A new federal infrastructure package presents a critical opportunity to strengthen America’s infrastructure against the growing risks posed by extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. Enhancing the climate resilience of the nation’s infrastructure can substantially reduce future losses, benefiting public health, safety, quality of life, and prosperity. This policy brief outlines the benefits of climate-resilient infrastructure and criteria that should inform infrastructure planning and investment to enhance climate resilience. It identifies the types of infrastructure projects that can promote resilience while simultaneously achieving other climate and energy goals and recommends changes to existing federal policies and programs to ensure ongoing improvement to the climate resilience of America’s infrastructure.
A growing evidence base links women’s met needs for family planning with reduced human vulnerability to climate change and enhanced resilience in the face of climate change impacts. Yet to date, population and family planning have been largely left out of adaptation proposals and projects. This report highlights a number of multilateral funds that provide climate finance and identifies challenges and opportunities for the FP/RH community in justifying their proposed development interventions as adaptation interventions.
There is a growing recognition of the benefits of nature-based solutions (NBS), a term that refers to projects and actions where natural ecosystems and their services are used in a sustainable and effective way in order to help tackle environmental and social challenges. Under the right circumstances, these solutions can provide alternatives that, compared with traditional infrastructure and engineering projects, are both cost-effective and capable of providing multiple benefits, while at the same time delivering conservation objectives. NBS can help society better adapt to climate change by, for example, addressing the risks of adverse impacts from extreme weather events, including droughts and floods, as well as food security issues. One example of NBS is use of the buffering capacity of riparian ecosystems, which act as a time and intensity buffer in the event of floods, but also as a filter for runoff waters. Nevertheless, it is essential to frame NBS within the right conditions; recent developments in ecological science and modelling have just started to provide a better understanding of what a “good operating space”—in other words, one that efficiently delivers these services—looks like for NBS.
The US Forest Service has published a new report that presents the first-ever synthesis on agroforestry as a mechanism to provide mitigation and adaptation services in the face of a changing climate. With contributions from more than 50 experts from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, this report draws upon recent science and shows how tree-based management strategies can improve agricultural production and resiliency.
Some estimates suggest that US$500 billion will be needed for adaptation by 2050, and public finances will form a crucial part of that picture. To ensure this, a new framework that helps governments mainstream spending on climate adaptation into domestic budgets, has been successfully implemented in four South Asian countries. The Financing Framework for Resilient Growth (FFRG) can help countries around the world improve how they fund climate resilience building through public finance.
International climate finance mechanisms have so far fallen short of delivering the necessary resources to tackle climate change and are unlikely to deliver all that is needed in the near future as well. This is especially true of adaptation finance, which remains severely underfunded putting many people and critical infrastructure at risk. To successfully prepare for climate change, governments will have to mobilise their own fiscal resources and go beyond donor funding to reach their development goals.
The Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme has devised and tested this framework that enables governments to integrate climate change adaptation and resilience into their plans, policies, and budgets at the national and subnational level. The FFRG provides a way to estimate the economic cost of climate change damages, quantify current expenditure on adaptation, and track it through departmental budgets. For example, in Bihar, India, ACT reviewed 787 budget lines which are relevant for climate change and used the FFRG to estimate that $145 million worth of the total ‘benefits’ from this expenditure are tackling the impacts of climate change through enabling adaptation. This provides an effective baseline against which to measure an increase in funding year on year or hold the government to account should expenditure dip.
The framework also allows governments to calculate the gap between current levels of funding and those required to prevent climate-related loss and damage. The framework is a useful tool for governments to identify priority areas of spending and plan effectiveness strategies to finance climate adaptation.
This report summarizes the work of two NOAA-funded graduate fellows research on community-level coastal flood management and climate change adaptation best practices throughout the North Atlantic region (Virginia to Maine). Guided by a steering committee composed of government and academic personnel involved with climate adaptation throughout the North Atlantic, the fellows visited coastal communities to collect information on low-cost climate change and related coastal hazard management best practices. The purpose of the work was to identify and collate cost-effective adaptation projects implemented at the municipal level, to provide NOAA with best practice information to assist with ongoing adaptation outreach.
