Strategic Retreat in an Age of Climate Change   [open pdf - 8MB]

From the thesis Abstract: "According to FEMA and NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency], flooding is the most frequent and costly natural disaster in the United States. The National Flood Insurance Program, designed to alleviate some of the costs of this hazard, is financially insolvent and fiscally unsustainable. Through its Hazard Mitigation Assistance program, FEMA buys out homes, but the process is voluntary and slow, and demand far exceeds funds available. Consequently, the number of Repetitive Loss and Severe Repetitive Loss properties increases each year. The thesis explores why and how FEMA should pursue strategic retreat from high-risk areas. Disaster costs continue to rise as extreme weather events increase in frequency and intensity. Sea-level rise endangers coastal regions, and more homes may be susceptible to systemic and regular flooding than official estimates show. To resist by building ever larger flood walls and barriers may be unrealistic, and retreat as an adaptation technique may be preferable. Expensive as strategic retreat may be, loss-avoidance studies indicate that besides reducing pain and suffering, these measures pay for themselves. Strategic retreat may also result in climate refugees who are not prepared to deal with rapidly changing conditions. An adaptation framework recommends deterrents and incentives available to policymakers and practitioners to pursue strategic retreat in a planned, comprehensive, and equitable manner."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: https://calhoun.nps.edu/
Media Type:
Cohort CA2005/2006
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