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Managed Retreat as a Policy Tool to Combat Sea Level Rise, Flood Risk, and Other Coastal Dangers

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A comprehensive review of the managed retreat literature reveals mixed feelings towards the legality, practicality and cost of the policy action as a way to react to rising sea level and coastal erosion. Existing research shows increasing costs of severe

A comprehensive review of the managed retreat literature reveals mixed feelings towards the legality, practicality and cost of the policy action as a way to react to rising sea level and coastal erosion. Existing research shows increasing costs of severe storm damage borne to insurance companies and private citizens, furthering the need for long-term policy actions that mitigate the negative effects of major storms. Some main policy actions are restricting development, strategically abandoning infrastructure, funding buyout programs, utilizing rolling easements, and implementing a variety of protective structures. These policy actions face various problems regarding their feasibility and practicality as policy tools, including wavering public support and total costs associated with the actions. Managed retreat specifically faces public scrutiny, as many coastal property owners are reluctant to retreat from the shore. This paper will use examples of managed retreat in other countries (Netherlands, Belgium, and France) to develop plans for specific municipalities, using their models, costs and successes to generate in-depth policy plans and proposals. When observing Clatsop County, Oregon and assessing its policy options, its established that the best policy option is a combination of beach nourishment and Controlled Reduced Tides. This paper analyzes several features of the county, such as the importance of its coastal economic activity and its geographical makeup, to decide what policy actions would be best to mitigate its risk from sea level rise and flood damages. The process used to determine the best course of action for Clatsop County can be replicated in other municipalities, although the resulting policies will obviously be unique to the area.

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2017-05

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In-Sync, Out-of-Sync Cities and their States: An Examination of Subnational Climate Change Policy in the Northwest States of Washington and Idaho

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Despite the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), there has been a lack of national climate action leadership in the United States. In this vacuum, the need for subnational action, particularly at the local level, has become

Despite the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), there has been a lack of national climate action leadership in the United States. In this vacuum, the need for subnational action, particularly at the local level, has become essential. But cities only have the authority granted them by their state. Thus, many cities thus take climate action consistent, or in-sync, with their state. However, other cities take climate action inconsistent, or out-of-sync, with their state. This study examines this in-sync, out-of-sync phenomenon using a multilevel, multiple case study approach to determine the multilevel dynamics influencing whether a city is taking climate action. The study compares two states at opposite ends of the climate mitigation spectrum—Idaho, a state not taking any mitigation action, and Washington, a state taking aggressive mitigation action—and two cities within each of these states, with one city in-sync and the other out-of-sync with its state on climate action. The results show ideology/political affiliation as the most significant factor influencing state and city climate policy: progressive leaning cities/state are engaging in climate mitigation action; conservative leaning cities/state are not. This result was expected, but the study revealed many nuances that were not. For example, the strength of a city’s ideological leaning can overcome disabling state authority. Ideological leaning impacts whether non-state actors are a driver or barrier to climate action. Policy experimentation is found only in progressive cities. Co-benefits manifest in different ways, depending on ideological leaning and whether a city is in- or out-of-sync. And policy champion influence can be fully realized only with supportive elected leadership.
This study highlights important interplays between drivers and barriers cities face in addressing climate change in a multilevel setting; how those interplays can help or hinder municipal climate action; and strategies cities employ to address challenges they face. The study findings thus contribute to the understanding of why and how cities take climate action, and how barriers to action can be overcome. This understanding is essential for providing a path forward on municipal climate action and accelerating the reduction of municipal GHG emissions.

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2021

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Policy, geospatial, and market factors in solar energy: a gestalt approach

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Our dependence on fossil fuels is driving anthropogenic climate change. Solar energy is the most abundant and cleanest alternative to fossil fuels, but its practicability is influenced by a complex interplay of factors (policy, geospatial, and market) and scales (global,

Our dependence on fossil fuels is driving anthropogenic climate change. Solar energy is the most abundant and cleanest alternative to fossil fuels, but its practicability is influenced by a complex interplay of factors (policy, geospatial, and market) and scales (global, national, urban). This thesis provides a holistic evaluation of these factors and scales with the goal of improving our understanding of the mechanisms and challenges of transitioning to solar energy.

This analysis used geospatial, demographic, policy, legislative record, environmental, and industry data, plus a series of semi-structured, in-person interviews. Methods included geostatistical calculation, statistical linear regression and multivariate modeling, and qualitative inductive analysis. The results reveal valuable insights at each scale, but moreover a gestalt model across the factors and scales draws out a larger pattern at play of the transmutational weighting and increasing complexity of interplay as the level of analysis cascades down through the three geographic scales.

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2017