Which Towns Are Worth Saving?

How the climate crisis is forcing Americans to ask a difficult question.,


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Which Towns Are Worth Saving?

How the climate crisis is forcing Americans to ask a difficult question.


Oct. 11, 2021, 5:55 a.m. ET

Hosted by Michael Barbaro

Produced by Michael Johnson, Diana Nguyen and Sydney Harper

Edited by Dave Shaw and Marc Georges

With Claudine McElwain

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The extreme weather and rising seas caused by the climate crisis are driving home an increasingly urgent lesson in the United States: An enormous infusion of money and effort will be needed to get ready.

In North Carolina, that lesson is stark. Hurricanes and flooding have been so bad for so long that towns are already facing existential threats.

We visited some regularly flood-hit towns in the state — Avon and Fair Bluff — to confront a heartbreaking question: How does a community decide whether its homes are worth saving?

On today’s episode

Christopher Flavelle, a climate reporter for The New York Times.


A vandalized, empty home on what used to be East Seagull Drive in Nags Head, N.C.

Background reading

For the first time, there is bipartisan acknowledgment — through actions, if not words — that the United States is unprepared for global warming and will need huge amounts of cash to cope.

Homeowners in the Outer Banks of North Carolina are facing a tax increase of almost 50 percent to protect their homes. Is this the future of coastal towns?

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