Adapting to climate change: Combining economics and geomorphology in coastal policy

Gopalakrishnan, Sathya and McNamara, Dylan and Murray, Brad and Smith, Martin (2010) Adapting to climate change: Combining economics and geomorphology in coastal policy. In: Shifting Shorelines: Adapting to the Future,The 22nd International Conference of The Coastal Society , June 13-16, 2010 ,Wilmington, North Carolina,

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Official URL: http://nsgl.gso.uri.edu/coastalsociety/TCS22/paper...

Abstract

How is climate change affecting our coastal environment? How can coastal communities adapt to sea level rise and increased storm risk? These questions have garnered tremendous interest from scientists and policy makers alike, as the dynamic coastal environment is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Over half the world population lives and works in a coastal zone less than 120 miles wide, thereby being continuously affected by the changes in the coastal environment [6]. Housing markets are directly influenced by the physical processes that govern coastal systems. Beach towns like Oak Island in North Carolina (NC) face severe erosion, and the tax assesed value of one coastal property fell by 93% in 2007 [9]. With almost ninety percent of the sandy beaches in the US facing moderate to severe erosion [8], coastal communities often intervene to stabilize the shoreline and hold back the sea in order to protect coastal property and infrastructure. Beach nourishment, which is the process of rebuilding a beach by periodically replacing an eroding section of the beach with sand dredged from another location, is a policy for erosion control in many parts of the US Atlantic and Pacific coasts [3]. Beach nourishment projects in the United States are primarily federally funded and implemented by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) after a benefit-cost analysis. Benefits from beach nourishment include reduction in storm damage and recreational benefits from a wider beach. Costs would include the expected cost of construction, present value of periodic maintenance, and any external cost such as the environmental cost associated with a nourishment project (NOAA). Federal appropriations for nourishment totaled $787 million from 1995 to 2002 [10]. Human interventions to stabilize shorelines and physical coastal dynamics are strongly coupled. The value of the beach, in the form of storm protection and recreation amenities, is at least partly capitalized into property values. These beach values ultimately influence the benefit-cost analysis in support of shoreline stabilization policy, which, in turn, affects the shoreline dynamics. This paper explores the policy implications of this circularity. With a better understanding of the physical-economic feedbacks, policy makers can more effectively design climate change adaptation strategies. (PDF contains 4 pages)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Title: Adapting to climate change: Combining economics and geomorphology in coastal policy
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Gopalakrishnan, Sathyasathya.gopalakrishnan@duke.edu
McNamara, Dylan
Murray, Brad
Smith, Martin
Date: 2010
Funders: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. EPA Coastal Management Branch, U.S. Geolgocial Survey, NOAA Sea Grant
Event Title: Shifting Shorelines: Adapting to the Future,The 22nd International Conference of The Coastal Society
Event Type: Conference
Event Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
Event Dates: June 13-16, 2010
Issuing Agency: The Coastal Society
Uncontrolled Keywords: TCS22
Subjects:
Earth Sciences
Environment
Item ID: 3906
Depositing User: Cynthia Murray
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2010 21:32
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 16:48
Related URLs:
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/3906

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