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Gambling with Super-Typhoons in Future Macau

The Ecotopia 2121 Project details the futures of 100 cities across the globe as though they've somehow overcome all the grave environmental challenges our age and grown to become super-Green and super-ecofriendly. This month, we highlight the future of Macau.

A few years back, Macau had to shutter-down its casinos for the first time in history to deal with Super-Typhoon Mangkhut. Here's how Macau can future-proof itself against the stronger climate-changed oceanic storms of tomorrow.

Macau’s location on the Pearl River estuary makes it vulnerable to typhoon storm surges and climate-change induced rises in sea level. Over the course of three centuries, the city has sought to reclaim land from the sea to allow for urban growth. Yet, if the sea level rises by just a few meters, as is currently predicted, these reclaimed zones are likely to be submerged again or eroded during high-tides and increasingly wild typhoon surges.

The land upon which the city sits is also increasingly vulnerable to land subsidence because of increased groundwater extraction. Macau is sinking. The seas are rising.

How is Macau to deal with this situation?

Since Macau is one of the gambling capitals of the world, they should be sensitive to the value of calculating future risks. Sometime in the early 21st Century, these risk-calculators will be bound to advise Macau’s administrators and business leaders that drastic adaptive measures will need to be implemented to preserve the profitability of the gambling and tourist sectors. Risk assessors in the insurance industry are also likely to have an impact since their risk advice about future potential environmental change will suggest that the casinos, the hoteliers, the tourist agencies, and the airlines will have to pay more and more each year for insurance.

To deal with such profit-eroding environmental change, this scenario of 2121 depicts the casinos of Macau to be condensed and contained with one circular gambling zone and then surrounded by a huge walled-barrier to protect it from sea-level innundations and storm-surges. The rest of the city then has to be rebuilt on the nearby hills of Macau.

If the climate continues to warm this century, by 2121, the malaria-infected mosquitoes of South East Asia will have expanded their range northwards to Macau. Therefore, the barrier is electrified in an attempt to keep the gamblers mosquito-free. Really, the barrier does nothing to halt the root cause of global climate change but it will allow casinos to survive long enough to adopt Green mitigation measures like switching to new low-power gambling machines and donating all their profits to eco-restoration projects in Macau.

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