Shoreline erosion, rising sea levels, flooding, and ocean acidification. Surfers see the negative effects of climate change on their beaches every day. Effects foretold to grow more drastic in the next three decades.
To raise awareness about climate change and it’s unfavorable side effects, Kalon Surf took a look at which surf destinations are (and aren’t) fighting climate change and ranked them in this interactive tool and report.
They examined data on renewable energy, Paris Act compliance, and other energy initiatives in each country.
Costa Rica has been named one of the top surf destinations fighting against climate change. The country is working hard to preserve its beaches with plans to eliminate fossil fuel use by the year 2050. In 2018, Costa Rica’s energy infrastructure operated only on renewable energy for 300 consecutive days.
Below are five UNFCCC countries that are popular among surfers and aggressively leading the way to combat climate change, as reported in the 2019 Climate Change Performance Index.
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rica, with a population of 5 million residents, intends to be the world’s first carbon neutral country. By 2050, Costa Rica plans to eliminate its fossil fuel use and restore and grow its diverse jungle ecosystem. These actions should help preserve Costa Rica’s world-famous beaches and surf spots, which are affected by pollution, ocean acidification, and climate-related sea level rise.
Popular surfing destinations in Costa Rica are:
- Osa Peninsula (Dominical, Drake Bay, Pavones)
- Jacó (Playa Esterillos, Playa Hermosa)
- Tamarindo (Witches Rock, Ollies Point)
- Santa Teresa
See how other countries measure up.
Morocco is the second best-performing country in 2019’s Climate Performance Change Index report. The country, with a population of 35 million residents, recently completed the world’s largest solar plant. Morocco is on pace to achieve its goal of installing enough renewable energy to meet 42 percent of its energy demands by 2020 and 52 percent by 2030.
Surfing at Portugal’s beaches is among the country’s most important tourism lifelines. Climate change-related coastal erosion is affecting many of the popular beaches, with some shorelines retreating up to 100 meters. The country is combining ambitious renewable energy goals with other shoreline rehabilitation projects to combat the issue.
4. The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is susceptible to climate-related sea level rise, which threatens to eliminate beaches, homes, and roads throughout a third of the country’s coastline. Currently, the U.K. has legislation that requires the country to meet 80 percent of its energy needs from renewable resources by 2050. In 2019, the country began discussions to increase that requirement to 100 percent.
5. The Philippines
In 2018, the Philippines pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The country, with a population of 104 million residents, intends to reduce carbon emissions from its energy, transport, waste, forestry, and industry sectors. As a surfing hotspot, these changes can help preserve the Philippines’ beaches and reduce pollution.
On the flipside, Kalon Surf also discovered that the following surf spots aren’t doing much to fight the negative effects of climate change:
- The United States
- South Africa
What Is Climate Change?
NASA defines climate change as the culmination of a broad range of global or regional climate patterns and phenomena, which are created primarily by burning fossil fuels that add heat-trapping gases like methane and CO2 to Earth’s atmosphere.
Unlike weather conditions, which are brief, localized atmospheric changes, NASA states climate change is measured in seasons, years, and decades and refers to the long-term regional or global patterns of temperature, humidity, and rainfall.
How Does Climate Change Affect Beaches And Coastlines?
About 40 percent of the global population lives within 100 kilometers of a coastal area. Humans have already altered and stressed coastal environments by overexploiting natural resources with agricultural, industrial, and residential development. The phenomena caused by climate change is compounding these coastal stresses and remodeling the world’s oceanic ecosystems and coastlines.
Climate change is already affecting coastal communities in eight ways:
- Sea Level Rise
- Coastal Flooding
- Shoreline Erosion
- Increased Precipitation
- Storm Surges
- Oceanic Acidification
- Water Pollution
- Warmer Oceans
As the world continues warming, the adverse effects of these phenomena will become more frequent and more severe.