Hundreds of US mayors have signaled their intent to assume a leadership role in combating climate change following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. The challenge now for these local leaders is to go beyond the pledge and implement substantial climate action. STAR Communities developed the Climate Change Guide with support from local leaders and members of its technical and governance committees.
This national briefing paper examines the interconnections between water management and vulnerable communities in the United States. Too often, when we think of vulnerable communities that struggle with water-related challenges, we think of places like sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and other developing regions. The overall high quality of water systems in America—one of our most monumental achievements as a nation—obscures the fact that water challenges are a daily reality for some communities.
The US Water Alliance developed this briefing paper to expand national understanding of the water-related challenges that vulnerable communities face. This paper is inspired and informed by the contributions of diverse stakeholders—utility managers, policymakers, community leaders, advocacy coalitions, direct service providers, and more. It spotlights the promising practices that have emerged to make water systems more equitable, and offers recommendations for their implementation.
During June of 2014, the town of Bowdoinham, Maine approved a new Comprehensive Plan for the coming years. As part of this plan, they included a section on adapting to sea-level rise and more severe rainstorms caused by climate change. By looking at past sea-level rise in the region and IPCC reports, the town developed projections for how much sea-level would rise nearby. Bowdoinham estimates sea-level in the area will rise at least one foot by 2050 and two feet by 2100, although they mention these estimates may be conservative. The report details the quantities of roads, railroads, buildings, and land that would be inundated by such sea-level rise. They also predict how much inundation would occur during a 100-year storm if various rises in sea-level were to occur. Additionally, they note that extreme precipitation events in the future may be 20% more severe than current local storm drains have been built to effectively deal with. Finally, they propose a number of recommendations including community education, participation in the FEMA National Flood Insurance CRS Program, and increasing resiliency of crucial transportation infrastructure.
Learn how Community-Driven Climate Resilience Planning is a vital opportunity for cities to reorganize resources, foster meaningful relationships, and develop placed-based innovations that support all people to thrive despite climate disruption.
- Advocates deepening democratic practices at the local and regional levels
- Puts forth principles and practices defining the emergent field of climate resilience
- Offers examples and resources for community-based institutions implementing community-driven planning processes
- Is useful for a range of stakeholders, including community-based organizations, philanthropy, and the public sector.
A new CDKN working paper by Andrew Scott of ODI explores the effectiveness of governing for the “water-energy-food nexus” of issues. The author looks at approaches that understand the links between sectors, recognise these in decision-making and promote integrated policy-making.
The concept of the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus has become widely used to help understand interdependencies among the three systems, and how they can be managed sustainably to meet growing demand. The water–energy–food nexus has especially been advocated to address conflicts among the sectors. However, governance in the water–energy–food nexus has not received much attention in the literature, particularly the institutions and politics governing the water–energy–food sectors.
This paper synthesises findings from CDKN-supported action research in this area. The paper draws from findings in Indonesia, Kenya and the Amazon Basin to show that the effectiveness of the horizontal (cross-sectoral) and vertical (between levels of government) coordination that is essential for a nexus approach is determined by institutional relationships, which can be influenced by political economy factors. The capacity of governing organisations to understand nexus links and to collaborate with each other is also critical.
The paper suggests that aiming for the ideal of comprehensiveness and integration in a nexus approach may be costly and impractical. Nevertheless, horizontal and vertical coordination are essential. Local-level decision-making will determine how trade-offs and synergies in the water–energy–food nexus are implemented. The capacities of local government organisations and decision-makers need to be strengthened to enhance their capacity to adopt nexus approaches and coordinate vertically.
When it comes to implementing climate change solutions, local communities are powerfully positioned to create an undercurrent of momentum and ambitious pathways to change that our national and global leaders cannot easily ignore. Yet in many communities, there are significant gaps in climate literacy, political will, and awareness of tangible climate action opportunities. To bridge this gap, Climate Generation has developed a best practices guide that shares our model and method for hosting public convenings on climate change at the community level.
Kenya is currently suffering from a drought, which has triggered a national emergency as of April 2017. The drought threatens health and local food security. Scientists with Climate Central, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and the University of Oxford – as part of the World Weather Attribution (WWA) partnership, which also includes Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and the University of Melbourne – conducted a real-time attribution analysis to see whether and to what extent human-induced climate change has played a role in this drought in Kenya.
The rapid/real-time analysis conducted by WWA in Kenya is part of the Raising Risk Awareness project, a pilot project delivered in collaboration with the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) using state-of-the-art science to increase understanding of the role of climate change in extreme weather events and prepare for future ones.
The results indicate that the temperatures involved in this drought are hotter than they would have been without the influence of climate change. The results do not detect a strong climate change signal in the rainfall trend, but the team cannot exclude small changes in the risk of poor rains linked to climate change.
Read the science summary here: The drought in Kenya, 2016–2017
Kenya is highly vulnerable to drought. Only 20% of the country receives high and regular rainfall. The remaining 80% is characterised as arid and semi-arid lands where rainfall is highly variable and drought is a regular feature of the climate. The arid and semi-arid lands house more than half of all livestock in Kenya and more than a quarter (30%) of the population; these are among the most vulnerable populations to rainfall variability and drought.
CCVA - Part 2 focuses on the risks from sea level rise and storm surges. The summary report and two technical reports describe the methods and results from applying the Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model, which is based on the Advanced Circulation (ADCIRC) model, in a vulnerability assessment of key assets and populations in Cambridge, MA. The Part 2 report complements the Part 1 report, which focuses on the risks from increasing temperatures and precipitation. The two CCVA Reports form the technical foundation for the Cambridge Climate Change Preparedness & Resilience Plan that is being developed.