Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast

Georgia Climate Project: What are the most cost-effective and just adaptation options for coastal hazards?

This week’s question from the Georgia Climate Project’s Roadmap has to deal with how coastal managers will have to make choices about coastal management. They will have to determine how to deal with the effects of climate change such as rising sea levels and increases in hurricane strength (although not necessarily frequency), changes in salinity from precipitation changes, and increasing ocean acidity in deciding how to manage coastal ecosystems as well as coastal communities that depend on those ecosystems for economic enterprises. You can see all the Roadmap questions at http://roadmap.georgiaclimateproject.org/.

13. What are the most ecologically sound, cost-effective, and just adaptation options to address coastal hazards due to climate change?

Why this question is important: Georgia faces increasing exposure to intensifying and compounding coastal hazards, such as extreme weather events, flooding, erosion, storm surge, and saltwater intrusion (Williams 2013). Both State and local communities need to be engaged, as some solutions may require a combination of long-term infrastructure investments, as well as local adaptations to changing conditions and risks at the land-sea interface. Local communities need data and research on the best methods to adapt to these challenges, while balancing economic development, environmental integrity, population growth, equity for citizens, and managing technical and human capacity constraints (e.g., Arkema et al. 2013). Because local governments often do not have the capacity to use raw research and scientific tools, one-on-one technical assistance will help local governments to integrate long-term adaptation methods into required planning processes in Georgia (e.g., Capital Improvement Plans, Hazards Mitigation Planning, Disaster Recovery and Redevelopment Planning).