Hawaii SB 2745: Planning Act; Priority Guidelines; Climate Change

Creates a climate change adaptation policy for the State of Hawaii by amending the Hawaii State Planning Act to include climate change adaptation priority guidelines.

The purpose of this Act is to encourage collaboration and cooperation among county, state, and federal agencies, policy makers, businesses, and other community partners to plan for the impacts of climate change and avoid, minimize, or mitigate loss of life, land, and property of future generations.

Tracking Coastal Adaptation: Implementing California’s Innovative Sea Level Rise Planning Database

Sea level rise presents a significant climate change adaptation challenge for California. The state has over 3400 miles of coastline, millions of coastal residents, and an economy dependent on coastal natural resources. Higher sea levels threaten residents, public and private development, critical infrastructure, and natural resources with increased risk of flooding, inundation, storm damage, shoreline erosion, saltwater intrusion, and beach loss.

Although California has long been a worldwide leader in mitigating global climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the state has only recently begun to focus seriously on adaptation actions, which aim to reduce or adjust the adverse impacts of climate change. California’s coastal communities, agencies, and public and private entities are largely in the early stages of planning for and addressing climate-related changes on the coastline.1 Because the coast is an integrated system, and entities throughout the state have similar adaptation needs and challenges, coordination in sea level rise adaptation across sectors, jurisdictions, and scales of governance is not just beneficial but essential. Yet recent reports on sea level rise have cited a lack of integration between the many actors engaged in adaptation in California and consequently have called for improved information-sharing.2

In response, the California Legislature recently enacted one of the state’s first laws designed to advance climate adaptation. A.B. 2516,3 which Governor Brown signed on September 21, 2014, directs the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) and Ocean Protection Council (OPC) to publish information about state and selected local efforts to respond to sea level rise in a publicly accessible online database. The law requires the following entities to submit relevant information to the database biannually: airports and ports in the coastal zone or San Francisco Bay area, investor-owned utilities and publicly owned electric or natural gas utilities in the coastal zone or San Francisco Bay area, regional water quality control boards, and several state entities with relevant jurisdiction (see Box 5 below).4 Notably, municipalities and counties do not fall under the reporting requirements of A.B. 2516.

The CNRA and OPC are currently in the process of developing an implementation strategy for A.B. 2516. A.B. 2516 was not accompanied by an appropriation of funds to support its implementation. With sufficient resources, however, the database has the potential to become one of the most robust sea level rise planning information portals in the country, and an example that other jurisdictions may wish to duplicate.5

Importantly, the law grants the agencies broad discretion to determine which types of sea level rise planning information to include in the database, whom to survey, and how to organize the data. These decisions are not insignificant. Creation of the database offers an opportunity to help establish a coastal adaptation survey and dataset that may be useful not only for state and local planning but also for broader assessment of California’s preparedness for sea level rise. And although mandatory reporting is limited to a discrete list of entities, all public and private actors engaged in coastal climate change adaptation—in California and beyond—stand to gain valuable knowledge and insight from the database. Furthermore, because California’s database is the first of its kind, the agencies’ choices about which information to survey, whom to survey, and how to structure the database have the potential to influence the form and scope of future adaptation databases in other jurisdictions.

This policy brief provides recommendations to the CNRA, OPC, and California Legislature regarding how to harness A.B. 2516 to enhance coastal climate change preparedness in California. The authors and contributors to these recommendations collectively bring expertise in coastal law, climate change adaptation, program evaluation, and survey research. Overall, acknowledging that the CNRA and OPC have limited resources to devote to implementation of A.B. 2516, we urge the agencies to work over the next several years to the best of their capacity toward developing a database that can play an integral role in the development and promotion of coordinated, integrated, and effective state adaptation policy.

Regional Climate Adaptation Planning Alliance: Report on Climate Change and Planning Frameworks for the Intermountain West

Major cities in the arid and semi-arid areas of the Western US have developed a Regional Climate Adaptation Planning Alliance to develop a common regional approach to adaptation planning – including a collective vision of resilience, planning frameworks and information sharing opportunities. This Alliance is founded on its members’ shared goal to make climate change adaptation a priority at the local level and the collective understanding that successful climate change adaptation requires regional collaboration. Subsequent sections of this report lay out a vision for resilience in the West; suggest common adaptation goals for municipalities in the region; describe the rationale for action on adaptation; establish common assumptions about climate change scenarios; and identify common focus areas and planning frameworks.

