The King Canut delusion

It is very tempting to hope that engineering will negate the effects of climate change.  If we build sea walls, surely we can hold back the tide?  It is not a crazy idea of course.  After all, walls have worked for a very long time in some very low lying places.  But “will it work?” is only half of the equation.  This article, Building a sea wall is a small bandaid on a gaping wound, raises some very pertinent questions about the economics of sea wall building, particularly around where the costs are incurred and the benefits accrued.  To avoid having to fight an “expensive rearguard battle to protect mainly private property” decision makers really do need to start focussing on long term adaptation planning.