Coastal Regions

What is it about

Rising sea levels and the increasing potential of storm surges pose a growing threat to coastal infrastructure such as power generation, water treatment and transport. Protecting this critical infrastructure is of paramount importance to safeguarding our livelihoods.

Global sea levels are rising at an accelerated rate which puts low elevation infrastructure in coastal areas at growing risk. Thermo-electric low-lying power plants and generation infrastructure (located near water bodies for cooling), water treatment plants, and offshore wind turbines are particularly exposed to coastal flooding and storm surge risks. Coastal flooding on the road and rail network can have downstream impacts on businesses and manufacturing, and a risk of ‘cutting-off’ communities in isolated regions.

The potentially emission-intensive construction and improvement of protective structures such as sea walls, storm surge barriers, dykes and dams is necessary, but also the relocation of assets must be considered, especially to protect sensitive oceanic ecosystems – all under the condition that the declining emissions budget is not exceeded.

In order to ensure sufficient supply through critical infrastructures and to compensate for possible failures, not only investments must be made, but in particular a much more responsible use of finite goods such as energy and resources is needed. This concerns us all.

What I can do as...

Policy Makers & Administrations

Provide framework and guidance

A directed transformation needs an accompanying regulatory framework that promotes mutually supportive developments and limits developments with detrimental direct and indirect side effects. Taking into account the tight and further narrowing emission limits, measures need to be balanced to ensure the best possible adaptation without further increasing the risks from climate impacts.

KNOWING creates region-specific pathways with guidance on the combination and timing of measures that help make a climate-neutral and resilient future achievable. This also includes recommendations on how different sectors can be prepared for the transformation and supported in the development within the pathways.

Coastal regions fulfil many different functions that need to be reconciled: location for critical infrastructure, hub for intermodal transport, source of natural resources and sensitive ecosystem. Measures must be carefully selected to ensure conflicting effects are avoided.

Find out how measures influence each other and how a balanced transformation of economically used coastal regions can be achieved. Our recommendations and decision-making tools incorporate the latest scientific findings and the combined knowledge of all relevant stakeholder groups.

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Science & Education

Collaborate and communicate

Exploring the impact of climate change on coastal regions and identifying measures to secure the balance between economic use and ecological protection involves a wide range of different scientific disciplines with often unique methods and models and their own terminology. The complexity of climate change however requires combining the knowledge and tools from different disciplines to avoid rebound- and spill-over effects in the decarbonisation and adaptation process.

KNOWING develops a transdisciplinary modelling framework combining knowledge and methodologies from technical, natural, and social sciences to achieve technologically and financially feasible and socially just transformation into a carbon-neutral and sustainable future. Supported by and external scientific board, a Climate Interaction Knowledge Base is developed to provide access to scientific evidence and tools to inspire and support transdisciplinary collaboration.

To secure informed decision making, it is important to further improve and provide the best available knowledge and evidence to avoid maladaptation and failed decarbonisation efforts. Therefore, the framework is open for additional knowledge and models.

Learn more about the data and models applied in the framework and the disciplines involved in the development of the framework, the engagement of stakeholders and citizens and the communication of results.

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Economy & Industries

Lead economic transformation

Coastal regions are important industrial locations for energy production, water treatment, port infrastructure and the fishing industry. The increasing threat of rising sea levels and storm surges make future-oriented adaptation urgently necessary, while at the same time decarbonisation measures need to be put in place.

The Transformation Pathways developed by KNOWING provide a clear orientation on planned measures and changing regulatory conditions that help near-shore industries to adapt their production and secure the transformation towards a climate-neutral economy.

Coastal areas are an important part of our natural environment. Production tasks must be reconciled with ecosystem conservation to ensure the societal goals of protecting and providing for our habitat. To build on activities and opportunities already evolving in the sector, stakeholders from Demonstrator Regions and Members of the external Stakeholder Reference Group support the development of Transformation Pathways with their expertise.

Find out how measures influence each other, how a balanced transformation of coastal infrastructure can be achieved and how you can take a leading role in the development of the new economy.

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Civil Society

Embrace and shape the change

Even though we do not know exactly what our future will look like and how sea level rise will eventually affect our own lives, we are not powerless. The world has always changed, and those who have embraced it have always found ways to create and appreciate new opportunities.

KNOWING explains complex interrelationships and the effects of climate impacts, but also climate protection and adaptation measures, on the quality of life of different people. Relatable stories show which measures are necessary to secure the transformation of coastal infrastructure and protection of natural resources without putting anyone at a disadvantage compared to others.

Citizens must be central in shaping a liveable future because it affects their own lives. It is therefore all the more important that everyone understands the interrelationships and preconditions of necessary developments in order to recognise the risks of wrong decisions.

Every day that passes unused means that even higher emissions must be reduced in even less time, or even more adaption measures are needed. It takes all of us to achieve the turnaround together and in time. This is why we actively engage citizens in raising awareness about the complexity of dealing with climate change and benefit from their experiences. Learn more about how you can also help others to join the effort.

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Would you like to learn more about how to recognise fallacies and opportunities regarding climate change, or are you interested in guiding others as a KNOWING Ambassador?

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