Research: U.S.-China Coastal Cities Project
More than one-third of the world's population lives within 60 miles of a coastline and thirteen of the world's twenty largest cities are located on a coast. Given the reality of global warming, these coastal populations will face severe challenges to their sustainability in the decades to come.
As industrial and commercial centers, many coastal cities are major contributors in their own right to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore face the prospects of greater regulation and economic dislocation. In addition, these cities are particularly vulnerable to such long-term effects of global warming as sea-level rise, flooding, air pollution, and severe storms.
The Shell Coastal Cities Project seeks to assess the dimensions of the challenges facing major, low-lying estuary metropoles. In its first phase, the study focuses on major coastal cities with a large petrochemical industrial base, including Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangzhou. Research activities include the development of a comprehensive and fully comparable survey of public attitudes and beliefs, to be conducted jointly in both the United States and China .
Science and public opinion converge to intimate that there may be impending challenges facing these coastal petro-economies. Their geography makes them particularly vulnerable to the long-term affects of climate change, such as sea level rise and ocean-warming and subsequent tidal changes, flooding and severe storms.
The coastal cities under study also face increasing populations, with the associated increases in energy demand and human footprints whose impacts include substantive air and water pollution, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and run-off wastes. As more populations move to the coastline in the coming decades, they will be increasingly threatened by severe storms, flooding, air pollution, congestion, and the impact of new immigration on community and race relations. Therefore, sustainability and the prospect for future growth for such coastal cities may depend on greater regulation of production systems, energy resources, and standards for health and environmental impact.
This study will investigate the framework for policy development in coastal cities and the influence of cultural factors and local and national political structures on the process of policy formation and implementation.
Research Findings are available on the following pages:
"The Coastal Cities Phenomenon" Article with Map
The "U.S.-China Coastal Cities Project" is a research partnership between the Center on Race, Religion and Urban Life (CORRUL), The Shell Center for Sustainability
and the Energy Forum of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, the
Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), and Horizon Survey Research