Sections 1 and 2 outline a collective vision for a region resilient to changing climate conditions. The vision describes a positive future in which Western communities identify the trends and hazards that threaten quality of life, and take the initiative to respond locally and regionally in building stronger communities, economies, and ecosystems. Section 2 outlines the principles that can guide Alliance members in achieving its vision of resilience.

Moving from the vision toward planning steps, Section 3 elaborates on the following six reasons to engage in climate change adaptation:

  1. The climate has already changed and future changes are highly certain.
  2. Climate change poses a threat to existing community priorities and commitments.
  3. Today’s decisions have long legacies, thereby shaping tomorrow’s vulnerabilities.
  4. Planning now can save money, while inaction now will lead to higher costs in the future.
  5. Planning for uncertainty is not new, and can be integrated into current planning frameworks.
  6. Adaptation has co-benefits for other community priorities.

Section 4 is a focused summary of current climate change science that is relevant to the broad region of the Intermountain West. It provides the scientific basis for planning and outlines the historic and projected shifts in two primary changing climate conditions – temperature and precipitation. Additionally, information on snowpack and streamflow, secondary climate change condisioins, is provided due to the significant role these factors play in the region. The report draws on existing academic literature and finds overwhelming evidence that the region will experience a trend toward higher temperatures with a projected rise in 2020 to between 1.9 and 3 °F above a 1960 – 1979 baseline.1 The report also found significant evidence that the region will likely see declining snowpack and streamflow over the long term. While projections for temperature and snowpack are more certain, the variability of precipitation patterns currently prevents to scientists from discerning a definite trend for the region. The section concludes with key information for understanding climate change including shifting averages, increasing extremes, and the timing of change.

Although temperature, precipitation, and snowpack projections are important to understand in themselves, communities are often most concerned with the impacts of climate change to communities. Section 5 presents key climate change impacts for the region, covering five different sectors – Water Resources; Agriculture and Food Security; The Built Environment and Extreme Events; Public Health; and Economic Impacts. The section also includes key information about the interdependencies of climate change impacts.

Water resources will be severely impacted by a number of key factors, but the ability to meet consumer demand in multiple sectors could be most threatened by increasing dryness. The built environment is most threatened by future increases in flooding, wildfire risk and energy disruptions. The report finds that the biggest concern for the public health sector is likely to be the increase in heat-related morbidity and mortality over the coming decades. Although the secondary impacts to the regional economy are not as clearly understood, the costs of inaction are likely to be very high. For water supply alone, the cost of climate impacts could be as high as nearly 1 trillion dollars annually by 2100.2 .

The final three sections provide additional information to help the Alliance pursue its next steps. Section 6 uses ICLEI’s Climate Resilient CommunitiesTM (CRC) Five Milestones for Climate Adaptation planning framework to describe the general approach of climate adaptation planning. The section also outlines three different options for local governments to work through this framework: 1) Stand-alone adaptation planning 2) Integrated adaptation planning and 3) Sector-specific adaptation planning. Section 7 provides guidance and options for information-sharing among Alliance participants. Finally, Section 8 identifies the following near-term objectives for Alliance activities:

  1. Establishing a regular dialogue by conference call or online meeting; 
  2. Creating a resolution articulating the group’s intentions and goals;
  3. Adoption of the resolution by local governing bodies; and
  4. Developing an online platform for information-sharing.

Methods of Assessing Human Health Vulnerability and Public Health Adaptation to Climate Change

