Concern is growing in France about climate change and the related issue of accelerated sea-level rise (ASLR). Although a national vulnerability assessment has not been produced, available information is sufficient to clearly identify the coastal zones which are at risk. On the Mediterranean coast, the most vulnerable area corresponds to the deltaic plain of the Rhône River, chiefly because of human actions (e.g., shortage of sediment supply as a result of dam construction; river embankments). Coastal erosion, lowland flooding, and ground water salinisation are the main impacts expected from ASLR. The Languedoc coastal barriers will move landward faster than at present, thus jeopardising dense tourist facilities. On the Atlantic coast, enhanced erosion of the Aquitaine sandy beaches is expected. Existing salt marshes do not appear threatened because mud sedimentation from soil erosion is active, but reclaimed areas will be at risk of flooding. Moderate salt intrusion is expected into the Loire estuary. The Normandy chalk cliffs may not recede faster than at present. Existing laws and regulations dealing with coastal management are sufficient to address the potential impacts which may affect populations and economic activities in the forthcoming decades as sea level rises.

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