Climate Change, Globalization, and the Double Exposure Challenge to Sustainability: Rolling the Dice in Coastal New Jersey



Climate change and globalization present significant challenges for ­sustainability. Both processes enhance connections across space and time, such that actions taken in one part of the world have increasingly visible impacts in other parts of the world. The processes also magnify risks and uncertainties, exacerbate vulnerabilities, and undermine resilience to many types of shocks and stresses. This chapter explores how climate change and globalization are together influencing sustainability in urbanized coastal zones with particular emphasis on coastal New Jersey. While urban coastal zones have long confronted a multitude of development-related stresses including reductions in quantity and quality of freshwater flow into estuaries, destruction and degradation of wetlands, and dredging and development of harbor areas, climate change and globalization represent new and interconnected sources of stress. Under climate change, altered temperature regimes, shifts in the variability and seasonality of precipitation, increases in the frequency and magnitude of extreme events, and sea level rise are together transforming the environmental baseline of coastal areas. At the same time, processes of globalization are contributing to growth of coastal tourism, intensification of coastal property investment, expansion of port facilities and shipping traffic, and changes in the availability of public funds needed to manage these complex, coupled systems.


Coastal zones Vulnerability Economic impacts Multiple stresses Sustainable development 



Research for this chapter was supported by a grant from the Rutgers University, Byrne Family First Year Seminar Program. I thank Rutgers students Dumebi Emetanjo and Jason Hanusey for research assistance, and I thank my colleague Briaval Holcomb for helpful discussions about the dynamics of coastal tourism in New Jersey. Portions of this chapter were adapted from an article by Leichenko et al. (2010).


