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February 17, 2022

Rising Seas Expose Weakness in Federal Coastal Strategy

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

New projections of dramatically accelerated sea-level rise are prompting questions about the scale of the federal response needed to protect entire coastlines and whether the U.S. military’s engineering arm has the appropriate marching orders, reports Greenwire.

“We haven’t thought at this scale in quite a long time as a nation,” said Martin Doyle, director of the Nicholas Institute's Water Policy Program. “We’re not talking about an individual seawall or a 50-acre coastal restoration, we’re talking about entire coastlines.”

A NOAA-led report released earlier this week finds seas could rise by up to a foot nationally by 2050 — triggering a “profound” increase in coastal flooding even in the absence of stronger storms and extreme rainfall — and potentially by up to 2 feet by 2100, depending on greenhouse gas emissions trajectories.