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CHAPTER THREE What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? I f the United States is to cope effectively with the impacts of climate change, it will need an array of adaptation options to choose from. Unfortunately, adaptation to climate change has been a low national priority, and very little research has been devoted to identifying and evaluating options for adaptation. In the short term, the nation can draw lessons from past experience with adaptations to climate variability, limited experience with climate change adaptation already undertaken in some re- gions of the world, a limited number of careful analyses of adaptation possibilities, and from an onrush of creative thinking in connection with emerging efforts to do adap- tation planning. But, in many cases, the options that we can identify for adaptation to impacts of climate change lack solid information about benefits, costs, potentials, and limits for three reasons: 1. Attribution. Climate change is just now emerging as a cause of impacts; there- fore, it is difficult at this stage to document effects of adaptation in reducing those impacts. 2. Diversity. Which adaptation actions make sense depends very heavily on context: the nature of the impact, the geographical scale and location, and the sector(s) affected. As a result, general conclusions about effects of particular options are often difficult to support. 3. Knowledge base. Very little research has been carried out on climate change adaptation actions to date (as distinguished from determinants of adaptation capacity; see Chapter 5). Societyâs need to cope with changing climate and environmental conditions is not new; people have been adjusting to their environment since the dawn of civilization. Agriculture is one of the earliest examples: over the ages, farmers have repeatedly adjusted cultivation practices and bred new plant and animal varieties suited to vary- ing climate conditions. In recent times, the development of floodplain regulations, insurance, wildlife reserves, drinking water reservoirs, and building codes all reflect efforts to stabilize and protect our homes, livelihoods, and food supplies in the face of a variable climate. However, for the past 10,000 years, climate has been relatively stable, and weather patterns have fluctuated within a rather predictable range. Our growing awareness that the Earthâs climate is changing, and that we are facing novel
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E future climate conditions that will interact with and compound our current economic and environmental challenges, has created a new context and a sense of urgency for climate adaptation planning (Adger et al., 2009; Moser, 2009b; Rockstrom et al., 2009). Adaptation measures now being considered include both extensions of past practices and novel strategies for addressing uncertainty and change. For example, newer ef- forts incorporate the necessity of anticipating a different climate and potential thresh- old events and conditions that will be outside the range of our past experience. The goals of our adaption efforts, however, remain the same as those in the past: to mini- mize harm and to take advantage of opportunities while sustaining human welfare and ecological integrity in the face of a changing environment. Some attention to adaptation to climate change is already under way in sectors most likely to be affected, from agriculture to tourism, although information about such voluntary actions is limited and their effects will have to be evaluated over time. Most of the explicit adaptation planning is occurring now at state or local levels. Much of this planning has roots in the late 1990s regional assessments by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Many of the state and local planning efforts have been supported by federal legislation, federal-state partnerships such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-sponsored Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISAs) and the Coastal Zone Management Program, and nongovern- mental organizations (NGOs) such as the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) and the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (now called the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability; Chapter 5). Support from such diverse organizations indicates that the nation has considerable experience with planning at multiple scales and suggests that planning for climate change adaptation within the United States is likely to require coordinated public-private planning partnerships to span these scales. Significant adaptation planning for climate change has also occurred internationally (as illustrated in case studies in Chapters 5 and 6), stimulated by increasing awareness of climate change impacts and their serious societal and ecological consequences (IPCC, 2007a; Stern, 2007). In the United States, most adaptation planning at all scales has been initiated since 2005, and early efforts have largely focused on information gathering, vulnerability assessment, and organizationânot yet on actions (Table 3.1). Therefore, despite increasing recognition of the urgent need to adapt to climate change, there is a very short history of past successes and failures from which to learn (Moser, 2009b). This chapter provides examples of the range of options available for adapting to climate variability and extremes in key climate-sensitive sectors. The panel notes that adaptation to climate variability and change is an activity whose depth and breadth
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? TAbLE 3.1 Early adaptation activities Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative Partner Example Adaptation Activities Chicago, Illinois Developed Chicago Climate Action Plan in 2008; developed vulnerability and economic impact analyses; prioritized planning strategies to address impacts; raised substantial external funds to support adaptation programs; conducted downscaling of climate information for local decision making. King County, Washington Established the âAsk the Climate Questionâ approach to adaptation; funded a district-wide study of implications of climate change for water quality and quantity; worked with the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) at the University of Washington to conduct an infrastructure assessment and develop a Geographic Information System tool; in partnership with CIG developed the handbook Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional and State Governments; implemented changes in water reclamation and distribution to expand municipal wastewater reuse. Los Angeles, California Established a Climate Adaptation Division within the Environmental Affairs Department and a Director for Climate Adaptation; developed downscaled regional climate information for decision making; explored urban heat island effects and prioritized areas to receive shade trees; adopted the Los Angeles Green Building Ordinance. Miami-Dade County, Florida Used Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to strengthen buildings and develop hurricane shelters; engaged 250 stakeholders from multiple backgrounds and sectors and established the Climate Change Advisory Task Force; developed a report on adaptation strategies for the built environment and recommended developing minimum criteria standards for public investment. Working as a member of the Florida Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group, released a report to the governor on policy recommendations. Milwaukee, Wisconsin Preparing for more intense flood events, Milwaukee planners are aiming for a target of zero stormwater overflows per year to protect water quality in Lake Michigan; have constructed a deep tunnel for increased stormwater storage and conducted an analysis on stormwater infrastructure investments; and examined existing development codes to determine ways to encourage green spaces including rain gardens for increased infiltration. They are also working with other state partners on downscaling climate information and identifying adaptation strategies. continued
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E TAbLE 3.1 Continued Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative Partner Example Adaptation Activities Nassau County, New York Nassau County recently completed its first Multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, funded by the FEMA Pre-disaster Hazard Mitigation Program. This has identified a series of measures to reduce disaster impacts and encourage smart growth to avoid impacts of flooding, storm surge, and sea level rise. Phoenix, Arizona Phoenix has incorporated climate change adaptation actions into the cityâs sustainability program. This program focuses on land use, pollution prevention, and water-use measures that increase climate change resilience. The Phoenix Water Resources Plan includes long- term projections of water supply and demand that incorporate assumptions about changes in regional water supply availability. They have created an interdepartmental task force to address urban heat island issues in the urban core, including assessments of changes in building materials. San Francisco, California San Francisco has created a comprehensive climate action plan aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and understanding climate impacts, with a particular focus on environmental justice issues. San Francisco worked with multiple other large water utilities to create the Water Utility Climate Alliance, which now represents more than 40 million people in the United States and has been working to identify research needs in support of decision making. SOURCE: Information from CCAP (2009). vastly exceed its profile in the academic literature because the intended outcome is a practical, not an academic, result. Where possible, the available literature is cited, but the examples given below of possible adaptation options include some that have been widely and successfully tried but not discussed in the literature, as well as some that are novel or have been frequently suggested but never tried. Space precludes a thorough discussion of the history and practice of the various options presented below. The chapter follows with an examination of lessons that can be learned from a suite of integrated climate change adaptation planning processes under way in the United States and elsewhere. From these sectoral elements and lessons learned from early
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? case studies, the panel summarizes findings that can provide a basis for designing climate change adaptation strategies and plans. These lead toward several recom- mended steps that can be implemented immediately or very soon (Chapter 8). SECTORAL ADAPTATIONS TO CLIMATE CHANgE Most current adaptation plans represent targeted efforts to address vulnerabilities in a single sector. They often build logically on past programs that have dealt with variabil- ity and extremes, such as extreme drought in agricultural areas, heat waves, or disease outbreaks in cities. This section summarizes possible options for adapting to climate change that have been identified in each of a number of sectors, including long but not exhaustive lists of ideas as illustrations of current perspectives and knowledge. As noted above, many of these options have not only not yet been tested and proven ef- fective as adaptation options to climate change, but in most cases their benefits, costs, potentials, and possible limitations have not been carefully analyzed. However, they do represent a range of ideas about potential options to reduce vulnerabilities that are currently being discussed. The âsectorsâ that the panel selected for analysis are sensitive to climate change and provide examples of the types of issues that are frequently managed by a single agency (e.g., agriculture, transportation, energy), are focal climate-sensitive public concerns (e.g., ecosystems, water, health), or are regions that face a consistent suite of interrelated issues (e.g., coastal zones). In general, these are sectors with great reasons for concern and are considered a high priority for adaptation. The panel also identified the policy level or agencyâfederal, state, local/city, private sector, NGO, or individual citizensâbest poised to implement each option. In many cases, adaptation options will be implemented across scales and with multiple âactors.â The adaptation op- tions in the tables that follow are either examples from the literature or are based on expert judgment by members of the panel. Some are demonstrated responses to past incidents of climate variability such as flooding or prolonged drought. The suitability of any option generally depends on temporal and spatial context, as described in the cited references. Consequently, the adaptation options listed in the tables should not be construed as universally applicable recommendations. Instead, this panel stresses the importance of weighing the costs and benefits of each adaptation option on a case-by-case basis in the context of local needs, conditions, and impacts on other sectors.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E Ecosystems Increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and associated climate changes directly affect ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society (i.e., ecosystem services such as food, fiber, regulation of water quantity and quality, and the cultural, aesthetic, and recreational benefits of ecosystems; also see Box 2.1) (MEA, 2005). Climate change also affects ecosystems through its impacts on underlying eco- system conditions such as soil fertility, species composition, and disturbance patterns (NRC, 2008a; USGCRP, 2009). Some of the greatest changes in ecosystems, however, are being driven largely by changes in land use, nutrient and other contaminant additions, loss of key native species, invasions of exotic species, and other human-caused distur- bances (Foley et al., 2005). Some of the most important impacts of climate change on ecosystems will result from interactions with these other human-caused impacts on ecosystems (USGCRP, 2009). Managers, particularly at state and local levels, generally have considerable experience with adaptation actions that yield immediate benefits under climatic extremesâfor example, managing for water-conserving species and storing water to maintain ad- equate environmental flows during droughts. Similarly, the risk of ecosystem degrada- tion in response to climate change can be reduced by managing other human-gener- ated stresses such as pollution of freshwaters, estuaries, and coral reefs or rangeland erosion induced by overgrazing (Table 3.2). In some cases, such as ocean acidification, there is no known adaptation option other than to reduce rates of change in GHG concentrations and climate. Along with the development of a means of pricing and accounting for ecosystem ser- vices, sustaining ecosystem benefits for society over the longer term will require novel approaches such as periodic groundwater recharge during times of water surplus, filling of canals to prevent saltwater intrusion, and collaboration with stakeholders to co-manage the fringe of suburbs and other human developments surrounding many conservation lands (see additional examples of ideas in Table 3.2). Development of such long-term adaptation strategies will require experimentation (adaptive manage- ment) at appropriate scales and engagement of government at all levels, as well as the private sector, NGOs, and individual citizens (West et al., 2009). Government actions are important in aligning incentives with adaptation goals, particularly over the long term, and in facilitating a nationally coordinated effort by specifying minimum standards and/or providing funding opportunities (Adger et al., 2009). Maintaining a diversity of options by sustaining biodiversity and encouraging diverse management approaches at all scales will provide the nation with the necessary flexibility and resilience to
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? respond to uncertain future climate changes (Chapin et al., 2009; Folke, 2006; West et al., 2009). Indirect effects of climate change, operating through changes in species composition and natural disturbance regimes such wildfire, insect outbreaks, and disease, are less certain but will likely have greater impact on ecosystems than direct effects such as temperature changes (MEA, 2005). The United States has considerable management experience at local to national levels in protecting endangered species, controlling the spread of exotic species, and managing natural disturbances, and this experience pro- vides a fundamental starting point for dealing with indirect effects of climate change. Despite current management efforts, however, recent climate warming has already begun to affect disturbance patterns and the well-being of native and exotic species in many parts of the nation, indicating that our current knowledge and practices are insufficient to address these issues over the long term (Brooks et al., 2004; Westerling et al., 2006). New strategies might be needed to reduce risk (for example, through re- dundant refuges and no-take zones to reduce pressure on protected species or over- harvested stocks); to manage for migration of desirable species and barriers to weedy species; and to manage rare or novel ecosystems for resilience and ecosystem services, including cultural and aesthetic value, rather than for past species composition (Hobbs et al., 2009; West et al., 2009) (Table 3.2). Experimenting, modeling scenarios of alterna- tive futures, and engaging stakeholders in transparent decision-making processes will be critical to developing long-term adaptation strategies that can successfully address the indirect effects of climate change (Carpenter et al., 2009; MEA, 2005). Managing ecosystems for adaptation to climate change also requires more consistent use of currently recognized best practices such as monitoring change, managing for multiple ecosystem benefits, and keeping disturbance at acceptable scales; attention to climate interactions with other processes such as wildfire and species invasions; and managing ecosystems as coupled social-ecological systems in which society both responds to and affects ecosystems and the climate system. Agriculture and Forestry Agriculture and, to a lesser extent, forestry have developed well-proven methods to adapt to direct effects of climate stress in the short term. These include changes in cropping, planting, and harvesting practices, as well as breeding and seed collection programs that provide genetic types and varieties of plants and animals adapted to different water and temperature conditions (USGCRP, 2009) (Table 3.3). Economic constraints and uncertainties about weather and global markets, however, can limit
