Around the world, shoreline communities such as Norfolk, Virginia are seriously threatened by sea level rise. In previous decades, before the risks associated with climate change were widely understood, millions of dwellings were built in areas now prone to flooding. These dwellings, representing billions of dollars in investment, are occupied by billions of people. The appropriate response to rising waters is to stop making unwise settlement decisions along the shore; pursue short-term fixes that, in some coastal communities, can buy time; and retreat from the coast where necessary. In the United States, however, public policy continues to incentivize unwise development decisions, as do the practices of the finance and insurance industries. Little evidence suggests that the United States will soon alter its approach to sea level rise. Read this article in the March/April issue of the digital Journal.
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