Climatic Change

, Volume 120, Issue 4, pp 683–695 | Cite as

A note on climate change adaptation for seaports: a challenge for global ports, a challenge for global society

  • Austin H. BeckerEmail author
  • Michele Acciaro
  • Regina Asariotis
  • Edgard Cabrera
  • Laurent Cretegny
  • Philippe Crist
  • Miguel Esteban
  • Andrew Mather
  • Steve Messner
  • Susumu Naruse
  • Adolf K. Y. Ng
  • Stefan Rahmstorf
  • Michael Savonis
  • Dong-Wook Song
  • Vladimir Stenek
  • Adonis F. Velegrakis


With 80 % of world trade carried by sea, seaports provide crucial linkages in global supply-chains and are essential for the ability of all countries to access global markets. Seaports are likely to be affected directly and indirectly by climatic changes, with broader implications for international trade and development. Due to their coastal location, seaports are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events associated with increasing sea levels and tropical storm activity, as illustrated by hurricane “Sandy”. In view of their strategic role as part of the globalized trading system, adapting ports in different parts of the world to the impacts of climate change is of considerable importance. Reflecting the views of a diverse group of stakeholders with expertise in climate science, engineering, economics, policy, and port management, this essay highlights the climate change challenge for ports and suggests a way forward through the adoption of some initial measures. These include both “soft” and “hard” adaptations that may be spearheaded by individual port entities, but will require collaboration and support from a broad range of public and private sector stakeholders and from society at large. In particular, the essay highlights a need to shift to more holistic planning, investment and operation.


Climate Change Adaptation Green Climate Fund Climate Change Challenge Global Port Climate Change Adaptation Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank the anonymous reviewers of this essay and the participants of the UNCTAD Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on Climate change impacts and adaptation: A challenge for global ports (29–30 September, 2011) for ideas, input, and review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Austin H. Becker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michele Acciaro
    • 2
    • 3
  • Regina Asariotis
    • 4
  • Edgard Cabrera
    • 5
  • Laurent Cretegny
    • 6
  • Philippe Crist
    • 7
  • Miguel Esteban
    • 8
  • Andrew Mather
    • 9
  • Steve Messner
    • 10
  • Susumu Naruse
    • 11
  • Adolf K. Y. Ng
    • 12
  • Stefan Rahmstorf
    • 13
  • Michael Savonis
    • 14
  • Dong-Wook Song
    • 15
  • Vladimir Stenek
    • 16
  • Adonis F. Velegrakis
    • 17
  1. 1.Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER)Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Det Norske VeritasBarumNorway
  3. 3.The Kühne Logistics UniversityHamburgGermany
  4. 4.UNCTADGenevaSwitzerland
  5. 5.World Meteorological OrganizationGenevaSwitzerland
  6. 6.KPMGCanberraAustralia
  7. 7.International Transport Forum/OECDParisFrance
  8. 8.University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  9. 9.Ethekwini MunicipalityDurbanSouth Africa
  10. 10.NextPlanSonomaUSA
  11. 11.International Association or Ports and HarborsTokyoJapan
  12. 12.I.H. Asper School of BusinessUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  13. 13.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany
  14. 14.ICF InternationalFairfaxUSA
  15. 15.School of Engineering and Built EnvironmentEdinburgh Napier UniversityEdinburghUK
  16. 16.International Finance CorporationWashingtonUSA
  17. 17.Department of Marine SciencesUniversity of the AegeanMytileneGreece

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