A joint symposium on climate change and the marine environment

Experts now agree that many of the risks of climate change are no longer just potential—they are inevitable.

About the Event

On February 5, 2009, the New England Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution brought together a diverse group of climate change experts and business leaders, policy makers, and representatives from non-governmental organizations to bring the issue of global climate change closer to home. The interdisciplinary group gathered at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston for "Changing Climate, Changing Coasts," a day-long symposium on the local impacts of climate change.

Speakers described the potential impacts of climate change on coastal development, real estate, fisheries, marine animals and their habitats. In New England, sea level rise may cause dramatic changes in the coastline, and in Boston’s harbor the 100-year flood zone will move inland, flooding and erosion will increase, especially along Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and barrier islands will disappear.

The symposium examined the implications for the local economy and environment and—with a pragmatic bias—explored ways to adapt to climate change. Steps to be taken include revisiting current zoning requirements and development regulations along the shoreline, protecting urban waterfront property, bringing insurance premiums in line with new levels of risk, and implementing measures that will make natural areas more resilient. 

Symposium Materials


Thanks to the Lowell Institute for their generous support.