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Lau, M.. Küstenzonenmanagement in der Volksrepublik China und Anpassungsstrategien an den Meeresspiegelanstieg. In: Schernewski, G., Dolch, T. (eds.). Geographie der Meere und Küsten. Coastline Reports (1), pp. 213-224. 2004.


Global sea-levels are rising due to climate change. Latest estimates expect a rise of up to 88 cm within the next 100 years. In China the three main river deltas are considered most vulnerable to sea-level rise and a number of mega-cities, e.g. Shanghai, with high economic importance are perticularly at risk. The natural changes in sea-level are often accelerated by human induced phenomena, such as land subsidence due to over-exploitation of ground water or by sediment compression due to high rise building construction. Through a combination of natural events and artificial pressures on the coastal system a range of issues are developing, that can already have disastrous effects, depending on scale, area and existence of countermeasures. The concept of integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) offers a framework for a coordination of economic development and environmental protection in a sustainable way. Still sea-level rise is not incorporated into (I)CZM in China. Instead mitigation and protection issues are covered by diverse institutions on various governmental levels. One reason is that sea-level rise poses a long-term threat whereas development in the coastal zone in China is still mostly short-term oriented. With current CZM the effects of sea-level rise, such as erosion, salination and inundation of coastal areas are not effectively addressed. Generally the perception of sea-level rise is predominantly academic, without specific policies being formulated and only hesitant steps being taken to inform the public.

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