Comprehensive Southwest Florida/Charlotte Harbor Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

This study examines the current climate and ongoing climate change in southwest Florida along with five future scenarios of climate change into the year 2200. These scenarios include:1) a condition that involves a future in which mitigative actions are undertaken to reduce the human influence on climate change2) a 90% probable future predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change3) a 50% probable future predicted by IPCC,4) a 5% probable future predicted by the IPCC, and5) a ―very worst‖ future in which no actions are taken to address climate change.

This fifth scenario also corresponds with some of the other worst case scenarios postulated by scientists who think the IPCC estimations are underestimated.

This report also assesses significant potential climate changes in air and water and the effects of those changes on climate stability, sea level, hydrology, geomorphology, natural habitats and species, land use changes, economy, human health, human infrastructure, and variable risk projections, in southwest Florida. Among the consequences of climate change that threaten estuarine ecosystem services, the most serious involve interactions between climate-dependent processes and human responses to those climate changes.

Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Designing Adaptation Policy

From the Introduction:

In December 2006, British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island were struck by a series of storms more powerful than any experienced in the province’s history. Hurricane-force winds felled thousands of trees, blocking transportation routes and bringing down power transmission lines, interrupting electricity to nearly 200,000 households.An early damage assessment suggested insured losses associated with the storm could reach $80 million, and the City of Vancouver faced the roughly $2 million task of cleaning up thousands of broken trees in Stanley Park. The extensive damage raised questions about the region’s capacity to cope with extreme weather, and prompted journalists and affected residents to offer recommendations about how vulnerability to future storms could be reduced.

Extreme weather events like the 2006 B.C. windstorms periodically illustrate the susceptibility of Canadian communities to climate-related stress. All regions of Canada experience extreme weather events of one type or another, and it is likely that they will increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change. The risk these hazards pose demands a purposive course of action to reduce the vulnerability of communities and to strengthen their capacity to cope with weather-related impacts. Public policies designed to achieve these goals can be aggregated under the rubric of climate adaptation. In this report, we seek to contribute to the development of Canadian climate adaptation policies targeted at extreme weather events. Our specific objective is to map out a course of action to address climate change and extreme weather at the community level, and to assess how the federal and provincial governments can facilitate and support these local actions. The report begins by examining climate change and its relationship with extreme weather in Canada. It then develops a policy framework, which identifies goals, principles and instruments associated with effective climate adaptation policy. Finally, the report analyzes two sectors that are particularly sensitive to extreme weather events—emergency management and infrastructure—and identifies specific adaptation actions in these areas. Throughout the report, recommendations are offered to support the design and implementation of climate adaptation policy.

Inuit vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate change in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada

Climate change is already being experienced in the Arctic with implications for ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. This paper argues that an assessment of community vulnerability to climate change requires knowledge of past experience with climate conditions, responses to climatic variations, future climate change projections, and non-climate factors that influence people’s susceptibility and adaptive capacity. The paper documents and describes exposure sensitivities to climate change experienced in the community of Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories and the adaptive strategies employed. It is based on collaborative research involving semistructured interviews, secondary sources of information, and participant observations. In the context of subsistence hunting, changes in temperature, seasonal patterns (for example timing and nature of the spring melt), sea ice and wind dynamics, and weather variability have affected the health and availability of some species of wildlife important for subsistence and have exacerbated risks associated with hunting and travel. Inuit in Ulukhaktok are coping with these changes by taking extra precautions when travelling, shifting modes of transportation, travel routes and hunting areas to deal with changing trail conditions, switching species harvested, and supplementing their diet with store bought foods. Limited access to capital resources, changing levels of traditional knowledge and land skills, and substance abuse were identified as key constraints to adaptation. The research demonstrates the need to consider the perspectives and experiences of local people for climate change research to have practical relevance to Arctic communities such as for the development and promotion of adaptive strategies.

Climate Change Impacts on Water Supply and Agricultural Water Management in California's Western San Joaquin Valley, and Potential Adaptation Strategies

Climate change impacts and potential adaptation strategies were assessed using an application of the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) system developed for the Sacramento River basin and Delta export region of the San Joaquin Valley. WEAP is an integrated rainfall/runoff, water resources systems modeling framework that can be forced directly from time series of climatic input to estimate water supplies (watershed runoff) and demands (crop evapotranspiration). We applied the model to evaluate the hydrologic implications of 12 climate change scenarios as well as the water management ramifications of the implied hydrologic changes. In addition to evaluating the impacts of climate change with current operations, the model also assessed the impacts of changing agricultural management strategies in response to a changing climate. These adaptation strategies included improvements in irrigation technology and shifts in cropping patterns towards higher valued crops. Model simulations suggested that increasing agricultural demand under climate change brought on by increasing temperature will place additional stress on the water system, such that some water users will experience a decrease in water supply reliability. The study indicated that adaptation strategies may ease the burden on the water management system. However, offsetting water demands through these approaches will not be enough to fully combat the impacts of climate change on water management. To adequately address the impacts of climate change, adaptation strategies will have to include fundamental changes in the ways in which the water management system in operated.

