Climate Change and Long-Term Council Community Planning

To address climate change successfully New Zealand has to:

  • comply with and support the development of international climate change agreements
  • play its part in reducing net greenhouse gas emissions
  • adapt to the inevitable physical impacts of climate change

Local authorities have a key role to play in New Zealand’s response to this challenge. Local authorities are currently reviewing their Long-term Council Community Plans (LTCCPs) which will outline their activities over the period from 2009 to 2019. Climate change will have direct and indirect implications for local authorities over this time period.

By taking a strategic approach in this round of LTCCP reviews, local authorities and their communities will be well positioned to adapt to the effects of climate change and respond positively to the incentives provided by the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and other climate change mitigation policies.

This publication gives an overview of how you can incorporate climate change into your LTCCP and provides you with links to more detailed information and guidance.

 

Climate Change Adaptation for Conservation in Madagascar

Madagascar’s imperilled biota are now experiencing the effects of a new threat—climate change. With more than 90% endemism among plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, the stakes are high. The pristine landscapes that allowed this exceptional biodiversity to survive past climate changes are largely gone. Deforestation has claimed approximately 90% of the island’s natural forest and what remains is highly fragmented, providing a poor template for large-scale species range shifts. The impacts of current and future climate change may therefore be much different than past impacts, with profound implications for biodiversity.

The article reviews evidence of past response to climate change, models of future change and projected biological response, developing insights to formulate adaptation actions for reducing extinction in Madagascar’s biota. Then it explores the cost of implementing actions and examine new income opportunities developing through efforts to mitigate climate change.

Adapting Landscapes to Climate Change: Examples of Climate-Proof Ecosystem Networks and Priority Adaptation Zones

Summary1. Climate change has been inducing range shifts for many species as they follow their suitable climate space and further shifts are projected. Whether species will be able to colonize regions where climate conditions become suitable, so-called ‘new climate space’, depends on species traits and habitat fragmentation.2. By combining bioclimate envelope models with dispersal models, we identified areas where the spatial cohesion of the ecosystem pattern is expected to be insufficient to allow colonization of new climate space.3.For each of three ecosystem types, three species were selected that showed a shift in suitable climate space and differed in habitat fragmentation sensitivity.4. For the 2020 and 2050 time slices, the amount of climatically suitable habitat in northwest Europe diminished for all studied species. Additionally, significant portions of new suitable habitat could not be colonized because of isolation. Together, this will result in a decline in the amount of suitable habitat protected in Natura 2000 sites.5. We develop several adaptation strategies to combat this problem: (i) link isolated habitat that is within a new suitable climate zone to the nearest climate-proof network; (ii) increase colonizing capacity in the overlap zone, the part of a network that remains suitable in successive time frames; (iii) optimize sustainable networks in climate refugia, the part of a species’ range where the climate remains stable.6. Synthesis and applications. Following the method described in this study, we can identify those sites across Europe where ecosystem patterns are not cohesive enough to accommodate species’ responses to climate change. The best locations for climate corridors where improving connectivity is most urgent and potential gain is highest can then be pinpointed.

Matching National Forest Policies and Management Practices for Climate Change Adaptation in Burkina Faso and Ghana

Many studies have suggested various kinds of forest policies, management planning and practices to help forests adapt to climate change. These recommendations are often generic, based mostly on case studies from temperate countries and rarely from Africa. We argue that policy and management recommendations aimed at integrating adaptation into national forest policies and practices in Africa should start with an inventory and careful examination of existing policies and practices in order to understand the nature and extent of intervention required to influence the adaptation of forest ecosystems to climate change. This paper aims to contribute to closing this gap in knowledge detrimental to decision making through the review and analysis of current forest policies and practices in Burkina Faso and Ghana and highlighting elements that have the potential to influence the adaptation of forest ecosystems to climate change. The analysis revealed that adaptation (and mitigation) are not part of current forest policies in Burkina Faso and Ghana, but instead policies contain elements of risk management practices which are also relevant to the adaptation of forest ecosystems. Some of these elements are found in policies on the management of forest fires, forest genetic resources, non-timber resources, tree regeneration and silvicultural practices. To facilitate and enhance the management of these elements, a number of recommendations are suggested. Their implementation will require experienced and well-trained forestry personnel, financial resources, socio-cultural and political dimensions, and the political will of decision makers to act appropriately by formulating necessary policies and mainstreaming adaptation into forest policy and management planning.

