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Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics

Document Type

Research Article

Abstract

Demands for mechanisms to pay for adaptation to climate risks have multiplied rapidly as concern has shifted from greenhouse gas mitigation alone to also coping with the now-inevitable impacts. A number of viable approaches to how to pay for those adjustments to roads, drainage systems, lifeline utilities and other basic infrastructure are emerging, though untested at the scale required across the nation, which already has a trillion-dollar deferred maintenance and replacement problem. There are growing efforts to find new ways to harness private financial resources via new market arrangements to meet needs that clearly outstrip public resources alone, as well as to utilize and combine public resources more effectively. To date, mechanisms are often seen through a specific lens of scale, time, and method, for example national versus local and public versus market-based means. The purpose here is to integrate a number of those perspectives and also to highlight the following in particular. Current experience with seemingly more pedestrian needs like stormwater management funding is in fact a learning step towards new approaches for broader adaptation needs, using re-purposed but existing fiscal tools. The resources raised from new large-scale market approaches for using catastrophe- and resiliency-bond-derived funds will have their use embodied and operationalized in many separate local and state projects. The invention and packaging of innovative projects—the pre-development phase—will be pivotal to better using fiscal resources of many types. Those efforts can be greatly aided or hindered by larger national and especially state government policy, regulatory and capital market arrangements. Understanding the path to integration of effort across these scales deserves much more attention. Examples are given of how federal, state and local roles are each dimensions of that frontier, how existing tools can apply in new ways and how smart project creation plays a role.

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