Gulf of Mexico Research Plan

The Gulf of Mexico is a large interlinked area with limited financial resources. The Gulf of Mexico Research Plan (GMRP) was developed to identify priorities in the research needs for the Gulf of Mexico, encourage collaboration in the region, and increase stakeholder support. The project is funded by the National Sea Grant College Program through the collaboration of the four Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Sea Grant college programs (Florida Sea Grant, Louisiana Sea Grant, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Texas Sea Grant).

Report of the Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change

The Indigenous People’s Global Summit on Climate Change was held in Anchorage, Alaska, from 20 – 24 April 2009. The Summit enabled indigenous peoples from all regions of the globe to exchange their knowledge and experience in adapting to the impacts of climate change, and to develop key messages and recommendations to be articulated to the world at the fifteenth Conference of Parties (COP-15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009.

Over 400 indigenous people from 80 countries attended the summit, the first such meeting on climate change focused entirely on Indigenous Peoples.

Each of the regions provided a report on the impacts of climate change on indigenous peoples in their region, successful adaptation strategies being employed, and recommendations for future action. Briefings were provided on international processes by various UN bodies, and panel discussions were held with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), donors and the private sector.

Enabling Climate Adaptation

Heather McGray, a WRI Senior Associate and climate adaptation expert, explains how to enable the rural poor to adapt to a changing climate. The livelihoods of the rural poor are rooted in the productivity of ecosystems. Climate change, however, is already altering the functioning of these ecosystems in profound—and often negative—ways. Over 2 billion rural inhabitants live on less than $2 per day. Helping these people to build their assets and incomes will bolster their resilience and adaptive capacity, enabling them to meet the challenges of climate change and ecosystem degradation without sinking deeper into poverty. In this video Heather McGray explains how to do it.

Facilitating an International Agreement on Climate Change: Adaptation to Climate Change

A joint initiative of the United Nations Foundation and the Club of Madrid, Global Leadership for Climate Action (GLCA) consists of former heads of state and government, as well as leaders in business, government, and civil society from more than 20 countries. In 2007, GLCA published Framework for a Post-2012 Agreement on Climate Change, which called for four negotiating pathways focused on mitigation, adaptation, technology, and finance. This paper focuses more specifically on adaptation and its links to development and poverty alleviation, with emphasis on action at the local level.

Climate change will have significant impacts on development, poverty alleviation, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Hard-fought progress made in achieving these global goals may be slowed or even reversed by climate change as new threats emerge to water and food security, agricultural production, nutrition, and public health. Countries and regions that fail to adapt will contribute to global insecurity through the spread of disease, conflicts over resources, and a degradation of the economic system.

Given the far-ranging adverse impacts of climate change, adaptation must be an integral component of an effective strategy to address climate change, along with mitigation. The two are intricately linked—the more we mitigate, the less we have to adapt. However, even if substantial efforts are undertaken to reduce further greenhouse gas emissions, some degree of climate change is unavoidable and will lead to adverse impacts, some of which are already being felt. The world’s poor, who have contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions, will suffer the worst impacts of climate change and have the least capacity to adapt. Elementary principles of justice demand that the world’s response strategies and adaptation funds give special priority to the poorest countries.

Alaska Native Villages: Limited Progress Has Been Made on Relocating Villages Threatened by Flooding and Erosion

While the flooding and erosion threats to Alaska Native villages have not been completely assessed, since 2003, federal, state, and village officials have identified 31 villages that face imminent threats. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) March 2009 Alaska Baseline Erosion Assessment identified many villages threatened by erosion, but did not assess flooding impacts. At least 12 of the 31 threatened villages have decided to relocate—in part or entirely—or to explore relocation options. 

Climate Risks and Adaptive Capacity in Aboriginal Communities: An Assessment South of 60 Degrees Latitude

This document reports on the first year of a proposed three-year project to understand the potential consequences and challenges of climate change for Aboriginal communities south of 60º latitude. It is hoped that this report and subsequent outcomes of the project will help to point the way to how such communities may be better enabled and assisted to cope with both the expected and unexpected challenges that lie ahead.