Key Messages About Coasts from the National Climate Assessment
Coastal lifelines, such as water supply and energy infrastructure and evacuation routes, are increasingly vulnerable to higher sea levels and storm surges, inland flooding, erosion, and other climate-related changes.
Nationally important assets, such as ports, tourism, and fishing sites, in already-vulnerable coastal locations, are increasingly exposed to sea level rise and related hazards. This threatens to disrupt economic activity within coastal areas and the regions they serve and results in significant costs from protecting or moving these assets.
Socioeconomic disparities create uneven exposures and sensitivities to growing coastal risks and limit adaptation options for some coastal communities, resulting in the displacement of the most vulnerable people from coastal areas.
Coastal ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change because many have already been dramatically altered by human stresses; climate change will result in further reduction or loss of the services that these ecosystems provide, including potentially irreversible impacts.
Leaders and residents of coastal regions are increasingly aware of the high vulnerability of coasts to climate change, and are developing plans to prepare for potential impacts on citizens, businesses, and environmental assets. Significant institutional, political, social, and economic obstacles to implementing adaptation actions remain.
To learn more about how climate change affects coasts, explore the resources in the right sidebar.