Can California coastal managers plan for sea-level rise in a cost-effective way?

Last modified: 
August 30, 2016 - 1:45am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2016
Date published: 01/2016
Authors: Philip King, Aaron McGregor, Justin Whittet
Journal title: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
Volume: 59
Issue: 1
Pages: 98 - 119
ISSN: 0964-0568

This paper examines five representative sites on the California coast to illustrate a cost-effective methodology using tools and data that local decision makers can apply to analyse the economics of sea level rise (SLR) adaptation. We estimate the costs/benefits of selected responses (e.g. no action, nourishment, seawalls) to future flooding and erosion risks exacerbated by SLR. We estimate the economic value of changes to public/private property, recreational and habitat value, and beach related spending/tax revenues. Our findings indicate that the costs of SLR are significant but uneven across communities, and there is no single best strategy for adaptation. For example, Los Angeles's Venice Beach could lose $450 million in tourism revenue by 2100 with a 1.4 m SLR scenario while San Francisco's Ocean Beach would lose $80 million, but the impacts to structures could total nearly $560 million at Ocean Beach compared to $50 million at Venice Beach.

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