coastline

University of Hull professor leads call to protect our coastlines

 

A University of Hull professor has joined more than 150 scientists from around the world to highlight a “triple whammy” of threats to our coastlines from climate change, human encroachment and scarce energy and water resources.

Mike Elliott, Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences, has edited a major new book in which 154 world-renowned scientists from 27 countries say urgent action is needed to protect coastal and estuarine areas from increased urbanisation and industrialisation, the decreased availability of energy and other resources such as space and freshwater, and increased threats due to climate change.

As around 40% of the world’s population lives on coasts, deltas, estuaries and lagoons. The authors were asked to catalogue the problems but especially to look for solutions that will be required over the coming century. 

 

“The poorer and low lying countries are likely to suffer most leading to climate-related migrations from the coast." Mike Elliott, Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Studies, University of Hull

For example, the book highlights the disastrous consequences of removing natural coastal features such as mangroves and saltmarshes and how this decreases protection of the coast from extreme events such as storm surges and tsunamis.

The book gives a wake-up call to policy-makers and politicians who say they want a sustainable future which benefits human safety, the economy and nature. The chapters, and the synthesis which was led by Mike, attempt to pave the way to achieving sustainable solutions for the next century.

Mike said: "This book of almost 1,000 pages shows how coasts from the Arctic and Antarctic to the tropics, and from both rich and poor countries are vulnerable to these threats.

“The poorer and low lying countries are likely to suffer most leading to climate-related migrations from the coast. With my three co-editors from Louisiana, Chennai (India) and Queensland, we also show that richer countries such as the UK and US will have to spend more in adapting to those threats." 

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