City of Conway looking to buy homes damaged from flooding
Patrick Lloyd
October 15, 2018

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Conway, South Carolina, voted to extend their existing contract with FEMA to continue the home buyout program initially put into place after Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016. Homes will be bought by Conway at 75 percent of their value prior to Hurricane Matthew, the homes will be demolished, and as a preventative measure, no future homes will be built on those properties.

Read the full piece here.

Notre Dame releases climate vulnerability assessment of more than 270 US cities
Jessica Sieff
Notre Dame News
October 14, 2018

University of Notre Dame researches completed a two-year assessment of the current climate risks in over 270 US cities and created the Urban Adaptation Assessment (UAA), an open-source, free measurement and analysis tool.  The aim of the UAA is to help cities prioritize inclusive adaptation efforts for populations that are most vulnerable to climate change, as it provides projected cost and probability of climate-related hazards in 2040 alongside sub-city mapping.  Data for every city in the US and Puerto Rico with a population over 100,000 is visualized on their online platform.

Read the full piece here and view the UAA database here.

Over 5 years, Kingston makes some waterfront resiliency progress
Paul Kirby
Daily Freeman
October 13, 2018

The Kingston Tidal Waterfront Task Force, formed in 2013, developed 24 recommendations to improve waterfront resiliency in the short and long term.  Ahead of the upcoming “Waterfront Resilience Summit and High Water Festival” on October 19, the article breaks down Kingston’s progress in implementing the task force recommendations.  One indication of Kingston’s ongoing efforts and implementation successes is its Silver Certification from the state of New York for its Climate Smart Community efforts.

Read the full piece here.

One of California’s most famous surf towns is threatened by rising sea levels that could overtake beaches and million-dollar homes
Peter Kotecki
Business Insider
October 12, 2018

In addition to the threats of longer wildfire seasons and dangerous heatwaves faced by California communities, Santa Cruz is facing sea levels that are expected to rise 4 inches in the next 12 years.  Santa Cruz officials are utilizing a $360,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation to identify solutions to beach erosion, but if no solutions present themselves, there is the possibility of abandoning parts of Santa Cruz.

Read the full piece here.

Maryland Offers Climate Change Education for Leaders
Casey Leins
U.S. News & World Report
October 12, 2018

As sea level rise and flooding continue to threaten Maryland’s residents, businesses, and agriculture, the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) teamed up with the Association of Climate Change Officers to create the Maryland Climate Leadership Academy. Maryland DNR Secretary Mark Belton was interviewed to discuss the scope of the Academy and how it is designed to help decision-makers better address the impacts of climate change.

Read the full piece here.

Age of Migration 1: Time to face it
Alex Diaz Eco
The Resilience Journal
October 8, 2018

This first installment in TRJ’s two-part “Age of Migration” series explores climigration and managed-retreat through both granular and global perspectives. Interviewees Carri Hulet, Climigration Network Director; Professor Elizabeth Rush, author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore; and Mariam Traore Chazalnoël, environment and climate change specialist at the UN’s International Organization for Migration, offer specific examples and case studies from their work.

Read more here and watch the complete interview below, featuring Climigration Network Director Carri Hulet.

Climate Reports Warns Of Extreme Weather, Displacement of Millions Without Action
Christopher Joyce
October 8, 2018

The IPCC reports that the pledges made in Paris 2015 are not significant enough to prevent global warming from rising more than 1.5 °C, which would require unprecedented changes by countries around the globe.  And while the path to limiting global warming is not clear, the consequences of warming above 1.5 °C are evident and extreme.

Read the full piece here.

Why the Wilder Storms? It’s a ‘Loaded Dice’ Problem
Somini Sengupta
The New York Times
October 5, 2018

Global warming is creating more extreme, more frequent weather events, and the consequences far outlast the storms themselves.  An estimated 21 million people have been displaced by floods and storms annually in the past decade, thrice the number displaced by conflict.  From illness through economic downturn, displacement, and death, the consequences are wide-ranging and not easily avoided, even when the science is there.

Read the full piece here.

Virginia has a fund to help people prepare for sea level rise.  The only problem?  It has no money.
Peter Coutu
Virginia Pilot
October 5, 2018

Driven by FEMA’s grant backlog for properties repeatedly damaged by flooding, Virginia passed legislation in 2016 to create a loan program to help homeowners and businesses address the issues posed by sea level rise and compounded by land subsidence.  However, this legislation remains unfunded two years later. The Virginia Conservation Network is now calling for $50 million annually for the Virginia Shoreline Resiliency Fund.

Read the full piece here.

Exodus: Every Day You Become More Desperate
Anna-Catherine Brigida
The Weather Channel
October 4, 2018

This article explores the increasing difficulties faced by farmers in Central America’s Dry Corridor, as droughts become more frequent and extreme, food insecurity intensifies, and migration has risen.  This pattern seems to fall in line with the general consensus that adverse climate conditions and extreme weather drive people to migrate, especially coupled with the economic and political marginalization experienced by many Dry Corridor residents.

Read the full piece here.

From London to Shanghai, world’s sinking cities face devastating floods
Fiona Harvey
The Guardian
October 4, 2018

Ahead of the IPCC convening, a new report from Christian Aid warns that many global cities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to more extreme weather and flooding brought on by climate change.  Looking in depth at a 1.5 °C rise in eight major cities, the report argues that poor development choices are compounding vulnerabilities to climate change.

