Protecting the Coast
Robert R. M. Verchick
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Joel D. Scheraga
Office of Policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
September 21, 2011
THE LAW OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS, Michael Gerrard, Katrina Kuh, eds., 2011
In this draft book chapter, the authors – one a former political appointee at EPA in the Obama administration, the other a senior climate change adaption adviser at EPA – discuss the law and policy of adapting to climate change in coastal areas of the United States. The most dramatic effects of climate change will occur on the coast. That’s where the twin threats of rising seas and stronger storms are already mounting the beaches. And that is where most Americans, along with billions of dollars in cultural and commercial assets, currently reside. Cities like Miami, New York, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., are in the crosshairs. Adapting to climate change on the coast will require a plan based on a tough defense, smart adjustment, and managed retreat. This Chapter addresses the legal framework of the first two elements. Part I of this Chapter divides adaptation into helpful categories and sets out some guiding principles that we think all adaptation strategies should follow. Part II focuses on strategies geared toward resisting storm surge or floodwaters. These include “hard armoring” strategies, like dikes and levees and “soft armoring strategies,” like coastal restoration. Part III focuses on strategies of adjustment, in which use patterns or consumption patterns are modified to take into consideration climate impacts. We illustrate this type of adaptation with the example of adapting to saltwater intrusion. In Part IV, we offer concluding remarks.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: climate change, adaptation, natural resources, disaster, mitigation, clean water act, coastal protection
JEL Classification: O20, Q20, Q25, Q28
Date posted: September 23, 2011 ; Last revised: December 5, 2013
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