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Sea-level rise research and dialogue in North Carolina: Creating windows for policy change

Poulter, B., Feldman, R.L., Brinson, M.M., Horton, B.P., Orbach, M.K., Pearsall, S.H., Reyes, E., Riggs, S.R., Whitehead, J.C.
2 009
Ocean & Coastal Management
Coastal areas are among the world's most vulnerable landscapes to impacts related to climate change, including inundation from sea-level rise (SLR), increased exposure to shoreline erosion, and greater frequency and intensity of storms. The status of research on the physical, ecological, and socio-economic effects of vulnerability to SLR and progress toward planning for its consequences varies from region to region worldwide. Here, we synthesize the results of three decades of SLR research and the development of coastal management policies in North Carolina, USA. We identify the major factors responsible for opening new policy 'windows' that address SLR, including how stakeholders have developed an increased understanding of the risks, the extent of public dialogue about potential response strategies, and advances in political receptivity to policy change. Research and policy progress in North Carolina continue to provide a model for other regions to help guide and evaluate the development of coastal policies. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Department of Earth and Environmental Science / University of Pennsylvania, 251 Hayden Hall, 240 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316