Read the full piece here.

In Poor Neighborhoods, Add Rising Seas to List of Housing Woes
Molly Peterson
October 3, 2018

In the Bay Area, rising sea level is compounding the issues of environmental contamination and housing scarcity for the economically vulnerable, many of whom are people of color.  There are calls for inclusivity and differing perspectives in how to address these community issues, with the recent Resilient By Design competition highlighting new strategies to adapt to sea level rise.

Read the full piece here.

Hurricane Florence damaged 11,000 more homes due to sea level rise
Kyla Mandel
September 25, 2018

According to new data analysis done by the First Street Foundation, 20 percent, or 11,000, of the homes damaged by Hurricane Florence are directly tied to rising sea levels since 1970.  As sea levels and the severity of storms rise, costs are also increasing, with Florence racking up billions in insured losses.  Coupled with climate change, housing development patterns in the Carolinas can be linked to the increased damages as well.

Read the full piece here.

‘We’re moving to higher ground’: America’s era of climate mass migration is here
Oliver Milman
The Guardian
September 24, 2018

Coastal states continue to face down increasing pressures due to climate change, including gradual sea level rise and dramatic weather events.  In the coming decades, hundreds of thousands of homes and millions of Americans will be threatened, but not all those who need to relocate will have the means.  This climate migration event is predicted to exceed the scale of the Great Migration; it has already begun in places such as Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana.

Read the full piece here.

Hurricane Florence’s floods caused severe property damage. Here’s a solution.
Miyuki Hino, Katharine J. Mach, and Christopher B. Field
September 19, 2018

Estimated damages from Hurricane Florence range from $17 to $22 billion; sea level rise is predicted to threaten 4 to 13 million US residents this century, with residents in coastal states such as the Carolinas already feeling the impact.  Managed retreat is one strategy in the arsenal to help mitigate the threats of climate change - a strategy the US has yet to implement comprehensively.

Read the full piece here.

Exodus: ‘I Still Feel Lost’
Marcus Stern
The Weather Channel
September 19, 2018

After tens of thousands Puerto Ricans were forced to flee their homes, the reverberations of Hurricane Maria are still felt in Puerto Rico through issues with power, water, communications, and more.  As this ordeal continues, the shortcomings in Puerto Rico’s resiliency to extreme weather events, the obstacles to FEMA’s responsiveness, and the growing potential for climate migration events in the future have been brought to light.  This article catalogues personal stories of exodus alongside coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

Read the full piece here.

Climate change: we need to start moving people away from some coastal areas, warns scientist
Luciana Esteves
The Conversation
September 13, 2018

Climate change mitigation efforts are fraught with trade-offs, and ongoing resiliency efforts are often limited in scope or unsuited for high-risk areas. In said high-risk areas, relocation presents as the safe climate-proof response. Associate Professor Esteves provides a brief analysis of relocation case studies and highlights the importance of engaging local communities from the outset and encouraging open and inclusive debate.

Read the full piece here.

North Carolina, Warned of Rising Seas, Chose to Favor Development
John Schwartz and Richard Fausset
The New York Times
September 12, 2018

As Hurricane Florence bears down on North Carolina, it is drawing national attention to a 2012 state law instructing state and local agencies charged with developing coastal policies to ignore scientific models showing accelerated sea level rise in the interest of protecting property values.  Prior to this law and the politicized nature of climate change legislation in the state, North Carolina had a legacy of progressive coastal management, and it remains a hub of some of the nation’s most advanced coastal science. 

Read the full piece here.

Many Major Airports Are Near Sea Level. A Disaster in Japan Shows What Can Go Wrong.
Hiroko Tabuchi
New York Times
September 7, 2018

25 of the world’s busiest airports are less than 10 meters above sea level, with 12 of these major hubs residing only 5 meters above sea level.  The aviation industry continues to be one of the largest contributors to climate change, and it is beginning to face the consequences, which can take the form of rising sea levels, extreme heat, increased turbulence, and severe weather events.  Many airports are putting defenses in place to mitigate the impacts of climate change, even as greenhouse gas emissions from international air travel are predicted to triple by 2050.

Read the full piece here.

Is It Too Late to Learn From Alaska’s Fight Against Climate Change?
Mary Robinson
Daily Beast
September 6, 2018

Alaskans are being forced to reckon with the consequences of climate change and continued fossil fuel emissions earlier than their neighbor states to the South due to their melting permafrost.  This year, 31 native communities across Alaska are being faced with the choice to remain in place and attempt to bolster their defenses against climate change or come up with the requisite resources to relocate their homes and lives to safer land.  While FEMA is pushing adaptation to climate change, the federal government has not yet provided plans or broad funding to aid in relocation of these communities.

Read the full excerpt from Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future, published by Bloomsbury Publishing, here.

