Implementing Climate Change Adaptation – Lessons Learned from Ten Examples

This paper presents ten examples of cities and counties around the country. Each highlights the key lessons learned in the process of moving from planning to implementation on climate adaptation. The purpose of this report is to inform and inspire other communities in their efforts to advance climate adaptation. We also hope this report will be useful to organizations dedicated to helping communities adapt to climate change.

A Survey of Climate Change Adaptation Planning

In the past few years there has been a remarkable increase in the level of awareness of climate change worldwide. Concerns about causes and effects have moved beyond the realm of scientific debate to the offices of legislators and the conference rooms of city planners, and even to the living rooms of people everywhere. As evidence accumulates that a warming planet will cause widespread and mostly harmful effects, scientists and policy makers have proposed various mitigation strategies that might reduce the rate of climate change. For those officials in government who must plan now for an uncertain future, however, strategies for adapting to climate change are equally important.

A framework to diagnose barriers to climate change adaptation

This article presents a systematic framework to identify barriers that may impede the process of adaptation to climate change. The framework targets the process of planned adaptation and focuses on potentially challenging but malleable barriers. Three key sets of components create the architecture for the framework. First, a staged depiction of an idealized, rational approach to adaptation decision-making makes up the process component. Second, a set of interconnected structural elements includes the actors, the larger context in which they function (e.g., governance), and the object on which they act (the system of concern that is exposed to climate change). At each of these stages, we ask (i) what could impede the adaptation process and (ii) how do the actors, context, and system of concern contribute to the barrier. To facilitate the identification of barriers, we provide a series of diagnostic questions. Third, the framework is completed by a simple matrix to help locate points of intervention to overcome a given barrier. It provides a systematic starting point for answering critical questions about how to support climate change adaptation at all levels of decision-making.

Test – Climate Adaptation: Mainstreaming in existing Conservation Plans

Many local governments have already begun working on decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Recently, a growing number have begun examining ways to adapt to climate change – the act of reducing climate change impacts that are already underway. This Guidebook is intended to help those who are looking for ways to reduce the impacts of climate change (increasing heat waves, water shortages, intense storms and sea-level rise) while decreasing GHG emissions and ensuring sustainable development for their communities.

California Adaptation Planning Guide

Climate change is already affecting California and is projected to continue to do so well into the foreseeable future. Current and projected climate changes include increased temperatures, sea level rise (SLR), a reduced winter snowpack, altered precipitation patterns, and more frequent storm events. These changes have the potential for a wide variety of impacts such as altered agricultural productivity, wildfire risk, water supply, public health, public safety, ecosystem function, and economic continuity.

Adapting to Climate Change – A Risk-based Guide for Local Governments

Adapting to climate change may be one of the greatest challenges facing northern communities during the next century. This Guide has been written to primarily to assist local and regional governments understand the risks of predicted climate impacts and how to manage them. The Guide should also be useful for health officials, emergency managers, and businesses.

Risk management is a process for selecting the best course of action in uncertain situations. It does this by helping us identify, understand, analyze and communicate about risks. The Guide follows the framework for risk management described in the Canadian national standard “Risk Management: Guidelines for Decision-makers” (CAN/CSA- Q850-01)