The fact that climate is changing has become increasingly clear over the past decade. Recent evidence suggests that the associated changes in temperature and precipitation are already adversely affecting population health.The future burden of disease attributable to climate change will depend in part on the timeliness and effectiveness of the interventions implemented. In response to these changing risks, the Third Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in London in 1999 recommended developing the capacity to undertake national assessments of the potential health effects of climate variability and change, with the goal of identifying: 1) vulnerable populations and subgroups and 2) interventions that could be implemented to reduce the current and future burden of disease.The need to facilitate the transfer of expertise among countries was recognized.This publication is designed to address this need by providing practical information to governments, health agencies and environmental and meteorological institutions in both industrialized and developing countries on quantitative and qualitative methods of assessing human health vulnerability and public health adaptation to climate change.An integrated approach to assessment is encouraged because the impact of climate is likely to transcend traditional sector and regional boundaries, with effects in one sector affecting the coping capacity of another sector or region. Part I describes the objectives and the steps for assessing vulnerability and adaptation and Part II discusses the following issues for a range of health outcomes: the evidence that climate change could affect mortality and morbidity; methods of projecting future effects; and identifying adaptation strategies, policies and measures to reduce current and future negative effects.The health outcomes considered are: morbidity and mortality from heat and heat-waves, air pollution, floods and windstorms and food insecurity; vector-borne diseases; waterborne and foodborne diarrhoeal diseases; and adverse health outcomes associated with stratospheric ozone depletion.

Adaptations to Sustain High‐Quality Freshwater Supplies in Response to Climate Change

As defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, adaptation includes a set of actions to moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities in response to climate change. To date, little research has addressed public policy options to frame the nation’s approach to adapt to a changing climate. In light of scientific evidence of extreme and unpredictable climate change, prudent policy requires consideration of what to do if markets and people fail to anticipate these changes, or are constrained in their ability to react. This issue brief is one in a series that results from the second phase of a domestic adaptation research project conducted by Resources for the Future. The briefs are primarily intended for use by decisionmakers in confronting the complex and difficult task of effectively adapting the United States to climate change impacts, but may also offer insight and value to scholars and the general public. This research was supported by a grant from the Smith‐Richardson Foundation.

Policy Recommendations

Scientists expect climate change to affect the availability and quality of freshwater in distinctive ways from those previously experienced. As a result, many current methods to provide sustainable water supplies during extreme droughts, floods, and hurricanes may not be effective. New approaches are needed to respond to these complexly linked, cumulative effects associated with extreme climatic changes. The following actions can help create a policy environment that encourages adaptive responses in times of hydrologic uncertainty.

  • To meet the increased demands for fresh water during periods of greater scarcity, regional adaptations will need to increase redundancy among natural and built systems to provide higher levels of functional resiliency. Planning will require frequent analyses of newly developed cooperative strategies to review both structural and non‐structural responses.
  • Organizations that now focus mostly on short‐term responses to hurricanes, floods, and droughts will need to increase their effectiveness by linking regional and national levels of coordinated data collection and modeling to improve long‐term forecasts and proactive, adaptive responses.
  • Additional coordination of federal and state agencies will enhance adaptive responses through long‐term strategic planning of shared solutions to water scarcity. These adaptations include new, properly located, deep storage reservoirs, optimal management of existing reservoirs, and shared information on the vulnerability of ecosystem services. Optimizing compatible land uses, floodplain protection, and urban design will increase groundwater recharge and storage during wet periods for use during dry periods.
  • Newly developed and updated natural and built infrastructure will slow runoff and reduce erosion during floods with protected floodplains, expanded construction of green roofs, water gardens, retention ponds, and widely distributed storage reservoirs.
  • Existing water‐storage and treatment infrastructure is aging and needs thorough evaluation and upgrading. Agencies will need to monitor reservoir storage capacities because larger and more frequent floods increase sediment transport and infilling.
  • Decoupling storm‐flow runoff from systems connected to sewage treatment plants in urban and suburban basins will increase downstream water quality during floods and integrate centralized and decentralized natural infrastructure (e.g., wetlands and floodplains).
  • Revision of the National Flood Insurance Program will need to consider the full, long‐term costs of floods, such as losses of ecosystem services in floodplains and coastal zones. Visualization of possible floods will enhance communication, resulting in more resilience insurance programs that include planning for protected river corridors and greenways.
  • Future forecasts based on observations from improved satellites and atmospheric modeling will provide longer lead times for effectively alerting the public to risks of extreme droughts, floods, and hurricanes and will enhance adaptive responses.   Improved forecasts will decrease losses and help to avoid rapidly increasing insurance premiums.
  • Engaging grassroots programs and diverse stakeholders working on responses to climate change will increase opportunities for teachers, students, and the general public to become more aware of regional and temporal variability in precipitation.
  • Learning from regional comparisons of adaptive responses to extreme variations in freshwater availability can provide exchanges of innovative policies. In addition, some adaptive responses will need to develop at the national level as more individuals, agencies, and organizations work together across traditional lines of communication to learn from past limitations. This framework can increase awareness and communication about options for responding to seasonal and inter‐annual variability of precipitation among participants across regions.  