Chicago Climate Action Plan

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago reinvented itself as a thriving hub that anchored the nation's commerce. In 1909, the Burnham Plan envisioned a "City Beautiful" - and called on all residents to act in the public's best interest to create it. Chicagoans have always faced obstacles with determination and imagination, and emerged all the stronger.

More than 15 years ago, Mayor Richard M. Daley began to transform Chicago into the most environmentally friendly city in the nation. Today, Chicago is one of the world's greenest and most livable cities, thanks to strong partnerships between government, residents and businesses. We lead the way from green roofs to green buildings and policies. We've become the nation's laboratory for studying ways to reduce the "urban heat island" effect, which can raise a city's temperature 4 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit on hot summer days. Our extensive public transit system offers a low-cost, energy-efficient alternative to solo driving. Our Bicycling program has produced more bike parking than any other U.S. city and 165 miles of bikeways. Our green homes and other programs help families save thousands of dollars through energy efficiency.

The past 15 years have also seen a tremendous growth in our understanding of climate change and the important role that cities can play in addressing it. This worldwide threat to our planet demands an encompassing plan from every city, state and nation and action from every resident and business to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases and to ensure a good quality of life for future generations.

It was with that charge in mind that Mayor Daley created a multi-stakeholder task force to produce a Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP).

The Task Force created a Plan that:

  • Determines the challenges we face as our climate changes
  • Describes the sources of our greenhouse gas emissions
  • Sets goals to reduce our emissions and adopt to changes already affecting us
  • Finds ways to leverage our knowledge to improve our economy and quality of life
  • Outlines concrete, achievable goals for all those who make Chicago their home

This overview report summarizes the Chicago Climate Action Plan. For more detailed information, and to see the full scientific reports, visit www.chicagoclimateaction.org. Please join us by finding your role in implementing the Chicago Climate Action Plan.

Maryland Climate Action Plan

On April 20, 2007, Governor Martin O’Malley signed Executive Order 01.01.2007.07 (the Order) establishing the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (the Commission). Sixteen State agency heads and six members of the General Assembly comprise the Commission. The principal charge of the Commission is to develop a Plan of Action (the Climate Action Plan) to address the drivers of climate change, to prepare for its likely impacts in Maryland, and to establish goals and timetables for implementation.

The Order emphasized Maryland’s particular vulnerability to climate change impacts of sea level rise, increased storm intensity, extreme droughts and heat waves, and increased wind and rainfall events. It recognized that human activities such as coastal development, burning of fossil fuels, and increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are contributing to the causes and consequences of climate change. While noting Maryland’s recent climate initiatives, the Order emphasized that continued leadership by example by Maryland State and local governments is imperative.

The Commission is supported by three Working Groups whose members were appointed by the Commission Chair, Shari T. Wilson, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE): Scientific and Technical Working Group (STWG), chaired by Donald Boesch, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and co-chaired by Frank W. Dawson, Assistant Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Robert M. Summers, Deputy Secretary of MDE; Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Mitigation Working Group (MWG), chaired by George (Tad) Aburn, Director of MDE’s Air and Radiation Management Administration, and co-chaired by Malcolm Woolf, Director, Maryland Energy Administration (MEA); and Adaptation and Response Working Group (ARWG), chaired by John R. Griffin, Secretary of DNR, and co-chaired by Richard Eberhart Hall, Secretary, Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and Don Halligan, Assistant Secretary of MDP. These Working Groups and the technical work groups (TWGs) that support them represent diverse stakeholder interests and bring broad perspective and expertise to the Commission’s work. The Commission’s work was facilitated by a consultant, the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS).