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E successful implementation of these approaches (Easterling et al., 2007). The applica- tion of these traditional approaches is particularly challenging with long-lived crops, including fruit and forest trees, which may experience considerable climate variability and change over the years between germination and maturity (Millar et al., 2007). Long-term adaptations to climate change may require development of new variet- ies, genetically engineered crops, use of different seed stocks to sustain a diversity of genetic stocks, or a shift of agriculture to different regions as climate in those areas be- comes more favorable for certain crops or livestock. Other adaptation options might include development of irrigation techniques that use less water, switching from rain- fed to irrigated agriculture where groundwater pools can be sustained, or, in the worst casesâwhere neither precipitation nor groundwater is adequateâpossible cessation of agriculture (California Department of Water Resources, 2008; CCSP, 2008c; Easterling et al., 2007; NRC, 1996a). Short-term responses to climate-induced increases in pests and diseases can involve improved pest management and, in the case of agriculture, application of integrated pest management practices, including development of pest-resistant varieties, use of herbicides and pesticides, and maintaining habitat for natural predators of pests. Over the longer term, technologies such as remote sensing of pest outbreaks may provide a valuable early warning system, and landscape management changes may reduce the potential for spread of pests and diseases or the spread of forest fire (see Table 3.3). There are potential tradeoffs and synergies between agricultural adaptation and adaptations of the water and ecosystem sectors. Increased irrigation in response to drought, for example, competes with natural ecosystem flows and domestic water needs. Pest management must be carefully targeted to prevent elimination of natural predators of pests that reside in natural ecosystems. Synergies can also be developed, such as taking advantage of the diversity of predators in natural ecosystems as a com- ponent of integrated pest management in agriculture and forestry. Water Because of the widespread occurrence of both chronic and periodic water shortages, many potential adaptation strategies have been developed and tested for variations in water availability, from building dams to encouraging conservation by households and other water users (Table 3.4). Although most attention has focused on adaptation options that provide immediate benefit, the severe societal consequences of water scarcity have also spurred several innovative adaptations designed to provide greater long-term benefits, despite substantial initial costs (Table 3.4). Engineering approaches
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? such as dams and water delivery infrastructure, underground (aquifer) storage and recovery systems, and seawater desalination plants have been developed and imple- mented throughout the country in response to historic climate variability. Conserva- tion adaptations, including changes in behavior as well as water-saving technologies, are available in all water-use sectors and are generally the most cost-effective options, especially where synergies between energy and water conservation can be achieved. Though increased flooding as a consequence of climate change has generally re- ceived less attention to date than drought impacts, multiple âstandardâ engineer- ing approaches are available to reduce short-term flood risk (levees, âhardeningâ of coastlines), as well as a host of more innovative and environmentally friendly options (see the section âCoastal Area Vulnerabilitiesâ in this chapter; Beatley, 2009). In cities, flooding associated with storms and sea level rise will challenge the capacity of storm drains and water and wastewater treatment facilities to handle increased flows and in extreme conditions may threaten the integrity of water supplies. Short-term adapta- tions can include actions that improve current functions, such as repairing leaks in wastewater and water supply lines and infrastructure improvements to match flow capacities to projected changes. Longer-term adaptation strategies could include development of distributed supply and treatment nodes that are less vulnerable to disruption and require smaller water volumes. The effects of climate change on water quality and temperature have received less attention than effects on water quantity; as a result, both short- and long-term adap- tation strategies will require substantial development and testing to determine their effectiveness. Key temperature-related impacts include threshold conditions in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers for temperature-sensitive fish and other aquatic species, as well as implications for water used for cooling in industrial plants and energy production. Adaptation approaches generally involve changes in reservoir operations to manage downstream temperatures. Water quality adaptations often involve changes in land use, such as development of vegetated buffers to protect waterways from sedimen- tation during floods, or non-point source and point source pollution management systems that can withstand high flows. Little attention has been given to the possibility of modifying water rights laws and practices in the United States in response to changes in water availability, although this has proven necessary and effective in addressing chronic and increasing water shortages in South Africa and Australia (Chapter 5; Carpenter and Biggs, 2009). Water rights allocation is within the purview of the states, and each state has a different ap- proach to managing water supply availability. The institutional complexity of water rights administration and strong incentives for maintaining the legal status quo have
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E limited the interest in more flexible management systems. Nevertheless, greater flex- ibility in water management may be an appropriate short- and long-term option in many cases. Water allocations to agriculture, ecosystems, energy, recreation, transportation, and domestic use present both tradeoffs and synergies. Tradeoffs are inevitable when water is insufficient to meet the needs of all users, which is the rule rather than the exception even in the more humid regions of the United States. For example, dams that are built to provide water storage for agriculture and domestic use may nega- tively impact endangered species or the services provided by undammed streams and riparian zones. The recent (and unexpected) drought conditions in the southeastern United States provide an excellent example of the relationships between sectors: a high-cost impact of the drought of the early 2000s in Alabama and Georgia included limits on energy production caused by water supply shortfalls. More positive synergies can occur when intact ecosystems are used to buffer flows and filter contaminants that might otherwise threaten public water supplies. Health Health concerns due to climate change are already evident and require adaptation. Concerns include increased frequency of climate-related extreme events (e.g., heat waves, waterborne diseases, and wildfire smoke) and climate-induced ecological changes (food- and waterborne diseases, and changes in distribution of diseases and their vectors) (Table 2.2, Box 2.2). Proposed adaptation options for the short term focus on altering and augmenting current public health programs and activities to increase their effectiveness in a changing climate (Table 3.5). These include early warn- ing systems, emergency response plans, and public outreach for extreme events. Such programs were designed assuming the current climate would remain essentially con- stant, so they often need adjustment to address increasing risks from extreme weather events. Many early warning systems, for example, were not designed for monitoring and evaluating in a changing climate. Reducing health risks related to climate change over the longer term may require new decision-support tools and changes in other sectors that affect public health, such as urban design to minimize the urban heat island effect through greater use of trees and green spaces. Education and training programs for health care professionals have been identified as important adaptation options to build capacity to address climate- related health needs, including postdisaster mental health needs (Frumkin et al., 2008; Jackson and Shields, 2008). 0
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? Climate change and associated extreme events such as floods and hurricanes will change the locations and frequency of disease outbreaks caused by water-, food-, and vector-borne pathogens (Ebi et al., 2008; Frumkin et al., 2008; Jackson and Shields, 2008). In the short term, adaptation can be facilitated by new early warning systems, vaccines, and upgrading of water treatment (both supply and sewage) facilities in di- saster-prone regions, as well as public education campaigns to increase awareness of new disease risks. Health risks can be reduced by managing water supplies to reduce flood risk (see section âWaterâ in this chapter) and by managing ecosystems to elimi- nate breeding sites of insect and other vectors and to reduce the spread of allergenic plants (see section âEcosystemsâ). Pathogen and disease vector surveillance and man- agement programs can provide early detection and enhance our ability to take action to limit risks. Both short- and long-term adaptation will require institutional changes in public health programs, training of health care professionals, and public awareness. For ex- ample, federal leadership for health organizations and agencies could facilitate collab- oration and coordination on development and implementation of new early warning systems and decision-support tools. In addition, health-related climate considerations must become a more integral component of urban planning and ecosystem manage- ment (see sections âEcosystemsâ and âTransportationâ). In the public health sphere, synergies with other societal goals are generally stronger than tradeoffs, and most actions taken to cope with climate change impacts will im- prove health generally (no-regrets options) by, among others, improving the capacity to meet drinking water and other standards and reducing the likelihood of vector- breeding areas developing near communities during times of rapid ecological change (e.g., tropical deforestation and other land-clearing activities). Tradeoffs are primarily economic and can be minimized by making cost-effective choices in adapting health programs to deal with the additional stresses of climate change. Transportation Substantial engineering options are already available for strengthening and protect- ing transportation facilities such as bridges, ports, roads, and railroads from coastal storms and flooding to achieve short-term and long-term adaptation (Table 3.6) (NRC, 2008c). Infrastructure can be elevated, built stronger, protected by levees or dikes, and/or moved. For example, several of the major Gulf Coast highway bridges de- stroyed by storm surges during Hurricane Katrina have been redesigned and replaced by new bridges elevated well above anticipated future storm surges. Because most
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E transportation systems are designed to last for decades, it is important for transpor- tation planners to incorporate climate change in the planning and design cycle for such infrastructure (NRC, 2008c). Indeed, the Federal Highway Administration already encourages and funds the inclusion of climate change in metropolitan planning activities. The general research approach for adapting to climate change is well established, although effective adaptation will require continued research and application. For ex- ample, there is a history of research on developing paving and other materials that are more heat resistant and on construction practices that protect permafrost. Research on climate or weather impacts on various modes of transportation has focused on extreme events (e.g., fog impacts on aviation and ice impacts on highways) and much of this research may be applicable to longer-term climate change issues. Water-based transportation (e.g., Great Lakes Canal System and Mississippi, Ohio, Colombia, and Yukon rivers) may be constrained in some regions where runoff from the watershed declines and/or water demands for agriculture and cities increase. Adaptation may require redesign of ships and barges, a shortened shipping season, or a shift to alternate modes of transportation. Conversely, more extreme inland storms may well result in greater flood frequencies and levels. Revision of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps to reflect the probabilities of greater storm and flood events is critical to the construction of resilient structures along these inland waterways. Retreat of Arctic sea ice will likely open a new transportation corridor be- tween the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This may require new ship designs to deal with seasonal sea ice, development of new harbors, and development of new technology to handle fuel spills in water with sea ice. Planning for climate change adaptation in the nationâs transportation infrastructure will require new approaches to engineering analysis, especially the use of probabilistic analysis (i.e., risk analysis based on uncertain climate changes). New engineering stan- dards will need to be developed to reflect future climate conditions and to be phased into ongoing rehabilitation projects where practical. The nation currently has no experience in planning for or deciding when or how to abandon exposed coastal areas or communities that can no longer be adequately protected from rising sea level and greater storm surge. In vulnerable coastal areas, transportation systems and the people they serve will be placed at risk, and the social and political dimensions of relocation will provide a major research and policy chal- lenge in adapting to future climate change.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E magnitude of climate change with adaptation strategies in a single, integrated, climate choices program. In addition, engineering solutions are needed to make electricity generation less sensitive to climate change, through use of less-climate-sensitive tech- nologies and reduced water requirements (Table 3.7). Finally, emerging technologies could reduce climate sensitivity through the use of an integrated smart transmission grid to adapt to changing energy availability and demand. Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and water are periodic, episodic, or ephemeral. As an adaptation strategy, renewable sources that are widely dispersed could be connected through a smart grid and managed as a base load that would be supplemented by fossil energy generators. The Western Interstate Energy Board and the Western Electricity Coordi- nating Council have considered how such a grid could be orchestrated. Although continued research will certainly improve U.S. capacity to adapt in the energy sector, current understandings of climate trends and current technologies can enable considerable progress in adapting the energy sector to climate change. In many cases, reductions in costs and increased reliability of electricity that would be achieved through these adaptive actions are likely to provide co-benefits, regardless of the magnitude of future climate changes. Coastal Area vulnerabilities The key issues for adaptation to climate change in the coastal zone are the erosion and flooding that will become more pronounced with sea level rise, along with expo- sure to more intense severe weather events in some regions, all combined with land uses that are often extensive and valuable. In cases where these effects are projected to become more severe as climate change intensifies, a spectrum of potential adapta- tion options that vary in effectiveness over time are available (Table 3.8). For example, incentives that reduce development pressures and foster conservation in low-lying hazardous areas and encourage development in areas well above projected sea level rise would be advantageous in both the short term (reducing vulnerability to ex- treme storms) and the long term (reducing inevitable long-term losses). In contrast, strategies such as armoring of coastlines may enhance erosion in other locations, and levees may encourage development in flood-prone areasâresults that are likely to be maladaptive over the longer term. Conservation in low-lying areas also provides opportunities for natural migration of coastal ecosystems in response to sea level rise. Over time, incentives for relocation to less vulnerable sites could allow gradual move- ment of communities to less hazard-prone areas and reduce the likelihood of costly disasters.