Flooded Bus Barns and Buckled Rails: Public Transportation and Climate Change Adaptation

The objective of this project is to provide transit professionals with information and analysis relevant to adapting U.S. public transportation assets and services to climate change impacts. Climate impacts such as heat waves and flooding will hinder agencies’ ability to achieve goals such as attaining a state of good repair and providing reliability and safety. The report examines anticipated climate impacts on U.S. transit and current climate change adaptation efforts by domestic and foreign transit agencies. It further examines the availability of vulnerability assessment, risk management, and adaptation planning tools as well as their applicability to public transportation agencies. The report provides examples of adaptation strategies and discusses how transit agencies might incorporate climate change adaptation into their organizational structures and existing activities such as asset management systems, planning, and emergency response. By focusing specifically on public transportation, and the unique assets, circumstances, and operations of that mode, the report supplements transportation sector wide studies whose scopes did not allow for more in-depth treatment of transit.

Climate Change and Resilience within Remediation: Environmental Agencies’ Perspectives

Overview:

Please join us for the second in a webinar series co-hosted by EcoAdapt and the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) examining climate change and resilience within remediation of contaminated lands. This webinar will feature highlights of the programs being implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State Of Massachusetts. We will also discuss progress in SURF’s 2016 research initiative on this timely topic.

Presenters:

Carlos Pachon, USEPA

Carlos is an Environmental Protection Specialist, based at the USEPA headquarters in Washington, DC. He leads a cross-agency effort to advance the USEPA’s "Principles for Green Remediation" and climate change adaptation practices in cleanup programs. To this end, Carlos is privileged to collaborate with the 10 USEPA regions and work with all of the people implementing cleanups in Superfund and other programs. Carlos has been with the USEPA for 18 years and holds a B.S. in Watershed Sciences, a M.S. in Environmental Management, and a MBA.

 

Anne Dailey, USEPA

Anne Dailey is a Senior Environmental Scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation. Among other duties, Anne co-led development of EPA’s recently issued series of Superfund climate change adaptation technical fact sheets. In addition to climate change adaptation, Anne also works on groundwater issues and is the Superfund Completions Coordinator and Superfund Tribal Coordinator. Prior to joining EPA Headquarters four years ago, Anne worked for more than 20 years in EPA Region 10 (Seattle) in both the Superfund and Water programs. Anne has a Bachelor of Science in Geology and a Master’s of Science in Oceanography from the University of Washington.

 

Thomas M. Potter, Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection

With over twenty-four years of experience in the field of waste site cleanup, Thomas currently serves as the Statewide Clean Energy Development Coordinator for the Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Thomas previously served on the MassDEP’s Commissioner’s Office Environmental Innovations Team to help expand energy-environmental coordination across MassDEP programs and regions. Thomas also served for ten years as the Statewide Audit Coordinator for MassDEP’s Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup Audit Program. Prior to joining the MassDEP, Thomas worked throughout New England as an environmental consultant, concentrating primarily on sites regulated under the Massachusetts waste site cleanup program. Mr. Potter has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

 

Barbara Maco, Vice President, Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) US Board of Trustees

Barbara supports private and public sector clients with projects focused on sustainable remediation, redevelopment, and renewable energy generation on impaired lands. At the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, she served as a Senior Remedial Project Manager and Greener Cleanup Coordinator, and facilitated the first EPA Memorandums of Understanding with a military service. Her projects have included international and U.S. federal and state Superfund sites, brownfields, and military munitions response sites. Barbara served on the scientific committees for both the Third and Fourth International Sustainable Remediation Forums. Barbara holds a BA in Ecological Systems and a Masters in Business Administration in Sustainable Management. Barbara co-leads SURFs technical initiative researching Climate Change and Resilience within Sustainable Remediation.

Adaptation: An Issue Brief for Business

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report,1 Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, forecasts that climate change will have significant impacts on populations and environments around the world. Furthermore, it is likely that in the absence of concerted efforts to mitigate greenhouse emissions, climate change will have negative effects on business and global markets. It will likely lead to a change in existing business models and current risk management structures.

