Local governments in the coastal zone play a key role in adapting to the changing climate.1 This Article presents an analysis of coastal communities in four states, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and provides three proposals for local governments that take action to address climate impacts: (1) redefining the scope of the duties that define reasonable conduct for governments making decisions about public infrastructure in an era of rising sea levels; (2) defining the scope of sovereign immunity protections in a way that encourages innovative and creative decisionmaking in an era of climate uncertainty; and (3) calling for consistent adaptation duties and authorities at the state level as a crucial first step in mending the legal-standards patchwork that currently exists at the state, county, and city levels in our four-state study area.

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