Big Sur coastline.
Ashley Spratt, USFWS
For 50 years California has used laws and policies to manage development alongs its 1,100-mile coastline and preserve public access to the shore. Climate change will make that task harder.
The original conflict between development and preservation of natural assets is broadening as the risks of climate change become ever more obvious.
Conflicts over coastal areas have largely been between development and preserving what makes these attractive places to live. Rising sea levels are now complicating our relationship with the coast.
National Guard soldiers inspect homes in Rockaway Park, Queens, New York, after Superstorm Sandy, 2012.
Spc. Zane Craig, PA National Guard/Flickr
As Atlantic hurricane season opens on June 1, eastern U.S. cities can prepare by updating laws, codes and ordinances that hamper rebuilding after storms.
While some councils wish to take a long-term view of what can reasonably be done in the face of sea-level rises, private property owners just want their homes protected.
Many properties are at risk from rising sea levels, with owners and councils at odds over the costs of defending these. NSW law reform may lead to more forward-looking climate change adaptation.
Coastal communities around Australia are facing the rising threat of coastal erosion.
Coastal communities include 24 federal seats held by margins of 5% or less, and their local councils are pressing the Australian government to show more urgency about the impacts of climate change.
In the aftermath of 2012’s deadly Hurricane Sandy, New York launched a US$20 billion plan to defend the city against future storms as well as rising sea levels.
Managing the impacts of rising seas for some communities is being made more difficult by the actions of governments, homeowners – and even some well-intentioned climate adaptation experts.
The Curtis Island gas precinct is one of the biggest developments along the Great Barrier Reef coast.
The coast alongside the Great Barrier Reef is home to ports, farms, holiday resorts, and more than a million people. It all puts pressure on the Reef, and it's time for some firms plans to manage it.
The MV Shen Neng I spills oil onto the Great Barrier Reef in 2010. Large accidents are rare, but there is still very little monitoring of long-term chronic damage from shipping.
Port traffic near the Great Barrier Reef will more than double by 2025, as coal and other exports grow. While major incidents are rare, the chronic toll on the reef itself still remains largely unknown.
The World Heritage Committee has called for a comprehensive assessment not just of the threats to the Great Barrier Reef, but of their cumulative effect.
AAP Image/Australian Institute for Marine Science, Ray Berkelmans
The government says it has met all of the recommendations for safeguarding the Great Barrier Reef. But a close reading of the dozens of UN recommendations shows that many have been only partly fulfilled.
It’s not always as ostentatious as Dubai, but our coastlines are home to ever-growing numbers of manmade structures.
Urban sprawl has spread to the sea, as more and more man-made structures are being built along the world's coastlines. Just as we do on land, we need to think about how to build sustainably at sea.