Welcome to Virginia Beach, home of the East Coast’s fastest-rising sea level
Christina Ianzito
Washington Post
September 6, 2018

Virginia Beach, the most populous city in Virginia and longtime tourist destination, is grappling with the ever-present threat of flooding due to the fastest rate of sea-level rise on the East Coast. While some flood mitigation efforts have been put in place along the oceanfront, including an intensive sand replenishment program, sea wall, and pumping stations, it is not a complete defense and many inland locations remain vulnerable.  Like so many other coastal destinations, Virginia Beach is dealing with the conflicting priorities of implementing intensive adaptation measures and maintaining their $1.5 billion tourism industry.

Read the full piece here.

In The Absence of Federal Support, Florida ‘Future Fund’ Aims to empower Local Climate Adaptation
Kate Stein
September 5, 2018

Due to a lack of state or federal funding, the Center for American Progress and CLEO, a Miami-based non-profit, are collaborating to develop a plan for the Florida Future Fund to help address the hard consequences of climate change and rising sea level on Floridians.  The main focus of the plan are flood protection and infrastructure resiliency, with flexibility to address green energy, transportation system improvements, and tree planting. The plan, currently being shopped around to elected officials and candidates, would receive both public and private funding, with an intention to prioritize the most vulnerable communities.

Read the full piece here.

Exodus: No Place Back Home
Edgar Walters
The Weather Channel
August 24, 2018

As Texas continues to grapple with the damage done by Hurricane Harvey, the city of Rockport is struggling to bring back the roughly 20 percent of its population displaced by the storm, mostly lower-income workers that held up the local tourism economy.  Rockport must not only provide affordable housing to regain its lower-income workers but also prove able to withstand the more extreme storms and rising tides forecasted for the Texas coast in the era of climate change.

Read the full piece here.

Exodus: Hanging On
Bob Henson
The Weather Channel
August 24, 2018

Major flooding, a washed-out rail line, and a skyrocketing cost of living are weighing on the tourist-heavy economy of Churchill, Manitoba, the “polar bear capital of the world.”   While navigating these obstacles, Churchill joins the ranks of many smaller towns up the west coast of the Hudson Bay that are finding themselves semi-marooned, with no rail lines or year-round highways, in the wake of a changing climate.

Read the full piece here.

Sea Level Rise is Eroding Home Value, and Owners Might Not Even Know It
John Tibbetts and Chris Mooney
The Washington Post
August 20, 2018

Three separate studies have found evidence that coastal property values are being undermined by the threat of rising sea levels as home buyers and investors begin retreating to higher ground. Researchers discovered that properties vulnerable to sea level rise sold for at least 6.6 percent less than unexposed homes; properties at higher elevations appreciated faster than those at lower levels; and exposed homes in both Charleston and Miami-Dade County have respectively lost $266 million and $465 million in value since 2005 due to sea level rise and coastal flooding.

Read the full piece here.

Why Two Years of Historic Wildfires Haven’t Made Southern California Safer
Christopher Flavelle
Bloomberg BusinessWeek
August 15, 2018

As California continually faces devastating wildfires, regulators are struggling to balance safe and sustainable development with the intense demand to build in the midst of a dire housing crisis. Discussions of future building practices are further complicated by insurance rates that are affordable enough to encourage continued development of risky areas — an issue familiar to those within communities considering retreat from rising seas.

Read the full piece here.

Convinced erosion, not climate change, threatens their island, a community grapples with an uncertain future
Andrew J. Miller
Science Magazine
August 13, 2018

This review of Earl Swift’s “Chesapeake Requiem” — an account of the residents of Tangier Island as their homes and livelihoods are threatened by catastrophic erosion — attests to the difficulty of accepting retreat as an option when climate change denial is the norm. The Chesapeake Bay island known for its blue crab fishing has lost two-thirds of its land in the last 150 years, but residents believe that it can be saved with government-funded infrastructure.

Read the full review here.

Climate change will push millions from their homes. Where will they go?
PBS Digital Studios
August 9, 2018

This installment of PBS’s climate adaptation series, “Hot Mess”, takes a look at how global climate shifts prompted human migration 60,000 years ago, and considers the methods for adaptation and relocation today. Watch the complete episode below.

Chronic Flooding and the Future of Miami
Nicole Hernández
Union of Concerned Scientists Blog
August 2, 2018

Community organizer Paulette Richards of Miami’s Liberty City has become a vocal advocate for those experiencing climate gentrification firsthand. Before the term became commonplace, she observed it happening in her own community, and this piece covers a few of the issues that she and her community face.

Read the full piece here.

Entrench Or Retreat? That Is The Question On Plum Island
Simón Rios
August 2, 2018

Massachusetts' Plum Island plays an important barrier role for the state, and as storm events and hazards intensify, residents there are starting to hear “managed retreat” more often. The Merrimack River Beach Association allows locals to discuss adaptation measures directly with state and local officials, but a coherent approach to retreat is still far away —  and locals aren’t keen to move.

Part one of this WMBR piece came out in June. Listen to or read part two here.

‘Managed retreat’ option dropped from Surrey’s coastal flooding strategy
Alex Browne
North Delta Reporter
August 1, 2018

Managed retreat was excluded after receiving “additional feedback from directly-impacted stakeholders from Crescent Beach.” The city’s strategy will instead focus on increasing physical barriers in the imminent future.

Read the full piece here.

