Geoengineering Coastlines? From Accidental to Intentional

28 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2014 Last revised: 17 Jul 2014

See all articles by Martin D. Smith

Martin D. Smith

Duke University - Nicholas School for the Environment; Duke University - Department of Economics

A. Brad Murray

Duke University

Sathya Gopalakrishnan

Ohio State University (OSU)

Andrew Keeler

East Carolina University - Department of Economics

Craig E. Landry

University of Georgia - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics

Dylan McNamara

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Wilmington

Laura Moore

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 3, 2014

Abstract

On developed coastlines, humans react to physical processes in coastal environments by stabilizing shorelines against chronic erosion and by taking measures to prevent destruction of coastal infrastructure during storms. While we are beginning to understand how physical processes affect human behavior, causality runs in the other direction as well. Over decades or longer, even localized anthropogenic shoreline manipulations influence large-scale patterns of coastline change as much as physical, climate-related forcing does. The long-range spatial and temporal spillovers of localized human actions in coastal environments, combined with widespread localized shoreline-stabilization and storm-protection efforts, amount to an unintentional geo-engineering of our coastlines. In essence, investments in coastal engineering fail to consider tradeoffs that can unfold over long temporal or large spatial scales. A more purposeful geo-engineering of coastlines requires a richer understanding of the two-way couplings between physical and human coastline dynamics, including efforts to reduce uncertainties in forecasting future scenarios for the coupled system. Steering toward preferred outcomes for our coastlines and coastal economies will involve coordination across local, state, and federal jurisdictions to mitigate spatial externalities that extend beyond local communities.

Keywords: erosion, coastal, management, spatial, externality

JEL Classification: Q24, Q28, Q32

Suggested Citation

Smith, Martin D. and Murray, A. Brad and Gopalakrishnan, Sathya and Keeler, Andrew and Landry, Craig and McNamara, Dylan and Moore, Laura, Geoengineering Coastlines? From Accidental to Intentional (March 3, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2403945 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2403945

Martin D. Smith

Duke University - Nicholas School for the Environment ( email )

Box 90328
A122 LSRC
Durham, NC 27708-0328
United States
919-613-8028 (Phone)
919-684-8741 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://fds.duke.edu/db/Nicholas/esp/faculty/marsmith

Duke University - Department of Economics

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

A. Brad Murray

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Sathya Gopalakrishnan

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Dept. of Ag, Env & Dev Economics
2120 Fyffe Rd
Columbus, OH 43210

Andrew Keeler

East Carolina University - Department of Economics ( email )

Brewster Building
Greenville, NC 27858
United States

Craig Landry (Contact Author)

University of Georgia - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-7509
United States

Dylan McNamara

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Wilmington ( email )

601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
United States

Laura Moore

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

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