Biodiversity, Climate Change and Adaptation Nature-Based Solutions from the World Bank Portfolio

Climate change is a serious environmental challenge that could undermine the drive for sustainable development. Since the industrial revolution, the mean surface temperature of Earth has increased an average of 1° Celsius per century due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Furthermore, most of this change has occurred in the past 30 to 40 years, and the rate of increase is accelerating, with significant impacts both at a global scale and at local and regional levels. While it remains important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reverse climate change in the long run, many of the impacts of climate change are already in evidence. As a result, governments, communities, and civil society are increasingly concerned with anticipating the future effects of climate change while searching for strategies to mitigate, and adapt to, its current effects.

The World Bank’s mission is to alleviate poverty and support sustainable development. The conservation and sustainable use of natural ecosystems and biodiversity are critical to fulfilling these objectives. Biodiversity is the foundation and mainstay of agriculture, forests, and fisheries, as well as soil conservation and water quality. Biological resources provide the raw materials for livelihoods, sustenance, medicines, trade, tourism, and industry. Genetic diversity provides the basis for new breeding programs, improved crops, enhanced agricultural production, and food security. Forests, grasslands, freshwater, and marine and other natural ecosystems provide a range of services, often not recognized in national economic accounts but vital to human welfare: regulating water flows, flood control, pollination, decontamination, carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and nutrient and hydrological cycling. Sound ecosystem management provides countless streams of benefits to, and opportunities for, human societies, while also supporting the web of life. Biodiversity conservation contributes to environmental sustainability, a critical Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and a central pillar of World Bank assistance.

Enhancing Coping and Adaptation Capacity of the Coastal Community to Reduce Vulnerability to Climate Change

This project will initiate actions for local level community and stakeholders to enhance adaptive capacity, resilience and livelihood due to impact of climate change by involving directly 250 households (based on SSN Project Design Document) focusing on key areas of environmental education, agriculture, fisheries, alternative livelihoods, water, and disaster risk reduction activities.

Assisted Colonization and Rapid Climate Change

Moving species outside their historic ranges may mitigate loss of biodiversity in the face of global climate change.

Rapid climatic change has already caused changes to the distributions of many plants and animals, leading to severe range contractions and the extinction of some species. The geographic ranges of many species are moving toward the poles or to higher altitudes in response to shifts in the habitats to which these species have adapted over relatively longer periods. It already appears that some species are unable to disperse or adapt fast enough to keep up with the high rates of climate change. These organisms face increased extinction risk, and, as a result, whole ecosystems, such as cloud forests and coral reefs, may cease to function in their current form.

Low Flows Hot Trout: Climate Change in the Clark Fork Watershed

Decades of data and observations now point to a clear conclusion: the Clark Fork River basin is now experiencing a very real shift in climate. During the next 100 years, this shift is expected to accelerate, contributing to physical, ecological, social, and economic changes, many of which have already begun.

Scrolling through the months and the metrics from the 1950s, we now see that March in western Montana is hotter, more precipitation comes as rain, spring snowmelt arrives earlier, extreme wildfires are more frequent, and glaciers are making hastier retreats. And the projections years out show much of the same.

While not all the associated impacts are bad—for example, we can expect a longer growing season and improved survival of deer and elk over the winter—we will also experience more forest disease and insect infestation, more wildfire, and higher temperatures in our rivers leading to habitat degradation for our native fish. Some studies have estimated that we could lose between 5 and 30 percent of trout habitat in western Montana over the next century. With less storage of water as snow in the mountains, we can also expect impacts to our “snowpack economy”—agriculture, recreation and tourism, hydroelectric power generation, and forest and range industries.

What does it all mean for our way of life in the Clark Fork watershed? Low Flows, Hot Trout takes a look, delivering a plain-language synthesis of the key findings from years of data-gathering in our watershed, blended with anecdotal observations by a broad spectrum of river basin citizens, from realtor to rancher, fishing guide to firefighter.

We designed this report to be accessible to the public, informative to those whose livelihoods are directly tied to the river, and illuminating to policymakers looking for effective responses.

The bottom line is this: things can be done and everyone can make a difference, from simple at-home fixes that improve energy and water use to large-scale policy changes that stimulate renewable energy production and river-sensitive growth management. The following pages give a snapshot of what we can do to protect our hometown creeks, our local economies, and our celebrated way of life in the changing climate of the Clark Fork watershed.