Surrendering to Rising Seas
Jen Schwartz
Scientific American
August 2018 Issue

With testimony from a New Jersey homeowner who played a major role in post-Sandy buyouts, this piece walks through the lengthy and difficult process of retreat for those who live through it. It also discusses how the buyout program — historically used for regular flooding in riverine communities and not as a disaster recovery method — has become a major tool in climate adaptation strategies.

Read the full piece here.

Your flood insurance premium is going up again, and that’s only the beginning
Alex Harris
Miami Herald
July 24, 2018

FEMA is considering changes to its National Flood Insurance Program that would base premiums on actual risk, slashing subsidies for many coastal communities that suffer repeated flooding. This would push flood insurance premiums up drastically, and is designed in part to dig the NFIP out of its $20 billion debt from paying out far more each year than it earns. It would also make maintaining property in high-risk areas untenable for many people, and could drastically impact coastal development.

Read the full piece here.

U.N. pact offers hope to world's climate migrants
Lin Taylor
July 19, 2018

In a recent compact designed to form an international migration strategy, the UN recognized climate change as one of the major drivers. Motivation for the compact began in part after the European migration crisis of 2015, which included “the biggest influx of refugees and migrants since World War Two”. Hungary and the U.S. are the only two countries, as of July 20, to not sign on to the agreement. 

Read the full piece here.

Is It Time to Retreat From the Sea? A Q&A With Elizabeth Rush
Sophie Kasakove
The Nation
July 9, 2018

This interview with the author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore walks through the motivations for the book and the state of retreat nation-wide, from the perspective of the communities at risk.

Read the full interview here.

‘Climate Gentrification’ Will Deepen Urban Inequality
Richard Florida
July 5, 2018

Covering a recent report by researchers at Harvard University, this piece teases out the major avenues hypothesized for climate gentrification in Miami — where investors begin focusing capital in higher elevations; when climate change increases the cost of living, it pushes out the less affluent; and as areas are made more resilient, they become more appealing to higher-earners, pushing lower-earners out.

Read the full piece here.

Miami Faces an Underwater Future
Carolyn Kormann
The New Yorker
July 3, 2018

This article lays out the far-reaching socioeconomic impacts of climate change, and the complexity of populations retreating into less affluent areas, threatening further displacement — a phenomenon described as climate gentrification. Focusing on Miami, the two videos below document the personal side of these struggles.

Read the full piece here.

Climate Change Breaks Landscapes. She Remakes Them.
By Rachel Hartigan Shea
National Geographic
July 2018 issue

Landscape architect Kate Orff, a recent recipient of the MacArthur “genius” award, is working with New York State to redesign the south shore of Staten Island, after it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The design approach of Orff’s firm, Scape, is to create “living breakwaters” along the shore that will return the land to a natural marine habitat, while also providing public spaces.

Read the full piece here.

The project sits amidst an ongoing discussion about retreat by the residents of Staten Island, who since Sandy have been painfully considering the costs of staying or leaving. Some of their stories were profiled within the following New Yorker video, made in 2014.

Britain's biggest butterfly threatened by rising seas
Patrick Barkham
The Guardian
June 29, 2018

While retreat often comes up in terms of human or economic cost, it can also be an ecological effort. In this case, the British swallowtail’s coastal habitat is threatened by rising seas — if the land is turned into saltmarshes, the swallowtail caterpillar’s only food source wouldn’t survive. grow. Naturalists are considering how to relocate the swallowtail’s habitat inland as part of a larger “nature recovery network”.

Read the full piece here.

The Human Cost of Climate Change
Felipe Calderon
June 29, 2018

In this op-ed, Felipe Calderon — the former President of Mexico and Honorary Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate — anticipates retreat as a necessary adaptation strategy to rising sea levels. He emphasizes that effective migration requires accommodations for not just housing, but labor and resiliency within the receiving communities as well.

Read the full piece here.

Coastal resilience linked to national security
Rob Jordan, Stanford University
June 27, 2018

In a recently published white paper discussing policy measures to adapt to sea level rise, the authors point out that increased flooding can be a national security threat, given the proximity of many military bases to coastal areas. The paper is based on discussions with the Hoover Institution, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and considers how retreat might be coupled with national security preparedness, among other policy concerns.

Read the full piece here.

Coastal Communities, Watch Out: Sea Level Rise Threatens Your Homes
Anthony Brooks
June 21, 2018

The Union of Concerned Scientists has issued a report that estimates over 311,000 coastal homes “are at risk of chronic flooding due to sea-level rise over the next 30 years”, spanning properties that total $117.5 billion. Despite this impact, the UCS report argues that it’s not reflected in coastal real estate markets, preventing appropriate response from investors to homeowners.

Read the full piece here.

Public to have say on 'managed retreat' of Matata for safety reasons
Matt Shand
June 19, 2018

As dozens of coastal properties in Matata, New Zealand could be abandoned in light of “high loss-of-life risk”, some owners feel forced into selling after prior plans to protect them from flooding never came through. There are talks to gather central and regional funds to buy out homeowners at market value excluding flood risk, but the entire plan will be up in the air until a public submission window closes in September.

Read the full piece here.

Why people choose to stay in areas vulnerable to natural disasters
Journalist’s Resource | Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
By Chloe Reichel
June 18, 2018

By showcasing some of the major issues journalists face when covering communities that are considering or in the midst of retreat, this piece covers the human angle of climate change research, and discusses how to move from “doom and gloom” to motivating informed individuals.