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? Coastal area vulnerabilities are a âsectorâ in which adaptation efforts have been espe- cially active in recent years. In 2006, nearly two-thirds of the coastal states reported to NOAA that âcoastal hazardsâ were a high priority and developed new 5-year strategies to address flooding, shoreline erosion, and coastal storms through their Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) programs (NOAA, 2006; Chapter 5). Since all of these hazards are expected to intensify in future climate scenarios, even where states have not yet engaged in formal âadaptationâ initiatives, coastal management programs continue to improve long-standing policies related to the projected impacts of climate change. According to a 2008 survey, 4 state coastal programs had already developed a coastal adaptation plan or strategy, 7 states had a plan under development, and at least 12 other states anticipated launching new coastal adaptation planning efforts over the next few years (CSO, 2007, 2008). States were using a range of scenarios and methods, but the review of these initial planning efforts revealed six initial categories of adapta- tion policies focused primarily on the impacts of sea level rise: public infrastructure siting, site-level project planning and design, wetland conservation and restoration policies, shoreline stabilization, setbacks, and relocation policies; encouraging adaptive development designs (e.g., additional flood-height tolerance); and incorporation of climate change adaptation into other state, regional, and local plans. The states also identified a number of key information needs for coastal adaptation planning, including high-resolution topography and bathymetry (CSO, 2007, 2008). Coastal programs were increasingly utilizing federal CZMA Enhancement Grants to study and plan for climate change impacts; however, funds available under this pro- gram may not be sufficient or intended to implement large-scale or long-term adap- tation programs and are needed to address other program areas, such as the siting and review of energy infrastructure on the continental shelf. States have also engaged in coastal adaptation planning through other state and federal programs, including those of other NOAA branches, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), FEMA, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). For ex- ample, the EPA is now funding pilot studies in eight estuaries under its âClimate Ready Estuaries Program.â1 Other federal, state, and local programs for coastal areas are also beginning to incor- porate sea level rise considerations in ongoing planning and program implementa- tion. For example, USACE issued directive 1165-2-211 in July of 2009, requiring that all USACE civil works projects include an analysis of the impact of sea level rise using both the National Research Council report Responding to Changes in Sea Level: EngiÂ neering Implications, and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projec- 1 http://www.epa.gov/cre/.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E tions (NRC, 1987; USACE, 2009). The guidance suggests using historic sea level rise as the low projection and then developing both intermediate and high estimates. The three projections thereby provide worst- and best-case scenarios on which to base engineering decisions. The Alaska and Gulf Coast Shoreline case studies (Boxes 3.1 and 3.3, respectively) illustrate the need for engagement in coastal issues by numerous agencies and programs (such as Emergency Management and Transportation depart- ments), NGOs, and the private sector, as well as the difficulties in developing an inte- grated approach to coastal adaptation. LESSONS FROM INTEgRATED CLIMATE CHANgE ADAPTATION PROgRAMS Although human-caused climate change has been recognized as a distinct possibility for more than a century, and has been increasingly documented as a real and acceler- ating phenomenon in the last quarter century (IPCC, 2007a), surprisingly few climate change adaptation plans have been implemented anywhere in the world. Most of the climate change adaptation plans reviewed in this report, including some of the most advanced in the world, are still in the planning phase, with concerted planning initi- ated primarily in the past 5 years (since 2005). Nevertheless, one can draw lessons from existing adaptation activities, such as in Alaska (Box 3.1). Many of the recent planning efforts at national to local levels encompass multiple sec- tors and suggest lessons that could provide useful starting points for designing a na- tional strategy for climate change adaptation. Based on case studies presented in this section and elsewhere in the report (Figure 3.1), the panel has synthesized a number of key features that have proven valuable in climate change adaptation programsâor whose absence has seriously compromised the success of those programs. urgency of Climate Change Planning and Institutional Readiness for Implementation Development of climate change adaptation plans has occurred most conspicuously in regions around the globe that currently experience severe climate change impacts (e.g., Alaska, Australia) or where leaders are concerned about vulnerability to impend- ing impacts, particularly of sea level rise (e.g., Pacific Island States, Bangladesh, Mary- land, Florida, California, and New York City). Alaska, for example, is warming at twice the global average rate, and several of the coastal communities eroding into the Bering Sea are already actively planning relocation to areas less threatened by coastal erosion (Box 3.1) (Hinzman et al., 2005; IAW, 2009). Similarly, Australia, which has experienced
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? a decade-long drought, has taken dramatic actions to reduce water withdrawals and restructure water rights and has reorganized its agricultural enterprise to be better po- sitioned to take advantage of climate opportunities and reduce climate risks (Garrick et al., 2009; Chapter 5). Maryland, New York City (Chapter 4), and Bangladesh (Chapter 6) are developing plans to accommodate sea level rise, and California (Chapter 5) and the entire lower Colorado River region (the states of Arizona and Nevada as well as Mexico; Chapter 6) are planning adaptations to reduce the impacts of increasing water scarcity (Feldman et al., 2008; NRC, 2007b). These climate change adaptation plans are consistent with both recent climate trends and future projections (USGCRP, 2009). The co-location of adaptation planning with areas of observed or perceived impending risk suggests that scientific studies that identify such vulnerability hot spots (USGCRP, 2009) and outreach efforts to leaders and the public in these regions (e.g., RISA efforts in King County) could stimulate local- to-regional adaptation planning where it is most urgent. On the other hand, other vulnerable regions such as the U.S. Gulf Coast (Box 3.2) have been slow to develop comprehensive climate change adaptation plans, indicating that vulnerability, by itself, does not necessarily lead to comprehensive adaptation planning. The success of climate change planning efforts varies considerably, depending on the complexity of tasks undertaken and institutional capacity to support the actions needed. In Philadelphia, for example, attention targeted to a single climate change issue (heat waves) that built on an existing institutional structure has allowed rela- tively rapid design and implementation of an appropriate adaptation plan (Box. 3.3) (Ebi et al., 2004). In contrast, development and implementation of plans to move away from the coast to escape storms, erosion, and sea level rise are extremely complex and often controversial (see Boxes 3.1 and 3.2). In Alaska, a consortium of state and federal agencies has been unsuccessful in implementing community relocation despite com- munity and agency consensus on the necessity of moving and availability of funds to initiate the process. Inappropriate institutional structure and lack of adaptive capacity have been the major stumbling blocks (Box 3.1) (Bronen, 2008). In contrast, Australia has made substantial progress in revamping its complex agricultural program through innovative institutional changes that address climate change in an integrated fashion (Howden, 2009; Howden et al., 2007). In summary, high vulnerability to observed or perceived future climate changes often, but not always, stimulates planning for climate change adaptation. The reasons why adaptation planning emerges in some vulnerable regions but not others are unclear, but they may relate in part to leadership and public awareness. Research is urgently needed to identify factors governing readiness for adaptation planning. Successful
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E bOx 3.1 Alaska Alaskan coastal and river communities have always experienced erosion and flooding, but climate change and infrastructure development have exacerbated these risks.Climate-induced changes already observed include (1) increased storm activity; (2) reduced sea ice extent, which increases the intensity of storm surges; (3) increased windiness; and (4) thawing of permafrost, which increases coastal sus- ceptibility to erosion (ACIA, 2005; Hinzman et al., 2005; Huntington, 2000). Because of these increased risks, six Alaskan communities are in various stages of planning some type of relocation. Traditionally, many of these communities were seminomadic, moving inland during periods of severe storms and erosion (Marino, 2009). During the past hundred years, however, this resilience has been reduced by the building of permanent infrastructure such as schools, associated with compulsory education; airports and barge facilities to provide transportation access; and permanent houses with fuel and water supply. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified 160 additional villages in rural Alaska that are threatened by climate-related erosion, with relocation costs estimated at $30 to $50 million per village (IAW, 2009). In September 2007, the Governor of Alaska established an Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet to prepare and implement an Alaska Climate Change Strategy1 to address issues of adaptation and risk. The Immediate Action Workgroup (IAW) sketched out an emergency suite of projects that could be completed within 12 to 18 months to protect life and safety in the six communities requiring immediate relocation. The IAW also identified the governance issues that needed to be resolved in order to fully implement a relocation strategy for communities at risk. The Alaska legislature appropriated $8.3 mil- lion and leveraged $31 million in federal funds in fiscal year 2009 to protect current infrastructure with revetments, but no funds had yet been appropriated to begin the relocation process (IAW, 2009). Barriers to relocation include disagreement within some villages about desirable solutions and lack of clear authority and process among existing institutions and agencies to implement relocation 1 http://www.akclimatechange.us/index.cfm, accessed October 8, 2010. implementation of these plans depends considerably on the complexity of the climate change issues addressed and the capacity to adapt institutional structures to address novel climate change challenges, as discussed in Chapter 5. Addressing Multiple Interacting Stresses and Time Scales of Response Climate change is a complex phenomenon that interacts with social, economic, physi- cal, and other drivers of change (Chapter 2; Adger et al., 2009). Along the Gulf Coast of the southeastern United States, for example, intense hurricanes and climate-driven rise in sea level have impacted coastal cities such as New Orleans. This has occurred
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? once a relocation plan has been agreed to. For example, the Yupâik Eskimo village of Newtok began working toward relocation in 1994 and obtained authorization from the U.S. Congress in 2003 for its preferred relocation site; however, a school, clinic, and airports cannot be built at the new location because the current population (zero) at the proposed site is less than the minimum required by federal and state statutes to authorize the construction of these facilities (Bronen, 2008). In 2009, the Alaska Department of Transportation built the first infrastructure (a barge landing) at the new village site. During this relocation planning effort, funds have not been allocated to repair schools, water and sewage facilities, fuel storage facility, barge landings, and other infrastructure damaged by repeated erosion and flooding because of anticipated abandonment of the current village sites. None of the approximately 25 state and federal agencies that have met bimonthly for a year to develop a reloca- tion strategy has a mandate to assist in relocation. The complex regulations that guide the work of these agencies present barriers to their taking effective action in the relocation effort even though the actions required are well defined (Bronen, 2009). Despite these barriers, the community remains unanimous in its determination to relocate rather than disperse to other communities, which would entail loss of cultural integrity of the community. This experience in Alaska suggests that, even when adaptation is urgently required to protect life and property, the needed action is agreed upon, and initial funding is available, current institutions may be ill equipped to implement adaption responses. Instead, current efforts are directed toward continued planning and protection of existing infrastructure until the relocation can be initiated. For people living in high-risk situations, this continual waiting causes substantial frustration and mental stress (Marino, 2009). Climate-induced human migration in and outside of Alaska will likely become an increasingly central issue, if climate change continues to accelerate. Current estimates put the number of potential climate-induced migrants worldwide at 200 million by the year 2050 (IOM, 2008). Addressing this issue requires substantial institutional innovation and capacity to foster adaptation both in and outside of at-risk communities. on a landscape where water management had reduced sediment delivery to a pro- tective fringe of barrier islands and where development activities had contributed to land subsidence, making the region more vulnerable to coastal storms (NRC, 2006) (Box 3.3). New Orleans is a hub for agricultural exports and oil imports as well as for transcontinental rail traffic, so impacts of Hurricane Katrina extended far beyond the coastal region (CCSP, 2007). These catastrophic impacts reflected a historical legacy of urban development in areas that had become progressively more vulnerable and of decisions in agricultural, energy, water, ecosystem, transportation, and other sectors that did not adequately consider the potential impacts of climate change (Box 3.3) (AGU, 2006; Colten, 2009). Greater adherence to climate-informed regulations such as
