Climate Change in Kivalina, Alaska: Strategies for Community Health

Rural Arctic communities are vulnerable to climate change and seek adaptation strategies that will protect health and health infrastructure. This report describes climate change impacts on Kivalina, a small Inupiat Eskimo community located on the coast of the Chukchi Sea. Data sources included the observations of local residents, reports from local and regional government of cials and health professionals, and scienti c evidence gathered from published sources.

This is the second in a series of community specic analyses describing climate change effects in Northwestern Alaska. It was prepared by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Center for Climate and Health with funding from the United States Indian Health Service. The rst report focused on Point Hope, the northern most community in the Maniilaq Association’s health service area. Assessments in other communities are on-going and will ultimately contribute to a comprehensive report for the Northwest Arctic region.

Climate Change in Kiana, Alaska Strategies for Community Health

Rural Arctic communities are vulnerable to climate change and residents seek adaptive strategies that will protect health and health infrastructure. In the Inupiat community of Kiana, climate change is impacting the weather, land, river, wildlife, plants, and the lives of the people who live there. Identi ed health concerns include food insecurity, damage to water and sanitation infrastructure, and increased risk of injury related to unpredictable weather conditions.

This report documents climate change impacts as described by the local people and interpreted through the lens of public health. It is the fourth report in a series describing climate change in Northwestern Alaska. The rst two reports focused on the coastal whaling communities of Point Hope and Kivalina. This is the second report to look at an upriver community; the rst was Noatak located on the Noatak River, and now Kiana located on the Kobuk River. These reports were prepared by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Center for Climate and Health in partnership with the Maniilaq Association, the Northwest Arctic Borough, Kiana Tribal Council and the City of Kiana. Funding was provided by the United States Indian Health Service and Environmental Protection Agency.

Climate Change in Atqasuk, Alaska: Strategies for Community Health

Understanding local impact of climate change is important for assessing negative and positive effects, and developing appropriate adaptation strategies. In Atqasuk, residents report changes to the weather, seasons, landscape, plants, wildlife and infrastructure, with important implications for public health. Atqasuk is a river community, vulnerable to thawing of permafrost and erosion on the river bank and in tundra lakes. The community is also impacted by weather and vegetation on the land and concerned about how climate change will affect wild food resources. Many of the reported changes are unprecedented and residents are challenged to develop knowledge that will allow them to continue to sustain traditional practices. Climate change in Atqasuk raises new concerns about food and water security, safety and mental health related to the stress of adapting to a new climate and changing environment.

Climate Change in in the Bering Strait Region

The Bering Strait region has long been characterized by permafrost and ice, an environment that was mostly cold and frozen. Human habitation in the region dates back some 10,000 years from the time of Beringia. While the ice ages covered most of North America with glaciers, Beringia was a vast grassland; a temperate refuge in an otherwise frozen north.

As the climate slowly warmed and glaciers retreated, the Bering Land Bridge provided a pathway for plants, wildlife and people to pass from Asia into North America. The people who reside in the Bering Strait today have lived in this region for at least 4,000 years. They include Inupiaq, Arctic coastal people who reside on the Seward Peninsula, King Island and the Diomede Islands. There are also Central Yup’ik living mostly south of Unalakleet, and Siberian Yupik on St. Lawrence Island.

Another great climate event is underway causing relocation of people and migration of new plants and animals to Alaska. The environment is rapidly changing and global warming brings impacts to all forms of life. This report is about the effects of a changing climate on the human environment and changes to communities and peoples’ lives.

Benton County Health Department | Climate Change Health Adaptation Plan

Benton County Health Department was one of five counties in Oregon to participate in the development of a Climate Health Adaptation Plan. Funding was provided through grants from the Oregon Health Authority with funding from the Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to pilot the BRACE Framework, a step-by-step process Health Departments can use to create adaptation plans for Climate-related public health risks.