Read the full piece here.

The dirty word in South Florida’s watery future: retreat
Jeff Goodell
South Florida Sun Sentinel
June 17, 2018

This opinion piece covers the “un-American” reputation of retreat in fast-growing metropolitan regions such as in the Miami area, and how politically problematic the issue can be when all other civic discourse focuses on growth, expansion, reliability and resilience. The piece also references a study by Mathew Hauer, on the geographic implications of climate-induced migration patterns, that can be found in our Reports section.

Read the full piece here.

Hawaii Gets Explicit about Sea-Level Rise
Jared Brey
Next City
June 14, 2018

Hawaii now requires that all future developments include sea-level rise analysis as an explicit part of their environmental impact statements. This could perpetuate ongoing trends of developers focusing further inland, even as the market still deems waterfront property highly valuable.

Read the full piece here.

How will people move as climate changes?
Earth Institute, Columbia University
June 14, 2018

This piece reports on a new study published by the journal Environmental Research Letters that tries to create a better model for predicting the number of so-called “climate migrants” in the near future, and where they may go. Focusing the study on Bangladesh, where an estimated 2 million people could be displaced by 2100 due to “permanent inundation by rising sea levels alone”, the authors of the study integrated climate impacts into a preexisting, “universal” model for human mobility. Pointing to the regional urban impacts of climate change, their study expresses the inevitable role larger cities will play in accommodating climate risks.

Read the full piece here.

U.S. Cities Need to Plan for an Influx of Internal Climate Migrants
Victoria Herrmann
Scientific American
June 6, 2018

This opinion piece makes the case for cities anticipating the stresses of migration, both in and out, due to climate change. Major cities often become the destination for populations forced out of other communities due to disasters or imminent climate risks, stressing public resources, while those that directly face those risks may need to include a coordinated exit strategy alongside climate adaptation measures.

Read the full piece here.

The Places in the U.S. Where Disaster Strikes Again and Again
Sahil Chinoy
The New York Times
May 24, 2018

By mapping the areas hit most frequently by natural disasters in the U.S., this piece questions the use of federal funds for rebuilding these areas, time and time again. The vast majority of losses from natural disasters occur in areas that account for less than 20 percent of the U.S. population. A series of infographics show the costs of the destruction, and timelines of the disasters.

Read the full piece here.

Buying out 400 Crescent Beach homes an option for Surrey as sea levels rise
CBC News
May 23, 2018

An interview with city engineer for Surrey, B.C., places managed retreat as the most prudent option for the community, which is projected to experience flooding of more than 6 feet due to sea level rise. While not necessary for a few decades yet, engineer Matt Osler believes it’s the best option economically and sustainably for the town, with the area eventually being turned into a wetland.

Read the full piece here.

Assessing Exposure to Climate Risk in U.S. Municipalities
Nik Steinberg
Four Twenty Seven
May 22, 2018

Four Twenty Seven, a “market intelligence and advisory firm specialized in the economic risk of climate change”, has created their own local climate risk score to try and identify the areas most at-risk. It also considers “economic sensitivities” that could intensify vulnerability to climate hazards, as a factor to consider for municipal credit analysis. According to 427, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida are the most at-risk of hazards related to sea level rise, with the California Bay Area and Pacific Northwest also ranking as “highly exposed”.

The report detailing their process and outcomes can be found in our Reports section.

Read the full piece here.

If You Can’t Censor It, Bury It: DOI Tries to Make a Stark New Study on Rising Seas Invisible
Adam Markham
Union of Concerned Scientists blog
May 21, 2018

A report by the National Park Service, projecting the impact of future sea levels and storm surges on 118 US national parks, became the subject of controversy prior to its publication due to proposed deletions of references to humanity’s causal role in climate change. The potentially deleted bits were restored for final publication, but only after DOI Secretary was questioned about it during a House Appropriations subcommittee. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the report was also published with little publicity — no press release or official announcement was issued, and the Union contends that there is “no easy way to find it unless you know where to look”. The report details landmarks that are at-risk due to rising seas — for more information, you can find the full report in our Reports section.

Read the full piece here.

Norfolk Wants to Remake Itself as Sea Level Rises, but Who Will Be Left Behind?
Nicholas Kusnetz
Inside Climate News
May 21, 2018

Norfolk, Virginia has some of the most flood-prone areas in the U.S., with sea level rise rates about twice the global average, coming in at 6 inches in the last 25 years. It’s also home to the country’s largest naval base, and most of the city rests no more than 15 feet above sea level. To try and build out of their vulnerable position, the city is considering a holistic master plan that integrates climate adaptation with economic development, and focuses on turning the city into a tech hub for future coastal solutions. Some are also concerned that development will leave lower-income residents behind, as some neighborhoods may inevitably be left to the rising sea.

Read the full piece here.


Del Mar considers unpopular 'planned retreat' strategy due to rising sea level
Phil Diehl
Los Angeles Times
May 20, 2018

Homeowners in the beachfront community of Del Mar, California, where properties can sell for over $5 million, are hesitant to consider managed retreat options, despite the California Coastal Commission’s requirement that cities have an adaptation plan for sea level rise that includes managed retreat as an option. Insistent that the city has an obligation to protect their properties from rising seas, many homeowners prefer other adaptation strategies such as beefing up the seawall and sand replenishment — however, if the city doesn’t also consider retreat, the Commission could refuse to allow the city to fund these alternatives. Moving forward, the city has decided to treat retreat as the last option of many.

