the Gulf Coast region already faces annual losses of nearly $14 billion. The results of the study were announced in New Orleans during the DELTAS2010: World Deltas Dialogue conference, an America's WETLAND Foundation-mounted international conference of delta experts.
"With the multiplier effect, the amount of economic loss to the Gulf Coast could rise to $700 billion, the gross domestic product for the entire region for one year," said Leonard. "No region in the country can afford to lose their entire GDP once every 20 years."
The Gulf Coast's asset value is currently estimated to be more than $2 trillion and is expected to grow to more than $3 trillion by 2030. The study recommends a range of economic adaptation initiatives that can prevent a large part of the expected increase in losses. For example, by investing $50 billion in cost-effective measures over the next 20 years, such as improved building codes, beach nourishment and roof cover retrofits; Gulf Coast communities can avert about $135 billion in annual losses over the lifetime of implemented measures.
"Doing nothing is not an acceptable plan. That's a plan to put Entergy out of business, a plan for misery and suffering for our customers and a plan that would devastate a region already economically impaired," said Leonard.
"The America's WETLAND Foundation will take the study to communities throughout the energy coast in 2011 to help local officials and stakeholders plan for coastal resiliency in light of sea-level rise and ongoing land loss," said R. King Milling, chair of the AWF.
"We are extremely grateful to Entergy for making possible this first-of-its-kind study. This benchmark report is sure to help inform policy leaders in our region for years to come. When we discuss the importance of partnerships, bringing the detailed analysis of this study to the table is a remarkable contribution to this region and will be of tremendous benefit," Milling said.
The AWF will also put the report in the hands of legislative leaders from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia who are attending the DELTAS2010 conference. The National Conference of State Legislatures and AWF are hosting the first-ever Gulf Coastal Policy Forum Thursday after the lawmakers tour the Mississippi River Delta by Louisiana National Guard helicopters.
Swiss Re, a global reinsurer, was a lead contributor to the research in the report and brought their natural catastrophe and climate risk assessment knowledge to bear on the challenge of quantifying climate risks. The methodology used in this study was previously devised and tested by a consortium of public and private partners, including Swiss Re, in a project on the Economics of Climate Adaptation.
A summary of the report can be read in its entirety on Entergy's website at www.entergy.com/gulfcoastadaptation. Leonard will give a presentation about the report at 12 p.m. CST and will be streamed live at www.livestream.com/entergylive.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and more than 15,000 employees.
Entergy's online address is www.entergy.com.
SOURCE Entergy Corporation