The National Sea Grant Law Center


  • Climate Change, Coasts & Communities Symposium held at Monmouth University- Papers to be Published in the Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal

  • April 18th, 2019 — by Catherine Janasie — Category: Miscellaneous

  • The National Sea Grant Law Center, through the Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal, is partnering with the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University in New Jersey to publish papers from the institute’s Climate Change, Coasts & Communities Symposium. The New Jersey coast has been facing increased storm events, flooding, sea level rise, and coastal erosion, all of which will present daunting adaptation challenges in the future for the state. The symposium, which took place April 17-18, 2019, featured leading experts in climate change adaptation law and science to discuss lessons learned from other states and countries to assist New Jersey in navigating these challenges in the future.

    The symposium featured several keynote speakers. Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain, President of the Global Ocean Forum, provided an international perspective for addressing the ocean and climate nexus. Professor Jan McDonald of the University of Tasmania Law School in Hobart, Australia spoke on Australia’s approach to coastal adaptation planning. Finally, Professor Robin Craig of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law spoke on the public health implications for our coastal areas due warming oceans and climates.

    The first panel was entitled “Climate Change and the Voiceless: Protecting Future Generations, Wildlife, and Natural Resources.” Future generations, wildlife, and natural resources – collectively referred to as “the voiceless” – are some of the most vulnerable populations, as they are poorly equipped to protect themselves from climate change impacts. While both domestic and international law are starting to recognize the rights and responsibilities that apply to these voiceless communities, these legal developments have yet to be pursued collectively and in the context of climate change and climate justice. This panel identified the common vulnerabilities of voiceless communities while addressing how the law could evolve to protect their interests through a stewardship-focused, rights based system.

    The panel “Adapting to Sea Level Rise, Coastal Storms, and Flooding: Lessons for New Jersey” focused on the “new normal” of increased storm events, flooding, sea level rise, and coastal erosion from climate change. Each of these threats present daunting adaptation challenges for New Jersey in the future. The panel featured leading experts on these topics from academic, political, and planning perspectives to discuss proposed strategies and solutions for how to navigate these challenges in New Jersey.

    The final panel, “Interactions of Climate Change and Anthropogenic Eutrophication in Coastal Ecosystems,” focused on human caused eutrophication of water resources that result from excess nutrient inputs. Eutrophication has impacted coastal ecosystems and communities for decades by exacerbating coastal hypoxic and harmful algal blooms (HABs) events. Further, eutrophication has impacted fisheries performance. There is also increasing evidence that climate change is impacting these same processes, raising questions on how eutrophication and climate change could interact in the future. The panel brought together experts on coastal hypoxia/anoxia, harmful algal blooms (HABs), and fisheries to discuss how perspectives have changed to include consideration of climate change impacts.

    Papers from the symposium will be published in the SGLPJ’s fall edition. For past issues or more information on the journal, please visit the SGLPJ webpage.

  • Catherine Janasie
    Senior Research Counsel

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