Fourth Symposium on Policy and Socio—Economic Research
21st Conference on Climate Variability and Change


CCAP Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative: Climate Resilient Local Governments

Josh Foster, Center for Clean Air Policy, Washington, DC; and S. Winkelman

The Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative: Climate Resilient Local Governments

Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP)


Local governments, the first responders to public health, safety and environmental hazards, must act now to lessen vulnerabilities to climate change. They must plan for and invest in “adapting” to inevitable impacts such as flood, fire, and draught that will occur notwithstanding best efforts to mitigate climate change.

CCAP's Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative is developing a framework for informed decision making on climate adaptation. Looking ahead to projected climate impacts and ‘back casting' can identify what is needed now to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build local resiliency to climate change.

CCAP's partnership with King County (WA), Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County (FL), Milwaukee, Nassau County (NY), Phoenix, San Francisco, and Toronto is advancing policy discussions to ensure that state and local governments consider climate change when making decisions about infrastructure, transportation, land use, and resource management.

Through the Initiative, local leaders will incorporate climate change into daily urban management and planning activities, proactively engage city and county managers and the public in developing solutions, and build community resilience. One goal is to change both institutional and public attitudes and behaviors.

Determining appropriate adaptation strategies for each jurisdiction requires Asking the Climate Question: “How does what we are doing increase our resilience to climate change?” Over the next three years, the Initiative will design and implement specific adaptation plans, policies and ‘catalytic' projects, collect and disseminate “best practices,” and participate in framing national climate policy discussions.

In the coming years, policy-makers will have to consider climate change in major infrastructure development decisions. If they are to be successful and have the resources they need, national climate change policy and emerging legislation will have to support these communities. The Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative will equip CCAP partners with the knowledge and tools to get started on planning and implementing adaptation measures. Drawing on the best and brightest state, local and national policy experts, it will recommend a comprehensive set of actions that will enable the federal government to support local resiliency efforts.

Toward that end, CCAP has identified three core principles for national climate adaptation policy:

1. National climate policy should support state and local adaptation planning and implementation, such as through use of cap-and-trade allowance auction proceeds;

2. Federal agencies should provide adaptation assistance to state and local governments, including regional impact assessments, downscaled climate model data, updated flood maps, planning tools, drought early warning, and implementation guidance; and

3. A national climate service and extension network needs to be established to aid local governments implementing resilience measures in collaboration with universities, companies and technical experts around the country.

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Joint Session 9, Climate and Policy: From Local to Global
Monday, 12 January 2009, 4:00 PM-5:30 PM, Room 121A

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