Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Coastal Zone

Law and Policy Considerations

By Chad J. McGuire

© 2013 – CRC Press

232 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9781466559806
pub: 2013-03-26
US Dollars$71.95

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

For as long as humans have been inhabiting coastal areas and recording what occurs in their environments, coastal zones have been defined through dynamic interactions. And this is further underlined by a more recent development: observed sea level rise. In a thorough but not overly technical approach, Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Coastal Zone: Law and Policy Considerations provides a legal-policy framework for facing the challenges of sea level rise.

The book includes an analysis of sea level rise adaptation strategies that examines the legal impacts of coastal land use decisions based on the current interpretation of private property rights in relation to public control over those rights. The author discusses the science behind sea level rise and highlights policy complexities and options. He then presents an overview of related legalities, and bringing it all together, applies the principles offered in the book, concluding with strategies and solutions and a perspective on the future.

If we accept the premise that sea level rise is occurring and will continue for the foreseeable future, then we must begin to consider policy responses to this risk in coastal regions. Part of any pragmatic policy response must include a review of the options available to public institutions when developing and implementing rational adaptation policies. This book offers practical legal/policy approaches to sea level rise adaptation that promotes sound planning in the face of climate change and rising seas.

Table of Contents


Science Behind Sea Level Rise


Current Observations

Future Predictions

Major Coastal Land Feature Considerations



Policy Options


Framing the Policy Questions Related to Sea Level Rise

Adaptation Approaches

Considerations among Adaptation Approaches



Legal Considerations


Background on Legal Considerations

Traditional Land-Use Planning Laws

The Takings Question

Government Options




About the Author

Chad J. McGuire is a professor of environmental policy within the Department of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He is also an attorney licensed to practice law in California, Nevada, and Massachusetts. His background is in environmental law and environmental science. Chad teaches, writes, and practices in the fields of environmental law, policy, sustainability, and dispute resolution. He has published more than 20 scholarly and applied articles on these topics over the past 10 years. He has worked on policy issues related to fisheries management, climate change, coastal management, and land use patterns. His expertise has been sought in both private and public forums, and he has served on committees for both nonprofit and government entities. He has more than 15 years of experience in the environmental management field. This book is based on his work in studying the problems that arise at the intersection of law and policy, in this case those problems that are directly related to coastal management planning necessitated by sea level rise.

In addition to this text, Professor McGuire is also the author of Environmental Decision-Making in Context: A Toolbox, published in 2012 by CRC Press, and part of the American Society for Public Administration’s Series in Public Administration and Public Policy.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Government & Business
LAW / Environmental
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development