TJ14.1 Advances in Local Adaptation to Climate Change

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 3:30 PM
Room 245 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Joel B. Smith, Stratus Consulting Inc., Boulder, CO; and J. Vogel, K. Carney, C. Herrick, M. O'Grady, H. Hosterman, A. St. Juliana, and M. Stults

We interviewed over 50 thought leaders on climate change adaptation and examined actions that 17 U.S. communities have taken to reduce vulnerability to climate variability and change. This Kresge-funded project was intended to learn from the experiences of communities across the United States. Examined communities include Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Chula Vista, CA; Cleveland, OH; El Paso, TX; Flagstaff, AZ; Grand Rapids, MI; Miami-Dade, FL; Norfolk, VA; Seattle, WA; Southwestern Crown Collaborative, MT; Spartanburg, SC; and Tulsa, OK. The project involved in-depth analysis of the specific actions each community took. The project studied what approaches work and what other communities beginning or already working to adapt to climate change can do to reduce their climate vulnerability.

Our preliminary analysis shows that communities have responded to observed and emerging climate risks in many ways. Some are explicitly considering climate change by changing construction standards or adopting measures that reduce current and future climate risks. Some are enhancing the capacity of staff or neighborhoods to address climate change risks. Others are responding to observed extreme events, particularly ones that harm key community services. These communities are doing so sometimes by considering how future climate may change or by including a buffer to account for some degree of uncertainty. Some have taken actions that can be considered transformative. This project is showing that reducing climate vulnerability can take decades to yield results.

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