Florida’s Energy & Climate Change Action Plan

Florida's Energy and Climate Change Action Plan is the framework that will secure Florida's energy future, reduce greenhouse gas emissions,and support emerging "green tech sector." The Plan addresses seven main strategies including inventory and projections of Florida's greenhouse gas emissions,energy supply and demand,cap and trade,transportation and land use, agriculture, forestry, and waste management, government policy and coordination, and adaptation strategies.

Chicago Climate Action Plan

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago reinvented itself as a thriving hub that anchored the nation's commerce. In 1909, the Burnham Plan envisioned a "City Beautiful" - and called on all residents to act in the public's best interest to create it. Chicagoans have always faced obstacles with determination and imagination, and emerged all the stronger.

More than 15 years ago, Mayor Richard M. Daley began to transform Chicago into the most environmentally friendly city in the nation. Today, Chicago is one of the world's greenest and most livable cities, thanks to strong partnerships between government, residents and businesses. We lead the way from green roofs to green buildings and policies. We've become the nation's laboratory for studying ways to reduce the "urban heat island" effect, which can raise a city's temperature 4 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit on hot summer days. Our extensive public transit system offers a low-cost, energy-efficient alternative to solo driving. Our Bicycling program has produced more bike parking than any other U.S. city and 165 miles of bikeways. Our green homes and other programs help families save thousands of dollars through energy efficiency.

The past 15 years have also seen a tremendous growth in our understanding of climate change and the important role that cities can play in addressing it. This worldwide threat to our planet demands an encompassing plan from every city, state and nation and action from every resident and business to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases and to ensure a good quality of life for future generations.

It was with that charge in mind that Mayor Daley created a multi-stakeholder task force to produce a Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP).

The Task Force created a Plan that:

  • Determines the challenges we face as our climate changes
  • Describes the sources of our greenhouse gas emissions
  • Sets goals to reduce our emissions and adopt to changes already affecting us
  • Finds ways to leverage our knowledge to improve our economy and quality of life
  • Outlines concrete, achievable goals for all those who make Chicago their home

This overview report summarizes the Chicago Climate Action Plan. For more detailed information, and to see the full scientific reports, visit www.chicagoclimateaction.org. Please join us by finding your role in implementing the Chicago Climate Action Plan.

Maryland Climate Action Plan

On April 20, 2007, Governor Martin O’Malley signed Executive Order 01.01.2007.07 (the Order) establishing the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (the Commission). Sixteen State agency heads and six members of the General Assembly comprise the Commission. The principal charge of the Commission is to develop a Plan of Action (the Climate Action Plan) to address the drivers of climate change, to prepare for its likely impacts in Maryland, and to establish goals and timetables for implementation.

The Order emphasized Maryland’s particular vulnerability to climate change impacts of sea level rise, increased storm intensity, extreme droughts and heat waves, and increased wind and rainfall events. It recognized that human activities such as coastal development, burning of fossil fuels, and increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are contributing to the causes and consequences of climate change. While noting Maryland’s recent climate initiatives, the Order emphasized that continued leadership by example by Maryland State and local governments is imperative.

The Commission is supported by three Working Groups whose members were appointed by the Commission Chair, Shari T. Wilson, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE): Scientific and Technical Working Group (STWG), chaired by Donald Boesch, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and co-chaired by Frank W. Dawson, Assistant Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Robert M. Summers, Deputy Secretary of MDE; Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Mitigation Working Group (MWG), chaired by George (Tad) Aburn, Director of MDE’s Air and Radiation Management Administration, and co-chaired by Malcolm Woolf, Director, Maryland Energy Administration (MEA); and Adaptation and Response Working Group (ARWG), chaired by John R. Griffin, Secretary of DNR, and co-chaired by Richard Eberhart Hall, Secretary, Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and Don Halligan, Assistant Secretary of MDP. These Working Groups and the technical work groups (TWGs) that support them represent diverse stakeholder interests and bring broad perspective and expertise to the Commission’s work. The Commission’s work was facilitated by a consultant, the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS).

Enhancing Coping and Adaptation Capacity of the Coastal Community to Reduce Vulnerability to Climate Change

This project will initiate actions for local level community and stakeholders to enhance adaptive capacity, resilience and livelihood due to impact of climate change by involving directly 250 households (based on SSN Project Design Document) focusing on key areas of environmental education, agriculture, fisheries, alternative livelihoods, water, and disaster risk reduction activities.

Vulnerability of Major Wastewater Treatment Facilities to Sea Level Rise

King County's Wastewater Treatment Division maintains 77 major facilities, 40 of which are situated adjacent to tidally influenced water bodies. As effects of climate change continue to grow, the potential for flooding at these facilities as the result of sea-level rise must be assessed and mitigated. The first step in planning for the effects of sea-level rise is to identify which facilities are at risk. This report identifies these facilities and their potential for flooding, considering the effects of both sea-level rise and storm surges, and then recommends the next steps in planning for this change.

Adaptability and Adaptations of California’s Water Supply System to Dry Climate Warming

Economically optimal operational changes and adaptations for California’s water supply system are examined for a dry form of climate warming (GFDL CM2.1 A2) with year 2050 water demands and land use. Economically adaptive water management for this climate scenario is compared to a similar scenario with the historical climate. The effects of population growth and land use alone are developed for comparison. Compared with the historic hydrology, optimized operations for the dry climate warming scenario raise water scarcity and total operation costs by $490 million/year with year 2050 demands. Actual costs might be somewhat higher where non-economic objectives prevail in water management. The paper examines the economical mix of adaptation, technologies, policies, and operational changes available to keep water supply impacts to such modest levels. Results from this screening model suggest promising alternatives and likely responses and impacts. Optimized operations of ground and surface water storage change significantly with climate. Dry-warm climate change increases the seasonal storage range of surface reservoirs and aquifers. Surface reservoir peak storage usually occurs about a month earlier under dry-warm climate change.