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E FIguRE 3.1 Locations of case studies described in this report. Within the United States, shading indicates states that have developed climate change adaptation plans as of September 2009. SOURCE: Adapted from Pew Center on Global Climate Change (2009). building codes, combined with incentives and subsidies, could contribute to climate- appropriate development, phased replacement of infrastructure that spreads the cost of infrastructure adaptation over multiple decades, and relocation of critical transpor- tation corridors away from flood-prone areas (CCSP, 2008e). Similarly, in Germany, re- cent climate change planning to ensure food security now addresses not only agricul- ture but also the transportation sector and the global trade network, and several cities and states are integrating climate change adaptation plans into broader smart-growth or sustainability strategies (see the section âIntegrating Adaptation Planning into Pro- grams that Address Broader Societal Goalsâ in this chapter). Avoiding Maladaptation and Foreclosure of Future Options One of the most serious risks of a single-issue or sectoral approach to climate change adaptation is that actions taken to alleviate one problem may be maladaptive or fore- 0
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? close options for future adaptation actions (Adger et al., 2009; Cruce, 2009). This argues for a comprehensive climate change adaptation planning effort at all scales (global, national, state, and local) to provide coordination and to allow for efficient integra- tion of activities. Multisector climate change planning efforts provide opportunities to identify tradeoffs and opportunities and reduce the risk of maladaptive actions. New York City, for example, has involved most sectors of government (e.g., transportation, energy, and environment) as well as stakeholders from the private sector (e.g., utili- ties), NGOs, and universities in its climate change adaptation planning in an attempt to maximize synergies and minimize unintended tradeoffs (Chapter 4). In contrast, urban expansion into the wildland-urban interface in the West and fire suppression on adjoining public lands have occurred without adequate consideration of interactions, thereby creating fire risks and vulnerabilities that are maladaptive and create grave risks to life and property (Box 3.4) (Radeloff et al., 2005; Schoennagel et al., 2009). Similarly, flood insurance programs that encourage infrastructure development in floodplains have increased vulnerability to past flooding and to expected increases in flood frequency in the future (see also Chapter 4). Efforts to focus on climate change actions that address only the immediate issues are particularly likely to create maladaptive long-term responses for at least three reasons (Chapter 4). First, short-term responses often ignore or strongly discount the value of long-term impacts. Second, short-term solutions generally reduce the incentives to explore and develop longer-term solutions that may initially be less cost-effective. Fi- nally, short-term responses to climate change frequently increase the risk to society of longer-term impacts, as in the wildfire example, where fire suppression allows woody fuels to accumulate (Box 3.4), and in the flood insurance example, where incentives encourage development in flood-prone areas (Chapter 4). Similarly, irrigation reduces drought risk in the short term but encourages agricultural development that may exceed the water supply capacity during long-term droughts, as has occurred in arid areas such as Australia, the Colorado River basin, and California (see Chapters 5 and 6). Similarly, subsidies and disaster relief that encourage farmers to rely on drought-sensi- tive technology or crops or encourage fishermen to intensify fishing effort in response to stock declines reduce incentives for long-term adaptation (Naylor, 2009; Walters and Ahrens, 2009). In summary, searches for adaptation solutions should consider consequences both for multiple sectors and for the short and the long term. In addition, a comprehen- sive understanding of the psychological, social, and political obstacles to adaptation is required, as well as an understanding of how to overcome them. Failure to do so frequently increases both vulnerability to climate change and the costs of adaptation
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E bOx 3.2 Adaptation Challenges Along the gulf of Mexico The Gulf Coast, from Galveston, Texas, to Mobile Bay, Alabama, hosts a population of 10 million people spanning four states and is centered on the Mississippi River system and its delta region. Major ports along this coast include Houston, Galveston, Port Arthur, Morgan City, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Biloxi, and Mobile (AGU, 2006). Two-thirds of U.S. oil imports come through the area, and 90 percent of U.S. domestic outer-continental-shelf oil and gas is transported through the region in pipelines (CCSP, 2008a). Area ports are important for food export from Midwest farms, and the coast has a heavy con- centration of chemical manufacturing. The region also holds critical highway and rail links between the eastern and western parts of the nation. This region is at risk from sea level rise and storm surges; adaptation options need to be evaluated to identify appropriate adaptations for both short- and long- term benefits to the region, while also taking national interests into account. The Gulf Coast population has long been at risk from hurricanes, storm surges, river flooding, global sea level rise, regional subsidence, and a variable hydrologic network (AGU, 2006). Much of the area is rural and poor, with urban poverty as well (CCSP, 2008a). The regional population also scores high on other measures of social vulnerability (e.g., high numbers of disabled persons and elderly), particularly in New Orleans. Many of the risks are mutually reinforcing, and both human activities and climate change seem likely to exacerbate all of these problems. Flood-control measures have reduced the annual flood risk along rivers and, in turn, made lands that were once best left to nature attractive for agriculture and urban growth (NRC, 2006). In the long run, these protection measures have often evolved into maladaptations that contribute to high rates of subsidence, wetland deterioration, and concentration of people and industry in places that are increasingly at risk from storm surges such as those that accompanied Hurricane Katrina (AGU, 2006; NRC, 2006). The southeastern coastal plain of the United States is low and flat, and land subsidence throughout the region has further contributed to vulnerability to storms and flooding as a result of both natural processes and the extraction of oil and gas, drainage of low-lying areas, and other development ac- tivities (AGU, 2006; CCSP, 2008a; NRC, 2006). New Orleans has been subsiding an average of 0.2 inch (5 millimeters) per year. As a result, much of New Orleans now lies below sea level and persists only over the longer term; it may also reduce incentives to explore more effective long- term solutions. Managing Adaptively: Learning from Experience Climate change inevitably creates uncertainty, because future behavior of both the climate system and human decision processes cannot easily be predicted (Chapter 4). Rather than using adaptation strategies to attempt to sustain or preserve a desired past condition, successful adaptation to climate change must attempt to foster con-
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? because of a system of levees and pumps. In places near Houston, groundwater withdrawal has lowered the terrain by about 6.5 feet (2 meters). Along the Gulf Coast shoreline, such subsidence contributes to a locally high rate of relative sea level rise (AGU, 2006; NRC, 2006). The U.S. Climate Change Science Programâs Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.7 (CCSP, 2008a) projects that, by 2050, the Gulf Coast between Mobile and Galveston will see âapparentâ sea level rise (actual sea level rise plus land subsid- ence) of 2 to 4 feet, threatening coastal systems of many kinds: communities, transportation facilities, energy facilities, ecosystems, and others (CCSP, 2008a). In this case, simply preparing for floods and other risks from extreme weather events offers limited effectiveness as an adaption strategy. Past adaptations to the combined effects of land subsidence and sea level rise through building of levees and other barriers to ocean intrusion and storm surges have proven insufficient to withstand a large hurricane (AGU, 2006; CCSP, 2008a). For example, the Louisiana Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that storm surges from a strong hurricane (generating wave heights two-thirds the height of those of Katrina) would flood half of the interstate highway system, 98 percent of port facilities, a third of the rail system, and 22 airports (CCSP, 2008a). Given these severe projections, redundancy must be built into critical infrastructure, and a phased relocation of infrastructure and population to less hazard-prone areas warrants serious consideration. If such relocation is built into a smart-growth strategy, the adaptation costs may be modest, given that infrastructure replacement is an ongoing process. Louisiana DOTâs current suite of adaptation options are to (1) maintain and manage current infrastructure, absorbing the added maintenance costs; (2) strengthen structures and protect facilities; (3) enhance redundancy; and (4) relocate or avoid hazard- ous locations (CCSP, 2008a). Past adaptations to climate variability in the Gulf Coast environment and its resources have provided many benefits; but, as time has passed, many of these actions have constrained present options (AGU, 2006; NRC, 2006). Vulnerable populations, an important national transportation system, and regional ecology are increasingly at risk from decisions made at earlier times. Massive resources continue to be allocated to maintaining the status quo in all these sectors (CCSP, 2008a). Climate change in the form of more frequent or intensive tropical storms, a more intensive precipitation regime and ensuing floods, and accelerated rates of global sea level rise will exacerbate the hazards and make adaptation choices even more difficult (AGU, 2006). tinued ecosystem integrity and human well-being under uncertain future conditions (Chapin et al., 2009). Thus, neither the target future nor the appropriate methodology for reaching it will be certain over the long term, and society must be prepared to ad- just adaptation plans as the future unfolds (Adger et al., 2009). This requires adaptive management, which is defined here as a process of adjusting policies and practices by learning from the outcome of previously used policies and practices (see Chapter 4; Armitage et al., 2007; Chapin et al., 2009; West et al., 2009). Adaptive management is increasingly accepted as best practice in resource management (Armitage et al., 2007). In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, for example, adaptive management provides a
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E bOx 3.3 Philadelphia Heat waves can cause significant loss of life, as evidenced in Europe during the summer of 2003 (more than 70,000 excess deaths; Robine et al., 2008) and the 1995 Chicago heat wave (696 excess deaths; Semenza et al., 1996; Whitman et al., 1997). In both cases, the greatest mortality occurred among the elderly and poor. Heat wave early warning systems can be effective in reducing illnesses and deaths associated with heat waves (Ebi et al., 2004; Palecki et al., 2001; Weisskopf et al., 2002). Partly in response to heat waves in 1993 and 1994, Philadelphia developed its Hot Weather-Health Watch/Warning System (PWWS) in 1995 to alert the cityâs population when weather conditions pose risks to health (Kalkstein et al., 1996; Mirchandani et al., 1996; Sheridan and Kalkstein, 1998). The city of Philadelphia and other agencies and organizations institute a series of intervention activities whenever the National Weather Service issues a heat wave warning. Television and radio stations and newspapers are asked to publicize the heat wave warning, along with information on how to avoid heat-related illnesses.These media announcements encourage friends, relatives, neighbors, and other volunteers to make daily visits to elderly persons during hot weather to ensure that the most susceptible individuals have sufficient fluids, proper ventilation, and other amenities to cope with the weather. A âHeatlineâ is operated in conjunction with the Philadelphia Corpora- tion for the Aging to provide information and counseling to the general public on avoidance of heat stress. The Department of Public Health contacts nursing homes and other facilities housing people requiring extra care to inform them of the heat wave warning and to offer advice on the protection of residents. The local utility company and water department halt service suspensions during warning periods. The Fire Department Emergency Medical Service increases staffing in anticipation of increased service demand. The agency for homeless services activates increased daytime outreach activities to assist those on the streets. Senior centers extend their hours of operation of air-conditioned facilities. An evaluation of the PWWS concluded that the system saved 117 lives during three years of operation (Ebi et al., 2004). The costs of running the system were minor compared with the benefits. flexible structure for linking climate change projections to a portfolio of actions that address conservation concerns (see Box 3.5). Monitoring the effectiveness of adaptive actions is a key component of adaptive management. Adaptive management has also been incorporated as a core principle in New York Cityâs planning effort. Likewise, it is a key component of assessing the effectiveness of climate change programs as they are implemented, as in Philadelphiaâs heat-wave early warning system (Box 3.2), Germanyâs planning for food security (Chapter 6), and water management programs in Australia and the Colorado River (Chapters 5 and 6).