Read the full piece here.

'Valued at zero': WA coastal dwellers face financial ruin as sea rises
Emma Young
WA Today
May 9, 2018

The Shire of Gingin, a coastal community in Western Australia with an eroding coastline, is facing a difficult future of near-obligatory managed retreat. State policy nearly dictates retreat as a necessary response to coastal erosion, and while funds may be available for acquiring residents property, relocating them is likely not on the bill.

Read the full piece here.

‘Managed retreat’ long-term approach to erosion
Murray Robertson
Gisborne Herald
May 8, 2018

Facing debilitating erosion along the coast, the New Zealand beachfront community of Wainui has concluded that the only viable solution is managed retreat. While the infrastructure administrators in the town seem set on retreat, there isn’t yet a plan in place for how to actually do so.

Read the full piece here.

America’s Last-Ditch Climate Strategy of Retreat Isn’t Going So Well
Christopher Flavelle
Bloomberg News
May 2, 2018

Retreat was set into motion in Sidney, NY seven years ago, after two particularly disastrous floods convinced many residents that rebuilding wasn’t simply a reliable option. Since then, despite a community willing to be bought out and the federal funds to do so, things have progressed slowly and unreliably. Residents becoming increasingly frustrated by their perceived lack of a coherent structure to federal retreat proceedings, especially as they see the community hemorrhage homeowners as some can no longer wait out the retreat process.

Read the full piece here.

Scary climate change scenario for Asia-Pacific
Rudy Romero
Manila Standard
May 1, 2018

A joint report issued by the Asian Development Bank, a major financier of rebuilding efforts post-disaster, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research anticipate immense pressures on housing and migration in Asian and the Pacific, due to increased hazards from climate change. This piece lays out some of its main points in reference to the Philippines; the whole report can be found in the Reports section.

Read the full piece here.

Forced to Move: Climate Change Already Displacing U.S. Communities
Benjamin Goulet
April 26, 2018

This piece contextualizes two retreating communities in the U.S. — Shishmaref in Alaska and Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana — within the global context of climate-related retreat events, such as migration between African countries provoked by drought.

Read the full piece here.

North County Report: Coastal Commission Says No Walking Back From Managed Retreat
Ruarri Serpa
Voices of San Diego
April 18, 2018

This piece provides brief updates on how the cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside and Del Mar are enacting forms of managed retreat policy. Del Mar, for example, was compelled by the California Coastal Commission to include managed retreat as an option in its coastal planning, or could otherwise “lose local control of development". This accompanies property owners fretting that merely mentioning the words “managed retreat” would compromise property values.

Read the full piece here.

Want to Fight Sea Level Rise? Look to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach
Matt Simon
April 11, 2018

San Francisco’s Ocean Beach is slowly eroding thanks to sea-level rise, threatening the loss of the beloved public space as well as encroaching upon a nearby highway. In order to maintain the use of the space and adapt to higher sea levels, the city is trucking sand back onto the beach and planning to convert half of the highway into a trail. These tactics are a small step in a constantly evolving, longer term retreat plan for the beach.

Read the full piece here.

Crunch time for homeowners in Whanganui's flood-prone Anzac Parade
Laurel Stowell
Wanganui Chronicle
April 3, 2018

Horizons, a regional council in New Zealand, has adopted a ten-year plan to combat flooding that includes managed retreat as a proposed option. Retreat would be voluntary, with homeowners able to either have their home moved (within Horizons’ allowance) or razed. To pay for it, they’ve proposed starting a “retreat fund” of $50,000 for its first year. Whatever precise decision is made about retreat would have to be the same adopted throughout the entire region.

Read the full piece here.

This Entire Island May Have to Be Raised Up to Counter Rising Sea
Anne C. Mulkern (E&E News reporter)
Scientific American
March 29, 2018

By 2050, the residents of picturesque Balboa Island in southern California stand to face chronic flooding of more than a foot. Plans for a higher sea wall are in the works, but only as a short-term solution. In the long term, projections are dire enough that a plan is currently being developed to physically lift the island by anywhere between 2 to 4 feet by 2100 — homes, streets and sea walls included. In the relatively conservative region, local governments are hesitant to discuss climate change outright, while residents fear that their property values will suffer from adaptations.

Read the full piece here.

Houston Speculators Make a Fast Buck From Storm’s Misery
Simon Romero
New York Times
March 23, 2018

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, some Houston residents are trying to flip storm-damaged homes in areas literally developed to flood. This piece from the New York Times focuses on the suburb of Canyon Gate, built in an Army Corps of Engineers reservoir during the 1990s, meaning that “nearly every one of the 721 homes there is destined to flood again”. Ironically, the area is not considered part of FEMA’s 100-year floodplain, so flood insurance isn’t required. Banking on Houston’s recovery, flippers are able to resell to investors looking for a cheap buy-in, although perhaps not fully aware of the high risk of more flood damage. The speculative environment has also caused some strife within the community of Canyon Gate.

Read the full piece here.

