The San Juan Bay (Puerto Rico) National Estuary Program used EPA’s publication, “Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans” to create a risk-based climate change vulnerability assessment. This video describes some climate change impacts that are already affecting San Juan, documents why the San Juan Bay National Estuary Program undertook this vulnerability assessment project, and explains the benefits of conducting the study.
The Madison Hazards and Community Resilience Workshops: Summary of Findings report is the culmination of an engagement process focused on comprehensively reducing risk and improving resilience in the Town of Madison, Connecticut through a community-driven process. This effort identified the top priority adaptation actions for the town derived through stakeholder consensus.
Benicia is a waterfront community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city is home to a thriving arts community, beautiful weather and scenic vistas, a downtown full of charming boutiques and antique shops, and an industrial park and port that provide jobs to Benicia residents. However, all of this is threatened by the impacts of future climate change. Sea level rise, storm surge, and extreme temperatures are projected to increase significantly over the coming decades.
Salem recognizes the importance of being prepared for climate change and has produced this Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan (Plan). The Plan investigates some of the most serious climate change impacts, the resulting stresses to different sectors in the City, and outlines project ideas to address some of the most critical issues. The goal for this plan is to identify immediate, actionable adaptation priorities, and incorporate these into existing and future projects and policies. This will make Salem a more resilient City and a great place to live, work, and visit for years to come.
The South Atlantic Conservation Blueprint is a living spatial plan to conserve natural and cultural resources for future generations. It identifies opportunities for shared conservation action in the face of future changes like sea-level rise and urban growth.
The Urban Land Institute convened its first major meeting focused on resilience on September 4–5, 2014. The San Francisco conference brought together several hundred leading real estate, development, finance, planning, and policy professionals to explore strategies for building resilient cities.
Over two days in San Francisco, ULI and its Urban Resilience Program showcased the Institute’s ongoing engagement and commitment to resilience. ULI recognizes that bold leadership is needed to foster more resilient and more energy-efficient cities around the world. Gatherings such as the Building the Resilient City conference are an important part of ULI’s mission to transform markets, catalyze innovations, and share cutting-edge knowledge related to urban resilience.
The Building the Resilient City conference was a foundational experience for ULI and its members. But make no mistake: the conference was only an important first step in ULI’s long-term efforts to foster resilient cities. Like ULI’s work following Superstorm Sandy, the dialogue that took place in San Francisco is giving shape to the Urban Resilience Program and is helping frame a broader suite of activities under ULI’s Center for Sustainability.
This report not only presents the conference’s key takeaways, but also delves deeper into the ideas and projects discussed there to provide a lasting resource and help extend the dialogue on resilience.
The insurance industry's keen interest in climate change goes back decades. Evan Mills, a climate change researcher at the University of California who specializes in the financial services sector, explains that climate change is a “stress test” for the insurance industry because “insurers abhor unquantified and unpriced risks, as well as market distortions” introduced by public policy makers.
For many insurance products, including property and business continuity insurance, climate change upends the notion that experience is a good predictor of future losses. Climate change’s destabilizing effects are also likely to increase the political pressure on governments to intervene in insurance markets.
The insurance industry has accepted a leadership role that reaches beyond the world of insurance. Climate change experts and policy makers have long recognized that the insurance industry holds a significant reservoir of needed skills and knowledge. Not only does the industry possess in-depth knowledge of extreme weather and its associated risks, but it also advances expertise in risk modeling, scenario building, and the alignment of incentives with desired actions. The insurance industry is positioned to communicate climate change’s risks and promote adaptation to its unavoidable consequences. This includes developing new insurance products.
This review of the insurance industry and climate change examines why the real estate industry can be increasingly confident in the stability and resilience of the insurance industry. Indeed, the real estate industry may even learn from the insurance industry’s advances in developing risk standards and tools for modeling and scenario analysis. In a world shaped by climate change, however, maintaining the insurability of individual properties is not a given. Unless owners and societies take steps to reduce their exposure to the damages and losses associated with extreme weather, the overall affordability and availability of insurance will be affected.
What constitutes strengthening resilience through equitable adaptation planning? How do we assess the context comprehensively so that effective methods are designed? To be able to declare that community resilience has been achieved, we must develop systems that address the needs and provide protection for those most vulnerable and marginalized.
What about the elderly woman who has a physical disability, has no private vehicle, lives in a flood plain, and has no homeowner’s insurance? What infrastructure and other improvements are we implementing that will effectively strengthen her resilience to the next disaster? What about the African American child with asthma who lives next to a coal plant? What will we do to strengthen his resilience as he faces the next heat wave which concentrates pollution, activates his asthma, and jeopardizes his life? How do we make sure he has access for emergency health needs while working on the political context that allows 68% of African Americans to be situated near these facilities?
As a conversation-starter for deepening work around incorporating intersectionality in equitable adaptation planning, the NAACP has developed a sample list of indicators/measures of vulnerability and resilience in terms of infrastructure, community/population characteristics, systems, policies, programs/services, protocols , and governance/decision making. This is not an inclusive list. Because these are examples, the indicators span the impacts of climate change including shifts in agricultural yields, sea level rise, and extreme weather.
The toolkit is a compilation of tools and resources that have been developed over the years by the Sea Grant Network to help local communities become more resilient.
Many aspects of the Californian approach to controlling the greenhouse gases that cause climate change now have a sufficient track record to provide potential models or lessons for national and even international action. In comparison, the state's efforts on climate change adaptation, although multifaceted, are less well developed and thus far have focused largely on information sharing, impact assessments, and planning. Still, adaptation could advance more quickly in California than in many other regions, given relatively high public awareness and concern, extensive scientific information, a strong tradition of local and regional planning, and some enabling policies and institutions. Much more political support and sufficient financing will have to be mustered at state and local levels to enable new projects and initiatives to cope with sea level rise, water management, and ecosystem adaptation, not to mention public health and other key areas of concern. Even so, California's initial efforts to adapt to unavoidable changes in climate may offer insights for other governments that will, inevitably, need to fashion their own adaptation strategies.