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? bOx 3.4 Western Forests and Wildfires There is mounting evidence that warmer temperatures and drought in the western United States have substantially increased wildfire intensity, areal extent, and frequency (McKenzie et al., 2004; USGCRP, 2009; Westerling et al., 2006). The legacy of fire suppression has increased the buildup of flammable fuels and fire risk in forest types that were previously characterized by low-intensity ground fires (Schoennagel et al., 2004; Swetnam and Baisan, 1995). This increased risk results in part from the overabundance of small-diameter trees that can act as fuel âladders,â enabling flames to reach the forest canopy and cause more damage (Covington and Moore, 1994). The high density of small-diameter trees also makes forest stands, such as Ponderosa pine, more vulnerable to bark beetle infestation, particularly in dry years (Lenart, 2006). Thinning of small-diameter trees has been used to reduce fire risk in some forests. For ex- ample, in the 2002 Rodeo-Chedeski fire in Arizona (Strom and Fule, 2007) and in the Cone fire in Californiaâs Lassen National Forest (Hurteau et al., 2008), less damage occurred in stands that had been thinned. Regardless of the forestry benefits, both cost and issues of carbon release to the atmosphere from tree cutting (Hurteau et al., 2008) stand in the way of widespread adoption of forest thinning as an adaptation to climate change. In addition, thinning cannot be viewed as a permanent solution, since forests must be repeatedly thinned to deal with regeneration. Building of homes on private forest lands (within what is called âthe wildland-urban inter- faceâ) greatly increases risks to life and property from the increased fire frequency and extent in western forests (Radeloff et al., 2005; Theobald and Romme, 2007). It also greatly increases the necessity and cost of fire suppression and eliminates the potential use of prescribed fire as a tool to reduce future fire risks (Schoennagel et al., 2009). A realignment of incentives to discourage private development in fire-prone areas would both reduce the cost and increase the options available for adaptations to climate change. Adaptive management allows flexibility for climate change programs to adjust when conditions change in unexpected ways, the adaptive plan fails to achieve desired outcomes, or program goals are modified. Adaptive management requires regulatory flexibility for local managers and decision makers to monitor outcomes and adjust ap- propriately (Armitage et al., 2007; West et al., 2009). As noted earlier, climate change presents significant challenges for maintaining the viability of species and ecosystems (IPCC, 2007a). The ecological literature contains many general recommendations to safeguard the long-term viability of species and ecosystems, such as increasing connectivity in the landscape, reducing other stressors such as pollution and habitat fragmentation, monitoring to detect changes, inten- sively managing populations, moving species, and increasing the number of reserves (e.g., CCSP, 2008b; Hannah and Hansen, 2005; Hansen et al., 2003; Heller and Zavaleta,
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E bOx 3.5 A Conservation Framework for the greater yellowstone Ecosystem To address conservation needs, a working group of academic researchers, scientists from NGOs, and federal resource management agencies is developing a participatory framework that incorporates climate change into natural resource conservation and management by identifying adaptation strategies for species and ecosystems. This framework is being piloted in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) of Montana,Wyoming, and Idaho (Keiter and Boyce, 1991) to address two conservation concerns: Yellowstone River flows and the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis). The framework is designed for collaborative application in a given landscape by a multidis- ciplinary group of experts, including natural resource managers, conservation practitioners, and scientists. The framework draws on expert knowledge to translate climate change projections into a portfolio of adaptation actions. The identified portfolio of actions can then be evaluated in the social, political, regulatory, and economic contexts that motivate and constrain manage- ment goals and policies. Application of the framework involves several steps, taken iteratively in an adaptive management context (Armitage et al., 2007): â¢ Identify conservation targets and specify explicit, measurable management objectives for all targets. â¢ Build a conceptual model that illustrates the climatic, ecological, social, and economic driver of each target and examine how the target may be affected by multiple plausible climate change scenarios. â¢ Identify intervention points and potential actions required to achieve management objectives for each target under each climate scenario. â¢ Evaluate potential actions for feasibility and tradeoffs. â¢ Prioritize and implement actions. â¢ Monitor the efficacy of actions and status of management objectives; reevaluate to address system changes or ineffective actions. The framework was first implemented in 2008 to identify climate-relevant intervention points and potential actions to address management objectives under the initial climate change scenario. For the Yellowstone River, interventions might include manipulation of urban and agricultural withdrawals, stream engineering, and high-elevation check dams. Upland interventions might include increased beaver populations, snowpack management, and forestry activities that influ- ence vegetation structure and wildfire regimes. Potential intervention points for the GYE grizzly bear involve addressing human-bear conflicts (e.g., availability of bear attractants and frequency of human-bear contacts), food resources amenable to management, and connectivity among core habitat areas. Implementation of priority adaptation actions will depend on support within the GYE for investing in novel management approaches.
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? 2009; Lawler et al., 2009; Millar et al., 2007; Scott and Lemieux, 2005) (Table 3.2). Con- servation practitioners and agency resource managers have expressed a need for tools to transform this growing menu of recommendations into feasible site- and target-specific strategies for action. Integrating Adaptation Planning into Programs that Address broader Societal goals Effective adaptation to climate change is only one of many important societal goals. Climate change adaptation is likely to be most effective when it is integrated with ongoing efforts to address other goals rather than when established as a stand-alone program. In New York City and Australia, for example, climate change adaptation was identified as an important new mandate of multiple existing departments and agen- cies rather than a new stand-alone entity that competed for funds with existing enti- ties (Chapters 4 and 5). Similarly, in Maryland, planning to minimize infrastructure ex- posure to rising sea level and storm frequency was incorporated into a Smart-Growth policy that protected coastal areas for multiple ecological and social benefits. At the local scale, Keene, New Hampshire, identified many climate change vulnerabilities and developed an adaptation plan that is part of broader planning efforts for sustainability (Chapter 5). NGOs knowledgeable about other planning efforts and state and federal programs whose mandates were consistent with local climate change planning in- formed and facilitated the development of climate change adaptation plans in Keene. This experience demonstrates the value of coordination and collaboration among fed- eral, NGO, and local entities in planning for climate change adaptation. Along the same lines, in Alaska, a climate change adaptation plan that was initiated to address indi- vidual sectors evolved into a more integrated plan because common needs emerged within each sector (e.g., need for downscaled climate projections) and actions taken within each sector depended upon and affected other sectors. Overarching adapta- tion elements that emerged included a knowledge network to facilitate information exchange between users (agencies, NGOs, businesses, and communities) and scientists and a climate change information and education program.2 CONCLuSIONS In summary, adaptation has emerged as a pressing concern at all levels of govern- ment; but action is still hampered by a lack of directed research, poor understanding 2 http://climatechange.alaska.gov/aag/aag.htm, accessed October 8, 2010.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E of vulnerability, and limited experience with the implementation of adaptation op- tions. The early actions that can be deployed most easily in such an environment are low-cost strategies with win-win outcomes, actions that end or reverse maladapted policies and practices, and measures that avoid prematurely narrowing future adapta- tion options. Contrary to initial expectations, however, the nationâs vulnerability to cli- mate change is very likely to require a substantial effort to adapt appropriately. Recent developmentsâemergence of scientific consensus on the causes of climate change, evidence that climate change impacts are already under way, a sense that more inevi- table changes lie ahead, and a recognition that the past will not be a reliable guide for the futureâhave validated the need for adaptation planning. They also illustrate that coordination across sectors and across jurisdictional boundaries will be required. Based on evaluation of current knowledge on adapting to climate variability and recent experience related to climate change adaptation, the panel finds many pos- sible options that are worth considering in responding to observed impacts of climate change and impacts projected in the relatively near future. At the same time, benefits, costs, potentials, and limits of these options for adapting to climate change impacts are generally not well understood. Adaptation planning is under way in many states and localities in the United States and by some nongovernmental groups concerned about sustainability, resilience, and changing market conditions. Much of this planning is oriented toward protecting current systems and infrastructures and maintaining the status quo (e.g., Gulf Coast, Alaska). However, maintaining the status quo may in many cases be maladaptive over the long term if it draws attention and resources away from implementation of novel longer-term solutions. Many climate change adaptation plans emphasize either societal impacts (e.g., Gulf Coast) or ecological impacts (e.g., Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem). Plans that integrate the twin goals of societal well-being and ecological integrity emerge in places (such as New York City) where both social and environmental goals have been clearly articu- lated in an integrated planning mission statement. Climate change adaptation plans and actions are most likely to meet societyâs needs when they remove incentives for maladaptive responses (e.g., inadequate steps with fire suppression, fisheries subsi- dies) and avoid foreclosing future options. Risks of maladaptation can be reduced by integrating efforts to adapt and to limit the magnitude of climate change in a com- mon sustainability agenda. In addition, partnerships that involve federal, state, and local agencies and also engage NGOs, utilities, and private businesses are particularly effective in developing comprehensive plans for climate change adaptation. Such an
What Are Americaâs Options for Adaptation? integrated approach reduces the likelihood that each agency and stakeholder group will pursue a separate and partially incompatible agenda. Climate change adaptation plans are particularly relevant to local populations when they incorporate programs, plans, and experience that address current climate ex- tremes such as severe storms, floods, droughts, and heat waves (e.g., New York City, Philadelphia, United Kingdom). These and other extreme events are projected to be- come more frequent in the future. Adaptation options are much more limited to cope with impacts of relatively severe climate change in the longer run, if efforts to limit emissions are not successful (Chapter 2). Some projected impacts are likely to be be- yond the scope of adaptation unless it involves major structural change. An important part of a national approach to adaptation is looking toward the potential for these more severe impacts and considering possible limits to adaptation. Conclusion: Searches for adaptation solutions must consider consequences both for multiple sectors and for the short and long terms. Conclusion: In the short term, it is advisable to use familiar options that are likely to be effective in addressing relatively near-term needs for adaptation. Limited knowledge about future impacts is not an excuse for inaction. Conclusion: Current adaptation options, however, are supported by a limited body of experience and evidence, which means that adaptation practice in the United States needs to be coupled with a strong effort not only to improve what we know about options already under discussion but in some cases to learn about and devise novel approaches not currently under discussion. Conclusion: Appropriate short-term climate change adaptation options should be strengthened and sustained by those entities best poised to implement them. This often requires development of minimal federal standards to ensure a coordinated national effort, federal funding or financing to provide incentives for state and local actions, and state and/or local implementation to ensure that adaptations make sense in the local context (Chapter 5). Conclusion: Policies and/or institutions should be modified or established that align incentives for the private sector to engage more effectively in short- and long-term climate adaptation solutions. Conclusion: Appropriately funded actions should be taken to support effective long-term geographic, sectoral, and social adaptation to climate change before rather than after disaster strikes, both in the near term and in the longer term.
0 TABLE 3.2 Ecosystems: Examples of ideas about specific options for facilitating ecosystem adaptation to climate change and identification of entities best poised to implement each option. Climate Impact Possible Adaptation Actiona Change Federal State Local Government Private Sector NGO/Individuals Altered Water stress on Manage for high water-use efficiency and drought-tolerant species in areas of hydrologic ecosystems increasing drought (4-4; CCAL; DOI-LW; NEC). regime Establish guidelines to protect against stream drying; establish watershed- monitoring programs; recharge groundwater when availability exceeds requirements for ecosystems and society. Purchase or lease water rights and wetlands to provide species refuges and enhance flow management options (4-4; CCAL). Backfill canals and mosquito ditching to prevent saltwater intrusion (DOI-LW). Flow effects on Plant flood-adapted species to reduce peak flows and erosion. Develop more rivers effective stormwater infrastructure to reduce severe erosion (4-4). Manage reservoir releases to provide cold water downstream (NEC; WWF). Reforest riparian areas with native species to create shaded thermal refuges for fish species if water supply is adequate (4-4; NEC). Climate Degradation of Reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to limit ocean acidification change ecosystems Use buffers as barriers and time construction and maintenance activities to generally avoid favoring spread of invasive species (WWF). Use desirable nonnative species to compete with undesirable invasives when native species cannot (DOI-LW).
