Climate change adaptation in coastal cities: insights from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Thomas, Melanie, King, David, and Fidelman, Pedro (2012) Climate change adaptation in coastal cities: insights from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. International Journal of Climate Change: impacts and responses, 3 (2). pp. 107-127.

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Coastal cities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with sea level rise and extreme flood events predicted to impact critical infrastructure for a wide range of socioeconomic activities. In Australia, for example, it is estimated that more than A$226 billion in residential, commercial, industrial, and road and rail assets are exposed to future coastal climate hazards. The coastline adjacent to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in the state of Queensland will be exposed to increased inundation under climate change scenarios from both sea level rise and extreme weather events such as floods and cyclones. This has been evidenced by the impacts from the 2010–2011 floods and 2011 Tropical Cyclone Yasi. In this context, governments at all levels, from local to national, in Australia and elsewhere, have been adopting strategies to protect coastal assets that incorporate climate change. In general, these strategies fall into four categories: 1) do nothing, 2) retreat, 3) defend and 4) adapt. This paper examines the value of these four adaptation approaches by reviewing strategies from several international jurisdictions. To gain further insights into the value of the key coastal policy responses to climate change, the case study of coastal cities along the GBR is examined. It was concluded that because the approaches analysed (do nothing, retreat, defend and adapt) have different rationales and feature both weakness and strengths, a combination of such approaches would provide the best option for climate change adaptation in the GBR and in other jurisdictions.

Item ID: 24806
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1835-7156
Keywords: coastal adaptation, climate change, sea level rise, coastal city, policy, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2013 05:17
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
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