Building Coastal Resilience for Greater U.S. Security

The Building Coastal Resilience for Greater U.S. Security project created a forum for coastal experts from the United States and globally to develop solutions for climate change impacts on coastal infrastructure, economy, communities and national security. The Hoover Institution, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars jointly convened a series of discussions to advance coastal resilience to climate change impacts by identifying knowledge gaps and establishing policy solutions.

Policy Options are articulated for both U.S. and International decision makers, as well some are related to climate Science and Risk. The domestic policy options focus on ensuring that decision makers have access to the best resources for building resilient coastal communities. The International policy options are designed to support coastal resilience in regions outside of the U.S. that are most vulnerable to climate change impacts. The following policy options are further discussed in the report (among others):

Policy Options: U.S.

  • Provide incentives to keep communities from building or staying in harm’s way through forward-looking zoning and land-use choices.
  • Update our floodplain standards.
  • Develop and promote coastal resilience planning tools, making them readily available for policy and decision-makers.
  • Make downscaled data available.
  • Provide incentives to encourage compliance with stronger building codes and increased enforcement.
  • Promote private-sector market signals that encourage coastal communities to mitigate climate risk.
  • Maintain early warning systems, and continue research and development opportunities.

Policy Options: Science and Risk

  • Continue advances in understanding sea-level rise and its associated risks, focusing on both best estimates and the full range of possible outcomes in the short and long term.
  • Make actionable the best available scientific understanding of sea-level rise and its associated risks through interactive processes, approaches, and tools geared toward decision-making.

An overview of the Science and Risk from coastal impacts of climate change includes some daunting statistics that further support the intention of this publication. The report focuses on how the risks associated with sea-level rise threaten U.S. infrastructure and security. According to the USGCRP 4th National Climate Assessment, globally, sea level has increased by about seven to eight inches since 1900, with almost half of this increase having occurred since 1993. According to NOAA, 123 million people, or 39% of the US population, lived in coastal counties as of 2010, and this is projected to increase by an additional 10 million people by 2020. 4.2 million Americans homes are projected to be at risk of inundation by 2100 under a 3 foot sea level rise scenario. The Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed the projected impacts of sea-level rise on coastal U.S. Department of Defense installations and found that a three foot rise would affect 128 installations, impacting military personnel and civilians, along with our threatening our national security. 


Publication Date: June 19, 2018

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Alice C. Hill
  • Roger-Mark De Souza
  • Christopher B. Field
  • Katharine J. Mach
  • Meaghan E. Parker


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Policy analysis/recommendations


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