Adaptation Planning – What U.S. States and Localities are Doing

The scientific community has reached a strong consensus that the climate is changing. Current projections show further global temperature increases from 2.5ºF to 10.4ºF by 2100, while warming in the United States is expected to be even higher. This warming will have significant consequences for the United States, causing sea-level rise that will gradually inundate coastal areas and increase both beach erosion and flooding from coastal storms, changes in precipitation patterns, increased risk of droughts and floods, stronger hurricanes, threats to biodiversity, and a number of potential challenges for public health. Early impacts of climate change are already appearing. Several U.S. legislative committees are analyzing proposed federal greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction policies, and dozens of states are taking action to reduce GHG emissions. While these actions are vital to reducing the impacts of future climate change, we are already committed to further warming for decades to come. As a result, strategies to adapt to the impacts of climate change will be necessary as a parallel strategy to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions..While governments act to mitigate future climate change, they must also plan and act to address the impacts. This preparation includes risk assessments, prioritization of projects, funding and allocation of both financial and human resources, solution development and implementation, and rapid deployment of information sharing and decision support tools. Corresponding to the size of the challenge, impacts span entire communities and regions. As such, adaptation is dependent on numerous stakeholders from federal, state and local government, science and academia, the private sector, and community residents to develop solutions to complex problems for which prior solutions may not exist. Adaptation will require creativity, compromise, and collaboration across agencies, sectors and traditional geographic boundaries.This paper focuses on adaptation plans and actions in progress by state and local governments. Many of these efforts are in their earliest stages. Some states are including adaptation within the scope of their state Climate Action Plans addressing GHG emissions. A few others have recognized the need for separate and comprehensive adaptation commissions to parallel their mitigation efforts. Many are simply responding to climate impacts as they occur, without necessarily attributing the impact to climate change. Regardless of the basis for the adaptive response, states have much they can learn from each other, and from localities where adaptation is already occurring. While comprehensive and proactive adaptation planning is still in the early stages, as states complete their GHG mitigation plans, adaptation planning is gaining greater attention and resources from states and localities.

A Framework for Addressing Rapid Climate Change

Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed the Climate Change Integration Group (CCIG) to develop a framework for making these intelligent and well-informed choices. The Governor charged the CCIG to create a preparation and adaptation strategy for Oregon, implement and monitor mitigation measures from the 2004 Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions (and devise new ones if appropriate), serve as a clearinghouse for Oregon climate change information, and explore new research possibilities related to climate change for Oregon’s universities.

In this report, the CCIG proposes that Oregon takes steps toward developing a framework that will assist individuals, businesses, and governments to incorporate climate change into their planning processes. This framework is based upon the following underpinnings:

• Business-as-Usual is Not Climate as Usual: A change in the Earth’s climate of unprecedented magnitude is now inevitable, but concerted action to reduce greenhouse gases can help reduce the degree to which our climate changes.

• Our Climate is Changing Faster Than Anticipated: Recent scientific work indicates that the climate is changing faster that had been anticipated even three years ago5, and that we may be approaching a less favorable climate regime to sustain Oregon’s economic health.

• Significant Economic Threat: Research shows that climate change will ultimately produce significant adverse economic impacts on most sectors of Oregon’s economy.

• Significant Human Health Threat: Climate change brings with it significant new health threats, such as new diseases and new disease vectors.

• It is Urgent that We Act Now: A broad scientific consensus tells us that it is urgent that we act immediately to reduce the release of greenhouse gases if we are to keep climate change manageable, and to prepare for the impacts of warming that are now inevitable.

Urban Planning for Climate Change

Scientific opinion is now unanimous that global temperatures are likely to continue to rise with concomitant extreme weather patterns and events. There is a protean body of scientific literature available on global warming and climate change, which is affecting urban living in every respect from ‘heat islands’, continuous light and sea level changes as well as severe droughts and floods paralysing urban areas. Urban planning implications are reflected in buildings, street and community design for more environmentally sustainable cities. The urban science related to climate change and its implications for human settlement is in its early stages. Nonetheless, climate change is already becoming a concern of insurance and actuarial industries as they begin to assess risk to human settlement, construction and other risks associated with atmospheric conditions. These cannot be anticipated and need to be examined with  a new paradigm for urban problem solving which is outlined in this paper.

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.

The options available to planning officials have become better defined over time as they have been studied--and in some cases, implemented--but adaptation planning continues to involve many uncertainties. These arise from the fact that every community is unique in its setting and people, and therefore faces environmental and social vulnerabilities that will differ from those of neighboring communities. Understanding the nature of these vulnerabilities is part of the challenge of creating an adaptation strategy.

Even when the potential threats are understood, the localized nature of impacts and the seemingly distant timeframes involved can make it hard to formulate and implement policies that affect activities taking place in specific localities right now. Fortunately, a number of tools, resources and ongoing efforts are currently available to planners to provide guidance for and examples of adaptation planning.

This introductory survey report is designed to provide a “road map” to some of this information. It makes no claim to be comprehensive or to represent best practices on adaptation. Rather, the goal in producing this survey is to help generate discussion and the sharing of ideas, efforts and lessons learned across the adaptation community.