Assessing the costs and benefits of adaptation options for coastal areas in Quebec and Atlantic Canada

Coastal settlements in Eastern and Atlantic Canada are vulnerable to erosion and flooding. Risks attributable to these hazards are anticipated to increase with climate change, threatening communities. To inform the business case for investing in adaptation measures, standard cost-benefit analysis (CBA) was used to appraise a range of adaptation actions at 11 case study sites (encompassing 46 smaller coastal segments) across Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The results of the CBA suggest that implementing the best performing adaptation action at each coastal segment would result in net economic gains (i.e., the net present value is positive) in 27 of 46 segments (59% of cases). In these 27 coastal segments, the preferred intervention on average is not a hard- or soft-engineering measure, but rather a preventative option, such as a planned retreat, elevation of buildings and infrastructure, or the use of both an engineering measure and a preventative option in combination.

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