Table of Contents

Executive summary 317

6.1 Introduction: scope, summary of TAR conclusions and key issues 318

6.2 Current sensitivity/vulnerability 318

6.2.1 Natural coastal systems 318

6.2.2 Increasing human utilisation of the coastal zone ...319

6.2.3 External terrestrial and marine influences 319

6.2.4 Thresholds in the behaviour of coastal systems 320

6.2.5 Observed effects of climate change on coastal systems 321

Box 6.1 Environmental thresholds and observed coral bleaching 322

6.3 Assumptions about future trends for coastal systems and low-lying areas 322

6.3.1 Environmental and socio-economic trends 322

6.3.2 Climate and sea-level scenarios 322

6.4 Key future impacts and vulnerabilities 324

6.4.1 Natural system responses to climate change drivers 324

Box 6.2 Examples of extreme water level simulations for impact studies 325

Box 6.3 Deltas and megadeltas: hotspots for vulnerability 327

6.4.2 Consequences for human society 330

Box 6.4 Hurricane Katrina and coastal ecosystem services in the Mississippi delta 332

6.4.3 Key vulnerabilities and hotspots 336

6.5 Costs and other socio-economic aspects 336

6.5.1 Methods and tools for characterising socioeconomic consequences 337

6.5.2 Socio-economic consequences under current climate conditions 337

6.5.3 Socio-economic consequences of climate change 338

6.6 Adaptation: practices, options and constraints 340

6.6.1 Adaptation to changes in climate and sea level ...340

Box 6.5 Recent extreme events - lessons for coastal adaptation to climate change 340

6.6.2 Costs and benefits of adaptation 342

6.6.3 Limits and trade-offs in adaptation 342

6.6.4 Adaptive capacity 344

6.6.5 The links between adaptation and mitigation in coastal and low-lying areas 344

6.7 Conclusions: implications for sustainable development 345

6.8 Key uncertainties, research gaps and priorities 345

Box 6.6 Long-term sea-level rise impacts

(beyond 2100) 346

References 347

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