The case for retreat in the battle against climate change

The case for retreat in the battle against climate change
A new paper led by a A.R. Siders of the University of Delaware states that communities should plan for retreat in some cases from areas that are flood- or fire- or hurricane-prone and adjust their building codes and services as needed. Credit: NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)

When it comes to climate change, moving people and development away from at-risk areas can be viewed, not as a defeat, but as a smart strategy that allows communities to adapt and thrive.

That's the case for carefully planned "managed retreat" made by three environmental researchers in an article published Aug. 22 in the Policy Forum section of the journal Science. The article was written by lead author A.R. Siders of the University of Delaware, with co-authors Miyuki Hino and Katharine J. Mach of Stanford University and the University of Miami.

"We need to stop picturing our relationship with nature as a war," said Siders, who is a core faculty member of UD's Disaster Research Center and an assistant professor of public policy and administration and of geography.

"We're not winning or losing; we're adjusting to changes in nature. Sea levels rise, storms surge into flood plains, so we need to move back."

Moving away from coastal and other endangered areas usually occurs after disaster strikes, she said, with emergency evacuations and their aftermath often handled inefficiently and haphazardly. Instead, the researchers argue that retreating from those areas should be done thoughtfully, with planning that is strategic as well as managed.

The case for retreat in the battle against climate change
There are many ways to manage retreat, enabling people and communities to achieve their goals. Credit: Kate Marx

"Retreat is a tool that can help achieve societal goals like community revitalization, equity and sustainability if it is used purposefully," Siders said. "People sometimes see retreat as defeatist, but I see it as picking your battles."

In the Science paper, the researchers point out that retreat is a difficult and complex issue for many reasons, including the short-term economic gains of coastal development, subsidized insurance rates and disaster recovery costs, and people's attachment to the place where they live and to the status quo. Also, when disaster strikes, the more affluent residents are more able to relocate, often leaving behind those who don't have the to move.

"No matter the circumstances, moving is hard," Hino said. "People have chosen where to live for a reason, and it is often difficult to find a place to move to that meets all their social, cultural and financial requirements.

"One major challenge with retreat is that we're so focused on getting people out of harm's way, we miss the chance to help them move to opportunity."

The researchers take the long view, noting that retreat may be the answer to in some areas, but it may not be a step that's necessary this year or even this decade.

The case for retreat in the battle against climate change
Strategic retreat supports the health and well-being of communities and economies. Credit: Kate Marx

"The challenge is to prepare for long-term retreat by limiting development in at-risk areas," they write, and making plans for further action based on responding to specific triggers and constantly monitoring and evaluating conditions.

"The story of retreat as a climate response is just beginning," Mach said. "Retreat is compelling because it brings together so many aspects of how societies work, what individuals are trying to achieve and what it takes to ensure preparedness and resilience in a changing climate."

The paper makes note of a variety of areas where additional work is needed, including coordination of various levels of government and support for relocation assistance programs. First, Siders said, communities must identify which areas they most want to protect and how to encourage and assist relocation.

"Managed retreat needs to be embedded in larger conversations and social programs," she said. "Retreat can't be just about avoiding risk. It needs to be about moving toward something better."


Explore further

Research finds transparency may improve US home buyout programs

More information: A.R. Siders at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA el al., "The case for strategic and managed climate retreat," Science (2019). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aax8346
Journal information: Science

Citation: The case for retreat in the battle against climate change (2019, August 22) retrieved 19 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-08-case-retreat-climate.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
1225 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments


Aug 22, 2019
Another steaming load of AGW Cult bullshit.
Why don't these AGW Cult "Profits" tell us when and where on the planet was this paradise that was unaffected by climate?
Fact is, in the 1930s, all over the US, thousands perished from a decade of the worse weather.

Aug 22, 2019
do wut peoples been doing since people.

"Get on your bike and ride" -- Freddie Mercury

Aug 23, 2019
The whole notion of "adapting" to climate change disgusts me. That is capitulation to the fossil fuel monsters; we have alternatives, we can reverse climate change if we pull our heads out and get busy now. Renewable energy will create lots of good-paying jobs; sequestering carbon with Terra Preta and Enhanced Weathering improves soils and so agriculture just as we go from three times too many people for this planet to feed, to four, and five by y2100. Creating energy from waste streams cleans up those wastes before they create dead zones in the oceans and reduce our seafood supply. We clean the carcinogenoic poisons out of air and water, live longer, healthier lives, avoid millions of extinctions and revitalize the natural world, save a huge amount of infrastructure and money and wasted human effort just by switching to the right energy technologies and taking care of our soils. And it all creates lots of good paying jobs. But we're Homo "sapiens." We're not that smart. Are we.

