Lessons Learned on Local Climate Adaptation from the Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative

In partnership with government leaders from ten large counties and cities, CCAP launched the Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative to serve as a resource for local governments as they face important infrastructure and land-use decisions that affect local climate adaptation efforts and empower local communities to develop and implement climate resilient strategies. Urban Leaders partners included: Chicago; King County (Washington); City of Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County (Florida); City of Milwaukee; Nassau County (New York); New York City; Phoenix; San Francisco; and Toronto. The goals of the project were exploring and catalyzing adaptation to climate change at the local level, spreading adaptation best practices from partners to other local and professional communities, and influencing national and state climate adaptation policies. This report provides an assessment of general lessons learned over the course of the project and thoughts about future directions for local climate adaptation.

The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation

In this paper CCAP provides information on the costs and benefits of “green” infrastructure solutions for bolstering local adaptation to climate change. Pioneering cities and counties have used green practices to increase community resilience by planning for, and adapting to, emerging climate change impacts. Generally, resilience means that communities can better withstand, cope with, manage, and rapidly recover their stability after a variety of crises. Practices such as green roofs, urban forestry, and water conservation are familiar to local governments as strategies to enhance sustainability and quality of life and they are increasingly being seen as best practices in climate adaptation. These solutions can help build adaptive capacity through planning, preparing, or reducing climate-related vulnerabilities, but the uncertainty involved in calculating their economic and social costs and benefits is a barrier to action for local governments. This report will evaluate the performance and benefits of a selection of green infrastructure solutions, using their range of technological, managerial, institutional, and financial innovations as a proxy for their value for climate adaptation.

Climate Change in Southwest Florida

In the absence of effective avoidance, mitigation, minimization and adaptation, climate-related failures will result in greater difficulty in addressing the priority problems identified in the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP): hydrologic alteration, water quality degradation, fish and wildlife habitat loss, and stewardship gaps. 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 change (Stanton and Ackerman 2007),
  2. a 90% probable future predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007b),
  3. a 50% probable future predicted by IPCC,
  4. a 5% probable future predicted by the IPCC, and
  5. a ―very worst‖ future in which no actions are taken to address climate change (Stanton and Ackerman 2007).

This fifth scenario also corresponds with some of the other worst Vulnerability Assessment 2 September 15, 2009 case scenarios postulated by scientists who think the IPCC estimations are under-estimated (USEPA CRE 2008). 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.

Building Climate Resiliency in the Lower Willamette Region of Western Oregon: A Report on Stakeholder Findings and Recommendations

The Lower Willamette region of western Oregon will face significant impacts across its natural, built, economic, human, and cultural systems as a result of increasing temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, and loss of snowpack. Climate change will challenge decision makers due to the complex interactions and linkages between changing climatic patterns, biological systems, and socioeconomic factors and the present uncertainties inherent in modeling projections. It is essential that global and local action be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; even so, the existing level of emissions in the atmosphere will continue to cause considerable changes to the climate for the next 50 to 100 years. As temperatures rise, changes in climate patterns affect land and water resources and the plants, animals, and humans that rely on them.

To address these challenges, the Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI) conducted a series of workshops in 2010 called Climate Futures Forums in the Mid and Lower Willamette region of Western Oregon (collectively referred to as the Lower Willamette in this report). Over 200 stakeholders were involved, with expertise in natural, built, economic, human, and cultural systems. CLI’s intent in initiating this project was to inform those responsible for developing climate mitigation and preparedness strategies with the combined wisdom of professionals representing multiple disciplines and with deep experience in the Lower Willamette region.

Workshop participants were asked to: 1) assess local climate projections provided by the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) and Portland State University (PSU); 2) identify impacts across systems and sectors; 3) propose strategies to prepare for the projected changes; and 4) provide a vision of what the Lower Willamette would look like by mid-century should the recommendations be implemented. This report summarizes the results of the Climate Futures Forums.

The State of Marine and Coastal Adaptation in North America: A Synthesis of Emerging Ideas

Climate change is now widely acknowledged as a global problem that threatens the success of marine and coastal conservation, management, and policy. Mitigation and adaptation are the two approaches commonly used to address actual and projected climate change impacts. Mitigation applies to efforts to decrease the rate and extent of climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or the enhancement of carbon uptake and storage; adaptation deals with minimizing the negative effects or exploiting potential opportunities of climate change. Because the benefits of mitigation are not immediate and because we are already committed to a certain amount of climate change, adaptation has been increasingly viewed as an essential component of an effective climate change response strategy. The field of adaptation is developing rapidly but in an ad hoc fashion, and organizations and governments are often challenged to make sense of the dispersed information that is available.

The intent of this report is to provide a brief overview of key climate change impacts on the natural and built environments in marine and coastal North America and a review of adaptation options available to and in use by marine and coastal managers. This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey, inventory, and assess adaptation projects from different regions, jurisdictions, and scales throughout North America’s marine and coastal environments.

Adapting to Sea Level Rise and Coastal Erosion in Hawaii

Location

United States
20° 57' 28.8756" N, 156° 47' 48.75" W
US
Organization: 
Summary: 

Coastal erosion has been, and continues to be, a major issue in Hawaii. It is estimated that Oahu has lost 25% of its beaches from seawall construction resulting in beach erosion, while 72% of the beaches in Kauai are chronically eroding. In addition, the long-term effects of sea level rise are expected to accelerate and expand beach erosion and result in a landward shift of the beach system.

Restoration and Managed Retreat of Pacifica State Beach

Location

United States
37° 36' 1.1124" N, 122° 30' 0.5184" W
US
Summary: 

Despite the use of stabilizing structures, flooding of San Pedro Creek and coastal erosion at Pacifica/Linda Mar State Beach has been a recurring problem for the City of Pacifica. In the early 1990s, the city partnered with state and federal agencies, scientists, engineers, and non-profit organizations to work toward a managed retreat strategy for Pacifica State Beach as well as restore wetlands and banks along San Pedro Creek.

Climate Change Adaptations for Land Use Planners

Location

United States
44° 56' 38.6412" N, 64° 14' 52.9692" W
US
Summary: 

Nova Scotia is an Atlantic Canadian province almost entirely surrounded by water. As such, climate change impacts including sea level rise and increases in extreme weather events and storm surges are expected to affect land uses (e.g., infrastructure, agriculture). This study, focused on land use planners, aimed to develop and/or modify tools to analyze climate change impacts on Canadian communities, as well as tools to implement adaptations to these impacts.

Climate Change and Renewable Resources in Labrador

Location

United States
53° 31' 22.422" N, 59° 9' 1.4076" W
US
Summary: 

In response to community concerns about the potential impacts of climate change on renewable resources in Labrador, a conference was held to examine the possible future interactions of climate change on renewable resources and set priorities for developing strategies to adapt to potential impacts.

Maryland's Coast-Smart Communities Initiative

Location

United States
39° 17' 20.2668" N, 76° 39' 5.7996" W
US
Summary: 

The Coast-Smart Communities Initiative is charged with providing a toolbox of resources to help Maryland counties and towns develop climate-smart management policies and on-the-ground measures. The Initiative, housed under the Department of Natural Resources, developed a Community Scorecard, Coastal Communities Initiative competitive grant, Maryland’s Coastal Atlas, and a number of case studies to act as models for other local governments.