TABLE OF CONTENTS

RIVER’S EDGE: CLIMATE CHANGE AND RISK ASSESSMENT

Aerial view of destruction caused by tsunami, coast of Sumatra, January 2, 2005. Photo: Philip A. McDaniel/US Navy.

RESIDUAL RISK

I like men who have known the best and the worst, whose life has been anything but a smooth trip. Storms have battered them, they have lain, sometimes for months on end, becalmed. There is a residue even if they fail.

James Salter, Burning the Days: Recollection (1997)

THE FAILURE OF THE LEVEES during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 highlighted a tragic inconsistency in the prevailing perceptions of risk. Ironically, improvements in urban infrastructure, which had actually lowered the risk associated with frequent but minor flooding, had increased the risk associated with less frequent but major events, by making the city’s population feel safer—expanding development to areas that should not have been inhabited. This trend, which geographer Robert W. Kates termed “the safe development paradox,”¹ reveals that the management of risk requires difficult choices,

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