This Climate Health Adaptation Plan will be updated every five years or as changes in science or potential health impacts occur. This document shows how the different climate change impacts were chosen and how Benton County Health Department plans to gather data in order to help inform policy decisions aimed at lessening the future health impacts of climate change.

Climate Change Hits Home: Adaptation Strategies for the San Francisco Bay Area

We have known about the perils of climate change for more than two decades. But global efforts to slow it down by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions have largely failed. Even if we could stop producing greenhouse gases tomorrow, the high concentration of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere will cause the climate to continue to change. As a result we must not only intensify our efforts to reduce climate change but start preparing for its inevitable effects.

In this report, SPUR addresses how we should adapt to climate change in the Bay Area, including which tools and strategies will make us resilient to its most severe impacts, including drought, higher temperatures and sea level rise. We recommend more than 30 strategies for local and regional agencies to begin minimizing the region’s vulnerabilities to these long-term but potentially catastrophic effects.

Adapting Conservation to a Changing Climate: An Update to the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan

Since the first iteration of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan was developed in 2005 (Illinois Department of Natural Resources 2005), considerably more information on potential threat of global climate change to natural and human systems has become available (e.g., International Panel on Climate Change 2007). These developments include further refinement to global climate change models, climate projections downscaled to regions, and likely effects of climate change on agriculture, human communities, ecosystems and biodiversity. In Illinois, the most profound effects of climate change are likely to be dangerous summer heat, a longer growing season, more flooding due to increased winter and spring rainfall in events >2 inches/day, increased summer drought, and lowered water levels in Lake Michigan (Union of Concerned Scientists 2009).

Over the same period, strategies to increase resilience, increase adaptive capacity, and mitigate the effects of climate change have emerged, and continue to evolve rapidly (Game et al. 2010, Groves et al. 2010, Hansen et al. 2010, Heller and Zavaleta 2009). Climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies have recently been incorporated into the work of Chicago Wilderness though a Climate Action Plan for Nature (Chicago Wilderness Climate Change Task Force 2010a) and an ongoing Climate Change Update to the Biodiversity Recovery Plan (Chicago Wilderness Change Task Force 2010b; A. Derby-Lewis, pers. comm.).

In 2009, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources initiated a process to incorporate climate change considerations into the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan. Based in part on the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies‟ Voluntary Guidance for States to Incorporate Climate Change into State Wildlife Action Plans & Other Management Plans (Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies 2009), this project had four explicit objectives:

  1. Conduct a climate vulnerability assessment of Species in Greatest Need of Conservation and major habitat types. We assessed the vulnerability of a subset of Species in Greatest Need of Conservation by employing the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index. This index was based on direct exposure to local climate change, downscaled from climate models; indirect exposure to climate change such as anthropogenic barriers to dispersal; sensitivity to climate, such as species‟ tolerance of climate variability over time or across geographic areas; and adaptive capacity including dispersal ability and genetic variation. The vulnerability of major habitat types was qualitatively evaluated based on projected changes in temperature, precipitation, drought, fire frequency, and flood frequency/intensity. Evaluating the factors anticipated to cause climate stress to species and habitats across Illinois informs adaptation strategies likely to have the broadest benefits.
  2. Identify conservation strategies that increase resilience or adaptive capacity, or mitigate the effects of climate change. The seven campaigns of the Wildlife Action Plan were revisited to identify strategies that are particularly important given the realities of climate change, strategies that may need to be modified or reconsidered, and additional actions that were not included in Version 1.0 of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan. We focused on strategies that are likely to be effective under both current and future climates (such as restoring connectivity and managing for ecological function), and considered the current and likely future conditions of natural divisions and watersheds to select regionally-appropriate strategies.
  3. Outline an adaptive management approach for informing management decisions. Because of the large and unavoidable uncertainties of global, regional and local effects of climate change, and the complexity of potential biological and human responses to climate change, conservationists will need to employ adaptive management approaches. Unlike the typical, watered-down, „we will make changes along the way‟ usage, adaptive management is a rigorous, iterative process of setting goal-based objectives, deploying strategies as experiments or learning actions, and a data-driven evaluation of results compared to objectives and effectiveness of alternate strategies.
  4. Recommend changes to existing monitoring programs and identify research needs. Illinois has many monitoring programs in place, including the Critical Trends Assessment Program which monitors the status and trends of the state‟s forests, grasslands, wetlands, and streams. An effective adaptive management framework will require implementation and effectiveness monitoring: a way of answering, “did we undertake the actions at the scale prescribed in the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, and did those actions have the intended effects?”

