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Climate change and coastal management on Europe's coast

  • Robert J. Nicholls
  • Richard J.T. Klein
Part of the Environmental Science book series (ENVSCIENCE)

Abstract

Climate change and sea-level rise due to human emissions of greenhouse gases is expected to accelerate through the 21st Century. Even given substantial reductions in these emissions, sea-level rise will probably be significant through the 21st Century and beyond. This poses a major challenge to long-term coastal management. While Europe has a high adaptive capacity, climate change will produce problems that have not been faced previously, and solutions need to be reconciled with the wider goals of coastal management. A recent European survey of the current response to sea-level rise and climate change shows a few countries engaged in proactive planning, while most are ignoring the issue, or only beginning to recognise its significance. While a proactive response should minimise the actual impacts and need for reactive responses, ignoring sea-level rise and climate change will almost certainly increase vulnerability.

A common theme that emerges is the need for more impact and vulnerability assessment that is relevant to coastal management needs. This should include the consequences of sea-level rise and climate change on coastal areas from the local to the European scale. This will require continued development of broad-scale assessment methods for coastal management. It is also important to assess coastal adaptation and management as a process rather than just focus on the implementation of technical measures. Lastly, the uncertainties of climate change suggest that management should have explicit goals, so that the success or failure of their achievement should be regularly monitored and the management approach adjusted as appropriate.

Keywords

Coastal Zone Coastal Management Integrate Coastal Zone Management Shoreline Management Coastal Adaptation 
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.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Nicholls
  • Richard J.T. Klein

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