National climate change adaptation guidelines for arid zone aquatic ecosystems and freshwater biodiversity are proposed which emphasize the protection of habitats and processes that support the persistence of freshwater biota under a changing climate. These guidelines are intended to provide guidance for policy development, planning and on-ground actions. The major goal of these guidelines is to reduce the risk of the loss of aquatic habitats, deteriorating water quality and the extinction of aquatic and water-dependent species. A portfolio of adaptation approaches to maintaining aquatic habitats, the water resources that support them, and the species that depend upon them, is proposed within a framework of strategic adaptive management. This approach best addresses the uncertainty that exists as to how climatic changes will play out across the arid zone with respect to water availability and ecological processes. Recommended climate adaptation actions include: implementing a national mapping program that identifies the major types of arid zone aquatic ecosystems and the surface water and groundwater resources that sustain them; recognizing the importance of evolutionary refugia and ecological refuges as priority sites for arid zone climate adaptation planning and policy; protecting a dynamic (spatial and temporal) mosaic of perennial, temporary and ephemeral waterbodies to provide the range of conditions needed support aquatic and water-dependent species with varying life history traits and dispersal abilities; maintaining the integrity of the dry sediments of temporary and ephemeral waters to ensure the persistence of viable seed and egg banks; recognizing the importance of key hydrological and ecological processes, particularly connectivity and dispersal; undertaking vulnerability assessments that determine the climate sensitivity and likely persistence of key habitats; reducing the existing stressors on aquatic ecosystems and aquatic biota; identifying new and novel waterbodies created by arid zone industries (e.g. mining, pastoralism) that could provide valuable offsets for aquatic systems lost through climatic drying; implementing climate adaptation actions within a strategic adaptive management framework accompanied by a dedicated program for indigenous and local community engagement and education.
Sea levels are rising at an accelerating rate, and the scientific community is confident that global warming is the most important cause. Higher sea levels translate to more and higher coastal floods. To forecast future risk, this analysis integrates historic flood statistics with local sea level rise projections developed by the U.S. National Research Council. Under mid-range projections, floods exceeding today’s historic records are likely to take place throughout California, Oregon and Washington within the next 30 years. In Southern California, such floods would become annual events within the same period; in Northern California and Puget Sound, this would take up to six decades.
The tool includes:
- Interactive local projections of sea level rise and increasing coastal flood risk from 1-10 feet by decade;
- A zooming, zip-searchable map of low-lying areas threatened, plus layers showing social vulnerability, population density and property value;
- Detailed assessments of populations, property, infrastructure and contamination sources exposed, for each implicated county, city, town, zip code, planning district, legislative district and more; and
- State- and county-wide heat maps facilitating high-level vulnerability comparisons. Detailed knowledge of vulnerability is a critical tool for communities seeking to build resiliency to the climate challenges of today and the future.
This paper analyzes how state climate adaptation plans treat agriculture and food systems, and identifies challenges and best practices and lift-up innovative approaches for the future. To conduct the analysis, every state was catalouged with a climate adaptation plan that makes concrete recommendations for agricultural adaptation. A list of every agriculture-related policy proposal was created in each state plan and sorted those strategies into ten categories based on our best interpretation of their goals. Eight strategies identified by the USDA in the 2016 report “Adaptation Resources for Agriculture,” were pulled. Two additional categories we identified as important were added, covering financial support and technical assistance.
A few important trends stand out in state climate adaptation plans.
- Few states are considering ambitious changes to their agricultural systems, such as changing crop types to fit the altered climate or using new approaches to animal production.
- Locally focused adaptation strategies with less daunting scopes, such as those focused on soil and water quality, have gained traction.
- Strategies designed to support farmers with technical and financial support for climate adaptation are well-represented.
- Very little attention is given to biodiversity, how to “manage farms and fields as part of a larger landscape,” a potentially powerful tool in the face of climate change.
- Investing in agriculture-related infrastructure as part of climate adaptation is similarly under-represented.
This report presents strengthening evidence that Oregon is already experiencing the effects of climate change.
Key climate risks vary across Oregon
On the Coast, sea level rise will increase the risk of coastal erosion and flooding; warming waters and ocean acidification will degrade es- tuarine habitat crucial for salmon and shellfish and negatively affect nearshore fisheries; and forest vegetation in the Coast Range may shift. In the Willamette Valley, declining snow-pack, earlier snowmelt, and greater summer water demand may increase summer water scarcity; and wildfire activity is expected to increase. In the Cascade Range, diminishing snowpack leads to larger, earlier peak flow events and lower summer low flows; more wildfires and changes in climate suitability may shift forest vegetation types. In Eastern Oregon, declining snowpack has similar effects; warming streams will limit ranges for salmon and trout; disturb- ances and changes in suitability are expected to shift forest vegetation; and rangeland and sage-brush habitat may experience greater invasion of non-native weeds and more frequent fires.