Enhance resilience by managing for diversity of species, genotypes, and habitat heterogeneity where climate trends are uncertain; establish special protection for areas that support keystone processes or sensitive species (4-4; DOI-LW; NEC; WWF). Restore and increase habitat availability, and reduce stressors, in order to capture the full geographical, geophysical, and ecological ranges of species on as many refuges as possible (4-4). Realign management targets in the context of climate-induced changes, rather than seeking to maintain or restore a âreferenceâ condition that is no longer climatically viable (4-4; CCAL; DOI-LW) Protect areas along climate gradients to provide a wide range of climate adaptation options (WWF); protect areas that have enduring features unlikely to be affected by climate change (e.g., high relief, limestone karst) (WWF). Identify climate change refuges, assess the optimal size, and acquire the necessary land (4-4; CCAL; OIGCC). Use an insurance factor when calculating reserve sizes to account for uncertainty in climate change (WWF). Minimize management of some areas (e.g., wilderness) and protect migration corridors to allow colonization and successional processes to adjust naturally (4-4; WWF). Proactively manage early successional stages that follow widespread climate- related mortality by promoting diverse age classes, species mixes, stand diversities, genetic diversity, etc., at landscape scales (4-4; NEC). Facilitate natural adaptation by management practices that shorten regeneration time and foster interspecific competition (to speed rate of species change) (4-4). Use paleoecological records and historical ecological studies to revise and update restoration goals so that selected species will be tolerant of anticipated climate and/or habitats will be buffered from climate change (e.g., altitudinal gradients) (4-4; NEC; CCAL; WWF).
Plant appropriate native (or, if necessary, introduced) desired species after disturbances or in anticipation of the loss of some species (4-4). Assisted migration where appropriate: explore the establishment and growth of plant species more adapted to expected future climate conditions (4-4; CCAL; DOI-LW). Test the suitability of species that are nonnative locally, but sustain native biodiversity or enhance ecosystem function regionally (4-4). Rather than maintaining only historic distributions, spread species over a range of environments according to modeled future conditions (4-4; CCAL). Climate Problems for Identify and take early proactive action against nonnative invasive species change native species that respond to climate change, especially where they threaten native generally species or current ecosystem function (4-4; NEC; CCAL; OIGCC; WWF; DOI- LW). Use climate change data to refine threatened or endangered status (DOI-LW). Reduce or eliminate stressors or harvest on conservation target species (4-4; WWF). Establish no-take hunting and fishing areas for climatically threatened species (WWF). Create or protect refuges for valued aquatic species at risk to the effects of early snowmelt on river flow (4-4). Provide redundant refuge types to reduce risk to trust species (4-4; NEC; WWF). Practice bet-hedging by replicating populations and gene pools of desired species (4-4; WWF). Use conservation easements and buffers around refuges to foster population and species variability and to provide room for species dispersal and landscape interactions (4-4; WWF; DOI-LW). Establish or strengthen long-term seed banks and preserve species in zoos and botanical gardens to create the option of reestablishing extirpated populations in new or more appropriate locations (4-4; DOI-LW; WWF). Facilitate interim propagation and sheltering or feeding of mistimed migrants, holding them until suitable habitat becomes available (4-4).
Assess tradeoffs of long-distance transport or assisted migration of threatened and endangered endemic species (4-4); modify genetic diversity guidelines to increase the range of species, maintain high effective population sizes, and favor genotypes known for broad tolerance ranges (4- 4); remove dispersal barriers, including dams, establish dispersal bridges, and connect landscapes, that support migration of native species in response to climate change (4-4; NEC; CCAL; OIGCC; WWF); reintroduce lost native species (WWF); identify species or habitats that are likely to migrate out of areas established for their protection (DOI-LW). More Increased Allow natural fires to burn where they sustain long-term ecosystem integrity; extreme wildfire restore natural disturbance regimes (NEC; WWF); include climate change in events National Fire Plan to effectively achieve conservation goals (NEC). Facilitate climate-appropriate fire regime through fuels management, wildland and prescribed fire, and suppression (4-4; CCAL; DOI-LW); minimize alteration of natural disturbance regimes, for example through removal of infrastructure that prohibits the allowance of wildland fire or changes in incentives to discourage building in the wildland-urban interface (4-4; NEC; WWF). Proactively manage early successional stages that follow widespread climate- related mortality by promoting diverse age classes, species mixes, stand diversities, genetic diversity, etc., at landscape scales (4-4; NEC). Climate Threats to Multiple-use management to maintain cultural and aesthetic services, as well change ecosystem as recreational and tourism potential. generally services Participate in carbon markets that will lead to forest preservation or restoration (DOI-LW). Manage for agricultural and forestry products, ecological integrity, and livelihoods. Conserve and manage lands suitable for carbon sequestration and other climate feedbacks (CCAL; DOI-LW).
Incorporate climate change effects into Environmental Protection Agency Outdated (EPA) water quality, air quality, and groundwater standards. management Identify resources and processes most sensitive to climate change through monitoring and assessment programs (4-4; NEC; CCAL; DOI-LW) and scenarios that explore the societal consequences (4-4). Incorporate long-term monitoring into design and management changes to ensure they are responsive to changes in base conditions. Update legislation to require anticipatory (rather than historical) guidelines and reference points, and use longer planning horizons (NEC; CCAL). Rapidly assess (e.g., using the Resource Planning Assessment Process) existing federal agency plans, contract language, and leases to determine the level of preparedness for climate change risks (4-4; DOI-LW). Form partnerships among federal and state agencies, the private sector, local people, and other stakeholders to address climate change and its interactions with landscape-scale human-caused stressors (4-4; DOI-LW; CCAL; WWF). Remove structures that harden the coastlines, impede natural regeneration of sediments, and prevent natural inland migration of sand and vegetation in response to climate change (4-4); restore or create coastal wetlands, barrier islands, and other protective natural ecosystems. NOTE: Most adaptations are local and need to be tailored to local conditions. The suitability of each adaptation option must therefore be evaluated in the context of local conditions. Where possible, the table refers to assessments and syntheses that consider multiple adaptation options and provide references to specific studies. a Creation of novel ecosystems warrants extreme caution, given the past checkered history of species introductions. This approach might be appropriate where a current ecosystem is substantially degraded by climate change or other human caused impacts. SOURCE: Reference citations were abbreviated as follows to conserve space: NEC (Glick et al., 2009), CCAL (Theoharides et al., 2009), 4-4 (CCSP, 2008b), OIGCC (Parmesan and Galbraith, 2004), WWF (WWF, 2003), DOI-LW (DOI, 2008b).
TABLE 3.3 Agriculture and Forestry: Examples of ideas about specific options for facilitating agriculture and forestry sector adaptations to climate change and identification of entities best poised to implement each option. Climate Change Impact Possible Adaptation Action Federal State Local Government Private Sector NGO/Individuals Climate change Need for more intense Use remote sensing to monitor broad-scale spatial patterns, like shifts in generally management plant community composition, vegetation production, changes in plant mortality, rise of invasive species, deforestation, etc. (4-2) develop cost- effective strategies to address climate change through integration of models based on long-term monitoring of agricultural lands (4-3). Potential new markets Respond to market signals and conduct research to anticipate global and new competition; market trends (NRC; IPCC); diversify farm operations (IPCC); plan for need to adapt to changes in fuel and fertilizer expenses; develop new seed varieties, mitigation measures technologies, and practices; anticipate consumer demand for local crops without excess embedded carbon. Impacts to ecosystem Preserve biological diversity as a natural buffer against climatic shocks services (NRC); move to no till agriculture to increase the carbon captured in the soils. Loss of crop yield Foster diversification and innovation by modifying subsidy, support, and incentive programs.
Greater irrigation Use technologies to âharvestâ water, conserve soil moisture, and to use Increased requirements water more effectively in areas with rainfall decreases (IPCC); adopt evaporation and irrigation best practices (e.g., drip irrigation, laser leveling, etc.); switch changes in to crops with greater drought resistance; cease irrigated agriculture (or precipitation; cap water withdrawals) in regions where groundwater is being increased depleted; reduce stocking density in forests to offer resilience to precipitation drought, insects, and fires. Increased yields of Manage to prevent waterlogging, erosion, and nutrient leaching in rain-fed agriculture areas with rainfall increases (IPCC); develop flood-resistant crops. Impacts to tree Reforest with genetically diverse seed sources (Millar); move forestry viability operations to regions projected to have more suitable future climate; manage soil and groundwater to prevent waterlogging. Sea level rise Brackish water Backfill irrigation ditches; install tide gates to control flooding. infiltrating coastal farmland (4-1) Increased Greater spread of Change breeding practices; move to new lands for cattle grazing. temperature: animal diseases from effects on pests low to midddle latitudes due to warming (IPCC) Climate change will Improve the effectiveness of pest, disease, and weed management likely lead to a practices through wider use of integrated pest and pathogen northern migration of management that forecast potential new pest incursions (driven by weeds (4-3) climate change), assess tools that are currently available to combat these pests (e.g., eradication, containment, management, and existing pesticides), and what may need to be developed if gaps currently exist (IPCC); diversify species stocking and reduce stocking density in planted forests.
Disease pressure on Develop and use disease resistant varieties. crops and livestock will increase with earlier springs and warmer winters, allowing low proliferation and higher survival rates of pathogens and parasites (4-3) Increased Climate changed- Shift grazing to new lands; shift to species and breeds more resistant to temperature: induced shifts in plant droughts and reduce animal stocking density; change feedstocks. effects on productivity and type livestock will impact livestock operations (4-3) Higher temperature will Provide more shade opportunities, improve air flow in barns, use air likely reduce livestock conditioning, and change breeds; supplement feed during periods of production during the low forage availability. summer; partially offset by warmer winters (4-3; IPCC) Increased temperature Adjust forage reserves. will lengthen growing season, extending forage production season and decreasing the need for winter season forage reserves (4-3)
Crops near climate Improve seeds (IPCC) and maintain and diversify strains of crop varieties Increased thresholds, like grapes, to the climate of the current decade (NRC); use climate scenarios to temperature: may decrease in yield identify areas where agriculture will become more favorable; shift effects on crops and/or quality (IPCC) lumber production from areas of decreasing favorability to those of increasing favorability (NRC); reforest with species genetically adapted or compatible with the anticipated future climate (NRC); find alternatives for timber (NRC). Improve the climate for Develop varieties that can withstand early frost. fruit production in Great Lakes region and eastern Canada but with risks of early season frost and damaging winter thaws (IPCC) High temperatures Develop hybrids that can tolerate higher temperatures. during flowering may reduce grain number, size, and quality (IPCC); pollen sterilization by extreme temperatures (NRC) Possible changes in Change planting dates and cultivars to respond to changed climate the length of the (NRC; IPCC); shorten the rotation of managed forests to be more growing season and in responsive to climate (NRC). growth rates changing the required growing season (NRC)
Possible changes in Invest in improved varieties of trees, forest protection, forest the sensitivity of plants regeneration, silvicultural management, and forest operations (IPCC); to fertilizers, pesticides, consider other values of forests (e.g., watershed management, and herbicides (NRC) recreation) where commercial forestry is no longer climatically suitable. Higher Increased production Consider new varieties: fast-growing trees may respond strongly to atmospheric CO2 of some trees and increased CO2 and increase productivity (IPCC); increased CO2 and concentrations crops temperature will speed life cycle of grain and oilseed crops (4-3). Stresses will Switch to annual crops instead of perennials (IPCC). accumulate over time Selective advantages Select crops and cropping practices that reduce competitive success of for C3 weeds: greater weeds, including the adjustment of integrated pest management competition with approaches to new conditions. crops Extreme events Increased climate Produce hybrids more resistant to the diseases and pests. extremes may promote plant disease and pest outbreaks (IPCC) Increased risk of flood Change crop insurance processes; change lands used to minimize flood in some regions (4-2) risk; protect wetlands buffers. More frequent Breed or genetically modify crop varieties to have greater tolerance of extreme events may heat, drought, and flood extremes. lower yields by directly damaging crops at specific developmental stages, like flowering, or making the timing of field applications more difficult (IPCC)
Decrease in snow Change cropping areas; adopt reduced tillage and other best practices 00 cover and more winter to mitigate erosion. rain on bare soil lengthen erosion season and enhance erosion (IPCC) Forest fires will become Lower stocking density to reduce fire regime type from lethal to mixed more common as or sublethal; thin small-diameter trees; increase use of prescribed fire in climate becomes dry forest areas to reduce likelihood of intense, lethal, natural fires; hotter and drier (NRC) restructure carbon storage calculations that unduly penalize forest thinning for fire management; shift forest production to less fire prone regions. Point and non-point Use buffers, adjust fertilizer and pesticide applications, and adopt other source pollution from best practices to limit pollution impacts on water resources. agriculture practices could increase NOTE: Most adaptations are local and need to be tailored to local conditions. The suitability of each adaptation option must therefore be evaluated in the context of local conditions. Where possible, the table refers to assessments and syntheses that consider multiple adaptation options and provide references to specific studies. SOURCE: Reference citations were abbreviated as follows to conserve space: 4-1 (CCSP, 2009b) 4-2 (CCSP, 2009a), 4-3 (CCSP, 2008c), NRC (NRC, 1992), IPCC (IPCC, 2007a), Millar (Millar et al., 2007).
