To the editor:

If and when climate change really starts to affect our coastline the costs to cities and towns will be far greater than what your recent article (“Climate change will cost state $18 billion,” June 19) described. Any house or structure on or near the water will not be able to be sold without great difficulty, if at all, because banks and institutions will not give mortgages to properties under extreme risk and flood insurance will be impossible to get or unaffordable. This will mean property values will be cut to the minimum and owners will “walk away” from tax bills based on their past high assessments. This does not bode well for the tax revenue base and the city budget. If you are not able to sell or buy waterfront property because you cannot get insurance or mortgages then it will become abandoned and worthless.

As things stand now conservation laws prohibit most waterfront building or reinforcement of properties without lengthy challenging and expensive approvals, which are not easily given. That restrictiveness will have to be changed starting sooner rather than later. Let’s hope we enter a few centuries of global cooling to slow things down.

William Taylor

Gloucester