Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Coastal Zone: Law and Policy Considerations

Chad J. McGuire

March 26, 2013 by Routledge
Reference - 232 Pages - 20 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781466559806 - CAT# K15866


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  • Contains information drawn from the author’s more than 15 years of experience in the environmental management field
  • Presents a holistic understanding of the difficult cross-field complexities facing policy-makers related to coastal planning at a particularly crucial time, as sea levels are on the rise
  • Offers tool-based strategies
  • Includes illustrative case studies


For as long as humans have been inhabiting coastal areas and recording what occurs in their environments, coastal zones have been defined through dynamic interactions. And this is further underlined by a more recent development: observed sea level rise. In a thorough but not overly technical approach, Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Coastal Zone: Law and Policy Considerations provides a legal-policy framework for facing the challenges of sea level rise.

The book includes an analysis of sea level rise adaptation strategies that examines the legal impacts of coastal land use decisions based on the current interpretation of private property rights in relation to public control over those rights. The author discusses the science behind sea level rise and highlights policy complexities and options. He then presents an overview of related legalities, and bringing it all together, applies the principles offered in the book, concluding with strategies and solutions and a perspective on the future.

If we accept the premise that sea level rise is occurring and will continue for the foreseeable future, then we must begin to consider policy responses to this risk in coastal regions. Part of any pragmatic policy response must include a review of the options available to public institutions when developing and implementing rational adaptation policies. This book offers practical legal/policy approaches to sea level rise adaptation that promotes sound planning in the face of climate change and rising seas.