Members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) have acknowledged climate change and its attendant implications. They are beginning to plan accordingly to minimize risks, improve adaptive capacity and resilience, leverage new opportunities and collaborate with the global community.

Over the last two decades, much attention has focused on the scientific evidence of climate change. More recently, attention has transitioned towards efforts needed to reduce anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. There has been considerable progress made in measuring greenhouse gas emissions and developing methods and technologies to reduce them. A priority for business will be to continue to seek and implement pragmatic and sustainable solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. These solutions include pursuing energy and process efficiency across operations, and developing innovative products and technologies.

Prior to the publication of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, adaptation to climate change had not garnered much attention. Indeed, the focus was on raising awareness and mitigation efforts. However, the Fourth Assessment Report established that even if we do succeed in reducing emissions, some climate change impacts are now unavoidable and solutions will be needed to adapt to them. The necessity for adaptation to climate change impacts gained momentum at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) Meeting in Bali, Indonesia in December 2007. One of the outcomes of this meeting was the establishment of a United Nations Adaptation Fund.

This publication is focused on providing an overview of adaptation from a business perspective.2 It describes potential impacts of climate changes, risks and opportunities for business, and why business should consider adaptation planning and measures. It summarizes intergovernmental efforts to promote adaptation in vulnerable regions and highlights areas in which business could have a role in promoting adaptation, both at community and global levels.

Report from the National Climate Adaptation Summit

The National Climate Adaptation Summit was in response to a conversation the President’s Science and Technology Advisor, Dr. John Holdren, had with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Board members and took place in Washington, DC, on May 25-27, 2010. This event brought together more than 180 users and providers of climate adaptation information to examine the needs, knowledge, and roles required for effective adaptation to climate change. The goal of the Summit was to inform federal, state, regional, and local climate adaptation efforts, including the planning of the federal Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

There was a strong consensus among participants that wise adaptation measures can help minimize the negative impacts of a changing climate on our Nation’s communities, businesses, ecosystems, and citizens. Effective adaptation will require improved coordination within agencies and among agencies, states, regions and the private sector. It also calls for new methods of communication; sharing of best practices; budget increases in a few key areas; research to produce needed missing information; development of new partnerships; and ‘learning by doing’, or adaptive adaptation.

The Summit identified seven priorities for near-term action:

  • Developing an overarching national strategy to guide federal climate change adaptation programs. This strategy should establish agency roles, clear goals and metrics, and betterer mechanisms for coordinating federal and non-federal activities.
  • Improving coordination of federal plans and programs. Strong management from the executive branch is needed to break down barriers, integrate planning, move funding into the highest priority areas, and maintain priorities across the multitude of involved agencies.
  • Creating a federal climate information portal. This would provide single-point access to data from all relevant federal agencies and programs and would evolve over time into a more “national” portal with information about relevant non-federal efforts.
  • Creating a clearinghouse of best practices and toolkits for adaptation. Such an effort could assist regions and sectors with similar adaptation challenges in learning from each other and explore the intersection of adaptation and mitigation.
  • Including support for assessment in USGCRP agency budgets. This would enable the regular national-scale assessments of climate change impacts that are required by law.
  • Increasing funding for research on vulnerability and impacts, including economic analyses, and pilot projects that join local, state, and regional governments and academic institutions to develop and test adaptation measures and tools.
  • Initiating a regional series of ongoing climate adaptation forums. The goal would be to integrate planning, communication, and coordination of activities across various agencies and U.S. regions.

Miami Beach Stormwater Master Plan

PUBLIC WORKS - STORM WATER

The Storm Water Utility Division manages and controls the amount of effluents which are discharged into the City's storm water system. This division is responsible for maintaining storm water lines; installing catchment filter basins to reduce and eliminate polluted storm water run-off; complying with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements; and relieving flooding conditions.

Storm Water Management Master Plan

The City is in the process of developing a new Citywide Storm Water Management Master Plan. On August 17, 2012, the City's consultant CDM Smith presented a summary of their findings and recommendations. Their sub-consultant Coastal Systems International, who developed the appendix on sea level rise, climate change and tidal boundary conditions also presented their findings and recommendations.