Aug 23, 2019
The carbon is already in the atmosphere and will be. We're in for it. But the question remaining is how bad it will get and that depends on how much more we put in.

Aug 23, 2019
One other thing that will help hugely: rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure with the right cement. Portland cement--what we use today--only lasts 40 or 60 years, and making a ton of it puts a ton of CO2 into the atmo. There are stronger cements that should last hundreds or thousands of years, that sequester carbon and safely dispose of toxic wastes like coal fly ash and steel mill slag. If we are smart, we will use them. I don't think we're that smart.

If you are interested check out Blue World Crete and Geopolymer cements, hempcrete, lime-pozzolana cements, Ferrock, others. Or read my book--as soon as I get it published!--Putting the Brakes on Climate Change.

Aug 23, 2019
The carbon is already in the atmosphere and will be. We're in for it. But the question remaining is how bad it will get and that depends on how much more we put in.
says Schneib

Have you considered not breathing and exhaling? That would help a great deal.

Aug 23, 2019
Another steaming load of AGW Cult bullshit.
Why don't these AGW Cult "Profits" tell us when and where on the planet was this paradise that was unaffected by climate?
Fact is, in the 1930s, all over the US, thousands perished from a decade of the worse weather.
Monkeeyyyy still afraid to climb down that tree and face the real world ? Why don't you take that first step eh ? come down and try and learn some science(if at all possible lol) Your nonsensical hogwash only confuses yourself ;)

Aug 23, 2019

Have you considered not breathing and exhaling? That would help a great deal.


Have you considered Thinking using those 2 peas between the ears, i know it can barely shuffle 1 synapse around but hey it would be a start.. yes ?

Aug 23, 2019
do wut peoples been doing since people.

"Get on your bike and ride" -- Freddie Mercury


But you've tried to shoot the potty but missing all the time wetting yourself, Everytime. Riding a bike's going to be a challenge for you ;)

Aug 23, 2019
The fact is, those who claim to care about "climate change" really don't.
Those who care tend to have common behaviors. They don't automatically, mindlessly accept what they are told to believe. They involve themselves. They look into a matter. They look at alternative explanations, even if just to see if they work. And they certainly don't accept specious dodges as "disproofs" of alternate explanations.
Among other things, climate isn't changing, it's only the behavior of the atmosphere that's becoming aberrant. And it's not "fossil fuels" that are causing it, it's chemtrails. Those who claim to care, though, won't even say the word!
Remember when they used to say the "ozone hole" was the greatest threat? It hasn't been mentioned since 2000. Now even the Democratic Rackets are saying the environment shouldn't be a plank of their platform, and this article is recommending how to force the "rank and file" to alter their lives to fit weird weather.

Aug 23, 2019
WRONG the fact is those who claim to care about climate change DOES care about climate change. What a load of crackpot you just exhaled.... First you and your puppets say the climate always changes (that we knew and we know the reasons why) Now all of a sudden you say climate isn't changing... then give an absurd explanation (as usual by delusional deniers) about chemtrails ! YOU and your puppets have become so desperate that you now play like a broken record, over and over and over, putting up old debunked myths. Chemtrails are a boneheaded chunk of paranoia which has been so extensively discussed it's made the deniers even more delusional.The Climate is Changing Unnaturally and that is due to Human Induced Fossil Fuels Churning out Billions of tons of Carbon Dioxide Into our fragile planet ! ! !

Aug 23, 2019
.
The Climate is Changing Unnaturally and that is due to Human Induced Fossil Fuels Churning out Billions of tons of Carbon Dioxide Into our fragile planet ! ! !


Things are better than ever before in human history. You increase the cost of energy to poor people with your alarmist climate BS.

