Thursday, July 02, 2020

Response to climate change...."Managed Retreat"

This PNAS Core Concepts article by John Carey is worth a read. Here is its beginning:
As climate change causes seas to rise and fuels ever-stronger storms and droughts, humanity faces a stark choice. Communities can seek shelter from rising waters and battering storm surges by building fortifications such as the sea walls planned in Boston or Miami. Or people can figure out how to live with the new climate reality, such as by perching homes on 10-foot stilts on the North Carolina coast to stay high and dry above surging storm waves. Or they opt for a third option that’s increasingly getting attention: “managed retreat” away from the problem area. Managed retreat is “the purposeful, coordinated movement of people and assets out of harm’s way,”
Carey notes historical examples of moving entire towns or neighborhoods to safety away from high water or highway construction...
So what’s different now? Put simply, climate change. Sea levels could climb as much as six feet or more by century’s end, inundating hundreds of coastal cities, and intense storms and floods, heat waves, and wildfires are already striking communities around the globe. Unlike in the past, the number of people who will be forced to move is likely in the hundreds of millions—more than 300 million globally by 2050 just from sea level rise alone—according to new, more precise measurements of land heights that show that more people than previously thought are living just a few feet above sea level. To meet that staggering challenge, the historical pattern of relocations—typically just a few homes at a time, largely ad hoc, and almost invariably after a disaster has left a trail of damage and destruction—is woefully inadequate, researchers say. Relocations now and in the future must be many orders of magnitude larger in number and size, and, ideally, proactive rather than reactive. That means a tremendous increase in the need for managed retreat.

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