This report is intended to function as a stand-alone document that addresses the four objectives described above, but is also presented in a format that corresponds to the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan. We hope this format will facilitate cross-walking information from this document and the Wildlife Action Plan, and facilitate integration of climate change considerations into the Wildlife Action Plan during a formal update and revision process.

Samoa National Adaptation Programme of Action

The necessity to communicate Least Developed Countries’ (LDC) most urgent and immediate adaptation needs from the adverse impacts of climate change was formalized at the 7th Conference of the Parties in 2001. Samoa was one of the first countries to receive funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the LDC Fund to develop its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA). After two years of comprehensive information and data collection, as well as countrywide consultations, Samoa’s NAPA preparation project has achieved its objectives.

The ‘Samoa Climate Change Synthesis Report: National Adaptation Programme of Action 2004’ (The Synthesis Report, 2004) has been completed and this report has created opportunities for synergies with other multilateral agreements particularly the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for collaborative and integrated actions in adaptation responses. A nationally driven set of criteria for prioritization has also been developed and utilized to prioritize the adaptation actions in the national programme. The development of Samoa’s NAPA has been an exceptional learning experience for all those involved, particularly the National Climate Change Country Team (NCCCT) and National Task Team (NTT). By adopting an integrated approach, all the relevant stakeholders (both in government and non-government organizations) have been able to work hand in hand to ensure that those whose livelihoods are most vulnerable to adverse impacts of climate change impart the urgency and immediacy of the adaptation needs.

The purpose of this report is to examine Samoa’s main environmental pressures within each highly vulnerable national sector, including the livelihoods of communities. These sectors have been developed into project profiles which include issue statements and provide a summary of the profile’s objectives, activities, inputs, outputs and outcomes (see Annex I-1 – I-9) that have been set and agreed to by government, the private sector and most importantly the village communities, using nationally driven criteria.

It is intended that the contents of this document will provide the GEF with indications of Samoa’s most urgent and immediate climatic adaptation needs. Moreover, it is envisaged that partnerships which Samoa has established with its other development partners will be strengthened to explore additional opportunities and support for implementation of the NAPA.

The Government of Samoa gratefully acknowledges the assistance of GEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in extending the financial assistance towards the development of its NAPA.

Preliminary Study of Climate Adaptation for the Statewide Transportation System in Arizona

This research study presents recommendations for the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to continue working toward being more resilient, flexible, and responsive to the effects of global climate change. The main objectives were to identify key individuals within ADOT with decisionmaking authority relevant in incorporating climate change adaptation in planning, design, and operations; review literature and best practices for climate change adaptation as relevant to the desert Southwest; develop a research agenda for ADOT to further understand the impacts of climate change on the agency (including a knowledge-mapping exercise using an online survey questionnaire, structured interviews, and focus groups); and identify key areas for further research.

By initiating this study, there is already an internal interest and momentum at ADOT for climate adaptation planning. Without institutional support, however, it will be difficult to continue forward with the research agenda in a more extensive study. To move beyond a preliminary assessment, ADOT will have to find ways to bring its lessons learned to the forefront and into the national spotlight. This study reveals that ADOT already experiences extreme heat and dust storms, and thus it will be the first to develop tools and techniques that can be applied to other states and regions that will experience climate impacts that Arizona will face first. The study provides some recommendations for ADOT to tap into the national dialogue on climate adaptatio