Wave of Climate Migration Looms, but It “Doesn't Have to Be a Crisis”
Andrea Thompson
Scientific American
March 23, 2018

A recent report released by the World Bank predicts that by the middle of the 21st century, more than 140 million people will have to resettle somewhere in their home country due to climate change. Focused on the regions of sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia and Latin America, the report’s prediction is based on continuing trends of global warming and migration.

Read the full piece here.

State is buying Isle de Jean Charles relocation site for $11.7 million
Mark Schleifstein | The Times-Picayune
March 20, 2018

The fewer than 100 residents of Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana have the somber distinction of being “the first community in the nation to receive federal assistance to retreat en masse from the effects of climate change.” After receiving millions from the National Disaster Resilience Competition to help relocate the entire community to higher ground, a new site has finally been purchased to house them — for $11.7 million, 515 acres in Terrebonne Parish will become the new home for Isle de Jean Charles. Before they move in 2019 though, residents will have to last through potentially two more hurricane seasons and persistent flooding due to erosion, subsidence and rising sea levels.

Read the full piece here.

Climate Change Could Force Over 140 Million to Migrate Within Countries by 2050
World Bank
March 19, 2018

The report identifies "hotspots" of migration due to climate impacts in three major developing regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Without decisive action in these areas, over 140 million people could become "climate migrants" by 2050 — however, that number could be reduced by nearly 80 percent through a coordinated planning approach.

Read the full report here.

Running from the sea: How mass relocation could save coastal communities video
Dominic Harris
March 2, 2018

Ex-tropical cyclones Fehi and Gita hit New Zealand in February, making some residents in the communities of Westport, Granity and Hector question their futures on the remote coastline. As some face the question of leaving, others double down and refuse to ever leave. While the potential for managed retreat has been posed, coordinated funding and action among national, local and community-based leaders isn’t fully clear, leaving residents in a lurch.

Read the full piece here.

Left to Louisiana’s Tides, a Village Fights for Time
Tristan Baurick, Kevin Sack, Mark Schleifstein, John Schwartz, and Sara Sneath
New York Times and | The Times Picayune
February 24, 2018

Lafitte, just south of New Orleans, is one of many Louisiana coastal towns racing against time to safeguard its residents as the land disappears from underneath them, thanks to rising seas, subsidence and erosion. But its longtime mayor, Timothy P. Kerner, has been fighting for more investment in the area, hoping that strengthening the small town’s role in Louisiana’s culture and economy will help pay its way along the dire infrastructural investment necessary to keep it afloat. This longform piece, a collaboration between the New York Times and / The Times Picayune, lays out the complicated and contentious calculus of investing public funds in local causes that are nearly certain to fail, while those most affected refuse to stop fighting.

Read the full piece here.

Figuring out what land will be underwater in 20 years could be lucrative
Brad Plumer
New York Times
February 23, 2018

There is no infallible guidebook for companies trying to adapt to climate change, but one Silicon Valley startup is trying to provide better risk assessment tools given long-term climate trends and local weather data. Jupiter, founded in 2017, hopes that providing climate risk predictions specific to their clients in the short term (10-20 years) and at a hyper-local level will help them keep a competitive edge, despite scientists’ warnings of the unreliability of such predictions. This piece looks at Jupiter’s work for Xebec Realty in Charleston, S.C., as it considers expanding its logistical centers in areas at risk of flooding.

Read the full piece here.

The case for preventing climate gentrification
Michael Caballero
February 13, 2018

An emerging fallout of climate-based migration is the potential for so-called “climate gentrification” — where people are driven out of vulnerable, high-risk areas and move into less vulnerable or highly resilient urban areas, thereby promoting investment and gentrifying them. The theory resonates particularly in Miami, where inland communities that were historically the victims of redlining are now seeing more development, potentially fueling further speculative investment on the highly-vulnerable coastline. This op-ed, written by a chair of the U.S. Green Building Council Miami, discusses one potential salve for climate gentrification: training local women and minority-owned businesses in the high-resiliency areas to receive sustainable and resilient building accreditation. That way, they may be better prepared to advocate for sustainable development in their neighborhoods.

Read the full piece here.

Budget deal a windfall for mitigating sea-level rise
Arianna Skibell
E&E News
February 9, 2018

As part of a two-year budget deal passed by the U.S. Congress, nearly $100 billion will go towards disaster recovery, including $12 billion explicitly tagged for addressing future risks — the most ever specifically allocated to “hazard mitigation”. Without mentioning climate change, the budget also takes note of allocating these funds as a defense towards impending sea level rise. This piece lays out a few details from the budget agreement, and how it might affect state and federal planning for mitigation.

Read the full piece here.

Managed Retreat
99% Invisible Producers
January 30, 2018

In 1999, the city of Buxton, NC successfully moved its beloved lighthouse over half a mile inland to save it from encroaching sea-levels. The so-called “move of the millennium” was the result of a political battle that began in the 1970s over how to protect the lighthouse from falling into the sea — a struggle intensified by the strong cultural presence of the lighthouse within Buxton’s community. This story of managed retreat might not include relocated citizens, but the struggles and conflicts are nonetheless the same, and much can be learned from Buxton’s process.

To listen to (or read) the entire story, click here.