  1. Acosta-Michlik L, Kumar K, Klein RJT et al (2008) Application of fuzzy models to assess susceptibility to droughts from a socio-economic perspective. Reg Environ Change 8:150–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adger WN (1999) Social vulnerability to climate change and extremes in Coastal Vietnam. World Develop 27:249–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adger W, Hughes T, Folke C et al (2005) Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. Science 309:1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Adger WN, Eakin H, Winkels A (2009) Nested and tele-connected vulnerabilities to environmental change. Front Ecol Environ 7:150–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alley RB, Clark P, Huybrechts P et al (2005) Ice-sheet and sea-level changes. Science 310:456–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Associated Press (2009) East coast storm damage tops $100 billion. Accessed 19 Nov 2009
  7. Berkes F (2007) Understanding uncertainty and reducing vulnerability: lessons from resilience thinking. Nat Hazards 41:283–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eakin H (2006) Weathering risk in rural Mexico: climatic, institutional, and economic change. University of Arizona Press, TucsonGoogle Scholar
  9. Eakin H, Luers A (2006) Assessing the vulnerability of social-environmental systems. Ann Rev Environ Resour 31:365–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eakin H, Wehbe M (2009) Linking local vulnerability to system sustainability in a resilience framework: two cases from Latin America. Clim Change 93:355–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eriksen S, Silva J (2009) The vulnerability context of a savanna area in Mozambique: household drought coping strategies and responses to economic change. Environ Sci Pol 12:33–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ernstson H, van der Leeuw S, Redman C et al (2010) Urban transitions: On urban resilience and human-dominated ecosystems. Ambio 39:531–545Google Scholar
  13. Harvey D (1990) The condition of post-modernity: an enquiry into the origins of cultural change. Blackwell, MaldenGoogle Scholar
  14. Hjalager A (2007) Stages in the economic globalization of tourism. Ann Tour Res 34:437–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Horton R, Bader D, DeGaetano A, Rosenzweig C (2011) “Climate Risks.” In New York State ClimAID: Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in New York State, C. Rosenzweig, W. Solecki, A. DeGaetano, S. Hassol, P. Grabhorn, M. O’Grady, Eds., Annals of the NYAS, Vol. 1244, Issue 1, pp. 16–47. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06331.x. Accessed 12 March 2011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. IHS Global Insight (2009) NJ tourism: holding its own during difficult times. 2009 New Jersey Governor’s conference on tourismGoogle Scholar
  17. Knutson T, McBride J, Chan J et al (2010) Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nat Geosci 3:157–163. doi:10.1038/ngeo779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leichenko R, Solecki W (2005) Exporting the American dream: the globalization of suburban consumption landscapes. Reg Stud 39:241–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Leichenko R, O’Brien K (2008) Environmental change and globalization: double exposures. Oxford University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Leichenko R, Solecki W (2008) Consumption, inequity, and environmental justice: the making of new metropolitan landscapes in developing countries. Soc Nat Resour 21:611–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Leichenko R, O’Brien K, Solecki W (2010) Climate change and the global financial crisis: a case of double exposure. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 100(4):963–972. doi:10.1080/00045608.2010.497340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McGranahan G, Balk D, Anderson B (2007) The rising tide: assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones. Environ Urban 19:17–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nelson D, Adger WN, Brown K (2007) Adaptation to environmental change: contributions of a resilience framework. Ann Rev Environ Resour 32:395–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Neumann J, Hudgens D, Herter J et al (2010) Assessing sea-level rise impacts: a GIS-based framework and application to coastal New Jersey. Coast Manage 38:433–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (2010) Central regional community fact book: Ocean County editionGoogle Scholar
  26. Nicholls R, Tol R, Vafeidis A (2008) Global estimates of the impact of a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet: an application of FUND. Clim Chang 91:171–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nicholls R, Marinova N, Lowe JA et al (2011) Sea-level rise and its possible impacts given a ‘beyond 4°C world’ in the twenty-first century. Philos Trans R Soc A 369:161–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. O’Brien K, Leichenko R (2000) Double exposure: assessing the impacts of climate change within the context of economic globalization. Glob Environ Change 10:221–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. O’Brien K, Leichenko R, Kelkar U et al (2004) Mapping vulnerability to multiple stressors: climate change and globalization in India. Glob Environ Change 14:303–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Overpeck J, Weiss J (2009) Projections of future sea level becoming more dire. Proc Natl Acad Sci 51:21461–21462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Polsky C, Neff R, Yarnal B (2007) Building comparable global change vulnerability assessments: the vulnerability scoping diagram. Glob Environ Change 17:472–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Seto K, Sánchez-Rodríguez R, Fragkias M (2010) The new geography of contemporary urbanization and the environment. Ann Rev Environ Resour 35:167–194. doi:10.1146/annurev-environ-100809-125336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Silva JA, Eriksen S, Ombe ZA (2009) Double exposure in Mozambique’s Limpopo River Basin. Geogr J 176:6–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Turner B (2010) Vulnerability and resilience: coalescing or paralleling approaches for sustainability science? Glob Environ Change 20:570–576. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.07.003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Turner BL II, Kasperson RE, Matson PA et al (2003) A framework for vulnerability analysis in sustainability science. Proc Natl Acad Sci 100:8074–8079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. United Nations (2006) Atlas of oceans. Accessed 12 March 2011
  37. US Army Corp of Engineers (2010) Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center. Accessed 12 March 2011
  38. US Census (2000) Census of population. US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. US Census (2010) Census of population. US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  40. Vermeer M, Rahmstorf S (2009) Global sea level linked to global temperature. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106:21527–21532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Weaver D, Barlos T, Miller, M (2009) N.J. shore towns calculate loss from coastal storm as officials head to region. Accessed 12 March 2011
  42. Weiss J, Overpeck J, Strauss B (2011) Implications of recent sea level rise science for low-elevation areas in coastal cities of the conterminous USA. Clim Chang 105:635–645. doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0024-xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wilbanks T, Kates R (2010) Beyond adapting to climate change: embedding adaptation in responses to multiple threats and stresses. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 100:719–728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wittkowski D (2010) Workers feel brunt of Atlantic City casino struggles as work force cut by 20 percent in five years. Accessed 12 March 2011
  45. Wittkowski D (2011) Atlantic City casino revenue falls nearly 10 percent in 2010, the fourth year of declines. Accessed 12 March 2011

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyRutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA

Personalised recommendations