Research Handbook on Climate Disaster Law
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Research Handbook on Climate Disaster Law

Barriers and Opportunities

Edited by Rosemary Lyster and Robert R.M. Verchick

Through assessing climate disaster law in relation to international, public, private and environmental law this Research Handbook considers the unique challenges, barriers and opportunities that climate disasters pose for law and policy. Scientific and empirical evidence suggests that the laws addressing natural disasters cannot be adequately applied to disasters that are caused by climate change. Featuring contributions from leading international experts, this Research Handbook will be a useful resource for those with an interest in environmental law and international policymaking.
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Chapter 12: The uneasy case for disaster buyouts

Susan S. Kuo


For public officials, buyouts are an appealing mechanism for removing flood-prone properties from vulnerable coastal areas. Importantly, buyouts differ from takings in that participation is ostensibly voluntary. Thus, buyouts seem to offer results without violating individual autonomy. In reality, however, buyout offers can be highly coercive. For example, if the state seeks to acquire multiple properties within a neighborhood, an individual’s isolated property could become worthless. Because property values in a community are interconnected, buyout offers create a problem of collective action for recipients. This chapter argues that disaster buyouts should be regulated in ways that recognize the collective context.

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