How to Save a Town From Rising Waters
Michael Isaac Stein
January 24, 2018

The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Native Americans have been called “America’s first climate refugees”, referring to the ongoing retreat effort for their community of 99 in Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. More than two years ago, the community was approved for relocation en masse to an entirely new town — but nothing has materialized yet. This long-read gives an overview of the myriad issues affecting the community, many of which are endemic to managed retreat conversations in the United States.

Read the full piece here.

Climate change is triggering a migrant crisis in Vietnam
Alex Chapman and Van Pham Dang Tri
The Conversation
January 18, 2018

Climate change can have a drastic impact on economic prosperity, and for those who live directly off the land, it can be ruinous. This piece looks at how rising levels of salt water in a Mekong Delta farming community decimated crop yields, pushing many into poverty or forcing them to move elsewhere. In the last decade, the Delta has lost nearly 10% of its population to migration.

Read the full piece here.

Could an algorithm help find the right place to resettle refugees?
James Vincent
The Verge
January 18, 2018

A significant complementary discussion to managed retreat is relocation — how can individuals become established in a new community after being displaced by climate change? In the U.S., deciding where to relocate refugees depends solely on capacity, but a new algorithm explained in the journal Science is after a more refined method. Using historical data linking biographical information to employment statistics, the algorithm makes a placement recommendation based on the highest possibility of finding a job. While it hasn’t been used on the ground, researchers hope the algorithm will help highlight clear places of improvement in refugee policy.

Read the full piece here.

Climate change will displace millions of people. Where will they go?
Tiffany Challe
January 5, 2018

After Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean island of Barbuda in September of 2017, it was rendered uninhabitable. The 1,700 residents are still stuck on the neighboring island of Antigua, where they were relocated, while rebuilding efforts are underway. This case of massive climate-based relocation was just one instance taken up by “Climate Change Impacts: Relocation to Safer Ground”, a discussion of the complexities inherent to retreat strategies in climate adaptation. Hosted by Columbia University’s Earth Institute this past December, the panel can be viewed in full here.

Read the full piece here.

Louisiana Says Thousands Should Move From Vulnerable Coast, But Can't Pay Them
Tegan Wendland
January 4, 2018

In Louisiana, where coastlines are disappearing faster than nearly anywhere else in the world, conversations about retreat have become relatively common. And while the state has a buyout program, there just isn’t the money to enact it — including the billions from settling with BP over their 2010 oil spill, specifically tagged for coastal restoration. Without a means to retreat’s end, Louisiana hasn’t yet revealed which homes would qualify for buyouts, leaving some homeowners to hope that the next storm is big enough to match the funds they need to move.

Read the full piece here.


Climate Change Is Driving People From Home. So Why Don’t They Count as Refugees?
Somini Sengupta
The New York Times
December 21, 2017

Under current law, those displaced by climate change aren’t considered refugees. While some countries establish temporary exceptions for those affected by extreme disasters, advocates and academics are pushing for a renewed legal definition, even as fears that opening up the issue for discussion could diminish current protections. Interest in renegotiating the definition is also spurred by a recent paper, suggesting that asylum seekers in Europe increased alongside increases in the temperatures of their home countries.

Read the full piece here.

Miami residents fear 'climate gentrification' as investors seek higher ground
Carolyn Beeler
December 19, 2017

Being out of the floodplain doesn’t exclude some communities from fear of climate change-induced displacement. In the relatively high-ground Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami, recent real estate development has some residents fearful that rising tides will prompt more outsiders to move into their neighborhood, potentially pricing them out. So-called “climate gentrification” needs further study, but it’s already apparent that climate change will influence development decisions.

Read the full piece here.

Stay or go? People under climate pressure must be able to choose
Jan Kellett
December 18, 2017

Identifying the root cause of displacement and migration is never simple. Even in communities under clear threat of climate change, migration isn’t necessarily done because of it. This piece by Jan Kellett, Special Advisor for External Engagement within the climate, disaster and energy team of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), unpacks the significance of how policy treats the causal relationship between climate change and migration. Kellett’s full report on the issue, co-produced by the UNDP and the Overseas Development Institute, can be found here.

Read the full piece here.

Climate change will displace millions in coming decades. Nations should prepare now to help them
Gulrez Shah Azhar, Pardee RAND Graduate School
San Francisco Chronicle
December 18, 2017

By the mid-21st century, climate change is estimated to displace between 150 and 300 million people. Such “climate migrants” must be considered on the global stage, but before regulations can be put in place on how to manage this emerging population, they must be defined. What precisely does it mean to be a climate migrant, or climate refugee? Gulrez Shah Azhar, a PhD candidate at the RAND Graduate School, raises these questions in a piece for The Conversation, an “independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts”, published by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Read the complete piece here.

'Where is the justice?' ask climate 'refugees', sidelined from global deal
Lin Taylor
December 6, 2017

This year, the United Nations plans to broker talks on global migration — but in early December of 2017, the U.S. pulled out of the voluntary agreement. This now means that low-lying states and regions vulnerable to climate change will be left out of the discussion, bringing particular concern to Pacific Islanders who already face climate-induced migration. Now, campaign groups representing such excluded parties are drafting a declaration for the U.N. to “recognize climate change as a key driver of migration.”

Read the full piece here.