Protecting the Coast

THE LAW OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS, Michael Gerrard, Katrina Kuh, eds., 2012

51 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2011 Last revised: 14 Jan 2016

Robert R. M. Verchick

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Joel D. Scheraga

Office of Policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: climate change, adaptation, natural resources, disaster, mitigation, clean water act, coastal protection

JEL Classification: O20, Q20, Q25, Q28

Suggested Citation

Verchick, Robert R. M. and Scheraga, Joel D., Protecting the Coast (2012). THE LAW OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS, Michael Gerrard, Katrina Kuh, eds., 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1931916 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1931916

Robert R. M. Verchick (Contact Author)

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law ( email )

7214 St. Charles Ave., Box 901
Campus Box 901
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

Joel D. Scheraga

Office of Policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( email )

Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
United States

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