Aug 23, 2019
Myohmy - It appears that HelloManuelo is having a bad hair day. Taking on 3 commentators while offering bananas. Actually, banana trees also require CO2 to live and be fruitful. LOL

Hope you get over your bad hair day, Manuelo. Have a pint or 3 and watch the telly to see what is going on with the All Blacks lately. :)

Aug 23, 2019
It is SINFULNESS that is heating the planet, not CO2. I kid you not. Believe it or don't believe it, It is none of my concern. Too many humans are violent and sinful and too egotistical to be of much use to the Earth. You don't listen and heed the warnings. So what happens, happens. And that means you too, Schneib

Aug 23, 2019
And for those who are interested in Rugby:

https://www.allbl...res/2019

Aug 23, 2019
But we're Homo "sapiens." We're not that smart. Are we.
Of course we are; we've adapted to every climate on earth except for Antarctica. The issue is that our civilization isn't. It's developed over the past 5-10 centuries in conditions of expanding trade, increasing resource extraction and opening up of new territories for exploitation. Centuries of development of our governing systems and our concepts of rights and responsibilities are based on experience and expectations of steadily increasing opportunity. Our civilization is particularly poorly adapted to a hard limit. The result is we can't get permission to respond, and nobody has a credible proposal anywhere in the world to get that permission.

Aug 24, 2019
.
The Climate is Changing Unnaturally and that is due to Human Induced Fossil Fuels Churning out Billions of tons of Carbon Dioxide Into our fragile planet ! ! !


Things are better than ever before in human history. You increase the cost of energy to poor people with your alarmist climate BS.

No things are the WORST than ever before in Human history ! ! Cost will come down as production increases.

Aug 24, 2019
Myohmy - It appears that HelloManuelo is having a bad hair day. Taking on 3 commentators while offering bananas. Actually, banana trees also require CO2 to live and be fruitful. LOL....blablabla
Glad you enjoyed the bananas, as always you deserve them... ;) Yes they do require Co2, and you know what that means... monkeys can't do without bananas...LOL.. Will you grow them on mars ?

Aug 24, 2019
It is SINFULNESS that is heating the planet, not CO2. I kid you not. Believe it or don't believe it, It is none of my concern. Too many humans are violent and sinful and too egotistical to be of much use to the Earth. You don't listen and heed the warnings. So what happens, happens. And that means you too, Schneib

Did they hang you upside down in the Asylum... Again ??? lol... No it is Human Induced Climate Change that is Accelerating the Climate to change unnaturally. I wonder how those peas interpret "sinfulness" when everyday the Oil industry fires up their Filthy plants without conscious to absolutely everyone and everything walking this earth

Aug 24, 2019
No things are the WORST than ever before in Human history ! ! Cost will come down as production increases.


No you're an idiot. See Harvard Dr. Steven Pinker's work you fool.

Name the year in history that was better than the current one? Meathead.

Aug 25, 2019
No YOU are the idiot dumbnuts you can only see today and not past anything else Your dumb "psychological" report does Nothing.YOU are Supporting a cause everyday that does not care about the earth. Those 2 peas working in parallel have failed you....again

Aug 25, 2019
No things are the WORST than ever before in Human history ! ! Cost will come down as production increases.


No you're an idiot. See Harvard Dr. Steven Pinker's work you fool.

Name the year in history that was better than the current one? Meathead.


This Moron is so blinded towards reality its beyond stupid, it is not about if its better now than other times in history, it is what you are supporting that would make our time the worst in history to come...! This unaccomplished fool should be banned.

Aug 25, 2019
Don't blame me, man. I'm just the messenger. Glad I won't be here to watch your world collapse. It's gonna be vile, violent, bloody, and in the end if you win what you win is extinction. Good luck and shit.

Aug 25, 2019
This Moron is so blinded towards reality its beyond stupid,


Lol, you anti-American POS.
A true loser. Hates free speech. Must be a commie.

Fact is, things are better than ever before in human history. See Harvard Prof Dr. Steven Pinker's work you numbskull.

Wanting to ban people is as Red Chinese as it gets. My statement is a fact, loser.

Aug 25, 2019
@Old_C_Code.

Mate, he is being just as simplistic as you are; and also very selective as to who/what is valid info and what is not. You need to realise that he is coming from his own pre-determined idea that the violence/death etc due to social disorder/accidents/wars is 'lesser' now than ever it was in human history before. That alone tells you he is being simplistic because he is not allowing for the improved technologies that allow support/rescue etc during disasters, better medicines/medical treatment that has helped eradicate/minimise previously rampant infectious/epidemical diseases; and that the wars being fought in recent years is more 'surgical' than wholesale clashes between mass armies; and that population explosion makes old statistics seem 'worse' than the current ones; and that nuclear power is NOT as safe as he imagines (because of the nuclear proliferation dangers as well as the long-lasting waste problems into the future). Ignore such simplistic 'works', mate. :)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more