TABLE 3.4 Water: Examples of ideas about specific options for facilitating water sector adaptation to climate change and identification of entities best poised to implement each option. Climate Change Impact Possible Adaptation Action Federal State Local Government Private Sector NGO/Individuals Higher Insufficient Enhance supplies through traditional supply approaches including dams, temperature and water supplies larger reservoirs and other storage facilities, importing water, or reduced transferring water between basins (IPCC4; IPCC3; CALI; NRC). Other precipitation approaches include increasing system redundancy to ensure backup supplies, sharing integrated facilities between jurisdictions and sectors, obtaining a portfolio of multiple sources of water, including reuse of municipal wastewater (IPCC4; IPCC3; USGS; NRC; CCAWS). Purchase alternative supplies through water trading and exchange (USGS; IPCC4); store water during wet years or seasons (conjunctive management). Participate in water supply protection through watershed management, including protecting surface water sources and groundwater recharge zones. Encourage water harvesting and gray water use (NRC; IPCC4; CALI; IPCC3); design sites to minimize water requirements (e.g., low-water-use landscaping) and retain gray water and stormwater on site for landscape purposes (NRC; CALI; IPCC4). Regulate water use more stringently, restrict specific uses of water, and adopt best practices for conservation and demand management in all sectors (CALI; CUWCC; IPCC3; IPCC4; NRC; USGS; CCAWS). 0
Consider reform of water allocation by allocating a percentage of available 0 supplies rather than a fixed volume, establishing a water rights entitlement for the environment, downsizing or abandoning parts of a system, updating monitoring and accounting of water rights systems, enacting market reforms to allow interstate trading, and compensating rights holders and assisting in transition (FPB). Design pricing policies to encourage water conservation and to respond to drought or long-term storage conditions (CCAWS). Inadequate Use water banking and other market mechanisms to augment supplies, water for regulatory or incentive programs to protect or enhance instream flows to ecosystems support habitat, environmental mitigation programs to offset damage caused by new projects, contracts to access water during dry years, etc., to ensure supply (USGS; IPCC4). Revise or update environmental regulations to facilitate resolution of competing demands for water in light of changing conditions (e.g., adaptive management). Purchase water rights for environmental protection (5-1). Decreased Enhance reservoir storage and aquifer storage capacity, reoperation of snowpack in reservoirs, water transfers, and vegetation management to enhance water West and storage and manage timing of runoff from watersheds. Northeast Changed More variable Build or reoperate dams to store water and control downstream releases seasonality of streamflow (taking into account the likely environmental consequences). precipitation and lake levels Change dam and storage facility operations to offset timing issues; reduce diversions and find alternative supplies during low flow periods (CALI).
Update FEMA floodplain maps to reflect higher probability of high impact Storm surges, Increased events. sea level rise, frequency of and increasing coastal and Evaluate risks to infrastructure and develop and apply new design intensity of riverine standards for water, wastewater, and drainage systems (USGS). precipitation flooding Enhance regulation of floodplain development; change design standards to allow floods to pass under buildings (e.g., pilings); encourage relocation of infrastructure from areas where flooding and erosion are likely and retreat from damaged areas after flooding, especially in 100-year floodplain (USGS; IPCC3). Use climate forecasts to optimize reservoir operations and flood control storage. Redesign flood-prone areas to allow natural attenuation processes, reduce hard surfaces, allow natural channel movement, etc. Design new or improved levees, dikes, and flood walls to withstand higher flood levels (IPCC3); enhance dam safety inspections and modeling and consider relocation where engineering solutions make life and property more vulnerable to extreme events (CCAWS). Protect vulnerable land from development through land use planning. Increased Enhance flood retention and buffer requirements, natural filtration levels of capacity, and biological removal of pollutants; implement rain gardens pollutants in (CALI). runoff Increase funding for water quality regulation and remediation. Increased Require treatment of urban stormwater runoff, manage land uses to stormwater require onsite retention in areas where pollutants are generated. runoff 0
Change dam operation to release more cold water (CALI; WWF). Higher water Ecological 0 temperature effects Raise dissolved oxygen levels with aeration devices or re-oxygenation. Adjust seasons for recreational fishing, or fish at new locations. Increased Protect upstream watersheds and increase monitoring of water quality organic (CALI; IPCC3). material in Consider new disinfection standards or alternative disinfection public water approaches; adopt carbon filters to improve drinking water quality. supplies More Change dam operations to minimize effects on water chemistry and stratification in biology (WWF). lakes Sea level rise Saline Insert sea water barrier injection wells (to limit migration of saltwater intrusion into aquifers inland), e.g., with reclaimed water (CALI). coastal Desalinate (IPCC3; IPCC4; USGS; NRC). aquifers Reduce pumping of coastal aquifers, move wells further from the coast. Saline Create physical barriers to prevent ocean water from entering estuaries intrusion into and wetlands; allow for inland migration of wetlands. estuaries, Reduce diversions from coastal rivers (CALI). inundation of coastal wetlands General climate Landscape Manage forests to reduce large-scale fire hazard as well as erosion and change impacts on sedimentation after forest fires (CALI). water supply Regulate landscaping and building materials in urban-wildland interface. Protect important water-based habitat from invasive species (IPCC4; NRC; CALI); identify, restore, and protect important ecosystems, especially those with endemic species that are at high risk (WWF).
Encourage flexibility in water management rules, and move away from Outdated using strict formulas based on assumptions of stable, stationary climate institutions in (5-1; IPCC4; CALI; IPCC3). light of changing Develop innovative tools and methods to manage water resources in light conditions of change and uncertainty (5-1; IPCC4; USGS; IPCC3). Update professional training and university curricula to incorporate a nonstationary climate and uncertainty (5-1; CCAWS). Encourage collaborative regional water supply planning to address multiple stresses including climate change. Maintain current networks for monitoring of snowpack, flows, and other conditions (CALI; 5-1). Improve use of monitoring data; develop tools to better incorporate recent trends in management processes (adaptive management) (CALI; 5- 1). NOTE: Most adaptations are local and need to be tailored to local conditions. The suitability of each adaptation option must therefore be evaluated in the context of local conditions. Where possible, the table refers to assessments and syntheses that consider multiple adaptation options and provide references to specific studies. SOURCE: Reference citations were abbreviated as follows to conserve space: 5-1 (CCSP, 2008d), IPCC3 (IPCC, 2001b), IPCC4 (IPCC, 2007a), CALI (California Department of Water Resources, 2008), NRC (NRC, 2007b), USGS (Brekke et al., 2009), CCAWS (Ludwig et al., 2009), CUWCC (California Urban Water Conservation Council, 2008), FPB (Young and McColl, 2008), WWF (WWF, 2003). 0
TABLE 3.5 Health: Examples of ideas about specific options for facilitating health sector adaptation to climate change and 0 identification of entities best poised to implement each option. Climate Impact Possible Adaptation Action Change Individuals Federal State Local Government Private/NGO Changes in Increased risk Develop scientific and technical guidance and decision-support tools for the of injuries, early warning systems and emergency response plans, including frequency, illnesses, and appropriate individual behavior (Ebi). intensity, death Implement early warning systems and emergency response plans, including and duration medical services (J and S; Ebi; Frumkin). of extreme weather Conduct education and outreach on emergency preparedness and events (i.e. response, including mental health needs following a disaster (Ebi; Frumkin). floods, Conduct tests of early warning systems and response plans before events droughts, (Ebi). windstorms, wildfires) Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of systems. Provide scientific and technical guidance for building and infrastructure standards to reduce hazards (Ebi; Frumkin). Develop and enforce building and infrastructure standards that take climate change into account and reduce hazards (Ebi; Frumkin). Monitor the air, water, and soil for hazardous exposures following floods, windstorms, and wildfires (J and S; Ebi). Stay informed about impending weather events (Ebi). Follow guidance for emergency preparedness, and for conduct during and after an extreme weather event (Ebi).
Develop scientific and technical guidance and decision-support tools for Increases in Increased risk heat wave early warning systems and emergency response plans, including the of heat-related appropriate individual behavior (J and S; Ebi). frequency, illnesses and intensity, deaths Implement heat wave early warning systems and emergency response and duration plans, taking climate change into account (J and S; Ebi; Frumkin). of heat Conduct education and outreach on preparedness during a heat wave (J waves and S; Ebi). Develop education and training programs for health professionals on the risks of and appropriate responses during heat waves (J and S; Ebi). Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of heat wave early warning systems (J and S; Ebi). Improve urban design to reduce urban heat islands by planting trees, increasing green spaces, etc. (Ebi). Improve building design to reduce heat loads during summer months (Ebi; Frumkin). Warmer Increased risks Modify and enforce air pollution regulations as necessary to take climate temperature of adverse change into account (Ebi; Frumkin). s on health Develop early warning and response systems for days with poor air quality (J cloudless outcomes and S; Ebi). days related to poor Conduct education and outreach on the risks of exposure to air pollutants (J air quality and S; Ebi; Frumkin). Follow medical advice on appropriate behavior on days with high concentrations of ozone, particulate matter, airborne allergens, and other air pollutants (Ebi). Changing in Changes in the Develop scientific and technical guidance and decision-support tools for mean and geographic early warning systems (Ebi). extreme range and Implement, modify, and sustain early warning systems for vectorborne and temperature incidence of zoonotic diseases to take climate change into account (J and S; Ebi). and vector-borne precipitation and zoonotic diseases 0
Modify vector (and pathogen) surveillance to take climate change into 0 account (Ebi). Disseminate information on appropriate individual behavior to avoid exposure to vectors, including eliminating vector breeding sites around residences (J and S; Ebi). Disseminate information on signs and symptoms of disease to guide individuals on when to seek treatment (J and S; Ebi). Provide low-cost vaccinations to those likely to be exposed (Ebi). Sponsor research and development on vaccines and other preventive measures (Ebi). Consider possible impacts of infrastructure development, such as water storage tanks, on vector-borne diseases (Ebi). Changes in the Provide scientific and technical guidance and decision-support tools for geographic early warning systems (Ebi). range and Modify and enforce watershed protection regulations to take climate incidence of change into account (Ebi; Frumkin). waterborne and foodborne Modify and enforce safe water and food handling regulations to take diseases climate change into account (Ebi). Modify water and wastewater treatment facilities, and drainage and stormwater management to take climate change into account. Evaluate consequences of placement of sources for possible contamination by water- and foodborne pathogens (Ebi). Follow guidelines on drinking water from outdoor sources (Ebi). Disseminate information on signs and symptoms of disease to guide individuals on when to seek treatment (J and S; Ebi).
