Climate Change and Coastal Resilience

11:00-14:00 UTC | 06:00-09:00 US Eastern Time (UTC-5) | 19:00-22:00 Beijing Time (UTC+8)   
   Monday, 14 December 2020


Serious concerns continue to mount about the consequences associated with accelerated global warming and the urgent need to mitigate and adapt for the challenges facing society (Ripple et al., 2019). The World Meteorological Organization (2019) is one of many sources that summarize the economic losses associated with tropical cyclones and hurricanes, floods and landslides. Climate variability has driven catastrophic wildfires on several continents, food insecurity, increased risk of climate-related illness. Increasing sea temperatures and biogeochemical changes such as oxygen loss, increasing acidity and harmful algal blooms endanger marine life and coastal ecosystems.

Low-lying coastal areas at less than 10m above current sea-level are home to approximately 10% of the world's population or 680+ million people (IPCC 2019). These areas are particularly vulnerable to relative sea-level rise (including both sea-level rise and subsidence), more frequent intense storms that increase wave action and coastal erosion. These processes result in habitat reduction, loss of biodiversity and significant impacts to the well-being of communities and economic development. Frequently these impacts are not equitably distributed with the most at-risk being vulnerable people who are place-bound by culture or poverty, requiring principles of climate justice to be considered in strategies.

There are numerous universal technical questions, including:

  1. How should sea-level rise be accounted for in coastal zone planning and how should the joint probabilities of high tides, storm surge, wave runup and setup, pluvial flooding and fluvial flooding be integrated with projections of sea-level rise?

  2. How should cost-benefit analyses be structured to account for property damage, disruption to businesses, fisheries, tourism and loss of other ecosystem services?

  3. How can innovative nature-based solutions (NBS) or 'working with nature' approaches to protect, preserve and enhance coastal communities be assessed in objective comparisons with traditional gray infrastructure? These NBS solutions can offer multiple benefits such as recovering ecological functions, carbon sequestration ('Blue carbon'), protection of critical infrastructure and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of shorelines. These projects integrate environmental values rather than being a mitigation aspect of a coastal protection project. Perhaps most significantly these projects offer innovative 'green' finance opportunities or generation of multiple benefits that attract diverse funding sources.

This session explores the scientific and engineering challenges of resilient solutions to coastal management and the innovative nature-based solutions being considered.


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Peter Goodwin

David Wegner

Katarzyna Rzucidlo

Ricky C. P. Wong

Bregje van Wesenbeeck

Ming Li

Hitoshi Tanaka

Pengzhi Lin

Ana García Fletcher


Peter Goodwin


I. Opening Remarks (5 mins each)

  1. Peter Goodwin, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, USA

II. Keynote Speeches (20 mins each)

  1. Preparing for a Future of Significant Change
    David Wegner, National Academy of Sciences, Water Science Technology Board; Woolpert Engineering, USA

  2. Reinventing Infrastructure - WITHIN A BRODER ADAPTATION PLANNING
    Katarzyna Rzucidlo, GCF Senior Specialist for Resilient Infrastructure, Green Climate Fund

III. Panelist Presentation (10 mins each)

  1. Challenges after experiencing two extreme typhoons in 2017 and 2018 in Hong Kong
    Ricky C. P. Wong, Deputy Head of the Civil Engineering Office (Port and Land), Civil Engineering and Development Department, Hong Kong SAR Government, Hong Kong, China

  2. Implementation of nature-based solutions: from science to practice
    Bregje van Wesenbeeck – “Green and grey infrastructure for coastal resilience: what works where?”, Deltares, Netherlands

  3. Opportunities and challenges in building coastal resiliency in estuaries and bays under a changing climate
    Ming Li, University of Maryland, US (on US National Research Needs)

  4. Beach erosion in Japan: past, present and future
    Hitoshi Tanaka, Tohoku University, Japan (former APD chair)

  5. Enhancing coastal resilience in China
    Pengzhi LIN, Sichuan University, China (IAHR Council Member)

  6. Spanish Experience in the Management of Coastal Protection Considering: The Effects of Climate Change

    Ana Patricia Garcia Fletcher, General Directorate for Coasts, Spain

IV. Discussion led by Session chair (40 mins)

V. Closing Remarks (10 mins)

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