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United States – China Coastal Cities Project
Funded by the Shell Center for Sustainability
Dr. Michael Emerson, Principal Investigator, Rice University
Ms. Amy Meyers-Jaffe, Baker Institute, Rice University
Dr. Stephen Klineberg, Rice University
Dr. Steven Lewis, Chao Center for Asian Studies, Rice University
Dr. Robert M. Stein, Rice University
More than one-third of the world's population lives within 60 miles of a coastline and thirteen of the world's twenty largest cities are located on a coast. Given the sea-level rise associated with global warming, the concentration of industrial and commercial centers on coasts and their related pollution and the vulnerability of many of these locations to sever storms, coastal populations will face severe challenges to their sustainability in the decades to come.
The United States - China Coastal Cities Project seeks to assess the dimensions of the challenges facing major, low-lying estuary metropoles. The study focuses on major coastal cities with a large petrochemical industrial base, including Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangzhou. Research activities include the development of a comprehensive and fully comparable survey of public attitudes and beliefs to be conducted jointly in both the United States and China.
Science and public opinion converge suggesting that there may be impending challenges facing these coastal petro-economies. Given their geography, the demands of increasing population and the impact of new immigration on community and race relations, vulnerability to severe storms and human environmental perturbations (i.e. air and water pollution, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and run-off wastes), the prospect for future growth may depend on greater regulation of production systems, energy resources, and standards for health and environmental impact.
This study concludes with a suggested policy recommendations regarding development in coastal cities and the influence of cultural factors and local and national political structures on the process of policy formation and implementation.