Modify public health programs and activities focused on climate-sensitive Climate Institutional health outcomes to take climate change into account (J and S). change challenges generally Enhance education of health care professionals to understand the health risks of climate change, including diagnosis and treatment for health outcomes that may become more prevalent (J and S). Provide federal leadership for health organizations and agencies to effectively collaborate and coordinate on research, development of decision-support tools, and other activities (J and S; Frumkin). NOTE: Most adaptations are local and need to be tailored to local conditions. The suitability of each adaptation option must therefore be evaluated in the context of local conditions. Where possible, the table refers to assessments and syntheses that consider multiple adaptation options and provide references to specific studies. SOURCE: Reference citations were abbreviated as follows to conserve space: Ebi (Ebi et al., 2008), Frumkin (Frumkin et al., 2008), J and S (Jackson and Shields, 2008). TABLE 3.6 Transportation: Examples of ideas about specific options for facilitating transportation-sector adaptation to climate change and identification of entities best poised to implement each option. Climate Impact Possible Adaptation Action Change Federal State Local Government Private Sector NGO/Individuals Long-term sea Permanent Build or enhance levees/dikes for protection. level rise flooding of coastal Elevate critical infrastructure that is at risk for sea level rise. land Abandon or move threatened facilities to higher elevations. 0
Protect and/or relocate newly exposed railroads, highways, and Loss of barrier 0 bridges. islands Switch to alternate shipping methods if waterborne transport cannot use the Intracoastal Waterway or other shipping channels. Impacts on Raise bridge heights and reinforce or relocate harbor infrastructure. infrastructure such as bridges or harbors (RFF-PI) New patterns Existing airport Increase airport runway lengths. of prevailing runways may winds become less efficient; time of travel on long- distance flights and transoceanic shipping may be affected Time of travel on Evaluate effects on logistics; adjust schedules. long-distance flights and transoceanic shipping may be affected More intense Change in Revise hydrologic flood frequency models. precipitation hydrology Revise computational models for storm return frequencies. Change to Revise design standards for hydraulic structures (culverts, drainage hydraulics channels, and highway underpasses).
Reinforce at-risk structures with particular attention on bridge pier scouring. Review hydraulic structures for deficiencies (culverts and drainage channels). More frequent Provide federal incentives to avoid development in flood plains. flooding Institute better land use planning for floodplain development including prohibition in some instances. Recognize the inherent cost to society of construction in flood-prone areas. Elevate structures where possible; reconstruct to higher standards. Replace vulnerable bridges and other facilities. Harden infrastructure and port facilities. Changes in Shift transportation preferences among air, rail, ship, or highway efficiency of some routing as appropriate. transportation modes; change in safety (or perception of safety) in some transportation modes Warmer Stress on Research new pavement materials and bridge decking materials that temperatures pavements and are more resistant to heat stress and degradation. and heat road decks Establish standards for and use heat-resistant pavements. waves Replace vulnerable pavement, outdated expansion joints, or runways as needed. Revisit Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards for construction workers in light of higher temperatures and other climate stresses.
Implement more nighttime construction. Railway buckling Research on stresses in rails leading to buckling. Implement changes in rail design to accommodate higher temperatures to prevent rail buckling. Great Lakes water Implement changes in shipping vessels or freight weights. level reductions, lower flows in Find alternatives to barges and water transport. major rivers Dredge channels to greater depths. Lower air density Increase airport runway lengths. Longer ice-free Lengthen the shipping season on inland waters and in the Arctic (RFF- periods PI). Extend shipping to previously inaccessible areas. Changes to engine Changes (+/-) to the amount of fuel needed in all forms of motorized fuel efficiency transport. Reevaluate airport runway lengths required for take-off. Cold regions Loss of permafrost Research on pavement design over thawing permafrost. impacts Identify areas and infrastructure vulnerable to thawing permafrost. Revise roads, bridge foundation, runway, and railway design criteria and standards to reflect loss of permafrost. Replace at-risk roads, runways, and railroads. Sea level rise and Produce relative sea level projections under different emissions coastal erosion scenarios for each coastal region. Assess at-risk facilities due to sea level rise.
Harden seaside and shore-based facilities. Greater coastal More extreme, or Analyze transportation system vulnerabilities in light of storm surge storm strength more frequent, potential. with sea level coastal flooding Revise federal, state, and professional engineering guidelines to rise reflect current and anticipated future climate changes (e.g., precipitation intensity and duration curves) and require their use as a condition for federal investments in infrastructure and incorporate climate. Require climate change assessments in long-range transportation planning in floodplains, and in land use planning in flood-prone coastal areas. Include climate change considerations in planning within metropolitan planning organizations. Identify and take constructive action to provide and protect emergency evacuation routes. Revise FEMA flood maps. Strengthen port facilities to temporarily withstand flooding and surges. Elevate structures and resources. Build or raise seawalls, levees, and dikes for protection. Build surge barriers to protect vulnerable rivers and adjacent infrastructure. Retrofit to strengthen infrastructure (tie down bridge decks and protect piers against scour). Protect critical components (tunnels and electrical systems). Abandon, relocate, or move infrastructure and facilities.
NOTE: Most adaptations are local and need to be tailored to local conditions. The suitability of each adaptation option must therefore be evaluated in the context of local conditions. Where possible, the table refers to assessments and syntheses that consider multiple adaptation options and provide references to specific studies. SOURCE: Reference citations were abbreviated as follows to conserve space: RFF-PI (Neumann and Price, 2009). TABLE 3.7 Energy: Examples of ideas about specific options for facilitating energy sector adaptation to climate change and identification of entities best poised to implement each option. Climate Change Impact Possible Adaptation Action Private sector Federal Local Government NGOs Individuals Average Increased demand for cooling, Increase regional electric power generation capacity temperature rise reduced demand for heating (4-5), after careful consideration of the impacts of resource plans in the United States on overall emissions; plan for and implement enhanced delivery capacity (RFF-PI); take into account changing patterns of demand (summer-winter, north-south) when planning facilities (RFF-PI). R&D to make space cooling and building envelopes more efficient and affordable. Lead by example: government agencies can weatherize buildings and manage energy use to reduce cooling demands (CADGS). More frequent and/or longer Ensure that energy requirements of especially heat waves vulnerable populations are met, especially during heat waves (4-5).
Improve efficiency of energy use, especially electricity use at home and in commercial buildings (e.g., energy audits) (4-5); develop contingency planning for probable seasonal electricity supply outages. Address vulnerability to heat waves in transmission and delivery systems (4-5). Increases in ambient Improve efficiency of power generation and delivery. temperature reduce efficiencies Provide government incentives to study the issue of and generating capacity of whether decentralized power production reduces risk power plants (RFF-PI). Changes in Annual or seasonal water Develop electric power generation strategies that are precipitation or scarcity in some regions less water-consuming, especially for thermal power water availability plant cooling (e.g., dry cooling and increased cycles of concentration for cooling water) (4-5); develop contingency planning for reduced hydropower generation, especially in regions dependent on snowmelt. Accelerate development of low-energy desalination technologies (4-5); develop higher cycles of concentration in cooling water systems (RFF-PI). Diversify energy sources to provide a more robust portfolio of options. Establish incentives for water conservation in energy systems, including technology development (4-5), and for integrated water and energy conservation planning. Changes in Disruption of energy conversion Harden infrastructures to withstand increased flood, intensity, timing, and generation due to extreme wind, lightning and other storm-related stress (4-5); and location of events, especially major storms, consider relocation of infrastructures to less vulnerable extreme weather can affect oil and gas platforms regions in longer term (see sea level rise) (4-5). events and undersea pipelines (RFF-PI)
Increase resilience to energy interruptions and other threats; expand redundancy in electricity transmission capacity and energy storage capacity. Disruption of energy Assess regional energy-sector vulnerability and transmission and transportation communicate vulnerabilities; advocate responsible due to extreme events contingency planning. Prepare for supply interruptions (e.g., backup systems for emergency facilities, schools, etc.). Sea level rise Risks to infrastructures in Conduct regional analysis of vulnerability of coastal vulnerable coastal areas energy infrastructure to sea level rise; advocate responsible land use planning and contingency planning. NOTE: Most adaptations are local and need to be tailored to local conditions. The suitability of each adaptation option must therefore be evaluated in the context of local conditions. Where possible, the table refers to assessments and syntheses that consider multiple adaptation options and provide references to specific studies. SOURCE: Reference citations were abbreviated as follows to conserve space: 4-5 (CCSP, 2007), RFF-PI (Neumann and Price, 2009), CADGS (California Energy Commission, 2009).
TABLE 3.8 Oceans and coasts: Examples of ideas about specific options for facilitating ocean and coastal sector adaptation to climate change and identification of entities best poised to implement each option. Climate Change Impact Possible Adaptation Action Federal State Local Government Private Sector NGO/Individuals Accelerated sea Gradual inundation of Site and design all future public works projects to take into level rise and low-lying land; loss of account projections for sea level rise. lake level coastal habitats, Eliminate public subsidies for future development in high hazard changes especially coastal areas along the coast. wetlands; saltwater intrusion into coastal Develop strong, well-planned, shoreline retreat or relocation aquifers and rivers; plans and programs (public infrastructure and private increased shoreline properties), and poststorm redevelopment plans. erosion and loss of Retrofit and protect public infrastructure (stormwater and barrier islands; changes wastewater systems, energy facilities, roads, causeways, ports, in navigational bridges, etc.). conditions Adapt infrastructure and dredging to cope with altered water levels. Use natural shorelines, setbacks, and buffer zones to allow inland migration of shore habitats and barrier islands over time (e.g., dunes and forested buffers mitigate storm damage and erosion). Encourage alternatives to shoreline âarmoringâ through âliving shorelinesâ (NRC).
Develop strategic property acquisition programs to discourage development in hazardous areas, encourage relocation, and/or allow for inland migration of intertidal habitats. Changes in sea Changes in ecosystem Plan and manage ecosystems to encourage adaptation (see ice structures ecosystem options). Exacerbate coastal Facilitate inland migration and relocation of coastal erosion; severe storms communities. reach coast Increased Increased storm surge Strengthen and implement building codes that make existing intensity/ and flooding; increased buildings more resilient to storm damage along the coast. frequency wind damage; sudden Increase building âfree boardâ above base flood elevation coastal storms coastal/shoreline alterations Identify and improve evacuation routes in low-lying areas (e.g., causeways to coastal islands). Improve storm readiness for harbors and marinas. Establish marine debris reduction strategy. Establish and enforce shoreline setback requirements. Ocean Potential changes in Reduce CO2 emissions (Limiting). acidification ocean productivity and food web linkages; Support ocean observation and long-term monitoring programs. degradation of corals, shellfish, and other Evaluate and manage for ecosystem and infrastructure impacts. shelled organisms; potential impacts on coastal infrastructure (i.e., construction materials)
Establish monitoring and mapping efforts to measure changes in Changes in Changes in salinity; physical, biological, and chemical conditions along the coast. physical and changes in circulation; chemical changes in seawater Utilize approaches that do not endanger species that are characteristics temperature; changes harvested or endangered. of marine in salinity and systems temperature Ensure flexibility in management plans to account for changes in stratification; changes in species distributions and abundance. estuarine structure and processes (e.g., salt Implement early warning and notification systems for shellfish wedge migration); and beach closures, salinity intrusion in coastal rivers (for changes in ecosystem industry impacts and water resource management, i.e. structure (âinvasive,â freshwater intakes), and for unusual events such as hypoxia. nonnative species), species distributions, population genetics, and life history strategies (including migratory routes for protected and commercially important species); increased frequency and extent of harmful algal blooms and coastal hypoxia events Changes in Increased runoff and Improve non-point source pollution prevention programs. precipitation non-point source pollution or Improve stormwater management systems and infrastructure. eutrophication; changes in coastal hydrology Improve early warning systems for beach and shellfish closures. and related ecosystem impacts; increased coastal flooding
NOTE: Most adaptations are local and need to be tailored to local conditions. The suitability of each adaptation option must therefore be 0 evaluated in the context of local conditions. Where possible, the table refers to assessments and syntheses that consider multiple adaptation options and provide references to specific studies. SOURCE: Reference citations are abbreviated as follows to conserve space: NRC (NRC, 2007c), Limiting (ACC: Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change [NRC, 2010c]).