Abundant evidence shows that Oregon is already experiencing the effects of climate change. The Oregon Climate Change Adaptation Framework was created to help the state prepare for and respond and adapt to these changes.
Climate change is already affecting Oregon’s marine environments, forests, agriculture, and transportation infrastructure. In addition, changes in temperature, precipitation patterns, and other climate factors are likely to increasingly affect Oregon’s natural and human systems over time. Given the broad range of possible impacts, it is necessary for the state to prepare for and respond to the effects of future climate conditions.
In 2009, the directors of several state agencies, universities, research institutions, and extension services began to develop a climate change adaptation plan for the State of Oregon. The plan was intended to provide a framework for state agencies to identify authorities, strategies, research, and resources that will increase the state’s capacity to address likely climate change impacts. The framework was developed in parallel with the Oregon Climate Assessment Report (OCAR), which is meant to complement the framework. OCAR identified the most likely impacts from climate change and will help prioritize resources to prepare for and adapt to these changes. The Climate Change Adaptation Framework builds off information in OCAR about climate-related risks and lays out the basic adaptive capacity needed to deal with risks, short-term priority actions, and several long-term steps to improve Oregon’s capacity to adapt to changing climate conditions.
The goals of the Climate Change Adaptation Framework included:
- Identify likely climate conditions that pose major risks for people
- Assess the capacity of state programs to cope with climate-related risks
- Determine which short-term priority actions, as well as low- or no-cost actions, will help prepare for climate-related risks
- Provide direction for additional coordination and planning
As part of the framework development process, eleven categories of climate risks were identified. Climate risks were defined as the consequences of climate-related changes that are likely to occur over the next four to five decades. Risks were classified into three levels: very likely, likely, and more likely than not. Once the list of climate risks was finalized, the basic capacities of state agencies to address the risks were assessed, and a list of short-term actions needed to improve adaptive capacity identified. Over 120 short-term actions were identified; based on the general budget situation for the State of Oregon, the list of possible actions was narrowed down to a set of top priority, short-term, low-cost actions. A total of 20 short-term priority actions were recommended to address the top eleven climate risks.
The Framework is the first step in a long-term collaborative effort to prepare for and adapt to the likely impacts of climate change in Oregon. The state hopes to begin implementing short-term priority actions soon, while continuing to develop adaptation strategies and plans at the regional and local level. A series of general strategies were also put forth, which are not tied to any specific risk, but are important to move adaptation-related work forward in the state. These strategies included:
- Identify research needed for management;
- Implement a statewide monitoring system;
- Assess the capacity of agency programs to plan for and respond to climate change;
- Integrate economic information into adaptation planning;
- Mainstream adaptation;
- Foster intergovernmental coordination;
- Integrate adaptation and mitigation strategies; and
- Improve and increase communications and outreach efforts.
Kershner, J. (2010). The Oregon Climate Change Adaptation Framework [Case study on a project of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/oregon-climate-change-adaptation-fram… (Last updated December 2010)